Saturday, December 25, 2010


Holidays are here
a bittersweet time this year
our last together.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Recipe for the B.E.S.T. Salad

This is from memory and amounts are approximate. I rarely measure when cooking. Baking is a different story. Anyway, go with your gut (literally) and use more or less depending on your preferences. Add something else, switch something out, make it your own. Cooking, like life, is an ongoing experiment...

B. E. S. T. Salad (Bacon or Beer or Both Essential Spicy Taters)

This makes a huge serving bowl full, enough for 16-20 people. Modify to suit the size of your crowd.

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-4 Tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Dried Minced Onion (or use a few onions coarsely chopped and cook with either green beans or potatoes)
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 Cup Salt
5 lbs Potatoes, washed, peeled, cut into 1" cubes
2 lbs Green Beans, washed and trimmed
1 lb Bacon
1/2 Cup Oil and Vinegar Salad dressing (whatever you prefer)
Additional Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil and spices
3. Spoon half of the oil and spice mix into a second large mixing bowl
4. Add the green beans to one bowl and the potatoes to the other
5. Using large baking sheets with sides (jelly roll pan) spread the potatoes and green beans in even layers and bake each for 40 min to an hour, scraping off the bottom of the baking pan and turning every 20 minutes until tender.
6. Allow to cool in pans
7. While veggies are cooling, cook bacon until crisp 
8. Crumble bacon and toss the bacon, potatoes, green beans and salad dressing together in a large serving bowl.
9. Salt to taste.

You might want to have a beer or other cold beverage handy when you start nibbling on packs a KICK!


Taking Flight

I used to be shy
You offered me safe haven
Underneath your wing
I settled in there
Under your wing protected
Watching you take flight
You encouraged me
To stretch my own wings and try
Under watchful gaze
Cautiously I tried
I flew out into the world
Brave for an instant

Each time I ventured
Pushing a little higher
You were there for me
I am conquering
My fear of the great big world
One flight at a time
I am strong enough
To not need your protection
All of the time now
I am smart enough
To know you will be there if
I need you again

I am growing strong
But still occasionally
Need encouragement
I seek your council
My mentor, my friend, my love
From under your wing
Each little setback
A moment for reflection
Then I soar again
You taught me to fly
I am forever grateful
You are in my life

Friday, December 10, 2010

Knitting Pattern for Cat or Baby Toy

Here's a pattern for a ball shape. Great for cats (with the catnip in the middle) and babies (probably better without the catnip in those circumstances)

To make a larger ball just do an extra round or two of increases, an extra couple of rows in the middle, and the corresponding extra rows of decreases.

Materials needed:

Lamb's Pride worsted weight yarn
85% wool, 15% mohair

Size 13 circular needle

Tapestry needle

Polyfill stuffing


Holding 2 strands together throughout, Co 3 stitches

Push to other end of needles

*Kfb* (6) knit in the round from here on

*Kfb* (12)

*Kfb, K1* (18)

Knit 1 row

*Kfb, k2* (24)

Knit 1 row

*Kfb, k3* (30)

Knit 3 rows

*K2tog, k3* (24)

Knit 1 row

*K2tog, K2* (18)

*K2tog, k1* (12)

Stuff with polyfill half way, make a little depression in the middle of the polyfill and put a tablespoon of dried catnip in the space. Cover with more polyfill.

K2tog (6)

Top off the stuffing.

K2tog (3)

Pull tail through the remaining 3 stitches. .

Tighten the ends and close any gaps with the tails then pull the tails to the center.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Boss

I used to work in a large warehouse until Corporate America in it's infinite wisdom closed the doors on the facility. The last five years of my existence there were spent in the receiving department.
Receiving was done at night from midnight to nine. The available appointment slots were from one to six and for the size of the warehouse, our docks were pretty small. This meant that any truck driver worth his salt would be waiting on my doorstep when I arrive at work at 23:30, hat in hand.

As the receiving clerk I ran the show. I assigned the doors to the drivers when they arrived. Some were much easier to hit then others. Some offered more room to work on the dock. Some just sucked anyway you looked at them.

When I arrived at my office the drivers would start lining up in the hopes that I would assign doors early so that they could get themselves and their rig situated and have time to either off-load early and make good time to their next stop or grab a quick nap. During the check-in process occasionally drivers would try to get the door they were assigned changed. We would discuss it. I would explain why they were assigned the door they were assigned, they would explain how inept they were as a professional driver in the hope that I would pity them. Sometimes I couldn't change my mind without screwing up everything for everyone and they were shit-outta-luck. But other times I had plenty of room to be nice.

They must have been able to see it on my face either way. When I was stuck between the proverbial rock and retaining wall they hung their heads and went about the business of dealing with it. But somehow they always seemed to know when I was able to let them have their way, if I so chose. They whined, begged, flattered, exaggerated, and outright lied--anything to get their way. We could waste half an hour in this silly dance when what it came down to was they were professional drivers who for the most part could get their trucks into any of our doors with minimal difficulty. They were just bored and needing attention.

Enter the Magic 8-Ball. One of my best friends (a long-haul driver whom I met at that job) thought this up and was shocked and delighted when I was silly enough to not just laugh at the possibility but put it into practice.

If you have ever worked in Corporate America you know the truth of these next words. As an employee at the bottom end of the decision chain any time you need a supervisor or manager to make a decision for you (not because you aren't smart enough to figure it out for yourself but because you're not ALLOWED to think for yourself) you might as well use a Magic 8-Ball. The end result is the same. And the logic is often better with the plastic toy anyway.

So, my buddy and I hatched this plan and waited for the first opportunity to use it. The next night when a driver started whining about getting a new door (and I had flexibility to grant or deny his whiny-ass pleading) I simply said, "well, I don't know. Let's ask the Boss." and picked up the black plastic orb that was perched on the end of the shelf above my monitor. A hush fell over the drivers qued up through my office. A couple started giggling. I looked the driver in the eyes as I shook the ball while saying out loud, "Magic 8-Ball, can this driver have a different door?"

I looked down at the toy, turned it over, and read aloud the response floating in the little window, "Not now". The driver hung his head, his whole body seemed to sag a bit, and he dejectedly left the office. A few drivers later another man, who was a regular and could easily park in any door, grinned at me as he started whining about his assignment too. I grinned back as I reached for the "Boss" again. This time it replied, "Ask again".

So I shook it again asking loudly, "Magic 8-Ball can this sorry-assed excuse of a driver PLEASE have a different door?" I turned it over and read aloud, "YES". They cheered. The smile on his face lit up the room and he bounced out of the office.

I didn't use it often but it sat above my monitor and every once in a while I would take it down. Just the act of taking it off the shelf lightened the mood in the office. But the best part was that regardless of the answer it gave, no one ever argued with the "Boss".