Sunday, July 31

The Concert.....

and some not very exciting, random photos of that night. Our seats were directly in line with the front left corner of the stage, but we were in the stands, just under the private boxes. It is pretty high up to be able to get good photos with a point and shoot, even if it does zoom a little. I took a few short videos (and felt wicked, since it was against the rules) but I can't get them to play here, for some odd reason.   This photo shows Pia and Lauren.

The women...

Nearly everyone but Scotty.....The show started at 7:15 and ran until about 10pm.  They each did solos and also sang in small groups and there were two production numbers with all of them except Scotty. He didn't make an appearance on stage until the show had been going for two hours, and it was clear that everyone thought he should have come out at least once earlier in the evening. For the fist 30 minutes or so, I was thinking they should call it the Pia show, since she sang 3-4 numbers alone and a few duets. I like Pia, but I wouldn't attend a concert of her and no one else.  Finally the others began to come out on stage. A highlight for me was when Casey played his bass viol and then sang with Haley. I love their jazz renditions.

My daughter and her niece (my 14-year-old granddaughter) sat down on the floor-level, but they were as far from the stage as we (my 11 year-old-granddaughter and I) were.   James (the rocker) was the only one who came into the arena through the people on the floor, and my granddaughter was thrilled that she got to touch him on the arm as he passed by. I guess she will remember that for the rest of her life.

I think the contestants this year were the best group ever, and they have all improved since the finale. They are learning showmanship, use of the stage, stage presence and projection - and they are all terrific - with one exception. There was one guy I never cared for and I still don't, but I won't mention who it is, since it would serve no purpose here. He could have been your favorite.  I was very impressed with Stefano this time. He has improved greatly and is a very good singer. Naima Adedapo is as well, and a great dancer too, which was not evident during the season. She did an African dance routine during one of her solos that was very good.  

When Scotty came out, the arena (19,500 people for this event) erupted in thunderous applause and catcalls. He sang four songs (I think), a duet with Lauren,  and then the whole group sang one or two more. It was a very good show. The video screens were kept busy with images from the season, their commercials for autos and messages from judges and Ryan. In case you didn't know, I won two tickets to the show with "Money Mailer". But I already had two tickets that my daughter had purchased for me. That made it possible for she and I to go and to take two of my four granddaughters (and I am sure the other two might have loved to go as well.) I was told that the tickets I won cost $205 each. Considering that they were fairly high up in the stands, I am trying to imagine what the floor tickets cost (the ones close to the stage). I had read that on the day of the concert, tickets were selling for up to $2,200 each. I was advised to sell my tickets - but I thought it would be  very hard to get that much for my tickets even if I listed them online - and I really wanted to go to the concert. I think it was worth it!

Now for the odd coincidence department:  When we were in the car trying to exit the parking lot, the car we were behind was driven by the two strangers we had sat next to in the concert. I know it was them, because they were in a car emblazoned with the logos of the company that I won the tickets from. The owner told me that she had an internal contest also, and the person who sold the most ads that month also won two tickets. Considering that there were 19,500 people trying to get out of the parking lot - what are the odds that we would be right next to the same people we sat beside in the concert???

Saturday, July 30

Previews of Coming Attractions

White rose boutonniere with a James Storeii orchid, gardenia leaves and seeded eucalyptus.

Corsage:  a white calla and rose, with wax flower, rosemary and lily grass.

Wrist corsage:  two miniature cymbidium orchids with wax flower.

The bouquets that Mel made, sitting in the cooler.

One of my pair of sprays that will hang on the stair railings at a country club. I'll get to the post about the concert either tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, July 28

Later Alligator

Sorry....I'm too tired to write about the concert tonight. I work tomorrow and Sat. too, so maybe I'll get to it on Sunday. Thanks for hanging in.

What made Me Deafer Than Ever....

Taken last night at the Idol concert (Scotty and Lauren). I will write about it for you later, but now I have to go to work. I can't believe this is post # 1700! This is a video, but it won't play here and I don't know why.
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Wednesday, July 27

Livin' the Life.....

Found some place I can't remember - so I hope whoever took the photo doesn't care that I've borrowed it. I think I might be able to do this all day long. How about you?

Tuesday, July 26

Flower Shuttle Tuesday

I loved the striations on this lavender chrysanthemum, and I don't ever remember seeing them before. They remind me a little of fritillaria, even though it isn't as pronounced in the mum petals.  Can you tell I love blue and lavender flowers together?  I have not been to the flower shuttle in about 8 weeks. Today I was welcomed so warmly by so many, that I feel I must try very hard to get back on track and go more often!!

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Monday, July 25

Hereafter Known As.....

"The great pantry cleanout of 2011." (I won't kid myself and say it will be done again this year!) I found a box of untried recipes, and some booklets like the one I'm showing here - but nothing as cute as this!  I really hope that you can click and make them larger, because the copy if amusing and some of the recipes appear to be good ones. Let me know if you cook any filet of sole.....LOL

Yesterday's continuation of the cleaning yielded a bag of chocolate chips with bloom on them - dated 2006, and two stale bags of chips and pretzels. I have quite a few bag clips; if only I could convince that man who lives here that he has to fold the bags down several times  (removing the air)  before clipping them.

Sunday, July 24

Out My Kitchen Window

A mama cardinal flew up to my bone-dry birdbath this morning and made me feel guilty for not having filled it yet. It's been so hot that the water evaporates almost immediately anyway. So I took out a pitcher of water and some birdseed.  I'm sure she will appreciate it - if she can convince herself to return. Somehow the birds haven't noticed (or don't trust) that I no longer have cats. I don't usually feed birds in the summer, but with the excessive heat, I'm sure they have a harder time finding something to eat. *** About 30 minutes after I posted this, I saw the mama cardinal merrily taking a bath!

 I've been nursing along a pot of weeds just to see what kind of plant they grow into, but even they are drying up and turning yellow, in spite of my efforts. I miss seeing color in the back yard, but nothing would grow this year without extreme watering and care - so I'm not really sorry that I didn't put forth any effort, or buy lots of potted plants. I had to make do with the forsythia in the spring and the recently dried-on-the-bush gardenias. They were both pretty for a day or two and then dessication set in. The temperature reached 103* here yesterday and it will be at least 99* today. Thank Heaven for the pool; just looking at it makes me cooler. I hope to get in it today, though.

The deer have all but abandoned me. All last year I saw herds of 6-9 nearly every day in the woods around my home, but this summer, I only see 1-2 at a time and not every day. My son speculated that they have left to be near a water source (in short supply around here now) and will return when temps moderate and foliage returns. I hope so, as I love seeing them around. 

How are you, your plants and animals weathering this extreme heat?

Friday, July 22

My Pantry

The pantry gets cleaned out at least twice a year - or so I would tell you and believe it to be true - but what I found today makes that appear to be a lie. There were four (count 'em - four) containers of hot chocolate mix and although only one of them had an expiration date, that was April 1996. Since I don't think ANY hot chocolate has been mixed in this house since before 2000, I tossed them all out. There was a package (half-used) of lasagna noodles, which seemed to be petrified, so out they went. 

A plastic container of dry cat food was there, as well as six cat bowls. Since my kitties have recently gone on to their great reward in the sky, I put those away in a storage closet for safe-keeping, should I ever again decide I want to clean litter pans daily and spend small fortunes at the veterinary office.The cat food will be donated.

The medicine chest also got checked; and it had cough medicine that had expired, and calamine lotion. It may be that stuff was still good, but why take a chance?  I found enough band aids to last two lifetimes, especially since no children reside here any more, and the grand kids are beyond the point of needing them, at least not every time they visit. 

My plastic storage containers have been multiplying (as I'm sure yours do). I'm referring to the smaller ones. The bigger ones seem to go missing every time we have company (and give them something to take home) and I seldom get them back. So I mated all of them to their better-halves and while they do take up a lot of space, at least I won't have to search for the tops - this week. The next time the dish-washer gets cleaned out by that man who lives here with me, they will all be heaved into the bin willy-nilly.

Who knows what I will find tomorrow, when I complete the project. Have you tackled your pantry/cabinets recently? What oddments did you find?

Thursday, July 21

 We're having a heat wave. I think many of you could say that now and not be prevaricating. I was driving down a major road here today and the temperature gauge in my car said 101*. As I passed a certain point, it started sprinkling, and within seconds, it was a full cloudburst. By the time I had gone only half a mile, the gauge said 89*. Apparently, the rainwater was able to cool the air temperature that quickly, but I would never have guessed that was possible. We needed the rain badly, so I was glad to see it, and hoped that the area around my home was getting some of it too.  About 90 minutes later, I retraced my route, and the pavements were wet until I passed the original place where the sprinkling started - then it was as dry as a bone all the rest of the way home. About 3 hours later, we got a measure of it too. Not enough, but some is better than nothing.

Are you an avid reader?  I'd like to recommend an author whose books I've gotten to know lately. Her name is Lisa See. First, I read "Snowflower and the Secret Fan", and enjoyed it. Then a friend gave me her novels "Shanghai Girls" and its sequel, "Dreams of Joy". Each one is better than the last! I'm not suggesting that guys would like these books (although some might) but I simply didn't want to put them down, especially the last one. I've read that "Snowflower...." has been made into a movie. I can't wait to see it, and I hope they will make movies of the other two.

I'll leave you with a quote - a true one - I think, and especially of politicians:

                             "We have, I fear, confused power with greatness".

                                          Stewart I. Udall, politician (1920-2010)

Wednesday, July 20

Quotes of Note

Religious freedom should work two ways: we should be free to practice the religion of our choice, but we must also be free from having someone else's religion practiced on us.

John Irving, novelist (b. 1942)


"Always show the greatest kindness to the ones you like the least. If you show kindness to your mother-in-law, who like all women has been bred to hate her daughter-in-law, then you will create an obligation she will never be able to repay."  Author Lisa See, in Dreams of Joy, 2011

Monday, July 18


I, who seldom win anything, just won two tickets to the American Idol concert in Raleigh next week!! As far as I can tell, that's a $160 prize! I am sooooooo happy. Don't you wish you could go with me?  

I almost said "Don't you wish you were me?", but that would be silly, since few want to be 70 and 20 pounds  (unless you're 80 and 40 pounds over!)

Sunday, July 17

The Argiopes are Back!

You'll pardon the blurry photo, I hope. I worked today, and it required more heavy lifting and bending than I am currently capable of, so I hurt my back.  Getting a clear photo of the spider required me to bend over again, and I wasn't about the stay in that position long enough to get a good focus.

Remember this post about the argiope spiders?

Saturday, July 16

A Tiny Wrist Corsage + More Rants

Working at the flower shop on Friday, I learned a new way to make a wrist corsage, which is especially nice for younger girls. It is attached to a slightly more than 1" wide double-faced satin ribbon, which gets tied onto the wrist in a "shoe-string" or double-loop bow. I enjoy learning new ways of doing things!

Remember my recent rants?  I have more (and you must be tired of hearing them).  I shall rant on; however.....

The upstairs heat pump went out two days ago. The capacitor (whatever that is, and it costs a small fortune. 

The plumber was unable to find a re-build kit for my old faucet - so it has to be replaced - another small fortune spent (or will be soon.)

The yellow algae in the pool has come roaring back with a vengeance. Apparently it really likes the Alkalinity Up and the 8 pounds of chlorine and quart of algaecide I put into the pool over the last few days. Sheeeesh!

I'm still waiting for the new stove hood to arrive, and the new stove top cannot (should not) be installed until it does. So......nearly two weeks after the new one arrived here, I'm still waiting. BAH!!

Friday, July 15

Happy Birthday to My Daughter

On July 15, 1969, I gave birth to a baby girl. She was beautiful then and she still is. We are very proud of the woman she has become and I look forward to seeing what she can accomplish in the future. She has given us four gorgeous, wonderful grandchildren; she went back to school several years ago and became an R.N., and she loves her work.

Sweetheart, we hope that this next year will prove to be one of your very best!! We love you always!

Thursday, July 14

I went to a consignment shop today; not so much to buy as to find out their policies for consigning. I saw this brown pitcher, like one I bought in the early 60's. This brown ironstone was part of a set of premiums offered by a grocery store back then (A&P, I think). I had a large set of it, and I gave most of it to my daughter when she got married in 1992. I don't remember how much it cost when new, but their price today was $36. I can tell you that the whole set probably didn't cost that much! I asked my daughter if she still has her pitcher - and she does - although not much else remains. I can't imagine anyone being willing to pay $36 (or even $26) for that, unless they had a set and wanted to complete it. It weighs a lot even when it is empty, and when it's filled, it takes a muscle man to lift it!

This old Formica kitchen dining table reminds me of the one that my parents had when I was about 10-12 years old; only ours was yellow with gray accents on six chairs. Our kitchen back then was painted turquoise - wildly popular in the late 40's to mid 50's. The bright yellow table was quite an accent in the kitchen. I really wouldn't mind having one of these old tables now. They were functional, easy to clean and almost indestructible - to which this one bears witness!

Wednesday, July 13

Comments on Old, Old Blog Posts

I received a comment today on a blog post I wrote way back in 2005 - I guess there's life in the backwoods of my internet experiences even yet!!

Monday, July 11

It's Too Darn Hot (a Rant in Several Sections)

The temperature gauge in my car today was 95*, and I heard on the news that the heat index was 101* - and tomorrow, the heat index is going to be 105-110**. I don't know how many days we have been over 90* this summer, but it started early in the spring and hasn't let up for more than 1 or 2 days at a time. Add that to the fact that we need more rain badly, and you know why there is no green grass (except where people have sprinkler systems) and even the trees looked stressed from the unrelenting heat.

I thought I had a dentist appointment today - but after I went there, I found out it is tomorrow. GAH!  I hate when that happens, and I have no one but myself to blame. They usually call me to confirm, but this time they didn't - so maybe I can blame it on them.  lol

Our pool is yellow (again). Mustard algae rears its ugly head once more. Just about the time I get rid of it, we get a rain storm and it dilutes all the chemicals and the algae comes back. I am tired of fighting it and tired of paying for more chemicals!

The plumber made another visit today; I discovered a leak under the kitchen sink. It is in the faucet, so unless he can find a kit to rebuild it, I will have to buy another faucet. It's always something, isn't it? 

Sunday, July 10

Helpful Hints

To keep lint and dist off glass table tops, wash them in a solution of warm water and fabric softener. Add one tablespoon of fabric softener to one quart of warm water. The fabric softener will clean the glass and will keep lint from gathering (also good for TV screens and computers).

When corks are too large to go into a bottle, toss them into hot water for a few moments and they will soften.

Instead of using expensive lime removers for toilets and bathroom fixtures, try hydrogen peroxide first; it can do the job at a fraction of the cost.

To remove permanent marker from appliances and counter tops, use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.

Toss a few old bath towels into the wash with a shower curtain. The towels will rub off all traces of soap scum and dirt. Hang shower curtains back up right out of the wash.

When you go to bed at night, place flower arrangements into the refrigerator, making the flowers last much longer. Be careful that your refrigerator doesn't get below 35*. 

Saturday, July 9

Did You Know?

The healthy human eye can distinguish about 17,000 different colors.

The pigmy shrew, a relative of the mole, is the smallest mammal in North America. It weighs 1/14 of an ounce less than a dime.

The lanula is the half-moon shaped pale area at the base of fingernails.

The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six  (yes, six) inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.

If you attempted to count the stars in our galaxy at the rate of one each second, it would take 3,000 years to count them all.

When NASA first sent up astronauts, they discovered that ballpoint pens would not write in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from freezing to 300*C. The Russians used a pencil.

Friday, July 8

The Meaning of Rose Colors

Red:  the symbol of pure love

White:  symbolize purity or new beginnings

Yellow:  everlasting friendship (old or new friends)

Orange:  enthusiasm and desire; a burning love

Purple or Lavender:  love at first sight, passion, luxury, royalty

Pink:  admiration, appreciation, joy, thanks (any shade of pink)

Peach:  sincerity and gratitude

This list leaves out the newest colors of rose -  green - available from pale to lime green. I wonder what the meaning of these will be?

So, tell me:   what's your favorite shade of rose?

Thursday, July 7

Two Things

Anyone need a 30+ year old pinata?  I suspect the candy inside was probably stale when we bought it -  but it might be still edible.  lol  This thing has been in a closet for at least 29 years, and I guess it is time to get rid of it.

*Edit below:   You know how frustrating it can be when you are waiting for something to be delivered and it doesn't come?  I ordered a new cooktop last week from a company in Alabama, on the advice of my installer, instead of buying it locally, because the price was half on-line. YES, half, and shipping was only $15. They sent an email the next day saying it had been shipped. I waited for FedEx to arrive, but they didn't come and we had to go out to dinner that night. Lo and behold, on Sunday morning I found a sticky note on my front storm door saying that they had tried to deliver at 7:45 pm on Saturday night. Who delivers that late on Sat? On Tuesday, I called the 800 number to see if I could establish when they were coming. I couldn't get a human on the line, of course, but the robot told me they would deliver today (Wednesday). It is almost 6pm now, and I'm still waiting.  :-(

* It came at 6:45.....YAY!  Now I have to wait for the new vent hood to arrive, and I can call the installer. 

Wednesday, July 6

Haircut Day

Haircut day always take us into a building that has atrium walkways, with skylights in the ceilings, making for a wonderful place to grow greenery, both exotic and ordinary. I love croton plants. They range from simple, green veined leaves to wild oranges, reds and yellows - sometimes all on the same plant.When I walked in this morning, the sun was shining down directly on a croton with many red leaves, making it appear to be on fire. The photo didn't quite capture what I was seeing, but perhaps you'll enjoy it anyway.

I think I have told you this before, but when we were in Mexico (Cancun), crotons were used extensively in landscape plantings and depending on where they are located, the colors vary widely.  Around here, they are used as indoor plants, but if our 90* + temperatures don't moderate soon, we could probably grow them outside!

Tuesday, July 5

The 235th Celebration of Our Independence

Yesterday we hosted two of our kids and five of our grand kids for swimming and deck time. I cooked brats** and hotdogs, made potato salad (thanks Sandra and Billy - the potatoes are great!), baked beans and all the trimmings. My daughter-in-law sent a chocolate eclair cake (to die for).  I still didn't make it into the pool, and by 4pm it was thundering steadily. It didn't quit until around 9pm. After sitting on the deck for almost three hours in 99* heat, I don't know who was roasted more - us or the brats!

We watched "A Capitol Fourth" and Macy's Fireworks and I am all out of celebrations at this point. Hope your Fourth of July was memorable!

Today is haircut day (it couldn't have come a minute too soon!)

** short for bratwurst.  

Monday, July 4

Third Time is the Charm, Right?

I'm not sure what is wrong with my new computer, but something keeps happening that is driving me crazy. This is the third time I have tried to write this post. About two or three sentences in, the cursor automatically moves to a previous line and if I don't notice it right away, I'll type on and on, while the words are out of place. That's easy enough to correct, but then, as I am typing, something (and it is not me) highlights all previous words and/or photos and they instantly disappear.  That didn't happen often with Windows XP on my old computer, but with this Windows 7, it happens too often and I'm going nuts trying to get posts written. I am careful to click "save now" fairly often, so I don't know how that happens.

I was trying to tell you Happy Independence Day, so I hope it works this time - or I'll just forget it!!

Sunday, July 3

Sorbonne Lilies

I couldn't decide which photo I liked better, so I'm posting both. These Sorbonnes are my favorite lilies.

Saturday, July 2

Happy Anniversary!

to me - and to Mr. Kenju.*

Today we reach 47 years of wedded bliss  -  ROFLMAO - well, maybe not bliss all those years - but we are still together. It hasn't been easy for either of us, but we are proud of that record, especially since so few achieve it.

* check out the link above - and here's another one.

Friday, July 1

Im'ma Be on TV, Maybe.....*

* probably not.  (EDIT BELOW)

Mel gave me a heads up on Thursday that a local TV station would be at the shop that morning; filming a segment on how to have lovely wedding flowers on a budget. Knowing that I would only be in the background, if at all, I nevertheless dressed in slightly better clothes than I ordinarily do (which isn't saying and I wore jewelry, which I seldom do for work.

I had barely gotten in the door when the truck, blazoned with WTVD Channel 11 on the side, parked out front. Shortly, the door opened and a reporter came in. Mel had set up his consultation table with examples of how to decorate wedding tables on a budget. The cameraman followed, and the interview commenced. I was in the rear of the shop, conditioning flowers for the weekend's weddings.

As the interview ended, the reporter (Amber Rupinta), came into the work area and was introduced to me. She appears to be a very pretty woman on TV, but in person, she is gorgeous!! (Amber, you should wear red everyday!) Amber spoke with us while the camera man took footage of the flowers I was conditioning, opening boxes, etc. I sincerely doubt that any of that footage will make the newscast, but just in case, it will be shown in the 4pm news segment on WTVD, Channel 11, Raleigh, Durham and surrounding areas, on Friday.

*NOT!   LOL!!   Mel looked good, though. I reminded him that the camera adds ten pounds. I didn't really expect to be on camera, so it didn't surprise me - or bother me - at all.