Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Little R & R... Michigan Style!

Thursday was a day off, running errands and tying down a couple of loose ends, before we left town for a few days. Thursday night was dinner out with my wife, son and his new girlfriend (1st picture) It's a local brew/restaurant, and they do a great job! They overheard the birthday talk, and brought over a big piece of chocolate cake, and one of their beer glasses as a present!
Friday, we packed what we needed and headed for our first stop- The Shelby Gem Factory! Have you ever gone past a billboard (many times!) advertising what sounds like a neat tour but never went? Well, we decided we would find this place and see what they do. A couple of wrong turns later, we found it! It was a non-descript looking industrial building, founded in 1970 (2nd picture) and we were having second thoughts... What the heck! In we went, to a rather interesting lobby, showing the gems they produce in various stages of processing, and a description (3rd picture) of the process. We found out because of the proprietary nature of producing synthetic gems, there was no tour, but a short video you could watch that was quite informative. Then on to the show room where you could buy emeralds, rubies, diamonds, sapphires, set in genuine solid 14 karat gold. Nothing fake here! The stones actually have the hardness and brilliance of real gem stones, but with no flaws! I was impressed enough to buy my wife an early birthday present(4th picture)! Yes, everyone, I let her pick the one she wanted! On to Little River Casino, where we gambled, with little success! We caught dinner in Cadillac, at a place I think was named The Dawg House... looked new, and the food was good! It was casual, as it was right next to the State campground! We headed for our place west of Tustin, did a quick stop to take a scenic view of the kind of landscape this part of Michigan has(5th pict). We arrived at the lodge ( 6th photo- Yes, we really named it that! 10 guys own it counting me!)and started to settle in to relax.
Saturday, we wanted to head for the new Turtle Creek Casino early, as the crowds would be bad later.. The 7th picture is of the outdoor fountain/waterfall as you enter the casino- you should see the three story one in the casino! We then headed for a little casino up on the Leelanau penninsula, just north of Suttons Bay. Traffic by now was bad! Labor day week-end and all... We made some money there, enough to buy supplies for a BB-Q at the cabin with friends coming up for the evening! Just before we found a super market, I took a picture of the bay (8th and 9th pic) and a sloop called the Welcome- a reproduction of a ship that sailed the great Lakes in days gone by.. Our friends arrived on time, bringing appetizers! We had NY strips, charcoaled, cob corn, potato salad, rolls, then carrot cake- enough!
Played cards, relaxed, They headed home, we went to bed!
This morning, we decided to head home- our dog missed us! Did all the usual schlepping when packing, then unpacking...Farwell to The Big Beaver Hunt Club, 'til next time! The weather was beautiful, and it actually was fun and relaxing!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Arrrhh... Gone A Rovin'....

Avast, Ye scurvy swabs! Me and me bride have gone adventurin'.. We'll be back in a few days, with tales of mayhem and booty! Might even take a picture or two.. To all: God speed and be well- A rovin', A rovin' that how I want to be...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Medical Procedure Day, So I Just Made Soup..

I had to be at a clinic at 7:45AM this morning, to have an endoscopy (Tube with camera, and cauterizing capabilites!) down throat and a little more.. You can't eat or drink anything for about 6-8 hrs. prior, so last night I ate supper a little later (no wife home- fried egg and cheese sandwich!). Today at the docs' could have gone smoother, as the knock-out drugs didn't knock me out. This made it tougher on me and them! Anyway, after that we went out for lunch- one of those places that serve breakfast all day. I ordered a version of eggs Benedict I had never seen- all normal ingredients, but a choice between ham or sausage patty! This with made with a thick sausage patty is excellent! Anyway, the rest of the day was laying around in recovery mode. After someone shoves a big tube down your throat, you need a little down time. Ladies... Don't even go there today... I can hear your thoughts from here..
I did find enough energy to make soup. One of my "Let's see what's in the house" creations. Had some celery, carrots, onion, mushrooms, some sliced beef, barley, and some beef broth- I could make a decent vegetable beef barley soup in less than an hour! Touched up with black pepper, celery seeds, tomato paste, and Mrs' Dash- the flavor of the broth was darn good! I had today off, and will be off thru Labor Day, so posts will be sporadic for a bit. Plan to take pictures of what we do and see, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Mini-Meme Time.. Far Away Places...

Although I have traveled quite a bit, I have never needed a passport. I have been to Cananda numerous times, sightseeing, and fishing!I have also seen alot of places in the USA, but never further.. National Geographic has been a must read since I was 12 years old. People, cultures, different world class extraordinary natural (and man-made creations!) have always caught my interest!
I hope someday to see, with my own eyeballs, some of the sights I have only seen in magazines, or TV shows ..
Todays mission:
1. Where have you been, what have you seen that you thought was cool..
2. Where do you wish to go someday, and what do think you will see/find?
These are always for fun- write as much or as little as you wish!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spaghetti And Meatballs- Nothing Special Today..

I still have not gotten back into the swing of things cooking. Last night I worked the kitchen for a party at our club- late night,last night! I hadn't been down there much, and had alot of catching up with old friends. The band was good, the crowd was fair, and the food was grill stuff- burgers, brats, hot dogs, onion rings, and fries. A fun night, considering how late alot of us stayed!
Today, as the headline shows, we are having the classic spaghetti and meat balls. Simmer some meatballs in a good home made red sauce, (add some sliced mushrooms, if you like!) spoon over pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan- and you're eating in no time! Sunday is usually my day to cook a little fancier than normal- but not today! Sorry about a less than exciting photo- those are the left-overs going out the door with my son... I'm planning on taking a few days off around Labor day- plan to stay at our place up north and take day trips out of there as a base! Remember to take pictures, Buf!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

1st Year Head Coach A Tee-Ball League Remembrance..

As most of you know by now, I have two sons. I grew up playing sports with neither of my parents ever seeing me play until I was probably 15... Dad worked evenings, and my Mom didn't drive, so I was on my own when it came to playing baseball! I swore my boys would have alot more parental support than I ever got. They were in baseball, swimming, basketball, football, scouting, karate- literally anything they wanted to try, we went!
The first year my youngest played tee ball, we found out we had missed the sign-up deadline... I got a call from the league president, letting me know that about 14 kids had missed sign-up- enough to make a team! Would I coach these kids? Sure! I will mold them into fine ball players! Now remember, an entire team made up of kids that couldn't remember to sign up... and had parents that weren't much sharper... Some of these kids had never even played "catch"! We were so bad, we were "mercy" ruled at least 6 games! It was the last game of the season, finally playing a team I was pretty sure we could beat. Last inning, we're ahead by two runs, but they have the bases loaded, with 2 out.. In tee ball, this is actually a good thing- it meant a kid could touch or throw to any base for the last out! Kid hits it to right field, it rolls past A.J. the right fielder who has his glove off, sitting on the ground digging a hole with a stick- oblivious to the game he is in... The majority of the team deserts the infield to all chase the ball.. I'm yelling for them to stop, but they're all too busy racing each other to see who can get there first! The opposing team is running the bases unhindered...We lose by two runs to the grand slam the kid got out of this fiasco. By now, I had put a batting helmet on and was banging my head into the backstop pole.... Our season ended 0-10, with the neighborhood talking about the A's for years to come.. "Don't miss sign-up" they would say... otherwise you'll have to play on the A's...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hot, Humid Day... Simple Food Today..

An 84F day may not be hot to alot of you out there, but coupled with high humidity and no breeze in Michigan- that's warm! I baked some blueberry muffins early, with the exhaust fan on over the stove. The cob corn will be simmered for about 7 minutes, and the boneless rib-eye steaks will be done outside on the grill. I am toying with using my new propane grill, but struggle with giving up the flavor of charcoal grilling today! Charcoal wins! It almost always does... Sorry I only have a picture of the muffins, my son was on break from work and we got a little rushed!
Yesterday, we took a ride up north, and gambled a little- lost some, but it wasn't too brutal.. Packed a wrap and a beverage to snarf on the way home. We saw a mom turkey with little ones crossing the road- yes, they made it! Also saw a mom partridge do the same thing 10 miles later! To clarify- they were Ruffled Grouse- we call them "Pats"! That was an unusual sight around here.. Summer traffic has been lighter- gas prices have changed alot of plans for folks..
A phenomenon that has become more widespread than you might think is house buying/owning people renting out rooms. Not landlords, or rental property people- normal people who need extra money to hang on to their house. We know 4 people, including my son, who have renters in their house! This economy has made strange bedfellows quickly! People do what they have to to survive.. I approve.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Experiencing Life- Today's Mini-Meme..

Once, when I was in high school (and into Junior College!) I worked part time at a rest home. As it was one of my first jobs, which I took pretty seriously, I wanted to be the best I could be. I really have respected my elders, when they told their stories.. It showed me the window of Life that was yet to come.... Didn't believe it could happen to me, but I am seeing signs.. When you're young, you think you get older like the people in the Poligrip ads; grey hair, perfect fake teeth that can eat corn on the cob, trim, all the Equipment working like when you were 20, very few wrinkles, still have all your buttons, etc... Well, it ain't! You don't "look" older- you get older!
Todays' question: No matter how old you may be right now, what do you miss about when you were younger?
Me first, as is the tradition!
I miss playing baseball.. The hot summer day, the milkweed in your teeth- waiting for someone to hit it to center field. The times I got to pitch (I'm a Lefty, and got to pitch alot!) The ice cream cone from Dairy Queen the coach would buy (win or lose!) after the game... And later in life playing slow-pitch softball for a heckofa good team... and later than that coaching my sons and other kids in tee-ball, coach-pitch Little League, buying them treats and hats from our own pockets.. because these fathers believed our kids should know how it works.. I wasn't the only guy that thought : We are teaching them more than a game, we are teaching them honor, respect, tradition- human traits that are important in living your life..
Field of Dreams" is a movie I would watch anytime- anywhere..
Anything you miss, but don't regret is the rule today! Think, remember- and have fun with this today!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Alone Left-overs...

Tonight, when I came home from work, my wife was gone to her class.. Leftovers were threatening to take over the fridge, and I had no one to feed but myself! Sunday, I broiled about 2-1/2 lbs of my seasoned chicken tenders- knowing about 1/2 of them were going to be turned into chicken salad. I like chicken salad sandwiches,or on lettuce as a salad, or packed into a cantalope, or in a tortilla wrap! As I had to please no one but myself, I made a wrap! Heated the flour tortilla until soft, spread a little extra mayo, splashed a dab of hot sauce on it, put down shredded lettuce, piled in the chicken salad (cooked cubed chix, two hard boiled eggs, choppped, celery, onion, mayo, mustard, and Mrs. Dash!). Folded it over and ate the heck out of it! When you are eating alone, it can get pretty elemental, no side dish, or table settings... just a good bite to eat! I have to say, it actually was pretty good!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kind of a Chicken Parmesan...

One of the great quotes you will ever use: "Learn to use what you have got, and you'll not miss what you have not".... Ben Franklin? Nope. Will Rogers? Wrong again... Underdog, the superhuman cartoon canine with the immortal voice of Wally Cox? Bingo! I've learned good cooks can innovate, when all the perfect ingredients are not available. I had chicken tenders, an extra box of dried spaghetti, some frozen designer pizza sauce I make, a jar of Neumans Spaghetti sauce, alot of spices, mushrooms, and some leftover Parmesan cheese. This is what happened (see photo). With Italian bread (sprinkled heavily with that shredded Parmesan)!, and carrot cake- we had a feast! Imagination is what sets us apart from the other beasts on this planet- please use yours everyday!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Pot Roast in August... Who'da Thunk...

After the BB-Q Cook-off, I seem to lose all momentum for cooking...imagine that! I'm retyping an entire post as something wiped me clean when going to post it...Bastards! I type slow, and I hate doing anything that requires effort twice...
Pot Roast in August- odd, but it sounded good to me today! I have evolved a no fail recipe which someday, I hope you'll try!
1 Chuck roast 2-1/2 to 4 lbs.
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 packet of brown dry gravy mix
salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder- to your taste
Wrap completely in aluminum foil- no leaks allowed!
Roast in oven at 300F for 3-1/2 hrs., or slow cooker on low for 8hrs.
I used the crock pot, to avoid heating up the house in August! You will be rewarded with a moist, tender pot roast, in a ready to serve gravy.
Car issues today... buying company car, and getting BOB (Big Old Buick) a checkup! The Buick is a 1995 Roadmaster worth keeping... It has an LZ 350 fuel injected V-8, with dual exausts... Still can haul butt, and for an old girl, still looks pretty good! Enjoy your week-ends!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Never Give Up, No Matter What..

I had a hard day today, just like all of you do... Fight back! Don't take crap just because it's free that day... You have a worth, I have seen it repeatedly.. Know your worth- it is the best advice I will ever give you... There are people that will take advanage of you at every turn, if you let them! Don't! You are smart, and don't you ever let them forget it.. Bad Day Buff-( Hair wasn't good either...)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Simple Day, Simple Day Food ...

Chicken Tenders, marinated in an Oriental sauce, grilled. Sourdough bread, buttered. Fresh corn, simmered. Brownies for dessert. Not fancy, not bad!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Mini-Meme Time! Two Simple Questions...

These Minis have become a great way for me to know you better, and for you to get to say something you've wanted to say- but nobody asked...
1. How do you see Life? (Here for a reason, Natures' plan, Don't know, etc.)
2. How do see Death? (Going somewhere? Nowhere? Don't know?)..
This could get heavy, but say what's on your mind.. I'm going to!
1. Life is the Eternal struggle, to live, to survive... I think that is Natures' Plan...Survival of the Species.. It is indeed a genetic pattern we adhere to.
2. Death. No one comes back. Must be a pretty good step up for us! That is, if you believe in an afterlife of some sort..
Let's hear your answers! Oh and by the way, I love life, but am- in no way, afaid to die...