Saturday, March 31, 2007

Frightening Statistic

[From a trailer for a show tonight called "Childhood Obesity" on Food Network]

"This is the first generation ever whose life expectancy is less than their parents"

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Patio, getting it's summer look...

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Picnic table and hammock back in place

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Yeah, this sucks! I am off to clean it all up!!!

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More winter debris

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Joys of living next to a Supermarket parking lot

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More Farmer Jack trash

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Winter trash

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Squirrel who thinks eating bird suet is cool!

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Crocus on what was Jake's patio

Quick, Easy and Damn Good Recipe

CaptainK's Note: I have personally tried this recipe and found it to be EXCELLENT! This is equal to or better than any fried shrimp I ever got in a restaurant.

The Lady and Sons Beer-Battered Fried Shrimp
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

1 cup beer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Oil, for frying
21 to 25 large uncooked shrimp, peeled with tails left on

In a bowl, combine the beer, flour, and salt, and (IMPORTANT!) allow to sit at room temperature for several hours.

Preheat a fryer or a deep pot halfway filled with oil to 350 degrees F. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and dip the shrimp in the batter and fry for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Drain shrimp on paper towels.

TGIF (really!!!)

Thank God its Friday! This has been the longest three-day work week ever!

Stopped and got Kentucky Fried Chicken and sides for dinner tonight. Jake and Carla are coming by after work. No big surprise, they beat me home.

We caught up on each other's lives. Carla was pumped. She just finished her internship, school is over next week and she graduates in just over four weeks. Jake helped me carry the picnic table and benches out from winter storage on the other patio. It was a cool night, so I lit a fire in the chiminea (first one of the season) and we sat out on the patio for a bit.

They left about 8:30 and I went and watched TV. Miracle of miracles, I stayed awake until 10:30! And, other than waking a couple of times for bathrooms breaks, I slept until 7:00 AM!

Did doing all that physical work in Virginia cure me of insomnia?

Friday, March 30, 2007

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More construction photos (courtesy of Lu)

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More construction photos (courtesy of Lu)

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More construction photos (courtesy of Lu)

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More construction photos (courtesy of Lu)

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More construction photos (courtesy of Lu)

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More construction photos (courtesy of Lu)

Still tired on Thursday

Work was hectic, then a drag again. Came home whipped. Took a small steak out of the fridge to come to room temperature and laid down for a bit.

My daughter M______ called and we talked for a while. After that, I made two small russet baked potatoes in the microwave, steamed some frozen corn and grilled the steak on my two-burner grill pan. It was a feast with butter, salt and sour cream! Bad for me, but oh, so good!

Tried to watch TV, but again, fell asleep almost immediately. Woke up at 2:00 AM and turned off the TV and lights, then slept until 5:00 AM.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

First day back to work

Well, the morning back to work was crazy! Trying to catch up on four day's worth of email and voicemails. But, I finally got it all straightened out around 2:00 PM. Then the day started to d-r-a-g. My eyes kept shutting and I started to nod off several times. I resolved to take a nap when I got home, then go out and rake the front lawn (it's a little chilly, but sunny today).

When I finally got home, I did lay down for a bit, but could not fall asleep! So, I got back up, still tired. Decided the front lawn could wait (it's still pretty early yet, I told myself).

Made dinner with a cut up polish sausage ring, sauerkraut and baby red potatoes. Ate about half, then frozen the other half. Went to watch some TV and fell asleep in about 10 minutes! Woke up at 12:30 AM, shut off the light and the TV and went back to sleep.

This trip sure tired me out!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday

I had also taken Tuesday off as I thought I would need one day of rest. I was right! Woke up sore. Worst areas are my lower back and right shoulder. But, I am moving better than yesterday, so that's a plus.

Spent the morning running errands, buying some groceries (I let things like milk and eggs run out so nothing would spoil while I was gone). Met my friend B___ for lunch. Then, with another record high temperature day (80 degrees F.), I went out in the back yard to address my patio. I did have a deadline because it was supposed to rain around 5:00 PM.

I had noticed in the morning it was looking pretty shabby from the winter. Old seed husks from the birds, peanut shells from the squirrels and trash was everywhere. And, when I hung a suet feeder next to the kitchen window, it was fun to watch the birds all winter, but now there is bird crap all down the side of the house.

So, I first blew off the patio, and then I took apart the tarp and put back the furniture. Then I dug out the hoses, filled a bucket with hot water and detergent and grabbed a brush. I washed all the patio furniture and the house wall, then rinsed everything down. I uncovered the reflecting pool and filled it, adding a cup of bleach to kill the algae. Next, I brought out the young monk statue and the chiminea. Just then it started to rain...

So, I was bad for dinner and made coney dogs (I just wanted them). I started watching TV but fell asleep almost immediately and slept (with the TV on) until the alarm went off.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

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Start of demo work

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Cabinets temporarily in place to find center for window,

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Hard to see, (try enlarging) but this is the start.

Catching Up...

Well, as it turned out, I still have no idea of internet connectivity in Southside Virginia. I never had the time to turn on the computer!

Since time has moved on, I'll forego the day-by-day diary (can't remember it all anyway) and just do highlights of my trip.

Flight down: In spite of Melissa's instructions on the new security rules, I screwed up and they confiscated my new can of shaving cream and my new big tube of toothpaste. Yes, you can bring on aerosol cans, but they can't be larger than 1.5 ounces. Lots of turbulence on the flight from thunderstorms. Northwest no longer gives you even those little stingy bags of pretzels with your beverage. Seats are closer and narrower resulting in less leg and hip room.

I toured the construction site. Took some "before" photos during this weekend and will post, but you will have to click on them. The light from the window messed me up (unfortunately, I was too busy the last day to take the "after" pictures, but Lu said she'd send one to me. Thursday night, I helped with the evening chores, met all the new animals and said "howdy" to the old ones. We made a supplies list, hooked up the horse trailer and went to Home Depot (45 minutes away).

Ate dinner first, my choice of restaurants. They rattled off a bunch of names I didn't recognize, except for Applebee's. They had eaten at one someplace else, I like the one near my home, so I went with that. It was awful! I had the shrimp and spinach salad, and the shrimp was burned black on one side! Both Sadie and Luanne got the Parmesan-crusted tilapia and both said it wasn't as good as they had in the other Applebee's. Sadie left a third of hers uneaten, so I asked to try a bite. The underside was also burned black!

Anyway, we were in Home Depot until 9:15 PM (and they close at 9:00), they spent over $500 on supplies and the Home Depot staff helped us load all the wood (maybe so they could go home?). We got home after 10:00 PM and went to bed.

The ToDo list? We have to take out a smaller, rotted window, rotted beams and outside boards, frame everything, make a larger window opening in the middle where the new sink will go, cover the outside with 3/4 inch OSB plywood and then Tyveck, frame out a 6 inch ledge above the lower base cabinets, insulate the wall, put 3/4 inch OSB plywood on the inside of the walls (they are nailing old bead board wood up on the walls later. These are the boards Luanne and our grandson Joe pulled out of an old house last year), then hang the upper cabinets, set the lower cabinets, make the one extra base cabinet they still need, make the end of the cabinet run for the dishwasher (its on the far left of the base cabinets) cut and install 3/4 pressboard for a counter top (new one will be stone and coming much later) cut out and install the sink. Oh, and lower the chandelier in the dining room, time permitting. Sounds simple right?

Well, I have to start remembering I am not 25 anymore and budget my time better. We worked like dogs! In the absence of bourbon, I had to switch back to pain pills just to function. I was okay if I kept moving, but if I stopped and sat down, I could barely get back up again. As they say in the South, we worked from "cain't see to cain't see."

Food was homemade oatmeal with raisins and nuts for breakfast, a ham or turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch and dinner Friday night was a very good crockpot roast (they ate the veggies). Saturday night we went over to see Sadie's daughter, Stacey and her husband, James (they live on the farm as well, just down the lane, in the original plantation home) and their new baby Rachel (who got the duck) and had pizza and salad. Sunday night was left over roast beef, veggies and coleslaw made with Italian dressing rather than coleslaw dressing (not bad, BTW).

I did try the goat milk and was amazed. I only had it once before at a homesteading friend's house and that tasted, well, "goaty." This tasted just like regular milk. As Lu explained, it's all in how you handle it. After meticulously brushing and washing the goat's udder, then milking, the milk goes in the freezer for twenty minutes, then into the regular refrigerator.

How far did we get? Well, I was just routing out the face of the new cabinet when Luanne said it was time to leave for the airport. But the new wall is built, the new window in, everything is insulated, the upper cabinets in and two base cabinets are set. If I had taken one more day, it would have been all done, dammit!

What's left? They have to assemble the face of the cabinet, stain it and then attach it. Then set it and the last cabinet in place, make the one end where the dishwasher goes and then cut and install the temporary counter top. Then cut out for the sink and install that and they will be in business.

Damage done? I got one sliver and a wicked inch-long blister on the inside of my thumb from using the Sawzall during demolition (they were kind enough to buy me leather gloves, but I didn't always wear them). And, of course, a very sore body...

All in all, a very productive vacation! I wished I had taken off one more day and had finished up everything, but I know we got a lot further than I thought we would when I walked into the kitchen the first day!

Footnote: Everybody ooh-ed and ah-ed over the duck, EXCEPT for Rachel, who burped...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

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The duck at last (and, yes, it waddles)!

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Duck, another view

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Duck Head details

Wednesday Night, packing...

Got home, with lists in hand. Things to do before I leave and things to pack.

Did all the laundry (not much really) and ran a load through the dishwasher, so that's all done.

Finished the duck (see photos). I put a big round wooden ball at the end of the pull string (so she can't swallow it by accident and choke). Now I will worry she hits herself in the head and knocks herself out.

I talked with both Melissa and Mom and ate a quick sandwich for dinner.

Decided I was done enough at 9:00 PM and watched a biography of Chef Tyler Florence on the food Network. Then I watched a taped "Boston Legal" to catch up with that show. Then I went to sleep.

Not at all sure about computer availability and connectivity down there, so this may be the last Blog for me until Monday night. But, we'll see...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quote

"All my life I've wanted to be someone; I guess I should have been more specific..."

~ Jane Wagner/Lily Tomlin (1939- )

Tuesday's Table Day

I got the phone call from Art Van at 9:00 AM, so I left work to meet them at the house. They brought the table and chairs in and set it all up. I first had the legs one way and the chairs the way the old table was. Then I realized this table was wider than the old one, so I turned it a bit (you can understand what I am saying by looking at the photographs) and got a lot more room between the table and the stove.

Then back to work, and then back home at 5:00 PM. I took the old chairs up in the attic (leaving two in the office). The sixth new chair I put in the office closet and the new table's leaf went under the couch.

Then back to the duck. Drill the hole in the body for the axle, drilled the offset holes in the wheels, cut the axles, then glued and assembled everything. I drilled a tiny hole in the wheel and put in a brad so the wheel couldn't run on the axle (I didn't trust just the glue), Then I put on the first coat of boiled linseed oil.

Warmed up the leftover chicken for dinner (trying to clean out the fridge before leaving Thursday). Watched TV (stopping occasionally and applying more coats of linseed oil throughout the evening) and went to be at midnight.

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I turned the table to get more room next to the stove.

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Table after repositioning

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

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Top has a starburst grain pattern

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New table (minus the leaf that lets it seat 6)

And now its Monday...

Drove to work in a blizzard. The snow changed to freezing rain about 9:00 AM. The storm finally blew through around 11:00 AM.

When I got home, I immediately went to work. I bought a new kitchen table and 6 chairs last week and they are supposed to be delivered on Tuesday. Why? Because another one of the chairs (inexpensive when purchased years ago) has come apart. That leaves me with only four good chairs (chairs I cannot find matches to, BTW).

I put the kitchen table in the garage, covered with a thick plastic drop cloth. I put the remaining good chairs into the office for later transport up to the attic. I then swept and washed the kitchen floor.

While that was drying, I was hand-sanding the duck. I have more or less resigned myself that it will not be finished in time for me to personally give to Stacey and James for their baby.

It was almost 8:00 PM when I stopped (I was STARVING!) I put the remaining quarter of cabbage in a pot with the juice from the corned beef and cabbage and cooked it, while I warmed up the corned beef and some of the potatoes. Still an excellent meal!

Did a load of sawdust covered clothes and watched TV until 11:30 PM.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sunday

Woke up a little earlier, so made breakfast today. Homemade baking powder biscuits and white sausage gravy. I know its bad for me, but I love the stuff.

Cleaned up the kitchen from yesterday and today's meals, then cleaned myself up. Did some laundry, and then left about 1:30 PM to run some errands. It's sunny, but cool out. When I got home, I walked around the house and gardens. Noticed the daffodils are up about four inches (took a picture and posted it) so I raked the front garden to get out all the winter leaves.

Came in and made the marinade for my grilled citrus chicken thighs (pretty simple: Zest and juice of a lemon, a lime and an orange plus ten sprigs of thyme, salt and fresh ground pepper). With dinner getting happy, its time to go back to the dreaded duck.

Worked on the duck for a couple hours. I think is done as far as I can go with power tools. Next comes hand-sanding, but I need to get some fine sandpaper tomorrow. Cleaned up the sawdust mess as best I could. I took a rinse-off shower to get it out of my hair and beard.

Then I went in and took a nap, with the Nascar race on as background noise. When I woke up, I was hungry, so I made my Sunday dinner: Grilled chicken (on the two burner grill pan, not on the real grille) and mashed turnips. Very good, BTW.

Then I went and watched my Sunday night shows and went to sleep around 11:30 PM.

Nice weekend.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

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Daffodils, coming up!

St. Patrick's Day

Top o' the morning to you! Slept in this morning (I was up half the night) so decided to forego breakfast. Got out the slow cooker and assembled my dinner. I used unpeeled baby redskin potatoes, two onion (halved) and cut the cabbage into four wedges (but only could fit 3 wedges in the pot), trimmed the fat off the corned beef, rubbed in the spice packet and added � cup of beef broth. Put the lid on and turned it on and dinner is cooking!

I had a Guiness draught and remembered to toast Maureen Alice Fagan, my old therapist, who I am sure is fully engaged in celebrating St. Patrick's day. She explained it to me this way: first, they go to Mass, and then they go to their favorite Irish pub and claim a big table. Then couples come and go, to other pubs and restaurants to drink and eat and visit, but somebody always holds the table, so they can return whenever they want. And that's how they celebrate the day in the Detroit Irish community.

Back to the duck. Wings are now glued on, so taking it to the garage, the big vise and the big belt sander. As they say in "Pulp Fiction" I am about to get medieval on it's *ss!

I got the rough sanding all done, then I came back in and am using the Dremel tool with a sanding drum. The steel cutting bits I have were taking too much time. However, sawdust is a real problem. I first gagged a few times, then threw up in the laundry tub. Looked for the paper masks I used to have, but couldn't find any. Finally used the mask Jake had when he was working in Prep, sanding plastic parts at Spacely Sprockets (sorry, Jake, but I needed something!) I quit when the timer went off for the corned beef (about 5:00 PM).

I stripped naked where I stood (to minimize the sawdust in the house) and went to the bedroom for another work shorts and tee shirt. Then I went to the kitchen and had a great meal, washed down with more Guiness.

After dinner, I took a nice nap. Then I settled in to watch a three hour boxing show. I did doze off near the end, but I was taping it, so I won't miss anything.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wreck this heart, revisted....

Bob Seger's song:

"And if you lean too far over the wishing well
You might fall in and drown"

I understand that...

Altenative St. Patrick's Day

This is from my son, Jeremy Wolfgang:

Now might be a good time to reflect, and maybe even join my cause (or post this on your blog).

Saint Valentine has a holiday. Saint Patrick has a holiday, too. Saint John has a hospital. But what, dear father, about Saint Wolfgang? Think about how great it would be. There would be a parade, fellows marching in lederhosen, tossing little sausages to fat waddling kids (or maybe fat waddling kids would really want sweets. The clowns in their lederhosen should toss lebkuchens). This country needs a Saint Wolfgang's Day!

That's it from my end. I am off to make sauerkraut and sausage for lunch. No, seriously. The good fight continues.

jwg

Friday, at last...

I'm not sure why, but Friday afternoon was incredibly long, incredibly boring and incredibly sleepy at work. I could not stop yawning. I was bemoaning this fact to my friend B___ because I have some serious duck carving to do tonight. He suggested I take a nap immediately upon my arrival home to ensure I could stay up late, later.

Stopped at Farmer Jack's on the way home to pick up some corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy's Day. I wasn't going to, as I don't have the Dutch oven that traditional recipes call for. But I saw one for my slow cooker and, since I love corned beef and cabbage, decided to become Irish for the day. Name's O'Goerlich, me boyo!

Speaking of that, I must have missed the memo, but when did "crock pots" become "slow cookers"? You cannot find the word "crock pot" in any recipe or sales literature now. Weird.

Got home and tried to nap. Two phone calls later, it was 6:30 PM, I hadn't slept a wink and I was getting p*ssed. So, I got up and went back to duck work.

Okay, amusing story. After lunch, my friend B___ and I stopped in to World Market to browse (and avoid going back to work, truth be told). While passing the Easter display, B___ pointed out a pull-toy duck. Pshaw! It wasn't a three dimensional, carved duck. It was a silhouette cut into half-inch wood and painted to look like a duck. And, it had four wheels, not two egg-shaped wheels, each slightly offset to the axle so it could waddle. I demonstrated by pulling the string. The duck moved forward, AND THE DAMN THING WADDLED!!! And, you know how they did it? No complicated formula like mine, they just sanded flats in each wheel!!! Damn clever, these third-world craftsmen. Don't tell anybody, but this is now my fall-back position should the egg-shaped wheels fail.

Anyway, got the wings cut into the wing/body-side boards (this is getting hard to explain) by undercutting the body-side with a router. Then worked on the duck's neck and butt, rounding both. The rounded butt is important (hey, for me, it always is, okay?) because that will be the third point touching the ground when you pull it and it has to be rounded to allow it to waddle (assuming it does... those third-world craftsmen have shaken my confidence with their flat-tire solution!)

Then I got two bar clamps and some glue and carefully glued the wing/body-side boards to the body. This will have to set up over night, its after 8:00 PM and I'm hungry, so I'm duck-done for the night. I didn't even clean up the sawdust!

While picking up my corned beef, I spotted a rib-eye steak with a two dollar off "Manager Special" tag, so I grabbed that, too. I used my house seasoning on it and threw it on my two burner grill pan (vent fan on), took the skins off the sweet potatoes I made the other day, reheated them in the microwave and mashed them with a fork. Sauteed the rest of my white mushrooms in butter and olive oil, then used them to top my steak.

Oh my, that was a great dinner!

Started watching the Friday night fights (also taping them as I know how tired I am) and fell asleep at some point. I woke up at 1:30 AM, went to the bathroom, glanced outside, and, DAMN, it's snowing!!! Where the hell did that come from? It was supposed to be dry this weekend!

Sigh...

Quote

"Cynicism is humor in ill health."

~H. G. Wells

Friday, March 16, 2007

Interesting stuff

I found two very interesting, helpful charts on the web. How long things last in the freezer (by the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and how long things last unopened in a pantry (by the Food Marketing Institute, USDA)

For example, in the freezer, soups and stews only last 2 to 3 months; bacon and sausage only 1 to 2 months; ham only 1 to 2 months (and I'm still eating the Christmas ham!) So, now I'm gonna have to put expiration dates on stuff I freeze.

And, in the pantry, an unopened jar of mayonnaise is good for 2 to 3 months, while baking powder, chili powder, coffee lightener (dry), hot cereals, olive or vegetable oil and salad oils (all unopened) are only good for 6 months! Cornmeal is only good for 6 to 12 months (and, thanks to Luanne, I have a LOT of cornmeal).

I made the charts into a spreadsheet and I'll hang it on my fridge.

Thursday's Adventures

Okay, so I spoke too soon when I posted those pictures of "the last snowfall of 2006/2007 season". I woke up this morning with a little over an inch of light, powdery snow that covered everything. I posted pictures, BTW.

Well, today was my six-month checkup at the orthopedic surgeon on my new knee. I left about a half hour early with Goldie the goldfish in my largest stock pot. She had spent the night in it, on the garage floor to acclimatize her to colder temps.

So, I headed out for Mount Clemens, my brother's pond, and then the doctor's. My brother had sent me an email, detailing how to traverse his back yard. I needed it, as when I got there, everything was a soggy mess. But, I got to the pond, lifted up the net (not sure just what the net is for... winter debris? fall leaves? I dunno...) and turned Goldie loose.

She stayed stock-still for over a minute (probably wondering "where the hell am I?") then slowly swam down out of my sight. I wished her well and got back in the car.

At the doctor's office I aced my 6 month exam. X-rays show NO sign of rejection of the massive amount of bone grafts they did. I knew I was okay when he said I didn't have to come back for a year! He was happy, I was happy, we shook hands and I left for work.

After work, I stopped at Home Depot for a 1 x 6 pine board. I wasn't happy with the wings I had cut out yesterday for the waddling duck. They were just wings, and I realized I needed to bulk out the duck's body.

So, when I got home, I got to work. Cut out the new design of wings first. I took the stock pot with the soup out of the fridge and put it on the stove to simmer for later. Then I started carving the duck's head.

I got calls from Jeremy, Jake, my brother Carl and then one from my Mom.

I worked on the duck head until just after 7:00 PM (its coming along slowly, but nicely). Then I cleaned up as best as I could and attended to the soup.

The overnight stay in the fridge made it lose it's "soup" consistency (I suspect the egg noodles absorb some of the broth or something) so I added more stock and more cream, re-seasoned it, and ate two big bowls. The rest (nine cups exactly) went into containers then the freezer for another day.

I watched some boxing, then switched to reading and fell asleep doing that.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

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Not gonna jinx it this time! Snowfall on March 15, 2007

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Arborvitae on March 15, 2007

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March 15 snow

Wet Wednesday

It was a hectic day at work. Too many deadlines, too little information. But I got through it and was glad I just beat the rain home.

Once home, I took the 2 x 8 pine board I'd bought and decided where exactly on it there appeared to be no knots. I cut out a foot long section of it in the garage, and then took it into use my band saw. Long time readers may remember that Sadie is now a Grandmother and I am trying to make a wooden toy for the baby.

My idea is to make a carved wooden duck pull-toy. I think (and I admit this is only a guess) if I use egg shaped wheels, each slightly offset on the axle from the other, that the duck will waddle as it moves.

Since I leave for Virginia next Thursday, time is running out for me and the duck, though. I hope to at least get a rough cut out of the body, the wings and the cheeks tonight.

At the same time (multi-tasking Master, here) I noticed the last six small sweet potatoes are starting to shrivel. So, pierced them in spots and micro-waved them like baked potatoes. I'll figure out what to do with the flesh later. I threw a load of laundry in the washing machine while I was at it.

I also semi-thawed out two containers of the chicken stock I made last. Then they went into the smaller stock pot on simmer for homemade chicken soup tonight. Then I used the microwave to thaw out a pound of chicken tenders. I'll poach these in the broth later for the soup's chicken meat. (Altered proverb: "A woman works from dawn to setting sun, but a man's work is never done!")

Got the duck rough cut (I love that band saw!) and took a picture for you. Hung up the laundry and then went back to the kitchen.

Worked through the soup steps and finally got to eat just after 8:00 PM. Not bad, but not as flavorful as the last stock I made.

Watched "Bones" while I ate, then switched to reading until bedtime.

Poetry

Now I am the first to admit, I don't talk about other poets here (other than "The Road Less Traveled" by Robert Frost) because, well, hey, its all about me, right? But tonight, just by chance, I was reminded of a poem I also have always admired by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!

(think about it)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

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Rough cut of duck, wings and cheeks

Ironic, but...

Most people, so it is said, have trouble reaching their inner child. That's easy for me. It's putting my hands on my responsible adult that's sometimes difficult...

Beautiful Day!!!

It was an perfectly gorgeous day yesterday! Sunny and right around 70 degrees F. (20 degrees C.). I even had the sunroof and the window open in my car at lunch!! So, when I got home, I immediately started to rake the driveway. I have a stone driveway and, when it's summertime, it gets hard as cement. But in the winter, it can get ruts and dips and needs to be adjusted after the snow is gone, but before it dries up.

Good intentions do not trump old bodies, though. I'd guess I got maybe (maybe) 1/8 of it raked before my back started complaining. Oh well, I'll just do a little every day and pretty soon it will be done.

For dinner I made tilapia filets, baked en Papillote (in the parchment paper pouches). Only fresh herb I had in the house was parsley, so I added a bit of Old Bay seasoning to it, along with lemon slices. I made up some of that horseradish/mayo sauce for a topping. For the side dish, I steamed frozen peas. Very tasty!

My daughter M_______ emailed me an absolutely precious video clip. It showed Dustin (her son) holding Gavin (her grandson) and asking him to point out people in the pictures on their refrigerator, like Uncle Luke and Uncle Ian. He got them right every time and I know it must have melted her heart when he pointed out Nana and Grampa.

I watched read until 10:00 PM, and then went to bed. However, I woke up wide awake at midnight and didn't get back to sleep until after 3:00 AM.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

I did NOT want to get out of bed Monday morning! I hate Daylight Savings, because it takes me a week or so to adjust. Getting old, I guess.

Then, all day at work I was yawning, feeling like I could nod off at any time.

Got home and had a voice mail from my daughter M_______, so I called her back. We talked for an hour or so, solving all the world's problems as usual.

I had thawed out some of the frozen Christmas ham, so I used the food processor (my Mom used to use this big grinder you would bolt to the table and turn the crank) to grind it up and make ham salad (just ham pickles and mayo, in this case). I made two sandwiches with the ham salad and lettuce on sourdough bread then ate them while watching TV.

I knew I wouldn't be able to stay up very late and I was right! Fell asleep about 8:30 PM. Woke up at midnight, turned off the TV and the lights and went back to sleep.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Successful Sunday

On Sunday, I woke up at 5:30 AM and did that thing we all do twice a year ("You should get up, it's 5:30 AM, same time you need to be up tomorrow and if you're sleepy later, you can always take a nap today." "No, I'm not falling for that, it's really 4:30 AM and its Sunday morning and I can sleep in if I want to!") I finally compromised and stayed in bed, reading...

Eventually I rolled out of bed, threw on some clothes and got to work. I was cleaning the house when Carla called. It's supposed to be over 50 degrees F. and sunny today so, as we talked about yesterday, its time to drag out the grille. We discussed menu options and agreed to 2:00 PM as the time.

Next I installed the last (pray to God they are the last!) two magnetic catches. While I had the fridge pulled out, I washed behind it and the top.

Luanne called and talked about various construction issues relating to my trip down there on March 22 to install their kitchen cabinets. It seems the plumber hasn't been back since December, so the plumbing isn't done, the new 2 x 4's in the addition are smaller than the original 2 x4's, etc. We came up with solutions to all the problems (I think) and we are still good to go.

Washed another load of laundry and cleaned me up (shave and shower) for company.

They arrived and we first sampled a blue cheese chip dip Jake has been perfecting (I'm no sure of the proportions, but it was sour cream, cream cheese, blue cheese and white wine). Very good! Then we got to work. Jake put a rub on the two steaks I thawed and switched to making the burgers. Carla was cutting up toppings (tomatoes, onions, smoked Gouda cheese) for the burgers and saut�ing some mushrooms (also for the burgers). I chopped up garlic and cleaned asparagus then threw both (drizzled with olive oil) in the toaster oven for roasted asparagus.

I had earlier cleaned some sweet corn (the kind you get in a package, probably from Peru or someplace - but I felt we needed sweet corn). Since they take off most of the husk, I couldn't grille it my normal, preferred method (soaked in water and grilled in the husk). So, I brushed each ear with melted butter, sprinkled it with salt, pepper and garlic powder and rolled it in time foil.

Jake had a clever idea for the burgers. He flattened out the pound of hamburger and used a 3 inch donut/biscuit cutter to make the patties. Then he used the same cutter to cut out circles of sour dough bread, toasted them and (after grilling) had perfect sized mini-burgers.

I had the charcoal burning and the grates cleaned and oiled. So, Jake grilled everything and we went back inside to eat. Everything (except the corn) was excellent! Corn was less than so-so (but I knew that).

Carla insisted on cleaning up. Then they left around 6:00 PM. It was too late to take a nap, so I read until my shows came on. I did call my brother Carl and asked it I could drop off the goldfish in his pond on Thursday (I have a doctor's appointment in Mt. Clemens). He said the pond did have some open water and that would be fine. The fish is way too big for Newt's tank and I don't want to put him back in the little pool where the raccoon could catch and eat him, so I will transport him to a big pond where he can be with his relatives.

Watched my shows and finally fell asleep around 11:30 PM.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Satisfying Saturday

Woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 6:30 AM. Today is grocery shopping day, so dealing with left over leftovers. I still had 4 strips of bacon (leftover from the turkey casserole) so made bacon, eggs over easy and grits for breakfast. Then I started the laundry, shaved and took a shower. I have a haircut scheduled for 9:30 AM, then errands afterwards.

So, I went and got my hair cut, then went to the vacuum cleaner store, then to the library to get some books. Then on to Westborn for veggies and apples. Next to Home Depot for (gulp, dare I say it?) two more magnetic catches and some toilet shims. The catches are for the two cupboards over the fridge. I apparently used the ones for those two when I realized I'd forgotten the two pantry doors. So, when I thought I was done, I wasn't done! And the toilet in the main bath has developed a "rocking" sensation, so I need the shims.

Then I stopped at CVS for two prescriptions, the party store for some Guinness Draught beer (for St. Patrick's Day) and finally Farmer Jacks for grocery shopping. I got home and folded the laundry, put in another load, put away all the groceries and "stuff" I bought this morning and it was 12:20 PM. Used up 10 minutes turning all the clocks in the house (except for my watch) up an hour so I don't forget Daylight Savings time.

This was good, because I had to leave at 12:30 PM for Jake and Carla's house. Upon arrival, we switched cars and Carla drove us to the movie theater. We saw "300" which is a movie about the 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas who held back the Persian army of Xerxes I at the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC.

I thought the movie was animated from the trailers, but it wasn't Just a LOT of computer animation, background, etc. All in all, I really enjoyed it. Note to parents: Film had a LOT of graphic violence (which I liked - hey, it was a BATTLE fought with spears, swords and arrows, for God's sake!) and some nudity and erotic love-making scenes (which I also liked - hey, this is me we're talking about!) so be forewarned.

After that we drove to the China Caf�, which is an upscale Chinese restaurant in Novi and had an excellent meal. I had Cantonese Almond Chicken (a house specialty), but I didn't get the names of the other dishes. Carla's was spicy beef and Jake's was spicy pork and vegetables. Excellent food and way too much. We each took more than half home with us.

Once I got back home (around 6:00 PM) I found two voicemails, one from my Mom and one from my daughter M_______. I called and talked to Mom first (she called first, after all). She had Blog questions, most I could answer, except when she asked where Melissa slept when she stayed in the airport those two days. I told her I assumed in the chairs (I've seen a lot of people trying to sleep in the chairs with those funky little pillows and the thin blankets the airlines pass out) but I didn't know for sure. I told her I would ask when I talked with Melissa.

She did tell me one bit of very sad family news: Amer, Uncle Carl's beloved cat, passed away at the age of 15 from kidney failure. I know Carl will miss Amer, but I must say, so will Scruffy. Scruffy liked the fact there was another cat in the family with his same, shall we say, attitude. He (along with Jake, Carla and I as well) enjoyed the occasional e-card Amer would send to him. Rest in peace, Amer!

After we hung up, I tried calling Melissa, but just got her voicemail. So, I finished the laundry, made up my bed, and then started reading one of the books I had got today. I made a salad with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, sweet onions and a hard boiled egg with balsamic vinaigrette for a light dinner. At 9:00 PM I turned on a boxing special but fell asleep during it around 10:30. I woke up at 1:00 AM for a bathroom break, turned off the TV and lights and turned in.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Friday Highs and Lows

Finally, a day with temps warm enough to start melting the snow! Then to top it off, I finished the last two magnetic catches when I got home!!

Dinner was just leftovers (trying to clean out the fridge): the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs and a lonely hot dog.

Unfortunately, this day of bliss ended when the Mormons (who had already rescheduled once) failed to show. They were supposed to be here at 8:00 PM, so I didn't change out of my work clothes. I had all the living room lights on and the porch light on and was alternating between watching TV and going out to check if they were here yet until 9:15 PM. I gave up and sadly turned off the lights, one by one, then changed my clothes...

Friday, March 9, 2007

Thursday

Nice, sunny day today. Only reached a high of 32 degrees F. (0 degrees C.) so not too much snow melted, but very pleasant.

Stopped at Farmer Jack's on the way home to pick up some salad shrimp (you know, those 300 count, tiny, sweet, tasty little shrimp) which are surprisingly affordable. I am gonna eat left over turkey noodle casserole for dinner, so I thought I'd treat myself to a salad I saw Rachel Ray make that looked good. I also picked up 8 Ziplock screw-top containers to freeze the chicken stock.

When I got home, I changed clothes and worked on the magnetic catches (again!) got three more installed (only two to go) when it was time to quit. Now I know all you loyal (and observant) turkey noodle casserole readers will remember I originally said there were five catches left, and by my/your count I've just installed five, so where did the other two come from? Well, when I wrote that, I forgot the two pantry doors. After that, I washed the Ziplock containers and set them out to air-dry (I no longer wash any of these plastic food containers in the dishwasher. It seems to degrade them).

Now onto the salad. Like most people, I like shrimp cocktail. Also, like most people, my palate has gotten used to a variety of new salad greens (baby spinach, arugula, mixed spring greens, and so on). However, nothing brings back my childhood memory like iceberg lettuce. So, combining the two is sheer genius!

I slammed the core end of the head of iceberg lettuce onto the counter and twisted it out. Then, I quartered the head lengthwise. Next I combined 1/2 cup of prepared cocktail sauce, a few drops of hot sauce, a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, and the juice of one lemon and two teaspoons of the lemon's zest. Then I added one cup of the salad shrimp and folded it in.

I spooned it over the lettuce head quarters and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I was supposed to sprinkle cut chives over it, but I was all out. Fantastic taste! It was sort of a combination of shrimp cocktail and maybe Russian dressing. I planned on eating a quarter of the lettuce head, but ended up eating two! I'm too full at the moment to heat up the turkey noodle casserole. Went and watched some TV.

Later, when I got hungry, I learned something else about my turkey noodle casserole. It doesn't heat back up well. Ate a little bit of it, then threw the rest away. Went back to TV, then to sleep.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Wednesday

It snowed about two inches Tuesday night into Wednesday. My back yard looked beautiful in the morning light (all the evergreens had a dusting of snow on their boughs), but I had to get to work, so delayed taking pictures until I got home.

Once those were taken and posted, I got to work. I use wooden "stops" to keep the couch and loveseat from hitting the wall. I've never been happy with the ones for the love seat. It rocks and if you not rocking carefully, it will bang the wall. So, I redid them, adding another 1 � inches out. Looks like it solved the problem (unless I get a rocking fool sitting there!)

Then, back to the damn magnetic catches. Got two more installed before it was time to fix dinner. I restocked the refrigerator freezer from the chest freezer in the garage with more of my frozen leftovers. So, I thawed out another container of the cheese-stuffed meatballs with tomato sauce and warmed them up. Ate them over spaghetti. Still tasted great!

In the middle of that, Jeremy called from his work to chat. Teased him just a little because, when he took a test I sent him, he showed up as a psychopath! I asked him to forget my phone number and never call here again. Just for the record, I don't "think" he's a psychopath. I always thought he was just weird.

The reason I suddenly had room in the fridge freezer was I took out all the chicken bones and carcass, etc. I've been storing up. Put them in my biggest stock pot along with rough-chopped celery, carrots, onions garlic and a big handful of fresh parsley. Dumped in about three gallons of cold water, brought it to a boil, and then turned it to just above simmer. You don't want a rolling boil, it makes the stock cloudy. So, for the next three hours, I checked it every now and then, skimming off any froth (that also makes for cloudy stock).

About 10:30 PM, I strained it (once through my steel colander to just get the big stuff, then in a finer, mesh strainer to catch anything else) and ended up with about two gallons of stock. Put it in the fridge for the night, but will have to freeze most of it tomorrow.

Patted myself on the back for a productive night and went to bed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

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I have decided this is the picture of the last snowfall of the 2006/2007 season!

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St. Francis looks cold!

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An icicle hangs off the second suet feeder

Tuesday, and the Gruyere gets used!

Well, I finally made my turkey casserole Tuesday night. It really didn't take long, either. I fried up three strips of bacon, cut into 1 inch chunks until they were crisp at the edges, then added a package of turkey meat. When that was cooked I pushed it off to the side of the pan and added a pound of mushrooms I cleaned and sliced and a chopped medium-sized onion.

I let that cook for about 5 minutes, then added salt and pepper, a cup of chicken stock and a � cup of heavy cream. Brought that to a boil, and after letting it simmer a bit, I added a � pound of cooked wide egg noodles. I buttered a casserole dish and put the mixture in it. I topped it with the Gruyere cheese that I grated and some bread crumbs. I put that in the oven under the broiler for two minutes until the cheese all melted and just started to brown.

It tasted fantastic! But somehow, I kept thinking it should have had peas in it. I think maybe when I was a kid and my Mom made a casserole, she must have put peas in it and this was some residual memory.

Another thing that bothered me was the price of ground turkey. Luanne used to buy it 20 years ago for health reasons and it was cheaper than hamburger. Now, this Jennie-o ground turkey costs more than ground sirloin!!! What's up with that?

Anyway, after cleaning up, I watched boxing and then "House." Then I went to bed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Monday night projects

During the days last week when the main bathroom sink was out of commission, I was using the bathroom downstairs. Since it seems silly to shave and brush my teeth down there, then come up here to shower, I also used the downstairs shower. This always was Jake and Carla's bathroom, so the only time I ever used it before was when I just got out of the hospital from my second knee replacement. But, in using it again, I realized how much I liked it. Much easier for me just to walk in and out than climbing over the tub wall.

However, there are two problems with this bathroom. Since I never really used it, there was no place for a hand towel. And, although it used to have the same showerhead as the main bathroom, when Jake and Carla first moved they bemoaned the crappy showerhead in their apartment, so we switched it.

All that being said, at lunch today, I bought a hand towel hanger and a new shower head (the Waterpik Aquascape Total body showerhead). The first thing upon arriving home, I installed both. I posted the pictures, if you are interested.

I made something called Spicy Bok Choy Noodle Bowl for dinner. Basically is a chicken stock-based soup with matchstick-like thin slices of bok choy, fresh ginger, and scallions along with garlic, mushrooms (I made mine with a combination of Baby Bells, Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms), vermicelli pasta and either chicken, pork or shrimp. I used leftover chicken from Sunday's dinner. Biggest tip I can give? Cut the ginger into very "thin" matchsticks. Every time I bit into a thick piece of ginger, WOW my mouth exploded!

With the two projects completed and a nice dinner, I took the rest of the night off.

Monday, March 5, 2007

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New, rainmaker shower head

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New towel holder (this looks gold, but is actually chrome)

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New towel holder with hand towel

Sunday morning, over hard!

I got a lot of sleep last night, so I woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed at 5:30 AM (when the alarm usually goes off). Have a cup of coffee, then thought about things to do today. No matter how hard I tried, I kept coming back to: THE SMELL!

Have I mentioned recently that I think my bedroom smells? Probably not, I'm too embarrassed. I am a little paranoid about this. I have never forgotten, (nor forgiven) back on St. Clair when Jacob came into my bedroom one day and said "This room smells like old man!"

Anyway, couldn't figure it out. Washed the bedding a couple of times a week. Moved all the furniture and washed the floor, thinking maybe the cat had an accident. Vacuumed out the fish tank and replaced the water last weekend. Used Fabreeze on the curtains, etc., etc., etc.

But when I got home Friday, I smelled it coming in the garage door! So, I vacuumed out the fish tank (again) and replaced the water. When Jake and Carla came by yesterday to borrow a screwdriver (to put the new license plate on the car) I asked Carla (who has a very discerning nose) to check out the room and she said it was definitely the fish tank!

Before heading out, I called Luanne to wish her a Happy 50th birthday. She now has 17 goats in her herd, with more on the way.

I went to Meijer and bought new (a LOT) of gravel, more water, etc. and started cleaning the tank, the filter and the fake plants at around 11:00 AM. Meanwhile, I opened the bedroom window and closed the door. I washed every leaf of the fake plants with salt and baking soda, scrubbed the tank walls, etc. Since I had the tank off my dresser, I also removed the glass top, washed it and cleaned the dresser top with lemon oil. I finished up just before 1:00 PM but I still smell fish gunk EVERYWHERE!!! I never had this problem with Newt. I am thinking the gold fish is gonna be sushi!

I was washing all the towels I used in the fish tank cleanup when I heard an odd, water sound from the back room. Went to check and found my washtub overflowing! A sponge had fallen in and blocked the drain. Used all the remaining towels in the house to try and mop up the water, then had to wash them (will this never end?).

Next I started Sunday dinner. Oddly enough, after all the fuss about the Gruyere cheese, I have decided to make that dish during the week (it's less than 30 minutes). So, today's dinner is a roasted chicken, with jus, oven roasted potatoes and parsnips. Before I trussed the chicken up with kitchen twine, I washed it, put fresh thyme, rosemary and tarragon in the cavity, along with one whole lemon, quartered. I brushed the chicken with melted butter, salt and pepper. I put it in the oven in a roasting pan, breast side up and sitting on cut up celery, carrots and an onion at 375 degrees F.

I cut up some russet potatoes (I was out of redskins), drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with the house seasoning (salt, pepper and garlic powder) and dried thyme. Put them in the oven as well.

Next I peeled the parsnips and put them in a sauce pan to cook. Last 15 minutes, I raised the oven heat to 425 (to crisp up the skin), pulled out the potatoes and baked the chicken until it had an internal temp of 170 degrees in the thigh.

Then I made the "jus" by straining the roasting pan veggies and juice, retaining the juice. I deglazed the roasting pan with 1 � cups of chicken stock, added the reserved liquid back in and boiled until it slightly thickened. Then I ate WAY too much.

I took a nap from about 4:00 to 5:00 PM, then I got back up and finished the normal Sunday stuff, getting ready for Monday and work.

Watched my normal Sunday night shows and went to bed at exactly 11:00 PM.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Quote

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind"
~Humphrey Bogart

Goerlich Family Update

When I talked with my Mom on Thursday, she mentioned that Lee Ann and Dan's youngest, Josh (4 1/2 years old) had just got out of Children's Hospital. This would be my brother Carl's grandson.

I emailed Carl for particulars and he said they originally thought he has cystic fibrous (usually fatal by age 18), but good news is it's NOT.

The final diagnosis was "Immotile Cilia syndrome" (no, I never heard of it either). Seems the Cilia in the lungs cannot remove the fluids or mucus and he will be prone to lung infections and pneumonia for the rest of his life. There is no cure, just control. Treatment is medication, inhalers and seeing a specialist from now on.

You take care, Josh! Uncle John is thinking about you!!!

Saturday

Well, this morning it was 26 degrees F. when I got up at 7:30 AM and Lake John is now John's ice skating rink!

Made bacon, eggs over easy and grits for breakfast. And, although not traditional breakfast fare, I had some mushrooms that were on the edge of going bad, so I fried them and some sliced onions in the bacon grease as well. "Heart Smart?" I think not...

Started out by doing a number of small clean-up, pick-up tasks. I'm not sure why, but there is "stuff" everywhere. I need to get my house back from "stuff!"

Then, I got back to the bathroom sink. I wish I could say it was easy (it wasn't) but with the new nut and rubber washer, I finally got the drain installed with no leaking!

Figured as long as I was there, I might as well start cleaning the bathroom. I just sprayed the shower door with the anti-soap scum stuff when I heard the garage door slam! It was Carla and Jake. They had just got their license plate in the mail and needed some tools to install it. We chatted for a bit (luckily I remembered to rinse off the shower doors while we talked - its ugly if that stuff dries) and then they left.

I decided a nap was in order. I slept for two hours!

When I got back up, I got back to cleaning the bathroom. Finished it up around 7:30 and decided I really didn't feel like making a "big" meal, so I grilled hot dogs on the two-burner grill pan.

Watched TV until 11:00 PM, then went to sleep.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

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You can see where the natural "shoreline" of the pond would be.

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Lake John, Part 3

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Lake John, Part 2

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Lake John

Lake John

When I first moved in here, there was a circular spot in the back yard (maybe 25 or 30 feet across) and about 1 foot below grade that had very little grass and seemed to be composed of just sand. After pondering this, I realized it was where the previous owners had an above-ground pool. I aded compost and grass seed and called it good.

Anyway, since I first saw a co-worker's (Lori Purtill) pond (beautiful, natural looking pond, looked like it was there before the house) maybe 10 years ago, then my brother Carl's pond (its been through two or three variations so far), I have had "pond envy."

Which is why I came up with the reflection pool next to the patio (hey I was renting at the time and didn't want to cause a big problem). But yesterday's 1 1/2 of rain on top of the frozen ground, created a mini-lake in the back yard (I am posting pictures). It makes me think that using the old pool diameter, plus a teardrop shaped add-on, pointed to the house, would result in a nice water feature in my backyard.

Now to find a cheap backhoe this Spring...

Snow Flake Friday

Today's weather would best be described as sunny, with occasional intense snow squalls (I mean like, white-out). While dressing for work, I heard on the TV that the expressway I take to work (I-96)was shut down on the West-bound side (my direction), due to black ice, so I drove to work on Plymouth Road, through one of the afore-mentioned snow squalls.

After work, I went to Westborn market for the Gruyere cheese. It cost me over $6.00 for 8 ounces (which is why I'd hoped to get it at Meijers, where they don't fly it in from France or something). But, at least I found it. I have taken a LOT of grief from my friend B___ over the past couple of days regarding this cheese. But, realistically speaking, if you are trying a recipe from France or Italy that calls for Gruyere or Parmesano-reggiano, you CANNOT just say, "Hell, that's too expensive! I'll just use some Velveeta." and have it turn out the same.

I thawed out the remaining stuffed pork loin, but this time, after cleaning out the stuffing, I didn't try to "pull" the pork with two forks. I cut it into 2-inch chunks and pulsed it in the food processor. Not quite the correct stringy consistency of pulled pork, but no where near "hamburger" consistency, either, and a whole lot less work! Added it to the sauteed onion and the remaining two Jalepeno peppers (seeded and diced), dumped in a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, simmered for an hour or so and ate it on the last two Kaiser rolls.

The side dish was a small bag of Kettle brand chips, with sea salt and vinegar. These, too, are hard to fine and a bit pricey but, (1) I don't eat that many snacks that much (diabetes and weight concerns) and (2) They are outstanding!

Watched the Friday Night Fights, then went to bed (until I woke up at 2:00 AM, and am now typing this...)

Commercials...

I've noticed they have a much better class of TV commercials recently. I especially like the one that shows an typical office in the afternoon, with everyone sleepy, and "some people say Robert Goulet" sneaks in and messes with your stuff. Funny!

Also, I've noticed there are more and more commercials using rock/pop/folk songs of my youth (yes, I know, the patent or whatever has run out on them and they don't have to pay big bucks to use them anymore. Please don't remind me how old I am, okay?) I saw one tonight that included the chorus of a personal favorite; Donovan's "Catch the Wind." I am including the entire song for those of you too young to remember...

In the chilly hours and minutes,
Of uncertainty, I want to be,
In the warm hold of your loving mind.

To feel you all around me,
And to take your hand, along the sand,
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

When sundown pales the sky,
I wanna hide a while, behind your smile,
And everywhere I'd look, your eyes I'd find.

For me to love you now,
Would be the sweetest thing, 'twould make me sing,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.

When rain has hung the leaves with tears,
I want you near, to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind.

For standin' in your heart,
Is where I want to be, and I long to be,
Ah, but I may as well, try and catch the wind.

"When rain has hung the leaves with tears..." Beautiful imagery! Man, I wish I had written that!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Melissa's Great Adventure

So, Dave drove M_______ to the Traverse City Airport, where she was supposed to fly to Minneapolis to stay with young Carl. Dave wanted to stay until her flight left, but she sent him home because there was a snow storm (and you no longer can wait at the gate with a person, anyway). There was a slight mix-up on her ticket (their last name ends in "y" but due to a typo, it was a "u" on the ticket). But, they eventually said it was okay.

She said the airport was very nice and modern. I believe it's called the Cherry Capital Airport (Traverse City boasts of being the Cherry Capital of the world, BTW, due to the many cherry orchards there. They have an annual cherry festival, etc.) But, after going through security and finding her gate, she then learned her flight had been cancelled due to weather.

So, being the good sister she is (knowing Carl was depending on her and also knowing the ticket Amy bought was non-refundable) she went back to the ticket counter and changed to the next flight to Minneapolis. Back through Security, back to the gate, waiting until that flight, too, was cancelled.

Back to the ticket counter and changed to the next flight to Minneapolis. However, this time when going through Security, they patted her down, ripped apart her luggage and swabbed it all down. Apparently, buying multiple tickets and not using them is a terrorist indicator to the Security computers.

Upshot is she stayed at the airport for two days, bought 6 different tickets, got patted down and swabbed four times, and never made it to Minneapolis! A neighbor of Amy's was recruited to watch Carl, and they did refund the ticket price, so all was not lost.

M_______ said to me, "Hey, when you're having one of your insomnia episodes, you should write a song about this for me." Well, I'd need more information to come up with some verses, but I did write you the chorus:

Trapped inside the airport
And Security's giving me fits!
Traverse City is cherry in the summertime
But in the Winter, it's the pits!

Wet Thursday

We had an interesting mix of weather yesterday. I drove through a snowstorm to get to work, at lunchtime it was freezing rain, then it switched to just rain and POURED! They said on the news we got almost and inch and a half of rain total.

I did go out at lunch to the hardware store and picked up the washer (and an extra nut) that I needed to finish fixing the bathroom sink. Then I stopped at Meijers on the way home (in the rain) and picked up some foodstuffs for the weekend. It was very frustrating, because they didn't have any Gruyere cheese (don't you just hate it when you stop for Gruyere cheese and they're out?) Now I'll have to stop at Westborn Friday night.

Got home around 6:00 PM and found a voicemail from my daughter Melissa, oops, I mean M_______. So, I called her back, thinking I would hear of her adventures. She was supposed to stay with her nephew Carl while my daughter Amy and her husband went to Las Vegas to celebrate their 15 wedding anniversary. She did have an adventure, just not that one. I'll include her story in the next post.

After hanging up with her, I talked with my Mom for a bit. By that time, it was getting late and I was getting hungry. I guess it was talking with my Mom that made me think of it, but I made one of her old comfort-food standbys: tuna and peas over egg noodles.

I decided fixing the sink could wait a day, so I watched a little TV, fell asleep, woke up and went to bed.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Wednesday

Wednesday, I went the hardware store at lunch and bought all new drain pipe for the bathroom. I even bought a couple extra of those tapered washers, knowing from past experience how easy it is to lose one.

I stopped at Murray's Auto and got a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. I try and add that to my tank everytime I change the oil, but forgot to on Saturday. Dumped it in when I got home.

So, I changed clothes and turned myself into Plumber John! Installation was easy, until I got to the pipe in the wall. Getting the metal nut off was a chore, but what's worse is I found it takes a flat, rubber washer. Cleaned the old one up as best as I could, tightened down the nut, and, you guessed it, it leaked!!!

So, another night/day of not using this sink, until I can get back to the hardware store.

I was tired now, because to work on my sink, you must lay on the floor next to the toilet and the drain is right next to the inner plywood of my sink cabinet. Very akward!

So, for dinner I just cut up a ring of smoked sausage and added it and a chopped onion to some Zatarain's Jambalaya Mix. While that was cooking, I did a load of clothes (remember, all my towels were used to mop up water yesterday).

Watched TV at bit, then read until bedtime.

Phonetically speaking

Does anyone know how the very English name Llewelyn is pronounced? I've come across it over the years in reading novels, but don't think I have ever heard someone say it.