Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chicken Soup

I don't know where I got this recipe. It makes a big pot and I freeze it in individual servings. Actually, there is no defined recipe. . . like many things I make, I can tell you what I put in it, but I don't always measure ingredients. So here goes. . .

one whole chicken cooked, chopped into bite size pieces

one (or more) large cans Swansons Chicken Broth
one bunch of fresh kale, chopped
dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
one big can tomatoes, chopped, include the juice in the can
one (or more) fresh sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
chopped carrots

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil in a large pot. Let simmer, covered for an hour or more.

This is a sure winner. Actually, I have a pot on the stove right now! I look in on it during commercial breaks for the NCAA basketball tournament.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Potatoe. . . potato. . .

Hhmm. . . one of my daughters-in-law just sent me an e-mail. . . "Did you mean to spell "potatoe" like that?" Oops. She's right. . . I looked it up in the dictionary. Well, at least I was consistent! I spelled it the same all through that post. And to think I always got an A in spelling in grammar school.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March Madness, BBQ chicken and potatoe salad

I love March Madness, the excitement of the games, and the fact that anything can happen. You think you've figured out who is going to the Final Four and one or more of those teams lose out in the first round. Teams you've never heard of make it to the second and even third week of play. Weekends are my time to get things done around the house - cleaning, laundry, errands. I just don't have time to sit for hours and watch TV. Yet for March Madness, well, I have to make an exception. Dishes pile up in the sink because I don't have time to empty the dishwasher to put the dirty ones in. . . laundry gets done during commercial breaks, but hey, some of the commercials are even entertaining!!! I must find time to sit and pay bills online. Oh, and I'm taking care of friends' cats this week, damn, I have to find time to get over there, clean the litter box (gag) and feed them and brush the one that likes to be brushed. Whew! Yesterday I decided I wanted bbq chicken on the grill and potatoe salad for dinner. I can do this! Oh, I never told you about my potatoe salad! People love my potatoe salad. Trouble is, I don't have a defined recipe. I've made it so many years, I just "know" how to make it! Here are the list of ingredients:

chopped potatoes
chopped boiled eggs
chopped pickles
a splash of mustard
salt, lots of salt!
sometimes dill weed thrown in
paprika sprinkled on top if company is coming!

I cook the potatoes till they are tender but not soft - I don't like mushy potatoe salad.

Somehow I managed to get everything cooked to perfection, even remembered to turn off the grill at the gas tank without missing too many good plays. Yes, I love March Madness, and bbq chicken and potatoe salad! But even more than that, March Madness signals the end of the long harsh winter we had and the promise that summer is on its way. . . more cooking on the grill, more deviled eggs, potatoe salad. . . long bicycle rides, paddles in the local waterways. Bring it on!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Mulkerrin Brothers from Ireland

When I was in Ireland last September on a bike tour, one or our tour leaders arranged for us to see a private performance by three young Irish brothers in a small pub on the Aran Islands. We had no idea what a surprise we were in for that day. These young men, ages 9 through 14, performed traditional Irish tunes on a variety of instruments and danced. We sat spellbound for an hour. We were amazed at their talent. I just knew we would be hearing more about these brothers. Sure enough, about a month ago, we received an e-mail from our tour guide. The Mulkerrin boys had entered the All Ireland Talent Search and WON!!! This talent contest is a big deal in Ireland. If you do a search on You Tube for the Mulkerrin Brothers, there are at least two videos that you owe it to yourself to watch. Aside from their exceptional talent, I was very impressed with their mature, polite manner. We had a chance to talk with them and they are the nicest young men you could ever imagine. The way they come across on the You Tube videos is the way they are in person. When they do an American Tour, you can bet I will be there!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


These blooms have popped open in my front yard since yesterday. My lilac bushes in the back yard also have buds on them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Time to get the grill out of hibernation!

Ah! This weekend has been just beautiful. . . warm, sunny. Time to pull out of the grill. This picture is typical of what you would see around my house in warm weather. Molly guarding the grill. Tonight it is strip steak, baked potatoe and sliced tomatoes. Another night this week - barbequed chicken and potatoe salad. Can you tell I love grilling???

Friday, March 13, 2009

A New Parking Lot at Work!

Wonderful! I was notified this week that my name came up on the Waiting List and I am now assigned to a parking lot MUCH closer to the building I work in. Now I can pull out of my driveway and arrive at my desk in under 15 minutes, depending on how many red lights I miss. Previously, it took me about 10+ minutes to drive to my assigned parking lot and then another 10+ minutes to walk to my building.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Labs and Calendars

One of my Christmas presents this year was a set of Labrador Retriever wall calendars. The large one is hanging in my kitchen. I took the smaller one to work and hung it in my cubicle. That one has generated a lot of responses from those who walk past my desk each day! It is not unusual to return to my desk and find someone leaning over looking at the puppy pictures for each month of the year. The picture for the month of March features an adorable little Black Lab with his paws and head hanging over the top of a fence with a wistful look in his eyes. Today, while I was away from my desk, someone placed a post it note above the picture that read, "Please help me over this fence. I'm tired."

I knew this could have been done by any number of dog lovers in my area. The woman who works near me and I decided it was Kristin. "I recognize her writing", she said. So, it was Kristin that did it, I was sure. Later another woman came by, took a peek, with a smirk on her face! "You like my note?", she asked. It wasn't Kristin after all!

On another occasion, while typing on my computer, I was aware of someone standing off to my side. I looked up. There stood another sucker for dogs! This man just stared at my calendar and finally said, "You know, I would LOVE to have one of those dogs." Well, it doesn't take much to get me talking about my favorite breed of dog!

I told him if you can endure the first two years of a Lab puppy, you've got a wonderful companion for life!

Isn't it nice that pictures of Lab puppies in the workplace can cause people, if only for a moment, to pause and forget about the stress and anxiety of the workday?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Look what I found!

I was staring absent mindedly out the window into the front yard. Could it be? Could it really be a crocus plant poking through the ground? YES!!! Spring is on its way!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

We made it to Friday!

Ah! We made it to the end of another week. Yesterday afternoon as I was pulling into my driveway from work, my neighbor was walking her dog. We were thrilled with the nice, mild weather. "It's been a long winter", she said. I wholeheartedly agreed. "You know", I said to her, "In this cold, gloomy weather we've had for so long, I find all I want to do when I get home is hibernate and not go back outside and that isn't 'me'!"

I came inside, fed Molly and let her out. Then we went for a walk. I wore a jacket, but it was mild enough that I could have gotten along without it.

Maybe the grass is still a dull green and there are a few patches of snow here and there, but I truly believe Spring will be here soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fun in the Snow!

Here are my grandsons playing in the snow this week.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A cruel hoax

Right now I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach. . . hard.

Last night I had dinner with my friends, I'll call them Sue and Tom. They have lost two of their very much loved dogs in the last couple of months. One died suddenly, the other had to be put down. Sue and Tom love animals and would give any animal they own a good home. They are not the type that can get along without a dog in their life. When I arrived at their home, they showed me a copy of a picture of two beautiful Labrador Retrievers, Coco and Cookie. It seems their owners were facing foreclosure and had to go to an apartment and could not take these dogs with them. The story was these dogs were inseparable and it would be inhumane to separate them, therefore, the owners were looking for someone who would take both dogs. This information was given to Sue and Tom by reliable sources. Sue was hesitant. . . coming up with every excuse she could on why they should not take these dogs. I really believe she wanted these dogs, but she was just "scared", for lack of a better word.

I admit, at this point, leaning on my knowledge of Labs, I had one quick thought - Labs are very adaptable dogs. . . they can be happy on a farm, in a suburban home, all they require is a loving owner and adequate exercise and food. So why is it that these dogs reportedly could not get along without one another? But, caught up in the moment. . . and a couple of glasses of wine. . . I went to work on Sue. "Sue", I pleaded, "How can you even think of turning down an offer like this???" When I got down on my knees in front of Sue with my hands folded in prayer, she broke out in laughter. I've known Sue and Tom for over 30 years. I know how to push the right buttons with them. I was relentless in my campaign to get Sue to give in. Tom e-mailed the couple and asked them to call him. Nothing happened. "Okay," I said, "They are just not home at the moment."

I could see Sue was warming to the idea. . . what choice did she have?. . . there were three of us "working" on her and we weren't going to back down. When I left their house, she promised to call me today to let me know how this turned out. By 5:00 today I had heard nothing and I couldn't be patient anymore, so I called and left a message for her to call me. A few minutes later she called.

I was not prepared for what she told me. This was a hoax and the people that put her on to this were duped also. If you go to, there is a message about this.

We all feel just terrible over this incident. It doesn't matter how it got started, who promoted this vicious scam. The pain is there.

Sue and Tom have extremely different ideas about acquiring dogs than I do. Their mindset is to go to a shelter or take in a dog who the owner can no longer care for. Many of their dogs over the years were adopted from Lollypop Farm (an animal rescue center here in the Rochester area). I, on the other hand, will never have a dog other than a puppy acquired from a reputable breeder who I have checked out extensively. I have had three Labs, two came from the same breeder, Molly, from another breeder. Two opposite mindsets. But what does it matter as long as you get the puppy that is right for you?

From what I understand, this scam has been making the rounds of the e-mail circuit for weeks. There is no telling how many unsuspecting victims have been hurt.

Please pass this along to anyone you know who may be looking for a puppy.