Sunday, March 31, 2013

 Dyeing eggs
Basket-less Easter Basket
 Bathrobe, Before
Bathrobe, After
First Crocus of Spring

New Plants




 Strawberry planter
 Snake Plant Relocated
New Ornamental Plant on Bottom Shelf

Holy Saturday



I set the alarm for 7:30 AM on Saturday and I did sleep in until it went off. I made a cup of coffee and ate peanut butter on toast for breakfast.

I had to hustle a little as I had a 9:00 AM haircut appointment. When I was finished there, I stopped at Westborn and got my Easter dinner fixin’s.

Next, I stopped at Home Depot and bought another plant for the living room. As an impulse buy, I picked up a small strawberry planter and four strawberry plants. I saw some purple tulips my Mother would have loved…

CVS completed my shopping trip. Then I went to the quarter car wash and cleaned up the Volvo. I came home and left it outside, where I dried it with a towel.

I went inside to change clothes and the phone was ringing. It was Jake, so we chatted for a while. I missed a couple of calls from him yesterday, so he thought I was dead.

I was going out to re-pot the new plant when the phone rang again. This time it was Melissa. They are officially moved into their apartment as of today.

I rinsed off the fresh herbs I bought, let them drip-dry for a while and then wrapped them in paper towels and put them each in individual baggies in the fridge. I stuck the asparagus in a wide coffee cup filled with water so it, too, would stay fresh for tomorrow.

Back in the garage, I planted the new houseplant and then the strawberries. The strawberries will stay in the house until it warms up outside and then go on the patio.

I changed back into my “town” clothes and left at 12:15 PM for my massage appointment.

As usual, she beat me up pretty bad. Also, my stomach was growling during the last half hour, which was a little embarrassing. So, when I got home, I heated up a bowl of spaghetti and ate that for lunch.

I fixed the egg dye and popped the eggs in to the six coffee cups. I just let them sit and get colorful.

Then I went out in the garage and sanded the clock with 240 grit paper. I used a chair this time so the negative effect on my back was minimized. I finished at 4:45 PM.

It was a nice day. Hell, it was a beautiful day! But it supposed to rain come Easter morning,  so I thought I’d get in the tarp from my winter storage pile while it was dry. I put it in the garage to make sure its completely dry before sticking it up in the attic (I hate mold).

Since I had the pile uncovered, I went ahead and put everything back in place (the fire pit, patio furniture, etc.). I also refilled the squirrel feeder and the suet cage. I just had to take a picture of the crocus on Jake’s patio (I know, I know, I do it every year).

The sawdust even worse with 240 grit, since it was finer. So, all my clothes went into the washer and I went into the shower. After drying off and dressing in my usual shorts and t-shirt, I took out the eggs and let them dry. There’s no waste, as I like hard-boiled eggs as a late night snack, smeared with horseradish. But, I think I’ll make some of these into creamed eggs over toast for my Easter breakfast. And tradition, even when living alone, is important, I believe.

So, I took a picture of them for you. Please note the chocolate bunny is only for decoration. I’m not that fond of sweets so I’ll take it into work and give it to Michelle. She gave up chocolate for Lent and has been seriously jonesing about it for the few days.

I had slowly developed a hole in my terry cloth bathrobe. I’m not quite sure how or why as its under the pocket and not at any stress point. Now, I still might be able to find another (you can only buy them in winter-time around here, just like I can only find my beloved shirts and t-shirts in the summertime). But, there’s nothing else wrong with it! So, I cut up one of my kitchen towels and hand-sewed in a patch. I surprised myself.! It doesn’t look too bad.

I made dinner just after 6:30 PM. I wish I had thought ahead about the nice weather and got something to grill, like brats or a steak (it’s a perfect day for it) but I didn’t. Sigh… I had a lot of sauerkraut left from the Rueben’s (I miss them already) so I fried up some smoked sausage and onions and warmed up the sauerkraut.

I checked outside and saw several squirrels eating peanuts, My old friend, the little  woodpecker, was attacking the suet.

I watched some DIY shows and then one episode of Poirot. That took my up to the 11:00 PM news. I watched that and then started watching Saturday Night Live. But, I got bored with it and went to bed. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Old Padlocks

New Plants

Good Friday



I work up at 4:30 AM on Friday, my day off! I stayed in bed until 5:30 and then got up. I made a cup of coffee and filled in the Blog. Since I didn’t have to go to work, I fixed some soft boiled eggs for my breakfast. When I was done eating, I made six hard boiled eggs for Easter coloring later this weekend.

I putzed around A LOT (mostly watching the Today show) and finally was shaved and showered by 10:00 AM. Then I headed out. Please note that I thought I was good to go for staying home until Saturday and work on the clock. But, I saw a segment in my Wood Magazine that explained about prepping and staining. They said that the end grain of wood is more porous than the face of a board and thus attracts more stain and darkens.

Duh! I already know this from making and staining all that bedroom furniture. I just never knew how to fix it.

But they said you could mitigate this by  sanding the end grain with twice the grit you use on the face of the boards. Since the lightest grit I currently have for the clock is 240, I will need at least 500 grit for the edges of the star and the inside and the outside of the wagon wheel.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. I was playing peek-a-boo with two HUGE crows. I swear they are bigger than the hawk last year. But, every time I grabbed my camera, they flew off.

So, I headed out to Home Depot. Unfortunately, they don’t have that fine a grit for the detail sander or even the palm sander, but they did have sheets of sandpaper in 400 grit. Since I was there anyway, I bought three house plants (in cheap-ass plastic containers) and some clay pots to replant them in for my new plant stand.

I then went to Meijer’s to restock my canned tomatoes. My spaghetti sauce sucked up a lot of stuff, so I bought two each of large cans of whole tomatoes, small cans of diced tomatoes and small cans of tomato sauce. I also got some shredded Cheddar cheese and two aluminum mixing bowls.

The bowls are to try an new technique I saw on Chow Ciao. He perfectly peeled a bunch of garlic cloves by putting them into two same-size aluminum bowls and shaking the hell out of them. I am more of the “smash and peel” kind of cook, but if this works, I’m all over it.

Back home, I unloaded the car and backed it out to the drive. I locked it and then shut the garage door. Then I took the plants I bought and replanted them in the garage.

The “cactus garden” was already in a low clay pot so, other than watering it and putting a clay saucer under it, I let it be. Please note that I don’t see any cacti in it, just succulent plants.

I repotted the aloe vera into a clay pot and that, with another saucer went on the second shelf.

The third was a snake plant. I was already worried that it would grow too tall (My Mom had a huge one) but the cool pot I bought for it was too big for the bottom shelf, anyway. So, I will set that on the floor and get another for the bottom shelf, someday.

Before I started on the clock, I had one more thing to do. I have completely lost track of which key goes to which padlock (shame on me for not labeling them). So, a while back, I bought four Master padlocks (guaranteed by Rustoleum to never rust) with just one key. Today, I took my 100-foot extension cord and Jake’s grinder and cut off the four locks out back (the north-end gate, the south-end gate, the flat bed trailer hitch and the sailboat trailer hitch). I replaced all four with the one-key locks and hung the key in my key-box in the back room.

It was already a bit late for lunch when I came inside, but I made my last Rueben, anyway.

Then I took the clock out in the garage and for the next two hours or so, I sanded it with 150 grit paper. This time I sat on a stool instead of bending over. I blew it off with the air compressor and went back inside. [Sidebar: You always want to blow it off, or use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. That way you are sure you are not just rubbing in the coarser grit leftovers.] I didn’t bother to take a picture for you as you’ve seen the clock in the jig before.

I was bushed, so I laid down and took a long nap. I woke up after dark and was hungry once again. So, I reheated the last of the pork scaloppini and the rest of the cauliflower. Then I went out, shoved the sawhorse back and pulled the car in for the night.

I watched some TV and then dozed off about 11:00 PM. I woke up at 12:30 AM and watched the last of Leno and then Jimmy Fallon. He had Prince on. I’ve never watched him or even paid attention to a Prince song before (although I remember Amy used to love him) but he was excellent. My bad.

Quote of the Day

"Studies have shown that pessimists live longer than optimists. Which would be good news for pessimists, if they believed in good news..."

~ Jimmy Fallon

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Holy Thursday



Thursday actually felt like early Spring around here! Nice!!

I had to go to the Credit Union at lunch. The bills for my recent doctor visits and the MIR are coming and I now have that lovely “deductible” to meet [insert cursing under my breath, here]. So, on the way back, I stopped at Ten Yen and had chicken subgum for lunch.

The last hour at work, it was just Vicky and I holding down the fort, which was fun. Except we both wished we had a deck of cards!

Back home after work, I worked on the computer for a while (budget planning, bill paying, the ToDo list, etc.) with Scruffy on my lap. He’s decided that’s his spot whenever I am working in the office. I don’t really mind, other than it makes it a bit difficult to type.

I warmed up some of my resurrected [good choice of words, given the time of the year] spaghetti. It was excellent, BTW.

I was going to watch the movie “The 13th Warrior” but its not on Netflix and my DVD player isn’t working (I do own the DVD). So, I tried to clean up some of my taped shows. I went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plant Stand




Windy Wednesday

Wednesday was sunny and a bit warmer, but still windy. The sun was right in my rear view mirrors as I drove into work, making lane changes difficult.

I didn’t feel like driving home at lunch, so I had my last Lenten Fish dinner at Time Out. Then I went to that antique shop I recently found and wandered around a while. I ended up buying an old, supposedly broken camera for $15.00. More to come on that...

When I got home after work, I noticed a big thin box between the front door and the storm door. Ah, I thought, my plant stand has arrived.

So, after treating the cats and changing clothes, I retrieved it and began to put it together. It was fairly simple as the legs folded flat for storage. So, it was just screwing on the three metal shelf brackets and installing the glass shelves. It’s metal and made to look like branches with a bird sitting on top.

The only downside was the packaging material. It was big sheets of that thin Styrofoam that breaks so easily into little pellets and then clings to everything (the couch, the rug, the floors, my pants). I ended up using the vacuum cleaner to get rid of it and there’s probably some still clinging to something, somewhere.

I set a few thing on it for the photos, but will eventually put in some house plants. I think it looks great!

I ate the rest of the chicken fried rice for dinner. Then I turned the pound of ground chuck I had thawed into what my Mother would have called spaghetti sauce. My leftover spaghetti and meatballs was now without meatballs, so when It cooled, I added the sauce to the spaghetti to jazz it up a bit.

I watched the latest Viking episode that I taped last Sunday and then I went to bed at 11:00 PM. I decided to skip watching the news.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday’s Tale



I am sick of writing about the crappy weather, so I will try not to today. All I will say is that damn groundhog from Pennsylvania had better never show up in Redford!

I went to Meijer’s at lunchtime to return something I didn’t need. Since I was there, I grabbed a few supplies I did need. Then I stopped at CVS for Easter supplies (a box of Peeps and some egg dye). Since I had to shop there anyway, I ordered some chicken fried rice next door just before I went in and it was ready after I checked out. I ate that at home and headed back to work.

It started to hail here about 1:00 PM, but it was small hail and quickly melted, so my 3:00 PM walk outside was okay. Dammit, I’m talking about the weather again! Sorry.

When I got home, I retrieved the trash can and the mail and then went in to treat the cats. I thought about what I should be doing and decided that tonight I would just screw off. I read through the “Blue Water Woman” magazine that came in the mail while I sort of watched the news. An old friend, Patti Samar, is the author and publisher and I have subscribed to it for over two years now. It keeps me somewhat in touch with the Port Huron/St. Clair area which I reluctantly left years ago.

I watched the weather (as I always do) and then turned on that movie “On Any Sunday.”  I wanted to watch it again as it had dawned on me, albeit a bit late, that the champion 250 cc motocross rider was on my old bike! I let it run until the Nightly News came on at 6:30 PM.

I watched the Supreme Court dealing with the gay marriage problem. I have to say I don’t understand this at all. I personally know someone who was gay and, had her partner and her had the legal right to marry, probably would have. So, what exactly is the downside for me?

I don’t personally care who sleeps with who. Would it have cost me more in taxes? Would I lose some Social Security benefits? Would they be eligible for Obama Care? Would it demean me some how? Would it be against all the religion teaching I was taught and cause me to turn pagan? I don’t think so. It just seems stupid…

I go with the old American Indian theory. They are no more weird than the rest of us. They need to be accommodated. Leave them alone!
I cut up out the core of a head of cauliflower and put the florets into boiling salted water. I confess I ate all the Brussels Sprouts and now needed a side dish for the warmed up Pork Scaloppini.

I skipped the egg noodles this time and just ate the pork, topped with some of the sauce and the cauliflower with butter and salt. It still was excellent! That recipe is a keeper.

I watched some TV but went to bed y 10:00 PM. This screwing off is tiring!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day…



The storm that was supposed to miss us Monday morning didn’t miss us by much. It was snowing big puffy flakes and the grass, driveway and road were covered when I woke up.

Still, it wasn’t as bad any places they showed one the news where the bulk of the storm hit. And, it didn’t stick around long as I took my morning walk on a wet parking lot.

Oh, before I forget, when I got out of my car at work in the morning, Michelle from Facilities pulled in next to me and handed me a container of soup. She said it was a riff on Olive Garden’s Chicken and Gnocchi soup. The riff was she didn’t have any gnocchi, so she used egg noodles. I said thanks and I meant it.

I went home at lunch and made another Rueben sandwich. I opened up a new jar of McClure’s pickles and noticed I bought a different kind as this said “spicy.” They weren’t kidding! My lips are still tingling. Note to self: Read the damn labels first before purchasing!

When I got home, I took the trash can out to the road and then went in for the night. I treated the cats and changed clothes. Then I got started on the Monday Night Mission: Sawdust patrol!

I swept all the wood and tile floors and vacuumed the living room rug and all three walk-off rugs. I said all three as I went out and vacuumed the one in the garage, too.

Then I warmed up a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. I put that on a tray in the bedroom while I washed the kitchen and main bathroom floors. They dried while I ate supper.

I watched an old documentary about motorcycle racing that Jake had recommended called “On Any Sunday.” It was from 1971 and I loved seeing all those old bikes again. And, it was nice to see Steve McQueen again. I could have done without seeing the clothes and haircuts from back then, though, lol!

I went to bed at 10:00 to try and make up for all the sleep I missed over the weekend

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunday Dinner
Pork Scaloppini on egg noodles with Brussels sprouts

Palm Sunday



I woke up at 7:00 AM on Sunday. I had insomnia for most of the night, so I only slept in fits and starts.

I watched the morning news and heated up another piece of that biscuit egg casserole for my breakfast. It was a lot more rubbery when heated up than it was when fresh out of the oven.

I took my pills and then refilled the box. I shaved and showered and headed out. First I went to Home Depot for some sanding sponges, and plain old sandpaper sheets (I got both in coarse, medium and fine). I also got some sanding respirator masks.

Next, I went to the gas station on the corner. I filled up the gas tank and swapped my empty propane tank for a full one. Then I went home. I left the car in the drive and carried in my purchases.

I set up and fired up the propane heater. While it was warming the space, I went inside and treated the cats. I returned a call from B___  and we caught each other up on the week’s activities.

I went out back and measured the old foundation for a possible new shed  (one of my upcoming projects). As I suspected, a 10’x12’ shed would fit nicely on it. The only thing I have left to do is to dig down and see if there is an existing rat wall (its required by code). But, the ground is still frozen, so that will have to wait.

Back inside, I made a small alteration to the sanding fixture. It was annoying yesterday when I loosened the clamps to reposition the clock and the board would fall down. So, today I drilled oversized holes in the board and put in 3 1/2 inch deck screws to hold it up when I undid the clamps.

I shut off the heater and started sanding again. When I had everything sanded the first time with coarse sandpaper, it was after 1:00 PM. So, I blew myself off with the air gun and took a break inside. Well, I say “took a break” but what I did was change out the kitty litter for garbage day, bagged up the kitchen trash and replaced the kitchen trash bag, washed all the dishes from last night’s supper and cleaned the stove. Oh, yeah, I also scrubbed out the tub with cleanser and a brush (my old tub just laughs at “Scrubbing Bubbles”). Then I took a break.

I rested for an hour or so. Then, at 2:30 PM, I went out and turned the heater back on. It took about a half hour to warm up the garage. The temperature was above freezing (for a change), but there was a wicked wind from the north.

I finished the second round of coarse sanding about 4:30 PM. I blew everything off (including me) with the air compressor. I opened the garage door and used the leaf blower to get the dust out of the garage. I took the clock inside and moved the sawhorse with the sanding jig back out of the way. Then I pulled the car in for the night.

Now, I had remarked about the amount of sawdust before from using the miter saw. Well, this sanding dust wasn’t nearly as big an amount, but it was far more insidious. It was like talcum powder and was everywhere. So, I went inside and threw all my clothes, including my coat, into the washer.

Then I took a shower to get it off me. I put on clean clothes and started dinner. I had missed both lunch and a nap today, dammit!

I was making Pork Scaloppini. So, I started by cleaning a box of Brussels sprouts. I took off the outer leaves and cut back the stem on each one. I left the small ones whole and cut the bigger ones in half. They went into a pot of boiling, salted water. I also put on another pot of salted water to boil for egg noodles.

I took a large pork tenderloin (about one pound) and cut it into four equal pieces. I put each piece between two sheets of cling wrap and pounded them until they were 1/4 inch thick. I used my new meat tenderizer this time, but you could do this with a rolling pin just as easily.

[Sidebar: No “beating my meat” jokes, please!]

I patted the cutlets dry with paper towels and seasoned both sides with salt and pepper. I melted a tablespoon of butter in my 12-inch non-stick skillet and cooked two of the cutlets over medium heat until golden brown and cooked through (two or three minutes per side). You can only fit two at a time in the pan, so I put the first two on a platter, covered with foil, when they were done. I added another tablespoon of butter and cooked the other two next.

When they were finished and removed, I added another tablespoon of butter and two minced garlic cloves. I sauteed the garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Then I stirred in 3/4 cup of chicken broth, two tablespoons of lemon juice and one teaspoon of brown sugar. I simmered that until it had slightly thickened (about five minutes).

I removed the skillet from the heat and stirred in two more tablespoon of butter and a heaping tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley (you could also use tarragon, basil or chives, BTW – I just happened to have fresh parsley in the fridge).

I plated the cutlet on top of egg noodles with a side of the Brussels sprouts. I poured some of the sauce on top of the cutlet. It was all excellent! I was full, but I went back for a second helping of Brussels sprouts (I love those things!)

My back was hurting again and I realized it was from bending over and sanding that clock for hours. I should have figured that out yesterday…

I watched TV, stopping to hang up the clothes from the dryer and later to put away the cooled leftovers. My brother Jim called just to check in, which was nice.

I tried to go to sleep at 10:00 PM, but was still awake with back pains at 11:00. I finally gave in and took a pain pill. I laid back down and eventually fell asleep, but I’m not sure what time it was.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Biscuit Egg Casserole


Sanding Jig

Saturday



I woke up at 6:20 AM on Saturday. I turned on the news, made a cup of coffee and then filled in the Blog entry. I remembered as I finished it that I had a water mess to deal with in the bedroom, so that came next.

I washed the glass top on both sides with Windex and then, after it dried, set it on the couch for safety’s sake. Then I pulled out the nightstand (not easy as its huge and full) and mopped the floor. While I was at it, I dusted the walls and baseboards. I let everything sit to dry while I made breakfast.

I am trying a recipe a woman at work told me about. Well, actually, she said she wanted to try it, so why didn’t I make it, bring her a piece and then, if she liked it she would make it, LOL!

So, I started out by browning a roll of Jimmy Dean’s Original pork sausage (you could, of course, use any brand, but that’s my favorite). Oddly enough, there was a very similar recipe right on the sausage roll!

I crumbled and cooked the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Then I drained it and set it aside to cool. I preheated the oven to 425  degrees F.

I lined the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish with Pillsbury Grand buttermilk biscuit (8 count) dough, firmly pressing so the spaces between the rounds would seal. I sprinkled that with the sausage and two cups  of shredded cheese (one cup sharp cheddar and one cup of mozzarella).

I whisked together five beaten eggs plus two egg whites, 3/4 cup of milk, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper in a medium bowl until blended. Then I poured that over the sausage and cheese.

I stuck it in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes or until set (A knife should come out clean when inserted in the center). 

But, while it was baking, I got back to the nightstand. I dug out the vacuum cleaner and, using the sucker nozzle, cleaned all the dust from around the nightstand. Then I wiped it down with furniture polish. Finally, I put the glass top back on and set the lamp, clock, phone and weather station back on it. Geez, this was a LOT more work than I wanted to do before I even shaved and showered!

I checked after 30 minutes and the knife was still wet. So, I let it go for another five minutes. It was definitely done on top, as it was starting to burn in spots. So, I pulled it out and let it stand for five minutes before cutting it into squares. Note: this is made to serve warm.

It tasted great! My corner piece was done but the middle was still oozing dough. So, I put some aluminum foil on tip of it and stuck it back in the oven. Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I now believe I should have squished the biscuit dough thinner and up the sides of the baking dish.

I finally shaved and showered. I got dressed and headed out. I went to Office Depot for a metal compass and then Home Depot for some stain and some more clamps.

I got back and left the car outside. Inside, I fired up the propane heater and built a sanding jig on one of the saw horses. Sidebar: I think I have spent more time figuring out how to make jigs than I did on how to make the damn clock!

I went inside to let the heater warm up the garage and the phone was ringing.  It was Jake and we caught each other up. His bike trip this weekend was a washout (if you remember, Melissa said it was supposed to rain all weekend while they moved) and I shared some stories about things going on around here.

When we hung up, I went out in the garage, prepared to go to work. Imagine my surprise when I found it was cold as hell and the heater was off!  It turned out I had run out of propane in that tank. So, I put on the other spare tank (remembering it was a left-handed thread, thank God) and set the first empty tank to the side to get exchanged.

I went back inside to wait for the heat, watching a DIY show while I waited.

Then I went back in the garage and started sanding. I used the Dremel tool on the inside curve, the palm sander on the outside curve and this stupid Ryobi  Detail Sander for the star. I say stupid as it was cheap and amounted to merely adding a sanding pad to a vibrator. I’m sure its fine for finish detail work, but I had saw cuts, etc., I needed to sand out.

I took a break at 3:30 PM and called Sadie. I just got her voicemail, but I wanted to ask her what the name of the detail sander I bought Lu back when she was stripping the wainscoting in Sadie’s living room. I remember it was about $150.00 (compared to the Ryobi’s $30.00) but was supposed to be excellent. I just can’t remember the name of it!

I did a little more sanding, but quit at 4:00 PM. I blew my nose (to get rid of the fine sawdust) and then pulled the car back inside. I blew off my clothes to (hopefully) confine the sawdust to the garage.

I finally gave in and ordered an indoor plant stand from Gardener’s Supply that I have been debating for three months or so. I decided the living room definitely needed it.

I had thawed a four-cup container of meatballs and marinara sauce I froze on January 28, 2013. So, I put that in a saucepan and turned the heat to low. When it was warm, I filled up a large sauce pan with salted water and put it on to boil, so I could make some thick spaghetti pasta. I dislike thin or angel hair spaghetti, BTW.

When the pasta was done, I mixed it with the sauce. I made a big plate of it, topped it with Parmesan cheese and watched the last of the evening news.

When the news ended, my back hurt and it seemed to be aggravated by lying down. So, I switched to reading in the living room.  I must admit, I was in a bit of a carb coma and dozed off a little every now and then.

When the clock struck 11:00 PM, I went in to watch one of my favorite DIY shows: The Bronson Pinchot Project. It’s a quirky show, (and that’s like describing Bitchin’ Kitchen as “quirky”) but he does some beautiful restorations using salvaged materials and antiques.

When it was over, I went to bed.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday



It wasn’t snowing Friday morning! In fact, the sun came out later!! Sure it was barely above  freezing and still had a little wind, but it felt like a wonderful day for a change.

I went shopping at Meijer’s during lunch. I was moving right along until it was check out time. Naturally, I was in the slow lane (there were only three choices and I chose badly) and was boxed in when there was some sort of “problem” that required waiting for a manager. The end result was that I didn’t have time to go home and put away my stuff or eat.

So, I stopped at Arby’s and got a roast beef sandwich combo meal with horse sauce and drove back to work. I ate the curly fries on the way, but saved the sandwich for when I wasn’t driving.

Back home after work, I filled out the ToDo list for the weekend and other computer-related work.

Carl V called to thank me for my birthday wishes. He said he had a great birthday and, after I asked, that it was not spring yet in Minnesota, either. He also said he was sick of “dirty” snow.

I though a bit about that after we hung up. I know what he meant. Fresh snow is like a beautiful white cloak on the earth. But, after a few days, the piles along the road turn black and look ugly. Fortunately, this year the snow hasn’t stayed on the ground long enough to get dirty (at least around here).

For dinner, I warmed up two slices of that corned beef I bought from Westborn along with some sauerkraut in the microwave. I buttered two slices of rye bread on one side and put Russian dressing on the other. I piled the corned beef and sauerkraut on the bread, added two slices of Swiss cheese and grilled my Rueben in a skillet.

I ate that with a pickle and it was excellent! In fact, it was so good I was going to make another one. But I realized I was probably full, so I stopped there.

I watched a little TV and then went to bed around 10:00 PM.

This Blog entry should end here, but it didn’t. Sometime in the night (around 2:00 AM, I think) I woke up for a bathroom break. I looked at the clock first and it was blurry. So, I reached out to pull it closer and tipped over my water glass. Fortunately, it didn’t break. Unfortunately, it was almost full. So, after I peed, I grabbed a handful of paper towels to soak up most of the mess. I decided to deal with the rest of it in the morning and went back to sleep.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thursday's Tale



Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday’s “Spring” weather, but colder. It was 17 degrees F. at 5:30 AM.

I left early and without breakfast or taking my pills, as I needed to have blood work done and had to fast. This was for my semi-annual checkup with my primary care physician. Now, normally she mails me the prescription and I take it into the little St. Mary’s lab on Farmington. But, this time, they just left me a voicemail on Tuesday, saying they had faxed it to the hospital.

So, on Wednesday, I called the lab and asked if they had it in their system and could I come in on Thursday. They said, no, now you have to go to St. Mary’s hospital. That’s not too bad, as it is just down the road from where I work.

So, I didn’t eat or drink anything after 7:00 PM on Wednesday. I also dressed for the occasion by wearing a short-sleeve shirt. I figured it was cold out, but at least I wouldn’t have to take my shirt off or try and roll up my sleeve.

I took my pills with me in a little pill box for afterwards and headed out about 7:10 AM. I went through the red tape portion in about 5 minutes (I’m on file) and waited another 10 minutes (there were only two people ahead of me).

My nurse (a lovely young woman from India, with a charming accent) repeatedly tried to find a suitable vein on either arm. I appreciated the fact that, unlike most, she didn’t try exploring with a needle, just her finger. I usually have two or three bruises from trial blood draws.

But, I didn’t appreciate it when she said she would just take it from my hand! I condemned myself to a short sleeve shirt all day on the coldest day of the week for that?

So, she skillfully took blood from my hand. Then she said she needed a urine sample. Now, I’m no slouch in the peeing department. I do it more than most, truth be told. But, not after not drinking anything for 12 hours! It seemed I was in that bathroom with the water running, trying to imagine waterfalls, etc., FOREVER!

I finally managed to give her less than a tablespoon, but she said that was enough. Whew!

I ate a granola bar at work for breakfast as there was no time to get a sandwich from McDonald’s (my original idea). Then I took my pills.

I went to the Time Out for my Lenten fish lunch. Then I went down Plymouth Road to a new antique shop (or at least new to me – I just spotted it the other day). I checked everything out and saw quite a few things I would like, but most were too expensive (a beautiful old set of hand carving tools, for example). But I did find an apothecary bottle with a glass stopper, which I don’t have, and bought it for $5.00.

Back home after work, I went through the usual routines and then washed the apothecary bottle and stopper. I put them in the dishwasher, where they would be safe while they air-dried.

Jake called and we caught each other up. His stories (interesting events regarding work, motorcycle rides, etc.) were way better than mine (stupid clock).

I warmed up the last Parmesan crusted chicken thigh and the rest of the wild rice for dinner.

I cleaned up the few dishes and then watched TV until bedtime.

Sidebar to Tirami Sue: I watched two taped NCIS reruns and one new taped DIY show (Rehab Addict). BTW, you spelled your name wrong when you commented.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Birthday Shoutout

to my grandson, Carl V. Happy Birthday!

What Spring???



It was officially spring here at 7:02 AM, but you couldn’t prove it by the weather. It was windy and snowing most of the day.

For example, I drove home at lunchtime through big snowflakes, with the sun shining! I stopped at Westborn to pick up some corned beef slices (I have all the fixings for Rueben’s, but no leftover corned beef!) I also bought some apples, a head of cauliflower and some Brussels Sprouts. I picked up a container of their clam chowder as well.

Back home, I put away my groceries and ate my soup for lunch. Then I headed back to work.

It was snowing again when I walked in the afternoon (just like the morning walk). None of it was sticking, although the high today was only 29 degrees F. So much for Spring!

When I got home, I went out back and refilled the bird and squirrel feeders. Back inside, I started the Wednesday night wash.

My daughter Melissa called while I was watching the evening news. She and Dave may be moving this weekend to an apartment, so they don’t have to pay rent on their home after closing. She is concerned about the dog (and her) adapting to apartment living. She also shared a rather brilliant idea for a Power Point presentation she has to give in her paralegal course at college.

I hung up my sjirts and pants and folded the rest of the clothes. Then I warmed up some more of the corned beef and cabbage leftovers for supper. There’s probably one more dinner left and I’m not sure how I feel about that, LOL! Too much of even a good thing can be, well, too much.

I watched some TV until an early bedtime.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Colonel Mustard, in the Car



Tuesday was more snow, cold and wind. The high temps for today (in fact, for the whole week) are some 15 degrees below normal! I keep telling myself that at least we won’t lose the cherry, apple and tulip crops this year, unlike last year's warm spell, but that’s become small compensation.

I had some supplies I needed, so I went to Home Depot at lunch. This time I gave in and ordered two hot dogs on the way out and ate them in the car. Although I always eat them as carefully as I can, this time a mustard-covered onion fell out and down on my cloth coat front. From there it slid onto my gray pants, bouncing on my right leg a few times and then landing on my left. Damn!

So, when I got home to drop off my stuff, I sponged off my coat and both my pant legs as best as I could. The coat was no problem, but the damp spots on my pants looked like I wet myself in places I couldn’t realistically aim at, much less hit. Nice way to start the afternoon…

Before I went back to work, I dug out three boneless, skinless chicken thighs from the big bag in the freezer. I put them on a plate, covered them with wax paper and set them out to thaw on the counter.

Once I was home for the evening, I went to change my clothes after treating the cats. I might have re-thought those treats had I seen the hairball on the bedspread first.

So, I sprayed the bedspread, my coat and my pants and did a rare Tuesday night emergency wash.

I checked the Blog and pulled up the Ted Allen Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast recipe from January. I had to laugh when I read the ingredients that went into the Dijon mustard mix. I mistakenly wrote 1/4 cup of cayenne pepper when it should have been 1/4 teaspoon! It’s a good thing nobody out there actually tries to duplicate these recipes I make, or I would have gotten a lot of hate comments, LOL!

I paired the chicken with some Uncle Ben’s Original Wild Rice (yes, just like the last time) and in less than a half hour, had an excellent dinner. Man does not live by corned beef and cabbage alone!

I retrieved the now-dry bedspread and redid the bed. I hung up my pants and coat as well.

I putzed around a bit and then watched the new episode of NCIS that was still continuing to tape. Then I watched another “Poirot” episode on Netflix. When it was finished, so was I and I went to bed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A boring Monday (but aren't they all?)



Monday’s weather was supposed to be snow, starting between 7-8:00 AM (at least according to Channel 4) and then switching to rain as the temperature went just above freezing. But there was nothing happening when I drove to work.

The snow actually started here at 10:00 AM or so. I walked in it, anyway. It was the winds that made it unpleasant.

For a change, I went straight home at lunchtime. I made and ate a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

It began raining in the afternoon, so that walk was inside.

Before going in the house after work, I took trash out to the road in light rain. Then I went in, treated the cats and changed clothes.

I watched the evening news until dinnertime. Dinner was a corned beef and cabbage repeat with au jus on top of everything. It was still excellent and I ate too much.

I finished cleaning up the last of my mess from yesterday: the soaking slow cooker insert. Then I cleaned and sterilized the counters and stovetop, and ran the dishwasher.

I watched the taped Sunday night episode of the Vikings on the History channel and went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Monday, March 18, 2013

 Peeling the ruutabagas
 Corned Beef, ready to go
 The finished corned beef
Potatoes, carrots, rutabagas and onions
 Sawdust #1
 Sawdust #2
Rough star inside a wagon wheel
 Soda Bread Before
Sad Soda Bread After

Happy St. Patrick's Day



I had a lot of problems falling asleep, but I finally did. I woke up at 6:30 AM, fixed a cup of coffee and finished the Blog entry. I stripped the bed and started the weekend wash.

Then, I started on my corned beef and cabbage. I peeled four carrots and cut them on the bias. Into the slow cooker they went! Then I peeled two smaller onions and put them in whole. I quartered some larger redskin potatoes and halved the smaller ones and put them in as well. Next I peeled the rutabagas (not as easy as you might think), cut that into big chunks and threw them in too. I added four cups of water and sprinkled the veggies with dried thyme.

Next came the corned beef. I scored the fat cap (so the spices would stay on top) and poured half a bottle of Guinness Stout on top of it. Then I added the spices and, as an afterthought, a little more dried thyme. I put the lid on, turned it on “High” per instructions and set the stove timer for eight hours. I’ll add in the cabbage then and cook it for an hour more.

Then I started the usual Sunday morning routines. I ate an English muffin for breakfast and took my pills. Then I refilled the pill box for the coming week. I wound the clock, added three ice cubes to the orchid and then put the bedding in the dryer. I started the second load of wash and refilled the cat’s water dishes.

Finally, I shaved. But the phone rang before I showered. It was B___, so I caught him up with all my medical adventures this week.

After we hung up, I showered. Then I swept the entire house to try and minimize the sawdust effect. I pulled the car out of the garage again, locked it and shut the door. The sun was out today, so I thought I would forego the heater (unless I got too cold).

So, I cut the first board at a 15 degree angle on either side. Already it was too cold to be comfortable (there was a strong NE wind). So, I fired up the heater.

Next problem was using the bandsaw to cut the marked curves in the boards. The blade kept hanging up. But, I finally got the first one done (one down, 11 to go). I got out the brad nailer and found another problem! No brads left that were long enough (sigh). So, I changed coats and went to Home Depot. I got some 1 1/4 inch brads (made for Porter Cable guns, but I hope they will work in my Craftsman one). I passed by the hot dog stand but, in a rare show of resolve, didn’t buy any.

I made it home, switched coats and got back to work. The house smells fantastic, BTW. Since the band saw didn’t work that well, I’ll have to use the jig saw. But, first I have to attach the first board with glue and brads. Note: I should have taken a photo of the process that I repeated 12 time, but I didn’t.  I was more interested in getting the dammed thing done!

But, here’s what I did: I cut the oversized boards on a 15 degree angle at each end. Then I clamped each one in place. I turned the assembly over and scribed the arc of the inside and outside circles with a pencil. I had to move the ones that went in front of the star down further to fill in the inside line.  I clamped the board to the sawhorse and cut it out with the jig saw. Then I applied a thin coat of wood glue and clamped it in place. I nailed it twice on the front (where it should be hidden by the hour markers), then flipped it and nailed it several time on the back side. I did that twelve times (I pitched the first board I did on the bandsaw – it was off a tad).

It was not without it challenges, though, as one section was a little shorter than all the other (WTF?)  So, alarmed, I got out that protractor, checked and the angles were right. I seriously don’t understand. 360 degrees divided by 12 is 30 degrees which translated to 15 degrees per piece. Why the hell would one be smaller???

I got over my bewilderment and moved on. I had six of the twelve done when I took a bathroom break. I checked the slow cooker and saw it was bubbling like mad.  That’s just wrong.  I decided that when the recipe said “High” for 8 hours, they were probably meant “LOW.” So, I turned it down to low. I hope the potatoes haven’t turned to mush!

I went back in the garage and continued on. [ Note to Jake. The requirements were a star “within” a wagon wheel. So, I was now making the “wheel.”]

There was an unbelievable amount of sawdust behind the miter saw. I took two pictures, but I don’t think you can see it all that well.

Finally, I was done (and done in, LOL). I gave the outside of the wheel a quick sanding with the belt sander and sanded the face of the wheel and the star with the palm sander. The true challenge will be to sand the inside of the wheel and edges of the star.

Back inside, the timer was going off. So, I rough chopped a half head of cabbage and added that to the slow cooker. I set the timer for another hour and made my Irish soda bread.

I sifted together four cups of AP flour, three tablespoons of sugar, two teaspoons of baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of cream of tartar and Kosher salt for my dry mix. Then I made my wet mix of 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk and three tablespoons of melted butter.

I mixed the wet and dry and added 1/2 cup of cranberries (should be currants, BTW). I put that on a floured surface and kneaded it just long enough to form it into a sic-inch ball (do not over-knead). I put that in my cast iron frying pan and cut an “X” in the top. I put it in the preheated 400 degrees F. oven.
I set the timer on the microwave to 40 minutes and went into the bedroom to watch a little TV while it baked…

Unfortunately, I fell asleep watching a DIY rerun. Of course, the little microwave timer didn’t wake me up. Finally the stove timer did, but not before the soda bread burnt (see Photos). Damn! I didn’t bother brushing the top with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter.

But, I took out the cabbage and put it in a bowl, the corned beef went on a platter and I put the veggies underneath on yet another platter. Then I plated my St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

It was excellent, especially the rutabagas. I’m afraid I didn’t allow for shrinkage and my idea of eating Rueben sandwiches all next week will not happen. There’s just not that much corned beef left.

When everything cooled, the put all the leftovers in the fridge, including the au jus. The soda bread went into the trash. I finished the evening in grand Irish style by watching “the Quiet Man” on the Turner Classic Movie channel.