Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Both articles talked about elaborate remodeling of Quonset huts to make into beautiful homes. I know what a Quonset hut is and, in fact, I have slept in one.
Quonset huts were built during World War II of corrugated galvanized iron, in a semi-circular cross section. They were used for military storage during the war. After the war, these huts were sold for $1000.
When The Trout was attending Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, we were friends with a married couple who lived in a Quonset. Since The Trout and I were engaged, I would drive up weekends to see him and would stay with our friends Francis and Rita in this Quonset hut. It was actually very cute. A kitchen-living room (great room kind of), bathroom and two bedrooms. All this was pretty tight quarters, but there was a street very near the university that was all Quonset huts for married student housing.
After The Trout and I were married and he had 6 months left before graduation, we looked for a Quonset hut to live in, but they were all taken. Married students really liked this housing. It was cute, cheap and it worked out just fine. So instead, we found a rather nice upstairs apartment near the university for the 6 months we were there. Happy memories.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Through e-mail and phone calls with the Mr., the Trout found out that he suggested two different rooms, quoted a price plus tax and we should get back to him when we picked our choice. We called back and picked one of his suggestions and the Mrs. took credit card information. She knew we were asking for a two night stay. We understood the cancellation fee and agreed to it. An hour later, an e-mail confirmation arrived and the price had gone up 50%. The Trout called immediately and the "Mr." of the house answered the phone. Trout told him we had the e-mail prices quoted us and the price had gone up 50%. He said we were charged the correct price. Trout told him to cancel the reservation, because that is not what we agreed to. Trout also told him he understood that he would charge us the $50 for cancellation. Kind "Mr." said not this time because he had not put the charge through yet. Trout also mentioned that this place is the only one we have ever come across that submitted the credit card charge before we even got there. Mr. came back with "then you don't travel much!" Oh, no, that started the burners!! Trout told him he had traveled the world and had never found such a situation as this.
To end this sad tale, we are not going there nor ever will. If anyone reading is planning on going there, please e-mail me and I will let you in on this bad situation in the northeast.
He could have changed this situation into such a satisfying ending. We could have agreed on a price, he could have apologized, etc. After all, this is not a hotel chain--this man owns his own B&B.
Be careful and get everything in writing and if something sounds fishy, get out of there.
Every time something like this happens, I just lose a little more faith in mankind. I made a pact with myself a long time ago, that if I complain about someone or something, I will find someone to praise next. I am on the search, because this one was a doozy.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I have gone to laundromats in the past, and I just don't like that kind of job. When we were living in Germany in 1968-69, I went to the Army base laundromat. That I enjoyed, because it was the only time I could meet some other military wives and we could talk about places to eat, shop, etc. That was enjoyable. Any other time in the laundromat has been just short of highly unpleasant.
I said that a washer, especially, is my most needed in-house appliance. One time, when we moved to a rental home waiting to buy a new home, the house did not have a range/stove for cooking. Instead of buying one and then in 6 months buying a home with one, I opted to make it work. We had a microwave that was used daily and an electric frypan. With these two small appliances and an outdoor grill, we lived very comfortably for 6 months, December-June in Wisconsin. My mother took pity on the grandchildren and sent Easter eggs that year by UPS. Boiling was something I could not do very easily.
The Bichon, Kippy, has been a little difficult the last few days. The Vet said she needed some antibiotics because of a tooth that will probably need to be removed in June. She is over 13 years old. So, this antibiotic is a capsule like any human would take. It has turned out to be a 2 man job to get her to take it. One holding her and keeping her jaws spread, and the other one tossing the capsule down the throat. Twice a day, mind you, for 10 days. I thought we were doing pretty good until this noon I found one of the capsules stuck in her beard. She thinks she is so clever. I had some difficulty getting my two young daughters to take medicine as children, but nothing like this.
Big day tomorrow. All day we will be Orlando judging the Crisco pie contest. Did anyone say pie? I will let you know what flavors we tasted and judged and how it all turned out late tomorrow. I am very excited.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
One day, while The Trout is fly fishing for trout on the Connecticut River, I will be spending the day at the King Arthur Flour Mill, just outside of Norwich, Vermont. Can't imagine leaving that place without added weight. If you check out the website by clicking on King Arthur Flour Mill, you will see that most anything is available there. It seems the test kitchens are going all the time.
A quaint B & B in Kennebunk, Maine, will be a treat. Hoping to get my fill of lobster. I don't think it is lobster season, but will be searching for them anyway. If any of you readers know anything about the southern part of these 3 states, I would love to learn more.
Of course, we are both anxious to see L. L. Bean and Orvis. We have been getting these catalogues for years. We will be close to having every state covered by the end of this trip. The Trout has me beat though, as he has been in Alaska several times and I have yet to make that trip.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Daughter #1 asked for bags for the grandkids with their names on them for taking to the pool, sports events, etc. I love the embroidery part, but the sewing is something I don't like much anymore.
Back in the 70's, I sewed all of the girls' dresses. Made pinafores and the cutest matching red and white checked dresses with green frogs. For the life of me, I can't understand why they still bring up those dresses with an "Oh, Mommmm". I also sewed coats and jackets. For a while there, I was ordering down kits from a company that would go as far as to cut the material for your order, send the cut pattern pieces, the most complete instructions I have ever seen and the down. The down was compressed into plastic bags. You would sew the channels into the jacket or coat and then put a plastic bag of down into the channel and slowly open it, pinch shut the end and sew it closed. It worked beautifully and the jacket and down vest I made for The Trout were used for many, many years. I also sewed a beautiful teal, lined with black down coat, full length with a belt for myself. I loved that coat and it was so warm for the northern winters. It was only when we moved to Florida that I gave it to Goodwill. I know someone is very warm wearing it.
So, the down arrived in these compressed plastic bags and the whole kit was mailed in a cardboard box. In the 70's we had a breezeway connecting our A-frame home with the garage. We used to keep our beagle, Schatzie, in the breezeway because it was cool for her and she couldn't get out. People could get in though.
The UPS man left a package one day for the jacket for The Trout. Mr. UPS decided to open the breezeway door and put it in next to the beagle. Well, if this wasn't just about the best entertainment that dog could ever want! I guess she smelled the down feathers and since she had such a sensitive nose anyway, it got the best of her.
By the time we came home, the entire breezeway was filled with down floating all over and the beagle is just sitting there with her tongue hanging out as if to say, "I smelled it and I finally got it!"
This was not a cheap kit and I was not very happy. I finally decided the next day, after a tremendous job of cleaning up the down, that I needed to call this company. I explained what happened and the lady on the phone said that she knew I could never make up a story like that, so she resent all the down packages at no cost.
I also was not very good at sewing the binding onto placemats when I took Home Ec. in high school. I could do it so much easier by hand. Anyone been there?
Well, anyway, the grandkids almost have their bags. The embroidery is done and just have to finish the bags. All day it took and I am not done yet. I think I'll get back to knitting as I have a felted purse than needs finishing in the next 2 weeks.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
He states, "In the 1960's, American parents stopped going to their elders for advice and began going instead to mental health professionals--people like me." To sum this up, he is saying that professionals came up with something new; that high self-esteem is a good thing and all parents should make sure their children acquire it. It sounded good and was easy to market.
The evidence is now in that says people with high self-regard possess low regard for others. People with high self-esteem want to be served and paid attention to. The comment that caught my attention was "So to the question, 'Isn't it possible for a child to have high self-esteem and a high level of respect for others?' the answer is an unequivocal no."
Parents say they want their children to be confident. There is no evidence that people who are humble, modest, and possess high regard for others lack the belief they are capable of dealing with life's challenges. "The Amish do not value or promote high self-esteem. They call it being prideful."
And then there is the commonsense test. "Would you rather be employed by, work along-side, be close friends with, be married to a person with high self-esteem or a person who is humble and modest?" He finishes his column by saying that high self-esteem "has damaged children, families, schools and culture and we should begin the invigorating, rejuvenating process of finding our way back home."
I can remember when I was a young mother, all this self-esteem gobbledygook was coming out in books, etc. I am the first to admit that being a parent is a tough job. You do as your common sense guides you. You do as you saw your parents do, if it was right or not. This was your guide. You just do what you can, pray about it and keep your fingers crossed that your children will become caring and successful adults and parents themselves.
I do feel that too many books are being written and too many people are reading them. If a child can learn common sense by observing, a love for mankind and all that we are given in this world and a love of God, they can become parents and teach their own children that humility, modesty and love for one another is what can keep our world at peace.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
What he did remind me of was a spring ritual that used to take place in our home as I was growing up. Always near Easter, the dandelions would be foraged by my mother. With paring knife in hand, many women in the Amana's would go out into the yards and meadows looking for newly sprouted dandelions. They always searched for these dandelions where no dog has gone! Some ladies in the village were better at foraging than others, and they were often kind enough to share their finds.
It had to be done early before they bloomed, because then the leaves would be too bitter. The tender leaves would be separated from the outer leaves which would be discarded. Constant washing, over and over to remove all sand and dirt was necessary. And then, chopped into tiny little pieces, very tiny bits. Then placed in a colander and rinsed again and drained.
4 cups prepared dandelion greens
1 tablespoon diced onions
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 cups hard-cooked eggs, chilled and sliced
1/3 cup cream or half and half
Dash salt and pepper
In a medium-size skillet saute onions in fat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Combine water and vinegar and pour both into skillet. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Placed sliced eggs in empty salad bowl. Add cooked dressing and cream. Stir and add salt and pepper. Allow dressing to cool and then toss in prepared greens.
I remember my mother always thought eating this once or twice in the spring was important as she called it an elixir after a long cold winter in Iowa.
I remember this as tasting wonderful, but it does tend to have a bitter flavor. It's always what you grew up with that makes such good memories.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I have been asked about the village picture (lower middle). It was taken last May in France. Carennac, in the Midi-Pyrenees/Lot region of SW France is one of the most beautiful villages of France. (I often wonder who is judging this and making these comments.) It is almost impossible to say one French village is more beautiful than another. They all have their own beauty. Carennac has had human habitation since Neolithic times and the town is mentioned in records from the 10th century.
For Americans, this time period is very hard to wrap our minds around. I think that is one of the reasons I love traveling to Europe so very much. I get such a thrill walking these old streets and touching these old stone walls. It is simply breathtaking.
The picture above it was taken in the Loire Valley of the Trout and me during our 40th anniversary year.
Update on our sandhill friends. Baby took off again between the houses this morning and Mom and Dad were frantically searching for him/her. The Trout said it reminds him of a belligerent 2-year-old in a supermarket.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
We must shop differently than most of the population. There rarely is a coupon I can use. We generally shop the perimeter where you find produce, meats and dairy. The coupons seem to be for things I have never bought, though, today I did look through them. I found one for a soap product. I like those because I can save a $1 on something that isn't eaten. We don't buy frozen foods or vegetables so can't use those. I never see any for cheese or milk or eggs. Luckily our Publix does mark those down occasionally and you can buy without the coupon.
Seriously, isn't it a waste of time and money to produce this paper coupon stuff? I know, there are those who will argue with me, but I will not buy what I don't need just because there is a coupon. And, I have lived long enough to know if there is a brand I like, I will stick to it. But, on the other hand, I have changed to a lot of store brands on foods and find most of them comparable. Not all, but most. I feel if you go to the work to cook a nice meal, it does not pay to go cheaper with products. In fact, we occasionally drive to Tampa or Orlando to a Whole Foods Store because they carry wonderful organic foods and things that we like to use a lot. It is worth the trip and it is fun. I love Whole Foods.
Now, let's see if I find that soap coupon in my purse the next time I need it?
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Quick Choucroute Garnie
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage cut into 3 inch lengths, and halved (Tonight I simply used smoked pork chops and that makes it a much leaner meal)
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pound purchased sauerkraut, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme, more if fresh
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
Heat oil in large skillet and add sausages, meats, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn over, add onions and saute until onions are beginning to soften. (Now it really starts smelling good.) Cook about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with boiled red potatoes. We also had a lovely German Riesling from the Mosel that made the meal.
One hint I have is to throw out your old bottle or tin of caraway seed and buy a new one. It makes such a difference. I know you don't use it often and it does lose it's wonderful taste. And that goes for all spices. I have been dating them and you will be amazed how old they get quickly. Toss the old stuff and buy new. Food is too important to use flavorless spices.
Speaking of spices and herbs, we now are growing more than ever and they do so well here in Florida. We have a wonderful large rosemary shrub, oregano, thyme, basil, mint, chives, tarragon, and lavender. It is so wonderful to just open the door and go out and harvest what we need for dinner.
Oh yes, one more thing. You say you don't like sauerkraut? You really need to try this because cooking it this way with the caraway and the wine, just mellows it so much. It really is very, very good. Sehr gut, mein Freund!
Friday, April 3, 2009
It looks like she has been through chemo as she is obviously wearing a wig. She is frail and does not look well at all. But she is so kind. Today she grabbed my heart when after I had placed the meal in her kitchen, she told me that I was very kind to do this for her and then she said, "God is very pleased with you." Wow! That about blew my socks off.
We are both very surprised how fulfilling this little job has become. We actually did our route today without the map. Are we getting good, or what?
Tonight we are pretending to be in Alsace and having Choucroute for dinner. I plan on posting tomorrow.