Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunrise at the River

 Carmel River Beach in the early morning this past Sunday.  We wanted to avoid the weekend crowds, and we did.  Mostly ducks greeted us.

The clouds were just beginning to burn off 

For us it was a peaceful and pleasant ramble in the sand.  Afterwards we met a friend for coffee and were home before most folks were up and around.

It was lovely.  Now we start the next round of chemo.  v is doing so well, he is astounding.  Thin and losing his hair, he just remains cheerful and energetic.  He has no intention of giving in.  I am with him every step of the way.  We support each other.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Girl with a Pearl Earring

We've just come back from a quick trip up the coast to San Francisco to visit the deYoung Museum where we were able to see the exhibition of the Dutch masters featuring Vermeer's The Girl with a Pearl Earring.  The Mauritshuis, in the Netherlands, is being remodeled so the collection is on a very limited tour.  This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this painting, and the others, here in our own backyard.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares with seeing the original right in front of you.

In bocca al lupo. m & v

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunday is...

Sunday is coffee, conversation, and knitting at the local coffee houses in Monterey with our friend.  Well, v doesn't knit, but he wears the sweaters I knit.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, May 19, 2013



This weekend was the season's final concert for the Monterey Symphony.  We invited our friends, with whom we attend the concerts, over to a pre-concert supper.  In dual honor of fresh basil in the market and the fact that v is Genovese, we prepared pesto. Above are the ingredients.  I have no measurements to give you, it is a matter of taste and texture.  I prefer an assertive garlic presence.  All the ingredients go into the food processor to be turned into a bright green paste. The basil leaves are torn from the stems.  No stems, please.

The ingredients are: fresh basil leaves, parmigiana, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil.  Add salt judiciously at the end for taste.  Serve over angel hair pasta, or spaghetti noodles.  Pesto is not cooked.  Sometimes I'll put just a spoonful of the pasta water into the bowl to thin the pesto a touch before adding the cooked pasta. Mangia! as v would command.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Copper Beech

When I bought this little Victorian I planted a copper beech in the back garden.  For years it cast just the smallest shadow.  I was constantly moving my lawn chair around it to stay in that bit of shade.  It had been my dream to have an old house with a shade tree to sit under in the summer.

Since finding this little old house I've had moments when the thought of a well designed condo downtown with an umbrella on the patio, or balcony, seemed a much more rational ideal.  However, since v and I have been together we have turned this once barely functional house into a beautiful, albeit tiny, home.

The beech tree has grown into a beauty that provides so much more than just shade on a summer afternoon. Leafless through the winter, its leaf buds begin to swell in late February until one morning we wake to find the fledgling leaves have opened and are sunning the way a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.

The leaves start out a pale coppery color and darken to the deep purple/red of mid-summer.  In the autumn they fade to copper again and fall creating a thick crunchy carpet over half of the garden mixing with the leaves of the ginko growing a few feet away.

When conditions are right, and they were this past fall, the copper leaves of the beech and the bright yellow of the ginko combine with the backlighting of the setting sun to create an airborne tapestry viewed from our kitchen and bedroom windows.  When I planted those two trees that was the effect I was looking for, but at the time there were no windows looking out from house to the garden, just a narrow stoop to sit on.  So much has changed.

For another version of this photo click on Biondography and let us know what you think.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Another Spring in the Garden

I headed out after breakfast to v's workshop to try to photograph the birds outside his window. Well, of course, today they saw me!  Any other time I can press my nose to the glass and dozens of birds will descend on this feeder and never notice me.  

However, it was time to share what the garden looks like this year.  It has been neglected, but sallies forth without my assistance anyway.

Look at the apricots!  Last year there were a total of two!  A late frost had taken the blossoms.  This year there should be bushels, as long as our neighbor doesn't reach over the fence with his long handle picker and clean me out again.  V watches closely.

Another guardian of the garden, Fortuna.  She never complains that the weeds are getting tall.  She is forever hopeful that one of the birds will alight amongst the blades.  Sadly, this does happen on a rare occasion.

This one is called Honey Scent and makes such a beautiful bouquet for the kitchen table.

I'm letting the nasturtiums clambor up the back steps as long as I can weave long strands between the posts.

I shall end here with the optimist awaiting her prey.  Of course, I don't wish her any luck...she has plenty.

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Monday, May 6, 2013

California Wildflowers

Last month, on a really nice spring day, v and I took a drive out to see the Mission San Antonio. One of his nurses at the chemo clinic clued us in on where to find fields of lupin and other wildflowers.  I've always loved to visit the old California Missions.  I've been to almost all of them now.  Mission San Antonio is one of the more remote.  It's also on an army base and army vehicles are frequently seen passing along the road just above the mission grounds.  The property used to be owned by William Randolph Hearst.  He sold it to the army.

There is a lot of lupin, but I hadn't seen such vast fields of California Poppies ever before.

As remote as this mission is there is a parson living there.  There is an entire section gated off for privacy, with a garden that is only open for a few hours a day to the public.

This was as close as I could get when we visited.  

The columns are much newer than the old adobe columns in front of the church

This was looking back toward the mission over the fields of lupin.

We'd been informed, before our drive, that this has been a bad year for wildflowers here.  What must it look like on a good year?

In bocca al lupo.  m & v

Friday, May 3, 2013

Farmers' Market!

I've had a bad cold and cough.  V has started the next round of chemo and I had an assignment due, so I am just going to share what I loved about today's market...



Cookie samples


...and more flowers

In bocca al lupo.  m & v