Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Baseball

I didn't grow up being on a team. Not that I wasn't a "team player", it just didn't seem an option. Other than softball, I don't know what the options were for girls. I read, I drew, I fantasized. There weren't teams for that. I didn't play sports. It was okay; it wasn't weird.

Sam, 9 yrs. old, is getting into baseball. It's interesting to watch boys who aren't quite "buddies" give those tentative pats of encouragement before each bat. Sam is not a touchy-feely guy, but he gives his teammates several pats on the shoulder before they go out to bat. It's sweet to me. It's almost like a secret world that adults aren't privy to. I doubt that he could say why he does it. It is just what he does. And it's good.

I've learned more about baseball this weekend than I ever thought I wanted to know. One, I learned that I liked the young ump and did not like the big bellied ump. I learned, for the most part, you always play first base for the Out. I'm wrestling with learning something about tagging and outs that seem to fly in the face of justice. And I learned that on a hot summer day it's really quite relaxing to stand in the shade and cheer for 9 year olds to slide and catch a break when they can.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Lucy's fascination with hopscotch is, pure and simple, the sweetest thing to witness. Last night I walked over early evening and there she was, on her corner, looking like summer incarnated. Barefeet, colorful summer dress, hopping, turning around, hopping back. Over and over. She bemoaned the fact that someone kept taking her stones when she left them on the corner. She spends quite a bit of time finding the perfect little rock. Last night we finally settled on a piece of petrified wood.

Hopscotch is one of those games that all kids, especially girls I guess, just seem to discover. I don't know how. I did a little research (read: google) and learned that hopscotch was used as a military training exercise eons ago. The first hopscotch was 100 feet long!

I suppose jacks will be next. I can't wait! One-sies, two-sies. I loved that game.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Morning Sounds

When I made the decision to move to Pittsburgh, the one thing I heard over and over was "But, the weather!" and the one thing that I'm enjoying most is . . . the weather. Here it is late May and I'm still able to sleep with the windows open. I love that. I love waking up to the bird sounds, the cool breeze, and that fresh smell and feel. This morning as I woke, the birds sounded like one of the chants at church where they go "tone-tone-tone-up." I felt as if I were in a chapel. Then came the trains. A slow, slow drone that was like an orchestra warming up in slow motion. I lay there listening to it all and finally decided to get up and join the day.

I have a feeling it is going to be a good one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nemacolin & Fallingwater

Wow. Somehow life got in the way of blogging. While I haven't been blogging, I've been busy doing other things. Tom came to Pittsburgh for a week and while he was here we went to Nemacolin, a woodland resort in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains. I love the way that description sounds. It's a beautiful area of over 2000 acres with wildlife habitats, golf, skiing, just about anything you might want to do outside. On the grounds was this beautiful little meditation chapel. The picture at the beginning was the walk to the chapel.

Just a short 20 minute drive from Nemacolin was Fallingwater, the famous private residence built by Frank Lloyd Wright, maybe even the MOST famous one. If you are not familiar with it, it's a structure that is cantilevered over a waterfall. This is one of those amazing places that was a "weekend home" for a prominent Pittsburgh family in the early 1940s. Here are two photos. One, the home from a distance, and one showing steps from the living room down to the water so the Mister could flyfish without leaving the house.

I think I'd have a hard time staying for only the weekend.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 2 chef-dom

Tonight I was going to warn you not to try brown basmati risotto, however after 90 minutes of stirring and wondering, I have to say Go For It!

Here's my prep. I sauteed garlic and green onions in olive oil, added brown basmati rice and stirred, stirred, stirred. This was supposed to infuse the grains with the vegetable flavors and prepare it for the next step - - which was adding white wine (suitable for drinking -- not cooking wine) and let it vaporize. After the rice was dry, I began adding hot chicken broth and stirring, stirring, stirring. After about one hour, I made the "not written decision" to put a lid on the rice and let it simmer on its own. Forget the stirring. I was tired of stirring. I was tired of drinking wine. It was a good decision.

During this "down" time I sauteed cubed zucchini, cubed yellow crooked neck squash and coarsely chopped kale. I added a chicken breast that had been covered with basil, oregano, herbs de Provence and freshly ground RED PEPPER. Let me say again. This was a good decision!

At the last minute, I added freshly grated Parmesan cheese, the vegetables and chicken. I inhaled and did a double-take. Absolutely excellent!

And, as before, I have lunch for tomorrow. Double good!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I've been trying to cook healthy meals for myself the last few weeks. Honestly, sometimes I think I have missed my calling. Tonight, for instance, I am convinced I should have been a chef. Linguini in a red pepper alfredo sauce topped with wilted spinach and then finally topped with salmon coated in sesame seeds and ginger. I'm still reveling in the flavors and fighting the urge to go back and eat tomorrow's lunch.