Monday, March 16, 2009

Space Shuttle Discovery March 15, 2009
Click to enlarge these.

The weather was perfect. Dusk was falling. It was 7:43 and there it was. I live 90 miles from Kennedy Space Center. Actually you could view it from much further away than I am.

The first picture has no telephoto. The rest have some. It was easily seen. The sun was very low in the sky and it colored the vapor trail a beautiful pink.

I was surprised that I could see the separation. See the third picture. And how long I could see the shuttle after it separated. See the light dot in the last picture.

If you haven't done so, google the launch and see some wonderful close up pictures. I have visited the launch pad and and area where the press took those pictures.

If you are ever able, visit Kennedy Space Center.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Strawberry Pie

Yes, this pie is as good as it looks. And it has no sugar added.

Now is the strawberry season here in Florida. You can buy them at the strawberry farm, farmer's market or grocery store. I bought a half flat.

I live in a senior mobile home park here in Florida. We have pot luck dinners each month. Most of our residents are natives of another state. Some are snow-birds, like I am, and some are now year-rounders. Each pot luck is put on by the people from a state or combination of states. We set up the tables and clean up afterwards. We also prepare the meat and desert. Each person pays $2.50 to cover the costs involved. This week the residents from Michigan put on a chicken dinner. We made homemade cakes for general desert and strawberry pies for the diabetic residents. I made two and they were good. Actually I made three - two for the dinner and a third for me. I had to eat a piece to make sure it was okay before taking to the dinner, right? I also gave pieces to some people who couldn't attend. One is a lady and her husband who were about my age fifteen years ago when my dad lived here. They were so kind to him and I'm so happy to do a little pay back now. My closest neighbors, who watch out for my home when I'm north, also each got a piece, as did another friend who just got home from the hospital.

Here's the recipe. It is so simple.

Bake and cool pie crusts. See my April 17, 2007 post for a no-fail recipe.

For each pie:

Wash, hull and slice 4 cups of strawberries. Put in baked, cooled pie crust.
In a sauce pan mix 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cup of Splenda and a large box (or 2 small boxes) of sugar-free strawberry jello. Bring to a full boil to thicken. Pour over strawberries. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Store in refrigerator.

If desired, top with whipped cream before serving.

You can make a sugar version by substituting sugar and regular jello.

Hope you can buy some fresh strawberries and make this one. If not keep this recipe handy until your part of the country has some.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I give Kipper a bath every month. It is a major process. I have a shower here in Florida that is bath tub size but has glass doors that go to the floor. I keep a bath seat in this shower. So I take off all my clothes and sit on this seat while Kipper stands in the rest of the shower. That's right, there is no photo. "S" Kipper likes to get bathed and is very good but his fur makes him hard to get wet. The shower head comes down and we run water, add oatmeal shampoo and scrub. First one area than another. I wash his head last and use no-tears baby shampoo there. Kipper is very good about not shaking but it is hard when I spray water on his head. When done, I drape a towel over him and he shakes. I dry him a little and then he takes over and uses his big tongue to dry himself. I know many dogs roll to dry themselves, but Kipper only rubs his head on the rug. He drys very quickly.

After he is out, I clean the shower and then the rest of the bathroom. Finally I take a shower myself. Three tasks done.

Next I brush Kipper's teeth with his electric toothbrush. He loves this. Then I check his ears. With his perky ears he never has any problems. Finally I file his nails with a battery-powered file. Some of his nails are white and it is easy to see where to cut but many of his nails are black and it is very hard. Even if I cut them, they also need filed, so now I just skip the cutting. Kipper does not like having anything done with his nails, so we have a system where he hides his head behind my back as I work on each paw. Out of sight, out of mind? Anyway, it works. The last step to this long process is to give him a little brushing and launder the towels.

Kipper's last haircut was a couple months ago. For this current hot Florida weather, he needs cut again but I think he'll need some fur for the Michigan weather when we head back at the end of this month. Since his last haircut, he has areas where his hair and fur has not grown back. They are mostly along his back. They are hard to see in the pictures but you can see the color change in the last one. They don't bother him. There is a little dandruff-like flaking. He has been scratching his head a lot lately. I know it is his spring allergy. He gets it every year here in Florida and also in the fall in Michigan. So, yesterday I took Kipper to his Florida doctor. I like him very much. He thinks the alopecia areas are not indicative of any disease. Kipper has no signs of hypothyroidism. He already gets Omega oils in his dog food. The vet gave him a shot for his allergy. It usually works in a few hours but he is still scratching his head today. I sure hope it gives him some relief soon.
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Aren't these beautiful? No they aren't in my yard here in Florida but in a friend's. We took several days of hard frost (and more than once) this year so many of plants have been cut back. These came from bulbs.

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