Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Easter Chicken

I had company over for dinner last night. People that I like very much, and wanted to impress.

Fire in the fireplace
Candles all over the place, lit and glowing
Christmas tree up and decked to the nines
Holiday decor on everything that doesn't move
In every room
Festive red table cloth on table
Golden flatware laid out (more on this in a minute)
Table set with every dish possible
Several appetizers laid out
Meal in oven, set to finish when company arrived
Christmas music playing
Snow falling outside... (this wasn't my doing, but it was a lovely touch)

Now. Let's backtrack a little bit, so that you can get the whole picture.
Scarlett is not a fabulous cook.
Far from it.

So I called Cecilia who is a fabulous cook. She walked me through a recipe over the phone, it went like this:

C: lay the chicken breasts flat in a well greased pan
S: okay
C: spoon the bread/nut/olive oil mixture over half of each breast
S: okay
C: fold the breast over and skewer it closed
S: uh....
C: no... wait, let's keep this simple, nevermind that, just spoon it over the chicken
S: okay...

....at this point, I sniff in stubbornness and look down my nose and think to myself, I can do that. I have bamboo skewers, God knows why, but I do. How hard can it be to skewer chicken shut. Closed. Whatever.

I prepare the chicken later on... to begin, I pull the -foot long and then some- bamboo skewers out and look from them to the shallow baking pan and think... um... these are too long.

I can break this bamboo into short little pieces and have splinters in the chicken and probably my fingers or... hmm... TOOTHPICKS! I can use toothpicks... they are short skewers! I was quite pleased with myself, I thought I was very clever for thinking of this.

Necessity is the mother of invention, no?

I baked the chicken and was on the phone with another friend who was walking me through "what the heck order does the flatware go in on the table... forks here.. no there... and OH NO I forgot to take the chicken out of the oven," my friend is laughing at me, she says "it's only been 10 minutes more, just baste it, it will be ok."

I pull the chicken out and gasp - NO! - and panic and start whimpering near tears... 'what?' she says... 'what's wrong with it?'

The toothpicks I used were colored toothpicks... their color bled into the chicken, so I had blue... green... red... yellow... pink... and turquoise holes in the chicken. Easter egg chicken.

And of course, my company was expected 15 minutes from then. My friend on the phone just roared laughing at me. She said, Scarlett... that's edible food coloring, it has to be because people put toothpicks in their mouths and food... it's ok. Just explain the chicken to your company.

So... it was ok. My company laughed and ate it all and no one died that I know of yet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To a man who had such an eventful life... and who is 613 years old today.

James' life was in danger at a very young age, so his father sent him from Scotland to France for safety, but during this escape, he was seized by the English and was held as a prisoner by them for 18 years. When his father heard of his sons capture, he died of a broken heart.

After his long imprisonment in England, James' countrymen finally paid a kings ransom for his release and he was able to return to his home country. He brought with him his wife, Joan Beaufort, a cousin of King Henry VI.
At long last, he was crowned King of Scotland and thus began one of the most significant reigns of royalty that Scotland had seen since his great-grandfather, Robert the Bruce, had ruled. James and Joan had eight children together, but sadly only seven survived.
Once he'd reclaimed the throne, he found that his work was cut out for him; Scotland had fallen apart during his absence. This king had to fight to unite his kingdom, and once that was done, he was determined to make his country one of the most powerful in Europe. James made many changes to the Scottish economic system and to their government. In many ways, he advanced the nation much further than it had ever grown in such a short time, and while this was good for the country, it was not appreciated by all.
King James was killed by his own relatives in a power move that ended their lives as well as his; rumor has it that he was stabbed 28 times. His children and grandchildren kept the throne of Scotland, but I don't believe that another Scottish King did as much for his country until the reign of King James the VI of Scotland who was also King James the I of England (son of Mary, Queen of Scots).
And so it is to the memory of this great man, in honor of his strength, courage, endurance, determination, and his devout loyalty to his people and his country that I bow in respect and celebrate the day that he was brought into this world. King James I of Scotland, your life made a great difference in your time and it's ripple effects are still moving today.
To my 15th great-grandfather, Happy Birthday, the strength of your legacy lives on.

King James I of Scotland

Sunday, December 9, 2007

These are 12 of My Favorite Things

A Christmas Meme!

I am originating it, it is my gift to all of those who have gifted me with so many fun memes all year.

Thank you.

Please share 12 of your favorite Christmas things: they can be memories, traditions, songs, presents, beliefs, whatever it is about this season that you love.
Send it to 12 people, and be sure to link to them so that everyone can enjoy the many variations!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!


1. The reason for the season ~ the birth of Jesus! I love the story of the Nativity.

2. All the kindness, compassion, love, good cheer, and magic that is tangible among people during this season. I wish it lasted every day of the year.

3. Drawing nearer to and spending time with family & friends, that closeness is precious.

4. I *LOVE* Christmas decorations, movies (don't you just love Charlie Brown and Rudolph?) and definitely the music; singing and playing it everywhere!

5. There must be snow at Christmas. Snow angels, snow people, snowballs, sledding, ice skating...

6. I love the way Christmas smells ~ pine, cider, baked delights (cookies, pies, ham), cinnamon, clove oranges, cranberry...

7. Driving around looking at Christmas lights, going to Zoolights at the zoo and Blossoms of Lights at the Botanic Gardens with loved ones, drinking cocoa, singing Christmas songs and playing in the snow! I also love watching the lights on the tree; used to fall asleep under it when I was a very small Scarlett. Oh wait! I still do that!

8. The candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve - the best part of which, is singing Silent Night by candlelight, and everyone gets their own candle (which adds an immeasurable element of danger to the soft and tranquil solemnities...) I always shed a few tears at this service.

9. The wide eyed wonder of children during the whole month; especially when they get to tell Santa what they want for Christmas... (You'll shoot your eye out kid!)

10. Dressing up in our best to go out for a special evening of dinner, a carriage ride and then to see a professional ballet company perform The Nutcracker Suite; something we never miss and always enjoy!

11. The solemn beauty and blissful thrill of Christmas Eve, there is no other night of the year that is filled with more magic, possibility, love or excitement for me than this one night.

12. The bright, welcoming, wide open opportunity of Christmas morning/day - for me it is the culmination of all the wonders of the month preceding it, and it is a spiritual renewal... for Christ our Saviour has been born... rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel.

Christmas Tags:

1. Absolute Vanilla ~ who constantly remembers me on her tag list...

2. Sognatrice at Bleeding Espresso ~ for whom a candle is lit, and with whom I am very pleased to share my tree (see above)

3. Seamus the Shameless Lion Tamer ~ I can't wait to hear his Christmas thoughts!

4. Jon at Writing in a Vacuum ~ Christmas in England...

5. Christina at Single City Chick ~ I know there will be good stories here!

6. Rebecca at Cre8Tiva ~ A very lovely and creative Christmas...

7. Caroline Smailes ~ How does such a creative and busy woman handle the holiday?

8. Heart in SF at Guilty With an Explanation ~ A blend of Christmas and Hanukkah?

9. Dee at the Mundane and the Profound ~ She'll cook up quite a masterpiece, I am sure!

10. Jules at Thinking About ~ This will be a thoughtful and humorous ride...

11. Some Pink Flowers ~ Ahhhh... Christmas in Florida!

12. Jeni at Passionate Palate ~ Presto! A sweet and rich offering we'll all enjoy

If anyone else would like to play along, please join in! Just let me know and I will add a link to your page so that everyone can come by for a visit!

Don't forget the mistletoe!

XOXO

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eggs

Let me preface this post with a brief reminder that I have been ear deep in school work and have had zero time for blogging, I miss it tremendously, and have been writing more than I've ever written in my life. I think I did the NaNo writing project through school in three weeks instead of here in four, and I was graded on it!

One of my papers was on whole brained thinking as opposed to predominantly left or right. When we focus on whole brained thinking, we experience SO much more. In explaining the benefits of examining what's beyond the obvious (developing and using the senses to experience and learn more), I considered the following example as a metaphor for realizing the benefit of learning about that which is outside of our familiar comfort zone.

The eggs are the variable... the eggs could be anything; material, emotional, moral... anything.

Eggs. Let's say someone doesn't like eggs at ALL. Hates them.
Doesn't want to learn about them or have anything to do with them, ever... absolutely no eggs.
Even though they don't like eggs, if they'd taken the time to learn about eggs, then they might have discovered that when eggs are mixed with flour and milk, the result is cake - and this person would have LOVED cake.
But our egg hater will never know about the cake, because they turned away from the initial/basic idea (the eggs), and consequently missed out on a million other great things.
No eggs = closed doors. One can't get very far if they close doors.

~A closing request:

Please look beyond your little world that you walk around in every day, the sphere of your reality that makes up your life... the people you know, your job, your church, your friends, your family and your comfort zones. That's where you live. Go outside of that and find all of the things you never knew you were missing out on.

Look up. Look farther. Look deeper into people, into yourself, into our world... experience more of it, through all of your senses. When you listen - really listen, to more than words, listen to the meaning and the origin of what is being shared with you, even if you disagree, listen. You could learn something. When you speak, be certain that what you say is what you mean, and that when you say it, it's understood clearly by those you say it to. Speak well. When you touch, when you feel the world around you, be careful but be curious - discover your environment in every way possible. When you smell and taste, take your time. Let the scents and flavors of life penetrate you to your core, enjoy them each time as if it were the last time.

There's so much more out there than we allow ourselves to reach.
Don't miss out on the cake. It might be the best part.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Reflection

Turn your sound up...

and REFLECT.


video

Friday, November 16, 2007

Properly Incensed

I am completely incensed.

Perhaps it is my independent, strong, proud nature.

I don't like labels to begin with, but I realize that for certain purposes they simplify organization.
Categories.
Who are you?
What do you do?
Why are you here?
Where are you from?
When did you come here?

I was reviewing work that had been done by someone else today.
An application.
It is the habit of this particular person to rank people in her esteem according to her opinion of their worth, and typically, old rich white men (and occasionally old rich white women) are worthy to be revered in her lofty perspective. It is seldom that anyone else rises above that sharp angle at the edge of the nose that she looks down.

I see it as a serious injustice and a shortcoming of her personality. I have my own shortcomings; I don't say anything. Often.

Today, however... it bothered me enough to blog about it.
I must vent, I beg your indulgence.

In reviewing the application, I saw that she'd noted the man's occupation neatly and put him first as she always does. Fine. It could be done the other way but I think this hasn't occurred to her. Fine.
I then discovered that she had entered the ladies occupation as HWF.

*****STEAM*****

THAT is short for Housewife.

Deep sigh.

Perhaps she has not noticed that I have corrected ALL of her previous entries of housewife to those of HOMEMAKER. Yes, I am politically correct in this ilk.

We are not in the 50's.

I think at the very least, a modicum of dignity and respect ought to be afforded to those women who choose not to enter the workforce; those who have the daunting task of running a household in the new millennium, something which is no small task and which- if it were a paid position- would net the woman OR MAN (note Homemaker is not gender specified) about six figures a year, currently.

It is without a shred of doubt, a position that commands respect and dignity.

The women who fought and died for equality and recognition at the turn of the last century, did not do so with the vision that women in the coming century could have the freedom to be indifferent to their sacrifices!!!



I cringe and shudder at the thought.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth would be infuriated, not incensed, at the complacency of some women today.
We are the granddaughters of warriors of justice, integrity, dignity and HONOR.
We are absolutely NOT of a lesser value or worth than our male counterparts.

I certainly hope that each person who reads this remembers what was sacrificed willingly by our foremothers... so that WE could be granted the equality that should never have been a question.

God Bless the Homemakers.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Thursday, November 15, 2007

7's all around... Randomly

Absolute Vanilla tagged me with another meme... Christmas is coming, dear Vanilla, what on earth will you get in your stocking?

Random Meme Rules
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Don't drink anything over the keyboard while reading this meme on other pages.
4. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
5. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
6. Stretch.
7. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Seven random Scarlett-isms. Hmmm.

2. I often wonder why and how and what
7. I always try to forgive
9. I love the number nine ~ I even cried when I turned 10
27. I am ambidextrous
0. I drink my Earl Grey tea with cream
-16. I know how to check and change the oil in my car, and change a flat tire
81. I cherish all of my good friends

And now to cherish some friends enough to share this random meme.
See number 7, cherished friends, and forgive unto me as I would forgive unto you.

7. The FIRST one goes to an old friend of mine with a new blog... everyone please go say hello to Robin at The Road Less Traveled (in which she used a couple of photos I took to make her point!) she's brand new, very funny and really smart. Heart of Gold. You may remember her as the teacher with the $40 annual budget in my rant "For Love Not Money".

3. Irrelephant, who I believe will be able to conjure up quite a random list. I'm sure there will be at least one train mention, which is good, we like trains.

5. Christina at Single City Chick will undoubtedly come up with a rousing list!

1. Chesca at Exskindiver, who will surely create one to surprise me and make me laugh!

2. Jon at Writing in a Vacuum - he will be able to go from 5 things what are good to 7 that are random!

4. Pearl at Humanyms - and a very interesting list this will be!

6. Sarala at Blogaway - I'll probably get to see a really great picture with her list!


Thanks all... have fun!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great

Please enjoy one of my favorite poems... on the contingency that you read it aloud...
I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great
By Sir Stephen Spender
I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who from the womb, remembered the soul's history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.
What is precious is never to forget
The delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our Earth;
Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light,
Nor its grave evening demand for love;
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest field
See how these names are feted by the wavering grass,
And by the streamers of white cloud,
And whispers of wind in the listening sky;
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tales From the Deep End


I know I've been gone too long when I start getting emails wondering if I am OK ~
Just been floundering around in the deep too long...

I am OK!
I think.
I have been very busy with many things; most of which were productive.
I missed it here so much, and I will be around to visit everyone shortly.
And start checking off the bloglist of to do's... I'll start that this weekend.
In the meantime, good to be back and can't wait to catch up with everyone!
Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tricks and Treats

Absolute Vanilla gifted me with a treat! A very sweet award which came hand in hand with a meme... is that the trick part? Ha, ha, ha....



Thank you Vanilla!

* 1. After your intro, copy/paste this line and the rules below it: The originator - one Damien Riley - wants to see how far it goes so please keep his link intact: http://rileycentral.net/



* 2. Encourage people to post with the incentive of a link by including those who have passed it along here: Audrey, Celtic Angel, JM, Romance Writer, Deep Thinker, Absolute Vanilla.



* 3. Visit at least 3 on the list who’ve written and passed this meme. Leave them a comment. Then you are supposed to, “pick three things that enrapture, consume, fascinate, or otherwise enliven you more than blogging. Next, write a few lines about each to explain what the nonblog activity does for you, why and how.”


Thing One~ Life Isn't life something else? The tides of our own time that pull and push us, that tear and soothe us, that carry us ever onward until they carry us away... washing the past away like sand from the shore while it refreshes us anew every day. I passionately love all of the nuances of life... all of the wonderful joys, glorious love, fiery anger, bubbling laughter, echoing solitude, cocooned comfort in the arms of someone trusted, searing pain, enlightening learning every day, humbling forgiveness, overwhelming excitement, and even all the deep sorrows... how could we know just how good the good is without measuring the depth of the bad? And don't the lows make the highs SO precious... when we know just what they are worth? Every minute of our lives is something new to be savored and experienced to it's fullest, to be given it's ultimate possibility, whether simple or great, and each minute passes silently through us and we are changed, again and again.

Thing Two~ Family and Friends I never want to know what life would be like without them. These are part of the foundation of my existence.

Thing Three~ The "Using my only wish to wish for more wishes" trick: Chocolate, tea, prayer and meditation, sleeping in, holding hands, good books, equality, corvettes, good music, good hugs, airplanes, cameras, kindness, good weather outside, being inside when there is bad weather, performing arts, thick warm blankets and soft pillows, flowers, ferris wheels, sunrises and sunsets, forgiveness, the ocean, some art, planetariums and all the things we can see when we look through a telescope, dancing, surprises, red nail polish, bubbles, holidays, seasons, leaving footsteps in new places, libraries, letters/cards and packages in the real mail, teaching someone something that will be of value to them.

I'll get back to you on who I am tagging. To satisfy my Libra character, I want to look over past memes and new friends and find those who haven't been tagged yet.

To be continued....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Angels and Seasons

These are some photos (for Phoctober) of some incredible sculptures in the mostly unlikely place.... they guard the front of an antique store in Denver and watch over the city as it rushes by. On the left of the entrance are the four angels of the Crucifixion of Christ, on the right are the four Seasons. Behind them, guarding the door, are a recreation Donatello's Marzocco Lions (1492).

These sculptures are exquisitely done, and are a favorite of mine to enjoy. Their detail is nearly perfect (I've yet to find a flaw and I've examined very closely many times). They are fluid where there is movement in the concept and solid where foundation is necessary to complete it. They are made of sparkling white marble with whispering traces of grey. They are iridescent in the sun and glow warmly when the light fades. They are stunning by moonlight. Entrancing muses... I sincerely hope that you enjoy.

These pictures are basic, I have some detailed artistic shots that I may post before the end of Phoctober.






Autumn
Spring

Summer

Winter

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Yesterday

Yesterday... all the weather seemed so far away
Now it looks as though it's here to stay
Oh sunny days... were yesterday...


It was 80 degrees and sunny yesterday. Perfect autumn weather... this morning when I woke up... there was a big, bright surprise that will be measured in inches:










Wouldn't you know it? Snow in Phoctober. First snow of the season... make a wish!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Paris in April in Phoctober


Paris in April... a photo I took and then photoshopped so that it would look old/antiqued with the color painted on, like they did a million years ago, when photographers first decided to add a little color to life. I LOVE this shot... or maybe it's just the memory of that time in Paris, in April, with a very dear friend.


This is a photo that I told MT that I would post soon, one that is similar to a shot he posted recently. This also was taken in Paris in April... in Montmartre.

And some of the others from that trip...


This jaunty little chap came to join us for lunch at a sidewalk cafe one afternoon. We tossed him a large crumb and he picked it up, hopped over to another table near us where his lady friend was waiting at the base, and gave it to her before he came back for another crumb for himself. He was rewarded handsomely for his efforts. Quite a delightful little fellow!

A carousel in the sunset... Notre Dame in the background. We rode several carousels all over Paris, I love them!

Notre Dame... from the back (near the carousel)


Looking into the courtyard of the Louvre


Cupid's secret... he lives inside the Louvre! (This makes perfect sense to me)



Ahhh... the sunset in Paris...




A visit to Versailles... this is the view from King Louis bedroom


Fountain statues behind Versailles... does he weep for the queen who no longer walks in the gardens?



Detail of Ledo Basin behind the palace at Versailles

I think that no matter how many people visit a place (or live there) and post photos and experiences about it... we all see it in different ways, see different things, so it's wonderful to share the wide, wide spectrum of life and the world we live in.

Rel at Under the Microscope has just come back from a tour of Europe and he has some really wonderful photos of Paris and other lovely places.... definitely worth a look!