Meeting Up

It’s Tuesday, I am reading my email of comments made on the blog. There she it. She has commented and now I have an email address. My fingers reach out to send an email, but quickly I pull them back as thoughts begin to crowd my mind.

Would she want to meet me? Would I be a disappointment to her? I am in awe of her writing talent. What does she really think of my slices? Many more questions and writing insecurities cause me to stop any action . . . this week. I will face this dilemma again next week.

I am in California and I know that Write Kim Write of the Learning Tour Writing Stop blog lives somewhere around the area where I am staying. We could meet face-to-face. The idea intrigues me, but yet I hesitate.

Each day I walk around the neighborhood and wonder if she is near. Could I be walking by her home? Yes, I know the probabilities are nearly impossible, but stranger things have happened to me.

Tuesday of week two arrives, what will I do when I am faced with that email address again? There it is. Kim has commented on my slice. I think, what if I go home and she sees that I was here and writes you should have told me, we could have met. I want to meet her, but does she? If I don’t ask, I will never know. During the evening I make the decision to contact her. I create the email with the subject line: Message from Elsie since my email has a different name attached to it. I click send as my heart races. Will she respond or trash it (thinking it is some kind of spam). I don’t have long to wait. My iPad dings there is a message. Yes, it is from Kim and she wants to meet up! Several emails fly back and forth finding a time to meet. It’s getting late and she has to teach tomorrow, so we will finalize the plans later.

Wednesday I have a new email with details of a pl.ace and time. We plan to meet in Corona for lunch. Kim confesses she is a bit nervous about meeting me. I laugh when I read that because she doesn’t know the half of my case of nerves. It seems like a long time until Friday.

My husband decides to drive me to the meet because he can take our son out for lunch (as luck has it , he works in Corona). We arrive a little early, but soon a car pulls up and it is Kim! There is no time to be nervous or wonder what to say. Within five seconds I am so comfortable with her that it feels like we have known each other  forever.

What a fun afternoon we had talking, eating (shall I mention an apple cobbler a la mode?), and more talking. I don’t think there was a lull of five seconds at any point. Hours slipped away as we learned more about each other’s life. We ended up at Barnes and Noble in the children’s book section (are you surprised?). I had to share a few of my favorite new titles, plus we were looking to find the new Pete the Cat book. It was not on the shelf with the other Pete books, so we turned away disappointed. However, that did not stop Kim. She asked a worker and Pete was discoveverd in a new location. Kim picked up two books to buy. One for her and one for me!

“Whenever you read this, you will remember the day we spent together,” Kim tells me when I protest that she doesn’t need to buy this. Truer words were never spoken. I just think about that book and my face breaks out in a smile remembering a special person.

Sadly it was time to head for home. I can’t believe the day has gone by so fast. I only wish she lived closer so we could meet up more. It was the BEST day ever!

So here’s the lesson, if you have the chance to meet a fellow slicer, DO IT!

That’s me on the left and Kim on the right. Guess where we are.

Books, Books, Books

It puts a happy smile on my face when the county library announces the dates for their annual spring book sale AND I will be in town to attend it. A preview day is always set for the Monday evening for patrons of the library or you can pay an admission fee. I decided to wait until Tuesday morning to attend.

I planned my arrival to be about fifteen minutes after the doors open, hoping to avoid the crush of people. As I approached the building with my tote bag in hand, I marveled at the number of people scurrying into the double glass doors. There was no crush, but there was a constant stream. Once inside a decision must be made, head to the “better books” section or the cheaper books area. I turn towards the “better books.” The entrance is guarded by several senior citizens, but they do not interfere with me.

The tables are filled with small boxes of books waiting to be flipped through. Each table has a sign designating the type of books in the boxes. Picture books is my first table to begin the browsing. Flip, flip, snatch and drop into my bag. This process is repeated box after box. My eyes look down, there are more boxes below the tables! Gingerly I kneel down to flip through these boxes. Mothers with young children in-tow bump into me causing me to lose my balance. Some are pushing strollers between the tables. There really isn’t enough room for that. My bag is getting heavy as I move on to the poetry table, then the nonfiction table. I stop, look over the tables in the Children’s section to see if I’ve been to every box. Yes, I think I have.

Now I take my bag to a side table away from the crush of people to look carefully at the treasures I have tucked into my bag. Some of the books are unfamiliar, I dropped it in because of the author. Slowly, I read through each book assessing it. Does this book meet my criteria to make it a mentor text for reading or writing? Several do not pass the test. I put those books back into boxes.

My bag is still heavy as I make my way to the table where the ladies tally the cost of your books. Once you have your tally paper, you get in line to pay. Fortunately I put cash in my pocket so I was able to get into a “cash only” line. After paying I leave my books at the “holding” table so I can look and see what is available in the other section. The pickings are slim, but I do find two books. This line is much shorter. I return to the “holding” table to reclaim my bag and head out the door. A smile is on my face as I greet those who are just arriving because I have a bag of treasures. I wonder, “What did I miss by not being there the first day?” Check it out and see what I found!

All this for just under $30!

Aerial Tag

They are back. I run to get my camera because it has a great zoom feature. I try one shot but it seems blurry. It is the darkening film on the windows that makes it hard to focus. I need to go outside. S-l-o-w-l-y, I turn the handle. I move carefully, as I sink into the chair on the patio.

Zip! Zoom! Darting left! Swerve right! They move with such speed and grace as the trees absorb the finches that have come to play tag in my backyard. They disappear from my sight, but there is a constant chattering surrounding me as I watch the birds engage in a game of aerial tag.

Time for a quick sip!

A quick timeout at the birdbath to catch their breath and grab a sip of water. Then they are back in the air swooping and swerving as they chase each other back and forth. My head turns left, then right as I try to keep my eye on them. They are too quick for me to catch them in the air, but I do manage to zoom in on a few as they sit on the sidelines. Did they get tagged? Are they out? Did they need a rest? Soon they all zip off to another yard, but I know they will be back and I will love watching the games they play.

Here’s a good spot to rest.

The best views are from the top!

Close Call!

We have entered into the part of the year where plants are prolific. Overnight they seem to sprout limbs that grab you as you pass or hide windows from the sun. My husband is a diligent trimmer. For several weeks he battles the new growth to keep it in check. Then when it becomes unbearably hot the plants take a rest until we begin this process again in the fall.

He is not happy with a certain set of shrubs that are along the bedroom wall. When they are in bloom, he tolerates them. After the blooms are gone he eyes them with disdain. Fortunately, they are not on a side that he can see often. However, he wishes he’d never planted them. He has made the decision that this fall they will probably be removed. In the meantime he begins to cut them back hoping that will make them look better.

Anyone passing would wonder about this trimming job.

“We’ve got a problem,” he hollers into the house. I head outside to see what the problem is and immediately I notice the nest.

Mama squawked the whole time I was there trying to get a picture.

“Well you can’t cut any more until the babies leave,” I say looking at him. I peer into the nest, but don’t recognize the eggs.

“I was cutting away and all of a sudden I looked up and saw the nest,” he explains.

We have never had a nest in these shrubs before, so this was quite a surprise. We leave this side of the house so the mama can return to her nest. I feel bad that she has lost so much coverage. Later we look from inside the house. You can see the mother sitting on the nest. I determine this is a cardinal. Whenever I walk past the window, I take a quick peek to see if she is still there. Usually she is. I find it interesting that she faces the brick wall of the house. I would want to look the other way, then I would be able to spot any possible danger.

She doesn’t know what a close call she had to becoming homeless.

Taken from bedroom window with lots of zoom.

Fun with Italian Parsley

Did you know that Italian flat-leaf parsley will survive a winter?  I happened to be in the backyard, when I noticed a lot of dark vibrant green leaves in my small herb/tomato garden. When I got closer, I discovered it was the parsley that I had planted last spring. I had no idea it would survive freezing temperatures. Now what will I do with all this parsley?

Sunset magazine had the solution for me. Parsley Ravioli! I read over the ingredients and the steps, seems doable and I definitely had the parsley. This will be an interesting project for dinner. I need one cup of finely chopped parsley and a half cup of parsley leaves. I head out to the garden to clip some parsley. I wonder how much to cut. I figure I’d better get quite a bit. There really aren’t so many leaves on a stem. So I clip some from this side. I clip some from that side. Maybe a little more. I bring it in to wash it off.

Washing the parsley

Do you think I have enough? Now it is all wet which makes it stick to everything. I pull leaves off and put them into the spinner to remove the water before I begin the chopping process.

Spinning the parsley

I grab the hand chopper hoping it will chop this herb finely and I won’t have to use a knife. I set the chopper over the small pile of dried leaves. Bang! Bang! Bang! I push on the top. I lift it off the leaves, not a one is chopped?! What’s that all about? Then I realize I forgot to remove the cap from the bottom. Whoops! Bang! Bang! Bang! Lift it again, much better! This process continues for quite a while until I have one cup of finely chopped parsley. I pull off a half cup of leaves too. I still have a sink full of parsley. Maybe I didn’t need to cut so much.

This tool does the trick, but you do have to take the cap off the bottom.

Parsley is combined with ricotta cheese, egg, and parmesan. Wonton wrappers are the “pasta” part of the ravioli. They are sealed with water, then I used a biscuit cutter to make them round.

A tablespoon is all you need for each.

This is more labor intensive than I thought as I work my way through the wrappers. Slowly all the filling disappears and there are no leftover wrappers.

Finally they are assembled.

The ravioli are ready for the boiling water. You can only cook 4-5 at a time. They are to cook in boiling water for 3 minutes. Once they are finished boiling, I am to put them on a greased cookie sheet covered with foil in a warm oven. This process takes forever! In-out of water, in-out of the oven. What have I started?

Cooking in boiling water, some broke open.

Once all the ravioli are cooked and staying warm, I need to make the butter sauce. Fortunately, I had prepared salads and bread before beginning the ravioli cooking. Once the sauce was completed, we were ready to eat. Finally!

They were good, but not to die for. I can’t see doing this again, so I will have to use my parsley in other ways.

Compare this to the magazine page

Whose idea was this anyway?