Friday, August 28, 2009

F2: Favorites

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be talking about favorites. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast— be sure to leave a comment and include the URL to your post so I and others can know of your contribution.

Participants in this weeks Feast are as follows:

I am the kind of person who cannot be locked down to a given taste. Not that my tastes change frequently, but I tend to not want to go with whatever is popular at the moment. What I have noticed is that a lot of my favorites tend to be ahead of their time and that those things I like soon become popular.

My wife and I have recently been watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network channel. Every time we watch it we have to ask each other what is our favorite this or favorite that. So… these are a few of my favorite things:1

Favorite Burger
My favorite Burger was at Uncle Dan's in Woodstock Illinois. Unfortunately that restaurant no longer exists— so you'll have to trust my word.2
Favorite Calamari
My favorite Calamari was at The Daily Bar and Grill in Chicago. Unfortunately the owners have changed on this restaurant and they no longer serve this dish.2
Favorite Hot Dog
My favorite Hot Dog was at Hot Doug's in Chicago. Even though I had to wait over two hours, it was worth the wait.
Favorite Ice Cream
My favorite ice cream is Rocky Road served at Baskin Robbins. I have other favorite flavors as well, but have liked Rocky Road the longest.
Favorite Pizza
My favorite Pizza was at Uno's in Chicago. I will have to agree with Duff on this one.
Favorite Steak
I must admit that my favorite steak was at Mo's…A Place for Steaks in Milwaukee. I had their Fillet Minion and it was tender and suculant.

I am sure that there are other favorites I have as well— but figured I would let you share what favorites you have in order to whet my appetite a bit further.

1 My apologies for making you think of the song from Sound of Music.

2 I'll save talking about discontinued restaurants for another post.

Next weeks topic is Pie. Perhaps you have a memory of your first slice of pie, or you have a restaurant that you always order the pie at. Perhaps you have some secret way of cooking a pie so that it turns out just right. So… if you have anything that relates to this topic, be sure to leave a comment and include the URL so I can include you in next weeks feast. Even if you have already posted on this topic in the past— your links are always welcome.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rhyming Wednesday: Fear

In honor of Otin's Rhyming Wednesday I am contributing one of my poems inspired by a picture.

One day when I was doodling topographical lines in the shape of an island (yes, I'm geeky like that)… I noticed that the lines resembled a face. After drawing one of the eyes in, I noticed that there was another face showing as well. When I was finished… I had the following picture:

If you look at the picture it looks like there is a sinister face that is making the other face recoil in fear. After looking at this picture, I was inspired to write the following poem:

Fear… of what may I ask?
of being in or out of task;
or being with or without pass.

Passing through the door of fear
is like passing into another world;
it can be so strange at times to make you curled.

Curled up so much, that only you can see your fears
others try, but can only guess at where.

Where, it's only possibly yourself.

So get going, get out of the grip of fear;
which may last for years
And years.


I rather like the way in which I take the last line of the previous phrase and use it in the next line. I have used this technique in future poems that I have written as well. I do not think that any of my other poems are inspired by a drawing or photo. Perhaps I should do this type of poem more often.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


My apologies for quoting David Bowie's Changes song.

For those who read my posts through a reader you probably do not see any difference— but for those who visit my web site clearly see something different. I got a bit tired of the rounders template I had and decided to use a different blogger template. To quote a line from a recent Old Navy™ campaign: "I need a new pair of Jeans"… so I chose Denim.

I hope you like it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

HPPD at the MSI

Before I begin, I would like to thank all of those people who helped me out by posting on my behalf last week. I am very pleased at the variety of posts as well as the wonderful comments that were submitted. Thank you all for helping me out and continuing to stop by even though I was somewhat away.

Last week I went on a Stay-cation where I stayed at home and did things as if I was on vacation. One of the things I did was go to the Museum of Science and Industry with some friends on Saturday. There is a Harry Potter exhibit at the museum and our friends decided that we should have a Play Date and see the Harry Potter exhibit… so the HPPD was born.

Here's my wife waiting at track 9 1/2 (I know, I know… it should have been 9 3/4…
I guess I'm not as much of a Harry Potter geek that I thought

I called the museum about two weeks before and reserved our vouchers for the Harry Potter exhibit, then let our friends know when we reserved our time slot. I guess I was to blame because I did not get a confirmation number and wound up arguing with the receptionist that I had a reservation for the 10:15 time slot and being one of those difficult customers. We couldn't go at a later time because our friends had reservations at 10:15 as well, so we compromised and got to go in at the scheduled time and was able to go in through the Handicap entrance (I guess we were mentally handicapped because we were too stupid to get a confirmation number). We were not allowed to take pictures, but we did get some others from within the museum:

Not sure what this was all about… but we did enjoy the sign.

One of the benefits of being a member of a museum is that you can go at any time and not have to worry about paying admission. My wife and I went to the museum a few weeks prior and saw a lot of the exhibits that we pointed out to our friends when they came to visit. I am a Lego affectionado and was fascinated by all of the buildings that were made out of Legos. I took a picture of the Sears Tower so that I could say that I saw it while it was still called the Sears Tower. Little did I know that the name would change on the exhibit so soon.

On the left is the Sears Tower when my wife and I first saw it,
and on the right is the same model with Willis Tower as the name
(what you talkin' about Willis…)

One aspect of the museum that my wife and I noticed is that it doesn't seem to be as large as we remember as children. Many of the exhibits we grew to love are no longer there. One of which is the Heart which we both remember going through as children. That whole wing is now being renovated which means that we no longer can go through the old heart. We hear that there is going to be a new heart— but it will never replace the old one no matter how primitive it was.

Friday, August 21, 2009


If you are here for Friday's Feast, I am currently on vacation and am giving you an extra week to prepare something. To submit your contribution to the Feast, go here. But before you do— please give a nice warm welcome to Clark Kent (AKA: CK Lunchbox). I would like to thank CK Lunchbox @ Clark Kent's Lunchbox for today's post about change:


To CaJoh and his readers, thank you for having me today while our host is away on his trip. I recently returned from a trip myself—my annual trek to my hometown in Western Pennsylvania. Compared to living in Houston where just this past week the highs reached 107, the temperate summer and lush greenness of my parents' place in the country was more than a welcome relief.

I'm proud of my hometown. It's the kind of place people inevitably deem as quaint. Despite its cliché connotation, I suppose the term is apt in a reassuring sort of way. There's a markethouse built over one-hundred years ago which is still operational today. Years back, my grandfather used to be a popular figure there, chatting for hours with patrons as they perused his assortment of garlic, peppers and onions displayed in old-style bushel baskets that lined his booth.

In the center of town you will find the city park protected by dignified oak and maple trees that stand with a patriarchal air as they shade a gazebo, a water fountain, and several traditional monuments commemorating the founding fathers and fallen heroes of past wars. Later that week I took my youngest son there for some one-on-one time, and like any rambunctious five-year old, he made a beeline to the old cannons where he could climb the pyramid of cannon balls stacked nearby.

Surrounding the park are the city's original high school, the library, and the National Guard Armory—home to the "Bloody Bucket Division" who earned their tough-as-nails nickname from the Germans during World War One. Four distinct churches—Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and Unitarian—dominate the perimeter; several more are mere blocks away. Such an anomaly lead one visitor to famously quip that "this town must have many sins to atone for." The last notable structure, and town's centerpiece, is the courthouse which reminds you of the one in Philadelphia where our country's independence was signed.

Every time I exit off Interstate 79, I ease back on the gas to a leisurely speed conducive for taking in these and other landmarks that served as the backdrop to my life growing up. I took them for granted back then, which might be why I now take the long way to my parents', pointing out to my five children the significance of one place or another as if I were a tour guide in Hollywood. However, their zombie-ish "uh-hu's" tells me they are more interested in Spongebob's antics than in knowing President William McKinley attended college here, or that the oil industry was born thirty miles outside of town. That's okay. After the tenth or twelfth trip here, these facts will sink in for them eventually.

Still, for all my excitement over things like one of the country's oldest, operable wooden roller coasters being located nearby, and that John Wilkes Booth allegedly left in one of the town's hotels, clues of his intent to kill President Lincoln, there's a contrasting emotion that tempers this enthusiasm: sadness. The water from the park fountain gurgles in a laboring fashion similar to that of a terminally ill patient struggling in their last remaining days. The once exuberant roller coasters now naps under a blanket of cobwebs until organizers can wake it up for another circuit around its tracks. And the markethouse, universally viewed to be a symbol of the town's economic health, sees only a trickle of business underscoring the lack of money available to spend on such relics.

Before some soulless, corporate muckety-muck devised the concept of outsourcing jobs so my mother could argue with some kid in New Delhi over why Dell didn't ship her the right computer monitor from Austin, Texas, that park fountain spouted water ten feet into the air, that roller coaster whipped screaming kids along its tracks, and that markethouse bustled with vendors and buyers who spilled out onto the building's exterior walkways. To witness this past erode brings on a feeling of melancholy that's hard to escape. Like my parents and grandparents I would be prefacing childhood memories with the phrase, "there used to be." Things change.

Normally on these visits I don't have much of an opportunity to catch up friends, but on this trip I did, meeting a guy who was my best friend before the natural forces of adolescence channeled us down different courses as we entered high school. Before then we did the normal things boys do—build forts, fight bad guys, ride bikes. One time we snuck onto the bus our church used to pickup children for Sunday school and then proceeded to help ourselves to the best iced sugar cookies I've ever tasted. Problem was, those cookies were intended for the riders, usually poor kids from broken homes who rarely received such treats. Needless to say we were caught and paid the price for it.

I arrived at the predesignated restaurant before he did, unsure of what to expect. It had been ten, maybe fifteen years since we had last spoken, and then a few months ago, through the magic of Facebook, he found me. As kids, we had different temperaments: me, quiet and standoffish; he, energetic and always in motion—today they call it ADHD—so it made me curious as to who would walk through the door. That person turned out to be a mature, charming, and funny man. He had joined the police force, was a loving husband and a father of two. Our time sharing stories and laughs proved to be a highlight of the trip for me.

As got ready to leave, my friend congratulated me on my upcoming book, the mention of which compelled me to set some expectations for him on the topic. "Man, I have to say that the book…well, I'm afraid some of the people around here might be surprised—offended actually about some of the stuff I wrote." My friend and I grew up in a traditional God-fearing environment that emphasized clean living and Christian values, none of which I hold any particular grudge against. Yet, in sharing my experiences gained in a world far away from such a wholesome environment, it was sure to make for both good gossip and scornful judgment. Because people tend to remember you within the same context of who you were when they last knew you, such negative reactions concerned me.

An understanding grin spread across my friends face. "Oh, Ron, you don't need to worry 'bout that with me. I've seen or done pretty much all of those things they say you shouldn't. That just who we are." He shook his head. "And look at it this way, if we hadn't gone through some of that stuff we might not be with such wonderful wives and have such great families." My friend's words—simple and insightful—gave a peace that allowed me to reconcile the innocence of the past with reality of who I had become after leaving home.

We shook hands, and said our goodbyes. As I watching him turn the corner, a comforting thought occurred to me. When it comes to hometowns, some change—the kind that transforms those who were once so prominent in our lives into the best versions of themselves—is a good thing.

Photos: (Top) First Methodist Church, 1895, note the cannons and pyramid of ammo; (Middle) The Markethouse, 1840's; (Bottom) Diamond Park, 1910, those trees are now the mighty patriarchs referenced.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Wonder of War

This post is brought to you by Moonspun @ Moonspun Spins— thank you Moonspun.

First, it is an honor to be guest posting on CaJoh's site. And I sure hope he is having a great time on his vacation!

I've been thinking a lot about war lately…this is both normal to me and seems odd. It's normal because I am a graduate student and I am studying military history. So therefore, much of the reading I have been doing involves war. Natural, right? Those who know me in my 'real' life looked at me oddly when I told them how I was pursuing a Master in Military History. Like YOU of all people?

Let me back up. When I graduate from my undergraduate college 20 (yikes!) years ago, I was a Women's Studies major. What fascinated me then about the subject was that is was interdisciplinary. I took classes in music, history, art, literature as well as classes of feminist philosophy and such. It was also a brand new major at the time. There was a lot of talk about the "evil military-industrial complex."

On the one hand studying military history 20 years later seems like a polar opposite. Yet I have found that like my undergrad degree, it isn't all that you'd think it is. First, I can't tell one gun from another and really, I don't need to. Second, military history is not just about studying battle after battle and glorifying death and such. It's finding out the why and the how of why societies go to war, the KIND of war they engage in (the why and how often depends on cultural factors). Mixed in between the social and political reasons for war and conflict are the relationship of civilian and military opinions, governments and citizens. In other words, it's fascinating to me! In a way that I'd never even thought about before I decided to take my first class a year and a half ago. It's not true that military historians are warmongers or love conflict or violence. They just want to understand on a different level. I am becoming one of them.

So while reading last night in my Cambridge History of Warfare, I was to a point where the author was discussing all the conflicts of the 1990's and 9/11. And in the context of my reading and my observations about people lately, I have just wondered WHY it is that some people and societies are so hateful toward each other. I have also wondered WHY killing someone else who is different from you is ok.

Personally, I just don't get it. Because although I have felt angry towards people and OK, have struck a few, I would never 1) hate someone people they are so different than me and 2) think they should be killed just because of it. And it's not because I was told this, it's because I feel it inside. I'll admit that I can be suspicious of people who seem different (ie I am a bored and bred Yankee and naturally wary of Southern people :-) ) but it never turned toward hatred and all I need to do is talk to people to know something about them to assuage any odd feelings I have. That seems to be how I am made.

So as I am reading about all the massacres in the Bosnian wars and the fatwa that Bin Laden put out saying to Muslims that killing any American anytime is good…well it makes me wonder about war and about people and why. Are we wired as a global society to protect our own so much that it is worth killing? Is this something we can't help? If we have been doing this for tens of thousands of years will it stop? Do we want it to?

I don't know the answers of course. But I can't help but be curious. And when my 9 year old daughter asks me why…I don't always know what to say. Do you?

(Thanks Christopher! Moonspun :-)

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What Does Your Garden Grow?

I would like to thank Liz @ Eternal Lizdom for assisting with today's post:

I forget how I first came upon Ca-Joh's blog. But I can tell you that one of the reasons I keep coming back to Ca-Joh's blog is the Friday Feast.

I have a thing about food. I know I have emotional connections to food. I love food and I love with food. I make food to lift spirits, show that I care, and seek out approval. I like to cook but only if the food is good to the people eating it. Same with baking. I cook and bake for others- not so much for my own pleasure.

This summer, I've embarked on a new project that I've been tracking on my own blog. A vegetable garden. Tomatoes, yellow squash, green beans, cucumbers. I also have a blackberry bush.

It's been wildly successful beyond any of my expectations. My husband built a great raised bed. My mom started the seeds and did the planting. My husband and mom mixed the top soil and manure to create a nourishing environment for growth. We watered and weeded and waited.

And my garden produces. Cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, roma (plum) tomatoes. We've picked 4 yellow squash. 8 green beans (only 2 plants). Cucumbers are slowly growing. Blackberries ripen up regularly and are eaten directly from the vine (my kids have no patience for rinsing first- and I can't blame them since blackberries taste best when still sun warmed).

But I've noticed something lately. My garden achieves more than simply producing produce. My garden has opened doors and lines of communication. Who knew a simple tomato plant had so much power?

We've never been very close to any of our neighbors. We're friendly. But not friends. No shared meals or big cook outs. I know that we could ask favors of certain neighbors and I know we get annoyed by some neighbors and I am sure we are annoying to some neighbors, too! But no playdates or regular chats. Just friendly greetings, waves, a brief stop to chat when passing by.

We have a next door neighbor- Shirley. Up until a few weeks ago, it was Rob and Shirley. Rob was a real estate agent. In fact, he was the agent for the people who sold us our house. About a year ago, Jeff and I began to notice that Rob was… different. At first, we honestly just assumed it was that we only saw him when he seemed to have just enjoyed a few beers. Soon it became evident that something else was going on. We assumed it was maybe a small stroke. We didn't want to be nosey so we never asked. Shirley and Rob have lived next door for years and years. They are very much a part of this neighborhood, of our street. They have grown children, a grandson.

Turns out, Rob had Lou Gehrig's Disease- ALS. A slow, painful, crippling disease. A few weeks ago, after a vacation at the family lake house, Rob stopped breathing. After a year of slow degeneration, he passed before the disease completely incapacitated him.

Shirley has watched all of our garden preparations. She has admired the plants as they grew. We've hugged over the fence, talked while I weed, laughed as I watered.

Last night, I shared tomatoes with Shirley.

Our garden doesn't just grow tomatoes and green beans and squash. Our garden also grows relationships. Small acts of kindness, growing in good soil.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I would like to thank Deb @ Dirty Socks and Pizza for assisting with today's post:

I assume it is standard practice to suck up to the Host Blogger when one appears in a guest-starring role on said Host's blog? Well, that is no problem for me, as CaJoh is one of my favorites. Since day one, he has intrigued me with his varied but simple approach to blogging. His posts are never very long, but leave the reader (well, me anyway) with, at the very least, a fun recipe to try, and, at times, a whole new outlook on life.

Today, in honor of our beloved Host, I will a) try to keep it short,
and b) attempt to be philosophical. That's about the best I can do, since recipes and cooking-related posts are out of the question for this gal. Thank God it's not Friday!

So, it occurred to me the other night that figuring out the human race is really not that complicated. Anthropologists, take note! Basically, it all boils down to this... Humans can be divided into two distinct categories: 1) those who will/would/do bungie jump, and 2) those whose cold, dead fingers couldn't be pried from whatever is keeping them firmly planted on the ground.

I will happily, proudly, and unequivocally declare that I fall decisively into the latter category. Either you have it in you, or you don't. Clearly, I don't, and that is just fine with me.

How about you? Which category characterizes you?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy New Year!

This post is brought to you by Mina @ The World According to the Little Fish. It may seem out of place on an August day to be wishing you a Happy New Year— but read on to see what she means:

My father was a university student when I was born. I was in the third grade when he received his PhD. I went straight to college myself after graduating high school, and got married during my junior year. My husband started a master's program as I was finishing my bachelor's degree. And my two oldest children were in school when he finally decided not to pay to write a dissertation for a doctorate in history that he no longer planned to use. My oldest child is about to start ninth grade and my baby, second.

My entire life has revolved around the traditional school calendar.

I guess it makes sense then that I always feel a greater sense of renewal and starting afresh on September first than I do in January. In September we start new routines, we advance grades, we buy new clothes, new backpacks, and new supplies. In September we make new friends and reacquaint ourselves with old ones. We start new sport seasons in new, larger cleats. We are assigned new teachers and occasionally adjust to a whole new school. In January we merely pick up where we left off before the Christmas Holidays. And occasionally make resolutions that have generally been forgotten by February.

Last year was a stressful one for my family. We moved 900 miles away, built a house and a warehouse, faced a family tragedy and business and personal financial struggles. Many good things happened, too, and overall I feel blessed. But I approach this new school year ready to move on. I look forward to a year where we are settled into our surrounding environs and routines. Where the stressors we encounter are every-day, garden variety stresses. Where we have only one house payment and our business is all located in one state under one enormous roof. I look forward to getting more involved again at my kids' schools. As the four of them will be spread among three campuses, this should keep me plenty busy.

Just for good measure, I'll throw in here that I look forward to weighing about 15 pounds less than I currently do. But I'm sure that effort will be abandoned by October.

The World According to the Little Fish

Calories, Fat Grams, and Carbs, OH MY!

Where's CaJoh!? you may ask. Well, today I have the pleasure of having Kat (AKA: Mama Nut) @ 4 Nuts in a Nutshell post on my behalf. This way I can enjoy the week off without having to worry about lining up posts while I'm gone. Looks like I am (as well as you are) in for a special treat:

hamburger In reference to the culinary arts, we live in the greatest time in history! Restaurants, cafes, fast food establishments… the drive-thru window! Never before has man been blessed by so many yummy food choices. On the other hand, never before has so many of Earth's inhabitants been wondering around with a few spare tires, love handles, and extra chins. Statistics say that the majority of Americans are overweight or obese. So my question is, if there are so many of us, why are skinny people running the show?

Medically speaking, obesity is, in fact, linked to many serious health problems — diabetes (although, I know MANY skinny people with this too) heart attacks, high blood pressure and cholesterol, etc. But everyone knows this! What bothers me is that they never address the fact that many overweight people are healthy eaters, workout regularly and live long lives. Genetics, people! Now don't get me wrong, I love the skinnies… but I understand the chunkies who just can't get off the weight and at the same time are hurting to be socially accepted. I've sported a double chin for most of my life — we are rather… attached. But I enjoy a great salad or chicken wrap as much as the next guy. My life is full of good eating, exercising, and weight watching… but it doesn't make me skinny. I am who I am. I won't let my weight define me.

Wouldn't it be nice if society let us enjoy those yummy food options out there once in a while, without giving us the guilt trip? I mean kicking back with a nice glass of wheat grass juice just isn't the same as a great big glass of Diet Coke. Come on folks!

So the other day I was flipping through the channels on the TV and came across several shows with the same scene: Joe Skinny was sitting across from Alice Fatty telling her that if she doesn't follow his diet plan she is going to die. Alice Fatty is crying, her husband's crying, and the kids are crying. Joe Skinny reaches over and holds Alice Fatty's hand. "We are going to get you through this…" He says with all the false emotion he can muster for the camera. At this point the camera zooms onto a box of Twinkies on the end table — Satan's food! Needless to say, I rolled my eyes and changed the channel. Ah, the Biggest Loser. After watching a few minutes of chunky people being tortured, I changed the channel again. CSI. Now this was I show I liked! Have you ever noticed that fat women never get murdered on that show… that's what I'm talking about. So I leaned back, kicked up my feet and snuggled down with my box of Twinkies, fat-free and sugar-free, of course!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

BOOB 08-17 through 08-21

For those of you who do not know what BOOB means, it means:
"Being Out Of Blogging" (shame on you). What this means is that I will not be blogging next week… but instead will be on vacation— which includes not using my computer (I'm on the computer all day at work and need a break). However, I do have some guests who will be posting on my behalf while I am away. When I asked for assistance with guest posting, I was pleasantly surprised at the outpouring of volunteers. It is an honor and a privilege to have these people help out and be guests on my blog.

Here is the schedule for next week:

Monday, August 17:
Mama Nut @ 4 Nuts in a Nutshell
Mina @ The World According to the Little Fish
Tuesday, August 18:
Deb @ Dirty Socks and Pizza
Wednesday, August 19:
Liz @ Eternal Lizdom
Thursday, August 20:
Moonspun @ Moonspun Spins
Friday, August 21:
CK Lunchbox @ Clark Kent's Lunchbox

If you are unfamiliar with these authors, I encourage you to check out their blogs so that you get a feel of their writing styles.
See you when I return.

Friday, August 14, 2009

F2: Just call me Mr. Tabasco

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be talking about my inherited desire for Tabasco sauce. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast— be sure to leave a comment and include the URL to your post so I and others can know of your contribution.

Participants in this weeks Feast are as follows:

Participants in this weeks Feast are as follows:

If any of you read my post Writer's Workshop: C is for Cookie you know that I was exposed to Tabasco sauce early on in my life. What you do not know is my natural affinity with the stuff.

According to my father, his Grandmother (my Great Grandmother) was born a McIlhenny. They lived in western Pennsylvania and not on Avery Island. Now… if any of those McIlhenny's from Avery Island ever lived, or even moved to Pennsylvania— then I am truly related to the Tabasco giants. This explains a lot:

  • Now I know why I do not prefer any other type of hot sauce and tend to always buy Tabasco.
  • Now I know why I can stand spicy foods so easily.
  • Now I know why I was so saddened when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Next week I will be on vacation and will have Clark Kent help me out by guest posting for me— so I am not going to have a Friday's feast next week. Do not fear… the theme in two weeks will be "favorites". Do you have any favorite foods, or favorite things that you enjoyed eating as a child. Are there favorite food shows you like to watch, or even your favorite food celebrity. So… if you have anything that relates to this topic, be sure to leave a comment and include the URL so I can include you in the next feast. You now have twice as much time to prepare something— or even find that post from long ago… I'll be sure to add you in.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rhyming Wednesday: Sunset

I have discovered a new meme hosted by Otin @ Wizard of Otin called Rhyming Wednesday. This gives me an opportunity to recite my poetry and read others as well.

This is one of my "six line" style poems that upon reading again reminds me of sunset… so I titled it that. It is difficult to say what it truly means… I'll leave it over to you to offer your interpretation:

The fog rolls in and clutters the sky
while the sun withers and begins to lie

The light so warm now starts to fade
a rosy red to a scarlet jade

Our eyes they look but see none at all
thus blinded by our own heroic fall

So until we fall to our own doom
overpass the gloom by clearing our dye


If you are interested in reading this week's offering… or want to participate yourself— go visit Otin's Rhyming Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Grandma Grandpa Camp

Typically our family goes camping every year. Unfortunately this year we did not. In order to make it up to our Grandson who was looking forward to camping, my wife and I decided to have what we call "Grandma-Grandpa Camp". What we planned was to do similar activities that we would normally do when we go camping— but do them closer to home.

Cast of Characters (Grandpa, Grandson, Grandma).

One of the activities that we normally do is rent paddle boats and go out on the lake. My wife and I noticed that there was a boat rental place nearby and planned on renting a boat there. What we did not plan was the excessive amount of rain which put a damper in our plans:

Looks like the dock is flooded… can't get to the boats.

An activity that we were successful with was prospecting. There is a rock hunting activity that we discovered last year. This was one of those activities that our grandson looked forward to. What we did instead was to go to Dave's Down To Earth Rock Shop and purchased some rock activities that he could do such as a dinosaur egg kit:

Picking away at the matrix to reveal…

… what is hidden beneath the matrix.

Another activity that we normally do is go swimming in the pool (Yes… there is a pool where we camp). My wife and I figured we could use our YMCA membership and go swimming at their pool. Unfortunately, the storm the night before knocked out the power and caused us to rethink where to go swimming.

Looks like we can't go to the pool today…

Fortunately we were able to go to a nearby water park which had a cool water feature. There is a giant bucket that gets filled with water. At some point gravity takes over and the bucket tips over spilling all of the water on unsuspecting swimmers below…

Grandpa and Grandson getting doused with the huge bucket of water.

After swimming for several hours, we decided to pull out the grill and make hamburgers and hot dogs. Once we ate, we then pulled out the marshmallows graham crackers and chocolate for some home made smores…

Grandson roasting marshmallows for smores.

I did plan on pulling out the tent in the living room, but my wife objected to such a monstrosity in the middle of the room. We then intended on just pulling out our sleeping bags and sleep on the floor, but our grandson sleepily said: "is it OK if we just pull out the couch instead?"— we happily abliged.

Friday, August 7, 2009

F2: Seasoned Potato Skins

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be talking about what to do with those pesky potato skins. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast— be sure to leave a comment and include the URL to your post so I and others can know of your contribution.

Participants in this weeks Feast are as follows:

With inspirations from Mrs. Mackinac…

I saw my wife do this once while making mashed potatoes. I think it makes a great appetizer that people can eat while waiting for the main dish to arrive.

Seasoned Potato Skins:
1 Iron Skillet
Skins from however many potatoes you are peeling at the time
1-2T Peanut Oil
Seasoned Salt
  1. Heat up the iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Peal your potato into the iron skillet.
  3. Add some peanut oil over the top.
  4. Stir the oil into the skins
  5. Continue to slice or dice your potato according to whatever recipe you are using.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 with however many potatoes you are using.
  7. When finished, add the seasoning.
    If you do not want to use seasoned salt, you can use any other seasoning such as bay seasoning if you like.
  8. Remove skins from pan and serve over a paper towel in a shallow bowl.
  9. Enjoy.

Next weeks topic is Spicy-Hot! Let's turn up the heat shall we… it doesn't even have to be a recipe. Have you ever had something that was too hot, or are you one of those people who say to others "that's not hot at all". Or, why is it that people like eating spicy foods in the summer (are they crazy!).So… if you have anything that relates to this topic, be sure to leave a comment and include the URL so I can include you in next weeks feast. Even if you have already posted on this topic in the past— your links are always welcome.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thrus Night Club

When I was in community theater our theater group rehearsed on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. After the Thursday night rehearsal we typically went out to a local bar and blew off steam after a long week of rehearsals. Once the show was finished we figured: "hey… this can't end— we want to still meet!" So, we vowed that we would meet every first Thursday of the month at the bar just so we could reminisce.

One of the cast members wrote up a post card as a reminder to the rest of the cast of the upcoming first Thursday get-together. Fortunately/unfortunately, the subject of the post card was "Thrus. Night Club" instead of the intended "Thurs. Night Club". Upon looking at the post card one cast member remarked to himself: "Hey, Thrus Night Club… sounds kinky— just add a 't' to it and you got Thrust Night Club". After a lot of laughs about the type-o we took on the name of Thrustre (because that is how you spell theatre by the way) and we have been the Thrustres ever since.

During a summer production a lot of us who were Thrustres were in a Sock-hop scene. The seamstress of the group decided that we all should have bowling shirts. And not just every-day ordinary ones either— they would be Hot Pink and Black!

Here I am sporting the Thrustre bowling shirt with our family dog Alexis. Note the hot pink collar on the dog (I think she liked being a Thrustre).

Here's another picture me on a trip up to Wisconsin telling the wooden captain a secret. Note the patch on the arm— (I was a Sergeant at Arms).

The bar in which we met so frequently closed down after the owner passed away. Then so many of us moved away or joined other companies that the tradition faded and now it seems only a memory.

So here's a toast to the Thrustres:
"No matter where you go…There you are"
"There's a hammock about fifty yards that way— I'm numb— and this night… is mine!"
"And here's to the lady in the see through dress… long may she wave— Huh Huh Huh Huh… Sheep-Dip!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

51 And Falling…

Lately I have noticed that my Follower count has dropped from 55 to 51. I do know that someone actually wrote indicating that blogger wiped their account one day and they have been desperately trying to follow those blogs and got an error message when trying, so I know that one person is accounted for— but I am unsure of the rest.

When followers was the new thing, I wrote a few Tuesday's Tributes giving a brief summary of my Followers and what their blogs were all about. Here are the posts that I wrote:

At the time I stopped abound 30 followers and briefly after that Blogger changed the way they listed Followers. I have a widget on my side-bar which lists "What the Followers have to say" and shows a blog-roll of those that I know have followed me in the past. Please check to see if you are still following me if your blog is listed. If not, try following me again (unless you really don't want to follow me any more don't worry— I'll understand). Or, if you are a regular reader and want to give me an "atta-boy" you can follow me too. I am hoping to have another Tuesday's Tribute once I reach 60 followers so that you can get some publicity about your blog.

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