"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Monday, August 31, 2009


During my California trip, we ventured north of San Diego to a community called Del Mar. Neat town!!! While there, we went to some gardens, the name of which I can't remember. Something Maharishi yogi Life Outreach temple that almost slid down the cliff and had to be dismantled and moved, but the gardens are still there. Anyway, I found these beautiful water gardens, with koi as long as your arm. Some enlightened guy glided over (now, I don't know where that came from, somewhere out of my head, I like Buddhists and all religions. So now I am blogging to myself? Is that like talking to myself? Oh no). Seriously, back to the glider, he said the big orange girl is Tangee.

The stuff that grows out there is amazing. So too were the gardens. I wish I could have taken more shots but the camera wasn't working well.

There was groundcover everywhere. The ones I like best looked like little green stars - little one inch stars completely covering the ground. Very pretty. This place has been here a long time as the plantings were huge. And, very well tended I might add.

This was the cliff edge where the temple almost slid off. There were beautiful carved marble benches to sit and ponder... om...

This is a beach in LaJolla. Lots of caves, dolphins, divers and beach people. Also, large birds nesting among the rocks.

Hopefully, soon I'll be able to show you a few pics of the wedding and the beautiful couple.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


These pictures were taken from our room's porch/balcony at The Del. I was used to being up two hours earlier than Californians were, so I'd go get a cappuccino and read the newspaper on the porch. The gulls would be watching from the hotel roof and come right over. They would run off the sparrows, crows and grackles. Of course, I'd have to share my banana caramel sticky bun with them. One gull, the boy I guess, would take a bite over to the other one and lay it down beside her, then do a little dance and shrieking song while bobbing its head. I'm quite sure the next door neighbors loved the noise. Oh, well, I'm such a sucker for birds. And, luckily, no one threw a shoe at me. A couple or few facts I'll share with you. Did you know there aren't any bugs around there? I did see one fly. I asked and was told there were no bugs. So what do all the birds eat? Sticky nut buns? Or potato chips? They are missing out on the cicadas and crickets. Never heard the peepers while I was there either. Oh, well, they sure got us beat on the weather. Seventy degrees during the day with a breeze and cooler at night. Can't get any better than that in my book. No AC bills nor heating bills. Did you know the sand was cold? I'm used to sand that's almost too hot to walk on. I was not going to stick my toe in the water. They have great whites there and Humboldt squids with 5 foot long tentacles full of millions of razor sharp claws. It also gets dark earlier there than in OK. I can't get that around my head as to why that is. Must be mathematical or something about the curvature of the earth. I don't know. I saw in the local paper a little article that shocked me somewhat. They were giving hepatitis shots on the beach somewhere around there. Seems, down in Tijuana, they dump all their crud in the Tijuana River which washes around San Diego and 80% of all their water samples taken and tested have hep in them. That is why they give the shots on the beach. Good or nasty - I'm not sure which. Nonetheless, I'm still dreaming about The Del and San Diego way. I'm ready to go back now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


See previous post for descriptions of photos.


I recently went to a wedding of a dear friend's son. I had never been to San Diego and looked forward to the wedding and the trip. I didn't have a clue as to where we were staying until I arrived. A close friend of mine had booked the reservations so I didn't know anything about the hotel. Imagine my surprise when we pulled up to the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, CA, or The Del as it is called. The Del opened in 1888. This grand dame has quite a history. The Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney World is fashioned after The Del. Thomas Edison stayed here as did Charles Lindbergh. Charlie Chaplin played polo here and 10 U.S. presidents have stayed also. Movies have been filmed at The Del. SOME LIKE IT HOT with Marilyn Monroe filmed here and it is reported that Wallis Simpson met her future husband, King Edward, here. They stayed off and on at The Del for years. L. Frank Baum wintered at The Del; he loved the place so much he mentioned it in many of his books and wrote part of THE WIZARD OF OZ at The Del. Probably one of the most famous guests checked into The Del in 1891, but never checked out. Kate Morgan and her ex-husband were grifters, gamblers and con artists. The last time she checked in to rendezvous with her ex, he didn't show and she took her life. That was the official story as The Del didn't want their name synonymous with murder. She was shot in room 3327, which you can still rent today. Her ghost has been sighted many times and has been studied by paranormal researchers. Oh, and her handmaid was found hanged a week later adding to the murder plot. I must add that the chandelier in the entry was massive and stunning. The brass cage is an elevator and when it opens, out steps an elderly man, who has to be one of the original bellhops, in uniform with the little pillbox hat. This place is enchanting. One forgets the rest of the world (part of its charm) and with all the shops and restaurants and pools, along with 28 acres of pristine beaches, you would never have to leave the grounds. In fact, I think the Hotel Del is my favorite place I have ever stayed.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sea of Love

I just returned from the most beautiful place by the sea... Or, I should say the Pacific Ocean. I would show and tell, but I dropped my camera and it won't charge now. Does that mean I have to buy a new camera? Oh no, I'm such a technophobe, I DREAD having to read the instructions. I dropped and broke my phone right before I left and had to get a new Iphone which I don't know how to use. Nevertheless, this was the most beautiful place I think I've been. Seventy degrees year round and sunshine: most don't have air conditioners nor heaters. I was even cold at times during my stay. I could go on and on, but I'll just have to wait and show you. So stay tuned!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Here is a whopper sunflower in my garden. I thought I would give you some information about them; went to Wikipedia and my eyes quickly began to glaze over and when I got to the mathematics of sunflowers, I checked out. I did glean a few tidbits FYI.
Sunflowers are native to the Americas. The Spaniard conquerors tried to suppress cultivation of it because of its association with solar religion and warfare. Native Americans planted sunflowers on the north edges of their gardens as a "fourth sister" to the better known three sisters combination of corn, beans and squash. The Russians used sunflowers to extract toxic ingredients and metals from the soil after the Chernobyl disaster.
But in my little corner of the world, the heads face east at sunrise every morning and over the course of the day, follow the sun from east to west. I love that. The squirrels will get mine before I do. Nevertheless, I still eat raw unsalted sunflower seeds on my Cheerios every morning.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Well, I was toolin' down the road after the wedding this weekend, listening to my favorite food show, the aforementioned THE SPLENDID TABLE on NPR. So anyway, Lynne Rossetto Kasper gave a tidbit of trivia I thought was fascinating. Did you know, Ole Nostraknowitall happened to have been an apothecary earlier in his career. In his pharmacy days, the famed soothsayer made an ancient love potion recipe and published it in his A TREATISE ON MAKEUP AND JAM. In the recipe for his Love Jam, he wrote to gather the following:

an octopus

the blood of seven male sparrows bled through the left wing

mandrake apples picked at sunrise

Bee's laughter (I guess that must be the buzz or possibly the honey)

apple pie spices



Cook together over an open fire, but woe unto you if it is a willow fire...

Have some of that jam over your morning crumpets or French toast!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wedding Pics

The wedding of my son Parker and his new bride Katie has come and gone and I feel like Isobel in this pic. I really didn't have to do that much, but I was wiped out when it was all said and done. Guess I'm getting too old for these kinds of things. Isobel had on the cutest apple green dress with beaded butterflies, hem and bodice and sparkly shoes to match. Izzy turns 2 next month and as you can imagine (or can't), she was uncontrollable at the fete. She mopped the floor or was running to and fro; she frowned or ran from everyone. Instantly, the shoes came off and the hair clip came out. People were saying she was a little Nonna and I have to admit, they were right. I couldn't help but smile. She does take after the original wild child.

When Oliver started crying and Isobel was at the point of whatever, my middle daughter Cady, had to take them to the car and remain there throughout the wedding; missed her little brother and his bride saying their vows.

It was dark in the chapel so I got only a few pics that turned out. This is Parker waiting for the show to begin.

They said their vows and thank goodness, they won't have to depend on me for their wedding pictures.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I am going to be away from the Land of Blog for a few days. I will miss the friends I have made there. You see, my last little birdie to leave the nest will be married on Saturday. Parker T. , the sparkle in my eye, is forging ahead to a new life with Katie. I feel a tinge of sadness, but I am also happy that they have found each other and wish them the best marriage ever. He will be a good husband and a loving, nurturing father one day.
Of course, I'll take pictures as we gather with all of the families and friends. I'll love you forever my sweet boy...

Sunday, August 2, 2009


One thing that blogging has done for me is that it has introduced me to new music. I love music. My musical tastes are varied; I like many different kinds (with the exception of rap and fado). Since rap and golden oldies were all that was on most stations for such a long time, I started listening to NPR exclusively and have for many years now. Thus, I have many different programs that I love to listen to on NPR. Whew, that was a long segue but it's late at night.
One of those programs is The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. (I googled her and she didn't look anything like I had imagined). Lynne can describe salt and make it sound like the most mouthwatering foodstuff on earth. As I drove back home from Tulsa on Saturday, I listened to her show. She featured the book COOKING GREEN: REDUCING YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT IN THE KITCHEN. I can't remember the author. Yes, we all know that we should eat local and organic, etc. And, in all fairness I haven't read the book nor will I. Nevertheless, here are a few tidbits from it.
Did you know your frig accounts for about 11% of your yearly electric bill? Oh no, what to do? Well, according to the author, you usually keep the temp in your frig around 38degrees. But, you could set the temp to the 40's to save on the cost. Ick! I don't want a swig of cool milk or juice. I imagine that meats might get moldy earlier than usual, leftovers go bad faster, etc. Bad advice in my book. I'll give that one an F.
Which cooks faster? Bulgar wheat, brown rice or quinoa? Hello tabuleh - goodbye brown rice and quinoa which is a perfect protein.
For all you Italians and pasta lovers out there: instead of the regular way of cooking pasta to the al dente stage, why not put the pasta into a pot of cold water and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes. Then turn off and let sit in its starch till ready to eat. I'll give that a B-. Or, what about cold blender soups? I'm not a gazpacho fan. I'd rather eat the ingredients separately. Anyway, the author talks about making cold soups; she had quite a repertoire of them. I'd eat the fruit ones but for the cold vegetable ones, Blecht! I'll have to give that one a C though here again, you would reduce your carbon footprint or "cookprint." Cute term huh? Guess that's how she got the book deal. Or, it could have also been the "gastrosexual", one whom cooks to entice/impress others.
When Lynne started talking about a California white burgandy made with Chardonnay grapes and artisinal cheeses, my signal started cracking up the further south I drove. Very upsetting with 20 minuted still left of the show. I do love this show. So it got me thinking about my own carbon cookprint. Well, since my babies have grown up, I don't cook much any more. Guess, that'll be my contribution. Or, instead of spending money on a kitchen item made in China then shipped halfway around the world, why not make it yourself?
Yes, you too can make your own cookie cutters. Whew, bet you thought I'd never get to it. All you need is to take a trip to the hardware store (hopefully you'll ride your bike). There you will pick up a sheet of galvanized tin (it comes in different thicknesses so you can decide which one fits your needs). You must also buy a pair of aviation snips (about $13.) to cut the tin with. You could also buy copper sheets though they are more expensive, but lovely. Cut a strip about 12-15" long and 1" depth. This measurement will vary depending on the design of the cutter. You can either wing it, like I do, bending the cutters into the shape you want. Or, you could also draw a template and bend the cutter accordingly. To join the ends, simply bend the two ends over together. Now has easy was that? They last forever and you can toss them in dishwater or the dishwasher. I have made every cutter imagineable. They work perfectly. So, help save the planet without having to drink clabbered milk or eat rancid meats. And take that Martha Stewart.