Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hidden Away

It seems as though January is one of those times when everyone deep cleans and declutters.  So with that in mind I tackled my baking pantry where I keep: bread flour, regular flour, wheat flour, white sugar and brown sugar, gluten, cornstarch and baking powder.
Up above these shelves was a bit of a hodgepodge that I wanted to clear out.  Found 6 Çey glasses from when we lived in Turkey, 5 match, they're going to Goodwill, a large glass vase that can still hold water and a small glass jug I immediately put some daffodils in.
And on the next to top shelf I found a Victorian blue and white plate.  How do I know it's Victorian?  Because of the diamond-shaped registration mark on the back.  Looking online I saw the mark is for 1850, so my plate is more than 160 years old.  Have no idea what the Missouri means because I bought this plate years ago in England.  Anyway, it got to come out of the cupboard and sit on the counter for awhile.
The cupboard is all clean now, at least for a little while.




A little explanation on the Victorian registration mark
The IV at the top is for class of goods, the IV means clayware
The  V is for the year:1850
The M on the left is the month: June
The 5 on the right is the day
The Rd in the middle means it's a registered design
The 3 on the bottom tells how many items were included in the registration.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five on Friday

It's a beautiful day here and they're promising temperatures around 75º for the weekend, how great is that.  Time for Five on Friday, please check out the other bloggers who are joining in at Amy's Love Made My Home

My First is my Christmas Afghan Throw, a bit late, but finished.




My Second is a painting I'm about to begin.  For Christmas Mac gave me a black canvas, yes I said black, not blank.  I immediately though of a tall white bird to go on it.  It is drawn and when I finish this post I'm off to begin.

This is the picture I'm working from


This is my drawing



My Third is a movie we watched this week, The Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren.  A nice little movie, what a chameleon Helen is.  We love her in the Red movies where she plays an assassin and here she plays a Jewish octogenarian.  Funnily enough at Christmas time our daughter said she wanted to be Helen Mirren when she grew up.  I totally understand.






The Fourth is a struggle I'm having with 2 books:  The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.  Both excellent books and award winners, but I'm struggling with them.  I want to like them, and parts of them I do.  At times I quit reading books I struggle with but these 2 I feel like I should push on.  Do you finish books when you're not sure if you like them?





The fifth is just for fun.  I collect teeny, tiny things because they make me smile.  I have little shelves and my family is always giving me things to fill them up.  So here's one of the shelves that sits on my desk.



That's a cat in a jack o'lantern, a small stone,  a mouse, a cat with a guitar, a silver thimble, a snow globe, a bear, a sheep, a lock and a gudetama














Thursday, January 28, 2016

Low Country Picture

I keep meaning to blog about my new header.  It's one of my favorite paintings by Mac.  He painted it a few years ago and it has been hanging on the wall in the family room ever since.    Lots of his paintings get rotated around, but not this one, it always makes me smile.
We had a pictorial book about the Low Country (in this neck of the woods that means South Carolina) and this lady's picture was in it.  I can't remember for sure but I'm betting she was  of Gullah heritage and she's making a sweet grass basket.  The Gullahs, also known as the Geechees are descendants of slaves brought to South Carolina, Georgia and Northern Florida.  We live next to the Ogeechee River, named after them and have visited Sapelo Island (just down the coast from us).  It's an island predominantly inhabited by Gullah people.  If you go over you are given a tour of the island by a resident.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Six-Month or 20,000 Miles

We went in for our 6 month check-ups this morning and all is well.  We're good for another 6 months or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first.  Our doctor is very thorough and we appreciate it.  Sadly though his nurse is leaving and we will miss her so much, good office staff is important and she's the best.
Watched the rebooted X-Files last night and all I can say is eh, not very good, don't know if I'll watch any more.  It's a 6 week run and then who knows.
We didn't get through at the Doctors till around 11:30 and as we'd had no food, fasting blood tests for both of us, it was off to find food.  Mac had a carnivore's breakfast with eggs, sausage and steak while I had lunch, a big honking hamburger, haven't had one in so long I can't remember the last one.  We brought all kinds of leftovers home in a doggie bag/box.
Weather is wonderful today, partly cloudy and in the low 70's, can't ask for better than that in January.
Did our daily walk and now I have to exercise.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Warm-up

To all of you still stuck in the snow and cold I feel bad, it's around 60º here today and just beautiful.  This seems to be my year of making soups, prior to the Bean and Bacon I made last fall I'd never made soup before.  Not quite sure why, maybe I thought it was too much work.  But after studying the sodium levels in canned soup I knew it was time to start making my own.
Today's soup is Leek, Potato and Broccoli and it tastes delicious.  I'll probably throw a little ham in it just to satisfy my carnivore urges.
I finished my second volume of William Manchester's biography of Winston Churchill and it was as good as the first volume showing Winston in his days of being an outcast in the '30s and ends when he becomes Prime Minister in 1940.  I've studied very little about this period of time and often wondered why countries didn't stand up to Hitler before he'd taken over most of Europe.  It's hard, in this day and age, to understand the desire for peace being so strong that they'd literally let millions be enslaved to avoid war.
The book read almost like a mystery, who'll do what next, who'll stand up, who'll bury their head in the sand.  There were some real villains in this book and I'm not talking about Hitler.  I think I have a much better understanding of the root causes of World War II, not just the terms of the Versailles Treaty as I always thought.
Well it's time to work on my friend the afghan again.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Matched It

I found a red to match my afghan!  Funnily enough it wasn't a Red Heart red which is what I've been using.  It's Bernat a brand I've never used.  When we got home I quickly attached it, I weave ends in as I go along, and did a couple of rows.  I then asked Mac to pick out where I'd started the new yarn and he couldn't find it, so I'm a happy camper.  With luck I should be done with it this week, that is if I don't get distracted, I'm bad about that, that's why the darn thing wasn't done by Christmas.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pooh!

And I'm not talking about the bear.  I've been working all month on a Christmas throw that should have been done before Christmas.  My goal is to have it done before the end of January.  I've been making good progress.  I just need to finish the last set of red, white and green.  I'm 2 rows in on the red, need 6 more rows and I'm almost through with the ball of yarn I've been using.  But no problem, the last time we were at A.C. Moore (our local craft store) I picked up a skein of red so I'd have plenty to finish with.
Except I picked up a skein of very tomatoy red and the red I've been using is more of a carroty red. So I had to stop.  I can get to A.C. Moore tomorrow and I'm taking the little ball of red with me and praying that I can match it.
If not I'm not sure what I'll do.  Shorten the throw?  Use the wrong red?  Put it away and search the internet for a better match.
Pooh I say, pooh!
This is the color I've been using, it's more orangey than the picture shows

This is what I bought

Here's the two together

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five on Friday

Where do the weeks go?  It's Friday so time to join Amy at Love Made My Home for Five on Friday.  No theme, just some stuff that stuck in my head this week.



First:  The leaves have finally changed colors and dropped here, a little late, but so pretty.  Mac brought me in some to enjoy.  Don't know what I'm going to do with them, but they're so pretty.

We call it a Red Maple, it's one of our few hardwoods, we mainly have pine trees



Second:  I got tired of my hair this week so I cut about 2 inches off of it, mostly split ends anyway.  Don't enjoy going to the beauty shop, that's right up there with trying on clothes.  So anyway armed with Mac's scissors I whacked it.

I never take a good picture, I always smirk

Third:  This is a close-up of the new top I'm wearing, love the kitties.  It was time for a few new tops, some of mine were getting threadbare from being washed so many times.  I like turtlenecks in the winter to keep my neck warm.





Fourth:  If you noticed the green band I'm wearing in the picture its a Fitbit wannabe.  If I ever figure out exactly how to use it I'll like it better.  This morning's walk got me 4800 steps and my exercise got me 2900 more, so I've got 7700 steps if I don't move the rest of the day.


Fifth:  Is the music that has stuck in my head since my aerobics.  It's the Gipsy Kings doing a cover of the Eagles Hotel California.  It was used in the movie The Big Lebowski one of my favorite movies.


















Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Wednesday

It's huge!  I tried to show all 4 flowers, but just got the two.  We like it so much we're looking to grow one a month to add color to the laundry room.
Another lose in the music world, Glen Frey.  We've always been Eagle fans and have owned most of their albums/cds.  Just recently we've been watching a documentary about them that is streaming on Netflix.  January has been a cruel month.
Chilly, but beautiful here today, bright blue sky.  Mac is outside, but I'm going to drag him in soon.  Too long outside and he'll be coughing his head off even though he is taking his allergy medication.
Lots of blogs talking about eating healthier, getting more exercise, trying to lose some weight.  It's hard.  I lost a bit of weight, 25 lbs., but slowly but surely it has come back.  Am I eating more, no, am I exercising less, no----2 miles of walking every day and working out to an aerobics tape every day--, what's different?  From books I've read my body has simply adjusted to what I've done and stored more weight to compensate for it.  Very discouraging.
I watch the amount of fat, sugars and carbohydrates we eat, but I fear it's just a game.
Then add in the fact that nearly every medication I take says that one of its side effects is weight gain.
I think I'll just do the best I can and remember it's only a number.

Monday, January 18, 2016

!QQ!!

Mac always brings me flowers, aren't they pretty
Today was my appointment with my retina specialist whose office is on the far side of Savannah which means we always have to leave early to get there on time.  And since my last appointment he's moved his office, which means we also had to figure in time to get lost.  But today is Martin Luther King Day so the traffic wasn't bad at all and we got there on time.
All is well with my eyes, the retina and other assorted parts are all stable.  My Doctor was very excited to tell me about a new treatment for glaucoma using a laser.  There had been earlier treatments using lasers, but the side effects were troublesome.  The new treatment has no side effects, is done quickly in the office and if it works well I won't have to use drops in my eyes for the glaucoma or I'll use fewer drops.  I'll have the treatment when I go back in 3 months.
The weather is cold and clear here and temperatures will drop to 26º tonight, definite snuggling weather.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Movies

We don't watch many movies, hate to be preached at and told how bad I am.  Love a good comedy, but unfortunately Hollywood has forgotten how to make them substituting salacious behavior, bathroom humor and just plain dreck for it.
Not surprising when we do find a movie we like it's usually a British one and our latest was no exception.  We watched Mr. Holmes with Ian McKellen playing an aged Sherlock Holmes slipping slowly into senility, but wanting to remember his last case.
It was beautifully photographed, the acting exceptional and altogether a wonderful movie.
At the end we both had tears in our eyes and that doesn't happen very often.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday, so time for Five on Friday.  I will be joining Amy (and others) at Love Made My Home for this weekly event.  I'm a little late with this because of item number one.

One:  I had my semi-annual visit with my dermatologist.  She only had to burn off a few spots, but OW.  I'm good for another 6 months though and that's good.


Two:  Earlier this week I wanted to use up some left-over hamburger meat so I made a pot of chile.  In order to make it I opened a couple of cans of kidney beans.  The problem was that one of the cans wasn't chile beans, they were cannellini  beans.  So I put them in the refrigerator and the next day I used them to try a new recipe, Tuscan bean soup.  I got the recipe online, tweaked it to fit out taste (used potatoes instead of squash, didn't put it in a blender and make it smooth) and used the cannellini beans.  It was delicious.



Three:  While this was cooking Mac said it would sure be good to have some crusty bread to go with it.  Well it so happened that I had a mix for crusty Italian bread sticks.  So I whipped some up and they did go well with the soup.




Four: Number four is a bit strange.  It happened while I was making the bread.  I mixed it and kneaded it in a bowl on one counter and then transferred it to a board on another counter to roll out the dough.  Suddenly while I was rolling the dough, the bowl---a favorite of mine that I'd brought back from Spain---jumped off the other counter and broke.  I was so upset, loved that bowl.  I have a bigger version of it, but this one was perfect.  Don't know what happened, I've always said this house has a poltergeist.

I was working on the counter on the right, the bowl was on the counter on the left, they weren't anywhere near each other.


This is the larger bowl, the pattern is so pretty, told Mac we'll have to go back to Spain.


Five:  Whenever I go to the doctor and they're going to do "damage" to me, Mac always gets me something to cheer me up.  Today it was a little blue piggy to save for a rainy day---and it is a rainy day today.  Isn't he adorable, I gave him some pennies to get him started.


That's my five, hope you have a great weekend.








  



Thursday, January 14, 2016

This Cannot Be

First David Bowie and now Alan Rickman, no, no, no.  I've been a fan of his for years.  And not just the big movies, but the smaller ones An Awfuly Big Adventure, Bottle Shock, Truly, Madly, Deeply, Blow-dry.  Didn't matter what the movie was, good, bad, indifferent, he made it better. He was the only thing worth watching in Kevin Costner's God awful Robin Hood, there'll never be another Sheriff of Nottingham.
Saw his last movie A Little Chaos when flying back from England last year.  Can't believe his wonderful voice is gone.
He will be missed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

Today was the day of our yearly physical which meant that we had to be up early, eat no breakfast and head into town to our doctor's office.  Had a miserable night, way too much coughing, and did I say it was cold, Lordy, it was freezing, about 28º.  But daylight came, we dressed warmly and headed off, got to the office, signed in, filled out all necessary papers and were then told that the doctor was not going to be in today.  We could do all our labs and come back another day to meet with the doctor, but we elected not to do that because the last time we spread our annual over 2 visits our insurance company only agreed to pay for one of the visits.  So all had to be rescheduled.
Mac asked me if I wanted to go back home for breakfast or out to eat, you'll never guess what I chose, snark, of course I wanted to go out.
So breakfast was had at the local Denny's, not gourmet, but oh so good, eggs and sausage for me, eggs, sausage, ham, bacon and pancakes for Mac.  Couldn't begin to finish it all, we're use to coffee and toast for breakfast.
Then we bought more lottery tickets---they prize is up to 1.5 billion dollars for tomorrow night's draw.  It's so huge it sounds like Monopoly money.
Shouldn't be as cold tonight, only down to 30º, but loads of sunshine, I approve.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter in the South

Cold night last night, down to 31º and only in the 40's today, but so, so pretty.  Beautiful blue sky.  Hoping the frost will kill some of the things that are causing my allergies without doing my other plants any damage.
So many things in  bloom, spring will probably be a bust.
The Jasmine that grows around our pool


The Camelis Tree has outdone itself this year and is covered in blossoms


One of the many Lantanas, should have dropped all its leaves, but instead it's blooming.

We call it the Shamrock plant, can't remember its real name, but it's gone rogue and is growing everywhere.

The climbing white rose


Azaleas, months too early

More Lantana

Supposed to go down to about 30º tonight, so bundle up.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

No Winner

There was no winner in last night's Powerball draw so it rolls over and the prize will now be at least 1.3 billion dollars---unreal.
On a happier note---I wouldn't know what to do with that kind of money anyway---our Amaryllis has bloomed and it is incredible.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Can't Even Imagine

Holy Smokestacks Batman, PowerBall is over $900,000,000 for tonight's draw.  We hardly ever buy lottery tickets, but Holy Moly, that's a lot of Tootsie Rolls, so we bought some.   They're saying it's possible it may hit a billion before it's through.
What in the world would you do with that kind of money?  Buy a new house, set your kids up for life, give to charity, disappear?

Experts say that you should:  

Sign the back of the ticket to keep others from claiming it
                     
 Stay anonymous if you can, some states make  you come out in public to collect, being known as a winner can be dangerous for you

 Before you claim the money assemble a money management team that
  includes a financial advisor and an accountant and find out what their 
  fees are upfront

Don't spend the money for at least 6 months, take your time to think 
 about how to use it    

So, to my fellow Americans, have you bought a ticket?
  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Five on Friday

Joining in with Amy at Love Made My Home for the very first Five on Friday.  Slow week here at the Little House in the Swamp, we're better, but the cough lingers and our clinic says it may linger for a couple of weeks.

My Five are a bit of a mix.

The First is my new header.  Mac painted it from a photo we took out at Fort Pulaski, a Revolutionary fort that's on the way to Tybee Island.  The animals were added to give it interest.  Mac  thought he'd painted a lizard in in and now he can't find it, so he may sneak by and paint it in.  Have you heard the joke about when is an artist through with a painting?  Well, if you'll distract the museum guard, he'll just hurry over and get a few more strokes in.  And that's the truth, a painting is never finished.



The Second is the puzzle I'm starting.  I got a new one for Christmas, but this is one I got last year and never got around to, so it's first.  I've sorted the colors and the edge, should get to start it tomorrow.


The Third is my Christmas throw that was supposed to be done by Christmas and of course wasn't.  I hope to finish is this month.  The green is so dark it looks black.  My daughter says it looks like the Italian flag.  It does rather.



The Fourth was a Christmas present.  We were watching Miss Marple, my hero and role model, one night and when she wanted to look more closely at something she whipped out her magnifying glass, a heart-shaped magnifying glass.  I fell in love with it and Mac searched all over the internet until he found one for me.  It's just perfect.








The Fifth is something that has helped us with our cough, St. Brendan's Irish Cream.  We have a cup of coffee each evening with a heavy dose of St. Brendan's.  My throat loves it.



That's my five.  Hope you have a good weekend.








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...