Thursday, September 30, 2010

Europe Revisited: The Ice Caves

A thirty minute train ride from Salzburg, and into the Alps we go!

These pictures depict the ride up the mountain, the hiking up that ensued, then the gondola to the top, and finally, the view.

The largest ice caves in the world were up there.

Totally worth it. 

Monday, September 27, 2010


I know I'm interrupting the whole Europe extravaganza that I had planned, but I had to share these:

I will post more on this adventure later, I promise!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time Out!

Let's take a break from all this Martha Stewart-y stuff.  

I need to take a stroll back to Summer of 2008.  

What happened in Summer 2008?  A six week study abroad program in Salzburg, Austria, that's what.  I've been missing it horribly, especially since John and I have been talking about going over to Germany... another story altogether.  And a wonderful blog, praguepies, gives me pictures and stories from another European nation. Ahh.

So let's relive the journey through my pictures that I have to laboringly retrieve from my slow and forgotten laptop.  Another painful process: I have to screen out all the wonderful pictures that include my ex-boyfriend.  Boo.  Goodbye Eiffel Tower.  Goodbye Colosseum.  Beer Garden out.  But it's going to be great! 

Let's start with a collage of churches:

Recognize any?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Ripe Avocado and Sandwich Makings

A few days ago I picked up a soft avocado at the grocery store. 

I had every intention of slicing it up and drizzling it with olive oil, sea salt, and some lemon juice.
And I did just that.  

And I had some leftover prosciutto from an earlier pizza creation...

And we always stock bacon...

And John had bought some brie from an earlier trip...

What an incredible sandwich this made!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


My favorite meal of the day.

My breakfast was a southern breakfast bowl of local yellow grits, crisped, crumbled bacon, shredded sharp white cheddar, and coins of sausage.

And of course, I mixed them all together.  You're supposed to.

John's breakfast was a little more European, and a little more low-carb friendly.  

He chose to fry his sausage split down the middle.  He supplemented his with a chunk of sharp white cheddar cheese and a dollop of his favorite Asian spicy mustard.

We love our cast-iron pans!

He thought I was crazy for wanting to take pictures of this. 

"Can I just eat already?" 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why Can't It Be Perfect?

I've had a slump in my photography lately.  This is mostly blamed on my monstrous work schedule, but some is truly my fault.  

I've been taking pictures of things, analyzing them, and casting them off.  They aren't up to my expectations.  They aren't good enough.  They are average.  When did I stop appreciating the unique capture of a single photograph?  When did I become a photo snob to myself?  I feel like I deserve some more credit than that.

For example, take this photograph of some sunflowers in my apartment:

Not so bad, right?  I had spent the entire morning trying to get the right light, keep the saturated colors from blowing out my focus, and keep from knocking it over.  I'm pretty clumsy.  But looking in my screen, I saw nothing I liked.  The focus looked blurred, the colors bleeding.

I get this critical perfectionism from my Mother.  It all started with science fair boards in middle school and has transfered on to the other aspects of my life. 
So critical.


It took a mind-clearing walk with my camera today to get out of it.  Walking along the sidewalk, I saw some cute purple flowers poking through the border grass.  I snapped a couple of pictures.  I figured the harsh afternoon sun would wash it out, but instead I looked to find delicately detailed macro flowers.


Nothing like the simplicity of the beauty of flowers to snap you out of it.

Here is the shot:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Indoor Gardening and Summer's End

How does our garden grow?  

Quite well, actually.
How did you guess?

Remember the pictures from earlier in the summer?  My, how our babies have grown.  From one planter to two, with the addition of dill and penny royal.  The basil has taken off!  He loves the warm sun in our window.

For those who do not know about penny royal, it is a traditional culinary and aromatic herb in the mint family.  It's also one of those herbs that can be toxic when taken in excess.  But then again, aren't most things bad in excess?

For instance, read this:

"Pennyroyal was commonly used as a cooking herb by the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Greeks often flavored their wine with pennyroyal. A large number of the recipes in the Roman cookbook of Apicius call for the use of pennyroyal, often along with such herbs as lovage, oregano and coriander. Although still commonly used for cooking in the Middle Ages, it gradually fell out of use as a culinary herb and is seldom used so today.

As an easily-made poison, pennyroyal has had a long historical use. Early settlers in colonial Virginia used dried pennyroyal to eradicate pests. So popular was pennyroyal, that the Royal Society published an article on its use against rattlesnakes in the first volume of its Philosophical Transactions (1665).[1]

Pennyroyal tea is the use of an infusion made from the herb. The infusion is widely reputed as safe to ingest in restricted quantities. It has been traditionally employed and reportedly successful as an emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant) or as an abortifacient. In 1994 a young woman died from an undetected ectopic pregnancy while performing a self-induced abortion using pennyroyal tea; reports say that she had consumed the tea for longer than the recommended five days.[2][3] The most popular current use of the tea is to settle the stomach[citation needed]. Other reported medicinal uses through history include treatment for fainting, flatulence, gall ailments, gout, and hepatitis (presumably Hepatitis A), and as a lung cleanser, a gum strengthener and, when ground with vinegar, a tumor remedy.[citation needed]."

It is obviously all true, as it is from wikipedia!  (Notice all the citations needed.)  

Amusing regardless.

The dill is also overgrown and gangly looking.  I just trimmed a third of him off to dry.  I'm thinking of recreating a lovely dill sauce the Cafe Gardens Restaurant in Gainesville uses for their sweet potato fries.  Stay posted.  It won't suck.

It seems that my lowly apartment windowsill herb planters are making their last jaunt before the summer ends.  The dill will thrive in a cooler climate, but the basil longs for the warm Mediterranean climates.  I don't blame them.  Who doesn't want to live off of the Southern coast of France or Italy?  I do!  .... but that's another post altogether.

I appreciate their last push to glean to fruits of summer weather, but I cannot wait until the weather turns.  It is fast approaching my favorite season: Fall!  The crispness of the air, the beautiful produce, the lack of sweating, the holidays!  Normally it would accompany my anticipation of being in the full swing of school, but I have different things on my plate this year.  More exciting?
I hope so.
I think so.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

Friday, September 3, 2010

La Dolorosa and Family

I've had the pleasure of shopping for car insurance this morning....

Turns out that moving out of Florida is a big help!  It seems a common theme in my life right now.  Got a promotion, cheaper car insurance, landed my first legit opera role.... wha?!

That's right!  I was cast in the USC production of Jose Serrano's Spanish zarzuela, La Dolorosa!!  I will be singing the roles of both Nicasia and Dolores.  It's not been done very often, but there is a recording of Placido Domingo singing it so it can't suck.  For a detailed plot analysis, click here.  Landing a role in this new place is extremely gratifying!  Who knew I would beat out so many people who are actually enrolled?  Sweet.

Another area of note:  I just discovered through a phone call last night that my Nana, who doesn't have internet,  has seen my blog, and is proud of me.  How cool?!  She is coming to visit me, along with my parents, in a few weeks.  She is an awesome woman.

* a wintry sunset in Payne's Prairie State Preserve outside of Gainesville, FL.  
I now long for the fall and it's wonderful weather.