I don’t know why I love Nashville . . .

. . . but I do. Yes, it’s touristy, hillbilly, hokey, and I’m sure, filled with a lot of shattered country dreams. It is reminiscent of Las Vegas, New Orleans and even worse … Branson. Don’t get me wrong here, I love New Orleans but it most certainly has a dangerous perverseness about it just as Vegas does. Bourbon Street and the Las Vegas Strip make me feel dirty and naughty. When I leave those streets I feel like I need a shower. Branson is just tourist trap where the beautiful landscape has been raped for money. I grew up in Branson so I speak from experience. Yes, I am opinionated. Nashville doesn’t make me feel any of that.

Nashville feels focused and intentional. By that I mean, it really is about the music. The people there are serious about making and preserving music. I love that at noon I can walk into a “honky tonk” and hear talented musicians perform and sing. I don’t know much about country music because well … I’ve never been a big fan of most of it. I can honestly say I wouldn’t know at George Strait song from Randy Travis or Tim McGraw or Brad Paisley. I have a fondness for country songs from my youth. I love Don Williams and Ronny Millsap and with age I have learned to love Hank Williams Sr., Allison Krause, The Dixie Chicks and even Garth Brooks.

So I spent the day in Nashville yesterday. I toured the Country Music Hall of Fame which made me realize I know more about old country than I thought. I took some pictures of things that made me feel nostalgic. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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I was impressed by all of the memorabilia they had. My appreciation for bluegrass started when I saw the film, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou”. It introduced me to Allison Krause and a desire to hear more. Plus I spent some time in a church choir where I had to learn to harmonize. Bluegrass and gospel have amazing harmonies and are the perfect instructor for anyone wanting to learn how.

In keeping with my southern indoctrination I finally bought hat to go along with my boots. Here it is . . .

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What do you think?

My maiden name is Bruton. So I was surprised to find this in Nashville.

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It’s nice to know someone in the family is an entrepreneur even if it is with a cancer causing agent.

I also learned that more than one president is from Tennessee.

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So, after my second trip I learned a few things. James Polk is buried there. The Ryman Theater was in fact the Grand Ole Opry for years but has an even more illustrious history than just country music. The list of performers, actors and productions that have performed there is very impressive. Mostly, I want to go back and I’m thankful that such a vibrant and beautiful city is just two hours away.

Badly Breaking … is more like it.

. . . we need new furniture anyway. I finally took off the blue toenail polish from my wedding day. Last night D said … “it’s really ugly, when are you going to take it off?” So, while watching an episode of “Breaking Bad” I figured I’d do something productive and strip it off. I didn’t know I was also taking off the varnish on the coffee table. SHIT!

So much for Old English furniture polish fixing blemishes.

I promise I was being very careful not to let this happen but apparently not enough.  So, now I’ll be headed to Lowe’s to find some way of fixing this mess. Sometimes I feel so stupid. Does anyone else have “father-like” fear of their husband? I know he won’t “kill” me but he most certainly will give me a crap-ton of grief over this. Well, since my wonderful hubby is out of town all week and I have to find ways to fill my days and evenings. I most certainly shouldn’t be having a “Breaking Bad” marathon so I suppose I’ll find some trails to explore and search the internet endlessly for employment. Damn, I need friends in this town. When he’s out of town I get so lonely.

Okay … now off to my domesticity! Have a great day ya’ll!

Honeymoon in heaven!

I don’t understand completely how to upload a gallery of pictures to this site yet but I do know that if you click on one of the pictures you can view them as a slide show. Our camera is a new Panasonic Lumix. It takes amazing pictures which is made easier by having so many beautiful things to snap. Most of these pictures are in Paris, specifically, Sacre Couer. The last pic is the view we had from our hotel in Amalfi at breakfast time.

Being spoiled is nice …

. . . and I am very good at spoiling, especially when it comes to food. I have been feeding my husband all his favorites this weekend, not because I want anything but because I have a strong need to be pleasing.

This morning we had biscuits and gravy. Turkey-sausage gravy that is, made with skim milk. It was tasty. I have to say, I make some mean biscuits. Buttermilk biscuits. Yum.

Perfect every time!

Here are the keys to making perfect biscuits every time. You’ll need:

2 cups of unbleached white flour.
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp extremely cold butter
2 tbsp cold Crisco
1 cup buttermilk

Have your oven very hot. 425 is ideal.

First: mix all your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Second: Grate your butter into the flour using a large cheese grater and add in the Crisco in little bits. Mix GENTLY with your fingertips until it’s coarsely blended. Grab a rubber spatula and mix in the buttermilk. The dough will be slightly sticky but one cohesive ball.

Third: Flour the countertop and place the dough in the flour and gently knead into a flat disc. Press the dough flat and fold repeat this process no less than four times. Using an empty can (I used a tuna can) cut your biscuits out and bake in a greased (dark metal) baking pan.

Fourth: Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Check them at 15 for brownness.

Fifth: Eat with gravy
or peanut butter and honey
or honey-butter
or lemon curd
or homemade preserves.
or just a shmeer of butter
or what ever trips your trigger.

The real challenge is not eating them all and this is NOT a low calorie biscuit.

Finally …

A produce market that sold the most amazing peaches. Yum!

Most of my cognitive life I have dreamt of going to Europe. I’m not exactly sure when this notion came to me  but I imagine it has something to do with a love of history my father instilled in me and the history classes themselves in grade school. I can remember seeing Pompeii in textbooks and the casts of the people they found. I loved Greek and Roman mythology and fantasized about traveling to these exotic locales to explore and excavate them myself.

My new husband made my dreams come true by being my Prince Charming and by sweeping me off my feet to a fantasy honeymoon in Paris, Firenze, Amalfi, Capri and finally Roma. It was perfect. We took our time exploring the famous cities which are so ripe with tourist fruit. To try to see every museum, palace, cathedral and historical landmark would, to us, have been folly. We walked around Paris holding hands, taking pictures, kissing, laughing and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Here are a few of the nearly 5000 pictures we took. I realize no one will enjoy seeing them as we had taking them but some are quite beautiful and when you’re in such amazing cities and countryside every step is a photo-op, right?

Sacre Couer – fantastic!

I really fell in love with all of the gargoyles. I’d never given them much thought until I actually saw some.

This is a fountain in front of Sacre Couer. I was fascinated by the way the water fell over this character. He really is working hard to hold up this weight.

Me at Montmartre, Paris, France.

I took this photo at Versailles. The gardens truly are remarkable.

Amalfi, Italy was our favorite. It is not a place for the infirm or weak kneed. If you have the means … go.

There were dogs and cats everywhere. The cats were generally homeless. I’m not sure about the dogs, they all seemed well cared for.

I am not a fan of fall.

I realize this is an unusual sentiment. All over Facebook and Pinterest everyone is proclaiming their love of fall and all of it’s trappings. For me it’s just a reminder that cold is coming, the leaves are dying and we’re in for seven to nine months of brown. It reminds of school starting and, sad to say,  I never liked going back to school because summer was too much fun. It reminds me that winter is coming and bringing the cold. I truly dislike being cold.

I will grant that there are some good things associated with fall. I love bonfires, the fireplace and the one week of beautiful fall foliage. I do love the food associated with fall like the squash: pumpkin, butternut, acorn and spaghetti! I love the soups: beef stew, chili and chowder. I love baking pies and breads. It’s all wonderful comfort food that warms the body and spirit. I’ve posted most of my great soup recipes and pies. I suppose it’s time to branch out and try something new. My mother bakes a pear pie every year from her pear harvest. It’s delicate and sweet and a true treat.

I think next spring I’ll plant some fruit trees. Having just come from the Amalfi Coast in Italy I’m inspired to grow even more.

I took this photo while on my honeymoon in Amalfi, Italy. This is just one of the multitude of groves dotting the mountainous countryside.

Kentucky isn’t ideal for lemons but I can certainly plant an apple, cherry or peach tree. I get so frustrated going to the market to buy fresh peaches only to come home and they are bland and mushy. What a treat it would be to pick fresh peaches every summer and fall.

The olive trees grow wild all over the country too. I would have loved to pick a bunch to bring home but I haven’t the first idea of how they make them edible. We did see a couple men harvesting them outside our hotel. That was really fun.

I also must tell you about my amazing husband. He spoiled me rotten by even taking me to Europe. He then managed to add to the spoiling by buying me a belt, two handbags, two pairs of shoes and two bottles of aged balsamic vinegar, one is 12 years old and the other is 20 years old. If I work up the courage to open and eat them I’ll let you know.