Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Project 365: Day 181 -- One of my most dreaded chores...

Most people despise cleaning the toilets, washing the dishes, or putting away laundry. I hate doing those things too, but the chore I tend to dread is changing the bed linens. Mostly because our mattress sits inside the bed frame, and it's very heavy memory foam. And I can't stand for the sheets--especially the bottom fitted sheet-- to be loose with wrinkles in it. And sheets are always too big for the mattress. So I use those elastic straps on the corners and one long one going all the way across both vertically and horizontally to keep the sheet on tight.

As you can imagine, changing the linens in these circumstances takes a lot of energy, and about 30 minutes time to completely make up the bed. So every week, when it's time to change the linens, I just dread it. Today was that day.

On a funnier note, Woofey refuses to get on our bed when the sheets are off because he can't stand the way the memory foam feels on his paws. It's like velcro to him!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Project 365: Day 180 -- What a difference a few days makes...

Look how much thicker the baby grass is already! Of course, I still don't expect it to make it through the summer. But it sure is pretty right now.

And here are more flowers from the garden.

Project 365: Day 179 -- Goodbye, Fiat

Today we say goodbye to the Fiat. Kelly purchased this car 8 years ago, hoping it just needed some tender loving care. Turned out it had some major body damage underneath that he just wasn't willing or able to repair. So after being rather unattractive driveway art for a few years, he finally sold it on ebay to a guy who wants to put the engine in another body. Said guy picked it up this morning, put it on a trailer, and drove it back to Illinois. I had fully intended to photograph it being hauled away, but they had it on the trailer and gone before I was out of the shower at 7 o'clock this morning. So this photo is several years old, taken before we knew how severe the damage was.

On a lighter note, Kelly decided to cook tonight. He's a great cook, but rarely has the time anymore. Tonight, he grilled chicken with some kind of sauce made from fresh cherries. Turned out pretty good, too. Also enjoyed fresh organic corn on the cob, and organic steamed carrots.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Project 365: Day 178 -- Baby Grass

Here's the baby grass we water three times a day...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Project 365: Day 177 -- Bees

Two of my goals with this Project have been to expand and improve my skills as both a photographer and as a writer. I have never been particularly interested or skilled in nature photography. But when I am forced to photograph something every.single.day and write about it, you start running out of willing human and feline models pretty quick. So I have expanded my portfolio to include creatures of the six-legged variety today.

This fat and sassy bumble bee was making the rounds on the cone flowers this morning, right outside my front door. So I grabbed my camera and my 70-200mm lens--because I am afraid of bees and wasn't willing to get any closer-- and started shooting. In my nightgown. Because I hadn't bothered to get showered and dressed yet, even though it was 10:30 in the morning, and I had been up for more than two hours. Yes, I was a lazy slug.

Anyway, this fuzzy (and scary) little guy was fairly cooperative, and I managed to get a number of fairly good shots, considering I'm not skilled with macro/nature shots, and I am afraid of bees. I can't stress that enough.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Project 365: Day 176 -- A sign of getting older...

It's been one heck of a day. Three major icons dead in the past 48 hours. Two of them today. It started yesterday with Ed McMahon. Famed for his role on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, then as a professional spokesman for things like Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, host of the original American Idol--Star Search. He died at 86 years of age. Lived a long life, had a successful career, a family.

Today, Farrah Fawcett, sex symbol of the 70's, the most famous Angel of Charlies' Angels, even though she only did one season as Jill Munroe. Her image was on posters in every teenage boy's bedroom across the country. She had Emmy nominations for her portrayal of a battered wife. She battled cancer for two and a half years, and lost that battle today at age 62.

Sadly, overshadowing Farrah's tragic death, is the death of Michael Jackson. He entered the spotlight of fame at age 11, as the youngest of the Jackson Five. His career skyrocketed during the 80's, with Thriller being one of the highest grossing albums in history. In recent years, he's been plagued with legal and financial battles, as well as speculations about serious health issues. Such extreme talent, yet mental illness severely affected his life. Because of his fame and fortune, most just said he was eccentric. But we all know the truth--he was seriously mentally ill. He died today at age 50, after paramedics were called to his home for an apparent cardiac arrest. When icons of your youth start dying, it certainly makes you realize how much older you are getting. On top of all this, an old friend from high school lost her father today, as well.

On to less depressing matters, we had frustrating events this morning. When the phone rings early in the morning, it's never good news, right? My cell phone rang at 8:15, about 30 minutes after Kelly had left for work. He was stranded on the side of Briley Parkway, waiting for a tow truck after the timing belt broke on his diesel Jetta. Just 18 days past the warranty. Spending money on car repairs, plus the inconvenience of a car being in the shop, just sucks.

So I had to pick Kelly up after his golf game tonight. It was 8 o'clock before he texted me to drive up there--all the way to his office across town. And what happens? Road construction. It took me nearly 40 minutes to drive less than 5 miles. I was so irritated! So it was past 9 PM by the time I picked Kelly up, and neither of us had eaten dinner yet. So we popped over to Macaroni Grill for a quick bite and headed home.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Project 365: Day 175 -- Butterflies in the Garden

I don't really do nature photography or macro photography. But I was testing some lenses for sharpness comparisons today, and this beautiful butterfly decided to model for me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 174 -- Everyone's Doin' It!

Saw this today on Cathy's Blog, and I thought: Hey, I can do that. It's far more interesting than what I had for lunch. (Sorry for the plagiarism, Cathy, but your wording was just too perfect considering I've gotten comments from my mother about my obsession with food on my blog.)

Outside my window... The sun is barely filtering through the thick forest of trees that surround my house.

I am thinking... about how I have so much to do, and so little enthusiasm to do any of it.

I am thankful for... air conditioning on blistering hot and suffocatingly humid southern days. I would literally die without it.

From the kitchen... last night was browned butter spaghetti with Myzithra. Tonight is peachy pork chops.

I am wearing... casual knit skirt, T, and flip flops. And my legs are so white they nearly blinded the neighbor's dogs when I got the mail.

I am creating... layouts for my Ireland scrapbook (the big one) and some marketing emails.

I am going... finish the laundry and start dinner soon.

I am reading... an old Nora Roberts book (from the McKade series) while waiting for my new Sookie Stackhouse and Black Dagger Brotherhood novels...

I am hoping... that hubby doesn't get home as late as he did last night.

I am hearing... The neighbors dogs barking at squirrels.

Around the house... there is still an enormous amount of work to be done in Parrish's bedroom before it can be my new office...

One of my favorite things... air conditioning.

A few plans for the rest of the week... work on cleaning out that room, planning next week's menu, keeping up with my Project 365 and Pea Mornings photographs, and working on my Ireland scrapbook.

And because I have to have a photo with every blog post, here's last night's cocktail for the hubster when he arrived home from a long day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Project 365: Day 173 -- Groceries and Dinner

Had do do some grocery shopping today, mostly for lunch stuff for the week. Of course, I still haven't kicked my Coke addiction, so had to hit that isle. And the deli. Love Boars Head cold cuts. No preservatives. And they have some wonderful Black Forest Ham, which is really good with the Black Wax Cheddar.

Tried a new recipe tonight--Browned Butter Spaghetti. This came about after finding a cheese at Whole Foods last week that I had never heard of. So I bought the chunk of Myzithra (Mizithra) cheese, and then looked up recipes to use it in. I found the Browned Butter Spaghetti.

Now normally, I substitute butter with the lower fat, lower cholesterol versions. But this recipe specifically states NOT to do that. Those diet butters just turn to oil when you melt them. Real butter browns. So it's not something we would have very often because it's fattening.

Anyway, it's usually just served as a side dish with lamb chops, but I decided to add chicken to it and serve it as the entree.

So here's the recipe:

Chicken Breasts, cut up into bite sizes. (I used Tyson pre-grilled)
about 8 oz Spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
Garlic - to taste
Oregano - to taste
Black Pepper (fresh ground) - to taste
4 tbl Butter
1/4 cup Myzithra Cheese, shredded

Boil and drain the pasta as you saute the chicken. I added a splash of white wine to the chicken at the end.

While the pasta sits in the collander, put butter in the empty pot and melt, adding minced garlic, oregano, and pepper. Brown the butter lightly, then remove from heat. Then dump the drained pasta back in and toss, coating thoroughly. Add the cheese and the chicken and toss some more. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Project 365: Day 172 -- The Girl isn't coming back and it's time to move on...

My one and only kiddo is now 21 years old, and a senior in college this fall. She has been living over 4,000 miles away in Honolulu since she started as a freshman at the University of Hawaii three years ago. After her sophomore year, she moved off campus and into an apartment, and then into a house with several roommates. Because of the distance and how long it takes to get from here to there (usually almost 20 hours, with layovers) and how expensive the airfare is, she has only been able to come home at Christmas, and in the summers. This year, she opted to stay in Honolulu for the summer, to take some summer classes and work in a dive shop. And she finally admitted that she never intends to live here in TN again, and will likely stay in Honolulu after graduation, provided she finds adequate income.

So, with that sad revelation (cause, hey--I miss my kid!), which if I have to be honest, wasn't a surprise, I have decided that her room in our tiny house has square footage too valuable to only be used 3-4 weeks out of the year. Well, ok, it's actually been used as a storage room when she's not here. But now, it's going to be my new office! It's slightly bigger than the 3rd bedroom which currently houses my office and craft supplies. And it gets better light, since it has two windows instead of one.

So the daunting and overwhelming task of clearing out that room has begun. There are boxes of books and clothes and old stuffed animals stored in there. Our luggage has been stored in there. All the stuff that I hesitated to put in the attic because of the heat/humidity/cold/dust/spiders/mice...fortunately, I think the mice and the spiders are a thing of the past now. And a lot of those books and clothes just need to be donated instead of me hanging onto them. Because let's face it--I will never be a size 3 again. So I must overcome my packrat tendencies that I apparently inherited from my grandmothers on both sides, and get rid of all this clutter. After all, it's the Year of the Purge, right? And I have woefully slacked off on that goal over the past month or two.

So here's a bunch of stuff that we have to keep until Parrish visits at Christmas and can decide what she wants to keep and what can be tossed. But it's all going to live in the attic until then. This is the third time in the past week that I have filled the hallway with boxes for the attic.

Project 365: Day 171 -- Margaritaville

We decided at the last minute tonight to try out the little Mexican restaurant here in Kingston Springs. The Margaritas, which are an other-worldly shade of green, where actually quite good. The tacos were rather bland and greasy, but the fajitas were fantastic. Not too bad, considering were we live...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Project 365: Day 171 -- Is Summer Over Yet?

Just how hot is it? It's so hot I can't keep the fog off my camera lens and view finder. I kept wiping it off, and it kept fogging back up. It's 95 degree with a heat index of 110. humidity is nearly 80%. It's miserable. Thank God for air conditioning. I hate summer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Project 365: Day 170 -- Scrapbook Complete!

I finally finished my mini scrapbook for my trip to Ireland! I've been working on it all week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Project 365: Day 169 -- The Garden

I found a frog on the front porch today, and when I poured food into the cats' dish, the frog got spooked and hopped away. He was hiding under some plants when I managed to get this shot. Then he disappeared. These flowers are growing wild on the edge of our front yard. Are they Brown-eyed Susans? I know almost nothing about plants and flowers. The bamboo was planted by Kelly and has spread to create a huge wall along the street. It's a favorite haven for birds of all kinds. It spreads so much on it's own that people are often stopping and asking if they can take some of the stalks that are jumping the ditch to the road side. Kelly always tells them to help themselves. And yes, that's poison ivy growing in there. I stay away from that!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Project 365: Day 168 -- Yes, it's food photos again...deal.

Breakfast. Bagels with garlic, rosemary, fresh mozzarella, and smoked salmon. Yum.

I spent the day working on some senior promo stuff, a wedding album for a client, and my Ireland mini-book. And listening to CSI episodes on Netflix. Also spent about an hour trying to clean out Parrish's bedroom so Kelly can have an office at home. And the mess in there is just too bad to even photograph, so don't ask. So you get photos of my breakfast. Deal with it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Project 365: Day 167 -- Rain Rain Go Away

Seriously getting sick of the rain and thunderstorms. Every.Single.Day. I keep having to shut down and unplug all my computer equipment for fear of power surges.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Project 365: Day 166 -- Lilies

The lilies have bloomed nicely in the front yard. I love the bright orange color! It's so strange that I am NOT allergic to most flowers, but I am allergic to grasses and trees and weeds.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Project 365: Day 165 -- BBQ

Summer is definitely here, with lots of storms and 90 degree temps. And the humidity! Oh my gosh, it's so freakin' hot outside. When Kelly starts to sweat, you know it's hot and humid, because he never sweats.

But since it's summer, it's BBQ time! Of course, we can BBQ almost year round down here in the South, but it the summer, it's almost a requirement. So tonight's menu was baked potatoes and BBQ pork tenderloin with a Kansas City Sweet Rub. And after dinner, we roasted a few marshmallows on the dwindling coals of the grill.

Project 365: Day 164 -- A Busy Day

Today is Grandma Needham's 85th birthday. So in addition to sending her flowers, Kelly and I drove out to Franklin to see her. One of his nieces was there, too. We actually haven't seen Emmy since she was about 6 months old, and now she's almost 3. She was napping through most of our visit, but woke up a few minutes before we left.

After the visit at Grandma's, Kelly and I had an early supper at Genghis Grille, and then went shopping at Whole Foods. We are going to make a real effort to eat more organically, and use more organic cleaning products in our home. Kelly recently read an article about the chemicals in fabric softener that really freaked him out. So we bought a bunch of organic produce, raw nuts, dried fruits, organic steaks, some cheeses and organic fabric softener. Now I am going to have to hit my friend Amanda up for her wealth of knowledge about such things. She has a severe chemical intolerance, so everything in her house is organic.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Project 365: Day 163 -- Bagels

Bagels with Cream Cheese and Lox. Yum. I don't eat them very often, because let's face it. Even with the low fat cream cheese and whole wheat bagels, they are still fattening. But every one in a while, I indulge.

Project 365: Day 162 -- A Stormy Start

Another morning of rain and potentially dangerous storms. When the weather is severe like this, we know we can always tune into Channel 2 weather, and get more coverage than we could ever want. In fact, the head meteorologist has a nickname--Stormy. Her real name is Lisa Patton, but we have been calling her Stormy for a few years now. Fortunately, most of the really bad weather went around us, like it usually does. We did get a little bit of small hail, and quite a bit of rain and lightning. But no tornado warnings like some of the areas to our north, south, and east. At 9 AM, it was so dark outside I couldn't see the barn from the back windows, and that's only about 40 feet.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Project 365: Day 161 -- A Morning of Errands...

Spent the morning running errands--the bank, the drycleaners, the grocery store--hoping to get it all done and be back home with the car unloaded before the rain came. I didn't make it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Project 365: Day 160 -- Books

My current stack of reading material...not to mention I have about 15 pages of books listed on my Amazon.com Wish Lists.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Project 365: Day 159 -- A Peak into Mornings...

I joined another group of photographers today in a project...we are scattered all over the world, but every morning we will take and post a photograph that gives a glimpse into our own morning...This was the photo I posted today. I had a very peaceful morning today, and woke up to a clean house and a clean kitchen--which doesn't happen every day, believe me.

Here's the blog if you care to take a look into other people's mornings...

Project 365: Day 158 -- Italian Night at Red Tree Coffee

Our local coffee house, Red Tree, has a private event every month. It's Italian Night. A local chef prepares an Italian meal. Everyone gets the same thing. Tonight's meal was minestrone, salad, lasagna, Chicken Florentine, and a choice of cheesecake, chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, or carrot cake for dessert. It's always bring your own wine. Tonight's meal was fantastic--especially the Chicken Florentine. And the chocolate cake. There's always live music too. Tonight was a guy playing acoustic guitar, and he was really, really good.

They had tables assigned to all the guests, with darling little center pieces...
I photographed the soup, but after that, Kelly made me put away the camera. It really annoys him when I photograph every darn thing...
This was after we had finished our meal, and most of the guests had already gone...our wine that we brought...

Kelly enjoying an after dinner cigar outside, while the owners/staff ate their dinner inside.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Project 365: Day 157 -- Irish Linens

Well, I got the sheets exchanged today. I still wasn't able to find what I really wanted, which was white, 800 thread count, cotton sateen sheets for a queen size bed. I guess not many people around here appreciate the difference in quality, since most of the sheets were only 250 and 300 thread count. So I had to settle for 500 thread count. Guess I'll have to order my 800 thread count on-line somewhere.

But now that I have new white sheets, I made the bed up with the new duvet cover and shams that I bought in Ireland. Irish linen with crocheted lace trim. They're beautiful, and I love them. Now, lets just hope Woofey the Dirt Dog doesn't ruin them...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Project 365: Day 156 -- The Dull Drive, Take 2, and the Woofey

Headed home after lunch with the parental units today. The drive was no less dull on the return trip. This photo is of a farm just after I exit the freeway in Fairview.

I did stop in Jackson on my way back and bought some sheets at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Our one set of sheets for our bed had a big hole in them, and I didn't want to drive all the way into Nashville today. The sample sheet they had on the display was soft and nice, but when I got home and washed the ones I bought, they were scratching and cheap-feeling. I packaged them back up to return tomorrow. How aggravating! Meanwhile, the Woofey decided to help me make the bed back up.

Project 365: Day 155 -- Rain, Archivers, & Shrimp

Well, the weather did not cooperate today for our zoo plans. It rained all day. So mom & I decided to check out Archivers. I've never been in one, since there isn't one in Nashville, and she didn't even know it was there in Memphis. All the scrapbook stores in Nashville have closed over the past few years, so I've missed being able to see product first hand before buying it now that I have to buy on-line. Archivers has all kinds of great stuff--including Bazzill cardstock by the sheet. They are a little more expensive than most of my on-line sources, though. I still stocked up on quite a bit, though.

For dinner tonight, Dad made one of his specialties--Creole Shrimp served over linguini with an Alfredo sauce. Definitely yummy!
The sibling unit joined us too, and we had a great discussion of politics and current events. My brother is so analytical, and so well informed, that I love to hear his opinions. It's especially great when his opinions backs up my opinions, which aren't usually reached with the same in-depth analysis that his are.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Project 365: Day 154 -- Pampered Feet and a Dull Drive

Well, I got my first pedicure of the summer today. It sure felt nice to get pampered. And my feet feel so nice.

I headed over to Memphis (Germantown to be exact) this afternoon to visit with the parental units and the little brother (who is 39 years old and much taller than me.) Anyway, that drive across I-40 between Nashville and Memphis is horrendously boring. It's only 3 hours, but it feels like it will never end...
If the weather is nice tomorrow, we may go to the zoo--Memphis has a spectacular zoo, and I haven't been in years.