June 2011

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Dark as winter, yet bright.

Lit from within.

Dancing on a feather, floating.

Soft, without edges.

No concern for space, nor sun, nor rain.


Green grass beckons,

Eager and inviting.

Become wet with dew,

and stay.

Colleen Sohn



Good morning!  Happy Monday, and all that jazz.  I hope you are well.  We had a stellar weekend in these parts, and not just the Colleen and Gregory parts.  The weather was awesome, and literally the first weekend since February where there was sunshine both days.  Seriously!  We were drunk on sunshine and a little wine too, at least on Saturday we were.

We rode our bicycles downtown to the big, Portland State Farmer’s Market early Saturday morning and had the best surprise ever as we walked down the park blocks.  Cars!  Lovely, lovely Italian cars!  There were a couple of Fiats, including my beloved Cinquecento, which made me cry (twice – such a waterworks, I am.  Thank goodness for sunglasses), lots of Alpha Romeos, a few Lancias, Maseratis, and Ferraris (Magnum P.I.).  Readers, I was verklempt at all the beauty and marvels of engineering.  Then I was incredibly sad that I left my camera at home.  A big boo hoo.  At least I got to see them.  I thank my lucky stars for that.

The market was full of life, happy people filling bags, baskets, and bellies.  We bought lots of yummy: two kinds of cheese, strawberries, cherries, peas, an artichoke, beef jerky, smoked salmon, and some baked goods to eat on the spot.  Our basket was full, and I was grateful the hubster was carrying it!

I made crepes for breakfast on Sunday, in which we put our delicious strawberries, and I thought of my brother Aaron.  When I lived with my parents, I’d make crepes once a year, always during strawberry season, and he’d get so excited, and eat, and eat, and eat.  That kind of happiness spreads.  So we enjoyed our crepes and thought sweet thoughts of him (recently engaged and a permanent member of the Wheat Ridge fire department!) before doing our chores.

I washed the windows.  They were filthy, and it took ages, but oh the difference!  The hubster mowed the lawn, did some laundry, and cleaned the kitchen in the time it took me.  Oy vay.  Then it was time for a snack, and the reason for the goofy photo.  I just started grabbing things to take outside and eat in the sun, and before I knew it, my hands were full.  Mr. Rogers would be proud, at least, a mostly healthy balance of protein, fruit, and grains.  Though I wish there was less plastic packaging.  Goll-ee, do I try to keep it to a minimum, but I love a Juanita’s corn chip now and then, and beef jerky is darn tasty, too.  At least the container of nuts is one I’ve been re-using for years.  That’s something.

So to Monday and a new week.  Here’s hoping it is grand!


Happy Friday and happy first official weekend of SUMMER 2011.  With that, I offer a recipe that is just right for this weather.  I made this last week, on one of those nights when I was determined to use the half empty containers of food, rinds of cheese, and produce drawer remnants in my refrigerator to make something super yum.  It worked!

Spicy Tomato Tart

1 9″ tart shell, prebaked – I made mine, but do whatever suits your fancy

16 ounces diced tomatoes (my last half of a quart jar that I canned last summer!  Grow tomatoes, grow!)

1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo (I whirl the contents of a can in the food processor and keep in a jar in the fridge)

1 clove garlic, diced or pressed fine

salt, to taste

1/2 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced

1 cooked chicken breast, diced

1/4 cup fresh cheese (I used Black Sheep Creamery, but ricotta or cream cheese would be great, too)

1/4 cup white cheese, grated or in small pieces (I used Ancient Heritage Hannah, but jack, cheddar, or a low-moisture mozzarella would be good)

smoked paprika (optional)

Cook the diced tomatoes, chipotle, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Let it get a good boil going and reduce until thick and just a tad watery (5-10 minutes) before adding salt, to your taste.  I should note that this is kind of spicy, so use less chipotle if you don’t want a warm mouth.  Spread the tomato mixture over the tart bottom.  It will look a little chintzy, but I assure you that it is just right.  Spread the bell pepper, chicken, and cheeses evenly over the surface.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika, if desired.  It looks pretty and adds a little flavor.  Bake at 400 until cheese starts to melt (5 minutes?).  Put under the broiler for a minute or two for nice color.

This is delicious served straight from the oven, at room temperature (picnic anyone?), or cold for breakfast the next morning.  It tastes really good with red wine, too.  I’m not normally a fan of reds (oh the headaches!) but we had this bottle of Sokol Blosser Meditrina (I’m a sucker for pretty packaging), and it was just right. Luscious, just like the label said.  Goldilocks was happy.


Happy Birthday Alan and Chaz…

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The Deep Sea

When winds are raging o’er the upper ocean
And billows wild contend with angry roar,
’Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion
That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.

Far, far beneath, the noise of tempests dieth
And silver waves chime ever peacefully,
And no rude storm, how fierce so e’er it flyeth
Disturbs the Sabbath of that deeper sea.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Hi everyone –

A few happy items to start: it is the summer solstice!  The peonies are still blooming!  It is actually warm outside!  Happy, happy, happy Tuesday.

So this morning I was outside reading, as per my routine, and Pema (gosh, I know, I’m writing {and talking} about her a lot, but that’s just where I am right now, so feel free to come back later) was talking about this experience she had where a group of people vacillated between treating her as no big deal and a very big deal.  It became painful for her because just as she was settled into a groove of feeling one way or the other, it would change.  Finally, she spoke her frustrations aloud and was told, “You have to learn to be big and small at the same time.”  I kind of took it in and thought, “Oh that’s very wise,” but didn’t really digest it. The birds were chirping and Milo was on my lap, and my attention wandered to the peonies, and what else I had yet to do, and the gorgeous quality of light.

Then I was raking up some debris out front and this Mortimer (Pema’s name for an “enemy”) that’s acted pretty hateful toward me for some time came along and said, “Good morning Colleen!”  It was in a nice voice, too, not at all like the Jerry and Newman exchange, that I’m barely tolerating you mister, so keep your distance kind of tone.  I said hello back, a bit shocked and confused, and continued my raking.  Then Mortimer started talking again, complimenting my yard and garden and expressing distaste at the fact that it is supposed to be eighty degrees today.  We chatted, very friendly, before parting with a good day salutation and me feeling a little weak in the knees at the conversation.  What just happened?  I thought Mortimer hated me!

Suddenly my mind went back to my reading.  I knew exactly what Pema was talking about.  Those times when Mortimer acts like a best pal.  Those times when a good friend is a total bitch.  Those times when someone who is normally chatty and boisterous crosses the street to avoid conversation.  Those crap-shoot moody people – nice one time, mean the next.

Holy smokes!  This is what it means to be big and small at the same time, to be open, to breathe in whatever is offered, and breathe it out just the same.  I can do this!  Well, at least today, at this moment, because that’s all I’ve got.

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