Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to normal, whatever that is

Back in the routine again (ie walking to the beach first thing everyday) with my camera in tow. Today, hit the jackpot - a great river otter morning. I've seen them off & on but they are shy & very fast moving, so difficult to take photos with my compact camera. Finally got a couple of decent ones. They're so cute and squeak at each other while playing.

Last day of March. Amazing! We'll start our countdown now til we leave for Colorado the end of April. Can you tell we're anxious??

Finished book #23. If you're into quirkly Southern women and their goings on, you'll enjoy this. Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West. Thought it was good, not great, but fluff every once in awhile is fun.

Got kicked out of the house this morning for yet another of the interminable house showings. We've had close to 50 showings! Everyone seems to be looking for the BIG bargain, and we're not willing to do that. No illusions at this point - we'll keep it on the market until we leave and put it back on maybe next season. Unlike most areas, real estate goes dead, dead in the summer months.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Good time in old territory

Oooh, we are back from a great trip to D.C. area to see the girls & guys. It was great and for the first time we were able to stay at Heather & Jay's. Had a great dinner with everyone including daughter #3 Sara at Sonoma in D.C. It was so close to Heather's birthday that she got to choose and have an early birthday celebration. It was eclectic with great food, and most important, organic and green in nature. (Heather's BIG focus).

So shall I tell on myself (AGAIN) about pushing the auto shower cleaner in the shower thinking it was soap and the crazy middle of the night cat meowing outside our bedroom door, causing us to be bleary-eyed. Hmmm...turned out somehow one of Heather's cats had been shut IN our bedroom, naturally wanting out. Sorry Tigger!!

Great time was had even with some stupid rain. I got to see Heather's CSA farm and her community garden. It was such a hard winter and everyone is just now getting out and breathing in the big signs of spring everywhere. Okay- had to post Heather and the BOOTS. If you are going to have to walk through the muddy muck, do it in style!

Spring break is still in massive mode. We flew back with half the country's population it seemed. Mark's golf clubs have gone astray (he did get to play at our old club in Maryland) but should arrive on some later flight tonight.

Our makeshift dinner, courtesy of Mark (of course), had an interesting element thrown in. Has anyone had this happen? This is/was a Le Creuset pan that split apart with a little bit of heat for browning chicken before putting in the oven.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring has crept up around us

Running around in anticipation of our trip to D.C. area to see the girls & guys. Spring has sprung there happily, so I think everyone is much more peaceful with the insane winter gone. Interestingly, the Wild West still has it going on. Denver (which means Colorado Springs with my brother & parents) has gotten hammered today. The mountain ranges are so immense that a storm over one area doesn't mean it's everywhere. I don't think Star Mt got much of anything with this - weird. Speaking of, we cannot wait to get back- the plan is to go the end of April. It will still be gray but we'll be there for all the magic of the green budding up mid-May.

Finished book #22. About Grace by Anthony Doerr. He is a great writer and loved this as much as the first one of his I read. (see book list).

Had steak number #3. We didn't age this to 21 days, just 15, but it was great. How funny this sounds! However, we didn't discern any difference between the 7 days & this one. We will continue on in the spirit to try the 21 day, but so far - a week seems to make the huge taste difference. 7 days was amazingly different from 4... We have told lots of people and they seem to be on the program to try. Maybe we'll get a poll started...

Spring break still going strong here...the beach is only quiet when we walk in the morning.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fun in the Sun and blooming things

Wow, I've just realized how long it's been since I posted. We had a very busy week with company. Love to have everyone! Mark's brother Paul, wife Sherry, & the kids (Krissy, James, Katie) spent the last few days with us. The weather, as has been the case for months now, was a little iffy to start, but ended with a bang, so we ended up having a great beach day for the finale.

It resulted in sunburn for some (hurray Blue Ice) and bumps & bruises for the skimboard guy (James). I'd never seen one before, but it looked fun (for him, not for me).

Finished book #21 - a fun book a friend lent me. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. English (it just happens I swear) set in the 1950's, with a precocious 11 year old solving a murder. His second one of this series has just come out. Cudos to the publisher for the title - kind of sucks you in...

I'm very excited to report that the orchids I planted outside when we left Naples last June (I couldn't think what else to do with them) not only all survived (you've gotta love the tropics) but one is now blooming. It did not get tender loving care, so I'm amazed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trends and experiments

Naturally, after discussing the tomato plants and the lack of tomatoes, Mark found 3 have set. They were hidden deep in the middle of the plants, perhaps more protected from the unseasonable cold. A few people seem to think the crazy chilly nights are probably responsible for the non- setting.

We had mountains of rain for a day, but now the sun is shining and great weather predicted for the next week or so. It's a good thing - we have company coming. And masses of people are here for spring break. Nothing great about being stuck inside when on vacation!

Finished book #20. Love and Other Impossible Pursuits by Ayelet Waldman. It's been sitting here for quite awhile and I've seemed to pick other things around it. It's not my favorite of all time but enjoyable. She writes about being an inept stepmother to a young child living in Manhattan. Lots of New York living in it, something I've never experienced.

Success with the part one of the second dry aging beef experiment. This time we dry aged for a week. It was fantastic taste, noticeably different than the 4 day. Of course, chef Mark created a dish rivaling any we order in a steak house. He caramelized onions to serve on the steak with blue cheese crumbles. Yum!

Part 2 will be duly reported on. We are aging the other steak for 21 days (the butchers seem to stop after that) so it will be awhile yet...

We were out to dinner with friends last night the the asian AZN restaurant in Mercato center. Whoo, it was Sat night in full swing. We landed right in the middle of the happening area, people everywhere and stretch limos pulling up. Crazy but fun.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fish & Phones

Finished book #19 by an author that I love and have read everything she's ever written. Friday Nights by Joanna Trollope. Another female British author. Not sure why I have a "thing" about the British authors, could be since my much loved grandparents were from there...

So now here's a mystery. Mark planted tomato plants in our pot by the pool, as he did last year, and while they look extremely healthy and have lots of blooms, not one tomato has set. Mark shakes the bushes as he's read to help fertilize, but no nada, nothing is happening. What's up?

Saw Hurt Locker via Netflix the other night - the BIG winner. We liked it, but...the BEST movie - not in our opinion. Avatar was robbed! No worries since we are not part of the elite academy of judges.

Mark has not been fishing lately since the fish haven't seemed to be around after all the unseasonable cold. Snapped a photo down at the beach of a gentleman,who in fact, caught a trout while we walked by. I think Mark is getting fired up to go down and try again.

And New Phones! We got Sprint (why are we still being loyal - don't know) but anyway got the hero touch phone. Sooo much to learn - I was still on a flip you know!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Out & About

Shhh...the weather has turned Florida nice - maybe if I don't talk about it, it will stay! Since a lot of spring breaks are starting and families come down, it looks like very good timing. The beach was quiet (it's early when we walk) and was a decent shelling day. It's a mystery every day waiting for what the waves will spit up on the beach.

Good news on my phone. It's back working, seemingly with no issues after it's swan dive. Thanks for all the imput on what I should do to help fix it! And, yes, new phone purchases are still on the horizon, stay tuned...

We ran into, literally, a local 5k race benefiting MS yesterday on the way to the beach. Nice to see everybody out.

As we had an open house going on at our house today, we removed ourselves to go see It's Complicated at the new theater in Mercato - thought it was entertaining and laughed a lot. Still had a little time to kill before going back home so walked through an art festival conveniently going on in the same center. Lots of lookers, not much purchasing it appeared. (Kind of similiar to what's going on with our house!)

Lastly, we finally watched District 9, which I must admit had been sitting at the house since before the Olympics. The Olympics took precedence over anything else. Up for best picture tonight, although doubt it has a real chance. It is sci-fi, which we normally don't watch, but it was very compelling - you couldn't take your eyes off the action. Worth the rental...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tastings & swimming

Our weather will not stay warm, just keeps coming up with a day here & there in the normal range - a teaser. After my little homily about the beach, the very next morning had chilly temps and 35 mile an hr winds. Sand in the face is not quite as sublime...

Thought there was yet another baby ray that had been stranded on the beach til we flipped it over. Ha ha - a toy...

We went to a fun place yesterday, Naples Olive Oil Company. They import a ton of different olive oils along with various balsamic vinegars. We had a great salesman (yes, of course we bought some stuff) who led us through the tastings. My olive oil from my own (adopted for a year) tree in Italy, is almost gone; at least the lemon flavor we brought with us to Florida. (wonderful gift Heather & Tiffany!) We tasted a bunch before buying, walked out feeling as if I'd had a salad without the greens. The owner swears she lost 44lbs last year from taking 2 tbl of olive oil a day. Hmmm...

Finished book #18 Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout. Boy, struggled to get through this one. It turned dark & swirly, and I didn't find the characters all that believable. It had been highly rated - only 2 star for me...

Lastly, I've had a minor catastrophe. I dropped my cell phone in the pool. Flung myself fully clothed to grab it. Must have been a pretty funny sight, but noone was here but me. Yes indeed, one of the more idiotic things I've done recently. It lays sadly on a table in pieces drying. My phone was very old, subconsciously maybe I wanted a new one?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grilled to perfection

So glad I'm back on my regular walk to the beach routine. Love the white sand, the salty smell of the gulf, and the whoosh sound of the waves. None of that is in Colorado for sure.

Success with the dry aged beef! It had definitely changed texture and seemed denser after the 5 days spent in the frig. Mark grilled it last night and the steak was wonderful. Much more flavor than the traditional "wet aged". We plan to do this again, for a longer period of time. Thanks to info from a link that Heather provided (see comments on last post), it appears that you can do the 7 - 21 days in a home frig, as the commercial people do. Also, who knew, evidently there is a kit you can order (at some expense) that can be used at home. The blogger person didn't see any difference with the two methods, so we'll stick to the cheesecloth method.

Finished book #17, Roger Moore's autobiography; My Word is My Bond. Enjoyable and informative about the many years he's spent in the film industry. He had stories about every star you ever thought about, and had no problem making fun of himself and the "Bond" mystique. Time marches forward, he's 83, but still very active. Hope I can say the same...