Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Thank You

A big thank you to all of you who wished me a happy birthday, they were all appreciated.  It was a good birthday.  Mac asked me if I would have preferred a dozen red roses instead of the bears on the stairs and I of course answered NO!!!  Long after the roses would have faded away I'll still have the memory of the bears all wishing me a happy birthday,
It's a very muggy day here, not too hot, only around 80º, but the humidity is awful, it might as well be raining.  Still too warm to do much upstairs and I need to get up there to do some Christmasy things. Will try to get my afghan done this week and that's where I'm headed now.

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's My Birthday!!!

It's my birthday, the 39th anniversary of one of my birthdays.  And of course Mac filled it with surprises.  He took many of my bears and lined the stairs, they were holding up cards wishing me a Happy Birthday.  As a gift he gave me the little sewing machine.  I love it and how he fixed up my bear with scissors and pins, plus an assistant wrapped up in a measuring tape.
We Skyped with our daughter this morning and I opened the gifts she had sent me. First off was a wooden Japanese wheel barrow that she'd filled with goodies for me.  I immediately thought how much my bears would like the barrow, but unfortunately before I could put any bears in it Miss Kitty had appropriated it and has been in it ever since.
Short post as we're out to lunch to have something tasty topped off by a banana split.


If I were as flexible as Miss Kitty I'd rule the world, come to think of it she does rule the world.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Rather Special Bear

Yesterday I told you I'd tell you about a rather special bear.  Mac didn't give him to me, I gave the bear to him.  And it's not a Teddy Bear, but rather a foot massager.  Stick your feet on his back and he'll massage your feet until they're numb.  What's so special about that?  Lots of foot massager will do that.  Well, as nearly as we can remember I gave him the Bear in 1995, 20 years ago and we've never changed the battery in him and he's still going strong.  That's pretty darn amazing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five on Friday

I'm joining in with Amy at Love Made My Home and others (click the link at the bottom) for this week's Five on Friday.

My Five have to do with Bears.  When Mac discovered that as a child I'd never had a Teddy he decided that he had to fix that.  And he's been giving me Bears ever since.  Here are a few of my favorites.

We "think" this was the first Bear he gave me, a stone carved one that he brought me back from Kodiak Island, Alaska.  At that time he was working for a company that sent him all over the country.
He is so tactile, I love to hold and touch him

The next Bears are singing Bears.  She sings a Beatle song "I Will" and he sings a Lee Greenwood song, "God Bless the USA".






I'm including another soldier Bear with these two, Mac was a soldier for 21 years, this one doesn't sing.





The third group of Bears are those who fish, catch frogs, go sledding  and use snow shoes.  They're a rather athletic bunch.







Number four group is definitely a mixed group;  An Angel Bear, 2 gardening Bears. a rather snazzy Bear, a Scottish Bear, a high flying Bear and a basket of Bears including one dressed up as a cow.











And my Fifth Bears are a Teddy Bear picnic.




Not all of my Bears by a long shot, in fact I have a rather strange one to tell you about tomorrow.









Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn. Finally

It's Autumn, it started yesterday and I'm thrilled, see me, or is that Calvin and Hobbes, doing my happy dance.
Temperatures in the 70's, rain--well you can't have everything--and me making soup.
I'm making an old favorite, Bean and Bacon soup.  I've never made it before, I usually just open a can of Campbell's.  But at more than 800mgs of sodium I decided it was time for me to make my own and cut that down.
So to Pinterest I went, found a recipe that sounded reasonable and off to the kitchen I went.  First step was to mince garlic, chop onions, carrots and celery.  Neither of us are celery fans so I left that out.  Next you cook about 8oz. of smoked bacon--I cut that down a bit-- and  then drain all but 2 tbs of the bacon fat--I cut down on that too.  Then you cook the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes till they've softened, add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute.


Next you add 2 cans of fat free, low sodium chicken stock and a can of Great White Northern Beans.  I didn't have any canned Great Northerns (I always cook them from dried beans) so I substituted canned Cannelini Beans, they're white so I hope that's ok.  You then reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour.  I'm at that stage right now.


After an hour you remove half of the soup to a blender or food processor and process until smooth, I don't have either so I used my electric mixer and that worked fine.
 Return the puree to the soup pot and stir it into the remaining soup.  Add the can of tomato sauce and 3/4 of the bacon you cooked earlier and stir to combine.  Mac tasted it and said please don't add the sauce.   I looked at the can of tomato sauce and it it had over 200mg of sodium,  the soup tasted fine without it, so no tomato sauce was added.
Even without the sauce   I thought  it was  a little salty so I added some water--it had about 20 minutes to cook.
After adding the bacon I cooked it for about 5 more minutes.  After that you put it in bowls and crumble any remaining bacon over each bowl.
Well, it's done and except for being a bit salty it's so good.  Next time I'll cook my beans and avoid canned beans and use less bacon.  Can't wait to eat it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Passing of a Legend

Yogi Berra died today, he was 90. I was always a fan,  I remember him as a catcher for the Yankees and as manager for the Mets. He was always fun to listen to, he definitely had a way with the English language.  So I thought I'd share a few Yogisms with you,
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
You can observe a lot by just watching.
 It ain't over till it's over.
 It's like déjà vu all over again.
 No one goes there nowadays, it's too crowded.
 Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.
 A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore.
Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.
 You wouldn't have won if we'd beaten you.
 The future ain't what it used to be.
 Pair up in threes.
 You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there.
He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious.
 I don't know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.
We have lost a jewel.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Quick Weekend

I don't work, at an outside job that is, so I don't hang in there waiting for the weekend.  But this last one just zipped on by.  I've been crocheting a bit, trying to get something done before Halloween and though I love crocheting, I'm not the quickest at it, too clumsy for that.
Yesterday was football, football, football.  Sorry the Giants lost, but glad that it was Atlanta that got the win, very pleased that Green Bay beat Seattle and thrilled to death that the Oakland Raiders actually won a game.
My Boo-tiful Afghan Throw
We started watching The Second Best Marigold Hotel and we're enjoying it, not quite as much as the first one, though Dame Maggie gets off a couple of good zingers including one about polyps.  Have  no idea why they thought they needed Richard Gere in this movie, would have preferred any good British character actor.
I cooked  pork shoulder roast yesterday and used my crock pot, usually I do roasts in the oven, but I wanted to cook in a way that wouldn't heat up the kitchen, it was 93º here yesterday.  Had never done a roast in a crock pot so I checked out some recipes on Pinterest and sort of did a mixture of a couple of them: 1/2 cup water, some Worcestershire Sauce, garlic, Italian herbs-oregano, basil, sage, and cook the heck out of it.  It was so much better than the oven, even after cooking for hours it was so juicy, not dry, which pork has a tendency to be, at all.
Today it was up in the pre-dawn hours, around 7am, to go see my retina specialist, all is well with my old blue eyes, they're good for another 4 months.  I had to do the peripheral vision test this morning and I hate it.  After awhile I'm pushing the buzzer (you're supposed to do that when you see a light) randomly to just get it over with.  Then my eyes stay tired and I see little lights popping up for the rest of the day.  I like my doctor, his staff is great, but I wish I could sit in front of my computer and have them do the exam via Skype or something.
On the way home we stopped to buy some autumn flowers.  We got chrysanthemums and nothing else, the shelves were bare.  I wanted some bulbs to plant and they had nary a one, guess Amazon will get my order.
Today it's left-over pork for sandwiches and a salad, still hot and muggy, so that's about right, though I did make some chocolate pudding for dessert.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five on Friday

The Fridays just keep coming quicker.  This week I'm joining in with Amy at Love Made My Home and others for this event.
My theme this week is the end of summer critters at our house.

Number One is the toad and turtle that Mac is raising in aquariums.  When he finds tiny critters or eggs, he'll often hand raise them and then let them go when they're older.  This year is a small toad and a box turtle.  They were each smaller than a quarter when he found them and would have been easy prey for some of the larger animals that live in our yard.  Instead they're growing up fat and happy.





Number Two are the big turtles who live in the lagoon out back.  They're always ready for feeding time and often climb out of the water as soon as Mac opens the back door.  One of them we call lefty because she's missing a leg, don't know why we call her, her, have no idea what sex she is.






Number three is the alligator who came to see what all the commotion was about when Mac was feeding the turtles.  We don't feed the alligator, it's against state and federal law to feed them, and just not a good idea.  If they get use to getting food from a human and then they don't get it they can get very aggressive.  This is the smaller of the 2 alligators who live in the lagoon.



Number four is some of the last of the butterflies.  Some are are bit shopworn, but it is the end of summer.  

Gulf Fritilary


Skipper

Tropical visitor from Florida
Th
Male Tiger Swallowtail

And Number Five is the 14 Crocosmias I planted.  The bag said 15 , but it lied.  I thought they were Crocus or Daffodils (the picture looks like Daffodils), but when I looked them up it said they were a member of the Iris family and are native to south and eastern Africa.  Iris's don't do well here as a rule so we'll see how many come up.


This is what the picture looked like on the package.










Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Mutterings

It's Wednesday, it's raining---again---, the yard is soggy so no weeding.  It drip, drip, dripped all day long, more than 1/2 inch and more expected over the next couple of days.  I have bulbs to plant so maybe this would be a good time to get started.
Mac has started a new painting and I love it. It is based on one of the pictures we took on our trip to England.  It has to do with the steam tractor we saw.
 He wants me to start one, but I haven't been inspired by anything yet, so I'm working on my afghan throw and putting together some puzzle pieces.  I need to start on some of my Christmas presents that I'm making, as someone reminded me today it's only 100 days till Christmas.
My birthday is coming up and we want to go to Savannah and try another new, to us, restaurant so I need to start looking at menus again.  We want to do lunch again and I'm looking for a place that offers something besides sandwiches for lunch.
Now that they've got all the Republican candidates in one room (for a debate) can't they just lock them up and keep them there until sometime next year when we're actually going to have an election.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Agatha Christie and a Mystery

Today is Agatha Christie's birthday, she was born September 15, 1895.  She is one of my favorite authors and I think, but only think, because I'm always finding more, that I've read all of her books and short stories.  The Guinness Book of records says she's the best selling author of all time having sold more than 2 billion books.  Her estate says she's third, behind Shakespeare and the Bible.  Her most popular books is And Then There Were None, which I just recently read, but my favorite is Witness for the Prosecution. Her play The Mousetrap  is the longest running play of the modern era.  It opened in 1952 and has been running ever since.  We saw it way back in the 70's or 80's in London.
Though she has shot people, stabbed people, hung people and electrocuted people,  she was the very best at poisoning them.  She served as a volunteer nurse in the first world war and was trained as an apprentice apothecary or dispenser.  The knowledge she gained there served her well.
She was married twice.  Her first husband had an affair and wanted a divorce, Agatha was heartbroken and disappeared for 11 days.  It became a cause célébre and the world was shocked, all the newspapers covered her disappearance, the police suspected her husband of doing away with her---sounds a bit like Gone Girl doesn't it.  Agatha never said where she had disappeared to, but a number of books have written about it.  I read  Agatha Christie and the Missing Eleven Days, it gives a pretty detailed account of what happened.

Unfortunately her second marriage to archeologist Max Mallowen was also unhappy (he had a long running affair with his secretary).though she stayed married to him the rest of her life.

I think her writing must have been her way of leading a happier life, I know that her books have brought a lot of reading pleasure to me.

Now the mystery.  When we were in London recently Mac went mudlarking along the foreshore of the Thames and picked up bits and pieces of things to add to his collection and one of his finds has him stumped and Lord knows I'm no help.  It's a round piece of green glass about 1 1/2 across and a 1/4 inch thick.  It has an eagle sitting on a crown and there's  a crown above the writing.  He thinks the writing is Latin.  Take a look and let us know what you think, we just don't know.





















Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, Monday

Finally, cooler weather and no rain.  It won 't last, they've already warned us, but it's been glorious.  I mowed the lawn for the first time in forever, it's been too wet, my mower would have sunk in the mud.  So I flew around the yard grass flying  through the air.
Then I went in the garden and pulled weeds to my heart's content.  It felt fantastic.
Back in the house I'm working on a Halloween themed afghan throw.  And tonight there's football, ah autumn I do love you.




Saturday, September 12, 2015

Liebster Award

 A while back Marianne of Let's Read awarded me the Liebster Award and told me to take my time answering the questions and I have.  But I'm finally getting around to it.

There are only a few rules to this :
1.     Thank the AMAZING blogger who nominated you.
2.     Answer the 11 questions the nominator provided.
3.     Nominate 11 other blogger who have less than 200 followers
4.     Post 11 different questions for your nominees to answer.
5.     Contact your nominee to let them know that you've nominated.

I do thank Marianne, her blog is always a delight to read, she reviews such interesting book.

So here are the questions I was asked:

1.  Who, what, and /or where does your blogging inspiration come from?

Well I learned about blogging from my friend Patty, she started a blog (she's no longer blogging as she's dealing with Lupus) and I was fascinated.  So I decided to start a blog to serve as a diary for me and to stay in touch with our far-flung family and friends.

2.  What do you like about blogging?

I love how it has introduced me to bloggers all over the world.  I can't wait to read blogs each day.

3.   What was the most meaningful book you've ever read?

This is so hard, but one that has stuck with me through the years, I probably first read it when it came out in the '70s, and that I've recently reread is Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner.  It's about many things, the west, family history, about marriage, and to me, letting go of the past and finding a future. I've read a number of Pulitzer Prize winning books and thought many of them were awful.   This one is wonderful.  I can't recommend it highly enough.

4.   Who is your favorite author?

Impossible to answer with one name.  Jane Austen because she truly understood human nature,
Bill Bryson because he always makes me laugh, Stephan King because he really scares me, A.S. Byatt because of her use of language.  Tomorrow there'll probably be someone else to add to this list.

5.   What is your favorite quote?

It's not from a book, but from a play, Henry V by Shakespeare.
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispins Day"

Henry V is one of my heroes and this speech always brings tears to my eyes.

6.  What is your favorite time of year?

Fall, love the weather, the colors, the holidays.  Can't wait for the first cool, crisp day.

7.  If you had to teach a subject at school, what subjects would you be most equipped to teach?

Well I was a teacher for many years and I loved teaching Reading and I think I was a good reading teacher.  As much as I love reading it was a joy to share that with others.  It was a thrill to take a non-reading student, and that happened a lot (even in 3rd grade) and make a reader out of them, and not just a reader, but someone who loved books.

8.   What is the best thing about you?

I don't know, my sense of humor maybe.

9.   If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Now that's easy, blue, that's the color I wear the most anyway, all shades of it though Periwinkle is probably my favorite shade.

10.   What was the last movie you watched, was it good?

We rewatch a number of movies:  St. Trinian's, RED, etc.  But the last movie we had from Netflix was Kingsmen with Colin Firth, a bit raunchy, but funny

11.  What did you want to be when you were a child?

I don't remember what I wanted to be as a child, but as a teenager I wanted to be a lawyer because I like to argue.


Now my new questions are:

1.  What jobs have you had, which did you like best?

2.  What are some of your favorite books?

3.  What's the best vacation you've ever had, why?

4.  If you could meet any author, living or dead who would it be?

5.  Is cooking something you do because you have to or because you enjoy it and what's your favorite thing to cook?

6.   If you could live in any country other than your own which would it be?

7.   What's your favorite non-working activity?

8.   What's your favorite holiday?

9.   If money were no object, what would you buy for yourself?

10.  Do you have pets?

11.  Favorite opening line from a book.


I enjoy all the blogs I read and find it impossible to pick out 11 for this award.  If you want to answer these questions, feel free to, I'd love to read your answers.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Five on Friday

Still feeling the glow of our anniversary, so I'll use it for my Five on Friday.  I'm joining Amy at Love Made My Home and others for this weekly event.

Number One:

Mac and I have been married 3 times, to each other I should say.  Our legal marriage date is August 27, but we celebrate the 10th of September and we were married again in December, but neither of us can remember the date.   It all has to do with the Vietnam War.  We were engaged in the summer of 1965 and our wedding was scheduled for the 10th of September.  At that time married men were excused from the draft.  Mac received his draft notice and the draft board then exempted him because he was getting married.  Then towards the end of August the rules were changed and it was decided that anyone married after midnight of August 26 would no longer be exempt.  Mac came home from  work, grabbed his Mother (he was too young to get married without parental permission), picked me up at my parent's house and we drove to Nevada for a quick marriage.  We didn't get it done by midnight though.  Returning home I went back to my parent's house and he went home to his.  It was only after our September 10 marriage that we began our life together.
Then in December, because our church wedding had been in a Baptist church, we married again in the Catholic Church.  So 3 anniversaries.


Number Two:
We didn't have a honeymoon because he had to report in for his draft physical 3 days after we married.  So since then we've tried to go somewhere in August or September to have a yearly honeymoon.  This year we spent August 27th in London.


Number Three:
Yesterday we went to the Cotton Exchange Tavern for an anniversary lunch.   A former cotton warehouse and offices for the selling of cotton it was built in the 1880's.  We ordered calamari as an appetizer,  Mac had a Low Country Boil (he said it was the best one he'd ever had) and I had a Shrimp Salad.  Our meal, with tip (we were very generous because our waitress was great) cost $80.  After Mac was drafted and we were living in Georgia I spent about $28.00 a month on groceries, my how times have changed.

Backside of the Cotton Exchange, it's on the side known as Factor's Walk

The front side







The happy couple

Two cold ones because it was hot and humid

Our Calamari Appetizer

Low Country Boil

Shrimp Salad

Number Four:

Mac's 2nd cousin Isabel caught my bouquet at our wedding, she's 83 now, unmarried, still beautiful and flying to London to board a ship to sail to New York.  She's amazing.  I hope I have her energy at that age.

Number Five:

I was 16 when I first saw Mac and knew, absolutely knew, he was the one.  He was standing on the patio at our high school with one foot up on a planter.  I can close my eyes now  and picture him there still.  I can tell you exactly what he was wearing.  Such a pretty boy.

That's my Five, please grab the link below and see what others have for their Five.








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...