Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UPDATE

Judy (SWMBO) now has her Pacemaker installed.  The operation went well this morning, she's now on 6 hours of bedrest and will spend the night in the hospital.  We are both relieved.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

INVERTED

First off I apologize for the fuzziness of the photos today.

Second, do any of you people who have cats have cats that do this?


Muggles is famous for lying on her back with her hind feet in the air. She does it when she's relaxed, when she's content and, as SWMBO says, when she's happy.  She also does it sometimes when she's asleep.  It always amuses me and she was lying on the floor like this, grooming herself, looking around, day-dreaming . . for a long time last night.


It's difficult to photograph her like this, especially when she's rolling around and particularly when she becomes aware of the camera.

 - - - - -

SWMBO, by the way, is going in to the hospital tomorrow to have a Pacemaker installed.  This follows a scary incident about a week ago when she had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) or mini-stroke and went to the hospital in an ambulance.  After one night there and a battery of tests she was home again, waiting for her appointment with her cardiologist yesterday.  He recommended and she quickly agreed to the Pacemaker so it will be done in a relatively non-invasive surgery* tomorrow.  She'll have one arm in a sling for a week or so but I can assure you she'll still be giving the orders around here.  I shall strive to survive her surgery and what follows.  

*relatively non-invasive surgery:  the device is planted just under the skin.  But they do run leads into her heart.

Monday, April 28, 2014

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER

The BRD has acquired many of her mother's talents.  She sent me some photos yesterday of her latest offerings from her kitchen.


A panful of oysters frying.


Jalapeño Poppers and crisp bacon.


And Eggs Benedict.

Voilà!  Sunday Brunch at the BRD's house.

Damn!

Now I'm hungry again.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

THE MIGHTY CENTURY PLANT

It begins with a cluster of tough leaves.


The flower stalk that rises from the center of the cluster heads for the sky.



It is said the stalk can rise as high as 26 feet.




As it  rises, blooms form near the top.





The plant whose scientific name is Agave Americana has been nicknamed the Century plant because it blooms only once in its 10 to 30 year life and then dies.  But shoots from the base prolong the life of this majestic plant.

These are not yet in full bloom.  I will try to get a picture when they are.

Meantime, this one plant . . not yet blooming . . seems already to be waving goodbye.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

APRIL IN ARIZONA

video

Strong winds are swirling the snow around in the air but the temperature is 39 and most of it is melting when it hits the ground. The moisture is moving quickly through the state and the sun will probably be out later this afternoon.  On a day when I don't have to go out of the house it's fun to watch.

THE WHISKEY OFF ROAD

For three days in April, Prescott, Arizona  becomes the center of Mountain Bike Riding.  Yesterday was the first day.


It's called that because all of the races begin and end on Whiskey Row and the Courthouse Square.  

Tarps cover the headquarters of racing teams and vendors along the street.


Bikes and their riders of all ages lined up and filled the street, ready to ride.





At the location of one of the racing teams, extra bikes waited their call to duty.


You can read more about the event and see more photos and a video of some of the racing by going to Doug Cook's story in the Daily Courier here.

Yesterday's weather was perfect but today rain is falling and the course will get very muddy.  I'm staying home.

Friday, April 25, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

I think I'll just let these speak for themselves today.











All right.  Let's all get out there and have a rollicking good weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY

Before I give up on Throwback Thursday posts you're all probably going to get tired of my Years in Broadcasting.  But what's a guy gonna do?

Once upon a time, back in the 60's, there was a national news program on the NBC network called The Huntley-Brinkley Report. It preceded what has now become known as NBC Nightly News.  In the beginning it was only 15 minutes but later it was expanded to a half-hour.

(Just an aside: I have found that most of the "hard" news is covered in the first 15 minutes of the current program and the rest is devoted to mindless features and self-promoting drivel.  But maybe that's just me.)

When the election season rolled around, the co-anchors of the Huntley-Brinkley Report (Chet Huntley in New York, David Brinkley in Washington) got a chance to go to which ever part of the country they wanted . . to report on some Congressional race. Brinkley was from Virginia but Huntley grew up in Montana.  So he headed west. Curiously, his first stop was Bismarck, North Dakota, where I happened to be the news director of the local NBC station. So I got to meet him at the airport and, thanks to a local newspaper photographer who was also covering the Great Man's arrival in our small city, got my picture taken with him.



In case you couldn't figure it out, Chet Huntley is the bemused man on the right.

But wait!  Before he posed for the photo, Huntley said "Just a minute. I've got to take a leak!"

He wandered off behind a hangar or some such building (it was a small airport) and came back shortly with the comment "It's great to get out West again where a man can pee where-ever he wants to!"

Some time later, I also met David Brinkley, but at WRC, the Washington, D.C. NBC station.  I was in town for something or other and wangled a tour of the station from a guy who was Brinkley's producer at the time.  I think his name was Robert Mulholland and he later became President of NBC News.  But at the time he was just Brinkley's producer.

He met me in the lobby of the station and took me to his office where we chatted a bit, then he said something like "Well, let me show you around."  We left his office and immediately entered the office next door, where sat the Great David Brinkley.  I was introduced and then Brinkley began talking to Mulholland.

"How come we didn't have film (this was before videotape) of the big snowstorm in Chicago last night?"

"They took the film out to the airport but it was snowed in and then they couldn't get back to the station in time to ship it by satellite."

"Why didn't they ship it by satellite in the first place?"

"The Today show wanted extra footage."

Brinkley looked at Mulholland for a few seconds, then . . in the unique way of speaking he had . . said "F*** the Today Show!"
Then he looked at me and grinned.

Such were my adventures with the Big Boys in the 60's.  They're both gone now.  Good night, Chet.  Good night, David.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

A FEASTING DAY

Other than Thanksgiving (and birthdays), Easter Sunday is probably the best dining day of the year at our house.  SWMBO traditionally fixes ham and this year was no exception.


Accompanied by asparagus and sweet potato medalions, it was a meal fit for the gods.  

She tried a new addition to her classic Waldorf salad and asked me to guess what it was.


No, it wasn't the Petite Sirah, silly.  I mean IN the salad.  After a couple of false starts I correctly guessed kale.  It was a nice addition.

Oh, there were also deviled eggs.  REALLY deviled, thanks to the addition of some Sriracha sauce to the yolks.  And garlic toast made on sliced bolillo rolls.

I LOVE our feasts.  Primarily because I am married to one of the best cooks in the Universe.  (Take THAT, Bobby Flay!)

After dinner, I was given the task of cleaning up the kitchen while the chef took a well-deserved rest on our patio.


Now, if I've calculated correctly, it's only 221 days until Thanksgiving!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

BAKING ONE-OH-ONE

. . . or read the recipe carefully, dumbo.

I had this recipe printed out from the Internet for Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons.  It came from the Smitten Kitchen.  (If you click on that link you can see her recipe and pictures of the product and the process.

If you are a careful reader, you will note that the cookie mixture is combined in a food processor.  This is NOT a food processor.



While it says Cuisinart on the front and it looks tough and sturdy, it is NOT a food processor.  It is a blender.

Apparently I was not a careful recipe reader.  Although it says to blend the coconut for one full minute, it does NOT say to use a blender.

Dumping 14 ounches of sweetened coconut flakes into it will make your blender heat up, smell bad and eventually stop running altogether.  Which is what happened to mine.  

I dumped in the other ingredients, thinking that the liquid from the 3 egg whites, a tad of vanilla and the melted chocolate would eventually free up the mess in the blender and cause it to start whirling again.

It didn't.

So I dumped everything into a bowl and combined it by stirring with a wooden spoon.  Not easy but eventually everything was pretty much combined and then messily apportioned out onto the baking pans.

Well the macaroons came out wonderful.  They are rich with the deep chocolate taste and a hint of coconut.  As the wunderkind of Smitten Kitchen accurately predicted they are crisp on the outside but still a bit soft and chewy inside.

Even SWMBO, who said she didn't really like macaroons, pronounced them "great".


She did, however, note that they were very expensive, considering the apparent loss of our blender.

Until last night.

I was putting away dishes, pans and utensils as SWMBO began preparing dinner.  When I got to the blender, I decided to plug it in and give it one last try.  I started with a slow speed.  IT WORKED! 

SWMBO looked at me and said "try it on high".  

I did.  IT WORKED!  She said it apparently had heated up enough during my idiot period that something had expanded and prevented it from spinning.

I had survived, as had the blender!  SWMBO said I was very lucky. But she added "next time, read the #@****!!! recipe."

I shall.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

THE NEW 30

A short while back I posted about the BRD's birthday and said she had jumped out of an airplane.  Well, here's the proof.


That sure looks like a small airplane.  The brave Beau Jack (right) stayed on the ground.

The BRD and her jump-master free fell from 14,000 feet before the parachute opened.


Back on the ground . . a thumbs-up for the experience.


By the way, that was the BRD's 60th birthday.  I can only reveal that because she posted it on Facebook.  With a spirit like hers, I predict there will be many, many more.

Friday, April 18, 2014

FRIDAY FUNNIES

Oh, I know.  You've been waiting with bated breath.  You didn't really thing I'd forget, did you?  Here goes.


The next one is for the old-timers.  Like me.


For the dog-lovers out there . . .


And for those of you who still think I may have given up my long love of cats, I give you the Moon Cat . . .


"I don't need no stinkin' space suit!"

(An aside: to those of you who would have spelled it "baited breath", here is why you're wrong.  At least for the moment.)

Aaaaaannnnnd that's all, folks.  Have a great slap-happy weekend and a hammy Easter.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY

Anything for a story . . .


The intrepid young reporter (in black) jogging in front of the North Dakota State capitol with Governor Bill Guy (in glasses at right) leading a group in support of Bobby Kennedy's fitness campaign.

Although I am perfectly in step with the guv, I look badly in need of an adult beverage and a Marlboro . . . my diet in the 1960's.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ASTRONOMY ONE-OH-ONE

Early this morning there was a total lunar elipse.  

Because the moon takes on a reddish hue it is called a Blood Moon.

I didn't set an alarm or wait up for it.  I just woke up, shortly before one a.m.  

I quickly slipped on a pair of flip-flops, grabbed my trusty camera and went outside to take a look.  

Sure enough.  

There it was, high in the sky, just a light orange color to it.  

I was excited.  Think of it.  The moon, normally lighted by the rays of the sun, was totally in shadow because of the interference of my home.  Planet Earth.

It makes one feel a certain humility.

In case you missed it, I took a photograph to show you.

Here it is, from my trusty point-and-click camera.


You're welcome.

Monday, April 14, 2014

THE ADVENTURES OF BLACKWELL

Regular readers of this blog are familiar with my BFF, Blackwell, who came to us as a scarred up little stray that I named Blackie Detroit.


But after a trip to the vet and some healing and the relaxation of being an "inside cat", he began to grow.  And grow.  And grow.  He needed a different name and, thus, became Blackwell.

He still has that cat-urge to go outside again, though.


He loves to sit on the ledge at a window and stare, morosely, at me when I'm outside and he isn't.

He's really enjoying the warmer weather and the open but screened windows.  And the other day he spotted an interloper just off our front patio.  He twitched and talked, bringing the attention of SWMBO and I. Here's what he saw.


That's a tiny wild bunny which we've seen around the neighborhood a couple of times.  He sat, still as a rock though he could tell he was being watched by that large black cat inside the house.  But he didn't seem at all nervous.  After awhile he engaged in some head scratching.


And then he was gone.

Blackwell, meanwhile, has found another viewing sight to look down on us as we are working in the kitchen.


How he gets to that level is nearly beyond our knowing as we have not seen him go up there.  But he seems to enjoy the spot, keeping a colorful wooden macaw company.

Until we spot him and order him down to his own level.  

Ah, the adventures of a cat.  Even an inside cat.