Thursday, July 31, 2014

Been There! Done That!

Okay, I am ready for something new. 

Facebook is old hat!

Pinterest is no fun!

Blogging (both writing and reading) is boring!

Hometalk is not necessary!

Candy Crush is passé!

It must be August. 

This summer vacation is no fun at all! 

Time to go 

Source (

New clothes!

New shoes!

New friends!

New books and supplies!

New teachers!

New school year!

(Oops, I got all caught up in these thoughts. I stopped doing this school stuff six years ago when I retired. Somehow it just stays in my blood, and it all began 60 years ago when I entered 1st grade.)


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Too Hot to Set

To set fruit, that is!

My cucumbers in our raised veggie beds are not producing fruit, so I suspected what I had learned in my Master Gardener's class about hot weather and some tomatoes. For some sorts of tomato plants, really hot weather causes the fruit not to set.

But our tomatoes were just fine during the month of June. In fact, I got sort of sick of them. The freezer is full of blanched whole ones, tomato juice, and tomato sauce. 

Now I want cukes! And squash! And eggplant!

What I read this morning is that cucumbers may have trouble "setting" in hot weather. It has something to do with the plant producing only male flowers, and that means no cross pollination by those big bumble bees. 

And not many cukes for my special salad dressing. But you can try this dressing on coleslaw.

Sweet and Sour Dressing 
(for thinly sliced cukes or coleslaw)
1 cup Blue Plate Mayo
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8-1/4 teaspoon table salt

Mix all four ingredients. 

Pour over 4 cups thinly sliced (I use a Dutch cheese cutter) peeled cucumber or thinly sliced white cabbage.
Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Serve cold.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Watch Your Grammar

Thanks, Em, for letting me know about this newest video from Weird Al Yankovic.

If I were still teaching 7th grade English/Language Arts, memorizing this would be in my curriculum.
Click Here for Word Crimes

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Anne Fogarty at the Local Charity Shop

When I saw the signature on the scarf, I knew I had found something special.

Not the Vera scarf that my blog friend Jill at A Little Bit of Everything always mentions that she has found, but an Anne Fogarty designer scarf.

For 50 cents, who could go wrong? It looks (and smells) like it has never been used, but Jill gave me advice about cleaning it. ("I always handwash the scarves when I bring them home, in baby shampoo - I read them somewhere so that's just what I do, then I hang to dry and iron.")

Never heard of Anne Fogarty? After a little detective work, I found a great  bio of Anne Fogarty on Fuzzy Lizzie.

(Photo Source: Curate )

And then I found this article The Resurrection of Anne Fogarty published in  Curate  one week ago! Writer Erin Hazelton has included lots of photos in her article, too.

(Photo Source: Curate)

So Anne Fogarty style clothes are going to try to make a comeback, but I have an original signature scarf probably from the 60's.

A start of a new collection? 

Or was this just luck to find something stylish out here in the boondocks?

Friday, July 25, 2014

DPP (Deceased People's Photographs)

My followers know that our home is filled with DPS (deceased people's stuff). Perhaps that is a crude name for antiques and vintage goods, but it is what it is. 

Our family DPS is precious to us, while the other DPS is just interesting. Why else would my nieces say our home is like a museum? ;) Visit Wetcreek Museum.

Most of the DPS that we inherited from my hub's parents is special mostly because my MIL rescued it from her in-laws' home in The Netherlands before the Nazis took over their home during WWII. That situation deserves another blogpost that I may or may not share on this blog. Better make sure I get all of my facts straight first on that one, since I do have family followers.

But today I am piggy-backing (linking) with my blog friend Paulette at Cheerful Thrifty Door  and discussing her question on family photographs. This is her question: 
"Should old family photos be given to the person who is in the picture or their decendents or is a scanned copy good enough?"

Interestingly enough, my hub and I were pleasantly surprised to receive a large package of very old family photographs in the mail a week or so ago. The sender was the former husband of my hub's deceased cousin who passed away almost three years ago. 

Knowing that Hub's cousin had at one time several years ago shuffled through Opa's old suitcase that my MIL had rescued from the Nazi occupied home during the War and kept hidden under the bed in the guest room, we assume that some of the photos we received last week had finally been returned home to the collection from the suitcase. (Only an assumption!) 

Amongst the mostly century old photos of my hub's grandparents were a couple of photos of my hub as a baby or as a young child. We are especially pleased to have those. Plus, there were photos of persons we can't identify (no names scribbled on the back). 

In any case, we are thrilled to have the photos. And Hub scanned them immediately so that we can share.

As for Paulette's question, I personally believe that the old photos should be made readily available to everyone in the family who wants a copy. We have spent hours and hours sorting through DPP's and preparing envelopes to give to my husband's family members. We made sure that before we gave them away that we digitalized the ones we wanted to keep in our digital collection.

So, Paulette, I am glad you scanned your husband's photos, but at least your children should have received the original photos. 

Is it too late to ask for them?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fourteen Boxes of Kleenex

Parents of school age kids better start shopping. School year 2014-2015 is just around the corner.

Nice way to ruin your summer! Just seeing the school supply lists in Walmart on Monday ruined mine!

From the very first moment I entered the classroom as a teacher back in 1970, parents were asking what was on my supply list. Duh! What do you usually need for an English/Language Arts class? The three P's: pen, pencil, and paper. (2014: Add one more P-- iPad)

Due to extreme pressure from our administration and fellow colleagues, I eventually added colored pencils, markers, notecards, erasers, pencil sharpeners, locker caddies, glue sticks, etc. But never tissues or paper towels!!

My last year of teaching in 2007-2008 at a rural Louisiana public school, I did not have to make a supply list. The school did it for all of the 7th grade teachers. The list was extensive, but I guess it eliminated the duplication of markers, glue sticks, etc.  

On the second day of school, several students from another homeroom came to my classroom with 14 boxes of unopened tissue of various brands. The first student stated, " This is your Kleenex supply for the year for your 7th graders." Now what does a teacher do with 14 boxes of tissue? I waited until my 11th graders came to my class the next hour, and the tall guys stacked the boxes neatly way up high on top of the coat closet. Nice view for the rest of the year, but no one cared. 

And when I retired at the end of that school year, there was not one single box of tissue left on top of the closet. 

Great addition to my list of P's --Paper products.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

We Aren't That Thrifty!

OK, I meant "cheap." We aren't that cheap!

Living remotely has caused us to be more sustainable in our daily life. Neither of us is always happy with that, but we manage. At least for the time being.

My cleaning girl disappeared from the face of the Earth after she told me she was pregnant. She came once after we returned from vacation last spring, and then never showed up again. Nor did she phone to say she couldn't come back. My neighbor warned me that I shouldn't expect much. Maybe I should have listened so I would not have been so disappointed.

But the last four days I have cleaned our house. No applause. I saved some money and got a good workout in the deal. And for the time being a clean house. (Downstairs, anyway!)

Then there was the kitchen faucet story. Last week I phoned several plumbers after we received our Amazon order of a new faucet. Some never picked up their phone. One said he was "backed up" and didn't know when he could "come out" (minimum cost $75). The answering machine for still another plumber said, "Our mailbox is full. Please hang up." 

But one company said they were busy for a couple of days, but they would call first before coming out. That was one week ago. I did call back on Friday to remind them we were still waiting. (They charge $70 an hour beginning when they leave their business--35 minutes distance from here.) Their dispatcher said, "Maybe Tuesday? And you live where? Oh, that might be difficult."

So over the weekend my dear Hub got out the tools, put on his headlamp, and crawled under the farmhouse sink to dismantle the old and set in the new faucet. YouTube said it was EASY. 

Long story short, it wasn't easy. The water hoses from the new faucet were too short (trip into town yesterday for parts), he had to add a piece of wood underneath the cabinet to get a snugger installment, and then accidentally disconnected the worn plastic drainpipe to the sink. We just stopped that side of the sink up with the drain stopper.

The faucet works! The drainpipe leaks, but that can be fixed with a new rubber ring. 

So what did we save this week? 

Our own sanity and a lot of headaches dealing with people who do not want to work!

 (Update: When I called the plumber just now to check to see if she had received my cancellation call message from last night, she thanked me for calling to cancel. Am I missing something here?)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Herbs and Grapevines--My Corner of the World

This summer the usual porch plants were so expensive that I settled for herbs to fill our galvanized pots and other containers. Our beagle and our neighbor's pups enjoy the lovely smells, too. What you see in the photo above is sage, Thai basil, thyme, oregano, and stevia.

Thai basil

Lemon thyme with the baby palm

New grape for the other end of the porch. That is a hummingbird bush just starting to flower to the left.

We have enjoyed sitting out here this summer. Mostly just for coffee and only for a few minutes at a time. And the rains have kept everything green and growing so far. I haven't had to water anything extra.

Even the pond is filling up again slowly.

Summer isn't over here until September, so who knows what is still to come here at Wetcreek.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Windowbox Cukes--Shelfie #7

If you can't find any cheap plants to grow in your windowboxes, try cukes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

So Sorry for Your Loss

Yesterday was a dark day for many people in the world, but especially for the loved ones and family and friends of the passengers of the downed Malaysian Airlines plane in the Ukraine.

How do you pay your condolences in such a situation? 

According to Marianne in her blog Like a Sponge

"In English there isn’t one single word that can do the job of gecondoleerd. You can’t just say sorry because it’s not weighty enough, so you have to fumble around and come up with something like ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ or ‘my condolences’ but you don’t have one kant en klare phrase-length word that will do the job."

So gecondoleered to the families and friends of the 193 Dutch citizens who lost their lives in the horrible crash. And my condolences for every person who died in that catastrophe. 

May They Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

No Animals on the Beach!

Remember that family wedding we attended on July 3?

Well, Flip attended, too. He was a perfect, well-behaved doggie on and off the beach that forbade animals. 

I learned a long time ago that you do not ask for permission. You just ask for forgiveness after the f(act).

Don't think anyone really cared.

(Thanks, photographer, for including Flip in the group photo.)

What's in your Fridge? -Shelfie #6

No before photos on this one. Cleaning out the fridge was waaaay overdue. I am not a great housekeeper, but I can't stand a dirty refrigerator with jars and containers of mysterious contents. 

So yesterday I sorted out the keep from the dump items, scoured the shelves, and here is Shelfie #6:

What will you always find on my fridge shelves?

Milk (mostly fat-free)
Eggs (free range)
Butter (both salted and unsalted)
Yoghurt (homemade Greek)
Cheese (white cheddar)
Bacon (thick sliced)
Mayo (Blue Plate)
Mustard (yellow and others)
Parmesan Cheese (anything cheap)
Ranch Dressing ( sometimes homemade)
Salsa (Pace)
Ketchup (anything cheap)
Hot Sauce (Tabasco, what else?)
Soy Sauce ( all tastes the same to me-- Salty!)
Pickles (relish, sweet, dill, kosher, you name it)
Jam (my favorites-strawberry and fig)
Cornmeal (keep there out of weevil harm and keep my flour and cereal in the freezer!)
Bottled water (San Pellegrino, of course!)

What are your fridge staples?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Family at the Beach

Just over a week ago we attended our niece's wedding on the Florida beach. Attire for the wedding was quite appropriate for the bride and groom as well as all who attended.

Since it is beach time for most of our family, I thought I would share how our Dutch family dressed when they visited the Scheveningen beach 100 years ago. (Correction in the bottom photo: The photo is of Opa and Oma and the oldest aunt W. Probably in the summer of 1910 or 1911. More than 100 years ago. After some research about smiling in photos, I discovered that most adults began grinning in photographs when cameras had faster shutter snaps around  the 1920's and 1930's.)

The photo above is of my hub's paternal grandfather, grandmother, and two aunts while visiting with friends at Scheveningen beach  in July 1916 (4 months before my FIL's birth in November 1916). That explains Oma's huge white coat.

This photo is of the same Opa and Oma and (we think) the youngest aunt at the same beach in Scheveningen, The Netherlands in July 1914.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Estate Sale: One Man's Junk is the Same Man's Junk. No Treasures!

Living out here in Wetcreek, I have learned to be comfortable with whatever I can get.

Mail has to be picked up at the local post office whenever we pass by.
Milk has to be bought from the tiny gas station across the road from the P.O. or from Dollar General ten miles back the other way down the highway.
Visits to my mother usually dictate when we go into the nearest town to run the odd errand or pick up groceries to last for a couple of weeks.

So yesterday should have been something special. 

The trip to the P.O. only produced Junk Mail, but I did mail a thank you letter to The Netherlands (more about that tomorrow) and also find out that our friendly post mistress has been transferred to a post office 30 miles away. Can't imagine that she likes that drive, since she practically lives across the street from her old P.O. Anyway, hope she is happy and got a good raise in salary. With that drive everyday, she will need it.

Now to the special part of the morning-- I headed for an Estate Sale! Hard to believe, but I think it should have been called an "Inside the House Sale." Not an imposing house, but at least the yard was spruced up and things looked clean. Two older guys were manning the bookshelves and broken down bits of furniture out in the garage and welcomed me to come shop inside the cool house.

I could almost not see the neat piles of junk sorted out on several tables in the living room. The only light was coming from the attached/open kitchen that had been blocked off from the shoppers. The kitchen was a disaster! What can you expect? With at least six "salespeople" scurrying around in those three small rooms, there was not much more room to shop.

And I tried to find something interesting! Really, I did. I heard one sales lady say that they had spent two full days sorting through this stuff to get it ready for this sale. I think they could have spent about an hour filling up garbage bags for trash pick-up. It was that bad! Everything was worn out, broken, sticky, and generally useless. 

Finally I spied a still in the wrapper car seatbelt shoulder pad like the ones my hub just ordered from Amazon. The price was the same as what he paid, but I bought an extra one. Then I shuffled through the scarves for 50 cents each and found two pretty ones Made in Italy. (Jill, I am still looking for Vera scarves for you.) 

When I went to pay, the young girl tallying things up said, "Four dollars fifty." Don't know where she learned how to add, but I corrected her and paid my three dollars and drove on down to the new Dollar General where things aren't crusty, rusty, sticky, grubby, and worn out.

So much for Estate Sales out here in the sticks!

Friday, July 11, 2014

"And none of the smart girls do swear, incidentally."

(Not my words, folks! LCS)

President Richard Nixon made this quoted statement years ago on tape while having a casual conversation with his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman. 

Nixon prefaced his words in my title by saying, "We all swear. But you show me a girl that swears and I'll show you an awful unattractive person. . . . I mean, all femininity is gone.And none of the smart girls do swear, incidentally."

OMG! How times have changed! Or was he just out of the loop or on another planet?

I do not swear! At least not in English! And usually not in public! The odd occasion that I did curse in a faculty meeting or in private with school colleagues, most people were shocked. So I guess they knew I was upset. Perhaps I should have shown that without "cussing."

But does it make me better or smarter, or more feminine than others if I refrain from swearing? 
Well, no! It is just the way I was reared. And the way I choose to live.

So, if you want to swear, curse, cuss, whatever, please do it somewhere else. 
I won't be joining in.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How's It Growing? Shelfie #5

A shot of the recent harvest ( bell peppers, tomatoes, round squash, and eggplant) before they are chopped into oven ratatouille. 

Kitchen Sink on AWOL. Shelfie #4

What would you do if your kitchen water faucet was kaput (kapot in Dutch)?

I know! Call a plumber!

Out where we live, that is not always as easy as it sounds. So we first tried to remedy the situation ourselves. 

Last week Hub tried to dismantle the handle to see if he could repair/replace any worn out parts. He was stopped "dead in his tracks" by parts that would not budge. 

As the handle is set for cold water, he turned the hot water handle back on below the sink so we can still use our dishwasher. And we can use the sink, but who wants to haul water from somewhere else? Isn't that what my grandma did before she got running water in her house?

Well, we do have a faucet and very small sink on our beverage bar that is a few steps from the main sink. And we have the large utility sink located just outside the kitchen across from the washing machine/dryer. 

So while we wait for the new faucet to arrive from Amazon so that we can search for a plumber, we have to improvise by using either the tiny or giant sinks that are a few steps away from the kitchen workspace.

No real inconvenience, I guess, compared to my grandma having to haul water in from the well or the pump.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hooked on Last Tango in Halifax?

Watching a British television series always gives my American brain a workout. And watching The Last Tango in Halifax is no exception. Besides having to listen carefully through the accents, last night I had to muddle through the disfunctional families.

I began watching this series smack dab in the middle. Season 2 # 2!!!!

This review below found on the Internet only touches the surface of the complexities addressed in this series. Wikipedia
Alan and Celia get married, persuading two passersby to act as witnesses. Gillian turns up at the register office and expresses her feelings of hurt and rejection at not being invited to the ceremony. She is convinced that Alan and Celia think less of her than Caroline's family, because of their differing social class. Caroline seeks to secure the money to buy John out of their house. To achieve this she needs financial support from both Celia and Kate, and asks Kate to move in with her. Kate tells Caroline that as she is nearing her 42nd birthday, she wants a baby of her own before it is too late. Gillian discovers that Raff's girlfriend Ellie is ostensibly eight months pregnant. Alan and Celia arrive to provide support and after Ellie goes into labour Alan welcomes a great-granddaughter. 
Will I continue watching this series? Maybe. From 7:00-8:00 pm the temps are too hot to do anything else but watch tv in the cool study, so I guess I will watch the rest of the season. 

But nothing beats Doc Martin or Keeping Up Appearances !

Saturday, July 5, 2014

And They Lived Happily Ever After

Guess who forgot her camera in her suitcase back at the hotel? 

I know there were "professional" photos made during the beach ceremony of A and W's beach wedding in Pensacola on Thursday, but we will have to wait. Or maybe never see them ;(

As a proud auntie, I am sharing my iPhone effort.

Lovely wedding!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pensacola in the Heat

Hub, Flip, and I are spending the 4th in Florida to attend my youngest niece's beach wedding. 

Sand between our toes! Sun on our faces (and our toes)! Maybe even water on our legs and toes! 

It should be interesting to see Flip take a big swig of that salty water.

Well, that is later. And I will write about that tomorrow.

First, we needed to get through the breakfast of cereal, peach "fake" yoghurt, and a packaged blueberry muffin. What happened to the cute little waffle irons to make warm waffles? My son and I watched young and old guests fill little brown paper bags to the brim with everything that looked anything like food from the breakfast bar. It was like a storm was coming and food was being rationed. Hope they ate it all!

Next, we went out shopping. As Flip was along for the ride, my Hub and I could not shop together. One of us had to mind the dog, since no one should leave their child or pet in a 90 degree F vehicle! So I got to shop first at T.J.Maxxand Home Goods. Saved a lot of money there, since I didn't buy anything! Then had my Swatch battery replaced for a special price at a jeweler's, and lastly browsed through JoAnn's and got flip flops for the beach, repair needles for my sewing, and two rotary blades for my quilt rotary cutter. My hub laughed that I spent so much time to buy practically nothing.

Then it was his turn. We drove over to another part of town to a Harbor Freight store. This time Flip and I braved the heat and took a walk through the parking lot, under a couple of trees, and in front of a few shops in the strip mall. We waited outside the hardware store in the shade for Hub, and plenty of folks gave Flip a silent smile. 

He was a good, hot doggy.

Afternoon siesta in 68 degree F hotel room.

Do I dare wear these to the beach wedding?

Speaking of toes. Here is the wedding party getting "peddied" yesterday.
Notice anything unusual?