Friday, March 27, 2015

Today's Update - 27 Mar 2015

The above is another one of the pics that I took at MacLay Gradens.  Bees were everywhere and photobombed more than a few of the pictures I tried to take.  Also had a couple get hung up in my hair ... obviously they would not have been able to pass a Breathalyzer test if there was one for bees; they were surely drunk on nectar. 

I have been using my memories of that good day to center myself.  I guess you just never think that certain things are going to happen you those you love.  My dad is actually upbeat - or is playing the part like a pro - and wants to get it done and over with as soon as possible.  Unfortunately my parents are still in waiting mode as they have to first get a referral to a physician/surgeon then the surgeon has to book them for surgery.  I'm not sure how long this is going to take but it definitely disrupts all the plans that they had. 

I'm also watching to see how this is going to affect my mom.  Stress is not her friend and it messes up her chemistry which plays havoc with how well her medication works.  She's also worried about finances.  The new and very strict diet my dad needs is playing havoc with their budget.  Hubby and I have already discussed it and will help them as much as they allow us to, but the emphasis here is on allowing us to.  You cannot treat two adults like children and take their freedom out of their hands by dictating to them, at least not if you have the least bit of respect for them you can't.  It is just going to be challenging.  It isn't just about what he eats but how it is cooked ... and hardest for my father will be portion size.  Changing habits of decades - of a lifetime and culture - will definitely be a strain.

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive.  You have no idea how much it has helped.  I was struggling with the shock and freely admit it.  Hubby has been a rock and the first thing out of his mouth was "how can we help."  No one is perfect but he is perfect for me. 

The kids have been helpful too, especially considering I've been one of the walking wounded.  Made a mistake of trying to get rid of the ace bandages yesterday and was online too much.  By last night my hands and wrists were swollen so much my fingers looked like sausages and typing was next to impossible.  I used a dictation app today to get most of my typing done and the swelling has finally gone in all but my right wrist. 

Dictation programs aren't perfect.  I caught most of the mistakes I think but there are probably still a few in there.  If anything is really out of kilter let me know and I'll nuke it from space as soon as I can.  The new additions can be found in the following stories:

And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!

The vids are pretty much all over the place tonight.  The first one coincidentally happens to be a very recent upload from someone that went to MacLay Garedens in the beginning of March.  Some very nice shots.

The next couple of vids are more disaster movies, these on natural disasters.
And lastly, some alternative fry recipes


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Quick Update - 25 Mar 2015

First I apologize for my abruptness here but I did want to let people know what is going on.  First off I wrecked up both of my wrists falling out of a tree.  Dumb move on my part and for a stupid reason on top of it.  I was trying to dislodge a kite and took a header.  Nothing broken, just typing is difficult.

Second, I just found out tonight that my father will have to have a valve replacement and triple bypass.  It will be a week before we know more and I'll admit to being shaken up.  His health isn't the greatest but this wasn't what we expected when he had his heart cath today.

So, I'm going to try and get something up tomorrow but it might be full of errors.  Just give me another day's grace.  Thanks.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Today's Update - 19 March2015

The above picture was taken by me at one of my favorites places.  Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee, FL.  I don't live in Tallahassee, or even anywhere near it but sometimes when we go to our "retirement home" and our schedule allows, we take a day trip and go for a visit.  The gardens are out of this world lovely.  Every month of the year you can go there and find something different in bloom.  I missed the iris which bloomed earlier than usual but I caught the tail end of the camillas which made me happy.  I missed the magnolias and daffodils but the azaleas were simply amazing, as were the spirea and the dogwood.  Honeysuckle vines are late and I couldn't even find the vines for all of the wisteria going this way and that.

Earlier in the day we also went to St. George Island which is right on the coast near Apalachicola.  It was nice and breezy, almost cool, in the morning so there were no crowds and we enjoyed an hour or two of having the beach to ourselves except for a couple of elderly shell hunters.  Then a picnic lunch and then the crowds so that's when we took off for the Gardens.  The few people we did run into before we left gave me strange looks.  Wonder why.  Maybe it was my unique choice of reading material.  LOL

Just a little light reading.  LOL.  Or maybe I should say just a little research.  Either way the book is turning out to be pretty interesting.

I haven't had as much time to write up here as I thought I would which means Geek will probably get finished up this weekend or the start of next week.  It is very close to completion and I have the final chapters framed out.  Then I'll probably take a couple of days off writing to give me a chance to do a reread or two, finalize which story is next for completion and then away we will go once again.  However, while that is happening I am going to continue posting on "Zombies Aren't Real" and "Wild Thyme".

I already have today's addition for Geek up.  I'm using my traveling computer which hasn't been cooperating very well so things are moving slower than I like with blogger.  If you see any really weird stuff - like challenging fonts and font sizes or print colors that don't show up with the background - let me know.  I've tried to catch it as I see it but on my end as the editor I don't always see the bloopers the way other readers do.

And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!

Give me a couple of hours to find and fix the glitches for Thyme and Zombies and I will have today's chapters up.  For today's videos I'm posting some youtubes on edible flowers.  I'm having a hard time pasting the links in so if I can't get the links attached to the vids today I'll go back in and fix that when I can get to a different computer.  Hopefully however most of you will be able to see the vids.



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Today's Update - 15 Mar 2015

Surprise!  Another Sunday update.  I thought I would go ahead and post today because I'm not sure if I am going to be able to post on Monday.  We are heading to our "retirement home" for a couple of days to finish the clean up where we were working on the fire break around the fence on our forty acres.  With spring here there will be more outdoor work to be done so we need to stay on top of it or it could easily get out of hand.  Good thing I managed to finish the last of the strawberries yesterday except for the ones that I am taking to my parents.

I also will be doing a big spring inventory of my supplies up there.  I suspect I am going to find quite a bit of stuff that needs to be rotated out and new stuff brought up in its place.

All the strawberries that I've been capping and slicing reminded me of the book Strawberry Girl.  The book was original published in 1945 and a pretty good example of what happened in early 20th century Florida.  The book will remind many that a good pioneer story doesn't have to be geographically located out west.  The plot of the book is:    Set in the Florida in the early 20th century, the story deals with two families, the Boyers and the Slaters. The Boyers move to Florida to raise strawberries. They come into conflict with their new neighbors, the Slaters, who raise cattle and let their animals roam loose. The two main characters are Birdie Boyer, the "Strawberry Girl" of the book's title, and Shoestring Slater, whose pony ruins the Boyers strawberries. The feud between the two families heightens through the book, but they reconcile by the end of the novel.

Speaking of strawberries did you know balsamic vinegar brings out the sweetness of the berries?  A neighbor made some like that then served them over a small slice of angel food cake and a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream and I gotta tell you, it was some of the richest tasting stuff I've eaten in a while yet it wasn't really bad diet wise so long as you didn't go back for seconds ... or thirds.  You take roughly 16 ounces of fresh strawberries that you've washed, capped, and quartered and then add about a quarter cup of sugar and four teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and then fold that together and let it sit for a bit to make it a little "juicy."  I know, sounds weird.  But it really was good.  The angel food cake and vanilla helped avert any sweetness overload.

Story update:

And The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

Later today I hope to update Wild Thyme and maybe even get to Zombies.  Depends on how early - or late - we get on the road.  I generally do the driving so if I don't get it done before we leave I'll have to try and do it tomorrow.

Either way ...


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Today's Update - 14 Mar 2015

Ah, you know it is spring when softball season starts up.  At least that is the way it has always been since my sixteen year old discovered softball when she was still in elementary grades.  She is our sporty girl.  She's played them all from flag football to soccer. She's too old for much else but softball and soccer now, not to mention those are her two favorites.  Her older brother bought her most of her softball equipment and takes her out in the yard and throws balls around with her.  She's a pretty good first baseman, even I can see it.  Whether she plays in college depends on where she finishes her degree up.  There is pretty stiff competition at the college level but if she doesn't play for school there are plenty of opportunities to play on women's community teams, at least around here there is.

First day we've really sat around in the sun and I fried even with a good sunscreen on.  I'm not a lobster but my face is more than just rosy and glowing.  LOL.  Thank goodness I had the sense to wear pants and something other than a sleeveless shirt to the fields otherwise I really would be hurting. 

For those of you who may not know this a good home remedy for sunburn is vinegar.  Yes, I said vinegar.  You can use both distilled white or cider vinegar and it will work.  Depending on location soak a soft cloth in the vinegar and gently lay it on the burn for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Pulls the sting right out for some reason.  Smell will knock you out but you're going to smell funny one way or the other with whatever stuff you slather on to take away the ouch.

It is past midnight here but I'm still going to call this Saturday's update.  Better a little late than not at all.  Geek is approaching its conclusion and I'm more confident that it will finish this coming week.  After that I will take a day or two to do a re-read to make sure that I have things straight but I'm leaning towards working on Up On Hartford Ridge.  It will take longer to finish so it may be into April for that one is concluded.

Here are tonight's updates:

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

And The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!

I'm not sure where I will go after the Hartford story.  There are a lot to choose from.  We'll have to wait and see.  I'll try and take people's preferences under advisement but sometimes the stories want to be written and sometimes they just refuse to cooperate and I don't want to over commit.

Tonight's vids are a little strange.  My eleven year old son loves to watch documentaries and science videos.  I have to be careful because some of these shows put together by college kids are sometimes a little problematic as far as language goes but the Slo Mo Guys aren't too bad ... if you preview them first.  The last one definitely has some male humor in it however so careful who is watching over your shoulder. Here are some of our favorite ones for you to enjoy.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Today's Update - 12 Mar 2015

You talkin' to me?  You talkin' to me?!  LOL, kinda what my day has been today.  People are honestly just crazy lately.  The picture above is one of my Busch Garden pics, it just seemed appropriate.
Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries.  A neighbor went out to the east of the county to a U-Pick and decided to bring me some back.  Oh my gosh ... three five gallon buckets worth.  I'm drowning in berries and have to get them taken care of asap.  Not that I'm not grateful but it was definitely a blessing I wasn't expecting so you can imagine what I've done today and will continue to do tomorrow.  Love strawberries but I'm about to get strawberry'd out I can tell you that.  And my fingers are turning to prunes from having to wash and cap all of these things.  Did I mention three five-gallon buckets worth of berries?
I've found a neat way to get a little writing done while I'm doing other stuff.  My IPhone has a record feature on one of my note taking applications.  It isn't perfect and I can only record in short blurbs but when all I have time for is to write short blurbs between doing other things it has actually sped the process up.  I bought my father the program called "Dragon" birthday before last and it is basically supposed to be hands-free typing.  My father liked it for a while but I'm not sure how much he still uses it.  I give something like that a try though it is a bit intimidating to say what I'm typing aloud for anyone in the house to hear.  I type over a hundred words a minute so it isn't a matter of speed ... it is more time.  Oh well, I'll figure something out.  Though I should probably have my head examined for trying to squish anymore stuff into my already busy day.  LOL!
It's official, we now have so many wifi enabled items in the house that not even our FiOS connection can keep up.  I've actually had to get a gizmo for hubby's office that plugs into our Ethernet port and then sends the signal through the house electrical lines so he can keep a connection in his office.  I got it from Tiger Direct but now that they are closing the stores in my area - and they don't carry it online - I'm not sure where I am going to find another one that I like as well.  I know what is going on my to do list next week.  A couple of years ago we used to think that FiOS was the fastest thing imaginable.  Now that we are used to those kinds of connection speeds any little slow down can turn into an irritant.
Well despite the unexpected blessing of strawberries I did manage to get some writing done.  Geek will definitely be done sooner rather than later, possibly even by next week barring floods, tornadoes, locusts, or other forms of real life getting in the way.
And The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!
Found a couple of more disaster flicks for everyone to watch on youtube.  LOL!  I know, I know ... but I just can't help myself.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Today's Update - 11 Mar 2015

Ok, I admit it, I like disaster movies.  This goes all the way back to the cheesy disaster movies of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.  You know, looking back I think Charlton Heston must have survived nearly every kind of disaster known to man.  Let's see ... Omega Man, Earthquake, Airport 1975, Grey Lady Down, Skyjacked, Soylent Green, Two Minute Warning ... the list seems to go on and on.  LOL!  Today my cousin sent me a link to a new movie that I'm going to have to put on my list to see.  It isn't a Charlton Heston movie but is along that vein.  San Andreas is the next big earthquake/disaster movie in the que.  Comes out the end of May.  Ok, it might not be that realistic but realism hasn't always been what disaster movies were going for.  LOL!

Spent the day at Busch Gardens today.  As a Florida resident we have a discounted year round pass.  We also have a year round pass because we have a couple of kids that love roller coasters.  I used to ride them but cannot do it any longer because they do hinky things with my blood pressure on occasion.  It is a matter of "better safe than sorry."  The kids are now old enough to ride on their own so I'm happy to just play chaperone.  Besides, I love the plants and animals at the park more and get to look my fill while they are in line.  I also worked there about thirty years ago and it is where I met my husband so the place holds good memories on top of everything else.  I like taking pictures there but had to laugh at all the Go-Pro cameras I saw people wearing on the rides.  If you don't know what a Go-Pro is, look it up.  It is amazing what an amateur can do with a camera these days. My daughter has a similar camera, though not that brand, and next time we go she's going to try and remember to bring it and the harness she has to wear it with.  If the pictures turn out good she might even upload them to Youtube.

Despite the full day I did manage to get some writing finished:

And The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

A Bunch of Wild Thyme

Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!

I need to check the last two to make sure they posted correctly but I'll do that as soon as I get this published.

The vids for today's update are the trailers for the San Andreas movie and then some classic disaster flicks.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Today's Update - 10 Mar 2015

Took the above picture today at a place called Lettuce Lake Park.  It was a beautiful day.  Low 80s.  Low humidity.  Only a few bugs.  Doesn't get much better.  Hubby and I and the three younger kids headed out after lunch and walked the bike trail as well as the board walk and then went to play some soccer in an open field.  Much needed decompression time.

The driveway is now complete, sealed with three coats, and can be driven on.  Hip hip hooray!  No more hauling groceries from the street which is about a thousand steps from the house.  How do I know it is a thousand steps?  Because of my nifty pedometer.  LOL!

I didn't spend the day only observing nature.  Nope.  I did get another piece of the story written.  I hope to have at least one new addition to another story completed tomorrow as well but my primary focus will be to continue adding to "Geek" to stay on track and get it completed.

And The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

Pretty tired but for once it is tired in a good way so I will leave you sitting by the river and reading story.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Today's Update - 9 Mar 2015

One again it has been a heck of a Monday.  Drive way is complete except for curing time on the sealer.  Lanai is complete except for curing time on the sealer.  Laundry is half way finished.  But there are a lot of other things that I still need to get to before I am free to rest for the night.

However, I did finish the promised continuation of the next story.

And The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

I will try and put together a longer update tomorrow but for now that's all I have.  Sorry it isn't as much as I had intended.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Quickie Update - 8 Mar 2015

Just a quick note. New updates will start tomorrow. I have tried to figure out which story I will work on next. It hasn't been easy. I started three different ones and kept having to undo them as they just weren't coming out right. I have now settled on finishing When Geeks Ruled the World  next. I am fairly certain I have the final outline written. The chapters of this story are longer so it may take me more than a day to write a chapter but I have pieces of other things to put up if that occurs to fill in. This is one of the older stories that have needed to be completed. I will try and alternate "old" and "new" as I complete them. It is still my goal to finish one or two stories per month this year. There may be a skip in that pattern over the summer as we try and take a vacation as a family but my schedule will definitely be dependent on my real life affording me the opportunity to stick with my plans.

See you tomorrow. "Same bat time, same bat channel."  LOL

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Today's Update - 3 March 2015

Just a quick update to let you know that I just finished posting Georgie.  No other updates tonight as I'm bushed but at least I kept that promise.  (grin)


Monday, March 2, 2015

Today's Update - 2 Mar 2015

Found a neat blog at and her recipe for Cilantro Garlic Broth isn't the only thing I'm going to be trying.  In January she also posted a recipe for Preserved Lemon Puree.  Now I've preserved whole lemons before but never pureed the lemons.  Oh boy, I need to hit the farmer's market and get me a bag of lemons toot sweet.

Speaking of experimenting with new recipes, I found a way to serve very thick chili or thick bean soup or porridge.  I'm sure everyone has heard of a bread bowl or old fashioned bread trencher.  My problem is though I love bread I've been trying to cut back on eating so much of it.  There were a few nights during January and February where my nervous munching got out of hand and I wound up eating more bread than dinner.  Giving up sodas has had me craving bread as well.  To soothe the savage beast that is my appetite on monster munchies I took a thick flour tortilla and baked it over a concave oven-proof container.  Fancy words for the fact that I turned a tortilla into a bowl.  LOL  I filled the bowl with thick, garlicky black bean soup and oh ... my ... goodness.  It was so good.  I was so enthused with eating I didn't think to take a picture.  I've made a mental note to stop and do it next time.  Oh ... and clean up was a breeze.  LOL.

We didn't get to start sealing the driveway today, it was still too damp.  Plus we had a structure fire at one of our rental units.  Someone forgot to turn off the stove and also forgot to take the hot pad off the stove they'd used to move a skillet.  The two "forgots" did not mix well at all.  Just plain craziness.  The kitchen is gutted - cabinets to appliances - and the fire department made it worse by bringing down the ceiling in there to make sure flames hadn't escaped into the attic.  That's a repair that is going to cost about twenty-grand.  Geez.  Blessed to have good property insurance that's for sure.  Still have the deductible to deal with but that's life and a cost of doing business.  We'll do what we can to help the tenants relocate but it likely won't be with us.  Once burned, twice shy if you'll pardon the bad pun.

For the story Georgie I have it up to Chapter 21 at the time of publication.  I wanted to get it finished tonight but the fire has thrown my whole day off.  Will finish the story tomorrow baring meeting with insurance people and city inspectors.


And below are the vids that I told you about.  My house still smells of garlic but just barely.  A little homemade Febreeze goes a long way.  After I got the garlic and onions sliced I moved my dehydrator to the lanai and dried them out there.  I set up a secondary fan to try and push off the humidity that tried to make the drying time longer.  Second batch is now going and this one I want to dry to the brittle stage so that I can grind it fine and make onion and garlic powders and flavored salts.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can find you some vids on what I do when I have an abundance of garlic and onions.  Oh the anticipation.  Hold your nose.  LOL.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Today's Update - 1 Mar 2015

I don't normally post on Sunday but felt given the number of days that I hadn't posted prior to this week, one Sunday update wasn't going to wreck things.

It was hot today.  Not warm ... hot.  Or at 84 degrees F felt that way after the long cool spell we've been having.  In a couple of months 84 will feel downright comfortable.  Today it just felt nasty and muggy, especially after yesterday's day full of rain.  The biting bugs were also out enjoying themselves, mostly at the expense of people that forgot to stock up on repellent ... my neighbor being one of them.  I had the kids run him over some citronella oil for his lantern so at least he'll be able to keep them off the porch and hopefully out of the house until his wife can pick up some tomorrow.

Got plenty of constructive things accomplished, one of which was a "redneck fix" on my husband's office chair.  As long as it holds it will save us a couple of hundred bucks.  It's the chair's shock; the poor, sad thing started giving out.  My hubs would be sitting there working away and suddenly he would drop several inches, stop, and then drop a few more, and wind up feeling like a hobbit trying to work at his desk.  It had started happening so often hubs was ready to send the chair to the dumpster ... after taking a sledgehammer to it.  Did I mention that it had started to aggravate him sorely? 

I looked and wasn't sure if I could buy a replacement shock that would fit the base so I went looking for a DIY and found it in the comments section of an "Instructable." 

Look how easy it was.  Hubby didn't even notice at first until he realized he wasn't constantly have to readjust the seat.  Basically it is just stacked hose clamps that keep the shock from being able to drop.  A new chair similar to the one he has would have cost in excess of two hundred dollars.  Buying a replacement shock would have cost between twenty and fifty dollars.  Five hose clamps to save hubby's aggravation was priceless but cost me less than five dollars.  I'd say that was money and time well spent.  The look on hubby's face was pretty priceless as well.  LOL.

I'm anxious for my loquat tree to have more ripe fruit on it.  As you can see from the very top picture and the one right above this section, my tree is loaded but the majority of them are still green.  I'm running low on loquat preserves and don't want to waste any of the fruit because once it is ripe it needs to be picked or the birds will get to it.  Too many people look at these trees as simple ornamentals but the truth is their fruit is really delicious, and deliciously versatile too.  I use them to make a really nice BBQ sauce and I also use them to cook with chicken and oriental dishes in addition to preserves.

On to the topic of Georgie.  I have it posted up to Chapter 18.  I was doing a quick read through and my gosh I had no idea of all of the mistakes that I missed during the editing process.  I'm really embarrassed.  The first couple of chapters need to be formatted too.  But rather than stop and go back and do it now, I'll clean the story up after I have it finished.  I know that's backwards but I don't want to get sidetracked. 


I'm going to forsake the videos tonight.  Tomorrow however I'll post some on garlic and onions.  Have you guessed what my house smelled like for most of the day?  LOL  At least our sinuses are clear.