Monday, December 9, 2013

Keeping Safety First

Ok. So in order to keep up with the Joneses, well, actually the Moores, we bought an outdoor firebowl. Really. That’s the name of this firebreathing gadget. It’s a propane outdoor campfire. It came with it’s own supply of rocks. And instructions. Keep reading.

On page 1 of the ‘Safety Manual’ under the heading of DANGER the first item is–if you smell gas: 1. Shut off gas to the appliance. (That seems reasonable) 2. Extinguish any open flame. (Ok. No problem with that line of thinking.) 3. If odour continues, keep away from the appliance and immediately call your gas supplier or fire department. My translation here – run like hell. There appears to be more technical stuff like hooking up hoses and valves and other assorted gagetry. Good thing for me that Mr. Lucky has a knack for putting things together.

Moving along, I skipped ahead to page 4 of the aforementioned ‘Safety Manual’ to Section 1 - Assembly. The word Assembly is in red, so you know right away that it is mighty important. Step 1 tells me that there are four bags of rocks and one factory installed 10' propane-rated hose with attached regulator. Step 2. "Remove plastic bags containing the rocks". Step 3. Open the bag containing the smaller rocks, labelled conveniently for you "Put Me In First" and arrange in burner area. Step 4. Next, open the bag of medium sized rocks, labelled conveniently for you "Put Me In Second" and place over the small rocks. Step 5. Finally, open the bag of larger rocks, labelled conveniently for you "Put Me in Last" and arrange over top of the medium rocks. Wait there’s more. Step 6 - The fourth bags of rocks are included as spares and are labelled "Spare Rocks". They even provided a picture in black and white showing how the rocks should look when all arranged in the burner thingy. You are then reminded not to touch the hot rocks. And don’t be arranging the rocks while the unit is ignited. Ok. I’ll be mindful of that.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Just by happenstance I picked up a can of that snack cheese in the can with the handy nozzle deal. It says right on the can "For best results remove cap." I’m thinking for any kind of results one should remove the cap. By the way, did you know that that stuff has 80 calories a serving?

A side note .... I really do know how to spell the word labeled. I copied it word-for-word and it was quite a challenge to misspell it so many times. I am expecting the spelling police to show up. They will probably team up with the rock police.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mix it up for Dinner.

I like the KISS policy. I’m not talking about the suck face kind either. I’m referring to the Keep It Simple Stupid one. The first item on this mythical list is when you can buy it prepared, go for it. In this case I am referring to the makings of a Hot Pork Sandwich. I prepared some pork chops in the crock pot a few days ago and when it came time to rally around some fixin’s it occurred me that I could simply shred the pork chops and put them on a nice slice of whole wheat bread with a dollop of gravy. A healthy scoop of mashed potatoes would complete this delightful entree. Lucky thing for me I had the packages of Idahoan Potatoes and Pork Gravy mixes at the ready. That saved me all that pesky potato peeling and gravy making. I added a salad – again with one of those handy mixes from the grocery produce department – and called it dinner.

A while back I discovered packaged gravy mixes. Not only are they easy, but they are good. I have made really good gravy and have made some, well, not so good. One time I created what was supposed to be turkey gravy. It turned out to be some sort of cement like stuff. You could have patched potholes in the driveway with it. Another time the
concoction I turned out was so peppery that even Mr. Lucky couldn’t choke it down.

And while we’re on the subject did you all know that you can buy pie crust already made. Right out of the box from the refrigerated section in the grocery store?  I used to have the mistaken idea that you had to (a) make your own pie crust. (b) create your own filling. I was so naive.  Naive might be a code word for dumb.  You can even bypass the boxed pie crust and move right to the already made pies. Either fresh or frozen. Who knew? For years I didn’t.

While I’m going on about mixes and the like. I have had a serious, long term relationship with cake mixes. I was quite pleased when I discovered a small, but wonderful, recipe book for using cake mixes for cookies and lots of other wonderful things. They are not just for cakes anymore.

Now I find you can buy cookie mixes. They are handily located right near the cake mixes. And the brownie mixes. Now that I have your attention about mixes let me tell you about a little something I call Crownies. What you wind up with is a brownie with a cookie baked on top of it. Mix up a brownie mix. Mix up your cookie dough. Place a scoop of brownie batter in a muffin pan. Top it with a scoop of cookie dough. I usually entirely fill the muffin pan. Bake at 350 but you might want to check halfway through the baking time to avoid overcooking/burning.

What with Thanksgiving right around the corner you’ll soon find that you can buy an entire Thanksgiving dinner already cooked and ready to serve 6 or 8 guests. How about that? You might even want to go one step further. Dine out. It will save all that messy cleanup and entertaining your crazy Aunt Phoebe or dealing with your obnoxious brother-in-law.   Either way - enjoy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fall is in the air. I am able to recognize this without even looking at a calendar. The piles of firewood in backyards around town, in the back of pickups, and in the case of over-achievers it can be found split and nicely stacked in the wood shed.

As a youngster fall meant several things to me. New school clothes and shoes were coming my way. Let’s not forget the new school supplies. My mom was willing to pop for the big box of Crayons–the 64 pack, and a new loose leaf notebook complete with pen/pencil gizmo that fit inside it. Then there were the pens and pencils. Oh, boy. I remember one of my sons didn’t want a new notebook. He could use "last year’s". I had never heard of such a thing. This was the same boy who didn’t want new shoes for school. His reasoning was that he didn’t want people to think he wanted school to start. Who could argue with that kind of logic? I wonder if kids nowadays get all twittery about a backpack. Probably not. Pens probably aren’t high on the excitement scale, either, what with not having the opportunity to learn cursive.

The start of a new school year in Orofino was quickly followed by one of the year’s biggest events–Clearwater County Fair and Lumberjack Days. It is still a big deal in some respects but now going to the fair has nothing to do with riding the ‘Octopus’ or ‘Tilt-A-Whirl’ or eating Cotton Candy. It’s more about meeting old friends and of course buying a Lumberjack Days t-shirt. Gotta keep those t-shirt numbers up. And of course, THE parade. One of the highlights is the appearance of a group of bagpipers from Trail, B.C.

After the thrill of the start of school and the fair excitement wear off, it was time to look ahead to that really big occasion. Halloween. We had several rules for trick or treating enforced by my mom. We couldn’t start until it was dark. Now days kids go out in broad daylight. What’s scary about that? Another pesky rule of my mom’s – no pillow cases for treat bags. We doubled up brown grocery bags. You guessed it. I allowed my boys to use pillow cases. We were supposed to stay in our own neighborhood. Mom was not thrilled when people broke this unwritten rule and hauled out-of-town kids in to trick-or-treat in "highly" populated areas of town. The nerve of those parents.

I hope this year I can buy Halloween candy and decorations without having to push aside Christmas findings. It doesn’t matter that I don’t need either candy or decorations. We usually have one or two little tricksters. Two 3 pound bags of candy and 4 strings of twinkling orange lights should take care of things.  So if you happen along Halloween night, expect a treat!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Life in T-shirts

My Life in T-shirts

My clothes closet sort of defines my life. After I leave this world and go to the ‘Happy Bargain Hunting Ground’ I can imagine someone (probably my nieces) going through my stash of clothes and extracting a boatload of t-shirts. With each new discovery someone will say, "What was she thinking?".

Right off the bat they’ll notice that I am a baseball fan, noting that I have Seattle Mariners and Red Sox shirts, along with a pristine Ken Griffey, Jr. The thinking here is that if I wear it it might wear out. Who would want that to happen? I am not opposed to football, NASCAR, or Harley Davidson shirts, but I just don’t happen to have any of those.

School spirit. My school mascot was Orofino Maniacs. Was and is. That explains the embroidered Maniacs t-shirt.

Sometimes t-shirts showing my travels follow me home. Laughlin and Reno, Nevada. I had one from Pahrump, NV. It has since become a handy dust rag. In my collection they will find Boston and Cape Cod, Mass. shirts along with one depicting all the states Route 66 passed through.

Moving along to the hobby and interest section I have several which support our local 4-wheeler riding group that read "Got Trails?" on the fronts. The backs say PLAY, an acronym for Public Land Access Year round. It does not mean Please Leave A Youngun. Take your kids with you when you leave.

I have long since worn out the one that read "The one who dies with most fabric wins." Keeping with the humorous theme I have one that reads "If you mess with me, you’ll have to deal with the whole trailer park." My RV cronies think that one is particularly appropriate. Then there is the pretty pink number that says "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted against you."  Lest we not forget the 2nd amendment.  I have the that reads "Cowboys Leave Your Guns at the Bar". 

T-shirts to wish you a Happy Halloween, Merry Christmas, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day are sprinkled into the mix. At one time I had one that read "Bah Humbug". I am a self-appointed cheerleader for the USA and have several t-shirts to back this up.

My Americana flavored ones head my favorites list.  I figured out a long time ago you don't have to wait for the 4th of July to show your American Spirit.  It's always ok.

 A perfect shirt might  be Ken Griffey, Jr. holding the flag (American) in one hand, a Royal Flush in spades in the other, with a baseball bat propped up nearby. Oh, yeah. He’s in a Mariner’s uniform.

In the meantime I'll be browsing the t-shirt selection in a local shop.  Let me know if you run across one you think I might take a liking to.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beautiful Downtown Clarkia, Idaho

This past weekend Mr. Lucky and I ventured to Clarkia, Idaho. A town located in the southwest corner of Shoshone County it boasts of a population of over 50. There is a bar/convenience store and a Post Office and not a whole lot more. Our purpose was to camp with friends, take part in an ATV ride, and enjoy the great outdoors. Missions accomplished.

I would like to make it perfectly clear that when I say ‘camp’ I mean in the comforts of a suitably sized recreational vehicle which will be hereafter referred to as an RV. Gone are the days of ‘roughin’ it. None of that cooking over a campfire, attempting to sleep on the ground on a flat piece of plastic that used to be an air mattress, or carrying water from a nearby creek. (In these parts that is pronounced crick).

We don’t have all the comforts, like satellite TV or maid service like a Holiday Inn, but we can fire up the generator and brew a pot of java with the Mr. Coffee. Mr. Lucky is not too crazy about running the generator so I can blow dry my hair. I have to make a few sacrifices. No dishwasher, either, but we are equipped with propane heated water.

Anyway...there we were just 12 miles or so away from the Hobo National Forest. So at the stroke of noon or so we ventured off on our 4 wheelers to have a look. It’s a beautiful clump of old cedar trees nestled in the forest at about 4300 feet. The area is complete with picnic tables at the trail head and the most essential ‘outhouse’. There is a nice path meandering through the trees, complete with markers to let you know what you are viewing. You can revel in the wonder of nature.

Speaking of the wonder of nature, I can’t tell you about bear, but moose do poop in the woods. The moose who dropped the droppings we saw apparently found the groomed trail much easier to travel than in the dense trees and brush. The trail was quite littered with his droppings. Who knows. Maybe he had some friends along. They probably party as soon as the tourist season is over. In Clarkia the winters are quite long.

If you have a burning desire to look at a map of the Hobo National Forest click this link.,-116.138601:0:Hobo%20Cedar%20Grove,%20United%20States:map:0

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rocks...some cold, hard facts.

I have a love / hate relationship with them.

Here are some rock truths:

They reproduce in the yard and garden. With every replanting of a garden you will find that a whole new family of rocks has surfaced. Maybe it’s the rock gremlins who come in the winter and bury them when no one is looking.

Sometimes they hide out...just waiting for you to approach with the lawn mower or weed whacker. In a battle with a lawn mower or weed whacker the rocks will win. The amount of damage done to either piece of equipment will be directly related to the price of the said equipment.

Rock Gardens are not all they’re cracked up to be. I tried my hand at a ‘Rock Garden’ for several years running. All in all the weeds won. They teamed up with the rocks. You know the little tags you find in plants at the nursery. The ones that say "perfect for rock gardens". Well, you can’t believe everything you read, especially on those clever little tags.

Learn to live with them. Build a rock wall. Never to high, but high enough so that it looks like you planned it. We have heard of folks driving to faraway places to collect rocks to bring home for landscaping purposes. Or worse yet - buying them. We just dig ‘em up but not necessarily on purpose.

Rocks can make handy tools. Suppose you want to crack a walnut. Grab a rock. Pound a nail. Grab a rock. Don’t select one of those crumbly slate ones; go for a "rock hard" one. Rocks don’t have the corner on this concept. I once made a dessert that turned out to be strawberry-rhubarb sinkers. They were rock-hard, too.

Some rocks try to get on your good side by becoming ‘thunder eggs’, which just happens to be the Oregon state rock. Idaho doesn’t have an official state rock, but the state stone is star garnet. I think stones are just uppity rocks, possibly with good breeding. Maybe if I keep digging a star garnet will appear in the front yard. Rocks = stones = gems = rubies. Where is my shovel?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

                                           The Joys of Reality TV

I caught a glimpse on Yahoo news on the internet of the bearded camo-clad "star" of Duck Dynasty. Let me rephrase–one of the stars of Duck Dynasty. Apparently there are two brothers, along with two sons of one of them. They all sport full beards and camo clothing. They made the Yahoo news feed because they are halting production of their cable show for more money. It seems that on A&E this show captures 8.6 million viewers in their 10 PM Wednesday time slot. Go figure. With this kind of following the producers are likely to pay attention.

This brings me to the crux of this blog. What’s up with all the ridiculous reality TV shows? They aren’t limited to cable TV. On any given night, or day, for that matter, you can choose from dozens of shows depicting supposedly real life drama. The only thing I can figure out is that a.) the sponsors are willing to throw money at them and b.) they are cheap to produce. Think of the money they are saving on real life actors. You’re not likely to see Sandra Bullock starring in Housewives of Tulsa or wherever it is. Brad Pitt is not likely to be wrestling swamp creatures.

Some of the tantalizing choices to be found are Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and American Pickers. These are all based on the theme that there is junk in every attic or storage unit. Ha. Obviously no one has looked in my attic. That’s where we keep our old out-of-date computers, 21 boxes of assorted decorations for anything from Presidents’ Day to Christmas, assorted motorcycle trophies (not mine). Oh, I also forgot–nine totes of fabric which I’m sure I will need someday.

Along with this Duck Dynasty show you can be amazed by Bigfoot Finder. That one is likely to go on forever. If they find a Bigfoot they’ll have to cancel the show. Looking for more outdoor adventure? How about Swamp People? Something a little more domestic to your liking? How about Sister Wives? Or while we’re on the subject–Wife Swap? And for your viewing pleasure you can tune into two versions of that one. One on cable and one on network TV. Let’s not forget Ax Men. That’s all about the life and hard times of a variety of loggers who all know how to swear and get into an occasional fist fight with each other.

Ok. So you don’t like the outdoor stuff or the swapping of sister wives or whatever. Maybe you’d like to catch some shows with an entrepreneurial theme. Undercover Boss, Shark Tank, and of course, Celebrity Apprentice. Donald Trump is the mastermind behind this breathtaking cliffhanger. In the past he has managed to find someone to publicly exchange insults with during the airing of his show. Hmmm. Could it be to boost the viewer numbers?

I’m thankful for major league baseball. It saves me from all the drama of reality based TV. Go Mariners!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Accent Deprived

I’m from Idaho. The north central part. And not the potato growing part, but the logging, steelhead part. Like most Idaho natives I am accent deprived. You can tell where someone hails from or at least the general area as soon as you exchange a "pleased to meet you" for a "howdy". Well, as long as they have an accent.

My ability to distinguish a Maine accent from, say, a New Hampshire one is a little lame but I can tell they aren’t from Minnesota. Most New Englanders sound pretty much the same. They have this thing about misplacing their ‘R’s. They drop them off words like car and hang them onto words like idea. "That cahw design was a smaht ider." Folks from Salem, Mass. are apt to say, "That cahw design was a wicked smoht ider."

The same thing pretty much holds true with southern folk. My accent detection is not so refined that I can tell a Georgia native from a South Carolinian. But I can figure out that they are from the south. Maybe not Texas, though. I have been told that Texans have an drawl all their own....something with a bit of a twang. I have a pretty keen sense of the obvious. That’s why I can tell right away that they aren’t from North Central Idaho...or Montana.

Once one of my cronies commented on how she liked a Montana accent. Montana accent? I insisted that folks from Montana don’t have accents; southern or otherwise. They may or may not sprinkle in swear words or bad grammar, but they have no discernible accents. It didn’t matter to her. She enjoyed chatting with a fella just to be entertained by his "Montana accent". Turns out he was originally from Mississippi.

I get it. I kind of like the sound of a southern accent, too. I have a friend from Georgia, or maybe it’s South Carolina. Either way, every now and then I ask him how it is he makes Hush Puppies. No way I’m going to make them. I just like to hear him tell how to do it.

And how about those British? You know they really aren’t smarter. They just tend to sound that way. Who didn’t like to hear Sean Connery say, "Bond. James Bond." ?

Then there is the fake accent. Usually southern. And usually turned on by some attention seeker who has never been further south than Boise? A few years back, in my former life, I was involved in a little production called Fabrics to Fashion Show and Follies. At the suggestion of one of the other players I invented a character called Sewella Nozitall. She was supposed to be from the south with an accent and a wide-brimmed hat to prove it. Did I mention she was a self-proclaimed expert? And what an accent. I laid it on real thick. Then a few months later I attended a sewing seminar. At lunch I was seated at the same table as a real life Sewella Nozitall. Accent and all. I would bet she left her hat in the car. What an experience that was. You can guess that I had a hard time not spitting my beverage out when she opened her mouth. Which, by the way, was quite frequent. I’m glad she wasn’t in the audience for the aforementioned fashion show. That might have embarrassed even me.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Fun

Anything penned by Dave Barry catches my eye. That was the case as I was thumbing through the magazine (?) that’s tucked inside the Sunday paper. There in black and white was a column written by Dave Barry with suggestions for a successful Super Bowl Party. Mr. Barry is married to a sports writer so my guess is that he knows all the ins and outs of putting on a Super Bowl Party.

His column did not disappoint. He suggested that the first thing to do was to lay in a supply of beer. None of that light stuff, either. Real full-bodied beer. He didn’t suggest Pete’s Wicked Ale, but I’m pretty sure it would do. Chips was the next item. No need get all "Martha Stewart-y" he says. Skip the bowls and just pass out bags to everyone. I’m thinking that would sure eliminate a lot of that pesky cleanup, too. If you have enough beer Dave says a TV is optional.

For a number of years I hawked fabric in my fabric shop. I had a different twist on Super Bowl Sunday. A fabric sale. Not just ho-hum fabric sale. This was a big deal. I would schedule the "event" to start before the pre-game festivities and keep it going until the last touchdown dance was performed. The idea of buying fabric at 40% off seemed to have its appeal to a lot of my customers. Oh....I had chips, too. Beer wasn’t necessary. However, I am not sure but what a few of the ladies didn’t sneak in wine coolers.

As with anything involving women and fabric sales, I had to have rules in place. No pushing, shoving, or grabbing another person’s fabric. There was to be no mention of the score of the game. The most important rule was this: What happens in the fabric shop stays in the fabric shop. There was to be no tongue wagging about how much Bertha spent on fabric or what Harriet had to say about her worthless son-in-law.

In keeping with this line of and sales and the like.... If you can’t find a fabric sale, look for a shoe sale. They are almost as much fun. Whatever it takes without having to spend hours pretending to enjoy a ball game that doesn’t even have a pitcher. If all else fails you can stroll through used car lots and get the sales staff out of the office. Think how much they will appreciate the opportunity to get out of the office where the TV is.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions....or lack thereof

So...what with January of the New Year about over this is the time when most people have abandoned their less than sincere resolutions to continue the bad habits they have spent years acquiring. That is pretty much why I don’t waste my time making resolutions. There is no point in creating false hope.

It occurred to me that if one didn’t make resolutions they might be inclined to have dreams. You know, like a Bucket List. So in no particular order I started asking folks what was on their bucket lists. Most people had to stop and think about it, not having it on the tip of their tongue. For a couple folks I had to explain what a Bucket List was. Cutting to the chase I found that most folks had travel on their list. That is no doubt because I asked mostly "senior citizens"...the ones who have time to travel. Not one person I asked had bungee jumping on their list. Nor sky diving. Not one person mentioned snorkeling. (I added snorkeling because I find the word amusing. "Hey, George. Did you get any snorkeling in today?" "No Henry. I had to shuck oysters so I couldn’t snorkel." ) Back to my story..... Some picked destinations that they had already been with the idea of visiting family. Cruises topped the list for several people. One adventurous woman wanted to shoot an elk. Well, guess what? She did it. One guy said his bucket was dented.
Now with all this chit chat about Bucket Lists I thought I would share my list. At the very top is a trip down the Mississippi River on a river boat. Did you see the movie Maverick with James Garner? That kind of river boat. A great big, grand one with gambling and maid service. I realize this is going to be costly. So....if the 12 or 14 of you who read this would start sending me money, say, every month or so, in a couple of years I would have enough saved up to finance this endeavor.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my travel plans.