Monday, August 31, 2015

It's Good to Go and Even Better to Go Home




We're back from our trip to England, we were gone 17 days, too long, we wore ourselves out.  Again this year we stayed in Black Bourton in Garden Cottage, set in the middle of the most beautiful garden.  Very small cottage,  just right for 2.  The owner had set us up a cream tea for us, but we were so tired the first day we had it for breakfast the next day.
I love English gardens and Nikki has grown/designed/ developed a beautiful one.
Let me share a few photos.

Our Cottage




In Front of our Cottage looking towards the Manor House







This is a star-shaped bed, plants brought from an English Astronomer's garden




















And this doesn't include the espalied fruit trees, the croquet lawn or the mixed flower/veggie potagers.




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

National Middle-Child Day

It's National Middle-Child Day here in the States and that would be me.  I'm the middle of 3 girls.
Some interesting stats about middle children, some match me, some don't.
We're more independent from an earlier age as our parents have others to deal with, and I was always pretty independent.
We're good negotiators because we've had to be.
We're attracted to other middle children and Mac is a middle child too.
Our romantic relationships are happier and healthier.  That's true, I'm the only one of my sisters who's still married, they were each married twice.
We're quite ambitious, but I'm not and never have been.
52% of all U.S.  Presidents were middle children, guess that fits in with being ambitious.
We tend to be more responsible and I think I am.
We're willing to compromise, I hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it.
Whatever route the first born takes the middle child will be different.  My older sister was a rebel and frequently in trouble, I was the good girl.
We make good teachers, social workers, diplomats, defense lawyers and actors.  I was a teacher.

So what was your birth order?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Communication

The Weaver of Grass got me thinking about communication today.  She got a new landline that has brought a bit of grief into her life getting it set up and settled in.  I know the feeling.  We have to have a landline because cell phone reception is rather weird where we live.     Inside the house you have to be near a window to get decent reception so you'll frequently go through our neighborhood and see people on the porch or in their yard talking on their cell phones, LOUDLY.  
The landline is a rather simple one with a built in answering machine and caller ID.  It has a lot of other features, but I just ignore them.
I have a cell phone, an I-Phone, but it pretty much lives in the bottom of my purse, we use it when we travel.    Though there are loads of apps on itother than the phone, the camera and internet I don't use any of them.
It's not that I'm a technophobe, I got into computers back in the 80's.  I love my computer, you could take my tv, my car or most any other thing around the house, not Mac, but don't take my computer.
Which brings me back to phones, I just don't like them, never have, never sat for hours talking on them, never missed them when we didn't have one.
In fact when people ask for my cell phone number, I won't give it, only a couple of people have it and I don't recommend trying to get me on my landline either, I seldomly answer the phone.  Instead I tell people to e-mail me, not text me, I don't even have text service on my phone, didn't want it and certainly don't want to pay for it.
Last Christmas, in sort of a related way, I gave Mac a Victorian letter holder as a gift.  We already had a vintage telegram that we now display in the holder.  What an elegant way to receive a message.











Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Recipe

Well another hot, humid day, is it autumn yet?  Today started with housework I don't even want to say what we did   other than to say it involved moving furniture and seeing the floor that hasn't seen light in a while.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently that she'd had Chinese food and it was so salty she couldn't eat it.  I told her that I had a Weight Watcher's recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork that we liked a lot so I said I'd sent it to her.
I actually fixed this today, so here's the recipe:

SWEET AND SOUR PORK

Enough Cut up pork for whoever you're serving    I used pork cut up and  leftover from ribs
15 oz can of unsweetened pineapple chunks
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
Sliced Green Peppers  use as much as you like
1 small onion sliced
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

This is the basic list of ingredients, it also calls for a serving of cooking oil spray and 1/2 TSP salt, but I don't use either, but I do add 1 can of mushrooms, 1/2 carrot sliced and a handfull of broccoli heads.


Brown the meat and remove and set aside, drain any remaining fat from the skillet.

Drain pineapple chunks, reserve juice, set aside.

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce and reserved pineapple juice in a small bowl, add to skillet and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add the pork back in, cook covered over low heat until meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  I put the carrots in when I put the meat in because they take a while to cook.

Add peppers, onion and pineapple chunks and cook 5 minutes more--I add my broccoli now too.

I made white rice and fried rice to go with this.

For the fried rice I take a cup of the cooked white rice, put it in a skillet, chop onion into it, add soy sauce to taste, cook an egg into it and at the last add a handful of green peas.

Forgot to take any pictures, but oh was it tasty.

Friday, August 7, 2015

International Cat Day

In honor of International Cat Day Miss Kitty wants you to know that in her opinion every day is cat day, you just don't know it.
She also said that if anyone needs lessons in casual napping she's available for instruction for a nominal fee.

It Has to Go

Yes, it has to go and it's all my fault.  This is the couch in our family room, the room we spend most of our time in and I hate this couch.  I bought it and I should have known better.   I hate shopping, except online and so I thought I'd buy my couch online.  I went to a furniture store I'd bought from before, picked out a style I liked, a fabric, chenille, that I know wears well, and a color I could live with even if I didn't love it.
They brought it out at no extra charge and it looked fine.  Over time it wore fairly well, except for one problem, none of the cushions are reversible.  I hadn't even thought to check for that, I'd assumed that all loose cushion couches were reversible, well there not.  I can't reverse the cushions, can't flip them over and so they're wearing in ways they shouldn't, it doesn't look good and I'm not happy.  Don't think Miss Kitty is happy either.  She, who never scratches the furniture, preferring her scratching post, has started sharpening her claws on the end of the couch.
So this Fall, when the dust has settled I will venture forth, check cushions carefully and get me a new couch.  The Salvation Army is welcome to this one.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Burmese Python

I don't want you to think I'm just posting random photos of the wildlife found in Florida.  This 18 foot 3 inch Burmese Python was found and killed in the Everglades National Park last week.  To be specific it was found near the tramway in Shark Valley.  What does that mean to me?  Well, we've biked and walked that tramway and in fact have gone off on side trails from it.  The fact that something this big and this awful was lurking there scares the B'Jesus out of me.  We were there in February walking those trails.
Park officials estimate nearly 100,000 of these critters are now in Florida and it's a disaster for the wildlife.  They eat and kill everything, including alligators.
People need to stop releasing their unwanted animals into the wild.


On a lighter note, the new header is one of my favorite paintings, Mac painted it years ago and I never take it down or trade it for another painting.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Bit of an Obsession.

Had to do a bit of grocery shopping today, that always puts me in such a good mood.  Why do people park their grocery carts in the middle of the aisle and leave them?  I hate moving other folks carts, but I moved more than a few today.  I wasn't doing heavy shopping and I wanted to get it done quickly, so I was flying down the aisles.
I was in search of, among other things bacon, I have a yen for a good BLT, a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.  Bacon is so fattening that I almost never keep any around, but I picked up a pound of good looking pork bacon, not chicken bacon, not turkey bacon, not tofu bacon, the real honest to goodness stick to your ribs, and your hips and thighs bacon.
Then I found some good looking rolls to make my BLT.  Yum.
Our daughter started this, she'd been in search of a BLT in Japan without much success and was bemoaning the fact.  That got me drooling, I mean dreaming about having one too.
And even worse I got to thinking about the bacon butties I always eat in England, I swear they have the best bacon in the world.  Ours is streaky and fat, tasty yes, buy not like the English bacon.
Actually I can't wait to get to England, I always bacon butty myself across the country when we're there.
Oh well, time for some housework before I can enjoy my sandwich, boo-hiss.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday

It's Monday, not as hot as it has been, but boy oh boy the humidity----it's horrible.  Trying to do anything just leaves you covered in sweat.  So of course today was the day I'd decided we needed to switch rugs, take the one in the dining room where no one ever goes, except Miss Kitty, and put it in the family room where we basically live.
Now the family room rug
The one in the family room had a black background and everything and I do mean EVERYTHING that came within 10 feet of it fell on it and looked awful.  I vacuumed it religiously and 5 minutes later it looked like we'd dumped our shoes out on it.  It was getting to the point where I hated that rug.  The one in the dining room  had a cream-colored background, dark stuff will show up, but not every little crumb, bit of fluff or lint will.
So I emptied out the heavy coffee table and dragged it off the rug and vacuumed the rug, moved the chairs out of the dining room and yelled for Mac.  He moved the rugs, swept everything and helped me move the dining room  table and chairs.
Now we were both covered in sweat and though it was only about 81ยบ in the house and only around 11 am we turned the air conditioner on.  Can't wait to see our electric bill this month.
The rugs look better.  We also pulled out the runner under the tv, it matches the black rug and put it in the entryway.
Then to cool myself off I did a bit of ironing.  I don't iron much, just pillow cases, table cloths and cotton dish towels.  This time I had a couple of blouses to iron too.  I don't have many blouses that require ironing, but these two do.  When I wore the navy blue one, I thought, I haven't worn this in a while, I wonder why, I like it, it fits well, looks good on me.  Well the reason is that I have to iron it, so it spends a lot of time hanging in the closet.
Then it was into the pool to cool off and then aerobics.  I'm through for the day except for fixing lunch, chicken cacciatore.

Now the dining room rug

All Wrapped Up

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