Late bloomer.

I planted a 2-gallon sized Pride of Barbados shrub yesterday.   It’s a bit late in the season, but I’m hoping that planting it now will give it a good month or so to acclimate to its new home before the cold weather hits.  That should make for a good winter’s nap before spring.  We’ll see.  If this one doesn’t pan out, Monte’s starting a few from seed.

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Birdies above. 

At home I am feeling the absence of the little birdies and squirrels lately.  They started making themselves scarce about the same time a hawk was spotted swooping around the trees in our yard.   Hopefully this won’t last long. 

In the mean time, I was thrilled to see a flock of 20 or more Monk Parakeets flying around the Lamar & 51st street area as we headed home from dinner tonight.  We stalked them for a while but didn’t get a great shot. 

This is a picture of them near one of their nests.   I count 16 or so in this shot.  Kind of reminds me of a musical scale with the birds as the notes. 

Subterranean Jazz. 

I met some girlfriends downtown last night to listen to a band at The Elephant Room –  Kris Kimura’s Wasabi Grande Big, big band.  Now, that’s a big band!

Low-light shot of the back of the room. 

Garbage-pail pasta before & after.

Garbage-pail pasta is a quick dinner dish that I throw together using whatever is in the fridge.   Last night’s version featured:

  • leftover chicken breast meat from the day before – diced (8-10 ounces)
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp each of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces of dry bowtie pasta, cooked before it is added to sauce
  • 1 cup of half & half
  • 2 cups of baby spinach – coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces of grated parmesan cheese

Pre-cook pasta in salted water.   Save the pasta water to use it to thin the cream sauce later, if needed.

I use a 4-5 quart saute pan/pot to make the sauce, so that it is big enough to hold both the sauce and the cooked pasta when it is added later.

Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat, until soft.   Add in the pre-cooked chicken, salt & pepper, and stir for another few minutes til chicken is warm.  Add flour and stir, to coat meat and veggies (this will help thicken the cream sauce later).

Add half & half and stir until sauce begins to thicken.   Add small amounts of pasta water if sauce gets too thick.  Stir in parmesan and spinach, for a minute or two.  Then turn off heat under sauce.  Add drained, cooked pasta to the sauce and stir.

Before:

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And after:

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Not bad.  This dish would easily serve 4.  Next time, I’d add more mushrooms.

A day in the life of the sky.

We spent Saturday & Sunday nights on the lake this past weekend with Marty & Sue.   As I looked back over the photos I took, I was captivated by the different colors in the sky from shot to shot.  These are several from a 24 hour period, Saturday evening to Sunday evening.

Saturday sunset:

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Crescent moon and Venus in Saturday’s twilight:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunrise on Sunday:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thunder-boomer building Sunday night:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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And the crescent moon again, Sunday night:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Life is good.

Covering (my little corner of) the Earth!

We chose Sherwin-Williams paint when we renovated our home.  I can’t believe a decade has flown by since we repainted every wall, ceiling, door and piece of wood trim in the house.

Well, in the midst of the 100+ degree mid-August heat wave, our large AC/heat pump failed.  It was 22 years old, so…. it wasn’t unexpected.   We decided to replace the system.  After the HVAC guys were done with the work, the wall alongside the closet containing the new air handling unit was pretty badly dinged and marked up.

So I popped in to our local Sherwin-Williams and asked for a quart of the wall color we used.  They still can blend up any of the original colors we used.   But, the sales guy said they have changed their line of latex paint and their color/tinting system in the ten years since we bought the original color.    So, he wasn’t sure if it would match for touching up spots in the existing ten year old paint job.

Well, it matched perfectly!  Thanks SW!  I’ll keep coming back.

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Wandering sun.

I spent this weekend on the lake with some girlfriends on Nirvana.  In the cove that we anchored in, there is a lovely view of both the sunset and the sunrise.

Saturday’s sunset from the stern:

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And Sunday morning’s sunrise glow from the v-berth hatch.IMG_1065

Towering.

I booked a couple of tickets to tour the University of Texas Tower tonight.  It has been, thankfully, a rainy weekend, so I didn’t get the pre-sunset view that I was hoping for, but I enjoyed the tour and the 360 degree views of the city.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A panoramic view from the observation deck, located below the clockface, looking south.IMG_0975

Fore!

Monte introduced me to golf.   He started me off with my first golf clubs.   He chose a nice ladies’ club line with custom fitting from Golfsmith, the Snake Eyes Viper LS with graphite shafts, and suggested I only get a few to start and add the rest over time, as I improved.   So, I started with an 8 iron, pitching wedge and putter, which was enough to get me out on the course to learn the game and how to swing.  After a few years, I added a 6 iron, for a little more distance, and a sand wedge, for those darn sand traps.  A few years later, I added a 5 wood.  I can now say that I enjoy golf, and love the clubs I have.  But, when I went back to Golfsmith a couple of years ago to add my next club, I was very disappointed to hear that they had discontinued their line of custom made club heads/shafts!   Since then, I’ve just kept playing with my incomplete set.

Now that I’m retired, though, I’m ready to take my golf game a tad more seriously; i.e., golf more than once or twice a year, and fill out my set of clubs.   I didn’t really want to dump a grand on a completely unknown new set, brand, fit, flex and performance.   But with my Snake Eyes discontinued, I thought I was out of options.   On a whim,  I decided to check out eBay, and am so glad I did.   I found lightly used clubs identical to mine from various sellers and was able to fill out my set!   The sellers were very responsive via email to give me measurements so I could see if the length would be right.  I’m still waiting for the 7W/4I hybrid to arrive, but the rest of them were delivered yesterday.   I trotted out to the driving range today to try them out.   After emptying a big bucket of balls, I was thrilled that I could hit them as solid as my existing clubs.   I’m certainly not ready for the pro tour, but I am excited that I now have a set of clubs to play with that will help me take my game to the next level.  Woot woot!

Thanks eBay!

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Lemony goodness.

During our visit to Seattle, my niece made ice cream sandwiches for dessert.   They were delicious, so I had to try making them when we returned home.

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If you like lemon, and you like ice cream, you must try these.

Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches (makes 4)

4 or 5 scoops of vanilla ice cream – we used Bluebell Homemade Vanilla, of course
1 Tbsp Dickinson’s lemon curd – or more, to taste
8 belgian butter cookies

Put all ice cream scoops together in a single bowl.  Add lemon curd and stir well.  I used a stiff spatula to blend.  Do this relatively quickly, before ice cream gets too soft.  Place 4 cookies on flat baking sheet.  Spread a scoop of the blended ice cream onto each cookie.   Lightly place another cookie on top of each.  Place in freezer for several hours.

 

 

 

Cheers, sweetie dahling!

Every August 4th I celebrate Champagne Day, because I once read on the interwebz that it was on this date in 1693 that French monk Dom Pérignon created the very first batch of the stuff.  Many thanks, Dom!

And, so, it is only fitting that we picked Champagne Day to see the new AbFab movie.

Cheers, Eddie & Pats!