Instead of packing, like I should be, for our summer trip, I found a picture I have been looking for, for a very long time. This was taken in the Turks and Caicos in 1994. I have always loved this picture because I felt I got a lot of dimensional elements into one snapshot. This is truly how beautiful blue the water is and can't you just hear the surf? One of my favorite places in the world.
Not that often, but every once in a while, I get the genealogy bug. A cousin of mine has done a lot of research, and Marianne has been kind enough to share with me. Sometime back, she enlightened me to a website of a place in Klagenfurt, Austria, that is owned by our ancestors.
Yesterday I went back onto that website and saw that more pictures had been added. They own a pension, or gasthaus in Austria. This home was originally owned by my ancestor, Hans Kleinsasser, who was born in 1689. It is still in the Kleinsasser family.
There was an email address on the website, so in my fractured German spelling, I made myself known and gave pertinent details of our possible relation and I got an email back several hours later telling me that we are related. Can you imagine? This goes back 320 years. He was willing to answer any questions I may have, so have started a list to ask this gentleman, my relative!
Now this town goes onto my "Bucket List." What is so very strange is that back in 1991, I was actually in the town where this man lives. I wish I had known then what I know now.
So, this goes onto my genealogy postings here and hopefully more information will be added soon. Anyone want to make a quick trip to Austria, to meet my relatives and visit cemeteries and churches? I do know that Europe has the tradition of unburying old graves to make way for new generations, or they bury them very, very deep to keep adding family members on top. There is a shortage of land over there and this seems like a positive solution to a centuries old dilemma.
A lot of barking going on this morning. Unless company comes to the house, Kippy is very quiet. She loves having the front door open so she can look through the glass storm door and see everything that goes by. This morning was she was so upset, I had to go and check it out.
A large turtle was cruising on the road and then made its way into our yard, heading to the pond behind our house. I have been searching to identify this turtle for some time and I am just not sure what it is. It has this hog-nosed head and that is what I have been calling it. We usually have several in the water or sunning on the shore, but I have never gotten this close to one. I understand some turtles are very aggressive, so I was very cautious.
Kippy watched from inside where she was safe, but you know she really wanted to be right there and in its face. When Kippy was a year old, during the snowy winter, a rabbit made made its way into a fenced back yard where we let Kippy out to play and do her jobs. We saw the rabbit there and Kippy wanted out very badly. We let her out, she pounced onto the rabbit and the rabbit lay there dead. It looked like she scared the rabbit to death as there was no blood or damage. She is also usually very gentle with small dogs, but large dogs, she thinks she can conquer them and gets this crazy female attitude like "I'm so much greater than you are!"
The Trout and I have not had a lot of pets in our married life, but we have had unusual pets. We bought our first pet on our honeymoon. A toucan. Can you imagine? And we took this toucan to live in northern Iowa over the winter. He was doing fine, slinging mashed bananas around his cage until a teacher friend wanted to take him to school for Show and Tell. He caught a cold and one morning I found him dead on the floor of his cage. We only had him about 6 months and sorry to say, I don't even remember what we named him. And no, darn, I do not have a picture of him.
Next a friend found a fox den where it looked like mama fox had been killed. We took a baby fox and he was so much fun. He would eat out of our hands. We had a dog collar on him and one day he escaped and a neighbor seeing a fox running through this small town shot him. I don't remember his name either, but I do have a picture. We did learn that wild animals are meant to be in the wild. Do not bring them home.
Then, also during this year, we (or should I say he had an owl named Ollie.) The Trout would go to the local chicken hatchery and buy dead chicks to feed to the owl. The Trout was still in college at this time and luckily we had a landlady that let him keep the owl in the backyard. After graduation and leaving college, the owl was given to a friend. (Beware of friends bearing gifts--or something like that.)
Those were the strange pets. Sometime I'll tell you about the beagle we had for 17 years. She is worth a whole posting.
Father's Day started last night around here. The Trout grilled a perfect steak and we had a marvelous salad using the 1905 salad dressing we bought at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. But the dessert--which is not common at our house--was the 'icing on the cake'.
My blogging friend, Mary, at "One Perfect Bite" always has the best recipes and we try 9 out of 10 and are always happy with the results. She gave the recipe for Blackberry Cobbler and it sounded wonderful. So, when I saw blueberries at the grocer this morning at a very good price, I knew I had to try it.
The Trout was very happy and said, "keep this recipe. I like the crunchy top." Mary said to follow the directions to a tee and I will admit, the topping sounded a little strange to me, but I followed orders as a good little soldier. No other cobbler recipes need be tried. This is the best and I can just imagine it will all sorts of fruit. I will admit that I forgot the buttermilk at the grocery store, but substituted one cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar which I let set for a few minutes. It worked just fine. As Mary says, throw away all other cobbler recipes and I have to agree 100%. After this, you need not look further.
Thank you, blogger friend, Mary, for making Father's Day weekend extra special around here.
For some reason, I have been thinking of an area of France for the last several days. It lies in the NW corner of France, between Brittany and Normandy. It is called Mont Saint-Michel. If you have not seen it, please put this on your "Bucket List" as one of the most breathtaking and unbelievable "rocks" to see.
Mont Saint-Michel was a 250 foot high rock with sheer sides. It is made of granite and for thousands of years has resisted erosion from wind and water. In the 8th century Bishop Aubert dedicated this rock to Saint Michael. Ever since then, it has been an island. Through the years, an abbey was built, a town and other than tourist shops, it remains as it has always been.
Now here is the amazing part. The tide in the bay where it stands, is among the strongest in the world. The difference in depth of water between low and high tide in the same place is around forty feet. The beaches are almost completely flat. The sea has to come in many miles in just a few hours before reaching high water mark, and it comes in at an amazing speed and can be quite dangerous for people fishing or walking on the beach. Visits to the island are timed with the tide.
I think often of the drive as we neared it. Way off in the distance we could see the top of the abbey steeple. As we got closer it became more and more amazing.
What are we coming to? Without getting my tail into a snare, I must make a comment here. There is actually a "group" out there that wishes that President Obama had taken a more "humane attitude" toward killing a fly that was bothering him while he was being interviewed. Are you kidding me? I thought it was the greatest feat of tracking flight patterns that I have ever seen. Do people have so much time on their hands to be lurking everywhere and looking for "mistakes or human failures." Some things are wrong and then somethings are just plain exaggerated. God Bless America!!
Just how many passwords can one pull out of a hat? Once you own a computer, you quickly enter the world of 'passwords.' This is good, because you do want the security that no one is allowed into your private sites except you. Once you start to do banking on line, it is even more important.
It is suggested that you keep changing your password on a regular basis, for safety and security reasons. But, when their system screws up, you have no choice but to change your password. This happened to us this week. But, the system kept locking us out, so we ended up trying at least 4 different passwords before we were allowed in. Are you kidding? At this age, it is even difficult remembering your phone number AND your cell number. We have the large 'cheat' list of all the passwords, but we are running out of ideas of passwords to use.
I'm thinking we need to start using passwords such as flower names, or how about cooking terms such as braise, broil or poach. You almost need a theme because it can be very difficult when you are on the phone and asked for a new password. And then, of course, some of these sites want a number or a symbol such as an asterisk. And, what would happen if this master list is lost?
So my advice is plan your theme ahead and when at an unexpected moment you are asked to change your password, make sure you are ready with your 'poach1*'.
It was a good day, but an extremely hot day. We started out with 90% humidity today and it did not get any better. The men went to play golf at Disney this morning, and the women went to Celebration, the Disney designed small town nearby for lunch at Columbia Restaurant. In one of the beautiful park areas of Celebration, I found someone enjoying the 'dog days of summer'. This was a very huge dog and he was loving it. For one brief moment, I thought about joining him.
And then I get home and my wonderful surprise was here. I won the drawing last week at "At Home with the Farmer's Wife" and Suzanne sent me the book I won, Cindy LaFerle's "Writing Home." Thank you so much, Suzanne, I will enjoy this and will save it for reading in the mountains of Montana next month.
Even though it was quite warm yesterday, we had a desire to cook Red Beans and Rice. Many years ago, back to the days of the Michael Douglas Show, Louis Armstrong was a guest and he cooked Red Beans and Rice. I tried it immediately (those were the days when I was doing the cooking and the Trout still went to work). We loved it--at least we have fond memories of enjoying the dish.
However, because of several moves, the recipe was lost. I have been searching the Internet for years looking for Louis' red bean recipe. We tried one that was supposed to be his 'original' several months ago, but it was not very good. So, when I saw Sam's recipe on "My Carolina Kitchen" blog, I knew we had to try it. It was very, very good!
I have a picture of the completed dish and I also took a picture of my latest project. I am working on my embroidery machine again and I just had to make a kitchen towel with my blog's name. It was fun and it looks good with my red small appliances and pots. Yes, I know--the towel needs ironing!
Sam has a great blog "My Carolina Kitchen" and you will find the Red Beans and Rice recipe here.
I think it has been over a year now that I have been on "Facebook". I asked myself, "why would someone my age want to be on Facebook?" I slowly sneaked in at first. I knew both my daughters were on, so I thought I would be able to see family photos and such. And then it started.
Someone "found" me and asked to be my friend. I still was hesitant, asking myself if I really wanted to get involved. And then, "why not?" So, I have a few friends. Certainly not the number that some have. I mean, if you have over 100 friends, how many of these people are really important friends?
This is what "Facebook" has done for me. It has reunited me with a former high school teacher which has been a wonderful memory booster. We discuss situations and people we knew in high school and it just is a refreshing relationship now that we are good friends. Would you believe I still have a slight hesitancy calling him by his first name?
I also am in contact with my nieces and nephews and son-in-laws, grandchildren and the most fun has been being in touch with friends I was in grade school with. Now that is a real friendship.
I have just connected with "children" who lived in our neighborhood over 30 years ago. These children have certainly grown up and have started their own families. There is no way, other than "Facebook" that we would have reconnected. I am so enjoying it.
I have become friends with many other bloggers since I started my blog Schnitzel and the Trout last fall, and even a blogger from Europe is one of my friends on Facebook.
And then, there is the addiction on "Facebook"...the crazy, crazy games. There are many games to choose from. The one that has me mesmerized right now is "Bejeweled Blitz". Do not, I repeat, do not get involved unless you have a couple of free minutes a day. The game only lasts one minute....it is the repeat games that get you!
And the last thing that gets me are the crazy quizzes. They are so silly and in no way could possibly bring out personality traits, but it is so funny and strange when the answers to these quizzes describe you right on. And, your friends even recognize you in your results.
And NO, I will not get involved in Twitter. I do not have that much time. And, who cares what I am doing minute to minute. I will say, if I were much, much younger, this would be an excellent networking option in finding a job and so forth.
Our neighbor has some beautiful hydrangeas in her yard. These flowers are so amazing to me. The color depends on how much acid there is in the soil. I have a friend in Texas, who says her daughter has beautiful blue hydrangeas in her Texas garden.
These two pictures are from the same plant here in Florida. I think this is the most beautiful flower.
On the other hand, we decided when we had to cut our hibiscus hedge way back because of frost damage this winter, that we would throw in a package of cucumber seeds under the hibiscus came back. Well, the cukes have gone crazy and they really taste good. There will be plenty more.
Once again, I have been enjoying the PBS series on TV entitled "Rock, Rhythm and Doo Wop." This is the music which influenced me as a young person and still "rocks" me today. How I love Jay Black when he signs "Cara Mia." We were fortunate, two years ago, to see Jay Black in person. He put on a tremendous show, has a wonderful sense of humor, has aged-maybe not so beautifully- but still a very likable man.
I think when you hear this early 1965 recording of "Cara Mia" it will bring back memories. Mind you, this was recorded almost 45 years ago and he still has that beautiful falsetto voice and can hit the notes and hold them the full time. I absolutely love hearing this sung by Jay Black!!
Blogger will not let me get the youtube video up for you to click on, but this will take you to it. Enjoy!!
We had our favorite burger of late last evening. It is the second time we tried it and it is very different and very tasty. We saw this burger win on the Food network contest, maybe 2 years ago. It is made from lamb, not beef, therefore won in the Alternative Burger category.
Opa! Burger was submitted by Elizabeth Bennett, from Mill Creek, Washington, and I give her credit for this recipe. Tonight, because we did not have have fresh spinach on hand, I substituted spring green lettuce. We also substituted sauteed fresh mushrooms instead of soaking the dried porcini in the Shiraz.
D-Day, the 6th of June. How often have we heard this and do we really know what our American soldiers went through?
In 2005, The Trout and I were fortunate to make a trip to Normandy, France. It was a most memorable trip that we often talk about. Of course, every June 6th, we start thinking about all we saw there.
Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, an outcrop of rock with 30 meter high cliffs that Col. James Rudder and his US 2nd ranger battalion scaled on the morning of June 6 to silence a German gun battery on top. The craters on the top of this cliff are unbelievable. The bombing must have been beyond belief.
But the most remarkable and memorable was entering the American Military Cemetery. Pristine white marble crosses are lined up in perfect rows. There are 9,387 graves which include 4 women nurses, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the oldest soldier in the group who did not die in action, but of a heart attack in July, 1944, and two of the brothers inspired by Spielberg's film, Saving Private Ryan. There are also 307 graves to soldiers whose identity is unknown. The saying on the marble altar above says "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish."
As we entered this outdoor sanctuary, many people where there, all silent. We were entering a beautiful church set in the most breathtaking scenery in NW France. I silently asked The Trout as we were talking, "why are there no names on the grave crosses?" No answer. We just kept walking. As we reached the end of a row, we paused and looked back to where we came from. It was a breathtaking experience, because there, we saw all the names of the soldiers who were buried there. You see, the crosses were all facing west, toward America. How perfect, how fitting a resting place for these proud soldiers. They were still looking toward home, AMERICA!
I got a new picture of the baby sandhill crane today. It is amazing how he/she has grown since the last picture in April. See the sandhill here. He actually seems to be behaving more and sticking close to mom and dad.
This is a crepe myrtle, or crape myrtle, or known as Lagerstroemia. This is a beautiful tree that grows in the south and it is very heat tolerant. Crepe myrtles come in pink, fuchsia, red, coral/apricot, and near white colors. They bloom from mid summer to mid fall and actually have blooms for 60 days or more. Unfortunately for all the snowbirds who go north in the summer, they miss the beautiful color, because it is just a simple, boring, green-leaved tree in the winter and doesn't bloom until June. Crepe myrtles are beautiful, and I am glad I am here to enjoy them this year.
Things are getting back to normal around here, and now we are starting to plan the next trip in a month. We will be heading north after the 4th of July to Iowa, Wisconsin and then to the cabin in Montana until mid October. It's refreshing to think about, because it is really hot in Florida right now. Early morning is beautiful, though, for a walk, with a lot of dew on the grass. Kippy, the Bichon, is moping, missing her buddy in Ohio, Jeter. They get along so well. They teach each other naughty tricks like barking at the mailman (actually, Kippy taught Jeter that one.) Just wait until she realizes she has a 3000 mile trip in front of her, just after getting off of a 1000 mile trip.
After this last tragic Air France plane crash, and the talk about finding the "black box" in the tail of the plane to explain the last few minutes of flight, I can't help but think that with all the technology in the world, is it not possible to transmit this information, real time, immediately to place of origin? I don't understand why this is not possible? Guess I need to ask my pilot brother that one.
Heading to Tampa this afternoon to take our friends to the airport. On the way home will make our monthly swoop through Costco. For many years, we stayed away from Sam's Club, Costco, etc., because we felt it was not practical for two people. However, we have started comparing prices and quality available, and we really enjoy going to Costco. You need to be organized though and we never buy more than what we can use, consume in one month's time. That way, things don't get lost in the freezer or refrigerator and I have actually started a list of what is in the freezer and posted it on the outside of the door. It helps planning meals and like I said, it helps in not losing track of foods.
The trip isn't over until the mail has been collected and the laundry is done! We are getting there slowly. Got home at noon today and have been flying ever since.
Last night was unusual. We spent the night in South Carolina because we had driven 11 hours during the day. Because we are always traveling with a dog, we have stayed in motels that are happy to have dogs as guests. I can see now that I will need to do more research before the next trip. This brand of motel is getting worse and worse. Trying to get a reservation by phone while on the road, the last few times we have encountered accent problems. It seems more and more motels are being managed by people with East Indian heritage. They cannot understand our accent and we cannot understand their accent. So after trying to spell our last name at least 6 times, we just told him to forget it and we took our chances. Yes, we got a room.
Next, we got into the motel and were hungry for Chinese. Wrong idea! We called the local Chinese restaurant that delivers, and could not get our accent across to the Chinese lady on the other end. So, we drove to find it. It was still very difficult to make them understand at the restaurant what we wanted to order.
The Trout and I looked at each other and felt like we were in a foreign country. Is there something wrong with this picture? We have traveled to Europe often, and we always make an extra effort to speak the language as much as possible and try to fit in as "when in Rome."
Enough said. The frustration is over. This is America and all are welcome. This sure makes RV travel sound a lot better, doesn't it?