Friday, December 30, 2011

....You know its way too fast to be crawlin on these interstate roads...

1966 Ford Mustang
I was in Cleveland County, NC recently and a young friend of mine was eager to show me his new old car.  It's a 1966 Ford Mustang in excellent condition.  A former owner had painted it this "I think I'm going to throw up magenta", but my friend and his dad are going to restore it to its original cherry red color.  It reminds me of Chuck Berry's song My Mustang Ford where he sings about his cherry red mustang.  (You can listen to it on You Tube)
The interior is in excellent condition. 
Gas tank cap at rear of car.

Wes and his new set of wheels.
He and his dad are going to restore it to its original cherry red.

This is going to be too pretty to drive to school when he gets his driver's license in December and "way too fast to be crawlin on these interstate roads".  Be careful, but have fun Wes!

I'm reposting this for Wesley.  Happy Birthday Wesley.

La Bella Vita: The Beautiful Life

Photo by Roz from la bell vita blog.

One of the blogs that I regularly follow is La Bella Vita.  This website has wonderful recipes and thoughts about food along with stunning photos.  Her photographs whether of food or nature or whatever topic she may be covering are absolutely beautiful.  But it's not just about food. I always feel inspired by her blog and I believe you would too.  Roz, the creator of this blog, describes her blog as follows:

Ciao! I live in the beautiful Carolina's on a peaceful country acreage surrounded by amazing natural beauty. I'm an Italian-Amercian from a long lineage of passionate cooks and gardeners. I've got a hungry husband and family to try new recipes on, 10 animals to play with, and veggie and flower gardens to tend. Along with being a culinary enthusiast and gardener, I'm a quilter, equestrian, frequent traveler, and lover of life and beauty . . . thus the name "La Bella Vita", "The Beautiful Life". . . because if you look around you, it truly is a beautiful life! After visiting my blog, I hope you feel inspired to welcome more beauty and deliciousness into your life.   

 Why don't you check out la bella vita 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

City Lights with Charlie Chaplin

Our recent Netflix selection was Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" which we watched the other night.  Both Dan and I are Chaplin fans, and I think "City Lights" is Chaplin's best movie.

In the main plot of "City Lights", The Little Tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl and he sets out to make enough money to provide her with an operation that will restore her sight.  After preventing a drunk millionaire from committing suicide the Tramp has an of and off relationship with the millionaire. They are best friends when the millionaire is drunk, but when sober the millionaire throws the tramp out. 

There are hilarious, slap-stick scenes in this movie.  One at a party where the Tramp is eating confetti (not spaghetti). 
Confetti not spaghetti.
When the tramp swallows a whistle and begins hiccuping, every hiccup produces a little whistle.
A swallowed whistle produces a whistle with every hiccup.

The Tramp manages to get the money (from the drunk millionaire) to enable the blind girl to restore her sight.  In the end the girl who can now see realizes that her love interest  is a tramp and not a millionaire.  The final shot brought tears to my eyes.
Now she can see.
Final shot.
For a full review of this 1931 film, check out this NY Times Movie Review.

All screenshots from

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is dedicated to enriching the lives of blind and visually impaired men and women by providing them with the freedom to travel safely, thereby assuring greater independence, dignity and new horizons of opportunity.

The goal of the North Carolina puppy raisers regional site for Guiding Eyes for the Blind is to help potential guide dog puppies develop into well adjusted, mannerly young adults. Volunteers devote their love and time to raise a potential guide dog from eight weeks to maturity. During this time manners are taught and puppies are safely socialized with varied situations and everyday experiences. After completing additional formal training, pups raised help blind men and women achieve greater dignity, security and independence.

Potential Guide Dogs at the Training Center in NY. (Photo by Anthony Benson).

In honor of daughter Laura Livingstone and her husband Anthony Benson, we have made a donation to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. As a volunteer for GEB, Laura spends most of her time teaching classes to the volunteer raisers and their pups. She is particularly interested in building human-animal relationships based on trust, respect, and joyful interaction. Laura and Anthony raised a guide dog, Justice, who is a working guide dog now.  Here's the dog they raised (on the right) with their dog, Mona.

Mona (left) and Justice, the guide dog. (Photo by Anthony Benson).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gallucci Sculptures on Fayetteville Street

Gallucci tower lit for Christmas in downtown Raleigh.
On Christmas evening Dan and I along with friend Virginia Tucker drove down Fayetteville Street in Raleigh to view the Christmas decorations.  Jim Gallucci, renowned sculptor from Greensboro, designed the four 55 foot brushed stainless steel, LED powered light columns that are the centerpiece for the City Plaza at the south end of Fayetteville Street. Virginia’s late husband, James Tucker was a colleague of Gallucci’s at UNC Greensboro, and she was particularly pleased to see the sculptures lit for Christmas.  

Oak leaf motif of tower.
The towers have the oak and acorn motif, as do the vertical posts that act as traffic barriers along the street.  Raleigh is known as the City of Oaks.  
Oak leaf motif on top of vertical traffic barrier.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

Happy Boxing Day!

Actually, Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport of Boxing.  I was never aware of Boxing Day as a celebratory day of the Christmas season until I met Dan.  Dan who is Canadian (actually he has dual citizenship--US/Canadian) is accustomed to celebrating this day as are most Canadians. 

If you are interested in a brief history of Boxing Day, you can check out this article:
Brief history of Boxing Day

I can tell you we don't go fox hunting nor do we go shopping on this day. ( Okay, sometimes I may go shopping on this day after Christmas). We usually just rest and recover from our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day activities or sometimes we go to a movie.  But we do wish our Canadian and British friends Happy Boxing Day whether they are enjoying shopping, fox hunting or watching a soccer match.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth

Doves of Saint Benedict's monastery, Monte Cassino, Italy. (Photo by Shelley Fink-Brackett).
I thought this lovely photograph of the doves of Saint Benedict's Monastery in Monte Cassino, Italy would make a beautiful Christmas card.

Shelley Fink-Brackett, a fellow traveler on our trip to Italy in the fall, shared this with me.  She commented:  "A trip to Saint Benedict's Monastery would not be complete without seeing the doves.  Just so happened, we found them taking their afternoon bath in one of the fountains in the courtyard."   Thank you Shelley for sharing this beautiful photograph.

Here's wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring PEACE ON EARTH.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oyster Stew: A Christmas Eve Tradition

Ingredients for oyster stew.

Having oyster stew on Christmas Eve is a long-standing tradition in our family.  I doubt there has been a Christmas Eve since I was a child that I've not had oyster stew.  My father always made the oyster stew when I was growing up.  I remember he would get the oysters at the Ora Mill Supermarket near the Dover Mill Village.  The oysters came in a pint sized cylindrical waxed (probably with paraffin) paper container that had a top cover that slipped down over the bottom part. That would be enough for the four of us.   My sister didn't like the oysters, but she did like the oyster-flavored broth.

My recipe for oyster stew for two:
One pint of fresh oysters  (don't use canned oysters)
One pint of half and half or whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place oysters and their liquid in a heavy saucepan and heat until the edges of the oysters curl.  Do NOT bring to a boil.  Heat to just below boiling point. Boiling will make the oysters tough.
Heat until edges of oysters curl.  Don't boil.

Add one pint of half and half. (I always use half and half for this recipe.  In most cases we use skim milk at our house, but I ALWAYS use half and half for oyster stew.)
Heat to just below boiling point. (Again do not let this come to a boil.)
Heat to just below boiling point.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Yields: two servings 
Delicious oyster stew.

Oyster stew is on the menu for our Christmas Eve dinner tonight as usual.  Since I left home, I've made oyster stew every Christmas Eve, so my children always expect oyster stew and they are never disappointed.  My grandchildren have not yet developed a taste for it, but I'm betting they will as they get older. 

Expecting ten, perhaps eleven, for dinner tonight.  Can't wait to play "dirty Santa gift exchange."

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Image by Simon Howden.

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He's making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!
O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

Screenshot from It's A Wonderful Life, captured by Rebecca, the Clothes Horse.

A blog that I follow, The Clothes Horse, recently posted about the movie  It's A Wonderful Life.

I agree with Rebecca* that this is a great Christmas movie. We often watch this on Christmas Eve.

If you haven't seen this, you should do so.  It is usually shown on television around the Christmas holidays.  Check out your TV  listings.

Screenshot from It's a Wonderful Life captured by Rebecca, the Clothes Horse.
 *Rebecca is my first cousin twice removed.  She's the granddaughter of my first cousin, Joan. Rebecca is a talented photographer and writer and a very successful blogger.  Check out this cute post on Rebecca's blog: The Clothes Horse.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Mama

My mother, Roslyn Greene, who passed away four years ago at the age of 96, was born on December 22, 1911, and today would have been her 100th birthday.  So Happy Birthday, Mama.

Mama at age 18.

Mama at age 22.
Mama fishing on our boat, the Marlann, on Lake James in 1950.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Carolina Inn Christmas Tree

Christmas tree in main lobby of Carolina Inn.
The Christmas tree in the main lobby of the Carolina Inn is one of the prettiest Christmas trees I have seen this year.  The color scheme is lime green with accents of tangerine.  The cutest aspect of the tree is the collection of elves that are "decorating" the tree.

Elf decorating the tree.

Dragon fly ornament.

Elf climbing the ladder to decorate the tree.
Lovely ornament.

I love the hummingbird ornament.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thank You Notes From Students: Donors Choose

Frank's coat-of-arms with removable swords.
Dan and I recently made a contribution to a "A Knight's Tale: Reading Adventure!" project of daughter Chris Livingstone through Our contribution helped to buy The Knight at Dawn books the students read in connection with their Social Studies unit on the Middle Ages. We recently received thank you notes from the students in her ESL class at Brogden Middle School in Durham.

As part of the thank you letters, Chris had the students design a coat-of-arms.  "First, they selected personal qualities they valued. Then they looked at a table of symbols used to express these values in the days of knights and created an original coat-of-arms using two colors and two other symbols."

Frank said, we have fun reading...thank you...thank you... He chose a snake as one of his symbols to show that ...I am an ambitious person. I added a sword to show that I want to help win wars.

Alexander's coat-of-arms.
Alexander said ...the tiger shows I am a fierce person...the colors blue and red symbolize loyalty and power.

Patricia's coat-of-arms.
 Patricia said: ...the colors red and green symbolize power and happiness. The snake shows I am an ambitious person.
Priscilla's coat-of-arms.
Priscilla said, ...The animal fox shows that I am an intelligent person. I added a crescent to show that I want to get a good education during my life.

I wish I could show you each of the student's designs. They all did a good job, and we were very pleased with the thank you notes they sent.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gelato in Chapel Hill, NC

Sugarland store front on Franklin Street.
Helen and I were in Chapel Hill the other day having lunch at the Crossroads Restaurant in the Carolina Inn.  After lunch we walked down to Franklin Street and the Sugerland Bakery.  In addition to cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts,  Sugarland makes real authentic Italian gelato.  I became addicted to gelato in Italy, and I was hankering for some for dessert. 
Gelato at Sugarland.
Sugarland makes a variety of flavors of gelato.  I think this was peach.
Sugarland's cupcakes are said to be the best in the Triangle.
Wedding cake.
They make cakes for all occasions, especially wedding cakes.
Black and white cake.
One of my favorite designs they have on display is the intricately decorated black and white cake which would cost around $700. for this size and decorated in so much detail.
Mosaic at entrance to the bakery.
It's worth a trip to Sugarland just to see the beautiful mosaic at the entrance to the bakery.  And of course, you couldn't pass up a cup or cone of their wonderful gelato.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Have a Great, Great Nephew

My sister up in Cleveland County recently became a great grandmother, and I was wondering what that makes me (other than old).  So I googled it and according to Wikipedia, that makes me a great great aunt.  And this cute little great grandson of my sister is my great great nephew. 
Baby Cason, one week old with a head full of beautiful black hair.  (Photo courtesy of Ally).

It's hard enough for me to realize that my niece is now a grandmother, but it's even harder to fathom that my sister is a great grandmother and I am a great great aunt.
My sister, Martha, Great Grandma to Cason. (Photo courtesy of Kelly.)

Grandmother, Kelly, with Cason. (Photo courtesy of Kelly.)
So now my sister is not only grand, but she is great.  And the new baby is not only grand, but great and doubly great. My niece is grand. And now I am doubly great!!!!  Don't you just love genealogy?

Cason at two weeks old. (Photo courtesy of Kelly.)