I started this blog to share some of the thoughts I have along the journey of life. I love to travel and spend time with my family and friends. A good meal, breaking bread with those I love, gives my life meaning. So does travel. I adore dreaming of sites to visit, not just to check them off on a list. Rather, I consider myself a student of life, traveling as an explorer, to open my mind to all the possibilities the world holds in store for me and for others. I love to travel to discover how different the world is in terms of climate, cultures, politics, terrain, economy, etc. but also to discover how SIMILAR the people are. Despite language barriers, much can be communicated with a smile or gestures. Language is simply a means to communicate, yet there are so very many other ways to communicate. Once when I was in French-speaking Canada, I realized that my 7th grade French class didn’t teach me the word for “straw”. However, when I thought about it, I was able to communicate to the very French-speaking waiter in a very French-speaking restaurant about my need for a “cylinder through which to drink” in my limited French vocabulary. Travel challenges the mind and soul, stretching us to problem solve and form conclusions about all that we experience. THAT is the type of travel I enjoy best. “All’s well that ends well”, as they say………….”Life is Good” as well.
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis, “The Magician’s Nephew”
Life is good; recognize today that you see things differently than others and embrace your perspective today along with the perspective of those around you. Sometimes it seems as though we live in a “house of mirrors” where life can look so very different from different angles .
I can still hear my wonderful father saying to me time and time again in my head: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That was him, “King of the Colloquial Expression”, always finding a teachable moment everywhere. A man of few words but words that meant something. He didn’t speak much, of course, unless he had something to say. No idle banter for him, but a pleasant and funny disposition, a kind and loving heart, a warm smile with a sunny laugh, and a man of few words. Life lived well and lived fully.
I think of my Dad today on day three of a week of lavender recipes I am trying. It comes down to the idea of cut the idea of cutting your losses while you are ahead versus you never know until you try. Go the distance; live without wondering what could have happened. Go the distance; risk disappointment but know you tried. I impart these same words to my daughter, “Teen Traveler” and decide without blinking an eye that the proverbial “show must go on”, another quip from my beautiful days with my father before he passed on. Even though we haven’t really cared for the two lavender recipes we tried this week, we will continue in our quest.
Day Three: Lavender pound cake. Pound cake brings to mind simpler, almost more old-fashioned times, as my beautiful mother adored pound cake and served it to me when I was small like her mother did before her. Pound cake, buttery goodness and sweet confection, just like Mom. Throw in a little lavender, and it HAS to be good, right? This time I am going to decrease the amount of lavender I use to see if that makes a difference and pair it with lemon. How could lemon pound cake go wrong with wise words of advice from my father coupled with sweet memories of my mother……
I decided to use my Mother’s old vintage Corningware loaf pan, complete with the cornflower from a lifetime ago filled with less complication, confusion and without Covid. This was either a very good thing to use my Mother’s pan as fond memories of love and comfort surrounded me while I was baking, or…..it was a bad thing because my mother wasn’t much of a baker. In either case, it was fun to take out my Mother’s old pan again if for nothing other than the sake of nostalgia.
Yesterday my track record for yummy lavender recipes was 0 for 2. I waited with excitement as I watched the cake come out of the oven and cool. I used a vanilla confectionary sugar glaze when it was cool enough as the recipe directed.
And I added sprinkles. Of COURSE I added sprinkles, as I had learned years ago from marrying into my husband’s family that sprinkles on our Italian struffali is the ONLY way to go. LOTS and LOTS of sprinkles. My daughter also taught me that life is better, always better, with a little sprinkles on top.
One person who tasted it said it felt like they were eating a scented drawer liner. My daughter said it would be delicious WITHOUT the lavender. I actually liked it, but I would have preferred the recipe to have a little heavier glaze on the top, as it was almost transparent in the recipe, even though I added even more confectionary sugar to thicken it than the recipe called for.
Day three: 1 for 3. Finally a recipe that tastes good (to some of us). I actually think I’m on to something here with the combination of lavender and lemon. Perhaps tomorrow I will try lavender lemonade. You know how it goes…..”if life gives us lemons, we make lemonade!”
Day two of my seven days of eating lavender. How could I go wrong with lavender honey ice cream? How could I EVER go wrong with ice cream? My daughter and husband now wonder out loud why we didn’t choose seven days of cinnamon.
I found a recipe that uses lavender with honey, so I elected to use orange honey, a local favorite here in Florida. How could I go wrong with orange honey either? Orange honey tastes a little sweeter than the regular clover honey which is what one normally thinks of when one thinks of honey. It is also a little more “floral” in taste.
Using heavy cream, whole milk, dried culinary lavender blossoms and honey in a pan on the stove until steaming, this is how I began the process. The recipe says to cool the mixture for one hour in the refrigerator after it is steaming, and the honey melts and to follow the instructions in one’s ice cream maker. At some point, I strained the lavender flowers from the mixture, too. My ice cream machine says to put cold ingredients into it before starting it up, so that’s what I did. I cooled the mixture much longer than an hour. I decided before I put the mixture into the ice cream maker that the muddy-colored default ice cream color simply would not do, so I added a few drops of neon purple food color before continuing after I strained the lavender out of the mixture. Lavender should be purple. One of life’s axioms perhaps.
After waiting with great anticipation, the ice cream started to freeze and began to take shape. After my first trial of a recipe using lavender yesterday (lavender-mint water), I was a bit skeptical, but the ice cream looked so appealing in the ice cream maker. Finally, the time came for me to try it……ready…get set……….go…..Smooth texture, appealing color but tastes like…….SOAP. I immediately reminded myself that the French word for “to wash” is “laver”. Sounds like lavender. Lavender is associated with WASHING, noteatingevidently, and for good reason.
After freezing the ice cream for many hours, I decided that it tasted a little better when it was colder. The texture was smooth and creamy, and I almost liked the flavor. ALMOST. I am wondering now if the hints of floral taste to the orange honey may have given it the strange after taste. Might try this again another time with standard clover honey instead……or….might NEVER try this recipe again.
All in all, it was fun to experiment with a new flavor. I have come to like expecting the unexpected.
Life is good………..find enjoyment in the unexpected today if you can. Carpe diem, friends.
Note to self: perhaps combining lavender with lemon tomorrow might do the trick! Luck with lavender and lemon……at least the alliteration is fabulous!
A simple vase with spindly sunflowers on a sunny day. A simple vase containing something ordinary in half bright sunlight and half shade caught my friend’s eye the other day while we were celebrating her birthday. She decided to take a picture of it, using the “portrait filter” on her i-phone. What resulted was a pretty picture of a simple vase of spindly sunflowers in the RIGHT amount of light. Not too much sun and not too much shade. The filter balanced it all at the right moment.
As I reflect upon all the photos I’ve taken through the years of the “perfect” flower in the perfect position with the perfect composition, only to be disappointed when the photo was “printed” on paper before the age of digital photography, I realize that the lighting is one of the most important part of the photo. What seemed like the BEST photo was disappointing at best so very often because of the lighting, or lack of proper lighting, on the subject. When I was in sixth grade, I had a “dark room” in our basement in which to develop black and white photography, like my father before me. There was an excitement that mounted while taking the film out of the camera in the proper conditions and developing it in a series of chemical baths, using only red light to work. The perfect picture came out imperfect so very often. If only I had more light, early morning light, or twilight when I had taken the picture…..
Such it is with life. Whenever we are faced with a decision, problem, situation, it is so very important to “shed a little light on it” or to look at it from a different angle. Perspective is everything. A little light and a fresh perspective reveals what something really is or what something reallycan be………
“Shed light on something”:
definition – to help to explain (something) ; to make it possible to understand or know more about (something
definition – make free from confusion or ambiguity; make clear
(photo by C. Boucher with a portrait filter on an i-phone on a subject that was too dark under normal photography to be seen. The stem of the glass is “picture perfect” and is seen with the perfect amount of light.)
Light, a universal symbolism for goodness, intelligence, illumination of thought, the Divine, hope, and something positive makes us feel so good, like sunlight warming our shoulders during a chilly day at the beach. The RIGHT light from the right angle at the right time is crucial in photos and in life.
Life is good. Try to “shed a little light on it” to live fully and with intention today if you can. You can change the “exposure” (or amount of light the camera captures) of the picture of your life today and every day it you want.
Carpe diem, friends…………..
"Show me your love.
Show me your kind love
Share your compassion.
Let me feel mine
Shed your light all around me"
-"Shining Light" by Neil Young