Friday, October 20, 2017

A Few More Thoughts On Spain

Just a few more random thoughts about Spain.  Love the doors there, if we ever have a Spanish style house  again (we did in California) I'd love to have a door like one of these.

Love the Mudéjar style you see in Toledo

The badger loved the view from the balcony.  We learned that his name in Spanish is Tejon.  Now I know the meaning of the pass we use to drive through in California.  Mac bought El Tejon a small sword to carry, but he doesn't get to poke anyone with it.  He traveled over in my carryon and TSA examined that bag and pulled him out and gave him a thorough going over.  Don't know what he was doing in there to attract their attention.

As I said before we're not crazy about religious art, but we enjoyed some of the El Greco's.

The Disrobing of Christ

Last random thought for the day.  I think I saw more babies in Toledo in the week we were there than I have seen in the last 5 years anywhere.  And amazingly enough parents were playing with their children and listening to them instead of playing with their phones.

Thursday, October 19, 2017


We've visited Spain many times through the years, with our first visit being in 1968.  It has changed so much since then.  It was a rather backward country then, very rural outside of the big cities, and we frequently saw people traveling by horseback and donkey drawn wagons.  It was ruled by Franco---saw him at a bullfight in Barcelona one time-- and the Guardia Civil were everywhere.
Our first trip to Spain was to the tiny Costa Brava town of Tossa Del Mar.  There were few big tourist hotels back then and it was far less crowded.  We stayed in a small hotel La Anchora and paid $9.00 a day full pension for both of us.
It was our first time to see Barcelona, what a beautiful place, we spent hours on the Ramblas and you truly couldn't find a place to serve dinner before 10pm.
We were living in Germany and we'd go to Spain once or twice a year so we could lay on the beach and soak up the sun.
In the 1970's we got more adventurous and started visiting other parts of Spain, camping everywhere.  We saw Madrid, Granada, Seville, Cordoba and Toledo for the first time.  Learned that I couldn't wear shorts into town, actually had to go change into long pants one time.
Mac's parents are from Spain and we looked for their hometowns, Macotera (near Salamanca) for his Mother's family and Seville for his Father's.
In the late 90's we traveled with Mac's brother and his wife to Malaga where we rented a villa and explored that part of Spain.
Then 6 years ago we returned to Toledo because it is our favorite city in Spain.  I love the Great Mosque in Cordoba, the Alhambra in Granada, the Alcazar in Segovia, the historic bullring in Ronda, but it's Toledo that calls us back.  We love its twisted, hilly streets, the Jewish Quarter, the Mosques, the small churches around each corner and of course the Primate Cathedral of St. Mary of Toledo.
It had been a number of years since we'd visited it, so we thought we should see it again.

And it is truly magnificent.  They were singing a mass while we were there and and it was so beautiful.  Love the El Transparente, a hole that was cut into the roof and the design of people peering down into the Cathedral.
Even enjoyed the Grecos, though religious art is not a favorite of ours.

El Parente
Lit candles for Mac's Mom and Aunt, though they're electric candles now, guess that's safer, but I miss actually lighting the candle. .  Spent most of the morning in the Cathedral  till tours started filling the place up and we knew it was time to leave.  I can only watch so many people taking Selfies before I want to grab their sticks and whack them with it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Getting Back to Normal

Glad to go, glad to come back, not glad to catch up on all the cleaning, but it had to be done.  Laundry done, bathrooms cleaned, rugs vacuumed, we're getting there.  Place aired out to get rid of the closed house odor.  Bless Mac for doing Miss Kitty's box.  And most of all enjoying the wonderful weather, just in the 70's with lows in the 50's, it's heaven.
Need to grocery shop, but that can wait till tomorrow.  Will make a chicken stew today and that will last for 2 days so I won't have to cook when we get back from the commissary.
Watched most of a movie last night, one we actually started on a Korean Airline flight in March.  It's Shin Godzilla, a new Godzilla movie and we're loving it.  Done with subtitles of course and it mocks the way everything in Japan has to be done in meetings, no one can make a decision.  Very funny. Why can't Hollywood make a decent Godzilla movie, oh that's right, they're too busy sexually harassing people.
Haven't enjoyed the baseball playoffs much, looks like it's going to be the Yankees and the Dodgers, 2 of the best teams money can buy----BORING.
Will post more about our trip tomorrow after I finish sorting photos.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Back from a week in Spain, in our favorite Spanish city Toledo.  So much good food, friendly people and great sites to see.  It was warm, but dry, what a change for us.

We had an apartment near the Cathedral and took pictures from the balcony.

And we ate way too much, but that's why we go to Spain, to enjoy the food.  There were windows full of Jamon Serrano--oh if we could have brought one of those home with us--bocadillos  by the score,  plates of chorizo, pans of eggs, chips and ham, tortillas, lamb chops and steaks and oh so much more.  The first thing we did when we hit the streets was buy a medio kilo of Manchengo cheese and olives.  It was a wonderful week.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Heading to the Finish Line

The desks are in place and stuff being put back on them.  The shelf on my desk doesn't really go with it, but I need it, so we're going to stain it to match.  There's a drawer in front for the keyboard, but neither of us like it so we'll use it for other things.
When Mac got the first one done we worried that we wouldn't be able to fit both of them in, but it wasn't a problem.  They're the same height as our old ones, but they look and feel taller.
I finished Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and his son Owen and all I could say was that it was OK, I gave it 3 stars.  Good premise, all the women in the world fall asleep and the aftermath.  I know you suspend disbelief when you read books like this but I found it just too implausible.
Laundry done, bread being made, packing started, glad the latest hurricane is going to miss us, sorry for the folks who are impacted.
Had just enough thread to finish the color I was working on the cross-stitch, had a piece about 4 inches long left.
Too hot here, woke up to 82º and expecting highs in the upper 80's.  They're saying 2 days in the 90's this week.  Oh Autumn, where are you?

My Desk

Mac's Desk

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Almost There

My desk is done and it looks great, but Mac says no photos till his is done.  I need to start putting stuff in it and on it so it will be nice and messy just like the last one.  We moved my old desk down the stairs and into the garage which now has a couch and a desk in it.  Looks like someone has moved in there.  Mac's old desk was in such bad shape he just took it apart.
I'm sitting here now listening to the whine of his drill as he puts his drawers together..  I'm amazed at his patience.
We started watching the British version of The Office and though we like Martin Freeman and Mackenzie Crook (absolutely loved The Detectorists,  and we're thrilled that there is going to be a 3rd season and Acorn will stream it here early in 2018), we just couldn't get into it.  Oh well.
Watched a really silly Bruce Willis, John Goodman movie Once Upon A Time in Venice.
 The critics hated it, people who watched it liked it.  We're Bruce Willis fans and we enjoyed it.  Wouldn't recommend unless you're in the mood for a silly movie.

Next up is Their Finest will Gemma Atherton and Bill Nighy, we usually like his movies a lot.
I'm running out of a colored thread on my cross-stitch and I'm hoping to eke it out and finish the parts that call for it.  Mac says he'll take me shopping for thread to match, but we'd have to go to A.C. Moore in Savannah and I feel too lazy to do it.  So here's hoping.
Chik-fil-A  style sandwiches for lunch today.  A bit warm today and that's about all I'm willing to fix.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday in the Swamp

I washed clothes and hung them outside yesterday so of course it rained.  Had to finish them up in the dryer.  Today I folded the sheets or rolled them into a bundle depending on how you look at them.
Can't talk about Las Vegas, too sad, too scary.  I miss the country I grew up in.
RIP Tom Petty, I was a long time fan.  Still love or perhaps am disturbed by his Alice in Wonderland video for Don't Come Around Here No More. Tried to copy the video, but couldn't, but it's on youtube if you want to see it.
About half way through Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and his son.  I like it, but I don't love it.  It's more gory than scary.
Made Bean and Bacon Soup yesterday, so much better than the canned version and WAY less sodium.
And because we were on a bacon binge we also had BLTs for lunch.
Today we'll be good and have fish.
Some new videos coming in from Netflix, seeing as baseball season is over I'm changed our account to get more videos.  I've ordered the British version of The Office.  There was an American version, but I thought I'd try the British one instead. They always have such good character actors.
Mac has the first desk put together and has started on the second.  They're bigger than I expected, but we'll make them fit.  Watching all the work he's put into them I'm not surprised stores charge so much more for furniture that's already assembled.
Today was spent doing housework, I've promised myself not to do it again for awhile.
It has actually cooled off a bit here, temperatures only in the lower 80's.  The weather forecaster said we had 17 days in September that reached 90º or above, so we're due for a cool down.
Off to cross-stitch till I'm cross-eyed.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Scattered Thoughts on a Friday

I ran out of my favorite herb this week, fresh garlic, and then I found out it's not technically an herb it's a veggie being a member of the onion family.  It's scientific name is Allium sativum.  I know I can use garlic salt, which I always have, but certain dishes just cry out for fresh garlic.  I was making Chicken Cacciatore and I had to use the saddest old garlic cloves you've ever seen.  It turned out alright, but not truly up to my standard.  We've tried growing them here, but no success.
I bought a couple of little pies, they were on sale 2 for 1, instead of a birthday cake.  We got a blueberry and a peach.  They were good, just long on crust and short on fruit.  I guess when it finally cools down here--it was 96º yesterday and will be 90º today-- I'm going to have to break down and make a fruit pie.  I've made pumpkin pie, but that's about it.
A book I pre-ordered came in just before my birthday, Sleeping Beauties by Stephan King and his son Owen.  It's 720 pages so I may be reading it for awhile.  He's the one author who actually scares me.
We ordered a couple of new desks, nothing very fancy, but even cheap ones aren't cheap.  Mac has started putting the first one together. Our old ones are so old and I can't even remember when we got them.  But I do know they came to Georgia with us and we've been here 14 years.
An actual, honest to God, cold front is supposed to come through here tonight and tomorrow's temperature should be in the low 80's and Sunday's in the low 70's, I'm excited.
Starting to get ready for a trip, I never post about leaving, why advertise.  But as always I know the word for snail, caracol, so that I don't accidentally order it on the menu.
Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Happy Birthday Indeed

It's my birthday, the 35th anniversary of one of my earlier birthdays, we won't say which one.  We went to Savannah to celebrate yesterday. it was  hot, 94º, but expected  to be even hotter today.  And it was indeed hot, even on the river, but our restaurant, The Cotton Exchange, was cool and dark.  We swore we'd have something different, but we lied!  Had calamari for a starter and it came with the greatest dip, some sort of pepper jelly.  Forgot to take a picture till they were almost gone.  Then Mac had a Low Country Boil and I had a Shrimp Salad.  The portions were so huge we brought about half home.

I'd opened my presents from our daughter on Monday when we Skyped with her, she gave me a beautiful wooden box stuffed with goodies including chocolate.
This morning started with flowers on my nightstand from Mac, a set of 4 ceramic pumpkins and a little birdhouse.

But every girl needs some bling in her life and I've been wanting a chandelier for my closet, so Mac spent Tuesday installing one for me.  It's so pretty, I just need to find a clear, tear-shaped lightbulb for it.
What a wonderful, thoughtful family I have.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Catching Up

Monday was a busy one.  Our favorite redneck came over and cut down,  and up,  trees for us.  Then he helped Mac carry a couch out of the house.  For a while I've been threatening to turn our dining room into a library.  We don't eat there, in 14 years we've never eaten there and we never will.  But we have books up the ying-yang.
Then again,  though we don't use that room, it's so pretty I hated to change it.  So then I got to thinking about the couch I hate, even though I've put a slipcover on it, the leather chairs upstairs where we never go and the bigger rug there.  So they hauled the couch I hate out---need to contact Salvation Army and see if they'll take it--moved the big living room couch into the family room,  covered it with a freshly cleaned slipcover and dragged 2 chairs, a Pembroke table and a rug downstairs.
So I have a new look living room.   Mac says the ugly chair in the corner has to go and we need a mantel, but for now I'm happy.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Reading Round-Up

As usual I've been reading away and felt it was time for some quick reviews.  It took me a while to get through Skippy Dies   by Paul Murray, but I'm glad I stuck with it, what a weirdly, wonderful book.  It takes place in an Irish boy's school and opens with the death of Skippy, one of those boys.  It then tells the what happened before and after the death.  It's full of science, horny boys, diet obsessed girls, teachers of all kinds and several mysteries.  Loved it.  I'm sure it will end up on my Top Ten Reads of 2017.

I also read Children of God by Mary Doria Russell, the sequel to The Sparrow.  The Sparrow told the story of a Jesuit mission to a far galaxy and what happened there, I gave it 5 stars, a very rare score for me.  The follow-up is about the return to the planet and what was going on since Father Emilio Sanchez left.  Not quite as good as the first book, but full of surprises, it almost made me cry in parts.  I gave it 4 stars.

Finished Brideshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh and liked it very much.  The arrogance of youth and the tight hold of the Catholic Church.  Poor Sebastian, and such a messed up family. A 4 star read.

Another sequel I read was Me After You by Jo Jo Moyes.  It was the sequel to Me Before You which I loved.  Well I hated the sequel.  Hated everyone in it and didn't care what happened to them.  Had to force myself to finish it.

Worked my way through two more Bill Slider mysteries by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.  Just love her writing.  These two were Shallow Grave and Blood Sinister.  The mysteries are just ok, I usually figure out who the murderer is long before the end, but the dialogue is so good I could just keep reading forever.

Now I'm reading A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer and as always with her books I'm enjoying it.  Not great literature, just a good read.  Remind never to go to stay with people who don't like each other, it might be dangerous to my health.

Also Under the Harrow by Flynn Barry, I'm not far enough along in it to know if I'm going to really like it.  A woman is on her way to her sister's house for the weekend and finds both her sister and her dog dead.  She then begins to find things out about her sister that she never knew.

And my last book is The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin.  It is the third book in the Broken Earth trilogy.  The first two in the series ( The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate) each won a Hugo as the best science fiction book of the year.  This is a post apocalyptic world that sounds like our planet, but it's inhabited by some very strange people.  My daughter, who is friends with the author, predicts that this one will win a Hugo too.  A triple win is almost unheard of.  I'm certainly enjoying it.

So that's what I've been reading lately.

Friday, September 22, 2017

How Did It Get To Be Friday Already

Oh where has my week gone.  Let's see, Wednesday, can I remember Wednesday, (this transferring information from short term to long term memory is getting harder), sort of.  I remember cleaning out the refrigerator (we were going commissary shopping on Thursday), cleaning toilets (I forgot to do them on Toilet Tuesdays---mnemonics help), weeding and cleaning the pool.  Why is it that negative memories stick around longer than pleasant ones?
Then yesterday was grocery shopping, we hadn't been in a while so there was a lot that Mac had to carry upstairs.  But it's done!
Today the morning was spent dusting blinds.  Of all the dusting I do this is the one I hate the most.  Even using a Swiffer duster that captures the dust I end up with dust in my eyes.  I did all of the blinds downstairs except for the master bath and the 3 behind the couch in the family room---I didn't feel like shifting furniture or putting a ladder in the tub, they're high windows in the bathroom.
Still, I dusted 10 windows and way too much chair rail and baseboards.  Now I feel itchy.
Earlier this week Mac did something rather special for me.  Our grandfather clock hasn't been running in years, in fact I'd almost bet it's been 30 years since it ran.  Well it's running now, I won't tell you how, but it involves duck tape and a couple pencils.   He polished up the brass and set it to rights, except for the chime.  The clock stands against a wall that backs onto our bedroom, ao no chimes.  But I love to walk by and hear it ticking.
Earlier this morning we gave Miss Kitty her flea treatment, a few drops of medication on the back of her neck.  Does anyone else's cat act as though you're trying to murder them when you do this?  She is such a drama queen.
Beautiful day here except it's too hot, oh fall where are you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Better Day

No phone fights today, but received a nice email.  With all the hullabaloo around Hurricane Irma we forgot to cancel a room reservation we'd made in Atlanta to celebrate our anniversary.  So after the storm a charge showed up on our charge card for almost $200, they were charging us for one of the nights, RATS.  So Saturday Mac called the hotel, it's the Renaissance Concourse Hotel at the airport---we like to watch planes, and talked to Lakeisha.  She said we weren't the only people this  had happened to, but the bookkeeper wasn't  there on Saturdays.  She took our number and said they'd be in touch.  Monday Mac called them back, again talked to Lakeisha who asked for our email address.  Later that day we received an email showing they had refunded our money, how nice, so a big thank you to everyone at the Marriott Renaissance Concourse Hotel.
Today it was back out to the garden to uncover civilizations covered by weeds.  It was hot, we're supposed to be almost 90º today so I was only able to uncover the Victoria garden, perhaps tomorrow I'll uncover the Georgian garden.
Watched a rather quirky little movie the other night, The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.   I think it was actually a tv show in England, but Netflix presented it as a film.  Quite funny in a low key sort of way.  They play themselves, Coogan has been asked to tour 6 restaurants in Northern England and review the food.  He'd planned on going with his girlfriend, but they'd split up, so he asks his friend Rob to go in her place.
There are 2 more series of it where they go to Italy and Spain, I will be looking for them too.
We've watched the episodes of Midsomer Murders so often we've memorized the dialogue so we decided it was time for something new, so we're trying Hamish McBeth, which we like, Pie in the Sky, and Doc Martin.  The last we're just not sure about yet.  Too much drama and not enough comedy, but we'll see.

Changed my header today, it's time for pumpkins, love this painting by Mac, feels so autumnal.

Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Monday in the Swamp

I promised myself I'd get outside and do some weeding, but that didn't happen.  I did phone chat and online chat with my internet provider who kept sending me in circles.  At one point a lady with a strong, non southern accent, asked if she could help me with anything else and I replied that since she hadn't helped me with anything that would be hard for her to do. Frustrating phone calls amp up my sarcasm level and it's never very low to begin with.
I filled out a survey from Apple today about their support and it was a real mixed review I gave.  At the end when I was asked how the support could be improved I told them that their tech people need to listen more, break their advice down to a nontech person's level and really go step by step.  When I was working with them yesterday we were using my computer and my phone and they would tell me to do something but not tell me which device to use.  It was quite frustrating.

Now for something completely different.  I use to wonder how whole civilizations disappear.  But looking out my window at the weeds in our garden it's easy to picture it disappearing.  I got out there twice last week and Mac was there today, but it's still a mess.  Maybe tomorrow.

Warm day in the swamp 88º,  too warm, but walking this morning wasn't too bad.  But now it's time to go exercise so we'll see how that goes and which body part squeals the loudest.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Oh The Trials and Tribulations of New Technologies

I got a new iPhone 7 this week and opened it up yesterday to get it all set up.  We generally buy Apple products because they're so easy to set up.  Well not this time.  All I had was a plastic instruction page written in silver that was impossible to read without strong light and a magnifying glass.  Ok, found the on/off switch, turned it on, attempted to make a call.  Of course not.  So I then attempted to go online, it refused to recognize my password.
At this point I called Apple.  The 12 year old who answered attempted a few things to reboot it and then decided maybe, even though it was a brand new phone it need some updates so he had me go to iTunes on my computer, hook my phone to the computer  and look for updates.  There were some, but did the 12 year old tell me how long this would take?  Of course not.  So through the 40 minutes it was downloading he tried some other stuff and then suggested I call my carrier, ATT to make sure my SIM card was activated.  He set up a case for me, assured me that someone would call me back and I hung up.
I called my local ATT store, but they told me to call the main ATT, which I did.  The man there, the first adult I'd talked to at this point, wanted me to take the SIM card out----WHAT?  Checking with the internet and getting Mac, we got the little bugger out, but the man at ATT said the system didn't recognize the number on the card.  He said I'd have to take it into my local ATT store.  I thanked him and hung up.
Apple actually called me back and there was a slightly older than 12 young lady on the phone who tried to help me.  She showed me how to allow her to see my computer screen.  Even with her looking at it she couldn't help.  At this point I did some yelling and screaming for which, when I calmed down, I apologized for.
She set me up with an appointment for today at noon, a tech would call me, sort the problem or have me mail the phone back.  I agreed.
I fixed lunch, mumbling to Mac the whole time and then last night I fiddled with it some more and low and behold it agreed to make and receive calls.  But still no internet.
This morning I figured out the internet problem and was able to go online.  YEAH  for the old folks.
Still wouldn't get my mail though.
So first I called ATT and talked to a youngster  there to make sure my old phone was deactivated and the other activated, after reading from his manual he assured me it was ok.  And then because we have an overseas trip coming up I priced minutes for that, he had that info in his manual too.
Then I called my local internet provider to find out why I couldn't access my email from my phone.  I spent 10 minutes going round and round with another young lady who finally said, " You mean you don't want to set up an email account?"  I about crawled through the phone, I just wanted to access my existing account from my new phone.  Oh, well she couldn't help with that, the email, though provided by them, was a 3rd party company, and so not their problem.  I hung up.
I have a plan, but it will have to wait until tomorrow, I'm all through dealing with children this weekend.
But by the way, Apple did call me back today, they had all the notes on my case, and were able to help me access iTunes.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Wrap-Up

It seemed like a long week.  Still cleaning up in the yard, the county will start picking up storm debris on Monday if it is curbside.  So Mac is out there shifting it around and making sure no branch is too long.
I've been in the pool twice, we're talking cold here, in order to get stuff up out of the bottom.  I'm hoping we can vacuum the rest of it up.
Today I had to get my B-12 shot and I needed it.  Definitely low energy.
Stopped by the Dollar store to stock up on paper plates, cups and plastic silverware so we won't have to worry about doing dishes the next time we don't have water.
I ordered a new I-Phone yesterday, not the 8 that just came out---my God, $1,000 for a phone, but last year's model at a greatly reduced price.  It's supposed to be here today.
Also dealing with the Equifax hack.  By checking with them I found that yes, our info may have been compromised.  So I had our credit frozen.  What  a pain.  Really like the way the directors of the company dumped their stock before announcing the breach.
Now that Irma is gone we're watching Typhoon Talim that will be moving through our daughter's area of Japan.  To say nothing of the idiot in North Korea firing missiles over Japan.
Then this morning the IED on the London Underground.  It's a scary word we live in.
I guess all we can do is hope for the best and keep on keeping on.