Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Home Depot had these seed starter packs on clearance for 50 cents. I couldn't resist. I've never grown anything from seeds before. I'm not counting the grade school project of putting a bean in a wet paper towel to watch it sprout.  I have no idea what I'm doing. I've learned from the internet that growing veggies inside in Ohio in Fall and Winter I need to add a light source so they get over 6 hours of light a day. I've learned to not let them dry out. However, I have mold growing on the pellets from too much moisture. At least I think that's why there is mold growing on the little pellets.

Sitting on top of the turn table is probably not the best place for them. So, my next DIY project is to put up some shelves across this window.

I just hope they don't die.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Actually Cleaned Something

This "wall hanging" was a special gift from my daughter. She knows how I am.
These frig magnets were gifts from people who know how I am. (& still love me)
When I say I actually cleaned something, it really is a big deal! (I should have a magnet about cat hair. "Cat" is a long-haired Himalayan, so yeah, we have cat hair!)

I did indeed actually clean something and that something was the kitchen pantry. I'm not going to embarrass myself online and tell you how long it's been since I cleaned the pantry. The truth is one of my kids cleaned it last. But since I'm an empty nester now, well, that leaves only me.  So when I began to smell a stench in there, fearing a dead field mouse, I knew that I had to tackle the pantry. We live near a golf course so when the weather gets a little chilly the critters will find their way into any home that isn't sealed up tight. Whatever it was in there, it smelled dead.

First I emptied out all the crapola on the shelves. I found a rotting potato. No mouse. Still, Gross!

I took out the shelves & scrubbed everything down.

I scrubbed the shelves and then painted them--4 times!

I painted the ceiling and all the walls, even where you can't see!

I started the project on Saturday morning. I was surprised at how much food had expired, some of it from 2004!  I told you this was an accomplishment! I threw away or put away all kinds of weird things I'd stuffed in there over the years because I didn't know what to do with it. I put orphaned wrapping paper with the wrapping paper, vases with the vases, threw away odd trinkets, Christmas tree ornaments & Lego parts. Those don't belong in a kitchen pantry. What was I thinking? I spent hours looking at cute pantries online with charming paint colors and motifs. After several more hours of creative house indecision, I decided I couldn't decide. Good Ole' bright white paint to the rescue. Sometimes Good Enough is Good Enough.
It took three coats of primer and two coats of Ultra White Behr to just get it done. White and clean is better than 10 years of grime & rotting potatoes and the occasional dead field mouse.  I bought some hardy, vinyl taupe-colored shelf liner from the Home Depot Sunday morning before church and put everything away on Sunday.  I need to call my mom now. "Mom, I actually cleaned something!" She'll be amazed.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Off to College

August began with the Wedding in the Pasture, proceeded immediately with a  Florida road trip, and ended with my youngest going off to college for the first time. The night before the big move. Sam told us to be ready at 7:00 am, and I thought, "yea, right."  Morning came and it was a bit confusing to see my son awake with bright alertness and  energy as he packed up his car with surround-sound equipment, computers, video gaming gadgets and such. This is really weird, I thought. Mornings with him are usually slow and groggy.  Instead, he kept urging us to hurry up in an exasperated voice as I sipped my coffee and watched him work around me. A  few skateboards and frisbee golf discs were rounded up. Then I marveled that I didn't have to remind him to pack clean undies and toiletries. As I watched him stuff socks and shampoo bottles into a duffle bag I thought,  "Hmmmmm, he must be serious about this college thing?". With that, I shook off the morning stupor and packed up some Nutella, Peanut Butter, bread, butter knife and three 12 packs of sodas, bedding and towels into a couple clothes baskets and hauled them to my car.
The sky was one of those bluest of blue skies on an amazing summer morning. So, rare in Ohio.

Hurry up! Car packed mostly with electronics
8:30 am last pose with Dad
An hour and half later, we pulled into the parking lot at Wright State University and was met with an army of volunteers in golf carts, who worked in systematic machine-like order.  Sam was sent by a volunteer to get his dorm key and we parents were told to load the golf cart. Olin and I climbed into the cart with the volunteer and she whisked us into a long caravan of overloaded carts off to the dormitories in the woods. When we arrived at Hickory Hall more student volunteers grabbed all of our stuff and quickly carried it up two flights of stairs into Sam's room were he was waiting. Only 40 minutes passed from the time we arrived to setting down the last electronic piece on his room floor. Sam introduced himself and us to his two new roommates and their parents. We had all arrived at the same time. The boys seemed to have a lot in common: guitars, skate boards, and video gaming. 
Sam's new home for the next 9 months.

Monday, October 1, 2012

August Vacation

Sunrise on St. Augustine Beach

Sunrise on St. Augustine Beach

We went on a sailboat through the bridge to the ocean

We love breakfast at the Bunnery in the Old City

on the sea wall before our sailboat trip
After the Wedding in the Pasture we left for St. Augustine, Florida in two cars. After a year and half living "at home" Becca was heading back to Florida to live. She moved to Gainesville since she enrolled in graduate school at University of Florida. Rachael and Kevin had recently moved back to St. Augustine from Princeton, NJ. So, St. Auggie would be home base for our week in Florida. The drive down was slow going because I had to do some of the driving and I drive slowly with periodic stops due to panic attacks. After 17 hours we finally got to St. Augustine.

I woke up and walked out onto the beach from our condo and when I did, I cried. The beach was being dredged and large construction machinery were clanking away, and at the water's edge there was a straight six foot drop to the "real beach."  I went back to the rental office and told the agent I was breaking the lease no matter what it cost and moving to another condo a couple miles south to enjoy the beach as nature created it. I had worked extremely hard long, stressful hours and I wanted a peaceful, serene beach vacation. The rental agent offered me the off-season rate if I stayed. So I did. I learend to tune out the earth movers and ended up enjoying the "wall of sand" while it lasted.

The extra money we saved on the rental went toward a sailboat ride in the bay out to the ocean.

We love St. Augustine for some reason. The old city. The beach. I could stay for a very long time there.

On our second day we drove Becca's car loaded with her worldly possessions to Gainesville to check her into her apartment. That day turned into a stressful, chaotic day.. She had rented her place sight unseen based on beautiful internet photos of a darling apartment. (Now if I had known this, as a real estate agent, I would have advised against it. But I didn't know the details of how she came about her rental). We got the key to unit and found the door had previously been kicked in. The unit itself was not only tiny, it was sub standard housing. Before we picked up the key, as I sat with her in the rental office and went through the rules with the rental agent, I saw all the signs of a "slum lord."  All my years of experience in Columbus working in real estate near the largest university in the country, I am very familiar with the tell tale signs of slum lords. These landlords take the rental money and don't put any back into maintaining the properties. The complex and unit was a stressful environment. I myself have lived in the real ghetto before. This community was worse than that. There were tears.

Biking on Anastasia Island State Park
Hypo Cafe
So the day was spent trying to find suitable housing for Becca. Which was never found.

What was to be a 1/2 day excursion to Gainesville ended up being an all day and evening trip. I took no photos of Gainesville. Sam, Olin, and Becca's boyfriend prayed for Becca before we drove back to St. Auggie. There were more tears driving back in the dark.
Quirky Vilano Beach pier.
Sailing past Mission's cross-site of the first Christian Mass in the N. America
Sunset at quirky Vilano Beach over the Intercoastal
However, visiting with Rachael and Kevin and their dog Clancy in our beachfront condo was wonderful. Hanging out with all three of my kids was vacation in itself. We ate gyros from the place next door. We swam in the pool and we had some really great days of boogie boarding and rafting in the waves.  I got a great tan. I took my two "girls" and we got manicures and pedicures.We went out to dinner. We had breakfast at the Bunnery. Kevin and Rachael were having a bit a housing crisis themselves. And, happily, the day before we left they found a nice house to rent.

Just wish we could be there permanently.  So this was the overview of our early August vacation.

I Actually Cooked Something

Barbecued Shrimp & Peach Kabos

If I am to cook, it must be super simple and taste delish. So, I thought I'd share a big accomplishment in my life this past week.  Here's how to make it.

12 skewers
1 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ground
1 pound of shelled and deveined shrimp, big ones
3 peaches, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 bunch of green onions, dark green parts trimmed, cut into 2 inch pieces.

Lime to taste and garnish
Get the grill ready, whatever grilling method you use.

In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt pepper. Add shrimp, peaches, and onion; toss until evenly coated.

Thread them onto skewers alternating the pieces

Grill 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp becomes opaque throughout, turning once.
Plate it up and chow down!  4 servings at 135 calories per serving. So, this fed Mr. Seriously Though and myself just fine, so really for us, it serves 2!

We finished the evening with a fire in the back yard fire pit, dazzling stars, full moon,  Ardbeg single malt scotch, and amazing Artuero Fuenta cigars.

Yep. My life is pretty good.