Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bringing the Past into the Present

When I was a child I would sit at my grandmother's kitchen table and draw plans to change her barn into a house of my own.  I knew where I wanted the kitchen.  Had an idea of making a study where the baby calves slept.  There was to be a baby grand in the main room in front of the kitchen and the bedrooms were one floor up.  I spent a lot of time and summer visits dreaming.

I love older homes derelict or not if they have character.  And this one was one of many that I took photos to dream about.

Repair the roof, put in new windows, paint the front door a sea blue.  Plant rhododendrons in front of the house and maybe put a stone wall around the back yard.  Small window boxes in the front windows.  The window in the left back would be large enough for a decent view from the kitchen and there would be a patio area out back for enjoyment of  a cup of tea.  A skylight over the front left room for light in the main room.  Possibly 2 bedrooms and bath on the right.  And a huge rhubarb patch.  We saw a few large patches.  Something that I did not expect.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gus O'Connor's Pub, Doolan Ireland

 Great Music
 Excellant Food.
One of the best places for delicious seafood chowder.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Suas Coffee House - Ennis, Ireland

We were excited to get to Ennis on our first day in Ireland and listen to some good music on the last day of the Fleadh Nua Music Festival but first we were hungry and not every pub serves food.  In downtown Ennis we found the perfect place - a small coffee shop and restaurant that was part of a department store.  Think Ikea but on a tiny scale with clothing and better merchandise like art and china.

 So we climbed up to the second floor of the store Carraig Donn for a 20 minute wait for a table.

 And though some people complain it was well worth the wait.

 The quality of the food was good.  And the dressing on the salad were some dollops of dijon mustard.  It sounds too simple but it was the perfect touch.
And then there was the quality of the coffee.  So well done.  A great lunch and we scored a window seat with a view of the central square.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Claire Abbey, Ireland

We had landed only about an hour before in Shannon, Ireland and were greated by what I thought that typical Irish weather was - cold, rainy, windy.  Traveling to Doolan we could see the ruins of the Abbey from the main road but . . .how to get there.  The roads got narrower until we were on a one lane road and the only person around was an older man walking his dog.
I have a hard time asking people in other countries for things, expecting a look that says that I'm less than smart and am wasting their time.  But the man (as are most people that I meet) was  lovely and he directed us down the road and said that "the gate will be open."  We drove past the cows and parked next to the ruins, the only visitors on this morning.  
 Inside the ruins we could hear the cows and feel the wind and cold rain. 
 It always amazes me that when ruins like this are open to the general public and treated with the respect they deserve (no grafitti or litter).  
We paid our respects, took photos of the cows and went on to Ennis.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, Va

What a difference 3 days can make.  The top photo was taken on March 18th, a day after a snow fall.  It was cold and the atmosphere of the Mall matched the gray of the sky.  The second photo was taken on March 22nd.  Vendors were out and the line for the carousel was long and filled with happy children and parents.  And the ice cream stores seemed to be very popular!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Oahu, a breath of fresh air in winter (winter 2011)

I love Oahu. And on a day like today I thought that I would revisit my photos.  It is cold here.  Snow closed the schools and I've had a fire in the fireplace all morning.  Tonight the temperature will go back into the single digits.  
So on to Hawaii!!
 The water was beautiful.
 The beaches were plentiful.  
The flowers were so fragrant.  On my first night there my son and I stood on the edge of a mountain and looked over the city. The smell of the flowers permeated the air.  

And the island started working it's magic on me.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cranberry Muffins and Dandelion Honey

Years ago my brother-in-law and his wife owned an apartment in the Fan District in Richmond Va. They lived in the second story apartment which was chocked full of personality. High ceilings, nice woodwork, a wonderful living area for relaxing in. They were also my introduction to New Age Music/Wyndham Hill, melt in your mouth spare ribs and cranberry muffins. Great memories. So with the snow coming down on Tuesday and being home from school I decided to make muffins after I took a walk in the snow.
And here is the recipe.
 Cranberry Muffins
 1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
 2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
 1/2 cup milk
 2 cups cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

 Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs and beat til smooth. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add to mixture alternately with milk. Add cranberries and walnuts. Bake at 350* for 25 - 30 minutes.

 **I made mini muffins this time. Cooking time was 15-20 minutes. Also my sister-in-law made them with 1 cup white flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour. I generally do the same. The walnuts I grind fine. **Enjoy with drink of choice. Mine was with tea a student brought back from South Africa and Dandelion Honey made by another family. Dandelion Honey is fabulous and I look forward to Spring to try and make my own.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Seven Hour Layover in Paris - What to do

This was the question posted to the Travel Talk column of the Washington Post. The answer man for that question mentioned that the couple could use the train and get off at various stops to see different sights during that 7 hours. I would also have suggested to look into booking a tour guide. One that will meet you at the airport, hopefully with their own transport. Make a list of the things that you would like to see, if only to drive by. Then make a list of things that you want to tour. And pick a few out of each list. Assume that you will be back. I would pick the Eiffel Tower to visit. But you may say - I've heard that the lines to go up are long. True, but if you are in reasonable health consider taking the stairs. The line is usually shorter there, the stairs are wide - plenty of room for stopping and resting while taking in the view and it only goes to the second story - about 600 or so steps. That is plenty high enough to get a great view of the city in all directions and take some photos. Plus, going down is easier :-). Also, once you have your list of things to visit make sure that they are open on the day you plan to tour the city. Various sights are closed at least one day during the week. You don't want to waste time and energy.