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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Postcards from the Lake: Summer Days, Summer Sunsets

It's quiet here at the lake. During the week many of the summer people head home, the boat traffic on the lake calms down (though the wind has ramped up for much of the week) and I find myself "home alone," missing the sunrises and loving the sunsets.


Yes, this is exactly how it looked.


Rick left Sunday. I drove him about halfway so he could do the ride home in only a day (and enjoy more time at the lake).


I'm very comfortable alone at the lake. When you grow up an only child you get used to being alone. But I find that I miss the guy! I miss the conversation (Lizzie thinks she talks back but it's just noise!) and just hanging out, whether it is dinner on the porch or a game of Scrabble.


(I was especially excited because I not only won but won big on our last game and that rarely happens. Of course, Rick started out ahead and then he got this hand. Which is a lot like the one I had in the game before. (I'm know unquiver isn't a word -- quivered or quivering would work -- but I gave it to him because by that time I figured there was no way he'd catch up!)


Our week up here together was both good, with friend visits, and productive. Last year we had foundation work done on the house and they tore out the walkway.


Thank you Rick! The new one is in and looks good -- just have to do a little more fill dirt and then our neighbor said he'd take the big dirt pile away!


So, home alone -- what to do? Well, the first thing is to welcome friends to lunch!


Do you know the indie group Lord Huron? This is Lord Huron's mom and dad! They're fans!  Here's some interesting music trivia! The Lord's dad, John Schneider (a writer himself) just reported on his blog that “The Night We Met,” a song from the band’s second album, has gone gold. In modern terms that means that the song hit 500,000 “units” in the U.S. Each unit is equal to one paid download or 150 streams.
 
Below I'll share the taco salad recipe I did. It's easy and very good. My childhood friend Linda brought one to dinner last week and this is basically her recipe, though I have a feeling it changes with every cook!


I've been reading a little. OK, a lot. Finished a good Joyce Maynard book (Thanks, Esme!) and another shortie on the Queen. Now I'm reading one I'm embarrassed to say I got for someone else and I promise to send it. But I had to read it first! Next up, I'm torn between an Anne Perry mystery or another Charles Todd with his WWI nurse Bess Crawford.


I tend to my little garden, which I brought up from home and so happy I did. That fresh basil and dill makes everything I cook taste tons better. Lizzie is liking her cat grass and nip, too!


I'm really glad I brought these along. The bright flowers just give me cheer and the herbs make everything taste so much better!


And some painting. Here are a few of the most recent. Not without flaw but it's good to get back into the swing of it all.

                   

I realize how much I don't paint when I'm home and I also realize how much more I am inspired and motivated to do it here.


Is it the setting? Certainly a quiet day on the porch is pleasant.


But somehow I think it's the freedom of just being able to do some, go do something else, leave it out and return.


Either way, rediscovering my watercolor palette has been a joy.


Just as long as I get things off the porch before the sky that look like this opens up!


So, I leave you with a smiling face -- a boy on his bike...


...and another sunset.


Just because.

And now for that taco salad "recipe." Brown one pound of burger and add the taco seasoning packet of your choice, following directions on the back of the packet. Shred or tear into small pieces lettuce and add the following (your choice -- this is a typical Jeanie dump-recipe): red, yellow or green pepper (I used red and yellow); diced tomatoes or halved cherry/grape tomatoes; green onion; purple onion; banana pepper; cilantro if you have it or like it; a handful or two (or three) of shredded cheddar cheese; anything else you feel like cutting up that fits. Cut two avocados and put in lime juice (don't add to salad till ready to toss).

When ready to serve, toss in the seasoned beef, avocado and dorito chips. I used about 1/3 of the bag but it all depends on the size of your salad. Dress with a Catalina dressing -- I used Zesty and Tangy Catalina but French would work too. And I added a little Louisiana hot sauce because I like it spicy!


Serve with extra chips and salsa. (It keeps well but the chips in the salad to get soft. Still tastes great and it's also good in taco shells as leftovers.) Sangria is nice, too! (Mae suggested adding in the chips at the end when serving and if I hadn't been making a big bowl of it I would have done that. If you're just doing it for family, I'd recommend it. Mae also noted the lack of sour cream. It doesn't really need it but since I serve it with a dollop of salsa, adding some sour cream and/or guac would be tasty!)

32 comments:

Mae Travels said...

Your taco salad has a nice vibe. Could you leave the chips separate and have them added when it's served? Surprised that there's no cheese or sour cream, but maybe the creamy dressing is in that place.

Your sunrise & sunset photos are beautiful.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the lake sunsets are gorgeous. I love colorful reflections. Your taco salad looks delicious. he new walkway looks nice too. I love to play scrabble.
Have a happy day and weekend ahead!

Valerie-Jael said...

Great art, wonderful food, a beautiful lake, fantastic sunsets and time to be lazy or just do what you want - sounds to me like paradise! Continue to have BIG fun, hugs, Valerie

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I love some Taco Salad but have to try it with ground turkey as I'm limiting my red meat due to health issues. Love your watercolors. I think the quiet and no where to go has got you relaxed and able to just paint. Enjoy your time and glad boy on a bike got home safely! Hugs!

Joanne Huffman said...

I think the lake speaks to your artist soul.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Those sunsets are amazing Jeanie! I always cherished alone time at our beach house, but now that my husband has retired, he is always there too, not that I mind, he is so good about letting me do my own thing, but there is something special about solitude that really relaxes the creative side just as you said with your painting. Enjoy!

Tammie Lee said...

Wow to those sunsets! So darn pretty.

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time. A good mix of people and alone time.
Your paintings are charming. Time to get off the computer and play with paint myself.

Mary Rose's said...

Well, you've proved it, Jeanie - there is Internet in heaven.
These pix are so lovely!

XOXOX
Maryanne

Deb said...

You really do enjoy yourself there, don't you. :) I understand being more motivated to do something creative when you can leave it out and return to it as you please. All your paintings are so sweet and I particularly love the one of the porch table and chair. That is gorgeous. :) Must go now - my cats are staring me down as it is dinner time at the mouse-house.

A Cuban In London said...

Glorious sunsets. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Pam Jackson said...

Looks like you had a great time at the lake. Paintings are nice. I really need to get on my painting...great job.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

That sunset is wonderful! How does your cat like going to the cottage? Does she always stay inside? I used to make a version of that taco salad. I haven't made one in years! -Jenn

Joyful said...

I love your porch not to mention the stunning views of the lake and sunsets. I envy you ;-) It was a great idea to take your garden along especially if you spend a lot of time at the lake. Love your paintings. Enjoy your time alone. Hugs. xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...


Summer seems to agree with you at the lake. Also being an only child, I understand being alone. Your paintings are truly lovely, and I can see you are working on them without a lot of distraction, at least on days when you are alone.

Lizzie looks happy even if she's been uprooted. Perhaps the cat grass kept her happy. Love that you brought all the herbs. Dill, basil, and cilantro are my favorites, too.

Thanks for sharing the taco salad. Now if they only made a vegetarian version (grin).

Mel u said...

Your photos are themselves a mini-sanctuary! Loved your post.

Rita C. said...

Jeanie, your summer sounds WONDERFUL! I love that you took your plants with you. You're doing all the things you love - painting, reading, playing and piddling. Those views are outstanding. Thanks so much for sharing. Maybe Rick will make up some words while he's out there riding, lol..........

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I could tell you in volumes how much you and I have in common, yet as you know, I am originally from the OPPOSITE end of the country. As a child, it wasn't the lake we'd go to, and occasionally, we'd go to the ocean. But our family tradition was to pile up a caravan of our family and friends to go to THE RANCH. A family friend still to this day, owns a ranch where we kids would horse back ride, hike, and enjoy watching our parents and uncles drink, sing and dance, and watch our mums make the best Mexican food on the planet........

Yet Jeanie, you and I connect here. Being only children, embracing solitude, taking that down time to process then proceed. Whatever the outcome (paintings, photos, poetry, gardening), any flaws that are there turn into adventures for which we seek a fine tuning of things. We come out at the end of the day with that fabulous fatigue you get as a kid, playing outside all day under the summer sun.

CARRY ON!

The French Hutch said...

What gorgeous sunsets you get at the lake. I think you find yourself there Jeanie, you paint a lot, and that's what the lake does for you. I know you missed Rick but looks as if your time was filled with all good things, friends, painting and relaxation. What could be better! Have a wonderful weekend dear friend..........

Julia - Vintage with Laces said...

Gorgeous sunsets! I wish I could stop by for a round of scrabble. It's great that being on the lake inspires you to paint. Your watercolors are charming, Jeanie. Taco salad sounds good to me. I love Mexican food.
xo Julia

La Table De Nana said...

Love that place..and that scene ..w/ all the shore paraphenalia:)♥
You are having a beautiful time..

I would love J to like Scrabble..

Fun..fun fun...

Barbara said...

There are times I really miss having a cottage. I grew up at one too and then later my then husband and I built our own cottage. I would spend most summers there with my children. A cottage is a very nostalgic thing.

Your taco salad looks delish. I read about it on an empty stomach and had to leave to find food.

I am so glad you are painting and reading lots of books. That is a dream summer for me. I love your paintings. There is lots of colour and your subjects draw me in so that I want to know more about them.

Thanks, Jeanie.

Victoria Zigler said...

It sounds like you're enjoying yourself, even if there are moments when you miss human company. Still, at least you have plenty of reading and art projects to do while you're alone, and people nearby you can invite to lunch.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

It all looks just perfect, Jeanie. Wonderful sunsets, I do admire the fact that you can paint and the taco salad's making my tummy growl, even though I'mm not a huge salad fan. Mrs Britain and I should get the Scrabble out sometime, instead vegetating in front of the box!

Jeanne Washburn said...

What a beautiful spot, Jeanie...wow...the sunsets are jaw-dropping...love that you are painting...and thanks for the taco salad recipe...it sounds simple and quick and delicious...great to add to my limited summer-too-hot-to-cook repertoire. :)

My name is Erika. said...

Lake sunsets are amazing. It must be the water. I think you are having a perfect summer-in my mind. I could lounge and read and lounge and take a swim and lounge some more. Have some friends come by, lounge and read some more. Kind of what I do at home only I have no water and there's always a closet calling my name saying clean me. :) Happy weekend. Hope Rick had a good ride. hugs-Erika

Marilyn Miller said...

Love seeing your paintings and that porch just makes me swoon. Oh taco salad, I could eat just about every day and I often use Catalina dressing too. Last week Jim made it and served on Indian Fry Bread, which he made from scratch. It was delicious, but a bit too filling. Yes, I would probably do a dollop of guac or sour cream. Oh so good. Now I want some. Your sunsets are beautiful. Doesn't it feel good to get a project done, whether a new walk, a good book, or a painting.

Pam Richardson said...

What gorgeous sunsets! You are having such a good time it seems, doing what you love on your time schedule. It all looks and sounds dreamy!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum, that taco salad looks delicious. I just finished a bowl of cereal for dinner (not too motivated on the cooking front today) so have meal envy when looking at that! Sounds like a wonderful week at the lake. As usual, the sunset photos are beautiful! And congrats on the scrabble win! I've started to play words with friends with my grandma and she is tough to beat! It's nice to be able to play virtually as we don't get to play a game in person very often.

I've been wondering how this summer at the lake is going with the trees down on the side of your property... I almost hate to ask but am wondering if the neighboring property has started to build their home? I remember how heart breaking it was when those trees were taken down last year. :(

Lynne said...

Reading through I enjoyed a winding down, zen like moment . . .
Relaxed . . . (although still wide awake at four in the morning)
I often wonder why I enjoy my alone time, at the same time missing
Mister Irish, a friend, or one of my children, grands, littles . . .
Alone time takes me to my core . . .
gives me a recharge
to purpose, my being . . .
So I "get it" and enjoyed your travel through, sometimes "with" and sometimes alone.
Funny you mentioned Scrabble . . . Mister Irish is not much of a board game guy,
even though I try to "change that" every once in awjile.
Bananagrams has saved the day for me if Kate,
I have created my own little "alone version" of the game.
Rambling here, just like I am visiting with you,
You . . . who I have never met face to face yet love to ramble along with anyway!
Enjoyed the new walk scene, lake views, sun set and rise, watercolor, screen porch, friends, all, more.
So many versions of Taco Salad . . . I am adding this one with my others.
Smiling . . .
Love . . .
Out

Lynne said...

Oops, if Kate needs to be . . . of late.
Thought I proof read better!

Tamara said...

Your lake is so lovely, sunsets & lazy days.. sounds beautiful. Good to see Rick got out for a ride or two also..

Esme said...

This looks like so much fun. So relaxing and the perfect way to spend a summer day and eve.

xo

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