Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

THE WARDEN - Book Review

Skip if you hate whining

 I am going to murmur about learning Spanish before I give this book review  because I have guilt that I have spent time reading anything frivolous. I should be studying Spanish in every spare minute, but sometimes I just can’t face it.  I know many Spanish words and phrases  and can throw them out here and there with reckless abandon.  All the while Mike is telling me I did something wrong.  Most words have masculine and feminine and I usually forget to include that and if something is plural all the words around it are plural and I usually forget to do that.  Then there are the verb conjugations.  The Spanish verb “to be” has two versions, ser and estar.  You must remember which one to say according to what you are talking about and then each of these have about 100 different words or word combinations depending on who it concerns.  Every verb has more than 50 parts.  You have to memorize them all and then remember to say them at the right time.  This is a very left brained endeavor, but my very right brain gets crazy after a while.  I can actually memorize the conjugations in a string, but I can’t remember which to say when.  When I am in church I recognize lots of words when people are talking but they usually talk faster than I can translate.  You must come to a point where you don’t need to translate.  Mike is getting so he understands most things at church but he still struggles with speaking, mostly because he wants to speak perfectly as he is a grammar aficionado.  I keep a journal in Spanish every day.  I can write better than I can speak.  I don’t think I will ever be a proficient. I am in awe of the young missionaries but they are talking in the streets every day and we speak English to each other all day. Sorry about this distraction.

The Warden by Anthony Trollop
I have a “free books” app on my i-pad.  My Goodreads friend Rebecca Bateman posted a review of “The Warden” and gave it 4 stars.  I found it on the app so decided I would read it a little on those days when I just needed to check out a bit and rest my brain from studying Spanish.  I adore old English literature.  Language is important to me when I read a novel.  Anthony Trollop’s style pleases me.  (Me gusta el estilo de Anthony Trollop.) A little Spanish for you.

This is the story of Septimus Harding a sweet and gentle elderly man who for 10 years has been the Warden of the Barchester Hospital. There are 12 old men living in the hospital who would probably starve without this charity.  About 400 years ago a rich man, in his will, set up this hospital from lands he owned, to house 12 men at a time, to be cared for in their old age.   Over the years interest on the value of the land has grown to a substantial sum and the Warden is now living in a nice house on the premises with a salary of 800 pounds a year, which is nice, but not an extravagant sum.  The old men get all of their needs cared for plus a little stipend every month.  Mr. Harding has become an attentive friend to them and is dearly loved by them all. 

Mr. Harding has a daughter who is romantically attached to a young man, John Bold, who becomes involved in a lawsuit questioning the Warden’s right to the money he receives for the care of the old men. Bold believes that the will meant for the old men to get all of the money and the men are convinced by Bold and others that they are entitled to 100 pounds a year each. All but one sign a petition to move the lawsuit forward.  Bold is determined to pursue the suit , even though he knows this will put a strain on the relationship with the love of his life.   He is convinced that it is the honorable thing to do, regardless of the consequences.    Mr. Harding has one ally in the group of old men, Bunce.  He says bitterly at one point, “Did you ever know a poor man made better by law or a lawyer? “  (True today)

Mr. Harding has another daughter married to the archdeacon of Barchester and rector of Plumstead Episcopi, Dr. Grantly.  Grantly’s father is the Bishop there.  John Bold ends up involving the powerful newspaper and several articles are published with scathing indictments of the Warden’s undeserved salary.   Mr. Harding is the kind of honest gentle soul who is injured to the very core over the things that were misrepresented in the newspaper.  Dr. Gantly and the Bishop put pressure on him to fight, when all he wants to do is resign his post if there is any doubt that he is indeed not entitled to the money. 

A large theme of the book for me was the power of the press:  “I know he wrote those articles,” said Bold to himself.  “I know he got his information from me.  He was ready enough to take my word for gospel when it suited his own views, and to set Mr. Harding up before the public as an impostor on no other testimony than my chance conversation; but when I offer him real evidence opposed to his own views, he tells me that private motives are detrimental to public justice!  Confound his arrogance!  What is any public question but a conglomeration of private interests?  What is any newspaper article but an expression of the views taken by one side?  Truth!  It takes an age to ascertain the truth of any question!  The idea of Tom Towers talking of public motives and purity of purpose!  Why, it wouldn’t give him a moment’s uneasiness to change his politics tomorrow, if the paper required it.”   (Some things never change.)

The Warden is an honest man of character, who refuses to be pushed or influenced to do anything that he doesn’t believe is right.  He faces living the rest of his life in near poverty rather than have others believe he is doing wrong, even as the Attorney General absolves him of any wrongdoing. 

This is a nice little read, with good human insights.  The relationship of Mr. Harding and his younger daughter is sweet.  The little romance between this daughter and John Bold is pivotal.  I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.   This book is a quick read, compared to some of Trollops other books.  I have downloaded “Doctor Thorne.”  I will definitely read more of Trollops books. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Here are Oreo Rice Krispy Treats with the Rock Mike painted at our JAS rock painting activity.  It is the island of Tenerife with the volcano Teide in the middle and a rainbow and of course the sun.  The Elders love Rice Krispy Treats as they are a taste of home and the ingredients are a bit of a hunt here.  I found real American marshmallows at a German market here. (maybe only for the summer but I was happy to get some at a reasonable price) These are better because the local, sort of marshmallows, have a different flavor. And Oreos are a hunt also and come in small packages.   The Elders told me at District meeting today that these are the best Rice Krispy Treats that they have ever eaten.  Believe me, they are not hard to please. RKT are a quick, well loved dessert to make, so I make some version, at least once a month.  

Melt 4 T. butter in the microwave and add 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Stir well and add 4 C. marshmallows.  Stir into the butter and microwave on high until the marshmallows are soft.  Stir until well blended.  Add 5 cups or Rice Krispies and 15 broken up Oreos and 1/2 C. white chocolate chips.  Stir until all is coated and press into a buttered 9x13 pan...and go find some missionaries.

Monday, July 1, 2013

MOJO from the Canaries

If you eat at a restaurant here, that serves local food, they will give you a little bowl of Mojo with some boiled Canary potatoes.  There is a green version and a red one, usually they serve a little of both.  Our Relief Society held an event chronicling the history and food of the islands and served Mojo with roasted chicken and boiled potatoes.  I liked it a lot and Mike even enjoyed it.  We put it on our chicken, our potatoes and dipped our bread in it.  One of the sisters gave me a skeleton recipe and I went home to make it.  I think it is delicious.  It has cilantro in it but it doesn't overpower.  Mike does not like cilantro but didn't mind it here.  I made a large recipe.  It keeps well for a long time, but you could half it easily or freeze it if desired.

Put 4 C. olive oil in a blender
1 seeded and chopped red pepper
4 Cloves of grated garlic
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 or 2 tsp. cumin powder  depending how you like cumin...fresh ground is good.
1 lightly packed cup of chopped cilantro

1/2 C. vinegar (I used apple cider but I think you could use any)
Add some cayenne or crushed red pepper if you want more heat.  The black pepper gives it some.

Blend until there are very small smooth chunks.  Shake or stir before serving.   ENJOY on just about anything.