Friday, February 24, 2012

Because I Happened to Be There...

LOVED our days in Seattle.
It gave Randy the chance to photograph the kids. It's been a while.
Jenni hoped for a couple to hang in her music room.

Met Tim for lunch at University Village.

Despite the chilly weather, the kids had a ball playing in the fountains.

Worried about the increasingly bad weather through Snoqualmie Pass, we gave Randy, Audrey, and Matthew our goodbye hugs. I would be flying home in three days.

Jenni, asked if I might hang around for a while to take care of Payton and Sadie. Mark was making a business trip to D.C. and Jenni was hoping to join him and spend a day or two with Emily. Emily and baby AJ would make the two-hour drive from Charlottesville and meet her there. Sounded like a plan!

The kids were as good as gold; we had a such a GREAT time together. 

I got a big kick out of my Sadie! She says the funniest things!

We were watching Mr. Poppers penguins. When Angela Lansbury (age 89) entered the picture as Mrs. Van Gundy, Sadie exclaimed, "Gammie, she looks like YOU!


What do YOU think?

I know.... SCARY!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Active Choice

I read some advice in the Reader's Digest once: (I wish I could remember the exact words, but here is the jest of it --)

When faced with a decision, take the active choice rather than the passive one. 

It was noted that an individual would have fewer regrets, if this advice is taken to heart. It's one of my mottos these days, really making life more full and rewarding.

For instance: Jenni called months ago to tell me that Itzhak Perlman would be performing with the Seattle Symphony in February of 2012! I think of any violinist, he has been my greatest inspiration. I have seen him perform three times with the Utah Symphony, the first when I was a sophomore at BYU. The second time I remember my mother rushing us backstage to get his autograph. We weren't even supposed to GO back stage; you'd have to know my mother! (I tried to find my signed program, but it's buried in my memorabilia somewhere. sigh.)

The third time, I was seated just feet away and performed WITH him -- I was a substitute in the second violin section!  

While we were living in Boise, he gave a solo violin recital of sorts performing the entire program with a piano accompaniment. Jenni attended with me -- She was just 10 years old or so, but remembers it well.

Despite the fact that the tickets were over $100, and it would cost to GET to Seattle, I called Jenni on the phone, "You're NOT going to this concert alone; can you get me a ticket?" Then I called Audrey to tell her about what I just did; she and Matthew made the active choice too! We drove to Seattle together (We couldn't really afford two tickets, but Randy came along for the ride, AND to see his grandchildren.)

Perlman performed "Summer" and "Winter" from The Four Seasons then conducted the remainder of the evening's program. When Perlman was just four years old, he contracted polio which left him unable to walk without crutches. He sits to play. He is 67-years-old now, manuevering seems more difficult for him now than even the last time I saw him. But as soon as he places that violin under his chin, you forget that he is disabled at all. He plays with such spirit and passion for music as a whole.

I'm unsure whether polio shortens a life span, but I'm quite certain he will not be concertizing as a violinist much longer. He conducts more than he plays now. I'm so glad we made this trip. What a choice experience to be here with my two violin-playing daughters.

Thanks, Jenni! I really enjoyed seeing Perlman again, but even MORE special than that was the fact that it gave me the chance to be with YOU!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Inspired by our Sweetheart Dinner at Olive Garden, I decided to find a recipe for their Zuppa Toscana. I guessed that the "green" in the soup was Kale because it remains firm rather than going limp like spinach would.  

I'd never cooked with Kale before, but found two DELICIOUS recipes that I've added to my WINNERS collection.

Kale is extremely healthy food. It is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

Good enough for me!

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb Italian sausage 
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onions, chopped
¼ cup bacon bits (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
2. Brown sausage in your soup pot.
3. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
4. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in pot.
5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
6. Add sausage and bacon.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
8. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Turn to low heat.
10. Add kale and cream.
11. Heat through and serve.

Claudia brought this salad to our Symphony Knitting Group a while back. 
Lori's Kale Slaw

4 cups kale ( shredded)
1/4 cup carrots ( peeled, shredded)
1/2 cup walnuts ( chopped, toasted)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/3 teaspoon curry powder
1/3 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves

1. Combine the kale, carrots and walnuts.
2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and spices.
3. Toss with mix.
4. Cover. Chill 1 hour.