17 May 2017

Celebrating 14 Blog Years

Before the throngs of online surfers and madding social media crowd checked blogs daily or even knew where to find one, baratin-debordant launched and offered an active (maybe slow paced) online source for reflective, creative non-fiction. 

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT
In tribute to the 14 years online (since May 16, 2003) , I post here the first blog:

The Joy of Blogging.
How can sitting all day with your eyes on the screen
make your think of new things and say what you mean?
The keys are alive with the power of words
though the thought of it all is something absurd.
In Bloggsville they type and they type and they scroll.
They read and they search trying to make themselves whole.
But all that arrives on the screen are the bits,
the tids and the flotsom and whatever fits.
The blogging goes on, day in and day out,
as they wonder out loud and shift with each doubt.
It's a Zeuslike land all the words that they blog.
Yet, the bloggers blog on, blog, blog, blog-blog, blog.

Before the blog we had the website from Tripod. So old I don't even have the password to edit the site now.
http://debordante.tripod.com/index.html
One of my favorite plugins won't work on that site any longer; the fish in the virtual tank moved when the cursor brushed over them.  Now it reads: Undefined. Huh!

An upgraded site for the most inventive of creative reflections and artzy finds has landed here:
http://dameistermedia.blogspot.com/\

No matter Where In The World we land, we can wonder out loud online:
http://meistertravel.blogspot.com/ 

On and on it goes with FB pages, a site for professional work, Pinterest, and those sites I manage for other people. Next year will mark the 15th year of dameistermedia online. "Oh the places you'll go" in this Zeuslike land.



09 February 2017

Spoonful of Love

The chilly weather called for some soup making today. I chose a new recipe I found online for Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup.
The recipe for this delicious soup, just right for Valentine's weekend, is an easy one to follow. I had all the ingredients on hand except the red peppers and tomatoes which I bought fresh at Global Foods Market. I chose to use Roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes with happy bright red colors. What could be healthier, since these fruits are loaded with vitamin C.

I followed the recipe as written with just one exception. I added 1 T of butter when I sauteed the chopped onions and carrots--because I like butter. The peppers roasted in 30 mins. and the skins peeled off easily after they cooled inside a plastic bag. I also took the skins from the tomatoes after roasting them, though the recipe does not specify it needs to be done.

When everything is simmering in the pot, the anticipation is worth a picture.
Let all those flavors kiss each other (perfect for Valentine Soup) and "marry" as many cooks say. Pretty soon the aroma that fills the house cries out for world peace. Truly, it's zen-like. After 25 minutes simmering away, the veggies have softened enough to invite an immersion blender into to the pot.
These handheld blenders are marvelous tools. We've had ours for 25 years or more. As the pieces of peppers, tomato, onion, carrots, and spices get smaller and smaller the color changes into a gorgeous cadmium red mixed with gamboge. A master's palette of flavors all blending together to make a soup that warms the heart.

Here's the recipe I used and a link to the page where I found it.
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Ingredients
·   3 red bell peppers
·   2 whole bulbs of garlic (skin left on)
·   1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
·   1 teaspoon garlic, minced
·   1 large yellow onion, diced
·   2 medium carrots, finely chopped
·   3 teaspoons Herbes de Provence (a fragrant southern Mediterranean mix of thyme, rosemary, marjoram and lavender)
·   1 teaspoon paprika
·   Cayenne pepper, pinch (to taste)
·   5-6 tomatoes (I used a combination of 5 medium/large tomatoes plus 1 cup of cherry tomatoes)
·   4 cups chicken stock
·   1 teaspoon salt
·   ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
·   ½ cup half-and-half (or fat-free half-and-half / creamer, depending on how healthy you want to go!)
Instructions
1.      First, roast peppers and garlic. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place whole peppers on baking sheet lined with tin foil. Lightly drizzle olive oil over peppers. Next, prep garlic bulbs. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a sharp knife, trim the stem end of the bulb by ¼ – ½″. Rub the cut side of the garlic with olive oil. Cover each bulb with aluminum foil. Add foil-covered bulbs to baking sheet with the peppers. Roast peppers and garlic together for 35-45 minutes or until peppers are starting to char and garlic is softened.
2.      Once out of the oven, set aside garlic bulbs to let cool. Place hot peppers into a large plastic bag and seal. Let rest for 15 minutes, then remove peel, seeds and stem (it will come right off!). Chop peppers. Reserve.
3.      Unwrap garlic from aluminum foil. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic out from the skins. Reserve.
4.      Next, roast tomatoes. Cut tomatoes in half or quarters (depending on how large they are) add add to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. If using cherry tomatoes, simply add them to the sheet without cutting. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tomatoes start to “burst.”
5.      In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chopped onion and carrot. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
6.      Add herbes de Provence, paprika and a pinch of cayenne, cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chopped roasted peppers. Add all but 1 tablespoon of “squeezed” roasting garlic.
7.      Add stock and tomatoes. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Purée using an immersion blender or in small batches using a regular blender. Add half-and-half (or fat free half-and-half). Briefly reheat, then serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, if desired. This soup is wonderful with a side of crusty bread – use the reserved 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic to smear on bread just before serving.

http://thechicbrulee.com/2012/09/20/roasted-red-pepper-tomato-soup/


20 December 2016

Grand Theft Grammy


Tis the season for going to the movies. I have three grandsons I want to take to one of the new wonder movies out at this time. Maybe the new Star Wars movie. When I asked those who’ve seen the movie, they raved about it but were hesitant to recommend it for my two youngest grandsons—Andy who is four and his brother, Evan, who is six. I agreed that the plot may be too complicated and the battle effects too fierce.

That does not sound like an Andy movie. Though he DID con me into letting him play Grand Theft Auto a few weeks ago.

I was pretty sure he wasn't allowed to play it, but when asked he said, Yes, I am.

So I watched this sleazy dude who lives in a trailer court try to get out of bed, dress, leave the trailer, and get on his motorcycle. Then he couldn't drive out of the yard in the desert where he lived. I wondered why this guy was acting like a 4-yr-old. OHHHHHH, there's a 4-yr-old at the controls, I reminded myself.

Just about that time, the guy stumbles into a growling dog and says what I think was a curse word, but maybe SHOOT I thought to myself, until Andy grabbed the remote and muted the volume reassuring me that, We don't need the sound, Grammy.

And I was pretty sure he should not play this game. But by then I was really interested in how this guy was gonna survive, since I've never played GTA myself.

Then, Sleazy Dude goes to someplace with posters of naked women on the walls or maybe he went back into his own trailer, and once again I started to ask, Are you SURE you are supposed to play this game? But before the SURE came out of my mouth he had changed the scene and was shopping for a new vehicle. And a new character as it turns out.


 Things went along well for a while with the new character who lives in a plush Hollywood cliff-side home. Andy gave me a tour of the house and the pool and the garage and the patio view. WOW! Vicarious living through Play Station I thought, and made a note to add GTA to our Play Station at home so I could visit more Hollywood houses. Oh, and Andy skillfully left the scantily clad woman in the master bedroom to go down to the living room, out the front door, and hop into the amazing open air sports car.

What d'ya know, we hear the garage door open--of the actual house we are in; and I'm pretty sure his mother is home. Andy shut the game down and ran to greet his mother. Usually he is not that eager to welcome her home and I KNEW, with absolute certainty, that he was not supposed to play GTA. So, I said, Hi. Andy and I were playing....

But a with a force greater than any 4-yr-old has ever mustered, Andy clamped his tiny little hand over my mouth, secured it with the other hand and pushed me back onto the sofa. MMMMMmmmmmmphphphphmmmm, I tried to tell his mother. I was laughing so hard I couldn't have spoken even without the tiny palms locked over my lips.

I tried again later to tell his mother but again he tackled me and smothered me with his little hands. When he'd left the room, I asked her if he could play something called Grand Theft Auto. OF COURSE NOT, his mother said, not in a whisper.

Oh, I said, I didn't think so. She gave me a look that said, WHY did you let him?

27 March 2016

Lost the Lamb

This lamb needs to be resurrected for Easter table. Ignore those Pinterest photos of cute little lamb cakes. Take a look at reality. 

03 March 2016

Longview of Winter

Once upon time we lived through winters like this one in the middle of Illinois.



On a street named Longview, our one acre of land bordered hundreds of acres of corn fields or soy beans depending on the year.

 Winters were particularly snowy in those days.




We sought warmth from the unusually efficient wood burning stove,


 also unusual in its design.

The glass tubular shell surrounded the burning logs and two oven doors behind the shell opened to an oven.


 The only thing ever cooked in the oven was one of those stacked rings from a child's toy--the big red one I think. We didn't know the child had placed it on the oven shelf until we smelled the fumes of melting plastic. This fireplace put out some heat, and it did not take long for the ring to melt.




26 February 2016

Inspiration

Crate and Barrel design photo and my own recreation. The C and B family photos leading up the stairs inspired me to surround a small flat screen TV with framed photos and original watercolors.


03 February 2016

Barn Doors Add Interest

The master bedroom of our home has an adjoining room with a great patio sliding-door and windows looking out onto the landscaped yard. An exterior French-door separated the bedroom and the bright, sunlit room when we bought the house. This door functioned fine, as doors go--open, close, lock--but the exterior look of the interior traditional styled door seemed ill-fit for the Colorado contemporary vibe of the bedroom and house in general. We decided to change the existing door to barn doors.
A creative carpenter, Cris, listened to my design ideas and came through spot on. We tore out the carpet in the room and added bamboo flooring to the "Away Room." Two of the four walls are nearly all glass providing plenty of daylight. The closed barn doors create ideal snoozing darkness for the bedroom, and when the barn doors slide open the bedroom lights up with bright natural sunshine. The doors become a focal point in both rooms when closed and when they open the "Away Room" becomes integrated with the bedroom vibe and welcomes the outdoors into the house.

Ecostruct, LLC (Jay and Gloria Jarvis) took care of every instillation detail. They brought their expertise in ordering the hardware, contracting with Cris, and sending Steven the Carpenter to make this project happen in a timely fashion. We love our new "Away Room" and look forward to spending many relaxing hours in this room reading or just enjoying a great view of the yard and the doors.

20 December 2015

I Miss Summer already



28 November 2015

The BIG Reveal - After












Remind Me Again How Not to Forget

Many years ago I met a woman whose last name was Barb Gowdy. I needed to remember her name because I would be seeing her often at meetings. In order to remember, I knew I had to find a mnemonic (memory trigger) to associate with her and thus recall her name at the next event. Ms. Gowdy was dressed in not so stylish clothes; in fact, I saw her as frumpy. Then, dowdy snapped into my mind and it rhymed with Gowdy. Perfect mnemonic. The next time I met her, I knew her name and greeted her with ease, "Hello, Ms. Dowdy, so nice to see you again."

Most of the time a mnemonic works better than this failed word association I had employed. Looking back, I wonder that I didn't somehow associate her with Gaudi, the artist who designed Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I'd like to think I'm creative enough to have thought of some connection between this Gowdy and the unfinished cathedral. Or I could have worked out something with Barb. The ideas I have now are endless.

The mnemonic name recollection exercise has been around longer than I can remember. I guess not everyone knows about it, though everyone tends to forget names. The BBC has an explanation of how our memories work and how to make the brain's association patterns work in our favor to remember the names of those we meet.

They've included one important tip "It doesn't matter if the links you make are outlandish or weird. You don't have to tell anyone. In fact, probably it is best if you don't tell anyone, especially your new friend! But the links will help create a web of association in your memory, and that web will stop their name falling out of your mind when it is time to introduce them to someone else." Always remember NOT to say out loud the link--the trigger word--instead of the name you need to remember.



http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151113-how-to-never-forget-a-name-again?ocid=fbfut

18 August 2015

Art in the Field

Standing on their own in a field below Falling Water (Frank Lloyd Wright), the Red Army spreads out across the green grass.


Hair Beautiful Hair

In 1970 men really cared about their hair enough to buy THE HOT COMB from Remington. Seems to me like blow drying hair has always been something ordinary, everyone knows how to use the hair dryer, and directions are unnecessary. Judging from this booklet that accompanied the THE HOT COMB, some men needed a little help.


10 January 2015

Before and After

The new year brings an end to remodel projects in our home. Before I do the big reveal on the kitchen, I want to take some space in this post for a renovation of the master bath which was finished a two years ago. While organizing the photos for the kitchen big reveal, I ran across the before photos from the bathroom. This was one ugly bathroom I saw in the photos. And now we have an impressive spa like bathroom. Hard to believe, even for me and I saw it all transform before my eyes.

You have to admit, this is ugly--

The bathroom looked just like this when we moved in. Seriously devoid of any style or color. The "Japanese" tub did not actually hold water (the real-estate description called it Japanese-style, though I don't think that has anything to do with it leaking). And shower/toilet room gave privacy, I guess, but it's a bathroom with a door anyway. Pretty useless.

When we tore out the fixtures and cabinets the space automatically improved.


We were amazed at how much space we actually had to work with. Having the empty space allowed us to get a feel for how big the shower could be, how long the tub would be, and led to some creative ideas for the vanity/sink space. Agape Construction brought in the elbow grease labor and the architectural know how. Whatever I could dream up, I trusted they could make happen. And they did not disappoint us.


Vanity is concrete and flooring is tile. Shower surround tile matches flooring. Lighting above the vanity enhances the design and also allows ambiance for shower/tub use. The dim lighting under vanity and above light cabinet provide non-blinding light in early morning or middle of the night trips to the bathroom.
Cascading water from Moen faucet gently fills the air-bubble tub. Shower has a variety of water sources: rain head, adjustable height shower head which can also be taken off pole for hand held sprayer, two power sprays in the wall.

Under the cherry vanity cabinets you can see in the photo a row of pebble tile spotlighted by recessed lighting. This pebble tiling is repeated vertically in the shower wall for dramatic accent.

The bathroom has a sky-light in the sloping, extra-high ceiling, located above the tub for air circulation of steam in addition to ceiling ventilation on a timer. A recessed nook in the shower looks unique and functions as a shelf for bathing products.
 Tub is easy to step into with enough room on ledge for sitting. The modern toilet has water conservation technology.

We love our new bathroom so much that we couldn't wait to get started on the kitchen remodel.

Check out the upcoming post with photos of the BIG kitchen reveal.




29 November 2014

A Work in Progress


Artist on the River click here to view artist site
Follow a work in progress: "the possibilities of what our planet, and more specifically Minnesota’s Mississippi River Valley, will look like over the next 150 years. Using scientific research and historical analysis," the artist will develop "a multi-channel video installation that combines hand-drawn animations, high-definition video footage of the Minnesota landscape, and field recordings to paint a picture of what may come." 

05 September 2014

Can I call this home?

I love a room with a view. And the inside ain't so bad either.


Can I call this home?

30 June 2014

The Big Reveal: Before

We live in a house built in 1987 by some very creative people. The real-estate blurb called it "Colorado Contemporary." It was love at first sight. Rustic Colorado stone exterior in front and cedar siding all around with clear-story windows and a unique floor-plan. In addition to everything we need on one main level, the house features a solarium with full length windows.
The roof lines give that Colorado Rockies vibe, also emphasized by the steep climb up the driveway. Our vision for the interior reflects an eclectic vibe, not as rustic as the exterior.

A few years ago, we started on the kitchen renovation. We stopped with yanking out the Jenn Air stove (with only two burners) and the small wall oven. In their place we installed the cabinets and counter where the wall oven had been, and added a new inductive range with large oven, and a microwave above it. The cabinets remained white, as originally built, except the ones on top over the range/oven. Those we replaced with a wood grain that imitates the original upper cabinets over the sink that have wood-framed glass doors.
In the middle of the kitchen pictured here, you see the enormous island (interior shot after cabinet and counter were removed). An island does not need to be this large, and we wanted to have a hangover for bar stools (get it hangover for....never mind).
Yes, that's a Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer (right of the photo), original to the 1987 house. Still works well. Since they cost more than most cars and have to be specially installed, we have learned to love it.
Stay tuned. I am not giving away the BIG reveal in this post. This week the finishing touches will be added and all in good time I'll share the photos of this 21st century make-over in another post.