Matilija Poppy, San Francisco Botanical Garden

Matilija Poppy, San Francisco Botanical Garden
Matilija Poppy, San Francisco Botanical Garden

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mumbai Monsoon - July 31, 2014



Morning skies as gray as slate,
No sunbeams peeking through,
Palm fronds wafting in the breeze,
For what will soon ensue.

The heavens gush in torrents,
Sheets of rain fall to the earth,
Birds cling to any shelter,
They hold for all they're worth.

Strong rivulets of water,
Swirl in overflowing streets,
Tarps loosen from their moorings,
Tin roofs feel the steady beats.

Drains clog and roadways flood,
Umbrellas sail like kites unfurled,
Annoying but much needed,
Is this watery monsoon world.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright July 31, 2014 by Carmen Henesy


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Touchdown, India!!! - July 27 ( in India ), 2014


Much to my relief, while fighting the miseries of the worst cold ever for almost a week
prior to leaving, I finally managed to board the Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle, and
continued on Emirates Airlines to Dubai - where I overnighted- and on to Mumbai
the next day.

Is it that baby germs are super virile?  Harper shared her sniffles and cough
with Nana and, while she continued to function pretty normally, I managed baby 
sitting, fixing an occasional meal but little else.  I'd put a few things in a suitcase and
have to lie down for an hour, slept fitfully, minimally at night, and the night before 
takeoff, was woefully unready to go.  After planning to nap for only a half hour
about 3AM, I woke at 5AM, in a panic.  Throwing things helter skelter into a third
suitcase ( I was already taking a box of gifts, etc ), in addition to Emirate's very
generous complimentary two checked bag allowance, I rushed out the door, 
leaving my room looking like the aftermath of an earthquake, tornado, and Filene's
bargain basement sale ( is there still a Filene's in Boston ), all rolled into one.

Alex, my son, had kindly requested the day off from work and, along with sweet
Harper, drove me to the airport ( he really is a kind fellow ) and, since I could not
find my suitcase keys, my bags departed unlocked.  The Sacramento Alaska 
agent told me that I could NOT check my bags all the way to Mumbai though I
had spoken to Emirates staff who assured me I would not have to pick them up
for my overnight in Dubai and that they could be check all the way to India.
After parting with $350 for the extra bags and being told by Alaska Airlines that 
I might, indeed, might have to pay it again in Dubai, I headed, mournfully, to my
gate.

For some reason, I was upgraded to first class and a bloody mary and decent 
breakfast helped a bit to ease my miseries.  With four hours connecting time in
Seattle, I arrived quite early at the Emirates gate, excited to fly on this highly
acclaimed airline for the first time.  

The young woman, who took my ticket, looked askance, and asked why my bags
had not been checked on to Mumbai.  "Good questions," I responded, going 
through the saga of the baggage experience.  She quickly went about trying to 
change that, calling her supervisor, having my bags pulled  in all of that luggage
( good thing I was there early ) - complimenting me on attaching tags with my
photograph on them - taking my picture which was required and submitting a
wire and a request to Alaska Airlines.  It was after I had already boarded the
Dubai flight that my name was called and a flight attendant brought me my new
luggage tags, indicated Mumbai as the final destination for my suitcases!

Surprisingly, the flight to Dubai was only half full and my seat had been changed
to a bulkhead nearer the front.  Normally, I am not a bulkhead fan as the two out
seats have immovable arm rests and your carry on can't be stored underneath.
However, the lovely flight attendant told me the whole row was empty and that
armrest went up so I could stretch out on two seats and, if I was a bit flexible, I
could put my legs over a third seat and "catch a snooze."  Snooze I did, in between
cocktails and two very delicious meals.  

Emirates crew were just wonderful and it has surpassed my former favorite, Singapore
Airlines, and second ranking, Cathay Pacific, in my estimation in terms of service 
and friendliness.  Their crew are definitely multinational, with charming Italian ( Florence ),
Pietro, asking me if I had a dead body in my carry on when he hoisted it overhead.  
He was such fun the whole flight - until he came by and brought me a four page 
evaluation to fill out about the airline - which I did quite willingly.  It is exceptional and
I especially liked the ladies in their uniforms with the red pillbox hats, white veils and 
their bright red lipstick.



Photo, courtesty Bing images, domain free

On arrival in Dubai ( our flight had an overnight stopover, with our Mumbai 
departure at 1PM the following day ), I was amazed at how quickly we went through
immigration in their amazingly glistening, clean airport.  Even more surprising was
that I did not fill out any kind of immigration form, either on the airline or prior to
departing the airport.  I stopped at a hotel desk and they arranged a room for me
for the night and, despite my wanting to go out and see the bright lights of Dubai,
for my first time visit, I opted for bed.  I hope I fly back to San Francisco on Emirates
because I was told that holders of a U. S. passport may have a 30 day temporary
visa for stays in Dubai and I would really like a chance to see it ( maybe not in the
sweltering heat of summer ).

The following day, with equally great ease, I was back on my flight to India.  Every
seat, however, was full ( Dubai is a place of employment for a great number of
India citizens ).  

We were about halfway to Mumbai, having just been served lunch, when the flight
attendants scurried about the aisles, removing the barely touched trays.  An
announcement came over the intercom, "Sorry to disturb lunch service but we are
having to return to Dubai for security reasons."  On the video screen, the plane's
route showed a U-turn and going in the opposite direction.  Within minutes, the
plane reversed direction and, again, was headed for Mumbai. My seat mate had
asked the flight attendant for a double Jim Beam which I had quickly dittoed but
lunch did not return to our tray toubles.  We never did know the nature of the 
"security issue" and landed about thirty minutes late in Mumbai.  

I checked into the Ibis Mumbai Airport Hotel with a warm welcome from staff and
even a nest of towel  cygnets and mama swan on my bed ( Sudhir, my "cabin 
steward" had once worked with P and O cruise line! ).

Saturday, I went to Vodafone to replace my non functioning sim card and feasted
on baingan bharta which Chef Yatin of the Ibis Spice It Restaurant made me a 
fan.  

Home again in India and life feels superb in between a few remaining sniffles and
sneezes!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Banana Cream Pie I from allrecipes.com - Sunday, July 20, 2014


I am still encumbered by this horrible summer cold, so much so that I even went
to Target the other night and bought two boxes of "day and night" cold capsules.
I've been taking them religiously and, perhaps, they are helping a bit.  My coughing
has decreased and my runny nose is not at a dripping faucet level but merely a 
constant slight leak.

I managed dinner last night at Kru, one of the most wonderful Japanese retsaurants
I've ever tried - we feasted on beautiful and delicious presentations of sashimi 
which I washed down with Tokyo Black, a Japanese beer that tastes like Guinness,
one of the only two beers I like ( the other is Newcastle Brown Ale - now this can be
added to my beer favorites ) and, yesterday, I made a banana cream pie.
My boys love banana pudding but, since I have a graham cracker crust and an
abundance of bananas, I chose to do a pie.  It was absolutely scrumptious.

I slightly altered the recipes from allrecipes.com, based on some review
recommendations.  I did  not put whipped cream on top but made a meringue
from the three egg whites.

Here is my altered recipe and you can review the original recipe and over
eight hundred reviews at:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Banana-Cream-Pie-I%20from%20allrecipes.com


Banana Cream Pie I

 taken from allrecipes.com

otiginal recipe by Ruby Pfeffer who states:
"Banana cream pie is one of the yummiest things on earth and this is a great one"

This recipe makes one 9-inch pie which is 
ready in about 1-3/4 hours

Ingredients

1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten ( save egg whites for meringue )
2 Tbsp butter
1-1/4 tsp vanilla extra
1-9"pie crust baked ( I used the extra large Keebler graham cracker crust )
4 cups bananas sliced

For meringue:

3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp sugar, adding gradually to the egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar ( optional )

Whip at high speed, adding gradually. still egg whites form stiff peaks.  Cover
bananas to the edge of pie plate.

Directions

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.  Add milk in gradually, 
while stirring gently.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is
bubbly.  Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, then remove from burner.

Stir in a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks and immediately
add yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture.  Cook for 2 more minutes - remember
to stir keep stirring.  Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla.
Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.

Slice bananas into cooled pastry shell.  Top with the pudding mixture.  Fix and
top with the meringue.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about seven minutes or
until the top is browned to your liking.  Remove from oven and cool, then refrigerate
for about 2 -3 hours before serving.

This really is a terrific pie.  I love allrecipes.com and have used the site for years.  
You can register and save recipes to your online recipe box.  For this particular
recipe there were about 800 reviews and I modified this recipe from their suggestions.
I chose to make meringue rather than use whipped cream because I put meringue
on my banana pudding.

I made the pie yesterday and it is almost gone, less than 24 hours later, with only three 
of us here ( plus Harper ).  Well, you know what they say...."feed a cold"

 t
    
s


Monday, July 07, 2014

Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors - #136 - Pink San Francisco Victorian - July 7, 2014


San Francisco, California, the wonderful "city by the bay," which has been a part of my 
life for nearly forty years now, boasts the most incredible Victorian houses, many
of them with "whimsical windows, delirious doors."  I would often drive around for
several hours, with camera at the ready, snapping pictures, whenever something
wonderful caught my eye.

Here is but one of the incredible houses, referred to as "Painted Ladies."




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Friday, July 04, 2014

Six Word Friday - Free - July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July


Photo thanks to Bing Images, domain free


This is a day of celebration,
Of flags, families, fireworks, and friends,
Free and brave, we owe much,
Whisper thanks as this day ends.

We often take liberty for granted,
But I feel blessed every day,
 I was born in this country,
The best place of all - USA!

Carmen Henesy

copyright July 4, 2014 Carmen Henesy


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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Happy 47th Anniversary to my Beloved Friends, Beth and Luther Stanton



Luther was a classmate,
Fifty years ago,
Beth, an underclassman,
Found him a worthy beau.

An Army brat outsider,
I never fit in well,
At Columbus High in Georgia,
I was not a reigning belle.

Luther, then "most handsome,"
( Well, he had a lot more hair ),
Befriended me regardless,
And it just went on from there!

I left home out of high school,
Returning now and then,
And, when I did, I'd always find,
That duo I'd call friend.

Once, they moved to Houston,
Which worked out fine for me,
 I'd see them when I'd spend time there,
To visit my friend, Sandy.

They traveled west occasionally,
And we'd try to rendezvous,
Can't miss an opportunity,
With friends so very true.

Beth and Luther see the world,
And I'm a traveler, too,
Sad we've never gone together,
It's on my bucket list to do!

Beth and Luther were my rocks,
My last months with my mom,
While I coped with her illness,
They were like a soothing balm.

Once a Stanton loves you,
You're embraced by all the clan,
So I acquired extended family,
When this relationship began.

From gatherings to eat at Country's,
To a fattening catfish meal, 
To one of Beth's five star breakfasts,
Which has the most appeal!

I haven't any shred of doubt,
This marriage was meant to be,
The Divine Wedding Planner,
For all time, did so decree!

Forty seven years of love,
Seen in their happy smiles,
I send you my best wishes,
Far across the miles!

And, no, my good friend, Luther,
No money comes from me,
You'll get your share, Beth, will, too,
When I win the lottery!

Carmen Henesy

copyright Carmen Henesy July 1, 2014









Friday, June 27, 2014

Six Word Friday - Circle - June 27, 2014




 Matillija poppy - egg yolk circle center,
Large crinkly white crepe paper petals,
Tall blooms, waving in the wind,
Enticing buzzing visitors seeking nectar nirvana.

Carmen Henesy

Copyright June 2014 by Carmen Henesy


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To learn more about this incredible flower, check out Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romneya



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Three Word Wednesday - To Take a Chance - June 25, 2014




She had always been the shyest child, 
Never straying very far,
She walked the straight and narrow,
Avoiding anything bizarre.

She chose a college close to home,
And did her family proud,
She stayed within the limits,
Never breaching what allowed.

With her degree in finance,
Employment offers came her way,
But when she made her choice,
Her parents protested in dismay.

"A third world country," they exclaimed,
"It's such a risky place,"
"For all you knnow, you'll disapp   ear,
And be lost without a trace."

In spite of opposition,
She calmly moved ahead,
Got her passport, vaccinations,
With not a bit of dread!

"Your life will be in jeopardy,"
Her mother's chants rang out,
All felt she'd last, at best, a month,
Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

As soon as her plane landed,
A cathartic spell took hold,
And her true, adventurous spirit,
Was free, now, to unfold.

She thrived in this huge country,
With customs and cultures new,
Embracing all it offered,
And, for this, she was welcomed, too.

Carmen M. Henesy

Copyright June 2014 by Carmen Henesy


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