Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Book of Barkley, a book I just could not put down till the last page

This is a must read for sure.  The author is an extremely talented writer who will take you on a journey of highs and lows in life and in her relationship with her beloved Labrador Retriever, Barkley.  I am honored to have an autographed copy from the author.

She drove some distance to get Barkley from the breeder.  On her arrival that first day, all the pups were scrambling around playing, as puppies do.  But there was one that just stood there looking at her as if he were sizing her up.  In the author's words, 

"After assessing me carefully, he came over and sniffed my hand, then sat at my feet, ignoring the other people there with me, snuffling at my shoelaces while the other pups, losing interest, went off to chase a bug or something.  Barkley didn't leave me the rest of the time I was there.  Where I went, he went and simply sat and looked at me with satisfaction."

Woven into the pages are glimpses of her personal life and thoughts and how Barkley enriched her life in a way she could never have imagined.  I laughed and cried all the way through, sometimes having to put the book down to clear the tears that were blocking my ability to read the pages.  There was the time she was using a pooper scooper in her front yard that "had more crap in it than most political campaign commercials."   Throw in a neighbor dog that did not like Barkley and in the mix of trying to separate the two dogs, the full pooper scooper in her hand and the neighbor's arm made inadvertent contact, and, well. . . .

" Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat!"

What happened next will have you rolling with laughter!

Every Lab owner will relate to the many adventures throughout the book.  But the book goes much deeper than just a book about a dog and it's owner.  Do yourself a big favor and read this one.  You won't regret it, I promise.  The book is available at in both print and Kindle.  The author is donating 100% of the proceeds to Animal Rescue.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


"I can't compete with football for Sherry's attention, so I'll just take a nap until this game is over."

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.