Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter- Growing Season

In most places, winter is the non-growing season. Not so in Phoenix. Its true that many trees are losing or have lost their leaves and some kinds of grass are brown for a few months but almost everything around my house is still growing.


This is an agave plant. It has been growing new leaves in the center ever since we planted it and it’s growing as fast as ever during the shortest days of the year.

IMG_0007This is honey suckle. It’s not in bloom yet, but you can see a bunch of buds in this picture.


IMG_0011This is a variegated vine. I don’t know much more about it than that. I don’t know whether it ever blooms, but it does have new growth.



This is the bud of a bougainvillea plant. It really is worth clicking the picture to get a better view. I got lucky on this picture.


This picture is really good too. You can even see little hairs growing on the bougainvillea flowers. They start out green and turn white.


IMG_0017 Tamara’s Fern has new growth on it.IMG_0034

The Yellow Bird of Paradise is actually blooming, but this picture only shows buds.


The Mexican Bird of Paradise has new red leave on it. They turn green as they mature.

 IMG_0015The lemon leaves also start red & go green.

IMG_0045 This is an Aloe Vera bud. Or maybe it’s the blossom. This plant hasn’t bloomed since I’ve lived here, so I’m not sure.IMG_0021

We also have cute little baby Aloe Vera plants.


IMG_0038 This is new growth (FINALLY!) on our Star Jasmine vine growing on the ├╝ber-ugly mailbox post. Well, it’s wrapped around it anyway. We hope it will grow onto it and hide the ugliness that is our mailbox.


These pansies definitely think this is Spring time.


The orange trumpet vine just blooms whenever it wants.

IMG_0024 And finally, after we thought they might die, (and most of the plants did) the snap dragons decided to bloom one more time. The other snap dragons didn’t die of wintery coldness. I drowned them. On accident. Several times.

I didn’t even take pictures of the Lobelia or the Lantana that we have blooming right now. IMG_0004

This is my Swiss Chard. Yum! Most of the plants look something like this medium colored red chard. They, at least, are supposed to grow in wintery weather.


This picture shows the dark chard on the right and the green chard in the middle. On the left is some nasturtium, which most people do not believe is a kind of chard at all. It hasn’t bloomed yet, but when it does, I will eat the flowers in a salad.


These might be daisies. I planted lots of Shasta Daisy seeds from my wedding throughout the chard garden, but I had never grown daisies before and I didn’t know what they were going to look like. So I let all the dandelions get really big just in case they turned out to be daisies. When I was fully sure that they really were dandelions, I finally pulled them. It more than decimated the garden!

All along I had been pulling anything that sprouted with really round leaves. I was sure that the daisies would not start off with round leaves because mature daisies have long leaves and the seeds were long and skinny. Well, these plants that I expect to turn out to be daisies have two round leaves under the long leaves, which means that the very first two leaves to pop out of the soil were round. I may have killed more daisies than have survived just because I didn’t know what they looked like. And I’m still not sure I’ve identified them correctly yet.

Cooking with No Food

Jack-hand recipes
Ok. This post is more about our cooking adventure than it is about the food. We had essentially no food in the house so it was time to be creative. I thought we should make biscuits. Much discussion ensued about what to eat with biscuits.

Tamara is partial to her mom’s recipe for biscuits, so we called Andrea and asked her for the recipe. We also asked what we should have on the biscuits and she suggested Creamed Tuna. We got that recipe from her too. I used Jack-hand (not real shorthand) to copy it down. I wrote really fast.
Jack stirring cream sauce
This is my first cream sauce I’ve ever made. Please don’t notice that I’m in my pajamas. Really the sauce in this picture is ready for me to move on to the next step, but it’s waiting for its picture to be taken. This sauce starts off with a roux. I had never made a roux before either.

Tamara made the biscuits without any help from me, so there are no pictures of me making the biscuits. And my pajamas stayed clean. (no flour)
Yum. CTR Biscuits
Here is the meal. In the foreground you see pears in a little fruit bowl that Tamara got from her mom and dad for Christmas. We love our little fruit bowls and we’re glad to be using our nice china again because it’s microwave safe and dishwasher safe, which the Christmas dishes weren’t.

To the right is the Creamed Tuna, which we put on the biscuits like gravy. It was yum if I do say so myself.

In back you see the biscuits. Some are Choose the Right shaped biscuits. They were yum too.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I got my blog back!

After well over a year of having my original blog confiscated, and after finally giving up on ever getting it back, I requested one more time that they give me back my blog and they finally relented. So now I have combined the old blog and the new blog at the new address with the new layout and theme.

I really wanted to get a really cool template and theme for my blog, but it looks like most of the cool templates are somewhat girly. If I had my nice big screen that Dad gave me last year with me, then I would just create my own, but right now I'm on my little netbook. It has the power but not the screen space for doing that kind of photo editing.

I wanted to put this sunset skyline of Phoenix as the banner of my blog, but it just wasn't quite wide enough for me so I went with the other option, which does fit the color scheme of my blog pretty much anyway.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I've been having a great time at the Robertsons' house. We had a lot of fun opening presents and stockings, eating the traditional tea-ring, and drinking homemade eggnog.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Blog Address


It is increasingly clear that I will never get my original blog back. Google has determined that I was not a person and will not change its mind, so I will cease to protest the inexorable machine that is the Googlemonster with my blog address. My blog will no longer be found at This is no longer my secondary blog while I wait for my primary blog to be given back to me. My new (and long since current) address is

Soon, I will leave behind the depressing black theme as I leave behind the memory of what was done to my poor innocent blog who’s only crime was excessive enthusiasm for a few products that I had enjoyed and linking to websites that sold them.

If you really must have the address of my blog it is now Personally I like the address better because I can point that link to wherever I want and if I someday move to a non-google service for my blog, the turner08 blog address will point to that new blog without hassle.

Biscuit Men


Sometimes I make biscuits and gravy. This time I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter to make Christmassy biscuits. I did not anticipate the subsequent amputations that this would entail. I also made gravy, but I didn’t think that it would be as photogenic as the uncovered biscuit men.

Good Meal

IMG_0894 IMG_0895

Tamara made double cheeseburgers veggies and mac’n’cheese. It was really good. She cooked the whole box of rotini and I had great leftovers for several days.

Failed Recipe


The Blueberries were good. The cornbread was good. The Crystal Light was good. The soup was bad.

This picture was taken in June, when I made Creamy Carrot Soup. I like carrots, so I thought this was worth a try. It was a weird soup. It had grapefruit juice and all kinds of funny spices that I normally don’t use. I would never have combined these ingredients if I weren’t following someone else’s recipe.

It smelled really good while cooking, but we didn’t enjoy eating it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sick Jack


This is a picture of me being sick. I felt well enough to go to the gym yesterday, but not well enough to do more than 4 laps in the pool. Besides, that water was excessively cold.

I think I have the flu because I’ve been experiencing body aches and a fever, but other than that, it seems like a really bad cold. Maybe I have both.

Today I had Extreme Drippiness Syndrome (EDS) and a fever of 100.4 degrees F. I suspect it actually was higher than that, but I didn’t think to take my temperature until I was already starting to feel a little less cold.

Fortunately, the fever has been going down now, as has my EDS. I don’t feel well enough to do much, really, but I do feel well enough to get caught up on my blogging. I hope to feel well enough for attending church tomorrow.

World Robot Domination

ScreenHunter_01 Nov. 22 09.04 

I have a tendency to be overly fastidious about doing dishes in my own house. When I’m at someone else’s house, I don’t worry about dishes though. I often do dishes a few times a day.

So, the above comic depicts a conversation I had with my friend Avery, who is renting our guest room. We may not have Rosie from the Jetsons, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have household robots.

Food is More Fun on a Fancy Plate

IMG_0738 IMG_0741

Maybe I post too many food pictures, but look how much fun I have eating!

Jasmine Bush


This is the jasmine bush that we planted under our front window. As you can see, it has a tendency to drop its flowers after a day or two, but they smell really good. It’s not flowering right now. This picture was taken a while ago.

Cat5 Ethernet

cat5jackThis is a bokeh picture of a cat5 Ethernet jack that I wired. In the background, you see the corner of my monitor and the coil of cat5 wire. This jack is now installed in the wall under my desk and the cable goes through the attic. It gives wired internet connectivity to our guest room. 

I took this picture June 12. That’s when I was working on the Ethernet here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ginger Rubble


I don’t recall ever seeing a gingerbread house so thoroughly eaten. Growing up, we usually threw the rest of the house away when January came around. That was largely because we weren't supposed to eat it until we got close to Christmas. Tamara and I have no such rule.

This year, we’re only half way through December and the first gingerbread house that Tamara and I ever built together is reduced to rubble. I finally reduced it from being proudly displayed on a long fancy Christmas serving platter to huddling under a candy tree on a little dessert plate.