carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

Getting Excited

I was being checked in at the doctor today.  I had overheard the conversation the receptionist had with the patient before me so I just had to continue it.  The Royal Wedding….. Yes, we are all agog here in the US about it.

The receptionist is driving from North Carolina to West Virginia to share the day with her daughter and grand daughter.  They have hats and all kinds of things to celebrate.  I have only my mugs from Kate and William’s wedding. (thanks Margaret and Howard).  I believe they will add an authentic touch.  (At 4 in the AM all the authentic touches I can find are good)  The rest of my menu is still in flux.  But I guess that I need to figure that out soon.  I had briefly considered having someone over but then realized that I would be forced to play hostess and might regret those duties so it will just be Ben and me.

I have been having a several month (starting in February)  quandary over what TV station to watch it on.  I really would like to watch it on BBC.  We don’t have cable.  I spent a lot of time exploring ways to get BBC.  Not really any.  I was hoping that PBS would be rebroadcasting the BBC feed.  Corresponded with PBS.  They were exceedingly vague.  In March there was a column in the paper about how to watch the basketball games without cable.  I decided to contact the columnist.  She had not considered the wedding as  a column topic but certainly would.  To watch the games we had gotten a subscription to Sling TV.  BBC America.  I contacted them.  They had no idea what was going to happen.

It gets closer and closer.  Promos are telling me that all the US stations will be covering it in great detail.  But I still want to see it on BBC.  Finally I catch something online that PBS is going to be showing it.  So I start poking around the local PBS station to find it.  It takes several emails to find out that here in North Carolina it is going to be shown on PBS Explorer.  No matter, even if I give them money I still can’t get the station.  Finally we are watching something on Sling (CNN maybe) and there is a promo for BBC America.  Indeed they will have full coverage.  With specials all day long, starting on Tuesday beforehand.  And as their promo says “The Only Proper Way to Watch the Wedding”

As we were talking about it, Ben pointed out that this was almost as good as ACC basketball week.  I think it is too.

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Ah, Spring in North Carolina

Now that it is mid-March I think I can write about Spring.  I saw a cartoon where Mother Nature is saying “You can’t have all 4 seasons in one week!”  And the state of North Carolina says ” OH, Just Watch!  Here, hold my beer!”  That is what this week has been like.  Monday, March 12 it snowed and Thursday, the 15th it was 70 degrees.  We are not in the mountains, instead towards the eastern part of the state.  Go figure!

Anyway, February was wonderfully and consistently mild.  The cherry trees bloomed early and were outstanding.

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They bloomed.  No cold snap or heavy rains to damage the blooms.  Looked good for 2 weeks like they should.  The Asian Magnolias or Tulip Trees or whatever you want to call them were spectacular.  Sorry, no pictures.  I was having camera issues.  The blooms were so full and large on these trees that petals dropped and covered the ground while the trees still looked good.  For here, the variety that is planted usually is not that showy.  The buds will get nipped or something will happen.  But not this year, it was their year.

Last summer I saw an offer for 50 mixed daffodil bulbs from White Flower Farms in Better Homes and Gardens for a very good price.  So I went ahead and bought them.  Planting them in the fall.

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What a show they have been putting on.

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The first one opened on February 4.  Gradually more and more have opened.  And it was a nice mix of bulbs.  I would buy it again if I just had more room.  When I planted them I also stuck a day lily in. We’ll see how they look this summer.

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So, is all this snow?  No, flower petals from the tree out front.  See the hydrangea at the base of the tree?  Monday as all the snow and sleet came down it was asking for a coat and gloves

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I have been very conscientious about covering it up every night.  Hopefully the tender buds have been saved.   Never a dull moment here.

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Fall

We didn’t really have Fall in our part of Italy.  Lots of non-decidous trees; pines, cypress, cedars, live oaks.  This is our first full fall back.  Here in NC because it has been so warm still (it was 80 degrees on Monday, 11/6) the trees are just starting to turn now that we are having a cold spell.

The hoo-ha over Monday being the last warm day for a while prompted me to go out and plant daffodil bulbs in the front.  Earlier in the summer I thinned the cannas.  Many years ago my neighbor was an older man of European descent who loved to garden and had the beds around the front of his unit and mine looking very nice.  He is long gone and no one has really touched them since.  The cannas had taken over, even  covering a couple of azaleas.

There is a lawn care service that comes every Monday at the CRACK of dawn.  In early September they put out grass seed, on the day that hurricane Maria was supposed to swing by.  Well, we got about a teaspoon of rain from the storm and no other rain for over 30 days.  I realized that the seed was not going to come up unless someone watered.  And my neighbors were getting married at the end of September so I thought it would be nice if that grass grew.  So I watered, two times a day, every day for over two weeks.  The Monday, after spreading grass seed, the lawn care staff was back, cutting, raking and blowing.  The next Monday the same thing happened again.  That was when I gave up watering the entire front.  What is the point if someone is going rake/disturb all the seed.  I did finally find a lawn patch kit that I spread on the bare spot by our door and barricaded it off so no will tramp through it.  I have been watering again.  Reseeded another time and finally have a reasonable amount of grass coming up.  Even though I whine about the lawn care folks I do appreciate that they come and cut and rake and blow leaves so that I don’t have to do that.

Back to my daffodil bed, while thinning the cannas I discovered some day lilies.  I also went on Craig’s List and traded some of my cannas for more day lillies.  So every daffodil got a day lily friend planted with it.  After the daffs do their thing, the day lillies should be coming up and will fill in and cover the dying daff foliage.  Behind them is some bee balm that did not do well in the planter in the back and a few other prennials.  That whole front bed should be pretty low maintenance next summer but blooming and colorful.

This is at least the 4th daffodil bed that I have started.  I always think of my grand mother when I plant daffodils.  She had them in her yard in Kentucky.  I think I helped her plant some.  She died in early November many years ago.  So it is nice to remember her as I plant bulbs and start a new flower bed.  Think she would be happy that I did.

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When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold

Bare ruin’d choirs where late the sweet birds sang

                                                                                         Shakespeare

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Summer has arrived

Written July 20, 2017

 

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Finally, a peach sandwich.  One of my absolute favs.  One thing that I missed so much in Italy.  Yes, Michael, Italy has peaches but a strange variety that was never juicy and flavourful.  And we rarely visited the US in the summer so I don’t think I have had one of these for ten years or so.  I make cinnamon toast, then slice the peach on it, sprinkle some more cinnamon on and ohhhhh, Heaven right here in Carolina!   One of the things I was most excited about coming back for.  It’s the small stuff that makes life worth living for.

 

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It’s Called Ensuite

One of the things I was most excited about when remodeling our condo was that I was getting a bath tub.  Back in February I went to a local supplier to view the choices.  I really wanted to climb in a few and check them out.  But all the floor models were not secured to the floor and somewhat wobbly.  In the end I had to pick my tub online!  So I was pretty worried about my choice.  Well the big day came (the week after we had moved in) the tub arrived!

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Frank (in charge of day to day operations on site) brought it over on his truck.  With help he got it upstairs.  And of course it would not fit through my bath room door.

Several days passed.  Some ripping out of walls (washer and dryer won’t fit either) and the plumbers were back to install the tub.  Most of the day spent tweaking pipes and this and that.  I was getting excited.  And then…. lo and behold the hose of the hand shower was damaged.  Another week wait and finally this week 6/12 the tub was installed.  I had to wait for the NEW washer to be fixed (that happened this week also) because I wanted clean towels for my first bath.  And my first bath was very enjoyable.

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But I kind of liked it the bedroom too……

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Resolved:

Our first real meal that I cook at 1652 will be spiral sliced ham.  Here in Italy I watch Mike and Molly reruns every night on Italian TV in English.  About once a week, the family (Vince, Joyce, Victoria, Mike and Molly) all sit down to a dinner.  And there it is, spiral sliced ham.  I miss that so much I can almost taste it.  Yellow squash, snow peas too.  I got plans….

 

I wrote that before we left Italy.  Even though we moved in to 1652 on 5/19, we had to wait until 6/1 until the range was hooked up to gas.  We had several false starts so I was still buying microwaveable meals each day.  It was late in the afternoon when three men working together finally got the gas connection to work, so that made my daily grocery store trip happening at 7:00 PM.  No time for a whole ham.

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I think I did pretty well, ham steak, yellow squash (local) and corn.

I went outside later and when I came back in I realized that the house smelled like food.  I realized then, that we were finally home.  Thanks to every one who has helped to get us this far.

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Random Pictures

Sometimes I have pictures that I can’t manage a long post about.  So just enjoy these pictures and comments.

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It was on sale.  $5 off so ONLY $11.  I almost choked but bought it anyway to enjoy on a special occasion.  It takes me a whole week now to drink a bottle of wine.  (short pause while my friends in Italy gasp in disbelief)  I am holding my own with beer drinking however.

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About the only fog I see here is when I take a bath and fogged up the windows

 

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I might have to do something with these in the future.

 

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Totally miss these.  We can only afford to buy it when it is on sale.

 

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My attempt at colonizing the front porch.  Turns out that our neighbor’s dog is allergic so I had to move them.  I got all these pansies for $5.  The pots for free from the agricultural recycling bin at the State Farmers’ Market.

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Wait until you see these again….

 

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Spring pasta using leftovers from my fake eggs Benedict.

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Janis Joplin stamps.  Look closely at the sheet.  It is a 45 record sleeve.

 

 

 

 

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What have we been up to, part 2

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Continuing on the deck theme, the planter.  On one side of the deck instead of a regular rail that would have looked right into our neighbor’s deck rail and deck, our contractor suggested a large planter box that acted as the rail and gave some privacy.  It is over six feet long, about two feet wide and the height of a regular deck rail.

February and March were very mild here and we were out looking at a lot of plant nurseries.  It nearly killed me not to buy plants.  But I couldn’t until I had a place to put them.  I might have written and whined about not being able to fill the deck planter until wires were run and inspections were done.  In the mean time I dreamed and planned, shopped and checked out garden books from the library.  Took lots of pictures of existing planters which were commercially planted and maintained.

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Finally, everything was inspected.  With help, I added drainage rock and soil and then I did what I was trying to avoid; went plant shopping and bought plants not on my carefully crafted list!  But they were there.  And needed a home.  (that is why we don’t go to animal shelters or to look at baby chicks)

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neighbor’s planter box in the upper left

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I really like this dwarf  blue ‘mouse ears’ hosta.

I have really jammed plants in there.  Lambs Ear, Sweet Grass, Creeping Jenny, Sweet Potato Vine, Asparagus Fern, Bee Balm, Rudbeckia Daisy, Holly Fern to name a few.  I hope they all make it.  Most will winter over.

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Some things at the back should grow taller and will give more privacy.  And some plants will bloom and hopefully attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  I don’t have the year round height that small evergreens would have given me.  I don’t have the miniature Buddleia (butterfly bush) that I wanted.  Don’t have a miniature hydrangea.  Don’t have a dwarf crape myrtle.   Whine whine whine (I will have that (wine that is) when I get a chair to sit and enjoy the deck)  I do have, thanks to a smart contractor/designer,  the nicest deck in our courtyard.  (And a view of the Broughton High School baseball field)

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I’m looking forward to…

Part of a continuing series

A COLD DRAFT MILLER LITE BEER, served to me at a restaurant or bar while sitting outside in the Carolina sunshine

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I’m looking forward to…

Having more than four choices of canned soup

Having a wide range of already prepared foods in a grocery store

Being able to buy cold American beer

Living in Cameron Village and being a short walk or drive from everything

Reading Sunday papers

Going out for breakfast or brunch

 

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