Collections and Obsessions, Saturday Special, Uncategorized

Collections and Obsessions….Tea Pots

Since I was a little girl, I loved tea pots, and tea sets. My daughter even had several different sets. I love tea, a hot cup of tea makes the most of the moments in a day. Here are my tea pots…

This one is an antique  “Sadler” from England.

It has a different shape, with flowers cascading down the sides. The shape indicates its use as a coffee pot. Made in England, but no manufactures mark.

  Another one with a slender look, it is Herend . It is technically a coffee pot too. The Herend brand is from Hungary.
Another Herend pot, but this one is a tea pot. The detailing is superb! Every pot is hand painted.


Herend again, this one has a fruit focus instead of a floral focus. 

Sterling silver set that includes tea pot, coffee pot, sugar bowl, and creamer. This set is made in Germany.

My last Herend tea pot, with another cabbage roses with tulips, bees, and lady bugs.

A Lenox tea pot that has been used more than all the others. A butterfly sits atop the tea pot. 
My absolute favorite. This set is just like the one used in the movie “Everafter” with Drew Berrymoore. This set is from Holland.
What is your obsession or collection?


Throwback Thursday

Cesarina and I Meet Each Other (Recipes from our 1st meal)

Roberto and I spent our first months getting to know each other on Yahoo, where we met in 1996. He knew I was going to be moving to San Francisco soon, so we emailed each other. We didn’t exchange phone numbers until after I lived in San Francisco. Once we started dating each other exclusively we would do 3D puzzles. The whole time we worked on the puzzles we would just talk to one another about our aspirations.

When we were working on the Notre Dame puzzle he ask me if I would like to meet his parents. I had no idea that they lived right across the street. Since I rode my bike from my house in San Francisco to the BART station, then rode BART to Oakland, then rode my bike to his house…I could not meet anyone that day.

He hated driving in San Francisco, but was willing to pick me up for a date to meet his parents. I was nervous about meeting his parents especially since he was an only child. Now, I knew they lived across the street, I was imagining what they saw out their huge picture window. What kind of bike clothes did I show up in at his house? How many times did I have horrid helmet hair just outside his house. Why did I often come to Oakland?

The time had arrived…Roberto opened the big black wrought iron gate for me, and I took a deep breath in before climbing the terra cotta steps that was flanked with lions presenting a family crest in front of them.
This beautiful happy lady with lucile ball red hair opens the door. She had a pretty dress on, but covering it was a festive red apron. She had just had her hair done, and it looked like every hair was frozen in perfect place. You must be the secret my son is keeping. Were the first words she said to me, I just had no words that would come out of my mouth. She grabbed me, and took me into the family room, our arms linked at the elbow. This is my husband, Giuseppe, Hello, I said, a little taken a back by her forcefulness.
She then led everyone to a set table. Blue and white dishes, with gleaming silver ware. I told her how lovely her house was, and she ask me if I thought she had a maid. I never had anyone ask me if I thought they had a maid. I felt like I better say the right thing. “Your house looks beautiful” She asked me again, Do you think I have a maid? I answered I don’t know, it looks very clean. She proudly told me that she cleaned every inch of the house by herself.

She asked me if I cleaned my own house, I said yes, I clean it on Saturday. She then proceeded to tell me that I needed to get on a real schedule for my house work. Mondays are for laundry, Tuesday is ironing day, Wednesday is for shopping and errands, Thursday is for cleaning the house, and Friday is for having your hair and nails done. It was a Friday, she had just had her hair and nails done. Saturday is the day that you need to spend with your family and so is Sunday.

I told her that I usually go to Mass on Sunday. She then proceeded to tell me how a nun told her that she had a special dispensation for attending Mass. I was starting to feel a little over whelmed. Giuseppe sat at the head of the table, and snickered. I felt as though he understood my non verbal cues.

It was cold all that week, and this evening was no exception. She poured me some water, and then brought in soup for all each of us. She then told me not to fill up on this course, since it was the first one. She said, “Since you are an American, you probably don’t understand that there are more than one course for a dinner.” I responded “Not all Americans believe there is one course to a dinner.” I would learn later that she did not like that response. I was suppose to just be quiet. Here is the recipe to the delicious first course that night.

Vegetable Soup

What are you going to need?

11/2 cups of chick peas (or beans you prefer)                                  6 cloves of garlic/chop 3

1 red onion chopped                                                                                into small pieces.

1 leek/ chop bottom part/                                                      One celery stalk/ cleaned and chopped

4 large carrots chopped                                                           Fresh shredded parmesan cheese

12 large potatoes

Like I said before, one of the most valuable lessons that Cesarina taught me was to make due with what you have, change your recipes, experiment with them.

If you are going to use fresh beans you will have to soak them overnight, if you are using can beans, you are going to rinse the beans clean. I use the can beans. If you are using dried beans that have soaked overnight, you will need to rinse them, and add enough fresh water to cover them. Add a couple of cloves of garlic, and cook them on low. It will take about an hour or until they are tender.

In a large stock pot, you are going to drizzle some olive oil on the bottom of the pot, and then add in the onions and leeks. Stir them around until they are golden brown, add the garlic, celery, and  carrots, and keep stirring. You will want to tumble them around to pick up the flavor of the onions and leeks. Add 7 cups of water, and then add the potatoes. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot for about an hour. Check the potatoes to see if they are tender. Add another cup or two of water, it depends on how thick you like your soup. I like it thicker.

Now, you are going to add your beans. If you like some whole beans you are going to use the broth with about half of the beans in a blender to puree them. You could also use all the beans to puree. Sometimes, I even puree all the soup with a blender wand. The beauty is there is no wrong way. It really depends on your mood.

So, after you have taken half of the beans out, add them to the soup. The pureed half with the broth you are going to add too. Allow the flavors to mingle together in the pot. About 15 to 20 minutes.

Allow each of the guests to determine how much grated parmesan cheese they would like on the top of their soup.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olive Oil and Basil

What will you need?

5 garilc cloves  1/3 cup of olive oil    dash of salt and pepper, and a dash of oregano   1/2 pound of plumb tomatoes about 5 large basil leaves Combine these into a broad bowl that you are going to serve your pasta.

Skin the tomatoes, and chop them fine, chop the garlic in small pieces. Clean the leaves of the basil and rip it into small pieces. Add the olive oil, and salt and pepper and oregano.

If you are using box pasta, you don’t want to “throw your pasta down” until everyone has arrived. Toss the pasta in the bowl, and serve to your guests while it is hot.

Baked Halibut with Green beans and Garlic

What will you need?

4 Halibut Steaks       Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper       oregano and sage

Preheat the oven to 400

Brush olive oil over your halibut steaks, while they are on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Add a pinch of oregano and sage to each of them. Place them in the oven until they are white. Which will take about 10 to 12 minutes.

Green Beans   2 or 3 cloves of garlic sliced thin.

You can even make these the day before. Cesarina usually served her green beans cold.

Cook your green beans…I steam mine.

Add the sliced garlic, cover them, and put them in the fridge.

Fruit Tart 

What will you need?

1/2 cup of sugar              1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder         2 large eggs

1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour    Grated zest of one lemon         1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (softened)

1 pound of strawberries, 1/4 lb of raspberries, and 1/4 lb of blackberries 2 tablespoons of honey

Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add the butter and egg.

Preheat the oven to 375

butter and flour (or use olive oil then flour) a tart pan or pie pan.

Use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough, if is warm out, you may want to harden the dough by adding it to the fridge for 15 minutes.

Always sprinkle some flour before you start flattened your dough. It will stick to your surface. Once it is flattened and rolled to the desired thickness, place it in the pan.

While the tart shell is baking, it will take about 20 to 25 minutes, clean your berries.

Cut the strawberries into small pieces, and add the raspberries and blackberries. Add the honey, then stir the honey love the berries.

Once the tart has come out of the oven and cooled, add the berries in the shell.

It is so delicious, and any fruit added to the pastry is yummy!

Galleria, Museum Monday

Sally Rosenbaum

Women reading is a favorite subject of mine. When I found the work of Sally, I just loved it. She utilizes a generous pallet an impressionistic quality, mixed with mystery.  The mystery of who she is, is obstructed by her hat, and her glance is down cast away from the viewer. She has no interest in us, she is only interested in her book. Another mystery is all about her book, the reality is…she could be reading anything. It is only limited by the imagination of the viewer.


Reading a book while having a cup of coffee in Napa, California. Fresh sunflowers dress the table, the juxtaposition of the blues and yellow evokes memories of France. 


Here is the same lady without the table, and the sunflowers. Seems as though she has made significant progress on reading her book. Sally Rosenbaum lives in Napa, California. If you enjoy her art, click on her name. 

Photography, San Luis Sunday

Missions of California, San Miguel

I feel very blessed to live in a town with an old Mission. We happen to live in a county that has two historic missions. Often, when I am just passing by, I go into the sanctuary to pray. It is so therapeutic for me. Just breathing in the air that has so much fascinating history just thrills me. The passion of the Spanish people that came here believing they could make all the difference in the lives of the people that inhabited this land for centuries astounds me. Mission

Does civilizing people make them better people? How is one interpretation of civilization better than another? When conquering one area the Spanish monks would bring a bell even to the spot where a camp or possible mission would be, and dividing the hours of the day was one of the first changes that would be implemented on the people that inhabited the land. Cannon

I get that we can’t change history. We have to ascertain from history what we would do different so we don’t make the same mistakes ever again. So many people though time have been oppressed, enslaved, and beaten down because the ones doing the conquering believed their method was better. When I am at the mission I think about the people that had a distain for the monks, and those that wanted to believe they were being led into a better direction. The artists that painted the walls given a different opportunity, the ones learning music feeling elation, the ones feeling like they were prisoners. Being among the artifacts and the ruins conjures so many different emotions. Ultimately, I go with the feelings of elation. As much as there is truth to the fact that people have been oppressed since the beginning of time. We as humans are getting better about being just towards one another. Oh sure, we are not there yet, however as long as we make strides to do better, and live fulfilling lives as we help each other along the way…we are going to get there!Sun dial

Collections and Obsessions, Design, Galleria, Happiness Project

Collections and Obsessions…Limoges Boxes

in the casket Each one the boxes are hand painted in France. The Limoges brand has been around for ages. It all began in the 1700’s. The first boxes held needles, because they were so expensive and rare. Even today, it is a custom of the “old world” to give back any needles that were given to you. If you utilize your needles on something that needs to be hemmed, the seamstress will give each one back to the owner if they are from the “old world”. The superstition is…if one keeps the needles of someone else, they become bad luck.

Any way, the box above, holds tiny bottles. They may at one time held perfume. casket These little beauties are fired multiple times, and at a tempeture of 1400 degrees.

mail boxHere is a mailbox with a tiny letter inside…


CafeEspresso machine

hear, see, say These three cats I purchased from one of our favorite antique stores in the SF Bay Area. They were being sold separately, but how could I purchase just one?

Burberry bag I own a Burberry bag just like this one, so it was a must for my collection.

suitcaseYep, Louis Vuitton!

LV pet bagL. V. pet carrier, with no hesitation. Just look at the detail of the animals.

IMG_5878 Tiny works of art

IMG_5875Work of art that is butterflies…

fish bowlFish bowl, and a birdcage IMG_5877

shopping Shopping bag, and when it is opened, it reveals a handbag.  mask A venetian mask, since it is yet another obsession of mine. Yep, I have problems. piano This is a piano, with gilded gold. These are just some of my favorite ones. It would be too embarrassing to show all of them.

What kind of collections do you own?

Family Friday

Joseph W. Doyal

Born in 1883 on July 2nd, to Clarissa Pittman and William D. Doyal

In 1900, when we was 17 he resided at home with his parents. Along with 2 brothers and three sisters. They lived on Bismarck Street, and their father was a carpenter.

November 10th 1903 he married Amber Alice Cook.

By 1910 he was married to Alice, and had a daughter by the name of Opaline. They lived at 2109 Lambert Street. He was a contractor, and rented their home.

Joseph Doyal

In September of 1918 he registered for the draft. His card says he was tall, slender, and had black hair and grey eyes.

His World War I Serial Number was 3316.His address was 2122 W (illegible), Indianapolis Indiana. He was 35 at the time. He checked the box for “white”. He worked for C.B. Morrison as a motor (illegible). At 901 West 81. Indianapolis. His closest relative was Opaline Ester Doyal. She lived at 623 West South Street in Indpls.

1920 he came back to live with his parents. 2122 Minnesota St. He lived at home with his three sisters.

July 2nd 1921 he married Mary F. Burch.

1930 Joseph was married to Mary, and they lived at 1333 Lee Street. He owned the house, and the value was 3500.

He marries for the third time to Bertha J. Dotta Carnagua.

At the age of 59 he registered for the draft for World War II.

Sometime after the war he moves to San Bernardino California, and that is where he died at the age of 81, in 1964.


Therapy Thursday, Throwback Thursday

Cesarina IV

After coming to America, Cesarina and Giuseppe were married. The two of them started out living in an apartment in Oakland, California. Cesarina had loftier ambitions than living in an apartment. They were fortunate enough to live in an apartment building that had many other Italian born people as occupants.

One day, an opportunity that they couldn’t pass up presented itself. Some friends of theirs that cleaned banks were going to Italy, and asked if they would like to take their places. Cesarina and Giuseppe filled in, but the bank managers liked them so much better. Cesarina and Giuseppe started a business of their own, cleaning many of the banks in Oakland at night.

They saved their money, and they found a home in the Rockridge district of Oakland, California. Soon after they signed the note to buy a house, Cesarina was pregnant.  Cesarina, had much to do, the house was ugly, and it had fleas. She could not believe this was the America that dreamed about before moving from Italy. She couldn’t believe that Americans lived in such filthy conditions. There were many nights that she cried herself asleep with the words running through her head…”California is the end of the world.” How could she change this “America” that seemed more like a nightmare?

Giuseppe spoke English, but Cesarina did not yet speak English. She continued to work along with Giuseppe, until she was in labor. She was pulling a floor waxer when her water broke. So many well wishes from America and Italy.

She was beginning to feel a sense of pride again, her house, was becoming her home. She made her own curtains, and scrubbed her own floors. The words of Maria never left her. She was determined to make her own way in America. She was determined to live an American dream. Maria told her “Once you become wealthy, do some cleaning yourself. It not only allows you to appreciate what you have, and how far you have come, but allows your brain to solve problems.”

Even though she had only given birth a few months earlier, she was ready to take Roberto with her everywhere and anywhere she had to go. Roberto was packed up with all the tools of the trade. He was put in his hi chair with wheels, and wheeled around the bank as they cleaned. As they saved, they looked at property. They would often walk around the neighborhoods where they wanted to buy homes. They did what they had to do to keep their dream alive.






As soon as Roberto was old enough to walk, he too was helping them clean. What ever he could do, he was polishing, emptying trash cans, and making sure he stayed out of trouble. When he would get tired, he would often crawl into a chair at a desk then fall to sleep. After everything was all done, they would carry him out of the banks then on to the next one.

The presidents would often want to meet the family, and Cesarina would invite them to dinner at her home. She was so proud to cook a nice hearty Italian meal for Americans. They would be astonished at how well she cooked, and how she kept her house. Here is a typical antipasti course she would prepare…

Her house would be bustling with activity and energy before a dinner party. I have a huge booklet of recipes we have made, and sometimes…I just watched. She would dawn her apron, and you better not get in her way. If she was taken photographs of guest, it better be before she “threw down” the pasta. Pasta doesn’t enter the water until all the guests have arrived. She was a dynamo, and wielded a wooden spoon, she would use it on anyone that got in her way.

Antipasti plates were put out with at least three different cheeses, salami, prosciutto, and coppa.


What are you going to need…

8 cloves of garlic.                                                     Salt and oregano

15 pieces of rustic thick crusted bread.             Corse ground pepper

EVOO.                           10 fresh plum tomatoes  10 fresh basil leaves
Heat a skillet or grill, while the grill is heating, peel your garlic and crush it. You want the juices of the garlic! Wash to tomatoes, and dice them. Was the basil, dry it, and rip it into small pieces. I like to add a little more garlic to the tomatoes and basil, add some salt and pepper to taste, with a pinch of oregano.

Add your bread to the heated skillet, and flip it after it is lightly browned. Take the crushed garlic, and smear it on the bread. Add your tomato mixture, and drizzle some EVOO over the top after all the pieces are added to the dish. There should be enough to be very generous with the toppings.

Sometimes to mix it up, you can also add some mozzarella cheese on the side that has the garlic, then add the tomato topping.

Fried Zucchini Flowers

Mmm, just writing this recipe makes my mouth water.

Sometimes Cesarina made these stuffed with mozzarella cheese, and sometimes plain. Either way, they are scrumptious!

If you don’t grow your own zucchini, you will have to buy them from the farmers market. The male blossoms are longer, so they are better to use. What do you need?

15 male zucchini blossoms. Salt and pepper (mozzarella cheese if you are going to stuff them)

11/4 cup of milk,

1 egg       1 cup of flour,           olive oil

Add the wet ingredients together, and gently add the flour a little bit at a time. Add the salt and pepper last, and just a pinch of each. Open the flower to remove the pistils, wash the inside and out. Dry with a towel. If your adding the cheese, do it now,

Heat your frying oil, before it smokes add the blossoms, once they are golden brown flip them over, and add them to a plate that has paper towels to absorb the extra oil.

By this time, all your guests will be talking about how lovely each item of food is, and they will be asking for the recipes of each one.

If you happen to make all three of these dishes, only add Mozzarella to one. It would be almost vulgar to have cheese on two of your antipasti dishes.

Soup were for winters, and salad in the summer… ( I will have to post some great meals from my book)

If there was one quote that I would have to choose as the most important that Cesarina taught me, make due with what you have. I used to say “We didn’t use that last time in the recipe.” She would tell me, there is no recipe that is on stone, just use what you have! I never had a bad meal at her house, well except cow brains…that is another story. UGH!

They finally had enough money to move up the hill in Rockridge, and she moved into her dream house. She started renting her little house that she was her first home. The family started buying more property because of the philosophy of her father…Just as the tree roots in the soil, so should we. Invest in real estate. Roberto invested with his parents. They owned several properties together. She was living the American dream! She took her son to Italy every summer, and he attended private schools. He was becoming an investor too.

Next time…Cesarina and I meet each other.