Sunday morning

March 30, 2014

We've been gone for a few weeks on a cruise through the western Caribbean.  Since my husband planned it I only had a rough idea of where we were actually going until we got on the ship and I read the itinerary.  It was kind of nice that way, letting him plan the whole thing.  We went on board in Miami, then on to Key West, Cozumel, Mexico, Guatemala, Roatan, Belize and Grand Cayman.  It was a wonderful trip visiting Mayan ruins and meeting locals, plus we took advantage of the area's famous sport fishing and the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world.  The weather was great, the ship was fantastic, the people on board were super friendly, and I found a whole new sub-group of people that I didn't know existed: Cruisers; retired people who spend up to half their lives on a cruise ship!  They go on back to back cruises and may not even get off the ship for weeks at a time as they love the ship so much!  Three month cruises and around-the-world cruises were popular, as were repositioning cruises.  All of these people were friendly and outgoing, and none seem to have strong ties at home.  No pets nor garden to worry over.  They certainly didn't worry about any dinner invitations to extend or accept or care a bit about missing any golf games or missing their church family, let alone their own families.  I heard several times, "they know how to get a hold of me in an emergency!"  Of course they were all retired and most likely very wealthy, I couldn't help but think how very different I was from them.  I missed my routine, and while I loved the break, I was looking forward to getting back.  On one hand I envied their lighthearted attitude, they seemed so nonchalant and carefree, but I know that's not really me.  I do realize that most of these people are coming from very cold weather places and were absolutely delighted to be in sunny weather.  But me, coming from California,  I couldn't wait to get back home and see my garden, I missed it so much! And the weeds are not going to pull themselves, are they?

We came home late at night and fell exhausted into bed.  The last thing we said to each other was, "I wonder what the garden looks like?"  The next morning I let out a scream when I saw the peonies.  I counted 52 blossoms on just 3 bushes, all the size of a dinner plate.  (I stuck my hand in one picture so you could get an idea of just how big they are!)  I picked a bunch as mother was coming over for dinner.  A dozen peonies completely consumed my largest silver bowl!  Mother almost fell over when she saw them on the table! 

Peonies...sigh, I just love that they look like ballerina's tutus.  
Both perfect in their fussy, overblown and overdone way.

No food in the house, so dinner the first day back was going to have to be from the garden: a simple leek and potato soup and salad.  My vicchyssoise looks more like pea soup as I use the light green part of the leek, not just the white.  I don't know why recipes tell you to toss it.  I like to first roast my leeks and potatoes in the oven for about 10 minutes tossed with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Next, I put them in a pot with a quart of chicken stock and simmer for another 10 minutes or until soft.  I use an immersion blender to puree and add milk to thin if necessary.  Then, for a kick, I stir in a good spoonful of prepared horseradish.  When serving, a little dollop on the top to finish looks pretty.  Sometimes the most simple dinners are the best and this tasted so good.  We were feeling a bit shaky after two weeks of rich food.  It's been almost 48 hours since I've had any caviar or fois gras so an adjustment needs to be made ;)

Oh, there was lots of knitting done on the ship too.  I brought along 3 projects and worked on them all and finished none.  April will be my finishing month because now I have about a dozen more I want to start! 
Thanks for stopping by.  I have some great posts planned so come back soon!

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  1. We won't be seeing any peonies for a month or longer. They are one of my favorites and yours are just beautiful!

  2. Oh! That is such a gorgeous yarn you're knitting! Is it the Rowan Kid Silk Haze you showed us a while ago?
    It's almost as pretty as your flowers!
    It's still snowing today and with all the snow already on the ground, we won't see anything growing for a while, so please, keep posting those flower pictures, I really need to look at them! :-)

    1. Snow? What is snow? just kiddin' ;) I will be posting garden pics probably once a week as now the roses are just about to bloom.

      Yes, it's that Kidsilk Haze Stripe in California Sunrise. It's bubblegum pink and tangerine, so pretty.

  3. Love the peonies! When we first moved to our house, the little old man next door had some beautiful ones. Now that he is gone, his grandson has removed most of them. And the yarn is drop dead gorgeous.

  4. Love your peonies! Mine are just starting to bud (that is, the plant is just starting to grow again after winter). It's cold here in New England, and I was away for a few weeks in a warm climate… but I still couldn't wait to get home and see how my garden was doing. I love to travel, and I love the Caribbean, but the life of a "cruiser" holds absolutely no appeal for me!

    Love that Kidsilk Haze color!

  5. Thanks, Kristen, for sharing your thoughts about "home" and "away". They really resonated with me. I just returned from a week in both Phoenix and your state of California. Rather than say more here, I think I'll do a bit of blogging about it. Stay tuned.

  6. Your peonies look amazing! Despite there still being snow all around our deck, we made a point of bringing out the deck table yesterday to enjoy what we have of spring so far. It will be 2-3 months before I have peonies! But tulips, I think I will start seeing them poke up in a week or two, and that is the most thrilling sign for me after a long winter! Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden and climate with us!

  7. Oh, those peonies!! So beautiful!


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