Monthly Archives: October 2012

Gorgeous Doors


The Russian blogger Marinni does it again – a beautiful collection of doors from around the world, from the famous doors in Florence to this gorgeous Hindu door.  My front door is painted blue as well – even before I knew that the color guards your house from evil spirits.  I love the colors in the second photo – funny how very few photos included people knocking on the door.   The contrast is beautiful!


The Cat Sneaks On Little Fog Feet – Sort Of

(For years, while I lived in Germany, we had a Stammtisch – Regulars Table – every Friday night at our local gasthaus.  Talk about fun times!  Arrive at 6:30, leave at 11:00 with no waiters trying to hurry you out every fifteen minutes.  The Germans are ahead of us in MANY things.  Once we moved back to the U.S., I tried to continue the tradition, but at home with all of our neighbors.  Successful most nights, but last night?  Read on.)


During Stammtisch on the screen porch last night, while friends sipped their wine and ate delicacies such as Spekuloos cookie butter on soft white bread – don’t ask, just try it – I kept getting a whiff of, umm, something not so pleasant. Egads, not good for a hostess to smell something like this! It just seemed to be at my end of the sofa, no one else could smell it, or they were too polite to mention. Checked the feet, did a discreet smell check of the sweater (Really, when WAS the last time I washed that sweater!) but nothing. Finally, after everyone was gone, I took a close look under the furniture. Yeah, eau de chipmunk from behind the planter. My cat, a lover AND a hunter. Damn cat door.

Star Wars Characters as Religious Icons


When I was a twelve-year-old girl, Star Wars hit the big screen.  I LOVED IT!  I saw it fourteen or fifteen times,  most of those alone.  I bought a signed photo of Mark Hamill in his Storm Trooper uniform.  I sat on the front row a couple of times and endured having pre pubescent boys in the rows behind me throw popcorn in my hair and giggle throughout the first part of the movie.  Although too young to want to read the screen, once the Empire ship began to move over them, they became quiet.

There aren’t many movies that become almost a religious experience.  And now, if you so desire, you can have even MORE of a religious experience with some slightly sacrilegious (unless you’re a fanatic) iconic paintings.

Star Wars medieval art

Authors and their favorite foods


Agatha Christie adored Devonshire cream.  Having tasted it with scones and strawberry jam in the original location, she’s right, it IS heavenly – but I couldn’t eat it every day.  Now Sartre’s treat, I HAVE eaten everyday and used to buy by the case at my local Turkish food store when I lived in Germany.  Great with tea, great with coffee, great with milk and always great with a book or magazine.  Yummy almond halva.  Click the photo and check what YOUR favorite author loved to eat.



The quiet benefits of tea


I love my tea.  Pots and pots of tea.  Only loose tea, I’m a bit of a snob.  And lo and behold, Oprah and I both like Oolong.  Who knew that we’d have something in common?



The Brew
The leaves of this elegant Chinese tea are semi-fermented—allowed to wither briefly, then bruised to spur oxidation, and dried before the enzymatic process is complete. Oolong’s varieties range from light and sweet to thick and woody.

The Benefits
According to a study of more than 1,500 subjects, a half cup to two and a half cups daily of oolong tea or the more famous health star green tea can lower a person’s risk of hypertension by 46 percent. Oolong and green tea are rich in antioxidants that help control an enzyme that raises blood pressure.


Ostfriesentee   Ostfrisian tea

Ostfriesentee. Mmmmmm. Must have some, now. Ostfriesen (East Frisians) love their tea. So do I. In fact, it is the one thing I always bring back from a trip to Germany. And I am not East Frisian.

East Frisians love their tea so much that in 2008 their tea consumption was the highest anywhere, worldwide, with about 290 liter per person, twelve times as much as the average German drinks. Tea is not tea is not tea, to a Frisian. It must be Ostfriesentee which is a blend of up to 10 black tea varieties, mostly Assam, but not all. Important is that the blending takes place in Ostfriesland. Only then may it be called “echter Ostfriesentee”. The real deal.

The Ostfrisische Teekultur is famous and Teetied (tea time) is cherished. A guest is always offered a cup of tea.

How it’s served:

OSTFRIESENTEE = Preheat a tea pot, add tea leaves, add seething hot water to just cover the tea leaves, let steep for 5 minutes max., then fill the tea pot with boiling hot water. In a small tea cup, place 1 “Kluntje” (brown or white pc. of rock sugar), then pour tea, carefully add tsp. of cream without stirring.



St Francis of Assisi



bird took flight.
And a flower in a field whistled at me
as I passed.

I drank
from a stream of clear water.
And at night the sky untied her hair and I fell asleep
clutching a tress
of God’s.

When I returned from Rome, all said to me,
“Tell us the great news,”

and with great excitement, I did: “A flower in a field whistled,
and at night the sky untied her hair and
I fell asleep clutching a
sacred tress …”

Francis of Assisi as rendered by Daniel Ladinsky in Love Poems from God, Page 32

CELEBRATING FRANCIS<br /><br /><br /><br />
Today the Catholic church celebrates the feast of Francis of Assisi. To celebrate this day I prayed with this poem early this morning. Walk with these simple verses through this day and let the spirit of Francis wash over you.<br /><br /><br /><br />
WHEN I RETURNED FROM ROME<br /><br /><br /><br />
Abird took flight.And a flower in a field whistled at meas I passed.<br /><br /><br /><br />
I drankfrom a stream of clear water.And at night the sky untied her hair and I fell asleepclutching a tressof God’s.<br /><br /><br /><br />
When I returned from Rome, all said to me,“Tell us the great news,”<br /><br /><br /><br />
and with great excitement, I did: “A flower in a field whistled,and at night the sky untied her hair andI fell asleep clutching asacred tress …”<br /><br /><br /><br />
Francis of Assisi as rendered byDaniel Ladinsky in Love Poems from God, page 32<br /><br /><br /><br />
Photo | I am not aware of the original source of this sculpture of Francis but I know it is found in Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in Naperville, Illinois. If anybody knows the name of the artist who sculpted this wonderful image of Francis  please let me know.

The big deficit’s yours, Obama, own it!


A lot of Democrats are using a clever segue into why Obama should be given a chance for another four years – the deficit is the fault of Bush’s Iraq wars and it will take more than four years to recover from all of that spending.  Unfortunately, they are mistaken – or outright lying, but I’m too ladylike to say that.   Right?  Click the graph and read the article – unless you are an ostrich who prefers to keep your head in the ground.

Wall Street Book Reviews


Every day, I check the A section of the WSJ for a book review.  Great one for Mark Halperin’s book this week, and that’s on my “to read, perchance to buy”, list.  But this one comes before it –  Into the Fire, A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War by Dakota Meyer.

Check this quote, and if it doesn’t make you want to read more, you have ice water in your veins.  So there!
“Once the ambush was under way, the Americans pinned down in the village were shocked to find headquarters denying their requests for artillery and close air support.  Mr. Meyer had not better luck.  Constrained by restrictive rules of engagement tailored to the perceived needs of COIN, he faced a frustration all too familiar to our soldiers today.  With his team trapped, and supporting forces efffectively unresponsive, Mr. Meyer reached within himself:  “I wasn’t scared or angry.  I was beyond that.  I didn’t think I was going to die; I knew I was dead.  There wasn’t anything I could do about it.  I wasn’t a thinking human being.  I had gone somewhere else.  I wasn’t firing the machine gun; I was the machine gun.  Rod wasn’t driving the truck; Rod was the truck. . . . Rod and I planned to keep driving east until we were obliterated or we found my team.”

Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War