Monday, October 31, 2011

My Grands on Halloweens Past

Brooks dressed as a pirate when he was six in 2003.
My two older grandchildren are too old to trick or treat so I'll post photos of them in their costumes in years past.  In 2003 Brooks dressed as a pirate and Zach dressed as a cowboy.

Zach dressed as a cowboy in 2003 when he was nine.
Perhaps the two younger ones will trick or treat this year, but in any case here they are in Halloweens past.

Tyler at Halloween in 2004 when he was five.

Grace as a UNC cheerleader when she was four in 2005. 

I miss having the grands too old to Trick or Treat, but fortunately we have some new families in the neighborhood with small children, so we will be looking forward to them coming by tonight.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ravello, Italy

View from road up to the hilltop town of Ravello.
One of the most spectacular views we had on our trip to Italy was from the hilltop town of Ravello which is 1100 feet above sea level and which provides a stunning panoramic view of the Amalfi Coast. Although it had rained that morning (September 18), the sun came out and it was a beautiful afternoon.

Ravello auditorium designed by Oscar Neimeyer.

This auditorium is built into the side of the hill on the way up to Ravello.  It was designed by Oscar Neimeyer, the famous Brazilian architect, and the white concrete auditorium is set into the hillside to blend with the natural cliffs when viewed from the sea.  It is quite a work of art.

Olive tree in Ravello.

Three members of our tour group, Minnie, Betty & Mary, in Ravello.

Pat and Dan having lunch in Ravello.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pinocchio in Florence, Italy

Pinocchio by Enrico Mazzanti - the first illustrator (1883) of Le avventure di Pinocchio. Story of a Puppet - colored by Daniel DONNA

When we were in Italy, I discovered that Carlo Collodi wrote the Adventures of Pinocchio in Florence.  There was a wonderful little shop in Florence devoted to Pinocchio where there were little wooden Pinocchios for sale.  These are very well made and have moveable heads, arms and legs.  One of the few souvenirs I brought home was one of the little Pinocchios.  

Shop devoted to Pinocchio in Florence, Italy.
Little wooden Pinocchio.

Outside the shop was a boy size Pinocchio where one could sit and have their picture made with the little guy.

Boy size Pinocchio.

And I did.

Pat with Pinocchio.

I was visiting my friend Virginia in Greensboro this past week, and I noticed in her kitchen she had a Pinocchio funnel.  Cute!

Virginia's Pinocchio funnel.

Pinocchio is one of my favorite story-book characters.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mama's Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Sweet potato pie featured in News and Observer's Life Section on Wednesday.

Reading the feature article about sweet potato pies in Wednesday's N&O reminded me how much I like sweet potato pie and of my mother's recipe for it.  So I dug out the recipe from my recipe file, went to the Farmer's Market and bought some sweet potatoes and made me a pie.  I agree with the article that suggests that the sweet potato pie should become the official pie of North Carolina.  The sweet potato is already the official state vegetable for North Carolina.  A number of states do have an official state pie.

Recipe for Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie
2 cups, cooked, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes
¼  cup melted butter
3 large eggs beaten
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup bourbon whiskey (optional)
1 unbaked 9” pie shell

Boil sweet potatoes until tender, peel and mash them well. (I actually puree them in a blender to break up the potato fibers). Mix all ingredients together and pour into an unbaked pie shell (9 inch).  Place in a preheated 400F degree oven and immediately turn the oven to 325F.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the center of the pie is set.  Cool slightly before serving.  It is good warm or cold and can be topped with a dollop of whipped cream.  Serves 8. 

Boiled sweet potatoes.

Pureed sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

This is a good recipe. It's not too sweet, and don't leave out the nutmeg (I grate fresh) or the lemon juice. I didn't have bourbon this time, and it is much better with the bourbon.  Mama never made it without the bourbon.  

Yes, I think sweet potato pie should become the official state pie for North Carolina.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Smith's General Store, Orangedale, Nova Scotia

Smith's General Store
I love going over to Smith's store in Orangedale whenever we are in Cape Breton.  It reminds me of a general store of my childhood.  I believe the store has been in the family for three generations.  You can find almost anything at Smith's.

One May my friend Helen and I were at the house for a short stay, and we discovered that the electric stove was not working.  I called Bruce and within hours Bruce had a new stove delivered to us.  He's a really nice guy.

Appliances for sale.

And furniture.
You can even fill up your car with gas while there.

Bruce pumping gas.

All kinds of meats.
These bananas look perfect for making banana pudding.

Lot of Coffee Crisp candy bars.  These are Dan's and my favorite candy bars.

 Yes, Smith's General Store is a wonderful place to visit and to shop.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Orangedale, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

When we were in Nova Scotia in August, I ventured over to the little village of Orangedale every now and then.  It is one of my favorite villages in Cape Breton and not so very far from our place.  One day I took along my camera and captured some things I saw on a walk through the village.

The weathered shingles of an abandoned building.
The old railway station, now a museum.
The railroad that runs through the village.
Somebody is getting ready for winter.
A nice view of the lake from the village.

Orangedale United Church.

The "post office" at Smith's general store.

Smith's General Store deserves a post of its own, check in tomorrow for that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Memory of James Tucker

Painting by James Tucker.
We lost a dear friend last year when James Tucker passed away from West Nile Virus.  James was an artist and for many years was the curator of the Weatherspoon Art Gallery on the campus of UNC Greensboro.  I met James and his wife Virginia when they and I were vendors at the same antique shows.  For over ten years Dan and I were fortunate to enjoy their friendship, to visit here and at their place, to travel to antique shows together and to play many close Scrabble games.  One of our favorite times together was May several years ago when we spent a month traveling to and from Nova Scotia together.  In fact, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at our place in Cape Breton at a fun party that year. 

James and Virginia Tucker and Dan in the snow on the Cabot Trail in May 2007.

Dan had always admired James' painting The Yellow Nude that hung in their living room and that later was included in an exhibit of James' paintings at the Weatherspoon Gallery.  When I learned that some of the paintings in the show, including the Yellow Nude, were for sale, I quickly bought it as a surprise birthday present for Dan.  James and Virginia came over and hung it in our foyer to surprise Dan when he got home from work.  And Dan was surprised!  Now we feel that a part of James is always here with us in our home. 

James with his painting The Yellow Nude at home in our foyer.

On Friday night a number of James' friends got together in Greensboro at Virginia's to honor his memory.  It was a party that James would have loved.  Good drinks, good food, and good conversation.  I took along some Marcona almonds that James loved, and I felt that somehow he knew we were celebrating his life and that he wished he were there to enjoy the almonds, the martinis, the good food and the fellowship.

Good food.
Dan enjoying the party.

Virginia sitting beneath another of James' paintings and surrounded by his art deco collection.

Rest in peace, dear friend, we were so fortunate to have known you.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dana and Wayne's Wedding

The bride with her father, Steve.

When my cousin Dana Daniels was a teenager she would sometimes stay with us when she was down this way playing in a state tennis tournament.  She was a terrific little tennis player, and now she's all grown up.  Yesterday she married Wayne Hearn, who coincidentally is a tennis coach.   The wedding at the Ranson House in Huntersville was beautiful, and we visited with a lot of family members we don't see very often.  Great fun!!

The groom arrives.   

Wedding guests included the bride's aunts and uncle.

Aunt Debby.

Aunt Robin.

Uncle Johnny & Aunt Linda.

Dana and Wayne exchange vows.

Getting ready for a family photo.
Tent all ready for the reception.

Father (Steve) and Mother (Joan) arriving at reception.

Lara, the bride's sister and maid of honor, arriving at reception.
Linda with grandson, Jack, at reception.
Dan and Pat at reception.
Weddings are always fun, and this one was especially so. It was also kind of a family reunion.  Best wishes to Dana and Wayne.