Sunday, November 30, 2014

Come Saturday morning…

I woke up late on Saturday morning after periods of insomnia. Jake was already making pancakes and pork sausage! It was excellent, but I was too hungry for picture taking.

Carla went off to do Carla things in the morning so Jake and I sat and visited, drinking too much coffee.

I played outside with Whiskey, shooting tennis balls from a gun. Then she ran and fetched. Sometimes she caught them in the air!

We had planned on going to lunch at the Japanese place and getting udon soup (my favorite) with the tempura side and a ginger salad. But that’s all the way back to Columbia and nobody felt like dressing up. So, Carla called and asked if they did take-out. They said certainly, but you have to bring your own containers!


Never heard of that one. Who has three, large (it’s a big cast iron pot of soup) containers with lids that wouldn’t spill?

So, in the end we decided on barbeque. Jake was working on the bike, so Carla and I went and picked it up.

When we got back, we feasted on pulled pork, waffle fries, Polish sausage (topped with spicy BBQ sauce), mac & cheese, and coleslaw. Excellent.

BTW, it was sunny and 58 degrees. People who live here had jackets on. People from up north were walking around in shorts (not me, though – no jacket, but long pants).

I washed some clothes for the trip home. Jake worked on the bike and Carla did some of their laundry, too.

We watched a few episodes of The Wire, half of a documentary that sucked and two episodes of Bob’s Burgers.

Instead of dinner, we revisited the carry out and/or made turkey sandwiches throughout the evening. I called it quits at 9:06 p.m. and read in bed until 10:00 p.m. and lights out

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday

Friday, Jake went to work. Now, I must say, I have never worked anywhere in my whole life where I didn’t get the day after Thanksgiving (or Christmas Eve) off. But, I never worked for the government. And they get all those other holidays off that the civilian employers don’t recognize. So, I guess it all works out in the end.

Carla and I ran a few errands in the morning, including resupplying my book stash. I underestimated again!

We all had decided that making another big dinner, or going out to eat, seems like too much trouble. So, we had picked up a wide variety of snack items: two types of cheese, Genoa salami, some salumi (that was excellent, but a bit chewy), humus, pita bread, some frozen horderves, three types of crackers, cheese spread, and so on. I also picked up some clementines and chocolate. Unfortunately, The only dark chocolate the store had was semi-sweet.

During the afternoon, I tried making my special dessert. I wanted to recreate that little bite of heaven I had back in that South Carolina tea room: a slice of clementine, dipped in chocolate.

So, I melted the dark chocolate in the microwave: 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until melted. You could always use the old school double boiler method, but this way you get the same results and fewer cleanups.

Meanwhile I peeled and segmented about three clementines.  I covered a paper plate with tin foil and, after dipping half of a clementine section in chocolate, I placed it on the plate.

I did two clementines for the trial run and saved the third. Then I put the plate in the fridge to harden.

After Jake came home and changed, we settled in. We watched movies (“Django” and “The Place Beyond the Pines”), and made and ate snacks.

At one point, we put out my dessert.

It was good, but not as great as I remembered. I think the sweetness of the clementine has to be balanced by a more bitter chocolate. The semi-sweet just confused the issue, dammit!

We finally called it quits about 9:30 p.m. and I read in bed for a bit. But not for long…

Friday, November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks!

I got out of bed on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day morning, when I heard people stirring (I was reading).

I got a cup of coffee and we all eased into the day.

We discussed dinner times and eventually began to cook! First thing was a bone-in, skin-on turkey breast, that had been sitting in the fridge overnight. I had smeared it the night before with a simple wet rub Carla made from olive oil, minced garlic and chopped rosemary, sage and thyme. Carla added a little of her homemade turkey stock to the pan, just so the bottom wouldn’t burn. That went into the oven to bake, first at 400 degrees (to crisp the skin) and then 350 to cook.

Note: that was NOT going to be part of the Thanksgiving dinner, I should add. This is only for turkey sandwiches, later on.  Jake and Carla were busy with other things, so I checked and pulled it when the internal temperature reached 165. I set it aside to cool.

Dinner today was designed to be a riff on the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal. It will consist of a Turkey burger, cranberry ketchup and Napa cabbage slaw on a French bun with hand-cut shoestring fries and turkey gravy dipping sauce. Dessert will be a pumpkin-buttermilk pie with homemade whipped cream.

Anyway, then we got down to it! As I said, most of the prep had been done the day before. So, I cleaned and quartered exactly three ounces of button mushrooms that Jake pulsed in the food processor.

I cut up sage and stripped thyme leaves as Carla added chicken stock to unflavored gelatin.

Sidebar: I cannot give you exact measurements here, as I was too busy to pay attention. But it’s an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, if you want to look it up.

Meanwhile, Jake pulsed frozen chunks of turkey thighs. They had taken off the skin and deboned it yesterday, then frozen them. When they reached the consistence of ground turkey, Jake removed 1/3 cup of the meat. That was mixed with the chicken stock and now-gelled gelatin. The herbs were mixed in olive oil and everything except the mushrooms were pulsed a few times more. Jake then took the mixture and incorporated the mushrooms by hand. He formed that into three big patties that went into the fridge to harden.

Sidebar: Now one might ask (I did) why not just go buy a pound of ground turkey? According to America’s Test Kitchen (and as one who ate a lot of ground turkey back in the day, I can attest to) , ground turkey fried is much drier than ground beef. So, to mimic the texture and juiciness of a beef burger, both the mushrooms and the gelatin mix helps retain the water.

Carla and I made turkey gravy from her homemade turkey stock, some A/P flour and salt and pepper. We all had to taste-test as Jake and I both prefer a lot of pepper, while Carla and I prefer more salt. But we finally struck a happy medium.

While they were hardening in the fridge, Jake heated up canola oil in the Dutch oven. I drained the shoestring potatoes that Jake cut yesterday on the mandolin and stored in water and then dried them as best I could between two kitchen towels.

Meanwhile, Carla, who had sliced the Napa cabbage yesterday, salted it and let it drain overnight, made the coleslaw dressing. She deliberately did not add vinegar to it, since the cranberry ketchup is quite acidic on its own.

Note, they had made the cranberry ketchup before I arrived. It consisted of fresh cranberries, allspice, Worchester sauce, soy sauce, pepper and brown sugar. That was put into the food processor and then strained.

Jake and I began frying the French fries as Carla fried the turkey burgers. We had a lot of potatoes, so it took quite a few batches.

Jake toasted the French bread buns and Carla began to plate. The gravy went into little metal ramekins. The sandwich was the bottom bun, cranberry ketchup, the turkey burger, the slaw and the top bun.

Dinner was paired with a very nice Sauvignon Blanc.

Everything was fantastic! The turkey burger was tart from the ketchup and crunchy from the coleslaw and seriously excellent. And, the shoestring French fries, dipped in turkey gravy? Oh my God!!!

We were all stuffed, so dessert had to wait. But, of course, eventually we rallied. Carla whipped some whipping cream and Jake plated the pie with a dab on each piece. They made the pie before I came as well, so I can’t tell you ingredients. But I know it was pumpkin pie made with buttermilk. The buttermilk added a tang, and somehow made it a lot less “filling” than a regular pumpkin pie. Perfect.

We watched three Netflix movies: The Sightseers (an unusual British film), Nebraska (with Bruce Dern and great – I heartily recommend this one) and Vhs2 (too scary for me).

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, we made turkey sandwiches and ate them with pickles and chips. The turkey was nicely seasoned and very moist. Outstanding!

I gave up on the scary movie and went to bed around 9:30 p.m. I read for a little bit and then it was lights out.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wishing you and your families a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have as much as I do to be thankful for!!!


I went to bed early Tuesday night (9:00 p.m.) knowing I had to wake up early Wednesday morning. I planned on 4:00 a.m., but got up and couldn’t fall back asleep at 2:00. Dammit!

So, I washed some clothes and the dishes. I also set up the cat food, water and kitty litter stations and finished packing. Then I left for the airport at 6:00 a.m.

I was well aware that it was supposed to be the worst travel day of the year, so I was shocked that I found a parking place almost immediately.  I also was pleasantly surprised that the airport wasn’t that crowded.

My biggest surprise was that they have changed the security check in. No more tray, taking off shoes and belts, etc. They just ask you to put your keys and cell phones in your carryon! Nice!!! Made the line move quickly.

The flight to Charlotte was bumpy, but not too bad. Apparently we were flying over the big storm I heard about, as it was sunny all the way down. Then we went below the clouds, so it was raining and cold in Charlotte.

I had a two-hour layover in Charlotte, so I went in search of some food. I was looking for some kind of a diner where I could get breakfast, but ended up at a walk-up Burger King, where I paid $9.00 US for a Whopper meal that should have cost, like, $5.00 on the street. And, I had to wait for a table to sit at. Sigh…

The flight to Columbia was without incident and, it was sunny when I got there. That airport was jam-packed with soldiers, heading home for the Holiday.

My bag didn’t come out of the carrousel, so Jake (who picked me up) and I went to the ticket counter to inquire. The lady said it was scanned in and should be there. So, we went back downstairs with her and, sure enough, it was spinning around all by it’s lonesome.

The ride to Jake and Carla’s was pretty as it still looks like Fall down here, with plenty of colorful leaves still on the trees.

Carla greeted me as enthusiastically as Jake had, but Whiskey was ecstatic to see me!

We mostly sat and chatted, except for some last minute prepping for Thanksgiving dinner.

I was tired, so we ordered in from a local restaurant. Carla had crab legs, Jake some spicy chicken and mashed potatoes with greens and I got a crab cake sandwich, also with the mashed potatoes and some coleslaw. The food was excellent.

We watched a little TV and started to watch a documentary. But, when Carla noticed both Jake and I were falling asleep, she announced it was bedtime.

It was only a few minutes past 9:00 p.m., so I thought I would read until a more reasonable bedtime. I didn’t make it more than 20 minutes.

I woke up around 2:00 a.m., shut off the reading light and went back to bed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some pre-Thanksgivng thoughts...

If you worried about your health, you could always use turkey bacon...

Give your bird a break!

Tuesday’s Tale

So, the reason the winds were so strong was a cold front had moved in Monday afternoon. Well, by Tuesday, it had decided to stay!

It was still pretty windy and the high only got to 35 degrees F., so being outside SUCKED! I took the trashcan out to the road before I left for work, so I know.

Vicky sent me a text, asking if we could go to lunch. I said sure. So, we went to Time Out. When we were all set to order, she “discovered” she forgot her purse (again). So, I bought her lunch (again). She insisted she would pay me back, but I told her it was a Thanksgiving present.

I had a chicken salad pita with fries (the soup sounded weird) and she had a bacon cheeseburger and fries (that looked fantastic).

Sidebar: She never used to like hamburgers but recently tried them. Now she can’t get enough! Puerto Ricans are a bit strange… But they sure can get their lunch for free!

The afternoon went by slowly. My cubicle buddy Courtney was MIA, so I had nobody to talk to.

But, it was finally five o’clock and I headed home.

I got home and got the empty trashcan back in the garage. I treated Caley, changed clothes and eased into the night.

My brother Jim called me and filled me in with the latest information on my final resting place.

Background: I probably never mentioned this to you, but back when my sister killed herself, my Mother bought a grave for her in the St. Mary’s Cemetery (the cemetery that belongs to the parish we all belonged to and where I attended Catholic school). But, the only available graves at that time were two adjoining plots from somebody who was moving, and were selling.  So, my Mother bought them both. Years later, when my Mother was still alive, she asked me one day where I planned on being buried. I told her I hadn’t given it any thought (who does?) She asked if I would like being buried next to my sister, Anne. I said, “Well, that would be great!”

My theory was that nobody in my family would make a trip to visit my grave, but next to Anne, they have to at least walk by me (probably step or spit on me) but at least I’d be in the family.

She was pleased, and that’s how things stood for years. But, as I get older, I’m trying to get “my affairs in order.” So, I asked my Brother Jim a while back how the whole thing worked. How do my kids prove that’s my grave when I die? Is there like a deed? He said he would find out.

So, tonight, he called to let me know. He said when he talked with the woman at the parish, she said there was a problem. Yes, my Mother owned the plot, but there is a big tree on it and so nobody could be buried on it.

Jim said, “You sold my mother a burial plot that nobody could be buried on?” She said, “You have to remember that was almost 35 years ago and it was a little tree, back then. We could have dug it up, then. But, not now!”

He offered to come and cut the tree down. She conferred with the new Pastor and later counter-offered with another grave site somewhere else.

So, the upshot is that I will be buried in the same cemetery with my Mother and Father, my Brother Peter, my sister Anne, my sister-in-law Betty (and eventually my Brother Carl), my dear niece, Linda and eventually my Brother Joe and his wife, Kathy. But, I won’t be by any of them!

However, we still technically own the unusable grave site with the tree, so I’m thinking of some kind of plaque screwed onto it, saying if you’re looking for John Goerlich, he’s three rows over and 11 rows down or something.

I couldn’t quit laughing about this… So, I called my Brother Carl, my friend B___ and my daughter Melissa. Each had their own creative spin on how react. But, I thought Melissa’s was the best (make sure just before you die to curl up into a ball).

I ate two pieces of meatloaf and two small baked potatoes for dinner and was stuffed (of course). I did my NCIS thing and then went to bed.

Birthday Shoutout (one day late)

Happy Birthday to my great-grandson Logan Garcia, one day late. Papa John sucks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Triumph Restore

Thought maybe you would be interested in seeing some non-wheel related pictures (well, aside from the one wheel in this one).  We bolted up the new rear frame to check out the seat height (still good!) and get some idea of what this thing is going to look like.

Triumph Restore Update

We were hoping to have the new rim strips, tubes and tires on today but, while the rear wheel looked good (pictured - aside from some minor detailing that could be done later), the front wheel
needed some work.  So, we put it in for another soak... and still we wait.  On the plus side, the custom dropped rear frame arrived. A little late to mock it up but will start on tomorrow.


It was incredibly warm on Monday morning (55 degrees at 6:00 a.m.), but raining.

I went to the Newburgh Grill for lunch and got breakfast (if that makes any sense). I just felt like it. I ordered two eggs over easy, sausage patties (nice and spicy) and hash browns with rye toast. It was excellent!

Then I went to Lowe’s. The sun was out, but the wind had gotten much worse. Southeast Michigan was under a High Wind Advisory until 10:00 p.m. I had a lot of trouble just walking to the truck in the Lowe’s parking lot. There were fallen branches on Newburgh and swirling little tornadoes of leaves and trash.

Of course, I was worried about the big maples that overhang my house. Especially when they said some 30,000 people so far had lost power due to wind damage and downed lines.

Sidebar: I heard on the news later there were “occasional” gusts of 60 mph winds.

So, I was a little surprised when I drove home after work on the freeway and the wind wasn’t that bad. Then I figured it out! Most of the time on the freeway, you’re below ground (and wind) level.

Back home, it was rapidly getting dark, but I didn’t see any obvious fallen limbs. But, I must have lost power as I had to reset all the clocks.

I took the night off, ate more of the meatloaf and another baked potato and went to bed early. I hurt.

Sidebar: When I got up to go to the bathroom a little after 11:00 p.m., it was still really windy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunday's Story

I woke up late on Sunday. I felt like shit. My right leg and right arm hurt and my head hurt bad. I really did a number on myself!

So, I eased into the day. I talked with Jake on the phone. I suppose he called to see if I was dead, since I hadn’t posted the blog entry.

I finally got up the courage to shave and shower. I knew that would start my head bleeding again and it did. But, I put some Neosporin on it and a wide bandage. Then I got dressed and went to the Post Office.

Back home, I left the truck outside. I treated Caley and then went out back. I refilled the squirrel feeder and grabbed some thyme, rosemary and sage for a meatloaf, later. Sorry, Paul Simon, no parsley!

Then I started the weekend wash. There will be three loads today. I called B___ back. I told him my shelf story and he asked what the doctor has said. I said, “What doctor?” Then he yelled at me. He said if I hit myself hard enough on the head to cut the skin, I could also have internal bleeding or a clot.  If I had somebody here to watch me, it would be okay. But living alone, I should have at least went to a Wellness Center or the Emergency room. I told him that never even occurred to me.

I grabbed the router bit I bought last week and went out in the garage to install it. Then I routed out the back of two panels and two support boards. That will allow me to add a back on the cubby/drawer part. It’s not pretty, but it will work.

I pulled the truck ack inside. I got all the laundry done and the bed remade, so I took a nap in the afternoon.

I got in the game camera and checked out the 73 videos. Most of them were birds or squirrels with a couple shots of the rabbit and the possum. Nothing interesting enough to post.

I got up and made my Sunday supper. I made a meatloaf and baked the four remaining russet potatoes. It was pretty good!

I watched some TV but then switched to reading until bedtime.