Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Marisa!

Happy Birthday to Marisa, one of my daughters-in-law. Marisa and Michael, and my granddog, Woody, live here in Rochester.

In the last year, Marisa started a business of making and selling bath scrubs and soaks. Check out her website at She's done quite well with it. I like the scrubs for showering. They leave your skin soft and smooth, repairing damage from living in the frozen North Country!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Better look for my snow boots!

I've gone almost a whole week without wearing my snow boots to and from work. That's about to come to an end as bitter cold and snow is returning overnight. All the snow melted with the heavy rains we had and the temperatures were in the upper 40's and low 50's.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eggplant Casserole

I made one of my favorite meals tonight - eggplant casserole. Eggplant is one of those foods that are really good for you, but the taste of it, by itself, well, you know!!!
Here is the recipe:
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
In a saucepan, bring water to boil. Add cubed eggplant. Boil for 5 or 6 minutes or until the eggplant is tender; drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion and pepper until the meat is no long pink; drain. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in combined milk and beaten egg; mix well.
Transfer to a greased oblong baking dish. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter and spread over the mixture in the baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A nice "spring" day outside!

We are getting a break from the bitter cold. Today it is sunny with temperatures in the mid-40's. Almost shirtsleeve weather!

Eight weeks from today is the reunion with my cousins, on my father's side of the family, on our "ancestral land"! Looking forward to that. It's a time to gather on the land that has been in our family for well over 100 years, walk the land that my dad and his siblings grew up on, do some target shooting, enjoy good food and company, miles away from the stress and problems of the real world.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jackie

Happy Birthday to Jackie in Pensacola, Florida! Jackie and I have been friends since way back in third grade at Myrtle Grove Elementary School. She still lives in the neighborhood we grew up in. I moved away from Florida years ago but we have remained friends all these years.

We used to take piano lessons from the same teacher, Mrs. Sellers. Neither of us were particularly excited about playing the piano but our parents wanted us to so that's what we did.

Jackie is four months older than I am. That means she got her driver's license four months earlier than I did. I never forgave her for that! Now I get the last laugh. . . she will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare four months before I will!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life's little surprises!!!

It will be a long time before I stop laughing over this one! I've mentioned before in this blog that I own property in the backwoods of Alabama, "way out in the middle of no where." Last week I was talking with an older physician at the Medical Center where I work. We found we are both Alabama Crimson Tide fans. He was born and raised in Alabama and almost ended up playing college football for Paul "Bear" Bryant, the legendary coach of the Crimson Tide. "Back when small guys could still play college football," he explained. That was last week and today I ran into him again and his face lit up, "Let's continue our conversation! Where exactly is it that you own property down there?"

I replied, "Oh, I'm sure you've never heard of it." After all, his hometown is over 100 miles from where my property lies. He said, "Tell me where it is." So I started explaining where this very thinly populated, out of the way place is, naming roads.

He knew right where it is! I was dumbfounded! NO ONE who lives more than 25 miles from the road my property is on has heard of it, folks! So I started rattling off a string of hole-in-the-road places and he countered with naming other such places nearby!

Turns out his parents once owned property that was scattered all over Alabama. When they died, he did a lot of driving around the state deciding what to do with the property he inherited. That's how he came to know all the little places down there.

Never, in my wildest imagination, did I ever expect to run into someone in Rochester, New York, over 1000 miles from Alabama, who is familiar with that part of the woods!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quebec this summer?

I had planned to go to Scotland this summer with some bicycling friends on a bike tour. Then a lot of things got in the way. . . the cost of the trip, but more importantly, flying internationally these days with the constant threat of terrorism is a major concern for me. I really don't want to leave this world in a sudden blast with my body scattered in bits and pieces.

Now my favorite bike touring company, Bike Vermont, offers a new trip that really excites me. A Sunday to Friday trip starting and ending in northern Vermont and cycling through the Eastern Townships of Quebec. So I got on the internet and did some poking around. Turns out this is a pretty section of Canada.

I have been to Canada many times over the years, visiting Algonquin Provincial Park and Killarney Provincial Park on canoe camping trips, Montreal, Toronto, and a couple of other destinations. Canada is definitely a nice vacation to consider.

For the Quebec trip, we will be staying in elegant hotels along the way with superb dining experiences. A friend said to me recently, "You are funny. You enjoy camping in the woods, yet you like to be pampered too!" That's me!

So. . . will I go to Quebec this summer on a bike tour through rolling countryside with beautiful scenery along the way? Stay tuned!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Let's pretend it's Summer!

Do you remember playing "Let's Pretend" as a child? I do.
In the middle of winter here in New York, with sub-zero temperatures and wind chills even lower, it is easy to think the colors and warmth of summer will never come again. Here is a reminder of what it will be like in a few months from now. These pictures are from my front yard from Summer 2009.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

- 1

It is just after 7:00 am here right now and the temperature is -1 degree! Spring is a long way off!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Julie and Julia

You simply must see the movie Julie and Julia! I rented it from Netflix and just loved it. There is a lot about it that we all can identify with. It is both funny and sad. The funniest part, I thought, was when Julie was cooking her first lobster. She sheepishly put three live lobsters in a full pot of boiling water, placed the lid on the pot and turned away, just before one of the lobsters stared back at her . . this was not an easy thing for her to do. As she turned away from the stove, one of the lobsters knocked the lid off the pot and onto the floor!

Go watch the movie! You'll like it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What a week!

It isn't even 8:00 pm yet and I am ready to go to bed. This week has been a very busy week for me at work. I sat in a 5 hour meeting this afternoon at work and didn't get home till 6:00. The next two weeks will be the same. Major projects that require a lot of attention.

I'm sure the fact that I stayed up till midnight last night watching Alabama beat Texas in the BCS Championship game has nothing to do with the fact that I'm tired.

The snow and extreme temperatures continue here in Rochester. One thing you can say for fresh snow, it covers up the dirty snow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dinner with Robert and Nancy

Tonight I was invited over for dinner at Robert and Nancy's, my long time friends. We go back 35 years! We watched each other's kids grow up and now we have grandchildren.

It was a fun evening and as usual, the dinner was superb. Nancy made a beef stew served over noodles, with a fine salad of greens, sliced apples, nuts, and blue cheese. And as if that wasn't enough, when the dinner plates were cleared, she brought out a scrumptious dessert made of sour cream, apples and nuts and I'm not sure what else.

Thanks guys for a wonderful evening.

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's COLD!

Western New York, and much of the nation, even as far south as Florida, is in the middle of a brutal cold snap. Yesterday, it was treacherous driving to church. When the temperature gets below a certain level, road salt has little or no impact. Traffic on the expressways, usually moving along at 65+ mph, was going at a snail's pace. Then when I was on my way home, the road conditions were even worse. There were cars off in a ditch alll along the way. A couple of times I tried to stop or slow down and my car just kept right on going. Most drivers were trying to drive sensibly for the conditions and leaving a big space between each car. It was like driving on a grease-coated road.

Welcome to winter in New York State!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year and a New Decade

Wow! Here I am almost a whole year into this blogging thing. I began this blog in February 2009 without a clue as to how I could keep it going. Jeph, over at Jeph's Spot, used to be my web designer when I had a website. When I gave up my website, he encouraged me to get into blogging. I had read a lot of different blogs and just didn't think I could measure up to what was out there. Most of the blogs I saw were based on a theme - gardening, cooking, crafts, farm life, firearms, and any number of other topics - none of those was an exact fit for me because I have so many different interests and not one, by itself, totally defines who I am.

But for whatever reason, unknown to me, I started out. I spread the word among my friends and got positive feedback from them. So I continued on. I settled into a niche of writing about the everyday things that happened to me or that I was thinking about. One of my earliest posts focused on my idle thoughts as I walked in from a distant parking lot to work each day. I wrote about my trip South to get together with my cousins on our "ancestral" land, land that had been in our family for probably 150 years or more. Here we were, out in the middle of no where, miles from civilization, and we had a truly wonderful day together. I posted a picture and wrote about my excitement of seeing the first sprout of daffoidils poking through the ground in early March, after a harsh winter. During the summer, I posted pictures of my shrubs and flowers and was proud of nurturing them to the point of bringing a lot of color to my yard. I shared recipes that I enjoyed. I wrote about my Great-Aunt Sally, who died when I was a small child. In short, I have come to realize that it is the common, ordinary, little things that make up the fiber of our lives and make us who we are. On more than one occasion, I found myself walking down the hall at work and someone would come by and make a comment on my blog, people that I didn't even think were aware of my blog!

Along the way, I have discovered other blogs that I truly enjoy. . . farmgirlfare, grannys garden, Going Country, How to Cook Like Your Grandmother, and so many others.

What will I write about in 2010? I have no idea! In almost every case, the posts that you read come to my mind about a half minute before they are posted! I welcome and appreciate the comments I get, so keep those coming. Now go out and make it a Great 2010 in your life!

And one last word. . . Happy Birthday, Richard! Richard is my "little cousin" from Florida. Today is his birthday. I remember the day he was born, way back in the 60's!