Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tuesday, Tuesday (Can’t trust that day…)

It was still warm and muggy when I woke up with the alarm on Tuesday morning. According to the news, we have a threat of severe thunderstorms from somewhere between 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.

I walked outside in the morning and it was like trying to breathe water.

I went to the Newburgh Grill for lunch and got a cup of their bean with ham soup and a mini-Greek salad. Then I went to the CVS in the same strip mall and got some tooth paste, mouthwash and a birthday card for B___’s granddaughter.

Sidebar: This was on the ToDo list this past weekend, but never happened.

I got my Amazon box from UPS (I have things delivered to work, rather than letting them sit on my porch – security concerns). I got a Bluetooth keyboard for the tablet. I charged it for three hours and then set it up. Just one more thing to carry, but it works!

Sidebar: Should have just bought a cheap laptop!!!

I walked outside in the afternoon and noticed just how much the winds had picked up. It was 80 degrees, BTW.

I lucked out and it was still just hot and muggy, but not raining, when I left work at 5:00 p.m. for home.

I treated the cat, changed clothes and then went back outside. I had a couple of things I wanted to accomplish, but it started sprinkling. So, I retreated back inside.

But, the sprinkling stopped. Which was lucky as the lawn guys showed up and cut the grass.

It looked great, but as I was watching out the window, it started raining again. Then the weather radio went off! According to it, the storm will hit here about 7:15 p.m. Since it was only 6:50 p.m., I imagine I will have to listen to that damn racket for at least another half hour.

Sidebar: I complain a lot about it, but realize that the weather radio may save my ass someday…

By 7:00 p.m., the rain was hitting the windows hard. Now the TV was issuing also warnings on the emergency warning system. Geesh!

Sidebar: I don’t think it was the rain or thunderstorms that were the issue. I think it was the high winds.

By 7:20, the storm and moved on and it was just sprinkling here. I warmed up the last of the shrimp and pasta for dinner. I watched the NCIS and NCIS New Orleans reruns and went to bed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I'm just sayin'

Memorial Day Sobering Statistics

It's not about three days off, the picnics or the beginning of summer!

It’s about the 620,000 Americans killed in the Civil War.
The 116,000 Americans killed in WWI.
The 405,000 Americans killed in WWII.
The 36,000 Americans killed in the Korean War.
The 58,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War.
The 2,200 Americans killed in the Afghanistan War.
The 4,500 Americans killed in the Iraq war.
And all the Americans killed in other wars.

Memorial Day Weekend, Day 3

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. on Memorial Day. I made a cup of coffee and filled in the Blog post.

I didn’t feel like eggs, so I took some bacon out of the freezer to thaw while I watched the news. It was supposed to be hot, with occasional rain today. It already felt muggy.

I finally shaved, showered and dressed at 7:30 a.m.

Now one of the things that remained undone yesterday was to put a new coat of stripper on all the doors. But since 24 hours is the maximum time its supposed to stay on (and 40 minutes the minimum), I thought I’d put some on this morning and scrap the doors late in the afternoon.

But, first I wanted to put the drawer face on the new drawer. I finally got off the foam insulation by using a wood chisel (neither a putty knife nor sanding worked). Then I sanded the area. I screwed the drawer face on. Then I filled the knob holes with wood putty on all three drawers (she wants pulls instead of knobs).

I got the two spare sawhorses out and started applying the stripper. The truck, needless to say, was already pulled outside.

Now, my hope was I could finish up and squeeze a bike ride in before the rain started and/or the traffic picked up. But, I was on the second to last door when it started raining. Damn!

So, I finished up the doors and left them to work in their bunk bed. It was just after 10:00 a.m.

I went inside and checked out Facebook. I have been trying to think of a way to use up my eggs when lo and behold, there was a recipe for mini-omelets made in muffin tins. And, it took eight eggs!

Sidebar: I think Betsy Knapp posted it.

So, I first made myself five strips of thick bacon in the 12-inch skillet. I toasted two slices of sourdough bread and had an excellent brunch.

Sidebar: It reminded me of a distant memory of my cousin Rachel. She was Anne’s age or younger and, at least when she was little and I knew her, she would only eat bacon and toast. Now that sounds ridiculous, I know, but her mother would make bacon at each meal for her to eat while we chowed down on the usual summertime fare at Waconda cottage. I assume she got over it, or else she died of clogged arteries.

I took the rest of the bacon and cut it into lardons. I cooked those along with a sliced onion and stopped just before they were crisp.

You were supposed to lightly grease the muffin tins. I used butter instead (which, if they stick, I will regret). I distributed the bacon and onion mixture evenly.

Note: The recipe said you could use either diced ham (which I didn’t have) or bacon (which I did). But, I don’t see any reason you couldn’t use, said, boiled broccoli, instead.

I topped that with some shredded sharp cheddar and that’s when I ran into a problem: I ran out! So, I used mozzarella in the last five cups.

I scrambled eight eggs and then added 1/4 cup of milk, “some” baking powder for lift (I used 1/8 teaspoon, having no clear direction from the recipe) “some” oil (I just did a splash and salt and pepper to taste (I skipped the salt because bacon and cheese are salty enough by themselves).

I distributed the liquid evenly among all the cups and then stuck them into a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. When the timer went off, I pulled them out and let them cool for five minutes (supposedly so they don’t stick).

After the five minutes were up, I took one out. It did stick a little (maybe butter was not a wise choice?) I took a final picture for you and then ate it.

Hmmm… Not bad, but a little salty – diced ham would have been better. I got a sharp cheddar, so I can’t speak for the mozzarella ones.

I went into the bedroom and raised the back of the bed. Many stations today are showing war movies for Memorial Day, but, when I checked it out yesterday, I’d seen most of them. I mean, I love “Saving Private Ryan” but, again?

So, I’m celebrating by watching American Sniper. I saw it on sale at Kroger’s on Saturday, but talked myself out of it. I changed my mind, which is why I had to go to Kroger’s on Sunday.

Sidebar: I am fascinated by snipers. I have many books about them, both fiction and/or non-fiction. But, they are all from the World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam era. So, I am interested on similarities or differences with modern snipers.

So, I settled in to watch my movie. It was excellent, BTW.

When it ended, I went back in the garage and set up the saw horses (on the driveway, this time). I scraped all the doors (again!) and set them in there rack to dry out.

It was about 4:30 p.m. and had turned sunny. I figured the sun’s rays wouldn’t be that potent, so I grabbed a blanket. I laid it in the grass next to the patio and then sunbathed in my shorts for 20 minutes a side.

Sidebar:  I usually get a protective tan about mid-July just from working in the yard. But, I am afraid that this old white guy is going to get burnt to a crisp down in Puerto Rico. So, I think early exposure (and a lot of sun-block) may help.

Back inside, it was just after 6:00 p.m. I took a quick shower and then checked the TV menu. LMAO! The only thing that sounded interesting was “Saving Private Ryan!” So, I started watching that.

My buddy B___ called and we caught each other up on what was going on in each of our lives. That didn’t take long, so I went back to my movie.

About 7:30 p.m. I was hungry. So, I sliced off three ribs and warmed them up. I ate the with some Kroger deli coleslaw and potato salad.

Sidebar: Again, I knew I wouldn’t have time for sides.

The ribs were great! Turned out they didn’t burn (although they look like it), it was the rub that burned. The sides were so-so, but I didn’t expect gourmet.

The movie was over at 10:00 p.m. and I went to bed.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day!

To all past and present service members who keep us safe at any cost. You and your families are the true hero's. Thank you!

Memorial Day Weekend, Day 2

Since I went to bed so early, I naturally woke up early (which annoyed me). I tried, but couldn’t fall back asleep. So, I got up, made a cup of coffee and read a book until the news came on at 6:00 a.m.

I made some soft boiled eggs for breakfast.

I finally got off my lazy butt and shaved, showered and got dressed. Then I headed out for some last minute errands. I went to Target, Home Depot, Kroger’s and finally Costco.

Back home, I unloaded the truck outside and then pulled it inside (security concerns). Then I changed clothes and got to work.

First on my list was to blow off the porch and the garage apron. They were littered with those damn maple seeds (the helicopter thingies). Next, I checked on the mailbox garden. “Something” is growing back (I think it’s the daisies) so I weeded it and watered it. I also trimmed the two bushes under the maple tree out front.

On the way back to the garage, I noticed the downside of stripping the cabinet doors on the lawn.

Dammit! I thought I was being smart. From now on, I do it in the driveway!!!

Inside the garage, I took the drawer front off of the damaged drawer. Now all I have to do is get off the damn foam insulation.

I went out back and opened the shed. I ran the tractor motor for a bit and then drained the oil. I serviced the push mower last fall, but not the tractor. After all the oil was out, I refilled it with fresh 30 weight oil. Then I took off the air cleaners. The paper one still looked white, so I just blew it off with the air compressor. The inner foam one I washed with dish detergent and warm water, squeezed it dry, added motor oil on it and squeezed out as much as I could. I reassembled everything and then put the tractor away.

I blew off both patios and the concrete pad by the bird feeder. I noticed the ferns were covering up poor St. Francis, so I cut them back so he could watch over my yard.

I had gone to Home Depot to buy one of those vegetable trays for the grill. I have lost my fair share of veggies through the grates. The only one they had was a Weber. It was stainless steel, cost too much and looked too big. I was really hoping for a cheap one, but I bought it anyway.

So, I tried it out. It fit (just) but not the fancy handles. You don’t have a whole lot of surface area on a state park grill. I was going to just take it back but then I had an idea! I took it in the garage, put each fancy handle in the vise and bent it straight. Problem solved!

I also went up in the attic and got the bottom tray of my warmer. I figured I’d use it like the lid of a regular grill for smoking the ribs.

About 2:30 p.m., I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and lined a half sheet try with aluminum foil. I took out the ribs and took off the cling wrap. I stuck them in the oven and set the timer for 1 1/2 hours.

I took a break and watched some DIY shows.

When the timer went off, I left the ribs in the oven and went out to start the charcoal. I also dumped some hickory wood chips in a bucket of water.

I cut the ends off of a bunch of asparagus and tossed them in some olive oil, salt and pepper. I spread the hot coals out and added my vegetable tray. I threw on the asparagus and grilled them to perfection!

Next I grilled a T-bone steak for today’s supper. I took that inside when it was done, topped it with a pat of butter and then tented it with aluminum foil to rest.

I threw on the wood chips and put the ribs on. I covered them with the warming tray bottom and let the smoke happen.

I went inside and plated my dinner. 

Now my plan was to eat just half the steak (saving the other half for leftovers) but I didn’t eat lunch and breakfast was almost 12 hours ago. So, I ended up eating the whole thing! Oh, it was excellent, but that’s not really the point, is it?

And, I spent too much time eating. So, when I went out to turn the ribs, I’d burnt them on the bottom. At least it was the bone side and not the meat! I added more wood chips and flipped them over. Then I put the “lid” back on them.

I didn’t leave them on very long (this time). They were already fully cooked, I just wanted the smoky flavor.

When I judged they were ready, I pulled them off and took them in to cool. They are Memorial Day’s dinner, you see.

I cleaned up the mess and went in to catch the last of the news. I decided I’d done enough today (I nailed it!) so I took the rest of the evening off.