Thursday, March 30, 2006

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The crocus on Jake's patio are about gone, but they are going out in a blaze of glory!

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View from the main road. You can see my security light, and the cops can now see the door.

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Trimmed pines. Someday, this will be grass.

It was a BEAUTIFUL Spring Day...

...and I really hated to waste it at work! But, when I got home, I tidied up the last of the pine trees that I started trimming last weekend on the side of the garage. Then, I raked all the debris away, so that when the ground warms up enough, I can sow some grass seed.

As you will see on the photos, trimming them up also allows easier viewing of my garage from the main road. Even though I have always kept a light on (since I moved here) I knew that a sufficiently brazen thief could try and get in the side door of the garage almost undetected. Now, they can't.

Oh, and by the way, the pine trees paid me back. Somehow I managed to get pine sap on both of my arms, and am sticking to everything...

Wow! I am SO stuck on myself, LOL!

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time goes into effect this weekend. While I like the extra daylight after work, two things bother me about it.

1. This will plunge my morning commute back into darkness (all five minutes of it!)

2. Everyone's "good" advice to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. Unless you have antiques, yours are probably like mine and they beep when the batteries are low. So, why replace good batteries? I think the battery companies started this idea!

Last night's dinner

I made a really tasty chicken stew last night. Stopped and got 2 pounds of chicken thighs (did you know most professional chefs prefer chicken thighs over chicken breast? They say they have more taste. And, the best part? They're CHEAP!!!) Anyway, everything else came out of my house (although I had to use dried thyme and canned green beans). And, I didn't add any hot sauce at the end. It tasted too good already! Anyway, here's the recipe:

Hearty Chicken Stew
Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

4 small onions, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed (I didn't remove the skin, BTW)
Handful thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds red bliss potatoes, washed and quartered (I used Yukon Gold instead)
2 handfuls green beans, trimmed (I only had canned)
Hot pepper sauce, to taste (didn't bother)

In a large pot, combine onions, garlic, carrots, chicken and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add cold water to cover. Bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim and discard any scum that may come to the top.

Simmer until the meat of the chicken falls off the bone with almost no pressure from a fork, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Use 2 forks to separate the meat from the bone. Add the meat back to pot.

Add the potatoes, cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add green beans, cook until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

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Crocus brighten up front garden as the day lilly starts to emerge

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tonight's dinner...

Tonight's dinner was fantastic! And, even better, I didn't have to make it!

Was invited to Tracey's tonight. She barbequed two porterhouse steaks that had been marinated in soy sauce. They were done to perfection. She also made shrimp scampi and acorn squash. Both were delicious. Samson dined on a dropped shrimp and the steak bones, so he was happy, too.

And, she wouldn't let me help with the dishes! Does it get any better than this???

One word of caution, though. As much as I love that kid, if you ever eat at her house, remember: her coffee could take the chrome off a bumper...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Catching you up...

I did make the drumsticks for dinner, and they were good. Watched a bunch of stupid TV and went to bed. All in all, not a very memorable weekend. Wish now I'd painted the living room, but its too late for regrets...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Meals this weekend

You may have noticed that, since the blue cheese stuffed burgers Friday night, food has not been mentioned. It's because the meals I've made since have been, well, forgettable! Sauteed an onion in bacon grease, added the last slice of Spam, cubed, and made a three-egg omelet with sharp cheddar cheese for Saturday's breakfast. Ate the leftover Blue cheese burger for lunch and made a really crappy bunch of nachos for dinner (anybody have a good recipe?). Today's breakfast was poached eggs on sourdough toast. Good, but boring, really. I do have some chicken drumsticks marinating in buttermilk for today's dinner. Hopefully, that will be a bit more memorable.

Oh well, back to work!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

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Sadly, this bad boy must go!!!

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When these dry out, I'll cut them up and use them in the chiminea!

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Done Deal!!!

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One down, one to go...

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Daunting climb for the semi-drunken tree trimmer...

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Last two remaining branches that must go on the black walnut tree!

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Maple Tree (after)

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Maple Tree "Before"

Tree Trimming

Ignoring the intermittent snow showers, I decided to trim the maple and black walnut trees in the front yard (Check out the pictures in "Photographs"). I need to get more sunlight on the front lawn.

Used the extended saw/trimmer thingie on the maple tree with great success. But, had to use the ladder and a hand saw on the two large branches on the black walnut. Scary, but I got 'er done!

If and when I finally buy this house, I am going to have the evergreen in the front yard taken down. It was probably cool looking in the 1950's, but now it's WAY too tall and serves no purpose.

Weird...

Just looked outside (almost 3:30 AM Saturday morning) and noticed the ground is covered with snow. Went outside on the front porch, and sure enough, my whole world is now snow-covered...

Where the heck did that come from?

Burgers and Fries...

My normal lunch partner was not available today, so I decided to do my bi-weekly grocery shopping instead of eating. Picked up everything I needed, including the ingredients for "Blue Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers," in case Jake and Carla stopped by tonight.

Interesting (?) sidebar: When I got home to unload the groceries, I innocently and unsuspectingly opened the door from the garage, only to have Carla jump out at me, screeching "Rrraaahhh!!" Scared the sh*t out of me! After I got my breath back, I tried to explain I am old and could die of a heart attack, but she was laughing too hard to hear me...

Anyway, they agreed to meet back here after work for dinner. So, when I got home, I fried up the charcoal in my "Q". Divided two pounds of ground chuck, mixed with two teaspoons of garlic Carla chopped along with salt, fresh ground pepper and Emeril's Essence, into eight patties. Then crumbled up 12 ounces of blue cheese and made four patties of that. Topped the four hamburger patties with the blue cheese patties, then put the other hamburger patty on top of each.

Jake showed me how to fuse the two hamburger patties together. He grilled them while Carla made seasoned crinkle-cut french-fries in the oven.

We ended up with the four, half-pound burgers (damn delicious, but almost too much to eat at one time) and the seasoned fries.

I got a phone call after dinner, and Jake and Carla left while I was talking (before I could thank them), so "Hey, thanks guys, that was great!"

Friday, March 24, 2006

Late Night Snack...

So, late tonight, I'm all out of (Carla's favorite) cheese balls. I have no pretzel sticks. Microwave popcorn does not entice. So, what to do?

Thawed out ten 26-30 size cooked shrimp. Made up a cocktail sauce with ketchup and horseradish.

Oh, my! There's that "foodgasm" again...

Sidebar: Scruffy, while he occasionally will sneak a few licks of my bourbon (explain that, gentle reader!), and will lick the cheese off a cheese ball, (but not bite it) just looks at me like I'm crazy when I offer him a piece of shrimp... Explain that!?!

Foodgasm

LMAO! I heard that term for the first time tonight. I think that's where I am at these days...

Anyway, made the rest of the ravioli filling tonight. Warmed it up to room temp by floating the bowl in a hot water bath for an hour (sort of the reverse of the ice-bath method). Went outside while they warmed up and cut down some tree branches I didn't like.

Made sure I pressed the dough down and eliminated any air pockets. Used my ravioli cutter and made beautiful squares. Let them rest on corn meal for a bit. Then I boiled them in a "gently" rolling boil. Cooked four at a time so as not to over-crowd.

Damn! Still the same problem! Can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, but the end product tasted GREAT, but looks like...

(Hmmm... my first analogy is "looks like a 57 year old scrotum" but I can't say that! My Mother reads this, for God's sake!) Whatever! It was WAY loose and floppy!

Again, did not take photo as it looked like sh*t, but tasted GREAT!

If ANYBODY knows what I am doing wrong, please comment and tell me what to do. This is VERY frustrating!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Warmed up the Penne a la Carbonara...

... for dinner tonight. I was right! Tasted good cold, but tasted GREAT warm!

Weird night for supper last night!

Couldn't figure out what I wanted. Finally decided to try something different and looked up recipes for Pasta a la Carbonara (I used to eat this in a resturant when I worked in Auburn Hills). Found one that sounded about right. Only trouble was that the eggs and heavy cream had to be at room temperature and it was already about 7:00 PM. Decided I could put off my hunger pangs for a bit and took them out.

Had just started cooking the bacon when Melissa called around 8:00 PM. We talked, and talked, and talked... Meanwhile I'm making dinner with one hand. When it was done, we weren't done talking, so I put the lid on it. We ended up talking until around 11:00!

While my dinner was cold, it was still pretty good, and probably will taste a lot better when I eat the leftovers WARM!

Here's the recipe. Only changes I made were to use bacon instead of pancetta and added the rest of the Portobello mushrooms from Sunday's roast so they wouldn't go bad.
Penne a la Carbonara
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Adapted by me!

1 pound pancetta, (I used bacon) diced into 1-inch cubes
I also used 1/2 pound of Portobello mushrooms
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound dried penne
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat a large saute pan, until hot. Add bacon and saute until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Season with black pepper and remove bacon from pan. Remove all but two tablespoons of bacon grease. Saute sliced mushrooms. Remove pan from heat.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan, reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish.

In a large pot, boil 6 quarts of salted boiling water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rinse with water; you want to retain the pasta's natural starches so that the sauce will stick. While the pasta is still hot, return it back to the pot. Add the browned bacon and mushrooms and mix well. Add the cream mixture and coat the pasta completely. It's important to work quickly while the pasta is still warm so that the cream mixture will cook, but not curdle. Add remaining Parmesan and chopped parsley.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

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Still catching up from internet outage... This was Sunday's roast beef dinner (Monday's, too!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

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Jake and his new Support Center Policy!

Another Quote from the movie "Gladiator"

starring Russell Crowe:
"Death smiles on all of us... all we can do is smile back."
Marcus Aurilius Caesar

Commercials that I like!

Staples, with the "copy-cat" instead of the "easy" button (Scruffy likes it when the cat meows)
Nationwide, where Fabio turns into an old lecherous geezer
And my new all time favorite: The two German engineers who "de-pimp" the rapper's ride.

"German engineering, in the house, ja!"

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From the movie "Gladiator"

Ceasar, to his daughter:

"Let us pretend, that you are a loving daughter, and that I am a good father..."

Internet Problems...

Have just spotty service now (went down around 9:00 AM Saturday). Phone still not working! Maybe this VOIP isn't such a good idea after all!

Catching you up...

I lost both internet and VIOP phone yesterday around 9:00 AM and both are still down (thank God the cable still worked)! So, here's what's been going on...

Did all the housecleaning after a hearty breakfast of two eggs over-easy, fried Spam and toast. I know, I know, Spam has its detractors, but I am not one of them! Deep cleaned the bathroom this week.

Went outside around noon and raked the side lawn, so the whole front of the house is now presentable. I will need to throw out some grass seed when the ground warms up a bit. I have a lot of little bare spots where the squirrels hid, then dug up, the black walnuts last fall.

Put the roast on at 2:00 PM. Here's how I did it: Put in a cup of beef broth, then a rack. Put down a layer of four small onions, cut in half, four russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks, and the three turnips, peeled and chunked. Put the roast on top of that layer. Put three ears of sweet corn, cut in half, next to the roast. Then put a splash of Worchester sauce on the roast, some onion rings and four good sized Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half, on top the roast.

Covered the roasting pan with tin foil and baked it at 375 degrees F. for two hours. Excellent Sunday dinner!!! Took a picture and will post it if my stupid internet connection ever comes back!

Tried to watch the Nascar race, but it was rained out. Couldn't use the internet or phone (pain in the butt!) So watched cooking shows, then "Extreme Makeover" then went to bed...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Oh, I almost forgot...

Made my usual beef stew marinade for the roast beef, you know, a bottle of burgundy wine, orange peels, onions, cloves of garlic, blah, blah, blah (you could look it up under "Misc." if you care). But, this time I was planning on roasting a whole head of garlic in the pan with the beef, so I just wanted a "touch" of garlic. So, I took out some garlic powder and went to shake a little on. Instead, I dumped the whole bottle in! I had forgotten that when Carla lived here, she took off all the shaker tops, so she could measure the spices and herbs easier!

Aaauuggh!! Spent a good ten minutes using a spoon trying to fish out floating garlic powder! And, I think I'll skip the roasted garlic this time, should be "garlicky" enough, now...

Sunday morning, coming down...

Okay, I know you've all been dying to find out how the rest of my Saturday went, so here goes:

I had taken out a roast on Thursday to thaw. I was going to put it in the crock pot Friday morning on Low, so I could have a hot meal ready if Jake and Carla stopped in after work (they did and we ended up eating takeout, but that's another whole story). But Friday morning, took out the carrots and they were all mush! Put the roast back in the fridge.

Now, I've got to cook this roast, right? So, after the eye doctor, I stopped at Farmer Jacks to get some carrots. While I was there, looked for some parsnips, too. Couldn't find any. Did find a nice steak marked "Manager's special." Now, my butcher back in St. Clair told me long ago about this. Meat, being perishable, has to be sold by a certain date or they have to throw it out. He said as long as you use it the same day, or freeze it immediately, there's no difference, other than the price. So, even though I have all that meat in the freezer, I grab it because would can resist a beautiful $3.00 rib eye steak?

Decide to go to Meijer's for the parsnips and pick up some suet for the birds while I'm there. No parsnips!!! Pick up some turnips, instead, (hey, root vegetable are, well, root vegetables, right?) and then I see some sweet corn, in the husk with a sign that says 4 for $2.00. Grab the suet and go home. Put the sweet corn in a bucket of water and start the laundry.

Check the phone and saw that my Mom had called, so I called her back. It was funny! Not sure if I mentioned this, but my brother Carl told her about this blog a while back. She told me how technology had passed her by, because she'd really like to read it, but didn't want a computer. So, every Monday, I copy the last weeks Blog into Word, make it 16 point font and copy any pictures, them mail them in a big envelope to her. So, this time she had written down some questions to ask me. For example, what does BTW and LOL mean. So, I explained. What are oven-roasted potatoes? So, I explained and said I'd mail her the recipe. How come there are 0 comments on some posts, but 1 or 2 comments on others and why doesn't she see the comments? I explained and told her I'd start copying the comments, too. We chatted a bit more and then hung up.

It's sunny, but cool, so I get my coat and a big bag and rake up the rest of the lawn trash out of the ditch. Then I take the leaf blower and blow off my entire driveway. Now the front yard looks a lot better. I fire up the grille and let the coals settle down a bit.

Decide to prepare the steak like you do for Steak Au Poivre, but without the cognac and heavy sauce. So I brushed each side with Dijon mustard, then coated it with cracked peppercorns. Let it come up to room temperature while I roasted the sweet corn. Then I grilled it 3 minutes per side and was ready to eat. Delicious! And, total cost of food was $5.00!!!

Cleaned up the kitchen, did a load in the dishwasher, finished all the laundry and was waiting for the grille to cool off so I could take it inside. Watched a few shows I'd taped, rolled the grille back in and went to sleep around 10:00 PM.

Woke up at 5:30 AM, and here I am, up to date!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday afternoon...

Went and got an eye exam and new glasses picked out at noon. Deliberately went to an eye doctor that was not only in our Spacely Sprockets "plan" but one who carried the "approved" frames.

According to my calculations, these glasses should have cost me a total out-of-pocket $35.00. Well, wrong... with the "featherweight" plastic lenses (needed because I am so blind) and the "transition" lenses (because I'd always wanted to try them) I still owe $135.00... (sigh)

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Mushroom and cheese ravioli filling, cooling in ice bath

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Two new Ravioli cutters

Homemade Ravioli - Test 1

I've been looking for a ravioli cutter everywhere (I wanna use my pasta maker, dammit!). They don't carry them at "Linens and Things" or "Bed, Bath and Beyond." Tried online and found them at Target. Called the local Target store and they said if it's online, we don't have it (huh?). Got inspired and called Williams Sonoma at the Laurel Park mall. Bingo!

Went there Thursday night, after visiting Maureen, and picked up two styles (both imported from Italy - hand wash only). One is a simple square cutter that cuts and crimps, the other a wheel that does the same. I won't even tell you how much these set me back, okay?

So, got home late, and got started. Made a simple filling with sauted sliced Portobello mushrooms, shallots, grated fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Then let it cool by putting the bowl in an ice bath.

Made the dough, and let it sit. Then cranked it through the pasta maker into sheets. Spooned the mixture onto the bottom sheet, then used and egg wash for glue. Laid on the top sheet and pressed down, trying to get all the air out of the mixture pocket. Cut it with the square cutter and laid it on the cutting board on top of corn meal to rest.

Its now around 9:00 PM, I'm tired AND hungry, so instead of making homemade Alfredo sauce, I open a can of the Classico - Roasted Garlic and Alfredo sauce and slowly heat it up while I am boiling water for the ravioli. I keep the water at a rolling boil and add the ravioli.

So, here's where I think I went wrong: either I kept the pot boiling to strongly (I never did back it off, so that's possible) or I didn't get all the air out of the ravioli pockets (also possible, as I was using sliced mushrooms that did not cook down a lot).

Upshot? Excellent (and I do mean excellent) taste, but poor texture - more like a limp bag rather than the traditional little, light, tight, traditional square.

Good news is that I saved half of the filling. My plan is to chop it up more and try it again, and semi-simmering them as opposed to hard boiling them. I'll let you know how it turns out...
I'll try and post photos of cutters and filling. Didn't bother with final dish. Next time, if I can get it right!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Another St. Patrick's Day Joke

Did you hear they have crossed shamrocks with poison ivy?

Now when you hold them, you get a rash o' good luck!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More St. Paddy's Day adventures...

Noticed that the Clyde Smith greenhouse (down by Jake and Carla's apartment) was selling potted shamrocks, so picked one up today. Did you know they had flowers? I didn't! You could get pink or white. Not knowing what's "authentic," I picked white.

Left work a little early, ran them up to my old rehab place and gave them to Maureen, my ex-physical therapist. It was so nice to see her again! I'm not sure exactly what it is (her eyes? her personality?) but she just seems to "sparkle!"

Hmmm... This being the first pure Irish person I think I've ever known, not sure if maybe it's just the nationality and not her, personally. Lord knows us Germans don't sparkle (though we can do a damn good glower!)

But, anyway, she seemed to really appreciate the shamrocks and seemed glad to see me again...
And, she gives GREAT hugs!

St. Patrick's Day joke

(You have to read this out loud for it to be funny!)

"What's green and stay out in the yard all year long?"

"Paddy O'Furniture"

(HaHaHa! I kill me!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

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FINALLY! My ever-resourceful webmaster figured out how to get this uploaded without using the broken blogger site. Anyway, without all the mumbo-jumbo, here's a shot of the beer-battered talapia, with onion rings and homemade tartar sauce from Monday night!

Problems with the Blog...

I have been trying since Monday night to upload a picture and keep getting an error message. Not sure what the problem is, although the error message says the blogger engineers are "working" on it.

Wanted to show you the beer-battered fish I made. Monday night, I was eating that boring leftover cassarole I mentioned for dinner when it dawned on me: it still tasted b-o-r-i-n-g! Decided I was getting lazy in my own kitchen.

So, thawed out some talapia (only frozen fish I had), cut a big white onion into half inch rings and made a simple beer batter (3/4 cup of all purpose flour, 3/4 cup of beer (any kind but dark) and 3/4 teaspoon of salt - mix it all together and you're done). Heated canola oil to 350 degrees F.

Made the onion rings first (so they wouldn't taste "fishy") but batter was too thick! Tasted good, but too puffy and doughy. Next time I'll make two batters and for the onion rings I'll use 1 cup of beer.

Fish, however, was a different story. Perfect!!! I was afraid the light taste of the talapia would be overpowered (recipe called for haddock or cod) but, no, it was great.

Hope the engineers get done soon so you can see what I mean!

Monday, March 13, 2006

So, to finish up my Sabbath...

(Did you like that, Melissa?)

Woke up and started housecleaning. Jake and Carla had invited me over for dinner and I was supposed to be there at 3:00 PM, so I've got a lot to do to get everything done.

Did the laundry while I was cleaning. Got everything done except washing the kitchen and downstairs floors. Oh well, there's always tomorrow I guess.

It was amazingly warm out (almost 70 degrees F) so I washed the Winter's grime off the front storm door, the picture window and the two side windows. YUCK! First couple of times, it was like wetting down mud! Used half of a roll of paper towels, but finally got it all sparkling!

After showering and shaving, I stopped to pick up some prescriptions at the drugstore on the way to dinner. Because of the warm day, it seemed that there were people on motorcycles and girls in shorts everywhere.

When I got there, Carla had put out some brie and small pieces of toast. The smoker was still going (I think Jake said he started it at 6:00 AM). He had some problems with the wind that finally picked up and ended up turning the smoker around. He finally took the meat out at 6:00 PM to let it rest, while Carla roasted ears of corn in the oven.

It started out as a 5 pound beef brisket, and I wish I could remember the marinade, the dry rub and the mop ingredients, but I don't. It ended up as delicious and beautiful slices of meat! Jake thought it was a bit dry, but I thought it was perfect.

Anyway, while Jake cleaned up his smoker, Carla and I cleaned up in the house. Left there around 7:30 PM or so. Went home, and just as I got in the door, Melissa called. Talked with her for about an hour, then I watched some TV and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

And, that's me, up to date!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

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An unknown person playing guitar in a tent that may or may not be in Richmond, Michigan.

Damn! Another good one!!!

I remember Jimmie Hay playing and singing this back in the day... (and yes, it was Wednesday, lol!) BTW, I posted a picture of somebody who looks a lot like Jimmie used to, but I think legally if I identified the photo's subject as Jimmie I'd have to find him (number one) and have him sign some sort of release form (number 2). So, we'll just go with "An unknown person playing guitar in a tent that may or may not be in Richmond, Michigan."

COUNTRY COMFORTS

written by: Bernie Taupin, Elton John
but adapted by CaptainK ('cause I know how it's supposed to go! LMAO!!)

Soon the pines will be falling everywhere
Village children always fighting for fair share
And the six-o-nine goes roarin' down the creek
As Parson Lee prepares his service for next week

I saw grandma yesterday down at the store
Well she's really lookin' fine for eighty-four
And she asked me if some time I'd fix the barn
Poor old girl, she needs a man down on the farm

And it's good old country comforts in my bones
Just the sweetest sound my ears have ever known
Just an old fashioned feeling, fully grown...
Country comforts and a truck that's going home

Down at the mill they've got a new machine
Foreman says it cuts manpower by fifteen
"Oh, but that ain't natural" old man Grayson says
'cause he's a horse-drawn man until his dying days

And it's good old country comforts in my bones
Just the sweetest sound my ears have ever known
Just an old fashioned feeling, fully grown...
Country comforts and a truck that's heading home

Another song from back in the day...

Up on Cripple Creek she sends me
If I spring a leak, she mends me
I don't have to speak, she defends me
A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one...

Saturday Continued

It's 2:00 AM and thundering again. Back out on the porch. This time it's not the "jagged forks" of lightning, but the "whole sky lights up" kind (I'm sure there are correct meteorological terms for these, but I don't know them).

Let's see... where did I leave off? Oh, yes. I did finish raking the front lawn to the ditch, but didn't get it picked up (hmmm... maybe the rain will just wash it away?) Made a casserole for dinner (beef, macaroni and cheese) that I had high hopes for, but it turned out rather "blah."

My friend called to tell me the premier show of a new series, "The Unit" that I'd wanted to watch but missed was being replayed. Told him I'd seen that and already had it set to record. I finished watching a movie while it was recording. Then I turned it on and watched - 10 minutes of the end of a basketball game! I was sick to my stomach because I knew what was coming... but I watched it anyway, and just as they put explosives on the door of the plane to save the people, the recording session ended... sigh...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Saturday afternoon...

Well, the plan was to wake up early, go to Home Depot and get what I needed to paint the living room and jump on that today! However, I stayed up WAY too late last night and finally got to sleep about 4:30 AM. Sooo, woke up around 9:00 AM. Decided I needed to inventory my freezer and was in the process of taking everything out when the front door opened.

It was Jake and Carla, who wanted to borrow some AA batteries. But, as ill luck would have it, those were on my grocery list as I'd just ran out! Felt a bit out of sorts as I hadn't shaved, taken a shower or even made my bed yet. But Carla reassured me that she'd been exercising and neither one of them had showered yet, so... I put on a pot of coffee, we sat, stinkily, and chatted.

When they left, I did my 20 minutes on the Cardio Cruiser, then shaved, showered and made up my grocery list. Went to Home Depot and got everything I need to paint the room. Then went to Farmer Jack and picked up the groceries. Stopped at the quarter car wash and hosed off the car.

Got home, put everything away and it was about 3:30 PM. Too late to start the painting job, but it's almost 60 degrees F. with a bit of a wind, so went outside and took pictures of the Spring flowers coming up (see Photographs section) and tried to finish raking the front lawn. My back started to hurt (God, getting old SUCKS!!!) so took a break to post the photos and this Blog, then going back outside to finish up.

And, that's me, up to date...

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Spring in Redford: This year's winner: Crocus in what I still call Jake's patio

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Spring in Redford: Hyacinth next to garage

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Spring in Redford: Tulips in the backyard

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Spring in Redford: Daffodils in front garden

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Spring in Redford: Crocus just emerging in the front garden

Friday Night...

... Jake called around 6:30 PM Friday and asked what I was having for dinner. I hated to admit it to him (and hate to admit it to you, lol!) but since I couldn't think of anything I wanted, I was settling for corn chips and salsa. He said he'd had to work overtime and was just now leaving. He and Carla had decided on Kentucky Fried Chicken, and did I want some?

Well, duh!?!

So they brought over a bunch of chicken with a bunch of sides (mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, macaroni salad and, of course, biscuits). We ate. We talked. They left. And the best part was...

I got all the leftovers!

"Every Day Is A Winding Road"

I've been swimming in a sea of anarchy
I've been living on coffee and nicotine
I've been wondering if all the things I've seen
Were ever real, were ever really happening

Everyday is a winding road
I get a little bit closer
Everyday is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine


Sheryl Crow Lyrics

Friday, March 10, 2006

IT thought for the week...

Until it's integrated, it's just data.

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As I had hoped, with the right stain selection, the drying rack dowel and pegs "disappear" into the hutch! Nice job, me!

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Finally, the dowel is finished for the pasta dryer. You will note I notched it so it could not fall off.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Thunderstorms

Woke up last night at 12:30 AM to the sound of thunder. Grabbed my robe and went out on the porch. Quite heavy rain, awesome lightning and, of course, deep rumbles of thunder. Couldn't stay out there as long as I would have liked as the wind was blowing the rain under the porch roof a little too often.

Yesterday, I had to take a 1/2 day off work and meet the cable guy. I had them install a VOIP (or voice over I/P) modem, so now my phone works over the Internet instead of land lines. We'll see how it works, but it does save me $30.00 a month, and I still have all the same features, minus that annoying call waiting, LOL! Price includes unlimited calls to US, Canada, Virgin Islands and Guam. So, to all my friends in Guam (or elsewhere) give me a call and I'll call you back. We can talk for hours for free!

Since I was home all afternoon, I made a stuffed pork tenderloin (I had bought it on sale and cut it in half - 2 pounds each. Froze one half and needed to make something with this half.) Stuffed it with Italian sausage, apples, shallots and toasted walnuts again. Made oven roasted potatoes as the side dish. Very tasty!

Carla had popped in after grocery shopping to wait for Jake to get off work, so we hung out for a while. We watched a little Judge Judy and the Cosby show, just like the old days.

All in all, cheaper new phone service, good company, great dinner and topped off with a thunderstorm, it was a most excellent day!

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Oh my God! (no pun intended!)

Read this tonight in a book called "The Queen of the Big Time" by Ariana Trigiani. Never in the 45 years since I was in the seminary, studying to be a priest, have I ever seen my own thoughts put so succinctly:

"When I was in the seminary, I would look around at my classmates and wonder what we all had in common. You would think it was a love of God and a desire to serve him, but it wasn't. It was a detachment. It was if we were comfortable being separate. I had my excuses... I can't speak for my fellow seminarians; they had their own reasons for choosing a life that meant at its very core you could not have intimacy with another person."

Quote

"Beware all enterprises that require new clothes."

Henry David Thoreau - Walden

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Brokeback mountain, revisited...

As I mentioned previously in my Blog, I was bored Sunday night and watched a good part of the Oscars. As they did with most of the nominees, any time Brokeback Mountain was up for an award, they showed a short clip of the film. It was on one of these clips that it hit me!
These guys weren't "cowboys," they were herding sheep!!!
Now as far back as I can remember in Western novels and movies, cowboys and sheep herders hated each other (and now I know why!) and had range wars and sh*t!
So, Willy Nelson be damned, at least John Wayne, Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Tom Mix, and I can all sleep better.

Come to think of it, its probably the sidekicks, Tonto, Gabby, Jingles and Pancho, who'll lie easier in their bedrolls tonight with the news, lol!
Gay shepherds... Hell, it figures...

Bomb Threat

We had a bomb threat called into the building I work at this afternoon. We all had to evacuate the building, then lists were circulated to the managers so they could check off names to make sure everyone was out. This is a BIG building, so there were a lot of us standing in the parking lot. At least the weather was okay; sunny and low 40's. The Spacely Sprockets Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Corporate attorney and the Director of Human Resources all showed up, though I'm not sure quite why.

Jake and I stood around and reminisced about our emergency plan at Palms Road (when the kids were young). Back then, the rule was in case of a fire or whatever, no matter how you got out, you were all supposed to meet at the big rock by the ditch to make sure everyone was safe. Good times...

I never saw any bomb-sniffing dogs, just ten or so policemen. Finally, after almost an hour, the Livonia police gave the all-clear and we all trooped back inside.

Since nothing actually blew up, it was about 5 minutes of excitement and 55 minutes of boring...

Monday, March 6, 2006

"Transamerica song"

Hey, forget the gender-bender stuff! This is a damn fine song!

Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song
I'm just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home
Where that is no one can tell me, am I doomed to ever roam?
I'm just travelin', travelin', travelin', I'm just travelin' on...

Transamerica Movie Soundtrack Lyrics

Dolly Parton - Travelin' Thru

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My BIGGEST fear, Lol!

Closing the loop...

Yesterday, after raking the second time, I put another coat of polyurethane on the dowel (is this turning out to be a "forever" project or what?!?). I ironed a shirt for work, then went looking at leftovers for dinner.

Decided on some of the left-over steak and the beer baked beans. Put the rest of the beans in a container and the 2 1/2 quart cassarole dish to soak. Watched TV (the Oscar's, but cut away to watch Iron Chef America) and called it a night when the Oscar's ended (about 11:30).

And, now you know everything about my weekend!

Sunday, March 5, 2006

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The now cured (and used, lol) cast iron grates. There's also another wire rack that swings up and out of the way when you open the top.

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Two nice shelves for condiments, implements and stuff!

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New grille for this year (and hopefully many more!)

Sunday morning, over easy...

Again woke up at 5:00 (did that on Saturday, too). Tried to go back to sleep - no dice. Got up and went to the computer - YIKES - no service. Turned on the TV - no cable! Called the 24 hour cable hot line. Tech had me try this and that, but nothing came of it. He said, it must be your house, because nobdy else in Redford had called... (Damn! That means I hve to take off work for the repairman!) Just then he said, wait a minute, now I'm getting calls from all over Redford. Something must have happened. Well, good, I don't have cable or internet, but I don't have to take off work, either.

Started out by cleaning up the white dust in the oven and using a brillo pad on the gunk stuck to the oven door. Then made two eggs over easy, three strips of bacon and sourdough toast for breakfast. After breakfast, shaved and showered. Then I started my weekly cleaning ritual (normally done on Saturday, but had vistitors so only got the kitchen floor swept yesterday). So vaccummed, dusted, washed the kitchen, bathrooms and downstairs floors, etc., etc., etc. Some time during all this, the cable came back on.

When it got 40 degrees F, I went outside and began to rake the front lawn (has all kinds of winter debris on it: sticks, pine cones, black walnut shells, etc. Noticed the daffodils are about an inch out of the ground. Got about a third of the yard raked when my back started to protest. I know better than to ignore that, so I quit.

Reheated the linguini with clam sauce I'd made for Friday night's dinner for my lunch (still tasted great!) Laid down and watched a movie (hoping to take a nap, but never fell asleep). Got up at 4:30 and tried to do more raking before I had to quit again (now its about 1/2 done). Came in and posted this, and that's me, up to date!

Da thrill of da grille

Had an interesting day yesterday. Carla called yesterday morning and asked if they could come over and barbeque. Bear in mind, yes, it was sunny, but the high was only 39 degrees F.
I said, "Well, that sounds like fun, but I threw away my grille last Fall, remember? But, if you're serious, you guys could go to Lowes and get the one I want and we'll use it today." The one I wanted is just like Jake's, but without the optional smoker fire box. It's barrel shaped and very heavy-duty steel and cast iron.
So, took out a couple of steaks to thaw, got my hair cut and a few errands done. They showed up around noon. Jake put it all together, while I was in charge of seasoning the cast iron grates. Not fun!
You had to put them in a 300 degree F oven (and they were very sticky, covered with some sh*t that wouldn't wash off your hands, even with paint thinner) then brush on bacon grease (recommended, and I had some) or vegetable oil several times for two hours! Smoked up the house, had to have windows open and the fan running and it totally trashed my oven.
Then, after the grille was together, you had to start a charcoal fire in it after wiping it inside and out with vegetable oil, put the grates back in it and keep rubbing it inside and outside with the oil (I wiped the outside, but cheated and just sprayed the inside with PAM) for another hour! This trashed the cement outside my garage. Then and only then could you first cook on it!
I made a simple marinade of balsamic vinegar, garlic and onions for the steaks. Jake made a much more complex marinade (and, excellent tasting, I admit, LOL!) for the red and green bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash and Portobello mushrooms. I made some beer baked beans and Carla made oven roasted potatoes and did all the prep work on the vegetables. So, we had steaks and grilled veggies for dinner, then played some cards and Scrabble. They left around 8:00, I turned the oven on self clean and watched TV until I fell asleep.
So, I had messes to attend to this morning, but I do have my put-together and broke-in grille here and ready to go for the season. Will post some photos...

Friday, March 3, 2006

Crab cake follow up

Well, fried up the crab cakes last night. Taste was pretty good, but the cakes themselves kept falling apart, unlike the ones I have had in seafood restaurants. Since it was a loosely-interpereted couple of recipes, I'm pretty sure the fault was my own. Also, I changed my mind about the hot sauce and decided to go with seafood cocktail sauce. Tasted pretty good the first time, but not when I woke up burping in the night!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Fat Tuesday, one day late...

While looking around for a suitable dinner entree last night, I decided to celebrate New Orleans. So, at 7:30, I made Jambalaya (from a Zateran's box) with smoked sausage and then decide to also make crab cakes. Wasn't going to make the fancy sauce, just eat 'em with hot sauce. Adapted a couple recipes (to account for ingredients I either did or didn't have) and was moving right along until I came to the line that said, "Put the breaded cakes in the refrigerator for two hours to harden."

So, I guess I'm gonna have crab cakes tonight!

Wednesday night/Thursday morning weather

Went outside at 2:45 AM to check on wind and sky. Light rain falling, but, since my thermometer reads 30 degrees F., it's ending up as a coating of ice everywhere. There are Winter Weather Warnings posted until noon tomorrow. God bless the commuters who have a long drive!

Going back to bed now...

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Forgot to mention...

but I love these Dr Scholl's slippers!!! Not the look I favor (I'm more into moccasins) but they have a nice hard, non-slip sole and a comfortable gel inner lining.

Hey, don't laugh... It's the little things, ya know!

Tonight

Stopped at Home Depot after work and picked up a 2 x 4 and a square electrical box cover. After the appraiser was gone, I went all through the attic to make sure there weren't any other problems. Found a square electrical box on the South wall (further than he had gone) without a cover, just wires hooked together with wire nuts and electrical tape. So, tonight, installed the cover.

Added a few more staples here and there, then measured and cut the 2 x 4. Used my handy-dandy cordless drill and secured it. Then used wire staples to fasten the offending wire to it. Bingo! Everything is now to code!

BTW, when I was telling my friend how I'd offered to staple the wires when the appraiser was here, and he said, "No, I'll just indicate in my report that it needs to be done," my somewhat cynical (but usually right) friend explained that they only get paid when they come out and he'd just ensured another trip for himself... I am SOOO gullible - sigh -