Monthly Archives: April 2013

Custard Creams

A cup of tea and a nice biscuit, just go hand in hand in England. It seems wrong to have one without the other.

However, I quite often have one without the other and I drink my tea all wrong as I am mostly a black tea drinker and not a milk or milk and sugar tea drinker.One of the local coffee shops has started creating giant versions of some of England’s best loved biscuits to have with your hot beverage of choice. One of these biscuits being a custard cream. This homemade custard cream is absolutely divine and the perfect thing for a Monday morning breakfast!

I definitely needed a pick-me-up this morning as we have been up since just before 3am with Mr. Michie getting sick and I have left him at home and in bed today. I spent a good hour of early yesterday morning getting rid of ants that had invaded my kitchen over night. We discovered that their nest was in one of the pots by our front door that contained my climbing rose.

Unfortunately the entire pot had to go as the hive was just too large to contain, they started to spill out of the pot and they were inside some of the dead areas of my rose that were clipped down at the bottom. I am always sad to lose plants as I am attached to them. They bring me such happiness. But, there are more flowers by my door now, and that tub will really fill out in a week or so.

I also re-potted my orchids, so hopefully they will be happy with fresh bark and new pots, we will just have to wait and see. We made homemade pizzas last night with crumbled sausage, fennel and sauteed rapini. It was a really nice combination, It was light and tasted of Spring.

Mr. Michie also took me on a Saturday date and we saw “Iron Man 3”. We both really liked it. There is nothing better then watching a good movie, munching on popcorn and holding hands with your sweetie!

So, all in all it was a really good weekend, it just went by in the blink of an eye!

Peter & Alice

 
“Of course that’s how it begins: a harmless fairy tale to pass the hours”
 
Where to begin? At the beginning I suppose! Last night I was enchanted, enraptured, melancholy, delighted! I watched the lives of the real Alice in Wonderland and the real Peter Pan unfold before my eyes.
 
The real Peter Pan meets the real Alice and the meandering at times, dizzying pace at others, adventure that ensues follows what their conversation might have been when they met for the first time:
 
When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters. Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw in Logan’s first new play since Red, which went on to win 6 Tony Awards in 2010.
 
 
Judi Dench had such a stage presence. From the moment she walked on, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I felt sorry at times for the little girl she was and the woman she became. My heart ached for Peter as his childhood seemed at times horrific with the loss of both his parents through cancer and the effect the First World War had on him.
 
You could “see” the soldier he shot dying, only knowing he was dead as the fleas crawled off of him. The boy who never grows up, did and it was not the storybook dream of Neverland.
 
I know this was an imagined conversation, I know that this was make-believe, but I believed it! As the story developed the dusty shelves and run down back end of the book shop disappeared into a children’s theater. The set came to life in a different way and storybook Alice and Peter appeared along with the authors who first carved them out of their imaginations. They led us through this world and how it came to be and what happened when the curtain was lifted, when the last page was finished and the magic dissolved into the reality of their true lives.
 
 
The lines were quick, the wit was sharp. The references back to their respective books were well written. Watching storybook Alice and Peter mock and tattletale on their real life counterparts was fascinating to watch. 

Through no choice of their own, it was as if these characters that had been created around them and their families became almost their own little conscience, what they measured or didn’t measure their lives by.  By outsiders they were compared to their literary selves even though that is not who and what they were.
 
I sat on the edge of my seat for 90 minutes and at the end of the play I would have sat there for another and watched this entire tale unfold again before my eyes. It was splendorous!
 
 
{all images copyright to the Michael Grandage Company}

Under the Weather!

I’m a bit under the weather this week, but starting to bounce back. I need to be in good form tomorrow as I am going to see Dame Judi Dench, LIVE, in a play at the Noel Coward Theater called Peter & Alice. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Snickerdoodles

We tried a new pizza place down the street on Friday night, it was delicious! A great date night treat! Stone baked pizzas, that were fresh, with homemade, locally sourced and organic ingredients and some items imported directly from Italy.

The dough was so thin and crispy, it was the perfect size! It was so good that after a full day on Saturday, getting up before 6am and running around all day and doing some serious gardening we went back for dinner. Mr. Michie picked up a pizza for himself and some lasagna and a salad for me.

We planted flowers this weekend, washed the outside windows and cleaned everything up. I am trying to fight off a bad sinus infection, so Mr. Michie took care of me for the better part of the weekend. We made a pot roast with lots of veggies and served it over a saffron infused risotto for Sunday dinner, it was heavenly.

We also made some snickerdoodles to snack on. Happiness is a snickerdoodle!

Stopping to Smell the Roses

The weekend is finally here! We have made it! I have a few errands to run tomorrow morning and then Mr. Michie is taking me to the nursery to pick up a few things for our little garden.

I have a terracotta pot that didn’t survive a pedestrian and now needs to be replaced and my other little flower boxes are truly ready for a punch of color!

So, this weekend, we are going to enjoy every moment we have together and remember to take time and stop to smell the roses.

Have a great weekend!

{image found here}

Spring

Shhh, I think Spring is coming. Don’t tell anyone, or it might not happen!

{Image pinned to my Spring Board}

Update: You know, I wrote this post last night, before my heart skipped a beat as Mr. Michie told me someone had Tweeted about what was happening in Boston. I quickly searched the news for information, while Mr. Michie turned on the TV.

Next, I skyped my Mom to make sure that my family in Boston was alright. Thank goodness they were!

I am so saddened by this tragedy of events. What a terrible act to commit against innocent people.

Boston our thoughts and prayers are with you!

Home Again, Home Again

I arrived home yesterday after a crazy trip. Another lot of flight cancellations and a drive to Chicago, courtesy of my parents, I made it home!

I felt like I was in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, driving into the city; that or Adventures in Babysitting. It was truly an adventure!

There is something about going home for me. It just rejuvenates my soul. Getting to spend time with my family was wonderful and the fact that my sister and niece were able to come and we were all together, well that was just a blessing.

I sadly said my goodbyes, I never like saying goodbye to my family, but I realize how lucky I am. If I had lived during the Pioneer Age, I would probably have never seen my family again and only received letters that were weeks if not months old, my Mom and I always think of that.

But, I arrived home safely in Mr. Michie’s arms and am slowly getting back into the swing of things.

{image found}

Where Has Customer Service Gone?

Well, I am interrupting my Spring Break to step on to my soap box. It is not often that I use this space to do that, but today, I feel warrants it! I have come home to visit with my family over the Easter holiday and I was so very lucky that after spending time with my sister and 7 month old niece, the two of them travelled with me to see our Mom and Dad.

Yesterday, my sister and niece headed back home to Virginia and spent the entirety of their day in the airport. Now, I know this is nothing new, being a frequent traveller, I have had this happen many a time, I am sure many of you have had that happen. One flight after another cancelled, delayed. No one wants to tell you what is going on, a string of inconsistent reports, grumpy people all around.

My sister’s flight was delayed by over 4 hours and if it wasn’t for the only kind gentleman at the gate she would have been delayed a lot longer, but he got her on a flight. She was guaranteed to be on her original flight connection from Chicago to Virginia. However when she arrived the flight was delayed. That delay went on and on and on.

Now, here’s the thing, my sister doesn’t care to fly, she was on her own with a baby and carrying all the things a mama has to carry and you can say what you want, I am sure some people are rolling their eyes, they have been there done that, well, that might be true, but this is MY sister and niece we are talking about it and they are two of the most important people to me, so it doesn’t matter what anyone else has or hasn’t done, my focus was on them.

Her husband and my dad were on the phone with United Airlines trying to help her, because no one at the United counter was. My mom and I were doing what we could from the computer. She finally got on a flight, after spending almost 5 hours in the airport, with one spare bottle left for the baby, both parties exhausted but trying to keep their spirits up. And if you saw my niece, your spirits would always be lifted. She has the kindest little soul and she is such a happy, well loved little baby.

I know that 5 hours does not seem like a lot of time, but my sister had only packed 3 bottles, she was supposed to have a quick turn around. She had planned for a bit of extra time, but not almost 5 hours of extra time with a little girl who at that time would have already been home and in her bed.

My sister and niece were blessed to sit next to an angel who just kept talking away to them; while her husband drove over 3 hours to the airport to pick up his girls since they had been rerouted. I am blessed, I have a wonderful family. I am also blessed that not only do I love the person that my sister married, I truly like him as well.

As a trained Jedi, he knew what needed to be done and picked up a case of water and extra formula and packed extra bottles. He also had an intuition that after almost 5 hours in the airport that United Airlines would not manage to get my sister’s luggage or the baby’s carrier on the plane, because that would have been too easy. So, he went to pick up a new one. Well, he was RIGHT. The airline had lost my sister’s luggage and the baby’s carrier.

Another unexpected expense added to their trip was the purchase of a brand new baby carrier. What if they weren’t able to do that? What would have happened? They couldn’t legally have driven a baby home on their laps for a 3 hour car ride. United Airlines could have cared less.

You know, a lot is happening in the world right now. People are working harder then ever to keep their jobs, to keep a roof over their head, to put food on their table. Any business, I don’t care how big or how small you are, should be honoured that you have a patron. You should care for that patron. Where has the art of customer service gone? Where have simple acts of decency gone, where a young mother would have been helped, where the airline would have done everything for her to make things smoother. Where they would do anything for a passenger to make things smoother. Unfortunately, you are at their mercy and they are fully aware of that.

Our prayers were answered that my sister and niece landed safely. My niece made the trip smoothly, as this was only her second time flying, we all were praying she would do well. My sister the excellent Mama she is, thought on her feet as all good Mamas do and kept everything just ticking along for her little love bug of a baby. But, what she endured yesterday, well, in my book there is just no excuse for. United Airlines did nothing. I did something I wouldn’t normally do, I took my soap box over to Twitter to air my views.

The best United Airlines could do, was send me the link to their Customer Service page. I wanted more. It is my baby sister and niece they were in charge of caring for and I was not impressed. I know they have thousands of individuals to deal with, yet each should be treated like they are the only ONE, that is the art of customer service.

As we become more and more machine orientated, as the art of conversation and letter writing begin to disappear,  I hope that there are a number of us who continue to fight for politeness, decency, kindness, strong values and standards, people to people customer service and care. We should not forget our humanity. We should not forget to commit random acts of kindness. We should not forget to care for each other like we would want our own loved ones cared for. We should not forget the art of customer service.

I’m stepping off my soap box, thanks for listening.