Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Picnic Lunch

Yesterday was supposed to be the last nice day this week. They are calling for thunder storms here for the rest of the week.

Ron and I decided to grab a few sandwiches and a couple of cans of Fresca and head out for a picnic.

I've posted pictures lately of a lot of our favorite lunch spots and this place is another one. We decided to go to Lakeview Park, right on the shores of Lake Erie. Lakeview Park has a picnic area, complete with grills, picnic tables etc, but we decided to just go alfresco. We just plopped down on the stairs that head down to the beach.

It was awesome! The sun was shining, a nice breeze coming in off of the lake, the lake was blue as blue can be. Suddenly, we had visitors.

One little bee. He was annoying, but we continued on with our lunch. Suddenly, another bee. And another bee. I don't do well with ONE bee, let alone a swarm of them. We both grabbed all of our stuff; half eaten sandwiches, bags, open cans of Fresca and we made the mad dash to the van.

If anyone saw us, you would think we were mad! I think we both ran in different directions, doing our best to ward off the swarm (ok, there were probably 10 bees, but that's a swarm to me!). We were zigging and zagging, arms waving like lunatics. I made it to the van first, and left Ron to fend for himself. Finally a minute later, he jumped in as well. The first order of business was to make sure no bees followed us into the van. Aah. Safe.

There was no way we were opening the windows in the van with the bees out there, so he turned on the van, turned up the A/C and we sat there at the beach finishing our sandwiches and soda. The true troopers we are, no food was dropped on the ground during the mad dash. Bonus!

We finished eating and then took a little walk around. This park has a lovely fountain that lights up at night and shoots water at least 20 feet into the air. During the day, it's not shooting water that high, but there is still a beautiful sight. Too bad my camera ran out of battery power after just one picture or else you'd be enjoying a few more pictures right HERE!

We each even through a penny into the fountain with a wish attached. It was a beautiful lunch in spite of the bees. If one of those pennies works out, it will be even better.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Honey Do? Honey Did!

To keep any household going, it takes a lot of work. There is the regular work like dinner to be made, grass to be cut, that kind of stuff. Then, there is the infamous "honey do" list. Personally, I think my "honey do" list for Ron is much shorter than most. As a matter of fact, I can't think of one item that remains on that list!

A couple of weeks ago though, there was an item on the "honey do" list.

Off of our kitchen we have a little room that we call our mudroom. This has our refrigerator, a pantry and a counter with cupboards. The door from the pantry to the outside is a good 3-1/2 feet off of the ground. When we first moved in, I vacillated between wanting just steps down to the ground to wanting a deck and then steps. Times have changed and other things were just more important. Now, it just is what it is until there is money to think about this option again.

Since it's so high up, the door is obviously pretty unusable. It became a great place to put my recycle bins in front of it.

Back to the "honey do" list. Late last fall, I noticed that the wood trim on the outside of this door was starting to peel. I asked Ron if one day he felt ambitious, if he'd do a little scraping and paint that little bit. It wasn't awful, but it was getting there. Through the winter and into the spring, it got a little worse.

Finally, a couple of Saturdays ago, Ron wanted a project and he picked painting that door frame. He was actually able to stand in the mudroom with the door open and paint all of that outside trim. With the paint wet, we just left the door open until it dried.

We did notice one thing though. We finally had a terrific breeze blowing through the house with this door open! Believe it or not, I have no windows that open on the south side of the house. And, the breeze seems to blow mostly around here south to north. I could open every other window or door here but nothing would really move in the house until that door was open on the south side.

We started to think: Wow. Do you think we should put a screen door there?? We've been in this house six years and this is the first time THIS subject came up! I just couldn't believe the difference that open door made.

Ron took that chat to heart and Sunday he was at the store buying us a door! Ron with my brother Phil's help, spent a good part of that Sunday installing the screen door. Isn't he a beauty??

Now I'm going to have to get steps there! And not just the one step that we put there as a joke!

This has really saved on the air conditioning bill. With us finally having air movement downstairs, it has been much more pleasant downstairs. Thanks, guys!

Monday, August 24, 2009

That's Just Wrong, Page 19

I don't have a restaurant level stocked kitchen. I have an average woman-who's-trying-to-emulate-Betty-Crocker type kitchen. My kitchen is stocked with most of the normal stuff. I know, I don't have a hand potato masher much to someone's dismay, (I prefer my hand mixer for the job) and I could use a few little things yet, but other than that, I'm jiggy with what I have.

One of the things that was on my list of stuff I wanted was another dutch oven. It's one of those things I only needed occasionally, namely when I'm making lasagna. After all, the sauce is being made in one dutch oven and I'd have to dig out my big soup pot just to do some pasta.

About six months ago, Ron and I bought another dutch oven! The other day I went to make lasagna and I think this might have been the third time I've used this pot.

With my sauce simmering nicely, I brought out my new dutch oven to start the pasta. Water and salt in, the pot was on the stove. About five minutes later, I look in the pot and what do I see? A bunch of little spots on the bottom of the pan that look like rust. That can't be! I figured someone just didn't clean the pot well and I must have missed it.

I dumped the water, scoured the pot, washed it really really well and started again. Water in, salt in, heat on. Again, in about five minutes, what looked like rust was all over the bottom. I dumped out the water and here is what I'm left with:

This is totally disgusting! There has to be something inherently wrong with the pan. However, after six months, I guarantee you that I no longer have the receipt. I don't even remember where I bought it from.

I did some internet research over the weekend. The bottom of the pan says it's a Chefmate. This brand, I believe is made by Ecko exclusively for Target. I can't find a website for Chefmate so I'm going to try contacting Ecko.

My original dutch oven I bought in 1993 and it's still going strong. This one, three uses and it's rusted? That's just wrong.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons . . .

. . . Make lemonade.

I needed to be reminded of this point this week. You see, I've had a really bad week. I don't know if it's just one event that made me feel this way, or just the compilation of a whole bunch of little things.

For example, I've been told once again this week that I'm not worth talking to about a job opening that I'm more than qualified for since I don't have a degree. I made a barely edible enchilada casserole but had to throw the Spanish rice away (even though I've made these two dishes dozens of times before), I was making home made bread in the bread machine when someone unplugged the bread machine instead of the coffee pot and I had to throw the whole batch away, I hurt so much more than usual this week, I'm frustrated, I'm disillusioned, I'm not returning emails or phone calls. I'm just not happy this week, after just a little bit of everything. I'm overwhelmed, I want to take my toys and go home and just be left alone.

I've even been so crass as to hang up on my sister after telling her that I'm just in a poopy mood and don't want to talk. Can you believe it? Well, I guess everyone was a bit tired of my mood this week.

Friday, I was walking past the front door when I saw someone walking up the steps onto the porch. That's not too unusual, Ron gets a lot of packages delivered to the house, replacement parts he needs and such. Only I see this guy has a big vase of flowers in his hand. Excuse me? You must have the wrong house. Sure enough, they had MY name on them. That's the flowers at the beginning of this blog! Cool, huh? The best part is that you need to look closely at what's in the vase - lemons!

They were from my sister Cathie in California, just reminding me that someone in California loves me. I called Cathie right away, just crying. You shouldn't be so terrible to the people you love that they feel they have to do whatever it takes to get you to snap out of it! Ok, I get it! Life hands you lemons, make lemonade!

I had a good cry on her shoulder (unfortunately, she was at work!) and I started to feel a little better. I need to just move on.

Then, Ron came home from a service call carrying these!
Yeah, he knows my favorite flower! So many bonus points for that! I didn't realize I was being that ornery that not once, but twice in one day, people are trying to cheer me up. Ok, I get it. Its time to put on my big girl pants, take a couple more Aleve, send out even more resumes, dust myself off and quit feeling sorry for myself.

So, now I want to apologize for everyone that I was a bitch to this week. I am truly sorry, and I will try to be better.

One day at a time. But I will tell you, it's really hard to be sad when you have these gerber daisies looking at you from your desk. Life will go on.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I've Tumbled Dry

It doesn't take too much to overwhelm me some days.

I dedicated Tuesday to doing laundry. I was on a roll with it, too. I stripped the bed to the bare bones and threw it all in the wash.

Now, I've had trouble before with melting a mattress pad in the dryer. Yeah, don't ask; I think I was lucky to have not burned down the house with that one. So as not to repeat that mistake again, I decided to actually read the washing directions on the tag.

Wash in warm water, no bleach, gentle cycle. Check.

Tumble dry. Huh?

Does any one's dryer have the specific instructions to "tumble dry"? Mine doesn't. I have high, low and fluff. Damn. At 46 years old, you'd think that this wouldn't just get the best of me, would you!

Fluff = tumble dry? Close enough. I set it and tried to forget it. I went upstairs and thought about the fact that this is one of those occasions I want to call my Mom for advice. Since I couldn't do that, I did the next best thing. I called my sister, Cathie!

Two intelligent grown women should have been able to figure this out. Lucky for me, Cathie knew that the fluff cycle of the dryer does not use heat. Rats, there I went back down two flights of stairs to correct that.

So, after much discussion, we decided that "tumble dry" just means to turn the freakin' dryer on! Why couldn't they just say that? That took six flights of stairs and numerous phone calls to figure this out.

On the plus side, the mattress pad is now spring fresh and clean. And that's what it was all about.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's A Bug!

We have a ton of lightening bugs in my neighborhood. That's a good thing when it's night time and they are flittering through the yard. It's not a good thing when it's caught in a spider web outside of my window!

It's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting here enjoying watching the Cubs kick the Pirates' ass (hey, the Cubs lost every game this week. We were DUE for a win!) when I happen to see this lightening bug outside of the window.

Now I know, some of you out there are thinking I immediately called for Ron to come running and kill it. Well, if you thought that, you'd be partly wrong.

First, I don't' like killing any bug outside. That's where they belong and as long as they stay out there and don't come in the house, they are free to go about their business. But as a big kid at heart, I do love our lightening bugs. I begged Ron to get out there and save it from the web!

Seeing as how this bug is about 30 feet off of the ground, Ron said to forget about it. He wasn't doing anything for the bug. Dang.

So here I sit, fascinated by the poor thing struggling against the huge web. So far, there is no spider coming out to see what he caught for dinner which is a good thing. I don't want to see that.

I'll keep happy thoughts that the lightening bug can escape his prison and that the Cubs can break their losing streak.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mom Would Be Proud

Can you believe it's been 12 years? I can't believe Mom's been gone that long.

Obviously, Mom has been on my mind today. I wanted to do something in honor of Mom, but what to do?

I cleaned the worst room in the house, the office! I threw out crap, shredded old paperwork, dusted and even washed the window. The office is CLEAN! What would have tickled Mom more than someone cleaning.

Yeah, Mom would be proud.

I miss you...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don't Order The Wonton

For my one brother that absolutely loves wonton soup - I'd be careful from now on if I were you!

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Yes, We're Really Old!

Again, going back to a previous post, I've mentioned that the three of us like to go to Eat 'n Park for the Tuesday morning breakfast buffet. All three of us go, we get the senior priced breakfast, and I'm not too proud to take the discount!

Tuesday morning, the three of us were there chowing down. We always have the same server and she knows us too well. When we walk in, she brings the tray with three waters, two coffees, two milks and a little cup of mustard that Phil wants for his sausage! Like I said, she knows us.

They have music playing over the speakers all through the restaurant. As Ron and I were going through the buffet, the song "Smokin' In The Boys Room" by Brownsville Station was playing. Our server was standing over in the corner laughing over the words to this song. If you've ever heard this song, you can appreciate that yes, they are funny. She had never heard such a thing on the radio before.

We started laughing - not only have we heard the song before, we probably knew most of the words! We said that song was out when we were kids. Yeah, no wonder she believes that we should get the senior discount!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Walgreens Update, Finally!

About a month ago, I posted about a trip to Walgreens where they wouldn't sell Ron cigarettes on a credit card without Ron buying an additional item on the credit card.

It took a month, but I finally got a response this morning!

The manager of the store called me. He asked me to tell him the story again, so I repeated it to him. There is a link to the previous story above if you need a refresher on the story.

Marty, the manager, assured me that this was NOT a policy at the store and the cashier was incorrect. I told him that at least two employees attested to the fact that an additional item had to be purchased if he was using a credit card. Marty was floored.

He was very apologetic, especially for the fact that it took a month for this issue to hit his desk. He offered to make it right with me, but I told him that I was just ticked off that night and wanted him to know he let a $50 sale walk out the door. As I told him, I still love the store, it's right in the neighborhood, we still shop there regularly and they absolutely have the best milk prices around.

I'm glad he finally called though as I just wanted to make sure he heard my complaint. He is supposed to be addressing it with his staff so I'm jiggy with it.

Hall Of Shame, Page 2

How far they have fallen.

We used to have a favorite Mexican restaurant in Lorain on West Erie Avenue. Well, Mexican food isn't my favorite, but if you have a good margarita to back you up, I could love your restaurant! This restaurant was called El Castillo Grande and it was. It was a huge castle looking building, right on the lake. They had a fantastic bar room in the back of the building, with the wall all windows so you could sit and look out over the lake. It was beautiful. Plus they had great margaritas and their staff was always super. We've taken almost everyone we know to The Castle at one time or another.

Then, they closed.

What the heck? That bar room alone should have been a gold mine for them. The bar room AND their margaritas? I couldn't imagine what happened.

So, it was closed for a few months. Then the signs came up that they were reopening as another Mexican restaurant. I did miss that bar room looking out at Lake Erie. It's finally reopened, as El Arriero. They've even tried to improve on a good thing! They knocked a hole in the wall of the bar room and put a door out there. Outside of the door they built a beautiful wood deck.

We went to El Arriero about a month ago. The deck wasn't ready yet and they didn't have their liquor license in yet. But, we ate there anyway. Ron had a good meal and I ordered the Hawaiian Fajita. It was a chicken fajita but it also had shrimp and pineapple in it. I gotta tell you, this was one of the best fajitas I ever had! I'm not even a big fan of shrimp but I loved it.

Unfortunately, when we're almost finished with dinner, it started to hit me. I was not feeling well. Half of my lower lip went numb on me; it felt like I'd had a shot from the dentist. The stomach distress though was beyond belief. Let it just suffice to say that I was one sick puppy. The numb lip made us think allergy. To what? While I don't eat shrimp often, I've never gotten sick from it. Besides, I've eaten more than my share of crawfish in my day and I've never gotten sick from them. They are basically shrimp, but the freshwater version. Anyway, somehow I lived through that day.

Now it's a month later. The liquor license is in and the deck is built. After the movie on Saturday, we wanted to give it a try. It was a spectacular day so we asked for a table outside. I wish I would have had my camera because Lake Erie was flat, calm, blue as blue can be. It was unbelievable. Then we ordered.

As good as the Hawaiian Fajita was, I was afraid. I chose another dish. Ron, however, wasn't afraid. He ordered the Hawaiian Fajita, since he remembered how good it was when I had it!

So, let's start at the beginning. Chips and salsa. They have to have the worse salsa of any Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. It's just too sweet. Salsa should have a little kick to it and this was basically tomato juice, a few onions and some cilantro. Not good.

On to the margaritas. Um, yeah. Not good. This had the worst sours mix in there I think I've ever tasted. I do consider myself to be somewhat of a margarita aficionado and in my expert opinion, this just sucked. That should have been enough to put this on the "do not go" list of restaurants.

Then it happened. After we got home, Ron started to feel ill. A few hours later, he's almost doubled over with stomach pain. Yeah, been there, done that. He did make it through the night and then he felt a lot better. But trust me, nothing in that restaurant, even the view, is worth getting that sick over.

Shame on you, El Arriero. Two strikes and you're out. Here are two patrons that will NOT be back.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Oh, Harry

I have been a big fan of the Harry Potter books for a long time now. As a matter of fact, in case no one noticed the list of what I'm reading lately, posted to the left, I am now reading the Harry Potter series from the beginning, for the third time. That is just some great writing!

I am now in the middle of the third of seven books. Even though I've read them twice before plus seen the movies, there is quite a bit I've forgotten. Regardless, since book six was recently released as a movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I've wanted to see it.

Saturday, Ron and I went to the movies! This movie has just come out in the last couple of weeks, so I was really surprised that there were only five of us in the theater! I waited a few weeks so that there weren't hundreds of people in the theater, but I expected more than five.

There was a lot of the story line I had forgotten, but there was still a lot that I remembered. It was a long movie and at this moment, I'm hard pressed to say if I liked it or not. There was a lot from the book that wasn't covered in the movie, obviously. But the dark feeling of the story line as well as the characters growing up I thought was captured very well.

I'm not sure how the reviews went on this movie. I thought it was kind of odd that when the movie was over, five or six kids came in to pick up the theater and make sure everyone leaves. A couple of them asked us if we enjoyed the movie. I said that yes, I did! And, if they heard anyone screaming, it was me!

They all guessed what part I screamed at, and they were all wrong. Without saying too much, when the hand came out of the water, (which I KNEW was going to happen!) I screamed like a little girl! Yeah, I belted out a good one. The ushers laughed, surprised that was the part that made me scream!

Yeah, I think I liked it. I don't know if I'd sit through another 2-1/2 hours to watch it again, but now I'm anxious to get to book six and read what really happened. Hopefully, when the hand comes out of the water in the book (and I KNOW it does!) I won't be screaming again.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ear Bleach?

Friday I was doing a little cleaning around here. One of the things I was trying to get accomplished was washing the windows in the kitchen and the mudroom.

Most of the newer windows are made so that you can wash both the inside and outside of the windows from inside of your house. I pull the window up just a tad, slide a couple of clips and the window folds right down so I can wash the outside part. Nifty.

And, for as long as I can remember, whenever I had to clean, I had to turn on some music. Loud music. And, of course sing along. Well, "sing" is as close as I can get to what I actually do. Some have called it caterwauling. Whatever.

So, there I am, at the back of the house washing the mudroom window. The window is wide open, the boom box is playing loudly the soundtrack of Wicked and here I am trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to sing Defying Gravity. Whatever, I'm belting it out for what I'm worth.

Then, there he was.

The mailman puts our mail in the box on the side of the house. Then, he continues down our driveway, across the back of the house, through the yard and over to the houses on the side street next to us. As he was walking across the back of the house, he kinda stopped and looked at me. Perhaps he was trying to figure out if he should call 911 due to someone dying in the house! No, just me, trying to sing.


Um, sorry, mailman. I know at this moment he's probably still searching for some ear bleach. He may NEVER get that sound out of his head again! Too bad - I was having fun.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

Wednesday would have been my Dad's 85th birthday. In honor of Dad, we celebrated his life with visits from my brothers Jim and Mike and of course, the three of us here. I think a good time was had by all!

When this clan gets together, it can get a little goofy. For example, this is what happens when you let your brother Mike play with your camera! Here's looking at you, baby!

Jim actually smiled for the camera!
Even Phil found a smile for the day!

Ron was in charge of the grill. We had enough hot dogs and hamburgers to almost feed the neighborhood!

Add that to the roast I did in the crockpot, and there was truly too much food for the five of us. Everyone got to go home with left overs.

And, before you ask, I had defrosted the roast on Saturday for Sunday's dinner, forgetting that we had plans to go out. Ok, fine, it would hold until Monday. Well, change of plans; we got free tickets to the Lake Erie Crusher's game! Bonus! So, now the roast was held over to Tuesday and I HAD to cook it already. Hey, no one was complaining and we ended up with an eclectic mix of food. And, it turned out to be one of the best roasts I ever made!

Two brothers, enjoying dinner.

Mike and I trying to show Ron some love at the table. I know, we're just so not right. Look out, Jerry Springer! We're ready to be booked on an episode or two!

As for the food, we also had some corn and I cut up some fresh fruit as well.

When all was said and done, we lit the candles for Dad, and Phil being the closest to 85 got to blow them out. And, as far as I could see, there was no extra spit on the cake and he got all of them in one blow. Way to go, brother!

Thanks to everyone for coming over and enjoying the dinner and family time.

I miss you, Dad. Happy Birthday.