Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker

Isabelle, you are a fool.  Bruno, you can cook for me any time! But enough of the personal and on to the review.
It is spring in the Dordogne, the choir is practicing for the Easter service in the church in the small town of St. Denis. Ah, but into the bud a worm has come. More specifically, the nude body of a woman is spotted floating in a punt down the river. And Bruno, Chief of Police, is once again called upon to find the truth of what happened. Was it suicide or was it a part of a Satanic ritual?
Complications to the peaceful life in the form of plans to build a vacation village and golf course with a sports complex are thrown in for good measure. While Pamela is out of the country taking care of her sick mother, the foolish (IMHO) Isabelle returns to St. Denis bringing an adorable puppy to replace the much loved Gigi who was killed in a previous book. Add in a little history of the French Resistance for good measure. And course, Bruno cooks for friends (and lovers) while solving the mysteries and puzzles of his beloved St. Denis. If you love food and France and a good mystery, well, you really must come to St. Denis and meet Bruno, Chief of Police. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Around Oak Meadows

My 2004 Honda Odyssey has 175,000 miles on it.  It has been a terrific vehicle, reliable, dependable, and has transported me and my scooter for 11 years. It is like a comfortable friend. One reason it has been such a good vehicle is that I have religiously maintained it.  Tuesday I took it in for maintenance.  While $578 is a lot of money, it is worth it to keep it going for one last year.  If all goes as planned (which we all know that it seldom does), I plan to trade it in the first of next year. I will have to get a new lift for my scooter and have it installed.

I don't know if I have ever mentioned that I have a cleaning service come once a month. When I was working, I had them every other week. They have been helping me for 12 years and I am so thankful for them.  There are 4 of them, two women and two men and it takes them about 2 hours to give my house a good cleaning. I love that the two guys are able to move my refrigerator or washer and drier out and clean behind them.  It is funny that on mornings when they are coming, JMM and I get up early so we can get everything picked up before the housecleaners come. I get the beds stripped so they can make up the beds with clean sheets; JMM moves the cat's litter box out of the bathtub; I get all the dishes in the dishwasher and all the stuff off the counters. Cleaning before the cleaners come!

We are dog-sitting for 2 weeks while daughter and son-in-law are in France.  Their ancient cocker-spaniel is deaf and arthritic but she still loves to eat, especially people food.  DD has always kept her on a strict diet to keep her weight down. I have good intentions but usually end up sharing my scrambled eggs with her or putting gravy on her chow. It makes her happy and that makes me happy.

We had a few days respite from the cold, dreary, rainy weather.  And I certainly enjoyed those warm, sunny days.  But we are back to the cold, gray, rain today. OTOH, days like this are perfect for naps with cats or reading a good book with a quilt on my lap and a mug of hot tea.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Chicken-Rice Bake

This is a very old recipe that is quick and easy and filling. It is not high on the foodie cuisine list nor is it exactly Weight Watchers friendly but nevertheless it is very tasty.  Serve with a green salad

1 10 1/2 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 10 oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

In a large bowl stir together first five ingredients.
Place mixture in a 9x12 inch pain which has been sprayed with Pam.
Place chicken  breasts or thighs in the mixture and top with a sprinkle of Paprika.
Cover tightly and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours

Saturday, January 24, 2015


In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible summer. 

Albert Camus

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
William Shakespeare :

Goals for Next Week

     Daily Bible Reading

     Healthy breakfast
     Sit and Be Fit

     Block #6

     Wartime Britain by Juliet Gardiner
     The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport 
     A Fine Summer's Day by Charles Todd

     Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
     Baked fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
     Slow Cooker Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Chowder
     Spaghetti and Meatballs 

     Get estimate for interior painting

     Manicure and pedicure

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Photos from our birding trip to Galveston Island

These are the lovely Sandhill Cranes


White Ibis and Great Egrets


One of my favorites, the Roseate Spoonbill