Happy Saturday morning:

an ultimate weather forecast:

“Weather forecast for tonight: dark” ~ George Carlin

Just a little bit tired of news banners screaming: Polar Vortex. Number one; after the third time it sounds obnoxious. Number two; it’s a flat out wrong description. According to Merriam-Webster, a vortex is a whirlpool effect, and a whirlpool draws IN. This little bit of cold air from the Canadian north blew OUT.

Couldn’t the weather folk be slightly more innovative and at least have called it the Polar Tourbillion? (That’s your word of the day)

In any case, Marcia and I (and many others) had it plenty cold for a day or two.

Now that my coffee is poured, it’s time for a little reflection. Here goes; why does everything these days have to be broadcast as; “worst ever”, “never before”, “most ever”, or as the start of some trend. Frozen_Ohio_River_1978_20130126134017_640_480I personally remember the winters of 1977 and 1978 when the Ohio River froze over – this time around there wasn’t even any ice on the river. For that matter, in 1918 it’s recorded that the river was frozen over for 51 straight days and was iced over, shore to shore, for a distance of 134 miles.

Anyway, last weekend each morning I was awakened by the sound of our furnace cranking away somewhere in the bowels of the house. Now and then the old homestead creaking as it complained about the bitter cold.

We did have two casualties. In the condo a cold water pipe froze in the bathroom – I set it to drip and less than two hours later the drip had become a continuous flow. Whew, that ended well.

The other was more serious. Marcia had gone to bed. I stayed up to watch PBS’ American Masters which was running a full hour documentary on ‘60s activist folksinger Phil Ochs. Then I got sucked in to watching the opening of Jimmy Fallon. About that time I decided to take a dirty dish to the kitchen. The first thing I noticed was some very strange shadows on the kitchen rug. At the same time my feet started to slosh in water.

The dishwater was continuously trying to fill with water – unsuccessfully – since it was pouring into the kitchen and basement. I might add it did all this very quietly. Anyway, sopping up water with towels and sponge, at midnight, for a solid 45 minutes, was really not on my schedule.

In any case, my coffee is steaming hot and my head is filled with fresh memories of a wonderful week. All in all it’s a good beginning to 2014.

Downton Abbey – is alive and well in our household. The girls had purchased seasons 1, 2, and 3 for Mother’s Day. With the start of the latest, season 4, and some clever ‘ribbing,’ Marcia began watching. By the time she started season two I found myself staying in the room.

I want to point out that I run out of the room should any Soap Opera or Soap Opera ad come on; and a Soap Opera is exactly what Downton Abbey is. Anyway, I am hooked.

Last evening we dutifully sat watching important stuff such as the scheming ladies maid hiding the Earl’s dress shirts. Or the total shock registered by the guests when the master came to dinner in a black tie and not a white one – what was he thinking, that dinner was a wild-west style American barbeque? For two parts we sat and watched.

Now that we are totally refreshed from watching D.A.( as we now refer to the show), we can continue with our painting of the condo.

Animal PlanetLynx near lakeDonn swears that he and Joel spotted a Lynx a summer ago. We believed them, but they had no definitive proof. This week all that changed when Kim A. was driving somewhere near the lake and amidst much snow and killing temperatures, she spotted a lynx. She also must drive with one hand on the wheel and the other on her camera for she snapped this photo. Gorgeous!

Fini – Yesterday was a day filled with concern as Tevita and Adrianne watched reports of Ian, a category 4 cyclone, took aim at the Vava’u,  Tonga island group. Within that group lies the very small island of Okoa, home to Tevita’s mother, brothers, and sister – a total of about 40 families.

This morning, I haven’t received any formal news from the Tevita. However, the Tongan national news details less impact than feared, injuries, but no reported deaths – mostly flooding and downed trees. Praying that when they do establish contact that the news will be good.

Cheers.
Dirk

From the Archives
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Good morning all:

Quotes 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.

Cheers,

Dirk

1/10/2009 08:35:00 AM

One Response to “Ice to Water”
  1. Pieter Pastoor Says:

    sorry to hear about the dishwasher – hopefully all is well now – I’m with Vili – lots of naps after our gang left – cheers