Monday, January 15, 2018

Movie Review

After the inspirations seen and heard 
at the Golden Globe Award Ceremony 
last Sunday evening...
Seth Meyers as host and his 
thoughtful and funny guidance
through the ceremony while leading that elephant around.
Nicole Kidman,
"When my cheek is against yours, everything melts away."
Gasps in the room as even jaded Hollywood recognizes 
that dreamy love we all dream of.
Pomp and Circumstance.
The black gowns.
The black tuxedos.
The tension.
The sighs of relief.
And then...
there was Oprah.

Just in case you missed it or want to see it again
and again
and again
and again.
Does anyone doubt there is that HORIZON?

We long to see some "Grown-Up" movies.
No comic book heroes flying across the screen.
No animated musicals with animals that have no butt holes
(really! have you ever seen a Disney creature with a butt hole?)
No serial killers terrorizing and slashing through a terrible script.
I want movies that inspire. 
I want movies that teach.
I need movies that make me think. 

Here comes Steven Spielberg providing the adults in the room that place to think. 

The true story of Katharine Graham who is tasked with saving the family business
which just happens to be The Washington Post. 
Her challenge to cross the bridge from wealthy social widow 
throwing her parties dappled with politicians and celebrities 
to the leader of a great newspaper.
She grows with the story of the Pentagon Papers 
and with her story told here on film.

Portrayed by Meryl Streep to perfection.
We watch her character reach from within, 
past her insecurities, self doubt and fear of really screwing it up
to follow her instinct to not what is easy but what is right.

Her story could not be told without Ben Bradley.

Tom Hanks is magnificent.  
On the delivery of his first two lines,
Ben Bradley comes crashing back into the room.
Brash, gravel-voiced, strong-willed 
and a true force of the universe not to messed with.
I remember his interviews on Larry King.
There was always a twinkle in his eye.
He seemed to always "know" something
and that something just happened to be the truth.

Katharine Graham was Yankee.  
The scene of her leaving the Supreme Court building while 
young women protesters in the crowd just quietly part to create passage 
as Kat moves through them with dignity.  
She and they know that she is stepping into 
Woman Herstory.
My eyes welled with tears as I took in that moment on film. 

As the movie wraps up, there is ol' Tricky Dick 
demanding that no reporter from The Post 
ever be allowed in the White House again.  
His words in our ears as images of flashlights bouncing on walls 
at the offices of the Democratic Party at the Watergate.
A reminder that history doesn't happen in chopped up scenes.
It flows like a river around each bend, over each rock, down each fall.
Quietly babbling along or roaring over cliffs, 
the truth is always there.
I feel the river flowing now and it has picked up speed.
I see and hear the rapids that lie just ahead.  
Brace yourself, it's going to be a bumpy ride......

Two thumbs up

xx - holly

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Rain Rain Come Today

As I sat yesterday morning, the rain was falling outside. 
Not a sound heard often here. 
San Diego is waaaayyyy behind on rainfall this year.
We are at 0.09" for the season and have some catching up to do. 
From the sound on my roof, we made a dent. 

After madly rushing outside to move the potteds from 
under the eaves out into the rain, I am dried off and cozy by the fire.
Yes, I start a fire at 4:00 a.m.  
Take the chill off.
Let the flames ignite my imagination.
Pioneer thoughts of blessings for shelter.
Fairy sparks rising for their brief life dancing above the logs.
With coffee and vitamins in hand, I plan dinner. 
Part is already done....home-baked bread. 
I make this nearly every week in the colder months 
and love every step of the process.
The smell of bread rising in the bowl.  
Warm and yeasty. 
All bubbles and life.
The feel of the bread as it gets moved to second rise. 
Floured but slightly sticky hands caress it to a soft mound on the towel.
It's soft pliable body, like a precious baby bottom. 
Dish towel covered like a baby down for a nap.
The warmth of the oven preheating for the bake
adding to the warmth of the fire.
The beauty of removing the towel after the second rise
to see it grown and ready for transformation to 
a golden dome of comfort food. 
The aroma that fills our little home while it bakes.
I sometimes leave, stepping outside to clear the smell
so when I step back into the house, the aroma hits.
Bathing my senses with it's warm welcome.
I am now craving it.
Fresh from the oven.
Crusty golden on the outside.
Warm and soft on the inside.
Creamy butter melting into the crevices.
Simply Heaven.
Are you craving it too?

Here is the simple and divine recipe.

3 cups all purpose King Arthur flour.
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon active yeast.
1 1/2 cups warm water. 

Place flour, salt and yeast in mixer with dough hook.
Let the dough hook mix just to get it started. 
Slowly add the warm water and turn up the speed 
let it run a bit as the dough pulls away from the sides,
clinging to the hook like it is hanging on for dear life. 
Getting all dizzy in the bowl.
Pull off the the hook and make a little mound.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise overnight.
Magic in the morning......

Tear off two large sheets of parchment paper.  
Flour one - not generously but make certain there is a 
good coating of flour.
Gently remove the bubbly dough
and place on the lightly floured parchment. 
Don't over-handle, this dough is young and sensitive.
Kinda like a teenager.  
Handle with care. 
Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let her rest for 15 minutes.

Uncover and fold the dough over on itself.
Re-flour surface if needed and place seam side down.
Dust that dome with flour, cover with second parchment sheet
and then top all with a kitchen towel.  
Let her nap for 2 hours.  
She will double in size.

Preheat oven to 450* with the covered French oven heating in there too.
Remove French oven carefully - hotter than August pavement. 
Gently turn dough over so she is seam side up
and remove that now top sheet of parchment.
Lift the parchment with dough and 
slide it into the French oven, jiggle to center.
Cover and bake 30 minutes. 
Remove lid  and surprise - she's grown up a bit!
Return to oven for another 20-30 minutes until 
the color of gold you prefer. 
Lightly golden or full on summer beach tan.
Queue Stevie Wonder...
Isn't She Lovely...

Even the parchment has a lovely patina. 
All amber and gold.

Lift the parchment and bread to rack and let cool a bit
but if you can't wait, slice.

Schmeer on the butter.
Enjoy with soup, a breakfast toast,
your gravy sponge, dipped in olive oil & Balsamic vinegar,
a rustic sandwich with salami & cheese,
a bite with a glass of hearty red wine.
Whatever your fancy....this will change your attitude to bread.

Final little tip - to keep bread tasting "just baked",
slice entire loaf within 24 hours of baking.
Place on parchment lined cooking sheet in the freezer. 
Once frozen, bag them and keep them in the freezer.
Bring to room temp in no time 
or speed it up with the toaster.
Each slice will be just as good as day one....

Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane!


Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello 2018

So another year has come and gone.
As with every year - some good and some bad.
We all have our own rulers on our lives
and I too tend to keep measure of
my failures and accomplishments. 
While it is beneficial to reflect, 
it is detrimental to dwell.
I shall not bare my soul on
the events/emotions of 2017
but will do the hopeful thing and 
look to the horizon.

Here are the things that I plan to do for myself in 2018.
If any ring true to your vision of this year to come, 
please do add to your list.  
I share with open heart and soul...

  • Be present.
  • Consume less.
  • Save money - go here  Thank you Courtney of Be More With Less.
  • Stretch before getting out of bed.
  • Drink more water every day - Carlsbad Mineral Water is my local favorite.
  • Finish projects lurking in the guest room closet.
  • Eat food. Not too much.  Mostly plants.  Michael Pollan.
  • Practice yoga every day.
  • Visit Mother Nature - she's lonely. 
  • Waste less food.
  • Take a class: gardening, painting, pottery, cooking, French...something.
  • Find the silver lining.
  • Take my camera with me everywhere I go and snap away.
  • Follow The Four Agreements: Be Impeccable with your Words, Don't take anything Personally, Don't make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.  (These are not as easy as they sound).
  • De-clutter and donate.  Someone will love it more than you.
  • Tighten stomach muscles while waiting at a red light.
  • Recognize Grace, the unmerited divine assistance from the universe which is given humans for their regeneration and thank her for her gift.
  • Sunday breakfast with an old friend.
  • Remember your Good Manners.  
  • Turn off the news.
  • Turn on the music.
  • Do something that scares me.
  • Stop dropping the f-bomb.  It really is unattractive.
  • Return to Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  
  • Mend a fence.
  • Build a bridge.
  • Soften the edges.
  • Win the lottery. 
  • Lighten up and don't take it all so seriously.
And there it is. 
Hope some of these inspire you to start a list or add to one already in progress.
Some seem obvious but are easily forgotten when caught up
in the day to day struggle with life.
And should I succeed with only some these,
life just might not be such a struggle!
Wishing you the sweetest days ahead. 


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Madam Butterfly-To-Be

While the rest of the country is in the freezer,
we are having normal Southern California weather
which allows me to get into the garden
and perform a little maintenance.  
While cleaning up the sage, roses, Bird of Paradise and other shrubbery,
I was putting the latest cuttings in the green waste when...what?
On one of the dead stalks from the milkweed,
a vivid yellow-black-white stripe figure stopped me in my tracks.
I immediately recognized this to be a creature of import.
Cinderella maybe.
Sleeping Beauty perhaps.
Royalty in the making for certain.

Here is Madam Butterfly-To-Be.
She is small but she is mighty. 
I took the branch she clung to back to the milkweed
then left her alone to find her way.

I will keep an eye on her 
and make certain she is still hanging out.
I cross fingers that she finds enough nourishment
to make her journey to cocoon and
eventually her coronation as 
Monarch of the butterfly world.

I will keep you posted on Madam's progress.

Still here on Moonlight Lane.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Reading

I hope that your holiday was a lovely one filled with 
The Joy of Giving.
And today finds you filled with

Ours was quiet and always richer as it is my grandson's birthday!  
A solid thirteen this year and fully engulfed in smelly feet, 
long showers and video games that destroy planets.
On the softer side, there is even 
a confessed girlfriend 
and a first kiss!  
Too soon?  
"Let's let her mother worry about it.", 
Mrs. Walsh.  The Goonies, 1985

His birthday cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes
So decadent with chocolate/chocolate chip and that insane frosting that
makes your teeth hurt but is Oh. So. Good. 
I sacrificed - phoned in the order, drove and picked it up.
All by my myself! 
If you have them in your area, definitely worth it 

OK - focus and back on-topic.....
Christmas Reading....
by John Baxter

A lovely story that lets you peek into a French family Festin de Noel 
and feel the love and dedication that goes into preparing
the revered holiday meal.

John Baxter, and Australian film critic finds himself, 
oddly enough, in Los Angeles. 
John meets French woman, Marie-Do.
John falls in love.
John moves to Paris.
John marries Marie-Do.
John prepares Christmas family dinner for 18
at the family chateau outside of Paris.

Not surprisingly,
the French take Christmas dinner quite seriously.
Nothing fast.
Nothing purchased ready-made 
except for the bread from the local boulangerie.
Several courses.
Loads of wine.
Every bite savored

Le Menu:
Mareindeer Clear Oysters
Roast Suckling Pig (Cracklins included)
Roast Potatoes
Carrot Pudding
Clochard Apple Sause
Vacherin Cheese
Pears Crassanes
Chateau les Eyquem Margaux, 1998and for dessert .... Fruits Brules.
And yes, the French take naps post fete.
Snoring included!
The bonuses are the travels taken to assemble the feast.
My favorite, a trip to Charente-Maritime for oysters.
Ah, to have a home there and maybe one with a gite.
Je Reve. 
But por moi, hold the oysters. 
Finished the book on Christmas Eve - Perfect Timing!

I enjoyed his gift of insights into French culture 
and my only regret is that I could not join them for the feast.

Our Christmas dinner was not suckling pig as in John's book
but Porcupine Meatballs at the request of the 
Birthday Boy-Man.
Here is the recipe as adapted from the original 
found in Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, 
Porcupine Meatballs
My recipe is from the "Who Knows When" edition 
as that page is long gone.
They really are quite good and a family favorite
since my girls were young.
An easy prep and includes the must-have 
Midwest ingredient of a can of Campbell's condensed soup.
We served with mashed potatoes and 
NO vegetables.
Again as requested by the Boy-Man.

Now we march on to yet another family birthday Wednesday,
and then mine.
 I have begun my New Year Resolution list.
Have you?

xx from Moonlight Lane


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Autumn Solo Breakfast

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I am watching the sun rise in east 
and paint my room with golden tones. 
Mr. Moonlight slumbers in bed.
Baby Boop sleeps on top the back cushion of the sofa.
Che is off snoring on his cheetah pillow.
I, alone am awake and loving these precious moments.
Reflecting on the week past and preparing for the one ahead.
Day at a time madam, day at a time.
So I slow my thoughts and breath -
yoga breath...
inhale through the nose, pause;
exhale through the mouth, pause.

Autumn comes slowly to Southern California.
Our seasons are like quadruplets. 
All looking alike but each a little different.
It's subtle.
A few random trees are changing their
headdress crowns to garnet and amber.
Most trees are not. 
The palms still wave their green fronds.
The pines whisper their golden pollen to the breezes.
Magnolia trees holding their buds like jeweled scepters.
Such a beautiful tree of emerald leaf tops and cinnamon velvet undersides.

Stepping out in the garden (before, middle and after images to come)
the newly installed DG crunching on my footstep.
What a lovely sound.
Hummingbirds swirl to breakfast at the feeders
while others are warring over rights to salvia bushes in full bloom.
The air is crisp, at chilling 57°, which is sweater weather here.
I work to deep water pomegranate, roses, lilac 
and whatever has survived the hot dry summer.
Slippers wet from unseen puddles in the grass, I step back inside
to prepare my solo breakfast.

Steel Cut Oats
Original Recipe from The Simply Luxurious Life

1/4 C steel cut oat (I used John McCann's - love the tin)
1 Tbsp butter (I use Trader Joe's French Butter)
3/4 water
pinch of sea salt (I use Trader Joe's French Fleur de Sel)
heavy cream
seasonal garnish
berries, raisins, nuts, apples, bananas,
any combo of the above

In a small skillet, melt butter and add steel oats.
Shake skillet to evenly distribute and let the oats toast
for two minutes.  Add a pinch of Fleur de Sel.
Boil water in microwave while the oats
are getting toasty golden.
Slowly add water to oats.
Water and oats will boil.
Reduce to simmer for 7-10 minutes
until water has been absorbed to your desired consistency.
Pour in heavy cream and cook briefly to thicken.
Once in your bowl, add garnishes.
This morning I had blueberries
in a different bowl than when I started (full disclosure).

Please stop by The Simply Luxurious Life.
It is a favorite blog with lovely ideas on d├ęcor, fashion,
lifestyle/coaching and beaucoup de choses French.
Enjoy your Sunday and
thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

That Little Turquoise Box

As I stepped out of our front door
with the babies leashed for the evening walk,
a small parcel was at the doorstep.
"I don't recall ordering anything."
Picking it up, it was very light weight 
and didn't rattle as I shook it.
No name of sender just an address from Parsippany, NJ.
"Hmm.  I don't know anyone from New Jersey 
since Carl moved to Florida".
I tossed it inside the entry as the babies were anxious 
to start their neighborhood rounds.
Curiosity tumbled through my mind with every step.
"A gift from a rep?"
"A long forgotten back order?"
"The Uni-bomber?" 
(No, he's in jail, silly)

On returning home I opened the parcel to find
lovely embossed tissue paper.
It said Tiffany & Company.
I sighed with the puzzle solved.
Unwrapping the paper, there was the famous
turquoise box with white satin ribbon.
This is my Ten-Year Anniversary
gift from my employer.  

This employer,
which will no longer be my employer come next Friday,
is showing its incredible generosity and class
by honoring anniversaries as if the sale
from Adidas were not days away.
The divestiture of the company will
never change my devotion and gratitude
for the past ten years of employment.
Through heady times of incredible success 
and moments of "not so much", 
I am constantly reminded what a 
truly successful company looks like.

A family.

Faces and events pepper my memory with festivals,
happy hours, weekend retreats, rallies and 
annual bonus celebrations strewn
with confetti and toasted with champagne.
Darker days with layoffs and farewells.
Co-workers that are so funny I want to wrap them up 
and take them with me everywhere.
Others so difficult that I want to wring their necks.
Some who make work incredibly hard and those
that created a lovely place to be forty hours a week.
Many that have moved up and on
and one that is no longer alive but her smile still shines
in the corners of the halls and offices.

I am a lucky woman.

Gratitude oozes from every pore as I 
look back down the curvy road of life and wish my
Taylormade family success and happiness 
in the years to come.

I think I will wait to open this on Friday, 
the last day under their employ.

Thank you for stopping by Moonlight Lane!



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kitchen Lighting

Hello again -----

It is starting to cool down a bit but I am no fool, 
this too shall end as we head toward
our hottest month, September. 
But for now, I will enjoy this while it lasts. 

Been slowly working on projects.

Our kitchen lighting was so dated...fluorescents from the '70s!
We rarely turned them on as I always felt like I was still at my office.
"Unfortunately" while sweeping, the broom handle 
hit one of the plastic lenses which broke on landing.
Neither Home Depot nor Lowes had the right pre-cut size.
Second Awwwwwwww.............
There are no images of a before as I am embarrassed
that I lived with it for two plus years.

My most talented son-in-law volunteered
to install can lights and trim it out.
He hates to paint so I took care of that part.
Here is post installation with one coat of paint.
A note to our viewers:
Don't install can lights, tape, the try to paint.

Notice: one can already fell out..grrrr.

Here is the right way - 
paint rolled on with the cans out.

You can see Jon's beautiful work.  
He used ship lap on the ceiling from a current job.
Purchased the primed door trim and other trim
from Home Depot.

Here is the final image with cans installed.
It is simply beautiful and all on a dimmer. 
I feel like a Princess!  
Can't wait for daylight savings to end so we can use them more.
Wait. No. That was just a crazy thing to say.

Oh, and see the pendant to the left?
That was once an original can light.
Found it at Lowe's.
The fixture is really a pendant light conversion kit 
and for just $19.98 and since the glass was only $7.98,
the whole thing was just over $30.00 including tax.

I did this install

No, those are not my hairy arms - just a photo from the box.
This is an easy project.  Only tool is a step ladder!

Simply take the light bulb out of the can.
Remove the can light trim (I had to touch up the paint a bit).
There is more than enough wire so just
find the perfect length for you.
Screw the converter into the socket.
Tighten the escutcheon plate to ceiling with decorative screw 
while tucking the excess wiring up into the can space.
Install glass shade and light bulb.
It's beautiful. 

My kitchen lighting is updated and
I can enjoy working in my kitchen.
Now just need kitchen countertops updated.
Au revoir to linoleum soon!

Thank you for stopping by Moonlight Lane!



Friday, August 11, 2017

Long Time No Post

Boy is that title an understatement!
It has been forever.....
Being in the golf industry, this is my busiest time of year.
Little gets done at my house when golfers are on the links.
The season is starting to wind down as our 
shipments have shipped, 
tournaments are played,
and now returning excess inventory and
shoes that have gotten wet....
"I swear I didn't wear them into the pond"....
blah, blah, blah.

I am now returning to my real life and have changes in the air...
a new grandson is due at the end of the month!
A lovely baby shower was held last Sunday and my daughter
was in heaven with friends and family gathered to 
rejoice in their last month of the wait.
Tick Tock - her due date is 08/30 but for her sake,
I hope it happens sooner.  

8 pounds and more to go until he comes.
My younger daughter coordinated and friends; 
Alana helped with food,
and Pam with the cake.
All done with Where the Wild Things Are theme.

Aren't those decorations cute? 
The signs all done by my most talented daughter
with greenery to soften everything up.

And here is the lovely cake made by friend, Pam.
It was a lovely day and we all enjoyed 
the delicious food and mimosas.

Thank you gifts were adorable as well

Now all we have to do is wait....
Tick Tock 
Tick Tock

Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane.