Happy mid-winter days to all:

Weekly wisdom:

“This is indeed shaping up to be the winter of my discount, uh, disconnect, discon – uh, crabby, nasty, grumpy feelings.” ~ Gertrude, trying to recite from Shakespeare’s King Richard III (Act 1)

Alright, I’ve made the decision that winter has been around too long when I begin to wake up missing the high pitched sound of a lone Mosquito buzzing near my head. The speed of Marcia leaping out of bed this morning makes me think she experienced the same thoughts. At least the coffee is good and hot.

A quiet week in the ‘Nati – it was until we got word that little Vili was taken to the ER with breathing issues. That changed matters. He was diagnosed with Bronchiolitis and a decision made to keep him at Children’s overnight. This meant that Vai needed to be picked up from pre-school and taken there the next morning. Couple that with after school duties for Dinah and Marin, and I had a fine week.

Now that the whole crew is a bit older it’s actually fun to be able to play real games. So, here is the end of the week, Vili is back to health, I had a great time with the others, and none have the flu. Can it get any better?

Flu shot – It was Sunday morning and a very harsh wind kicking up out of the West; a perfect time to make my 2.5 mile walk. With eyes tearing from the wind I turned onto Vine Street and the first thing noticed were the little curbside stuck-in-the-grass signs in front of our local Walgreen’s, they touted “Flu Shots”.

Checking my pocket for my wallet meant that I had my ID and thus had no excuse not to enter the store. Seconds later the pharmacist was prepping my arm and within 10 minutes I was back outside dealing with the elements—now protected (I hope) from the current strain of influenza. How about you? Do you have your own “flu shot” story?

The long dark nights – means that aside from doing Sudoku puzzles, reading, and too much TV, that time is spent scheming new and innovative ideas.

For example, Canada has a set of hopelessly miserable alcohol laws. Aside from taxing and regulating people to death for a beer it’s just a pain to buy the stuff. So, maybe it’s time to introduce the owner of our nearby Trading Post to this concept and let him go to bat for us in Ottawa. I think it would be lovely!

Actually, on a more practical scale, I did some maintenance work on our little Deux Chevaux. Finally I managed to get the vintage (1969 Skilsaw) chain-saw going to where it starts and continues to run properly on the second pull. Yeah! We had a large (dead) tree removed from the side yard – a problem since part of it jutted over the roof. The tree people started the negotiations at $1,200 and ended up doing a great job for $350. Then, working on my “stuff-to-get-for-the-cabin” list I just received word from eBay that I successfully bid on a 1-Ton Manual Pull Chain Hoist which we need to raise and lower the new dock. New, but out of the box, for less than half price including delivery, means that I am totally delighted.

Fini – Make it a great week. This week it was Heather’s birthday, here’s hoping you celebrated properly in WARM central Florida. Sorry about the late posting, Marcia wanted to run and look at a condominium: huh?



From the Archives
Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good morning all:
Quote Of The Week:
“Rhythm is something you either have or don’t have, but when you have it, you have it all over.” — Elvis Presley (would have celebrated # 74 this week)

You can tell it is the dead of winter when you start daydreaming of summer. For me, it’s about our cabin in Canada’s northland. Last year we named it ‘Northern Comfort’. What’s still sorely lacking is a proper cabin mascot. Then early this morning it hit me; Ookpik!

About the time of the “Summer of Love”, in the mid sixties and for only about three short months, Canada adopted the loveable Ookpik as its national mascot. Ookpik, by the way, is native Inuit for ‘Snowy Owl’. The mascot, usually assembled out of seal fur, is a bit scruffy, and the blank stare does not really inspire one to great heights. Yet it is adorable—much like our cabin. Maybe I best pour myself my morning mug of coffee to get a bit more grounded (no pun intended).

As some of you know, Marcia and I have started alternating cooking events (sounds better than ‘chore’) preparing our evening meals. To be blunt, it’s having its ups and downs. Much of the time things go fine. Then, every so often, it turns into a contest of one upmanship. Either that or a slow steady climb where we try to outdo the other while trying to achieve new culinary heights. Currently, the phase we’re in is that Marcia tip-toes into the kitchen holding a silver crucifix in front of her and small wooden stake in her other hand whenever I am doing major ‘kitcheny’ things.

Last Monday I made ‘Hachee’. This is a Dutch peasant dish staple using very tough (cheap) meat, but as my mother would have quickly said; “ja sjiep but vunderful flavorful”. Then slow-cooking it all to tenderness. This, to Marcia exotic dish must have initiated some behind my back family discussions, because the next thing I got was a great and very simple Cannellini bean soup dish recipe from Kirstin. My Wednesday meal was therefore, voila, Tuscan White Bean Soup with Sourdough Croutons. The only and slight offset was that I used toasted sourdough bread rounds in place of croutons. I don’t consider it totally my fault that these little slabs-of-bread soaked up all the liquid. Marcia made note.

It was last night’s presentation of my Eggplant Cake meal that caused more dinner conversation than we’d had in months. At some point the words “Sahara sand” were used as a descriptive term. The good news being that now all my lunches, for the remainder of the winter, are sitting on the middle-lower shelf of our refrigerator. I will happily share this recipe, just ask.

Aging does bring on a degree of curmudgeon like behavior. The annual Girl Scout cookie drive has just begun. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of their cookies. But am I the only one who’ll avoid eye contact, pretend I’m on my cell, or use another doorway, when these scouting moms – usually a bit overweight, aggressive, and loud – man gauntlet-like cookie tables at various store exits while their little daughters hang back with embarrassment? What’s wrong with a knock on the door or a sign-up sheet in the office coffee room?

Then, yesterday it was announced that, Cincinnati Freedom, died – peacefully. Back in 2002 she was just a mangy nameless cow heading for a local slaughterhouse. She escaped and for 11 days drew national attention hiding out on the fringes of one of the nation’s busiest interstate highways only three miles from downtown. Renowned painter, Peter Max, had her transported to his animal sanctuary in upstate New York where she received her name. For the past six years she was the star of the place, voted that status by visitors and the herd alike.

With the winter cold and the constant bone-chilling economic news I felt that you’d want to remember that heart-warming tale.

Make it a great week.


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