Saturday, December 18, 2010

the tiniest tiger: conservation project!

The Tiniest Tiger by Joanne L. McGonagle

the tiniest tiger book coverWhat a lovely book and excellent gift for cat and animal-lovers of almost any age, although tinier people of kindergarten age and younger probably would appreciate the illustrations and an explanation more than listening to the narrative. 7" x 10" dimensions are a nice size to hold and largish black sans serif type is easy to read. And how wonderful that "A portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Tiniest Tiger will benefit conservation projects for endangered wild cats in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, through the Conservation Fund of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium."

The adventures of a tiger-striped kitten who wanders out of the alley where she lives with other cats takes her to the zoo, where in a quest to find her own place (a home) she converses with a series of big cats: tiger, lion, cheetah, clouded leopard, puma [panther, cougar, mountain lion], jaguar, bobcat and ocelot. Each big cat's habitat features a sign with details such as endangered status, body size and weight, litter size... and includes a map to show the cat's usual geographical range in the wild. After full-circling from her initial zoo encounter with a tiger back to the same tiger, the little tiger kitten happily goes home with the zoo-keeper's daughter and to her very own habitat, a place where she truly belongs with human family and a full-grown tiger tabby who looks a lot like her. And they name her Gracey!

I especially liked the comparisons of the little kitten with each big cat--sometimes size, at other times markings, tail length, ear style--varied physical traits that are similar yet distinguishingly different.

Beautifully artistic water-color style illustrations fill every other page spread. No artist was listed in the credits, but Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger told me Rachael Mahaffey drew and painted them. I noted that several other reviewers didn't care for alternate spreads with text only centered on white, and though younger readers or younger kids being read to might be disappointed in not getting a picture to look at, the story flowed so well and kept me so interested that didn't bother me in the least. Also, as an artist-designer I have a clue about print and production costs and it was wise to keep the price of this well-bound paperback to a reasonable $15.00 US.

Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger herself has a fan club on Facebook and would love all animal lovers to be her friend.

my amazon review: conservation project!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

extra turkey gravy

turkey gravy

• Pan drippings from roast turkey
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• Chicken broth or water


1. After transferring roast turkey to a serving platter, pour pan drippings into a large measuring cup. Skim and reserve fat from drippings.
2. Pour 1/4 cup of the fat into a medium saucepan (discard remaining fat).
3. Stir in flour. Add enough broth or water to remaining drippings in the measuring cup to equal 2 cups;
4. Add all at once to flour mixture in saucepan.
5. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
6. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 2 cups - 8 to 10 servings

Monday, November 22, 2010

simple abundance: for what it's worth

simple abundanceSimple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy helps guide a person through each day of the year, with quotes from famous people and well-known sources along with a daily topic. This is not Holy Writ or a recently re-discovered treasure from the Bard, so don't try to approach it as such. For what it's worth, it's a few hundred pieces of advice and recommendations for enhancing your home, yard and work environments, your lifestyle and sense of yourself and maybe even helping some of the people around you.

Author Sarah Ban Breathnach doesn't call upon insights or practices from expressions of any of the great faith traditions, so don't expect an exposition of scripture or interpretation of the latest news through the lens of a modern or ancient prophet. However, almost nothing she suggests is incompatible with most religious or spiritual practices.

Some of it's kinda funky, some close to caricature, but (for example) I can relate to "Decorating with the Seasons: Summer Houses" for 14 June, though my own Summer-Themed Habitat might not have the exact same details. "Classic Chic 102" is the subject for 04 June; it's about living spaces, but I like picking up the classic idea for the way I dress that tends to be touches of vintage, preppy, urban, prairie in almost equal parts, so an idea aimed at one aspect of life might inspire another direction.

This is a nice handbook to keep handy on a table, although instead of reading each page-long entry in order, I'd prefer to read at random. For what it's worth, take what appeals to you and leave the rest for another time or maybe never.

my amazon review: for what it's worth

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

festival of sail 2010: star of india 4

Star of India

Star of India sails

festival of sail 2010: star of india 3

Star of India

Star of India

festival of sail 2010: star of india 2

Star of India Star of India{

festival of sail 2010: star of india 1

Star of India

Star of India

festival of sail 2010 | 6

Festival of Sail 2010 Bill of Rights

festival of sail 2010 | 5

Festival of Sail 300 Festival of Sail 2010

festival of sail 2010 | 4

Festival of Sail 2010

Festival of Sail 2010

festival of sail 2010 | 3

Festival of Sail 2010 Festival of Sail 2010

festival of sail 2010 | 2

Festival of Sail 2010 Festival of Sail 2010

festival of sail 2010 | 1

Festival of Sail 300

Thursday, July 22, 2010

essay contest winner...

...from 2001: First Place prize of $50 plus publication in I Love Cats magazine. I figured retyping it here would be a good idea.

"Pumpkin Marigold! Wake up! This is your day ... it's Halloween!" As the little orange cat untucked her head, blinked, stood up and stretched, the sun peeked through the window, shining on her beautiful fur. Pumpkin Marigold jumped off the bed and scurried out to the kitchen for breakfast. "Halloween?" she thought. "I always thought Halloween was for black cats." Her person read PM's thoughts.

"Sometimes Halloween is for black cats. But your name is Pumpkin, your color is orange, and Halloween fun is about orange pumpkins!"

Then her person showed something to PM. It was the costume she'd be wearing to the neighborhood pet party. As PM looked at the outfit, she started to purr. Louder and louder. Putting both paws onto her person's legs and contentedly running her head, the cute Halloween cat skipped into the black cat costume And later that day, Pumpkin Marigold faced all the cameras with pride as everyone took her picture. She's won the "Best Costume" award at the pet party.

"This really is my day ... it's Halloween," mewed the pumpkin-colored cat to her whole world.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

gourmet burger joint: boomerangs

"You'll always come back for more."

boomerangs signI'll definitely go back for more to Boomerangs, San Diego, CA, where bright southwestern-hued paint and streams of natural light surrounded us from the moment we entered the building; as we enjoyed lunch, succulent burgers and accompaniments tantalized us. The website insists, "Boomerangs is the place for you. We make all of our burgers with 100% Angus beef with the freshest ingredients and our handmade sides are a must try!"

To create your own burger, you get to add any three toppings and mixers, one cheese and one homemade side to a basic 1/3, 1/2 or 3/4 pound Angus burger. Besides beef, there are additional non-vegetarian plus portabello mushroom or boomerangs locationveggie burger options. The website displays most of the menu items we got to choose from in the restaurant. Prices are modest for such fresh excellence; due to its quality and the fact it didn't shrink much during cooking the 1/3 pound burger was so substantial I'd have been happy to be able choose a smaller, quarter-pounder, especially since the sides added more substance.

Paintings by San Diego-based artist Mark Smith arrayed themselves on the walls; Jose, our server explained the art was for sale but Boomerangs had the privilege of borrowing them for a spontaneous exhibit until they were sold.

If you're not too far from the San Diego area beaches it's worth a trip to Clairemont for lunch at Boomerangs. The restaurant is open every day of the week, so you can't miss. Other features include daily happy hour from 4 to 7 and brunch on Sundays from 10 to 2 with "free-flowing champagne and mimosas," fresh fruit and salads, hot entrees, omelets and desserts.

Most likely you'll always go back for more!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

cape cod collage

cape cod collage
These images all are from mid-cape; I believe the house is from the photos I took on one of the roads from Harwich Center to Harwichport during spring 2000.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

mister fish and chips

restaurant review

...not exactly a developed site, but here it is....

Mr. Fish and ChipsTheir ads in the semi-slick coupon clippers we get in the mail intrigued me, so it was time to try the real thing. As the name of the eating place suggests and the bill-of-fare attests, Mr. Fish and Chips, situated away from the shoreline a few miles inland (but all of Paradise is coastal community) in a strip mall on an adjacent mesa, specializes in fried seafood (pacific cod(?), scallops, shrimp and clam strips), clam chowder and batter-fried accompaniments. They serve a limited selection of beer and wine, but I didn't notice any desserts, nor is there a menu you can take with you. However, you can phone in an order that will be ready to pick up when you get there.

Evidently the family-run quick food restaurant has been in that general location almost forever, since 1975, with the current spot the result of a recent move. Mr. Fish and Chips features brightly clean ambiance, six tables that seat 4 (or 6 in a scramble), a counter toward the back where you order from the menu board so they can call your number in 5 minutes or so when your tray is ready and a constant flow of customers for eating-in and taking-out. What good deals, maybe partly because it's cash-only! The only selection costing more than $10.00 is a family meal for a little under $20.00. For about $7.00 my neighbor and I each got a big piece of fish, either zucchini, onion rings or potatoes, fresh side salad of iceberg, red tomato wedges and chunky cucumber slices with choice of dressings. The basic price included 12-ounce cup of soda (no refills) or iced tea (with refills); you could order any item à la carte. They served the meal in paper-lined plastic baskets with disposable plastic utensils, but limited staff and space likely make dish-washing impractical. The batter was light, puffy, crunchy, appetizingly golden and took up almost as much space as the food it covered. Though it didn't have a lot of its own flavor, it also didn't taste greasy or "off" in the least.

At the start of the meal I really dived into the food, but by the end all the batter and fried stuff felt overwhelming, most likely because I've been eating simpler and healthier and almost never anything more than quickly sautéed or lightly pan-fried. Will I go back to Mr. Fish and Chips for another lunch? Probably, but it will become more of an every-few weeks event than a weekly occasion.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Stamps: 2007

Here are my stamps for Earth Day 2007 recently redone with © leah (at) suntreeriver design rather than © suntreeriver design; this time they're against 50% gray (I really did heed my color theory teacher):

Earth Day Stamps 2007

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

using feng shui

Using Feng Shui: Easy Ways to Use the Ancient Chinese Art of Placement for Happiness and Prosperity, by Antonia Beattie

What a delight! As a feng shui novice yet amateur in the true sense of the word, I knew some room and space arrangements felt good and produced healthy living but usually wasn't exactly sure how. using feng shuiIt is wonderful to find various topics such as life aspirations, colors, grids, mirrors, shapes and doors in easy to access format. There's a feng shui lifestyle and yes, I definitely want and need to add that to my repertoire. The feng shui lifestyle section begins with a check like of Imbalances, Symptoms, Cures along with corresponding pages in the book where you might be able to find solutions.

I especially appreciate the book's square shape, the binding on the hardcover version that lets it easily stay open and the open page layout along with a natural color palette. I love this book and hope you'll find it useful in helping increase the feng shui of all your places: home, yard, garden, work, school and recreational.

my amazon review: a beautiful, balanced layout for a beautiful, balanced life

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

sun country house!

sun country house
Here's my enhanced version of the East Harwich house; I'm calling this one Sun Country House!

..and the original...
harwich house original

Saturday, February 27, 2010

just books

Parsonage dining room in city of history—just books! The inherited shelves really were as lean-to as they appear in the pic and you might notice the pair of boxes from Sacred Design, too...
parsonage dining room