Monday, August 31, 2009

World Food Day - August 2009

World Food Day is something that Peter and I came up with about a year or so ago. The idea is simple: we decide on a cuisine of the world, come up with a menu together, do all the shopping together and then cook together. It's all done at Peter and Julian's house and usually, Tom and Julian keep the kids entertained. This was our third World Food Day but the first that I've documented. It also happened to be our very best!

All of our recipes came out of the Williams Sonoma Mediterranean cookbook.

Of course we had to take a dip in the pool before we could begin our work!

The Menu:
Chicken and Seafood Paella
Stuffed Tomatoes
Wilted Greens tossed with Anchovies and Garlic
Orange-Scented Almond Torte

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dear Tom

Dear Tom,

Today is your birthday. I've been keeping my ears open in the weeks prior to this day, hoping there might be a hint, an idea, ANYTHING that would tell me what to give to you. Finally, I just came right out and asked you.
I want to go camping, you said.
We're doing that, I said.
Great! Thanks for my birthday present, you said.
Hmmmph, I thought.

You need clothes but that seems to always be my default when I can't think of anything.
You needed a new fishing bag but you bought it for yourself before I had a chance.

I love you - do you know how much I love you? I can't believe sometimes how incredibly lucky I am to have found you and each year finds me more and more in love with you. I wish I could do more for you, give more to you. I adore you.

So today is your birthday and we're surrounded by pine trees, breathing fresh air, smoke from our campfire still clinging to our clothes and hair. We are likely bleary eyed from the late night and early rise that always comes with the camping territory. But there's coffee brewing and bagels to consume. The lake is beckoning and the fish are biting. I don't think there is a better way to celebrate you and your birthday.

Happy Birthday my love.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Photos and Memories

Since I took the photography workshop in May, I've been trying to pay more attention to light and composition. I've been avoiding my "auto" setting on my camera, staying instead on aperture priority and using natural light as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite shots from my vacation that don't include kids as subjects.
The old shed on my grandparent's farm.

A butterfly showing off it's two hearts.
The hay barn on my grandparent's farm.
The meadow in front of the farmhouse. I love this shot. It captures my memories of the farm. Running through the meadow to the creek to catch minnows, playing frisbee or football or catch, catching fireflies, playing dodgeball with my uncles. The farm was magic.
I love the way the light shows through the petals and flashes on the water that's trickling in the background. This is just one of the many flowers that are planted around the fountain at my mom's house.
One of my most favorite shots. I love the light tip of the flower against the black background and then the way the stem is blurred. I used the macro setting on my camera for this shot.
Another bunch of flowers at my mom's house.
You walk two feet into the woods and it's a different place. The trees are alive with the birds chirping to one another, mosquitoes are suddenly in a frenzy at the smell of fresh blood, there is a stillness in the air which is at odds with the sound of the birds and buzzing of mosquitoes. And the air is fragrant with the smell of green moss and freshly fallen rain, even when it hasn't rained. It's magical and these woods surround my mom's home.
I found these wildflowers at the base of a tree in the woods.
I love the way this old red pump shows up against the green of the woods.
Sunlight shimmering on the lake (lagoon?) at Columbia Park, another place where I spent many summer days playing at the playground, swimming at the pool, feeding the ducks, lazily traversing the lake on paddle boats with my grandparents, throwing my club down in anger at the mini-golf course (to the utter delight of my grandpa), and sliding down the giant slide. This is the lake where my Uncle Monte and I once went ice skating where he told me before we ever stepped foot on the ice that if there was suddenly a "BOOM" sound that meant that the ice was cracking and I should lay down to distribute my weight evenly and then crawl to the edge. Then, after skating for a while, there really was a "BOOM" sound and while I did as I was told, my Uncle Monte was high-tailing it across the ice as fast as he could run!
Though this park has changed quite a bit since those days, it's still a place of wonderful memories for me.
I did not stage this photo - this is how it was when I walked into the yard. I just love it. This is on my grandparent's farm, in the yard just to the side of the house. The bike is leaning against the post that's holding up the badminton net. That net has been up for decades! An impulse shot because I didn't know how it would look. This is inside the hay barn and that's a barn swallow perched on the window looking outside. I didn't know if there was enough light but I really love the way it came out. I love the hint of woods in the background through the dirty glass, love the profile of the bird as it seems to be peering outside.