Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween, Sort of

Well today is Halloween though the kids around here went Trick or Treating last night.  That is the few kids who were allowed to go Trick or Treat any more.  We had 3 kids stop by our house,  that's all, so I gave them loads of candy.  It's sad that so few get to go out, though I can't blame the parents, I hardly let our daughter Trick or Treat when she was young, I generally threw her candy away and give her some I had bought.
How different all that is from when I was a child, oh those many years ago.  Our parents didn't go Trick or Treating  with us, no one bothered us out there in the dark, we stayed out for hours and then came home and gorged ourselves on the candy.  It was heaven.  The last time I went I was 13, getting a little old for it, but it was such fun you hated to give it up.
Now parents have to be by their child's side, all candy must be inspected and no home made treats will be accepted, how sad.
It's a strange world we live in and I'm sure each generation has thought that their growing up years were the best, but I know mine were a good time to be a child.  We went to the movies on Saturday without an adult.  We left our doors unlocked as well as our cars.  No one swore on our tv or took their clothes off.  Adults were the smart people not the kids.  We played outside until dark and our parents didn't worry about us.  We were children,  we didn't have to worry about Aids, Breast Cancer, Drugs, Child Molesters, etc--we'd never heard of these things.  But children as young as 3 and 4 are told about such things now, where's the chance to just be a child without worries?
I don't envy children of today, they're hardly allowed to be children at all.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Witch By Any Other Name

Actual size of bloomer pattern

My witch is done, well mostly done, she doesn't have her cat and she doesn't have her bloomers, and quite frankly she may never get them.  I'm not a great sewer, but I'm competent, I can read directions, follow a pattern and sew a straight seam, so when I saw the pattern for my witch I ordered it thinking that would be so much easier than just making one free hand.  Boy was I wrong.  The pattern was terrible, clothes turned out way too big and didn't fit, I had to enlarge the body, directions were terrible, and not in good order.  They simply told me to cut a piece so big by so big for the skirt   and I was expected to free hand her bloomers from a tiny diagram, now I can do that, but I paid for a pattern and I expected to get a pattern for each piece.  But she's done and if I don't end up hating her I might make her cat, but she'll never get those bloomers!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Skeletons

In honor of Halloween this weekend: What reading skeletons do you have in you closet/  Books you'd be ashamed to let people know you love?  Addiction the the worst kind of (fill in cheesy genre here)?  Your old collection of Bobbsey Twin Mysteries lovingly stored behind you "grown-up" books?  You get the picture...come on, confess!
took this from the Island of Voices Blog and it got me to thinking.  She mainly talked about books from her childhood, but my hidden skeletons are of a different sort.  In an earlier blog I talked about the genres of books I read and I said that I don't read romances, and  well,  that's not strictly true, one of my skeletons is Regency Romances, in particular Georgette Heyer's.  I discovered her when I was in my 20's and have read nearly all of her books, regency romances, historical novels, and mysteries.  I own quite a few of her books, mainly the regencies and the mysteries.  Though it would be  hard to say which of her books iis my favorite perhaps The Foundling comes very close, though Sprig Muslin, The Reluctant Widow and Cotillion also rank very highly on my list.  I know Regency Romances are fairy tales but I so enjoy their convuluted, though predictable  story lines.  Ms Heyer's in  particular are well written, often humorous and just darn fun.  Oh Lord, went to Amazon to look something up about one of her books and I ended up ordering 2!

And in the strictly romance department I'm addicted to Diana Galbaldon's Outlander series.  I know what I said about romance novels,  about Scotsmen, time travelers, et al. but I've been into this series since the beginning and I guess I'll be with Claire and Jamie to the end.  Along the way I've learned a bit about Scotish history (Culloden) and American history--the pre-revolutionary skirmishes, as well as enjoying a good love story.
So those are my skeletons, what are yours?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Melange

Today was a running  around day, with Dr. visit, all is well, library books returned, and it's back to Amazon for me, a visit to the Post Office where I paid an arm, a leg and any future child I might have (LOL) to mail two packages, then off to a well deserved breakfast.
We went to a new, to us, restaurant a couple of miles from here, it's been here for several years and we kept telling ourselves we needed to eat there, so today we did.  It's primarily a breakfast place, though they're now serving lunch too.  And as breakfast is their speciality you'd expect them to do it well, and they did, eggs cooked just the way I like them, scrambled to death, enough ham to feed a small family, toast that wasn't dripping in butter and best of all, hash browns that tasted like they'd been julienned and cooked  on the spot and not dragged out of some freezer, and even better they weren't greasy.  Mac had corned beef and eggs and his was equally good.  It appears to be a family run place, not a chain and that's a big plus, so we'll be going back.
When we got home Mac saw waves in the pool and realized that something was in the pool and it  couldn't get out----we lost a much beloved cat that way, so he  rushed out and grabbed a net to quickly fish out a squirrel who barely had his nose above the water.  He, the squirrel,  lay on the deck exhausted barely breathing, Mac wondered what he should do, but  Lord knows you don't want to give a squirrel artificial respiration--who knows what that might lead to--but after a while he began to move around, drying himself off, but still appearing rather shaky.  Mac has put some bird seed and honey out for him and we're hopeful he'll be ok.  He's now sitting on the edge of the deck and looks almost normal.

She's Looking a Little Deconstructed
Then after out walk I went upstairs to work on my witch.  Every time I think I going to make lots of progress on her I really get bogged down.  Today it was her legs, I'd painted them last week and had planned on quickly sewing them together, stuffing them and attaching them to the body.  Well they're stuffed and sewn together but they're not attached to anything.  Stuffing them was a bugger even though you do it in stages.  Finally I put them aside, painted her face, sewed the bodice and skirt together and called it a day.  Hopefully I'll get her apron and hat done tomorrow, that is if stuffing her arms doesn't take forever!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pea, Peas, Peas, Peas, Eating Goober Peas....

A little post about peanuts an important crop in Georgia.  When the Atlanta Braves were playing the San Francisco Giants in the baseball playoffs this month I bet Mac's cousin (who lives in California) that the Atlanta Braves would win,  If  Atlanta won  he would send me a bag of California pistachios, if San Francisco won I would send him a bag of Georgia peanuts.  Well of course Atlanta lost and I've been on the track of some Georgia peanuts  and I haven't  been able to find  any from Georgia any where.
 What I have learned is that there are 4 types of peanuts grown here in the South: runner, Spanish,  Valencia and Virginia.  Ninety-nine per of the peanuts grown in Georgia are runners and those are used primarily for making peanut butter.  Before the 70's they mainly grew Spanish peanuts  here and now it's runner peanuts.  The most popular peanut for just eating is the Virginia peanut and its grown in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina, and that's the only kind of peanut I could find for sale in any of the stores.
It should also be said that peanuts aren't actually nuts at all, they're members of the legume family, so they're more a pea than a nut.
 As for the title of my Blog, well that's an old Civil War song and the goober peas they're singing about are boiled peanuts and they were an important part of the Confederate soldier's diet.  I've never eaten a boiled peanut, seen them, decided they were not for me, peanuts, even if they're really a pea, should not bend.
So cousin you'll be getting North Carolina peanuts, not Georgia peanuts unless you want a jar of peanut butter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Birthday Lunch

As I said yesterday I took Mac out for lunch for his birthday, which is today, and we went to Troy, a Mediterranean restaurant over in Savannah.  It was very good, the service was excellent and the food was very authentic.
Gyro Plate
We started with a plate of Mezes that included Hummus, Stuffed Grape Leaves,  Baba Ganush, and that's spelled correctly regardless of what Blogger thinks, and Pita bread.  It was all good, particularly the Baba  Ganush which is pureed egg plant.  As you can see from the picture we had half eaten it before I remember to take a picture of it.
For entree I had a Gyro plate that came with a salad and a fish soup, I gave that to Mac although it was quite tasty. It had rice with it and an interesting veggie dish, carrots, squash and celery julienned and steamed, very tasty.  Unfortunately I was stuffed by the time my entree got there and I brought most of it home.
Mac had the Lamb Shank he'd been craving and he said it was delicious.  It came with the same veggies and garlic potatoes.  But again, way too much food, and most of it got taken home.
We really enjoyed the food and we'll be going back again.  About the only negative thing I would say about it is that it sits in a strip mall and the view is of passing traffic, they should just pull the curtains.

Lamb Shank

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful October Day

It's a beautiful October day, the sky is so blue it looks phony. So just a few random items before we take off for the day.  Tomorrow is Mac's birthday and he's been craving lamb shank so we're going to try out a new, to us anyway, Mediterranean restaurant  over in Savannah.  I'm looking forward to the Mezes and tons of pita bread.  Their menu online looks like they have a mixture of Greek and Turkish food and as we lived in Turkey for a couple of years we really like Turkish food, so fingers crossed.  
Mac's getting a green house for his birthday, I had him pick it out because I wanted him to get one he really wanted, but I have a few surprises planned for him too.
Before lunch we're off to order wood flooring to put in our closets, FINALLY!   We've had yucky carpeting in there forever, I do not want to think about what the people who owned our house before us did to them, but bad dog thoughts run through my mind.  When we pulled up the carpet in our bedroom and put in wood floors and pulled the carpet out of the bathroom and replaced it with tile we said that next we'd do the closets next.   But with one thing and another we haven't gotten around to them till now.  We will order the wood today and it will be done before Thanksgiving, YEAH!
And before  shopping  we're going to do early voting, and boy howdy, if ever there was a year when I thought all the candidates stunk this is it.  I've moved back and forth between the two parties, I guess that makes me an Independent,  and I'm fed up with both of them.  Does this make me a Tea Party fan, no, I'm frustrated with the direction of our country and how high taxes are, but I think most of the Tea Party candidates are just too weird for words.  So I guess I'll just hold my nose and vote.
But as I said, it's a beautiful day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I'm Reading

Let it be said I'm a reader, always have been.  As a kid I read cereal books, the dictionary, the encyclopedia, any thing I could get my hands on.  The first thing I did when we moved to a new place was get a library card.  Since I've retired I read even more, I read any where from 3-5 books a week.  And I'm pretty eclectic in what I read everything from fantasy, science fiction, history, spy stories, convuluted suspense novels, whodoneits, mysteries, a few biographies, to  a  little non-fiction.  So obviously I'm not real choosy, but even I have standards.
For the past 10 years or so Amazon has been my "library" of choice.  They make it easy to buy, they keep track of what I read and offer new suggestions, I can get free shipping with them and when buying used books I can pay as little as a penny a book plus postage.  But in a fit of economy a few months ago I decided to start using our local library again, and unfortunately this hasn't worked out.  Our library is small and though they try to keep up to date with books the selection is not good.  If you like "cutesy" mysteries solved by chefs, knitters, quilters, book sellers or antique dealers, they've probably got a book for you.  If you want a romance (and notice that's about the only genre I didn't mention reading) about a Highlander, pirate,  frontiersman, aristocrat, time traveler, vampire, again, they've probably have a book for you. If you want science fiction or fantasy from 20 years ago they might have it.  If you want the "trashier" books off the New York Times best seller list you can get in line for one of those.  But if you enjoy older authors, books from the 30's, 40's or 50's they don't have any. If you want books to make you think, to take you outside of yourself, then you're in for a disappointment.   Each week I've brought a stack of books home, tried to read them, at times made myself finish them and hauled them back to the library in hopes that the next  visit would be more successful.
I get the feeling I'm not the only person feeling a bit let down by the choices available for as I turned my books in last time a lady eagerly asked if any of my books was any good and I sadly had to tell her no, not a one of them.
So Amazon I'm coming home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday in the Park

Yesterday's walk was at Ft. McAllister again.  The weather has just been gorgeous so walking is even better than usual.  We do a 2 mile walk every day and now that the weather has cooled down we  try to do an even longer one on Sunday.  So the walk through McAllister, with the Magnolia Trail thrown in, was about 4 1/2 - 5 miles, yes feet I can hear you, but it feels good to get out and walk somewhere different.  The sand on the trail was so fine we could see a raccoon's footprints, in addition to bike tracks.
Then yesterday afternoon and evening was football, football, football.  My team lost, again, they're so bad I may have to start wearing a bag on my head on Sundays!  But the Sunday night game was good.
Today I worked on Christmas presents, can't say too much because most of them are for my daughter.  They're going well, but as they say, the devil is in the details,  and the details are making me blind!
I always have trouble with allergies in the Fall and this year is no exception.  I'm sneezing my head off and my eyes are really bothering me.  So having to look very carefully at what I'm sewing can be aggravating.
But the weather is so nice I will not complain.  I didn't get outside today, dirty house trumped lovely garden unfortunately.  Mac worked on the putting green though and he says we're getting closer to our Fall Invitational.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tee Time

About 5 years ago Mac made us a small putting green in the backyard.  Now neither of us is a golfer, though we'll watch a bit of it on tv, but we thought it might be fun to play a little pitch and putt.  And that's what we do, in the spring and fall, in the summer it's too hot to do much of anything in our yard.  So the weeds take over the rock edging he put around the green.  About twice a year I'll go out and pull all the weeds and you're  to see the green again.
 This year it really got overgrown and I could barely make out the shape of it.  But I sat out there this morning and started pulling the weeds out of the rocks before the sun drove me in.  They predicted that it would only be in the 70's today, and windy, because there was a cold front passing through, HA!, but it's much closer to 80 than 70 and I felt like I was frying my brain.
Plus the ground was as hard as a rock!  We haven't had any rain since the end of September and they're saying we don't have any coming in the next 8-10 days, so Mac has set the sprinkler up to see if he can soften the ground for me.  Anyway, I took a picture, see if you can spot the putting green.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time Well Spent

I woke up stiff, sore and as I call it "gruntled", not disgruntled.  Mac says it's the change in seasons and he's probably right, as usual.  But an hour or so in the garden and I feel much better.  I have finally beat back the summer weeds, planted about 60 bulbs, Crocus, and just enjoyed the wonderful weather we're having.

There is nothing like having your hands in the soil to make you feel better.  You'd think I'd be stiffer after being on my knees, but I'm not.  They say that gardening is the slowest of the fine arts and I find that's a speed that fits me well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Was I Thinking? Part Two

Continuing with my theme of have I finally lost it, let me tell you what happened when I made peach jam last week.  I've made several batches of peach jam this year, each one a bit better than the last.  So maybe I was getting cocky.  Not stupid though because I had all my ingredients lined up and recipe in hand.  I even read the recipe.  Did I follow the recipe, of course not.  Instead of putting in the peaches and the pectin and bringing it to a full boil before adding the sugar, I added the sugar right at the beginning and brought it all to a boil together.
Why?  I don't know, I'd just read the recipe, I wasn't multitasking and trying to do a couple of things at once (always a disaster for me), the phone didn't ring, there was no one at the door, but I did it any way.
This is getting scary, I'm making no transference to long-term memory at all.  I laughingly told Mac I thought I'd put in earplugs to stop information leaking out that way, but he said it'd probably just dribble out my nose then--not a pretty sight.
So any way, I now how many jars of peach syrup instead of peach jam, I guess we'll have to start eating French Toast instead of regular toast.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

I'm getting worried about me.    I started  crocheting an afghan this week even though I haven't crocheted in years.  I'm kind of like Rose on "Keeping Up Appearances" who had to slow down to religious speed, I've had to slow down to crocheting speed, or at least crocheting weather.  It's too hot to crochet here in the summer,  even with the air conditioner on I don't want an afghan laying on my lap.  But I digress.  I had tracked down a free pattern on the internet and I'd  bought the yarn for the afghan during the summer, so I was ready to go.  Well actually I'd  bought one skein, which is a big  no no, in crocheting,  you're supposed to buy all the yarn you'll need for a project at once so it will be from the same dye lot.  But I was feeling thrifty, yes, let's call it thrifty, and I only bought the one.
Well as I said, I started on the afghan this week and quickly realized  I was going to need more yarn, SOON,   so I went looking for the label I'd torn off the yarn  so I could get the brand and color.  Couldn't find the label, looked everywhere including the trash.  But I didn't panic.  I thought, ok, it's bound to be Red Heart that's the brand I usually buy, I'd just look on the internet and try to match the color.    Wasn't quite sure where I'd bought the yarn  so I started looking on Amazon at Red Heart yarn, thousands of them, but even with the yarn laying next to the computer I couldn't get a match. Ah,  but then I remembered where I had bought it and I quickly looked through their site and still no match.  Desperate ideas of putting this yarn only on the ends and filling in the rest of the afghan with a different color passed through my mind,  but that would be a last resort.  I tore through the mess of stuff I keep "neatly" organized by the couch one more time, and as if popping in from another dimension, there was the label.  It wasn't Red Heart after all, it was Lion's Brand.  So back online to the store where I'd made my initial purchase and I attempted to order all the yarn I needed.  Every time I thought I had the order, address, charge card information all filled in the d**n thing refused to put the order through.
Frustrated I went to back to Amazon, found Lion's Brand yarn, found the color I needed, parfait,  and I ordered enough to finish the afghan,  And because it's such a twisty yarn and the color is variegated  I'm hoping it will all match up.  Here's hoping the yarn gets here before I get a burst of energy and get past crochet speed again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Goodies From England

Our shipment from England came in last week and it felt like Christmas around here.  Kudos to Simon Hall  for their packing and shipping job, they're not cheap but well worth the money.  When shipping we've learned that it's not  priced  by weight, but rather by volume, so we always put a lot of smaller items in with our bigger stuff.
The picture is of the Georgian tilt-top tea table we bought.  I've wanted one forever, but it seemed liked those I saw were either bigger than I wanted or most expensive than I was willing to pay.  But this trip we saw several all in about the same price range, so we bought one.  The top has a lovely patina and you can tell that it has been both well used and well loved through the years.  I haven't put anything on it yet because I'm sure my cat is going to use it for a resting spot for awhile, that's what she does with anything new we get, and she has the distressing habit of kicking anything on her spot off, so I'll wait.  She's already used the chair so I figure the table is next.
The balloon-back chair on the left is also one of the things I shipped back, the one on the right came a few years ago.  I've put them in the sitting room part of our bedroom.  I need a larger rug but I haven't decided exactly what kind I want.  Mac says round, but I don't think so, I'm thinking more about a 5/7 rectangular one.  But in the meantime it's  nice to have the table here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

St.Simon's Island

No Blog yesterday as we got up and took off to St. Simon's Island.  It's Mac's birthday month so he gets to pick where we're going.  We had gone there last Spring and almost didn't go yesterday because Mac was afraid it wouldn't be as nice as we remembered, and in ways he was right, it was better!  Glorious weather, few people on the beach and I got to paint while he fished.  We went to 1st Street Beach Area, lots of free parking, a plastic walkway out to the water so you weren't fighting the sand all the way, clean bathrooms, really a nice place.
This was only about the third time Mac  has gone surf fishing and the water was perfect for it, gently rolling water, no white caps, no wind.  He caught 2 fish that someone told him were called Blues.  Usually he does catch and release but had to do in the first one because he couldn't get the hook out of it, and on top of that it bit him!  He said it had teeth like a barracuda.
After fishing we went to Neptune park and walked along the water and then went to lunch at Brogans, a place we'd never eaten at and we like to try new places.  We both had steak sandwiches and I wish that someone would teach cooks/chefs that rare doesn't mean raw, you sear it on the outside, not just defrost it and heat it up.  But we got to eat outside, always a favorite of ours and the view was beautiful.  Nice, nice day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Autumn in the South

Our weather has finally cooled, in the 70's, though they're threatening us with 80's for the weekend.  So Autumn has arrived, and though the trees haven't lost their leaves yet, many of ours like the oak and magnolia don't lose them at all, there is a definite chill in the air when you first get up and the angle of the the sunshine coming in the windows is different.  We've closed our pool for the year and I can finally weed in the garden without having a sunstroke.  Yesterday I potted pansies not gnus, as I said on Facebook.  Mac has set up our outdoor Halloween display and we've added Autumn colors to our entry way.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Morning Walk

We went out of our subdivision and across the road to walk where the houses are on the Ogeechee River.  To say that it is a beautiful day here today is an understatement.  We're only in the 70's which is a little low for this time of year, but just beautiful!
The houses on this road have river frontage on the front and back as they sit on a point that juts out in the river, I think this is 7-mile bend, but I'm not sure.  Love the house made to look like a lighthouse, they have lounge chairs up there, Mac says he'd put in a 12 inch telescope.  Note the banana trees, I hope mine do as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

More Walks

I thought as long as I was blogging about walks I'd finish up a couple of walks we did in England.

As we drove out our first Sunday there we passed a lovely hotel, The Swan, with walks along the Thames next to it.  We promised ourselves we'd walk and lunch there one day and we finally did.  But the first time we tried we couldn't find a parking spot so we drove on to Kelmscott the site of William Morris's home.  From there we walked along the Thames and through the fields.
A day or two later we went back to the Swan Hotel, found parking and set off across the fields next to the Thames.  Evidentually was came to Grafton Lock  where we talked to a man and his wife taking their narrow boat through the lock.  He said that in January he and his wife would be sailing on the QE II to America, via the Panama Canal and up to California.  From there take the train up the coast to Oregon where his sister lived.  After that they'd take the train all the way across the United States (northern route) to Niagara Falls before returning to England we wished him well on their journey.
Grafton Lock Keeper's Cottage

Finishing our walk we returned to the Swan, had a lovely lunch and I did a small painting and Mac did a drawing.
On our next to last day we did one of our favorite walks up to the Uffington White Horse and to Wayland Smithy.  The Uffington White Horse is a stylized prehistoric chalk figurelocated in Wiltshire in the Vale of the White Horse.  It has been dated from somewhere in the 1400-600 B.C. range.  It is 374 feet long and can be seen for miles, and when you're standing above it you can see forever.
From the Horse we walked to Wayland's Smithy a Neolithic long barrow dating from about 3400 B.C.  It is 185 feet long and 43 feet wide, a very special place.  Three great walks.

Horse, but hard to see because we were up above it

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Walk

Fort McAllister entrance
We walk at least 2 miles every day, usually through our subdivision, but when the weather finally cools down, as it has, we start venturing out for longer walks.  Today we went to Ft. McAllister a Civil War Fort just a  mile or so down the road from us.  The Fort was built in 1861 to protect the Ogeechee River and to keep the important King's Road open so supplies could move to Confederate troops.  All the streets in our subdivision are named after ships that fought battles at the Fort.
The entrance still has cannon, and behind the park office is the remains of the fort, but our walk was to take us out towards the campgrounds.  On one side would be the Ogeechee River and on the other RedBird Creek the creek that runs behind our subdivision.  The tide was out, both the Ogeechee and RedBird are tidal, and there were wading birds fishing in the shallow waters.  At times we've seen dolphin in the Ogeechee, but not today.

Fishing dock at the fort

Looking across to an island in the Ogeechee

Ogeechee River

RedBird Creek



Alligator in the water
We walked to the boat dock on the far side of the campgrounds and, not much of a surprise, saw an alligator near the boats, no doubt looking for a handout.  All in all we walked about 5 miles, so easy to do when it's not 95 degrees.

                               GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS Anyone who blogged with Janet knew she was a huge livelong fan of ...