Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Just Past

I ended up working Christmas day. I'll be working again New Year's Eve. It's been the first time that I've had to work on Christmas. I managed a couple of days earlier in December to fly to Oklahoma and see my parents. Of course, my real joy in going back to Ponca is visiting the best burrito joint ever....Taco Stop! So now, may I present to you, my annual Christmas burrito!

Yet more tasty burrito action!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thanksgiving break

The past few weeks have been quite hectic. My little sister came to visit over Thanksgiving. We realized it as been 4 years since we last saw each other. The visit was brief but we had a great time. With all the holiday preparations, I haven't had much of a chance to do things around the house. Instead, I'll give you a picture of the glorious leaves that showed up on the tree in my front yard.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Pardon the Pause

A brief pause in posting there. My parents left wednesday after a two week in and out visit. They spent a good portion of their time in DC and South Carolina with visits here in between. It was great seeing them! Dad finally got to see the house. They both did a tremendous job of insulating and drywalling my garage. Now I will have a toasty warm car in the winter. Thanks so much to the both of you!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Tasty train food

Not a lot of time today, but wanted to show off an example of an excellent train picnic. Chocolate, beer, and a leberkase sandwich. Leberkase is a tasty blend of beef and pork that is usually sliced and served warm from streetside booths. Yummmm.

Monday, October 24, 2005

More craftiness

In a continuation of my wreath theme, I put this one together for the guest room. Up close, it has a dried, faded flower look that I like.
The guest room with the addition of the wreath. I hope to build a picket fence style headboard this winter after the garden is put to rest.
I recently found a book giving instructions on how to knit teddy bears. Here is my first attempt. The pen is there just to give you a size reference.
Here's a close up of his face. He's so cute! Handmade teddy bears may become my new standard baby gift.

Austrian photographs - not photographs of Austrians

This fountain was around the corner from our hotel in Salzburg. What a wonderful site to walk past every evening!

Fabulous summer palace and gardens in Salzburg.
The clock tower in Graz. The hour and minute hands are reversed.

Tasty Austrian breads in Graz.
For anyone who doesn't know him, C. is a certifiable coffee freak. Thus, the classic Viennese coffee house.

Friday, October 21, 2005

More pics of Rome

One of the great halls in the Vatican museum. Our necks were a bit sore after this museum visit.

The Romans weren't vain at all. This little sign was found in the Roman Forum basically declaring Rome the birthplace of civilized life.

The Mouth of Truth. Very cool....seen formerly in the movie "Roman Holiday. They think it may have once been a drain cover in the street. Rumor has it if you tell a lie with your hand in the mouth, the mouth will clamp down on your hand forever.

Monday, October 17, 2005

More roads to Rome

We took an overnight train to Rome. What a big, overwhelming city. There was so much to see and so much history on top of history. We went to a church that was built on top of another church and that was built on an ancient temple which was on top of a burial ground. Here are a few pictures to get you started.

We spent a good chunk of time walking to the top of one of Rome's seven hills. There were a lot of monasteries and cloisters up there. We found this cool building. Look below to see it.
Cool building, but what is that guy doing? Let's take a closer look, shall we?

A closeup of the door and its tiny little keyhole. C tells me this building is owned by the same group who went off on the Crusades a long, long time ago.

Peaking through the keyhole.
An awesome view of the Vatican (technically the dome on St. Peter's cathedral)
on the other side of that keyhole!

The Trevi Fountain. When I was here before, it was the end of February and there were no crowds. This time, even at the beginning of the shoulder season, this square was mobbed with tourists, cheesy vendors, and pickpockets. We managed to get close enough to throw our coins in...Thus guaranteeing our return in the future.

We looooove gelato! Braum's will always be first in my heart when I'm stateside, but real Italian gelato has it beat hands down. On the left is hazelnut and on the right is dark chocolate.

In the beginning...there was Paris

After a super long overnight flight to Paris, we decided to hang out for a day or so to get our bearings and walk off the jet lag. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and slightly cool. Here are a couple more photos in addition to the ones below.
A grotesque, not a gargoyle, on the side of Notre Dame. Gargoyles function as downspouts. Grotesques are purely decorative in a, err, grotesque manner.
The back side of Notre Dame with all of its flying buttresses

New Toy

As you probably know, on my recent Europe trip I ended up having major camera issues. First I broke my camera and then it was stolen on our Paris to Rome train. Today, I replaced it with a wonderful new piece of equipment. Check out the intial results below. I'm quite pleased with it
I like the contrast of the lavender flowers with the white leaves.
My lavender dahlias are doing fabulous now that the weather has cooled off a bit.
I've been feeling crafty lately and broke out the trusty glue gun. This wreath is the result.

Photos from the trip

C. was here this weekend and I was able to download photos from our trip. They are not organized and not edited, but I figure there are at least a couple of people chomping at the bit to see proof of our escapades.

I love the lighting in this picture. Our first evening in Paris was gorgeous and warm. We're looking south towards the Eiffel tower and the Left Bank. The other photo is detail from the tower itself.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Home at Last

We did return relatively unscathed last Saturday night after enduring French airport hell. My recommendation...If you can avoid any Paris airport, do! C had Monday off for the holiday, but I had to immediately go back to work. Hopefully, we'll get our pictures downloaded and sorted this weekend so I can post a few.

I have some gorgeous lavender asters and dahlias blooming right now. I would love to post pics but some heathen stole my (broken) camera off the train to Rome. I think that's an excellent excuse to get a new and improved device. Anyone have any favorites they can recommend?

As for our trip, I must say that Europe is much tastier when one can afford more than bread and oranges to eat whilst traveling. We had lots of fabulous Austrian food and I'm currently searching for a good cookbook so I can have an all out Austrian feast right here. Strangely enough, I already have a spaetzl maker so I'm good on that front. We had a very bizarre dining experience in Paris. La Cucaracha was highly recommended by the guidebook...Nevertheless, we should have been more wary of Mexican food in France. My beef burrito was bland, but tasty. Mexican rice consisted of white rice and corn. The beans were plain old red beans with a bit of cheese melted on top. C's enchiladas with mole sauce were spectacularly bizarre. Mole sauce should be relatively spicy since it is predominantly various roasted chilies with a splash of unsweetened chocolate. What was on C's plate was not spicy and could have been used as a dessert sauce. Yes, you read that correctly. C really had enchiladas with hot fudge sauce. He was so sated with chocolate that I didn't get dessert that night. Oh well.. The beer and the salsa were tasty and oh so worth their inflated cost.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Hills are Alive....

We are now in Salzburg. We had a quick half day trip to Vienna after leaving Rome before we headed to Graz. C wanted to see where I had hidden during our second year of college. The place has changed a lot in the past 10 or so years.

Now, we are in a rainy, chilly Salzburg. Our plan is to gorge on Mozartkugeln and Sturm. More on that later....

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

All Roads Lead to Rome

We've spent the last two days in Rome. To quote my sister.."walking our feet into bloody stumps." We've walked all over the Centro Storico, visited the Vatican and St. Peter's today. We also walked all over the Colosseum. This place is old....real old. The gelato is amazing...puts Braum's to shame, I'm sorry to say. Tomorrow, I hope to visit the Mouth of Truth before we head to Cinque de Terre. After that we will be heading to Austria. I do hope to get pictures up after we return.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

European vacation

We finally made it to Rome. Kind of tired and stinky at this point, but it is better to start things at the beginning.

We flew DC to Paris via London. If you ever fly BritishAir, it is worth the upgrade to traveller plus. More leg room, better food, cool little gift packs and free booze when compared with regular coach class. Flight was fine, but things got annoying when we had to sit on the tarmac in London for over an hour because there were no open gates. After a short wait there, we headed to Paris. Forget Paris in Spring. Paris in Fall is where it's at. Sunny, cool and gorgeous. We wandered around to the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame. Took in the sights on Ile St. Louis. Our first Parisian dinner was Chinese food...go figure. Excellent pastry for breakfast. Last night, we caught a night train to Rome. Somehow, in a locked room that was always occupied, my daypack was stolen. Fortunately, nothing exceptionally valuable was in there. My most important items in the bag were my brand new rain coat and my camera. The camera, while unfortunate, is not a total loss. Everyone knows how clumsy I am. Earlier in the day, I had been keeping my camera in my pants pocket for easy access. On the way to the train, I managed to trip and fall on nothing...landing on my camera side. I shattered the LCD, but the camera appeared to still be functional. Sadly, the disc with all my Paris pics was still in the camera. Oh well...C still has his camera. I'll just have to borrow it a lot.

Currently, we are waiting in the lobby of our hotel in Rome. As soon as the room is clean, we will be able to clean the stink off. Hope everyone is well. We'll try to do an update later. Ciao!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Lost in Space

I have to apologize for the long delay in posting. The east garden is overflowing with pink and purple flowery goodness. I've added some daylilies to it that should bloom magnificently. Rabbits and hot hot days have caused me to all but abandon my little veggie garden, yet the tomatoes continue to spit out luscious ripe fruit. My herb garden is overblown with basil. I've been replanting red barberries and azaleas that didn't do well in the front garden.

The cause for the lackluster posting is that C and I are headed to Europe today. For 2 whole weeks! Being just a bit obsessive-compulsive, my planning and list making has gone a bit extreme. C is not much better...he's done a ton of research on gear and about life on the continent. We'll fly into Paris for a day and half and then, we'll hop a train to Rome. Don't worry, we'll be spending more time in Paris at the end of the trip. We just wanted a little time to recover from the jet lag before starting our circuit in Rome.

Hopefully, we'll be able to find an internet cafe and upload a few pics. I hear Europe has changed mightily since I was living there slightly more than 10 years ago.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


My garden has been overflowing with yummy tomatoes! I planted cherry, grape, roma and better girl. Tasty! Who would have thought I could cram 8 tomato plants into a 4 x 8 ft space and still have room for green beans, eggplant, peppers, carrots, onions. and peapods. I've had enough tomatoes that I've even given a few away.

Monday, July 25, 2005

It's really bugging me!

The wild grapevine, virginia creeper, and honeysuckle on my back fence is being ravaged by Japanese beetles. Other than being creepy and icky, this might not bother me so much, except they have decided to move on and munch on the trees in the front yard. I've been spraying them with poison, but this seems to be such a temporary fix. Anybody have suggestions on how to eradicate these creepy-crawlies?

Friday, July 22, 2005

Garden Goodies

It continues to be unbearably hot and muggy here. Now, the humidity is punctuated by semi-regular torrential thunderstorms.

I have mostly given up on growing anything on my desert of a deck when I found the succulent section at Lowes. Clockwise from the top, a Love plant, Rock plant, and finally, baby toes. You just have to love a plant named after such a sweet little body part. That cool daisy-like flower popped up after the latest rainshower. Bonus! The tag didn't mention a thing about baby toes blooming.

Nearly a month ago, C and I built a new flower bed to the east of the garage. Most of the perennials are starting to fill in. If I'm lucky, a few might bloom this year. The annuals around my tiny little water garden look fabulous and lush though. This whole garden should be pretty impressive next year.
My pansies finally gave up the ghost in the heat. I replanted this with sweet potato vine and some random red flower than I can no longer remember the name of. Any guesses?
Purple coneflowers came up randomly in my front garden. The bumblebees love them. Any idea on how to extract the useful echinacea from the plants?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hot, hot, hot!

It's been a while since I've posted anything because it is just too darn hot to be outside and I've done nothing knew with the interior. The grass is slowly dying because the area is on a voluntary water restriction. The tomatoes, however, are coming in nicely. I can't wait to take my first bite of drippy, juicy yumminess.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dining room redo.

Here are the latest updates. C and I put a lot of work into the dining room over Memorial Day weekend. The walls are actually a pale khaki color. I love how the new lamp gives them a golden glow. The curtains are a reddish color, but end up looking like the wood in these photos.

I'm pretty impressed with my new Mission-style dining set. I love the hutch.

Here's the dining room with the old ugly curtains and lamp.

Here's a semi-fuzzy photo of the dining room with the new lamp and curtains.

Here is the fabulous lamp I installed (with a significant amount of help) all lit up.

This is the unlit lamp so you can get a better idea of the colors in it.

This is the herb garden now. Scroll down the page to see how it looked when it was first planted.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Plow and Hearth had their bi-annual tent sale. See the cool things I got for the yard?

A new all wicker swing to replace the nasty steel tube and rotten wood one.

The new glider on the porch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Flowering plum tree in the front. It doesn't produce fruit. I think the "plum" refers to the leaf color.