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Well, it wasn’t fun and it sure made me sad, but we put our dog down a few weeks ago. Yeah the one who was in the photo shoot with me.

I miss that damn dog!  She was always sneaking into my office and trying to be cozy on the tile floor. And although I always acted like she couldn’t be here [allergies you know] she was always welcomed to be at my feet.

Her last few days were hard.  As she became more and more uncomfortable, disabled and tired, we knew it was nearing time to let her leave this life and  go to the next. Boy, we sure did have a good time while we were all together-she adopted a good family and we gained a pretty, friendly dog who was a fierce protector on the hiking trails and one of the best north Denver squirrel chasers in her youth!

But my very last memory of Carly was when I was saying goodbye.  I looked in her eyes and I could tell she wanted to go, she was tired and she just couldn’t manage anymore. She had lived with us for over 12 years-she was part of our family, another kid, another sibling.  She just belonged with us.

So here’s to you Carly. Like a good Dalmatian, find the path for us so  when we reunite we’ll know exactly where we need to go!

LYM

Happy Birthday to your fabulous home!!!

If you received our special birthday card and balloon bouquet, print this coupon cakecoupon .  Bring it to Cake Bakery located at 3832 Tennyson St. Denver, CO  for your free gift.

Everything in the bakery is fresh and good!

Thank you for letting us help you celebrate the 100th year of your fabulous Harkness Heights home!

Tonight, Neil and I were invited by our neighbor, Tina, to attend her son’s 1st grade Earth Day play!  What a wonderful treat to be among children;  excited, energized, noisy and happy.  They were about to show us their Earth Day  play.  Aris played “Earth”-polluted, trashed and just plain abused by the other “humans” on stage.  But in the distance, one could hear the  “small voices”  who convinced the others to clean up “Earth” and stop polluting!

It was not only a cute 20 minute play but a great reminder of how our current living habits are destroying this future generation’s environment. The refrain of one of the songs was  “earth day”, “earth year” and “earth living.”  Although the actors did not fully understand the consequences  of  “earth living” , the people sitting in the audience did.

Great play, great job, great message! Congratulations Aris and classmates!

Earth Day 2010

So I just had a wonderful evening.  A small group of French speaking people from my neighborhood met at a nearby French restaurant and spoke French.  Luckily among us was a real, genuine French speaking person who was very patient with our verb tenses, nouns, pronouns and gender agreement!  What a refreshing evening, not pretentious, not difficult but genuinely fun!  We talked about sayings in French that really are funny  like “he farts higher than his ass” translated as a snobby person!  Who would have thunk!!

Language has always interested me.  I still yearn to be absolutely fluent in another language.  I have come close in my life-lived in France and got pretty good, worked in Mexico and wasn’t bad.  But to really speak in another language while thinking in that language- a lifetime goal!

Language is the key to other cultures.  It is truly too bad that so many foreigners speak English. Perhaps if forced to learn another language we, as Americans, would better appreciate the differences among us.

A bientot!

Once I was in Portugal and a lemon fell from a tree hitting  me on the head.  Given my real affection for lemon in and on everything, I thought it was quite appropriate that out of the foursome, 2 Jewish people and an Anglo,  the lemon hit me the Greek! If it had hit any of the others, nobody would be blogging about it tonight because it would have been a non-event!

I eat lots lemons; in my water, on my fish, on my salad, in my margaritas.  I grew up with lots of lemon!  But still today, my favorite Greek food is  egg lemon soup (avgo=egg and lemono=lemon).  You can’t go wrong with this recipe.  The trick to good, foamy avgolemono soup is to make sure you whip the eggs and then pour them into the broth off the stove, right before serving.

Avgolemono Soup

6 cups chicken stock

1/3 cup short grain rice

salt

3 eggs whipped

juice of 1 large lemon

white pepper

Bring stock to boil in large sauce pan and add rice; salt to taste. Stir until stock boils again. Allow rice to cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

In a bowl beat eggs until fluffy.  Beat in lemon juice.  Laddle about 1/4 of the boiling soup into eggs, whisking constantly.

Remove soup from heat and gradually add egg mixture, stirring gently.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6 of those people or 3 Greeks!

Okay, so we get really particular in Denver about which neighborhood is in which section of town.  We pride ourselves in living in “the” neighborhood.  For me and my family, it’s Harkness Heights.

Harkness Heights is one of 14 neighborhoods that make up the area called Highlands.  And that we are-one of the highest points in the city.

Harkness Heights has bout 320 households and stretches from Lowell on the west to Federal on the east and from 44th on the north to 41st on the south.

If I must say so myself, it’s one of the nicer Highlands neighborhoods. We can walk to alot of  “trendy” places, many of us remembering those locations  before they were “in.”

Now buying into this neighborhood takes a bit of money. After all when you are in, you are desirable and expensive.  So many of us know that if we weren’t already in this neighborhood we would not be  able to buy into it now!

But what makes this neighborhood special are the people. We have our own muffin lady who delivers muffins to all the new residents.  Hey, we take gold when it comes to community and our muffin lady deserves to keep the medal in her livingroom!

No we’re not a Washington Park or a Bonnie Brae, but we know what we have and we like being under the radar, for the moment.

Retsina-that Greek wine made with resin-really!!! I’ve trier to drink this stuff. I keep thinking if I can only get past the first 2 glasses, I might actually enjoy it.

I have a friend, Tom (not Greek but none the less credible) who says there are some fine Retsinas.  I always wonder if what Tom is saying is true, or is it that he only remembers his 3rd glass!

Sien!  To Your Health.

When Dogs Get Old

My dog is at my feet. She’s not particularly fond of me, but I’m the only one home and she’s feeling like a little affection might be the way to go.

We all get old, but when your dog gets old it’s really sad.  My dog, yes the one I rented for my picture on the right, has such a hard time now-she can’t get up, she can’t hear and she just sleeps all the time.  It’s as if now that the kids are gone, she just doesn’t want to be with the old people, us! Should I tell her her “brother” is coming home, a young person, the one she grew up with! Then again she may still be traumatized from when he did live here.

And so we wait  with her, getting excited when she wags her tail and shows genuine affection  and felling bad when she just can’t get up the stairs like she used to.  Her mountain days are over;  the snow’s deep and the ground is cold. She just doesn’t like being out of her “bedroom.” And who can blame her; she’s been the protector, the trail blazer and the high energy dog  for years, now she just wants to be mellow-a word that only describes an elderly Dalmatian.

We rescued Carly 13 or 14 years ago.  She’s been with us a long time and for the most part, I think she’s enjoyed her journey.

Here’s to Carly.

Let’s talk about houses.  I love old houses; always have.  I grew up in a new house,but always yearned to live in an old one.

But I’m lucky, I now live in a traditional Arts and Crafts Bungalow built in 1916 with wonderful original woodwork and hardwood floors.  The craftsmanship in my house is exceptional.

The Arts and Craft movement started in Victorian Britain, around 1880.  It was more a philosophy rather than a style.  This movement came about because of an uneasiness with industrialism and a refocus on the worker, the artisan.  Arts and Crafts valued the craftsman artist over the capitalist factory worker, and it shows.

So many artistic forms were affected during this period:  painting, architecture, textiles, metal works and furniture.  The era lasted about 60 years.

I am all for preserving what this period gave us.  I still have my original kitchen cabinetry-1916 cabinetry in 2010!  Amazingly well built!

If you have a spare weekend, head to the Art Institute of Chicago and see the exhibit Apostles of Beauty Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago. Not to be missed and you won’t be disappointed.

According to Cook’s Illustrated this month the top 3 olive oils are from  Spain and Greece!

I remember Greek olive oil growing up-it was really potent! I had a great Aunt Mary who made moussaka and it was always drenched in Greek olive oil.  It was quite inedible because it was served at room temperature (allowing it to be a bit congealed) and it was always some gigantic piece that would serve a family of 4. Yuck!  It took me years to acquire a taste for moussaka;  I was in my 20s.

The trick with moussaka is that you must slice the eggplant, salt it and let the brown liquid ooze out for a few hours.  It really makes a difference, in fact it makes it edible!

Eggplant Moussaka (ala Tess Mallos-The Greek Cookbook)

Serves 6-8, Cooking Time 2 hours, Oven temperature 350 degrees

1 eggplant

  • cut in slices, salt and let drain in colander
  • oil each side
  • place under broiler, turn when brown-do both sides

Meat Sauce: place all ingredients below in pan and let simmer for 30 minutes

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves (are you kidding-more like 10!)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (what a surprise!)
  • salt and pepper

Cream Sauce (let it be known, this cream sauce goes on everything!)

  • 3 tablespoons butter (that’s all)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (try closer to 1/2 cup to make it good)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Melt butter in saucepan, stin in flour and cook gently about 2 minutes.  Add milk and bring to boil, stirring constantly.  Let sauce bubble gently for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in spice, cheese , salt & pepper. Just before spreading on moussaka, stir in egg.

Assembling:

  • Grease an oven dish (13 x 9 x 2)
  • Layer eggplant and meat (2 times)
  • spread cream sauce on top
  • Sprinkle with cheese
  • cook for about 1 hour
  • Let stand 10 minutes, so that you can cut it into squares to serve(it’s illegal to not serve moussaka in squares)

Yassou!