April 21, 2015

New Umbrella Lights

I installed these umbrella lights (above - that's my photo) on my market umbrella a couple of days ago.  I recommend them, with reservations, but I see that they're on sale now so if this is something you've been looking for, go to target.com and buy them before Saturday.  Here's my review (I'm "Groove").

April 17, 2015

Dead Bird, New Blooms

I woke up yesterday morning and, glancing out my front door on my way to make coffee, I saw the neighbor's black cat behind one of my little palms.  It was obviously eating something.  My immediate concern was that it was eating something that would make it sick, but then I realized it was probably eating a lizard and let it go.

Two coffees later I saw the cat in the same place.  I could see that it was licking its paws and cleaning its face.  Whatever it ate, it took a while.  I was curious.

Shooing the cat away I walked over to the spot and saw the heart, beak, rib cage, wings, and other remains of what was once a bird.  I knew exactly which bird, too.  The day before a baby dove flew into my front window.  It wasn't stunned enough to be knocked out though.  It sat on my windowsill for a moment, then flew away. Based on the color of the feathers and the size of the wings it looked like the little dove was the black cat's victim and it made me feel sick.  We had a hard rain late in the day and I hoped it would wash away the remains of the bird.

Today dawned bright and sunny.  I couldn't resist checking on my stefanotis, which to my delight is finally in bloom.  The aroma of my gardenia and stefanotis, and my neighbor's Confederate jasmine, combined with the humidity of the still-wet garden to create the most gorgeous smell.

Big cats eat little birds, even in the sweetest of gardens.  That's just Nature.

First blooms of the season - stefanotis floribunda

March 16, 2015

Let Spring 2015 Begin!

I have prioritized other things the past year or so, but I'd like to get back into writing in my blog. Saturday I started fresh in my garden so maybe that's a good opportunity to start fresh with my writing.

I got an invitation to have supper with my friend Cindy and her family, so Saturday I made the 1/2 hour long drive (can you BELIEVE it?  I mean seriously, we're all in the same town, and this is not Dallas) to the Lake Washington area to hang with my old girlfriend from many years ago.  Cindy is so special to me.  Her initiative has made our friendship what it is today.  She taught me everything I need to know about how to be a friend to someone (but I still get it wrong).  But that's another story. Anyway, late yesterday afternoon I went over to Cindy's to chill and have a great grilled supper: chicken thighs, flank steak, broccoli, pasta salad, salad salad, baked beans, chips and salsa... and afterwards, a chocolate pudding pie with whipped cream, and a boatload of sliced strawberries to mound on top of it all!  *Sigh* It was amazing.

The next day I woke up feeling really antsy because Cindy had showed me her herb and vegetable pots, and I was like, OMG I forgot that I'm supposed to be starting plants now!  So I ran over to Lowe's, apparently with everyone else who went to Cindy's Saturday night, because I had to fight for a cart to haul off "Bonnie" (yes that's the brand name) plants.*  I got a cilantro, two Anaheim peppers, one green bell pepper, one jalapeno pepper, and a basil.  Oh and a patio tomato.  Plus, I got that awesome deep fuchsia geranium like I found last year at Sun Harbor, for my front pot, and also for that pot I added three other things which I have no clue what they are.

After spending the day in the hot sun I was dying to jump into the pool.  I checked the thermometer (it read 77 -- 10 degrees higher than last weekend!) and felt like it was a Go.  Boom!  In the pool. Gosh it felt awesome.  So, dear readers, Sunday, March 15 goes down as First Swim Day for 2015 at the Doty House.

The east side garden

View from the gate of the east side garden

Our gardener killed what was left of the pitiful grass on the west side.
Now we can landscape!

Terrible picture of my front porch pot.
I expect it to look much better in a couple of weeks.

Gotta sneak in a pic of my awesome grandson!

*Turns out they had the plants on sale for $2.00 -- that's why the crowds -- so I really lucked out!

February 10, 2015

Dead Computer

I'm sad to say that today I didn't fix my computer.

Because I had done so much research online, and because I got out a couple of screwdrivers, and because it was hard to see and I had to hold the flashlight in my teeth, and because it took a few hours to figure out that I had to remove the vid card to see the battery, and because I had to take off my glasses to see the tiny blue jumper, I really thought I could fix my computer by myself.  Nope.

Although I did learn a lot.  When I get back from Brian and Christine's wedding I'm going to buy a new motherboard and attempt to install it myself.  :D

Nix that idea.  We can't afford for me to buy a new motherboard LOL.  I'll just keep using my laptop. Since I don't have time for scanning and photo editing any more, and don't have time for gaming, my old Dell laptop serves just fine!

It was a day well spent though.

And I have tomorrow to look forward to!  An outing with my parents: definitely lunch, courtesy of my generous father, and most likely a car trip through the Viera wetlands to do some birding.  I am so excited!

January 19, 2015

2015: The Year of the Monkey [Wrench]

In the last months of 2014 we saw our youngest son, Chuck, return from his overseas tour in Qatar, finish his four-year Army commitment, and re-enter the civilian world by moving to Huntsville to begin an intense job search. Three weeks later he was employed. I was beyond relieved.

Also in the last months of 2014 our middle son, Luck, returned from his year in Kuwait and settled at a new post in the States. Again, my relief was immeasurable, due mainly to the horror of ISIS and the knowledge of their rapid worldwide expansion.

And finally, the Holiday Season; always a joyous time, a beautiful cap to mark the end of any year. Oldest son Captain and his wife Princess had our first grandson on the day before Thanksgiving. This blessed event made December and particularly Christmas a time of great happiness for our entire family.

Three days after Christmas we (Chuck and me in my old Odyssey van and Beaver in his Audi) drove 12 hours, convoy style, to Huntsville. The plan was for me to spend about three weeks at our apartment there, being a wife and mom, shopping and relaxing and enjoying my family, before driving to Dallas to help my parents make their move to Florida. What happened instead was this: A week into my visit a family friend from Dallas called to say that my father was in the hospital and I needed to come right away.  That night I drove to Little Rock and the next day made it to Dallas by lunchtime.

Two weeks have gone by since my drive to Dallas. Today my 88 year old dad is 100% healthy and ready to come home from rehab tomorrow morning. Our moving date of January 25 still stands. Someone threw a wrench into our Big Plan but as a result my father, physically and mentally exhausted from the burden of being a caretaker and from having had to make the hard decision to leave his home and community, has been forced to leave all care and responsibility behind and get some much needed rest. Also, and just as importantly, my mother and I have had time to work out a positive relationship based on new roles and abilities, and now we work together toward our common goal.

Everything happens for a reason!


One of the reasons I was looking forward to spending time in Huntsville was I knew I'd have time to write in this blog.  My first post was going to be an essay on craft beer tasting based on my own experience and the many scribbled notes I had made. Well, that post never happened.  But I need to get rid of these random pieces of paper. So here are my notes. Maybe I can find the photos that accompany my story when I get home, and make a proper report.

Stone Go-To IPA (4.5%):  In the flight glass, light, citrusy, hoppy.  Cloudy golden.  Carbonated - medium sting.  Very drinkable.  Slight bitter aftertaste.  After pouring it into a proper glass, it is much less citrusy, loamy smell, not an easy session beer unless you love the IPA.

Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale (5%): In the flight glass, large head. Low sting. Light amber. Feels thin, light, wheat aftertaste. After pouring it into a proper glass, it really opened up the flavor, giving it more body and aroma. Balanced and drinkable.

Lagunitis Day Time Ale (4.65%): In the flight glass, more sour.  Crystal clear, pale golden, floral smell. After pouring it into a proper glass, it smells herbal, loamy.  Nice even taste, not bitter. Medium sting.

Brew Dog 5 A.M. Saint (5%): Dark amber/orange. Somewhat cloudy, smells malty. Delicious, sweet, caramel, very sour initially, sweet and sour, hoppy finish. Malty. Solid, very cloudy amber color. Medium to small head. Low carbonation. Not as oily as a porter or stout, not as citrusy as an IPA. Great session beer for someone who wants a bit more but not uber-dark or uber-bitter. Beaver says it's similar to Negro Modelo or Pepe Nero (Goose Island).

Red Hook Audible Ale (4.7%): Clear Amber color. Very carbonated, light. Faint orange flavor, sort of a weird candy aftertaste. Carbonated like a Bud Light but tastes like beer. "Brewed in collaboration with Dan Patrick."

Founders Double Trouble IPA (9.4%): Light amber, clear, very little aroma. Smooth. Very little bite - low carbonation. Citrus finish (grapefruit).

Oskar Blues Brewery Mama's Little Yella Pils (Brevard, NC, 5.3%): Amber, cloudy, no head.  Smells like yeast.  I think we got waylaid during the Yella Pils tasting.  Must try another one LOL!