The month of August is already gone and it seems it went faster than usual. I have not written a post in over two weeks - I meant to, however, my real life intruded on my virtual life. We had, and are having, health issues and they are time consuming. I should have written two or three posts during that time, but since I did not, I’ll write about some of our activities during this past month. Because of the heat, we did not do much in the garden apart from looking at some of the flowers. Here is a pretty rose which opened yesterday. It has a sweet rose fragrance. (Please click on the photos to enlarge them as they look so much better.)
Earlier in the season we had planted some thyme in a pot. It died and we left the pot as is. Then a few weeks ago we saw some type of violets that took over the pot – we never planted them, so I don’t know how they started to grow in that pot – could have been some seeds in the thyme dirt?
(Click on collage then on each picture to biggify)
We had bought a succulent and it grew some tiny peach blossoms. The squirrels did not eat the begonia and the dainty dark pink blooms come from an unknown pot – just appeared last week.We live in west Cobb County which is northwest of Atlanta, Georgia, about 30 miles from downtown Atlanta. We are not in a city, but close to several: 6 miles from Kennesaw, 8 miles from Marietta, 8 miles from Acworth, 9 miles from Powder Springs and 7 miles from Dallas which is in another county – Paulding. So when we go shopping we have choices. We can also shop at a couple of farmers’ markets. Below is the market on the Marietta Square (my husband is near the sign.)
The area farmers and artisan food producers come every Saturday and Sunday mornings to offer their goods.
I like to look at all the beautiful flowers. Sometimes bluegrass musicians entertain us on the side of the market.
But one of my favorite things is getting close to the beautiful Greyhound dogs. There is an adoption agency that brings several of their dogs to the market. I’d love to adopt one – maybe when we don’t travel so much.
We also shop at the smaller farmers’ market in Kennesaw where I found Annie last week and spoke French with her. Her husband bakes the best baguettes and croissants.
Another market, but a flea market, is close by in Acworth. We went there last Sunday – it was very warm. They used to sell more antiques but now it is mostly cheap stuff from China.
Some Mexican vendors offer vegetables and fruits at good prices. I don’t know what is the dry bean type thing on the right hand side of the bottom right-hand photo – do you?
There was a red car for sale – it looked like a vintage model but I am not sure from which car maker. Seating is provided at the flea market – but it is not fancy… (an understatement.)
We ate the fresh vegetables at home but we also went out – ate some Italian food. At Douceur de France I ate a “tartine Corse” (seasoned tomatoes on top of a warm baguette covered with goat cheese) and a chocolate cake. My husband had the Millefeuille which here is called a Napoleon, I believe.
Our fig tree produced many good figs so I made several batches of jam. I showed my fig jam recipe back in 2010 in the post Fresh Figs – Home Grown.
I also made some cherry jam (with Cherry Heering wine from Denmark) and some red plum jam flavored with cardamom spice.
We now have a good variety of jams to eat with our English muffins and café au lait for breakfast.
But when it came time to place the jars in the cabinet – it was already occupied! It is also hard to read the newspaper after breakfast….
While at the library, I saw a picture book on Venice, Italy, then I found a mystery author named Donna Leon who wrote numerous mysteries taking place in Venice. I borrowed several, then several more and ended up reading about 12 or more during the month of August.
So, even if I did not travel overseas, at least I traveled virtually. We did take a small trip to Rome but a town in Georgia and not its namesake in Italy. I’ll have a post on it coming soon. I read another interesting book from the library entitled “Sixty Million Frenchmen can’t be wrong” by Canadian authors Nadeau and Barlow. It shows the wide difference between the US and French cultures.
I thought my husband would enjoy reading this book and was pleased to find an inexpensive copy online at a British second-hand book site. As I was going to take a picture of the book for this post I placed both books side by side, the library copy and the purchased copy to see which one would look better….That is only when I realized that the second line of the title of the book was different. I thought that one copy was a newer edition but then I saw that the copy from the library was from the American edition and the purchased copy from the British edition. The American one said “why we love France, but not the French” and the British “what makes the french so french.” I asked my friend Vicki Lane, who is a successful published author, if authors make decisions on the covers of their books. She replied that the marketing department of the publishing companies makes the decision as to what will sell better in their market “taking into account the local preferences/prejudices.” It saddened me that the American publisher would think that the US market would be more likely to purchase the book to reinforce their feeling as to why they did not like the French…but c’est la vie…
My daughter called me to tell me that the daycare had advised her that the blanket I had knitted for the youngest grandson was too big. The car blanket I crocheted was too small. So she asked if I could make another one, just right. I did and so I started to watch some TV while making it. I finished it during the last day of the Republican Convention on national television.
Since I had to watch TV, I’ll talk about what I saw. I have read some bloggers saying that if a post mentions politics they just won’t read it and move on – many people are not interested at all. When I became a US citizen I knew that I would have to take some more responsibilities and voting was one of them. To vote I need to find out what the politicians are saying. To me, refusing to take part in the politics of one’s country is like refusing to be involved in one’s children upbringing – you just cannot say you love your children or place flags of your country on your blog and refuse to take part in the process. Below is a vintage postcard of the house of Betsy Ross (1752-1836.)
As I tried to research more on Betsy Ross, I found out that there is no credible historical evidence that she indeed was the seamstress who made the first flag – read it here . There are many myths in history and politicians create myths themselves so it is important to always do some facts checking. I use Factcheck.org and Politifact.com . When I came to the USA there were a great variety of television channels and radio stations, but now they have merged and been bought up by large corporations. The conservatives keep saying that the media is liberal, but it is not because it does not check facts thoroughly and does not challenge false statements. How could television chains do otherwise when, for example, NBC is owned by General Electric, ABC is owned by Disney, CBS by Viacom, Time Warner owns CNN, HBO, Cinemax – all of these chains donated millions of dollars to the past Bush re-election campaigns. Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are owned by super conservative Rupert Murdoch (who was under indictment in England.)
The copy of the Wall Street Journal above was delivered in our driveway last Friday, August 31st. We are not subscribers so it must have been a wrong delivery, but I was pleased to read this paper to see if the false statements said during the convention would be noted. They had not and instead had been repeated. I feel that the media and the press have a responsibility, in a free country, to understand and report news in a neutral way so that the public can make their decisions based on facts and the truth. Candidates in elections should be called out every time they lie to the public. But they don’t so I spend much time reading the foreign press- in English and in French and checking out facts.
On the little country map on the side of my blog I see that many readers come from other countries such as, today, from Tripoli, Libya, Ukraine, Cairo, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Ganzhou, China, New Zealand, Australia and many points in Europe, and the red dots change all the time. I’ll try to explain, in a very rough way, the two parties in the US. The Republican Party is the Conservative party (party of Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Richard Nixon) and the Democratic Party is considered the liberal party (party of John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.) But since the 1960s when I originally came to the US, both parties have taken a turn to the right, so that, for example the Republican party would be considered Extreme Right Religious in Europe and the Democratic Party would be Center Right and not liberal at all. There are only two major parties in the USA. Next week the Democratic Convention will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For more information – the population of the US is about 314,275,029 right now. Of the 132,645,504 registered voters about 38.4 percent did not cast a ballot for president in 2008 – that’s roughly 50 million people. This is also the number of Americans (50.3 millions) who, in the 2010 census, were found to have no health insurance. Health insurance is provided by profit making corporations here, apart from the senior population who are insured under the government program called Medicare. For example in Texas 26.3% people do not have health insurance – it is 21.9% in Georgia. So what happens? People die. A new study calculated that more than 26,000 Americans died prematurely in 2010 – that is about 502 preventable deaths a week. Thirty-two of the thirty-three developed nations have universal health care (so far the US is the lone exception.) From what I understood watching the Republican Convention and then checking the facts, the platform would stop Medicare and place it on a voucher system, which would make it go back to the profit making insurance companies. The country is heavily oriented toward money and in general disapproves of the poor. It is such a beautiful country, but it does have some strange politics.
The postcard above shows an example of the beauty of this country – Glacier National Park in Montana. There are some exceptional sites in the US. I did hear the term “American exceptionalism” repeated many times during the Republican Convention so I decided to research to see who invented the term. I found out that it was Joseph Stalin, the Communist leader of the USSR, who said it first, in 1929, while arguing about America. He said “the heresy of American exceptionalism…” while disagreeing with the belief that America is unique and exceptional compared to other countries. So I am surprised now that the Republicans use the same term – they may not know where it comes from! Below is another exceptional landscape – a postcard of the Powell Valley near Norton, Virginia.
There were many deliberate lies, half truths and distortions during the speeches at the Republican Convention. This kept me busy fact checking for a long time. I was quite surprised that even Fox News agreed that there had been many lies – read it here (I like to read both the Conservative and Liberal press.) The easiest one to check was a fact that Mr. Paul Ryan (the vice-presidential candidate) affirmed – he blamed President Obama for the closing of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. But the plant had been scheduled to close months before Mr. Obama became president (he was sworn in January 20th, 2009) and the last vehicle came out of the assembly line at the end of 2008 during Mr. Bush’s presidency, see photo below (courtesy The United Way.)
Now that the baby blanket is finished I don’t think I’ll watch as much television. I do like to read the speeches online – it makes it easier to fact check. I also found four more mysteries by Donna Leon at the Kennesaw Library…. This is a long post – but it covered the month of August – an eclectic post for a fast moving month.