Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday's Woes

I woke up late and made a pot of coffee (its my new day-off day). I drank two cups sitting on the couch, watching the day go by. I ate cold pizza for brunch.

Around noon, I put a tablecloth on the wood table and dug out all the stuff from under the sink. Then I got out the tools I needed to replace the hot water faucet stem (the one that drips).

When I pulled it out, part of it stayed in the hole! So, I tried using needle-nose pliers (too big), then toothpicks (kept breaking) and so on. After I sliced the sh*t out of my finger on a sharp edge, I gave up (momentarily) in disgust.

I went out back, untwisted the hammock and took a nap. When I woke up, I went out to get the mail (and my bike title). Instead of my title, I had a note from my carrier that said they attempted to deliver an envelope that required my signature and I could get it at the Post Office. Since it was already after 5:00 PM, I guess I’ll get it tomorrow.

I made tuna and peas with egg noodles for dinner (using water out of the bathroom). I was ignoring the kitchen sink for the moment. I watched TV until 10:00 PM and then went to bed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Caley Cat Hair and the Keyboard

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but any time I am on the computer at home, so is Caley. Which is yet another thing that makes me so fond of Scruffy (he's never jumped up on the computer desk).

But, Caley loves to run back and forth while I'm trying to work or play. She loves to rub her back under the little halogen light (the burning stench of cat hair is gross). She also plays with the camera's cord and anything left on the desk.

But the worst thing she does is run across the keyboard. This not only changes things I am working on, but also leaves a lot of cat hair in the keys on the keyboard.

However, I saw a tip on the web for cleaning the keyboard a while back. So, I take a Post-it strip every now and then and run it down the keys (with the adhesive side down).

This pulls out all the damn cat hair.

Just a suggestion for cleaning your keyboard.

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...

The temperature dropped dramatically overnight and it was raining on Tuesday morning. It was miserable when I put the trash out and miserable when I went to work. I think it’s a harbinger of the winter to come...

I sloshed through the rain to get home for lunch. I needed comfort food so I made some boxed mac and cheese.

When I got home after work, it was just drizzling, so I walked out to check the rain gauge. They say it might yet rain until midnight but I’ve had an amazing 1 1/2 inches of rain at 5:15 PM! That should really help the grass seed I laid down last week.

My Friday’s off have been switched to Wednesday, so I decided to take tonight as a gift. So, I fixed a drink and sat on the couch, reading a magazine I got in the mail from cover to cover. I’ll do what needs to be done tomorrow.

About 7:00 PM, my buddy B___ called to see if I got the title for the bike yet. I told him no, not yet, but I was going to call Linda (the bike’s owner) tonight, again. We talked about all the crap we had to do this weekend and then hung up. I called Linda and she actually was there. She said there was some mix-up and the envelope never got mailed. So, she overnighted it on Monday. I didn’t get it today, so I expect it will be here on Wednesday.

I got a weird email from my sister-in-law Kathy (Joe’s wife) telling me that, if I wanted to bring soup, she had bowls and spoons. WTF? I emailed back and asked if I’d missed an email or a phone call.

My brother Joe both emailed me and called me to tell me that they had rented the park in New Baltimore again to celebrate the birthday of my mother next Sunday (she would have been 103). But, apparently, some of the email addresses (mine included) were corrupt and did not get through. So I forwarded it to Jake and Jeremy.

Unfortunately, since I didn’t know about this and Sunday is the only sunny day, I have other plans.

I was going to make a good dinner, but the time ran out. So, instead, I searched through the freezer (I was looking for a chicken pot pie) and found a Digiorno classic thin crust pizza supreme. So, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F. and set the pizza on the pizza stone that lives in the oven (after sprinkling it with corn meal).

I was, frankly, disappointed. I could have jazzed it up by adding fresh tomato slices and more mozzarella cheese, I suppose. But it was enough to hold body and soul together.

I watched some TV until about 11:00 PM and then went to bed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday Moanin’

I had fallen asleep with my glasses on so, sure enough, when I woke up I had snapped the bow off. If you remember, these were my next oldest spare pair since my real glasses are lost.

So, I got out my third spare pair (about five or six years old) and could see well enough to get ready and drive to work (albeit a bit late). However, the prescription has changed just enough to give me a dull headache all day.

At lunchtime, I dropped my broken glasses off at my eye doctor’s. They said they might not be available (glass frames come and go) but if not, they’d get me something close. Then I swung by CVS and picked up this month’s prescription refills.

I had to go to Building 73 (one of my projects) so I dropped off that zucchini loaf to Jake. In fact, we exchanged food. He gave me a container of the black bean soup they’d made over the weekend.

I had to run another errand after work so I didn’t get home until almost 6:00 PM. I had two messages: one from my daughter Melissa and the other from the eye doctor (they still make that style of frames and they should be ready in about a week).

Melissa called back and we talked for a while. When we finally hung up, I warmed up that soup. It was thick and delicious.

I watched some TV but went to bed early (after carefully putting my glasses on the nightstand).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lazy Sunday

I was lazy and got up late on Sunday. I made a pot of coffee and sat on the couch, listening to Sunday Morning, Over Easy. When it was over, I wrote a poem and posted it.

Since I basically got everything done yesterday, this was my day off. So, I caught up on my cooking shows, watched a couple old movies and just generally screwed off.

About 5:00 PM I began to get hungry. So, I started my Sunday dinner: Lasagna Rolls. I took a cup (well, two containers) of Boursin herbed cheese that I had taken out in the morning to soften and mixed that with one half cup of shredded mozzarella.

I boiled 12 lasagna noodles according to the package directions, rinsed them and drizzled them with olive oil so they wouldn’t stick together. Then I laid each one on the cutting board, and smeared the cheese on it. I rolled each one up and secured it with a toothpick.

I placed them side-by-side in a baking pan and poured my tomato sauce over them. I sprinkled shredded Parmesan cheese over the top and put it in a preheated 375 degree f. oven. I baked it for about 25 minutes (until the cheese filling melted and the top was golden brown.

I let it cool for a bit and then plated some… I was very disappointed! Way to mild tasting. I guess. I supose when I think of lasagna it’s a rich, hearty, meaty, cheesy taste. Bummer.

I watched my normal Sunday night show and then went to bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Song Snippet: Sunday Morning, over Easy

No More
~ Bob Sieger

Tomorrow is the price for yesterday
A million waves won't wash the truth away
Someday you'll be ordered to explain
No one gets to walk between the rain

And I don't want this
No I don't want this
I have had enough - no more

No I don't want this
No I don't want this
I have had enough - no more

Harvest Moon

I'm getting too goddamn old.
How the hell did this happen so soon?
I got little left from my younger days,
but I still have the harvest moon.

I don't remember the reason
it looks so close and near.
But it sure is impressive
during this time of year.

I remember watching it rise
back on the family farm.
I felt I could almost touch it
by just stretching out my arm.

I live in a city now
And it's obscured by lights and haze.
But it still smiles down on me
just like back in my younger days.

I have only one regret,
based on the Neil Young tune.
I have never danced with anyone
under the harvest moon.

I forgot lunch!

For lunch on Saturday, I sliced up yet again more tomatoes, drizzled them with olive oil, seasoned them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and topped them with feta cheese.

But, I gotta tell ya, I was disappointed. I'd bought some "Kraft Crumbles" (Meijer's isn't exactly the gourmet cheese shoppe)feta cheese and it didn't have any of the sharp "bite" that Lu's goat cheese feta had. Bummer!

I'll have to check out Westborn or email her to see if that stuff can be shipped.

A Busy Saturday

I had a busy day planned for Saturday, so I set the alarm for 7:30 AM. I shaved and showered and then left for a haircut.

I had made up a grocery shopping list the night before so, after my haircut, I headed to Meijer's. It was cool here with a bit of a north breeze. It was the first big shopping trip I've done in over a month or so (I've just been picking up what I needed, but now my staples have started running out). So, I got very few food items, but lots of toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, baggies, etc. I was not surprised that the bill came to $145.00 US.

Back home, it took quite a while to put everything away.

I know Jake said he'd be stopping by after class (around 2:30 PM) to borrow my air compressor. So, I got it in my head to make a Lemon Zucchini bread recipe I'd noticed. But, there was a problem. I don't have any zucchini. So, I walked next door to borrow a couple. I asked Rick, but he said they didn't have any planted, just butternut squash.

So, I got back in the car and went over to Westborn with a mental grocery list. I picked up the zucchini, some celery, carrots and parsnips. But the trouble with mental grocery lists is you can forget or overlook items and I did! I forgot lettuce. Damn!

Back home, I grated two cups of zucchini. I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). I opened all the windows at that point, although it wasn't even 60 degrees F. outside. I thought the house could use a good airing out. I greased two loaf pans, and then sprinkled sugar into the bottom and on the sides of the greased pans.

I whisked three eggs, two cups of sugar (that seemed excessive even then, but I was following a recipe, okay?), one cup of vegetable oil, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and the zest of a whole lemon together in a large bowl.

Here's where I ran into another problem! I also was supposed to add a teaspoon of lemon extract. I don't have lemon extract, but I do have lemons. So, I checked on the helpful Web and found there is no real correlation between lemon extract and fresh lemon juice (lemon extract has alcohol in it that changes the basic flavor). So, I took a gamble and added the juice of the whole lemon I'd just zested.

I mixed three cups of flour, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder together in a separate bowl. I added that to the egg mixture and stirred until the batter was thick. Then I folded the zucchini into the batter. I poured my batter into the prepared loaf pans.

Now the instructions were to bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, (about one hour). You then cooled the loaves in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

However, Jake came about 1/2 hour early! Now, I know he's got a lot to do today, too, so I told him I'd drop off the loaf to him at work on Monday (I have to go over there, anyway).

He checked out my bike and gave it his stamp of approval. Then he left.

When the hour was up, I checked the bread. The toothpick came out clean, so I put the loaf pans on the cutting board to cool. After 10 minutes, I took them (well, tried to take them) out of the pans and set them on a rack. Some of the bottom stuff stuck to the pans, so the loaves are not pretty (on the bottom) and Lord know I like a pretty bottom!

But, it did give me a chance to taste it without cutting into a loaf. Whoa!!! W-A-Y too sweet for me! But, I don't like sweet, so maybe it is just me. I'll let Jake and Carla tell me what's what. The actual consistency is perfect, though. But, it didn't rise at all!

I did a thorough house cleaning after shutting the windows when I shut off the oven.

I checked the mail around 4:00 PM - still no title. Damn! So, I call the lady I bought the bike from, but only got her answering machine. I left a message asking if I got it wrong or if I gave her the wrong address. I was really hoping to ride that bad boy this weekend! :o(

I reheated the oil and remade yesterday's dinner: fried clams and onion rings. This time the clams were perfect!

I watched some taped shows and a movie and then went to bed around 10:00 PM.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Blustery Day

(as Winnie the Pooh would have described it).

It was very windy here on Friday. In fact we had a high wind advisory until 9:00 PM (sustained winds of 20 MPH, with gusts up to 40 MPH). There was also a chance of rain.

So, at lunchtime, I grabbed my dwindling bag of grass seed and over-seeded the back lawn as well. When I drove back to work, it was sprinkling and I was happy. "Ah, yes," I thought, " a good soaking for the grass seed."

But, that's all it did: sprinkle for a few moments. So, the grass seed is out there for the birds to eat... Oh, bother...

When I got home and had changed clothes I went out back. It was still warm although the approaching cold front is supposed to drop the temperature dramatically over the weekend.

I took the wheelbarrow and pulled out the three dead tomato plants, the under performing radishes (they never developed a round root) and the carrots (they never got bigger than my little finger). Those all went onto the compost heap.

So, now all that's left is the one Italian tomato plant, the green peppers, four cabbages and the sugar snap peas.

Back inside I got a call from a friend. I confessed I still haven't gotten the title for the bike, so apparently riding it this weekend is out.

Then I filled my Dutch oven halfway up with canola oil, stuck in the candy thermometer and turned on the burner. When the oil hit 350 degrees F., I threw in a serving of onion rings. I pulled them out in about three minutes (when they were golden brown), drained them on a paper towel and salted them.

I did two servings of the fried clams, but kept them in a bit too long for my taste (too crunchy). I'll know better next time.

But, on the whole, dinner was very satisfying; an excellent ode to the good old days!

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

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday's Tale

It was warm again on Thursday, here. I mean sun roof open, window down, warm.

Back in the day (in my 20's) there was a Howard Johnson's at the end of I-94 in Port Huron. They have been out of business for years, but back then they offered "all-you-can-eat" fried clam strips on Fridays. I used to go there with my friend B___ and devour tons of them. I don't know why, but I've been thinking about them a lot.

The trouble is, I haven't seen them on any menu for years (much less "all-you-can-eat"), much less at any of the grocery stores.

So, today at lunch, I went to Gordon Food Service (GFS) and inquired if they had any for sale. Unfortunately (for my health, I suppose), GFS primarily services restaurants. So, while they did carry them, I had to buy a six pound box of them!

I also bought two bags of frozen cauliflower and a bag of breaded onion rings.

When I got home after work, the first thing I did was to turn on the air compressor. I added air to the car tires and (more importantly) to the lawn tractor. I checked the oil and gas in the lawn tractor and then cut the back yard lawn. I finished up around 6:30 PM.

Back inside, I did the Wednesday night wash a day late. I ate a sandwich for dinner and watched TV until 11:30 PM. Then I went to bed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wet (for a while) Wednesday

It was raining when I went to work. As I said, its "supposed" to rain for the next several days, which is why I reseeded the front lawn. There were all kinds of photos on the news of storm damaged areas in Michigan, but I think the storms either went north or south of here. When I checked the rain gauge at noon, (it had quit raining by then) I had less than 1/4 of an inch. So much for soaking my area!

I had to go to a meeting in the building where Jake resides, so he brought me in some leftovers from their Sunday dinner. Thanks!

After work, I changed clothes and vacuumed the whole house (it was getting hairy again). I tried calling my brother Carl (no answer, so I left a message).

Then I warmed up the leftovers (braised beef short ribs) while I made some rice (Jake's suggestion) to serve it on. I plated it and ate probably the best dinner I've had in a long, long time. It was excellent!

Carl called me back and we talked for a while. His main reason for wanting to talk to me was a diabetes study he thought I would be interested in. He's going to send me the information.

I watched an old movie ("Magombo" with Clark Gable) and went to bed about 11:00 PM.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday's Tale

Tuesday was the last full day of summer... Where does the time go?

But, it was the perfect summer day here: A high of 89 degrees F. with a nice breeze.

So, when I got home, I changed into my shorts and went out to cut the front lawn. I noticed that Jake and Carla's pig had fallen over (why? I had each leg staked down with tent stakes). Well, when I went to pick it back up and re-stake it, I noticed that it was heavy as hell (probably from last week's rains). But, I got it back up and the ivy didn't seem to have suffered too much.

After cutting the lawn, I reseeded all the bare spots. It's supposed to rain off and on for the next several days, so I thought now might be a good time. Then I took some photographs.

Back in the house, I checked the phone and saw two messages from Luanne. I tried calling back, but just got a busy signal for the next half hour or so. With two messages within 15 minutes of each other, I assumed somebody had died (her mother? Her step-mother, Gerry?) but when I finally got through, I found out she wanted to tell me she was engaged!

Wow!

They will apparently get married next fall and plan on building a cabin on some property. Well, good for her! Congratulations!

After all the barfing I did over the weekend, I decided NOT to try and eat dinner tonight. So, after posting my photographs, I went in to watch some TV. I made myself stay up until 11:00 PM (I had slept lousy the night before) but then went to sleep.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

photo

The front fall garden, awaiting the frost...
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The last full day of summer - the main front yard
photo

The sweet alysium in the fall front garden
photo

The last day of summer - front yard, south side
photo

"911! The pig is down! The pig is down!!"
photo

911 - "Is he conscious?"
"I don't know! He's not moving!!"
photo

The pig, after rehab...

photo

Mailbox Mums #1

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Mailbox Mums #2

So, Sunday...

Sunday I ate the rest of the pancakes for breakfast (No jam this time). I made Chop Suey for dinner. But it made me very ill.

In fact, I was so ill I stayed in bed all day Monday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No, I ain't dead

(Why do all of you sickos imagine I'm dead if I don't post the damned Blog before 7:00 AM?)

Again, I slept crappy. I finally woke up just after 7:00 AM. It was overcast and drizzling. For some reason (although I am not that fond of sweet food) I had an overwhelming hankering for blueberry pancakes.

The problem was I had no blueberries... But I suppose I can cope.

So, I dug out that little booklet we always used for our pancake recipe. I think it's the only recipe we ever used in that booklet. We got it back in the 70's from our congressman (Jim O'Hara, at the time). The funny thing is that Sadie has the same booklet from her congressman (I forget his name) so it must have been some kind of national thing.

So, I made the dry ingredients: two cups of flour, four teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon salt and two tablespoons of sugar. Then I made up the wet ones: one egg, well beaten, 1 3/4 cup of whole milk and 1/3 cup of oil.

Note: If you were making waffles, all you have to do is increase the eggs to three. But, I don't have a waffle iron.

I mixed the dry ingredients and then added the wet ones, while my electric grill got up to temp. Then I used my 1/4 cup measuring scoop to put four down (this recipe makes twelve four-inch pancakes, BTW.) When the cakes stopped making bubbles and the edges looked slightly dry, I flipped them. Perfect!

I saved the first six for tomorrow and on the last six I spread Smucker's "Simply Blackberry" on each pancake. I like blackberries; they were my favorite berry back on the farm on 24 Mile Road, growing up.

I warmed the pure maple syrup up in the microwave, added some butter and topped the stack with syrup. Yumo!

Hell, I wish I could come up with more stuff about Saturday. But, all I did was read the motorcycle's owner's guide, talk to Melissa for a bit and then later on B___ called.

Since I didn't get to the store, I settled for comfort food for my supper. I made tomato soup (in a big coffee cup) and a toasted cheese sandwich.

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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

photo

Does anyone know how to get rubber marks off a wood floor?

The German goes Italian

I woke up at 6:30 AM on Friday after a very restless night. The weatherman had said it would be bad fog until noon and then a high of only 67 degrees F. It sounded so crappy I canceled a planned fishing trip with my friend B___. Well, it was cloudy, but no fog. And, after the sun came out, the high was something like 72 degrees. Damn!

Long time readers will probably remember I am fascinated by sailing ships and whaling in particular. Well, Jake had sent me a link to a fascinating web site. In October, 1868, Laura Jernegan, a 6 year old girl from Edgartown, Massachusetts set out on a three year whaling voyage with her father, mother, brother and the ship's crew to the whaling grounds of the Pacific Ocean. She kept a diary throughout the voyage, which can be viewed online.

http://www.girlonawhaleship.org/

So, after posting the Blog entry, I started reading it. By the time I finished, it was almost noon and my butt was sore from sitting in this wooden chair!

I thought about lunch (breakfast was coffee) but decided a nap would be better. So, I slept for a couple hours.

When I got up, I reviewed all I had to do this weekend. I decided what I really wanted to do was watch "Master and Commander, the Far Side of the World" again (still thinking about sailing ships). So, that's what I did.

When it was over, I was a bit embarrassed by my sloth. So, I kicked the cats off the bed (they had watched the movie with me) and washed the bedding. Then I started my dinner.

Now, last year, I had used up all the extra tomatoes by putting them in the blender, pureeing them up and making them into tomato sauce. However, I still have a ton of them in my freezer (I figure the acid in them will still let them be okay - I think). LOL, I'll smell them when I thaw them out!

So, today, I'm trying something else. I have seven tomatoes sitting on the kitchen window sill. I walked outside and got three more and the last (small) green peppers. BTW, I'm making all this up - Captain(no recipe)K.

I medium diced about a cup of yellow and Vidalia onions. I put some olive oil in a pot and when the oil was hot, I added the onions and minced green peppers. Then I minced five cloves of garlic (I like garlic). When the onions were soft, I threw in the garlic.

Meanwhile I cut all the tomatoes into quarters and added them to the pot. I brought them to a boil (or to a bubble, as they say in England), turned it down to simmer and put a cover on it.
I walked away from it. When I checked on it about an hour later, the tomatoes had reduced into a perfect sauce. I added the remaining four meatballs I'd thawed out.

I let that simmer for about another hour and went out in the dark to harvest some flat leaf parsley, oregano and basil. I minced the parsley and oregano and cut the basil en Chiffonade.

I threw all that into the pot and let it get happy for a bit. Then I taste tested it and added salt and pepper. Damn! That's the best tomato sauce I ever tasted!!

I had planned to make some spaghetti as well, but it was late. So, I just put two of the four meatballs into a bowl, covered with the marvelous sauce. The rest went into the fridge.

I ate that watching some TV and it was great. I went to bed around 11:00 PM.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rainy Thursday

It began raining in the middle of the night. I heard the thunder when I went to the bathroom.

It had stopped when I went in to work. Then it came down again in the afternoon (when I had to drive to a meeting in Allen Park). Nice.

It was done raining when I got home. I checked the gauge and I got 3/4 of an inch of rain! My lawn looks happy (if that's possible).

I talked with my friend B___ for a bit and then ate leftovers for dinner. I watched some TV, but went to bed early.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday

It was sunny, but chilly on Wednesday. After work, I went out to fill the bird feeder and birdbath. Then I took a walk out in the back yard and mentally noted all the things I had to do before winter sets in. It seemed like a long list!

Back inside, I started the Wednesday night wash. I talked to a friend on the phone for a bit. Then I made dinner. I diced up half a yellow onion and saut�ed it. I added a can of roast beef hash and browned that up. I plated that and made an over-easy egg to top the dish. Simple food, but I like it!

After I hung up the clothes, I watched some TV but went to sleep at 10:00 PM.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday's Tale

I was reminded Monday night making the pork loin that I never got the third smoke detector for the house, so I went to Home Depot at lunchtime and picked it up. I installed it after work.

I changed clothes after watering the mums in the mailbox garden, did a little of this and that and then took a break and called Lu (she had called and left a message earlier in the day).

I confessed to buying a motorcycle and she said she is contemplating buying another horse.

I was sick of seeing those Japanese eggplants (none of you helped, I might add). Not knowing what else to do with them, I cut them into 1/4 inch rounds and fried them in butter.

Note: Do not listen to Jake! It might just be me, but even the Japanese eggplant skin is tough and bitter (to me anyway). Other than that, dinner was good!

I watched taped TV shows and went to bed around 10:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Song Snippet

"Rhymes and Reasons"

~ John Denver

So you speak to me of sadness
And the coming of the winter
Fear that is within you now
It seems to never end
And the dreams that have escaped you
And the hope that you've forgotten
You tell me that you need me now
You want to be my friend

And you wonder where we're going
Where's the rhyme and where's the reason
And it's you who cannot accept
It is here we must begin
To seek the wisdom of the children
And the graceful way of flowers in the wind

Monday, and Back at it

Monday was a perfect day, weather-wise.

The first thing I did when I got home after work was to change my furnace filters. I just now got around to flipping the page on the calendar and I noticed I was supposed to do that September 1.

I sat on the couch and went through the mail. There was nothing good, just a cable bill and a bunch of junk mail.

Then I went through the fridge for old items (garbage day is tomorrow). I had to make an executive decision about the pork loin I'd thawed, but didn't cook. So, I opened it up and smelled it. I have learned (after that food poisoning thing) that its not really about the dates (some are use by, but most are sell by). The easiest way to judge freshness of meat or milk or seafood is to smell it and this didn't smell bad.

Now, I had this idea to make a bacon-wrapped pork loin (the theory being that pork loin, without much fat, dries out too quickly). But, being a bit cocky with my cooking these days, I didn't look up a recipe, just what the internal temperature of a cooked pork loin should be.

So, I got a serving platter and laid out strips of apple wood bacon. Then I put the pork loin on the bacon and wrapped it tightly. Here's where I made a mistake. I figured if I browned the bacon on the seam, it would seal together. I got my largest cast iron pan screaming hot and stuck in the bacon wrapped loin.


Total mess! That didn't work out so good, LOL! I should have secured the bacon with toothpicks or kitchen string. But, I threw a couple of big stems of rosemary into the bacon grease, then stuck the pan in the oven on 350 degrees F.

I put the probe in and set the alarm for 145 degrees. I belatedly thought about a side dish, so I cut the butternut squash I got from Tammy in half, took out the seeds and put butter in the cavity. I seasoned it with salt, added some thyme and stuck that in too,

Still trying to figure out what to do with the Japanese eggplant - too skinny to bread and fry. Soup, maybe? I dunno...

Naturally, the pork loin was done way before the squash. So, I tented the cast iron pan with aluminum foil and let it sit on top the stove to rest. Finally, I was too hungry to wait for the squash, so I cut off a big piece of meat.

It sure wasn't pretty, but it tasted fantastic!

I ate half the squash about a 1/2 hour later. It too was good.

I let everything else cool down while I watched some taped TV. Later, I cut the pork loin in half and half went into the fridge, the other half into the freezer. The half of squash remaining went into the fridge as well.

I watched TV until 11:30 PM and then went to bed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Leftover Song from the Weekend Part 2

(Now I know this is really about and Irish girl, but it somehow reminded me of my Dad. That took some real balls!)

The New Ground-Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears Lyrics

~ Songs From The Heart Album Lyrics

On the first day on January,
eighteen Ninety-Two,
they opened Ellis Island and they let
the people through.
And the first to cross the threshold
of that Isle of hope and tears,
was Annie Moore from Ireland
who was all of fifteen years.

Isle of hope, isle of tears,
isle of freedom, isle of fears,
but it's not the isle you left behind.
That isle of hunger, isle of pain,
isle you'll never see again
but the isle of home is always on your mind.

In a little bag she carried
all her past and history,
and her dreams for the future
in the land of liberty.

And courage is the passport
when your old world disappears
but there's no future in the past
when you're fifteen years.

When they closed down Ellis Island
in Nineteen Forty-Three,
seventeen million People
had come there for sanctuary.

And in springtime when I came here
and I stepped onto it's piers,
I thought of how it must have been
when you're fifteen years.

Isle of hope, isle of tears,
isle of freedom, isle of fears,
but it's not the isle you left behind.
That isle of hunger, isle of pain,
isle you'll never see again
but the isle of home is always on your mind.

Leftover Song from the Weekend (Part1)

"Fields of Gold"
~Sting

I never made promises lightly
and there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in the fields of gold

The Weekend

I got up early on Saturday and finished cleaning the house. Linda (the bike's owner) called about 8:30 and said that, since it wasn't raining, they would be bringing it over this morning and then we could go to the Secretary of State's office and transfer the title (she couldn't find her original title).

So, they showed up a little before 10:00 AM. I opened the garage door and had Bob ride it in. Then I hopped in her SUV and we rode to the Secretary of State office (about five miles away).

Now I've been there before and know there is usually a long line of people inside. But, when we got there, there was probably 30 people standing outside! So, I asked if there was one near her and she said was one in the same mall where she works. I said well, just go there, then and apply for a new title. When it comes in, sign it off to me and mail it. No way could I have stood in that line.

We went back home and I paid her and had her write me a receipt. She seemed visibly upset, so when she went to the bathroom, I asked Bob about it. He said she really didn't want to sell it. So, I said then take it back. But he said she really needed the money.

I was standing on the porch, waiting to wave goodbye to them, when she pulled back in the drive, hopped out and handed me $100 bill back. I said, "What's this?" and she said it was to get the title. She wouldn't take it back, and just drove away!

I forgot to mention she also gave me the original helmet she got with the bike and never used.

I immediately took some photos for Jake and emailed them. But I noticed the flash washed out the colors. So, I got the bright idea to roll it back outside. It worked fine, except I couldn't role it back inside (I am definitely not used to heavy motorcycles!) A neighbor who lives down the street was going by and saw my dilemma, so he pulled in and the two of us succeeded in getting it back in the garage.

After all that excitement, I took a long nap. I talked with B___ then and filled him in on all the details. I ate the last of the hotdogs and sauerkraut for my supper.

I watched the Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers until almost midnight and then went to bed.

Sunday, everything was done except for a load of laundry. So I ended up calling Bob and asking him where the Owner's manual was (I thought it was under the seat and couldn't figure out how to get the seat up). He laughed at me (imagine that) and said it was in a locking compartment. So, I spent part of the day reading it. I talked with Melissa for a while. I made a can of soup for supper and watched my usual shows.

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Bike pictures

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Bike pictures

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Bike pictures

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Bike pictures

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Bike pictures

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Bike pictures

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Bike pictures

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, again

At lunchtime, I went to the bank and got out the money for the bike.

Back home after work, I didn't change clothes, just got out the push mower and cut the front lawn. Then I went out back and weed-whacked the two patios. I put the line trimmer away and grabbed the blower and cleaned them up.

Tammy, my neighbor, came up to the fence and gave me a butternut squash and five skinny (I think they are the Japanese variety) eggplant.

Back inside, I started cleaning the house. I will have visitors tomorrow and it was a little too hairy for that!

I had had a large lunch, so I skipped supper.

I was reading a new magazine on the couch when I fell asleep. I woke up at 3:00 AM, found my glasses, went into the bedroom and went to bed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

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New Fall Mums From the South

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New Fall Mums From the Left

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Mailbox Mix and Donated Couch

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So-called Mailbox Mix Result

Another Chilly Day

Thursday was cool again. I think we have definitely turned the corner and are heading for fall.

I don't think I mentioned it, but I am very disappointed in that so-called "mailbox mix" seed packet I planted in the mailbox tub this spring. It was supposed to have like 10 different types of flowers, some short, some tall and even some climbing ones.

One type did actually flower (I took pictures of them) but the rest never did. So, the whole thing looked like a bunch of weeds.

Today at lunch, I picked up some small mums. I also swung by the Feed Store and bought some more bird seed. When I got home from work, I cleaned out the tub and planted the mums (see photos). You can also see the couch somebody kindly donated to the vacant lot south of me (I emailed the Township about it, BTW).

I lugged the 40 pounds of bird seed out back, filled up the feeder and then buttoned everything up for the night.

I warmed up the last of the mashed potatoes and more turkey slices (this time I did it right) and also steamed some frozen sweet corn for my supper.

I watched some taped TV shows for a bit, but went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chilly Wednesday

It was cold here when I woke up on Wednesday (49 degrees F.) I got the trash out to the road and hit the road, arriving at work at 7:10 AM.

I had meetings for most of the day and, going in and out of buildings, wished I'd worn a jacket.

When I got home at 5:15, it was only 66 degrees according to my outdoor thermometer and the furnace was on. I think it's a little early for this crap!

I did maintenance for a while (emptying the dishwasher, folding clothes, etc.) then I sat on the couch. I made a couple of calls, but only got voicemails. I switched from reaching out to reading the rest of that magazine I got the other day.

At 7:00 PM, I made my supper. I warmed up some of the turkey slices and mashed potatoes. I ran into some problems here, as I'd sliced the turkey rather thin (for sandwiches) so I ended up with too hot turkey and too cool potatoes. Next time I'll do potatoes first, and then add the turkey. I sliced up a tomato and added it to the plate, then went in to watch some taped TV until 10:00 PM.

I switched to the latest Top Chef at that point, watched it until 11:00 PM and then went to bed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday

I woke up late on Tuesday. I'm not sure if I shut the alarm off or never turned it on.

The wind had picked up dramatically by the time I got home after work. But, I stuck to my plan, went out and cut the back lawn (I had to walk around first and pick up a ton of fallen branches). I finished up around 6:30 PM.

I went back outside and picked about eight nice-sized tomatoes. I was going to either make a turkey sandwich or, reheat a couple of slices of the turkey and some of the mashed potatoes for supper. But, the tomatoes looked so good, I just sliced a few, drizzled them with olive oil, seasoned them with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and topped them with that feta goat cheese.

I watched TV until it got boring and then started reading a magazine that came in the mail today. I left my bedroom and the kitchen windows opened all night and was serenaded by the wind chimes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend - Day Four

I woke up to the alarm on Monday. I need to get my turkey breast into the brine. So, I rinsed it off and covered it with water in a stock pot. Then I measured the water it took to completely cover it and made my brine accordingly (it took about 1 1/2 gallons of water). So, I mixed up one cup of kosher salt and one cup of sugar in a cup and a half of boiling water. I stirred that until it was dissolved, added two tablespoons of black pepper and let it cool.

I went out in the drizzle to the patio and cut several stalks of sage. They went into the stock pot.

I added cold fresh water to the brine and set the turkey back in. I weighted it down with a plate (so it would stay submerged) and, after some maneuvering, stuck it in the fridge for the next 5-8 hours. Since I was playing around with the fridge, I pulled everything that was getting a bit old for the trash (Goodbye, buttermilk! I wish I would have drunk you!)

I posted the Blog entry a little late and made another half pot of coffee.

I needed supplies, so after shaving and showering, I headed to Kroger's at 11:00 AM. I also stopped at GFC for some lump charcoal. However, neither Kroger nor GFC had any wood chips for smoking. So, I ended up going to Home Depot and buying three bags of hickory chips (I don't want to run out before the season is over). Whew! That was a sensory overload! I hadn't seen or talked to another person in the last three days...

Back home, I submerged one bag of the hickory chips in a bucket of clean water. Then I put away the few groceries I had bought. It was about 12:30 PM, BTW.

It was too early to cook the turkey breast, so I took a nap (what else?) I woke up around 4:00 PM and went out to start the charcoal. I put a drip pan on the cool side of the grille and the hot charcoal on the other. I rinsed the brine off the turkey breast and let it drip dry for a while. I took out one of the grates over the charcoal and added some of the wet hickory chips. After oiling the remaining grates, I put on the turkey breast.

I kept a watch on the amount of smoke and added wet wood chips as necessary. I had the probe of my thermometer in the deepest part of the breast and set it to go off at 160 degrees F. After the first hour or so, I melted a stick of butter and began to baste it every 15 minutes.

When the alarm went off, I pulled off the turkey breast, tented it with foil and let it rest for 1/2 hour. Back outside, I grilled a pack of natural casing hot dogs for next week.

Back inside, I made some mashed potatoes out of unpeeled redskins and steamed some cauliflower. I plated everything up and went in to watch taped TV shows. The smoked turkey was fantastic!!

I left the grille outside to cool and the mess in the kitchen for Tuesday morning. I made sure everything was locked up and then went to bed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend - Day Four (Interim)

I'm still trying to "switch it to glide" (wasn't that cool the author of that song commented on the Blog?) but I have real shit to do and can't take this too far...

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Chunking up some watermelon!

Watermelon Trick

I forgot mention it, but I learned a good trick yesterday. Up until now, to make my watermelon chunks, I'd cut off a one inch slice and laboriously cut off the rind. I'm not sure where I saw this done (I think it was either Iron Chef America or Iron Chef Japan) but somebody cut the damn thing in half, cut off the end and then went down the sides (like I peel an eggplant) with their knife. I tried it and it worked like a champ! See photo!!

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Jake Humor (why, I oughta...)

Labor Day Weekend - Day Three

Today I am cleaning the house. The cat hair has been driving me crazy and it was too cool outside to really do anything. I finished off the rest of the coffee. The house was warm, BTW. I forgot to turn the furnace off...

I did hook up the trickle charger to the tractor in case the weather improves enough to cut the back lawn.

I took out a frozen turkey breast, a pork loin and a package of thin-cut bacon to thaw. I have a plan for Labor Day!

I took a long, nice walk outside in my yard. Unfortunately, I was planning all the things I had to do before winter sets in.

Back inside, I took another nap (go figure). I really don't understand why some people have such a hard time adjusting to retirement. I plan on sleeping a lot...

Then, it was time for dinner. I made my Mom's tuna and peas and served it on toasted sourdough bread (according to my brother Carl, that was my Mom's recipe - personally, I prefer wide egg noodles).

I cleaned up the mess and then went in to finish reading my book on the couch. It was Anthony Bourdain's newest book, called "Medium Raw." I'll lend it to Jake the next time I see him. I especially liked chapter 13 - Heroes and Villains.

I went in to see what tonight's movies might be but didn't find anything that interesting. So, I shut everything off and went to bed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend - Day Two

I was freezing when I woke up. It wasn't that cold in the house (66 degrees inside and 50 degrees outside) but it was the wind. So, I threw on some clothes and shut all the windows. That helped a lot!

I put a half pot of coffee on to warm up these old bones. I was gonna eat some cold pizza for breakfast, but was afraid (I really was sick last night). So, I waited until the afternoon to eat.

The temperature climbed up to 68 degrees with the sunshine, but that didn't really help out the house. So, around 2:30 PM, I reluctantly opened two opposing windows and turned on the furnace! Yes, the furnace, on September 3!!

The windows were opened again to eliminate that damn burnt smell you always get, BTW.

I walked outside (with a sweater on) to get the mail about 3:00 PM. This temperature is sooo not cool. Well, I suppose it is "cool" but you get my drift, right?

I took another nap (I love naps these days) and then slowly set about demolishing the rest of the pizza.

I wish I could tell you what I accomplished today, but I had "switched it to glide" (which seems safer that my other favorite, Tom Petty's "Free Falling"). So I just cruised through today. I watched some great movies and went to bed after "Saving Private Ryan" ended (around midnight).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

World War II

I happened to be channel hopping and came across "Saving Private Ryan." This reminded me I forgot to mention that September 1 marked the anniversary of the start of World War II, when Germany invaded Poland.

Now, I realize most of my readers think of the World War II and the Korean war and (probably even the Vietnam war)as ancient history. Sad, but true.

But it brings to mind a little know fact that that was the last reported cavalry charge in history. A troop of Polish cavalry, sabers drawn, charged the Germans.

Romantic, glorious, but tragically doomed. For they charged against German tanks, which cut them to ribbons with machine gun fire...

For Tarami Sue

Hey Judy, get Judy
Ya said to call you up and I was feelin' moody
Hey little Donna, ah still wanna
Ya said to ring ya up when I was in Toronto

I have lots of friends that I can hang at anytime
In moments have some laughs with just one call
Like a bunch of lunatics with action way that's done
Sure we'll be rockin' till our strength is gone
Yeah, this beat goes on

And on, and on, and on

Hey lady, ooh you crazy
Well, me and Zero request you in the Mercedes
I met my ride, so zoom me inside
The skies the limit this time I'm switchin' to glide

I don't give a hoot about what people have to say
I'm laughin' as I'm analyzed
Lunatics anonymous that's where I belong
Sure cause I am one till my strength is gone
Yeah, this beat goes on

And on, and on, and on

I have lots of friends that I can hang at anytime
In moments have some laughs with just one call
Like a bunch of lunatics with action way that's done
Sure we'll be rockin' till our strength is gone
Yeah, this beat goes on

This beat goes on, this beat goes on
This beat goes on, this beat goes on
This beat goes on, this beat goes on
(Repeat)

THIS BEAT GOES.......

Nothin' matters but the weekend
From a Tuesday point of view
Like a kettle in the kitchen
I feel the steam begin to brew

Switchin' to glide, switchin' to glide
Switchin' to glide, switchin' to glide

Energy can be directed, I'm turnin' it up and turnin' it down
Even love can be effected, harmony is the sweetest sound

Switchin' to glide, switchin' to glide
Switchin' to glide, switchin' to glide

Labor Day Weekend - Day One

It was still lightly raining when I woke up at 8:00 AM. By 10:00, the sun had come out, so I went out on the patio to check the rain gauge: less than 1/4 inch. Not nearly what I was hoping for. It was only 67 degrees F., so I opened all the windows and shut the A/C off.

I started the weekend wash by stripping the bedding (much to Scruffy's disgust). I skipped shaving and just showered. I ate the last of the linguine with clam sauce for my brunch.

I took a long nap after that (there's nothing like a large load of carbs to make you sleepy). I walked out and got the mail. I walked back through the front lawn and decided it was dry enough to cut. So, I gassed up the mower, checked the oil and cut the front lawn.

Since they were dying off, turning brown and generally looked bad, I cut down the tiger lilies, too. Let's face it, summer's about shot!

I had gotten an email from Pizza Hut advertising a large pizza with three toppings for $10. Since I haven't had pizza since Joe's graduation party, I thought I'd treat myself. So I ordered one with pepperoni, mushrooms and banana pepper rings.

When it came, with the delivery fee and the driver's tip, my $10 pizza turned into a $15 one, but it always does. The crust wasn't as thin or crispy as I would have liked. I'm sure I wrote about this before, but my brother Carl worked in a space-themed pizza joint (I think it was called the "Orbit" - hey, it was the late 50's and everyone was crazy about space!) and he made the best, crispy crusts (and this was long before they started using wood-fired brick ovens).

But, it tasted great and, for a change, I pigged out and ate three slices watching TV. Then I went to sleep.

Then I woke up in the night with a terrible tummy ache. The wind had picked up and the temperature had fallen. I thought about walking around and shutting the windows, but I just walked to the linen closet, grabbed a blanket and went back to sleep.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Song Snippet

"Switching to glide, switching to glide..."

~ The Kings

Thursday, before a Four Day Weekend

Thursday was yet another warm, humid day. But, this time it was moderated by a nice breeze.

They said there was a possibility of rain, maybe even thunderstorms all day, all night and into Friday morning. I had an offsite meeting at 1:00 PM and, just as I got back to my building, it started to sprinkle. And, that's all it did: sprinkle.

It was dry when I went home at 5:00 PM. I kept waiting for the storms that never showed up. Again, I think the storms were south and west of me. Man, I could have really used that rain!

I warmed up the rest of the mashed potatoes, sweet corn and the other country fried steak for dinner. I found the gravy didn't turn back to liquid, no matter how long I nuked it. It still tasted good, though.

I watched TV until 10:00 PM and then went to bed. When I woke up at 2:00 AM for a bathroom break, it was lightly raining again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Finally, Some Rain!

Wednesday started out hot and sticky again. There was a chance of showers after 3:00 PM, so when I came back from lunch, I left the windows up in the car.

But, it still hadn't rained when I left for home at 5:00.

Back home, I changed into shorts and t-shirt and went out to retrieve the hose from the raised bed garden. While I was out there, I refilled the bird feeder.

Back inside, I started the Wednesday night wash and loaded the dishwasher. I turned that on while I cleaned up the kitchen counters.

I went into the living room and sat on the couch, reading. About 8:00 PM, I was talking on the phone when it started to rain! Hurray!!

At times it was heavy, at times it stopped. I think I'm on the very eastern edge of the storms moving up the state. I checked the rain gauge on Thursday morning and there was a little over 1/4 inch of water in it. Not as much as I'd hoped for, but some...

I decided against a heavy dinner and just cut up the two largest tomatoes into thick slices. I drizzled them with olive oil, seasoned them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and then topped it with fresh basil (cut chiffanade-style) and more of the crumbled feta goat cheese.

I ate that watching TV, but switched back to reading at 10:00 PM until I fell asleep.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another hot day

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday, weather-wise.

I did get the garbage out to the road in time and that was a good thing. I threw away a lot of old leftovers Monday night (no more food poisoning for this ole boy) and it wouldn't have been pretty to keep them in the hot garage for another whole week.

When I got home from work, the first thing I did (after treating the cats) was to change into my shorts and t-shirt. Then I went out back and hooked up the square head sprinkler to water the raised bed garden. I picked six tomatoes and then turned the water on.

Back inside, I set the timer, went through the mail (nothing good) and talked with B___ for a bit.

When the timer went off, I shut off the sprinkler and closed up the house for the night. Then I started making dinner.

Tonight I'm making what should have been my Sunday night dinner: Country fried steak and milk gravy.

So, I peeled four or five potatoes, cubed them and put them on the stove to boil. I took out two cube steaks (the recipe called for four, but that's too many leftovers) and seasoned them on both sides with salt and pepper). I mixed one cup of AP flour with another teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper and put that in one dish. In the other, I put two eggs, slightly beaten.

I heated up 1/4 cup of lard in my large skillet over medium-high heat. I dredged each steak in the flour, then the eggs and then in the flour again. I fried the steaks for 3-4 minutes on each side (until golden brown). I pulled them off and drained them on paper towels.

I poured off all but about two tablespoons of the fat. Then I sprinkled in two tablespoons of the dredging flour. I cooked that over medium heat for about one minute, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Then I gradually whisked in one cup of whole milk. I cooked that, whisking frequently, for three to four minutes (until thickened and bubbly). I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (gravy should be quite peppery).

I mashed the potatoes while I steamed two servings of frozen sweet corn. I plated one steak and half the potatoes and corn. I added some butter and salt to the corn and just butter to the potatoes. I topped the cube steak and potatoes with half the milk gravy.

I went in to eat dinner watching some taped TV. My dinner was excellent! I stopped watching TV about 9:00 AM and read a book until bedtime.