Monday, March 31, 2008

The Flowers Fields Of Carlsbad

This plot was planted with three colors of Ranunculus in the design of the American Flag. Click on photo to enlarge and view the "flag".
The Flower Fields Of Carlsbad
Today we visited the Flower Fields of Carlsbad for the rainbow of colors created by the flower fields of Ranunculus. It was interesting that the fields were originally planted in the Los Angeles area but urbanization drove them to the Carlsbad area. Ranunculus grow only in Carlsbad, France, Israel, Australia, and the Mediterranean. Another bit of trivia. Ranunculus have three different leaves. The first leaves and lowest leaves resemble a strawberry leaf. The second leaves resemble celery leaves. The third and top layer of leaves resemble parsley. This plant has no pollen and pollination is not done by pollinating animals but rather the wind.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Flowers At San Rafael Church

Flowers At San Rafael Church
When we moved to San Diego four years ago, it was a big change in our lives. We came from a small Midwest town where the majority of the people were well acquainted with either my husband or me through our careers. We were members of the catholic church in that community for forty years. When we chose San Rafael Parish we found a church that is Spiritually Alive! It is so nice to have so many ministries so active and offering all an opportunity live a Christian life. Each Sunday when we go to church I always notice the altar flowers. Last Sunday which was Easter, we had such a crowd and mass lasted much longer than usual. I was unable to photograph the arrangements. This morning I returned after mass and got the shot I wanted. I learned the florist is from Escondido and my compliments are in order. Our altar looks so beautiful each and every Sunday..

Friday, March 28, 2008

Our Friend The Gecko

Our Friend The Gecko
Often in the warm afternoon we see a distinguished gecko creeping around on our patio. It is distinguished because it is about half its size. I will explain this. Normally a gecko has a tail about the length of his body. This critter lost its tail in probably what was a "territorial battle". I think it tried to befriend the wrong gecko. Whatever the reason it lost about half of its size. Thursday I spotted it sunning itself on the back wall of the garden. Later I saw it crawling around where I was sitting. It suddenly disappeared into the concrete slab of our foundation. I inspected the spot where it disappeared and found it to be a slight cavity in the concrete. It was just big enough for it to crawl into backwards and provide safe shelter for itself.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Day On The Beach

A Day At Del Mar Beach
Click to enhance Photos
Meet my friend Marilyn! Everyone should be so lucky to know and have a friend Marilyn. Today we went to lunch in Del Mar at a restaurant on the ocean. The surf and beach was so beautiful, inviting, and picturesque!.
The beach was filled with surfers and sun worshipers.
Moms with youngsters were there. Where is a better place to wear down the energy level of the kids?
We found a couple of young girls worshiping the God of Sole!
Positioned above were five young men who declined why they were positioned in attention of the goings-on on the beach!!!
A Day At Del Mar Beach

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Beet Salad With Walnut Oil Vinagrette

Our daughter Mary living in Milan sent me this recipe which is on our dinner menu today. Please note my addendum.
Beet Salad With Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pound small-medium beets (I used golden beets)
1 Tablespoon canola oil OR olive oil
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons sugar to taste
6 Tablespoons walnut oil
4 cups Watercress
Preheat oven to 375. Place walnut halves on baking sheet and heat until fragrant about 8 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
Increase oven to 425 degrees. Place scrubbed beets in an oven proof bowl. Toss with canola or olive oil, 2 fresh thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 1 hour or until tender to the pinch.
Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil and add caraway seed. Remove from heat, add champagne vinegar, sugar, and walnut oil. Pour over the cooked diced beets in a bowl to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Arrange watercress on plate. With a slotted spoon,remove the marinated diced beets and arrange on top of watercress. Add a little marinade for the dressing and garnish with a sprinkling of the chopped toasted walnuts.
It is my opinion that wa$nut oil is not necessary and olive oil would taste just as great. I was unable to locate watercress. I substituted Romaine lettuce. Also I would wrap the beets in foil and roast them as the method this recipe calls took much longer and the end result was a beet that was not as moist.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Weather Phenomenon

Sunrise at 7:12 a.m. The canyon at 8:20 a.m.
click to enlarge
Weather Phenomenon
This morning we sat at the table enjoying breakfast and admiring the sky as the sun was rising. Suddenly in about thirty seconds a fog bank moved in and visibility was reduced to about seventy-five feet. I took a photo of this unusual sight just as the sun had risen above the mountains in the East. As I post the second photo, the bright sun is burning off the fog and visibility is increasing slowly. If you click on the top photo you can see trees at the top of the mountain silhouetting in the sun which is probably ten miles in the distance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Crab Louie Salad

click on photo to enlarge
Crab Louie Salad With Sun-dried Tomato Dressing
This is an absolutely wonderful salad made even better with the dressing. Do Not substitute the dressing, absolutely do not! I photographed Anne's salad just befor we sat down to eat outdoors Easter Sunday with a bright sun. I apologize for the shadows but the salad was so blog worthy! Thanks again, Anne!
1 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/3 cup finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Directions: Whisk ingredients together in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill.
1 pound asparagus, trimmed to 5" lengths. Cook asparagus in pan of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl of ice water: cool. Drain, cover and chill.
Place lettuce in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Mound lettuce on plates. Top with crab. Garnish with shrimp, asparagus, tomato, eggs, cucumber, and lemon. Pass remaining dressing separately.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday always begins with church services. Then it is often over to daughter Anne and Greg's home for a day with the family. This year we missed the egg hunt. Seems Buster the guinea pig had to make an emergency trip to the Veterinarian. We feared the worst but he returned home with a good prognosis. Son Tom and Susan and family surprised us with a visit for the day. All in all, it was another day with many blessings.
click on the photos to enhance
Anne had such a lovely table set for our Easter dinner on her terrace. Oh how we enjoyed the Crab Louie Salad. Check the blog Monday, March 24 for the recipe. The adults have their photo shoot. We apologize to our family and friends in the Midwest who don't understand this bright sunshine and 87 degree temperatures that cast these shadows at this time of year. The grandchildren take time for a photo shoot! Our afternoon routine is either the jacuzzi or a swim in the pool following our hike. Following the strawberry shortcake dessert, the whipped cream bowl was "slicked" clean!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sunset At Due West

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Sunset At Due West
Each evening my husband Don can usually be found walking the greenbelt to watch the sun set over the mountains to the west. He knows the exact location of the setting sun as well as the time of sunrise and sunset for the time of year. Yesterday the sun set at exactly due west and the time was 7:01 p.m. It was the second day of Spring with leap year being this year. Sunrise is exactly due east and sunset is due west.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sidewalk Superintendants

Sidewalk Superintendants
The first home rebuilt after the October 23,2007 fires in our neighborhood has made remarkable progress. This was the progress of the third building day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Meet My Friend Laura.

Meet Laura
My friend Laura lives in Calgary, Canada. We met Laura and her husband Peter six years ago on our cruise through the Panama Canal. Since then we have kept in contact. Laura is visiting for ten days with her sister and brother-in-law who winter in Yuma AZ. We met today for lunch and had such an enjoyable visit. Comparing notes, we were both reading the same book so we had much to discuss. Everyone should be lucky enough to have Laura as their friend.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vaya Con Dios

Vaya Con Dios
We said good-bye early this morning to our friends for the long flight back to Ohio. We had a great visit of two weeks and look forward to their return.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Our Farewell Dinner

Our Farewell Dinner
Tonight we drove to Escondido CA for a farewell dinner at our favorite haunt, La Pinata. Two weeks have passed so quickly and already we are planning the next visit. We have thoroughly enjoyed our friends visit and hope they can return soon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Temecula, CA and Nature's Artistry.

Nature's Artistry
Our outing today was a drive to Temecula, CA. The area known best for the lush beautifully manicured wineries has some hidden jewels which we discovered. One of them was a state park named Lake Skinner. We drove the roads of the park viewing the snow capped San Jacinto Mountains to the northeast. Adding to the beautiful view were the patches of orange which was the show of the California poppies. We enjoyed a leisure lunch at Ponte Winery which has become an annual outing with Paul and Beverly.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Crystal Cathedral

The Crystal Cathedral
The Travel Club of San Rafael Church organized a trip to Garden Grove, CA for the spectacular production "The Glory Of Easter" at Dr. Robert Schuler's Crystal Cathedral. The Passion of Christ was portrayed with such drama, emotion and props, one had the feeling you were present in the time of Christ. Easter and Holy Week will never have the same meaning.
The top photo is the carillon and bell tower. The second photo is a life size bronze figure of Christ with little children. After the show we met with the cast members. Paul and Beverly pose with a Roman soldier. Barabbas posed with Don and Donna

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Day At The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum
Today we fulfilled a four year plan of going to the Getty Museum. It takes a visit with friends to get some jobs accomplished. Our friends Paul and Beverly agreed they would like to make the trip. It is difficult to describe the museum adequately. One billion dollars was spent to build the museum which opened in 1991 and a three billion trust funds its operation.

Built of Travertine stone, one can find fossils in many of the building stones as seen in the top photo. The second photo is an outdoor living room. It is thought one can sit and relax with awakened senses observing light and shadows, smell, and touch. The third photo captures the fountain in the center of the galleries. A relief carving of limed oak shows exquisite detail. The remaining photos show the central garden. The center is an azalea maze. While the museum was the design of architect Richard Meier, James Dugan of San Diego designed the central garden. One day was just not enough to view all of the priceless works of art and furniture contained in four galleries. What a gift this man gave to us to enjoy.

One statement I learned today is that photography is an art designed by the synchronizing of the eye, brain, and hand. I thought that sounds appropriate and easy. But when I admire the photography of so many other people and marvel at their composition, I am assured that good photography isn't just that easy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cabo San Lucos

Five Days In Paradise
We have just returned from a five day stay in Paradise a.k.a. Cabo San Lucos. We were greeted by the soft warm tropical breezes of the Baja, swaying palms, new friends, happy hour, and a sunset cruise that was unforgettable!!! Just a reminder, what happens in Cabo, STAYS IN CABO!!!
Jim, Kristi, Christopher and Casey learned how to celebrate the BAJA with their tutors. Actually they are better acquainted with the commercial district. Our new friends introduced us to one of Cabo's greatest restaurants. We dined with them at Mia Casa for an enjoyable evening and meal.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Meet Uncle Bruce

Meet Uncle Bruce
Bruce is an uncle of our son-in-law Greg. We are all just one family so everyone calls him Uncle Bruce. Bruce a newly retired CPA who has always taken care of himself with daily exercise and diet has recently become a "Raw Foodie". Many of the theories behind this food preparation are exactly as I learned in my nursing program. As the body ages, the body secretes fewer digestive enzymes and our bodies receive fewer nutrients. Also, heat destroys the largest percentage of the food's nutritional value. For this reason nothing is ever heated beyond 110 degrees. So, there is never a meal that gets cold waiting for someone to arrive!!!
We were treated to a wonderful Gazpacho, and salad. Bruce fell off the wagon and ate some cooked food but states he is maybe just 80% Raw Foodie. Bruce was introduced to this concept about 9 months ago and it does have a period with the conversion.
Blend the following ingredients until smooth;
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons oliove oil
5 large ripe tomatoes
2 gloves garlic
5 to 7 dates (raisins work well too)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 bunch fresh basil
Cut the following vegetables into 1/4 inch cubes;
1 large avacado
1 medium bell pepper
5 sticks celery
1 small onion
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley.