Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


Crap You Didn’t Know(And might not want to)

blowyourmindAlice over at Whatsoever Is Lovely tagged me to participate in sharing five facts about myself a few days ago.  I promised to have my facts up tomorrow two days ago.  I thought I’d have time yesterday morning before work.  No such luck.  Then my day was so busy I didn’t have time and I thought I’d do it when I got home.  Unfortunately I was so dang tired I collapsed.  So the tomorrow that was yesterday became today.  And I know that your inquiring minds are just abuzz with anticipation. So without further adiue, here they are:

1.)  I am a mutant.  Did you know: blue-eyes-mutation 2.)  I have brown hair when I’m not paying to be a blonde. About which the ultra scientific people at Mysteries24 say:

For example, brunet hair and jet black hair are the most dense and toughest varieties of follicles. This leads to the conclusion that their wearers are very responsible with a strong mentality, better at overcoming stress, and even to some extent – curmudgeon. On the other hand, people with brown hair have an average of fewer hairs: between 100, 000 and 110, 000, much less than blondes, who have about 150 000. This fact is associated with lower susceptibility of Brunettes to spiritual and abstract undertakings. They are practical and earthy, with good orientation toward secular bustle and vanity. They are interested in facts that are pure and tangible through our five senses. They can maneuver, adapt and implement plans and projects, even in an environment of controversy, conflict and intrigue.

Maybe they’re onto to something, even if their research isn’t…100% credible. I don’t even know what their credentials or methods are.

3.) I really like to play games; card games; yard games; board games; you name it really.  Spades, Uno, Cornhole, Bocce Ball, Scrabble, Checkers, whatever.  If I don’t know how to play, I’m game to learn.  I don’t know how to play Chess, but would love to learn!

No, I don't know these people.

No, I don’t know these people.

4.) I’m a Leo.  Hear me roaarrrrrrr! Rawr?


At the end of the month I’ll be forty…something(mumble, cough, %&^*$).

5.)  I’ve stopped and started the Couch to 5K program more times than I’d like to admit.  Right now I’m on week 4.  Again.

2d7589d3b80a512a7c70bff54cf4b640I’m hoping to advance to 8k when I can run five without being dead.

And that’s about it.  This is the part where I’m supposed to tag other bloggers to do the same but there are so many creative bloggers I follow that I can’t narrow it down and I don’t think you all want me to tag all of you.  So if you want to share some detes about yourself, jump on it and leave a link in the comments!


Friday Funday!

I heard this song on the radio a little while ago and now it’s stuck in my head! Ahhhhh!

Everybody who reads here knows I’m a 70’s music kinda woman. But what can I say?  My music tastes are ….um…eclectic.

I found this parody of it that’s pretty cute, too!

Have a great Friday, everybody!  And, as always, feel free to share whatever tune is stuck in your noggin.


A Bird in the Hand

On Christmas Day TheBrit came running into the house shouting for me.  I was upstairs getting dressed to go out to my sister’s house for Christmas dinner.  “Ruth! Ruth!! Come quick!”

“What in the world?  I’m trying to get ready.  Give me a minute,”  I responded standing at the top of the stairs looking down at TheBrit who has his hands cupped around something.

“I need your help!”  He opened his hands and exclaimed, “I just rescued this from Scamper and Stumpy.  They were out there fighting over it.”

Now, Stumpy you see, is a three legged cat.  Try as  he might he’s not quite fast enough to catch a bird.  But Scamper can, and does, on occasion.  When he does Stumpy tries to take his catch off him.

The poor little bird was a little shocked.  And one of his wings was…not broken, but not 100% either.

So I took the tiny bird from TheBrit’s hands, who immediately got the camera and started snapping pictures.


A Bird in Shock


Sweet little birdie

I’ve done a cursory search and haven’t been able to identify the species.

When TheBrit was done with his picture taking I took the little fellow a good ways away to a tree with some brush around it and let him go. We waited a bit and went back to check on him. He was still in the spot I’d left him.  I don’t know if that was a good thing or not.


Then on New Year’s Day, as I was walking past the bird feeder to go and cut some flowers, there he was – that beautiful red cardinal.  I knew it was too much to hope for; that he would hang about long enough for me to go back in after the camera.  When I emerged ready to snap his visage he was gone.  Eluded me again!  One day…

By the time I’d returned there were these – everywhere –  which I’m fairly certain after a quick Google search are Brown House Sparrows:







Here Comes the Sun

I’ve been playing with my camera a bit and happened to capture the sunrise one day this week.  In the fall we have spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  Photos cannot do them justice.  Have some Beatles to go with it!


Here Comes the Sun – Photo Credit: Ruth


Glorious Morning Photo Credit: Ruth


The Silver Lining Photo Credit: Ruth


Porky Pies

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian you might want to skip this post as it’s full of meat. Pork, that is.  I did jokingly tell TheBrit the other day that if the cost of meat keeps going up we might have to consider going vegetarian.  He was not amused.

This is obviously not a food blog.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about food before.  Cooking is something I do to relax.  I love to cook!  Mostly I make homey, comfort foods.  I can do what TheBrit calls poncy food (that’s frufru for all you Americans out there), but that ain’t really my thing.  Yes, I said ain’t.  Sue me.

Anyway TheBrit has been here in the U.S. since July of 2012 and there are some things from Merry Old England he kind of misses.  Pasties, the bread (he says our mass produced stuff is crap), British Ales, and pork pie.  Apparently pork pies are a British staple.  It’s not something we do here.  We can’t just go in the local grocery store and buy pork pies.

I’ve tried my hand at a few things, like Giraffe Bread.  It turned out pretty good but rice flour is a little hard to get here.  There’s only one grocery store I’ve found that carries it and they bloody think it’s gold.  I do buy the fresh baked breads in the bakery at the local shop but still those are no comparison to English granary breads.

I attempted, shortly after his arrival in the States, to make a proper pork pie.  His mother sent me a recipe.  In British – I mean, Imperial weights and measures.  It’s probably better to weigh things like flour in grams and have liquids measured in mls.  But…well…I’m American!!!!  We do cups and ounces.  And, yes, it probably would have been advisable to do the conversions prior to starting but that would have been just too easy.  So I did it as I went along.  Needless to say it was a disaster.

First of all I attempted, without even knowing what a pork pie should even look like or taste like, to make hand raised pork pies.  By the time I got done playing with the dough I’d made it was way overworked and was never going to work for hand raised pies.  The pie I made, after dutifully watching a youtube video showing me how to do it in a springform pan, was well short of the mark. 😦

TheBrit ate it.  Afterall he was somewhat obligated after all the trouble I went to.

I did order TheBrit a care package last Christmas from The English Pork Pie Company which included some Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Traditional Pork Pies, a few pasties, and some Scotch Eggs.   I don’t think I tasted any of it.  He used them for work lunches and it didn’t take long for them to disappear.  While he said he enjoyed them(evidenced by said disappearance), he also said they lost a little something having been frozen.  That coupled with the fact that it cost me nearly as much to have them shipped as it did to buy them made them cost prohibitive.

After all this time, and after a day of vigorous activity, TheBrit sighed and said, “I need a pork pie.”  So I Googled up Traditional Pork Pie recipes.  I found quite a few and the result was a combination of about three recipes. I decided to surprise him with another attempt.   It’s the thought that counts, right?

I went to the grocery store armed with my shopping list.  The pork shoulder which the recipe called for was very expensive and I ended up with a less expensive pork loin.  The fresh back bacon was nowhere to be found.  All we have in our local market is smoked bacon.  Pancetta may have worked but I couldn’t find that either so bacon was eliminated from the recipe.  There were no fresh pig trotters(feet) either – only smoked.  I found some pork neck bones that hadn’t been smoked so I bought those.

I half expected this to turn out disastrous again since I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants and changing the ingredients.  Undeterred, however, I put together what I am now going to call Traditional South Georgia Pork Pies.

Here’s how they looked after all my hard work:



In walks TheBrit from a hard day at work and exclaims, “Proper pork pies!”  He devoured three of them for his “tea” and left a couple for a snack the next day.  They turned out not too bad if I do say so myself.  I’ve never tasted pork pie so I thought they were pretty good.  TheBrit says they were the best ones he’s ever eaten.  He said, “I could never get that in England.”

Ah, success!


She Sips Stella by the Sea


DSCF1391Last week I took a couple of days off to spend with The Tour Guide.  On his suggestion we got up Tuesday morning and struck out for Jacksonville Beach.  Also on his suggestion we took the girls.

They slept most of the two-hour drive there and when we arrived at around 11 a.m. just about all the shops and restaurants were closed.  It’s the off season, I guess, though it’s still fairly warm here.

Though I had read online that Jacksonville Beach is dog-friendly there were signs posted everywhere saying no dogs between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  What to do?

We strolled down the sidewalk near the shops and restaurants and found one that was open.  Well, it wasn’t open yet, but the man who was sweeping the alfresco dining area invited us in – dogs, too.  I was pleasantly surprised at how accommodating they were.

With a thick accent I didn’t recognize he said we could sit anywhere we wanted in their outdoor dining area and then he disappeared. There was no one else there.  We were their only patrons.

A few minutes later he resurfaced carrying a metal bowl filled with ice water for the girls.  Moments later a server appeared and took our order.  We ordered what we wanted and then I asked for a hamburger to split between Dottie and Miss Sara.  “Sure, no problem,”  she said.  Our meal came out complete with two doggie boxes for them to eat out of.  Dottie and Miss Sara scarfed down their burger, which had been prepared sans bun, while we sipped on our pitcher of Stella and ate our Gyros.

When we asked our server about a place on the beach we could carry our dogs she said we should just ignore the signs.  “Nobody pays attention to that.  There are always dogs on the beach,” we were assured. With that advice we paid our bill, gave her a nice tip, left caution to the wind, and headed over the boardwalk to the sugar white sand.

It was the girls’ first trip to the beach and they didn’t quite know what to make of it at first. They were confused as to why they were chasing the water one minute and the next the water was chasing them.  Miss Sara recoiled from the chasing waves.  Dottie pawed at them for a bit. Then I took their leads and we ran out as the waves retreated into the ocean and ran back to the shore when the waves chased us back.


I think they had a pretty good time.  I know The Tour Guide and I did!

DSCF1374We could see the rain coming in from the ocean so we headed back to the car.  The deluge came just as we fastened our seatbelts.  Great timing!  And the cute cuddly dogs slept all the way home.