28 February 2012

Tuesday Surprise Church Barbeque and a Recognizance Mission…

Using the standard protocol for the usual southern barbecue, Charlie just brought by two barbeque chicken plates from a local church, a church noted for their delicious endeavors in such classic Southern fare; the church barbeque. He also bought one for Pauline and one for Maggie as well.  I can’t wait to get home and give Maggie some.  She’s going to be so excited when she smells it, but I think chicken bones are a no-no.  I will have to be careful with what the Mag Dawg gets. 

“Show me what you’ve been doing.” Charlie asked he asked after telling us the plates needed to be well heated. He had bought them yesterday or either Sunday he said.

I showed him all our ten newly installed Dell computers that I had proudly hooked up and that I had a say in what was bought.

“He’s good,” Pauline told Charlie off to the side in earshot.   

That really made me blush.  Aw, shucks.

“I knew you would really like and enjoy this volunteer position,” he told me extremely happily as he gave me a “guy hug”.

I was very happy to have this position Charlie had secured for me. I told Charlie that as well. I didn’t tell him that I was looking for a paying gig as I need to start earning income again. We’ll talk about that some other time when it is just me and Charlie and an appropriate time with more privacy. I just need some advice and direction. 

27 February 2012

The Queen of Sighs…

“You want the usual for your groceries tomorrow?” mom asked me over the phone last night as my secretary sighed with emphasis on the task at hand. She sounded upbeat, but was doing some serious fretting last night – fretting with the best.  I can do it, too. Especially during social situations. They can send me reeling in fret and anxiety.

I am also sure she was sitting at her bedroom desk with pen and paper ready to record any retractions or additions. I know she hates to do this task as much as I do as well. She’s a proper super trooper about it, though, and I always, always tell her how much I love her and appreciate her help. Dad says I will spend too much money if I go and that mom doesn’t know how to tell me no. Oh, my father with very little faith in me. You will soon be calling me an emancipated adult.

“Yeah, just get me the usual,” I replied to make it infinitely easy on her. “Oh, and some ketchup. Get a small bottle of ketchup.”

“Your father says I am not giving you enough nutrition in your diet,” mom retorted, very genuinely worried.  “He checks the receipts when I get home. He wants to see what you’re eating”

Oh dear, It would be terrible for dad to be gathering my groceries. I rolled my eyes, but mom couldn’t see it. Dad is always stirring the pot these days –a busy soul to be 65.  Mom will worry about what he said for several if not many days. I had to tell her three times that I was okay. I may just end up eating Lean Cuisine meals in a quarantined padded cell for a month if I am not lucky with regards to dad and my mother as well.

26 February 2012

Food Porn…

Touché! I just had someone dear to me write on their blog that I am participating in “food porn.” I roared out loud laughing, and it scared Maggie to death who was lying on the floor next to me. I guess I am a true Foodie when it is all said and done. I like writing about it, cooking it, thinking about it, and daydreaming about it. Southern food in all its iterations fascinates me the most. So much of Southern food being extremely heavily influenced by the food a Southern cotton plantation and its slaves would eat.  One example is okra which was brought over from Africa by the slaves.

25 February 2012

Welcome to Pleasantville USA…

It is shaping up to being a nice, if chilly, and quite a dark start to the day. Dearest Maggie and I made it on our two mile walk.  Some deer and Maggie met and almost scared each other to death along the way.  My heart sure was pumping furiously as the adrenaline began to flow into my veins as those deer flew out of the bushes.  I am always surprised when there are so many deer within town. I’ve hit two deer with my CR-V in the past few years and both times it happened in broad daylight and in the city limits.

“Don’t worry,” I told Maggie. “That’s as big as the fauna gets around here, not counting Bigfoot.”

Ah, Bless!

Gritty Grits…

Someone on the blog asked about instant grits versus regular grits. This can be a touchy and contested subject, but interesting none-the-less.  Instant grits are quickly cooked then freeze dried and cooked to rehydrate once more again making them lackluster at best but quick within a matter of minutes if you like gritty grits. Real grits are simmered on mild to medium heat and cooked for around 20 to 30 minutes leaving them very rich and creamy and not at all like sand or grit.   A little dap of butter and you have a creamy Southern tradition ready to eat. I personally prefer cheddar cheese on my grits. I will sometimes even crumble bacon into a bowl of grits. Oh, don’t forget the salt to kick up those grits a notch. There is nothing worse than grits not seasoned.

Isn’t polenta the Spanish or Mexican version of grits? I need to try that sometime. I remember it being golden yellow and similar to being congealed.

It’s Getting Quite Comical or Scary?

It happened again last night.   No voices yet. The staccato almost stereo—like sound of rapping on the joists in the attic. It went on intermittently for about an hour. My poltergeist was hard working on a early Saturday morning. I wish I could be so affable to think I have a ghost, but my analytical mind says no.

24 February 2012

Martha On the Road…

Mom was bringing Helen’s Friday meal. She has my Honda while her newer Honda is being fixed cosmetically from all her wrecks lately.  I’ll be glad to get my Precious back! Everyday is a dangerous dance with chaos and cheating death when mom drive’s your car.

 

Meals On Wheels

It is Time For Helen Friday Soon! In the Meantime, Here is a Picture of a Dog on a Sofa…

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Dangerously Dastardly Deluge…

Maggie and I got to the very end of my road this morning starting our two mile walk in the neighborhood when it started to just crazily pour rain without warning. I had noticed how very odd and warm it felt outside, almost clammy with very high humidity, which is usually a big harbinger of rain and storms this time of the year.  The wind was heavily gusting out of the south as well. I should have looked at the radar online most of all before heading onwards noting my error. I took off my jacket and tossed it inside the door on the chair in my den despite my best instincts. I was throwing caution to the wind.

Maggie didn’t want to come in until the very last bright flash of lightning and loud clap of thunder sent us both reeling and running across my yard to the front door. It scared and frightened us both, but I chuckled as well. “Living life on the dangerous side,” I said to Maggie as I laughed upon shutting he front door. I couldn’t help but smile at our little quandary as I tried to catch my breath. It was sort of an unbridled joy kind of feeling – feeling life like it was my very own bucket of oats.

Another Week Under My Belt…

Well? I made it one more week of volunteering after today. This is unprecedented for me.  I am pleased as a Georgia peach to do so despite all the odds being stacked against me. Charlie believed in me.  My father thought I would fail after the second week.  Not a day goes by without my mother asking me about my morning of volunteering as she is very intrigued.  “I just wouldn’t want to have to teach kids again,” my mother told me the other day as we talked. She will often say she wishes she had a job at McDonald's to chase off her blues and boredom – for some spending cash for rainy days.

My Helen, My Dearest Helen, What Southern Culinary Delights are you Treating Us With Today?

“So, what is Helen cooking tomorrow?” I asked my father very inquisitively last night as we sat on my couch.

Dad had just been to Kroger.  Maggie sat between us trying to keep her eyes open to the best of her ability, but it was a losing battle. It was almost 10pm much to my chagrin, she hates to miss out on anything, but she was out like a light and snoring softly when my father left.

“I am having Helen cook Southern style rice, broccoli, and fried cubed steak and gravy,” my father told me. “And I wanted pear salad as well.”

Aren't we so adventurous with our dining habits? LOL It did sound like a delicious meal.  “Your mother will bring your plate around 3PM”  And 3pm feels like it will never get here.

23 February 2012

Don’t Worry! It is Just 4:59am…

My shower certainly felt good and refreshing this morning.  A few years ago, I couldn’t even muster the will to take a bath, shave or take care of myself for that matter. My father was over here every morning trying to jump start what was left of this broken Man. It was a pitiful existence. Depression maybe? Mental Illness? Things are certainly looking better than those grim and dark times.

The shower water was so hot I had to be careful about scalding my skin as we jump back into our adventure. I also love Irish Spring soap and Clubman shampoo immensely. I had a lady at the Center telling me the other day how nice I smelled. 

A Good Morn to You!

The spirits were with us last night all through the night. Bump, creak and moan all evening.  My father didn’t believe me when I told him I was convinced my house was haunted.  “Surely not!” he scoffed as I winced. My father, like me, doesn’t normally believe in the paranormal although my belief is growing within me. It is quite intriguing I must add -- a healthy diversion. A very, very loud slap of noise that made even fearless Maggie jump could be heard in the kitchen as my father asked, “What the hell was that?” I smiled as dad said we need to get the fridge serviced soon.

“Everybody and their grandmother has a camera phone now,” dad said to me adamantly. “Certainly someone would have taken a picture of any of these mysteries by recently!”

I thought that was a very good point and an astute counter argument.  The same argument could be made of extraterrestrials and Bigfoot as well.  I heard a Coast to Coast AM show last year where a guy called in about Bigfoot in a city close to 15 miles from us.   

22 February 2012

Two Tweets and a Side Order of Dawn…

It is a grand 5:34am in the morning. My time of the morning. I am actually awake and semiconscious today. The cold has made it’s darkly solemn and bitter arrival again along with a brisk and biting northerly wind. 

Maggie and I are back on a normal schedule for us whatever normal is. I got up at 4am with Maggie’s help nudging me along and fixed us a good hot breakfast. It was a filing cheese grits (normal grits and not that infamous monstrosity, instant freeze dried grits. Instant grits give grits a bad name.) and buttery toast kind of morning – that’s just so comforting, warm, and filling on this very chilly and cold daybreak.

Then, I sat staring at this computer monitor trying to muster up the will power to create a decent blog post.  Sometimes? The words? They just don’t come easily as other days. “Just go with the flow,” I said to myself and started to type a blog post with Windows Live! Writer to publish. I followed whatever way my mind chose to wander.

I Can Smell Good News Floating on the Wind…

No, it is not flotsam and jetsam. It’s good tidings and joy! Pauline told me very excitedly she might have good news at the end of the week.  She says they are close to hiring an (ESL) English as a second language teacher. That is a very good sign for everyone involved at the Literacy Center as it will be very busy volunteering and will help to justify our costs and budgets.

Casper? Where Are You?

No Poltergeists last night to give me the willies in the dark.  I think I heard one wee little bump in the night from the attic and then I fell asleep.  My otherworldly visitors decided to give me a break I guess. They need to go haunt my neighbors as they argued until after midnight last night. It sounded like I was living in a ghetto with the sound of broken glass and the throwing of clothes out the back door. That certainly got Maggie’s knickers in a twist. Maggie and I both wish we could have voted them off the island.

21 February 2012

Short Post This Fine Morning…

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I am already two hours behind on my and Maggie’s usual daily journeys and our rituals before dawn.  She will have to wait until this afternoon and then we will take a long stroll out and around the neighborhood.  I am now off to make some mesquite smoked and thin shaved turkey sandwiches for brunch.  Sounds interesting doesn't it? I just couldn’t resist the deli late yesterday evening. It was an impulsive purchase. The deli has been known to draw me in like a moth into a flame despite the exorbitant prices. My Memaw used to say that you should eat a large meal before shopping so you won’t buy a lot or impulse buy. She was a really smart lady.

20 February 2012

Tonnage…

Coins flattened on train tracks.The extra busy CSX railroad down from my home had nonstop trains last night and early this morning.  Maggie and I are oblivious to the noise. I want to go rail-fanning with my camera in hand when I get off from volunteering today. This was all getting me excited as if It was music to these railroad attuned ears. 

My father agreed with me that the economy is going gangbusters (let’s all lament the long gone retired railroad caboose, though).  My father said the pharmacy has never been better financially as well.

“Till the moment I open the pharmacy, I don’t get a break until we are locking the front doors for another day.”

Dad and I just don’t believe all the naysayers. Much of the traffic is due to the KIA automobile plant just on the outskirts of town. I hope your town is busy economically as well. This all makes me very enthusiastic and excited about the future. Hopefully it is contagious. There is also a complete deluge of brand new cars and foreign faces around town. Dad said he noticed it the other day as well.

Have you ever put a penny or quarter on the tracks and let a high tonnage freight train roll over it?   It comes out very shiny and and extremely ultra thin. (watch those razor sharp edges!) I want to do that today for a rather familiar and good feeling of nostalgia about my childhood.

19 February 2012

Can’t In All Due Honesty…

Well, I easily got Charlie's “broken” printer from work up and running late last night.  It was a rather simple fix and the printer is fantastic!.  I can’t in due honesty keep it, though.  Not unless I pay for it.  That printer was $350 -- $399 when new looking at certain retailer’s websites last night.  I am going to run it by his house this afternoon and drop it off.  Charlie is going to protest like a crazy madman, but I can have a dogged determination about myself as well. Janice, Charlie’s wife, can put it to good use for recipes and family photos, and other stuff. Her printer now is a rather lacking and lackluster, Hewlett Packard inkjet ink gobbler that sucks at photos. I’ve had no use for a printer until George was last in jail. 

nack

Andrew’s Haunted Manor…

Strangely, all has been quiet on the poltergeist front last night and this early morning. Nary a creak or moan was to be heard.  I guess I should start going through this problem using the scientific method by whittling down the corporeal possibilities. My main theory now is this 30 year old house settling on it’s foundation or temperature fluctuation and contraction from the heat and then cold. That’s what my father said as well nodding his head in agreement.  Mrs. Minnie, an elderly lady, owned this house before Charlie and she died in the back backroom where I sleep. That was really comforting to know after Charlie had blurted that out. The hatch and steps to the attic is also in the walk-in closet of my bedroom.

The Great Wait and the Great Appointed One…

I get up so early that it can be hours before mom and dad start stirring from their Sunday slumbers.  I am ready for a takeout plate of Helen's meal from yesterday. I feel terrible when I call and my mother is woken from her slumber. though. It makes me feel like jerk. I am trying to wait until 9am before I call for her to put that leftover plate out on the porch.

I finally reached mom.  On the porch was a leftover plate of fish and fries, Maggie’s heartworm medicine, some cigar lighters for me, and my new pair of contacts. She also left me a 6 pack of sodas.

18 February 2012

Let’s Begin Again Mr. Saturday…

I slept in until I could sleep no more this morning which was about 7:30am I think.  All of this was accompanied by weird, strange, and surreal dreams and I normally don’t dream much lately.  I was making some scrambled cheese eggs as Maggie ambled in the kitchen, lay down on the floor at my feet, and watched my every move intently.  She was hungry and I still hadn’t woken up yet as well and was yawning which was making me yawn in turn to her deep sighs. We were all really moving slowly at casa de Andrew this morning. Snails would have been giving us one hell of a good race.

“We still haven’t gone for your walk,” I told her smiling with good attempt as her tail started to wag wildly and fiercely with gusto.

Just like you don’t dare say Wal-Mart in front of Horsefly, you can’t say walk in front of Maggie or you are committed to go.

It was rather mild outside which would make for a good and pleasant time to get Maggie’s cherished ritual done -- the walk of the day.  I have found our daily walk to really help with depression as well – the walk and fresh air lifting my spirits as well as Maggie’s.  It’s true that these endorphins released in these endeavors help to perk you up. My new doctor has been trying to convince me of this for weeks.  He didn’t need to tell me something I had already known for the longest time possibly for years.

Helen at Helen’s Best…

imagesHelen cooked her fried fish feast yesterday which was really a nice treat. Dad said he saw some very, very fresh looking catfish fillets in Kroger the night before and bought then.  Helen also cooked her homemade hushpuppies (yum! I can eat twenty of the things in one sitting) as well along with crisp crinkle cut french fries. On another plate were lemon wedges, sliced onions, dill pickles, tartar sauce, and a giant serving of coleslaw. The meal would make Merl of Merl’s diner down the street envious and jealous if she had tried it.

“What did you think of Helen’s meal?” dad asked later that night as we sat on my couch and he perused the latest National Geographic magazine.

Dad was fishing for accolades and good comments. No pun intended. Helen deserved the good words and attention. she is really a cook beyond normal. She puts a little love in her cooking and it makes a difference.

“Her fish didn't taste fishy and muddy as catfish sometimes can,” I replied back to my father. “And she didn’t over fry them.”

“That’s the very same thing I thought of as well,” my father replied, pleased with himself. “There is certainly a secret to the time they should be cooked.”

Living In a Possible Haunted Manor…

hauntedI will be explicitly honest and candid.  I don’t believe in the paranormal, but certain things are going on In my home that are starting to change my mind and my opinion.  I lay on the bed last night in the pitch black dark of night to the sound of Maggie snoring softly next to me.  Last night, the pops, creaks, and moans started again. I’ve had a reprieve for a few days there. They can be an intermittent and loud, sounding like they come from the attic of this old house and only happen in the very dark of the night. It can send your imagination running wild with differing scenarios as you lay there in the dark under the shield of comforters. My heart was pounding my my chest last till until I finally drifted off to sleep.

17 February 2012

The Lasers, They Burn Me…

Charlie stopped by for a very short visit last night.  Horsefly oddly sat in the car listening to classical music so Charlie left the car running at the curb.  My father had just left after taking care of all our nightly rituals like feeding Maggie and giving her fresh water. He was also an ambassador of goodwill if you may last night. One of my father’s cherished employees said my father was too hard on me.

If you are depressed then Charlie will certainly help to perk you up some. He helped bring me out of his miasmic mess I’m currently in. His antics are often hilarious and legendary within the family.  He is such a whirlwind of a busy fellow —  gone about as soon as he gets there.  He was strictly business tonight as well. I still want to know how much he sleeps at night.

“Come out to the car,” he told me, urging me forward out the door. “I’ve got something special for you. I told Janice that I bet Andrew can fix this.”

It was a really nice color laser printer on the backseat and it looked in near pristine condition.

“If you can fix it,” Charlie told me. “Then you can have it. I’ve already bought a new one for work.”

“Ah, a good project to keep me preoccupied tomorrow,” I said excited, wringing my hands in anticipation as I thanked Charlie profusely and shook his hand.

Charlie told me goodbye as he left to take Horsefly bowling and then they would have to get Horsefly’s customary 3pc chicken finger meal at KFC. 

“I swear Horsefly is going to start clucking soon,” Charlie told me many months ago much to my amusement.

Make Your First Step A Good Step…

Due to my helter skelter schedule this week and waking up late, I haven’t been able to walk Maggie that much or like I should.  This mild morning finally broke that trend.  Maggie and I walked all the way down to the elementary school and back.  I laughed heartily when a rather large possum ran across the road in front of us.  Maggie’s leash almost got away from me. She wanted to chase that possum so damn bad it was eating her up. Possums look vicious, but they’re really harmless and not all that terrible. 

16 February 2012

A Fine Misty Day Fit For a February in the Southland…

It was heavily misting rain as I locked the front door to my house as my Maggie barked to send me off. She didn't want me to go as every weekday morning unfolds the same – I am gone for hours. I bet it seems like an eternity to her.

I cranked my car, and headed in for Volunteering. My Honda CR-V was pulling very heavily to the left when I reached the end of the street so I pulled into the parking lot of the Mexican restaurant to check my wheels and tires.  I had a left front flat tire.  “Shi@t!” I muttered loudly and very animatedly to myself as I got busy changing the tire, getting wet, and hoping any heavier rain would hold off.

I had it changed while listening to a few Bjork songs, called Pauline telling her I would be late, and drove to West Point Tire telling them I would pick up the plugged tire after volunteering and near lunch. I then ran by home to get cleaned up and put on a fresh shirt.  I got a lot done this morning and was still only 25 minutes late for volunteering. My hair was disheveled and uncombed, though, for which I tried to settle down with my hand to keep from looking like a wild man. It brought a smile to Pauline’s face.

Brownies of the Vegan kind…

When I think of chocolate brownies, I think of milky chocolate richness and rich milk chocolate morsels.  I think the recipe calls for dark chocolate. I know these Vegan brownies will not have that or I don’t think they will.  So, I am being completely lazy about getting the kitchen dirty and trying them out.  This fit of depression I am in doesn’t help as well as I have no desire to do anything at the moment except to use the computer or sleep.  Hopefully, soon, I will get around to baking them and writing a review.  My Vegan Princess is already inquiring on how they were during our chat last night.  I keep making up excuses as to why I haven't baked them yet. Time is running out.

Brick By Brick…  

images (4)Does anybody else in the Valley area mourn the loss of these old cotton mills?  Part of that mill down from my house was built in the mid to late eighteen hundreds.  Parts and pieces of it fall to salvager’s hands and wrecking balls every day.  This community was once built on and around these huge cotton mills – the glue that kept it all together and powered by the flow of the Chattahoochee.  My only hope is that economy boosting businesses will fill that huge empty space on highway 29. Trivia: The mill below my house partially sent Charlie through college after his stint in Thailand getting the G.I.Bill.

15 February 2012

My Father’s Day Off…

Today is my father’s day off from his bustling and busy pharmacy.  Angie, his most trusted, and hardest working pharmacist, is working today. That will give my father some much appreciated and added peace of mind where he can really and finally relax.

My father will also act like it is no big deal while he is really internally exhausted. He puts on a brave face. You can see it in his eyes. They look tired. Weather permitting, he will probably spend it working in his yard like his mother, my grandmother, would always do over the years. It was kind of a cathartic experience for them both.  It does look like it’s going to be a very mild and a yard work kind of day. The day will end while my father reads a book on the back porch after supper, and then travels over here to help me feed and water Maggie. 

“I would never get bored in retirement,” he said to me the other day with a boastful grin and air of arrogance about him. “There are always plenty of home improvement stuff and jobs to do around here.”

I am pretty sure my father would be bored within a week.  Then he will resort to lots of travel which is more like his style.  I told him he has got to get to Giza to see the great pyramids. Dad spent his childhood drawing pyramids and palm trees -- doodling during class as he dreamed of visiting Egypt some day. 

Computer Zen…

images (3)Writing that title made me grin and think of a good and busy friend in Texas.  I just burned my whole music collection to Blu-ray data discs in thirty minutes. Isn't that not just so awesome? I just absolutely adore technology. It is still hard to find good and fast data discs, though.  The technology is there.  It just has to mature a few more months.  The dual layer discs hold 50 GB per disc, but they are extremely hard to find still.  That’s one of the joys of being a guinea pig and early adopter. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, though.

I am also excited to see a Blu-ray movie on my High Definition monitor.  I am reading rumors that you have to buy more playback software to do this.  Windows 7 doesn't officially support Blu-ray yet.

Mexican Tuesdays…

I don’t know who gets more excited, Maggie or me when my mother pulls up in front of my house. Mom ran by my plate of food from the Mexican restaurant.  Maggie got so excited that she ate most of it.  I am still reeling and feeling under the weather depression wise.  Usually, I would get very excited and take much joy with regards to food and especially our local Mexican restaurant.  Not so last night. I was very subdued. Everything has this dingy, dirty dark tone or pall to it. Winston Churchill would have called this his black dog.

14 February 2012

Let’s Have The Roads More Traveled and for Good Causes As Well…

banner (3) (1)There are putting in a new driveway and parking lot for the new railroad museum in West Point, Georgia.  I grin very broadly every time I drive by there like this morning until my cheeks hurt. My love and fondness for trains induces this little bit of happiness and bliss.  I was headed to Fat Albert’s out on River Road for some hot chocolate and warmed hands before volunteering.  They also got the old 50 foot boxcar rusting out front cleaned, mounted on tracks, and painted for the “Cotton for the looms of West Point” paint scheme. Boy, doesn't that bring back good memories flooding back from my childhood!  Am I getting that old? I guess I am. I will be forty this April 12th. That railroad has been defunct for about that long. 

All was quiet on the parental front last night which was much needed.  Usually, I am eager and itching for conversation before bed having been alone since lunch.  I had a seriously severe case of depression yesterday afternoon that lasted until bedtime. Dad was eager and wanting to talk about addictions and the death of Whitney Houston, but I wasn’t so eager after having such a hard day.  Dad was also very late, 10pm, because he had been sitting down at the pharmacy watching a television show about her life and her addictions in his office.

“The first step into addiction is always the easiest,” I finally told my father breaking my silence, “And almost always the most damning.”

A Mystery it is…

I have an interesting new mystery to discover today.  I’ve noticed all the stores in town are telling customers to get their Mucinex up at the front counter.  Is it that potent? Or are they being shoplifted?  You can probably make Methamphetamines from it is my single and most best guess.  We used to couldn’t sell large quantities of gas line antifreeze when I was one of the managers at AutoZone for that very reason – the meth cookers.

Dentistry: Helen Style… 

“Baby?” Helen boldly asked me nosily after a quick lunch. “What happened to your teeth?”

“They’re Porcelain,” I replied. “That’s why they’re so white up top, and not as shiny and white on the bottom.”

Helen gave me a big heartfelt bear hug.  Dad always says Helen can keep up with her stuff and yours as well if you let her.  Helen can keep up with my stuff any old day. I noticed also how rough Helen’s hands were when we greeted each other. I am sure she has swept a lot of rugs in her days for her hands to get that way.

13 February 2012

Basic Input-Output System…

bios3Why computer companies try to get away with this stuff baffles and troubles me. Does it effect the bottom line that much? Are stockholders and their shares so important? I guess it is just simple greed, but it can really tarnish a companies reputation. I guess the buyer should be as wary, aware, and vigilant as well when researching their purchase. I antagonized for over two weeks selecting the parts for the computer I am writing this with. Then crossed my fingers one more time that they all would work together. That first virgin beep that comes out of the computer when you turn it on is music to the ears.

I had read on a Dell trouble shooting forum this morning that Dell has effectively neutered some computers to get people to buy the “upgraded” and newer, performance enhanced and increased XPS line of computers.  There is a setting in the BIOS that you turn on and you will get a good 20% to 25% increase in speed for the Intel Core i5 and Core i7 line of processors – this is like going from a Celeron to a full fledged Pentium4. So, now I have something to do today for four hours of volunteering. That’s the good part and the time will fly by.  My assumption and fears that these new computers were running rather slow and sluggish was right. 

No Time to Walk Today…

It is already almost 6:30am and Maggie and I have yet to go on our walk.  Maybe, we can go after lunch. Amazingly, I will miss it as much as Maggie will as I have grown accustomed to the ritual. I also need to go start cooking breakfast or Maggie and I will certainly dragging our feet by midmorning. Maggie keeps running over to the piano with the hopes that I will grab the leash. I got down on the rug to give her a big heartfelt hug and a very vigorous back scratch, and she fell asleep in my lap in mere moments.  Ah, Bless! It’s a tough job being the sole guardian of all her stuff and mine, and our house, what resides inside it, and our environs. That’s a wide scope of things to guard and to protect. Oh, and don’t forget about all those damned cats out there! Felines! Be gone!

Monday, Sweet Monday. Mondays Are My Favorite Day of the Week…

images 5You know you don't have too much excitement in your life when your Mother buying your groceries every Monday afternoon makes you giddy and delirious with excitement. It is the highlight of my week. 3pm will seem like it will never get here as well as mom gets her hair done first at 1:30pm.  I keep trying to get mom to buy the “Carving Board” line of sandwich meats as they are rather expensive.  She never remembers or, at least, forgets along the way.  All other sandwich meat completely and totally pales in comparison. I’ve tasted the sweet water and now I am back at the well for more.

Elusive Dreams and Big Desires…

I am a big and unabashed daydreamer often losing lengthy moments to minutes in this pastime. This morning I am dreaming of that .77 cent can of Vienna sausages for lunch Maggie and I will be having when I arrive home. Maggie goes nuts for her fair share and is very bold in letting you know. I always heat them for a few seconds in my microwave.  I am also dreaming of Krispy Kreme chocolate glazed doughnuts and gourmet coffee. I don’t dare upset mom asking for these changes, though.  That would upset the delicate balance of the force.  we can’t have always what we want, now can we?

12 February 2012

Our First Daffodils of Spring are Here!

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The School of Hard Knocks and Even Harder Lives…

imagesI am up at dawn on a day I don’t have to volunteer.  Did I fail or win at the hard knocks school of life? I think this is pretty awesome, though, but me and the Mag-dawg managed to get in a very abbreviated walk.  I think the temperature is in the mid-twenties outside, but the brisk wind made things seem so much colder. She’s a sweetheart and was very ready to go.  “You really want to go that bad, don’t you?” I asked the Mag-Dawg as I kneeled down to her to rub her head and tie my tennis shoes. I then zipped up my snow ski jacket, tethered Maggie to her harness and leash as she wiggled excitedly, and off we went.  Each street light was like an oasis in the pitch black dark of night which I enjoyed. There was a stark beauty/etherealness to it all in the sodium halide.  It would be another hour or two before the magical hour started, light peered over the horizon, and nature awoke for another day. I often wonder how these animals make it through such a harshly cold night like last night. Especially getting into the deep freeze that is our more northerly states.  Maggie had her fill and I was now ready for my warm casa aka Andrew’s abode.  We were shortly headed home to warm up in a matter of minutes.

Is Today Like Yesterday or The Day Before?

“Just Pour some A-1 sauce on it and I will eat it!”

That was my rally cry when I was much younger than now.  It is a good thing that my taste buds have matured somewhat (although I’ve been known to like the occasional piece of candy). I was so smitten by Helen’s ground sirloin patties and onion gravy, that I called Helen this morning to get her recipe before she headed to church.  It takes a lot to get me talking on that damned infernal contraption due to my social anxieties. So, that’s what is on the stove for lunch today.  Helen said the longer you cook the patties on low heat, then it will make the patties much, much more tender and the gravy thicker. Fork tender were Helen’s exact words.

“Cook the gravy/roux with the patties after frying the sirloin,” Helen told me. “As ground sirloin can be kind of dry and bland without some help.” 

On the Vegan Menu…

This afternoon or tomorrow, I am going to try my hand at making some Vegan brownies and peanut butter cups. Sounds good doesn’t it?  I want my first toe into the water to be a good one. images (2)

11 February 2012

I’ll Be the First to Say I am a Very Meat and Potatoes Kind of Guy…

Meat And PotatoesBut I am also adventurous as far as the kind of cuisine I will eat. I much prefer authentic Asian food the most for which I blame my ex-wife. She and I would just drive to Atlanta on a whim to check out new and interesting looking Asian restaurants. Sushi Huku was one of the best Asian restaurants we discovered in Atlanta and I found it on the internet. It got glowing reviews. I created a monster as Rachel wanted to go every weekend after that. I kind of enjoyed it as well, but we won’t tell her that.   

Do Veganism and Fudge Go Together?

imagesMy Vegan Princess emailed me some of her easiest and most tastiest Vegan dessert recipes to try this morning. You can’t even find most of this stuff like fresh mint in a grocery store here in town was my first reaction.  Watch the price tags be ridiculous as well I mumbled tersely to myself like an old killjoy and curmudgeon. So, in my own good natured way I will try a few Vegan recipes this weekend by her request. It will be like a treasure hunt. I hope I am pleasantly surprised.  I will probably have to drive all the way to Auburn, a big college town down the interstate, to find some of these ingredients, though.  Wanderlust is urging me ever onwards. Curiosity as well. I’ll try anything once and will give my good Vegan friend the benefit of the doubt.

The Neighborhood Got Very Busy Late Last Night…

We got the blue light special. My neighbor, the anesthesiologist, house alarm went off late last night around midnight. Maggie got to barking ever louder and louder as I quickly pulled on some shorts and socks on and then turned on all my outside lights. Charlie made sure my yard would light up like a guard tower guarding by the number of lights outside. The police arrived across the street looking in all the windows with flashlights and soon the good doctor arrived as well in his gorgeous midnight blue Infinity sedan. They seem to be living in another house in town. I think they are going to “flip” this house with house prices so deflated and when the real estate market rebounds. They sure have got it looking much better.      

Who Made Old Man Winter So Mercilessly Angry?

images (1)We’re having one of the more bitingly harsh northerly winds I can remember having in a very long time. There are reports of flurries/snow throughout the South as well. The brisk wind blowing across your naked face feels like icy daggers into your tender flesh. I have to go pick up a big plate of leftover food that Helen made for me yesterday.  Mom is impatient for me to come and get it and has called twice. I guess there is no time better than now to make that cold brave run to my car and off we go.

10 February 2012

A Day With Seemingly Nothing To Do…

It is just one of those drab, overcast, and winter days with nothing much to do. Every thing is a shade of grey including my mood.  Not a single soul has come into the computer lab for over an hour. I am not complaining, though, mind you. I’ve been keeping myself focused and trying to stay awake with busy work to pass the time.  I still keep nodding off, though, with eyelids seemingly made of lead.

One job today was getting all that preinstalled junk software off the computers that all new Dell computers come preinstalled with. I had to uninstall these programs and clean up any messes.  You can get Dell to not install all this extra software being added on a new computer, but I was late to that party when we ordered these machines.  I never saw that checkbox.

Do You Like Peas With Your Carrots? They Do Go Exceptionally Well Together…

The title to this post came when I was thinking about small talk as I started writing this.  I then talked to one of the volunteer tutors/mentors, a very pretty older woman with a heart of gold, We spoke at the coffee machine at the Literacy Center for the longest time. She is having empty nest syndrome she thinks and fears.  “I just grow about crazy at the house with nothing to do all day!” she told me. “And I abhor yard work.” Her youngest daughter left for college last summer. She taught English for 20 years. I told her that the predicament she feels caught in is not only for older parents. “I get stir-crazy as well sometimes,” I told her trying to make her smile. “My grandmother would call this as having ants in your pants. Agitated,” I told her.  She smiled back quickly and broadly in agreement.

Lasagna In, Lasagna Out…

Maggie amused me very early this morning with some of her more unusual and more interesting comical antics.  Maggie was so smitten with her leftover lasagna that she wanted to carry it outside and bury it. Maggie burying her food is like a tribute to the chef. I was sitting in the kitchen eating my lasagna when Maggie come toodling by with her plate of lasagna dragging it to her dog door. Maggie, as hard as she tried, never could get that plate of food out that dog door. I shouldn’t laugh as she made a minor mess that I had to clean up as I opened up the back door and letting her out, but it was funny.

Something Delicious is About to Happen…

I never got out of dad what Helen has in store for us today on our Friday meal.  I thought he said baked chicken.  That sounds delicious to me for a change.  If I could only pray for Helen’s macaroni and cheese, then someone is surely looking down upon me with favor and good nature.

Addendum: Helen cooked ground sirloin patties with an onion gravy, biscuits, baked beans with crumbled bacon, and a baked potato We also had a green salad with Ranch dressing on the side.

09 February 2012

Italian Cuisine Overload…

Sometimes, I get so very tired of my standard fare diet – lots of sandwiches, hotdogs, cereal and stuff.  Another first world problem that seems silly to be thinking that way or bitching about it. We’ve tried healthier foods, but it bum fuzzles mom’s brain. My mother gets me the same thing over and over like groundhog day being every Monday. She is in her comfort zone doing it her way. I should just acquiesce and tell mom thanks for helping .

I drove to the grocery store yesterday evening to get the ingredients to cook my lasagna. I hadn’t cooked it in many years.  It was my mother’s recipe and I’ve made some mostly minor changes like using a ricotta/parmesan cheese layer, instead of using cottage cheese.  Maggie was, as always, underfoot as as my sous chef.  I prepared it and put it in the oven. It was a long 45 minute cooking time until it was ready.  I was not disappointed by any means. The lasagna is even better on the second or third day. Maggie and I will be having lasagna for breakfast a few times this week it seems.

Working On That Train?

We had a Hobby Town USA in Opelika a few years ago. I was extremely overjoyed that we had a place nearby to buy local Modal Railroading supplies. YEA! TRAINS! The owner always said “working on that train?” every time I checked out. It began to aggravate me as he never got new stock in.  I quit going because he would never get anything new or interesting.  I pretty much bought out his Model Railroading stock single handedly.

08 February 2012

Time for Some Colon Health…

Sounds disturbing and invasive doesn’t it? Even when you say the health part, it still sounds something terrible and ominous. Today is mom’s colonoscopy early this morning.  I don’t envy her of that procedure at all.  Any procedure where they have to knock you out and then go spelunking up your anus is not of my liking. She had one scheduled a few weeks back, but she forgot about the fasting overnight, drank some cranberry juice, and they had to change the appointment. Dad and I keep being amused as an inside joke that her eyes soon will glow soft red and that she is going to be the next bionic woman shortly after she is fitted with her indestructible admantium steel endoskeleton.

Doing Car Donuts in the Church’s Parking Lot…

How’s that for unbridled joy?  Even though I am mostly a homebody, I have sorely missed my two precious cars these past few days.  Just the mere freedom of driving down to Fat Albert's and getting their .86 cent “Big Gulp” gigantic soda has been missed something deeply. I know, I know, It is a first world problem and I should just feel blessed of merely having two very dependable vehicles to get about in. I still keep thinking this is come weird ruse by my father to keep me from driving. 

Rooms More Traveled…

I think Maggie gets perturbed when I am in the computer room writing and browsing away.  She will come in shortly to check on me and for a quick back scratch.  She then goes back to the back bedroom to curl with my covers, or then the den with the enticing sofa. Oh yea, she not getting into any hurry at all by the way. The computer room is my favorite room in the afternoon -- shod with sunlight coming from the South facing window. A cat would love to sleep in the corner on that bed in those sunbeams.

07 February 2012

Who Needs Car Insurance? I Do!

“Remember?” my father said this morning very, very sternly. “You can’t drive.  Let me have both keys to your cars just in case you forget like just now.”

I had just called to tell my mother to put my Cokes on the back porch at 7am.  I had forgotten our little conversation with my father last night that my car insurance coverage had lapsed.  At first, I thought it was some kind of mad, strange, and controlling ruse by my father to further corral me.  The bill for both cars still goes to my father’s pharmacy address even though I have been paying them. That will change. Luckily, it is only a fifteen to twenty minute walk to volunteering.  My new coverage goes into effect tomorrow. You don’t realize the comfort and freedom a car provides unless you have to go without one for a few days. We live in a crazy car-centric society and nation.  Sidewalks are sadly and slowly becoming in disrepair and a thing of the past.

“Surprise! Surprise!” as Gomer Pyle would say. Aren’t I easily excitable? About 30 minutes later my father pulled over in his car in front of my house and loudly blew his horn. He wanted to me to walk out to his car so I could get my Cokes and some cigarettes.  This good will would never even entered my father’s mind a few years ago. It was a very welcomed surprise. Things must surely be getting better between my father and I.

More of My Vegan Princess…

“So what did you do this weekend?” my Vegan Princess asked me this morning via our cellphones which is a new development.

“Well,” I replied with lots of bridled restraint and then unbridled joy. “I smoked crack which led to more crack and then even some more crack after that!”

My Vegan Princess roared with laughter. 

“Your joking, right?” she then asked as she grew very, very serious.

There was a very long and silent pause and then a lull.

“Yeah, I am just pulling your leg,” I responded and then roared with laughter myself.

It turns out she lives 4 hours away on the Gulf of Mexico.  I don’t think I want to drive such a long way away barely knowing someone. She asked me to come down sometime soon. 

06 February 2012

My Blog Patron Day of Thanks…

My blessings go out to all of you on this fine day -- my good friends and comrades. My father astutely and often reiterates the very true fact last night that the more you give out then the more you will likely earn back tenfold or more. I am learning this slowly -- this little bit of timeless wisdom and I am taking some time today to thank all of you who are with me even in silence such as Grannie and others.  I can also be so introverted and it can fail me comments wise and socially. My Achilles heel. There are also those quiet souls who just want to read and who are a joy to receive a comment from when I am not feeling so paranoid about them.  To you, my friends, let the warm sun shine down upon you this day and tomorrow as we have our little Indian summer.  It is going to be a beautiful day according to the national weather guessers. Let’s get out and make this a day to remember! I can’t do it without you all and your support along the way. I certainly couldn’t have gotten this far in life in recent years where some of you have given me a helping hand and then propped me up when I was faltering as well.     

05 February 2012

Interesting Electronic Mail…

I had an interesting, almost scary, and somewhat enticing email this morning from the department manager of my past place of employment.  They wanted me to come back to work 3rd shift on a test and trial basis – ninety days and I would be fulltime.  I was so crazy that during that whole time in my life it was a blur—that last time I finally got laid off I assumed I couldn’t do my duty and that they fired me. I thought it was a very cruel and mean joke at first until I could truly verify its veracity. The money was very enticing as well, but volunteering at the Literacy Center is where I am at home, and the most comfortable and the most needed.  The Literacy Center volunteer position was also a serious godsend when Charlie urged me to take it and I wouldn’t have gotten that volunteering position without him.  I am just going to stay where I am now and sow my wild oats here.  I’ve got my big toe in the water and it is about warm enough to jump in for a swim, though.  Baby steps, dear Andrew. Baby steps. Remember? Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Unorthodox Breakfasts…

Ah, bless!  Maggie was licking her chops as I opened a can of spicy mustard infused sardines this early morn. She watched my every move at such stinky goodness which to her must smell like the nectar of the gods. I call it Maggie’s on the crumb patrol. Maggie also took a stoic, stonewall, and serious face and stance.  The goal was to eat them with crackers and Louisiana hot sauce this morning.  I’ve still got some of that bumbling bit of crass college student or bachelor in my past from quite a few years ago to justify such an unorthodox breakfast. I am also out of junk food until tomorrow afternoon.

Springtime in the City…

“Have you been outside today?” I asked with awe as my father and I talked on our cellphones around lunch. 

“I am fixing to get outside and enjoy it! Isn’t this day so beautiful?” dad replied with an ecstatic sounding air to his voice. “A few hours of working in the yard will be good for my soul and yours as well.”

Dad was getting busy making chicken salad after I got off the phone.  Dad rarely eats it, but my mother loves it so he does it for her.  Dad wants me to come and taste it after it has chilled for a few hours. I will say dad’s chicken salad is some pretty crackelious stuff.

03 February 2012

Chomp! (And no, I am not talking About Noam Chomsky)

Today marked another Helen Friday passed. One out of many countless before it and another for which the sun will cease to shine above afterwards soon. Today also marks another day that I was too ravenously hungry to take the time to put up a photo. As is usual, and more often than not, Dad wanted his beloved baked ham steak.  The ham was actually good to me for a change.  Am I becoming a ham lover’s convert?  Did you know Helen cooks her ham steak marinated in Coca-Cola for a few hours? You should try it some time. It may actually surprise you.  Helen’s creamed potatoes and buttery yams were par excellence as well. We will go with less scrutinizing in thumbs down for the cornbread. Helen needs a good cornbread makeover. I want Helen’s angel biscuits next week. I doth protest too much as well.

I Don’t Know What to do! Count me in as Conflicted…

It’s getting close to the time my father usually visits.  I am sure nigh is the time he is driving from has pharmacy as he talks on his cellphone. I am so dog-tired weary I can barely stay awake being close to 9PM as I wake up so early.  My eyelids feel like lead that I am losing a battle with keeping from closing. How to change these late visits is what I have no clue or acumen for.   My father is such the dominative type. I guess this sounds like fodder for the therapist if you ask me. I see Barbara next week.  She will get an earful I assure you.

For Breakfast’s and Brevities Sake…

Short and quick post this morning as I am hurriedly getting ready for volunteering after Maggie's walk. I slept very well last night – falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Don’t you love it when things work out so well and for the best? I think I lay in the bed in the same spot and didn't move until I was awakened by Maggie to turn on the heat. Inside my humble home was a very brisk and frigid feeling 68 degrees.  I didn’t want to move myself or make a run to the thermostat escaping my toasty comforter. I was thoroughly entrenched in my bed and Maggie was as well.

I have to start teaching “Computers as a tool for gaining employment and writing a successful resume” starting today.  I am very nervous, but I have to remember that most people started at some humble bottom point in life and grew upon those humble aspirations and goals. This will be the third time I’ve taught this class. It gets easier every time even though I might have a misguided participant and a heckler or two.

Well, let me get some breakfast started primarily for Maggie’s benefit at least and get my brunch prepared as well.  Around 10am I am about ravenously hungry lately. This morning we are having scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, and grits.  That sharp Cracker Barrel cheddar I had mom get me on grocery day will taste great with this meal, the grits and the scrambled eggs.

02 February 2012

It was Ultimately Inevitable…

Just the night before, my father and I were talking in my den about this very same subject. The time was about nigh that my mother needed a driver on her forays around town.  A traditional “Driving Mrs. Daisy” type of situation if you're familiar with that movie that was set in the South. Mom goes three times a week to get her hair done at Rhonda’s Beauty Shop and then does all the grocery shopping for my father and I. She also has her many and varied health care and dentist appointments. “She is duly appointed,” my father will say with a chuckle

“Do you think she will agree with it?” dad asked me of my mother.

Dad had already gotten that look of desperation and exasperation upon his face.

“I will bet you a hundred bucks that she would love a driver,” I replied to my father very optimistically.

My mother had another wreck in her new Honda yesterday.  Mom called me crying and pleading with me not to tell my father. I told her not to say anything to the police or admit guilt and that I would be right over where the wreck was -- just a few blocks over.  Mom was trying to bring me my new prescription dandruff shampoo when it happened. 

The damage really was nominal mom was glad to hear.  It was nothing that couldn’t be fixed without $250 or under. Mom said I was the best person she had seen in years when I pulled up, though, and took over for her.  I’ve known that feeling many times as well – that feeling of the cavalry has arrived when you are in and over your head.  It looked like someone has just punched a hole in the rear deck of mom’s car. Mom said she then put the car in reverse and hit the car behind her trying to get out of the way of the car before her which she had just hit as well.  Did you get that? I am still confused. A two for one wreck if you will.

The Lithium Ion is a Metallic Salt?

I almost just started to regal you all in Jimi Hendrix's Manic Depression.

Later this morning found me at the hospital in Valley for blood work. In the lobby with me was one lady who seemed as ancient as time, and her doting husband.  I hate this shi@t as they are always surly, mean, and always take their time. Who knew something could be slower than molasses?  I would much rather be volunteering, but mom has been driving me increasingly crazy about getting this done – the dutiful secretary and mother she is. I have to wait in two different waiting rooms on different floors to be seen and then to get my blood drawn and taken. 

01 February 2012

After Many Mild Mornings, the Biting Cold Returns…

Maggie and I set out on our walk extra, extra early this morning.  I woke up to use the bathroom and was wide awake afterwards. I lay in the bed for a short time and just decided to get up and get going. It must have been around 3am when we left my front door into the dark gloom facing us.  I regretfully have to report that the viciously brutal cold and biting wind was back with gusto.  We’ve had so many nice and warm mornings lately in-between these seasonal changes. We walked much faster than usual today as well anxious to see how Maggie fared.  She did great. I mainly just wanted to stay warm by keeping up the pace.  Maggie wanted to take in all the early morning sights and sounds. She was really protective of me this morning as well and I told her I would growl and bark for her too.  I had on my super nice fleece pullover that I washed last night via the washer and it was still fluffy and warm from the dryer, It smelled great and was much needed comfort on our chilly walk.

Be a Man and Don’t Use People…

I’m not much to toot my own horn or brag, but this guy just gets my goose. “The Homeless Guy” was remarking proudly on his thirtieth year after becoming homeless the other day.  I would tell him to be a man and don’t use people should be his next shining improvement.  Oh, and being homeless is so not cool! So many people have put and poured so much time, money, and effort into the guy it is amazing.  He is always back to square one sitting in another coffee shop with his laptop. I’ve told myself many times about the guy that I have learned how to be a 1st class lout and could make it homeless easily. He say’s it is hard.  I don’t think sitting all day with your laptop on the Internet to be hard.

Calls of Concern…

“Did Johnny call you?” my mother asked me last night via the phone as I lie on my side on the rug covering the floor putting a bird feeder together that my sister bought for me the other day.

“No,” I responded. “Why?”

“He was going to tell you how sorry he was about all the anxiety he caused for you,” mom  told me. 

“Interesting,” I said as I leaned up from the floor to put the phone down. “The fickle winds of change surely have changed quite vastly lately. Dad would never think of doing such a thing months ago.

Well, it is 7:00 am and time to get ready for volunteering.  I just know I am going to need a very long nap when I get home around lunch. It is going to feel so nice.  I think I might get take out Korean as well this afternoon.