Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tuesday, and the party's in John's driveway...

Well, yesterday night was interesting! About a year ago, Carla's brother had offered them a car (Isuza Impulse) that he was restoring. At that time, they decided to stick with the lower cost of owning only one vehicle. But, this fall and winter, Carla's schedule at college is such that this is no longer practical. So, they accepted her brother's offer.

They found a car hauler to pick it up in South Carolina and deliver it to my house (their apartment complex not being car hauler friendly).This was supposed to happen on Wednesday.

But, the guy called Jake around 5:30 PM last night and said he was at Middlebelt and I-96 (about four miles from me). So, Jake got Carla and they came over. Meanwhile I talked with the driver and his wife when they got there.

The guy had a pickup with a fifth wheel and trailer. The trailer held four cars, and one of the cars he had to take off to get to the Impulse was a beautiful 1968 Ford Cougar convertible. I had people stopping in their vehicles and coming out of the townhouses to look at that car. It was like a block party or something.

Things finally quieted down around 8:00 PM. I heated up the leftover linguine with clam sauce for dinner and watched TV.


"Age had finally taught me that there was a time to go with the season, to let go of the world's seriousness, to leave the terrible obligation of defining both yourself and the world to others."

~ A Stained White Radiance by James Lee Burke

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Still raining Monday night. This put a rubber stamp on what my aching shoulder has been telling me all day: No heavy-duty projects tonight!

I did go out during a drizzle period and planted the arborvitae. I was concerned a bit that the ground would be saturated but it was only wet a few inches down. It looks funny, being about two feet shorter than the ones I planted when I first moved here. Would have taken a picture, but, hey, its raining!

Also, put on new chains for my four hanging pots in front. Noticed when I moved them to paint that the original chains were rusty, so I picked up some new ones last Saturday.

I was getting quite a collection of Italian (plum) tomatoes, so I sliced them up, arranged them on a platter, drizzled them with olive oil, then added salt, pepper, fresh chopped basil and crumbled blue cheese. Excellent snack!

For dinner, I took about a quarter of the smoked pork loin, shredded it with two forks, added barbecue sauce and slowly warmed it up to make pulled pork sandwiches. I put them on onion Kaiser rolls, with some chips and some pepperocini. Excellent dinner, too.

Couldn't sleep, so I sat on the front porch around 11:00 PM and watched it rain for a while. Checked the rain gauge this morning, and this weekend's weather gave me just over 1 1/2 inches of rain (we are still an inch less than the normal August amounts, though).

Late Night Thought...

God put a mark on Cain and banished him for killing his brother Able.

Stop and think about it. If you are the son of Adam and Eve, who else could you kill but a family member? Duh...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rainy days and Sundays always bring me down...

Sunday was a washout, weather-wise. It was supposed to stop raining by noon, so I went grocery shopping early (figuring I'd paint later). Got home and got everything put away, then changed clothes to resume porch work.

Finished scrapping off the old paint with my portable drill, then spackled every last screw. This took forever. In the middle of spackling, I had to stop and get the barbecue ready for today's Sunday dinner. I had a three pound pork loin marinating in apple juice since Saturday morning. Now I need to smoke it for about two hours (or until the inner temperature reaches 150 degrees). So, I got the 'Q set for indirect heat, put in a drip pan, started the coals, added wet hickory chips and the pork loin. Back to work... stopping every now and then to add more wet wood chips when the smoke was dying down.

Finished spackling, and starting to put up masking tape. Then I taped newspaper over it to catch drips. I had called Luanne Friday night and asked about painting bead board (the ceiling of their dining room is made from it). I was trying to find out what thickness/nap roller I would need. She said that nothing they tried with a roller worked, you had to paint it with a brush! Groan...

Got the paint and a brush and started in. Got about halfway when the pork loin was done. Stopped to make dinner (pork loin, squash and mashed potatoes with gravy). I had to use a jar of store-bought gravy (no pan drippings). Very good, with a nice apple/smoky flavor.

Reluctantly (and I do mean reluctantly!) went back out to finish painting. Started to get dark, so turned on the porch light and finished it. Cleaned up my stuff, put the furniture back, took a shower (the heat and humidity were terrible all day, BTW) and went directly to bed!


Sunday dinner, plated.


Sunday dinner in the making, a smoked pork loin


The ceiling, half painted (I was running out of daylight and thought I'd better get a picture when I could)


Overkill on the masking tape, etc.? You've never seen me paint!


The bane of my existence this weekend (try climbing up and down on this for two days!)


The same screws,after spackling (My God! They've disappeared!)

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Some of the gazillion screws I put in the bead boards

Saturday moanin'

Yesterday, it seemed to take forever to get all my errands done. I did stop at Clyde's Nursery to ask if they had moss (no, they don't carry it) and found they had all their nursery stock at 50% off. Sadly, they only had one arborvitae left, but I bought it for 12 bucks! Now, I just have to find the time to plant it...

Anyway, got the right size deck screws (1 5/8"), new house numbers in brass, more paint, etc., from Home Depot. Ate lunch there (well, the hot dog girl was this cute little blond, lol! I was going to say she was young enough to be my daughter, but since my youngest daughter is going to be 36, I'd have to say she was young enough to be my granddaughter ) so I had a polish sausage with mustard and onions on a bun...

Back home, I got to work! Screws on the inside chalk lines went in okay, but incredibly slow. Had to keep moving my stool, put in ten or so, get down, move the stool, put in ten more, and so on. Ones on the outside didn't go so good. They split the wood. So, I had to pre-drill every damn one! Used a whole box of the screws, plus a few more 1 1/4's (so I didn't have to go back to the store). This took almost three hours!

Then I got a four inch wire brush wheel and started to remove the flaking paint. Got about 3/4 of the ceiling done when the drill burned up! Now, I'm ticked!

Started taking it apart, looked at the clock and saw it was almost 7:00 PM, so I left it on the workbench, went inside, got a drink and made dinner (my old favorite, linguine with clam sauce). Watched some TV (nothing good) and went to bed. Woke up at 5:00 AM, listened to the rain, but couldn't fall back asleep, so here I am.


Put on some mortar repair stuff I got at Home Depot.


The mortar is missing from this spot on the porch.


The honeysuckle vine is growing slowly, but has a long way to go.


The Virginia creeper (or trumpet vine) gets the idea and is going to town!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Saw this one and smiled...

"Jesus loves you, but I'm His favorite!"

Saw this one and laughed out loud...

"I love you more today than yesterday. Yesterday you really pissed me off!"


Where the white metal house numbers were...


Chalk lines mark the joists on the porch ceiling.


The porch ceiling beadboard, coming undone (hey, at least it made it easy to find the joists!)


The bulbs Luanne sent are finally starting to bloom.


The 10 garden orchids (Acidanthera) begin to bloom

Olde but a goode...

One of my favorite old rock and roll songs was Chuck Berry's "You never can tell." Since I realize less than maybe 10% of you would have ever heard it (Classic Rock is now music from the 60's, 70's and 80's, and this was in the 50's) I will reproduce the lyrics, but I urge you all to listen to it someday. It was from a far more innocent time (girls weren't all bitches and ho's, for example) when we still had hope...

You Never Can Tell
~Chuck Berry

It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished 'em well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
"C'est la vie," say the old folks, "It goes to show you never can tell."

They furnished off an apartment with a two room Roebuck sale
The coolerator was crammed with TV dinner and ginger ale
But when Pierre found work, the little money comin' worked out well
"C'est la vie," say the old folks, "It goes to show you never can tell."

They had a hi-fi phono, boy, did they let it blast
Seven hundred little records, all blues, rock, rhythm and jazz
But when the sun went down, the volume went down as well
"C'est la vie," say the old folks, "It goes to show you never can tell."

They bought a souped up jitney, 'twas a cherry red '53
They drove it down to New Orleans to celebrate their anniversary
It was there that Pierre was wedded to the lovely mademoiselle
"C'est la vie," say the old folks, "It goes to show you never can tell."

It was a teenage wedding, and the old folks wished 'em well
You could see that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle
And now the young monsieur and madame have rung the chapel bell
"C'est la vie," say the old folks, "It goes to show you never can tell."

Good time... good times... better times...

Friday Night...

Last week when Jake and Carla were over, we had a discussion about the ceiling on my front porch. Other than the area around the garage door, the garage man-door, the porch post and railing, its the only exterior wood on the house. Jake said he thought it was rotten. After they left, I carefully inspected it and found it was not rotten, it is just poorly installed bead board. After all these years (54 years to be exact) it had come loose in several places and gave the illusion of being spongy.

So, as part of the "paint everything wood outside" project this summer, I felt it was time to address it. Tonight, I determined the location of the joists, used a chalk-line to lay them out, moved all the porch furniture into the garage, and then went to screw them all in tight. I plan on using spackling compound to cover the screwheads, then painting the ceiling the same color as the garage door.

Problem! The one inch deck screws were too short, and the 2 1/2 inch deck screws too long. So, the project is on hold until tomorrow, when I can get the right size deck screws. I then took down the metal address numbers on the porch post. I had planned on painting them gold and re-using them, but they were too old and broke when I tried to remove them. See photos.

It was late by then, so I just ate leftovers for dinner and watched some TV.

Friday, August 25, 2006


"Experience is a good teacher, but she sends in terrific bills!"

~Minna Antrim

Rainy Thursday

It rained off and on most of Thursday (although it was only supposed to in the morning). Checked last night and had a 1/2 inch of rain in the gauge.

So, while I had planned on going home and doing some outside painting, I couldn't. Instead, I thought I'd get a jump on the weekend chores. So, I swept and mopped the kitchen, bathrooms and downstairs floors while doing two loads of laundry. Supper was fried eggplant after 8:00 PM.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wednesday, and no leaks!

I swapped the water shut off valve at lunch for the right one. When I got home, I installed it and the new waterline without a hitch.

To celebrate, I grilled a steak and topped it with chive butter and sauteed mushrooms. I steamed fresh cauliflower as the side. Both were delicious!

Overnight rain predicted never showed, but a small shower came through around 6:00 AM. It had finished by the time I left for work, though.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Original, leaking, water shut off and water line (circa 1950)


New shut off and water line (bowl is to ensure it don't leak!)

Quote (and something to think about)

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

~ A.A. Milne

Great Line!

A friend in one of my poetry clubs, David, wrote an outstanding poem. I won't duplicate it here, but did want to share the one line I thought was perfect (you should read this out loud)

"Like wood smoke on the wind..."

Tuesday Night

Well, Tuesday was a bit frustrating! After all the messing around with the main toilet, I noticed it was leaking. Not inside the toilet, mind you, but the shut off valve itself. The valve's probably been there since the house was built (it still had a copper line from it to the toilet) so I bought a replacement one and a new water line at lunch.

When I got home, first thing I did was water all the container plants. Then I filled two buckets full of water (just in case things went horribly wrong and I had to leave the water shut off at the main). Dug out my plumbing tools and went to work...

Damn! Even though I'd measured the pipe, I bought the wrong size replacement shut off! Too late to go all the way back to the hardware store tonight, so put the old shut off back on (turned off) and that toilet was out of commission the rest of the night.


Nobody knows how he got it, but my friend B___ had this picture of me, carving the sea captain in the arbor I built at St. Clair. Good times, good times...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, Monday....

In preparation for Tuesday's garbage day, went and cleaned off my workbench in the garage (l-o-n-g overdue!) Really, the whole garage needs a good cleaning and reorganizing, but I think that's more of a Fall job.

Then checked out the fridge for likely garbage-day candidates. Was being ruthless (you have to be around here. Scruffy won't throw anything away!) then had a long debate with myself about the mashed potatoes left over from Friday. Decided to use them to make one of the few dishes my first wife, Fran, taught me, potato cakes. However, decided to add a little twist to them (need to jazz them up a bit to make them a main dish tonight).

Took half of a medium-sized onion and grated it into the mashed potatoes. Mixed that with a beaten egg and enough flour for the right consistency and fried them in about 1/4 inch of canola oil. A little salt when you first take them out, and bingo! Excellent (see Photos).

Watched some TV, but decided to call it an early night. Was asleep around 10:00 PM.


Potato cakes with onion

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sunday morning, coming down...

Sunday morning, and the baby back ribs have been in the fridge with a brown sugar rub all night. Started the charcoal fire just before 10:00 added the ribs and some damp hickory wood chips to make smoke. Set the timer for 45 minutes (you have to spray the ribs with apple juice every 45 minutes).

Was busy getting stuff ready when Jake and Carla came in! They were supposed to come over at 2:00, but Jake wanted to make me breakfast. So, he fried up pork sausage patties while Carla made big biscuits. Yum!

We played some cards while we were waiting (Jake won). Jake and Carla also went and played some horseshoes (I did not, as my arm still hurts) and Carla won.

I fixed shrimp-stuffed deviled eggs as my appetizer. I made the sides (sweet potatoes wrapped in tinfoil and baked on the grill and grilled asparagus). I also baked a Grits pie. Sounds weird I know, but I wanted to try it. Not bad, it had a custard-like flavor. Oh, and I served it with homemade whipped cream.

I thought the ribs were a bit overdone, but all in all, it was a very good day!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Newt's home, upgraded


You can see the grey caulk I used that compels me to have to paint it.


Next spot to paint (when my arm feels better)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The rest of Saturday

Began the cleanup of Newt's home. Newt himself has been banished to a glass bowl with an inch of water and a saucer on top, sitting on the fridge. He keeps peering at me with a rather quizzical look whenever I walk by.

Used a razor scraper on the glass to get off the crud/stuff that accumulated on the inside glass. Cleaned out the filter, replaced all the guts (charcoal, bio-bag, etc.) Emptied the old water and gunk (had to bail it out, as I cut off the official Newt water suction hose for Jake to use on Carla's departing scooter). Washed off the plastic plants with a baking soda/salt mixture. Reassembled, added water and checked the clock: 3:00 PM (so, it took about two hours). Took a picture for the Photo section. Ran the filter for an hour to make sure the water was okay, then introduced Newt to his remodeled digs...

Used the old Newt water to water the hanging plants, BTW. I think they like the gunk!

Started to accumulate recipes. Earlier today, I emailed Jake and Carla, reminding them that summer was fleeting, (fast!) and invited them to a barbecue Sunday. They agreed, so I took out a rack of baby back ribs to smoke. It's the sides that are giving me grief.

Watched "We were soldiers, once" on DVD (I bought it a while ago) and came apart at the usual spot (not sure why I do that to myself, but I really like the movie).

Broke the bathroom glass while taking my night-time med. Swept the pieces up, but was scared to go in there with bare feet the rest of the night, so I used the other bathroom.

Saturday morning, over easy...

Woke up this morning to a wonderful sound... The sound of rain! Yes, it was a gentle rain falling. Even though I stripped the bedding and started a load of wash, I decided NOT to jump into all my ToDo projects. So, I fried up some bacon. I was going to go with the traditional bacon, eggs and maybe grits breakfast, but my plum tomatoes from the back garden caught my eye. And, I ended up making a BTL sandwich on toasted sour dough bread. EXCELLENT!

Still in my robe, I made coffee and drank a cup while sitting on the couch, reading and listening to WCSX's "Over Easy" program. The rain stopped about 10:00 AM, so I decided I should get moving as well. Shaved and showered, then went off on some errands. Oh, almost forgot! I checked the rain gauge and I had about 1/2 inch of rain. My gardens, my lawn and myself all thank you, rain gods!

First the bank for some money, then Home Depot for some brown paint that matches my trim (remember, I added a wood strip that I caulked to the garage door opening? Well, now it also has to be painted brown.) But, I am thinking I will wait to paint until my arm and shoulder stops throbbing.

Then got a tank of gas and stopped at Farmer Jacks to pick up some items I am out of. Came home and unloaded.

There are two indoor projects today that I am focusing on (there's about 15 indoor/outdoor items on the list, BTW): Clean out Newt's aquarium and really deep-clean the bath tub/bathroom area.

So, now that I've caught you up, I am off to get to work...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday night

Friday night, I got off work a little early (meeting at Building 50, right by my house). So, I stopped at Farmer Jacks to pick up some eggs and mushrooms. They had hardy mums for just $5.99! Great price for mums around here. So, since (as Lu predicted) the pansies died with the hot weather, I picked up one to replant the mailbox garden.

Dug out the dead/dying pansies and planted the mum. Does anyone know if I should deadhead a mum? I'd like it to flower into the Fall. Please comment if you know the answer.

Took before and after pictures of the mail box garden.

Posted those pictures, and the final pictures of the doors and the newest (sigh) color. Not worth mentioning, but my arm has been killing me all day (I'm guessing from painting - yet again - yesterday).

I hate growing old...


Mailbox garden, with the dead/dying heat-killed pansies (sad)


Mailbox garden, with my $5.99 mum.


Jake's patio door, first color (too yellow, grrr!)


Jake's patio door, with the final paint color.


Remember the old, ugly garage side-door?


Side garage door, with final color paint


Garage door, with first color (too yellow, I think!)


Garage Door, with newest color

Hey, Mom!

Today is the Feast Day of St. Helen, or Ellin, a little-known third century saint who may have been the daughter of Britain's pre-Saxon King Cole, the merry old soul in the nursery rhyme.

Happy Feast Day, Mom!


Thursday night, I had three objectives: Get the TV to work (lost the signal sometime Wednesday night, but the cable company said it was at my end, not theirs), touch up the garage door paint job, and water the rear garden.

Worked on the TV when I got home. Tried several suggestions, both from Jake and from B___. Nothing worked! Finally decided to get down the old TV from the attic (not easy, BTW) and plug it in, just to verify cable box was working. Once it was in place, I couldn't remember how to hook up the modulator, so I called Jake. He said to STOP and wait for them to come over. So, I did.

Went out to use a brush on the area I'd seen yesterday morning missing the new paint on the garage door (remember, I rolled it in near darkness, and noticed the missing paint in the early morning light). Upon closer examination in the daylight, there were several places that were either lightly painted, or missing paint altogether. So, gave up on the easy touch up idea, got out another roller and rolled the whole damn thing again. Just then Jake and Carla pulled in.

Well, it wasn't easy for Jake either, but he finally found the problem. Somehow or another, one of the settings on the DVD player (which is hooked up to the DVDR cable box and then feeds the TV) got switched. I thanked them profusely and they left for home. Sorry I made them drive all the way over, but I was glad they got it fixed! Thanks again, guys!

Went out and watered the back garden then. Got done around 9:00 PM, came in and heated up the last of the leftover tacos and refried beans. I was thinking to myself that I hadn't made a new dinner all week!

Watched my TV (of course!) and then went to bed...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today is the birthday of Davy Crockett (1786-1836).

Wednesday night woes

Got home and immediately started to put up masking tape on garage and house doors. Back to endless hours of two-inch brushwork, but I do like the new color a whole lot better. It was getting dark when I finally finished (about 9:15 PM) and cleaned everything up. Will take some photos Thursday after work.

Too tired to make dinner, so reheated second paper pouch of fish (still tasty!)

Started to watch TV, but fell asleep after about 10 minutes...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."

- Mark Twain

It's all about water, baby!

BTW, forgot to mention, but the toilet is still slowly leaking. Used a suggestion from my friend, B___, and turned off the water when the toilet was full in the morning after marking the water level.

When I got home after work, the tank was empty! So, (another of B___'s suggestions) used a Brillo pad and made sure there was no corrosion where the flapper seals. Then adjusted the flapped down just a bit. Let it fill back up and shut off the water again.

Since it didn't rain on Monday, I then went back out and watered (heavily) all the gardens except for the very rear one. This took me until about 8:30. Then I got out the lawn sprinkler (first time this year) and set it in place. Then put on the stove timer for 30 minutes and started dinner.

Dinner was just reheated chicken legs and sweet corn, but still tasty. Timer went off, so went out and moved the sprinkler. I have to move it 6 times to do the main front lawn. So, watched TV until the timer would go off, go out and move the sprinkler, then back to the TV. I finally finished up at 11:30 PM and went to bed...

Hurray! When I woke up this morning, the water level was the same. Proclaimed the toilet leak-free, did a little dance of joy, then went to work...

Tuesday morning...

Tuesday morning I went to the orthopedic surgeon for a check-up on my knee. All of the bone grafts seem to be doing great except for one side at the bottom of my thigh. Still hasn't filled in. Decision? Keep doing what I'm doing and see ya in six months.

Since I took a half day of vacation for the doctors, I stopped and picked up another gallon of paint (hopefully the right color this time) for the garage and house doors. Then off to work...


Just read that Redford is the 25 safest place to live in the US! I knew that, but it makes me feel a bit sorry for those who have to live in ghettos like Livonia and Plymouth...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday Moanin'

Monday was very frustrating at work! My computer hard drive crashed and I was without a computer for most of the day. Funny how much we depend on them these days...

Came home and found Carla watching TV. Seems tonight is "Finish the crate and take it to the shipping place in a U-Haul rental truck" night. So, when Jake got here from work, they took off to get the truck. Meanwhile, I replaced the toilet innards. The little flappy thing I bought and Jake installed on Sunday was obviously not the problem. (It's at times like this when I miss being a renter!)

When they came back, Jake took the mirrors off the scooter and siphoned out all the gas (getting several mouthfuls of gasoline in the process - yuck!) Next we put the crate in the truck, then the scooter in the crate and Jake took charge of strapping it in.

Carla went and picked up some sandwiches and chips from Panera Breads (mine was Turkey and Bacon Bravo - very good!) for our dinner. Finally Jake was satisfied with how it was secured and he screwed on the remaining sides. They left to drop it off about 8:00 PM.

I watched some TV until about 10:30, when I decided I wanted a snack. Had some nice big button mushrooms that would soon be going bad, so baked some stuffed mushrooms. Tried to do it without a recipe (I've made them once before). Not bad, but I remembered too late I needed some cheese in the mixture of pork sausage, bread crumbs, mushroom stems, onions, garlic, parsley and an egg. So, I put it on top.


Monday late night snack: Stuffed Mushrooms

Monday, August 14, 2006


Carla's scooter, strapped in and waiting for the last boards to be screwed on, heading for Minnesota


Sunday morning, and back out shopping (Meijer's sales begin on Sunday). Picked up a few last items. Got home and cleaned the house. Also made some taco filling and refried black beans for later. Finally, the sun was off the garage door, so went out and gave it another coat of paint, along with the Jake's patio door. Paint is not a perfect match - too yellow or something. Decided to paint the garage man-door (It's on the South side of the garage, and never used). It was in pretty bad shape. I had to scrape off the paint in places. But, I did get the first coat on.

About then, Jake and Carla came back with my car. I listened to their stories of their vacation (interesting) and gave Carla part of her birthday present and card. They showed me pictures from their camera on my TV (cool). We had some tacos and beans, plus some excellent blue cheese they brought back. Jake put on the new flapper in my main toilet (it was leaking a bit). Then Carla challenged me to a horse shoe game.

I was ahead something like 18 to 9 and I'm still not sure how she did it, but she beat me 21 to 20! (I will never hear the end of that!)

Then, they left and I put the second coat of paint on the garage man-door. Went in and cleaned up and watched TV for the rest of the evening.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Garage Door, "Before" (Yucky)


Garage Side Door, "Before" (bad photo... Sorry)


Garage door, "Before"


Garage Door, "After"


Jake's Anti-ant Foam


Jake's Patio Door, "Before"


Jake's Patio door, "After"

Satisfying Saturday

I worked my butt off Saturday.

Started out by getting a haircut at 9:30 AM, then went to Home Depot for some paint and painting supplies. (Helpful Hint: Never, EVER go to Home Depot on a Saturday morning when you need to get some paint mixed up.! It's a zoo!) Then went grocery shopping and finally got home just after noon.

This weekend's project is to paint the garage door and Jake's patio door. The garage door is white, and its bothered me since I moved here. When the siding on the house could best be described as almond, why buy a huge white door? Sticks out like a sore thumb. Actually, after being at Home Depot, I know why. Yes, you can get garage doors and storm doors (I need a full-view one for my patio, but that's another project) in almond, but they are all special order, none in stock, and cost more. But, I'm starting to ramble on here...

So, got the hose, scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and washed the garage door. There is a metal strip that covers the edge on one side, but not on the other, so cut some wood strips about 1 inch wide and put it up. Used paintable caulk that had to dry two hours, so I'm off to Jake's patio door.

Jake never used that door while they were here. In fact, he suspected it was the entry point for the little ants Redford is famous for each Spring, so he got some of that spray insulation foam and sealed the bottom (you'll see in the "before" picture). So, I used a razor knife, screwdrivers and a putty knife and with great difficulty, removed it. Then I washed that door. Found the upper edges of the panels had surface rust on them, so got some steel wool and went over it. Did I mention its a steel door, and, while we did paint the inside when we moved here, the outside is still the original blue-gray color? Another odd color-choice.

So, while everything was drying, went inside and had lunch and a 20 minute nap (excellent choice).

Then came out and got started. There are 32 separate panels on the garage door and 6 on Jake's door, so, brush work took a l-o-n-g time, and roller work was a snap. Got the first coat on and things cleaned up just after 7:00 PM. Looks pretty darned good, but will need a second coat on Sunday (groan - my arm is about falling off!)

Went in a made some fried chicken legs, enough for dinner (with leftover sweet corn) and several snacks. Hey, if you gonna make a mess, make a lot of food, right?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Friday's Good Eats

Friday was definitely good eats! Came home for lunch and cut some of the leftover steak (Thursday night's dinner) into thin strips. Put them onto flour tortillas, along with canned roasted red pepper strips (they sell 'em by the pickles and olives) and crumbled blue cheese. Roll them up and eat!

Came home last night and waited until the shadows covered most of the rear garden. Then went out and watered.

For dinner, I tried something I saw a French chef do on TV. I baked cod in a "Papillote" or, as I would call it, oiled parchment paper. First I got a big handful of fresh tarragon and chopped it fine. Then I mixed it with a whole stick of softened butter. Folded the parchment paper in half, then used scissors to make a rough half circle shape. I brushed the paper with olive oil.

I added two cod filets inside the paper, salt and peppered them and added a big dollop of my tarragon butter. Then folded the paper back into my half circle and, starting at the middle, crimped the paper over tightly in small sections. When you get to the end (next to the fold), you twist it to seal it. Then you do the other side. (As I write this, I realize it sounds complicated, but I was lucky and saw somebody do it, so it was easy for me. You, however, are on your own!)

Baked the papillotes (I made up two) for 17 minutes at 375 degrees in the oven. The pouches cook the fish in its own steam and the tarragon butter added just the right flavor. Ate them without any lemon or tartar sauce. Fantastic!

Watched TV until I got bored, then read my book.

Friday, August 11, 2006


"It is maybe not the best choice to have a favorite anything."

The Dalai Lama


Last picture this year (I promise. lol!) of the flox.


I may have overdone spraying herbicide to mark the foul lines for the horseshoe game...


These two fat caterpillars bent over my dill plant! (Click on picture to enlarge, then use your browser's back button to return)


Another view of the sccoter crate


The scooter crate

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thursday Night

So, I stopped at Westborn and got some more sweet corn (even though I swore to Jake I would investigate other veggies I could grille), some mushrooms and (impulse buy) some large green olives, stuffed with blue cheese (OMG! You should taste these suckers!)
Took out the discount steak I bought at Farmer Jack's yesterday ($2.00 off) and rubbed in Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides.

While I was waiting for the lawn service guy to finish, went out and took some pictures of the scooter crate (see Photos). Since we don't have a hi-lo here at Casa en San Jose, the theory is we put the unfinished (so lighter) crate into the trailer/truck/whatever, get the scooter up there, too; put the scooter inside the crate; secure it with strapping to the 2 x 4's; then added the remaining sides and end. At the shipping company, they take it off the trailer/truck/whatever with their hi-lo and life is sweet.

Just went out to water, and found the lawn guy w-a-y in the back, weedwacking (this must be my usual guy, not last time's rookie). So, still have to wait a bit to water.

Finally got to water. Did everything but the back garden. Took until 8:00 PM. Then grilled the corn and steak. It was late after dinner, so just read my book and went to bed.

Thursday, early morning through late afternoon...

Woke up this morning at 3:30 AM WIDE AWAKE. Tried every trick in the book, but could not get back to sleep. So, I read a book until the alarm went off at 5:20. Not sure why, but I was starving for breakfast. And, not just any breakfast, but soft-boiled eggs (can't even remember the last time that I had them). So, I figured my body was trying to tell me something (but what?) and I made some soft boiled eggs. Good!

Came home at lunch again, but this time set my alarm and took a 40 minute nap. Woke up feeling great!

Now it's almost 6:00 PM and I need to water my gardens (showers predicted here never materialized today and next chance of rain is Monday night (maybe). But, the lawn service is hard at work outside, so I can't drag hoses across their path (well, I could, but I'd have to buy new hoses, lol!)


Went home for lunch and found Jake and Carla, busy building a crate! Seems the shipping company the woman who bought Carla's scooter contracted won't ship it without it being crated. So, I watched them for a while as I ate a ham sandwich.

When I got home after work, they were still there. They couldn't find a trailer to rent so the shipping effort will have to wait until they get back from their mini-vacation (its Carla's birthday on Thursday and they are going out of town). So, since they were there, I invited them for dinner.

I simmered bratwurst in beer while we made German potato salad and heated up the grille. Then, I grilled the bratwurst to a nice golden brown. Delicious dinner.

By the time they left, it was too late to address my To-Do list (or so I told myself, lol!) so I read my book.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

A not-so-late-night thought...

...ever since the Viet Nam war, the USA seems to be in a collective Attention Deficient Disorder complex...

Tuesday Night

In spite of having a To-Do list as long as my arm, I took Tuesday night off. There was a message on my voicemail from Luanne, saying she had arrived safely home, so I tried to call my Mom and let her know. But, the phone was busy. Tried again later, but still busy.

So, I made the citrus marinade for more chicken thighs. Got the thighs in a big bag with the marinade and set the timer for an hour. Watched some TV (I have a gazillion shows that taped while I had a houseguest, so I need to either watch them or delete them from the DVDR).

Dragged out the grille and got it fired up. Then I took the two grilled ears of corn I had leftover, and instead of reheating them in the microwave like I usually do, I buttered them and sprinkled on the house seasoning (you remember, salt, pepper and garlic powder) and some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley. Then I wrapped them in tinfoil to reheat on the grill.

Put the chicken on to cook. Couldn't walk away, but didn't need to stand right there, so I offered to play soccer with the little girl across the road (she was bouncing a ball). So, we kicked the ball back and forth for a bit while I watched my food. Told her I had to go, and her Mom thanked me for my time.

Ate dinner, (excellent! Bobby Flay, I think I'm ready for a throwdown with chicken thighs!) cleaned up the mess and watched more TV. When I went out to move the grille back in there was a beautiful full moon out. Temperature was low, so I sat on the porch for a spell. Then went in and went to bed.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Tuesday's Brain Teaser

You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right side is sharp drop off, and on your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the Kangaroo.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Click here for the answer.

Monday Night...

Well, Luanne left for home at 9:00 AM Monday morning. When I got home from work, she called to say she'd made it to the motel in Pennsylvania with no problems so far. The trailer is working fine.

I celebrated the return of my home by sweeping, then washing, both bathrooms, the kitchen and the downstairs floors. Then, while they were drying, I went out and watered EVERYTHING! That took until almost 9:00 PM. Came in and grabbed a bite to eat, watched TV for about 10 minutes and fell asleep.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Another Holiday?

Forgot to mention: Happy Civic Holiday to all my Canadian friends!

Sunday, Sunday...

Sunday morning, I made myself some scrambled eggs with mushrooms and cheese for breakfast (Luanne had her usual oatmeal, treebark, etc.) Then, I got to work!

I weedwacked the front ditch (where the lawn service missed this time - must have been a new kid or something) and around several gardens, trees, etc., that were also missed. Did a little cleaning up of trash, etc., in the next door lot.

Then came the big event of the day. We hooked up the trailer and locked it for Lu's ride home. Next we proceeded to the Farmer Jack parking lot, first to set the electric brakes, then for some serious "backing up" practice. She's pretty much got the hang of it, she just has a tendency to over-correct when the trailer starts to go wrong. I am NOT picking on her, as its been years since I had to back up a trailer but I do remember how frustrating it was!

Then we took a road test and went to Marshalls, Target and Odd Lot, looking for new accessories for the barrister bookcase (sailboat, lighthouse and candles in cork net thingies were not cutting it). I hate shopping, but Luanne had a good time playing "decorator."

We drove home after stopping to fill up her gas tank. Once home, we unpacked our finds. Cleaned off the price tags and set up the new stuff. Looks great! (see photos). I went out and check her oil (okay), windshield washer fluid (low) and coolant (a little low). Topped everything off, and she should be good to go.

Grilled citrus marinated shrimp and sweet potatoes. That, along with Friday's forgotten salad, was Sunday dinner.

Watched a couple of mysteries on TV and called it a night.

Sunday, August 6, 2006


Completed project, with new accessories


Quick trip to Marshall's to change the look of the top of the barrister bookcase.

Workin' Man...

Saturday, I got up, ready to go! Stripped off my bedding and started washing clothes (had to be quiet as Luanne was still asleep). Didn't work, woke her up. Sorry...

First thing was to put the original trailer plug back on the horse trailer, so the electric brakes will work (Luanne had the electric brake unit installed in the Explorer on Thursday). Ended up calling the horse trailer guy to find out correct sequence of green, blue white, etc., wires.

Noticed the Gerbera daisies were starting to bloom again. I was bummed after I dead headed them and then nothing happened. But my friend Cathy, who lives in Canada and first told me about them, said not to worry as the blooms come from the base of the plant and it takes a while. She was right!

Main project for me today was the build the "floating" picture hanger in the living room. I bought a picture (called "Anticipation") that needs to hang over the barrister bookcase, which sets on an angle in the corner.

Jake figured out the angles on Friday for me (I skipped out on a lot of Algebra classes in High School, lol). After much trial and error, mostly error, I designed, built and painted the sucker. And, best of all, my concept worked!!! See photos for the project. That was a little frustrating, but fun!

Then came the not-so-fun project. Helped Luanne wrap each of her kitchen cabinets in heavy duty plastic and load them in the trailer, along with her table and miscellaneous other "stuff". Took from 6:00 PM until after 8:00 until everything was safe and secure. We were both dirty and tired. After showers, we decided that dinner was a bowl of popcorn apiece, her with her book on the couch, me and my book in my bedroom.

Must confess, had to take a pain pill to get to sleep. Too long of a day, mostly standing on the cement garage floor, for my knee...

Friday Night...

Friday night, Jake and Carla came over after work. Luanne made a great salad, but then forgot to serve it when the pizza showed up. We played cards after dinner, and this time Jake kicked all of our butts!

Saturday, August 5, 2006


I need some tall crystal candle holders and candles, but I am pleased!


My God! How does the picture just float like that???


Test fit. Wood still needs to be painted same color as the walls, but my concept worked!