Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ghost and the night blooming jasmine...

The many faces of Ghost...

Ghost likes to get into DH's chair.  She will wait patiently on the rug close by until he gets up for a minute... then she will jump up and take possession.  When DH returns, he will stand there for a moment, shake his head, and move to a spot on the sofa. Are our cats spoiled or what?

Next picture is one I just took outside of our Night Blooming Jasmine's baby bloom.  We love these blooms!  They are just gorgeous when they blossom and have the most heady aroma.  I wish I could bottle it. If you're not familiar with Night Bloomers, they generally bloom between 10 pm and midnight and give off this unbelievably lovely aroma that evades the whole house or garden.  My cats start to gather round it when it happens.  The bloom doesn't last very long ( a few hours) and then it fades and droops like a dying dove.

I have some photos of past blossoms. But I will have to look for them to show you on a later post.

Next photos I took while on the front porch photographing the baby bloom.   It's just a shot of our front entry. The little potted trees on the right are Mountain Laurels.  They grow really well in the Hill Country, but we have trouble getting them to grow here. These are some seedlings my son-in-law started at their place. They have done well for the last 2 years, but are struggling this summer.

To the left in the hanging baskets are/were parsley, basil, mint, and lavender.... however, the August heat has all but fried them. The basil and the mint are still fighting for survival, but the parsley and lavender have pretty much given up. The plants on the porch are the Night Bloomer and a pot of English Ivy and Sweet Potato vine.

This is a Halloween (fake) crow that I leave in the tree by our entry year round.  He's getting a little *worse for wear* after being out in the weather for almost a year.  But I like him... and wish I could find another.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

in a split second...


I made 10 cylinders Wednesday in pottery class... not exciting stuff by any means... but I'm trying to get back into the habit of throwing.  Our instructor is letting us who have taken the class before (Ceramics 1, 2,  and advanced are all together) work on areas that we feel we most need to.... and for me that's basic throwing on the wheel.  She told me to start out throwing about 30 cylinders... until I feel comfortable with it.   Since I hadn't touched the wheel since Fall 2012, I was surprised that I could even still wedge, center, and pull.

Oh, and I'm going to tell you about my stupidity here too.  You know how things happen in a split second and you feel really stupid after.  Well, as I was getting my stuff together in the back room where the pottery wheels are, I went from one wheel to another checking to see if they were all working (all of them don't).  Well, some had the heavy pottery chairs sitting on top of them upside down and some didn't.  As I went from one to another, turning on the switch to turn on the wheel, the first 2 didn't work. The third however did... and that one had a chair on top of it that immediately flung off and hit me smack in the middle of my forehead.   Not a really bad hit... but enough to surprise the heck out of me and wonder if I was going to have an egg on my noggin.  No one else was back there... so luckily no one saw my act of stupidity.

Today I was back in the studio trimming the pots.  With no class on Monday due to Labor Day, it puts me a day short for finishing the next 20.  Now I know people who are so good at throwing that they could probably throw all 30 in a day.... but that's not me.   But if it's a matter of practice, practice, practice, then I'm more than willing to put the time (and the clay) in.  BTW, I don't have a bruise in the middle of my forehead... just a sore spot that DH says is a bit flat (?), but luckily not noticeable.

outside cat watching turtle eat strawberry

turtle eating strawberry

Monday, August 26, 2013

cup cabinet, reunion lunch, and Coq au vin...

Painted the last (top) shelf wall this morning. I think it's looking pretty good. Even DH says that the green color shows the cups off better than the brown background did.

I was trying to decide whether to paint the back of the lower portion (not behind glass).  You can see where I had some color strips taped.  But I've decided not to do this.  Do you agree?

My Fall Pottery classes start tomorrow.  I'm anxious to get back on the wheel, but hesitant to get back into the swing of projects, etc.  Last semester we spent the whole time sculpting with the Chess Project, that I totally neglected working on the wheel. So this semester I'm going to focus on it.  At least 'that's the plan'.

My head was still a bit fuzzy yesterday morning, but has improved since. I went to lunch yesterday with 3 classmates from my ol' high school days in New Orleans.  They all attended Dominican's 50th HS Reunion in April (which I missed due to the Alaskan cruise). They brought tons of pictures and we reminisced.  I actually don't remember that much about high school.  It was fun.  The Nuns taught us (all girl school). The building and grounds were beautiful.  We shared the building with Dominican college.  The N.O. streetcars ran right in front of the school on St. Charles Ave. Loyola University and Tulane were just down the block.   My friend and I lived  out by Lake Pontchartrain so we took 3 buses and a street car to get to school and back. Now they've moved the high school to another place and the whole area has been sold to Loyola. Sad.

St. Mary's Dominican High School (at one time)

St. Charles Street Car

Today DH is making Coq au vin.  He has made it before, but we both saw it made by a Chef on TV and he decided to try this recipe (which calls for both wine and cognac). I'll let you know.

Since I didn't post this yesterday, I will report that the Coq au vin was good... but much too much wine and cognac.  We had to dilute it with some chicken broth.  I did make some mini cheese biscuits to go with it and those were great!

And as for an update on my nephew's son who was in the car accident in New Orleans: He is doing well and now recuperating at home.  Thank all of you out there who kept him in your prayers.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Saturday news...

Baby raccoon in the yard.  Isn't he handsome?

It's been a strange week. Unfortunately I had one of my monthly or bi-monthly migraines (is it 'bi' when you have 2 a month or 'bi' when you have one every 2 months? I always get that confused).  Anyway, it's been 2/month for me. They are mostly ocular migraines these days (which means there's an aura - area of vision affected - usually bright light and zig zaggy lines) with a general headachiness, but nothing like the olden days where the headache is so intense you end up in the emergency room. And mostly they are gone in about 20 minutes.  This week I was 'off' the entire day. The aura disappeared, but the fuzziness stayed.  Anyway, it was gone yesterday and is definitely gone today. So... happy happy!

I probably should go to a Neurologist and get it checked. This frequency is new - only in the last 6 months. And when I 'googled' it, I read that people who get ocular migraines 2 or more times a month are 7X more likely to have a stroke. My thought was... "Well, that's just great to know..."  (maybe I shouldn't google?)

OK, the whole week wasn't a washout.  I met 2 friends for coffee and we discussed all the troubles in the world and solved them to our own satisfaction. We also went to my grandson's open house at his new middle school. The school is very large, very new, and very nice.  It only handles 9th and 10th grade... but it's huge. The kids gave a presentation involving other students, cheerleaders, band (grandson is in band, plays the baritone sax), etc. Then they gave a tour of the building and you were left to wander about on your own. I checked out the library, art rooms, and biology and chemistry labs. This morning  DH and I grocery shopped.  He's going to make coq au vin this week.  It's a chicken cooked with wine and cognac.  He's made it before, but we watched Martha Stewart make it and he wants to try her way. Sounds good to me.

One of our outside feral kittens

That's about it for my week. My next door neighbor just dropped by to give me some mail they left at her place by mistake. They have been our next door neighbors since before we moved in almost 30 years ago.  Now they are moving, downsizing to a Senior Retirement Village.  It's a gated community with a golf course and club house, etc.  And the homes are very nice.  But the age requirement I believe is 55 plus.  Something about that bothers me.  I'm not sure why. But I'm praying that it's a good move for them and that they will really enjoy it.

BTW, the painting of the cup cabinet is almost complete.... one more shelf to go. The reason it's taking me so long (besides the migraine that set me back) is that I don't want to paint if I know the grandbaby is coming over.  I read somewhere that the odor of wet paint is not good for young babies.  So... I make sure that the area painted is dry before she comes.... and then paint the next one. It dries overnight so it's not difficult to do.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

lazy summer days...

lazy summer days...

When I was growing up in New Orleans, I couldn't wait for the summer and the chance to spend some time in Mississippi at my Aunt & Uncle's place.  They had a farm with chickens, cows, a horse or two, and a swimmin' hole! They also farmed the land and  raised their own food. I loved it there. Dreamed about having a place of my own one day - a horse ranch preferably - where the epitome of fun would be having a horse available to ride anytime I wanted. That never happened for me.  But it has happened for my grand daughter.  And in it's own way, it still fulfills my dream. Her happiness is mine.

She's been riding since she was about 3, but only recently has she become involved in the cross country and jumping circuit. Here is a short video of her first cross country trial.  Her horse, Tootsie, is new to this also and is in the process of learning not to fear jumping into water, etc.

One would think that at 68, I really wouldn't have any more dreams.  I mean, seriously... time is growing short. What dreams I had have either been fulfilled in ways not necessarily expected, or have mellowed with age into pleasant thoughts and living them precariously through grand kids or other forms of media (blogs included).

DH and I are into our retirement years so cash flow is limited... although sufficient. But changing our lifestyle completely and moving to another location is probably not on the charts. So I will have to bolster up my living vicariously through other means (Bailey's cove is one) as well as figure a way to enjoy some things on a limited basis... like a short visit to a desired destination instead of a permanent move. This should be feasible.

On an immediate agenda with classes starting this Fall, I have decided to fore go my Yoga (which I really need) and register for another class that is more all encompassing (or so I'm told).  The problem is that my Yoga class has been moved to the same time as my pottery class... thus, making it impossible to attend. This other class has the added disadvantage of being held at 7:30 in the morning.  That's a bit early for me, but I need to do something as far as exercise goes, so I'm going to bite the bullet and give it a chance.

They say that we should do the things we love. Well, I love reading, sketching, writing stories, photography, and working on the pottery wheel.  This is how I pass the time when I'm not taking care of my family and/or family of cats. Lately I've added learning to play the piano to this list and have enjoyed that also. However, I'm beginning to realize that I can only teach myself so far... eventually I may need some outside help. But I think that when this time comes, I will simply put out a notice in our community blog for a piano instructor in the neighborhood.

Just realized that it is Sunday, which means my BBC comedies come on tonight.  Hurray!

Friday, August 16, 2013

one of those nights...

watercolor of coffee cup found on Pinterest

Well, it's 5:05 am now and I've been up since 3:30.  Too much on my mind, I guess. This doesn't happen often, but it does on occasion.   I shouldn't complain as many of my friends have trouble sleeping most nights while I normally don't have trouble sleeping anytime or anywhere. But this morning around 3:30 I sat up in bed and the conversation went:

DH: "What's the matter?"
Me: " I need a cup of tea..."
DH: "I thought so."
Me: "Why's that?"
DH: "You've been restless"
Me: "Yep... best get up."

So I made myself a cup of tea and a piece of toast (comfort food), cleaned the kitchen, told the cats that everything was alright (they hear me up and gather round), and that I wasn't going to feed them this early... much to their dismay. Then I headed for the computer room where I've spent the better part of the early morning reading blogs... and commenting.

Now it's after 5 and I've got to decide whether I should go back to bed for an hour or so, or give it up and find something else useful to do. Problem is that if I don't go back to bed, I'm going to be really needing a nap by lunchtime and we have plans for this afternoon. Guess I'll close this for now and continue later in the day.

It is now almost 2 pm. DH and I have been to Central Market for our groceries earlier today. It's Hatch Pepper week and CM carries or makes everything with Hatch Peppers during this time.  I love the mild ones.  Cannot tolerate the hot.  But we buy Hatch tortillas, Hatch cheese, Hatch pesto, Hatch marinated chicken, Smoked Hatch Peppers, etc.  (They even have Hatch Apple Pie, Hatch scones, and Hatch Gelato).

Later a friend came by and picked me up for lunch. We tried a new (well, new to us) Cajun restaurant down the road called "Wicked Po-boy".  We split a fried catfish sandwich with home-made chips. It was good. There are two other fish places that I like, "Big Easy" and "Flying Fish".   This one fares about the same as the others, except that it is very small.... so seating is tight.... and it was busy. I love seafood, but unless I cook it myself, I usually stick to fried catfish in Dallas.

Now I'm about ready to sit down, read a good book, and possibly nap.  But the kids are due over in about 30 minutes, so I'd better forgo that for now.  My *up at 3: 30*  morning is beginning to show...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

getting it done...

As you can see I started painting the inside of my cup cabinet today. I'm not sure if it will take 2 coats to cover, but am waiting for first coat to dry at the moment.

I figure that if I paint one shelf a day, it'll only take 3 days to finish.  Now if I need to do 2 coats... well, we'll see.

The whole thing could be done easily in one day, but then I would have to find more space to put the displaced china.  At the moment I have relocated them to an upstairs bedroom dresser. Letting them lie about on open counters or tables is not an option when you have 6 cats chasing each other around the house.... at least not if you value your china.  This way I will replace the china on the dry finished shelf and start removing the cups from the next shelf.  There is a method in my madness... although DH doesn't always see it.

*Request:  My nephew's son was in a serious car accident 2 days ago.  He underwent surgery yesterday and is still in critical condition in the ICU.  Please say a prayer for him and his family.*

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bacon, egg, spinach popovers...

Tried a new recipe  with Popovers last night!  I didn't get a picture of the recipe completed as it was one of those things where you had to assemble it rather quickly to make sure everything was hot when served. But it was pretty good.  You bake popovers, then steam a little fresh spinach, make a little cream sauce to add to the spinach, fry a little bacon, and pan fry a few eggs in a non-stick pan. Then you slice open the popover, add the cream spinach to each hollow side, place the fried egg on top and 2 slices of bacon over that. DH liked it and we have quite a few popovers left over for breakfast or tea.

And I took these pictures of outside critters today:

Look closely... I think he's smiling.

This is Socks, one of our outside kittens.  She is a sweet thing.

I used the pictures in the extra large form.  Let me know if this causes a problem with any of you readers.  I can always use the smaller form and they can be clicked on to be made larger. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday, Sunday...

getting ready to cook...

It's Sunday evening and although I hope to see my Sunday night PBS English comedies such as "As Time goes by" and "Goodnight Sweetheart", I know that staying up late is not my strong suit. They don't come on till after 10 pm.   It's 7:30 now and my eyes are drooping...   Wish I could blame it on old age, but unfortunately I've always been this way. And my daughter is the same.  We are 'morning' people... definitely not 'nite' people.

When I was working, getting up at 5 am was fine.  Now that we're retired, it's more like 7 - 7:30. (And I still take an afternoon nap when it's possible between 2 and 4.  It doesn't affect my bedtime habits.)  DH and I both go to bed between 9 and 10.  But I think it's healthy - getting 8- 10 hours sleep a day.  Now if I could just exercise more and eat less sugar. (I'm working on it.)

Can't remember if I mentioned this before (Senior memory?) but I've been trying to learn piano this summer - with a book and a keyboard.  It's been interesting and I've progressed to using both hands - which may sound like a simple thing, but believe me it isn't.  First let me tell you that I know nothing about music.  But I've always liked watching people play and wondered what it must be like.  So I bought a book.  The keyboard was my brother's which I had given to my son - but borrowed it back this summer. I can read basic notes, but that's about it.  I didn't find it hard to play the notes with my right hand, but co-ordinating reading the treble and cleff notes and making both hands do different things is a whole nother' story... but I'm doing it - albeit slowly.  If training your mind to do something it's never done is good for it, this must count... as my mind and fingers are getting a work-out (besides I figured if nothing else, the finger exercise would be good for arthritis).

crazy, yes?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Posting color swatches...

OK, I took some color swatches and placed them around the cupboard.  What do you think?  Originally I was leaning towards a very light blue, but now the green seems to be taking hold.

I think because I have so much blue (from light to cobalt) in my kitchen, that perhaps the green would show off the cups better. Click on the pictures to make them larger... if it helps.

This is a very old cupboard that my friend and I found in East Texas a few years ago. It fit perfectly into this corner of our kitchen.

There's blue in the back splash and the stove's blue...  so maybe green would be better??? Can you look at this photo above (perhaps make it larger) and picture the back of the cupboard painted blue or green?

Oh, and I just bought this rooster lazy-susan at Tuesday Morning this week.  The colors fit so well. Now I'll have to give the wine barrel one that I had there originally to my daughter.

Guess that's it.  Not a very fascinating post, but it's what I'm up to at the moment.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August already...

This is the cup cabinet that I'm thinking of painting the back walls a light blue or a dark green...

I saw this (painting the back) done on Pinterest and liked it.  What do you think?

Hi there!  I'm back reading blogs this morning.  Haven't commented yet, but I will.  We had family in town this past week so I've gotten a little behind while entertaining.  DH's brother and wife came up here Wednesday night and spent 4 days with us... talking, visiting with our kids and grandkids, and eating... eating in and eating out!  It's really too hot to do much else... (104 today and supposedly 105 tomorrow)

We did go to Ham's Peach Orchard on Saturday. We all love that place.  So much fresh produce as well as pickled, bottled, baked, and frozen fruit and veggies! And best of all... home-made peach and strawberry ice-cream! We haven't been on a Saturday before and will not make this mistake again if we can help it.  It was packed! However it only opens from May 15th to August 15th... so we are in their last 2 weeks.  However, they had plenty of product - and plenty of help (they use college kids) - and lucky for them, tons of customers!

For what started years ago as a mom and pop operation (a little peach orchard), it has become a popular icon for the area.  Not only can you get great food stuffs, but you can sit around out back in rocking chairs in the shade and eat your ice-cream... and now you can even order a fresh made hamburger or bar-b-que sandwich too!

There's not much else to say. It's hot hot hot! Although I shouldn't complain.  It IS August.  But hopefully the triple digits won't last too many days.  Our upstairs AC already went out 2 hours before our company arrived last week.  We had to scramble around and get everyone settled in for the night on the ground floor, turn off and shut off the upstairs until we could get a repairman out the next day. We lucked out and he was able to fix what broke fairly quickly so everyone could return to the upstairs guest room the next night.