Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another rainy day...

It feels like we had to drive all the way down to Florida just to enjoy a bit of sun.  We sure have not seen much of its shiny face between the trip back in April and now.  An old Vermontism: "Hope it don't hurt the rhubarb."  Let me tell ya, my rhubarb has turned into a mutant monster plant.  I'm afraid to go near it.

My son and I are off to visit my daughter and the grand children.  We are attempting to pull off a fast one by bringing Kristen back for a little-brother-less week with Grandma.  He will get his turn when she goes to day camp.  We have a shopping trip planned--that's her birthday present--and I have sewing and craft projects lined up.  We'll see how this experiment goes.

My daughter did want assurance that I would still take the two together on occasion.  That will be her birthday present this year.
Part of my birthday present--downtown Savannah.
If I remember correctly, this was once the Coca Cola plant.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Painting

I took it into my head to paint the bathroom.  It hadn't been done for about 18 years.  It needed and overhaul.

 Actually, the first time I painted the bathroom, I started by stripping off wallpaper.  That led to the discovery that the bathroom had been through a remodel and that who ever had completed that moved the sink but left a hole in the wall where the pipes were originally located.  The hole was covered with wall paper, but that was the only attempt at repair.  I had to call my brother to bail me out on that one.

Then there was my attempt to reattached a loose tile in the shower enclosure that resulted in many tiles falling into the tub and the discovery that the wall behind the tile was rotted.  My brother was called in once again.

So this project took two days of my life but was relatively disaster free.  I did have to call Mike to help me remount the medicine cabinet on the wall (which wasn't easy or fun, but we he did it while I gave him helpful suggestions about leveling it and so forth).  I also bought a new vanity light fixture that I hope he will install because my willingness to fool around with anything electrical begins and ends with flipping a switch.  I'll wait until his head heals a little more before I start nagging.

So, I was wondering out loud what I should take on tomorrow around the house.  Mike suggested that it would make him extremely happy if I went next door and helped Ray chop fire wood.  That would give me plenty of exercise and would be a good deed in the bargain.

I think he just wants me out of his way.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just Noticing...

I sat in the waiting room today while Mike was having some outpatient surgery.  That means I was reading old magazines for a few hours.

I noticed that James Arness died earlier this month.  He was Marshall Matt Dillon on the old TV series Gunsmoke.  That was required viewing at my house growing up.  My father loved that show.  My grandmother loved that show.  My grandmother also loved James Arness.  I mean, she had a full blown crush.  I just realized today that she must have been nearly 40 years older than he.  Just an interesting thought.

Gabby Giffords was pictured in People and she looks good.  I understand that she still has long, arduous therapies ahead.  Her expressive language, apparently, is still quite affected although hey seem to believe her comprehension is better.  She was shot in the head--I think it is miraculous that she has made the gain she has made so far.  What a spirit she must have.

Last week, while driving through the mountains of western Virginia on route 77, I noticed a few signs that concerned me:
"Speed enforced by aircraft." Now, doesn't that just conjure up an image of helicopters swooping down on speeding vehicles.  I did not actually see that happen, but I was waiting.
"Runaway truck ramp."  Good grief.  I see the trucks.  I see the the steep downhill grade.  I see the steep uphill grade of those ramps.  I don't want to conjure the picture associated with all that because it would definitely be a nightmare.
"Highway safety corridor.  Traffic fines doubled." And down the road, "Safety corridor ends."  Is it then okay to start driving unsafely?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Our trip to Florida last week was somewhat unexpected.
We had decided that we really were interested in buying a place of our own rather than continuing to rent in Venice.
Part of that decision came from the amount of time and energy we put into making the last rental  house as livable  as "our own" and realizing that it just was not our own.  We thought that we would spend time next winter looking for a place to buy.
Things change.  Sometimes they change at the speed of light and then change again.
As if it were meant to be, we saw a place advertised for sale by owner--just where we wanted to be, just what we wanted, just what we were thinking we could afford.  We felt we had to act on it.
So now we are two-home owners.  At least we have a contract.  Scary (a little) and exciting (very much).
We are both feeling very blessed.

A Mystery Solved...Sort of

The boy next door saw that we were home and came over to chat with Mike while I was out doing the grocery shopping.  Apparently it was late afternoon on June 11, when a large purple van went off the road.  The driver was not hurt.  At least he was standing and talking to the trooper.  That's all we know.

I had been concerned mostly because it was graduation time--thinking about kids out celebrating and driving--so I was glad to hear that was not the case.

The damage is minor on our property.  There is a strip of town land between our property and our neighbors that is a ditch and a berm that gets covered with grape vines, sumac trees, and other weedy things.  Every once in a while, it gets plowed through like this and it gives us a chance to tidy it up a bit. 

By the way, this spot is not on a curve at all.  The driver was going north, which means he would have crossed the oncoming lane.  I guess I don't even want to speculate.  Again, I'm glad no one was injured or killed.

Don't think I am a compassionate soul.  One of those flowered crosses with a pile of stuffed animals as tribute would have pushed me over the edge.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What the...?



We got back to Vermont to find a lawn badly in need of mowing, a garden badly in need of weeding, and a number of small trees downed over a serious set of tire tracks in the corner of the front yard.  There were a few broken bits of a vehicle, but we really have no clue yet as to details.
This is the second time this has happened.  A few years ago we woke to find a small pickup truck hung up in a tree in this same spot.  There were more trees there then so that vehicle didn't get so far.
We had a safe trip back, and for that I am grateful.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caspersen Beach

A turtle nest protected by a cage to keep out raccoons.

Sea turtles have apparently been on earth for over 150 million years.  They were around in the days of the dinosaurs.  They are even older than me.
There are seven known species in existence--all of them endangered.  Among the reasons for the declining numbers are, of course, pollution and climate changes.  Adult turtles are poached (not sure why...soup?) and so are the eggs, which are considered by some to be a natural form of Viagra. And then there is the destruction of nesting beaches to make way for the ever voracious development of the hot new property in beach resorts.
Caspersen Beach is largely undeveloped and because of its designation as a rural/wilderness beach, not to mention its rather precarious geographical location, it is most likely to remain that way.  Loggerhead turtles still come here to lay eggs in May and there is an on-going, organized effort for identifying and protecting the nests until the nests hatch out.  
I would love to be here to see that someday.
But that sounds like I am making a bucket list.  Oh, no!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

June 14th is Flag Day in the United States.

It also happens to be my birthday.  Today is the 63rd anniversary.

Like Dani's brother, who happens to share the exact same birthday(see her tribute to him at http://oklhdan-musingsamiddleagedwoman.blogspot.com/2011/06/happy-birthday-flag-boy.html)*, I was told that my birthday was so special that everyone put their flags out in celebration.

Oh, the lies we tell our children, but that is another post entirely...

Mike and I spent the morning walking on the beach and the afternoon floating around in the motel pool.  Tonight we will go out for a nice dinner.  The moon will be nearly full so later we will sit out by the pool into the warm evening, sipping a good wine and planning the future.
And my present this year is big--we will spend the upcoming weekend in Savannah.  This is something I really want to do and something, being a city involved, Mike would prefer to avoid.  So it is special and it has made me happy--without even getting there yet. I have to hope we like it.
And then we have to go back to the hotel in Beaufort, S.C., where Mike left his pillow.  I hope the staff could discern the importance of that pillow and are holding it for our return.

*The link function just does not want to work today, I guess. Spell check will not come on either.  Insert a picture?  Forget about it.
Blogger is trying to convince us all that we get what we pay for, maybe?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Road Trip

Mike and I are heading out for a ten days or so---an unexpected journey, actually.
The lap top is coming with us as Mike will continue selling his motorcycle memorabilia on the road.  It's the kind of stuff that he is making good money with, but it would all be worthless if I ended up with it. 
I might be able to get a turn at the computer here and there to check in, but if I don't -- stay safe and cool.
Happy Motoring!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sheets

My memory may not be what it could be, but it seems to me that when I started buying sheets for myself many, many years ago, you pretty much had a choice of 180 thread count or 200 thread count.
At the time, my mother was thinking that the invention of no-iron percale sheets was the greatest thing since sliced bread--maybe even perforated toilet paper.  She just shook her head at my insistence on 100% cotton, knowing, I'm sure that I wasn't going to be a maniac about ironing them.
Oh, but I do remember how crisp and cool those sheets were.  They just got smoother with washing, but not so soft that they lost that crisp coolness.
I just can't seem to find sheets like that anymore.  Now 200 thread count sheets are the bottom of the barrel.  I couldn't stand the smirks of the clerks at the store if I purchased less that 400 thread count.  I still go for the 100% cotton, but they are not crisp.  To me they feel soft, but kind of nubby.  I find it annoying.  I don't have particularly sensitive skin, yet I find sheets these days irritating.  They seem to have the feel of those tee-shirt knit sheets which, sorry Oprah, I just hate.
I keep going for the next price level up, but I still keep being disappointed.  I probably had my first sheets for at least twenty years.  Now I find myself getting rid of them after two or three years and then not liking the replacements either.
Please, don't anybody suggest flannel, fleece, or satin.  Otherwise, I'll remain open minded.  Maybe I should sleep standing up.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hitch a Ride

In the past few weeks I have been seeing something that I have not noticed for quite some time.  I have noticed a number of people hitchhiking.
Was that out of fashion for some time?  It took me by surprise to see a hitchhiker so I'm thinking this hasn't been such a used means of transportation in the recent past.
I guess with the price of gas lately it should not be so surprising that it would make a resurgence.
OR. maybe I have just been hiding out in my own little world lately and haven't noticed that hitchhiking is a popular thing.  There are whole web sites devoted to the hobby, like this one.
I haven't stopped to pick anyone up.  I did see an attractive, well dressed young woman.  I did not notice if she had a companion waiting behind a tree.  I saw two young men with a sign for where they were headed. 
I also saw one man, not at all well dressed, who was wearing a large hat swathed in layers and layers of plastic wrap.  I could only think, "Good luck with that."
Sites like the one linked above have all kinds of tips and suggestions for hitchhikers.  I hope some one will add "Don't be looking so weird," to the list--if it's not there already.
Would you ever pick up a hitchhiker?

P.S. I may have to dig out the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.  I remembering laughing hysterically through those years ago...with my peculiar sense of humor.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Recently Read...

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

I went through a dry spell for a while where everything I picked up to read would lose my interest before I finished.  This book ended that bit of ennui.

 I stayed up late last night to finish reading it.

Not to give it away, you learn this in the very beginning any way, but the dog dies.  I usually try to avoid books in which a dog dies.  I always cry like a baby.  And I did with this book, too, but sometimes a good cry is just what is needed.  It's about life and love and loyalty and dreams.  I give it two thumbs up.

The flat tongue and also lack of thumbs figure prominently in the story.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lawn Mowing

The grass seems to love all the rain we have experienced in the past eight weeks or so.  It keeps right on reaching up to the sky to drink in some more.
Mike usually mows the lawn and I tend to the weed whacking and sweeping/raking up, but I do occasionally climb on our riding mower.  If it going to break down, though, I prefer that Mike is using it at the time.
Monday, it had a big break down.  The drive belt broke.  This was somewhat of a relief to Mike---I guess because he thought he could get a part and fix it easily enough.  It took two trips to the John Deere dealership to get the part (it wasn't in stock in the morning, but they were expecting a delivery in the afternoon).
Then the fun began--disassembling the darn thing and threading a new belt.  I was of minor assistance in the disassembly and then I got out of the way--far out of the way.  Mike had a picture, but it was taken from above and he was working underneath.
Adding to the fun--the sudden change in weather so that it was nearly 90 degrees and nearly 90% humidity.  He got the belt on once, only to find he'd made a mistake in positioning so that the mower only ran in reverse. Weird.
He didn't necessarily want me to take a picture of him sweat and grease covered and definitely not smiling.
Round two continues today, but at least it is cool--and getting ready to rain again so the grass will keep growing.
Mike has had that mower for 23 years.  He knows how to take care of mechanical things. I swear he can actually think just like a machine works.  He is good at the problem solving needed to tackle this kind of job, but he also knows when to walk away and just let things percolate.
I tend to be more of the keep-hitting-it-with-a-very-large-hammer kind of problem solver.  If it had been up to me, we would have gone through about seven lawn mowers in those 23 years.

P.S.  He got it working and I mowed the lawn.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rhubarb Recipe

This recipe was given to me, but now I have forgotten by whom.  Anyway, it disguises the rhubarb enough so that Mike will eat some of it.

Rhubarb Crunch
Crust: 1 cup each-quick-cook oats, light brown sugar, and flour (I use wheat/white mix).
          pinch of salt
          1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
Give all of this a whir in the food processor or (the old-fashion way) blend with a pastry cutter til it is crumbly.
Press half this mix into a deep 5"x7" pan.

Put 2 cups of diced rhubarb over the crust in pan.

Filling: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Bring these ingredients to a boil until thickened.  Add to this 1 can cherry pie filling. Spoon the mix over the rhubarb in pan.
Sprinkle the rest of the crust ingredients over the top.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I liked a mix of walnuts and almonds).
Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for 40-45 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream.  Or vanilla ice cream.

*************************
Honestly, it is like someone up there threw a switch.  Spring is just gone and summer is here.  Rainiest spring ever...no one will miss it.