Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Outdoor Wednesday

On Wednesdays I'll sometimes join A Southern Daydreamer and her Outdoor Wednesday Outdoor Wednesday meme to share some pictures.
Stop by and check out other great photos of the outdoors!

I think I am a creature of habit.  Well, honestly I know I am.  And I work from a list--don't surprise me with anything.  If it's not on my list I won't be happy about it.
(that's a slight exaggeration---but only slightly)

Why do I mention this on Outdoor Wednesday?  
Because we took our Friday NIGHT friends to our cabin in Oregon.
The ones we have dinner with every Friday Night,  unless we have other plans.
Every. Friday. Night.  For years.
Hence---a creature of habit.

What did we do?
Sat here by the river and had a glass of wine and beer every afternoon.

And we looked at these rock formations that just appeared out of nowhere.
We have no idea who did them, but they are beautiful.

Some of my friends commented "cairns"  which is of course, a mound of stones to mark a memorial.
(you knew that, right?)
(honestly I didn't--I had to look it up.  Don't tell)

But a couple of other friends wrote:
I Samuel 7:12 "here I raise my Ebenezer.."

I loved both 'cairn' and 'ebenezer'!!
Luckily I knew what ebenezer meant, because I had to look it up once, as it's in one of my favorite hymns.

Ebenezer means “stone of help.” From then on, every time an Israelite saw the stone erected by Samuel, he would have a tangible reminder of the Lord’s power and protection. The “stone of help” marked the spot where the enemy had been routed and God’s promise to bless His repentant people had been honored. The Lord had helped them, all the way to Ebenezer.

Don't you love it?!
The mysterious cairns and ebenezers!

Here are more pics of our afternoons down by the river--
and as usual, there are a lot.

Then we went up the river a ways---way up--we walked to the waterfall.

And Friday night we went to the Outlaw restaurant for dinner.
Dinner and drinks. Friday nights and friends.  Good stuff.

Friday Friend Recipe #103 - Lemon Lush

Recipe number 103

Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook
What is it, you may ask?

In a nutshell...
About 15 years ago, 50 of my closest friends and family, who had been on an e-mail forum with me, sent in recipes in different categories and we compiled a cookbook.
I decided to count those down!

Because  one night I was looking thru the cookbook and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog"
The Handyman--who thinks he knows me better than I know myself, said,  "you'll never EVER do that."
Well,  maybe I will!  Maybe I'll show him!

Which brings me to recipe #103  My Mom's Lemon Lush

I think my mom made up the name "Lemon Lush" when she turned this in for the Friday Friend Cookbook, as I had never heard her say lemon lush in my life.
But it sounds good, so from now on this is Lemon Lush!
OMG!  I just looked online and---this really is called Lemon Lush.
sorry for doubting you mom.

Lemon Lush is GOOD!
A shortbread crust,  lemon pudding, cream cheese---what's not to like?

Lemon Lush
My Mom, Bev Hambelton

1 cup flour
1 stick butter
3/4 cup chopped nuts

1 cup powdered sugar
8oz cream cheese
1 cup cool whip

 3 cups milk
2 pkgs lemon instant pudding

Mix first 3 ingredients together and put in a 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool.
Mix powdered sugar, cream cheese and cool whip.  Spread on cooled crust.
Whip milk and pudding together and spread over top.  Frost with the rest of the cool whip and sprinkle nuts on top.
Put into refrigerator.

This is my mom's 15th appearance on the Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown.
To see all her recipes click here.

My mother loved football and she really LOVED the Seattle Seahawks. 
My youngest son loves the Dallas Cowboys.
One year for his Christmas present, my parents took my son and his wife to the Seahawks/Cowboys game in Seattle.  My parents were season ticket holders for the Seahawks for many years, so they just bought a couple extra tickets and made  a very special day for Mark.

For many years  Mark and his Grandma had a friendly rivalry.  They didn't live near each other, but during football season they talked every Sunday on the phone about who was going to win what game, who was the better quarterback, the better coach, etc.
Seriously they could quote stats to each other and my mom could understand all that football lingo.
(and while I do love football, that rabid fanatical FAN skipped a generation---went straight to my son)

As you can tell---Grandma has been a fan since the beginning.
These are my boys 31 years ago, shirts courtesy of my mom.
Mark is the one sucking on his fingers.
It only took him about 10 years to fall in love with the Dallas Cowboys and then he never looked back--he became his own man, with his own ideas.
And also, he quit sucking his fingers.  And grew some hair.
But he never lost that loyalty to a 'team' which he inherited from my mom.
(he has stuck with the Cowboys thru thick and thin, thin, thin.....)

The banner  said "Seahawks Rule"  when Mark and his family arrived  for the weekend.  On game-day, "rule was mysteriously covered over with the word  "Suck".
Friendly rivalry -- my mother loved it.
She was a rabid fan, a 12th man, a passionate sports lover, be it Football, Hockey or Baseball.

My favorite season is fall, and one of those nostalgic, good memories of my own childhood is the sound of football on the television and the smell of Sunday dinner cooking in the kitchen.
Pot roast? Maybe.  Roast chicken? Perhaps.
  And maybe for dessert, Lemon Lush.

Yay for Sunday dinner at mom's!
(go Seahawks)

And that is my mom's story!!

Recipe Number 103.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Elizabeth is missing

From Goodreads:
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable—or her daughter, Helen, seems a total stranger.

But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud . . .

A page-turning story of suspense,
Elizabeth Is Missing hauntingly reminds us that we are all at the mercy of our memory. Always compelling, often poignant, and at times even blackly witty, this is an absolutely unforgettable novel.

From Me:
Maud is a totally unreliable narrator--not because she's an alcoholic (like Girl on a Train)--not because she's a psychopath    (like Gone Girl), but just because she's an aging woman in the middle of a horrible disease---Alzheimer's related dementia.
Unreliable yes, but very endearing.
I loved Maud and thought the way the story was written was very compelling.
I notice that some readers found it frustrating, because yes, at times it jumped around and felt jumbled, but that was why it compelled me so much---we really don't know what goes on in the minds of those affected by Alzheimer's and that is why the mystery was so captivating for me.

Also, as a side note, my mother suffered from Alzheimer's, and maybe I felt an emotional bond towards Maud and her daughter Helen.
I love the last paragraph in the Goodreads review... we are all at the mercy of our memory.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Japanese Lover

From Goodreads:
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

From Me:
Wow! What a cast of characters!  And themes!
This is the first Allende novel I've read, and while I liked it--I did!-- there was some issue with me in the transitions from past to present.  Those took place often and sometimes in one paragraph it went from present to past to present again.  I had to really pay attention and think.
The characters were great and while I liked them, I never felt that I got to know them really well.
Deep themes, but some of them just touched on lightly.

Those all sound like criticisms, but I really liked the story. The main story as well as the side stories.
It's worth a read.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted each week by

This week's question is:

How many years have you been blogging? Anything special you want to tell everyone about your experiences?

I have been blogging since  2007.  9 years.
I started out blogging questions and answers to my friends, but they didn't really 'get' what a blog was at the time, so I switched over to food blogging.
It's a wonderful world of food bloggers out there---but I was not original, I just like to cook.  Then I had a book blog, then a big backyard blog, etc.
It was a lot of work, so I decided to just have my own blog and talk about whatever I wanted to, which is mostly books.  Then food.  Then random stuff.

I've met two blogging friends in person, become pen-pals with a couple others.
Those would be special experiences for me.

The blogging community is a very nice and supportive group of people.
At least the book nerds, foodies are.
It's special.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Friday Friend Recipe #102--Tacos in Pasta Shells

Recipe number 102

Come with me as I continue to countdown my Friday Friend Cookbook
What is it, you may ask?

In a nutshell...
About 15 years ago, 50 of my closest friends and family, who had been on an e-mail forum with me, sent in recipes in different categories and we compiled a cookbook.
I decided to count those down!

Because  one night I was looking thru the cookbook and I said, "I should make every recipe in here for my blog"
The Handyman--who thinks he knows me better than I know myself, said,  "you'll never EVER do that."
Well,  maybe I will!  Maybe I'll show him!

Which brings me to recipe #102  My Tacos in Pasta Shells

These are yummy, yummy, Yummy!!
They have all the good stuff in them.  Cheese and pasta and hamburger in a sauce!
I think I make a bit more sauce than it calls for because I like a bit more to lay on top of the shells.

Tacos in Pasta Shells
by me/Debbie Stone
Winnemucca, NV

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup favorite salsa
3 oz cream cheese with chives
1 cup tomato sauce
1 T chili powder
1/4 t salt
18 jumbo pasta shells
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded jack cheese
1 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
sliced green onions
sliced black olives

Brown meat; drain. Add salsa, tomato sauce, cream cheese, chili powder, and salt.   Simmer 5 min.  Cook pasta shells till almost done.  Fill  shells with beef mixture and arrange in baking dish.  Spoon any sauce left over shells.
Cover and bake at 350 for 15 min. 
Uncover; top with cheeses and crushed chips. Bake another 15 mins.  
Remove and sprinkle with olives and onions.

Me oh My!
This is my recipe and I hate writing about myself.
That's not true-- I do it all the time. BUT usually I write about myself THRU a friend's story--now I have to write a story all about me--and I find it a bit intimidating today.

Also a picture---I have to find a picture of myself that is halfway decent.
Halfway decent....  ???
Why do we do this to ourselves?
We are who we are.
 We need to like ourselves.
I certainly hope that when I die, no one comes to my funeral and says:
"she was always chubby...she had such a round face... nice person, but fat."

Let's face it--they are not!
They are going to miss me and be sad and nobody will care about my little round face. 
 Except to miss it, I mean.

So speaking of that, let me descend backwards and say  "one would THINK I would be in better shape after doing all these runs/walks throughout the years"
I have joined in with the Alzheimer's Walks, the heart walks, the cancer walks, March of Dimes-March for babies walks, the fun runs, and yet---still have that round face!

A few pics of a couple of my walks thru the years:

I don't like to get involved in the political-ness of things (like where all the money goes, etc)  but just want to say that the Susan G. Komen 3-day/60-mile walk the one of the most moving things I have ever done.

Thanksgiving morning--- 2015.  I signed up for 5 adults and 4 kids.  A family team.
Since it was 10 degrees at 7am, only these 2 hardy grandchildren braved the cold and joined in THE TURKEY TROT!  (and the Handyman)
The Handyman DOES look like a Popsicle.  and I have many layers on and the camera adds 10lbs. 
What was I saying above?  Oh---we need to like ourselves.
I do like myself---just not pictures of me. 

The Bay to Breakers in San Francisco--
I've done it 3 times.
I love it---it's so much fun.

My friend Stella and I waiting for the race to begin.
So many sights to see!
Like transvestites or drag queens  or people just dressed up in costume for the race.  (I should know the difference, my apologies to the people)

This was the first time I saw a naked runner too.
I don't have a photo, but he was a true redhead-- I could tell--- just saying.
(there was red hair everywhere)

and for every race/walk/run I have done--always a great support system in place!

Stella's husband, Ken, also waiting for the race to begin.
I can't remember why he has underwear on his head.

And for the 3-day/60-mile walk?
My brother-in-law and his friends  were our support crew.
We were the Random Racks of Kindness and they were the Bras.

So that's my story!  And I'm sticking to it!
Told with a straight face--a little round straight face!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros

Today is Tuesday--- which means I'll be joining up with Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea and her First Chapter, First Paragraph
Tuesday Intros.
Where,  bloggers post the first paragraph of a book they are thinking of reading --- and get everyone's opinion to see if it grabbed them from the beginning or not.

My paragraph:
It is dark, dark seven A.M. on Christmas Eve Eve.
Snow flurries fall in the city.  Actors walking home from a cast party on Broad  Street try to catch them on their tongues.  The ingenue lands a  flake on her hot cheek and erupts into a fit of laughter.  In Fishtown, a nightmare trembles through the nose and paws of a dog snoozing under the construction flats.  The Ritten-house Square fountain switches to life with a pronouncement of water while Curtis Hall musicians, late for final rehearsal, arpeggiate through the park.

Should I keep reading?
What do you think?

My book?

I have chosen this for our December read in one of my bookclubs.
What do you think?

When Women Were Birds

From Goodreads:
"Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder."—Ann Lamott, author of Imperfect Birds
"I am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you won't look at them until after I'm gone." This is what Terry Tempest Williams's mother, the matriarch of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah, told her a week before she died. It was a shock to Williams to discover that her mother had kept journals. But not as much of a shock as it was to discover that the three shelves of journals were all blank. In fifty-four short chapters, Williams recounts memories of her mother, ponders her own faith, and contemplates the notion of absence and presence art and in our world.
When Women Were Birds is a carefully crafted kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question: What does it mean to have a voice?

From Me:
May I borrow from Ann Lamott and say "Brilliant?  Meditative?  Full of surprises? Wisdom and Wonder?"
Because, it's all that.
I listened to this on audio, narrated by the author.  That's always a gamble; sometimes it's a winner, sometimes not---this time it was a WINNER!
Loved her narration.
I forget how much I love Terry Tempest Williams -- I live in the west, she writes about and understands the western landscape like no other.
I like birds--she LOVES and knows birds like no other.
I like contemplation-- this book is all about that.
I liked my mother -- she talks about a bond with our mothers that is so special and magical and unbreakable. (makes me shiver just thinking about it)
She does talk about her religion quite a bit in her writings, this book included,  and while I don't share the same views, she writes in such a way that  helps me to understand and appreciate her beliefs and traditions.  Likewise her activism and ecological viewpoints. 
Loved it.