Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's Sunday again!

Her car...and my livlihood!

My car ($800 seven years ago; it had 219,000 on it then, it's at 289,000 now)-

Another photo from last Sunday's birthdays at the park-

and just to leave you laughing; it had rained the night before, I have two pair of shoes (one for work and one for the treadmill) and wasn't about to follow Caleb through the mud!

Happy Photo Sunday!


Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Variable Feast!

Two days off!

Since my wife was off yesterday and the car couldn't go back to the shop because it was pouring, I actually got a chance to cook yesterday before work! I did my first "stir-fry" ever.

I had bought a wok a month or so back with the intent of learning how after reading a recipe that Boo had put up, along with being intrigued by learning that "style" of cuisine. For my first I cheated, though; it was a Bird's Eye brand "Broccoli and Beef" stir fry I had sampled at Costco and really liked. My better half thought it was OK but not something she'd want often...

Today's dinner was supposed to be a new pork chop recipe I found during the week (I have Yahoo Recipes and Epicurious on my Yahoo start page). (Cut and paste, sorry!)

Qty. Measurement Description

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 rosemary sprig, chopped or
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper

6 center cut pork loin chops

Cook:15 minutes (cooking time)


Mix the oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, and brush on the pork chops. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat the grill.
Grill the chops for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Let the chops rest on a plate for 1 or 2 minutes before serving.

Sounded simple and easy, like my "go to" Italian marinade I've shared before. I think this would work on chicken as well, and probably veggies and mushrooms, too, just like the Italian marinade.

Sadly, I dug through both freezers last night at 4 am and couldn't come up with any chops, and I'm supposed to be thinning down the stuff in the freezer for the next few weeks (it has been rather hard to find a place to put things lately), so tonight will be "country style pork" with "the family rub" recipe I shared before and probably some carmelized onions and a salad.

I sat up last night digging through cookbooks and found a honey chicken stir fry I was going to try for Sunday. When she called home at noon I was told to call our oldest and see if he and his wife would like to come for dinner tomorrow on his "real" birthday, so I'm glad I hadn't taken the chicken out to thaw yet!

I will say, I was never a fan of broccoli until yesterday! Dad being a meatcutter, we grew up on "meat and potatoes" and vegetables were only something you ate to get "to the good stuff". Mom's idea of salad dressing was cooking oil and vinegar, so until I went in the Navy I never had a real "knockout" chef's salad. (The mess hall at Cubi Point air base, in the Philippines, December 1973...3 kinds of lettuce, two kinds of cheese, diced ham...I can still "taste" it!)

My wife is telling me how "my taste buds" have changed since I've lost all this weight, and perhaps that is a bit of it, but learning how to fix things "the right way" probably has a lot to do with it!

I used to feel sorry for Grandpa Fritz, because in trying to cook healthily after he had his stroke, Grandma boiled everything. She cooked lots of chicken, but it was always boiled. Hers was the only house I ever tried Brussels Sprouts or cauliflower at, and haven't tried them since. My team leader has convinced me to try grilling them, and also cauliflower so before the summer is out, I'll give them another try!

Off to make a phone call and figure out what I'm fixing tomorrow! I'm betting it's steaks and portabellas on the grill if he says they'll come (he gets to pick). He already told Dottie he wants an apple pie instead of a cake (her specialty, I use canned filling so far anyway).



Friday, April 28, 2006

Sorry about yesterday's rant...

Sometimes the greed just gets to me!

My wife is off today, sadly I'm not. Frankie gets to come home from becoming an "it", her car goes back to the shop for the 2 moldings that were backordered from the hail damage repair (a 15 minute switch they said); there's also the bank and shopping and then I have to work tonight.

But I get a two day weekend...and some time in the kitchen!


Hope each of your weekends are lovely!


Thursday, April 27, 2006


So many zeroes! When I hear numbers like that I wonder "how much is that, stacked up in 20's"? Would it fill my living room? A semi-trailer? A boxcar?

At midnight my NPR station switches to the BBC news; their lead story last night was that an arrest warrant had been issued in South Korea for the chairman of Hyundai motors for embezzling one hundred million dollars! They said that the son of the president of Kia had already been taken into custody in a related matter!

It's probably wrong of me to say, not knowing how much the man's annual wage is, but here that would be considered a reasonable compensation it seems by most of the major corporations. I remember when Roger B. Smith (ex-CEO of GM, he of Michael Moore's "Roger & Me") got 140 million in the early 80's, plus stock options for twice that; meanwhile I was spending as much time laid off as working, and no, I didn't get the 95% they are always complaining about as I didn't have 10 years seniority at the time! Probably only about half of the 5,000 of us that worked at my plant did have enough time to collect their SUB pay.

So if you took even half of Roger B.'s 140 million and translated into today's dollars, somehow I bet it would cover the 300 million they lost last quarter...let alone the stock options!

I remember being very impressed the first time I toured "Ben and Jerry's" while we were visiting my wife's family in Vermont. When they founded their company, besides being very environmental in their approach, besides being very locally focused as far as everything they used, Ben and Jerry also made sure the wage difference between themselves and the lowest employees was only 20:1! When they finally sold the company several years ago they stipulated that all of the environmental, wage and locally produced stuff had to remain in place, or they get the company back.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if a few more people grew a conscience?


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The best laid!

I had planned to come home last night and upload some pictures from the birthday party; instead, by the time I uploaded the memory card there were storms moving in, and I wasn't taking any chances. Tonight I came home and burned my back up disc.(Always, before you Photoshop anything, just in case you click "save" instead of "save as"!)

It's 3:44AM now, I planned to be in bed an hour ago, but again, the best laid plans...

The party was wonderful, a good time had by all. Football, baseball, bicycles, food, presents, it wasn't too hot, it wasn't cold or raining (until after we were all home). We used to do these at the county park when the boys were younger, then in high school they lost their enthusiasm for them. (Something about no video games, I think!) Now with little ones around again, it was a hit!

Hope you all are doing wonderfully, I'll spend the next few days catching up with each of you!


Friday, April 21, 2006

Recipe Saturday...

A prepost, as I work today and the family party for my son's birthdays is tomorrow.

I haven't tried a lot of new things of late; too much work and not enough time! I attempted the "Ham and Sage Frittata" from "The Silver Spoon" last Monday when I was off, but with 6 eggs in a 12" skillet, it ended up being an omelette.

I've tried grilling aspargus twice now; the first time it was just tossed in olive oil with salt, and OK but not great. The 2nd time I used the Italian Marinade I put up on the first Recipe Saturday and I loved it. My wife still likes canned asparagus better, but said this was OK.


Italian Marinade

1/4 cup lemon juice (or orange juice, though I've never tried it)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 envelope of "Good Seasons" Italian Salad Dressing mix
3 Tbsp. of Vodka (optional, have never tried it)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Legends and Heroes

Some of you might have heard on Thursday about the death of Scott Crossfield, one of the great "test" pilots of all time. Though there have been a good many "great ones" over the years Jimmy Doolittle, Chuck Yeager, Tex Johnston, and Scott Crossfield would have to be on any top ten list. There was a lady as well, who should have been among the first astronauts, named Jackie Cochran.

Yeager is now the only surviving member of that elite...

Perhaps I spent way too many hours watching Discovery's "Wings" channel before it became "The Military Channel", perhaps it's my infatuation with aircraft since my childhood, but I've seen a lot of footage of these men, I read their exploits in my youth and was fortunate enough to see them telling their own stories on "Wings" over the last few years.

Crossfield was the first man to fly twice the speed of sound, among other things. Yeager went out not long after and bested it to almost 2.5 times. They had quite a rivalry, Yeager being the military's pilot, and Crossfield being the civilian representing what became NASA.

NPR's reminiscence included a story about one of the two X-15 fires Crossfield survived; when he put the burning plane down it's "back" broke and he couldn't open the canopy to get out. His mechanic got to it and was trying to get him out, flames burning both inside and outside the aircraft. Crossfield, enveloped in flame in the tiny cockpit was trying to shoo the mechanic away because the man was getting burnt in trying to get him out!

Most every aircraft you've ever seen or flown in owes something to these men who took those things that were dreamt up on drawing boards, before computers, out to see if they worked, and if they didn't tried to figure out why. So many things we take for granted were first checked out, made "right" and improved by them.

Now, when a computer can tell you if it will or won't work before you ever build it, it might seem "crazy" to risk your life that way. Our lives are very safe and sane-thanks to these legends and heroes!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter (Photo) Sunday

Intended to go up before midnight last night...hope I'm forgiven! We stayed at my son's house a bit later than I'd planned on!

My younger son turned 27 yesterday; this is John as we were waiting to begin the "Great Egg Hunt".

My daughter-in-law Noel had chosen a ranch theme for our grandkids outfits this year.
Left to right are Caleb, Talia and Dillon in their front yard.

A great time was had by the grandchildren and the grown ups during the proceedings. There were some unusual hiding places this year, as Caleb figured out when his Uncle Bill (my older son, 28 in two weeks) got involved!

Just before we found the last of the eggs a pair of real Easter cottontails showed themselves! One slipped away to hide next to the house, the other stayed "hidden" in the grass where it's "Mama" had left it.

Before the last of the eggs and carrots were found, Dillon decided it was time to refuel a bit.

A beautiful day, and a wonderful time. Hope each of you had a great holiday as well!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Recipe Saturday (you might not agree!)

A while back Dr. Deb did a meme and listed her favorite snack foods as chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.

That's one of my "demons"; potato chips (particularly Ruffles) are one of the other main ones. Over the course of the last year I've found a few ways to deal with them, even if I can't totally slay that 2nd one yet!

As I started weight training and reading about it, I discovered protein shakes. A Sport-Pharma Vanilla that they sell at Costco is my usual breakfast if Dottie's at work. I can add a banana, or blueberries or strawberries to it; I usually make it with water and ice cubes in a "smoothie" cup that is an accessory for my blender. If I'm really trying to lean down, sometimes one is lunch as well. Depending on how much time I have in the afternoon before work, some days I have a small salad and a 1/2 chicken breast (Sam's has some mesquite flavored ones I really like).

In slaying the "fast carb" monster, after having changed to a good whole wheat bread, wheat pastas, rice pastas, etc., I discovered wheat tortillas. In a fitness magazine I read about using them instead of bread to make chicken wraps etc, since they are actually a "slower" digesting carb than even most breads, also if you shop around, lower in calories. I've been buying 20 packs at Sam's Club.

My treat with them is to nuke one for 20 seconds, spread just enough margarine on it to moisten it and sprinkle it with cinammon and "spoonable" Equal. Two of them are pretty filling and make a nice low carb low cal dessert (for me anyway).

My chocolate fix I get most nights when I come home from work in the form of another protein shake, but instead of "whey" protein, it's a soy chocolate "meal replacement" that comes from Sam's Club (Nature Made brand). Water and ice cubes and the smoothie cup again, with two scoops of the mix is 110 calories, 3 is still less than 200 calories. It's not the greatest tasting thing (I'd love to go back to a 1/2 cup of Quik in a 20 oz. glass, or even a cup of it in a quart of milk), but it gets me by...

For a more decadent treat, evey now and then I let myself have a can of Instone's Chocolate Pudding. It's a high protein chocolate pudding made by a company that Sylvester Stallone started (also comes in vanilla and banana cream, but chocolate is the best!) and available at GNC among other places. Rich enough with really good flavor, though not cheap (catch it on sale the first week of each month with a GNC gold card for just over a buck a can).

I had been buying Haagen-Daaz Light "Cherry Fudge Truffle" and love it dearly, along with a Dutch chocolate; both really good ice cream, even if they're called "light". The cherry fudge truffle I love so much I had trouble rationing myself, so last week at Costco I bought some "Skinny Cow" ice cream sandwiches. 140 calories each, so far I've managed to stop at one, though tonight I thought about it a while after that first one...

Working second shift, my sandwich is my evening meal. I carry blueberries in my lunch now for my after sandwich snack, a banana for my last break, and an applesauce or some grapes or cherries for an extra snack. I eat a Dannon "Lite and Fit" yogurt at 1st break. I haven't been in a vending machine for almost a year (the last week of April will make a year since I went back to work after my back injury. I weighed 288 when I hurt myself, 258 when I went back, I'm down to 193 now).

That sandwich is whole wheat bread with lettuce and either some shaved ham or turkey, or sometimes turkey pastrami; about 300 to 340 calories. I bought a little digital scale at Bed Bath and Beyond to weigh things with in the beginning, 'til I got used to how much was how many calories. I used a web site called Calorie Lab to get the numbers. Now I judge pretty well without it, though I still check myself now and then.

In the beginning I was logging everything and trying to hold about 1300 calories a day. Once I hit 200, I've let that creep to 1600 to 1700 a day. The weight loss has slowed, but since I'm still working out the inch sizes are still going down. I went into winter at 36", I'm at 34" now and they are starting to loosen a bit.

Not meaning to bore anyone, or try to "ruin" the wonderful Recipe Saturday tradition that Blogzie started, but thought I'd throw the tortilla thing and some other ideas out there for anyone that was looking for a way to enjoy all these wonderful things we're finding and "make up for it" later in the week!

When I read Stallone's last book (one of my lifesavers when I began all of this) he said that no matter how you go about it, allow yourself one day a week to eat what you want and not feel guilty about it; otherwise you'll feel deprived, get angry, and stop trying (paraphrasing).

I love to eat, I love to cook, and thanks to all of you I'm starting to learn some new things again. Some of my "cheat days" are going to be spent with each of you, and I'll be very grateful to you for them!


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hurray! A 4 Day Weekend!

Every now and then I get something to really look forward to, this is one! Friday and Monday added to the weekend! My wife is off tomorrow; this should be her work weekend, but because of the holiday she gets Sunday off. Of course, she has to give up her Tuesday off to make up for it...
Sunday will bring an Easter egg hunt at my younger son's house with the 3 grandchildren, and instead of a full on dinner we started just having sandwiches a few years ago. Hopefully my older son and his wife will be there as well. The younger one's actual birthday is Sunday (he'll be 27), the older boy turns 28 two weeks from Sunday. Next weekend we "split the difference" and have a single family party since it's so hard to get all of their schedules and my sister's family's schedules to cooperate, lol.

Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I hope you each have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ironies abound in this world...

and at 50 I can accept most of them. Somehow the disparity between the prosecution of "the 20th hijacker", Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay is really bothering me!

I understand that the "wheel man" in the bank heist is just as guilty as the inside men when someone dies; I undertand that Moussaoui was part of a conspiracy that killed thousands and hurt thousands more. I have no problem with him serving a life sentence for his part in things; the fact that he himself has said he would rather die so he can become a martyr (of which I have no doubt he will) makes me think that life is the harshest punishment that could be given!

On the radio (NPR) I hear victim impact testimony, lives ripped apart, changed forever, the financial implications, etc..

Yet no one speaks of Skilling or Lay doing life for the damage done by their crimes! Yes, I realize if they get 40 years, perhaps several terms consecutive that it will amount to the same thing. I also know that terms are commuted, that there will be "good behavior", etc., and that if they go to jail they'll probably both be out before I can retire.

Yet they ruined the lives of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands by the time you follow the ripples out to the edges! How many heart patients or elderly died during the rolling blackouts in California? How many families lost their life savings, their retirement, their futures, their children's futures? How many grandchildren went giftless or perhaps even college-less if their grandparents were like mine?

Pardon my rant...


Monday, April 10, 2006

My apologies...

for "dropping out of sight" since Thursday!

My wife was off this weekend, of course, that meant it was a work Saturday for me. To get ahead, I mowed on Thursday (5 hours between picking up sticks, etc., then raking what was too small to pick up, then mowing, then the clean up after). Friday I did the shopping for the week.

Saturday was actually the first "laid back" day we've taken in a while. We slept 'til noon, spent some time "together" (hard to do on opposite shifts) and then had time for a leisurely lunch before I had to leave for my shift.

Today we were up at 11, I fixed breakfast then we went to see "The Lucky Slevin". (Two thumbs up!) I had picked up 2 pair of shorts on Friday that didn't fit right, one at Sam's and one at Wal-Mart (my 34" Wrangler's didn't translate to 34" Izod, lol). Since it was on the way home from the theater, we exchanged the ones at Sam's.

A week ago I bought a copy of the "Silver Spoon" at Costco, having read a rave review in "USA Today" and seeing Jon-Marc's rave about the same cookbook. I took it to work on Saturday for my team leader to look at; he could be a chef anytime he wanted to, truly talented and loves to cook. He had told me earlier in the week that he hasn't bought a cookbook in 5 years; he has a whole wall full of them, and now he gets recipes from the net or the Food Channel. I didn't take it earlier in the week because it was raining and I wasn't taking a chance!

Garrett was impressed, he kept pointing out this or that and how logically the book is laid out; I had offered to get him a copy if he wanted, so Dottie and I hit Costco (across the highway from Sam's) so I could grab a copy before they sold out. (I don't know how the Thai cookbook ended up in my hands as well, but it will be nice since I bought a Wok the other day when I was there.)

Then on to Wal-Mart to exchange the other shorts as we worked our way home. Since she was with me, and liked a shirt I bought the other week, I ended up with two more of them plus another she picked, 2 more pair of jean shorts, and my 3rd new belt since I've been dropping weight.

We were home about 5 and I slipped my pizza stone into the oven to preheat and went out to try to brush and comb the matts out of our dog in preparation for bathing and clipping her next weekend. Dottie came out to help and Angel ended getting about a 1/2 scissors cut from her while I brushed and combed out what I could. After having Frankie around for the last few weeks she was delighted to have us to herself for an hour or so.

Brushcetta (Swanson's, sorry, not homemade, but really really good) and a salad for dinner as we finally sat down to watch "A History of Violence" (Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, plus Ed Harris; take your pick, 'cuz I love them all). Before the movie was done Frankie was curled up on the couch with me; I guess we're finally family now!

She took her shower, I started another load of laundry and showered myself, and it's about time to go put that load in the dryer. I have to be up at 7 to take our Malibu to the body shop and pick up the rental car, hopefully being home before she has to leave for work at 9:30 so I can keep her out of my old Chrysler!

When I get home from there I think I'll be going back to sleep for a while...

While I've been jotting this all down (are you asleep yet?) I've been watching the best game show that ever was: "I've Got a Secret", the original with Garry Moore (Bill Cullen, Betsy Palmer and Henry Morgan; Bess Myerson is the 4th at the point they've picked it up again) is back on the Game Show Network at 3AM Eastern time. I remember watching some of them when they were new with Grandpa and Grandma Fritz, along with "What's My Line" and "To Tell the Truth", etc.. When GSN started running them I started taping them and watched every one; they kept "What's My Line" running but rotated some other shows through the other time slot. I'm glad to have Garry Moore back! If you have a recorder of some sort and can get GSN you owe yourself a treat!

Happy Monday, and once again, my apologies. It's going to take a day or two to catch up with all of you, but I will!!!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Here they go again!

It seems it's time for "them" to "rally the troops" in time for the fall elections: guess who they're attacking to do it? (Click on the title for story.)

Even though I know my Senators will be among the first in line to vote for this, I still sent it, adding the following to the beginning of the text I know no one will ever read:

"That anyone would consider institutionalizing prejudice and hatred using our Constitution is one of the saddest things that has arisen in my lifetime! If you substitute the word "slavery" for "marriage", would you vote for this?"

Hopefully if enough e-mail shows up they will table it rather than bring it to a floor vote; we have to try!


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Almost 3:30 AM...

and the end of another Tuesday vacation day. It's been quite a week in "Lake Woe-begone" (perhaps it should be bedraggled, lol)!

Last week I had made peace with the kitten and taken him to the vet for his first shots. That went well, and when we came home he still wasn't too upset with me. I changed his litter on Monday to something my other daughter-in-law uses that has a better odor to it, hoping he wouldn't mind.

He did!

I noticed a dust cloud as I poured it, but didn't think about how terrible that would be inside that little closed box; apparently Frankie didn't like it a bit. Tuesday night at 5AM I slipped into bed and thought damn that feels awfully cold, but my feet spend a lot of time that way. I laid there a minute and thought "no that feels wet".

It was...

I woke my wife up trying to use a flashlight to tell. We chased Frankie off the bed he had been sleeping in since he got here (ours) and got towels and flipped the mattress. When I got up that day I went to PetSmart and bought Nature's Miracle which I had heard about from "Click and Clack" (the Car Talk brothers on NPR). They recommended it for a guy trying to get fish odor out of the interior of his new Mini after someone talked him into bringing their catch home from Rhode Island. It's an enzyme that somehow actually devours the problem instead of masking it with a deodorant. We started with a quart spray bottle and gallon refill.

Sprayed the mattress, soaked the pillow top on it, left it upside down and slept on it again that night, then decided that probably wasn't the right way to do it. Flipped it the next day, right side up and poured most of a gallon onto it. Couldn't find the spots on the bedding anymore, went and bought a blacklight to "CSI" it with, and another gallon of enzyme. Then we slowly started trying to save blankets and sheets. This having been the first new mattress we had ever had, and a Simmons Beautyrest King at that, we didn't really want to give it up...

Friday she was off as she was working this weekend, so before I went to work I tried to catch Frankie again to take him back to the vet. When I took him the first time I forgot the honey-do list which included getting him wormed; the vet had just put someone's dog to sleep and was a bit rattled so he didn't think of it either. Frankie knew something was up, and hasn't let me near him since. That day he wouldn't let her catch him either.

The pillow top on the mattress was so wet that she slept on the couch that night and I slept in one of the old twin beds that had been our sons. It bothered her hip and knee, so I lied to her and told her that the bedroom (mine from when I was a little boy) bothered me to get her to sleep in the bed the next two nights.

We thought we were going to sleep on it the next day, but it was still wet, plua when we moved the mattress the box spring was wet as well, so we stood the mattress up against the wall. Yesterday the top felt dry, we went to flip it back onto the bed and found the whole end was wet where it had "drained" to the one side. The carpet was even wet. We flipped it back onto the now dry box spring and let the wet end hang over.

Today she was off again, I had taken another vacation day and so first she caught the cat and we took him for his worming. They're still friends, he wants nothing to do with me. (We also made the appointment to get him fixed, I can't imagine how much he'll like me after that!) Then the car went to get it's oil changed and so the body shop could decide how long they'd need it to repair the hail damage (2 days if we're lucky). Then to the laundromat to try to save the beautiful comforter we both love because it's too heavy for our washing machine.

It seems to have worked and about 3 hours ago we finished watching "Elizabethtown" and she went to bed in our bed for the first time since last Wednesday. I am joining her shortly!

Of course, since I was the one who said "I'd think about it" when my daughter-in-law called about the kitten she couldn't keep, I'm lucky I'm not sleeping on the workbench in the garage right!

The only good thing about all of this is that since I've lost so much weight my feet have gone from 11.5 down to a 10.5 so the two of them fit much better in my big mouth!

Sunday night we watched "The Ice Harvest", a pretty good "black comedy" with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton. I am a hopeless romantic so I really liked "Elizabethtown" tonight, I wish I'd bought it instead of renting it. Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst play well together, and I'm a sucker for a romance anyway.

After she went to bed tonight I watched "Riding Giants". It's a documentary directed by Stacy Peralta, who did the documentary "Z-Boys of Dogtown" and was the writer and consultant for "Lords of Dogtown". He was one of the "Z-Boys" back in the day and I had enjoyed that movie, which led me to the documentary that I liked even better, which led me to this, about the history of big wave surfing over the last 60 years. Amazing stuff, beautiful footage, well put together. It's going on my Amazon list...

Back to work for 4 more days...then another one day weekend!


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dad's '55 Fairlane...

Scanned from about a tenth of a frame of a 46 year old Kodachrome slide, so forgive the quality. Mom in the right front, me in the back and my sister probably on the other side; she was less than a year old.

Before my first kindergarten teacher, or my first classmate crush; this car was my first true love. I've spoken of Dad buying it new and it bringing me home from the hospital already. Dad usually kept other things for a daily driver (I remember a '57 Fairlane, and a '59, a Willys Jeep, and the Studebaker pickup he put together from a wrecking yard, the truck cost him $25 and he pulled the driveline from a '53 coupe I remember playing in at 3 or 4 very dimly).

From the time I was old enough to ask, he promised me when I got my license the '55 would be mine...

Mom learned to drive in this Fairlane while she was pregnant with my sister. She turned a corner too short coming home from her license test and scraped the Post Office steps down the side of her; that's when Dad bought his first air compressor and paint gun. Mom says the only reason she came home is she was pregnant so she knew he wouldn't hit her...

In 1965 Milgram offered Dad a raise from $12,000/year to $18,000 if he would go into supervision. Instead of running the meat counter in one store, he was responsible for 18 and "made the rounds" from store to store, driving between 500 and 700 miles a week around town, getting a car allowance and mileage. The '55 with it's 272 (Ford's first overhead valve 8, the displacement grew each year until 1959 when it became a 352) and a 4 barrel carb, it only got about 12 miles to the gallon of premium.

He started talking about trading it. I was 9; the first dealership he went to talk to was in Tonganoxie, KS and I stood out in the parking lot crying my eyes out and apologizing to the car because he was going to trade her away. I was mad, disappointed, heartbroken...I wouldn't speak to him for several days...I reminded him of his promise and he told me "you can't keep them for pets, son"!

Finally he bought a new '65 Fairlane, but Grandpa Fritz offered him more for the '55 than the dealer had, so Dad sold it to him for my Grandma to drive back and forth to work. I was happy, the car was right around the corner (we had moved from here into Dad's new house he built the year he was promoted) and I got to see it all the time; I knew that someday she'd be mine!

Grandma got hit coming home from work one night, someone running a light got the right front fender, the grill and bumper. Dad did the bodywork and paint and she was good as new again; my world was right again!

In '67, Dad had put enough miles on the '65 he wanted to trade it in. He bought a new red two door Fairlane; Grandpa bought the '65 for Grandma and they sold the '55 to my cousin David. He drove it for about 3 years as he went through college and got married (Vietnam era for those who remember draft deferments). He started pulling the emblems and the hood ornament, "cleaning up the lines" he called it, spotting her with prime and talking about the custom he was going to make of her. I still have those emblems and ornaments...(and I wonder why my wife thinks I'm a packrat)!

He was driving her back and forth to Lawrence and KU everyday for classes from Kansas City. He and his buddies decided one day that even though the oil wasn't touching the dipstick, they didn't have time to add any right then or they'd be late to class.

They blew up the motor; David sold it to some kid who wanted to stuff a big block in it and build a "real hot rod" of her. When I finally got my license I asked my cousin where she was and he said that she was sitting in a field with the hood off, no motor and a tree growing up through the engine compartment because the kid had cut the firewall out to fit his big engine in and then figured out how much he had weakened everything by doing that and just quit and left her there.

I'm still pissed about all of it! I know better, I know I shouldn't be, I know I should outgrow it, but damn she was a beautiful car!

If I ever win the Powerball...


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Recipe Saturday...

As I've tried to rework old things and learn new ones this last year, one that works well is skillet fried pork chops. I've fixed these 3 times now, and they've come out perfect each time (so far). I usually sautee a bunch of sliced mushrooms to go with them.

I've been using whole wheat flour with enough Lawry's Seasoned Salt mixed in with it to give it some color, stirring it together on a plate.

Thick sliced chops (I've been buying Tyson at the Wal-Mart Supercenter), rinse to get off any bone chips, then flip them around on the plate with the flour.

A tablespoon or so of olive oil in a skillet over a middle setting on my gas burner, higher than I use for eggs or burgers, etc., because olive oil seems to not mind and it sticks the breading so I can turn them several times.

I've been cooking them for 35 to 40 minutes (they're really thick chops; when I first bought them my wife didn't think I could cook them through without baking them) turning them every 7 to 10 minutes just to make sure they're evenly done. The first time I checked them with a meat thermometer, I haven't bothered since.The breading stays on wonderfully (I don't know if it's the flour, or using the higher heat) and no matter how many times I turn them I haven't lost any of it yet. They cook up the most wonderful color!

I switched off of Shedd's Spread when I started reading about the different fats and transfats, and switched to Land Of Lakes "Spread" (no transfats, good numbers, great flavor); that's what I've been sauteeing the mushrooms in. I usually have to cook two skillets worth, though I just bought a 14" at Sam's I'm looking forward to trying out...maybe Sunday! If there are more than just the two of us then I'll buy 2 pounds of sliced mushrooms at Costco, and that will be 3 or 4 skillets worth until now...if that 14 works I'll be a happy cook indeed!

The weekend I took my 18 year old nephew and his buddy to see "The World's Fastest Indian" we came back and I fixed these in time for my wife to come home from work, both boys loved them (for them I also cooked baked potatoes); I've fixed them for the wife and I twice now and can start to salivate just thinking about them...

My team leader at work has been telling me how wonderful aspargus is off the grill, so this afternoon if I get the shopping done will be sirloins and asparagus off the grill as long as the storms hold off late enough...

Happy Saturday everyone!

Hopefully I'll visit you each over the weekend, and have time to put something together for Photo Sunday! (It's been a wild week here in Lake Woebegone!)