Monday, June 27, 2011

Cilantro

You can all it cilantro or coriander, but I call it the devil's herb.  I'm one of those people who absolutely detest it.  Ran across an article where they talked about it and said that people either love it or hate it, and both my husband and I hate it.
The article said that to many people it has a soapy taste, but to me it tastes like what I imagine a basement would taste like.
When Julia Child was questioned about cilantro she said she hated it, that it hat a dead taste to it and she'd pick it out of anything she found it in and throw it on the floor.    I agree.  I've learned to avoid most  salsa,  pico de gallo, and most other Mexican foods because they're full of it.      And unfortunately it's showing up in more and more foods, it seems to be the herb de jour.  If I'm using a recipe that calls for it I just ignore it.
The Oxford Companion to Food  says that  the word "coriander" is derived for the Greek word for bedbug and that the aroma of of cilantro  " has been compared with the smell of bug-infested bedclothes".  I don't know what bedbugs smell like but I definitely don't like the smell of cilantro.
Mac and I are  not alone in out hatred of this plant,  I've discovered a Facebook page called I Hate Cilantro  and a blog "I Hate Cilantro" both dedicated to the destruction of this noxious herb.
The article I read said that we can learn to overcome our reaction to cilantro by learning to associate it with pleasant experiences, but I don't want to,  there's nothing pleasant about it and it's going to stay  on my don't eat list along with liver, snails, brains, chicken feet, frog's legs and sow belly.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

The week has flown, the month is shortly to disappear and I've been a bit of a slug, but at my age I'm entitled.  We survived the super hot beginning of the week and then we slipped off to the movies, we finally got around to seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean  movie, On Stranger Tides.  We liked it though it was a bit slow going in the beginning and there were too many sword fights.  Love Geoffrey Rush, could have used more of him, he steals every scene he's in.  Liked Penelope Cruz hope she's in the next one and we liked Ian McShane as Blackbeard.  The mermaids were a surprise, and if you haven't seen the movie I'll say no more about them.  And of course Johnny Depp was perfect!  The movie has gotten a lot of bad reviews, but honestly folks, we're talking about a series of movies based on a Disneyland ride.  It wasn't perfect, but we laughed, we accepted the impossible and enjoyed it for what it was.  All in all a good movie for a hot summer afternoon.

In order to justify how much electricity we're using to run the air conditioner and fans ( and it's a lot) we're putting a clothes line up outside so I can stop using my dryer.  It's so hot and sunny here that things dry in no time.  After I swim I hang my towel on the deck railing and in under an hour it's dry, so it just seems wasteful not to dry other things outside.

I've been rather unsettled this week, maybe it's the heat or just that I bore easily, but I've sewn a bit on a dress I'm making, something I should have finished in a couple of days, but I sew a bit,  get bored and then wander off.  I've crocheted another row on a shrug I'm making and done some embroidery, but I haven't finished anything.  I often think that if I were still in school they'd label me ADD, I never settle down.  Even when I read I usually do it while watching tv.

We're having ribs and potato salad, perfect for our weather.  Hope wherever you are you're Sunday is a good one too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Go Away!

Yes, go away, far, far away.  When Mac went to turn the hose on to water his garden yesterday evening he  noticed something leaf colored against the white drain pipe by the faucet.  Because he knows snakes are always a possibility he cautiously looked closer and sure enough it was a copperhead snake.  They're venomous, but according to what I've read not usually deadly (notice the not usually).  It wasn't very big, but  it scared the heck out of me.  He shot it with our bee-bee gun and then threw it into the woods.  Today he chopped down all the weeds around the house.  I know we have to live with snakes, any place with woods and water are going to have snakes, but I can't stand the thought of them, particularly poisonous ones, near the house.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Surviving 100 Degree Weather

Step One:  Get up long before we want to so we can do our 2 mile walk before breakfast.  A neighbor offered to call us at 6 am but we told her the only time we're up that early is when we're leaving on a trip or we've been up all night.


Step Two:  Jump in the pool, fix breakfast and turn on the fan in the computer room so I can  have breakfast while I read Blogs.  Turn on fan in family room, vacuum, and and then clean 2 bathrooms.  Return to computer room, turn fan back on and print labels so I can return the two  backpack purses that are too big.

Step Three:  Jump back in the pool,  turn all the fans on in the family room and do my 1 mile aerobic walking tape.  Play piano, and water plants on back deck.

Step Four:   Finally turn the air conditioner on,  fix lunch and  before eating jump back in the pool.  Since retiring lunch is our main meal of the day and we eat it in late afternoon.  After lunch I read for a while.

Step Five:  Happy Hour, no not drinks, a nap.

Step Six:  Up from Happy Hour turn off the air conditioner  and back out into the pool.  Then
 I play piano and Mac plays guitar.  Turn the air conditioner back on, have a snack, read, watch t.v. , have a cold shower  and hit the bed about midnight at which time it is still up in the 80's.

Notice the themes in this report, turn on the fan and jump in the pool.  We try to use the air conditioner as little as possible, but when the temperatures are over 100 (it was 101 yesterday and it's supposed to be 102 today) you have to use it some.  If it were not for our pool I don't think I'd make it.  I feel so lazy, but it's just too hot to do much.  The cat lays low and Mac is out in the shade fishing, me, well I'm just trying not to melt.
Tomorrow we're going in our air conditioned car to the air conditioned movies and I don't know when we're coming home.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It Shouldn't Be This Hard

Tweedy
I love carrying a backpack purse, it keeps my hands free, is less of a strain on my shoulder and I can organize all of my stuff in it.  For years Tweedy served me well, she went on most of our trips to England and Europe, cross country trips, trips to New York and D.C.  But finally she began to wear out, Mac has stitched her up for me, gooped her, and everything else we could think of to preserve her, but alas, her days of long trips carrying all of my junk are over.  I still use her on our daily walk to carry my camera, binoculars and my epi pen, but she just can't carry the load I need for a trip.
So I went looking for a replacement.  I started at Target because that's where she came from but they didn't have anything I liked.  Next I went online to ebags a company I've bought from numerous times and ordered what they described as a backpack purse, it wasn't, it was a backpack, much too big.
So it's sitting in the kitchen waiting to be mailed, free return mailing which is nice, all I had to do was print out the label and I'll drop it off at UPS when we go out next.
Then I tried Amazon and ordered what was called a mini-backpack, it wasn't, it too was just a backpack, so it's going back too.  But because I'm returning it for my reasons, it's too big, and not an error on their part I have to pay for the return.

Return Number 1


Return Number 2
After that I measured both the bags I'm returning, measured Tweedy (should have done this in the beginning) and went looking again.  I've ordered one slightly bigger than Tweedy and I have my fingers crossed.  But darn it, it shouldn't be this hard!





Hopefully Third Time is the Charm

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

Tomorrow will be Father's Day and I just want to take a minute to say Happy Father's Day to my husband Mac.  We've been married for 45 years and all that time he has been my best friend and lover, and a wonderful Father to our daughter.  He is kind, thoughtful, and loving.
He always complements my cooking, even years ago when it was not very good (I use to explain my meatloaf by saying I cooked it for revenge). He sneaks out in the morning and gets flowers to put on my nightstand so they're the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning.     I have only to mention that I like something and he'll move the earth to get it for me.  He has given me my first stuffed animal, my first train (I have always love them), my first bike, painted glasses he'd painted himself, a sapphire ring to remind me of the class ring he'd given me a 100 years ago.
Through the years he's taught me to fish, to look at the stars, to oil paint and to be a better person.  When people complement his paintings he always points out mine and tells them how well I paint and draw.
He doesn't yell when I do stupid things (and I do many), like leave the lawn mower on after it ran out of gas which caused  the battery to run  down or when I exploded a glass pan in my new oven.  He just shakes his head, gives me a hug and fixes it.
He has taken me every where in the world I've ever wanted to go, even if it was some place he didn't want to go, and acted as if there was no place he'd rather be.
He's taught me to be more adventurous and to try new things.
They say that women marry their Fathers, but I don't think I did.  I loved my Father, but Mac is a much better person than my Father  was  and I know that I'm lucky to have him, and I'd be lost without him.
So Happy Father's Day Mac.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Shabby Chic

Maybe it's just me but I don't get shabby chic.  I get loving something that you have used through the years and it has become a bit worn around the edges, as we all have become, but I don't understand making something look worn or rusty. I don't paint furniture and then sand it down so it will look worn.  I do buy vintage and antique but I want their worn look to come about through years of usage and loving handling.
 I don't understand buying things that look rusty.  Maybe I have irrational  fear of tetanus but I don't want to own rusty things.  If something of mine that I care about rusts, I sand it down, actually I have Mac sand it down, and I repaint it or coat it in something to protect it against rust.  I hate getting tetanus shots and so I avoid things that might make me have to renew mine.
I love the cottage look and soft pastel colors and quite frankly rust is not a pastel color.  And the shovel on the left looks like a tetanus shot waiting to happen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just Breaking It In

Miss Kitty got a new scratching post yesterday and she decided to give it a spin to see if it meets her needs, and she was pleased to report that it definitely did the job and we could retire, with honors, her old one.

Her old well-worn one

Trying out the new one
She has always been good about using a scratching post instead of our furniture so we try to keep a good one around for her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oh My Poor Garden!

Rescued these from the garden yesterday.  We didn't get the promised rain Sunday night and yesterday we broke a 130 year old record, it was 101 degrees and it felt even hotter.
I kept my swimming suit on under my shorts all day, when I'd get too hot I'd jump in the pool for awhile.  I refuse to run the air conditioner all day, besides the fact that it's too expensive to run all the time it dries my eyes and nose out and that makes me miserable.
Our overnight low was in the mid-70's which means it didn't really cool off at all.  I tried to sleep but even with fans running it was just too hot, and in addition to that the smell of the wild fires burning kept coming in the window.  I sat out in the livingroom and read till about 2:30, by then I was exhausted and finally fell asleep.
We did our 2 mile walk before breakfast this morning and that's about all I'm going to do today.  But they're promising cooler weather for today, only 97!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Too Darn Hot!!!

I don't usually start complaining about the heat until at least July, but I'm already doing it and it's only June 12.  It was 93 here today, will be in the upper 90's tomorrow and the lower to middle 90's for the rest of the week.  Normally this area has 59 days at 90 degrees or above, well today was our 31st day above 90, so it's definitely going to be a long, hot summer unless something very unexpected happens.  It won't even officially be summer for another 9 days, I'm worried.
And to make matters worse we've had very little rain this spring and everything is bone dry.  Our county is one of the 20 or so already designated as disaster areas because of the drought.  Over the last 10 weeks we've, officially, had only 2.2 inches of rain, we're nearly 7 inches under where we should be, and last year ended with us being 12 inches under for the year, so it's bad.  When we do get rain it has been very widely scattered, which means that the airport (that's the official weather station for this area) may get rain and we never see a drop of it.  I'm sure we haven't had anywhere near 2.2 inches in the last couple of months.
We've been watering the garden every day and the lawn every couple of days, but it's too expensive to keep doing that for long.
They say some rain is heading this way this evening, with high winds, hail, and lightning, I'd normally  complain about that but we need the rain so badly that I won't.  I'll just hope that the bad stuff misses us and we get some rain.
There have been some fires in the counties around us, and the Okeefenokee Swamp has a fire that has been burning since April.  You'd think that with the conditions we're having that no one would do any outdoor burning, but a couple of our neighbors have done it anyway.  One neighbor, whose next-door-neighbor was burning a pile of garden debris, said she actually asked them if they were that stupid.  Makes you wonder.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's Done

Yes it's done, Mac's painting taken from Rosies photo at Corners of My Mind  when she visited Hatton Hall and they were doing a Tudor reenactment.  He added some touches of his own and I'm thrilled with the painting.

Now he's started one from Rowan's blog the Circle of the Year.  It's also from the Tudor reenactment and this painting will be a companion piece to the first one.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Principal Chief

Being back in Oklahoma reminded me that the Cherokees are in the middle of an election for their Principal Chief.  I don't know if other tribes elect their chiefs but the Cherokees have been doing it for years.  Originally there were 3 tribes of Cherokees, the eastern, the Keetoowah and the western.  All 3 groups selected their principal chiefs.   Then in 1839 the Cherokees were forcibly moved to Oklahoma and were made to live on a reservation.
In the early 1900's the American government wanted to break the power of the chiefs who controlled the tribal lands so they divided the land up among the tribal members and reduced the power of the chiefs to just administrators.
Wilma Mankiller
Chadwick "Corntassel" Smith
But over time that changed and the western Cherokees wrote their own Constitution and the chiefs regained a measure of power as the tribe grew wealthier through casinos and oil leases.
I belong to the western Cherokees now known at the Cherokee Nation and it has its capitol at Tahlequeh, Ok.
When it was reorganized after World War II it's chief was appointed by President Harry Truman, but since then they've elected their chief as they did in the old days.   The first chief I remember was Wilma Mankiller, the first woman chief of the Cherokees, she was a great chief and easily won reelection in a landslide each time she ran.  She brought a lot of federal money to the tribe, helped develop their health system, brought redevelopment money in, brought running water to many small communities and revitalized the tribe.  Under her the tribal membership went from about 55,000 to about 154,000.
Bill John Baker
The election this time is between Chadwick "Corntassel" Smith, the present principal chief, and Bill John Baker.
I don't follow tribal politics, but my sister Susie who lives in Oklahoma says that Corntassel has not been a good chief and that she wants me to vote for the other candidate.  I guess I'll follow her recommendation because she's the one who'll be affected by the outcome.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Short Rant

We just paid out taxes so it's time for my quarterly rant about how my taxes are wasted.  I guess I should begin with a whine about how our hard-earned money is going to pay the salary of the latest Congressional sleaze Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner from New York.     My taxes will pay his salary and he'll be able to afford his internet connection and continue his sleazy tweeting on twitter.
Then President Obama can send more of our money overseas to Egypt (1.8 billion dollars a year and whatever we send through the G-8 agreement) even though most Americans oppose the aid and 88% of Egyptians don't want it.
Next my money will help fund the war in Libya, by the end of April it had already cost more than $600 billion dollars, and counting.
And finally they can use my tax dollars to fund the National Science Foundation so they can do more great studies, such as:

Studying Jello-wrestling in the Antarctic

Studying the ability of shrimp to exercise on a treadmill

Developing a laundry-folding robot.

George R. R. Martin says that as a good liberal he doesn't mind paying taxes he just hates the paperwork.
Well I'll tell you what, we'll do his paperwork and he can pay our taxes too, because quite frankly they just p##@ us off.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pretty Fancy Airport

Waiting at the airport
In order to get to the small town my sisters live in we had to change planes 3 times and the end of the line was Ft. Smith, Arkansas.  It is a small,  regional airport but we were really surprised by the decor.  No hard plastic seats for the weary traveler, but rather upholstered wingback chairs.  And the bathrooms were rather upscale too.
While waiting for our plane to depart on the homeward leg of our trip instead of a boarding gate personnel making the announcements, the pilot of our plane stepped up to the podium, informed us that he'd flown the plane we were about to get on from Memphis, with the landing gear extended.  There was some problem with a switch and he had the option of having the ground crew work on it which would involve the cancellation of that flight and subsequently our flight, or of flying with the gear down.  Because he said it was only a switch problem he decided to fly with them down, that would make our flight a little noisier and a little longer but it wasn't a safety issue.
How did I feel about that, well the gear have to be down anyway so we got onboard and flew.  Didn't notice it being any noisier than usual, but we did get to Memphis a little later, which meant that instead of grabbing some ribs from the numerous restaurants (and Memphis is known for its ribs)  in the airport we ran all the way to our next flight and didn't get anything to eat till we got home.  They don't feed you on short flights any more, not that airline food was ever very tasty.
But it was a pretty fancy little airport.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Vian

Mural in Vian
As I said in my last post we've been to Oklahoma to visit my sisters.  They live in Vian, a really small town, population a bit over 800, on the eastern border of Oklahoma.  It's a fairly old little town having been around since the 1880's when it was in Indian Territory, Oklahoma did not become a state until 1907, which means both my Grandparents were born in Indian Territory.
Vian is about 36 miles from Tahlequah the capitol of the Cherokee nation and many of the residents of Vian are tribal members,  as is my family.
The Cherokees were forcibly removed from the eastern United States (Georgia mainly)  in  1838 an event that became known as the Trail of Tears because so many of the tribe died along the way.   They were settled onto land in what is now Oklahoma and the eastern portion of the state remains Indian Territory.
Close-up of Mural, My Grandfather is the one in the white hat
The Cherokees are the only American Indians with a written language, it's  called a syllabary.   It was developed by Sequoyah who had been fascinated with how the "whites" were able to communicate by making marks on paper.  He worked for nearly 30 years to develop the system of 86 symbols that represent sounds in the Cherokee language. He was born in Tennessee, moved to Arkansas in the early 1800's and eventually to Oklahoma.   His cabin is about 20 miles from Vian, we've visited it before, but didn't make it over there this trip.
Vian itself has remained what we call " a one horse town", it has one grocery store, a bank,  a post office,  several gas stations and "antique" stores.  Everybody literally knows everybody and quite likely are related in some way.
On some of the old buildings local college students have painted murals that show some of Vian's history.  My Grandfather Richard Kennedy is in one of the murals so I took some pictures.
I can remember visiting Vian as a child and still seeing horse drawn wagons coming into town.  My Grandparents lived outside of town and did not get running water or electricity till I was grown.  When I was a child they had a well, we took baths in a tub and visited the outhouse to go to the restroom.  They had an ice box and lights were kerosene lanterns.  It was a very different world, but both my Grandparents lived to their 90's and none of their children reached that age, so maybe living simply is a better way of life.

Where we ate a tribal restaurant in  Tahlehquah




All signs in Tahlequah are in English and Cherokee











Cherokee Alphabet

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trip to Oklahoma

We've just gotten back from a trip to the wilds of Oklahoma to visit my sisters.  My younger sister was very sick this winter and spent almost a month in the hospital with pneumonia  and I wanted to go to Oklahoma and spend some time with her and my older sister.
We're not from Oklahoma (my older sister and I were born in California and my younger sister in Missouri), but my Mom was from there and when she and my Dad moved back there in the 70's my sisters moved back there too.
They live in a teeny, tiny town named Vian which is about 15 miles north of Sallisaw and is really just a wide place in the road.  As both of my sisters  have very small houses we rented a cabin on the Illinois River in a beautiful park named Marval Family Resort.  We figured that way Mac could fish while my sisters and I got caught up on all the family doings.
As it turned out  both of my sisters fished with Mac, Susie, the younger one,  loves to fish and this was her first chance since being so ill.  Mac caught most of the fish, over the 3 days he caught about 25 fish including 4 Rainbow Trout which was the type of fish he was really after.
We'd worried that the fishing might not be too good as Oklahoma is one of the states that has been hit by continuous rain this spring.  The Illinois River was at flood stage and they were constantly having to release water from Tenkiller Dam.  So instead of a gentling flowing river that you could wade across just below the dam we had a roaring river that had flowed out of its banks.  But still, he caught a lot of fish and the park and cabin were great.
It was so good to see my sisters and I was able to visit the cemetery where my parents are buried and put flowers on their graves.
Also had time to have a quick sit down with my cousin Lola who I had reconnected with on Faceback. Her sister Juda, who I never knew very well was there as was her Mother, my great Aunt Hazel, who is 94.  She had a little trouble placing me at first but then decided that I favored my Grandmother Pearl.
Planning for this trip was interesting.  It's about a 1,000 miles to Vian and we didn't want to drive but getting a flight there was a challenge.  We ended up flying from  Savannah, to Atlanta to Memphis, Tennessee to Ft. Smith, Arkansas and driving from there.  Made for a long day though each flight was relatively short.  Always glad to go and always glad to come home.  When people ask why we don't stay longer I always say that we're like fish, after 3 days we don't smell very good.

My Sister Susie Fishing

All the Fishfolk, Notice the trees in middle of river, that's the flooding

Susie's Earring-sized Fish

Rainbow Trout

Our Cabin


Water Being Released From the Damn
Next time I tell a bit more about Vian and the Cherokees.