Saturday, September 15, 2018

Learning all the time

I like pictures of birds. Here is a random pic of a bird for you.


I stayed home from school on Friday, battling a stomach bug. It wasn't heavy duty, but enough to put me out of commission for a day. When I arrived home on Thursday apparently I had a low-grade fever. Feverish means no-go.

I was alert and energetic on Friday even though my stomach hurt like the dickens, so I got a lot done. My productivity is continuing through to this evening on Saturday. I finished Ligonier's Pilgrim's Progress course and signed up for part 2. Did you know that Ligonier COnnect courses accumulate continuing education credits from the Association of Christian Schools International? The courses are not extremely demanding, you can go at your own pace, and the cost is very reasonable. The classes through the Institute for Church Leadership at The Master's Seminary are also reasonable for the quality of education you receive.

I wrote two demanding and complicated blogs for The End Time. I continued in my Bible reading in John 1, and also the JMac Commentary for John 1.

I printed out all my downloaded free .pdf booklets I'd gotten from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and punched holes and installed them in a 3-ring binder. It's apparent to me that I do not or will not read on a screen, so I bit the bullet and printed them all out in hard copy. It feels good to organize.

I cleared out my email bins, and made all new headers for my 2 blogs, Twitter, and 2 Facebook pages.

Food prep is done for the week, a day early. Hey, I have learned to capitalize on energy when it comes, because it goes, too. I might not have the oomph to do it on Sunday. I made this week for lunches and dinners:

Red lentil-vegetable soup
Poached salmon
Boiled cauliflower
Boiled Quinoa
Black bean & green pepper salad
Granola

None of the dishes I made had any dressing or sauces on them. I'm not wanting to take any chances after the few days I've had with a stomach bug. I like red lentils because unlike brown lentils, they have no aftertaste, and they easily cook into mush, so the soup is thick and has necessary fiber, but it's easier to digest.

I made a collage of all my teapots. Someone at school asked about them so this was my reply:


I love them and I use them. I don't enjoy collecting anything for collecting's sake. I like it better when the things I collect are functional. As for which teapot to use, when I arrive home I decide how much tea I want to drink, (My pots go from personal 1-cup to 16-cup). I decide what kind of mood I'm in and relate that to the teapot. That one I can't explain, it's just mood and emotion. I've got 3 Japanese, 2 US and 2 English pots. They range in age from nearly 100 years old (the Hall's) to one I bought on Amazon last year (Tetsubin).

It looks like we will not receive too many effects from Hurricane Florence that is currently ravaging and drenching North and South Carolina. It will be rainy on Sunday but we are predicted to receive only about 2 inches, which we need, so that's good.

Here are 2 more pics I like:

Old cameras are beautiful machines


Bird sings at sunset



Enjoy your Sunday, everyone :)

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Plans for the day

By Elizabeth Prata

Ahhh, it's the weekend again. For some reason short work weeks seem longer. Maybe it's the different schedule for the kids, or the fact that they were home a day longer, but short weeks always turn out to feel longer than if we had a five day week in the first place.

Not that I'm complaining. I love three-day weekends. They're great.

Today I'm contemplating going out. Yes, really. I have two library books that will be due on Tuesday so I have to go to the library soon in any case. The Friends of the Library is having their semi-annual book sale this morning so I might drop off my books and check out the sale. If it's not too crowded. I loathe running into people.

Also my favorite vintage store, The Special Store, is having a 75% off art sale and $1 clothes sale. Impossible. To. Resist. Art.

I do need to fill one spot over my bed. I'd had a favorite photo enlarged a few years ago and hung it there. It is a scene from Lubec where I used to vacation at Globe Cove in a little cottage. It's the view from the bay window in the cottage. Lubec is the foggiest place in Maine, the smokey coiled fog bank always hovering just at the horizon, to come in and out like the tide. With the fog and the tide always moving, the scene is dynamic and ever-changing. I snapped this ar full fog and high tide.


I always liked the spot of color from the mooring buoys and the colorful boats popping against the fog and moody pine landscape. However, digital photos, even on archival paper, seem to fade quickly. I've only had the photo enlarged for ten years but by now the colors in my enlarged and framed photo have all faded and the scene is just grey drab. I have 35 mm photos that are nearly 100 years old that aren't as faded.

So...art. 75% off is a good deal, not likely to find anywhere else as good. And it's framed, too.

I have fun in that store because I can get little things I need there, too. I like magnet pads to put on the fridge to remind myself of appointments or to keep a running record of grocery items. I find neat pads there for fifty cents or a dollar. I sometimes find nice stationery and notecards there too. I like notecards. Books and CDs are also 50 cents or a dollar.

Also, I need a cart or some kind of small storage for my room at school. The rolling cart I'd gotten this summer is too small already! I've added notebooks and journals for two book groups, plus ditto sheets, and the books we're reading themselves, I need more room!

I have not been to the Special Store since April or May. The owners had obtained two estates and the store got crammed. It was too jumbled, for me, to see anything or even move. I like a jumble, but when it's too crowded to move, and add excessive heat and a laboring lone air conditioner, the browsing experience palls.

They have purged and reorganized and made the place browsable again with some displays, even! See:




So I might be tempted to go out early when it's still coolish. The weather is supposed to break in mid to late September and I can't wait for crisp mornings and turning the AC off. But with this heat I'll go early and scuttle back home quickly before the afternoon heat makes me so tired and grumpy. When I return home, I'll take a nap. Late afternoon I'll work on two theology lessons: one from Biblical Doctrine/John MacArthur's book, a chapter on Pneumatology. And another chapter video lesson in Derek Thomas's Pilgrim's Progress through Ligonier.

Tonight I plan to make friends with my couch and read more of Bill Bryson's book Summer 1927, and start John Grisham short stories from his book Ford County. It's the plan, anyway.

I hope you have a wonderful fall Saturday.


Sunday, September 02, 2018

Spider season

You know when you have something you carry or use many times per day, but there's something about it that irks you a little bit each and every time you use it? A tiny struggle to open, or difficult to extract, or hard to hold...something? My handbags have been like that.

I've bought about 5 handbags over the last two years and none of them have suited. I switched from using a backpack to handbags and I've never been satisfied, quite. I hate to have cumulative aggravations during the day. I'm aggravated by enough things already (noise, other people, the wrong temperature, clothing, and so on, lol). I don't need to be aggravated by the thing that I have to carry everywhere with me.

I don't need a huge bag because I don't carry that much, but I do have to carry my wallet, checkbook, Kindle, cell phone, glasses repair kit, pens, and cough drops. See? Not so much.

On Vipon (the Amazon.com discount couponing site) I saw Messenger Bags on sale for half off. I LOVE a messenger bag! As with backpacks, kinda mannish, messenger bags are too. (I do not like lady fru-fru stuff). I bought it for $12. The canvas is sturdy but supple. The pressure points like where you grab it or the corners or the zipper, are reinforced with leather. There are several pockets outside and in. I can carry it cross body, which I like to do at the grocery store. Hey,have you ever watched those security camera vids where someone steals a wallet out of your purse, or steals the purse, /snap/ LIKE THAT? Cross body, man, with the pockets and zipper against your hip.

Here is a pic. I personally think messenger bags are stylish and cool.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I take nice photos of the yard I love so much and post a lot of them everywhere. That's because it's a pretty yard, with flowers and birds and trees.


But the yard holds a deadly secret. Its allure belies a malignancy that is only revealed in certain seasons and at certain times a day. When the sun rises and the rays are low, the interconnecting mesh of Ninja-dance inducing spider webs all across the yard are revealed!

From tree to tree, from branch to ground, at FACE LEVEL, we see the threads of heart-pumping horror glimmer in the rising rays of the sun, only to fade into the background mere moments later. Unsuspecting amblers striding these greenways will soon feel the full horror of the stickily detestable threads as they, too, inevitably begin to Ninja-dance their way back to the safety of the house.



Having walked into one too many webs in my day, I keep a spider web busting stick by my front door. Spiders have dared, yes, dared, to stream their dance of horror webs across the awning in front, so the stick is always at hand's reach as I cautiously open the door a few inches to grab it first.

Wielding my stick like a nutcase, fie, no matter how I appear to others, my stick dances like a crazy divining rod hovering over water. Jerking it to the left and right in front of my face, I crab walk toward the garage where my car hides inside, hunkered safely from its likely use as a web-foundation string for the more daring and skillful spiders attempting to use it as part of their deadly scheme. Indeed, just the other day I opened the door to the car, after having left it out for the night, and a gossamer thread attached to the mirror wafted away. Fortunately the wind was blowing in the other direction and the thread sailed on into the yard and not into my face. That was a close one.


They proliferate in September, the time to reproduce and hatch new babies before the frosts get 'um. The egg sacs overwinter. At the Cooperative Extension at the University of Georgia, we read,
Barn spiders are to blame for creating the webs most often walked into by people. “I would bet that almost every home in Georgia has a barn spider on the porch or somewhere nearby this time of year,” she said. Hinkle has one on her deck, one at her back door, and one at her front door. They’re handy to keep around, she said. Being nocturnal, they construct new webs every evening, where they wait to trap insects. Rusty brown with legs extending 2 inches, they’re noticeable this time of year.

“Their webs trap all sorts of flying pests,” she said. “People get annoyed when they walk into these webs and get silk covering their faces, but I consider that a people problem, not a spider problem.”
NO, IT'S A SPIDER PROBLEM!

The yellow garden spider and the orb-weaver both make large webs, too. Ugh.

OK, so some say that they're good to have around to trap lots of insects in their massive webs, but either you've got lots of insects in your yard, or lots of spiders. Problem, if you ask me.

I wonder if there will be spiders in the new earth? If so, then maybe God will have given me enough grace to, er, love them? For now, I just stay inside until the frost comes and it's safer to walk around the yard.

Have a good weekend everyone, and watch out for spider webs!


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Labor Day Weekend leisure

Once the pressure is off to hurry-hurry and get to work, and if one has no other obligations for a particular Saturday morning, being able to slow down on a holiday weekend is super sweet.

I had my usual cup of coffee. The difference is that I sip instead of gulp. For a treat, I put whipped cream on it. Ahhh. I sink into a slower pace almost right away.


As most people do, I have all the usual chores to do on Saturday. I have laundry plus an extra load because I want to wash the bathroom rugs and the bedspread. I've got vacuuming and cleaning. I want to take apart my thermoses and deep clean the gaskets and plastic that tends to accumulate dirt underneath. (Hint: Immerse in white vinegar, this works great also for hand can openers.)

But for now, I'm writing and sipping and listening to a sermon. I walked around the yard at sunrise, something I enjoy. The yard is pretty, it's quiet, there's a pasture next door. I love seeing greenery and birds and scenery rather than houses or skyscrapers or traffic. I'm definitely a rural gal. Best of all for me would be to live oceanfront, but that is not in the cards for me. So I enjoy instead the undulating grasses rather than ocean waves.

I'll get dressed and have breakfast around 10:00-10:30, usually the limit of my patience with sitting and lounging. I've got sweet potatoes and russet potatoes in the crockpot. I bought some already cooked shrimp so that will be a nice lunch later, on rice noodles, I think.

Here are some of the pics I took this morning in the yard at first rays of light streaming over the yard and next door pasture:





I will write a blog at The End Time for today but my main goal is to read some novels. I have bought a Grisham, and I was thrilled. I thought I'd read all his books, some several times, but I found one I had not read. It is a book of his short stories called "Ford County" which is the fictional county he set many of his books in.

I also renewed my library card and got a Jenny Colgan book. I'd read one of hers this summer, "The Bookshop on the Corner". It was OK. A great first half was diminished by a hurried and scattered second half, but I was intrigued enough to try her again. Not to buy another book, though, so I renewed the Library card. I want to save my pennies for buying theological books.

I borrowed the book "The Cafe By The Sea" which has a sequel called "The Endless Beach". They sound nice, don't they? If The Cafe book is good I'll move on and get the Beach one. That's the great thing about libraries, no wasted money if the book doesn't work out.

I also borrowed a James Patterson, called "Worst Case." He is a crime writer and his stories move fast. That's a lot of reading, especially considering I am still onto Bill Bryson's "Summer of 1927" I'd started in June.

Despite Labor Day holiday weekend being an unofficial marker of fall, the actual weather outside this weekend will be hot. And humid. It won't last a lot longer, but for the next three days I'll be hunkered down inside enjoying the books and my cooking.

On the menu this weekend,

--Shrimp
--Salads (from ready-made kits)
--Orange and green pepper soup
--Refried beans dip with cheese and salsa...or burrito in a wrap
--Fruit: grapes, bananas, strawberries with cottage cheese or yogurt

I'm going a bit lighter this weekend because I don't want to cook lots of food when it's hot. Soon enough I'll be back to the lentils and beans and chilis and so on. The refrieds will come from a can.

Netflix has obtained a movie I've been wanting to see: "Same Kind of Different Than Me". It's supposed to be a Christian-based movie, and family friendly, So I'm excited. Also excited because Netflix has increasingly been disappointing in getting movies I want to see. At last, here is one I'll watch.

Looks to be a good weekend! I hope your holiday weekend, whether it's staycation, real vacation, or working weekend, is a good one too.



Sunday, August 19, 2018

Of rambutan and meal prep

By Elizabeth Prata

Good morning! Did you ever have a long enough's night sleep and wake up the next morning expecting to be refreshed, but you aren't? Or get a good night's sleep and wake the next morning and leap out of bed with tons of energy? Both happened to me this weekend. Once on Saturday and once on Sunday. Back to back, I'm perplexed. Oh well, I'll take the good night's sleep and morning energy bonanza where and when I can, lol.

A while ago I'd discovered that one of my favorite authors, John Grisham, had written a book of short stories. You know the excitement when you think you've read all there is from your favorite author but you find one more? Like that. I found a hardcover at Amazon for cheap and combined with my points got the last book the seller had for $3.00. I can't wait till it arrives! Later Grishams have been disappointing, but this is a very early book and those, by gum, were really good. So anticipating a new book I can dive right into is always fun.

I got up early to do some cooking. I didn't do any meal prep last weekend and though I had plenty to eat and packing lunches wasn't a burden, I did have to scramble at night when I got home. I'm tired when I get home, and I want just to open the fridge and grab some dinner without a lot of fuss or standing there to cook it. The items I grabbed for dinner last week were hummus and crackers, rice cakes, seaweed chips... but that's not enough of a dinner to sustain me.

I need to eat whole food, non-processed, with no preservatives or my stomach will rebel. That means I have to make myself every meal I eat, and think carefully about every snack I ingest. Rice cakes and seaweed chips are on the edge of manageability for my belly since they are processed, but they have barely any ingredients so I can usually eat them in moderation. But I do need to go easy on them and make them an infrequent snack and not a meal substitute. My usual snacks are fruit or homemade granola. Sometimes a few peanuts if I haven't put them all in the granola.

Anyway, so as not to repeat my mistake from last week, this morning I made:

--Quinoa to have on hand to sprinkle on salads, or to have as warmed over cereal
--Spicy chili. There was a sale on avocados so those will go on top, with sour cream too. ;)
--Baba ganoush, an eggplant dip with tahini and lemon. It's garden time and a friend gave me three eggplants. So...reduce them down into a dip!!
--Fig preserves. A friend gave me a gallon bag of figs, so I made preserves with them, and kept a few back to have as fresh into cottage cheese etc.
--Granola. I use this as cereal, snacks, or to put in cottage cheese.

I use whatever my friends give me and I do not waste any of it if I can help it.

Last week there was a markdown on some weird looking fruit., It was reddish and hairy like a sea urchin. Since the bag of them was only 99 cents, of course I bought it. 99 cents is a small price to pay for experimenting, and for potentially having a new world of fruit opened up to me. Here is what they looked like


You put a sharp knife into the end of it and slice all around from north pole to south. You don't press so hard you slice into the fruit, but only through the skin. Inside the fruit's center is an almond shaped pit. The fruit is about the sizeof a ping pong ball or a bit smaller. It's juicy.

They are called Rambutan, I discovered, and they look and taste like a lychee fruit. I do not like lychee fruit. I did not like rambutan. I ate one of them and threw out the other 4. So only 79 cents wasted and aside from the reddish one in the picture the others were really over-ripe anyway.

The fruit is from Malaysia and actually rambutan means hair in Malay, an apt name, lol. The fruit contains a high amount of fiber and iron, and is sweet and juicy. If you like lychee you'll like rambutan. Nevertheless, I think I will skip the rambutan next time. I've been there and done that.

I cooked my heart out this morning and my fridge is full. It was a hot and busy two and a half hours but worth it. I've already packed my chili serving for lunch tomorrow and I'm looking forward to church at 3:00 later today. But first, a nap.

Have a good week ahead everyone. By the way, I'm really looking forward to this hot weather easing up and getting some fall leaf colors going, pumpkins on the doorstep, wearing long sleeved comfy shirts, and snappy air evenings. Aren't you? Fall, you're on your way and I'll greet you happily when you get here. Fall also means hot tea season!



Friday, August 10, 2018

Lemon myrtle tea and spider lilies

By Elizabeth Prata

It's been a hot week here in northeast Georgia, but that is to be expected. It's August, in Georgia. I look forward to pumpkins, clear nights, no humidity, lap blankets, open windows, and cider.

Meanwhile, after a long day after my car's been in the hot parking lot, when I get into it to go home the seat belt buckle scorches my hands. The steering wheel is too hot to touch. The air in the car is so oven-like it's hard to breathe. The air outside the car is like walking through a wet shower curtain. But enough of the joys of living in Georgia in August.

This first week of school with the kids was terrific. They are cute kiddos and they seemed to settle into the routine pretty well. For a while it truly was herding cats. But cute cats.

I came home with take-out and sank gratefully into my kitchen chair in the air conditioning, and then turned to my stash of tea to select a dessert beverage. I selected a new tea I just got in this week, Lemon Myrtle from Boh Teas in Malaysia. Lemon Myrtle has a high citrus content. It is made from the lemon myrtle plant's leaves, (Backhousia citriodora) which are native to Australia. As with most herbal teas, it has various healthful properties and it also tastes good! I am also going to try this as an iced tea.

Tomorrow I'll do my usual ministry duties: write a blog or two or three, prepare scripture pictures to post this week, answer emails, clean out my laptop folders, etc. I'll also do the usual chores, and cooking on Sunday. I'll read. I plan to play with some photos I took on Thursday around the yard, of some pretty flowers called red spider lily (of the amaryllis family). Here is a preview:





I love that there are flowers in the yard. In addition to the spider lily we have crepe myrtle too, and morning glories.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. :)


Saturday, August 04, 2018

Vipon & Amazon = A match made in heaven

By Elizabeth Prata

I love Amazon.com. When it was invented I latched right on to it. I dislike shopping, stores, driving, and crowds. Therefore, I rarely go shopping and only for necessities and only after I've procrastinated till the bitter end.

I'm also very frugal, shepherding my money carefully and rarely making purchases, and those things that I do buy are most of the time needs rather than wants.

The thought of buying something and having it delivered right to my door was thrilling. I didn't even have to go to the Post Office it comes to your house. Amazon, you had me at 'online.'

This week, I discovered these online Amazon coupons called Vipon. The coupon website offers discounts for regular Amazon items that range from 20% to 100% off. This hit my frugal little heart like water on a sea monkey. The coupons are timed, but the period of time they are available isn't short, it's days. And there are so many to choose from, if I miss one, there are many other items I can search for. The one item Vipon does not seem to offer discounts on Amazon for, are books. But all manner of hard goods are offered.

You have to sign up for Vipon but it's not a scam. Signing up involves just that, plugging in an ID and a password. No strings. Then you browse. When you see an item you like you click on it for more information. At that point I go separately to Amazon and read up on the item, including the reviews. (Just like I always do). If I like what I read, I go back to Vipon and click 'get coupon'. When you do that it gives you a code and sends you straight to the Amazon page of the item you want. You just plug in the code at checkout and see your price go from say, $10 to $5 or whatever the discount amount offered.

There is a limit of how many coupons you can get in on month, but the limit is 150, and I don't buy that manythings in a year so nevermind. Even for vigorous shoppers 150 is a generous limit. The limit for coupons within a 24-hour period is 20 vouchers.

The only requirement Vipon asks is that for every 20 deals, at least, you leave feedback to the seller, or a review. Here is the link to the Vipon About page.

I've bought three things so far. One has been shipped and arrived. The item that arrived was a tunic dress (to wear as a long shirt or with leggings) and was exactly as advertised. At the time at Amazon it cost $14.00. I bought it for $7.00, for a 50% discount. It was eligible for Amazon Prime, so I received it in 2 days. I have not tried it on yet, but if the item doesn't suit, it can be returned, just like normal.

I also found some wonderful tea. I'm always on the hunt for a smooth and delicious new tea, but often really good and exotic tea is expensive. I found a Malaysian tea I was interested in. I never had a tea that was not from the dominant tea producing countries, such as China or India. So I looked these teas up on Amazon and I've never seen such a uniform review from purchasers. The purchasers rated these two teas as 4 or 5-stars. Reviewers noted that the tea making process in Malaysia was slightly different and resulted in a smooth tea. OK, for this price I can try it out.

I decided on Boh Teas, a well-regarded company (I'd never heard of) in flavors of Peppermint, Chamomile and Lemon Mrytle. There are 25 teabags in each box. I purchased them for 50% off and so in the end, each box of tea cost only $2.05. Free shipping. This is less than I can get a box of regular tea at Kroger.

I also purchased Boh Lime with Ginger and Lemon with Mandarin. This one will be a 40-count order. So it looks like I am set with tea for a while. The Vipon discount was 50% off, so at $2.30 for each box, again, it cost the same or less than I can buy even at the Dollar Store.

The upshot is that for a total of $17, I have a new dress-tunic for work or church, and enough tea to last me the school year. All I had to do is plug in a copied code at checkout and write a review once in a while. I recommend Vipon, the best coupon-ing system I've discovered. If, as time goes on, my attitude changes, I'll let you know.



Sunday, July 29, 2018

Summer 2018 has been good to me

By Elizabeth Prata

Goodbye summer! My summer break officially ends tonight. I'm headed to church in a short while, and then afterward stopping at Kroger to get lunches for the week. When I return home this evening I'll be doing Sunday-night-school-prep-stuff. Tomorrow is the big day!

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, and getting onto a different routine. I didn't have any drastic issues this summer. Charter internet went out for 14 hours one day and shortly after, it went out again for about 3 hours. I was sick for a day and a half. But that's it for negative things that happened! All was truly well overall.

 Meanwhile I can say that my favorite things this summer were:

1. Coffee in the morning
2. Being with my kitties
3. Naps
4. Books

What I'm looking forward to this school year is:

1. Helping a new bunch of kids
2. Doing a good job for the District
3. Meeting & growing with new staff
4. Seeing old staff again

Thanks for coming along in this My Day Summer 2018 journey with me. Bye, bed, books, coffee, cats, and naps. I'll miss you.


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Apples, rainstorm, summer spouse

By Elizabeth Prata

Kroger grocery store does this neat thing with produce. If there is a container of cherry tomatoes, and one tomato inside that has split or gotten moldy, no one will buy that tray. So the store puts the container inside a red net bag and sells it for 99 cents. I take it home and pluck out the one bad cherry tomato and happily use the rest. If there's a peach that is slightly dented they'll put it in a red net bag with good ones and sell the bag for 99 cents. And so on. The produce in the red net bag is usually perfectly OK, except for maybe one item in it, and even then, 9 times out of 10 the one item is fine. I save a bundle buying fresh produce this way. Kroger told me that they like it because they hardly ever have to throw anything away.

For the first time I bought corn on the cob in the net bag. There were 4 good sized ears in it. I peeled them today and they look fine. The kernels aren't wrinkled and they look OK-fresh. I boiled them up today and ate one. I'll scrape the remaining cobs and roast them in a pan with butter, and add them to something later in the week. Maybe I'll make chili.

Another item I got in the marked down section was a red net bag of apples. These apples were all excellent and fine. And big! I am not hugely fond of apples, though, unless they are MacIntosh. You can't find Macs in the south very often. These were Gala and Grannysmith and something else. They are hard! What to do with a bunch of apples? I cubed them small and sauteed them in a bit of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.


When they were soft enough I stopped. What can you do with a load of sauteed apples? Why, put some on top of your pancakes. The apples with the TB of brown sugar I'd used was sweet enough for me and I did not need to add maple syrup.


As for the remainder of the apples, (you can see them in the container in the top of the photo) they can go on cottage cheese, or into smoothies for a bit of sweetness. Roll them in a crepe, or into a wrap with some yogurt or even cream cheese. Ideas are endless.

We had some storms this early AM and when my weather alarm went off I got up at 3:00 to put shoes on and ready to go into the tub - the only interior 'room' I have since I only have two rooms in the apartment and there is no spot that doesn't have an outside wall. No worries though, the storms that did come through were mild compared to elsewhere in the area. All is well.

And since it is still summer, the lost hour I had staying up from 3:00-4:00 am could be re-couped this afternoon, which I duly did. Me and Murray caught a nap.

After the rain stopped this morning I took a walk around the yard. The raindrops hadn't dried yet.



The crepe myrtle are blooming gangbusters:







This bright red cardinal was preening and getting his feathers situated again after the torrent had stopped.



Ants were pouring out of this crack, but they were the tiny ants and you can't see them that well. The view is nice, though.




Amid all this flowery and rain soaked prettiness, there was a life and death struggle going on right under my nose. Cue Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom:


The caterpillar did not win.

Well, tomorrow is church and I look forward to getting together with my beautiful saints and worshiping my precious God. Then next week is the last week of summer break. I go back to school on Monday, July 30. It has been an exceptionally wonderful summer break, and I know I'll enjoy next week a lot, then of course, I'll enjoy meeting the new crop of kids. (After getting over the physical shock of having to actually get up and do stuff all day).

Here is a hilarious video from Kentucky Principal Gerry Brooks. Every word he says is true.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

So many eggplants

I had breakfast yesterday with a dear friend and her charming baby. It was one of those breakfast joints run by short order cook ladies in hairnets who know what they’re doing and call you ‘hon.’ Biscuits, grits, bacon, eggs… it was all there. We had a good chat.

On the way home, as I approached my driveway, I looked over at the pasture. The recent rain has greened up everything to a hue so vivid the pastures shone like emeralds. The wooden fence with the waving weeds intertwined with purple morning glories created its own living fence. Amid the greenery on the fence post was a bright red cardinal. I was glad to see him, a previous local yard cat had killed one and chased the others off. It’s nice to see them returning.

I snapped this from quite a distance and while walk-jogging. Sorry for the poor quality. He flew off before I could get a better one.

The fence is a little way down from my driveway, so I parked, left my bags by the mailbox as I went by and checked it, and hustled to walk close enough to grab a photo before the bird flew off. I snapped on from a great distance but then he spotted me and went his way.

Just then the mailman trundled down the street. I live on a one-way street and it’s a short street, so there is little traffic. I had put my camera bag and purse down on the ground by the mailbox when I came out to snap the photo of the bird, so I hustled to pick it up so he’d have room.

He had an Amazon package for me. Amazon Prime day was a couple of days ago, after all, lol. So we chatted for a while. The weather, the heat. He asked if the neighbors still lived on the other side of the house but I said, no they moved. It wasn’t a long chat. He had a route and a schedule to keep after all. But it was an American sort of morning, the breakfast joint, then admiring the rural beauty around me, the chat by the side of the road...

It’s garden season here in Georgia. That means people have veggies galore and lots of people share. I am in possession of three large eggplants at this moment. What to do?

I chopped up an onion and put it into a large stock pot with some oil. I turned the heat on medium. While the onions were browning, I diced two of the eggplants into cubes. I had two orange peppers rolling around in the fridge so I chopped them up as well.

The thing with eggplants, is they take on the flavor of what you put them with. Their flesh has a sponge-like consistency that soaks up whatever you put with it, including oil. That’s why if you’re frying them in slices, do not use a fork to turn them over because the tines will poke a hole and the oil will soak into the flesh. The flesh is also gray, not an appetizing color on a dish. So that is why I chopped up the orange peppers- to add some color.

When the onions had turned translucent, I added the cubed eggplant and a little water. Stir well. Add salt. Stir again. I covered it to retain the moisture as the eggplant cooked down.



Meanwhile I chopped cherry tomatoes.

I had bought a huge tub of greens on sale. The tub contained spinach, chard, mizuna, and kale. It was organic. It was a huge tub. I saw that I was not going to be able to finish the greens before they went bad. I added them to the pot of onions, peppers, and eggplant.
Both the eggplant and greens reduce a lot. When I added the pile of cubed eggplant it came to the top of the pot, When I added the greens, same thing. But they reduce. When the greens have wilted, add the tomatoes.

The key is to let the now mixed eggplant-onions-peppers-greens cook slowly. This lets the flavors blend. You can add what spices you like, but Italian spices make the most sense. I covered it, turned the heat to medium low, and let it do its thing.



At the end when I was almost ready, I took the cover off to allow the remaining liquid to evaporate.

The is a dish that’s good with cheese on top, or with pasta added in, or rice, or atop a good toasted Italian bread like focaccia or ciabatta. Make a submarine sandwich out of it by adding cooked pepperoni or cubed Italian ham. It’s versatile, and best of all, it uses a LOT of eggplant!

I have one more week of summer break. We go back on July 30. I am enjoying this summer break 2018 so very much.