Monday, June 27, 2011

On This Day In History

On June 27, in the year 1950 the US government decided to deploy troops to the Korean war. Some years earlier, a child had been born who would some day be a part of this confict. This child survived this war and married my mother. His name is John Bartlett. He is my father and the father to each of my two brothers and my sister. For some reason, I don't have many good pictures of him so I borrowed one from my sister. (sorry for not asking Sis, hope you don't mind)

Anyway, today,of course, is his birthday. I'll call him in a few minutes and he'll probably tell me how old he is. (Ok, he's 79 years old today.) After I post it to this blog, I'll hopefully be able to remember from here on out. For now, however, I will shout in my loudest blogger voice, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD. I LOVE YOU! I HOPE YOU HAVE MANY MORE BIRTHDAYS TO CELEBRATE!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Fifth Flavor?

Have you heard of the four elements of life? I'm not sure which basic philosophy these come from but Google it and you'll discover that some one thinks that there are four basic elements and that they are air or wind, fire, earth, and water. It has also been generally excepted until recently that there are four basic flavors. These, of course, were sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. In 1985 a fifth basic flavor was recognised. It was called Umami. The word is borrowed from the Japanese language and it means "pleasant savory taste".

Now there are some basic food ingredients that contain the "flavor" umami. Some of these are fish, shellfish, cured meats, and certain vegetables like mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, and spinach. Also incuded in the foods containing umami is aged cheese and soy sauce.

Tonight for dinner I prepared what might be considered artisan pizza.

There were two different pizzas. They each had the same dough from Grand Central Bakery and the same sauce from The difference between them was the first had only salami, pepperoni, and sausage. The second had those three ingredients and also mushrooms, shallots, and fresh tomatoes. They were both very good but the second was really outstanding. Notice that it contained two umami ingredients that the first did not.

What I didn't tell my other dining companions was that there was a third important umami ingredient that they wouldn't have appreciated if they'd have known. That ingredient was in the sauce. Make sure you get some and hide it in your refrigerator. It adds remarkable flavor but most Americans don't want anything to do with it. That secret ingredient is anchovie paste. Who would have thought? It might not taste that great by itself but it adds a world of flavor to other foods if used in moderation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary Debbie! It's been 26 years and I still do!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Looks Like I'm In The Vintage Lighting Business

This was a big weekend in the junkin' business. There were sooo many sales and fortunately, a lot of the competition was out of town sellin' junk at an event called Farm Chics in Spokane. That, however, was a perfect opportunity for us. Debbie is off work for the summer so she bribed Jonathan to hit the circuit with her on Friday and they happened upon a jackpot of chandeliers. The only catch was that we had to return to the sale at the end and take them down.

Not a problem! Generally, this kind of lighting is very dificult to find and when one does, it is expensive. I mean, for example, I saw a chandelier at an estate sale this weekend for $325.00 and another for $575.00. I mean, get real! I can't buy that and expect to resell it for a profit. The sale that Debbie happened upon, however, had a number of chandeliers at prices that we were able to buy and expect to be able to resell them. I think she got a very nice variety. They all need to be cleaned up and tweeked a bit. (We usually rewire them enough to be able to plug them in so that they can be shown lit up.)She got eight in all

and in addition, there was a really cool lamp.

It, too, needed a bit of work but I already have it up and running.

I have to admit that I think that a lot of this green, recycling stuff is a lot of bunk. However, I truly love being able to take an item that is fully 70 or 80 years old and turn it back into a useful and even desirable product.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Portland Weird? Seattle's Weird Too!

My last post about our getaway to Seattle got a little long so I decided to return to the subject for a second post. We really didn't get too far away from Pikes Place Market but the place is completely pregnant with ideas and things to blog about. First of all there are many different musicians and other kinds of performers ready to do their thing for nothing more than a few coins in a cup. I mean look at that guy in the first picture. Who would paint themselves up in silver and pretend to be a manequin? That's weird. Then there was the guy who had trained his parrot to play dead and was throwing it up in the air like it was some kind of toy. How about the dude balancing his guitar on his chin? Probably one of the least wierd people was this guy.

I mean he's only dressed in orange stripes and tying balloons into animals. Ok here's something that was really weird. We wandered up the street to the H & M store. (It's not my kind of store but the trip wasn't all about me.) I decided to take a picture of Debbie as she is contentedly shopping for whatever women shop for and some little man comes up to me and says I can't take pictures in the store. Store policy! What? Ok I was ready to leave after that but again the trip wasn't all about me. Grrrrr! Finally we did leave after I couldn't convince Debbie not to buy something. Anyway, we walk down an alley

and saw this.

Do you know what this is? I mean it has Ewwww! Yuck! All over it! Let me give you a closer look.

That's right. It's used gum. Some weird group in Seattle probably thinks this is art. What is that about?

Let me change the subject and talk about something that doesn't upset my stomach. Don't you love cheese? It so often just adds that little bit of extra to a meal. We discovered a certain white chedder at New Seasons Market that is just soooo good. It is hand crafted by a company called Beecher's. They call the particular cheese that we like Flagship. So we're walking down the street at Pikes Market and Voila!

There it is!

I love knowing where my food comes from. All the while Debbie is smelling the delightful aroma of baked pastries. It turns out it is coming from a place called Piroshky Piroshky. There was a line

(You're going to have to click on the picture above if you're going to see Debbie way at the end of the line waving back at me). Anyway, this shop is the brain child and spawn of a Russian immigrant. They bake up and serve both savory and sweet patries.

Debbie chose a sweet chocolate hazelnut pastry and I took a more savory Potato Onion Cheese. I didn't get to taste hers but she reports that it was wonderful. Mine was very good as well and I'm confident that the next time we're in Pikes we will be standing in that line again.

Well, once again I have bloviated far longer than most attention spans. So with that I will say that the trip was a delight and though it was short, I felt refreshed and ready to assume normal life once we returned home. Thanks for stopping by and I hope that this drivel hasn't put you to sleep but instead inspired you to visit the weird city of Seattle.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yes it was Extravagant

This weekend we had some reason to walk into the local Verizon Wireless store. While there we started talking about the new smart phones that have come out recently and suddenly I owned one. It is the new Droid Charge by Samsung. OK I am a little embarrassed but this is a really cool phone with some really amazing features. To begin with the processor is one gigahertz which is blazingly fast. I've been streaming music via Pandora radio for two days and the phone hasn't even coughed. My old Motorola Droid used to stall and sputter regularly. I also recently tried to view a video on the old Droid and the stream was so choppy and intermittent that I quit and went and found something else to do. As soon as I got this new phone home I watched the same video and it was just as smooth as warm butter. It comes loaded with apps some of which I probably won't use but many of them are very cool and useful and I am looking forward to utilizing all of that potential. The fact is, I do not have the geek gene and sometimes technology is a little beyond the reach of my cognitive ability but this phone is pretty easy to figure out and has a lot of useful features.

The first image you saw on this post is the front view of my phone. This is a more professional image of the anterior and posterior view.

I'm not sure if you can see from the images but there is an 8 mega pixel camera on the back and a 1.3 mega pixel camera on the front. I sure could have used that feature this weekend in Seattle.

I'm told that the 4G LTE network will be complete later in 2011 and the speed of the device will be more fully utilized at that time. But just as I have stated earlier, I have already noticed some of the advantages this phone has over my earlier device.