Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday, Monday

All our friends have left for home and the kid and I are just sitting back at Riverside chillin' and watchin' the river flow. All of a sudden the sun has disappeared and it looks like we may get some rain--tut tut. We were supposed to have a rainy weekend, but we didn't get a drop. I was actually looking forward to the rain so maybe now it will finally arrive. Two bluebirds were sitting just outside the window Of course, by the time I found the binoculars and focused in on them, they were gone, poof. The kid and I attempted at one point to put a bird feeder outside this window but found it futile. It would have been difficult to keep clean anyway. Perhaps a birdhouse. Now there's thinking! Ah haw! It's such a lovely spot to sit here and watch the outside world of river life. As you can see, Bella enjoys it as much as we do.

Saturday, we found a new place to have lunch at one of the many marinas in town. Another hot spot to add to the growing list of eateries here. As I mentioned, we were supposed to get rain, and it sure did look as though we would get some. We saw the storm coming in and buzzed on

over to the pier to watch it come in. I don't think it ever did hit Fairhope. It sure looked omnibus though. It just makes me giddy to watch these storms. And here is one of the newest additions to the flock of Fairhope pelicans. Isn't it adorable? A little construction pelican, hehe.

Yesterday was a day of fun. We first went to lunch at Lulu's, one of the infamous places in Gulf Shores. It's quite the tourist trap, but I do enjoy their fru fru drinks and L.A. Caviar (Lower Alabama--of course). They have the best pina coladas around (even if they don't put but a lick of alcohol in them--which is probably a good thing). The boys had their virgin daqs--strawberry and key lime. How refreshing. Sorry, I had already dug into the LA Caviar before even taking a pic. Soooo good on crackers. (There's those peas again!)

After our bellies were good and full, we headed over to the Coastal Living Dream Home just across the way. I haven't been to one of these in years--they make me depressed. Who wants to go to a $2 million house and then go home? hehe. I am so happy we went though. It was gorgeous, needless to say. At 2 mil, I guess it should be. Golly. Of course, I did pick up some ideas to use. (Don't tell the hub!)

I loved this hanging shelf. Perhaps in our nook in the master bedroom? Hmmmm. Oh yea, I thinks so.

These shadow box ideas have been added to the kid and I's list of things to do. I'll let you know when we're finished. Wink wink.

Loved the horizontal striped bath. The colors in the house were very soothing, just what I am looking for at Riverside. (Did I mention the paint bug is beginning to bite again? After a visit to a show home, how couldn't it? Don't know if I'm --ever-- ready to do stripes again though, grrrrrr.) Here are a few more shots of some of my favorite spots. DANGEROUS!

Who doesn't like taupe?

And a beautiful laundry room (yea, right).

Clean pendant lighting.

And lots of extra pillows for cuddling with (when the hub is not home).

And a house with major curb appeal.

Makes ya just want to start a home redo, don't it? Too much so.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


We have been truly enjoying our friends from Virginia. Hope they've been enjoying us as much as us them. We've been doing the usual stuff around Riverside--floating on the river, eating, sitting on the porch, eating, running into town, eating, hitting the shores of the Gulf, eating . . . You get the drift.

On our way in from the airport, we stopped at the farmer's market and picked up some fruits and veggies for our week. Leenda was kind enough to cook up some pink-eyed peas. (Pic borrowed from here.) I have to admit, I had never heard of them before. Yum. We served them over rice--hoppin' John style. They are very similar to black-eyed peas but a tad more delicate. Soooo good. We made up a batch of green beans one night, my fav. We've been eating so much, I can't remember now what we've been doing. Of course, we've hit all the favorite haunts around the area--The Crab Trap, The Oyster House, Big Daddy's and so on. We even added a new place to the list. The Biscuit King! I have to admit, when I walked into the place, it kinda scared me. Just a big ol' open area with round and oblong plastic tables and fold up chairs everywhere. I guess we sort of looked like dear in the headlights because a woman soon approached us. "You must be new here." Could ya tell? hehe. You order your meal at the counter--the menu being on a piece a paper you pick up there; and we soon figured out the biscuits are ones with the "meals" cooked inside. So, if you want eggs and bacon, they're all right there in the middle of this humongous biscuit. Interesting. Not quite what I was looking for, but I'm always up for trying new things. I ordered the ham, egg and cheese (I think) and all they had left were ones with jalapenos in it. No prob. I love peppers. Guess we were kinda late for breakfast. Since they open at 5 a.m. (uhhuh), 10 a.m. was pretty much lunch time for them. No biggy. Of course you could order breakfast regular style, which is what Linda did. The boys ordered pancakes--which looked like griddle cakes to me. When we got our "biscuits," they were HUGE! They resembled something like an apple dumpling, big and round and browned on the outside. And low and behold, there all the ingredients were when I cut into it--eggs, ham and cheese with jalapenos. It was delish. I bet they were even better if you got there a tad earlier. Of course, we went back for lunch one day after we saw they had the ol' Southern traditions like chicken-fried steak, ribs, hamburger steak with gravy with a choice of two sides (kind of like the meat and three of Tennessee). Again, yum. Needless to say, you can tell we've been eating quite well, thank you.

Yesterday, we decided to head to the beach. It was a lovely day and we arrived about 10 a.m. (Guess that's kind of our time down here on vacation.) The hub and kid had found this lovely little stretch of beach almost on the Flora-Bama border. Just beautiful. No buildings, not many people and the water nice and quiet. The waves are low and gentle. It was actually the first time we witnessed a green flag. It's normally red or purple. Purple is the scary one--"Dangerous Marine Life." (We don't have lifeguards on our beaches so the flags are quite helpful.) Having been down in these parts when several people were attacked by sharks in a three day period, I'm a little hesitant to go in the waters when that purple is flying, I tell you! The hub and kid did go in under the purple flag warning and the water was full of nettles, stinging jellyfish, ouch. At any rate, the water was perfect, cool when you first jumped in and relaxing after you were in for a moment, clear so you could see all the fish nibbling on your feet and free of nettles. Well, that's what we thought. Of course, once we coaxed "the friend"908 (Linda's son and the kid's friend) to come in, both he and Linda got stung by one. That did our little outing in. We were all running for the shores after that. hehe. I haven't been stung in many years; but I remember as a child how much I attracted those buggers and always ran out of the water crying. Thank goodness I had remembered to bring the meat tenderizer with me. You just rub it on and it takes the sting away--mostly. Vinegar is also good, but I thought the Accent would be easier to carry. It was almost noon anyway (lunchtime--hehe). It was a fun morning and just the right amount of sun. As we trudged back to the parking lot, it definitely was getting hotter.

Last night, we ate at our favorite little dive on Mobile Bay. I can never remember the name of it so I call it Wayne's World as Wayne and his family run the place. They have the best all-you-can-eat shrimp for $12.99 on Friday nights. Don't get much better than that!

We were supposed to have rain this weekend, but it has turned out to be a beautiful sunny day. To tell you the truth, I was looking forward to a nice rainy day, sitting and reading or whatever. Not that it makes much of a difference. That's what we're doing anyway. And, of course, I have my trusty little helper by my side telling me what to write. Smile. She's been such a joy to have here at Riverside. (Most of the time! She still has here devil streak every once in a while!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kitties at Riverside

I think we all are enjoying having Bella with us at Riverside. She is growing leaps and bounds. She still has her moments of "attack cat;" but mostly I have put an end to it--against me, anyway. Just before leaving home, she went in for her three-week checkup. I told the vet how feisty she was and how she would attack (and hurt) me. The vet said "Her mother wouldn't stand for that, and you shouldn't either." Well, that makes perfect sense. She showed me how to hold her down when she got in her attack mode and so far, it has worked. She no longer attacks me, unless of course, I instigate it.

Our friends from Virginia are here and we are truly enjoying our catching up. "Leenda" and her son are here for the week. Last year, her daughter was here with us also. Of course, then, we didn't have Riverside. It's nice to have a place of our own to sit and relax. She brought me the sweetest gifts. The above is a "hobo" plaque. Apparently, hobos used to leave signs for their fellow "friends"--whether they be warnings or letting them know about nice places. The "Smiling Cat" means "Kind Hearted Woman." Isn't that sweet? I'm going to hang it in my nook here by my computer.

We have been busy doing the least amount of anything. Yesterday, we floated in the river. Today we went to the Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation and walked around the marshes, the wetlands and out to the Bay and enjoyed the coolish weather we're experiencing here. Strange for mid July, to say the least. We've been dining on lots of fresh fruits bought at the farmer's market and tonight we even made supper at home, imagine that. It was gud.

The teenager and the hub went to Auburn University yesterday for a tour. The teenager is starting to decide where he wants to go to college. He was very excited with Auburn. The University of Tennessee is next on their list of road trips. He gets his senior pictures taken this week. Fancy schmancy these days. The basic sitting includes cap and gown, formal and two other change of clothes. Gee whiz. We had cap and gown and that was it! He even had a choice of photos taken with his car or other miscellaneous props. Of course, that was a tad much. Whaaaa. Baby (18-year old) almost grown. Hehe, he IS grown!!! Whaaaa.

Bedtime here down south. Will have to write more later.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Kitchen Time

It's just about headache time. My new cabinets are supposed to come in this week. We're almost at the end and I'm leaving Saturday. Everything is working out in my favor at this point. I'm going to try and put off demolition of my existing kitchen until MJ goes home--the second week in August. Since the cabs haven't arrived yet, I think I'll be ok putting it off a week or so. Phew! This way the kids will be back in school and I will be home! Good stuff.

As you can see, my kitchen folder is quite thick. I've been compiling it since we first left Virginia in 2001 when I thought we would be building a new home down here. Then, of course, we found this wonderful house--the only thing I hated was it's kitchen. Promised that a new kitchen could be had eventually, I just kept on clipping ideas. This is the second time I've hired someone to refinish it. The first one just kind of disappeared--guess he was too busy. Glad I didn't go with that company. Small miracles. The company I'm using now, I hired last year around this time. They were booked up until September and I certainly didn't want to get into the holidays with a torn-up kitchen. So, I put it off. We finally made all the decisions, picked out and purchased all the appliances and signed off on it. So glad that part is over. It's been such a long process, I certainly hope I like all my decisions once it's all said and done. Wouldn't that be horrible? Hating my new kitchen? hehe

Here is the old kitchen. Yes, I know, nothing wrong with it, really. It's just not set up logically. I mean the cabs looks ok (I prefer white) but that's just cosmetic. Just a few things that make it horrible are: You can't even put a dinner plate in them without turning it sideways, they don't fit--a DINNER plate! Sux. The fridge stuck out so far (as you can see that big boxy wall on the right hand side), so it was moved into the laundry room. We have never had a refrigerator in the kitchen since we lived here. I chalk it up to our quirkiness--and I'm sure many others have also. There's an air return vent in a cabinet that pulls all the dust and dirt into the cabinets--lovely since that's were I house all the dishes and silverware. Yum. I mean, they literally built the vent into the cabinet instead of turning it on the wall just beside. Geesh. The dishwasher is as far away from the sink as you can get, ruining the hard wood floors as you splash water everywhere, everyday, several times. You can barely open the oven door without it hitting the island. The island is almost useless with a sink (right across from the main one--duh) taking up most of the room. And look at all the white appliances against that wood. Don't you think someone would have at least chosen stainless? Hmmmm. It's just silly. And downright ugly with a capital U!

And here's the new plan. Opened up quite a bit. The illogical items have been corrected. I even added a china cabinet to house my hordes of china pieces that I have collected over the years. Yea, I will finally be able to use them again without having to remove everything from the drawers I now have them in -- spread out all over my dining room. At this point, I only use them on holidays and even then I find it such a pain to pull out that I think twice about doing so. (Oh, and a surprise for my brother--a warming drawer! He has to have all his plates warm when he serves his meals---tut tut.) I'm sure I will use it too. It sits beneath the microwave drawer. Yes, a microwave DRAWER! How fun is that????

As time nears demo, I am beginning to get both excited and apprehensive. What I dread most is the sanding of the existing floors. Yuk. And, oh yea, with that comes moving EVERYTHING from one side of the house to the other. I have to have the entire downstairs floor done. So, I've decided to cut the job in half. I couldn't stand moving everything out. Lord. I'd have to rent a couple of those PODS! So we will do the back half first--then, after we recover, do the front half. Gawd.

But, I think if I can put it off until school starts, everything will fall into place and it will all be good--gud. Keep your fingers' crossed!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dave & Bella

The cats are finally getting used to one another. Bella actually sits long enough to allow Dave to clean her--but only for a moment. Then she's bouncing off the walls again. She prefers to play and he, being the elder, enjoys the quiet life. They were actually playing together this morning though. I could hear her squealing, so I'm sure Dave got a chunk of her--serves her right. Little Miss Evil. As far as Abby, I'm still waiting to get a pic of the two of them. Abby, as you'll remember, is the hefty one of the lot. Bella literally jumps her as she's trying to walk--Bella being a quarter of her size. Abby doesn't miss a step, just keeps on walking amidst the commotion. It's hilarious to watch.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Baby's All Grown

(Yes, I am also cake-decorating challenged, obviously.)

Of course, once today arrived, all of our plans changed. The 18 year old decided he didn't want to have dinner at our house. He had to work until 6:30 and therefore just wanted to go "hang" with his friends. Sniff sniff. Guess we're just his old parents now.

Today was just one of those days. I woke up ready to conquer the teenager's 18th birthday. As soon as I came downstairs to begin, mom was waiting for me. I'm sorry, but I need a few minutes to get rid the morning spider webs. She was trying to ask me questions about something, I never did figure it out. I think she was trying to understand when I was leaving again. Lord. I try and tell her I'm here all week. I'm beginning to wonder if more than dementia is going on here. She has completely forgotten how to make her instant coffee in the morning. I have written it down and she still comes upstairs with her cup five times a day asking me how to do it. It would be easy for me to do it for her except the fact that she gets up at the break of dawn, not me. I had so much to do this morning but I sat with her trying to explain what she wanted to hear. Finally, she went back downstairs and I ran out and wrote birthday greetings all over the teenager's car. By the time I grabbed the balloons to put in there, he was coming down the stairs. Oh well. So much for that surprise. That kinda set the mood for the day. Kinda been a crank.

It was then the teen told me he didn't want to have friends over and we decided we would eat out at one of his favorite restaurants. Since I was in a mood and I am admittedly baking challenged, I decided on getting a boxed cake mix but had to make the icing. My mom used to make the very best chocolate cake--albeit in the winter months--and I had my heart set on this one. It came from an old Southern Living recipe and I was able to find it online. The icing is what makes the cake anyway, so I didn't feel the least amount of guilt in using a boxed cake mix. Well, not much anyway--to all you gourmets.

And, of course, even though I used a boxed cake mix and since I am baking challenged, the cake still came out crooked. I just can't win for losing. The family is used to my crooked, but delicious, cakes by this time, so I shrugged it off. And, it was good.

But before we could have any, we had our delicious dinner. The 18-year old ordered lobster tail as an appetizer and a humongous steak for dinner. He thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a basil rubbed chicken breast with a two-martini appetizer. Wish I had another one. We managed to all have a sliver of a cake slice--oh my. Talk about rich. Read the recipe and you will see why--and why it's a winter cake!

The 18- year old has left for his night out. I already have my jammas on and the baby is sleeping here by my computer. I'm going to try and call it an early night. We'll see.

But, in the meantime, whatever I'll be doing, here is the recipe for the icings for chocolate cake--or any cake for that matter.

Perfect Whipped Cream Filling:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
Put all ingredients into a bowl and whip until you can form a peak. (It's whipped cream, for heaven's sake.) Keep chilled until you ice cake.

Perfect Chocolate Icing:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Melt chips, cream and butter in a medium pan over low heat, stirring constantly until it is all melted and mixed.

Place pan in large bowl of iced water and add sugar. Begin whipping until the icing begins to set. (This is a fun icing to work with--even if you are decorating challenged--it's still fun to mess with!)

Use the whipped cream as the filling between layers. Good luck icing around it. Of course, the whipped cream oozes down the sides once you start icing the top! Oh well. Again, those of you who have the talent, I'm sure, will have no problems icing it regardless. As my family always says, it's not how it looks--it's how it tastes. Grin.

Oh yes, can you tell it tastes marvelous? Oh yes, you can. Even though it's not pretty, it is definitely perfect! Last year's cake looked so much better. hehe. (This one is best kept in the fridge as you can tell by the ingredients.)

PS I ordered him another State Champ ring--since he lost his last summer. Happy birthday, teen.

Happy 18th Birthday, Son

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Misc. Saturday

The hub and I enjoyed a Saturday morning sitting on the porch gabbing, reading newspapers and just swinging. It's been a while since we've actually been together to do this. Between his biz travel and my jaunts to Riverside, it seems the summer weekends are passing us by as quick as a whip.

As promised, to myself, I did go out and get a couple of bright flowers to spread about in the front. I got my usual New Guinea impatiens for the pillars and then a couple of double impatiens to put elsewhere. I've always loved the bright colors of the New Guineas and the sweetheart-rose appearance of the double bloomers. I don't want to buy too many plants as I'm off again next weekend and I'm sure they'll all be dead when I get back. It's one thing asking the hub and teenager to water what's on the porch; but after that, the plants are on their own. I can't complain. They both have truthfully done a great job with the spider plants and ferns. No complaints! They all are thriving even in my absence! Probably water them better than I do.

Have big company coming to Riverside in the weeks to come. Our dear friends from Virginia are coming down next Sunday and then my SIL Mary Jane arrives the following week. MJ wanted to see the place then we'll head on back to Nashville to be with mom for most of her visit. Can't wait to see all of them!

Bella continues to steal all of our hearts every day. She is a rascal, I tell you. I think we've made the mistake of making our bed a play pen. We get her up there and get her all roused up. Then, when it's time to go to bed -- or any time of the night, for that matter -- she thinks that's the place she is to go when she wants to play. I hate closing my door at night but with her in my face at 1 a.m, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., it's a must to do so.

Tomorrow is the teenager's 18th birthday. Wow, where does time go? It seems like just yesterday, I was strolling him around. Pout. My first born is almost an adult. (To prove it, he got his first speeding ticket yesterday. Well, in fact, the police officer let him off with just a warning. He was on a road with construction and this one stretch had a different speed limit and he wasn't paying attention. Thank goodness he was only going a little over five miles past the speed limit--that and having a pretty lady in the car didn't hurt either, I'm sure. hehe.) Any way, I have to go out today and do a little shopping. I've already sent him, via iTunes, Alice Cooper's Love it To Death album, which includes one of my faves, 18. How could I resist? We're having a pasta dinner for him and his friends tomorrow evening. Think we'll trash his car with balloons in the morning and write all over the windows. He's probably expecting it. We like to sneak up while he's working and put strange writings all over his car and then play dumb. hehe. The last time, we put hearts and stuff all over it; and he swore it was his ex-girlfriend. giggle. We finally had to come clean before too much damage was done. Such a big milestone tomorrow. Sniff sniff.

I'll leave you with last night's sunset as I exit with tears in my eyes.



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