Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015



Here's a better photo (than my phone took) from someone else's camera of the night we went to the Jazz concert at the Sugden Theater. For Posterity! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays

Well, I have to admit that 2015 shaped into a VERY nice year for me!

I had New Years Resolutions which I was able to keep: I finished the memoir; I lost 25 lbs and have kept 22 of it off; I got my bowling average up to 150 (and then quit bowling. ha.

In addition, I wrote a suspense novel in a matter of a few months. It sort of dropped out of me, to my surprise and a feat I never dreamed I could do. I'm now seeking representation (literary agent) and that's tougher than writing a novel.

I got a new job about nine months about with Euro Pianos Naples, and it has turned into a delightbul job with delightful, creative, genuinely NICE and SMART people. I am thrilled! We just moved into swank new offices and will have our grand opening next month, after the art for the walls arrives. (we will be circulating artists every few months for a gallery effect) See photos in my last blog entry.

I do the accounting, but I'm sort of being groomed to do sales (and get paid commissions!) on these beautiful designer, luxury pianos we sell, so I'm excited.

The holidays are upon us, and I usually suffer, but this year has not been bad at all. I did collages for many of the days leading up to now, and used them as little gifts to friends. That's been satisfying since I got really sick of rejections from querying agents.

Tonight I'm going to church with the woman I work for (who's also a dear friend now) and sing Christmas carols. We're hoping the roof doesn't cave when I walk in. I don't know the last time I was in a church. Then afterwards we're going to one of my favorite restaurants Barbarello's - a place I adore for its food as well as its ceilings.


So, I hope the world is treating you well, and that your holiday season is full of good fun and good will. ##

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Euro Pianos Naples

Most of you know I got a wonderful new job about nine months ago working for a fabulous company that sells designer pianos, the luxury items you don't often see or play which will be become household words in the not too far off future--because they are so beautiful, so elegant--like Ferrarris and Lamberghinis--people just can't help talking about them.

I live in Naples, Florida--home of the 1% (ah, you know who you are...) and they can afford such luxuries.

My company just moved into new digs -- giving up the traditional piano selling showroom (it was massive) for a swank, small "by appointment only" salon where people just smile when they walk in. Here are some of the first pictures of our place -- just before the grand opening. (we have art exhibits coming for the walls, so this is just a little taste.)


Need I say that we absolutely LOVE it??

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Collage - Abstract 5

Collage - Abstract Blue

Acrylic, paper, tissue on Arches watercolor paper:

William Noll Jazz Orchestra

Had a wonderful evening of Big Band jazz at the Sugden Theater last night. Maestro William Noll is renowned in Naples for his classical conducting, but who knew he was also the Master of Swing? It was superb and people left with huge smiles on their faces. It rocked. Excellent musicians, wonderful arrangements and we enjoyed every song.


The first half of the program was old jazz classics like "It Don't Mean A thing, if It Ain't Got that Swing," and "Caravan," and "Fascinating Rhythm" to name a few.

The Sugden always puts up a lovely tree and decorates the plaza in front of the theater in style. (and my phone camera takes lousy photos)

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.....as the old song goes!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Collage - Abstract 2



8" x 10" Acrylics, Japanese lace papers, printed papers, and pen on paper

New Series of Collage - Abstract 1



8" x 10" Acrylics, papers, colored pencils on paper

John Carroll Long - Art Anarchist at Work!

Saw a wonderful exhibit last night at the UP Art & Design Gallery. It was one of the most refreshing experiences I've had in ages. This talented man paints, draws, sculpts, does ceramics, cartoons, photography, and large & small mixed media works and huge installations.



John Long's Website


Fascinating, decidedly Liberal, Eclectic, and Irreverant. He also writes well, and explains his political and religious irreverance in both words and art. Clearly the anti-war, anti-bigotry, anti-organized religion, anti-corrupt politics messages resounded off the walls.

One striking installation was a long white wall, with a bent nail sticking out of it, and a large swath of red (paint) blood trailing to the floor where lay the taxidermic head of a beautiful (real) antlered deer. It certainly satisfied my opinions of sport hunting animals. It was not so subtle and shocking to see that bright path of red down a stark white wall, reminding us of the bitter death behind the trophy.

But every piece, large and small, had its own message, and it was delicious to take my time and read, and study the work--including an entire wall of greeting cards that were raucously funny. The man's dark humor is a treasure.

Of course not all of his art is aimed at anarchy! This particular show featured that one aspect of his work. His humor and whimsy shines in all kinds of work.

The gallery itself run by Long's wife, Andrea Clark Brown, is a jewel and purrs with efficiency. The food was wonderful, the wine was fine, and the guests were surprisingly civil, given that many of them were having their belief systems tipped on their axes.

Clicky for more info and pictures

Clicky for more info and pictures

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tree (perhaps?)

A Project for work

This is a piece I created on behalf of my employer to be given to a church who is collecting donations for one of the beautiful Fazioli pianos. I work for Euro Pianos who sells them.

Floral (tissue, acrylics and paper)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Before Pictures of Colby House

A doublewide manufactured home is on the market. I am looking for a larger home, and this one is right across the street from the community swimming pool. It's also got good light and a low price. I am not sure if I can swing it, but I'd like to try. It's old and needs some work. It looks pretty awful without decor or TLC, but I can see the potential. Most of this old furniture will go, but I might save a table/chairs for the outdoor patio.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Ponds by Mary Oliver - a poem for all seasons

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

##
This poem absolutely kills me.

Thanksgiving 2015 - Follies of a Foodie

I cannot believe another year has swept by -- and I am very grateful to still be around!

This year, (for the first time in a long time (for guests) I'm cooking the turkey. Usually I make a small turkey breast for myself and let it go at that. But this year we're doing "orphans" and good friends, good cheer, and LOTS of good food.

I even watched a video of how to carve a turkey! I'm not sure I ever had to do it myself? It's 16 lbs. so there will be leftovers, and I bought Glad "doggy" containers so people will take home food. (It's awful to be a guest and go home without leftovers!)

THANKSGIVING MENU - 2015

Prosecco
Pinot Noir
Shrimp Cocktail with Horseradish Chili Sauce
Roast Organic (brined) Turkey
Cornbread Chorizo Sausage, Cherry & Pecan Dressing
Old Fashioned Mushroom, Apple, Apricot Dressing
Cipollini Onions
Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy
Sweet Potato & Pecan Casserole
Soft Rolls and Butter
Pumpkin Pie
Homemade Donut Hole Bread Pudding
Whipped Cream

No Football. (alas, no TV).
HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY, EVERYONE!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Silenced

Do yourself a Favor and See this Documentary - "Silenced" (clicky) I found it on Netflix.

I gave up on politics after Obama disappointed me time after time. I really thought he was the one man who would not succumb to the political machine. But I was naive. I maintain that he's been better than most, but after this film, I am appalled.

Like many Americans, I had never taken the time to think about what is going on with Post 9/11 national security. Homeland Security with its multi colored warnings was made into a big joke, and the general tone of the country was frenzied fear of the Arab world, and remains so today. Not to say there aren't some good reasons for fearing the jihadists who seem bent on everyone's destruction including their own.

But in the craze of keeping the nation safe, the TRUTH is now being suppressed under the false pretense of CLASSIFIED SECRETS, and American whistle-blowers in our government are being SILENCED, and our democracy is under attack by own own government, folks.
When I watched this documentary, I was not surprised to find out the Bush Administration was deliberately breaking the law and taking away the private rights of American citizens, but I was surprised that they were even more corrupt than Nixon in their covert smear antics, and paranoia. Especially Cheney who was apparently cut-throat. But THEN I learned that on Obama's watch, more espionage charges were made than ever before -- NOT on terrorists, but on whistle-blowers, American citizens trying to call out illegalities in our government. (Clicky)

It's true that it's not a black and white thing in all cases, but watch this film and see if you can ever wrap your head around a democracy that silences its watchdogs?I didn't want to believe any of this was possible in America, much less under a White House that boasted liberalism. Something is terribly, terribly wrong in Washington.

I am silenced by the terror in my bones for our magnificent country which is inching its way to totalitarianism. Or worse.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cipollini Onions in the Crock Pot - Folly of a Foody

A couple of weeks ago, at a business luncheon at food-fabulous The Capital Grill, I had a perfect salmon portion sitting on a dish beautifully "decorated" with little round onions that were sweet and delectable.

I had never seen an onion like that before (they were actually smaller than those in this photo) and was told it was cipollini (pronounced chip-oh-lean-ee). I found them at Whole Foods a few days later and decided I had to learn how to cook them.

Most of the recipes called for braising them in various concoctions of wine and butter and brown sugar and vinegar, and eating them immediately. But I wanted to see if I could make them ahead for Thanksgiving, freeze them, and see if it works! I decided to try the crock pot!

So, they are on Low setting with red wine (a merlot that was a shade too sweet to drink/read cheap), a little brown sugar, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, and some olive oil. I plan on letting them do a slow cook until the liquids reduce to a glaze. If they taste right, I plan to cool them and freeze them. I'll be back later to report on the outcome. Watch this space!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Vertigo Cure!

This is a free treatment from a doctor who got vertigo herself so she figured out how to treat herself and is sharing it.

Since I get vertigo myself sporadically, I'm posting this so I never lose it!!



Thanks to my friend, Jeri for forwarding this gem to me!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fazioli -- Front & Center --at Florida State Music Teachers Conference 2015

The Place: Beautiful Sanibel Harbour Marriott Hotel, Florida

The Time: Weekend of October 22 through 25th, 2015

The Event: FSMTA Conference for 2015

Featured Guest: Pianist Richard Bosworth, a concert on the famous handcrafted Fazioli piano (supplied by EURO PIANOS NAPLES, coincidentally the company I work for!)

On Friday, Dr. Bosworth did a presentation of Fazioli, and students and participants tried out the piano.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jellyfish Review, new literary publication picks my Flash


My flash fiction piece "I Remember" was chosen as the introductory story for the new Jellyfish Review. I'm honored and thrilled.

JELLYFISH REVIEW

Sunday, October 18, 2015

De Romo's One-Year Anniversary

The wonderful Italian grocery & deli & restaurant, De Romo's had an Italian feast to celebrate their one year anniversary in the Promenade Shopping Center on Oct. 15th. My friend Sunny and I attended and had a wonderful time -- a bottle of red, meatball sandwiches and eggplant Parmesan -- and all of it delicious.

There were Ferraris for sale in the parking lot, so of course I picked mine out immediately. It had a price tag of $89,900.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Homemade French Onion Soup - Folly of a Foody



I can't help it! I'm a foodie! But I'm keeping the weight off, just so you know. Smaller portions, healthier (sometimes) recipes. (currently at a 24 lb. loss. Original weight loss was 25 lbs.)

But I have been hankering for real French onion soup for ages now. If you've ever had the real thing, you'll not likely forget it. And what you get in many (most?) restaurants is poor in comparison. Hardly worth the calories.

But I found an Epicurious recipe which was labor intensive (relatively) but worth every second.

I sliced 10 small sweet onions and sauteed them in a big pot over medium heat in 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and a teaspoon of veg oil until they got soft.

Then I added a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper, and cooked them (turning with a wooden spoon occasionally) for about 45 minutes over medium-low heat until the onions carmelized, turned golden brown. BE CAREFUL THAT THE HEAT'S NOT TOO HIGH. You cannot rush this step.

Then add 1 1/2 cups of dry white wine and cook until liquid is almost all evaporated.

After that, I added six cups of beef broth and an herb bundle (tied up with string): 10 sprigs of thyme and two bay leaves. Bring that to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let it cook about 40 to 45 minutes until it starts to reduce. Adjust seasonings. Add two more tablespoons of butter to the soup when it's cooked. You will simply not believe how good the taste is!

Cut two 1/2" French bread baguette slices for every bowl of soup. Toast them until crisp and dry but not browned. Rub one side of each with a cut garlic clove.

Set bowls on a baking sheet. Add 1/2 tspoon of Fino or Manzanilla sherry to the bottom of each ramekin or bowl, and ladle soup on top. Put two toasts on top of the soup and cover the bread and soup with grated Gruyere cheese. Broil 4 to 8 minutes or until it looks like the photo above!

Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead (without toasts or cheese) if refrigerated and 6 months ahead if frozen. Toasts can be made without cheese and kept sealed at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

One of my favorites of Billy Collins - "JAPAN"

JAPAN
by Billy Collins

Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again

I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.

And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.

It’s the one about the one-ton
temple bell
with the moth sleeping on the surface,

and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.

When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.

When I say it into the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.

And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,

and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Carmelized Figs with Premium Vanilla Ice Cream & Balsamic Drizzle - Folly of a Foody

Had another little dinner party last night to try out the shrimp rolls (see earlier post). Threw some corn on the cob, and mixed veggies (asparagus, red onion, yellow squash, carrots, red pepper) on the grill, and made an interesting BBQ butter to go with the corn. It came out well, and guests were pleased.

But for me, the dessert, this time, was the big winner. Carmelized Figs with Vanilla ice cream drizzled with aged Balsamic (I found a tiny bottle, aged 20 yrs. that I shall use sparingly and treasure).



The recipe I used called for broiling the figs, sprinkled with brown sugar. But this morning, I found another recipe (by Sophie) whereby you do the figs in butter and brown sugar on top of the stove, and that then gives you a sauce. I may try that next.



My recipe called for premium vanilla ice cream. Premium? sez me? I thought about Haagen Daz. But when I was at Trader Joe's (buying the figs) I found PREMIUM VANILLA in their freezer, and it is rich, creamy ice cream, to die for. Really, really decadent. I figure if you're going to go for it, go all the way!

Yes, I'm keeping the weight off, but once in a while, you have to induldge!

This is the best thing I ever ate!