So apparently I have a desperate need to organize and make pretty everything in my house. Perhaps this is a way of avoiding all the real work I have to do. Today it was the bookcases. Here are some pictures of the results.
It was a strange day today. I have a lot to do, but am having a great deal of trouble settling in to do it. Lots of memories and melancholy as I sort through and let go of things. But it is definitely worth it to have more space.
It has been such a wonderful weekend that I don’t want it to end. We have been decorating all day, and continuing to work on our bedroom replacing the lights and organizing. Here are a couple of shots of the bedroom with the new lights.
Here are a few pictures of the lovely Christmas decorations that we have been putting up. This is absolutely my favorite time of year. I always cry when I pull of the ornaments and see ones that my father gave me when I was a child, and ones that came from my grandparents that have now passed away.
The weekend is continuing to be wonderful in every way. I woke up at 4:00 am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep and so I went ahead and got up. I had some really lovely quiet time and learned how to pray the Anglican prayer beads that a friend gave me last year.
Once the hubby got up we had a lovely lazy morning. We finally managed to get ourselves together by lunch and head out to the Elgin tree farm to find our special Christmas tree. It has become a yearly tradition. You drive out to the middle of nowhere until you see the white tree farm truck and then turn left. My husband and I love the truck. Someday we want to have one just like it. Then you wind through a bunch of country roads and when you come around the corner you see a bunch of cars, cute buildings, and a little farm.
Tractors pulling wagons with hay bales will take you out to where the trees are being cut. They plant different sections each year and in several years the trees are big enough to cut.
We chose to walk for the first time because there were quite a few families waiting on the hay ride. It was a very pleasant 60° and sunny. We even found a tree very quickly. We usually take a long time looking to find one with the right shape, density of branches, and with pine cones.
I think yesterday was the best thanksgiving I have ever had. After we had a lovely lunch and Mom and Bob took off we came back and lit all the led candles and my flicker light fake fire up and cuddled on the couch watching movies.
We had started Love Actually, which has become one of my favorite holiday movies, before my parents got into town on Wednesday and so we finished that one. We then went on to watch Stage Beauty which had been recommended to me by several of my friends. I am completely in love with this movie now. It was a fascinating peek into Restoration Theater and the Shakespeare Revivals and some of the best Othello I have ever scene. It confirmed a lot of the choices that I made when I played Desdemona at in the Shakespeare scene compilation that The Baron’s Men did last fall. We then finished up with Julie and Julia, which I had really wanted to see in the theaters but completely failed.
I discovered something really important about myself in that sweet little evening of curling up with the hubby and movie watching. The hurt and anger left over from things that happened during my play has really been weighing on me. It has been really hard to deal with because there was no way to let it out that wasn’t destructive to self or others. I learned last night that watching and weeping for other people’s love, joys, sorrows, and triumphs is a very safe way to let that emotion out. It no longer feels like failure to cry, when I’m not crying because of the negative emotion, and my body doesn’t seem to care except that it just gets the good cry that it needs.
So I am truly thankful today, for a beautiful day with loved ones, and for a tremendous insight into what makes me tick.
Well, it has been a lovely day of cleaning and getting ready to cook. My hubby took the day off and so we have just been enjoying being together and starting to get in the holiday spirit. My mom and stepfather are on their way to town and we are going to spend Thanksgiving with our best friends and their kids. What a beautiful time. I decorated the house this year for the first time and has really helped to get in the mood. Here are a few pictures. Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.
So I looked at the blog this morning to retrieve so recipes from last Thanksgiving, and realized that this year has gone by so fast that it is overwhelming and that I have a lot of catching up to do with my life.
I should probably start with the wrap up from my play, which was the single thing that took up most of this year, but I can’t quite face jumping in to that yet because it is a really long story.
Perhaps I can just skim over some of the basics. The Baron’s Men put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by me, in the fall and it was more critically and financially successful than all of the plays that the group has done so far combined. It wore me down tremendously mentally and physically because of some of the interpersonal drama that happened as part of the production. It was definitely a learning experience, but even with all the success, I honestly don’t know right now if it was worth it in the end.
I went straight from that into a Halloween show for Beth Burns that was a fantastic experience where I helped with costuming, set decoration and music, and had a really great time. This was in the middle of my busiest season with my mask business and so even though it was a blast there was a large amount of stress to try and keep up with my orders.
I then went straight into a week of making 30 masks and helping with a local event called Luminalia which was held by Austin Shakespeare. It was a crash course in how to fund raise as well as being the most masks I have ever made in one week.
Needless to say, I am not planning anything for the Holidays except relaxing and reclaiming my life. I am so looking forward to the quiet time, remembering my habits, rediscovering my interests, and just being.
As a part of trying to get myself out of the deep negativity that some of the interpersonal stuff in my play put me into I have been trying to look every day at what I am thankful for. I’ve been using my facebook status to do this, but I am collating them here as a way to “count my blessings”. Some of them are pretty prosaic and sometimes silly, and yet when I look through them I realize how much I am truly blessed in my life, even in the little things.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for her amazing husband who enjoys cleaning and organizing as much as she does.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that she gets to do an awesome scene with Bridget Farias and that she got a dry run for her Monday audition.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that the pile of stuff to put away has dwindled from the entire living room to about 1/8th and that she can walk in all the rooms of her house again. She is also very thankful to stop and put her feet up for a moment.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful to be back on her diet and that she has already lost two pounds of the stress weight. Only 18 more to go.
- Jennifer Davis is both thankful and extremely excited to have gotten a callback. Happy dance.
- Jennifer Davis Is thankful for people that listen and care.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful to be back working on her business full time. It is nice to have an undivided mind.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful to have a husband who supports her, loves her, and believes in her.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for reality checks from real friends
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that she gets to spend the day making beautiful things that make people happy.
- Jennifer Davis is very thankful to the wise women of her Bible study who always give perspective.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for little gestures of love that make a relationship of nearly twenty years feel fresh and new.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful to be 4 pounds down on her quest to loose the Midsummer stress weight.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that she can laugh at the stupidity.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for soft beds, warm husbands, and purring kittens.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that the DVD for Love’s Labors Lost from the Globe just came in and she gets to spend the afternoon listening to it while painting.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for Promise Pizza. If you haven’t had it yet, go now. Mmmmmmm.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that the 30 masks for Luminalia are almost done. I think this is a record for me in one week. Of course I wouldn’t have finished without the awesome and talented Katy Thompson.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful to have been a part of Austin Shakespeare’s Luminalia . What a beautiful and fun event.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for coffee with friends, the quiet satisfaction of a job well done, and exciting sides to practice.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for paying off some of her debts. It is always a wonderful feeling.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful that La Madeleine has added slim and petite versions to almost everything on their menu.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful to have succeeded in the loathed task of dress shopping and to have something sleek to wear to the Austin Shakespeare’s King Lear Showcase.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for her hot coffee. It is darn cold out here.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for Cat naps with real cats.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for a good laugh and that sleep makes you feel better.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for an entire day to clean house and do laundry.
- Jennifer Davis Is thankful to be released. What a fun and exhausting day.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for a nice dinner, a wonderful husband, and the chance to put her feet up.
- Jennifer Davis is thankful for spending the holiday with a dozen good friends and for the excitement of getting to cook loads of delicious food.
Hope that the holidays bring you many good memories, good friendship, and love.
Well, I finally got all the casting done for my show. It was amazing. We ran two weekends of auditions and it ran beautifully because my producer is fantastic. I did a lot of prep work between the two weekends, and after the second weekend, I was able to get the casting done in a day.
And then all hell broke loose. Apparently certain people felt they were entitled to a part in my play and didn’t get one. Other people thought they should have gotten a bigger part. Other people thought that this person or that person shouldn’t have gotten a part. It just has turned into a big snarling mess. So I have spent almost a week sitting people down person by person and talking through problems, and of course doing what I always do and worrying way too much.
I worked so hard to make a fair set up for auditions, which would value both peoples feelings and their time. Since so many of the audition process I have been through have been awful, I tried really hard to make it something joyful, with a learning component. It is so sad to me that some people can take the disappointment of not getting a part and turn it into such a dark place, and forget everything else that I have brought into their lives.
But anyway, at least most of the turmoil has settled and I am moving forward and so excited about how everything is looking. People are already memorizing lines and asking me about their characters, and I love the discussions that are beginning to happen.
I think that this process is really going to change me as a person. I already know that my feelings will be very different the next time I walk into audition for someone else. I think I’ll feel more sorry for the director than afraid for myself.
We are taking a big trip next week to the fabric district in Dallas to buy fabric for the costumes. I can’t wait to start seeing it all come together.
I can’t believe that it has been so long since I have written in my blog. It seems as if this year has been so intense that I have been running from on thing to another. So I realized that I need to get back to updating this on a regular basis, for my own sake.
Well, right now I am involved concurrently in 3 theatrical productions. I just finished The Bawdy Five, for which I was doing the music and also all the promotional materials, as well as supporting the directors. It was much more difficult for me to do the music for this show, because it was medieval music, and I am just not as familiar with that era. I like to listen to medieval songs, but I don’t have them at the tips of my fingers, in my memory, and know all the sources like I do with the 16th and 17th century stuff. So it took a lot more time than I thought. I was pretty happy with the final result, however because we only had 3 weeks to put the show together, I really didn’t get everything done till the second running weekend of the show. It was pretty stressful, but ended up being a fun experience over all since the last weekend of the show was fabulous.
I’m also working on the music for an original practice Taming of the Shrew which will be playing in April and May in Austin. Original practice means that they will be using men as the women’s parts, and will be keeping everything as close to what we know that they did in Shakespeare’s time as they can. I’m really having fun with the music for his one so far. It is looking like I’ll have a good quartet to play with. I’m also going to be choreographing at least one dance, which is a new thing I have started getting in to. Interestingly, I also taught a movement class to the actors for this production, to teach them how to move in costume. The director asked me. I was a bit flabbergasted, but sat down and thought about it, and put together some good information from the dance and baroque gesture training that I have had and it seemed to work well.
My third show, is of course my Midsummer Night’s Dream which will be running September 24-October 15th. I am in the middle of two weekends of auditions, as well as a ton of planning and other preparatory work. I am so excited about the way people are reacting to me and to my show. There is so much excitement and enthusiasm. I hope it continues through the whole process.
My mask business is continuing to grow. I am still selling several masks a week, and so the money continues to gently flow in, which is really nice. I have almost a hundred sales on Etsy, and I continue to have opportunities to sell in person come up as well.
So things are absolutely going as well as they could possibly be. For the most part I have been really happy, and I am enjoying living my life even though it is busy and complex. Anyway, I hope that I can get back to updating a little more regularly with all the wonderful things I am learning and creating.
Hope all is well in your worlds,
We had a truly amazingly edible Holiday this year. I have never cooked so much delicious food in my life in such a short amount of time. I was so pleased by the culinary success, that I decided to go ahead and document all the old and new recipes I used so that next year I won’t have to try to remember them all and hunt them down again.
1 Turkey or Turkey Breast
2 tsp salt
2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp dried, powdered savory
2 tsp dried, powdered sage
½ cup (1 stick) butter melted
2 juicy pears (Comice or bartlett work well) cored and sliced
1 large, sweet, yellow onion, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
garlic cloves (optional)
1 lemon, quartered (optional)
springs of fresh herbs (optional)
For Turkey: Position rack at lowest shelf of the overn and preheat overn to 375°. Remove Giblets and neck and rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Combine salt, pepper, savory, sage, and metled butter and cover outside and inside of the turkey with the mixture. Stuff a few of the lemon wedges, garlic cloves and fresh herbs inside the turkey cavities for flavor. Tie turkey legs together to preserve shape. On bottom of large roasting pan arrange celery, onion, and pear slices. Place turkey on roasting rack on top of pears and vegetables. Cover pan and roast for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and roast for 11/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the breast or thigh reaches 175° . Check turkey every 30 minutes for temperature. If you prefer a crispy skin, uncover the turkey for the last 30 minutes of cooking. Allow Turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, remove pears and vegetables from underneath turkey. Reserve 1 cup of pears and vegetables for gravy and transfer the rest to the serving platter. Place carved turkey atop pears and vegetables and garnish with lemon wedges andfresh herbs.
For Gravy: Rinse Turkey neck and add to 1 can chicken broth. Simmer on stove until the turkey is cooked. Remove meat from neck and discard bone. Strain pan juices from roasted turkey and add to broth. Pureé the saved cup of pears and vegetables to liquid and add to the gravy broth. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Simmer on stove until very warm but not boiling. To thicked mix a 1-2 tsp corn starch, rice flour, or regular flour with water until you have a thick milk cosistancy. Add the flour/starch mixture to the gravy slowly while stirring constantly and simmering until it thickens.
This recipe was adapted from a November 1990 Bon Appétit
Prociutto and Pear Stuffing
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz thinly sliced prociutto, cut into ribbons
2 cups celery , diced
2 cups yellow, sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh sage, minced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
6-8 cups bread cubes or croutons.
2 ripe pears (Comice or bartlett work well) cored and sliced
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsely
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 by 13 inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Heat one tsp of oilve oil in skillet and sauteé the prociutto over medium heat about 5 minutes until crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, celery and cook, stirring until softened (about 6-8 minutes). Add sage, thyme, and rosemary and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and transfer to baking pan. Add bead cubes, pears, and parsley and prociutto and stirr gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top of the stuffing begins to crisp (around 25 -30 minutes more).
This recipe was adapted from a November 2006 EatingWell.
Cranberry Citrus Sauce
1/2 small orange unpeeled
1 ¼ cups orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 tblsp and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 12 oz bag cranberries
Finely grind the orange ina food processor. Combine orange juice, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add ground orange and cranberries and cook untilt he berries begin to pop, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Refridgerate for 30 minutes before serving.
This recipe was adapted from a November 1990 Bon Appétit. This sauce added to a cup of greek yogurt makes a fantastic breakfast.
Whole Wheat Pie Crust
Whole Wheat Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups white pastry flour,
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons very cold butter
6-7 tablespoons of ice water
Mix flour with salt in a medium bowl or food processor. Add cold butter and cut in using a pastry blender, or pulse in food processor. Add 6 to 7 tablespoons ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a disc. If possible, cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out. When ready to use, divide dough in two, roll each dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle. You can also roll out inside a floured 2.5 gallon plastic bag, which makes it very easy to transfer to the pan. Trim the edges and crimp for a decorative crust. Makes two delicious 9-inch pie shells.
This recipe was adapted from a Whole Foods recipe from their website.
Turkey Pot Pie
2 cups cups cooked turkey,
1 tblsp flour
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced yellow sweet onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 cloves garlic minced
1 cup snap green beans in small pieces
¼ cup butter
1 8oz can cream of mushroom soup (I use Amy’s organic)
1/2 tsp savory
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp milk
2 9-inch pie crusts
Preheat oven to 350°. Toss turkey in a bowl with the flour. In a skillet melt the butter and then sauteé the garlic for a minute. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and green beans and sauteé until just softened. Add the cream of mushroom soup, turkey cubes, savory, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thouroughly, then remove from heat and set aside. Roll out the bottom pastry and fill the pie pan. Add the turkey and vegetable filling. Roll out the second crust and place over the top of the filling, crimping the edges. Cut several vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush the top crust with the milk. Bake at 350°for 45 minutes until lightly browned. Allow the pie to rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Betsy Barnes
Gingerbread Cookie/Pancake Mix
3 ½ cups all purpose flour,
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
½ cup softened butter
¾ cup molasses
1 lightly beaten egg
Add all of the mix to a large mixing bowl and stir well. Add the butter, molasses and egg and mix until well blended. Cover and refridgerate one hour. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll dough to 1/4” thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a lined, or lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.
¾ cup milk
2 tblsp canola oil
2 tblsp molasses
1 ½ tsp baking powder
In a medium bowl combine the milk,egg, oil and molasses. Blend in 1 1/3 cups of the gingerbread mix and extra baking powder. Mix until moistened but slightly lumpy. Cook on lightly greaded griddle over med-low heat. Watch closely, they will burn easily.
These wonderful recipes came as a gift from Steve and Dawn Hemphill.