Monday, April 30, 2012

The Opposite of a Brain Freeze

There we were enjoying beautiful spring weather, high 60's to mid 70's, when wham, they threw the upper 80's and a 90 at us.  My brain blew a solar fuse and I wandered around the house accomplishing nothing!
It's a little better now, just going to be the lower 80's, still too hot, but manageable.  I finally got all of my flowers planted, just a couple of packets of seeds to go, made some spring pillows for the couch, no pictures, haven't stuffed them yet, and worked on some birthday gifts.
Lately I've been having trouble reading some blogs, if they use a pink background or write in pink my eyes go berserk,  must be some kind of pink phobia.
Last night I caught part of an old Rolling Stone film from their 1973 American tour.  Made me feel very old, Keith Richards had no wrinkles, he's looked like the Crypt Keeper for years.  LOL.  Saw them in concert in Frankfurt, Germany in 1973 or 1974, can't remember which.  Isn't it time for them to retire?  I retired 9 years ago and they're all way older than me.
Mac has almost got our pool cleaned up and if this weather keeps up I will have to pull on a swim suit (that ought to cause a solar flare) and get in.
Here's hoping it cools down a bit.




Happy gardening


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bill Bryson

Love Bill Bryson!  Have probably read all of his books, with The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (a bit of a memoir from him)  being a particular favorite.  Recently I've been rereading, for the 3rd or 4th time, his book Mother Tongue, his book about how English and American English came to be.  I'm a bit of a linguaphile, a lover of words and languages, so I find it all fascinating.
I love how adaptive English has been, we got shampoo from India, caucus from the Alonquin Indians, ketchup from China, potato from Haiti, sofa from Arabia, slogan from Gaelic.
 Bryson says that many Greek words, became Latin words, which became French words, which became English words. For instance garbage was brought to England by the Normans, who had adapted it from an Italian dialectal word, garbazo, which had been taken from old Italian garbuglio (a mess), which in turn had come from the Latin bullire (to boil or bubble).
For centuries English  was the language of the lower classes, the nobility spoke French,  and they did what they pleased with it with no formal rules.  So it became less formal, had less inflection and grammatical changes happened all the time.
He also talks about how words and expressions differ between British English and American English.  Some that were common in Elizabethan England that died out in England were "fall" as a synonym for autumn, "mad" for angry, "progress" as a verb, "platter" of a large dish, "assignment"in the sense of a job or task, "deck of cards", "slim" in the sense of small (as in a slim chance), "mean" in the sense of unpleasant instead of stingy, "trash" for rubbish, "hog" as a synonym for pig, "mayhem", "magnetic", "chore", "skillet", "ragamuffin", "homespun" and the expression "I guess".   He says some of these have started to filter back across the Atlantic and you'll hear them in England again.
He also writes about the "Great Vowel Shift" and how words came to be pronounced as they are, so fascinating.
As I said, this is a reread for me, I reread it every couple of years and is a book I always recommend to people who are as fascinated languages and words as I am.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just Fishen'

Is That Not a Mighty Fish?
Coastal Georgia has a multitude of rivers, the Savannah, the Ogeechee, the Jerico, the Ocmulgee, the Alamaha, the Belfast and the Tivoli.  That makes for a fisherman's paradise, and Mac is an enthusiastic fisherman.    I'm his company, I don't so much fish as have someone bait my hook, hold the pole and quite frequently stick my nose in  a book.
Anyway, it was a gorgeous morning  so we drove to the Tivoli River.  We hadn't been since they rebuilt the fishing pier and we were anxious to see what the new what looked like.  It turned out to be quite nice.
We actually live closer to the Ogeechee River than the Tivoli, it's just a stone's throw away, but it's rather wide and fast moving which makes fishing there a bit more of a challenge.  The Tivoli is about 5 miles from here and is a beautiful little tidal river about 8.9 miles long.  Being tidal you never know what you might catch.  We use to  crab there, but we've gotten so soft hearted that we can no longer cook live crabs, so we were just fishing.  Usually don't catch anything at the Tivoli, don't even get many bites, but it's just so pretty there we don't mind.
Today was different, I'd no sooner got my hook in the water than I caught a little fish, not sure what kind it was, and then I caught 2 more.  Mac caught one too.  Lots more bites, but no more fish.  That's ok, because it's really not about how many fish you catch, it's about the sun, the breeze, and who you're with.

That's fishen'!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Men an Tol

Upstairs sewing yesterday, making a complete mess of something, laying on the rug in disgust  knowing I was going to have to pick  a million little stitches out,  I saw something on the bookshelf that brought back much happier memories.  It was a post card puzzle from Men an Tol in Cornwall.  Always in search of standing stones and mystical sites we had gone looking for this site a few years back, and found it on a blazing hot day in summer.  It is located in southern Cornwall near the small village of Morvah.
Men an Tol is a round holed stone set between 2 standing stones and is said to have mystical powers.  If a woman crawls through is 7 times she'll get pregnant--yes I crawled through, but definitely not 7 times.  They say that if a child is passed through it will cure them of rickets or scofula.
The day we were there we both crawled through and then sat in the sun for awhile.  While we were sitting there a family with numerous small children came up. They picked up one of the smaller ones and passed him through the stone,  7 times.  Nothing was said and after they had finished they quietly walked off while Mac and I just sat and stared at each other.
Nice memory, now back upstairs to pick out those teeny, tiny stitches.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where Do You Get Your Recipes?

I read an article at "The Kitchn" recently that said that most people no longer get their recipes from their Mothers or cookbooks or newspapers,  but rather from social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.  In fact they reported that 50% of people get their recipes there, and a further 40% got them from websites, apps or blogs.
Now is that true?  Well it is for me.  My Mother cooked for a living and cooked really plain meals at home.  When my daughter asked her for her biscuit recipe my Mom just said, "Hit the can on the counter, twist it open and put the biscuits on a cookie sheet."  LOL!  Needless to say I never got many recipes from my Mom.  I did get a few (shrimp and rice, green bean salad, Spanish tortilla) from my Mother-in-law who was a great cook, and I've always gotten a few from cookbooks.
But in the last few years most of my recipes have come off the Net, from one site or another.  I got a load from the Weight Watcher site (chicken marsala, chicken cacciatore, chicken parmesan) when I was doing that online, some have come from Blogs and a lot have come from cook.com (peach jam recipe, lamb shank) one of my favorite cooking sites.
Food network's site has come through for me too, I make Paula Deen's Red Potato/Green Bean Salad, and Giada de Laurentis' Parmesan Fish Sticks.
Other than bread recipes I don't use my cook books at all.
So where do you get your recipes?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sooners

Statue Commemorating the Land Rush
Today, at noon in 1889. a landrush was held in Oklahoma, opening up formerly Indian lands, lands that had been given to the Indians forever (but we all know what forever means to a government----till they change their minds), to white settlers.  Under the Homestead Act these new settlers would be given 160 acres, free.  Many people came in early under cover of darkness to stake out their new land, these people became known as Sooners.  Many court cases were fought over land these Sooners claimed.
Some say the people who had petitioned  the government for years to open the Oklahoma Territory for white settlers were the ones who became known as Boomers.  Others say that the people who had waited for the Boom of the cannon to signal the start of the land rush became known as Boomers, and because they waited they often ended up with not so desirable lane.
Today Boomer Sooner is the official fight song of the University of Oklahoma.
An even bigger land rush took place in 1893 when 100,000 people showed up to claim 40,000 parcels of land in the north eastern corner of the state.
The remaining Cherokees petitioned to become a separate state, but this was denied in 1902, finally all of Oklahoma, including the remaining Indian territories became a state in 1907.
My family, well, they'd been living in the Indian Territories for years, intermarrying with the local tribes.  They got their land when the last of the Cherokee reservations were broken up and each family was given 160 acres.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grocery Shopping

I hate grocery shopping, hate, hate, hate.  If it were not for the fact that I love to eat, and cook better than most of the nearby restaurants, I'd never go.  Mac says he wishes Amazon would deliver food.  Well they do, just not at a price I'm willing to pay.
So we went shopping today, went early in hopes of avoiding a busy commissary.  It wasn't too bad, except for the Granny with her grandkids, all 5 of them.  They weren't the problem, she was.  She spent her whole time wheeling an enormous shopping cart full of kids and groceries around the store while talking loudly on her cell phone.  I now know far more than I ever wanted to know about some lady's, not natural (?) daughter who is having this lady's first grandchild.  This conversation went on down every aisle in the place, while Granny, with her ear glued to the phone blocked the aisle with her cart, reaching over kids and one-handed did her shopping.
She was behind us as we checked out, her grandkids, who up till now had hardly said a word, were getting a bit restless, and she told them that if they'd settle down they might get the shopping a little sooner.
I muttered to Mac that if she'd put her phone up they have been long gone by now.
I hate shopping.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sequels

Book sequels are tricky, sequels to a Jane Austen novel are a mine field littered with bad books.  I've read a number of them, most are bad or at best insipid.  The best I ever read was a trilogy by Pamela Aiden.  It included An Assembly Such as This, Duty and Desire,  amd These Three Remain.  They are written from the point of view of Fitzwilliam Darcy, and though the second one isn't quite as good as the other two, it really is a well imagined set, telling us what Darcy was doing and thinking after his encounters with Elizabeth.
Recently I started reading a new sequel Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James a well known British mystery writer.  It has had mixed reviews so I didn't know quite what to expect, and what I found was disappointing.  It begins six years after Darcy and Elizabeth have wed and it's the eve of a ball at Pemberley.  Suddenly a careening coach screeches to a halt in front of the mansion and Lydia, one of the most troublesome younger sisters in history, rolls out in a fit of hysterics screaming that Wickham is dead, that his best friend Denny has shot him.
It was down hill after that.  I didn't finish it.  Though I felt the author did a decent job of establishing Elizabeth's character she didn't do as well with Darcy, nor with his cousin  Colonel Fiztwilliam.    Previously I had liked him, but in this story I did not, I felt she'd changed him too much.  The mystery part of the story was rather boring  too and as I didn't finish it I have no idea how it turned out.
Like I said, writing a Jane Austen sequel is a dangerous job, not for the faint-hearted.





















Thursday, April 19, 2012

We went golfing yesterday, well not actually us, we don't golf.  We went to a golf tournament,  the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf a PGA tournament they've been  holding here for 10 years.  We went when we first moved here  and enjoyed it, so we thought we'd go back this year.  We're not huge golf fans, though P.G. Wodehouse has made us both fans of golf humor.
Yesterday was a great day for golfing, a bit overcast, temperatures in the 70's and just a light breeze.  The event yesterday  was a Pro-Am event that takes place before  the actual tournament begins on Friday, and we like pro-am, love to see the amateurs swinging wildly away.  It makes you appreciate how good the pros are.
Ian Baker-Finch a Pro
The tournament is being held on Hutchinson Island, it sits in the middle of the Savannah River and there's a huge Weston Resort there.  The course was beautiful to walk around, the magnolias are in bloom about 2 months early, and the casual hazard on the 2nd hole would definitely give you food for though.
Casual Hazard at the 2nd Hold



































Thought I'd leave you with a few Wodehouse quotes on golf.







At the age of 92 Wodehouse wrote, "If only I had taken up golf earlier and devoted my whole time to it instead of fooling about writing stories and things, I might have got my handicap down to under eighteen". Happily for us he didn't, so we can enjoy the richest of all mines of humourous golf writing, including many immortal lines.

He enjoys that perfect peace, that peace beyond all understanding, which comes to its maximum only to the man who has given up golf.

The least thing upset him on the links. He missed short putts because of the uproar of the butterflies in the adjoining meadows.

Back horses or go down to Throgmorton Street and try to take it away from the Rothschilds, and I will applaud you as a shrewd and cautious financier. But to bet at golf is pure gambling.

The only way of really finding out a man's true character is to play golf with him. In no other walk of life does the cloven hoof so quickly display itself.
A golfer needs a loving wife to whom he can describe the day's play through the long evening.
"After all, golf is only a game", said Millicent. Women say these things without thinking. It does not mean that there is any kink in their character. They simply don't realise what they are saying.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

National Parks

Read an interesting article about how the National Park Service is trying to attract younger visitors to the national parks because those visiting now represent an aging population.  They're afraid that if the younger generations don't come that the parks will become irrelevant.
The average age of out of state visitors to Glacier National Park and Yellowstone is 54, at  Death Valley the average age of visitors was 45-64, and overall visits to national parks is down for the 2nd year in a row.
A Kaiser Study found that people aged 8-18 spent about 7 1/2 hours a day on digital media, and a study in Personality and Psychology found that 3 times as many Millenials (people born in the 80's and 90's, don't you just love these designations) are doing less for the environment than Baby Boomers.
Seems they're all just staying indoors texting each other or perhaps taking virtual trips to the parks.
We, like many others our age, have a yearly pass to the parks in Georgia and try to visit some each year.
It's rather scary to think that the younger generation has no interest in the parks, if they don't, what will happen to the parks in the future, will they have to put in flashing lights, video games and interactive animal encounters?  Won't that be fun!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lazy Day

Bee Bushes in Bloom
Lazy day because I have absolutely no energy, I feel like a stuffed animal who's had their stuffings pulled out and is awaiting restuffing.  So I've just been lazing around.  Baked some banana nut muffins, played a little piano, read a little, cut out a little bag, stuffed a pillow and wandered around outside.

The lagoon

Kitty Acting Like an Herbivore

Beans For Lunch

Potatoes, Tomatoes, Onions, Oh, My

Roses, Roses, Roses
Miss Kitty was eating grass, her favorite herb, Mac was picking fava beans for lunch, the potatoes and onions are doing well in their tubs, the bee bushes (I have no idea what their real name is, but they really attract the bees) are in flower and driving my allergies wild,  the lagoon looks drowsy and the roses on the fence smell wonderful.  Just a quiet day in Georgia.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Holey, Holey, Holey

No, not a misspelling, just a description of all my favorite jeans.  I have nice jeans, dress up jeans, and best of all wear around the house, dig in the garden, clean the floor jeans.  I'm not making a fashion statement with my jeans, I don't buy them with holes in them, my jeans earn all their wear and tear.
Well all of my wear around the house jeans, you know, the comfortable ones that let you bend over without having to suck something in, have developed holes and  stress points.  If I wear them to walk in the neighbors would gawk and if I garden in them the squirrels would be sniggering.  So I've spent the morning sewing them up, hope they hold together a little bit longer.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Just a Walk in the Park

Mac had to take his car for an oil change this week so we decided to do our daily walk at the park in town.  Such a beautiful place, former rice paddys that were part of the Henry Ford estate, so water everywhere.  Always quiet, peaceful, full of wildlife.


Saw a young blue heron that we got a picture of and an older one that was so blue its bill was blue, but we couldn't get a shot of it.  Saw a small alligator soaking up the sun, loads of swallowtail butterflies sipping up nectar from the honeysuckle that's in bloom everywhere.  Did about a 4 mile walk, my knees talked to me about this later, but it was a perfect day for walking.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life in the Crying Baby Section

We travel a lot, and lately that means flying because I just can't sit for long periods in a car any more.  And our last move cross country showed me lots of beautiful country, but about a million reasons why I don't want to spend days in a car.
So that brings us to flying, any flight that lasts for more than an hour and a half we've decided has to be done in first class, the seats are bigger, the space between seats is bigger, they serve you food on china with actual silverware, they actually treat you like they're glad to see you there.  So it's worth the added expense.  And best of all there are fewer children.
On our flights to and from D.C. recently there were children everywhere, happy, noisy children, loud screaming children, crying children, children who wanted to be entertained, held, walked, bounced, well you get the picture.  Sitting near children in the close quarters of economy is not fun.  They need a special section on planes for parents flying with young children.
Oh, I can hear the outrage over that.  As a parent I know we see our kids through rose-colored glasses and think everything they do is so smart, entertaining and a delight. But that's not what the rest of the world is seeing or hearing.  On our last flight Mac had earplugs and could still hear the kids across the aisle from us, I had no plugs, I heard everything.  The 2 kids and Mom across from us and Dad and toddler behind them.  It was even worse for the elderly couple sharing the row with Dad.  The hour and 20 minute flight must have felt like forever  for them as they huddled towards the plane wall.
I also got to listen to the screaming crying child several rows back.
I know traveling with kids isn't easy, I know some parents try very hard to keep them entertained, I know that flying makes some babies ears hurt.  I know all of that but I still wish I could fly without them.
I read where Malaysia Airlines is banning all children under 2 from their first class section and that British Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are considering it.  Here in this country there have been several instances lately where parents of unruly children have been ordered off plane before take-off.  Maybe there's a trend towards quieter flights.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

And I Have Been So Careful

Sad but true, I have poison ivy again.  Got it for the first time in my life 2 years ago, turns out our immune systems change as we age.  I definitely didn't enjoy the experience and knew I'd have to be extra careful when gardening. And I have been because the yard is just full of poison ivy.  So any time there was any poison ivy plants near where I'd be working I'd have Mac pull them  out before I'd garden, plus I've been wearing 3/4 sleeve shirts and gardening gloves.  Did that help, well, yes and no.  I didn't get it on my hands or most of my arms.  But the 2 inches that were bare between sleeve and glove got it.
It started as a tiny little bump, it itched and I hoped it was an ant bite, noticed it just before our trip to D.C., but by the time we got there it was obvious what it was and we had to go in search of calamine lotion.  That kept it from spreading too much and my doctor called in a prescription for some ointment when we got home.  It'll take time for it to dry up, but in the meantime, I have the itchies!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Gallery

National Gallery
Being disappointed in the American History museum we walked to the National Gallery of Art.  April, who loves all things Japanese, wanted to see an exhibit of Japanese oil paintings done on silk scrolls.  The exhibit is called The Colorful Realm: Japanese-Bird-Flower- paintings by Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800) and was only running till the end of the month, so even though Asian art is not one of my favorite things, we went in search of it.  And oh am I ever glad we did!  it was wonderful, not it was beyond wonderful, it was awe inspiring!
Laying his mineral and vegetable created paints he achieved a depth of color that was surreal.  I could have spent the whole day there looking at them.  Maybe I need to look at little more Japanese art before deciding it's not for me.









These are just a few of the incredible paintings.

















Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter

Reflecting Pool in front of National Archives
Flew up to D.C. to spend Easter with our daughter and of course it was wonderful!  The weather though breezy was beautiful.  Lots of catching up on things that you just can't do in a phone call, looking at her new place, she's in a townhouse now, much bigger than her old apartment, and much closer to the Metro line into D.C.
Spanish Tortilla, Brioche, Chorizo with potatoes and eggs
Lunch at the luscious Cuba Libre where we had brunch and ate everything but the kitchen sink.  The highlights were a French Toast Brioche, the Spanish tortillas, we had to have more than one, baby octopus for Mac and April, shrimp for all of us and dessert.  To say YUM, is too little, it was ambrosia, we're already planning our next meal there.
A bit disappointed in the American History Museum, the Julia Child kitchen we wanted to see was under renovation and their other displays left a lot to be desired.

Fountain in National Gallery
Tomorrow I'll tell you about what we did see.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Life and a Few Questions

More Lilies in my Garden
Had my six month, sixty thousand mile check-up yesterday and all is well.  My doctor is so easy going, takes his time, never makes me worry.  As opposed to the doctor we had in California who was way too hyper, would scare me to death and say things like "You're going to stroke out!"
But now all systems are doing well, I no longer suffer from "white coat syndrome" (that's where you blood pressure goes sky high when you see anyone in a white coat), and I feel great.
As to questions, I'm wondering if it's ok to "defriend" a relative who I've just connected with. We connected on Ancestry.com where  she helped with some family history, so we "friended" each other on Facebook.  What a mistake!  The other cousins I've found through Ancestry have been great, always enjoy seeing their Facebook messages.  But not this one, it's not that her posts are bad, but rather that they tend to be weird, about stuff I really don't care about (like horse racing) and they're way too numerous, dozens a day. She's not a true cousin, she's my cousin's widow and I'd like to "defriend" her because I spend way too much time blocking her posts on Facebook.  In the past I've blocked other people, but I feel bad because she did help me.  Should I "defriend" her?
Another question, is Pip (Douglas Booth) prettier than Estella (Vanessa Kirby) on Great Expectations or is he just more feminine looking?
And finally, Mac has lost his glasses for the 1,000th time, should we, when we finally find them, attach a beeper  to them?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Here Come Peter Cottontail

And many of his associates as it turned out.  I made a pair of Easter pillows to go on chairs in the entryway and then asked Mac if I didn't have some stuffed bunnies some where.  He, sniggering, said, "Yes, I think you have a few."


I already had the kitchen table set up, I knew where most of my small Easter things were, it was just the bunnies who were missing.  So it's beginning to look rather Eastery around the old homestead.

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 ...