Sunday, July 31, 2011

Slow but Satisfying Saturday

Woke up early at 4:30 AM and started to hustle so I could get to work. Then I realized it was Saturday (has that ever happened to you?) So, I moseyed around and posted the Blog entry about 5:30 AM.

My breakfast was a half a pot of fresh brewed coffee. I was going to make eggs, fried potatoes and the last of the Spam, but I just couldn’t face it. There’s only so much Spam a man can eat (maybe I need a Spam filter). But it is a wonderful tinned meat (as they say in jolly old England) and I do enjoy it occasionally. And, it’s very big in Hawaii, or so I’m told.

I did four new loads of weekend wash throughout the morning.

I tried some of my refrigerator pickles and hot yellow pepper rings for brunch. Both were fantastic, especially the pickles. They had a crunch you never seem to get with store bought. The hot yellow pepper rings left a tingling in my mouth for hours. Trust me on this one, never throw away pickle juice!

I was sorting through my paperbacks to give the ones I didn’t want to the Goodwill Thrift Shop down the road. I found this book called “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr. I don’t know where I got it and don’t think I ever read it. So, I started to. You know me and reading, everything else then took a back seat.

I really need to go up in attic and get a box, so these books can join my fat clothes in the garbage bag on the backseat of my car. That’s to remind me to drop them off. It hasn’t worked in three days, but I think the theory is sound. It also amuses me to think of people at work saying, “Wow! John is really getting old. He’s been riding around with a bag of garbage in his car for three days now!”

I needed some things for my weekend dinners so I made a trip to Westborn. I picked up four ears of sweet corn for tonight (they were eight ears for $2.00, but my state-park grille is too small for eight). For Sunday’s dinner I got four green peppers and a bag of parsnips.

I also picked up some snacks: Four big California plums, three huge California peaches and a container of green grapes (my favorite snack).

I also bought a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes for resupply.

I then stopped at the Feed Store and bought a 40 bag of their Michigan Mix birdseed. Last time I got it, it cost me $15, this time it was $21 ($6 more! They said it was the price of corn).

When I got home and put everything away, I took a break and took a nap.

When I woke up, I got a drink of water and looked out the kitchen window. There was an unbelievable amount of birds flocking to the new bird feeder. I tried to take some photos through the bathroom window. If any turned out, I’ll post them.

I went out and watered the hanging plants. They are, unfortunately, Impatiens, and look like they are dead when it is hot. I was so pissed the second day after I bought them and saw them drooping and all the flowers dead. But they came back with water. It’s just one more pain in the ass.

Then I put the sweet corn in water to soak. I’m trying something new for me here. Now most recipes and cooking shows call for pulling the husks back three inches and stripping out all the corn silk you can get. Then you put the husk back over the ear of corn. I’ve never held with that as I believe the tight husk left alone helps it to steam better. But today I’m trying it, just to see.

I thought about pulling the sink and installing the new faucet, but realized I’d never get it all done tonight and thus would be with no kitchen sink. So I’ll leave it for the morning and read my book, instead (Note: cheap excuse here).

About 7:00 PM, I fired up the lump charcoal in the chimney starter. My neighbor called me over to the fence and asked me if I wanted some cucumbers. I said sure. So, she went and got a couple of beautiful cukes off the fence (Yes, they grow them on the fence as though it was a trellis). We chatted for a while, mostly about her daughter (she’s pregnant again and still unmarried). Her Mom's worried, especially since both her daughter and her boyfriend can only find minimum wage part-time jobs.

I'm so glad that all of my four kids turned out okay. They each have their quirks, but they are okay and that's all that matters. Besides, I'm a little quirky, myself, so they came by it honestly.

When the charcoal was ready, I grilled the sweet corn, turning it a little every five minutes or so. When it was done I put on a T-bone steak that I’d seasoned with just salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. I also put on a Vidalia onion I’d peeled, cut in half and oiled. I husked the sweet corn wearing my work gloves into a paper bag (it’s too messy to do in the house). When the steak was ready, I put everything on a platter and went back inside.

I ate dinner watching an old movie. The steak was perfect and the corn was excellent (so much for my old theory). The only disappointment was the onion. It was a little crunchy. I should have started it earlier than the steak.

I fell asleep before the movie ended. When I woke up for a bathroom break, I turned everything off and went to bed for real.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quote of the Day...

"They who would be young when they are old, must be old when they are young."

~ John Ray, 1670

Finally Friday

Sidebar: Why is it that short weeks always seem so long?

Heavy thunder and lightning woke me up early Friday morning. I threw on my shorts and tee and went and sat on the porch around 2:30 AM. It was an impressive show, but not as much rain as yesterday.

The storm cleared up around 8:30 AM. I went to the Newburgh Grille and had a bowl of clam chowder for lunch (not as good as mine, but not bad). Then I went to Lowe’s and bought a new bird feeder (mine was wiped out by yesterday’s storm), more replacement lawnmower blades for the riding tractor, some double-A batteries and a new faucet.

You see, the water pressure in the kitchen is really bad again from the sediment buildup. For a change, I listened to my brother Carl. So, instead of buying the replacement stems again for $40, I bought a whole new faucet for $89. I also bought another brand, so maybe replacing the stems will be easier. None of this will be solved until I replace the old water heater (but that’s a big chunk of change).

BTW, it was already hot and steamy at noon.

Back at home, I checked the rain gauge. Last night’s storms were more impressive than the ones the day before, but I only got one inch of rain in the gauge. However, its amazing how much better the lawn is looking.

I treated the cats and changed clothes then turned on the nightly news. I stripped the bed and got a jump on the weekend wash. When the news was over, I started thinking about dinner. But the phone rang. It was my daughter, Melissa, so I sat on the couch and we chatted.

As it started to get dark, the fireflies began to flicker. I do believe this is the best year here ever for fireflies and I do love fireflies.

Finally, Melissa said it was 9:30 PM and she should make some dinner. I laughed and said I needed to do that too. So, we said our goodbyes and hung up.

I remade the bed and then started dinner.

I sauteed a sliced Vidalia onion until it was soft while I sliced up some of the leftover potatoes. I threw the potatoes in the pan to warm them while I warmed up two more slices of the Spam in the microwave.

I plated it and then went to see if there was anything on TV. If there was, I couldn’t find it. So, I watched a taped cooking show or two and then went to bed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy SysAdmin Day!

The last Friday in July is SysAdmin Day. So, don't forget to buy them card or better yet, donuts. They love donuts!


There was ponding all over the roads on the way into work. Thunderstorms ended just before 11:00 AM here (which was lucky as I had an 11:00 AM meeting across the street).

I didn’t go home for lunch, just grabbed a bite at the local Big Boy.

It was sunny, hot (90 degrees) and humid by 5:00 PM. When I got home after work, the first thing I did was check the rain gauge (but you probably guessed that). I had 1 1/2 inches of rain in it. That should really help the grass.

I did water the hanging plants (they're under the eves of the garage and porch). It was like a steam bath out there!

I watched the news and then made dinner. I hadn’t thawed anything out, so I opened a can of Spam, sliced it and the fried it. I cut up some baby redskin potatoes and boiled them for my side dish.

I ate it watching “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves” and then went to bed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A better look at the angle iron (aluminum). What the hell do you call angle iron that's made out of aluminum, anyway? Angle aluminum? I dunno.
The garage door repair (full width strut and half width angle iron (aluminum)
The hanging plants I bought
The mulch in the front of the house
Mulch on the North side of my house

Finally, some sleep...

I slept lousy Tuesday night. I went to sleep at 11:00 PM and woke up at 12:30 AM, wide awake. I laid there in the dark trying to fall back asleep (how boring). I figured watching TV or reading would just make it worse. I finally dozed off around 4:30 AM and then (reluctantly) woke up to the alarm at 5:30.

So, it was a long, tired day at work. What made it even worse is the woman who shares my cubicle didn’t get much sleep, either, and kept saying she really needed a nap and yawning.

I went home at lunch and tied up the tomato plants to the top rung of the trellis. Well, five of the six, anyway. The sixth never grew past the first rung, although it has a nice looking tomato on it that is just now turning red.

It was sprinkling when I got home from work, with occasional thunderstorms forecast. But I watered the raised bed garden anyway (occasionally, the occasional thunderstorms never show up here).

I had a sandwich for dinner and then heard the rumble of thunder after 8:00 PM. The wind was from the West, so I opened my North-side bedroom window (I like to listen to thunder).

I went to bed at 10:30 PM and only woke up twice during the night, falling back to sleep with ease.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

I took Monday and Tuesday off as vacation days, so I had a four day weekend. Saturday and Sunday I mostly relaxed. I did talk with my sister-in-law Coletta (she called to thank me for her birthday card) and my brother Jim (who asked me to tell Melissa what a great job she did cleaning the cottage.

So, I called Missy and we chatted for a while. I also talked with B___ and Jake. I did read some books and watched some TV shows but I was incredibly tired, so mostly I slept.

But today, I got off my lazy butt and cut all the grass and spent the evening watering the worse spots.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Interesting Interlude

Friday seemed to be a long, long day. I got to work about a half hour late (I shut off the alarm and went back to sleep – it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

But the day just dragged on and on. I went home at lunch and ate another mediocre tomato sandwich (I’m so bummed.)

Back home after work, I stripped the bedding and started the wash. I stuck the John Stewart album Melissa had sent me in the computer (I don’t have a CD player) and cranked it up. It tore me up (but I knew it would). The only thing I can compare it to is early James Taylor music. I ‘m not sure why, but it touched me deeply.

I think you would have been born on a farm. He talks about Kansas but he touches this Michigan’s boy’s heart.

I warmed up two of the grilled ears of corn for my dinner.

I was chilling and dozing when the doorbell rang about 10:30 PM. I got up and grabbed the shotgun (I don’t live in the best neighborhood, here) and turned on the light in the living room. A young, well-built black guy turned and saw me with the shotgun and jumped over the railing! Crap! I hope he didn’t screw up my mulch.

I don’t know what that was about, but I racked the gun and went back to bed.
I've been there! Original on YouTube at Simon's Cat.

Friday, July 22, 2011


It was the hottest day so far here in southeast Michigan on Thursday (101 degrees F. at 5:00 PM). We broke two records, both the low temperature this morning and the high temperature this evening.

I went home at lunchtime and made myself a tomato sandwich. I cut two thick slices of the "Rustic Italian" bread and toasted them. Then I cut two thick slices of tomato. I slathered the toast with mayonnaise, added the tomatoes and then hit them with salt and pepper.

I was right about the mediocre tomato (if they don't smell like a tomato, they don't taste like a tomato) and was generally unimpressed with my lunch.

It was so hot here when I went home after work it took your breath away. My air conditioner was running constantly but it was still almost 80 degrees in the house.

I got my second Father's day present from Melissa (the first was a quart jar of moonshine that I didn't get because I didn't make it out to the cottage when they were here - so it went back to North Carolina to be picked up later). I was bitching about losing my double album of John Stewart's Phoenix concert, so she went online (as we talked) and ordered me a new CD. Thanks, babe!

But, I had my six ears of corn soaking in the stock pot since yesterday and a rib steak thawed out so I knew I had to grille my dinner.

I waited until sunset (not that it was that much cooler) and then fired up the lump charcoal in the chimney. I roasted the corn and then grilled the steak.

I ate dinner (it was excellent) watching TV, and then went to bed early.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot Wednesday

I called Mike’s Garage Door Service again on Wednesday morning, since they hadn’t called me back regarding an appointment. She said a technician would be out on Thursday between 2-5:00 PM (this is like the cable company!) I said, “Sure.” (What choice do I have?)

Then she called me back and said a technician finished early and could get to my house by 11:00 AM today. Could I be there? Hell, yes!

I left work at 10:30 AM so I could stop by Westborn before I went home. They have their hanging plants on sale (I suppose it's getting late in the season) and I figured since I didn't plant anything in the front gardens this year, the least I could do is get some hanging plants.

I also got some sweet corn, Pinconning cheese, a loaf of that "Rustic Italian" bread, Romaine lettuce, some small cucumbers and two big tomatoes. I wasn't impressed with the tomatoes (I couldn't smell "tomato" and that's the key to good tomatoes). But that's all they had.

I was standing in line when my cell phone went off. It was 10:45 and it was the door guy who said he was already at the house! I said give me 10 minutes and I'd be there.

So, I raced home and met him. He dragged in a step ladder and a big tool box and I left him to his work. It took him about an hour. But he reset the tracks, got the wheels installed, put a piece of angle iron (well, aluminum) on the bottom panel where it had cracked and a full-width strut on the second panel (it had buckled a bit and he said it would eventually break with use). He also reset and oiled the cables and tightened the spring. He lowered the actual garage door opener (I had installed it when I moved in) because he said it was a little too high for correct usage.

All this cost me $130.00. Seeing as how a new door would have cost me a good $700+, I was happy.

It was incredibly hot outside when I got home. I gave up on grilling outside (or doing anything outside). I did check on the raised bed garden, after seeing how beat down the wave petunias were from yesterday’s storms).

Now, I have no means at present to be self-sufficient (you need a lot more room than I have). I grow my own veggies as a source of pleasure, not a chore or a need. I did pick the hot peppers (those curious ones that are so small and so deadly) and will give them to Jake.

I also picked a hot yellow pepper and sliced it up. I stuck that in my jar of saved pickle juice as well as three or four cucumbers I quartered. We’ll see in a week or so how this experiment turns out.

I did call and check on Lu after watching the evening news. They kept talking about the effect the heat would have on people with asthma, so I wanted to warn her (this heat is moving that way). But, she sounded better and is now forewarned.

I ate the last of the potato salad and the last two hot dogs for dinner and went to bed early.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hotter than the hubs of Hell!

It's just after 6:00 PM and it's 93 degrees F. and humid, so the heat indices says it feels like 103 degree F.

To give you an example, I saw several of the squirrels outside, fanning their nuts!

Tuesday's Tale

I went home at lunch on Tuesday to meet with the estimator for the garage door. He did show up and checked out the door. He said I didn’t need a new door (Thank God!) but the service call would cost me $100.00. Seemed excessive for what I need, but they also make sure the tracks are straight; they oil the cables and grease everything. So, for the price, it should be worth it.

He said they would call me on my work cell phone to set up the appointment, but nobody called...

BTW, going outside anytime after 10:00 AM took your breath away! We are on the way to break the record of 11 days with temps over 90 degrees F. (set in 1953).

Back home after work, I treated the cats. It’s funny, but they are focused on the garage door going up. When I walk in the front door instead, they are sleeping and not pestering me about their stupid snacks.

I did more cleanup for a while and then started working on dinner. I noticed the remaining Yukon Gold potatoes were starting to sprout (the baby redskins are doing okay). So, I cut the Yukon Gold potatoes into chunks and boiled them in cold, salted water. When they were fork-tender (and yes, I used a fork – a paring knife will mislead you), I drained them and let them cool. Then I stuck them in the fridge.

I cut up three hardboiled eggs into large chucks, diced some celery and fine-diced a half of a Vidalia onion. When the potatoes were cold, I mixed them with the other veggies. I made a dressing with mayonnaise, some sour cream and a shot of pickle juice (I suppose I should be able to give you correct measurements, but it was more like a glop of this and a glop of that and a glug of pickle juice).

Speaking of pickle juice, here’s a hint: never throw that away. You can add small cukes or, in my case, I have hot yellow peppers sliced and stuck in the old jar. They won’t last as long as normal canned pickles or peppers, but they will work in the fridge for a couple of weeks and taste great.

I seasoned it with salt, pepper and dried parsley, let the potato salad chill in the fridge for a while and then ate it with the last two hot dogs.

I’m not sure why, but I was really beat, so I went to bed around 9:30 PM.

Food Dream

I woke up Wednesday morning at 3:30 AM after having a very vivid dream about being back on the farm and eating my Mother's stuffed green peppers.

The funny thing about that is I really don't know how she made them. I know there was hamburger, rice and onions in the stuffing, but maybe more stuff. (Tomatoes? Cheese?) I think she cooked them in either tomato soup or tomato juice. I just don't know...

But, they were apparently good enough to dream about 50 years later!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Song Snippet

"Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed
That I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed
I ain't ready for the altar but I do agree there's times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine"

~ America
~ Written by Gerry Beckley

From my very strange brother Carl


Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica....where do they go?

Wonder no more ! ! !

It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintaining a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout it's life.

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

"Freeze a jolly good fellow"

"Freeze a jolly good fellow."

"Then they kick him in the ice hole."

Rainy Days and Mondays...

I left early on Monday morning so I could stop at Home Depot before work. I got four small tubes of clear silicone caulk. Yes, it would have cost me about half of what I paid if I’d have bought the big tube that you put in the caulk gun, but you have no idea how many of those I’ve had to throw away when they hardened up over time.

So, at lunch, I raced home and changed clothes (I had to lie on the floor, you see). I caulked the edge of the tile and the underside of the sink. Then I picked it up and set it in place (only getting a little of the caulk on me, but that was enough).
Then I hooked up the two waterlines and the two drains. I turned on the water and both of the shutoffs started to drip. So, I tighten up each of them and placed a dish under each to see if that worked.

I turned on the water in each sink and checked for leaks in the drains. There were none.

So, I turned on the dishwasher (for the first time in like a month) and washed a load of dishes!

I washed my hands, changed my clothes and then went back to work. I called a local garage door sales and service and the estimator is supposed to meet me on Tuesday at 1:00 PM.

We had a wicked thunderstorm from about 3:00 to 4:00 PM. The wind was fierce and the rain came down in sheets, while the thunder boomed. When I got home after work, I checked the rain gauge and we got 1/2 inch of rain (that should help the lawn) but the temperature and humidity was still bad.

I found that I had lost power and had no TV (still had phone and internet though, so I knew the line hadn't gone down. Took forever to get through to my cable company, but I finally did. The lady sent a signal to my box and I was back up. Then I went around and reset all the digital clocks.

I spent most of the evening cleaning the house (well, starting to, I suppose. There’s a lot more to do.) About 9:00 PM, I realized I was hungry, so I popped a Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie in the microwave. I ate that watching some TV but fell asleep before whatever the hell I was watching was finished.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I can’t catch a break!

In spite of staying up late, I only slept in until 6:00 AM. But, that was good! Today is the start of at least a week-long heat wave. I heard its supposed to be worse in Minneapolis – triple digits, while we’re only supposed to go to the mid-nineties with high humidity (poor Amy and her Carls). So, whatever I do outside has to be done this morning. I might point out its already 75 degrees with 84% humidity. I shaved and showered and threw on a t-shirt and shorts.

So, I started out putting down landscape fabric and mulch on the garden strip on the south-side of the garage. I also hooked up the square head sprinkler and watered the raised bed garden.

Now, the landscape fabric is a double-edged sword. I want it so the grass can’t grow up through the mulch, but I need to leave just mulch (no fabric) in spots where I know (or I think I know) where the hyacinths and daffodils are sleeping. I had to do the same thing out front. When I had the mulch down, I watered the p*ss out of the garden (it was bone dry).

Then I moved to the patio gardens. I used a line trimmer to cut out all the grass and then laid down the fabric and mulch around and between the day lily and the tarragon.

Next, I went in the garage and got out a bag of river rocks I bought a couple years ago. I put that under the State Park grille as mulch. I went back in the garage and got out a rake.

That’s when all hell broke loose. I pushed the button for the garage door to close it (as I was working out back). I started into the house when I heard an awful screeching noise, turned and the garage door was all jacked around and half off the tracks!

My first fear was that it would fall on the bike or the car. But, it didn’t. Then I thought, how the hell am I going to get to work tomorrow with the car inside and a busted garage door?

I couldn’t find any reason for this. The only thing I could think of was a shovel or something moved under the door when I was getting the rake. But, if it did, it bounced back because nothing, nothing was in the way.

The garage door opener wouldn’t take the door up or down, so I pulled the release and slowly worked the door up and down (mere inches at a time). I finally got it up enough to fit the car under it. So, I pulled the car out, parked it in the driveway and locked it.

Sweating my *ss off, I slowly got the door back down, so the garage was secure. I decided I needed to finish out back first before working on the garbage disposal and now the garage door. So, I did.

I got the reflecting pool area mulched and cut down the weeds that had grown around the garden on Jake’s patio. Then I used the landscape fabric and mulched that garden.

By now, it was almost 11:00 PM, I was drenched with sweat (I had remembered to drink a whole glass of water about every 15 minutes) and I still hadn’t gotten to today’s project. But, I took the time to water the hell out of the new mulch and herb gardens.

Oh, I forgot to mention, since the chives had already flowered and the oregano was flowering, I cut them down (chives get hard when they are too old and I have no patience this year to dry out oregano) So, I am hoping for another crop before fall.

I can’t believe that summer is half over, BTW.

Before going back inside, I cleaned out the reflecting pool and stuck the hose in it. I turned the water on low and set the timer for one hour. I have found this not only cleans out the reflecting pool, but waters the Japanese maple as well.

I sat in the A/C and chilled for a bit.

Reluctantly, I got back to the garbage disposal. I moved the kitchen chairs into the living room, slid the table off to the side and set up my saw horses. Then I disconnected the other drain and the two water lines. I pried up the sink enough to get my fingers under the rim and picked it up. There were still a few places when the silicon caulk held, but no big deal (remember, I’d already loosened it with the bottle jack, LOL!)

With the sink upside down on the saw horses, I took the garbage disposal and shoved it in place. Easy peasy! You see, with holding the sink in with just caulk, I couldn’t shove it hard enough from the bottom without just moving the sink, before.

I got a chisel and dug out all the caulk from the sink rim. Then I used a painter’s knife to scrape the caulk off the counter tiles.

I went to the cupboard and that’s when the project ground to a halt! I didn’t have any clear silicon caulk left. It was already after 5:00 PM, hot as hell and I figured I could go one more day without the kitchen sink (it’s been like a month, now). So, I'll pick some caulk up tomorrow and finish this.

I went back to the garage and tried to get the one wheel back on track and/or get the garage door opener locked back into place. Neither one worked. I have learned (I hope) from the garbage disposal and think I will call a garage door company Monday and have them come out and look at it.

I wasn’t really hungry, so I just made two small baked potatoes and ate them with butter sour cream, salt and pepper.

I watched my Sunday night shows, but fell asleep around 10:00 PM.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I did it!!!

Talkative Saturday

I woke up on Saturday and closed the windows before it got warm outside.

My friend B___ called with a complaint. He said I called his house at midnight and hung up. It took me a while, but I figured that out. I was erasing numbers form my caller ID on the handset and must have pushed “Talk” by mistake. We talked for a long time (for us) and then I started vacuuming.

I stripped the bedding and started the weekend wash.

But then Melissa called (Bless her heart) and we talked for a REALLY long time (even for her). When we finally hung up, I went and took the overdue nap I’d promised myself.

It was after 8:00 PM when I woke up. I put the clothes in the dryer and then made dinner. I cooked some hot dogs on the griddle pan. I didn’t have any buns and didn’t feel like going out to get them, so I used sourdough bread instead.

Because I slept so late, I stayed up late, reading a book and then watching Saturday Night Live. I opened the windows again for the last night.

About three o’clock, I woke up for a bathroom break and the security lights were on. I went and got my glasses and checked out the bathroom window for intruders. I saw the intruder: a skunk!

Now, I have seen (and smelt) plenty of dead skunks, but never a live one. He walked over and took a drink out of the reflecting pool and then walked away. They really do move like cats.

Water Boy

I got more of the landscape fabric and mulch put down on the front garden Friday night. I also cut the side lawn (where it’s in the shade) again. I’m still worried about cutting the front lawn.

I ate more of the spare ribs for dinner with wild rice as my side dish.

Once the sun had set, I watered the side lawn between the maple and the road (where its not shaded and is burning up) with the square head sprinkler and then the front lawn with the oscillating sprinkler. I soaked both of them.

It was cool again by the time I went to bed, so I opened a few windows. We’re supposed to get another week-long heat wave starting on Sunday, so I thought I’d enjoy the cool weather while I could.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I stopped at Subway at lunchtime and bought a foot-long “BMT” (their name for an Italian sub). I ate half of it for lunch (after warming it up in the microwave to melt the cheese a bit). The other half will be my dinner. That way I have something quick to eat after class tonight.

I also watered the two container gardens and the raised bed garden and then went back to work.

It was my last class and the feeling was bittersweet. Yes, there were times I had to make myself go, but I think I’m going to miss it. I made some interesting friends (especially the instructor) and exchanged a few email addresses and business cards. I said goodbye to everybody, shook the instructor’s hand and then took the long walk out to the car.

The moon was huge and full and it was pleasantly cool. I drove home, ate the rest of my sandwich and read until I went to bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday's Woes

I forgot to set the alarm, so I was a little late for work and the Blog didn’t get posted.

I went and got six more bags of mulch from Home Depot at lunchtime.

Unfortunately I spent the late afternoon going up and down stairs in two separate building (and two times in each building). So, when I got home, my knees and legs were shot. So, mulching will have to wait. I took the night off.

I wasn’t really hungry, so I just popped some pop corn and ate that (with butter and salt) for a late dinner.


Next quote of the night:

"But, if you are only apologizing for something minor, or apologizing 'spontaneously' for being Canadian..."

~ Nadia G.
Bitchin' Kitchen

[Sorry Cathy, I thought it was freakin' funny at 2:00 AM]

Quote of the Night

"Good people apologize when they do wrong, great people just don't get caught!"

~ Nadia G.
Bitchin' Kitchen

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raising the roof (well, sink) on Tuesday

It was hot and muggy (again) on Tuesday. I didn’t go home for lunch, for a change. I ate at the Newburgh Grille with Jake. I had the ham and bean soup and a mini Greek salad.

So, when I got home after work, the cats were all p*ssed off. But, when I gave them their treats, they backed off.

I relaxed for a bit and returned a couple of phone calls. Then I got started on the garbage disposal again. This time I used Jake’s idea of the bottle jack. It was too short so I cut some 2x4’s to set underneath the jack and raise it up.

I started jacking it up, but the rubber gasket wouldn’t seat, so I jacked it up a little more. I still couldn’t get it, so I got up off the floor. That’s when I discovered I’d picked the whole sink up an inch or so!

It was getting late, so I didn’t have time to try my next (and final idea). I think I will take the whole sink out, lay it on two sawhorses upside down and try to put the garbage disposal in and tighten it down. If it works, I’ll put the sink with the disposal back in place.

I warmed up more ribs for dinner and watched the rest of Lawrence of Arabia. I actually saw that when it came out. The nuns marched us all over to the New Baltimore theater for the matinee and we all got to see it free!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rainy days (lets have more of them) and Mondays

I overslept on Monday (forgot to set the alarm – too busy eating ribs and sweet corn, I guess). We had severe thunderstorm warnings across southeast Michigan in the morning. It sprinkled a time or two and I thought, “Here we go again, all talk and no action.” But, it rained like hell on the way back from lunch. The windshield wipers couldn’t keep up.

When I got home the first thing I did (after treating the cats, of course) was to check the rain gauge. We got just over 1/2 inch of rain in about a three hour period. That should help the lawn and gardens, but there is no rain in the foreseeable forecast.

I noticed I had a voice mail from Lu on Sunday morning. I suppose I was outside moving a sprinkler or something. So, I returned her call and we had a long chat. She’s been really sick and still sounds like it.

We had a disagreement about exactly which sister of Jyl died (I mean I know it was Brenda, but the person I thought was Brenda was not the person Lu described). So, I called Jyl to ask. Sure enough, Lu was right (I hate that).

I ate the last of the sweet corn for lunch, so I “baked” a potato in the microwave and ate that with more warmed-up ribs for dinner. I went to bed early.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday's story

I stayed up watching a movie (Hondo, a western with John Wayne) , after waking up for a bathroom break and I also got started on my Sunday dinner. I greased a half sheet pan with bacon grease and then laid down two sliced onions and some garlic (the recipe called for fresh ginger, but I like garlic better). I took the membrane off the back of the baby back ribs (or you can score it I'm told) and then applied a spice rub I made out of brown sugar, Kosher salt, dried thyme, dry mustard, ground ginger, ground cayenne pepper and ground cinnamon. I set it in the fridge to get happy overnight (You need at least 6 hours).

Anyway, I woke up late on Sunday. I started on the rest of the weekend wash (my shirts, the towels and the bedding). While they were washing and drying, I was outside, moving the sprinkler around, trying to save the grass and herb gardens next to the patio. I didn't really have any breakfast or lunch, I just snacked on grapes when I was hungry.

By the time I had everything hung up or folded (or in the case of the bed, remade), it was after 2:00 PM. So, I started in on my dinner.

I pre-heated the oven to 325 degrees F., put the half-sheet pan in the oven and added a half cup of apple juice (it should have been cider but I didn't have any). Then I baked it for about 2 hours (until the meat was tender and beginning to pull away from the bones) meat-side down and covered with tinfoil. Meanwhile, I put the sweet corn in the stock pot and filled it with water (I used a plate for a weight to keep the corn submerged).

I dragged the big grille out back (the ribs are too long for my new state park grille). I took the ribs out of the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes (or you can go up to 2 hours) while I got the charcoal fired up. I needed two loads of the charcoal chimney starter before I had enough coals.

I roasted the corn first, and then moved them to the cool side of the grille to keep warm. Then I put on the ribs. I grilled them for 5 minutes per side to get a nice char and then basted them with a mixture of Sweet Baby Ray's original barbeque sauce and some bourbon. Now, I know you are probably thinking, "Why didn't he make his own barbeque sauce?" Well, I have tried repeatedly but it never tastes as good as Sweet Baby Ray's! The man has a gift!!

By then it was getting dark, so I turned on the porch light. I kept the ribs on until the barbeque sauce caramelized. Then I took everything inside and feasted!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I didn’t set the alarm for Saturday morning, figuring I had plenty of time to wake up, eat a little cold pizza for breakfast, post the Blog and get to my 9:15 AM haircut.

Wrongo! I woke up at 8:30 AM and barely made it to my appointment with no breakfast.

After that, I went to Westborn and bought a 1/4 chunk of watermelon, a cantaloupe, some green seedless grapes and six ears of sweet corn. I’ve decided to stop going grocery shopping (except for essential products and vegetables and fruits) until I empty out my chest freezer and refrigerator freezer. I have too much stuff in there getting old and throw too much stuff away. It’s just wrong.

Then I stopped at Home Depot and bought (another) new oscillating sprinkler. Now, you may ask “Did he return the other sprinkler?” Well, no. I know exactly where the receipt is. It was in the plastic bag that I later used to fill up the crap I dug out of the kitty litter pan and is currently in the garage in the trash bag.

Now, I apologize to those unemployed or under-employed (as I was for 17 months) but I am not willing to dig through garbage and then through cat shit for a lousy nine bucks.

Back home, I treated the cats (as they demanded), changed clothes and got to work.

I used the line trimmer to trim everything out front and then to clean out the weeds in the front garden. I hooked up the blower and blew all the stuff out of the garden (and off the front porch).

I remembered that my brother Carl said the reason my lilac was so “under-performing” this year was that I didn’t cut off the last year’s dead blooms. So, I got my pruning shears and cut them all off.

Then I plugged in the hedge trimmer and cleaned up all the bushes in front. I raked up all the debris and threw it in the vacant lot next door.

I went back inside and ate the last three pieces of pizza for a late lunch. Then I took a nice long nap.

When I woke up, it was late, but I went back outside and cut the landscape fabric to length. I took out the big rocks I had put there (for an interesting landscape feature) and put some of them on the fabric so it wouldn’t blow away in the night.

Then I buttoned up the house and quit for the night. I cut the cantaloupe in half and seeded it. I ate that watching an “Indiana Jones” movie on the Sci-Fi channel. It tasted so good, I ate the other half later on...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pumpkin Seeds

As a young lad, I was introduced to salted pumpkin seeds by my cousin Ariel (sp). She would bring them out to the cottage and share them with me.

Now, I’m not talking about pepitas, a Mexican variety of roasted pumpkin seeds, lightly salted and delicious too. My friend B___ introduced me to those back in the ‘70s and they were great, but I have no idea where you can find them these days.

No, I am talking about the kind of thick, white-crusted with salt, pumpkin seeds. When she brought them out they came in a small box (smaller than, say, a box of “Good and Plenty’s.” The box was red and had a silhouette of an Indian on the front (I can’t remember yesterday, but I can still remember this – go figure).

Since, as you probably know by now, I like salt more than sugar, these were heaven sent.

I recently saw some (in a tray, not in the red Indian box) and bought them. I am enjoying the hell out of them (it takes me back!)

Ariel, wherever you are, thanks!

Freakin’ Friday

It was hot here again in Michigan with no rain in sight. I went home and cut the side lawn at lunch (its heavily shaded and the only grass that’s still growing). I also watered the container gardens and the raised bed garden. I really should have switched shirts as my back was damp on the trip back to work (I hope I didn’t smell).

I spent the afternoon both doing and trying to document a ridiculously complicated process of entering or deleting IT asset information into PeopleSoft (our ERP system). I think I have about 1/3 of it written down, but it’s a bugger!

When I (finally) got home after work, I’d planned on hooking up the new sprinkler and watering the front lawn. But, the sun was still shining on it (and most of the water would evaporate), so I decided to wait until later in the evening.

Instead, I went inside and started the weekend wash (well, just the pants this time as I’m out and will probably need some to go and get my hair cut in the morning).

I walked out back to secure the few tomatoes that had reached the second tier of the support with the Velcro tape. I love that tape as it works so much better than the twist tie stuff. As I recall, when I was a kid, my Mother used to use her old nylons to tie tomatoes to a stake, but I don’t have any...

I noticed the last few sweet pea pods had matured, so I picked them, shucked them and ate them raw. To me, there is nothing that tastes better from a garden than fresh, raw sweet peas. I also noticed one of the hot pepper plants my neighbor had given me was leaning over, so I staked that. I also noticed it had about a 3-inch pepper on it (with a thickness of less than half a pencil). Unfortunately, I was curious (since none of them came with tags as to what they were), so I picked it and bit into it.


My mouth was on fire (worse than JalapeƱos). I spit it out and ran into the house. My milk (the usual advised remedy) was rancid, so I drank copious (and I do mean copious) amounts of water trying to drench the fire. That didn’t work. So, I chewed five or six salted pumpkin seeds (see next post) and that seemed to help a bit. I don’t know what those peppers are called, but they should be illegal in the US.

About 8:00 PM, the shadows had lengthened on the front lawn, so I went out and hooked up the new sprinkler. I put down a cake pan (to gauge the amount of water), turned it on and immediately checked the pattern. Uh, oh... I placed it in the same spot as the old one and on the house side, it did reach the garden, but on the roadside, it was about 15 feet short!

I went inside to read the box (there were no instructions) and, yes, I had it at the maximum settings. Dammit! I cheaped out and bought a $9.00 (but name-brand) sprinkler. But, I figured some water was better than none. So, I let it run.

I went inside, baked another frozen pizza and watched Turner Classic Movies (they had a Gene Autry movie marathon on) and every hour or so, I’d go outside and check the level of the water in the cake pan.

Finally, about 11:30 PM, I gave up. You need 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to save the lawn and I still had less than 1/4 inch in the cake pan.

So, I went out back to turn off the water and the security spotlights lit me up. I shut it off and I heard a voice say, “Hi!” I looked around, but since I was in the light, everything else was dark. Finally the voice said, “How ya doing?” and I realized it was coming from my neighbor’s house. So, I walked out of the light and saw my neighbor’s wife, sitting on the deck of their pool in her bathrobe, enjoying the coolness of the evening.

I walked to the fence and we had a rather lengthy conversation. We talked about our kids, grandkids, our respective ages, the economy, past histories, jobs, pets, my garbage disposal (she offered her husband's help) and so on. It was very pleasant and the fireflies added a nice touch (but the mosquitoes did not). We finally ended our chat a little after midnight and I dragged in that piece-of-sh*t sprinkler, shut the gate, locked the door and went to bed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thursday’s Tale

It was warm, but not as muggy on Thursday. Still, there is no rain forecasted until at least Monday. Goodbye, lawn!

I stopped at Home Depot to pick up a new oscillating sprinkler at lunch. Knowing it will be a late night (school again) and wanting to save the rest of the Chinese food for my 10:30 PM dinner, I bought a hot dog on the way out. I put on mustard and onions and ate it in the car. Then I stopped at the cleaners to pick up my pants and tie.

After class, I got home, treated the cats and warmed up my food. I ate that watching a little TV and the news. I finally unwound and fell asleep about 12:30.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday's Problems

The temperature and humidity were even worse on Wednesday. They said on the morning news that a cold front would be coming through in the early afternoon, bringing with it a good possibility of severe thunderstorms. Great, I thought, my gardens and especially my lawn really need it!

I started off the day in grand fashion. Something had ripped open the one (very full) garbage bag I had put out to the road on Tuesday night. So I spent a good 10 minutes picking up a week’s worth of smelly garbage and putting it into a new bag. Then I washed my hands and went to work.

I called ahead and picked up a pint of wonton soup and a quart of chicken fried rice from Chins (near my house) for lunch and dinner. I guess I was spoiled after eating at the Rainbow, a Chinese restaurant I found in Farmington when I worked up there. This just didn’t measure up (especially the soup). But, I ate half the soup and 1/3 the rice for lunch.

I waited all day for the rain, but it never came, which is bad as my gardens and especially my lawns are suffering. The lawn (especially out front and around the patio) is burning up!

So, after work and after changing my clothes, I went out and over-watered the container gardens. While I was at it, I dead-headed the wave petunias I’d planted. This consists of pulling off all the dead flowers and encourages the plants to bloom more. However, with petunias, it’s a bit of a pain as they are sticky.

Then I hooked up the square-head sprinkler and watered the raised bed garden. It was impressive enough that I went inside, grabbed the camera and took a picture of it. The picture wasn’t as impressive as the actual view, though, as you didn’t see the rainbow.

I went back inside and posted the picture as well as the one I’d scanned and sent Leon’s daughter, Erin. If you remember, she didn’t know that B___ and I had sung at her parents wedding.

I went back outside around 7:30 PM and dragged the hose out front to save my lawn. I hooked up the oscillating sprinkler. But when I turned it on, the water just dribbled out of a few of the holes! Damn!

Figuring it was plugged up; I turned off the water and disconnected it. I checked to make sure there were no kinks in the hose (there wasn’t) and that the water was flowing freely (it was). Then I took the sprinkler into the garage and tried to clean out the holes with a thin wire. I took it back outside, hooked it all back up and got the same result!

It was already well after 8:00 PM and so I figured using the square-head sprinkler would take me all night (it throws out a lot of water, but only in a very small area). Staying up until midnight and moving the sprinkler over and over didn’t seem like an option, so I gave up. I dragged the hose out back and buttoned the house back up.

I ate another third of the fried rice for dinner (I couldn’t face the soup again) watching some TV. I went to bed just before 11:00 PM.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We were singers once, and young...
Watering the raised bed garden

Quote of the Day...

Did I ever tell you that, after spending my entire early life attending a Catholic school, plus one year in Sacred Heart Seminary studying to be a priest, I practically had the entire Bible memorized? I loved the poetry of the Songs of Solomon (and the sexual connotations) but my favorite verse (although I can't say why) was the following:

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him."

~ Revelation 6:8

Tuesday and Back to Work...

It was hot (89 degrees F.) and muggy on Tuesday.

When I got home after work, I changed into shorts and a tee shirt and started picking up the house. I put one bag of trash out to the road for tomorrow’s garbage pickup.

I just started back on the garbage disposal installation when I realized that the board I cut wouldn’t work (because of the power cord). So, I went out in the sweltering garage and re-cut it.

I was just about to put it in when the phone rang. It was my daughter, Melissa, and we chatted for a while about their recent trip to Michigan and Waconda cottage.

We didn’t hang up until after 9:00 PM, so no garbage disposal installation tonight (she did say I could blame it all on her, BTW).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Catching Up...

No, I ain't dead, I just took the weekend off.

Friday, Carla stopped in at work to see Jake and gave me a little Starbucks Red velvet whoopie pie. It was very messy, but very, very good! I watered the raised bed garden.

Saturday, I slept most of the day. I didn't eat anything and forgot to take my pills. I talked with my Grandson Joe, B___ and my daughter Melissa. I was sleeping with the window opened when somebody shot off a mortar, (scared the crap out of me) so I went outside in the dark and watched fireworks for about an hour out in the street with other neighbors. I had a lot of thunder here, but no rain.

Sunday, I watched movies. Didn't eat anything and forgot to take my pills again. I talked to B___ again (he said I sounded conscious for a change). They are boating on the Fourth. I watered the mailbox and tree box gardens

On the Fourth of July, I watered the raised bed garden again and tied up the tomatoes. I was just starting to make potato salad when my neighbor rang the doorbell. She had some leftover potato salad, so I stuck my roasted potatoes and hard boiled eggs in the fridge and just ate hers (it was damn good, too or maybe I was just hungry). I watched more fireworks from the front porch.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quote of the Day (well, night, I suppose)

"You know someone once said that golf and sex are the only two things you don't have to be good at to enjoy."

~ from the movie "Tin Cup"

Friday, July 1, 2011

And then it was Thursday...

Thursday, I knew it was going to be a long day (college tonight) so I ate breakfast for a change. I had bought two (small) containers of berries at Kroger (2 for $3), one of raspberries and one of blackberries. I “think” that blackberries are what my Mom used to call “thimbleberries” back on the farm. We had a big patch of them (as well as raspberries) and I used to pick them for her (eating as I went).

Anyway, I dumped the container in a bowl, added some cream and ate them – Delicious!

I was still thinking about how dry the grass was, so when I went home at lunch I watered the container gardens and the raised bed garden (both were bone-dry). I took some pictures for the Blog.

When I got home after school, I ate the last of the taco salad I’d made for dinner Wednesday night. I watched the 11:00 PM news and then went to bed.
The little spiraea finally flowers this year
The only Flowers I planted this year #1: the mailbox tub
The only flowers I planted this year #2: the tree box