Red cabbage

Red cabbage

Here is another winning recipe.  It has been making the rounds among my sisters.  We all like it.  It uses red cabbage, which up until now I rarely bought.  The bacon is the secret ingredient that adds a lot of flavor.  I didn’t have much bacon on hand, so I added some ham as well.  Yummy.

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Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Cut 1/4 lb bacon into pieces and fry.

Add to the drippings a chopped onion and one small red cabbage, sliced thinly.

Saute until limp.  While the cabbage is cooking, mix together in a small bowl:

1/4 c. vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt and pepper

Pour over cabbage and cook for an additional 15 – 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Ink sketch of red cabbage

Ink sketch of red cabbage

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People-Watching in Spain

October 27, 2015

“There are few things more delightful than to have nothing to do in a strange city and enough money to do it pleasantly, to sit and watch people and to wonder about them . . . The Spaniards can sit for hours just talking, or, if alone, doing nothing, with the mind’s engine shut off, just coasting pleasantly.  This immobility is a wonderful gift, like the ability of a dog or a cat to go to sleep at any time.”
— H. V. Morton, A Stranger in Spain

Street scene, Seville

Street scene, Seville

“Happy, happy Spain, where there I always time to sip coffee and where to be busy is not a virtue.”
— H. V. Morton, A Stranger in Spain

Man reading a magazine at an outdoor café, Seville

Man reading a magazine at an outdoor café, Seville

When you travel like a tourist spending at most three or four days at a single destination, and especially when you don’t speak the language, it is difficult to penetrate the culture or have meaningful connections with the locals.  When you sightsee at the major, must-see sites, you mix mostly with lots of other tourists.  That is why I get a little thrill when I notice a slice of real life, individuals and families going about their business in their home towns and paying scant attention to camera-wielding intruders.

Of course, the locals might be enjoying some of their city’s treasures along with the tourists.  Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart.  But I bet those hundreds of people taking selfies were tourists busy documenting that they were HERE.

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The major tourist areas also seemed to attract the “rosemary ladies,” who solicited donations in exchange for a sprig of rosemary.

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It is fun to people watch and speculate about the lives of those who cross your path.  Everywhere in Spain, elderly women walk arm-in-arm with a middle-aged companion.  Are they mothers and daughters or daughters-in-law?  Why are there seemingly more elderly women than men?  Isn’t it wonderful that they still get out and walk the streets for shopping or their daily constitutional?

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Or is this just a tradition, the multi-generational social outings for women of a certain age?  (After all, even Picasso sketched two women walking.  “Walking” by Picasso, 1899, from the collection of the Picasso Museum, Barcelona:)

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There weren’t as many smokers as I expected, but we did notice higher-than-usual numbers of women in Madrid who were smoking on the streets.

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Woman smoking on balcony

Woman smoking on balcony

And cell phones are ubiquitous, just as they are in the States.

On the train to Alcala

On the train to Alcala

Men seemed to gather in bars.

“It is a truism that Spaniards believe there is nothing more important than family life.  In fact, they would probably rather show allegiance to any kind of family than to the State.  For most Spaniards, the need, outside family, is met by the local bar, a place where one might spend at least an hour a day with friends.”
— Miranda Franca, Don Quixote’s Delusions: Travels in Castilian Spain

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Playing cards in a park, Barcelona

But sometimes men gathered in parks, such as these card players in Barcelona.

This family was dressed to the nines for a restaurant lunch in Triana:

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“The only people in Spain more powerful than the mothers are the grandmothers.”
— H. V. Morton, A Stranger in Spain

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And kids and teens in Spain are like kids and teens anywhere.

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Here are a few more photos capturing the ordinary life and people of Spain:

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This waiter in a Sanlucar restaurant asked me to take his picture.

This waiter in a Sanlucar restaurant asked me to take his picture.

Ink sketches; portraits

Ink sketches; portraits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crows, Black as Coal

April 18, 2015

“They must have been swimming in midnights of coal mines somewhere.”
— Carl Sandburg

Two crows, Vancouver, B.C.

Two crows, Vancouver, B.C.

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Detail, crow feathers

Detail, crow feathers

Ink sketches of crows decorate envelopes

Ink sketches of crows decorate envelopes

Crow sculptures, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Crow sculptures, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Crow sculpture, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Crow sculpture, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Ink and watercolor sketch of crow

Ink and watercolor sketch of crow

 

Fa La La La Caw

December 25, 2014

Ink sketch of crow

Ink sketch of crow

Merry Christmas!

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Raven pulling eagle's tail!

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Turkey Day

November 27, 2014

Today I quote the words of Benjamin Franklin, who defended the respectability of the turkey in a letter to his daughter Sarah in 1784:

“For my own part, I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country; he is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living honestly; you may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing-hawk; and, when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and young ones, the bald eagle pursues him, and takes it from him. With all this injustice he is never in good case; but, like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little kingbird, not bigger than a sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. . .

I am, on this account, not displeased that the figure is not known as a bald eagle, but looks more like a turkey. For in truth, the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. Eagles have been found in all countries, but the turkey was peculiar to ours . . .  He is, besides, (though a little vain and silly, it is true, but not the worse emblem for that,) a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards, who should presume to invade his farmyard with a red coat on.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ink sketch of wild turkey

Ink sketch of wild turkey

Watercolor sketch of wild turkey

Watercolor sketch of wild turkey

Ink sketch of domesticated turkey

Ink sketch of domesticated turkey

Watercolor sketch of young turkey (a little vain and silly)

Watercolor sketch of young turkey (a little vain and silly)

 

First snowdrops

First snowdrops

“Little bulbs that would be overlooked in the peak season have their day.  The snowdrops are improbable if not preposterous.”
— Beatrix Potter, from Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell

Beatrix Potter's rare painting of snowdrops

Beatrix Potter’s rare painting of snowdrops

It turns out that Beatrix Potter loved snowdrops and often mentioned them in her letters, but she seldom painted them.  I realize as I try to sketch and paint snowdrops that I don’t know how to paint white-colored things!

Pencil sketch oof snowdrops

Pencil sketch of snowdrops

Ink sketch of snowdrops

Ink sketch of snowdrops