Monthly Archives: February 2014

Old friendships and reuniting with them after 50 years.

Slide2Funny true story. My former neighbor moved to San Diego last month, and happened to come to the JCC for a discount membership early one Sunday morning (that’s her in the purple frame with her two brothers).

She met a woman (my daughter’s boss) who handed her fliers of upcoming classes and events. While standing in line, she read one and realized that she recognized a name from the past, (my sister!) way back to childhood in fact.

Well with the advantage of having a smart phone in hand, she facebooked Slide1my sister and they “talked” and realized the connection and that her niece worked at the J.  My sister facebooked me with a few details and I told my daughter about it. Well, she had a luncheon to go to that afternoon and left. In about a half an hour, I look on facebook and there is my daughter, next to my old neighbor at the same luncheon. Out of a thousand women and a hundred tables, what were the chances of this happening?

Now, I am wondering how the heck they got together. It turns out that my daughter’s boss was the lady who handed her the fliers and she saw her at the next table. She went over and said her friend had told her that her niece worked at the JCC and did she know her? Her boss said that she would be sitting next to her during the luncheon and she would introduce them.

Okay, with me so far? Go forward now, I look at the facebook picture and am bowled over. Within two hours, I see a photo of my daughter and my friend standing together at that luncheon. Well, she came over to meet me the next morning and I told her that my sister (who still has our maiden last name) and I are giving a poetry reading (tomorrow night actually Feb 18). We then made a plan to visit with my Mom and my sister in Laguna the last weekend.

Later that same day, I connected with another former neighbor from our old street as he was online on a facebook chat – so we chatted and I told him the story (he had 3 siblings).  Well somehow since January 12, at 7:30 in the morning, between my sister in Florida, my two old neighbors from childhood and myself, we started looking for all the kids who grew up on our little circle street.

We now have eight families out of the 14 houses on our tiny street (and more on the adjancent street), 25 kids got connected after 50 years. So far who are all remembering riding bikes, and Fourth of July Adventures with my Dad, block parties arranged by my Mom and numerous other journeys. Back then, we walked long ways, (even slugging through snow and sleet and ice) to Belvoir School took public transportation to Wiley Junior HIgh and to Cleveland Heights High School (when we didn’t get a ride from my Dad). Am also learning a bunch of funny things that happened so long ago, and now everyone is of course, all over the US. My Mom is floored at how many Doctors, lawyers, scientists, artists and PHD’s there are from our little corner of University Hts. Ohio.

Yesterday, my friends’ kid brother (pictured above) and his wife came to San Diego and we had brunch with them in Oceanside. How weird is that, the kid was four years old when I last saw him and he towers over me now? We pulled out the old pictures, which was a riot and my Mom was so thrilled to hear all the stories, (and told a few on her own too). My kid sister now has a website with all of our families past and present photos and stories and we are all enjoying this so much. We are begging them all to dig through their old pictures so we can get a good laugh (and a joyful cry too!)

This is a small world so make the most of it.

Photography concepts where shadows add more umph.

Slide1Every once in a while, I take pictures to show depth or repeated shapes for teaching purposes. But if you study these, what is it that draws your attention first? Look them over, do you see color first? The top left one has the blue reflection of the sky in the window, which does add interest. Notice the one beneath it where all the arches are the same.

The sun creates shadows in the crevices and enhances all of the shapes. Without it these would be flat nothings.  I think these show that the importance is the values in the contrast. Maybe we could try to take the same pictures when the sun is not out and see the power of what happens to surfaces.

Arches add a certain dramatic effect, but look, one is looking in and the other looking out, but the depth is there showing the diminishing sizes. These are creating the depth and add interest in breaking up the picture plane. If you took a straight on picture, it would have all the same sized arches (or windows in a building picture). I always try to paint coming from an angle just because it is less repetitive in size.

So my challenge to you is to go out and see what you can shoot thinking all of these concepts;  Repeated shapes, contrast, angle to create depth and do it on different days for comparison purposes. It is nice to not have to worry about not having enough film anymore. Digital cameras allow us so much more freedom.

The key to my childhood dream was to see “locks” in action.

Slide1When my Mom and sister said they wanted to see the Panama Canal, I was excited. Every children’s museum that I ever visited, had me playing with locks for long periods of time. I wanted to understand how they worked. Well, I jumped at the chance to cruise through it with my Mom, my two sisters, and my daughter too.

Other than having to get up at five and get your spot on the upper decks, Slide2the heat was so intense we had to keep going inside, even at that hour. We were the biggest ship so we got in line and would be going in first. We stood in line for a long time and then when the sun came up, we got the nod.


Slide3We saw the tug get us into position, then some guys in a little row-boat, jumped in front of the boat and got wires attached to us. The train cars, or mules (since they used to be real mules) hooked on to the wires and held us securely because the sides were really close. We did hit the sides twice says my sister Norrie. You will also see a photo of us being in our cabin and looking out at the side of the locks while we were in it coming back.Slide4

Our Island Princess cruise went from Long Beach (San Pedro, CA) to five countries and entering the locks from the West, the Pacific Ocean. We turned around and came back through them so we did not fly back like most tours do.


The workers actually can walk across the very heavy doors, they weigh tons. I did not writre down the figures of how much water this all takes, but I am sure you can google that info.

The water spreads out on the side edge. We saw bubbling under a bridge next to us (see the top right of the collage with the mules). I thought the water goes from one side to the other lane but that was not true. Watching the doors open was very exciting. There was a double door on one set.


What’s in the big pot?

Slide1Oh boy, I had to share this with you immediately before I forgot how I made this. Several years ago, my daughter and I went to a special cooking class by the Cancer Institute. They made a sweet potato Moroccan soup that we really enjoyed. Since then, I keep a can of sweet potatoes in the pantry shelves just for cold days.

Well today I finally felt better, after having a case of some kind of flu all week. I wanted something soothing so I made the soup, but added some things and it was so fabulously good that I just had to share it with you. Plus, this way I keep it on record so next time I need the recipe I have it. Reminder, nothing is written in stone here, which means the amounts are
“whatever!” I do not measure anything when cooking, baking is a different story (and I rarely bake except with crescent and Grand rolls!).

                            PENNI’S SWEET POTATO SOUP

SAUTE: (in eveo)-  1/2 diced onion, 2 chopped stalks celery, and 1/4 of a red peppers, chopped. ADD: 1 can chicken broth, 1 Medium can (29 oz)  sweet potatoes (smooshed), 1/2 shredded yellow squash, some roasted butternut squash, 1 C orange juice, 3 squirts mustard, sprinkle of dried garlic, and at the end, add 1 can whole kernel corn

Another one of my favorite soups for a cool day is one I learned at the Cleveland Museum of Art. I went home and tried to cop it but missed the mark. When I went back I asked the chef what I did wrong and he said you need to use cream. Haha, I am at times lactate intolerant so I decided to use evaporated milk and it worked with a dab our sour cream at the end.

                              PENNI’S PEACH BISQUE

1 C chicken stock, 1 can evaporated milk, 1 large can peaches (juice and all) In the Blender, put the peaches and the milk, add to the heated soup. Sprinkle in parsley, garlic powder, sherry, a T butter and 1/2 instant mashed potatoes to thicken. This is good hot or cold. You can reserve a few peaches and rough cut them for garnish, with a dollop of sour cream and voila, your taste buds will thank you!

The other dish pictured above was one I did with 1/4 lb pre-cooked and deveined  shrimp that was on sale.


Shrimp, fresh whole green beans,  sliced yellow squash, and mushrooms. In a frying pan, saute until the squash slices are tender. Add some fresh green beans (I zapped the green beans earlier!) and then add the shrimp and sliced mushrooms. This was a very quick meal for the family while I was not up to cooking!

FYI: Any kind of soup enhanced with sherry, butter and instant mashed potatoes is “S’wonderful”. So do not be shy, go make some soothing soup.

Next time I will give you a quick lesson in what you can do with pre-packaged Pillsbury (or generic brands) dinner rolls.