Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sunday Smile

This is Boomer. You remember him, right?

It was Petey's brother. Well, he still is. They just live different places. Before Petey became ours, we'd rescue he and Boomer from the kennel a few times a year.

Don't you love his smile?

My mom was taking care of Boomer for the weekend while my sister was out of town. I think she liked it and it was a great distraction for her.

710 and I went over for a bit on Sunday - not just to let her feed us - but to see how my mom was doing and to maybe give her a break from Boomer, as it's been quite a while since either of my parents were dog owners.

But Boomer was happy to see us. Thrilled even. But he's a good dog, unless he's around other dogs - other than Petey, that is.

Boomer has doggie anxiety. The poor guy is even takes doggie Xanax....and it doesn't help him that much. He will shake, almost uncontrollably, when around another dog. My sister has spent tons of cash on classes and canine behavioral specialists (the DogFather).

Sometimes Boomer can walk with other dogs, but mostly not. But he loves loves loves Petey - and my sister's cats. Just not other dogs.

We couldn't bring Petey to my mom's house this last weekend. While he is doing really really well in his convalescence, he and Boomer roughhouse.....and while Boomer is mostly fluff and is oh so light, I didn't need him stepping on, or tripping over, Petey's injured paw.

Still, I got a picture with Boomer (with both of us smiling, thank you!) and sent it to my niece and nephew. Naturally, being twenty-somethings, they couldn't bother to respond....even though it was their own dog.

....well, it's really their mother's dog.

Song by: Blondie

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Music Monday

Annie Lennox has a new disk coming out next month.


I had heard rumours of her releasing something new, but I didn't know it would be yet another album of covers.

Mind you, Medusa, was something of more current-times covers (Paul Simon, the Clash, etc), but Nostalgia will be just that - more of standards.

I will give this to Lennox, she's not doing the same old Rod Steward, Tony Bennett, et al, who only seemingly do Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, Henry Mancini stuff, where the same 22 songs have been done over and over and over and over and over......

At least Annie has taken songs you don't normally hear in that context, though I'm not sure the world needs yet another cover of "Summertime" or "Georgia on my Mind".

All that said, I will probably wait to borrow this from the liberry, as opposed to buying it. While she has a great voice, I prefer her original music. Since she puts so little of that out, I was a tad bit disappointed when I found out Nostalgia would be works of other artists.

Out of six solo works, two will now be covers and one holiday album. That leaves only three original disks in 22 years.

Still, I will shill for her a little bit, as I do like true talent, such as hers, to succeed. The first release off her Nostalgia record is "I Put a Spell on You", originally done by Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

And yes, in theory it has been covered a lot by other artists - just not ones that sell lots of standard records (Steward, Bennett, Ronstadt, etc). You know, like Bryan Ferry, Marilyn Manson (!) , Joe Cocker, Queen Latifah and She & Him.

I've heard none of those versions.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


While we might not have had a grand Summer, Autumn has been pretty spectacular.

Mind you, we're only six days into it, but there has rarely been a cloud in the sky. The temps have been in the upper 70s. Humidity has been low low low.

Considering our shitty Winter last year (and well, earlier this year) and our predicted worse Winter this upcoming year - I will savour every single day.

....and.....and (!!), it's supposed to be this way until at least next Friday!!!!

While my cousin has taken pictures of his leaves changing, even though he's 20 minutes away, he must live in a different "zone". The only true ones that have turned here are part of our Burning Bushes.

The reds, what there are of them, are a glorious colour.  Oh yes, I said "glorious".

But as I cut the lawn yesterday, all I could think about was that soon I'd be out there with the gas-powered leaf blower and not the lawn mower.

That depressed me just a bit.

Ok, maybe more than a bit.

As it is, today is our last day of 2014 for rooftop yoga. Another signal to the end of good weather. But I get it, they can't schedule it for every Sunday in October. As we get closer to the end of next month, we could have snow.

Ok. Now I'm really depressed.

Song by: the B-52's

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Better Man

Petey is doing fine folks.

I just thought I'd start off with that. He's a little worse for the wear, but that is to be expected. He's limping - also expected.

The vet called telling me he had made it through his surgery just fine. They removed the cyst and put disposable stitches deep into the wound and more stitches on top of the paw, that will need to be removed in two weeks.

He also got his first ever dental cleaning.....and had to have four smaller teeth extracted.

At first I was worried about that, but the vet said, for a dog his size and age, having only four removed isn't a bad thing. She has routinely taken out 20 (!!!!) teeth at a time.

This of course let me to wonder how many teeth there might be in a dog.  The answer is 42. 22 on top and 20 on the bottom (or maybe the other way around.

Just like Carly Simon.

I have no pics of his teeth, he wasn't allowing it. But he's a 0 in terms of his doggie dental score. 0 is the best. 4 is the worst. He was a 3.

So for the first day, HRH Peter had been getting carried here and there, as to keep weight off the paw, though he is allowed to walk on it. But the man likes to BOUND up the steps and jump off the sofa....and me no likee that.

But once home from the vet, he started eating immediately, which was good. And he's taking his antibiotics and pain pills like a champ. We'll try to keep him from becoming Liza or Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I slept with Petey on the sofa the first night and he did ok, though he wanted to do some serious cuddling, which is not his style. Unfortunately, so did Sophie. It was one crowded, and warm, couch for seven hours.

But it is Petey Porn Day, so I will provide pics of the lord and master of the house.

One pic of brother and sister the day before his procedure. 

In the car, before I take him out of it and into the vet.  I'm glad he doesn't hold a grudge. 

Petey being discharged. 

It's icky. But we are all dealing. 

Enjoying some outside time. We're trying to keep as much of his normal routine as possible. His cone can stay off, as long as he doesn't lick. But it's on all night, just in case. 

...and just for good measure: Sophie at her most....um....comfortable? 

Song by: Clint Black

Friday, September 26, 2014

All About That Bass

Today's recipe comes to you via Ina Garten via Wolfgang Puck.

It seemed easy enough, and in theory it was. I had help in the last few minutes of the process and I paid for it dearly with a kitchen mishap. I have no one but myself to blame, though I'll deflect that whenever I have the opportunity.

But this is why I should have run of the kitchen, though I did ask for help.  Anyway............

Sea bass wrapped in prosciutto is today's dish.

The side was supposed to be roasted root vegetables, but I am no fan of butternut squash or parsnips. So I only used the gemstone potatoes. I would have included carrots had there been any on hand.

The potatoes take about an hour to roast, so they go first.

Make sure the potatoes are roughly the same size so they cook through at the same rate, so cut if you need to. I like the gemstones because they are red, purple and gold. This pack were short on purple for sure. Toss them in olive oil and salt and pepper.

About halfway through cooking time, when I turned them, I added minced shallot and garlic. But those should really be added maybe 10 minutes before you take them out of the oven. The garlic tends to burn.

Roast potatoes (or all the root veggies, should you decide to go that way) at 375F for an hour.

For the last 10 minutes, you put in the fish......though the oven should be kicked up to 400.

Drizzle and spread olive oil over the bass (or other firm white fish - as sea bass isn't cheap). Liberally salt and pepper the filets too. 

Wrap a thinly sliced piece of prosciutto around each piece of fish, with the seam side down (which is also the side of the skin of the fish). Place on rack and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes. 

While fish is cooking, melt two tablespoons of butter and throw in two sprigs(?) of fresh rosemary. 

I'm not a huge rosemary fan either, but it works. I don't care for the smell more than I dislike the taste, but you pull out the herbs at the end. Also squeeze in about 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice as you're finishing up melting the butter. Whisk it together. 

Drizzle butter over fish (well......and the potatoes, if you'd like. I did). 

710 says it was one of the best meals I've ever made. Even if we had Floor Potatoes....as they'll now be called. 

In 710's defense, I asked him to take the potatoes out a few minutes early, so as not to have them burn, like in the great roasting disaster of 2012 (oh yes Mike, it still stings!). And then I asked him to check the temp on the fish. 

Somehow in all that, the tray of potatoes got knocked to the floor. A clean floor, but the floor nonetheless. Oh, and in the process, that knocked over the pot of melting butter. 

I "may have" dropped the F bomb. Loudly. 

It may have been the 10 second rule (not the 5) to scoop up all the taters, as I held a very very very curious Petey from getting to them.  Then it was some clean-up and me redoing the sauce from the beginning. 

As it turns out, no matter how much you think you clean the floor after a spill like that, melted butter still makes for a slick floor. 

Honestly, the potatoes looked no worse for the wear. We dusted them off and put them back in the oven to warm. The assertion was, worse things go on in restaurant kitchens, we just don't know about it or see it. And if we had company, I just would have made a quick salad, but it was just us. 

Still, 710 raved over the dinner and said it would be in the rotation. So......I guess it will be. It's hard to ignore praise like that. 

Song by:  Meghan Trainor

Thursday, September 25, 2014

the Hurting Time

That owie on Petey's paw just looks bad, doesn't it?  Actually, it looks much worse than when he was at the vet just two weeks ago.

Well it is coming off this morning. I'm taking him to the vet at 07:00 (EDT).

We went back and forth over whether it was wise to put a 12.5 year old dog under even light anesthesia. I looked at some of the "alternative" options, none of which seemed conclusive in their end-results.

After those ran their course, he still might have needed to be surgically removed.

While the circumference hasn't gotten much bigger, the cyst is higher. And Mr. Pete has gone into continual licking mode, which is why you see red instead of just black.  He's licked it raw.

Even with the alternative treatments, it would have meant weeks (i.e. months) in a cone - and again, the alleged cure was a mixed bag, according to all who wrote about it.

Yesterday, he started slightly limping on our morning walk. I figured I had done the right thing to schedule this now.

Any later in the Fall and I don't know how we would have done it in terms of going outside and walks. That means, we're already in the low 40s at night and we will have snow sooner than I care to believe.

I'm not 100% sure how he'll be returned to us. Granted, there will be a cone, stitches and antibiotics, but I don't know if he'll have some kind of bandage as well. By all accounts, we'll have to soak the paw frequently to make sure it remains clean.

I suspect his future walks will be trips to the yard to do his business and then back in. He won't like that. Petey loves his walks.

But it will be our job to keep him pain free and bacteria free as well.

He should be home by 16:00 (EDT). It will be a long day without him.

I'm sure you'll get an update on Petey Porn Day.

Song by: Annie Lennox

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Loving Cup

First off, let me say something about some of these pictures: they're horrible.

I know my food pics are iffy at best, but that's mostly due to staging and lighting (or lack thereof). But some of these are just out of focus.

I blame the iOS8. I've never had this much trouble with images before. But honestly, I have read nothing on if the new OS has affected the camera on the iPhone 5.

Ok....back to food.

Since we had our block party, I had to bring something. I will say, I don't think anyone brought store-bought stuff. If they did they presented it differently as to make it look homemade. I've been guilty of that in the past. Most everything is appetizer-like food. Maybe a pasta, or yes, quinoa salad. Like I said yesterday, almost no desserts.

For our household, I / we went with Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups.

They're great when hot, but they are just fine at room temperature.

2 medium chicken breasts
6 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
3/4 cup Franks Red Hot sauce
1/3 stalk of celery - thinly sliced
1-2 scallions chopped
1 package of wonton wraps (in most produce or dairy sections of your grocery)

makes 36 wontons

Cook the chicken in a pan (or you could roast it, I suppose). Once it cools somewhat, dice it or shred it. Since you're using a mini-muffin tin, you won't have tons of room for chunks of chicken. 

The chicken should be a little warm to absorb the other flavors after you mix it in. 

While chicken cooks, throw all other ingredients into a bowl.

After chicken is shredded, add it the bowl and incorporate everything. It's the cream cheese you will have to make sure that gets mixed in the most.

(I forgot a picture of everything mixed together.)

Oddly, I could not find wonton wraps, so go egg roll wraps, which might be a bit thinner. Since they came in 6"x6" sheets, 710 halved them into 3"x3" and inserted them into the mini-muffin tin.

For even portions, we used a scoop to fill each wonton with the mixture
Bake 8-10 minutes at 375F. 

At least with the egg roll wrappers, they bottoms came out less cooked than I would like. So maybe keep them in the oven for another minute. Or let them set-up in the pan for a few minutes before taking them out to cool (or eat). 

I did forget another picture of them all plated up. We also chopped some additional scallion to garnish the top. 

While you could have a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing, I think it would make these messy. They are basically a two bite appetizers and by all accounts were good. I had one, and thought they were fine. 

They have a little heat / burn to them, but not super hot. You can always add more hot sauce or decrease it depending on what you or your guests like. 

We took 35 of them (we tried one at home to make sure they didn't suck) and we came back with an empty plate. I heard other people talking about them in a good way, and they didn't know I had made them, so they weren't doing it just to be nice. 

Song by: Lindsey Buckingham

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tenderness on the Block

710 should probably try to monitor my alcohol intake at neighborhood events. It's not that he should be responsible for me, but clearly, I'm not competent enough to keep tabs on myself.

Unless I'm hanging with my sometime man-date, Scott, or with my oldest and dearest friends, my intake of booze is quite limited. In those aforementioned times, I can swing right back into my peak consumption times. It's quite a thing to see - though it is not always pretty.

Or even at a block party in the hood.

Perhaps 5-6 glasses of wine isn't a bad thing......assuming one partakes of the layout of food that was also provided.

Blobby didn't do that.

To be fair, there is only so much quinoa salad one can tolerate...and I think three different people brought one.

Usually there is a treasure trove of desserts, which made me halt my thought-process of bringing cupcakes......and almost no one brought dessert this time.

Oh fate, you are a cruel, cruel wench.

I had a few chips full of guacamole....and......well....that might have been it. Oh - no, I had one of the things we had brought (more on that tomorrow). Hardly enough to absorb any booze going into my system, let alone all of it.

I chatted with some long time neighbors. I got to meet one-half of the newest neighbors....though I saw the male half chatting with others (grrrrrrrrr!).

Still it was a nice time and we do have some really nice folk who live by us.

My favourite part of the day were the kids. I know.....I know.....I don't like kids. But some of them have clearly seen too many police / crime dramas. They were going around doing chalk outlines of each other.

It was funny the weird positions they were getting into. Very random. Very post-violent scenes.

Or maybe I was more amused at this because I was drunk.

Song by:  Shawn Colvin

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Music Monday

Autumn beings today at 22:29 EDT.

It's not quite unwelcome, as I think Autumn is my favourite season. Yes, it signals Winter, but this is Northeast Ohio - everything signals Winter.

Summer wasn't much of anything. Plenty of rain, though other years lately have seen much more. Temps have been very mild for the most part, and we had enough days in July and August that had us pulling out the comforter.

That's not what you quite want for Summer.

Appropriately enough, today's song title is "Summer Moved On" by, yes, a-ha.

Long time readers of this blog-thingy will know I don't cast dispersions on a-ha. If you can overlook "Take On Me" (and I try to), they have some decent work - though nothing that is groundbreaking, but a lot more folks have gotten into the Rock Hall for a lot less.

a-ha did their 30th anniversary concert tour a while back and I think that was it for them.

I've opted for a live version of the song because it shows they're not quite just studio guys. They might not be heavyweights, but it's not all created for recording.

Granted, the studio version isn't that much different, but in the live version you get the flaws and that is actually ok.  Even this version is from '98, but it is the version I have.

There are better live versions in terms of video out there, but the arrangement of the song differs slightly, or enough for me to still stick with this one.

Hope you had a good Summer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nothing in My Way

The Muses are not here today. Or yesterday I suppose. But it effects you today. I suppose I can throw out a few nothing items that you might see in the future:

  • iOS8.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Liking some things. Not liking others. The more I get to know it, the more I can fully comment on it. 
  • iPhone6. I haven't said yes to getting one. But I haven't said no either. We walked into Apple yesterday, while there was a line of people outside waiting to pick up their pre-orders. I did like the size of the 6 (not the 6 Plus). I liked how thin it was. Still.....we'll see. We didn't even bother to ask about availability.
  •  We have our neighborhood block party today. There might be a post on that. And possibly (or in conjunction with) a food post, as I need to make something to bring. Or buy something. But I'll probably make it. 
  • That cyst on Petey's paw? While the doc says it doesn't need to come off, we are thinking it does. It might bother him more than we would like to believe and now he's back to obsessively licking it and opening it up. Ick. That's just a recipe for another infection. I get the pricing on the surgery this week. 
That's it. That's all I got. As I've said, all these posts can't be winners. 

Song by: Keane

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Outside Looking In

Petey Porn. Petey Porn. Petey Porn.

With a little bit of Sophie thrown in.

On what was bound to be our last hot day of 2014. The room a/c was on, and he was shut out. Well, kind of. He knows how to nose his way in, but those sad sad hound eyes made me get up and open the door for him. 

Pete has taken to lying in the garage when I'm doing yard work. Naturally, he plops himself down in front of the sensor, so he ends up turning and keeping on the garage lights. 

Brother and Sister time. 

Honestly, he has the entire (stage) left side of the couch for himself. But lord if he doesn't want to jump up onto my side and sit on me.  

Trust me, I'm not complaining. 

Song by: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm in a Philly Mood

You've heard about the news by now. Well some of you have......or at least some of the news.

Two gay men were beaten up - one now with his jaw wired shut - (allegedly) by a large group of 20 somethings who had once attended Catholic high school together. In surveillance video, there seems to be at least a dozen folks. In the picture they took at a restaurant they were at shortly before the assault, there are more than twice that many.

Yes, not only did this take place in the City of Brotherly Love, this was perpetrated by a the followers and disciples of Jesus Christ.

Compassion. Caring. Kindness.

That Jesus Christ.

Of course, the lawyer for some of those involved, claim the two gay men started it and threw the first punch.

I've seen enough Law & Order (pick any franchise) episodes to know that you get those 12 or so into a room individually and each of their stories will be radically different.

But here's why their story doesn't hold water - too much of it, if any.

A group of 12-20 individuals vs two others (gay or not). Unless terribly high (which I know is possible), or terribly arrogant or stupid (which I know is possible), who the fuck is going to harass a group that size?  Let alone throw the first punch?

And for argument's sake, let's say one of those two guys throw the first punch. That warranted a knock down, drag-out fight?  And why was their wallet and phone taken by the group?

And better yet, no one - NO ONE - in the group, reported to police they had been assaulted? I mean, until after they were caught?

Oh, Father Flannigan is going to hear some fucking doozies in confession this week!

One he might not be hearing from is one of the guys who worked at his alma mater where he was basketball coach. Worked. Past tense.

As in: fired.

Silly gay-basher. Has he learned NOTHING from the archdiocese???  Had he just fucked / raped the victims, the church would have gladly moved him to another parish / school. No harm. No foul.

As for them getting caught - well, welcome to the new digital age. You don't need the NSA to be spying on you. First off, the surveillance tapes were remarkably clear.  Secondly, it took an average citizen to deduce from a Twit pic, the restaurant at which the gang ate, then checked that place on Facebook and not only did said group post that same pic, but tagged each and every fucking one of them with their names.

So, if the gang's story doesn't hold up, they still can't be charged with a hate crime, as Pennsylvania doesn't have those on the books.

Personally, I'm hoping one of the accused folds like a house of cards and rats on the rest of them.

Song by: Darryl Hall

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Site of the Month

Where it is somewhat safe to assume I do not know the entire contents of the Bible, you'd be wrong to assume that at a 30,000 ft level, that I have some comprehension of the text.

I'm not talking about just the Leviticus shit people pull out to put down homos.

I mean, there are whales and pillars of salt. There is human sacrifice, plagues and resurrection. There is incest and thievery. There is prostitution, human trafficking - you name it.

And yet One Million Moms are against so many things - you think this book, it would be the first one they'd start with wanting people to boycott and ban. Even burn.

Hell, the Book of Revelations alone is best reads out there.

Without changing a single word, a screenwriter and filmmaker could make the most epic movie ever.  And yes, I would assume Gerald Butler would be bare-chested in that cast somewhere.

And I would guess it would be the Christians who would claim to know the Bible so well. But what would they be willing to bet on that? And if so - how much?

Like I said, I'm a well-read man. I couldn't tell you one chapter and verse of this book by memory and am even too lazy to look up John 3:16, even though it is at every fucking sporting event ever. Ok, maybe not curling, but.....you know what I mean.

Still over a few decades, regardless of your religious upbringing, you hear some of the stories and can kind of guess how it all ends. But again - do people know it as well as they think?

On reading an article on if Jesus actually existed, since the Bible is a book of tales that were relayed from the past - how much of him (if any) is real and how much became mythology.

Don't get me wrong, I think the Old Testament is full of tall tales too. Fire. Brimstone. Wheels in the sky. Apples and snakes. You get the picture.

So the SotM is on how well do you know your Bible stuff.

This quiz deals specifically with the New Testament. And I would venture to guess that every person who takes the quiz gets it wrong. I did.

Every. Single. Question. Wrong.

I thought I was crazy. So I took it again. The results were the same. WRONG.

...and it's not because I'm as dumb as I thought {shut up}.

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Doctor! Doctor!

All in all, I am liking the physician I went to on a trial basis.

Truth be told, he's in the same practice as my outgoing doc and I had seen him once (maybe twice?) before, back in the early 2000s.

He "claims" to thinking my name was familiar and went back into the EHR prior to my appointment and looked back through 2005 before figuring out he hadn't seen me. I told him he didn't go back far enough.

I have to give him this, he DID look at my medical record and made mention of my surgeries - which to be honest, some were extensive. Most physicians I come across don't bother to learn squat about their patients, especially before an appointment.

I brought him up more to speed on that temporary hearing loss, the headaches, physical therapy, ortho visits and now my right foot.

Well, my right foot has been on-going. I saw someone about the tendinitis a few years ago, but I think that's morphed into something that is more painful. I told the new Dr. T (yes, the old one was also a Dr. T) that I'm one of those asshole patients who self-diagnose.

But he was happy that I knew my medical history so well - on when things happened and my understanding of why we think all these things happened.

We had the exam and a decent chat. He's very personable - and that's saying something too.

If I have an issue, it's that like my outgoing doc, he'll probably retire in five years or so. But I like him enough to ride out the time he has left. I'll burn that new doc bridge when I get to it. I mean, there is no guarantee that a younger doc would stay in this town or with this practice...or get hit by a bus.

On a plus side, save my HDL, which is still lower than it should be, all my other lab work was normal.

I also got my pneumovax and flu shot. Ouch.

Not the shot, just the after effects. My arm is so fucking sore. But that's the price one pays to ward off flue and pneumonia.

Get your flu shot.

Song by: Thompson Twins

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eulogy for a Rock Band

Last week I delivered my first eulogy. Probably not my last, but.....well, one never knows.

My mother finally decided to have a small memorial for my father. It was larger than I anticipated, due to her quick turn-around on wanting to have it and when to have it. Most of the timing was based on two of my sister's schedules, on when they could be in town.

Some family was there - both on my mother's and father's side. Some long time neighbors. Some of my mother's old work folks, with whom she keeps in touch with - clearly. And some friends - of both mine or my sisters.

Most - if not all of - my father's cohort have passed on. But they say these things are for the living, though that only seems to be partially true.

While there was the seemingly required reading of what I call the Byrd's bible verse (turn! turn! turn!) my mother didn't really think about anyone giving a eulogy of any kind. Of course, I offered. And while she claims to have agreed to it, what she really said, was 'let me think about it'.

Honestly, it was only 15 minutes before the beginning of the service when I asked her again, and she said she thought I was doing it. Right then was not the time to question her recall of memory as to what she had stated 2-3 days prior. She was a little fragile.

Having never given one before, but having seen quite a few, I knew I wasn't going to hit the best of them, but knew I wouldn't tank either. Or at least hoped I wouldn't.

My cousin, Bill had his law partner (also named Bill) give his eulogy few years back. Afterwards, I told (the alive) Bill that when I die he could give my mine. It was just that good.

But I've seen people go up there and be a crying mess too. But not in a 'happy we knew you' kind of cry. More of a 'what am I going to do now' kind of wail. Well, if that is for the living, there may as well be cyanide punch after the service.

Mine, I hope, was timed well. Not too long. Not too short. There was meant to be a combination of humour and heart, and I think I achieved that.

I've long ago gotten over my fear of public speaking. Oddly, I think video blog posts have helped. They are unscripted and I've seen a reduction in the "um" and pauses that most people speaking to groups give.

I won't say my eulogy - if that's what mine could be called - was unscripted, but there was nothing written, not even notes or talking points. While I knew many in attendance, I didn't know all, so you never know how personal to take things, or not.

Seeing that my father's brother was there, I did omit a few things i thought of saying. Nothing bad about my uncle, but some family quirks that my father inherited that you never know if it would be something that would make his sibling laugh or take offense. Since I had not seen his brother in 28.5 years, I opted to just delete those.

I spoke of my father the planner. My father the animal lover. My father the husband, dad and grandfather.

While I felt comfortable doing all of this and in this setting, it's still a blur. While I hope I made eye contact with the group - I remember only seeing Morty, Rebecca and my mother in the seats. I hope I stood up straight. I hope I didn't "um" or "ah", or at least too much.  710 claims I did not, but I'm not sure I can trust him.

I kind of flubbed a few things. I forgot one anecdote I wanted to put forth, but totally went blank on and remembered only after sitting back down. I also called one of my sisters by her full first name, something she has never been called since she was maybe five years old. I have no idea where that came from.

710 did say days later that my talk made him tear up. Morty said the same thing, especially when my mother got up to come and hug me after I had finished.

Sitting back down. One of my sisters leaned over and whispered, "how did you do that off the top of your head?"

Well, in my head, I'd been writing the eulogy for weeks. Maybe months. Bits and pieces here and there. I'd been editing and refining some of those tales as I'd drift to sleep on a nightly basis. I never thought, or felt the need, to commit them to paper.

Afterwards, we gathered for food - since that is what one does at an event like this. While I didn't think I did anything special, I was amazed how many people - familiar and strangers alike - approached me to thank me for what I said, or to tell me what a good job I did.

I wasn't looking for accolades, but truth be told, it was nice to hear that I didn't suck. Which is what one of my brothers-in-law said. Perhaps he was being the most honest, even if he was just joking with me. I think.

Even one of the food workers in the hall, setting up lunch, told me she thought it was a great tribute to my father. I'm assuming she sees a few funerals per week, so she'd know. And since I didn't know her at all, she didn't have to say it so, maybe I didn't suck.

The mingling and food stuff was nice (well....the food wasn't) but you know how those go. You get 30-90 seconds with most people. The folks you want to see you don't. The ones you want to have a good conversation you can't, though my first year college roommate was there. But he lives near my parents, so had heard about my father's death. Still, it was nice to see him.  ....and his mother, who was always like a second mother to me.

Before it was all wrapped up, I went around and thanked the catering and hall staff for doing such a nice job. I think they were grateful someone noticed their work, though once came back and said, "let's not make this a habit".

It was probably a stock line she uses with all funeral stuff, but I laughed nonetheless.

And just so you know, not that I'm wishing ill of my mother, but I've had the first line of her eulogy written in my head for about 10 years now.

Song by: Weezer

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Music Monday

It's another one of those My Music Monday's where I had not mapped out a song. But to be fair to me, it's just been one of those weeks. I've been surviving day to day.

I'll get back on track. No worries.

So, I did the iTunes shuffle of 10 songs and you get what is #10. Let me tell you, if I did just nine, we'd all be, like, "uggggh".  That's all you need to know.

So you get Louden Wainwright III' s "White Winos".

Yes, Wainwright is Rufus' father. To hear Rufus tell it, depending on which interview you read, he loves his father or hates him....or blames him for this or that. Welcome to childhood Rufus.

The elder Wainwright has been a recording artist for decades - mostly folk music. He was married to one of the McGarrigle sisters and one of the Roches. ...and a few other times, I believe. That's just FYI - not an indictment.

He's also an actor and appeared in a Judd Aptaow movie or two and a few episodes of Parks and Recreation.

Rufus also recorded a version of one of his father's songs, "One Man Guy", and it is possibly the best thing Rufus has committed to "tape".

But I've always been a fan of "White Winos". It's a simple three minutes. Vocal, acoustic guitar and a few strings. That's it.

Louden has a good voice and good picking style. He's probably under appreciated.

Louden Wainwright III - White Winos

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spanish Flea

We did something new yesterday - 710 and myself. We went to the Cleveland Flea.

Maybe I'm missing something when people go: "what is that?" Because to me, it sounds fairly self-explanatory. I mean, unless one is into entomology. Or works for the CDC.

It's a flea market, people. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I mean, where else could you buy an impala head wearing a pair of Ray-Bans?

Nowhere.  That's where!

I've known it's been around for a bit, but just never made the time and always forgot the actual schedule. And when I thought of going, I feared I might be talking 710 into an activity in which he might not want to participate.

I was wrong.

Yes, there was some crap there no one in their right mind would buy, but there was some cool stuff too. Plus a lot of stuff for more younger, hipper folks than ourselves. Clearly.

They had music too. A DJ playing really good music that I'd never heard and a live band that would have made Morrissey want to slit his wrists.

And most importantly, they had food. Vendors selling their wares in terms or artisnal breads, chocolates, etc......but they had food trucks. We looked around but settled on Wholly Frijoles.

Two carnitas and two carne asada tacos. We shared, so had one of each. (I liked the asada more, 710 like the carnitas better.)

...and mini donuts.....

...and since it's from a lab, you know it's science.

Well....science and oil and sugar.

Song by: Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass

Saturday, September 13, 2014

12 of 12

So I'm doing my 55th 12 of 12

Normally it is 12 pictures taken on the 12
th of the month. Since I only post once per day, you get my images the following day. All pictures taken with my iPhone. Click images to enlarge, if you choose.

Created by Chad Darnell and picked up from, what I can tell, any number of random bloggers who then link back to him and vice versa. Chad is no longer doing this, nor is successor coordinating the linking of other 12 of 12'ers anymore. Now it's just Erik (and sometimes Jim) and myself - that I know of. 

I still continue to do this, because of all my consistent post topics, I actually like this one the most.

06:50. Getting the morning paper.  

08:05.  I'm not really a bumper sticker guy (at least on my car), but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate some - if only for an instant - on other automobiles. 

And it can be used when you're referring to the IT department too.

08:30.  The last of this year's watermelon. I don't foresee getting anymore in 2014.

08:50. Taking Blob Sr. to his memorial service.

11:00. My father on display. 

11:30. Small gathering of friends, relatives and neighbors of my father.....and horrible food.

12:30. Real food (and beer) with real friends at Gamekeeper's

14:15.  Back at my mom's house with my nutso family. 

14:45.  Lord, I hope the recipe of Dolley Madison's Zingers.
I love the "new edition". Pat Nixon seems to be the last First Lady. 

18:40.  Doggie Dinner Time. 

19:05. Not original, but we took my mom out to P.F. Chang's just to get her out of the house for dinner - and the evening. It was good for her.

20:30.  Fortune.  .....while in bed. 

...and now your Baker's Dozen......

22:15.  Sophie's evening ramekin of milk. Skim, of course.

.....so until next month.....