Backbay Boston

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I had a wonderful lunch at the restaurant B & G Oysters, I started with guess what? Oysters! I tried three varieties and my favorite was the local variety from Wellfleet MA, they were small in size and briny, that is how I love my oysters, when I can almost taste the ocean as I am slurping them down.

The main course was a delicious and light Halibut ceviche with a chorizo vinaigrette, picked cherry tomatoes and sliced radishes. Ceviche means fish cooked in an acid, the vinaigette was the acid and I adore seafood and chorizo sausage together, the spiceness and saltiness pair incredibly well with both seafood and shellfish. I barely spoke a word during lunch, I listened to the conversation around me, while I ate and ate until everything was cleaned off my plate.

I am glad I thought to take pictures of the Backbay area of Boston, it is so lovely and different from the usual neighborhood we stay at which is near the North End. I love the beautiful, old world brownstones highlighted by beautiful plants, vines and gardens, I can almost imagine being in London when I walk around Backbay. Trees, gardens and plants make gorgeous companions to brownstones. Isn’t it so lovely?

Another new lily (thanks birds!)

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Between the birds and self-seeding plants, my garden sometimes looks a little chaotic. If you look at the second and third pictures, you will see a deeper, smaller apricot lily to the right of my reddish pink rose bush, they were the orginal pairing. Sometime during the past two years, the upright phlox decided to spread their domain and planted themselves in the midst of my lily plant. This year, surprise surprise, I have a new light apricot lily blooming right in the middle of the original lily and her new friends the upright phlox, talk about having a party. The coneflowers are transplants as well, they were planted over to the far right of this whole party scene, I guess they felt left out of a good thing.

  
  

Ant-Man: a movie review

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We loved it, loved it, even in 3-D, normally I’m not a huge fan, but it worked so well here. I laughed, squealed in empathetic stress for our hero, dodged and weaved, jumped a few times and laughed again. 

It was a great Marvel movie and Paul Rudd is an excellent superhero. Ants have never entered the ick arena for me, other insects yes, but ants are different somehow. When I was in Costa Rica, I was fascinated by the Leaf Cutter ants, they are amazing workers and architects, deligent in their work habits and almost inspirational by their committment to their community. The movie gives a brief entomology lesson which I found fascinating, I hope the kids did as well, we need more scientists and insects are an important part of our global ecological system, we are all links in a great chain that binds us all together.

I als hope that kids will embrace the message that size often doesn’t matter, intelligence and teamwork are huge pluses in any problem.

Go see it, it was so much fun!

Oh Jack, Jack, Jack

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Jack is the epitome of pigletness, I tell you. Jack decided to go out this morning tomato picking, I caught him lying on this rug, sphinx style, gently nibbling on his tomato, his first harvest. I surprised him, of course, when I crept over to take a picture. The little nut!

His newest thing with Lulu, after they finish having their 3 o’clock vittles, Jack stands underneath her mouth and licks her teeth clean, he then walks over to the water bowl to sip out any little crumbs she leaves behind after drinking from it. He is unbelievable.

  
 In other news, after we had a good laugh about Jack and Lulu, I went to go squash and basil picking, my husband had a few ideas for the basil. He made a superb pesto using our fresh basil, a huge bunch of it, three different cheeses and good olive oil, he dressed some fresh tortellini with it and it was delicious. The basil was the star, its flavor so aromatic, as my tastebuds were embracing its herbaceous flavor, my nose was compounding the sensation, both were appreciating my husband’s pesto. 

Once you have garden fresh produce, it really changes how you perceive our food delivery system. It is so hard to go back to supermarket tomatoes after spending a summer eating your own off the vine. 

Tomatoes are turning towards red

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As soon as I got back home, unpacked the car, said hello to Jack and Lulu, put things away, watch General Hospital, I got my iPad, went out back and started to document how my vegetables have grown.

My tomatoes are coming along very nicely, I picked a cucumber, two heads of lettuce and my husband picked a green pepper, I think it was actually a poblano pepper. My husband loves making his salads, what is especially nice about having a garden, is going outside, twisting a ripe head of lettuce, grabbing a cucumber, a pepper or two and soon, as many tomatoes he likes in his salad, coming back inside and throwing it all together. Of course after washing and drying everything.

   
    
 
   
   
As you see I am awash in yellow squash, however I recently read about pickling squash instead of pickling cucumbers, I think I’m going to do that, I have a plan of action, well at least for one vegetable. lol

Daily prompt: Finite creatures

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At what age did you realize you were not immortal? How did you react to that discovery?

My memory has become very hazy in the last few years, but there are certain moments that remain crystalline clear; one of them answers this particular prompt.

When I was five, my mother gathered me on her lap, we had just received a huge package from France full of cool stuff for me and my sister, she explained as best she could that my great uncle  was no longer with us and he had gone to heaven. I know that I wrapped my little arms around her neck and cried and cried. The gifts, presents from my great aunt whom I loved so much,  she missed us just as much as we missed her. 

The next memory of that day is me in bed, my single bed facing the window in the room I shared with my little sister, she was still in her crib, she wasn’t yet two at the time. I can see the Triboro Bridge in my mind to this day, it’s beautiful at night, all lit up. The only thing I got from my mother about my great uncle’s death was he was no longer here. She said he was in heaven, but that didn’t mean anything to me, all I knew was he was gone. I remember trying to wrap my little mind around the concept of not being here, it was so hard to do.

I tried to imagine never waking up again, sleeping forever without conscienceness, it was impossible, but the thought was still scary. 

The thought of me being done scared me then, it scares me now because I’m not done with life. I still have stuff to do, stuff to see, people to love and food to discover. Oh yes, words to write. :D

Video

Jack made a new human connection

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I hope the audio works for everyone because without it, the narrative gets lost. I’ll do my best to set it up just in case this will be a silent film Jack festival. lol On Sunday, our daughter had her friends over and they are the proud parents of an adorable little boy, a fearless toddler, Jack met his soulmate. Lulu was great, but she is more focused on Jack and the dog next door, Vera, so she smelled and licked the little tyke and that was pretty much it.

Jack on the other hand fell head over heels in love,  it was the sweetest thing, at one point, my husband and I were in our living room watching t.v and we kept hearing this mournful little howl, it was Jack calling for his baby.

The videos up above are showing Jack’s devotion to his baby, we kept him inside to give the toddler and his parents a break because Jack had been barking his ear piercing bark, the one he uses to alert us to “danger” he didn’t want the toddler in the water, Jack was getting annoying to everyone outside who wanted to swim in peace. So back inside he went and where Jack goes, Lulu usually follows.

On a footnote to the second video, not only did Jack pull back the door strip, he was throwing his little body against the door, trying to bust through, he was bound and determined to be reunited with his baby.

Thankfully, he eventually calmed down and came back to his Maman, he fell asleep on my lap with Lulu resting right beside him. All was right with the world once more.

Midsummer day visions of beauty

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I apologize for the brevity of my post but I am having quite the issue, not only with my devices but also with the Internet in general. I consider myself very lucky to have uploaded the pictures, though it did seem to take forever, typing is getting excruciating, each letter slowly appears one after the other. 

Pretty flowers hooray!

Savon de Marseille

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15 - 1 (2)
15 - 2 (1)

I recently treated myself and our house to a little shopping spree of French soap. Savon de Marseille holds special meaning for me, when my sister and I were little, we would spend hours playing hide and go seek with our cousin Leon and one of the best hiding places was what we called La Cave or the cellar of our uncle’s house. Today the cellar is pristine, tiled and organized, but back then, it was beyond messy, it was littered with cobwebs, musty, rats lived there and it was a treasure trove of everything and anything from our grandparents’ parents things, their things and among the treasures were books, magazines, hard candy, cigarettes and soap, specifically le Savon de Marseille. Our grandfather, after the war worked as an accountant; his clients couldn’t pay him with money so they went back to the barter system, our grandfather was paid in baked goods, candy, cigarettes and soap.

Our uncle still has some soap left after all these years, it just doesn’t go bad, it can take stains out of anything and it’s still made according to the ancient recipe; here is what the website Savon de Marseille has to say about their product along with their explanation of their soap-making process. My affection for the soap was never about the history of the soap itself, it was all about the connection to our grandfather, though I was gratified to learn about its low environmental impact, its purity and reliance of natural elements without any chemical processes.

“Big blocks of olive oil based soap have been crafted since the Middle Ages in the South of France. In 1688 it became law that only soaps made according to strict, ancient methods could bear the famous mark “Savon de Marseille.”

Only a few savonneries (soap factories) near Marseille still make this legendary soap in the traditional manner. But Savon de Marseille is once again being rediscovered for its purity and gentle skin care, and its popularity is on the rise worldwide.

It takes our Maitre de Savon (soapmaster) two weeks to make Savon de Marseille. The delicate mixture of olive oil, alkaline ash from sea plants and Mediterranean Sea salted water are heated for ten days in antique cauldrons, then poured into open pits where it hardens. Cut into cubes and stamped, the soaps are then set out to dry in the sun and mistral winds.

The fine white powder on the surface of the soap is a bit of the sea salt, which will disappear once the soap is wet. This beloved characteristic affirms the authenticity of genuine Savon de Marseille. Fresh Marseille Soap can be a bit moist. Allowing it to dry and harden will make it last longer.

Savon de Marseille is traditionally green or white. The white soap is made with palm oil, the green with at least 50% olive oil. Both varieties are exquisite, ultra-moisturizing skin care. Marseille Soap is recommended by dermatologists throughout the world for dry skin and other ailments. Its incredible purity and moisturizing properties make it ideal for sensitive skins. In France it has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces.

Savon de Marseille is totally biodegradable, requires little packaging and its manufacture is environmentally friendly. Authentic Savon de Marseille is stamped with its weight in grams – a practice left over from years ago which allowed households to compare prices and plan their inventories.”

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