Saturday, August 29, 2009

Playing on a Rainy Day

Did you know that Labrador Retrievers (who used to be known as Lesser Newfundlands with the St. John's Water Dog as their ancestor) are the most popular dogs in the world? Who knew?

Anyway, labs love to play. And, I love to play with Miss Olivia! On dry days we play catch in the back yard so she can run up and down the hills out back and swim in the river. But, on rainy days what to do? Well, I open the door to the hallway and play ball.............

Wanna play?

Up the stairs....


Down the stairs.....

Up the stairs again....

Wanna play some more?

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Handsome Husband

I love my wonderful husband. Here is one side of that multi-faceted man. Not bad, huh?
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Saturday, August 22, 2009


So, now my granddaughter is up and running...everywhere! Not to sound too mooshie but this is such a miracle! I know all about child development from my text books but it is such a different thing to watch and be a part of. You can watch it all unfold...first you crawl (or scoot in Addie's case) and then, up and off you go. Now she is imitating so much of what I do when I'm with her. She is bright and sweet and such a love.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicken With Mole (Molay)

Imagine cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, tomatoes, cumin, garlic, and chicken broth, combined with flour and slowly simmered for 90 minutes. Stir in cooked chicken and spoon over rice or chocolate pasta! Yum.
Last night for dinner we had a delicious chicken with mole (sounds like 'molay' and means 'sauce' in Mexican...think...guacamole).
I've been on an Indian kick recently but we went to Mexico last night. Ola!

My husband and I loved it but the caffeine in the chocolate
kept me up kind of late!

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday in Maine :)

Off on a family boating adventure! It was a 7-hour tour!

Little Miss loved the sand when we got to the her ears, in her eyes, up her nose.....

The grandfathers just hanging out and enjoying the beach :)

So many things to eat, so many things to play with.
Brisla loved the beach!

Windswept and sunburned but what fun we had today at the beach and boating. Went with the family to a small beach up river. Took the boat (ran it right up on the beach) and lots of food. Came home with lots of sand., sunburns and big smiles. Had a wonderful time! for a shower and turn on that turbo air conditioning!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Red and Ripe Tomatoes

There is nothing like a ripe, juicy tomato right off the vine. Did you know that grocery stores pick green tomatoes and then ripen them artificially? No wonder they taste like paper. Our giant grape tomato plant is now giving up it's bounty and I'm loving it! Wish I could grow these babies all year round.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cowgirl Goods...the Mini Gear

Front View

How cute is our little model here? Miss Adalyn is sporting her Great Auntie Marj's one-of-a-kind handmade birthday gift, a designer T-Shirt. Auntie Marj made this stylin T just for her for her 1st birthday (which, noted elsewhere, is MY birthday, as well). This cute little blue number with the Cowgirl Goods logo on the front, is hand-stitched around the collar and logo in red. Giddy up Auntie Marj!

Check out Marj's handmade gear for sale at And check out her blog at

Side View :)

Mango Lassi, Adult Version

Mango lassi (mango, yogurt, honey) is amped up a bit, and loved by Miss Bethany here, with rum! Oh yah.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tandoori Chicken and Mango Lassi

We started with a sweet and creamy mango lassi. Ever had one of those? I hadn't. Easy to make and delicious to drink. Just blend up a mango (well, after you struggle to get the flesh free from that weird pit and the tough skin), some plain non-fat yogurt, a little sugar or honey (I think a banana might work, as well) and then sprinkle with a dash of cardamom. Oh yah, that's one great mango lassi! I did a little cybersurfing and apparently you can make a sweet, a salty, a pineapple or a mango lassi. Pineapple sounds good for our next Indian meal. Maybe pineapple with a little rum?

Tandoori Clay pot

After the lassi, well, quite a long time after (it took much longer to cook our main course than I imagined because it went from the refrigerator directly to the oven), but anyway, when it was done, out came a succulent chicken that had been marinated in a delicious myriad of Indian spices (and lime juice and chili powder) and yogurt, cooked in my funny looking blue clay tandoori pot. It was unbelievably tasty and spicy hot! We had a friend over for dinner who kept having to blow her nose because the masala was so full of heat :) She was happy, tho.....cleared her sinuses right up! Served along side the tandoori chicken I had whole wheat naan (warmed and crisped up in the oven), and left over Chana masala (from last night) spooned over soft rice to soak up all the juices....last night's Indian meal was amazing. Loving the Indian food these days :)

Tandoori Chicken Out of the Oven
(we already ate 1/2 the chicken when I took this picture!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chana Masala - Yum!

Ok...what is that you may be asking? Ingredients include chick peas, fresh tomatoes, red onion, and a lot of spices such as coriander, salt, dry mango, pomegranate seeds, chili, cumin, musk melon (cantaloupe to most of us), pepper, salt, fenugreek leaves (say what?), cloves, mint, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom, caraway and mace....yes, it's an Indian dish. Masala means, big surprise, spice mixture; chana means chickpeas. This Chana masala was spicy and sweet and really cranked up in flavor and heat.

When I was visiting my brother in NYC this past weekend, he escorted me to Patel Brothers Market in Jackson Heights. He knew I'd love it and, I did. Patel Brothers Market carries everything from Ching's Hakka Egg Noodles to Parachute Coconut Oil to nearly 40 different curries. You can find this fabulous store online at and in 35 locations it's not your typical or local mom-n-pop, neighborhood Indian store, but it's amazing, nonetheless. Patel Brothers carry literally hundreds of spices and spice mixes. On one back wall I found numerous bags and tins of spices (paprika, curry) and in one amazing little corner we looked over ceiling-high shelves of boxed spice mixes for chicken, lamb, fish. After much searching, I bought a jar of Garam Masala curry paste with cinnamon and ginger; Fish Curry masala; Hot curry powder; and Tandoori Chicken masala, all for $8.00. Jai ho!

I have decided that for the rest of August we are cooking Indian. Tomorrow I will try out Tandoori Chicken masala, spiced and marinated in yogurt and then slow-cooked in my shiny, blue clay tandoori pot, I know this chicken will be delectable. And, I'm excited to finally use my tandoori pot which we received from my sister-in-law for our wedding several years ago and have never used....yet! We are having guests over for dinner. I hope they like spicy food! No worries, the cool mango lassi (that bright yellow yogurt, mango drink) we are also trying out should turn down the burn if their mouths are aflame :)

Jackson Diner, Jackson Heights, NY

I have been to New York to visit my brother at least as many years as he's lived there (16). He usually escorts me to the same places each time. We wander through Soho as I am inspired by all the art. We visit Dean and Deluca to gawk at all the amazing pastries, breads, canned goods and spices from all over the world. But this trip we went to a new place for lunch, the Jackson Diner (thanks to Andy for the suggestion). Kind of a funny name for an Indian restaurant, but wow....what a lunch. Between 12 and 5 or something like that, this restaurant serves a huge Indian buffet full of interesting chicken, vegetable and lamb dishes. I can't stand lamb so avoided those but the tandori chicken and the curry chicken were spicy hot and delicious. I didn't like the spinach dish but loved the roasted vegetables. And the chick pea masala was really tasty. I also ate a huge chick pea flour tortilla the size of a giant platter, which had a potato filling and was rolled into a long tube. Amazing with the sweet sauce you dipped it in. The naan was kind of cold and somewhat plain but good anyway. Little side note here, nothing beats the naan at Naan and Curry in San Francisco. They make fresh and delicious, warm naan with potato, curry and pea filling right in front of you! I read a bunch of reviews of Jackson Diner dating back to 2005. I guess Hillary Clinton has dined there. I also see that not everybody has been happy with the service and some complain about it not being as clean as they'd like. But, the food, especially this buffet, was really delicious and inexpensive. I know when I return to New York soon with my husband, we'll be checking this place out again for another yummy lunch.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'll Take Two Pairs of Chanel Boots

I'll take the black quilted leather side pouch ankle boots for $1295 and throw in that brown pair, too. Just put it all on my account. I know many of the well-coifed and perfectly dressed women we saw wandering around the Chanel store on 5th Avenue were doing just that. Of course, then, there were lots of people like me, summer tourists who embarrass their siblings who actually live in New York, by walking around in slow motion pointing with their mouths half open. New York City (from Jackson Heights...this really cool Indian section with delicious curry and women walking around in fabulous, colorful, sparkly saris) to Times Square (what an amazing place to be as the sun sets and all the buildings light up) is jaw dropping and I've been here 10 times. I get the side of New York that makes people want to move. It is dirty. When I come home after a day out the first thing I am relatively obsessed with doing is washing my hands with antiseptic. It is crowded. You have to get that "bite me" attitude as you try to navigate the crowded sidewalks in some sections of New York. People can be distant and unfriendly. On the subways, for example, people have a variety of ways of keeping their world small. Many wear sunglasses or listen to their i-Pods, watch a movie or read a book. Some sleep. Nobody makes eye contact. But, I love New York and am so grateful my brother moved here 16 years ago as I never would have had the chance to even dream of wearing those fancy Chanel boots if I hadn't seen them in this window display :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Baked by Melissa

Right in downtown Soho, New York, you can buy 3 delicious little mini stuffed cupcakes for $3 at this cute shop (actually, it's more like a little cupcake stand) called Baked by Melissa. For those of you reading all my posts, this is not the same aspiring actress Melissa who works at Origins, below :). Baked by Melissa is attached to Cafe Bari and scrunched in between fancy clothing stores and restaurants - you'd miss it except for the line of customers waiting to pay their $3. The cupcakes are tiny as you can see from the photo of me holding three different flavors: cookie dough, cookies and cream and s'mores. They were just one delicious bite (well 1/2 a bite as I shared each with my brother). Our favorite was S'mores and we would have bought anything with peanut butter (the flavors are peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter cup) but they were out. Doing some research I found out that Baked by Melissa is owned by 25 year old Melissa Bushell. She was fired from her corporate job and started baking cupcakes (with her brother's support) and seems to have become quite the little cupcake success story. I love New York! Check out Melissa's website at

Meet Melissa at Origins

Meet Melissa. Melissa is an aspiring actress from New York City (originally from Massachusetts) who works at Origins in Soho, New York City. Honestly, after chatting with her for a bit, I felt badly for her. She came to the big city to start a theater troupe, The Garage Band Group, or something like that. She and my brother lamented how difficult it is to really make it, creatively, in New York. My brother, for example, puts enormous effort into getting his cooking show up and on TV. He has written numerous scripts for the Broadway stage and spends hours blogging and writing a cookbook. I love his work. But, his real job, Monday through Friday, is working for TruTV. Melissa is on a long hiatus from her Garage Band Group. She pays the bills by working at the skin care store, Origins. New York, the place where dreams come alive or die, I guess? It is an inspiring town, no doubt. You think you can do anything here. I always leave ready to create and change the world.

Here Melissa is successfully selling me products from the Origins natural, organic skin care line. Dr. Andrew Weil, if you can believe it, endorses a line of healing products for the skin. I'm such a sucker for these kinds of things when I travel. I was looking for a body wash (well I did need that) and Melissa brought over every citrus soap in the store for me to try. So I lathered up over a huge sink right in the middle of the store. I tried, "Calm to Your Senses" Lavender and Vanilla...not different enough from the 6 other bottles of lavender body wash I have at home, no thanks. I tried "Gloom Away," Grapefruit body and bath wash. It smelled too much like my breakfast. I tried, "Ginger Burst" a savory body wash.....just wasn't quite what I wanted. And then I tried "Jump Start" stimulating body wash....ok now....that's what might work. I know I sound like a commercial but all these products are made with essential oils and smell so good. I inhale in that way that you "feel" the scent way in your lungs. And my skin was significantly softer after washing my hands repeatedly with all these different soaps. Jump Start was the choice...we'll see if it jump starts my day when I give it a go this morning :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The 3:15 Acela to New York!

After a short car ride and kisses goodbye (I will really miss my husband and sweet little lab) I am the last to board the "Limo" to the train station in downtown Boston. The only seat available is in the back, of course, and next to the toilet, OF COURSE. Even though I always leave way too early when I travel, I don't want to miss this bus so I take the seat. Two and a half hours later I board the "quiet car" on the NYC bound, 3:15 Amtrak Acela. I love the train. And, I love the quiet car on the train as do many other people which is why you have to run to it as everybody is boarding. I can sit for 3 1/2 hours reading, thinking, leafing through my magazines, just looking out the window in the quiet car. There is no TV, no radio, no computer in front of me. The phone is not allowed. Talking is not allowed above a whisper.

The train travels along the coast for much of the trip. We speed by beaches where people are laying in the sun or braving the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We fly by train stations with our horn blowing. I'm on the Acela Train so we have limited stops. I love the lime green marsh grass that is everywhere houses aren't. Towns such as Mystic are picturesque with their harbors full of sailboats at this time of the year.

As we zip along I think about my friend, Alice, who has haunted me since her recent death. My husband told me that he had another story about her for me. Apparently, in the year or so before her death she took some of the little money she had and had a facelift. And, it disfigured her. She tried to have it repaired, unsuccessfully. Poor Alice I think as the train speed beyond Massachusetts, where she died, and onto Rhode Island.

I start to notice old tires piled up high on the side of the train tracks. I see rusted car parts, broken toilets, just plain piles of garbage and I knew we are near New York. As I look around I notice a "Bronx" sign. Shortly thereafter we are in the tunnels of Penn Station and the train pulls to a stop. I'm ready for my New York City visit!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

28,557 E-mails

So, after I work out in the morning and have my smoothie, I sit down at my husband's computer to check my e-mail. This morning I clicked on my Yahoo account ready to read e-mails from a variety of people including my brother who I am soon visiting in NYC, our tenants as we negotiate their lease, and our real estate agent who wants us to lower our sale price. And then I clicked again. My Yahoo e-mail wouldn't open. So, I tried my other applications. Facebook opened easily as did my rarely used G-mail account. "Can't be my computer," I quickly deduced. So I clicked back to Yahoo and highlighted "Clinton meets Kim Jong II". That worked so it cannot be Yahoo in general, I think to myself. And then it hits me, OMG, whatever will I do without my e-mail today. What if I cannot access my account. How will I function! It's at this point that I am alarmed at how much I rely on my e-mail. Certainly it could be that my Yahoo e-mail account won't open because I have, get ready, 28,557 upopened e-mails. Let me explain. I have a habit of just skipping over all the junk mail (and I get a lot). I don't bother to delete. Why should I? I have "unlimited storage" and every other 3rd year I am able to retrieve that one e-mail that I was really, really looking for :) :) But, then, I recalled that just this morning as I was sweating away on our elliptical machine, I watched the Today show news piece on the crisis in the US postal service. Apparently, people are relying more and more on e-mail for much of their communication and less and less on the US postal service. For example, my husband tells me he scans letters and e-mails them from his business vs. sending them in the post. So, of course, what is the solution? Following some convoluted, beurocratic logic that makes absolutely no sense to me, I'm sure postal rates will rise rates which means people will turn to e-mail more so, of course, postal rates will rise and then people will e-mail more......

In any event, it gives me pause to see how much I rely on my e-mail these days, and apparently how much everybody else does. Our society is morphing and I find that exciting ( I do love technology) yet unsettling. Now, let me post this to my blog and link it to my facebook page.....

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Cure for the Blues

The recent death of my friend, Alice, hit me pretty hard. Ever since my mom passed away nearly 2 years ago, death feels different to me. I am personally acquainted and my heart easily breaks. This past year I have know 3 dogs who have died, a friend's father and now, Alice. And not that I really knew or cared all that much about Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, their deaths are still all over the media. Alice's death, I think, was particularly hard for me because she was only 2 years older than me. As my mother frequently said, "Therefore by the grace of God go I." Or maybe it's just that once I turned 55 (less than a month ago) I started thinking about that fact that my life is now way more than half over. I mean, who lives to 110?

This past weekend, for the whole weekend, I was blue. Last night I ate a lot of chocolate, dark chocolate so I can smile knowing it's good for me, but chocolate, with a lot of calories and only a momentary pleasure, nonetheless. I also didn't work out or move much the entire weekend and I was obsessed with writing the blog piece on Ann so couldn't stop until it was done (around 2:00 am). As a result, I slept only a couple of hours and only as my husband was just getting up to start his day. Thinking about running on the treadmill and lifting heavy weights when I finally decided to get up around 8:00 am was the last thing I thought my body would agree to engage in, but I went to the gym any way. Staving off old age and illness, I am committed to working out 5 days a week and it was Monday, my gym day. To my amazement, although I did feel like laying down on the gym floor and sobbing several times once my body started to move, I felt so much better after my workout! My mood had completely shifted. Three cheers for endorphins! With a much improved attitude I came home, played catch with my loving and goofy lab and then gardened for a bit. What is it about gardening that repairs the mournful soul? I think it was the butterfly that really did it...flying around just above my head. Landing on a mass of flowers in full bloom on some nondescript and kind of ugly plant, that butterfly made me happy. It made me, as corny as it sounds, think about amazing it is, and how fleeting.

A hard workout and gardening, playing with my goofy and loving lab, and maybe even butterflies....cures for the blues :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Alice in Wonderland

So, this is a story about Alice. Alice is an artist I know through my husband's long-time acquaintance, Don. We traveled to visit Don and Alice on the small, dreamy Caribbean island they used to winter on, some 7 or so years ago. The tropical island was spectacular and Don was a charming and wonderful host. Alice used to complain about my husband, Ken's, cigar smoke as it drifted up onto their waterfront deck from the beach below. Once, on that trip, my husband pointed out that Alice was filling up a mason jar with fruit and then topping it off with rum from the rum punch container that was always on the counter. Having grown up with an alcoholic mother, my husband pays attention to these things.

Alice shared a beautiful art studio on the other side of the island from where they lived. The studio was an old sugar cane factory that she shared with a French potter and her mason jar full of rum. When I was on that wonderful little island, I loved floating along in the salty bay while the cool ocean enveloped me. Or laying on the white sandy beaches, soaking up the heat of the tropical sun as it browned my white New England skin. Often I would just spent my time daydreaming in the clean, cool Caribbean air as I looked off into the distance, far out to sea. I remember one afternoon the 4 of us sat at a bar on swings, munching toasted coconut, drinking some sweet drink, peaceful and happy as we watched the boats in the harbour. Honestly, in that lush and beautiful place I have no idea why so many people drink so much. In the evening, maybe a couple of drinks at one of the outdoor bars or a glass of wine at lunch. That I get. But to numb myself with alcohol in that paradise, makes no sense yet I saw it all around. I remember once, a bunch of friends were at dinner at a local restaurant here in New England. It was shortly after I met my husband, some 15 years ago. I wondered and asked why Alice was under the table, no kidding, she was under the table. I was told that she was throwing up.

Don and Alice have had many really great parties at their waterfront house over the years and we have had a lot of fun there. Alice was always gracious, very self-effacing, and actually kind of shy. However, I never really felt like I knew Alice. I wanted to but we never had those women-to-women talks where you get to know who a person is. You would think there was nobody because you couldn't find her to and yet her art was full of life. I remember she used to be a horrible house keeper and made no apologies, hanging a funny magnet on the refrigerator that poked fun at women who spent their day cleaning. From the outside, Alice led a wonderful, lucky life spending winters in the Grenadines and summers in France. While in New England, where I knew her, the best I could figure, she would either spend her days kayaking along the river with her dogs riding on the bow or she'd pass the time in her basement, creating, sculpting, painting in wood, metal, and glass. Once when my husband's mother was hospitalized for a fall she'd taken after she blacked out, her sister, Ken's aunt, reminded a surprised Ken that his mother always had a glass sitting on the window sill while he was growing up, a glass filled with her own kind of "rum" punch. I spose it was the same for Alice.

Alice used to be a tall, lean, blue-eyed, long-legged beauty with blond hair falling down her back. She never seemed to do much to her hair yet it was beautiful; neither too straight or too curly, gently framing her face. At 57, I am sure to her surprise, she had lost that siren's beauty that once captivated men to take care of her. Some time ago, maybe 2 years, her long-time companion, Don, grew tired of Alice's drinking. I heard that he paid thousands of dollars for her to go to rehab somewhere in California. She went but wouldn't engage. Rumor had it that he sent her to another rehab facility. That didn't work either. Don left her and nobody asked why.

Every now and again I would think about that talented artist, Alice in Wonderland, with the sky blue eyes. She packed up her furniture, clothes and her dog and moved to Montana after Don gave up on her. I found her this past spring on Facebook. She was living in a traditional adobe home in New Mexico, doing her art. She seemed happy and I felt a little envious of her artist's life. It appeared that she had created a life for herself, surrounded by other like-minded souls. I was surprised when she e-mailed in May to say she was moving back "home" on June 1, to Cape Ann, an east coast artist enclave. Several e-mails went back and forth. In some she sounded very sad. In others she appeared optimistic and happy. I tried my best to provide ideas and suggestions. In one e-mail she was clearly angry that nobody, apparently, had come to her aid. "Relying on the kindness of others," I would think to myself. It was an odd e-mail and I didn't respond to it. One Sunday morning, at 7:30, the phone rang. It was Alice. In all the years I had known her she had called no more than twice and only then to relay messages, never to actually talk with me. She wanted to know if my husband and I had a rental she might move into. We didn't. The conversation was pleasant but short. I wished her well. A 57 year old woman without skills to earn money easily and no idea how to take care of herself, she was running out of money. She has family in Texas but wanted to move here, by the ocean. She missed the ocean.

Recently I checked Alice's website to see what she was up to since I hadn't heard from her in a while and I now felt a part of her world, in some small way. "She seems to have finally landed on Cape Alice," I thought to myself, still not clear why she had returned to the Northeast where so no long had a life.

Not two hours ago my husband got a phone call from his friend, Lance, who lives at Don's house while Don is away on business in Europe. Don is away a lot these days. Lance had just arrived home from work and was greeted by Alice's brother, James. The last time James and Lance spoke was under very different circumstances. James showed up at the house, on that occasion, to warn Don that Alice was threatening to burn his house to the ground. Lance, not Don, answered the door. The police were called and nothing came of it, but I wondered, "What has happened to you, Alice in Wonderland?" On the phone this sad day, Lance told my husband, "Alice was found dead in Cape Alice this morning."

Alice died almost two months to the day of her arrival "home." Apparently, as her brother tells it, she died from alcohol poisoning or maybe suicide. Who knows? My husband and I somberly talked about the tragedy of it all and wondered, "Could we, should we have done more for her?" Ten minutes later the phone rang again. It was Lance. "Oh my God," I heard my husband say. Hanging up the phone he told me, "Sookie, Don's dog, also died this morning." What are the chances of that? What is the meaning of that? That dog knew Alice all it's life. What are the chances they'd both die on the same day? Sookie was found under a bush where she used to sleep, still and lifeless. What are the chances, I ask again, of that?

You are in my thoughts and prayers dear Alice. Peace to you and to sweet and crazy Sookie who used to stand in the river waiting for anybody to throw a stick. May you both be back on the islands you loved, painting to your heart's content and enjoying the cool, clean Caribbean air. Peace and freedom at last.

I am moved to remember how wonderful life is.....

"Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle. "
Alice in Wonderland

Miss Peanut Butter Head

This is my beautiful granddaughter. We just made a bunch of little apple and peanut butter "sandwichs" for lunch. We tried peanut butter and pears...yuck... neither of us liked that. But, boy oh boy, do we love peanut butter on apples. Peanut Butter Heads, that's what my granddaughter called us and that's what we are!

Children always help me remember that despite all the tragic and/or just annoying things that happen in life, I need to lighten up, embrace the simple things, laugh often and be grateful for the wonderful life I have. You're a Peanut Butter, you are!

p.s. a little history about peanut butter, in case you ever wondered~

Peanut butter was invented and reinvented many times during history. Peanuts were known as early as 950 B.C. and originated in South America. The ancient Incas used peanuts and were known to have made it into a paste-like substance. As a crop peanuts emigrated from South America to Africa by early explorers and then traveled by trade into Spain who then traded the product to the American colonies. The first commercial peanut crop was grown in Virginia in the early to mid 1840's and in North Carolina beginning around 1818.

According to the Corn Products Company, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis patented a peanut butter-making machine in 1903 and some unknown doctor invented peanut butter in 1890.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Watching the Tide Roll Away

This is the view out our back door. Beautiful, isn't it? My petunias on the deck are not doing so well this year. Some little persistent white bug seems to be sucking the life out of the greenery. And I think living in a "rain forest" doesn't bode well for them, either. But my geraniums love it down by the gate. The sun, the downpours all make them happy. The lesson for me is to remember to pick the right plant, from now on, for the right location. A sun plant in the shade simply won't thrive. Good lesson for life.