Monday, June 30, 2014

Postal Service/Pony Express

I had to call the post office today, not the local one, they're good, they answer their phone, answer questions, help out, no, the official post office 1-800 number.  First I had to deal with a recording that kept asking how they could help me, then saying they couldn't understand my answer, I then just kept saying representative please and after a very, very, very, very long wait with lots of bad music and 19 public service announcements about how the post office could help me I finally got a human.  She said of course we can help you with that, let me transfer you to the correct department.  Where again I had a long, long, long wait with bad music and worse post office propaganda, but then I actually got a human, a helpful human.  Who answered my questions and then walked me through the steps at the post office website so I'd know how to fix this problem (it had to do with canceling postage bought online and getting a refund) if I ever had it again  and then I'd never have to call them again.  YEAH!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eleven Years

That's how long we've been living in our house here in Georgia.  In fact that's the longest we've ever lived in any house.  Twenty years ago if you asked me where we would retire  to  Georgia would not have been on my top 100 list.  We'd lived here in the 1980's and liked it, but couldn't wait to return to California after Mac retired from the Army.
We spent 13 years in California and we knew that though it was home, where we were both from,  we didn't want to retire there.  So we started seriously thinking about where we'd go.
When we lived in Georgia before it was in a town near Augusta, inland.  We didn't think that was what we wanted, so we thought about what we did when we lived there and we realized that going to Savannah was one of our favorite things to do, so we decided to explore the area around Savannah, neither of us wanted to be in town, just near enough for shopping and stuff.
We did a lot of internet searching and made a couple of flights down here to explore.   That's how we found our house.

After 11 years what do we still like about living here:

• love the house

• love where it sits, out in the county,  on a lagoon full of fish, turtles and the odd alligator

•  the people, everyone is so friendly and helpful, we've made good friends

•  when someone has an appointment to be at your house they'll be there, no one is ever late

•  we never have long to wait at the doctor's office, the bank, the post office, in fact anywhere

•   the changing  seasons especially spring and fall

What I don't like after 11 years:

•  the humidity, I can deal with the heat, kind of, but the humidity is horrible

•  the deer flies, you can discourage other bugs, but nothing slows the deer fly down

•  all the stairs in our house, 11 at the front or up from the garage and 14 to go upstairs


Every time we talk about downsizing we realize that we really don't want to move, we just want our house to be smaller,  with fewer stairs, but I don't see us going anywhere any time soon.






Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Letter B

Danielle at A Work in Progress, a great blog on books,
 has started a meme where we receive a letter---mine, given to me by Danielle is the letter B-- and we tell our favorite book, author, song, film and object that begins with that letter.

So here goes:

Favorite B Book:  I was really torn on this, it was either going to be Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie or Birds Without Wings by Louis Bernieres, and in the end Birds Without Wings wins.  Though I'm only halfway through reading it I'm enjoying it more than any book I've read recently and I've read some good ones.  The story takes place in the aging Ottoman Empire at the turn of the century and takes place in a small village there.  I suspect that I'm enjoying it so much because I've lived in Turkey and the tone of the book is pitch perfect.


Favorite B Author:  Bill Bryson, I've read a load of his books:  Mother Tongue, Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, A Short History of Nearly Everything, A Walk in the Woods, but still have a few to do--my husband is a head of me, he's already read Bryson's Shakespeare, One Summer America 1927 and is currently working on his At Home.  He's very funny and  his books are so well researched.
I reread his Mother Tongue (about the development of the English language) nearly every year.
I came so close to choosing A.S. Byatt, I love her writing, but Bryson makes me laugh and that is rather special.


Favorite B Song:  Even after all these years I still have to singalong whenever I hear it so, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

Favorite B Film: Becket 1963 starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole.  Mac always says it was miscast, that Burton should have played Henry II and O'Toole Becket, I think he's probably right, but I still think it's a great movie.  Henry II is one of my favorite Plantagenet Kings.

Favorite B Object:  Books, you knew it had to be books.  They're queued up on my table next to the couch ( What Was She Thinking, I'm Not Complaining, Radnarok The End of the Gods, The Given Sacrifice, Bloodline, Watching the Dark, The Silkworm, The Flounder) and on my Kindle (
Written in My Own Heart's Blood, Refusal, Middlemarch, Secret Rooms, Wool, Dangerous Women, The Prisoner of Heaven, Oryx and Crake, Asylum, Oz Reimagined,

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flowers on Friday

Mac always brings me flowers, he tries to sneak them in without me seeing so I'll be surprised.  I'll often wake up with a small bouquet on my nightstand---he's definitely a keeper.
This morning the flowers he'd put in my big vase in the kitchen had died so I asked for some more, even if they wouldn't be a surprise and he brought me this lovely bunch.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Bag of Potatoes

We were standing in the checkout line at the grocery store the other day when I noticed that Mac was holding up a bag of potatoes and looking at me.  "Do you realize you've lost 5 of these, 5 bags of potaoes?"  I laughed and said yeh it was strange to think of, 25lbs gone.  He said," Where were you hiding them?"
I thought about it and it's hard to say where it was all hidden,   I've lost weight everywhere including  my hands and feet .  I've either had to take in all my jeans and shorts or buy smaller ones. My favorite pair of shorts I've taken in twice.  Still a couple of more bags to shed though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I Think It's Tuesday

Street near our airport
Rain here yesterday, in fact, the rainiest day in Savannah's history.  The airport got 6.65 inches of rain, most of it in about an hour.  Some places got none, we got about a quarter of an inch, but enough of a storm to knock out our satellite until this morning.
So what did we watch with no tv?  We watched a video,
we've been slowing working our way through the Sherlock series.  Slowly because it's so good and every few minutes we have to stop the CD and discuss what's going on.  Hope we don't have to wait 2 years for the next series.
The night before that we watched RocknRolla, one of Guy  Richie's films. laugh out loud funny, he has a real ear for dialogue.  Tom Wilkinson playing a bad guy was hilarious.
   We've loved all 3 of his London gangster movies (Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels and Snatch)
And of course I've been reading. I finished  Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and absolutely loved it, guess I'll have to go looking for his 100 Years of Solitude.
I also finished The Village School by Miss Read, as a retired teacher I always enjoy reading school stories.  I'm almost finished with As I Lay Dying by
William Faulkner, what an eerie little book.  It's told from probably a dozen points of view including that of the woman who died.  Faulkner located most of  his stories in the imaginary county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississppi and the dialect of the speakers is about as deep southern as you can get.  But I certainly heard echoes of my Oklahoma relatives in that dialect, maybe it's the dialect  of the poor, not just the southern.  I  read recently that a movie had been made from this book, but what a depressing story it is, I can't imagine wanting to see a movie of it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the book, think it's incredible, but not something I'd want to see as a movie.
It was under 90º today so I made it out to the garden and pulled a couple million weeds, that only leaves a few million more to go.  We've been eating lettuce from the garden this week, romaine and butter.  Last week we ate the first of our potatoes, I think they were Yukon Gold, really good tasting.
Cut out a simple blouse to sew, just wish it were not so hot upstairs, even with the air conditioning on.
Have to hitch up the horses and head into town tomorrow, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise---whoops, no more Faulkner for me for a while.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Solstice

Many ways to celebrate the summer solstice, go for a swim, share a libation, be glad that the days will be getting shorter.

Hello Summer

Oval Lifesaver
Well it got here this morning, knew it was coming, thought it might take its time, but no---the forecast is for 96ª today, so it's definitely here.  Hope it doesn't linger too long, I only have so many 90ª days in me.
This is a lifesaver.  I know it's not round and doesn't have a hole in it, but without it I don't think I could survive the summer.
My Confederate Rose is in full bloom and looking lovely.  Mac was going to move its pot, but discovered that its roots have gone on down into the ground from its pot.  So he cut some tree branches so it could get more light.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Old Lady Rant

A friend of mine posted this picture to Facebook
and I commented that I find the word "gringo" offensive, that it was originally intended that way and I take it that way ( she agreed with me).  I also dislike being called an "Anglo", others don't know my ethnic origin and I don't like being genericly  lumped into a group because I happen to be blonde and blue eyed.  On my Mother's side I'm Irish/American Indian and on my Father's I'm primarily German, so don't call me Anglo.
Why is it ok to call me these names and verbotten to use deragatory terms for other groups?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Let The Madness Begin

Here's my new puzzle, Bryce Canyon.  It's nearly all red, ought to drive me mad.  Pieces have been sorted, the madness begins.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

TV

We're not big tv watchers,  other than sports, but we do watch a fair number of movies.  In the summer we watch tv downstairs (even with air conditioning it's too hot up there)  and the tv is further away than the one upstairs.  All this week I have grumbled that  I can't see, what did he say, did you see it?  So yesterday Mac took me out and bought me a tv that is almost as tall as I am.
Amazingly enough it fit is the car, when we got it home we loaded it on a dolly, drug it up the stairs, put it on a towel and pulled it into the family room, looked up instructions for the stand on the internet, slid the tv out of the box and I about had a fit.  Told Mac I couldn't help li
ft it, I was too little, too old, too anything but lift that puppy.  But lift it we did and attached it to the stand.
This is a Smart Tv, you know, like a Smart Phone, which means it knows more than we do.
Mac  hooked up the DirectTv , but it was in the video slot, so last night when we watched a movie we had to detach the satellite and attach the DVD player.
This morning he dug out a coaxial cable and attached the DirectTv that way, then attached the DVD in the video slot.
Next up was connecting it to our airport router so it could go online, well that was a problem.  Neither of us could remember the password for the router, so I had to Google how to recover the password.  Thank goodness for the internet, not matter what your problem is I guarantee someone had already listed a solution on the net.  So we followed the directions, recovered our password, WROTE IT DOWN, finished setting up the network connection and voila, we have an internet tv.
Note to self, next time you decide to buy a tv as tall as you are, hire someone else to carry it in and set it up, I'm too old for this pooh.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Solar Flares

The sun sent out a couple of solar flares this week and they're saying that "a huge cloud of plasma that could hit the Earth and cause a shock wave" thus affecting communications systems around the world.  Good, knock out all the cell phones while you're at it.  Cannot count the number of drivers we saw today with phone in hand, would love for the flare to fuse their (and their phones) circuits.

I Knew It All Along

I knew it all the time, fat, red meat and eggs are not that bad for us.  But "experts" by pushing a diet based on carbohydrates we have managed to produce a nation with an epidemic of diabetes and obesity.  Fat is an important part of a healthy diet.  I read a very interesting book titled, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes explains that since at least the 50's scientists have known for sure that carbohydrates were the problem, not fats.  
Now even Time, who pushed the pyramid, low fat diets for years, is admitting it.
I recommend the book highly, skip the Time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cleaning Lady

I'm getting older and my house is getting bigger so I frequently day dream about having a cleaning lady.  But I'm afraid I've watched too many episodes of Midsomer Murders and I know that the cleaning lady, in addition to nicking everything that isn't nailed down, always find the dead body.  Now I find dust bunnies, hair balls and insect body parts, but no bodies, and I'd like to keep it that way.  So probably no cleaning lady in my future.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Morning

Just some random thoughts no doubt brought on by being out in the sun too long (sat in the garden pulling weeds).

ª  Being happy with your age, do you mind getting older, what was your favorite age.  I'm pretty happy with my age though I'm older than dirt.  I couldn't wait to grow up when I was a teenager, said I couldn't wait to be grown so no one could boss me around ----isn't that a hoot.  The only age I hated being was 30, hated it, wouldn't celebrate my birthday, told everyone not to give me any gifts.  How silly!!!!  Now I celebrate my birthday for a week and encourage everyone and the cat to send cards.

ª Reading the newspaper, following the news, ignoring it all.  I don't read a paper, look at the headlines online, but seldomly follow up on them unless they're amusing or have to do with archeology, only watch enough of the local news to catch the weather.  I'm happy in my ignorance.

ª  Music, what kind, when, why?  When I was young I always had the radio on, I own a number of CD's, but seldomly play them, I find I only listen to music when I exercise and it does get me moving.  My little mp3 is full of a very eclectic collection of music, Kinks, Stones, U2, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Police, Queen, Meatloaf, Bob Dylan, Lorena McKennitt,  Bonnie Tyler, Journey and much more.

ª  Summer meals, how to find food fit for the heat.  Try to eat lighter, lots of chicken and salads, grilled meats instead of heating up the kitchen, I've become addicted to Jello, it's like I'm a kid again, tortillas, shrimp.  Lettuce in the garden is going strong so it'll definitely be a salad day.

I think I've cooled my brain off, time for piano practice.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Almost Caught Up

It seems like it takes forever to get caught up with things after you've been on a trip.  My body was home, but my mind was still in Utah enjoying the sights.  I'm finally caught up on the laundry, stocked up on veggies and sat outside yesterday for our community yard sale---a not so kindly shout out to the little old lady who pulled up on our lawn, next to the driveway and parked.  At least she bought something.
I don't like yard sales, never go to them myself, I have enough junk without buying from my neighbors, but my junk runneth over and it was time to part with some of it.  Plus the darn thing started at 7 am, we managed to make it out there by 8 something.  But some folks are really serious about this stuff and the cars were steaming in here before 7.
It must have rained a bit while we were gone and the garden really looked good.  Loads of Gladiola blooming and the lettuce was ready for picking, so it was serious salad time.
Today, in addition to sweltering in the humidity I'm trying to get caught up on some of the household chores.  I cleaned 4 toilets and 5 sinks, thank God Mac does the showers and the tubs.  Today it's carpets and floors, with a serious dip in the pool thrown in.  Have a good week.






Friday, June 6, 2014

The Rest of the Story

Two other stops on our trip were to Bushy Falls and Cave.  Didn't hike all the way up to the cave, but did walk along the water, played Pooh sticks on the bridge then found a place to sit and paint while Mac looked for fossils----none found, anywhere on our trip.



Our last day we stopped at Red Canyon and did 2 short walks, one out to the Totems and the other along a trail  to look at rock formations and plants.








Almost forgot to mention the Indian Cave with Petroglyphs we saw on our walk at Kodachrome Basin.

All in all a great trip, hope to go back some day.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Further Adventrues

Day two on our trip to Bryce Canyon Mac indulged me in something I'd been wanting to do for a long time, a back country tour on an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle).  They don't allow them in the park itself, but there are hundreds of miles of ATV trails throughout that part of Utah.  We reserved a two person vehicle, I was NOT driving, and we took off after signing a million waivers of liability.  There were 2 other vehicles plus the guide, we brought up the rear.  First he took us out to the rim of the canyon where we made a stop to take pictures.  Then it was down through a small stream and out into the back country.  Was it fun, sort of, was I glad we did it, yes, would I do it again, probably not.  Bouncing around in an ATV at 25 mph at my age is more "excitement" than I need.
Rim of the Canyon
After Mac had taken me to do that I took him fishing.  He loves to fish, particularly for trout.  Not too many trout in our neck of the woods, the water is too warm, but Bryce and the surrounding areas range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet, perfect for trout, if we could find some water to fish in.  Most of the streams we saw were dried up, but we were told to try the Tropic Reservoir which was about 6 miles down a dirt road through the Dixie National Forest (it sure sounded funny to hear Dixie in Utah).
Bass at Escalante
 So after buying some worms we were off.  It was a pretty little lake and Mac gave it a try, though lake fishing is not his favorite.  He didn't catch anything and by then we were running down so we headed back to our cabin.
Saturday we took off to Escalante (named after a Spanish explorer) Petrified Forest State Park which also had a reservoir.  The park was nice, but the climb to the forest was steep and had drop offs so I chickened out (I don't do heights) so Mac went on his own.  He said it was a great view, but not much petrified wood.  Then he tried out the fishing and immediately caught a bass, but he wanted trout.  I painted while he fished and it was a nice afternoon, but no more fish.
The next day we went to Kodachrome Basin State Park and WOW. it was wonderful.  Instead of being on the rim we were on level ground and took one of the hikes through the formations.  We saw dozens of what are called Hoodoos ( a type of "chimney" rock formations).  The walk was easy, but the sun was HOT. We saw an Indian cave with petroglyphs  and loads of Hoodoos. We spent the whole morning there and I definitely want to go back.

Hoodoo
Hoodoo at Kodachrome Basin
 Then it was off in search of the elusive  trout.  We had been told it was ok to fish the stream that ran below the road in the Dixie Forest, that it wasn't private property.  So we found a place to leave the car, walked down to the stream and Mac fished.  Oh boy did he fish catching nearly a dozen brown trout, he was in heaven.
Trout Stream
A couple of great days.
First trout

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...