Spring Herbal Concoctions

With this lovely warmer weather I’ve been thinking greens & yellows, spring, fresh!  First up, I was looking for something fun to eat with my coffee in the a.m. other than toast – I’m kinda tired of boring old toast.  I went to my Cooking 101 person and altered one of her recipes as it’s what I had in the house.  Keep in mind my home is quite stocked with stuff most people don’t have on hand but as I cater and am always mixing and matching, experimenting I do have some cool things to play with.

This was (is) delicious.  It’s a variation on a banana coffee cake.

2 C. Whole Wheat Flour

½ C. Brown Sugar

¾ tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

1/3 C. Lemon Olive Oil

2 Eggs

2 Bananas

¼ C. Yogurt

Handful of chopped candied ginger (I get this at Trader Joe’s, not crusted with sugar)

Grated Lemon Peel and juice of one whole lemon

Pretty simple.  Mix your dry, add the wet, that’s it.  Buttered pan, bake at 350 till done, perhaps 45 min. or so.  Next time I would put about 1/3 C. sesame seeds in it or switch out the banana for fruit sweetened cherries perhaps.

Yesterday I became a baking fool.  I had so many projects going on but I had to go see my mentor kid at noon and my accountant after that.  I thought I would bring my little girl a treat and I always bring my accountant and staff something major chocolate.

So, other than setup for making outrageous brownies with nuts and cupcake size of the same without nuts; I prepped for some herbal foot and hand cream I wanted to make and citrus salts and cleaning supplies with essence oils/lemons & white vinegar.

For me, this is a blast.  Got the brownies done and out the door.  Late in the afternoon I just assembled and made the salve for feet & hands.  The recipe came from this months Herb Companion Magazine. I used:

½ C. Almond Oil

1 tsp. vitamin E oil

2 Tbs. grated beeswax

¼ C. water

4 drops lavender essence oil

Smells nice, and is really creamy.  I also made a few with Lemon Olive oil instead of Almond and Lemongrass essence.  Really nice for hands and arms.

My friend Laura came over in the late afternoon with the most beautiful bouquet from her Flower Shop – York Flower Shop.  She always brings flowers…..pretty cool getting flowers instead of wine or whatever.  We had a great time trying the creams I made and eating a spontaneous dinner of pot stickers (from the freezer) and a salad.  Nothing like girl talk!  I forgot to download the picture so I’ll put that up after I post this.

This morning, while drinking my coffee & reading the paper I made the citrus salts:

So, so easy.  I use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.  These are just so delicious.  Anyhow, it took one cup of salt and two limes, another one of lemon (just the zest) baked at 225 for one hour then you put it in the kitchen aid or whatever and pulse away.  I think I’m going to leave this as is because it’s usually just a touch here and there, as a garnish to food.  I don’t use this salt to actually cook with.  I use Kosher salt for that; much less expensive. 

Today I’m off to Boston to an IKEA, trouble ahead for me – I love that store.  We once outfitted Ruth’s entire apartment in Baltimore with Ikea.  That was fun and cheap.  Then I pick up the old man from Logan.  He’s put the boat away in Florida for the season until probably November.  It’s so weird, living in the northeast and thinking about putting the boat up.  We put our boat away in the winters up here, not summer.  But, there is no way we’ll be down there in the hot, hot summer.  It’s hot enough up here…..the new California.  I told our son that the other day when we spoke on the phone.  He lives in California, up by Berkeley where it has been cold and raining since Christmas.  He didn’t think I was funny.  He’s such a CALIFORNIAN…..sensitive to anyone thinking they are remotely like California….whatever!

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South Jersey kids!

What a thrash.  Moving, does it ever end?  It’s always a huge ordeal and you don’t realize just how much “stuff” you have until you pack it.  Now that I’m home in Maine again I’m going to seriously start ditching stuff to Goodwill.  We have a huge barn’s worth of 34 years of accumulation.  There are even Lego’s trickling down from the rafters.  Ruth is happy she found her American Girl doll although you know who packed it in an open box with no wrapping.  o.k. years of boatbuilding sawdust but it can be cleaned. 

The trip was a ton of driving, 2 cars, one huge u-haul and one overloaded truck, two dogs….a hillbilly caravan to say the least.  I felt like the clampetts.

The good news….the dogs did really well.  Gomer held himself together (nothing like when he moved here) a few problems but he managed to get through.  We even stayed in a hotel one night and I only heard him bark once.  Their house is really cute, small with a small lawn but in a cute neighborhood with lots of welcoming neighbors.  Even the mail lady stopped while we were unpacking to say hello and give the dogs treats.  Ruth turned to me with a huge smile and said “now mom, do you know your mail person’s first name?” I don’t.  Great start.

We went across Long Island sound on the ferry from New London, Connecticut.  They put us up against the wall at the front of the boat…pretty dark down there.  When we unloaded it was the weirdest thing – the bow of the boat lifted up and the wall in front of us ended up being the floor lowered for us to drive out on.  Crazy.

It was a truly sketchy boat.  Very rusty, warped flooring, etc.  Do these things get inspected?

That was next to my window in the truck.  I felt safe, NOT.

After the U-Haul was unloaded, we were all happy to say good-bye to each other,  we departed for Asbury Park.  I wanted to show Paul how cool it’s going to be.  Another big NOT.  I’m not sure what is happening.  My friend Patti & I went there for a holiday (our high school reunion four years ago).  It was great, up and coming a real drive was on for reinventing the boardwalk, etc.  It was exciting.  So, for four years I’ve been wondering how far they have come along. 

They haven’t.  It’s deteriorated terribly.  Last time this building was still decrepit but it was clean inside and a few vendors were selling coffee, etc. with chairs and tables about.  Now it’s just deserted.  When we approached this building a photo shoot was just wrapping up: a group of guys in a band for an album cover I suppose.  Depressing shot, tough guys!  Around the corner from this is a carousel that is really old and famous…..nothing but cut glass and old liquor bottles now.  Here’s Paul looking like he wanted to get out of there.

Beautiful ironwork and glass.  So sad.  We stayed at the same place Patti & I were at, The Berkeley, a supposed Art Deco hotel (formerly a nursing home).  It was weird; a very large place with all sorts of function rooms on the second floor.  Weddings (New Jersey style which is a throw back to I don’t know what but then if you watch Jersey Shore you got it) hasidic kids function – tons of little 4 years olds with head gear and curls running around screaming and lots of older men with black tall hats.  No women.  I had this sense of Alice in Wonderland while there.  Nothing made any sense, things weren’t where you expected.  When you walk into the building the actual registration area was hidden in the corner behind some walls.  We were on the 6th. floor but we only went up two?  The restaurant was down a long hall with red carpet and gold roping but then the restaurant was in another hall?  The wait staff clearly had never done this work before. When we asked a question they asked one back?  How’s that work?  It was weird. To top it off it turned out to be party central for the area…..parties, screaming, drinking, smoking (non smoking hotel) hall party just outside our room.  This went on from 8 p.m. till we finally got up and left the place at 1:30 a.m.  It was unbelievable.  I know there were people on our floor with kids.  I wonder if we were the only ones who left.  Horrible place.

Long drive home to Maine in those dark hours but it was worth it.  We got home before 9 a.m. after taking turns nodding off in the truck.  I got the lovely shift of driving through Connecticut on home….ah, the grey, cracking dawn over Hartford, pouring rain getting colder every second.  Not fun.

The second I got home I holed up in my ideas room getting organized to start some new projects.  I was listening to a program about different sides of your brain and using your creative side and how healthy it is to be drifting through the thinking process of a creative art.  It was.  I felt completely relaxed and detoxed from the whole week-end process.  Nice.  So, next up (when I take a photo or two) will be the new knitting project I started yesterday and hopefully the warp I’m still winding in stages.

Better days ahead!

It’s been kinda hot, 84 at one point yesterday.  Our porch is still plastic covered, Jersey style, really hot in the house with the kitchen doors open.  But, my favorite drink has been plentiful.  The ones in this picture are African Nectar on the right (rooibos & flowers) and on the left is a ginseng, herbal concoction, pretty refreshing.  In my next life I’m going to have an ice thingy on my fridge.  I can’t keep up.

I made some interesting muffins yesterday that actually taste like good for you food instead of just sweet stuff.

Heading into the oven with 100% whole wheat flour, Agave instead of sugar (only ½ C.), lots of lemon peel & juice,  Cocoa grounds (from the iced cocoa drink the other day) cool reuse.  Hemp seeds, Coconut oil instead of butter and 2 Cups of those Raspberries I’m working on using up.

It’s amazing but my husband loved them – he hates healthy stuff.

Speaking of the old man….I finished the sweater I was making while on the boat this winter.  I started it in January, around the 10th. thinking it was for our son Paul Jr. his birthday was coming up and with all the boat time I figured I would get it done fast.  Well, no, my boys are giant size.  This sweater came out (I think) too big for the younger one and it fits just right on my hubcap.  He likes it so it’s his.  I will try a “fitting” on Paul Jr. if he shows up within the next two seconds but likely it will belong to the older Paul.

Basic sweater, easy to knit, size 10 needles and it’s machine wash & dry.  Fits all my areas for mindlessness at this point but….heavy, this thing laying in my lap in the tropics was a beast!  Today I’m pulling together a nice small sock project.  I’m going for lightness.

We had something new for dinner last night.  We have something new most of the time but this was particularly good.  Quinoa Cakes. 

These cakes are delicious.  You just make up some quinoa in the morning, let cool then mix in whatever you like, chopped chives, scallions, herbs, garlic – anything really; a few eggs and a cup of bread crumbs to bind.  That’s it, saute about 5 minutes each side (you can see I sauteed a bit longer than I should have but was distracted with some unhappy doggies at my feet.  Anyhow, while cooking I sauteed the chicken with some crumbs and once browned added stock till I got a nice brown sauce.  With this we had:

A napa cabbage/shaved apple slaw with lots of lemon and walnuts with a cider vinegar & lemon olive oil dressing touched off with a splash of heavy cream.  Crunchy.  Perfect for the hot evening with the iced tea.

I used up the last of our yogurt with chopped cucumbers as a sauce for the quinoa patties.

Today, in fact in a few moments, we’re heading out to drive to Long Island with our daughter and son in laws furniture in the truck.  Their home stuff is in storage there ready for the big move to Cape May, New Jersey for the next three years.  Coast Guard.  I would hate being in the service for various reasons but the moving constantly is so hard on them.  As a kid we moved quite a bit and I know it totally messed me up and I’m still dealing with damage control in my personality.  These kids are newly married, that’s hard enough without all this uprooting and being “stuck” with people they seriously have nothing in common with.  Geech.  To top it off the doggie that arrived so sick with seizures (Gomer) and has done so amazingly well is seizing up again.  He doesn’t do change well at all.  I will miss him.  My best bud, next to Luna of course. 

Jersey pizza – nothing like it, here we come!!!!!!

84 Degrees/March 22/Maine/Weird

Yup.  It’s really going to be warm today.  What an odd, crazy, climatic world we live in now.  I grew up in New Jersey where we had blizzards and snow half way up the house this time of year.  My kids don’t believe me….one of those “yes, I walked 10 miles to school and back” routines.  Anyway….

A crazy food week here as well.  This past Saturday night, happy to be back in my kitchen again, we had a pizza party with two friends.  Six doughs later –

We had a lot of fun putting together the various pizzas.  My friend, Peggy, started out really modestly with the toppings then saw me heaping it on – she got the hang of it.  We used everything!  I prepped it all up earlier in the day so it was not a last minute thing.  Easy.  The dough was from last months Bon Appetit – a no knead dough.  My pal marji turned me on to it – what a snap, mix it up the night before (flour, water, salt, tiny bit of yeast) Wallah, completely risen on it’s own with no kneading.  Cool.  It was very similar to the normal dough I make which also makes 6 balls.  This was a bit less pliable than my own but most people would not notice that.  I’m such a dork about certain things I do, i.e. texture, etc.

Anyhow, the pizza was delish.  We had a huge, yummy, fresh, crispy salad with it.  I got one of those containers of four different kinds of heads of baby lettuce.  I much prefer these than those boxes or bags of mixed stuff.  And, the bonus to these…..our visiting dogs just love to eat the cores (my best friends).  I have very little kitchen waste with Gomer and Easter around. 

I’m am sorry I did not take a picture of the pies baked.  Those cheeses?  One is a Bulgarian cheese.  How yummy was that!  Kind of a sour type of taste; a creamy type of taste, sheep’s milk.  Perfect for pizza.

Also what I did not take a picture of:  The BANANA CREAM PIE.  Yiikes it was the best darn tasting thing.  I usually don’t make this kind of pie but it was Paul’s request so off I went.  I had a crust in the freezer from a previous pie making endeavor (the apple one from the other day, with cornflakes).  I made a custard from James’ McNair’s pie book in the a.m. then baked the crust blind (meaning nothing in it) as the oven was heating for the pizzas.  That is the secret to the most amazing filled pie.  Baking the crust just before you serve creates a fresh, crispy, flaky crust.  I do the same with tarts.  Whenever I see a tart in a bakery I just know it’s not going to be great cause who knows when that crust was baked?  After I loaded in the cream, the bananas, more cream, more bananas and more cream I topped it with fresh whipped cream.  It looked and tasted exactly like a Diner Pie.  Does anyone make these anymore?  My husband and friends want me to open a pie store or put a kiosk up at the end of the driveway with pies.  I would love that but I’m just not sure people appreciate pies that much anymore.  When I was a teenager we used to go to a diner on Route 46 in North Jersey just to eat pie and drink coffee late at night.  What comfort.

So, I felt gross afterwards, eating too much and drinking too much wine.  Darn.  As a side note I decided to stop that wine thing every night (a good idea).  I feel so much better already only problem is I stay up half the night – for me that is staying up past 7 p.m. to knit and watch stuff on netflix.  These past two nights I watched the 13 episodes of Bleak House by Charles Dickens.  OMG what a great story and the characters were so, so funny.  Fascinating.

While discussing the state of the gardens yesterday we talked of all the raspberries I have in the freezer from last years crop so I pulled a large bag out of the freezer (I have 4 more).  I suspect you’ll be seeing quite a bit more about raspberries in here before the rhubarb starts.

Trolling through my books of ideas I came up with a variation of 101’s Tutti-Frutti Crumble.  We loved this.  It has the most unique taste – very interesting, herbally although there are no herbs in it (but could be).  I’m thinking you should definitely try this one – one of my best!

First, a disclaimer.  I made this for my Accountant John Lane and crew up in Kennebunk where I was headed to discuss financial matters.  Jennifer, my point contact person, always asks if there are nuts in what I bring as her husband can’t have them and I always forget and bring those darn outrageous brownies loaded with nuts.  This year I decided to “make an effort for nut less” hence, this crumb dish.  But, as the traffic flowed through my kitchen yesterday morning there was not much left to take with me.  I did tell them about it and showed them pictures of what I had intended to bring.  Probably not good enough.  What a heel I am…..next week when I pick up my “stuff” I’ll take something special, with no nuts!

The Recipe:  Make your Crumb first as it pops into the freezer while your preparing the rest:

1.5 C. Whole Wheat flour (or anything)

4 Tbs. Sesame Seeds

1 C. Oats

½ C. Sugar

½ tsp. salt

2/3 C. melted butter

Mix it all together and clump with your hands into a few ball shapes – this is Heidi’s idea which I did not do but it would form probably better clumps, mine was less clumpish as you can see from the photo.

Filling:  Mix in large bowl:

4 C. Raspberries

4 C. Blueberries

1 Bag (16oz?) dried cherries

hand full of chopped candied ginger softened in microwave if not soft enough

2 Tbs. cornstarch

2/3 C. sugar

Toss together then add:

½ C. Red Wine – I use a Merlot or Malbec type

Toss all together, pour in buttered baking dish, crumple crumb on top and bake at 375 about 45 minutes.

Unbelievable.  And, would be truly amazing with vanilla ice cream on the side.  The color is fab.  You could do more wine, less crumb and even add a few sprigs of fresh thyme in the mixture. 

Heidi uses poppy seeds instead of sesame which looks cool but I don’t like those black things in my teeth.   She also uses strawberries and currants.  Use whatever you have.  I find cooked strawberries kind of gross and watery.

Ah, the best for the almost last. 

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a nice article on Chocolate as Heart Healthy:

Off the doggies and I went to the Health Food Store for some cocoa to brew “like coffee”.  Interesting.  I bought Crio Bru, Cocoa River.  I had been wanting to try it but just never got around to it.  The glass in the picture is it, iced.  It’s o.k. I’m not a big fan of cocoa but it was fun to experiment with.  The man at the health food store told me to try it brewed first, as tea, which I did.  I brewed it in a paper funnel (like I do my coffee), California style, one cup at a time.  We’ll have to talk about that at another time.  I thought it tasted kind of mild and “black” whatever that taste is.  So, I put it on ice, it needed half & half, taste, then it needed some agave, fine.  I don’t think I’d replace coffee with it which is the point but different, kind of interesting.  This jury is out.  As to the rest of the article.  It’s good for you, flavanols, great for your mood, lowers blood pressure, etc.  I like it in small bites.  I buy mine at Trader Joe’s just plain chocolate 72%.  A small bite is enough.  My mother adored chocolate.  She was quite the crabby person most of the time when she first arrive to live with us.  We made some adjustments around here which included really good chocolate availability (no snickers or any of that other cheap trash she used to eat quite a bit of).  Her mood improved.  Seriously, she’d have just a bite here and there and you could see the difference.  I believe in it.  I had read somewhere that Katherine Hepburn ate a certain amount of ounces every single day for the same reason.  I believe that too.  So, it’s a tasty, inexpensive mood enhancer.  Works for me!!!

We came upon this little critter on the way home yesterday.  The dogs were going ballistic in the car so I couldn’t stop and watch for very long.  What is with their manners?  Very interesting animal.  I had never seen one up close…the way it waddles and stops and looks at you.  Really, kind of humanistic.  I was fascinated.  Amazing cute face.  Just thought I’d share this guy.  Gotta go for a walk before it gets too hot! 

Since my posts are impossible to respond to I thought I’d insert my e-mail here just in case….carla.rollins@gmail.com

Pancakes

Light ones at that!  Ricotta/Lemon.  This morning I was wandering around trying out the idea of actually making breakfast – we usually eat fairly simply; toast, coffee, sometimes oatmeal.  While groveling through the fridge I found some ricotta – not sure why that was in there.  I don’t make lasagna with it.  There was a purpose but it’s beyond me now.  Anyhow this recipe is from a Bed & Breakfast in Burlington, Vermont called The Lang House on Main Street.  Great place, nice hostess, yummy food.  Perfect pancakes every time!

1 C. Ricotta

2 large eggs

1 Tbs. vege oil

zest of a whole lemon

juice of the whole lemon (after you zest it)

2 tsp. honey or agave

2 eggs whites, beaten till fluffy

½ C. flour

pinch of salt

Combine cheese, eggs, oil & lemon zest & juice and honey.  Whisk in flour & salt, fold in egg whites.

That is it.  Cook just like you would regular pancakes.  It has a whole different texture; lighter.  Reminds me of Italian pastries in a way.  We had it with maple syrup.  The B&B served it with powdered sugar and warm honey.

Lots of Moss Green on my trees outside.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Me, I’m going to play my grandmothers Wearing of the Green record from 1893 (not too scratchy) and think about my Irish family from a long time ago that is slowly becoming a very long time ago.  My dad was buried on St. Patrick’s Day (thanks dad, geech); I’ll think about him today too.  There should be a thing about monumental things not happening on holidays so perhaps you can slide through them without any sad thoughts.  I’m working on it.  I am actually working on a new warp for my loom.  I struggled through my yarn choices yesterday – it takes me a whole day of choosing and discarding yarns before I hit on the right combo.  This morning my final hit was a slub silk cream warp with a slub silk hydrangea weft and a beautiful same yarn green weft.  I’m making runners, maybe, 65" long, one with a pale pink linen weft, one green, one blue or knowing me…..all thrown into one.  Very exciting.  It’s bound to come out something else entirely but that is the fun for me.

Have a lovely day!

Bit of catching up to do.  I am home now and happy to be here.  I was happy to be in Florida also but it was getting toasty.  It’s such a dilema for me…hot, cold, hot, cold.  I don’t like wearing a ton of clothes but in Florida I couldn’t wear as little as I needed.  In fact the past few days I would hibernate in my boat with the curtains closed from 10-4 every day.  The sun was searing.  This was my most favorite place to be:

It’s a salt water pool with a temp of 86 all the time.  Really nice to go in at 7 a.m. and at night. 

There were some crazy things happening there.  While out for a walk one night I saw this flashing light in the parking lot – it took me a zillion shots to get this one shot as it was a strobe light on a parked bike.  Of course every time I clicked it was “out” but I finally got it.  Weird.  It flashed the whole time it was parked, with no one around.

Handy way to find your parked vehicle I suppose.

I met a woman at the pool who was so sweet, from the midwest (natch).  She had a dinner party with her buddies and brought over some leftovers for me as my boat is limited with no oven, etc.  Besides lasagna and a strawberry salad she brought this Poke Cake.  I had never heard of it.  I’m not sure if I just hadn’t had any sweets in a long time or perhaps I didn’t make it or buy it but at the time, it tasted like the best thing on earth.  I ditched the fork and ate with my fingers, it was that tasty.

So, it’s a lemon cake (boxed) then she poked the top all over after it cooled and poured sugar free strawberry jello (minus ½ C. cold water) all over the top to soak in then refrigerated it over night.  Wicked.  It really was tasty.  I was telling my daughter about it and she had just seen the same thing that morning with Christopher Kimball of The Test Kitchen making it.  He made the strawberry topping with gelatin fresh (of course).  Isn’t it weird that I had that cake then she saw it on tv just two days later?

Since I was in la la land I decided to buy my granddaughters something mickey mouse-ish….how about these crocks?

The mickey mouse motif goes all around the sole of the shoe too.  They had these cute clips, you buy extra, to push in the holes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, after mucking out the house from three dogs, a cat and a husband alone for awhile…..I’m back baking.

This morning I made a delicious Breakfast Apple Pie from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham.  Yum.

I love making pie crust!

Very nice pie…..see that layer of golden on the bottom of the pie?  That is one cup of cornflakes.  It really gives it a nice bottom.  So, all it is that, apples, sugar and cinnamon then a topping of flour, sugar and butter.  Fini.  Next time I would cut the sugar in half – it was very sweet.  We had it with a nice wedge of cheddar and a cup of coffee.  Perfect.

I was reading Eating Well last night before bed and saw some kind of pie (for dinner) with salmon, fresh peas and brown rice.  It sounded good to me.

Here’s the rice.  I wanted to share this recipe with you.  I already have but in case you missed it:

It’s called Perfect Brown Rice from Sauveur Magazine, October 08.  It really is the best.  I buy my rice from Masa Rice people in California (same people I get my whole wheat flour and almonds from).  You know how hard it is to cook brown rice, takes forever and is gluey.  I just never eat it for that reason.  This stuff you cook up fast and easy, never, ever fail.

Bring 12 Cups water to boil with some salt.  Add one cup rinsed rice (rinse it really well if it’s commercial stuff as they tend to add cornstarch to it) get that off.  o.k. add the rice to the water, stir once, continue to boil for 30 minutes.  Strain rice, shake well, return to the pot (off the burner) with the lid on for 10 minutes.  Add some olive oil, salt & pepper, fluff with fork.  Done.  I always make it in the morning when I’m picking up then I have it to use whenever.

It really is just the best.  I tried making it with white rice once and it did not come out as nice as the brown.  Kind of fell apart or something.  I recommend the brown and definitely the Masa Organics!

Weird Combo

I posted that picture of my dinner with a huge, long explanation of what it was but for some reason none of it came through on my phone posting.  But, to explain it:  leftovers in a bowl.  I took some bread and pan cooked it in cubes with some olive oil, salt & pepper, then heated up a knock-wurst or Brat or something that we had a few nights ago and some sauerkraut then tossed it all with some salad greens, chopped tomato and blue cheese dressing.  I was really surprised at how well it worked.  I would have thought the sauerkraut would do something weird and I’m not a fan of mixing meat with salad but….when your living alone, no one to comment, what the hell, it’s all going to the same place anyway.  So, I sent the picture to my husband and he was jealous!  He loves that kind of stuff.  I’ll make it again.  Nice textures.

Today was kind of a cool day.  It was overcast and looking like rain so I checked out a bicycle and did my errands all over the place, got to see what Punta Gorda, the city looks like.  Florida.  Same as Ft. Myers, etc. but it was nice to tool around and refreshing to have that sort of cooler weather and not have to wear sunglasses.  By noon the sun came out and steamed up instantly.  Bang, 86 or so pronto.  It was hot.  I fired up the boat to run the engine a bit and recharge and heard a phenomenal roar over my own noisy boat.  Twelve Fountain boats came in.  They are these long, very loud cigarette boats.  Apparently they have a poker race on the week-end, frequently.  I have no clue where these guys get their money but they all pulled in to fuel up which they have to do frequently throughout the day…..someone said they eat $50. bucks in gas just in our tiny harbor alone.  Well, they are wicked show offs so they rumble through, with their sweet young things, like a few.  How does that work? One guy, three or four early 20 somethings with the most magnificent fake boobs…..barbies all.  Anyhow after they fueled up (they go 80 miles per hour) they filed out of the basin and opened them up.  A rooster tail of 30 feet and at least that behind the boat.  You can’t even see the boat you just see this plume of white stuff and fast….I couldn’t believe how one minute they were in one spot the next, out of sight.  It must be frightening to be on it.  Do you wear a seat belt?  Does that hold you in?  You couldn’t possibly let go or think about moving once in a seat.  I have never seen anything like it.  Exciting, not for me but really, really exciting.

This place is so foreign to me.  It never ceases to amaze me; the plants, people, culture, homes; just about everything is so different.  Homesick, yes, having fun, yes.

Back on a jet plane to the north on Tuesday.  I’m about all done with this back and forth stuff. 

Oh, a story about my little love bugs.  My son called this morning to tell me Colbie had taken a talking book to school (Montessori) to “share” yesterday.  At the end of the day they sit in a circle and share.  He walked in with Zoe as they just started and said it was so strange.  All 24 kids were in a circle listening to me tell them a story.  Zoe recognized my voice right away and ran over and sat with Colbie all happy her Nani was reading a story to everyone.  Jesse said even he was teary, listening to his mom.  What great technology.  I buy these books and record my voice reading and always interject personal comments to the girls.  It’s sweet. I get them at a Hallmark store. They now have three.  Jesse said they spend quiet time with me quite a bit that way.  In fact Carol, the other grandmother, called me one day to tell me that while she was babysitting them, they were with Nani and content.  Another teary moment.  How cool is that.  With 3,000 miles of separation I love we can do stuff like this, worth every penny.