Friday, March 30, 2012

St. Simon's Island

Lighthouse at St. Simon's Island
We went down to St. Simon's Island yesterday to do a bit of fishing.  St. Simon's, the largest of the Golden Isles,  is one of Georgia's barrier islands, home of the wealthy, playground for visiting northerners and a great place to spend a day.
Mac had hoped to fish for sea trout, but found out it was too early in the year.  We caught nothing, I'm not even sure I ever even had a bite.  But then again I'm not much of a fisherman, I just hold a pole to keep Mac company.
I sat in the sheltered part of the pier to stay out of the sun a bit (it was well up in the 80's yesterday) and I painted a small painting of the lighthouse.  I then tried to feed the local pelican, the lady at the bait store said his name was George, but he didn't seem to like shrimp nearly as much as he liked posing for pictures.
We had a nice lunch sitting on the balcony of a restaurant overlooking the water and then home.

George















  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Way Ahead of Schedule

We picked our second load of Fava Beans yesterday way ahead of schedule.  The Spanish call them Fava Beans, the English know them as Broad Beans.  Mac planted them in the winter, we thought they wouldn't even start growing till this spring, and yet, we've been eating them for the last 2 weeks.  We moved the tomato plants out of the greenhouse and they're flowering, the lemon and orange tree are flowering, and now the Snowball plant has started.  Early spring, probably an early summer, I sure hope not.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How Dusty Can It Be?

CLEAN!
Well let me put it this way, if I had a maid I'd have to fire her, I'm sure she wouldn't have lasted a day at Downton Abbey.  Unfortunately I don't have a maid and the only person I can fire is myself.  To prevent that from happening I had the underfootman, also known as Mac, carry in the ladder and take everything off the china cabinet and give it a good cleaning.  Bless his heart, he even washed the plates while I cleaned the shelves, and then he put it all back up for me.
There are two more cabinets around the house that need the same job done on them, but there's some baseboards in the family room who say they're next in line.









Literally can't remember the last time it was dusted.


Could Hardly See Through the Glass

Seriously Dusty

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Flowers in the House

I don't usually get to  have flowers in the house.  You see, Miss Kitty loves flowers, Miss Kitty loves to eat flowers, and Miss Kitty quickly "spits" them back up again.  Today though, she took one sniff of the Wisteria, decided they weren't to her taste, and turned her back on them.  That's nice, now I can have some flowers in the house.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Harry Houdini

Today is Harry Houdini's birthday, he would have been 138 (had to edit that, still can't count) years old.  I've always been fascinated by magic and escape artists,  with  Houdini being a particular favorite of mine. I have  seen a number  of movies about him, from the rather cheesy Houdini (1953) starring Tony Curtis, to Fairy Tale: A True Story (which I liked very much)  to an even  better Death Defying Acts (2007) with Guy Pearce.
Two of the best movies I've ever seen about magic and magicians are:  The Illusionist with Edward Norton and Jessica Biel,  and The Prestige with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman.
Houdini spent a good part of his time debunking spiritualists and mediums whom he considered frauds preying on a vulnerable public, but told his wife that when he died he'd send back ta message if he could, "Rosabelle believe", but the message never came.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Toothpaste Warning

I was reading the label on my toothpaste this morning, I did tell you I read everything, and it said that if you accidentally swallow more than you use for brushing  that you should call your physician or contact Poison Control.  Is the d**n stuff that poisonous?  Or was this a case of silly government warnings like those on candles, you know "fire danger when lit".  So I decided to Google it and find out.  Well Google says that in small doses it won't hurt you, but don't make a habit of it, and with the whiteners and hydrogen peroxide they're putting into a lot of them you should be a bit more careful.  Too much fluoride can also mottle  your teeth, not a real  attractive thing to do to your teeth. Gives you something to think about the next time you brush your teeth.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Library Books on Kindle

I've had my Kindle Fire for a few months now and I decided to renew my library card and start downloading some free books from the local library.  You can check out up to 5 e-books for a week, but I've run into a few problems.
First of all they only had 200 fiction books that are available for downloading.  Now I understand that it takes a while to get books digitalized for downloading, but I do question the books that are getting priority. The Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery Series, Your Pregnancy and Bad Boys in Black Ties can't really be that popular, can they?   I saw two books from the New York Times best seller list, Defending Jacob and Death Comes to Pemberley. As I've said in the past I'll pretty much read anything except Chick Lit.  Well the 200 available books include a ton of Chick Lit Romance, Chick Lit Mystery, and Chick Lit Caca.  If they're picking their books by popularity it doesn't speak well for what my friends and neighbors are reading.
But I worked my way through through their list and discovered that nearly everything had a waiting list.  Now why should e-books have a waiting list?  Theoretically everyone in town should be able to read the same book at the same time.  But that's not how it works here, and to be honest we are at the back of beyond, so they have 1-5 copies of whatever book you select and everything I was willing to read was waitlisted.
I got my first book yesterday, a mystery by a well known author who I use to read till he got really bad, but I was desperate for a book.  Took me a bit more than 3 hours to read the book, and it was bad, really bad, I want my 3 hours back.  I won't name the book or the author because others may enjoy his work.  As for me I read anything, the back of the baking soda box I was using to clean the sink, and everything, Jane Austen (she is everything I need to know about life), but I will not be reading this author again free though his books may be, my time is too valuable.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vernal Equinox

Front-side of fence
Back-side of fence, tubs of veggies
Spring, as they say, has sprung.  Returning home from California we drove up to our house to see our fence draped in Wisteria.  To me there is nothing that says spring time in the South more than Wisteria, love the soft lavender color and the smell.
We've had a busy couple of days planting Dianthus all over the place, bedding out lettuce plants, planting more onions, potatoes and garlic and pulling out more weeds.  In my herb/veggie bed I've replaced one of my leggy sages, added a dill plant, lemon balm, Greek thyme  and a scented geranium.  The strawberries are flowering and the rosemary is bigger than ever, but still doesn't look very treelike.
I mowed the lawn for the first time this year and will probably sneeze my head off the rest of the day.  It's supposed to be in the 80's all week so I guess winter is not only over, I'm not ever sure it even started.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What's Better Than Being With Your Family!

Coit Tower in the rain
We flew out to San Francisco last week  to spend a few days with our extended family, and especially with Mac's brother and sister-in-law.  We're from the San Francisco Bay area and we hadn't  been back since we moved to Georgia nearly 9 years ago.  So it was more than time for us to go.
Had a great time staying with Mac's brother and sister-in-law.  George had picked us up at the airport, like us he is retired, and he knew we'd need to stretch our legs,  so took us for a couple of miles walk around a lake near where they live, then, of course, it was time for our favorite hot dog at Caspers.
You'll soon notice a trend in this Blog, when we travel, and particularly when we meet up with family, we eat!
Laura and George (BIL and SIL) had  done a ton of remodeling in their house since we'd  left and I was very impressed with their new kitchen and bathrooms, just gorgeous!  Granite counters, slate floors, stainless steel appliances, wine refrigerator, wow!
Is this not an absolutely gorgeous kitchen?
Laura was off work Friday so they took us into San Francisco for the day and though the weather was atrocious we had a good time, starting out at the  Hyatt Regency (where they filmed the movie High Anxiety), then walking along the Embarcadero and through the indoor shopping area,  and up to Columbus Street where all the great Italian restaurants are.  We ate at one of our favorite restaurants, The Stinking Rose, where everything is made with garlic, even dessert.  No vampires working there!  Mac started with mussels and the rest of us with salads, then it was Lamb Shank with Fava Beans for him, rabbit for me, and pastas for the inlaws.

Then another cross town walk, this time through China Town, and back to Market Street to the Four Seasons for coffee and dessert.  Bread pudding made with crossiants for George and Laura, lemon tart with blackberries for Mac and me.  San Francisco is such a walkable city, if the weather had been better we probably have made it down to Fisherman' Wharf.  But after dessert it was time to ride BART home.

Mussels

Laura and George








The Family
On Saturday we met up with more of Mac's extended family for a family feast at our absolute favorite restaurant, Bancheros.  I won't tell you what everyone had, but every meal has the same sides.  For a party our size they bring 2 big bowls of soup, then 2 big salads, then 2 plates  of hor  dourves, followed by plates of spaghetti and raviolis.  Of course there are loaves of sour dough and garlic bread scattered over the table.  Dessert was your choice of spomoni, orange sherbet or vanilla ice cream.  This is all included in the price of your meal.  We were all stuffed after eating, but it had been hard talking up and down the long table so we retired to the bar and spread out so everyone could talk.  It was so good seeing everyone again, we will have to go back sooner.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Irish Heritage

With St. Paddy's Day coming up I thought I'd talk a little bit about my Irish heritage.  My Mother's family has a double shot of "Irishness", her maiden name was Kennedy, though unfortunately, a poor Kennedy.  I've been able to trace the family back to the early 1800's to a William Kennedy, but no further.  Family tradition says our family came from County Cork, but who knows.  Kennedy is such a common Irish name here in the States that it has been hard finding information.
The other bit of "Irishness" comes from her maternal Great Grandfather Michael Finn who was born in 1840 in Ireland, and with his father Thomas, emigrated to the States, but I don't know where or when.  He, Michael, married my Great Great Grandmother Mattie Blancet in Lafayette, Mississippi in 1875.  He died young and I don't know what happened to my Great Great Grandmother but my Great Grandmother Lizzie was raised by relatives in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
My Grandfather Richard Kennedy was very Irish looking with bright red hair and sparkling blue eyes.  And one of my Grandmother's Uncles, Ed Anderson, looked like a little Irish gnome.  My Mother had auburn hair and blue eyes and I have her blue eyes, but I don't particularly look Irish.

We traveled to Ireland in the late 90's and though I enjoyed the trip, freezing in July and all, it had no special feeling for me, not like England.  So that's the Irish side of me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Meanwhile in the Garden ...

The gardner is getting eaten alive by noseeums, even though she sprayed every uncovered inch.  They must be starving, they were even crawling up her nose!  The downside of a mild winter is that the local insect population doesn't freeze and when spring comes, and it has come here, they're out in force.
The bunny in the picture Mac got me for Christmas and he's been waiting for me to get off the couch and come  outside to do some gardening.  The weather has been very garden friendly lately so I've been weeding like crazy, one bed down and too many more to go.
In between weeding I've been putting in more bulbs, Gladiolas, pink Day Lilies and someArum Lilies.  We need to bed out the lettuce we have in the greenhouse before it gets any warmer and I need to replace some of the herbs in my Cadfael bed (I should be so lucky to have an herb garden like him).  My rosemary is fine, getting bigger each year, I'm trying to grow it into a tree, but my sage is just sad and leggy.  All of my scented geraniums died so I need to replace them too.

Beaver Lodge is Behind Him
Talking to one of our neighbors this week, he lives down by the bridge where the beavers have built a lodge, and he said the beaver has come out twice and attacked the alligator who lives near there.  Today when we were on the bridge we saw the alligator laying in front of the lodge, if he's looking to have a beaver burrito I think he may have a fight on his hands, paws, claws.  That was the small alligator, the larger was sunbathing with a turtle in our next door neighbor's yard.

Monday, March 12, 2012

An old painting of Macs, I'm sure he did it for me years ago, and though he's not a Leprechaun he always makes me think of St. Paddy's Day, and he always brings a smile to my face.
Had to hitch up the horses and head into town today.  Love living out in the country, but hate the fact that when we do head into town we have to make about a the most of the trip and try and get loads of things done.
First at the bank, last week I'd torn the bottom off a refund check not realizing it had the routing directions on it, so we had to find the rest of the check and take it back to the bank.
Then it was off to the post office to mail a painting Mac had sold to a lady in Florida.  I like it when he paints on canvas board, it's easier to protect and wrap, canvas has to be really swarthed in bubble wrap and protected.
Then it was off to Wally World to pick up bits of this and that.  More seed potatoes and more onion sets that  actually made it home with us, and more flower bulbs.
It's been cloudy all day but that's ok, makes for better napping weather and I'm just up from mine.

The Painting We Had to Mail

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Greening of the Fountains in Savannah

Friday was the kick-off for St. Patrick's Day here in Savannah.  The Irish community, and it's a large one, tints the water in the Fountain in Forsyth  Park to mark the beginning of celebrations.  The fountain, and I've never been able to find any name but "The Fountain in Forsyth Park, was built in 1853 and is rather Parisian in aspect.  They had a beautiful day for "the greening", as it's known,  and the weather is supposed to be nice all week, so Savannah will be full to over flowing with tourists all week.  When we came home last night I saw that the sign for the state park at Ft. McAllister  said they were full already and I'm sure all the local hotels are too.  They're expecting more than 300,000 people for next weekend, and Savannah only has 100,000 full time residents so you can imagine what it's going to be like around here.
Erin Go Bragh!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

QWERTY

Memory is such a strange thing.  I could go for years without typing, sit down at a typewriter and instantly be able to type.  The same for riding a bicycle, playing piano or shifting gears in a car.  Yes, I know it has something to do with physical activity forming neural pathways in the brain, but explain to me why I can remember how to type, but except for "qwerty" I would be hard pressed to tell you where keys are on a standard keyboard.  Outside of "a" and "s" I'd really have to think about it and even then I'm not sure I could tell you where everything is, but my fingers know.  So strange.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Azaleas

I love Azaleas, they are so bright and beautiful, I smile when I see them blooming.  As soon as we bought our house I began planting them.  Do I now have masses of blooming flowers?  No, mine, for the most part, are still small, blooming sporadically and looking a bit woebegone.  Mac feeds them, we water them, I talk to them, but still they look a bit sad.
We did our morning walk through our neighborhood today and I took some pictures of my neighbor's Azaleas.  Obviously they know something I don't know. :(








Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why I Didn't Vote

Yesterday for the first time in my adult life I did not vote in the primary election.  I've always voted, I thought it was important.  Though my political views have wavered back and forth through the years, I've voted for everyone from Jimmy Carter to George Bush, but the 2008 election did me in.  I was in a Republican phase, but who did they give me to vote for?  John McCain, and worse, far worse, Sarah Palin.  I stood in the voting booth, almost wrote in Hillary Clinton, with whom I have many differences, whose intelligence I respect,  choked, and voted Republican.  It made me sick.  I swore I would never again vote for someone I didn't truly respect and want for President.  I've finally given up on both parties, I have no idea what their agendas are except to thwart the other party.  The parties are ruled by their extremes and the folks in the middle who believe in compromise and cooperation are left out in the cold.  We have no say in who's nominated. Does this mean I'm a Libertarian and back Ron Paul? NO!!!!!!
I guess I'm an Independent.  I will not be voting Republican, I don't think any of their candidates is up to the job.  I won't vote Democrat, Obama was too inexperienced for the job when he was elected and he hasn't learned a lot since then.  I'm sure he'll be reelected, I'm sure the mess that passes for Congress will continue doing nothing and life for the younger generations is going to get worse.  That's too bad, but I've done my civic duty for many years and I don't want to be a party to all this any more.
I will not talk politics again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jane Austen

Jane has been much on my mind lately, not because it's her birthday (December 16), but perhaps because I've been reading some bad romantic novels that always leave me wanting to reread hers instead. I wish that more authors knew that less is more.  Graphic sex scenes do not a romance make.  Jane knew it well.
My favorite of her novels  are Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, followed fairly closely by Northanger Abbey.  I'm not as fond of Emma, I don't care for the heroine or Persuasion, again it's the heroine.  Northanger has a rather silly heroine, but I found her likeable anyway, as opposed to the other two.  Of course I love Lizzy, and not just because of the movie.
And speaking of the movies, I've only seen the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, and I've seen it many times.  Though I like Keira Knightley as an actress, I refuse to see a remake of something that was perfect already.  One day I'll write about my favorite Pride and Prejudice film variation----Lost in Austen, but that's a blog in itself.
As to Sense and Sensiblity I own two versions of it, the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet 1995 version and the Masterpiece Theatre Charity Wakefield/Hattie Morahan version.  I like the first because of Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon, whereas I thought Greg Wise was all wrong for the part of Willoughby.  Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet were too old for their parts too, but they're so good I forgive them.  The actors in the Masterpiece Theater version were much closer to the right ages, and Dominic Cooper made a much better Willoughby, but I missed Alan Rickman.  It was a little racier than the Emma Thompson version, but in other ways more faithful to the novel.  I saw the Gwyneth Palthrow 1996 Emma, but actually liked the Alicia Silverstone 1995 Clueless, an updated version, much better.  I've seen a version of Persuasion but remember very little about it.


I like the first  two movies so much that I own the CDs of the music and sheet music for all 4 of the movies.  I use the music from Sense and Sensibility to exercise to, I simply turn down the voice on my exercise tape and turn up the music instead, it doesn't fit what I'm doing, but I enjoy it anyway.  I do my warm-ups to a rather operatic solo.







The piano sheet music is fairly simple, some day I'll have to order more complicated versions, but right now they're perfect for me.  I play the music frequently and never tire of it.
So that's a bit about my Jane Austen obsession.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Your Printer is a Brat

This describes every printer we've ever owned.

After the Rain

It started raining here about noon on Saturday and didn't stop till around 7 am on Sunday.  A bit of wind, a bit of thunder and lightening, but most of all rain.  Before it was over we had gotten around 4 1/4 inches of rain.  We needed it badly and it didn't fall too hard so we're pleased.  As soon as everything dries a bit I'll be out in the garden.
We're supposed to have windy days this week, very March like, very spring like.  They're saying more rain by the end of the week, but only a slight chance, hope things calm down for everyone.

Sunday By Mac

She's finished, framed and hung on the wall.  I'm so pleased with her, she has to be one of Mac's best paintings.  She's a bit different from the original painted by Johanna Harmon, he didn't give her a foot, the stripes on the couch are in a different order and the books in his painting are a bit more distinct.  She is hanging over my piano and she'll be my header for awhile.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stormy Weather

The weather has not been kind the last few days, and my heart goes out to those who have been hit hard by the storms.  I can not even imagine the devastation of returning to what had been your home and finding nothing.  This year, as last year, we will be making donations to help these people out.
Watching the weather on CNN the weather man, when asked why we're seeing this kind of weather so early in the year, said that we'd had such a mild winter that basically we'd had no winter and spring, for all intents and purposes had begun back in January, and though the calendar says early March, that in reality we're deep into spring and summer may not be far behind.  Lord help us all.
We had over 100 days of 90+ degree weather last year and if we're in for that again I guess I better start saving money to pay for air conditioning.

We've been lucky so far and haven't had any of the bad weather seen by the rest of the southeast, but today they say we're in for thundershowers and up to 2 inches of rain.  Though, again, they say most of the really bad weather should wear itself out before getting here.  I hope they're right.

Several counties south and west of us are already under a tornado watch and our skies have clouded up since we got up.  We did our walk early to beat the storms which are predicted to reach the Savannah area around noon.  So we're going to batten down the hatches and see what happens.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March

Another day, another month.  Very warm and gloomy here today, highs around 80, we broke a record yesterday 84.  Too warm, too early.  I've been pulling weeds in the garden and Mac's going to have to get the horse linament out, boy am I out of shape.
I was playing some Gilbert and Sullivan yesterday, a medley, and I got to the one about "...poor, little Buttercup..." and visions of Bugs Bunny flashed through my head.  I'm sure I heard him sing that one in a cartoon one day.  Now of course I can't get the song, or the image, out of my head.

All Wrapped Up

Started early, finished late.  I started wrapping presents way back in November and except for a few small things due in the mail I'm fi...