Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh No! I Almost Forgot!

Last Friday was opening night for Willy Wonka. Jonathan, of course, is in the play. His mother also has an important position as part of the make-up crew. I was part of the audience. Since Jonathan and Debbie needed to be there long before the curtain went up, they went by themselves and left me to get ready to see a play. I was looking hot! In fact, I was hot. Man, they should have spent more on the air conditioning.

The play is showing in the theater at Mount Hood Community College. Here is a picture of the outside of the theater. Tax dollars at work.
This a view of the stage. Sorry, no cameras allowed during the actual play.

This image is out in the foyer by the box office. The crowds are milling around waiting to get into the theater.

The star was a little shy but since the part of paparatzi was up to me I had to snap some sort of picture.

I'm a Baby Steps Gardener!

In order to not focus completely on death and loss of life, my wife Debbie and I chose to plant an herb garden on Memorial Day. This is what it looked like at the nursery. It is a good thing that I already had an idea in my mind of what I was after. Good Grief! The options would have been nearly endless otherwise.

I have discovered that cooking offers a distraction from everyday life and just like a fly fisherman gaining additional satisfaction from using flies tied by himself, there is a strange satisfaction attained by being able to cook with herbs from one's own garden. I know! There is plenty of room for improvment and expansion here but today we bought some parsley, sweet basil, some chives, leeks, tarragon and arugula. I am totally looking forward to the day when I need to make some spaghetti or alfredo sauce and the parsley or basil will come from my own private supply.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Is There Anything Worth Dying For?

On this Memorial Day 2009 I am here to say that I am so glad that throughout the history of our nation, there have been men and women who believed that there was some cause or belief important enough to be worth their life to defend.

Let me tell you a story about my experience on the beaches of Normandy, France. No, it wasn't that terrible day June 6, 1944 when there was so much carnage and loss of life. It was many years later in the early '80s when I had the opportunity to visit both Omaha and Utah beaches as a tourist. One of the images indelibly printed on my memory is the distance from the water to where the flat sandy beaches turn to dunes and bluffs. Imagine as I did those many years ago that the enemy is entrenched in bunkers and firing all kinds of ordinance at you as you disembark completely sea-sick from the landing craft. You have at least a quarter mile and perhaps more of open beach to cover before there is any foliage or anything to hide behind. It is no wonder that in the initial hours of that assault there were thousands of American dead and wounded.

In Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, there is an American Cemetery that entombs the bodies of 9,387 American dead. I stood in that cemetery and looked out over the very same stretch of beach that many of those solders breathed their last breath and it was a very powerful moment which to this very day and even this moment as I write elicits an emotional response which I have to struggle to control.

I don't have any family, that I'm aware of, that has died in one of this countries conflicts but if I did, I would have been proud of them and my relationship to them.
Look! This guy was from Oregon! If you have a member of your family that has paid the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, I salute them and hope that you'll remember them today and honor their sacrifice.

There was no such thing as digital images when I visited this place but I took similar pictures and since there was permission to use attached to these images I chose to go ahead and use them instead of scanning the poor quality images that I have. This is a soldier that was Jewish.I don't remember how many of the graves have this inscription but this is the marker for bodies that weren't identifiable. There are a number of them. I saw several.

Please don't just look at this day as another day to stay home from work, the cost of freedom in blood and treasure is just too great to casually dismiss it. I hope that you'll click on the links and pictures. The link takes you to a wikipedia article which is pregnant with information regarding the cemetary and the images will enlarge to help you get a better vision of what they are about.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Flavor Explosion!

Tonight, just like every other night this week, Jonathan and Debbie have been away at Willy Wonka practise for most of the evening. It has been my charge to create the gastronomic reward that they've come to expect from me when they get home. Let me let you peer over my shoulder while I work. The recipe required a whole chicken, some parsley, some rosemary, garlic, butter, carrots, onions, potatoes, salt and pepper.
Fresh rosemary.

Fresh parsley.
Three to Five cloves of garlic.

The chicken was purchased at Safeway for 77 cents or so per pound. I cut the vegetables up and surrounded the fryer with them in a roaster. I set the thermostat to 350 degrees and waited for the oven to warm up. While the oven warmed up I was combining the butter, garlic, parsley, and rosemary. When the oven beeped, the dinner was positioned properly, and inserted into the oven. The recipe requested that I cook it covered for an hour and a half at 350 degrees basting every 30 minutes then uncover and cook for 30 to 60 minutes more.You want to know something? This was pretty good chicken!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Where Has The Time Gone!

Holy Mackerel! Has it already been a week since my last post? Time is a funny thing. If you're waiting for water to boil, a couple of minutes takes an eternity. On the other hand, when one stays relatively busy time slips by like a thief in the night and all of a sudden you're out of time and you're in some kind of panic, or you've missed a dead line, or your life is nearly over, or...whoa! Take a breath! Try walking around the block! Ok, whew! I'm going to be alright! I still have time. So do you. Don't take it for granted though. You just never know when that last breath will be so if it needs to get done, get started on it.

Well, God spoke to Moses and said he had six days to do his work. On the seventh, he was supposed to rest. Good policy I'm sure. For me, there are five days that include pretty arduous work. On the sixth day we start to wind down. We still get a lot of work done but it is a different kind of work. A wise man once said, a change is as good as a vacation. That has a lot of truth to it! On Saturdays, we normally go out working the estate sale circuit and collect a variety of items that we think we can turn around for a profit over at Monticello or on line. It accomplishes a couple of important goals. We have developed another source of income which is rather valuable especially in todays economically challenged environment. It also gives my wife, Debbie and I a number of hours together working in tandem for a common goal. I believe that over the last several years, it has been good for us.

Here are a couple of items that I picked up this week.We got some others as well but you'll have to check out My Shabby Roses Blog in a day or so to see the other stuff. Actually, a few items are already at Monticello.Above is an Ocean City Automatic 90 and a Tahoe 201. Neither company is in business currently.
Above is pictured a couple of books that I thought Debbie would appreciate. One is an old French dictionary and the other is an old German book of poetry. Neither of us can read either language but the graphics in each of them is interesting and we each can appreciate that.
Uh Oh! This picture is of a couple of items that like the reels above will likely find their way into my personal collection. I love old lures and especially the wooden ones or even plastic if they come with their original boxes. Can you agree with me that the graphics on this old box are just outstanding? Ok, I admit it, I have the collector's disease and have a rather neurotic affection for old fishing items. I don't even know where to seek help for this ailment and even if I did, I might be hesitant to get help because I actually really like this stuff.lNext month I planned a fishing trip with some family and friends and even though Jonathan doesn't appreciate fishing the same as I do I thought that I'd bring him along just for the company. I needed another float tube, however, so I started checking out Craig's List for some possibitlities. I found a great deal for a Caddis Navigator II float tube. It retails for at least $170.00-$$190.00 and I got it for $30.00 plus a nice set of fins for an additional $10.00. Sorry Jon, you'll be using the old tube while I sit in ultimate comfort in the Navigator II!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Oh man! Mother's Day! Well, it's finally over and done. As you read in an earlier post, it was my responsibility to prepare the dinner. Fortunately, everything turned out well, even great if I do say so myself. We had the spaghetti that I talked about. I prepared two tomato sauses that were nearly identical except one had mushrooms in it. It was just great. I also prepared a chicken alfredo which also turned out ok but I had to double the recipe and though it was ok, I felt that it wasn't as good as normal. I'm not sure what was different, but I tasted a subtle variance and I think that my alfredo normally tastes a bit better. Maybe I should have added more pepper. The garlic bread was outstanding just as it always is.Uh oh! In the panic this afternoon, I forgot to take pictures of the dinner, the guests, or anything until after the affair was over. This plate is all that was left of the garlic bread.This is the pile of pots and pans that I dirtied up. I'm not sure who, probably one of the mothers, cleaned them up.

You're probably wondering what a cad like myself would buy their wife for Mother's Day. Here is a picture. There are more like this one but I hate to fill this blog with pictures of flowers. Look I need to be honest, my dear wife took the responsibity off my shoulders and purchased the flowers she wanted for herself in my name. She is such a doll! I'm not a total cad though. I did the cooking today after all. I also took yesterday's small window to mow the lawn even though I think we've delegated that responsibity to a certain 16 year old. I also contributed significant effort in cleaning the deck to the point where it was an acceptable place to place to enjoy today's spaghetti feast. Don't you think that sometimes what you do is a better gift then what you can buy?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Uh Oh. It's Starting to Look Like a Collecton!

You know something? I had a pretty good day today. After work, we had to go to Monticello to check out our space and spruce it up if needed. What am I saying? It always needs sprucing. Let me interject a paranthetical statement.

People always pick things up to look at them and then just plop them back down with no consideration for where they put them. The other day they called from Monticello to say that they were sorry but a strange, disaggreable smell had been floating around the store for a number of hours and they finally discovered the source was coming from our space. Someone had picked up a nice mink stole which we were selling and when they put it down, they placed it on a lamp bulb and the fur had burnt where it was touching the lit bulb. What were they thinking?

Ok, I'm back. Now let's get back to my previous thought. We finished sprucing up the space and then wandered around the store as we are often inclined to do. It is not completely unusual for Debbie to find something that she doesn't think she can live without and, in fact, this was one of those times. It was an unusual floral frog for her collection. A little more unusual, though not completely unheard of, is for me to find something that I need to have. This happened to be one of those days. I found an old framed print that just said take me home. I love hunting and fishing and since I don't get to go nearly as often as I'd like, I like to surround myself with things that remind me of the outdoors and the animals that I love. It's kind of a vicarious hunting experience. Oh well, it really didn't cost much and we even found a place in living room to hang it. Hey! Let me show you some of my other favorite prints.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yikes! Is It My Turn Already!

Apparently I blinked and for a nanosecond wasn't paying attention and there was some sort of behind the back election and all of a sudden I find out that it is my responsibility to do the Mother's Day dinner.

Whoa! Panic!

Wait a minute. Deep breath. Exhale.

Ok. No worries! I'll make the one thing that always makes them want to be able to stuff just a little more in. Anthony's Spaghetti Sauce. That is certainly "To Die For". Perhaps to mix it up a bit I'll make a batch of Chicken Alfredo as well. That way nobody will have anything to complain about unless they choose, of their own accord, to overindulge. To temp the overindulgers, there will be a bunch of Anthony's Garlic Bread as well.

To quote the Borg, "Resistance is futile!" Come with an extreme, gnawing hunger or don't come at all! Relax Ma, I'm just joking!

Prepare yourselves to be pleasantly satiated with Jonathan's contribution in the salad and hors d'oeuvres departments.

Hey! Congratulations to Aaron, my seventeen year old nephew! I hear that he successfully completed the Eugene marathon on Sunday. If you've never run or even walked a marathon then you probably don't know what kind of remarkable feat this is but take it from me, it is very cool and even if he never does it again, it will remain an event that he will be proud of, with good cause, forever. Good job Aaron. This memory will remain with you for your whole life.

Thanks for coming by,