Sunday, November 23, 2014

Internet Issues and Turkey Chowder

I don't know if I will be able to finish this post. . . and if I do, I don't know if it will post!

I'm having internet connection problems that have caused me no end in grief.  A frontier serviceman came out one day this week to see if the problem could be resolved from the outside.  He made minor progress but wanted to come inside my house to check the wires there.  Of course I was at work.  The problem continues so I have made arrangements for them to come back on Wednesday when I will be home. . . not sure my sanity will hold out that long.  Remember the old dial up system when the internet first became a household name?  Well, that is similar to what I am experiencing.  Most of the time I can get into the internet, but it is painfully slow.  And then I intermittently get the pop up box that says I am not connected to the internet.

Many have e-mailed (yeah, the e-mail is slow too!) to ask if I had as much snow as Buffalo.  Thankfully, NO!!!  Although Buffalo is an hour down the New York State Thruway from me, they got the historic amount of snow and Rochester got a few inches!

Yesterday I cooked my Thanksgiving turkey, fresh from my farmer.  I'm having Thanksgiving dinner with Michael and Marisa and she already had her turkey.  No problem, I actually like my "leftover turkey" recipes as much as I enjoy a turkey dinner right out of the oven.

Today I am making my prized Turkey Chowder.  Oh!  It is delicious and I've been making it for 25 years or more.  Here is the recipe:

2 cups cubed potatoes
1 10 oz. pkg frozen lima beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups water
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 16 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

In a large pot, combine potatoes, lima beans, onion, celery, and salt.  Blend water with the soup and add to vegetables in the pot.  Cook, covered for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Add undrained tomatoes, turkey, and seasonings.  Simmer 15 minutes.  In each serving bowl, sprinkle cheddar over the soup.

Makes about 8 servings and it freezes well.

Now. . . if I press the publish button and this doesn't go through the internet to your computer, you'll know what that loud scream you heard was all about!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Proud day for a supervisor

Anyone who has ever supervised employees at work will tell you it can be gut wrenching and the cause of many sleepless nights.  I know that all too well.

But today there was a ray of sunshine. . . a BIG ray of sunshine.  As part of a project to promote team building and employee morale in our Division, I formed a small committee to brain storm ways to go about it.  A couple of weeks back, we came up with the idea of a newsletter, among other things.  Vanessa was very enthusiastic about it and wanted to take on the project.  I gave her total freedom in design and content.  I said, "Just do it."

She went about soliciting content from employees.  We wanted it to be non-work related content.  It was intended to get to know co-workers as individuals and not just the person you work with everyday.

A few people submitted pictures of their young families or things they like to do in their spare time.  One person turned in a wonderful pumpkin crumble desert recipe.  There was a column on "What are you thankful for?" that generated wonderful and unique responses.

I was extremely impressed with her work in both content and design.  She did a fantastic job.  I was also pleased to see the number of employees who responded to her call for submissions.

But wait!  It gets better.  I forwarded the newsletter to our HR Administrator in Pediatrics.  She forwarded it on to other top ranking people in the Medical Center.  I soon got a call asking if it could be passed on to others. . . ABSOLUTELY! was my answer.

Yes, today I was proud to be a supervisor and see one of my reports do such a fine job.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New ways with veggies

Most of us are always on the lookout for new ideas in getting more vegetables in our diet.  I drink a lot of smoothies, I have a stir fry and sauce recipe that I make a lot and there is always the omelette that you can pile on the veggies.  But today when I was in Wegmans. . . what? you don't have a Wegmans near you?  Oh, you have my deepest sympathy. . . a lady was demonstrating and giving tastes of roasted vegetables.  Nothing could  be easier.  She had acorn squash sliced in half inch strips, bell peppers, cauliflower, and several other varieties.  You put all the cut up vegetables in a bowl and with your hands, coat them with a mixture of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Next spread them out on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for half an hour.  I was pleasantly surprised at how great this tasted.  Guess what I'm having for dinner tonight!  The purpose of her demonstration was to promote Wegman's pre-washed, pre-cut, and packaged veggies.  I passed on that and chose my own veggies from Wegman's phenomenal produce section.  I bought brussels sprouts, parsnips, cauliflower, acorn squash, and carrots.  You can use just about any combination you want.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Comfort Food

When summer winds down, there are leaves to rake, and there is a definite chill in the air, my thoughts turn to my favorite homemade soups and stews.  Today I made my bean and ham soup.  It is so good and very good for you.

Like a lot of things I make, I don't follow a "real" recipe.  But here is how I make it.

The night before or early on the day you want to make it, soak dried beans in water.  Choose a large variety of beans, the more the better!

I get wonderful soup bones from my farmer.  Unlike the ones you get in the grocery store, these have a lot of meat on them.  In a large pot, with about a gallon of water, bring a ham bone, large chunks of celery, carrots, and onion to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for several hours.  Toss in ground cloves, ground ginger, and salt.

Remove the soup bone and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Remove and discard the celery, onion, and carrots.  Place the soaked beans in the pot and turn up the heat on the burner.  Chop the meat off the bone and put that in the pot also.  Simmer another hour or two. . . this is NOT fast food!

Pour a large can of chopped tomatoes and a large can of tomato sauce into the pot.  Simmer another hour of so.  mm-mmmm good!

Optional ingredients include chopped celery and onions or pasta.

It freezes well.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween from Neonatology

Theresa and Vanessa show off their Halloween spirit!

The Department of Pediatrics at the hospital where I work goes all out for Halloween.  Children, who are able, parade down the decorated halls and receive treats from the staff.  Nurses follow along and collect treats for those children who are unable to participate.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Morgan's Agility Certificate

Morgan finished her beginner dog agility class tonight.  It was quite an experience for both of us!  And there were dogs of all sizes - and temperaments - in the class, from the little white dust mop that just loved Morgan, to a giant schnauzer and everything in between.  Her favorites were the tunnel and the tepee.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Morgan's new toys

Through the agility class Morgan and I are enrolled in, I found out about a website,, that has all kinds of toys you don't normally find in the pet shops.

In the top picture, there are treats inside the center cylinder.  As she rolls the toy, the treats fall out.  In the bottom picture, you see a ball.  It comes apart in three pieces, held together with velcro, with treats in the bottom.  

These aren't the best pictures, but, folks, have you ever tried to hit a moving target with a camera???

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It started out being fun. . .

This morning I took my new rifle, a Henry Big Boy .357, out to the range.  Today is a crisp, bright sunny fall day and it felt good to be outside.  This is a fun gun to shoot and I was even hitting the target from 50 ft out without a scope!  As I concentrated on hitting the target and experiencing the thrill of shooting this beautiful machine, the stress of work and the every day cares melted away.

Oops!  What happened?  Suddenly one of the .38 specials that I was shooting got jammed.  In all my years of shooting, I've never had a gun jam before.  When I saw I could not easily dislodge it, I packed it up, placed it in my trunk, and drove to Gander Mountain where I bought it less than two weeks ago.  Where it is jammed, there is no chance of it discharging.  Still, I felt awkward walking into a store and having to say, "Uh, I have a jammed live bullet in this thing."

I explained to the man in the gun department what happened.  There is no gunsmith on duty on Sunday so I had to leave it. He walked out to my car with me and brought it inside.

Hopefully I will get it back tomorrow.  Gander Mountain put it in their "snail room", a special enclosed room that even if a gun discharges, the bullet will not penetrate the walls.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kenny!

Today, my cousin, Kenny, is 60 years old and I still call him "lil cuz"!

Kenny is part of our Cousins' Reunion every year down South.  He is from Jacksonville and Lake Butler, Florida.

As many of you know, I moved to New York State in the early 70's and didn't see many of my cousins for decades, until my dad died in 2003.  Funerals and weddings draw relatives out of the woodwork!  My image of Kenny was a shy little kid that didn't have a lot to say.  Man!  Was that image shattered when I saw him again at my dad's funeral!

With Kenny around, there are going to be lots of laughs, no matter what the subject.  He is a walking encyclopedia of firearms.

So if you run into Kenny today, wish him a Happy Birthday!