Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tax Bill


 Ima is pissed!  We got our new tax bill for our house today, they went up more than $700, I guess that's because there isn't any inflation.  I think I'm going to join the next TeaParty they have around here.  To say I'm angry doesn't begin to address the subject.  We will be getting no Social Security increase because, tah dah, there is no inflation.  And when there is no Social Security increase there is no pay raise for military retirees because, tah dah, there is no inflation.  I'm so pleased with all my elected officials who work so hard to s***w, I'm sorry, serve us.  I know they're doing their best spending our money, and realize they know so much more than us about the needs of regular people.
I WANT A THIRD PARTY AND I WANT IT NOW!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bread Making


I made bread yesterday, edible bread, I can't believe it!  My daughter April had given me a bread machine for my birthday and I'd been waiting for a cool day to try it out..  I'd put it on my Amazon Wish List and like the good daughter she is, she got it for me.  I've had the urge to make my own bread for a while.  After reading the list of ingredients on a package of bread  I'd thought  that I could probably do a healthier version.  
So feeling very Betty Crockerish yesterday, and it not being 900 degrees in the house, I decided to attempt a loaf of sour dough bread.  For my first venture into bread making I used a package of sour dough bread mix instead of mixing all of my own ingredients.  That may be a little bit cheating but I didn't care, I wanted my first loaf to be successful.  
I poured in the water, added the flour mix, made a little hole in the flour, put in the dry yeast, set the machine for basic white bread, medium brown crust and 3 hours, turned it on and let her rip!  Three hours later I had a crusty loaf of sour dough bread.  It wasn't as sour as I would have liked, but it was tasty, we had it for dinner yesterday and breakfast today, it toasted well.
So I'm really happy!  I make pasta and bread and Mac makes beer, now if the cat could find something to specialize in we'd be set.







Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Painting


Painted the ruins of the Recreation House on Cumberland, it was part of the Carnegie mansion of Dungeness.  To be truthful the horses weren't in front of the ruins but off to the left, so I took their picture and moved them, so much easier than trying to shift live horses.  I have one more painting to complete, it's of the gateway.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Painting on Cumberland Island


While Mac was searching for shark's teeth on Cumberland I was painting, doing watercolors.  I completed one and mostly finished 2 others.  Cumberland is such a beautiful place to paint.  They control the number of people who can come to the island, there are only 2 boats a day going over, so it is very quiet and peaceful.  You have time to think and to really look at things.  I painted the scene of a bend in the river.  The picture I took I framed with one of the huge oaks that the island is covered with, but I didn't paint the oak, I don't do trees well.  I was pleased with how it turned out and now Mac needs to mat and frame it for me, after he quits muttering about the weird size canvas I used.








Friday, October 23, 2009

St.Mary's




Our trip to St.Mary's and Cumberland Island was wonderful.  Stayed at the beautiful Emma's Bed and Breakfast again.  Their garden was full of Ginger Lilies, it smelled like heaven, so I came home and ordered a bunch for my garden.  It says they love water so they should love my garden, it's a part-time swamp.  There was something really cool going on in St.Mary's, all the business's make Scarecrow displays that are on the divider down the main street of town, it looked great.


Cumberland Island was gorgeous, as always.  Mac spent his day looking for shark's teeth and found over a 100 of them.  I spent the day painting, I'll post about that tomorrow.



































Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birthday Trip


We're off to Cumberland Island and St.Mary's again, it's Mac's birthday Thursday.  We have one month when we're the same age and then things return to normal with him being older than me.  I prefer it that way.
I still remember the first time I saw him across the quadrangle at school, when we were Juniors in High School. To say I was quite taken is an understatement.   He was talking to someone I knew in my Drama Class, so that afternoon I asked all about him, but was told he as going with someone so I put him out of my mind.
Then several months later we met, he'd broken up with his old girl friend and the rest, as they say, is history.  So Happy Birthday to my Mac!

Furniture Shopping

We went furniture shopping yesterday, went to the Mall which we both hate, haven't been in one in years.  Thought we'd give a look at Sears.  Well it turns out that places like Sears, Penneys and Macys only carry furniture in catalogues and online, not in their stores.  So we headed off to Rooms to Go to look at the tv console pictured on the left.  Well, it was way bigger than we expected and quite frankly didn't look as good in person as it did online, so we looked at more consoles and found one called the Santa Cruz.  That's the one pictured on the right.  In person it actually looked better than its picture, so we decided to buy it.  But the salesman who'd jumped on us like a vulture on fresh kill as we'd entered the store  told us it was out of stock and wouldn't be available until December 15.  I asked him if they would sell the floor model but he said no because it was active stock.  So we decided to move on to another furniture store.
We hit Haverty's next.  They're a bit more expensive than Rooms to Go but have beautiful furniture.  The store in Savannah looks small from the outside but is huge, including a whole back room (like a whole other store) of scratch and dent items.  We were overwhelmed by the choices but surprised ourselves by falling in love with not a tv console but a sofa table.  Mac found it and showed it to me and I knew at first glance it was the one.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  It has inlayed wood on the top and bottom shelf and just looks rich. They had none in stock but were more than glad to sell me the floor model even though it was active stock.  Smart people.  It was on sale and we bought it, had the Miata so we couldn't take it home with us but we'll be going to pick it up onSaturday.  It should look great upstairs.









Monday, October 19, 2009

Bonus Room Update


Well the room is painted, even touched up, and the rug is mostly torn out.  Mac threw it out the window and loaded it into the car where it is awaiting a trip to the dumps.  As we were maneuvering  the huge entertainment center around we discovered that the bottom of one side was simply sawdust.  So though it's paid for, and that's my favorite furniture design,   it now looks like we're going to have to buy a new entertainment center.  Right now the one we have is about 7 feet long and 6 feet high, with the tv in the center and bookshelves going down each side, or at least it looked like that before Mac began dismantling it.  
After looking at about a million of these media centers (I hate that name) online, we've decided that we'd rather have a smaller one that had a little more style to it, and if we have to put a few more books in the closet we will.  So I guess that we're off furniture shopping today.
The picture is of one we're considering from Rooms to Go.  We've bought from them before and like their furniture.  We don't have a flat screen tv and refuse to buy one until our present one dies, which it shows no sign of doing.  So we'll have a new media center (ugh) and a really old tv, how divine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We're Still Painting


We're still painting.  Ran out of paint the first day, of course, got more paint yesterday.  It's raining so we're painting.  It's almost done, except for touch-ups.  Touch-ups are to say the least,  a touchy subject.  I offered to help with them if Mac would point out what needs touching up.  So he did, but I couldn't see what he was pointing out, and of course he asked if I was blind, and as we all know the answer to that question is yes, I am blind!
So I'm down here Blogging while he finishes up, with the help of the cat who thinks painting is just too cool for words.  She climbs the ladder, walks through wet paint, attempts to suffocate herself under the plastic we've covered things with, and just play old has a great time.
Tomorrow, when it's all dry,  Mac will again do touch-ups and then we'll start ripping out the carpet.  The new flooring is due in next week.  A friend is coming to help with that so we ought to get it done fairly quickly.  
We've been pricing entertainment centers to replace the one we have up there, but have decided it's not that old and ugly after all,  paid for is often a beautiful look.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cannons


I think I've always loved cannons, don't ask why, don't know.  But I remember being in a little Spanish town named Tossa del Mar in the late 60's, visiting their castle,  laying my hands on one of the cannons there, turning to Mac and saying, "I want a cannon!"  Throughout the years I've repeated this message to Mac, and then a couple of years ago he made me a cannon, it doesn't fire, but it's a great little cannon.  It lives out in our backyard and I envision me sinking marauding pirate boats with it.
Then last night I saw the coolest, and I do mean coolest, thing!  While searching for something to watch on tv I ran across Mythbusters, a show we always enjoy,  but don't often remember when it's on.  Anyway, they were doing a whole episode on duct tape, how cool is that?  They lifted a man using duct tape, they lifted a 5,000 lb. car using duct tape, they plugged a hole in a boat using duct tape, they even built a sailboat out of duct tape, and it sailed.  But best of all, the built an actual working cannon out of duct tape!  It fired a cannon ball about 125 ft. and it didn't blow up.  I want one, and I'm betting I'm not the only one who's going to try and build one.  
The video of the cannon can be seen at http:/dsc.discovery.com/video/mythbusters-duct-tape-cannon-angle-3.html

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

...And So It Begins


We started work on our big upstairs room today.  I've never really been sure what to call this room.  It's not the Family room, we have one of those downstairs.  It's not a rec room, I don't even think they call anything a rec room any more.  Some places call this room a FROG, which stands for Finished Room Over Garage.  Others call it a bonus room. We just call it "Upstairs", as in, "Are you going Upstairs?"
 Anyway, we've had it set up with a Pub at one end, Mac has been collecting Pub stuff (mugs, beer mats, mirrors, drink pitchers) for years, and at the other end is our Media Room, isn't that trendy sounding?  That's the end that has a TV, DVD and about a million books.  So before we put the new floor in we're painting and we've been waiting for a good rainy day to start and so here we are. Paint estimater beyond compare, I bought a single gallon of white paint.  Now why I thought a gallon would cover this room when the floor that we measured for the new flooring came to 342 sq.ft., I don't know.  A gallon covered slightly less than half of it.  I've painted enough that I should have known that. 
The painting went pretty well, we have packed up a good bit of the room, covered the leather chairs, taken everything off the walls, only painted the cat a little and just let fly.  Doesn't matter if we get paint on the rug, it's out of here, and not a moment too soon.  I don't know what the previous owners did to the rugs in this house, and quite frankly I don't want to know, but I'm going to be very happy with my new wood floors.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall in Savannah

Fall in Savannah, GA is a little bit different than Fall in New England.  The leaves aren't falling yet, haven't even changed color.  Usually the leaves drop off as they're pushed off by new leaves.  Many of our trees are evergreen, the oaks, magnolias, palms and swamp bays.
But it is Fall, the weather is a little cooler, only in the lower 80's instead of the lower 90's ( that was last week).  This week I'm optimistic that our lows may even drop to the 60's instead of the 70's.
Fall means I can work  in my garden again without melting into a puddle of human ooze.  I planted bulbs today to replace the 1,000 plants that rotted this year from too much rain.  I put in 20 Spanish Bluebells and 25 Anemones of various colors.  I'm using a new gardening book titled "Garden Perennials for the Coastal South" and I'm hopeful that I will pick better plants for my garden.  Walmart will sell you any ol' d**n thing whether it will grow here  it or not and I'm tired of throwing my money away on things that were never meant to grow here, like tulips!
Mac has been busy digging manure (and complaining that it's so Yuppified that it doesn't even smell like manure) into his garden so he can plant his Fava Beans.  He's had to dig up some of his Zinnias and he hates to dig flowers up, he's a softy. 
We bought a pumpkin to put in our front yard Fall display along with the Scarecrow and Chyrsanthemums , when we get closer to Halloween Mac will carve it, he's getting really good at doing that.  He says I ought to make a pumpkin pie out of it, HA, HA, HA.  I  like Halloween, or to be completely honest, I like all the candy associated with Halloween.  We don't have a lot of kids in our neighborhood, most of them are older, and what we usually do is put a bowl of candy on the steps out front and let them help themselves.  Would you believe the bowl is nearly always still full of candy at the end of the
 night, lots of chocolate candy of course.
And Fall means football season, SIGH!  The Raiders lost 44 to 7 yesterday, but it wasn't really that close.  Oh well, next year-----somebody please buy my team and make it a real team again.



















Sunday, October 11, 2009

...And Then The Snake Lady Slithered In


Her name is actually Beverly, I think, but she shall forever be knownto us  as the Snake Lady  because of a tale she once told us of walking out her backdoor and having a snake drop on her head.  Well, she slithered into our table last night as we sat taking a breather between dances and began a long and windy (isn't that a song?) tale about a cabin she and her husband had rented in Tennessee, just 15 minutes outside of Nashville.  We were given more details than we ever wanted about the place, then about her 2 near- death experiences of the last week, one involving a truck that ran her off the road and one involving a water mocassin (had to be a snake involved after all she is the Snake Lady).  Finally the band played a song we liked and we ran, and I do mean ran, to the dance floor.  When the song was over she was gone, we thought.  About a half hour later she was back, with her husband whom we had never met before, he seemed rational (not drunk) as she was not.  She began a rambling discourse about how they were private people, as we were private people, and because of that she insisted that we go to Tennessee with them and rent a cabin.  To say we were gobsmacked wouldn't even begin to describe how we felt.  She went on and on about she "loved" the people at Tommy's (that's where we were last night) but she didn't want to go anywhere with them or take them anywhere, but she wanted to take us!
Now we don't really know the Snake Lady, have had only a couple of rambling conversations with her and hadn't seen her in a couple of years so why she had decided that she needed to carry us off to a cabin in Tennessee I do not know.    I know that alcohol can loosen the tongue, give us illusions and delusions,  but Lordy, Lordy what was she thinking!
We ran to the dance floor again, the band might have been playing a funeral dirge for all we knew, we just needed to get away from our table.  When the song was over  her husband had taken her away.  We reminded ourselves that sometimes we need to get rid of the extra chairs at our table and tonight was a perfect example of why.
  Mac checked to make sure they were really gone and we headed off to the Huddle House to have breakfast before going home, but looking in the window before we entered Mac spotted her (hiss) in there and we turned around to leave, with our favorite waitress running behind us wanting to know why we were leaving.  We explained the situation  and headed off, ended up at Denny's and had a great breakfast, absolutely snakefree.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'd Rather Eat at Home


Eating in restaurants has become very disappointing, most things I order I can fix better at home and I know the cleanliness standards of my kitchen.   About the only thing I ever order any more when we go out  is steak, because a big, thick, juicy steak is always good, that is if the restaurant knows how to cook it.  
Reynold's Tavern in Annapolis, MD served me one of the best steaks I've had in my life, it was cooked to perfection (I like my steaks rare) and melted in your mouth.  We were celebrating Easter and Mac and April had great meals too, but my steak stole the show.
I'm not overly surprised when a regular restaurant can't cook a steak fit to eat, they just throw it on the grill and when it's brown serve it.  But I expect a steakhouse to know how to cook a steak.  The last time we went to the Longhorn Steak House, and it will be the last time, I ordered a ribeye steak rare.  In order to cook a steak rare you sear it on the outside and leave it red on the inside.  Did the Longhorn cook my steak that way, of course not.  The server brought me a piece of gray meat uncooked either inside or outside, it wasn't rare it was raw.  Like I said, we won't be going back, I cook better, and Mac cooks better steaks than that even if I give him cheap meat to work with.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

England


We're starting to miss England.  We use to go twice a year in May and September when we taught in a year round school and had different months off.  Usually we rented a cottage and spent 3 weeks or so.  We've rented some beautiful places, a thatched cottage in Cornwall, another thatched cottage in Devon, a small half-timbered cottage in Shropshire, a stone cottage near Dartmoor, a 17th century mill in Somerset, Jack Daw cottage on a farm in the lower Cotswalds, a beautifully restored cow byre in Shropshire, a lovely white cottage on a small stream in Somerset and a small brick cottage on a horse farm near Stratford on Avon.  We've gone twice since we moved back here to Georgia, once near Christmas to do some shopping and 3 years ago in September.  When living in California we use to call it our civility break, one can put up with rude people, and that's all that lives in California anymore, only so long.  The British are well-mannered even when being rude, I think that's why I like Jane Austen's books so much.
We spent a lot of time visiting prehistoric sites in England, Stonehenge, Avesbury, Weyland Smithy, long barrows, hillforts, as well as ancient sites associ
ated with King Arthur (I'm a big King Arthur fan), Roman sites, castles, palaces and gardens.
Right now I'm reading a book written by a woman who spent 20 years putting in a garden at a dower house she was leasing.  I want that garden, I want to go see that garden.  It's on a National Trust property so I might be able to, if we go back to England, and I'm beginning to think we might.  We're both sitting with nearly 70,000 miles we could use for a free trip, so maybe I ought to start looking at some cottages.



Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Remodeling










You buy a house because you like it and then immediately start changing it.  That's been the story of all of our houses and this one is no exception.  We bought it because Mac loved the location and I loved the hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. 
The first thing we did after buying it was I had Mac paint the dining room, I didn't like the color in there, I'm still not happy with the way it looks and he's painted it 3 times for me, so the next time I'll have to paint it. I've decided that I don't want color on the bottom, I want iton the top.








 





After that we painted the 4th bedroom that we use as a computer room, it's a soft brown, Mac doesn't like it, but I do, I just want to get some crown molding put up.  








There is a bathroom right next to this room, I think these two rooms were supposed to be the maid's quarters (I wish).  Anyway, we painted it an even softer brown, sort of sand like, we're both pleased with it.     







Then the first major project was to  put granite counter tops (50 sq.ft. of granite at about $50 a sq.ft.) in the kitchen and tile on the parts we didn't put granite on.  Home Depot installed the granite and Mac did the tiling.  I like granite, but not too much.  













Our next project was tearing out the carpet in our master bathroom and having tile put down on the floor, we had a friend do the tiling.  Then we ripped out the carpet in our bedroom, painted the walls  and put wooden floors down.  The floors we put down had to be glued down or nailed down and we chose to to glue.  That was more fun than we had ever anticipated.  Not!  We glued boards, the hammer we were working with, odd bits of papers, anything that came in the room.  It's a big room, more than 500 sq.ft. and it took us several days to get it all done.    



















Next we painted an accent wall in the living room.  I only had to put about 15 different color samples up there before I picked one, but it's a deep, rich color and looks good.








After that we began looking at the kitchen/familyroom  that is really one big room.  The ceiling in the kitchen is  9 feet high, but the familyroom walls go up nearly 20 feet.  So I picked a color, Mac refuses to pick colors, he says whatever color I pick is fine with him.  So over a couple of days we got that painted and it looks great, I think it's a color we'll be able to live with for a long time.  Though when we first opened the can Mac said it looked like baby poo and put some on the wall of a closet to show me what a strange color it was.  I assured him it would dry differently.















It was a year or so before we did any more work and we decided to do more work in our master bathroom.  We, I mean Mac and Ms Kitty, tore out the stock sinks and vanities, in their place we put 2 vanities that look like  pieces of furniture and have granite tops, replaced the light fixtures and Mac retiled the shower and around the tub.  All we need to do is finish grouting and painting.
  Probably by then I'll be sick of it and we'll have to start over.

We've also painted the small half bath off the kitchen.  So except for finishing the master bath and me painting the dining room we're near to finishing the lower level of the house.  I'd also like to add mantels to the 2 fireplaces and hopefully we'll do that before Christmas.

That brings us to the upstairs part of the house, and we've done nothing up there.  But that's about to change.  We have another familyroom upstairs, 342 sq.ft. to be exact and we've ordered laminate flooring for it in a Brazilian Hickory, rather dark and very rich.  So today we started packing the room up, there are about 9,000,000 books in there and all the stuff that Mac has in the Pub end of it.  Once that's all out we can start painting and ripping out carpet, I can't wait.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Hate Cell Phones

I hate cell phones and I'm beginning to hate people who can't live without them.  I'm tired of hearing inane conversations, tired of having sales people act like they're so put upon having to put their cell phone down to wait on me ,  and  tired of drivers nearly running me over as they drive and text.
Everyone has a cell phone, even the dude in the picture to the left , but you don't have to spend your life with it glued to your ear.  I have even seen a girl talking on a cell phone while she was dancing with her date.  He should have left her on the floor so she could finish that which was so much more important than being with him.
I've seen parents and children walking together and each talking on a cell phone.  What's wrong with folks, can they not stand the thought of not being electronically connected. 
Researchers have found that using a cell phone raises the temperature of the brain.  Not a lot perhaps, but most folks have so little brain to begin with they don't need to be parboiling the little they have.
I have a cell phone, it lives in either my purse or the glove compartment of my car.  I use it when I'm lost (frequently), when I've forgotten what I'm at the store for ("Hello Mac ...), or when meeting someone and have to share locations.  I don't live on, almost never turn it on, don't even know my cell phone number, have to look it up when I need it.    So don't try and call me on my cell phone, it's not on, and I never check for missed messages.  Try my landline instead, I check it occasionally, or e-mail me or tag me on Facebook, but don't call my cell phone.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

House



I finally got around to watching the season premiere of House, and I'm once again blown away by what a good actor Hugh Laurie is.  When we first saw Hugh Laurie it was in the British series "Jeeves and Wooster", with Hugh playing the rather silly young man Bertie Wooster, a bit of a waster as his Aunt Agatha would say.  We loved the series and own the entire run of it.  He was so believable as an idle Englishman living life without a clue.  Then several years ago House came along, sweet lovable Bertie Wooster was gone and in his place was  the American doctor Greg House.  Mean, nasty, talented, almost friendless.  What a transformation.  We really enjoyer the show because though it was serious it still had a sense of humor.
Then last year House became so mean spirited that it was painful to watch and we'd decided to give it a miss this year.  But in a fit of boredom I went to Hulu (where you can watch tv shows 8 days after they've been on) and watched the first episode.  It was serious, House was in a mental institute where he was kicking his Vicodin addiction and learning to be human again.  And he did, I think it will be a much better season.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Camel Milk


Just saw an article that the first commercial camel milk farm in Europe  has started up in Holland.  What a thought!  As if cows weren't bad enough!  I met a number of camels when we were living in Turkey and let me tell you the last thing I want from a camel is its milk.  Camels are mean tempered , they spit, love to bite and hurt like h**l to ride.
They, don't you just love "they", say that camel milk will be better for diabetics and others.  I figure it will just give me another variety of milk to dislike.
This group of photos was taken when we went to the camel wrestling matches in Turkey, yes, I said wrestling matches.





This picture was taken in Egypt when I foolishly decided I just get on a camel.





















Tuesday in the Swamp

The house is once again filled with the smell of Gingerbread, I baked a load of little men, even wore my Gingerbread Apron, but I'm too ...