Monday, November 17, 2014

Fire House Wieners

                            (from my unpublished cookbook Fighting Fires and Feeding Firefighters)

Ingredients:  1 can (14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes     2 or 3 heaping Tbsp. salsa
                      1/2 pound wieners                              black pepper to taste
To prepare:  Put tomatoes and salsa into saucepan.  I use salsa strength preferred by the family.  Add pepper to taste.  Bring to boil over medium flame and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Cut wieners
into about 1/2 " lengths.  Add wieners to tomatoes and cover.  Continue cooking until wieners are nice and plump, about 10 minutes.  Serves 2 or 3 people.  Serve with cheese toast.
* * * * * * *
City Ordinance, Little Rock, Arkansas, 1866:
     The Fire Engineer in command was given the authority to direct the hook and ladder men to cut down and remove any building, erection or fence, for the purpose of checking the progress of the fire.  With the advice and agreement of two City Aldermen, the Engineer is also given the power to blow up and building or erection during the progress of a fire for the purpose of extinguishing the fire.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Those Falling Leaves

Just a few days ago, this bush was thick with bright crimson leaves as autumn was exhibiting its full glory all around town.  Today was a crisp fall day with a brisk wind which made for a delightful day to be out and about.  It also continued to send leaves swirling across yards.  Of course the leaves have been falling for several days now, but today just put them into overdrive.  It won't be long until there will be only bare limbs displayed everywhere.

This reminds me of a quote by George Cooper.  While he mentions October, it fits today just as well.  He wrote:

               October gave a party, the leaves by hundreds came -
               The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, and leaves of every name. 
               The Sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand,
               Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band,.

Enjoy the fall, for winter will soon arrive.  We then will have to wait and suffer through the cold and bitter time until we again can get out and enjoy the beautiful days of Spring.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Is This a Good One?

How do you choose a good melon?  Recently at the grocery store a gentleman and I engaged in conversation about that very subject.  He gave me a short instructional talk about just that.  First you find the grow spot where the melon lay on the ground.  You can see that it is lighter in color with some scrapes acquired during the growing process.  Put the melon down where it is sitting on the grow spot.

Now place one hand on the side of the melon, holding it securely in place.  You then use the other hand the gently but firmly slap the melon on other side.  You are not doing a karate chop, however.  You don't need to smack it hard enough to split he fruit.  When whacked, you should hear a nice solid sound.  If the melon sounds hollow, forget about it.  It won't be good.  This one had that nice solid sound.

I bought the melon and took it home.  When freed of its rind, cut up and allowed to cool in the  refrigerator for a period of time, we enjoyed the delicious melon with our supper.  As the gentleman had guaranteed, it was very good.  Next time I'm shopping for melon, I'll keep his instructions in mind. 

Does this ring a bell with you?  Or do you have a different way to test the watermelon before taking it home?  I'd love to hear from you,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Election Time Again

A lifetime ago as I became an adult I can't believe how naive I was about politics and politicians.  I actually believed the majority of candidates really had the interest of the country foremost in their hearts and minds.  Over time I did become much more cynical and this song, written in 1989 and incorporating some of the events of the day, was the result.  Specifics may have changed somewhat, but the overall concept unfortunately seems to have remained.

                                                 I'M A CONGRESSMAN

     I spend my life kissing babies and shaking hands
     Get important jobs for all my friends
     Pass a few laws every now and then
     It's a damn tough job being a Congressman.

      Chorus:  Yeah, I'm a Congressman living up on a hill
                     We tell you how to live your life and better still
                     We take all your money that you send to us
                      And spend it like we please, just have a little trust
                     In your Congressman.

     I believe in making young people pay their way
     So put my son and my daughter on the government pay
     My brother-in-law drives my limousine
     While my wife struts around the town acting like a queen.

     I'm a Congressman, son, thanks a lot
     I appreciate your vote now just get lost
     We can argue six months over minimum wage
     Then turn around and say we need a 30,000 raise.


     I got a secretary don't know how to type
     I make a lot of money from a book I didn't write
     I sell a little influence whenever I can
     It's a damn tough job being a Congressman.

     Tag:  Yeah, it's a damn tough job being a Congressman.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Puzzle of Life

This is one of my first papier mache projects.  I decided to create my last initial, and I wanted it to stand alone when finished.  My life's philosophy has always incorporated the idea that life can change in a moment.  There would be no real rhyme or reason to a lot that happens in a lifetime.
Also, you can never predict how the rough passages will come out.  You can't foretell when it's going to settle down and experience smooth sailing.  So, yes, life is a puzzle indeed.
I am also a puzzle person.  I like to work the jigsaw puzzles, especially in the winter when it's too nasty to get out in the weather.  When I started this project, this was all swirling around in my head.  Going through a closet I realized I had a couple of puzzles with missing pieces.  So I pulled one of them, and rummaged through the box to look for the ones I wanted to incorporate into the finished work.
Can you tell that one side (the top one) has a pretty smooth finish?  The other I pushed the pieces into the papier mache mess so there is a jagged finish.  While working up the pulp I found an old container of a child's watercolor set.  I started mixing in colors into the pulp, using browns and oranges because they matched some of the background colors of the puzzle pieces. 
The pulp just slurped up that color and absorbed it quickly.  I wound up going back to the store and getting a few more watercolor sets, going through those colors in no time.  After completing the piece, I went back several times and repainted the watercolors until I was satisfied.  After a few coats of polyethylene I declared it done, a ten inch piece of special memories. 
I did this piece a long time ago, but still find pleasure in having it on a bookshelf.  Do you have a special work of art you created for your own pleasure that has stood the test of time, at least in your own mind?  Love to have you share.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Achy Little Piggies

                    There was a time I suppose
                    When I had pretty little toes --
                    Those stubby nubbins at the end of the feet
                    That let you dance to your special beat.
                    They knew their place and they kept it
                    Till they started acting decrepit

                         There came a time deep in the night
                         I slept, my eyes shut tight
                         But those little traitors (to call their right name)
                         Put all decency to shame.
                         For stabs of pain in my big toe
                         And swelling red skin did quickly show

                    Peace was gone now from my slumber
                    Those little piggies had my number.
                    To touch the sheet would make me shout
                    You know the rest - I had gout.
                    A vicious disorder I declare
                    It makes me squawk:  This just ain't fair!!!

Have you suffered some disorder you had to deal with?  Plesase share.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Season for Love

There's something about a beautiful fall day.  Today has been one of those days.  Beauiful weather, moderate temperature, the hint of rain in the air, though as yet none has fallen, and fall decorations popping up all over the place.  The picture above is one outside a business here in Perryville.

Then, when all seems right in the world and there is no way for the day to get better, the radio plays a song that captures the feeling of love in the air.  One from my childhood that has always stayed with me and pops up out of the blue is "Autumn Leaves" by Roger Williams.  I do like that song.  Yes, it is melancoly, but the tumbling piano keys mimic the colorful leaves and their trajectory as they fall from the quickly changing trees everywhere.

What about Rosemary Clooney singing "Shine on Harvest Moon?"  How can you not like this song?  And a little side note:  did you see the Blood Moon yesterday morning?  I tried, but didn't get the timing right.  (Heavy sigh!!)  But I shall try again come April 2015 when it is again supposed to make an appearance.

Another song with a fall flavor is "Whoever's in New England" by Reba McEntire.  She has such a beautiful voice and the song is wonderful.  I'm not sure I'd have such a forgiving attitude, though, if I was in that same situation.  I'd probably be singing, "Keep your sorry self in New England 'cause I'm completely through with you."

There are more songs, of course.  Do you have a favorite?  I'd love to hear from each and every one of you, because music does indeed bring us all together in a special way.

Have a wonderful weekend.