Monday, April 28, 2008

Portland's Chinese Garden

I visited my daughter and her husband this weekend in Portland. My one request for this visit was to make a trip to the Chinese Garden in the Chinese district right off Burnside. It's in the heart of the city for those of you who are unfamiliar with Portland. It was a superbly beautiful day for our visit - 60-70 degrees and sunny. One of the kind of days that makes Portland such a showplace.

It wasn't particularly crowded, although there were quite a few visitors there. We were priviledged to see a Tai Chi demonstration in celebration of national Tai Chi Day. The teacher was an older woman with beautiful form - graceful and powerful at the same time. How I wish sometimes that I lived in the city to be able to take advantage of lessons with such gifted teachers.

The gardens are beyond description. Everywhere you look there is beauty and small vignettes of stone, plants, water and structures. Windows or openings in the walls provide a glimse of subtle beauty. Within the city block that the garden occupies is the feeling of such peace and solitude, even tho the city activity is right outside the walls.

Water and structure portray a sense of restfulness. And the sound of the waterfall drowns out the noises of the city. I could have stayed there all afternoon, but we had several other stops in the downtown area and had to move on.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Great Project

Shimelle has a new free project posted on her website that will start tomorrow. All the instructions for making and carrying out the project are there.
She'll be spearheading taking photos of your day on the 25th of each month for a year. Then the photos go into a calendar type album that uses stuff from your stash.
I'll be doing this. What a great way to look at your life over a span of time and in different seasons. She'll even be sending e-mail reminders each month so you won't forget to take the photos.

Check it out

Saturday, April 19, 2008

So Proud

I'm headed out in a few minutes for the Farmer's Market, the local Quilt Show and the Earth Day Celebration. BUT, just had to share this story first.

When my daughter was in school, she struggled to understand math. It wasn't until she was a senior in high school that she had a teacher who could explain it in a way that she could understand.
Fast forward several years...she's teacher in the Portland public school system and has a passion for teaching math. She has been involved with groups that advocate for teaching math in ways that students can grasp the concepts rather than memorize algorythmns, and she has been quite successful. Recently, she was one of four Portland area teachers who were selected to be videotaped in their classrooms while teaching geometry to students. The tapes would be included on a CD as part of a book about teaching geometry that will be published for the use of classroom teachers. She teaches middle schoolers - I firmly believe there is a special place in heaven for middle school teachers. Last Wednesday she was wired for sound, cameras were set up, and the tape was made. She was so excited to have this opportunity to be a part of something about which she is so passionate.

I'm so proud of her. She has turned what was challenging for her into a gift for creating understanding in her students so that they would not have to struggle with concepts that were such a huge barrier for her. Congratulations my precious daughter.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Food Porn

What is delectible to one is not necessarily delicious to another. But I love homemade gingerbread with homemade pear sauce....especially when it is served warm.
Our church has a group of people who provide meals to members who are ill, or have a new baby, or have some other circumstance where a meal would be helpful. Today I cooked a meal for a neighbor who has a new baby - her first. The menu was: stew, french bread, salad, and gingerbread with pear sauce. So, of course, there was a small piece or two left for me. Yummmm.
Here's the recipe for the gingerbread:
1-3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1-1/2 Tablespoons ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used freshly ground), 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 6 tablespoons canola oil, 1 lg. egg, 1/2 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch square pan with canola oil spray (I use the one with the flour). In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the molasses, applesauce, canola oil,and egg until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Whisk in the boiling water and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the pan and a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert the cake onto a platter and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
Gingerbread can be tightly wrapped in foil and kept for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

First post

I am once again starting a blog. I have no idea what the thrust of it will be as yet. Perhaps just some random thoughts and ideas rather than any focus. So, I'm off to become familiar with this new blog home and decorate.