Saturday, June 29, 2013

Moving Daze

Living room, left; office, right.
Day One: Who was the idiot that said this was going to be an easy move? I don't know but I'll deny it.

Tuesday, the furniture people came to pick up our rented furniture at our Portland-area condo. The owner of this unit is, unfortunately, separating from his wife and the condo, among other things, is collateral damage. (She gets the condo; he gets the house.)

Living room, right,; office, left, obscured by boxes.
Since the condo is only 515 square feet, and we had only been there a year, and we didn't own any of the furniture, I figured we'd  need about six boxes to move everything else.

We moved one carload to storage (our new place won't be ready for a couple weeks) and moved into a hotel for the remainder of the week.

Day Two: With the furniture gone, I figured it would be a quick process to pack up the two closets, the bathroom, and the kitchen. So I got to work. We took another two carloads to storage but I was surprised that in only a year I had accumulated enough stuff to have to throw unwanted things away. Which, of course, makes me wonder why one accumulates unwanted stuff in the first place.

We also moved my office to a temporary, undisclosed location

Day Three: I originally planned to keep my office open through the week but moving it a day early allowed me to clean the place up. We took our fourth carload to storage.

Looks spacious, no?

Storage, and "undisclosed location."
It doesn't look like much, right? The whole move should have taken 15 minutes, not three days. I told you - six boxes. What could take three days?

I don't know but we're only at the halfway mark. In a couple weeks, if everything goes to plan, we have to do the same thing in reverse. Clean, move and unpack boxes, get rental furniture.

In the meantime, it's business as usual. As if I had any idea what that means.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My Stepson Called Me a Witch

Of course, he meant that in the nicest way possible. He was telling a friend's son that I could fly on my broom and that he had flown with me. The son didn't believe it, so my stepson called me so I could confirm the story.

I told the son it was true but it had been a long time since I'd flown. My stepson was around four years old at the time and we lived in a ground floor apartment. I don't remember why I told my young stepson that I could fly on my broom but he, too, was doubtful. So, I told him I would take him for a ride.

I have to tell you, I would do anything for my stepson (and, now, my grandson) no matter how foolish. In fact, just this last Father's Day, my grandson wanted to walk around the neighborhood to pick flowers for his dad. But, first, he had to dress me. He put a blue knit hat and a red apron on me and off we went, down the street, looking for flowers to pick. Each time he picked one, he would hand it to me to put in the apron's pocket. By the time we were done, I was not only wearing a blue cap and a red apron, but I had a bunch of flowers sticking out of the pocket that was in the middle of my belly.

I told my stepson, those many years ago, to straddle the broom handle behind me and to hold onto me. We had to get some speed up to make it fly so we took off running down the sidewalk in front of our apartment building with the broom between our legs, trying to get enough speed for liftoff.

At this point, I might mention that directly across the street was a mall except that it didn't really matter that we looked ridiculous. When we reached the end of the sidewalk, we tried again running in the other direction, every once in a while giving a little hop in an attempt to launch ourselves into space.

I told all of this to my stepson's friend's son. I corroborated everything my stepson had told the boy. My stepson was happy to remember our flight together.

And, the son? I have no idea what he thought as he drifted away from the other end of the phone line. But next time I see him, I'll be sure to bring my broom.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dream On

You know what would make baby showers way more fun? Alcohol.

Because baby showers are a drag. You're invited to someone's house - someone you've never met before - to hang around with a bunch of other women you've never met before to play infantile games and ooh and aah over tiny little clothes.

If you've been to one, you've been to them all. Really, I'll just mail you a check and wish you good luck. But I'll have the good taste to pick out a pink or blue greeting card as appropriate to the gender of the coming bundle of joy.

What about the guys? Where are they on baby celebration day? How do they get out of doing this? I mean, really, in this whole baby business the guys really have it easy.

The best baby shower would have guys. And alcohol. Because, you know what? The guys tell different baby stories. They don't talk about how many hours of labor it took or how much the baby weighed. They say things like, "Thank God, we didn't have another girl."

And, they should give out prizes at baby showers. I mean, if you have to play those silly games there should be some incentive. For example, if the prize was something interesting - say, a gift card to Starbucks or something - then GAME ON! I will either win that prize or steal it from whoever does, not that I'm competitive or anything when it comes to coffee. I will guess the baby's future IQ for a cup of coffee.

And food. Lots of really good food. So much food that all our bellies protrude like the mother-to-be's. And wouldn't it be nice if everyone at the shower knew each other and was really fun to be around? And the hostess (and host in this scenario) were really generous people that shared their home with such an unruly mob as one that would openly party in front of a pregnant woman?

Might as well party. The party will be over soon enough.

Yes, that would be the perfect baby shower. I dreamed last night I was at one just like that. It seemed so real. And you were in it.

I even dreamed up some names for the baby. Shorty and Slim.

Well, it must have been a dream. Or, it was the best baby shower ever.


When you split your time between the East Coast and the West Coast, you can call yourself “bicoastal.” What about when you’re splitting your time between two cities, like Jeff, who splits his time between New York City and Boston?
Grammar Girl : Are You Interurban?
Personally, I like "unicoastal nomad."

Friday, June 21, 2013


Some friends of ours caught a salmon yesterday morning and gave us half of it. It doesn't get fresher than that. Out of the Columbia River and into my frying pan.

I cooked it in bacon grease.


Okay, before you get all crazy, I made a potato salad of sorts to go with the fish as a side dish and the potato salad called for bacon in the recipe. So, of course, I made some. My plan was to pan fry the fish anyway, my oven being used for the potatoes and I having no grill. Why not cook it in the rendered bacon fat?

Why not, indeed? Does not bacon make everything better?

I can answer categorically, Yes!

It was, in a word, delicious. A tasty, bacony, crust seared onto the flesh of my freshly caught treasure. I cooked it all knowing full well there would be leftovers of both fish and salad. The two will be combined for dinner tonight as a salmon and potato salad.

With Life of Pi on the side.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Accountants are Sexy

Accountant Wins Miss USA Contest

She also probably could have told the pageant judges something about the depreciation of fixed assets, if only they had asked. 
Yes, if only.

Accounting Today

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Just Like Camping Only Different

We drove in two cars to Eastern Washington, the boys in one car and the girls in the other. There was a video playing in the boys' car to entertain the four-year-old and the girls' car had to make two stops to change the diaper and refill the bottle for the baby. The drive took longer than planned but we got there with nearly all our nerves intact.

Released, the kids dissipated into the atmosphere, one racing around the yard and the other being passed from one family memeber to the other. (You can figure out which was which.) Hugs all around, we hauled food, drinks, clothes, toys, and the diaper bag into the house and staked a corner for ourselves.

The 1,200 square foot house hosted ten people that night. Technically, there were two bathrooms but one was in the master bedroom so effectively there was only one bathroom for all the guests to share. There were another five people staying in a trailer across the street, and two more that got a hotel room. (The two in the hotel room probably had the right idea.)

We ate well all weekend, grazing frequently on everything from Cheetos to fresh picked cherries whether we were truly hungry or not. We sat in a row of rocking chairs on the covered front porch, and we slept wherever we found an empty bed or couch.

By the time we left we were well sated. And ready for a proper shower.

There's only so many times a person wants to hear the audio from Prep and Landing coming from the back seat of a car, so I'm told. Five hours later, we were at the rendezvous point to return the kiddies to their rightful owner. An hour later, we were home.

A nanosecond after that, I was taking a long, hot shower.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day

We have the grandkids this weekend. They spent the night last night at our house and today, we're driving to Coulee City. Mark is working there on a wheat farm for a couple weeks and we thought we'd bring the kids to see him for Father's Day. Hubby's dad will be there too, some other dads. There will be big cookout, good weather, and family gathering mayhem.

But there won't be internet service *gasp* or even cell service *faint*. (It's been a while since we've been there so may Sprint has improved its coverage area since then.)

So, this is my Father's Day post.

Remember that video of me singing "Crazy" by Patsy Cline. I was wearing a cowboy hat. Well, my brother just recently saw this and responded by writing lyrics of his own. I thought they would make the perfect Father's Day post:

Lazy, I'm lazy with no reason to be.
I'm lazy, lazy with things I should do.
I knew
this list would make me fell daunted.
But then tomorrow
I will be totally screwed.
Hurry, why wont I let myself hurry?
Thinking, maybe I'm getting the flu.
Lazy, maybe that was too much junk food
I'm lazy and buying, these things I'm not trying,
there's just too much stuff here to do.

You'll be first to know if we produce a video.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Good Eats

The Grilled Chicken Salad on Tuesday was very good although I wouldn't marinate the chicken that way again. It didn't add that much flavor to the chicken and was more trouble than it was worth, causing the chicken to stick to the grill and making turning the chicken difficult. Any grilled, or pre-cooked, chicken will do as all the flavor is in the dressing. (I might try rubbing the chicken with garlic, ginger, and olive oil rather than trying to marinate it in a yogurt dressing next time.) I used a cup and a half of raisins instead of grapes, soaking them in warm water for about 10-15 minutes. This recipe will go into my "boat recipes" file because it can easily be made ahead of time and can be used as a side salad or served on top of a bed of lettuce for a main meal which how we ate it. Plus, it makes enough to enjoy more than once.

Wednesday's Mediterranean Supper Omelet was marvelous although I made several modifications to the recipe. I got olives from the "olive bar" at the local grocery where I could buy only the amount I needed rather than a whole jar of something. Unfortunately, there were very few green olives left in the tub and some of them looked a little past their prime. I also purchased some tapenade to be used as an appetizer along the way and as a possible backup to the somewhat sketchy green olives. I couldn't find crumbled goat cheese Provencal so I just used plain crumbled goat cheese and that worked out fine.

The green olives were very salty. So salty, there was no olive taste. I chopped them up anyway but didn't dare use more than the quarter cup the recipe called for. We had eaten some of the  tapenade earlier in the week but I tossed what remained into the mix. I also had two cooked sausages leftover from an earlier breakfast so I chopped them up and tossed them in as well.

Once the filling was mixed, Hubby was in charge of the eggs. He was extremely patient and took nearly a half hour to get the eggs to set before we added the filling. I am not nearly that patient and would have either scrambled the whole mess or made a frittata by popping it in the oven to bake the upside. But it was worth the wait. It came out picture perfect.

Picture, perfect.
We had some hash browns leftover from the weekend and served those on the side. We shared this, by the way, and it was very filling.

I switched things up last night and made the Orzo Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing instead of the Rösti Casserole with Baked Eggs which I will make tonight.  I didn't deviate from the recipe this time, except that I made my own buttermilk. This vegetarian dish will also go into my "boat" folder. This one took a lot of time only because it has lots of ingredients to clean and chop. I always get my ingredients ready to go before I start but one time saver would have been to make the dressing while the orzo was boiling. The only thing I might add to this dish might be raisins (again, soaked beforehand) as a little sweetness against the spices but it was fine without them. We at this for dinner and it was plenty with plenty leftover.

I might have used the Kindle Fire in the kitchen to display last night's recipe while I was cooking but I didn't think of it until this morning. As it was, I had the recipe on my second monitor in my office which is really a makeshift setup atop the dining table just outside the kitchen door. I went back and forth between kitchen and "office" as I made my way through the instructions. Hardly convenient.

Here, again, my phone would have been more convenient as this kitchen is so small that it cannot afford to give up any counter space when more than five ingredients are involved in preparing dinner. I might have managed with the phone. Better still would have been paper which I could have hung from the magnetic closures on my cabinet doors.

Tonight, I'll make the Rösti Casserole with Baked Eggs which I've made before and may have already mentioned here.

Meanwhile, the Kindle and I are still struggling to find common ground.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Does anyone have a Kindle Fire HD and like it? Please tell me why.

I just got one yesterday to replace the one I lost on a recent trip. The one I lost was the original version. It didn't do anything but read. It had very few buttons and the ones that were there were simply for navigation. They were easy to locate and use. You could enter text but the device wasn't designed to be used for that. All it did was provide delivery of digital reading content. That's it. It was lightweight, fit in my pocket, and could be read anywhere one could read a paper book. And, with another internet device, I could go to the library in my bathrobe.

I'm less than 24 hours into my experience with the new Fire and I want to send it back.

Out of the box, the Fire was heavy and I couldn't find the ON button. Once on, and an internet connection was made, I was presented with my home screen which was a carousel of books I've already purchased or am currently reading. (Currently, I'm reading Life of Pi quite comfortably on my phone.)

Presumably, no one gets a Fire without wanting video content so I spent very little time with the books that were on my new device and sought out video. I connected to and found $79 worth of nothing. With my Fire, I also purchased Amazon Prime which allows me to watch thousands of videos for free with my $79 subscription. Now, it's possible they have something I want to watch but it wasn't readily apparent.

Hulu's TV content is at least more current but to watch it on a mobile device you have to subscribe to Hulu Plus for $8/month. While I've watched Hulu on my laptop before, I wouldn't pay for the upgrade to watch it on a mobile device. Not when I'm paying such a fortune to my cable provider. If I cut that cord, then I would think about it.

Instead of watching a movie on my Kindle last night, I went to the local RedBox instead. For about a dollar.

I've been drooling for a tablet but to be honest I'm not sure why. Whatever the reason, I don't think the Fire is what I'm looking for. My phone is an Android device and my kool aid of choice is Google. While I'm sure the Fire will allow me to log onto my Google Drive, it doesn't provide any more convenience than my phone. For example, I don't think I would use the Fire for my grocery list. An Android tablet device would presumably give me an experience that is a blend between my phone and my laptop, just a sexy toy that hopefully combines the versatility of my computer with the mobility of my phone. With that expectation, the Fire just doesn't cut it.

Prime also gets me free shipping from Amazon which guarantees that I will buy absolutely everything in the future from Amazon, speaking of kool aid. But for my money, I'd rather have a new espresso machine.

I've been good, Santa. Must I wait another six months?
You know what this machine does? Exactly what I want it to do. It freaking brews espresso. And I really want a new espresso maker for our Portland-area apartment. The one I have may meet with the same end as my Kindle Fire.

See? If the Kindle Fire could make a good cup of coffee we'd be having an entirely different conversation here. 

Or, find my socks. It's laundry day.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Results, Day One

Last night's dinner turned out pretty good but the real star of the show was the Key Lime Pie. I used a pre-made crust but used fresh lime juice and made my own whipped cream. And, I learned a convenient little trick.

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styilst: Cindy Barr

Have you ever made a cream pie and not known how to cover it? I used to stick toothpicks in the top of the pie and then drape plastic wrap over the top so the plastic wrap wouldn't stick to the pie. But lo! You can use the plastic top of your pre-made pie crust. Wash the plastic top, un-crimp the foil around the edge of the pie, invert the top over the pie, re-crimp foil to seal.

Was I the only one who didn't already know this?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Feeling Energetic

A weekend that isn't fully scheduled usually leads to cooking. This is my menu plan for the week including links to recipes.
Sat - Grilled chicken and asparagus
Sun - Grilled Chicken Salad
Mon - Mediterranean Supper omelet
Tue - leftover chicken (travel)
Wed - Rösti Casserole with Baked Eggs
Thu - Orzo Salad
Fri - leftover pizza (travel)
Sat - Burgers and Potato Salad
I think I'll make a Key Lime Pie today, too.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fourth of July Forecast

Forecast for Fourth of July
If this is the forecast, you can pretty much count on rain.

How to Make Chicken and Snap Pea Stir Fry without Chicken or Snap Peas

First, select a recipe for which you have none of the ingredients. I selected Spicy Orange Chicken Stir Fry from This website has a weekly meal planner series called Dinner Rush which is a great resource when you need to come up with an answer to "What's for dinner?" (I also like's monthly meal planner. June's calender serves up daily salad recipes.)

Photo By: Elinor Carucci
Next, take stock of what you have and what you need. I had some of the ingredients but lacked the main ingredients, namely chicken and snap peas. I had a package of peas in the freezer but I had some English cucumber leftover from the previous night's meal. So I headed for the store to get some chicken for my renamed Spicy Orange Chicken and English Cucumber Stir Fry.

Easy enough, I thought.

I like to buy baked chicken from the deli because I don't know how to bake one myself. How hard could it be, to bake a chicken? Turn on oven, insert chicken, bake. It seems to take an inordinate amount of time and I always under-cook it. For five dollars, I can buy a whole baked chicken and someone else did all the work.

Usually, I will buy a whole baked chicken and cut it into its major parts, using what I need for a particular recipe and saving the rest for future meals. If I'm really energetic, I'll boil the bones and skin for stock. But such was not the case this night. I only wanted to buy a breast.

The deli only had fried, not baked, chicken parts so I sought out a whole one. The store was temporarily out of whole baked chickens so I headed for the meat case. (I was stir frying, not baking - I could manage to cook a breast in a skillet.)

The meat case had rows upon rows of chicken skewers but not a single chicken breast. I finally headed to the packaged meats in search of a single breast. I knew I wouldn't find it but I was only cooking for two so I was looking for the smallest package size available. I found one clever package that contained three separate pouches of chicken breasts so that you could open one and leave the other two pouches intact. The pouches either contained two breasts each or those breasts were enormous. In either case, even one pouch of the questionable chicken was too much for this meal.

Having completely struck out, I headed for the fish counter. I should have considered chicken thighs but I was so confounded by not being able to by a chicken breast that I didn't even think of it. How is it possible to walk into a major grocery chain store and not be able to buy "one of the most used meats in the world"?

Sea scallops struck my fancy so I purchased six of the mollusks and headed home to whisk together my Sea Scallop and English Cucumber Stir Fry. I purchased fresh Valencia oranges instead of the juice and I had leftover parsley and nuts at home.

Finally, we sat down to a delicious meal well worth the trouble: Spicy Valencia Sea Scallop and English Cucumber Stir Fry with Cashews and Parsley.

Next: How to Make Hamburgers without Ground Beef

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Than Medium

We went out for Thai food recently and upon placing our order the waiter asked how spicy we wanted our dish. He said we could choose between 1 and 5, with three being medium.

I like my food just a little past medium so I said I would like it 3.14159.


For or against?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Car prowler steals sex toys

Car prowler steals sex toys

"It broke my heart," said Haleigh Kirby, the bride-to-be, about the theft. "Chelsey's worked so hard for so long on all this, and she's done a really good job, and it's just sad to see someone come and take all that away like that. I don't even know what they could use it for."