Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

Such a quick year, in a few hours it will be 2014, doesn't seem possible.  I can remember being a little girl and trying to picture me in the future.  2014 seemed impossible, did anyone live long enough to live into the 2000's?  LOL
In review 2013 was a busy year for us, lots of crafting for me, lots of painting for Mac.  Trips to visit our daughter in D.C., a trip to Wyoming to finally see Yellowstone National Park (had wanted to go ever since I watched Yogi Bear in Jelly Stone all those years ago), an almost trip to Spain that my suitcase got to make, but we didn't, and a visit home to California to see family.
In between we gardened, went out dancing a few times, went to a couple of golf tournaments, grew a little older, hopefully a little wiser.
No New Year's Resolutions, I'm just not good at working under pressure.  Hoping to do more traveling next year(oh England I have missed you), finally finishing a few projects (yes afghan I'm talking about you) and trying to slow the days down--I'm no longer the little girl who couldn't wait to grow up, I'm the little, old lady who'd like to take her time.
I'm including a picture of a sculptural owl that our daughter gave Mac for Christmas, he wanted her to see that he'd put it out in the garden.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Presents

My family knows me well and my presents fit me perfectly, no,  not clothes, I never want clothes.  No, I got rather more exciting gifts.  I got a cannon that really fires black powder.  I've always wanted a cannon, not exactly sure why, it just appeals to the pyromaniac in me.  Mac needs to get me some fuses and then I'm good to go.
Another very appropriate gift was a Bugs Bunny,  complete with tuxedo and white collar.  Why Bugs you say, well everything I know about classical music I learned from watching Bugs Bunny cartoons.  So Mac got a Bugs Bunny and he made the tux with tails, it is just too cute.

My daughter gave me many wonderful gifts too, but of course remembered I needed a small Godzilla, my hero.
I've been busy undecorating the house, hate to see it all go, but it's time.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cream Puffs

Morning Minion has asked for the recipe for the cream puffs, so I asked my daughter for it.  She says it's a Japanese recipe and that cream puffs in Japan are called Shu Cream.
Here it is:

Yield: Makes 8 or 9 puffs

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 eggs - 2 eggs
  • for custard cream filling:
  • 2 Tbsp flour / 1/2 cup sugar / 1 cup milk / 2 egg yolks / 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • matcha green tea powder (optional)
  • for topping:
  • powdered sugar

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Beat eggs in a bowl. Put butter, sugar, and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add flour in the butter mixture and stir quickly. Stop the heat. Add eggs slowly in the mixture and mix well. Place a cooking sheet in a baking pan. Put the dough in a plastic bag to squeeze out as small mounds in the pan (she just drops the dough by the spoonful onto the pan). Make 8 or 9 mounds of dough. Bake them in the 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Cool the puffs and cut them in halves horizontally.
Make custard cream as follows. Mix egg yolks and sugar in a pan. Add sifted flour in the pan and mix well. Add warm milk in the pan gradually. Place the pan on low heat and stir the mixture constantly until thickened. Stop the heat and add melted butter and stir well. Cool the custard cream. (If you want to make matcha flavored custard cream, dissolve 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder in 2 tsp of water in a small bowl. Mix well. Add a few spoonful of custard cream in the green tea and mix well. Add the green tea cream in the rest of custard cream.)
Fill the bottom halves of puffs with custard cream and place the top halves. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
They are so light you could eat a dozen of them.

A Wonderful Christmas

How could it not be, our daughter was here and we spent great days talking, laughing, cooking, watching movies, I'm exhausted.  She left yesterday and is back at work today, these airport goodbyes are horrible!
Like the good Spanish (well, at least they are) we ate and ate and ate.  Traditionally on Christmas Eve we have fresh shrimp (we're so lucky to live in Georgia where fresh, local shrimp are abundant and very reasonable) along with plates of olives and cheese (Mancego from Spain and Monterrey Jack from California).
Christmas Eve
Christmas morning it was coffee and cookies as we opened  our presents.  I GOT A CANNON, ONE THAT WILL FIRE, I'VE ALWAYS WANTED A CANNON!!!!!  I'll tell you more about it and another rather interesting present tomorrow.
April Made Green Tea Cream Puffs
Christmas Day
For dinner we had leg of lamb, loads of roasted veggies, grilled brussel  sprouts, deviled eggs  and cranberry sauce.  Dessert was pumpkin pie.  There was champagne to toast with.
The time flew, it will be months before we get to see her again, thank goodness for the internet!
Hope your Christmas was special too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas' The Day Before Christmas

Let's see, cookies baked, cream puffs made (thank you April), eggs boiled for deviling, pumpkin pie baked, fresh shrimp picked up and ready for tonight, leg of lamb ready for roasting, packages wrapped, I think we're ready.
Merry Christmas to all!!1

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful ...

No it's not snowing, blowing or cold, dog gone it, it's hot!  Yesterday set a record, it was 83°, on December 22, come on, that's just not right.  Rain was supposed to come, bring a cold front and cool it off.  Today was supposed to reach 70°, it was 78° at 11 am, our overnight low was 66°.
Please Santa, the weather man says low 30's for Christmas Eve, please bring it!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, 
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” 
 Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

True, true, true.  But sometimes it does come in an airplane, particularly the plane that will be bringing our daughter tomorrow.  For that's what Christmas is to me, when we're together to share the joy, the happiness and the love that being together brings.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Microwave Part II

It'll fit the salesman said, they're all standard size to fit the typical opening for a mounted microwave, you'll have no problem.  Don't worry about the dimensions and it's in stock.  So we  bought it and carried it home.  It was heavy, it was awkward, Mac called our friend to come and help.  I was cooking beans, they said not to worry, twenty minutes tops to get the old one out and the new one in.
Two and a half hours later it was done.  I don't know what standard size is, but it's not what we have.  The holes for the screws that hold it in place were in a different place, the microwave itself was deeper than our old one, it sticks out a bit.  Because it's over the stove that's not a problem, but it definitely isn't the same size as our old one.
I can only assume that the salesman in search of a sale had no idea what he was talking about or  that he's never installed a microwave or standard size is a a mythical number.    The store charges $75.00 to install a microwave , we now know why.
But it does pop popcorn.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

R.I.P.

Not Peter O'Toole, though I liked him very much, particularly in Becket, nor Joan Fontaine.  No, my microwave died Monday night.  It gave us 10 good years of service, other than the handle falling off a couple of times---I tend to yank instead of pull and we were really sorry to see it go.  It went with a small pop and that was it.  Mac says that he could probably get the part that blew, but the thing is old and its finish doesn't match the rest of the appliances so I said no, let it go in peace.
  It's an over the range microwave and when we put it in we were more concerned with the dimensions matching our opening than we were with what it could cook.  Now after ten years I know exactly what I need in a microwave, in addition to fitting in the opening.  It must be able to pop popcorn, reheat coffee and cook potatoes, that's it, anything else is a bonus. Oh, and it has to have stainless steel finish to match the rest of my appliances and most importantly  it had to be available immediately, none of this, we'll deliver in a week or so.
Bright and early, and way too cold, yesterday morning we were off, to the post office to drop off the last Christmas box, to Goodwill to drop off a donation, to a local shop that carries Mac's paintings---he'd sold one and had money waiting, then to Home Depot.  They had a ton of microwaves, lots in stainless steel and at prices that didn't make me gag, I mean, how much are you willing to pay to pop popcorn, and one model was actually in stock, we took it!
Mac has it setting up out in the garage, we need to remove the old one before putting the new one in.  We installed the old one all those years ago and Mac was sure that though the new one weighs 65 pounds we'd still be able to get the new one in.  I'm not so sure, I told him that though he's not a little, old lady that I am.  So he called our friend and he'll be over tomorrow  to help Mac, so I can do little, old lady things instead.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Are We Having Fun Yet?

It's Monday morning and the good news is that because I'm retired I didn't have to get up and go to work.  Instead I got up in the cold and went walking 2 miles, did a load of laundry and hung it outside, printed a label for an item Mac sold on ebay, made a loaf of bread and baked a load of gingerbread folks.  Are we having fun, I don't know, but we sure made a mess and that's kind of fun.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cactuses (English plural)

My Christmas Cacti (Latin plural), if you don't
 count the white one that rather sheeplike decided to croak for no apparent reason, are putting on a spectacular show.  Starting just after Thanksgiving they budded out and now are covered in flowers.  Well done!
As for the multiple spellings of the plural form of cactus, both are considered correct and I couldn't decide which I preferred so I just used both.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Just a quickie to talk about the wonderful Christmas soap I bought at Etsy.  It's Rosemary and Mint and smells even better than it looks.  I went looking last year for some Christmas soap to put in the guest bathroom and found it at Joansgardens.  I fell in love with it and had to have some more this year.  It has Shea Butter and is handmade.  Love it!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

Sad to say my gingerbread house did not come together, the icing was sticky, but it wouldn't hold the house together.  Not to worry though, it is now quietly resting in the trash.
This morning I had my semi-annual meeting (if I'm luck and don't have to come in monthly) with Melisandre my dermatologist.  She burned me hither, dither and yon, I don't know about being red and green for Christmas, but I'm definitely some interesting colors.
Yesterday my Christmas binding came in and I was finally able to finish my small Christmas quilt.  Zillions of mistakes, but with each one I make I learn something.
Though I've been accused of putting bows on anything that doesn't move, it was not I who decorated Godzilla for Christmas.  Mac says he must have done it himself in hopes of a saurian Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Long Time No Blog


Yes I've been missing in action.  It hasn't been for lack of inspiration, I've just been busy.  The house is finally decorated and that only took FOREVER.  I love Christmas and I love decorating and I'm of the school that if it's worth doing it's worth overdoing.  The Christmas critters have come out of hibernation and are in front of the fireplace waiting for Santa.  I'm hoping it will be cool enough Christmas morning to actually light the fireplace.  We've been able to do that exactly once in the 10 years we've been here, it's usually quite warm on Christmas, unlike Thanksgiving when it usually freezes.

No baking yet as I'm trying to lose some weight so I'm waiting till closer to Christmas before I bake what Mac affectionately calls "Fat Pills".
The last 2 days I've been upstairs wrapping packages, with the help of Miss Kitty of course.  Although her idea of helping is to shred the tissue paper.  Everything I have in the house is wrapped, I'm still waiting for Brown and FedEx to bring in a few more.  I do most of my shopping online so I'm very "mail dependent" to get things here.

I like shopping at Etsy, you find so many unusual and one of a kind gifts, plus you get to support small business's.

Sunday night while watching football I made out my Christmas cards, it's always fun to watch Dallas lose (sorry Cowboy fans) so my cards are full of cheerful messages.

Every year I admire my neighbor's yard decorations, particularly the deer.  We finally broke down and bought one (actually bought 2, but we're waiting for the other one to be delivered) and put it out by my "Narnia" light post.  Deer wander through our yard nearly every night and I wonder what they think of my shiny little deer.
Isn't He Sweet!
Today I'm making my Gingerbread House.  It looks easy enough and fairly innocuous, were it not for my total lack of decorating skills it would be done in no time.  Right now I'm "gluing" the sides together and I have to wait an hour before I can put the roof on.  I have now waited more than an hour and the house is not sticking together, I'm afraid there will be no "after" pictures.




Tomorrow it will be Gingerbread Men.  I don't eat many of them so they don't count as cookies.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Work in Progress

Miss Kitty and I got the tree decorated and Mac put the angel on top, I'm pleased, he was right, the tree is more than full enough.  Nearly all the ornaments on my tree are made of resin, no glass ones for Kitty to break and the tree is tied up because in the past we've had cats that liked to climb the tree.  Miss Kitty has never done that, but there's always a first time.
The stockings are hung, but there's a lot more to do and I want to get the tubs out of the downstairs because Kitty thinks that playing with them in the middle of the night is just too cool.
Mac has just finished a Christmas painting he's going to sell on ebay, it's almost too cute to let go, but I'm running out of wall space.

Dear Santa I leave you with this thought:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Do You See What I See?

Before I even get going I want to say that it is my considered opinion that men and women represent 2 completely different species that can mate and reproduce young, they're not the same animal and are in no way related.
Case in point, Mac and I went Christmas tree shopping today.  At no time did we agree on a tree, no matter what one saw the other could not see.  I saw one as full, he saw it as scrawny, the one he liked I thought was skinny.  Finally we compromised, we bought the one he liked and I told him I'd hold him directly accountable if the branches did unfold in a way to make me happy----I'm very serious about my Christmas tree.
Then we brought it in, set it up and had to decide whether we had it straight or not.  He declared that my opinion was invalid because I'm blind and have no depth perception.  Can't really argue that so again I gave in.
But tomorrow the decorating begins and it will just be me and the cat and she always agrees with me, after all she's female too.

Monday, December 2, 2013

November/December

Busy last week, we flew to D.C. to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter and because we didn't fly Delta we got a nonstop flight from Savannah to Dulles Airport, took about an hour and a half.  Not having to fly through Atlanta is a vacation in itself.  If you fly Delta from Savannah you always have a layover in Atlanta, you and about a half a million other people, so it was great to fly direct.  I was reading a book and a man said he'd been to the South, but only to  Atlanta airport, he'd been flying from New York to Boston and had a layover in Atlanta, that's about how bad it is.
Anyway, flew to Dulles, had arranged for a shared van ride from the airport so no rental car and we were quickly at our daughter's place and it was COLD.  I don't do winter well and had taken my warmest clothes, but I still got cold.
Thanksgiving we went to Annapolis for dinner, to Buddy's---boy do they put on a spread, lots of veggies and side dishes, lots of fish, shrimp, crab, oysters, ham, turkey, prime rib and lamb, to say nothing of the desserts.  It was a groaning good feed.
All too soon it was time to head home and except for a short delay at Dulles we were soon home again.
Since then I've been trying to pack up Thanksgiving decoration, have Mac ferry the Christmas ones down from storage, sort out my cell phone company who said I over used my data plan and charged me for more, (they admitted the mistake and took the charge off), made doctor's appointments, sorted the laundry, started exercising more and am still trying to master Pachebel's Canon in D.  Tomorrow we go to get our Christmas tree.

I leave you with this:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

George R.R. Martin

I've been a big fan of George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones for years.  Good story and not easy to predict what's going to happen next.  Why is that?  Well, because he kills off everyone.  Each time you think you know who the star of the story is going to be he kills them off.  This picture I ran across gives you an idea of what he's like as an author.
Each of the book marks represents someone he has killed off in the story.  And there are at least 2 more books to be published in the series.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Grumpy Old Lady Time

It's a grey, gloomy day today, I didn't sleep worth a fiddle last night and my puzzle is fighting with me so I thought I'd let Ida rant a little

Ida is sick of hearing that Obamacara (or the Affordable Health Act) is broken.
Find out why it's broken, fix it and shut up, doesn't matter if you like it or not it's the law of the land.

Ida says that if she hears the words  "twerking" or "selfie" one more time being used by an adult she's going to hurl.  And she sincerely hopes that Miley Cyrus disappears.

Ida is tired of people saying "are" when they mean "our".  It's not are house, it's our house.  Are is a verb and our is a possessive pronoun.

Ida is tired of people living on their cell phones instead of in the real world.  Lift your nose about 4 inches and look around that might be your child trying to get your attention.

Ida is sick of the wussification of this nation, some people need to man up and shut up.

Before it even gets going Ida wants to remind folks we're getting ready to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, so feel free to wish her a Happy Hanukkah or a Merry Christmas, but don't wish her happy holidays, she'll probably hit you with her cane.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Schizophrenic Weather

Last week our temperatures dropped down to 34° for an overnight low and the next day it was only in the 50's.  Fine, autumn had settled in and winter was near.  Makes for good sleeping weather and working out in the yard on a cool, crisp day is great.
So what happens this week?  The overnight low last night was 66° and today's high was 82° and humid, humid, humid.  My bones are very unappreciative.  I want my cool weather back.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why Nothing is Getting Done Around Here

I've been working on a pink afghan throw forever, but it's still not done.  I have a Christmas throw cut out and partially sewn, but it's laying on the floor in my sewing room undone.
 I still haven't mastered Pachel
bel's Canon in D.
Excuse the shadows please
Why, other than the fact that I probably suffer from ADD and can't  sit still long enough to get anything done are these projects not done?  It's because when we were out in California my sister-in-law was working on a jigsaw puzzle, she said it was good for your brain and helped ward off Alzheimer.  Well, I like jigsaw puzzles, use to work them all the time, with the help of one of my cats (picture puzzle pieces flying every where) and Lord know my brain needs all the help it can get, so I ordered myself a puzzle, it's of a painting I've always liked.
What it should look like
I don't work at it constantly, just a bit each day , and so it's nowhere near done, but it keeps me distracted from everything else.  When it's done I'm shipping it out to my sister-in-law who's a whole lot younger and quicker at finishing puzzles ( she says she gets them done in a day or so) and I hope she has fun with it too!
What it looks like so far


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November is Running Away

October lasted forever, but November feels like it's tied on it track shoes and just taken off.  I meant to blog about Veteran's Day, but it was gone before I remembered.  I am grateful for the service of the men and women who defend this country and their families who sacrifice so much.  Mac was in the Army for 21 years so I know what it's like to pack up your home, put most of it in storage, leave your job, your family and friends to move half way round the world to a place where you know no one, don't speak the language and don't have a job or a car.  Our daughter knows too well what it's like for the children of service people to leave what they love behind.  One move involved selling her horse that she'd always wanted and going to live in a tiny apartment over a barn till we got quarters or having to travel from Turkey to Georgia on her own when she was just 17 to start college.
So I say thank you to the families too.
On a lighter note we went out to lunch today to a Japanese restaurant.  Mac will tell you I'm the least adventurous eater in the world having spent most of our travels living on chicken, but I did enjoy today's lunch.  I had hibachi shrimp with veggies and fried rice.  It was delicious.  No I did not have shushi, that's about as likely as me eating a snail.  Mac had a Bento Box meal that included tempura shrimp and veggies, white rice, spring roll and California rolls.  he liked the shrimp, but not the veggies.  We want to go back in the evening when they cook on the grill in front of you.
The weather is still gorgeous here, but I understand that Canada is getting ready to send us a winter blast, oh well, I have lots of indoor things to do.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Can Opener From H**l

A month or so ago we went in search of a new can opener, wasn't sure exactly what kind I wanted, other than the fact I wanted one that was easy to operate and actually opened cans.  At Target the man in the small appliance department assured me that if I bought the small, magnetic Hamilton Beach can opener that I would love it.
I don't!  I HATE it!  In the month or so that we've had it I've not managed to open one can with it.  After some studying and fiddling with it Mac now gets it to work every time and has tried to show me what to do.  I follow his directions and try and try and try.  It will not work for me.
I want to take it out back and throw it as far as I can, hopefully at least nicking the salesman who assured me I'd love it.
So, I'm looking for a new can opener because I refuse to have to call my husband in every time I need a can opened.
Who has a can opener they actually like?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Coffee With a Fellow Blogger

Today was a very special day, I got to meet Rowan from Circle of the Year whose blog I've been following for a couple of years.  She and her daughter are here in Savannah for a few days before heading onto New Orleans.  We had coffee and beignets at a local restaurant named Huey's which is a favorite of ours.  It was 2 hours of talking, mostly me I'm afraid, trying to give them an idea of what to see and do while in Savannah, which restaurants are good and where there's live music.    It was so good meeting them, now when I read her blog I'll have a name and face to put to it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lessons Learned

Thought I'd cook a pot of Great Northern Beans yesterday in my crock pot.  Knew from reading various recipes that it would take some where between 5-7 hours to cook them , so I started them early.  After 6 hours they were nowhere near done.  What I didn't know, but now I've learned, is that the older your dried beans are the longer it will take to cook them.  Neither one of us can remember when we bought the beans which means they may have moved here with us from California and that was 10 years ago.  Yikes, I think I'm going to invest in some new beans.
Anyway,  this morning I transfered the beans  to a big pot and I've been boiling the heck out of them and some of them are still hard.  But the pork ribs and tomato sauce I put in has made them delicious, if only they would finish softening up we would be eating the homemade version of bean and bacon soup, my favorite.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Loving the Weather

It's a beautiful day here, picture perfect!

 I have chili cooking in the crock pot, clothes hanging on the line and just a little bit of house work standing between me and the things I want to do.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

National Cat Day

It's National Cat Day, so to our Miss Kitty and all the Kitties every where I say," Happy, Happy, Happy!"