Monday, July 31, 2006

Caught Up - Sunday

Sunday and it's supposed to be another hot one (with possible severe thunderstorm in the afternoon). So, before it got too hot, I went out and spent about an hour weedwacking next to my fence in the lot next door (it started to all grow back with a vengeance!) Got about down even with the horseshoe pits when I got tired of being sweaty, dirty and sore, so I quit.

Took a shower while Luanne put another coat of polyurethane on her table. Then she got cleaned up and we did some shopping at Home Depot and Meijers.

Later, the winds picked up and it looked like it was really gonna storm. But, they bypassed Redford (dammit!) and all we got was a few fat raindrops.

I grilled salmon on another plank, sweet corn and goat cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms for dinner. Then, I watered the side and front gardens for about an hour (really wished it would have rained here).

Later, I watched TV and Lu read in the living room.

And now I am caught up!

Catching up - Saturday

Saturday, I ran errands and grocery shopped in the morning. Jake and Carla came over in the afternoon, to see Luanne, but she hadn't returned yet from Lake Orion (via Port Huron to drop off Joe's bike, then a visit with her Mother). So, they played catch outside with some new-fangled thingie (looked like a big ball with a ribbon on it).

A young girl came over from across the street and asked if I owned the lot next door, because her Mom wanted to use it for a birthday luau. I said, "No, I don't own it, but I think it would be okay, as the owner doesn't come around much." She said I could come, "if" I wore a Hawaiian shirt. Later she came again and asked if I had an outside plug they could borrow for a radio. I said sure, I'd throw and extension cord over the fence. So, I did.

I wanted to make a tuna pasta salad (it was SO hot) but without mayo. So, I did! Rotini pasta, diced cucumbers, diced plum tomatoes, chives, basil and thyme, mixed with two cans of tuna and diced hard boiled eggs. Dressing was olive oil and white wine vinegar. Luanne came back as I was finishing up. Let the salad cool for a bit (not long enough, really) then we ate.

Jake, Carla and I went and played horseshoes (Luanne politely declined). I won a close game with Jake and a not-so-close game with Carla. Noticed people coming from across the street, carrying a kitchen table and chairs for their party. They set it all up under a big tree by my garage.

Later, we played a game of euchre and Lu and I lost, after which Jake and Carla left.

I read a book in my bed and Lu read hers on the couch. Neither of us heard much of anything from the Birthday Luau. I had a lot of trouble falling asleep as my shoulder was THROBBING from the stupid horseshoe game!

Whole lot of Catching up... Friday

Friday night Jake and Carla stopped by. We made lamb chops with a mint glaze (just so-so) with spinach and Jake made blue-cheese stuffed mushrooms (now those were good!)

Played some cards.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

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More herbs, flowering (I should have used more!!!)

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The herbs are beginning to flower

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I planted Impatiens in the hanging pot where the ever-bearing strawberry plants never grew :o(

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The flox are begining to bloom

Saturday, July 29, 2006

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The flox are beginning to bloom

Listening to it again...

"And the truth slowly dawns
that you're lost and alone in deep water..."

Kris Kristofferson
"Shipwrecked in the Eighties"

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Interesting street art...

Late Night mind Meanderings...

I need some sleep... but wanted to get these down while I was thinking about them...

1. After watching the ridiculous stuff on TV at this hour, I have an overwhelming urge to order the video of "Girls Gone Wild" (which is why I hide my credit cards from myself!)

2. African-Americans have every right to bitch about conditions in America, since their ancestors were dragged here against their will hundreds of years ago. But, Mexicans should just shut up, because they keep sneaking in no matter what we do to stop them!

3. If you embarrass an Asian person and they blush, do they turn orange?

I really need some sleep...

Ziggy

Posted another Ziggy cartoon in Photos. I like Ziggy. In fact, he is listed on my Yahoo profile as my favorite quote:

"It's you and me against the world. Personally, I think we're gonna get creamed."

- Ziggy

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Friday, July 28, 2006

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Candid photo of me, doing a quick gut-check on the situation

Cook, slut & butler

According to England's John Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words (1825), "Cook, slut and butler" was a common expression applied to a person who does all the turns of work in a house.

So, I'm the cook, slut and butler at San Jose!

More rain, though...

Should have mentioned this in last entry, but I picked up another 1/4 inch of rain yesterday from the hit and miss showers we had.

Thursday

Quiet night. Got another inside and outside coat of paint on the horseshoe cabinet. Did laundry, watched some TV, etc. Boring, actually!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wednesday rain...

Got out of work today at 5:00 PM and it was raining cats and dogs! Raining sideways, and so hard, it hurt! Okay, so I can forget the second coat on the horseshoe cabinet, but I do need to stop at Farmer Jacks!

Got soaked getting dinner. Bought 5 ears of sweet corn (grilling the citrus chicken thighs again) and a steak for tomorrow night.

Melissa called just after I got home and sorta dry. We talked for about an hour, about this and that, but mostly regarding their plans to relocate to North Carolina. Dave's oldest son Dustin is moving there with his wife and the only grandchild. I asked about how the other two sons might feel, but Melissa corrected me, saying, "It's not about Dave's kids, it's about our grandchild!"

Did get dinner grilled during a lull in the rain (about 8:00 PM). Checked the rain gauge this morning and I got 1 3/8 inches of rain yesterday!!!

Jeremy's Fun Word

In an email today from my son, Jeremy:

Honeyfuggle

to swindle, cheat. This word is American slang and apparently from
honey plus fugle, meaning 'to cheat, trick.'

Tuesday

Tuesday night, the couple that bought Jake's scooter were supposed to come over around 8:00 PM and pick it up. So, I asked Jake and Carla to dinner. Just simple fare, cut up Yukon Gold potatoes, an onion, a layer of sauerkraut and topped with sliced smoked sausage, all in one pot.

We played cards while we waited for them. When they came, Jake helped load the scooter into a van. Then, everyone left, so I went out and painted the inside of the horseshoe cabinet (white) and left it opened to dry. Noticed a few spots on the outside I need to touch up with more brown.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

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The horseshoe cabinet, another view

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Horseshoe cabinet, now blending in...

Monday Night

There was a slight threat of thunderstorms Monday night. None the less, I worked on the horseshoe cabinet. I spackled all the nail holes (remember this was all made with used lumber) and caulked all the seams. While that dried, I cut down three evergreen branches that interfered with the horseshoe game.

Then I hand-sanded everything and painted it brown ("pumpernickel" to be exact). Now it blends in nicely. Still have to paint the inside (white, I'm thinking) but it was getting a little late.

I grilled some sweet corn and a steak for dinner (didn't want to do that while Luanne was here, as she wasn't supposed to eat corn) and then ate it watching my new TV.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Interesting Fact

Detroit was founded on this day in 1701

Sunday

Started my Sunday off with a big breakfast. Made eggs and grits and fried Spam (I know, I know, but I like Spam!) Then went out to water the front gardens.

Came back in and Luanne was up, so I pointed out the remaining grits (as a change-up from her usual oatmeal and raisins). I had the TV on to the Food Network, and Paula Deen came on with two deviled eggs recipes. The first was using goat cheese (so I called Luanne in to watch - her having goats and all). The second was seafood deviled eggs. Sounded interesting, so I hardboiled some eggs and thawed some shrimp.

Luanne put on the first coat of polyurethane on her table, while I sketched out a cabinet I wanted to make. I have a theory (hey, all you regular readers know I ALWAYS have a theory, lol!) Anyway, I have a theory that the reason people quit using outside games is that its a pain in the butt to keep lugging out the croquet set (or the badmiton net), setting it up, using it for an hour or two, then taking it all down again. So, I wanted to make a cabinet to hold the horseshoes and the frisbee and hang it outside by the horseshoe pits.

Problem! Luanne's now got a wet table in the garage where I would normally use my tools, so the sawdust would screw up her work. Solution? We carried the table saw, the chop saw, sawhorses, wood and various little tools outside and I set them up on Jake's patio. It reminded me of my friend B___'s dad, who used to make cupolas outside as he did not have a garage or basement to work in.

I got the wood I needed by disassembling some shelves I had made earlier but no longer needed.

During all this, Jake and Carla came over to wash the scooters. The eBay auction was finished, and remarkably, they sold both scooters for only $150.00 less than they originally thought they would get. They came bearing gifts: a new 20 inch TV for my bedroom. Long time readers will remember when they moved into their apartment, I traded them my big TV (so I could put in the fireplace in the living room) for Carla's 10-year old 19 inch TV (that I made a stand for and have in the bedroom).

While Jake hooked that up, Luanne made a run to Home Depot for more supplies and I made the deviled eggs. Went back to working on the cabinet. Jake and Carla washed the scooters off, then went to play horseshoes. Jake found that a couple of evergreen branches were in the way, (I will have to cut those off later) which may explain why he lost...

Carla and Luanne visited while Jake helped me finish up the cabinet (Jake designed and made the handle). Then we hung it up on a pine tree. Needs brown paint, of course, but it looks pretty good! We taste-tested the deviled eggs. Both Jake and Carla thought the mixture (two tablespoons of mayo, two tablespoons of sour cream and two teaspoons Dijon mustard mixed with chopped shrimp and garnished with fresh dill) overwhelmed the taste of the shrimp. Luanne liked it. I couldn't decide (so I had to keep eating them for the rest of the night, LOL!)

After Jake and Carla left, Luanne made dinner - baked sweet potatoes and salmon. Tasted excellent. Watched some TV on the new TV (much better picture and sound!) Thanks, guys!

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Horseshoe and frisbee cabinet (now all the outdoor toys are, well, outdoors!)

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Horseshoe and frisbee cabinet

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Another view of the table (ends are pulled out to access leaves)

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Lu's Salvation Army table, being refinished

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday...

Saturday morning, Luanne took me to see her latest find: A large table (probably originally sat eight people) and four chairs at the Salvation Army for $40.00 US. I couldn't tell, but I suspected, it was pressboard and a veneer. We went back to my house to rent a U-haul trailer.

Problem! A Ford Explorer is the ONLY vehicle that U-Haul will NOT rent a trailer to! Something about insurance issues. Luanne was going to go back with tools and disassemble it. I asked my neighbor if he had an open trailer (he's a builder) and he said he had a flat snow-mobile trailer (with no license!) I could borrow. Figured it was a short trip, so...

Picked up the table and got it home without incident. Luanne was all fired up to begin refinishing it. - well, I do have the tools and (more importantly to her) the space. So, she left to go buy belt and orbital sandpaper, stain, polyurethane, etc.

Meanwhile, I began my project: horseshoe pits. I've had a set of horseshoes (lost the stakes somewhere, years ago) I've moved from house to house for years. So, started off using my drill and a wire brush wheel to get the years of surface rust off them. Then painted them with Rustoleum (one set red, one blue) over and over throughout the day.

Started the hard part: laying it out and digging the pits. For stakes, I used two 3-foot 3/4 inch black pipe, each topped with a cap. Once they were in place, I started spray painting the top with a fluorescent orange paint (so the lawn service won't screw up their mowers by accidentally hitting them).

Cut out the sod, shook off the dirt from each piece, then used my compost to fill the pit back to ground level. Used the paint to show the out-of-bounds markers for now (when I have the time, I will cut out that sod and refill with sand - yeah, that's me, Mr. Natural, LOL!) By now, my back was killing me!

Finished up the day by watering everything behind the house (took about two hours!) Luanne had completed her sanding and had stained the table. So, we called it an evening. I made some seafood sauce for the shrimp I'd thawed out earlier. She had some leftover cheese pizza and I made myself a big salad. Watched some TV.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday Night...

Friday night, Jake and Carla came over after work. Luanne was still at her Mother's, but returned home around 7:00 PM. We ordered pizzas, drank beer and played another round of rummy. We quit at 10:30 (Jake was ahead). I started watching the Saturday Night Fights and Luanne went to bed.

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The other end, from just before the "women's" foul line (I am going to fix these, see blog). Day-Glo Orange is so the lawn service doesn't hit the posts and screw up their machines.

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Orange line is the "women's" foul line - 10 feet in front of the "men's" foul line! We are talking reverse discrimination, here!!!

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New horseshoe pits

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thursday Night

Another quiet evening. Lu ate cold tuna out of the can for her dinner, so I made myself some hotdogs. We watched Iron Chef (taped on Tuesday, late-night) and a Hallmark movie.

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Tiger lilies, another view

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Tiger lilies in bloom

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wednesday...

I took Luanne in for her colonoscopy (you have to have someone to drive you home). I can't tell you how much fun it was to be back in a hospital again - NOT!

Anyway, got out of there around 1:30 PM, and I drove up to Adair Salvage to get the other two cabinets. Unfortunately, she bought all they had of a certain style, but she will still need three more base cabinets. However, the company does have a website, so they can find the ones they still need (of course, these will not be at a discount). In the long run, though, even adding in the cost of the U-Haul trailer rental to get them back to Virginia, she still got a good deal.

Interesting, but Luanne has to eat a "non-fiber" diet for the next week (if you knew her, you'd know how odd that is, lol!) Remind me to pick up a loaf of Wonderbread...

Back to catching up... Tuesday

Tuesday night, Luanne couldn't eat (she has a colonoscopy on Wednesday) so I ate the rest of the brats and deviled eggs. Jake and Carla came over and washed the scooters (they have a couple coming to look at them tonight) and parked them out in front.

Jake helped me unload the kitchen cabinets Luanne bought at Adair Salvage today (she has two more still up there that wouldn't fit in the Explorer). They will go in the remodeled kitchen that she and Sadie are building.

The couple came by and looked at the scooters (they are up for sale on eBay). Jake and Carla left. We watched some TV (the last episode of Little House on the Prairie - where Albert is diagnosed with a terminal disease - what a bummer!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday Night

Luanne was having a late lunch/early dinner at her Mother's, after going to the dentist, so I grilled brats for me last night. I also made deviled eggs, but added too much mayo (didn't taste bad, just lacked the "yolk" flavor and consistency was off).

I was going to water, but they forecast rain overnight, so I didn't. It did rain, but when I checked the gauge this morning, there was only a trace showing.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Caught up... Sunday (Whew!)

Sunday morning. Luanne is organizing her week here (doctor's visits, dentist visit, family & friends visits) and then she will be staying out at Lake Orion with my Mom and Jeremy's family for another week.

I took her for a tour of my gardens and yard after breakfast. She seemed suitably impressed.

Jake and Carla came over for a cookout in the afternoon. We started off playing cards (that damn Chicago again!) I lost.

This was my first attempt at grilling seafood on cedar planks. Had the charcoal a bit too hot and caught the boards on fire! Doused them with water, chilled out the coals a bit by spraying water on them and commenced grilling.

Along with the main course, I grilled lemons (this really releases their juices). I also grilled asparagus that had been marinated in olive oil and chopped garlic. In the house, I had sauteed mushroom and shallots with fresh, chopped sage, then cooked that with a wild rice mixture. Excellent all around, if I do say so myself!

After dinner, Luanne taught Carla and Jake how to play rummy. We never got to 500, (too much talking and laughing) but set a time limit, instead. Luanne won (sigh).

Now its Monday, and back to work!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Catching up... Saturday

Woke up Saturday morning around 7:00 AM. Jake and Carla were already up and getting ready to leave. He had forgotten the keys to the scooters and said they'd be back later to move them (they are in the way of getting two vehicles in the garage). Luanne is coming in today, bringing Jeremy's son Joe along (he went down for about two weeks to help Luanne remove old, but salvageable boards out of an abandon house on some of Sadie's property).

I began my errands after a shower and a shave. First, a haircut. Then, off to the mall and Williams-Sonoma for some cedar planks (for Sunday's BBQ with Jake and Carla). Then stopped at Bombay, and bought an electric fan (looks like your Grandma's, but with all the newer safety features) and the last (I hope, lol!) painting for the living room (it's a woman in a slinky red dress, seen from the back, pausing on some steps and is called "Anticipation." I'll take a picture when I hang it), then to Target, Westborn (for Saturday night's dinner for Jeremy, Jyl and the kids and Luanne), washed the car, then to Farmer Jacks (for the bulk of the grocery shopping) and then home. I was BEAT!!!

Jake and Carla came by and moved the scoots into the back room. Then they left and I had about two hours to straighten up before Luanne and Joe (coming from Virginia) and Jeremy, Jyl and Riese (coming from Port Huron) showed up. Started dinner. Luanne, being a vegetarian, and Jeremy & Jyl, both liking Middle Eastern food (I don't, but its not always about me, lol!), I made the following:

- Falafel Sandwiches with Sesame Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Baby Tomato and Fresh Herb Tabbouleh
- Honey Almond Date Balls

Was about finished when everyone showed up. I got it wrapped up while cars were unloaded and loaded, etc. The falafel sandwiches (falafel is like a deep-fried meatless meatball, with the main ingredient as chick peas) were in pita bread swerved with your choice of diced cucumbers, shredded onions, diced green peppers and/or spicy sprouts. The tabbouleh is made with bulgar wheat and the Honey Almond Date balls were just that, pitted dates, raw almonds, ground up in the food processor mixed with honey (you can see why I had to go to the upscale Westborn... this is not Farmer Jack-type stuff!)

Everyone said it was delicious, but I am still not convinced. Bleech! :o(

Anyway (my taste buds aside), we visited for a while afterwards, then Jeremy and his family left. Luanne did some unpacking, then we watched a Hallmark movie and called it a day...

Catching up... Friday

Friday was hot and muggy. About 4:00 PM, it started to rain. I had planned on stopping at the grocery store for Friday night dinner, but the rain was coming down too hard, so pulled into Arby's and got some roast beef sandwiches instead.

Just finished cleaning up and started watching some TV when Carla called. They have had a lot of bugs in their apartment (after some investigation, they found a gap in the weatherstripping that critters could get in through). The apartment maintenance guys fixed that (sort of) so Jake wanted to bomb the apartment. They did that, but wanted to know about staying the night here, to really let it work. I said sure.

They brought over a bunch of appetizers and beer, so we had a little mini-feast. I was tired and went to bed, while they watched TV.

Catching up.. Thursday

Thursday was sanding the boxes lightly. They are almost done. Need to pick up a tack cloth to be able to check them out.

Dinner was leftover sausage and potatoes. Nothing on TV, so I read until sleepy, then slept through the night (for a change!)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

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The Honeysuckle Vine is also coming along, but hasn't found the fence

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The second forsythia, trimmed.

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The Italian tomatoes are starting, too!

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Tomatoes have started to grow

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Trimmed the Sand Cherry and weeded

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The Virginia Creeper is starting to climb the wall

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Rhododendron and iris not trimmed, just weeded as well

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Didn't have to trim the dogwood, just weed around it.

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Forsythia and flowering plum, trimmed

Wednesday

Last night was muggy and warm, but I bit the bullet and weeded and trimmed the back garden. Took almost 3 hours! But, I got 'er done! Posted some "after" pictures, if you are interested.

Dinner obviously was late, so went with a simple, old favorite: smoked sausage, fried potatoes and onions.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

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Fairy circle #1

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Fairy circle #2

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Fairy Circle #3

My fairy rings...

I have a number of Fairy Rings or Fairy Circles in my yard this year. According to Wikipedia, "A fairy ring or fairy circle, also known as a pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms. The rings may grow over ten meters in diameter and become stable over time as the fungus grows and seeks food underground. Even if no mushrooms are present, the underground presence of the fungus may sometimes be detected by observing the withering or varying color or growth of grass directly above.

Fungi spread their spores in a circular fashion. Since multiple spores from separate fungi overlap in the inner part, fallow soil is only to be found away from the center of the 'circle'. This is how fairy rings 'grow'.

In English folklore, fairy rings were said to be caused by fairies or pixies dancing in a circle, wearing down the grass beneath their feet. Toads would then sit on the basidia, poisoning them, hence the name toadstool."

While I understand and appreciate the scientific explanation, I love the thought of a group of fairies, seated on these toadstools, discussing, what? The weather, the yard, the gardens, the crazy old man who lives in the house?

See photos.

Tuesday, Blues-Day

(Nah, I wasn't "blue" just wanted something different for a heading, lol!)

Got home last night as it started to rain, which was good as I had to stop and pick up a prescription at the drugstore. Decided to brave it and pulled out the fridge to clean. Hah! Not nearly as bad as the stove! Piece o' cake!

Then I lightly sanded the boxes with 220 grit sandpaper and gave them two more coats.

Ate leftovers again: The last of the steak and the last baked potato (both still tasty!) Sat on the porch and watched it rain for a bit, until a wind shift brought the rain onto the rocker. Gave up and went inside. Watched some TV and went to bed.

Checked the rain gauge this morning. Not the two inches they had warned about, but almost an inch. So I don't have to worry about watering for a while! Nice!!

Quote I heard on the radio...

"Her T-shirt said "Bad Girl" and her eyes said, "Read the T-shirt"

Unknown

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vegetarian Dinner

Last night was an all-leftovers, all-vegetarian dinner. Had some of Jyl's salad and homemade ranch dressing (from Saturday), some grilled sweet corn (from last Thursday) and some fried eggplant (from Sunday) through the course of the evening.

Monday Night (and where's Carla when you need her?)

Monday night my pen rolled off the counter, and while attempting to retrieve it, I kicked it under the stove instead. So, I pulled out the stove to get it. YUCK! Where did all this crap and greasy gunk come from?

Then I remembered when Carla was living here, she would get on a cleaning kick and we would pull out all the appliances to clean under and behind them. But, its probably two years since she lived here and therefore, two years since such things got deep cleaned.

So, got a bucket of soapy water and a sponge, then pulled out the stove. Found another pen, a cheap cigarette lighter and 15 - 20 playing cards amidst the cat hair and greasy dirt. Swept, mopped and sponged until all was spotless, then pushed the stove back in.

Now I guess I'll have to pull out the fridge, sometime soon...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Quote

"If most of your ideas aren't stupid, you're probably being too conservative. You're not bracketing the problem."

- Paul Graham

Dog Days of Summer...

...so named from the rising and setting of Sirius, the Dog Star, these typically sweltering weeks have been noted since at least Roman times. In modern times, they occur from July 3 through August 11.

Sunday, and more social stuff...

I woke early Sunday and putzed around a bit. I realized that I had NOTHING I had to do! All my chores were done Saturday morning. I didn't really want to spend an entire day doing NOTHING, so I emailed Jake and Carla, asking if they wanted to come over and play cards or a board game (I bribed them with dinner, lol!)

So, they came over around 1:30 PM. I had made a vegetable plate with dip (or "crudite" as it is called) and some deviled eggs as appetizers. We played that Casino card game and, yet again, I got creamed (I thought I was getting better at this!)

I was trying a new way to make baked potatoes. You soak them in a brine (water and a cup of Kosher salt) for 2 to 8 hours, then cover them with seasoned salt, garlic salt and more Kosher salt (I can feel my blood pressure go up just writing this!) Baked for 45 minutes without stabbing them at all and then you leave them to rest a bit. Topping was sour cream, scallions and crumbled bacon. Not bad, and oddly, not all that salty.

Jake cooked some steaks, which he slathered with a blue cheese compound butter. Meanwhile Carla and I fried eggplant. We talked a bit more while they cleaned up and then they left.

I watched some TV, then went to sleep. I was awakened around 1:30 AM by the sound of thunder. Sat on the porch and watched it rain. It was a very gentle rain, and when I checked the rain gauge this morning, it had only a trace showing.

Social Saturday

Got up early Saturday to do laundry, tidy up the house and run some errands. I have a dinner party (at my own house) to attend this afternoon. Jyl and two of her sisters are coming over and Jyl is making the dinner! Even though I have insisted no thanks were necessary, this is her way of thanking me for the boxes.

Jyl got there about 3:30 PM with a TON of provisions (Note to Jeremy: I do have raw garlic, olive oil, etc., in stock here, lol!). After a brief hello, she went straight to work!

Her two sisters came a little after 4:00 PM. I found them both to be fascinating. Judy is a teacher and an artist (she currently is working with water colors). Brenda is also a teacher, but she is a writer/poet.

Here I must apologize to Judy. She had a math problem she was working on for college (I think she said this will be her third Bachelor's degree). She asked if I could help her with it, but I always hated algebra, and so was absolutely no use! And, when I offered her some wine at dinner, she agreed as long as it was semi-sweet. Later I realized I gave her a very, very dry wine, though she was too much a lady to remark on it. So, sorry Judy!

While Jyl was still slaving away in the kitchen, I gave them a tour of the house and the yard. They seemed very impressed. While Judy worked on her math problem (I think Jyl helped her) I showed Brenda my website. She asked me to read some poems, which I did, badly (Hey, I just write 'em, I don't read 'em!)

When dinner was on the table, it started off with a salad of mixed baby greens, homemade croutons and homemade ranch dressing. The main course was next: Shrimp and steamed broccoli in a garlic Alfredo sauce over penne pasta, topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. Then, dessert! Thin-sliced buttermilk biscuits, topped with strawberries and fresh, homemade whipped cream! Unbelievable!

I insisted that they leave the dishes for me to clean up later and we retired to the living room to chat. Brenda was talking about a monologue she had given at the Detroit institute of Art and with some begging, she repeated her performance. Hilarious!

Finally, sadly, it was time for all to go. I cleaned up the kitchen and went to watch some TV.

Nice to meet you both, Brenda and Judy!

Jyl, thanks for a great dinner and a really good time!

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Friday Night's Dinner

Jake and Carla stopped by after work. Since the only thing I had thawed was some chicken thighs, we recreated the citrus and thyme marinated chicken I grilled earlier in the week. Carla made some wild rice with herbs and cooked spinach as the sides. Very good!

Quote

"Five out of one scientist prefer cloning."

Unknown

Friday, July 7, 2006

Thursday Night

Thursday night, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a cheap ($2.00 off Manager special - had to be cooked or frozen today) steak and 6 ears of corn. Both items cost less than $5.00!

Last time I went grocery shopping, I had (on a whim) bought a container of "Gourmet Mushrooms" (Shitake, Morel, Oyster, Poplar and Cinnamon Namcko) and those that to be eaten by yesterday as well. So, I needed something I could put a sauce on.

First, I did some work though. Put yet another coat of stain on the boxes for Jyl. Then mixed and applied Roundup to grass and weeds popping up in the driveway. Then, I watered around the patio gardens.

About 7:00 PM, I started a sauce, made with olive oil, butter, garlic, shallots, then I sauteed the mushrooms (after giving them a rough chop). When they all seemed happy, I added a cup of Cabernet Sauvignon and let it reduce while I fired up the grille. Roasted the sweetcorn and then made the steak. Topped the steak with the sauce and ate. Excellent!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Last Night

Wednesday, I had some errands to run after work, so didn't get home until after 6:00 PM. Changed my clothes, then watered and dead-headed all the container planters.

I put the fourth coat of stain on Jyl's wood boxes (can't seem to get them as dark as I would like) and then cleaned up.

Made chicken strips and french fries in the oven for dinner (served with ranch dressing and ketchup, respectively). Watched some TV and went to sleep, after opening the windows (its supposed to go down to 57 degrees F. tonight).

Two things...

1. I absolutely LOVE the new commercial series by Miller Life called "Man Law"

2. There are several things I always wanted to do. For example, downhill skiing, parachuting and mountain climbing (well, Jake did take me indoor rock climbing once. I will never forget that!)
But, one thing I always wanted to do was be good at surfing. It just always looked SO cool. But, in spite of being surrounded by water, Michigan is just not the place for it...

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Happy Birthday, America!

I made up for my sloth the last few days on the Fourth of July. Set the alarm and by 7:00 AM, I was shaved, showered and at Meijers, doing last minute grocery shopping for the cook out. I also stopped at Home Depot and got the last two bags of humus/manure I needed. I spread that while the ribs were cooking.

The baby back ribs had been rubbed with brown sugar, seasoned salt, fresh ground black pepper and a little Creole seasoning on Monday and sat in the fridge overnight. At 9:00 AM, I put the ribs on the grille, using mesquite wood for smoke. Every 45 minutes I sprayed them with apple juice. After three hours of that, they got wrapped in tin foil and put back on the grille for two more hours. Then I unwrapped them, slathered them with barbecue sauce and cooked them 30 more minutes.

Jake and Carla came around noon. I had made a dozen hardboiled eggs earlier, as she had a recipe for deviled eggs she wanted to try (this one used bacon in them). So, while she made the deviled eggs, they told me about their anniversary date. Sounds like they had a nice hotel and an excellent dining adventure!

Somehow we got talking about making those blooming onions, and before you know it Jake made two! Excellent appetizer! And, while that was going on, Carla made potato salad.

Put it all on the table and had our dinner! I thought the ribs were a little overdone, but very tasty! Deviled eggs were great and the potato salad, a hit as well.

They cleaned everything up and we sat out on the patio for a while. They left around 4:00 PM. I took an hour nap and then began my night...

It was a very, very good day!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Monday Night Postscript

It's after midnight now, and I just got back in from the porch. No, I haven't been sitting out there all this time. I did watch some TV, and just before going to bed, checked the Weather Channel and found it was raining here in Redford. So, went outside for a bit.

There was some lightning to the South of here, but so far away I didn't hear the thunder. This is just a slow soft rain (so easy, the fireflies are still flying around), but it must be doing my grass some good!

I'm off to sleep now. I have to get my grill going tomorrow at 9:00 AM sharp. I am smoking some baby back ribs for a little Fourth of July celebration with Jake and Carla.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Monday, monday...

My friend B___ is coming over for lunch (he worked today, I didn't), so I started cleaning the house up after cleaning myself up. Went to KFC and got 20 boneless buffalo style chicken wings and a pint of coleslaw. Had everything ready (including a fresh pot of coffee) when he showed up.

Ate the buffalo wings (NEVER again! WAY too hot!!! Should have gotten honey-mustard or something). Showed him the rear garden, etc. He was suitably impressed. He went back to work, and I hit the bathroom (damn hot chicken wings!)

Took a short nap, then went outside (in the heat and the occasional shower) to top-dress my front garden (I think this is the second or third year I've done this). I weed thoroughly, then add about 2 inches of a garden humus/composted manure mix. It gives the garden a little fertilizer (0.05 x 0.05 x 0.05) but more importantly for me, it makes the garden look better.

Now, I KNOW it takes 8 bags to do this, but for some reason, I only bought 6. But, got it all spread, then watered.

I'll try and get the other two bags tomorrow.

Grilling plain old Ball Park hot dogs for tonight's dinner, along with macaroni and cheese.

Sat on the porch after dark and watched more fireworks and fireflies.

Weekend Update v3

Yesterday (Sunday) was a complete waste! I never could get back to sleep, so did ridiculous things (like watered the whole back garden with a bucket and Miracle Grow at 5:30 AM) until about 10:00 AM, then went back to sleep. Slept until 4:30 PM and that would have been okay, except I missed Jake and Carla dropping off the car (I wanted to see Carla's hairdo, you understand).

Woke up crabby. Ate leftovers for dinner, talked with Melissa for a couple of hours (till my phone died) then went to bed early. Woke up this morning, wishing I hadn't wasted yesterday...

Sunday, July 2, 2006

This may become a poem...

... but right now it's just a porch-thought snippet!

GROWING OLD

Too many roads and too many miles,
Too many faces with too few smiles...

Weekend Update, v2

So, I went outside with a drink and sat on the porch, watching the fireworks. No, not an official fireworks, but my redneck neighbors, who, apparently, spent too much money and too much time in Ohio (where real fireworks are legal). Watched and listened to some really amazing aerial displays.

I also noticed my old friends (the fireflies) are back. I watched the fireworks, and the fireflies, for about an hour. Then when activity seemed to slow, came back inside to post this...

Weekend Update v1

Jake and Carla stopped by to switch cars. They are off to a fancy hotel to celebrate their anniversary (two years on July 3rd). I did laundry and then took a long anticipated, well-deserved nap!

Woke up and put some chicken thighs (I am still convinced these are the best tasting part of a chicken!) in a citrus marinade (zest and juice of a lemon, a lime and an orange, with 10 sprigs of thyme) and left them in the fridge for an hour. Worked on this and that (filled the bird feeder, folded laundry cut and boiled some redskin potatoes, etc.)

Then, fired up the grille. While the cowboy charcoal was getting ready, made a simple potato salad - cut potatoes, chopped celery, three hardboiled eggs, a diced valadia onion mixed with a sauce (mayo, yellow mustard, milk, salt, fresh ground pepper and a bunch of fresh chopped parsley). Put the chicken thighs skindown (to get some nice grille marks) for a bit and then turned them over. Moved them from"direct heat" to "indirect heat" and let them cook for about 15 minutes. Then took them off and let them rest.

Ate a delicious dinner watching TV. After a bit, I could not ignore the sounds of fireworks, so taped the rest of my TV show and went outside.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Catching up...

Hmmm... where were we?

Friday night, Jake and Carla stopped over after work. We decided to buy a couple of pizzas (one traditional hand-tossed crust with pepperoni, mushrooms and mild peppers, my favorite, and the other a thin crust Hawaiian, with ham and pineapples, their favorite) served with leftover German, Sam Adams and Labatts beer.

We visited and caught each other up on what was going on. It sounds strange, but now, not working 30 feet from Jake, is very weird. We do have the telephone, email and even IM, (I'll explain IM offline, Mom, lol) but it is NOT the same...

They left around 8:00 PM and I watched a very, very lame "Emeril Live" with special guest Paula Deen. Then I watched Friday night boxing on ESPN, went to sleep for a while, woke up, wandered around sat on the porch, read a bit, did a post, and finally fell asleep again.

Got up this (Saturday) morning, made a light breakfast (scrambled eggs and chives with sourdough toast - have to watch my girlish figure, ya know), shaved and showered, then started running errands. Ordered some black and brass nameplates for Jyl's wood boxes at Little Bill's Trophy shop, picked up some more of those small wine bottles (for cooking) at Westborn Market, stopped into Famous Footware to see if they had any slippers (they didn't), went to Home Depot and got 6 bags of peat mixed with composted manure (need to top-dress the front garden) and more Miracle Grow fertilizer, then went to Farmer Jacks to grocery shop.

Then stopped at the quarter car wash and washed the car, while leaving it running (so the air conditioner would keep my meat cool - there's a joke in there, but I am far too sophisticated to stoop to that level).

Got home, left the car running (meat, again) while I dried it off. Then unpacked the groceries and "stuff." Started a load of laundry, changed into shorts and a tee shirt (it's 88 degrees F. right now). Thought I'd catch you up, before venturing outside...

Post-mortem self description

He was the quintessential Mad Hatter, though the madness came from within, rather than induced from mercury-tainted beaver pelts.

Some sort of idiot-savant, who lived with an insufferably snobbish cat and a quiet, reserved newt.