29 September 2008

a watered down version of sunday...

a quiet morning in the sun, one that was touched with only the gentlest of southerly breezes (a welcome respite from last week's incessant, howling winds), lent itself to daydreaming...a hound at my feet & a cup of coffee in my hand (italian, the good stuff!) this day without a single notation on the to-do calendar...it could be a day of a million things or a day of nothing. rare & precious.my reverie was soon happily interrupted by the jangling of boat keys & a request...our junior meteorologist is also a superb boat captain & he wanted to know if his momma wanted to take a ride. sure did!!!...so with camera in hand we spent the morning exploring a tidal creek...a place so quiet & still, teeming with life...even an alligator stopped to say "hi"...the scent of autumn on the wind (if you could bottle that smell, you could cure the world!)...poor Big Bro had to work through the morning at the bakery, but i did send him solace in the form of a text message...did he want to surf after work? yes, in fact, he did!kyle is ripping up the eastern seaboard with prime rides for surfers. & the beach offered another indulgent moment for lolly-gaggers like me (hey, there's that word again!)...is there anything so luxurious as warm sand under your feet?? had i been any more relaxed yesterday, someone could have mistaken me for a beached jellyfish! now it is monday in all its back-into-the-swing-of-things glory...may you have a wonderful week!!

26 September 2008

the storm without a name...

yesterday found us hunkered down with an interesting weather event raging outside our windows.Little Man's predictions of that low pressure keeping us in check were right on...that storm surpassed hanna in interest (higher tide, higher sustained winds over a longer period, greater amount of rainfall) & it brought the ever-popular jim cantore back to our beach. (but our favorite camera crew found themselves landlocked in colorado...hey, R.!!!) any attempts at non-science school yesterday went away with our winds, in favor of instrument readings, graphs, charts, radars, & sky observationsbasically it was Little Man's dream day. but it is not all fun for him; it is also a responsibility...he is a national weather service weather spotter for our county.for all our interesting weather & thanks to Little Man's connections, yesterday gave us a first...a call from the national weather service to let us know that we were in the path of a tornado! not cool! the call came at the very moment we were in the middle of a torrential downpour &, of course, we could see nothing. talk about some nail-biting drama. we don't exactly live in the most tornado-proof home (not one room without windows & no basement), so we make do in our ground-level, non-living space that has only the teeniest window.we never did see or hear (thank God!) the confirmed tornado (i had a much closer call in may) but we did watch the storm that spawned it pass over our bay in the distance. this morning i could find nothing in the local news online to indicate harm or damage from that storm cell, & we are now enjoying gentle winds & bright sun with a higher-than-normal tide this morning.

25 September 2008

postcards from home for Baby Girl...

dear Baby Girl,

autumn rolled in right on cue this week, something your tropical self probably isn't missing!we're hard pressed to get above 80 (it's almost wool sock weather for me!!)...& the wind!!! holy cow, it's incessant. Little Man is forecasting gale force stuff over the next few days based on the development of an off shore low pressure system .we'll see! i'm just trying not to get blown over...all that action in the atlantic makes for good things by the beach for surfers like your brother.he caught some serious rides on monday afternoon...i'm sure it's not quite the stuff from the pacific that you are privvy to, but it works for him.the school days are much like you would remember...Little Man is in the final battle between aeneas & turnus. Big Bro is on the cusp of the divine comedy (you know i can't wait for that again!). & i just finished my course...hitting the "send" button for that last paper was pure joy! i have exactly one week to indulge in some fiction (looking forward to this) before the next class begins.maybe i should re-read the secret life of bees in preparation for next month? speaking of books-into-movies, guess what comes to the big screen on friday...nights in rodanthe! you know how much we enjoyed watching them film on the beach. i'll let you know how it compares to the read.today's big news...it's back to the big city for my weekly italian classes!! the boys are marking time before next year's travel with their own italian lessons...with me at home (remember those days?).but i am getting rusty since july with verb tenses, & when i got the email informing of this year's classes, well, wild horses could not keep me away...well, maybe wild dogs! speaking of the canine species...you know your hounds are in mourning over your absence.it's really quite pathetic...they lie outside your bedroom door with the saddest of looks. (unless there is food to be had or a football to fetch)well, Baby Girl, it's really just ordinary time here & we wait expectantly for more tales from you, our intrepid traveler...tales of toucans & poison dart frogs & howler monkeys!

love your momma

24 September 2008

the return of what's cooking wednesday...

...this week we're going southern for a cause. michelle is hosting a contest O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest (september) & around here, one of the most common "O" foods is okra.now for this yankee-born girl okra was a bit of an acquired texture (the taste is just fine!) because, you see, okra is a bit slimy mingled with crunchy~~ a very odd combination to be sure. this time of year okra is abundant in the farmers' markets of the southern US & is making a weekly appearance on our table, providing a good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins B9 & C, & calcium. for this week's what's cooking wednesday recipe, D. provides his "secret" okra recipe (perfected while i was deep in my summer classes & off kitchen duty!)
fried okra
*slice okra to make approx. 2 cups
*beat 1 egg in a medium bowl & soak sliced okra in egg
*combine 1/2 c. AP flour, 1/2 c. cornmeal, fresh ground pepper & course sea salt (to taste)
*toss egged okra in flour mixture then fry coated okra over medium heat in olive oil until browned
*drain on a paper towel & serve
*yields approx. 4 servingsi served this side with applewood smoked turkey breast & roasted sweet potatoes (another farmer's market find this week). be sure to visit shan for more what's cooking wednesday recipes (another man in the kitchen, i see) & michelle for more information about ovarian cancer awareness. buon appetito a tutti!!

the return of what

21 September 2008

an ode to summer's last day...

i like that today is not only summer's last day but that is it also Sunday, a day of rest at casa piacere. though i dearly love autumn in all it's glory, i have to admit there is some foot dragging on my part to leave summer behind...the lazy tempo of summer days, the long hours of daylight, the abundance at our farmers' market, first morning coffee on the deck in shorts & a tee, and, of course...days that are so hot that the only way to cope is to churn out a batch of gelato to cool your body's core temperature!ahhhhh...gelato! my best summer friend!! (next to you, D.!!) this past summer there was not a week that went by that we did not eat gelato, be it on the road or from our own machine at home. top homemade flavors this summer were grapefruit with chocolate chip, lemon, and lavender.
top flavors not made at home were found in roma! on our roman language holiday in july, we made a point of eating gelato every single day, sometimes twice a day, & on 2 occasions 3 & 4 times in one day...there must be help for this condition, but i don't want it!the nice thing about being planted in one location for an extended period of time (as opposed to our previous stays in roma of 2-3 nights) was that it allowed for stumbling upon little gems that are not always listed in the travel guides i use or the websites i peruse. many of our gelato haunts on this trip were old favorites like gelateria della palma & some were new finds like old bridge, gelateria valentino & gelateria del teatro.the one that was our very favorite, hands down...the one that made us positively swoon summer was san crispino (via della panetteria 42, near the fontana di trevi). now, i know that to some of you who know roma like the back of your own hands (you lucky, lucky people ;) this place is not a mystery, but for us it was new. but once discovered, it became a stop on the journey every single day. we actually planned our activities around the times they would be open!
flavors (be aware they change seasonally & we are talking mid-summer here)...hands down, for those with the more adult palate it was pompelmo rosa. for Little Man...it was limone, sempre limone!!! & for me, because one flavor will never be enough in my coppa, the pompelmo rosa was always with a side of a flavor whose name i cannot recall but i can describe...a cool & smooth cream gelato (sort of like vanilla) with chunks of airy meringue & silky valrhona dark chocolate bits swirled throughout.every bite of san crispino's gelato was like a holiday in my mouth!!! this little, off-the-main-drag-but-oh-so-close-to-it-all gelateria has a soft, modern interior but it is not a place for lingering. there are no tables inside or out, but for the time spent in the queue (yes, there will be one!!) you get the luxury of cooling down in the air conditioning (not always found in your roman wanderings). if you plan a stop here, be prepared...they are closed tuesdays. when you find yourself in roma (you will...all roads lead to rome, right?!?) get to san crispino!
for those of you (& you know who you are) who cannot get enough of this smooth n' creamy stuff (in any season), you might consider clicking on over to sara at ms. adventures in italy for her tour del gelato.
ahhhh...the wonderful memories of summer~~ cool gelato on a hot summer afternoon...che fantastico!

16 September 2008

keeping me sane...

D. & mrs. T., you have no idea how much last weekend meant to me! missing that woman-child of mine could have easily overwhelmed me but your perfectly timed 3 day celebration was not a belated birthday...it was right on time!! & my gratitude knows no bounds...
108. after 6 hours on the road...a party!109. a whole day of lolly-gagging around...110. & a night of music...all phor charity ...that makes it even better!...111. with 2 of my very favorite bands...the blue dogs...112. & edwin mccain, of course...113. but wait, there's more...another day & this time it's all about the food!...114. & the rock star chef!...(i have the recipes to prove it!)...115. tyler florence plating your food!!!...(oh yes he did & it was phenomenal!!)...116. more food~~ we really did eat all day~~ with a bit o' edwin, again...117. & the grand finale...a homemade lavender gelato pajama party to cap off the night!...
my heart is singing with gratitude for the love & friendship we share!