Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sad News

Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin.You touched all our lives.

Hump Day

Breakfast on Wednesday was a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal.

It was supposed to be another hot day. But, I found myself reluctant to go outside early (my original plan). So, I worked inside (emptying the dishwasher, starting the Wednesday wash, etc.)

Amanda called me from her work in a bit of a panic. She had gotten up early to take Keldon for his physical (before school starts). Then she drove him to his Uncle Buck's house (Uncle Buck was babysitting him today).

When she pulled in his driveway, the almost full bottle of Rock & Rye soda she had in her console cup holder tipped over onto her lap! She couldn't go all the way back home to change or she would be really late for work.

So, she asked if I would mind going to Target or Walmart and buying her a pair of jean shorts (size 2) and dropping them off. She said she'd give me the money back when I got there. I told her I wasn't doing much anyway, and I'd head out just as soon as I put some pants on.

Sidebar: I kinda wish I had shaved and showered before getting this phone call. But I'm getting more and more lazy these days.

I put the empty gas can (for the mowers) in the back of the truck and headed out.

I went to Target (I hate Walmart) and got the shorts. Then I drove down Plymouth Road to Time Out.

Amanda met me at the door. I gave her the shorts and she gave me the money and a large takeout container of Chessey Potato soup. It happened to be today's soup (they only make and serve one soup each day) and one of my favorites from Time Out.

Since I was out anyway, I stopped at Home Depot and bought a yellow mum. I never replaced the dead daisy in the mail box garden and thought this might work for the Fall.

I stopped at the gas station and filled up the gas can then topped off the truck tank.

Since I was out anyway, I ran the truck through the touch-free car wash. Then I finally drove home.

I left the truck outside and went inside to eat my lunch. The soup was great!

Then I grabbed a towel and finished drying off the truck. Then I pulled the truck into the garage.

I laid on the bed to rest for a while. Then I got up, went outside and cut the front lawn with the mower.

When that was done, I took the mower out back and cut all the areas I couldn't get to with the riding tractor.

Sidebar: Now all that's left is to trim around the garden rocks with the line trimmer.

I planted the mum. I deliberately bought one where the flowers had not yet opened (hoping it might last longer) so I didn't take a picture for you yet.

That took two hours or so. I put everything away and went inside.

Dinner was the leftover Mushroom Agnolotti. I toasted two slices of the Italian bread, buttered them and then sprinkled the butter for a makeshift garlic bread.

I watched TV until bedtime.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tuesday's Tale

I got up at 6:20 a.m. and made a cup of coffee. I drank it while I finished up the Blog entry and then posted it.

Breakfast was two eggs over easy with Italian bread toast.

I shaved, showered and got dressed for town. I have to fetch my Sawzall. Also, I told Courtney I would stop by and drop off the boys birthday present. She had a party for all three kids that I couldn't make.

Sidebar: One of the items on the short list of suggestions were bubbles. The boys like to blow bubbles. Now, I figured lots of people would be buying them those little bottles of bubbles. So, I went to Party City and got a gallon of bubble juice to refill them. I also bought some wands that were different (stars, etc.). I couldn't find those big circle wands that make those huge bubbles (which is what I wanted) locally.

I stopped at the Looney Bakery first and bought a dozen mixed donuts for them (I always do).  Then I headed back to Middle Belt and up to Eight Mile and Marsh Power Tools. I gave them $28.00 and asked what was wrong with it. They said there was debris on the brushes, so all they had to do was clean it.

I went to Courtney's house, but no one answered the door! Odd, because she said she'd be home all morning. I was making her little dogs go nuts with my knocking, so I gave up. I put the present and the donuts on the rear steps (the ones that they use) and drove home.

Sidebar: She called a little later and apologized. Since I was so vague on the time (and I was) and the kids were bugging her to go to the park, she took a chance. I told it it was no problem, I wasn't going to stay long anyway, just wanted to drop off the gift. I told her I'd drop by another day to see them all.

I changed into shorts and a t-shirt. It was hot (hotter than yesterday) but the was a nice breeze that made it more bearable. So, after lunch (another sandwich - the last of the salami, thank God) and an hours rest I went out back.

I got the tractor out of the shed and cut the back yard. Since I was just sitting there (with my Minneapolis-Moline hat on so I didn't sunburn my head) it wasn't too bad. Now the back yard is done, except for trimming.

Speaking of trimming, after I put the tractor away, I got out the trimmer and went to the front yard. I trimmed the front ditch. This was not as easy as it sounds, due to the angles. It took a long while, but I got 'er done. I had just started trimming around the rocks that line the gardens when the battery died.

So, I went inside, put the battery on the charger and swapped my sweaty t-shirt for a dry one. It was just after 2:30 p.m. I decided I'd start dinner after 5:00 p.m. (early for me, but I need to make my Sunday dinner) and watched DIY shows until then.

At 5:00 p.m., I started prepping for dinner. I was making Pepper Steak over Rice.

Now, when I was researching Pepper Steak over Rice, I found about a gazzion different recipes. Most involved adding some sort of canned tomatoes. But, I found one (just one) where you added fresh tomato wedges at the end. Different, so, I went with that.

First I sliced up a one pound round steak into half inch slices. Then I pounded each one to 1/4 inch.

Sidebar: Sounds like a lot of work, but it wasn't. Took a couple-three wacks to get them thin. At first I thought, "Why not just cut them 1/4 inch in the first place?" Then it dawned on me it was probably to tenderize them

I sprinkled them with a tablespoon of paprika and set them aside while I prepped the rest of the vegetables.

I sliced up two green peppers. I crushed two cloves of garlic. I diced up one cup of a sweet onion (you were supposed to use green onions but I didn't have any). And I cut two large tomatoes, each cut into eight wedges.

I put two tablespoons of butter in my non-stick skillet and browned the meat. Then I added the garlic and 1 1/2 cups of beef broth. I let that simmer (covered) for 30 minutes. Then I added the green peppers and onions. I covered it again and let it cook for five minutes more. 

I whisked together two tablespoons of cornstarch, 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of soy sauce. I stirred that into the meat mixture and let it cook, stirring until it was clear and thickened (about two minutes). Then I added in the tomato wedges.

Now, I must admit, I cheated on the rice. I used one of those Uncle Ben's microwave pouches (butter and garlic - it seemed fitting). I made a bed of the rice and topped it with the meat mixture.

Then I ate dinner. It was good, but not great. Not enough tomato taste. Next time I'll go with a recipe that adds in the canned tomatoes and maybe stick in a few tomato wedges just for looks.

I cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher. Then I watched my NCIS shows (both reruns) until the news and bedtime.

Monday, August 13, 2018


I had another rough night. I got up at 6:30 a.m. and made a cup of coffee. I sipped it watching the morning news. But, I fell asleep again. and woke up at 8:30!

I ate the remaining three muffins for breakfast after heating them one by one in the microwave.

I spent a very frustrating morning trying to get my sound to work on the computer. I checked the connection (thinking the cat might have knocked it loose) and then ran the Microsoft diagnosis three times (and you have to restart every time). If I had the actual discs, I would just reload the drivers, but with this cloud crap, I'm not sure how to do it!

Never got it to work...

Marsh Power Tools called to say the Sawzall was ready. I asked what was wrong with it and she said debris had gotten under the brushes, so all they had to do was clean it out. I asked how much it would cost me and she said $28.00. Sweet! I told her I'd pick it up tomorrow.

I ate another sandwich for lunch.

I re-read the recipe for the salad I was supposed to make on Sunday. There was a foot note I had missed regarding the balsamic vinegar. It said you could use regular balsamic vinegar but it will darken the mozzarella. They suggested using "golden" balsamic vinegar.

So, I put on my pants over my shorts and drove to Westborn (I figured if anyone would have it around here, it would be Westborn) Sure enough, they did! So, I bought it (luckily, it only came in a small bottle).

I was going to do so work outside, but it was just too damn hot. So instead, I walked around the back yard, picking up fallen sticks. I hope to cut the lawn tomorrow and don't want to mess up the mower. I piled them in the fire pit. I took the trash and the recyclables out to the road.

I picked a load of basil for the salad on the way back in.

I laid on the bed for a while to rest my legs. Then I got up to start on the salad.

Now, like most things I make, I cut the recipe in half. But, let's pretend you are making the whole recipe.

I chopped up 1/4 cup of basil (I picked way too much and that went in the trash - now my trash smells great!) and mixed that with 1/4 extra virgin olive oil. I added in one pound of those cherry-sized mozzarella balls. I added salt and pepper to taste, covered the bowl and stuck it in the fridge.

Note: You have to let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.

I went and watched a DIY show.

After an hour, I took it out. I added in one pint of grape tomatoes (you can also use cherry) and 3 tablespoons of the golden balsamic vinegar (as I said, you can also use regular or white balsamic). I tossed it all to combine. I taste-tested it and added a little more salt and pepper.

You are supposed to serve it immediately, so I took a quick picture and ate it. It was delicious!

I cleaned up the minimal mess and noticed it was getting dark. That gave me an idea! As you know, I have not been feeling well for eight months now, so I missed a lot of the Spring and Summer fun stuff. That included bonfires. So, I grabbed the camera, went out back and lit the sticks and pine cones.

It was very nice, peaceful even, until the mosquitoes found me. Unfortunately, I was stuck out there until the fire died down (didn't want to set anything on fire). Finally, it died down enough I felt it was safe to get my itchy ass inside.

I watched TV until bedtime, scratching all the way.


I have been wanting some muffins for breakfast but can't really afford good bakery ones. So, I had picked up a box of Jiffy blueberry muffins on my last grocery trip. I made them Sunday morning. I think it took longer to get the oven heated than it did to bake them!

When they cooled a bit, I got them out. I ate three of them, cut in half and buttered. Not perfect, but not bad.

I washed the bedding and did the other Sunday morning chores.

I put some pants on over my shorts and went down to the Dairy Whip to take those pictures.

My Japanese maple looks stressed. I'm guessing it's lack of water. So, I put the hose end next to the tree trunk and turned the water on low. Those other flowers (I can never remember their name) are in bloom. When I went to take their picture, I found a tree growing next to them!

I need to start using more herbs! Both the sage and the basil are out of control!!!

I had a sandwich for lunch. I have a lot of hard salami and Italian bread to use up!

I cleaned out my linen closet and threw away a whole bunch of stuff I never had used.

I took the trash from the linen closet and the kitchen trash out to the container. Just as I got back inside, my daughter Melissa called. We talked for a while. Well, mostly she talked, giving me her helpful health tips, lol!

I went outside and trimmed the front Forsythia. It should look great next spring when it flowers.

I got out the line trimmer. I finished the south side of the driveway and got half of the north side done before my back gave out.

As I was finishing up, I heard thunder. I looked up and the sky to the north was almost black. So, I hurried to water the porch plants and then buttoned everything up. But I was disappointed again as it just sprinkled here.

I laid on the bed, hoping to take a nap. Unfortunately, I left the TV on and got involved in watching several shows.

I had a real Sunday supper planned. But, it was getting late and I wasn't all that hungry. So, I made a bowl of popcorn instead.

I watched TV until bedtime.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Come Saturday morning...

I woke up late on Saturday after another long night. I had cold cereal for breakfast. I watched the news for a while and then shaved, showered and got dressed for town.

I went to CVS and finally got all my prescriptions.

Lunch was more pasta salad. I am quite sick of pasta salad.

I spent the afternoon putzing in the house (when I should have been trimming the grass).

It got dark and cloudy around 3:00 p.m. but it never did rain here. The sun came back out around 4:00 p.m.

I realized I forgot some crusty bread for tonight's dinner. I knew better, but thought I'd try FreshValue. On the way, I saw that the Dairy Whip was empty. Dairy Whip looks like it was an old school Dairy Queen before they went upscale, although Dairy Whip recently put in a drive-thru. If you are a walk up, you order through windows and so on. I went over there Sunday morning and took pictures to show you what I mean (They were closed).

So, I pulled in and got a small vanilla cone dipped in chocolate. I ate it sitting on one of their picnic tables, watching the cars go by. Most of the ice cream ended up on either my hands or the ground. FreshValue did have Italian bread, but no hard crust bread, dammit!

For dinner, I made a salad with the leftover cherry tomatoes and some baby spinach with a simple oil and vinegar dressing. Then I warmed up some Mushroom Agnolotti with jarred Alfredo sauce. I sopped up some of the Alfredo sauce with the soft Italian bread.

I watched TV and, after Saturday Night Live, went to bed.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Oh, no!!!

I heard late last night they are going to stop making crocs. Now what the hell am I supposed to do?

Finally Friday

I woke up later than usual on Friday. This was probably the result of getting up to shit almost every hour on the hour all night long.

Sidebar: I will say it again. I would much rather be woken up having to poop rather than the alternative. Sleeping through it would be messy!

I made two Eggo waffles for breakfast. After my second cup of coffee, I got dressed for town. I didn't go to town, just down to the little market on Joy and Beech Daly (it's called FreshValue). I bought more Italian dressing. Then I made two impulse buys. They had the small flour tortillas on sale, so I bought a bag of those.

Then I did a really bad thing (and I know better). I bought  bottle of Faygo Red Pop. I don't know why. I just saw it and thought, "I used to love that stuff!"

When I got home, I added more dressing to the pasta salad. Then I cracked open the Red Pop. The funny thing is that it didn't taste nearly as good as I remembered.

I put new line on the trimmer. First I trimmed the patio (it really needed it). I blew off the resultant mess. Then I went out front and did most of the south side of the driveway. The battery on the trimmer gave out just before my back did.

Sidebar: The trimmer is a lot lighter than, say, a gas trimmer, but it is not light.

I put the battery on the charger and ate some pasta for lunch. They I laid on the bed, waiting for my back to recover. It never really did.

The plumbers (there were two of them) showed up around 3:30 p.m. I explained the problem and they got to work.

Then they stopped work and came to tell me my flange was broke!

Sidebar: The flange is the pipe in the floor that the wax ring hooks into.

Since my crawl space is so short, they said all they could do was to cut out the old one and lead in a new one. They said they might have the correct one and some lead on the truck.

They checked and they did (thank God). They brought in the old one to show me the damage. It had rusted through (it was probably the original from when the house was built in the '50s). I could have tightened the toilet forever and never got it to quit rocking

So, they continued to work while I continued to worry about just how much all this was going to cost me...

They finished up just before 5:30 p.m. and the one guy went out to the truck to write up my bill. I almost kissed him when he got back and said it would be $217.28!!!

Sidebar: I thought it would be at least $500 - $700.00.

I have to use the downstairs bath until 24 hours have passed to let the caulk dry. No problem!!!
After they left, I shut the bathroom door and made a sign so I didn't forget during the night.

I couldn't handle more pasta salad for dinner but I had nothing planned, so I had to improvise. I diced up half of a sweet onion and set it aside. I opened a can of refried beans and warmed them up in the microwave. Then I charred a couple of flour tortillas on the gas stove grates (takes about 10 seconds and you really have to watch them).

I put the beans on one side and topped them with some onions. I added splashes of Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Then I folded it over and ate it. Very messy at first (you bite one end and it squishes out the other) but I soon got the hang of it. I ended up eating five of them!

I cleaned up the minimal mess and then watched TV until bedtime.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Birthday Shoutout!

Happy birthday to my dear daughter, Carla! xoxo


Breakfast on Thursday was hot coffee and toast. This time I used Blackberry jam on the toast. Definitely different from orange marmalade, but still delicious.

My back was a little bit better, but my legs were still shot.

I shaved,  showered and got dressed for town. I left around 11:00 a.m. to take my Sawzall into Marsh Power Tools. It hasn't worked in over two years, but I may need it this weekend. I think it's just the switch but I dunno. I never knew where to take it for repairs, but somebody from Livonia asked about getting a drill fixed and this recommendation was the closest to me. It's located at Middle Belt and Eight Mile.

Since I was coming back on Middle Belt, I stopped at Westborn to get some veggies for another pasta salad.

I stopped at CVS and they had two more prescriptions ready. Three more had not yet been approved by my doctor and they suggested I call her.

Back home, I changed clothes and lay in bed, thinking about grass cutting. I thought about it long enough I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I started prepping for the pasta salad (I wanted it to be able to stay in the fridge to get really cold for dinner). I did the usual green onions, cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives and a diced green pepper. Then I added my extras to kick it up a notch (I saw this in another recipe and thought, "Hmm...").  I added in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach. Then I took four slices of hard salami and cut each into six pieces (like a pizza).

Sidebar: They cut theirs into quarters, but that seemed way too much.

Meanwhile, the pasta (tri-color rotini) was done, so, I drained it and then rinsed it in cold water.

I mixed everything together, added in some feta cheese, topped it with the last of my bottled Italian dressing and stuck it in the fridge.

I watered the porch plants and walked around the yard, looking at plants, weeds and "stuff."

I got in the mail.

I watched the news until 7:00 p.m. Finally it was dinner time. I got out a cold drumstick and served up some pasta salad.


In my efforts to "kick it up a notch" I wrecked a perfectly good pasta salad. I didn't like the addition of the baby spinach (I have nothing against baby spinach, I just didn't like it in the pasta salad.) And the hard salami was too peppery.

Sidebar: I went back and found that recipe to see if I should have bought a different kind. But all it said was "salami." I don't know if there is a milder salami I should have used.

Also, there wasn't enough dressing.

Disappointed, I watched TV until bedtime.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Wednesday Woes

I woke up Wednesday morning with a sore back and weak legs. There would be no lawn cutting today!

Breakfast was soft scrambled eggs and toast. Both were good.

I officially gave up on fixing the toilet (it needs a new wax ring and the bolts). I was so fixated on getting the nuts off the bolts it never dawned on me I wouldn't be able to pick the toilet up even with the nuts off. So, I called a plumber. He's supposed to come out Friday afternoon.

I set up an automatic payment plan with WOW to avoid problems in the future.

Lunch was the last hot dog and the rest of the mac & cheese.

I spent most of the afternoon laying in bed with my feet up. I was binge-watching the HGTV show "Property Brothers." I did do the Wednesday wash, though.

Ran out of shows at 9:00 p.m., so I made dinner. I fried six chicken drumsticks (using the non-breading method) and roasted a package of Brussels sprouts.

Sidebar #1: Fried chicken that is not breaded is also not nearly as pretty as breaded. But, it tasted so damn good!

Sidebar #2: Every roasted Brussels sprouts recipe calls for putting the olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and tossing the Brussels sprouts in it. I don't do that. I put the oil, salt and pepper in a gallon baggie, add the Brussels sprouts and massage it. Much less messy!

I watched a fascinating show on PBS's "Nova" and then the 11:00 p.m. news before going to bed.