Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Just catching you up...

Tuesday morning is garbage day, so Monday is usually "clean out the fridge" night. So, had leftovers for dinner last night - Spindini and pasta and then sausage, potatoes and onion.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday moanin'

Okay, so it's not morning... I just like writing that!

Had the appraiser over today. We (adriana and I) had thought (and the bank agreed) that we could just use the recent appraisal Adriana (my landlady) paid for in September when she refinanced the house. But, since I am going FHA, it requires a different appraisal (oh, please! So, you retype it! Right? NOT!)

I had to be home between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. So, I invited my friend Bill over for lunch. I made an easy French-dip sandwich with au jus dipping sauce (email me and I'll send you the recipe - tasty!)

Meanwhile the appraiser (the same guy) did most of the same things he had done before. Only difference was he went up in the attic, and he stuck his head in the opening (for midgets, I think - maybe 18 inches deep by two feet wide) for the crawl space in the office closet.

He was happy with his view of the underbelly of the house. He said the main beam was dry and not cracked. Had there been any doubts, he said the bank would have insisted on a home inspection (another charge, I'm guessing).

But, in the attic, he found several wires that were not secured as much as he would have liked. and there's a wire that runs down from an upper rafter to the floor. That he said would need either conduit (not easy, as I'd have to disconnect the wire, add the conduit, then reconnect) or else a two by four nailed in place and the wire stapled to that. (Okay, so that I can do!)

He said he would have to mention these in his report, and might have to come out and verify they had been corrected. (Dammit!)

So, tonight after work, went into the attic and stapled up all the offending wire. Invented a new trick, BTW. I always, ALWAYS, hit my fingers with the hammer using wire staples. So, knowing that, this time I used needle nose pliers to hold the staple until I got it started, then pulled the wire tight and finished it up. Bingo, no sore fingers!

Took the measurement for the 2 x 4 (a 6 footer will work just fine) and climbed back down the stairs.

And, so it goes...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sunday afternoon, winding down...

Had a productive Saturday. Got the oil changed in my car, picked up some stain and polyurethane for my pasta drying rack (shaker pegs and an oak dowel, to be mounted on my hutch). Washed the car at the quarter car wash (it's supposed to snow tomorrow, so didn't want to shell out $6.00 for a real car wash). Went grocery shopping, did all the laundry and some cleaning yesterday (oh, had to throw out my latest slippers, they were starting to stink!)

Today I decided to go see my Mom and make her lunch. I know, I know, I say that every weekend, but this time I meant it! Did all the prep work here (minced an onion, cut up some green onions for garnish as well as some curly parsley and chives).

Got there after 12:00 PM. Mom sat in the kitchen and we visited while I cooked. Started the clam chowder, put the canned alfredo sauce on to heat, put water on to cook the frozen Portobello mushroom ravioli and peeled the eggplant.

Used egg and milk and flour to bread the eggplant and fried it in olive oil, Put her oven on warm (after taking out all the cookies, lol!) and transferred the finished eggplant to a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil to keep them warm as I made the next batch.

Meanwhile kept adding my ingredients to the clam chowder (and, I was right! "Chopped" clams work much, MUCH better that the "minced" ones I used the first time I tried this recipe. Not much different in taste, but much, much better texture!).

Finally, it all came together. First course was the clam chowder garnished with fresh parsley and oyster crackers. My Mom LOVED it! Turns out, she's always said she loves clam chowder, but the only clam chowder she's ever really had was either the original Campbell's soup or, as an upgrade, Campbell's Select. Oh well, I've introduced her to the next level! Bam! I kicked it up a notch!

Next on the menu was the Portobello mushroom raviloi, with roasted garlic Alfredo sauce (all store bought, but no apologies!) I garnished this with the sliced green onions and chives. And along with this, the breaded eggplant. Again, Mom loved it (especially the eggplant) but I was not impressed with the ravioli. I had hoped to mimic the Olive Gardens entree, but the filling was way too small and not as tasty.

I think I will have to research this and use my pasta maker to make my own Portobello stuffed ravioli (I can do that!)

Once I had all the dishes washed, we sat and visited for a while. Turns out the lady who had interviewed her 15 years ago, about the original cottages in Lake Orion (Kids, you will remember this! Jake and Jeremy, you were both out at the cottage that week, and Melissa, while working at a local cable company, you taped her lecture at the library) is now writing a book about Lake Orion and is sending her a form to sign so she (the lady) can use Mom's interview in the book. Hey, we're gonna be famous!

Left for home around 3:00 PM. Stopped to pick up some slippers at "Famous Footwear" and found Dr. Scholl's slippers, normally $30, on sale for $14. Bought two pair and will just keep the spare for when these go bad. Picked up two prescriptions (and left $35 at the drugstore!) and got home. Turned on the race, typed this up while it's still fresh, and now about to call Sadie back.

That's me up to date!

photo

Pegs are stained, sealed and glued in. Dowel is still tacky, so it will be tomorrow before this is done. :o(

photo

Pasta drying rack I will affix to hutch after staining and polyurethane

photo

Pre-fitting and testing pasta drying rack I am installing on the hutch.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

House cleaning songs...

Okay, so it sounds a bit weird, but I use a variety of them... for example, for house cleaning in general, nothing beats Paul Simon's "Graceland," I've used used it for years... "A man walks down the street, He says why am I short of attention,Got a short little span of attention,And why are my nights are so long..." but, in cleaning the bath tub of mold, soap scum, etc., I go with Blondie:

"One way or another, I'm gonna find ya, I'm gonna getcha, getcha, getcha..."

Hey, don't laugh, it works!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Lets talk about pizza

Previously, I have been using pre-made pizza crusts (Bobilini, or Mama Whoever) adding sauce and toppings and then cheese, only to find the cheese topping sliding off the crust when I bite into it. I hate that! So, I believe it was Wednesday, I decided to make the pizza from scratch, thinking the pre-made crust did not absorb the cheese, or something.

It actually wasn't difficult, just time consuming (mostly the time for the dough to rise). Since I had the time, I made the pizza sauce as well.

Put it all together (just fresh stuff - should have been fresh basil but couldn't find any and slices of fresh mozzarella cheese) and baked it. Let it sit, then tried it and damn if the cheese didn't slide off again!

Jake suggested I'm using too much pizza sauce. I dunno...

I still have half of the pizza dough in the fridge and will try it again this weekend. But, if anybody has any suggestions, please, PLEASE let me know...

So, anyway...

Thursday night, Jake and Carla stopped by. We visited for a while, then I asked them if they had any dinner plans. I had wanted to try a recipe I'd seen for Spiedini, so we went ahead and all made dinner.

Spiedini is basically 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/4 inch strips. Then you wrap it around 6 ounces of Asiago cheese, cut into chunks. Okay, so I couldn't find Asiago cheese, so I bought Gorgonzola (which is an Italian blue cheese) and secure it with a toothpick. Then you dip it in olive oil and coat it with bread crumbs. Here's where the recipes differs... Some tell you to put it in a shallow baking dish; some tell you to sear it in a frying pan first. Since I like my frying pan, I seared it.

Anyway, into the oven it went. Meanwhile, I made some (boxed) pasta, while Carla made a delicious sauce of olive oil and fresh garlic.

Okay, so I had forgotten the fresh basil (hard to come by, right now) and the onion slices, but it was wonderful!

And the pasta with garlic sauce? To die for!

This week...

This has been an incredibly stressful week! Which explains why no posting has been going on. The upshot is once again, my *ss has been on the line for layoffs. Through the grace of God (and, I'm thinking, a little human intervention) I still have a job, but, this has taught me one thing!

I need a new career that doesn't center on the auto industry!

So, anyway, without beating this to death (although the strain on my personal being, health, psychological well-being, etc., cannot even begin to be measured,) I will try to catch you up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

photo

If you need it for your presentation, here is a good pie chart, LMAO!

Monday, February 20, 2006

To finish up the weekend...

We sucked again at Daytona. No Spacely Sprockets car in the top ten finishers. With all the hot shot car guys we got, you'd think SOMEBODY could figure out how to win a restrictor plate race. Oh, well...

Dinner turned out to be oven roasted herbed chicken (bone-in) breasts, with mashed potatoes (skins on) and steamed frozen corn with my butter sauce. Deliberately didn't make gravy, just went with butter, salt and pepper on the potatoes. Hmmm... Tasty, but I over-did the spices on the chicken. Live and learn, I guess.

After kitchen cleanup, some TV, then a snooze. Now awake again, but trying to go back to sleep. Have to wake up in about 2 1/2 hours and go to work...

And, that's me, up to date!

An interesting twist on Nietzsche's famous quote...

Read this in a book tonight:

"What doesn't kill you, makes you bitter."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

And the rest of the family?

Jyl called yesterday with a 5 or 10 questions survey for her Sociology class. Didn't really understand the relation of the questions, or their relevence but answered as best as I could.

Jeremy called this morning, asking if I knew how to spell the word "feebic" as in "an example of a feebic myth." Well, that one I never heard of and, other than suggesting it was probably "ph" rather than "f" I couldn't help him.

Later I got the following email:

It is not "an example of a feebic myth". It is an example of "ephebic" myth. One word. Sheesh.

That only consumed several hours of my day.

jwg

Catching up...

Well, despite all my protestations, I did end going out today. It's a whopping 20 degrees F. right now at 2:50 PM. But I think I'm in for the rest of the day, now. Oh, and all those laments how I wasn't gonna clean the house? Nah... I lied. Got up this morning and, after a nice breakfast of lightly scrambled eggs and an onion bagel with cream cheese, I was sitting in the living room with a cup of coffee. Looked around and thought, "Hey, It couldn't hurt just to vacuum this room..."

So, it went on from there. I just finished washing the kitchen and downstairs floor (did the bathroom earlier) and turned on the Daytona 500 to kill some time and let it dry.

Yesterday, for lunch I deep fried double-battered chicken legs (I marinated them overnight in buttermilk, seasoned them with house seasoning, then dipped them in egg mixture and then flour, then back in egg mixture then back in flour and then deep fried in 350 degrees F. oil). BTW, chicken legs - they are SO cheap, but so good! However, I messed them up at the end. I put the finished chicken legs on paper towels to wick off the grease. Then, while munching on them, noticed the breading and the skin came off as a whole.

Later, Jake told me, when using that much breading, you are supposed to put them on a rack OVER paper towels. This lets the skin contract or something.
I talked with Melissa and my mom yesterday as well. Melissa took pictures of their house renovations and was going to email them to me. Today I uploaded them to my old GeoCities website, so Luanne (who has the world's worst dial-up and can't download anything) can see them.

My Mom? Well, in the course of our conversation, she told me the "Meals on Wheels" lady yelled at her. "Why?" I asked, thinking homicidal thoughts against this mean "Meals on Wheels" lady!
Turns out, the "Meals on Wheels" lady has another client who is 92, but in a little worse shape than Mom, who lives on Jefferson in New Baltimore. She, apparently along with my Mom, has the habit of unlocking her front door in the morning, "in case" somebody might come over, so they don't have to "wait" until she (or Mom) can get to the door, using their walkers.

So, last week, some thug walked in, didn't hurt the lady, but threatened her if she moved, and just cleaned the place out.

I told my Mom, anybody who knows you understands they might have to wait a bit until you get to the door, and all your kids have keys, for God's sake. Keep the damn thing locked! This, of course, just after the husband and wife murder in New Baltimore on Lempke Street. Turns out Lempke is on the other side of Main street (more by St. Mary's Church) and the street where my brother Peter and Jean bought their first house.
I was worried, but I think I got through to her...

Jake and Carla came over yesterday around 3:00 PM. We visited until we got hungry, then got some Buddy's pizza for dinner. Tasty, but pricey!

Later, I got a call from some of the ladies at B28. They just finished a successful inventory and wanted me to join them at Kickers to celebrate their less than a 1% variance (that's very, VERY good, for those of you who don't know). But I declined and stayed with Jake and Carla (and the pricey pizza, lol!)

After they left, watched a couple of movies and called it a night.

Not sure what's for dinner tonight. I will let you know...

Quote

Mario Batali, on difficulties opening his newest restaurant:

"It's not as bad as my nightmares, or as good as my dreams."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Forgot to mention...

Thursday night, when it was still warm, I borrowed the measuring wheel from work and tramped all over my yard, measuring stuff. Used Excel and turned information I gathered into a scale drawing of my house and yard.

Part of my weekend indoor projects is to figure out where I want a hedge and then, using the seed catalogs, figure out how much it will cost if I buy bare-root seedlings. No way could I do what I did at St. Clair and buy 2 foot-high bushes as my yard is WAY too huge - For example, from the ditch in front to the cement wall at the back is 281 feet (almost as long as a football field!)

I can also use the drawings to lay out potential gardens, etc. So, it's a good thing!

Saturday morning...

Woke up out of habit at 5:30 AM. Got up and made coffee, but then said, "What the heck?" and went back to bed! Got up for real at 8:00. Checked and the temperature was 4 degrees F!
Still a little windy (Weather Channel says winds are from the NorthWest at 17 mph, gusting to 25 mph).

I ain't going out there!

Had a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and started the laundry.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Hmmm... maybe...

I think I might have survived another round of layoffs at work. And you know, this is really p*ssing me off! I keep thinking that, at my age, by now I should have achieved a stable workplace, where I can work until I retire (Yeah, right, like that's ever gonna happen, lol!)

But then I think about the fact that I am working for a Tier One supplier to the auto industry and how the American auto industry as a whole is collectively going through the floor. Then, I think about my brother, Carl, who's worked at GM for like 20 years, and is always under the threat of losing his job; my friend Bob who's got 19 years in at Detroit Edison, where they are going through "restructuring" and I won't even mention my brother Joe, and I think...

This is what it must have been like in the late '80s and 90's in Pittsburgh, when the US steel industry died... Michigan, and Detroit especially, sucks!!!

Worse yet, I keep hearing how the US ecomony as a whole is improving! Everywhere but Michigan... In the 1920's, 30's and 40's, people down South moved here to make good wages in the auto industry. Maybe it's time the trend reverses and we all move down South...

Just a thought...

Brrr...

It's cold outside! Yesterday, it was like 60 degrees F with rain and terrible thunder. Then, late last night, the front moved through and the winds kicked up (25 mph sustained, gusting up to 45 mph!) Temps been dropping all day (right now at 6:00 PM, by my thermometer, it's 26 degrees F) and the wind chill cuts right through you! Supposed to be like that ALL weekend!

Not sure what anybody else is planning, but I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up some eggplant and 18 large eggs. I ain't going out, I'm cocooning (that term sorta fell out of favor, didn't it? It was big back in the late '90s).

After last weekend's marathon "flea" housecleaning, I plan on doing the bare minimum this weekend: Laundry and maybe (just maybe) sweeping the kitchen floor. I noticed that, while busting your butt working on Saturday and Sunday may give you a sense of accomplishment, it doesn't leave you rested and refreshed on Monday.

Yeah, right... takin' a little "me" time, this time...

Posted a picture...

Now I'm being criticized for not updating my pictures enough! Good God! What do you people want from me? I give and I give and I give...

LMAO!

photo

My newest toy, the Italian pasta maker

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Forbidden snack...

Again, for those of you who know me, you know I have no problem spending the big bucks on just the right cheese required for a recipe. For example, I probably could have sent one of my kids through a semester of college on the money I've dropped at Westborn Market for Parmigiano-Reggiano the past couple of years (Man, that stuff's expensive!)

But, I'm still "blue collar" in many ways. So, when in every store I frequent, Kraft "Easy Cheese" went on sale (I'm guessing an overstock due to the Super Bowl), I bought some. I think the kids used to call this "Squirt Cheese" but I may be making that up. It's "cheese?" in an aerosol can, and comes in American, Sharp Cheddar or Bacon and Cheddar flavors.

Tried it on several types of crackers left over from the Christmas Holidays. Triscuits were the best, but still, after I pried my tongue off the roof of my mouth, I said, "Ho Hum..."

Then, for no apparent reason (other than the snack gods smiling on me) I squirted it on a cheap pretzel rod. Now, if you're not hip to this, the more expensive the pretzel rod, the less salt you get - so, buy the cheapest you can find!

Anyway, squirted it on a pretzel rod, took a bite...

Oh, my God!!!

Poor Newt!

When Carla came into our lives, she decided that Newt needed a "real" name and she started calling him "Edgar." Okay, so I ignored that. But, what's even worse, Scruffy has recently started calling him "Newty!"

It's enough to give poor Newt a complex!

World's Greatest Clam Chowder?

Maybe!

I adapted this from a recipe by Sandra Lee, who has a cooking show called "Semi-Homemade." Carla doesn't approve of Semi-Homemade, because everything is not made from scratch. But I have no problems with shortcuts, as long as they end up tasting good.

You might not know this, but I am bit of a clam chowder aficionado. I love the stuff! At any restaurant I frequent, I try it whenever available, and then mentally judge them against my ideal standard. For example, current winner in this area is the Red Robin in Westland. This soup may be semi-homemade, but I gotta tell you, this is fantastic!

Clam Chowder
Courtesy Sandra Lee, as altered by myself

[Note: I doubled the original recipe, which claimed to make three servings. If you are using a hearty-sized soup bowl, the doubled recipe barely makes 4 servings!]

4 tablespoon butter
1 [sweet] onion, minced
1/3 cup dry vermouth
3 cans clams in juice [I used minced, because that's what I had in the pantry (for linguine with clam sauce) but chopped would have been better, I think]
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper [I used probably 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper]
Sugar [I used maybe 1/2 teaspoon]
2 cans [Campbell's] cream of potato soup [Don't skimp and buy the cheap stuff, for God's sake! It's the basis for the whole thing!]
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


In a [large] saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onions and saute until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Don't allow the onions to brown at all. Carefully add the vermouth and stir with a wooden spoon. Simmer until the vermouth is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Strain clams and reserve juice. Add clam juice and reduce a little, and then add cream and reduce by half. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Add potato soup and bring to a simmer. Add clams and cook just until clams are warm. Taste for seasoning [and adjust as needed]. Top with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My newest toy...

So, last night I tried out my new toy, a hand-cranked pasta maker, imported from Italy. First I made the dough. I couldn't find any of the "00 wheat flour," the instructions called for, even on the Net. So, I stopped at the Italian market and picked up some Semolina (today when I checked out recipes on the Net, many just say "all-purpose flour"). So, you pile 2 cups of flour on your counter/bread board, and make a kind of depression or bowl in the middle, Then you put two eggs in the "bowl" and scramble them. You slowly mix in the remaining dough, then knead for 3 minutes. Then you cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Then the fun begins. If your dough is pliable enough (mine wasn't so I had to add a bit of water and re-knead) you break off a bit and run it through the rollers, set at "6" (widest opening). That's to clean the machine - you can't wash it. This first sheet is discarded. Then you run about half the dough through. It comes out all torn, and distorted, etc. but you fold it over and run it through again, flouring it each time Four times later, it's a nice solid sheet. You then turn the adjustment to "5" and run it through, then "4" and so on until you are at "1".

Now here's where I messed up. I was on a roll now and I just ran it through the cutter. Not having a dowel to hang it on, I floured it and let it dry a bit on the cutting board (also an option according to the instruction - but I'm going to make a pasta rack, I decided). BTW, just two cups of flour makes a LOT of pasta!

I made a light sauce for it from olive oil, butter, minced garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and shrimp. Cooked the pasta for five minutes (you cook fresh pasta a lot less than dried) mixed it into the sauce and ate it. Taste was fantastic, but consistency was more like egg noodle.

Hmmm. in re-reading the instructions, after running it through the lowest setting, I was supposed to flour the sheet again and then let it rest 10 minutes before cutting it. But I didn't rest it! Bummer! But, on the bright side, I now know how to make egg noodles, too!

I'll definitely try it again soon, because it was fun!

Scruffy, freakin' out!

Up until now, when I am on the computer, Scruffy has been content by either trying to sit on my lap (not so easy when my chair's pulled up under the computer table) or, when he's feeling under-loved, walking across the keyboard (not so funny, at times!)

But yesterday, he just was sitting in front of the printer (probably thinking about walking across the old keyboard) when he happened to glance at the monitor and spot the moving cursor. Oh, my! A new toy! He spent the next 20 minutes or so either trying to hit it with his paw or bite it.

Quite amusing. actually!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Lost Weekend

Took Scruffy to the pet groomers yesterday (he's just starting to shed again). Dropped him off at 9:00 AM, and it takes four to five hours. So, I went grocery shopping at Meijers. Was a little ticked because the sales flyer I get on Friday for Farmer Jack and Meijers are different (but I never remember!) Farmer Jack sales start on Saturday, but Meijer's starts on Sunday! Grrr... so all the sales items at Meijers on my list - weren't! Picked up the rest of the stuff and was just getting ready to leave when the pet groomers called. Scruffy has fleas again! Dammit! This is getting really old!!!

So went back and picked up a different kind of flea bomb (made for bigger spaces, the cans are twice the size of the ones I used previously). Went straight home and set them off (after covering or hiding such things as all my cooking utensils, knives, coffee maker, etc, etc, etc.) Then went out to kill two hours. Did I mention it was snowing all day? Went to Farmer Jacks, then Gordon Foods. Still had time to kill so went to a little Mexican restaurant I like but never go to for lunch during the week (WAY too crowded) and had beef enchiladas, rice and refried beans.

Got a call from the Pet groomers that Scruffy was done, so told them I'd be there in a bit. Went to the vet and picked up some Frontline, then went home and opened all the windows and picked up the empty cans and newspapers. Since it was only a high of 32 degree F yesterday, the impact on my heating bills will be terrible, but, oh well.

Got Scruffy. He doesn't travel in cars well, so, by the time I got him home, he'd thrown up twice and peed once. Carefully took him out (to avoid the throwup) and took him in the house and washed his feet off (while he was scratching me). Put him down and then washed out the cat carrier.

Instead of doing all the things on my ToDo list, I started washing ever fabric thing in the house. Did eight loads of laundry but no ironing yet... While they were washing started cleaning all the flat surfaces in the kitchen of which there are many, if you stop and think about it, then wiping then down with antibacterial spray. When I got most of the poison up, made dinner (pork chops, mashed potatoes with pan gravy and Brussels sprouts - my mood started to improve). Then deep cleaned the living room and, tired as hell, quit for the night.

Sunday morning, went back to Meijers to get the sale items. Forgot to get my oil changed yesterday (I'm 300 miles over), so went there, but they are closed on Sunday (what's up with that?). So, got the car washed and I vacuumed it out.

Before I washed the floors, got my crock pot fired up. Making a roast with Yukon gold potatoes, small onions, carrots, 1/2 cup beef stock and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Seasoned the meat on both sides with my house seasoning (1 cup salt, 1/4 cup coarse black pepper and 1/4 cup garlic powder, mixed and put in a big-handled salt shaker). Lastly, cut another onion into rings and put them on top the meat, then sprinkled crushed rosemary on top. (In the summer, I just go out and cut a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and put them on top. But it ain't summer!) Then, put a layer of sliced Portobello mushrooms on top as an afterthought.

Washed the downstairs and kitchen floors, then washed both bedroom floors with the Swiffer Wetjet. When they dried, went over them with the dustmop and Enddust, to make them shine again. Sat down to give my knee a break (been popping pain pills both yesterday and today so I could get this done).

After a rest period, got up and cleaned the bathroom. This time, took the time to wash down all the tile. Finished up and ate dinner around 7:00 PM. Watched a couple of TV shows, then called it a night around 10:00 PM

I WANT MY WEEKEND BACK!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Comments from an old friend...

... in response to an email that echoed, but pre-dated my blog entry "John's Blue and Having a Pity Party.

[John]

You know I'm not the preachy, speachafying type telling other people how to live. But I'm taking time out of my busy day (O.K. I got really cold this morning doing chores so I'm trying to avoid going back outdoors.) to get on your ass about one of your last e-mails. Hells bells boy, anybody can die in a bike wreck. It takes a special person to survive one and then go on doing more crazy shit for 40 + years. Like when that horse crushed my back in the rodeo, I could have listened to the doctors when they said it'd be 6 weeks before I could get out of bed and 6 months before I could walk and a year before I could get back to work and then I'd probably never be able to chase cows or carry feed or get up and down off the tractor again. But that's what a wimp, weenie, spineless, liberal Democrat (but I repeat myself) would have done. Four days later I was out loading hay. Two weeks later I was back riding - well, bucking off - horses again. And haven't missed a day since and stil [still] doing stupid ship [shit] whenever the oppurtunity [oh, why bother, lol] presents itself. Just like you and your leg. And you know why, John? Cause we're special, that's why. We've done stuff and we've got stories. And in the end that's what it's all about. You put your left foot in you put.....

Sorry. I got distracted. It's about how many stories you got and how good they are. Now a story about a guy getting killed in a bike wreck takes up about 2 miles on a road trip. I can easy take up 50 miles telling your story. You know how many people die every day without having no stories to tell.? 2,000,000!!! O.K I made that up but I bet it's a lot. How many people do you know that camped out in a farmers field for a year? (I don't know how long it was, but when I tell it, it was a year.) How many people seen owls sitting on the Supreme Court? (Other than Gingsburg). How many people have talked to geese and deer and actually made lug nuts? (Which ranks right up there with shaking crab legs, let me tell you) And can say "Hi Jack" to Mr. Spacely for crying out loud. Man, we are so special we ought never die.

Now, I like your coyote quote and I'll give you another one from a book called North to Yesterday . "How art the mighty fallen. Littleness has inherited the earth. Commonness has become a virtue and all cows are tame." Us and the coyotes may be all that's left of whatever it was we were, but by god we're still here and a cow almost crippled me yesterday. I'll give you it's been tough (a lot of which we made our ownselves, but screw that) so I'll leave you with one from Garth. "I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance." We danced, man! And we danced better cause you were around. So don't give me no dyin shit.

Take care,
L___

P.S. One from Toby Kieth. "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good, once, as I ever was."

[and, that's my old friend...]

A New Song!!!

You won't believe this (I know I didn't) but I wrote a song Thursday night! Haven't done that in years! Hell, decades even! Anyway, I'm still working on the chords, but my ever-faithful webmaster has posted it, so check it out. It's under Songs and called, "My own way down."

(Now, how the hell did I used to make an A-minor, again?)

LMAO

Friday, February 10, 2006

Reality Check...

As I was stumbling around this morning, getting ready for work, I was thinking, man I really need to lose some weight so this new knee will last. I really don't want to have to go through this again in 16 years!

Then, it dawned on me... in 16 years I'd be 73 years old. No way am I gonna live to be 73!

Why worry?

John's Blue and Having a Pity Party

Pity Party

I can't stop playing this damn Coyote Song (see last week's post). It really gets me...

"All that's left now of the old days,
is damn old coyotes and me..."

Christ... It's like the 60's and 70's... you may have heard all the stories, but I was there, man. Good times, good times... Weird shit, but good times and apparently never to be repeated.

I still think it would have been better if I died in that motorcycle accident! (Well, maybe not for Jeremy or Jake, lol!) but, you know what I mean?

This isn't nearly as much fun...

Steam iron blues...

I cleaned my iron the other day. Monday, I was ironing a white shirt for work, using the steam option, when brown stuff (rust?) shot out onto the shirt and I ironed it in! BTW, before you say I should have used distilled water, my operating instructions that came with the iron said specifically NOT to use distilled water and if the tap water was especially hard (which it isn't, here) at best mix half tap, half distilled.

Anyway, went online and checked everywhere to see how to clean it out, but couldn't find anything. So, I got a rack and put it in the stainless steel kitchen sink, filled the iron with white vinegar, turned the steam knob to high and set it on the rack to steam.

Whew! What a smell filled the house! Did that twice, washed the bottom of the iron off (had gunk and brown flecks on it), then ran water through it three times. Ironed a white rag and no brown spots, so I guess it worked.

One interesting note: when I was online looking, I saw an article that said you shouldn't iron a shirt and then wear it (which I sometimes do). It said unless you let it cool for two hours, a fresh pressed shirt will wrinkle faster when you wear it.

I didn't know that...

Samson

Speaking of Samson, it was funny. The first time he was here at the house, Scruffy went into hiding. We had to look for him and drag him out to introduce him to Samson, at which point he promptly beat the snot out of Samson (Scruffy probably outweighs Samson by five pounds or so).

This visit, Scruffy disappeared again, but about 15 minutes later, he just "happened" to emerge and, as we were sitting in the living room, he just "happened" to sit by the living room/kitchen door. Samson, always wanting to play, bounded over, causing Scruffy to arch his back, growl (and that's a scary sound, BTW) and hiss.

Despite all the fuss Samson made, Scruffy never moved, effectively trapping poor Samson in the living room for the evening.

Scruffy doesn't play well with others...

Catching you all up...

Haven't posted a lot in while. I'd like you to believe I was sooo busy or sooo interesting or something, but, truth be told, I've just been lazy. So, an update (part 1)

Last week when my friend Tracey and Samson (her Pomerian) were over, I was in the kitchen or someplace and she had to pound on the door (I don't even have a door knocker). If you knew her, you would know, she pounded so hard I thought it was the villagers, coming for Frankenstein's monster. I thought, "How unlady-like," but then I thought, "Well, you didn't give her any other choice!"

So, Saturday morning, I went to Home Depot and picked up a wireless door bell for $17. By trial and error, I found that if the base unit's in the kitchen I can here it anywhere (including the garage). Installed the push button TWICE! First time it looked great, but it was too close to the metal lip of the screen door and the cover wouldn't go on (Grrr). So, did it again. Used my handy-dandy portable drill again (I really am coming to use that a LOT, and now wish I'd hadn't bought such a baby, underpowered one. I got it last Fall up in Richmond for $19. But, it's okay. I've bought my power tools allotment for the next five years or so...)

Anyway, Now I can let my lady friends act like ladies...

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

PDA

I have been a little jealous of my friend's new PDA, especially the reminder function. I was thinking it was a shame that my Microsoft Outlook doesn't have a calendar function (like the email system at work does). Because, if it did, I could set it up to remind me when bills are due, people's birthdays are coming and so on.

Then, it dawned on me: Yahoo Mail! So, I entered all my bills and due dates along with the birthday information that I keep on my wall calendar in the kitchen. It was quite simple, as you can tell it to repeat things every month (like bills) or every year (like birthdays).

I set it to remind me 10 days then 5 days before date due of bills I have to mail (not too many these days). I set it to remind me 5 days then 1 day before the due date of bills I pay on line. And, finally, 10 days then 5 days before everyone's birthday, so I can mail cards out.

Bingo! I call it "the poor man's PDA"

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Chips...

... Used the mandolin again today. Cut two sweet potatoes into 1/8 inch slices and deep fried them in canola oil. (recipe called for peanut oil, but Carla is allergic, and she might want to taste them). So, did batches of the sweet potatoes and the three remaining left over Michigan white potatoes. Salted with Kosher salt.

Delicious!

Sunday Breakfast

Used the leftover onion and mushrooms from Jake's Steak recipe to make an omelet for breakfast.

Outstanding!

Last Saturday on Sunday Post

((in case you're wondering, Saturday had problems with blogs and comments disappearing, so I just saved all this stuff up and posted when my neighborhood webmaster said it was okay)

My newest favorite cowboy song

"Coyotes"
by Bob McDill
Performed by Don Edwards

Was a cowboy I knew in south Texas,
his face was burned deep by the sun,
Part history, part sage, part Mexican;
he was there when Pancho Villa was young.

And he'd tell you a tale of the old days,
when the country was wild all around
Sit out under the stars of the Milky Way
and listen when the coyotes howl.

And they go...
poo yip poo yip poopoo
di hoo di yip poo di yip poopoo
yip poo yip poopoo
di hoo di yip poo di yip poo

Now the longhorns are gone,
the drovers are gone,
the Comanches are gone,
Geronimo's gone,
the lion is gone
and the red wolf is gone.

Well, he cursed all the roads and the oil men
and he cursed the automobile,
Said this is no place for an hombre like I am
in this new world of asphalt and steel.
Then he'd look off some place in the distance,
at something only he could see
He'd say "All that's left of the old days
is the damned old coyote and me."

And they go...
poo yip poo yip poopoo
di hoo di yip poo di yip poopoo
yip poo yip poopoo
di hoo di yip poo di yip poo

One morning they searched his adobe,
he disappeared without even a word.
But that night as the moon crossed the mountain,
one more coyote was heard.

And he'd go...
poo yip poo yip poopoo
di hoo di yip poo di yip poopoo
yip poo yip poopoo di hoo
di yip poo di yip poo

Saturday post on Sunday: Quote

(while watching a so-so movie)

"The plot sickens..."

~ me

Saturday post on Sunday: Jake's Steak

I made Jake's steak recipe along with a baked potato with sour cream for Saturday night's dinner. I varied it in two ways: 1. I didn't use a Delmonico steak as I had a "pre-quarter of a cow we bought" steak still in the freezer I wanted to use up, and 2. I added baby Portobello mushrooms as I had a bunch for a recipe I hadn't made that would be going bad in a day or two. Here's his recipe, which he calls "Why I will die young"

Take one Delmonico steak. Trim the fat - we won't be needing it. Season liberally and set aside to come to [room] temperature. Dice three strips of bacon and fry over medium heat. Once the bacon has started to brown, chop and add one onion. [I added the mushrooms, too, at this point] Cook until onions are translucent. Push the bacon/onion mixture to the sides of the frying pan and add the steak. Move the bacon/onion mixture around the steak and cook 2 1/2 minutes. Push the mixture aside once more and flip the steak. Rearrange the mixture around the steak and cook...that's right, another 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the steak and set aside to rest. [I covered it with tinfoil] Remove bacon/onion mixture. Add 1 cup beef stock to fond. [Terminology: The caramelized food particles, called fond, are highly flavorful, since they are concentrated juices from the cooked item] Slowly incorporate 2-3 tablespoons of butter. Reduce to desired consistency. [I cooked it 10 minutes] Place the bacon/onion mixture atop the steak and cover with sauce. Begin artery clogging.

[Oh my God it was good...]

Song Snippet

"But I whiskey'ed up my coffee cup,
sitting here trying not to call you up.
It's gettin' to where I don't know what to do...
There's something 'bout you."

Don Williams

Saturday Blog on Sunday: In Mourning

I am currently mourning the loss of my two handled big fry pan. I was making lunch on Saturday (smoked sausage, fried potatoes and onions - a "bad-for-you-but-tastes-so-good" perennial favorite). I used the mandolin I'd bought a while back for the first time, and it was sooo cool, perfect slices of potatoes, every time, that I made too many and had to use the big pan (don't normally)

When everything was done, picked it up and the long handle snapped off! Luckily it was still above the stove and little was spilled, but now I have no big frying pan! And, worse yet, I remember I bought it in an odd place (Farmer Jacks, Meijers, Home Depot?), but not where exactly!

Damn!

Friday, February 3, 2006

Leftovers...

Ate the last of the leftover chili last night. Because the recipe made so much, I had given half to Jake and Carla. Jake told me he had shredded the cubes of meat after warming it up. So, I tried his trick and shredded all the meat with a fork after it was warm. Yes, I liked it better.

Definitely going to make that again, but this time only using the 3 pounds of pork tenderloin it called for instead of 4 1/2 pounds (smallest pork tenderloin I could find). Been kicking myself ever since! Why didn't I cut off the extra 1 1/2 pounds and freeze it? It would have made just the right size for a nice, one person stuffed pork tenderloin main dish. Ah, well, live and learn...

Raining again...

(I know, I know... everyone says "At least it's not snow") But water and cane tips are not friends...

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Pop's Wisdom (lifted from AARP the magazine)

In the '60s and '70s, all you had to do to get a good taste of wisdom was to turn up the volume, close your eyes, and say, "Yeah. Wow."

TO APPREICAITE DIVERSITY

Philosopher: Sly and the Family Stone

Insight: Different stroke for different folks, and so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee. Oh sha sha, we got to live together.

TO SORT OF UNDERSTAND HINDU ROMANCE

Philosopher: Iron Butterfly

Insight: In-a-gadda-da-vida, honey, don't you know that I love you? In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby, don't you know that I'll always be true?

TO MASTER SELF-KNOWLEDGE

Philosopher: Strawberry Alarm Clock

Insight: Turn on, tune in. turn you eyes around. Look at yourself.

TO UNDERSTAND FREE WILL

Philosopher: Janis Joplin (Now, here I disagree, I was there, babe and it was Kris Kristopherson)

Insight: Freedom's just a another word for nothing left to lose. Nothin' don't mean nothing, hon', if it ain't free.

TO ACHIEVE WORLD PEACE

Philosopher: The Youngbloods

Insight: Everybody get together, try to love one another. Right now.

And, always remember: good vibrations = excitations

To my critics...

To all of those who have recently criticized that my blogs and photos seem to be only focused on food, let me say this: If I was getting sex on a routine basis, maybe this would be different. But, I'm not and it's winter (sort of) here in Michigan, so I can't talk about gardening or yard work... what do you want of me? Give me a break!

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

photo

Plating the chicken salad. I got the idea from the Japanese show, "Iron Chef" where one of the chefs hollowed out a turnip to serve as a bowl. It was pretty easy to do the tomato, BTW.