Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just a Walk in the Park

I had a morning appointment at the optometrist this morning, to get a prescription for contact lens you have to see one once a year, so we decided to do our morning walk at the park in town.  The park is the site of former rice paddies belonging to Henry Ford, and here you thought he only built cars and that  rice only grew in China.
 A new addition to the park is the sign at the entrance to the walking trail with all the information about the cultivation of rice here along the coast.  It says that in 1860 at the its height more than 1.5 million pounds of rice were grown annually.


It was a great day for a walk, though no snakes, alligators or other critters were seen.  Across the water at one point we did see a white heron fishing.
As we left the walking trail we saw another new sign warning people that wild hogs had been seen in the area and to be careful.  Wild hogs will attract more alligators as that is their favorite meal, and they're rather cantankerous critters so you don't want to approach them.  We've seen them at the park near where we live  and they were huge, like a small Volkswagen










Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cathoven


In the beginning Miss Kitty paid little attention to my piano, but gradually she became interested and began plunking out the odd note.  Lately she has been sneaking into the living room  and practicing in the middle of the night.  She's getting quite good.  The other night she actually played the first 4 notes of Beethoven's Fifth.  Maybe we'll play duets some day.



Monday, January 28, 2013

Downton Abbey

I'm not happy with this season's Downton Abbey at all,  it's doom, gloom and no humor.  Beautiful sets and costumes can only carry you so far.
I'm tired of:  the John Bates jail storyline, get him out of jail or get rid of him
Mathew's Mother, I know she's supposed to be annoying, but this season she's just so goody-two shoes that it's sickening,  I liked it when the "reformed" prostitutes laughed at her.
Lady Mary's treatment of Mathew, she needs to remember she's a wife now, not just a daughter
Edith being mistreated, I'm a middle daughter too and she has my sympathy

I wish:    Ethel would go away, far, far away
 that the burned Patrick from last season would come back, marry Edith and be the heir to Downton again
that Lady Mary would realize she's married into the middle class and she and Mathew could actually leave Downton and start a life together
that Dowager Lady Grantham would find her wicked tongue again
I wish Carson was my butler, he's perfect, even better than Jeeves

I'm glad:  that Sybil is gone, not a believable character at all, I just wish it had happened in  Ireland so we could have been spared the whole deathbed scene.
that Daisy got someone to boss around, it's lonely at the bottom
 I enjoy: Thomas and O'Brian scheming against each other, they're great villains, the kind you meet in real life

Alternatively I wish : that Mathew would run off with Edith, the only really interesting sister,  and live happily ever after.

That all being said, I like Downton Abbey, but it could be SO much better.  Mac says that unless it stops being such a soap opera he's not going to watch it with me any more.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Science Fantasy

As I mentioned in my last blog I am a fan of science fantasy and read quite a bit of it : Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin,  Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaimen, Robin McKinley, Patrick Rothfuss  and many others.  But I've never read anything by Terry Prachett the author of the Disc World series.  I have of course heard of the series, seen it mentioned in many blogs,  but for some reason or another I'd never felt drawn to the series.
Than a few weeks back while starting a film from Netflix there were previews of a number of films including Going Postal.  Liking a good comedy I ordered it from Netflix and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  That was our introduction to Ahnk -Morpark the largest city in  Disc World, which is carried on the back of  4 elephants who stand on the back of a turtle, Great A'Tuin.   We quickly ordered The Hogfather (Michelle Dockery , aka Lady Mary of Downton Abbey, plays Death's Granddaughter)
 and it was even better, we liked it so much we had to buy (used of course, I'm very cheap) our own copy.  Next was The Colour of Magic, we liked it better than Going Postal, but not as much as The Hogfather.
These 3 films were made for British TV (oh why don't we get things like this) and run almost 4 hours, they're broken into 2 parts.
There are 2 more Disc World films, (The Wyrd Sisters and  Soul Music )both animated and now both on my Netflix list.

With this wonderful introduction to Disc World I knew it was time to start reading the books, so I've ordered my first one for the Kindle, Equal Rites.  Mac reads very little science fantasy, I did talk him into the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin, but he loves good humor so he's considering starting the series too.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sorry to See It End

I'm a voracious reader plowing through more than a 100 books a year.  I'll read about anything. except Chick-lit.  I have an especial fondness for science fantasy and have for years been reading various series in this genre.
Some time in the late 90's I ran across The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.  It was everything I like in my science fantasy, good characters, good story, something to believe in and magic.
I quickly "gobbbled" up as many books in the series as I could find and then began waiting each year or so for a new one to come out.  They're huge books ranging in length from 674 pages (The Dragon Reborn) to the Shadow Rising at more than a 1,000 pages.
I was 11 books into the series when in 2007 the author, Robert Jordan, died from cardiac amyloidosis.  It was so sad,  I had enjoyed reading him so much, his books and his blog.  I felt like a friend had died. I didn't even think about the fact the series would not be finished.
But Harriet, his wife, along with Tor Books, his publisher, selected Brandon Sanderson to complete the series.  Harriet had always edited Robert's books and she continued this practice for Brandon.
Robert Jordan had worked to nearly the end, leaving copious notes and having lengthy conversations with his wife about how the story should end.
In  2008 Sanderson began work on the finale, but  it turned out that one book was not enough and it was divided into 3: The Gathering Storm, The Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light.
The last one was to be published on January 8, 2013.  It had been so long since I had read the beginning of this series that I made the decision last fall to reread the whole thing.
Last week I finally finished books 1-13 and so I started the last one.  Even reading a hundred pages at a setting it took about a week.  Was is good?  Yes.  Was it perfect no.  I knew this story and these characters so well, they were friends of mine.  I knew what I wanted to happen, but that's not how stories go.  Was it satisfying, mostly.  Do I find myself unable to go onto another book because this one is still filling my head, absolutely.
Will I reread this whole series again one day, probably.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Door Wreath

I nearly always have a wreath or some sort of decoration on our front door.  After taking our Christmas wreath down I discovered that I couldn't find anything to go on the door.  Wanting to have something reasonably priced I looked at Walmart yesterday, but they had nothing, so today I looked online on Amazon and everywhere else I could think of.  Found some, but those I liked were in the $50-$75 range, definitely not my idea of reasonable.  So I began looking around the house for something I could improvise.  I asked Mac if we had a grapevine wreath somewhere, and we both agreed we did, but neither of us had any idea of where it might be.  He found a simple fir wreath, I found  a line of Magnolias I'd had on top of a display case, it'd been there forever and was looking a bit boring, so it looked like a likely volunteer.   We  wired it to the fir wreath and a new door wreath was born.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Winter's Day

With apologies to everyone who is having bad winter weather I have to say that it is absolutely glorious here today.  Highs in the upper 60's with beautiful blue skies.
We went for our morning walk and then because it was so nice outside we worked in the yard.  Mac has been hacking at vines that have overtaken the side of our yard and I was weeding the lawn.  If there is anything more satisfying than yanking a weed out by its roots I don't know what it is.  No pesticides for me I want to do it by hand.
Chicken Cacciatore for lunch today and then loads of football.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Header

I put my new header in yesterday, Mac finally finished it.  Well not actually finished, he's never completely satisfied, he says there's something wrong with the bird's bill.  I had to pry the paintbrush out of his hands and tell him to stop.
We saw a cartoon one time of an artist and his wife looking at one of his paintings in a museum and the artist tells his wife, "You distract the guard and I'll just fix this one little part."  We both laughed because it's so true, he walks by some of his paintings here in the house and asks, "Don't you think I should ..." and I always say NO!  Don't touch it.
I'm very pleased with this one, very wintery and the colors are so vibrant.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Roses and Bear Part Two

Earlier I'd said that I'd tell you more about the roses from our daughter and the bear from Mac, so here's the story.
In November as a part of an ultrasound check of my carotid arteries a nodule was found on my thyroid gland.  Well nodules on thyroid glands are very common and as you grow older the chance of having one increases, plus the fact that I've been on thyroid medication for years, I have a very lazy thyroid.
My primary care doctor decided that it needed to be assessed by a specialist so he sent me to an ENT doctor who could actually feel it, but he assured me that most of these nodules are benign, but to be on the safe side they'd have a needle aspiration done on it.  I was sent to another doctor who did another ultrasound and then using a very fine needle withdrew 4 samples to be biopsied.
Unfortunately the biopsy was inconclusive, but the doctor who'd done the needle aspiration said the nodule exhibited characteristics of a cancer.
So my doctor decided the most prudent thing to do was to remove the left lobe of my thyroid and have the whole nodule biopsied.   As far as I was concerned the sooner they did it the better so last Thursday I went into the hospital and had a left thyroid lobectomy.
It was a quick operation, my doctor said it only took 42 minutes, but when I woke up my throat was on fire, worse than when I'd had my tonsils out as a kid.  I spend the night in the hospital, Mac gave me the little stitched up bear to keep me company, I had great care and Mac brought me home on Friday where those lovely roses awaited me.
I had to stay on soft food (think mashed potatoes and ice cream) for 4 days and then today I was to return to the Doctor to get my results.
He came into the examining room and asked if I wanted the Good news or the Good news, I laughed and said I wanted good news, and I got it, no cancer!
I was so relieved and Mac even more so because after the surgery when he'd talked to the Doctor he'd asked how it looked and the Doctor said it was an ugly little thing and he hadn't liked the look of it.  Mac didn't tell me about this conversation until after we got the good news today,  What a sweetie he is for not wanting to worry me.
I don't have to go back for 3 months, my wound is healing nicely, and they'll probably have to increase the amount of thyroid medication I'm taking, but Whoo Hoo, no cancer.
It's been a very good day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Before the Weather Changes

It was 81 here yesterday, broke an 80 year old record, going to be quite warm today too, but Thursday into Friday brings a change, back to to 50's and 60's.  Mrs. Micawber snarkily said I'll have to dig out the winter long johns for that.    I love her pictures of the cold Wisconsin winter, but I'm glad I live in our version of winter here in Georgia.


The garden beds are a mess, but the Hyacinths are coming up, as are the Daffodils.  The Camellia is in full bloom and we're eating lovely fresh peas from the garden.  Definitely can't complain about that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Home Again, Home Again ...

Two doctor visits, one shot, one clear check-up, oh Melisandre you surprised me, I thought for sure you'd grab that liquid nitrogen and burn away, but you said I was good for 6 months----YEAH!
In between those two appointments we visited the wonderful world of Wally, also known as Walmart. Needed a little of this, a bit of that and some of the other.  I have to say though, that if Wally were not so cheap I'd shop elsewhere cause it's a bit of a creepy place, no one seems to be happy to be there, customers, clerks, anyone.
Another beautiful day though they're threatening us with colder weather by the weekend, guess I can't complain, the 70's are lovely, but the 50's are what it should be for January.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Love the Weather

It was 80 here yesterday and they're promising more of the same for today.  It's just beautiful, but I worry about plants budding out too soon and then us having a frost.
Received these beautiful roses from our daughter this week and the little Teddy from my husband, more about that later this week.
Really enjoyed the football yesterday, and not withstanding the fact that we like Peyton Manning, we hate Denver,  and were pleased to see them lose to Baltimore, our daughter's favorite team.  Also enjoyed the San Francisco/Green Bay game, hope today's games are as good.
Lots of Doctor appointments this week--Melisandre and her liquid fire, B-12 shot and other stuff.
I think I'll go outside for awhile and just enjoy,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vintage or Antique?

I shop online a bit, Etsy being one of my favorite places and I find myself shaking my head at what some people consider vintage or antique.  Vintage in particular seems to have a different meaning everywhere you go.  Some folks are saying that items 7 years old or older are vintage and items 50 years or older are antique.  Others use vintage with the year: vintage 1973 or vintage 1980.
Well I beg to differ, I've always been told that vintage means at least 35 years old, otherwise it's just "used".
As for antique,  I use the U.S. government definition.  They say that for Customs purposes an item must be at least 100 years old to be considered Antique, and if it is, then it can be imported duty free.  We do most of our antique shopping in England and I'm careful about buying real antiques.

So Vintage = 35 years old or older

Antique = 100 years old or older

That means  I'm Vintage, but not quite Antique.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Too Much Work and No Play

I think I have House Maid's Knee from crawling around cleaning the stairs.  I'd much rather have tendonitis from playing too much piano or carpel tunnel syndrome from crocheting too much.  Unfortunately it's the stairs that need the most work and I'm not through yet.  I crawled around with a stiff brush sweeping as much gunk  off and out of them as I could, now I need to go back and spot clean them.
In my next life I want to be a cat, ours spent the morning having breakfast, playing with her tree stump and cuddling up with her tiger thingy next to a heater.
Come to think of it most of the gunk in/on the stairs was cat hair, maybe she should be cleaning them instead of me.
Don't I Wish!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rainy Sunday

Cold, wet Sunday here, I've been  standing by the fireplace to thaw out after  sitting and crocheting = I'd reached the point where I could no longer feel my feet.  I'm crocheting on something that was supposed to be a Christmas present for 2012, but unless I crochet a bit faster it may not make it as a 2013 present.

We've been watching the NFL playoffs and I have to say, that as much as I like football, and I do like it, these games have been incredibly boring. They'll be hard pressed for highlights to natter about at half time, it was more low lights than anything.

I'm making Chicken Cordon Bleu for Sunday lunch, I don't have any regular ham, but Mac got some prosciutto for Christmas and he says I can use that.  That's a bit saltier than regular ham, I wonder if washing it off would help.  I don't use much salt, almost never put in any when I'm cooking, just let everyone salt to their own taste.

Downton Abbey III starts tonight, can't wait.  We watch very little regular tv and so I really look forward to something like this.  Season II wasn't quite as good as season I, but I hear season III is better.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Miss Kitty's Christmas

The Tiger Thingy
Miss Kitty had a good Christmas, she was a good girl this year, well, as good as a cat can be--I mean she's not a dog and definitely has a mind of her own. So Santa brought her 2 presents, one she tried to break into before Christmas and the other was in a box that she didn't realize was for her.
On Christmas morning we let her break into the first one and she liked it, a tiger print I know not what with a bushy tail and it's stuffed with catnip.  She rubbed herself all over it and fell contentedly to sleep.  Two weeks after Christmas she still rubs it a bit,  she likes it, but she doesn't love it.
The second present is a small tree stump with a mouse hanging inside it and when you push the button a mouse tail randomly comes out of 3 different openings on the bottom and wags itself. This she LOVES, we hear her playing with it at all hours of the day and night, we've never seen her enjoy a toy so much.  She grabs the tail, shakes the stump and pokes the mouse.  The mouse makes a very high pitched squeak when you poke it, Kitty can hear it and so can I, but Mac says he can't, so it must be a girl-level squeak.
Tree Stump With Mouse
Note Tail at Bottom






If this toy dies it will definitely have to be replaced.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Header


My new header is temporary, Mac is painting me a new one for winter.  He's not at all pleased with how the picture of this one turned out, too faded he thought, the flash from one camera washed it out more and the finish he put on it made it very shiny.  But I like it, a typical English bridge on a snowy day, it's supposed to look a bit washed out.

Well we didn't fall off any cliffs last night, though it looked like some wanted to push us over--just to see how hard we'd land I guess.  But never fear, the media assures us there are more cliffs ahead that Congress can play chicken with---are we having fun yet?

Seven coaches and five general managers fired in the NFL this week, anyone looking for a job?  Definitely a few openings.  I'm a little more proactive, I don't believe my coach is to blame for the fact that the team can't, run, block, pass, catch or score touchdowns.  The Oakland Raiders were worse than pathetic this year, but instead of firing the coach I hope the owner fires the team and hires a bunch of new players.

I cleaned glass shelves in two display cases today, that's so much fun, now all the shelves and the backing mirrors are nice and streaky, but clean streaky.  I didn't do the shelves on the dining room china cabinet because I can remember cleaning it and if a job like that is in living memory then I don't need to do it for awhile.





Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Good Luck in 2013

   To ensure good luck in 2013 I'm cooking a pot of black-eyed peas and ham hocks.  They've been bubbling away while I cleaned out my receipt box.  Anything before 2012 was put in the burn bag, all utility bills went in, I figure that if I still have lights, water and tv everyone received their money last year.  Credit card bill were categorized so Mac can find what he needs for taxes, all Social Security and medical papers were brought up to date and bank statements put in order.  The box weighs about half of what it did before the purge.
We had a quiet night last night rewatching Sherlock Holmes, the first one.  Really like that one this was about our third time watching it, whoever did the set design did an incredible job and we really like Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, they  play off of each other so well.

While flying around the web I found an article  about overused words and phrases that many feel  need to be thrown out this year and they include:


  •   •“to be honest with you” or “honestly” 
  •   •“I ain’t gonna lie” 
  •   •“I mean” [at beginning of sentence]
  •   •“no problem” [when used instead of "you're welcome"]
  •   •“basically”
  •   • ªbring it” or “game on”
  •   •“step up your
  •   •“absolutely” [instead of just saying "yes"]
  •   •“singing Kumbaya”
  •   •“at the end of the day”
  •   •“it is what it is”
  •   •“throwing [someone] under the bus”
  •   •“how ya doin’”
  •   •“I have your back” or “you have my back”.
  •   •“I don’t have a dog in this fight”
Dishonorable mention:
I'd like to add "unbelieveable"  when used to describe something that is quite believable.  Pigs flying is unbelievable, baseball players making a catch is believable.

Have any you want to throw out?

Saturday in the Swamp

Beautiful cold day here, down to 36º last night and only expected to reach 60º today, but the sky is blue and it looks wintery. Lots to get...