Thursday, November 29, 2012

They’re or there or their/ desert or dessert ???

I am a poor speller.  There are some words I will never be able to spell with confidence.  I missed the word restaurant on a spelling test in the third grade. I always spell it restuarant.   Permanent is another one I missed on Mrs. Craig’s spelling test. I always get them wrong.  But I know I will spell them wrong and double check them.   

I could usually tell if a word was misspelled and would look up the correct spelling in a dictionary.  Then came computers and the magic of spellcheck. I no longer needed to look up words, they were underlined and a choice of words was given to you.   I was in heaven. 

It got even better, auto correct.  The computer/phone filled in the word as you started typing.  You didn’t even need to finish the word.  Pure magic for poor spellers.

Then it all went wrong.  Even when you misspelled a word, if it was a real word it was left.  For/four,   ill/I’ll,   hop/hope,   there/they’re/their,   I had to start carefully proofing everything I wrote.

I wrote a blog a year or so ago about a business trip in the desserts or was it desert?  Yes I wrote desserts instead of desert.  Marty caught it when he read the blog, the next day.  Embarrassing.

Marty can spell anything.  But auto correct even gets him.  He wrote on Facebook that he had replaced a worn out flag.  Except auto correct put he had relaxed the flag.

There are lots of sites that post silly, obscene, stupid auto correct texts.  Just Google auto correct. 
Even with problems, I still love spell check. It is a wonderful invention. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taking time off

This morning was cold (for San Diego) and foggy.  It was gloomy and I didn't want to do anything.  So I pretty much haven't.  I couldn't stand the thought of going in the pool when it was only 57 degrees, and who knows how cold the water was. I sat in a chair and read, hoping it would warm up. At 10:30 I gave up and got dressed.  I might have been just a little pleased it didn't warm up.  That water exercising bit gets old.

And the ironing, that has been pushed off to tomorrow.  Marty has lots of shirts.  One more day of not ironing won't make any difference.

I seem to be in a lazy lazy mood. I don't want to do anything except sit and read.  So that is what I have done all day.  Every now and then everyone should just take a break and do only what they want to do.

You do need to know I have not been totally worthless today.  I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch.  I had planned to fix supper tonight.  But Richard wants us to eat out.  Who am I to argue with my host.  It is Taco Tuesday with $2 Margaritas.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Old Town and other stuff with Hank and Ann

The four of us like learning about the history of places.  In fact the History Channel is one of my favorite TV channels. (Granted some of the shows have little to do with history, still like those too.) Old Town gave us a close up view of the settling of San Diego.

Old Town is a small village.  One of the homes of original settlers is now a museum.  One of the homes is a hotel.  Other buildings such as the courthouse are now small shops.  Others are wonderful restaurants.


This is the square the little town is built around.


One of the stores.


This is what was the Estudillo home.  It is a typical Spanish home built around a courtyard.  Nearly all rooms open onto the courtyard.  They were very successful farmers.  The home reflected that success.


To truly learn about a culture you need to experience the food and drink. So we had lunch at Casa de Reyes in Fiesta de Reyes.  Ann is enjoying a Margarita and chips with guacamole.

Old Town

Ann took a picture of Marty, me, and Hank.  We should have asked the waitress to take a photo of the four of us.  Oh, well.


Isn’t this pretty and yummy looking?  My lunch was a wet shrimp burrito.  It had a red sauce and sour cream across it.  See that little yellow pepper top right?  That nearly took the top of my head off.  I have eaten these before and they are hot, but not like this one was.  One bite and I put it down.  I think it’s a Cascabella  pepper.


After lunch we walked through the shops around this courtyard. 

All of the above was on Tuesday.  Wednesday we relaxed, and made some of the food for Thanksgiving‘


Thursday Ann and Hank set the Thanksgiving table with our hosts’ good china.  Hank has poured our Champagne and some of the food is on the table.  On the table we had ham, hard dressing, giblet gravy, turkey, fruit salad with a Grand Marnier sauce.


Marty has carved the turkey and is ready to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner.


Front row left to right:  Soft dressing, mashed potatoes , corn pudding in the front.  Top back row left to right:  hot home made rolls and brussel sprouts.


We also had acorn squash stuffed with apple sauce.  No one went hungry.  We had Chess pie and cheesecake for dessert.  Except we were so full we couldn’t eat it until 11:00 that night.

We had such a great time with my brother and his wife.  Today we took them to the airport to fly home to Kentucky.  That is the downside to having a great visit with those you love so much.  They leave and you miss them before you’re even get a block away.


Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving! 

I hope you all have a wonderful day. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We did the Trains again and other fun things

This is highlights of where we have taken Ann and Hank this week.  They landed Saturday on time.  Ann texted us they had landed, but were siting on the tarmac.  There was no empty gate for them to pull up to.  About 45 minutes later we got the text they were at the curb.  And then the fun began.

We had a lovely dinner that night with wine of course.  We talked, we laughed, we forced them to stay up to get on Pacific time.  The next morning the tourist stuff began.  We went to Balboa Park and saw sculptures, gardens, an art museum, went to an organ concert, and to everyone’s favorite the Model Train Museum.

Remember to click to enlarge the pictures.


Ann and Hank watching the trains.


Hank and Marty looking at the fun layout of a whole city and several different gauges of trains.

That night we had supper on the patio.  It was cool and we had a fire going for heat and for a more somber reason.


This is a worn out flag that Marty had replaced.  Hank     (retired military)  led us in respectful salutes and a quiet moment as we burned the flag.

Monday we took them to Point Loma.  We took the scenic route in order to see the Pacific.  Lots of waves, crashing waves, surfers and bouncing fishing boats.  I took lots and lots of pictures. I have edited myself and only putting up one picture of crashing waves.


This is my favorite.


Ann is looking out to sea.  Point Loma is surrounded by Navy and Coast Guard bases.  You can see some of the towers in the National Park.  We found that as long as we were in the Park, there was no cell phone reception.  We think the military jams the signals. 


This is what Ann is looking at.  At the base of the cliff is the new lighthouse and Coast Guard facility.  The islands in the haze are the Coronado Islands in Mexico. 


This time we drove up to the lighthouse.  My knee was so thankful.

We drove down to the little museum, watched a great movie on the migration of grey whales.  Then we walked out to the viewing area.  And we saw


. . .  a submarine coming into the base.  Click on this.  Even when subs are on top of the water, they are really low.  I have never seen a submarine at sea.  It was so exciting.  We had patrol boats getting other boats out of the way.  Helicopters were flying all around.


Even subs have to have tugs help them into port.  We think (educated guess) they are Coast Guard.


This is the submarine base.  In the middle at the top of the taller buildings you can see the sub turning into the dock area.  

This was Sunday and Monday.   Yesterday we visited Old Town.  I will try to post about that in the next couple of days.

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dispatches from the Marriage Factory: KIDS!

As promised, Joe has news from the Marriage Factory.  I have missed his posts.  Glad he finally had (as he said) noteworthy weddings.

Sorry I haven't written lately. The weddings have been nice, but not
noteworthy until this week. The hall is closed next Friday, so
perhaps many couples decided to take the plunge a week early. I did
10 ceremonies Friday morning, and the groups ranged from two (just the
couple) to a full house. The cutest wedding featured the bride,
groom, and their infant daughter, who was strapped to Mommy's chest in
one of these:
The little girl had just learned to blow raspberries, so the ceremony
was punctuated with slobbery lips. When she would get a little fussy,
Mom would rock back and forth a little. I found myself doing likewise
a couple times, and it always worked. I'll try that again next time
we have a fussy 5-year-old.

I always advise a couple to make a child part of the ceremony if they
like, or if there could be squirming and crying. In one of the other
ceremonies, a toddler became part of the wedding, and "helped" when
the rings were exchanged by grabbing Daddy's ring and hurling it to
the ground. Luckily, Daddy picked it up and put it on Mommy's finger,
and there you go - married!

Fashion update: two notable dresses this week: an old-fashioned
wedding dress - long-sleeved with lace decolletage - very lovely, and
a traditional Korean wedding dress like this:
- that looked kind of uncomfortable.

Best groom: the well-dressed nerd - cardigan, bow tie, and horn-rimmed
glasses, a la Pharrell Williams or Russell Westbrook.

Joe Mallon

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just a little info for you all

I am sure you regulars are asking where did Guest Blogger Joe vanish to?  Why no wedding reports?  Well, Joe sent me word why no dispatches from the Marriage Factory for the last two weeks.  I believe this is a direct quote: "They were all boring."  I think that translates to of the wedding ceremonies he performed none were strange, none were  funny, none had wonderful shoes or outfits.  Joe had high hopes for today's group of couples.  I sent back word to him, if nothing is worth blogging about, make something up.  Maybe he will write about some of his early weddings. 

I may not have many posts the next week.  My brother and his wife (these are the parents of The Colonel) arrive tomorrow morning from Louisville, Kentucky.  The four of us plan to tour San Diego.  We will see gardens, pandas, museums, sea views.  We also plan to drink, eat, and be merry. I will try to post about our tourist stuff.  But you notice I said drink, eat, and be merry.  The drink and be merry part could hamper my ability to type.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

More Thoughts From The Pool

Last night the temperature dipped down to 37, but by sunup it was climbing fast to a warm day.  By 9:30 it was 72. For the first time in several days there was no wind and the sun felt hot.  I figured the warm air would make the water feel refreshing.  I sprayed my sunblock all over, got my sunhat and got in the water.


Sorry about the screaming.  Warm air did not help. After an hour in the cold water, my joints hurt.  I did have some other thoughts.

Thanksgiving:  My brother and his wife arrive Saturday for a week's stay.  I am really looking forward to their visit.  I thought about our Thanksgiving meal.  With only four of us, just how much food should we fix?  I have been known to have three kinds of cranberries, two types of hot rolls, two types of dressing, five side dishes, giblet gravy, and three desserts.  Plus turkey and ham.  Maybe we should think about this some more. Tomorrow in the pool.

Our dog sitting: When Richard and Luis would be out for the day, both dogs usually went upstairs and ignored us.   Now the dogs follow Marty everywhere.  If he gets up for another glass of iced tea, they walk with him to the kitchen.  He goes to take a shower, dogs are right behind him.  He sits down on the couch, both in his lap.  They stay downstairs with us, (sometimes they even sit in my lap).  Marty is running errands and the dogs just came in and asked me where I hid him. 

They have elected Marty as the Alpha dog.  I think he rubbed bacon all over his body to make them like him best.

Monday, November 12, 2012

I’m either very dedicated, or dumber than a red brick.

A little background.  Our hosts’ pool does not have a heater.  There is a solar thing involved.  I am not up on the mechanics of pool heating.  I think the water recycles over the solar pipes.  The highest setting is 75 degrees.  That is fine when the air is 80 or higher.

The last week or so we have had cool weather.  It has been 55 some nights, and the last three nights have dipped to 43, 41, 37.   With that we have had wind, fierce wind.  The water is cold.  The air is cold. The wind is colder.

I hate hate to exercise for many reasons.  I am lazy.  I don‘t like to sweat.  Exercising makes me hurt.  It takes time to do it.  I would rather read a book.

I need to walk in the pool an hour every day to strengthen my leg with the bad knee.  I need to walk to drop my blood pressure.  On land the knee hurts like the devil when I walk for a long period of time, thus walking in the pool. Resistance, yet support from the water at the same time.

Cold water, cold temperatures, cold wind.  The pool  just can’t recover in the daytime to be a warm cozy pool.  So when I walk at 8:30 I am freezing.  Then to get out into the wind is nearly as bad.  Today I walked later, around 11:00.  I thought the water would be warmer then.  Nope, still as cold as a witch’s t*#.  

It is to be warmer at night the next week or so, in the low 50’s.  That will be better, but still not nice.  But I will be out there slogging through the water.  I so don’t want to have knee surgery. 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dog/house sitting

Our hosts, Richard and Luis, have left for a well deserved vacation.  We are dog/house sitting.  They are not one bit worried about the house, but the dogs . . . worried.  These dogs are their babies.  The dogs are pampered, run the house, and so cute you will forgive them anything.   We know what to feed them and when.  We know where they like to be petted.  If they won’t eat or are moping around, we are to call Luis’ mom to come get them.  They adore her.

We planned to stay in our end of the house and let the dogs sleep with us.  The closer to trip time, the more we heard “you should sleep in our suite, your guests should sleep upstairs, it is so nice up there”.  Translation, the dogs will be unhappy if they can’t stay in their regular space.  Last night we stayed in the master suite.  This did not go real well.

One dog, Benito, sleeps on the couch at the foot of the bed, the other, Panchito, in the bed under the covers.  Surprise, Benito jumps up on the bed.  We settle down, turn off the TV and lights, the dogs and Marty are asleep.  I am starting to doze when I hear it, beep. 

Then in a couple of minutes again beep.  The tried and true rule of smoke alarms is happening:  smoke alarm batteries only need replacing after midnight.  We get up, locate which one is beeping and Marty puts in a new battery.  As he finishes, another alarm starts beeping.  He replaces that one.  We again go to bed.  Just as I start to doze off, I hear beep beep.  That means tonight we will have another one to replace.

At 4:00 Panchito needed to go out.  I get up with him and let him out.  He just wanted to check if the lizards were out yet.  ( he is our great hunter)  I get him back in, go to bed again.  At 5:00 he wants out again.  No!  Stay!


When Marty got up, he took a picture of our bedmates.   White one on left, Panchito,  Benito is a light tan on the right.  Blob at top is me.

The early morning went better.  The dogs had breakfast,  a walk with Marty, and had treats.  They went back upstairs and ignored us.

Marty was working outside in the yard.  Panchito wanted to join him.  I heard whining and yips.  I let him out into the courtyard.


He stood at the gate and tried to see Marty.  Every now and then he would look back at me as if saying open the gate. 

And Benito???


He is curled up on my pillow.  He needs his rest after that walk.


I let Panchito out on the back porch and he could see Marty down the hill.  If Marty moved, Panchito would move down the porch with him.

When I started fixing lunch both dogs checked if I had dropped any meat.  Nope.  Well , back to waiting for Marty.


They hear Marty coming down the hall.  Ears up, tails starting to wag.


He’s here!  He’s here!

Looks as if they will accept us as their substitute humans to boss around.  Marty is their favorite, until bedtime.  They both slept on my side. 

Tomorrow, we will see how that goes.  One day at a time, one day at a time.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Lighthouse and a National Monument

No Balboa Park this week.  On Wednesday Richard, our host, Marty, and I went to Cabrillo National Monument and to Old Point Loma Lighthouse.  They are basically in the same spot.  Both are part of California’s history.

Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore what is now the West Coast of the United States.  He first landed at was to be named San Diego Bay.  About 300 years later the lighthouse was built. 

The park museum and other buildings are on a cliff above the Bay.  You can see San Diego, Navy Bases, the Bay and the Pacific Ocean.  It is all a Kodak moment. (This link is for all the very young.)

The pictures below are not the best.  The museum was very dark, at the same time light was bouncing off the glass. 


This fine gentleman is in the Cabrillo Museum.  He is a Spanish Navigator.


This is a model of the ship Cabrillo traveled on.


A cut away drawing of the above ship.  The buttons below it would light up and identify sections of the ship.

The following pictures have different shades of blue for the sky and the ocean.  The fog was burning off and at the same time coming back in.  We had grey, blue, almost white all in the space of a few minutes.


This is the beginning of San Diego Bay.  In the foreground the submarine base.  And the top of the curve is San Diego.


Richard is pointing out landmarks across the Bay.


The dot between sky and ocean is a large Navy plane about to land.  Click to see the plane.


At the top of the hill is the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.


Any idea what this is?  Study it.  Have a guess?


This is the a light for a lighthouse. The lens was 5 feet tall.  The lens for Point Loma was sent back to the East Coast when the lighthouse was closed.  The picture above this one was of the spiral staircase they led up to the light. 


Looking left at the Pacific from the backyard of the lighthouse.


Twenty seconds later I took this picture looking to the right of the lighthouse.  Notice the water color in both pictures.


Point Loma Lighthouse.


Richard walking ahead of us back down the hill.  Blue sky and Blue Pacific.

This is a beautiful place.  Well worth taking Brother Hank and his wife Ann in a couple of weeks.  They wanted to see ocean and beaches.  This covers it all.  There are beaches passed as we drove to the park, and lots of ocean to be seen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Puttanesca Sauce, testing the recipe

Last night Marty and I tested another recipe for Cook’s Illustrated, Pasta Puttanesca. The recipe at the Puttanesca link is not what we used.  The link has the best history on this dish.

The goal was for plenty of  the bold flavors the classic sauce delivers, but to retain the brightness and sweetness of late summer tomatoes.  Uh, it is November, not late summer.

Marty and I both worked on this recipe.  Both of us were chopping, mincing, prepping at the same time. 


Here I am pitching a fit.  Marty had just walked in from the grocery with “fresh” cherry tomatoes.  Under the top layer there was mold, tomatoes so soft that when I touched them they fell apart.  No way you could see the bad ones until you removed the top layer.  Luckily he bought more than was needed, so we had enough.  Yes, we are getting our money back.


Some of the ingredients we used.


Mincing the garlic.  Oh, and a little refreshment for us on the left.


Olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, and other spices.


I am giving the Kalamata olives a rough chop.


I made croutons for our Caesar Salad.


I am grating Parmesan Cheese into the Caesar Salad.


Ready to sit down and see if the recipe reached its goal.


What do you think?  Did we like it?

Yes, we did.  It was rich, complex with the olive and capers, filling but light at the same time.  The four of us then discussed what if anything should be changed in the recipe.  We agreed, nothing.  But we also agreed it would be killer with shrimp.  Next time.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Read a good book lately?

I am a voracious reader.  I always have a book near me.  Cooking, the book is ready for a quick page or too.  Waiting for an appointment, book with me.  Mindless TV, I am reading.  I have read books in the pool floating on a raft chair, in the tub, on trains, on planes, never in a moving car I throw up.  Waiting for couples wanting me to marry them, I am reading.  I faked illness as a child (I held the thermometer to the light bulb to give myself a low grade fever) in order to stay in bed all day and read.  I love books.

As a child I read the Bobbsey Twins, the dumbest books ever, the Hardy books, and my favorite Nancy Drew.  I belong to a mystery book group that meets weekly.  In fact while we are here in San Diego the group SKYPES me so I can still make the meetings.  From this information you have deducted I love mysteries.  

But I read other types of books.  I like vampires stories.  I like biographies.  I like tacky romance novels every now and then.  I do read a little dab of everything.  When someone in the book group recommends a book, I listen.  These people know way more about authors and good literature than I ever will. 

Rose Ann sent me an email about a book she thought I would like.  The book is Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden.  This is a nonfiction book that follows two young women during 1916 -1917.  Information about the two women is also written about the rest of their lives. Do click through on the link and look at the pictures and listen to the author telling about her grandmother.  Read the prologue, you will be hooked on this book.

Two society young women don't want to do the finishing school get married plan.  They want to have a real education, do good works, have fun.  And they do.  The main part of the book is about the year they taught in the rural area of northeastern Colorado. They leave society teas for dancing with cowboys. The book shows us the Western Frontier.  From letters they wrote home, oral history, newspaper clippings, and other historical sources, the author tells about this year. It is the history of the development of the West.

This is nonfiction that at times reads like a novel.  I think male or female will like this book.  Train derailments, mine accidents, romance, school marms, and a kidnapping.  Check it out.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thoughts from the pool

Well, mainly one thought, FAMILY.  I kept thinking about my family. Regular readers know we have a nephew who is the father of our pretend grandchildren.  He also is a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force.  Tres is my brother's only child. 

Tres and his family lived in Davis (just an hour away from us) for 2 years.  Then in June they left Travis Air Force Base and  moved to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.  Marty and I have missed the family so much.  This week Tres had a meeting in L.A. which is only 2 to 3 hours away from us.  He had time to spend 24 hours with us.  We had a great time talking and doing the family thing, drinking wine.

Tres told us about his new job. He and his people make sure that medical care is there for injured service people.  He makes planes fly, troops are dropped, Seal Teams are carried to scary places. Planes are refueled in the air.  The dead are brought home. Anything the troops need, the Air Force delivers, anything.

I am not real sure where are some of the countries he has airmen.  But I know they are not nice places.  They are what he called combat zones.  I think that is correct, could be areas wine was involved.  He is not a "boss" who sits in his office and reads reports about these places.  He goes in and spends time with his people.  He cares about them, and lets them know it. 

This is one family Tres has, the military.  And there is the civilian family.  We shared family stories, the older cousin the  younger ones thought was bossy.  Yes Lisa Kay, we talked about you.  But with love.  Stories were told of cousins sleeping on cots in the Living Room with the scary portrait on the wall.  They were all terrified of this picture.  I defended the picture, it is a wonderful oil painting of my grandfather.  I have never been able to convince any of them that it is not scary.  These cousins are now 40 or older.

Stories were told about Tres' Pop and Mother.  These are two brilliant successful people who we laugh at when it comes to technology.  They have improved.  I told events that happened when Pop (Henry) was a little boy.  Some sad and some funny.

I told about a dance we all went to with Mother and Papa Jack. (My brother is often quiet and business like) Mother was close to a teetotaler.  But drinking was happening with her children and their spouses.  The next day Mother said, "Henry should drink more often.  He really loosens up."

We talked about Tres's wife and children, our son and his wife, cousins, aunts and uncles.  We covered most of the family.  We sat up until after 1:00 in the morning and were up by 8:30 to continue talking.  So much to catch up on and then he was gone.

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes missing him, worrying about him.  Family is so important, whether they are blood kin, inlaws, or that family you make from your day to day life.  Be sure to tell them all you love them.