Sunday, December 27, 2009

The End to a Great Holiday

Tonight was a small celebration for my husband and I. We went to a fabulous Italian restaurant and had a mouthwatering meal to celebrate the passage of the Christmas Holiday for 2009. Christmas this year was a wonderful time for us with family and friends. We often go out for a meal the day after as a closing for holiday, and this evening was no exception.

We both chose seafood for our meal, I in a salad bed of arugula, frisée, and way too many other greens to mention. Dressed with a simple olive oil dressing, fresh mozzarella and seared scallops and shrimp it was beautiful to see and even more to eat! My husband chose a meal of breaded and pan sautéed scallops with a pasta and wonderful marinara sauce on the side.

The food was great, but the dessert was equally good in my opinion. We went home through a rather heavy snowfall to a bottle of red wine and some rich dark chocolate.

That's right a pairing of wine and and chocolate! The two together, for me is a decadent way to end a very special evening, and a very special time of the year. Do we really need to go out to celebrate? Of course not! I love creating that special meal here at home and over the years have done so many times, but the chocolate and wine - now there is a tradition that cannot change!

Happy Holidays...oh, and Buon Appetito!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


It is Christmas morn and I, like many are wishing you the readers a special day today. I will be spending the day with family, as I already have on Christmas Eve. We watched the grandkids tear around, enjoyed a grand meal as well as shared in some great company and conversation.

There was laughter and smiles as the children opened presents and spread hugs around the room to everyone as fast as they spread wrapping paper. There was not one huge gift for anyone, but all the small treasures were gratefully received. Small things these days seems to be much more precious, I think.

Have a great day and I will be back on Monday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Art and Necessity of Encouragement

Being an encourager is hard work.

In our society of, "Me," there is little time given for the guy or gal next to you and how you might impact their lives - and your own. It's an interesting fact that when you ask for help in finding a job you'll often get the link for the open position but absolutely no help on actually making a connection which everyone needs to actually get the job. Good or bad, everyone needs that to actually find that perfect job (Or job change) and finding someone to partner with in the search - or for that matter in many other areas of life has become a real difficulty that no one should have to deal with in that hunt for any kind of career especially in the almost no-hire atmosphere that exists today.

My experience over the years has proved to me the typical contact from friends or acquaintances when it comes to the hunt for a job usually ends up being, "step away and let the person fall on their own sword!" No one really wants to take the chance because of the distinct possibility that they'll end up looking bad or worse yet end up giving themselves that image of the pushy person who opened the door to what might turn into the office problem problem child.

There is always a risk in recommending or encouraging someone to apply for a job, but there can also be benefits. How do we teach people that the idea that no one survives as that, "rugged individual." We all need help at sometime in our lives.

We're not taught in school or college how to do that encouragement, or how to be an encourager - but some how we're suppose to just know how to be that kind of person. Most people simply do not know how much this kind of action can change people's lives. This could possibly be the best gift people could give to others in these difficult economic times.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sing...Sing My Song!

I have been a folk music lover since the 1960s, and my favorite folk singer as well as song writer has got to be Pete Seeger. His passion for the common man and for sharing his music as a communal gift to the world is totally phenomenal. If you ever go to a Pete Seeger concert singing along is expected! I cannot think of many other artists who encourage an audience to sing along as loudly and as enthusiastically as this gentle man does, and has for many years.

I have been looking for that perfect album (I know, CD) for years that held the songs that he sang and has become a part of music history (In my humble opinion, of course!) . Those were the songs that touched me over and over again through the years and have yet to find their way into one perfect album - you know, that one definitive album you want to put on and sing along with at the top of my voice.

In my opinion music is to be sung, and in groups we can all get brave and really raise our voices, it can be almost downright liberating! The best example I have of this kind of experience happens when a large group of non-singers stands at any sporting event and sing our national anthem - together! During the singing sometimes you can catch the enthusiasm, energy and animation that many only save for singing alone in the shower. People like Pete often simply know how the gift needed to ignite that spark of music in people - he certainly does that for me!

Since many of his old albums have been reissued on compact disk recently I have begin my search for that one perfect compilation with all those song memories wrapped up on that one circular piece of silver. I have yet to find it! The one that has come the closest turned out to be a badly recorded disk and even though it held all those songs it failed to light that passion for personal I have so longed to reignite.

So now I have finally entered the 21st century through my own personal growth in the technology area. I actually now hold the key to the perfect album! I can download the songs I always wanted much like I always wanted to do way back in the sixties and seventies!! I can do this because I have an MP3 player and of course a computer!

My wonderful Shuffle will soon hold all the songs I love and I will be able to hear and more importantly - sing along whenever I choose to click that little play button.

Isn't the age of the MP3 player grand?!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snow, Beautiful!

The first snowfall of the season hit West Michigan this third day of December and though it may not seem like much I have to remember that just days ago we were in the 50s.

From the yucca above, and our apple tree everything was covered from this icy embrace from winter. I love the trees when they look so beautiful!

My empty chair and the table coated like a cake in the frosting of our first snow - beautiful.

Snow covers everything in a beauty that's totally different from the every day.

Winter White is Here!

Winter began for us in Michigan this evening. Our first wet snowfall has blanketed the area with about an inch of snow and it is a bit slick!

Last Thanksgiving we were in the middle of some of the worst snow and cold we've had in years, but this year has been extremely warm and rainy. (Funny how years can be so different.) We actually had fifty degree days this month which has been a quite distinctive weather pattern for us here in the Mitten state. November and December are usually cold and snowy.

So what does this mean? Is it a harbinger for a warmer winter - or is it a warning of a hard winter? Lots of questions are being asked from those of us who like to be a bit prepared for the onslaught of this season. According to the local weather pundits we are suppose to get more snow than last year - but of course last year was way over the amount of snow we normally get in a season so we still could end up with a lot more snow than usual!

For those of you who don't follow my articles, winter is definitely my favorite time of the year and I love snow! Weather has been an interest of mine most of my life so I'm going to keep track of the snow related events this year as I have in years past. I will make work in the next few days of getting some pictures up of our snowfall here in the next few days to so you can enjoy our gorgeous white stuff too!