Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Ripples...Hannah's Birthday...Gardening Ideas and a New Recipe

Front page of my morning paper....


Oh sure. You're all looking around yourselves now. And did you manage to catch Governor Pence earlier in the week on GMA?  Seriously??? The man was asked point blank, yes or no, whether LGBT should be discriminated against overall...not just in reference to this badly botched bill...THREE TIMES...and he would not answer the question.

Which, of course, is your answer.

By early morning he was steadfastedly defending the RFRA again.

Mayor Ballard has called for a repeal, or at the very least, protective legislation passed so this bill can't be used to chose who gets to "sit at the lunch counter". Not that he really cares, of course. This is the guy that wanted to incarcerate the homeless for...er...being homeless, okay? But the GOP are notorious for walking over the bodies of their crushed party members when there is a political light at the end of the tunnel. 

"oops...sorry Mike...was that your head?"

Ballard is a lot of things...but he isn't stupid. He knows which way the wind is blowing and who butters his  bread. Revenues from Downtown businesses and events. And, he sees Pence's stumble and fall as a sure way to clear a path to the Governorship.

For Mayor Ballard, Christmas has come early this year.

Six of Indianapolis' major corporations...including Eli Lilly have sent CEO's to fight the RFRA. The fiscal backlash has been swift and terrible.  Bosma and Ballard have started the back-pedal and "let's fix this thing" hoping to repair some of the damage Pence has done.

I kind of want to send him a tee-shirt that reads

I passed the RFRA 
And all I got was This Lousy Tee-Shirt
(and Lost All HOPE of re-election
or a Presidential Bid)

Anyway...Miz Cleo...er...Carla predicts either a Repeal (less likely) or additional protective legislation (where my money is ) before the end of the week.

We will see!

To paraphrase Brando's character in Apocalypse Now:

"I LOVE the smell of Politics in the Morning!"

Enjoyed part of Spring Break with two of my grand-daughters last week.

Kaylee...With Easter crafts, lunch out together, checking out the new Children's Section at my Local library and making Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies to enjoy with tea and share with EVERYONE!

And Hannah...for a lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings (...my FAVORITE, Grandma Rose...) and some pre-shopping for her Birthday outfit...and planting flowers and crafts.

Grandchildren are the BEST!

Everyone came together for Hannah's 8th Birthday Party on Sunday!



All of the Grandparents, family and friends showed up. Tanya outdid herself with the arrangements and the cooking! 
All in all it was perfect.  She had a wonderful day!

                                                        It Bloomed!

So...slowly but surely there is hope for Spring. Not quite basking weather yet...but perfect to tuck in some pansies and Johnny-Jump-Ups.

Just the very beginning of "muddy knees and dirt 'neath my nails" season.
Big plans for this year. A small water feature. Several heirloom roses. A lot more herbs...including fresh bay. And I found this idea on Pintrest that I love love love...and plan to do throughout the house. Mini water lilies and other aquatic plants anchored in decorative gravel at the bottom of apothecary jars. 

I may even add a Betta to a couple of the container gardens!

But for now...picking up the dead-fall and leftover leaves and such and starting this year's compost box. Using the end of last year's deep rich black soil to feed my existing Roses and Boxwoods and fill baskets and planters. As soon as it gets a bit warmer going to touch up the arbour and do a re-paint outdoors. So nice to be able to sit on the patio with my morning cup and watch the sun rise again.


More days until our Spring Adventure, Idgy!

Can't wait! 

Everything should be warm and green and beautiful by then. Looking forward to our mutual birthday celebration...some horticultural and geological larceny (our MO) and laugh and chat until dawn!

Okay...and maybe singeing our eyebrows off with the candles.


Today's recipe is fairly straight ahead...and is great for a quick breakfast, or as a nice dessert after a meal.

Grilled Honey Glazed Fresh Peaches

Cut in half and pit fresh peaches. Use One peach for each serving.

Brush cut sides with Honey
(I like to use wild-flower honey as it has a stronger flavor)

Lightly sprinkle the cut sides with cinnamon.

Grill honey side down for 7-10 minutes.

Cool for 3 minutes. Serve with a dollop of Vanilla Yogurt and garnish with a sprig of mint (optional)

Just delicious!

WELL...that didn't take long.

Complete with a FB Site...lol!  


And you think I make these things up.

So as reprehensible as he is to me "Go Greg!"  Get that anti-discrimmination legislation together and passed. 

We can deal with you in 2016.

You know what is wrong with being clairvoyant?

Very few surprises.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mike Pence and the signing of SB101

Oh look...Mike is waving goodbye.

Goodbye to the Conventions and Jobs and Revenue that will be funnelled away from the State of Indiana because of his latest political Blunder.

Goodbye to his Re-Election in 2016

Goodbye to any HOPE of a Presidential Bid.

(...actually, those last two may be the silver lining in all of this..)

Salesforce.com is withdrawing from Indiana. Disciples of Christ and Gen Con have said they will cancel future Conventions here.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 George (effing) Takei has called for a BOYCOTT of Indiana.
 The entire damn STATE.

That is right, folks...we've effectively managed to piss off Mr. Sulu.

Even Jan Brewer knew the fiscal repercussions and vetoed this bill when it crossed her desk in Arizona.  In case you thought she vetoed that bill out of the goodness of her heart...even I don't have an imagination THAT vivid, okay?

So what Governor Pence basically signed into law was that businesses (once again) get to "Choose Who Sits at the Lunch Counter"  Legislating discrimination. Not only is it wrong...it is an embarrassment to our State and most of its residents. It is NATIONAL news today...and not in a good way. It will be overturned, undoubtedly...after wasting many more tax dollars.

Even Mayor Ballard knows what a fiscal and PR disaster this is potentially. Although I have to think, in no small part, that this is jockeying for position in 2016.  And agreeing with Mayor Ballard makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. But even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

And Mike is wide-eyed and acting clueless tonight. He can't imagine why people are upset.

I am thinking by the end of the month, lost jobs and revenues for the city and the boycotts to follow- that he will figure it out.

More anon...

Post Script:  Only a few days after the signing and the Reality of what he has done has wiped that smug condescending smirk right off his face

From Coast to Coast this has spread like wildfire.

To make matters worse...now he stands wide eyed saying he didn't know and that the media is to blame and we misunderstand the bill. Great move, Mike. Not only do legalize discrimination...but then you try to say that we are too STUPID to understand the bill. You know. When you are in a hole...the first thing an intelligent person would do is stop digging...

We don't need the bill CLARIFIED.

We need the bill REPEALED. 

And as far as you...well...you've managed to take one for the (GOP) Team no matter how this plays out...because bigotry and hate have succeeded in ending your political aspirations.

And I think I feel warm and fuzzy about that.

On a related note I am proud of the thousands of Hoosiers who have actively protested this charade...and the businesses who have embraced the We Proudly Serve Everybody stickers. The times are changing...and it is nice to see it happen!

Eventually Pence, and his ilk, will be gone...and what I have seen helps restore my faith in Humanity.

More Anon...

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Impressionists...Another Approach to Composting...And A New Snack

Completely amazed! A new snack gleaned from Pinterest (totally nailed it) that is less than 100 calories for two pieces and tastes wonderful!

And very simple.

Slice a banana...press two pieces together using a bit of peanut butter.  Arrange on flat tray.

Freeze for 1 hour.

Remove and dip in melted chocolate (or spoon chocolate over them).

Return to freezer for 1/2 hour.

Soooooooooooooo delicious.

I could see trying something very similar with fresh strawberries and a tiny bit of cream cheese or cheesecake filling. 


Spring has sprung...and apparently the Tucker-Cat is "feeling" it as well.

Still playing like a kitten at 14 years old (this April). Maybe a bit too kittenish this week, as he has been flying through the house; often leaping onto me randomly while I am reading in the evening with all claws out...like Velcro-Kitty! That will get your attention.

Just finished The Impressionist Three Part Special from the BBC as part of my Virtual France Adventure. Very entertaining and informative. Well done.


In case you want a look.

I have been working on that Eiffel painting which took a decidedly odd turn last night. I started adding graffiti...but I think I like it. Will post photos as it is further along. 

After watching the Claude Monet special though...I must admit having an overwhelming urge to get a long, larger stretched canvas and work on that painting off my Summer photograph from Depauw Nature Park.

And another from a photograph...although not mine...but I could see where it would lend itself to Impressionism very well. Especially the flowers in the foreground.

Will be picking up canvas soon!  Very excited about these.

Learning a new compost approach as Spring arrives, now that I am using more container and baskets for my flowers and herbs. Lasagne Layering. Where you compost in layers directly in the pot, box or basket.  Layering egg shells, bits of vegetable trimmings, banana peel, coffee et. al. right in with your soil as you plant the container. Topping it off with a layer of good soil. Seems like a reasonable approach. Anxious to see how it works out.

Happy to see Spring arrive.  Years ago I was reading a book containing some of the lesser known works of Andrew Wyeth and came across this

Although I believe the official name for the watercolour is The Sexton...I remember a quote from him stating he wanted to call it

"She Didn't Winter Well"

At the time it seemed highly amusing and I may have laughed out loud.

Now as the Winter cold brings out the aches and pains and stiffness that come with FRED and a fair amount of arthritic joints...I understand the concept of Wintering Well on a far more personal level. And so....with another Winter behind me...it appears I have "Wintered Well" once again.

Go me!

Spring Break this week and looking forward to some Grandma Rose time....and Hannah's 8th Birthday!

More anon...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Monet...The Prototype and Maple Cream

Finally located a Maple Cream Recipe that was shared with me quite a few years back. Only requiring 2 ingredient's, and it is AMAZING. Tastes just like the filling of a Maple Bun Candy Bar.
Remember those?

Temperature is everything. In fact this is the reason I own a candy thermometer.  To make Maple Cream you need:

100% Maple Syrup  (for a very small batch I use one cup...just keep the ratio to cream right and you can make the batch as large as you want.)

2 tablespoons of heavy cream.

Boil the Maple Syrup in a small saucepan until the thermometer reads 232...then immediately remove from heat. If it boils longer it will either turn into Maple Sugar...or (more likely) burn.

Use an ice bath (double bowl filled with ice) to quickly cool the entire mixture to 100 degrees.

Add cream and whip together (or if doing this by hand start stirring....forever)

It will be very dark at first...but keep whipping or stirring...and the entire mixture will begin to turn a light taffy colour and get lighter and lighter as the sugar crystallizes and builds body.

It happens quickly once the colour changes.

Transfer into a wide mouthed glass jar or a dish and refrigerate. It will keep a long time...assuming it isn't eaten in the next two-three days.

Can be used as a dessert topping. Great on ice cream. Can be made into fondant for candies. Yes...you could even make a home-made BUN if you so desired. Wonderful on morning toast...or just by the spoonful :)

Had some this morning with my tea.

A drop-in by my youngest son; who never ceases to amaze me.

For the last couple of weeks he has been researching the use of electromagnetic charge to propel an object. An electromagnetic "gun" as it were. He explained in detail the way that the coils would need to interact with each other to achieve this. Then last week he began working on a tiny prototype.  Just to see if he could do it..to see if  he could make it work.  Yes...people build electromagnetic guns all the time. The Navy has a huge one. But, it was a challenge to him. Something to accomplish.

Demonstrating to me the ability to fire a finishing nail a short distance using only electromagnetic force. Just by pushing a button. And completely silent.  Impressive.

And finishing two of the books I have been using to accompany my Virtual France Adventure.

A collection of recipes from Monet's Journals in Giverny. And a nice glimpse into his life at the time. Gleaned several interesting culinary adventures from this that I plan to try soon.

And Stephanie Cowell's Historical Fiction Novel (...made into a theatrical release, as well)

Depicting the life and times of Claude Monet and his wife/muse, Camille.

Monet...who actually gave the name to the movement that would come to be  known from thereafter as Impressionistic and all the painters of this style as Impressionist's.

Excellent read...going to try to find the film.

Lennon who is heading into his final semester at college...and received the Girl Scout Cookies I mailed him (compliments of Hannah...our GSC Connection)


We've decided that the inscription on his college ring should read

"Free At Last!"

And I so understand!

And photos from Donna of my Oldest and Middle grandson this week

.                                              Brenden and Donna

                  The Amazing Preston...who is rapidly becoming a teenager!

Can't wait to see all of you again! Soon :) Thanks, hon!

And it's only Wednesday.

More anon...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Je suis...

The French say:  Je suis...

The Italians: Sono...

The German: Ich bin ...

The Spanish: Yo soy...

In English we say: I am...

Two tiny words whose following statement defines us. Ever changing, at times.
I am a mother and grandmother, I was a wife for years...then a caregiver...and now a widow. I was a Nurse. Now I am a Writer. An Author. A Traveller/Gypsy. A Gardener. A Photographer.

Actually it was at a writer's conference/seminar recently with several other authors that I realized the absolute power of those two syllables, and how as women/ writers we tend to avoid them. Downplay them. In a group of twelve of us...the question was posed:

"How many of you identify with being a writer/author."

Only three of us, myself included, out of twelve answered affirmatively. Most waffled.

"I dabble."

"I wouldn't call myself a writer."

"Not really. I've never been published."

And so it went.

The sad part is that "I dabble" has a book's worth of poetry that she shared. Some of which was outstanding.

"I wouldn't call myself a writer." has been penning her essays since before I was alive. She had been writing since she was 19 and was now in her 80's.

And "Not really." brought a manuscript to share she has been working on for the last 5 years of her life between home-making and children.

The conference was good. Many exceptional ideas bandied about. A lot of laughter. A feeling of "kindred spirits". We exchanged thoughts. Kevetched a bit about writing...not writing...time...environmental factors...what other's in our lives thought about our writing...our writing goals and steps we could take to achieve them...and how chocolate may be the perfect food. Really.

I know that personal perception rarely changes overnight, but I hope that the nine who started that evening doubting themselves, give the concept of I AM some serious consideration in the year to come.

As women we embrace so many negative qualities attributed to us by others; it would be nice to see a few of the positive take root and flourish.

As for me "Je Suis..." is going to be my next tattoo!

 Mais oui, je suis un auteur!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Rollercoaster called "This Week"

Yeah...it was exactly like THIS!

You know how people joke around saying "TGIF"?  Well I am NOT joking and after the chaos that was this week (both happy and unhappy)...I am completely exhausted and looking forward to a silent retreat for most of the weekend.

To be honest...most of the week...though hectic, was great. But Monday's news set the tone.

On Monday a friend of mine was driving a route she had literally taken hundreds and hundreds of times. On this morning,however, she would slide on black ice , her SUV flip upside down, and into a freezing retention pond. It was early and her route was rural. It would be more than an hour before the accident was discovered...and another 2 before divers recovered her body. 

She left behind her daughters...and Tony.  They were probably one of the happiest couples I have ever known. She was truly a wonderful person.

One of the bright spots is that they had just returned from a late winter "getaway" to sand and surf before she was killed. They spent their final days together relaxed, happy, playing together on a beach. 
We should all have such final memories.

She was 45.

RIP Robbin.

Once more reminding me of how very very short life is...and how we need to live each day as though it was our very last. Because one day...it will be.

Met with an old friend/past love early in the week, as well. We used to meet  yearly to catch up...but now meet seasonally.

He left me last Fall with

"I shall see you in Winter"

Okay, so it is technically still winter. 

We moved it to seasonally because we have both lost a few people recently and it does tend to underscore just how fragile and temporary our time here really is.  I baked cherry cobbler and made coffee. He brought lunch. We spent the day together, plundered the library, caught up with life.  Chris drifted over to get his ass handed to him in a game of chess. Not by me, although I admit I found being a spectator to the event quite satisfying.
Hugs and kisses and then

"Until Spring"

Which we both agreed is just around the corner.
It will be nice to welcome Spring together again.

Enjoyed a trek to Honey Creek Mall in Terre Haute this week, as well. Mall-Ratting with The Usual Suspects and a couple of newcomers. Loretta, Sharon, Gail, Tim, David, Diane, Gina, Tina,  Audrey and I converging to start the day together with Cinnabons and good coffee...then breaking into smaller factions to explore the mall.

WARNING:  Bath and Body has gone completely Hawaiian with it's new Summer Scents. Not bad until you have a group of 8 women trying the various testers. When we left we smelled a great deal like a fruit-salad...mixed with surf and coconut oil scent. If we could have found a Heavenly Ham shop nearby...it would have been exactly like attending a luauu.

 And I added a new cross-body black Nicole bag on winter-sale for 80% off! So that was a great find!  And a "soft as kittens" deep-taupe infinity scarf at 50% off that will probably be boxed soon for next winter...but enjoying a few more times first.

Later we all met back at TGIF for a late lunch. I love our group lunches. We all order various dishes or appetizers, then ask for small appetizer plates...put everything in the center of the table and do a family style "try everything" approach. Including desserts! A little of everything.

Loretta has introduced me to her "will-come-to-your-home" masseuse, Becky...who will, for the same price I had been paying Crystal at the Mona Lisa Day Spa...make house calls.
I am so there!

And last, but certainly not least- Karen (...my housekeeper...) who got the carpets steam cleaned for me. They look as good as the day I moved in.  She is amazing.  
Can't say enough good things about the decision to hire her. 

A Driver. A Housekeeper. And a to-your-door Masseuse, occasionally.  

Yes...Life is definitely Improving!

                                           Have a Wonderful Weekend!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tying the Knot...Campbell's and Keurig...A New Pearl...and The Grands

Two good friends "tying the knot" this weekend. Although knowing Vicki and Mark (aka Vixen and Markus Aggravatus) the knot will probably be more along THESE lines.

To make it even better...Diane is officiating! Maybe PERFECT, as our little family becomes even tighter. Although I cannot be there in person, I am certainly THERE in spirit and can't wait to host the DS Indiana Gathering this year where we will also be having a post-post Wedding Reception (all of us together) at Almost Home Tea Room. Hoping Dave can make it in from the UK for the Gathering...and Shirley and LuAnn from Canada. WTH do you mean "doing Crete" in August? Do it quickly and get here, man...and bring me back a rock, okay?"
Yeah...still collecting the World one stone at a time.

Jainine has snagged me one from her recent trip to India!

Can't wait to see all the photos. You are going to look lovely in that Cream Dress! And there is always the option of shoving Markus off the dock...a wedding on the dock...brilliant. Off he goes, and more CAKE for us!

I don't usually use the blog as a platform for outside services...but today I am making an exception.  For the past year or so I have been involved in online New Product Testing and Consumer Marketing Research. The gist of it being that they send you samples of products that haven't been released yet. You test them, and then give your opinion.
 At the end of last month I was sent an endeavor of a product mash-up between Keurig and Campbell's that was so innovative (and good) I not only wanted to share it here...but also want to encourage those who are interested in trying product testing for themselves to check out this link.


In addition to product trials...they often send a brief survey concerning existing  products, advertising and the like. It is always interesting and you get to make your voice heard. And they give you regular PERKS.

Since I enjoy a monthly mall-ratting here and there, with friends, I usually choose the restaurant cards...but they offer a plethora of PERKS...or they will just deposit cash in your Paypal Account.  Haven't had to pay for a meal at Red Lobster, Fridays or Applebees since I started doing this!

 Anyway...February's new product mash up was this

Keurig's Campbell Soup. Comes (well, will come) in a variety of flavours including Chicken and Noodles with Vegetables, Tomato Basil and Southwest Chicken. To be honest..I had low expectations. I thought it was going to be a bit like Cup-O-Soup or maybe those little flavor packets they have with Ramen Noodles.

Was I EVER mistaken. 

The K-cup itself held the dried soup mixture...but absolutely NOTHING like the above mentioned. It was thick and rich. Had a beautiful flavor and aroma. And thickened a little after you made it. It appeared and tasted like made-from-scratch soup.

The dehydrated chicken, noodles and vegetable packet reconstituted into a very rich and enjoyable meal and the entire bowl was only 60 calories! They could have left the noodles out and it would have been even better.

I can see this working especially well with Mushroom Soup, too.

So there you have it. Keurig Campbell's Soups...coming soon to a store near you!

And catching up with a few of the Grands...who are growing like weeds.

Kaylee who is 9 now, and trying out a new sophisticated hair cut.

Hannah at 7...who is my Girl Scout Cookie Connection :) May have to order more...supplies are running thin.

And Aiden at 9 months...who wasn't at all sure about his first snowfall...

And is an absolute Doppelgänger of James (dad) when he was this age! Right down to the laugh! 9 months old and now WALKING...there's no stopping him!

Hoping to catch up with Preston and Brenden, soon.

And I ran across something this week that I didn't even know existed...and everyone knows how I adore pearls. 

Coming from New Zealand...formed in the Paua Abalone shells...presenting Blue Eyris pearls. Most of these form as blister pearls...and are set a lot like Mabe except for the vibrant colours (naturally) ranging from light teal and even lavender on occasion to deep blues and dark violets. A few become beautiful perfectly round pearls, though. The perfect pearls are outrageously expensive set starting in the five to six figure range. These make Mikimoto's look like pastes.

 Just exquisite. 

               More anon...