Friday, December 31, 2010

Reason Season Lifetime

"People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support.
To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually
They may seem like a godsend and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on."

Port Miou in Cassis, France

"Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. 
Believe it, it is real.  But only for a season."

view from Sheraton, Papeete, Tahiti

"LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons.
Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson.
LOVE the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant."

Port of Cassis, France

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cat's Cherry Clafoutis recipe

I have no clue what to write about.  As you can see, I haven't touched my blog in a few months!  Hmmmm....that can be a good thing as I have been super busy!  Let's see, lets talk about favorite subject....or let me post a recipe....

That's a Cherry Clafoutis....

The verb clafir in French means "to fill"or lets just say "the batter with cherries".  Some people prefer the cherries to be pitted but in my household, we leave the pits in, its more home-like and warm.  Some people sprinkle powdered sugar on top or make it with other types of fruit.

Here's Cat's Cherry Clafoutis recipe

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

4 eggs separated

2/3 cup sugar

6 T all-purpose flour

1 cup of heavy cream

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 lbs of fresh cherries, pitted or not, be sure to tell your guests!

1/2 tsp lemon zest

powdered sugar for dusting

can be served with ice cream

Combine egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar;  beat with mixer until ribbon forms, about 8 minutes

add flour, vanilla and cream

beat with mixer on low until completely blended, make sure to scrape sides

in small bowl, using handheld whisk, beat egg whites and salt for about 30 seconds

add whites to batter and mix together with wooden spoon, incorporate and mix on low

preheat the baking dish for about 5 minutes

in bowl, stir cherries and 1/3 cup of sugar

remove pan from oven

pour in cherries and top with batter

bake until clafoutis is set in middle, 30-35 minutes

and voila......"Life is just a bowl of cherries..."

my guests loved it and so will you.......

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thought of the Day

The Everglades in Florida
If I clean my house hardly after a party, it means that I have a lot of friends
If I can pay my bills, it means that I have a job
If my trousers ties me, it means that I am not hungry
If my shadow follows me, it means that I can see the sunlight
If the bus stop which I land, is too long to my office, it means that I can walk
If the man next to me plays with his key and this sound makes me disturb, it means that I can hear
If it is necessary that I clean the windows and I repair the roof, it means that I have a house 
If my natural gas bill is too much, it means that I am not cold
If there are too much washing and ironing, it means that I have a lot of clothes
If I feel tired in evening, it means that i was productive that day 

Mactan Island in Cebu, Philippines

A friend from Turkey shared this with me today, it reminds me of what I have in my life and how much I appreciate it.  I hope you can do the same and pass it on.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Few Good Reads about Polynesia

If you ever been over my house, you will notice all the books that I have collected over the years.  My bookshelf definitely has a lot of character!  You will find books anywhere from travel books to recipe books from all over the world.  You will find books in the French language and of course, English.  You may even find a few books in the Hawaiian or Tahitian language.

The reason why I am so into the Polynesian books is because the love I have for the dance and culture.  Visiting the islands and reading up about it all completed my circle.  How can you dance, sing or speak the language if you don't know its history?  You will find that it can be really hard to find a good book about Polynesia, most of them boring because its a history book and it also goes back to talking about Cook and how he discovered it.  I looked through the cracks and it sure took a long time to find some wholesome books about the islands.  When I say wholesome, I mean about the people, how they lived, what went through their minds and how it was to be in their shoes - not so much from an American history point of view but from a Native.

picture I took of Mt. Mouaputa in Moorea, the legend says, that the hole on top was made by the spear of demigod Pai. Pai tossed the spear all the way from Tahiti to protect this from being dragged to Raiatea by Hiro, god of thieves.

Let's start with the actual Tahitian Bible - now when I say bible, I don't mean a translation of the bible into the Tahitian language...and you know what?  It's really not a bible, it's more of a history book that was recorded by J.M. Orsmond who was of the London Missionary Society.  He stated in the preface of this beautiful book, titled "Ancient Tahiti", that "the history of Tahiti should be based only on the traditional statements of its people." So what did he do? He discovered the island, spoke with priests and bards, recorded everything that he heard from the natives, both men and women.  Unfortunately he passed before the book can be completed so it was passed on to his granddaughter, Teuira Henry, to complete.  In this book, you will find the beautiful stories, not written in a pretty fashion, but the history of the islands, the culture, the tradition, the way of clothing, the foods they ate, how a wedding ceremony is held, why they talk to the dead, the lineage of ancient Polynesian kings, the nature and how important it is to these people, chants and dances.  This is a very rich, vibrant history book, nothing is sugar coated and you may even find some stories horrid! For example, how the newlyweds scrapes their scalp so the blood can run onto a white sacred sheet that is to be given to their inlaws....Okay that is just one example.  My Ori Tahiti teacher even created live production performances based from some of the folklore in this book. I am proud to say, I was able to participate in these performances, singing and dancing!  I must say he was the one who introduced me to this book and I am thankful he did!  Now, I really don't remember where I bought it or how, I just know that it was out of print and I've had this book for 11 years.  As I search the internet for this book now, I stumble across Amazon - who does not sell it at the moment - and I stumble across an auction site and voila....there it is!  Starting bids start at $300!

Baie de Cook

Going to the next book....well, you can say out of print books...I have a vivid collection written by James Norman Hall and Charles Nordhoff.  Most of these books are out of print. Everyone knows "Mutiny on the Bounty"....boring!  Well, what I mean is that its boring compared to their other books...."Dark River" is a beautiful love story, "Hurricane" was turned into a black and white film, and no one really knows about "The Far Lands" but that was a beautiful book! All of their books are written in fiction form but the description of the culture and the islands are just something to immerse yourself in.  You really feel like you are there!  Now I inspired my Ori Tahiti teacher to create a production based on the "The Far Lands".  I remember I gave him a copy of the book and his wife back then told me that he couldn't put the book down, he even reads it while sitting on the toilet!  As for the book "Dark River", I lent it to a male friend - since it's out of print, its rare to find, he told me he cried! I can go on and on about all these books on my shelves - just alone for Polynesian story writers there are a few from Robert Dean Frisbee (stories mostly about his family and survival on the islands), Joseph Conrad (his adventures in sea), and Pierre Loti (falling in love with a native woman).

Marae Ahu O Mahine, a sacred cemetary

Let's catch up to speed, we all have read books written about Hawaii, especially when back in the 60's there was a big craze about vacationing in Hawaii and doing the Hula!  I have plenty books about the dance, their chants, language books and dictionaries.  There is one particular book that stands out and it's a fiction book, it's called "Moloka'i"

I just cried....what a touching story.  I mean, can you really imagine having leprosy and having to live on that island?  This book is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death.

My favorite Tahitian writer is Celestine Vaite (don't worry, she writes in English).  Her books have made me mostly laugh!  It may be a bit gossipy but definitely reflects on the reality of many lives in the South Pacific.  Definitely a must this order:  "Breadfruit", "Frangipani", and "Tiare in Bloom" 
Celestine Hitiura Vaite's books  I have yet to read her fourth one called "Tiare". 

Well, there you have it, some suggestions in a nutshell.  If you ever feel like "being there" pick up one of these beautiful books.  Stay tuned for my French book collection and recipe book collection!

Me preparing my ti leaves in Moorea

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Looking through my old stuff, I found some wonderful postcards that I have collected along the years.  Every time I visit a place, I buy a postcard and write my travel journal on the back about that particular place and that particular moment.  It's a great way to put a memory down.  I have plenty of postcards that I found of the places I visited in Europe, Polynesia, South America and Asia. I even found ones of Canada and ones throughout the United States!  My favorite ones are the ones my friends sent me.  Here's a cute one from my pen pal in Japan....because of this, I found her again on facebook!

I even had a co-worker who used to collect those free postcards at the cafes and actually make something fun out of it by cutting and pasting pictures of her friends on it! She would give it to us on our birthdays or Christmas or "just because".

When my friends or family would ask me what I wanted as a souvenir from the place they were about to visit, I would just answer "A postcard!" It's such a great memory!  Looking at them just reminds me of the foods I ate, the way the place made me feel - it just really helps me to remember that place!  Until this day, I continue to collect them and I store them in a postcard album, it shows me the picture on one side and what is written on the other.  Sometimes I use them as bookmarks....when I run into a postcard and I read the back, it really puts a smile on my face!

OneRepublic - All The Right Moves

Good morning! Here's my song of the day...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What did you eat this summer?

It's summertime and all we want to do is eat, drink and sleep.  For me that means eat junk food, drink lots of liquor and sleeping in! Well, I don't eat much junk food but when you're invited to a barbeque or a family party and you're throwing a dinner party in your backyard, it's so much easier to slip up and forget about watching what you intake!
Of course, along with all that said is a Pastis in one hand and a glass of wine in the other-yes, I'm guilty and I forget to drink water!
After coming back from France and eating all the cheese....well, I feel like I haven't had any energy and I have to get back into the groove of things.

This is why my friend, Margarita, who is a certified health coach, is here to remind me of just that.  She can help you balance your lifestyle and reach your health goals while still enjoying life. I suggest you subscribe to her newsletter to get these Healthy Tips.  Click here to start!

Help, Margarita, I just came back from France!!!!

Tomorrow, August 15th,  is the Feast of the Assumption, it's a Catholic holiday that is highly celebrated in many countries.  We have dinner guests coming over tomorrow but we are going to keep it "simple and healthy" by serving a shrimp and vegetable appetizer, lightly deep fried smelt, a fish entree accompanied by my famous Ratatouille, and some fresh strawberries and melon for dessert....well, okay....I'm going to make a Cherry Clafoutis too. So, the next time you throw a dinner party, remember to keep it balanced by adding lots of fruits and vegetables in the mix. Thanks, Margarita, for keeping me on track!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Plumeria Frangipani

The Plumeria, also known as Frangipani, is usually in bloom from the months of March through October, depending on the weather.  When I see a plumeria, the first thing that pops in my head is Hawaii.  In the Polynesian islands, you will find all sorts of colors~white, pink, red, yellow and even a deep red/orange blend.  Here on the mainland, we use our rings to symbolize our relationship status, in the Hawaiian culture women wear this to show their relationship status - over the left if taken, over the right if single or "seeking a relationship". Plumerias are also used to make fresh leis.  You will see these flowers everywhere at the Hawaiian events; on jewelry, print designs and they even sell silk or ceramic Plumerias for over the ear all the way down to a toe ring!  It looks like the real thing...but it doesn't smell like the real thing!  The Tahitians also use this flower to scent their monoi oils, which is great for moisturizing the skin, the ends of your hair and can be used as a massage oil. The Hawaiians are surrounded by so many beautiful flowers, the Plumeria is one of the more important ones to them.  When you look carefully at many of the ancient artwork and tattoo designs from Hawaii, you will notice that if it doesn't stand alone, it's always right next to a Hibiscus, Hawaii's state flower.  To them it's a symbol of Spring, so we can associate it with birth, life, and the coming together of everything good.  The Mayan's also have many ancient carvings and art work with this flower on it.  To them it represents the sun ~ there are many connections to that flower through Aztec text and glyphs. It's the symbol of procreation and life, much like it is for the Hawaiians.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Ricard, also known as "pastis" of Marseilles, is a yellow aniseed-based aperitif.  This was invented by Paul Ricard in 1932. Paul's father was a wine merchant in Marseille and took his young son to many bistrots where pastis was "brewed" in the back of the shop. Paul decided to distil his own and sell it to bistrot owners. His pastis was like many others but he added an ingredient others lacked – promotion and clever marketing. He called his pastis "Le vrai pastis de Marseille", and soon it became the best known, best selling pastis in the city.  For us Americans, we think of a tall, cold beer on a hot summer day, especially when the sun is shining, but for the Frenchies it's a refreshing pastis. This can be served with some great appetizers but it can be as simple as chips, nuts or olives. You can find this at your local Beverage & More, or if you go to France, be sure to buy a bottle or 2 at the duty free counter (it's less expensive)! Alcohol content is 45* proof. To serve it you put about 2.5 to 3 cl in a glass and add about 5x its volume of water (it turns a milky yellow), add an ice cube or 2 but be sure to add that last to avoid crystallization.  "Pastaga" is the slang word for pastis and pastis is also a word meaning mixed or confused in the local dialect of Provence. Wow, sounds all confusing huh?  Well it is "l'heure de Pastis" chin, cheers, sante!!!

Off to the market...

Wandering through a traditional open French market is one of my favorite things to do when I go there.  Most cities and villages have their "market days" twice a week.  You can find anything from fruit, vegetables, charcuterie, cheese, olives,  and even shoes and clothes! "Le marche" is an integral part of life in virtually all French towns and large villages.
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