Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Wishes Across the Pond

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite people – my friend, Alison.  Alison is a native of Great Britain and the County of Kent.  I met British CultureAlison at least 12 years ago when I commented on a forum post of hers.  I loved her wit and being a true Anglophile I loved sharing the common interest in Eastenders which was being shown daily on BBC America.
We’ve stayed friends via email, regular mail and with our visits to London.  She and her boyfriend, Dom, have even hosted our son on a visit after he graduated from high school. 
Readers – enjoy some iconic images to celebrate my favorite Brit. Some photos are linked to stories and/or travel guides to London.

Alison – Have a fantastic birthday!
British Museum - Shakespeare: Staging the World  

A traditional British Cornish pasty

Monday, September 24, 2012

The View from There

PhotoAs I told you a few weeks ago, my son got a last minute offer to teach school in Washington State.  He left within a week of the offer and has been teaching for a couple of weeks now.  When I talked to him by text the other day (new technology, huh?) I asked him how it was going.  He told me that he goes into work an hour before classes start so he can prepare for the day and that he loves his job.  He also apparently loves his rental home, because he posts a photo like this on his Facebook almost every night – the view from his couch in his living room.
Everyday I think how happy I am for him. And how I am jealous of my 24 year old. I changed roles at work several weeks ago – no promotion, no raise – just a different role that was supposed to be handling reporting and analytics and responsibility for one location.  However, instead of just that, as a result of the arrival of a baby, co-worker having surgery and a couple of vacations, I have conveniently been assigned not only my new assignment but taking on the responsibilities of all of these individuals.  I’m salary so once again I’m working for free as I’ve been putting in tons of overtime.  I went into work once this week at 5:00 a.m. – not because I wanted to like my son does at his job – but because there was absolutely no way I was going to get everything done by my Friday deadline unless I spent extra time at the office.
I tell you this not to gain sympathy, but to encourage us all that somewhere out there is our joy, a job that we would enjoy getting up for each morning and not mind going to earlier than necessary.  And that it is possible to have that dream view of the world from where we are sitting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ahoy Matey!

September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  So go ahead and lift your tankard and visit these sites to celebrate.  See the offer from Krispy Kreme if you are game for free donut(s). Pirates of the Caribbean
Apparently there is even an official website for the day and they are celebrating the 10 year anniversary.

For that donut offer see the link below and as always it may be worth a call to ensure that your location is a participating location.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pasta con Broccoli

2012-09-07_17-45-34_195 The following recipe has been adapted from a recipe that my son brought home from Home Economics or Food and Consumer Science as it is called today. I made both of my kids take this in high school so that when they were on their own in college I wouldn’t have to worry about them starving. Our daughter was home this weekend to take her GRE so she can start applying for internships and graduate school. When I asked what she wanted for dinner on Friday night she said, “Pasta con Broccoli would be good.” As I stated we have adapted this recipe over the years for what we like and we typically double it for a family of four with leftovers for lunch for a couple of us. This is a very tomato saucy and cheesy recipe versus the soupy, milky kind you will find from the national chains. Pasta Con Broccoli (and again I will typically double the recipe below) 8 oz. medium shell noodles 1 tea. garlic salt (you can substitute garlic powder) 1 can sliced mushrooms 2 cups half and half ½ 15 oz can of tomato sauce ½ cup parmesan cheese (we used the green sprinkle can brand) 4 Tbl. margarine 1 cup cut broccoli (frozen) (I typically will add almost the whole bag for bulk) Salt and pepper to taste 1. Cook noodles until mostly done, strain, – al dente or firmer as the noodles will continue to cook when added to the rest of the ingredients. 2. Place half and half, margarine, garlic salt, tomato sauce and broccoli to the pasta pot and add the pasta back in. Bring to a hard boil. 3. When noodles are cooked to your preference, typically just a minute or two into the hard boil stage, add mushrooms and stir. 4. Remove from the heat and add parmesan cheese. 5. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Ready to serve.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Charleston Final Thoughts

I highlighted our hotel, the French Quarter Inn and Bocci’s Italian Restaurant, in previous posts, but I wanted to highlight a few other things with our trip to Charleston. We made most of our moves by foot. However, there was a free trolley that operated down in the historic district, but we found the timetable never had the trolley cars in the area we were in at the right time and it was easier just to walk. We did take a tour of the bay area by just riding the water taxi round-trip. We had thought about getting off at the Charleston Harbour Resort, but once we were there it didn’t look that exciting and the crew told us it was a mile from the resort to anything on Mt. Pleasant to eat other than the restaurant at the resort.  The taxi stopped at Patriot’s Point where there is an aircraft carrier you can tour, but since we’d just toured Midway in San Diego we decided to skip this as well.  On our afternoon trip on the taxi we enjoyed the bay, but we did not see any dolphins. Thinking that we couldn’t travel to the East Coast without having seafood we tried out two different restaurants in our budget. I’m not a huge seafood eater so we didn’t go to Hank’s Seafood which appeared to be a much more upscale eatery. Instead we had lunch one day at A.W. Shucks where the food was edible, but nothing to write home about. This place reminded me of Joe’s Crab Shack. Another afternoon we tried out Hyman’s Seafood ttp:// This place had ads on all of the tourism guides for a free crab dip appetishrimp and gritszer and we’d walked by it several times. On our last afternoon, we decided to stop in here and give it a try. The free crab dip was very disappointing. I tried the Carolina Shrimp and Grits. I ordered an appetizer portion as I wasn’t very hungry. Carolina style comes with a parmesan cheese sauce on the grits. It was basically something I felt that I should try since I’d read so much about shrimp and grits being a southern specialty. While it was somewhat tasty, I cannot say that I would rush out to get it again.
That last night we had the wine and cheese at the hotel and decided to forget about dinner and head to Kaminsky’s,, a wine and dessert bar.  Here the husband ordered a Cappuccino Float 20120805_201215and I ordered a Berry Cobbler which was a large dessert served in a French Onion-type soup crock. I was only able to finish part of this and took the rest back to our room for a late night snack. 20120805_201251
We ended our trip in Charleston the next morning.  We were sorry to leave this lovely area, but happy to be getting home.  At the time, we didn’t realize how much the rest would get us ready for the busy next few weeks with our son and his sudden move for his job.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

This American holiday started as more than just a day off work or as an extended weekend to get shopping deals.  The holiday was created to celebrate workers contributions to the health, prosperity and success of our nation.  To read more about the history of this, please check out the Department of Labor’s website here:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

All By Myself

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity at our house. As I posted previously, our son received a job offer to teach high school ceramics in Washington State. I didn’t do much but try to stay out of his way while he packed his essentials. On Saturday afternoon my husband and son packed the car and left early Sunday morning for the 30 hour drive across the country. They arrived safely and will begin settling our son in to his new cottage by the sea. I didn’t make the journey because I would only take up space in the car that was packed full with things the boy would need to survive for the next year. Instead, I’ve been doing something I haven’t done in over 26 years, sleeping in my own bed alone. With my job, I travel overnights occasionally and I’ve traveled with my mom and sister away from my husband, but he has never been away from home for more than a couple of days and I always had the children to keep me company. So with my daughter at school and the husband traveling with my son I have been relaxing. No need to ask anyone what they might like to eat, I just fix what I want. No need to get out of my pajamas on Sunday or no reason not to put them on when I get home from work. I’ve been watching old British TV dramas and some reality T.V. shows. I think I could get very used to this. Last night our cable provider lost service for a couple of hours. Since they provide our internet service as well, I went upstairs to my bedroom and curled up in the oversized chair next to the bed and, I read for several hours before going to bed. The house was so quiet with no distractions or feeling like I should be sitting with the husband talking and/or watching Cardinal baseball. When was the last time you had the house all to yourself for an extended time? What did you do to take advantage of being “single”?