Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Government is Dumber than a 1st Grader!

I have just about had it with all of our Political Leaders! With all the economic problems, they still insist on spending money they don't have! It doesn't matter which party, they are all SPENDERS of our money!
I heard someone ask a question this week and it hit me really hard. Here is the question: "If companies have to lay off employees in order to save money for their businesses, shouldn't the Government also be laying off in order to save our tax dollars"? Yet, I heard on today's news that government jobs are booming because of all this bail out money our politicians are spending.
If we as citizen's are asked to sacrifice, I expect the same of our leaders (I use the term "leaders" very loosely). I would like to know of one thing each of them are willing to sacrifice for the good of the country. Can you imagine how many billions of $$$$ would be saved if they each sacrificed 1 "pork project"?!? (My Shakespeare quote really applies to our "leaders")
Thanks for letting me vent!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This show is better than "24"!

As you can see from my list of favorites on the side bar, one of my favorite TV shows is MI5,(in England it is called "Spooks", that is what they call their spies apparently). It is a spy/espionage show that, I have heard, is similar to the TV show "24". I got hooked on it when it was on BBC America, but just 4 episodes into season 4 they stopped showing it. YIKES!
So for Christmas I asked for Season 4 but got Season 5 instead so I ended up haveing to but 4 first. Now, I have seen an add on the local PBS Channel that they are going to start broadcasting it in February with Season 1. HIP HIP HOORAY!
Below are some of the cast members from the first few seasons. But let me warn you, don't get too attached to any characters because pratically every season you see casualties of some of your favorites! Do you recognize anyone in the picture below? (Yes, that is Matthew MacFadyen who played Mr. Darcy!)
However, I am amazed at how well they replace them with more excellent characters that you easily accept as part of the group. (Isn't Rupert Penry Jones the greatest!! He is the 2nd from the left in the picture below, (another on my "favorites" list to the right!)
Anyway, I hope everyone will start watching it. It is suspenceful, exciting and thought provoking, and sad when some one you like is eliminated.
Here is a picture of the latest group. I haven't got to this season but I LOVE Richard Armitage(far right)! Have you ever watched the great BBC mini-series "North and South"? He is fantastic in it. Anyway, getting back to the Phoenix AZ area it starts on February 5th, but as they always say, "check your local PBS station" to see when it is on. I promise you will love it, if you like exciting "spy type" shows.

If it has already started in your area, leave a comment, if you like it, for others to get them excited for this great TV show!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Take my Citrus....PLEASE!

Those of you who have fruit trees in your yards can relate when I say, I have more citrus than I can use! Every season I try to find new ways to use it so it isn't wasted. We have a total of 6 citrus trees including, 2 grapefruit, 1 lemon, 1 orange, 1 tangelo, and 1 tangerine. I try to give it away, which is hard because everyone else is trying to give their extra fruit away also! But I wanted to share with you 2 of my favorite ways to use some of my citrus.

First; the best way to clean a microwave oven is to get a glass dish and put 3-4 cups of water in it. Slice a lemon in half and put it in the water and put the dish in the microwave. Turn the oven on high for 13-15 minutes. When it is done, use hot pads to take out the lemon water. Your microwave will be covered with steam. Take a towel and just wipe down the inside of the oven. Everything comes off easily and it leaves a wonderful smelling oven!

The second idea I have is a wonderful recipe that I got on Martha Stewart's show a few years ago and my family loves it. I hope you can try it and let my know how you like it.

Halibut with Grapefruit and Rosemary

2 ruby red grapefruit
1 sprig plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 T sugar
Coarse sand and pepper
1 T olive oil
Four 6-ounce skinless halibut or other firm white fish fillets
1-Pre-heat broiler with rack 4 inches from the heat. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 large strips of zest from one grapefruit, avoiding the bitter white pith. Cut into slivers; set aside.
2-Slice the top and bottom of both grapefruits with a paring knife. Set one of the flat sides on your work surface. From top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit, cut away peel and white pith. Trim off any remaining pith. Holding the grapefruit over a bowl, cut along both side of each segment, staying close to the membrane, to release. Squeeze membranes over a small saucepan and add any juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Add rosemary sprig, sugar, grapefruit zest, ½ c water, and ¼ t coarse salt. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until syrupy, 8-10 minutes.
3- Meanwhile, rub fresh fillets with oil; season with salt and pepper. Place on a broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet. Broil until opaque throughout, 7-10 minutes.
4- When syrup is done, discard rosemary sprig. Add syrup and chopped rosemary to bowl with grapefruit segments. Toss gently, place on top of the fish fillets, and serve.
Serve 4

Saturday, January 17, 2009

As Long as We are On the Subject...

With the opening of the movie "Defiance", I wanted to let you know about a book on the same subject. The movie is based on on the book "The Bielsky Brothers" by Peter Duffy and it is next in que to read on my book stack. The book I want to let you know about is entitled "Jack and Rochelle" and it is about their experiences surviving in the forests also during WWII.

Jack and Rochelle grew up in Poland in different towns and economically different families so other than knowing who each other was, never associated with each other. But, through their experiences of being Jews during the German occupation they were thrown together in the forests of Poland where they met up again and began their lives together.
Their story is told in their own words, and edited by there son Lawrence Sutin. The story of each of their separate trials in work camps and the escapes are compelling. The fact that they met up was amazing, but the circumstances of them meeting is miraculous. It shows that even in the most terrible situations there is sweetness, love and miracles.
This is a current picture of Jack and Rochelle-still in love!
This book about the resistance groups during WWII is inspiring and shows the strength of the human spirit. I highly recommend this book and I will let you know about "The Bielsky Brothers" after I read it, however, my daughter, Elizabeth Jane (we named her after the Bennet sisters), who has read both, loved them both also.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One of Shakespeare's Greatest Plays?

One of my goals in life is to see every Shakespeare play at least once. Some that I have seen, that is all I want to see them, because they are sad or disturbing. "Othello" is one that I saw performed beautifully but I was not sure I ever wanted to see it done again. However, I will be seeing it again this week. I know it will be well done but I am preparing myself to be disturbed again. Here is a teaser of the play that opens this week by the Southwest Shakespeare Company. If you want ticket details, click on the "head shot" of Shakespeare to the right of this blog and you will be directed to their site for more information.

If you have a student who is reading "Othello" in school, I highly recommend you take them to see this. As I have said many times before, seeing a play is 1000 times better and makes it more understandable that just reading it. Seeing a Shakespeare play performed is the beginning of a lifetime journey of loving and understanding Shakespeare!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Let's get our fingers dirty!

Even though it is soooo cold here in Mesa AZ, it is time to get a garden going if you want some great spring and early summer vegetables. Technically, you can garden year round here but I like to take a couple of months off in the summer, but I will explaine that later in the year.

There are many veges you can grow and the best place to find out what grows is by calling the County Cooperative Extension Service. You will find the number in your phonebook or better yet, look it up on the computer. TheExtension Service has a great web-site where you can find all the answers to your gardening questions.

This is my crazy blackberry bush. It grows the best berries! YUM!

The Roses are hiding the vegetables but they are there! Notice the cute sign made by my friend Dee McSherry.
Now if you don't like to garden, may I suggest 2 books about gardening. They are both great books. First is entitled : "Seedfolks". This is a sweet and very short book about a community garden started in the city on a vacant lot. Each chapter is another persons story, told in their words about how they became involved with the garden. I love this book and you can get it finished in an hour or two.

The other book is "Down the Garden Path" by Beverley Nichols. This is a very funny book (true story) about how the author bought his first home because of a "memory" of the place from a previous visit several years earlier. Of course, things are never how we really remember them so we follow him through his work in bringing the garden back to the way he originally remembered it being, but it turned out better than he ever expected. Mr. Nichols is a beautiful writer. I loved reading this book. I think of it as a relaxing read, if that makes sense to anyone besides me.
Anyway, whether you are going to get your own hands dirty or read about others doing it, take some time and enjoy a graden. That is one of the perks of living in Arizona!