Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 92 POTD: Home & Garden Show

There's no sign of spring coming soon here. Never mind, Grand Forks will have a Home and Garden show in a big convention center. Some of the stuff is interesting to look at, lots isn't, but it's kind of fun to see what oddities will be on display (and marketed!)

But the best part was Chef Kim Homes of Sanders 1907. He's an owner/chef in town, and one of those "characters" in and of himself. Check out his hat, and you can't see them here, but he had on matching Zubas.

He gave a demonstration of making a few of his Rollups, which are sliced into hors d'oerves.
Here's a picture of his Smoked Salmon Rollups.

And here's the recipe:

Smoked Salmon Rollups

1 lb cream cheese (softened)
1 T dill
2 T chopped capers
3 T minced red onion
1-2 T sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 lb smoked salmon or lox (sliced thin)

Mix all ingredients, except smoked salmon. Cut tortillas in big squares, and spread mix on them. Put smoked salmon across the torilla, then roll up tightly. Slice in 1/2 " pinwheel & swerve. (Prepare 2 to 4 hours before serving.)

Yum! And omega 3s besides!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Day 91 POTD Spring?

There's snow on the ground, the temperature, with windchill, is ranging between between 16 and 32 degrees, and this is about as much into Spring(s) as it's getting around here just now.

Spring. Compliments of the local hardware store. TFL!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 90 POTD: Fair Trade

I have a lot of faith in people being basically good, decent, human beings, who care about other people as well as about their own, personal interests. (Why else would we have all the wonderful digiscrappers and POTD'ers helping each other out, sharing knowledge.) It's not that I don't think there's selfish or evil people in the world; it's just that I have faith that most of us are "good" most of the time.

I'm impressed with the Fair Trade movement. It reflects this basic caring about others. Here's what Global Exchange has to say about fair trade on their web site:

"The chief concern of the Fair Trade movement has been to ensure that the vast majority of the world's coffee farmers (who are small holders) get a fair price for their harvests in order to achieve a decent living wage. Fair Trade guarantees to poor farmers organized in cooperatives around the world: a living wage (minimum price of $1.26/pound regardless of the volatile market); much needed credit at fair prices; and long term relationships. These fair payments are invested in health care, education, environmental stewardship, and economic independence. Fair Trade Certified coffee is the first product being introduced in the United States with an independently monitored system to ensure that it was produced under fair labor conditions. . . "

And here are some coffee grounds!

And Fair Trade coffee sold even at places as commercial as Target!

But, even better, there's fair trade chocolate! I really like it when our church has fund raisers for various mission or disaster-relief projects, and sells fair trade products, (especially chocolate!) It's like double dipping!

This was a really cool week, having the theme of "Faith." I like that we shared more of some of our personal beliefs, and faith of various sorts. It was a nice way of getting to know each other a little more.

TFL and thanks for sharing!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Day 89 POTD Flowers

Faith in the spring to come . . . Some photos of a Cineraria plant that I bought this week, and will put in my yard sometime in late spring. . .
Shot with my 105mm lens, manual mode and manual focus, custom wb, ISO 400, f/32, ss: 4"
Shot with my 105mm lens, manual mode and manual focus, custom wb, ISO 400, f/32, ss: 5"
Shot with my 105mm lens, manualmode and manual focus, custom wb, ISO 400, f/32, ss: 4"

With Photoblast color wash action.
One thing I notice about these photos is that there're some washed out areas. TFL!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day 88 Psalms and Palms

In keeping with our theme of Faith this week, I thought I'd post a photo that reflects my all-time favorite Bible Study class:

We dubbed it "Psalms and Palms" because a number of us had the Bible loaded onto our palm pilots. A palm pilot, by the way, is excellent for searching phrases or passages in a Bible!

I just have to say that some of my buddies on are scaring me! You have said such nice things about my photos, which I really appreciate and love reading. But thinking that snirt is pretty????? All I can say is, I'm gonna pray for you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 87 Faith in New Life

* * * * Warning: ugly, ugly photos, of ugly, ugly snirt spots. * * * *

Today I set out with my camera to search for patches of snowmelt, and what's emerging from beneath. Mostly, I found snirt, and not much of anything emerging just yet. And I thought of Becky, and her snowman yesterday, and reference to snirt. Becky, my buddy, you don't know snirt! :) That snowman on your blog was beautiful! Snirt is ugly, repulsive, wretched mixtures of compacted snow and dirt! Snirt pops up all over the city as the winter wears on, because there's no place to put the snow.

November snow here doesn't melt till spring (like in JUNE! ok, May). So it mixes with the dirt and sand on the roads (sand put down to keep you from spinning off into ditches). Snowplows come along and try to keep clearing it out of the roads, and they pile it wherever they can. It's not wise to run into it on the side of the road, because it would be like running into an ice wall.

In this pile of snirt, you can see where there was some snow melt, and it refroze into icicles. It's not sparkly clean and pretty; it just reminds you of how cold it still is here.

Sometimes half of a parking lot, or lanes,will disappear. . . taken over by the snirt piles, and you just have to park someplace else, or find another way to drive through the lots.

I particularly hate when the city snow plows pushes half of our block's snow & snirt to the front of our house, and drop it in front of our mailbox at the curb. Then the mailman leaves us a note that we won't get our mail until the path to the mailbox is clear. Clearing it does not mean a shovel, or a heavy duty snow plow; it means a practically a chisel or ice pick, to hack away a path to the mailbox again.

A former pastor/friend made the analogy between the snowmelt in our yards, and emerging new life. He commented that, no matter how bad our yards looks now, as the spring rains fall and summer sun rises, the receding snow reveals all the trash and crud and bareness of the ground now. "But there will be new leaves, new flowers, new life. God promises us the same new life through His Son and the Holy Spirit."

Titus 3:5 (NLT)
He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us, even though underneath our exteriors, there might be some ugliness and trash, and he has faith IN US, in the new life that can emerge.

Even so, when I look at snirt, I can't help but wish for a little cosmetic dusting of CLEAN snow on top of this ugliness, or a rapid melting, washing it away, and new growth NOW! But in ND, we try not to get our hopes up about any of this until we're well into April. Late April.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 86: Bill of Rights

Today, I wanted to still be on theme and I searched for a way to represent my faith in the US Bill of Rights in the Constitution. These aren't great pictures, but they are photos of the cover of a book on the Constitution.

But the strangest thing happened! While I was photographing this, I was listening to NPR. And at the exact same time, there was an interview being conducted with a Retired Rear Admiral General talking about the current threat to our Bill of Rights! The Bill of Rights are the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution; in 1776 the contentious Founding Fathers feared that a national federal government would be too powerful. They insisted on a Bill of Rights to protect individual freedoms.
Since the signing of the US Patriot Act on October 26, 2001, John Ashcroft and the Bush administration have systematically dismantled many of these rights. The Constitution intended to protect such things as our freedom of speech, habeus corpus (the right to due process when accused), freedom from torture, among others. It's been said that since 2001, every single one of the 10 Bill of Rights has been diminished and threatened!

I have faith in our Constitution, but not our current administration!

I had another reminder of the important of these freedoms today. . . especially Freedom of Speech. As part of the 39th annual Writers Conference today at the University of North Dakota, Salman Rushdie gave a talk and a reading on campus.

Because it was a darkened auditorium, these photos are quite grainy. Salman Rushie is the author of Midnight's Children, and the controversial The Satanic Verses. You may remember that The Satanic Verses was considered sacrilegious by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini. The Ayatollah issued a fatwah against Rushdie in 1989.
For 9 years, Rushdie lived under the constant threat of death and attack, but was determined to continue to write and express himself. He did not set out to be a "political" writer, and thinks of his writing as "funny." But it became political, and he became much more acutely aware of freedom of expression.

Rushdie said that during the 9 year period of the fatwah, although he himself was never hurt, those around him were. The Japanese translator of his book was murdered; the French translator was stabbed and beaten; the Norwegian translator was shot 3 times and nearly died.
Last year, Rushdie was knighted by the Queen of England for his literature. After I finish typing this, I'm heading over to Amazon to order his book, Midnight's Children. I'm hoping that it will have as much humor in it that Rushdie had during his talk. It really was a treat to hear him; he seems like quite the character, even if he is officially a "Sir" now!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 85: Easter Lily

At times, called the "white-robed apostles of hope," lilies were said to be found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ prayed there. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. At Easter, Christian churches often fill their alters and surround their crosses with Easter Lilies to symbolize joy, hope and life everlasting.

Throughout time, the lily has been held in particularly high regard. There is an expression 'To gild the lily," and it is said to be an attempt, foolishly, to improve upon perfection. To many artists and poets it seems that if any flower could have one, it would be the lily that had a soul!

I don't know about souls in lilies, but I thought this lily was particularly beautiful!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Day 84 POTD: Faith

Because of my Christian beliefs, Easter is the most meaningful day of the year for me. Today, in church, I found the Easter decorations to be particularly beautiful, with its themes of love, life, and renewal. TFL.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day 83 Green Glass and Phone

I walked around my house today looking for some "green", and this is what I found:

This is an actual, old, working phone. Anyone else out there remember dial phones? When my kids were little, when we traveled, it was by mini-van. And much to the kids' chagrin, every once in a while, we'd see the dreaded "Antiques" sign. My husband loved Art Deco, so in we'd go, S.L.O.W.L.Y. browsing, searching for Art Deco stuff.

It was hard to keep little kids entertained for. . . HOURS! . . . so I'd give them a "finder's fee", a nickel every time they spotted a piece of Art Deco. (I also hoped it would speed up my husband if we pre-located everything!) The kids were fast, and they were good at this, but still very, very bored!

One really bad thing about a dial phone is how much hateful voice options tell you to "push 1 to choose. . . . "

And these are green shot glasses. When my son was little, we were going to have a "prehistoric birthday party." (I guess that fits with this antique theme, here!) I had this idea of making

volcano drinks by putting dry ice in the middle of these tall shot glasses, and then some kid-type drink on the outside. I saw it in a restaurant once and wanted to duplicate it. Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to locate any dry ice in our town, so we ended up with all these pointless shot glasses!

But then, at one point, I was feeling a little paranoid about toothbrush viruses, spreading from one sick kid to another, and decided these would make great, individual, toothbrush holders, and they do! (My now 20-some-year-old sons would probably suggest another use!)

And this last shot (if you're still reading this mucky-muck, is me in my Easter bonnet!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Day 82 Murano Glass Candy

A green stripe. . . .

. . . another green stripe, green wrapper ends . . .

. . . in Murano glass "candies". I just really like murano glass, have a few little pieces, and here's
a view a little further out. All 3 photos were taken with my really fun macro lens.

Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments you've been giving me. I really appreciate your comments, and all the interesting things you write on your own blogs. What an inspirational group of people all of you are!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day 81 POTD More Green & Doug's Easter Adventure

A little green St. Patrick's day foot. Not mine. Mine would be bigger!

I don't know about YOUR significant others, but mine is kind of getting into the whole POTD thing. When it's green theme, he looks for green, to point out to me. He was quite pleased to find this in Target, so of course, I whipped out my camera and took his and it's photo. Note that I cut his head off. I did this on purpose. I had another photo WITH his head on, but I kind of liked his head cut off in this one.

And then last night I sweetly extracted my husband's permission to tell you this tale about him (which I think is one of the wonderful perks of partnership--getting quirky stories about each other.)

None of my 3 children are coming home for Easter. So, I put together packages for them, Easter basket packages with junky goodies. My husband took one of the packages off to work with him to mail. When he got to work, he looked in the back seat, and, NO PACKAGE!

Not good. And then he had this vague memory of a "clunk" as he turned the corner on his way to work. And went racing back toward home, to the corner of the clunk, and there was my son's package in the snow in the street!

But the Netflix envelope that had been on top of the box (on top of the car) was no where to be found. He searched the street, and curb, through the filth of snirt, and trash and beer cans and total slimey road stuff, but no Netflix.

He headed back toward work, feeling kind of despondent, giving up, no doubt thinking thoughts like "I'm not telling Angela," and then about 4 blocks later, in the divider of the road, was a red square! He stopped the car, put on the blinkers, jumped out, and retrieved the Netflix envelope!
He was either aided by angels, or perhaps in the spirit of the week, little green leprechauns, but against all unliklihood, he retrieved both things! And, depending on how you look at it, he either got to keep his head, or was missing something in the first place.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 80: POTD-Little Jade Plant

I couldn't decide which of these baby jade plants I liked best, so I posted them all. Each has something different about them that appealed to me. I took these photos with my macro lens. You might remember the photo of a very large jade plant I posted some time back (Feb 1), and this is not the same plant. If you look very carefully at the right corner of the 3rd photo, you'll see the hint of something pink. That's a milk jug cap! So this is an itty, bitty little Jade plant.

My sister gave me this plant when it wasn't much more than one little branch with a few leaves.
A package arrived from my sister in the mail one day with this plant. And a note that said "somehow" this little plant "fell" into my sister's pocket at a botanical garden, so she mailed it to me.

I couldn't excactly turn the poor little plant out into the cold, so this little waif has
been sitting in my kitchen window, just doing its own little job of pulling carbon dioxide
from the air.
Someday, I might take this plant on a field trip to visit the humongous plant in my office,
but I'd hate to give it a complex if it has any "size" issues. (I don't actually know if it's a girl or boy.)

So that's my green for the day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 79: Green Veggies

Don't you just love it when you're going through the grocery check-out line, and the maybe 20-something clerk picks up the vegetable, turns it over a few times, really stares at it, and then sheepishly asks, "Do you know what this is?"

A couple of green artichokes. Hopefully, someday, I'll get to show you some green grass. Although THAT I might not be able to recognize. Maybe someone can post a few photos of grass to help jog my memory, of what grass looks like, given how long this winter has been. . .

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 78 More of the 1st ever St. Pat's parade in Grand Forks

More views of the parade in our little "hamlet", and its strange, intergenerational mix.

These are the Shriners, singing away in the party spirit of the whole thing. They all seem to take their performances very seriously, and are kind of cute, with their funny hats, and band instruments. In the background is our county courthouse, with blind Lady Justice on top, along with the US flag. It's a cool, old building.

And here are some very cute, cheerful young women, on a float, encouraging parade goers to end up at a local bar, for green beer, no doubt.

And this little boy also took his role seriously, tossing out candy to all the little kids along the route. Something for everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day 77 Happy St. Patrick's Day!

What do you get when you take a radio station, a bar, a few floats, and the Shriners, and mix them together in Grand Forks, ND (stir-crazy from a really long winter?) The first St. Patrick's Day Parade! (Never mind that most of ND is Norwegian and Swedish. . . close enough.) Lasts all of five minutes, and has some nice old guys playing "When Irish Eyes are Shining," one float urging participants to follow up festivities at the bar, and Carpet World frogs tossing candy to the kiddies. . . . And some photos for me, on theme!

Isn't this Grandpa and his little leprechaun cute?