Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Day

No shells to speak of but lots of coral in Mexico and bright blue jellyfish in Ft. Lauderdale. Can't figure out how to add photo so I'll do it tomorrow from home

[Here we go:   I talked to a local man and he said they are man o' war jellyfish and confirmed the fact that they can sting pretty badly.   They were everywhere, and we saw some floating in with the surf -- stopped all thoughts of wading, for sure! ]

Lots of sunshine and alcohol everywhere, though.  

'Will be glad to be home so I can save up for Sanibel!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod

Key West and parts South

Key West on a warm, sunny day. Going out on a catamaran to snorkel. Life is good. Saw fish -- who wouldda guessed? The next day was the Big, Much Anticipated turtle trip. But we awoke to the news that it had been cancelled because only 3 of us showed up. Instead we went on an open-water snorkel with a zillion new snorkelers. Why was that significant? Because it meant that i was kicked in the face and belly a zillion times. Everyone else saw not one, not two, but three sea turtles. I had the snorkel kicked out of my mouth several times, swallowed gallons of sea water, and saw only fish. And my underwater camera , used only once before in water, broke. So good thing I didn't see those turtles! Still, it was fun, if not AS fun as I had hoped. My sister and her friend Penny had the best time ever, drinking many (many) glasses of surupy rum unch and dancing on the bow with the dive masters.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sanibel Dreaming. Again.

Yesterday afternoon, I looked out my front door and saw that almost all of our snow had melted.   Finally!
But then the sky got overcast and, ten minutes later, I looked out the front door again and saw that it had started to snow.
The next time I peeked out, it was winter again, and my inner child started whining. 
This morning, all the schools are closed, and I have another pot of soup simmering.    I think it's time to declare my surrender and plot a great escape to warmer weather.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We have a winner!   Jessica from Before the Dawn was my random prize winner for the One World One Heart giveawy.   Tea, sipping chocolate and a tiara  are all packed up and ready to go out to her as soon as I receive her address.   Congratulations, Jessica, I hope you enjoy it all! 

Thank you everybody for your visits and your comments, many of you really touched me and I've enjoyed peeking into your blogs  -- I've got a long way to go, but hopefully I'll eventually visit each of you again.     I wish I had prizes for every one of you, because you're all winners in my opinion!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I'm in Sugar Shock!   Today I made a version of Nutella, (the famous hazelnut spread, only I made it with peanuts).   I saved the recipe quite awhile ago on SmittenKitchen, and decided to make it this weekend, supposedly for my daughter-in-law.    The little ones were spending the night and I thought it would be fun for them.  

Of course, I thought wrong.  It is not unusual for kids' idea of Fun to be different than mine.   As soon as we started the food prep, they found a game they wanted to play so they were not interested at all, either in measuring or in dumping stuff in.   At their suggestion, I poured the stuff into the food processor between turns at a board game, but they were happy to push the buttons (and even a little sorry when that part was over).   We made a good - and more efficient than usual -- team.

I really was not making this for myself because, although I love hazelnuts and chocolate, I don't care for Nutella, so I planned to use the kids as my little testers.   When the peanut-cocoa mixture was smooth and ready, it looked pretty good and they were both willing.   The kids both tasted the finished product and pronounced it 'good,' but they weren't really impressed.   They were much more impressed with our game.     So I had to step up to the plate (so to speak) and taste it myself.   And oh boy, was I in trouble.

There should have been a warning label.  SmittenKitchen should have mentioned that if I tasted it, I would have a hard time stopping.     Oh wait, she did.   Maybe there should have been a BIGGER warning label.   Whatever (not MY fault, right?), I didn't take her seriously.    It didn't help that I have been SO GOOD, virtually sugar free for the past few weeks, so this stuff really went to my head.   When I fall off the wagon, I fall hard, and I have the sugar-high to prove it!  

Go ahead, I dare you.   Make a batch of this stuff and have just one taste . . .  impossible!

Here's the recipe, taken straight from SmittenKitchen's April 11, 2008, blog entry.  The comments are hers.

"Peanut Chocolate Spread
2 cups shelled and skinned raw peanuts
1/2 cup of your darkest, richest unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt plus additional to taste (I used an extra 1/8 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons peanut oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the peanuts evenly over a cookie sheet and roast until they darken, about 10 minutes, rattling them around a bit halfway through to they toast evenly. (If you, like me, were unable to find raw peanuts, just toast them for a 5 minutes to deepen their flavor.)

Transfer the peanuts to a food processor and grind them for about 5 minutes. First they’ll become a paste and will cause any toddler in your midst to have a meltdown from the ruckus. Then they’ll become more of a paste and finally, they’ll liquefy. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Add the cocoa, sugar, salt and two tablespoons of the oil to the food processor and continue to process until well blended, about 1 minute. Add more salt if needed. Add the last tablespoon of oil if the consistency seems too thick.

Store in refrigerator up to a week in a covered container.    When it is full chilled, like peanut butter, it will become thick and a swipe with a teaspoon will leave a telltale impression. Look, I’m just warning you, okay?"

She's not kidding.    This stuff is addictive.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Family Resemblance

So what do you think, does my grandson look more like his mother, or his father?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Still Complaining

Somewhere over the many years its been standing, and long before I moved here, a couple of additions were made to my house.   There is a little garage, attached to the side of the house but not connected by a doorway.   And there is a family room on the back.   The garage and the family room have their own roofs, and neither roof is pitched as steeply as the main house.    When it snowed, and drifted, and froze, and snowed again, the two lower roofs were evidently not steep enough to shed the snow the way I had hoped.   You can see from the photos that the snow is over a foot deep on both, and I'm pretty sure it's not getting any lighter.

I tried today to shovel just a bit of each roof, hoping that the (theoretical) sunshine (if we ever get any) will create a little heat so that the snow can slide off before the roof collapses on my head.   I threw out some salt, too, and now all I can do is cross my fingers and hope!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Over A Foot Of Karma

When I was a kid, lo those many years ago, most parents in my circle employed the "I'll Give You Something To Whine About" technique.   Today it is clear that Mother Nature is Old School all the way.    Perhaps I have mentioned once or twice that I am SICK of snow and TIRED of winter.    Today I got something to whine about.     I'm going to tell you all about it, bloggy friends, because my neighbors don't want to hear about it.   They have plenty of shoveling to do.

The TV news says we've had around a foot of snow so far.   And it is NOT light and fluffy.   And it is COLD.    And it is very, VERY windy, so there are BIG drifts everywhere.

It took me fifteen minutes to open my front door, pushing and kicking at the drift that held it closed tight.   It took me another fifteen to find my front steps and shovel down to the sidewalk.    At that point, I cried Uncle and went back inside.

Naturally, because my life is filled with good judgment and clever decisions, I had cancelled my Snow Plow Guy just last week.    It's just not in my budget, I explained to him.   I only intended to use your services while I was away on vacation, I will shovel my own snow from now on, thank you very much. 

Today I swallowed my pride and called him.   "Hello, Gail," he answered the phone.   Clearly he'd know all along that I would come crawling back.   "I'm so sorry I broke up with you," I said.   "Please come back."    And wonder of wonders, he says he will!    Eventually, when he can fit me in.   I suppose I'll need to learn his name if we are going to be seeing each other again.

My grandchildren have a very different attitude about the snow than I do.   My son says they are excited about playing outside.    They are down the block, but at this point, might as well be a continent away because there is no way yet to get from Here to There without wading through hip-high snow.   But the thought of their laughter warms me, as I sit with my tea and my laptop.   I am lucky indeed, basking in the nearness of family and the forgiveness of the Snow Plow Guy.

UPDATE:   Later in the day:  the Snow Plow Guy came -- yay!  --  but I didn't get off scot-free; I still had some re-shoveling to do after the wind blew drifts back over his handiwork.    Still it was just a normal shoveling, not the massive job it would have been!   And I had visitors!   My kids brought the little grands over on a sled to be sure I was dug out -- is there anything more fun for a child than a sleigh ride through the neighborhood?    I don't think so!