Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dumb thing #593

I am knocking myself in the head this morning. Again. But it won't solve anything. Unless - knocking oneself in the head is like knocking on wood, and protects you in some way. Nah. Don't think so. Hasn't helped yet!
Ok. The dumb thing I did. When I bought my computer from Dell, it was about one month before they came out with Vista. So, I got a free upgrade to order the Vista DVD. Which I did. I also got a free upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007. It came with 2003. You had to do a little dance and stand on your head and copy this, send that, exactly as they tell you, in order for them to verify you really do qualify for this. So I did, and got it in the mail, same as the Vista one.
It took 2 or 3 months, and about the time it came in, I had my computer set up in the basement, where I could look out the window at the grass, birds, turkeys - whatever wandered by. I also was packing up some things for Goodwill. Clothes that were too big, didn't want, misc. computer paraphenalia, like cords, old cell phones, I don't know - whatever I didn't want or need anymore. Gifts one got from Christmas that had you wondering what they were thinking. OK, only one gift went. I really like everything I get, usually.
When I got the upgrade DVD's, I wasn't in any hurry to load them, especially the Vista. A lot of other software hadn't accommodated Vista yet, so I was going to wait awhile. Why I waited on Office 2007, I can only surmise. So I tucked them away.
Hence 'Dumb thing #593'. I cannot find the Microsoft Office 2007 upgrade DVD.
I have looked everywhere. I dug through all my papers, drawers, everywhere I could think of. I still cannot find it.
What I think happened, in all the melee of packing up boxes for Goodwill, cleaning up the basement, etc., is that somehow, it got stuck in an old Microsoft software computer manual that I donated. It's the only thing I can think of. Dumb dumb dumb.
Lesson learned.
If some kind soul wishes to share a copy of their Office 2007, I would be forever grateful. I know, I know. It's not something one is supposed to do. BUT, I really did have the upgrade. I have copies of the paperwork filed here somewhere. I wrote to them, asking if there was anything they could do (the rebate center), but the rebate had ended at this point, and no one responded. Bummers.
Anyway, I can live without it, and in about 5 years time, when it's on sale for a ridiculously low price, I will upgrade. Because I am not paying for something I already owned.
Dumb dumb dumb.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yum! Lemon Blueberry Muffins from Costco. These are really good. The streusel on top really adds to it. Since these are very large muffins, the way I like to eat them is to slice them into 5 or 6 pieces. Lay them on a pie tin or piece of tin foil, then put them in your toaster oven.
Toast them at 300F on lower rack until they just begin to turn a golden color, approx. 5 minutes or so. Time will vary with oven, so check closely after 3 minutes. This will bring the butter and sugar to the surface and 'crisp' them up a bit. Then, slather with a bit of real butter (preferred) or eat them just like they are.
You can try this with any variety of muffin. I also bought their Apple Cinnamon' ones. These were also very good, with (surprise!) oatmeal in them, and drizzled with a maple glaze. They smell heavenly while toasting.
And don't forget a nice hot steaming cup of your favorite java to go with it!
PS: These are also the most reasonably priced muffins around! Check out their bakery at a Costco near you. (Membership required)
Since we are on the subject of Costco, I have, or rather had, another favorite, which they unfortunately discontinued. Don't you just hate that??! You find something you REALLY like, and your only source stops carrying it. Darn. It was Granola. They had the BEST granola! It was so fresh. Lots of seeds and nuts, with just the right amount of honey, etc mixed in so that they had to break it apart into nice sized chunks. I prefer granola like this, not like it's oatmeal soup. I've tried other granolas, but they just don't measure up. How could they stop making something so good? Sigh... The story of my life, it seems.
Ok, the next item. Their rotisserie chickens are the best tasting and the cheapest around too. Make sure you get one a bit darker. I've only gotten a couple that I wished had been done more, but 90% of the time, they are falling off the bone. And so good! Ok, I'm getting hungry now. (And I just had a piece of homemade rhubarb pie, but that's for another post. :0))
I like their spinach dip and bruschetta. I believe it's Hannah's. I buy when company is coming to stay, along with a nice dipping bread.
These are my must-haves, but I'm sure I could find more, if I just had the freezer space. It's fun to go when they have the samples out. I have found that I like most of what I've tried there.
I think it's time to renew my membership this month. Hmmm.....sounds like a plan!

Frost warning tonight...

Words one dreads to hear, especially when one just went and filled window boxes and plant pots this past weekend. Darn. I also had put out my Goldfish plant, Mandevilla, and my flowering maple last week. They had actually suffered from a bit of sunburn, poor things. Gotta watch that next year. They were used to bright indirect light most of the winter from my dining room window.
I brought in the Mandevilla and
Flowering Maple, and covered up all my plant pots and Goldfish plant right

(Note: these photos are from last summer)

outside the back door. Since the deck is elevated up one level, I am hoping the combination of that and being on the east/south side will help them through the night. I have several big heavy pots, and really didn't want to bring them into the kitchen for the night. I threw covers over some of the flowers by the front walk, as the cold air has a tendency to settle there.

I sure hope everything survives ok. They are saying 33F, but you never know.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The catbirds are courting under the maple tree...

(Angelique Tulips from my garden)

The catbirds have indeed been courting under the maple. Usually it's back in the thicket where I can hear them, but not see them. They are such curious creatures, with their catlike sounds, but they also have quite a repertoire of songs and calls.

I've also been hearing the trill of a thrush or two. I just LOVE to hear the thrushes sing. They have such flutelike tones. They are very secretive though, so it's very hard to find them. They usually stay hidden near the edge of the woods. I have a little spring out back and sometimes in the evening you can see them hopping about. They like to sing early in the morning, or later in the evening. Sometimes most of the day if it's cloudy enough.

The Mockingbird has been singing for a month or so as well. He such an entertaining fellow. He prefers a bit more open space, so he spends most of his time at the neighbors, near their pond and barns, as he loves to find the highest peak and just sing to his hearts content.

Speaking of singing, the House Wren has been singing his tiny little heart out daily, starting shortly after dawn. He's a very determined little fellow, bless his heart, to find a mate, and has an amazing set of lungs. He can carry on for hours!

I haven't seen much of the Carolina Wrens lately though. They are one of my favorites - potbellied little birds with stick tails. So cute and curious. A friend of mine once had them nest in her clothes pin bag. She left it alone all season for them to use. I just love that.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are back. I have a pair that visit the feeders regularly. They aren't a bit shy, as you can get quite close to them. They just watch you curiously, all the while munching on sunflowers seeds with their powerful beaks. The male is sure beautiful, with his black and white plumage and rosy breast. The female is, of course, several shades of brown, with an eyebrow slash of white. She is bigger than the sparrows, and different enough in her markings that she will make you wonder what she is if you don't already know.

A couple of summers ago, I had an Blue Grosbeak. I only saw him that one time at the feeder, but I managed to squeeze off a quick shot. What a gorgeous color of blue. I felt privileged to see him. (I just did some more research on this guy. At first I thought he was an Indigo Bunting, but they are quite small. Although I can't really see his wings, I think he is indeed a Blue Grosbeak. If anyone was a more definite idea of what he is, let me know.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Company's coming and it's time to clean and bake!

Bluets. One of my favorite harbingers of Spring. I found these tiny little things in the upper driveway, practically growing among the rocks. Poor babies. I transplanted into a safer area, along with several other tiny little clusters. I hope they like their new home.
This is a short post, as my parents arrive today for a weeks' visit. I have been busy as a bee cleaning and getting everything ready. I like to have a clean house top to bottom when out of town company comes, so I don't have to worry about a dirty bathroom, etc., or trying to do it while they are here.
Sheets are changed, pillows freshened, clean towels out. Dust, vacuum, sweep, mop. Clean bathrooms? A must! Windows? Umm...only two done. The rest will have to wait. Chairs de-haired, rooms de-cluttered. Well, almost de-cluttered. Nearly there. I'd love to get some baking done, but that might have to wait. I do have some Italian sausage cooking to make Zuppa Toscana. I've never tried it before, and when I went to shop for the ingredients, I discovered what Kale looked like.
I just couldn't bring myself to buy it. Maybe you all have cooked with this stuff before, but it would be a first for me. I opted for fresh spinach instead. I hope it turns out. I have red potatoes to put in it, and minced garlic. Whipping cream? Check. Chicken broth? Check. Sounds like a plan, don't you think?
I have a nice thick ham slice to dice up to make a ham and cheese quiche, hopefully later today. If not, maybe tomorrow. I use Pillsbury pie crust so I don't have to bother making pie crust. I've never liked to make it, although mine is really good. A nice breakfast or lunch food that is filling and easy to reheat, with a side of toast and salsa.
I would love to get some scones made. Dried cranberry and white premium chips. Very nice combo. The recipe can be found in Pillsbury's Best of the Bake-off Cookbook, 50th Anniversary Edition. It's to die for.
And lets not forget homemade bread, always popular in this household.
And, maybe, just maybe, I'll get some cookies made. Perhaps some peanut butter chocolate chip? Yum! If not, Costco has some very delicious cookies. And I do believe we are making a trip over there likely tomorrow.
Sounds like a good week ahead, don't you think?