Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tales of Tails

Not really so much a tale, but a picture, as Danielle was reading in my office this evening, all comfortable in her Bean-bag chair, Tails decided to join her, and soon feel asleep. I had to sneak ever-so-quietly upstairs to get the digital camera, because as anyone how has had a kitten knows, they never really sleep! In fact, the phone rang while I was upstairs, and she had awoken, so I waited after returned to my office. Fortunately for you, Tails did slumber again. Hmmm, perhaps this is a Tails tale after all!

As usual, click on the picture below for a larger version.

Recipe - Roasted Chicken & Corn on the Cob

Last week, I decided for Sunday dinner to make chicken, Cornish game hens in fact, and corn on the cob.

I decided to once again use my Thanes quartz cooker. I have had mine for several years and love to use it. The price has been considerably reduced since I bought it. A picture is shown below:

You can read all about it here on the product page. As the local supermarkets had none fresh I was forced to go with frozen (If I had fresh, I would have decreased the cooking time by about half).

This cooker can roast 4 rock hard frozen game hens to crispy juicy deliciousness in an hour flat!

Ingredients (for each game hen)
3 Tyson giblets removed frozen games hens (22 ounces average)*
Fat Free Olive Oil cooking spray (such as PAM)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Red Monkey Cajun Spice Rub
1/2 teaspoon Red Monkey Cajun Spice Rub
3 cloves garlic crushed

3 ears of corn on the cob

Rinse game hens and pat dry. Spray with oil spray and rub with crushed garlic. Sprinkle (evenly distribute on both sides) on sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Red Monkey Cajun and BBQ spice rubs. Place in cooker. Set for 400 degrees and 30 minutes cooking time.

Turn chickens over, and set for 400 degrees 15 minutes cooking time. Add corn on the cob and set for 400 degrees and 30 minutes cooking time.

Your meal is done, the chicken should be crispy on the outside, yet moist, juicy, and delicious on the inside! The corn, roasted instead of boiled will be very flavorful. See the picture below for an example, you can click it for a larger version.

A salad of your choice also makes a fine accompaniment to this meal.

The kids loved it, and so did I, choosing to add a bit of extra kick by mixing a tablespoon of Samball Olek into the drippings from my bird and using it as a dipping sauce.

* If you get frozen hens with giblets you most remove the giblets before cooking.

Happy Birthday Steve

This post is dedicated to my friend Steve in New Jersey, today is his birthday, so, let's all wish Steve a big


Hope you have a great day my friend! I really miss seeing you each day at the office....seems like just yesterday some days....though somedays it seems much longer than the 7 years it's been.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Super Freaking Bad Mood

Well, it is that day of the year I love to hate, that day, if, I had my choice I would stay home alone!

September 28th, both my Wedding Anniversary (meaningless since the divorce) and the anniversary of my Mom's passing away. She died on my first Wedding anniversary.

I miss my mom though it's now been 20 years she's gone. And I still miss the X, though I must admit this year I do not feel quite as bad, and I have no desire to post a picture of us or her as I have done in the past and lament about lost love. It's her loss, and perhaps one day she will realize this.

And, as if the above was not enough to bring down my day, Scott's voice is having problems again and his throat hurts when he speaks.

Needless to say my mood is very BLACK today!!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The mother of all $2.64 salads

This HUGE salad has it all, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, celery, onions, mushrooms, peas, broccoli, banana pepper rings, sliced pickles, and in smaller health conscious quantities, about a third of a sliced hard boiled egg, half a dozen croutons and pepperoni slices. Served with fat free ranch dressing, it is simply delicious and a bargain at the price! A picture, sure to make you drool, particularly if you are locked up in your office with only water, is below:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dad Status 9/24/07

I just talked to my Dad who is doing a bit better this evening, post operative pain is less and he is feeling a bit better!

By the way, if anyone is curious, a picture of the spacers they used is shown below; my dad had more than one of these inserted.

Dad Status 9/22/07

I talked to my Dad Saturday, his pain has lessended a bit and he is feeling a little better, I will check in with him this evening!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dad Status 9/20/07

I talked to my dad last night, he was in a lot of pain, and grumpy, both of these are to be as expected! I told him to bear with the pain, that it would be much better in a few days, and hope that once that pain was gone his overall pain would be much improved. He told me his next biggest problem is to recover without getting an infection such as pneumonia, so, let's keep those positive thoughts coming!

I will be calling him this evening to see how he is doing.

Salad du jour

Here's today's $2.64 salad, with lettuce, carrots, peas, broccoli, onions, turkey, jalapenos, banana pepper rings, some hard boiled egg, a couple of slices of peperoni, celery and sliced pickle. not pictures, the Kraft Fat free French dressing.

It was delicious, and such a bargain! Let the lunch time feasting begin!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Father made it through surgery!

Just wanted to let folks know he survived the surgery; when we know how it has affected this problems he had with pain I will let everyone know. Thanks for those who sent their well wishes; yesterday was a rough day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


My dad has been in surgery for over 7 hours...the suspense is terrible to endure!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Danielle's Birthday on Saturday 9/15

As the X had Danielle for her birthday I can only share from my perspective how the day went when I was with her. This started around 9:30AM when I found a voicemail on my cell phone as I neared the halfway point of my 4 mile weekend walk. It was the X and she was off to a meeting and wanted to know if D could go to my house. I called her back, she had already left, so, I called Danielle and talked to her telling her I would be at least another 40 minutes or so, but, I would come and get her.

The weather, cool to the point where I went back into my house to get a light jacket when I had departed, was nice and sunny, though clouds were in the sky when I returned home, and there had been none at all when I started.

I headed over and collected Danielle and Scott and took them to Steak n Shake for Birthday milkshakes and french fries. I enjoyed a Caffeine free diet code and a burger (no fries) for my breakfast. Danielle got a Halloween special shake, Double-chocolate fudge, which had half an inch of hot fudge n the top, and chocolate whipped cream with chocolate pieces and sprinkles in addition tot he cherry on top. Scott has his usual vanilla and was doing a little bit better dealing with the death of his friend, though you could still see the somber effect this has had on him.

As it was barely 11AM the place was not crowded at all, and the manager, a bit of a weird sense of humor on this guy, waited on us though he disappeared mid-way through and we had to summon another server. By weird, he asked if we were ready to order, we said yes, and he stated "Prove it!" and pulled his pad out. The rest of his attempts at humor were either so off the wall or fell far short of funny, so I will not recant them here, but, at least he was trying.

The X called as we were finishing up and asked if we wanted to go to lunch, I mentioned what we had just done and she asked what would Danielle like to do. Scott whispered to her that she should ask to go to the mall as people would buy her things on her birthday. Thus decided we headed out. I dropped the kids at the X's and headed home to change and headed back to the X's where we headed out to the RiverTown Crossings Mall.

X had not eaten so we stopped and got a soda and she had some pizza, then we did some shopping. Danielle had me buy her a Nintendo DS game, and her Mom bought her some Godiva chocolates. I bought Scott a Japanese to English dictionary he needed for school, and the latest Deathlands novel (A series I have been reading for over 10 years) for myself. Scott needed clothes for School, Sears provided this and I got several awesome t-shirts are discount prices. I will have to post pictures of them in a future post. On the way out I got everyone ice cream at Dairy Queen, myself having a small cup of vanilla as my lunch time carbs while they all had decadent creations from Blizzards to Scott's (the best!) being brownies with ice cream. I was just happy to some some vanilla!

Below is a picture of Danielle and I at the mall!

We headed towards home, I was dropped at my house where Tails and I watched TV and played video games...well....she watched me do those things and chase her out of the plants, counter tops, etc. A bit before 5PM I headed over to the X's stopping first to get a gift bag for Danielle's main birthday preset.

Arriving at the X's, who, sadly was not feeling the best, we gave Danielle her birthday presents. From the X and I, a digital tablet she wanted so she could draw easily on the PC. I also put a pack of Oreo chocolate stuffed Snack cakes in the bag, which she wanted to eat before dinner. Scott gave her a nice pair of earrings. From Chris...who totally forgot my birthday....Well, at least he called later in the evening to wish her a happy birthday.

Here's the tablet we got her for her birthday:

Presents out of the way we headed over to Red Lobster for dinner where we met her parents. After about a 15 minute wait, we sat down for dinner and had an excellent meal with some nice conversation among the adults as Scott and Danielle had their DS', only turning them off long enough to eat. I always enjoy watching Danielle eat crab legs, she is so meticulous getting all the meat out before drowning it in butter and consuming it. After she finished, she was pleased because she got birthday ice cream without anyone singing for her!

I was dropped off at my house and the only other things I know about Danielle's birthday were by brother and his wife called and spoke to her and Danielle said Sunday she had an excellent time on her birthday.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Today is Danielle's Birthday!

My little girl, who I explained last night will always be my little girl in my heart even when she is 40!, turned 13 today!

I told her last night how she was a gift to all of us, and the story of the day of her birth 13 years ago. Her Mom had many complications with the pregnancy and in the last stages was in a special ward in the hospital for mothers with such issues; there was an operating room right across from her Mom's.

We did not know if Danielle would be carried to term, and her Mom was given drugs to accelerate Danielle's development, particularly her lungs, so she would have a better chance at surviving.

I remember the call at work that morning from the doctor, and my incredible mad, and in retrospect foolish frenzied drive to the hospital, which I made in record time, surprising the doctor with how quickly I arrived.

I'll never forget the first glimpse of her as she was removed from her Mom by C-Section, nor how her Mom, jittery from the medication could not hold her right away as they feared she might drop her. it was quite the stressful and emotional time for our families, that period of our lives. There was the possibility we could have lost both of them from the complications, thankfully we did not.

I try to remember that and be thankful every time I see my daughters smiling face.

I love her so much, and she is still such a miracle and a joy to behold 13 years later. She is, my little girl.

Below is a picture of Danielle in 2000.
Click to open a larger image.

Scott and Life's Lessons

Scott's really getting hit by the sucks side of life; first the problem with his voice, which, thankfully is largely passed, and now this;

Last week a friend of his was in a car crash and went into a coma; he was very distraught. The friend passed away a couple of days later. He was so upset; sure, he knows about death, but, this was the first case where it affected him so closely with someone that he knew and really liked. The past couple of days have been rough for us worrying about him, and even rougher for himself.

Yesterday he was at my house and I with him during the day after his Mom left for work. Tails did her part too, providing affection and amusement and even coaxing a smile or two from him.

We always want the best for our children, wanting to spare them the harsher realities of life, and extend the joy and innocence of childhood for as long as possible. Sadly, I think Scott now is past some of that. He's weathered divorce, death, personal issues, and I hope he comes through OK, perhaps just a bit wiser as to what life can have to ofter on the negative side, while we strive provide as much positive experience as we can for him.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Saturday, Media Players, Walks, and such

With the birthday behind me let's turn to today; after arising at 7:30 I had a nice four mile walk this morning, and the weather was sunny, clear and just gorgeous, it seems the next few days will be low humidity and normal temperatures in the 7o's instead of the 80's/90's of last week and high humidity. I love when the humidity is low and the sky is such a vibrant blue as it was this morning!

Yesterday I ordered myself a birthday present, one of the new iPod Touch devices, which is basically an iPhone without the phone portion, so, it is a portable media player with that slick interface, and it has built in WiFi and can surf the web and such as well. This will be the first Apple product I have ever owned; the previous iPods have done nothing for me, but, I have lusted for the interface on the iPhone since its debut, but, not needing a phone, I did not acquire one.

To pay for this present, I am selling off some toys; I sold my Nokia 770 tablet yesterday and am now looking to sell my Zune Player, which, until this new iPod has the largest screen for viewing video, and some accessories. I have the Zune, a docking station, and sports carrying case, and an AC adapter. All of these accessories are new and did not come with the Zine. I think I will ask $150 for the bundle and will probably post it on eBay if I can't find anyone locally to take it off my hands.

Low expectations are the key

Once again I realize that low expectations are the key as another birthday has come and gone. For the few that sent birthday wishes, I sincerely thank you! Most disappointing, yet totally expected was that my older boy did not even call or send an e-mail. He sure knows my number when he needs will be kids, but, I never missed wishing my immediate family Happy Birthday in 51 years.

I do not understand kid logic; yesterday when we got up they both wished me happy birthday and thought I should take them to school since it was MY birthday....I thought and thought about this but failed to see how driving 30 minutes out of my way was to my benefit or related to my birthday!

After work/school, the kids and I had an excellent dinner at Braan's last night and I got my free birthday meal certificate for another steak dinner; Save the one my brother gave me in New Jersey my sole birthday present, yet a tasty one.! After that we went to Coldstone, and I said to hell with it and had some ice cream for my birthday.

We watched a bit of TV together, Danielle and I Doctor Who, and the three of us watched Monk.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

51 tomorrow

I turn 51 tomorrow....Ahhh, another blue birthday approaches, they just have never been the same since the divorce; I'll be satisfied to get through the day without too much blueness!

Words from one of my favorite (well, when I was younger, now it hits too close to home!) Pink Floyd songs keeps running through my head....

By Pink Floyd

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but youre older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the english way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
And when I come home cold and tired
Its good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Take a walk with Mr. Chris

I arose about 8 AM this morning, and all three kids were asleep. It was about 8:30 when I left the house this bright sunny morning for my four mile walk.

What's that? You wish you could come along? Well, you can! Almost anyway, I took my camera with me this morning as I have been meaning to for quite awhile, so, with witty comments (half witty?) I will show the progress and some pictures of the route.

Please note that clicking on any picture will open a much larger version in a new browser window.

Exiting my driveway we turn right and head for the main road where we will turn right again. This is Cascade and we will be on it for about a mile.

After making the turn, this greets my eyes

What a bright sunny day; good thing I had my sunglasses! I forgot them yesterday and walked with my head down for a good portion of the walk.

A few minutes from my house, across the street is Graceland (nothing to do with Elvis!) and on this side a small cemetery with graves going back to the 1800's, and possible beyond since some are so weathered you can't read them.

Ten minutes into the walk we come across Forest Hills Foods, a store often mentioned in my blog posts. Danielle and I visited there this afternoon in fact, picking up muffins for the kids breakfast tomorrow and a couple of other items including some delicious California peaches and half a watermelon.

Right past Forest Hills Foods is a double-strip mall, on the first one is China Garden where I often get the kids Chinese take out, though I will not eat there (even if I could, it is below my standards, but, kids will be kids)! on the right is an excellent place for home made candy including chocolate covered Twinkies and huge dipped strawberries. The cleaner in the middle has the most ANNOYING radio adds I have ever heard! The second one, not pictured, contains a Beaners (Coffee place) and a Subway.

At this point, the road stretches off into the distance!

This sign disturbs me every time I pass it, it's a sign for a dentist, but, i think perhaps he would be better of making footwear!

As we continue along we are about 20 minutes into the walk, still on Cascade. Note here you can clearly see the mix of old and new construction for different businesses; none of these are residences. Below we have a professional building housing multiple offices, a realtor, and a CPA.

A bit further down the road is a nice sculptured rock garden from a landscaping company; when I walk this way in the afternoon there are usually kids climbing on it.

Across the street is a church; on Sundays if I walk past at the right time, the priest is outside and he and I exchange greetings and pleasantries as I walk.

Below are a couple of other large building as I near the corner where I will turn for the more rustic part of my walk on the bike and pedestrian trial system of Cascade county.

After we pass the second building above, we make a right which takes us off Cascade, the main drag. this is the closest place by my house where I can pick up the extensive bike and pedestrian trail system. I wish I lived closer to it as we've walked a bit over a mile to get to this point. (Tails has just jumped on my lap and is purring in my face....I guess this is her idea of helping. Now she is chewing my beard......)

Instead of a four lane road with a speed limit of 55 MPH, we have a two lane road at 35 MPH and the view off into the distance is like so:

Another difference is there are no office buildings anymore; this is all residential and farmland now, so, when I turn to my right at the 30 minute milestone of the walk I see this:

and a bit further down on the right, this:

and this:

The road continues to stretch off into the distance

Here is a greenhouse place that opens in a few weeks and is open in the colder weather when the majority of the farms are closed. Following that is a picture of the residence of the owners.

At this point the road goes around a blind sharp curve and the pedestrian trail cuts inwards away from the road to circumvent this.

The view is even better now, note the nice house off in the distance at the top of the hill.

Just around the bend, here is view to the right; note you can see the house much better here beyond the corn field.

The path goes on for a bit more here before once again going parallel to the road. At the point, 40 minutes into the walk, we have reached two miles, and it is time to turn back.

At the far point of the walk note the farm across the street below is where the X, Christopher, Scott, Danielle, and I went the first Halloween after we moved out here 7 years ago to get a pumpkin. We went on a nice hayride before picking out the pumpkin. It takes about five minutes to drive here, and about 40 to walk it.

Since I mentioned getting a pumpkin at the farm, here is picture of the three kids from that outing in October of 2000.

This is the end of the walk looking where the path and road continue....while I have of course driven down there, I have not walked the path....though I hope to sometime soon.

As I started heading back my feet began to hurt; I was wearing new sneakers which I guess I should have broken in a bit more, though I did walk 3 miles in them yesterday. The trip back was endless and I discovered that my small toes were getting calloused after I arrived home. At least I did not get any blisters; being diabetic I get very paranoid about my feet!

So, thanks for keeping me company on my long walk today; I wish you could come with me every weekend when I walk it, I would be glad for your company and some conversation!

Note this is the most time consuming post I have done to date; with 29 pictures and HTML editing as blogger is not really too smart when it comes to many images, alignment and such. It took me two and a half hours to complete (I guess I really need a life, huh??) I ended up finishing it after Scott, Danielle, and I watched the latest Ninja Turtle movie.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I love my Dad

One of my biggest regrets, even more so after the divorce, is I miss my family and a few friends back east. I really miss my Dad. He is older and has assorted medical problems, and, being in his 80's, well, as much as I'd like to be be around forever, he obviously won't be. In fact, I have decided when my daughter moves out of the house I will seriously think about heading back east to live; if not then, as soon as I retire for sure! It would be great to be able to see my brother and his wife and some others from back east on a regular basis.

My Dad, unless my brother shows him on his computer, will never see this post, because the idea of my Dad getting on a computer is akin to a Southerner never drawling "Y'all"! When I was younger each fall and spring I would have to set the time on my Dad's digital watch, and change the time on his VCR displays. he did finally pick this up when I moved. My Dad is highly intelligent, but, a bit of a technophobic in some areas. My Dad on e-mail? It's just NOT going to happen!

Anyway, below is a picture of my Dad, who I love very much, and I taken when we were in New Jersey.

Click the picture for a much larger one in a new window