Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Coming back from our recent trip in Bakersfield, I realized how varied our landscaping is in Texas versus California. Yeah, green is green, but one plant that Texas does much better than California is the Crape Myrtle. In fact, Crape Myrtle is the official state shrub. It's a hardy plant that handles a wide range of weather--and in Texas that can be anything from 18 to 100 degrees.
We had Crape Myrtles in California; in fact, we had two in our yard in Bakersfield. But they didn't grow anything like the ones we have in our yard here in San Antonio. Here, they are lush, green and the when they blossom, they take your breath away. Beautiful purples, blues, reds, pinks and whites abound in the Crape Myrtles around here.
You can't go into any plant nursery in Texas without seeing Crapes lining fences and sizes ranging from one gallon and up. I've even seen huge multiple gallon containers that would take a backhoe to plant.
I think I'm partial to San Antonio and its plants. San Antonio residents tend to do more natural landscaping than California. And between the multi-colored Crape Myrtles and limestone, you toss in a rose bush or two and it's beautiful.
They bloom from about June through October and they are a breeze to take care of--give them some full sun, water and fertilizer every now and then and they will do you proud.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
When the earthquake/tsunami disasters first hit Sendai, Japan I found myself trying to research the area that had been hit. I wanted to know what type of area it was--the land, the people and the history. It just made it more "real" to me to understand the loss. My question, what happened to Babe Ruth?
Of the many things I came across while reading about Sendai, was the story behind a statue in the Yagiyama Zoo. Babe Ruth, along with other famous athletes including Lou Gehrig, visited Japan in 1934 as part of an American goodwill team. They played against Japanese players from six prominent universities. This Big 6 League was established in 1925 and sported some of the best baseball players in Japan, many who have gone on to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame.
There were 18 games played all together and the United States won all of them. On that day in November, 1934, Babe Ruth hit his first homerun in the country, with a final tally of two homeruns for the game. The Japanese people loved seeing the baseball team in action and many view to this day, that Babe Ruth is the reason baseball became so popular in Japanese culture.
In 2002, a statue, created by Kanji Okina, was erected on the exact site where Babe Ruth hit his homerun. The inscription read, “This bronze statue stands as a witness, to future generations, of Sendai’s part in Japanese-American baseball history”.
The tsunami hit Sendai hard. It wiped away lives, homes and structures from the town. As far as the zoo, from what I've learned none of the staff were killed and all of the animals are okay, but they are running short of food. There is a web site for anyone who wants to donate to help Japan's zoos. http://www.waza.org/en/site/home
I know I'm offbeat, but I also wonder how and if Babe's statue survived. It's not going to be on any headlines anywhere. I mean it's just artwork, but I have a soft spot for art. Especially for the emotions for everyday Japanese citizens donating their own hard earned money to have the statue created in the first place.
The decision makers of the Major League Baseball Association should think about helping the Japanese people rebuild its zoo and recover or replace its historical baseball artwork. The United States has a bond with Japan over many things and one of the major ones is baseball. Pure and simple.
If anyone knows what has happened to Babe Ruth's statue in the zoo, please let me know.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
There are two types of people--dessert eaters and non-dessert eaters. It's easy to guess which category I fit in. After a delicious dinner, a finishing touch is a nice dessert. It doesn't have to be a sweet overload, either. It can be a small, delicate sweet that comforts the palate and ends the meal on a high note.
I don't get these people who don't eat desserts at all. What's wrong with them? Are they space aliens? How can you not enjoy a dessert? There are a myriad of choices out there for people to choose from--chocolates, fruits, cakes, ice cream and pies. Choices for every taste range and dietary restrictions abound.
Don't want to go too heavy? Have some blended fruit over angel food cake. Want something really decadent? Bite into a dark, creamy double chocolate cheesecake so rich it would hit top the Forbes billionaire list.
You don't have to have a huge portion. My favorite desserts are those I share with my husband. We order one dessert and split it. That way neither one of us eats too much.
There's nothing more delicious than a homemade berry cobbler, topped with vanilla ice cream after eating a barbecue dinner.
I love desserts and I respect the chefs who make them. Most are like little works of art as they are presented on the table. I know what it takes to make those things. It's hard work and it belongs as the pièce de résistance to any meal.
I prefer to regard a dessert as I would imagine the perfect woman: subtle, a little bittersweet, not blowsy and extrovert. Delicately made up, not highly rouged. Holding back, not exposing everything and, of course, with a flavor that lasts. ~Graham Kerr