Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gregg came home early today.

Gregg has a cold and when he called earlier he said that he could do his work, sneeze his head off and make everyone around him sick or come home, do his work and sneeze his head off in peace and comfort, sort of. He is lying down on the sofa with his laptop, doing his work and sneezing his head off. And bless him, I am trying to provide comfort while keeping my distance, just a little. When I knew he was coming down with this thing I did make his favorite lime jello. And so while keepin my distance, just a little, I am providing comfort. When he saw that wobbly and delectable dessert in the fridge, his face broke into a big smile. Doesn't take much to make us happy in this house and with Gregg, Lime Jello will do it every time.

A Touch of Nostalgia.

I was leafing through some old photo albums and found this one of Gregg carrying Brad, who in 1983 was four years' old. We were living in Monterey, California and Gregg was attending the Navy PostGraduate School. During breaks from studying and inbetween going to classes, you would find us at the beach in Carmel. I took this photo when we were making our way back to the car after one such trip.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

More Goats

A Field of Goats near The Plains, Virginia

There wasn't a lot of traffic around today and it made for a fun ride. On the main street of Middleburg there is a sign half way down that points towards The Plains. I was here a few weeks ago when a friend was visiting from Florida, and several of us met up at a small restaurant in The Plains. The ride was beautiful and as Gregg and I could not remember doing this before, that is the road we decided to travel. A few miles down we came across a field of goats. A perfect place to stop for a photo session and a nice safe parking spot in the gateway. There were babies frolicking. It made for a cute scene.

Canada Goose on top of Macy's Roof

I am badly in need of a pair of shoes. Every pair that I have right now causes pain, so on Saturday Kathy told me that Easy Spirit had moved back into the mall and as I know these people carry wide fittings, Gregg said we should go there first before we started out on our Sunday ride. I picked four pair that I liked, on every pair the right shoe fitted great but the left one was still too tight. That's when I spotted the slippers that look like a little ballerina pump. I bought them and that's what I will be changing into once I get to work on Tuesday and to hang if anyone asks me "Why on earth are you wearing your slippers?"
And now for the glorious Canada Goose. Okay, some people don't like them and think they are pests, but personally I love them. They are another bird that makes me laugh with their 'attitude'. Yes but they make such a mess I hear them say. Good grief you know who makes a worse mess? People, people! You only have to look at the garbage left behind at traffic lights and that's just the tip of the iceburg. When it comes to that kind of mess give me a Canada Goose any day, they are feisty and their antics make me laugh.
When I spotted this one on the top of Macy's Roof I had to take a picture, like I take a picture of any Canada Goose I come across.

A Touch of Frost

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back
in the middle of March.
Robert Frost
Two Tramps in Mud Time

If you've got an itch, scratch it!

It is hard to tell but this longhorn had an itch on its back that its left horn was doing a very good job of scratching. The sight made me chuckle. Back and forth, back and forth. Okay, now for the next astounding announcement, City Girl says, "Okay, this is obviously a lady cow, I didn't know lady cows had horns." No groaning please. I had a fencepost in the way again and this time I didn't like the look of it so I cropped the photo.

Longhorns in Virginia

Gregg and I went on one of our Sunday rides. Foot still swollen and not up to walking too far, so when we came across a field of longhorn cattle I took this photo from the car window. Probably a good idea, not sure how these cattle react to going up to the fence and those horns have a pretty long reach. City girl talking here!!!!

Friday, April 25, 2008


Yesterday I was in my kitchen for several hours. I was unable to go into work this week because of my sprain, but I promised that I would make my weekly batch of soup, quiches, chicken salad and shortbread. Gregg - being the wonderful guy that he is - offered to take everything in for me this morning. I told him he is one in a million.

The day passed quickly but my foot was pretty sore by the time I put the last dish away. I guess I won’t be walking on my treadmill for a few more days, or going to any of the parks we enjoy. This time of the year they are calling to us. We both like getting out on the weekend, sometimes to places we haven’t seen before and other times we go to favorite spots discovered long ago and where we never get tired of retracing our steps.

Considering I haven’t been out of the house all week I don’t think I have been bored once. There was always something to do to keep me occupied. I am looking forward to going to the opera with my friends tomorrow. I told them that I am able to walk short distances. From the car to the theatre seat, from the theatre seat to the car and from the car to the restaurant should be no problem. Gregg will drop me off and as the restaurant everyone likes is only ten minutes away from home, he will pick me up.

We are seeing Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment. The opera isn’t a live performance in that we see real people on our local stage, rather a live performance being filmed from the Met. We see them on a movie screen just like a movie, not quite the same as seeing them in the flesh but still an enjoyable experience. At intermissions singers and stage directors are interviewed. We go once a month and this is the fifth time.

For any opera lovers out there YouTube has an excerpt here

Broccoli and Cheese Soup Recipe with Photo

This is a tried-and-true family favorite, and a recipe that goes on the menu at work where it is generally well received. I have had the recipe for quite a while and am sorry I don't know where it came from originally. 

As you can see I had a little time on my hands when I fixed lunch today, and as I was taking the photo I wanted to dress up my soup a little. Usually I add a sprig of parsley in the middle to add a touch of color for presentation, but I didn't have any today. I got the idea of using some tiny cookie cutters I have in my cupboard. They are made by Wilton and go under Alphabet/Number Cut-Outs. I picked them up on my last trip to Michaels, a large craft store here in the US. 

I used my favorite bread - Milton's Healthy Multi-Grain - toasted a whole slice first and then cut out the shapes afterwards, popping them on top of the soup after heating. 

This might be a great way to encourage kids to eat their broccoli, just a thought big kids too. I occasionally tried to hide nutritious, not necessarily popular food for my family, a trick most of us moms resort to at one point or another, but didn't have to do that too often as they pretty much enjoy everything. Here is the recipe:

1 large head of broccoli, cut up

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cook the broccoli in a small amount of water. Saute chopped onions in butter until transparent. 

Stir in flour. 

Add milk slowly and stirring constantly. 

Stir in cheese and blend until smooth. 

Slowly blend chicken broth into mixture. 

Add broccoli. 

Stir to mix well and season to taste. 

At this point I put the soup into a blender and whirl until smooth but this isn't necessary. It just means that the soup will have larger pieces of broccoli. Simmer about 15 minutes.

If you are watching calories you can use non-fat milk and low-fat cheese.  I use whole milk when I am cooking for the tea room, but always use 2% milk at home, and it is still very good.

Stanley Douglas Haig Goodall as a baby.

Dad's baby photo is in a frame on the mantel in our family room.

And again at 21 years of age.

The photo was taken on his 21st birthday, which would have been on the 15th November, 1937.

Dad's School Soccer Team

He is in the middle front row, holding the soccer ball.

Dad and his school cricket team, 1929.

Front row on the left.

More of Dad's old photos.

Sharing more old photos of my Dad's side of the family. The only people I recognize is my Dad, his parents. Dad is the young boy on the left. Nanny is holding the dog and behind her is Nandad. The other young boy might be Dad's cousin Leonard but I can't be sure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Conversation between Gregg and Brad this morning.

Gregg: "Hi son, how's things goin'?"

Brad: "Good Dad, how are you?"

Gregg: "Great thanks, what are you doing now?"

Brad: "Drinking a milkshake on the way to the gym. Figured I'd work it off.....aghhhhhhh", followed by a great deal of chuntering and a few expletives."

Dad: "What happened?"

Brad: "The bottom of the cup fell out and my milkshake is in my lap!"

Dad: "Oh! Well, after you clean yourself up get yourself another milkshake and have a great day."

Gregg hangs up and tells Denise all this when he gets home.

Denise thinks: That's why you don't talk on the ruddy phone when you're driving and drinking a milkshake! Well, I am the mother and that's what mother's do. Don't care how old our kids get, we'll always be there to remind them that safety comes first, it's their curse. Coming over soon Brad? Yes I am smiling! I hope you are too because your mother loves you and won't say any more because I know you are going to be reading your mother's ramblings before you get here. Of course talks cheap, safety comes first? Didn't 'Alice' just put her foot down a rabbit hole while she was too busy taking photos of cars and not looking where she was stepping?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Pugilists - an old family photo taken in 1936/37.

My sister and brother-in-law sent me an old photo today, of Dad with fellow pugilists. Dad was an avid sportsman and in his lifetime was a soccer player, a boxer and a cricketer. He is second from the left and he has identified everyone on the back of the photo. I remember that handwriting well. Thanks Dad! And thanks Bev and Noel for giving me such a treasured gift.

It's Earth Day!

A friend sent me these graphics so I thought I would post them. Says it all doesn't it? But I am a hopist, I hope we'll get it right one day.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A few postcards.

I enjoy sending postcards to family and friends. It is something I have done ever since I was a little girl. When I travel I never fail to take a list of names and addresses safely packed away in my bag. I also love collecting postcards. Gregg travels on business every now and again and he never fails to bring me back a few, usually from the airport when he is waiting to board. Just like looking at other people's photographs, looking at my postcards is like armchair traveling, only instead of a suitcase in my hands I have a cup of tea. When we do travel I tend to buy lots of them, never forgetting to put one aside for my collection. You never know if one those 600 photos you took might not turn out, perish the thought. Yes I go overboard with photos and postcards. I thank the person who invented the digital camera. Whoever you are bless you a thousand-fold.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A photo of Brad while at work.

Just got this from Brad. It was taken while he was talking to Lisa. No wonder he is smiling. Thanks for the photo Brad and give my love to Lisa.

I won't be going anywhere today!

Darn that gopher/rabbit hole, whatever it was. My ankle is swollen and I have tingling in my toes. Off to the doctor's in the morning to get it x-rayed. That is the plan anyhow because Gregg is going to drive me first thing before he goes to work. If it feels better tomorrow I might get out of going. I have heard people talk about the white-coat syndrome. My blood pressure goes through the roof when I walk through the doors. Nothing has changed since I was a little girl when I had a run-in with a dog bite and ended up with toxemia poisoning. I was nine so note what a long memory I have for these things. I do have a long memory, a blessing for me and a curse for Gregg - yes I am joking..........sort of and Gregg is wearing that all-knowing smile of his. I keep telling him it is a girl-thing. I have cancelled out on a party he and I were going to this afternoon. My good friend Carol invited us over tonight along with a few other friends, but there's no way I can attend. I called her to let her know. She said she would work for me on Tuesday, bless her.

We saw Brad this morning. When he has to go into work on a weekend we sometimes meet up at a restaurant near his apartment. Gregg explained about my foot and asked him to come over and he would cook breakfast for him. While he was here I called my sister Bev so that they could have a talk. He also chatted with his cousin Hanna. I had a chat with my brother-in-law Noel. He told me what happened to him yesterday. He said he was driving along at about 45-50 km when he noticed movement next to the passenger side window. It was a hawk flying at the same speed, carrying something in his talons, and said he had probably just taken off after capturing its prey. Can you imagine driving along and having that happen to you? That doesn't happen too often.

Big Meadows, Skyline Drive, Virginia

Gregg and I make our way to Big Meadows at least two or three times a year. It is a lovely drive which takes about an hour-and-fifteen minutes from home, roughly 80 miles. There is a large deer population but last time it was too late in the day, there were none to be found and we didn’t have time to wait until the evening. Deer or no deer, it is well worth the trip as you get a great walk and the scenery is beautiful. Today we were in luck and before our hike was over we had counted 20, coming across the first three in a thicket of trees. We always stay our recommended 25 feet away so as not to crowd them, but often if you find a nice flat rock to sit on, they will come even closer on their way to their next munch of tasty grass. Big Meadows Lodge is nearby and we stayed there for a weekend a couple of years’ ago, and intend to go back in a few weeks when the fawns arrive. We have talked to people who have seen bear. That is an experience we have never had, one day hopefully. You can read more here at Wikipedia:

Man and bike on the road

On our road trip we came across a man and his favorite toy - as noted on his license plate.

Gregg, the look-out.

Gregg on look-out duty!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Deer at Big Meadows.

Big Meadows, along Skyline Drive

If you look closely behind Gregg, you will see a shape in the thicket, the first sign that we were going to go home with at least one photograph showing the local wildlife.


Denise taking picture of a deer....

Gregg enjoys taking pictures of me taking pictures of deer.....