my next cat

I’ve come to a conclusion.  I need to get another cat. Not that there’s anything wrong with my Juno and Rojo, or even the friendly black cat that enjoys sunning himself in the backyard, but they’re not Snorrabraut.  Yes, I know, what your thinking what sort of a name is Snorrabraut and what sort of a person would burden a cat with that name?  All I can say is you didn’t just return from a great trip to Iceland.

To celebrate my birthday, Hubby and I flew to Iceland and rented a car.  Our ever helpful GPS, who tsk-tsked us in a lovely British accent whenever we strayed from our destination, introduced us to our next cat by imploring us to “Turn left on Snorrabraut.”  This street in Reykjavik, pronounced like “Snore-a-broad” became our new favorite.  We purposely went off course so listen to her demand that now we turn right on Snorrabraut.

Yes, we are strange, but say it a few time.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.  See. Now doesn’t that sound like a great name for a cat and a cheeky way to remember a terrific trip?

At some point, I’ll shift through the hours of video and nearly 1,000 photos to offer up more adventures from our trip.  I hope you’ll come back for them. With any luck, you’ll be inspired to dust off your passport too.

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Strawberries are in!

Strawberries in the fieldThe second week of April here in Hampton Roads brought an early treat – red, ripe strawberries fresh from the field.  YUM.

I’ve been to the fields twice already, each time returning home with buckets heaped with red ripe strawberries.  They now sit on my kitchen counter, filling the air with an irresistable scent.  I may have eaten one or two teeny tiny ones before breakfast.  Who am I kidding, they were the size of a baby’s fist.

For a scant four to eight weeks, I’m prone to stuffing myself with fresh local strawberries at every opportunity.  I eat them warm from the sun or cool from the fridge.  I slice them and put them on top of cream cheese and toast or layer them in a homemade strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream.  If the family and I can keep our mitts off them long enough to make a recipe, we make smoothies – but only with the ugly ones.  The pretty ones with long stems get a bath in chocolate to prepare them for consumption.

I’m fortunate enough to live close to Lilley Farms and proud to be a frequent customer there.  The fields are well maintained – no need to worry about knee-high weeds here! My children always have to pose with the giant strawberry. The strawberries are so good, I can’t even look at grocery store strawberries for most of the year.  If you don’t live close to Lilley Farms, look for a you-pick closer to home.  If you don’t live near a you-pick strawberry field, perhaps you should consider moving.

Guenter Grass “The Box”

Guenter Grass "The Box"After the revelations that Guenter Grass (sorry for the lack of umlaut. I  can’t figure out how to get the thing in there) participated in the Waffen SS, I was among those, angry and betrayed who swore I wouldn’t read him again.  That lasted all of five years.

I couldn’t help myself when I saw The Box: Tales from the Darkroom at my library.  I haven’t finished the book yet, and I’m already looking forward to reading it again.  The author imagines his eight children gathering at various times and in different grouping to discuss him, his presence and his absence in their lives. The discussions rarely stray far from family friend Maria and her mysterious Agfa box camera.  The adult children debate the merits of the camera and Maria’s darkroom work, but all agree Maria’s camera showed them worlds and wishes normally hidden.

The imaginative premise blurs the line between reality and fiction. An old-fashioned camera is a perfect metaphor. We tend to think of true and false, real and fiction as absolutes as stark as black and white.  However, anyone who ever dabbled in black and white photography knows, the artistry reveals itself in the grays.