Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hello August

Hello August, you are here and I'm going to embrace all that you have in store for me.  The 12th is my 49th birthday, so I'm on that count down to the big 50!  In the UK the 12th is referred to as the Glorious 12th- it's opening day for shooting red grouse, and the tradition goes back to the Game Act of 1831.   There's your history lesson-you're welcome.  My UK family always reminds me of the glorious day along with their birthday wishes.   The card pictured is an early birthday card from my friend Brenda-it says a lot about what I think August will be all about.

Not only is it my birthday month, but I'll get to spend 1/2 of the month with my family in a much cooler climate- Vancouver and Alaska- can't wait!  There will plenty of photos during this time.

This month I'll also be embracing having Andrew home from school until he finds a job.  That means someone to help with the cooking and grocery shopping and a built in dog sitter.  While I hope he finds a job soon, it will be nice having him at the apartment to dog sit while we are gone.  Sophie loves having Andrew home, but the trade off is having Andrew's dog Cocoa here too.  She'll adjust-right?!

In a nutshell I'm going to take in all that August has to offer me and live in the moment.  I hope August is very good to you-

Monday, July 31, 2017


In order to prepare our family trip to Alaska I decided to test drive a couple lenses in advance to see what I might like to use.  Mary's suggestion to visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for their Cocktails in the Gardens seemed like the perfect place to give this a go.  I've decided to go with the 18-300 mm telephoto zoom and not rent the 10mm-24mm wide angle.  My Nikon has a 18-55mm lense already which is actually pretty good.  I think taking the telephoto will be all I will need, and be able to manage for special photos.  Here are some of the photos from the Gardens.
I took this to show how close I could get-this isn't even fully zoomed in.  You can get an idea of distance in the photo below.

A chihuly piece

 I tried to capture this hummingbird but he was a little too fast, but I was able to get pretty close!
 More of the Atlanta skyline-I used to work just to the left of the tallest building.

The Earth Goddess is one of my favorite installations.  I got a really close photo, but the it was not very clear.

Another one of Chihuly's permanent installations


 Mary and I were pretty intrigued by the bog plants at the Skyline Garden, the Garden's latest addition.  The Venus Flytraps really do much fun to play with these plants!

Another carnivorous plant in this section was the sarracenia-insects are attracted by the color and nectar and then end up falling into the plant.
I know I still have some practicing to do with the lens, and fortunately I'll have it a few days before we leave.  In the meantime I'm going to get acquainted with my "big" camera again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Weekending-Quick Peek

Friday started with margaritas and the Atlanta United vs Orlando game.  This team is so much fun to watch.  Saturday DID start with a flat tire, but that didn't stop me from riding in doors, and getting caught up on some TV shows.  Steve had to work so I spent the day knitting on Tide Chart, and finished listening to The Rosie Project, such a delightful book.  I felt Don was a combination of Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock-so much fun.

On Sunday I was able to get out for a ride and try a new route-so satisfying.  To celebrate the final day of the Tour de France I made this Smoked Salmon Tarte FlambĂ© featured on Ann Mah's blog.  It was so delicious and easy.  I added the tomatoes, and will definitely make this again.

I was TOTALLY bummed that Peter Sagan was disqualified after Stage 4, but was still pleased that Froome managed to handle the lead for such a long time; this race is definitely not for the faint of heart.  Seeing the tour in person is on my bucket list-sooner rather than later!
Sunday afternoon we had plans with friends to see Annie Get Your Gun,  the last show for the Stage Door Players  2016-2017 season.  We've already booked our season tickets and look forward to another great season of shows.  The show was followed by an early dinner at the King  George Tavern, one of our favorite places to eat.  They've changed their menu a little bit, and we couldn't resist trying a couple new, and very decadent dishes.  It was too dark in the restaurant to take a group photos, but maybe next time.

This next weekend will feature another match between the AtlUtd and Orlando, Andrew will be home for a while, and my regular meet up with my sewing friends.  I hope your weekend had some highlights that made you smile.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Staying Cool

Carole and Kat's prompt is about staying cool during the summer.  Right now thinking about Alaska in mid-August when  Atlanta is guaranteed to be hot as all get out is keeping me cool.  Also, since I really like cold cold water I try to consume as much of that as I can.  Mary's yummy looking cocktail has me looking at other solutions.  Along with that I try to stay inside during the hottest part of the day, and since I'm a morning person this is pretty easy.  I've lived in Atlanta all my life and I remember days when it was well over 100 degrees, but don't remember the heat bothering me as much as it does now.  Our house did not have central air, but we did have an attic fan which seem to work pretty well.  We only had one level, so maybe thats why it seemed to do the job.  Like Carole says-this is only temporary!

Book Bingo 2017

I finally got BINGO after finishing Matters of the Heart.  So here's a run down on what I've read -

Small Great Things-Jodi Picoult-Protagonist with a different ethnicity from your own- this was a book club read and it got 1 star from me on Good Reads.  After our discussion I was not the only one who had the same thoughts on the premise of the story, so I didn't feel bad about not liking the book.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption-Bryan Stevenson-Sub-title on the Cover-another book club choice by someone who insist we read more non-fiction.  This one also got 1 start.  Just not something I'd choose to read, but since it got me a BINGO square-there you go.

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds-Alexander McCall Smith-Story within a Story-probably a bit of a stretch by Smith's books always has "other" story lines.  I wanted to get caught up on a couple of his series, so his books will make a frequent appearance this summer.

Ruddy Gore: A Phyrne Fisher Mystery-Kerry Greenwood-Made into a TV Series-if you've seen the series you'll know why I couldn't resist giving the book a try.  It read very different than the TV series, and I don't think I'll read any of the others.  I like the TV series much better.

The Girl Before-JP. Delaney-Originally Published this Year-This popped up in my Overdrive so I gave it a go.  It tried too hard to be like The Girl on the Train.  It was just kind weird-but hey-another BINGO square.  Can't win them all can you?! [Audiobook]

The Importance of Being Seven-Alexander McCall Smith-Number in the Title-I just love Bertie, and the continued saga on 44 Scotland Street makes it a fun story to read.

A God in Ruins-Kate Atkinson-Free Square- I listened to this and enjoyed it.  I will probably give some of Atkinson's other books a try.

Sea Change-Karen White-Set in a Place you'd like to know more about.  Enjoyed the flash backs to the past in this book which is set in St. Simon's Island area which is in my home state, but a place I have only been to one time.  Although we studied Ga History in the 8th grade, I feel like I should probably know more about my home state-especially before the Civil War.

Bertie Plays the Blue-Alexander McCall Smith-Title that's a character's name- My favorite 6 year old!

Heart of the Matter-Emily Giffin-An author from the state where you live-I've read her other books and the first couple were good and then they sorta feel short.  I had hoped that this one would show that she had developed as an author, but it also fell short.  I'll admit I was a little disappointed.  Perhaps I should have read Mary Kay Andrews newest book-she's hilarious and her characters are endearing.

That's what I've got so far, and currently I'm reading Faithful Place by Tana French, listening to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion which is proving to be delightful-and is also a book club selection. Also, I'm reading Mercy by Daniel Palmer and Michael Palmer which is a book club selection and I'm not sure yet where it'll fit in with BINGO right now.  So many books and so little time!

Monday, July 17, 2017


Hi! for sure it has been a while. I sincerely am trying to get back into the groove of doing posts. There has been lots going on despite the silence.  With Mary's help by email, and this wonderful diagram I finally got moving along on Tide Chart.  I spent a good chunk of Saturday working on it, and by Sunday afternoon had divided for the sleeves.  I'm hoping that I'll have it finished for our trip to Alaska in 29 days!  My plan is to start knitting the sleeves after a few more rows on the body, and then if I don't have it finished it'll make great airplane knitting.  Last week I work feverously on Stillwater.

and have plans to try Beckett and Brookings by Marie Greene.  If these are as well written as Stillwater they are going to be great additions to my wardrobe.

We had a short visit with Andrew on Saturday, he will be staying with us while he looks for a job, so he brought a load of stuff to put in storage and spent the rest of the day hanging out.  I'm looking forward to having him home for a bit, and we are also we're hoping he'll be able to dog sit for us while we're gone too!  I've been wanting to visit the cemetery where my grand parents, great-grand parents, and one set, possible 2 great-great grandparents are buried.   I was named after my great-great grandmother on my dad's dad's side, and last time I visited I couldn't find the head stone.  I was a bit worried that the engraving had weathered to the point of being unreadable.  However, that was not the case, and I made notes as to the location of the grave sites.  It's really sad to see how much this cemetery has been neglected its quite old and dates back to 1836.  Maybe I'll get involved with the Roswell Historical Society at some point.  I definitely want to go back when we're not getting eat up  by mosquitos and try to tidy up my family plots.  The main headstone for the Bowens had fallen over, and I'd like to have that put back to rights.

Steve and Sophie came with me so we had a nice afternoon getting out of the apartment, and of course, the promise of pizza helped too!  We ate at Diesel, which is a converted car repair garage which I would by on my way to and from school as a kid often stopping to talk to the mechanic nicknamed "Pickle".  

It was definitely a weekend to be Italian as I've been craving spaghetti, not just meat sauce, but the noodles, so I made sauce on Saturday, set up my pasta machine I bought a few months ago, and voila!  So tasty!  I have been using buckwheat flour for the last few batches to cut down on the gluten, and I plan to do a bit more experimenting with home made pastas. Andrew has promised to not pack up his pasta machine- the hand crank kind, so we can try out some ravioli and pappardella.

The weekend was also filled with reading for Summer bingo, blog reading, watching the Tour de France, Wimbledon, soccer, a bit of laundry, and binge watching Turn.  Whew-no wonder I was tired when i hit the sack!  Hope your weekend had lots of things that made you smile

Friday, March 31, 2017

New Things

A couple weeks ago I embarked on a 2 week clean eating plan.  The plan's purpose is to give your body a rest for when you've over indulged during the holidays.  The focus is on eating whole/ancient grains, lean proteins, and plenty of vegetables, very little daily and refined flour/sugar, plenty of fiber, and no processed foods.  The plan also stipulates no alcohol, but I opted for just significant limits.  The plan is well laid out with menus and shopping lists, and most meals have leftovers that are used either in another dish or serve as another meal.  I ended up not needing the 2-week of meals as I had plenty leftover to accommodate the next week, and for dinners I opted for smart meals as I didn't want to fix 2 meals, and so Steve and I could eat the same thing.  Also, Andrew was home a few days last week, so I guess I was a little outvoted!  Overall I don't think I actually feeling any better, but I'm glad I did this plan as it allowed me to put more thought into what I'm eating and try some new things and new combinations.  Some of the hits included the banana smoothie muffins.  These were breakfast for about 8 days, 2 muffins + 1 cup of warmed almond milk served as a breakfast, and 1 muffin could serve as a snack.  These were really good, and even Steve liked them, but didn't want to know what went into them.  Aside from the baking ingredients that made them muffins [flour, sugar, baking powder], the had bananas, spinach and strawberries.  All you really tasted was the bananas-so good.

Also, I had for several lunches and dinner the spicy chicken chili made with ground chicken, red kidney beans and lots of spices.  However, this was not a spicy dish and I added hot sauce cause I like things spicy.  I added kale and spinach to get the extra vegetable in there too.  I will be making this receipt again.  2 days the plan called for a tofu scramble, now I've had tofu before, and find it a pretty good protein substitute, the recipe for this plan called for a sweet potato, kale, tofu and a variety of spices.  I found this dish surprisingly good, the turmeric give the tofu the egg-y color, and the kale and potatoes, while not typical for breakfast, worked in this dish.  This has piqued my interest in trying more tofu dishes.
One of the snack options was Matcha Latte-Matcha Green tea is the highest quality powdered green tea and has a long tradition in Japanese culture.  I found this at our Kroger in the health food/organic section.  It's pretty pricey, but it has an interesting taste and when combined with hot almond milk really did make for a nice treat.  There are even special utensils to make the tea in the traditional manner-not sure I'll delve fully into this, but I enjoyed trying this as I don't normally drink green tea.

Other things I tried was a pecan pie smoothie which was blended tofu-sweet potato-and spices.  It was okay, but don't know if I'd go to the trouble to make it again.  Also, there was a cauliflower curry that was good, but not as good as other Indian dishes I've had.  Overall I have to say it was an interesting experience, and I will certainly take what I've learned about ingredients and portion control, and continue to apply it to my eating habits.  I also got clued into the Yoga Studio App which I am loving.  I've done a few sessions, and the time really goes by fast.  I've ordered a new yoga mat that I hope will be here soon.

I'm always up to something new that's good for me, so we'll see how long the good eating habits last.  What's new with you?