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The great thing about making your own jewelry is that you can always recreate old things to make something new and pretty, or mend things that don’t quite work out right the first time.

Take, for example, this turquoise lariat… ah, how I loved this design.

I visualized the design about a year ago and over time finally found all the perfect pieces:  the turquoise disks for the collar, different textures of red coral chips, the perfect centerpieces (a chunk of red coral and a turquoise doughnut with a red coral flower through the center) to balance it out.

Unfortunately, try as I did, this design was not meant to be.  Time after time, it broke.  I tried a heavier gauge wire, reinforced wire, double strengthening the bind at the clasp… all to no avail.  It was just too heavy, too long, and with too many pressure points at the various juncture points.

When I went to mend, I found myself with a much simpler design but still elegant finish.  It’s a high neck choker, and looks lovely with a plain black dress and black cardigan; a real stand out piece.  What do you think, old or new?

I am beaming today with something that is easy to lose sight of miles away from home – good ol’ American patriotism.

The U.S. Supreme Court (largely) upheld the Affordable Care Act.  For the first time since law school, I’m relishing digging into the 193 page opinion… the Court’s reasoned analysis of a key cornerstone of our legal system–the Commerce Clause; the power of the Federal  government to raise monies (tax); the surprise majority (Roberts) and dissenting (Kennedy) opinions. This case has the potential to be a great constitutional law case studied by U.S. law students in the decades to come.

Legislation passed by a majority of our democratically elected legislative body should never be overturned by the Supreme Court lightly.  But there was a lot of speculation, and more than a mere possibility, that this case would be decided on political and not legal grounds.  Whatever your personal political views may be on the appropriate balance of private capitalism versus governmental programs vis a vis the U.S. healthcare debate, this lawyer thinks the court made the right legal decision. The power to tax is clearly within the constitutional rights of the federal government, and the Affordable Care Act (for its many benefits and failings) fits squarely within the Congress’ power to legislate in a space where the private mechanism of capitalism has fallen short and we, as citizens, need for the government step in.  In the midst of enormous political pressure, the SCOTUS avoided that pressure to make policy and deferred to the legislative body’s constitutional function. 

So that’s why I’m beaming with patriotism today.  Because in my view, it’s ultimately not whether your politics rule the day, its whether a functioning democracy and system of legal checks and balances exists and continues to flourish.  (‘Course, like any good Washingtonian, I like it when the outcome also reflects my political philosophy, but that is mere icing on the cake.) 

Oh and, FINALLY, Obama has done what he should have done 2 years ago:  explain the health care legislation in a clear and concise way.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks…. so let me explain my absence:  the usual suspects (late nights at work make Claire sleepy and no-bloggy); Queen’s Birthday weekend down at the Lakes Entrance and hiking through the Snowy River National Park; back to back shows for the grand final of the Voice Australia (that’s my girl, Karise!) were all contributing factors.  Not the mention the biggest earthquake to hit Melbourne in a century, a whopping 5.3, which rattled our house for a full 2 minutes (ok, so not really a factor affecting my lack of blogging, but a fun fact nonetheless!)

Then there’s the vortex of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, which have finally sucked me into their spiral grasp. Read the first book cover to cover in a 24 hour span, and had to force myself to put down the second book at 2am each night to keep my sanity (and combat the Claire sleepy no bloggy-ness). 

But that was then, and this is now. So welcome me back, and enjoy some pictures from coastal Victoria (check out the full pictures page for the backstory on all those broken trees!)


Jumping into the third book tonight, so see you in 400 pages or so…

NYT, I love it when you add veracity to my personal rationalization efforts over bad food/drink consumption habits!  There’s of course the well-known adages regarding a glass of red wine a day (but did you know it was good for your gut?) and a recent article on the life-enlongating effects of caffeine

Today, my favorite editors are debunking the theory that salt is “food public enemy No 1”.   Next up, the benefits of butter?

This recipe posting gets a gold star for effort Creativity? Not really… but effort on a lazy Sunday?  For sure. While Steve was out golfing, my solo Sunday consisted of a leisurely brunch interspersed with dabbling on the piano. I had my eye on these delicious baked eggs in tomato, from Mr. Rufus, which looked (and were) so beautifully simple.

I added some persian feta as a garnish after cooking to give it some creaminess, used thyme instead of oregano just because I had it on hand, and topped my toast with some roasted garlic.

And of course, when you’re treating yourself to an amazing Sunday brunch, there’s gotta be dessert. So I sliced up a stack of star fruit as a clean crisp finish.  Um yum.  Happy Sunday to me.