Wednesday, March 30, 2011

pizza night at our house...

I had a yoga class that went late and he had to work late.  By the time we both got home, it was after 8.  So this is what we had for a late dinner last night:

Caprese pizza.  Best made with tomatoes and basil fresh from your own garden, but store-bought will do when you're really jonesin' for pizza. And fresh mozzarella from the farmer's market, of course.


Asian Slaw.  This was the first time I've tried this recipe, but I'll definitely make it again.  I'm a sucker for anything with peanut butter in it!  BTW- this is not my photo, it's the one that came with the recipe.  I forgot to take one.  Bad blogger.  In case you're interested the recipe is below:

Asian Slaw:

  • 6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Stir together first seven ingredients and set aside.  Mix together next seven ingredients, add dressing and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.  Enjoy!

Italian and Asian together?  Sounds odd, but they were a great pair!

Monday, March 28, 2011

party at Jane's! yeah!

"Spring is Nature's way of saying 'Let's party!'" ~ Robin Williams

The always lovely Jane, over at is having a flower party at her place!  This is what I'm bringing, just in from my garden:

Beautiful purple Irises!  Hope you like them!

Friday, March 25, 2011

two tales of two tails...

"Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher." ` William Wordsworth

Two rather funny run-ins I had with lizards (Green Anoles to be accurate - a very common type of lizard here in NC) recently:

Like many days we've had recently, two weeks ago we woke up to a beautiful sunny sky and silky, warm temps, so the bf and I were taking the tandem bike out for a little cruise to get breakfast.  The bikes and all their paraphernalia have been in the shed since December, so we had to pump up the tires, check the chain, etc.  Finally, we put on our helmets and started out.  Before we had passed two houses I noticed I kept getting a long chunk of hair falling into my eyes.  Well, I have very short hair, so that seemed odd.  My hair isn't long enough to get in my eyes.  The good thing about a tandem is that I don't have to steer (or anything else, if I don't want to - shhhh! don't tell him!), so as we're going along, I took my helmet off to see what was up with my hair.  It wasn't hair falling in my was the tail of a lizard who probably spent the winter hanging out in my helmet!  Before I realized it was a harmless little Anole lizard, I screamed and dropped my helmet.  That got the neighbor's, who were out weeding in their font yard, attention.  And the bf's.  I'm not the screaming type, really.  Poor little lizard took off.  He was okay, Janet, I didn't hurt him!

Then, a few days later, I got up one morning, went into the bathroom and turned on the light.  As I was splashing water on my face I noticed something weird about the "sinkhole".  Now, we have an old house with an old bathroom sink that has no stopper, just a hole in the bottom. So, without my glasses on, I tried to figure out what was in the hole.  It was the face of another little Anole! I didn't scream this time.  I turned off the light and left the bathroom.  I made the bf get up and go in with me the next time, a few minutes later and the little guy had climbed out and was on the counter, so we could catch him and release him into the wilds of the backyard.

Kind of a cute little booger, isn't he? Apparently they have very strong jaws and will clamp on to things - like hair.  When my children were little they would catch these guys and hang them from their ears like earrings.  Only for a minute, then they would try to help the lizard "find their family".

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

life in the fast lane, wilmington style

Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle
Bicycle bicycle bicycle
Bicycle race

"Bicycle Race" - Queen

Okay, so this is a slight exaggeration of what the sidewalk in front of my office looks like.  Image from Google.

Despite enough pollen to choke an elephant, it is absolutely gorgeous around these parts, so I rode my bike to work today.  First time since November.  Lots of other people decided to do the same.  Now we're all walking around smiling at each other.  Good morning!

Monday, March 21, 2011

what do you think so far?

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~  Walt Emerson

The new gate is up. The neighbors have all been over to check it out and have given their approval. There is still about 5 feet of open space on either side of it, which will soon (I hope, I hope!) have a five foot tall, large lattice type fence.  By that I mean the lattice won't be the diamond shaped kind of stuff you can buy at Home Depot (not that there's anything wrong with that, we just wanted a different look).  The wood in this lattice will be about 3 inchs wide and the holes in the lattice will be about 3 inches square.  Hopefully you'll see what I mean SOON. And I'll have to get some photos at night.  We put some lights out there and I have to say, I think it looks nice.

And in case you're wondering, technically this is not part of the front yard makeover we're planning.  This is left over from the backyard project of last summer.  Things don't always get done as fast as I'd like around here...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

got books?

Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  ~Author Unknown

I recently joined a new book club.  And by recently, I mean I went to my first meeting on Thursday night.  I've been in a book club before.  Unfortunately it just didn't work for me. All very nice women, but we were in different places in life.  Don't get me wrong - I love the fact that I have friends in many different age groups, in many different stages of their lives.  But in my last book club, everyone else was in their "new mom" stage, and in their early 30's.  I've surely got nothing against new moms - I was one, once - but the "book club" was, for these women, a chance to get out for an evening without the baby or husband and party.  Who could blame them? But many times only two people showed up - including me - the rest not being able to get a sitter or having a sick baby at home, and when they did show up, many had not even read the book.  I quit the group after 6 or 8 months, and I understand the book club disbanded shortly after that.

So, after being invited by a friend, I joined this book club with a little bit of wariness.  The whole reason I ever wanted to join a book club is that I love to read and I often find it helpful and interesting to get other people's insight about a particular book.  And to get ideas on books to read.  I think this group might be a much better fit for me.  They're all closer to my age/stage in life, although with wildly divergent backgrounds, jobs, family groups, etc.  There's even a man in the group!  The things we have in common are great:  political/social views (let's just say we're in the minority here in this "southern" town), and a real desire to read meaningful and satisfying books and then be able to discuss them - all while enjoying great food, wonderful wine and lots of laughter.  Needless to say, I think I'm going to enjoy this group!

This is what we just finished reading:

It's a murder/suspense novel.  Not something I would ever have picked up on my own.  One of the best reasons to join a book club - you get exposed to books you wouldn't normally pick out.  Turns out I REALLY liked this. The suspense held up almost to the end.

If you want to see what we're reading next, and it'll change monthly, I put a new thingy down at the bottom of the page.  You'll see two books listed.  One is the book club book and the other is the second book I'm reading (I usually read at least two or three books a month.) 

I have resisted getting a Kindle til now.  I'm starting to waver though.  I LOVE books.  I just love having them around.  I give them as gifts and I get them as gifts.  I have lots of book shelves in my house, and lots of books on them.  But the shelves are full now, in fact they're overflowing, yet I find it so hard to get rid of books.  And in my continuing attempt to keep my life simple, something's gotta give, so I'm reconsidering a Kindle.  Any thoughts/advice/suggestions?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

DO NOT pinch me...

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way -
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day.
~Author Unknown

I'm not even 1% Irish and I don't usually pay a lot of attention to March 17th (in fact I just realized I am not wearing a bit of green - oops.  But I would love to visit Ireland one day.

In other news...I'm off to Beaufort, SC this weekend to visit some lovely and much loved friends.  It's a 6 hour drive, although with a stop in Charleston for dinner, it'll take longer than that, but it will be SO worth it.  As if spending time with two of the best people on earth and going to a fabulous yoga class with one of them, enjoying some wonderful food and lots of laughing, isn't enough, Beaufort is a great destination in itself (much like Wilmington, but much more southern):

Beautiful, low country scenery

Historic old homes and buildings everywhere

Funky places to shop

On top of all that, it's supposed to be close to 80 degrees all week.  Heaven.  Have a great weekend y'all!  Oh, and am I the only one doing the happy dance because Saturday is THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING?!!  I thought not.

Monday, March 14, 2011

one more project

"Time flies, whether you're having fun or not."  my very sweet and very wise Grandmother

Wow.  I've been so busy the last few weeks I haven't had time to write, but never fear, I still read all of your blogs, even if I don't even have time to comment.  Add to that I've spent the last 4 or 5 days trying to figure out what is going on with my camera, and, well...that's my excuse.

I have a ton of little projects going on at my house at all times.  Either in process, or in the process of thinking about them.  But every year I try to take on one major project.  The first year it was the kitchen, then the following two years it was the backyard (one year for pond and patio, the next for general, overall garden installation).  This year I'm thinking about tackling the front yard.  Here's what that looks like now:

Sorry, this is the only photo I could get off of my camera.

There's a huge old live oak tree on the left side, which creates a lot of shade on that side of the yard, so right now it has vinca minor (periwinkles) groundcover.  I put that in 3 years ago and so far it hasn't done much, although this year it finally looks like it might be growing.  Hmph...we'll see, I guess.  I'm giving that one more year.  As far as the rest of the plants around the perimeter - most will stay, although they may be moved around.

The sidewalk leading to the front porch needs to be replaced.  The concrete is broken and it's just too narrow.  Why do people make sidewalks 18" wide? The liriope on each side doesn't help either. That needs to go.  I'd like to replace the sidewalk with big, 30" x 18" concrete slabs, set in gravel.   Think something like this:

I'm thinking more rectangular than square, and not so much gravel on each side.  The good news is we could pour these ourselves - we OWN a concrete mixer.  Sexy, right?
This picture couldn't be crappier if I'd taken it myself!  This is sort of the idea.  If these stepping stones were actually rectangular and concrete...

But it's really the right side of the yard that has me stumped.  Although there is a second big, old Live Oak tree on this side, it is near the street, so it doesn't put this side of the yard into so much shade.  I have roses around the perimeter of this side, so I could probably grow grass here,'s my goal to have a yard with no grass.  Gasp! I also have vinca minor growing here, but it's doing even less well on this side of the yard.  Too much sun.  So...what to do?

The final section of the front yard is the area between the sidewalk and the street.  Definitely shady here.  Besides that Live Oak there are two (yeah, 2!) very small (right now) birch trees.  I know.  The woman who owned the house before me must have gone to the arbor day extravaganza at the mall and picked up a whole bunch of free little trees, because she planted them everywhere.  Anyway, I'm considering taking those Birches out, and then doing something like this:

That alone should take me all summer!  I already have moss there, growing on the ground.

Besides all of the above, I'd like to:
  • Take out the azaleas in front of the porch - way too big - and replace with something else.  I think the ones on the right side of the house could stay, but they need some pruning after they bloom.
  • I'd like to put in a short, ornamental fence - not picket, but maybe iron, to go with the arbor?
So, did I pick a big enough project?  This one will probably take more than one year to do. And speaking of a year, because of camera and internet difficulties, it has now taken me almost 3 hours to do this one little post.  I'm ready for a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

flower party!

I know.  I'm supposed to post pictures of flowers inside my house today (actually yesterday) to join Jane's ( party.  Instead, here I am, late, and posting pics of flowers I saw in my yard over the weekend.  This going to work before it's light and coming home after it's dark is getting old...


More Daffodils!

Camellias!  These will be in my house for the next flower party.

Tricked ya! I know, these are not flowers, but the fact that they were hungry means Spring is almost here.

New growth on the climbing rose!