Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Recipe: Crock pot pasta sauce with sausage, pepperoni, and homemade meatballs

Oh my goodness! TWO recipes in one lunch time! I felt guilty; I had the base recipes in my gmail drafts folder for days (or longer for this one) so I decided to post them both today.

While I have never given out my recipe for homemade pasta sauce that I simmer on the stove, I will share this easier crock pot version which is certainly not lacking in taste! This sauce gets a good deal of its flavor from the meats and fresh basil.

Preparation time: 30 minutes (I can do it in 15-20!)

Cooking time in a 5 quart crock pot: low setting 5-6 hours, high setting 4-5 hours (sauce is done when sausage and pepperoni can be cut with a fork)

Serves 8 or more.... (keep leftover sauce in fridge for a week or freeze up to three months)

Ingredients

Sauce:
1/2 oz fresh basil
2 cans (28 ounces) tomato puree
2 tbs chopped garlic
1/4 tsp dried oregano
4 tbs olive oil

The meats:
1.25 pounds (5 links) sweet Italian sausage
2 packages (5 oz each) Hormel pepperoni (each contains 2 small sticks)

Meatballs:
1.5 lbs ground sirloin
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregeno
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup of finely grated Romano cheese
1 egg (or 1/3 cup egg beaters)

Preparation:
Spray the inside of the crock pot with PAM or equivalent olive oil spray. Pour in the two cans of tomato puree, and add garlic, basil, olive oil, and oregano. Stir and turn on crock pot on hi.

Cut pepperoni sticks into five or six pieces each and add to crock pot along with sausage links.

In a large bowl combine ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, oil, water, basil, oregeno, and grated cheese. Mix well with hands until uniform in texture and appearance. Shape into 12 meatballs. Add to crock pot and cover.

Set heat to low if you prefer the longer cooking time. If cooking on high, once pot begins simmering, after an hour stir every hour. You can add an hour or two of cooking time by doing everything with the crock pot off and then turning it on low after adding the meatballs.

Serve sauce over your favorite pasta with the meats on the side.

Recipe: Oven-Roasted Garlic Chicken and Carrots

It has been quite awhile since I posted a recipe and I came up with a new one over the weekend.

Oven-Roasted Garlic Chicken and Carrots
Serves four

Ingredients:
Chicken pieces (I used 3 drumsticks, three thighs, three breasts)
Baby Carrots (approximately 25 pieces)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs dried parsley
4 tbsp crushed garlic (jarred or fresh garlic through garlic press)

Preparation:
Wash and pat dry chicken with paper towels

In a Ziploc freezer bag combine all ingredients above except for the baby carrot pieces. Mix thoroughly and leave in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or more (overnight works well!) Turn bag over at least once halfway though marinating.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with PAM olive oil spray a large glass Pyrex baking dish and evenly distribute the baby carrots across the bottom. Place the chicken skin side up and lightly sprinkle some additional parsley across the top.

Bake for 50 minutes raising heat to 450 for the last 10. Chicken skin should be crispy upon removal.

Serve with Salad or your choice of side dish.

Variations: Any oven friendly veggies could be used here such as broccoli or onions, or a mixture! Skinless chicken can also be used.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What happened to me last night

I had been invited to dinner at the X's house with herself, Scott, and Danielle. Afterwards, the kids went off to play video games and the X and I were watching TV. She was channel surfing after the show we watched ended and a music video came on.

I do not know who the female artist was nor I did not recognize the song, but the twang of steel guitars was present and she sung it with a thick Southern drawl. While the exact words elude me today the subject matter was of a woman who had tired of her husband. She metaphorically ripped his still-beating heart from his chest and, after holding it at eye level for him to see, smashed it under her foot. In other words to his surprise she had told him she no longer loved him and was leaving him.

The X loved this song and was loudly saying things like "Yea!" and "That's the way to do it!" and other such phrases while looking coldly in my direction every few seconds. The song ended, she commented "Was that a great video or what!?!?" and she left the room. I was totally stunned by this, finally knowing the meaning of the word dumbfounded!!!

Needless to say my feelings were incredibly hurt so,without a word and filled with a great sadness, I left the room and exited her house. Incredibly hurt and upset, on the verge of tears in fact, I was not paying attention to where I was going as I fled her residence. I found myself in a very strange frame of mind walking along a road I did not recognize but seemed to me at the time to be reminiscent of the streets in Glen Ridge New Jersey where I grew up. VERY reminiscent! So much so that if I did not know better, since I live in Michigan and had not left the state to my recollection, I would swear at one point I was on High Street in Glen Ridge a block away from Bloomfield Avenue. This was, without a doubt, a very disturbing feeling! I continued walking in a very distracted manner not really paying attention to where I was going though my ultimate destination was to get to my house.

The fact that I was still in Michigan soon became evident as I found myself under a bridge on route I-96, which goes nowhere near New Jersey. Evidently I was so distracted I had wandered off the road or was subconciosuly following a shortcut after being distracted by the familiar nature of the previous road I had been walking on. This new area was a lightly wooded place at the bottom of a small gully so I surmised the bridge was an overpass over this area.

I heard the sounds of music and talking and ventured under the bridge. There were many people sitting, standing, and moving about. There were many conversations going on. To my eye this was a cross between a flea market and a Renaissance Fair because people, mostly female, clad in typical Medieval attire were circulating the crown offering goods for sale, such as hand-made jewelry, finely crafted boxes, and such, and there were many tables and tents with goods on display.

I found a place to sit and continued looking about the area. A very heavy woman passed by and, as she had done to other folks seated in this area gave me a little porcelain plate upon which rested several cookie-like pastries. I ate them while having a conversation with a gentleman I did not know sitting next to me. Upon chatting a bit as to how I had come to be here I discovered his wife had left him as well. Using this as common ground it was soon evident we shared many of the same interests and could easily become friends. He was also dressed in medieval attire such as you would expect a merchant to wear. Around his neck he wore a thick gold chain with an intricate jeweled medallion. He remarked that this gathering happened monthly weather permitting. I pronounced surprise at this news and remarked I had never heard of this in the 7+ years I had been living in the area.

Under one side of the bridge a large area was setup where food and beverages were being prepared and provided to those who desired them. Several large pigs were roasting on spits and the delicious aroma wafting my way was making me hungry. I mentioned to my new-found friend that I was going to journey over to procure some of the roasted porcine goodness and he elected to accompany me there.

When we neared the head of the line the large woman who had given me the plate of pastries appeared, shoved my friend to the ground, and, brandishing a large ornate medieval looking dagger threatened to "split him end to end" if he did not give her yon bejeweled pendant! To emphasize her serious nature she slashed out at him, tearing a rent in his sleeve and drawing blood! People started screaming, I saw several people making hurried cell phone calls!

The woman advanced, acting more threatening, and, on the spur of the moment almost without realizing I was doing so, I grabbed a large metal serving tray and, coming up behind her, smashed her over the head with it! She went down like a sack of wet sand without making a sound and before I could check on her condition the police appeared wanting to know what was transpiring.

I tried to explain what had happened, but I was shaken somewhat and could not raise my voice above a whisper which was drowned out by loud shouts of "I saw the whole thing! He bashed her over the head for no reason!!!" coming from an unseen female.

The crowd parted, and Crystal Bernard (for those of you not familiar with this name she played Helen Chapel on the TV show Wings) appeared, even more loudly repeating her affirmation of my guilt! While I was totally stunned by this her next comments really floored me; "I'm his ex-wife and I know he's capable of these things!". Needless to say I was flabbergasted! I was blown away by the total and utterly absurd untruth of this!! How could she lie in such a manner!!?? Of course I was not capable of these things!!!

I then tried to explain myself to the police, repeating what had happened and mentioned the incident that began this and the way the X had behaved at her house over that annoying music video! Before I knew it I was being roughly handcuffed and led away in total shock! They pushed me into the back seat of the Police Car and the door slammed!

I awoke; amazed at this dream I had experienced and wondering about Crystal Bernard and the role she played here! What was really weird was at that point in the dream she WAS my ex-wife in my mind, though in the beginning of this dream my ex-wife was my real ex-wife. I have not seen Wings in ages! The dreams I have featuring the X prior to this have virtually all been pleasant other than the sadness felt upon wakening. What a disturbingly strange and vivid dream!

Idiots of the Open Road

Of course it began snowing Monday evening. At least we were spared the major dumping the folks south of us got in Michigan, we only had a couple of inches but it was enough to make the roads dangerous on the way to work today. The trees looked nice though because it was that wet type of snow that really sticks on wires, branches, etc. When they wrote Winter Wonderland it must have snowed like that I suspect!

KUDOS to the major jerkwad in the big white pickup truck this morning. As I was doing a bit under the speed limit as I headed towards the main intersection by work this idiot zooms past me in the right lane and ends up having to brake at the traffic light which I arrived at a few seconds later.

Next this MAJOR FAULT zooms off and cuts in front of the vehicle in front of me from the right lane and then was zooming ahead...to stop where...at the next traffic light!

WHAT drives these idiots? Not only do they not get there any faster but they are wasting fuel and putting themselves and others in danger!

Weekend Weather

As promised there was NO snow over the weekend. REALLY!! The temps hit the upper 30's but even with the sun made little difference in the ground cover except for the streets. Monday I drove to work for the first time in weeks without the traction indicator coming on in the Mustang!

The rest of the weekend was no fun; there was a four hour power outage starting at 3 AM at work that hit both sites in Grand Rapids and I ended up spending over 10 hours working on site Saturday and several hours working from home Sunday. I love those no pay work daze! Of course this had to happen on a weekend when I had the kids! I think I need a weekend to recover from the weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2008

MAC .vs. PC

I'm sure everyone out there has seen those MAC verses PC adds with the frumpy guy with the glasses supposed to be the PC, and the cool easy going skinny guy supposed to be the MAC. Since Apple sponsors these ads, the PC always comes away looking inferior.

Well, I saw this picture on the Internet and I just had to share:



Baby, it's cold outside!

Thursday morning in the Grand Rapids area the temperature overnight dropped to five below zero! That's way cold enough for me! This morning it was 30 degrees warmer at the same time. Today we may hit 30 and it is brightly sunny and will be over the entire weekend hitting the mid 30's.

Of course, next week there is another storm with snowfall accumulation predicted; we shall see what happens.

I got an e-mail from my brother Rick in New Jersey early this morning; they have 7 inches with more on the way; predicted to continue snowing until past midnight this evening. Yesterday at work a gentleman I had been meeting with for work left to fly home to the east coast. he was happy because when he came out Tuesday night this week the place was a mess and it was snowing heavily. I heard thous morning he was stranded somewhere, not able to make it back home because of the storm hitting the east coast!

Steve in NJ, Bev in PA, are you guys seeing snow and if so how much?

I must admit I am pleased someone else is getting snowed on and that my sky is sunny and blue! Perhaps that makes me a lesser person, I do not know!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moon over Michigan

Wednesday morning the full moon hung so low in the sky if I had not been late for work I would have gone back in and gotten my camera. Trouble was to see it I had to be at the intersection and I was running late.

I realized after the fact that of I could see the moon the sky must be clear and it was and while the temps never rose above the low 20's THE SUN (THE GLORIOUS SUN!!!) WAS OUT ALL DAY!

Last night was a total lunar eclipse started around 9:30 PM. Every 10 minutes or so until 11PM I went back to the back of the house and looked out the rear sliders. It was awesome! Times like that I feel very insignificant in the face of nature!

Tuesday

Not much to say other than the snow continued heavily and I got to use the snow blower yet again!

We also had a repeat of last weeks X and kids visiting for dinner, she brought Chinese food (the same menu items in fact) and she and I watched Supernatural.

February broke a Michigan record for the amount of snow and snowy days in the month. We are at about 93" of snow for the year in this area and are certain to easily break 100". The average yearly snowfall around here is 71".

Monday

Monday I got home after work wanting to do nothing more than feed the cat and rest my back. The plows had been by after I left for work and the streets were semi-slushy because the temps had gone above freezing for so long Sunday.

Well, during the day the temp dropped and the winds blew fast and furious all day so when I got home from work I found a 3 foot wall of solid ice in the bottom of my driveway.

With my sore back I alternated between using the snow blower and a shovel to break up the ice. Took me an hour to clear the driveway so it could be driven over.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday......

Sore back or no I had to get to the store and pickup food for Tails! So, around 9AM I headed out. The weather (though you were going to get a few posts without that topic, did you??) had warmed up, in fact as I type this around 10AM Sunday morning it is 42 degrees. It is raining steadily and my street was the worst it has ever been! I got onto the street and the car immediately slid sideways though I was only doing about 5 mph. We limped to the corner, again turning almost completely sideways across the road and managed to get onto the main road which was not too bad. I picked up the food I needed for kitty and a couple of other items and we headed back,

I was pleased being able to make it to the store and back; when my back is like this I always worry it will go completely out and then I can barely walk.

This warm up preceeds the predicted storm and temperature fall later this evening. Overnight it is predicted to drop below zero and as much as 10 below going into Tuesday morning. The roads tomorrow will likely be nightmarish!

Oh! Lest I forget, KUDOS! to the major jerkwad in the blue van that got on my car's ass and leaned into his horn as I slowed down before getting on the icy left turn center lane for my street. Some people.........

How much TV can you watch in one day......

Saturday morning the pain in may back was quite intense making anything but finding a comfortable position and sitting next to impossible. I did several sets of the exercises the chiropractor had given me in the past for my back, and spent the day watching TV, playing Devil May Cry, and eating cold leftover pasta for food. Tails stayed with me all day either on my chest or on my legs sleeping or watching TV.

The kids and the X popped in on their way to the mall as the kids had left their wallets here (though Danielle could not find hers theorizing that it must have been in the bag she took over to her mom's Friday) and then they headed out back to retrieve that wallet and head to the mall.

What made the whole day bearable was a call from the X around 7 or so; Scott wanted to know if he could come over and hang out for awhile figuring with my back sore i might be lonely. He arrived and we watched a couple of hours of Simpson's episodes off the Season 5 DVDs including the infamous Cape Feare and Homer Goes to College episodes.

After Scott left I spent until 2AM alternating between rounds of Devil May Care and TV, I did a Angel Marathon over the weekend as I had about 8 episodes recorded and I watched the last before retiring.

The Pain in my Back

So, around midnight Froday I was taking Tails down to her room carrying a bowl of water, wet food, and dry food I slipped near the bottom stair and fell on my back, spilling only the dry food! I got Tails settled in and headed upstairs the pain in my back beginning.

A great way to start the 'relaxing' weekend I had planned.

Friday and the Crock Pot O'Meatballs

Friday as they were going to be fixing my desktop PC I left at lunch time so after lunch I could work from home. I stopped at Forest Hills Foods on the way and picked up ingredients for homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs. I broke a record and within 20 minutes of arriving home I had meatballs made and the sauce in the crock pot and got to work until the kids came home a bit after 3 PM.

Around 3PM, as Emma was due over since she and Scott were going to be taking in a movie later, and since this was the last day of my week with the kids the upstairs of the house had, shall we say, lost all it's Feng shui, I decided to spend a bit of time cleaning up and folding three loads of that had been living on the two seat sofa since the day before.

The smell of homemade pasta was in the air and I asked Scott if he wanted to have dinner hear or go out as his mom had mentioned to him the night before. He checked in with Emma and they decided to eat here. The X arrived around 5:30 with a loaf of garlic bread and once Emma arrived (preceded by a phone call from her mom to gt concurrence of the kids evening plans) I set two types of Dreamfield pasta, spaghetti and Rotini, to boil, and when it was ready we ate.

Everyone agreed that the crock pot sauce and meatballs were a success, so, I will be posting that recipe shortly! There was also Italian sausage and pepperoni in the pot as well.

Everyone headed off around 7:30 or so and Tails and I settled in for a quiet evening of TV.

POST 401

Wow, I had to remark that the previous post was #400; hard to believe I have been boring the world with so many posts!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day After

So, Yesterday was Valentine's Day, I did not post because for me the day is a mixed bag that largely contains much pain. It is one of the half a dozen dates of the year I feel really alone or hurt. I do hope those fortunate enough (and believe me you are truly blessed if you do, to have a significant other, I hope you had an enjoyable day and realized how lucky you are to have each other.

On the positive side I did give my daughter a big box of Candy which she really liked, and I gave Scott the same amount in money which I know he enjoys.

Wednesday night I helped Scott out who wanted to make icing stuffed heart shaped chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. He and I went to the store to get supplies, he shaped them, I baked them and cleaned everything up, and when they were cool he iced them.

For the first year since the divorce I did not even send the X and e-card, I figure I can't send a 'let's be freinds' sentiment card because for whatever crazy reason I still love her, so, better to send nothing at all. It felt weird though, but, perhaps it is a positive step forward.

On the weather side the sun is shining, we had a few inches of snow overnight, and a big storm is heading this way for Sunday into Monday. Monday and Tuesday the overnight temperature is predicted to be below zero.

I have homemade spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and meatballs simmering in the crock pot; if it turns out well perhaps if there is interest I will share the recipe!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sun-Day (Or if its sunny it must be Wednesday)

The roads this morning were almost as bad as yesterday. Watching the news after I got up they were reporting that while not heavy, the traffic on one of the local highways was moving at 15 miles per hour because of the road conditions. Danielle tapped on my door to tell me what I already knew; their schools had a two hour delay. She headed off for bed and I departed.

I arrived at work without incident, and around 9AM a strange site greeted my eyes; IT WAS THE SUN! While the temps are int he 20's today the sky was blue and the sun was shinning! A glorious site indeed! As the day progressed some clouds rolled in but as of this posting around 4PM there is still some sun.

Hopefully this will promote some melting UNTIL THE SNOW THAT IS PREDICTED FOR TOMORROW!

Below is a picture shot out my front window; note the height of the snow in the street where it has been plowed. At work, which empties out onto a main road, the snow is so high you can't see on coming traffic! You have to be very careful getting out particularly because the roads are still slippery there.

Click for a larger version in a new window.

Tuesday's Continued Snow

The Snow predicted yesterday began around lunch time and by 2 PM it was snowing hard. Scott was supposed to have an audition for the talent show after school, so I left work about 15 minutes early figuring he would either call me as I was almost home or shortly after I arrived there. That would decrease the time to pick him up. As the road conditions were deteriorating rapidly this seemed a good idea as I was having trouble getting traction in certain areas. I arrived home around the same time I would have had I left work in normal conditions, and awaited Scott's call.

A few minutes later I was looking out the front window and I saw the kid's bus drop off both Danielle and Scott; evidently the school had the common sense to cancel after school activities! I was most pleased as I was not looking forward to that trip out.

Tuesday is usually the night the parents whose week it is not gets the kids for dinner. The X was supposed to be by around 5 PM for this. She called and reported really bad road conditions, this in the large company truck she was driving. She was concerned about taking the kids somewhere and bringing them back, plus them getting in and out in the cold multiple times.

Suggestions?" she asked? "Pickup Chinese food from China Garden." said I. She liked this idea and said she would, and she would see us shortly. About 20 minutes later she called and talked to Danielle and said she was stuck in traffic on the approach from to my house. About 15 minutes later she called to tell me she was even with my street.

China Garden is about .7 miles down the road, two minutes max from my house if you catch the red traffic light. It was about 40 minutes before she arrived (and yes she had called ahead and the food was ready and waiting). She said the traffic and roads were terrible and I believed it watching the snow come down and the temperature was only in the teens.

Normally I am not overly impressed with China Garden; those who read here regularly know we prefer First Wok. I had never had the House Combination Lo-Mien from China Garden as I have tasted their Chicken variety which did nothing for me. The combo dish was excellent. About an 8 compared to a 9.9 from First Wok, but far, far better than I anticipated. The rest of the food tasted better than usual as well...a fluke or a new chef perhaps? I will have to test this theory the next time the kids want Chinese food in a hurry!

The X and I watched Supernatural from last week, she left, and the evening was spent with the usual TV watching and game playing, though at 9PM when the snow was almost tapered off I sent out and snow blowed so the kids could get tot he street int he morning for the school bus. There were drifts of a couple of feet in the driveway which made things fun even with the snow blower.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snow news is good news

Good News: The snow they predicated yesterday never arrived! And it was a balmy 12 degrees this morning! A veritable heat wave! Scott and Danielle were a bit disappointed that school was on, but, tomorrow is another day!

Bad News: It was delayed. Where? I do not know. Dinner at a friends house? Maybe a movie, dinner and drinks with that special hurricane? Perhaps it even found someone even more pissed off about too much snow and reveled in ticking them off further, though now it is predicted to hit this afternoon and evening. I hope it holds off until after 3:30PM; Scott is auditioning for the talent show after school and I will have to pick him up. Even after a week the roads are still very iffy in spots because of the extreme cold. I was going around a very gentle curve not even doing 15 mph this morning on my way to work and the back of the car began sliding.

Yesterday on my way home, withing the first two miles of the drive I encountered 2 accidents, one of them with at least 5 vehicles (and this was not on a highway or anything) and crossing the bridge over I-96 on Forest Hills were the marks in the snow going up to the guard rails of at least two vehicles, that, if not for the rails would have gone over the edge to the highway below.

So, once again we shall see what Mother Nature brings. The weather, as much as it ticks me off is transitory! I get 10 times more joy on mornings such as this just be seeing Scott and Danielle before I head off to work. That's what's really important; everything else is just an annoyance!

Yet another Manic Monday

Once again bitterly cold temperatures greeted me, it being 0 outside with a wind chill of minus 14. The roads were still very bad, it's very hard for the road crews to keep them clean and safe when its this cold.

Over the weekend Scott and I played the demo of Devil May Care 4, and we liked it so much I said what the heck and picked up the full version on the way home from work as well as Burger King which the kids wanted. Scott played the for about 2 hours while I finished up work in my office, and then I played for awhile. We had soup (out of cans and packages), Ramon noodles for Scott, and Italian Wedding soup for Danielle and I; a far cry from Sunday's homemade soup but decent enough. We spent the evening watching TV and playing games, pretty much standard fare for us these days.

MORE SNOW is predicted this evening with temps in the single digits! The kids did not have school today because of the cold and the roads, I wonder if they will tomorrow? They now have 2 days to make up at the end of the school year.

This past weekend

Other than the weather not much to talk about Saturday and Sunday. I did arise early Saturday and had a thrilling morning riding the exercise bike, doing the monthly change of Tails litter box (she has scoopable litter), snow blowing outside, and getting cleaned up.

The day was gray and cold and we holed up indoors, Scotti had Taylor and Ben come over to play and do voice recording for one of his flash projects. I made Pesto (Dreamfield) pasta with chicken grilled in garlic and olive oil while Scott had the chicken and some pasta with sauce from a jar.

We watched TV and played games not wishing to venture outside!

It was around 30 degrees when we went to bed, The wind began howling fearsomely around 11PM tot he point where I was up most of the night listening to it and the house shuddering and shaking. I snatched bits of sleep! By morning the snow had been blown all over the place and the drive has drifts of several feet. Since they were on the side of the second garage bay I left them there!

Sunday morning the outside temperature said 4 degrees, and it was still windy to the point that it looked like white conditions from the blowing snow, but it was not snowing at all. At 10AM I headed over the bridge to Supercuts for a haircut, this trip usual;y takes a minute, it took almost 1`0 because the roads were like oiled glass.

The girl greeted me there and asked if I was nuts coming in for a haircut, I wondered if she was nuts working! On the way out another guys came walking in and I glanced over at the girl who gave me a "don't say anything!" look. I continued on my way and decided to go to Forest Hills Foods where I picked up breakfast pastries for Scott and Danielle and a few items I needed for dinner.

Arriving home without incident, though I had to time my exit at Forest Hills Foods to make the light so the car could roll through the inclined intersection, I vowed not to take the car out of the garage until work Monday morning.

I put the ingredients for Chicken Soup into the crock pot and let it do its thing, adding some Dreamfield pasta an hour before we ate. My first use of the crock pot was a success; we all loved the chicken soup! I did think of a couple of things to tweak the recipe next time though that should make it even better!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday, Monday

Once again bitterly cold temperatures greeted me, it being 0 outside with a wind chill of minus 14. The roads were still very bad, it's very hard for the road crews to keep them clean and safe when its this cold.

Over the weekend Scott and I played the demo of Devil May Care 4, and we liked it so much I said what the heck and picked up the full version on the way home from work. Scott played that for about 2 hours while I finished up work in my office, and then I played for awhile.

MORE SNOW is predicted this evening with temps in the single digits! The kids did not have school today because of the cold and the roads, I wonder if they will tomorrow? They now have 2 days to make up at the end of the school year.

The Weekend

Other than the weather not much to talk about Saturday and Sunday. I did arise early Saturday and had a thrilling morning riding the exercise bike, doing the monthly change of Tails litter box (she has scoopable litter), snow blowing outside, and getting cleaned up.

The day was gray and cold and we holed up indoors, Scotti had Taylor and Ben come over to play and do voice recording for one of his flash projects. I made Pesto (Dreamfield) pasta with chicken grilled in garlic and olive oil while Scott had the chicken and some pasta with sauce from a jar.

We watched TV and played games not wishing to venture outside!

It was around 30 degrees when we went to bed, The wind began howling fearsomely around 11PM tot he point where I was up most of the night listening to it and the house shuddering and shaking. I snatched bits of sleep! By morning the snow had been blown all over the place and the drive has drifts of several feet. Since they were on the side of the second garage bay I left them there!

Sunday morning the outside temperature said 4 degrees, and it was still windy to the point that it looked like white conditions from the blowing snow, but it was not snowing at all. At 10AM I headed over the bridge to Supercuts for a haircut, this trip usual;y takes a minute, it took almost 1`0 because the roads were like oiled glass.

The girl greeted me there and asked if I was nuts coming in for a haircut, I wondered if she was nuts working! On the way out another guys came walking in and I glanced over at the girl who gave me a "don't say anything!" look. I continued on my way and decided to go to Forest Hills Foods where I picked up breakfast pastries for Scott and Danielle and a few items I needed for dinner.

Arriving home without incident, though I had to time my exit at Forest Hills Foods to make the light so the car could roll through the inclined intersection, I vowed not to take the car out of the garage until work Monday morning.

I put the ingredients for Chicken Soup into the crock pot and let it do its thing, adding some Dreamfield pasta an hour before we ate. My first use of the crock pot was a success; we all loved the chicken soup!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Snow (uh, slow) going Thursday morning

I should have worked from home Thursday too. The kids had no school again. Even though it had stopped snowing around 8PM Wednesday night because of the depth and reach of the storm snow removal took well into Thursday evening in the city and suburbs and longer further away.

So, when I left for work Thursday morning there was so much snow at my intersection, even with a running start the Mustang got trapped for 15 minutes.

My thanks once again to the Township of Grand Rapids for their usual freaking too little, too late ineffective plowing of my street, which in effect is a dead-end, but is in fact an older development with many houses and side streets.

My real thanks go out to the trash men who were going by just as I was getting ready to break out the collapsible shovel and try and dig my way out. With a push of ricking the car and pushing on the rear the Mustang was extricated and was able to continue to work. If I was living back in Jersey they would have rode past laughing and I would have had to call AAA!

Even when I got home from work yesterday my street was still clogged with no and their was little traction. Around 5PM the plow made another pass and when I had to run out for cash around 6PM the going was not as bad, though I had to make the right turn out of my street from the left turn lane because the right turn lane was still fairly clogged.

THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES!
The weather for today is forecasting additional snow and snow over the weekend too which is supposed to be bitterly cold, dropping into the single digits and perhaps hitting the zero point Saturday night into Sunday morning.

It is snowing right now in fact outside my window at work.... We shall see what we get in total!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

6 PM Update on Storm of 2-06-2008

As the X was coming over to pickup the kids, and in typical fashion they both had their boots at their Mom's I went out at 5:30 to snowblow so they could walk to the car without getting frozen snowy feet. There is 6 inches of snow and it is still coming down hard. They are predicting near whiteout conditions for the next hours or so and expect some outlying roads to be impassable. My beard was frozen and I was encased with frozen snow due to the high winds and had to shake out my coat in the garage before heading back into the house.

There is virtually no food in the house, except for Tails, but I have no plans of taking the Mustang on the road this balmy evening!

I took some more pictures all are show below, and all can be clicked on for much larger versions (you must view the last picture in larger size to really appreciate it):

A tuckered Tails could care less about the wind and snow right now!



The view down my cold and bleak looking street.



Shot with flash to capture the snowflakes; I love this one!

Storm of 2-06-2008

The wind is howling, Tails is frantically running from window to window every time she hears icy particles hit the house, the predicated storm has arrived and is is full force. We are forecast for up to a foot of snow by the time it ends later this evening. I am working from home, so, other than having to clear the snow if it stops before bedtime I do NOT plan on venturing outside!

Here are two shots out the front door to give you an idea of the wind and snow at the moment, click either shot for a larger version:





Since I am always mentioning the snow blower, here's a picture of it, and a shot of the front of the house from last friday's snow; note the show hanging over the eges of the roof.



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Dreams can really, really, suck!

It's actually been at least a few weeks since I had one of those happy dreams where the X and I are still married and the kids are all with us. I was having them at least once a week up until this year.

I had one last evening where we driving around vacationing with friends and family. It (seemed to be) a lengthy dream visiting many people in multiple locations including friends and family I knew and some I did not (my dream visions of some of the X's many friends I never met I reckon).

It was such a good feeling, and in these dreams I do not realize I am divorced and it was just how I imagine I would like life to be when I am awake and pondering this issue.

So, needless to say when I awoke this morning hours before work I was filled with a great sadness, a sense of loss, and the melancholy feelings of "what might have been". I hope it is many weeks again and longer still before I have another one of these dreams! As enjoyable as they are I feel very bad feelings-wise right now.

Oh well, at least I had going to work to cheer me up and more snow on the horizon! Whoo Hooo!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!!!!

Obsess over the weather with Chris & Free Membership!!

Yes! I invite you to obsess over the weather with me and get a Free Membership to a great site to boot!

Join me in my mad (yes mad! Bwa ha ha ha haaaaa!) obsession with watching the weather and waiting for more snow. Sympathize with me or chuckle with glee at my predicament, the choice is yours!

Here is a free code for a year of advertisement free weather watching at Wunderground.com, my favorite weather site. Simply sign up for a new account the normal way, and when you get to the payment page, enter this code rather than your credit card or PayPal info.

AND that code is........

224-682369123634021-3401230402AA-DLAGDALKDGMW-129804702740234190402346-2384123341-QWPL-ZXY-092317492333334-AC24-KKLW-06391739573-AHDIOWEVQP

Wasn't that fun!!! Actually the code is really much simpler:

9HDCK

I think that's a lot easier to manage!

Enjoy! You can set a list of favorite cities to track weather on and load that from any PC with an Internet connection. There is also a photo section for weather related pictures (I have posted some there under the name blandishment).

If you want to add my area as a favorite use the zip code 49546 and send me your zip code so I can wail with despair while you enjoy sunny weather, or, if it's even possible, chortle with merriment as you suffer from colder temperatures and deeper snow!

So, if you have not checked that link out already, simply click here to do so.

What a year for snow; this is almost as bad s the first year we moved out here. The past 6 winters they had much more snow and ice back in New Jersey but this year I believe we've got them beat.

Mother Nature you leave me cold.......

It looks as if the freshly filled can of gas for the snow blower will not be wasted!

Yet another freaking storm is heading this way! See the happy announcement below!

WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING...

ACCUMULATING SNOW WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE AREA TONIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY WITH PERIODS OF HEAVY SNOW POSSIBLE THROUGH THE DAY WEDNESDAY. SIX OR MORE INCHES OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE FROM THIS STORM.

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

Yesterday the temperature rose into the low 40's and stayed there all night so a good portion of the snow has melted from my walks and driveway. Seems my decision to protect the environment and save fossil fuels and now use the snow blower has paid off!!

This evening the temperature is supposed to fall sharply and on the way to work I heard we could expect 6 inches to a foot of snow by the time it ends tomorrow!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Friday and the weekend OR I am so sick of this crap

Well, as predicted last Thursday we did have snow overnight into Friday, snowing well into the afternoon in fact.

The kids had their third snow day, which means any more extend the school year by however many snow days are taken from this point, and as I was already scheduled to work from home, I reveled in not having to deal with the roads and such.

As I could not get a confirmation that Chris, who was supposed to come home from college for the weekend, was aborting his trip, I went out around 3:30PM as the snow was almost stopped, to snow blow the driveway. He arrived as I was halfway through this process and I had him park outside on the street while I finished.

The rest of the weekend was a blur with Chris coming and going at all hours culminating with some friends coming over Sunday. I let them have the living room for three hours so they could play Rockband, while Tails and I retreated into my bedroom to file and watch some TV.

Chris and I did have two dinners together and we also watched some TV while he was here. I always enjoy having some time with him when he visits.

It began snowing YET AGAIN around 10PM, quite heavily in fact, and by the time Chris left shortly after midnight there was already a couple of inches. It snowed through the night it and it had just about stopped when I arose for work this morning for a total of about 5 damp inches of heavy snow.

I am going to gamble here because today the temp is supposed to hit 40 and be there all night long into late tomorrow. As it is also supposed to rain I am figuring this will clean my driveway and walks since MORE MORE MORE RANT RAVE DROOL SLAVER CURSE snow is due Wednesday morning. Heavy snow no less!

Oh, on the not frustrating side of things I did make a batch of the famous Chris Squared hot wings this weekend and tweaked the recipe and cooking method which according to Chris and I made the wings even better. When I have a change I will update and repost the recipe.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Thursday Morning & Afternoon

Thursday morning the roads were almost as bad as Wednesday until I go to the main road about half a mile from the plant. I also swung by the Costco to see about some gas, but they were 7 cents a gallon hire than the local Forest Hills Foods gas station, so, thumbing my nose at Costco I headed into work.

After departing work with cash in pocket I headed over to Burger King. I found the manager and paid her back the money for yesterday's lunch. She went over to talk to the teenager who was on the window yesterday and I heard him mutter something along the lines of he would not have trusted me he did not expect to see me back with money. I called over and said "It's people like you that make this world a cold place and people like your manager who make it a better, caring one. If you learn nothing else here, learn that and follow her example!!". Having had it "My way" I took my leave after thanking the manager once again.

At least the roads were decent though you still had to watch for some icy spots, I was doing 70 (the Michigan highway speed limit in most areas) for the majority of the trip.

I arrived home and had just enough time to snow blow the driveway before the kids had arrived. I was so disgusted with the snow and roads yesterday I had not done this. Danielle arrived home (Scott had to audition for the more advanced choir) and I discovered a message on my Cell that Scott had called. So, I called him back, Danielle and I gathered up the rental video game and Garfield Movie, and headed up the Northern Trails High to pick him up. It was beginning to snow.....yet again.....

We took the long way back so I could swing by Blockbuster and then we stopped on the far side of the parking lot at Forest Hills Food adjacent to the strip mall where China Garden is, a lower quality Chinese place than First Wok but closer.

As we had done many times Scott headed over to order and get food while Danielle and I headed into the grocery store. As another snow warning was in effect, I wanted to insure we had supplies to get through the day tomorrow.

We grabbed necessary supplied and headed out, picked up Scott and stopped at the gas station so I could slake the Mustang's thirst for petrol and fill the gas can for the snow blower.

We arrived home, had our dinner and settled in for the evening, the requisite game playing, computer using, and TV watching taking place in various combinations.