One Lucky Puppy

Laura and James have a new puppy.  Nine weeks old!  Penny (from Penny Lane)  has come to her new family.  Anna changed out of her bathing suit into clothes in two minutes flat, got into the car with her seatbelt on, ready to for the drive to Laura and James’ house to meet the new puppy.  What a sweet, soft, fluffy, puppy. Puppy dog eyes, just one sweet baby dog. It is a case of PUPPY LOVE all around.  She looks a bit like a baby lamb to me. A Golden Doodle but 75% poodle, 25% Golden Doodle(mom).

Goldendoodle Puppy Nine Weeks Old
Anna holds Penny on the Front Porch


Millennium Falcon Wish Comes True 30 Years Later

When Mark was four or five all he wanted was the Millennium Falcon.

It was the one toy of childhood he truly longed for and did not receive. Oh how he wanted it!  He LOVED Star Wars.

And I looked at it all those years ago and thought it was a lot of money at the time for a big hunk of plastic (at least that is how I remember it)  So I didn’t buy it for him. Obviously, this topic has resurfaced over the years.

This past January I happened to sit next to a nice man and his wife at a friend’s 60th Surprise Birthday Party.  We were chatting and he said he owned a Vintage Toy store- Where the Toys Are  in Canonsburg PA.

“By any chance do you have a Millennium Falcon?”,  I asked.

“Why, yes!”, he said he thought he did AND sure enough he emailed me and sent me photos.  His friend (the 60th birthday guy was his childhood friend) delivered it right to my home (in the original box!)  in February and I was so excited.

I kept it until Mark’s birthday but it was really hard to keep the surprise.  I asked Matthew if he thought Mark would be happy to get it  after all this time and he said he thought so and sure enough, look at Mark’s face in this photo.

A couple of weeks ago the Where the Toys Are man and his wife and the 60th Birthday man and his wife were in Zagreb and they called me on their cell phone  from a 300 year old bar and I got to hear Matthew playing guitar and singing, 4550 miles away from Pittsburgh! Happy Happy Happy all around.  Millenium Falcon in Original Box


“hand-made, hand-rolled and patiently baked to perfection” Prepared in the Croatian manner by Strawberry Hill Povitica Company in Lenexa, Kansas.  Since Matthew lives in Croatia I thought I would post this photo of the poppy seed bread and see if it looks like the bread in Zagreb. It’s expensive but delicious!  They will mail order. 100% guaranteed. My son’s mother-in-law said it reminds of her mother’s poppy seed roll (she was Italian).  I know several people who bake a poppy seed cake, too. Below is a Povitica recipe that has walnuts in the filling instead of poppy seeds.

Povitica Poppy Seed Bread
The pattern of the swirled poppy seeds intrigued me, thinking about how they make it.

Recipe from Kansas City Star. The recipe is From: Mary Lou (Pozek) Elbertson of Crystal River FL

No mention of poppy seeds.  Walnuts!

Povitica, Croatian holiday bread Recipe

To activate yeast:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cakes compressed or dry yeast


  • 2 cups lukewarm 2 percent milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs, use 1 whole plus 3 yolks
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 8 cups sifted all-purpose flour (approximately), divided
  • Walnut filling:
  • 2 pounds shelled and finely ground English walnuts
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups scalded milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 11/2 to 2 teaspoons melted butter or margarine, divided
  • 2 eggs, beaten

To activate yeast: Stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour and yeast into warm water and cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 5 minutes.

To make dough: Mix milk, 3/4 cup sugar and salt; add beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter and 2 cups of flour. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until dough starts to clean the bowl.

Turn dough out on floured surface and knead until it is smooth and does not stick. Divide dough into 2 large pieces (they will weigh about 21/2 pounds each), or 4 small pieces (11/4 pounds each).

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour in a warm place. Dough will double in bulk.

To make walnut filling: Measure 2 pounds of finely ground English walnuts into bowl and add 5 cups of sugar; mix well. Heat milk and 1 cup butter or margarine to boiling; pour over nut mixture. Add eggs. Mix and let stand until ready to be spread on the dough.

If the mixture thickens, add small amounts of warm milk.

To roll each piece of dough: Spread white sheet or cloth so entire table is covered. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons to a handful of flour (use sparingly). After dough is placed on surface, roll dough out with rolling pin to about 10 or 12 inches, spoon 1 to 11/2 teaspoons melted butter on top. Using tops of hands, stretch dough out from center until dough is thin and uniformly opaque.

Trim edges and save; spoon proportionate amount of nut mixture on the dough and spread evenly with rubber spatula until dough is covered.

Lift edge of cloth and roll like a jelly roll; trim ends and shape into a U. Place in loaf pan and brush with egg whites. Continue with remaining pan(s).

Cover pans lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.

Remove plastic and place in preheated 325-degree oven and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check bread within 30 minutes and also at end of the hour to see that it is not getting too brown.

Laying sheet of foil on top of loaves will help prevent over-browning.

Remove from oven and cool on rack 20 to 30 minutes.

When cooled, put in food storage bag and wrap in aluminum foil if bread is to be frozen. Povitica bread can be frozen for several months.

Makes 2 loaves (one loaf yields 10 to 12 slices, including the end pieces).

Per slice, based on 10 slices: 641 calories, 23 gm fat, 92 mg cholesterol, 100 gm carbohydrates, 11 gm protein, 501 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber.

U.S.S. Constitution-Don’t Give Up the Ship! Happy 35th!

Happy Birthday Mark.  I found this ship you made when you were a member of Den 1.  I have saved it quite a few years and so today I dusted it off with Q-tips and took it out to the wonderful light in the garage and used my real camera instead of the phone! I think your kids would get a kick out of seeing this ship you made.  Then I put it into the China closet in the dining room for when they come to visit.  I remember the day you were born in Fort Knox, Kentucky! You have grown up into a fine man, husband and father. I am a proud mother! xxooxx

Do you remember how old you were when you made this?

Steelers Garden Gnome

Steelers Garden Gnome Stands Guard

As I was leaving B & B’s home in the slopes, this little guy caught my eye. He is standing guard.  I hadn’t seen a Steelers Garden Gnome before. B’s mom bought it.  My DIL is always promising to get me a garden gnome for my yard but I bet she hasn’t seen this model.

And just a bit ago, V texted me-  Hines Ward won the Dancing With the Stars competition.  Earlier in the week she’d seen something on TV about Pittsburghers all watching and voting for Hines as the “Steeler Nation felt it was their civic duty”.  With her instruction and encouragement, I was able to go online and vote for him, too! That was fun! Not sure if other regions have garden gnomes(click for origin of garden gnomes) sporting their team’s colors, but wanted to share this one wearing the Black and Gold.

Throwing Gravel in the Lake at Dusk

From the archives: two years ago    After supper we drove to the lake and the dam in Lewis Center Ohio.  The grandchildren picked up some of the gravel and tried to throw it into the lake. Endless fascination with the small stones.  Just before sunset.

Stones Throw

Glass houses.
Sticks and stones.
How many stones
do you weigh?
Mick’s Band.
Bob’s, Like a Rolling Stone
gather no moss.
Riverbed bottoms.
Chiseled in stone.
What you could be
turned into
by the Queen of Narnia.
Skip one across pond.
Carve a quarry.
I gave my love a cherry–
it had no stone
The heart of a peach.

Three kids throwing small stones into the Ohio lake at dusk
Just at the moment of release, Anna's left foot just off the ground. Assisted by Michael and Jack.

Crochet- Standing Up- Seaside FL Sidewalk

Seaside FL (no I am not there now, from the archives) You know how difficult I find street photography. These women didn’t notice me and my camera. Here’s what I saw……

A couple of women and some crochet cotton, one stitching as fast as she could. The one looks like she’s holding something that is being undone and recrocheted by the woman on the right.  The line of thread between the two looks like it was just unraveled from having been stitched previously.

I wish I’d asked what the story was, what she was making. And why right there on the sidewalk? Standing up?

Someone just recommended to me that I try to knit standing up, be easier on my neck,  and I thought, impossible.  I was in FL a couple of years ago with good friends Shuey and Connie and we were touring around, seeing where the Truman Show was filmed and the market with the most jams and preserves  I’ve ever seen, floor to ceiling.

Two women crochet on the sidewalk in Seaside FL-image
You just don't see this everyday, people crochet but usually not standing on a sidewalk!

Open Letter to Shiny Buick Man with the Fuzzy Dice

Dear Shiny Buick Man
in York PA,

You’ve lived in my upstairs hall closet
over two years now, in a frame and mat.
I wanted to tell you
I took your picture
one January Sunday
just before I pulled out of the lot.
I lifted my camera off the front seat,
shot you quick, no time to focus.
Your car caught in a lovely light,
a luster pristine-
and you in your tie.
Maybe you were coming from church.
Or going.
Codorus Creek on your left,
but not the whitewater part.
The Heritage Rail Trail
(no trains that day)–
I want you to know
how I admire your fuzzy dice,
how they dangle still
frozen in that moment
from your rearview mirror.
I think you saw me.
But didn’t know what happened
so I thought I should write and tell you.
I hope you don’t mind.

Man driving a1960 Buick on a York PA road with Fuzzy Dice
Saturday night was the 7th Annual Poe*Art Reading and Art Show downtown in the Cultural Trust space at 805 Liberty. Ten Western Pennsylvania Writing Project teachers read their poems and displayed an accompanying artwork. This was the photo, shot in January 2009, I chose to use as a writing prompt. I went through the project in 1993.

Poe*Art 2010 is online for viewing click here      For more information about the Western PA Writing Project click here

A letter poem of address
to an unsuspecting man
who was just driving along
minding his own business.