My friend Chantell and myself in Japan–2005

I blogged about my wonderful visit to Japan once before and feel it’s time to plea for a country I love. A lot of help is needed after this continuing disaster.  Here are some wonderful and easy ways to help the disaster relief fund (list stolen from Sara, who made a wonderful blog post about the country she grew up in):

Amazon (top right ad)
Google Checkout
American Red Cross
International Medical Corps

Now back to the my regular blogging:

1 March: Growing Up
This is my teddy bear, Monty. He used to have good posture and silky fur, but he’s showing his age now. I still think he’s quite handsome, though

2 March: Symmetry

3 March: Dark

4 March: Weathered

5 March: Culture

6 March: Lace
This prompt came on just the right day, as I just gotten a wonderful package in the mail. My cousin sent me some of her mother’s old craft goods, including tatting books and her handmade lace. I’m very excited to try to tackle tatting!

7 March: Modern

8 March: Spot
My friend Liz and I meet at this bench twice a week to study and catch up on reading for our Literature of the Tudor Courts class.

9 March: Warm

10 March: Sour
Cory was angry at me for sticking my head out the door and telling him to stop barking at the neighbors.

11 March: Vacant

12 March: Fresh

13 March: Through
I dropped my lens and jammed the focus the day before. It should be going to the shop soon; hopefully it’s not totally through.

14 March: Before
I took apart the lens and fixed some of the focusing issues. I took this test shot (of my old lens that I had sitting in front of me) before taking it apart again to smooth out the focus a bit more, but the second disassembly did more damage than good.

Apologies for my recent disappearance.  I still haven’t gotten this blog thing down.

I have some sad news. I broke my lovely 50mm 1.4 lens. My lovely, lovely lens.

Hopefully it is fixable–I’m dropping it off at a local shop tomorrow. Because I don’t know what to do without my wonderful lens (and because losing it sent me into a pathetic spiral of depression), I decided to bite the bullet and ordered a new walk-around lens, which I’ve been needing to do for a while. So even without my 50mm, I should be good to go soon.

This past weekend Joseph and I drove down to visit my family. We were overdue for a visit–so much so that we exchanged Christmas presents in March. I was also looking forward to doing senior portraits for my sister and her friend and baby portraits for my newborn nephew Lennon.
Unfortunately, just as I was stepping outside for the first portrait session, I dropped my camera. My advice for you: Always wear a neck strap. I’m still very angry at myself.

Here are the photos I snapped that morning before the perilous drop.

This is my brand new baby nephew, Lennon. He is seven weeks old and beautiful!

Lennon getting attention from his Great grandmother Ruby and Aunt Tori.

My mom and her first grandson (and three granddaughters).

Lennon and his cousin Avery

I crocheted this baby blanket for Lennon and am so happy I got to see him sleep with it that day.

My nieces Daphne and Alena (Lennon’s big sisters), after asking them who’s taller.

Ryan belongs to my sister’s friend. He is a charmer! I hope to see him again soon to photograph his amazing smile.

It seems everyone in my 365 group had a bit of a rough time this month. We simultaneously hit that point in the project where it’s become a burden rather than an excitement, but I’m committed to stick with it. I’m happy in the way that I’ve been pushed so far, but I am getting very tired of looking at my own photos!

14 Feb: Heart

15 Feb: Hanging

16 Feb: Listen
This was for Black and White Wednesday and was a freelense.

17 Feb: Secret
Joseph and I use “secret” our our everyday speech, but it’s a code word. The meaning is a secret I’m not willing to tell!

18 Feb: Reminder
My planner, which I am in love with! More photos here.

19 Feb: Bitter
I had a habit of sucking on lemon slices as a child. Everyone enjoyed watching me because of the sour faces I would make before repeating the process over and over. I still bite at lemons when they come with my tea or water at restaurants, and I still make the face.

20 Feb: What if?
Tackling this prompt was difficult to me because thinking of my life without Joseph sets me into a panic.

When people find out our story, they always say, “Wow! What if he had never sent you that Myspace message?” I can’t even think about it–it honestly really upsets me! No Italy, no Venice or Rome or Milan. No Innsbruck or Paris. No Egypt. And I would probably be a mechanical engineer working in a windowless chemical plant right now.

It’s amazing to think of this life I couldn’t have imagined–that was right around the corner when I was 18. I regularly thank him for sending that Myspace message.

21 Feb: Drive


22 Feb: Fold

23 Feb: Game

24 Feb: Red
My in-laws gave me these Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel dolls, wearing traditional Japanese wedding clothes, when Joseph and I got married. They know I love HK and all things to do with Japan, so these are perfect!

25 Feb: Plant

26 Feb: Round

27 Feb: Liquid

28 Feb: Rock

Joseph and I were days away from canceling our U-verse subscription a couple months ago. Then we discovered Food Network and the Cooking Chanel.

Bitchin’ Kitchen airs on the Food Network in the US and Canada and is adapted from Nadia G’s web series.  It took me a while to get used to the show, and I think I made at least five tweets complaining about her. But Joseph finally talked me into watching an entire episode, and I fell in love. Nadia G is funny, strange, beautiful (seriously, she is hard to look away from), and she really can cook.  She has an obvious passion for quality of food, but the show doesn’t take itself too seriously. It fits right along with our sense of humor, and it’s the only cooking show on TV that makes Joseph and I laugh. It is seriously bizarre and hilarious.

So a few weeks ago I for the first time was inclined to make a recipe I saw on TV–BK’s Pink Grapefruit Meringue Pies.  They are perfect! I will definitely be making these instead of boring old lemon meringue pies from now on. The dark chocolate graham cracker crust is divine with the citrus filling, and the meringue is not too sweet.

Pink Grapefruit Meringue Pies from Bitchin’ Kitchen”

20 graham crackers
½ cup semi-sweet dark chocolate, grated
¼ cup brown sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs at room temperature, yolks and whites separate
1 Tablespoon grapefruit zest
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch salt
¼ teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).

In a re-sealable bag, crush graham crackers. Transfer crushed graham crackers into a big bowl and mix in: dark chocolate shavings, brown sugar and melted butter. Line 4 4-inch pie molds with the crust mixture. Note: I used a food processor to crush my graham crackers and only needed to use about half the mixture.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, then cool.

In a bowl, combine 4 egg yolks, fresh pink grapefruit juice, fresh lemon juice, a pinch of pink grapefruit zest, and a pinch of lemon zest.

In a heavy saucepan mix water, cornstarch, 1 ¼ cups sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture thickens. Slowly add this mixture to the citrus-ey yolks.

Pour mixture back into the pot, reduce heat to low, add 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and whisk for 8 more minutes, until very thick. Cover and refrigerate.

To 4 egg whites add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar, and 3 Tablespoons white sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).

Spoon citrus filling into graham cracker crust and top with lots of meringue. Bake for 10 minutes, until the meringues brown slightly.

I love the show so much I bought a t-shirt!