Sunday, September 30, 2012

With Apologies to Paul Simon

Hello Ragweed my old friend
You've come to torment me again
Because an allergen softly creeping
Left its   dust  while I was sleeping
And the mess planted in me drains, and
Still remains
Ten thousand  bits of pollen

In bushy fields I've walked along,
Asphalt streets lined with weeds like you
"Neath the halo of yellow light
I turned my head to avoid your pollen blight
When my eyes were stabbed with an itch
That split my sight
And touched my sinus' yet again

And in the daylight I saw
Ten thousand bits of pollen, maybe more
Pollen falling in my hair,
Pollen falling in my face
Pollen  that covered me
I did not dare
Disturb the fields of Ragweed

"Fools", said I, "Don't you know
Ragweed like a cancer grows
Hear my word that we can stop its growth
See my arms reach out to pull it down
But my words did not help
They flew through the fields and fell on empty ground
And I sneezed and snuffled and prayed
That the Allegra I'd taken would  heal,
For the words on the box, like the words of a prophet said
Take 1 a day and you'll be saved
The sneezes will go and
There'll be the sounds of silence

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall

Love the colors of Fall, they feel so warm, now if the weather would just cool down a bit so I could enjoy them more.
Mac gave me Chrysanthemums for my birthday and I always put them on the front steps.  Even then it's not quite October we dug out some jack o'lanterns too.
At the top the Hibiscus is still blooming, it too knows that the summer weather is not quite gone.




Friday, September 28, 2012

Birthday

It's my birthday and I decided to look and see what was going on the year I was born.

•  First meeting of the UN in London

•  The Philippines gained their independence from the US

•  The first automatice electronic digital computer ENIAC is dedicated at the University of      Pennsylvania

•  A first class stamp costs $0.03

•  Gas cost $0.15 a gallon

•  A new car cost $1,120

•  A new house cost $5,600

•  Average wages were $2500 a year

•  Born that year were Cher, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Spielburg and
   Bill Clinton

Flash forward to 2012.

•  The UN is in New York and it's a waste of time and money

•  The Phillippines are set to be the next important economy

•  A first class stamp costs $0.45

•  Gas locally costs $3.65 a gallon

•  Average price of a new car is a bit over $30,000

•  Average price of a new house $295,300

•  Average wage (according to the Soc.Sec. Admn.) is $41,673

We'll have to wait a while to see if anyone interesting was born this year.

What happened the year you were born?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bicycle

My new header picture is a painting Mac did a few years ago, he painted 2 of them and sold one.  It's from a photo in an English magazine we use to take (In Britain, England?).  When I saw it I knew it would make a great painting.  It hangs in our livingroom to the side of my piano and I love looking at it.
I'm dedicating this painting to Mrs.Micawber who bike rides every week and wears me out.  This Sunday she did 60 miles, oh my!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What is Elderly?

While on the phone with a store's Customer Service last week I heard that I was elderly and it kind of threw me for a loop.  I'd been trying to get something done about something that had been delivered and wasn't right.  They had delivered it via FedEx and their Customer Service suggested that I pack it back into its box and have FedEx pick it up at their expense.  I explained that it had come in a huge bag, not a box and that there was no way it would now fit back in the bag.  So they suggested that I take it, as is, to their nearest store.  I explained that we had small cars and that it wouldn't fit and that I was too old, I gave my age, to be manhandling it around.  At that point they were out of suggestions, I sighed and said I guessed we'd find a way to make it work.
Shortly thereafter I received another phone call from someone higher up in Customer Service who apologized, said they hadn't realized how elderly I was and that they'd have FedEx pick  it up and bring packing supplies to do it with.
After the call I sat there for a while and thought about what it means to be elderly, something I never think of myself as being.
What is elderly?  Since last week I've walked at least 2 miles a day, did a day of aerobics, renewed my driver's license, climbed a million stairs each day, helped move our old couch out of the family room, helped move our new mattress into the bedroom, hung out about 5 loads of wash on the line, cooked and cleaned every day, made candles, pillows, decorated the house for Autumn, read 3 books, and today I cleaned out the refrigerator, mowed the lawn which is almost an acre and pulled a ton of weeds.
Does a number make you elderly?  I think being elderly is a matter of health and a state of mind.
By the way, after their offer we decided to keep the thing and find a way to make it work, I didn't want any favors because I'm elderly.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn at the Little House in the Swamp

Poor Melted Candle

Discovering that my one Autumn candle had melted I decided to melt it down and make some small candles.  They aren't a very pretty color, but they smell good.
And still feeling a bit crafty and old timey I made some Autumn pillows for the entryway.   I need to get going on Christmas stuff, but I haven't been very inspired lately, need to spend some quality time at Pinterest.






Friday, September 21, 2012

Autumn

Kitchen Table Where We Never Eat
It's the last day of summer (Mwahhhh!  Does happy dance), Autumn starts tomorrow, and the thermometer be d****d, I don't care if it's supposed to be in the upper 80's through Sunday.  My calendar says it's Autumn and I plan on acting accordingly.
Summer dishes have been put up, Autumn/Winter ones have come out.  Does that mean I mean I buy new dishes all the time, of course not.  I bought them a piece at at time more than 15 years ago and because I use them seasonally they're still in great shape.  The bowl I bought in Spain this year.  I have been wanting some bigger serving bowls for a while, but all the ones I liked were $35 and up, not a price I'm willing to pay.  I bought this one and a slightly smaller one and got them both for about $15.
Autumn leaves and flowers have been unpacked.  My one Fall candle melted, so I'm going to really melt it down and make a couple of smaller ones out of it, if I can find some wicks.
Autumn Dishes
Enjoy the equinox.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

D Day

New Couch
Not an invasion exactly, but rather a plethora of deliveries.  After sleeping on a really good mattress in Spain we decided that it was time to get ourselves a new one.  The mattress industry says to replace your mattress every 8 years, well ours is around 14 so it's definitely time for a new one.
To go with the new mattress I ordered new bedding, in the picture it looks maroon and yellow, it's actually burgundy and gold.  The mattress was delivered on Tuesday, the bedding came today.  Miss Kitty was sure the new mattress was for her and has slept on it the last 2 nights.  When the bedding got here today we pulled the old mattress off and slid the new one in and added the new bedding, looks pretty good, very autumnal.
New Bedding
Old Couch
The new couch came shortly after the bedding.  I had bought a new couch early last year, but it was a disaster from the word go.  Done in a green microsuede it showed everything that got on it, and we eat lunch on it so it was a mess.  Also the cushions couldn't be turned over and I hated the too wide arms.  Mac says he hated it from the moment I bought it and wondered why I had, well, the color was right, but in the end that just wasn't enough.
So the new one is a dark brown chenille with reversible cushions.  It's very comfortable.
Had a call from Lowe''s and the new washer is to be delivered between 2:30 and 4:30 this afternoon, so tomorrow will be an all day laundry day.
The old couch, mattress and washer are being picked up Saturday, then I can put the house back together.
For a person who hates shopping I've done a bit lately, but I think I'll put myself on purchase probation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yeah!!!!

I went in for my quarterly exam on my eyes, and being blind as bat I'm always apprehensive, but they're doing well, which is a sigh of relief.  Then I had to go  to the DMV to renew my driver's license and this time I had to have a vision test  so I had my Doctor fill out a form for me saying I could actually see.  Mac's license expires next month so he decided to renew his too and save us a trip.
New year, new laws, had to bring 2 proofs of citizenship (we brought our passports and medicare cards) and  two proofs of address.
When we arrived the  DMV was packed to the rafters and we had visions off spending the day there, but glory be we were out in under a half hour, passed my vision test with flying colors and await my new license.
It's a good day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hateful People

I have been very lucky and have never received hateful comments on my blog.  But others have not been so lucky, it's hard to believe that some people think they have the right to inflict pain on the writer of a blog.  I read blogs for the fun of it, sometimes I disagree with what the blogger has said, but that's ok, it's their blog, not mine.
In the past Froogs at Frugal in Cornwall almost gave up blogging because of comments left at her blog and that would have been horrible.  She's a wonderful blogger and inspiration to many of us.  But someone wanted to tear her down, thankfully she decided to keep on blogging.  Now she's up for a blogging award, fingers crossed.

Today  it's Silver Sewer who has decided to quit blogging because of negative comments.  It's not right, those of us who enjoy her writing will miss it very much.  If you don't like what someone is blogging about, don't visit that blog, go away, far, far away.
To those of you who have thought about quitting blogging because of negative comments, remember that if you quit you've given way too much power to people who don't deserve it.  Blog on!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Adventures in Consumerland

As I mentioned in my earlier blog my washing machine has died so Mac and I were off to buy a new one today.  I knew what I wanted in a washer, I wanted it to be a top loader, I've had bad experiences with front loaders when we traveled in Europe, I wanted it to be white, I still remember the hideous gold, avocado and rust colored appliances they sold in the 70's and I wanted it to be really reasonably priced.
I'd done a bit of looking on the internet and we'd narrowed the shopping down to Lowe's and Home Depot because of proximity, price, they both give a 10% military discount  and range of product.  We went to Home Depot first because we've done a lot of business with them through the years and thought they'd be a good place to start and hopefully finish.
We were wrong!  No sale's associate in sight in the appliance department, Mac had to go looking for one and finally one reluctantly showed up.  When I showed her the model I was looking for she couldn't tell me how soon they could deliver it until I had said, no I didn't want an extended warranty, yes I wanted them to take away my old machine, yes there were stairs up to my house (and extra $15 charge for that), yes I wanted rubber hoses instead of stainless steel and then my zip code.  At which point she told me they could deliver the machine on October 10 about a month from now.  I laughed!  I told her that people only buy washers when their present one has broken and waiting a month for a new one was a bit unrealistic, so no thanks.  We left.
Drove to the other end of the shopping center where Lowe's was, went to the appliance center where an associate promptly met us.  I asked if I could have a washer delivered tomorrow and he said maybe. I picked one out, he looked it up, said it was out of stock but 2 were coming in this week and they could deliver it Wednesday.  I opted for Thursday and the deal was done.  In under 10 minutes we were out of the store with our delivery set up.
This is the 2nd time something like this has happened and I think that Home Depot will no longer be my store of choice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Really Home

How do you really know you're home from vacation?  Easy, your washing machine dies.  So I get to go and buy a new one, not sure what brand except I know it won't be Frigidaire.  I've had problems with this washer from the git go.  Within a year of purchasing it the agitator broke and since then it has started to rust inside.  Do you think that might be from coming in contact with water?
And now it's leaking water all over the floor.  If I could throw it down the garage steps (that's traditional with things that have driven us crazy) I would. But a friend wants it, says he can fix it and put it in one of his rental properties---good luck to him.  I can't wait to see the back of it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Best Part of Traveling

When we were coming through Passport control Tuesday the Officer looking at our passports asked where we'd been and the purpose of our visit.  Mac said we'd been to Spain and I said the purpose was to eat.  He laughed, but it was true.  One of the best parts of traveling is trying the food.
Spain makes it easy with their daily menus that include 2 courses plus wine/beer or water, bread and desssert.
Mac is a much more adventurous eater than I am, but between the two of us we had some good meals. The restaurants had a lot of regional specialties like  perdiz (quail), robo del toro (ox tail) and venado (venison).  Mac didn't have the venison, but he had both of the others.  We learned a new word for bean, judia, I'd always used the word frijole for bean, but they used judia for both green beans, judias verdes and pintos, judias pintos.  Mac had the green beans with ham (judias verdes con jamon) one day while I had the green peas (guisantes, and I even remembered that word and not guisanos which means worms!) with ham.
He had Paella a couple of times including once with teeny, tiny crabs in it.
Every restaurant had Gazpacho which is not a regional soup, but I hate tomato soup cold or warm, so none of that was had.
Our 2 favorite dishes involved Chorizo our favorite Spanish sausage.  Mac had a dish of pinto beans with chorizo that had been cooked down to stew consistency (delicous) and I had Chorizo Hornado, baked chorizo and they were beyond wonderful.
In the apartment we kept olives, fresh loaves of crusty bread, manchengo cheese and various salamis.

Baked Chorizo

Roast Chicken and Lomo (pork)

Scrambled Eggs With Green Beans

Paella

Paella with Crabs
Perdiz and a Steak

Pinto Beans with Chorizo
Chocolate and Churros

Each night we'd sit on the rooftop terrace and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Toledo, Spain

Mac Playing for Euros
Home from vacation and what a trip it was.  We've visited Spain many times in the past, but it has been a while since we'd been there.  In fact the last time we went (in the late 90's we think) they were still using pesetas, now it's euros.
This time we rented an apartment in a city I've always wanted to spend more than one day in, in the city of Toledo.  We've been there twice before, but it had been in the mid to late 70's and it's always been in the back of my mind that I'd like to return and have some time to really get to know the city.
Toledo is a wonderful old walled city about 40 miles southwest of Madrid, the newer parts, and they are rather extensive now, are outside the walls, outside the old city.  Our apartment was in the old Jewish Quarter in an old building that has been modernized inside.  It was air conditioned and had a balcony/terrace.  Inside it had a bedroom, modern kitchen, living room, and 2 bathrooms.
Each morning we had breakfast on the terrace, then walked through the narrow streets, visiting Moorish buildings, Visigoth, Jewish and Spanish ones too.  The whole city is full of buildings built in the Mudejar style with "keyhole" doors and windows.  We took more pictures than I think we ever have.
Gateway to the Jewish
Quarter

At San Juan de Los Reyes Monastery

Jewish Quarter Sign
San Juan de Los Reyes Monastery


View From our Apartment Terrace

The Front of our Apartment Building
Begara Gate
Sometimes a trip can lag towards the end, but that never happened on this one.  In fact Mac had decided, while we were planning the trip, that we might go and visit Avila, Segovia and Madrid while we were there if we got bored.  But we never went anywhere else, we were too fascinated by where we were.  Sometimes everything is in harmony on a trip and this was a trip that will stay in our memories for a long time.
Tomorrow we're talking FOOD!





Typical Street

The Cathedral

Maria Blanca Once a Synagogue Then a Church

Typical Patio

What's Cooking?

The kitchen smells heavenly.  I made vegetable beef soup, think it's the first time I've done that.  It's for lunch tomorrow and...