Me and Rodin

I love Meryl Streep.

Her ART has been part of my entire adult life.

But what makes it ok for her to insult and berate someone


not ok for for Donald Trump to insult and berate someone?

I am sad that she is perpetuating the

negative political atmosphere in this country.

I still love her but….gosh.

Please, Meryl

just go make a movie so we can all go to the theater


escape this petty and  ridiculous news.


In other news:

I am almost finished editing and posting the photos from Paris.

2016 was a very good year in France,

filled with many special moments.

I am trying to learn more about Word Press

so I cam post a widget to my FlickR account

in the side bar. Over there —–>

Here is one of my favorite shots from this year.

Larry took the shot at the Rodin Musee.

Yes, that is me and Rodin.

Rodin had awful political ideas….but he was still a master.

We all must learn to live and respect each other…

even if we disagree.

Love you.


Drafty Cottages and Warm Sweaters

Larry and I both love Thursdays and

we believe that our weekend starts there.

Last Thursday was Twelfth Night and

we took the wreath off of the front door.

We also took down the Christmas Cards that hung on ribbons.

Christmas is officially done, till next year,

On Friday, it snowed!

The deck greeted me on Saturday morning

with its solemn, geometrical, zen way.

How wonderful it is to have a taste of winter once and awhile.

The Cottage gets drafty and I wear warm sweaters

to cuddle under blankets and read.

On Saturday night, we bundled up

and met friends for dinner.

The company was charming


we talked over wine late into the evening….it was lovely.

Sunday was Dinner and a Movie.

Now that we are home from France and the holidays are over,

It is time to get back to normal.

{whatever that is}

Sunday, dinner and a movie: A Tolbert tradition since 2003.

It never evolves. We try to switch things up sometimes


when we try to change it…it always backfires in some way.

People message me, email me and if they are friends

call me, to ask what movie is showing this Sunday.

It makes me smile.

Yesterday, Sunday dinner and a movie


Roasted salmon, rice and green beans.

The wine was Blindfold.

Dessert was, drum roll please….

A rum cake made with the

bee hive cake pan Matilda gave me for Christmas.

For our viewing pleasure, we watched.

The Wind and The Lion.

It is a historical movie….filmed in 1975, set in 1903.

 Brian Keith played Teddy Roosevelt and we liked it very much.

If you are wondering where I got the perfect roses

that have graced my photos all weekend,

they were a gift from dear friends.

They arrived last week and have been a constant reminder

to My Larry and I how lucky we

are to have Karen & John in our lives.

I have noticed that during the most agonizing times,

special people have come into my life.

Karen & John.

Karen et John, vous êtes les amis les plus étonnants. Merci.

We love you.

Have a blessed day today.

Maybe take a moment to say hello to an old friend,

or check on a neighbor?

{I plan to do both}

Love you.


Country Ham In Crock Pot~Chef Valentine

This entry should be called,

Chef Valentine misses the boat.

I Have seen this recipe here and there,

but did not think one thing about it until My Larry and I

got into a ham mood.

Yes, this recipe is for a spiral cut ham….

in the crock pot.

And yes, the flavor is simply amazing


the cooking effortless.

We had it for dinner Tuesday, left overs last night

and had cut off the solid end for soup.

I honestly have never seen Larry eat so much ham before.

A lot of spiral hams are on sale after the holidays….

you might want to try it on a snowy day.

Spiral Ham In The Crock Pot

1-spiral ham

brown sugar

1-can of pineapple chunks,  not drained

1/2 cup raisins

My ham came with a seasoning packet. I used that too.

Cover the bottom of the crock pot with brown sugar.

About 3 cups.

Place ham in crock pot, flat side down


cutting off short end so the top closes.

Sprinkle raisins over the ham.

Pour can of pineapple and juice over ham,

then the packet of seasoning that came with it.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

I did not make gravy out of the drippings, but next time I will.

The flavor of this easy crock pot ham is absolutely amazing.

on Sunday, Larry wanted ham sliders and wine…

last night,

we had it with hash brown casserole and green beans.

I don’t  think that I can wait till Easter to make this again.


Till next time,


Lost In Translation

I am a self professed, Diet Coke addict.

I LOVE Diet Coke.

My Larry’s father worked for Coca Cola. {30 years!}

While in Paris one day, we went to Carefore.

Carefore is our local market….to pick up a few things.

I am not so great at the whole language, product, Euro thing,

So, I do the easy shopping.

I am smiling……who am I kidding?

Larry sells food for a living, he loves to shop with me.

 I took half the shopping list and Larry took the other half.

After finding the Cokes, they were up on a high shelf.

I had to ask the stock boy to please help me


I guess my translation was really bad….

he got me  MIDGET diet Cokes. {new on the market this year}

I know that I should have asked him

to switch them for the regular size……but I was flustered.

How do you say switch in French?

When we got back to the apartment,

Larry said: What the…..????

{Like me Larry had never seen the little cans of Coke before}

I explained what happened and he has been teasing me ever since.

Last week, I saw the midget Cokes at Target!

Hummmmm this gives me an idea….LOL

Love you.

PS: This post has been brought to you because I have cut way back on my diet Coke consumption.

I drink ONE a day now.

Like Butterfly Wings

Yesterday was a strange day.

After a moment of sunlight in the morning,

the day became gloomy and bitter cold.

I had a million errands to do,

worried about Libby


a new recipe to try.

By four o’clock PM, I was antsy and sad.

It is then when I grabbed my coat  and took a walk.

A three mile walk.

It felt awesome and cleared my head.

When I arrived back at the cottage,

I stopped by the mail-box.

In the pile of catalogs and mail

I found a note….

a lovely note from a dear friend, very far away.

The paper is covered with filmy fabric,

much like butterfly wings.

The note was from our dear friend, Kevin.

Kevin, like so many of us had an interesting 2016.

He wrote, thanking us for friendship and love.

How on earth, did he know I needed that,

at the very moment I opened it?

I believe that is called…friendship.

Thank you Kevin.

Love you beyond butterfly wings.


Tuesday At The Cottage

It is Tuesday but feels like no day at all.

The house is cluttered with stuff, but I have all day  to clean it up

because Larry is  in San Antonio.

I adore Larry, but love doing all of this stuff when he is out of town.

Yesterday I bought new sheets for the big bed.

I love new, fresh linens….

getting into bed tonight is going to be wonderful.

I have been working on a project.

Back in the late ’60’s Mother knit me a sweater.

Over the years, the sweater needed re-worked….

and Lauren asked if I would fix it so she could wear it.

I am knitting new front panels, bought new buttons


just giving that old, treasured sweater a make over.

The Crock Pot is on the kitchen counter.

I have {or should I say Valentine has} a new recipe in the works.

Can you hear me sigh?

I love days like this.

A day to feel strong and productive.

Happy Tuesday from The Cottage.

Ok, I have to get busy…..

Love you beyond  old, treasured sweaters.


Sunday Dinner and a Movie

Our Sunday turned upside down yesterday.

But we held steady with traditions.

Sunday dinner and a movie!

Larry requested a Country Burger-burger {our local burger joint}


a movie that Jamison told us about.

Lets face it, for a crappy New Years Day,

it was OK.

Our burgers were awesome

but that movie was even better.

We loved it….

LOVE this movie….oh yes, well. it does have Jeff Bridges in it.

Happy New Year and Happy Sunday, Dinner and a Movie.

Love you.


Birds or Planes?

Yesterday, before it rained, Larry had many guests at the bird feeders.

He  took this picture from the big kitchen window,

where he leaves his camera now.

The colors thrill me and inspire me to paint.

I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.

~Charles Lindbergh~

Thank you all for the kind messages about Libby.

She is asleep now, but doing ok.

Love you.


Pet Quality Of Life Scale

It is January first.

The new year has arrived with a bit of a start for Larry and me.

Yesterday, Libby Pug dog {15 1/2 years old}

had a really bad day.

I will not go into detail, but, we came home early

from parties last night because we were worried.

Today she seemed fine, but then was confused and  in the slump again.

I pulled this chart up.

Do you know that anything like this existed?

I love my dog so much….

Love you too.


The Chocolate Charm Cake~Chef Valentine

Every holiday,

it seems that I discover one more treasure for the recipe box.

This year 2016,

was the year of lets eat a lot of chocolate


I found a cake recipe that takes the blues away.

Take your time baking this Chocolate Charm.

It is the best chocolate cake I have ever made.

Till next time….enjoy.


Chocolate Charm Cake


Pam spray for misting the bundt pan

Flour for dusting the pan

1 package of chocolate cake mix.{Duncan Hinds is my favorite}

1 package chocolate instant pudding {3.9 oz}

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup rum

 1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Raspberry Sauce

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1/4 cup rum

Chocolate glaze

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist and flour a bundt pan.

* Place cake mix, pudding mix, water, rum, oil and eggs in large bowl. Blend with an electric mixer for a moment.

Scrape down the sides and continue to mix cake on medium speed for 3 more minutes.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into pan, smooth out batter as it will be thick. Place pan in oven.

* Bake cake  for 50-55 minutes, till it springs back when you lightly touch it. Cool for 10 minutes then invert onto plate.

Place cake pan next to inverted cake.

*NOW make the raspberry sauce. Measure raspberry jam and rum into saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly till ingredients are melted together. {about 3 minutes}

*Using a chop stick, poke holes in top of cake.

*Pour raspberry sauce into bundt pan.

*gently lift cake and place back into bundt pan. Take your time.

*Let cake set in bundt pan for about 20 minutes.

*Invert cake back onto plate and allow to cool completely.


When cake is cool, make chocolate glaze.

*Melt butter in small saucepan. Add cocoa powder and cream and stir until the mixture thickens. 2-3 minutes. DO NOT BOIL.

Remove pan from heat and stir in confectioners sugar and vanilla. stir till smooth. Spoon glaze over cool Charm Cake.

16 servings

Freezes well