Friday, August 31, 2012

The Marcels - Blue Moon

Thought that because tonight we're going to have a blue moon (2 full moons in one month) that I'd share this Golden Oldies with you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things I Should Know and Don't

Among the many things I should know, but don't are where the routing number and account number are on our checks.  Oh I know they're among the numbers at the bottom
 of the check, but I'm never sure which number is which.  So I was making a payment by phone this morning using an automated system, and because I wasn't sure which number was which, I also went online to find a picture that would show me.  I looked at the picture complete with labels,input my numbers and told it to pay.  Then I took a closer look at the picture and my check and realized that my checking account number and my check number were reversed.  ARGGH!  I had to call the company up, admit I was an idiot and work with a human to get it straight.  I need to write this information down and save myself from future embarrassment.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm Not Obsessive!

Ok, so I color coded my closet, and Mac's closet and the two linen closets and I know exactly where everything is in the pantry.  That does not make me obsessive, it just makes me organized.
So when the electricity goes out I know where the flashlight (in the cupboard under the wine table) and the batteries are (in the refrigerator door).
If you need canned mushrooms they're in the back left-hand corner of the eye level shelf.  Tomato sauce and tomato products in front of that. Next to the mushrooms are canned olives, beans of all kinds and then soups.  Coming forward you'll find tuna, chile and beef stock, the chicken stock is next to the beans.   I don't mix can goods with boxes and condiments are on the shelf above.  All organized.
The scissors are in a drawer under the wine table with a bunch of fiddlely little things like rubber bands, paper clips, pens, pencils, screws, nail files, junk.
See, I'm organized, now tell me why I can never find anything!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Header

Mac said it was time for a new header on our Blog and I thought in homage to the weather we've been having, almost 3 inches of rain on Thursday, that I'd put up the Laundry Day painting Mac painted for me.  For the last month there have been a number of days when we had to run out and get the laundry off the line.  Good thing Mac has fixed up a spot under the eaves where we can hang  laundry on rainy days.
Mac had painted a smaller version of this  for our Etsy shop and I liked it so much I asked him to paint a larger one for us.
It's beginning to look like we're going to have an early Autumn around here and that makes me very happy.  Now if we can just get through the end of hurricane season.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

In the Garden Thoughts and Butterflies

Absolutely beautiful day here today so  worked in the garden for an hour or so, finally got one bed cleared and started on the herb bed.  We had  nearly 3 inches of rain on Thursday so pulling weeds was easy and very satisfying.
Heard that a colleague we worked with in California passed away this last week,  she was only 48, and our daughter says that she's heard that someone she went to high school with has died, making her feel very old.  I told that the only answer is to go forth and be joyful, to celebrate each day.  It doesn't have to be anything spectacular, just savor the moments because that's what life is made of, moments.
Gardening is so therapeutic,  watching things grow and knowing you've been part of it.
Usually our Lantana bush is covered with flowers all summer, but the first part of the summer was very dry and it scarcely had a bloom.  But after the last week or so of heavy showers it's covered with flowers and better yet butterflies.  Today it was mostly Gulf Fritillaries and one very old looking Swallowtail.  It always brings a smile to my face to see them.




Friday, August 24, 2012

Where I Live, Sort Of

This is my little corner of the world where I spend a bit of my time.  This room is supposed to be a bedroom, it even has an ensuite bathroom and it's set up by the backdoor.  I have no doubt that in the blueprints of this house it was listed as the maid's room-----LOL---well I'm the maid around here so that works for me.
It is the 4th bedroom in this house and seeing as we don't need a 4th bedroom it has become our computer room.  Mac has his desk and computer in the right side corner and I'm on the left.
My desk, though I do try, tends to be a bit of a mess.  This is where I open and sort mail, and just before I took the picture I carried off several books that had come in from Amazon recently, a magazine that came today and some junk for the trash.
I pay bills here, either using snail mail or online.  The little carousel on the left holds pens, markers, scissors, stamps, address stickers and a million little bits of this and that.  Also on the left is the phone and a couple of magnifying glasses because I'm blind or at least people sending me mail are shrinking their printing to save on paper. There's also a digital picture frame that I don't ever remember to turn on.  Up above are various address books and manuals, an English mailbox bank and a picture of Mac and me.
Next to the desk on the left is my printer/scanner, Godzilla guards it against all invaders.
The desk on the right has my computer--my big screen Mac--the router and the modem and some more of my junk stuff.  By the modem are writer's books, dictionaries and a thesaurus.  Up above there's a picture of Mac as a little boy, a fairy on a horse, several bears, including one in shining armor and a Silver Jubilee cup from 1937 for George VI and Mary.
Down below each desk is paper for the printer, envelopes, some albums, boxes of cards (I save every card we get), and just general junk.
On the walls around my desk are paintings that Mac has done for me.
What's in your corner of the world?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mistress Mary Quite Contrary How Does Your Garden Grow?

With nearly 700 less weeds than it had before, that's for sure.  I count them as I pull them and enjoy every minute of it.  My garden has been very neglected this summer, it has been too hot and humid to go out and fight with it.  So the weeds have seen that as an opportunity to just run riot.
I must say though that it's easier to pull them when they're taller.  But my sister is coming to visit and I need to get things looking a little spiffier around here.

My Clematis is blooming, it and the Zinnias are about the only things that do in August.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Apple a Day

Ever since I made a  cover for my bread machine out of fabric covered in apples I've wanted to do some other craft projects with that fabric.  But alas I had no more and was too lazy to go looking for where I'd gotten it from.  Finally I got off my duff and found where I'd bought it on Etsy and ordered a couple more yards.

The idea was to make an oven mitt, a couple of place mats and some apple sachets.  Last Friday I started and though life kept intervening, yesterday I finished the mitt and the mats, though I ended up using 2 different colors and sizes of binding tape on the mats.  The sachets will have to wait for another day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Family Story With a Sad End

While working on my family history at  Ancestry.com   I ran across a relative who seems to have met  a rather desperate end.
My  Great, Great Uncle John Strader (he was my Great, Great Grandfather Martin Strader's brother) who was born in March 16, 1817 in Ross County Ohio and was the 6th of 15 children, oh they did have big families back then.  In 1846 his parents sold the rest of their farm land in Ohio  and settled in McDonough county in the Illinois area.  There John met Caroline Tracey and on March 8, 1849 they were married.
At first, as shown by the 1850 census,  they were still living with John's family on the farm.  Subsequently they got their own farm in Chalmers county Illinois where they had 7 children (Matilda Ann, Elizabeth Catherine, Margaret Jane, John McCoy, Ida Lovina, Mary Elda, and William Simeon).
Farming is a hard way of life and raising 7 children even harder, so perhaps it isn't surprising that  when John heard of a gold rush in Idaho that he joined a group of other men and headed west to seek his fortune and never returned.
Word finally reached the family that John had been killed by Indians in Missouri as he had been heading home.  There is a stone in the southeast section of the Gibson Cemetery in Illinios with this inscription on it: Killed By Indians On His Way Home  From Idaho 1860.  The stone is all they have, no body was ever recovered.
Caroline lived on to raise their 7 children alone.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Year of Reading

A year ago I began keeping a Reading Journal for several reasons.  To track what I'm reading, to see how much I'm reading, to prevent me from buying books I've already read unless I want to reread them and to have a place to do short reviews.
Well it's been an interesting year.  Since last August 18 I have read 137 books, that's about .37 books a day.  I had no idea.  But I do read quickly and I read several books at the same time.
What have I discovered about my reading habits?  Well, I like mysteries, always had.  This year I read all of Tana French's books (In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place and Broken Ground).  I'd read In the Woods before but decided to reread it after reading The Likeness because one of the characters is in both books.  Her books are spellbinding.  She writes about crime in Ireland and her characters are wonderfully, flawed people. She gets better with each book,  I wish she had written 40 books instead of only 4.  Well worth rereading because they're so much more than mysteries.

I'm also heavily into Charles Todd a mother/son writing team whose protagonist is a shell-shocked policeman who returns to Scotland Yard after World War I, carrying in his head Hamish, the Scotish soldier he had executed for refusing to lead his men into battle.   Some titles in this series are:
Search the Dark, A Fearsome Doubt, Legacy of the Dead


The books I'll remember long after this year?  There are a number.

11-22-63   By Stephan King a story of a man who travels back in time to try and prevent the assination of President Kennedy.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle  by Barbara Kingsolver  I blogged about this book before, a great book about being a locovore.

Money Ball  by Michael Lewis A must for all baseball fans

Fair Maiden  by Joyce Carol Oates  A very different story of love.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern    A story of magic and love and a circus I'd love to visit.

Every Last One by Anna Quinllen  The story of a family destroyed by obsessive love.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLean  A fictionalized account of the marriage of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley.  Made me want to read more about them.

During the year I also read some real duds!
Books I WOULDN'T  recommend include:

The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek  Chick Lit, which I don't read, my only excuse is that I've been considering reading The Great Gatsby and I thought this might give me some insight into the story.

Mrs. Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs  I like quirky stories but this one just wasn't well written.

Kiss Mommy Goodbye  by Joy Fielding  Boring and not particularly well written.


So what am I reading now, well I'm reading:

The Orlando Trilogy by  Isabel Colegate  I've read several of her books this year, including The Shooting Party and I like her very much.

The Time Baroness by Georgina Young-Ellis  I love time travel books even when they're "cheesy".

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan  I'm rereading this whole series because the final book, # 14 or 15, is coming out in January.


And I'm waiting for A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway to come in.

It's been a good year for reading.




Saturday, August 18, 2012

Storms

We had an awful thunderstorm yesterday afternoon.  It came up so suddenly, first the rain, then the thunder.  Usually it's the other way around and we hear thunder for awhile before the rain starts falling.  But anyway, I was in the pool trying to clean up some of the mess deposited by the storm the day before and suddenly it was pelting down.  Mac ran out and got the clothes off the clothes line and we both hurried into the house.  A few minutes later the thunder and lightning started adn the electricity went out.
That's a bad thing, a very bad thing, for without electricity we can't run fans and a house without fans in August in Georgia is horrible.  We put batteries in our radio and tried to get a weather report, but all we got was bad music.
Our phone was out, but surprisingly my iphone was working so I called the electric company to see if we could get an idea of how long they thought we'd be without power.  All I got were lots of recorded messages telling me they were aware of the problem and were working on it.
One hour passed, 1.66 inches of rain fell, the thunder and lightning were unabated.  Two hours passed, we were sweating cobs.  When the rain stopped we jumped in the pool to cool off.
Three hours passed, and then the electricity came back on, what a relief.
We had numerous branches down, one pretty good sized, but other than that things were fine.  Today we walked through out neighborhood to see how everyone else fared, and the first thing we saw was a huge tree down in our next door neighbor's yard.  It was easily 60 feet high and just snapped off about 20 feet up, missed her house thankfully.  Around the corner another neighbor had a huge hardwood that had split and partially fallen.
The storms can let up any time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Drought and My Pocketbook

The drought is all through the USA, particularly in the midwest where all the corn, soybean  and wheat grows.  It has been devastating to the farmers there, even with crop insurance.  We went grocery shopping last week and I realized that the drought is going to be devastating to consumers too.  There's only the 2 of us, but already I see an increase in the prices we're paying, I'd hate to be feeding a houseful of people.
Worse hit seems to be the corn crops and the soybean crops, so I decided to take a look and see which of my pantry items contain these two ingredients.
We're lucky, we don't eat a  lot of canned food, we try to grow a bit of our own veggies or we buy fresh local produce.  But in my pantry I found that :

Pork and Beans
A-1 Sauce
Cream of Mushroom soup
All my Light Progresso soups
All my Ken's Light Salad dressing

contained either high fructose corn syrup, corn oil or corn protein

My Hellman's Mayonaise  has soybean oil.
And of course my bread  flour is made from wheat.

Then there's meat and poultry.  Cattle shouldn't be feed corn, but they  are, to fatten them quicker and pigs and chickens are fed diets full of corn.  So the price of meat is going to go up.  Initially meat prices will decline as ranchers sell off their cattle so they don't have to buy higher priced feed for them, but then there will be fewer cattle coming to market and that will drive the price up.  People would say we should give up meat, but I'm a committed omnivore and as much as I love my veggies, and I do, they make up the majority of our meals, I want to eat meat too.  So I'll have to be more selective about what we eat, we already eat 3 to 4 chicken meals for every beef or pork one we have.  Fish is higher than all of the above, and though Mac loves fish I'm a reluctant fish eater.  We do generally have tuna fish on Fridays, but that's about it.

But the really bad news of course is that 15% of our gasoline is ethanol which is made from corn so gas will be going up, and it's already up because of the fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, California.  So it's going to cost more to transport everything  and more to go to the store to buy it.  More reason to shop locally and buy local produce.

Monday, August 13, 2012

International Left-Handed Day

Some Other Famous Lefties
As the mother of a lefty I couldn't let this day go unnoticed, and have to give a cheer for all the great lefties out there.
Studies have shown that there are more male lefties than female, that left-handedness is not inherited, lefties  tend to be creative and that they often top the intelligence scale.
Some famous lefties:

Mozart

Beethoven

Napoleon

Billy the Kid

Winston Churchill

Lewis Carroll

Ben  Franklin

Paul McCartney

Marilyn Monroe

Bill Clinton

And our daughter April!





Runs Like a, Well, Not a Deer

It's no John Deere, it's a Murray, it's paint's peeling off and the tires need pumping up, but it's all mine.  I love to mow the lawn.  If we didn't have a riding mower I wouldn't even consider it, but I love powering this one around the yard.  We have almost an acre to mow and it was hot out there today.  The grass and weeds were thicker and taller than I've ever seen them, but it's rained so much and the ground around here is boggy under the best of circumstances so it's been awhile since I have  mowed.
I weeded in the garden while I waited for Mac to go get some gas for the mower and pump up its tire, but I'm too embarrassed to show a picture of my garden, the weeds are higher than the plants.
I use to love summer, still do in ways---love to swim--, but the humidity this year has made it difficult for me to be outside.  We do our morning walk and then I head indoors to find something to do indoors.

But the last few days have been a bit better so I've been trying to bring a little bit of order back to the garden.
Saw a deer in the empty lot next door this weekend and then yesterday he, I think it was a he, was in our backyard, he was eating weeds so we left him alone.  The cat was mesmerized.

Deer Next Door













Deer in Backyard











Sunday, August 12, 2012

Be Careful of What You Wish For

This House was hit in July 
We've been in a drought down here in Georgia for awhile, ending last year about 10 inches of rain below where we should have been, and this year wasn't doing very well either.  We had to keep watering the lawn and garden, something you shouldn't have to do in the south.  I kept muttering that we needed rain.
Well times have changed, we've had some kind of rain nearly every day for the last month.  Some days it dribbles, some days it pours, some days it steams and some days the lightning is too close, no time between sight and sound ----sound travels (roughly 1200 feet a second or 1 mile in 5 seconds, and I usually count the time between sight and sound.
Miss Kitty has spent a bit of time hiding under the couch, she likes loud sounds, but she doesn't like lightning.  The storm was bad enough yesterday that I felt like crawling under there with her.
Houses have been struck nearly every day here this summer and trees (seriously big trees) have fallen on a number of houses.
Yesterday in Savannah

This week in Savannah
I'm beginning to think that drought doesn't sound too bad.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sunshine Award

Jo at Through the Keyhole has awarded me a Sunshine Award, and I feel a bit guilty because I haven't blogged in what feels like forever.  I asked for rain, and for it to cool off, and it did, but unfortunately it has rained some every day and the humidity is through the roof!
But back to the award, I want to thank Jo for giving it to me, and if you haven't read her blog, go, go right now!
As a recipient I'm supposed to answer some questions, so here goes.

What is your favorite color? Well that depends, I love blue and wear lots of it, but never paint anything blue in my house, I use a lot of greens there.

What is your favorite nonalcoholic drink?  That's an easy one, sweet iced tea, love it.  It's what the South runs on.

What is your favorite animal?  If we're talking domestic animal then it's cats, we've always had cats, Miss Kitty being the latest in a long line.  If we're talking wild animals then it would be elephants, always had a thing for them, don't know why, just do.

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?  I have accounts at both, but I'm not crazy about either.  But if pinned down I'd say Facebook, it helps me keep in touch with far flung family and friends.

What is your passion?  My family, there is nothing that comes before it.  Reading is a minor passion, but an important one to me, I read every day, have books scattered all over the house.

What is your favorite pattern?  Right now it's polka dots, in every color.

Do you prefer giving or receiving?  That's easy, I prefer giving, love seeing the look on someone's face when they get something unexpected.

What is your favorite number? The number 5, no reason, it just is.

What is your favorite day of the week?  Sunday because that's the day of the week my daughter and I talk on the phone, we Tweet and email during the week, but Sunday morning we talk on the phone and I look forward to it all week


I don't know how many Blogs I'm supposed to pass this award onto, but here are a few I really enjoy reading so I'm passing it to:



Cait O'Connor    A great blog and always wonderful paintings

Georgia Girl With An English Heart  Lives in Georgia, but love England as much as I do

Mr. Micawber's Recipe for Happiness  Loves England, crocheting, cooking and LOOOOONG bike rides

Hardup Hester's stretching the penny's blog  Because she makes me laugh



Don't feel obligated to answer the questions, just know that I enjoy reading your blog every day.













Saturday, August 4, 2012

Too Big!

Our house is too big, it was too big when we bought it and as we've gotten older it feels like it's gotten even bigger.  We've been here 9 years and we both like it better than any house we've ever had, but hauling stuff up the stairs into the house is getting to be a hassle. And keeping it clean is more work than I want.  Each day I pick something to clean, other than the kitchen which gets cleaned every day, and today it was bathrooms----4 of them!  Who needs 4 bathrooms?  Two would be great.
We've talked about how long we can realistically expect to stay here and figure that with luck maybe 3 more years.  We would like to be closer to our daughter in Maryland, but we don't want to be too close to Washington D.C., we would prefer a semi-rural setting.  We'd like a single story house, that's what we were looking for when we bought this one.  I don't actually mind the stairs going upstairs, again, it's those coming into the house that are wearing us out.
So we've started looking at houses online, we're long term planners.  We made several trips down here to Georgia before we moved here and we'll probably make a number of trips to Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware and Maryland before we decide where we want to be.
We've always moved a lot, being in the military saw to that, when Mac was in we lived 3 different places in Germany, Turkey, Colorado, Texas and Georgia twice. Since Mac retired from the Army we've moved 3 times, twice across country. 
If we were to keep this house it would involve adding an elevator or at the very least a Dumb Waiter, I wonder if that would be cheaper than moving.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

iphone

Well I did it, I always said I wouldn't, but I did.  Get an iphone that is.  I hate phones, cell phones in particular.  Our cell phone spends most of its life in the glove compartment of the car.  I don't use it at home at all, unless our landline goes out.  Where we live is a bad area for cell phones, they'll work outside (our driveway is our best reception area) or if you hang out the window.  They'll work on wifi inside the house, but not on the 4G network like they should.
So we use ours when we're in the car and lost (which is frequently) and when we travel to check email and phone home.
Now don't get me wrong, I like Apple products, we've had Apple computers since the early 90's.  But the iphone runs around $599 and that's a lot of money to pay for something you don't particularly like or use.  So I've had a Droid phone for a couple of years and though it was erratic about getting our email it was ok.  Our 2 year contract was up this month and I called my provider to see what kind of deals that would offer to keep me as a customer, and they made me a deal on an iphone 4S I couldn't refuse.  So I got it yesterday, they transferred all the data from from my old phone and then wiped it clean (we're going to donate it to the Phones for Warrior's program) and other than the fact that they were unable to set up my email (I have such a weird provider) I was happy.
When I got home I called my phone provider and spent almost an hour with a helpful lady named Michelle.  She tried everything, asked if I'd mind going out in my hot driveway where are signal is the strongest, and finally managed to set up my email.  I was impressed.
So now I have a lovely iphone, with all my old stuff on it, loads of new stuff and it works just like my Apple computer.  If I liked phones better I'd actually playing with it, but alas, I don't, and it's turned off laying in the bottom of my purse.