Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Day For Daylilies

I seem to have an overabundance of pictures of daylilies, so here's a few to look at:

Richard grew these from seeds. For most of them, he didn't know what he was going to get, so each color of daylily was a surprise when it bloomed. A very nice surprise.

I'm still reading On Call in Hell, A Doctor's Iraq War Story. Parts of it are quite intense, so I have to put it down and digest what I've read. The hardest parts to read are the descriptions of some of the wounds he has to tend to. One that especially disturbed me was about the Marine who had the lower half of his face blown off by a grenade. Who's going to tell his wife? Who's going to tell his parents? Who's going to tell HIM? He made it back to Bethesda alive, but that's where I stopped reading for the day. You know we need to be aware of this kind of stuff. When William Tecumseh Sherman said that "War is hell," we need to be aware that he understated the case. It's good to be patriotic, but we need to understand what we're sending our troops into. Pray for peace.

Okay; enough preaching. I'm not very eloquent, but I am sincere.

My to-be-read pile seems to be getting bigger instead of smaller. I added Bitter Tide by Ann Stamos. Ann Stamos is a pen name for Judy and Takis Iakovou, friends of mine from Athens, GA. Judy and Takis plot the story together, then Judy does most of the writing. They have several other novels, written under their real names. Bitter Tide is a historical mystery, in which our killer gets off the boat at Ellis Island and promptly shoots her fiance. Judy spent many hours in the University of Georgia library researching this book. She and Takis also made a few trips to New York to visit Ellis Island and other sites pertinent to the story. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Yesterday was Memorial Day and Richard and I went to a cookout at our friend Bret's house in the country. It was sort of a potluck. Bret grilled steaks and burgers, and the rest of us brought side dishes and desserts. Richard and I took potato salad. There was corn on the cob, for which Bret supplied lime wedges, Parmesan cheese, and paprika. I tried it with those toppings and it was really good. I'm going to have to remember that the next time Richard and I have corn on the cob. We also had a yummy fruit salad with peaches, cantaloupe, strawberries, and big fat blueberries. There was a pasta salad and some slaw, both very good. For dessert, Leann made a green-tomato pie. She spiced it up just like you would an apple pie and it was very tasty. Polly couldn't make it, but she sent her husband and daughter, along with some pumpkin bread with a little bowl of cream cheese and orange marmalade to spread on the bread. There were chocolate cookies and lemon bars and a blackberry pie. It amazes even me that I can remember so vividly whatever I've recently had to eat.

Dashiell has been in the veterinary hospital since Friday. He was having trouble keeping any food down. (Greenies make ugly stains on light-colored carpet.) The vet did some blood work and gave him a very thorough exam, and determined that he was having a mild liver problem. She put him on an IV to get some calories in him, and he's finally eating solid food without tossing his cookies. We got a call yesterday to tell us that he seemed to be doing fine, although they still had him on the IV. Richard is supposed to get an update today from Dr. King, but I haven't heard from him yet. We were told that Dashiell is "interacting" with the staff at the hospital, which is a very good sign, as he's usually a 'fraidy cat. When visitors come to our house, he is usually under the bed. We can't wait for him to get well enough to come home.

So I got off the subject of daylilies. So sue me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

I found this on Bridget's blog, and I stole the idea. This week's topic is ten Favorite Cities. I haven't visited that many big cities, so I hope I make it to ten. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Pendleton, SC -- My hometown. The whole town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

2. Charleston, SC -- I went there to attend college and ended up staying for fifteen years.

3. Atlanta, GA -- My last foray into Atlanta was to attend a Braves baseball game. It was a beautiful September day and I had a great time.

4. Athens, GA -- This was where Richard and I had our first home together. I made some really good friends, and I try to get back at least once a year.

5. Victoria, BC -- I've been to Victoria several times. It's a beautiful city and the ride on the ferry is very refreshing. The ferry goes through the San Juan Islands which are just gorgeous.

6. Sioux Falls, SD -- My mother lived there when she met my father. My aunt still lives there.

7. Savannah, GA -- Such a lovely, historic city. St. Patrick's Day on the Riverwalk is a madhouse, though. There's nothing like fresh seafood in a coastal town.

8. Montgomery, AL -- I've been to Montgomery several times to attend the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The performances are great, very professional, and rival any you would see in NYC.

9. New York City -- OK, I've been to New York. It was a long time ago and I was toured around by a resident. The best things were visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the costume display, and seeing Art Garfunkel on 5th Avenue.

10. London -- The day I spent wearing out my shoes in London was spectacular. My guide, a British friend, showed me many of the city's more famous sites, and we ate in some nice, local, out-of-the-way restaurants. I made a brass rubbing at Westminster Abbey.

I have a few more cities I've visited, but we'll save them for a later time. Small cities usually hold as much attraction as larger ones. Can you tell I'm a small-town girl?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Miscellaneous Stuff

Wow! It's past time for a new post.

I took a quiz on Facebook to see how Southern I am. Turns out I'm so Southern I'm related to myself.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I take along one or two CDs to entertain me on my drive to Moultrie. Yesterday's musical selection was Bruce Springsteen's We Shall Overcome; The Seeger Sessions. Bruce Springsteen is one of those singers who does not have the most mellifluous voice ever heard, kind of like Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson, but he does stay in tune and on key. I love the musical accompaniment on the CD. It may be a little more rockin’ than Pete Seeger’s original recordings, but it’s still fun.

We went to a family dinner at my SIL's house in Senoia to celebrate Mother's Day this past Sunday. We also celebrated a couple of birthdays. I didn't take any food pictures, but we had barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, green beans, fruit, bread, and (yuck) collard greens. Can you imagine a whole table full of in-laws giving you a hard time because you don't like collards? But they have nothing to complain about: if I don't eat the greens, then they have more for themselves. Oh, yes, we had chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. We also had hors d'ouevres (sp?). My sister-in-law and I were pronouncing it "aw derves." We like being Southern.

I took some flower pictures, which I will show you; and I took a picture of Richard and his father that I like a lot, which I will also show you.

Louisiana Iris. If you do a Google Images search on "louisiana iris" you'll come up with a variety of pictures. Looks like there's more than one kind of Louisiana Iris.

Heirloom Iris. The older gentleman who gave this to my in-laws said this came from his great-grandmother's garden. Is that not a beautiful color of Iris?

Richard and my Daddy-in-law, looking out the living-room windows.

I finished reading Roseanna, by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. I'm glad I'm not prone to having nightmares about the stuff I'm reading. This killer was one scary individual. It took the police a long time to A) figure out whodunit, and B) catch the bastard; it was touch-and-go for a while there near the end. Martin Beck, our main character, seemed buoyed by the outcome of the investigation. Remember I told you he was depressed? Job satisfaction can give you a better outlook on things. Now I have to put the next book in the series on my wish list.

My current read is On Call In Hell; A Doctor's Iraq War Story, by Cdr. Richard Jadick. It's (obviously) a memoir. I'm about halfway through. The first three chapters were about the Battle of Fallujah and Jadick's first trip to the front lines (accompanying the Marine fighters) to retrieve the casualties. He has this perfectly reasonable notion that the sooner you can get to the wounded, the more lives you can save. (He won a Bronze Star for his efforts.) The description of the fighting was pretty harrowing, but I found myself readily turning the pages to see what happened next. It's not all about the fighting; that would be too much for a civilian like me to get my mind around. He talks about his other life as well. Jadick also tells about his "down time." One description that will be burned into my brain for a long time is his explanation of the bathroom habits of a group of Iraqi soldiers (and these are the good guys). It. Was. Gross. I've convinced myself that not all Iraqis are like that; that it must have been because they were away from female influence. I'm not going to repeat any of that description. If you want to know, read the book. It is well written. I don't know what attracted me to the book. One of the students of Small Public Institution borrowed it from the library, and it caught my eye, so when the student was done with it, I checked it out. I'm glad I did; I'm learning something.

Cat pictures:

Dashiell (a.k.a. Bubba) looking handsome.

Lila relaxing.

Bennis having her morning milk.

Y'all have a nice weekend, y'hear?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

She's Throwing A Dinner Party, Bless Her Heart

Did you ever hear a Southerner say, "Bless her heart"? That's a phrase which will negate, or at least soften, any unkind remark that one may make: "Bless her heart, she dresses like a bag lady." "Bless his heart, he's as homely as a mud fence." "He doesn't have the sense God gave a piss ant, bless his heart." The phrase is also used to express other things as well, such as sympathy: "I heard she was sick, bless her heart." Southern is a language all its own.

Richard and I had a small dinner party this weekend. This is the cork from a bottle of wine. It took us a few minutes to figure out what it was about. It's about this:

Let me know if you don't get it.

Last year, Richard and I went in with three other people and bought a quarter of a grass-fed steer from a man in Hahira, GA. When we got together to divvy up the meat, there was one pot roast, one package of beef tips, and one brisket. We all decided that whoever got those items would throw a dinner party and invite the others. Julie got the roast and Patty got the beef tips. We got the brisket.

For appetizers, Richard made some stuffed criminis:

To accompany the brisket, we had Ranch potatoes (here they are ready to go in the pan to roast):

Ranch potatoes are just potato wedges covered in olive oil and Ranch dressing mix and baked in the oven until tender. No recipe needed.

I made some Mexican corn. This is corn, zucchini, red bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno, salsa, and cilantro, cooked in butter.
Here's the "buffet":
Those are dried cherries on the brisket with the sauce.

For dessert, we had creme brulee:

Richard used brown sugar on the top. Need I say more?