Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In the Garden

Have managed to be out in the garden twice this week without totally melting which means that the temperatures are a bit lower, wish the humidity would take a hint and do the same.  The weeds in my flowerbeds were over my head, I'm embarrassed!  But slowly but surely I'm getting the garden back into shape.  We got our lawnmower back this week, I won't say it would have been cheaper to buy a new one because they cost over a $1000, but it wasn't cheap getting it fixed up.  Mac is going to build a little shed to keep it in so that it won't be out in all the elements any more.  I mowed on Sunday and Mac has been weed whacking everything I couldn't reach so the yard is looking a little less like an abandoned lot.
I cut some flowers while out there today , loads of zinnias, a vinca, some clementis, ginger lilies and some lantana.  Smells heavenly.
People keep talking about signs of fall, but the main thing I'm seeing is that the sunlight is at a different angle and it gets dark a little bit sooner.  Summer doesn't end till in September and it will be awhile before we really cool down here, but it's coming and I can't wait.

Monday, August 29, 2011

England


I have been in love with England for years and that obsession  started years ago.  As soon as  we could we started traveling to England, staying mostly in London and doing day trips in the beginning and then branching out, renting a cottage and a car, bless Mac for being willing to drive on the other side of the road.
Our first trip was in the early 70's and we've made many trips since then traveling to Stone Farm in Devon, a thatched cottage in Cornwall,   several stays at a 17th century flour mill in Somerset,  lots of cottages in the Cotswolds, an apartment in Hampshire, a farm cottage near Stroud, a thatched cottage in Wiltshire and numerous hotels from Canterbury to  York, with one swift dash across the border to Scotland.  More trips than I can count, to look at castles, manor houses, iron-age fortifications, tumuli, stone circles and standing stones, gardens, beautiful villages, and it never grows old.  The last few trips we've said no more, we'll go somewhere else, somewhere different, but when Mac sits down to book the tickets we find we really want to go to England again.  Where did this fascination come from?
As a kid I read about King Arthur and Robin Hood and was intriqued, but that's not what really "hooked" me on England.  No it was a set of 4 books by Thomas B. Costain: The Conquering Family, The Magnificent Century, The Three Edwards, The Last Plantagenents, that did the job.  I, who seldomly read nonfiction, was absolutely hooked, finishing one of the books sent me in search of the next, and in fact I'm sure it's those books that made me the history buff I am.
They're a wonderful set of books about the Plantagenets, a group of Kings who ruled England,  starting with Henry II in 1154,  to Richard III in 1485.  All the other Kings and Queens of England that I've read about seem "small' compared to this family, they were fascinating.  Easy to say which was my favorite, Richard III, and yes I've visited the remains of his castle at Middleham, followed by Henry V,  I always complain about his rather simple casket being out in the correder at Westminster.  But  strong or weak, warlike or interested in building universities,  they were an incredible family and they're one of the reasons we keep going back to England.
Not my photo, "borrowed" from a British castle site.






Friday, August 26, 2011

I Had No Idea!

This photo was taken out at Ft. Stewart the Army base near where we live.   I know we have snakes here in Georgia, I know we have rattlesnakes, but I had no idea we had snakes this big here.  When Mac first showed me the picture I thought it was a photo of someone's anaconda.  Remind me not to go hiking at Ft. Stewart.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blue Crabs

We love blue crabs, they're  a lot like the  Dungeness Crabs that we use to eat in California, very sweet and tasty.   Shortly after moving here  we discovered that we could go crabbing just 5 minutes from our house.  So we invested in crab traps, got chicken backs and spent sunny days hauling in crabs to be loaded into our ice chest and taken home for a feast.  Crabbing was fun, it was an absolute thrill to pull the trap up and see what we'd caught.  Sometimes crabs, sometimes shrimp, sometimes a fish or two.  But each time we went we  became more and more reluctant to take the crabs home.
We really love the crabs, they're beautiful, and though they taste delicious we felt we  could no longer cook a live animal.  Too soft hearted for our own good I guess.
 So the last time we went crabbing we released all the crabs we'd caught and watched them "swim" off.   I miss the crab feasts we use to have,  but prefer the idea of them out in the water.
Through the years Mac has done a number of crab paintings, this is one of my favorites and hangs in my "seaside" bathroom.  This bucket painting of mine is in there too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mid-Week Report



It's Wednesday and Hurricane Irene has decided to give us a pass, thank you Irene.  In fact it's beginning to look like she'll miss all of the USA, that's good news, no more natural disasters are needed.
Then yesterday was the "great" eastern earthquake, 5.8 on the richter scale and felt from Georgia to Canada.  We didn't feel it but folks in Savannah said they did.  Our daughter said they evacuated her work place and when she got home some things behind glass had fallen down but nothing was broken, she lives and works in Maryland.
Now we're from California and have been through a number of earthquakes including the last big one that hit Los Angeles in the early 90's.  So I can't get too excited about this little one.  Glad it didn't do more damage and that no one was hurt, but it was just a "baby" one.
I've been sewing this week, finally got the back on my little quilt and now need to bind it.
Mac has been painting away.  He finally finished the Hatton Hall painting and has started another one with a bee skep.





























Monday, August 22, 2011

It's That Time of Year

Yes it's that time of year again, it's Hurricane Season, and look who's coming to visit, why it's Hurricane Irene!  They started out projecting landfall down in the Florida Keys or near Miami.  Now they're saying Brunswick, Georgia which is just down the coast from here.  By Wednesday they will have a better idea of where she's headed, depends on if she crosses over the mountains of HispaƱiola  or not.  That could help tear her apart.
In the meantime, we've checked our hurricane supplies, lots of batteries, bottled water, canned foods and are as ready as we can be.
Here's hoping she heads more east than west.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Journal

Because I'm so incredibly forgetful I decided that keeping a book journal would help me remember the books I've read and only reread them because I want to, not because I can't remember if I had read them in the first place.
 So I ordered the Reading Woman's Book Journal and I'm getting ready to start filling in the pages.  I ordered this journal out of the many that are out there because it's full of illustrations of women reading and is beautiful to look at.  The illustrations would be worth the price of the book alone.
I'm currently reading 4 books and that's a lot even for me as I generally only have 2 books going at a time.  I'm reading the Complete Works of Agatha Christie Volume One The Early Years with an emphasis on the Poirot stories, that's on my gtablet.  I decided to read these stories because we've been watching the PBS Poirot series from Netflix, it's the one with David Suchet as Poirot and it's so good.
 Also being read on my gtablet is  Pride and Prejudice.  I've read Pride and Prejudice more times than I can remember and always return to it when I want a story full of civility, civility even when the people aren't being kind.  I get awfully tired of "in you face" books and people.
 I'm alternating between the 2 and enjoying the  contrast.
I'm also reading The Grand Tour  by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, a Regency story with magic.  It's part of a trilogy that began with Sorcery and Cecilia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot.  Light, light reading and a lot of fun.
The last book is slow going, it's The Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen) by Steven Erikson.   This is the second time I've started reading it and I hate to give up on it because it came so highly recommended, but so far it's a hard read.  I find the character names confusing, I keep having to look at the list of characters listed in the front of the book to keep people straight, and though there's only one story line there are dozens of threads.  I usually like fantasy but I may have to make myself finish this one.

I began this year by rereading books that I already owned and did that for more than 2 months, but as time went on I wanted some books I hadn't read.  I have a wish list a mile long at Amazon but try not to buy too many.  I return to my own books ever so often and plan on rereading a bunch of my Charles deLint books this fall which should save me some money.


One of the illustrations, sorry about the flash.












Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Side Effects

While watching tv, and forgetting to mute the commercials, I listened to an advertisement for a medication that had the following side effects : nausea, vomiting,  lack of appetite, kidney problems, hair loss, mouth sores, bleeding gums, diarrhea,  tb, higher risk of infection, risk of certain cancers, joint pain, liver problems, high white blood cell count, fatigue, eye problems, and more.
Now what in the world could you have that would be so bad that you'd take a medication with side effects like these.  The medication in this ad  was for rhuematoid   arthritis, a terribly debilitating disease, but would putting yourself at risk of these side effects be worth it?
Since then I've listened to a couple of other medication ads, one for depression and one for frequent urination.  And the side effects were horrendous.  Any time my doctor prescribes something for me I ask about drug interactions and side effects.  A couple of times we compromised because I refused to take a higher dosage of one of my medications.
What do you think, are those kinds of side effects worth the treatment?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Joining the 21th Century

It's not that I'm a techno phobe, I like new technology, mostly.  I've had a computer since the early 90's, have a router, use broadband, got my first cell phone ages ago, have a gtablet, there's another laptop laying around and Mac has his own computer.  So we aren't  newbies to it all, but then, we're not real adept with all of them either.  The computers we do everything with and love.  We have a blog, I Tweet, we use Facebook, Google is our best friend and we're constantly downloading pictures from our camera to it.  My gtablet has been even more fun than I expected, I read books on it all the time, go online, check the weather and have downloaded a bunch of apps for it.
  But the cell phone has never been a favorite, it spends  most of it's life laying in the glove compartment of the car to be used in an emergency.  I use it so seldomly I always have to figure out how to even make a call on it each time I use it.  This weekend though I decided to start using the little bugger, Lord knows I pay enough for it every month, so I brought it in and actually broke down and read the little manuel that came with it and started taking pictures, it was so easy.  Then I sent us one of the pictures to our gmail account and it worked.  Today Mac went online and found out step-by-step how to send the pictures to our Flickr account, and it was so easy.  I've also downloaded a bunch of apps for it.  I don't know if I'll use it more as a phone, quite frankly I hate phones, but it might get used more as a camera and for the internet.
 I read somewhere that most people check their cell phones at least 32 times a day, can't even imagine that, mine will still mostly stay turned off, though I have actually managed to learn my number (I've had the phone a year), and I think I'll start carrying it in my purse.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

It Ain't Pretty


Well our riding lawn mower died, and though the picture on the left isn't it, it looks a lot like it.  Our seat isn't worn out, but pretty much everything else is.  A friend,  whose brother repairs lawn mowers, came by today, brought his big, beautiful riding mower so I could cut our grass and then hauled ours off for repair.  Hopefully ours will be back next week and that's good because we've been having thundershowers every evening and the lawn has been growing like crazy to make up for how little it had been growing.
I was still muttering about getting a goat to eat the grass but Mac reminded me that the last time we did that the goat broke into the horse's grain and about made herself sick eating it and refused to eat grass.

Mike's beautiful mower






Friday, August 12, 2011

Reasons For Not Blogging

Reason #1:  It's been too hot, 2 days at a 100  this week and the rest of the week so near to 100 that  it doesn't matter.  You sit and melt, brain doesn't function, senior moments become senior days.

Reason #2:  Doctor appointments, one to my retina specialist to see if I'm going blind yet, I'm not,  and one to my dermatologist so she could burn more of my skin away.

Reason #3:  Lazy, I've gotten so lazy this summer it's scary, I need to clean my house, start getting organized for our trip to England,  find the flash memory for my camera, color my hair so I don't look like a little old lady,  and finish at least one of the projects I've been working on.  So far all I've managed is getting a new suitcase and sewing the rest of the buttons onto the little quilt I've been making, but I can't finish it because in one of my other senior moments I used the material I'd bought to back it on another project so I have to order more material.

Reason #4:  More phone calls than I ever want to make again to try and straighten out a prescription.  The Doctor writing the prescription is in Savannah and the place filling the prescription is in Tempe, Arizona and each was convinced that the other was wrong with me caught in the middle and hating my phone more than I usually do.  Then phone calls to my cell phone provider to find out why my phone didn't work in England last year and how I can get it to work this year, that call wasn't too bad.

Reason #5:  I'm turning into my cat and spend way too much time sleeping.

So those are my reasons for not blogging, oh,  and by the way, Mac says that he earned his Redneck Merit Badge this week when he discovered that he could clean the barbeque grill easier with a pine cone than with the brush he had been using.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ginger Lilies

The sweetest smelling flower in my garden is blooming and it's doing it about a month early.  The ginger lilies just smell heavenly, and they have fought off the weeds  in order to do it.  I am absolutely ashamed of how weedy my garden is but it's just too hot to do much about it.  But when it cools down I'll be going through there with a vengeance.  In the mean time I'll just appreciate the flowers that are putting up with the heat and the weeds  and still are blooming.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I'm Thrilled!

I really am thrilled, we got our electric bill for the month of July.  I was expecting it to be $11dy billion dollars because this is big, over 3,000 sq.ft. house, all electric, and it has been in the upper 90's most of the month.  But it wasn't!  It was only $1 billion, much more manageable.  I guess not using the dryer and dishwasher helped, and truth be told I have actually enjoyed hanging out the laundry, plus Mac does it about half the time and he likes it too.  So I have more money to spend elsewhere, maybe I should give the government a loan.  LOL!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lovely Evening

We had a lovely evening last night in Jacksonville, Florida.  Our daughter who lives in Maryland now has a job that will be sending her to Jacksonville every couple of months.  Well Jacksonville is  only about 120 miles from here and that's a lot better than the 600+ miles to her place in Maryland, so yesterday afternoon we drove on down and met her at her hotel, the Hyatt--how nice, and took her out to dinner.
We ate at a small Italian cafe near where she was staying and spent a couple of hours eating, talking and just enjoying being together.
The food was good, the capuchinos and cake were more than tasty and it was so good to be together.


After dinner we walked along the St. John River that runs through Jacksonville and watched the dolphins playing, we saw  more than we had ever seen in the wild before, nearly a dozen, including a group of 3 playing together.  They didn't show up very well in the pictures but you can just see a dorsal fin in the distance.



Click on the picture to see dolphin fin across the water













All too soon it was time to say good-by and head home, but all in all a lovely evening.

Monday, August 1, 2011

No More Complaining!

And I thought we had it bad!  My poor sisters in Oklahoma are having horrible weather.  It was 106 there today and they're forecasting 109 for the next 2 days.  I saw where Oklahoma City has already had more than 30 days above 100.  It's hot here, but we're definitely not in their league, and as humid as it is here, it's worse there.  So I guess I'll just enjoy our 90+ degree weather, it doesn't sound that bad after all.

Painting Update

Sometimes paintings flow like water and sometimes they are brought along kicking and screaming.  The two paintings Mac's working on right now are in the kicking and screaming category.  They look great, but getting them this far along has been a bit of work for him.
I always say that his easel is where magic happens and even when he struggles it's still magic.  I love to watch the transformation from blank canvas to finished paintings.  And to know that he too has  problems sometimes gives me hope because nearly all of my paintings are a struggle.

That being said here are the works in progress.