More Changes

One of the three big oak trees in the front was leaning over the house.  I’ve been meaning to take it down before it fell onto Amanda’s room – a bad thing.  Since tree guy is already here, I guess now’s the time.  This is the tree that the carpenter ants were living in while they ate my porch.  You could see them marching in a perfect line from porch to tree all day long.  I’m hoping that with one of these oak trees gone, I might be able to grow some grass in front.  As usual, click on on the picture to embigen.

Faster! Faster!

Busy, busy, busy.  The poplar tree is almost down.  Too bad.  It was a nice tree.  But every year it’s been leaning a little more toward the dining room, and frightening me just that much more.  Here it is in stick form – click to embigen.  If I walked out into the backyard and took the picture, you could see how much it’s leaning, but that smacks of effort.  And it’s cold out there.  And I’d have to put my pants on.  It’s just all too much.

The concrete slab in the basement has been sinking as long as we’ve lived here, so I hired some guys to come out and pump a slurry of sand, cement and my money into holes drilled into the basement floor to fill the void and raise the slab a little.  They can’t raise it all the way because the previous owner built a bathroom down there & put in about 3″ of concrete on the floor.  But they can at least fill the void below the slab and keep it from sinking any more – and raise it a little.  There is currently about 8″ of air between the bottom of he concrete floor and the soil.  So every year, the slab slips down a little more.  This should stop it.  They started Tuesday, but it was raining and they use a machine that they fill with a couple tons of slurry and drive down the hill to the back.  But it was slipping, so after 6 hours and 12 trips back and forth, they quit.  They are coming back Monday and should finish.

Then there’s the bedroom.  It’s been the home of 3 teenage boys over the years.  Erin and Gabe gave cleaning it up a shot while they were living there, but it’s really too far gone for mere painting to fix.  So I had the CDC come out in their haz-mat suits and purge the room with flames and priests.    After the floor is leveled somewhat I need to paint the room, probably about 28 coats, buy a carpet, have it installed, and put up a door.  I guess I’d better get moving so that it’s done before Brian, Susan, Nick and Dane get here…in one week.  Oh, and I’ve bought no Christmas presents yet.  I gotta go…

Gabe and Erin Married!

Gabe and Erin were married yesterday! The weather was perfect.  It was a beautiful, sunny, and unseasonably warm December day.  The ceremony was at our house out on our evergreen festooned lower deck.  After the ceremony, the whole wedding party went to an Italian restaurant.  Bride and groom stayed at a Hilton in Northern Virginia, and spent the next day sightseeing in D.C.  Julian spent a fun-filled day with grandma.  Pictures coming soon.  No, really.  Soon…ish…

[Update 12/7] I uploaded some pictures right out of my camera, including some that could benefit from some time spent in Photoshop.  Let all the thumbnails load, then open the first one, and use your arrow key to move to the next.  I’ll fix it up and make it better soon.

Not So Rosy

Stayed up until about midnight watching the Spartans blow their lead in the championship game and lose out on a trip to Pasadena. So my question is what was any MSU player doing within even 40 yards of the punter?

Besides the end result, I was also disgusted with the Fox sports announcers.  I want sports announcers that inform and don’t get all shouty and over-excited, like Fox News/Politics announcers. But, working for Fox, they probably can’t help it.

Anyway, stupid Spartans.

On a happy note, Gabe and Erin get married today!  More on that later…

Crawlin’ From the Wreckage

Last Saturday, November 26, 2011, this site was hacked by Kurds.  That’s right, Kurds. Now I’ve always been what you might call agnostic about the Kurds, but after this, well, you can just imagine.

Brenda and I were at the Newseum in D.C. with the Rathes and Leslie when Erin called to say that was flying the Kurdish flag.  When we got home I contacted my web host to report the hack.  They checked the site and said that the whole thing was radioactive with viruses and malware.  All they could do was wipe the server’s hard drive and give me a new, empty website.  It’s going to take many weeks to get things back, but that only makes sense since I’ve been annoying folks with this website since 1996. Problem is that all of your beautiful posts and comments are now lost…like tears…in the rain…[Blade Runner reference]

UPDATE:  Hey!  I found a backup of part of the site.  I think I can restore most of the posts and comments!

Julian in Ancient Garb

Here’s my grandson Julian wearing one of my brother Gary’s old “Desserts” t-shirts. Desserts was the name of Gary’s band back in the early ’70s. So that would be like me wearing a medieval jerkin…or something. So old…so old…

Anyway, it fits Julian to a “T” - heh.

Speaking of Desserts, look what the google found:  an ancient recording of “Bernadette” performed by Desserts several thousand years ago at the Royal Oak Music Theater (I think).  “Bernadette” was one of my favorite Desserts songs back then.  I’s a clever and catchy  song about Motown Records leaving Detroit, using snippets of other Motown songs.   It was written by Stuart Mitchell, and  in this version, Gary Rosenberg is singing.  Give it a listen.  I believe Motown songwriter/artist Eddie Kendricks also recorded it in the early ’80s.


Mike Tyson does Herman Cain

Who knew that Mike Tyson was funny?

“Because The Tea Party loves Crazy more than they hate Blacks.” Now that’s pretty funny.

It is election day after all, albeit an off, off year election.  But on the day that the “Screw the Middle Class Act” was defeated in Ohio, and the “Every Sperm is Sacred Act” was defeated in Mississippi, what could be better than a Mike Tyson video?


Julian Turns One Year Old!

Julian had his first birthday yesterday.  Erin and Gabe had a party for him at our house.  It was a great time, especially for the birthday boy.  Lots of presents, lots of great food, lots of friends.  Here are a few pictures and  a video.

El Az Chicken Enchiladas!

Delicious chicken enchilads in front of Amandas unfrosted pumpkin cupcakes that are liable to get all dried out and eaten. Brenda getting ready to eat and watching the TeeVee.

I made one of my favorite things tonight:  Chicken Enchiladas a la El Azteco.  El Azteco, or “El Az” as it reverently called, is a tex-mex restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan, home of Michigan State University.  When I attended MSU back in the stone age, El Az was a dingy basement restaurant on M.A.C. St., which is off of Grand River Ave., right across from the Student Union.  Now, El Az is a full-fledged 2 story restaurant about a half a block from its old location that features rooftop dining and pretty much the same wonderful food that I enjoyed 30 something years ago.

They had 2 kinds of chicken enchilada.  One had a red sauce, and it was okay.  The other was called “chili verde” and a  green and white sauce (get it?  green and white?  MSU?) that was hotter.  That’s the one I liked.  I found a recipe on the internet that is allegedly from an ex-employee of El Az.  It sounded completely crazy, but when I made it, well, that was it!  Here’s the recipe.  It makes way too much food, so you can cut the recipe in  half, or better, just freeze half of the sauce and chicken for future eating.

1. Chicken.  You need a mess of chicken, like 4-5 pounds.  So I used thighs because of, you know, the cheapness, and they have a lot of flavor.   Boil the chicken until tender.  It’s best to boil with some celery, carrots, onions, and tomato paste, but you don’t have to.  When it’s done, shred it with 2 forks and put it in a bowl.

2. The sauce. Chop off the stems from 10-12 jalapenos.  You can remove the seeds and pith from the peppers if you want a milder sauce, or leave them in for a hotter sauce, or remove half of them for a medium sauce.   Put the peppers in a food processor and process. You need 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup.  No, wait!  Don’t go away.  I know It sounds nuts, but work with me here.  Add the 2 cans of soup to the peppers, then add a 16 ounce container of sour cream.  Add a tablespoon or so of cumin and a 1/2 cup of water.  Stir.

Heat a corn tortilla in pan & flip it over so it’s soft.  put in a little chicken and some shredded cheese and roll it up like a fat cigar.  Put it in a baking dish.  Do this many times until the pan is full.  Spoon the sauce over the enchiladas and cover with grated cheese.  You can put some scallions on top if you want. Then bake at 350 until the cheese starts to brown.  Eat the enchiladas.  Yum!