Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taking tea

Miss Rosemarie's Special Teas was a "must do" during my friends' visit. Marta had seen them featured in Tea Time magazine and she loves to take tea when she travels. Several years ago when we went to Chicago, we did tea at the Drake Hotel.

They flew into town Friday morning just in time for us to make our lunch reservation.

Miss Rosemarie's is a pretty little tea shop with outstanding food. They offer over 60 different blends of tea and stock a beautiful assortment of teapots, teacups, and accessories for purchase.

We all got the same thing for lunch - the crab crepe accompanied by warm pear bleu cheese raisin bread crostini soup and a salad of mixed greens. Marta and I had the apricot scone for dessert. Best scone we have ever had.

And Marta bought the cookbook with the recipes for our entire meal. Somehow, I think I will have to practice before I get those scones as perfect as these were.

The rest of our afternoon was spent shopping in downtown Homewood. The shop White Flowers was a favorite stop as it is with anyone who visits there. We ate dinner at home and they got the dollar tour of the house.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gift Baskets

Last week was spring break around here. I spent the entire time leading up to Friday morning cleaning my house in anticipation of a visit from two special friends from college. We had been planning this trip for over a year and it was finally happening.

Of course, cleaning turns into a bit of spring cleaning the further you get into it. Not that I had the extra time, but as long as I was going through things, I might as well tackle projects as they came up. That meant going through two drawers in my bedroom that turned into a full out closet cleaning and a big bag of things to drop off at the thrift store. Cleaning the kitchen included pulling the knobs off the stove and cleaning behind them. Something I don't think had ever been done, even by the folks who lived here before me. A warmer day in the middle of the week gave me a chance to spray the weeds in my yard. I am happy to report a goodly number of them are dying and I get to spray again next Wednesday if the weather permits.

Wanting to make my guests' visit special I had started before Christmas collecting little things for gift baskets. What started out as a few happies turned into a basket full of all sorts of fun things.

I had purchased this fabric several years ago with the intent of making something fun for these two friends. It's a long story, but Elvis figures in prominently to our annual gatherings.

Being the practical person that I am, what else could they want but Elvis potholders. These were actually supposed to be done back in the fall when we got together, but that didn't happen. They ended up being the perfect backdrop for all the other goodies in the basket.

Our first meal was at Miss Rosemarie's Special Teas. Marta is quite the tea aficionado and I made tea wallets for them to carry in their purses. I love the way they turned out and need to make myself one now!

All stuffed and placed by their beds.

Here's what's in the basket: 2 Elvis potholders, chocolate, tea wallet, shower cap, bath puff, a pack of fancy tissues, a little bottle of Dove body wash, some fun binder clips, a bottle of water, a cup I found at an antique mall, a package of homemade cookies, a special magnet featuring a local landmark, and a welcome brochure I made giving them the house rules and some ideas of what we might do while they were here.

They were tickled. It was worth all the effort, which I didn't think was any effort at all as I enjoyed every minute of making them. Robbie is holding up the cup, from a line of hotel china, I'm sure.

This is a blurry close-up of Marta holding the magnet I found at a local gallery just days before they arrived. Couldn't have been more perfect.

In the spirit of giving, Robbie gave Marta this lovely pair of kitty slippers. They have a thing about cats. Marta gave us a cute pad/pen set for our purses and a nice long pad for the refrigerator.

Robbie brought me a bottle of personalized vino. It's the Hotty Toddy house wine!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Limes

This week has been ca-razy at work. So much to do and so little time to cram it all in before spring break begins next week.

And I started out on Monday having to go to the doctor for a sinus infection. I've been fighting this thing since retreat, but finally had to get serious drugs to knock it out. Getting all better now.

A neighbor posted on our Yahoo group that he had 25-30 pounds of Key limes to give away. Who has 25-30 pounds of Key limes? I put in my order and picked up a bag of 32 limes the other day.

Some of them were looking a little brown around the edges, so I went ahead and juiced half of them. Do you know how hard it is to juice these things?

Look how little they are! I know that kiss is a little forward in this picture, but not that much. There is no way I'm going to get any significant zest off those tiny rinds.

And it took eight limes to get 1/3 cup of juice for the recipe I found. I'll have to buy a regular lime to get my zest. I split the 2/3 cup I ended up with into two containers and froze them for future use.

I have college friends coming in for a visit this next week. That's a good reason to make a pie.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stray

On Monday night, around 1:00-2:00 a.m., I heard the most pitiful wailing somewhere across the street from me. After a couple of trips outside in the cold rain, I tracked it down to my neighbor's porch across the street.

A shivering, whimpering black chihuahua was huddled up against her front door and would have nothing to do with me. Nonetheless, I got a box from my house, put some dry newspaper in the bottom, and placed it at an angle against her house on her porch. I don't know if he slept in it, but he did stay quiet for the rest of the night.

Tuesday I posted on my neighborhood's Yahoo group about the unfortunate creature and a day later a neighbor says that he spotted him on his neighbor's porch and he ran. He finally tracked him down to the house across from me, but couldn't catch him.

Last night I felt I needed to explain the empty box to my neighbor and she was home the first night but slept through the whole thing!

A trap was located and borrowed this evening and I told my neighbor our intentions to try and catch the little guy. Before I could finish my dinner and we could set the trap, she calls to tell me that he was back and had followed her into her house. In fact, he was sitting on her lap.

She couldn't stay because she was off to the airport to pick up family, so I raced across the street with Maisy's musty crate from the basement. She had to put him in the crate though, because he still wasn't sure about me.

I hated to see him so scared. Gave him food and water and he just wailed the whole time he was in the crate. But he growled at Maisy and not knowing about his temperament or health, I couldn't just let him roam the house.

The crate was really musty smelling, so I dog-proofed the bathroom before letting him out of the crate while I cleaned it.
The bathroom is just about the only room in my house with a door that actually closes. This happens in a house built in 1914.


Once out of the crate I could get a better look at him. He's so thin. You can see his backbone. He has no collar, so if he ever was someone's pet it's been quite a while since he was cared for.

He finished eating his food and drank some more water and then decided I wasn't so bad after all. He sniffed the whole room and took advantage of a clean spot on the floor to make a deposit. Easily cleared away.

A scratch behind his ears left him wanting more. He's definitely been around humans before. He certainly knew what was on the other side of my neighbor's door when he scratched on it the other night.

Another neighbor is coming to pick him up tomorrow. He runs a boarding, grooming, shelter business around the corner. I know they will look for a good home for him. I think he will make a nice pet for someone. He just needs to get healthy and gain some confidence.

I had folded a towel up to put in the crate for him, but as I was letting him smell it, he just crawled right onto it and lay down. He even gave a little tail wag after a goodnight head scratch. I turned on the nightlight and shut the door.

He'll be at Head to Tail Animal Care on 1st Avenue North if anyone's interested.

He's found a home and a backup to spare!