Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day #2

"Never, NEVER, NEVER,

under any circumstances,

take a sleeping pill, and a laxative on the same night!


~ courtesy of my Brother, Carl (I don't want to even think about how he learned this...)

Quote of the Day

Casey Ryback: What made you flip like this?

William Strannix: I got tired of coming up with last-minute desperate solutions to impossible problems created by other fncking people.

Casey Ryback: All of your ridiculous pitiful antics aren't gonna change a thing. You and me, we're *puppets* in the same sick game. We serve the same master, and he's a lunatic and he's ungrateful. But there's nothing we can do about it. You and me, we're the same.

William Strannix: Oh, no. No. No. No. There's a difference, my man. You have faith. I don't!

~ From the movie "Under Seige"

Sunday Feasting

I woke up late on Sunday. It felt good to sleep in for a change. I stripped the bedding and started the weekend wash.

I decided today was going to be a blend of relaxing and feasting. So, I baked some Pillsbury cinnamon buns, frosted them and ate two to start, with a fresh pot of coffee.

I called B___, but he was in the middle of cooking something and said he’d call me later. I got another cup of coffee and my book, sat on the couch and read for a while.

I remade the bed when the bedding was dry and moved my shirts and pants from the washer to the dryer. I set the stove timer so I wouldn’t forget them.

After I hung up and put away the second load, I lay down on my fresh-smelling bed and started watching taped cooking shows. I took a nap in the late afternoon.

Then I made dinner. I made some wild rice and boiled the two lobster tails. I melted a stick of butter and really did feast!

My usual Sunday night shows were affected by the Oscars (which I didn’t care about) so I read until Iron Chef America came on. I watched it and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Crap! I thought I posted this!!

I woke up late on Saturday. It was snowing (gently with big snowflakes) I skipped breakfast and headed out to Westborn.

I bought hot dogs (Dearborn natural casings), buns, and one dozen large eggs; Some pita bread, two lobster tails (cold water), no-bean chili sauce, some bean sprouts, five lemons and a sweet onion.

When I got back home, Jake and Carla were there. He came by to try and fix a problem I have on my computer.

Carla helped me put away my groceries (which I appreciated at the time). We chatted while Jake worked. He was ultimately unsuccessful at fixing the problem and said he’ll have to talk to the WAN administrator on Monday. I won’t go into details because I know most of you don’t understand nor care about, say, a VPN.

They left for home and I relaxed on the couch, reading my book. My daughter Melissa called and we talked for a long, long time.

When we hung up, I took a nap. I woke up hungry so I started gathering my stuff to make some chili dogs and mac & cheese (from the box). I diced up a quarter of the sweet onion and got the water boiling for the macaroni. I got out that nifty square griddle pan and then I went to heat up the chili. And, I couldn’t find it!

I looked everywhere in that kitchen! I tried calling her, but just got voicemail. By then the mac & cheese was ready and so were the hot dogs. So, I ate one dog with just mustard and onions (sigh).

I watched the Red Wings and then a movie and went to bed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday’s Follies

That going to bed at 9:00 PM came back to bite me in the *ss! I woke up (wide awake) at 2:00 AM and didn’t get back to sleep until 4:30. The alarm went off at 5:30 and I remember turning on the TV to catch the weather. The next thing I remember was waking up at 9:00 AM!

Yikes! Not a good way to impress the people who’d just put me back on full time!! So, I called my boss and said I was running late and would be in by 10:00. Then I quickly shaved and showered and headed out.

We never got the 3-5 inches of snow, here. I doubt it was over one inch.

Friday’s is “treat” day where I work (two people sign up a month in advance to bring them in) so I decided to forgo lunch (I didn’t have the time to make anything nor the money to buy anything). So, when I was hungry, I ate a custard-filled donut and then later a bagel. I’m damn glad I no longer record my blood sugar levels!

The bagel (from Panera) tasted weird, like they always do. I think they don’t boil them in lye (like you’re supposed to). But it all filled me up and kept me going.

I got an email from HR with a ton of attachments I had to fill out to regain my full-time status. I was a little surprised (I didn’t go anywhere, just worked part time, WTF?) but I filled them all out and put them in a folder.

I had a rescheduled WebEx conference at 2:00 PM (I obviously missed the one I had set at 8:30 AM). One of my projects is investigating video conferencing for various department/companies that need it. It was kinda cool to see myself on the computer screen.

Then I went into a meeting with my new boss and the other PM’s. He wanted to explain his method of Project Management. I guess I’m just old as I don’t understand the difference between his ideas and my old boss (or even my first boss).

In fact, I was taken aback in my meeting with the Director (about coming back full-time) when she asked me if B___ had taught me Project Management. I said, “Yes, he did.” And, she said, “I thought so. When I came here, I realized he was ‘old school’ but you have to get with the times!”

Hmmm... To me Project Management is about scope, budget, and timing. You nail those three things (and I always do) and the rest is? What? Filling out more forms? I gotta get my PMI cert to see what the hell has changed from 1988.

I left work at 4:30 PM and raced to the Livonia campus to drop off all my enrollment forms at HR. I just barely made it. Then I headed home.

After all the garlic chopping, I took the time to clean up my wooden cutting board (I and my knives, love that sucker!) First I washed it in hot water and dish detergent, and then I let it dry. After it was dry (a couple hours) I rubbed it with half a lemon (that’s supposed to take away any onion or garlic smells). I let that dry and then dosed it with food-grade mineral oil. I let that sit and soak for a couple more hours and then wiped it dry. Note: I never use this except for herbs and vegetables. All protein (meat and seafood) is cut on my plastic boards).

When I got hungry, I warmed up the last (sigh) of the Linguine with Clam Sauce. I topped it with Parmigiano-Reggiano and ate a filling dinner. I went to bed about 10:00 PM, but again woke up at 2:00 AM.

I gotta fix this sleeping pattern!

Did you know...

...that February 27 is "International Polar Bear Day"

Me

I have spent 62 years trying to sort this all out, but there are still aspects of myself that puzzle me. But, on the whole, I'm okay (I think).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday's Tale

When I woke up Thursday morning, it had snowed and inch or two. But, it was that light, “fluffy” stuff. Besides, it’s supposed to get up to 36 degrees today so it all should fade away.

Work today was hard! I mean “grunt work” hard. It started out in the old data center to discuss this weekend’s various moves (this will be the final step to move the data center to its new location, while leaving connectivity at this building). Now, I don’t know if you are familiar with a data center, but there’s no places to sit down. So, while all the techies went over the task list and actually did some of it, installing my new little UPS in the rack (the two big UPS’s and the generator will be relocated to the new data center), tracing down fiber connections, etc. I stood there. And stood there…

About 10:00 AM, I excused myself to check on the Suite Y IDF. The Admins had said they cleaned it out, but they said that about Suite Z’s IDF. We had a recycling company come in today for some old computer gear, and if there was anything left, now would be the time to pitch it.

So, the Admins lied, like they did about Suite Z. Or, maybe I should say “misspoke.” What they meant was, “we took out all the new switches, UPS’s, firewalls, etc, that were in boxes.” Now, the landlord is doing a walkthrough Friday morning and his interpretation of cleaned out means “empty and swept!” I worked in Facilities for years and I know!

So, I spent a good 20 minutes finding some sort of cart (I finally stole one from the Fab shop) and then lugging three old, heavy UPS’s, six boxes of batteries for them (it’s the batteries that make them so heavy) and two monitors out to the recyclers.

Then I started on the remaining stuff. Unlike Suite Z (which was just trash), I could see stuff that was worthwhile (at least to my semi-untrained eye). So, I had to sort through it. I ended up with three boxes of good stuff (tons of patch cables, phone handsets, a whole box of CAT5e wire, a spool of cross connect wire (for phones), etc. The rest went into boxes and a large garbage can on a pallet I got and put outside the shop door. Again, this is a cleaned-out area with no chairs and my legs started throbbing.

By then it was 11:30, so I went home for lunch. I made a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich, but this time I fried the ham, first. I lay on the bed to rest my legs and took an hour off.

I brought back a broom and dustpan from home and swept out the IDF. I had waited all morning for a return call from the guy whose asset tag said he owned the little TV with a built in VHS tape, but never got a call back. So, I decided to pitch it. I put it on the cart and walked the 1/4 mile to where the recyclers were and found they had already gone!

So, I walked the 1/4 mile back, loaded up my trunk and went to work at my new building.

My boss asked me why I’d come there at 1:30 PM when I have a meeting at Jake’s building at 3:00 PM. I told him I wanted to check my voicemail and email. I’ve been out of touch too long!

So, I answered a bunch of stuff, set up a WebEx meeting for 8:30 AM Friday and tried to unwind. But, it didn’t work. I had an email from Facilities saying there was still stuff in the B50 Suite Z IDF. WTF? I cleaned that out myself!?! But there was (I blame that on Facilities, who left the door open for the landlord). My boss said it wasn’t my job to clean the IDF’s out. I said, “Whose responsibility was it?” He said he didn’t know, but it shouldn’t be the Project Manager. I said I agree, but it was my responsibility to make sure it was done. So, I did it.

I went to my meeting at B03, but didn’t see Jake (he’d left early). I dropped off all the stuff I’d saved and then went into a 45 minute meeting on my new project.

Even though it was late, I ended up at B50 again. I had to check out Suite Z’s IDF. Sure enough, somebody put more crap in there (they left it open for the landlord). I took it all and set it out on the trash pallet. I left there about 5:15 PM (on a day where I was supposed to only work until 4:00).

I checked the weather when I got home. We are supposed to get another 3-5 inches of snow tonight. I’m with Amy, I am sick of this sh*t!

I was going to sweep the water out of the garage floor, but realized the car was still dripping. So, I decided to do it tomorrow morning.

I warmed up the linguini with clam sauce for dinner. Then, about 9:00 PM (my legs and knees still throbbing) I went to bed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, Off...

I woke up at 7:00 AM on Wednesday (my last Wednesday off, hopefully) and read a book for a while. Then I went on the computer and after several re-writes, posted the first Blog entry. I took a break and made a fresh pot of coffee.

I noticed the garbage was still sitting out there. I guess garbage men take President’s Day off.

One thing I did (although I promised myself I wouldn’t “do” anything today) was to sort through my paper recipes. I have a tendency of spotting something on the Internet that looks good, printing the recipe out, putting it on top of the toaster oven and then never making it. I threw away a bunch of them.

So, I spent the day either reading or watching TV. I dozed off a couple of times.

I made Linguine with clam sauce for dinner.

Because of the naps, I guess, I didn’t get to bed at midnight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday's Tale #2

Since I couldn't restrain myself from posting the big news, I guess I neglected the usual (boring, mundane) stuff.

I think the drive in on Tuesday was worse than Monday. The two-tracks, although plowed, still had not been salted and were packed down into ice. So, stopping and starting at lights was a problem. Thank God for ABS brakes!

And, about halfway through my drive in, I figured out a valuable trick. When I just sat there at the green light, spinning my tires on the ice, I moved over a bit into the snow and got going. I'll remember that (and you should, too).

I had remembered to make a sandwich (ham, Swiss cheese, romaine lettuce and hot mustard on whole wheat bread) and take an apple for lunch this time.

On the way home, I stopped at Home Depot and bought another bag of rock salt. After treating the cats (and myself) I went back outside. I used the snow shovel to tidy up the porch area and around the mail box (no mail today, I guess from the snow in front of the box). Then, I used about half the bag of rock salt to thoroughly salt the driveway. My friend B___ told me this not only removes the snow that's there, but help to melt any more snow that comes (and we had more predicted later this week).

Then I pulled the car back out and used the broom to sweep out all the water that was on the garage floor from the snow that melted off the car. I sprinkled more rock salt where the rubber from the garage door meets the floor (its frozen there before).

I went back inside, turned the furnace up (hey I can afford the gas bill now!) and when the temperature reached the unbelievable amount of 72 degrees, I changed clothes. But, not before I did a little naked "dance of joy."

I made my Mom's tuna and peas (one can of drained tuna, one can of mushroom soup and some frozen peas - she always used canned peas, but I like the frozen ones better). I served that on top of the rest of the egg noodles I warmed up in the microwave.

I watched the original "Godfather" movie (the only one I like in that series) on AMC and when it ended, I went to bed.

Quote of the Day #2

"When a man meets his end, young Finn, his story is all that he has...

All that he will be remembered by...

Through his story, a man can live forever..."

~ from the movie "Grendel" a Beowulf tale

Tuesday's Tale

I have written and rewritten this post a hundred times. Sometimes with WAY too much information, sometimes with way too little. So, I will just try and say it.

As you may know, I have been on part-time since October 12, 2009. I had a meeting on Tuesday at 3:00 PM with my boss and our Director, and they asked me if I would “consider” coming back to full time! The Director made sure I understood that they couldn’t guarantee it would stay that way, based on work load (always a good way to inspire an employee) but for now they need my help.

Ummm, let me think: paid health care, vacation, contributing to my depleted 401k? Duh, yeah! So as of next Monday, I am working full time again,

I think when I get my first full paycheck, I’ll buy a bathrobe!

Quote of the Day #1

"Time passes, but sometimes it beats the shit out of you as it goes."

~ from the book "Easy Prey" by John Sandford

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday Moanin'

OMG! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked out the window Monday morning!! There is a ton of snow out there. As I said in a comment, the Channel 4 weather guys said we got 8.2 inches of snow (they upgraded that to 10.2 by the evening news). My guess is the predicted freezing rain that we DIDN'T get (Thank God!) had transformed itself into a lot of snow.

Could I even get out? Well, I figured, we’ll see...

I did get out, but it took five tries. I'd back up until the wheels started to spin, pulled forward and then did it again (over and over). My neighbor was plowing his driveway, so his wife could get to work.

It took almost an hour to go the ten miles to work and I never saw a snowplow or salt truck. Roads were still just two tracks on the way home, too.

I did get a nice surprise when I got home. My neighbor had plowed my drive! I went over to thank him and offer him some money for gas, but nobody was home.

Being preoccupied with the snow, I hadn’t taken anything out for dinner (I forgot to make lunch as well this morning, so I just grabbed an apple on the way out). So, I ended up warming a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew. As an afterthought, I cooked half a bag of wide egg noodles. Why, when there’s already a starch (potatoes) in the stew? Because I really like buttered egg noodles!

When everything was ready, I added butter and a little dried parsley to the noodles and put half of them in a bowl. I topped that with half of the beef stew. The leftovers went into containers and into the fridge when they cooled.

I ate that watching TV, but went to bed early, beat.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday's Story

I woke up at 4:30 AM on Sunday. I really need to get a good night’s sleep or my eyes will be permanently bloodshot! I upped the thermostat after hitting the head, and then got back into bed to wait for the house to warm up. I programmed the thermostat to warm up at 6:00 AM, you see.

So, when I judged it was warm enough, I got up and posted the Blog entry. Then I warmed up the coffee and had a cup (I know, I know...)

Carla had asked me yesterday what the rest of my weekend plans were and I told her I was going to deep clean the kitchen (take everything off the shelves and wash each piece, clean any grease off the shelves, etc.) But, Sunday morning, I just wasn’t feeling the love, if you know what I mean.

I did do the last load of laundry, swept the kitchen floor and washed it. But the kitchen shelves remained untouched.

Around noon, I made up some snacks for the hockey game at 12:30 PM. I was going to suggest these to Jake before he told me they were making the appetizers (besides, Lu wouldn’t have eaten them). I had gone to the deli counter and asked for five slices of boiled ham. So, today, I smeared each one with softened cream cheese. Then I wrapped a dill pickle spear in each one of them and held it together with a couple of toothpicks. I stuck a black olive on the toothpick because, well, it looked cool (trying for food porn) and I like black olives. Then I cut the roll in half. I took a photo for you.

I watched the hockey game (we won in the shootout after a tied overtime) and then switched to the Daytona 500. My company didn’t win, but it didn’t matter. I was rooting for Mark Martin (who used to drive for my company). He’s a really nice guy and I’ve met him several times over the years.

About 3:00 PM, I took a bathroom break and it was snowing hard, here. By 6:00 PM, I would guess I had about three inches and it was still coming down. The snow doesn’t really bother me (I live in Michigan, for God’s sake) but one inch of freezing rain scares the hell out of me! I don’t need broken branches falling on the roof or power outages.

I started making my Sunday supper. Now, I normally make a pot roast in the slow cooker. It was easy when I worked down the street. I’d come home at lunch, throw everything in the slow cooker, turn it on high and when I got home after work, dinner was served.

But, today, I thought I’d use the oven to roast it. You know, like real “roast” beef? So, I patted the blade roast dry, rubbed it with Montreal Steak seasoning and, using a small knife, cut several slits in it. I filled those with cloves of garlic and set the roast on a rack in my big pan.

Then I put some quartered red potatoes, some peeled carrots cut into chunks, some peeled parsnips cut into chunks, and some quartered onions into a bowl. I drizzled them with olive oil and added some dried herbs (thyme, rosemary and parsley), salt and pepper. I tossed them around a bit and added them to the roasting pan.

I put the pan in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven and set the timer for one hour. When the timer went off, I turned the heat down to 325 and reset the timer for two hours (low and slow, baby, low and slow!)

When the timer went off, the roast was done, but not the veggies (I was winging it with the times and temps – guess I should have pulled up a recipe). So, I covered the roast with tin foil (it had to rest, anyway) and stuck the veggies back in the oven.

After another 15-20 minutes, I was afraid the roast was getting too cold, so I pulled out the veggies and plated some of the roast and the veggies.

Hmmm... The roast and the potatoes were good, but the carrots and parsnips were still a bit crunchy. I guess I either need to research this better or stick with the slow cooker.

I watched my usual Sunday night shows and went to bed at 11:00 PM, after a quick peek outside. It had stopped snowing and I didn’t see any freezing rain. I would guess we got nine inches of snow! So, I suspect the increase of snow (remember they predicted 1-3 inches of snow) was because we didn’t get any rain.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

photo

My hockey snacks
photo

Mohatma Goerlich

Party Time!

I didn’t sleep well Friday night, but fortunately I had my book to read. I finally fell asleep again and woke up at 6:45 AM. I made some coffee and posted the Blog entry.

Then I stripped the bed and put the bedding in the wash machine. I got cleaned up and left the house for my 10:00 AM haircut appointment.

Friday morning, I had noticed that my left-side low beam headlamp was burned out. So, I had picked one up at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts. I had tried to con the guy into installing it (hey, they did my wiper blades, right?) But he said company policy didn't allow him to. Iknew I should have gone to Auto-Zone!

So, when I got home from my haircut, I took the old one out and replaced it with the new one. This always is quite difficult as the battery is right behind it and you can barely get your hand down there. After several tries, I did get the new one into the hole correctly. Then the only problem was to get the clip installed to hold it. I managed to get one side in, but could not get the other one. But it was getting late and the light was working so I gave up for today.

I made up the bed with the freshly-washed sheets, pillow cases and bedspread.

I left for Jake and Carla’s at 1:30 PM. Lu had hitched a ride with some friends from Virginia who were coming to Michigan to visit their son or daughter for the weekend and was going to be at Jake and Carla’s today, spend the night and then ride back home first thing in the morning. So, we are having a family get-together.

I was there five minutes early (thank God!) and Carla was still getting dressed. She said Jake had followed Lu to pick her up after she dropped off a rental car. Whiskey was at the groomers. So, she appointed me the door guard and went to finish getting dressed.

I unloaded my share of today’s feast: An assortment of crackers, some small pita rounds, some big pita rounds (Carla’s planning on turning them into chips) some spinach dip and a bunch of green grapes for the cheese plate (you always need something besides cheese and crackers on a cheese plate).

Then I went to watch the door. I got the door opened before Jeremy could ring the bell. So, he and Riese brought in their contribution: Salad fixings and the makings for root beer floats.

I wound the cord up on the vacuum cleaner for Carla and put it away. She came out and greeted her guests. Then she started putting together the appetizers and declined all offers for help.

Jake dropped off Lu and then went to get the dog. When he got Whiskey home, he then excused himself to take a shower and change. Hey, does this mean I get to rag on them for being late?

Carla cut up the big pita rounds into triangles and baked them to make “pita chips.” Then she artfully arranged the cheese platter and another tray that had an assortment of olives (I liked the Kalamata the best), some pickled artichoke hearts (they were good!) my spinach dip and some hummus (I hope I didn’t forget anything).

So, we noshed and visited. I didn’t have the cheese I thought was cheddar, I liked the softer cheese that Jake couldn’t name, but my favorite was the smoked bleu cheese. Man, that was good! And, it went well with any of my crackers I tried (I had like four or five kinds).

The spinach dip (courtesy of Westborn) was excellent as always on the little pita rounds. I didn’t try the pita chips, because I really don’t like hummus all that much.

An hour or two went by when Riese (who didn’t eat any appetizers) asked when we were getting the pizzas (Lu’s share). So, after some discussion about favorites, Jake ordered online two pizzas from Dominos: one cheese only (Lu and Riese) and a meat-lovers for the rest of us. Lu did ask me what my favorite was, but I explained that I only planned on eating one piece so ordering my favorite was silly. I like the meat-lovers, too.

But, in case you are interested, I like a thin-crust cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and banana peppers pizza.

When the pizza showed up, everyone else but Jeremy and I were either talking or watching TV. But the two of us dug in! I had my one slice (it was excellent, BTW) and, after a while, that was sufficient. I was tempted to get another, but I still have 15 more pounds to lose.

When Lu finally came to have hers, she asked, “Where’s the salad?” So, Jeremy dug it out. Lu used a bowl and mixed it with some goat feta cheese she brought for all of us and some dried cranberries. I was a little full so I passed on it then.

They wanted to play a board game, “Rummy cubes.” Fortunately, you can have only four players. So Jeremy said he just wanted to watch, and so did I. Unfortunately, Lu had brought her game and Jake and Carla had theirs, so Jake declared everyone had to play (Groan! I have hated board games ever since I was a young lad and my brother Joe used to kick both me and my sister Anne’s butts in several long hour sessions of Monopoly – he knew how to get the money even back then!)

Before we started, I did have some salad. It was good, but I wasn’t fond of the sweetened cranberries.

So, Jake, Jeremy and I teamed up. We played two hands (no wait, that’s cards) and I lost big time, both times. I told you I hate board games!

I noticed how tired I was (Whiskey, too) so I announced my departure somewhere near 7:30 PM. Both Carla and Jake tried to get me to take leftovers home, but as I explained, if I have them I’ll eat them and I shouldn’t.

I almost made it out the door when Lu suggested she wanted a picture of me and my two sons (she’d taken several photos with her phone after the games). So, I unzipped my leather jacket and we stood in the living room while she took two photos. God know what they looked like...

When I got home, I let the car run and looked at the headlights (they looked odd to me). Then I shut the garage door and went in to check the mail I’d grabbed after treating the cats. Then I filled in the Blog to date and spent the rest of the evening either watching TV or reading the magazine that came in the mail.

About 10:00 PM, I was wishing I’d taken home another slice of that pizza or some spinach dip and small pita rounds or, yeah, some of that smoked bleu cheese and a box of crackers, LOL! But, it was a good day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here we go again...

Severe Weather Alert

..WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON
THROUGH MONDAY MORNING...

IMPACTS...

* ICING ON EXPOSED SURFACES WILL BE POSSIBLE. THE WEIGHT OF THE
ICE MAY BE HEAVY ENOUGH TO BREAK TREE BRANCHES AND BRING DOWN
POWER LINES.

* EXTENDED POWER OUTAGES MAY BE POSSIBLE.

* ICY ROADS AND SIDEWALKS WILL MAKE TRAVEL BOTH IN VEHICLES AND
ON FOOT EXTREMELY DANGEROUS...WHICH MAY HAVE BIG IMPACTS ON THE
MONDAY MORNING COMMUTE.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER...

* SNOW WILL DEVELOP SUNDAY AFTERNOON...THEN CHANGE OVER TO SLEET
AND FREEZING RAIN DURING THE EVENING. THE PRECIPITATION SHOULD
DIMINISH EARLY MONDAY MORNING.

* 1 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE BEFORE THE CHANGE OVER TO
FREEZING RAIN OCCURS.

* UP TO A QUARTER INCH OF ICE IS POSSIBLE BY MONDAY MORNING.

Friday

Friday was another warm and windy day. But it’s all supposed to go bad on Saturday.

I had a meeting at 8:30 AM in Livonia, so I didn’t go to my building in Farmington. I went to my old building first and checked out the construction and the personnel moves first and then went to the meeting.

It lasted until 11:00 AM without a break! Groan...

At lunch, I swung by Westborn to pick up some stuff I needed. I made an impulse buy of another container of Brussels sprouts.

Back at home, I returned my daughter Melissa’s call, but only got her voicemail. I changed clothes and resumed cleaning. I got all the glass surfaces in the bedroom cleaned while watching the news. They are still predicting cold temps on Saturday, followed by a “wintry mix” on Sunday through Monday.

I checked my email and started the weekly Website backup.

After the NBC Nightly News was over, I cooked up the Brussels sprouts. I cut off the stems, peeled of the first few layers, cut them in half and boiled them until fork tender. I ate about half with butter and salt for dinner, reading my book.

I switched to TV for a while and, about 10:00 PM, ate the rest for a late night snack. Then I went to bed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cleaning up

Thursday was incredibly warm (it got into the mid-50s) but it didn’t feel like it because of the wind. It did however melt more of the snow. I can see large patches of lawn out back.

The problem in the front yard, though, is the two mounds of snow from when my neighbor plowed me out. He put them in the ditch on both sides of the culvert and the melting snow has nowhere to go. So, my drive is a pond now during the day but it will be an ice rink when it freezes. And the temps are supposed to fall back to normal over the weekend.

When I got home after work, I treated the cats and then went out back and refilled the bird feeder. For the first time in a long time, I was able to sprinkle seed on the ground (I got ground!) for the mourning doves.

Back inside, I resumed the housecleaning I’d started Wednesday. Yesterday I straightened and dusted the entire house (for a change). Today, I vacuumed, swept and mopped all the floors except for the kitchen. I also washed the glass tabletops in the living room before I quit for the night.

I warmed up the last of the shrimp scampi, topped it with Parmigiano-Reggiano and ate that watching TV. I was tired, though, and went to bed early.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weird Wednesday

I woke up at the normal time. It was still 32 degrees F. and supposed to get into the 40’s today. It’s gonna be cloudy and maybe we’ll have a little drizzle, but who cares. Melt that damn snow!!!

I gotta buy a new terrycloth robe! But, I never see them on sale and as I recall, this one cost a lot. But, that rip under my left armpit has spread and now I look like a bad imitation of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl “appearance.” And, at my age, it’s nowhere near as appealing a look as Janet Jackson’s.

I thought about getting cleaned up, but then decided it was too early for a day off, so I went back to bed and finished reading that magazine. Then I cleaned up.

I made breakfast: two eggs over easy, bacon and fried potatoes. I finished a cup of coffee and started doing a little cleaning.

The weather said it would be cloudy today, but it was really sunny. I took a picture of my little woodpecker eating at the suet cage.

Tuned the guitar and cleaned it with furniture polish. Why? I dunno. Heard a great song last night on the Jay leno show and was inspired, I guess. I posted the lyrics, but you should know, she did this with just a cello and a guitar accompaniment. It was like perfect. I wish I’d written it. I posted the lyrics for you.

I ate leftover hamburger steak again and the last of the noodles for supper. Then I watched TV until bedtime.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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My bathrobe, these days
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My little woodpecker friend

"I would love to be your last" lyrics

If I had it my way, this would be the first time
That I made love
And I would be the first girl that your hands touched
But we've both done our share of livin'
Taking chances we've been given
I've never been too big on looking back
I don't care if I'm your first love,
But I'd love to be your last

If I could do it over I'd have waited for this moment
So I could give my heart to you unbroken
But if our mistakes brought us together
Does it really matter whether
We were saints or sinners in the past?
I don't care if I'm your first love,
But I'd love to be your last

All I know is what I see when I look at you
And what I see when I look at you
And all I see is what I'm feeling down inside
And all I'm feeling is this feeling
That I've finally got it right

When I wake up tomorrow I'm gonna wrap my arms around you
And thank my lucky stars I found you
Cause I know your heart has so much more than anyone has
Touched before, and nothing matter more to me than that
I don't care if I'm your first love,
But I'd love to be your last

~ Gretchen Wilson

Tuesday's Dessert

It was below freezing on Tuesday morning, but it’s supposed to get to 38 degrees for a high today, so the snow should continue to melt.

I had a last minute appointment to meet a vendor at my old building at noon. I left there around 1:00 PM so, in spite of having brought a sandwich and an apple to work, I went home and had some soup for lunch.

When I got home after work, I emptied the dishwasher that I had turned on at lunchtime. I called and talked to Sadie and then Lu. Sadie said the crocus her mother had planted are starting to bloom!

I ate some of my “diner dinner” leftovers for supper. Since I didn’t have to cook tonight, I decided to go ahead and make that rice pudding. I combined my leftover white rice (about 1 1/2 cups) with 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1/3 cup of white sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. I cooked that over medium heat until it was thick and creamy (maybe 15-20 minutes).

Then I stirred in another 1/2 cup of milk, one beaten egg and 2/3 cup of golden raisins. I actually had some golden raisins, although I can’t remember why I bought them. And, the rice puddings I remember just had regular raisins. I cooked it two minutes more, stirring constantly. I removed it from the heat and added one tablespoon of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

You are supposed to serve this warm, so after it cooled a bit, I ate a small bowl. Excellent! But, somehow, I thought that cinnamon was involved (maybe they sprinkled it on top).

I watched some taped TV (I missed Jeopardy, dammit, and forgot to tape it) and then switched to a magazine that came in today’s mail. Then I went to bed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday at the diner

It was a whopping 41 degrees F. when I woke up at 5:30 AM! But there was still a 20 MPH wind to contend with. And I was right. With all the melting going on, the car wash didn’t last until I even got to work.

Now, tonight’s it’s supposed to go below freezing again, so I imagine tomorrow morning all this snow melt with have turned to ice...

Also, ice dams on roofs and potholes are becoming a serious problem in the area.

When I got home, I found one of the cats had barfed on the bedspread. Dammit! I just washed that yesterday. I got the hair ball off, treated the stain with Zout and washed it again.

Now, I had more of the shrimp scampi with linguine for lunch, so I am getting a bit sick of it. So, I decided to make something you used to be able to get in any diner you walked into: the classic hamburger steak with onions and gravy.

In a large bowl, I mixed together one pound of thawed ground beef, one egg, 1/4 cup of plain bread crumbs, 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and one teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. I formed the mixture into four balls, and flattened them into patties.

I heated one tablespoon of Canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. I fried the patties and one cup of thin-sliced onions in the oil until the patties were nicely browned, (about 4 minutes per side). I removed the beef patties to a plate, and stuck them in the microwave to keep warm.

I sprinkled two tablespoons of flour over the onions and drippings in the skillet. I stirred in the flour with a wooden spoon, scraping bits of beef off of the bottom (that’s the good stuff). I gradually mixed in one cup of beef broth and one tablespoon of cooking sherry. I seasoned with a little seasoned salt. I simmered and stirred over medium-low heat for about five minutes, until the gravy thickened.

I turned the heat to low, added a pat of butter, returned the patties to the gravy, covered it, and simmered it for another 15 minutes.

While that was getting happy, I made half a bag of wide egg noodles. When they were done and drained, I added butter and some of the “fines herbes” Joe and Kathy had given me, along with some dried parsley. Yes, my side dish is herbed noodles. If you don’t have “fines herbes” you can use 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil, 1/4 teaspoon of dried parsley and 1/4 teaspoon of dried, minced chives.

In keeping with the diner theme, I was going to turn the rest of my cooked rice into rice pudding (another perennial diner favorite). But, by then, I was really hungry so I decided to skip that.

Dinner was excellent and I watched TV until bedtime.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday

I woke up at 6:15 on Sunday and it was 31 degrees! Maybe it will melt some of this snow.

Speaking of snow, a guy at work was talking about going to the Silverdome in Pontiac to watch snowmobile races. I asked if they race on straw (I’ve heard of that year’s ago). He said no, they truck in actual snow. I told him to find out the name of the trucking company as I have a bunch I’d sell ‘em cheap.

Also, I forgot to tell you. But, on the way home Friday, I got stuck behind a rolling patching crew, filling up potholes on Inkster. Potholes are everywhere these days and I also think they are a sure sign of spring. Maybe I’m getting a little too optimistic. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe I’m just sick of this winter!

I stripped the bed and had the bedding in the washer by 7:00 AM. I treated the bloodstains from the Caley attack with Zout. I think Zout is the best laundry stain remover I’ve ever tried. But, I am almost out of Zout (that was fun to think, to say and even to write). So, I put it on the grocery list.

You might have noticed that, in the past, I wrote out my ToDo list on Friday night and then started in on it Saturday morning. Then I’d work on Sunday to get more of it done. But, recently, I noticed taking Saturday off (completely) really improves my mental health. So, that’s what I do now.

I went out and hosed off the car at the quarter car wash down the street. On reflection, that was stupid as there will be standing water everywhere for the rest of the week. But, I am sick of the salt and crud on my car. When I drove back home, I turned into the drive (like I used to, before the last snow) and then went out and shoveled the areas where the car had bottomed out. Also stupid as the damn stuff will probably melt. Then I wiped the car windows and mirrors dry.

It’s dripping from every eve on the roof, even as I write this.

I posted an email I got from my brother Carl about Michigan. I saved the photos that accompanied it but couldn’t post them. So, I contacted the website administrator. He asked what the file extension was and I couldn’t tell him. So, he converted them to jpegs and I posted them.

I watched the Redwings battle the Bruins in the afternoon. We won!

I warmed up the Shrimp Scampi for dinner and then topped it with some Parmigiano-Reggiano. I ate that watching “Master and Commander,” waiting for my Sunday night shows to come on. They eventually did, so I watched them and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

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Michigan #7
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Michigan #6
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Michigan #5
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Michigan #4
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Michigan #3
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Michigan #2
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Michigan #1

Saturday’s Story

I woke up at the usual time (5:30 AM), tried to fall back asleep (hey it’s the weekend, right?) and then gave up and posted the Blog entry. Then I went in to watch the news.

I occasionally ask myself why I watch the news. It either depresses me or pisses me of. But, I still do...

I dillied and dallied for a while (I don’t like to dilly-dally as it creates gender issues I am uncomfortable with) and then I made brunch.

I had about six cups of mashed potatoes, so I made my ex-wife Fran’s recipe. I was struck with this thought though: We had seven kids in our family and never had leftover potatoes. She had 12 kids in her family and they had leftovers? I know it was her job to peel them (she was the second oldest) but did they make like 50 pounds at a time?

Any way, with that many potatoes, I added two eggs and some flour. I can’t tell you how much flour. You just add enough to make it stiff. If only that would work in other places... oh, wait a minute, I don’t need it any more…

Anyway, I heated up some canola oil and butter and then fried them. I ate three of them, seasoned with sea salt.

I ate them watching some taped cooking shows and then cleaned up the mess.

In the afternoon, I took a nap. The phone ringing woke me up. It was my daughter Melissa who wanted to say “Hi!” She did and then almost immediately hung up. Weird, coming from her...

I ate leftovers for dinner and watched a movie until bedtime.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thanks to my brother Carl's email

and attention to my daughter Mellisa and her husband Dave. Get your asses back here!

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Heaven , God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day. He inquired of God, "Where have you been?"

God sighed a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look Michael, look what I've made."

Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?"

"It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."

"Balance??" inquired Michael, still confused.

God explained, pointing to different parts of earth, "For example, some countries will have great opportunities and wealth while others will be poor."

God continued, pointing to different countries "This one will be extremely hot and arid while this one will be very cold and covered in ice.The Archangel , impressed by God's work, then pointed to a large land mass and said, "What's that one?"

"Ah," said God. "That's Michigan , the most glorious place on earth.

You'll notice that it is made in the fashion of my hand, the Hand of God. There are beautiful lakes, rivers, sunsets and rolling hills. The people from Michigan are going to be modest, intelligent and humorous and they are going to be found traveling the world. They will be extremely sociable, hard working and high achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration.

(Okay. so it took me a while to fix the punctuation and upload the photos,but there it is, my homeland.)

Friday

It was 3 degrees F. when I woke up, with that same damn wind. The high today is supposed to be only 23 degrees. But, by Sunday the highs are supposed to be above freezing and the lows only in the 20’s and it will stay that way for the next several days. Is spring on the way? Jesus, I hope so...

I had the last of the salami with the last of the Swiss cheese in a sandwich for lunch. I had spread the bread with my new hot mustard. Was the Dearborn Hot mustard the same as the old Red Pelican? Well, since it’s been over 30 years since I tasted Red Pelican, I can’t speak to any nuances in taste, but it’s either spot on or damn close!

I had my last apple for dessert.

And why, you might ask, (well, you might if you were paying attention) did I only get two salami sandwiches out of a whole pack of salami? Because I've been bad. There is nothing (NOTHING!) that tastes better to me than a slice of salami, topped with cream cheese and then rolled up and eaten. So, I've been snacking on this since I bought it.

When I got home after work, I treated the cats, washed the skillet and the pasta pot and sieve and then sat on the couch to rest a bit (work was crazy today – in fact, I got the last update call on my work cell phone from a tech at 5:40 PM, letting me know something I needed done today was finished).

At 6:30, I watched the NBC Nightly News. The events in Egypt (brought about by mainly non-violent protests) reminded me of Martin Luther King and/or Gandhi in India.

The cats joined me on the bed. They claim they like Tom Brokow, but they mostly snooze. So, I thought it might be a good time to brush them and then hit them with the “Hypoallergenic & Shed Control Cat Wipes” (Whisker City from PetSmart). Scruffy put up with it (although protesting wildly), but Caley turned around and bit me. I didn’t realize how deep it was until I noticed I was bleeding on the bedspread.

Dammit! So, I cleaned the puncture wound out with rubbing alcohol (I don't need no cat scratch fever) and applied pressure on it until it stopped bleeding. The bedspread I will wash this weekend, anyway.

I have so many leftovers, I decided to forego my planned Sunday supper (the pork loin and the Brussels sprouts). But, what to do about the Brussels sprouts? They are already starting to look a little sad.

So, I cut off the stems, stripped off the outer leaves, cut them in half and dropped them into boiling, salted water. When they were fork tender, I drained them, topped them with butter and some sea salt and ate them all for dinner. Excellent!

I went to bed early (about 9:30). I told you this was a rough day...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cold, but Cookin'

It was -1 degrees F. when I woke up Thursday morning (the coldest day of the year so far). By comparison, in Alberta Canada, where my friend Cathy lives in perpetual winter, it was 18 degrees!

Anticipating the cold, I had turned both the hot and cold water taps on a little (so they would drip) at the two sinks where the water lines touch the outside wall (the kitchen sink and the laundry tub) last night. It’s an old-time prevention, based on the fact that moving (even slowly moving) water will not freeze. I hate to waste the water, but think it’s cheaper than replacing a pipe or two. I tested them both before leaving for work and they were fine.

Damn it was cold out there. And the steady 15 MPH wind didn’t make it any better. Thank God for Volvo seat heaters!

On the way home at 4:00 PM, I didn’t turn off on Six Mile, but continued down Farmington Road to I-96. I took that to Telegraph and got onto Joy Road. I didn’t go out anywhere yesterday (well, I walked out back to replace a suet cake, but I didn’t drive anywhere) so today I’m going to the butcher shop and getting the Dearborn Hot Mustard. I bought some, fighting the urge to buy something else (with all the meat and sausage, it always smells so damn good in there!)

I drove home, treated the cats and then took my prize out of the bag. It even comes in the same, squat bottle as Red Pelican Hot Mustard! I’ll let you know tomorrow if it tastes the same.

I have to check at Kroger’s and see if they have it and what it costs. I paid $1.98 for it today.

I changed clothes and began the wash. I also put a pot of water on to simmer for my pasta dish (it’s too early to make dinner). Then I went to watch the evening news. I was interested in the weather (of course) and tonight it’s only supposed to go down to 5 degrees F. (-15 degrees C.) The high today was 11 degrees F, (or oddly enough if you’re keeping track, -11 degrees C.) It’s supposed to get above freezing on Sunday and I can’t wait. I want to wash all the salt and crud off the car.

When the news was over at 7:00 PM, I started dinner. When I was grocery shopping, I found some small (35-40) uncooked shrimp on sale for $5.00! So, tonight, I am making one of my all-time favorites: Shrimp Scampi with Linguini.

This brings back such memories! Not only is the original Tyler Florence recipe I downloaded marked up by Carla in her handwriting (she increased the garlic, decreased the white wine, decreased the fresh-squeezed lemon and added lemon zest) but it was a favorite of Tracy when she and her dog Samson used to come and visit.

So, I cranked up the salted pasta water to boil. Meanwhile, I peeled and deviened the shrimp. In my second largest skillet I melted two tablespoons of butter in two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.

I added the linguini to the pot and in the skillet I sauteed two shallots (finely diced) and four cloves of garlic (also finely diced) with about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. I sauteed that until the shallots were translucent (about 3-4 minutes).

I seasoned the shrimp with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and added them to the skillet, until they had turned pink (about another 2-3 minutes). I removed the shrimp from the pan, set them aside and kept them warm. I added 1/4 cup of white wine and a quarter cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice to the skillet. I brought that to a boil and added the zest of the lemon, two tablespoons of butter, and two more tablespoons of olive oil. When the butter had melted, I put the shrimp back in and added some dried parsley flakes (if I had fresh parsley, I would have used 1/4 cup, but I used about half that).

I dumped in the cooked pasta (you want this to be just shy of al dente – it will finish cooking in the skillet). I tasted it, adjusting the salt and pepper, and drizzled it with a little more olive oil.

I made a big plate of it and went in to eat one of the best damn dinners I have had in a long time!

I watched TV until I was tired and then went to bed after I put the remaining shrimp scampi and linguini into the fridge. I’ll clean up the mess in the morning.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Counter Intelligence

It was seven freakin’ degrees F. when I woke up at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, with that same damn 10-15 MPH wind. It’s the wind that kills ya!

Since my counter had been stripped and washed, I couldn’t make a pot of coffee, so I heated up a cup of water in the microwave, added the instant coffee I keep in the freezer for emergencies, put in some sugar and drank that watching the weather.

While we are still in the deep freeze now (the high today will only be 17 degrees F.), the good news is it will warm up over the weekend. Now, I know it will be another 6-8 weeks of winter, but I gotta tell you, I am sick of it and can’t wait until spring.

I will finally be able to drive (or drop) my motorcycle!

I just messed around until I got hungry. So, I warmed up the rest of the roast beef hash in the mocrowave, topped it with two over easy eggs (my favorite) and ate brunch. Then I got cleaned up and dressed and got to work.

I went and got a sponge brush from the garage and poured the grout sealer into a bowl. I carefully went down each line of grout on the counter top and half way up the back splash. Now, the grout sealer will not hurt the tile, but I figured there was no sense wasting it.

After about an hour, I wiped off any excess and then let it all dry for three hours. I took a nice nap.

Then I called my friend Leon to wish him a happy birthday, but just got his answering machine.

After the three hours were up, I reapplied the grout sealer, again wiping off the excess after an hour and letting it dry for three more hours. Then I washed everything down with dish detergent and water to get the grout sealer off the tiles (hey, nobody’s perfect!)

When that dried, I tried Leon again and got through. We talked for a while. He’s got a lot more snow there and that’s a big problem for feeding and watering the cattle. After we hung up, I began to put the things back on the counter. Then I folded up the table cloth and put it in the linen closet.

It was WAY past dinner time by then so I gave up on the dinner I was going to make. I just heated up some rice and some of the chicken chop suey and ate that. Then I went to bed.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday's Tale

It was cold (9 degrees F.) when I woke up for good at 4:30 AM on Tuesday. I posted the Blog entry and then got to work. I deboned the last two pieces of chicken after discarding the skin. I put the meat into a baggie for dinner and the bones and skin went into the trash.

After watching the weather, I shaved and showered for work. Before leaving, I took two bags of garbage out to the road.

The good news is that I didn't bottom the car out!

I ate a sandwich and an apple for lunch, bemoaning not having hot mustard (see previous post). I did remember to take in a book and read some of it for the rest of my lunchtime (Jeremy be damned! Of course, that may be why he has an office and I have a cubicle now, lol).

I got a lot done today and left work at 4:00 PM, content. I stopped by Westborn Market and picked up a container of Brussels sprouts, a handful of pea pods and some button mushrooms. I got a plan (well, okay, the Brussels sprouts were an impulse buy, but they looked so damn tasty!)

I watched the evening news until 7:00 PM and then started dinner. After brushing them off, I cut up about half the mushrooms into quarters and then started to saute them in olive oil and butter.

While they were sauteing, I made four serving of rice. When the mushrooms had given up most of their moisture (about 15 minutes) I put in two small cans of drained Chop Suey vegetables (Meijer’s didn’t have any big cans left when I was there).

I added the chicken and, finally the pea pods. When everything was heated, I put some of the rice in a bowl, topped it with the chicken chop suey and splashed it with good soy sauce.

I wandered into the bedroom and watched a taped movie, eating my dinner. It was excellent! I put the leftovers in the fridge for lunches.

I fell asleep about 10:30 PM.

I woke up (wide awake at 1:00 AM). So, I don’t know if this belongs to my Tuesday’s post or should be Wednesday’s, but I think I will continue until I go back to bed…

I should have done this months ago, but I had already decided to re-seal the grout on the counter top on Wednesday. So, I put down a tablecloth (so I didn’t scratch the kitchen table any more than Caley has) and then moved everything off the counters to the table (see photos).

Then I washed the counter (and stove) twice with a Scotch-brite non-scratch sponge and Pine-sol. I rinsed it repeatedly with hot water and a sponge.

I left it to dry and went back to bed a little after 4:30 AM.
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Cleaned counter #1
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Cleaned counter, #2
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My table with all the counter top stuff

Quote of the Day (or night if you will)

Bon Appetit interviewed 11 famous chefs on their most sexiest meals ever. Here's one I wish I'd tried when I was raising chickens:

"I was visiting the Ruffino winery in Tuscany, Italy where the owner brought me to their hen house to taste a true delicacy -- fresh, warm, raw hens' eggs. He took the eggs straight from the hen, cracked them in half, poured off the white, and sprinkled the warm yolk with fresh sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. Then, we shot it down like an oyster shooter! It was life changing--one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted -- and a bit erotic."

~ Todd English

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Hot Mustard Saga

Making my salami and Swiss cheese sandwich for lunch this morning, I was reminded of hot mustard. When I was young, I loved Red Pelican Hot Mustard. It was made in Detroit by a Belgian family and had just the right amount of heat for me. But, suddenly it disappeared from the grocery stores. At first I thought they had just run out, but I couldn't find it anywhere.

I tried Mister Mustard, but it was a poor equivalent and then it too disappeared. Now, I like (and have) various kinds of stone ground mustard, but they are not hot enough and tend to have a sweet note I don't appreciate.

So, I thought I'd Google Red Pelican Hot Mustard (hey, you can find anything on the internet, right?) and see where I could buy it from.

Well, I found out the company had been sold to Beatrice Foods years ago. However, I also found out that Dearborn Sausage had bought the original recipe and now markets it under the name Dearborn Sausage Hot Mustard.

It's supposed to be available at Kroger's, but I have a Dearborn Sausage outlet nearby me and plan on picking some up tomorrow. I'll let you know how the taste test goes.

Oh, and something called Koops Holland Extra Strong mustard is supposed to be an acceptable alternative (I never heard of that one).

Monday, and Moving Along

They plowed the road again sometime Sunday night. So, when I left for work, I bottomed out on the resultant snow bank. I pulled ahead and tried it again with a little more gas. I finally made it up and out.

I spent my lunch hour grocery shopping at Meijer’s. With the temperature hovering just around freezing, I suppose I could have left everything in the car. But I was this far already so I went home and unloaded the trunk. I left the canned goods, paper products, cleaning supplies (these made up the bulk of the bill) on the table. I put the perishables in the fridge or freezer and went back to work. I bottomed out again on the snow bank. Grrr...

On the way home I stopped and filled my gas tank. Now, I still have about a half tank of gas. But, we are supposed to get frigid temps (highs only in the teens and lows in the single digits) for the next several days and I don’t want any problems (I got enough problems) with frozen gas lines.

Pulling in the driveway, I bottomed out again (no big surprise). One of the cats had barfed on the bedspread, so it went into the wash. I put away the rest of the groceries.

I got dressed in my cold weather gear. I went out with the transfer shovel and dug out every where I could tell I had gotten hung up on. Right now, it’s just annoying snow, but tomorrow morning it will be frozen solid. I also dug out the mailbox.

Back inside, I rested for a while (warming up), and then began watching the evening news. At 7:00 PM, I started dinner.

First I medium-diced half a yellow onion and sauteed it in olive oil and butter. Then I added a can of roast beef hash. I’m a little tired of fried chicken. I let that fry until it had a bit of a crust on it. I seasoned the hash with salt and pepper and plated it.

While the hash was getting it's crust, I made a small salad. i used Romaine lettuce, a green onion, two radishes I sliced thin and some of my homemade croutons. I dressed it with bottled Ranch dressing.

I ate the salad and about half of the hash watching TV. The salad was good, but I must admit I liked the sourdough croutons better than the rye bread ones. I put the other half of the hash in the fridge and put myself to bed just after 11:00 PM.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday's Story

I was up off and on all night, but officially got out of bed at 7:30 AM. I reheated the coffee and had a cup while I stripped the bed. I put the bedding in the washer and checked out the windows. The snow is still sitting on the evergreens, bird feeder and so on, so we don’t have any wind. I took a few photos and posted the best two for you. Then I made some scrambled eggs, topped with cheddar cheese.

The next load of laundry was the main bathroom’s rug and my white terrycloth bathrobe. When that load went into the dryer, I remade the bed. Then I shaved and showered.

Speaking of my bathrobe, it’s about totally shot. It’s worn through in several spots and the left underarm is ripped apart. But there is nothing that compares to putting it on when it’s fresh out of a warm dryer!

I was concerned with getting out of the driveway and wondered if I should call that old guy again. My neighbor did his driveway, but not mine (I KNEW I should have baked them some cookies or something). So, about 11:00 AM, I got my hat, gloves and warm coat on and headed out.

Now, I must confess, I had another ulterior motive. I’ve been watching these damn Kentucky Fried Chicken ads for several weeks, touting that they won the Zagat survey for the best fried chicken. There a little chicken place just east of here on Plymouth road that makes better chicken, but I guess the Zagats (it’s a man and wife team and I’ve seen them on TV) didn’t make it to Redford. Anyway, to celebrate, KFC is selling a 10 piece bucket for $10.00 US.

So, I been jonesing on some original recipe KFC. I got out the car and ran it out the driveway (I think the fact is was just above freezing helps pack it down) and headed down to KFC – about a mile away).

I asked for the special deal. He asked what sides I wanted. I replied, “It comes with sides?” He said, well no, not if you get just the special but if you get the meal it does. I said I just want the special in original recipe. He said we don’t have enough original recipe chicken, so it would be a 20 minute wait. I said, what are my options? He said he had two breasts and two wings in the original and he could give me the other six pieces in either extra crunchy or grilled.

Now, I’ve had the extra crunchy (it hurts my mouth) but never tried the grilled. So, stupid me, I said okay, make the rest extra crunchy. I paid my ten bucks and headed home.

When I got there I went in and out of the garage, widening the track in the driveway. Then I went in and ate three extra crunchy drumsticks for lunch. They did hurt my mouth, so I peeled off the coating and ate them with some salt.

I did the weekly website back up. Then I started to clean the house. I screwed off yesterday (although I enjoyed it) so now I must pay the piper. I dusted, I vacuumed, I swept, I mopped, I cleaned toilets. I finished up around 5:00 PM.

So, I started supper. I peeled some russet potatoes, cubed them and cooked them. I steamed some frozen sweet corn. I warmed up a chicken breast (original recipe) in the microwave. I debated opening a jar of chicken gravy, but then decided against it. Butter, salt and pepper will be fine on my ‘taters.

Speaking of potatoes, mashing them was a bit tricky. I had pitched the soured milk and had only one egg left. So, I mashed them with the egg and some sour cream. I plated my dinner and went in to watch the news.

The chicken was excellent, the corn was corn (and I love sweet corn) and the potatoes had a nice “tang” to them.

At 7:00 PM, I went out and put that Texas Two-Step bean soup into five four-cup containers (I told you it made a lot of soup). Four went into the freezer and one into the fridge. I couldn’t make the black pepper and bacon drop biscuits I wanted to eat with it as I didn’t have any buttermilk.

I went in to watch my usual shows and found that NONE of them were on tonight. I watched a couple taped shows and then, disgusted and grumbling, I went to bed at 9:30 PM (WAY too early).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

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Saturday's Snow I
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Saturday's Snow II

Saturday's Snow

I woke up at 8:00 AM on Saturday and posted the Blog entry. Then I made up my grocery shopping list. I thought I’d go shopping in the afternoon. I made a 6-cup pot of coffee and drank my first watching the news.

I did a load of laundry and ran the dishwasher. I was hanging the clothes up when the phone rang. It was my daughter, Melissa. So, I got another cup of coffee and sat on the couch.

We talked for a couple of hours and, as we were talking it started to snow here. Then it started to snow harder!

After we said our goodbyes and hung up, I decided grocery shopping could wait. It was a light, fluffy snow, but I’d guess I got about four inches here (later, I heard the official snowfall at Metro airport near me was 4.8 inches) and I didn’t feel like dealing with it. I’ll go shopping on Sunday or Monday.

I took a nice nap instead. Then I watched some TV until I got hungry. I ate leftovers then and, later, ate some raw radishes for a snack. I went to bed at 11:30 PM.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Just a Dream?

I had the weirdest damn dream last night!

I dreamt I was invited to Jake's friend Jay's wedding. I accepted, not only because I like Jay, but I also wanted to see the Pacific Northwest. So, I ended up walking in a deep woods to the place.

I was lost, but finally found a local, who gave me one of those rural directions (turn left at the big oak tree, etc.) So, I went on...

I finally came to a tall fence, topped with barbed wire. I walked along it until I came to a gate. I let myself in and continued on. I finally came to a group of ninjas who were practicing. I say "practicing" but they were not pulling their punches, but beating the crap out of each other. There were broken, bleeding combatants everywhere.

Finally, I came to another fence. Fearing the ninjas more than the barbed wire, I climbed it and ripped the hell out of my arms and legs. But I got on the other side.

I kept walking but had the oddest feeling of being watched or followed. I finally saw them. I thought they were wolves at first, but then noticed they all had collars on them. I decided they must be attack dogs. I tried to walk deliberately, as I kept reminding myself, "They can smell fear and will attack!"

Finally I came to another fence, with a gate locked on the other side. Just then, as the pack formed a semi-circle, two little girls walked by and I begged them to open the door.

They did and I followed them to the wedding. I was shaking hands with Jay (who was dressed in his service uniform) when I woke up.

Finally Friday...

It was 20 degrees F. when I woke up this morning (we’re having a heat wave; a tropical heat wave...) But although it would eventually become sunny, it was still windy and cold.

I had lunch at the Livonia Buddy’s Pizza. The IT department (well, most of them) had gathered there for a going away luncheon for one of our techs (hey, any excuse to party, right?)

As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of thick crust pizza like Buddy’s makes, so I had a cup of minestrone soup and an antipasto salad. The soup was excellent, thick and rich. The salad was a bit disappointing. It was big enough (I didn’t finish it) but the salami and ham were just deli slices, cut into squares; not the cubes you would expect. And, there was no pepperoncini! How can you claim it to be an antipasto salad without pepperoncini!!

And, they had ginger ale. Ginger ale is just about the only soft drink I like (I prefer Canada Dry). But they kept refilling my glass, which meant I had to make two trips to the restroom while I was there (embarrassing).

Since I was down there anyway, I went to the old building to check on my job site. That was a good thing as I found our Telecom guy wandering around in the wrong place, trying to find the phone jacks I’d asked him to cross connect (the location of which I had carefully explained on the phone to him earlier). But, we got it straight and (hopefully) he got it done.

I worked right up to 5:00 PM (it was a very busy day) and then went home. I did have to stop at CVS to pick up my reduced cholesterol medicine.

But, I eventually got home and didn’t get stuck getting the mail, so I was grateful and now the weekend beckons!

I took out some bacon to thaw (I decided I need some black pepper and bacon drop biscuits with that bean soup). So, for tonight’s dinner, I made tuna and peas, served over egg noodles (sorry, Mom).

I started watching Terminator 2 (the only one I like) but fell asleep somewhere along the line. I woke up (wide awake) at 2:00 AM and watched taped cooking shows until 4:00 AM and then went to bed for real.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Hanging Out

When I woke up Thursday morning, it was one degree F.! When I left for work, I found that one degree was accompanied by a wicked wind.

This time I remembered to make a sandwich, so I ate lunch inside for the first time in a long time. Once I finished my apple, there was nothing to do. Look at the computer? I do that all day long. I have to remember to bring in a book.

I left at 3:00 PM to go to the construction site in my old building. The wiring crew had left by the time I got there, but there are only two things left to do in this phase. I’ll call them in the morning and make sure they are coming back.

When I got home, I pulled next to the mail box to get the mail. That’s when I noticed they had plowed the road and there was a big bank of snow in front of my newly plowed driveway. I pulled forward and hung the belly of the car up. I went into the house, put on a warm hat and good gloves and grabbed the snow shovel.

But, the snow shovel was too big to get under the car. So I swapped it for the transfer shovel and dug the snow out. I looked in the garage to find some sand (I thought I had some left from an old project) but only could find pea gravel. (Note to self: Buy a bag of cheap kitty litter and throw it in the trunk for emergencies.) So, I put the gravel in the front and back of each tire. Then, with a little rocking, I got the car moving and into the garage.

I returned Carla's Mom's call. She just wanted to make sure I was alright. She said they have sleet down in Alabama today.

For dinner, I warmed up all the veggies and some of the roast beef for dinner, with the au jus. I froze the rest of the beef.

I watched some TV but went to bed early. I think all that digging wore me out!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

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Tiny Tabasco sauce bottle
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Plowed driveway #1
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Plowed Driveway #2
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The west side kitchen window (last night the entire window was splattered with snow)
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Plowed Driveway #3

Texas Two Step in the Snow

I woke up at 7:00 AM on Wednesday. It was still not snowing and, on the news this morning, they said we had freezing rain late last night which decreased the amount of snow we accumulated. There's still a second round to come (they say another 1-2 inches) later today, but we'll see. I didn't go outside to check if there really was freezing rain, BTW.

Well, it started snowing again at 8:30 AM. I cut the crust off the four or five slices of sourdough bread and the half a loaf of rye bread I had left. I was afraid it would go bad.

The rye crusts were saved for the birds, but the sourdough crusts I cut into bite-sized pieces. I put them in a bowl and topped them with three soft-boiled eggs for my breakfast.

I cut the rest of the bread into one-inch squares and put them in a big bowl. I drizzled them with olive oil and stirred them to coat. I sprinkled them with my house seasoning (salt, pepper and garlic powder) and some dried parsley. You could use Lawry’s Seasoned salt or some Mrs. Dash as well, BTW. Then I put them on a half sheet tray and baked them in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 15 minutes, stirring once.

Croutons! Once they cooled, I put some in a small baggie for immediate use and the rest in a bigger baggie in the freezer.

I finally went and showered near noon. When I got out, my driveway was plowed! Damn, I thought, I missed him. So, I called his house and asked his son how to get him his money. He said his dad was still at work and hadn’t plowed anybody yet!

I looked at my porch and noticed there were no tracks in the snow, so nobody came to the door. Who plowed me out? Must have been my neighbor.

I decided to make that “Texas Two Step” 8 bean soup Lu and Sadie gave me for my birthday. The dried beans were in a wine bottle with a cork. When I pulled out the cork, there was a teeny tiny bottle of Tabasco! I took a picture of it next to a regular salt shaker to show you just how small it was.

I followed the directions: pour the beans into a large pot, along with the spice mixture (well, the spice mixture didn’t flow freely, so I added some warm water to dissolve it, per the instructions). I filled the bottle with water three times and added that to the beans.

Here’s where I made my mistake: You have to simmer it covered for 3 1/2 to 4 hours and it was already 5:30 PM. Oh, well, I’ll make it tonight and eat it tomorrow. I made a sandwich for my dinner and ate a Granny Smith apple for dessert.

Anyway, after it was done simmering, I added two large cans of whole tomatoes (it didn’t say to, but I squished them first, then again I like to squish whole tomatoes) and some Tabasco to taste (I put the whole bottle in – it was a little bottle and a LOT of soup).

I left it to cool and went back to watching the movie “Tombstone” with Kurt Russel. When it was over, I put the now-cooled soup, pot and all, into the fridge and went to bed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dialog from the Movie "Tombstone"

"Doc (Holiday) why you doing this?"
"Wyatt Earp is my friend."
"Hell, I got lotsa friends!"
"I don't."

~ I don't either...

The Calm Before the Storm

Tuesday dawned cold, but clear. The wind was already a problem when I went to work.

The wind was worse when I went to lunch. Speaking of lunch, I didn’t have enough time to make mine in the morning (something I am SO not used to) so I searched the Internet and found a Chinese restaurant about 1/2 mile from work called the Rainbow.

So, at lunch, I went to the Rainbow and ordered the exact same thing I would have ordered at Chins (across the street from my old building), Chicken Sub Gum. I wanted to compare price, flavor and so on.

Well, the price was the same ($6.75 US). But the difference was easily apparent. There were more wontons in the wonton soup, the rice was chicken fried rice, instead of just fried rice and the mushrooms in the sub gum were fresh, not canned. And, there were pea pods! The only thing I liked better at Chins was the tea. The portions were plentiful and I still couldn’t eat it all (but I couldn’t at Chins, either). So, I have one restaurant (so far) near the new building identified.

I left work at 4:00 PM and the wind was now gusting (which is why we have blizzard warnings instead of just storm warnings). I got home, safe and inside, and for the first time ever I am glad I am on part-time (I have tomorrow off).

The snow started here about 7:00 PM. It didn’t seem “heavy and wet” but the wind was driving it sideways.

I warmed up one of the containers of sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut for dinner and added some Dijon mustard for the sausage. Tasty!

When I went to bed at 10:00 PM, I checked the driveway and I’d guess we had gotten about 4-5 inches of snow. But the two inches of snow that had accumulated on the front porch railing had blown off, so I’m not sure if this is actual snow depths, or if it’s just drifting.

I did notice they changed the blizzard warning from 7:00 PM Tuesday to 7:00 PM Wednesday to 7:00 PM Tuesday to 8:00 AM Wednesday in Wayne County, so maybe the storm is passing south or north of here (again).

When I got up for a bathroom break at 2:00 AM, it wasn’t snowing at all. It may be a break in the storm or maybe it’s over. One thing I didn’t understand is that the snow had piled up on the bathroom and kitchen windows (something I’d never seen before). Why that seemed odd is that these windows face west and the wind was supposedly blowing from the north-east. If it’s still there in the morning, I’ll take a picture for you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday Moanin'

It was cold here on Monday (high of only 20 degrees F.) but the worst part of it was the wind. It cut like a knife!

I remembered today to take in some antibacterial spray to clean the surfaces in my cube. I also took in some WD-40 for a sticking drawer.

I had to make a trip to two other buildings during the day (which is why I noticed the wind).

I needed to pick up some kitty litter on the way home (tomorrow is garbage day). So, I made the mistake of thinking I would just “pop” into Kroger’s and grab some. NOT! The parking lot was jammed and cars were just milling about, waiting for someone to leave. It took me almost 10 minutes to get out of there and I never went into the store!

Why was it so jammed? Well, we have snow overnight tonight (supposed to be 2-4 inches) and then what’s being described as a “massive winter storm” Tuesday night through Wednesday. There may be freezing rain first, followed by 1-2 feet (yes, I said feet) of heavy, wet snow. So, everybody is stocking up I guess.

When I finally got out, I drove to PetSmart, grabbed a bag of kitty litter and went home. Pet owners don't panic!

The first thing I did when I arrived (after treating the cats) was to call the old man I used two years ago to plow my driveway. I never needed him last year and haven’t so far this year. I wondered if he was still in business (and/or still alive). But he was and is, so I arranged for him to come any time Wednesday to dig me out.

I switched out the kitty litter and then hauled the garbage out to the road. Then I washed out the slow cooker and the skillet that I had left soaking overnight.

Next I cut the lasagna into individual portions and froze it. For my dinner, I warmed up the roast and veggies. This time instead of the au jus, I used horseradish as a condiment for the beef.

I was beat, so I went to bed around 10:00 PM.