Friday, October 31, 2014

Cool Costume

This kid uses a wheelchair and the parents built him his costume around that fact:

Happy Halloween

I've been thinking about Halloween candy today -- wanting some. I got a Miles Kimball catalog of "old fashioned candy" and haven't thrown it away yet. This catalog sells Bonomos Turkish Taffy, now at $1.99 a bar, previously 5 cents a bar when I bought it. I know it will rip out all of my dental work.

Same with Sugar Daddies. They sell those, and I would always start out sucking on it, but when it would get gooey, I'd take a bit and stretch it out... and ditto these days with the dental work. Brad told me he used to put his Sugar Daddy in the freezer. Sounds like a good way to chip a tooth these days.

Remember Cow Tails? They sell those -- theyre like caramel with the white stuff in them in long pieces. They have Bit O Honey (another favorite) and Mary Janes (another favorite)

I was never big on Necco wafers so I can pass those up.

They have Sky Bars, which I barely remember. This is a chocolate candy bar that breaks into segments and each segment has a different filling.

They have Clark Bars, another favorite -- five Clark Bars for $9.99.

Slo-Poke? I remember the name, but was never a fan.

Gummi bears? That's really another generation's and I have no interest.

OK, now here's something: Fizzies!! You dropped the Fizzy in water and it created a truly gagging flavored drink. Even as kids, we couldn't drink it.

If I could wave a wand, I'd like some Snickers, some Reese's peanut butter cups, a Clark Bar or two, and some Almond Joys. And you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

More from Skyline Drive

Fran writes: It was a perfect weather day and the views magnificent. The trees had peaked last week but their more muted palette this week still breathtaking. Visiting with trees is magical.

Road Trip

The Merry Retirees (Fran & Mary) took a roadtrip today to the Skyline Drive. Yes, I am jealous that I worked all day while they were eating crepes (or so I imagine) and flirting with Greek sailors on leave (or so I imagine). In reality, they were no doubt looking for a restroom!

So the Skyline Drive is part of Shenandoah National Park and runs through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mary says Fran has better photos so stand by.

Monday, October 27, 2014

From Twitter

I love this sign -- and I always wonder when people want to be mean or deny poor or less fortunate people things -- haven't they ever been broke? Or Sick? or Don't they know someone with no health insurance?

Delaney's Formal Portrait -- isn't she something?

This is Mary's great-niece:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Autumn in DC by Fran

Fran says: Enjoy this fire engine red tree in front of Methodist Home in Connecticut Ave. Wheeee passersby stopped in their tracks to enjoy the treat.

Nose Blowing Class

Here's another historical photo -- and I remembered that we had similar "personal hygiene" lessons in grade school about using tissues. Not sneezing in someone's face. Washing your hands, etc. In fact, our third grade class play was about personal hygiene. Really. It was a musical.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Waiting Cats

I follow a bunch of historical photo archivists on Twitter, and I was fascinated by this one today. The place and time are unknown, but these cats are waiting for the fishermen to return. It reminds me of the old-style cartoons where a cat (Sylvester?) would pick up a whole fish and put it down his throat head first and then pull out a skeleton. That fascinated me too.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Safari - Part 2

This is Mary's outdoor shower which she describes as "lovely."
Mary says: This family was on my deck for hours one afternoon. They're small deer like animals called Klipspringers (hope I spelled that right. I'll check later.)
Mary says: I think this guy will be recognizable.
Mary says:
The dad is on the right, the kids beside them. They were sleeping when a group of zebras came by and the guides thought there would be a fight (apparently that's what people really want to see) but the zebras wandered off just in time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crabby Old Lady

I was just trying to place an order for a pair of pants and a sweater. First time I tried to check out, and was to the final "submit order" button, I submitted order and it returned me for no reason to the shopping cart.

Next I went through the whole thing again, once more at the finish line to "submit order" -- this time when I pressed it, I got an error message that it is an invalid credit card number. Ok, that's possible I inputted it wrong so I go back and when I clicked on the box to insert the number -- I don't know what verb to use here, it would not register... it wouldn't accept typing... kept trying, couldn't type, couldn't delete, so finally I gave up and placed the order by phone.

Before I started though, I wanted to make sure that the 20% discount I had was in effect whether the order was placed on the internet or by phone... told her I was having trouble with the website and she asked something to the effect of have I done this before... and I said that I do most of my shopping online so I am not new to the process. I said it shouldn't be this hard to place an order (that's my standard default line)... and she said, "But did you clean out your cookies?" and I said, "I shouldn't have to redo my computer in order to place an order."

I admit I'm a crabby old woman!

Safari -- Part One

Mary says:

We were served wine, coffee, beer, and snacks on breaks in our game drives. We did four: Monday evening, Tuesday morning and evening, and Wednesday morning. Each drive was about 3 1/2 hrs of wonder.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pie Time!

It's been really cold for the first time and it reminded me of pies and comfort food. Here's what's happening in Fond du Lac:

Lightly Hand-Breaded HADDOCK FILLETS


  SMOKED SAUSAGE with German Potato Salad


A special every Tuesday:  ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT WINGS, Traditional or Boneless





HOT MINCE PIE with Rum Sauce

PUMPKIN PIE with Whipped Cream


I think I'd go with the chicken and dumplings special with a piece of pumpkin pie and a piece of French blueberry pie to take home

. I don't really care what makes it French, but let me check. French Blueberry Pie appears to have a crumbly crust and crumbly, streussel type topping. This makes my mouth water:

Can't decide if I'd want whipped cream (don't you hate when people call it 'whip cream'?) or ice cream. I would definitely want some coffee to go with this pie. Nice fresh coffee.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Sticker Shock

Sometimes I like looking through fancy catalogs and sometimes they are tossed unread in the recycle box... so I'm looking at one today -- gourmet candy and I admit they are beautiful... and I come upon the caramel apple section and I thought it might be fun to send to my sister's family for Halloween... that is, until I saw the price.

Here's a picture of one of them (they have many versions of their caramel apples)

This one is dark chocolate and cashews, and I admit it's gorgeous... but the price?

This one, lone apple is $23.99. Couldn't be, kept thinking I was reading it wrong, went to the website and yes, they range in price in this range -- some are even more.

None of youse guys is gettin' caramel apples from me!

Mold on Bread

Marilyn bought me a big loaf of bakery rye bread on Thursday. I probably ate six pieces so there was about 2/3rds of the loaf left. Today I went to make a sandwich for lunch and there was this white powder on the top of the bread (when it was in a plastic bag) and I couldn't figure out if it were some kind of flour or mold. Ana was here at the time and we both decided it was some sort of flour... so I took two pieces out and I see that this (ahem) flour was also on the inside... of course, it turned out to be mold.

I keep my bread in my microwave and Ana says she keeps all her bread in the refrigerator. I really don't like the notion of cold bread -- and I haven't had this problem with bread aisle bread unless it was very old.

So who keeps their bread in the refrigerator? Come on... fess up.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dream that Has Stayed with Me

Last night, I had a dream about my late friend Katrina. She showed up -- we were standing in the galley part of an airliner (have no idea why) and she was happy and we were chatting.  Then I said, "I thought you were dead." And she said, "Oh no, no I'm not dead." And I said, "Then where have you been?" and she didn't say anything and I said, "You are dead, and you have just come by to say hello to me." And she sort of hung her head and said, "Yes." But she really was happy, and I have had the experience of people who are dead coming to me in dreams.  I don't think I'd dreamt of Katrina.

On Friday, I was deleting some old files and I came upon a photo file of her and decided to keep it.

Typically dreams leave me as soon as I wake up, but this one has stayed with me all day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Whale Watching

Mary writes:

It was a beautiful morning on the water. Hermanus is a lovely beach town with shops and markets and pretty homes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Back in South Africa...

Mary writes:

Our whale watching was cancelled today due to high winds. In the meantime we had a nice lunch by the water but the pictures weren't good. Then we went to a brewery and had a beer tasting (the light was too sweet from the honey they used and the dark too heavy from the chocolate but we liked the others. Then we went to a cheesemaker and sampled some cheese. Now we're relaxing before heading out to dinner. This really is a lovely guest house.

Last Gasp of Birthday Celebration

Barbara came over for lunch today to celebrate my birthday and we had a great time talking about copyediting and grammar and commas. Ah, and we dined like queens on BLTs from Gracie's. She likes rye toast so  made it easy and got mine on rye toast too.

Really, is there anything better than a BLT?

She had stopped at Little Red Hen for cheesecake -- mine with cherries, hers plain. She inquired about birthday candles and were told they were $3.50 a box and she said, "Oh I only wanted one" and the woman gave it to her for free which we both thought was nice so I actually had a candle to blow out. Then I cleaned off the candle and saved it since I have no birthday candles either. This cheesecake is delicious -- so fluffy and light as you can see below. Oh yes, we also had freshly brewed coffee to accompany it.

All that remains...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Years of Procrastination Ended

I had a fairly good business-type suit that I think I wore once or twice. I didn't want to give it to the thrift shop because it was "too good." I know; I'll sell it on eBay. Oh yeah, I've been planning to do that for about five years -- honestly it could be longer. Today when Marilyn was here, I finally gave up on that plan and off to the thrift shop it went. I thought about blessing someone else with it. I can't tell you the absurd, ridiculous amount of energy I have given this decision over the years... why? so I can make $30? Anyway, it actually feels lighter to have that suit out of here.

As a sidenote, I have also given up on salad bags because they'd stay fresh and edible about three days and I returned to the old-fashioned head of iceberg lettuce. I had a few grocery items for Marilyn to buy, including this amazing Salsas, which she found at this gourmet type grocery store near me called Fairway. She couldn't see the lettuce and when she asked for "iceberg lettuce" the produce guy turned his nose up as if she was asking for dog doo. So she had to go to another story to buy some lowly iceberg.

Thursday in South Africa

Mary writes:

We left Capetown today and stopped at a lovely town called Stellenbosch. Art galleries, shops, restaurants, a college, and a small botanical garden.  Here are pictures at lunch (I had tomato soup and a cheese sandwich and Tom and Michelle had burgers but I didn't get a picture of Meredith and Dave's harvest sampler plate) and in the garden.
Botanical garden

Meredith and Dave

Mary's lunch -- tomato soup and grilled cheese is such a great combo.

.... and the burger and fries...

Celebrating Michelle's Birthday

Mary writes:

We celebrated Michelle's birthday last night and I forgot to send the picture. We ate at the Cod father, a wonderful seafood restaurant where you talk to the chef and pick an assortment of seafood and they prepare and serve it with rice and vegetables. We had prawns, langostines, blue marlin, angel fish and kling fish (hope I spelled that right). Everything was delicious).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stopping for a School Bus

I saw a piece on the national news tonight about the menace of people not stopping for a school bus when it's picking up or dropping off kids on its route. They had dashboard cam/films of drivers doing the most ridculous things like driving up on the sidewalk to go around the bus or mainly just speeding by. There were a few cases where a kid came very close to being hit.

When I was riding a bus, back when the crust of the earth was cooling, there was one busdriver named Jack. Busdrivers were the only adults we could call by their first name. When a car blew by when he was stopped with his stoplights on, he would lose it. He would blast his horn, shake his fist, and curse.

Oddly, this made me feel very secure. I loved that Jack cared so much.

Watching this news report tonight, you wonder how much of a hurry can you be in... or maybe how important do you think you are... to drive up on a sidewalk?

When I learned to drive, hitting a kid was probably my number one fear. Even today if I'm in a neighborhood and kids are around, especially on bikes, I just totally slow down to like 15 mph. I don't want that on my conscience, but perhaps these folks who are so important have no conscience.

Robben Island

First the lesson:
Robben Island is internationally known for the fact that Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of  apartheid. Kgalema Motlanthe, who also served as President of South Africa, spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner, as did the current President of South Africa  Jacob Zuma.

Robben Island is both a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And now the photos of Mary's visit:

Mandela's cell
Sample of Prisoner ID card
This is the place where Mandela hid his book manuscript which
 was later smuggled out, published and read worldwide.

Sixty minute boat ride to Robben Island.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Meanwhile... back in DC

In addition to a professional cat sitter, Milo has a designated visitor in the form of Ms. Fran. On her way to Mary's, she came upon this Halloween sight which she says is the same house that has the serene Buddha. I guess they are covering all bases.

This is Milo on Fran's knee.

Fran calls this Milo's selfie.

Lunch at Kalk Bay

I don't know who ate what, but on the table were mussels, fish, salad and polenta.

Gimme a piece of crusty bread to sop up that juice!

And now for your edification and interest:

Kalk Bay is a fishing village on the coast of False Bay, South Africa, and is now a suburb of greater Cape Town. It lies between the ocean and sharply rising mountainous heights that are buttressed by crags of grey sandstone.  A literal translation from the Dutch/Afrikaans name "Kalkbaai" is "Lime Bay". This derives from the vast deposits of mussel shells found there, which early settlers burned to make lime for construction. Lime kilns to roast mussel shells are still found along the west coast. The railway from the central business district of Cape Town to  Simon's Town passes through Kalk Bay and in some places the line is only metres from the water's edge.

You can see the railroad tracks here:

Kalk Bay Harbor