Sunday, February 28, 2010

Books Read During The Snowy Winter

While we were knee deep in snow this winter I stayed warm inside my house and read lots and lots of books. Below is a list of some of the books I really enjoyed reading. I seem to have chosen many novels and memoirs connected to Eastern Europe and the Middle East and India.

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

A Persian Requiem, by Simin Daneshvar

The 42'nd Parallel, by John Dos Passos

The Year of Reading Proust, by Phyllis Rose

The Master Butchers Singing Club, by Louise Erdrich

The Dowry Bride, by Shobhan Bantwal

The Twelve Little Cakes, Memoir of a Praque Childhood, by Dominika Dery

Do you want to learn more about any of these books. Well then, go to my other blog which is

PiedmontReaders. Click here:

Meteorological Spring Starts Tomorrow

You can't really believe it by looking at all the snow still left on the ground around our home that with March coming in on Monday that meteorological spring will also start tomorrow. I think everyone is looking forward to the coming of March but we don't want to put away our winter jackets just yet.

Jack yesterday did shovel all the remaining snow off the patio furniture and off the brick patio. While he did that I raked leaves out of the flower beds on the east side of the house. It felt good to see some flower beds sans snow and leaves and with little green things beginning to appear above the ground.
The most snow has melted in the front of the house and along the east side. The more shaded back of the house and the west side of the house still has snow over a foot deep and it is still very hard to walk on these sides of the house. Each time you step in the foot deep snow it feels like you are stepping into hardened cement that scratches your ankles and legs.
But to put ourselves in a spring mood I fixed our spring tonic for supper. My mom and dad in Ohio always enjoyed picking wild dandelion greens in the very early spring and then fixing them to serve over fried potatoes. I didn't gather my dandelions along the roadside like my mom used to do but bought them at Wegmans grocery. I have no idea where Wegmans got them.
By the way, my godmother Agnes Dapore who lived just down the road from our farmhouse always managed to beat my mom in finding and serving the first dandelion greens of the year. She would walk down the road to visit with my mom and my mom would say we just had dandelions and Agnes would reply that she had her first batch two weeks ago. LOL!
Below is the recipe for wilted dandelion salad over fried potatoes:
Wilted Dandelion Salad With Fried Potatoes

1. Wash, dry and break into pieces the dandelion greens and place in large salad bowl.
2. Add about four hardboiled eggs that have been cut up into large chunks to the salad.
3. Add about four well fried pieces of bacon that been broken into pieces to the salad. Save bacon
drippings to be used for salad dressing.
4. Add two coarsely chopped green onions to the salad.
5. Add several sliced raw radishes to the salad.
6. Sprinkle salad with salt and grind some pepper over it.
7. Set salad aside and prepare the fried potatoes in this fashion: in a warm skillet place some
olive oil, then add some garlic, a yellow onion chopped fine and three or four potatoes peeled
and sliced. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Let potato slices brown on both sides.
Then lower the heat and continue frying the potatoes for about 15 minutes or till done.
8. Right before sitting down to eat heat up the bacon grease and add a pinch of salt and a pinch
of pepper and a tablespoon of sugar. Then add one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Bring this dressing to a rolling boil for one minute. Then remove from heat, pour over
the dandelion salad and toss the salad to dress the salad.
9. The way my parents ate this was by placing a heap of fried potatoes on a plate and then
covering the potatoes with the wilted dandelion salad.
10. By the way any ordinary or exotic lettuce like either iceberg or frisee or radicchio can also
be prepared in this fashion.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Visit Jenn's Blog

Jack has big plans for me today so I don't have time to blog but my daughter has just uploaded lots of new cute photos of our grandson Jack Aidan so please go here to take a peek:

Friday, February 26, 2010

First Day of School 2/26/10

Today will be the first day of school for our grandson, Little Jack. See his little backpack on his back. I wanted to take a frontal view of Little Jack with his backpack but Little Jack didn't want to let Grandma take his picture so he flew through the family room and foyer and then whipped through our living room on his way to our dining room and he didn't stop till he was in the kitchen where he quickly shed his Thomas the Train backpack. LOL! It's hard to catch a two year old on the run!
If you unzipped the backpack you would find a "New England Patriots" football and a train toy and his sippy cup.

Here is the front of the backpack.
I hope his first day of school goes well for him and for my daughter Jennifer!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Flowers For Brother Carl Gariety

These Flowers Are For My Brother Carl Gariety
Who Is At The Cincinnati University Medical Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
Jack and I Hope You Are Feeling Better!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My World Tuesday = Shirley Plantation

I'm late.
I'm late.
For a very important date:
Posting my My World Tuesday pics.
(This what happens when you upgrade to Windows 7 and you have to reinvent the wheel so to speak.)
Above is my very favorite plantation home in the state of Virginia.
It backs to the James River and has been farmed by the same family for over 14 generations.
Can you believe that. Do take note of the beautiful wood moulding and paneling on all the walls.
This is one of the main drawing rooms of the three story home. Jack and I first came here to tour it in July of 1983. While we were listening to the tour guide we saw a man in farm jeans and shirt enter and go up the grand walnut staircase to the second floor. The tour guide then told us that this man in work clothes was the current owner of the plantation and was coming in for lunch in the family quarters after being out in the field harvesting a crop. I think the crop was either wheat or hay. Since 1983 we have made two more trips back to Shirley to tour it.

It was on the 1983 trip that Jack and I got into big trouble. The plantation owner who lived upstairs had two yellow cats and they would follow us from one room to another and both my daughters who love cats couldn't resist going up to the cats. Jack took a picture of Jennifer looking at one of the the cats on one of the big colonial beds (see above pic) and he also took a picture of three year old Jeanine looking at the same cat. (see below pic)

In the next room that we visited with the tour guide and about twenty other tourists I was concentrating on what the tour guide had to say when the tour guide stopped and announced that the parents of the children who are pulling the cats' tails in the colonial crib need to attend to their children. Jack and I look around and oh, my gosh, we were the terrible parents who were not watching their kids close enough and allowing them to pull the cats' tails in the crib!

Oh, we were so embarrassed but not as embarrassed as our two redfaced girls! By the way, the crib that the cats were lounging in was the very same crib that Robert E. Lee from Virginia used as a crib when he was a tiny baby.

Well, that is my Virginia home tour for this Tuesday. If you haven't done so already, please go visit some other My World Tuesday memes by just clicking here:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Three Places To See In British Columbia

The name Vancouver implies three tourist sites: Vancouver City, Vancouver's ski resort known as Whistler and Vancouver Island which is not only home to the capitol city of British Columbia but to the most beautiful flower gardens I have ever visited anywhere in the world. Victoria is the name of the capitol city of British Columbia on Vancouver Island and it is a gorgeous city with castles and gardens. Butchart Gardens is the name of the gardens that are so awesome and amazing. I have been to Keekenoff Gardens in Holland and to the gardens of Versailles in France but Butchart Gardens has them both beat in my humble opinion. Enjoy these photos taken on 2007.
The day we were there there were tons of Japanese tourists who were oohing and awwing over the beautiful Japanese and Chinese gardens at Butchart gardens.

The spring flowers were in full bloom the first week of May. I love these tulips. So fresh!

In the city of Victoria you can visit some interesting English sights too. In above pic is is a reproduction of Anne Hathaway's cottage garden in England.

There is even a reproduction of Shakespeare's home in England

Here is an authentic castle in Victoria.
Hatley Castle
An amazing Victorian castle to visit in Victoria is Craigrock Castle.
This is the parlor set for afternoon British tea.

I just loved the ornately carved wall clock above the stone mantle
in this castle. It looked very Black Forest German to me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So busy. No time to blog this weekend. I'm reading some great novels and watching the Winter Olympics and Jack is installing Windows 7 on our computer. What a job the installation is! Holy Crap! Will write tomorrow. Remember that tonight is the big rumble between Canada and the U.S. in ice hockey.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skywatch Friday = Mormon Temple in Kensington, Maryland

As you are driving the beltway that circles Washinton D.C. you come to a point in the road when you see this gigantic white six spired building ahead of you up on a very tall clift. It looks a lot like King Ludvig's castle in Germany. The first time our family encounted this sight I think the girls thought it was a castle.

We had to explain that is was the first Mormon temple built on the east coast and that it opened in December of 1968. This particular temple is larger than the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. One year when the girls were preteens we visited the temple during the Christmas season to see it up close. That particular year the mormons had a live nativity scene on the 52 acre grounds of this temple.
Here's a shot I got from the beltway. The spire to the right has a golden angel at the top. For mormons this is the Angel Maroni statue holding the gold plates. These two pics were taken on Sunday, January 24'th before we had our first blizzard in the metro area. If you want a better view click on each pic to bring it upclose to you.
Please go now and visit some other Skywatch Friday memes by clicking here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Curling Is Strange Sport

Are you watching the curling events at the Winter Olympics? I surely think it is a strange sport. I first heard about curling when I was teaching in Germany at Frankfurt American School #1 and Mary DuPre who was French and from Minnesota told us teachers that curling is what you do in the winter in Minnesota. You go curling. Who knew? Not me or any of the other teachers so she had to give us a blow by blow account of how to curl your stones. Apparently this medieval sport originated in Scotland. The first curling events in the United States occurred outside of Detroit, Michigan. Curling is a late comer to the Winter Olympics since it just started in 1998.

One good thing about curling. No one can seriously get hurt doing the sport. Unlike the luge.

Oh, and guess who is sliding around on the kitchen floor on his back pretending he is a luge competitor? My grandson, little Jack! Except he can't say luge. He says wuge!

Grandma thinks this is adorable.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vancouver's Famous Anthropology Museum

Vancouver has a world famous anthropology museum that highlights native American artifacts. Look at this interesting carving above.
This is a carved and painted canoe that is an alligator with a spoon in his mouth.

A carved dog with a salmon in his mouth.

There is quite a collection of totem poles in this museum.

More totems, boats, and animals.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vancouver, Canada May 2007

Are you enjoying the Winter Olympics in Canada? Jack and I are really enjoying the games and remembering our May 2007 trip to Vancouver and Whistler. Would you like to see what Vancouver looks like in May? All the pics I posted today are from our May 2007 trip. Above is the tower in downtown Vancouver that gives you a great overview of the the area.
This is a pretty building and park as viewed from the tower. Lots and lots of glass buildings in Vancouver, Canada.

The weather was warm so we sat outside on the big Vancouver sightseeing Bus/

Flags of the various provinces of Canada.

A strange site: a tree growing on top of this apartment building.

Canada Place in Vancouver.
Lots of coverage of the Winter Olympics from here.

Beautiful Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada.

The historic steam clock in Vancouver.

Statue to "Gassy Jack" a famous historical figure of Vancouver.

Vancouver Art Museum

Unusual architecture for the Vancouver Public Library

A Chinese Gate in Chinatown

This is where that Canadian beer is brewed.

View of Vancouver's city buildings and harbor.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Blizzard Update

Looked out my window
And what did I see
My Jackie Lee
Making a path to the birdseed.
Lift six shovels of heavy snow
Then take a standing break
In the winter afternoon glow
Cardiac arrest avoidance break!
Check this out.
That Ohio milkcan that is way over two feet tall
Is almost completely covered in snow.
And I'm not giving you a tall tale.
This is the way the snow fell.

The fairy godmother reaches in and finds the birdseed.
And fills all four birdfeeders.
Little birds, please listen up.
Fly down and give thanks to the birdfeeder godmother,
Jackie Lee.

I wonder as I wander down this cleared path
If the GDD's from the golf course
Will sniff out this path to the birdseed.
GDD's = Gosh Darn Deer
Looking for food in our yard.

Washington Nationals Pitcher in Russia, Ohio!

News Flash: Washington Nationals Pitcher, Craig Stammen, who graduated from Versailles High School in Versailles, Ohio gave a pitching class to the students of Russia Local School. For more good info on this event go to the address below to read story and see pics.

It is on the famous Fish Report:

The publisher of the Fish Report is Craig Feissinger, a Russia, Ohio resident who started the report in 2004. Locals use it for news happenings as well as former Russia, Ohio residents who now live out of state and want to keep us with the happenings in dear old Roo-shee. I know Craig because he is married to the daughter of the Russia family that used to rent my father's brick ranch farmhouse on Miller Rd. south of Russia.

Final Thought: my late brother Harold Gariety who pitched for Russia Local High School's baseball team and for the army's Black Knights baseball team in Sendai, Japan in the fifties would have been thrilled to witness this event.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Snow Update

Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada
You say you don't have enough snow on the ski slopes.
Well then, come to my home and use the ski slope that
used to be my basement steps.
Oh, and I hear that Virginia in the south will apply to do the
2014 Winter Olympics. LOL!
I think it is called intensified storms brought on by global warming.
And yes, we do have a pair of robins sitting on the tree branches
wondering why they came back so soon.
Our little bird feet are freezing!
One is up in this tree.
The purple finches and cardinals have been seeking shelter and warmth
in our weeping cherry tree.
I've been seeking shelter and warmth under blankets
on the family room sofa.

Stay warm everyone.
Heard on the news that interstate #70 heading west to Ohio
is closed because of the snow conditions in PA.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Updates: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Monday: Trip to Lake Manassas Cancer Center For CBC Blood Work
Even the main thoroughfare like state routes #15, #29 and Heathcote Blvd.
would suddenly go from two lanes to one lane with no turn lane!
Streets in subdivisions: many have not been cleared of snow.
No above ground Metro and VRE Trains.
No bus service.
Many D.C. federal workers travel in from far places like
Winchester, VA and Frederichsburg, VA
and without above ground Metro and VRE Train service
the federal government has ground to a halt.

When you get to an intersection you need to be extra careful.
The intersections have snow piled up to 5-7 feet which makes
looking out for cars sliding from the other direction a danger.
Especially if you are in a low Honda and a big old truck or suv
is sliding thru the intersection.
Here's another example of a bad intersection with a lost turn lane.
At least we had beautiful sunshine and blue skies on Monday.
Tuesday: Six Hour Chemo Section at the Lake Manasas Cancer Center
Yours truly's shoes are proped up on the recliner.
Gentleman across the way is wearing his Redskins Sweatshirt.
I'm so happy the Saints won the Super Bowl!
I watched part of the parade on Bourbon St. on CNN Tuesday nite!
The photo of Drew Brees and his one year old son after the win is a classic!

View of the snow in the parking lot at the cancer center.
I saw lots of snow plows, salt trucks and emergency vehicles go down state route #29.

Wednesday, 8:00 A.M. : Today's Chemo Session Canceled Because of the Blizzard Conditions
View from our back door.
Icicles reforming along gutters.
Jack had knocked them down once yesterday.

Icicles forming on the wreath on my back door.
All windows in the house glazed with a mixture of ice and freezing snow.

My wreath on the front door has a new dusting of snow.

This view is from an upstairs bedroom in our home.
That icicle is about 3 feet long.
Here's another icicle that is about 2 feet long.
They are forming along the gutters which indicate that we have some snow dams
forming on the roof.
Hope they don't get worse.
Everyone is now aware of roof cave-ins in the greater D.C. metro area.
Fairfax County: Two fire station roofs have caved in.
D.C. Two churches have caved in.
Culpeper County: a barn has caved in.
Erinblair Loop: our neighbor's iron trellis holding up her wisteria vine got so heavy with
snow that the whole thing came crashing down even though the iron trellis had
been buried in concrete!

I'll do another update of our blizzard around noon today.
Stay safe and stay inside if you are in the D.C. Metro area.

Final thought: the only thing I can compare this to is the Thanksgiving Blizzard of
1950 in Ohio that was the worst snow storm in Ohio history. My father Leo Gariety
went to pick up my brother Paul Gariety from Camp Atterbury in Indiana for Thanksgiving Dinner and never made it home. Thankfully my brother Harold Gariety was home to help us milk the cows and do the feeding. My father showed up
on Saturday without Paul. He took him back to Camp Atterbury after spending the night in an unknown farmer's home.

Want more info on the worst snow storm in Ohio, then do
an internet search for this topic: Severe Weather in Ohio.
This site will tell you all about this storm as well as all other severe weather to
hit Ohio like the Xenio Tornado of 1974.

10:40 A.M. Local TV News reporting that the Smithsonian's warehouse in Maryland has
collasped because of the roof caving in this morning. Millions of historic artifacts not currently on display in any of the Smithsonian Museums on the mall are now in
danger of being destroyed by snow and water damage.
5:30 P.M. Snow Blizzard Update
The snow stopped around noon but the blowing and drifting of the snow continued constantly till around 5:00 P.M. Now the gusts are coming at a slower pace.
I think Maryland got more snow than Virginia. However, Washington D.C. has set a new snow record. The most snow to ever fall in one season. It has broken a record set wait back in the winter of 1898-99.
So this is a very historic storm to see in our lifetime here in the D.C. metro area.