Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taking A Smoke Break

This is the Evil Corporation's "designated" smoking area. It is pretty Spartan, but for what the smokers need, it has everything: ventilation, a place to sit and smoke, a butt can, and full sun for half the day (and full shade and polar coldness the other half of the day).

Please note the startling absence of porcelain in this photograph. This happens for a reason; that is, you smokers need to go to the "designated smoking" area AND NOT THE RESTROOMS! The same thing applies to smokless tobacco users. Please dip, snuff, chew or whatever the Hell it is that turns you on ... without spitting that mess out on the urinals. Were you really born in a barn or what?

How rude is it when someone sparks up a cigarette in the restroom? Or spits out a big load of tobacco juice and misses the intended target? Has this ever happened to you?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Trash Day

Big Trash Day is the one day of the month when trash collectors will pick up the stuff that's too big and awkward to fit in your curbside dumpster. It can be almost anything, including furniture and old appliances. I had completely forgotten; that is, until I was on the way over to visit Justin and Katie. That's when I saw this:

Do you have a Big Trash Day story?

Skywatch Friday

Today is Sky Watch Friday! This photo is my contribution. I live in Central Oklahoma and the clouds are here to bring what is forecast to be up to eight inches of snow!

Snow is rare enough here, so this will be something to see. The birds are already picking perches!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Birthday Greetings Bottle of Wine

We celebrated the birthday of one of the members of our writer's group, Jason, last night.

It was a nice warm evening. Spirits were high, maybe a too much so for some.

I loaded Jason into the back of my pickup, put his jacket on him, and he slept quite comfortably there while Marisa and I drove him home. We took a wrong turn and drove through a neighborhood about three blocks from his house, but he didn't seem to mind.

When we finally got him safely home and inside his house, I heard this strange noise. "Jason, I think your dog is growling at me," I said. He thought about it for a minute and then placed it. "That's my dad snoring."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

6 Things About Me

I've been tagged by Suzanne to "mention six things of no real importance about yourself."

Here are my six:

1. I like socks. Socks make me very happy. They keep my feet nice and toasty and I hate being barefoot.

2. I really like strength sports, especially competitive powerlifting. Next month it will have been 6 years exactly since I last won a state championship, but I am working hard to get back into shape for competition. Sunshine is working me hard to get back into the 242 pound (110 Kg) class. Almost there too!

3. I believe that 3x5 cards are one of the greatest inventions of all time. they are super useful, very convenient, handy, cheap, and just the right for almost everything.

4. One of my most favorite things to do is lift up Miss Sunshine and carry her around. Doesn't matter how, in the front on my arms, piggyback style, on the shoulders, over the shoulders fireman's carry style, it's all good to me. For some reason she doesn't like it. OK, I know it's not appropriate inside the grocery store, but outside you have to admit that it's better than getting your shoes muddy. You carry the groceries and I'll carry you. K?

5. Sappy romantic movies are exceedingly cool. So are SciFi stories. I don't think the genres are mutually exclusive.

6. I love to blow raspberries on Sunshine's tummy. She laughs and laughs and then says it's undignified and that I should stop. It's a mixed message and I am easily confused. So I am only going to do it ... when she least expects it.

As fun as it is, if you want to post on this, just take it. Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Write the rules on your site.
3. Mention 6 things or habits of 'no' real importance about you.
4. Tag 6 persons.
5. Notify the person that you tagged them.

Best wishes :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guys Night Out

My son and I went to the Dan McGuinness Irish Pub for a guys night out.

We found a seat ...

And ordered the Shepherd's Pie ...

The plates were huge and loaded with food. It was good, tasty and really hit the spot. A glass or three of cold Harp lager made it perfect.

What is a perfect Shepherd's Pie? Whoever says that it a "casserole" layered with cooked meat, vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas, topped with mashed potatoes ... is a damned liar and in league with the Devil.

The presently and widely held truth is that the perfect Shepherd's Pie was the kind made by my Grandmother. She would make the mashed potatoes in one pot. In another she would make some brown gravy from pan drippings she'd reserved from the roasting pan from another meal. She'd whip that into shape over a flame with flour and real fresh milk from a brown and white Guernsey named Marie.

She always said the cow was named after a well endowed, 1940s actress named Marie Wilson, but I always certain she named the cow in honor of another Marie ... my *other* grandmother.

One of her favorite expressions was "cooking with gas", and that is what she did right up until the day she went into the Home. She'd turn and chop the hamburger until it was just crumbles. A diced onion melted in with meat. Then she'd mix the gravy in with and some canned peas. Once it got to a bubble, it was done.

Serving was where all that became the Shepherd's Pie. She had this enornmus wooden sppon that she used for every occasion. With a savvy flick of her tiny wrist that spoon could scoop and shape mashed potatoes, beat cake batter, or reach across the kitchen table discipline naughty children. Ouch!

She heft out a dollop of mashed potatoes and aim it at your plate. Whack! The next stroke of the spoon shaped the spuds into a bowl in the middle of your plate. Then you'd get two scoops of the gravy, hamburger and peas mixture. Add one scoop of an unrelated vegetable and that was dinner.

And it was good.

Having "bent an elbow" in the old country, I can say without doubt that Dan McGuinness' "An Irish Pub" wasn't the same experience. The pre-packaged and franchised "Irish Pub Concept" is pretty much everywhere in this country now. Yes, thinking of the differences makes me nostalgic for the real thing, but there are some similarities worth noting. The service was fast, friendly and good. The place was spotlessly clean. But when I heard a shout from the kitchen and the whack of a wooden spoon on a plate ... I was knee deep in memories, and when that big, fully loaded plate landed on the table in front of me ... I was in heaven.

And it was good.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sleeping With Bread

The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes them by looking at what is giving them consolation in their life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to him for solace for the bad stuff. It is quite simple. You simply ask yourself, in the last day/week/month what gave me consolation and what caused me desolation.

So, without further ado ...

The Good.

I have two things this week that I am particularly thankful for. First, Spring is here. The Earth is renewed. There are calves in the hay meadow ...

and blooms in the trees ...

Most importantly, I am thankful for my Sunshine. She is an answered prayer. I love her more every day. This is how she makes me feel ...

The bad.

You know that passage in the Lord's Prayer about forgiving our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us? Both halves of that equation are important. Forgiveness may not mean much for those who offend us, but it is meaningful for us. Why does it take so long to learn such simple lessons?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dimsum anyone?

While in Chicago, we wanted to have some dim sum. If you haven't tried dim sum before, it is a unique dining experience. Traditional Cantonese goods are prepared in small portions and delivered right to your table on carts. You can see the foods and pick which ones you want to eat as they pass by. It's like snacking through a meal.

The Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, is at 2131 S. Archer Avenue (between 21st St & Cermak Rd), and was on our way back to Midway, so we stopped by and had a late lunch.

The serve dim sum daily on Saturday and Sunday from 8AM to 3PM and Monday through Friday from 9AM to 3PM.

We started off by choosing a number of dishes from a picture menu ...

and then finished by choosing dishes as they came by. Sometimes the best part of a meal is the adventure that comes with it. Be brave, buckle up, and hang on kids, here we go ...

Some tasty shrimp shu mai

The stewed beef stomachs with turnips

Spicey pork riblets

A little tripe

An excellent pork shu mai. This was the best dish in the house!

A little bowl of garlic chicken's feet.

And last but not least, some Chinese chitlins

It was all good, and I would certainly visit this place again, but there is no place like home for me. The best dim sum I have ever had in this country in right here in Oklahoma City at the Grand House Restaurant. Come on down ya all. You can find us there one weekend of every month during the lunch time dim sum!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Memes and Eggs in the Nest

Technonana tagged me with a picture meme. I am to post the sixth picture in the sixth folder on my desktop as part of the "cyber-game" and write a post about the picture. That 6th directory is named "Internet Wisdom" and it is where I keep pictures with captions that I find while searching the net.

It seems so appropriate now. Working for the Evil Corporation can make one feel this way, but Miss Sunshine really helped put things into perspective. This is the Lent season and we are striving to be more thoughtful and prayerful. She advised me to look at my pay stub and be thankful that I have a good job in these hard times. It's true and I am thankful. She also thought that maybe the reason they gave me a raise last time was to put up with more of their crap.

Isn't she the greatest???

Got a surprise this morning. Saw this in the birdcage.

The birds have been busy! This nest is at the top of my flight cage. The birds love that cage because there is plenty of room to fly and perform their aerobatics. Maybe soon there will be a few more birds to enjoy it. The volume of eggs is the same as that of a bird. One of the female birds must be completely empty, just an air filled feather sack. Maybe the guilty party will burp will I feed them this morning :-)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sleeping With Bread

The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes them by looking at what is giving them consolation in their life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to him for solace for the bad stuff. It is quite simple. You simply ask yourself, in the last day/week/month what gave me consolation and what caused me desolation.

So, without further ado ...

The Good.

I got a new roof. The workmen came today and did the entire job in one day. They did an excellent job.

I was going through the images from the last visit to Chicago. I am thankful for French Impressionism, and especially thankful for Renoir and Monet.

I am so very thankful and grateful for all of you who have sent positive light, wishes and prayers to Sunshine's mother. She is up and mobile and has a unique perspective that brings all of us joy. This last week has done a lot to restore our hope. No matter what else happens, Sunshine is certain that her mom has the good quality of life and dignity that she deserves.

Every single day I am thankful for my beautiful Sunshine. I gave her a birthday gift early this year, just couldn't wait the months till then. I had it specially made for her in Jerusalem. She slept with it under her pillow and I haven't been able to quit smiling since. I hope you will wear it around your neck one of these days and let me see how it looks on you again. I love you baby. You make me very, very happy.

The bad.

The misguided souls who run the Evil Corporation. I have a promise to keep this Lent, so let me say this: Peace be upon you - you managers of Evil, and may God bless your pointy little heads.