Sunday, July 25, 2010


"All things therefore are charged with love, are charged with God and if we know how to touch them give off sparks and take fire, yield drops and flow, ring and tell of him." 
(Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Sermons and Devotional Writings)

Friday, July 23, 2010


It's been lovely to soak in time with friends and family this summer...afternoon coffee at Agia Sophia where a good friend presented beautiful necklaces from a recent trip to Italy, outdoor poetry readings coordinated by a former student, and hiking one of the many spectacular waterfalls in our area.

listening to local poets read their work

                Dorothy Falls in Queen's Canyon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

rain and blueberries

I love the mountain thundershowers that cool the afternoons in July. Perfect for reading, napping, baking. And I love blueberries--the lemon blueberry coffee cake below is one of our family's favorites. It's light and not too sweet. 

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake (recipe from my Light Desserts cookbook):
3 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. low fat milk
3 T. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
1 t. lemon extract
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1 T. of flour mixture over blueberries and toss gently to coat; set aside.
Beat sugar and eggs in a large bowl at medium speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3-5 min). Combine milk and oil. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating at low speed of an electric mixer until blended. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into 10 inch tube pan that has been coated with cooking spray and dusted with flour. Bake at 350  degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
Combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 1-2 T. fresh lemon juice; Stir well. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

This banana blueberry bread is easy to make and delicious, served warm from the oven with butter and honey.

 Banana Blueberry Bread:
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup agave nectar (add more for extra sweetness, up to about 3/4 cup, or substitute honey)
2 c. flour (I use half whole wheat flour)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. fresh blueberries
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Combine butter, agave nectar, vanilla, and egg.  Add bananas. Toss blueberries in a little bit of flour to coat. Add flour, soda, salt, baking powder. Fold in blueberries and nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 F oven for about 50 minutes. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Seven Bridges

This trail is perfect for a quick hike (round trip just over 3 miles). One of my daughter's and I did it in the afternoon. You really do criss cross  7 bridges over South Cheyenne Creek.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

hats & helmets

One of this summer's great pleasures for me is biking...either alone or with one of my daughters. But really I am not a fan of bike helmets....much to my children's chagrin. But I think I could be persuaded to wear one of these from YAKKAY.

My favorite is the Tokyo in black denim, which would fit perfectly with my black and white cruiser...

And I've been almost buying for months (really a couple of years now) a broad brimmed hat, though I keep walking away hatless (perhaps a good move for some of the hats):

Sunday, July 11, 2010

committed part 2--live and let live

More humor and insights from Gilbert. In order to make sure that her soon to be husband knew "what he was getting--and getting into," she presents him with a list of her "very worst character flaws." She calls it a "prenuptial informed consent release," (possibly my favorite line in the book!)

When both she and Felipe have exchanged lists and affirmed their acceptance, Gilbert writes:
There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves. I say this because listing our flaws so openly to each other was not some cutesy gimmick, but a real effort to reveal the points of darkness contained in our characters. They are no laughing matter, these faults. They can harm. They can undo....If we are at all self-aware, we work hard to keep these more dicey aspects of our natures under control, but they don't go away. 

Regarding trying to change each other (consciously or subconsciously), she says:
Also good to note: If Felipe has character flaws that he cannot change in himself, it would be unwise of me to believe that I could change them on his behalf....And some of the things that we cannot change about ourselves are mirthless to behold. To be fully seen by somebody, then, and to be loved anyhow--this is a human offering that can border on the miraculous.
The result of such mutual acceptance in the dailiness of life, she continues, is to experience in the giving and receiving an act of transcendence, "....that very earthbound, domesticated, dirt-under-the-fingernails gift of difficult, long-term, daily forgiveness."

Friday, July 9, 2010


This sequel to Eat, Pray, Love, Committed (subtitled "a skeptic makes peace with marriage") chronicles Gilbert's  "forced" exploration of this ancient agreement. Forced because both she and Felipe, the man she met and loved at the end of her travels, committed NEVER to marry after both experienced devastating divorces. That is until Homeland Security denied entrance to Felipe. Their only option if they wanted to live in the US was to get married. Because her terror of losing Felipe surpassed, just barely, her terror of matrimony, she left the US with him, traveled SE Asia, and waited on paperwork to marry and grant Felipe entrance.

She writes: 
...the two of us having effectively been sentenced to marry....perhaps it would be wise to put a little effort in to unraveling the mystery of what in the name of God and human history this befuddling, vexing, contradictory, and yet stubbornly enduring institution of marriage actually is. 

And that's what she did.
 ...the only thing I thought about, the only thing I read about, and pretty much the only thing I talked about with anybody was the perplexing subject of matrimony....What I really wanted,, more than anything, was to find a way to somehow embrace marriage to Felipe when the big day came rather than merely swallowing my fate like a hard and awful pill. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought it might be a nice touch to be happy on my wedding day.

What follows is Gilbert's reflections on what she learns

  •  from a historical study of marriage 
  •  from listening to as many people from various cultures as she can about their views of marriage
  •  from her own 21st century western biases.  
Her intelligent,witty, self-deprecating voice engages you immediately in her story and study. Even her segues are a delight --such as this one on being laughed at by Hmong women in the highest mountains of Vietnam:

Of all the women, it was Mai's grandmother whom I found most immediately intriguing. She was the laughingest, happiest, four-foot-tall toothless granny I'd ever seen in my life. What's more, she thought me hilarious. Every single thing about me seemed to crack her up beyond measure. She put a tall Hmong hat on my head, pointed at me, and laughed. She stuck a tiny Hmong baby into my arms, pointed at me, and laughed. She draped me in a gorgeous Hmong textile, pointed at me, and laughed.
I had no problem with any of this, by the way. I had long ago learned that when you are the giant, alien visitor to a remote and foreign culture it is sort of your job to become an object of ridicule. It's the least you can do, really, as a polite guest. 

I'm halfway through this book in less than 24 hours and loving every part of it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Catamount Falls

hiking happened after all--the day after the 4th on a beautiful blue blue sky day...we hiked the loop from Crystal Falls to Catamount, then back to the tiny town of Green Mountain Falls.

the oldest and the youngest of our 4 daughters.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4 traditions

Our family enjoys hiking (this year biking), k-bobs along with corn (so good when grilled inside the husks) and watermelon from the farmer's market.

peach and blackberry cobblers with fresh whipped heavy cream,
and fireworks (which we were sad to miss this year due to rain and hail).

...played Settlers instead (not quite the same without Michael and Laura home). By the way, check out Michael's post highlighting interesting articles about American independence--there's one on blogging as a reflection of the possibility of agency and power for the individual or for many individuals, the groundswell idea...