Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joy Journal

I've only been keeping a joy journal for about a month now, and I can tell that it's a powerful tool. It helps me pause and notice what's good, even in my moments of exhaustion, fear and sadness.

What's bringing you joy today?

  A pretty winter scene
Crocus reaching for the light 

Colorful books stacked on a shelf

Monday, January 24, 2011


We've had this lovely French crepe pan since we got married nearly 15 years ago.  The DH brought it with him into the marriage, and who knows how long he's had it!  We've been using it mostly as an omelette pan.  But I do recall one Valentine's day in 1998 when he made me crepes with strawberry sauce.  ;-)   I made crepes for the first time this weekend and now I'm hooked!

Oh my, they are soooo good!  I think I'll make them often and put the pan to use for its intended glory.

I modified a basic Betty Crocker recipe. 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (my addition)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs

Butter or oil for the pan
Fillings (I used chopped walnuts with powdered sugar, and jam)

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix the wet ingredients, then stir into the dry.  Beat by hand until smooth (I used a whisk).

Lightly oil a crepe pan or 6-8 inch skillet.  (I recommend a silicone brush for this task.  I melted my synthetic fiber one!)  Heat over medium heat until bubbly.    Pour in a scant 1/4 cup of batter. Rotate the skillet until it covers the entire pan.

As soon as the batter is set, run a knife around the edge to loosen and flip.  (I had best luck flipping with my fingers.)  It should be very lightly brown.  Cook on the other side, until it's also lightly brown.

Remove, fill and enjoy!  I liked these rolled up, but you can also fold in wedges.  My favorite filling was simply walnuts and powdered sugar.  I first had that combination when some Hungarian friends made crepes for me in NM several years ago; such a wonderful memory!  The DH liked his filled with jam and walnuts.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Enchanted Gift Shop and Tea Room

After the visit to the falls last weekend, Marilyn and I stopped by the Enchanted Gift Shop and Tea Room in Vancouver, WA for tea and scones.  It felt so fine to be inside sipping hot tea and nibbling on scones as we discussed the falls, tea, and our lives. 

I was particularly fond of the artwork in the tearoom.  In the ladies room is a giant dancer, along with some lovely black and white nudes.  Throughout the remainder of the tearoom are touches of whimsy and art highlighting women, by women - featuring women.  When I mentioned this to one of the owners, she smiled and said, "We're all about empowering women here." 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things I Know About Work Today

My little piece contributes to the big picture

Things I Know About Work Today:
  • It feels good to get stuff done 
  • I want more time to think, to plan instead of do, do, do
  • Using the PC without a mouse is bad for my wrist!! 
  • I can go from dreading my job to loving my job in the same day
  • I still worry too much, even tho I've sworn off worry
  • I work hard (sometimes too hard) and I do good work
  • People turn their heads to see what's coming when I walk down the hall in my purposeful, fast way; I think that's funny 
  • My little piece contributes to the big picture

Sunday, January 16, 2011

They Say Winters are Long Here...

But by my standards, I'm looking at its tail end!  Tender crocus and daffodils poke out of the ground, temps reach the 40s (50 today; feels balmy to me!), and it's sometimes wet, but sometimes not.  Sometimes grey, but sometimes not.  They say winter will be long.

I say: Winter's nearly long gone. 
I say: I think I can live here, and I take a deep breath of relief in the moist air.

Pictures from the Columbia River Gorge with special thanks to Marilyn for sharing this experience with me!

View of the Columbia River Gorge and Vista House
View of the Gorge from Vista House
I love moss! Moss loves winter!

Multnomah Falls

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Townshend's Tea Company

CO Tea Lover and I, urban adventurers, made our way via public transit to far-away destinations last weekend.  One was Townshend's Tea.  This is a fun tea shop on a street full of indie sewing, yarn, clothing boutique and other arts and crafts stores. 
 Townshend's got its name from an infamous piece of tea history.  Check it out.
In addition to an extensive list of teas, and some very novel Chai blends, Townshend's has a wide range of herbal blends.  I enjoyed a mug of Happiness.  That was fun to order, a big mug of Happiness, please!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

National Letter Writing Week

Some favorite stationery and a helpful book

Did you know that this is National Letter Writing Week?  That's a cause near and dear to my  heart!  I love to write and receive letters. 

I find that a letter can take as long as an hour, or as short as 5 minutes.  It depends on the tone and how much I have to share.  Alexandra Stoddard has written a lovely book about letters, and the Griffin and Sabine trilogy is another favorite.

Do you have 5 minutes to write a short note to someone?  Tell her how much you appreciate the support.  Tell him how much you love him.  Only have 2 min?  Write a postcard!  Tell me who you'll write to...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tea at the Heathman

This past weekend, I was delighted to share the company of my good friend CO Tea Lover!  We started our weekend of tea and exploration with a visit to the opulent Heathman Hotel for afternoon tea.

She and I have had pursued afternoon tea in places near and far (every chance we get)!  This one was extra special as we've not seen each other in awhile, and we both had things to celebrate.
 The menu started with each of us choosing our own pot of tea.  Then we enjoyed smoked salmon profiteroles, chicken salad panini, goat cheese crostini, cucumber sandwiches, and a deviled egg.
Next, we savored a buttermilk scone with mascarpone cream.
And for desserts, we had banana bread, Parisian opera cake, haupia (Hawaiian coconut cake), lemon bars, devil's food chocolate cupcakes and fresh marshmallows.
For me, an hour at tea with a friend melts my worries and bring more JOY into my life!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

Jan - National Hot Tea Month

Oolong tea steeping in a small Yixing teapot 

January is National  Hot Tea Month, and I have a challenge for you!  My goal is for your to try a new style of tea this month.  If  you drink tea bags, invest in a nice loose leaf.  If you only drink black tea, try an oolong, green or white.  If you've had all of those, try a new style of brewing -  in a gaiwan, for example.  If you've never had bubble tea, now is the time!  Or check out the 31 ways to explore tea offered by Lindsey in her post.

Happy tea explorations!  I hope you'll share your adventures, and let me know if you have any questions about types of tea, its preparation, etc.  If I don't know the answer, I'll attempt to find someone who does.  Cheers!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Joy Journaling

Happy 2011!  Joy to you in the new year. Joy, that is my journey this know more joy, to claim it for myself, to hold it in the midst of other sorrows or concerns. 
Taking joy in the sight of the Cascade Mountains, from an airplane

I'm joining the popular blogging trend and choosing a word for myself to focus on in 2011.  My word is JOY.  This word has been making itself known to me for some time now, and I think I'm finally ready to give it the attention it deserves. 

It all became clear to me when the DH (dear hubby) relayed a conversation he had with a credit card rep.  He had called about a discrepancy with the bill, and after several transfers and holds, finally got to the right gal/angel.  These two hit it off, and had a nice conversation in which she shared this great nugget, "Honey - don't let them steal your joy!"  Wow.  That one hit home, reminding me that I could claim joy for myself and not let it go.

And then my friend Marilyn introduced me to the phrase (from Tasha Tudor) of "take joy."  Wow.  That one also hit home.  I liked the active verb - take joy. 

So in 2011, I'm on a joy journey.  I don't mean to imply that I'll be doing pirouettes and singing Alleluia all day.  Joy, for me, can be big and expressive but can also be quiet and centering.  The key thing, for me, is that I choose joy each day.  I choose it, I claim it, I honor it, and I hold it tight even when I'm also feeling sorrow or fear or worry.  I hope you'll join me and share your wisdom about leading a joyful life.

Here's to a joyous 2011 for all of us!