Thursday, November 08, 2007


I know I'm supposed to post more about my trip to France but yesterday I was reminded of my love/hate relationship with chestnuts so that's what I'm writing about.

While perusing the produce department at Publix the other day, I spotted a package of chestnuts. They looked clean and somewhat fresh. The label said they were from Italy. I've been told that we and many other places had a chestnut blight that wiped out our lovely chestnut trees and now we have to have trees shipped in from China.., of course.

I've lived in Florida for about 21 years now but at heart I am still a Jersey girl. A damn yankee. Growing up, it was a tradition alround holiday time to roast chestnuts. I love them. The first few years here in the south, I couldn't find them and when I did finally get hold of some they were awful! Size wise, they were small, and when finally roasted at least half of them were rotten. And then there is the problem of preparing them..

Boiling them leaves them rather tasteless. but to roast them, the shell/hull should be slit with a knife because the little buggers have a tendency to respond like popcorn and explode. Unfortunately, they don't hold together like popcorn. My history with them is frightening. I usually do put a slit in them and sometimes I'm even smart enough to enclose them so if they do explode they don't scatter all over.

Well last night I thought I'd just parboil them to give them a start. First I washed them because the chaulky film on them looked a bit like mold... then I was too lazy to score them and put them on a pizza tray to roast. Left the room to watch tv and didn't remember them until the explosion and Shadow flying three feet into the air. Three or four more explosions until I got to the kitchen. Turned off the oven and with a small potholder grabbed the tray to pull it out. Unfortunately I moved too fast and at least half of them hit the hot oven floor and proceeded to attack me with exploding projectiles of shells & chestnut meat.

Of course, I burned my hand, trying to retrieve the ones still whole and managed to get a few while ducking to avoid more exploding chestnuts. The ones I saved were delicious with only one not quite up to par.

This morning my clean-up project for the day was to vacuum out the oven. I have to admit that it was a first for me. I had to wipe down the top, sides, and shelves but the vacuum cleaner was the only tool that could get into the nooks & crannies to capture all the tiny little pieces.

I wonder if someone sells a chestnut roaster? One that is guaranteed not to attack.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Here is a photo of the owners of La Carriere, the B & B where Annie & I stayed after our workshop. It is owned by Justin & Robin Saunders. He's English and she is American. Two cute daughters who love to play dress-up and a loving old dog make up the rest of the family. We really enjoyed our stay there. The book that is recommended on their site is well worth the read. Michael S. Sanders', From Here You Can't See Paris. It is about the most amazing restaurant. We had Robin set up a reservation for us and it was the best meal I've ever eaten...

I have decided that the funk I'm in is because I miss France. I'd love to move there but since our US dollar is now worth dirt, it isn't feasible but I am thinking that perhaps next spring or summer, I can rent a "Gite" (cottage) or small house and stay for 3 or 4 weeks. I might even try for a house swap... I just need to have the largest yard sale ever to empty out this place. That & get busy listing piles of stuff on eBay. I will try harder to post & upload some more photos of France.

Friday, October 26, 2007

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Duchess Karen the Decent of Leighton Buzzard
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Just something to post until I can make time to play catch up... To my Brother who reads this.... I got your message but what is new phone number, new job and new life???? Call me again.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I'm going to France!!!!

Tomorrow I leave for France. I'm taking a one week workshop in a small town called Durfort and then one of the other women in the class and I are going to visit some other places in SouthWest France for another week.

The trip over will be exhausting but I'm so excited. Lots of links and photos when I return. Promise!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Way Overdue to Post

I know it's been awhile and I have no excuse but now I need to post a picture of the lovely Mother's Day flowers from my middle son, Jeff.

On a sad note, I had to take Mr. Spats to the vet for his final visit. It was so difficult but he's been failing for quite awhile and in addition to his hearing, he'd lost his sight. I'm going in for surgery on my knee on Monday and wouldn't have been able to give him the care he needed. It was so hard to say goodbye to him.

Mr. Spats: 1988 - 2007

See you at the Rainbow Bridge.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Flying Time!!
Where does the time go? It's been over a month since I posted, which was pointed out to me by my brother yesterday. I ran into him at the Toyota dealer in Orlando. I had just left my car for service and was leaving and almost ran right into him. I think it's been over a year since I've seen him and he only lives about 10 or so miles south of me. We all have such busy busy lives these days and just loose track of time and people. Of course there wasn't time to hang out and catch-up on anything since I had a friend who was waiting for me. So it was a "Hi and Goodbye" meeting.

My trip to Mexico was a mixed bag. The Carnival was fun & colorful. Merida was crowded. Made a trip to the house that will be Villa Tievoli, hopefully, in three years. Not much had been done at that point but meetings with Juan Alberto and the architect has gotten the renovation moving. Too much walking did a number on my knee and it finally quit on me Sunday night when I stepped down one step too many. Severe pain and unable to put any weight on it, I hopped into the elevator and to my room. Monday was supposed to be my day to go off on my own & visit the museums and shop while Patrick & Wendell did last visit to architect and banking. I wound up spending that night & all day in my room watching the 5 channels on TV that were only in Spanish. The commercials were fun but not much else. I had pretty much run through my reading material.

The worse moments were when I was trying to get room service and no one spoke English. I had a minor meltdown and then snapped to my senses and realized that the few items I wanted were easy enough to order in Spanish.. I was saved having to do that by one of the lovely English speaking waiters calling me back to take my order. Monday night we had a nice dinner out with friends. By then crutches had been found and my knee was able to support some weight.

The trip home was a nightmare with the almost five hour bus ride to Cancun not being the worst of it. The stop in Fort Lauderdale for customs was horrid.. Get off the plane and walk a mile or so, go through a screening, then stand around waiting for luggage to come off the moving racks, drag luggage through another screening and then go walk another mile to the ticket counter to stand in line to re-check luggage and get a boarding pass for the flight home to Orlando. After getting the tickets we find out that we have about 15 minutes to board and we need to walk another mile or so, leave the terminal building and go to the next buiding. Luckily we spotted a wheel chair and Patrick pushed me while Wendell dragged our stuff.

We finally arrive at our gate to find that there is a delay in boarding and then after boarding another delay because they have no idea where the TSA has sent our luggage. It hadn't yet made it to the plane. Arriving in Orlando, our friend, Ricky, picked us up and only missed a few of the turns for our exit so it only took twice as long to finally get home.

Cats were not happy with me but the house was neat and tidy. Ami did a great job of feeding them and giving them attention. I will probably use her to catsit again. Lots more happening but will catch up next entry... Nice rainy day today... rain has been desperately needed. Tomorrow I will try to post a photo or two.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Off to Mexico!!

We are off to Mexico on Tuesday. This weekend I need to round up a travel wardrobe and pack. Lots of odd jobs to get done before hand. I'm looking forward to it. A friend's daughter will come by twice a day to feed the cats so that's taken care of .

The past few days have been fun. Dianne's Mother-in-law, Ann, is down for the winter with her hubby. He's a golfer so she has lots of time. Thursday we went to the Orlando Science Center to see The Body exhibit. It was fascinating. How awesome to be able to look inside the human body at every bone, muscle, organ, nerve, vessel and artery. The views of the arteries and blood vessels shown separately were unbelievable and very beautiful. They seemed to be a form of vegetation. The arteries were in a vivid red and the vessels in blue.

Then we went to the Orlando Museum of Art to see the Gee's Bend Quilt exhibit.. We didn't get there until 3 pm and didn't know that the museum closed at 4 pm so we barely got to see the all the quilts and didn't get to see the other exhibits. We will try to go again when I get back from Mexico.

Ann stays at Good Samaritan Village while she's here and they have free Tai Chi Chih classes on Mon., Weds, and Fri. so I started going. It's with a big screen tv and a vcr. There is an instructor but he's been gone this week so we followed along as best as possible with the help of one woman who's been doing it for awhile. It will take me awhile to get coordinated.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Birthdays & Old Age

Today is my 65th birthday and if I don't look in the mirror, I don't feel that old. I've started working out at the fitness center, swimming in the therapy pool, and eating better. Weight is coming off slowly and I need to keep focused on "Good Health". My goal is to be more fit so that I can travel and do more interesting things with however many years I have left in this old body.

This year's goal is also to spend less money on "stuff" and to unclutter by either selling "stuff" on eBay or giving it away on Freecycle I just started relisting books and other items on eBay and I always forget how much fun it is when I get bids on them. Packing & shipping is work but nice to see things leave the house and go to people who want or need them.

Tonight is a gathering at Massage Works to meet and talk with Elizabeth Palin, who is a psychic medium. I saw her once before and she is amazing. I was skeptical but now find her fascinating. I asked her about travel and she saw me taking two trips:a short one & one over water. In December I flew to New Jersey and next month friends and I are going back to the Yucatan. I'm curious as to what she'll say tonight.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Yikes! It's been awhile. Busy, Busy, Busy.

Some of the Book Boarders have been posting pictures from High School and one has a Jantzen Bathing Suit listed so I fished out this old picture of me at my aunt's summer bungalow in Lavalette, NJ. It was the summer of 1961 and our main goal in life was to get a great tan and meet cute boys on the boardwalk.

Great hair, NOT! And the Cat's Eye glasses were just so chic at the time. I do miss that body, though..

Amazing how time changes so much. This past year my goal was to reach 65 so I would be eligible for Medicare and not have to pay the sky-high health insurance premiums. This year's goal is to loose weight, get healthier, travel more, pare down all the belongings for a move in 3 years to Mexico, and to not pass up any opportunities for anything that looks like fun or an adventure.