Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday

I had to go to Banks Vacuums after work. It's on Five Mile between MiddleBelt and Inkster and, as luck would have it, is two building down from the best Mexican restaurant I've found around here (so far). So, after completing my business at Banks, I decided an early dinner was in order. I had the beef enchiladas, with rice and refried beans and a mug of Tecate draft beer. Excellent, as always. The only problem I have with this restaurant is they have too many tables pushed WAY too close together and I am always uncomfortable eating that close to strangers.

So, sated (well, actually stuffed!) I headed for home. I changed clothes and went outside. It was a perfect day, BTW. Temps in the 70's and low humidity. So, before attacking the wood chips, I walked around the yard, picking up sticks and small branches from that storm that didn't happen here (just windy and a sprinkling of rain) yesterday. Then I moved my five wheel barrows of wood chips and went back inside.

I took the time to move my "stuff" back to the downstairs bathroom. I found a while back I prefer the stall shower in there over the tub/shower in the main bathroom. So, now its around 8:00 PM and my back's aching a little, so I quit for the night a turned on the TV until bedtime.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Missed the Storms

Hot and humid today. When I got home, I noticed some of the container plants were droopy, so I got out the watering can and the Miracle-Grow and both watered and fertilized them all. Then I trudged out back and spread five more wheelbarrow loads of wood chips (pile is about half gone now).

For dinner, I warmed up two hamburgers and steamed a head of cauliflower after coring it. More leftovers!

It rained briefly, though not enough to even leave a trace in the rain gauge. But, on the TV News Thursday morning, they showed all kinds of trees down and power outages in the Detroit area. Missed me completely!

Song lyrics

I have NO idea why, but all my life I have found this to be one of the most haunting, evocative songs to me, especially with just a violin accompaniment or when sung a cappella:

O Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are callin'
From glen to glen, and down the mountainside,
The summer's gone, the roses all are fallen,
And now 'tis you must go, and I must bide.

But come ye back when spring is in the meadow,
Or when the hills are hushed and white with snow,
Ye'll find me there, in sunshine or in shadow,
O Danny Boy, O Danny Boy, I love you so.

But if ye come, and all the flowers are dyin',
And I am dead, as dead I may well be,
Then you will find the place where I am lyin',
And kneel and say an Ave there for me.

And I will hear, though soft you tread above me,
And there my grave will warmer, softer be,
And you will bend and tell me that you love me,
And I will wait in peace until you come to me.

~ Frederic Edward Weatherly, "Danny Boy"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday

I got home and was damn annoyed! My lawn lady had cut the grass Monday, but didn't do any trimming. Why? I dunno, but I thought I'd give her a day in case she ran out of gas or string for the trimmer or whatever, but it looked the same today as it did yesterday. So, no moving wood chips tonight, I gotta make the lawn look better.

But, first things first. I saw that my daughter Melissa had called, just before I got home, so I called her back. Good news! Somebody made an offer on their house. So, now begins the long process of an appraisal, loan approval, etc. But, maybe, just maybe (and keep your fingers crossed, please) they will sell their house and be free to move on to the next phase of their journey.

So, on to trimming! I did the back first, then got out the blower and cleaned off the patio. Since I was back there, I filled the bird and squirrel feeders (thanks again, Jake and Carla, for the peanuts!) and put water in the bird bath. Coiled up my electrical cords and moved to the front. I did the ditch (which is always a pain in my back, lol!), then edged the driveway, the tree garden and the front gardens. It was a little after 7:30 PM when I got the last extension cord coiled and put away.

I decided to make myself a nice dinner instead of moping around tonight. "When the going gets tough, the tough... cook!" So, I tried a recipe called "Hot pepper chicken under a brick" The basic premise is that you put the chicken in a pan to cook and then add a piece of tinfoil and another, smaller pan (or plate) on top, weighted with a couple of bricks. Since I don't have any bricks, I used some big cans of tomatoes and beans (see photos). Why bother? Because it gives you an incredible crust.

So, onto the recipe. I mixed red pepper flakes with Dijon mustard and olive oil, then slathered it over two bone-in chicken breasts. Put them skin side down in my big pan on medium high heat, covered with tinfoil, a smaller pan, another piece of tin foil (so I didn't screw up the non-stick surface) and three heavy cans. I cooked them 18 minutes then turned them over, lowered the heat to medium-low and cooked them four more minutes.

Meanwhile, I poked a russet potato with a fork, coated it with Criso shortening, and covered it with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and then micro-waved it. When I plated the dish, I dumped a tablespoon of hot pepper pickling juice (in my case, Jalapeno slices) on top of the chicken, and then added about a tablespoon of finely diced banana ring yellow peppers and some parsley. The potato got cut into healthy-sized chunks and topped with sour cream and a sliced scallion (white and green). Again, see the photos, click to enlarge, and then use your browser "Back" button to get back.

Results? Well, "Hot Pepper Chicken" it wasn't. WAY too mild. Don't get me wrong, it was really tasty, but no "bite" to it at all. Maybe I should have used the Jalapeno slices instead of the banana peppers. The potato was excellent and the only damage done was that I sliced my left index finger down to the bone. Poor knife skills? Hey, you know me better than that! I did it wiping a few excess peppers off the blade. I have GOT to learn to respect those Shun knives more!

Watched taped TV shows until I fell asleep, but as you can probably tell from the time of this post, woke up in the night, unable to fall asleep...

Sigh...

photo

Cooking chicken under a brick (in this case, under some heavy cans)

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Hot Pepper Chicken Under a Brick and a Salt-crusted Baked Potato

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday moanin'

Well, Jake and Carla closed on their house today. We will move their "stuff" on Saturday, but, using their air mattress, they intend to stay in their new house as of today.

When I got home, I changed clothes and went out in back. I moved five wheelbarrow loads of wood chips (that's about all my back can take) and spread them out. Then I came back in and got scared out of my socks by Jake! He said he yelled at me so I'd know they were there, but I guess I didn't hear him.

So, they filled their car up and then took off for their new home. I washed a load of clothes and made myself dinner out of leftovers. I heated up two brats, but this time I put a slice of provolone on the bun and melted it in the toaster oven, then put in the brat and some mustard. Interesting taste treat.

I watched TV until bedtime, but slept lousy. Too quiet I guess. I knew there would be a period of adjustment when they left, but I felt like I had a big load of lonesome dumped on me.

Since we're on the subject, anyway...

"Those who live with insomnia and who consider sleep both an enemy and a gift will understand the following. Some of us cannot comprehend how anyone except the very good or those who have no conscience at all can sleep from dark until dawn without dreaming or waking."

~ from the novel Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke

Quoted Passage

"It has been my experience that age brings few gifts, but one of them is the acceptance that the past is the past, for good or bad, and if you are fortunate enough to have lived in a era that was truly exceptional, characterized by music, chopped-down Fords with chrome-plated engines roaring full out against purple sunsets, and drive-in restaurants where kids jitterbugged and did the dirty bop and knew they would never die, then those moments are forever inviolate, never to be shared or explained, and, like images on a Grecian urn, never subject to time and decay. Why make them less by trying to re-create them?"

~ from the novel Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke

Monday, August 27, 2007

Super Sunday

Woke up Sunday morning, excited about the day. Supposed to be sunny for a change! So, I hopped in the shower after shaving, got dressed and ate the rest of the corned beef hash with an egg on top for my breakfast. BTW, I was pleasantly surprised to find that going in the microwave did not cook the yolk. I thought it would.

Now I was off to Lowes to check on a plate for the doors and then Meijer's to grocery shop. I was standing in line (forever) at Meijer's when I noticed it had just turned noon on a big clock they have. On the way home, I stopped at Murray's Auto and picked up a 25 foot tow strap.

I got back home just before Jake and Carla returned from wherever they went. I unpacked the groceries, leaving the veggies out for tonight's stir fry. The tuna steaks are already out and thawing. Carla made a cheese and Jalapeno pepper mixture that we all ate with tortilla chips for an afternoon snack.

Jake used the tow strap, along with the come-along to fix my fence post. He attached the strap to the nearest tree and pulled the post back until it was straight. I filled the resultant hole with gravel and tamped it down. I had to fix the hinges, but the gate is finally working right again. (Thanks, Jake!)

Then, I took a nice, short nap. Afterward, Carla wanted to go get any ripe tomatoes from my two plants. So, we walked out in back. There were only six or seven ripe ones, but a lot of green ones, which led to a discussion of fried green tomatoes. Her Mom doesn't make them like my Mom. She doesn't dip them in an egg/milk mixture and then flour. She just puts them in a mixture of flour, cornmeal, garlic powder and seasoned salt. So, we picked a mess of green tomatoes, too. When we got back inside, I cooked them using her Mom's recipe. For some reason (we decided it was because they are Italian or plum tomatoes) they were extremely tart! Maybe next year I'll grow some normal tomatoes just so I can try this again.

Next, I took the wheelbarrow out in the back and moved some wood chips. It is an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny, but low humidity and temps in the mid-seventies. I filled and emptied, then raked about five or six loads and then decided to stop.

Finally, it was time for dinner. I lit the charcoal in the grill. Carla seasoned the tuna steaks with Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) powder, garlic, sesame seeds and sesame oil and let them rest a bit. Meanwhile, she made a stir fry with broccoli, bean sprouts, scallions, pea pods and Japanese noodles. I put the tuna steaks on the grill for two minutes, then turned them one-quarter turn (to get the cross-hatch grill marks) and let them cook two minutes more, brushing them with more sesame oil (tuna is very low-fat and will easily dry out). Then I flipped them over and repeated my moves on the other side.

I took them inside and Jake sliced them thin. They were a little more done than I'd hoped (medium rather than medium rare) but other than that, everything was delicious!

I cleaned up the kitchen (except for the pans, which I washed around 2:00 AM) and we went out separate ways to watch Sunday night TV and sleep. All in all, a great Sunday!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

photo

My new pile of free wood chips

Saturday's Feast

I woke up at 7:00 AM for a change. I slowly eased into the day. I have a LOT of errands to run this morning. I was gonna take a shower when Jake said Carla was already showering (she has a doctor's appointment). So I made myself breakfast instead. Nobody else wanted any, but I made some canned corned beef hash and topped it with three over easy eggs. Deliciouso! I couldn't eat it all, of course, so I have Sunday breakfast already waiting for me!

I realized a little late I could not go anywhere yet, as all my pants are in the hamper. So, I put one load of pants in the washer. When they finished, I threw them in the dryer and put my week's worth of shirts in the washer, BUT I turned "Off" the second rinse. That way, I can leave, come back and do the second rinse and throw them in the dryer.

Finally my pants were dry, so just after 11:00 AM, I headed out. My first stop was the corner gas station. My right rear tire has a slow leak that getting worse. Now its almost flat every two days. So, I asked the guy to take a look at it. As luck would have it, after soaking it in water, he found it was leaking from the plug he had put in it over a year ago.

So, he took the tire off the rim, cut off the plug, used an air-powered wire brush to clean the rim, replaced the valve stem, put a patch on the hole, put it all back together and put the tire back on the car. Then he tells me it's no charge because his original plug leaked. I said that was ridiculous (it had taken him almost an hour, BTW) and I insisted on paying him something. So, he finally agreed to take $20 for his work.

It's sprinkling now, but I'm off to the library. I got a little wet going in, but I picked up five new books. Now, on to the feed store, where I picked up five suet cakes and 40 pounds of bird seed. I got even more wet going in to that store, but the young, well-endowed woman who came in all wet after me made it more than worthwhile (I'll leave that to your imagination).

Westborn Market was next on the list. I picked up some veggies and fruits, a nice Brie, some green grapes, leeks and three frozen tuna steaks. For tonight's dinner, I also grabbed a round, crusty sourdough bread loaf.

Moving on, I hit the Home Depot for more glass door knobs and a round file (I decided against using the Dremel tool. Too messy! I'll do it by hand). I also picked up some glass knobs for cabinets that I plan on adapting for the bi-fold doors in my bedroom (okay, they didn't use bi-fold doors back in the day, but it's a theme I'm after, here).

Next stop was Office Depot for some ink for the printer (Geesh, these are expensive! $62.00 US for two color inkjet cartridges!!!) Last stop was the party store for some brandy. I need it to flamb� tonight's dinner.

When I got home, Jake and Carla were gone. I filled the bird feeder and the suet cage, sneaked a peak at the rain gauge (1 � inches so far and its still raining), took the clothes out of the dryer, did the second rinse on the washer and then threw my shirts in the dryer.

Then I used my new round file to make a channel for the screws to fit in. I have the vacuum out and am picking up the sawdust as it occurs (so I don't track it through the house). Buzzer went off, so I went and hung the shirts up. I got the one door knob in and the glass knobs on the bi-fold doors and took pictures for posting if you're interested.

It was around 3:00 PM and I took a nice � hour nap. Jake and Carla returned about that time.

Then I got started on dinner and what a dinner it was! I made a shrimp bisque from scratch. I put some oil and a stick of butter in my new pan. Then I added rough cut celery carrots and leaks, three strips of orange peel along with the shells and tails of 1 1/12 pounds of shrimp. I let that all simmer for about � hour.

Next was the fun part! I put in � cup of brandy, pulled the pan off the stove (I am afraid of melting the above-the-range microwave!) and lit it on fire. Cool! When the fire died out, I added 4 cups of heavy cream and let that simmer for 40 minutes.

While we were waiting, we played Jeopardy, a new game they had picked up that works on your TV with a DVD. Jake won. dammit!

Carla and Jake strained the broth. Carla rough chopped the raw shrimp, added it to the mixture. After letting it cook three minutes, Carla checked for taste and decided it needed some fresh lemon juice and parsley.

Carla cut the round sourdough bread into thick slices, broiled them, rubbed one side with a clove of garlic and drizzled them with olive oil. Delicious!!! And, not enough leftovers to mention!

Next came Saturday night TV and then sleep.

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Door knobs that came with the house

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Door with new glass knobs

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Closet doors with glass knobs

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Closeup of Closet Doors

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday Night Fun

I got home Friday and stripped the bed. Jake and Carla are going out for dinner, so it's a good time to do some laundry. I think I'll do the one load of the bedding so I don't have to worry about hanging things up.

I had just started eating my dinner (leftover hamburgers and potato salad) when I heard the rumble of thunder. Severe weather warnings have been out all day, BTW. I finished eating by 6:30 PM and like my old neighbor, Mr. Dupee, I went out on the front porch to watch the storm.

Amazing display! Loud thunder, sizzling or crackling lightning, sideways rain, the winds whipping the tree branches into a frenzy, my Township's warning sirens screaming and huge amounts of rain! My gutters, the driveway, even the road and the ditches were all overflowing.

That reminds me of city-living things I should know, but don't: What do those sirens mean, anyway? I really should find out...

By 7:30 PM the winds had quit and the rain was still steady but light. It's supposed to rain off and on through Saturday, so I will wait until Sunday morning to check the rain gauge.

I came inside and took out everything but the bedspread (it was still damp) out of the dryer. Jake and Carla got home about that time and reported they had got caught by the rain walking into the restaurant, so had to eat their meal sopping wet!

Finally the bedspread was dry, so I finished making my bed and then (apparently to the dismay of the last Commenter) I just watched TV until bedtime.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quote

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, and the living is easy...

Tonight I was both a prep chef and a grill master. When I got home, I started some redskin potatoes boiling, and then prepared the rest of the ingredients for potato salad. I chopped a Vidalia onion, three celery stalks, grated two carrots and sliced five radishes. Then I peeled and sliced 6 hard boiled eggs. When the potatoes were done, I turned everything over to Carla to make the dressing.

I grilled up twelve bratwurst and eight hamburgers. The brats were for dinner and the rest will be consumed over the weekend. Everything was excellent!

The rest of the evening I spent watching TV. I was woken up during the night by the thunder from some wicked thunderstorms that moved through the area.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wednesday and still raining off and on...

It was raining/sprinkling in the morning, but mostly sprinkling. I picked up the longer screws I needed for the door, but they had to be thicker (they just don't make the thinner screws as long as I need). So when I got home and changed clothes, I got back to the glass door knob replacement project.

Removed the original door knob and tried putting the new screws in though the two plates. Problem! The thicker screws hit the sides of the holes and can't go straight and get to the hole in the other plate. I will have to come up with a fix for this, but I'm hungry and Carla made BLTs, so I quit for the night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday

Tuesday at lunch I continued the great enamel-covered cast iron dutch oven hunt. I already looked at William-Sonoma and their price was $239.00! But, the saleswoman explained each pot and lid were sand cast and the molds were broken to get them out, so you are really getting a unique piece. I didn't see the value in it, so she mentioned there were some on the back "Clearance" table. Excited, I went back to look. Yes, they were there and yes, their price was reduced - to $179.00! I declined again and so she told me (sotto voce) that you could get a cheap one at Target.

But, I researched online at Bed, Bath and Beyond and they had one by Emeril for $59.00 (and I had a 20% off coupon). So, B___ and I headed there after eating. Wrongo! They have them online, but the only ones in the store is a Calphalon one for $129.00! I passed again and, since we still had time, we went to Target (I give up). I found one there for $39.00 and bought it.

Just after I got home, Jake and Carla arrived. After a lot of discussion, we decided to order pizza for dinner. We loaded up our plates and headed off to watch our respective TV's.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rainy days and Mondays

I think I mentioned it raining on Sunday, which it did, off and on throughout the day. But, Monday? My God! I could not believe how hard the rain came down at times.

I went out at lunch and some of the streets were flooded with a foot of water. Worse yet, my rear tire was low. So, even though my friend B___ held an umbrella over me, I got thoroughly soaked when I filled it back up. As a result, lunch was a soggy mess for me, as was most of the afternoon (where are those electric hand dryers when you need one?)

I got home and checked the rain gauge - I got 3 1/2 inches of rain so far!!! It was only 65 degrees F. in the house and I was chilled from my damp afternoon, so (even though I may be jinxing everyone to an early Fall) I turned on the furnace!

Jake and Carla were off to the new house for a final inspection, so dinner was leftovers. Fortunately we had a ton of them to choose from. I picked hamburgers and sweet corn.

When they did return home, Carla made potato soup (see I'm not the only one who was chilled!) and I had some later in the evening for a snack. Very good! I watched TV until 11:00 PM then went to sleep.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday and the living is easy...

Alarm went off at 5:00 AM as planned. I made up a batch of buttermilk biscuits while Luanne brewed some tea and ate her flax seed mixture (I don't know, so please don't ask). I warmed up the sausage gravy and Joe and I ate them with the gravy on top. Lu had two biscuits with blackberry jam. Then Lu and Joe took showers, got dressed and carried their stuff out to the porch (it was raining, then). They loaded up and pulled out for Virginia about 6:30 AM.

I shaved, showered and got dressed myself and headed out to Meijer's around 7:30 AM to pick up some staples (eggs, bread, milk, etc.) as well as the fixing for tonight's dinner (Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches). All I needed was the hoagie buns and some provolone cheese because we have all that leftover steak.

Got back home and straightened the house a bit. No cleaning necessary, as I did all that Saturday morning. I gathered towels, and other stuff to make a load of laundry and threw that in the washer. Then I finally got around to writing the blog post for Friday and Saturday.

Next I cleaned out the fridge and made a dozen hard boiled eggs. Jake and Carla arrived home about that time and we shared stories of our respective Saturday's and some hunter sausage they picked up at the Smoke House (back in our old stomping grounds).

I cut up two big white onions and put the best rings in a bowl, covered with buttermilk. The remaining onions I chopped and saut�ed along with two green peppers. I had previously put the leftover steak in the freezer to harden a bit so I could more easily cut it paper thin (good trick, by the way). I added the steak to the mix and went to take a nap.

After a nice rest, I woke up and made some bacon and cheddar cheese deviled eggs (Carla made the bacon for me). Luanne called around 7:00 to say they had made it home safe and sound. I went outside in the light rain to check on those wood chips and, no, he didn't cover up my garden (whew!)

I came back in and started making onion rings. And, the damn fryer wouldn't work! What a waste of money THAT was! So, I got out a pan, transferred the oil, got out my electronic thermometer and THAT didn't work!!! So, I got out the regular meat thermometer and used that.

I started making onion rings, taking them from the buttermilk, dredging them in flour, dipping them in a beer batter and dropping them in 325 degree oil. Carla took over after a while. (Note to self: Two big onions is too many onion rings for just three people!) I had a lot of beer batter left, so I sliced up an eggplant into big French-fry like pieces and deep fried it as well. Jake warmed up the sandwich mixture; put some provolone cheese on the hoagie rolls and broiled that and then topped it off with steak, onions and peppers. Yummo!

We went off to watch our Sunday night shows and then went to bed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Quote

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."

~ Douglas Adams

Strange Times on San Jose

I got up a little later than I had hope. I figured I'd wake up at 4:00 AM or so to pee, (like always) then I'd sweep the kitchen and bathroom floors and wash them with Mr. Clean (with lemon). I did all that, but later enough so that Jake and Carla were both up halfway through the washing part. So, they had to stay downstairs a bit until the floor dried.

Luanne and our grandson Joe are coming this afternoon, spending the night, then leaving for Virginia early in the morning. When I talked with her on Friday, I volunteered to make sausage and white gravy with biscuits for Joe's Sunday breakfast. She demurred, saying "He's just not that into breakfast." But she called back later, saying she'd mentioned it to him and he said, "Great!" Since the gravy takes a bit of time to make, and I know she will want to leave early (it's a 12 hour drive straight through), I decided to make the gravy ahead of time.

It's been a while since I made this, and (personally) I am never that confident about my baking powder biscuits. So, I made a double batch of gravy and some buttermilk biscuits and used Jake and Carla as my test guinea pigs. We only disagreed about the pepper (it's the only seasoning you use and you need enough to give it "bite" but not too much so it's overpowering). But, damn tasty! Hey, I still got it! Put the rest of the gravy in the fridge for tomorrow morning.

Jake and Carla got a call from one of Jake's best friend's parents back in St. Clair, asking them to come up for a visit. So they had left earlier in the afternoon and planned on spending the night up there.

I left a sign on the front door, saying I was in back watering the garden in case she showed up, and sure enough, she did. So, I let them in the house and helped carry in stuff (not so many suitcases this time, but hey, it's only one night). Joe had a big bag and his Ibenez electric guitar. So, everybody settled in and after catching up, we started playing Scrabble. I won the first game and Lu the next two.

Somewhere in there, there was a big thud outside, so I looked around to see what it might have been? It was a tree my next door neighbor was having cut down. The guys were feeding the wood chipper so I went over and asked if I could have the wood chips. The guy (not "our" guy who cut down my trees and had the cool dog, remember?) was not happy about it, saying, "I don't dump less than a full load." But my neighbor (bless his heart) said, "Come on, do it for me!" So, grumbling, he unhooked the chipper and headed over to my house.

I opened the gates and directed him in and towards the back (the lack of water ensuring the lawn wouldn't be torn up by his truck). Once he got in back, I "high-fived" my neighbor and went into the house. Which, proved to be a mistake. Because, instead of dumping them on the lawn where I told him, he dumped them both on the lawn and on top of all my Rhododendrons! And, when I went out to close up the gates, I saw he had whacked the one side on his way out. My only consolation is that, while my post is bent over about 6 inches off plumb, his truck must have suffered more (My posts are buried three feet with concrete poured around them). Idiot!

Next, it was time for dinner. I made tilapia, en Papillote (French for, literally, in a pouch). I cut two big pieces of parchment paper into a rounded "v" shape, and then brushed the outsides with olive oil. Inside went three filets per pouch ( tilapia filets are small), and whole stalks of chives, parsley and tarragon from my herb garden. I cut a lemon half into slices and put them on top, and then I used the other half of the lemon for juice which I also poured on top. Then I sealed the bags by rolling the edges (if you are wondering, come to my house and I'll show you how). I put the pouches on cookie sheet and into a 400 degree (F) oven for 15 minutes.

I made wild rice as one side and the Green Giant Cauliflower and Cheese as another. Oh, oh! Two problems! I always use chicken stock for my wild rice and I am out! I used water instead. Then, Luanne said the amount of sodium in the Green Giant Cauliflower and Cheese was way too high for her and her feet and legs would swell driving back home. Damn!

Hah! Problem? For a chef like me? No, no problem! I peeled an eggplant, used egg and milk and flour to bread it and fried the slices in hot oil.

So, we ate dinner. Neither Joe nor Luanne use any sauce on their fish, so I didn't make my signature horseradish/mayo/sour cream/chive sauce - hell, they don't know what they are missing! Upshot? Everyone said it was great, but then again, they have to, LOL! Personally, I think I put in too much tarragon (it was all I tasted on my pieces), but it was pretty damn tasty, anyway.

We cleaned up, and then sat in the living room chatting about Joe's school, what Luanne took in (public) High School versus what I took (private Catholic school) versus what Joe takes these days (big freakin' difference - for example, I had four years of Latin, which is a "dead" language that nobody uses, but I can still parse verbs in... Why? I dunno).

We went back in the kitchen and started playing cards (Skip-Bo). I'm not sure who won what, but I know it wasn't me. Finally, it was bed time (if you are planning on getting up at 5:00 AM, which is what Luanne had me set the alarm for). So, Lu went off to the daybed in the office, I gave Joe a pillow and blanket and he slept on the couch (I've napped there, myself, and it's quite comfortable) and I went to bed and started reading.

About 11:00 PM, the door bell rang!!! I was dozing as bit at the time, but I threw on my jogging tee and shorts. By the time I got to the front door, they were pounding on it! I had shut the drapes for Joe, so I had no idea who was out there, but when I flipped on the light, Joe said, "It's a cop!" Whew!

He aid, "Excuse me, but we had a report of a loud argument in the area and wanted to make sure everything was okay? Did you hear anything?" I said I had my window open, and didn't hear anything at all. He checked out Joe and Lu (probably to see if they were bruised or something) and said, "Well, thank you."

I went back to bed, but listened through my open window as he asked my neighbor the same questions... Weird... Where were these guys yesterday when we had the folks across the street screaming about "disrespecting my momma," and we had to arm ourselves with motorcycle helmets and sawed-off shotguns?

Another TGIF

I had a 4:00 PM meeting at Building 50 (by my house) that broke up around 4:20, so I walked around visiting people for a bit, then left. I went to Meijer's and bought some ground chuck and some hamburger buns.

Jake and Carla won't be home for dinner, so I grilled some hamburgers and ate two, along with some left over sweet corn, for dinner. I did a load of clothes and was just putting them in the dryer when they showed up. We chatted a bit, and then played a game of cards. Next, our respective beds called us, and we went off to watch TV (them) or read (me).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Grillin' & Chillin'

I left work at 4:30 PM. I need to pick up a few things for dinner and don't want to eat too late. So, I went to Westborn and got some sweet corn, three russet potatoes and four big Portobello mushroom caps. I am grillin' tonight!

When I got home, I put the corn into water. Then I made a marinade of wine (cabernet sauvignon), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced onions, minced garlic and a teaspoon each of fresh from my herb garden chopped rosemary, oregano and basil. I poured half into a big plastic baggie and put in three steaks to get happy.

Then I lit the charcoal in the grill. While I was waiting for it to get hot, I took the three russet potatoes and sliced them every quarter of an inch about 3/4 of the way through. Then I slathered them in butter, seasoned them, wrapped them in double tinfoil and put them directly on the hot coals (turning every 15 minutes).

The coals were nice and hot, so I put on the corn. When they were done, I pulled them off and put them on a cookie sheet in a warm oven and started the steaks. When I judged them to be medium rare, they came off to rest. Last thing was to dip the Portobello caps in the reserved marinade and grill them.

So, we had grilled mushroom slices on steak, buttered sweet corn and baked potatoes with sour cream. It all tasted great but I was a little disappointed in the mild flavor of the marinade. However, I checked the recipe this morning and noticed I didn't do the one last step. After dipping the mushrooms in it, I was supposed to take the marinade, put it in a saucepan, reduce it down and then pour it on top of the steaks and sliced mushrooms.

Mystery solved. The marinade wasn't too mild, I just didn't read all the way to the end of the recipe!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Father's Day, completed (finally!)

I got home from work and changed clothes. My daughter, M______ called and we talked a while until I had to hang up and make a frittata for dinner.

I started out by saut�ing a pound of asparagus, cut into � inch pieces, one big shallot, minced, and the rest of the crimini mushrooms, sliced, in my 9 � inch oven-proof, non-stick pan. Then I added 6 eggs that I whisked with a tablespoon of half and half (I didn't have any whipping cream), some kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I left that on medium low heat until everything but the top had set. Then I added some shredded mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top and put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the cheese had turned a golden brown. While that was getting happy, I made a simple salad of romaine lettuce and red onion, with blue cheese dressing.

Before we ate the frittata, we took the truffles Jeremy, Jyl and the kids gave me for Father's Day and, using the micro-planner, we shaved them on top of the slice. Interesting and unusual flavor! So, now I know what a truffle tastes like!

Jake cleaned up while we talked, then I went off to watch TV. Later, Jake brought me a bowl of buttered popcorn (they had popped some for a snack). Nice evening!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, taking it easy

Carla wants to cook tonight, so I get to take it easy! She made a baked ziti (pronounced zee-tee, Mom). It was made with Italian sausage, rotini pasta, porcini mushrooms and the usual garlic, onions and fresh herbs, all topped with both mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Baked in my big metal lasagna pan, there was plenty for all and a lot of leftovers for their lunches. She served it with a side salad and home made garlic bread. Everything was delicious, especially the ziti, which had a deep, earthy taste.

Jake cleaned up, so I wandered off to watch TV until bedtime. It was a nice luxury to do nothing all night!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quote

"A clear conscience is either a sign of a poor memory or a really boring weekend!"

~ Busch beer commercial

Friday Fish Fry (on Monday)

Monday was a very frustrating day! Work was hectic, so I was glad when 5:00 PM rolled around. Then I stopped at Meijer's to pick up a few things. I shopped for less than 10 minutes and stood in line for almost 30 minutes. I got behind some newly-arrived immigrants who apparently did not understand how the WIC payments work, so they would ask questions in bad English after each item in their two carts was swiped. Geesh!

Needless to say, I was a bit annoyed when I finally got home! But, I changed my clothes, took a few deep breaths and started dinner. As you probably remember, I have 8 thawed tilapia filets from the Sunday Dinner That Never Was. So, I started by using the mandoline to cut three nice russet potatoes into French fries. Then I heated up the oil in the deep fryer to 320 degrees (F) and cooked small batches for 10 minutes each. I dumped them on a rack sitting on paper towel in a cookie sheet and let them cool.

I made a beer batter for the fish and put it in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes. I turned the oil up to 375 degrees to finish off he fries (you fry them low and slow to cook the insides, then higher and faster to crisp the outsides, you see). Okay, so now I'm getting ticked again! My fryer is not bubbling when I throw the fries in (as it should) even though it says its 375 degrees! I get out my probe thermometer and it says the oil is really only 197 degrees!!! At this point, Jake and Carla come to my rescue. Jake turns it off then back on (typical IT mentality - reboot!) and then, when its working again, Carla starts to fry them.

So, I cut the fish in half length-wise. When she's done with the fries and they are in the oven on "warm," I dredge the fish in cornstarch, dip them in the beer batter and Carla fries them (two at a time) in 320 degree oil until they are golden brown. I make up a sauce for the fish using sour cream, horseradish, mayonnaise, fresh chives and salt and pepper. We all taste it and say what we think it needs (Jake first wants more salt, then pepper, and Carla wants to add some hot sauce). At last, the sauce is perfect!

Finally we sit down to eat. Despite all the challenges, not bad, not bad at all!

Since it's after 9:00 PM now, we decide to clean up in the morning and go our separate ways to watch TV. I made it for about 1/2 hour before falling asleep!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday Shenanigans

I woke up at 5:30 AM (like during the week). I turned on the light and started reading, not wanting to wake anyone up. But, about 6:30, I was bored, so I got up and made coffee. Then I went out and sat on the porch and drank two cups. I decided to water all the container plants, so I kept sneaking into the house (trying not to squeak the storm door), filling up the watering can and sneaking back out.

Finally, around 8:00 I heard the noises of people stirring. Everybody it seemed was awake. Jake made breakfast (sausage and pancakes) and, because I was typing and posting Saturday's Blog, I was the last to eat. But, it was great!

Later I pulled up the pictures Melissa sent that were taken the day I went out to the cottage at Lake Orion to meet up with Amy and young Carl, and Melissa and Dave, and showed them to Luanne. The ladies took their showers and then headed out. Luanne is taking Carla shopping for clothes for her birthday present.

Jake was working on the computer, so I took my shower. Then I watched a taped show (Feasting on Asphalt, Part II), ate two hamburgers (along with a few chips and a dill pickle) for lunch, and then took a nice � hour nap. I got up about 2:30 PM and went out to water all the flower gardens. I finished up about 3:30 PM. Jake took his shower and I went back to watching TV. There IS something to be said for getting all your weekend work done on Friday night, as Sunday become a "free" day!

Luanne and Carla returned around 4:30 PM and Carla showed off her birthday clothes. As far as food for Sunday, it was supposed to be that I would make egg rolls for an afternoon snack, then my tilapia en Papillote (baked in the parchment paper pouches with fresh herbs, butter and lemon slices) with wild rice and cheese and broccoli as the sides for dinner.

But, the lateness of the hour meant that by the time I got the egg rolls made and then deep fried, everyone was really hungry. So, instead of snacking on one or two then eating dinner a bit late, we ate them all (with either soy or plum sauce) and then decided we were too full for dinner! Oh well, I can always use the thawed tilapia (maybe a fish fry?) on Monday and, on a positive note, everybody seemed to REALLY like the egg rolls!

After that, we cleaned up and started playing a couple of boisterous games of euchre. Then, it was about 9:30 PM. Jake and Carla went to watch a show on their TV and Luanne and I watched a Hallmark movie I'd taped for the occasion. I got to bed around 11:30 PM, dead tired!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

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Fresh mulch for all!

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Herb garden, remulched

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Adding more mulch

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Mailbox garden, up close

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New Mailbox garden

Sad News

Luanne mentioned that in talking with Sue, our old neighbor in Columbus, that she said our house on Palms Road had burned down! Sue said one day she came home and noticed it was all charred and the next day they had bulldozed it down.

I really wish I didn't know that. I stopped driving by it years ago, when they built a house in the field next to it. It just wasn't the same. It was a similar feeling to the one I had when Chris, (who bought the house on River Road and then extensively remodeled it) sent me a bunch of photos of the "New, Improved" house. I tried, but I couldn't look at them.

The Palms Road house was to be my homestead, where I would grow my own vegetables, and raise and eat chicken, rabbits and pigs. We even registered the name of our place, "Rock Bottom Farm" (after all the field stones on the place). It's were I bought the monster Troybuilt rototiller and then the Minneapolis-Moline tractor to work the land. I wanted to be a homesteader, but in 15 years was never really able to just live off the land. But, I tried, dammit!

And, now it's gone... I'd say it was the end of an era, except that era ended long ago and far away. But, it is the end of a dream...

A long day on Saturday

Woke up around 6:00 AM and read in bed until 7:00. Then got back to a little more cleaning (you know, the last few touches, clean the bathroom mirror, etc.) I found that the kids had folded or hung up the last load I had in the dryer (thanks, guys) which was really nice. I made a cup of coffee and was ready to face the morning challenges (hair cut, shopping, errands, etc.)

After my haircut at 9:30, I stopped at the feed store for more birdseed and suet cakes, and then to Westborn for some fresh fruit and cheese. Next I picked up two prescriptions at CVS and finally back home around 11:00 AM.

I noticed this morning that the guy did NOT cut my ditch (he was probably worried about flipping over a borrowed riding motor). So, I got my weedwacker and cleaned it up. Then I planted the two begonias in the mailbox garden (the pansies finally gave up the ghost).

Then I got out my blower and blew off the porch, the sidewalk and both back patios. Now, I'm hot, sweaty and hungry! So, I took a break and warmed up two hamburgers from last night grilling. I ate them lying on the bed watching some taped shows. Jake and Carla came back from the dentist (their Saturday morning errand).

We were just in a waiting mode, then, waiting for Luanne to show up. So, Jake went out and cleaned the birdbath and the reflecting pool. Inspired, I went out and added more mulch to the reflecting pool area (it had settled during the summer). I took some photos and will post them.

Then Lu arrived and after carrying in what seemed like a mountain of suitcases and bags 9for a two day stay!), along with laundry and garbage from Lake Orion, we all started the long process of catching up with each other's lives. Lu started the first of several loads of laundry (both hers and my Mom's) and then Jake and Carla showed her pictures of the house they are buying while I took a shower.

Around 5:30 we left on a road trip, first a drive-by of the new house (Carla was thrilled that the For Sale sign now is sporting a "Sold" placard). Next we went to Novi and the China Caf�, a Chinese/Korean restaurant Carla had found that has won all kids of awards, etc. We've eaten there before but wanted to give Luanne a chance to experience it.

They all had different wines, but I stuck to my traditional water and hot tea. We munched on fried won tons with plum sauce or hot mustard while looking over the menu. Luanne ordered the Shrimp and Vegetable and egg drop soup. After learning the Kung Po Pork contained peanuts (Carla's allergic) both she and Jake ordered the Orange Chicken. She also had the egg drop soup (completely unlike what you would think egg drop soup is, BTW, with vegetables and spicy) and Jake had the Hot and Sour soup. I ordered the house special Cantonese Almond Chicken and won ton soup (also unlike any won ton I've ever had). Huge portions and absolutely delicious! I am ashamed to say that I was the only one who didn't take any leftovers home.

Once we returned home, Luanne got out two photo albums and she showed us her goat operation (43 goats so far) and pictures of the kitchen remodeling to date (they now have their granite countertop and sink installed).

By this time it was 10:30 PM, I was beat and, excusing myself, I went to bed.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ah, Friday night!

It was a long day at work and very frustrating. But, that's why they call it work, right?

So, when I got home, I did what any eligible bachelor does on a Friday night after a long work week - I cleaned the house! (I have got to get a book on being a better bachelor or something!)

But, seriously, Jake took Carla out for dinner and a concert in the park in Plymouth for her birthday, we will be having a houseguest for the weekend (Jake's Mom), so it is the perfect opportunity to spiff the place up.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had called my lawn service earlier in the week, and left Tonya a voicemail, asking that she resume my grass cutting (if you remember, we both agreed to stop cutting during the drought). The rain made it greener, but a lot shaggier, too! So, she called me back on Friday and told me she was in Las Vegas and would cut it on Tuesday. Okay, but that means it looks like crap this weekend, when as I said, I have an out-of-town guest!

So, I went across the street and asked the guy who I knew had cut the vacant lot next to me to just cut the front (he only has a push mower, you see). We agreed on a price and he went to work... sorta...

He couldn't keep his mower running after making like one or two cuts. So, he left and I thought, oh well, I tried. But then a truck pulled up and they unloaded a riding mower he obviously borrowed from somebody. So, I went out and we renegotiated the price to include the back yard, too. Problem solved.

I went through my usual routine, along with washing two loads of laundry, and was just about to wash the kitchen floor when they came home!!! Apparently, the park was too crowded to enjoy the concert, so they left.

Upshot? I went to bed and figured I'd wash the floor in the middle of the night when I woke up, which I did.

And, that was this wild and crazy guy's Friday night.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Shout Out!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CARLA!!!!!

Newt Night

We had showers off and on during the day. When I got home, I checked the gauge and we picked up about another 1/4 inch of rain.

Thursday night was all Newt. His tank got a good cleaning and it looks much, much better. But, there's not much to write about, lol! My daughter, Melissa, did call during the cleanup to tell me she'd call me later this weekend (huh?).

Jake and Carla brought home a variety of deli meats and cheeses, along with two types of bread for dinner. Carla sliced up some tomatoes and onions and set everything out, buffet-style. Personally, I made myself a ham and Swiss cheese with onions and tomatoes on rye bread with spicy brown mustard.

I finished cleaning up the mess from Newt's renewal and then watched TV until bedtime.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hassles with Tassels

I stopped at a lighting store at lunch and picked up a lamp part to use on the tassel. When I got home, the first thing I did was to start a mid-week load of clothes. Then I checked out the lamp part to determine the best way to attach it. I decided to cut a wood ring, attach it to the door after drilling a hole in the middle, then screwing the lamp piece to it through the sides.

First order of business, cut a 3/4 inch thick pine board down to 1/2 inch thick. Then I used the bandsaw to cut out the circle. I drilled a hole through it, put on some Elmer's Glue and held it up while Jake screwed it on. Then I held the lamp piece while he put in three screws through the holes in the sides. We put the tassel back in and, other than repainting three places on the door (which I did after dinner) it was finished. I took a photo later and posted it on the site. I think it looks much more "finished," what do you think?

For dinner, Carla made a copy of my fried onions, potatoes and sausage. But, instead of the smoked sausage I use, she used sliced bratwurst. It made it much spicier and was a nice change.

I watched some TV, but fell asleep early and Wednesday was done.

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Tassel, after adding detail

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Quote

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

~ Anonymous

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Tassel, first attempt

Late Night Regrets...

It started raining overnight, with thunder around 4:00 AM. Rained hard, off and on all morning. When I got home, I checked the rain gauge and we picked up another 3/4 of an inch of rain! We are still below average for rainfall this summer, but we seem to be catching up.

I picked up a tieback with tassels from Penney's at lunch; so tonight's only project is to replace the cheesy thin rope and white plastic ball on the attic steps (you use it to pull down the door). I wanted it to look more like an old bell pull or something. I cut off one end and Jake put it on. He pointed out it looked unfinished somehow, just going up into the wood door like it does (I took a picture and will post when site's back up). It needs some kind of brass plate or cover. I'll have to think what might work...

For dinner I made enchiladas and refried beans. I put out a variety of toppings: hot salsa, jalapeno pepper slices, cut up scallions and sour cream. Very tasty, if I do say so myself. But, during the night, both Scruffy and I came to regret me having the second helping of refried beans...

Monday, painting...

I stopped at Home Depot on the way home to pick up a 3-inch paint brush. When I got home, I changed clothes and dragged out the painting gear and the ceiling paint. I cut in the attic steps molding and then rolled the flat bottom of the stairs.

Before I finished, Jake and Carla got home. Carla got to work on dinner. She took three boneless, skinless, cut a slit into them to make a pocket, filled it with blue cheese and secured it with toothpicks. She seared them on the stovetop, and then finished them in the oven. For sides she made redskin potatoes, unpeeled, mashed with sour cream and milk and some sweet corn. Delicious!!!

I cleaned up all the painting stuff while they cleaned up the dishes. Then, I retired to watch some TV and rest until Monday was over.

We're Baaaaaccckkkk!

The Administrator is still working on Photos and a few more things, but we are back up!!!

(Did you miss me?)

Monday, August 6, 2007

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, August 7, at 6:00 AM, the migration to the new site for www.pieceofferings.com will begin. This could take up to two days before we are back up and running.

Also note: your bookmarks to the main page should still work, but if you have bookmarks to, say, a particular recipe or a specific poem, these will no longer work.

I apologize in advance for any inconvenience but I think this will all be worth it when complete!

CaptainK

Rainy days and Sundays...

I woke up at 6:30 AM today. I read for a bit, put a pot of coffee on and then shaved and showered. I want to get that molding early before Home Depot fills up with shoppers. I looked outside and guess what? IT'S RAINING!!!

Now at Home Depot and there's a problem! No matching molding here. Went to Meijer's to get a few things, then headed for Lowes (10 miles away) figuring I must have picked it up there. NO! None there either!! I finally gave up an bought a piece that's the same size, but not the same look. I'm bummed...

Got home and cut the molding. Carla was frying two pounds of chicken gizzards for their breakfast/lunch and Jake was helping. I forgot I don't live alone and used the air nailer without warning them first, scaring the crap out of them both with the loud bang!

BTW, those chicken gizzards are quite addicting!

After spackling the holes, I put on a coat of primer on the bare wood of the attic steps and the new molding. Then it was time to leave. Jake and Carla made an offer on a house and today they are having it inspected. Since I haven't seen it yet, I'm going over in my own car and check it out. Before we left, Jake checked the rain gauge and we've gotten just about 1/4 inch, but the rain seems to be stopping. Hey, it's better than nothing!

Nice, nice house. The owner was a building contractor, so he basically updated everything along with adding on a family room, all done professionally and with high-end stuff. My only comment is that you could hardly call this a "starter house." I've had starter house and they sure didn't look like that! I checked the mileage on the way back and its right around 11 miles from my house.

When I got home, I took the rest of the pork loin that Jake had shredded this morning, added some BBQ sauce and put it on low to warm up for dinner. I changed clothes and started watching some taped TV shows.

They got home around 6:45 PM. Having never paid for a home inspection myself, I was interested to see what you got. Turned out to be a very comprehensive review of all the major items in the house (roof, furnace, A/C, etc.), with the report in a loose-leaf binder, along with information on how long things should last, and so on. Very professional and well worth it, in my opinion.

At my suggestion, we ate on paper plates (sandwich, chips and a dill pickle pears to cleanse the palate) on my bed while we watched the last two taped episodes of Fight Girls (it was a reality show about American women training in Thai martial arts and then going to Thailand to fight)

At the show's end, they departed to their bedroom and I watched my two Sunday night shows. I fell asleep before the final judgment on Iron Chef America. Jake woke me at 11:00 and asked if he could turn the TV down. I said turn it off and I switched to reading a bit before finally sleeping.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Saturday

I fell asleep watching the Friday Night Fights, but woke up later and switched to reading. I woke up for good at 4:00 AM. Too early to do anything, so I just read my book, then wrote yesterday's Blog. Finally, at 6:30 AM, I judged it to be light enough outside to commence watering the front lawn.

So, bearing in mind I now have houseguests, I snuck outside through the front door and set the sprinkler up, using my watch this time instead of my faithful stove timer, so as not to wake anyone up. I put on a pot of coffee and went back to reading, albeit in the living room instead of my bed.

Well, from the voices I hear, they are no longer asleep. So, now I am not so quiet as I make myself three soft-boiled eggs for breakfast. I am also moving the hose/sprinkler every 1/2 hour, and by 9:00 AM, the whole front yard is watered. Then I watered the patch of grass next to the reflecting pool (it's the one spot in the back yard that doesn't get much shade, you see.)

Then, onward and upward. First thing I want to do today is wash off the front porch. It's covered with dust from the road and too many spider webs. Since its supposed to be another hot day, I am hoping the carpet and the wicker furniture will dry quickly. So, I got a bucket of hot water and a brush. Then I blew off the porch, and then knocked all the cobwebs down with a broom. I hosed it all down, then brushed it with soapy water, and finally rinsed it many, many times. I set the washed off furniture and rocker in the sun to dry and went to the next project.

Today I want to get the attic stairs working. Carla has gone to an appointment and Jake went into the attic to see how much trouble this was going to be. Turns out NOT to be a big deal, really. We just reversed the nut with the extension the arm rides on, and it works! I still had to install the feet and secure the first two steps, but I can't find the hardware bag (hey, it's been a while, okay?) and none of my leftover screws are the right size.

But, by now Carla's back and they are leaving to run errands, so I wrote down what I needed and they will pick it up at Home Depot. I go out to the garage to cut the molding for around the attic stairs. Now, I bought this molding KNOWING it was "just" enough to make the pieces I need. Cut the one short side and the long side and put it up, using the air nailer. But, the next piece I cut the angle the wrong way. Maybe three inches total of scrap, but now I can't finish it!!!

So, I cut and installed the long side and will have to pick up more molding tomorrow to complete this project. In disgust at my own stupidity, I put away the primer and painting implements.

I turn my efforts to tonight's dinner. I have a pork loin thawed and give it a rub with both Emeril's essence and Old Bay seasoning and put it in the fridge to get happy.


Jake and Carla came back, and Jake screwed together the two bottom steps and installed the feet on the attic stairs. I am pleased as it is much, much more stable than the old one. (If I just hadn't screwed up that molding! Dammit!!!)

I set the grill up for indirect smoking, get the charcoal lit, added wet hickory wood chips and started smoking my loin (that didn't sound right, somehow). An hour later, I took three russet potatoes and cut slices in them (but not all the way through), slathered them with softened butter, seasoned them and wrapped them in two layers of tinfoil. I put them directly on the coals and set a timer so I would remember to turn them every 15 minutes.

Around 6:00 PM, the alarm on the meat thermometer went off, signifying an internal temperature of 150 degrees, so I pulled everything off the grill to let it rest. I steamed some frozen broccoli and added cheese to it for a side. Carla sampled it, and then fixed it a tad (thanks!)

We were playing cards then, but interrupted the game to eat (just as well, as I was getting my butt kicked in the game). Very, very good food, but I really should have made some sort of sauce for the pork loin.

After that, we went out separate way to watch TV and read as Saturday wound down to a close.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

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Any thoughts on what kind of birds these are? Please comment!!!

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The "money" shot!

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What kind of birds are these??

Name that bird!

At one point in the afternoon, I was working in the garage and Carla was sitting on the porch. Jake called us (quietly) and motioned to us to follow him. So, we did.

What he wanted to show us was a female bird, sitting on the roof. Her mate would swoop down, grab a seed and fly it back up to her!!! No shit! I saw it happen four times!

I couldn't identify the birds (they had a completely different beak than, say a sparrow). But Jake took several pictures (one he called the "money shot") so I invite you all to tell me the name of the species of birds that is so attentive to its mate. Go check out the Photos and, please, comment!

Viva, Viagra!

LMAO!!! I just saw a commercial for Viagra, where they actually sang "Viva! Viagra!'

There was a warning saying if you experienced an erection lasting more than four hours, you should call your physician.

Trust me, if I ever experience an erection lasting more than four hours, first I'd call my two ex-wives to brag it up and then call every woman I ever had sex with!

I stuck to the plan...

...and, the plan was to do nothing tonight!

Well, let's face it. If you've read even a little of this self-aggrandizing stuff I spew out day after day, you already KNOW I can't do "nothing."

So, when I got home from work, I changed clothes and threw my bedding and the clothes I just removed in the washer and then took care of dinner. Carla and I had agreed earlier that dinner tonight should be no-muss, no-fuss. So, I cut up the remaining Yukon Gold potatoes into nice-sized chunks, threw them into a pot with about 1/2 cup of beef broth, added a smoked sausage, sliced on an angle and topped it with the leftover sauerkraut. I brought that to a boil, then turned it to simmer and went out to finish watering the gardens.

I watered everything in back that wasn't directly in the sun, and then moved to the front. Sometime in there, Jake and Carla arrived home. I told them to eat when they wanted, there would be no big sit-down dinner tonight. They said they weren't hungry yet.

Later, Jake called out, "Your timer just went off." So, I paused long enough to hang up my shirt and pants then went back to watering. I got everything well-drenched by 8:00 PM.

I sat on the patio with them and chatted for a while and grabbed the camera to take a couple of pictures of the phlox (long time readers might remember me taking picture after picture of these last year, lol). They are much better this year but I promise, no more phlox pictures.

Jake asked what I had thought of the pictures he took of the petunias in the hanging baskets. I said, "Huh?" He said he was using one of the macro-lenses on his camera to try and show the dew on the petals and had put them on my desktop. I admitted not even noticing them, and said I would check the out and post them, so I did, along with the phlox pictures.

I made my bed, and then I made myself a plate of food, topping the sausage with spicy brown mustard. I made myself a drink and went in to watch the Friday Night Fights.

Friday, August 3, 2007

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The moment you've all been waiting for: This year's phlox!

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This year's phlox

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Photo, courtesy of Jake

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Photo, courtesy of Jake

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Photo, courtesy of Jake

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Photo, courtesy of Jake

Thursday's Tail...

When I got home, I started a load of clothes (no sense waiting until the weekend). Carla called and asked me to peel the shrimp in the fridge for dinner. But, I couldn't find any, so I got a bag out of the freeze and thawed it under running water (it's easy, really). I called her back to ask, "Tail on or tail off?" (it makes a difference in some recipes), but just got her voicemail. So, I left them on until she got home.

When they arrived, it was tail off, so I finished them up. I hung up my shirts and pants, and then I went out and watered the back garden while they made "Asian shrimp and noodle salad." It had noodles, soy, ginger, garlic, shrimp, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, green onions, basil, and cucumber. Eaten cold, it was delicious! And, perfect for a hot, humid day like today.

I went in my bedroom and watched TV until I fell asleep. And, that was Thursday!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cupidon and a brief shower

I stopped on the way home and bought some hot dog buns and sauerkraut. Jake and Carla will be late as they have a meeting with the realtor, and Jake said he wanted to make hot dogs and chips tonight.

I filled the birdbath and bird feeder and was amazed at how hot and humid it was, just being outside for a short time. I went back inside, panting, put the sauerkraut on, checked my email, and then hung my new picture in the bathroom.

I had bought a print of Cupidon painted in 1891 by William Adolphe Bougureau (1825 - 1905) for 50% off, a dark gray frame (also for 50% off) and some grayish-green matt board (regular pre-cut matt covered up some of the picture) all at Michaels. My friend B___ just bought a matt cutter and was anxious to try it out, so he took it all home yesterday with him to custom matt it for me. He brought it back today (excellent job, BTW. If you need a great photographer who also will do custom framing and matting, I can hook you up!)

So, I hung it over the toilet and was amazed at how well the colors go with the bathroom. It's perfect!

Funny thing was that when I Wiki'ed the painter, I saw the painting Cupidon (French for Cupid, BTW) and its Cupid, standing in a forest glade. But, the one I bought is cropped and just a close up of Cupid. I never saw a cropped painting before, but I think I like mine better.

I finally got a call from Luanne, explaining her itinerary (she's coming up for two weeks, starting next week, staying out at Mom's cottage during the weekdays with Jeremy's family and visiting Jake, Carla and I on the weekends).

Weird thing happened. The sun was out, but it thundered twice and rained (but only for about five or ten minutes and not hard - nothing showing in the rain gauge).

I chopped some onions for the 'dogs, and Jake broiled them in the oven. We assembled them (bun, then sauerkraut, hot dog, mustard and topped with onions) and ate them on paper plates with chips. I personally fantasized I had just bought them from a street vendor in New York. They taste like it, in my imagination, anyway.

Watched some TV, then switched to reading and fell asleep. Woke up during the night and shut the light off.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Tuesday

One of the other things I let go during the kitchen project was my car. The inside had been used to haul wood and supplies, I had left the read headrest off (so it would be easier to fold down the rear seats and there was trash and dirt on the carpets. So, on the way home tonight, I stopped at the quarter car wash and hosed it off, then used the vacuum to clean out the insides. I drove it home and wiped it dry outside, and then wiped the inside with a leather cleaner/protectant after installing the rear headrests. Now it looks more like my real car again.

I waited until Jake and Carla came home to start watering the front lawn (so they wouldn't have to drive over the hose). I used the timer on the stove and finished up just before 8:00 PM.

Dinner was a collaborative effort. Carla made a marinade and a topping for pork chops using a Bobby Flay recipe. Now, for you folks who are not "foodies" Bobby Flay is well known for his "Southwest" flavors, combining sweetness and hot peppers. In this case, it was a mix of pineapple, shallots and serrano peppers.

Meanwhile, I cut up some Yukon Gold potatoes and mixed them with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh parsley and fresh thyme and started grilling them. Belatedly, it dawned on me I should have used indirect heat, as I had to throw away about 1/3 of them because they burned.

Jake grilled the pork chops, I steamed some frozen sweet corn and we sat down to eat. Result? Well, the sweet corn was good, lol!

The pork chops were way too sweet and had almost no "bite" to them. The potatoes were either burned and cooked, or not burned but undercooked. We were all disappointed.

After cleanup, we went out separate ways. I watched TV and then went to bed, myself.