Friday, July 31, 2015

July Goals

     Daily Bible Reading
     Sayings of the Desert Fathers

     Chair Dancing DVD 

Quilting: Start quilting on baby quilt


     Veggie Soup
     Slow Cooker Chicken in White wine with tarragon and Cream Sauce (first time to make this new recipe)
     Steak, GMP, GB
     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn on the Cob

Home--look into having sewing machine cabinet refinished

     Get ready for Alaska cruise

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

August Menu

August Menu

1. Baked potato, Veggie tray, 
    Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries
2. Macaroni and cheese 
3. Baked fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn on the Cob
4. Slow Cooker Chicken with White Wine, Tarragon, and Cream; Asparagus p.80
5. Steak, GMP, GB
6. Leftovers 
7. Alaska
8. Alaska
9. Alaska 
10. Alaska
11. Alaska
12. Alaska
13. Alaska
14. Alaska
15. Baked potato, Veggie tray, 
      Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries
16. Corned Beef Hash
17. Tuna salad sandwich, Veggie tray 
18. Slow Cooker Cassoulet p. 106. 
19. Cutlets, GMP, GB
20. Leftovers 
21. Out
22. Baked potato, Veggie tray, 
      Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries
23. Schlotzsky's 
24. Shrimp Jambalaya
25. Fruited Chicken Salad
26. Spaghetti and meatballs 
27. Leftovers 
28. Out
29. Baked potato, Veggie tray, 
      Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries
30. Schlotzsky's 
31. Shrimp 

Garden Spider

Spiders are not my favorite creatures but I do admire their intricate webs.  For something so large and brightly marked this garden spider is remarkably difficult to see. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Around OakMeadow

Around OakMeadows

This morning I had a brainstorm.  We were taking the van through the car wash and it suddenly came to me how nice it would be to have a people wash.  One would shed one's clothing in a dressing room, sit on a comfy bench on a conveyor belt which would move us through a nice warm spray down, then suds us and pass us through all those dangly ribbons of jiggly washcloths, we would be rinsed down and finally blown dry. Then dress and you are ready for the day. Granted there are some details to be worked out but there you are. 

I hear Garrison Keillor will be retiring from Prairie Home Companion next year. After 40 years, I will grant you that he has earned it but by gosh I will miss knowing what is going on with the Lutherans in Lake Wobegone. 

Finally finished the repair on the border of the baby quilt and while I can see clearly  where the repair is, it isn't all that noticeable if you aren't looking for it. I hope to get it all basted and ready to quilt this week.  

This year has been such a good reading year--I've read so many really good books. But the last two that I tried to read were just not up to snuff. I used to feel that if I started a book, I was under obligation to finish it to the very last word.  Fortunately, I have learned that not finishing a book does not mean that your time in Purgatory will be extended as you will be required to finish every unfinished book to the very last word there before moving on. I have a very enjoyable Bruno, Chief of Police murder mystery going and am enjoying Bruno's French village and his cooking and his friends.  I continue to hiss at foolish Isabelle who continues to spurn Bruno.  Joe and I are reading aloud each evening, David McCullough's 1776 and so far it is excellent. 

I have a couple of salad recipes that I want to try this week. One is a grilled veggie and pasta salad and the other is grilled chicken and zucchini & cherry tomatoes. It is just too darn hot to cook and eat  anything but chilled soups and salads. We are going through lemonade by the gallon--seriously I make a half gallon jug at least twice a week. Iced tea too. We still haven't gone over 100 degrees but at 98 degrees and high humidity who wants to cook?

Two weeks until our Alaska cruise. I am looking forward to a week of cooler temperatures. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the birds all wait for me in the mornings to fill up the birdbaths and feeders and the squirrels get fat on peanuts.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July Meditation

When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love. 

Marcus Aurelius 

July Poetry

I taste a liquor never brewed 

I taste a liquor never brewed, 
From tankards scooped in pearl; 
Not all the vats upon the Rhine 
Yield such an alcohol! 
Inebriate of air am I, 
And debauchee of dew, 
Reeling through endless summer days, 
From inns of molten blue. 
When landlords turn the drunken bee 
Out of the foxglove's door, 
When butterflies renounce their drams, 
I shall but drink the more! 
Till seraphs swing their snowy hats, 
And saints to windows run, 
To see the little tippler 
Leaning against the sun. 

Emily Dickinson, 1860

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July Goals

     Daily Bible Readings 
     Saying of the Desert Fathers

     Chair Dancing DVD daily
     WW breakfasts

Quilting: Finally get the baby quilt basted 

     1776 by David McCullough
     The Resistance Man by Martin Walker
     Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall
     All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank

     German Chocolate Cake for Paul's birthday 
     Stuffed Weiners
     Chicken Parmesan
     Cutlets, GMP, GB

     Hang new door wreath
     Start looking for new bed linens for guest bedroom



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Around OakMeadows

One swallowtail. It is beautiful. But other than a few little yellow sulphurs, that's it for our butterflies. Just incredible that in the 11 years we have been out here we have seen the butterfly population just crash. So very sad. 

Speaking of sad, our daughter had to put her dear cocker spaniel down. It was time. She was old, old, and sick and was never going to get better. Daisy had a wonderful life and was loved and cared for to her very last breath. Oh that we all could be so fortunate to be surrounded by loved ones and have someone come to your home and give you a sedative overdose when the time comes. 

I made a blunder when trimming the batting from around the edge of the baby quilt and snipped 2 inches into the border.  I've been racking my brain trying to figure out how to fix it.  I think I will take out the seam along the whole border and piece in a patch. It won't be as perfect as if I hadn't botched it to begin with but if one is looking for perfection, might as well pass right on by me. 

Hot and Humid! That's all there is to say about July on the Texas Gulf Coast. No storms in the Gulf so there's that to be thankful for. 

I am watching Wolf Hall on Netflix DVDs.  Oh my, is it ever good! I only have 2 more episodes. I wonder if there will be another season?? Everyone knows about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn but 
there are so many other interesting characters--Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell.  Can't wait to get the next DVD and find out what happens next. 

Now one assignment: Everyone needs to go clean out your clothes drier's exhaust vent.  I thought that  the heating element in my drier was broken and that was why my clothes were not getting dry. So I called the repairman.  He found no problem with the heating element or anything else.  It turns out that my exhaust vent was clogged and the safety switch was turning off the heating element so that it wouldn't catch fire. So I paid $149 to have my exhaust hose cleaned out which I could easily have done myself. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July Cooking

Glazed Carrotswith Orange and Cranberries

1 pound carrots, peeled
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Slice the carrots 1/4 inch thick on the bias. 

Combine the carrots, orange juice, chicken broth, orange zest, cranberries, sugar, and salt in a 12 inch nonstick skillet. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook covered, stirring 
occasionally, until carrots are almost done, about 5 minutes. 

Uncover, return to a boil, and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced, about 2 minutes. 

Stir in the butter, continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender and the glaze is a light, golden, about 3 minutes. 

Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with pepper to taste. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

July Meditation

Dwell on the beauty of life.  Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them. 

Marcus Aurelius

July Goals


     Chair Dancing DVD
     Fruit each day 

     Repair accidental cut on border of baby quilt

     1776 by David McCullough
     Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Epidemic by Gina Kolata
     The Long Way Home by Louise Penny

     Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
     Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn on the Cob
     Fruited Chicken Salad
     Spaghetti and Meatballs

     Front porch


Wendell Berry Shorts X 3

Wendell Berry Shorts X 3

Seventy Years

Well, anyhow, I am
not going to die young. 

A Passing Thought

I think therefore
I think I am. 

The Leader

Head like a big
frequently thumped
and still not ripe. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

I will not be reading Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. I prefer to remember Atticus and Scout as they were in To Kill A Mockingbird. From the reviews that I have heard, Harper Lee should have just left the old manuscript in the drawer. 

Have you ever noticed that home maintenance expenses come in groups? If the drier gives up and dies, you can expect something to go wrong with the plumbing and the refrigerator ice maker to spring a leak and soak the carpet in the dining room. Ask me how I know.....

The fabric I ordered for the backing of the baby quilt came in. You know, I have always been a believer in supporting my local quilt shop but gosh it was so quick and easy that I may go over to the dark side and buy my quilting supplies online. I have the baby quilt layered and ready to baste. 

I'm reading 3 books right now: 
      The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. Joe and I are reading this aloud to each other each evening. It is just excellent. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the Wright brothers--they had a bicycle shop in Dayton and built the first airplane.  All that is true but the rest of the story, I knew nothing about and it is so interesting. 
      A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster. Muir was a much more complex person than what I have read previously about him. Very interesting. 
     Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Yikes!!

I would just like to state for the record that I hate/detest/despise health insurance companies. More than that I don't want to discuss in order to preserve my blood pressure. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the raccoons cool off in the birdbath. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July Cooking

Rice Pilaf with Currants and Cashews

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
2 1/4 cups water 
1/4 cup currants 
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted, coarsely chopped cashews

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and sauté until the edges of the rice begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes.  

Stir in the water, garlic, turmeric, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 17 minutes. 

Add currants and cashew and let stand off any heat for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July Meditation

Listen and attend with the ear of your heart. 

Saint Benedict of Nursia

Grace by Wendell Berry

Grace by Wendell Berry

The woods is shining this morning. 
Red, gold and green, the leaves
lie on the ground, or fall,
or hang full of light in the air still. 
Perfect in its rise and in its fall, it takes
the place it has been coming to forever. 
It has not hastened here, or lagged. 
See how surely it has sought itself,
its roots passing lordly through the earth. 
See how without confusion it is
all that it is, and how flawless 
its grace is. Running or walking, the way
is the same. Be still. Be still. 
"He moves your bones, and the way is clear."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July Goals

     Daily Bible Reading
     Sayings of the Desert Fathers

     Chair Dancing DVD
     Healthy Breakfast

     If the fabric comes in, layer the backing, batting, and top of baby quilt. 
     Otherwise, keep soldiering on on the monster quilt. 

     The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
     The Children Return by Martin Walker
     Flu: The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 by Gina Kolata
     Tuna salad sandwiches
     Fruited chicken salad
     Slow Cooker Beef and Noodle Soup

     Buy travel purse
     Lunch with P&W&C&B
     BLPOA monthly meeting

     Get estimate for interior painting
     Finally finish sorting VCR tapes and DVDs

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

"The Beautiful Mystery" by Louise Penny begins in Montreal.  Surete Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is sent, along with his aide, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, to a monastery hidden away in the hills and forests well outside the city. A monk has been found murdered in the garden and the head of the monastery - Dom Philippe - has reluctantly sent for the Surete to investigate the murder. But this is no ordinary monastery; the 24 monks living within have taken vows of silence and express their love of God through their ancient Gregorian chants.  The order - the Gilbertines - was actually a renegade religious order who had fled England for Canada 400 years before. The monks had recorded their chants on a CD from which they hoped to earn a modest amount of money to repair their building. But the CD of chants had unexpectedly struck a chord outside the monastery walls and had become a world-wide best-seller. Suddenly the monks were famous for their singing and money, a by-product of their success, had become an issue in the congregation. There was division as the leaders couldn't decide whether or not to seize their success and record another CD of beautiful, voice of God chants. 

Just as the Gilbertine monks were caught up in power struggles, so were the members of the Surete sent to work the case. The intrigue and struggle within the Surete is an ongoing presence in all the previous Armand Garmache books. 

Penny's novel becomes almost like the beautiful and heavenly Gregorian chants as she combines different plot points and characters to tell an exquisite story that rivals the chants in their intricacy. 

I listened to this on audio CDs and the reader's voice was absolutely perfect. 

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

My on-going rant about the medical insurance system:
     At the end of May, I caught what I thought was a cold. So I went to bed determined to wait it out but a week later I was worse--non-stop coughing, fever, and lethargy.  So I went to my insurance approved M.D. who prescribed antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine and sent me down the hall for a chest X-ray. I paid my co-pay, picked up my prescriptions, and went back to bed. Gradually, I got well. Fine. I got a notice from my insurance that since the X-ray was not an emergency and had 
not been pre-approved, they would not pay for it. I will call them and most likely they 
will agree to pay for it. But why on earth do we put up with a system that makes you pay for a service and then you have to fight them every step of the way to get them to pay what they are supposed to pay?? There has got to be a better way!

OK, rant over. Irritation still present. 

The baby quilt is on hold. I couldn't find the right backing and binding fabric at the quilt shop so for the very first time, I ordered fabric online.  I was able to order from the same manufacturer so the quality of the fabric will be fine.  I am usually a believer in supporting my local quilt shop but they had nothing that would work with the top at all. They were even out of baby quilt batting. 

This morning when I went out to fill the bird feeders and the 2 birdbaths, I saw this sunny yellow caterpillar.  I haven't had a chance to identify him yet but he is certainly no shrinking violet!

I finished listening to The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. It is an Armand Garmache murder mystery and was just excellent. If you like an occasional who-done-it, you might want to give this series a try. It is best if you read them in order but not absolutely necessary.  Still reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough--another excellent read. 

Lots of good cooking going on around here.  BBQ for the 4th, Shrimp Jambalaya, and steak, garlic mashed potatoes, & fresh from my neighbor's garden green beans.  Here's a picture of Joe cooking the Shrimp Jambalaya. 

We went to see Jurassic World.  It was entertaining if predictable. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are all lazy and so are the people. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July Cooking

Pasta alla Norma

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
4 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon reds pepper flakes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 pound rigatoni
1/4 cup minced fresh basil or parsley
1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for the rigatoni. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over high heat almost to smoking.  Add the eggplant and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until lightly browned and softened, about 10 minutes. 

Stir in the garlic, red pepper, and tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. 

When the water is boiling, stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the rigatoni. Cook, stirring often until rigatoni is tender but firm. 

Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the rigatoni, and return it to the pot. Stir in the eggplant sauce, basil, and Pecorino Romano and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add small amounts of the reserved pasta cooking water only if needed to losses the sauce before serving. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July Meditation

He should first show them in deeds rather than words all that is good and holy. 

Saint Benedict of Nursia

July Poetry

The Tiger 

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 
In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare seize the fire? 
And what shoulder and what art, 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? and what dread feet? 
What the hammer? what the chain? 
In what furnace was thy brain? 
What the anvil? what dread grasp 
Dare its deadly terrors clasp? 
When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? 

William Blake, 1794

July Goals

     Daily Bible Reading
     Sayings of the Desert Fathers

     Chair Dancing DVD
     Salad for lunch x3

     Buy batting and backing for baby quilt
     Layer and baste baby quilt

     The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
     A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir by Donald Worster
     The Children Return by Martin Walker
     The Beautiful Mystery by Martin Walker (Audio)

     Shrimp Jambalaya
     Fruited Chicken Salad
     Steak, GMP, and GB

     Finish sorting DVDs and Video Cassette tapes
     House cleaners come Tuesday

     Make reservations for September trip to Washington, D.C. 
     Make haircut/nail appointments

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Around OakMeadows

Here is the new baby quilt top.  It is supposed to be baby rattles but it looks more like bow ties. 

I still need to buy the backing and the batting.  I want to do the backing in a navy blue with with polka dots and use the backing to bind the edges. 

We went to see Jurassic World this afternoon. It was the first of the Jurassic movies that I have seen. I found it entertaining. 

I've been on the library wait list for the latest Bruno Chief of Police mystery since it came out and finally my name got to the top and I picked it up today. Perfect reading for the holiday weekend.  I don't understand the women in these stories--Bruno can cook for me any day!! Anyway, I will be in the Perigord for the next several days. 

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the cats all eat Fancy Feast and the people will be reading about Bruno Chief of Police in the Perigord all weekend.