Monday, October 25, 2010

Fried Butter Balls/Use the Real Phone




Sometimes, something I read, or a line I hear gets stuck in my head and I can’t stop thinking about it. This has happened on a couple occasions this past week

The first was reading the recipe a very good friend posted on his facebook page: Paula Dean’s fried butter balls. This just sounded so wonderful. What tickled me more than anything were the comments left by the “food police” about how horrible and unhealthy this recipe is…. How I wish people would lighten up and enjoy life a bit.. one butter ball at a time!

That got me to thinking; it had been a while since I was really bad in eating, so I cooked up a huge mess of fettuccini alfredo. It is too easy to fix… melt half a stick of butter, with couple handfuls of cheese and then add heavy cream. Wisk it all together over low heat and just before serving I’ll add a big spoonful of minced garlic. Dump it all over prepared fettuccini and it is like you died and went to heaven…..

The second incident that has me still laughing was the E-mail I got from Joe. I had just missed his phone call last Thursday. I now have free long distance through my computer. I called him using my Google account. God only knows what number showed up on his caller ID, but he refused it!!

I sent him off this E-mail:

Hi Hun.....
Was out painting and had to come in the house. Sorry i missed your call. Called you on my computer but it did not go through... back to my painting!!

His answer VIA E-mail was:

Call me on the real phone then you cheap whore!

Poor Meg Whitman was scandalized being called that in the heat of the California campaign. Having Joe call me that vulgar name was like a badge of honor! I’m still smiling as I type this out thinking about it!

It is because Joe is my “sister friend”. If I need to “bury the body” Joe will be there to help me. Such friendships are all too rare in today’s world……..

Saturday I finally made up creamed chicken with the left overs from the last roaster I bought at Sam’s. Since the kitchen was a mess I made up a batch of pudding. Stumpy had to sample a bit before it got poured into the serving glasses. I always expect lightning bolts to reign in from the heavens above when this occurs. My Ron had an unbreakable rule: No cats on the table ever!!! Stumpy and Daggy have total reign of this house. After twelve + years I think it is too late in the ball game to change things now!

Stumpy having a bit of the vanilla pudding:

Stumpy was the model of contentment this morning. I had to snap this picture of him before I headed out to affix the stroke seat to the display boat the restaurant bought from our Black Warrior Rowing Club.

The interior of the new restaurant is shaping up. I can’t wait till it opens and I can get pictures of our old shell. I took along zip ties and zip tied the seats to the tracks so there will be no chance of them letting loose. I feel a lot better knowing they are now securely in place…..

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still in Awe of the Internets

It is still a bit too wet to work outside on my siding project. NPR is in “fund drive mode” so I have the radio turned off. It is a necessary evil, but I can only take so much of the pledging and pleas for money. (I am a member of my local station and sent my cheque in weeks ago.) I have Pandora streaming on the computer as I type this.

The internets and computer technology is still mind-boggling to me as to how intertwined it has become in enriching my life. (I love to use “the internet” in the plural. It can drive people crazy!) I give this one example…..

Joe Jervis writes a blog, Joemygod which I read daily while enjoying my first cup of coffee in the early hours of the morning. Last year he posted a link to an independently produced video Jonathan Just Because. I bookmarked that site on my computer half way through my first viewing. It is a short I can watch over and over. The songs in the soundtrack were so “New York City” to me. Hip, smart, and classy are the adjectives that come to mind, but I feel old in saying that!!

Last Friday I was taking a break on the front porch swing listening to the NPR program “Marketplace”. In between the news segments I heard one of the songs used in Jonathan Just Because used as filler. Running to my computer I brought up the webpage of Marketplace and was able to research the songs used in that program. Sure enough the song I was hunting was: Bruises” by Chairlift.

Finding that elusive song put me on a mission to find the music used in the opening of the video. Once again Google came to my rescue. Using the first line of the song: "in my dreams hitting baseball” in the search bar brought up just what I was looking for: “My Slumbering Heart” by Rilo Kiley.

A couple mouse clicks over to Amazon.com and I was able to download both songs for $1.98. Talk about instant gratification. I’m sure I could have found a free download someplace on the web. I’m so spoiled using the Amazon downloader. I remember back to the 1960’s when hit 45’s cost $1.00 from the record store.

Using one of my favourtie tools, The Relative Value Calculator.

In 2009, the relative worth of $1.00 from 1965 is:

$6.80

using the Consumer Price Index

$5.51

using the GDP deflator

$7.41

using the value of consumer bundle

$7.41

using the unskilled wage

$8.72

using the Production Worker Compensation

$12.50

using the nominal GDP per capita

$19.80

using the relative share of GDP

After viewing JJB again, I explored the Videos homepage. Contact addresses were listed for the writers, actors and director. I was so wound up I shot an E-mail out to the author. When someone does something that affects my life so, I like them to know. E-mail makes it almost too easy.

The next day I received the most wonderful reply. The internets have done so much to make the world smaller and accessible. In some ways that can be a bad thing, but I try to always look to the good and positive aspects of life…..

Friday, October 15, 2010

Google to the Rescue/Back to the road Trip



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thank you Google…. How many problems have you solved in my life? Sunday I captured a “Daggy and Stumpy” moment of sheer bliss in a digital picture. Without going into a lot of detail let me say the only way I had that picture saved was on a Word file. I knew there had to be a way to save and edit that file into my picture files. The thought I could not use that picture, made me want to save it and post all the more. The instructions I followed were at this site: http://www.ehow.com/how_4759742_convert-word-document-jpeg-file.html

Here is that picture of Daggy and Stump I thought I’d never be able to use!

I’m hoping to get my house painted before winter. The first side I worked on was 11 years ago. I’ve since changed out the green trim colour to a darker shade. There was only one coat of paint applied (after stripping off the many layers of old paint) originally which is now peeling a bit. The siding has collected quite a bit of dirt and the shaded areas have some mildew. The wood must first be washed with a solution of TSP and bleach before any sanding, priming or painting is done. All in all, this is a pain in the neck job I’ve put off for years.

I got paint and supplies yesterday from the paint store. This is a great place that caters to contractors and is real professional. You pay a premium price. The way I look at things, with as much prep work as I do, it is really stupid to buy cheap inferior paint to save a couple dollars.

I got Craig the “main man” there going yesterday. I told him I was so glad things were cooling off a bit because I was nearly hospitalized with heat stroke in August while painting my house. I explained how I followed the directions on the paint can….. “For best results apply with two coats!!”

I was so annoyed in yet another rowing practice was called off, I got out the pressure washer and used it to remove the flaking white paint from the stuccoed brick chimney. What a mess, white paint flakes are now everywhere. It was a good way to work out my frustration! It was also a job I had procrastinated on doing for too many years…..

Back to the road trip: September 24th.

This night was the informal meeting for my 40th High School reunion at a local bar. Friday night in Lockport means one thing which is: fish fry! The Union Hall always has a good crowd and used to be famous for their fish fry.

I checked it out and there was a pretty good crowd present. The bar was packed.. I did not want to sit alone at a table. As is usually the case now, there was nobody there I knew. I went outside and called Linda, with no success. Then I contacted Keith. He and Greg were headed out with his mom and dad to fish fry and they invited me along. I’ve always considered Keith’s mom and dad to be a part of my extended family, I jumped at the chance.

We will be headed to the reunion right after supper so I had on my brown Utilikilt and Bisweptual tee shirt. That outfit made a big hit as we had a drink at the bar while our table was being set up.

Beer batter Haddock fish fry is my favourite and was on the menu. I have to say the food was excellent. It was like old times being around Keith and his family again.

We arrived at the bar for the preliminary party right on schedule. There were people here I have not seen in literally 40 years. It was like old times rehashing events.

Keith and I:

Bob, Keith and I all worked at Burger Chef in high school. I still have my Burger Chef name badge packed away and was tempted to dig it out and wear it this night.

Bob was laughing about the time he changed the menu board around to reflect the special of “4 Cheese burgs for 99¢” to a certain sexual act “4 for 99¢”!! (That was done after closing and was switched back!)

"Burger Buddy" Bob.

I reminded him of the time we were closing on a Saturday night and the Gowanda, NY wrestling team came in and made a mess. I was on the front line; Bob was working the back line. As they were leaving Bob called out, “Gowanda Hell!” I ran to the back as fast as I could!!

The night progressed like this rehashing old times till the band set up and commenced playing. It was fruitless to try and talk over the racket and the party broke up.

To be continued:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Desk Delivered/Back to the Roadtrip




Thursday at noon BJ stopped by. He is finally ready to take possession of the roll top desk he bought from me nearly four years ago. Here is an excerpt from my diary from December 13, 2006:

“I can’t believe I’m actually in a Christmas mood! The roll top desk I sold to my friend BJ has been cluttering up the front parlor for nearly three months. It was an easy job to move and arrange the pieces into the back workshop. BJ has paid me for it already. I needed more room: that was the main reason I sold the thing. I wish he had not seen it that night he dropped by and I could have just taken it to the consignment shop. I’m regressing! I have it all covered up so it should be all right. I just hate keeping a piece of furniture in an unheated space like that.”

I had been after BJ for YEARS to take possession of that desk. This past March I needed to clean out space in my workshop where that desk had been stored. I contacted BJ and told him I was going to move the desk to my basement where it would be out of the way. “That is the worst place to store anything, but it can stay there till Hell freezes over” I told him.

Six months stored in a damp, musty basement took a toll on that once beautiful piece of furniture. The veneer panels have all lifted, the animal hide glue has let go. The thing is basically destroyed. It is not my concern. I restored that desk back in 1979. I used it a lot of years. I just hate the fact it is now worthless. I moved it in my truck to its new home: a garage full of crap to see if it will dry out some and lose the impregnated musty smell.

Happier times for the desk: Fuzzy and Chloe at home in my Lockport, NY study in the fall of 1996.


The mornings are nice and cool as fall approaches. The project for the immediate future is to get the south side of the house repainted. This was the first painting project I undertook back in 1999. I’ve since changed out the green trim colour, and the single coat of paint done way back then has accumulated quite a bit of dirt and a bit of mildew in the shaded places.

Friday afternoon was spent washing under the eves with a solution of TSP and bleach. This morning I applied Peel Stop Primer to the peeling paint on the verge board. Soon as I finish this entry I’ll get back to painting under the eves with the dark green.

The early mornings are now sweatshirt weather. Since I’m painting I dug out my oldest rattiest sweat shirt. I bought this back in 1972 to wear on the loading docks of UPS when I loaded trucks on the morning sort. It has seen me through more projects! One nice thing is; Stumpy can climb all over my shoulders and chest and not break my skin with his sharp claws. The heavy cotton gives him lots to dig into! He luxuriates climbing on me drooling and giving me head butts. He was one contented cat giving me loves this morning!

Back to my road trip:

Thursday evening: September 23rd.

I was hungry. You can’t go to Lockport and not get chicken wings from Wagners. Way back in the day we would get plates of killer hot wings washed down with pitchers of Genesee Crème Ale. We used to call that beer “Green Death!!” The cook Bev used to come out of the kitchen and laugh at us tearing into those wings!

Wagner’s has undergone two interior transformations since those days. I miss that old tacky dining room of old with the paneling applied so the lines went horizontal instead of vertical. There was a cast iron radiator we used to sit by in the winter after freezing at Larry and Bob’s unheated auction house to warm our numb feet.

Medium is the only way I can enjoy wings now. A small order of 10 wings and two draft beers made for a great supper.

From here I went to visit my sister and family. She was scandalized in that I was wearing my Utilikilt! We had a wonderful visit getting caught up.

It was so good to get back to Joe’s house. When I think of home now it is not the house I grew up in, or even the house I lived in and spent 20 years restoring. It is Joe’s house I now consider my Lockport home. It was my refuge for the 16 months between the time I sold my house and when the transfer south to Tuscaloosa finally came through.

It was a warm evening. We had beers on the front porch and "dished the dirt." It was like I never left and the clock had been turned back to 1997.

First thing I did Friday was to do a quick laundry. My Utilikilt needed a good cleaning. I laid it out to dry on Joe’s patio and left to see my sister Patty in Newfane. I first stopped to pick up a mess of cat litter for her. She can’t carry the 40 pound bags, so I got her a good supply. We had a good visit. As I was leaving she hinted to her neighbor her boyfriend was leaving!!

I had a noon appointment with Joe for a haircut. I need to look as "P-R-E-T-T-Y as humanly possible" for my class reunion. That line is from the john Waters movie Female Trouble. Joe and I know that lines from that film ver-batum. It is scary.....

Joe gave me a wonderful haircut. I was very happy with the results. His coffee machine was plugged up, so after my "do" I went to Niagara County Produce across the parking to to get us a couple cups of coffee. Just as I was checking out Betty walked in the door! We worked together back at HRD. We hugged and I got out of the check out line so we could get caught up. She has never forgotten the time she, Ada, Gary (aka Judy) and I went into Buffalo to see Psyco Beach Party in an old run down unheated theater on the west side of Buffalo. It is magic when you can run into old friends like this. I was hoping her husband who works for the city could turn up an old style manhole cover with raised letters; City of Lockport, NY on the edge. The city uses generic covers now. No such luck....I'll keep trying!

I got the pruning shears and took off for the cemetery. The bushes on either side of my parent’s grave needed to be trimmed way back. Those shrubs have been in the ground since 1985 and are a bear to cut back now. Ron trimmed those shrubs back in 1989. Mom was so impressed on the great job he did. I was never able to equal that trimming. Mom would say, “They look good, but not as good as when Ron did them!” whenever I cut them back.

to be continued

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About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.