Monday, July 30, 2012

This is Not the Wild Kingdom

While our daughter was here this weekend we also had another visitor.  One of the local alligators came to call.  Mac and April went out to look at him and he was actually laying on the sand edge of our yard.  They'd been out there feeding the fish and turtles and he, I mean who besides a herpetologist or a zoologist would know what sex it was, decided his need for leftover French Fries was greater than the needs of others.
They watched him from the deck off the house, moved to the middle of the yard and then moved within 10 feet of him.  They kept waiting for him to take off, he didn't.  I came out and joined them and he still didn't move, finally Mac moved really close and he whipped around and slapped the water and went under.  But he didn't leave, he hung around looking for more food.
We don't feed alligators, ever, it's against state and federal law, and against common sense.  When an alligator gets use to getting food from humans he comes to expect it and can become quite aggressive if they don't get it.  We have the feeling this alligator has been feed by people and that's not good.  He should have taken off as soon as we stepped into the yard.  In the water he didn't look very big, on land he was bigger, thicker and longer.  Hope he finds somewhere else to hand out, we won't be feeding the fish and turtle for awhile, don't want him to think this is a good place to hangout.

Our daughter took these pictures with her cell phone so they're a little fuzzy.

Friday, July 27, 2012

House is Clean, Let the Fun Begin

Our daughter gets here tomorrow, can't wait.  Fresh linens on her bed, bathroom cleaned, wasn't really dirty, just dusty from lack of use, carpet vacuumed, food in fridge, just waiting now.
When she gets here we can spend our time talking and eating, no house work!
Hate having her so far away, she's in Maryland and we're in Georgia, though it's better than when we were in California.  Then we only got to see her once a year.  Now we can fly up for a weekend or she can come down here.
This visit is for her birthday which  was earlier this month, but she had work and travel commitments so this is the first opportunity she's had to come.  She's only here for 2 days, she has to be back for work, so I'll keep her awake the whole time so it will seem like longer.. LOL

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sandals

My favorite go out in public sandals broke as I walked into a store yesterday.  I have other sandals, some that can't be worn in public, some that are cute but the support for my arches (I have really high arches) is minimal so can only be worn for decorative purposes, and then the ones that broke yesterday.  As luck would have it the store I was in is where I had bought them originally about 4 or 5 years ago, yes, they've been that good and lasted that long.  Mac says he can "goop" them back together again, but I decided it was probably time to buy a new pair.
I'm fussy about sandals, must have good support for my arches, need a strap across the back to keep me from stepping out of them and there CANNOT be anything between my toes!  Though many of the cutest styles are made this way I can't wear them.  I've tried through the years and all I get is blisters between my toes and that's miserable.




Nice Sandal, Good Color, Good Support, But no
Strap on Back and Strap Between Toes



Cute, Have Strap, But no Support and Strap
Between the Toes














So I went looking for an approximation of what I have now.  I couldn't find the same shoe, but I did find the same brand and a sandal, though not as plain as I would like, that I can live with. They have good support, a strap across the back and nothing between my toes (won't they be happy).   Hope they last as long as the last pair.

New Sandals










Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday, Monday

I use to hate Monday, by Sunday evening I was already dreading it.  I was like the character in Judith Viorst's poem "If I Were in Charge of the World", for I too would have outlawed Mondays.  I don't even want to think about the number of times I was "sick" on Monday.  And oh how I grumbled when I was there.
Being retired has brought a whole new attitude towards Mondays, it's so nice and peaceful here.  All my neighbors have gone back to work, no one's mowing their lawn, the fair weather walkers are back in their offices and in a couple of weeks the kids, who never play outside anyway, will soon be back in school.
So I can sleep in, except I wasn't supposed to today, my car had an appointment for a check-up and tire rotation.  It was for 9:30 am.  Did I make it?  Of course not!  It is rescheduled for tomorrow, guess we'll set the alarm clock tonight, we're getting just a bit too casual about getting up early.  I know that when your work 9:30 am isn't early, but it is now.  I love retirement.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Miss Kitty Gets a Little Stranger

Cats are strange, I know that.  They like to sleep in strange place, different places, places where you can't find them.  Miss Kitty does that all the time, but lately it has gotten stranger.  Mac has found her sleeping on the newel post in the living room.
I don't want to be unkind and say she's a bit large for it, but that's the truth, she definitely hangs over the side.
When he took her picture it woke her up and that's not a bad thing because Miss Kitty tends to sleep so hard that she frequently falls off of where she's sleeping.  I hope she finds a better fitting spot for her slumbers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Food

We've been trying to eat a few different things this summer, both for variety and some to be lighter.
We both love lamb, but it tends to be heavy, there's a lamb shank laying in the freezer, but it's just to hot to cook it.  So when I spotted some lamb shoulder chops (which cost less than the price of a new car which is what regular lamb chops cost) at the store I told Mac we'd fix lamb kebabs.
I have long skewers we'd bought when we lived in Turkey ( and oh the lamb was so cheap there) and I added fresh whole mushrooms, potato chunks, green peppers, Vidalia onions and lamb chunks.  Mac brushed them with olive oil, sprinkled on garlic salt and put them on the grill.  Oh were they delicious!
Then yesterday we'd said we'd go into Savannah and eat somewhere we'd never eaten before.  But it was so hot and humid that neither of us thought we could deal with Savannah and the hordes of tourists who are always there in the summer.
Mac asked what I was in the mood for and I said that as long as it was something different and that the meal ended with something chocolate I didn't care.  He loves obscure little Mom and Pop places so he looked on the internet and found a place called IdaMae's in Midway a town about 9 miles down a back road from here.  So off we went with air conditioning blasting, and quite frankly as long as it was on I'd gone anywhere and eaten anything.  We drove up and down and sideways in Midway, but could not find IdaMae's, so we headed inland, the only direction we hadn't tried.  Eventually we drove past IdaMae's, which turned out to be a barbque shed with outdoor picnic tables.  In this weather I wouldn't even consider it.
By that time we were almost to Hinesville, the town nearest Ft. Stewart and we knew there'd be German restaurants there, and we hadn't had German food in forever.  So finding a huge billboard on the way into town advertising Zum Rosenhof we went in search of it, and it was well worth the search.
We both love Schnitzel and they had about a dozen different kinds, but we decide to throw caution to the wind and ordered a house specialty A Trip Through Germany for Two.  It included 2 salads,  a Wiener Schnitzel, a Jaeger Schnitzel, a Zigeuner Schnitzel, 2 Bratwursts, 2 bowls of Pomme Frittes, Kartoffelsalaten for 2 and 2 Brotchen. We washed all that down with some German beer (can't remember the name) And topped the meal off with a gooey piece of luscious German Chocolate Cake that we shared.  It was so rich we couldn't finish it.    I wish I'd taken pictures of the food, but we were too busy eating!
It was wonderful, we're looking for a reason  to go back, and as our daughter is coming down at the end of the month that may be the best reason of all, I mean, she was born in Germany.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summertime

And I'd like to say that liven' is easy, but what it is, is hot and humid....I'm so looking forward to fall.  If I get any less active I may turn into a piece of furniture, probably a couch the way I lounge around.    Outside of doing just enough housework to keep this place from becoming a health hazard, I have done very little.  And that which I have done involves very little physical activity.  I've started a painting, first one in forever, and in the meantime Mac has done a slew of them as well as selling a couple at our Etsy shop.
I've read a couple of books, but only one worth noting, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon,  a rather lengthy Spanish love story/fable, with some really strange characters.  I don't know it I'd recommend it, but it certainly held my interest.
Watched one good movie, The Artist, the silent movie that won the Academy Award.  It was excellent, really enjoyed the performance of Jean Dujardin, he was perfect.
The   birds are new paintings and the the underwater paintings are the ones he sold.






























Not much else going on, hope to go into Savannah this week for lunch, if I don't melt in the meantime. 


Friday, July 13, 2012

Twins?

Lately I've had a number of eggs with 2 yolks and it made me wonder if chickens ever have twins.  The answer I got from WikiAnswers was "very unlikely".  Usually only one was fertilized, and if both were they would rapidly run out of air in their shell.
If by chance they lasted long enough to hatch they wouldn't survive, they would be way too small and poorly developed.
 So no twin chickens.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Sound of Summer

We were on our daily walk today and Mac stopped and said, "Listen." It was very quiet, but in the background you could hear  Cicadas one of our favorite summer  sounds. It has to be pretty warm for them to be making noise and I can testify to how hot it was this morning.
 The name cicada is derived from the Latin for tree cricket, but they're not crickets.    They're also called locusts, you know, as in 17 year locusts, but they're not a locust either.
Our  southern cicadas are not the 17 year cicada, but rather an annual one, Tibicen.  It's also known as a jar fly (that's what my Grandfather always called them) or a dog day cicada because you're more apt to hear them in late July or August, the dog days.
They don't bite, but they're rather scary looking, at least to me.  Around the world people eat them and consider them a delicacy, particularly the females which are  meatier.   Now I've eaten chocolate covered ants and could probably eat a crispy grasshopper, but I draw the line at cicadas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gourmet Food Will Kill You

I was watching Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, the other day and she was preparing pasta dishes, including a favorite of mine, Shrimp with Linguini.  But, OMG, she used a stick of butter and 3 TBS of olive oil.  My arteries were squealing!  Her dish would have run over a 1000 calories a serving, 260mg of Cholesterol and 3424mg of sodium.
I make this dish all the time and I don't use any where near that amount of fat, just enough oil on a paper towel to wipe my pan, then I add a little no fat/low sodium chicken stock.
They complain about fast food, always throwing little "bombs" at MacDonald's, but a Big Mac is around 600 calories, 300 of which come from fat, that's bad, but no worse than gourmet food.
Every time I watch Iron Chef America I'm horrified by the amount of butter and fat they put into their food.
They make fast food places post calorie/fat/sodium counts on their food, they should do the same for "upscale" restaurants.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Two Mysteries, One Solved

Notice the small pink Hydrangeas


Two mysterious things have been going on in my garden.  In the front by the driveway I have 2 large blue hydrangeas.  In front of them Mac had taken a cutting from one of them and started a new plant in a pot which has done very well, but surprisingly its flowers are pink instead of blue.  Hydrangeas grown in acidic soil produce blue flowers and those grown in slightly alkaline soil produce pink ones.  So at first I assumed the soil in the pot must be alkaline, but Mac took a closer look and found a small iron garden fork in the pot and that's what had caused the color change!  I'd always heard that putting iron in the soil would give you pink hydrangeas and now I know it's true.
Mystery Solved









Caladiums in a Pot











The other mystery, the one we haven't solved, has to do with my caladiums.  I always put a pot of caladiums in my shady side garden, I never plant them in the ground.  Well this year 2 caladiums came up on their own, the first in the front flower bed just down from the hydrangeas and the other out in the garden area under a cedar tree.  How did they get there?  I haven't a clue.  I always buy the caladiums already growing, though once in a while I'll buy the "tuber" and grow them that way, but always in a pot.  I looked up propagating them and it said they flower and propagate that way or you can divide the tuber.  Well my caladiums have never flowered and I've never divided them, so I have no idea how I got the new plants.  I'm not complaining, I'm just mystified.
Garden Caladium







Front Yard Caladium














Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bags

Well they're finally done, slowed by lack of red thread, big buttons, the heat  and a bit of incompetence, they took far longer to make than they should have.
The polka dotted one has two pockets in it, I lined it in a third polka dotted fabric and made the pockets out of a checked material.
The pattern for the  strawberry one didn't call for a contrasting band at the top but I decided that it needed it anyway.
They look very summery, and if I ever decide to carry something besides my backpack purse I just might use one of them.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Work Report From the Little House in the Swamp

Hot, busy morning around the old homestead:
Laundry done
Bread made
Lawn mowed
Rug where we'd eaten peanuts while watching a baseball game vacuumed---thank you Mac
Bills paid
Receipts and paid bills filed
Stamps ordered
Checks ordered
As much of a walk as I could stand to do today was done
Pool cleaned while I cooled off
What's that I hear?  Thunder!  Of course because Mac just finished giving everything a good watering.
That's life in the swamp, now it's just me and Mozart.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mail

We mailed 2 packages today, one to Utah, it wasn't very big and was fairly light.  The other was bigger  and heavier, it went  to Maryland.  Was it expensive?  Is the Pope German, do bears take care of business in the woods?  Of course it was expensive.  For what we paid I could have bought a small pony and restarted the Pony Express.
Granted I sent them UPS and not the US Mail, but there's not a whole lot of difference in their prices.  The only difference is UPS makes a profit and the US Mail is going broke.
The main reason I used UPS is that it's only a couple of miles from my house, the Post Office is much farther, so I console myself that saving gas makes up for the extra cost.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!  May it be just hot enough to be fun, enough food to fill, but not stuff and a remembrance of what a great nation we are.
We're having barbecued ribs, potato salad, corn on the cob and watermelon.  No fireworks this year we'll just watch the neighbors.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Life Saver

I about had a melt down after our morning walk today, sometimes you try to do too much in the heat and that's just asking for trouble.  So when I got home I sat down, drank some water and realized that just wasn't going to cool me off quick enough, I needed to cool off quicker.
So I jumped in the pool, what a life saver it is, if we didn't have it we'd have to run the air conditioner all the time and quite frankly I hate air conditioning, it dries me out and makes my bones ache.
When I got a bit cooler I came back in and finished my "penance" for the day, I was cleaning out the refrigerator.  Cleaning a refrigerator should be a cool job, open that door and crawl in that nice cool interior, but it doesn't work that way.
The fridge is now clean, but I'm hot and sweaty again, must be pool time again.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Irish Movies

Seems like we've been on an Irish movie kick lately, rewatching some old favorites.  It started with Watching Ned Devine,  a story about a tiny Irish town that conspires to collect on a winning lottery ticket that is owned by Ned who has unfortunately died after writing his name on the winning ticket and watching the results show.  Very touching and very funny.


Then it was The Secret of Roan Inish, a bit of a fable about returning to where we belong, selkies, and a little lost boy.  The music is haunting, the scenery gorgeous and its story well told.

Waiting for us is The Boys and Girls From County Clare, the story of an Irish ceili band competition.  It stars Colm Meany and as always he's perfect.  The story is about the competition between 3 brothers, 2 who have left Ireland, to win the ceili band competition.  During some parts I laughed till I cried.









I'd also recommend The Commitments, the story of an Irish "soul" band that was put together only to self destruct.  Great music.  Loved the people who came to try out for the band.  Colm Meany is again in this one.  The Commitments, is the first of a trilogy that includes The Snapper and The Van, neither of which we like as well, but each had their moments.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Hour

I ran across Robert Fulghum's wonderful poem about what we need to know in life and decided it needed repeating:

Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten


Share everything.
 
Play fair. 

Don't hit people. 

Put things back where you found them. 

Clean up your own mess. 

Don't take things that aren't yours. 

Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. 

Wash your hands before you eat. 

Flush. 

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. 

Live a balanced life - learn some and think some
and draw and paint and sing and dance and play 
and work every day some. 

Take a nap every afternoon. 

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, 
hold hands, and stick together. 

Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: 
The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody 
really knows how or why, but we are all like that. 

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even 
the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. 
So do we. 

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books 
and the first word you learned - the biggest
word of all - LOOK.


Still good ideas even after all these years, and even though Mac and I both got in trouble in Kindergarten (he because he didn't want to lay down and me because I told the teacher it was too cold to go outside), we live a life that's still based on these , particularly taking a nap every day, we call it Happy Hour.

What's Cooking?

The kitchen smells heavenly.  I made vegetable beef soup, think it's the first time I've done that.  It's for lunch tomorrow and...