Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Musical moment

Just wanted to share a small moment that stayed with me a long time, a tribute to something positive from the negative - in the spirit of Spread the Love Week from Melissa @ Oh, My Darling...
Some years ago, while gigging at a radio station and searching for something to play on-air, I spotted an album of songs for voice and piano...then realized they were composed in a WWII concentration camp & the composer did not survive the war.

I almost put the record back -- it seemed too heart-rending -- but decided to go ahead & give it airplay, telling the backstory too. As the music played, an older woman called in.

She remembered the day the music premiered in the camp, long ago. She was just a teen, another prisoner of the Nazis. She thanked me, crying a bit.

As you can imagine...
I could barely hold it together when I had to go back live on-air...
It seemed incredible that out of horror, poignant moments could linger a half-century later...the sound of a piano, an older woman reaching a younger one, music born in war now played in peace...
If nothing else, my young, naive self began glimpsing something in how the smallest action can affect someone more than you know, and even resonate back with compassion...

"Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity."
--Edwin Hubbel Chapin (anti-war, anti-slavery, pro-women's rights activist, 1814-1880)

~ Wishing you a day that resonates with positive moments and compassion. ~

(The composer was Viktor Ullmann; the music was Die Weise der Liebe und des Todes (The Manner of Love and Death), 12 pieces for voice and piano or orchestra (from Rilke)--composed and premiered in Terezin, 1944. Images via Wikipedia Commons, Mylla and My Opera.)

Photo du jour: Goodbye August...

Now that August - and the August break - is ending (sniff, sob), summer already feels further away...

{Last one for the August Break: Watching surfers wipe out, Sandy Beach, Hawaii.}

Monday, August 30, 2010

Photos du jour: Sintra through toy lens

{Palácio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal, UNESCO World Heritage site}
Hope your weekend was lovely! I got inspired by August Break folks to post more playful photo sources (iPhones, screenshots), so here's my twist...photos from a junk-y, toy-like disposable camera (forgive me!)....

{Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra, Portugal}
Glimpse of Moorish castle ruins (~9c, rebuilt 19c), dragontooth walls creeping round the mountain and turret in the distance.

Partway up the Castle's mountain, I turned and snapped my friend (we kept laughing, which made it hard to climb up!)

At least we had a proper camera during this memorable moment: My 2 friends & I (the Portu-Gals, groan) landed in the back of a Portuguese police car; we were disappointed there was no grate. :)
{Back of Portuguese police car, with a real camera}
~ Wishing you a memorable week! ~

P.S. When we arrived at the police station, all the cops were huddled in a corner....watching a cop show ("Law and Order," dubbed in Portuguese). Wish I had that photo!

{An August Break post: All photos taken in Sintra, Portugal, except Lisbon police. My disposable camera photos made Sintra look worse (and more weirdly purple) than it is - it's gorgeous.}

Friday, August 27, 2010

Super-easy grapefruit & avocado

Just a super-easy and refreshing combo of grapefruit & avocados (I'm OD-ing on avocados) for breakfast, lunch, anytime!
~ Have a lovely, still-summery weekend! ~

1 large grapefruit, peeled and each segment skinned
1 small (or medium) ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, cut bite-sized
1 cup arugula* leaves or romaine lettuce (tender bits), bite-sized
Optional toasted sesame seeds
Dressing (kinda optional too, for avo "purists"):
Bit of olive oil, rice vinegar; pinch each sugar, black pepper & salt

1) Put the grapefruit, avocado and arugula (or romaine) in a bowl
2) Mix the dressing ingredients together, adjust to taste
3) Pour over salad, add sesame seeds, toss and chow!

Little notes:
*Arugula = rocket in the UK.
I believe this recipe was first shared by a college friend's mother, but it's been so long since college I can't remember clearly. :)

(Image via Omnivore's Solution.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photo du jour: Changing light

Off the shores of Kakaako, Hawaii. During long, dark London or New England winters, my mind wanders back to these things...

{An August Break post: Photographed on the island of Oahu.}

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

London's Busaba Eathai

The dining vibe at Busaba Eathai is sleek, casual and buzzy, yet somehow intimate (a true design feat!). Their delicious, Thai-inspired dishes include the excellent Mussaman duck curry and Chinese broccoli with garlic and shiitake mushroom (the apple chicken is yummy too).

But the best part? Reasonable prices! No small thing in London. (Hence the loong lines at Busaba in Soho, above. Arrive early. :))

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photo du jour: Hothouse flower

An orchid's fiery reds and yellows, Honolulu, Hawaii.

{An August Break post, to balance my wordier post yesterday :)}

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting personal :)

Hope your weekend was great! Inspired by recent questions (more below!), I thought I'd pay tribute to my tribe of family & friends by presenting its newest members + reveal some things...
{In Hawaiian, his name means "to voice, to sound out"}
This dude is little cousin Kaleo (I spy a food lover!)...

{My friend Joan, with Anika and sweet-cheeked Sasha, Germany}
A beautiful sight: A happy mother with her children...

{My friend Laura with little sister Lizandra from Brazil}
Sisters together are another beautiful sight...

{My friend Synnove's daughter, so flower-sweet, in Norway}
A child's delight in the world is yet another beautiful sight...

And last but not least, Stacey @ amazing, irresistible Design Addict Mom passed along this fun award Friday (my Stacey shout-out here :)). Thank you Stacey! I'm humbled & love fun things. I'm to reveal 10 things about myself, so here goes nothing....

#1. Why do you blog? I've been a nomad (7 addresses in 48 months... 4 in the US, 3 in London), so it was a way to feel more connected to faraway friends & family...& my inner daydreamer. :)

#2. What are your 3 best memories? All involve good food and good times with friends and family. I also cherish my travel memories (bella Italia, specially :)). And I'll never forget the moment I met the love of my life. It was in a cafe, and even though he was from London and I lived in the US, my said yes!

#3. Name 4 of the best books you've read. Most recently, these 4 moved or devastated me to the point of tears.
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.” –Franz Kafka

(Click each image to enlarge - via 1,2,3,4)

#4. What are the 5 best movies ever made? Only feel-good movies today, since it's Monday and we need to feel good. :)

(Click each image to enlarge - via 1,2,3,4,5)

#5. Name 5 things you can't live without. Family & friends. Passion (for learning new things, finding answers). Good food. Moments alone. The unbelievable luck I have in being able to give things away (I've downsized because of my suitcase lifestyle) - I adore beautiful items, but also treasure immaterial experiences...

#6. If you could change your name what would it be? I like that my friends call me Jude (from Judy), often "Hey Jude." :)

#7. Tell us a unique and interesting fact about yourself. Not sure how interesting, but I did radio broadcasting for 3 years (I'm shy though) and for a time (don't laugh!), skateboarding was a main form of transport in my family. I also have a PhD & used to run half-marathon distances because I'm crazy & a big nerd ;). 

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC (via)
#9. If you had a 'Freaky Friday' experience, who would you change places with? Does someone dead count? Abraham Lincoln, the moment he learned the Civil War ended. If a live person, my sister, who fights death daily as a surgery resident.

Viva women! Almodóvar's "All About My Mother" cast (via)
#10. What is the best thing about being a woman? I love that women (awesomely) have a lot more genetic material because we're XX, not XY like men. (Pedro Almodóvar also said this once :)). We're made of more, we've unique verbal and bonding abilities that make our friendships so very special. XO

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Photo du jour: Extinct volcano {+award}

{For the August Break: Photographed on Oahu, Hawaii}
I wasn't going to post this because of the wonky angle, but oh well! Koko Crater has a great hiking trail and features in old Hawaiian myths (though the one I know is a bit too, er, naughty to post :)).

Also, before I completely pass out, I wanted to give a shout-out and BIG thank you to Stacey at Design Addict Mom for being so sweet and passing along a fun blog award to me just moments earlier, just after I put up this photo. (Yes to fun things!)

I've been devouring her gorgeous design blog (please do have a look around, if you haven't yet!) - it's just a lovely moment I like to take for myself amidst unpredictable workdays (which is what an amazing blog does so well!) Thank you, Stacey, for the blog inspiration & beauty -- so grateful you've enjoyed mine! A full response to those fun questions is coming up, promise! (And here's to a full night's sleep all around! :))
~ Meantime, wishing everyone a fun, wonky weekend! ~

Photo du jour: Tropical shores {+ limu}

{For the August Break: Photographed at Kapolei, Hawaii}
The westerly shores of Oahu feel miles from city life. Tourists don't visit much, but I've old-timey childhood memories of picking limu (tasty edible seaweed) out there on Ewa Beach.

P.S. Here's limu used in a delicious Hawaiian dish called poke (poh-keh): comprising raw fish tossed with limu (see the fleshy dark strands?), sea salt & other yum extras...it's like Hawaiian "sushi." :)
{Image of limu-laced poke via Holly Hadsell}

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Little Fromage Homage

O, let us count the ways! A cheese-addicted friend & I plan to celebrate some good news and for us, party-hearty happiness is just 1 bite away (of brie, Taleggio, Midnight Moon, Kasseri, etc :))

Confession: I wanted to go to the moon - made of cheese - with lovable, claymat-ed Wallace (above) and his dog Gromit, in A Grand Day Out. As Wallace would say, "Crackin' cheese, Gromit."

Wallace & Gromit's lunar cheese picnic (I want a dog like Gromit!)

I blame my cheesy love affair on New York food nirvana, Fairway, which was near my old flat. Their cheese counters (above) are so seductive, they inspired writer/historian Simon Schama to gush:
"...nothing comes close to the Fairway cheese department... the mountainous cheese counter, a ziggurat of whiffy gorgeousness, Celtic Promise to Humboldt Fog... The labels are written with the erudition of ethnographers...singing songs of rinds...and brine-washed wheels. Only in New York would medieval Portuguese literature be thought a strong selling point for a cheese (Serra da Estrela, 'made by hand only at night by lamplight')."
It's lethal stuff, that cheese (and who can resist anything lethal?) :)

(Schama's cheese ode appeared in the November 11, 2001 issue of NY Times Magazine. Images via Gourmet Gal, Sydney Morning Herald, Roots Rain, Larry Wagner Photo, WallaceAndGromit.net, WallaceandGromit.com and 1hr photo.)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Photos du jour: Hawaii redux II

More photos that I've thrown up before, but randomly. So here they are, in the August Break spirit, more mindfully assembled!

#1 - Torch ginger, Honolulu Farmers Market
#2 - Birds of paradise, Honolulu Farmers Market
#3 - Rescue surfboard, Waimea Bay - the rescue vehicle of choice!
#4 - Ko'olau mountains on a moody day
#5 - Valley of the Temples (scenes from TV show "Lost" shot here :)

{For the August Break: All photos taken on Oahu, Hawaii.}

Monday, August 16, 2010

Surprisingly perfect

{Kenilworth Castle ruins, Warwickshire, England, UK}
Hope you had a great weekend! Although work events foiled my plans to visit a lovely area of England (above), all was not lost.

I got to enjoy pseudo sangría...just to lubricate the brain cells. :) (My quick-and-dirty recipe* would make an afficionado cringe, forgive me)...

{I wouldn't mind these Giuseppe Zanotti's}
Dressy heels imparted a snazzier home office vibe (beats working in a robe, no?)

Soaked-up the incomparable Nina Simone (good for brain waves :)

Even savored pseudo, 35-minute paella with the pseudo sangría.*

{That's amore! Julia's pizza pie, Da Michele, Napoli, Italia}
Once the crunch ended, a friend dragged me to "Eat Pray Love" -- in all, it was a surprisingly perfect weekend.
~ Wishing you a surprisingly perfect week! ~

1 bottle (750 ml) chilled red wine, a few strips orange zest and lemon zest, ~7-10 optional ice cubes (if you don't have time to chill the wine), 2 tbsp (30 ml) sugar, juice of 4 oranges, juice of 2 lemons, 3 cups (750 ml) sparkling water (a little less if using ice cubes), and optional apple and/or peach wedges. In large pitcher, mix wine, orange & lemon zest, and ice cubes. In small bowl, stir orange juice and sugar until dissolved, then add to wine. Add lemon juice, sparkling water, and apple/peach wedges to wine. Stir and muddle things up a bit to get fruit juices flowing, garnish with mint, lemon & orange slices, if you like, and ENJOY!

(Images from Jason Twist via Pictures of Englandfood network, fashion magazine, Amazon, Stockmann and EOnline.)
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