Friday, July 11, 2008

Rain, Programme Conflict, Book, Salamanders

It started raining overnight and it has been literally chucking it down since. We also had thunder and lightening to go with it. Weird that last year by now we were yelling drought. The grass around our apartment which got so badly damaged has never recovered. The gardeners keep seeding it, but nothing much has happened yet. I think they should sod it. I was thinking about rain and wondering why Spain is so involved, "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain", for instance, plus when we were kids we used to say "rain, rain go to Spain and don't come back again". Poor Spain. This morning Matt was going to the store for a couple of things we forgot yesterday, but we had the car washed so he won't take it out in the rain, I ask you!! I wish we could send some of this out to California where they are having such bad forest fires and many homes have been burnt to the ground. It has certainly cooled things down a lot here I am pleased to say. I like the summer, but I don't like it when it gets excessively hot and humid. We have friends coming to dinner tomorrow, but I can't post the menu because I know one of them reads my blog regularly. Which reminds me, I don't know if you are aware, or have come across this problem; I use Zone Alarm for my security on the computer. The other day Microsoft downloaded an update onto my PC which was for Windows XP. Five minutes later I tried to get on the Internet, no go. Having phoned my ISP they told me to turn off Zone Alarm, I did and of course the Internet worked. Eventually I went on Zone Alarm's forum to discover that there is a conflict between Zone Alarm and Microsoft's latest update (KB957814). The current advice is to use your Add/Remove and delete the update and then to stop updates from MS until Zone Alarm have fixed this problem, which is what I have done. It does not affect Vista users, only XP and 2000. I actually had a notice from Zone Alarm about an update this morning, which I have postponed, so with any luck this could be the fix. In case you wondered about my initial statement, the reason it reminded me, my friend phoned because I had mentioned computer problems on my blog the other morning, she was having the same problems. I ordered a book from on June 13 which is The Siege Of Arrandin by Marcus Herniman and it still hasn't arrived. I have been in touch with the bookseller but they suggest I wait another 7 days and email them again. The book is actually coming from England, but mail from there isn't usually so slow so I don't know what has happened to it. Unless the Customs have decided to open it and have a read before sending it on, *g*. I have had books sent from England before and it sure hasn't taken this much time. Yesterday I rented the Spiderwyck Chronicles, but haven't yet watched it. I am looking forward to doing so. Yet another kid's movie, but I am reputedly the biggest kid of the lot, or so Matt tells me, I shall look forward to it. There is a big hoo ha going on in this area at the moment, they want to extend a local road to ease traffic problems, however, its planned route goes through an area where a rare salamander, the Jefferson Salamander, exists in small numbers. This Salamander is not on the endangered list yet, but it is on the threatened list. In Canada it is only found in Ontario and will only live in certain areas. Its existence in any habitat means that that area is very eco healthy otherwise that particular salamander would not be there. It is a kind of eco indicator. There was an article in our local paper about it. The author seemed to feel the road was more important. I emailed a protest and said I felt we needed less cars not more roads and we should protect this salamander. If we continue to ignore threatened or endangered species we will end up with no animals left at all. Whether it is an animal that appeals to you personally is not the point, everyone loves polar bears which are endangered, not everyone thinks Jefferson Salamanders are particularly endearing, but they are part of our planet's diversified ecology and should be protected at all costs. A road through their area would be particularly dangerous here because during the winter, so much salt is used to deal with the snow that the run off would be lethal to the habitat. I am planning to serve green beans for dinner tomorrow night. Funnily enough I got a whole batch of green bean recipes from Eating Well in my email yesterday. I am not changing my planned recipe, but I thought I would share this salad with you. Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil & Black Olives

Makes 8 servings


2 pounds green beans, trimmed 3 ears corn, husked ½ small red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 small red onion, finely chopped ⅔ cup black olives, preferably salt-cured, halved and pitted ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 cloves garlic, minced Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Fill another large pot half full with ice water. Blanch about half the green beans in the boiling water just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining beans. 2. Return the water to a boil. Add corn and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into the ice water. Cut the kernels off the cobs. 3. Add the corn to the beans in the bowl. Add bell pepper, onion, olives, basil, oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic; toss to mix well. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.


Prepare through Step 2. Store green beans and corn separately, in plastic bags lined with paper towels, in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.

Have a great day.


  1. Did your English booksellers send the book by airmail or surface mail? If surface mail, then the post office won't even think of chasing it until at least twelve weeks after posting date. (It should have been sent by airmail, and certainly should have arrived by now.)

    Sod it has another meaning here. :D

  2. I don't know how they sent it, I think they usually send by airmail but I don't know. They claim 14 days to the US, so it should be about the same here.

    Yes I am aware of what sod it means in the UK, it used to cause us much hilarity when we first emigrated. There is a local sod firm and one winter they had their trucks lined up in such a way that you could see the sign on all of them at once, so it was a continuous row of sods. I tried to take a pic but my camera of the time wouldn't handle the job. Pity, it would have amused all my English friends.

    Over here, we buy properties with fully sodded lots.

  3. Jo - Cross-Atlantic mail do take a while these days.

    Salamanders aren't exactly my favourite reptiles. Do you know in some areas of the world people *eat* them!

    A Hollywood star came to Paris once and her chauffeur told me that she ate nothing but green beans. I won't name her, but she was married to one of Hollywood's tough guys and she's now living with a guy who's years her junior.

  4. No Marilyn, I didn't know people ate salamanders. I cannot imagine it. However, I guess if you are hungry enough.... An English friend of mine actually tried fried cockroach which I personally wouldn't go near. To me they are the most revolting insects.