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Saturday, February 27, 2010

What? No Water?

Oasis Weekend: All that rain last week and now no water?

Have you ever lived with little or no water? It certainly brings your attention to how necessary water is in our lives. Though I'm not sure of all the specifics, I know that water service is not completely reliable in this country. Recently, I read about a delightful water protest in Luquillo where residents gave a birthday party to the un-repaired water main! Cumpleanos feliz!

Happy birthday dear broken water water main...

Clever idea.
The main is on the mend!

I live in a rural area.
When people ask me, "How many dogs do you have?" I answer, "A country dozen." Some of you know about my ill-conceived-but-improving-animal shelter project but did you know how much water dogs need to drink? We are buying plastic water jugs from Walgreen's to provide them with enough water. Poor babies! The water came on for a short time tonight. It was at a little less than half pressure. I went around doing all of the essentials. I awoke everyone with, Quick take a shower! Do you need to wash your hair? Then it was on to the kitchen to wash the mounting pile of dishes!

My cooking is curtailed this weekend because of the water situation. A good friend, Mark, loaned me his grandmother's aebleskiver cast iron pan, with the intention of sharing a recipe for this Danish dessert. (-round shaped and filled pancake) We had made them together at his country house last summer. What a fun activity! My daughter and I added too much water to the chocolate sauce and the three of us made an impromptu decision to thicken with cream cheese. (Oh my diet!) It was a fortuitous mistake for the creation of great chocolate dipping sauce.

It is made up of two bars bittersweet chocolate, half coup of cream and 4-6 oz of cream cheese. The chocolate is melted in a double broiler (or microwave), add the cream, then blend in the cream cheese with a food processor.

Aebleskivers get their name from the apples that are placed in the center of the pancake ball. (Click on the link above for a recipe). I think I inspired myself to go forward with the project for Sunday's breakfast- water or no water!

Speaking of diet...do you remember my resolution to exercise? I comfort myself with the thought that it's all a process. I am mildly on track. (hummm....is that rationalization I feel coming on?) I signed up for the weight tracker so I can inspire myself to continue to lose weight. When I entered the data, I found that my BMI (Body Mass Index) means "overweight". ( Gulp, shock.) I like the program though. In my mind's eye, I imagine that the weight readings going down. I just love graph-your-life visuals...it gives one such a sense of control (false?!).

This evening, I did get some exercise while quickly washing the outdoor tiles before the water is turned off again. I have never noticed how doggies' smell can be so overpowering! I was eager to get that tile scrubbed clean.

Out of breath but exhilarated about the fresh (!) again night air, I say goodnight to you all.

Happy abeleskiver making! (If you dare!)

May you have a lovely Sunday breakfast tomorrow morning
( -and absolutely no weight gaining anxiety) !
photo credits- abelskiver pan,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Raining in Puerto Rico

Oasis Weekend and it's Raining

The sun is teasing through the clouds but light showers are predicted. What do you do when your house-bound? I thought of making croissants today. (I read that Mrs. French Fancy is touring Paris-that must have started the fantasy.) I've never attempted it because it's too great a challenge. I think the deft skill required to make a light texture for that crunchy buttery bite is beyond me-at least for now. Still, I think many of you have had success with this tempting French delight and I'd love to read your success stories. (I think I will just go and make some crunchy wheat toast!)

Yesterday, in spite of the rain, I went for a walk along the river in Bayamon.

(Paseo Rio Bayamon) It's not that I'm so determined, I had the time to spare while my daughter was touring the estuaries and learning about water in Puerto Rico. (What happened to my umbrella?) I casually walked a 5k course, took photographs, sneezed and reassured myself that it was okay to get just a little wet. Honestly, I love walking in nature. When they opened this walking path a few years ago, I was determined to share it with my family. I'm sorry to report that to this day, my children consider these family walks a lesson in "Why I hate exercise". I remember their pleas, "It's too hot!" "Can we stop?" I would determinedly push,"Just a while longer. You will feel better soon." To this day, they think that I was too much of a boot camp mom. Sigh.
Why do I like this physical struggle and success? Maybe hiking/walking is easier for me because I'm inspired by nature. It gives me a kind of excited energy that pushes me forward. Perhaps when they get older they will appreciate the effort? For now, they only remember sweating in the bright sun and too many blood-sucking bugs. I've learned to back down and let them move at their own pace but to this day neither one of them will walk with me! On the positive side, I have enjoyed many thrilling walks with my nieces, nephews and husband. The most exciting walk was to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite (California). It took all day to arrive and return just before dark. Again, my pushing ways were not appreciated. I distinctly remember being serenaded by bitter words and complaints about lack of drinking water. (Again- sigh...)
In my youth, I was influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau- you remember transcendent nature and Walden Pond? I believe nature has the power to transform- it certainly revitalizes me. Still, I think I should follow the words of Emerson when it comes to pushing others to connect with nature:
Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What is truly important?

Oasis Reflection:
This week, I've been thinking about how we need to remember to teach our children what is fundamentally important in life. Mary Dow Brine's poem,"Somebody's Mother"
(Writer's Almanac/Feb 16, 2010) touched my heart.


Somebody's Mother
by Mary Dow Brine

The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of 'school let out,'
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping hand to her—
So meek, so timid, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest lad of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
"I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow,
And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
If ever she's poor and old and grey,
And her own dear boy is far away."
"Somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, "God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"

(Public domain)


I think most of us hope to raise our children with the skills to be successful in life but do we remember that compassion for others is essential for a health and harmony?

These words are written on my prayer flags...

May we all reflect and connect with others while sharing the best we have to offer.

May we create harmony...and be harmonous. (I'm sending this thought to myself as well.)

May February's theme of love radiate throughout your life and all it's creations.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Amelia Earhart's Courage

Courage Needed?

I recently saw the latest film on Amelia Earhart...

her compelling spirit and life are inspirational. I need that kind of strength for the day to day challenges of life.

Have you seen the film? Hillary Swank seems to embody the character and infuse her with life.

I noticed some omitted aspects of Earhart's life and ponder the decision to leave them out. I read that she had a serious sinus condition that had to be operated on three times. (Antibiotics were not yet discovered.) She sometimes had a drainage tube that was tapped on her face. Also, she had a gap between her front teeth. I read that her husband/promoter advised her to not smile in her up close professional photographs. Why do we need our heroes(heroines?) to be so flawless- and in Earhart's case- so healthy? (The movie left out the illness she experienced in her final flight.) It motivates me more when I see that she overcame her own personal challenges.
(image and biography- http://www.ellensplace.net/ae_lflt.html)
I also wonder if the movie romance details were accurate. I could not find any evidence that she was in an open type marriage- as the film portrayed. I frequently read that she and her husband were devoted to each other. (She has another love interest in the film.) I wonder if this contemporary detail was added to make her seem more independent? Regardless of the fudging of facts, after viewing the film, I find that I am inspired to be courageous and face my own fears.

May you have a vibrant and courageous week!