Annie: Good-bye Hello

In the last few weeks our dear, loyal Springer Spaniel Annie has not been herself. The vet ran tests, prescribed meds, and gave us the best diagnosis he could. He felt Annie was in the early stages of liver disease. We had gone through this painful diagnosis with Shelby in the early summer. We were devastated.

We took her home and coddled her, loved on her, and prayed. One day last week she collapsed and couldn't walk. She wouldn't eat and was lethargic. Could this be the end? We carried her in to the vet and he wasn't sure all of it was liver disease. We took her home, changed her diet, and prayed even more.

On Tuesday night we cried and shared memories of Annie thinking she would need to be put to sleep on Wednesday. We didn't want her to suffer. It was a tough decision.

She was not ready to say good-bye. She got up on her own and ate. She came begging for people food in the kitchen. She headed out the doggie door and went outside. Her tail wiggled, she was Annie again.

It may be short-lived, but Hello Annie. What a joy to spend more time with her. Tucker was pleased also.

Sibling Photo Assignment #11: A Study of Black and White: Annie and Tucker

 I gave the assignment once again this week.
What makes effective black and white photos? Is it the subject, the light, the composition? Take a series of photos in black and white, explaining why they are effective. I will post my siblings' posts when they are completed.

The coloring of my dogs and where I took these pictures just seemed right to being edited to black and white. In this case it is the subject. It is effective doing black and white images with dogs because it causes the viewer to focus more on the expressions or actions of the dogs. See what you think.

Sibling Photo Assignment #10: Road Trip

I gave the assignment again this week. . Road Trip: Get in your car before the end of Sunday and take pictures where the road takes you. Write about why you headed there to take pictures. Have fun. Brother Bill took picture in Manhattan. New York. You can find his photo assignment  here. Carol will soon post hers.

The road took us to Priest Lake. I had planned a photography workshop at Priest Lake in October. Not enough people registered, so I decided to take the money I had saved and do my own private photography workshop on Priest Lake My husband and dogs joined me in a relaxing road trip. Join us in a photo series of our trip.

Sibling Assignment #185: Reading the Cookbooks

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment this week: "Write about what's been occupying your mind in the world of food preparation. Have you been trying anything new and different? Are there recipes or cook books that have excited your imagination? Utensils? Appliances? I think you get the point -- go about this assignment however you'd like -- but write about your life in the kitchen, going back as far as you'd like."

I have collected recipes since I was in college. I was always drawn to cookbook collections that members of an organization or church or community put together. The contributors chose their favorite recipes and there was always a favorite pot luck salad to try or a new dip which sounded perfect for a Super Bowl party. I have also cut recipes out of magazines, wrote them on note cards, and shared them with family and friends. I do find I don't use as many of these Velveeta Cheese, cream soup, shoestring potato recipes now.

Then there are favorite online recipe sites and Pinterest.  Why do I need anything else? Every recipe I would ever want to prepare could be found online. I am old school. I like the paper copy of most recipes. I print them. Mine are organized into notebooks. I scribble notes on them. I make changes in ingredients. I spill food on them.  Because I love food photography, I also love to visit a group of favorite food blogs. These sites are go- to places when looking for specific recipes or information on preparation. I learn from other cooks what worked, what they tweaked, what they would change next time. I also get to study the gorgeous food photos. 

Nearest and dearest to my heart are my cookbooks.  I have learned about food preparation and how to put a recipe together by reading and rereading my cookbooks. Sometimes when I am making a dish for a family dinner I find five or more different versions of the same recipe, then study what was added or combined to make each recipe unique. I have also gained knowledge with the tips and advice cookbook authors add.

What has been occupying my mind in the world of food preparation? Cookbooks. I have been reading each of them more like a memoir than a book of instructions. I have gained new and vital information about food by reading the authors' stories and studying how a recipe builds flavors and how the science of measuring ingredients is the secret to successful baking.

One of these cookbooks is My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl. When she learned the magazine Gourmet which she served as editor in chief was ending publication, she rediscovered cooking, the joy of textures,the pleasures of fresh food from the market, and quiet, simple meals at home. She also shared a delicious collection of recipes that were not daunting to prepare. They just embrace the goodness of food. I reach for this cookbook often these days. I want to try her "Gingered Applesauce Cake Glazed with Caramel" with apples that were just picked. Enjoy more with Ruth here

I have been following Deb Perelman's blog "The Smitten Kitchen" for awhile. I decided to get her cookbook recently by the same name. One reason is because she manages to do amazing things in a tiny kitchen. I had to read her tips since I have now acquired a tiny kitchen. Her stories are a family history, as she shares recipes relatives has passed on and new, exciting ones using fresh food and herbs. One of my favorite parts of her book is the section "Build Your Own Smitten Kitchen". She gives sound advice that helps cooks see what they really need in their kitchens to cook effectively. Her food photography is spectacular. You can find her blog here

Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite is the third cookbook I am loving. It is organized in chapters that make sense to me like "Things With Cheese" and "My Mother's Sandwich Theory of Life". Her recipes give a background story, things she has learned by making and remaking the recipe and variations. She presents so many  delicious things to do with chicken I haven't even began to try them all. Her book is user friendly and her stories draw you back again and again. You can find her "Recipe Box" from her food column here.

This may have to be another part 1 with more coming. I have only touched the surface of my cookbook reading.

Sibling Photo Assignment #9: Comfort

 I gave the latest Sibling Photo Assignment: "Create a series of photos that depict a sense of comfort.
Brother Bill's is here. I will link sister Carol's soon.My photos only need a few words. Here is what brings me comfort.


fuzzy blanket

strong coffee in a favorite mug

autumn leaves


scented candles


Sibling Photo Assignment #8: Looking Up Through the Trees

Last week we looked down . This week my assignment was this: We will be looking up this week. Create a series of photos by finding art while looking up.
You can find sister Carol's stunning view of rain by looking up here. Brother Bill will be posting soon.

I have a fascination with autumn trees. No surprise since it is my favorite season and I am surrounded by spectacular autumn color in Kellogg. Today I looked up, out, over, and down but I will only share my favorites here when I was looking up.

Sibling Photo Assignment # 7: Art Where We Walk.

I gave the sibling photo assignment this week. "Art Where We Walk".  " This week we will be looking down. Create a series of photos by finding art on the sidewalk, a road, or trail." I also looked at the ground around my house.
You will find sister Carol's here and I will post brother Bill's when he posts it. Here I am above looking down.

Often I am looking around at subjects to photograph, but don't look down. Today I did a walk and only looked down. There is art at our feet I must say. This is what I captured.
A gourd on the porch.

leaves on the grass

leaf on sidewalk

snapdragons laying down

Sibling Photo Assignment #6 : Still Life on Tabletops

I gave the sibling photo assignment this week. "Create a series of still lifes using a common theme",

"The beauty of still like is describe by its very name: it is life that sits still for you to photograph. That means you can take your time, making all the adjustments you need, placing or removing elements, and fine-tuning the lighting until you obtain a result that holds together as a composition. " Tom Ang

I had been studying still lifes in Ang's book How to Photograph Absolutely Everything this week. His quote above helped me make better sense of examining composition with everyday objects. I also experimented with some filters that added a different feel to some of the photos. You can find my other siblings' photo assignments here and here,

Sibling Assignment #184: Only the Beginning

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment this week. "Write about how your taste in music has changed over the years -- unless it hasn't -- then write about how it's stayed the same." I will post the sibs' posts when they are done. I don't think my taste in musci has changed much throughout my life. After being introduced to different genres of music by family, friends, and students I learned an appreciation for new and different types of music. but I didn't leave the ones I loved behind. It is about the moments and the memories. The songs do stay the same.

“...because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment.”― Sarah Desse

Many of the songs from "The Sound of Music" take me back to Mrs. Williams' music class at Sunnyside School. She would write the lyrics on the chalkboard on the wall and the class would join in to sing favorites like "Do Re Mi", "My Favorite Things", and "Climb Every Mountain." I loved those moments because it brought a love for music at school to home where I could sit upstairs and listen to the Broadway album and continue to belt out those songs, and then connected to the excitement of seeing the film on the big screen in Spokane. It was the moments, places, and people that I remember. I would watch the film and listen the soundtrack any time, and day.

There are themes from movies that stir up strong memories. I walked in a classroom a few years ago and the class was watching "To Kill a Mockingbird." When the film opened with that familiar theme, I was transported back to the Rena Theater when I saw it the first time, and back to my living room when it appeared on television, and even later when watched it from a VHS tape from my home as an adult. I always picture the tree, the gifts from Boo, Atticus sitting with a lamp outside the jail, Scout in the ham costume.  I have strong memories when I hear the soundtracks from "On Golden Pond", "Saturday Night Fever", and "Hoosiers" also.   "Gonna Fly Now" and the soundtracks from the "Rocky" series have followed me through adulthood making "Creed" just a bit sweeter and nostalgic as the themes returned again last year.

"Hello, It's Me" by Todd Rundgren takes me back to the Perch at the University of Idaho campus every time I hear it. It was a popular choice on the jukebox while we drank hot chocolate with soft ice cream on top.  When I hear "Only The Beginning" by Chicago it still puts me right in the Spokane Coliseum  where I attended my first concert. The moment I first heard "Benny and the Jets" by Elton John I was in college singing it with my roommates. I remember that every time I hear it. When I watched and was mesmerized by the film and song "The Way We Were" I was suffering heartbreak from a college sweetheart. 

My students had a big impact on my taste in music. I was introduced to songs I may have never been exposed to, but now I look at my playlists and have fond memories of  listening to a class belt out a song, watching the video on a phone, or getting lists on scratch paper of songs I "had" to listen to. I may not have discovered Adele on my own. I may have never done "Gangnam Style" with students in drama class, and "Viva la Vida" may not have become such a class anthem if I hadn't liked it so much.  There are so many more songs I could add to this list.

I think I should have titled this post Part I because I could continue with playlists, downloaded songs, memories, and what songs still stay the same with me.  This is only the beginning, only just a start. I do love all types of music, but while reflecting as I prepared to write this assignment, I did realize that those moments, places, and people made a huge difference. What songs have stayed the same for you? It was very difficult to choose just one song to end this post.