Friday, February 25, 2022

The littlest things. Thinking of the women of the Ukraine.


Annabelle and I are at home being pretty lazy while Don is in town running errands.  

Post Office, drug store, bank.  You know, those little things we just do without much thought.

Unless we're in the process of deciding what to cram into a backpack to carry with us as soldiers invade our country.

My lazy day included pampering myself a little with a mask.

One of those girly-girl things so many women do.

The soothing coolness of my facial mask fought with the salt of my tears as I thought about the women in Ukraine not having a choice today as to whether they might want to have a lazy day of pampering or decide what to cram into a backpack to carry with them as soldiers invade their country.

Some of us love our potions, and creams.  

Some us enjoy playing with them.  Or just knowing they're there.

We paint our nails.  We paint our faces.  We spritz on a bit of favorite fragrance.

We enjoy being women, doing what women around the world do.

And have done for hundreds of years.

Small things.


Material things.

But things that remind us that we're women.

We may be thought of as soft, and we may possess softness others think of as a weakness, but only a fool would think that's the all of us.  Along with that softness is the strength to decide what to cram into a backpack to carry with us as soldiers invade our country.

It won't be their potions and creams the women of Ukraine will be packing, of course.  Sadly, those are only a few of the parts of their lives they'll be leaving behind.

Wondering if they'll ever see them again.

Ever spend a day of pure delicious laziness ever again.

In the meantime we will read stories like the one about the brave Ukrainian woman who offered a soldier a handful of sunflower seeds.

Thinking of Ukraine today.

Thinking about the acts of bravery we will be reading about during the coming days.

Real bravery.

While many much less brave will continue to bitch and moan and whine about wearing a mask during a global pandemic.

This is what inspired me to write today.

Ukrainian artist Olesya Hudyma (b. 1980), "Angel of Peace for Ukraine XI," oil on canvas. She posted 13 hours ago that her family woke to the hum of planes and they are putting backpacks together.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Another reading rabbit hole

Remember the adorable book IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE?

"If a hungry little mouse shows up on your doorstep, you might want to give him a cookie. And if you give him a cookie, he'll ask for a glass of milk.   When you give him the milk, he'll probably ask for a straw..."

Otherwise known by grown-ups as "going down a rabbit hole."

You who are among the curious know exactly what I'm talking about.

Reading books on our Kindle encourages these rabbit hole forays by allowing us to highlight a word or a phrase in the book we're reading to do a web search.  Wonderful!  No more putting your book down to reach for a dictionary, or to jot down a name, a place, a recipe, or a quote you want to learn a little more about.  Just highlight and search  -   VOILÀ!   I've been known to get so wrapped up in the search, I totally forget about my book for awhile.  

Getting back to what I was going to say . . . recently approved my request to read an eARC of The Perfume Companion

Although it was a book I might never have had pop up on my radar, I ended up reading it from cover to cover, finding it fascinating.

I have always loved perfume and have a virtual storefront of fragrances on a shelf if my own.

Many I no longer wear.

Especially now that I am head over heels in love with (aka addicted to) Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Baccarat Rouge 540.  Admittedly, it is out of my price range.  But.  I did treat myself to a bottle.  No apologies.  I am worth it.  (Than you, Cybill Shepherd).

Anyhooooo . . .

Back to what I was saying . . .

The Perfume Companion sent me down a rabbit hole to explore perfume books.

There's a gracious plenty.

Not all as enjoyable as The Perfume Companion, but still interesting and fun.

Coincidently, novels featuring fragrances have always been of interest. 

Stories and myths are in abundance and play a large part in the history, and mystery, of perfume.

These are a few I've enjoyed over the years.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Horizon (to Tristan Tzara) by Philippe Soupault


The whole town has come into my room
the trees have disappeared
and evening clings to my fingers
The houses are turning into ocean liners
the sound of the sea has just reached me up here
In two days we’ll arrive in the Congo
I’ve passed the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn
I know there are innumerable hills
Notre-Dame hides the Gaurisankar and the northern lights
night falls drop by drop
I await the hours

Give me that lemonade and the last cigarette
I’m going back to Paris

translated by Rosmarie Waldrop

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Another birthday rolls around!


It's Don Barley's birthday.

In times past we would be going out to dinner to celebrate the occasion of his birth.


Because COVID has proven itself to be stubborn enough, and still dangerous enough, to be of concern, we'll be celebrating in the comfort of home.

The celebrating of this most auspicious occasion started a day a head of time with cake.

Making a wish!

This evening it's filet mignon, asparagus, and the potatoes and onions that are happily cooking in the crockpot (recipe below).

And cake.

And ice cream.

Thanks to all of you who have sent good wishes!

(COVID update for Watauga County, North Carolina
Watauga Medical Center has seen one COVID-19 patient die each day for the last four days as of Feb. 10.

Of the 107 deaths at WMC from COVID-19,  99 of them have been those who were not vaccinated. 

Even with this, I know some of you think we're ridiculously paranoid.  

So be it. 

We have suffered losses - some closer than others.  

One quite close.  

The most recent, just this week - the daughter of an acquaintance, a 39 year old mother of two.  She died in the hospital while awaiting a liver transplant.  Liver damage caused by COVID over Christmas.  Yes, she was vaccinated.  
So, please, allow us to do things our way without your rolling of eyes and lack of respectful understanding.)

And, please, wear a mask.  

If not for yourself, for others.

Crock Pot Potatoes and Onions

Delicious and savory, baby new potatoes or red potatoes make a delicious side dish that that is not only easy, but one pot. Slow cooked potatoes are soft, tender and FILLED with flavor because of the tender sliced caramelized onions. The brown butter and simple seasonings lets the potato shine and because this dish is made in the crockpot, it's also super holiday friendly as a ready-when-you-are side dish. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Course: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crockpot potatoes and onions
Servings: 8
Calories: 266kcal
Author: Trisha Haas - Salty Side Dish


  • 1-1/2 lbs. tiny potatoes cut in half
  • 2 large Vidalia onions sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


  • Add potatoes and onions to a slow cooker and mix well.
  • In a separate small bowl, combine butter, broth, brown sugar, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Pour brown butter mixture over potatoes and onions and mix well to evenly coat.
  • Cover and heat on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
  • Drain or serve with a slotted spoon (if desired).


Expert Tips
  • Add grated or crumbled cheese to the top before serving.  Parmesan, cheddar, blue cheese all taste amazing with baby potatoes and onions!
  • Because slow cookers all cook at slightly different times, check the potatoes every so often during the cooking process. They are ready when the potatoes is fork tender.
  • Try adding a packet of onion soup mix, ranch seasoning, or add some extra herbs like chopped fresh parsley, basil, or rosemary.
What are Vidalia onions, and can other types of onions be used in this recipe?
Vidalia onions are a type of onion grown only in a specific region of Georgia.  They are sweet and the oils are less potent so they won’t make you tear up like other varieties of onion.  If you can’t source Vidalia onions for this recipe, use any sweet onion such as Walla Walla, Maui, or Texas Sweets.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 340mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Reading some very good books

I have had the pleasure of reading some excellent books recently.

We all go through spells of not being able to find that book we know we need (even without knowing exactly what it is) from time to time, but thankfully that sorts itself out with a constant supply of new (and old books!) available to choose from.   

That perfect book will find its way into our hands.

Sometimes it's the latest entry in a well-loved series.

Lise McClendon writes one of my very favorite series, and the latest is one of the best.  There are five Bennett sisters, all smart, strong women.  Do I have a favorite sister?  Well, yes.  Yes, I do.  😁. Now that I'm completely caught up with the series I'm thinking I may go back and revisit her.

Or discovering an author we weren't familiar with.

Thanks to I got an early peek at a terrific book by a truly gifted author. 

I fell head over heels in love with Leesa Cross-Smith's HALF-BLOWN ROSE within just a few pages.

  It hits the shelves in July.  Be on the look out!

Or, after waiting and waiting and waiting, you're finally awarded for the wait when a new a J.D. Robb pops up on your Kindle at 12:14 a.m. on its release date.


Life is good.

Off I go to spend the day with Eve and Roarke and friends in the 54th book in this series.  And they never disappoint.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Paris - Going, Not Going

One of my favorite things to do in Paris is visit Cafe Marly at the end of the day, drink a cup of their wonderful hot chocolate and watch the Louvre pyramid as it reflects the colors of the sky as it changes.  

I was excited about getting to do that this year.  


It's not to be.  

Not this year.  

Maybe next.  

Paris will still be there.  

As will the pyramid.  

As will Cafe Marly.


Will the jackasses refusing to wear masks and be vaccinated still be around?

Will there still be as many different COVID protocols as there are countries?

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.