Monday, August 25, 2008

The Big Dinner Party + Recipe

Had ten for dinner last night. Geeze o' pete, serving that many people is a lot of work.

Last time we'd had some of them for dinner, I'd cooked a rib roast, so I couldn't do that again. It's too hot in August to make lasagne even if that does serve a lot of people. Ooh, I had a brilliant idea, shrimp creole! There's one in the group who is a picky eater, though, so I figured I'd better run it by her first.

Dang! She shot it down.

I finally decided on Halibut Florentine.

Of course the grocery store was fresh out of halibut.

The final menu:

Antipasto (Smith's Food has an excellent antipasto bar)
Shrimp and cocktail sauce

Green salad (provided by the picky eater)
Tilapia Florentine (about 1/3 the price of halibut)
Vidalia onion casserole
Corn, black bean and tomato salad
Le Brea rolls in assorted types

Chocolate cheesecake (one of my specialties)

Dinner was a huge success, not a morsel of tilapia was left, the onion casserole got raves and the cheesecake was devoured.

I do like to feed people.

And here is the promised recipe:

Vidalia Onion Casserole
5 large onions
1/2 stick margarine
3 tablespoons water
Parmesan cheese
Crispy buttery crackers (Ritz)
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Peel and slice onions into rings. Saute in margarine and water until opaque. Pour half of onions into a 9" x 13" casserole dish; sprinkle half of almonds over onions; cover with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with crushed crackers. Repeat in layers. Bake uncovered in a 325-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Arrr, Matey!

I went to the eye doctor yesterday -- first time in eight years. Mostly I went because my right eyelid has never fully recovered from last Thanksgiving's disaster. but also because I'm not seeing as well as I think I should. Previous summers I've been able to see the hummingbirds sitting in the trees, but this year I have to hear them flying to spot them in motion. They disappear again once they're sitting still.

The eye doctor said the eyelid looked to him like an allergic reaction. I asked why the right eye and not the left? Neither one of them goes out without the other or does anything alone, after all.

We did the standard question and answer drill: has anything changed, do you do this? do you do that? you have cats - do they sleep on your head? (His name is Dr. Katz, so I guess he has a certain understanding of felines.)

He finally decided it was a mystery and prescribed me some eye cream and, because the eyelid seems to be crustier and oozier in the morning (he didn't seem to think "I'm not a morning person" was a reason for that), he prescribed an eye patch to be worn over the right eye at night.

"An eye patch," I said, "Can I have one with a skull and crossbones?"

He gave me a totally blank look.

"Arrrr, Matey!"

He shook his head like I was some kind of a nut case and said, "Not that kind of an eye patch."

Geeze, has the man no sense of humor?

Anyway, here's my eye patch. He's right, it's not a pirate patch.
It's more of an athletic cup for my eye. I have to stick it on with a piece of tape running from over my eyebrow down to my cheekbone.

I can't help it, whenever the Engineer looks at me when I have it on I say, "I am Borg, you will be assimilated."

Maybe I am a nut case.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dem Bones

You ladies are too smart for me.

Step into the den of scattered bones and learn the truth...

It's an elk skull.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mystery Image

What do you think it is?

Does a Guy Wizz In the Woods?

Remember the old "well, duh" saying, "Does a bear shit in the woods?" To that I'm afraid I must add, "Does a guy wizz in the woods?"

What is it about males? Where does their pride in grossness come from? Is it inborn or is it carefully nurtured in each succeeding generation by their fathers, uncles and big brothers?

I am just home from five days in a cabin in the woods with the Engineer and the Twin. Each and every day after returning from fishing they described in excruciating detail how they caught each fish. No description was complete without a full inventory of what they'd done with their bandanas. I won't get too detailed here, but suffice it to say boogers, worm guts, fish guts and the wiping of sweating brows feature prominently. (No wonder they come home smelling like they do!) Then they threaten to use their bandanas as hot pads for moving cooking pans.

The bathing facility at the cabin is either an antique claw foot tub in the cabin, the creek or an outdoor shower. The shower is a blue plastic barrel on the hillside above a plywood shower stall. It is filled by a hose from the cabin first thing in the morning. The water warms in the barrel during the day, then flows downhill through a black plastic pipe for additional solar heating before coming out of two sprinkler heads affixed to a board tacked between two of the dead trees the shower walls are nailed to. Most years the shower floor has been trampled grass and mud. The guys love to describe the goo squishing up between their toes and scraping their feet off to reinsert them into their shoes. This year I brought along a plastic floor mat to keep their feet relatively mud free so that I wouldn't have to sleep with old crusty toes.

The cabin does have a quite decent bathroom, complete with water heater, tub, sink and toilet. The toilet actually flushes, though the tank needs to be filled with a bucket filled at the bath tub spout.

Do the males use the toilet?

Only if they can brag about how aromatic they've left it when they're through.

Otherwise, they "go for a walk." Doesn't matter what time it is, first thing in the morning, midday or if they wake up in the middle of the night, if they've got to pee, they head for their favorite tree. One claim which caused great hilarity was that one of the brothers, when waking in the night, didn't bother with the tree, he just peed off the back deck. Is it true? I'd rather not know.

Do boys of any age love to gross out the girls?

Does a guy wizz in the woods?


in my bushes...

Monday, August 18, 2008

You Know You're Home When...

you wake up and open your eyes to see two blissful beautiful big blue eyes gazing at your face from six inches away.

Sachi was curled cosily in the curve of my body and had her head pillowed on my upper arm. When she saw I was awake, she snuggled her face on my arm and began purring loudly.

Happiness is a warm kitty.
(With apologies to Charles Schultz)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cats Carouse

We are leaving before dawn Tuesday morning for a week at the cabin. This, of course, guarantees that I will be grumpy. I do not do mornings.

The cats are not happy that we are leaving them to fend for themselves for a week. True, Brandi is a very nice kitty sitter, she knows how to fill a food dish, but it just isn't the same as having the regular slaves around.

Kitsu staged a farewell hooh-hah for us.

There was a plastic grocery bag filled with cans and small boxes to recycle sitting on the floor next the back door. Usually the cats totally ignore such things, but tonight, Kitsu decided to investigate. I was in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies for the cabin when I heard her rustling the bag.

"Kitsu, leave that alone!"

She must have jerked her head when it was stuck through one of the handles and suddenly realized that it had her around the neck.

Kitsu bolted from the kitchen like a fuzzy orange meteor, the bag bouncing against her ribs and legs, clattering and clanking. I took off after her calling, "Kitsu! Come here baby, I'll save you!"

Sachi heard the excitement and came bounding into the dining room to see what was going on as Kitsu sprinted into the living room, shedding cans and boxes in her wake. The rapidly emptying bag flapped like an angry ghost at Kitsu's flank, the remaining beer can thwacking against the walls and floor. Sachi leaped and twirled in joy as we chased Kitsu through the house.

With a loud crash, the final beer can came free of the bag and Kitsu teleported. That's the only explanation. She simply disappeared into thin air.

Sachi continued to bounce off the walls, a wild look of ecstasy on her face.

"Kitsu, Kitsu, where are you?" I called, visions of my cat strangled by a plastic sack dancing in my head.

"Did she come down here," I asked the Engineer, who was in his basement office.


He hadn't heard any of the ruckus. I think the man is deaf in addition to having the sensitivity of a brick.

We both looked through the house without success until, finally, Kitsu appeared for a moment to glare at us and flip us the tail. There was no bag around her neck. That we found under the old spool bed.

I think, perhaps, Kitsu will no longer be sorry to see us go...

P.S. Back in a week.

Packing For the Cabin

Once a year, the family heads up to the wilds of the Idaho Sawtooth Mountains. The Engineer and the Twin spend their days clambering up and down cliffs, catching trout and drinking beer. By the end of the week they look - and smell - totally disreputable.

They have a nasty habit of tucking their fish into their pockets when they climb back up the cliffs. I can understand that it leaves their hands free for climbing, but I'm the one who gets to do the laundry afterwards. Until the fishing duds make their third trip through the washer, I breath in shallow gasps through my mouth as I handle them. Disinfecting my hands afterwards seems like a wise precaution.

Most years I ramble around in the woods surrounding the cabin, taking pictures and catching little trout in the creek that runs by the cabin. (I do not put trout into my pockets.) Ain't gunna happen this year, though. A bad case of tendonitis in my left Achilles tendon has me waddling like a drunken goose and leaves me with no desire to wander through the woods and streams. I think I will end up sleeping an embarrassing amount.

When I'm not asleep, I have three library books and one hardcover book I actually bought (it was on sale.) I've also packed some yarn and needles. I plan to knit a couple of dish cloths to leave at the cabin as thank you tokens and to work on Christmas knitting.

Sure seems like a waste of wilderness and water

Friday, August 8, 2008

First Tomatoes

It's been a late year because of a long, cool spring, but the first of the Sun Sugars are finally ready.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The BuzzyBirds

I love hummingbirds. We have flocks of them at the feeder this summer. It's not unusual for three of them to be jousting for feeder privileges at the same time. Kitsu wants to catch them. So does Sachi. Thank goodness they're faster than a speeding bullet.
I've got to set up the big camera on the tripod and get some good hummer pictures...

Friday, August 1, 2008


A good friend's birthday was Saturday. Her sister died in a bike crash Saturday afternoon. It's doubly hard for my friend, because her mother died when she was a freshman in college, so she dropped out and came home to raise her younger siblings. She's been a loving sister/mother hybrid to them for half of her life.

I wish I could help, but I know her sister's loss is a hole nothing can fill.

It's frightening how ephemeral life is.

Never neglect to tell the people you love how you feel. It makes them happy, and it can give you some comfort to know that they knew.

Remember always how lucky you were to have known them; how lucky you both were to have had the loving relationship.