Thursday, February 27, 2014

Great Lakes Wonder

Good morning! I hope that your week is going well, are you looking forward to the weekend? I am, it has been a busy and productive week at work and I am looking forward to a little down time. I want to see a movie, read a book and catch up with my favorite blogs.

It has come to my attention that I have been a little, no make that a lot whiny these past few weeks about the incessant cold, snow, polar vortex, and freezing weather. Did I mention snow?

 I apologize but I do write a blog about life and right now that is my life. I promise to tone down the weather reports and to write more about books, recipes and other interesting things.

Today although it was only 15 I was out looking for signs of Spring, I did not see any but maybe tomorrow.

Lake Michigan was stunning today, the sky was blue and the ice was bobbing along the shore. Dare I hope that it is starting to thaw a bit?

This year the Great Lakes are 88% frozen over, that has not happened since 1994, and that means that there is 82,940 square miles of ice covering the largest collection of fresh water in the world. Isn't that amazing? It also means that the Lakes will not warm up in June as they typically do but will take until August. Swimmers be ware...

The ice keeps the lake effect snow down and will raise the water levels which have been down for years so I guess it is not all bad. 

I love to walk along the shores of Lake Michigan no matter what the weather, it brings back so many happy memories of growing up. My mom used to take us to the beach everyday(except in winter) to picnic and play in the sand. Oddly enough I do not recall swimming in the the water but remember vividly catching little guppies in my yellow pail and saving them for my sister who was at school. Sadly the little guys never made it because I always thought the lake water too cold for them and I would fill up the pail with warm tap water. Consequently my sister was often presented with a big smile from me and a bucket of floating guppies. It is the thought that counts isn't it?

Are you a fan of water? Did you or do you spend time at the waters edge? Do you have a favorite lake or body of water that you spent a bit of time at? What is your favorite thing to do there? Collect shells, walk, picnic, swim?

I hope that you have a wonderful day and look forward to hearing your water stories.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Stravinsky Fountain in Paris

Good morning! Yesterday we saw the end of Dowton Abbey Season 4 as well as the Olympics. I miss them both already. Although there were many critics of the Olympics I personally loved them. My only problem  was the incessant criticism and snipping by the American commentators about the mascots, the opening and closing ceremony, and a few other things. I am not going to dwell on that though because they were beautiful. 

Did you watch the closing ceremony? Did you have a favorite part? I loved the ballet, the Russian poets and the segment with Chagall.

Which reminded me of another great Russian, Igor Stravinsky one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. Did you know that there is a whimsical fountain in Paris inspired by his work?

 Created in 1983 by sculptures Jean Tinguely and Niki de Sainte Phalle, the Stravinsky Fountain is located in Place Stravinsky next to the Centre Pompidou.

There are sixteen moving sculptures in all and were inspired by Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring and his other major works. 

I always enjoy sitting by this fountain watching the world and the people go by. Do you like the Stravinsky fountain or is there another in Paris that you enjoy? 

I hope these colorful photos taken on my last trip to Paris brighten your day, stay warm  and safe. If you need a soothing beverage to send you on your way or to welcome you home try this  Mocha Hot Chocolate I made recently. You can find the recipe HERE.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Downton Abbey Season Finale Recap

Good morning! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend with a little warm weather before the next big freeze arriving this week. I had a fabulous weekend, lots of family time, walks, eating and visiting our favorite haunts.

Image PBS

I arrived home in time to watch the Downton Abbey finale, can you believe that we have to wait another year to find out what happens to our favorite characters? I do not know if I can wait, can you?

The episode begins eight months after we last tuned in. The family is in London for the presentation of Rose to the King and Queen and as with anything involving Rose there is a always a little excitement and drama.  In this episode it comes in the form of a letter  that could scandalize the monarchy. The Crawley's step in to try to save the day but ultimately it is Bates who does in the end.

Which is a good thing as Mrs. Hughes finds out  Mr. Bates was in London the day Mr. Green(the man who attacked Anna) died and she tells Mary who toys with whether or not she should let someone know. After Mr. Bates  helps the family she changes he mind.

Cora's mother and brother arrive from America.  Martha Levinson is pursued by the bankrupt Lord  Aysgarth whom she strings along the entire episode until she turns him down and offers to fix him up with some wealthy single Americans if he visits her in America. Her son, Harold is pursued by Lord Aysgarth's daughter Madeline, not because he is handsome but merely because he is rich. She has a heart though and decides not to follow through with her fathers plans.

In the meantime Martha with her wit and Harold with this rough around the edges, loud American ways are good for more than a few laughs in this episode.

Edith has had her baby and left it in Switzerland. Throughout the episode she is sad and mopey not only for the loss of her child, but for her missing love, and gives hints that she has changed her mind about her daughter. Eventually she decides to bring the baby back to the Abbey against her Aunt's wishes to be raised by Drew the pig farmer. How long do you think she will be able to keep the baby a secret once it is back on the estate? 

Thomas continues to be a schemer, he spied Thomas giving his teacher friend a tour of the house and told Lord Grantham. 

Lady Mary is pursued by Lord Gilligham and Charles Blake.The two men spar throughout the episode and  Lord Gillingham tells Mary that Charles is actually a very wealthy man and from a very old family. Mary is surprised and one gets the feeling that these to men will "duke it out " for her hand in the coming season.

After all of their hard work the staff downstairs are given a day off and although Carson suggests a trip to the museum or the wax museum eventually the gang ends up with a day at the beach.

Daisy is pursued by the valet of Harold who tries to entice her with a job in America. After she turns down his offer to come to America Ivy volunteers to come instead. 

And my favorite scene of the episode, when Carson and Mrs. Hughes are in the water walking and flirting with one another and holding hands. I think they would and do make an excellent couple. 

Of course there were other story's going on but these were the highlights for me. Did you enjoy the show? Will you sit patiently and await the next season?

If you did not watch the show did you tune in the the Olympic Closing Ceremony? I watched it and I loved it! The ballet, the symbolism and the history of the country and of course the fireworks were wonderful to see. I am going to miss the triumphs and tragedies of the last 17 days. What was your favorite part of the show, the Chagall painting, or the part with the poets and writers? Or perhaps the cute bear blowing out the Olympic flame?

I wish you a wonderful week. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Favorites from Jenn Cuisine, Waiting on Martha, Bon Appetit, Half Baked Harvest and More

Good morning! How was your week? Do you have some exciting plans for the weekend? 

I am headed to Chicago for a little family time, a little shopping, a walk or two on the Prairie Path and of course a burger from my favorite place, Portillo's. I cannot wait!

This week I have been dreaming of the Malmesbury House, which is currently is on the market if you would like to own a house in England. I mean if it is good enough for Charles II it should be good enough for us.

I reminisced about a few of my past trips to Venice while reading Jenn Cuisine. In addition to being a talented photographer Jenn also features fabulous gluten free recipes. If you would like to see Jenn's work click HERE.

Photo Credit Christopher Baker from Bon Appetit

I learned how to make The Perfect Baked Potato from Bon Appetit and discovered a few interesting Wines from Waiting on Martha..

Milke Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

I hope that you find something new here this week and as always, if you have something to share please do! Have a warm, wonderful and safe weekend. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Winter Blue(s) & White Day

Good morning! I have the Winter Blues. I have lost my energy and frankly I cannot even bring myself to bake which is when I know I am in trouble.  Today we are in for another winter storm, there will be snow, icy rain, cold, sleet, thunder and possible tornado's. When is it going to end? I want to jump back in bed and have someone wake me when it is all over. 

As I am trying not to wallow in self pity I thought I would enjoy a little Winter Blues and Whites today.  I am infinitely happier when looking at waves lapping the shore, white puffy clouds floating in the sky, beautiful art and of course a little blue willow. 

I spent a little time last evening looking at my photos and I noticed that blue and white is one of my favorite color combinations. Although oddly enough I do not have one room in my house in which blue plays a key roll, aside from my collection of transfer ware in the kitchen and that does not really count as it is in the cabinets. 

Are you a blue and white fan? In your decorating? Clothing? Art? Car color? If so than I think you will enjoy these photos. 

I hope that you have a great day and that the winter blues have taken on a new meaning at least for today. 

If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe!

Linking to:

The Pink Pagoda