Archive | July 2014

Fish Tacos

When the sisters came to visit recently, I knew I’d better serve an anti-inflammatory dinner. So I did. I used some redfish my husband had just caught. It was pretty tasty for being so healthy.

Fish Tacos

1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
3 t ancho chile powder
3 t dried oregano
1 t cumin
1/2 c tightly packed, chopped cilantro
2 jalapenos, chopped fine
2 # flakey white fish, cut into 8 pieces
salt
corn tortillas
Mexican crema
fresh tomato salsa
limes

Put sliced onion in bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Will keep for several weeks in refrigerator
Pour olive oil into a bowl and add the spices, cilantro and jalopena. Mix well. Place fish in a dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat well on both sides. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan. (No additional oil is needed.) Season with salt and cook for 4 minutes, undisturbed. Turn over and cook an additioanl 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and flake the fish in the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
Heat the tortillas. To assemble, place a heaping spoonful of the fish in the tortilla, top with onions and dollop of the Mexican crema. Serve with the salsa on the side. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.
I accompanied the dish with pinto beans. Was delicious!!

Susan

Careful Shopping

Sarah

Martha and I drove to Austin last Tues. to visit Susan.  What do three women do when together?  Shop, shop, shop!  This was our first effort at consciously shopping for quality, age-appropriate, flattering duds.  We had some success.  The shops that Susan chose for us are not filled with 20 and 30 year old buyers.  These shops offer very pricey designer labels but also stock some less expensive lines.– We headed right for the sale rack!  We shunned all sleeveless garments and were careful about color and skirt length.–Of course, it helps to shop with others who can critique what you’re trying!  Martha and I each bought a dress (on sale) that will require Spanks–or liposuction.  We’re planning to wear them to an event that the three of us are attending in Aug.

We did make a wonderful discovery.  We happened upon a sort of undergarment called Sleevey Wonders.  The concept is to provide sleeves to an otherwise sleeveless dress.  None of the Sleevey Wonder is visible but the sleeves which are made of lace, gauze or jersey and come in several colors.  The state of my upper arms had caused me to relegate my sleeveless tops and dresses to the Good Will pile, but thanks to Sleevey Wonders I think I’ve salvaged at least three outfits!  We also began arm exercises which are good but slow in producing results.  Better the quick fix–Sleevey Wonders.

 

 

Streamline

Streamlining…. I think it may be time.  I am referring to the process of paring back or down-sizing one’s possessions, and simplifying one’s lifestyle.   I like the word “streamlining” because it implies  changes that make things breezier, fresher and even sleek.  The simplicity of Feng Shui comes to mind.

The saying “less is more” really is true, but it runs counter to the way I have done things for a very long time.  The benefits of donwnsizing or simplifying is not new thinking,  it is well documented in articles and books.   I am just late to the party!

Very recently I heard a minister tell an anecdote about a young man “possessed by his possession”, a glamorous MGB GT  sports car, and how upon eventually totaling it and having to replace it with a dented used car he experienced freedom.

Perhaps the desire to pursue this process of streamlining is a characteristic of my age group, “approaching 70″.   And, I suppose that since this aging process is inevitable, I will try to embrace the freedom of a simpler lifestyle!

So, this should keep me very busy….where to begin?

 

Martha

 

Fashion Challenges

Sarah

By the time most women have reached the age of 40 they know what styles to wear and, more importantly, what not to wear.  I’ve never been able to wear a belted dress (Does anyone remember the shirt waist?) or a blazer or large floral prints.– An image of a walking loveseat comes to mind.

I’ve always liked and worn sleeveless tops and turtle necks; however, at this point in my life I’ve found it necessary to avoid both of those fashion features.  The turtleneck calls attention to a less than taut neck, and a lack of sleeves exposes my upper arms.  What’s going on there?  The inner skin of my arms is crepey and creepy!  When did that happen?

So what is a girl to do?  It seems the only recourse is to shop carefully, choosing styles and colors that are becoming and flattering.  It’s obvious that my choices have narrowed.  I also prefer solid colors, but it seems like manufacturers are using all sorts of colorful prints.—Ugh!  I think the patterns must make it easier to hide construction flaws.  At one time I was a pretty good seamstress.  I’ve got a great pair of scissors and a sewing machine that still works; so I may try sewing again.  Until then I guess I’ll continue to wear a lot of black—with long sleeves and a round neck.

Hair

Susan

When we began this blog there was a list of things that we felt were important and helpful in maintaining our appearances as we got older.  One of those things was a great haircut and color.  Youth allows for all sorts of strange hairstyles & colors, but not so as you get older.  I have been going to the same hairdresser for about 10 years.  Now, I am sure that my natural hair color has changed a bit in that time, but really.  I go every 5 weeks but I never know what color it will be!  I am blonde, or used to be, not sure exactly what my true color is now. Anyway, even though I try to suggest to her that it was a little dark last time, or a little light….I just never know what I will get.  This last time I came out with very brown hair.  I like brown hair, but it was not what I had in mind. Recently, the problem has seemed to escalate.  About 6 months ago she moved her shop to her husband’s used car lot, so maybe she is somewhat distracted?  But she really knows how to cut short hair so what to do?  Well, maybe the mystery of never knowing how my hair color will turn out adds spice to my life and my husband’s.  He has never said he prefers brunettes, but he does notice my haircut if I come home with dark hair.

Epsom Salt

Martha

A recent search for a list of  shade loving shrubs in one of Howard Garrett’s gardening books, Plants For Houston And The Gulf Coast,  reminded me of the use of Epsom salt for plants!
Apparently Epsom Salt  is a well reputed and popular supplement in organic gardening.  Since this is my preferred method of gardening, I did some searching for more details.   There are many good sites for learning  about the benefits of using Epsom salts for gardening, with the recommended  proportions, and the scientific basis for doing so.  I am eager to learn more and  use it.  From what I have learned thus far it is beneficial to plants indoors and out.  I will give it a try and report back!



 

Family vacation

Martha

I just returned from a week long vacation spent at a beach house with my family. There were 11 of us, and  we ranged in age from 13 months to sixty- something.  It was great fun!  I highly recommend sharing a house, cottage or cabin with your family if logistics allow.  It seems to be the best way to experience the grandchildren and my own children again.  There were tears, spills, and searches for lost flip-flops or sunglasses at times, but that’s family life.  We all shared kitchen duty and child care and after the youngsters were in bed the adults sat on the deck and enjoyed the sea breeze, good conversation and “adult beverages”.

Texas beaches are heavily impacted by seaweed this year.  The variety is Sargassum, and a Texas A&M scientist wrote that the cause of the large amount this summer is due to late season cold fronts that kept it offshore where it grew.  We learned that the seaweed cannot be removed because of environmental restrictions, as it helps rebuild the dunes.  We have all experienced seaweed before from past vacations, but the abundance of it this year was daunting when we first arrived, but everyone dealt with it.  The life lesson that I was reminded of is that if the adults in charge of a situation  behave as if things are manageable then the children follow along.  We are already talking about next year’s beach vacation!

 

Passion Vine

Sarah

Passion vine blossom.

Passion vine blossom.

At a plant exchange with some neighborhood friends I received a passion vine and an angel trumpet.  Both of those plants have exotic and unusual blooms.  They both become dormant in the winter but return with vigor when the weather warms.

The passion vine (Passiflora) is described as being “interesting for curious flower formation”.  It requires sun and blooms June through August.  My fear is that it’s going to pop up in other places.  I just discovered one in the middle of a monkey grass border!  For me one passion vine is plenty.

My angel trumpet (Datura Arborea) came back from the roots this spring and is already five feet tall.  It too likes sun and is supposed to be drought resistant.  I read that “it’s best used as a specimen tree”.–No angel trumpet hedges.  The blooms vary in color:  white, pink, yellow and look sort of like dangling trumpets.  Again, one angel trumpet is enough for my garden, but it does add interest.  Perhaps it could be considered a thriller–among the fillers and spillers.

Healthy Brunch

Hope guests like it!

Hope guests like it!

Sarah

It’s my turn to host the monthly book club on Wed.  We meet at 10:00 a.m.  I keeping with the anti-inflammatory diet I’ve planned the following menu:

Deviled eggs

Tray of nuts, olives, sliced apples and Swiss cheese

Hummus served with carrot sticks

Triskets

Coffee & green tea

Australian Moscato  (The author of the book is Australian, and the book is set in Sydney.)

Note that the only sweet item is the wine.  I’m not sure the book club members will approve!  Oh well, I can eat anything that’s left.

Needles & pills

Sarah

With water aerobics, walking and yoga I may have been trying to halt the aging process too aggressively.  I developed a pain that started in my right hip and ran down my right leg.  Susan’s diagnosis:  sciatic nerve pain.  It sort of comes and goes, and sometimes it’s worse than others.  Fortunately my sleep hasn’t been disturbed, and I’m planning to attend yoga class this evening.  I really believe that yoga will eventually help with any low back problems.  Yesterday after Mon. evening yoga, walking and aerobics the following morning, I decided to visit an acupuncturist.  I’m a great candidate for this sort of thing because I’ve always believed in a strong mind/body connection.  I believed it was going to work before the first needle was inserted.

It’s really not unpleasant at all.  Since it was my first visit, I had to answer a lot of questions.  The needles must be very fine because I really didn’t feel a prick.  The acupuncturist attaches something that provides a little electrical current and turns on heat lamps along the sites of the needles.  The most uncomfortable part of the whole thing is putting your face in that padded doughnut when you’re lying on your stomach.   After the treatment I noticed an immediate improvement.

Unfortunately the improvement didn’t last.  After working in my yard (mainly pulling weeds), my right leg was hurting again.  My brother in law, a renowned endodontist, prescribed some over the counter pain medications that have made a remarkable difference.   I’m pain free!

Perhaps acupuncture would have accomplished the same result in time, but when dealing with pain, the quickest fix is my option.