Moving Day #2

Or maybe that’s Moving Day # 4.  The van lines moved us to our new home on August 4th and we have been moving things around, and in place since then.  Tomorrow, the POD company will be delivering the last of our belongings.  They will move a sixteen foot long POD onto our driveway, and we will spend the next couple of days decanting it into our garage.

Most of what is in the POD we boxed up 16 months go when we first put our home on the market.  There are at least fifty boxes of books, and two sets of china in the pod.  Beyond some kitchen things and some winter clothes, I actually don’t remember what else we will find.  THAT tells you that we should be able to part with a lot of what will be delivered.

The food processor, the blender, a very large box (or two) of yarn and the china.  Oh, and a curtain rod for one of my quilts.  That’s what I hope I’ll find!

I’ll be back when we finish the unloading.

Family Wedding

Dear Husband and I have just returned from a family wedding that was absolutely wonderful!  We traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, a place I had never visited.  More than one entire floor of a hotel was reserved for family and friends for the weekend.  Most of the visitors stayed through this morning, but we opted to return on Sunday.  We need to be ready for the last delivery of our belongings, and didn’t want to be caught in the Labor Day traffic.

The groom’s parents hosted a party following the rehearsal, Friday night.  Usually rehearsal dinners are limited to those in the wedding but this party was open to anyone who was in town for the wedding.  It was wonderful to be able to catch up with family and meet people soon to be a part of our family.  The groomsmen got together and did a humorous presentation of the groom’s life for the past six years that had everyone laughing.  They had a life-sized cut-out of the bride and groom, and moved it around the college campus and other sites to tell the story.

Saturday morning was devoted to shopping and hair appointments.  Later in the day we were shuttled to a private club for the wedding and reception.  The location was beautiful, the ceremony touching.  The entire wedding party was lovely, from the flower girls on up to the grandparents of the bride and groom!

There was a choice of sea bass or file mignon for dinner.  My favorite veggie, green beans, were served steamed, whole!  While the meal was wonderful, watching the kids dance was even better!  I’m used to seeing bodies move to music, but what was interesting about this group was that they were dancing to the lyrics!  You could see their bodies responding to certain phrases, or accenting words.  It was fascinating to watch.  It also made me wish I knew ALL the lyrics! lol  Lucky for me, there were a lot of oldies on the play list.

We rode a shuttle back to the hotel and crashed around midnight.  Sunday morning we were invited to brunch at the home of the parents of the bride.  Their gardens are fabulous!    We strolled through them before sitting down to eat and found several plants I couldn’t identify. They had TWO very functional veggie gardens, mostly blocked from view by shrubs, annuals and perennials.  What  a treat!

We chatted with our extended family, caught some hugs, and were on our way.  DH drove the entire day, letting me chat with him or read, as the mood struck.  We stopped every 90 miles or so to get out and stretch.  This time, we chose not to have a meal, which made the trip go a little faster.  Kudos to the Ohio service areas, which are exceptional!  I discovered plastic cups of strawberries to go at one kiosk, and snapped them up.

Our blessings go out to the entire family but especially to my great-nephew and his bride!  Congratulations!

Mid-Atlantic States

This morning, as I was doing the Sunday crossword puzzle, the question arose as to which state was at the bottom edge of the Mid-Atlantic states.  We weren’t sure if it was North Carolina, or Virginia.  I went to Wikipedia for information.

I was very surprised to find that New York, and West Virginia are included in the Mid-Atlantic states.  Personally I would have sent New York off with Connecticut, Rhode Island and the rest, and I see West Virginia as the lead to the Midwest.

Then I read this paragraph:

“The Mid-Atlantic is a relatively affluent region of the nation, having 43 of the 100 highest-income counties in the nation based on median household income and 33 of the top 100 based on per capita income. Most of the Mid-Atlantic states rank among the 15 highest-income states in the nation by median household income and per capita income.”

Although it shouldn’t, those statistics astonish me.  I thought the wealth of the nation was much more evenly distributed, but apparently, there are just pockets of wealth where there are large cities, such as Chicago, Denver, L.A. or San Francisco and their suburbs.

I think these statistics show that those who gravitate toward government most likely haven’t a clue about the nation’s distress.  They  live among the wealthy and probably assume that everyone has problems similar to theirs: should we buy a new BMW van for the family, or where will we go for vacation this year.

What Enron and the banks and automobile industry did to the wealthy is a far cry from what happened to those who were already living on the edge, and were hurt through the actions of others.  It’s not a question of should we buy a new car, but, can we afford a car at all.

I am no longer confident that a person who has less than several million in assets can get elected to the federal government.  I don’t know how to persuade the government that they need to focus on the issues of poverty at home, and I’m very concerned that they have eroded the financial base of the middle class.

I’m feeling very pessimistic this morning, and I’d like some good news about our government.  Does anyone have any?

Diagramming Sentences

I visited Facebook this morning and found a post by one of my nieces showing a diagram of the opening sentence of Franz Kaftka’s “Metamorphosis.”  In the post she asked if her readers remembered diagramming sentences.  I do!

Actually, I find that diagramming sentences helps to provide clarity of thought when you are writing.  I rarely do it any longer, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to resume the practice.

What astonished me was that the National Council of Teachers of English announced in 1985 that they feel diagramming is a “deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing.”  Wouldn’t you think that anything that promoted clarity in the use of language would be beneficial?

I was not an English teacher, but I disagree with their opinion.

Shades

One of the things that persuaded me to buy our “new” house was the color on the walls.  The previous owner had painted them in what I think of as “Tuscan” shades, or, mostly warm earth tones.  Of course, we looked at the condition of the house, the neighborhood, the garden, the utilities, and location, but I loved the warm colors.

I have a favorite house painter.  He painted and stained our last house, painting the entire inside at least twice.  He’s a gentleman, is pleasant to converse with, and never leaves a mess behind.  He’s generally right on time or even early, and his prices are in keeping with the state of the economy.  We’ve had a relationship for easily 25 years and he does a fine job!  Could a tradesman have a better reference than that?

The painter came yesterday to try to determine just what colors we needed to start painting the public areas of the house and our bedroom suite.  I want the house repainted, using as close to the same colors as possible.  The highest ceilings in the living room and dining room are a soft white.  In the living room the upper walls are a warmer shade.  We’ve been calling it “linen” for want of a better description.  The lower walls of the living room, and the bottom 3 1/2 – 4 feet of the foyer are an old gold, but a pale shade, rather than what you might  think of as a Renaissance “Olde Gold.”  The dining room looks like it’s been kissed by the sun, a lovely pale, pale shade of what’s in the living room, and that color continues on into the kitchen. The trim is all white, and our bedroom has white ceilings and the palest of green shades on the walls. This green is more of a mint, or related distantly to a spruce, than the yellower greens, like lime or celery.  I think that comes to five colors plus the white for the trim.

I was concerned about scheduling problems.  The painter has been on vacation the past two weeks, and will be going away again in September.  I want to look for furniture, and once the furniture is in, it will be more difficult to paint.  Lucky for me, it’s rainy and terribly humid outside today.  Our painter was rained out of an outside job, so he was able to get color samples and start the sitting room part of our bedroom.  I think we spent an hour talking with him about colors, before he went off to buy paint.

I’ll be able to look for the bookcases for the sitting room, and decide which books to keep, and then our painter will return in mid-September to finish the job.  Getting this little bit started makes me feel as though we are moving forward.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Expert

It is good to have an expert as a friend.  In this case, my friend is an expert at all things electronic.  Dear Husband has been trying to get things hooked up in the office and we’ve run into one problem after another.  He’s worked away, diligently, but some of the problems have seemed overwhelming.

So, yesterday, I sent a wail for help to My-Friend-The-Expert.  He called right away  and said that they had some time today, so we arranged for a mid-morning visit.  His wife is one of my quilting buddies. She came along for the ride and helped me to unpack my quilt fabric, while Dear Husband and MFTE worked in the office.  He got the sound to work on one computer, hooked another up to the internet resolved one mouse and one keyboard problem, made a printer recognize a third computer, and discovered why another printer was sending strange messages (it was damaged when it was delivered).  He also talked to two televisions to get the remotes to play nice.

Now, I told him that I wanted to HIRE him.  He was happy to be taken to lunch.  We went to Famous Dave’s.  I think there will be more dining out in the near future! lol

Thank God for those people who understand how all this STUFF works!

Boat Races

I should say, the CARDBOARD boat races!  I wish I had pictures that did the race justice.  United Way in our area hosted these races.  The competitors could use cardboard, Liquid Nails, Duct tape and paint to make their vessels.  Apparently there were no size restrictions because one, designed to look like an antique New Orleans hearse was big enough for eight people, plus one more, who was in a coffin that popped out the back of the hearse! lol

Surprisingly, very few of the boats sank.  I think there are a lot of experienced cardboard boat builders out there.  There were two pastel pink boats that looked like ballerina shoes and the girls and women who paddled them wore adorable ballerina attire complete with tutus.  Unfortunately, one of those boats turned over, but the other continued on strong for second place.

One of the boats that I thought would sink the moment the horn sounded was built in the shape of a Viking ship.  It was stronger than I thought and made it through it’s heat, although it wallowed a lot and was a bit tubby.

Another boat had very high sides and young paddlers.  The kids were using snow shovels as paddles, and lost one.  The Fire Department fished it out of the water and handed it back.  The kids were so short they couldn’t reach the water over the sides of the boat, and I don’t think they made it around the post and back.

There were three boats in the mechanical division.  Those had bicycle pedals and gears that ran propellers.  One of the boats had a malfunction three feet out of the starting gate.  That left a boat pedaled by one woman, and a boat that looked like a pencil with two guys pedaling.  Unfortunately, whoever designed the pencil boat must have been VERY TALL, and the two guys pedaling were average height.  They ended up lying on their backs and pedaling with their feet up in the air.  I’m not sure how they could see where they were going, but they made it through the course and won.

The Fire Department had a cardboard boat.  It was v-shaped and painted hot red.  Unfortunately just after it rounded the post, it dumped three rowers into the drink.  The guys showed true fireman spirit,  flipping onto their backs, grabbing the edge of the boat to bring it along, and kicking their way to the finish line.

At the end of the morning, anything which was still able to float was relaunched in the final race.  It was quite a hoot to see them all madly paddling the course, with a lot getting lower in the water by the minute.  Unfortunately, the firemen went into the drink with a repeat performance, and I think the VIkings got dunked too.

It’s safe to say that a good time was had by all, and I hope to attend next year!

Farmer’s Tomato Pie x 3

No, I didn’t make three of them.  This is just the third time I’ve felt the need to post about Farmer’s Tomato Pie.  My sister, Frankie, found this recipe and shared it with us.  It’s the perfect recipe for the heat of August, when tomatoes are at their peak.  It’s not the kind of recipe you’d make in February when all you can get is the cardboard they market as tomatoes.

You can use a store-bought pie crust for this recipe.  You can buy the bag of finely shredded Italian cheeses, if you don’t want to fill your refrigerator with cheese.  But, you need to have warm from the garden tomatoes and freshly picked basil for this to live up to its mouth-watering promise.

I might not have made this recipe this year, given that we’ve been moving, but Frankie brought me all the tomatoes I needed from her own garden, and a large bouquet of basil, to boot!  It was part of an incredibly generous housewarming gift that included dried herbs from her garden, dill vinegar which she had made, and three plants, in pots that she had also made.  She hit all the things that we love in common, including a bottle of wine!  Thanks, Sis, for such a wonderful gift!

So, for those of you who may be interested, here’s the recipe:
Farmer’s Tomato Pie

30 minutes preparation
32 minutes baking
10 minutes stand time
1 piecrust
1 1/3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese (5 ? oz.)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Fine dry breadcrumbs
2 lbs. Ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
1 cup Cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 cup loosely packed small basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Pie crust
Roll out a prepared piecrust to a twelve-inch circle. Place in a 9″ quiche pan or a 9″ pie pan, and trim. If using a pie pan, crimp the edges. Line the unpricked pastry with TWO thicknesses of foil. Bake 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 4-5 minutes, until set and dry. Remove from the oven.
Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.
Filling
Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese evenly over baked shell.
Sprinkle garlic over cheese.
Sprinkle 2 tsp. Breadcrumbs over garlic and cheese
Top with 1/3 of the tomato wedges and 1/3 of the cherry tomatoes
Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese
Sprinkle 2 tsp of the dry breadcrumbs
Top with 3 of the tomato wedges and 1/3 of the cherry tomatoes
Repeat last set of instructions once more and then sprinkle with salt.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and tomatoes are just beginning to brown.
Remove to wire rack
Sprinkle with basil and let stand for 10 minutes

 

Conditioning

I am a creature of conditioning.  I’ve been spending a quiet morning at my computer, sitting in the dining room where I can look out over the street.  Just a moment ago, a police car drew up to the curb, and I immediately rose and went to the window, wondering what was WRONG!!!

Actually, he had pulled over so that a larger vehicle would have room to pass.  There was nothing wrong, but that was the first thought to come to my mind.  Apparently it’s not just criminals who worry when a cop shows up.

I’m old enough that I recall being taught as a child that a policeman was my friend.  I don’t know if parents still teach that to their children.  Certainly, the younger generation has a different attitude about the police than we did way back when.

It has to be difficult for the police to do their job when it feels as though everyone dislikes them.  I have a nephew who  has just retired from a police force.  I’ll have to ask him if he felt the general public disliked having contact with cops.

I’m free to go about my business this morning.  I think I’ll go make my bed..

Pruning

Our tiny lot is being groomed, today.  A crew has been pulling weeds, pruning shrubs, adding mulch and removing one eyesore of a plant.  When they are done with the garden, i expect them to mow the lawn.

Dear Husband hopes to be able to turn the mowing over to them.  We have such a tiny lawn, that we should be able to do it, but his heart is not in lawn care.  The lawnmower should return from the repair shop today, so we’ll see what happens.

While we were between houses, I farmed out my house plants and eleven pots of iris and other outdoor garden plants.  Once the men finish the gardens, I’ll need to get out and get the iris planted.  I also have three plants that my youngest sister gave me, in pots of her own making!  There’s a blue salvia, a bellflower, and a lovely variegated hosta that need to be planted.

I’ll still have the opportunity to get my fingers dirty, but I appreciate the push to get things into shape, today.