Sunday, April 30, 2017

Slow Sunday

We always get up early on Sunday to Skype with out daughter in Japan (that 13 or 14 hour difference always gets me).   So after about an hour Skyping the rest of the day just drags, I'm sleepy and little gets done around here as I just drift around puttering.

I'm reading a couple of good books:  Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, a retelling of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.  I really like it,  Kate is such a mess, outspoken, does not suffer fools and is rather sad.  I can so identify with working in a daycare with 4 year olds, I did that before I became a teacher.  Her father is trying to marry her off to his brilliant assistant Pyotr to keep him from being deported.  Will hate to see it end.

Also reading Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates a fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe.  How much is true and how much is fiction is hard to tell.  I know nothing about Marilyn except her image, so I have to keep going to other sources to see if what Oates is writing is real.  A very different style of book for me, but I quite enjoying it.

I'm  also reading or rereading a huge book of 5 Agatha Christie novels.  Finished Murder at the Vicarage and now I'm working on Dead Man's Folly, to be followed by Sad Cypress, Towards Zero and N or M.  I'm not sure which I've read before, I'm more familiar with the tv versions which tend to be a bit different.

Watched a super hero movie this week, something we almost never do.  It was Dr. Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch.  Stunning visual effects and an ok story.

Been very hot this week and we had a quickie rain shower earlier, not enough to cool things off or water the yard, but good to have.  We've had a very dry spring, less than 1/2 an inch of rain the whole month of April.

Ribs to be barbecued and German style potato salad are on the menu today.  I've really tried to cut back on eating carbohydrates and I really miss my potatoes, so today we're having some.
It's baseball this afternoon---go Braves--- and then a movie tonight, not sure which one yet, but I noticed that Amazon had a cat one called Nine Lives that I may get, it's free with Amazon Prime.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Hello Friday

You use to mean so much more to me, now it means that all my neighbors will be home for 2 days and while I have good neighbors it does mean that every machine designed to mow, shape or blow your lawn will be in use and it won't be as quiet here.  Boy aren't I getting fussy in my old age.  I do remember how precious the weekend was, it's just that Monday-Friday is now my weekend.
My Gladiolas have started blooming and they're the prettiest color, just love them.
Gladiolas with red roses in the background
Today was cleaning day oh frabjous day.  Mac gave the microwave, the cabinets above it and the stove a good cleaning.  I fry virtually nothing, don't cook with oil and yet things get greasy.  I did laundry and mopped floors, oh aren't we a good team.  Miss Kitty just watched and wondered why we just didn't lick it.
I sold a painting this week.  Always a pleasant surprise, I'm use to Mac selling, but I have sold a couple this year too.




We've  passed warm and moved into hot here, it was 90º yesterday and is supposed to be 91º today, but it was already about 70º at 7 am this morning,  so no telling how hot it will get.  Mac has watered the garden, but says things are wilting anyway.  Weather lady says it's going to be very humid too, my bones could have told her that.

Have been fighting with our local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).  We sold our second car back in January and cancelled the insurance on it.  We got a letter from the DMV saying we were being fined $80 something dollars for cancelling our insurance unless we'd sold the car or taken it out of commission.  I signed the back of the form stating yes that we'd sold the car.  Last week I got the same form back again,  filled it in again and put in a cover letter telling them we'd sold the car to the dealer who had originally sold it to us.  
Got a call saying I had to prove I'd sold it or I'd be fined.  Couldn't find the paperwork from the dealer, had them send us a copy of it to us.  I've now mailed that to the DMV and put in a letter saying if they have any more questions about the car to contact the dealer, not us, we don't own the car.
Found such a sweet bunny picture and asked Mac to paint it for me and he has it almost finished.  Isn't it cute.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday in the Swamp

We've been out working in the yard some more, have to get it done before the really hot and humid weather gets here.  I did more flower planting, I just love how it's looking out there.
Mac has been cleaning out the bed in front of the house.  It had really gotten overgrown and you couldn't see the statue or the birdbath we have there.  He got slowed down though because when he was raking at the back of the bed he ran across a copperhead snake, poisonous of course, so he went to get his gun to shoot it.  When he came back it was gone and rake everywhere he couldn't find it.
As long as it's away from the house I'm ok with that, gotta share the environment even with critters we're not really fond of.
Speaking of critters, beavers have moved back into the lagoon out back.  They were there years ago, but moved on.  They gnawed down several of our trees and we had to wrap the smaller trees in chicken wire and paste others with chili paste to keep them from taking them down.  This time they're after the palmettos Mac has been nurturing.  They gnawed off a good number of fronds and dragged them to the water, looks like they're planning on building a den.  Well, not with out palmettos, Mac will cover them up so they can't get to them.
Squirrels have been coming to the bird feeder on the back porch and one day there was even a raccoon eating out there.  Well one one them, don't know who, knocked the feeder over and broke it.

That's life in the swamp, if it's not one critter it's another.



You can see Rebecca again

Fresia just planted this year

A Lily I planted last year




Lima beans Mac planted last week

New Guinea Impatiens

A baby orange

Elephant Ears and Coleus

The Japanese Garden Mac is making for me

The side shade garden



























Sunday, April 23, 2017

What's For Breakfast


While eating breakfast this morning I got to thinking about the breakfasts we had eaten in Japan.  Our hotel, the Richmond,   included a buffet breakfast each morning and it was quite a spread, we were looking forward to trying it out as we had opted for room and breakfast.
Our daughter had warned us that we'd find the Japanese idea of breakfast foods  very different from Western breakfasts.  Well it was and it wasn't.  There was rice, soup, macaroni and cheese, stewed veggies, salad, fish, bacon, sausage  and eggs-  though the eggs were scrambled, which I normally prefer, they were very runny and I just can't eat runny eggs-several kinds I bread-I opted for sliced baguettes that I warmed in a toaster oven and 2 kinds of cereal.  Coffee, tea and fresh juice was available too.  There were other items I just wasn't familiar with, but picky eater than I am I had toast, coffee, orange juice and cereal.  Had a salad one morning and it was good, but it just seemed too strange to be eating it for breakfast.  Mac had fish a couple of times, but generally stuck to bacon or sausage and eggs.  Their eggs are so much fresher than ours, you can tell by the bright orange yolk.
I had one  salad while we were staying n Hiroshima  and  we had breakfast in a cafe , but that's because I was really missing salads, we normally have one every day at home.  It was hard to find salads on the menu for lunch and dinner, but nearly every breakfast menu had salad..  That morning I had a salad, our daughter had an oyster brioche--she said it the best she'd ever tasted-- and Mac had a rather hot dog like sausage and we talked about the different things people eat for breakfast.
At home we strictly have coffee, toast and orange juice unless we go out to breakfast.  Our daughter says she has an energy bar.  I've been known to nibble at left over pizza, but that's about as much pasta as I've ever had for breakfast.  I know that when we lived in Germany coffee and brotchen were the standard breakfast.  When we visit England a full English breakfast was always available.  Around the Med--Italy, Greece, Spain-- fruit was always available for breakfast.  What's your usual breakfast?
What the Japanese offer for breakfast certainly makes for a hardy meal, but for me it would take some getting use to.
I borrowed these photos from the hotel website as I didn't think to take photos at breakfast.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Garden Day

Worked in the garden this morning putting in more plants, it looks so pretty.  Put in 2 Lobelias, a mixed lot of Celosia, a yellow, dwarf Tick Seed and Mac planted another Carnation for me.
Our Sugar Snap peas are ready and we'll have them tomorrow.  And WOW, the potatoes have out done themselves this year.
Red and Yukon Gold Potatoes

Dwarf Tick Seed

Celosia

Carnation

Sugar Snap Peas


Lobellia


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mixed Up Cactus

One of my Christmas cacti that bloomed at Christmas decided to bloom for Easter too.  Not complaining, it could bloom every month as far as I concerned.
Very warm here again, will be 90º by the weekend.  The cactus will like it, some of the other plants not so much.
Our tomatoes are blooming and we're hoping to get some tomatoes before they die.  Our tomatoes always die, each one finds a different reason and just gives up the ghost.
Time to exercise, oh joy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday in the Swamp

Hot here today, it was 87º here yesterday and today feels worse.  We had to turn the air conditioning on.  Hate to use it so early in the year, but hate sitting around sweating and trying to clean house while you're soaked in sweat is awful.
Mac worked in the garden getting more Fava beans planted and he kindly planted my lima beans. We have sugar snap peas ready to pick and we'll have them tomorrow.  I stayed inside, it was just too hot for me to be outside.
Yesterday was our 20,000 mile check-up, also known as our annual physical.  All is well.  Had to do the stupid Medicare check list---are you depressed, do you feel alone and isolated, have you fallen lately, do you have trouble sleeping, stand up, walk to the door, say these 3 words, put the numbers on the clock, make it say ten after eleven, what were the 3 words.  If my doctor wanted this information I wouldn't mind, hate that I'm doing it for some mindless bureaucrat in Washington.  I threatened to answer the opposite of what I should.
House cleaned, as much as it's going to be, laundry on the line, piano played, aerobics and walk done, time to go work on the life-long cross-stitch project.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday, Monday

Well Easter was a delight, great meal if I do say so myself-lamb chops, roast veggies, deviled egg and a cake with whipped cream and bananas. Love lamb, but it's so rich.
Mac picked me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from the garden, looked like they came from a flower shop.  Also need to mention that my snowball tree is in bloom.  I planted it about 11 years ago, it was just a stick, now each spring it's glorious.
After working in the garden last week I had to get caught up on housework and ironing today, not fun and not the least bit satisfying.  After you work in the garden you have lovely flowers and veggies to look forward to.  After cleaning house all you have to look forward to is it getting dirty again.
Watched a good movie last night, Arrival with Amy Adams.  It's about first contact and though I have a few quibbles with it, overall I think it was excellent.
Also finished my Iris Murdoch book last week, The Sea, The Sea   It will not doubt land on my top 10 list for the year.  The story of a retired actor/director who retires to the sea and encounters the lost love of his life.  But it's more than just that, a bit about what is real and what is not and how true are our memories, I theme I always find intriguing.  I'll be looking forward to more of her books.







Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter

I'm getting this done today because I know I'll never get it done tomorrow.  Today I'm dying eggs and I actually read the directions on the dye box and found out that I've been doing it wrong for years.  You're supposed to dye warm eggs not cold ones, so mine are out on the kitchen counter attempting to get warm.  It also said to let the dye tablet dissolve completely before adding vinegar and to only put the vinegar in the blue and green dye, not the red, orange or yellow---who knew!  About the only thing I've been doing right is that I use warm water not cold to dye them.
I was out in the garden attempting to plant things this morning, but mainly doing damage to myself.  While cleaning out a spot for my Impatients I was attacked by an Asparagus Fern, had to clean it out with alcohol and cover with a bandage and go find my gardening gloves.  Who knew they could be so spiky, they look gentle enough,  But I got the Impatients in.
Mac put the Chrysanthemums in and then we heard our neighbor calling his dogs, he has big ones, and as they were running loose we went to go get Miss Kitty off the back deck.  I held onto the railing going up the stairs, as one should, and ran a splinter into my other hand.  Gardening was definitely done for the day.
I'll leave you with some pictures of what Easter looks like around here.









Friday, April 14, 2017

Five on Friday

Didn't make it to Five on Friday last week, but hopefully I get this one in.  Busy week in the garden trying to get everything planted, should finish up today or tomorrow, just in time for Easter.  I've been posting plant pictures all week, so for a change I thought I'd post some of our photos from our trip to Japan.
On one of our last days there our daughter took us to the Cherry blossom festival in her local park, the Ohari.    Opening the festival was a Samauri parade through the streets of town with samurai, children in costume and the mayor of Fukuoka in costume on a horse, it was really a sight to see.
In the park there were not a lot of cherry blossoms, they were late this year, but it's a beautiful park and there were tons of food stalls so the whole place smelled heavenly.
So my Five are:  the Samauri parade, the cherry blossoms, the food stall, a drum and flute group and a Torii and lantern staircase at a local Shinto shrine.

The mayor is on the brown horse
















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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Back to the Garden

Getting there, most of the plants are in now.  Put the New Guinea Impatien in the first bed and then went to work in the shady bed.  Don't know the names of all the plants, but they're all either blue or lavender.    We had Miss Kitty out with us and she just had to climb the ladder, she loves ladders, that Mac had used to trim the Snowball tree and she caught her paw, was hanging and crying.  We finally gat her loose, she was more scared than hurt, but hearing her cry breaks my heart.
Very warm today, supposedly we had a cold front go through last night--HA!-- it's well up in the 80's today.
Tomorrow I get the rest of my Impatiens in, they go in the side garden where I grow Asperagus Ferns.  And Mac will plant my Easter Lilies out front.
Need to go exercise, don't want to, but must.





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...