Sunday, April 25, 2010

A repost and link to Happy To Design's Sunday Favorites

Today, I'm linking to Happy to Design and Chari's Sunday Favorites with this post; I thought the Boston Globe article was excellent, and think many other bloggers can use this information on photographing your food.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Picture your food...

I need a new camera, and while my dream camera is not in my budget at this time, I am planning an interim upgrade. Any advice?

In the meantime, I was poking through the Boston Globe Online, and found, "Eating with your eyes," a fascinating film short on styling food for photos. There's a nice shot of a table with the lighting hanging over the plate of food being photographed, and killer conversation from the food editor and stylist:

"My eye just goes to the tomato."

"Is the emphasis on the eggs or on the salad?"

"I did a lasagna once, and it just wasn't speaking to me."

The foodies also share some trade secrets that we bloggers can use, too. They use matchbooks to lift the plate up, move a fork back and forth for the best angle, and admit to adding a touch of olive oil for shine and for bread, crumbs to make it look realistic.

Fun to watch, so if you like to take pictures of your food, go watch "Eating with your eyes."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Warm up to the cheapest coffee anywhere!

Who else wants $625.00 in your pocket?

Someone told me recently that his wife spends $6.00 every day on coffee at Starbucks...and half the time, she doesn't even drink it. That's more than $2,000. a year, people! 

Now I l-o-v-e a Starbucks double skinny cap as much as the next legal addictive stimulant (coffee) user, but that's a blue moon treat for me. From time to time, however, I do indulge in a grande dark roast, to the tune of close to two dollars a pop. And I figured out that if I were to do that five days a week on the way to work, that would be (hold, on, I was a journalism major...) close to $625.00 a year! 

So, my darling fellow blogizens, that's why late last summer I rummaged through the picnic baskets and broke out my new best friends.

Bet you have one of these hidden in the back of the cupboard, don't you?

Here's how simple it is. Just make an extra cup of coffee in the morning. And while you're making that, pour a little hot water in your thermos to warm it up. Have your regular morning cup of Joe, then pour another cup or two in your thermos pal, add cream and sugar to your taste, screw on the top, and you're off. And, gee, aren't you pretty darn frugal and clever, too!

Now I know what you're about to say. You're just a touch -- a tiny tad! -- embarrassed. What is the coworker in the next cubicle or the mom pushing the swing next to you going to think? You shouldn't have to explain yourself, but I truly don't think there's any shame in saying, "I'm economizing." If someone makes fun of that, more shame on him or her, and, by the way, is this actually someone who should influence your behavior? And if you really, really still can't over it, just say, "I'm fussy, so I prefer my own coffee." After all, there's no need to explain that what you're fussy about is where you spend your money. Now, if this still bothers you, then calculate the money you spend on Caramel Macchiati (or your own caffeine poison of choice), and then imagine what you could be doing with that money.

Makes you think, huh?

Listen, I know; when I was a high-faluting sales executive for the phone company, I wouldn't think twice about stopping for a coffee. In fact, I was on the road, and very happy to pay for a warm drink along with the privilege of using the bathroom, then sitting down and resting at a nice table with Internet connections. Sure, sometimes grabbing a cup of coffee is more of a social or even a networking thing, for instance, when you're meeting friends or business associates at the local DD's or Starbucks. And I'm not going to pretend that I NEVER indulge, because I do. But it's a treat, not a mindless waste of a couple of dollars or more.

In short, for many of us, times have changed and times are hard. Now I'm a secretary struggling to make ends meet. My thermos sits on my desk.

And pretty darn cheaply.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Patrot's Day

I set off upon a very good Horse; it was then about 11 o'Clock, and very pleasant. After I had passed Charlestown Neck, and got nearly opposite where Mark was hung in chains, I saw two men on Horse back, under a Tree. When I got near them, I discovered they were British officer. One tryed to git a head of Me, and the other to take me. I turned my Horse very quick, and Galloped towards Charlestown neck, and then pushed for the Medford Road. The one who chased me, endeavoring to Cut me off, got into a Clay pond, near where the new Tavern is now built. I got clear of him, and went thro Medford, over the Bridge, and up to Menotomy. In Medford, I awaked the Captain of the Minute men; and after that, I alarmed almost every House, till I got to Lexington.

Those are the words of Paul Revere; pretty thrilling, don't you think? They're from a group of legal depositions which the Provisional Congress of Massachusetts compiled to prove that the British had fired the first shot at Lexington. You can read the entire account A letter from Colonel Paul Revere at the Massachusetts Historical Commission's web site.

Today is the anniversary of that ride, and Massachusetts celebrates it as Patriot's Day tomorrow. If you ever come to Boston (please do!), you can visit Mr. Revere's house in our Italian neighborhood, what we call the North End, and you can view his masterful silverwork in the Museum of Fine Art. If you like, you can read more about Paul Revere and his ride to Lexington at the Paul Revere Memorial Association's website. And, of course, you can also read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem,  below. 

Enjoy, and Happy Patriot's Day!

Paul Revere's Ride
LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower, as a signal light, --
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison-bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the somber rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade, --
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay, --
A line of black, that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now gazed on the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns!
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British regulars fired and fled, --
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm, --
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forevermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beat of that steed,
And the midnight-message of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1860.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A crowd, a host of golden daffodils...

Yes, it's daffodil time on Cape Cod, but who can surpass the Wordsworths in describing their delight?

On April 15, 1802, Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her journal:

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway.

And it was several years later, in 1804, that her brother, William of course, wrote this:


I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Foot Loose!

I've been a terrible blogger. For the last month, I've been getting ready for my third foot surgery. My operation was last week at the lovely St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston, and after I was discharged, my darling sister took care of me for a couple of days, and then my other sister brought me back to Cape Cod on Friday.

I wish I could say I've been using my time well, but I'm afraid I haven't done much of anything but watch mindless television shows (bad) and reading wonderful, inspirational blogs (good).

There are so many generous bloggers who provide fabulous tutorials, and I'm dying to make things, but I'm just not up to maneuvering my walker. So, for now, no sewing machine foot -- just my left one!