Finch in Flight

Practicing my photog skills, trying to capture a tiny little finch near our Brazilian pepper tree. Not too happy with the results, but I’m a student, not a master.

Fllighty finches. Dozens of these tiny birds converge on one tree, stay for a minute, and move on to another one. It’s nearly impossible to snap a pic while they chirp the happiest of songs.

hummingbird

Sunset On A Heavenly California Horizon

A photographic essay. Southern California. End of November. Big surf. Late afternoon.

It’s so cool to showcase this amazing Carlsbad sunset embellished by WordPress snow.sunset1

 

sunset13

 

sunset14

 

sunset15

 

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sunset

 

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A glorious ending to a spectacular day. Happy December!



separated by space and time

5db5e087aa07181994bab5c14a02075a

pinterest.com/frankjklein/heart-chakra-unconditional-love/

separated by space and time

but connected through our hearts

just like the spaces between one word to another

or one sentence to another

we

are

connected.

weareconnected

That’s my secret — or should I say, OUR secret — how we successfully navigate being married to a husband who’s not physically here fifty percent of the year.

Love is timeless

Alone together

Together alone

This.

Love.

Happy ‘cos my tugboat man’s coming home today! Yay!

A Song for You
“But I’ll love you in a place
Where there’s no space and time
I’ll love you for my life”


Versions of “A Song for You”
Which is your favorite?
I think mine is the original by Leon Russell.

Elton John

Whitney Houston
http://youtu.be/7tvxSNyN1ok

Amy Winehouse
http://youtu.be/SX8Sb9zSO1Q

Ray Charles
http://youtu.be/JSlv_n-gBmk

Leon Russell and Friends

The Unbearable Death of a Boy-Man

It’s been  a year since my son’s boyhood friend tragically died in Hawaii from a surfing accident.  His body was never recovered. I wanted to take a moment to remember this bright shiny boy and the joy he brought to everyone he met.

From Kirk's Facebook page

From Kirk’s Facebook page

The loss of a child cannot be fathomed.

Who could ever be prepared for their child to die before them?

There must be endless tears and sorrow and sadness and a forever and unrelenting pain.

For me, it’s a pure and simple matter.

If I never heard my son’s voice again or was never able to wrap my arms around him, I don’t know if I could take another breath.

…On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, Kirk Passmore, 32, a passionate big-wave surfing veteran and Hawaii resident, is presumed to have drowned and as of today his body has not been found.

One minute he was alive, surfing an estimated 20-foot wave at Alligator Rock on Oahu’s North Shore, with an audience of other surfers and photographers.

He dropped into the steep face of the wave before falling over the front of his board and into the water.

The top of the wave crashed over him and witnesses say he surfaced for a brief moment before he was crushed by another wave.

It was the last time anyone saw him.

Although extensive searches have been conducted in the area, he’s been missing since the day of the accident and is presumed drowned.

It was all caught on video.

This is the video of his last wave. Somehow he never made it out alive.

His dad wanted the his final ride shared with as many people as possible.

Maybe you heard about this. Maybe you were watching the news on television and you paid scant attention to the story while you were on the computer or eating dinner.

Maybe you read it on the internet and saw the pictures or the video.

You probably thought to yourself or even said out loud, ” Wow, that’s really sad.”

Kirk Passmore.

Why am I writing about him?

Yes, it’s true that he was someone’s child, brother, friend.

But he was also one of my son’s friends.

They went to school together.

He’s the first of my son’s friends to die.

Kirk had the biggest smile and the reddest hair. Everyone called him “Fanta” or “Red”.

He was one of the many boys I’d chauffeur around, packed like sardines in the back seat, all gangly legs and arms, endlessly stuffing their mouths —  bottomless pits of growing boy bodies– with the cookies and smoothies and other snacks cheerfully provided to everyone who came over.

A carful of boys talking about school, skateboarding; laughing, always smiling, always a thank you for the ride as he slammed the car door.

“See ya, Jason.”

A flash of bright red hair lit the way as he ran up the walkway to his house.

But no more.

I bet for most of these boys – and I still call these thirty-somethings BOYS because to me they will always and forever be “the boys” or “the guys” — my son’s friends from Kelly Elementary, Valley Junior High, and Carlsbad High School — this is their first experience with death and subsequent thoughts of their own mortality.

I feel so bad for his family and his friends who are mourning him with candlelight vigils, surf paddle-outs, tributes, and memorials. 

To honor Kirk, they’re handling their pain with grace and beauty.

One of them, artist Bryan Snyder, created a memorial wall in our town. If you’re ever in Carlsbad, check it out.

Bryan Snyder

Bryan Snyder

Our deepest sympathies go out to Kirk’s family. Our hearts are heavy and we are so very, very sorry for their loss.

The Passmore family released the following statement:

Kirk was born February 11, 1981 in Orem, Utah.  He grew up in Carlsbad, California and graduated from Carlsbad High School in 1999 where he was a member of the school’s surf team for four years.  As a youth, he was active in pop warner football, little league baseball, and basketball but his love was in surfing.

He started coming to Hawaii when he was 14 and was an experienced and expert surfer.  He was not new to big wave surfing, having surfed most of the well-known big wave locations, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, Pipeline and outer reefs on the north shores of Hawaii.  He was a familiar face at Todos Santos off Baja California.  He also surfed Maverick’s in northern California and Puerto Escondido in Mainland Mexico.  He spent 3 years in the southern coast of France.  He moved to the north shore of Hawaii full-time in the spring of 2012.

Kirk was a part owner of Third Stone Surfboards in Waialua, Hawaii and a Manager at Bonzai Sushi in Haleiwa, Hawaii.

He is survived by his mother, Diane Passmore (Orem, Utah), father and step-mother, David and Karey Passmore (Sunset Beach, Hawaii), siblings, Alyson Adams (Highland, Utah); Merrily Roberts (Encinitas, California) and Matthew Passmore (serving an LDS mission in New York, New York).

The family wishes to thank the Coast Guard, the City and County of Honolulu lifeguards and Fire Department who continue the search.

Where Fashion and Function Meet and Marry

There’s so much RIGHT with this.

versaceamaretto

…from a marketing standpoint.

…from a branding standpoint.

…a marriage of two MAJOR brands.

…aspirational and inspirational, quenching my thirst on a couple of levels.

Follow along with the way my brain works, OK?

Do you know Lizzi at Considerings?

She very kindly (after I twisted her arm) shared her amazing recipe for Lebkuchen  — a traditional German cookie — that I plan to bake in honor of the homecoming of my esteemed (German) Professor Angel Boy, also known as the boy/man who can eat more food than anyone I’ve ever known — a Guinness World Record contender – which makes baking and cooking for him a total and complete joy.

The frosting calls for Amaretto, something we don’t normally keep stocked in the Enchanted Seashells liquor cabinet.

After a massive shopping excursion at Trader Joe’s, I walked down the sidewalk (in the same shopping center) to BevMo.

I picked up a small bottle of Amaretto (along with a few other items, as long as I was there, ya know.)

In the center of the main aisle, my eye were drawn to a bright blue box — one of those promotional boxes of booze they feature around the holidays usually boasting a value added option like glasses or a shaker.

Wait, hold on a minnie.

This was DeSaronno Amaretto, but a larger bottle than the one I had in hand, and it was packaged with two pretty glasses.

OK, I didn’t really need more glasses that I’d just end up breaking, BUT I do like a bonus.

Chanel notwithstanding, I am a thrifty gal.

Upon closer inspection, the final affirmation of purchasing perfection was my realization (in slo mo) that the amaretto bottle itself was DRESSED IN VERSACE.

DRESSED IN GIANNI VERSACE.  amaretto11

Picture me doing a double take.

Wha?

Yes! Yes! Yes! A DESIGNER CLOTHED BOTTLE OF BOOZE!

(And only a few dollars more than the naked/undressed/unadorned bottle and THAT satiated my price point.)

Oh HELL YES, I said to myself as I grabbed it off the shelf.

SEASHELLS AND CHERUBS.amareatto16

I’m all verklempt, fanning myself with my shopping list.

OY. VEY.

Come to MOMMA.

A perfect marriage, a perfect union of form and function.amaretto10

A truly  brilliant marketing design.

hello kitty

Water bottle and iron on patch.

I haven’t been THIS excited since my son sent me a water bottle from Yale that featured Hello Kitty.

At the time, I thought THAT was the pinnacle of marketing heaven.

Backstory: Versace and I have a sad history.

When tugboat man and I were newly married, his father and stepmother gave me a Christmas present in a beautiful brilliantly white Versace bag with the iconic lion. Read all about my disappointment HERE @
Lesson #1. Never do this to your daughter-in-law. Ever.

The only Versace I own is that white bag.

Up until now, that is.

Now I have a stylishly dressed up bottle of booze.

Life is good, y’all!

P.S. I have the world’s worst in laws — world’s WORST. The Versace bag incident was the tip of the iceberg. It’s been downhill ever since. I have NO IDEA how my tugboat man turned into such a wonderful, loving, caring human with ‘rents like that. Truth.

Not Kegel… But a KUGEL-icous Recipe for Thanksgiving

Sounds like Kegel, but it’s not.

It’s KUGEL!

Another carb-filled recipe for holiday entertaining!

And why not? Carbs are awesomely satisfying  — once in a while — tugboat man and I don’t eat like this very often, but everyone LOVES my Kugel!.

This is not a vegan recipe, but it’s delicious, and my son and DIL request it every year for Thanksgiving and Hannukah. To vegan-ize it, just delete the eggs.                                                                                                             

What IS Kugel?

Kugel is a savory or sweet pudding of potatoes or noodles usually served as a side dish. It’s of German/Jewish origin.

Our family’s traditional Kugel is the sweet noodle kind and my mom’s version is to die for.

Really. It’s spectacular hot or cold.

It’s one of those recipes you can make a day in advance and it keeps getting better and better.

If you have any leftovers– which we never do — it freezes pretty good.

I limit myself to making it only a couple times a year and I eat as much as I want and just work out a bit harder and a bit longer to burn off the calories, so there’s really no guilt.

Angel Boy’s Grandma’s Kugel

Ingredients:
One large package wide egg noodles
One large can fruit cocktail in juice
One small can pineapple pieces in juice
One large can canned peaches and pears in heavy syrup, yes, you read that right
At least 3 Granny Smith apples, sliced with about 1/3 cup sugar and 1-2 TBS cinnamon
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
One lemon,  juiced and zested

Directions: This is a good dish to make in advance especially if you’re also planning to make apple pie (which I am) ‘cos you can just prepare all the apples for both dishes. The secret to this dish is a LOT of cinnamon. If you think you have enough, add a little bit more!

1. Cook a whole package of wide egg noodles and drain.
2. Add 3 beaten eggs with vanilla; it will be super slippery.
3. Add the lemon juice and zest to the apple slices.
4. Drain all the canned fruit but keep the juices; you will need them.
5. Mix together all the canned fruits.
6, Butter one large and one medium deep baking dish.
7. Add a layer of noodles, then a layer of canned fruit, a layer of apples, then another layer of noodles, a layer of the canned fruit, sliced apples, more noodles, more canned fruit and apples, ending with a final layer of noodles.
8. Pour over any remaining egg mixture, and a cup or so of the fruit juices. Be very liberal with the juice. It will all get soaked up as the kugel bakes.
9. Jason’s grandma would dot the whole thing with a bunch of Crisco, like ¼ cup, which sounds gross, but I still follow her recipe. Some people use butter, but we don’t. Other recipes add cottage cheese and raisins, but I’ve only made it my mom’s way, although I’m sure it would be delicious.
10. Bake covered at 300 degrees for about an hour or so depending on the pan size. Take cover off for final 15 minutes. Excellent reheated and/or cold.

Bon apetit!

My First Camera #TBT #Throwback Thursday #Photography

Circa 1962. My first camera, a Kodak Brownie Holiday Flash. 

oldcamera2

Old school, in black and white,
oldcamera1


This beautiful camera was designed by Arthur H. Crapsey, the designer of other popular Kodak cameras.

Snapped with a Canon Rebel T3i.

DELICIOUS Sweet and Savory Vegan Holiday Recipes with Food For Life Bread

Another homecoming! 

Tugboat man will return in a few days, Angel Boy and DIL will be here for Thanksgiving; so I’m doing what I do, cleaning and cleaning, waxing and polishing furniture, planning meals — and waiting. And waiting.

This is the-lull-before-the-storm time.

When Food for Life sent me a box of assorted breads to sample and review, I couldn’t wait to begin to experiment with recipes for Thanksgiving.

We are thankful to enjoy a meat-free, cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner.

My family LOVES bread and as tasty as these breads are on their own — stand alone goodness — I wanted to craft a few recipes and share them with anyone looking to eat healthier and of course, vegan.

These breads are gluten free, vegan, and USDA certified organic.

My family especially enjoys the bread toasted, which brings out all of the unique flavors. They are amazing simply with hummus or in veggie sandwiches.

For holiday baking ideas, here’s one dessert bread pudding, one savory bread pudding, and my version of a vegan stuffing.


 

1. Vegan Bread Pudding (Sweet)breadpudding1

*****This is a MUST for you to make. It’s so unbelievably good, I ate the biggest bowl as soon as it came out of the oven. OK, to be honest, I ate TWO bowls. (That’s like half a loaf of bread haha). It was even better than I had anticipated.

The blueberries and apples are key to the whole moist yumminess and the slight toasty crunch of coconut is amazing. Next time I’ll add a tablespoon of orange zest to brighten the fruity flavors.

Ingredients:

One loaf Food for Life Sprouted For Life Bread Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin with sprouted chia, quinoa, and millet. (The Almond version would be awesome, too.)
2-3 cups plain or vanilla almond milk, really SOAK the bread
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried blueberries
One apple, peeled, diced
Ground cinnamon
Toasted coconut for topping 

breadpudding2Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Grease a nine-inch baking dish or casserole dish.
  2. Tear the bread into rough cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cinnamon, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the bread, let sit about 10-20 minutes, or until bread is soft and has absorbed most of the milk. Add the raisins gently mix. Don’t over mix.
  4. Scoop into prepared pan.
  5. Lightly sprinkle top with a little more cinnamon and the coconut.
  6. Bake 30-45 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and it’s a puffy golden brown.

YUM! Just TRY to stop eating it.
I think it’d also be awesome with your favorite sauce
or a 
scoop of vegan ice cream.
breadpudding3


I don’t have pics of the next two because I didn’t want to prepare them too far in advance, but I wanted to share the recipes so you’ll all have enough time to shop for the ingredients.

2. Vegan Bread Pudding (Savory)

Ingredients:

One loaf  Food for Life Sprouted For Life Bread Gluten Free (Flax Seed is the one I’ll be using.)
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale, or spinach (about 1 lb.)
1 cup almond or soy or rice milk
1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups cubed bread
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sliced tomatoes
Option: Add tofu cubes

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove and discard ribs from Swiss chard or kale. Rinse with cold water; drain and coarsely chop. If using spinach, wash and chop.
2. Whisk together milk, broth, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Stir in bread.
3. Sauté mushrooms, onions, garlic, red pepper in hot oil until tender and soft. Stir in chard, kale, or spinach, and sauté 2 minutes. Fold vegetable mixture into liquid/bread mixture.
4. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes.If you have a vegan cheese that you like, crumble a few slices on top of tomatoes.
5. Pour into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 5 minutes.


Vegan Stuffing (Dressing)

Yummy to stuff green or red peppers or baked butternut squash, halved. I serve with my homemade cranberry sauce. No one misses the meat and if they do, they know better than to mention it! This recipe makes enough to feed our family and have leftovers the next day.

2 medium onions, diced
6 stalks celery with leaves, diced
4 carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Two loaves of Original Three Seed Sprouted for Life Food for Life
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 – 3/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups hot Homemade Vegetable Stock or a good quality low sodium purchased veg stock

Directions:
1. Saute onion, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. (Vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before continuing.)
2. Transfer to large bowl and add stuffing cubes, parsley, celery salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 1/4 cups hot stock.
3. If stuffing peppers or other vegetables, stuff lightly and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
4. If baking entire recipe as side dish: Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Of course you can add or detract any vegetables your family doesn’t like (our DIL doesn’t like mushrooms so I’ll make a small batch for her without them) and add more herbs and spices depending upon your own personal tastes. We like it rather peppery with bold flavors since it’s more than just a side dish.

Bon appétit!

I received product for sample and review, no other compensation. My opinions are my own.

http://www.foodforlife.com/

Have You Steezy’d Yet?

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Read all the way through for a mini-contest!Steezys are soo cute! The name is a combination of “style” and “ease” and it’s easy to have great style with Steezys on your cords. Steezys are charms for your headphone wires. Until now, headphone wires have been … Continue reading

PlantPlay Nursery in Carlsbad. A Gardening Oasis.

#things to do in Carlsbad #Carlsbad #gardening

In my not-so-little town of Carlsbad, nestled between all the destruction from too many years of overbuilding, you can still find beauty if you look for it.

plantplaysign

If you live anywhere near San Diego, you really need to drive up the coast and experience this most unique and beautiful garden shop.

PlantPlay Nursery at 4915 El Camino Real in Carlsbad is tucked away in a corner near Kelly Drive, south of Tamarack Avenue.

If you remember the old Country Store with the chicken on top of the building, you know exactly where it is.

Walking into PlantPlay is like entering into a secret garden  —  winding pathways, thousands of unusual plants, garden decor, the sweet melodious harmonies of strategically placed water features — birds chirping, and chickens (yes, chickens!)

It’s also chock full of drought tolerant plants and exotic specimens.

Owners Mike and Sergio know EVERYTHING about plants and planting.

This is Mike.

PlantPlay1Here’s Sergio and his baby girl.plantplaysergioLook at this sweet face!Plantplay2 plantplay4This chicken is so soft and feathery.
plantplay5The prettiest chicken I’ve ever seen!
FYI, the chickens are PETS, ‘cos Mike and Sergio LOVE animals.

plantplay6 Dutchman’s Pipe, strange but beautiful!plantplayweirdplant plantplayweirdplant2A rose, of course.plantplay7rose This camellia is as fragrant as it is pure and velvety white.plantplaycamellia

plantplay8plantplay9plantplay10plantplaysucculentOld wagon on the hill. There’s not much left of the charm of old Carlsbad, so this is an especially poignant reminder.plantplaywagonWhen you visit Sergio and Mike at PlantPlay Nursery, tell them Princess Rosebud says hello!