Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Riddle

What's the difference between the alligator who sun bathes in our backyard and my hands?  Lotion, oceans of lotion stored in this bottle on my sink.  When we moved to Georgia the last thing I expected was for it to be dry.  Oh, we have some humidity, but not like the rest of the state and less rain too.  Plants and lawns have to be watered, and I need lotion by the gallon or my hands resemble alligator claws.








Taken in our backyard in May of '09

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Makes You Wonder

Mac was getting some new life insurance and we listed our daughter as the secondary beneficiary.  They needed his updated medical records, including, for the first time in his life, an HIV test--and he hates having blood tests.  All the paperwork was done, everything was approved and they sent us our copies and told us to look them over, so Mac did.  He noticed one small error, April Christine is not our son, you'd have thought someone at the insurance company might  have caught that one.  So new paperwork is on its way to us.
Our automobile insurance company has just sent us our new premium and it has gone up.  Because we've had tickets?  No.  Because we've had an accident?  No.  Because we drive a lot in a big city and do drag racing as a hobby?  No.  Because we've filed too many claims?  No.  It's because we're old, we've become a statistic.  Older people are involved in more accidents.  So even though we drive our 2 cars less than 10,000 miles a year, mainly in rural areas,  we now have to pay more for insurance.  Ain't getting old grand.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday

She's not done, but oh she's  getting close.  I've ordered her frame, a coppery gold one.  Mac says he has a few details to finish (the roses in the vase, more shadowing), will let it set for a few days, and then he'll go back and put in any highlights that are needed.
This week's header started as a single painting, The Well, and when we  put it over the fireplace we realized it needed more to complete it so Mac did The Pump and The Watering Can.  He also added the fairies for me, can you spot them all, there are 2 that are easy to see and 8 teeny, tiny ones.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wodehouse

For the last couple of months we've been on a bit of a Poirot tear, watching a couple of episodes a week.  But ever so often the little grey cells need a break and we look for something a bit lighter.  Mac is a huge fan of P.G.Wodehouse and can quote all sorts of bits and bobs from his books.  He particularly likes his short stories and his golf stories.  We own all of the Jeeves and Wooster cds and watch them often, but sometimes we crave Wodehouse Playhouse  a set of cds that were originally made back in the 70's.  They cover many of the Mulliner stories and are an absolute hoot.  They starred John Alderton and Pauline Collins (Upstairs, Downstairs, Shirley Valentine) and they are wonderful.  John Alderton can play the most timid curate in one episode and in the next story be the most unctuous creature alive, while Pauline Collins steals every scene she's in.  A particular favorite of ours is when she plays a sweet, animal loving poetess who goes to stay at Tudsleigh Towers and being overwhelmed by all the blood sports going on finds herself writing a poem about the joys of potting a gnu.
If you've never seen these you should give them a try, they're a real treat.  We bought our copies years ago and Netflix carries the 3 series.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow

No very well if you let your plants fall out of your cart and not realize it.  We went shopping last week for seed potatoes, and I was very disappointed that they had only Russet potatoes, no red ones, onion sets and garlic.  We also purchased tubs to plant them in and potting soil.  When Mac went looking for the plants he couldn't find them any where, not in the house, the garage, the greenhouse or the garden.  He finally found the receipt where he'd paid for everything and realized he hadn't paid for the veggies, some how they'd fallen out of his cart (they'd done this once and he'd noticed and put them back in) and never made it home with us.
Neither of us felt like going back and trying to get them again, especially since they didn't have the red potatoes I actually wanted, so I ordered online and hopefully they'll be here before too long.  The potatoes and onions did really well last year and we want to plant a lot more this year.  It feels so good going out in your garden and digging up your own food.


Most people here planted their potatoes this week so we'll be a bit behind, but that's ok, we'll still get them in.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wine Table

I was doing a bit of cleaning and noticed our wine table (we seldomly SEE the things we see every day) and thought it would make a great picture.  The small paintings are of course by Mac, the tile picture we bought in Spain on our last trip there.  The brass mortar and pestle on the right  were brought by Mac's Grandmother from Spain when she emigrated.   The tall decanter in the back on the left is antique lead glass from Germany.  Also on the left are several vintage cork screws from England, the small glass bottles are also vintage English.  The wooden cask, known as a firken and used to carry cider to the workers in the fields is also an antique from England.  The wines are South African, Italian, and Australian, while the Irish Cream is of course Irish.  A rather cosmopolitan wine table.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spanish Stuff

Though I was a Bi-lingual teacher for 13 years and I minored in Spanish in College, I'm a perfect example of if you don't use it you'll lose it, so I have forgotten most of my Spanish.  Normally this wouldn't matter much but we've decided to go to Spain later this year to spend a week in Toledo and I'd like to be able to say something besides "Dos cervezes, por favor."
So I have been trying to relearn some of my Spanish.  You'd think Mac could help, after all his family is from Spain, but wanting to be true Americans his parents taught their kids to speak English, any Spanish they picked up was purely accidental.  He has a beautiful Spanish accent for the words he does know, can really trill those "r's", something I've never been able to do.  I speak Spanish with a flat American accent.
We're really looking forward to this trip, we haven't been to Spain in more than 10 years.  When we lived in Germany we use to go down there twice a year so we could see the sun.  Spent a lot of time on the Costa Brava back in the late 60's and 70's.  When we went again in the 90's we went with Mac's younger brother and his then girlfriend now wife, and we rented a villa near Malaga.
When Mac asked me where I'd like to go this year I said Spain, but not the coast, I wanted to see Toledo a place we first saw more than 30 years ago and still stays in my mind for its beauty.
Staying in Toledo is going to be painting heaven.  I want to paint, draw and take a million pictures.   We're   renting an apartment in the old part of town near the old Jewish Synagogue.  Mac's only requests were for air conditioning and a balcony, both of which I was able to find for us.  It'll probably be noisy as all get out staying in the city, but that's part of the ambiance.
I plan on rereading parts of James Mitchner's Iberia  before we go, it's an older book, but is still one of the best I've ever read about Spain.  I know it has been more than 30 years since we've been to Toledo and that much as probably changed but I hope not too much.
We're also hoping to go out to the town Mac's maternal grandparents came from, a small town named Macotera,  it's in the middle of nowhere, you head east towards Salamanca and take a small road out to it.  We went there years ago, before I had any interest in genealogy, and didn't really look around, this time we want to see the old church and see if we can look through the old records and maybe the graveyard.
Thinking about this trip made me go and do some more genealogical work on Mac's Father's family, they have been pretty much of a dead end for me, but last night pouring over the ship's register from when they emigrated from Spain to Hawaii I found the name of the town they came from, probably their embarcation point.   His Dad had always said he came from somewhere near Seville and that was all he knew--he was 6 when they emigrated.  Well the register says they came from La Roda, and though I found a La Roda on the map it wasn't in Andulucia, and his Dad definitely had an Andulusian accent, so I'm betting his Grandfather told the immigration people Rota and because of his pronunciation, for an Andulusian "d" and "t" are interchangeable, Rota became Roda.    I pretty much knew they'd left from southern Spain and not the north, San Sebastian or the east, Barcelona, so that helped a little, but not enough.  Mac says I'll never track them down because Gitanos, gypsies, leave no trail.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Raccoon Eyes

I have always been very fair skinned with a fairly decent complexion.  Through the years I've used very little make-up often using only a light concealer (I use Cover Girl) to cover any irregularities in skin tone and the dark circles I would get under my eyes when my allergies were acting up. 
Unfortunately last year I was diagnosed with glaucoma having now to use daily drops in my eyes,  and those drops have turned the skin under my eyes and my eyelids very dark.  I look like a demented raccoon with red rimmed eyes.  So I went in a search for a concealer that would cover this level of darkness and would last awhile. The Cover Girl I had been using definitely wasn't up to the task.  After a bit of research  I found Revlon's Age Defying concealer and it's great!  Not too expensive, about $4.95 for a tube that lasts me a couple of months, and I use it every day, twice a day if we're going out in the evening.
So I give it a strong recommendation if you've got raccoon eyes and are looking for a good concealer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

He's Painting It!!!

Mac agreed to paint Sunday for me!  We went Thursday and bought the canvas, it's pretty big  24/36 inches, and he started on it today.  He has a great beginning.  When he finishes it I think I'm going to hang it over my piano.
This week's Header is a painting Mac did as his interpretation of a photo he saw in an English magazine and the one done with seashells is another interpretation.



















The beginnings of Sunday

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reasons You Might Want to Rethink Your Next Dental Visit

1.  Clive Barker. the author went into a 5 day coma, suffering Toxic Shock Syndrome,  after a routine dental cleaning.

2.  An Italian  woman caught Legionnaire's Disease from the water  in her dentist's office and died.

3.  A woman in Salt Lake City, Utah lost her home for an unpaid $68 dental bill, they auctioned her house off.

4.  My own dentist, or as I think of him--my former dentist, was arrested for using drugs, on himself, while treating patients.

I'm considering alternative dental options.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thinking of Spring

It's not spring, it's more than a month away, but oh, it's starting to look like it anyway. With temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's the plants don't know what to think.
 The Crocus and Hyacinths are starting to bloom in the garden and I love it.  I think I'd like to have a garden that had only blues, purples and whites in it.
I cleaned around the plants a bit and then went out to look at the Daffodils and Hyacinths by the driveway, along the way the scent of the Paperwhites that Mac planted in the woods is almost overwhelming.
In the greenhouse Mac needs to start thinning out the tomatoes and repotting them.   It's so funny, one of the tomato plants broke almost in two, Mac duck taped it together and it's doing fine, yet another thing duck tape can do.





Is anyone else having trouble getting onto blogs and leaving comments?  It's driving me crazy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Raviolis Round One

Yesterday I decided to start on one of my New Year's Resolutions and attempt to make a decent ravioli from scratch.  My problem in the past has been that the raviolis fell apart when I boiled them,  the filling came out, and the pasta was tough.  So yesterday I went to Cook.com and looked at recipes, found one I liked, read the comments from people who'd used the recipe and decided to give it a go.
The recipe was simple:     1 egg lightly beaten
                                          1 cup flour
                                                                                                                              1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                                              2 Tbs water



Combine the flour and salt, make a well in the flour and add the slightly beaten egg, the dough should become stiff, and you add 1-2 Tbs of water (one of the comments said to substitute oil for some of the water) and that's what I did.  Then knead the dough for 3-4 minutes, cover with damp cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.  The recipe said you could roll it out or use a pasta machine, I have a pasta machine so we used that ( I put Mac on machine duty).
While the dough rested I made the filling and sauce.  For the filling I cooked ground hamburger meat, garlic, onions, tomato sauce, fresh spinach, oregano, basil and marjoram, shredded cheese, red wine.



The pasta recipe said to mold the raviolis together and crimp with a fork, so that's what I did.  And they stayed together, they didn't leak, they weren't tough and the meal was delicious!
I've actually finished a resolution.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

It doesn't take a special day for me to know how important my husband is to me.  We've been together since we were teenagers and he will always be my love and my best friend.  He makes me happy, laughs at the same things I do, cries at the same movies I do, holds me when I don't feel well and sneaks flowers into the house to surprise me.
These are  a few of the Valentine critters he's given me through the years, including some chocolate which I will devour because I have no self control.
 Happy Valentine's Day Mac!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Door Knobs

I didn't want to put long pulls on the doors in my kitchen and I was lucky enough to find birdcage knobs to match the pulls.  Mac put a bunch of them on this weekend and if I would do an accurate count and order enough to finish things up he'd be through in no time.  I still need more for the kitchen, 2 for the laundry room,  and 7 more for the doors and 9 more for the drawers in the upstairs bathrooms.  The upstairs may wait awhile.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pre-Raphaelite Paintings

Lady of Leisure
I love Pre-Raphaelite paintings!  In the days when Mac would paint me copies of other artists' works I had him paint my new header.  It is Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward and was originally painted in 1904.  Mac painted my copy in about 2004.  It hangs on the wall as you go up the stairs in our house.  It has a companion piece, Lady of Leisure that was originally painted by Fredric Soulacroix.
Mac prefers to paint his own paintings and not copy other artists' works,  but once in a while, when I ask nicely he'll make a copy for me.  What started all this today is that I visited Cait O'Connors Blog and she had the most beautiful painting there, Sunday by American artist Johanna Harmon, and I want, want, want a copy of it, so now I need to convince Mac.  It's not a Pre-Raphaelite, but it reminds me of their work.  I think it's the red hair.
Sunday
















Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just Playing Around

I've been painting the wooden clock Mac gave me year before last for Christmas, not saying I'm slow, but sometimes inspiration comes slowly.  I painted the front and top pastel and then went bolder on the back.  I've never done much painting on anything but canvas so this has definitely been a learning process for me.  Now Mac needs to reattach the clock parts.

My Paperwhites have bloomed!  I've always meant to plant some in the house but just never seemed to get around to it, but this year I finally did it.  They smell like heaven.  Mac planted some out in the woods and they're blooming too

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Living in the Wilds

We have an empty lot next door to us and as we stepped out for our morning walk today we noticed Turkey Vultures sunning themselves in the trees.  They have quite a wingspan, and at times we've seen them sunning themselves on our roof which I find very disturbing, I mean after all they're carrion eaters and I worry about what they're waiting for.  A group of turkey vultures is known as a venue, a committee or a wake.  Considering what they eat I think a wake of vultures is the most fitting name.
We continued our walk down to the bridge that crosses over the lagoon and I spotted something across the water.  Mac has much better eyesight than I do so I asked him what it might be, but he felt that it was just a stump.  But as we crossed the bridge and got a closer look we realized that it was an alligator that had crawled out of the water to sun bathe.  He doesn't look very big in the picture, but in person he appeared to be some where between 4 and 5 feet  in length and fairly hefty.  He didn't appear to be the least bit bothered by us standing on the bridge  talking about him, he rolled his eyes, gave us a rather bored look  and returned to his sun bathing.
Sometimes our morning walks are rather like a trip to the zoo.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens

Today is Charles Dickens 200th birthday, and though I read a ton of books each year, I just read my first Charles Dickens' novel, David Copperfield. and I loved it!  My only excuse for not reading one of his works earlier is that as a teenager in school I was forced to read a number of "classics"---Kim by Rudyard Kipling, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephan Crane and numerous others I was too young and too immature to appreciate.  It gave me a horror of "classic"novels and to a large extent I have avoided them ever since.
But now that I'm older and a bit wiser I hope, I've decided to read some of the authors I've given a miss through the years and I decided I'd start with Dickens, and after reading synopses of several of his novels I decided on David Copperfield, both because it sounded interesting and because it is considered the most biographical of his novels and I thought it might give me some insight into the author.
It was wonderful!  Full of humor, sadness, pain, goodness, and great, great characters.  Uriah Heep was as vile as his name sounds, and Mr. Micawber  with his words of advice---"My other piece of advice, Copperfield," said Mr. Micawber, "you know.  Annual income twenty pound, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.  The blossom is blighted, the leaf is withered, the god od day goes down upong the dreary scene, and, in shbort, you are forever floored.  As I am!". is just a joy, he was my favorite character.
I plan to read more Dickens and I believe Great Expectations is next on my list.
So Happy Birthday Charles Dickens.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Morning Ramblings

Sitting here waiting for the Bug Man and he's an hour late!  If you live in the south you have a Bug Man, and he comes quarterly to spray the inside and outside of your house to keep it from turning into an Insectorium --made that word up I think.  The bug population here is horrendous and you have to fight them evert step of the way.  Doesn't matter how clean your house is, and I do try, you have critters creeping in from the outside.  So we're waiting and I'm not happy.
Great Super Bowl last night, really happy that the Giant won!  Usually enjoy the commercials a lot, but pretty much thought they were blah this year except for the Doritos.
This week's painting is only a few years old, Mac saw a photo similar to this in a local magazine and decided to paint his version of it.  The photo was taken in Charleston, South Carolina at an outdoor market.  Though pink and red are not my favorite colors I really like this painting, it hangs above the tv in the family room.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Down the Coast



Yesterday we decided we needed to get out of the house for something besides a doctor's appointment or shopping, so we went in search of an allusive restaurant in Sunbury down the coast from us. Sunbury is not really a town any more having been deserted after the Civil War.  It had been founded in 1748 by Capt. Mark Carr after he had acquired a 1,000 acres of land from the government.  Sunbury was the 2nd largest shipping port in Georgia, after Savannah, shipping lumber, rice, indigo and cotton to Europe, and Ft. Morris was built to protect the town from invasion by the British during the War of 1812.  A couple of signers of the U.S. Constitution lived there, Lyman Hall and Button Gwinnett.  But prosperity didn't return after the Civil War  and the last house, Screven house, was torn down in the 1960's.  There is a colonial cemetery and that's all that remains of the past.
 We had read reviews of the restaurant  and people either loved it or hated it, but Mac was really craving a piece of fish, something I don't cook very often,  so we decided to try and find the place.  In the past we  have tried to find the Sunbury Crab Company a couple of times  and usually ended up lost on backroads to no where.  So yesterday Mac Googled the directions to the place, I actually dressed up a bit and we headed down the road.  The Google directions were awful, road signs were turned around, we had to back track at least once, but finally we found it.
Rustic as all get out in a beautiful location sitting on the Medway River, we found seats near a window, studied the menu and discovered that everything was fried, had our ears blasted by a "gentleman" sounding like Slim Pickens at the table behind us, and ordered shrimp for me and flounder for Mac.  The salads were good, the food was ok, but nothing special, and quite overpriced.  But it was nice to be out and about, so we ate, enjoyed the view and then walked down to the water.
The drive back was along backroads and we spotted this shed and wagon, Mac took several pictures, saying he thought it would make a great painting.
 
We also took a picture of the Dorchester Academy.  This was originally a large brick school built in the 1870's for freed slaves.  It was used actively by the civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote part of his "I Have a Dream Speech" there.  Today all that is left is a boy's dormitory built in 1937.
Home again then, nice day out.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Greenhouse Special


Plants in Mac's greenhouse are really doing well this winter.  It's not a heated greenhouse, but this year that doesn't seem to matter, the weather has been running about 8 degrees above normal, so high 60's and low to mid 70's.
  He's going to have to transplant the tomatoes into pots soon, they're getting tall and crowded.  .  Our impatiens usually die in the winter here, but they're still going strong this year.  We also moved the Hibiscus into the greenhouse, usually we end up covering it in cold weather and last year we lost 2 even though we covered them.
 Everything is starting to leaf out here and the air is full of pollen  That's scary because winter is no where near over and I know we'll have a couple of freezes before it's through.  This weather makes me want to plant but I'll wait.  Put in a few bulbs this week but that's it.  I know other places are having  less than ideal weather and I feel for them, but this has been a great winter for us, so far.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beautiful Winter Day

In between Doctor appointments, going to the bank, dropping off donations at Goodwill and shopping, we went for a walk in the town park that's built on land that use to be part of the Henry Ford Estate.  It was so beautiful, blue skies and warm temperatures, we walked without coats it was so nice.
Along the way we did a bit of bird spotting, my camera doesn't take the greatest distance shots but we spotted an Anhinga, also known as a snake bird, who was spreading his wing and sunning himself.
Then we came upon a woodpecker working away on a tree, and finally we saw a Blue Heron flying across the sky, Mac snapped his picture when he settled in a tree.
The canals in the park are tidal, and with the tide out the birds were busy fishing and gathering up small crabs and snails.  You'll need to click on the photos and enlarge them to see the birds.
I know this weather isn't going to last, but oh I'm enjoying it while it's here.  Today I planted more bulbs and I saw that my Daffodils are getting ready to bloom and the Freesias are already blooming.