Spring and Warm Weather – Friday February 27, 2009

 We’ve had a couple of days with lovely spring weather. Somehow it managed to escape my notice that the azaleas are blooming. Maybe because there are no bushes in our neighborhood. The “tulip” trees, or Japanese Magnolias are about finished. Every year I am determined to get some pictures of them but then I forget until it’s too late. There aren’t very many trees around so I guess I’ll have to bang on someone’s door and see if they’ll let me in their yard.

One of the types of trees here have red seeds that show up in early spring. The look real pretty in the evening sun. And yesterday we had beautiful fluffy white clouds in a blue, blue sky. So I took my camera on a walk over lunch break.

sunny day 1

sunny day 2

sunny day 4

In the early evening sun:

sunny day 5    

sunny day 3

We also have a few things planted in our garden now … some things that require cool weather, which will be a thing of the past before long.

garden 3

The broccoli plants several weeks ago:

garden 4

garden 6

garden 1

garden 2

garden 5

garden 7

We also have cauliflower, spring onions and potatoes planted. Can’t wait to have some yummy goodness from the garden.  


And for very random addition, here is a scene looking out my office door at work, a scene I see fairly frequently:

sunny day 6

sunny day 7

That depot is in desperate need of repair. They gutted it several months ago. The city officials have been in it again this past week. According to the paper, it will soon be remodeled for the chamber of commerce. It had beautiful blue doors on it that I used for pictures a time or two. Hopefully it will have some character again when it’s finished. Just maybe we’ll get to do the remodel. We could supervise it from our desks.

Hope you have a great weekend! When I have a chance to edit the photos, I tell what I was doing last weekend.


Think Pink – Wednesday February 18, 2009

Sunday we had a baby shower for Gina, who is expecting her first girl after 4 active boys. They’re the kind of boys that people say are “all boy.” Come to think of it, have you every heard a parent (or anyone else) say a boy is “part boy”? I think not. I’ll let you draw your own conclusion to that. You probably would anyway.

No, I’m not grouchy. Just feeling catty. Whatever that means.

So as I was saying, we threw a shower for Gina. Wait, how do you throw a shower, anyway?? Okay, okay. On with the details.

There was lots of pink around: in the decor, in the food, in the gifts. We are all happy Stan and Gina are having a girl. Tickled pink, actually. Ha Ha

[Somebody slap me!]

We played several games, one included some name suggestions for their baby girl. Each person was supposed to write 2 names on small pieces of paper – one they liked, one they didn’t. We mixed the names up and everyone pulled two back out of the basket to create a first and last name. It was interesting hearing the combinations. We should have written them down. There were some real doozies! Including Elizabeth Elizabeth. One person pulled two slips with the same name. There were other mentionables and unmentionables: Mia, Matilda, Bertha, Agatha, Hannah and the list goes on. It’s probably good we didn’t know which names were the liked and which were the disliked. Wouldn’t want any feelings getting hurt.

It got me to thinking about names and how a parent should probably make sure their child is not given a cruel name, one that will incur much teasing and harassment. There are a few such names around. I found a website that lists names and meanings. It also lists the top 10, top 100, top whatever names of US-born babies from the late 1800s to 2007.

Since old names have become more popular in the last number of years, I decided to see if they’re was a trend. Here is what I found for the last 120 years, picking every ten years.



Emily Isabella Emma Ava Madison Sophia Olivia Abigail Hannah Elizabeth

Jacob Michael Ethan Joshua Daniel Christopher Anthony William Matthew Andrew



Emily Jessica Ashley Sarah Hannah Samantha Taylor Alexis Elizabeth Madison

Michael Jacob Matthew Christopher Joshua Nicholas Brandon Andrew Austin Tyler



Jessica Ashley Amanda Jennifer Sarah Stephanie Brittany Nicole Heather Elizabeth

Michael Christopher Matthew Joshua David Andrew Daniel James Justin Robert



Jennifer Melissa Amy Jessica Heather Angela Michelle Kimberly Amanda Kelly

Michael Jason Christopher David James Robert John Brian Matthew Joseph



Lisa Kimberly Michelle Mary Susan Karen Angela Tammy Melissa Jennifer

Michael David James John Robert William Mark Richard Christopher Brian



Lisa Kimberly Michelle Mary Susan Karen Angela Tammy Melissa Jennifer

Michael James David Robert John William Mark Richard Thomas Steven



Linda Mary Patricia Barbara Sandra Carol Nancy Susan Sharon Donna

James Robert John William Richard David Michael Thomas Charles Larry



Mary Barbara Patricia Shirley Betty Carol Nancy Dorothy Joan Margaret

Robert James John William Richard Charles Donald David Thomas George



Mary Dorothy Betty Helen Margaret Ruth Doris Virginia Shirley Barbara

Robert John James William Charles Richard George Donald Joseph Edward



Mary Helen Dorothy Margaret Ruth Mildred Anna Elizabeth Frances Virginia

John William James Robert Joseph George Charles Edward Frank Thomas



Mary Helen Margaret Anna Ruth Dorothy Elizabeth Mildred Alice Marie

John William James George Robert Charles Joseph Frank Edward Henry



Mary Anna Helen Margaret Ruth Elizabeth Florence Ethel Marie Emma

John William James George Robert Charles Joseph Frank Edward Henry



Mary Anna Elizabeth Emma Margaret Minnie Bertha Clara Florence Ida

John William James George Charles Frank Joseph Henry Thomas Edward


From 1947 on, Michael was in the top 10, with five times in first place. So, if your name is Michael, you should feel very special. Or not. I can’t tell for sure. If you ask me, the girl names are way trendier than the boys. I wonder why? When we were young, we thought names like Patricia and Priscilla were THE BOMB.

Mary made it in the top 10 nine times and was first place 6 out of those 9 times. Then in the 70s we Marys fell out of grace and the names moved on to totally different names. Looking at that list, don’t you feel the subtle shift in names after the 70s? Must’ve been some decade.

Just a few pictures so you aren’t completely bored with this whole name thing.

the mother-to-be

a little lamb stealthily creeping up on the veggies and dip – sheep are vegetarians, you know.

interested guests watching the MTB ….

blindfolded, pulling baby items out of a bag and identifying them


the beautiful cake Andrea  made and decorated

something tells me there is more cake decorating in her future

strawberry lemonade made by yours truly served in Charity’s lovely crystal urn

last but not least the gifts


Of course, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know by now that “a few pictures on Marylou’s site” is an oxymoron.

Adios mi amigos y amigas!

Dreams – Tuesday February 17, 2009

or are they nightmares?

I’ve always had strange and funny and scary dreams, several recent ones being no exception. Most do not make sense at all and there are times I wished my imagination was not quite so vivid.

I really don’t know what sparked the “oil in my land” dream. Maybe the roses came from all the Valentine decor seen everywhere. Who knows?

Last week one night I had a bad dream about a lot of people being on this platform built onto the side of a very very high cliff (I have a mild case of acrophobia, although it’s worse in dreams than real life). Everyone is okay until this little blimp (dirigible) comes around with several people hanging out the side talking to us. Suddenly the one man on the blimp falls out and drops to his death. Several people who are also on the platform with me, including the brother-in-law of one of my friends, rush to help and accidently go over the side as well. Two babies fall to their death as well. [What in the world are we doing up there in the first place if it’s that dangerous???] We are sobbing in horror and disbelief. Some men bring the bodies up from the bottom and walk across this platform. The bodies are on stretchers. My friend’s husband walks across to look at them and I freak out, knowing he has no idea his brother is one who had lost his life.

About that time I jerk awake, my heart beating wildly. After laying there a bit I drifted off to sleep only to continue the dream. This time I made myself wake up all the way ’cause I had had enough of that dream.

A few nights later I had a dream about a dictator suddenly taking over the country where I lived (don’t know if it was the USA or not). It was not a pleasant experience and had very strange happenings. I really can’t even put them into words because it would make no sense whatsoever.

Last night I had dream where I got very mad. It is really very funny, actually.  I was trying to take a picture of a choir who had come though here to give a program. The problems were: 1. there were 300 people in the choir. 2. they were on a hill, I was down in at the bottom of the hill. 3. i couldn’t seem to get my camera settings/tripod position right.

They were mostly arranged, but then there were several guys in the front who were blocking everyone from my disadvantage point of being downhill from them. I got them to move. Worked on getting my tripod as high as it would go and realized I needed a chair to stand on to get high enough. By this time the lighting had really changed and when I looked up, the whole group was moving to a different spot on the hill so they wouldn’t have to look in the sun. I have no idea how much time had passed. Dreams are timeless, you know. But that frustrated me because I had to start all over with my setup. So I ordered (!) them to get back into the original spot. I played around with my camera and tripod some more and when I looked up, all 300 were gone. They had probably assumed that I had managed to get some shots somewhere along the line. I was ticked off! I had been working on it for what felt like hours, now they had walked off and I didn’t have a single photo to work with [can’t you just feel the frustration?]. I woke up with a start and almost laughed with relief that it was just a dream. Instead of 300 people thinking I was an total idiot, I got off scot-free.

Any suggestions for reducing ridiculous dreams?


Ode to (southern) Winter – Monday February 16, 2009

Your grass is brown
your trees are bare
your days are short
and it’s not fair –
We have no snow
we have no ice
I guess that last part
is kind of nice.

Some days you’re cold
some days you’re hot
and every day
we know not
how to dress
and what to wear
I guess that’s all
up in the air.

One day we roast
the next we freeze
one week we’re barefoot
the next we sneeze.
And when you’re cold
would you please kill off
the gnats that bug us
and make life rough.

God’s plan for you
in being this way
was probably to make
spring a better day.
When grass is green
and life springs new –
try not get jealous
and be blue.




If you’re like me you go in spurts with what you like to cook. In the summer I eat lots of salads. More recently it was soup, especially since the temps have gotten really cold, even for GA. Yesterday I was very hungry for stir-fry. So I thought I’d share with the way I make stir-fry.

First get the marinade ready. It is better to season the chicken several hours ahead of time for the meat to be more flavorful but since I picked up the meat on my way home from work, I didn’t have time to do that.

I put a little olive oil and a little veggie oil into a bowl. Then I minced some garlic. I know I’ve said it before but I feel the need to remind you that I love (!) fresh garlic. So I added 2 cloves to the oil.

There is my beloved mincer in the background.

Since my stir-fry is usually down the Asian line, I add fresh ginger. You can find that in the produce aisles, kind of a knobby brown root.

I cut away the brown exterior.

I use my handy-dandy Pampered Chef chopper to mince it to bits. This is probably the equivalent of 1 tablespoon. You can use ground ginger but I think the fresh is much better.

I added some salt and a pepper blend season salt to it yet. If you want to be bad, add a little Accent. Back before we knew MSG was wicked, we liberally added it to our stir-fry.

Now that the marinade is ready, I cut the chicken tenders into small pieces.


Mix it all together and set it to the side.

If raw meat makes you squeamish, ignore this picture.

Now it’s time to start on the veggies. These are the veggies I chose to use.


Yup. That is one lonely jalapeno in there. I don’t usually add that but decided it would be good add a little kick to it. I rarely buy fresh mushrooms since they have so little food value for as much as they cost. But we love them so I decided to splurge a little.

Next get the skillet going. We have this nice big iron skillet that is well seasoned so it requires little oil for frying. I added a little veggie oil and then some sesame seed oil. This oil is quite strongly flavored so I use it very sparingly, maybe a teaspoon or two.


Cut up the crunchiest veggies first since they take the longest to cook. As you can tell here, I’m not exactly a celery lover but it does add a nice flavor. I’m not like my dad who likes his Thanksgiving dressing made with half of it being celery.


Set aside until oil is ready. Next get busy on the onions and cauliflower. It is Very Important to keep the whites sperate from the colors. Not really.


Pampered Chef said their egg slicer could be used for mushrooms and they were right. These sliced in nice even slices beautifully, something they wouldn’t be if I cut them with a knife.


By now the oil should be ready so throw them into the oil and add some salt. “Some salt” would be a relative term but I’ll say this much, you can always add more later but you can’t take it back out.  Yeah, I know. Me and my “recipes.” The word recipe must be a relative term as well!!


Cook ’em on the high side of medium, nice and sizzly.

Next get started on the yellow squash. Don’t know if you fine folks north of the mason dixon line have access to these babies or not. I found some really nice small ones at our locally-owned and growned veggie and fruit store.


The broccoli gets chopped up too. Hmmmmm. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. And if you’re like me, you work space may begin to look a little like this. Sloppy cooker indeed!


So take a swig of sweet tea, honey, and wipe off that sweat from your brow; we’re about finished.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, stir the frying veggies every minute or so. It’s called Stir Frying. Get it? Stir-fry? Ha ha! *clears throat*

Sorry about that. I briefly forgot I had an audience.

The carrots and celery should be partially cooked by now so throw in the chicken, stirring it frequently.


I briefly interrupt the cooking session to bring you this important product. These frozen egg rolls are a delicious addition to the stir-fry supper. If I was having egg rolls for a number of people, I would make them from scratch. But for a few people these work great. Plus they’re cheaper than carry-out egg rolls. I would feel kind of badly about heating the oven to 425 for only a few egg rolls but since it’s so cold, I can count that as heat for the house as well.

Get them going in the oven already!


When the chicken is half-pink, half-white, add the “whites” to the mix. Add a little more salt.


Trying to do the Pioneer Woman action stirring shot. It’s harder than it looks. Guess I need a tripod.


Add the squash and mushroom. Yes, keep stirring it! If you didn’t want to keep stirring you should have made hot dogs instead.

Add the finely chopped jalapeno.


After a few minutes add the broccoli. By this time I have it on high to finish it by steam/frying.


That little chef sitting my stove looks quite pleased with himself. Can’t help but think he was hoping for something Italian, though.

The finished product. The veggies should all have a slight crunch to them.


Serve them on a bed of rice or noodles. We love rice at our house. I think we could it once a day. Add soy sauce if you wish, or more seasonings if it’s not spicy enough for you.

Over and out.