Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Ahhhh, glamour camping.  Again. 

We arrived on Fire Island yesterday, a beautiful afternoon, 2 calm boat rides, running water in the house BUT no power.

Larry, our host, a very type A New Yorker was "annoyed".  We were so excited to have a gas grill, running water and a sweet beach house full of windows and vases of sunflowers you would have thought we had arrived at the Ritz.

Thanks to Marie I knew we could bake biscuits on the grill, after Connecticut we had learned to keep a pot of water hot for washing dishes, faces, and making coffee.

There was just enough hot water left in the system that we each got a shower and clean, clean hair.  This is the life folks.

The harbour has power so we are sitting in the shade, sipping iced lattes and using their WIFI. Heaven.

We are now off to buy a few bags of ice and a newspaper/  The Computer is almost out of power so I won't be able to visit you all today.  But tomorrow we'll recharge.  Literally and figuratively.

Until then, keep your car full of gas and your bathtubs filled with water.  You never know when a storm's a coming.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oh Pioneer!!

I want you to think of me as the new pioneer woman.

I'm writing this by candlelight on a borrowed iPad.

Gg is doing dishes with water heated on the stove and singing it's a hard knock life.

Though not as deadly, thank god, as advertised,the hurricane has left guilford, Connecticut,smack dab on the long island sound powerless.

The streets are filled with tree branches, yards and basements in the harbor are flooded with water and power lines are lying about like piles of spaghetti.

The Hai was out and about for most of the day taking incredible pictures and gg and I were cooking up a storm (so to speak)and feeding anyone who dropped by.

The lab dropped by often.

We have no idea when we will carry on with the rest of our so called vacation. We need to take two boats to get to our next bit of paradise and neither are running tomorrow.

With my luck the blue fish will be and I'll find myself on a fishing trip.

With your luck I'll figure out how to use the caps on this contraption and send out a more mannered report soon.

Think we'll get a movie out of this?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Countdown ......To Eternity

We arrived in Connecticut with the bare essentials:12 gallons of water and clean clothes. No candles were allowed. The Hai " hates" candles??? He has 3 of those " little things"??? ( I have just found out the little things are flashlights, solar powered, we don't need any " stupid batteries").

The Hai threw us in a car and we rushed out to get Hurricane necessities: 3 ga-huge lobsters, bottles of wine, butter lettuce, a baguette and for me, the new Elle Decor.

A half pound of melted garlic butter later we made survival plans.

These include a feast with the neighbors where we will grill everything that currently resides in both freezers.

I have just awoken and GG, The Hai and the Lab are gone.  I presume they are securing the boats and will return home with lattes and pastries. I believe cleaning out the gutters is on the list, and I'm thinking all these plants on the deck need to come indoors before they are flung indoors.

You will have to pardon my constant posting, but as the wind rises so does my anxiety level.

 The 5 year old in me wants to jump in the car and drive home to the imaginary safely of Virginia.  But the blogger in me insists we stay keeping the Hai company and reporting on the storm.

 The only situation I can control is the one on my keyboard.

Buckle up your seatbelts.  It's going to be a bumpy ride.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Slight Chance Of Rain

What's a girl to do?

Having left town moments before an earthquake hit, we now find ourselves caught between the devil, the deep blue sea and an impending hurricane.

Today at the beach the waves were high, the swimmers were brave (I was not among them) and the air was whipping our hats off our heads and our dresses above them.

With winds of up to 120 miles an hour expected here this weekend, we will flee to Connecticut tomorrow and wait out the storm before we board 2 boats and travel to Fire Island, New York.  If there still is a Fire Island left after Sunday.

GG and I have given serious thought as to what you all would advise us to do in these times of stress and then it came to us, as if in a dream:  Eat ice cream you would tell us. Jane, have a scoop of fresh peach ice cream.  And GG, how about a bowl fashioned out of a freshly made waffle, filled with peanut butter cup and oreo ice cream with hot fudge and peanut butter sauce.

There is talk New York City may be evacuated.  Our host and hostess will begin safety measures tomorrow, filling the bathtubs with water, buying a battery operated radio, laying in food and candles. 

May all of you on the East Coast stay safe and out of harms way. 

And for God's sake, have some ice cream.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let's Hear It For The Food

We hit the road early Sunday morning traveling against traffic.  Butterfly traffic, as they migrated south we headed north on 95. D.C. to Maryland, thru Delaware, the long journey on the New Jersey turnpike and then sitting in masses of traffic in New York waiting to go over the George Washington bridge. 

( First scent of home)

Finally Connecticut, home state of the Lab (and GG).
Thus began the eating. Freshly smoked salmon and creamy cheeses, local corn and ginornomous T-bone steaks on the grill.  An early morning stop for lattes and a bag brimming with pastries then onto The Hai's boat  for a ride around the Long Island Sound. We stopped for a lunch of lobster and scallop rolls, plates piled high with thin crispy onion rings and/or french fries and tangy coleslaw.

  While all this is delicious, remember: we are actually heading to beaches where we will be required to put on bathing suits. This will not be pretty. I am eating a piece (or two) of toasted cranberry and pecan bread as I write.

  The word from Virginia is that our house is still standing after the earthquake and our recently repaired ceiling is still that, repaired.  The cat was shaken not stirred.  And our cabinets remain bright white.  (GG thanks all of you for keeping me on the light and narrow road:)

Light and narrow as regards the paint color certainly not my waistline.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Decorating Advice Si Vous Plait

Before I put my kitchen back together, I have a question to ask all of you.
The ceiling has just been plastered (Ode To Joy playing in the background here) and the walls have been given a fresh coat of  creamy white. The louvered doors, that conceal the washer and dryer and the boiler respectively, along with the trim, are a glossy white.

As of 5:00pm today everything except the cabinets looks shiny and happy. This includes me.  The low grade depression that comes from living and cooking under a ruined ceiling has lifted.

The cabinets have always been a semi gloss white. Should we change it up?  Dare we paint the cabinets black?  The kitchen is on the west side of the house.  It has 2 windows, a limestone back splash and a creamy tile floor, the back splash and the floors create a yellow glow, hence the creamy white paint.

It's a cottage style kitchen. Until the great ceiling collapse of 2011 black and white box pleated valances hung trimly over the windows.  They might again if I can bring myself to drag out the dreaded iron.

Only we would have a mini construction
project going on a few days before vacation.
Actually that's not true, anyone of you would do it too:)

So tell me true.  What dare we do?

Black, white or blue?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Keeping It Simple

Not ten minutes after I hit publish on my last post another neighbor showed up at the door. Was word  out on the block I was giving thanks?

He was carrying a large bagful of cherry tomatoes from his CSA box. 

This answered the eternal question " What's for dinner".

Grabbing a bowl I finely chopped 3 cloves of GG's garlic, sliced about a cup of garden basil, halved many tomatoes, diced up several ounces of mozzarella cheese, added 1/2 cup of olive oil, ground black pepper and salt, I gave it all a stir, covered the bowl and let it sit and percolate for about 2 hours.

Then I cooked a pound of pasta, I used penne but any would do.  After tossing the warm pasta with the room temperature sauce and picking out a few cubes of melty mozzarella, I grated a shower of fresh Parmesan cheese over all and served.

And gave another thank you to the block.  Dinner in the hood, from the hood.  Nothing could be finer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Too Hip For This Strip

Four hours weeding gives you a lot of time to think ( and curse). And  to swat mosquitoes and find a vole under the dying Miss Kim lilac.  But I digress.

I was mostly thinking about our neighbors Ron and Donna.  They lived on the street long before we all came in the 90's.  Donna is in a wheel chair and Ron works a full time job and then comes home and takes care of Donna.  And of all of us.  While the rest of us plant our heirloom tomatoes and our striped eggplant, only to have them all end up with blossom stem rot, Ron plants his usual crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and watermelon.  Then he picks big bags full and delivers door to door.  Yesterday I gushingly asked him for the name of the fabulous tangerine tomato we have been dining on all week.  They both looked at me like I was mad and said it's low acid.  But what's it's name I asked again, low acid they told me pityingly Oh. Guess I'll never fine out the name of the fat yellow cucumber that tastes like it's already been pickled. 

(This may be our only yellow squash, let's hear it for the girls)

And they love the Lab.  She popped out her hip on Friday and has done a lot of resting and a very little 3 legged hopping since then.  Donna came over yesterday with a treat and some encouraging words for Nika.  Today she had a box of Frosty Treats and a card for her.

I don't know if they have a computer, but they have a police scanner.  Donna is our own neighborhood watch.  We don't discuss politics and I have never heard the word organic pass their lips.They are not one bit cool.  They are something better than cool, they are kind.

And we are very lucky to have them as friends and neighbors.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Easy Like A Sunday Morning

I awoke at 8:00am to grey skies and gentle rain.  That sentence hold two miracles, one that I slept in till 8:00, unheard of for this early riser and two, that it is raining gently.

Last night we were able to sleep with open windows and the ceiling fan whirling.  It was so sweet a sleep I can almost remember my dreams.

Seven more sleeps and we leave for the ocean.  First stop, Cape Cod with my friend Susan.  We only see each other a few times a year but instantly fall into constant chatter and/or comfortable silence. We'll be staying in the new house she and her husband have built in Falmouth.  GG and I are hoping for a lobster or two, afternoon naps and cooking in that sunny kitchen I've only seen in pictures. 

Next week Fire Island, NY with our friend Larry.  Here we know what to expect.  Miles of boardwalk, no cars, great music, lunches as honored as dinners.  Reading our way through piles of books (me) studying for the MCATS (GG), beach time with the lab who will chase seagulls and dash in and out of the ocean and many iced coffees.

Until then I'm going to enjoy every minute of today.  I'm nursing a summer cold, so I might have to be lazy and lay about reading, and indulge in a bit of a nap today too. Pregaming for vacation?

But if I had any energy and any peaches I'd do this today.  Instead I'll just enjoy the picture and the process. You will too.

Love the one you're with.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The List Of Lovely

I must be off quickly....spending too much morning time at the computer and not in the shower.  Oh when will they make a waterproof computer..

But for the very few gardeners or just lovers of flowers who might not read Wild Acre, I give you Belinda's List.

A grower of all that is fine and lovely and according to said list easy and indestructible.

Off to England with you then.  I'm off to shower.

You'll thank me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Whatch Doing?

Have I kept you in the GG loop?  Didn't think so. ( Hmm, keep it brief to hold attention).

May: Graduated with Bachelor In Science

June:  Started Medical Assistant Certificate program

July: Added Phlebotomy study to week.

August: Finished course. Started internship at Urgent Care Clinic

September: Take MCATS  for second time.

What does this mean in relationship to dinner parties?  We can now offer an EKG with dessert.  Or can take your blood pressure over appetizers.  We are a full service hospital(ity) house. 

What does this mean for the Lab and myself?  GG's work schedule for these 2 weeks runs 3:00 to 9:00 PM.  She gets home around 10:00.  This means the Lab lies about in a puddle of despair, letting the cat march over her on her constant travels in and out, in and out. The Lab is only able to rouse herself for DINNER or a TREAT or maybe a little WALK.  Then flings herself back down on the floor with a big sign of sadness, maybe boredom?

And me?  I come home from from work to a fully stocked refrigerator ( Tuesday) a mowed and edged lawn (Wednesday) and God only knows what tomorrow.( but I can't wait to see).

 The View From My Kitchen Window

I make some dinner, do a little watering, read a post or two and another book. I have read 3 since Monday.
Neighbors drop by with garden tomatoes or to borrow the lawnmower.  The weather has cooled off a bit and I can sit outside and read. All this is lovely and business as usual. But, and this is a big but, it's more fun with GG around. 

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Come Into My Garden...

If you can squeeze past the cat who has appointed herself door man, jump through the performing circus of squirrels on the front stoop, slap your way through the dawn mosquito patrol and beat down the bindweed, you might find a thing or two of beauty in the early morning garden.

Ignoring the ever present heat and humidity a brave iris has returned

The lime light hydrangeas glow against the dark leaves of the ornamental plum.

When people approach the house all eyes are drawn up to the mandevilla vine, totally missing the garden destruction that lies at their feet. Clever strategy this.

A volunteer petunia has set up house with the black jack sedum. We think it's just a summer romance but would not be adverse to committed relationship.

And most beautiful of them all, our first passion flower bloom. This shot taken on Sunday after the rain. Did I say rain?

So if you happen to drop by for a visit remember: in the garden eyes up and all around, in the house eyes down ( plaster ceiling in kitchen still not fixed).
Got it? Good.  Repeat, garden up, kitchen down.
xo jane

P.S. Sending our love and support to our friends in England.   We are saddened and horrified.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cupcakes And Aliens

 I woke up too early for a Sunday.  But the kitten ( and calling a 18 year old cat a kitten is like calling me a jeune fille) had poked her little head into the bedroom and was squawking at the top of her lungs to GO OUT NOW.

So up I got. And once I'm up, I'm up.

While the espresso was dripping I was reading, posts not a book.  As I traveled here and there my mood visibly improved.  I sat up straighter, my mouth curved upwards and my eyes woke up in appreciation.

So for those of you who might have woken up a little bit on the wrong side of the bed I give you yesterday's wedding.

The tallest,thinnest bride with miles of straight blonde hair.  A love for yellow and orange, the groom and her family and friends. Much of the work was done by them.  The table numbers all told stories pertinent to their life together.  When we arrived at the venue, the bowls of citrus were on the table waiting for us to drop in a posy of roses and dahlias and berries and a gerbera daisy or two.

There were of course cupcakes.  I watched GG struggle with her conscience wanting to taste just one.  But after much circling of the dessert table she walked away.  Sugar craving vs. peace of mind.  Tough battle.

So what have we learned here today?  A good post can stir even the most reluctant heart.  Even a confirmed non camper can be enchanting by glamping.

And, this is the most important, always leave an extra cupcake or two for your florist. You did it for Santa, now do it for us.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blinded By The Light

Tonight we wandered through the underbelly of the National Museum of Natural History.  We were delivering flowers for the opening of a new exhibit "Against all Odds: Rescue At The Chilean Mine". The museum will be displaying the rescue capsule, video footage and mementos from the miners.

Our passage was not nearly as harrowing.  However, 6 trips in 2 different freight elevators, maneuvering carts filled with towering arrangements through miles of tourists and lifting these heavy vessels onto buffet tables, was fraught with enough danger and suspense for my taste.

There was the ever present elephant standing guard in the rotunda and, for some reason, a strange, blinding yellow light above us. People were being herded out of the museum and servers were whirling in.  Gwen, tres chic in a black sheath and silvery stilettos, had organized every plate, table cloth, bottle of wine, bite of delicious food and of course the flowers. The guests numbered 630 and this was no easy task.  There were invitations, menus and programs to be printed and VIP's ego's to assuage. Our instructions were clear and simple: BIG and beautiful, with a few stems of green cymbidium orchids.

After last minute fiddling with the flowers, adding a leaf here and a stem of Hawaiian ginger there I turned my camera into the light and shot a few pictures.

This done we walked back through the paleozoic era and disappeared once again into the bowels of the museum accompanied by much clanging of the freight elevators gates.


Your bleary eyed reporter will now go tumble into bed.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Gardeners Lament

I had in mind a lament.  The sun is too strong, the heat is unceasing, the tomatoes won't set fruit, the cucumber is yellowed and frail.  You know the words and the tune. Unless you live in the UK, or on the west coast you probably sing the same song...

But then I started to make dinner.  I'm daring to boil water tonight because the overgrown basil plants are crying out to be made into pesto.  And, into the pesto sauce will go a few cloves of garlic from GG's spring planting.

Oh, and we'll make a salad out of the sun golds.  Apparently cherry tomatoes still grow for us which is amazing what with the Mojave moving in and all.

I suppose I should also mention the one cucumber waiting to be sliced and we picked our first black beauty zucchini today. We have 2 sugar baby watermelons fattening up on the fence, and two more on the vine. To top it all off, it looks like we might get a decent fall raspberry and fig crop. (remember the fig???)

So as always I say to you: Glass half full or what!?!