Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday's Dirty Deeds

Cold again today. I got home in a fairly good mood until I went into the living room... There was my new plant stand, tipped over and wedged between the table and my chair. The plant itself was on the floor behind the chair with a lot of the dirt spilled all over the place! Lucky for her, Caley was nowhere to be found.

So, this sucks! But, the table got righted, the dirt swept up and saved, and I took the plant into the kitchen. Using my counter top as a planting table, I replanted it about 3 inches deeper, to give it some stability. I tried to find a thin dowel I know is out in the garage to use as a plant stake, but no such luck. So, deeper it went and I can only hope the wobbliness is due to the shock of the accident and not an indication the whole plant is broken. We'll see...

I restarted the wash machine I had shut off yesterday at final rinse and then threw the clothes in the dryer.

I thought I needed something to cheer me up, so I made a personal favorite of mine, linguini with clam sauce (white). So, I still don't have anchovies, but I increased the salt a tad to compensate. When it all came together, I plated a big pile of it, topped it with Parmigiano-Reggiano and dug in... Now, that's good!

I hung up my clothes and then cleaned up the kitchen (a lot less mess cooking than replanting, I might add). I decided to rest a while on the couch with a book before watching TV, but I was engrossed and it got later and later. Last time I looked at the clock it was after 10:00 PM. Next time I looked at the clock, I had just woken up, still on the couch and it was 2:00 AM. I turned off the fireplace and the lights and went to bed for real.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday's Tale

Damn! It's cold again today. The temperature dropped dramatically from yesterday's high of 34 degrees F (1 degree C). I noticed it coming out of Meijer's yesterday as the wet drops on the car had frozen. But today, it struggled to get to 20 degrees F and the north wind accompanying it doesn't help any. I hate February!

But, it's only 23 days until spring! And, at 59+ years old, I have already done 21,069 days (not adding in or counting leap years) so I think I can do 23 more!

Random thought: My Mother, at 100+ years has dealt with 36,649 days (not adding in or counting leap years - hey, that's kinda hard, okay?) Whew! That's like taking it "one day at a time" the hard way! Keep on truckin', Mama!

I got home from work and started to work on my midweek ToDo list. I measured the drapes in my bedroom (84 inches). Why? One of my spring projects is to paint my bedroom (the only room left I have never touched) and I will need new drapes.

Then I got out my eggs and hardboiled six of them. Long time readers will remember this was a bi-weekly occurrence. But, since they closed Farmer Jack's (don't get me started) I had to switch to Meijer's and they don't sell eggs in 18-per-carton containers. But, Kroger's does! So, we are back on the "keep 12 for cooking and hard boil six for late night snacks or deviled eggs" plan.

I started the Wednesday night laundry and came in to write this. But then I had to quit and jump up to stop the washer. I forgot the damn broiler pan is in the laundry tub! Yes, (for shame) I left it soaking since Friday night (I HATE cleaning that thing!) So, I got it all cleaned and put away, then started the washer again.

I had planned on either making yet another fancy dinner or eating the leftover gourmet beef stew, but after yesterday's Comment that questioned my manhood, I thought differently. Note: I briefly toyed with the idea of asking any and all of the women I have known to chime in with their affirmations of my manhood but then realized something. As "unique and quirky" as they all were, they would probably stay silent, just for the "giggle" factor! So, instead, I decided to grill hot dogs and eat them with onions and plain yellow mustard, chips and beer, along with many a manly burp! Take that, oh ye of little faith!

So, the frozen hot dogs went into a pan of cold water to thaw and I went back to blogging (and, practicing my manly burps! I may even throw a few manly macho farts in there, who knows?).

Since it was late when I started the laundry, I decided to hold it at Final rinse and deal with it tomorrow.

I got a petition from the Paralyzed Veterans of America, which I signed and then forwarded it to every American I know. Hey, I understand if you don't support the war, but these men and women are serving our country, are all volunteers and deserve our respect and support. I have always been ashamed of how America as a whole treated the Vietnam vets, and anything I can do to support these vets, I will.

So, I put the cast iron griddle pan on two burners and fired it up. The hot dogs are now thawed and on they went. I have no buns, but I figure the buttermilk sliced bread I have will serve nicely. I diced the last medium yellow onion up and am anxiously waiting for my dinner. And, then it was done.

I ate it watching taped TV shows, but got bored, so I switched to my library book. I went to sleep just before 10:30 PM, still burping a tad.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stray Cats and Dogs

I keep a file called "Stray cats and Dogs" for snippets or thought starters, or whatever, that may (or may not) someday become poems. These have been in it so long, I figured I'd post them to get them out of the way!

"If you don't sleep, you don't have to dream"

and

"Dust motes dance in warm, spring sun,
a chorus of peepers, their song begun.
Fairy rings of toad stools sit and await
their honored guests by the garden gate."

(I really like the second one, and think it still may yet become a poem)

Tuesday, snow day...

The ride into work was a bit dicey. I did go out just before leaving and took 6 photos of my back yard. The evergreens had collected about 2 inches of wet snow and in the blue, pre-dawn light, were beautiful. However, my camera isn't good enough to capture that, and all I have is black background photos with the falling snow illuminated by the flash. Dammit! Anyway, you should have seen it!

On the way home, I stopped at Meijer's to pick up a few things I missed on my Saturday shopping. As a result, I didn't get home until 5:40 PM. One thing that is distressing me is my normal laundry detergent, Purex (which I couldn't find at Kroger's, only Purex "concentrate") was not at Meijer's, either! Just this new, stupid concentrate. So, I bought it, but I hope to God they didn't mess with it too much as it was one of the few laundry soaps I found I can use and not break out.

Yes, it's true! I have sensitive skin! Haven't you ever wondered how such a manly man as me can write poetry and not be gay? Now you know, it's my skin that's "sensitive" and the poetry oozes out of it like sweat on a hot July day...

Note: I think I just made myself ill, lol!

So, at home, it's stopped snowing but has turned sharply colder. Before it got too bad, I went out and refilled the suet cage (the squirrels have been having a fine old time, hanging on it and eating the suet). I went back inside and noticed that the juncos are back! What are juncos? They are little, dark birds with grey or dark white bellies. They seem to only show up in mid-winter in Michigan. If I think about it, I'll ask my Mother (the renowned Queen bird-feeder, bird-watcher) why that is...

I put this morning's coffee cup and last night's dishes in the dishwasher and noticed it was now getting full. So, I added the soap and turned it on. Then I went in and typed this into the blog draft. I'm not hungry yet, so it seems like a little TV watching or reading is in order.

I watched a taped No Reservations show and then popped my Marie Callender's Chicken Pot pie in the microwave for 11 minutes. Per instructions, after it was done, I let it sit in the microwave another five minute and then plated it This is the only microwave pot pie I know that actually turns the crust brown and crispy, plus it tastes great!

I ate dinner and then went back to the TV. I turned it off at 10:30 and switched to reading, until I finished the book and then went to sleep. I woke up to go to the bathroom, finished this then posted it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cocooning, waiting for the snow...

Slightly snowing on the way into work, lunch and coming home. We are supposed to get dumped on over the next 24 hours.

I didn't do any work, after work. I ate leftovers and when 8:00 PM rolled around, I did something I rarely do, watched network TV until 10:00. All sitcoms (How I met your Mother, Two and a half Men, Old Christine and a new one about a hotel with wacky occupants who's name I forget).

I switched to reading my book then and went to bed around 11:30 PM. Still no significant snow at that point, but when I got up for a bathroom trip around 3:00 AM, we probably had a good inch already and it was coming down hard.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, and still sunny!

I got up at 8:00 AM again! Damn! This puts the whole idea of making my stew early, letting it cool and then running it out to Mom's in jeopardy.

So, I hopped in the shower (still no shave!) and made it a quick breakfast of peanut butter on toast and coffee. Then I started my mise en place for the stew. I peeled and cut up two big russet potatoes into nice, bite-size chunks, peeled and then cut two carrots (on the bias) into one inch bites, thick sliced a whole tray of mushrooms and minced about two tablespoonfuls of garlic. Next I diced two cups of onions (3/4 sweet and 1/4 red onions, BTW) and 1/2 cup of celery. I dug out my big cast iron Dutch oven from the back closet.

Then came the messy part: I took each piece of meat out of the marinade, brushed off the herbs, onions and/or peppercorns and patted it dry with a paper towel. Yuck, and leaning over the sink is trashing my back!

That seemed to take forever, but I finally got it done. Then I put two cups of flour with some salt and pepper in a big baggie and put 5-10 pieces of meat in at a time, shook off the flour and browned them in two tablespoons of canola oil on medium heat. When they were brown, I pulled them out with a slotted spoon and repeated the process, over and over... and over...

When they were finally all browned, I put in the onions and celery for about 5 minutes, then 1 1/2 tablespoons of the garlic for another minute or so. I deglazed the pan with a cup of burgundy wine. Then I reintroduced the beef, added homemade beef stock, the potatoes, the carrots and my removable bundle of herbs (the "bouquet garnis" if you're French). I stirred everything and brought it to a boil, then turned it down to simmer for 2 hours (it's now 11:30 AM, BTW).

At 1:30, I checked the seasoning, and it was almost perfect. I added just a tad of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. I removed the herb bundle. Then I added the rest of the garlic, the mushrooms, 1/4 cup of fresh chopped flat leaf parsley and the peas. I am letting all that get happy for a bit, and then I'll make the dumplings.

Meanwhile, I am running the electric sweeper over all the floors to get up that damn Caley's hair. This hurts my back even more, so I quit cleaning after that. It's almost 3:00 PM and I am gonna try and take a nap to see if lying down for a while helps my back. I never got to sleep, but did get up at 4:00 and my back seemed a little better. We'll see.

I called my Mother to see how she's doing (still regretting not getting out there this weekend.). One of her hearing aids messed up, so she's probably having a bit of trouble listening to phone conversations. But, all in all, she seems fine. She said she was looking at a Gurney's Seed Catalog and just waiting for spring! Two days of sunshine is making all of us Michigander's hope for spring (I even checked to see if my crocus were coming yet... they are not!)

After I hung up from Mom, I made the dumpling dough, brought the stew back up to boiling and plopped them in (a heaping soup spoonful, about the size of an extra large golf ball, BTW). I'll cook them on simmer for 10 minutes uncovered and then 10 minutes, covered.

So, at 5:30 PM, I ate lunch/dinner. Very, very good. Nice dumpling consistency. Taste of the stew was excellent. I sometimes doubt if going through all the work is really worth it during the process. But it always seems like it is when I eat it.

So, I clean up the rest of the kitchen (its not that bad as I have been cleaning up all along). I get my book and read on the couch until about 7:45 PM, when I switch over to TV and my shows. I am a little annoyed that my one show was replaced tonight with the Oscar's, but that's the way it goes, sometimes, I guess. I went to sleep exactly at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunny Saturday

I went to sleep late last night, if you remember, so it was no surprise to me I didn't wake up until 8:00 AM. I made coffee and then moved to breakfast.

So, Poached Eggs, Trial 2: I poached the eggs this time for 7 minutes and put them on buttered toast, again. Perfect!!! Nice texture, but a runny yolk.

I took the bedding off and put it in the washer. I refilled my pillbox for the week and noticed I will run out of things by next weekend. So, I called CVS and refilled all five prescriptions, to be picked up today at noon.

Jake called and asked if I had a spare mouse for the computer. So, I got down my parts box and looked. Nope! Sorry!! But, I noticed the old kitchen wall phone was in the box so I dug it out. If I can't use it, I'll pitch it. I had a second cup of coffee and finally got in the shower at 10:15 AM (no shave today, I'm a rebel!)

I left on my bi-weekly errand run just after 11:00 AM. It's not that warm (about 32 degrees F) but it is a beautiful, sunny day to run errands. In order, I went to:
- Library (need new books!)
- Feed store (wild bird feed and suet cakes)
- Kroger's (main grocery shopping)
- Westborn (veggies and herbs)
- Party store for burgundy (need it for some beef stew, but hard to find these days. When did burgundy wine fall out of favor?)
- CVS (prescription refills and shaving cream)
- Murray's Auto Parts (new wiper blades)

I got back home at 1:30 PM. I unloaded and put away all the groceries, washed the herbs and left them to dry on the drying rack and then went out and replaced my windshield wipers (the ones I had put on the car two years ago were starting to streak). I lugged the 40 pounds of bird seed outside to the can and then refilled the feeder. I threw the bedding into the dryer and turned it on.

Next, I took the phone out to the garage. There's a wall plate and connection out there I've never used. Got the phone plugged in and mounted, then put on the charger unit. I'll check tomorrow if the phone still works and if that jack is still active. If so, I got a phone in the garage. If not, I'll pitch it.

I wrapped the semi-dry herbs in paper towels and put them in big baggies. I put them in the fridge and threw out the old herb bundles.

So, onto tonight's dinner and (hopefully) leftover's for Mom. I had bought four nice sized green peppers at Westborn (after testing each one to make sure it would stand up straight). So, I cut the tops off them and removed the core, seeds and ribs. Then I filled them with the extra filling from the cabbage rolls. I poured a can of tomato sauce on top them and into the glass baking pan. Then they went into the preheated 350 degrees F oven for just over an hour.

Meanwhile, I got the bedding out of the dryer and made the bed. Next, I started on the beef stew. I went through two pounds of thawed stewing beef and cut each piece as needed to try and get cubes of the same size. Next I made the marinade. Since I am using the recipe I created and is posted in this Blog, I won't bother to list it all here. The meat and marinade went into the fridge to sit overnight.

I got my mail and there was a letter from the Assessor's Office in Redford, advising me they are dropping the assessed value of my house by $1,100. I suppose I should be glad, but it makes me bummed, instead.

The stuffed green peppers were done and I was hungry, so I ate one. Hmmm... Very, very good! I filled out some bills to mail on Monday and did some routine bookkeeping.

I tried checking on TV to see how much the Pay-Per-View of tonight's heavyweight fight would cost. But, I couldn't find it listed. Annoyed, I called Brighthouse (my cable provider) and found it wasn't a Pay-Per-View at all, just on the normal HBO. I asked how much to turn it on for a month and he said, "$11.00." So, I said, do it!

It's after 8:00 PM, so I decided to quit for the night. I watched some taped TV, waiting for the fight, then watched that until midnight or something like that. Not the most thrilling fight, but my guy won, so I was happy (if a little tired) when I went to bed.

Dreams

I awoke at 4:30 AM during a very vivid dream. I was sitting in the kitchen of my family home on 24 Mile Road, talking with my sister.

Not so unusual. It's just shy of 30 years since her death, but I doubt a month goes by when I don't think of something I'd like to tell her or show her. She was the one sibling I had who seemed to understand me, who got my jokes, who I didn't have to explain what I meant when I said something...

I just don't get it, I guess. I've been down, depressed, broke, unemployed, beat up and beat down, hell, even locked in a jail cell a time or two and never, ever, once considered suicide as a viable option.

I love you! I hate you! But, mostly, I miss you, Anne...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Birthday/Christmas in February!

We had about one inch of heavy snow fall overnight, which made the trip into work on Friday a bit dicey, but by noon the roads were just wet, here.

5:00 PM and I hit the road for home (yes, banging the drum). I got home, turned the broiler on and just finished changing clothes when Jake and Carla pulled in the driveway.

This requires some background information. Three or four years ago, I saw an article in an upscale gardening magazine about a rather well-to-do couple and their yard. The one thing that interested me was that they had a wire metal frame of a pig, that they trained ivy to grow around. The pig's curly tail ended upward, and was sharpened. So, on the first party of spring they held each year, they would open a ceremonial bottle of wine and stick the cork on the pig's tail. I really liked both the look of that pig and the tradition of the first cork.

At the time, I was still building the armored Lincoln Continentals and had numerous fabricators working for me. So, I printed the photo from the magazine and asked the most creative one to make me that pig. He agreed and proceeded to make the framework on his own time. Meanwhile, I planted English ivy in the front garden in preparation for the framework. The last time I saw it, my fabbie had all the hoops made and the front of the pig and had just begun to weld it together. Unfortunately, the program ended and he was laid off! I never saw my pig again...

Flash forward to tonight. I got home and turned the broiler on, then changed my clothes. I sprayed the broiler pan with Pam, laid out the chicken wings and stuck them under the broiler. Jake and Carla just pulled up and I let them in. We chatted a while to catch up until the timer went off (10 minutes on the first side). I pulled out the pan and flipped them over (8 more minutes on this side). Meanwhile they brought in my birthday/Christmas present. The big box was wrapped on one half with Christmas paper and the other with birthday paper. There was a sign on top that said:

Merpy
Chrishday

Without much ado, I tore off the sign and paper. Inside was a wire sculpture of a pig! It was filled with moss and the idea is that you stake it in your garden, water the moss and plant something in the pig (ivy in my case!) Sweet!!! I gotta tell you, the one in the magazine, and the one my guy was welding, both kinda gave the "impression" of a pig. But, this guy really looks like a pig. I can't wait for Spring and to get him out there. Oh, yeah, I checked and his tail is too fat and pointing downward. Oh well, I don't drink that much wine, anyway! Thanks, guys. It was worth the wait!

We started to eat the chicken wings. Spicy, but I gotta say I like the McCormick's Jamaican Jerk Seasoning better. This did have a nice, hot after-bite to it, but it was a lot more "chunky" and messy.

We talked about maybe a pizza or something, but decide to give it up and go our separate ways. So, they left around 7:00 PM. I checked the TV and saw that Terminator II (Judgment Day) is coming on at 8:00 PM (I think it's the BEST of that series, BTW - I love the chase scene with the motorcycle and 18-wheeler!) so, I hurried up to clean up and get ready for an evening of pure escapism TV.

When that ended, I switched to ESPN's Friday Night Fights (which I set to tape). I was impressed with the Cuban fighter in the first match. I don't remember his name but he was a featherweight. However, he reminded me of a tiny Mike Tyson; same aggression and a wicked left hook. The fight was over before two minutes. He will be one to watch.
I turned off the TV and lights and went to sleep.

Friday, February 22, 2008

That Damn Cat!!!!

So, I got home and got the mail while the garage door was rising. I looked at the mail and every piece was for my next door neighbor. Annoyed, I put the garage door back down (security concern), drove next door and delivered it to him.

Then I came home for good. I walked into the kitchen and Scruffy was sitting there to greet me (and to get his treats). Caley, however, came shooting out of one of the bedrooms (like she was shot out of a cannon), jumped on the table, skidded into the placemat that holds my clay dish and the three wooden apples, knocking all of it to the floor and breaking the bowl into three pieces!

That scared her and she ran away, leaving me to pick up the mess. Now, long term readers will remember it breaking before and why (I do, but not "why") and me re-gluing it. However, I don't remember the glue I used. I have some of that Gorilla glue Lu likes, but its one of those "glue and apply pressure for an hour" ones. No good way to do that on a round clay bowl. So, I have to either remember what I did before or research it. Plus, I would really, REALLY like to kill Caley...

Moving along... I dumped a container of thawed chili into a sauce pan and slowly heated it up for dinner. While that was happening, I got the last of the chicken wings out of the freezer and set them up to thaw. Jake told me today they finally got my Christmas present (which had been back-ordered) and they would be coming over Friday night to drop it off. I know that they will want to get home (Friday night? I would!) So, dinner's out, but I thought I'd at least have a snack for them. But there's a problem (isn't there always?)

The last two shopping trips where McCormick's Jamaican Jerk Seasoning was on the list turned up bupkiss! None to be found! So, I searched the 'Net and came up with a recipe for making your own Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. I prepared that while the chicken wings were thawing.

So, if you ever need Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and are forced to make it yourself, just combine 2 tablespoons of dried, minced onions, 2 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of ground allspice, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. That will give you about 1/4 cup of Jamaican Jerk Seasoning. Since I needed between 1/4 and 1/2 cup, I just doubled the recipe.

To that, I added 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of orange juice (I juiced an orange I had on hand) 2 tablespoons of lime juice (another fresh lime, juiced), 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. I whisked it all together and let it sit, waiting for the wings to thaw. This will be the marinade that the wings sit in overnight.

BTW, there was a bunch of various recipes of Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, ranging for almost nothing at all, to "add fresh mangoes." This recipe was somewhere in the middle, which is why I chose it.

So, the marinade is made, the chicken wings still thawing, and I'm hungry. I put some chili in a bowl, topped it with a dollop of sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and two fine-sliced scallions. I took that into the bedroom to watch some TV. I ate that washed down with some Labatt's beer. I made this theory up years ago, but still believe it to be true: The "burpiness" of the beer helps relieve the eventual gas of the beans, later on...

At 10:00 PM, I put the wings and the marinade into a gallon baggie, massaged the bag and put it in the fridge. I headed off to bed and sleep.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sky Watching...

The first thing I did when I got home was to fill the bird feeder and replace the suet cake. I noticed that the huge "lake" from Sunday's rain had diminished considerably and had frozen solid. So, now I have the San Jose Ice Rink. I took a picture of it (I didn't have a chance to take a picture of my lake) and posted it. I also posted the photo of the computer wires I'd organized. Then I started the Wednesday night laundry.

Next, I called Luanne to relay my mother's thanks, but just got their voicemail. I checked the weather at both of my daughter's locations. Amy's was frigid and overcast, Melissa, cool and partly cloudy. So, I called Melissa to let her know about tonight's lunar eclipse.

I put the laundry in the dryer and checked on the plant stand. It was dry! So, I took the plant stand and, rearranging the furniture just a tad, put it in place. I trimmed up the plant and set it on top. Looks pretty good! Also took a picture of that and posted it. Hopefully, this will keep Joe's plant out of the cat's danger zone.

Luanne called back, so we talked for a short while. I mentioned the eclipse to her as well.

I wasn't really hungry, so I just had a bowl of chicken noodle soup for dinner. I set the stove alarm for 9:30 PM and went in to watch some TV. When the alarm went off, I went out on the porch and checked out the eclipse myself. It was really cool! It wasn't full yet, so there was still a slice of white, but the rest was a reddish/copper color. It was flanked by two bright lights (the Dog star and Saturn, I'd heard). It was too damn cold to stay out long, but it was pretty neat.

When I was back inside and warmed up a bit, I debated: more TV, book or sleep? Sleep won. Just before dozing off, I realized I hadn't taken the clothes out of the dryer. Oh, well...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

photo

Plant stand, in place, with trimmed-back plant. I sure hope Caley doesn't try and jump up on it!

photo

Lake San Jose drained a lot, but then froze solid, overnight!

photo

Neater computer wiring!

Tuesday's Trials...

I got home full of plans for the evening. But, Melissa called at 5:30 PM. We talked for a while, mostly about Gavin. However, she did bring up one thing that troubled me. She had to go to a doctor for something or another, and they asked her what her family medical history was. All, she could remember about my side of the family was her Grandma and my glaucoma. I told her there was a LOT more to it than that. So, after we got off the phone, I emailed my brothers to see if there were any new items to add to the ones I knew about. Carl sent me a comprehensive listing that I plan on emailing to all my kids, for their records. (Thanks, Carl!)

I sprayed polyurethane on the table top, but let it sit in the garage overnight. I am afraid of the fumes in the wintertime.

I called Mom and talked with her. Things seem to be going fine. She did tell me she got a letter from Luanne and asked me to thank her for it, and explain that she (Mom) can no longer write so well, so she can't answer it.

I got a voicemail from a friend who told me his daughter was accepted into her graduate program, so she will have her doctorate in 18 months! Congratulations!!

I made an interesting dinner. It's late, and I'm hungry, but don't want to fuss. I was going to just make some elbow macaroni and eat it with butter and salt (I like that), but at the last minute, I decided to kick it up a notch. So, I added two handfuls of frozen broccoli to the water before I added the pasta. I drained it when the pasta was done, added a lot of butter and salt and topped it with Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was delicious! But, it got me thinking...

What if I would have saut�ed some shallots and garlic in olive oil and butter and added it to the broccoli and pasta (instead of just butter), then topped it with the Parmigiano-Reggiano? I think I would have had a quick fix, Italian-style dinner I could add to the Captain's own recipes. I'm going to try that, and soon.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Does anyone know...

... the word that also means between night and dawn? I know it exists and it's NOT "pre-dawn" or "twilight" (both are acceptable, though). I just CANNOT think of that word!!!

Monday

I picked up my computer from Jake after work. He rebuilt it for me over the weekend by wiping the hard drive and reloading all the software.

So, when I got home, first I put some oversize cup hooks on the computer table. Then I started straightening all the cables, winding up the excess where I could and hanging them on the hooks. Next I plugged the computer in and tested it. Much better! So, I called Jake and he remoted in and did some things to make the web cam, the printer and my digital camera work.

Meanwhile, I stained the top of the plant stand and took a picture to post (and to check the camera settings).

So, I moved from working to eating. I just warmed up four more cabbage rolls and ate them. Next I finished up the last of the sweet and spicy coleslaw. What was I thinking?

I dunno, but the cats seemed to be asking the same question when the dreaded cabbage gas appeared...

Monday, February 18, 2008

photo

Plant stand with top stained

Rain, rain, go away!

I woke up at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning, went out to the kitchen and heated up a cup of coffee. I checked outside from the kitchen windows. The freezing rain is pulling down the evergreen branches in the back. I went and looked out the front window, just in time to see a car go sideways on the road and miss my new mailbox by inches!!! The car spun all the way around and ended up on the townhouse lawn. But, that got him/her off the ice and onto some crunchy snow, so they slowing drove back out and onto the road again.

I think I'm glad I planned to stay inside today!

I wrote and posted the Blog (seemed to take forever) and then at 9:30 AM, I went to make some breakfast. Today it was poached eggs on toast. Unfortunately, I poached the eggs about one minute too long. Why? Because I like the yolks runny, but these were semi-hard. Not bad, though, not bad!

Next, I went out to the garage and used spray polyurethane on the stained parts of the plant stand. It's warm enough now to be raining, but cool enough that I think it will be a while before it dries.

Moving right along, I put the last of the weekend laundry in the washer and then go and shave and shower. Now, its time to start prepping for dinner. Remember how I screwed up the cabbage for the Galumpkis, trying to save some of the raw cabbage? Well, it's because I wanted to try the Neely's Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw. I didn't have near enough cabbage left (recipe calls for two pounds), but I have enough to make for one person. So, I put the large hole grater attachment on my food processor and cut the remaining cabbage so it would fit down the feed tub. Then I peeled a carrot (again, recipe calls for 4 carrots) and cut it into chunks. I ran the cabbage through the processor and added enough carrot (I had one chunk left) until it looked "right." Then I fed in 1/2 of a yellow onion.

I put that in a bowl, tossed it around to mix and made the sauce. Obviously, I cut it in half, but here's the original amounts and process. You whisked together 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of yellow mustard, 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne (yes, cayenne). I tossed the dressing with the cabbage mixture, and seasoned it with salt and pepper, to taste. You are supposed to cover this and let it refrigerate for at least two hours before serving, but I ate a big bowl of it on the spot! Whew! That cayenne gives it quite the kick!

While washing dishes, I was looking out the kitchen window. I noticed that, due to the higher temps, melting snow and the freezing rain that since turned into an all-day rain-rain, Lake San Jose has reappeared in my back yard.

I washed up all the parts of the food processor. Those plastic parts seem to take forever to air-dry. Then, I went out to check on the plant stand. It's been two hours (at room temperature it's supposed to dry in 15 to 30 minutes) but it was still a little sticky. But, it was dry enough for me to assemble. I screwed on each leg and then tapped the wooden plug in the screw hole. I carried the plant stand into the house to further dry. I'll have to stain the top tomorrow, I guess.

I took the laundry out of the dryer and folded or hung up everything. Then I finally got around to putting the potato soup left over from Friday night into two freezer containers and into the freezer. Now, its 3:30 PM and I am taking a break after taking the steak out to come to room temperature. I got my book and laid down, with the TV on soft to the Daytona 500 race. BTW, the rain had stopped a while ago, but its back now and coming down steady. Not looking forward to driving to work in the morning, if the temperature dips.

I went out in the kitchen at 4:30 PM and rubbed Montreal steak seasoning into both sides of the steak. At 5:30, it was time to make dinner. So, I got two similar sized russet potatoes, punched holes in them with a fork, rubbed them with Crisco and baked them in the microwave. I cut off the bad spots on that cauliflower and cored it (without cutting myself!) That went into a small pan of salted water. I used Jake's steak-broiling method (not wanted to clean that damn broiler pan again) of tinfoil on a cookie sheet and topping that with a rack. The steak went on the rack and under the broiler for 8 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other. Meanwhile, I diced up a small shallot and saut�ed that with the rest (maybe 8 or 9) of the Crimini mushrooms (shallots and mushrooms are best friends, you see).

When the steak was done, I let it rest and redid the potatoes for another 3 minutes (they were still hard on the fork test). Then I plated. The steak got a medallion of the blue cheese compound butter and then was topped with the mushroom/shallot mix. The baked potato was sliced open and squeezed, then topped with butter, sour cream and two sliced scallions. I drained the cauliflower and topped it with butter and salt.

I thought of taking of picture of my dinner, but thought that was a bit much. But, believe me, it tasted better than it looked and it looked pretty damn good!

I cleaned up the kitchen and at 7:45 PM, quit for the night. I went in to watch my Sunday night shows, and went to bed at 11:00 PM. I looked outside before hitting the sack and didn't see any rain or snow, but did noticed the wind had really picked up. I'm not quite sure what that will men for the morning commute.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday and Poland's calling...

I woke up at 5:30 AM, debated whether or not to try and get more sleep, but gave up, got up and made coffee. I stripped the bedding and put it in the washer. Then I tackled the kitchen (what a mess!) I filled the dishwasher and got it going, then hand-washed the things that require it (Calphalon non-stick frying pan, chef's knife, and the inside and top of the crock pot).

Next, I made my breakfast. I'd found a small baggie with some of that ham in it in the fridge, so I made a tri-fold ham and cheese omelet. I used shredded extra sharp cheddar for the cheese, BTW. I cleaned up that mess and then shaved and showered. I have a 9:30 barber's appointment.

After the barber, I went to Kroger to pick up a few things for dinner, then Westborn Market for my veggies. At Westborn, I looked at the list and saw I forgot two items at Kroger's. Unfortunately, they did not carry them at Westborn, so back to Kroger's I went! Luckily, it was still early yet, so it wasn't too crowded. On the way back, I stopped at the quarter carwash and hosed off the car. Now, I know we are supposed to have freezing rain tomorrow morning, then rain, and finally turning to slushy snow Sunday night into Monday. But, I have, like, a 1/4 inch of salt crust all over the car and that can't be doing the finish any good! I got back home just after 10:30 AM.

Once home, I unpacked my groceries. Then I got busy making a fixture to hold the plant stand's table legs while I stain and polyurethane them. I took a chunk of 2 x 4 (long enough to have the weight to not tip when I stick the legs on it) and wrapped a piece of electrician's tape around a 5/16" drill bit just short of the length of the wooden dowels I had glued in to the legs a few days ago. I drilled three holes, stopping when I got to the tape. I got my sawhorses and a piece of plywood, covered it with a piece of white plastic I'd saved from something and was ready to stain the top's bottom, the center pole and the three legs. The plan is to stain and polyurethane them, let them dry, assemble the table, and then stain and polyurethane the top last.

I'm using a cherry stain as the end tables and the display table in the living room all have a reddish cast to them. So, I kinda want them to match as well as they can. I switched to my old glasses; the one's where the lenses started to delaminate. I still suspect it was staining all the wood in the kitchen remodel and living room molding that did it! And, I don't want to screw up my new (well, newer) glasses.

I thought I had everything stained, twice, and was just about to take off my rubber gloves when I remembered the three wooden plugs (that covers the three screw that will hold the legs on). So, I grabbed them, stained them and then cleaned up. I'll let the stain soak in and check on the color. This table is pine, of course, so it's not as dark as I'd like.

While that is soaking in, I get the bedding out of the dryer and remake the bed. Now, it's the electric sweeper to deal with Caley's hair fallout. Just doing that has aggravated my back again. So, I quit when the hair was all gone. I'll vacuum and dust mop next weekend, when my back will be all better (hopefully).

Okay, I'm making a compound butter, first, that I'll use a little of on Sunday. I let two sticks of butter come to room temperature, and then added about 1/8 cup of fine-diced shallots, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a chuck of gorgonzola cheese. Using a fork and a lot of muscle, I blended it for a long time. Then I put it on a piece of Saran Wrap and molded it into a log shape, rolled it up, then rolled that in tin foil, labeled it and popped it in the freezer.

I switched over to prepping for tonight's dinner. I was thinking Polish, again, and decided to make Galumpkis (cabbage rolls), perogies and either fresh rutabagas or cauliflower. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, not really. Jake and Carla are coming over to play cards, so I'll have plenty of taste testers.

So, I messed up, first thing out of the gate! I'm using (but not) three different recipes as my guide. All of them said to core the cabbage and put the whole head into boiling water, parboil it a bit and you can just peel the leaves off. I thought, "That's crazy! I only need about 10 leaves and I'll use the rest of the cabbage for something else."

Dumb! Not one of the leaves I tried to "peel" came off whole! They all ripped, and I had to throw away half. The ones I did use were all tore up and the resultant cabbage rolls looked like crap! Take this ole boy's advice; parboil the whole head after coring!!!

Anyway, the cabbage leaves went into boiling water and I started on the filling. I saut�ed a nice big onion, medium diced. I added a pound of hamburger and a pound of ground pork. When that was all nicely done, I added some diced shallots (I am really fixated on shallots, as you may have noticed. I love that flavor) and garlic. I seasoned it with some of Emeril's Essence (you can buy it in the spice section, but I just make my own) and some dried oregano. I added a good splash of Worcestershire sauce and a can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. I was letting that get happy when the doorbell rang.

It was Jake and Carla! But, not at the usual 4:00 PM! It's like, just after 1:30 PM or so. No respect for tradition!!! They are supposed to come over at 4:00 and wake me up from my afternoon nap, not 2 1/2 hours earlier and find me prepping dinner! Oh well, I must carry on, anyway...

So, I make up some tomato sauce for the Galumpkis, by mixing a can of tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes, seasoned with just salt and pepper (I figure the filling is seasoned enough to carry the dish). I first tried to use my casserole dish, but it was too small. I was going to use an aluminum cake pan, but Carla reminded me that aluminum and the acid in tomato sauce don't mix well. So, I ended up using two glass dishes (a 9 x 13 and a 9 x 9). I put a good amount of filling on each leaf and rolled them up, as best as I could, given their condition. I secured each roll with a toothpick. I splashed tomato sauce on the bottom of each pan, and then put in the cabbage rolls. I topped the rolls with the rest of the tomato sauce, covered them with tin foil and stuck them in the garage to keep cool until we were ready for dinner.

We started playing cards (I forget the name of the first game. Skip-Bo? I dunno!) When each had won a round or two, we tried to switch to Uno. But, we learned the batteries to the Uno gizmo were dead and they were "C" batteries, the one kind I didn't have spares for. So, we switched to Scrabble.

I got SLAUGHTERED!!! It didn't help that Jake successfully used all seven of his letters once and got the 50 bonus points. I got hung up on trying to use the "Q" and the "U" instead of concentrating on making other words and points. I don't remember the exact final score (thank God!) but Jake had well over 200 points, Carla was a close second and I had fewer than 100... Not one of my finer Scrabble games!

Time to start dinner. I put the cabbage rolls in the oven for 30 minutes, after preheating it to 375 degrees F. I got out the rutabagas, but Carla said the time she's tried it, she didn't like it (but it was in a roast, and I didn't like it that time, either). So, I got out the cauliflower and it had black spots on it. We ended up using frozen sweet corn. I boiled the perogies and then kept them warm in a skillet with onions and butter in it.

Results? The cabbage rolls were excellent, if I do say so myself. The three of use ended up eating all but one in the 9 x 13 pan. The perogies and onions, topped with sour cream and the sweet corn, topped with butter and salt, were good choices for sides.

Carla made a pot of after-dinner coffee and we played "Kings in the Corner," each of us winning enough so everyone felt good about it (not like that damn Scrabble game, lol!) Despite my protestations, Carla insisted on cleaning up the kitchen. Jake went to check on my computer (it's acting funky) and I just carried the conversation back and forth between the two of them. Finally, they were done, gathered up their stuff and left about 7:30 PM. Nice Saturday visit and dinner!

Well, I'm full and have nothing much to do, so I grabbed my book and stretched out on the living room couch, listening to the radio (still on from Saturday Morning, Over Easy this morning). Not sure when I dozed off, but I know it was before my brother, Jim, called at 9:30 PM to thank me for the birthday card I sent (he did leave a voicemail).

I woke up at 12:30 AM, shut off the music and the lights and went to bed. I noticed that the moon was bright and beautiful overhead and there was no sign of freezing rain.

photo

Bottom of the top and center pole of plant stand, stained

photo

Fixture to dry plant stand legs

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Finally Friday!!!

Friday was a long day at work. I was finishing up a policy paper I'd been writing all week and then came the editing. Having worked for a newspaper as a teenager and a technical writer for several years, I am really not comfortable editing my own work. But, that's what I had to do. I got it done and sent it to Jake. He read it first, found several items that we either don't have or don't do and suggested the right people in the department to review it. Thanks!

My friend B___ was otherwise occupied for lunch, so I picked up Jake and we went to my house. He warmed up the potato soup he brought for him and I made a cold roast beef sandwich for me (potato bread and spicy brown mustard, with a pickle and chips, of course).

Finally five o'clock, heading home and banging the drum! I had thawed out some chili I froze when I last made it for tonight's dinner, but I kept thinking about that potato soup (hey, it smelled great!) So, I dug out a pack of frozen bacon (along with a pound of hamburger and a steak for the weekend dinners) and waited for it to thaw. The chili went back into the fridge.

When, at last, the bacon was pliable enough to work with, I made the potato soup recipe in this Blog. Again, I noticed the recipe as posted is not complete (what was I thinking?) I tell you to fry 1/2 pound of bacon until it's crispy, but never tell you to crumble it and sprinkle it on top the bowls of soup, along with some finely-sliced scallions, when you serve it! Sorry, I didn't tell you that, but hopefully you figured it out.

I was eating dinner at 9:30 PM (bacon took a while)! So, I left the mess (well, I did soak things) for the morning. [Note to Self: This is the second time this week you've done that! You're getting lazy, man!] I grabbed the next library book and started reading, until I fell asleep. I woke up at 2:00 AM for a bathroom break and finally shut off the light and officially went to sleep.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Okay, I don't remember so good...

... but, doesn't the trailer for the new movie "Jumper" sound a LOT like a network series maybe 15-20 years ago starring (I think) Scott Backula (sp)???

No idea what it was called, but the guy shifted from time periods, etc.

(Am I making this up?)

Thursday's Tale

Remember how I just goofed off yesterday, trying to placate my back? Well, now I have laundry to do. So, everything dirty to date goes in the washer. I watched the news and then Family Guy while waiting for it to finish. Oh, BTW, my back is a little better today. It only hurts when I am getting up from a chair or the bed

Too late for the plant stand! Damn cat (I think it was Caley, of course) broke off two of the three stems of the plant my grandson Joe gave me. I'm gonna cut it back and hope it makes it, finish that plant stand over the weekend and get the plant up out of everybody's way.

I used the last of the ham up for dinner. I fried it to get it warm and put it and American cheese on bread. Then I buttered the sandwich outside and grilled it. I plated it with some chips and the now familiar dill pickle spear. Tasty!

Nothing on TV, so I read a magazine I got in the mail today until bed time (which, tonight, was 9:30 PM)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

T-Shirt Quote

~ Author Unknown

"If you're not living on the edge,
you're taking up too much space!"

Back Breaking!

My back is still aching. So, when I got home, I thought I'd maybe get in a quick nap. I took some Aleve and went and lay down. Nap? No such luck. But it did seem to help a bit.

It would be easier to tell you the things I didn't do Wednesday night. I skipped the normal Wednesday night laundry load. I didn't make dinner and just ate left over Shrimp Scampi and fried eggplant (I say "just" but both were still excellent, the second time around). I didn't even clean up the kitchen, but left it for the morning.

I checked the TV listing and found TMC was going to show "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara (from the '50s, set in Ireland, you know the one) so, I watched that and when it was over, I just went to sleep with two more Aleve.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I wish I liked winter, better...

Well, we got dumped on again with snow. The National Weather Service posted a Snow Advisory first, then that was upgraded to a Heavy Snow Warning. And, even though there was light snow off and on that started around midnight, it started snowing hard around 4:00 PM, just before rush hour.

I did get on the expressway to go home, figuring they would be the first to be plowed and salted. Nope, Nothing! I saw two cars off on the side of the road and two more near-miss accidents and decided this was nuts! I got off at Farmington Road (about two miles after I got one and three miles short of my real exit. I just crawled along the surface streets at a maximum speed of maybe 20 MPH, sat through each light two and three times and eventually got home at 5:35 PM.

My back is still killing me, BTW. I keep hoping it will improve and fear it will get worse.

I putzed around a bit and then read my book with a pound of shrimp thawed. I debated whether I should make Linguine with Clam Sauce (White) or Shrimp Scampi over Linguine. I'm missing ingredients for both (anchovies for the Linguine with Clam Sauce and a fresh lemon for the Shrimp Scampi. But, I do have one of those squeeze bottles of lemon juice for emergency, so I decided to go with the Scampi (its hard to fake an anchovy).

I dug out my recipe and saw that was one of the ones Carla, Jake and I had played with back in the day, as changed amounts and ingredients were written in by hand. So, other than the fresh squeezed lemon juice (which I could substitute) and the lemon zest (out of luck, there) I made it the way we had decided it tasted best. And, you know what? We were right!

Damn, that was good!!! I ate way too much. I cleaned up the kitchen and looked for my book again. I never watched any TV and ended up finally falling asleep after 11:00 PM.

A fellow poet's work

A woman in one (actually, I think she's in two) of the poetry groups I belong to wrote the following poem. I don't know much about her (none of us "know" each other, really) although I do know she lives in Texas and has five kids and at least one horse. When I read this, I thought it was a very powerful piece of work, so I emailed and asked her permission to post it here. She agreed.

I think this may be the saddest poem I ever read...

I remember; ba, Mama,
Bite Mommy,
Hold me Mommy,
Mommy help me tie my shoes.

I remember; Mama tie this bow,
Mom, I'm starved!
Where's my socks, Mother?
Mother, would you help me on my homework?

Yes I remember all this.....
Mom, can you come over and help with the baby?
Mother, I'm hurting, hold me again, make it all better,
Even though, not a word was ever said.

Now I stand here alone, pleading with sorrow filled eyes,
Help me please?
All I hear is
............ ......... ...silence

Yes I remember, unbelievably, all of you don't.

Joyce Gosdin
2/8/2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, moaning (really)

I woke up Monday morning to brutal cold (2 degrees F) and a very sore back. So sore, I could barely get out of bed; and I was very afraid Phase II would be getting those damn back spasms. Fortunately, although it ached the entire day, those never showed.

How did that happen? I really don't remember lifting anything that heavy on Sunday. I did clean the house, which in my case does mean a lot of bending and reaching with vacuum cleaner, electric sweeper, the dust mop and the wet mop. And, that certainly could have done it. I just don't know...

When I went to work, the garage door wouldn't open! I kept pushing the button, it tried to go up and down and finally it went up with a loud pop! I'll have to check that out after work. I need that garage!!!

I got home, got the mail from inside the car and pushed the garage door opener to get in. Same thing! After three or four tries, it "broke free" and went up. So, before I went in the house, I checked it out. There was a line of frozen mud/water along where the bottom seal touches the floor. So, I sprinkled rock salt along that line. Then I sprayed the rubber seal with WD-40 (which is supposed to displace water). Then I raised the door and stopped it as each panel started to open. I sprayed each wheel, hinge and the metal between the panels, also with WD-40, just in case there was water freezing somewhere. I'll have to wash the oil off the door panels, come Spring, of course.

Not feeling that perky, dinner was semi-homemade. I did cut the acorn squash in half, added butter and brown sugar and baked it at 375 degree F for over an hour. Meanwhile I sliced up some of the leftover roast beef, warmed it in the microwave and spread it on two pieces of bread. I topped it with store-bought beef gravy (about 1/4 of a jar). So, an open-faced, hot roast beef sandwich and half a baked acorn squash was dinner.

I did watch Family Guy before dinner. But, after eating, TV seemed like a bad thing for my back, so I got my book and read until about 9:00 PM. I took two Ibuprofen, turned off the light and went to sleep.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Frigid Sunday

I woke up Sunday morning just after 7:00 AM and immediately checked the thermometer. It's at 8 degrees F (-13 degrees C) and a strong wind is blowing. I warmed some of yesterday's coffee in the microwave and went in to write and post yesterday's Blog.

The sun is shining and the wind is blowing all the loose snow around, so the sunlit, swirling snow is quite a beautiful sight. But, I ain't going out there!!! I skipped breakfast and by 10:30 AM, I'd shaved, showered and had dinner in the slow cooker.

I did my usual, but never the same, roast beef. This time, it was all about using things up. So, instead of my normal russet potatoes, I quartered about 10 smaller redskin potatoes that were starting to sprout. I did use three carrots, but I also threw in two sliced big parsnips that were starting to look tired. I briefly debated peeling, seeding and then cutting into chunks the acorn squash I'd got out last night before Melissa's call, (hey, it might have worked, ya know?) but I decided I'd really rather have it baked. So, it went back outside to the root cellar. I added two small whole, peeled yellow onions to the veggie mix.

I used the rest of the homemade beef stock (I thawed it for my Polish comfort food back on the 1st) and the rest of the white wine (I know, I usually use a good, hearty red, but its all about "using things up" remember?) from the Tilapia en Papillote I made for B___. I massaged my house seasoning into both sides of a beautiful, bone-in roast (instead of the usual Montreal Steak Seasoning). That went on top the veggies. Then I surrounded the roast with nice-sized Crimini mushrooms, splashed the roast with Worcestershire sauce, topped the roast with fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary herbs (stems and all) and topped all that with onion rings cut from a big, sweet white onion. I turned the slow cooker on high and walked away.

Sometime after I had put the kitchen and bathroom throw rugs up on the daybed to wash the floors, one of the cats decided the bathroom rugs was a GREAT place to cough up a hairball (hey, I'd much rather it was on something I can wash as opposed to, say the living room rug!) So that and the downstairs vinyl shower curtain went into the washer.

Now, onto darning my slipper socks. I sat in the living room (listening to Sunday Morning, Over Easy) and just took my time, weaving the thick thread back and forth. I was right! I needed the wooden darning thingie as a backer for this or it wouldn't have worked. But, it worked GREAT!!! I am very proud of this, BTW and the saleslady at Joanne Fabric's can just bite me! I took a better "before" picture (with a black sock stuffed under the hole so you can really see it and then an "after" photo and am posting now.

So, it is just before noon and I have calls to make. I called Luanne to see how she's doing, but had to just leave a voicemail. I called Mom and she was eating lunch (my split pea soup). She told me that my sister-in-law, Jean (Pete's widow) had visited her. Jean said a bunch of the St. Mary's alumni are planning an "anybody who ever went to St. Mary's" reunion on September 21, 2008. Since I am never invited to the normal reunions (as I didn't "graduate" from St. Mary's) I just might go...

I went into the bedroom and started to read, to fall asleep. But, the phone rang around 1:30 PM. It was Luanne. She's doing a lot better, and is now only using a cane to walk. They've had a couple of "surprise" goat births and the resulting trials. Apparently, the "brush goat" (I'm not sure if that's a breed or just a term - she says they look like little deer) bucks are able to breed at 13 weeks and they didn't get them separated in time.

After hanging up with Lu, I decided to watch a movie, so I dug out GI Jane (Jeremy & Jyl gave it to me as a present a few years back), which is where I was reminded about D. H. Lawrence's poem I posted.

Jake & Carla called around 5:30 PM and we caught each other up on recent activities. Then it was time to eat! I wouldn't say it was one of my best roasts, but it was warm and filling and just "hit the spot" on this cold day.

I cleaned up the kitchen and got the last load of laundry in the washer. By the time that was in the dryer, it was time to watch my Sunday night shows. I still wasn't sleepy, so I read until about midnight and then went to sleep.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A lesson to us all in these troubled times...

Self-Pity

~ D.H. Lawrence

I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself

Detroit, Michigan ONLY post...

NEXT MASTERCARD COMMERCIAL:

Secret weekend rendezvous with girlfriend - $3,500

Lease new Ford Expedition for wife - $25,000

Using a city charge card like your own - $212,000

Legal fees for whistle blowing cover-ups - $9,000,000

Pending lawsuits against the city - $150,000,000

Exposing the Mayor and his girlfriend for lying under oath...

Priceless!!

There are some things money can't buy

For everything else there is the "Kwame card".

Just ask the Taxpayers of Detroit:

"I did not have TEXT with that woman".

photo

Slipper Sock Blowout, BEFORE, with a black background. I deleted the first one, because you couldn't really see the hole.

photo

Slipper Sock Blowout, after darning! Looks pretty damn good, doesn't it? I freakin' ROCK!!!

Saturday's Story

I got up for real at 7:00 AM on Saturday. It was snowing so hard at the time, it was like a white out! Seriously, I couldn't see the trees in the backyard. But, that only lasted about 1/2 hour and then it stopped. I made some coffee, and then fried up some ham and two eggs over easy. This, along with buttered toast, was my breakfast.

I'm not quite sure why, but I'm not all that anxious to get going today. And, given my "live in the NOW" beliefs that I eagerly embraced in the late '60s, I am just easing into the day. My famed "To-Do" list will have to wait until I get around "To-Do"ing it!

But, I finally do get going and hit the shower (I declined to shave today, still stuck in that hedonistic mode). Another cup of coffee and I hit the road on my weekend errands. My plan is to get everything done today (when its supposed to be at or above freezing with some snow or rain or wintry mix) and then just hibernate tomorrow when, as my daughter Amy alluded to in her comment yesterday, we have an Alberta Clipper coming (Thanks, CC!)

Speaking of Alberta (Oh, you should see it! The mountains, the open spaces and the cattle ranches between the modern cities, it's really a gorgeous place, but you REALLY have to like cold and snow!!!) I thought I'd do a quick check of the predicted highs / lows for Sunday. Redford, Michigan (me): 14 degrees F / 6 degrees F.; Rogers, Minnesota (Amy): 0 degrees F / -8 degrees F. And, Canada Cathy's home town in Alberta, Canada (where this is all coming from)? 25 degrees F / 12 degrees F!!!

Then, just for fun, I thought I'd check my daughter Melissa's forecast for Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina: 60 degrees F / 29 degrees F. Damn, girl! I am worried about you! Don't forget your sweater!!!

Okay, enough sarcasm. I headed out about 10:30 AM and got home at 1:30 PM. I did the bulk of my shopping at Meijer's. Now, for those of you who don't shop at Meijer's, they don't have bag boys. The cashier scans each item and then put it in plastic bags hung on a carousel of sorts. As they fill out, she spins the carousel and then you take it off and put it back in your basket. You become, in fact, an unpaid bag boy for yourself! Anyway, there seems to be two extremes to this process. Depending on which checkout person you get, they either pack each bag too full, things fall out going home and you have to repack everything in the trunk before you carry it into the house or they only put, like, two items in each bag and you end up with a couple dozen bags for your trip. This particular woman was the "too many bags" kind.

The weather doesn't know what to do! It either rained or snowed throughout most of the trip. My errands ended at the library and then I drove home. After carrying in and unpacking all those damn bags, I started cleaning the house. I got all the cat hair sucked up everywhere and the kitchen and bathroom floors washed while my bedding went from bed to washer to dryer and back. I read while the floors dried, then made up the bed.

My lunch consisted of the last burger and the end of my split pea soup. Both tasted great! That freshly-made bed was calling to me, so I laid down for a nap at 4:00 PM and slept until 5:30.

Hmmm... what's for dinner? Not sure yet, but I got out an acorn squash from my mini-roots cellar. My plan is to stain the plant stand (while its still warm enough in the garage) and then darn my slipper socks while watching TV. Sounds like a plan, right? NOT!

Melissa called at 7:00 and we talked and we talked and we talked... Finally, after 9:00, I said I had hang up and eat some dinner. She thought I'd already eaten, but I explained I don't usually eat dinner until around 7:30 PM. So, we said our goodbyes, but it's too late for anything fancy now. I just grilled hot dogs on the grill pan and ate three of them with yellow mustard on buns. I went in and watched a taped version of Jamie Oliver's new cooking show. Then I turned off the TV and read until after midnight when I finally went to sleep.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

One of the most hilarious quotes I've ever read...

...but then I thought about it, and, IT'S TRUE!

"Man, the Spears clan might be the only American family in which the 16-year-old unwed pregnant daughter is the good kid, huh? Ironically, Jamie-Lynn is an angel compared to her scandalous sis."

Does anyone know...

... what the term is for words that, when you say them, sound like the noise you are describing? (Yes, I know I am not explaining that well, BTW) Words like "zip" or "zapped" or "plop"?

I know there really is a term for this phenomenon, I just can't think of it. Why am I asking? Well, I wondered if "dollop" is one of them. It sorta sounds like it should be...

photo

I came across this old photo of me, applying camo face makeup before going bowhunting. The shaggy hair and beard should tell you, this was a LONG time ago!

Wait! is that a person? Is that a bush? Why, I just don't know!

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Sock Darning Wood Thingie

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Plant Stand Legs and Hardware

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Assembling Plant Stand Center Pole to Top

It's Friday Night! Darn it!

Do you remember the two pair of slipper socks that Luanne and Sadie gave me for Christmas? Well, last week when Jake and Carla were over, they pointed out that one slipper of the first pair I am using is getting a hole in the sock part near the toes.

So, after lunch today, having no real missions, I suggested we stop at JoAnn Fabrics and get some darning needles and thread so I can fix them. Every year when I was a small lad, my Mama Rene (pronounced "Reen" as though you just left the "I" off of Irene and that's probably why my oldest brother George started calling her that as a child. Whatever it was, it stuck and we all called her that! She was my Mother's Mother) would come and stay at our house for a week or two. While she was there, she'd sit in the living room and darn all our socks that had holes in them. Even though that was 50 years ago, I watched her closely (fascinated) and am pretty sure I can duplicate her efforts. Although Mama Rene used a wooden "thing" that you stuffed inside the sock that I'll have to try and fabricate.

We looked through the "notions" section but didn't see anything about darning. So, I asked a passing saleswoman (around my age) where I might find supplies for darning socks. She stopped in her tracks, opened-mouthed and said, "Nobody darns socks anymore!" I said, "Okay, then where would I find supplies if I wanted to darn socks, even though nobody does it?" She said, "Well, they don't even make darning cotton anymore, but I guess you could use the thicker embroidery thread and a large-eye needle, and that's in the rear of the store in the right side."

I went back there and found a thick (No. 5) thread in the right color and a No. 14 set of needles, a couple of which looked long enough. Walking back to the checkout, I spied an unfinished plant stand (I need a plant stand) that was normally $30 but was on a close-out sale for $14 U.S.! So, I grabbed that too. On the way back, the saleswoman (who was waiting on several other women) called out loudly, "Did you find what you needed to darn your socks?" and then laughed. (Now, that was just mean!)

But, I did get what I needed! Ah, nothing like a cold, snowy weekend and socks to darn by the fire...

Funny story: I had to call my mortgage lender about a question I had for my taxes. While we were talking, she said, "Hey, because of the current mortgage crisis, FHA (the kind of mortgage I have) has come out with a new program where you can refinance, without another appraisal, without a credit check and with no closing costs. In fact, there is no cost to you at all. You just need to come in and sign all the papers again." She said the current rate is 1 1/4% less than I am paying and, if I'd like, she'd call me if it drops another 1/4% as it would be a significant cost saving over the length of my loan.

I said, "Sure, put me on your tickler list!" She said, "You should see the size of my tickler!" Then dead silence for a moment. Then she said, "Oh my God, that sounded... obscene! I apologize!!" I laughed and said I hadn't even thought about it that way, I was just picturing the length of her list she must have (which is true). But after we hung up, I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes!

Now, a caveat. I told this story to a much younger co-worker, thinking it was one of the funniest things I'd ever heard. He looked at me with a blank expression, and said, "What's a tickler list? It sounds dirty!" So, I am guessing that expression belongs in the realm of us old fogies. But, to explain, it is (was) any list you made of things you wanted to remember and the list was supposed to "tickle" your memory. (Kid's, today!)

Anyway, I arrived home to the accompaniment of "Bang the Drum" which, as you should know, officially starts my weekend! After giving the cats their treats, but before changing, I went out into the garage and carved a quick, down and dirty, darning "thingie." I am sure the one my Grandmother used was made out of hardwood, but all I got here is 2 x 4 pine. And, if I remember correctly (I should call my brother Joe on this - he remembers EVERYTHING) that darning tool had a round, stubby handle. Instead, I measured my grip and made a long, tapered, rounded handle. I sanded the piss out of it, wiped it clean with a tacky cloth and then applied a coat of linseed oil to it. I'll let it dry and hit it with another coat of oil, then take a picture and post it. Hopefully, someone older than me will let me know if I'm close. If not, I'll call my Mom after she reads this week's Blog and get her opinion.

Now, I changed clothes and took a four-cup container of chili I'd thawed last night and put it on the stove on "Low" for my dinner. I opened up the "plant stand" (I belatedly read the box and it said it was a "pedestal tea table." Well, call it what you will, it's gonna be a plant stand!) and started to assemble it when the phone rang. Seems I've won a free trip to Costa Rica to look at retirement property. But, the recorded message hung up before I could find out anything. So, unless they call back, I won't be going to Costa Rica anytime soon... Damn, right about now, a sunny, sandy beach sounds pretty damn good!

Back to the plant stand/pedestal tea table: I easily got it most of it together (took photos for your viewing pleasure) but I am not sure the wood is good enough to get away with just staining and varnishing. I might try it and, if it doesn't look good, then just paint it. I got to where I glued in the dowels and then had to stop and let them dry.

The chili is still heating up, so, at 7:00 PM, I went into the living room to read my last library book a bit. I'll be taking them back tomorrow, and I'd like to drop them all off at once! Still listening to WCSX Classic Rock (Saturday and Sunday Morning, Over Easy - that one) and relaxing.

Then it was dinner time. I filled a bowl with chili, topped it with sliced scallions and shredded sharp cheddar cheese and added a dollop of sour cream. Very good, especially with a Labatt's!

I went back to reading my book, although I moved locations. Now I am reading in my bed, which turned out to be lucky for me as I fell asleep. I woke up at 2:30 AM and decided to post this. I'm on the last chapter in the book so I'll finish that and go back to bed.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What ever happened to...

... bakeries? Where did they go?

They seem to have all been replace by donut shops (Dunking Donuts, Tim Horton's, and so on)

When I worked for the bank (in my early twenties, so, maybe 30 years ago) and you had a morning meeting, you brought in pastry, not donuts! Does anybody besides me remember "Danish"? I'm talking prune, apple, apricot or (my personal favorite and I don't even like sweets!) cheese!

Or, strudel or cinnamon buns? How about every Easter and those Hot Cross buns?

Where the hell did all the bakeries go???

Thursday Night, Winding Down...

I got up to the smell of coffee (I had got it ready and turned the timer on last night, not a usual weekday occurrence) and a house guest. We took turns taking showers, etc. and tried to stay out of each other's way. Once dressed, it was still early, so B___ treated me to breakfast at the Coney Island just down Plymouth Road (its so close we could have just walked if everything wasn't covered with ice and snow).

Finally, I got to work and, well, got to work! Once I was back home and the cat's got their treats, I changed clothes. I must say, the cats are getting pretty damn insistent about treats these days. At first it was just Caley and Scruffy didn't seem to care one way or the other. But even he meows about them, now!

I watched the news on TV, then switched to Family Guy (which was about prostrate exams, a subject I am very familiar with and found hilarious!)

Then it was time to eat. Jake had mentioned a few days ago they had made pan-fried hamburgers and he was impressed with the crust you got with that method. So, that got me thinking and I couldn't remember the last time I didn't "grill" burgers. I just had to try it!

Just used plain hamburger and my house seasoning. Made four patties out of the pound of meat and fried them in the biggest pan I had (to try and cut down on grease splatter). That, BTW, did not work, lol! I got grease everywhere, but also got four juicy burgers with a nice crust on them.

I think it took longer to clean up the stove and surrounding area than it did to eat two of them! But, they were great and worth the effort.

I went back to reading (nothing new on TV) but gave it up just after 9:00 PM. Wednesday night's late night bullsh*t session with my buddy left me a little tired, today. So, I went to sleep.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Year of the Rat

Gung Hay Fat Choy -- Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday's Winter Weather

Bad weather, first thing in the morning and it only got worse! It bordered on freezing throughout the day, so we got a variety of sleet, snow freezing rain or just rain. At lunch, it was actually snowing, sleeting and raining all at the same time. It switched to all snow around 4:00 PM and by the time 5:00 rolled around we probably had an inch of the stuff, on top of ice, on all the roads. It took me 40 minutes to get home!

Anticipating such a mess at rush hour, my friend B___ had brought a change of clothes in case he needed to spend the night at my house. So, he did! I hadn't thawed anything for dinner (I was just going to have a sandwich again), so I needed to improvise. He was very insistent about taking me to dinner to "repay" me for letting him stay, but I refused (why go back out into that crap?)

So, I put four tilapia filets in cold water to thaw when I first got home. I started my Wednesday night wash load and we chatted a bit. He called his house to make sure his wife and daughter had made it home okay (and they had). About 7:00 PM, the filets were thawed, so I made tilapia en papillote. I thought I'd try something a little different, so here's what I did:

I cut out my parchment paper into two half circles (when folded). Into each pack, I put two thin strips of prosciutto. I covered them with slices of a yellow onion. Then I topped that with two filets (they are small). Next I splashed on some white wine, followed by fresh squeezed lemon juice. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and threw on fresh parsley and thyme (stems and all). I topped the herbs with slices of lemon. Finally I cut up about a tablespoon of butter into small chunks and scattered that on top. I folded the edges tight and put the two packs on a cookie tray. I brushed them with olive oil (top and bottom) and put them into a preheated oven (400 degrees F) and baked them for about 20 minutes.

While they were baking, I made some wild rice as the side dish. I hung up my laundry and dinner was ready. I opened the bags and the smell was fantastic! I left everything but the fish in the bags and plated them with the rice. Excellent! The prosciutto flavor really kicked it up a notch! B___ raved about it off and on all night.

We loaded the dishwasher and wandered into the living room to talk. I had planned on checking out the TV to see if there was a good movie or something to watch, but we ended up just talking until one of us glanced at the clock and it was after 11:00 PM!

So, we got ready and hit the sack about 11:30 PM. And that's how I survived the storm here in Redford.

P.S. The Webmaster informed me the split pea with ham recipe on the Blog has now been updated.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Split Pea Soup

Ingredients
  • 1 ham bone or ham hocks
  • 1 pound or less of diced ham
  • 1 pound package of dried green split peas
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup of diced carrots
  • 1 cup of chopped sweet onions
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 32 ounces of chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Herb Bundle Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large bay leaf
Directions

Wash and sort peas. Either cover them with water and let soak 8 hours (or overnight) or put 2 quarts of water in a soup pot, add peas and bring to a boil. Simmer two minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour.

Sauté the aromatics (onions, carrots and celery) in a tablespoon of bacon grease. Once they are soft, add in the minced garlic.

To make herb bundle, take a 4" x 4" square of clean cotton (like T-shirt material) and put dried herbs in the middle. Take up the corners and tie tight with kitchen twine. Leave about 12" of twine and tie the end to the handle of the soup pot.

Peel and quarter the potatoes and add to pot.

Put in ham bone (or ham hocks), tie the herb bundle to one of the handles, and add the drained, rinsed peas. Add 32 ounces of chicken stock. Bring up to a boil, and then turn to simmer, cover it and let it simmer 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the ham bone (or ham hocks) and herb bundle. Take off any remaining meat from the bones and retain. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in small batches in a blender or with a hand mixer. Once fully pureed, add back in the retained meat, plus the one pound of diced ham. Let the soup simmer for at least 15 minutes more and then season to taste.

Fat, Super Tuesday!

I took the garbage out to the road this morning in a light fog (no, the weather, not me!). It's unusually warm this morning (like 43 degrees F) but the temps are supposed to fall throughout the day. We've got rain forecast for late tonight, then freezing rain for the morning's commute, and then 1-3 inches of snow by tomorrow night. Weird weather this winter!

My friend B___ was busy for lunch today, so I drove home and ate lunch here. I had another third of the Saturday's steak sandwich. I found if you heat them in the microwave for 25 seconds, it warms up the meat and makes the bread taste fresh (without "cooking" the arugula). I watched a little TV and the noon newscast. It's not only "Fat" Tuesday (the day before Lent) here in the US, its also Super Tuesday, where a bunch of states all hold their presidential primary. So, again, I am concerned that the "right" (read that as the ones I want) people win in both the Democratic and Republican party primaries.

When I got home at 5:20 PM, I changed clothes, checked my blood sugar (recording it in my log) and went back to revise my taxes. Two more little slips of paper came in the past two weeks (the interest I received from the Credit Union and the refund from my State income taxes last year). But, when I entered the new information, the amount I owed never changed (weird! So why sent me them if they don't matter?) So, I am still happy!!!

It was almost 6:30, so, first I called my Mom to find out how she liked the soup (this is MUCH better than relying on brothers who forget to ask, or then forget to call and report!) She said it was delicious and the seasoning was perfect, but (and, I liked that there was a "but" because it means she's really thinking about it not just trying to say stuff to please me) anyway, but, she thought there might be too much ham. On the other hand, she said Cora doesn't use a lot of meat, so it was a great main dish. Oh, she also said that Comcast did come and switch out her cable box, so she can watch her Mass on TV.

Instead of grabbing my book and hitting the couch, I turned the TV on and watched another Family Guy rerun. THEN, I grabbed my book and sat on the couch to read, lol!

After a while, I got hungry. I was tempted just to finish the last of the leftover steak sandwich, but thought I should change it up a bit. So, I used the onion buns and put mayo on the bottom and yellow mustard on the top, added lots of ham slices and topped that with American cheese slices. I warmed the sandwich in the microwave until the cheese began to melt and then let it rest a bit.

I had a brilliant thought at work, BTW. When I buy a big bag of chips, one of two things happens. Either I try to ration them and fail, and eat too much at one time (salt & fat: bad for both the waistline and the blood pressure!) or I am successful in my rationing and by the time half the bag is gone, the damn things are stale.

So, knowing I would be eating sandwiches for dinner, I bought a bag of chips from the vending machine at work. Now, cost-wise, I'm sure its not as cheap (65 cents for a one ounce bag) but it's enough for one meal, you can't overeat them and they damn sure aren't gonna go stale!

So I ate my ham and cheese sandwich with chips and a pickle and watched some TV. I got bored with that and watched some election returns, until that got boring, too. I got my book and read until I was sleepy. I probably went to bed around 10:30 or so.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sliders on a strange Monday

So, this morning, according to the TV weather and traffic people, we were getting freezing rain when I left for work. Not sure why (maybe temps in Redford and Livonia were just high enough), but, although I did encounter some light rain, I didn't get any icing.

BTW, when I started to make my split pea and ham soup on Saturday, I first consulted the Captain's recipe section in this Blog (Hey, I wrote it so it should be great, right?). For some reason (and I'm really not sure why) the recipe was incomplete and didn't give you all the ingredients, the simmering times or the puree methods, etc. So, I sincerely apologize to anybody who had ever tried to use it before and I redid it correctly (it must have been when I first started writing out recipes or maybe something got cut out when we switched websites). The Webmaster has promised to post it, time permitting. I would urge you to try it, if you like split pea with ham soup. I am still awaiting my Mother's confirmation, (and you could call her and ask, if you doubt me) but I think it's damn good!

It was supposed to rain after noon. However, a look at the radar showed that batch of storms went north of us. They are still talking rain and thunderstorms tonight. But, when I left for home, all we had going on was fog. No big deal for my short trip, though.

When I got home I pulled out a pound of hamburger from the freezer (I wish now I'd one this yesterday) and stuck it in some cold water to thaw. I want to try a low-carb recipe Amy sent me. She claims it tastes like a White Castle "slider." Low-carb is kinda important to me, not necessarily for weight loss (though, Lord knows, I could use it, lol!) but carbs are truly the enemy of diabetics!

Explanation for my Mom: White Castle hamburgers are the opposite of today's big "Quarter-Pounder" burgers. They are very little (18 burgers to a pound) on buns about the size of a dinner roll or biscuit and they are "steamed-grilled" instead of "fried" or "flame-broiled." A little onion and a slice of pickle and that's it. But they are cheap and a favorite of folks who've well, let say, have had a late night, drinking or (especially, at least in my day) smoking. Their nickname is "sliders" as they seem to, well, "slide" through your digestive tract, if you know what I mean... which is obvious the next morning... (please don't ask me to explain that, okay?)

While that (hopefully) thaws, I went into the living room and read my book. I bookmarked my page at 6:30 and went in to watch a rerun of Family Guy. Jake and Carla turned me on to this cartoon show when they lived here and it's so, irreverent, lewd, crude, whatever, that it's absolutely hilarious (for a crude, lewd, irreverent person like me, lol)!

So, here's how I made Amy's dish: Once it thawed, I browned the pound of hamburger and right away I ran into a problem. I couldn't find my onion soup mix! I know I had some, but the only thing I can think of it passed the expiration date and I pitched it. But, by now I was committed to this dish, so I improvised with some garlic powder and one-half of a yellow onion, finely diced.

Next I put the meat in a greased pie pan, stirring in four ounces of shredded cheddar cheese and then topped it with four more ounces of the cheese. Then, I whisked together 2 two eggs, � cup of mayonnaise, � cup of heavy cream, salt and pepper. I poured that evenly over the meat. I baked it at 350 degrees F. for 35 minutes, and then let it rest for 10 minutes. I topped it with a little mustard and slices of dill pickles.

Outcome? Well, I can't really judge, not using the correct ingredient, but, while it didn't remind me of a White Castle (though I must admit it's probably been 30 years since I ate one) it did taste remarkably like a cheese burger, minus the bun. Not bad at all!

I got a phone call at 8:30 PM from the company that monitors the temperature in our main server room at Building 50 that an alarm had been triggered. I am first on the list as I live so close. So, I spent some time calling Facilities guys and Network guys back into to work. It turned out it was not the server room, per se, but the adjacent room that houses the big UPS's. By 9:30 PM, they had a temporary fix in place, so I emailed my boss and his boss a final incident report (the last of three) and went back to my book.

I started nodding off around 10:30, so I gave up reading and went to sleep.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sunday's Road Trip

I woke up at 7:00 AM. I went in and tried to recreate my life yesterday and post it, along with a Leonard Cohen song I heard and always liked.

Now we are moving on to breakfast!

I had saved out two small but thick ham slices so I warmed them up in a frying pan. Then I added some butter and made three over-easy eggs (popping two slices of bread in the toaster at that time). I buttered my toast and plated everything and ate a great breakfast. A nice way to start the day! I put the split pea soup into three containers, two for Mom and one for me. Then, I washed all the pots and pans and turned the dishwasher on.

I took my morning pills and then refilled my weekly pill box. Then I got my book and sat on the couch, reading and listening to the rest of Sunday Morning, Over Easy. When it ended (about 11:40 AM) I went in shaved and showered (finally!) I got dressed, printed off the Blog to date, got the picture of my cousin Bobby, the two split pea soup containers and a big packet of ham, loaded up the car and headed out to New Baltimore.

It was really nice to see my Mom at home again. As I know I've written before, I had no gripe with the facility she was in, and the staff were top notch. But, it's really, really good to see her back home.

I met Cora, who seems very pleasant. The three of us talked about the Philippines a little (she was a little hard to understand initially, but by the end of my visit I was getting it) and how they hunt wild boar like we hunt whitetail deer, here. Most of her family is still in the Philippines (her husband and other children) waiting for immigration papers or something. Just she and her daughter are in America.

I inspected (actually I even used them) Joe's work: the handicapped toilet and a new, smaller sink. My brother Jim and his son Jim's work: Mom said they reversed the bathroom door so the wheelchair would fit in. Nice job one and all! (I guess me and Carl just, well, suck...)

Mom told me she'd been waiting to watch Mass on her TV again, but she couldn't find it once she was home. My brother Jim called up Comcast and they said that channel is now part of a different (read that as more expensive) package. My brother apparently let them know what he thought of that, but they stuck to their guns. So, they are coming out sometime this week and installing something so she can watch the Catholic station again. Odd, now that I am writing this, because at Brighthouse (my cable provider) they do all that remotely from the office. Hmmm... I dunno. But, anyway, nice, Comcast... real nice...

Mom looked a little tired, so I asked her if she takes naps (You know me and my naps, lol!)She said she took one yesterday, but slept for 4 or 5 hours and then couldn't get to sleep that night. So, she's trying not to. Now wanting to wear her or my stay out, I left (about 2:20 PM) and headed back home. Traffic wasn't bad (either coming or going) and I was pulling in my driveway at 3:25. Since I had my boots on for the trip to Mom's, I walked around the front yard and picked up several medium-sized branches that had fallen in the high wind a few days ago. Then I went out back and refilled the bird feeder and replaced the suet cake (I used up all the peanuts for the squirrels yesterday).

I came inside, changed clothes and started the last load of laundry for the weekend. It was there and then that I remembered I had put the broiler pan in the laundry tub to soak. So, I got out the Soft Scrub and my portable drill and wire brush attachment and spend 20 minutes getting the gunk off the pan. It was quite a messy affair and I splashed water on my slippers, etc. But, I eventually succeeded and I turned the washer on. Note to self: Cleaning the broiler pan sucks!

Went back to sitting on the couch, reading. Later, I put the clothes in the dryer. I put some of the split pea soup on a saucepan and turned it on low for later. Hung up and folded the clothes. By 5:15, that soup was starting to smell awfully good, so I took one part of the sandwich Jake and Carla left for me yesterday (it was cut into thirds) and warmed it up in the microwave. I got out a bowl and had soup and sandwich for Sunday dinner.

Two things: I realized why Carla didn't offer to taste the soup (duh). She hates peas! Also, in eating the sandwich again, I remembered that forgot to mention yesterday she had also saut�ed mushrooms and those, along with the caramelized onions topped the steak. Soup was great and the sandwich tasted excellent, even the second time around.

I cleaned up the kitchen and went back to the living room and my book (I'm almost done with this one). When I was finished, I made sure everything was ready to resume the workweek and then went in to watch my usual TV shows. For a snack, I got out some celery sticks and the leftover blue cheese/garlic. WOW! That seems to have increased with potency overnight. I only hope my mouthwash is strong enough to kill the odor in the morning (both Scruffy and Caley have temporarily moved out of the bedroom while I am eating). I went to bed at 10:30 PM.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

That Damn Sunday Morning Over Easy, again...

i am NOT a big fan of Leonard Cohen but I do like this one...

Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye Lyrics
~Leonard Cohen

I loved you in the morning
Our kisses deep and warm,
Your head upon the pillow
Like a sleepy golden Strom.
Yes, many loved before us
I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest
They smiled like me and you,
But now it's come to distances
And both of us must try,
Your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.

I'm not looking for another
As I wander in my time,
Walk me to the corner
Our steps will always rhyme,
You know my love goes with you
As your love stays with me,
It's just the way it changes
Like the shoreline and the sea,
But let's not talk of love or chains
And things we can't untie,
Your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.

I loved you in the morning
Our kisses deep and warm,
Your head upon the pillow
Like a sleepy golden Strom.
Yes, many loved before us
I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest
They smiled like me and you,
But let's not talk of love or chains
And things we can't untie,
Your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.

Sweet Saturday!

Well, I didn't sleep until noon (what ever happened to those days?), but woke up at 8:30 AM. So, onto work (I'll shave and shower later)!

I cut up the sliced ham into two packages, one for my freezer and one for Mom. Now, if you ever had a spiral cut ham, you know that only about half is cut in those nice slices. That was the parts that went into the first two packs. The next part is more difficult. I cut off the chunks that were missed by the slicer. I probably got another pound off that way. I carefully trimmed off the outer skin (a honey-baked ham has WAY too much sugar on the outside for my soup). I then scraped the outside of the remaining bone/ham to get off as much as the glaze as I could.

Next, I diced the aromatics: one cup of yellow onion, 1/2 cup of carrots and 1/2 cup of celery. I saut�ed them in about a tablespoon of bacon grease. After they got soft, I added two tablespoons of minced garlic. Then I made up my herb bundle of 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1 large bay leaf and put that in one of my kitchen handkerchiefs. I tied it with kitchen string and left enough so I can tie it to the handle of the Dutch oven. Next, I peeled and quartered four small potatoes. Those went into the pot.

I put in my ham bone, tied the herb bundle to one of the handles, drained the green peas, rinsed them off and put them in as well. Last, I added a whole box (32 ounces) of Kitchen Basics chicken stock (which is what I use when I'm out of homemade). I brought that up to a boil, turned it down to simmer, covered it and then will just let it be for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

I washed up all the various kitchen utensils I used so that whatever Carla needs, it will be ready. Then I started using the electric sweeper to get up all Caley's cat hair throughout the house.

Luanne called just before 1:00 PM. She's feeling a lot better and getting around with her crutches. She corrected me about having a torn ligament reattached. She said the doctor told her the ligament was not torn but frayed, like an old rope. First time I ever heard of that!

After we hung up, I finished tidying up the house. Then I went in to take a nap. Jake and Carla woke me up. To my embarrassment, I realized I still hadn't taken a shower yet! But, stinky or not, I have visitors!!

So, I took the chicken wings out of the marinade and put them on my broiler pan. I broiled them 8 minutes on the first side and 10 on the other. When they were cool enough, we munched them down with the garlic-blue cheese sauce. Not bad, not bad at all. We visited while I used my immersion blender to puree the soup (after removing the ham bone and herb bundle). Then I diced up about a pound of the ham I'd removed the glaze from and put the chunks into the soup. Not sure why, but I didn't ask them to taste it, nor did they offer. It just didn't come up, I guess. Strange, as I would have valued their input. I turned it back on simmer to let the new ham get happy with the soup for a while.

Now it was Carla's turn to cook. Oh, if you are thinking Jake got off easy, think again. He baked the ciabatta bread that was made into the steak sandwiches. Hmmm... cinnamon buns, ciabatta bread, the guy's doing a LOT of baking! We Foodies will have to keep and eye on him, lol!

She started by caramelizing a whole big sweet onion she has sliced. Then she pan seared some beautiful beef tenderloins to medium rare. She had made homemade mayonnaise back at her house and brought that, and now mixed it with horseradish. Jake sliced the ciabatta bread in half, they spread the horseradish/mayonnaise mixture on each side, added the steak (which was cut to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thin slices) and topped it with fresh arugula.

She got out the bowl of potato salad she had, again, made back at home. And, then we ate... Oh, my, that was GOOD!!!

They cleaned up the kitchen and then left around 7:00 PM (but leaving me the remaining steak sandwich and the potato salad!) I sat down on the couch to read my book and around 8:00 PM, my daughter Melissa called. We talked a long while (as always) mostly about her babysitting Gavin (Linnea is on a business trip and Dustin is at school). She's funny! You would think she is the first grandma EVER, listening to her stories. She really dotes on that little boy!

After hanging up from her, I went back to my book. I have apparently caught up on all the "Prey" books I'd read, back in the day, and this one must have been written after that, I guess. Anyway, I've never read it and find it fascinating. About 10:30, I decided a little snack would be nice, but I ended up eating all the leftover potato salad!

I finally quit reading near midnight and went to sleep.