Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ROCK STARS OF NATURE


Nature gives back. Whenever I go for a walk I have a tendency to look down. "My eyes are constantly scanning the ground for treasures. A piece of bark, an acorn, a pine cone, driftwood, a shell, sea glass, a leaf or rock." When I was a child I collected rocks and minerals. I amassed quite a collection. In part because my grandfather gave me some of his. He actually got me into the hobby. Today my grandson carries on the tradition. Growing up I had a number of books full of photographs with descriptions of rocks and minerals. I poured over them day and night… with each new discovery in hand. A little card table was set up in the basement of my parents bungalow to house my ROCK COLLECTION and reference library. I labeled each and every one of the rocks I found. I had amber, petrified wood, mica, quartz, pyrite, obsidian, lapis, turquoise, jasper, garnets, agate, amethyst and rough cut diamonds. Though I wanted to be an archaeologist... I fancied myself a geologist of sorts, at that time in my life. But the term Rock Hound was what I called myself because it sounded hip and cool... best describing what I did, hunting for rocks. Never a lapidarist, though… my fascination for the raw uncut beauty of these pieces stays with me, even as an adult. 


I believe in their healing power as our ancient civilizations once did. Have you ever been to a ROCK SHOW? Do you have a favorite rock or mineral?


PS (Admittedly many of my rocks have been cut and polished)



(My Wedding Ring)

Monday, August 15, 2016

THE SYRUP OF KINGS and PITA


When I was a little girl my Nana lived with us. And my mother worked full-time, not typical of women back then. Sometimes we would have a big home cooked meal after she got home and other times just a TV Dinner. One thing though never failed, there would always be some kind of dessert on the table before our plates were clean.  Jello, ice cream, coconut or orange cake, pudding, oatmeal cookies and my personal favorite…. White Bread slathered with butter and then drowned in KING syrup. It had to be KING syrup. The glass bottle with the crimson label and lion’s face was the only BRAND to use. It poured like molasses because it was so thick.  It’s gooey goodness can not be overstated. It was DELICIOUS. And it was a part of our family’s dinner ritual for many years. When I left home and moved away I never had it again for quite a while.  When I did attempt to find a bottle to share with my kids, it was difficult at best, to find one. Seemed only a few places carried it. But I was relentless in my search. I wanted my little ones to be enamored with the lion like I was. When I finally brought KING syrup home...They smiled and pointed at the animal’s fluffy mane on the glass bottle...but when it came time to pour… they demanded I put the married woman with the dress, Mrs. Butterworth, on the pancakes instead.



So I did,  reserving KING for special occasions until the syrup ran out. Then, I never replaced it, letting childhood memories fade away. I am an old lady now. Joy is dispensed in experiences for me these days.  Recently… I had a piece of Pita Bread in my hands following dinner out… eating it a piece at a time. For some reason... I felt something was missing, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was? Then I happened to notice a bottle of syrup sitting on the table, nestled between the salt and pepper shakers. I became possessed. The little girl inside me came alive, bubbling to the surface. I grabbed the bottle pouring some sugary flavor over this Mediterranean staple, I now placed on the dinner plate. Closing my eyes, I headed back to that yellow kitchen table of my youth. My mom was there. My NANA. My father and my baby brother. This wasn’t KING SYRUP, but I pretended it was. It tasted scrumptious. And for just a moment, I was 4 years old again, savoring the goodness of such SWEET memories, transported back in time to a place called HOME.






Monday, August 1, 2016

Dinner & Destruction in Ellicott City


A typical date night for my husband and I… back in the day, was to go to Cacao Lane or Chez Fernand  for dinner. These eateries were the backdrop for our romance. They were both fine dining establishments on that main drag… that flash flooded in Ellicott City, Maryland over the weekend. Our hearts are so sad. It is a beautiful little historical town nestled in the heart of Howard County. And when you visit you are enamored. At Cacao Lane  we spent many a weekend and New Years Eve, upstairs where the music was. And downstairs at the restaurant… where we always ordered their Coquilles St. Jacques and Black Bean Soup. It was exquisite. The front window at Cacao was reserved for special occasions, and when you were lucky enough to nab one,  you could see the whole downtown alive with people. And buildings that had the character of the 1800's. Once… my husband and I were caught in a torrential downpour in Ellicott City due to the remnants of a hurricane that had hit the coast. That night we found sanctuary inside Cacao Lane... where they surprisingly gave us a window seat. We ordered our standard fare and watched as the street outside began to flood. Water rose above the curb and spilled onto the sidewalk coming dangerously close to the door. It was scary. But... we eventually made it home, by going uphill away from the river, after we finished eating. (That flood was nowhere near as bad as the one the other night.) I understand that window tradition for special occasions still remains, though Cacao has completely changed their menu, since we frequented it back in the 70’s. At Chez Fernand I learned to eat my first escargot. I couldn't handle the utensil they gave you to do that. It was spring loaded. So I somehow managed to shoot the snail shell across the room... over the heads, of other diners who were not amused. My husband and I could hardly contain our laughter. However, it was not the place for such antics even though it was unintentional. The French cuisine there was delectable and would rival Julia Child any day of the week. I heard the place burned down in 1984. The significance of this town to us personally, can not be overstated. It was where we ate, where we shopped, where we played. We have walked up and down that scenic hill, a million times over (where this devastation took place) and it was there... we both said , “I love you” to each other, for the very first time.”  Our hearts are heavy, as we watch the evening news and see this special place we love so dearly, totally in ruins. We are there with you in spirit Ellicott City… as you begin to rebuild what Mother Nature’s fury so cruelly obliterated.



If you want to help merchants and residents



Here are some YouTube videos




Back in the day cell phones did not exist and taking pictures when you courted was not a widely accepted practice. So we have few if any. So I do not know what the protocol is for sharing these things. I got the 1st picture from the Cacao Lane Facebook page. And the last pic from a govt site via Facebook too. The links to the videos were directly from YouTube.  Please forgive me if I overstepped any boundaries. 

PS) Once again my blog post is not showing up in the feed until hours later. What's up with that Blogger?