Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gone missing...

As I think I mentioned, I went back to work on Monday and Lu went back home (well, halfway, anyway). It rained like hell off and on all day (I checked the rain gauge after work and there was just over an inch of rain in it).

I did some shopping at Meijer’s during lunch and got home in time to just grab a bite and then head back to work.

After work, I straightened up the garage a little (the work bench is still a total wreck), did a small load of laundry and ran the dishwasher.

Later on, after hanging up the clothes, I put away the clean dishes. That’s when I noticed I only had seven dinner plates. Now that’s weird! I had eight! So, I started looking for the plate. I hunted high and low from on top the fridge to outside on the patio (maybe I carried something on it outside when I was grilling?), but no plate. I can’t figure this one out...

Well, maybe it will reappear.

I watched some of the cooking shows that taped while Lu was here until about 11:30 PM. Then I read in bed for about an hour and finally went to sleep.

**IMPORTANT**

They are doing a serious upgrade to the system, so I will not be able to post my Blog from Tuesday night until, at the most, Saturday. If it comes back sooner, I’ll catch you up. I just didn’t want you to think I died…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lazy Days and Sundays

I woke up late again on Sunday, which was equally nice. I made a pot of coffee and sat on the couch in my robe, drinking some and reading.

Lu got up a little later and made herself some tea. So, Sunday morning passed with both of us just reading and chillin’.

She had to leave around 3:00 PM to go to a restaurant in St. Clair Shores for her Mother’s “real” birthday. Some of her Mother’s friends had planned this dinner and there were about 10 people there in all.

So, I went to cut the grass (before it starts raining again). But, I found I was out of gas, so the first thing I had to do was go get some. Then I cut the front lawn. It is, BTW, probably the best year yet for black walnuts, which makes cutting the grass rather difficult. Imagine trying to push a mower while walking on golf balls! In past years, I’d walk the front lawn first, chucking all the walnut into the vacant lot next door for the squirrels. But there are too many of them this year. I’m tempted to gather a bushel basket of them and put them in the garage to use them during the winter for something.

Then I went out and cut the back yard. When that was done, I spaded up the horseshoe pits (they have been sadly neglected all summer).

My neighbors called me over and gave me another butternut squash. We talked about the lack of ripened tomatoes and he said he saw a raccoon in his garden, eating them! It’s too late to save my crop though, as I only have about three green tomatoes left. I should have went to one of the Farmers Markets and bought a bushel of tomatoes. Now, I will have to face the winter without my usual frozen homemade tomato sauce.

I ate an early dinner of leftover egg drop soup and vegetable fried rice. I cut the squash in half and this time coated the flesh with olive oil. I sprinkled it with dried thyme, parsley, rosemary, sea salt and fresh ground pepper and stuck it in a 400 degrees F. oven. I set the timer for 30 minutes, but it was a BIG squash, so I knew it wouldn’t be done then. But, I’ll check it, anyway.

Lu got back around 7:00 PM. We chatted a bit about the dinner party and then she started to pack her car (she’s leaving Monday morning around 9:00 AM).

I kept checking on the squash, looking for fork tender. It took an hour and 25 minutes until it was ready (I told you it was a big squash).

We watched part one and two of an Extreme Makeover show. I ate half the squash (it tastes so much better when its fresh picked – trust me). Lu said she wanted to “try” it and ended up eating half of her half!

When Extreme Makeover was over we watched a chick flick on the Hallmark Channel (if you’ve ever watched the Hallmark Channel, you know what I mean). I fell asleep during it and then woke up just in time to go to bed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Evert day in the world a hundred thousand people die. A human life means nothing."

~ General Vo Nguyen Giap.
Commander-in-Chief, North Vietnamese Army

Saturday Errands and Stuff

Saturday, I slept in for a change. It was very pleasant to do nothing for a bit. However, I had a 9:30 AM haircut appointment, so I reluctantly got up and then had to hurry.

I got there in time and got my hair cut. Afterwards, I went to Kroger’s and did some grocery shopping. From there I went to GFS, but couldn’t find the one main thing I wanted. I checked with the Manager and he said they’d never carried it! My bad...

On the way home, I stopped at Westborn for a few items (sharp cheddar cheese, sweet corn and some fruit) and then headed home. While Lu was still gone, I thoroughly cleaned my bathroom downstairs and the upstairs toilet. I opened all the windows to air the place out (the smell of cleaning products and/or bleach aggravates Lu’s asthma and COPD, you see). Instead of the rain today that they’d predicted back on Thursday, it was sunny and mild.

Lu got back from Kathy’s around 2:00 PM and we chatted about that for a bit. Then I made the mistake of asking her to play Scrabble. Do I need to say the final score was 260 to 191 and my score wasn’t 260?

I offered to grille outside and she accepted (she still had two of those quarter-pound garden burgers left).

The wind picked up during the afternoon, however, so I got a jacket. I fired up the charcoal chimney after cleaning out the wet ashes and old charcoal. When everything was ready, I got the sweet corn out of the small stock pot where I’d been soaking it and put it on. I must day I did an excellent job with the sweet corn (one of the few things I have absolutely mastered on a grille).

Then I grilled both of her garden burgers and five brats for me. When everything was ready and the brats were resting, I shucked the corn.

Lu ate one of her burgers with a whole grain round that I’d toasted on the grille, along with some mustard and lettuce (she'll eat the other one in the motel room Monday night on her way home). I ate two brats with no bun, just Dijon mustard (my preferred method of eating brats). Lu ate two ears of corn (without butter or salt – she said she’s always eaten corn that way). I, of course ate my two with lots of butter and salt (because I’ve always eaten sweet corn that way!)

It was an excellent, excellent meal!

After cleaning up, we watched two TV series (Harry’s Law and Prime Suspect). I paused between the two and got out dessert: a small apple pie I’d bought at Kroger’s deli and the sharp cheddar cheese (from Western Michigan, BTW) I got at Westborn.

The lady at the Kroger deli told me to heat individual slices in the microwave for 30 seconds, covered with a paper towel, and it worked perfectly! And, the cheese was so sharp even Jake and Carla would have loved it.

I fell asleep before the second show was over and woke up a little later to find Lu getting ready for bed. So, I did too and then went back to sleep for real.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Finally Friday

It’s been a long week, but it’s finally Friday. Lu left sometime in the afternoon to spend the night at her friend Kathy’s house. So, when I was told there was a get-together at Snookers to say goodbye to Wayne and Jake IT staff-style, I said, “I’m in!”

So, there were about 10 of us, including Carla and her girlfriend from work. A rotating group of four people played pool while the others sat and talked.

I had a couple Labatt’s and some finger food off a samplers tray (cheese sticks, chicken strips, drumettes (sp) and some mini-tacos that I feared). I went with the chicken strips, dipped in Ranch dressing and the cheese sticks dipped in marinara sauce. I did try one drumette, which was good, but messy and then you’re stuck with a bone and no plate to put it on.

Of the two games of pool I played, I did some good shots and some really bad shots (I used to be pretty good at pool, back in the day). But I did sink the winning shot in both games, so I was pleased.

I left there around 7:00 PM and got home about 7:20 (because of the closure of Inkster at the railroad tracks). I treated the cats and changed clothes. I started to clean the downstairs bathroom and then thought, “What the hell are you doing?”

So, I quit for the night, enjoying the solitude, a good movie and, later, the rest of my fried rice.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday

We finally had the goodbye luncheon for Jake and Wayne (ironically, Wayne is the guy Jake was training to fill in for Jake). It was a day late and at another restaurant than the one we originally chose (management got involved), but a success none the less.

It was at Buddy’s Pizza. Their “individual” salads could easily feed three people, BTW. So, I had an individual antipasto salad. I had two big helpings and shared the rest with a co-worker’s wife and there was still a bunch left over! I also ordered the “Little Buddy” which is the smallest pizza you can get. It’s only about an 8-inch square of deep dish pizza, cut in half. But, since its deep dish, it too was pretty filling. I got it topped with pepperoni, mushrooms and banana pepper rings (what else?)

Jake had a Caesar Salad and the ravioli, BTW, and ended up leaving a lot of his salad, too. I left there stuffed and desperately just wanted to take a nap. But, I went back to work...

I got home from work and got a call from Lu. She was just leaving my Brother Carl’s house, heading back to mine. It dawned on me that, since my brother was too cheap or two lazy to give her dinner, I’d have to feed her.

So, I started thinking (make a salad? Nah, I just had one today. Warm the left over pasta? Nah, I just had that last night.) Finally, it dawned on me. Something I bet she rarely gets in the Virginia country-side.

So, when she got home I asked her if she wanted Chinese. She was thrilled and said, “Let’s go!” I said, “No you just got done driving through rush hour traffic. I’ll order take-out.” So, I did.

She had an egg roll, egg drop soup and vegetable fried rice. I had an eggroll, won ton soup and chicken fried rice. I thought it was just okay, but she loved it.

We watched a movie (The Last of the Mohicans) and when it was over at 10:00 we went to bed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shopping at Lunch Redux

I went shopping again at lunch on Wednesday. This time I returned the shaver head that I bought at Meijer’s (wrong one, if you remember), bought some cleaning products and looked for frosted contact paper. No luck on the frosted contact paper. The company that makes contact paper seems to have gotten big-time into shelf lining.

I stopped at PetSmart for some cat food and more kitty litter. I figured since I was there in the shopping center anyway, I’d go to Home Depot. Same thing as Meijer’s, just a few rolls of real contact paper (no frosted) and the rest was shelf liner. Damn! This time I got smarter (about time!) and, on the way out, I bought two hot dogs. I added some mustard and onions and ate them in the car. I got a little mustard on my shirtfront, but at least I didn’t miss lunch.

Then I drove up the road to Aco Hardware. Same damn thing! I was just about to drive back to work when I remember there was a little independent (not a chain) hardware store just down the road on Five Mile. So, I drove there. I asked the guy at the counter if they had contact paper. He said, “Well, only frosted.”

I told him that’s just what I wanted and next time, I’d go to his store first!

Back home after work, I first checked the rain gauge. We got just under one inch of rain the other day. Then I measured and put the contact paper on the bottom pane of the downstairs bath. That allowed me to eliminate the blinds, let more light into the room and remember to open the window when I turn on the shower.

Lu was out visiting (first Jeremy and then our old neighbor, Sue). So, I warmed up some of that pasta Alfredo for my dinner. Later on, while watching TV, I ate an apple for a snack. Much later on, while reading, I had some cheese and a hunter sausage.

Lu got home after 11:00 PM. I asked her if she had a good time and she said yes. I told her goodnight and went back to reading until I fell asleep.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frittata Follies (or how I blew dinner)

Tuesday Lu went to visit her Mother and I went to work. I spent my lunch hour going from store to store looking for two things: a light fall jacket (black, with a regular collar, NOT a "hoodie") and a replacement head for my electric razor. I went to Burlington Coat Factory, Target and Best Buy and found nothing! I wasted my lunch.

Back at work, I went back to the Philips/Norelco website (where they said the replacement shaver head was available in both Target and Best Buy) and ended up buying it online.

Back home after work, Lu had just arrived. So, we chatted about her visit with her Mother. Finally it was time to make dinner. I volunteered to make frittata. Now, I have successfully made these in the past (spinach, asparagus, etc.) so I thought I could just wing it.

I cut off the florets on a head of broccoli, saving the stem in the freezer (peeled and sliced, it makes a great, sweet addition to winter stews and soups). I blanched some of them in a little water (maybe “steamed” is a better term), but not until they were soft (I wanted them with a little "crunch") and then shocked them in ice water to stop the cooking process. I let them cool and then drained them.

I went outside and grabbed some chives. I was going to get some thyme, but it was already dead so I picked some oregano. Back inside, I added two tablespoons of heavy cream to six eggs. I snipped in the chives and chopped oregano leaves that I’d stripped from their stems. I added a little sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and then whisked the hell out of the mixture.

I heated up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a knob of butter on medium heat. Once it was melted, I added the broccoli and the egg mixture. Then I cut a big plum tomato into chucks. I was going to seed it, but it was almost solid inside so I used it that way.

I turned on the broiler, and when all but the very top of the frittata looked solid, I sprinkled grated sharp cheddar cheese on top of it and stuck it in the oven. I watched it carefully (this step is where it’s easy to burn it) and when the cheese started to brown, I pulled it out. I let it rest for two minutes while Lu set the table.

I used a heat-proof spatula to run around the edges of the frittata and then slid it successfully onto a plate. I cut into it and was dismayed to see that it was all runny inside! We couldn’t decide if it was water from the vegetables (Lu’s theory) or raw egg (mine).

Now, here’s where I think I went wrong. In checking recipes I used in the past, I found you were supposed to sautéed the tomatoes and whatever other vegetable you use FIRST in the oil/butter mixture. I assume that reduces the water content. So, I’m guessing Lu’s theory is the correct one.

No, don’t misunderstand me, we did eat it. In fact we ate the whole damn thing (it didn’t “puff up” as much as ones in the past, which should have been another clue to me that something was wrong). And, it tasted great! But, the presentation sucked...

We watched a Kathy Griffin comedy show and then went to bed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Random Thought at Work

This isn’t a job, it’s an adventure!

Rainy Days and Mondays

I drove through a light drizzle to work. It rained much harder off and on throughout the day and into the evening. I forgot to check the rain gauge Tuesday morning so I could tell you how much we got, though.

Remember the Celebrex screw-up on Saturday? I called CVS first thing Monday to see if they had called for the “prior approval” needed and they said, “Not yet.” I said, “Don’t bother; I’ll call the Doctor myself.” So, I called and asked them to ask the Doctor (you never, EVER get to talk to the Doctor, as you probably know) to NOT give the “prior approval.” Instead, please call in a prescription for prescription-strength Naproxen (that’s the correct spelling). Why? Because after taking the stuff as the pharmacist recommended, I noticed that I didn’t feel any better or worse than taking Celebrex. And, I also know that Celebrex has some bad side-effects (it eventually affects your liver and I have been taking it a LONG time now). So, why take the chance?

On the way home for lunch, I stopped by Jimmie Johns and picked up a turkey sandwich (with cheese) for me and a vegetarian sandwich for Lu. When I got home, though, I found she had made a fruit salad (from fruit I bought and some she brought for lunch. She said we could just eat it for dinner. So, we ate half our sandwiches (they’re pretty big) for lunch and saved the rest for dinner.

Then it was back into the rain and back to work.

Back home (through the rain again), I stopped at CVS and picked up my prescriptions and went home. Lu wasn’t there, but had left a note saying she was at CVS, getting the pictures for the birthday party printed. OMG! I must have walked right by her and not noticed her.

When she got home, we checked out the pictures as well as a small album Sue, our old neighbor, had sent of the lilacs that we planted in front of our old house on Palms Road. They were huge (maybe 8 feet tall) and full of blossoms. What was cool was that I got all of them from the old farm on 24 Mile Road and they were maybe, MAYBE, two feet tall at best when I transplanted them.

Lu put together an album of the party pictures for her Mother while I watched the news. Then we ate dinner (the other half of our sandwiches and the fruit salad (bananas, peaches, black plums and walnuts). Dinner was good!

We each putzed around a while (I switched out the kitty litter for tomorrows garbage pickup so I’m not sure what she was doing). We ended up in the living room eventually and talked until after 10:00, then we each went to bed.

Damn!

I missed "Talk like a Pirate" Day again!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Party Time!

On Sunday morning, I made a run to Westborn to get a fresh baguette for the appetizer I want to make for today’s 85th birthday party for Lu’s Mother.

So, I made those cucumber toasties again (Lu said her Mother liked cucumbers). I would have made deviled eggs, but somebody already is making them. Which worked out well, as Lu later said her Mother hates seafood, and I was planning on my shrimp deviled eggs.

Back at home, I made the spread, cut up the baguette and ran the cucumber through the mandolin. I assembled them and then sprinkled them with fresh dill.

Meanwhile, Lu had assembled her baked beans Saturday (sautéed onion, three big cans of Bush’s vegetarian baked beans, a can of drained kidney beans, some mustard, ketchup and molasses) and they were sitting in the fridge in Tupperware bowl, getting happy. So, when I first woke up, I put them in the slow cooker and turned it on High.

It was finally time to go (we were to get there early to help set up) and Lu drove there.

We got there a bit early, so Lu filled up her gas tank first and then drove the rest of the way to her Mom’s. We found we hadn’t secured the slow cooker very well (I did tape the top on with masking tape, like I do when I travel with it) and it slopped down the sides. Fortunately, the box Lu put it in had a garbage bag on the bottom, so there was no mess in the vehicle. Lu wiped the slow cooker off with a paper towel and I carried it upstairs.

Lu’s family was already there (well, her two brothers and one sister all live in the same apartment complex). So there was her Mother, her brother Brad, her brother Tim and his daughter Sarah, her sister Debbie and her other sister Peggy and her daughter Jennifer. Our family showed up more or less on time: Jeremy, Joe and Riese and Jake and Carla.

Peggy had made vegetarian lasagna two ways: One with a tomato-based sauce and one with Alfredo sauce. She also made the deviled eggs (Brad was going to, but he had to drive to Romulus to pick up Debbie, who doesn’t drive). She called down from her apartment, asking for some help filling the eggs.

So I walked down there to help. She had two Tupperware trays (really neat idea, BTW) and a bowl of filling. After thanking me, she handed me a spoon and took one for herself. I said, “Whoa, wait a minute Peggy. Do you have a gallon baggie and a pair of scissors?” She said, “Yes” and I said “Then give them to me.” She did and I put the filling in the baggie and snipped a small corner off. Then I piped the filling into the eggs, swirling it a bit to make it look better. She was amazed and said it would have taken her a half an hour to fill them with a spoon. Ah, the magic of cooking shows!

I carried them to the party and then came back for the slow cooker of one kind of ravioli and the other pan of ravioli. Meanwhile Lu had her portable table set up and Jeremy had put his soda and chips on it. Jake and Carla had brought potato salad, BTW. Her brother Tim had the grilled fired up and began to cook the burgers (and a garden burger for Lu). He had a small gas grill so it took four rounds to get everybody fed.

The food was good and it was nice to visit with everybody again. Jennifer (who is 29) said the last time she saw me she was sixteen.

I think Lu’s Mother had a good time. Lu took a picture of each person sitting next to her Mother and there were several group shots. Finally, after the cake was cut and dished out with the ice cream (I passed on that one), it was time to pack up. I gave away the rest of the appetizers and the rest of Lu’s beans, so we didn’t have to take anything home but the empty slow cooker and the half-sheet pan.

We left and got home around 6:00 PM. My daughter Melissa called and talked with me a bit and then with Luanne a lot.

We talked about dinner and decided we were both too stuffed to eat. We watched “Extreme Home Makeover” and then a 20/20 show called “Second Sight” (a documentary about a family that was lost and stranded in Oregon for 10 days in their car. It was interesting, but too long and had WAY too may commercials. Lu made some popcorn (herbs and salt for her, melted butter and salt for me) somewhere in there and we snacked on that. When the 20/20 show was over, we retired.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Road Trip

I left at 8:00 AM Saturday morning to go up to Richmond for a doctor’s visit. My appointment was for 9:30, but it’s always hard to gauge these things. Traffic, road construction, etc., can wreak havoc on the best-laid plans.

This time traffic was light, and only one spot on I-94 went down to one lane. So, I got there at 9:00 AM. But, I didn’t see the doctor until 9:45, so it was a long wait.

I was bummed. This was the first time in two years my test results were worse instead of better. I told her before she started adjusting my meds I had a confession to make. With all the crap that’s happened this summer (the garbage disposal, the faucet, the sewer line, the garage door, etc.) I had developed a bad habit of forgetting to take either my morning pills or my night ones. In the morning, I’d be rushing to work and at night, I’d fall asleep and then just go to bed. So, I have three weeks to straighten up. Then I’ll get another blood draw, and when she gets the results she’ll call me. If it’s better, shame on me and don’t do it again. If it’s not, then I have to go back.

Regarding my involuntary bruising, she said when you get older (sigh), your veins become thinner and the bruising could be a result of something as simple as sleeping with your head on your arm. (Great!) I later learned from Lu that my Brother Carl said this runs in our family.

I told her I really needed my Celebrex as, on I pain scale of 1-10, I was at least a 5. She said they would call it in so I could just pick it up when I got back home.

Speaking of Carl, I had planned on stopping in to see him on the way back. But I was hurting so much (knees, hips, shoulders, neck, etc.), I just drove back home.

At the drugstore, there was a problem. They did call in the prescription, but the insurance company requires prior approval. When the druggist called the doctor to get it, the office was already closed. I asked him if there was any OTC medication I could take instead until Monday. He recommended doubling the dose of Naprosin (sp) (in Advil) and that would be the equivalent of prescription Naporsin. So, I bought some.

Back home, Lu was off somewhere, so I took the Advil and lay down to let it work. Lu came back and showed me what she’d bought shopping. I finally felt better and when out and cut the back lawn.

For dinner, I just made some mostacholli (sp). I would have used Penne (I think sauce sticks better to Penne) but I was out of it. I topped that with jarred four cheese Alfredo sauce. It was very good, but very filling. And I think if I’d added some lightly sautéed mushrooms, it would have been even better. I’ll remember that, next time.

After dinner we chatted for a bit and then watched a movie. Then we watched two episode of “Ghost Whisperer.” It was the first time I’d seen the show. Weird!

Then Lu went to bed. I read for a while to get the ghosts out of my head and prevent bad dreams.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday

Friday was a bit chaotic at work, trying to find invoices for a software audit. But, between Michelle and I, we finally pulled it of.

I was tired and sore (I haven’t had any Celebrex since Monday. But, I knew I would see my doctor on Saturday, so I didn’t bother to call. Big mistake! All my joints were hurting and I was getting a stiff neck.

I made a salad for dinner (hearts of Romaine lettuce, red lettuce, chives and tomatoes from my garden, green pepper, cucumbers and cauliflower florets). We dressed it with a balsamic vinaigrette.

I was too sore to do much, so we watched some TV after we chatted for a while. It was a crazy show called “Roseanne’s Nuts.” We couldn’t tell if it was a comedy or a reality show.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thursday

When I got home after work, Lu was already there. I helped her carry in a ton of stuff. Then she made her bed and I made mine.

She offered to take me out to dinner, and we settled on Red Lobster. But, when we got there, the parking lot was jammed. People were even parking in nearby lots and walking over! I assume it was a birthday party or something.

So, we moved on to Olive Gardens. It too was pretty full (we had a 10 minute wait). But, finally, we got our table. We both had the "endless" soup, salad and bread sticks. We chatted as we ate, mostly about our various health issues and the death of her friend, Aubrey. I was full after the soup and didn’t finish my salad, but Lu had two bowls of soup and two plates of salad!

Back at home around 7:30 PM; I suggested playing one of her games. But she said she was beat from the drive and wanted something more mindless. So, we watched a taped “Two Fat Ladies” show. She loved it.

Then she brought out the video of her white-water rafting trip. It was very interesting to see how the rafts are spun and tossed by the water.

After that we gave it up and went to our respective beds to read. I think I turned my light out around 10:30.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, cleaning up

I spent most of Tuesday night cleaning up the house for Lu's upcoming visit. This was complicated as halfway through the house, the electric sweeper ate a rock and quit working. So, I spent the rest of the time with either a regular broom or a mop.

By 9:30, my back was killing me, so I thought I'd take a short break. Unfortunately, I fell asleep sitting on the couch. Fortunately, I woke up (stiff and sore) at about 1:00 AM, so I washed the kitchen and bathroom floors and put the bedding from the daybed (in the office) in the washer.

Then I went to bed for good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Repeat

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday. I tried going home on Middlebelt and had the same problem: another massive traffic jam. I sat through the light at Middlebelt and Plymouth Road about a half mile back and through six light changes. I either have to get off on Merriman or just drive home down Plymouth road, I guess.

Back home (finally), I changed clothes and then dragged (and I do mean dragged) the plywood top I made to extend my old table and the trundle bed springs outside and put them on the trailer. Sooner or later, I’ll call the Township to pick them up but I don’t have the $120.00 to pay for it right now (they now charge $60.00 per item for this. It used to be free but, times being hard, now its not.)

I finished cleaning my bedroom while watching the news.

I made some Campbell’s bean with bacon soup for dinner and ate that watching a documentary about mountain men. When it was finished, so was I and I went to bed.

I guess it was a little too early as I woke up around midnight and stayed awake until 2:00 AM.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One of my weird habits...

...and I have a lot of them!

It was, like, five or ten years ago when they came out with that "Do not call" thing. For a year or two, I wasn't bothered, but now they've come back with a vengeance: "800 Service," "Out of Area" or, my personal favorite, "Unavailable."

Every time I pick up the phone and it says "Unavailable," I laugh and say out loud, "What a coincidence, so am I!" and put the phone back in its cradle.

For some reason, that always cracks me up.

Monday Moanin'

Monday was a long day at work as my cubicle buddy, Michelle, had to stay home to care for her sick husband. So, I had to do her work as well as mine. And, to top it off, when I got off the Expressway onto Inkster, I found they had closed the road completely at the railroad tracks.

So, I made a u-turn and went up to Beech Daly, apparently like everyone else, because there was a massive traffic jam. It took me almost 45 minutes to get home (normally its 13 minutes).

I was talking with B___ when a quick thunderstorm rolled in (about 7:00 PM). It didn't last very long, but it was very loud.

BTW< I have some beautiful bruises from that blood draw.

I ate the rest of that vegetable soup I made for dinner, watched a little TV, but went to bed early.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Catching Up

On Friday after work, I went out back to see if any tomatoes had ripened. I had three ripe plum tomatoes so I picked them. My neighbors saw me and offered me a big butternut squash. Back inside, I cleaned the bedroom and talked to Jeremy, who called me on his way home.

I cut the squash in half, cleaned out the seeds, buttered the flesh (you can also use olive oil, but I like butter better) and seasoned it with salt, pepper and dried thyme. I baked it in a 350 degree F. oven and checked it after an hour. It wasn’t fork tender, so I let it go another 15 minutes. Then it was perfect!

Now, I sometimes dig out the flesh and mash it. But, this time I just ate it. It was delicious!

On Saturday, brunch was the other half of squash and dinner was elbow macaroni with butter and salt. I didn’t do much as there was a John Wayne movie marathon on. I did check the rain gauge and I had just over three inches of rain from the last three days.

Sunday, Lu called and said she won’t be here until Thursday (it’s her mother’s 85 birthday). I went out to get a green pepper and two green chilies for some soup. Tammy saw me and gave me another butternut squash!

Back inside, I sautéed two chopped carrots, some celery and a yellow onion, the green pepper and the two chiles in olive oil. When they were soft, I added two big cans of Italian tomatoes and the rest of the elbow macaroni. I seasoned it with parsley, salt and pepper. For a vegetarian soup, it was pretty good.

I ate a big bowl of it watching my Sunday night shows and then went to bed.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scars

I had a random thought late at night. I have a lot of scars. I have one on my knee from when I jumped into a pile of hay as a kid and impaled myself on a pitchfork (that pitchfork is still out in my garage today).

I have a teardrop one on the middle finger of my left hand from back when I was also a kid, doing something with my Brother Carl involving melting plastic (I don’t remember why) and some of it accidentally dripped on me.

I have one on my hand that I got when I was married to Fran. I cut myself on a broken bottle in my Dad’s garage and damn near bled out before I got to the doctor. He stitched it in a hurry and it shows.

I have one on each thigh where they harvested skin for the skin graft I needed after my motorcycle accident.

And speaking of that, I have a really ugly one from my left knee to my ankle (110 stitches to close, they told me) from that famous motorcycle/stump mixup.

And I have an 18-inch or so one on my left hand that I make up shit about how I got it (my favorite is a knife fight in Sonora, Mexico). There is only one person in the world who knows how I got it and she just guessed it, because she had one like it herself. But, she won’t tell.

Anyway, as ugly as some of them are, I wouldn’t trade one of them. They are just a part of who I am. And I suppose none of them are as ugly as the scars on my soul...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11

Now a lot of people will say, “Where were you when they walked on the moon or when Kennedy died?” and I don’t know or remember.

But I remember exactly where I was on 9/11.

I was working in Facilities and they had a little TV turned on to the news in another room (I don’t remember why) and none of us was paying attention until somebody (I think it was Ali), screamed, “Oh my God.”

So we all rushed in and saw a repeat of the plane crashing into the first tower. We all thought it was a stupid pilot who screwed up. But then the next plane crashed into the second tower.

We watched in horror as the other plane went down in Pennsylvania and the last one crashed into the Pentagon

That’s when the world changed and I racked up my shotgun. I ain’t saying I’ll take all of them with me, but I will damn sure take a few of them with me.

It was some Zen sh*t

I don't remember who taught me this (or why) but it had something to do with Zen concentration. It was back in my mid-twenties but here was the theory:

You placed one quarter on the bottom of your hand and one on your palm next to your fingers. Then you tossed them up in the air and tried to grab them one at a time with the same hand.

I got so good at this I could do it with either my left hand or right, every time.

When I thought about it tonight, I tried it and couldn't catch even one.

I guess 40 years has taken it toll.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rainy Days and Thursdays

I went to the St. Mary's Mercy laboratory to have blood drawn for next Saturday's doctor checkup. I normally go before work (they open at 7:00 AM) but I was running late and so had to go at lunchtime.

The nurse there is usually good at hitting my vein on the first time, but not today. No matter how she prodded and poked around, she couldn't get it. So, she had to give up on my left arm and get it out of my right. I felt like a pincushion!

I had to put gas in the car in the rain. I would have waited, but I was almost out and they say it might rain up until Sunday.

When I got home after work, I checked the rain gauge again. Now there’s 1 1/2 inches of rain in it!

I cleaned up the drip pans on the stove with some Soft Scrub.

I was going to make a sandwich for dinner but, I don’t know if it is the rain, the grey skies or the chilly air, anyway I settled for some comfort food instead. I cubed up about a pound of unpeeled baby redskin potatoes and boiled them. I warmed up some jarred savory beef gravy in the microwave and then mashed the potatoes with an egg, a knob of butter and some milk. I made a big bowl of mashed potatoes with gravy, more butter and salt and pepper.

I ate that watching “Gator” (an old Burt Reynolds movie). I fell asleep before it was over and then woke up at 2:30 AM. I tried to fall back asleep, but no luck. So, I wrote and posted this at about 4:00 and plan on being dead at work on Friday.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wet Wednesday

It was cold and raining when I took the garbage out to the road Wednesday morning (not hard, but steady). And, it rained for most of the day (much harder in the mid-afternoon).

After work, I did go out back (it was more of a light drizzle then) to refill the bird feeder (per my normal schedule). I checked, but did not empty the rain gauge. I have just over 1/2 inch of water so far.

Back inside, I watched the nightly news until 7:00 PM. Then I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and some tomato soup (hey, it feels like Fall out there).

There is something from my childhood that I like about tomato soup. I keep thinking its something made from Chef Boyardee (or maybe it’s spaghettios) but there was something from a can my Mom used to make that had a sweet tomato-based sauce. Anyway, tomato soup reminds me of that.

I ate dinner watching a really bad remake (1966) of the John Ford classic (1939) movie, “Stagecoach.” The only thing that saved it was a very young, very beautiful Ann Margaret.

I went to bed when it was over at 10:30 PM, but was up half the night with insomnia.

Speaking of older actresses, I watched a Steven Segal movie over the weekend, “Hard to Kill.” His costar was Kelly LeBrock (I think he was married to her, actually). She had a short career (I don’t think she made more that, say 10 movies), but if you ever watched “Weird Science” you know who I’m talking about.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One good thing about this summer...

was purchasing that State-Park grille. Installing it was a b*tch, but I have used that WAY more than I ever did the big one in the garage. It's just so handy.

Tuesday

Tuesday was another chilly day. I stopped at PetSmart at lunch and got some kitty litter and cat treats. Because of the holiday, the garbage pickup this week will be on Wednesday.

So, after work I got the kitty litter changed out and the garbage assembled in the garage. I ate the last of the tuna salad for dinner.

I must admit, I was getting chilly, so I checked the thermostat. It was 64 degrees in the house! So, first I changed the furnace filters (I was supposed to do that September 1, but the air conditioner was running almost non-stop that day). Then I turned the heat on. It smelled a little dusty (it always does at first) but felt great.

My Brother Carl called me later and filled me in on both his and Colin’s condition. Carl’s in a lot of pain (I’ll spare you the details) and Colin’s doing better every day. I did admit to wimping out and turning the furnace on and Carl said he had his on, too.

I went to bed after the 11:00 PM news.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An odd remembrance

I’m not sure if it’s my Brother Carl’s recent hospital stay or his grandson Colin’s, but something is firing off old hospital memories.

After I had my leg surgery at Saint Joe’s, they didn’t have an available bed, so they put me in this hallway with two or three other patients. The girl next to me was absolutely gorgeous, but was in a Stryker bed (if you’ve ever spent time on an orthopedic ward, you know what a Stryker bed is) as a car accident left her a quadriplegic.

So, I spent a day or two flirting with her (you know, like “If I could get out of this bed, I’d be over there in yours!” That kind of shit. She giggled a lot and seemed to love it.

I finally got a room and got in place. About a day or two later, I asked about the girl (I wish I could remember her name but I have no clue 50 years later).

They told me they were sorry, but she died.

Labor Day

I had to actually get dressed and leave my house on Labor Day. I ran out of Copenhagen. I had to put on a jacket as the temperature dropped overnight like a rock! It was 98 degrees F. on Friday but by Monday morning it was only a chilly 40 degrees. So much for my idea of going out to the cottage and going fishing!

Back at home, I finished loading the dishwasher and ran it. I putzed around a while, doing a little of this and that. I had some tuna salad for brunch. Then I turned on the air compressor, pumped up the tire on the lawn tractor and went out to cut the back yard grass. I was surprised at all the leaves, sticks and small branches that had come down in Saturday’s storm.

I buttoned everything up and went back inside.

I fried some chicken legs for dinner (making a mess of my stove) and ate that with mashed potatoes and gravy. The gravy tasted like crap, although I don’t know what I did wrong.

I watched a taped movie and then the late night news. I went to bed at 11:30 PM. I didn’t “labor” much on the Labor Day weekend, but I did get a lot of rest and enjoyed myself.

Monday, September 5, 2011

You know, I can't take much more of this shit!

I was listening to John Stewart's album (Missy's gift) and thought I'd do a song snippet. So, I searched on his lyrics. I did find them, but I also learned he died of a massive stroke in 2008! Son of a bitch!!

Anyway, here's the song snippet:

"Time moves like a river
You can either sink or swim
And a wise man learns to forgiver her
for all she's done to him
And no one's getting younger
And a few aren't getting old
It's all in what you feel
and not in what your told."

And then it was Sunday

I really did take Sunday off (knowing I had Monday off and in my back pocket). I warmed up the steak as I made two over easy eggs and had a damn fine breakfast.

The rest of the day (it was hot again) I just messed around. I did check the rain gauge (we had a wicked thunderstorm move though about 8:30 PM on Saturday that I forgot to tell you about) and I had 3/4 of an inch of rain, so the gardens and lawn should be happy.

I just ate leftover tuna salad every now and then and watched a lot of movies.

It cooled off late in the day, so I opened the bedroom and back room windows and slept like a baby.

Saturday’s Story

I decided that Saturday would be a bathrobe day. I like to take a day off now and then and just chill.

But that got abruptly changed when my daughter Melissa called me to tell me she saw it on Facebook that my niece Hannah’s son, Colin was in a car accident and in intensive care at Mt. Clemens General (or whatever the hell they call it now). So, I immediately called my brother Carl (Hannah’s Dad) but just got his voice mail (which I expected).

I also called Jeremy and Jyl as I know they are “cottage” friends with Hannah and Kal.

I did get a call back from my brother but, what surprised me was that he wasn’t at Mt. Clemens General, he was at Henry Ford Hospital, getting three of his spinal vertebrae fused (he’s had severe back pain for years).

He said Colin was not in intensive care because he was dying. His face was all messed up (like a broken jaw, fractured eye socket, and so on). I don’t mean to minimize his problems, but the important thing (to me) is that he’s not dying.

For some reason, this freaked me out. It reminded me of my daughter Amy’s accident some twenty years ago. I was working in a factory at the time and the foreman came and said I had a emergency call so I went in his office. All I can remember was asking Fran if she was gonna die. Then I hung up and the stupid son of a bitch foreman asked me if I would finish my shift. I told him “Fnck you!” and left.

Anyway, back to the present. I made a simple tuna salad for my lunch and dinner. I just made a pound of sea shell noodles. To that, I added about a cup of chopped celery, a cup of frozen peas (thawed out), half of a yellow onion (fine diced) and two cans of drained tuna. I added enough mayonnaise until it looked okay (maybe a cup and half). I seasoned it with salt and pepper, tasted it and called it good.

I ate some for a late lunch and then more for dinner.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hotter than the hubs of Hell!

It was wicked hot in southeast Michigan on Friday. If you were outside, it felt like you couldn’t breathe. The temperature reached 97 degrees, but the heat index (temp + humidity) was over 103 degrees!

Jake asked me to stop by Office Depot on my way home at lunch and pick up a toner cartridge some building needed, so I grabbed my corporate credit card (I keep it locked in a drawer) and got what he wanted. Since I was there at Middlebelt and Plymouth road, I decided to treat myself for lunch. I haven’t been there since B___ and I used to go to lunch together, but I went to Red Lobster.

I ordered my favorite, the lunch portion of shrimp linguine Alfredo. I also ordered the Caesar salad (I swear they have the best Caesar dressing I ever tasted).

It was excellent! I wolfed it all down and used the fourth of my five cheddar biscuits to sop up the butter and Alfredo sauce from my plate.

Back at home after work, I started the weekend wash with my bedding and then my work pants. I was gonna cut the back yard, but it was just too damn hot outside.

My daughter Melissa called around 7:30 PM and we talked until 9:30 PM (that woman does go on and on – but it’s okay, I had nothing better to do.)

I put the bed back together and then went to sleep.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday

Thursday was really hot and steamy in Michigan. So, when I got home after work, I really didn’t want to cut the front lawn. I almost talked myself out of doing it, but then I decided I had to “get ‘er done”. So, after the evening news was finished, I got out the push mower and cut the grass in front. I’ll do the back over the weekend. I ended up overheated and sweaty, but the grass looks good!

Afterwards, I fired up the charcoal chimney. By the time the coals were ready, it was getting dark. So, I turned on the patio light and grilled five ears of Michigan sweet corn and two steaks (one was a T-Bone and the other a Porterhouse). I was going to go with the Montreal Steak seasoning, but then decided to be different. So, after patting them dry with a paper towel, I seasoned them with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and a little garlic powder.

I ate most of the Porterhouse (it was perfect) and three ears of sweet corn. And now I have leftovers for the weekend!

Summertime Regrets

I spent most of my summer dealing with various plumbing problems. As a result, I do have some regrets:

1. I never rode that damn bike
2. I really didn’t do a lot as far as flower gardening goes
3. I completely missed the raspberry season. I normally enjoy picking the wild raspberries in the lot next to me and eating them with cream. But this year, when I remembered to check, they were all black and dried out. Too late!

Did you know?

According to the National Motorist Association Livonia, Michigan (where I work and shop) is ranked Number 1 in the US and Canada for speed traps. And, neighboring Windsor, Canada was second.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime

As I said, I was a little late getting to work. I did stick my cucumber appetizers into the big fridge back in the shop until 11:00 AM, when it was time to go to the picnic.

Fred (the Telecom guy) and I were the first ones to arrive, so we spent about 15 minutes at the park trying to decide where we were supposed to be. Then other people started to arrive and we settled on a destination.

There was a TON of food, but I ate too much. It was all excellent, but the two best things were the spinach dip Michelle made and some outstanding zucchini bread Laurie made.

The weirdest thing was some potato salad made with mashed potatoes (I don’t know who brought it). The taste was good, but the texture was all wrong.

I was doing okay with my first plate of food (a fried chicken leg, that strange potato salad, some baked beans, mac and cheese, etc.) and even the second plate (Greek salad, also brought by Michelle), but desert did me in (the maple flavored cannolis).

I was sick for most of the rest of the day.

Back at work, Jake brought over his hummus and some pita chips. He said I had to try them as the reason I dislike hummus is that I never had any “good” hummus, made fresh. He said the store-bought hummus tastes like sand (and it does) and I must admit, his was pretty damn tasty.

My cubical buddy didn’t want the rest of her Greek salad, so I took it home for my dinner.

Oddly enough, as I left work, I really, REALLY, felt ill. Before I got to Levan off of Commerce, I had to stop the car, open the door and barfed all over the place. Fortunately, there was no one behind me to witness my shame. (Why was I sick? I dunno... Somebody left their mayonnaise outside too long?)

Back at home (after treating the cats) I watered the container gardens (and washed off the door sill and side of my car). Then I washed the bedspread.

I watched the evening news until Lu called at about 6:30 PM. We discussed her earthquake and hurricane (all within four days of each other) and I did ask her what natural disaster was next on their list.

Instead of cutting the front lawn (like I’d planned) I washed up the mess from the Cucumber Toasties (I didn’t have the inclination during the middle of the night, nor the time in the morning.)

I ate Greek salad for dinner. Then I watered the raised bed garden after the washer stopped going.

I fell asleep about 9:30 PM and slept until 2:30 AM.