Sunday, November 30, 2008
There's nothing like the psychosis a guy gets on the Sunday night of a four-day weekend. Oh man. It was a great weekend and I dread the end of it like a snakebite.
Regis and I took Ella out for lunch on Friday. In the course of conversation we asked where Daddy was that day/ New Ul-um, she said, with the old German pronunciation. We exchanged a look, and asked again. New Ul-um. Wonder where she got that. She's a hoot.
Before we had lunch, we walked through a couple stores in St. Peter. No waiting in line at 4 a.m., no stampedes for electronic crap, no crowded parking lots. Ella bought an ornament for her mama and we bought a shield for our bread knife and a set of salt and pepper grinders at the new cooking store.
We woke up to snow this morning so I made the transition to Christmas music but that's it. No tree or decorations yet. I talked to a friend yesterday who said he has been doing the same outdoor light pattern for twenty years. What the hell. I can't remember from year to year if I even put lights outside and I'm quite sure I've never done the same things two times in a row. I don't have the DNA for patterned behavior apparently. It's my basically very random nature.
Regis spent the afternoon looking at new cell phones and gps units. This is when I think technology is passing me by at a rate that is too rapid to comprehend. He decided that he would like something that combined both but I don't think it's been invented yet. I had a cell phone that had a tiny disk for storing music and I never used it once. I'm not sure about the GPS thing because we never go anywhere and usually we know where we're going, like Canby. No need for a GPS to get there. I think I could drive it blindfolded.
On to the week.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I've spent the morning putting dishes away and cleaning up little messes here and there but I'm not decorating for Christmas yet. Thanksgiving was too nice to let it go so fast. The fall candles are lit again today and we have Jay Ungar and Molly Mason on the CD player. I found a good recipe for turkey soup if you're a turkey carcass saver.
The fat squirrels with the white tufts behind their ears are raiding the bird feeders again today. He and his compatriots have learned to eat from the one in the picture which only claims to be resistant to squirrel damage.
Here I go. Back to the kitchen.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Kramer was allowed to be part of the party since Ella didn't arrive until later. He has terrible cataracts and doesn't respond well to small guests so he gets locked in a room when she's here. Kramer that is, not Peter.
Here are the notes on the turkey: We bought an organic (21 pound) turkey at HyVee. Here's what Regis wrote about the process:
The Brined Bomber
Turkey was thawed over a period of several days on the porch in a soft sided cooler. Air temperature on the porch was about 45 max during the daytime on the porch and near freezing at night. Turkey was moved to a cooler full of water and ice cubes where it remained for about 12 additional hours.
Basic recipe for the 21 lb bird was 3 gallons of water, 1.5 C salt, and 1.5 C brown sugar. Also added to the plan were quartered oranges and onions. Spices were Rosemary and Tyme. The turkey was placed in a plastic bag into the cooler along with the solution. It sat on the porch for an additional 12 hours.
Turkey was removed from the brine, rinsed, and the cavity stuffed loosely with apples, oranges, onions, more spices, and garlic. It was salt and peppered and liberally coated with olive oil.
The bird was set breast side down on a V shaped rack and cooked in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour. It was then flipped over, the breast covered with foil, basted with chicken stock, and the oven was reduced to 350 degrees for an additional 3 hours and 20 minutes. It was basted with broth every hour. The breast was 165 to 170 when it came out and the thigh was 175.
And here is the result....
Bob, Emily, and Ella arrived after spending the day in Truamn with her family. Alex is set to arrive in February, same day as Tiffany and Eric's baby.
Betty and Tom cut quite the dashing figures. Tom looked like he stepped right out a Dublin pub and Betty had on a gorgeous jacket she said she got at Fleet Farm. I told her to say Dayton's Oval Room instead. It was black velvet with croched trim and tiny mirrors.
Betty has a repertoire of songs that Ella loves to sing. Ella's not the only one; I heard the whole living room erupt in song at one point.
We had a great day!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I cleaned on Sunday. Instead of puttering with it for days and having the end result not look all that different from the original state of things, I set the timer for two hours and went at it full force. I took a break in the middle then started the timer again. I'd say it worked pretty well.
As for my time-saving idea of chopping all the week's vegetables on Sunday, I'd say that didn't work so well. Most things had to be used by Wednesday or they got mushy and odiferous. I had to dispose of the remains and put a dish of baking soda in to quash the fumes.
I committed a major social faux pas last night. I walked into Patrick's, saw an old friend of mine (who I don't see very often), and a major white space appeared in the spot of my brain where her name usually resides. A buzzing white space. No name, the whole time I stood there. More buzzing. Arrrghghgghg. It was awful. I woke several times in the night and got that sick feeling from it and those goblins were circling the bed chanting about my feeble mindedness. Damn. I don't think I have mad cow disease because I recognized her as a person and knew the origins of our friendship. Just could not come up with a name.
I didn't take my Ambien last night. I thought I was so tired that I would surely sleep all night. Well, that worked until about 1:00 when I woke with the goblin attack. I didn't go back to sleep until about 5. You'd think I would learn. While I was trying to go back to sleep, I wrote the best blog posts in my head and decided that extreme fatigue must be like emotional anguish...it does produce some funny results. The problem is that I couldn't remember most of it by the time I woke up.
I did some cooking tonight. I love the smells of Thanksgiving. I made cranberry sauce with allspice, cinnamon, and brown sugar and butternut squash with maple syrup. Delicious. I started a loaf of Italian bread in my giant bread bowl. It takes two days to make but really isn't work...it just takes time.
My favorite part of the holiday is choosing dishes for things. I have all my serving dishes on the table so they can get matched to the right food. I bought a couple of these Bobby Flay serving dishes at Kohl's the other day. I love them. Cranberries in the small round one and squash in the big one.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
One of the blogs I read regularly has a typealyzer website for blogs. Here's the about us script:
For a long period of time, we have been training our system to recognize texts that characterize the different types. The system, typealyzer, can now by itself find features that distinguishes one type from another. When all features, words and sentences, are combined typealyzer is able to guess which type its is most likely to be written by using statistical analysis.
What??? And here's what it says about me:
The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead - they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.
They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation - qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.
Hmmmm. Yes, most of that is true. I think it (Elrod the Cyber God) was looking at the pictures of my vanilla candles and red velvet drapes. The only thing it has wrong is that I rarely risk exhausting myself. For example, I have my slippers on tonight by 7.
We bought an electric mattress pad a while back and have just started using it. It's the best invention since canned beer and sliced bread. We turn it on about twenty minutes before we go to bed and it's toasty warm when we get into bed. In the old days they used baked potatoes for this.
I'm going to try and throw a Thanksgiving dinner without driving myself insane cooking and cleaning. I love the cooking part but I loathe the cleaning part. I'll swing a dust cloth around this weekend and I might drag the swiffer over the kitchen floor but I'll be a lot more interested in the brine for the turkey and the cranberry compote.
The Office and 30 Rock...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We watched the movie Once the other night. It takes place in Ireland and one character knocked on a door and asked if "herself" was home. Interesting syntax. If you know what's up with that, let me know in a comment.
We went for a walk this evening but I can't say it was pleasant. I don't like to drive in the dark and apparently don't like to walk in it either. I kept feeling like somebody was sneaking up on me but when I shined the flashlight behind me; nope, nobody there. I get distracted by the lights in houses, too, which makes it hard it walk gracefully.
I have a heel problem on one foot. Years ago it was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. I had a shot of cortisone which hurt like plain hell but I walked out with no pain and it didn't return for years. When it came back this year, I went to the foot doctor who said I could either get five hundred dollar orthotic things which may or may not work...or she could whip up some free thing out of a little tape and a cotton pad. There should be a cure financially between free and five hundred dollars. Now I suppose I have to pay for an office visit to get another free one or figure out how to make it myself.
I should have thought of google before. Something that looks just like what the doctor made is on its way from amazon, no less. I have no idea why the stupid formatting slipped into italics. Bush league template, I guess.
I had more to say tonight but I'm not going to say it in italics. It's like whispering.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I quit in the middle of my post and strung chili pepper party lights up in the living room and over the patio door. A guy has to get light wherever possible in these dark months. Regis made a comment under his breath...something about a bordello but I think he was kidding. I looked online for turkey party lights but apparently they are not a big decorating item with the fashionable set. If people only knew how nice lights are in the winter, they'd be stringing them everywhere. And not just for Christmas.
I was busy all day today: paying bills, sorting through paper, cleaning off my desk, getting things ready to mail. It's a good feeling to have that crap organized and I wish I could do it all the time. But I don't wish it enough to do it all the time. I made beef and barley soup today, too, which made the house smell great.
Reggie came for dinner because his bride is up North in Grand Rapids with her grandma who is very ill. He and his dad are trying to reassemble the lamp that has been sitting in the living room for a week. This requires man-tools and flashlights so they're having fun.
Betty made sticky buns yesterday that were sinfully good. She named off the ingredients: butter, sugar, cream, butter, butter, butter. Call the cardiac unit.
We exchanged names this year instead of everyone trying to buy for everyone. Bob, always thinking of ways to use technology, put the list on the web with links to places to buy the stuff. Here it is: http://bobfritsch.googlepages.com/family. We're a 21st Century family! I think we'll do a blog Christmas card this year.
It was such a nice weekend: a little sunshine, some time with friends, a few projects done, a nap on the couch yesterday afternoon, a good book finished. The wild horses should be here about 5:45 a.m. to drag my sorry ass to work tomorrow.
The lamp is assembled and operational!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It was a "my head's-in-a-vise" day. Arrrghghgghgh. Bill the Cat. Stick your finger in a socket. Gloomy wet and cold.
Regis and I have discovered a new Schell's beer that we like. It's one of the draft series seasonal beers so apparently is not available in bottles. It's worth a trip to a pub to try it.
I guess the guy who told the story about the ballots riding around in the back seat of the car says now that he made that up...or was just kidding. I don't remember the details and apparently neither did he.
A very nice young woman just came to the door to talk about an issue that Regis and I both support. Bless her heart for knocking on doors on a cold November night in defense of something that's kind of a hot-button issue. I wouldn't want to do it but appreciate her doing it. What a country.
Last night my legs pained me behind the knees. I think it was from walking on the snow and slush the last couple days which makes you walk like a penguin, sort of an unnatural gait for a human.
A glass of wine and 30 Rock. Good way to end a Thursday night.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Here's half the tribe. The picture of the other half disappeared in the glow of my white hair resulting in that photo not being available for public viewing.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Kramer got a haircut today and it must have worn him out as he's been sleeping since he got home. I know he isn't dead because he wakes up once in a while to bark at someone going past on the street and he smells better than he did yesterday which would not be the case if he were dead.
I get a haircut tomorrow night. I have a book called Looking Fab at Fifty but I haven't had time to read it. Patrick will have to do his hair artistry thing without my input which he never gets anyway. I never look at the back of hair and barely look at the front. It's all up to him.
After my haircut we're going to Dino's with a gift card that Regis won for being such a fine customer service agent. One of his customers nominated him. A very nice thing. Dino's is a cool, cool pizzaria in the style of New York pizzarias. They don't have seats outside the pictures shows, at least not this time of year. It was colder than a well-diggers ass today, as my dad used to say.
New book luring me to bed...English Major by Jim Harrison. A book with a great sense of humor.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I discovered a new box wine. It's made by underdog wine merchants. You can check it out here. The tasting notes say this: The 2007 Pinot Grigio is a crisp and refreshing,
full-flavored wine, displaying mixed aromas of tropical fruit, grapefruit and apples with rich mineral notes on the finish. La dee da.
We stopped at Patrick's yesterday afternoon after a stimulating shopping trip to the grocery store. The place was full of people in red sweatshirts. Turned out to be people from Luverne who had been at a championship football game at Gustavus. They were having a great time yelling Oy Oy Oy and drinking beer. What a hoot. I'm glad I didn't have their long drive home.
We're watching Tom and Betty's house so we went up there this afternoon. When you have access to television, this is the kind of quality program we watch. We both loved Coach and laughed on the way home about several episodes that were especially good. Remember the one where the little dog who belongs to Dauber's girlfriend Judy's parents goes out the window of the hotel?
The other quality program we watched tonight was Parking Wars on A&E. It's the about the Philadelphia Parking Authority so you can imagine. Regis was really tickled by it but I wondered why they would make a tv show about this.
I made a chicken enchilada recipe from Cooking Light tonight. If it tastes good, it's something I'll make again. Very easy and not too many dirty dishes in the end.
Regis spent a couple hours this afternoon trying to fix a lamp that Jill graciously donated to the cause of children with no money of which we have two. He was poking his finger in the socket and wondering about this and that. He finally pulled the top thing off and zzzzzzzzttttt accompanied by a small wave of blue smoke. The dang thing was plugged in holy crap. We spent some time trying to find the larger light bulb it needed but he finally deterimined it's the cord that need to be replaced. I'm afraid we have a permanent lamp sculpture in the living room.
An interesting aside is that the larger bulbs are called mogul E39s. They were popular in funeral homes because the bottom half is painted, making the light soft at the bottom and ceiling-directed at the top. Oh, the things you learn on google.
You heard it here first.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Regis and I are still sitting in our pajamas at 9:30, not typical for us on Saturday morning. It looks cold and windy outside. Some things we have thought of doing: shopping for birdseed, buying groceries, putting the Halloween stuff away, cleaning the bathroom. None of it seems very appealing right now I guess we'll continue to sit and look out the windows.
We went to check on Tom and Betty's house last night and one of their neighbors had their Christmas tree up already. Rushing the season a little. I don't even like to see that in the stores yet. I avert my eyes from the Christmas retail.
Ok, onward into Saturday. Swords drawn, battle cry resounding. Yee haw. Slowly, slowly she moves to the kitchen.
Friday, November 07, 2008
In case you're not good at math, that's 14 days; two weeks. He better be doing a damn heart transplant.
I was fussy about the surgeon so maybe I deserve it. Or maybe it's my punishment for eating the chocolate chip cookie I had today. Those are paranoid thinking errors. I know.
As an aside, the Sons of the Pioneers were the foremost vocal and instrumental group in western music, and the definitive group specializing in cowboy songs, setting the standard for every group that has come since. In case you were wondering. I love cowboy music.
Of course, I started crying at this turn of events and when the poor scheduling woman asked if this was ok and could she send out the revised schedule, I said through a huge gasping weep that it was ok and I almost felt sorry for her. What the f. She must have drawn the short straw as it was 5 o'clock on Friday afternoon and who would want to end their week with me weeping? Did she go right to the martini bar and belt a few appletinis?
This is why I don't work in the medical field. It would take a lot of martinis.
This probably doesn't seem like it should be such a big deal considering the forty plus years of weight hell and considering what we saw on the news about GM and jobs and the other economic news it probably isn't. But it is to me. I feel like most days I am consumed by this, I spend 18 hours a day focused on it, I am hanging on by my fingernails, I am teetering on the edge of the cliff and to me, today, insanely and selfishly, it is a big deal. I can see why they say it might take 6-9 months because it really takes 35 years. I'll be lucky to be done by the time I'm 80. F word.
A nice bottle of La Joya shiraz and a fireplace really helped. Thanks, Betty. A hot tub would help but we don't have one and neither does anybody we know well enough to show up naked at their house. Come on, Tom. Is that too much to ask of friends?
Betty and Tom are in Luckenbach, Texas. They had a beer on an outdoor patio today. That sounds good...even though we don't sit on outdoor patios in Minnesota even in the summer. The mosquitoes are an issue here but maybe not in Texas. Hey, Willie Nelson is from there so how bad can the mosquitoes be?
There are some good sp jokes on the liberal talk shows tonight. She's trying to paint this as a gender equity issue. My head, my head. That's gross.
We woke to about three inches of snow this morning. This is the garden frog who was buried up to his nose in leaves earlier in the week when it was 70 degrees.
We have a quiet weekend planned. The last month has been so busy that I told Regis I was coming home to put on pajama pants, light candles, and have a glass of wine. So far, so good.
There was no wind so you can see in the next picture that every branch was layered with snow. I love the garden this time of year.
The woods behind my office were just beautiful and the snow dropped slowly off the branches all day. By the time I came home from work, it had all melted.
I think we'll have to get another recycling container to hold all the catalogs we get in the mail. Every day there is a huge pile. I think you can get your name taken off the junk mail list but I hate the idea. It's too much trouble.
Tom, if you're reading this, I checked on your dogs today. Fletcher and Gonzo were out for a walk when I was at Kind's and Alena said they are very vocal every time she walks through the kennel area so apparently they are healthy and happy. We're going up to check on the house again tonight. Hope you're having a good time in Bush country! You can see the weather you are missing.
Back to wandering around the house and pitching out catalogs.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My Obama button came in the mail from moveon.org today. I'm going to leave it in the envelope and save it for the future along with my t-shirt and the yard sign. It's hard, really hard, to tell our kids how historic this election was; maybe our tears and our saving of mementoes helps.
I made an Italian vegetable pie tonight for dinner. Peter called to see if we'd eaten yet and of course, we were happy to feed him but there were tofu crumbles in the recipe. They taste like beef but this was going to be the true test. We made a pact not to tell him and he never suspected a thing. When he went back for seconds, I knew it was a success. Ta da. Quite an endorsement.
As a person who has struggled for a life-time with weight, I have an observation that I make with trepidation because I don't expect, certainly, for anyone to change their habits or behavior for me but as
I was going to make an observation about how available crappy food is but I don't know how to do it without sounding like a pompous ass and like I expect people to change their behavior for me. I don't. So I guess I won't because I can't.
It's like pulling words out of the bank tonight. Highway robbery for words. I have to stop.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Doris Kearns Goodwin was on The Daily Show tonight and I love her. In my next life, I want to be a presidential historian. What a wonderful job. If you didn't see her, find it on youtube.
All the leaves we raked on Sunday were sucked up by the city trucks today just as the birch tree in the front yard precipitously dropped the rest of its leaves. They're beautiful and it's fine. We have low standards for lawn care, remember.
It's hard to write a post tonight without talking about politics. We're glued to the screens, computer and television. It's the first election of the new century, after all, and an historic one. I've wept, shouted, shaken my fist, and threatened to go to the streets. It's very emotional. There are some powerful and eloquent things written on the internet and I'm always moved by words.
I have my finger on the reservation button on NWA/Delta and I'm outta here if this goes badly. I can't stand to live in a country that would do this. WTF.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Tiffany's cell phone broke and this became my problem because she's on our plan. So Regis and I trod over to Mankato after work which is my least favorite thing to do after root canals. Dealing with cell phones comes next. Regis came along to run interference because the people who work at cell phone places talk too fast and try to convince you that you need things you don't like jawbone bluetooth things.
We accomplished the phone switch but when I came home I discovered the earnest young man who helped us had replaced the phone book on the wrong phone. Now I have phone numbers from last year on my phone and I have a flip phone that I don't really like. All the phones they have over there are tiny and complicated with itty bitty keyboards. I just want a phone with some heft that I can make calls on. I want a phone with a keyboard I can actually read. I don't want to email videos or put music on a disk the size of my little fingernail.
It's all very aggravating. A person doesn't keep a real address book anymore like we did in the old days so I won't even know who I want to call until I reach for the phone and don't have the number. Damn it all to hell.
When I was a kid we had one phone on the wall in the kitchen. Harrumph.
P.S. If I have ever called you on a cell phone, or sent you a text message (unlikely), email me your phone number.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I just figured out that I can add a youtube video in my post so you can see them. Some of my favorite songs: Handsome Johnny, Nancy Spain, and Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.
I know I've said this before but if you're from the Mankato area, the Bothy is the best venue ever. It costs 12 dollars to see great music like Lehto and Wright. No crowd, no drunks, no bad seats.
This was a picture perfect Minnesota fall day. The temperature got up to 70 degrees, which may not be a record but still helps shorten the winter. People were riding bikes in shorts and t-shirts. Regis and I raked, more for something to do outside than any sense of yard freakishness. You know our low standards in that department. Mostly we raked them from the driveway where they collect when the wind blows. They kind of muck up the snow blower if you don't clean them up from there.
I pulled up the last of the annuals and the poor, dead tomato plants. The mums are still thriving as you can see in the slideshow. Toward the end of the afternoon, Regis sat on the step and smoked a cigar and I sat in the chair and admired the day. They just don't come better than this.
The slideshow at the bottom of the post is courtesy of Regis. I can't take pictures worth a dang. I did boss him around a little about what to take, but the rest is his work. You'll notice that we have a lot of yard art and I'm particularly partial to frogs. They have such cute faces.
I had a brainstorm yesterday. One of the things that really makes cooking time and labor-intensive is the vegetable chopping. Today when we came home from the grocery store, I brought out my food processor and did the vegetables for the week: jalapenos, garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery; and put them in little bags. So when I come home tomorrow night to make chicken soup, the stuff is already sliced and ready to go. (The chicken is from a beer can chicken we did this summer and froze in a food saver bag. That was another great idea.) Damn, I think I could run a food operation.
Tom and Betty are going away for a few weeks, leaving us to keep an eye on things at their house. We'll miss them. I was thinking last night, that if they ever decide to move, which Tom says they might if the cops keep trying to arrest him for riding his electric bike, they'll have to sneak away in the dark of night and send an email later. I couldn't stand it. Good friends are the best of life.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
You can see the political figure who came to the party for a while. She wouldn't talk politics though, because she was afraid she would punch herself in the face. That's Tom behind her in his first costume, the pirate.
Ella enjoyed all the fun and especially enjoyed Betty. She didn't seem to be too scared of all the costumes and weird noises. She was a great sport.
I got up early and made pancakes for the two Regises. Now, I think I'll go back to bed for a while. My plan for today was to do as little as possible so I better get started.