Thursday, April 9, 2015

Herbs for tea, writing articles and Cherries Jubilee

Here is a photo I took of herbs I grew to make tea with, and a tea set on our patio.
I think it is peppermint on the left, chocolate mint in the center and lemon verbena on the right. I didn't have any ideas of what to post so looked through my photos and found this one.
I've been busy with writing these past few days and sent three article queries to parenting magazines. Now I wait to see if they want the articles.
I hope your Easter celebrations were enjoyed. At Easter at our house we even had Cherries Jubilee for dessert, where the fun touch is you add a tiny bit of brandy or rum, and light it with a match so pretty blue flames appear. I had never had that before and I loved the flames. Quite dramatic.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Have a Blessed Easter

Amaryllis and daffodils on our table today.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

I like to think of a love that big. He loves us. He loves you.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Victorian era, Trollope and Finch

Anthony Trollope's book "The Warden" is a joy to read. The kindly Rev. Harding lives according to what his faith and his conscience lead him to do, which puts him in great difficulty.
This book was written in Victorian times and published in 1855. The Victorian era is during the reign of Queen Victoria, from June 20, 1837 to January 1, 1901. I bought all six novels by Trollope in "The Chronicles of Barsetshire" series, and the second book "Barchester Towers" is even more compelling. I am reading it now and cheering on Rev. Harding and his devoted daughter, Eleanor, as they face a world of complex forces for change and against change and power struggles in the rural church community.

I am also reading a new novel "The September Society" by Charles Finch, with Charles Lenox as the Victorian era gentleman sleuth and a possible love interest for him, Lady Jane. The first book in this charming series is "A Beautiful Blue Death", written in 2007. There are many nice features in this series including Lenox's close friendship with his butler, and Lenox usually saying yes to any heartfelt request, especially for solving a mystery, or finding employment for someone down on his or her luck.
I bought the 6 book Trollope series for 99 cents on Kindle, such a bargain. I immediately began reading the second book after finishing "The Warden." "The September Society" is set in 1866 so both Trollope and Finch are writing about England in the same time period.
I admire both authors and their writing and recommend these books.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our new fence after ivy is removed part 2

Here is our new redwood fence along the alley. Now the ten foot tall and eight foot wide ivy is gone.
Above is the space where the old tottering falling down fence was, and with the ivy gone. That took heavy machinery to remove.
Above is the beginning of building our new fence.
Above to the right is the heavy duty hand made gate. The contractor built it on our patio and I saw him build it.
We are happy to have this much progress.
Now we need to consider what to do with our huge back yard, to have a new sliding glass patio door installed, and to have some sort of shade for part of the patio. Perhaps a canvas awning over the patio doors and a table with an umbrella, or a roof of some kind that will extend over half the patio.
Step one and a big one is the fence is installed, hurray.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our fence and gigantic ivy disappeared Part 1

Is our gigantic ancient English ivy taking over the universe?
Yes, friends. Our long wooden fence and the ivy covering it have disappeared. Our home had English ivy covering the fence when we moved in. No, we did not plant it as English ivy is considered invasive for good reason. The ivy has gone crazy in growth, reaching ten feet high and eight feet wide. This photo shows me standing near the fence along the alley, in our yard. Or possibly me in the Amazon jungle. You decide.
The reason we decided to have the ivy removed is that 1. It is taking over the yard, and possibly the universe. 2. It is almost closing off the alley which impacts other people and the old wooden fence it is growing on is collapsing from age and the weight of the ivy.
This view is taken from the sidewalk in front of our house, and shows how the ivy is threatening to completely block the alley which is on the right in the photo, and how the ivy extends about four or five feet in to the alley with about three feet available for people to walk in.
You can not drive through the alley because there are gigantic city owned trees growing in the alley in the area of our back fence. But people occasionally walk through it.
Stay tuned for my next post showing the area after ivy removal and fence removal, and soon our new fence. Sad to say, you can never completely remove this tenacious ivy. The contractor who removed it says it will grow sprouts which will need to be dealt with. They brought it a special machine to gouge out the thick trunks and roots near the surface, and ripped out the top few inches of soil and ivy in an eight foot wide area. Any tips on preventing regrowth gladly accepted and desperately needed.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rotary phones and party lines

Who remembers in the 1950s and 1960s when families in the USA had rotary dial phones? And I do mean "one rotary phone" as in one phone per household. Yes, those phones have a dial that rotates rather than the push buttons. In those early days each family typically had one phone.
When I was a child our phone number had only four digits, like 8379.
Now typical numbers have seven digits plus three digit area code for a total of ten numbers.
Those four digits were quick and easy to dial, even on a slower rotary dial phone.
Since I am talking phones here for fun I include this photo of what looks like the top of one of the classic British red phone booths. I have read that they are disappearing which is a sad story indeed.

As I recall when we first got a telephone we had a party line. That meant that whoever shared your line and was talking on the phone controlled the phone until they would hang up. So you would wait a few minutes and pick up the receiver again, hoping they were done.
It could be pretty annoying if your line sharer was a chatty Cathy type. If "chatter box" was on the line when I picked up the phone receiver I could hear her conversation.
A snoopy gal could listen in which of course is totally rude! Usually you could tell if a party line person was listening to your chat.

For those bloggers who have only known cell phones and their convenience and privacy, rotary phones on land lines are the way it used to be. Of course, there really is no cell phone privacy as the government monitors our calls and knows where we are as our cell phones ping continually, to stay connected. When turned off but the battery still in them, they continue to ping, even more, as the phone struggles to connect. Kim Komando has an excellent email newsletter which I subscribe to, which discusses all things tech, including this issue.
The ping tells the phone company and the government which cell phone tower we are near. This is true even when our cell phone is turned off.
I was going to just write about the old rotary phones but then I realize the shortcomings of cell phones so had to add that in.
One aspect of our family having one phone that was anchored to the wall was that you could not go in another room with the phone for privacy. When a call arrived for me, my mom, dad or sis would announce something along the lines of "Terra, call for you from Sandy". Or sometimes "a call for you, it is a boy!" Imagine trying to chat in those conditions! Teens today can have all sorts of private calls. Is that good or bad? Who can say? Change is ever with us, that is for sure.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Visit to wharf with friends in February

I enjoyed a sunny day on the wharf today (February 13, 2015) with temperature of 75 degrees F, and 4 friends and I had lunch at a seafood restaurant. After lunch we walked on the wharf and here is what we saw.
Sea lions floating and napping in the sun.
A restaurant with flags flying, at the end of the wharf. We did not eat at this restaurant but it is very festive.
Wei, Peggy, Terry and me after our meal. That is me in blue.

Wei, Terry, Peggy and Cynthia. We do laugh a lot. This world is a funny place sometimes and we like to celebrate that.