Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Friday night's dinner on Monday

Back to work on Monday and it's already stifling. It's not the heat (yet - supposed to get to 92 degrees F.), it's the humidity - 98% or some crazy thing. And, still no rain in the forecast until "possibly" Wednesday night.

So, when I got home, I had to water the front flower beds (I'd done the raised bed garden on the weekend.

Back inside and in the air conditioning I sat and relaxed until I stopped sweating. Speaking of the A/C. it ran most of the evening until I manually adjusted it upwards to 78 degrees. Yeah, it wasn't as comfortable, but I was afraid the old girl would burn up or something.

Between the water and electrical usage, next month's bills ain't gonna be pretty!

I was inspired by a dish Jake said Carla made a couple weekends back: Linguine with clam sauce. I love that stuff and it's been a long while since I made it.

I put on a pot of salted water to boil for the linguini. Meanwhile, I added about a 1/4 cup of olive oil to my biggest skillet and turned it to medium heat. Next I minced four big cloves of garlic and chopped four fillets of anchovies

I added the anchovies and garlic, plus a teaspoon each of dried thyme and some red pepper flakes to the oil. I added the dried linguine to the water and cooked it just BEFORE it was al dente (it will continue to cook in the sauce, you see). I waited until the anchovies melted (and, they do) and then deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup of white wine (I used a mini-bottle of Sauvignon Blanc) or you can also use dry Vermouth.

Then I added one can of chopped clams with the juice and two cans of chopped clams, drained. I drained the linguini and added it to the skillet. I tossed and coated the pasta until the pasta absorbed the sauce (about 2-3 minutes). I removed it from the heat and tasted-tested it (perfect!) and then added a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley from the patio. I plated it and topped it with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

I watched taped TV until 10:00 PM when Bourdain's "No Reservations" came on. I watched that, putting away the leftovers (and there were LOTS) during commercials. I went to bed at 11:00.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Slow Sunday

Sunday was another snooze. I aired out the house until the AC kicked on, then I shut all the windows. I took a nap in the afternoon. While I was sleeping, the remote got knocked off the bed. It's happened before, but this time I couldn't get it to work again.

So, I had to get up and change channels manually. I'll take it in Monday and get a new one.

I watered the raised bed garden and, while I was out there, I picked four big green tomatoes. Back inside, I fried them up for dinner. They were very, very tart!

I went to bed early and slept lousy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Mom would have killed me

I woke up to the alarm on Saturday morning. I have a 9:00 AM haircut appointment. So, I shaved, showered and dressed and left just in time.

I got my haircut and headed up the road to the Value Center market. I bought some cube steak (I got a plan for my Sunday dinner), some anchovy paste, some smoked oysters (a reminder of Canada Cathy) and three cans of chopped clams (a replacement for tonight's dinner).

Back home, I made some breakfast while I watered the front garden. I poached two eggs (perfectly) and put them on top of two buttered, toasted slices of sour dough bread. Excellent!

It was after 2:00 PM that the AC kicked on. So, I shut all the windows and went outside. I took a nap in the hammock for a couple of hours.

I actually had a dinner in mind but the wedge I cut out of the lettuce and covered with French dressing filled me up. So, I skipped it.

AMC had a John Wayne movie marathon on, so I watched Rio Bravo and then Hondo. Then I went to bed.

Oh, I forgot to mention I bought a motorcycle.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday

I woke up at the usual time, posted to the Blog, surfed the 'Net a bit and then went back to bed.

I opened all the windows again and enjoyed the fresh air as I putzed around.

About 4:00 PM, I set out the sprinkler to water the front gardens. That smell of BBQ was driving me mad! So, I walked across the lot next door and gave the guy ten bucks. I told him I wanted whatever ten bucks worth would buy of baby back ribs.

He said he was sorry, but they sold out of ribs about 2:00 PM. All they had left was chicken. So, I got two hunks of chicken (drumsticks and thighs) and an ear of sweet corn.

I asked him why he was set up here and he said the owner and him were friends.

I took my dinner back home and ate it. The chicken was cooked perfectly, but the BBQ sauce was a bit tame. I like my bourbon-based sauce better (but I like bourbon).

I ate it watching TV shows and did that until it was bedtime.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blue Jays

I'm not sure why (maybe we didn't have a lot of Blue Jays on the farm when I was growing up) but the Blue Jays call always reminds me of Lake Orion. I have a lot of them here and it's an audio reminder of my childhood out at the lake.

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Carl 5 and the ducks again

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Me and the girls on the front steps

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An odd photo of me

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Me and young Carl on the front steps (I think calling him "little Carl" is silly, since he's as tall as me!)

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Me on the front steps

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Missy, me and Dave

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Amy, her husband and Melissa's Dave

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Amy and her Carl's on the front steps

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Amy and her Carl's by the water

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Me and the girls 2

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Me and my girls on the porch

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Young Carl feeding the ducks Cheetos (1)

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The cottage from the lakeside

Orion Photos

I finally got around to sorting through the 30+ photos Missy sent me from our trip out to the cottage.

I tried to eliminate duplicates, shots where somebody was looking the wrong way or where somebody were drooling (Hey! We're Goerlichs. We drool!)

Anyway, I am now posting my favorites.

Quote of the Day

"My sleep is so near waking it's hardly worth the name."

~ Mr. Sternwood - "The Big Sleep"

(Been there, done that)

Smoky Thursday

Thursday was an absolutely gorgeous day! Not too hot, not too cool with a nice warm breeze. A perfect hammock day! Unfortunately, I had to work. :o(

At lunchtime, I stopped into CVS to pick up my prescriptions. There was a sign saying "Flu Shots Today." I asked the one pharmacist if it wasn't a bit early for flu shots (seems like I always get them in, say, October) and she said the flu season is supposed to come early this year. So, I filled out the form. She said it would be about 20 minutes, so I asked if I could come back in an hour. She said sure.

So, I went home, ate lunch, watched the news and so on. Then I went back and paid $26 US to get inoculated. The nice thing about this year's shot is it is both the regular and H1N1 flu vaccines (last year you needed two and I only got the regular one).

BTW, something weird is going on at the Coney Island across the vacant lot next door. There is a big (rather stark and ugly) trailer belching smoke (I'm guessing a smoker) and a guy setting up tables with condiments, etc. Now, I am familiar with food trucks and trailers, but what I can't figure out is why a restaurant would have one in their parking lot. There are no signs or anything to indicate what's going on...

After work, I took a tour of the yard. I decided that the raised bed garden needed water, so I set that up. I wish it would rain so I could weed the rear garden. While I was out there, the smell of smoked meat wafted across the yard and teased and tormented me.

Back inside, I opened all the windows. I hate the stale smell you get when the house is closed up for weeks (either in the summer or the winter).

I returned a call from Lu. She called yesterday at 2:30 PM, saying she had a question about key lime zest and that she couldn't find the recipe for my shrimp salad in the "Recipe" section of the Blog.

She was on her way to deliver goat milk, so we talked fast. She said Jake had answered the key lime zest question. I explained the "Recipe" section of the Blog only includes recipes I either invented or changed enough to call my own. I told her I emailed her the Blog section on the day I made that recipe. She said thanks and we hung up.

I made two (yeah, TWO) BLT sandwiches for my dinner and, after turning off the sprinkler, went in to watch some TV. The Turner movie Classic (TMC) channel had a Lauren Bacall marathon yesterday and I had taped two of my favorites: "To Have and Have Not" (was you ever stung by a dead bee?) and "The Big Sleep."

I watched both of them and then went to bed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Watering Wednesday

Wednesday was sunny and warm. There was a slight chance of rain in the morning, but it never happened. So, when I got home, I did treat the cats, but didn't change. I went out and watered the herbs out back and the flowers in the front of the house. It's not supposed to rain for the next 10 days!

This took a long time and I finished just before 8:00 PM. So, I just warmed up the last of the eggplant for my supper and went in to watch TV until bedtime.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Granola Bars, Redux

Tuesday was a carbon copy of Monday, overcast skies, chilly temps, etc. Before I left for work, I took the trash out to the road and took the granola "bars" out of the fridge. I filled a small bowl half-way full of the loose granola, added some milk and attempted to eat it. Again, there was too much dried fruit. I got tired of chewing long before I was truly "full."

At lunch, I heated up two grilled hot dogs. I put them on the sourdough bread with just yellow mustard, but I could only eat one. I just can't eat that much anymore...

When I got home from work, I started the Wednesday night laundry and then watered the container gardens. BTW, I hate those "mailbox garden" seeds I bought from Burpee. It sounded good (and looked good on the package) but the early flowers died and the later "flowers," (if they ever do) just look like weeds.

I was gonna pull the weeds out from the back garden, but the ground is like cement. It "might" rain overnight, though. So, instead, I set up the oscillating sprinkler to water the raised bed garden (not only the leaf lettuce, but the peas are starting to emerge) and also the worst part of the burnt up rear lawn. I came back in the house and set the timer for one hour and 30 minutes (that's one inch of water with this sprinkler head).

I dealt with yet another of my financial setbacks, which pissed me right off. I don't want to go into it, but what I did was to throw money at it (money I really don't have).

These are the "golden" years?

I turned off the sprinkler and repositioned it to do the patio flowers and herbs and the surrounding grass. I know I'm violating my new rule for this summer, but I can't stand it!

I set the timer for another 1 1/2 hours and started on dinner.

I peeled an absolutely beautiful eggplant I'd gotten at Westborn last Sunday. I don't care what any chef or heath nut says, the peel tastes tough and bitter to me! Then I cut it into 3/8 inch slices.

I set up my breading station: AP flour, beaten eggs and self rising flour. Next I heated 1/4 inch of canola oil in my cast iron pan. When the oil was ready, I began to fry them up, four slices at a time.

When it was done, each batch went onto a rack, over a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. I hit them immediately with sea salt. When I finished the whole eggplant, I plated the first four and went in to watch TV.

The eggplant was fantastic!!!

I went out and turned off the sprinkler when I heard the timer go off. I came back in and ate two more slices of eggplant. I went to bed around 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cool Monday

Monday was cloudy and cool, with a north wind. The predicted high was 77 degrees F., and I doubt it even got to that. It looked like rain for most of the day, although it wasn't supposed to and never did.

After work, I went out back and cut the back yard. Here again, I mostly mulched up fallen leaves. The only grass I cut was in the shaded areas and around the raised bed garden (that still gets watered). It was had to see where I had just cut, too, as there were no distinct lines in the lawn this time.

When I took the mower back in the garage, I grabbed the blower and did most of the driveway. I say most as I ran out of extension cord about 15 feet away from the road and was too lazy to get more.

I grabbed a shovel and dug out around the entrance and exit of my culvert. It was all plugged up with dirt and leaves.

I went out back again, put the bird bath back in place and filled it up. Then I tore up some old bread for the birds and finally went inside for the night.

My friend B___ called and we talked for a while about taxes and the economy. I hung up depressed.

For dinner, I warmed up a bacon strip, toasted some bread and made myself a BLT. I ate that watching taped TV (it was great, BTW - the sandwich, not the TV). I went to bed with a backache (I'm pretty much convinced its from steering that mower) around 10:30 PM.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sleepy Sunday

As I said, I went to bed early Saturday night, so I woke up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 3:30 AM. Not good! I tried to fall back asleep, but that didn't work. So, I read a book until 5:30 AM and then got up.

I ate the rest of the melons for my brunch and worked in the house. I never got around to fixing the kitchen faucet (is anybody surprised?).

I took a nap around noon and slept until 3:30 PM. I woke up refreshed, shaved and showered and headed out to Westborn. I got the veggies I needed, along with a dozen ears of Michigan bi-colored sweet corn, a pack of Dearborn natural casing hot dogs and one impulse buy: a head of cauliflower.

Back home, I treated the cats and unloaded the car. I trimmed the sweet corn, stuck it in my biggest stock pot and covered it with water. I lit up the charcoal chimney after rolling the grille outside. I gassed up the push mower and cut the front lawn.

Midway, I dumped the charcoal and refilled and relit the charcoal chimney. I have a lot to grill today!

I wasn't really cutting the lawn, just cutting up the fallen black walnut leaves. When I got done, I put the sweet corn on the grille. I had already taken out the thawed rib steak, seasoned it and was letting it and the hot dogs come up to room temperature.

When the sweet corn was done, I moved it to the cooler side of the grille and put the hot dogs on. I pulled them off and put down the steak.

I husked the corn and put the hot dogs in a baggie for next week. I plated the steak and two ears of corn. I went in to watch my Sunday night shows.

The steak was too well-done for my taste, but still tasted good. The sweet corn made up for it, though.

I made sure the house was buttoned up before I went to sleep.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday Supper

When I woke up early Saturday morning for a bathroom break, I noticed the temps had fallen into the 60's. So, I opened the kitchen and my bedroom windows and went back to sleep, breathing fresh air for a change.

I woke up about 6:00 AM, but refused to get out of bed (it seems so wrong on a weekend). So, I watched the local news for a while and then finally posted the Blog entry.

The weather forecast had changed dramatically. Yesterday, there was a "potential" for rain on Saturday afternoon. This morning, it was supposed to start raining around 8:00 AM with heavy downpours expected by noon, tapering off around 4:00 PM.

That makes this morning's grocery shopping trip a bit dicey.

But, I soldiered on... I ate some of the melon mix for breakfast and, after fixing an on-going printer problem, eventually hit the shower (I'm feeling quite a bit lazy today). It was drizzling when I left for Meijer's at 10:30 AM.

I spent about $50 US on "stuff" and went out to the car. Between going in and coming out, I'd gotten quite damp, so I decided to postpone the trip to Westborn for my veggies until tomorrow and went home.

I put away the groceries, changed clothes and called my friend B___. I was interested on what storm damage he might have suffered on Thursday (two tornadoes touched down near him). He said he had actually seen the swirling debris approaching his house before (wisely) heading for the basement. The tornado touched down about two miles east of his house, so no fallen limbs or missing roofs, but he still had to clean up a bunch of crap in his yard. BTW, it never even rained here in Redford. But the pictures of Oakland and Macomb counties were devastating and 60,000 homes lost power. I hope Waconda is okay.

I had bought a 24-count egg package, so I put twelve of them in cold water on the stove to boil (that was necessary, but stupid. Week old hardboiled eggs peel easier). Then I opened the "family pack" of chicken legs and put half of them into one baggie and the rest into another. One baggie went into the chest freezer and the other got covered with buttermilk (you could also use one cup of regular milk and a tablespoon of vinegar), put in a bowl (I never trust baggies after an ugly incident a while back) and into the fridge to marinate.

When the eggs were boiling, I took them off the heat, covered them and set the timer for 12 minutes. When the timer went off, I rinsed them in cold water and set them in the dish drainer to drain and cool. Note: I do realize that week-old eggs are easier to peel, but I don't have that time.

Next, I lay down on the bed to watch some taped TV shows. Naturally, I fell asleep. I woke up around 3:00 PM, refreshed.

So, I cooked the last five strips of thick bacon I'd thawed for breakfast (on a rack over a foil-lined cookie sheet in a 400 degree F. oven. This normally takes like 8-10 minutes, but this was really thick bacon so it was probably more like 16 minutes. I go by feel, not time.) I'll use them for BLTs (gotta keep using up those tomatoes) instead of breakfast, I suppose.

It was almost 5:00 PM then. It was still drizzling outside (but NO heavy downpours that my grass and gardens would have loved). So, I decided to make dinner (melons don't really fill you up that much).

So, in another baggie, I mixed up one cup of self-rising flour (Paula Deen always says this makes the best, light batter), two teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of fresh ground pepper, I added 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to this to give it my own twist. I drained the chicken and, one at a time, I tossed them in the flour mixture. They went onto a waxed paper sheet to rest (for at least 15 minutes) while I heated the oil up.

I added one half inch of canola oil into my cast iron skillet. Now, how do I know I have one half inch of oil? Well, years ago, I was supposed to add one inch of oil to a pan and couldn't figure out how to measure it (without screwing a tape measure up) so, I took one of my wooden spoons and my tape measure and found one inch. I carved that into the handle. Then I did the same for 1/2 inch. So yeah, I know!

Here's another secret: You all know how fond I am of my instant read thermometer. Well, if you don't have one, when you pour the oil in your cold pan, add about a teaspoon of water. When the water/oil starts to pop, it's at the right temperature.

Anyway, I peeled about six russet potatoes, chunked them up and put them on to boil. Then I added four of the chicken legs into the cast iron pan (I'll have to do this in two batches).

I browned them on both sides. Then I reduced the heat, covered them and cooked them about 25-30 minutes, turning them about every five minutes.

Meanwhile, the potatoes, which I obviously started too early, were done. So I drained them and let them sit in the hot pan for a bit. I got out a half stick of butter and a half cup of cream and let all that sit on the stove to warm up.

When the first batch of chicken was done, I started on the second batch. I hit the first batch with some sea salt and popped it in a warm oven, along with the potatoes I'd mashed.

When the second batch was done, I drained off all but about 1/4 cup of the grease (religiously guarding the brown bits on the bottom of the pan).

To the hot drippings I retained, I added three tablespoons of regular AP flour, two teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. I'm making a roux. Once that was done I added a cup of milk and a cup of water. I stirred that until it reached the level of my desired thickness (some people like thick gravy, some people like thin. I'm a middle-of-the-roader, myself).

I plated two of the chicken legs, the mashed potatoes and gravy with a cut up tomato (salt and pepper only) and went into to eat dinner and watch TV.

For Tirami Sue, the chicken was excellent and definitely cooked all the way through. The gravy was good, but I over-salted the mashed potatoes (and, by now you should know how much I like salt, so they sucked). The five remaining chicken legs went into a baggie for lunches and such, the potatoes went into the trash as well as the gravy (hey, without the potatoes, what good is the gravy?)

I went to bed early.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have."

~ Anonymous

"Hungarian" Friday

Friday's weather was more of the same. But, who cared? It was Friday and payday!

After eating lunch, I worked backwards and washed the main bathroom and kitchen floors as I exited the house.

After work (and "Banging the Drum") I treated cats, changed clothes and started hauling the kitchen furniture back in from the living room.

The cats were all somewhere else, so I stripped the bed to get a jump on weekend chores. The bedding went into the washer and I went out back.

I checked out the raised bed garden and picked six more tomatoes. I noticed the leaf lettuce had sprouted, so I watered it.

Back inside, I started dinner. I am doing a riff on an old recipe Lu got from her step-mother Gerry. Gerry called it "Goulash," but I call it "Gerry's Ground Beef Stuff." Maybe "Gerry's Ground Beef Medley" sounds better... Whatever. It's just that I've tasted Hungarian goulash and this ain't it.

So, I browned up a pound of hamburger I'd thawed out. While that was browning, I searched the fridge for "stuff" and came up with a quarter of a red onion and a half of a small yellow onion. I finely diced them. Inspired, I went back outside and picked a green pepper. I finely diced that. Then I minced up three cloves of garlic.

When the beef was browned, I drained the grease. Hmmm... what spices to use? I settled on a pinch of red pepper flakes and about half a teaspoon of smoked paprika. I stirred that in for a minute or so and then added one cup of water and one cup of V-8 juice. While I brought that to a boil, I went to get some elbow macaroni.

Crap! I don't have any!!! And, it's traditional!!! I settled on using Farfalle (also called "bow-tie" I believe) and added a cup to the boiling mix. I turned it to simmer, covered it and set the timer for 8 minutes. I checked the pasta and it was still too hard. I ended up doing that every two minutes until it was where I wanted it. I made the bed back up during this phase.

Also, I went out on the patio and got some flat leaf parsley. I diced that up and, when the pasta was ready, I added it to the pan to brighten the dish up. I tasted it and added salt and pepper.

I got a bowl of it and placed a dollop of sour cream in the middle. Then I wandered off to watch TV and eventually, go to sleep.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday

It was hot again on Thursday. When I got home, I checked the weather. There were severe storms moving through the northern suburbs with the potential of hitting here, so I decided NOT to water the raised bed garden.

I did go out and water that patch of grass, refilled the bird feeder and the bird bath, though.

Then, back in the air conditioning, I started the Wednesday night wash and began to do the weekly house cleaning (I missed that last weekend and it was starting to show).

I got everything swept and vacuumed and all the furniture, etc., in the kitchen moved to the living room. About that time, I realized I couldn't wash the kitchen floor until the dryer was done. So, I put that on "pause."

My daughter Melissa called and we talked for a l-o-n-g time. When we finally hung up, I was more interested in dinner than a clean kitchen floor.

I was still trying to eat up all those tomatoes, so this time I tried topping the slices with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and feta cheese. I managed to use up three more tomatoes, but the combination of balsamic vinegar and feta cheese was a bit too much.

In spite of all the "warnings" on the TV, I don't think any rain actually showed up here. I ate dinner and then went to bed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just another day in Paradise...

Work was long and somewhat annoying. I'm trying to juggle too many things at once!

When I got home after work, I cleaned up the kitchen counters and sink, started a load of dishes and rubbed my wooden cutting board with half a lemon (supposed to kill garlic or onion odors.) Then I started prepping vegetables. I made that radish salad again (I've been jonesing about radishes for some reason). If you're interested, the recipe is in, well, the "Recipe" section of my Blog.

It was a lot of knife work (for a change) and felt good.

Then I hit the cutting board with the other half of lemon and prepped a Honey Dew melon and a cantaloupe (another addiction this summer). I put the chunks into my biggest container and into the fridge to chill (for snacks and/or dessert).

I went out and watered the container gardens. Next, I planted another rows of sugar snap peas (on the other side of that little trellis I made from chicken wire - I thought of that at work today, but should have done it yesterday). I watered that to help them sprout and went back inside.

Next, I cut up three tomatoes into thick slices, drizzled them with olive oil and hit them with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. But, this time I also topped them with crumbled up feta goat cheese Lu gave me over the Christmas holiday (it was frozen when she brought it, so I thawed it out last night). We'll see how that tastes. I took the radish salad out of the fridge (its supposed to be room temperature when you eat it.

I finished up everything by 7:30 PM and took the rest of the night off. I started watching TV and ate the tomatoes first.

They were great!

I did get hungry about 10:00 PM and had a small bowl of the radish salad as a snack. That too was mighty tasty. I went to bed at 11:30PM.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday

I put out two bags of trash to the road before leaving for work Tuesday morning. I was a little bummed that I never went grocery shopping over the weekend, so I couldn't swap out the kitty litter.

So, I bit the bullet at lunchtime and went to Meijer's. I got more kitty litter, cat food and various other staples I was either out of or running low on. When I got home, they still hadn't picked up the trash, so I kicked it into high gear, swapped out the kitty litter and took the old bag out to the road.

The cats were grateful.

I had made an impulse buy of a rotisserie chicken and ate most of the dark meat for lunch.

When I got home at 5:00 PM, I called Carla's mother, Acenter, to wish her a happy birthday. She said she treated herself to lunch at Red Lobster and was walking around the mall. She said when she got home she was just going to relax. I told her that sounded like the perfect birthday.

The temperature was in the 80's again, but with low humidity. So, I went out and planted some leaf lettuce and another row of sugar snap peas. I picked nine more ripe tomatoes and took them in the house. Then I watered the grass seed and the raised bed garden. I set the timer for 40 minutes (one inch of water using the square sprinkler).

While I was watering the raised bed garden, I started saut�ing 8 ounces of sliced mushroom that would soon go bad. While they were reducing, I deboned the rest of the chicken. I put the bones in the freezer for stock, in the fall. I added the chicken to the mushrooms and then added a big can of drained chop suey vegetables. While that was warming up I made four helpings of brown rice.

I plated some of that and went in to watch some TV after shutting off the sprinkler. I got a call from my friend B___. For some reason, we were talking about Irish women. I said, "You know, like Maureen O'Hara in the John Wayne film "The Quiet Man" (one of my personal favorites). He said it was on tonight! So, after hanging up, I put the rest of the leftovers in the fridge. Then I went to TMC and set the DVD-R to record.

I didn't really need to do that as I watched the whole damn movie until 10:30 PM or so. Then I went to bed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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The black walnut tree in the front yard, as seen from the hammock

Monday Moanin'

I woke up by the alarm clock. I shaved and showered and posted the Blog entry (pretty standard day so far, eh?) Then it went to sh*t. My back was killing me and I still had time, so I lay down for a "minute" to rest it. I should know better!!!

I woke up about 11:30 AM. Damn! I sent my boss an email, letting him know I'd work Friday instead of today and gave him my status update.

I put on my shorts and t-shirt and took an extended walk out back. I really (REALLY) need to weed the back garden. And, I need to plant the fall crops of lettuce and peas.

Instead I ended up in the hammock. I like to look up at the tree tops and contemplate. In fact, I like it so much, I took some photos so you could see the view (your contemplating is optional, of course).

I made a simple salad for my breakfast/lunch/dinner and ate that watching some taped TV. I went to bed early to avoid a repeat of today.

Monday, August 16, 2010

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A pigeon, eating the bird food....

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The adjoining tree

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The south tree

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View from the North

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My hammock

Sunday and still chillin'

It was hot and steamy again (what else?) so I mostly stayed inside and putzed. I skipped breakfast (I was gonna make scrambled eggs with grits) and made some granola bars instead, using leftover dried fruit from my non-existent Christmas cookies.

I melted two tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and added 1/4 cup each of honey and brown sugar with a pinch of salt. Then I added 2 cups of dried rolled oats, a cup of chopped nuts (I would have used mixed nuts had I went out to the store. Instead, I used up the rest of the pecans I had.) and the remainder of dried fruit (Michigan cherries, dried orange peel, dried cranberries and Turkish apricots). I was supposed to add two tablespoons of wheat germ (that I didn't have - Jake suggested grinding up dried oats in the food processor, but that seemed like a lot of work) so I just left them out.

I baked them in an eight-inch square pan in the toaster oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F. I let them cool and cut them into eight bars. I covered them with cling wrap and stuck them in the fridge to harden.

Later in the day, the projected storms had not developed (although I heard Troy got hammered) so I went out and hooked up the square sprinkler and watered the raised bed garden. Then I stuck the end of the hose into the reflecting pool and set the timer for 30 minutes. I shut that off and warmed up the leftovers (Spam slices and mac & cheese). I ate that watching my Sunday night shows and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I was freaked out, but then I chilled out....

I was awakened about 5:00 AM by the sound of running feet and then a big crash in the bedroom! I rolled over three times (I always sleep on the left side of the bed unless ladies prefer it), hit the floor and grabbed the shotgun out of the closet. I flipped on the light as I pointed the shotgun in the general direction of the noise.

There sat Caley, smiling.

When I could finally breathe and talk, I explained to her just what "cat jam" would look like on the wall and asked her please to not do that again. I picked up the carving of the bear and put it back in place. I went back to bed, but slept uneasy.

Earlier, I asked Jake what his weekend plans were and he had responded "recover" so I took that when I woke up for real and went with it.

AMC was showing all of the John Wayne movies, so I watched them. About 5:00 PM I got hungry. So, I opened up a can of Spam, cut it into 1/4 slices and fried it. Meanwhile I cooked up some boxed mac & cheese. Hey, you foodies can bite me!! I like this sh*t!

I watched TV until I was tired and then went to bed.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Morning, Over Easy #1

(this always reminds me of living on Palms Road)

Our House
~Crosby, Stills and Nash

I'll light the fire
You put the flowers in the vase
That you bought today

Staring at the fire
For hours and hours
While I listen to you
Play your love songs
All night long for me
Only for me

Come to me now
And rest your head for just five minutes
Everything is good
Such a cosy room
The windows are illuminated
By the sunshine through them
Fiery gems for you
Only for you

Our house is a very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
'Cause of you
And our la,la,la, la,la, la, la, la, la, la, la.....

Our house is a very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
'Cause of you
And Our

I'll light the fire
And you place the flowers in the jar

Saturday Morning, Over Easy #2

On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

~ Doctor Hook

Well we are big rock singers, we've got golden fingers
And we're loved everywhere we go
We sing about beauty and we sing about truth
At ten thousand dollars a show

We take all kind of pills to give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we've never known
Is the thrill that'll get you when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Rolling Stone
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Rolling Stone
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

I've got a freaky old lady name o' Cocaine Katy
Who embroiders on my jeans
I've got my poor old gray-haired Daddy
Drivin' my limousine

Now it's all designed to blow our minds
But our minds won't really be blown
Like the blow that'll get you when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Rolling Stone
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Rolling Stone
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

We got a lot of little teenage blue-eyed groupies
Who do anything we say
We got a genuine Indian guru
He's teachin' us a better way

We got all the friends that money can buy
So we never have to be alone
And we keep gettin' richer but we can't get our picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Rolling Stone
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Rolling Stone
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Song Snippet - Saturday Morning, Over easy

Knight's In White Satin
~ Moody Blues

(Spoken)

Breath deep
the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade
from every room
Bedsitter people
look back and lament
Another day's useless
energy spent

Impassioned lovers
wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love
and has none
New mother picks up
and suckles her son
Senior citizens
wish they were young

Cold-hearted orb
that rules the night
Removes the colours
from our sight
Red is gray and
yellow white
But we decide
which is right
and which is an illusion.

Finally Friday...

I was up again during the night and so woke up a tad late. I did get to work on time, but the Blog posting was a little later than I'd have liked.

The morning and early afternoon sped by (calling for quotes, getting Purchase Orders entered, dealing with clients and their clients, etc.,) but after 2:00 PM or so, the day started to drag.

But, finally it was 5:00 PM Friday and I was driving home, banging that drum for a change!

I took the first hour off (treating cats, changing clothes, fixing a drink, sorting the mail, etc,). I had noticed the sweet alyssum was drooping when I pulled in, so next was a tour of the yard.

Note: we are supposed to have occasional heavy thunderstorms Saturday evening into Sunday morning. But I no longer trust those forecasts. "We won't be fooled again!"

So, I hooked up my water wand (that bad boy throws an amazing amount of water in the form of rain) and started on the patio gardens. Then I hit the new sown grass and moved up the south side of the garage. Next I did the tree box garden and the mailbox container garden.

Then I did the rosemary on the porch railing, the lilac and the forsythia. Finally, I did the front garden including the sweet alyssum. I freakin' drenched it! I rewound the hose, shut the gate and went back inside. It was after 7:30 PM.

Note: I decided to wait and see about those thunderstorms before watering the raised bed vegetable garden. I am still trying to conserve water (and not paying Detroit through the nose).

I wasn't really "hungry" so I cut up the last four tomatoes into thick slices. Again I hit them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and fresh basil. I took them into the bedroom and watched taped TV until the Friday Night Fights came on.

I watched them until the end and then went to bed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Song Snippet

"Drink"
~ from the Student Prince

Drink! Drink! Drink!
To eyes that are bright as stars when they're shining on me!
Drink! Drink! Drink!
To lips that are red and sweet as the fruit on the tree!

Here's a hope that those bright eyes will shine
Lovingly, longingly, soon into mine!
May those lips that are red and sweet,
Tonight with joy my own lips meet!

Another "Ditto" Day

Thursday was more of the same: Hot, humid with a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

After work, I changed clothes and started the "Wednesday" wash. I worked in the house until it was time to put it in the dryer.

Then I gassed up the lawn tractor, checked the oil and the tires and headed out to cut the back yard. The situation was the same as in the front. Areas where the sun hits were starting to burn up, but in the deep shade the grass continues to grow. So, it was becoming uneven and needed the attention.

I finished up around 7:30 PM. I had planned an elaborate supper, but it was a little late for that. So, I made up a nice salad: The rest of that Michigan "Bibb" lettuce, some radicchio, a tomato (mine) and a sliced radish (not mine). Then I heated up a small chicken pot pie.

I ate that watching some TV. I was all excited about watching TMC. They were going to show "The Student Prince at Heidelberg." Why was that so intriguing? Because my Father loved that opera and had a record of the music that he often played. The plot concerned a prince who went to college there and fell in love with a barmaid. When I was a young lad, I could sing most of the songs, especially the one called "Drink" (Ironic, eh?)

But... when it started, it turned out to be the silent movie version. So, no songs! Disgusted, I watched some taped shows and went to bed early.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

photo

Me on the porch at Lake Orion
~ photo courtesy of Melissa
~ dog courtesy of Amy

Chickening Out!

As I alluded to in my last post (I allude a lot... maybe I shouldn't... maybe it makes you go blind...), I didn't sleep well Tuesday night. I went to bed at 10:30 PM, but woke up at 1:00 AM and couldn't fall back asleep. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 3:20 AM. As a result, when I finally did fall asleep, I overslept. I finally heard the alarm clock at 6:15 AM (45 minutes late). So, the Blog entry was posted just a tad later than usual.

At lunch, I made some Campbell's tomato soup (trying to use up the milk before it goes bad) and a grilled cheese sandwich. I also was thinking about supper (anything but shrimp salad!) so I took out some boneless, skinless chicken breast to thaw. Now, as I have repeatedly said, I always go for bone-in, skin-on chicken anything (it has so much more flavor), but this was some "special" a while ago that I've had in my chest freezer.

I took the rock-hard chicken and put it in a marinade of buttermilk (have to use that up as well and it gives the chicken a certain "tang"), a generous amount of Frank's Red Hot Sauce, salt and pepper. I left it on the counter, covered with cling warp, to thaw.

Back at work, I checked the Weather Channel online about 2:00 PM (I left the sunroof open and the windows down an inch or so for the heat). This morning, there was a "slight" chance of thunderstorms this afternoon (another hot, muggy day). But, when I looked then, there was a Severe Weather Alert (possible thunderstorms, with an inch or so rain and high winds - it was supposed to hit here about 2:30). Just then Jake let me know it was raining like hell on campus (about 5 miles from my building). So, I let everybody know what was coming and went out to button down the car.

What was ever worse was I had a 4:00 PM meeting in Allen Park (about 15 miles from here). It normally takes about 20 minutes, but I left about 45 minutes so I wouldn't be late (I HATE being late for a meeting).

Turns out I got there at 3:40 PM (Hey, I paid $1,700.00 for a turbo charger I didn't need, right? No point in not using it!). So, I sat outside the conference room until other people started arriving. I assumed this meeting would run late and I would get stuck in rush hour traffic. And I was right!

What made it even worse was when the Director of IT (my boss's boss) came in, looked at me askance and asked, "Why are you here?" I said, "I was on the appointment list, so I accepted." She said, "Oh, I asked the Vice-President to invite "John" (meaning my boss) and he must have thought I meant you." Nice...

So, I was at a meeting I didn't need to go to until 5:40 PM (I do know all the folks and did ask probing questions and answered some as well - so I did good). Then I drove home and got there about 6:10 PM.

The rain had stopped and I checked the gauge. It showed just a little in the tube. So, I hooked up the square sprinkler and watered the raised bed garden. Before I turned the water on, I picked another five "almost ripe" tomatoes. Those went on the kitchen window sill as well.

Back inside, I debated about the pan to use to coat the chicken. I finally decided to use a flat sheet cake pan (what is that, like 11 inches x 9 inches?) To that I added two cups of all-purpose flour, one tablespoon of baking powder, one tablespoon of garlic powder, some salt and some fresh ground black pepper. I mixed that up with a whisk, drained the chicken for a bit and added it in.

Now, normally I use a wet, dry, wet hand in coating things. But here I used a wet, wet hand technique. I put the chicken breasts in the flour and heavily coated them with the flour. I let that sit for about 10 minutes (turning it occasionally), while I went outside, turned off the raised-bed garden sprinkler and then watered the newly sown grass for a while (it may rain tonight, or even tomorrow, but who knows?)

Back inside, I filled my largest cast iron skillet up to about half with canola oil. I fired up the burner and monitored the oil with my instant read thermometer. At 375 degrees F., I shook off the excess flour and fried the three chicken breasts.

I turned them when they got golden brown (3-4 minutes), fried them 3 minutes more and then reduced the heat to 325 degrees F. Next I fried them 10 minutes on a side. I warmed up the leftover rice (you remember the rice, right?) and sliced up a tomato.

I put the chicken on a rack to drain and hit them with a little more salt. After a bit, I plated everything and went in to watch TV about 8:30 PM.

The chicken tasted fantastic: it was juicy, moist and delicious. The only problem I had with it was the crust was too thick and hard for my liking. Too much time in the flour, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Makin' Hay While the Sun Shines

It was another hot, steamy day here in Michigan. It's supposed to stay like that until Sunday; the dog days of summer, I suppose.

When I got home after work, I treated the cats and changed into shorts and a tee-shirt. I relaxed on the couch for a bit and then went out to cut the front grass. Now, most of the front grass doesn't need it (it's the color of hay - remember, I'm not watering it this year) except where there is deep shade. So, I told myself I was "making hay."

When I had that done (with frequent water breaks), I took the push mower out back and went around the perimeter of the backyard (saves me from trimming). When I was cutting around the raised bed garden, I noticed a few of the tomatoes had ripened.

I put the mower away when I finished and moved onto watering the container gardens, filling the birdbath and the bird feeder. I ripped up the other package of sub buns (I'll never use them before they go bad) and scattered them under the feeder for the squirrels.

Then I went back to the garden and picked seven nice-sized ripe tomatoes. But, back inside (and into the blessed air conditioning) I notice three still had a bit of pink on them. Those I set on the kitchen window sill.

The others I cut into thick slices and put them on a big plate. I drizzled them with olive oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper and let them sit while I picked some fresh basil leaves. I rolled the basil leaves and cut them "chiffonade." I sprinkled them on top and went in to eat a nice light snack.

I talked to my friend B___ for a while about my weekend and then started to watch TV. About 9:00 PM, I began to get hungry, so I ate some leftovers. I never thought I would say this, but I am getting sick of shrimp salad sandwiches!

I went to sleep around 10:30 PM (which turned out to be a mistake).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Shoutout

Happy Birthday, Carla!

love,

~ Dad

Road Trip

I woke up to the alarm on Monday morning, because my daughters want to meet out at the cottage by 9:30 AM. It seemed a little early to me, but...

I left about 8:15 after loading the car with the cooler and assorted "stuff." That should have put me at the cottage in plenty of time, but I didn't know that Telegraph (a eight-lane road with a median) was down to two lanes on either side for construction from 8-Mile Road all the way to Long Lake Road (say 15 miles?)

I got there five minutes late, but they weren't there yet. I had just enough time to open the cottage before they showed up. I was surprised and delighted to see their husbands (it's been years). Everybody looked happy and healthy. How come young Carl and I are the only ones who seem to be getting older?

So, we exchanged greetings and went inside. The cottage looked amazing. All the clutter is GONE, even in the back porch closet (which you couldn't even get the door open all the way since I was a little kid).

We mostly sat on the porch and talked. Young Carl did do some fishing and duck feeding (popular Waconda activities).

I mentioned that Jeremy, Uncle Carl and Jake and Carla's Mom all were planning on coming out to see them. They asked what time and I said, "Oh, sometime after noon." They said they were planning on leaving around noon! Oh, oh...

I got out Jake's German cookies and everybody seemed to like them.

Both Amy and Melissa each had wicked-looking bruises. I asked Amy what happened to her and she said, "Oh, you know... I'm a Goerlich. We fall down!" We all like that so much, she's going to get it translated into German and it is now our official family motto!

We posed for some pictures, both inside and outside. Melissa grabbed my ass in one shot...

About 11:30 AM, I broke out the shrimp and the coleslaw and asked if anybody wanted some. They all said they would try it, but each husband and wife team decided to split one hoagie together (I am so going to end up with a lot of extra buns). I did get some compliments, but couldn't really tell if they were being polite, were still too full from breakfast or really meant it.

Finally, just before 1:00 PM, they started packing up. As they were just getting into their vehicles, Jeremy pulled in. So, they all chatted a bit more in the driveway and then left.

Jeremy and I went upstairs and sat on the porch. We talked and I remembered the German cookies so I got those out again. It was very pleasant, except when the wind would die. Without a breeze, you noticed how hot and muggy it was.

He told me Jake and Acenter were not coming. Carla had to work and he had some difficulty with the car rental reservation. I said that was probably a good thing, because he would have missed his sisters, anyway.

It was nice just relaxing and talking on that porch. No wonder Mom loved it.

It started to rain about 2:00 PM, so I started closing the porch windows and locking the cottage up. I told Jeremy it looked like Uncle Carl wasn't coming, either. He said he might just go back to work (his work is just 20 minutes away, it seems).

He carried my cooler down (thanks!), we said our goodbyes and each drove off in a different direction.

Sidebar: Carl wrote on my Facebook page: "Ok, drove out to Orion with Tariq to see you and your daughters.........not a soul there....hmmm
p.s. Hannah had my keys so....I drove back home! Hope the girls had a wonderful time"

I wrote back and asked him what time he got there and he responded: "Oh....approx 2:20 pm I had a 12 noon appointment at the doctors, and got out of his office about 1:35..... so, how are the girls, did you give them my love?
next time~"

I made the slow trip down Telegraph and got home about 3:45 PM. I unloaded the car, changed clothes and went in and took a nap.

I woke up after 5:00 PM. I watched the news and cleaned up the mess from making the shrimp salad. Lu called about 6:00 PM and we talked for a long time (its been a while since we talked).

When we hung up, I was too pooped to do any real work, so I started watching TV. About 9:00 PM, I made myself another shrimp salad sandwich and ate that, along with some coleslaw for my dinner.

I went to bed about 11:30 PM.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday, Sunday...

I woke up at 4:30 AM and could NOT fall back asleep. So, I finally got up at 6:30 (annoyed) and made a pot of coffee. I filled in the extensive Blog entry (I lead an exciting life, you see), drinking coffee and listening to "Sunday Morning Over Easy."

I'm not sure exactly why (maybe I slept on it too long) but my right shoulder is killing me. I went to put my fishing pole and the tackle box in the car and found one of the "guides" had broken lose. My initial reaction was duct tape, but when I called my friend B___, he recommended epoxy glue.

So, after shaving and showering, I headed out. I stopped at Home Depot for the epoxy glue and then hit up Westborn for tomorrow's lunch. The guest list keeps growing. Besides me, Amy and her Carls, Melissa and Dave, we now have Jeremy, my brother Carl and Jake and Acenter.

So, I bought two pounds of 21-30 shrimp (I got a plan). Unfortunately, there was only one pack of hoagie rolls (so I bought a pack of submarine rolls - I'll cut them in half, I guess). And, they were out of Bibb lettuce, so I bought their recommended substitute, a Michigan lettuce that's similar.

Back home, I put everything away and went in to watch some TV. As I said, my shoulder is killing me. Later in the afternoon, I started to make the shrimp salad. I peeled and deveined the shrimp. Then I made up the poaching liquid (any poaching liquid is called court bullion in France, BTW). I put 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice, the four lemon peels, four cups of cold water, eight sprigs of parsley and six of tarragon all into a cold pan. Then I added the shrimp and turned the heat on medium. I rigged up my thermometer and set the alarm to go off at 165 degrees F.

After about 8-10 minutes the alarm went off, so I removed the pot from the heat, covered it and let it sit (still cooking) two more minutes. Then I took the shrimp out and shocked them in ice water. Next I dried them with paper towels and I cut them up.

Now, the preferred method of cutting them (at least in this recipe) is to cut them once, lengthwise (along the same line as your deviening cut. Put the two halves back together and cut them the other way into thirds. This is supposed to give you more even pieces.

I made the dressing next. You can make all this 24 hours in advance, but you are not supposed to dress the shrimp until just before serving.

So, remember, this is a double recipe. For the dressing I got 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, some diced celery, two finely minced shallots, two teaspoons of minced fresh parsley, two teaspoon of minced fresh tarragon and four tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. I whisked that all together and put it into a jar in the fridge. The shrimp I put into a zip lock baggie.

Then I went on to making my coleslaw. If you remember, as a single person, I have trouble with most mayonnaise-based coleslaw dressings. They tend to get watery before I can eat it up. The last time I made an oil-based dressing that was tasty and didn't get watery. This time I am making a buttermilk-based dressing.

So, I got my pound of coleslaw mix (green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots). In a bowl, I stirred together 1/2 cup of buttermilk, two tablespoons of mayonnaise, one small shallot minced (about two tablespoons), two tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, one teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, one teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, one tablespoon of minced fresh chives and 1/8 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. I whisked that all together, dressed the cabbage and put it in the fridge to get happy overnight.

I finally got around to making my own Sunday supper. I made a plate of Jake's cold sides (coleslaw, potato salad and the corn salad) and warmed up the ribs and the other chicken leg in the microwave. I plated it and went in to watch my Sunday night shows.

Outstanding! The ribs were "fall off the bone" tender and juicy, the spice rub was good and the warmed chicken excellent. I ate way too much and then added the plate to the mess in the kitchen.

I went to bed at 11:00 PM, after setting the alarm for 5:30 AM.

Monday and...

...I'm late again! So, the Blog entry will have to wait. Sorry!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday Morning, Over Easy...

(Eat your hearts out, you people who left!!!)

THE LIGHTS ARE ON IN MICHIGAN
~ Joel Mabus

Times are tough in Michigan but we've seen hard times before
Like nineteen eighty-two, thirty-six or seventy-four
When the auto plants are shutting down, everybody feels the squeeze
The last one out of Michigan, will you turn the lights off please? ---
That's what the bumper stickers say on the cars a-heading south
Well you gotta do what you gotta do to feed a hungry mouth
But some of us aren't running, we're here to make a stand
Tough old wolverines in this northern stretch of land

The lights are on in Charlevoix and lovely Grand Marais
The lights are on in the Keweenaw and they shine across the bay
The lights are on in Cadillac, Grand Rapids, and in Clare
In summertime the lights still shine on the Jackson County fair --
Hey, they're all lit up in green and white and shades of maize and blue
Nearly every weekend in A-square and MSU
From Pointe aux Barques to Saugatuck, and every other port of call
Menominee to Manistee the lights are standing tall

Now stick your right hand in the air, put your left hand up above
And there you have the outline of the state we dearly love
Now, It takes both hands to make that work and I'll give you all a clue
You put left and right together there ain't nothin' we can't do --
You talk about the rust belt - but I'll tell you how I feel
A little grit and elbow grease takes the rust down to the steel
And when that steel is polished and shining like it's new
Turn around and look - you'll find the lights are on for you.

The lights are on in Evart, where the water tastes like wine
And the lantern lights at deer camp still shine in Engadine
The harbor lights still sparkle on the port of Manistique
And the lights are on for breakfast down in Battle Creek --
The lights are on in Detroit in case you didn't know
And over on the west side - Benton Harbor and St. Joe
The lights are on in Pontiac and down in Highland Park
& when it comes to Flint - that tough old girl still sparks

The northern lights still dance from Ironwood to the Soo
And the teachers burn the midnight oil in Ypsilanti and Kalamazoo
And in many a mother's window you'll find a special light
Shining for her soldier sons and daughters in the fight --
Yeah, we keep the home fires burning every night and every day
From Flat Rock up to Calumet and every town along the way
Yeah, we're not about to give 'er up - we're here to see it through
Yes, the lights are on in Michigan - we'll keep 'em on for you

Shine your light and make it bright - It's up to me and you

Partying Hearty!

I woke up early on Saturday (I must have overdone that relaxing thing). I checked the temperature and it is was only 60 degrees outside! So, I opened a bunch of windows to help the air conditioner later.

Today my mission is to go to Jake and Carla's for a pool party. Besides me, the guests include Acenter (Carla's Mom) and Jeremy's family. As usual, I messed up the timing. After Saturday Morning Over Easy was done (say 11:30-ish) I shaved and took my shower. But, I didn't have to be there until 2:00 PM. So, I thought a half hour nap might do me good. I woke up at 2:15 PM! I was frantically getting ready when the phone rang. It was Carla, wondering where the hell I was.

I thought I'd make up time by using the expressways, but I-275 was a parking lot. I got off on Lucas Creek Road and went to Eastwood. That worked okay until I got to the main street heading into their subdivision. There was a stopped train across the track. I waited for a bit but it wasn't moving. To demonstrate how close I was, if the dumb train wasn't sitting there, I could see the back of their house. Finally, I turned around and tried other cross streets. Nope, still had the train. Finally, I went to Denbigh Avenue and over to Moyer and came back down. I got there about an hour late.

I greeted everyone and gratefully accepted a beer. They had told me not to make or bring anything and at that point I understood why. There was enough food to feed an Army regiment!

Let's see if I can list all of it: As far as protein goes, there was pulled pork (Jake had me taste test it when he was adding barbeque sauce - It was perfect and I told him so), 1/3 pound hamburgers, hotdogs, smoked ribs and barbecued chicken legs.

For sides there was Acenter's potato salad, corn and tomato salad and coleslaw. There was also lettuce leaves, pickles, onions and sauerkraut as toppings.

Dessert was cupcakes and later, Jake broke out the cookies he had ordered from Germany.

It has been quite a long time since I had a decent burger, so that's what I chose, along with a spoonful of the coleslaw and the potato salad. All were excellent! Unfortunately, that's more than I've eaten in a couple of months so I couldn't try the ribs and chicken.

I think the only ones who actually went swimming were Riese, Joe and Carla. I tried to talk Acenter into going in, but she said no way was she putting a bathing suit on a 54-year old body. Funny, but whenever I was talking about this, both my kids and my grandchildren quickly excused themselves from the room.

Now, about the Germany cookies: Back in the day, my German relatives used to send a big tin box of them every year to my Mother and Dad and then to my Mother. She would share them with us kids and grandkids. Apparently, Jake had a jones about them, so he ordered a tin box from Germany! Unfortunately, most, if not all had nuts in them (Carla's allergic). So, late in the afternoon, he broke them out. Mindful of my diabetes, I just had a small piece, but, talk about bringing back memories! He made a plate up for Jeremy's family and a big one for me. I had to promise I would take them out to Lake Orion on Monday for my daughters.

Carla also made me a big tub of leftovers: some of the potato salad, the coleslaw, the corn salad, two chicken legs and some of the ribs.

Jeremy and his family left about 6:00 PM (we gave them the traditional wave on the porch) and I left about 20 minutes later.

I forgot my swimming suit, towel and the hedge trimmer.

I took the leftovers inside, but left the cookies in the car to avoid temptation.

I took the time to water the new grass, the herbs and the lavender.

My friend B___ called to see how the pool party went. He mentioned that Turner Movie Channel (TMC) was hosting an all day movie marathon starring Errol Flynn (one of both of our heroes) and the next one coming on was "The Sea Hawks." So, when it came on, we hung up and I watched it.

I stopped it at one point (there are no commercials on TMC) and make a cold supper plate with one of the chicken legs and all of the potato salad. Messy, but excellent!

I went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

I had trouble sleeping Thursday night, so I watched TV from 1:00 AM until about 4:30 AM. I finally woke up at 8:30 AM on Friday!

Friday was my enforced day off, so that's what I did: Took the day off!

I read, watched a couple of movies, took a nap, ate leftovers when hungry and just generally fncked off.

Friday, August 6, 2010

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Photo #4

Only the strong survive (the drought I mean)

It was another hot, sticky day on Thursday. This time there was a wind, but it was only blowing hot most of the time!

I went to Westborn at lunch and bought a watermelon (I'm not sure why, but I keep jonesing about melons this year). On a whim I bought a tub of spinach dip and some of those small pita breads. When I got home, I put the watermelon in the fridge to chill and ate about half of the spinach dip on the pita bread.

I spent the rest of the afternoon burping...

Laurie at work had brought in some cucumbers and a HUGE summer squash. Everybody grabbed the cukes, but nobody wanted any part of the squash. I gently explained to her a four-inch summer squash is heaven (you wash it off, cut it into slices and saut� it in butter and it's fantastic) but when they are that big, the skin is too tough and the seeds too hard. She said that the heat has caused her garden to explode!

I kept thinking about that poor squash all afternoon. You know, like, peeling it and deseeding it and using it in a Ratatouille. But, it's too hot for that French classic dish. But, before I left, I snagged it.

Back home at 5:00 PM, it was the start of my four day weekend (I have to take Friday off and need to take Monday off). No "Bang the Drum" song, but I am still smiling!

The wind is now blowing cooler air and the humidity seems to have dropped a bit (a cold front came through). I noticed the plants in the mailbox tub were droopy, so I began to water all the container gardens. Then I watered the grass-seeded spot.

I noticed the herbs were wilting, too. So, my resolve NOT to water was tested. But, I need those herbs, right? So, I watered them. Then I noticed the lavender I planted two years ago looked like it would finally bloom, so I had to water them (dammit).

Finally, I hooked up the square sprinkler and watered the raised bed garden. I went back inside and set the timer for 40 minutes.

My brother Carl called and we talked for a while, mostly about this stupid Facebook crap (my brother Jim asked me to join to view his "pictures" so I did. Went to his page and, guess what? No pictures!). But, there were lots of people I know on it so I added them as friends. Many responded and posted on my "Wall." I think it sucks, but it seems to be pretty popular.

But, I can't figure out how to view the entire Wall as opposed to the latest entry. It's a pan in the *ss!

Then I addressed the huge summer squash (Photo #4). Knowing what I know, I peeled it and then trimmed it. I cut it in half (Photo #3) and, using a tablespoon, deseeded it (Photo #2) Then I sliced the remainder and fried it in butter. The result was not as sweet as a little summer squash, but perfectly edible. So that was my dinner (Photo #1).

I watched TV and went to bed early. I woke up for a bathroom break and checked the temperature. It was 68 degrees F. so I opened a couple of windows (to help the AC) and went back to bed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

ZEN Teachings (courtesy of my brother Carl)

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow... In fact, just piss off and leave me alone.

2. Sex is like air. It's not that important unless you aren't getting any.

3. No one is listening until you fart.

4. Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet...

6. If you think nobody cares whether you're alive or dead, try missing a couple of mortgage payments.

7. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

8. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

10. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

11. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you are the dog, some days you are the tree.

13. Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time (CaptainK's personal favorite!)

14. Good judgment comes from bad experience ... and most of that comes from bad judgment.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one works.

17. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

18. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

19. We are born naked, wet and hungry, and get slapped on our arse... then things just keep getting worse.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night...

Wednesday

It was yet another repeat of the past few days, weather-wise: Hot, muggy with a slight chance of rain that never materialized (at least not here). That means its been a week since we had any real rain.

I told myself that the flower gardens and lawn were going to have to fend for themselves (I got my water bill, you see). I will keep watering the vegetable garden, the newly sown grass and the container gardens.

Likewise, the heat has really been working the air conditioner (I got my electricity bill).

Anyway, enough whining. I had planned on putting more line in the line trimmer and finishing up the little bit I have left in front. But, it was too damn hot. So, I putzed around inside.

I grilled some of those Dearborn natural casing hot dogs on the stove, using the two-burner grill pan. I ate two of them on sourdough bread with mustard for dinner.

I watched TV, resting my knees until bedtime.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, more of the same...

It was a little hotter and still muggy on Tuesday as well, with a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. I had to hustle because I didn't empty the kitty litter Monday night. I had to put out all the trash before 7:00 AM (although they usually don't get it until the afternoon) and I had to vote.

I usually try to get to the polls at 7:00 AM and there are about 10-15 people in front of me. Well, today, I didn't make it there until 7:15 and there were only two and they had already registered and were doing their ballots. So, I breezed through and got to work by 7:30 AM.

Back home at lunch, I ate the rest of the Chop Suey and most of the rice, topped with good soy sauce. Yumo! But, now I have to figure out what to do with the remaining rice. When Jake came back from the Air Force, he swore that rice, covered with gravy, tasted like candy. I tried it but never did really see it...

It was stifling when I left for home at 5:00 PM.

I treated the cats, erased voice mails (all political ads) and changed clothes. I set all my meds on the table and went out to trim the front yard. You may be wondering where I got the strength to do this. I took a pain pill at 3:00 PM and am kinda cruising...

I got everything trimmed except around the black walnut and the last three feet of the front ditch. The line trimmer ran out of line and I ran out of ambition. Back inside, I filled up my pill tray (I should have done this on Sunday) and put that stuff away.

I warmed up some leftover meatballs and made half a box of pasta again. I mixed them together plated some and went in to lay down and watch TV.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday

It was hot and muggy on Monday. I did make it to work, but ended up taking my cane with me. It was okay once I'd walked a ways, but I needed it for getting up out of chairs and the first few steps.

At lunchtime, I went to Kroger's for needed supplies (not really a complete grocery shopping trip - more like eggs, milk, butter, kitty litter and so on).

After work, the heat and humidity were really oppressive. I noticed the container gardens were a bit wilted, so I watered them all with a combination of water and Miracle-Gro. I had some left out back, so I went to water the radishes and found the second row had emerged. I thinned them out, filled up the bird feeder and bird bath, watered the grass seed and went inside to the air conditioner.

I cut off one of the chicken breasts, removed the skin and cut it into chunks. I added that to a big can of drained Chop Suey vegetables and warmed it up while I made two servings of brown rice.

I added some of the rice to a bowl, topped it with Chop Suey and drizzled on some Kikkoman soy sauce. Excellent!

I went to bed early.

Monday, August 2, 2010

photo

The second row of radishes is up!

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The second row of radishes, after thinning

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The sad ending to this year's eggplant

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The newly sown grass seed over the ground up stump

I finally get something done...

I was a total mess Sunday morning. I could barely get out of bed! I had to hold on to doorknobs, the wall, the furniture, etc. until I got out to the front hall and my cane. The front hall is one step down and getting back up that one step took like 10 minutes. WTF? I know I abused my body on Friday, but this is ridiculous.

I finally figured it out after I stripped the bedding and took it downstairs (stairs, again) to wash. I went to get my morning pills and found I didn't take them yesterday. So, all the Celebrex (which keeps me moving without pain) apparently leached out of my body.

So, I took my pills and a mild pain pill and went back to bed for a bit. Somebody was knocking on the front door, so I hobbled out there. It was Jake and Carla. Jake wanted to borrow my electric hedge trimmer, so he did. After they left, I went back to bed for a while.

The bedding was done, so I got it out of the dryer and made the bed up. I took another pain pill and went out to cut the grass (it had to be done). I knew I couldn't use the push mower, so I cut all the lawn with the tractor. I can't do as nice of a job up front, but at least the majority of the grass is cut.

I went back inside and rested for a bit. Then I started supper at 6:30 PM.

I'd thawed out a nice-sized roasting chicken. I was planning on also making mashed potatoes and turnips but no way can I walk in the Westborn market today.

So, I got the chicken out, took out the giblets and rinsed the chicken. I patted it dry with paper towels (helps to get the skin nice and crispy) and set it on a plate. I went out on the patio and harvested some sage, thyme and flat leaf parsley.

Back inside, I reserved about eight sage leaves and stuffed the rest of the herbs into the cavity. I also added half a fresh lemon and half a yellow onion. Next I spread the skin apart and put in some butter and a sage leaf in four spots under the skin.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.

I trussed the bird with kitchen twine, drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned it heavy with salt and fresh ground black pepper and put it on the rack (inside my roasting pan) breast side up. I tried to put it in the oven, but the rack had to be lowered (Note to self: Next time check this out first, BEFORE preheating the oven).

I set the timer for 20 minutes and went in to fill out the Blog entry. I also forgot to turn on the blower and open the kitchen window, so I had that lady yelling "Fire" for a bit.

When the timer went off, I turned it breast side down and seasoned the back of the chicken with salt and pepper. I put it back in for another 20 minutes. Then I turned it breast side up again, rubbed the skin with some softened butter (using a fork) and put it back in for the final 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, I cut up and boiled about two pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes with a bay leaf. When they were done, I removed the bay leaf and drained them. I added a half stick of butter, a cup of sour cream and two tablespoons of horseradish. I mashed that all together and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The chicken had been out of the oven and resting for 10 minutes, so I carved off a good sized chunk, added the potatoes to my plate and limped in to eat my supper and watch my Sunday night shows.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A painful, non-productive Saturday.

I was in pain when I woke up (I felt like a wuss!) I was supposed to cut the lawn and fix the kitchen faucet. Instead I was either on the couch or in the bed watching TV, reading or taking naps.

I did talk to my daughter Melissa, who finally told me the date she and Amy want to go to the cottage. Just as I suspected, it's on the only day in the month of August I have plans. I explained I had a previous commitment, but she said it was no problem; they would change it to another day. Whew!

I finally started getting hungry, so I made some potato and cheddar pierogies for dinner. I topped them with sauteed onions and sour cream and ate them watching TV. I went to sleep early, hoping the rest would work wonders on my poor body.