Friday, August 31, 2012

Quote of the Day

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time"

~ Jack Kerouac

Thursday

It was noticeably hotter on Thursday. I went to Kroger at lunch to get some more bread, mayo and cat treats. I also got a half pound of their crab salad for my lunch and two boxes of on-sale cookies (oatmeal raisin and chocolate chips). I took those into work.

After work and at home, I started the riding lawn mower up for the first time in almost a year. I was pleasantly surprised that the battery and the old gas worked. I drove it outside, blew off all the old leaves and grass and put it back in the garage.

Then I used my floor jack to pick it up and took off the rear wheel. It has had a slow leak for years and I want to have a tube put in it at George's Lawnmower Service, down the street.

I put the tire (which, for being so big was surprisingly light) in the trunk.

Back in the house, I noticed that B___ had called, so I called him back and we chatted a bit.

I put as many of the dishes that would fit from the cupboard adjacent to the one the mouse was in into the dishwasher and started it. I’m not sure I want to eat or drink off of anything that he might have walked on.

I was just about to start washing out the cupboard, when Melissa called. We talked for a long time and when we finally hung up, I warmed up a bratwurst for my dinner and ate that along with some corn chips.

I went to bed early as my back still hurt and the pain pills and anti-inflammatory drugs I took made me sleepy.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

One down, ? to go

So, when I woke up on Wednesday, I turned on the coffee maker and checked the cupboard. Sure enough, I had a little dead mouse in one trap!

I gingerly transferred both him and the trap to the kitchen garbage bag. I left the other, set and in place.

Why?

My father (and other old farmers) had a saying, “You see one rat, there are seven more you don’t see!” Now they were dealing with massive amounts of stored, dried feed corn and so on for their milk or cattle herds, but it stuck with me.

So, I wasn’t that ready to celebrate the solving of my problem. I left the other trap in place, shut the door and left for work.

I came home for lunch and really, really screwed up my back! It was one of those simple but stupid things. Now that Lu and her bed are gone, I decided it was time (over the weekend) to straighten up the garage.

Now, one of the things that Jake took was his mountain bike, which was on ceiling hooks over the freeze and didn’t affect anything. My bike, however, was on hooks in front of the step ladder and had to be taken down anytime I wanted to use the ladder.

So, when I got home at lunch, I took down my bike (which was merely awkward, not hard) and then put it back up on the hooks over the freezer (which was hard and I could feel something weird happen in my back). Instant pain!

So, I did make the last of the ham and pickle salad into a sandwich, but I ate that lying down on the bed watching the news. Then I ate a pain pill and an anti-inflammatory pill and went back to work.

I wasn’t feeling that much better by the time I went home after work so I put my mental list of Wednesday night ToDo items on hold. I spent most of the remaining afternoon and evening in bed, with more pills. I did get up long enough to do the Wednesday night wash and warm up two brats in the microwave for some food.

Needless to say, I was very annoyed with my own stupidity.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quote of the Day:

“Life is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint you can on it.”

~ Danny Kaye.

Jeremiah John

A funny thing happened on my way to eating breakfast on Tuesday. Well, it actually first surfaced when Lu was here. I was making my morning oatmeal with trail mix breakfast when some of the trail mix fell out of the bottom of the bag. I noticed a hole in it and mentioned it to her (she was making her tea at the time) saying, “I must have snagged this on something.”

So, I put the bag in a baggie and called it good. Then this morning, the same thing happened and there was another hole in the baggie! Rats! (No, I’m making an exclamation here, not naming critters). Now I’ve lived here over 10 years and never, ever, have even seen a mouse or even mouse tracings. And we had them in St. Clair, despite two cats, so I know what mouse sign looks like. But, I do believe there is a mouse in the house!

I threw the bag into the trash, got ready and went to work. But, my first errand at lunchtime was to go to the Aco Hardware and buy two old-school mousetraps. From there I went home and, thank God, they hadn’t picked up the trash yet.

So, I made myself a ham salad sandwich and started taking items out of that upper cupboard. It’s where I keep my pasta, dried beans, breadcrumbs, cereal, etc. Every box and bag was inspected. If it was open (like half a box of penne pasta) I didn’t even look at it, it went into the trash. I found no other bag or box with any holes chewed in them, so it doesn’t seem like a long-time infestation. However, there was trail mix bits here and there behind things.

I got all three shelves emptied before it was time to get back to work. I was fortunate that the garbage still hadn’t been emptied so the suspect stuff from the cupboard went into the can for today’s pickup.

It was a long afternoon with everybody (including me) yawning. We each had a story about why we didn’t get much sleep the night before so we did our best to keep each other awake. Somebody mentioned that was a support system that Jake doesn't have, working at home and we were pleased, until we realized he would probably just go take a nap and get back to work later!

When I got home, I got out the vacuum cleaner and sucked up all the trail mix from the shelf. I didn’t wash it because I didn’t want it to smell too strange or different. Then I baited my new traps with peanut butter.

“Careful of that beaver trap, son. That’ll take your hand clean off!” I was thinking about that line from the Jeremiah Johnson movie, but picturing the traps my brothers George and Pete used on muskrat and the occasional mink when they ran trap lines in the Clinton River when I was young.

I was pleased and proud I set the traps without incident. Then I put them in place and shut the cupboard doors for the night.

I did my usual grilling (It was really nice out and I’d planned for it) of brats first (for later) and then a thick porterhouse steak. I made Uncle Ben’s Original Wild Rice as the side dish. I went with just sea salt and fresh cracked pepper on the steak, but no rosemary on the coals, and this time got it a perfect medium-rare.

It was almost 8:00 PM when I got everything cleaned up, and as I said I was tired, so I went and watched TV until bedtime. I admit I did peek at the traps (although I told myself I wouldn’t) just before going to bed, but there was nothing there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can it be Monday again, already?

It was raining when I woke up on Monday morning, but not hard. Still, I dislike driving on the expressway in rain (it is just a big ditch, after all) so I left early and drove down Plymouth Road, through the construction, to get to work. Before I left, though, I washed the main bathroom floor and left it to dry.

Either the construction wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be at that time of the morning, or I left too early, but I was the first one at work, by about a half an hour! I made a pot of coffee and settled in. I took my rain coat, but it wasn’t raining hard enough here to need it.

I think the major storms passed north and south of us overnight.

I called into CVS to see if I had another Celebrex prescription on file. Luckily, I did, so I didn’t have to mess around with calling my doctor and having her give them both the prescription and the special okay she always must do do to prescribe non-generic drugs for me. I told them I’d pick them up on the way home. Why not at lunch? Well, at lunchtime, I had an errand and a plan.

When I left at noon, it was cloudy, but not raining. First I went to the Newburgh Grill and had a cup of beef vegetable soup (it was hot outside, but all the rain and gloom this morning left me feeling cold) and then a patty melt.

Then I went to Randazzo’s down the road in Westland. I admit, I’ve bought a lot of flowers, bushes and even some trees from them, but have never actually been in the store. It was much more like a warehouse than a grocery store. But, I did score the two things I needed for tonight’s dinner: celery and a jar of cheap dill pickles (if it was a regular grocery store, I would have bought a small jar of dill pickle relish, BTW).

After work, I stopped off at CVS. The girl was apologetic and said she had called the house (duh, I was at work) to tell me they were running low and they only had five pills they could give me until Friday. I told her not to worry as I had enough until Wednesday and so I could easily wait. The male druggist (whose name I regret to admit I forget) came out from behind the counter and shook my hand, saying “Mr. Goerlich, I can’t believe how good you look!” I haven’t seen him for quite a while, so I guess all he remembered was the walker, brace and that gaunt look on my face.

Finally home, I rolled the trash out to the road before I closed the garage door and came inside. This annoyed Scruffy who apparently felt I should have been a little quicker on passing out cat treats than I was.

I changed my shoes, put on five eggs to hard-boil and went back outside for just a bit. I wanted to trim some of the bottom black walnut branches that have grown long enough to droop. I noticed them sitting on the couch on Sunday but it was too windy then. I used my extension pole/tree saw/lopping shears with a rope thing and not exactly as easily as in the past, but I finally got the job done. I put about eight good-sized branches on the brush pile.

I went in and cooled the now finished eggs. I walked out back to check the rain gauge and there was a good half-inch of water in it. Again, I think (from all the flash flood warnings I heard) other areas got much more, but I was happy with what I got.

I made a quick call to Jake and Carla’s house and talked with Carla. I only had one question. I bought an electric meat grinder/sausage maker a few years back that I have never used, but they had. My question was, which would be easier to clean: the electric meat grinder or my food processor.

She answered without hesitation: the food processor. I thought I remembered them saying the meat grinder had a lot of little parts you really had to take care to clean well. So, after we hung up, I got started on dinner.

You see, when I was a lad, I remember my mother feeding ropes of bologna and dill pickles into one of those old metal meat grinders (that you clamped to the counter or table) while I turned the handle. I thought all she did from there was to add mayonnaise and mixed it to made an excellent sandwich spread for school lunches and so on.

Well, I’m tired of that ham and wanted to do something similar. I found a simple recipe for ham salad (I really only wanted the ratio of pickle to ground ham as I was too busy turning the crank for her to pay attention to that, back in the day). But, it said to use a food processor on pulse (which I successfully did) to chop up the ham and had ingredients, such as hard boiled eggs, chopped onions, fine diced celery and Dijon mustard, that I do not remember her using at all.

But in the end, I mixed together two cups of chopped ham, one cup of fine diced celery, 1/4 cup of sweet onion (finely minced) and two hard-boiled eggs (diced). I folded in a dressing made with one teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of dill pickle relish (I just ran some of the cheap dill pickles in the food processor as well – no way was I going to use my good dill pickles on a food experiment!) and 1/2 cup of mayonnaise.

I made one sandwich on sourdough bread. The hard-boiled eggs were a little strange and I thought it needed more dill pickle, but I liked it so well, I had another for dessert.

I put the rest of the sandwich spread in the fridge, stuck the rest of the chopped ham in the freezer (I’ll use it in beans or soup this fall) and cleaned up. Clean-up was easy-peasy. Everything went into the dishwasher, with enough room left to wash the drip pans and grates from the gas stove.

I washed the counters and cutting board and let that all dry (I’ll spray the counters with anti-bacterial spray in the morning). Then, working backwards from the downstairs, I washed the kitchen floor until I ran out of tile. I went in the bedroom and watched TV until I fell asleep for the evening.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday

I woke up way too early on Sunday. So, I just stayed in bed and read a book.

I finally got up and got started around 7:00 AM. I refilled my week’s worth of pills in the box, ate breakfast and took my morning pills.

I went outside and turned on the oscillating sprinkler to water the garden and grass around the reflecting pool. I set the timer for an hour. When the timer went off, I moved the sprinkler to water the new garden at the back of the house and the raised bed herb garden.

When the timer went off again, I shut off the water and reeled in the hose.

Then I started the last load of laundry for the weekend, the new bar towels and the downstairs bathroom towels (also white).

I straightened out the area downstairs by the exercise machine. Since the cats no longer use them, I put the aluminum water and food dishes in the dishwasher. I took the big waterer apart and washed it. I refilled the jug, but only half full. That way, I’ll remember to clean it every week or so.

I went out and watered all the container gardens in the front and the window box in the back. I carried two pails of water out back for the peonies.

I did go back out and dug more around that dumb bush. I used the Sawzall on every root I ran into, but still couldn’t budge it. It must have a deep tap root or something. I decided it was way too hot (I had my brace on for safety reasons) so I quit after a while.

B___ called and we talked for a while. He said he had talked with Leon and he’s doing okay, hasn’t had to sell off any cows and got in enough hay for the winter, so the drought hasn’t been a big problem for him.

I swept and vacuumed the house, but I ran out of time to wash the main bathroom and kitchen floors (they wouldn’t have dried in time for me to make dinner).

Speaking of dinner, I cut another thick ham slice off what’s left of that ham and warmed it, along with what remains of the summer squash I baked. I added a little salt to the squash and some Dijon mustard to dip the ham slices in and had a nice dinner.

I watched taped TV until Breaking Bad came on at 10:00 PM. Boy, that didn’t end the way I wanted! I turned off the lights and TV and went to bed.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Saturday Story

I woke up on Saturday around 7:00 AM. I threw on my shorts and a tee shirt so I could go out and get the sprinkler set up before the sun was too strong on the front yard.

Back inside, I set the timer for an hour and made some coffee. Then I ate my oatmeal and my pills. As the timer went off, I moved the sprinkler around, ending up watering the gardens on the south side of the garage; not necessarily because they need the water, but more to help the dirt outside the new edging and the mulch inside to settle more.

Inside, I cleaned out the fridge of old or outdated items and made up a short grocery list. Rather than pitch it, I cooked the rest of the bacon in the oven as I now have a lot of BLTs to eat, lol! I also took out a small half of a ham I had put in the freezer so it could thaw for Sunday’s supper (or something).

I already had the window opened a bit in my bedroom (it went down to 60 degrees F. last night) so I turned on the vent to try and not heat up the house. It’s supposed to be in the mid-80’s today and I don’t want the air conditioner kicking on too soon.

When the bacon was done, I put most of it on another half sheet pan lined with paper towels to drain. I say “most” because who could resist sampling a few strips after smelling it cooking?

I shut off the sprinkler for the last time today at 11:30 AM, so I could finally take my shower (I shaved much earlier). I got dressed for grocery shopping and, before I left, I stripped the bed and put the bedding in the washer. That way, it will be done and ready for the dryer when I return and I can do the second load of weekend laundry.

I ran my errands and got back home just after 2:00 PM. Oddly enough, it was a simple bottle of Fuel Injector Cleaner at O’Reilly’s that took the longest. For some reason, everyone was in the damn store and I had to wait forever!

From there I went to GFS and bought a 12-count bag of bar towels (I use them for everything in the kitchen, from drying a pot to using as a hot pad to take things out of the oven or off the stove). I also bought two aluminum scoops for my new sugar and flour containers (the old ones were ancient plastic ones and had the handles broken off) and two inserts for my steam tray (mine mysteriously disappeared when Jake and Carla moved to Westland – I’m not pointing fingers, I’m just saying...)

After that, I hit Kroger’s up for their sale items. I researched their sale paper and they had a LOT of stuff I use on sale, if you bought 10 total of the sale items. So, I loaded up on both kinds of Instant Oatmeal (I use one packet of each of regular and low sugar maple sugar with some trail mix every morning for breakfast), Mott’s apple juice, Ocean Spray straight cranberry juice, etc.

I kept to my list and only bought one impulse buy: A package of three fresh Kowalski Polish sausages in the “Manager’s Special” spot (I always check there since I lived in St. Clair as was instructed by the butcher to do so). I figured I’d freeze them and make them with sauerkraut in the fall.

I admit I spent over $100.00 US, but I saved $34.43, according to my receipt. And, I don’t have to go shopping (except for fresh veggies) for a long, long time.

Crap! As I am writing this, I realized when looking at the grocery list, I forgot to ask the teller for a book of stamps. I have plenty at home, but like to have a booklet in my Franklin Planner for emergencies.

And speaking of fresh veggies, let me explain. If you have a large family, it makes sense to buy a 10 pound bag of potatoes or five pounds of yellow onions. But, when I was down at Jake and Carla’s this summer, I was explaining just how bad the bag of potatoes I stored in the garage smelled when I discovered they had gone wrong. I washed everything out and let it air out for days, BTW.

He said he and Carla had experienced the same thing with say, onions, and decided to use the European method (my aunt Mitieza (sp), God rest her soul, told me she used this when she was the housekeeper for my uncle, the priest, Father Peter) and shop daily for just the items you need for today’s meals). And, so I have adapted that idea.

Rather than throw away good food (remember, I am a member of Forgotten Harvest after all. I spent a day picking beans last Fall, for Christ’s sake!) I will make a special trip at lunch to buy the onion or potato or lemon or whatever I need for my dinner.

I unloaded everything and made room in the freezers for the frozen stuff, I found two items; a pound of ground chuck from 2010 and some cube steak from the last time we (Jake and Carla and I) bought a portion of a cow. Both of them went into the trash.

When I had everything put away, I gave some serious thought about what to do next. I decided the best thing was to take a nap, so I did.

I am not sure quite why, but I always feel tired these days.

When I finally woke up, I cut a big slice of the ham off and warmed it up in a skillet with some of the bacon grease. I made a blue box of the mac and cheese for my side dish. Dinner was delicious!

When it was bed time I easily opened the window in my bedroom but couldn’t get the kitchen window opened. So, I used a wooden spoon to pry it up (neither of my arms are strong enough to lift the damn window at that level).

With fresh air flowing into the house, I went to sleep.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Song Snippet

"I woke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in"

~ Bog Seger, "Night Moves"

I forgot to mention...

Friday night, when I was hooking up my soaker hose, I was talking with my neighbor Tammy and her daughter (who's name I never remember - she moved out years ago, is married with one three or four year old son and a daughter on the way) across the fence.

The upshot was I went back inside with seven tomatoes, two big cucumbers and two more summer squash!

Is it Friday yet?

It was supposed to be another warm, sunny day on Friday, but the humidity was high. So, while it wasn’t foggy at my house, as I drove into work, I drove into fog.

At lunchtime, I had to make a run to the Credit Bureau, to get out some cash for the tree guy (whenever he comes). There was nobody in line at the ATM, so I zipped right through. Since this branch is on Merriman, I took Hines Park Drive over to Inkster.

Hines Park is always a pleasant drive for me, because there are no lights, you can only go 40 MPH and you are literally driving though a park, so people are walking, bike riding or eating their lunch at picnic tables (I especially like the young women jogging, but, hey, that’s just me).

I decided I had time, so I hosed the car off at the quarter car wash. I left it in the drive at the house and went in to get a towel to dry it off (after treating the cats, of course). I warmed up that other twice-baked potato and ate that for lunch. Then I went back to work.

It was only after the second person (a delivery guy) wished me a nice weekend that I asked Michelle why people keep saying that. She said, “Um, because it’s Friday?” I was amazed, and delighted, because for some reason I thought it was Thursday.

Finally, it was 5:00 PM and I headed home. I got the mail, got in the garage, treated the cats, changed clothes, turned on the coffee maker and turned on the news.

At 6:00 PM, I went out back and watered the emerging grass along the new garden edging. I took two buckets way out back for the peonies (filling the bird bath and the pot of petunias on the way) and then hooked up the soaker hose in the vegetable garden. Back inside, I made another cup of coffee and set the timer for two hours.

I thought seriously (seriously) about getting back to digging out that stump. But, in spite of all my sleep last night, I was really tired and had been all day. So instead, since its supposed to be nice weather until at least Sunday night, I worked on this weekend’s ToDo list, checked my email, and Facebook, etc.

I was watching the 6:30 PM NBC Nightly News when I learned that Jerry Nelson had died. He was 78 years old and best known for his voice as the “Count” on Sesame Street. I loved that character back in the day! I wonder just how many kids he helped learn their numbers… What the hell is next? The Fraggle Rock tunnels collapse? Jesus, I hate getting old!

About 8:00 PM, I went out and disconnected the soaker hose. I pulled the regular hose in close to the house, but didn’t reel it up as I want to water the front garden in the morning.

Back inside, I cooked some white rice. I warmed up Lu’s leftover eggplant Szechuan and put it and its gravy on top the rice (that’s how it was served at the restaurant). Hmmm... it was pretty good!

I started watching some taped TV but fell asleep early.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday

Well, after a particularly interesting Wednesday, Thursday was a bit of a let down.

I stayed home until Luanne left (thinking it was only polite) so I didn't get to work until about 9:30 AM. So, I worked through lunch to make it up (well, most of it).

I got home at 5:30 PM due to construction. I treated the cats and changed clothes.

I went out back and watered the arbor vitiae, the grass seed (which has sprouted, BTW) and the window box. Then I moved to the front and watered all the container gardens and the mail box garden. It gets warmer every day and there is no rain in the immediate forecast.

I put on my brace and went back to work on enlarging the hole for the root of that bush. My neighbor came over and offered to pull it out with a chain and his four by four "sometime." I told him if it was anytime soon, I'd be grateful, as I need to get the new bush in the ground.

I quit when I was just tired, but not yet sore. I got everything put away and locked up for the night and then went inside and took off my brace.

I ate the warmed up chicken subgum for dinner and watched TV for a little while until I dozed off. At the next bathroom break, I turned everything off and went to bed for real.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A busy day!

My new way to get to work was blocked by a gravel hauler Wednesday morning, so I had to invent a new, new way on the spot. But, I made it. God, I hate road construction!

I went out to lunch with my old friend and co-worker, Michelle, from Facilities. We went to Steve’s Family Dining on Middle Belt (they specialize in Polish food). Michelle’s not Polish, but her husband is and she loves it. I had the “Polish Platter” which had a kielbasa, sauerkraut, two kinds of pierogies and city chicken smothered in gravy. It was delicious, but I (and the entire IT staff) regretted the results later on during the afternoon. I forgot to order the Pickle Soup, which is another of their famous Polish recipes (and actually tastes pretty good).

She showed me her daughter’s graduation pictures. It was weird. Here’s this beautiful young woman that I last saw when she was a skinny eight or nine year old. Time really does fly.

Lu was supposed to be at the house when I came home, but wasn’t. So, I went out back and watered the Arbor vitae, the grass seed and one of the peonies. Then I noticed her truck in the driveway.

She unloaded her truck on the garage apron and we loaded the bed in, protected by various blankets. Then she reloaded her truck. We discussed various places to eat and finally decided on the Rainbow (a Chinese restaurant I like in Farmington.

Before we left, I watered the other peony and showed her the improvements to the backyard.

So, as we drove up there, she shared her big news: She got married to a guy named Paul. She’s still living at Sadie’s as its and hour and a half drive to get back to do her goat chores, but is slowly moving out while he is building goat fences, sheds, etc. I told her congratulations and meant it.

I had my usual (Chicken Subgum) and she had mild Szechuan Eggplant over rice (which she said was excellent). It does have great food, but you have to remember that there are no Chinese restaurants down south. So, I took her word for it. Neither of us could finish, so I have leftovers.

When we got back (after a quick stop at Kroger’s for something she wanted), we set up the air bed (easy-peasy) and then sat in the living room and talked until about 11:30 PM. Then we both went to our respective bedroom and slept.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday's Tale

I tried a different way to get to work and it worked! Until other people figure this out, I should be okay.

I volunteered to run out to Best Buy and get a 500 GB hard drive for one of the computers used in Building 73 (Manufacturing). After I bought it, I drove it up there. It was nice to see all the old familiar faces again (I was up in Building 73 for a couple of years).

I went home at lunch and made a sandwich. I talked with my neighbor for a little while about my maple tree out in front. For the last few years, its been slowly dying and there are about three or four dead limbs on it right now. Since it was very healthy for the first six or seven years I lived here, I am at a loss for what the problem might be (none of the other maples have been affected).

My neighbor believes that every time I have the roots cut out of the sewer pipe, I am cutting the roots of that tree (it is next to where the drainage pipe runs out to the sewer) and therefore slowly killing it. Hmmm... I guess its possible.

But, whatever it is, I don't want to take the chance that, if it is a disease, it affects my other trees. So, I asked him to ask his guy (you remember, the one I almost shot) to give me a price on cutting it down and grinding up the stump.

Once I was home for the evening, I returned a voice mail from Lu. She said the parts had come in and her vehicle was fixed. She would like to see her mother on Wednesday and then come here after I get home from work, so I said it was okay.

I watered the front container gardens (we did have a slight shower earlier, but nothing much showed in the rain gauge). Then I cleaned the cat hair off the living room furniture, instead of getting back to digging out the old bush’s roots. I watered the replacement arbor vitiae so it stays healthy until I can plant it which, with a visitor coming tomorrow, won’t be at least until Thursday.

I got an email from Schoolcraft college (where I took that PMP class) that said: “Lane closures and delays can be expected from August 13 through October while Haggerty Road between Six and Seven Mile is resurfaced. Students, employees and visitors are encouraged to allow extra time when driving to campus. Haggerty Road will remain open throughout the project. There are five Schoolcraft entrances off of Haggerty; drivers can proceed to another entrance if they find that one is blocked.”

You have no idea just how bad Haggerty Road was (well, Jake and Carla would) but that’s the first construction project this year that made sense to me! I may take a Winter or Spring course, just so I can drive down a smooth road to college!

I warmed up the last of that leftover meatballs and pasta dish for my dinner. I left the Tupperware dish to soak in hot soapy water and went to watch TV until bedtime.
 
Maple #1
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Maple #2
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday again?

Even though I slept lousy Sunday night, I did remember that Levan would be closed for construction today at the railroad tracks for an undetermined amount of time. Since Plymouth Road is also screwed up, my only recourse was to get off at Newburgh, turn on Amrhien (sp) and go to Levan. Unfortunately that was everyone else’s only recourse, too, and I was five minutes late for work.

I went to Kroger at lunch and bought more tin foil and a few other things that have popped up on my list. I dropped the stuff off at the house, warmed up and ate a brat for my lunch and then headed right back to work.

After work, I got home, treated the cats, rolled the garbage can out to the road (I would like to say “out to the curb” but I don’t have any curbs here on my street), changed clothes and sprang into action. This dinner was supposed to be on Sunday, when I had plenty of time. But now it was make it tonight or throw away a steak I’d thawed out.

So, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. I had one big Idaho baker and bought another one today (Unfortunately, since I didn’t buy them both at the same time, they were different sizes). I washed and dried them. Then I put some canola oil on each and loaded them up with Kosher salt. I wrapped each in tin foil.

I also used more tin foil to line my half sheet pan. Then I cut the big butternut squash my neighbor had given me in half. I dug out the seeds added some butter in each cavity and filled it with fresh picked thyme and oregano.

The squash and the potatoes all went on the half sheet pan and into the oven. I set the timer for an hour. I took the T-bone steak out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. I made a cup of coffee and watched the rest of the news.

When the hour was up, I started the charcoal in the chimney. Then I cut off the tops of the two potatoes and discarded them (I left the squash in the oven) to make them like little canoes. I was supposed to carefully dig out the potato flesh and leave the skins intact but two things got in the way. One was that it was my first time trying it and the other was the bigger potato wasn’t as “done” as the smaller one. Well, actually, there was three things: The third thing was they were hotter than the hubs of hell!

So, I did managed to rip both potato skins a little. But, I solved that problem by leaving them in the tinfoil and so somewhat intact. However, I decided later that leaving them in the tin foil did not allow the skins to get as crispy as I thought they would.

I mashed the potato flesh with some left over bacon that I crumbled, some fine-sliced green onions, butter, some sour cream, fresh ground pepper and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

I refilled the potato skins and topped them with more shredded cheddar cheese and green onion slices. I put them back in the oven and set the timer for another 25 minutes.

Then I went out, cleaned and oiled the grill and proceeded to grill the steak (seasoned with just salt and pepper). I did my new-found trick of throwing some fresh rosemary stalks on the coals.

When I thought it was done, I pulled it off and let it rest for a while. When the timer on the stove went off, I pulled out the pan and dug out some of the squash.

I plated the squash, the steak and the smaller potato and went in to eat dinner at about 8:00 PM.

The squash was excellent. The steak was delicious, but not medium-rare (like I like it) but just medium. Still, it was moist and juicy, so I wasn’t complaining.

The twice baked potato tasted great, but you could tell some of the potato was undercooked. Next time I will definitely buy two (or more) of the same-sized potatoes!

I ate way too much and left the other potato and the squash to cool on the cutting board. I was watching TV, but fell asleep about 9:00 PM.

I woke up around 1:00 AM, and went out to the kitchen. I dug out the rest of the squash and put it in a container in the fridge. I wrapped up the other potato with more tin foil and put that in the fridge as well. The rest of the mess went into the garbage (I’ll take that bag out to the can on the road in the morning) and I hand-washed the dirty dishes and sheet pan.

The kitchen back in order, I went back to bed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday

Sunday morning was a repeat of Saturday, except it was 58 degrees and overcast when I woke up at 7:00 AM. I threw on some clothes and went outside. I dragged the hose out front and set it up to water the front gardens and lawn. Then I went back inside and posted the pictures and Blog entry. It took quite a while and repeated tries because my weekly backup was running by this time.

I got my second cup of coffee and made my breakfast oatmeal. I refilled my pill box and then went out to shut off the sprinkler.

When I was down visiting Jake and Carla, Jake had looked in the Home Depot for a Windex product I had used with great results at the house in St. Clair. It was called Windex Outdoor Multi-surface concentrated cleaner. It attached to your hose and allowed me to wash the upstairs windows and siding that I couldn’t reach without a ladder.

Well, he couldn’t find that exact kind, but I thought I still had a bottle here. When I got home, I checked and I did. So, since I had the hose out front anyway, I took everything off the porch and rinsed it off, then turned on the wash, let it set for a bit (about 20 seconds, you don’t want it to dry on) and then rinsed it off again. I did it in small sections but eventually washed the entire front of the house. I used a hand squeegee on the picture window, the two side windows and the storm door glass on the front door to prevent streaking.

I completely soaked the indoor-outdoor carpeting on the front porch, but it looks nice and shiny clean in front, now.

I used the rest of the bottle (about one inch left) on the north side until it ran out. I’ll look up here in my Home Depot and see if they still carry it. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a power-washer!

I wound the hose up and went inside for a bathroom break (all that splashing water was having a big effect on me!) It was noon, so I reluctantly put on my brace and went back outside to finish the garden edging project. I did take a picture of this style of lawn edging for my brother Carl.

I finished up and then unwound the hose (again) and hosed off the inside dirt, the edging and the outside dirt (both to clean it up and to help the dirt pack down). Now, unlike the edging around the garden in the back of the house, I did NOT plant grass seed in the outside dirt. That’s only there to fill in the spots left by the round cedar mini-posts. If any grass or weeds do start growing there, I’ll spray it with herbicide.

And, this time, I didn’t take the wheelbarrow full of excess dirt to the compost heap. I had noticed that the dirt in the back of the raised bed vegetable garden was getting low. I usually top it off with dirt from the compost heap before planting every year, but this year I couldn’t because of my back. So, I used the excess dirt from today to help fill in behind the tomatoes. I’ll have to watch for weird weeds.

I wound up the hose (again), put away the wheelbarrow and tools and went back inside. It was 1:30 PM.

Oh, and I hate to brag (no, wait a minute, I like to brag, lol) but I finished edging all three gardens and ended up with just one half-round of cedar left over. I measured this one perfectly!

I had another cup of coffee and rested on the bed for a bit (this time I didn’t hurt). Then I shaved and showered.

I got dressed and got my Home Depot list. Then I headed out. I bought a 5-foot arbor vitiae, three bags of shredded cedar mulch, a bag of Miracle-Gro garden soil, some Duracell AA batteries (I ran out) and a jug of Ground Clear (for the driveway and the edging along the south side of the garage).

Oddly enough, even wearing my brace and using my cane, only one person who worked there (a middle-aged, sweet woman) offered to help me. She and I lifted the arbor vitiae onto my dolly. It must be that walker that brings out the sympathy in people. She also gave me a good tip for picking out the best arbor vitiae: Look inside of it. If the inside is brown or, worse yet, dead, pass on it. But if it’s green, its good. I know, it only makes sense. But nobody ever explained that to me.

Back home, I finally used my wagon for the first time to load the arbor vitiae and get it in the garage. Then I pulled the car in the garage, went inside the house and treated the cats. Then I changed back into my shorts and T-shirt and headed back outside.

First, I used some of the mulch to fill in the south-side garage gardens. Then I took the final “After” picture.

I put my brace back on for the next effort. The evergreen bush at the north end of the front of the house is overgrown and dying inside. So, my plan was to get it out and replace it with the arbor vitiae. I used the Sawzall to cut it down and then tried to dig it out, cutting through any thick roots I ran into. Unfortunately, although I struggled with it a long time, it was still in the ground when I gave up. I think there’s a large main root that I still need to cut through (although I tried, even replacing the Sawzall blade at one point).

But, it was getting late and I still had chores to do. So, I took the new arbor vitiae out to the patio (so it can get some sun) and watered it. Then I watered all the container gardens and the peonies. I shut everything up for the night and went inside. It was 6:00 PM.

I had a great idea for my Sunday supper, but just as I was starting to put it into action (I turned the oven on 350 degrees), I discovered I ran out of tinfoil! So, tonight’s dinner was put on hold.

Besides, I’m beat! I don’t hurt, but that damn bush wore me out!! So, I heated up some of yesterday’s pasta and meatballs. While they were heating up, I remembered to put the three ice cubes (this still sounds stupid to me) into the orchid pot. I also wound the mantle clock.

I ate dinner (which was still excellent, though not what I’d planned) watching TV. I watched taped shows until Breaking Bad came on. When that was over, I switched to Channel 4 news to catch the weather, but there was a football game on. So, I turned the TV off and went to bed.
 
New Rear Garden Edging #1
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New Rear Garden Edging #2
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Back and Bottom of Lawn Edging for Carl
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South Side Garage Garden Before
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South Side Garage Garden After
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Bush Replacement #1
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Bush Replacment #2
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Bush Replacement #3
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Sunday, August 19, 2012

I guess I don't understand...

It wasn't showing on the Blog, but when I looked on the administration site, my Friday post was in the list. I pressed "View" and it was there, so I pressed "Update" and it published again, but in the wrong place. Hmmm...

Finally Friday!

Friday was a nice day, weather-wise. I had errands to run at lunchtime and figured I’d just forgo eating (I brought an apple). But Vicky said she was going to Jimmy Johns, so she picked me up a turkey sandwich.

After work, I cleaned out two of my dresser drawers where I had been stuffing receipts, instruction sheets (like to assemble the wagon), owner’s manuals, etc. I went through then all, sitting on the bed with the news on and a cup of coffee.

I filed what I needed to save, threw away some other things I didn’t and shredded receipts I didn’t need anymore.

It's funny. I remember just last Fall something I bought didn't work, but I couldn't take it back as I'd pitched the receipt. So, I decided to save them all (makes sense, right?) But, I just shredded a ton of receipts from, say last February, that said you could only return the item within 30 days! I can't win!

I need to figure out some sort of a receipt retention system where I keep ones I need but then pitch them after they expire.

I warmed up two brats and ate them on buns with deli mustard for my dinner.

B___ called and we talked for a while about this and that.

I watched a little taped TV (I couldn’t find anything interesting on, even the movies all seemed lame) and then went to bed with my bedroom window cracked open (its supposed to be a cool evening) around 10:30 PM.

The abridged version of the missing Friday post

I apologize about that. Let's see...

Michelle had the day off so I did both our jobs and was pretty busy during work. I ran errands at lunch and figured I would forgo eating lunch (I planned ahead and brought in an apple). But Vicky announced she was going to Jimmy Johns and asked if anybody wanted anything. So, she picked me up a turkey sandwich.

At home after work, I filled in my ToDo list and listened to a voicemail from Lu. Her transmission parts had still not come in and the dealership was closed over the weekend, so she wouldn't be picking up the bed this weekend.

It was payday, so I paid some bills online (I think I only have two bills I still have to write checks for: my water bill and the lawn service - neither offers online bill pay)

I warmed up two brats for dinner and ate some of that cucumber salad as my side dish. It had been four days, so the rest went into the garbage disposal.

I talked with B___ on the phone for a while and we exchanged our week's doings.

I went through my drawer of receipts and shredded all of the non-relevant ones (like CVS)or ones where the warranty had already expired. I really need to develop a system for receipt retention and destruction.

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

The Saturday Story

I woke up on Saturday morning about 6:30 AM. I was slightly stuffed up from having the window open, but nothing as bad as I get in the springtime. The air felt refreshing (it was 51 degrees F. outside).

I went through my morning routine, except for the shaving and showering. I’ll do that after I get some work done. I put together the weekend ToDo list and then went outside to turn on the sprinkler for the reflecting pool garden area. There is a “slight” chance of rain on Sunday, but nothing predicted for the entire next week.

After the hour timer went off, I moved the sprinkler to the back of the house and raised herb bed gardens. I reset the timer for another hour and went back inside.

Once again the timer went off, but this time I moved it to a new spot. I set it to water the gardens on the south side of the garage. This involved changing the setting on the sprinkler itself (I don’t need to water the empty lot next door) and then a lot of trial and error.

Why do this at all? Because of the cool weather, today’s project is to dig out the gardens and install the same cedar edging that goes around the new garden in back. This will not only tie the look together but finally (finally) kept the gardens on the south side of the garage from creeping onto the sidewalk, like they always do. So, I need the dirt moist and hence the sprinkler.

But, this time I shaved while I waited. I also used the cat shampoo, successfully on Scruffy (he didn’t like me rubbing it in and then toweling it off, but he merely voiced his displeasure) and not so successfully on Caley (I barely got started rubbing it in when she hissed, spit, tried to bite me and ran under the love seat). No amount of coaxing could convince her to come out, so I’m not sure how long the shampoo will stay on her (or what effect leaving it on has). But, I guess its her problem!

When the timer went off, I went out and shut off the water. I disconnected the hose from the oscillating sprinkler and dragged it over to the raise bed garden, so I can use the soaker hose tonight. Then I stood under the dripping trees and took some “Before” photos.

I went back inside and put on my brace and some work gloves. Then I got out my spade (with the measurement painted on), the transfer shovel, a snow shovel (for scraping off the sidewalk when I’m finished) and the wheel barrow.

I worked steadily and got about 2/3 of the way done before my back started hurting (I got one side of the door done and the other one started). Before shutting down for the day, I went and got the hose back. I scraped off the dirt and then hosed the sidewalk down. I also hosed off my crocs and then took the hose out to the garden again. I left the crocs on the patio furniture to dry, took off my soggy socks and walked barefoot back into the house. It was close to 3:30 PM and 71 degrees F, BTW.

I took off my sweaty brace. Then I ate a pain pill and an anti-inflammatory pill, made a cup of coffee and sat on the bed, watching a DIY show and being p*ssed off I couldn’t finish today. But, better safe than sorry (or sore), I suppose.

When I’m feeling better, and my crocs are dry, I’ll take an “After” picture for you.

About an hour later, I felt well enough to take my shower. It felt good to be clean and really good to let the hot water beat on my back. I got dressed in fresh clothes and started a load of clothes in the washer.

I have been jonesing for some pasta, so I started tonight’s dinner by making that marinara sauce from last Sunday, except this time I added a diced green pepper I picked from my garden to the garlic.

Then I made some meatballs. I had a package of Johnsonville Italian sausages (sweet) in the freezer. I don’t remember what dish I bought “sweet” for as I usually buy mild, but anyway, I thawed them out overnight. I took them out of the casings and added one egg (lightly beaten) 1/3 cup of dry breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (the recipe called for grated, but I had the shredded left over from something else) and about 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion.

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. and lined a half sheet pan with tinfoil. After I mixed all the ingredients together, I made twenty meatballs of roughly the same size. If I had a smaller ice-cream scoop, I would have used that to ensure uniformity, but the one I have would have made the meatballs too big.

Here's a trick I use: Anytime I'm trying to make something all the same size and it doesn't work out right, I just say the dish is "rustic."

Anyway, I stuck them in the oven for 20 minutes. While they were baking, I heated the salted water and made a pound of mostaccioli (I was going to use spaghetti, but found I didn't have any in the cupboard). I put the meatballs into the marinara sauce and let them get happy while I drained the pasta. Then I put everything together in a big bowl, mixed it carefully, so all the pasta got some sauce, but I didn't break any meatballs and then dished myself up a smaller bowl of it. I topped that with fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

It was delicious! I was full, but did have a smaller second helping, just for the taste.

I was watching Jeremiah Johnson for the hundredth time. There’s just something about that movie that speaks to me. During commercials, I hung up my clothes and turned on the water for the soaker hose. I set the timer and, hopefully, it will go off before the mosquitoes come out.

I talked with Jake and Carla. They are really putting the miles on that bike! Which reminded me that I needed to call Carla’s mother to wish her happy birthday (although I was a day late), so I did.

Later on, during another commercial break, I put the rest of the meatballs and pasta away in the fridge and, when the timer went off, I turned off the hose for the night.

Inside, I processed the photos for tomorrow’s posting. I did the dishes that were left. Then I went back and watched TV until bedtime.
 
Left side of garage man door (before)
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Left side of garage man door (after)
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Right side of garage man door (before)
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Right side of garage man-door (as far as I got)
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Friday, August 17, 2012

PARAPROSDOKIANS (thanks to my Brother Carl)

Paraprosdokians (Winston Churchill loved them) are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.
3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
8. They begin the evening news with "Good Evening", then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations. My desk is a work station.
11. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
12. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'
13. I didn't say it was your fault. I said I was blaming you.
14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
17. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
18. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
19. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.
20. You're never too old to learn something stupid.
21. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
22. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
23. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
24. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
25. Where there's a will, there are relatives.
26. I'm taught to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Thursday

Well, it was warm and sticky on Thursday, but the promised rain never showed here.

At lunch I went to Meijer’s and grabbed a few items I needed (so few I went through the 12 items or less line) and then went home and ate the leftover smoked sausage, potatoes and onions for my lunch.

In the afternoon, they were having another open house down at Building 12, so getting out of the parking lot at 5:00 PM was a bit tricky.

Since there still was no rain, I took the time and watered all the container gardens. I trucked out water to the peonies, too. I also refilled the bird feeder and put a fresh suet cake in the holder.

Back inside, I finally changed clothes and discovered that one of the cats had barfed on the bedspread! So, I threw it in the washer along with some towels and the main bathroom bathmat (to make a decent load). Since the main bathroom floor was now empty, I used the electric sweeper to pickup any cat hair and then the Wet-Jet to wash it.

I made another Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich for dinner. I noticed its not as tasty when the bacon is cold from the fridge, rather than warm from the oven (so, next time I’ll warm up the bacon in the microwave).

I also noticed a tremendous difference in the tomatoes. The first two sandwiches were made with the “on-the-vine” tomatoes I bought last week for salads when I thought Lu was coming. Tonight’s sandwich was made with a tomato Tammy, my neighbor, grew and gave me. There was NO comparison! Give me homegrown every time!

I went to bed around 10:30 PM.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A weird Wednesday

I woke up to the alarm and got ready for work, According to the weatherman, today will be warm with some humidity, but no rain. Then a cold front will move through Thursday afternoon, bringing cooler temperatures and rain. And, it will stay cooler for the next several days.

I stopped at Home Depot at lunch to buy a crowbar. Now, I own a crowbar but can’t find it in the mess that is now my garage. But, anyway, I walked past the crowbars twice, looking for them in hardware. Finally, I asked the guy where they were and he said, around the corner. So, I went back and sure enough, there they were. Why did I miss them? Because they are painted a “safety yellow” now! Who ever heard of a yellow crowbar?

Back at home I made a grilled cheese sandwich for my lunch and then headed back to work.

When I got home after 5:00 PM, my neighbor was cutting his lawn. I looked at my shaggy lawn and was bummed that the rain had kept mine from being cut and trimmed yesterday.

I started the Wednesday night wash and then took my yellow crowbar out to pry up that 2x4 next to Jake’s patio. It didn’t “pry” as easily as I thought it would because it turned out to be a 2x6! But, I got the last of the edging in and tamped the dirt around it. The excess dirt I took out to the compost heap and threw it on top. I’ll mix it in with the pitchfork some other time.

I called Lu to see how her vehicle problems turned out but just got her voicemail.

Since it seemed like this would be the last nice day for a while, I decided to grill. So, I got the charcoal fired up and when it was ready, I threw on some brats. Right in the middle of that, the guy from the lawn service pulled his mower into the back yard and started cutting the grass. He nodded to me and was careful NOT to blow grass on me or my food.

He must have been working overtime because it was already after 7:00 PM and he was alone (there’s usually two of them – one cutting and the other trimming). So, after he was done cutting the lawn, he trimmed it and then blew off the driveway, sidewalk, etc.

Back inside, I had a voicemail from Lu who said her transmission was being rebuilt and she hoped it would be done in time for her to stop by and get that bed. She said her cell phone doesn’t work in Sue’s house (where she is staying) so I started to call her back, but then just hung up.

I noticed Melissa had called, too, but didn’t leave a message. I called her back and learned that her youngest aunt's husband had died! Donna is actually younger than my daughter Amy, BTW. It was a freak accident and he was electrocuted.

Melissa was able to get a flight into Flint for the funeral, but Amy could not. She said she wouldn’t be seeing me, but would represent Amy and I and look after Fran, her mother.

After we hung up, I warmed up two of the brats in the microwave and ate them for dinner, along with more of the cucumber salad.

I kept thinking how strange life can be at times.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pain in the Glass

Tuesday morning started out all wrong! I had just gotten naked, taken off my glasses and was going into the shower when I reached in the closet to get a fresh bar of soap. I knocked over the glass jar I kept my toothbrush in and it shattered on the tile floor!

I gingerly stepped over the broken glass that seemed to be everywhere and got the broom and dust pan. I hate broken glass, especially when my feet are bare, because it is so hard to see with bifocals. I swept the floor twice (just to make sure) and then took my shower. Sure enough, I stepped on a sliver of glass that was hidden, lodged in the bath mat. I pulled it out of my foot, folded the mat and set it on the kitchen counter to deal with after work.

I put a Band-Aid on the bottom of my foot and got dressed for work. All the broken glass went into a paper bag and out into the trash can. It was sprinkling then and rained off and on all day long.

I was going to just go home for lunch, but Michelle and Vicky talked me into going to the Newburgh Grill with them. I had the ham and bean soup and a French Dip sandwich.

After work, I shook out the bath mat and then vacuumed both the bathroom tile and the bath mat to make sure all the glass was gone. Then I went out back to check the rain gauge. It had 1/2 inch of rain in it! Which explains, I guess, why nobody cut my grass today. I got the trash can back from the road and into the garage and then closed the house up for the night.

I watched the rest of the news and when it was finished at 7:00 PM, I started making dinner. I wasn’t kidding about the BLTs, you know. Besides, it wasn’t that warm outside and so it was perfect for using the oven.

So, I cooked my bacon in the oven, as its less messy, you don’t have to hover over it and cleanup’s a breeze (if you use Jake’s method). There are about a hundred different ways people say to do it, but this is the one I favor: Line a half-sheet tray (or a cookie sheet, if that’s all you got) with tinfoil (Jake’s cleanup tip). Then I put the bacon strips on that, just barely overlapping (keep them completely separate if you want them crunchier) and top them with fresh cracked pepper (optional, of course, but that’s how I like them).

Again, everybody does it different, but I put them in a COLD oven, turn the oven on 400 degrees F. and set the timer for 20 minutes (cooking time varies widely due to both the thickness of the bacon you’re using and how fast your personal oven heats up).

When the timer goes off, I check it. Now, I use a gas stove (which heats up fast) but thick bacon. So, it usually takes another five minutes or so until the bacon is just right for me.

Then I pull the tray from the oven and immediately transfer the bacon to another half-sheet tray lined with paper towels to drain. DO NOT leave the bacon in the first pan, as the combination of the hot pan and the hot grease will continue to cook the bacon and it will end up either over-crispy or, worse yet, burnt!

Now, I pour off any grease into a coffee cup and save it in the fridge for cooking. Jake (unless he’s changed) lets it just cool and solidify on the tinfoil and disposes of it. Either way, when the tinfoil is cool, you just bunch it up and throw it away. No muss, no fuss!

I toasted two slices of Pepperidge Farm sourdough bread (the only kind I buy, usually). I smeared them with mayonnaise and put on some Romaine lettuce (just because that’s the kind I had) and slices of the fresh cut home-grown tomato. I salted that and then added two slices of bacon, each broken in half). I think its easier and less messy to eat if you don’t cut it, so I didn’t.

Man, that was good! It was so good, in fact, I immediately made myself another one. I ate some of the cucumber salad for my side dish, BTW, and it was quite tasty, too (and, no, I didn’t add any more salt).

I topped off my meal with a cup of coffee and watched TV for a while. Then I went out and put the rest of the bacon in a baggie and in the fridge and washed the two half-sheet trays (thanks to the tinfoil, I didn’t have to scrub them) and the few utensils I used.

I fell asleep watching TV, but when I woke up for a bathroom break, I put the bed flat, turned off the light and TV and then went to sleep for real.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Come Monday…

I woke up to the alarm and overcast skies on Monday. I went out to Costco at lunch and picked up some more coffee and then went to PetSmart for some kitty litter (I forgot it at Kroger’s last Saturday and forgot to look at Costco's, today).

I also had to pick up a birthday card, so I popped into the Chinese takeout next to CVS and ordered a quart of chicken fried rice. I paid for it and promised to be right back. I got the card at CVS and when I went back next door, my lunch/dinner was ready. I went home and unloaded the car, ate lunch and still made it back to work on time.

It finally did rain, but only a bit, just before it was time to go home. However, when I went out and watered the window box (the indicator was below “minimum”) there wasn’t much more than a trace of water in the rain gauge.

I took the trash out to the road after I switched out the kitty litter and then came inside and changed. I was watching the news when the door bell rang. I looked out and there was no vehicle in the driveway. Hmmm... So, I checked and it was my neighbor, with a bag of goodies from her garden. I got two big tomatoes, four big cucumbers and a butternut squash! I took a picture for you, then I took out some thick-cut bacon to thaw (can you say BLTs tomorrow and not be referring to my spine?)

Meanwhile, I used two of the biggest cukes to make my Mother’s cucumber salad (It’s quite like my radish salad listed under “recipes,” but without the radishes). Since I had around two pounds of cucumber slices, I doubled the liquid ingredients and brought 1/2 cup of apple cider, three tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper to boil while I sliced half of a medium sweet white onion (I didn’t have a red one) as thin as I could.

When the sugar had dissolved, I added two tablespoons of vegetable oil and whisked it together. I poured that over the cucumber and onions. As an afterthought, I went out to the raised bed herb garden and got some fresh dill and put that in as well. I mixed everything up and let it all get happy for about 10 minutes, while I washed up everything I used. Then I taste-tested it. Hmmm... It “might” need a bit more salt, but with the dill, I’m just not sure. So, I put it in my big glass bowl and covered it with cling wrap. I put it in the fridge to cool. Note: It will keep up to four days in the fridge, but remember to bring it up to room temperature each time before serving.

I heated up the rest of the fried rice and ate that for my dinner. It was still good and filling and, as you may have guessed, I like fried rice!

Staying up late Sunday night had taken a toll on me (I was dozing off at my desk this afternoon) so I watched my taped Breaking Bad episode and went to bed by 10:30 PM.
 
Veggies from the neighbors
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Sunday, with much Sun

In spite of going to bed so late (at least for me) I still woke up at 6:00 AM on Sunday. It was supposed to be cloudy and overcast with a high of 82 degrees predicted, but no rain. But, it was a chilly 66 degrees outside just then and I was glad I hadn’t left the window opened. I made that mistake one day last week and it was 65 degrees in the house when I woke up! Brrr!

I ate my breakfast, refilled my pill box, took my meds and my tests and had another cup of coffee, thinking about my day. Since I had planned on Luanne’s visit, I am sitting in a very clean house with no clear plan of what to do today (which is kinda weird, for me).

I decided that it was time I put together the little cart I bought a long time ago when I couldn’t work the wheelbarrow. So, I spread out all the parts on the bed (so I didn’t have to bend over so far) and got started on that. It took about an hour or so, but I got ‘er done! I took it out into the garage and just then noticed the canvas liner. I realized that the instructions didn’t mention it at all! So, I’ll have to ask my brother Carl (who has one of these) how and when you use it.

I opened the window to allow that weird “Made-In-China” smell to get out. I opened the window in the office as well for cross ventilation. It may or may not work, but the cats loved it!

Since we’ve had so much rain, I thought it might be time to dig in the wood lawn edging in the new garden. So, I left my brace on, put my work gloves on and got started. I figured I’d work until I started to hurt and then quit.

I got all the way to the 2x4’s that line Jake’s patio. I dug down to the depth I had painted on the spade and about 3 inches apart, pulled out the sod and shook off the dirt into the wheel barrow. I did one length of edging at a time, BTW. Once I had the depth, I put in the edging, tight against the landscape fabric on the inside. Then I backfilled it with the dirt and stomped it tight. I just kept doing that over and over.

I did hit a few thick tree roots, probably from the maple I had taken down. But, I cut through those with the bow saw (getting out the Sawzall seemed like too much work).

Once I got to the 2x4’s, I realized two things: one, I need to find my big crowbar to pry them out and, two, my back was starting to hurt.

So, I spread loose dirt over the packed-down dirt and sprinkled on some grass seed. I raked that in and then watered the area, cleaning the dirt and mulch off the wood edging as I went.

I gathered up the tools, grass seed, etc., and took everything back inside and put it all away. It was almost 1:00 PM. I know, because I wound the mantle clock.

The air conditioner still hadn’t kicked on, so I left the windows open. That weird smell seems to have dissipated, but a little more fresh air couldn’t hurt anything but my allergies.

I took off my brace and sprayed it with Fabreeze. I sat there in my sweaty t-shirt and shorts and shaved; watching TV and drinking another cup of coffee. Then I showered and let the hot water beat on my back until the water cooled.

I put my sweaty clothes, the bath towels and the bedspread (I fancied it still has that odd smell on it) in the washer. I put on fresh clothes and laid on the bed, watching a movie I’d always wanted to, but never had before: The Da Vinci Code.

It was pretty interesting. When it was finished, so was the dryer so I took care of that last load of clothes. Then I started dinner.

It would have been the perfect day to grille outside. But, since I figured I’d be taking Lu out to dinner (much easier than finding a recipe both of us would want to eat), I didn’t take anything out to thaw.

So, I ran cold water over a frozen section of smoked sausage. I fried up onions and potato slices and then, once it had thawed, added in the sausage, cut on the bias. When the potatoes were golden brown, I pulled it off the heat and put about half of it on a plate.

I watched TV the rest of the evening. My toughest decision was whether to watch Longmire or Breaking Bad live (both are on at the same time and both are set to tape). Since it was the season finale of Longmire, it won. When it was finished, so was I and I went to bed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

House Cleaning

I slept in until 7:00 AM on Saturday. Since there were no cats on the bed at the time, I stripped it and started the weekend wash.

I leisurely went through my morning rituals, put the bedding in the dryer and started a second load of laundry. I talked with B___ for a while, catching each other up. When the second load of laundry went into the dryer, I shaved and showered.

I left the house around noon to go grocery shopping at Kroger’s. I got what I had on my list plus one impulse buy (a Phalaenopsis orchid – don’t ask me why, it just they were on sale and looked pretty). See Photos. Then I headed back home. Since I was hungry and didn’t have any real plans for lunch or dinner, I stopped and got an 8-piece bucket of chicken (original recipe) with biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC.

Back home, I treated the cats and unpacked the groceries. I divided the three pounds of ground chuck I got on sale into one pound packages and stuck them in the freezer. Then I ate lunch while everything was still warm. It was excellent!

I unloaded the dryer and then started to clean the house. I worked pretty steady on that until about 5:00 PM. Then I went out back, checked the rain gauge (not even a 1/4 inch more) and walked out front to get the mail.

Back inside for the rest of the evening, I changed into my shorts and t-shirt and washed the last load of clothes for this weekend.

I noticed I had some voicemails. One was from my daughter Melissa earlier in the day, who said she, too, was cleaning her house as she had a girl friend coming over, so I didn’t call her back.

The other was from Luanne, who said she was having car problems and wouldn’t be stopping by on Sunday to pick up the bed frame she had stored in my attic. She was up here to drop off my grand daughter Riese, who had spent some of the summer in Virginia and to attend a friend’s wedding.

I did call her back and she said the “Check Engine” light had kept coming on during the trip up here so she took it to an Auto Zone to have them run diagnostics on it. They said it looked like she had a transmission problem, so she is going to take it into a Ford dealer on Monday to have it checked out.

I can’t say I blame her. It’s a long way from home to be broke down on the side of a freeway somewhere. Better safe than sorry.

I warmed up the rest of the potatoes and gravy and ate that, with cold chicken and biscuits, for my supper.

I talked with Jake for a bit who called to check in. It sounded like Carla’s birthday weekend was going well.

I watched a little TV, but mostly read some of the last book I had bought on my recent trip. I wasn’t really paying attention to the time (I was more interested in the book), so I was a bit surprised when I looked at the clock and it was almost midnight! I put down my book, turned off the light and went to bed.
 
Phalaenopsis Orchid
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friday

It was still raining a little when I drove into work on Friday, but it cleared up around 10:00 AM. They do say there are chances all day of more rain as a low pressure is hanging over up us and the rain is just circling.

I didn’t have any errands at lunch, so I just went to the Newburgh Grill and had a mediocre cup of clam chowder and a patty melt for lunch. Then I drove back to work.

It still hadn’t rained by the time 5:00 PM finally rolled around (although there were very dark clouds way to our north). When I got home I treated the cats and changed my shoes. Then I went out to check the rain gauge. It was reading just over 1 1/2 inches of rain. This time I dumped it to see how much it rains (if it rains) overnight.

I didn’t sleep well the night before, so I took Friday night off. It started raining here again about 7:00 PM, but not hard.

I watched the news and then was going to turn on the Olympics. But, I saw they had a John Wayne movie night on AMC, so I watched the end of Rio Bravo and then Hondo (one of my all-time favorites).

Oddly enough, even though Hondo was a 1953 movie, I actually read the book long before I ever saw the movie. Well, it wasn’t a book, I guess. It was a short story written by Louis L’Amour, a favorite author of both my Mother and myself. The short story was called “The Gift of Chochise” and the movie was based on it.

When I got hungry, I tried a new Marie Callender’s entrĂ©e: Creamy Chicken & Shrimp in a Parmesan Alfredo Sauce.” I know, I know. It sounded a little weird to me, too. But, it wasn’t bad. I had the last two slices of fried eggplant as my side dish.

I started watching El Dorado, but when I got tired, I turned it and the light off and went to sleep.

Friday, August 10, 2012

One of the songs Kris Kristofferson sang I never heard before

Broken Freedom Song

~ Kris Kristofferson

Got a song about a soldier,
Ridin' somewhere on a train
Empty sleeve pinned to his shoulder
And some pills to ease the pain

Started drinkin' in El Paso,
He was drunk in San Antone,
Tellin' strangers who were sleepin'
How he hated goin' home

Just a simple song of freedom,
He was never fightin' for,
No one's listenin' when you need 'em,
Ain't no fun to sing that song no more.

Got a song about a sister,
Waitin' somewhere by the phone,
For some man who never missed her,
Ever since he come and gone

And it's harder for a woman,
With a baby on the way,
That's the price of bein' human,
When you're poor enough to pay,

So she listens to the freedom,
In the silence at her door
No one's missin' till you need 'em
Ain't no fun to sing that song no more

Got a song about a Savior,
Lookin' lonesome and afraid,
At a city full of strangers,
And a cross He never made

And He's sadder than He's wiser,
And a longer way from home,
And He wonders why His Father,
Left Him bleeding and alone.

Just a broken song of freedom,
And the closing of a door,
No one's missin' till you need 'em
Ain't no fun to sing that song no more.

Birthday Shoutout!

Happy Birthday, Carla!

When the rains came...

It had just started raining here when I left for work in the morning.

I didn’t mention this, because it wasn’t that important, but when I got back to work on Monday, a Maintenance guy from Facilities came over and replaced a ceiling tile that had been waterlogged by that rain Jake and I had driven through on the way down to South Carolina. He also went up on the roof and cleaned out the drain and so on. This area has leaked ever since the IT department moved in here years ago, BTW.

Well, the rain was coming down hard today and Matt, who’s sits near the leak, said, “Hey, it’s doing it again!” So, I went over and moved the new ceiling tiles out of the way with my cane. I put the big bowls we keep over there, just for that purpose, under the incoming water and called Facilities.

Tammy in Facilities said, “Well, we can’t do anything until the rain stops and we can get on the roof. Besides, it always drips there.” I said, "You don’t understand, today its pouring in, not dripping!”

The rain was hitting the metal suspended ceiling grids and splashing everywhere, including on top of Matt’s computer. So, I got up and put a piece of tinfoil to divert it into a waste paper basket and borrowed an umbrella to shield Matt and his computer.

Facilities showed up and it turned out there was a crack in the rubber joint where the roof drain went into the downspout outside. It’s probably the cause of all the leaking over all the years, but nobody spotted it until today. I guess with the amount of water now coming in and their flashlights, it was easy.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the fix was they went and got a pool liner repair kit, glued on the patch and the water stopped. I did use my phone to take a picture of my temporary fix for you, though.

I went home at lunch (in the rain) and ate a sandwich.

It was still sprinkling when I can home after work. I did walk out to check the rain gauge and it had almost 1 1/2 inches in it! I didn’t dump it as it’s supposed to rain off and on all weekend, and I want to see what the final total is. But, that was a great start!

I made another sandwich and had that, along with a small bag of chips I bought from the machine at work and brought home with me, for dinner.

I putzed around doing little things in the house and then finally watched some TV until bed time again.
 
My Rube Goldberg Leak Protection
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hump Day

I left for work a little early on Wednesday, so I could stop at the Looney Bakery and get some donuts for this morning’s meeting.

At lunch, I went to Meijer’s to get a few non-grocery things I needed. When I left there, I swung by the Home Depot garden center. I wanted something to replaced the two dead plants in the porch rail planter and the dead Bleeding Hearts in the hanging planter on the front maple.

Alas, most of the annuals are gone now. So, I ended up buying two small mums for the porch and a mixed pot of flowers for the hanging basket. I took everything home, treated the cats and realized time had slipped away and I didn’t have time to eat. So, I grabbed and apple and headed back to work.

So, my lunch consisted of a couple of donuts and a cup of coffee when I first got back and the apple later in the afternoon.

After work, I put the flowers in their respective new homes. I must say, these will probably be killed off by the heat as well, but it does look nicer, now. I took some pictures of them for you, as well as my rearranged cupboard.

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, but I still carried three buckets of water out back for the peonies and day lily. Back inside, I started the mid-week laundry.

When I had the laundry dried and hung up or folded, I warmed up some of that eggplant parmesan casserole. I ate to my heat’s (or stomach’s, come to think of it) content and froze the rest. The casserole dish went into the sink to soak.

I watched TV until bedtime.
 
New Porch Mums #1
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New Porch Mums #2
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Maple Hanging Basket, Updated
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One of the rearranged upper cupboards
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Road Trips

I rushed through my morning preparations and left at 7:00 AM to go and vote in the Michigan primaries. To be honest, I was more concerned with the proposals than the candidates. I wanted to make sure we save the Detroit Institute of Arts and we pass the millage to provide funds to keep up the jails (we don’t need more criminals on the streets around here). Sidebar: In talking with friends and family, I think I am the only person my age that DOESN’T use absentee ballots.

I had called in Saturday for a refill of pain meds, (I used a lot more than usual in South Carolina) so I had to go to the doctor's office in St. Clair Shores at lunch to pick them up (since these can’t be called in to the pharmacy). Just before lunch I got an urgent request for a wireless adapter (either internal or USB) that was needed before 5:00 PM today. So, I stopped at the Green Box PC store just off of I-96 on Merriman (across the street and a little north of the Post Office). They didn’t have either kind. So, I sent a text to work, letting them know I’d look on the way back.

I got the scripts and turned right around and drove all the way back to my CVS in Redford, dropped off the prescriptions and then went to Best Buy in Westland. They didn’t have the internal one, either, but did have the USB style. I bought it and drove back to work, up Wayne Road.

By that time, it was past 1:30 PM and I was starving. So, I stopped at Jake and Carla’s favorite nearby Chinese restaurant, TenYen, and got some chicken fried rice to go. I messed up, though, and asked for a quart rather than a pint. I still ate about half of it and took the rest home for snacks or lunches.

After work, I stopped back at CVS to pick up my pills and then went to the gas station on the corner to fill up my tank. I’d been waiting for the prices to drop, but my long journey today left me with no choice but to do it now.

Finally home, my yard looked really nice. Not only was that huge pile of garbage and the love seat gone, but they had cut the grass today as well.

I watered all the container gardens in front, the mailbox garden and then the window box in the back. Next I set up the oscillating sprinkler to water the gardens around the reflecting pool. I went back inside and set the timer for an hour.

While waiting for the hour to pass, I cleaned out and rearranged two of my upper kitchen cupboards (something I’ve been meaning to do for a while). The timer went off at 8:15 PM, so I went out and repositioned it to water the raised herb garden and the new garden at the rear of the house.

You may have noticed I never said anything about changing clothes. That’s because I knew I’d end up going out after dark to shut the water off and didn’t want to get bit by any West Nile-carrying mosquitoes!

Inside for another hour, I messed around on the computer and listened to the Olympics in the other room. I was drinking coffee and not really hungry (I ate a very late lunch, you may recall) so I purposely delayed eating dinner.

The timer finally went off and I went out to shut off the water for tonight (turning on the security spotlights, of course). Back inside, I just heated up the rest of the chicken fried rice and ate that, topped with a decent soy sauce (instead of that mystery soy sauce they give you with takeout). It was still tasty the second time around!

I watched a few taped shows until I was sleepy and then turned off the light and TV and went to bed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Monday, and back to work...

So, I was getting ready for work and when I put my glasses on after my shower, the screw that hold on the bow (or are they called temples?) came off. Already I can tell this was going to be a great day!

Try as I might, I couldn’t get the tiny screw back in the hole with my fat fingers. I finally gave up, got my old pair and used those, taking my regular pair (and the screw) with me.

I had to laugh, because while I was off work Michelle and Vicky had sent me a text that Fred stole my chair while I was gone. I sent them back a message that it was okay (he has lumbago) but to please ask him not to fart in it. So, when I got to work, my chair was back in my cube, but it had two car air fresheners hanging on it! Funny ladies!

I called the eye doctor’s office and found they were open today, so at lunchtime I drove up to Farmington and got them fixed. I swapped glasses and drove back to work.

I remembered there was a Jimmy John’s just off of Newburgh on Six Mile Road (I didn’t have time left to eat anywhere), so I cut over from Farmington to Newburgh on Seven Mile Road. Big mistake!

Newburgh Road was all torn up and down to only two lanes from about 6 1/2 Mile all the way to Five Mile! I just can’t catch a break on Michigan road construction this summer!

I parked in the handicapped spot and started walking up the ramp, using my cane. There was a lady in front of me who was at least 80 years old who stopped, held the door for me and told me I should go in front of her, because she could walk faster than me! Sad thing was, she was probably right, LOL! I thanked her, but insisted she go first.

I got my usual sandwich and drove through the rest of the construction and back to work before 1:00 PM.

The afternoon passed slowly, but finally five o’clock rolled around and I headed home.

After treating the cats, I changed clothes, put on my brace and lugged all the garbage bags (from Jake’s attic cleaning) out to the road, along with my garbage can. I found out earlier today that I no longer have to pay for and schedule a large item pickup (apparently Redford has switched garbage service providers) so the love seat was out there, too. The new garbage guys are gonna love me!

Dinner was the last two pieces of city chicken with a slice of fried eggplant as the side (I had four pieces left that wouldn’t fit into the casserole dish, and I love plain fried eggplant, anyway). It was a nice combination and, even with having to reheat it, it was a great dinner.

I had a text from Vicky with a phone camera shot of my office chair and that truck planter in its new home, so I’ll post them for you.

I watched my taped new episode of “Breaking Bad” and then a few DIY shows until it was time to go to bed.