Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hidden in my Camera!

Ron bought me my camera a few years ago for Christmas.  It is a refurbished Nikon Coolpix.  For what I do, it's an AWESOME camera!  It has so many bells and whistles that I still haven't learned them all or played with them all yet.  I love my camera!

To get the pictures from the camera to the computer (so I could then upload them to the blog of course!) I can do it two ways.  I can take the cord, plug one end into the computer and the other end into the camera, or I could take out the memory card and plug that directly into my computer.  Either way, the pictures go from the camera to the computer and then I can delete them from the camera and start all over again.

Probably a year ago, I dropped my camera.   I know I had a couple of pictures on the memory card that I hadn't downloaded yet.  I was so scared that I dropped the camera and broke it that I immediately turned it on to make sure I could see the pictures   Oh buddy, I could see the pictures!  But they were not MY pictures!

The few pictures I saw looked like a birthday party and it looked like an Oriental family.  Um, I have no Oriental blood in my family line, so I kinda figured this wasn't MY family on the camera!  Holy crap, how does this happen and who are they???

I freaked out.  I went right to Ron to show him the pictures and suddenly, they were gone and my pictures were back.  Honestly, I think Ron was thinking I was a bit nuts.  Ok, we all know I AM a bit nuts, but this was a little more than usual.  I swear there were some other family's pictures on my camera!  Whatever, they were lost again. I started to doubt myself.

Then taa daa!  I dropped my camera again!  My first thought was to make sure it survived another fall.  I turned the camera on and it started right up.  That's a good sign.  When I went to check on the pictures I had in there, again, NOT MY FAMILY!  Holy crap, it happened again!  This time, I grabbed my camera and ran right upstairs to show Ron.  I did not shut off my camera and the pictures stayed on the screen until I got to Ron.  

Ron finally figured out what happened.  You put a memory card into the camera but the camera itself has a very small amount of its own memory.  The pictures were actually ON the camera, and not on my memory card.  When I download the pictures, I am always downloading from the memory card.  Thank you to Lisa who helped me figure out how to get the pictures out of the camera!  And, here is my other "family"!  Please let me know if you recognize anyone!  ;-)


I love this one, looking under the table here!

Oops!  Ok, that last one IS my picture!  Somehow, this picture of Ron and Benny ended up on the camera itself as well.

Such a surprise!  Honestly, I never took these pictures, other than the last one.  

This might not be my real family, but if they are looking for new members, I am adoptable!  And I do windows!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Share and Relish - Brussel Sprouts!

It's time to share and relish!!  This time, brussel spouts!  I know it's a simple thing, but this recipe has a back story.

My sister-in-law went to Trader Joe's the other day.  She saw these huge brussel spout stalks and had to get one for me.  In case you didn't guess it, I LOVE brussel sprouts!  I'm not very creative with them, I only cook them two ways.  One way is simple, steam them and add some butter, maybe garlic.  Another way is to pull all the leaves off of the heads and fry them like we do with cabbage.   That is a lot of work pulling all of the leaves off of the heads but dang, is it good.  Hmm, maybe I'll have to show you that recipe.  It comes out great!  When my sister-in-law brought me the stalk of brussel sprouts, she told me that HER sister made them by baking them.  I guess she coats them in olive oil, add some garlic salt and bake.  I'll have to try that and let you know how that comes out.  MMMM  I do love brussel sprouts!

Here is a simple recipe for steaming the sprouts.

First, the huge freakin' stalk!  I have never seen them grow before so this was a surprise to me!  This thing was easily two feet long!

I started by cutting off the heads from the stalk.

Then I rinsed them in a sink full of cold water.

After they drained in a strainer, I started to clean the sprouts.  I cut across the stem, then peeled off the outer leaves.  These sprouts were rather large, so all of them got cut, either in half or in quarters.

I put them in my steamer, and cooked them for 19 minutes.  Here I have a bowl of steamed brussel sprout goodness!

I used to slap some butter and some salt on here and smack down.  But, now I do my Molly McButter instead of butter (zero points in the Molly McButter!) and I added some garlic powder.  The Molly McButter is tasty but it's kinda salty.  Hence, I used the garlic powder instead of garlic salt. 

OMG was it good!

Simple, filling and downright yummy.  Steamed brussel sprouts, one of my favorite veggies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Think I Did It This Time

Just when I start to have one or two good days, I do something to mess me back up.

I was out mowing the lawn last week.  I do the trim work with a hand mower then get on the riding mower to do the bulk of it.  The trim work includes around the trees, posts, signs and the pesky water department shut off valves.

When I bought the house, I found out the hard way that you have to go TO the water department, in person, to get your water turned on.  Yeah, you'd think that would be something that the real estate agent told me or at least the previous homeowner.  I never lived in a house before, let alone owned one, so what the heck did I know?  Anyway, I'm getting off topic here.  I only know what that monstrosity in my tree lawn is because after four days of being in the house, I finally got to the water department and paid my fee to get the water turned on.  By the time we got home from the water department, maybe 1-1/2 miles away, the truck was there to turn my water on.  He slid back the cover and put a 10' long pole down this hole to turn on the valve to start water flowing into my house!  Taa daa!!

So, that's how I know what the thingie in my tree lawn is.  What surprises me is that it's not in line with my neighbor's valve and both valves stick up in the yard WAY too far.  My valve is maybe 2 feet from the street while my neighbor's is probably 3 or 4 feet from the street.  Not in a line, which is how I assume the water line runs.  But, whatever.  My problem is that both of them stick out of the ground a few inches.  Once your grass grows a little, it's hard to see the dang things.

I've hit my neighbor's with the riding mower once or twice.  I've hit MINE numerous times.  WTF!  I can't tell you how many times I've hit this damn thing.  I don't know why.  I go around it with the hand mower first.  You'd think I'd see my "crop circle" when I'm coming back on the riding mower.  But noooooo.  I come from my neighbor's tree lawn, across the driveway and on to my tree lawn and BAM!  Right into my water valve cover.  You think I'm kidding?  This is what I've done to my valve cover since I've owned the house.

What's that thing made of?  Cast iron maybe?  Look what I've done to it!  I keep taking chunks out of it!  Here's how far it sticks up.  It doesn't look like much, but it's enough.

The worst part is that when I hit it last week, I hit it bad.  It stopped the riding mower instantly and I  almost flew right over the steering wheel.  When my butt came back down onto the seat, I knew I hurt something.  I haven't been right since.

That f-ing thing jolted me bad. 

Now I'm blaming myself as much as I'm blaming the city.  The city did a crap job of putting it in or does a crap job of maintaining it.  I on the other hand, have cut my grass enough times to KNOW it's there and yet I still hit it.  We've tried building up the dirt around this cover but you can see how successful we've been.

I need to put a flag into this dang thing so that my dumb ass remembers it's there next time.  You know like the snow plow guys use to know where the ends of your driveway is.  Either that or the next time just might be my last time.  I really don't think my back can withstand another hit like that.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Valley Harbor Clam Bake

Valley Harbor is the name of the marina where Ron has his boat docked.  The marina itself has sort of a family kind of atmosphere.  You know everyone who has slips by you, as you work on your boats together, you talk, you share tools, you party, you watch out for each other.  Everyone knows everyone else.

The marina itself throws a couple of parties a year for everyone at the marina.  There is a small bar on the property (SMALL is an understatement!) and the parties are held in a huge tent they put up outside of the bar.  The marina even provides music for the events, compete with dancing.  It's so worth the price of admission! 

In the fall is their annual clam bake.  Ron wanted to go and since the other choice for dinner was 1/2 of a roasted chicken, I was in. 

The weather did NOT cooperate last night for this clam bake.  It was raining cats and dogs most of the day and it continued as we were on our way to the marina.  The rain did stop right after we got the marina, but by then, the marina was nothing but mud.  Oh well, at least I wore my old sneakers.

The bar is on the other side of the channel from where Ron has his boat docked.  You can walk allllllll the way to the end of the channel, and around and back to the bar.  Or, you can walk down the other way a little bit and cross a small man bridge that goes over the channel.  I've been UNDER this man bridge many times and it didn't look too bad.  The joke is always that you just don't want to be the first one over the bridge because just like I blogged earlier about the spiders by the house, being by the water there, the spiders are plentiful!  The first one over the bridge has to knock down the spider webs! 

A few months ago Ron and I were at the marina and a bunch of us decided to go across the channel to the bar for a beer.  I don't want to be the stick in the mud and I feel I can DO it.  Besides, Donna and her husband Bill, who are docked right next to Ron, are my cheering section.  It was Donna's MISSION to get me over that bridge!  I almost crapped my pants, but I made it over and back again.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera on me that night!  So, knowing we're heading back to the bar for this party, the first thing I got ready to go was my camera!

Again, Donna and Bill are my cheering section and it is their mission to get me over there in one piece.  I warned everyone I had to take pictures for the blog on the way.

What you don't realize when you go under the bridge is just now steep the ramps are to GET to the bridge.  The ramps are freakin' steep and so that you can gain traction, they have 1" x 1" pieces of wood nailed across the ramp at intervals of about a foot apart.  Here is the ramp going up.

Please note that this bridge is not that wide.  The last time we were over this bridge, it was on our way back to the boat that some moron decided he couldn't wait for me to walk the last 10 feet off of the bridge and he had to come across while I was ON the bridge!  I may be down 75 pounds, but that bridge is NOT wide enough for two!  I about crapped my pants that first time and this second time wasn't much better.  But, I had Donna in front of me yelling encouragement and Ron and Bill behind me telling me I could DO this.

I am just ready to go from the ramp to the actual bridge.  There is Donna ahead of me, making sure those spider webs are knocked down.  Do you see that there are no SIDES to this bridge?  Just a flimsy freakin' cable?  If I'm going over, this is NOT going to hold me up!  It didn't look high until I got up on it.

That little cable hand hold kills me.  That is not keeping anyone up there.   Can you imagine MY big ass and a moron's big ass passing in the middle of this bridge?  For real, someone should have had a camera that day.  But, I digress.

Here is looking to the left while I'm on the bridge.

And, here is looking to the right.

The only thought in my head is that I just did not want to take a header off of this bridge and into that nasty cold water.  Luckily, I stayed on the bridge.  Here we are, almost to the end.  Donna is just finished on the bridge itself and is ready to tackle the ramp to get off.  If you thought the ramp up was bad, the ramp down is worse.  Gravity is working overtime and it's hard to keep your feet under you.  It's even worse on the way back after you've tipped a few brews, let me tell you!

Here is the ramp heading back to solid ground.

Turning around, I got the rest of our motley crew who were chanting encouragement for me to get through this walk over the bridge!

And my Ron, the last one to safely make it over the bridge!

We were talking to some other boaters on the other side of the channel when I happened to look up at the sky.  It was an amazing sight.  The sun had started to come back out and you can see the bright sunshine on the trees while right behind that is a black stormy sky.  It was beautiful!

Finally, we got in line for the food and were able to sit, chow down and enjoy the band.

As you can see, everyone is in jackets.  It was COLD last night!  But the food was good and the company was even better.  Since there were a lot of people there at the clam bake and with it being so cold, we decided to leave the tent when we were done eating.  Back over the bridge we went in the quest of a big roaring fire!

As soon as we got back to our side of the channel, I looked back at the sky.  Where the sky was black before with the sun shining on the trees, the sky had cleared and the colors were amazing.

It was cold as all get out, especially for September, but at least the storm had blown past.  We all sat around the fire pit, opened a few bottles of wine and told stories.

Once the fire got blazing, I really wanted to try to get pictures of this.  I remember what Mark told me recently about the ISO settings, so I started playing with the ISO settings while taking pictures.  I will close with my pictures of the fire.  They are taken at different settings and I am understanding what he was telling me.  I just need to take more time outside at night and play around with it more.  But I think I'll get there.

Ron and I had a great date night Saturday. The weather could have been better, but we made the best of it.  And that fire was a perfect way to close out the night.

The Scoop on Poop

Y'all should know what to expect from this blog by now.  Does that title really surprise anyone??

The other night, I was talking on the phone to my friend Edna in San Diego.  I'm not sure how we got on the subject, but I was telling her about all of the spider poop on the side of my house and how hard it is to get OFF of my house. 

We have a ton of spiders outside, and they are in heavier concentration by the outside lights.  So, all around our doors, which we light up at night, is a spider's heaven.  You sometimes have to dodge the webs to get in or out of the house.  Not to mention all of the spiders IN the webs at the doors!  YUCK!  Spiders eat bugs that are attracted to the lights and of course, after you eat, you poop.  The spiders do it all down the side of my house.

I was telling Edna about this problem and explaining that you can't just take a hose and hose it down.  This crap has to be scrubbed off.  As soon as I scrub it all off, the next night, it's all back again!  Ugh, this is a vicious cycle.

Suddenly, Edna blurts out:  "What in the heck does spider poop LOOK like?!!?"  Never ask a blogger who always carries a camera about what poop looks like!

Spider poop.  On the side of my house.  Just ONE batch of spider poop.  Trust me, I could have taken a bunch of pictures of it.

And, lucky for all of you, I edited myself.  As long as I am giving you the scoop on poop, I was going to find as much poop as I could.   I was going to get the bird poop from out front, the cat poop from the litter box and Lisa even offered me free reign in her yard to get some puppy poop!  (Thanks Lisa!)  Lucky for you I edited my idea and stuck with spider poop.

So there you go.  The scoop on spider poop.  Now everyone knows what it looks like.  Knowledge is power!  This is my good deed for the day.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Good Times With Great Friends

I've blogged recently about the cooking talents of my friends Ruth and Jeff from Ripley New York.  Well, they loaded up their car and headed west to Lorain Ohio to see ME!!  How freakin' awesome is that!

They've been here a few times before and we always try to see something touristy while they are here.  Their last visit had them touring all of Lorain so this time I branched out to Elyria and Carlisle Township.  After breakfast at Pete's, of course!

Anyway, we headed to the raptor center up at the MetroPark in Carlisle Township.  I know I've taken these pictures before, but it is an amazing place and I took the pictures again!  I even ended up with a couple of surprises in the pictures!

First the Bald Eagle.  I'm telling you, this bird absolutely takes my breath away every time I'm there.

Moving down the line, a few owls.  Ok, so I didn't take such good notes this time and I can't tell you the exact names of these owls, but I putting them in here anyway.  I LOVE looking at the owls almost as much as I love looking at the eagle.  Such powerful and gorgeous birds.  One of the cages with two owls in it was getting cleaned so I didn't get the opportunity to take their pictures.   But, here is what I did get:

The guy above actually has his back to me!  His head is turned around to look this way but the rest of him is actually his backside.  Do you see why I love the owls?  Amazing!  Finally, he turned around and posed for a picture.

Another type of owl, taking a little afternoon siesta.

Here was one of my surprise shots.  I was taking  a picture of the bird but the camera actually focused on the grasshopper on the cage!  I didn't see the grasshopper with my naked eye and was surprised when he showed up on the shot!  Bonus picture!!

I planned it that way.  Yeah, yeah, that's it!  (NOT!)

There is the huge eagle's nest that the MetroPark shipped in.  It may not the be home to any eagles any more but a TON of other birds seem to be making it a home.  I think I captured at least one bird in each of the two close up shots.  Standing there looking at it, there were dozens flitting in and out at all times.  There are a LOT of little birds living in this nest!  First the whole nest.

Meh, I've taken better shots of this nest before.  It's hard to get a good idea from this just how big it is.  Trust me, it's huge.

Above, the little bird is right about in the middle and below, he's right on top.

A turkey vulture may not be thought of as a beautiful bird, but in HIS mind, he's gorgeous!  He was more than happy to pose for pictures while he was preening.  What a ham!

Leaving the raptors and heading back into town, we stopped behind the Elyria Police Station to see the waterfall.  Again, I've posted pictures before but this is a favorite place of mine to go and snap some photos.  I didn't see any giant carp this time but hopefully I got a couple of good shots.  First was a new view of the falls.  This was still from on the walk way on the way to the upper look out.

I like this shot.  From here we went to the upper look out.  I was very surprised at the garbage in the water.  Well, perhaps garbage isn't the right word.  All of the dead and fallen limbs and trees that were stuck at the top of the falls would be a better description.  I am not sure if this was just from the last storm or what, but geez, there was a lot of stuff at the top of the falls.

I don't know what happens with all of this debris.  Do you just let Mother Nature take her time in cleaning this up or will someone go in there and clear this out?  It looks awfully messy but maybe that's just me.

I always take a shot of down the river but I've never taken a shot UP the river.  So, here is an up the river shot!

I love this place.  I always see something new here.

No vacation would be complete without pictures of the vacationers!  Here we have Jeff, me and Ruth.

Last but not least, my "shot for Mark" who is the king of bugs and macros!  It wasn't a shot of a fly on the normal spot but it must have been grasshopper day!  This little guy stood there long enough for me to grab a few shots and then poof he was gone!  But, I got a shot and for that, I'm happy!

I'm also happy that Ruth and Jeff made the trip.  It's always GREAT to see you guys and I had a great time this weekend.  Good friends, great friends, keep you grounded and keep you sane.  You guys were definitely good for my soul this weekend.

I'll try to plan some more fun for the next trip.  Please come back SOON!