Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gone Fishin'...

(or maybe I should change that to just drowning worms...)

In a dramatic change from my usual routine, I finally accepted my friend B___'s invitation to go out on his boat. The winds were light (always a plus when maneuvering a 39-foot boat) and the temperature was supposed to only get to 80 degrees F. in the late afternoon, with sun and clouds all day. Perfect boating weather!

So, I pulled out of the house at 7:30 AM, heading down I-96 to I-94. Jesus! This is the first time in a l-o-n-g time I was on the Expressways in morning rush-hour traffic. It was frightening! I was either going 80 MPH or slamming on the brakes. If I left what I considered a safe distance between me and the vehicle in front of me, another car would dart into it!! Altogether an unnerving experience (I am getting so old).

All I took with me was the short-sleeved shirt and long pants I was wearing (its not supposed to be that warm and its always cooler on the water), a swimming suit, a towel, my tackle box and my fishing pole.

I did stop and pick up a six-pack of "Land Shark" beer (a Jake recommendation for a nice summer beer - although I forgot who I was talking to. That six-pack cost almost 2/3 of what I normally pay for a case of Labatt's Blue, which I like).

Anyway, highlights of the trip:

Breakfast was the special in a local restaurant nearby the marina: two eggs over easy, two pork sausage, a small amount of home fries and rye toast.

We got the boat ready. There is a seemingly endless amount of work to prep the boat - removing canvas covers, opening sea cocks, installing the GPS, putting out the life ring, getting the life preservers, (you don't have to wear them, just have them close at hand and these were the latest, high-tech ones - they look like a fanny pack and, in case of trouble, you pull this ring and a mini-air bag blows out the life preserver!), putting the chart up on the flying bridge, warming up engines, removing lines, etc., and we were on the water by 10:00 AM.

We tried two spots where he said the fishing was usually good. The first had a few other boats in it. We tried for about half an hour with no results. We noticed everyone else was leaving, so we did too. In addition to the two dozen worms he brought, we both tried a variety of lures.

Then we went to the shipping channel. Here there were lots of boats fishing, so we anchored and tried again. We tried for at least an hour. The only excitement was the spotting of a tall ship (one of those replicas of 18th century sailing ships) but it was too far away to see clearly.

Early on, he offered to share his sun-blocker, but I pooh-poohed the idea. "I never use the stuff," I said (and I don't). But, sitting on the back of a white boat, in full sun on the reflecting water, I started rethinking that. So, I went inside and got it. Never having used it, I thought you applied it liberally. So, I slathered it on. I thought it would sink in... It didn't...

When I came back out, he laughed at me (it's nice to be able to make your friends laugh, I think) and said I looked like a mangy dog or something. But, that's okay... I'm blocking the sun, right?

Until... the sun started melting it... it dripped all over my pants (black) and the sun made my glasses slip a bit. When I pushed them back up, I smeared the lenses with the crap and the greasy stuff wouldn't wipe off. The worst was when I inadvertently rubbed my left eye. Holy crap that shit stings!!! I spent the next hour or so, blinking, blowing my nose and wiping off the resultant tears.

We finally quit that spot (we never saw anybody else pulling in a fish, either) and went in search of that tall ship (hey, they don't move that fast, right?)

We went up the south channel a ways, but no luck, we went back and looked around (they wouldn't have stayed in the shipping channel, would they?) We finally decided they must have headed east to Ontario and gave up.

On the way back to port (I'm talking like an old salt, already), he asked if I wanted to try fishing one more time, go swimming or just fish in the marina (there were plenty of pan fish there, I saw them). I said let's try fishing once more, so we anchored again in a likely spot. Now, I must point out, he does have a fish finder, but it's installed in the lower helm and we were up on the flying bridge. But, according to established theory, fish like to be around areas where the depth drops from one level to the other (like the shipping channel, where the depth drops from say 10 feet to 33 feet).

So, we dropped the anchor again (I like using the anchor because, when we raise it, I get to sit in the captain's chair on the flying bridge and operate the electric winch, based on his hand signals from the deck - makes me feel like part of the crew).

I started out using a lure with a shiny spinner and immediately got a hit! I couldn't set the hook, but it happened. He was using worms, and something ate his off! Encouraged, I switched to worms with the shiny spinner - another hit! This happened time and time again. I kept asking if he thought I was using too big of a hook or too small. Finally, he caught one! It was about a four inch perch, so my answer was too big. I switched hooks and got a lot of hits (and lost a lot of worms) but never caught anything.

We finally decided to leave and so we pulled up the anchor (love that) and headed home. I noticed my right shoulder was hurting a little.

We were back in the slip by 3:30 PM, sweating our *ss off. The weatherman lied!!! He shut off the sea cocks for the motors and opened the one for the air conditioner. Once that was operating and we'd closed all the windows; he put the canvas on the windshield to keep the sun out. We walked over to the club house (more importantly to the bathrooms) and I tried as best as I could to wash off that damn sunscreen in the sink. I should have brought my shower bag as they do have showers there.

But, cleaned up as best I could, we decided an early dinner was in order. So, we walked across the road to the restaurant. I had perch and onions rings (hey, I may not know how to catch them, but I know how to eat them!) That was more fried grease than I'd eaten in a month of Sundays.

Back on the boat about 5:00 PM, I mentioned I should probably take off. He reminded me it would be rush hour traffic (I forgot it was Friday), so we opened the beer (not bad! Thanks, Jake!) and I watched a montage of photos he's taken on a trip to the west side of the state. It was several towns and places, but the most impressive were Holland, Michigan and the Meier's Gardens (unbelievable - I hope my Mother got there in her lifetime).

Then it was time to button the boat back up. I mostly sat there and directed, LOL! We argued a bit about who was taking what. I wanted the worms and for him to take the two remaining beers. He won. We loaded up our cars and I left there about 6:30 PM.

I noticed my right shoulder was hurting a lot.

Traffic wasn't bad (nothing like the morning) and I got home about 7:45 PM. I didn't treat the cats, I didn't even go upstairs. I shucked my clothes and got in the shower to wash that damn sunscreen off. Finally clean, I threw the clothes and my hat into the washer, started it up and treated the cats (in spite of their complaining).

I lay down on the bed and took a physical inventory. My right shoulder is now throbbing where I had my operation, but I realize why. I spent a total of two or three hours casting that damn fishing line! Note to self: Next time, learn to cast left handed. The tops of my thighs are burning and both knees are shot: Also understandable: Try climbing up and down a five step ladder from the deck to the flying bridge fifteen or twenty times. I haven't even cleaned out my gutters this summer because I know what going up and down the step ladder does to me. And, my face feels tight (although it's not beet red or anything)...

But I had a damn good time!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Troubles in Paradise

Thursday was an absolutely gorgeous day! It was a high of 80 degrees F. with just moderate humidity. A nice, light breeze was blowing from the north.

A weird thing had happened when I walked outside first thing this morning. A huge limb had fallen off the maple and was lodged against the tree box planter. I took a couple of photos for you before lugging it into the lot next door (the tree is technically on my absent neighbor's lot, although I cut around it so my yard looks nice). It was heavy! I can't believe something that big didn't take out the electrical power line on its way down (maybe it bounced off of it).

Work was frustrating for a variety of reasons. But I persevered, knowing this was my last day this week.

At lunch, I attempted to warm up the meatballs and spaghetti in the microwave. This didn't work so well. The spaghetti was hotter than the hubs of hell (a favorite saying) but the cheese inside the meatball was still cold. I need to figure this out if I want to eat up the remaining leftovers.

Once home after running an errand (I went over to Lowe's in Westland and bought a faucet stem for my still-leaking kitchen faucet), I treated the cats, changed clothes and dealt with miscellaneous things.

One thing I did was to laminate the fishing license I'd bought online yesterday. I went to stick it in my tackle box and found two old ones, one for me and one for Jake, from 2004. Oh, yeah, we are avid fishermen!

About 7:30 PM, I began to get hungry. This time I decided to forego the microwave and put the remaining spaghetti and two meatballs in a saucepan. I added more marinara sauce and tried to simmer it warm. I let it simmer for over an hour...

Nope! So, unless you readers have another idea, I am marking this recipe as a one-time only event. If you have a large group to feed, this is a great idea. But, if it's just you, forget these particular meatballs. That center of delicious, gooey cheese when you first make them is just a cold, cheesy rubber ball when you heat them up...

I watched a few taped shows and went to bed early.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

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Tree branch that fell down overnight #1

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Tree branch that fell down overnight #2

Another Wet Wednesday

We were supposed to get severe thunderstorms this afternoon, starting about noon and lasting possibly until 8 or 9:00 PM.

But, it was dry when I went back to work at 12:30. So, I dodged that bullet. Somebody told me around 1:30 that it was raining like hell outside. But, it stopped here about 3:30, so I dodged another bullet!

Back home, I treated the cats, changed clothes and started the Wednesday wash. I walked out and checked the gauge. I picked up just under a half inch of rain this afternoon!

When I got home, the cable was out (so, no phone, Internet or TV). I tried calling the cable company on my emergency cell phone, (several times) but all I got was a busy signal. So, I crawled under the desk and reset the modem. That brought back the phone and the Internet, but not TV.

I had decided it was time for some "real" food today (too wet to work outside), so I made "Cheese Stuffed Bacon Meatballs" (an Aaron McCargo, Jr. recipe).

First I made the meatballs:

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F. Then I arranged eight thick-cut bacon slices on a rack in a sheet pan (lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup). I put it in the oven and baked until crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. I removed the bacon from the pan to a cutting board and chopped it. Then I set it aside.

In a large bowl, I mixed together a pound of ground chuck, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a package of onion soup mix, 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, a tablespoon of black pepper, a tablespoon of beef stock and the chopped bacon.

Now, the recipe called for fresh, "bocconcini" sized mozzarella balls. I couldn't find those and so bought fresh, "cherry" mozzarella. I don't know the difference (mine seemed to be a bit bigger than his).

I formed patties of the meat around the mozzarella to make smooth balls. I arranged the meatballs on the sheet pan with the rack and baked until thoroughly browned, (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Next I made the marinara sauce:

I added 1/4 cup of olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil was hot, I added one fine diced yellow onion, two tablespoons of minced garlic, two tablespoons of fresh chopped basil, two tablespoons of fresh chopped oregano (love my herb garden!) and one tablespoon of coarse ground black pepper. I saut�ed that for a few minutes. I added in two (14 ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes and two (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and a tablespoon of chicken bouillon. I lowered the heat and simmered it for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then I put the meatballs in the marinara sauce to get happy while I made a half pound of spaghetti. I plated a portion of the spaghetti, topped it with some sauce and two meatballs and ate my dinner.

It was very good, but way too filling (I couldn't even eat what was on the plate). I put the rest in the fridge to decide (later) what to keep and what to freeze.

I watched TV (it was back on) until 10:00 PM and then went to bed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday's Tale

Tuesday's weather was a repeat of Monday (High of 85 degrees F., with low humidity). Beautiful! It's supposed to all go to sh*t, tomorrow, though...

For a change, I didn't go home at lunch. Today was a luncheon to celebrate the leaving of our Support Center Manager. So, I drove over to Building 3 and met with all my fellow IT personnel. They had a buffet of various pizzas and various salads, breadsticks and soda (I drank water, of course).

Compared to what I normally eat these days, I gorged myself. I had two pieces of pizza and a small bowl of Greek salad. I was stuffed! Unfortunately, the pizza was all thick crust (I prefer thin crust, myself), so I passed on the breadsticks (although they looked good and would have tasted great with the little salad).

I bypassed the pepperoni and sausage pizza and ate one slice of the ham and one of the vegetarian pizzas. Both were delicious.

I shook the Support Center Manager's hand, wished her well and headed back to work.

Home at 5:10 PM, I changed clothes and then went out back. I ripped up the leftover Sourdough bread and threw it under the bird feeder. Then I watered the grass seed. I refilled the birdbath and put the hose away.

Next I thinned the radishes to two inches apart. I used the edge of one of my business cards (two inches) to get it close. Then I seeded another row six inches away (that way they won't all come in at once).

I noticed something is eating the hell out of the eggplants. I have tiny fruit, but despair of them ever growing to maturity. So, I weeded them and hit them with garden insect dust. But, it will all wash off with Wednesday's rain.

I pulled out three carrots (the biggest was probably only four inches long). I should have thinned these as well, I now realize. I took them inside, washed them off and ate them with salt. Delicious! I should have thinned them, dammit!

Back outside, I brought a big bowl and a pair of scissors to harvest the chives (again). This time they will all go into the freezer for the coming winter. Whatever grows back up (and they will) will be used for Fall dishes.

Now a lot of people use a chef's knife to cut chives. I don't. I use scissors. I cut them about 1/8 of an inch, and scissors help me to get through the pile quickly. I discard all the woody stems, cut off the first inch or so of the chives and then stop before I get to the end (they can get woody, too).

Yeah, it's a mild onion flavor, but the sheer volume (or something) made my eyes water. Scruffy was meowing loudly, so I threw him one. He ate it! He went through about three or four more until he was satisfied. I tried this with Caley, but she wasn't interested. I just hope Scruffy doesn't sleep next to my pillow tonight! Cat breath can suck!!

I took some photos for you and posted them. It was just after 7:30 PM when I finished.

I warmed up the remaining Brussels sprouts for my dinner and watched TV until 10:00 PM. Then I went to bed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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Chive plant, cut down

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Harvested chives

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Winter chives

Sunny Days and Mondays...

I got up reluctantly on Monday morning. I didn't sleep well (it felt like I didn't sleep at all) and so I was dragging it.

At lunchtime, I didn't eat any lunch, just set the alarm and took an hour nap. It was sunny, but not too humid.

I felt better in the afternoon.

Back home after work, I took out my pruning shears and cut the backside of my neighbor's bush. Now, I really like this bush. It turns a beautiful red in the fall (I may have posted pictures in previous years). But the damn thing slaps me in the face when I walk by with the push mower. So, I cut it back wherever it came over the fence. I had to get the bow saw for two or three thicker branches, BTW. I loaded up an overflowing wheelbarrow, took them out back and dumped them. Then I picked up all the refuse from my earlier bush cutting efforts and dumped them, too.

Next, I gassed up the tractor, checked the oil and the tire pressure and headed out to cut the back lawn. I got that done (and it looked so nice I took a photo, along with the bush I trimmed) and put the mower away. I watered the grass seed I'd planted, filled the bird bath and then the bird feeder. I came inside and it was 7:00 PM and 81 degrees F. here in Redford.

I posted the pictures and went on to make a simple dinner. When I was at Westborn, I made an impulse buy of a tray of Brussels sprouts. I was gonna do Carla's recipe (with bacon) but decided just to boil them. So, I did.

While they were cooking I chunked up the cantaloupe and the honey dew melons and put them in the fridge to get cold.

I ate about half of the Brussels sprouts with just butter and salt and they were GOOD!

I watched a new Hercules Poirot movie I'd taped on the PBS station and then went to bed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

BTW...

Are those flowers called "flocks" or "flox"? I dunno...

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Back Yard Lawn, Looking Good!

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Trimming my neighbor's bush #1

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Trimming my neighbor's bush #2

Soggy Start to Sunday...

(I was getting tired of that Rainy Days and _____ subject line)

I woke up at 7:00 AM and, guess what? It was raining! I stripped the bed and threw the bedding in the washer.

The rain stopped just after 9:00 AM. I went outside in my bathrobe to check the gauge (I appreciate letting the boys air out). I picked up another 3/4 inch of rain from the time I checked late Friday night. It was still overcast and I think cutting the lawn won't be an option, today.

Still in my bathrobe, I vacuumed up all the cat hair. Then I shaved and showered. Next I started cleaning all the glass surfaces, the bathrooms, etc. I made up the bed and considered my options.

I watched some cooking shows and took a welcomed nap. At 5:00 PM, I surveyed the front and back lawns. I thought I could use the push mower out front, but the back yard was still too soggy to use the big tractor.

So, I cut the front and side lawns and then went out back to trim the areas the big tractor doesn't fit. I found a stand of volunteer catnip and that the radishes had sprouted. I took the catnip inside and watched the cats do their thing (Scruffy usually eats it and then takes a nap; Caley likes to roll in it).

I got the camera and went outside. Back inside, I posted the pictures and then buttoned everything up for the night.

I ate the rest of the steak and grilled potatoes. I added some saut�ed mushrooms to the dish. I watched my Sunday night shows and went to bed about 10:30 PM.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

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Radishes

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Flocks, beaten down by the rain

Saturday Morning, Over Easy

Atlantis
~ Donovan

(Spoken)

The continent of Atlantis was an island which lay before the great flood
in the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean.
So great an area of land, that from her western shores
those beautiful sailors journeyed to the South and the North Americas with ease,
in their ships with painted sails.
To the East Africa was a neighbor, across a short strait of sea miles.
The great Egyptian age is but a remnant of The Atlantian culture.
The antediluvian kings colonized the world
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends from all lands were from fair Atlantis.
Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships to all corners of the Earth.
On board were the Twelve:
The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist,
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends.
Though Gods they were -
And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind
Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new
Hail Atlantis!

(Sung)

Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be,
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be,
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be.
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be,
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be.
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah,
I wanna see you some day
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah,
My antediluvian baby,
My antediluvian baby, I love you, girl,
Girl, I wanna see you some day.
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah
I wanna see you some day, oh
My antediluvian baby.
My antediluvian baby, I wanna see you
My antediluvian baby, gotta tell me where she gone
I wanna see you some day
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, oh yeah
Oh glub glub, down down, yeah
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah yeah yeah yeah

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Unidentified Bush out back, trimmed

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Old Forsythia, trimmed

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Green Pepper

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Tomatoes

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Bare spot in the lawn, now reseeded

Rainy Days and Saturdays...

It stayed warm all night (I think the low was supposed to be 75 degrees F.) and it was back up to almost 80 when I got up at 8:00 PM. It was raining again, but not hard.

All the moisture in the air has steamed up my windows, on the outside! It's also had a bad effect on me as my back is killing me and so is my left knee. Ah, the golden years!

I have an 11:30 AM haircut scheduled (I forgot to call earlier in the week) so I can't really start anything on the ToDo list. So, I'm just putzing, listening to Saturday Morning, Over Easy...

Now, when I say putzing that means like putting last night's dishes in the dishwasher, wiping down the counters and the stove, putting stuff away and generally straightening up the house. It's productive, but not that important.

I finally shaved and showered and then got my haircut. On the way back home, I stopped at Westborn for some veggies, a chunk of cheese and some good bread.

Lunch was some cheese and bread. Sounds kinda basic, (maybe rustic peasant food?) but it was good! I started the weekend laundry.

The sun finally came out at 1:30 PM. It's still hot and muggy and I am not fooled. They are predicting late afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

I wanted to take a nap but couldn't fall asleep. So, I watched a taped PBS show of Sherlock Holmes. I am not sure why, but I am fascinated with London (and England in general) back in the 18th and 19th century. In fact, I have been reading a lot of Charles Dickens books recently.

I went outside and seeded the spot the big maple was taken down out back. I have tried religiously to seed that side lawn and this is the only spot that it didn't take. I raked it up. I applied the seed and watered the p*ss out of it. I took a photo, but the afternoon sun caused a stupid shadow. See photos.

I also checked on the raised bed garden. I got two photos of the growing green tomatoes and one of the green peppers. The radishes have not sprouted.

Then I went out to the very back and took pictures of the bushes I'd trimmed. The camera said the internal memory was out of space, so I couldn't document the flocks or the lavender that are coming into bloom.

Back inside, I started to clean the house. But my heart wasn't in it and I was kinda dragging it out. When I realized that, I quit for the night. I got Sunday, right?

I watched TV until I got sleepy and then I went to bed. When I got up in the middle of the night (bathroom break), it was raining again. I am starting to doubt the lawn will dry out in time for me to cut Sunday afternoon...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Things I never knew...

...but learned by watching cooking shows:

If you are cutting up fresh herbs, you are supposed to make only one pass with your knife.

Rainy Days and Fridays...

Oh God it was hot and muggy out there this morning. It felt like you got slapped in the face with a hot, wet towel when you went outside. The weather was supposed to be steamy all day with afternoon and night-time pop-up thunderstorms.

And, that turned out to be true. It started about 1:00 PM. The clouds would thicken, it would thunder and the rain would come down in buckets. Weird thing was it would only last about 5 - 10 minutes!

Back at home after work, I changed clothes and decided to take the night off. So, I read on the couch, sat on the porch whenever it was raining, called a friend and eventually made dinner.

Laurie at work brought me more summer squash and a cucumber. The cucumber was made into a sandwich for lunch, and the squash fried for dinner.

I noticed when out on the porch that the thunder always seemed to be coming from the south of here, so I imagine places like Westland, Garden City and Inkster got hit worse than here in Redford. I was curious, so I went out in the dark to check the gauge. Between yesterday and today I had over one inch of rain!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Random Reflective Thoughts

As I will point out in the Blog entry tomorrow morning, we have had popup thunderstorms all afternoon. So, while I had the chance, I sat on the porch and watched the rain. This always reminds me of Mr. and Mrs. Dupee, our old neighbors across the road on Palms Road. Their detached garage faced east; (towards our house) so whenever the storms came in from the west, they would go out, open the garage door, sit on lawn chairs inside the garage and watch the rain. I learned to appreciate watching rain from them.

Rain does make me reflective (I don't know why) so two things from my youth came to mind. One was the insistence of the Catholic school I attended as a youth regarding polished shoes. It wasn't until I was in fourth grade I learned the trick. I, along with many others, kept a small jar of Vaseline in my desk. If you forgot to polish your shoes, a Kleenex or toilet paper and a quick wipe with the Vaseline and you passed the test. It beat the hell out of getting hit on the knuckles with a ruler!

The other was ink pens. Yes, I was born before ball point pens. Now, we didn't use goose quill pens or anything. But, you had to refill the Papermate pen by sticking it in a jar of ink and, using a lever, fill up the rubber bladder. I suppose those, and the Underwood typewriters we learned on, are in some museum, somewhere.

Rainy Days and Thursdays...

It was hot and muggy Thursday. There are supposed to be wicked thunderstorms beginning around midnight and lasting into Friday. The lawn and gardens need the rain, I suppose...


I went straight home at lunchtime to check my garden seed stash. It's time to plant radishes. But, when I checked, I have no radish seed packs! So, I left for work a little early and swung by Home Depot to pick up a couple.

At 4:55 PM, James left to start his car (he has remote start and believes a car has to warm up before you drive off in it. I personally think - no, I KNOW - that's an urban myth from the 1950's). Anyway, he came back to report it was starting to rain. Crap! I have my windows cracked and the moon roof open!

So, I grabbed my stuff and headed home. The seat was a little damp, but not as bad as he made it sound. I didn't even have to use the wipers.

At home, I treated the cats, grabbed some implements of garden destruction and one pack of radishes and headed out to the raised bed garden. I worked up the soil where the leaf lettuce used to be, marked off a row and planted the radish seeds. With tonight's rain, I should be getting a crop of them is 4 to 6 weeks. I will probably still have enough Summer/Fall left to get one more crop in (along with the next batch of sugar snap peas I will plant mid-August).

I put everything away and then devoted an hour to the "missing glasses" hunt. I misplaced my newest pair of glasses about a week ago and CANNOT find them. I do that a lot (I have to take them off to read and I often fall asleep with them on, watching TV). When I couldn't find them, I got out my older pair (which I swear is no different) and wore them to find the new ones. Then I wore them to work. Now I am still wearing them.

So, tonight, I pulled out the bed and the two night stands (nothing) then the dresser (nothing). Then I tore the couch apart (nothing) and moved it out into the middle of the living room to check underneath (nothing). I checked the loveseat, the recliner, the office, both bathroom and the kitchen counters (nothing). WTF happened to that pair of glasses?

I sat on the couch as a gentle rain watered my yard. The phone rang and I had a good conversation with my friend B___. We talked about the economy, choices for the next governor, etc. As you can imagine, this took a while.

When we hung up, I went and made tuna and peas for dinner. To satisfy my brother Carl (and my Mother's ghost) I put them on toast, rather than egg noodles.

I watched some TV, but went to bed early.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grillin' and Chillin'

When I went to work on Wednesday, I found that Laurie R. had brought me in another three summer squash. I thanked her and happily fried them up for my lunch.

While they were cooking, I took four Yukon Gold potatoes and cut them into 1/4 inch slices. I put them in a large saucepan and parboiled them. Then I stuck them in the fridge. I also thawed out a rib steak from last year's cow.

Once I got home after work, I took out the steak and potatoes to come to room temp. I got a call from my son Jeremy just after I started the Wednesday wash. When we hung up, I started the charcoal for the grille.

I seasoned the steak on both sides with some Montreal Steak Seasoning (it's been a while). I drizzled olive oil on the potatoes and then seasoned them with salt, pepper and fresh cut parsley. I tossed them around a bit and let them sit while the charcoal got hot.

I distributed the coals (for a hot side, cool side), wiped the grates with canola oil and then started grilling the potatoes. BTW, you can do this three ways that I know of. Parboiling (like I did), so you are getting grille marks and smoke flavor and you know the inside is cooked; grilling them raw (taking a chance that the inside will be done when the outside is) or putting them (maybe along with some onions) in a tinfoil packet and throwing that on (no grille marks, but safe).

When I had them charred to my liking, I moved them to the cool side and I threw on the steak. I was working from feel (again) and when I thought it was medium-rare, I pulled it off. I let it rest five minutes while I took a photo for you.

The potatoes were almost perfect (needed a bit more salt), but the steak was medium, not medium rare (I gotta perfect that touch thing!) Neither mattered, though. I ate half the steak and half the potatoes. The rest, when cool, went into a baggie for another day.

I made sure everything was closed up (the grille left outside to cool) and then went in to watch some TV. After the new Top Chef, D.C. was finished, I went to bed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

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Grilled Steak and Potatoes (tonight's dinner)

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Mailbox Garden #1

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Mailbox Garden #2

Lindsay Lohan

Does anybody really care about what Lindsay Lohan does or says? If so, why?

Tuesday

I did switch out the kitty litter and got the old litter out to the roadside before 7:00 AM (I took the other bag of garbage out Monday night).

When I got home at 5:05 PM, I treated the cats, changed clothes and went outside. It may rain tonight after 6:00 PM, so I have got to get some stuff done, quick!

First, I watered all the container gardens (the mailbox garden, especially, was really drooping). Then I grabbed the Velcro tape and tied up more of the tomato plants.

Next, I went out back and trimmed the bushes along the wall to (well) wall height. I tossed the branches (some quite thick) onto the lawn to dry out. I like only the flowering plum to be higher than the wall

Then I got the line trimmer and started to clean off the patio (grass and other weeds grow up through the cracks). Dammit! The line ran out! I filled in the line (it's a pain) and finished up the patio. Then I got the blower and blew the crap off into the lawn.

Back inside at 6:45 PM, I opened the mail. It was the usual crap, except one from the Michigan Department of Treasury. It informed me that my 2006 Michigan State tax form was wrong. I took off the money I'd pulled from my 401K to put the down payment on this house (they said I could do that). But, now, they are claiming it was income and I owe them another $975.00 dollars! Now I gotta deal with this!!! The hits just keep on coming...

BTW, I hit the tarragon with the line trimmer and splattered it on my legs. Now, all I smell is tarragon. My God! I am so tired of all this crap!

I warmed up the rest of the Chop Suey for dinner. I was going to make another serving of rice, but decided that was too much trouble.

It did rain at some point (I saw it on the patio cement) but it certainly wasn't a "thunderstorm" as I never heard it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday Moanin'

I could have used one more day of sleeping before heading back to work...

Since I had thawed out two boneless, skinless chicken breasts on Friday, I threw them away Monday morning (my neighbor's stuffed cabbage serving for an excellent Sunday supper). So, I took out two more Monday morning.

Back at home for lunch, I made a cucumber sandwich. It was excellent! Once home after work, I cut the front lawn with the push mower. I saw my neighbor taking out the two garbage cans. I felt bad (they are about as big as she is). Her old man is working like 16 hours a day on a cement job. What is troublesome is that he just had a hernia operation. But, you gotta make hay while the sun shines. Then I gassed up the Troy-built, checked the oil, etc., and cut the back lawn.

I did a nice job of it (it looks great) and finished up about 7:30 PM. Back inside, I took a call from a friend and then, around 8:30, started making my supper.

I cut the chicken into cubes and began to fry them up (using a tablespoon of canola oil and a teaspoon of butter - this was a Jake suggestion, as I was going to poach them). Then I cut up about a half pound of mushrooms and added them in. When the chicken was done (I took the biggest cube and cut it in half to check for doneness), I added the Chop Suey vegetables. While they were getting warm, I made two servings of brown rice.

I plated everything, topped it with good soy sauce and went in to watch some TV. I was beat, so I barely made it to 10:00 PM. Then I put the leftovers away and went to bed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend Edition

I spent Saturday morning cleaning up the house (and it needed it!) I took a nap and when I woke up, my cousin was here. Of course, it was a useless trip. The moment she saw the canoe, she knew it wouldn't work. I'm glad now I didn't take it down, because it would have just been in my way until she comes up with something else.

I didn't really have much time for making dinner Saturday, so I just ate leftovers. I talked with Melissa for a while

Sunday morning, I made biscuits and white sausage gravy for breakfast. I ate too much and watched too much TV. I am enjoying the time off (in a clean house)! I had a nice chat with my friend B___, who warned me of possible rain, later.

I started cutting the front lawn with the push mower. I got the side done and came inside for a bathroom break. I heard somebody knocking on the door, but when I went to the front, there was nobody there! I realized it was somebody knocking on the garage door.

It was my neighbor, Tammy, who had two fresh-picked cucumbers and a hot dish of stuffed cabbage. It was also raining, so the idea of cutting the rest of the lawn is gone.

I resigned myself to my fate and ate the stuffed cabbage. It was really good!

I watched my usual Sunday night shows and, about 10:00 PM, made myself a cucumber sandwich.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Morning, Over Easy

Now my grandmother didn't do this (she was too much a "lady") but my Mother sure did!

Canned Goods
~ Greg Brown

Let those December winds bellow 'n' blow
I'm as warm as a July tomato.

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
my grandma's put it all in jars.

Well, there's a root cellar, fruit cellar down below
Watch you head now, and down you go

And there's Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
my grandma's put it all in jars.


Maybe you're weary an' you don't give a damn
I bet you never tasted her blackberry jam.

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
my grandma's put it all in jars.

Ah, she's got magic in her - you know what I mean
She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans.

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
my grandma's put it all in jars.

What with the snow and the economy and ev'ry'thing,
I think I'll jus' stay down here and eat until spring.

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
my grandma's put it all in jars.

When I go to see my grandma I gain a lot of weight
With her dear hands she gives me plate after plate.
She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
And the morning dew and the evening moon
'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm.

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in, now
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
My grandma put it all in jars.

Let those December winds bellow and blow,
I'm as warm as a July tomato.

Jesus, where does the time go?

41 years ago today, the Beatles put out their animated film, "The Yellow Submarine."

Getting old is a bitch!

Friday Morning at 5:30 AM...

The alarm went off and I got up (reluctantly). I got myself shaved, showered and dressed and then headed into work.

Now, the folks between where I come in and where I sit are famous for their treats. Bagels, doughnuts, cake, homemade egg scrapples, and so on. It's not my groups, so I ignore it. But, today, there were just three summer squash lying on the counter. So I stuck my head into Bill M's office and said, "Who brought in raw summer squash as a treat?"

He said it was Laurie R. who apparently had an excess in her garden. So, I went and asked her if anybody wanted them. She said, "No." so I said I'd take them.

I went home at lunchtime, cut them up thin and fried them in butter (another one of my Mom's favorites - mine too!) I ate that for my lunch while watching TV. Yumo!

Back at work, the afternoon dragged on until it was finally five o'clock (you already should know about my theory of the time-space continuum and Mondays and Fridays).

Back at home, I had a voicemail from my cousin Sue (or Karras) who said she'd be here Saturday evening to pick up the canoe. The caveat was that she'd checked out 12-foot rental trailers and thought her 8-foot one wasn't much different. She said she would just put the canoe on at an angle.

Again, I must stress the damn thing is 17-feet long!

So, now I have to clean the house tonight (I was gonna weed) and try to figure out how to get the canoe down without breaking it. Before I got to that, I went out back and picked up branches downed from last night's storm.

So, I started cleaning the house. By 8:00 PM, I was ready to wash the kitchen and the downstairs floors. But, I got a phone call and talked for a while. By the time I was done, I was not inspired to continue. Nor was I inspired to make my dinner. So, I grabbed the last of a bag of chips and the little bit of chip dip left and made that my supper.

I will try and get the canoe down tomorrow morning (along with cutting the lawn). I watched TV until I fell asleep.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday and Thunderstorms

It was hot as hell on Thursday. But, they are calling for occasional thunderstorms all day, so I left the car buttoned up when I got to work.

I regretted that when I left for lunch. No rain, but still stifling heat and humidity. I stopped at Meijer's and got $43.01 US worth of the next two week's groceries. I put them away after treating the cats and ate the rest of that cauliflower quiche for lunch.

Back at work, it got even hotter. I was called into the Director's office at 4:55 PM and we discussed my future (in short, I'm fncked - don't ask, I can't tell).

I got home about 5:15 PM (depressed), treated the cats and changed clothes. I swept out the main bathroom and then prepared a bucket of soapy water. I washed down the sink and toilet, the outside of the tub and the window sill and then decided to call my friend, B___. BTW, it was still hot and sunny here.

He said there were severe thunderstorm warnings everywhere. I said I only have one thing to do outside and I was cleaning the house tonight. He suggested I hang up, do what ever I had to do and call him back later. I looked outside and it was getting darker, so I agreed.

I took the rest of the evergreen stakes outside and pounded them in strategically around the arbor vitiae surrounding the St. Francis garden. "Live long and prosper!"

Back inside, it was still just overcast. I pooh-poohed the idea of severe weather and washed the main bathroom floor. Then I started a medium load with the main bath and my bath shower mats, the hand towels and some kitchen towels.

I was watching the Nightly News when the storm hit (say 6:35 PM). I heard the thunder, went out to the kitchen and looked out the window. Between the wind and the heavy rain, I couldn't see anything! The power went out several times, but came back up immediately.

The wash machine buzzer went off, so I threw the rugs and stuff into the drier. It was still lightening and thundering at 7:15 PM. BTW, my second ex-wife used to unplug everything at the mere mention of a storm. Maybe I'm stupid, but I figure the power strip will save me (although I've burned up a power unit, once), so I don't.

The heavy rain stopped about 7:15 PM, although the thunder kept grumbling. So, I went on to clean the living room. I finished that up, but since I still have not heard from my cousin (about picking up the canoe this weekend), I decided to give this effort up.

I was too beat to make a real dinner, so I ate the rest of the cut-up watermelon (I have one-half of it left) watching TV. Then I went to bed early.

Note: I checked the rain gauge Friday morning and yesterday's storm brought me just under 3/4 inches of rain.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday in the Weeds

Wednesday, we were back to hot and steamy here. I went to Home Depot at lunch to pick up the evergreen spikes I wanted.

So, after work, I changed clothes and headed outside. Well, that's where I was headed when the phone rang. It was my daughter Melissa, so I HAD to talk, right?

It was funny, as my main goal tonight is to get the front garden weeded, and that's what she was doing! But since the temperature down there is like 5+ degrees warmer than here, she had to take a break halfway through. I also have an abundance of something she doesn't: shade!

But, I eventually got outside. First I put in the evergreen fertilizer spikes (two in the big bush, one by the arbor vitiae and one by the little guy next to the dryer vent out back). I'll do the arbor vitiae behind the St. Francis garden tomorrow.

Then I bent over and started weeding. I'd pull them out and stick them in the wheel barrow. I'm sure I didn't get them "all" but I made a damn good try! I dumped the refuse on the compost pile, buttoned everything up and went back inside.

I warmed up the leftover potatoes and sausage and ate that watching TV. I dozed off before 10:00 PM when a favorite show comes on but that's okay, I tape it anyway.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

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Off the Cuff Quiche

Another Garbage Day...

I slept like crap Monday night.

I had taken all but one bag of garbage out to the road Monday evening. The last one was only half full, so I gambled that I could put the Tuesday morning's contribution in it and get it out there before they came. So, I did! Hey, it's the little things that make life worth living!

They said there was a chance of thunderstorms, so at work I left the car buttoned up. I regretted that at lunchtime: No rain yet and the car was hot as hell.

I went straight home at lunchtime, instead of to the Home Depot like I'd planned. I was too damn tired. I cut the watermelon in half and then into chunks. I ate a lot of it, covered with salt, for my lunch. Then I set the alarm and took a half hour nap.

In spite of my misgivings, I still kept the car windows up and the sunroof down when I went back into work.

The afternoon was frustrating with some clients saying we have two T1's instead of our ANX line and the others wanting to know how to download "several hundreds of gigabytes" to our engineers. God grant me the strength...

At 4:30 PM, somebody went out into the front lobby and said it was really getting dark. Crap! I wanted to weed the front garden tonight! Well, I didn't "want" to, but it needs it.

By the time I left, it was thundering and lightning, windy as hell and with a cold (and I mean COLD) driving rain. DAMMIT! I got soaked just getting to the car. This day couldn't get any worse!!

Note to self: Never say (or even think) that, again.

Back home, it was still raining, but lightening up a tad. I went in, treated the cats and then went to change clothes. The first thing I saw was a huge cat hairball in the middle of the bed! So, I stripped it and started the wash machine (sigh)...

I checked the voicemail and email and wrote down the number and email address of my cousin Sue. She wants to come out this weekend and get her father's canoe. Now I just have to remember how to get it safely down from the garage ceiling. So, I called Jake (who was there when I hung it up) and he gave me some ideas.

I put the bedding in the dryer and started making my dinner. I am free-styling this from about three recipes I know to make a frittata or quiche.

So, remember the excess cauliflower from Lu's visit? I'd eaten maybe half of it and froze the rest. So, I got that out of the freezer. Now, the first recipe called for frying up 6 strips of bacon, removing it and then frying up cauliflower in the grease.

Well, I don't have any thawed bacon, but I do have bacon fat (thanks, Mom!) So, I got out about a tablespoon of that, added a teaspoon of butter (everything's better with butter) and threw the remaining cauliflower into the 10 inch skillet and added salt. I saut�ed that until it was golden brown (about 12 minutes). When I wasn't flipping that, I minced four cloves of garlic.

Meanwhile, I whisked up eight large eggs, a splash of whole milk (recipe called for cream, but I ain't got any) and some Gruyere cheese (I had that from something else I never made - It was supposed to be Parmesan, BTW) that I grated on the box grater (after cutting off the rind). I added some dried parsley (ain't got time to go pick and dice fresh) and fresh ground pepper. I whisked that together and let it get happy.

When the cauliflower was ready, I added the four cloves of fresh, minced garlic and let that cook for another minute or so. I added the egg mixture and then I turned the burner onto low and let it cook, covered, for about 10 minutes or so (until the eggs were almost set on top).

I stuck the pan under the broiler for another 3 -4 four minutes. I pulled it out and took a picture for you.

It tasted GREAT!

I watched a little TV, but went to bed early.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back at it...

Monday was hot and humid with occasional rain showers here.

On the way home at lunchtime, I stopped at Westborn and got some Yukon Gold potatoes, some cooking onions, a dozen eggs, a little milk and, on impulse, a small watermelon. When I got home, I treated the cats and stuck the eggs, milk and watermelon in the fridge. Then I made a can of split pea soup for my lunch.

It rained again in the afternoon, but by the time I left work it had stopped and the heat had dried the pavement.

I started a load of clothes (after changing mine) and then tried to call Lu to see how everybody's doing. But, I just got the voicemail.

I did a few inside chores and then went in to watch the 6:00 PM news. Lu called back and we caught each other up. Sounds like with skunks, an abscess tooth and a bad back, they've had a rough few weeks. But one of the highlights was Riese's visit, so that's cool.

After we'd hung up, I went out back with the hand trimmers. I noticed late Sunday the dogwood (in the very back) had a growth spurt and was now into the flowering plum. So, I cut it back. I'll clean up the mess tomorrow, but for tonight I just put the trimmers away.

For dinner, I fried up the last of my old potatoes, some sliced onions and smoked sausage (cut on the bias). I ate that watching a taped Masterpiece movie, "Murder on the Orient Express." I watched a few more shows until I started nodding off, then I went to bed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, Puttering Around

I slept lousy on Saturday night, so I did sleep in a little on Sunday morning (I got up at 7:00 AM). I filled in the rather extensive Blog entry and posted a bunch of pictures. I finished up around 9:00.

I cooked up six hard boiled eggs, for either snacks or deviled eggs, later. My friend B___ called and we chatted for a while. Other than Joe's graduation party (big event for me), there was not much new news for either of us. He did say his lawn toasted, too. He didn't want to spend the money to water it, so he's only been doing his wife's flower gardens.

About 11:00 AM, I went out and trimmed the back lawn with the push mower (there are many places, like behind the raised bed garden, where the big mower doesn't fit).

I was tying up the rest of tomatoes (some of them are a good 12 inches ABOVE the highest board I erected) when my neighbor came to the fence. He asked if my lawn mower was broke again. I explained I was just trimming.

We chatted a bit. He brought up the unusual amount of mosquitoes this year and said he was thinking about buying a bat house "like mine." (Huh?) He pointed to the box on the tree and I explained that wasn't a bat house, its where I put the summer toys (horseshoes, Frisbee, etc.) But, I agreed a bat house would be good. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, I might buy or build one.

I complimented him on his garden. He laughed and said my tomatoes make his look sick (LOL, they do!) He walked into his garden and gave me two nice-sized cucumbers.

I put on more garden dust and fertilized the rose bushes out back. Then I went in and made my (and I think my Mother's) all-time favorite summer sandwich: just bread, mayo, sliced cucumbers and a lot of salt.

I ate my breakfast/lunch at 2:00 PM, reading the new book again.

Eventually fell asleep. Woke up around 5:30 PM. Walked to the bathroom and got a shock! It was sunny outside (as it was when I went to sleep) but it had apparently rained and rained hard. Plus, tree branches (some big) littered the back yard! WTF? I went out and checked the rain gauge and it had over 1/2 inches in it! So, that means I completely wasted all that water, not to mention the garden dust (sigh). I walked the backyard first, picking up the tree branch litter. Then I went out front and did the same.

I was back inside before 7:00 PM. I finished the book. Jake was right - it was a bit lame. You knew halfway through who the killer was, you just had to wait to see how she was caught.

I got out of my clothes and got ready for my Sunday night TV shows. I watched them and then the news and went to bed at 11:30 PM.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

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Japanese maple behind the pond

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Carl's back yard (pond is to the right)

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Rear entrance to Carl's house

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Front of Carl's house and the beginning of his English Cottage garden

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Front of Carl's house and his English Cottage garden

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Front of Carl's house and the end of his English Cottage garden

My Brother Carl's House

Carl finally sent some pictures of his gardens, so I'll post a few of them for you.

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Anne's Rose, Re-bloomed!

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Hostas Variety #1

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Hostas Variety #2

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Hostas Variety #3

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Hostas Variety #4

Road Trip - Joe's Graduation Party

I woke up at my usual 5:30 AM. I didn't want to (I'd hope to sleep in on Saturday) but I couldn't fall back asleep, so I just got up.

I remembered (belatedly) the load of laundry in the washer, so I turned it on "rinse" again to get out the wrinkles. While that was working, I set up the sprinkler in the front yard. I have been listening to the horror stories from people at work whose lawns burned up last week. Now, mine still looks good and if I'd gotten an inch of rain Thursday, I wouldn't worry about it. But, I didn't, so I am.

When the washer finished, I turned on the outside spigot. Then I put the laundry in the dryer. I set the stove timer for 40 minutes. I put a pie pan on the front lawn so I could see how long it takes to get one inch of water (I forget that from year to year).

Back inside, it was after 7:00 AM, so I turned on Saturday Morning, Over Easy. When the timer went off, I hung up the laundry. Then I went outside to check on the sprinkler. No, not yet. It's only about 1/2 inch of water in the pie pan.

So, I grabbed the slug pellets and went out back. Okay, so I misspoke. I have 13 hostas out front and only 12 out back. But, I treated them all. Unlike my brother Carl (who has a wide variety of special hostas) or my friend from work, Lori (who is a Master Gardener, like Luanne, and has spent $300.00 US on a single, special hosta) I have merely divided mine. So, I got very little variety.

But, what I got, I treated. Maybe, (maybe) my brother Carl will give me transplants from his fancy one's this fall. I am hoping I get a cutting of his trumpet vine, at least.

But, what's amazing is the yellow rose I called Anne (for my sister, who loved them) has re-bloomed. I took a picture for you.

While I was at it, I took pictures of the various hostas I have. I basically only have four varieties. So, I took a picture of the best representatives and posted them for you as well. Then I filled the bird feeder.

I turned the sprinkler off and switched to the square head sprinkler to water the side lawn. That throws an amazing amount of water, but only a short distance, so it took three times to get that done. Then I switched back to the oscillating sprinkler and watered the gardens and the adjacent lawn next to the patio.

When the timer went off for that, I shut everything down and locked up. I went in and took a nap.

Oh, shit! I woke up at 3:30 PM! I'm supposed to be in Romulus for Joe's graduation party right now! So, I shaved and took a quick shower, got dressed and headed out.

When I got to the party, Jake and Carla and my brother Carl were already there. Jake and Carla had brought a folding canvas lawn chair for me (and one for their Uncle Carl who didn't need one). We exchanged books (I got the new John Sandford mystery and lent Jake my "Empire of the Summer Moon") and then I joined the party.

The party was in back of Jyl's brother's house. It had a huge lot and was well suited for the occasion. There was a "Slip and Slide" for the kids, a nice pool and a bonfire.

I met a lot of new people as well as some old friends (Jyl's sisters Brenda and Judy and Joe's Grandmother, Nancy).

Our side of the family was joined by my niece Laura, her son Austin and daughter Anna.

The food was fantastic! It was all kinds of pizza (including asparagus pizza, bacon pizza, Black bean pizza, fresh spinach pizza, Italian sausage pizza, mozzarella cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, pesto pizza, portabella mushroom pizza, roasted eggplant pizza, and spicy jerk Caribbean pizza). For dessert, we had both chocolate and white cake as well as s'more fixings (to make use of the bonfire). Beverages included orange Sunkist, V8, Monster, A & W root beer, Sprite, various juices, and bottled water.

I personally had a piece each of the roasted eggplant pizza and the portabella mushroom pizza. Both were great, but I liked the eggplant best. Other people raved about the black bean pizza and the pesto pizza.

I drank a lot of bottled water and must admit I had one piece each of the chocolate and white cake for dessert. I did pass on the chocolate that accompanied the thank you card, handwritten by Joe.

My God, Riese is getting tall! I didn't get a chance to ask her how the trip down to her Grandma Lu was. Jeremy and Jyl were the perfect hosts. Finally, it was time to leave. Jeremy called Joe when I couldn't find him to say goodbye. He ran and caught me as I was pulling out the drive and thanked me for coming. I left at 7:00 and got home at 7:40 PM.

Nice, nice party! Thanks for inviting me!

I changed clothes and turned the square head sprinkler on in the raised bed garden. I set the timer and read until it went off. I turned it off, coiled up the hose and figured the weekend watering was done.

I went back inside and read until bedtime. About 9:30 PM, I started getting hungry and wished I'd stuffed a piece of that eggplant pizza in my pocket before leaving! And, I should have gotten the name of the pizza place they came from!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Song Snippet: Saturday Morning, over Easy

Taxi

~ Harry Chapin

"Oh, I've got something inside me,
To drive a princess blind.
There's a wild man, wizard,
He's hiding in me, illuminating my mind.

Oh, I've got something inside me,
Not what my life's about,
Cause I've been letting my outside tide me,
Over 'till my time, runs out."

Finally Friday

It had quit raining when I went to work Friday morning. I went to Home Depot at lunch and got four items I needed (I forgot the fifth one I'd planned). So, I picked up some rose fertilizer, some garden insect dust, some slug pellets (recommended over the "traditional" beer in a pie plate by my brother Carl) and a compact fluorescent bulb for over the kitchen sink. What I forgot was some of those evergreen spikes, but I'll get them another day (I want to be sure that arbor vitae I planted out front has a good chance of making it!)

I had the Channel Four news on while I ate a sandwich for lunch and saw that a rain shower was on its way to Livonia. So, I finished up and headed to work. I got there just as it started to sprinkle. I hope this doesn't mess up my plan to cut the front lawn tonight!

The afternoon was long (they always seem to be on Mondays and Fridays). But, when I got home at 5:15 PM, I walked around the front yard. There was no apparent moisture on my work shoes, so I gassed up the push mower and got started. I finished up the main front lawn by 6:00 and took a break (I hadn't changed clothes, so I was a little overheated - it's less humid, but still 81 degrees F., here). A couple of glasses of water and a ten minute rest and I was good to go.

I cut the side lawn (by the garage, the tree box and the mail box) and then broke out the slug pellets. I got all the hostas out front treated (two or three were pretty bad) and then washed my hands. I'll do the more numerous ones out back tomorrow. I did go out back and rip out all the remaining leaf lettuce and the peas (I'll replant them mid-August). I harvested about a double handful of the peas and took them inside to wash for a snack tonight. I shut everything up and started a load of clothes.

I ate a Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie for dinner and watched TV until 11:00 PM. Then I went to bed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday

Well, I went back to work on Thursday (for a change). Not much different than the last time I was there.

It was very hot and muggy (especially when I went home at lunchtime). Speaking of lunchtime, I decided to do something different and went to McDonald's and bought a Big Mac. Now, I rarely eat fast food, but there's nothing much in the house.

However, what was supposed to be a treat turned into a trick! Instead of the crunchy lettuce and crisp pickles I remembered, this one was mostly the two patties of beef and the "special sauce." By the time I got halfway through eating it, everything was sliding around and getting messy. I threw it away in disgust.

It started sprinkling around here about 3:00 PM. It continued to lightly rain off and on through most of the evening. I checked the gauge Friday morning, but we only got less than a half inch of rain. That's a bummer, as the heat's been brutal on the garden and lawn.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday

I stayed home again on Wednesday. I spent some time lying in the hammock, reflecting. There was just enough breeze to keep the heat from becoming oppressive.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

No, I ain't dead. goddammit. I am just not feeling the love...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

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Raised bed garden in July #2

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Raised bed garden in July #1

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Herb garden #1

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Local fireworks

I forgot about the fireworks!

I got up about 10:00 PM to the sound of LOUD fireworks. Knowing what wackos my neighbors are about them, I went out on the porch to watch.

Unbelievable!

I finally went back inside to grab my camera. I took like 50 pictures, but never caught them. I eventually figured out I had to hit the shutter when I heard the noise, not when I saw the result. So, I got one shot. See photos. You have to click on it to enlarge, then use your browsers "back" button to get back...

I Completely Blow a Free BBQ Dinner!

I woke up on Saturday at the ridiculous time of 8:00 AM. I had a premonition this would be a bad day and, it was!

I didn't have any breakfast or coffee, but went straight to work after posting the Blog entry. I washed, dried and hung up or folded three loads of laundry.

It was about that time that my friend B___ called and invited me to a BBQ feast (baby back ribs with a dry rub and grilled chicken) at his house. I said, "Hell yeah, I'll be there, what time?" He said around 5:30 PM.

So, I went out back to cut the lawn. I got about half of it cut when I needed a bathroom break. So, I went in and stripped the bed to make the last laundry load.

I lay down on the unmade bed to take a quick rest. Both my back and my right leg hurt (they still do).

I woke up to a phone call from B___, about 8:00 PM asking me where I was. I slept through and completely missed my BBQ dinner!

Okay, so I feel like an idiot. And, the only thing I have left in the fridge to make is five zucchini. So, I trimmed off the ends and cut them into 1/4 inch rounds. I slid them into a hot saut� pan with butter and olive oil. I cooked them until they were golden brown. Then I hit them with Lu's sea salt.

I ate them and watched TV until about 10:00 PM and then I went to bed.

Saturday sucked!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bangin' the Drum on the Three Day Weekend!

I woke up to the alarm's insistent calling on Friday morning. It had been another long, sleep-interrupted night and I just wasn't feeling the love, if you know what I mean.

I found my project (that I had abandoned to go to the doctor's) went well. There were a few hiccups (two printers instead of the one they told us about, etc.) but our guys worked through it all.

At lunch, I went to Kroger's and shopped for the next two weeks. I didn't get much (I can't afford much) but managed to spend $63.00 US. The only thing I couldn't get was a large bag of Purina Cat Chow. I brought it all home, lugged it inside, treated the cats, ate a quick sandwich and then headed back to work.

After work, I treated the cats (again), put away the groceries, cleaned up the dishes in the sink, loaded the dishwasher and started that up. Then I took the shower mat from the main bath, a couple of bath towels and a couple of kitchen towels and started a load of laundry.

I hit the freezer for the weekend's dinners. I took out a half pound of apple-wood smoked bacon and two one-pound round steaks and put them in the refrigerator to thaw. I got plans!

About 6:30 PM, I went out to cut the grass. This is supposed to be the last day of moderate (80 degrees F.) temperature and low humidity days. It gets into the 90's with high humidity over the Fourth of July weekend. So, I better get it done now.

I got the front grass cut with the push mower and went inside to take a bathroom break. As I was going back outside, the phone rang. It was my friend B___. Since I haven't talked to him in a while, it took some time for us to catch up (the car, the doctor visit, etc., on my part and he with his). By the time we finished talking, the sun was setting. So, I figured I'd cut the back yard in the morning.

I shut everything up and went inside to make my supper. I wasn't that inspired, so I just made a can of Campbell's tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. I ate that while watching TV until I fell asleep.

I woke up in the night with a horrible sense of dread! I grabbed the shotgun (SOP) and walked through the house.

I figured out the cause of my unease. The light over my sink (which has been on since I moved here - so I didn't fall during the night) had gone out. The funny thing is that I don't remember how that fixture comes apart to replace the bulb.


So, I put the shotgun away and went back to sleep (albeit an uneasy sleep) for the rest of the night.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Road Trip

I woke up at 5:30 AM without the alarm. Why didn't I set the alarm? Because, I'm off today. Why? I am off today instead of Friday (which would have given me a nice four day weekend) because today is my semi-annual doctor's checkup.

I watched the news and then the Today show until about 8:00 AM. Then I went and shaved and showered. I left at about 9:30 AM. Since my appointment isn't until 11:15, that was ridiculously early, but you see, she (my Doctor) has moved from Dr. McClellan's old office, so I allowed extra time to find her new place.

I took the usual route (55 miles: I-96 to I-94 to 26 Mile. 26 Mile to County Line Road to Richmond). I searched and found "Heritage Drive" but I was almost 20 minutes early. So, I left, found a McDonald's and make a bathroom pit stop.

I went back and signed in. It took a little while, but I finally got inside. When the doctor came in, she reviewed my blood work, my blood pressure (117/74) and my weight (a svelte 234 lbs.) She was pleased as punch. She said all the numbers were like twice as good as they were six months ago (and they were pretty good then!)

She credits most of it to me losing weight. In fact, she said if I could lose another 10-15 pounds in the next six months, she would consider either lowering the dosage of my cholesterol medicine or eliminating it altogether.

She did ask again about the colonoscopy test. I told her with my current insurance I would be on the hook for like half of it (as it is, I will have to pay for the blood work and the EKG she gave me today) and I can't afford it right now.

The EKG was fine and had not changed since last year, so all in all, it was a very good visit!

I hit the road again a little after noon. After gassing up, I headed back to the E-way. I got off of I-94 on M-59 (the old Hall Road) and took that to Groesbeck to visit my brother Carl. I've never seen his gardens in full bloom and wanted to check them out.

When I got there, he was in the front, weeding and watering his English cottage garden. He pooh-poohed me saying it, but it really is spectacular! We finally went around back and he offered me a beer, or sweet tea or fruit flavored water. I said a glass of regular tap water would be nice. So we went inside for a bit.

That's when I discovered his grandson, Taric (sp) (sorry, call him Jim-Bob or something and I could probably spell it!) had spent the night and was waiting for his lunch at McDonald's. My brother, of course, had said they couldn't go until I got there and then left.

In spite of that, Carl took me on a tour of the back yard. Out-fricking-standing! The pond, the stream, the trees he's planted and all the perennials were just beautiful. I was wishing that I'd brought my camera to show you (Carl never sends me pictures of his gardens) but I didn't, so I guess you'll have to go there yourselves to visit...

He kept offering me plants and I kept saying I'd be back in the fall to get them when they'd probably transplant a bit more successfully.

About that time Taric's (sp) dad, Kal (please don't tell me I spelled that wrong) pulled in to pick him up. We chatted for a bit and then I left. I wanted to beat the rush hour traffic and to let poor Taric get some lunch (its no wonder the younger members of the Goerlich family hate me!)

This time, I took Groesbeck to 8-Mile, 8-Mile to Inkster and Inkster to home. The traffic (negligible on the E-Ways) was bad. But, I finally made it home just after 3:00 PM after putting just under 140 miles on the car.

The first thing I did was to empty my pockets, take off my belt and lay down on the bed to rest my legs and back (long car rides really mess me up).

I got back up at 4:00 PM and, inspired by my brother, went out to water the front gardens (the temps are supposed to start rising tomorrow, get over 90 degrees F for the weekend and the next forecasted rain isn't until Tuesday or Wednesday).

Before I did that, though, I used the Velcro tape and secured the tomatoes in the garden (they've grown up another eight inches or so, and what used to be blossoms are now small green tomatoes). I disconnected the square sprinkler and hooked up the wand. Dragging almost the entire length of the hose out to the front, I watered EVERYTHING! I mean I drenched it!

The only thing I couldn't reach was the forsythia, so I filled a gallon bucket with water and drenched that, too. Then I shut the gate, coiled up the hose, etc, and went back inside. I secured all the doors and quit about 6:30 PM.

I ate the last of the watermelon chunks for dinner and watched a little TV. Then I switched to reading. Finding I'd finished the book, I shut off the light and went to sleep early.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Watering, now...

Wednesday morning, I watched the Weather Channel. It looks like this hurricane Alex is gonna hit Mexico, but will dump 6-10 inches of rain where my nephew Rick lives. Sorry about that!

It's supposed to be another sunny, but cool day; Just what I like. So, I opened the kitchen and bedroom windows before I left for work. Now, I suppose some of you are thinking, "Security Alert! Security Alert!" (I know Jake would be). And, yes, some lady was carjacked at gunpoint yesterday in Redford, about two miles from my house (Detroit crime is quickly moving into the suburbs). But, my windows have pop-out stops that only allow the windows to be raised three inches. Since the kitchen widow is about 8 feet above the patio and the bedroom window is in full view of the street, I think I'm okay (unless there's a very tall, very skinny, invisible thief). I hope I never have to eat these words!

I did call the guy at the Volvo dealership and asked him to mail me the receipt and the secret radio code. He called back when I was in a meeting - it's been a crazy day. I have a project that will culminate in 30 outside supplier people moving into one of our facilities tomorrow and they need immediate Internet access - so I'm coordinating having a subcontractor run wires, our WAN Administrator installing a 48 port 10/100 switch I just ordered and had overnighted, creating a VLAN for the Internet access, etc. (I only had five days notice on this one... about par for the course). Anyway, enough of me whining. The guy at the dealership said he'd mail me the papers and the secret code and apologized for not bringing them yesterday.

Back home at 5:15 PM, it was only 71 degrees F., so I left the windows opened. I treated the cats, but didn't change clothes. Since it's supposed to be sunny (and increasingly warmer as the week goes on) I thought I should water some of the gardens.

So, I did...

I dumped about 1/2 gallon of water on each of the four clumps of Sadie's irises I transplanted out front. I suppose I should water the actual whole garden, but am a bit pressed for time, today.

Then I went out back and watered the herbs with the hose. I actually watered all the gardens surrounding both patios. When everything seemed to be watered enough, I took the spray attachment off the hose and stuck it in the reflecting pool. I turned the water on low and let it clean out the wash tub. I think that may be the secret to why my Japanese maple still survives. A heavy application of water may be the trick!

I set the timer for 30 minutes and went back inside at almost 7:00 PM. While that was happening, I took out some fertilizer and worked it into between the rows in the raised bed garden.

Finally, I turned off the water and hooked up the square sprinkler for the raised bed garden. I turned on the water and went into the house, setting the timer for an hour.

I made my dinner, an easy but supposedly restaurant-style, egg drop soup. I used four cups of my homemade chicken stock, putting three cups into a large saucepan and reserving the other cup. I added in 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger and two tablespoons of chopped fresh chives. I brought that to a rolling boil. Then I mixed 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the last cup of stock.

In a small bowl I whisked two whole eggs and one egg yolk with a fork. I drizzled the eggs a little at a time from the fork into the boiling stock mixture (Note: the egg should cook immediately). Once all the eggs have been dropped, I stirred in the cornstarch mixture gradually, until the soup was the desired consistency.

I let it cool a bit and then made me a bowl of it. It's funny, the taste is spot on but the color is all wrong (not nearly as yellow as typical egg drop soup in a Chinese restaurant).

I went out in the dark and shut off the water. Back inside, I read my book for a bit and then went to sleep.