Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Squirrel and a Bird.

Yesterday I took a photograph of this little guy, and asked him nicely if he would please leave some seed for the birds. He very kindly listened to me because this morning......when I looked outside I saw several birds but they all flew off when I moved the curtain. I did take a few shots. Unfortunately they were all blurry except this one.

Color me happy that I got at least one reasonably decent shot of this little House Finch. It is rainy here in Northern Virginia and cold, 39 deg. F. It could be colder I suppose but I am happy I am inside wrapped up in Mrs. Brown's blanket, coffee on the end table and blogging away to my heart's content.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I will always be grateful to the creator of TODAY'S FLOWERS - Luiz Santilli Jr. - and also to Santilli and Denise BC who now manage this superb meme. You can find other flowers from everywhere imaginable, and also join in by showing your own when you click on the icon above.
Still on the Thanksgiving theme of my posts, these flowers were bought for the nice people who invited us to spend Thanksgiving Day with them, our future daughter-in-law's parents. Her mother received the flowers and her father a bottle of wine. I didn't think they would mind if I took photos of them before we left the house. They seemed to be begging for me to get my camera out of its bag.

Friday, November 28, 2008

One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake

I am trying to use most of the ingredients in my cupboards and freezer before we leave on our holiday. I have some Campbell’s Soups and I have forgotten when I bought them, No they haven't been in there for a decade but long enough for me to get the old recipe file out to see what soup recipes I can find. I came up with this one and it is pretty simple and quite tasty. Hubs gave it the thumbs up and I was happy he enjoyed it. I did too. On top of that he has discovered after all these years that he enjoys Brussels Sprouts. I always have but whenever I have tried them on hubs he has been less than enthusiastic. I think the fact that I added a little butter was a big plus. I bought fresh sprouts on my last grocery run and served them tonight as the side dish, with a dab of butter of course.

One Dish Chicken and Rice Bake

1 can (10-3/4 oz.) Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a 2-quart shallow baking dish mix soup, water, rice, paprika and pepper. Place chicken on rice mixture. Sprinkle with additional paprika and pepper. Cover. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 minutes or until done.

Serves 4

Opinion with added notes: We both enjoyed dinner tonight and we have left-over’s for another meal to eat during the weekend. I had a much larger casserole dish than suggested in the recipe and as I didn’t want it all to dry out during cooking, I doubled up on everything except the chicken breasts. I used the one can of Cream of Mushroom called for and added one can of Cream of Celery. To the rice mixture I also added dehydrated chopped onions thanks to Celia who added them to her Fried Cornbread a little while ago, garlic powder and to finish off before putting it in the oven I sprinkled the chicken with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt and Pepper, along with the Paprika, and also a little more garlic powder. One of those meals that most of us have come across before, and a definite keeper for a fast, no fuss dinner.

Dancing Seagull

Everything in the universe has rhythm.
Everything dances.
~Maya Angelou~

One Day After Thanksgiving

The squirrels are still kings of the castle on our back deck and apart from one brave Blue Jay who swooped down to take a kernel of corn up into a tree, I haven't seen any other birds yet. This photo of a Male Cardinal was taken a few years back. I have decided to set up my camera for any other potential candidates of the feathered kind. I am living in hope that the squirrels will fill their tummies and get out of Dodge, at least for a little while! Don't get me wrong, I still love the sweet darlings but I am anxious to see what winter birds will stop by. Yes I know, I could be waiting a long time but I always live in hope.

We had a great day over at Lisa's house. For those of you who don't know yet, she is our son's fiance and her parents asked us to spend the day with them. I didn't take any photos but Son-One-And-Only is his mother's child and took many. I will share a few later on when I get them.

Thanksgiving Gatherers: Lisa's Mom and Dad, Lisa, her older brother and his wife and their two adorable toddlers, her younger brother and his girlfriend, Gregg, Brad and me. The meal was delicious, turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, wonderful gravy, yams and apples with that yummy marshmallow topping, roasted green beans with pine nuts, pickled cucumbers that Lisa had brined with hot peppers from her uncle's garden, brought back from their last trip to Minnesota to join the cast of characters on the Thanksgiving Table. I think I may have missed a few things but most definitely not the Pumpkin Pie Lisa's sister-in-law had made from scratch. She described that the hardest part was breaking open the pumpkin. I told her all her hard work had paid off as her pie was delicious and a fitting end to a superb meal. We spent a few hours afterward chatting and getting to know one another a little more, enjoying each other's conversation. It was fun watching the children play, they were so good and a delightful part of the day. Hours passed quickly when we realized that it was time to go home. And that's how we spent our Thanksgiving.

I hope all your Thanksgivings were special ones. One of my favorite things to do on Friday is to check out all the photographs of those participating in SkyWatch Friday. One such person was the host of Body Soul and Spirit. You can find her blog here. After enjoying SWF photos I read of a story about another post at Mountain Musings which you can find here. I wanted to share it with you as it really does show what this very special day is all about.

SkyWatch Friday

I look forward to Fridays for so many reasons. One of them is that I know it is time for SkyWatch Friday. SWF was originally Dot’s idea and is now managed by The Sky Watch Team of Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise. My thanks to all of you.

If you would like to join in and post your own photos, or just want to look at incredible sky pictures from all over the world, please visit their site by clicking on icon above.

Birds on a wire seen on Sudley Road in Manassas, Virginia.

This is a small shopping strip that I pass by on my way to work.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Squirrel Thanksgiving

Well, I think by now you are realizing that I am positively dotty over squirrels. I just adore them. Yesterday when we were out shopping we bought bird seed and dried cobs of corn. The birds haven't gotten a look-in yet. I was hoping - silly me - that with the corn on the deck, the squirrels would leave the birdfeed alone. I was in denial of course.

On top of all those photos I took this one minute video.

Okay guys, it's time for the birds now, and it's time for us to start getting ready to go over to Lisa's house.

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there celebrating today, and to those who aren't, have an equally wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Gregg and I have been invited over to our son's future in-laws tomorrow, so no spending hours in the kitchen. Whatever you are doing, whether you are celebrating this holiday or not, thank you for the gift of love and friendship. You have made me truly blessed and I have so much to be thankful for.


The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway
Thanksgiving comes again!

~Author Unknown~

How Dog Got His Cold, Wet Nose

This is dedicated to my little four-legged neighbor across the street, with his cold, wet nose often pressed against the glass door, who always barks a welcome when I return home from a trip be it long or short.
How the Dog Got a Cold, Wet Nose

When a man named Noah started building a boat in the middle of the desert, everybody laughed. They thought he was daft. But Noah wasn't listening to them, he was listening to the God of the Hebrews, who said to build a boat.

So Noah built a boat. Noah called his boat an ark. When he finished it, he rounded up all the animals, two by two, to travel on his ark. People laughed at Noah's opossums and panthers and penguins. They laughed at his cheetahs and chinchillas, giraffes and gazelles, and rhinoceroses and hippopatamuses. Into the ark went all the animals, two by two.

Pretty soon, it started to rain. It rained, and it poured, and it rained some more. People stopped laughing and the ark started floating. Noah and his family and all the animals, two by two, rode safely on the waters.They sailed for 40 days and 40 nights. When the rains stopped, out of the ark came Noah and his family and all of the animals, two by two. Except one.

No one could find the little dog. Noah searched everywhere. He looked on the first deck. He looked on the second deck, then the third deck. Finally, in the farthest corner in the lowest deck, he found the little dog. The dog was shivering and standing with his nose pressed hard against the side of the boat."Come here, little dog!" called Noah. "It's time to come out! Here, doggie, doggie!"

The little dog wouldn't move. Noah gently pulled him away. "What's this?" said Noah. "A hole in the ark! The ark might have sunk! Little dog! You kept us safe - me, my family, and all of the animals, two by two! With your little nose!"

The little dog was proud. But mostly, he was hungry. "Little dog," said Noah, as he pulled out a juicy bone, "so all the world and all the generations will know your great deed, your nose will always be cold and wet, just as it is today."

That's how the dog got his cold, wet nose. When you feel it, remember the little dog who used his nose to protect Noah, his family, and all of the animals, two by two.

~Author Unknown~

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Watery Wednesday

You can find other 'watery' photos by clicking on the icon below. Thank you 2sweetnsaxy of Eyes Mind Heart for hosting Watery Wednesday.

I found this graceful Great Blue Heron on my last trip to Florida. This wading bird is the largest North American Heron, with a head-to-tail length of 36-55 inches (91-140 cm), a wingspan of 66-79 inches (167-201 cm), and a weight of 4.4-8 lbs. (2-3.6 kg).

Deer at Big Meadow

Memories of another springtime, and a trip up to Big Meadow in the Shenandoah's. We were walking along the Appalachian Trail for a couple of miles when I sensed that we were not alone. I looked up and there he was, an awesome sight, staring at me as I stared at him. He waited long enough for me to get off a couple of shots and then meandered away. It was a special moment. Another special moment was when we walked down to the Meadow and came across a doe and her fawn. What can I say? No words needed here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trip to the dentist today.

Yes, I went to the dentist today. I am not going to tell you how long it has been since my last appointment, let’s just say it’s been a while and I was way overdue.

My appointment was at 2.00 p.m. and I didn’t walk out the door until 4.15 p.m. It went as well as can be expected, a new dentist, new dental-hygienist, new receptionist. No recriminations but lots of talking on the hygienist’s part, she did her job well. The dentist had a warm smile and gentle manner. He patted my arm and put me at my ease. I think the word got out, we've got a live one here. But I will be returning in six months and I am giving myself the gift of regular check-ups from now on.

For the story of why it took me so long to get back into the dental chair we will have to go into another chapter from the distant past, not so distant really but distant enough. In the old days I had the greatest dentist I have ever had in my life, an older gentleman who looked after me for several years, the kind of loving grandfatherly-type that you would love to have for a grandfather. To even walk in his waiting room was a joy. Bright, pretty wallpaper, beautiful prints of jungle animals in vibrant colors, and two very large fish tanks filled with tropical fish. I was a kid in a candy store. I had never been in a waiting room like it, and time stood still before being called, being mesmerized by all that surrounded me. I didn't need those magazines to read.

It was a sad day for me when he told me that he was retiring and that the man who had just joined his team was in actual fact taking over his practice. I had met him and my first impression was that he was a bit on the cold side, his 'ora' was frigid. No warm smile of greeting, cold eyes and a hard handshake. I don’t mind a good strong handshake but smile at me when you give it, and don’t crush my bones into dust with the force of it. I was happy for my dentist who was retiring but inside I was thinking oh boy, the good old days are over and done with and I had that kind of sinking feeling.

My dentist retired and the day came for my next check-up with the new guy. Yes I do know it is hard to be the 'new guy' on the block, but when I walked into the waiting room what a shock I had. Floor to ceiling Polaroid’s of before and after photographs, ‘before’ photos of hideous closeups of the most sorry-looking, gaping, open-mouths full of nasty looking teeth, next to the ‘after’ photos of pearly whites. The new receptionist must have seen the stunned look on my face and said that it was good to see the before and after pictures. I looked at her and said, "You're kidding me right? Do we really need floor to ceiling poloroids on one whole wall?" Good grief! Where were my jungle prints, where where my wonderfully relaxing tank of tropical babies? They had even taken off the wallpaper and painted one of those "you're not here to have fun" paint jobs. I sat in my chair as stiff as a board waiting for my appointment, dreading it but it went okay considering the white knuckles that I thought had long gone were now back and were gripping the arms of the chair in a vice.

Jump ahead six months and I was down south with hubby and son celebrating Thanksgiving with the rest of the family. I was having a problem as I had pain under a crown, a dull pain at first but slowly becoming a throbbing jackhammer. We tried to find a dentist but couldn’t. I ended up going to the ER and the doctor gave me pain-killers. In the meantime my face swelled up like a balloon and the medicine made me sleep all the way through the rest of my stay.

We headed north after the holiday and I don’t remember much of the trip. Hubs called my dentist immediately but he was told she has an appointment on Friday (it was Monday), she’s on pain-killers, should be okay until she comes in. I slept a lot the remainder of the week until I found myself staring at that wall again, except now I wasn’t in any shape to think too much about the horror show. The dentist took one look at my tooth and said, “You know, I’m real sorry, I didn’t realize it was this bad. I got you confused with another English patient. I’m afraid you’re going to have to lose your tooth.” I was in too sorry a state to reach up and slap him. I’m not a violent person but that’s how I felt.

The next hour was an horrendous removal of the offending tooth which was obviously fighting to stay put. For whatever reason I wasn’t given enough anesthetic and I still felt pain when he tried to remove it. He said calmly, “Oh, does that still hurt?” I think my eyes answered because I had my mouth too full of wadding to give him speech. I must have the longest roots in Christendom because he said, "You have the longest roots in Christendom" and he had one heck of a time removing that tooth. If I had felt like laughing I might have let out a chuckle or two at the contortions he got into to yank the blasted thing out. He had quite a work out and so did his assistant.

Eventually it was over and I got out of the chair as fast as I was able. Next door was the reception area and as I was writing out my check to pay for my fun time in the chair, I heard my dentist say to his assistant, “Well she was a tough old bird!” and then I heard them both laugh. If I hadn’t gone through what I had just gone through and was so wanting to get out of there, I might have gone back in and clunked their heads together - more violent thoughts - told them to make sure that the 'wrong English patient' had left the building before opening their big mouths, or to at least shut the door so that I couldn't hear their boorish remarks.

So, I haven’t been back to the dentist until yesterday and I owe it to my friend Hazel who heard my sorry tale of woe and said, “You’re going to my dentist my girl, I’ll call him up and I’ll go with you the first time.” That was two weeks ago, and the night before I got a phone call to go into work because a friend was sick. I called Hazel and said, “Hazel, I can’t go tomorrow, sorry but I have to go into work”, secretly relieved at this twist of fate that would keep me from the dreaded tooth-pullers. She would have none of it, “You can’t break your appointment! You call them back and tell them you’re going to be late.” “Yes, Mommy!” said I and I did as I was told. That was for my consultation and I went back today for x-rays, cleaning and general check-up. Two things I remember the hygienest saying - wait for it - "You have very long roots!" and "You've got a small mouth!" Wish Gregg could have heard that last one. My blood pressure was a little high but it always goes up for these things and I wasn’t worried about that but I will get it checked out next time to be on the safe side.

Hazel called me tonight to ask me how it went. I told her that she was going to need her sunglasses the next time she saw me, that my teeth were so pearly white she was going to have to shade her eyes. And that other dentist from Thanksgiving past? Go in peace, I forgive you, you nincompoop. Well maybe just a little but I am very 'thankful' that I don't have to go back to see you again. I have a pretty long memory don’t you know, my short term is pretty bad but that long term, it's a kicker.

My talkative little Grackle was taken on the rail of the back deck at home.