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West Side Story

12 Jan

My grown son came for Christmas Eve dinner a few weeks ago. Somehow the conversation around the table turned to places we have lived, and my son and I looked at each other across the table and laughed.  Continue reading

Happy New Year!

5 Jan

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I am starting off the year at Park Place. I’d love if you’d follow the link below and come read my first article of the year.

And, I highly recommend browsing there for more great, diverse, and succinct articles.

( Have been wanting to use this photo.)

http://www.1010parkplace.com/moonchild

XO Donna

The Cherry on Top

22 Dec

I’m certain you are trying to get everything ready for the holidays. Don’t panic, but add a stop at the liquor store to your list… because I have a present for you!

Nobody would ever call me old-fashioned, but I have developed a crush on Old Fashioneds, and have learned to make them and share them. Now my friends are as excited about them as I am.

img_0394This drink has been around since 1880, and has been credited to a bartender who brought the recipe to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar from a private social club in Louisville, Kentucky. I want to share my version with you.  If you like bourbon, and want to indulge yourself and your friends, the Luxardo cherries I use elevate the cocktail to new heights!
I balked when I saw their cost for the first time, but like diamonds and caviar, they cost what they cost – and there is no substitute.

I love to serve them in my sweetie’s leaded crystal rocks glasses, inherited from his Dad. The weight of the glass, their design, the caramel color of the bourbon, and the almost-black Luxardo Cherries, which taste of almonds,  make it a sensory delight. Perfect for celebrating any special occasion!

For each, into a cocktail shaker:
2 oz. smooth bourbon (our fave is a local one, Treaty Oak’s Red Handed)
1/2 oz. fresh simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar)
2 splashes Angostura Bitters,  2 splashes Orange Flower Water (optional).
Shake two or three times, gently, then pour over ice in a rocks glass. Add a slice of orange to the rim.
Retrieve a Luxardo cherry from the jar (allowing some syrup to come along with it, so it may settle onto the drink with it’s cherry)  then decorate your cocktail.

img_0397Hand this beauty to your holiday guests and be prepared for lots of compliments. I wonder how I ever lived without the luxury of these Luxardo cherries? They are heavenly.

Happiest of Holidays to you all!
XO Donna

 

Going, Going, Gone

8 Dec
Madrid, not Spain

Madrid, New Mexico. by Donna O’Klock

 

Big trips are so much like cooking a holiday dinner – you plan for weeks, the day finally arrives, and it’s all over in a flash! Continue reading

Afternoon Light

18 Nov

IMG_0073.JPGI’m sitting in the very cool afternoon light, beside a lake. A million miles away, seemingly, from an address like 1010 Park Place, and all that conjures.

That’s where you’ll find my latest post about a very special birthday card. I look forward to seeing you there!

www.1010parkplace.com

XO Donna ❤️

Very Lost in Translation

29 Sep

imageLast week Facebook posted some photos I had shared three years ago… as their way of showing me they care about me. I don’t believe that for a minute, but I was happy to re-experience the thrill I had the day I took those photos.

For years I had driven past this patch of stone with all of it’s cactus plantings, but the full moon had been the night before, and on this morning every single cactus had a flower! I was so thrilled to witness this miraculous event that I stopped on my way to work to walk among them and photograph them. They even had a soft scent.

Seeing the flower photos again, they brought to mind a delightful comedy, “Cactus Flower,” starring Goldie Hawn and Walter Matthau back in 1969.
And they also reminded me of one of my favorite perfumes then, “Desert Flower.”
Wait, let’s revisit that… it wasn’t called a perfume, it was called a toilet water. And as much as I wanted to be sophisticated about wearing perfume, the name cracked me up. My younger sisters and I would laugh our fool heads off, wondering if they actually used toilet water to make it.

imageTruthfully, I didn’t care what they used to make it, it had every single one of the fragrance notes I loved; jasmine, ylang-ylang, cedar, patchouli, musk, vanilla, sandalwood, and ambergris. And more than that, it was advertised as Modern, Mysterious, Magnetic.  All of the groovy qualities I wanted to embrace as a teenager. I felt delicious and decidedly modern when I wore it!

It’s only now, more than half a lifetime later, that I can see that toilet water was a very poor translation for eau de toilette. “Water for bathing,” not water from the toilet. But, it was a fantastic trip down memory lane. Thank you, FB.

XO Donna

 

 

 

Someone You Know

22 Aug

imageWe were camping in the rain when I heard news of the flooding in Louisiana. It seemed a world away, although from where I live in Austin, TX – to where it happened – is only 450 or so miles. Close, and even closer, when those floods affect someone you know. The way the news was solely focused on an Olympic swimmer’s bad behavior, I had no idea how bad things were in Louisiana. To my relief, my friends in Lafayette and Baton Rouge had “checked in” on Facebook saying they were alright.

Then I received an email from another friend. “Just a quick note to let you know, even though Lucy and Ricky’s house didn’t flood inside, things are bad for them.” (For their privacy, I have changed their names.) “Please drop her a couple words of encouragement.”  That’s the kind of woman she is. I wrote Lucy that night, asking if there was anything at all that we could do to help.

imageShe responded this morning, and we emailed back-and-forth for more than two hours. Lucy told me they’d been in their new house for less than a year, and thankfully the house was okay. While their new neighborhood in Greenwell was damaged, (see left) their old house and neighborhood in Central, (below) just three miles away, were ruined by the flood. They have three people living with them right now, and Ricky’s company was a total loss. “I am focused,” she said, “on keeping everyone fed and comfortable.”

Lucy told me it had been very emotionally and physically draining, knowing that so much of Louisiana is a total loss.  “We will be fine,” she said, “I went through all of this during Katrina when we had 18 people living with us for four months. Back then, I saw the home and city I grew up in completely destroyed. This time I saw the home and neighborhood where we raised all three of our girls completely destroyed.”

imageI can’t imagine going through that once, but to go through it twice is mind-bending. Lucy agreed, “It’s definitely been an eye-opening and heart-breaking experience.”  I asked why they had moved. “We needed more land for the race cars and motorhome.”  It was good that they moved when they did. I pointed out that their toys saved them, and she laughed. “That’s true!” then she added, “I’m glad we moved, this house definitely saved our lives, and has given shelter to others.” Those others are her youngest daughter (who is expecting) and son-in-law, and a friend who has also lost everything.

“Last thing. . . looking on the bright side, we should have 5 1/2 people by next week. Our daughter should be induced if she hasn’t gone into labor by then. Can’t wait to get that baby in my hands!”

With all of her family history gone, she’s focusing on the good that is yet to come, because, that’s the kind of woman she is.

XO Donna