Hello Friends. It's just little 'ol me. I simply can't believe that summer is so far along. I wrote my August newspaper column the other day (yes...we do it way ahead of time) and I suggested the idea of a fifth season. From mid~August to the end of September, perhaps. That bit of lull we have when summer is waning (as well as our heat tolerance) and the anticipation of cooler weather, shorter days and the coziness of moving back indoors begins to look welcome. Yep, I think an additional season is a winning idea.
I'm just sharing a few pictures from the garden that look pretty darn good in spite of the heat we are having. We've had some good rain recently, but unfortunately it spawned tornado's to the west of Chicago. Severe weather is now predicted and broadcasted so much better than before, I assume a result of better technology. It's truly prepares us but it also sets off a lot of anxiety for me (and others) who have a deep fear of threatening weather. The Husband had to pry me from the TV the other night at 11:00 p.m. as I clutched my flashlight and phone. I don't think I'll change. Is ignorance bliss? Or just plain stupid?
One of my younger sisters once said that she always started out gardening in the early spring with a ton of energy in buying, planting and tending her garden. By August she was tired of it all and could care less if everything died. I sometimes feel that way. Maybe I was a little over zealous in the spring and planted more flowers than I could take care of. I really love potted plants as I can surround my patio with them...the borders of my yard are a little far off to appreciate the color and beauty unless you take a little stroll. Back in June I would meticulously water and weed and sweep my patio. Well, I'm not so fussy now. But the other day I had to make a run to Home Depot and the prices on perennials were outstanding. Of course I came home with a few: some Shasta daisies, coneflowers and Carpathian Harebells. I picked up a cell pack of impatiens to fill in some pots that had lost a few flowers. Heck~~~we do have some time before that fifth season! I'll never have as much time here in the city to play with my garden as I've had this summer and last. The time at the lake and the gardening there makes it overwhelming to come back here and go at it again. So plants that come up year after year make me very happy. :-D
I've dogsat granddog Tulo two weekends in a row. My son needs to book him in the doggie hotel a little more in advance. I truly love this 100+ pound ball of happy fur and he's very much at home here, but you can see how cramped his style is. This is my favorite little room, the den. The Husband and I usually watch a movie together on Saturday night. I joked with my son that his bathrooms are larger than my den (seriously...and all 5 of them). Then again, Tulo might like the coziness. He's actually an English Cream Retriever but Jeff gets him groomed almost like a Lab in the summer to keep him cool. Isn't he beautiful?
Emily took this precious picture of Elsie at her home recently. I think it's the angle but our little girl is only 17 months. She looks about 2 here! She's really learning to talk and as I've mentioned before, we have her here about 3 hours every Thursday night while the parents get out. Sometimes I think, "What will we do for fun tonight?" No worries. Playing outside, dinner or a snack, taking a walk or a ride in her 'whatever it is thingie she sits in while you push with one handle'. Some play inside with Grandfather amusing her as only he can and then clean up and PJ's. When Kevin walks in she jumps up and down and giggles like, "Ha! See where I've been!".
I'll try not to bombard you with pictures of her but it's hard. I don't take a lot, but Emily has her all day on Thursdays and gets some great shots.
And speaking of the Mother To Be, she is more than halfway along in her pregnancy. She continues to work and do more than she should. She's always been a busy bee and very driven. But I'm grateful she's taking some naps and really watching certain food that are 'new to me' harmful. Sometimes she can be outright paranoid. For example, we had lunch at a restaurant recently and the conversation sort of went:
Emily: "Does your water taste funny?"
Me: "Not at all"
Emily: "My Coke tastes weird, too."
Emily: "I'm just going to drink my water."
Emily: "Do you want to use my hand sanitizer?"
Me: "No, why?"
Emily: Well, you know...you are touching things on the table and then you'll get in my car."
Finally. On the way home. The killer.
Emily: "Mom. You keep scratching your head. Can you please stop?"
Me: "Why? Does it bother you?"
Emily: Well, yeah. I don't want dead skin follicles all over my car."
Someone please trade places with me. ;-(
I made fish and chips for dinner the other night. I love fish and know that it's healthy. Fried food is not so healthy but I figure the good~for~you fish might cancel out the bad grease. Sort of like ordering a diet pop with french fries. People laugh at that but I think it's a great balance. A win~win.
So...save it for one of those days when you want something greasy and salty. Be prepared to spend about an hour cleaning up your stovetop afterward. ;-D
Jane's Fish & Chips
1 to 1 1/2 lb. fresh cod
I egg swished around with a whisk or fork
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 c flour
2 t salt and pepper
1 to 1 1/2 c canola oil
2 T malt vinegar (optional)
Cut pieces of cod into 4 pieces. Mix together flour mixture while you heat up the oil and vinegar in a deep pan over medium to high heat. Dip the fish in the egg and dredge in the flour mixture. Fry approximately 2 minutes on each side. Do not let them over~brown. Keep the thinner pieces of cod toward the sides of the pan. Remove to a plate and cover with foil until ready to serve.
My simple tartar sauce is a mixture of mayo, pickle relish and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Play and taste...so fun.
For the chips I cut 4 medium size Idaho potatoes (after washing them) into 1/4 inch slices. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and brush the potatoes with a bit of canola oil...Sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt (add a bit more after cooking). Bake at 425 for approximately 20 minutes until tender, but watch closely.
Recipe serves 4. Enjoy!!!!
Okay..drumroll! The winner of this book is Mary Alice at Chateau Chic. I appreciate so many of you who expressed interest in this book...I'm still plowing away at this one and the prequel. Good reading It's okay to read more than one book at a time, right? Mary Alice, congrats and please email your address.
I'm up to my ears in things I need to do this week. We leave for Asheville for 9 days this Saturday. I'm going 500 miles away but acting like I'm going to Bora Bora. We have a washer and dryer at the condo but I pack as if I need 8 outfits a day. I would like to get a pedicure and perhaps a new dress or pair of sandals but we'll see. Longtime followers know how neurotic I can be when I take a trip. I'm also working on Emily's baby shower along with her mother in law. And the countdown to getting back into the lakehouse seems to be just around the corner so I'm running around like crazy looking for drapes and bedding and linens for which the insurance company will later reimburse us. I haven't been there in 12 months...The Husband goes (he doesn't mind a port-a-potty and a sandwich from a gas station), and I can see from his cell phone photos that I have cabinets, a pretty floor, a beautiful staircase and a shiplap ceiling in the kitchen. Joanna Gaines would be proud. Seriously, can't wait to share this.
I am done with physical therapy but I had an episode with my back going totally awry a few weeks ago. Seriously bad. I had an MRI and it was beyond having a 'bad back', as I've called it for the past few years. 5 bulging disks and severe nerve root problems around two lower vertebra. For the wise and medical/insurance people I know...this is it. The bad and ugly. I know the PT routine and now do it at home. My physician provides great incentive for me, I really like and respect him. Do the exercises, get to a gym and drop the weight. The ball is in my court or he will be fusing my spine together with metal screws in a year. I'm definitely moving on that. What a guy. He never made me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. How can you feel offended when a doctor straight out tells you that you are young and your health is in your own hands? Wish me luck.
We leave Saturday and I'll bring my laptop. I usually have a little time here and there when The Husband goes trout fishing or to this falconry place he found to risk have his nose bitten off by a real hawk landing on his arm. The bait is a hunk a raw meat. I've heard the expression that you can't 'unsee what you've seen'. In this case I can't 'unsee' something gross that's best left to avid viewers of the National Geographic channel. Facing your fears is something that's very big these days~some of them might even be on your 'Bucket List". Mine include trying ice cream with peanut butter in it, and using a gas station restroom.
Off I go. I'll report from beautiful Asheville, North Carolina in a few days.