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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Kepler Fun Here, There, and Everywhere . . . and QUICK CHOCOLATE CAKE

Charleston,  2013

Fort Lauderdale, December, 2014

St. Petersburg, 2015

Tacoma, 2015
Lake Quinault, 2015

Jacksonville, Florida

Laredo, 2016

Laredo, 2016

Laredo, 2017

Laredo, 2017:  Kepler made Grandpa illustrate the entire three little pigs story for him

Laredo, 2017

Nashville, 2017

Radnor Lake Natural Area and Wildlife Refuge.

Since the recipe for Kay’s Cake is already on the blog, I’m going to share a recipe that is an absolute GEM for busy mothers of chocaholics.  Thank you, Baker’s Chocolate for this fantastic recipe.


          You mix it right in the pan and it makes its own icing!!!!!!
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (so 2 ounces)
¾ cup water
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 pkg (300 g) semi-sweet Chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup chopped nuts

1.     Preheat oven to 375.
2.     Put oil and unsweetened chocolate squares in a 9 inch square pan. 
3.     Put pan in oven for 4 minutes, until chocolate melts.
4.     In a mixing bowl, beat together water, sugar, egg, salt, and baking soda.  Beat for 2 minutes.
5.     Stir in half of the chips.
6.     Transfer to the baking pan.
7.     Sprinkle with nuts and remaining chips.
8.     Bake for 30 minutes.
That’s it!   

Monday, 24 July 2017


                                                    March 27, 1935 - July 24, 2013

Naomi said, He was my dad.  I loved him.  

Naomi wrote: 

He was a great man! He had a different way of looking at life. One of my best memories is when he taught me how to drive. I went to go visit him at the combine. He said Hop into to seat to learn how to drive. I was so nervous because I knew he had to pick up the hay afterwards to Bail it for the cattle. The roads were so crooked that year. You would think somebody was drinking but no it was just a Father teaching his daughter to drive. He didn't care he just said it was time for you to learn.


Naomi, I had a similar experience when I was 16.   

George stopped the truck on the highway to Binscarth, hopped out and came around to the passenger's side.  "Drive," he said!  What a guy!  

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

IT'S NOT ALL PACKING: Bryan's comments . . . and EASY DIP RECIPE

The container arrived today about 5 hours later than expected.  It turns out to be a 28 ft trailer! It is ca 4 ft off the ground. We are unable to use the ramp. James and I moved a lot of boxes today.

 So far so good. Next the beds and sofa.  

We begin the heavy lifting in 15 minutes.  I am not looking forward to Nicole's BIG dresser.    "heave ho!

After that it will be smooth sailing.

We loaded almost all of the heavy stuff. Tomorrow we take down the big flat screen and load the chiminea.

I tend to get quite focused when dealing with situations like moving.  

James leaves for Chicago tomorrow afternoon so Nicole and I will finish. 

If we are lucky we shall be finished by Monday ahead of schedule.

Nicole hope to only use up part of the trailer but we shall fill it. After all it is only 28 ft. but quite high.

We shall begin living like squatters for the next week...just air mattresses and no laundry or TV except a computer sceen (But that was what she had on Gale street and I did not mind.

Next week I shall be visiting Goodwill and the landfill.

I sold some more books: novels and children's books. I saved your Paul Galdone.

We did go bowling. The alley has a neat set up for kids who can use a lighter ball to push down what looks like a slide. Rails come up on each side of the lane to keep the ball more or less in play. Kepler got two back-to-back strikes. He did better than Nicole and me! Nicole thinks that you would love using this system.

I took Kepler to the Imaginarium at the Mall.  He had a good time. We were there almost 3 hours!

I spent a bit more time "playing". He was using my black shoes as pirate ships.  Kepler does a really great imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger which he copies off his dad. The kid knocks me out.

We had a flash storm late in the afternoon. The downpour was really heavy and the temp dropped 25 degrees to ca 75. The weather improved and we roasted hot dogs using the chiminea.

Kepler had a good time in the backyard pool set up under the canopy.

Kepler made Grandpa illustrate the entire three little pigs story for him.   We have been drawing stories
eg 3 llttle pigs( he really objected to my identifying one pig as a sister) and 3 billy goats. The drawing sucks but it is the dramatic story that counts.

July 19:  Houston, we have lift off. The trailer was picked up this morning.



1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt
·        Stir ingredients together.

·        Delicious with thinly sliced zucchini.

Saturday, 15 July 2017


I am so fascinated by Standing Stones and other ancient monuments. 
 About 20 years ago, Bryan and I took the girls to Britain to see as many castles and Standing Stones as we could, but the Orkneys were just too far away. 

So when I saw that this cruise went to the Orkneys, I was so excited even though I never thought we would actually get to see the stones . . . much less touch them!

Bryan’s Journal:

June 1, 2017: Kirkwall

The morning turned out to be quite cool; the sun was trying to burn through the clouds.

We were lucky enough to get a seat on a sort of ‘hop-on/hop-off’ bus that would take us into the countryside with its verdant rolling hills, fields separated by stone fences and very few trees.   

a brief stop in Stromness 

We passed by a number of small lakes -- lochs, on our way to . . .

 . . . the prehistoric houses of Skara Brae which will be featured in the next blog post.
     Our next main goal was The Ring of Brodgar, a mysterious monolithic circle.

Idiots have carved their names into the stones and some of them have been fenced off.    

Our bus also passed by a smaller but equally impressive group: the "Standing Stones of Stenness".   

Back in Kirkwall, Eleanor went shopping on Albert and Broad Streets; Bryan visited St. Magnus Cathedral, the grounds of the Bishop's Palace, and the Tankerness House Museum with its contemplative garden.  By 4 pm we were in the shuttle back to the ship. 


CLAPSHOT (4 to 6 servings)

            This is a recipe from the Orkney and Shetland Islands according to Lizzie Boyd’s  BRITISH COOKERY.    

1 lb mashed potatoes (or riced)
1 lb mashed turnips (not rutabagas; I puréed them in a food processor)
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 to 2 ounces butter
Salt and pepper

Mix it all together.  Reheat and serve.  It's very good.

                                           Isle of Arran at 6 a.m. about 20 years ago

Saturday, 8 July 2017

A Day in LE HAVRE, FRANCE, Part 3 . . . and Mocktail #7

Le Volcan, designed by a Brazilian architect, is a multi-media centre and concert hall.

The Cathédrale de Notre Dame du Havre needed a lot of reconstruction after the war.

The Malraux Museum has a large collection of Impressionist works by artists from Normandy.

Bryan really liked this by Gustave Courbet.

The gallery also hosts changing exhibitions of works by contemporary artists.

Visitors were invited to compare portraiture centuries ago . . . 

  with a large, amusing exhibition of works by Pierre and Gilles . . . we went through it twice!

If you would like to see more images by Gilles & Pierre, check out them out online!  Fantastique!

Le Havre . . . merci beaucoup!


Bryan’s Hibiscus Tea and Strawberry Shrub Mocktail = 1 serving

3 ounces Hibiscus Tea
½ ounce Strawberry Shrub
1/3 ounce simple syrup

Combine and pour into an ice-filled highball glass. 
Top up with club soda.

For instructions on how to make Strawberry Shrub, go to 

Le Havre Part 2: