Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

This is not really all about food. We did more than just eat this past weekend.

On Saturday, we went to Albany, GA, to the Flint RiverQuarium. It's a nice little aquarium (compared, say, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium), with mostly freshwater species. There was a display on mariculture, so they got in some saltwater info as well. In one of the mariculture tanks, they had a couple of baby octopi. The smaller one's head was only about an inch long and its little tentacles were about two inches long. It was the cutest little thing. They also had little baby shrimp in that tank.

Another feature of the RiverQuarium is an aviary. You can go in and hang out with a great egret, a yellow-crowned night heron, a snowy egret, a cormorant, several white ibis, a variety of ducks, a pileated woodpecker, and others. Idiot that I am, I forgot to take along my camera; otherwise I would have had pictures of the birds. It was very cool being that close to those birds.

OK, here comes the food. On Saturday night, Richard and I cooked dinner for his parents and his sister. Richard made a prosciutto-wrapped shrimp appetizer with a peachy glaze.

This is it before baking. It disappeared too quickly afterwards to get a picture.

The dinner table, before the feeding frenzy.

We had a salad. I don't know why I didn't remove the salad servers before I took the picture. Richard used grape tomatoes from his garden in the salad.

The main dish was shrimp and tortellini. Everybody liked it, but then what's not to like? It's shrimp and pasta with butter and shallots.

Of course, we had to have some rolls. These are eggy yeast rolls we get at our grocery store's bakery.

And to finish it off, we had apple pie and ice cream.

It was a good weekend.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I once drove through the Great Dismal Swamp at dusk. It wasn’t nearly as spooky as I thought it would be. I was expecting water lapping at the tires, Spanish moss hanging from dead trees, mist rising from the water, and mysterious things moving in my peripheral vision, but it was actually kind of pretty. Perhaps I learned not to judge a swamp by its name. (BTW, I stole this picture off their website. I hope the feds don't come looking for me.)

I finished reading On Call in Hell, A Doctor’s Iraq War Story, by Richard Jadick. I think I’ve mentioned before that it was intense, but it was pretty good reading. When the Battle of Fallujah was over (it lasted for weeks), it was time for Jadick to return home to his wife and tiny daughter. What saved the book from being all about the war was the epilogue. He told us about the guys he served with and how they coped with being back home after the intensity of the war. Most of them had some kind of emotional problem, but they all were working on it and making their lives better. It was heartening. We civilians hear about post-traumatic stress disorder, and Jadick described it pretty vividly. These men and women are our fellow citizens, and whether or not you support the war, you should support those men and women. Here I go preaching again. I recommend this book to anyone, except maybe the squeamish.

I’ve started Bitter Tide, by Ann Stamos, but so far I haven’t read enough to make any kind of intelligent statement about it.
Richard and I are preparing for a visit from his parents and sister and I’m still trying to move from war-story mood to a mystery mood. After reading something as intense as On Call in Hell, I need a good murder mystery to cheer me up.

Sometime in my recent past, I saw a bunch of pictures of either Chinese or Japanese signs translated into English.
The translations were hilarious, and the one that stuck in my mind was the sign over a clothing store which read, “Unsightly and Peculiar.” I decided that sign perfectly describes the way some teenagers dress nowadays. Does that make me sound like an old fart? I don’t care.

I think I'll take pictures of the food Richard and I serve to his family this weekend and then post them. I haven't put up any good food pictures in a while.

See y'all later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Me" Time on a Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday subject is "10 Things To Do During 'Me' Time." I have about an average amount of "Me" time, but I'm kind of dull, so this list may not make it all the way to 10 things. These are in no particular order of preference. Here goes:

1. Watch a baseball game, specifically a Braves game. If the Braves ain't playing, I usually don't watch it. I hate to see my guys lose, but I love seeing your guys lose.

2. Read a good book. My two favorite things to read are mysteries and memoirs. It's especially enjoyable if there is a cat on my lap.

3. Cook. I don't like to cook all the time (thank goodness Richard also cooks), but when I do, I find it rather meditative to prepare ingredients for cooking. I get caught up in the rhythm and repetition of chopping vegetables. I also like to make good old baking-powder biscuits, a skill I learned from my mother.

4. Listen to music. I drive to Moultrie, GA, two days a week. It takes about 35 minutes to drive the 27 miles from Tifton and I usually bring along two CDs. Today I brought Emmylou Harris's Heartaches & Highways; and George Strait's Troubadour.

5. Take a nap in the recliner. This is easier to do if I have a cat to purr me to sleep.

6. Watch a nice romantic comedy, such as Must Love Dogs, Under the Tuscan Sun, Hatari! (an old John Wayne movie), Sabrina, The American President, and others.

7. Take a road trip with Richard. I can make "Me" time out of practically any activity, as long as I'm enjoying it. We take along the iPod and listen to music. Richard usually drives and I ride shotgun.

Okay, I didn't make it to ten. But here's a nice picture for your added enjoyment:

Doesn't this look like a delicious pie? I made the crust from scratch, and Richard prepared the filling of blueberries, but for the first time in our pie-baking experience, we failed. It was awful. We've decided to change our method of preparation for the next time we make a blueberry pie.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Old Friends

I have reconnected with several of my old friends from high school on Facebook. I have not seen some of them since the 1960s. Ain't that a scary thought, that I'm that old?

When we were in high school, five of us used to hang out together all the time. We would go shopping together, have sleepovers, have lunch -- just have fun. As of now, four of us are on Facebook. We've tried to find the fifth girl/woman, but she has a very common name and there are more than 500 people on Facebook with that name. We still have hope. We're already talking about a reunion.

Here's a picture of the five of us from that long-ago era:

Left to right: Me, Patricia, Faith, Phyllis, and Janice.

Faith still lives in South Carolina; Phyllis is in Washington State; Janice is in Texas; I'm in Georgia; and we haven't located Patricia yet.

Most of this finding of each other happened in the last couple of days. The excitement had me all keyed up and I had trouble going to sleep last night. A good night's sleep calmed me down, so now I can settle down and bask in the glow of friendship. It's a lovely thing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Dashiell is home from the vet hospital. He's easily slipped back into his life at home, hollering for his dinner at 6:00 pm sharp, sleeping in his favorite spots, waking Richard up in the morning when I'm in the shower. We have to give him three different pills, all on different schedules. He doesn't like pills, but we give him some Greenies afterwards, so he takes his pills, although it's still a little traumatic for him (and me -- I'm the one who gets to stuff them down his throat). While he was at the vet's they had a sign on his cage telling the staff that "he's very sweet, but he hisses because he's afraid." Dr. King said he was a little "love bug," and the rest of the staff just loved him. How could they not?

Dashiell and Lila are almost thirteen years old. When we were living in Athens, GA, Richard and I found out our vet had some kittens to give away. I think we saw them one day when we took our dog in for something. (Brandy, a Golden Retriever, is now in doggie heaven.) The next day, Richard called me at work and said we should get two of the kittens and that I should go when I got off and take care of it. Richard wanted a female and I wanted one of the orange tabbies. I called the vet and asked them to keep all the kittens until I could get there. When I arrived, I had the formidable task of deciding which orange tabby to get (there was only one female and she was/is black). I could have taken all four of the kittens home and thought nothing of it. I bought a cat carrier and before we got home, I had them named. Dashiell is named for Dashiell Hammett, one of my favorite mystery writers; and Lila is named for the title character in a Peter S. Beagle short story, "Lila the Werewolf." (In the story, a man slowly comes to realize that his girlfriend is a werewolf.) The cats have not followed in their namesakes' footsteps, but that's all right; they've been good cats.

Richard has to take Dashiell back to the vet on Friday, and we hope she gives us good news. He seems to be doing fine, eating well and not throwing up. I'll keep you posted.