An Anniversary

 

Valentine\’s Day is around the corner and I like to share with you a love story.

Fourteen years ago on February 9, Susan and I met at the bar at the Apollo Grill in Easthampton, Massachusetts which was inside Eastworks where I lived and had a photography studio and art gallery.

And as they say, \”the rest is history.\”

The photo is from two years ago when we house-sat for our friend, Helena, in Hamilton, Ontario.

You will enjoy reading all about that wonderful trip in a witty and photo-filled post here:


Watermelon Chaat

Cool salad for a hot summer’s day. So refreshing!

I found this recipe in the New York Times. The reporter writes:

“This recipe for watermelon chaat, a savory fruit salad dressed in toasted cumin and dried mango powder, comes from Malika Ameen, a cookbook author whose Pakistani-American family in Chicago makes infinite variations on fruit chaat in the summer. You could swap out the watermelon for a mix of what’s in season, whether it’s stone fruit, berries or cubed apple and pear. It’s an ideal dish to break the fast during Ramadan, full of flavor and hydrating, and quick to put together.”

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon amchur powder (dried green mango) (I didn’t use this.)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (a generous pinch if you like heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 orange, clementine or mandarin, juiced to make approximately 1/3 cup juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 3 to 4 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (I used Chocolate mint.)
  • 1 small cucumber, halved, seeded, thinly sliced (My addition.)
  • 5 pieces of dried mango, thinly sliced (My addition.)

Preparation

  1. Place cubed watermelon in a wide platter with sides or in a large baking or serving dish and spread into a single layer.
  2. In a small pan, toast whole cumin seeds on medium heat for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. (You can also grind in a spice grinder, but be sure not to grind to a fine powder as the coarse grains of the spice add a wonderful texture.)
  3. Transfer cumin to a small bowl and add all remaining spices and salt. Add citrus juice, jalapeño and mint and mix well. Pour dressing over cubed watermelon and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 1 to 6 hours. Serve chilled the same day.

 

A Sunday Sermon: A Recipe for Self-Improvement

I read the following a few days ago and I found it inspiring. Food for thought, if you will. Susan gave me the magazine last week. She had been talking about reading spiritual books with an older man in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. He had said to her that was what he was doing. And he gave her a few copies of Turning Points Magazine & Devotional.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful.
2 Peter 1:8


Recommended Reading:2 Peter 1:3-8

Aldous Huxley, the twentieth-century British author, said, “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

What area of your life do you want to improve? Just take a moment and think about that. In what area would you most like to grow? With God’s help, you can improve your one corner of the universe. What it really takes is the power of God in our lives, and there is a passage of Scripture on this very subject.

The apostle Peter wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness…. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness… knowledge… self-control… perseverance… godliness… mutual affection… love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive” (2 Peter 1:3-8, NIV).

God will do His part (“His divine power has given us”), but we must also do our part and “make every effort.” Find an area of your life to improve, and start right now.

~From Turning Points Magazine & Devotional


ROOTS

I had my DNA analyzed.
I analyzed my DNA.
I had expectorated into a test tube
and sent it off to Ancestry months earlier.
I was hoping for a surprise.
I was hoping to learn 
I had ancestors
From a country I did not know
About. But there was
No surprise.
Italy.
Great Britain.
Scandinavia. 
Maybe there was a surprise.
I see Scotland.
So maybe, just maybe
The following story is true:
Mary Queen of Scots
It is rumored from whom
I am descended, it says here
Questa famiglia originaria della Scoizia
E nobilissima in molte citta,
Ed e divisa in molti rami
The Barone family, my family
Originated from Scotland
Mary\’s son King James VI of Scotland
Became King James I of England
King James great grand daughter married
The King of Itlay
It is noble in many cities and
Is divided into many branches it
Had many fiefs and illustrious men in court
In the magistrature, in the army
And in the church it was
Conferred high chivalrous honors and
Was vested with the holy orders
Of Malta from the 15th Century
It includes, as branches, the Counts
Of Casola and the Marchesi di Liveri
The title was granted in 1710
To the celebrated literary figure Domenico
Director, San Carlo Opera, Naples
Praised even by Giambattista Vico
In an assembly of praise of him
Made by the Academitrician in 1735
The family is listed in the Registry of Neopolitan
Feudal families and numbered among
The patricians of the Republic of Marino
The Republic was represented in Lisbon
By the Court of Casola and Marchese di Liveri
By Napoleon Barone son of Marchese Pasquale
Who had as his grandmother Maria Filomarina
Of the Principality of Bocca
Title to Alfrede Domenico Barone
Held from 1869-1952 also as the Count
Of Casoli in the Registry of Nobility
Melchizadek descendant of Pasquale
And likewise Alfred my father
Or so the story goes there is
A castle and a title
Or at the very least a story
That belongs to me in Italy
I write to know

Live Artfully

I received my first issue of Galerie Magazine yesterday. The Spring issue. The magazine was launched in 2016, I believe, and the present Editor-in-Chief is Margaret Russell, the former editor of Elle Décor and Architectural Digest.
According to promotional literature, Galerie Magazine \”is a quarterly publication that engages readers who have a passion for art and design. Its distinctive coverage informs and inspires—delivering the finest in art, interiors, and architecture, plus compelling creative talents and fascinating destinations.\”
It is inspiring and informative.
Here I am holding my copy in our living room. The photo color is a bit off—it was dark and raining; but don\’t worry, I am about to share some photos of our home.

Why? Because of the magazine\’s Tagline which is \”Live Artfully.\” I just love this and it so reflects the way my wife, Susan, and I live with our dog, Freddy, a mini-labradoodle, and out cat, Nadine, a calico.

Now that you met the children, let\’s talk about how we Live Artfully;

There is the kitchen table
round, a place
of gratitude
of grace
Thank You God
for these gifts before us
The food before us
The many books
The art
The colors  on the walls
The bathroom
The office
The Dining Room
The flowers and our garden
Doing our best to live our lives Artfully!
Cheers!

The Beautiful Daisy

I love Daisies.
I recently learned that the Daisy is the Birth Month flower for April.
The Daisy conveys innocence, loyal love, and purity. Yet, it is also a flower given between friends to keep a secret; the daisy means “I’ll never tell.”  
They are often known as a token of affection.
Here in Massachusetts, however, we are months away from seeing them bloom in our gardens.
But there are photos: