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susan smitten

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Pretty Little Things [Apr. 11th, 2015|11:15 am]

In February, my cousin Robert and his son came to Dubai for a shooting event. His wife, Julie, sent with him a purse to give to me, which had belonged to our grandma (my father's mother), Margaret Cash Strickland.

I think it's so pretty.

It was made in Československo.

Inside it I found these incredibly lovely things!

This is a petit point matchbook.

Seems it may have come from Vienna!

This pin has a tiny, tiny micro petit point.

And this one is even tinier.

There isn't any needlepoint on this locket, but it has a neat design and it's really small.

There's a small picture inside. Dad, do you know who it is? Is it Roy Strickland?

~ ~ ~

Edited to add! Here's a letter my dad sent me about the pretty little things:

Hi, Sq,
Very interesting stuff! Well, maybe interesting to only you and me, but who else matters?

Grandma and I went to Europe twice. Maybe three times. We rented a car in Amsterdam and drove to Rotterdam, Brussels, Munich, and Vienna.

She carried the little purse thing when she really got all dressed up. Where she got it I really don’t remember exactly, but possibly (and maybe probably) in Vienna since that’s not very far from “Ceskoslovensko”. She may have gotten the petit point things in Austria also. We likely stayed at stayed at the Vienna Intercontinental Hotel. As I recall, they were friendly toward airline-employee types.

I’m certain the cameo pendant thing (or whatever you call it) she got in either Rome or Naples. We visited a place where they carve them out of the inner surface of conch shells (“mother of pearl” they call it, I think). Before she bought that one she bought one from a street vendor who was sitting outside carving them. His products wouldn’t stand up to a very close inspection. In fact, his qualified as a POS. although Grandma didn’t identify it as such.

I remember the locket but I don’t know whether the picture is of my dad or not. Hard to tell, but I can’t imagine her putting a picture of anybody else’s dad in there.

The little pin with the green stones, she got in Mexico City

I’m thoroughly pleased that that you have those things and I’m grateful to Julie for passing them on to you. They were very important to Margaret Strickland.



And here are some pictures I've posted before of Margaret Cash.

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Stuffed Peppers, Stuff of Dreams [Dec. 30th, 2014|07:10 pm]

This is a true story.

Last week, sleeping in an airport hotel in Germany, I had this dream: I chopped two 10" stalks of celery with half a big yellow onion and sautéed it all in olive oil with a little salt. Then I drained and rinsed a can of green lentils and sautéed them with the celery and onion, then added some tomato paste and a splash of white wine. I stuffed this mixture into a couple of red bell peppers, and baked them.

When I woke up, I was in a remote airport hotel in Germany, and it was six o'clock in the morning. When I came back, the only groceries I needed to buy to make this work were two red peppers.

I didn't want to open a bottle of white, so I used Martini Bianco vermouth, probably about 50ml. And then I realized I had finished up my tomato paste, so I used a little ketchup. Same thing, right? The mixture perfectly fit into two peppers, with maybe one forkful extra so I could taste it first. I baked them at 400°F (204°C) for half an hour. And they were so much tastier than I had dreamed they would be.
link2 footsteps|mind the misty sea

Glorious Caribbean Holiday: Around the Ship [Dec. 29th, 2014|02:29 pm]
[Tags|, ]

I have a lot more to show you from last month's holiday. Here's a look around the Royal Princess.

A cloudy day. This is the upper deck, where I liked to read and watch films such as Big (shown), Mrs. Doubtfire, and The Princess Bride. That pool was cold and deep and I loved it so much.

Inside, it's pretty everywhere.

Including the ceilings.

This string quartet played several times a day throughout the ship. I followed them around. I also followed the two jazz bands.

This barefoot vendor of happiness is a maestro called Kory Simon. I was a huge fan, and caught his show at least five times.

There were comedy shows.

Karaoke almost every night.

Cooking demonstrations. This one was Indonesian and Filipino dishes.

Ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, garlic, onions, chilis... all the usual suspects.

Another cooking show in the much larger auditorium, demonstrating risotto and black forest cake.

This was followed by a trip to the galley.

This was relevant to my own job and I found it extraordinarily interesting.

Ship galleys are larger than aircraft galleys.

This sort of set-up looks very familiar to me.

Speaking of food, this was one of my courses one evening. I was so happy when Asian food featured on the menu.

I took a ballroom dance class.

I stepped on this gentleman's toes a few times.

My mom took these pictures of me trying to waltz.

Champagne fountain.

My parents! Aren't they cute?

This is a glass bottomed bridge for 360° views.

And this was the view from our own balcony.
link8 footsteps|mind the misty sea

Tofu Satay and Peanut Sauce [Dec. 19th, 2014|11:23 pm]

I had a block of sprouted tofu, and I wanted to do something I hadn't done before. So I made a satay and peanut sauce using this recipe from Vegetarian Times. The only variations I made were brown mushrooms instead of shiitake (I don't live in the shiitake part of town) and maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and regular coconut milk and regular Kikkoman, instead of the light versions.

I had my doubts that the recipe wasn't too authentic. The product of my efforts certainly tasted nothing like satay I've had in restaurants. The satay I knew was light, the flavors just north of subtle. This was intense, with and without the peanut sauce, which was pretty overwhelming... in a good way, I guess. I like rich, spicy sauces. I suppose when the recipe called for low-sodium soy sauce and light coconut milk, it may have had the flavor in mind, and not only the desire to maintain an illusion of wholesomeness for the magazine.

link2 footsteps|mind the misty sea

Cats About A Room [Dec. 19th, 2014|09:19 am]

link3 footsteps|mind the misty sea

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