Just Fun


Posted on January 6, 2017. Filed under: Art, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , , |

synesthesiadsc02884I was inspired to get back to abstract painting again this fall.  The Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) had a members’ show coming up and I scored a spot.  This would get me painting!  I spied a beautiful overlook on my way home from the office filled with joyous fall colors, each tree standing out.  It gave me the idea for this painting, Synesthesia.  It was one of only a few abstracts in the show.  And I think it was greatly misunderstood.  My sister said, “How did you get the circles so perfect?”  My methods impressed her not.  When posing for the above photo at the museum a passerby asked excitedly, “Did you do the tractor?”  When I said no and indicated the painting above the tractor there was no response at all.  Wow, really?  Couldn’t you muster up a lie?  Ah well, all the greats were misunderstood in their time, no?

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Barcelona Food Fair

Posted on July 9, 2015. Filed under: Just Fun, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , |

Spain food fest 2Olives!  Oh my!  On our first day in Barcelona we headed out on foot to see what we could see.  Almost right away we ran into a festive food fair with everything from artisanal cheeses and beers to huge crusty loaves of bread to this vendor of Spanish olive varietals.  I must admit I didn’t even know that olives came in orange!  For €1 we received the tumbler of olives with the toothpick AND a small tin of Malden salt.  Each type had a distinct flavor and texture.  What fun!

Before we were through we also had a fruit smoothie made only of fruit, luscious cheesecake without a crust (what a great idea), and locally produced beers.

Ok, although crowded, we were beginning to settle into Barcelona!

Spain food fest 3           Spain food fest 1

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Posted on July 1, 2015. Filed under: Just Fun, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , |

Black raspberries

Clear the weeds

Breathe and bask

Look up


Forest gifts

Waiting for me

Wild black raspberries!

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Fruit Mousse Gelatin

Posted on June 29, 2015. Filed under: Just Fun |

Fruit Mousse

I grew up with Jell-O on a regular basis and I loved it.  Jiggly jigglers, creamy confections with hunks of fruit in them at holidays, beautifully molded mounds to be sliced into.  I loved it all.  Knowing what I know now I couldn’t possibly consume all that artificial food coloring, flavoring and sugar.  I’ve had a canister of Great Lakes unflavored gelatin in the cupboard for a few years now, though, because I have wanted to try to create healthy versions of my childhood Jell-O favorites.  So here is my first success.  It was so easy I don’t know what I have been waiting for all this time!

Fruit Mousse Gelatin

1 lb. strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 lb. cherries
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 Tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 T. raw honey
Stevia to taste

Put ¼ C. water in a little heat-safe bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top, shaking the bowl a little to get the gelatin moistened.  Set aside.

Put fruit in food processor or a deep container to blend with a hand blender.  Blend up fruit, add cream cheese and honey and blend again.  Taste and adjust sweeteners.

Bring 2 inches water to simmer in a small saucepan.  Place small bowl of gelatin in it and whisk for 30 seconds to 1 minute until all gelatin is melted and the gel has become liquefied.  Pour into fruit mixture slowly while blending a little more to incorporate.

Pour mousse into individual cups and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  Garnish with fresh fruit and/or mint leaves.

(Other fruits and sweeteners can be substituted)

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Bullet Train to Barcelona!

Posted on June 23, 2015. Filed under: Just Fun, Spain | Tags: , , , , , , , |

We sprung for first class from Madrid to Barcelona on the high-speed AVEBullettrainbarcelona

train.  For the extra $20 or so we had a little plusher seats and our own electrical outlets to recharge our devices.  Since we don’t fly first class it seemed like an affordable treat.  We seemed to fly to Barcelona from Madrid, making the trip in about 2.5 hours at right near 200 mph!  It was truly exhilarating to watch the Spanish countryside whizzing by.  It was a much different view than we had just had of the big city.

Spain - countryside

When we arrived and settled into our apartment we headed out for tapas.  We were quick to discover Barcelona is very different than Madrid.  It was the end of October and the place was jammed packed with tourists.  This was a little overwhelming to us.  We purposely travel off-season or almost off-season to try to avoid the crowds.  I wonder if Barcelona ever really has such a time.

Spain Apartment

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Week 1 Abstract Painting Class – Color Wheel

Posted on July 20, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , , |


I started an Abstract Painting class at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center in Brookfield, Wisconsin last week.  We played with black squares and a circle to communicate words.  We looked at the color wheel and started quilt paintings by blending the different colors.  And here is my homework assignment, a color wheel.  It’s been about 30 years since I’ve made a color wheel and I think it had always been with watercolors before.  With this configuration I could use primary colors (red, yellow, blue) to create secondary colors (orange, green, violet,) tertiary colors (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet,) and quartenary colors (russet, buff, citron, sage, slate, and plum.)  The quartenary colors were new to me.  I was intrigued that you can get them by mixing the two adjacent colors or by using the closest outer triangle with a little of the opposite triangle (example:  russet = violet+orange OR russet = red + a little green!)

I was amazed that the 2 1/2 hour class flew by and I can’t wait to go back again this week.  I’ll post my completed quilt painting (I’m calling it that, but I’m trying to make it not look like a quilt!)

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Pondering the Ant

Posted on July 1, 2014. Filed under: Just Fun, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , |


Little ant
invading my shot
did you think
you’d be the focus?

Well go ahead
live your life
out here.

Enter my kitchen
and your chance for survival


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Museum of Wisconsin Art

Posted on June 29, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun | Tags: , , , |

museum of wisconsin art

I visited the new Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, Wisconsin the other day.  I was quite impressed all around.  The architecture is beautiful with light streaming in this razor-sharp angle which holds these spectacular glass lanterns.  There were some startling things to me about this museum:

* When you pay to enter ($12 per person) you have automatically become a member with privileges to enter again for the rest of the year for free as many times as you want (brilliant!!)

*The museum, like all art museums, has way more material than it can possibly display at any one time.  The storage area, however, is behind glass where you can actually see the holdings in storage on a rotating basis.

*We were immediately invited back within a few days for an opening of an exhibit of artist John Steuart Curry’s works from the 1940s.  This event had live music, refreshments, some baby farm animals in the parking lot and a very interesting exhibit of works.  We attended the event and we had a very enjoyable time – all for free!  I was quite impressed that my glass of wine ($4) was served to me in an actual glass wineglass.  This seems more and more rare as we are usually drawn to the convenience of disposable plastic for such events which, in my opinion, spoils the wine so then I pass.  Kudos to MOWA for putting on such a great opening while being both environmentally friendly and food-snob friendly at the same time as they provided enjoyment and education.

If you have occasion to get to West Bend, Wisconsin, about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, I would say a visit to the Museum of Wisconsin Art is definitely worth the stop.  If you live in the area, it’s quite a boon to be able to enjoy it all year for the one-time fee.  For those of you coming in to the state to see the Calatrava architecture at the Milwaukee Art Museum, a little jaunt north would be a nice addition to your trip!

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Winter is Over!

Posted on May 28, 2014. Filed under: Just Fun, Plants | Tags: , , , |


Winter is over in Wisconsin.  What a wonderful truth!  It was a long and tough winter.  It has worn us out and battered us.  I wondered if any plants would actually survive.  The ground had to have frozen further down this year.  But, alas, the world has turned from brown and white to green and colorful!  My new peonies are promising to bloom soon and these crocuses popped up awhile ago.  Hope springs new!

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Quail Eggs

Posted on May 27, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Just Fun | Tags: , , , , , |

quail egg

Keeping with the egg theme, I thought I’d show you a quail egg I bought at the farm the other day.  This was a new food to me.  They are adorable little orbs, tan with brown spots and flecks.  They are hard to crack with tough little shells, but once you do you have a perfectly miniature little egg complete with yolk and white just as you’d expect.  They are quite tasty too!  It’s fun to find and try something new.  The lady at the farm sniffed a little when I asked her if she’d tried them and if so, how she liked them.  “I would never pay that price for eggs, usually just people who are allergic to chicken eggs buy them!”  Oh for goodness sake, you sell them at your farm stand and you have never had the curiosity to try them?  I find that very strange!

By the way, just the other day one of my former students told me he had taken to heart my advice to make friends with beets.  Beets are so good for you, especially your liver.  I used to hate them too, but I told the class that you can decide to change what you like in the food department.  The French are famous for giving their children 10-20 tastes of something new without expectation so that their palates can develop a familiarity with the new food.  Having learned this I started eating a little bit of beets over time.  Grated raw beets and apples with balsamic and olive oil became a new favorite.  Also, scrubbing, making into wedges, coating in olive oil and salt to spread on a pan and roast in the oven for about an hour makes beets delicious.  Even steamed and then just served with olive oil and balsamic drizzle is pretty good.  Well, anyway, the graduate thanked me for the tip because now he eats them all the time.  That was pretty gratifying, maybe someone is listening to me!!

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