Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hairballs

Our cat's hairballs are not cute!
I'm tired of cleaning hairballs!!!  It's that time of year when Miss Kitty starts shedding her winter coat.  She's a shorthair and even with us giving her Petromalt to help her pass them she has had some monsters.
Now with our daughter's cat staying with us it's worse, much, much worse.  He's a Himalayan (I think) with very long hair.  And there is hair every where upstairs and hairballs that look like elephant droppings.  I brush him every day and use a furminator to help him shed out, but it's still a job cleaning up after him.
I'm considering shaving the two of them!

Not Yojhi, but what he look like

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ten Random Things

Jay over at My Family and Other Cricketers said she had really enjoyed reading the Ten Random Thing posts that had been going round so she did one (go check it out) and I enjoyed hers so here's my 10 random things about me:

1.  I'm terrified of snails.  Don't mind spiders,snakes or the odd alligator, but snails wig me out, always have.  I've been known to walk on the top of grass to avoid them.

2.  I believe in love at first sight.  I saw Mac across the quad at our high school when I was 16 and fell in love with him and it's been that way ever since.

3.  I didn't get a driver's license until I was 30.  Had a driver's permit when I was 16, but couldn't pass the driving test because I couldn't parallel park, still can't.  But when we were living in Colorado they didn't require you to parallel park so I took the test and passed.

4.  I only know how to drive cars that have stick shift, my current car is a 6 speed and I love it.

5.  My favorite food, though I'm a very happy omnivore, is broccoli, I have some every day and have been known to make a whole meal of it.  Mac has learned to eat it, but it's not on his top ten list.

6.  I have lived in 7 states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas), 3 countries (USA, West Germany (before the country reunited) and Turkey).

7.  I'm so clumsy that I've been known to trip over the electric light beams that open automatic doors.

8.  I have colored my hair for so many years that no one remembers its true color.

9.  I had a half-brother (from a former marriage of my Mother's) who I knew nothing about till I was 5 or 6, he lived with my grandparents.  I spent a good part of my childhood worrying that if I wasn't good I'd be given away too.

10.  If I could have any job in the world it would be to be an archeologist.  I think I've seen every standing stone, tumuli and stone circle in England, did the Ruta Maya in Mexico to visit all the temples, been down the Nile visiting all the sights, hit every ancient sight in Turkey and much, much more.  Would love to go on a dig.

Friday, May 23, 2014

After Reading The Help

I enjoyed reading The Help, can't imagine what it must have been like.  I grew up mainly in California which has never (in my memory) begin segregated, except by money.  I always went to school with black children, swam together, ate in the same restaurants, went to the same stores.
But when Mac, who had by drafted by the Army, was sent to Georgia for advanced training I took the train (back then no one but rich folk flew)  from California to join him.  It was a long trip taking more than 3 days.  I didn't have to change trains, but each time we had a layover and I could get off the train for a while and eat in a restaurant I did.
We pulled into New Orleans on the second day and were to have a lengthy layover so I hopped off and went looking for a cheap restaurant.  Found one that smelled delicious and went in, sat at the counter and ordered my meal.  It was my first time traveling on my own and once I had my coke I shyly looked around the restaurant and all I saw were black faces looking at me.  I had come into a black restaurant, it had never occurred to me that the restaurants might be segregated.  Well it was too late to leave, the food smelled great, the price was right, so I sat and ate my meal.
I've often wondered what the people in the restaurant thought about me, was I a northerner attempting to integrate their restaurant, a very white black person or just a poor soul in search of a good meal.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ears and Ear Buds

I don't have particularly small ears, they fit pretty comfortably, but as I'm finding out my ear opening is quite small.  When I used the ear buds that came with my mp3 player they kept falling out, I couldn't get them to fit in my ears.  So Mac loaned me his foam head phones, which were nice, soft, but the sound wasn't as good---I had to turn the mp3 player all the way up-- and they didn't fit very tightly, guess I have a small head too.
So yesterday Mac picked me up a pair of ear buds that had 3 different heads to go on them and told me to try the medium.  Couldn't get it in my ear, so small it was.  So far they're working fine, but I forgot to turn the sound down o the mp3 player and when I first turned it on I about blew out my ear drums.  Today was better.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hydrangeas

Love, love hydrangeas.  When we first moved here we had a hard time growing them.  Then Mac planted 1 small plant by the fence next to the driveway and it just took off.  It's huge now and has to be trimmed back to keep it from taking over.  It's a blue one, which means that the soil there is acid, with a ph below 6.
The Original Plant, Flower Will Soon Be a Bright Blue
He took a cutting off of that plant and put it in a pot and stuck a metal tool in with it, not intentionally, just left it there after he'd used it to plant with .  When it flowered it was pink indicating alkaline soil with a ph above 7.
He then started another plant, didn't put anything metal in the soil and this plant is producing red hydrangeas.
The Second Plant
I read that if the soil ph is neutral 6-7 then you'll get lavender flowers, one of my neighbors has a plant like this.
You can change the color of your plants by adding garden sulfur to change pink ones to blue or lime to change blue to pink.
If you have white hydrangeas you're stuck, they don't change colors.
With enough lime some plants will turn a deep, dark purple.
Quite a plant.
The Red One

Monday, May 19, 2014

Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Week Gone, Oh Where, Oh Where Can It Be?

And so like the sands through an hour glass....no, no  I do not watch soap operas, but boy the days and weeks do go whizzing by.
I read a lot, finished a load of books:
A Bitter Truth   by Charles Todd---a mother/son writing team  This is part of their Bess Crawford series, she's a WWI nurse who gets involved in mysteries, it was just ok.
Map of Time      by    Felix Palma --time travel and I so wanted to like it, but except for the last third I didn't at all.
A Year of Magical Thinking   by Joan Didion---about the year after her husband's death, it was excellent
A Jane Austen Education   by William Deresiewicz---this was a reread and well worth it, what a snotty post graduate student learned from reading Jane Austen----everything!
Breakfast at Six   by Mary Scott -- life on a sheep ranch in New Zealand in the early 1950's, it was nice, but nothing special

I started 3 new books:
Daughter of Time  by Josephine Tey --another reread--a police officer in the hospital, bored, looks into the history of Richard III- I'm a huge Richard III fan so I reread this one regularly
The Alteration  by Kingsley Amis--this is an alternate history, something I don't usually read, but it's fascinating--the Catholic Church pretty much rules the world, except for the Islamic parts, and has kept things rather medieval.  A 10 year old boy who sings like an angel, the church wants him "altered" to keep the voice, the boy doesn't want it
The Help   by Kathryn Stockett --sad, sad book about an ugly piece of our history

I also watched a bad movie:  The Hobbit, the Desolation of Smaug ---we liked the Lord of the Ring triology, thought The Hobbit was pretty good, but the second in this series pretty well stunk.  Lovely to look at, but 90% filler, couldn't wait for it to end, we probably won't watch the next one.

When I could pull my nose out of a book I worked in the garden, mowed, the lawn,  started sewing a blouse and tried to keep up with the housework.  I'm not the most enthusiastic housekeeper, but you have to beat back the dust bunnies from time to time.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

New (To Me) Technology

Isn't is a cutey?
I'm not particularly a Luddite, but I do tend to be a bit slow to adopt new technology.  I've had a personal computer practically since they came out, but I was slower to get a cell phone (hate phones) and even slower to get a Kindle Tablet.  I work out each day using a DVD attached to my tv and music provided by a small disc/radio player, very low tech.  But as the weather has gotten warmer I've had to stop working out in the family room because even with the blinds on the lower windows closed the upper windows let in too much sunlight.  Plus the fact that this room has 20 something foot ceilings and an eastern exposure which means it's one of the first rooms to heat up in the morning.  Nice in winter, not so nice in summer.
Our bedroom on the other hand only has 10 foot ceilings, faces west and we have a portable air conditioner in there---hate cooling off the whole house when we only need to cool one room.  There is no tv there, hate tvs in the bedroom, so I broke down and bought a portable DVD player with a swivel screen.  That took care of the need for a tv, but I still needed music (plus we were thinking about when we travel and I was going to need something smaller than a portable cd player), so I decided to get an MP3 player.  I know they've been around forever, but I'd never owned one so I went to trusty Amazon, read a number of reviews and ordered one.  I'm blown away by the sound quality.  It's so tiny, just 2" by1.5", I just stick it in my pocket.  I've been using the new set up for 2 days now and because the room is so much cooler I've been able to work out longer which is good.  The only problem I've run into is the earbuds that came with the MP3, they're just too big for my little ears, they hurt and they fall out.  Mac has loaned my a small pair of headphones and though the sound isn't as good they feel so much better.
So I've finally entered the end of the 20th century and soon I'll be ready for the 21st.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Semi-annual meeting with Melisandre, fiery goddess who wields a wicked  liquid nitrogen sprayer that she uses to remove ill grown things on my skin.  I got off lucky this time , only 9 burned out areas  to take care of.    How can something so cold burn so badly?
We then  picked up some plants  for the garden, 2 types of basil, an okra and a cucumber.  We were looking for sage plants because both of my sage plants succumbed to the winter weather and I haven't been able to find replacements yet.  I'd had those plants for 7 or 8 years and use them for cooking all the time.
Wrote the above on Monday, it's now Wednesday, had to go get my B-12 shot today which means I'll have a bit more zip for a while.  While I was doing that Mac tracked down some Sage plants for me, they look great.
He also mailed a package to our daughter in Japan, some goodies she was needing.  Holy, moly, I think we made a down payment on buying Japan, boy was that expensive.
Mac set some of my bears outside so they could enjoy the spring air this morning, even let one go fishing, you know how bears like to fish.  Well Miss Kitty came out and we didn't precisely see her doing it, but  we found her  in the middle of the deck with a very smug look on her face and the bear who had been fishing in the pool was then floating in the pool.
I went swimming yesterday for the first time this year, very late, often I'm in there by April.  The poor pool is full of Jasmine and Honeysuckle debris.  The lattice around the pool is covered with them and the smell is a delight, the mess they make not so much.
Off to see the above stairs cat (also known as Yohji--our daughter's cat), he won't come downstairs so I spend some time with him every afternoon.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, she's been gone for 21 years now, but will always be in my thoughts.  Her life was never easy, born in rural Oklahoma, raised in poverty and tried to see to it that life for her children would be better.
It was not till I was an adult that I really appreciated her and how hard her life must have been.  A heavy smoker she died much too young.  But seeing her struggle gave me the strength to quit and I thank her for that, she was so happy that I'd quit.
She loved reading, people watching, crossword puzzles and old Hollywood musicals.  Indian Love Call with Nelson Eddy  and Jeanette MacDonald was among her favorites.
One of my Aunts told me that when she first met my Mother she looked like a young Susan Hayward (an American movie star from the  40's and 50's ) with soft white skin and auburn hair.
I wish I had known her better, but by the time I was an adult and old enough to appreciate her Mac was in the Army and we were always a half a world away.
I hope that I made her happy.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Saturday in May

Eyes swollen, check, nose running, check, ant bites, check, dirt on face and hands, checks, mosquito bite where I didn't get enough bug spray, check, a  typical day in a May garden.  Went out to get the last of the Impatiens in the side garden and to finish weeding out the veggie/herb bed.  Beautiful day, not quite so hot, a few clouds, a bit of a breeze, how nice.

Friday, May 9, 2014

We've Been Golfing, Sort Of ...

What we actually did was go down to Jacksonville, FL to see the TPC (Tournament Player's Championship) at Sawgrass.  It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from here.  The weather was beautiful, but way, way, way too hot.  We don't play golf, but do enjoy watching it.  Our favorite golfer is Phil Mickelson who often finds himself in the trees,  a predicament we can identify with.  We followed him through 3 holes including my favorite the 17th, a hole that sits on an island.
Sawgrass is a beautiful course, lovely trees, lots of water and huge crowds.
17th Hole



Our Lunch site overlooking the 16th hole


Frequently while watching golf on tv we'll hear some idiot yell, "Get in the hole!", as if the golfer was aiming for the water or a sandtrap.  We always assumed it was some 20 something clueless male and sure enough that's exactly who it turned out to be.
Dotting the golf course are hospitality tents put up by different organizations to give the paying customers a respite from the heat.  We visited the Birdies For the Brave tent for lunch.  It is for all active duty military, retirees and their guests.  Lovely lunch, really nice people.
We had gotten there early hoping to beat most of the heat and by early afternoon we were once more on the road.  A wonderful day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Notes On a Lawn

While mowing the lawn and my brain wandered, thoughts, mostly random, flitted across my mind.

•  I'm glad weeds are mostly green, they fit in well with the rest of the lawn

•  Don't smile while mowing, you end up with a mouthful of grass, leaves and love bugs

•  Thank you neighbor for bringing your dog to walk on my lawn, it's much more attractive than the 2 acre empty lot next door

•  If I use any gear but 1st on my new lawn mower it about yanks my arms out of their sockets

•  Deer flies travel as the same speed as the lawn mower and are able to bite you as you crawl along

•  Avoid mowing near the bee trees they're full of, yes, your guessed it, BEES

•  But it does look nice when it's done






Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fruits of the Garden

Don't quibble, yes I know beans are veggies, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it.  Anyway, we've been eating the produce from our garden for more than a month.  It started with Sugar Snap Peas, then small, red potatoes and now it's beans.  The Spanish call them Fava Beans, Mac's Dad always called them Horse Beans and when I order the seeds I order English Broad Beans---a rose by any other name I guess.
We've been eating the beans for a couple of weeks and they're nearly through.  They can't take the heat here and will soon start to die.  Mac plants them in the Fall and they winter over beginning to produce usually by March.  They are so good.
Our potatoes are growing in tubs as are the tomatoes and lettuce, it's easier to keep them watered that way.   Mac says the peppers are doing well too and that's scary because the freezer is still full of peppers from last year.
I need to go out and plant some more Begonias in the shade and have Mac put my Impatiens in the flower box that hangs out front.  He'll probably spend the day out there puttering about, I'll find something cooler to do.
Going to be very hot today, around 91ยบ, glad my walk and exercise are done, any later and I'd have to do my exercising in a cold shower.  Mac has been working on getting the pool open and says it should be ready next week which will be good, finish exercising and fall into the pool.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

This is Bad!

I cleaned the keys on my piano today, how pathetic is that!  Just because my piano tuner is coming next week I decided they looked dirty and I didn't want him to think I was eating while I played and was a bit of a slob, well, I am (a bit of a slob), and I admit that I eat while I play, but the keys weren't that bad.  I mean who cares what the piano tuner thinks, he's a bit strange himself.  I can understand polishing and dusting the piano, but the keys?  Bugs was laughing his a** off at me.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rainy Thursday

Won't complain about the weather (even though it's been raining off and on forever and the humidity has got to be around 1,000%) because compared to the rest of the south we've gotten off easy.  My heart goes out to those poor people.  I don't think I could live where tornadoes are a regular occurrence,  I'd have to move.  We've kicked around the idea of moving to southern Florida, but the thought of hurricanes and tornadoes puts us right off the idea.
Saw where Bob Hoskins died yesterday, always enjoyed him.  I think my favorite role of his was as Vivian Van Damm,  Judi Dench's stage manager in Mrs. Henderson Presents.  Great little movie if you've never seen it.
This week was time for our semi-annual doctor visits---hate going to the doctor.  We get along so well with our doctor that he sees us both at the same time and that's good.  For some reason my blood pressure was sky high, but he didn't get upset (my doctor in California use to have a hissy fit when my pressure went up and tell me I was going to stroke out, which of course made my pressure go even higher), he just told me to relax, take my pressure at home for a couple of days and keep track of the numbers.  Which is what I did and of course it's been fine since then.
We got tired of wanting DVD's that are available in the  UK, but being unable to watch them on our American DVD players, different format, so I broke down and bought a region-free DVD player.  Bored in the rain yesterday Mac hooked it up to our tv and it worked perfectly.  Of course ordering DVDs from Britain is expensive, so I will get foreign ones from Amazon and stock up when we're in England this summer.
Finished 2 really different books this week, the first was the very short and funny Candide by Voltaire (I'd been meaning to read  it for years), enjoyed it very much.  The other was of course very different, the more than 1,000 page Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, the continuation of his Stormlight Chronicles.  I enjoy his writing very much, though I about got a hernia from lugging the book around the last couple of weeks.
I need to head upstairs and do some sewing, all my pants have gotten so big since I've lost weight that they will hardly stay up.  Yesterday I was able to take a pair off without unbuttoning or unzipping them they were so baggy.

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 ...