Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A First

This is the first year in 25 years that I have been off for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And New Years.  I was pretty much the proverbial Grinch at holiday time.  The hospital was usually jammed, the surgery schedule packed, and we were typically short-staffed with employees out sick or on PTO.   I was usually not very merry.  Not this year!!  I get all the fun and none of the headaches!! And people ask me if I miss working!! HA!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I've missed the sound and smell of rain.

It is raining, pouring buckets, not just a shower but a steady soaking rain.  It's been a long time since I've heard that sound and smelled the scent of wet earth and plants.  I've often thought that the smell was the prayer of thanks that the plants were sending heavenward.  (Rationalists tell me it's ozone but I don't have to believe them.)  The sound of this kind of rain is so calming, soothing.  We had a house once with cala lillies near the windows and the sound of rain on those broad leaves put me to sleep every time.  I know that the east and northeast has had more than enough rain this year but here on the Texas Gulf Coast, it has been a long dry year.  Showers of blessings indeed!

Post Thanksgiving Clean Up

This morning I cleaned out the refrigerator.  I made up dinners from the leftover turkey, dressing, and corn and labeled them and put them in the freezer.  I still had dressing left over so I froze a good sized container of that.  With the very last of the turkey and gravy, I mixed up one last dinner for Daisy.  (Doggies have to have Thanksgiving leftovers too.)

Now it is time to get out the Christmas stuff.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show this morning on NPR and got so aggravated that I just shut it off.  Most days I really enjoy her program but today’s show just rubbed me the wrong way.  The entire hour was on the importance of Black Friday , Independent Saturday, Green Monday shopping.  The constant reference to “the consumer” was like pouring alcohol on a skinned knee.  I shouted at the radio “I AM NOT A CONSUMER!!”  I am a human, a woman, a citizen but NOT A CONSUMER!!  I am not some kind of advertising activated consumption machine!!   I like items that last and I like to mend and repair things that just need a patch and then are good to go.  In my opinion, one of the big drivers getting us in the current financial fiasco is people buying too much stuff, too much house, too many toys.  A lot of people wouldn’t be in such bad shape if they’d ignored all the advertising hype, stayed out of debt, and saved their money.  All the crap trashes the environment in its production, transportation, and finally in the landfill.  Frankly, it is disgusting and I am embarrassed by the feeding frenzy. And finally, I AM NOT A CONSUMER!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  Biographies are usually more interesting to me about the person’s early life and my interest tends to wane as they pass into adulthood.  However, this book was so well written and so interesting all the way through that I couldn’t put it down.  I am so conflicted about Steve Jobs—I want to say what an egomaniac he was and how mean he was and that just because you are a genius, you really aren’t the center of the universe.  But I have a hard time saying those critical things because…I am writing this on my i-pad.  Would anyone else have revolutionized communication the way he did?  I doubt it.  Could he have been other than what and how he was.  No way. He really was special.

The Washington Budget Fiasco

I suggest that we put Congress on a contract basis.  We hire them as independent contractors (no benefits) to make a budget and they get paid only when the budget is completed, passed, and signed.  If they aren't able to perform, they don't get paid and we outsource it to India.  OK, we just fire them and try again in 2012.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Vacation Manifesto

My husband and I have been married for 43 years and I love him dearly. But (you knew there was a "but" coming) we have vastly different ideas on what a vacation is.  His idea of a vacation is to head off in a vague direction of what to see and what to do, a hotel is a place to spend minimum time--shower, sleep, dump stuff off--no need for reservations, any place will do.  He likes to walk and see where it leads him--sidewalks, swamps, seashores--you never know what you'll find. Grab a sausage biscuit at McD's, fine for breakfast, Diet Cokes and peanuts for snacks, no problem. (And he wonders why he comes home from trips bloated, constipated, and grouchy...)

This is a fine idea for some people but it is not my idea of a vacation.  For many years I tried to be a good sport and go along & get along.  It was possible when we were young and mobile but I am now 64 and can't walk.  So in preparation for our next vacation, I have issued My Vacation Manifesto.  So here it is:

My Vacation Manifesto
1.   I have a destination with a hotel reservation at the end.
2.   I don’t stay in crappy motels.  I stay at Marriott, Hyatt, or similar quality. The hotel room must be equipped with handicapped  accessible toilet and shower with bath seat.
3.   I get 2 hours alone time daily.
4.   I eat breakfast at the hotel each morning and evening meal at a nice restaurant. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Clothes Part 2

I ordered everything on the shopping list except the shoes from LLBean and here are the results:

2 pair slacks--The brown ones came but the olive are on backorder until Jan 4; fit is good.
2 pullover sweaters--Love the cranberry mock turtleneck but the gold/brown is too big--will exchange for smaller size
1 pair pjs--These are the softest things I've ever had one; so comfortable I may just live in them!!

Still need to order shoes.  I want brown lace up shoes. Have to keep looking--online.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven

Good Evening, Mrs. Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes.  This book is a collection of short stories written by MPD in England during WWII and published in the New Yorker magazine from 1939 to 1945.  While the setting for the stories is quite dated, the characters are not.  In fact, you probably knows some of them (or their counterparts) today.  There’s Mrs. Ramsay who meets an old beau for lunch and determines that she made the better choice with Mr. Ramsay.  But then there is Mrs. Craven who wonders how she will know if her lover is killed or wounded in battle since notifications are sent to wives and families...and she is neither.  There’s Frances who shares her home with Margaret and is envious of Margaret’s baby, George.  Opposite her is Mrs. Craig who is almost unable to contain her joy when her guests leave.  The characters are so clearly drawn that you are bound to recognize several.  The stories are such delights that I found myself saving one each day until after dinner to read for dessert.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Indulging our affections

Mary Muncil in her wonderful blog http://whitefeatherfarm.wordpress.com/  used the phrase "indulging our affections" and it struck a chord with me.  Sometimes I feel guilty when spending time just playing with the cats or when I just can't stop my quilting.  Well, no more--I am indulging my affections.  DH is helping me indulge my rose affection/addiction;  he is making a new rose bed for me.  We have the new Edmunds Rose catalog http://www.edmundsroses.com/ and how easy it is to indulge my affections there!!  Another affection to indulge is bird watching; Thanksgiving week we are going birding down the Texas Gulf Coast to Corpus Christi and on down to Brownsville.  What a wonderful indulgence.  I think that is what I am enjoying so much about retirement--I have time to indulge my affections.

Weather like this

is what we here on the Texas Gulf Coast wait for all through July, August, and September.  As we sweat and swat mosquitoes, we remind ourselves that eventually it will be October and November.  We know that we will be able to open the doors and windows, go outside without sun block or insect repellant.  Beautiful days and nights cool enough for a quilt.  Gives me energy to clean out the garage...or at least think about cleaning out the garage.  DH and I are planning another birding trip Thanksgiving week--going down the coast toward Corpus Christi and on to Brownsville. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Soup--Potato Leek Soup

First soup report!!  It was so easy and so good!!

Potato-Leek Soup
(Crock Pot)

4 cups diced potatoes
3 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 cans chicken broth
8-10 slices bacon cut in ½ inch pieces, cooked and drained
1 cup evaporated milk
salt & pepper to taste
shredded cheese (Optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in Crock Pot and cook on low for 8- 10 hours. Add evaporated milk and adjust seasonings during last 30 minutes cooking. Puree about 2/3 and add back into the remaining soup stir. Top with cheese if desired.

This one is a definite keeper.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Winter Clothes

To put it mildly, I hate clothes shopping.  The only thing I hate worse than clothes shopping is shoe shopping.  OK, that's not true.  I hate the entire Republican presidential field even more but that's another post.  So it is time to patch up the wardrobe with some needed winter clothes.  What do I need?

2 pair slacks
2 pullover sweaters
1 pair shoes
1 pair of pjs
I don't need a coat because our winters last approximately 30 minutes and my REI coat will probably never wear out.

I really like LLBean because the stuff is classic, fits well, they pay shipping, if I need to return anything there is zero hassle, and I can order it online and I don't have to set foot in a mall.  Malls just set my teeth on edge and the minute I set foot in one, I just want to escape.  I did go to the mall a couple of weeks ago to find DD's Christmas present and I have to admit that I did find a good parking place, and after I found the store, the staff was very helpful and had just what I was looking for.  But still, I just wanted to escape.

We'll see how this shopping trip goes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Some Recent Reads

The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry.  While I can’t argue with anything that Berry says about the importance of husbanding good land, I think he forgets that not all of us are either capable of or inclined toward being farmers.  I loved the essays about the individual farmers and how they cared for the land and animals in their care.
Henrietta Sees It Through by Joyce Dennys.  Henrietta Brown is the doctor’s wife in a small English village during WW II.  She and her family and friends carry on with their lives and duties during that difficult time.  Dennys is a wonderful portrayer of human nature.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the delightful line drawing illustrations that are scattered throughout the book bringing the characters even more to life.  Along with her previous book Henrietta’s War, be prepared not to be able to put these wonderful books down.

One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downs.  I should have loved this book but I found it tedious and boring.  Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a book written in such a hushed tone.  I think I will try it again sometime because I really should have liked it...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Who is Kim K. ?

Everytime I open Yahoo there is some new drama about Kim K. I haven't a clue as to who she is and why I should be so fully informed about her life.  Ack!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Soup of the Month

I want to learn to make some different soups so I have designated 2012 as the Year of Soup.  Each month I will make a different soup.  I’m sure we’ll like some better than others but we shall try them all: 

January Chickpea Soup a la Provencal 
February Bouillabaise
March St. Patrick's Irish Cheddar
April Italian White Bean & Spinach
May Chicken Soup with Rice
June Pasta e Fagioli
July Shrimp & Con Chowder
August Gazpacho
September Swiss Chard & Lentil Soup
October Veggie Soup
November Potato Leek Soup
December Yellow Pea Soup