Monday, July 30, 2007

The Best Restaurant in the Area

Some days were are very very rich. Take this dinner we had down at the house just before we left to come back to the city.


Fresh croaker and fresh white perch stuffed with garlic, butter, onions and freshly picked sage leaves, salt and pepper and grilled in foil over the BBQ.

Box mix macaroni and cheese (we have a case of this stuff!)

A salad of freshly picked tomatoes--lemon boy and tangerine; a freshly picked cucumber, all topped with avocado, freshly picked basil and a topping of olive oil and vinegar.

All washed down with lemonade.


PS--Yes, Croakers do"croak" but I try not to think about that when I am thinking of eating them.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Gutter cleaning and other dangers

Why installing gutters makes me depressed. No, it is NOT the cost.

We had gutter covers installed on the gutters of our new house over the weekend. We had been debating long and hard about what type of gutter protection we could use. We are in the middle of the woods and the trees constantly shed their branches and leaves like dandruff. The more famous brands like Gutter Guard which are the more substantial come with fees in the thousands of dollars which is like $15-25 a foot...this is just the cap not the installation of the gutter. We clearly saw this as a ripoff. So, we looked around for a gutter cleaning service to get their take on this.

My husband interviewed a number of folks and decided on a very nice young man who ran his own business. He was about 35-40 and quite nice in looks and personality. He explained that these permanent gutter guards still need to have gutter cleaning as wasps nests and small soot and seeds do get under the cap. They are harder to clean because of the substantial cap. I did some research on the internet and found the same information.

Therefore, we decided to go along with some snap-in screens that can be cleaned without removal or easily removed if major cleaning is required. Hubby is not doing this installation because there are parts of our roof that are THREE STORIES high due to the way the hill falls on one side.

The young man got busy cleaning the gutters which were full of stuff having not been cleaned since late last fall. My daughter was visiting and the young man saw her huge belly and they started talking about kids. He has four. Both my husband and I immediately thought about the dangers involved in this job where he has to move about on the roof and lean over or climb up large ladders. We asked about insurance for injury or accident. He said that he had a million dollars insurance for his customers (us): in case a ladder falls on us, I guess. But when he looked into insurance for himself it was almost $700 a month and he said he just couldn't afford that.

My heart stopped in my chest and I felt that I couldn't breathe well and after visions of my recent viewing of the movie Sicko flashed through my head I felt very very very depressed. I do not handle the vulnerabilities of nice hard-working people very well. I had to go inside and hide and I was depressed the rest of the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday Thoughts #6--All About the News

1. There was a news special this week called "Hotties on the Hill." Yeah, it was all about the beautiful people that work in the Capital. Does anyone besides me find this really annoying, irritating and just plan STUPID!! I was guessing that there would be no one over 35 on the list, and while they didn't give ages, I was pretty much right. Clearly being sexy in politics can have its disadvantages if history proves anything to anyone who follows history. Most of those interviewed thought it was a 'career move' to be selected. Maybe I am just jealous because I was never placed on a 'hottie' list.

2. There was also a news item on vandalism of Hummers (the car - not the guy who sits behind you in church) in some local neighborhoods. Several vehicles were all but destroyed by what appeared to be metal bats (the sports equipment not some robotic air mammal). Theoretically these acts were linked to environmental passions. This was deduced by some graffiti scratched on the side of the car. I don't think breaking the law is going to win any points with those of us who really think the environment needs help.

3. The weather service keeps predicting major storms...never happening in my area. Must be REALLY localized stuff they have been talking about for days and days. My poor lawn is not even gasping anymore. It is just lying down and dying.

4. My television station has a blog site that asks you to vote for which news item you want to see. When did the decision on the news become a popularity contest voted on by the type of people that would vote on news stories? You're right, the voter is that guy who sits on his porch in the same T-shirt every afternoon watching the world go by and I am not interested in any news he is interested in. Or perhaps it is that high school student who wants more information on P.H. (I am not referring to the student's paper on battery acid, urine and drain cleaner.)

5. No, I don't think I will comment on the leaking of the latest Harry Potter book. I will leave this to anthropoligists and historians who will provide a better perspective 100 years from now.

6. OK, I admit that I am leaning towards John Edwards even though he is third on the ticket. That wife of his has faced death's door and is more honest than you or I could ever be and he loves her enough to let her take that ride. He has real values and is very intelligent and strong and has experience both in politics and negotiations. I would like to see a John Edwards/Barrack Obama ticket and I do consider myself a feminist. Feminists don't vote for women just because they are women.

7. I really think Soccer is a supercool sport (was a big fan when my son played it and my husband coached it---it is STILL soccer folks even if big bucks are not involved) and I thought it quite intriguing to watch onTV...more so than that smash and bam football. But I don't think Beckham and his exotic wife are helping...?

8. And this leaves me speechless (blog textless?).

9. On a final note my husband is currently negotiating a part-time job in Korea. He has a 50/50 chance of solidifying the project. After this news article I am thinking maybe spending part-time in Korea might be good for my health!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

In Memory of Texas Highways and the Lady

I lived in Texas for a few years and was able to see what fields of bluebonnets looked like. They are breathtaking and worth a visit if you have not been in Texas during bluebonnet season. We annually covered a lot of highway space...either between Texas and Colorado or between Texas and Florida visiting relatives and showing off our children. Thus, we gained a great appreciation for beautiful highways. The photo above is of my daughter and son out in a field in Texas picking wildflowers. It is a 'faded photograph' but you can guess how lovely the flowers were if they intrigued children of that age. Lady Bird Johnson left a wonderful heritage. She was a true Southern Bluebell.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thoughts #5

1) The absolutely best meetings take place in rooms with high ceilings and high windows where the sun hits your in church. Where thunder and lightning are all around but you feel safe. You feel good even if your mind is not on the task at hand.

2) Free career advice: when you are a female and 50 it is time to stop 'shadowing' the most dynamic people in the office and to stop telling them they are "Awesome." It is too late for that approach. Waaaay too late!

3) After you reach 60 there will be days when absolutely everything is going super well and you cannot keep your mind off the thought that some bad news must be just down the least some of us feel this way. Optimists you need to share more (are you listening Colleen?).

4) I saw "Sicko" last night with friends. Michael Moore is getting really good a pushing peoples' buttons. Thank goodness he is funny because this is a tragic movie. You need to see it and then write your Congressional representatives to see where they stand. Most of the criticisms of the movie cannot hold a bandage.

5) I live in two places--at least for a short while longer. I can never remember which refrigerator has the Redi-Whip and this is really, really, REALLY irritating. I also have arguments with my husband about which things go in the little cooler back and forth! Do they address issues like this in marriage counseling?

6) A younger colleague who has a chip on her shoulder but looks up to me found a FEDEX envelope--unopened--on a desk in a corner of an unused cubicle. I remember how it got there. I was trying to help the team secretary juggling her duties and handed her this envelope I had been given and she threw it in the corner in frustration. I thought for sure that she would retrieve it when she calmed down. That was June 28. The Secretary has gone on a family emergency. Guess what was in the envelope...someone's official passport!

7) On another work note, two people came to me this week asking if they could use me as a reference in jobs they are applying for. Can you tell I work in a not-so-pleasant place?

8) Hubby left for Hawaii yesterday...I'm just a little jealous but also looking forward to a weekend all alone down at the house.

10) Millie commented on my new icon blog photo. I have not tweaked the picture...but I don't really look like that. It's the 20% of my face that looks alright. The rest of me looks normal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Succulence

The morning’s warm humid caress
Falls upon the child’s perfect arm.
The spicy smell of a vine’s blossoms
Halts all but our soft intake of breath.

Elegant petite red jewels
Catch the angled sunlight.
The promise of their rich sweetness
Barely lingers from yesterday’s memory.

This summer’s day gift
Will not endure beyond tomorrow
It is accepted with the reverence
And wonder that miracles deserve.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My Simple Holiday

My 4th was spent in an historic small town. If you look at the sign below you will see that these people are straightforward and honest.

A pending storm made us think the pilots would have a daisychain to untangle rather than enjoy the fireworks...but not so. Tornado watch and yet no touchdown, storm and hail warnings and we were spared!

Did I mention it was a small town? The traditional parade included a jazzercise class among other things (i.e. a Caribbean Santa Clause). Only in America can you get so funky on a holiday.

So, can you guess where I was? (Stop on over at Room Without Walls to see the cutest little fruit gobbler ever.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The other George

Fourth of July (U.S. Independence Day) is good time to think about those with vision who helped build this country on principles, that while inconvenient for some of our leaders today, are the reason we are still around. Hubby and I took a trip to George's Washington's birthplace recently. This is not the more famous Mt. Vernon area but 80 acres set aside in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The old farmstead used to be 600 acres, and thanks to Washington's interest in surveying, the extent of the original farm, formerly belonging to his parents, is well documented. This is one of several farms owned by his family. While George grew up in a situation of reasonable wealth he was the only child that did not get a formal education, interestingly enough. There is nothing left of the original farm -- no buildings. They are still discovering where they think the original farm was located through an ongoing archaeological dig.

This building above in the distance was at one time thought to have been one of the original structures on the farm, but research indicates it is newer and was built after he died.

There is a visitor's centers and a small traditional garden in the back. Above is tobacco which was one of the primary economic crops during that time. They also grew grapes, and while we asked the volunteer which grape this was, we never could find out.

Below is cotton, another important crop for the South.

These historic places operate on a very tight budget, and if it wasn't for gracious volunteers like the woman below, they would probably be unattended acres of ground.

We walked down the hillside and along the Rappahanock River and then back up into a wildflower meadow that they had planted. It was full of butterflies and bees. The brochure also said that it was a great place for bird watching in the spring and fall and we made a mental note to return again during one of those seasons.HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY in one of the best countries in the world.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reveling in My Genetics

The images set by television are so insidious in their effect on how we view ourselves and decide what is beautiful and what is not. Certainly in this American culture aging is not beautiful. We must plump the lines, pull up the sags, remove the spots, dye the hair, remove the protruding veins, and in general strive for Stepfordness in any way that we can afford. If you don't look good then you are not good. Of course this change is for those in their 40's (and idiots in their 30's). All the rest of us are over the hill and no amount of tweaking is going to bring us back into the mover and shaker fold.

I have succumbed to thinking about this calling vanity. I would like to pull up the sags so that I don't look so grumpy and tired. I am much happier and perkier than I look! But I am also cheap and cannot allow myself the expense for that vanity.

My husband and I were watching a show on television and there was some comment by one of the characters regarding baldness and thinning hair. The woman in the TV show deleted the male character from her "Candidates to Date" list due to his receding hairline.

I mentioned to my husband (who is almost bald) how I like guys with hair but also find baldness very sexy...which I do. I mean picture Jean Luc Piccard with hair? Puhleeze! I like my husband's wisp of silver that barely covers the top of his little pointed head.

My husband, who has never had any sense of vanity in his life, smiled and said:
"I revel in my genetics."

And shouldn't we all.