Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Way We Were...

The Stafford family clan. Don't you love family photos? Just when you think you really haven't changed that much through the years, you pull out the old family photos and realize, "wow, I used to weigh 105 lbs!"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Moby's Los Angeles Architecture Blog...

Channel surfing the other day...came across a visit to the LA home of Richard Melville Hall. You know him as "Moby," electronic techno musician, DJ, and founder of Teany, the vegan, tea cafe on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Did you know that his middle name and the nickname "Moby" were given to him by his parents because of an ancestral relationship to Moby Dick author Herman Melville?

Anyway, he was born in Harlem, grew up in Darien Connecticut, and lived and worked in NYC until a few years ago when he purchased a 1920's "castle" in the Hollywood Hills. (pictured above) Since moving to LA, he has developed a real fascination with the architecture there, and has a blog called ~

Interesting guy...interesting blog. Check it out.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

The cake was excellent! I finished it just in time to have a huge slice with coffee (decaf) while I watched Dallas! I think I'll have another slice for breakfast...


For the Loaf:

  • 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
  • For the Lemon Syrup:
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • For the Lemon Glaze:
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    • 2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9×5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess

    In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together together the yogurt, sugar + lemon zest, eggs, vanilla, and oil.

    Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. (the flour coating prevents the blueberries from sinking to the bottom)

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

    While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.

    Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cake cool completely.

    To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 Tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of the loaf and let is drip down the sides. Let the glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

    bon appetit! c

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Day In The Life...Summer Mode

This morning, while drinking my coffee, I wrote a list of the things I wanted to accomplish today…

Look on eBay for a vintage surfboard
Go to Target for a black tee shirt
Bake a cake
Throw away another trash bag full of stuff that I don’t need
Go to used musical instrument store to look for a set of conga drums
Do the laundry that I was supposed to do last week
Buy a cake pan to bake the cake in
Watch the premiere episode of Dallas on TV tonight
Try to find a motorcycle helmet for Ralph. Do they make them for dogs?

You’re probably wondering, why a surfboard? Because it’s summer, and I’m in full-blown summer mode. No, I don’t surf. I don’t think anybody in Dallas surfs. There’s hardly enough water here to take a shower. I just want a surfboard to lean against the wall.

The first concert I ever saw in person was The Beach Boys. I went with a group of friends. At least one of them was old enough to drive, because we were not accompanied by adults. I still ride around in the summer singing "California Girls" and dreaming of the beach. We used to go to Maywood, “the beach within reach.“ It was really just a large, public swimming pool surrounded by sand in north Mississippi, but it was all we had. I always wanted to surf. However, I can barely swim, so surfing is out of the question. But having a vintage surfboard seems like an attainable goal…

I want conga drums. I love music, but I’m afraid it’s too late to play the violin. And I can’t sing. I have a reasonable sense of rhythm and a lot of nervous energy, so conga drums just seem like the way to go.

I went to Target and bought four black tee shirts. Black tee shirts are my addiction….like crack. I can’t stop buying them…can’t give them up…can’t buy any color other than black. If they’re on sale, I can’t buy just one. They were on sale…

I’m purging, for my future life in the Airstream. In the past few weeks, I’ve pitched twelve lawn and garden bags full of unnecessary crap. It’s amazing how much stuff we buy…things we don’t really need. The thought of downsizing is so freeing, but I’m going to have to figure out a place to keep the surfboard…and the drums.

Lunch. In-N-Out for burger and fries…

Ralph loves to ride on the scooter with my boyfriend. He has goggles, but I wish his head was better protected. So I’m shopping for a helmet…and yes…they do make helmets for dogs! I know what he’s getting for his birthday!

Dallas, the TV series! Flashback to the 80's. Warm and fuzzy memories of watching the night-time soap with my Mom. J.R. bashing. It was the highlight of our week. We'd take our dinner into the den and eat on TV trays. It won’t be the same without her, but if there’s a television in heaven, I’m sure she’ll be tuned in…

This afternoon, I want to make a lemon-blueberry pound cake with lemon syrup and lemon glaze. I got the recipe out of bon appetit. It requires the only size cake pan that I didn’t have. But I have it now, so I’m going to bake a cake for dinner tonight.

If the cake is successful, I’ll post the recipe!

Later, C

Planet Carol Recommends...The Intouchables

Last week on my day off, I went to a movie instead of doing the laundry. Nothing unusual there. I often find creative ways to avoid housework, and there are always movies showing at The Angelika Film Center that I want to see. They don’t usually show for more than a week or two. Laundry? I can do that anytime…

I love The Angelika, because I enjoy the kind of obscure art house and foreign films that never play at the mall multi-plex. So I eagerly purchased my ticket, stopped at the concession stand for a seriously overpriced box of milk duds and a diet coke (to off-set the 9000 calories in the milk duds) and settled into the dark, mostly empty theater for an afternoon matinee.

It was a French film called The Intouchables, a true story about a wealthy French quadriplegic who hires a young, black Muslim ex-con as his caretaker. He needs someone with physical strength, who can lift him from his bed or into a car, and who can respond to his panicked breathing in the middle of the night when phantom pain strikes. What he doesn’t need, or want, is pity…which is why the wealthy Parisian picks the most unlikely candidate to be his aide…a streetwise native of Senagal, who only expects a quick rejection at the job interview to help him qualify for public benefits. Instead, he gets the job. Their bond proves the power and omniscience that love and friendship can hold over all social and economic differences. Fabulous movie…and the actors, Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, are fantastic!

I left the theater crying and laughing. Sad for those persons with physical disabilities that take away their mobility, autonomy, and independence, and sad for the suffering that exists in the world caused by loneliness, alienation, and poverty. But the movie is quite funny too, and poignant without being overly sentimental or sappy. I was inspired and uplifted by the strength and perseverance of the human spirit over adversity. And I wanted to fall to my knees, and thank God for my family and friends…my livelihood…and my ability to walk…to run…to dance!

Sometimes I focus so intently on the things I want, that I forget about all of the many things I have to be grateful for. This movie was a wonderful reminder…totally worth coming home to a pile of dirty laundry!


Friday, June 8, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things...

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that push our "happy" button. Here are a few of my favorite no particular order....

Waking up in the morning with a creamy, frothy sugar, sweetener, fancy syrups, or skim milk, please...just good, strong, piping hot coffee and full fat milk. Yummy!

Watching Andy Griffith reruns. Reminds me of my childhood, when life was sweet and uncomplicated...

The Airstream day I will be enjoying my morning latte in one of these chairs...

Auntie Mame never fails to lift my spirits...

I could eat eggs everyday...and I do! Scrambled, fried, poached, boiled...egg salad...eggs make me happy. The only thing better than eggs for breakfast is eggs with bacon for breakfast...

Another old movie that makes me laugh every time I watch it. Mildred Natwick is hysterical. I love dinner at "The Four Winds"...

My new grand daughter you even have to ask?

Daisies against a bright, blue sky. Remember the daisy scene in Harold and Maude?

Smiley Face wants you to be happy too!

This photo of my grandson Jameson ALWAYS makes me smile!

My Dad makes the best lemon pie EVER! And he always makes for me, and one for everyone else. I don't think they know that...

Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. Amazing!

Ralph. My role model, style icon, and great friend. He 's cheerful, wears basic frills...and he is the best listener...

My Dad tells a story about leaving for World War II on a ship. As they pulled out of New York Harbor, he stood at the back of the ship, watching the Statue of Liberty until she was out of sight, and wondering if he would ever see her again. Every time I see the Statue of Liberty, it makes me cry. It also makes me proud...proud of my Dad for being a brave, young soldier who risked his life for his country. And it makes me happy, because he came back safely, married my Mom, and became the best father in the world...

The table wine of the South...nectar of the gods...

Have a happy day! C