Saturday, November 30, 2013

final thanks

Farewell to November~my favored month.

I end the month being grateful that I'm able to walk outdoors (my former neighborhood was not safe to do so) AND the glorious sunshine is back.  We've ended our freakish cold streak and it's to be back in the 70s/80s this next week.

While out running errands, I found the shiniest new penny AND received a free candle in my favorite scent!  And my fifth and final gratitude is for all y'all blog readers.  And now, turning the page to December...

Friday, November 29, 2013


Everything remembers something. The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub
of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun,
gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under
its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down
the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years
of drought, the floods, the way things came
walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches
where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone
it loved, the heart cannot forget.

"What the Heart Cannot Forget" by Joyce Sutphen, from Coming Back to the Body. © Holy Cow! Press, 2000.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


No, not repeating a gratitude, but the souffles turned out much better today~perhaps because it was dry outside?

  1. Pink fluff~a recipe handed over by an honorary little sister.  Diced cranberries, grapes and supposed to be pecans, but I used almonds this year.  All folded into real whipped cream. A much better form of cranberries than that weird goop from a can.
  2. DONE with lessons for a few days!  I do like (most) of my students, but it is nice to have a little break to recharge the creative energy.
  3. The cold that I caught from one of the above germ carriers seems to be a mild one.
  4. The SUNSHINE is back!  I got to have a nice long walk outside.
  5. Chatting with a good friend in Cali~the internet is such a marvelous invention.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

gingerbread spice & all that is nice

Perhaps I've been around piano books and their incredible rhyme scheme for lyrics a bit too much lately, so forgive the sing-songy title.  Today's line-up?
  1. Garlic mashed potatoes.  Um-hmmmm.  Perfect frosty weather food.
  2. Speaking of food & flavours, let us rejoice that gingerbread coffee is now on sale.
  3. Almost ALL green lights on the way home.  Have yet to count how many are between my doorstep and Pflugerville, but it's a hefty number and depending on how you hit them?  Huge difference in commute time.  (And yes, the lights are on timers here~bah.  Ooops, this is supposed to be grateful in tone.)
  4. A month from today is Christmas!  Many hours of twinkle lights and carols ahead.
  5. Slow mornings~such a gift this s'hedule.  It's lovely to ease into the day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

the art of conversation

Wooheee, it is brisk outside.  Am hoping the sleet holds off until vacation begins~being an hourly employee changes my attitude towards snow days.  And the list as we are entering the final week of gratitudes (or at least posted ones).
  1. Conversations in coffee shops.
  2. The abundance at the market~especially with all the Thanksgiving foods and ingredients stacked everywhere.
  3. For the support of the artistic life, especially musicians, in Austin.
  4. Mint tea.
  5. For these fun paper lanterns that I got in SF on Father's Day~they are a legitimate way to have the sparkle of Christmas lights up year round.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

the weather, it is frightful

But my fire, it is delightful.  The other grateful inducing incidents of the day?
  1. Three student recitals done!  Ten to go.
  2. I don't have to drive today as the sleet storm hits town.
  3. A serene home place to come back to after being out/about.
  4. Pepper sauce~blessings upon the person who decided to dry peppers and then create sauce.  I do like the spicy kick to the food around here.

One row of students~got too busy to get everyone today, but from the amount of flashes going off, am sure I can get some photos from proud parents.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

gratitudes five

  1. It's 37 degrees and POURING.  V. grateful that this is an anomaly and not the usual climate in which I now live.
  2. My current job has no stupid crosswalk duty.
  3. Despite the wild winds I still have power and am able to run the heat and have a hot dinner.
  4. Childhood memories.
  5. My baby sister's birthday.  

And as it's the end of the week, I'll add an extra~thanks for the charming men which she has added to our life/family.

Friday, November 22, 2013


As the OED just proclaimed 'selfies' to be the word of the year, thought I would be trendy and include one of my new/improved/non-grey hairs as it is one of my thanks today.  (Sisterly advice was to not use this photo in any personal ad unless I was also offering to boil bunnies.)

The other things for thank full sleep?  Made it safely home through another flash flood.  Mint/chocolate M&M's are in season.  Seeing the transformation of a troubled student into a flourishing little soul.  The weekly Chronicle~Austin's marvelous free paper.

And yes, we need allergy season to end and a nice holiday break where we can rest the puffy eyes.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

butter, buttah, BUTTER

One of my earliest memories is sneaking into the fridge and snacking on pure butter~all that creamy salty goodness!  And while I'm sure something about me could be healthier if I were vegan, I will never give up the glory of butter~browned or baked, it is one of the best scents and flavours around.  

Yesterday was nicely bracketed with divine pastries~a chocolate/almond croissant from the French bakery up the street and some homemade baklava at my birthday dinner.

And gratitudes 2-4?
  • The stem cell fight for a former teacher and life-long family friend is going well today.
  • Going back to the wonderful music venue of Strangebrew with a friend~it is one of the few places where the audience is expected to be quiet.  And therefore, the musicians aren't amped to the ear-bleed level.  Nice to actually hear the music/lyrics~haven't really found that outside the classical realm.
  • More birthday gifts and love is pouring in.
  • Lefse season is approaching quickly!!!!

A fun basket of nibbley noshes for those long studio hours.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Drove west of the city to Hill Country today to visit Perendales Falls~which has been on my Austin to-do list.  It sounds trite even as I type, but it was a perfect autumn day~crisp and clear and cool enough for a hefty hike.

Down the now familiar terrain of white granite/limestone and scrub oaks and cedars.

My first glimpse of any real colour this season.

 As it was Tuesday, the park was serene....until two bus loads of fifth graders disembarked.  I hiked as fast in the opposite direction as possible.  While I love my students, when it is my day off, I do not wish to hear/see/smell or even sense children in large groups.

 While it's not an ocean wave, I was cheered greatly by sitting next to the smashing water for a long time.

Such a lovely spot to begin a new year of life.

Not sure how these large underwater holes are formed, but I'd hate to step in one during the summer.  Yes, for once, it was a bit too chilly to consider getting in the water.

Bogart has now been with me for 14 years, so he was treated to a nice chicken breakfast and we napped in the sunshine when I returned from hiking.  Then, I was off to the cinema with a friend and then off to a dinner party thrown by some other friends.   Emails and cards continue to arrive from afar.

It was a lovely day.  May it be an omen for this year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


An incredible whirl around the sun~filled up six pages of writing this morning in reflecting upon all that has unfolded in the last year.  Some lyrics from A.L. Webber's Sunset Boulevard seem perfect for today~even though this song is about New Year's, this is my new year and I welcome it:

'It's New Year's Eve, and hopes are high
Dance one year in, kiss one goodbye
Another chance, another start
So many dreams to tease the heart...'

Thank you for being part of this party!

Monday, November 18, 2013

things of beauty

  1. Full moon joy.
  2. The national treasure that is Garrison Keillor. 
  3. Another cycle 'round the sun is wrapping up.
  4. Aunts.
  5. How a good hair cut can change your week.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

treats galore

 My free gift (is that an oxymoron?) from Aveda~one of my favorite corporation/schools.

One is never too old for princess gift paper.

 A fun new tea flavour.

Roasted and toasted the California almonds which arrived in the post~sprinkled the jarful with cinnamon and brown sugar.  Will be lovely snacks.

Have NO idea why it took me years of baking in bain marie without ever thinking of putting the ROUND ramekins in a ROUND glass dish.  And why does no cookbook of mine give this hint? It's true, the pie plates aren't as deep as a traditional casserole dish~a new quest for the next GW forage~a deep round casserole dish. 

My favored little cherve souffles.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

giggles & gratitude

Was day-dreaming and singing during my commute and was completely startled at the stop light when I noticed a grill smack in front of me.  Glad that I wasn't on the wrong side of the road.

Dandelion dreams are still free.

One of the reasons I deeply love reading.

Someone is hogging all the fluffy blankets during this cold spell.  But he's so cute while doing so that I forgive him.

The burnt caramel dark chocolate almonds I just discovered at Sprouts' Market.  Snacking just got a lot more fun.