30 June 2008

the wild ride of summer pauses for a moment...

...to enjoy some quiet & reflect on more of the 1000 gifts~~
87. friends...with whom you can laugh, cry, dance, pray, live!88. a table-full...for an abundant dinner & the games that follow89. morning's glory90. finding a ride just when you need one91. road trips! (especially those to the holy city)92. a meal to remember, shared with love & laughter93. cool, refreshing water on a hot summer night94. quiet morning light before the rush of the day95. memories to reflect upon, times well-spent

20 June 2008

gaggle of girlfriends...

...on the first day of summer! part of the soul sister circle is en route & the rest will be tomorrow, coming together for a weekend (& for a few, nearly a week!) of fun here by the bay. we will be celebrating lots of milestones, pressing lots of garlic(!!!), going horizontal on the dock to look for shooting stars, & if boyworld cooperates, eating lots of frutti del mare! (go guys!!!) i feel so very blessed to have this time upon me. it has been 2 years almost to the day of L.'s breast cancer diagnosis & the gratitude for this time is something i cannot begin to express.

just yesterday, while visiting mary ann, i stumbled upon a situation with a beautiful woman who needs help. please, if you have a moment...visit bri & keep her in your prayers! & give your bestest girlfriends an extra hug as soon as possible!

18 June 2008

plum delicious!

i confess that i have not been cooking much on wednesdays or any other day of the week for that matter. we have had lots of food on the run &, thanks to vacations, somebody else cooking (& serving & cleaning up!). now i do miss la mia cucina much & so when the good Dr. N. sent some of his home-grown plums my way this week (i love you, Dr. N.!), i knew it was a sign to turn on the oven again. after a few days of dwelling on what to do with the amount of delectable fruit (really too much to snack on outright), i decided a plum pie was in order...actually, 2! one to keep & one to share with our kind neighbors who 'babysit' my deck gardens while we travel.
plum pie was not something of my childhood, nor have i ever seen it locally in our stores or restaurants, but i did stumble upon a recipe for it in an italian cookbook i found in a thrift store several years ago...La Dolce Vita by Michele Scicolone. i love this book & find her recipes very true to italian form. but the plum pie, or torta di susine...well, i don't know, but the idea was intriguing enough for me to try it. her dough is a basic pasta frolla...quite a bit different from my typical Amish recipe for pie crust. but i found it to be a perfect compliment to the tangy sweet plum filling. i did vary her recipe a bit because i wanted a crumble top~ don't ask me why. she simply uses the pasta frolla in a lattice pattern over the fruit filling. boyworld found this pie quite satisfying & so do i.Torta di Susine
for the crust...
*combine 3 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, 2 t. baking powder, zest from 1 lemon, 1/2 t. salt & blend well with a pastry blender (or fork).
*cut 12 T. softened butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
*mix together 1 egg, 1 egg yolk & 1 1/2 t. vanilla...then add to flour mix just until a dough forms.
*divide the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic & chill for at least 1 hour.
preheat oven to 350.
for the filling...
*clean & slice 2-3 pounds ripe plums. toss plums together with 1/2 c. sugar (may need to adjust based on the sweetness of the plums), 1/2 t. cinnamon, & 1 T. fresh lemon juice.
roll out the 2 pie crust disks & fit each into a pie pan...divide the plum filling & pour into the prepared crusts...dot each pie with 1/2 t. butter.
for the crumble topping...
*combine 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. oats, 1 c. brown sugar, 1/2 t. cinnamon...cut in 1/4 c. cold butter with a pastry cutter until it forms coarse crumbs...divide & sprinkle over each pie.
bake for 1 hour or until the pastry is golden brown & the plum juices are bubbling. enjoy!!

15 June 2008

father's day

last year i posted a tribute to my daddy, my hero. i miss him so much & it is, on days such as these, my fondest wish to pick up the phone or drive down the road & have a chat with him about things of ordinary days. since that is not possible any longer, i do what is. i take my cup of tea this evening to the quiet deck & i tell him the things of our ordinary day. i know he can hear this. but i do miss his replies, his laughter, his hugs, the smell of his soap. if your dad is still only a phone call or a short drive away...please dial or drive. relish in those moments of ordinariness. say those words that you wish you would say. hold that hug just a moment longer & savor it.
i do not mean to become so melancholy today. but rather i want you to embrace what is while it is...with joy! & i also want to wish a wonderful father's day to those in your lives.
D...this means you too! you were the first man i dated who i knew without a doubt would be an excellent father. & through the years you have never let me down in that...your tender hands holding our newborns, your strong arms lifting them up, your comforting hugs, your shoulder for cries, your firm & steady guidance, your wise words. your are the sure & steady leader of our family, our rock & foundation. we are blessed beyond imagining & we love you so much! happy father's day!!

12 June 2008


after a kennel call...a nine hour road trip in the middle of the night fueled by caffeine (omg, i could *not* find a starbucks to save my soul)...a weekend at the girlfriend's awesome crib (goodness, we slept in our own **wing**!)...meeting SPF, oh yes we did!!!!!...one space shuttle launch...4 countries...14 decks of cruise ship fun...& endless hours of line dancing (you really didn't think i would incriminate myself with a photo of *that* now, didya??)...we are home, the laundry is caught up, the guest room is turned around...& for what!!?!!?...the next round of visiting~~

the soul sisters will come full circle next week (sadly, sans edwin & limos, but we'll make do!) i must say that even with all the busy-ness of this travel time, i am missing my blog-buddies! so watch out~~ i'll be droppin' by for a visit very soon!

catching up...with internet time on board the cruise at 55 cents a minute, i decided that the blog & blog hopping were on vacation too! not only was the travel happening, we also celebrated some important dates last week~~ Big Bro turned 16!!!! on a cruise ship~! (& no, he did not drive!) Baby Girl entered a new decade last week...celebrating the big 2-0, also on board the ship!& piacere celebrated a blogiversary~ june 3~ at sea! i want to give a shout-out to a few blogs who inspired me to begin piacere~~ i discovered blogs 3 years ago through several of my favorite authors, one of whom traveled to roma in 2006. in one of her posts, she mentioned bleeding espresso as a go-to for the italian life of an expat. one click & i was hooked! visiting sognatrice was more than a mere coincidence...as i read her '100 things about me' i realized that we had a bit more in common than just a love of all things italian going on...we grew up in the same area! it was the kick in my seat that brought me out of the lurk mode...i finally dropped a line to a blog author. turns out her mom & my husband used to work together!

around this very time i was stumbling through miscellaneous blogs still in the lurk mode & i found constance, SPF & corey. i distinctly remember thinking how wonderfully creative the blogosphere is & yet feeling so very intimidated. each day i would visit these 4 amazing women plus many, many more & finally something inside me said 'why not'! with sognatrice's help, i was up & running with my first post 3 june 2007!

shortly thereafter, shan welcomed me to the what's cooking wednesday crew (sorry, shan, for my shameful absence these last few weeks!) & frances to the she who blogs gang. it has been one wild & happy ride ever since! ladies please take a bow for your exceptional contributions to the blog world...y'all were my inspirations!

up soon...more reminisces from italia (i still need to give a nod to firenze e venezia!)~~ better get crackin' before that next trip...our roman language holiday redux in july!