Monday, December 30, 2013

Another Fabulous Family Pic

On Xmas Day, we moseyed out to Turning Stone Casino with Dad and Irene. Caleb and Silas joined us for a little light gambling and wallet lightening. An enormous Christmas tree in the lobby served as a background for a snapshot that will evermore be their official 2013 Holiday picture:

My children are not right in the head.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crispy Critter

The hotel manager assured us there would be room for us to park the truck. And there was, if a line was formed along the back of the lot, although a tree service company from out of town had already parked several trucks of their own there.

Later that evening, out of service and relaxing in our room, the fire alarm began to scream and the fire doors in the hallways slammed shut. I made a mental note of what belongings to grab if we needed to scram while Hoss poked about, trying to figure out what was up. But no announcement was made, no commotion was heard, and the alarm silenced after 15 minutes or so. 'Burnt popcorn', we thought, and went back to relaxing.

But the next morning, we saw this, parked just two trucks ahead of ours in the line:

I'm realllllllly glad we parked end to end and not side by side.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Xmas 2013

I love my crazy family. And I love cooking for Christmas Eve - I look forward to it every year. Many thanks to Mel and Ginny and Miranda and Irene and Tracy for your help and support. The night passed too quickly.

I promised recipes but didn't expect it'd take me nearly four days to get them up on the blog. Thanks for your patience! Here are the links:


Deviled Eggs

Pigs in a Blanket

Assorted Brats from Liehs and Steigerwald

Main Course


Spaetzle - I used this and it's MUCH easier than a colander or a squeeze type of spaetzle tool

Warm German Potato Salad - Don't forget the chopped bacon topping like I did (facepalm)

Onion Pie - I modified the recipe to make individual pies, but a large family style pie will be easy

Roasted Brussels Sprouts - again, I forgot the bacon


Black Forest Cupcake - I left off the ganache and simply sprinkled with 10x and they were plenty rich

Apple Strudel

Thursday, December 26, 2013


I am evidently a lousy dinner hostess. I had no idea that the butter I serve my guests could be a pale yellow Tannenbaum or turkey in miniature.

In fact, I would have sworn that practicing the art itself beyond the gates of the state fairgrounds violated numerous Federal regulations.

Do they offer a flag for Independence Day? A jack o'lantern for Halloween?

Good grief, I wonder what they come up with for Easter?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Spatzle What??

Yeah, it's third grade humor, but it still made me laugh.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Box 119

We had a bit of mail waiting for us at our UPS box. This hand truck was fully loaded up twice and smaller packages filled a large industrial sized garbage bag, which was hand carried to the car. All of it necessary for the Annual-Since-2005 Xmas Eve party.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Off Road

But not by choice. A few miles north of Binghamton on I-81 today, we saw numerous vehicles in the ditch, in the median, on wreckers, and on each other on both sides of this long, curved hill:

The roadway was quite slippery through this area. I've no idea why they hadn't salted adequately; usually NY state stays on top of wintery roads.

We expected to see more spin-outs, and we did, but none with quite as many participants as this one.

*sigh* Welcome back to snow country.

Monday, December 16, 2013

This Tree:

makes me smile.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Allentown Lights

It snowed in Allentown last night!
Allentown is the first neighborhood north of the Downtown Buffalo core. It borders the downtown theater and entertainment district. The neighborhood is generally centered around Allen Street and Elmwood Avenue.
Allentown is known for its community of artists, for its embrace of bohemian, hipster and gay culture, and for the civic commitment of residents to the historic and aesthetic sensibilities of the neighborhood. Allentown is one of Buffalo's premier areas for nightlife, dining, and antique shopping.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


My son has added a new label to his blog entitled "Engrish", and I'm inspired to do the same. Although there are many types of Engrish (you can spend hours here), I particularly like the odd and clever, oddly clever, and plain damn funny Engrish produced by Asian restaurateurs:

Houston, TX

Lumberton, NC

Manning, SC

Montgomery, AL

Tifton, GA

Edison, NJ

Not sure - NC, perhaps

North Cicero, NY

I lost a phone a couple of years ago, and with it, a pic of my all-time favorite Engrish restaurant name. I haven't been back there since to re-take it. So I'll break the rules just this once and post a pic that I personally didn't take, because, well, it's just that good:

Frankfort, IN

 Yes, the "Everything OK" Chinese Restaurant. How can you not want to eat there? They've got a Facebook page if you want to see more pics and read about them. And if I ever get back there again, I'll even write a review of the place.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gotta Love Texas

Since putting the Paisan cat on a grain-free diet, I find myself in an upscale pet food store every couple of weeks parting with two or three Benjamins. Although I still haven't identified which foods, if any, are contributing to her asthma, this new diet has certain benefits that are well worth the increased cost. She now hardly sheds at all - a definite plus in a small living space. Another small space advantage is the dramatically reduced litter box odor. Well, it's not exactly the litter box that used to smell; I scoop that at least once and sometimes twice a day. It's the, uh, moment of deposit, let's say, that used to drive us to open windows. The poor cat - all this time, it was just cheap food to blame.

 So on Friday, I went to the local Pet Smart, picked up another case of food, then got in line to check out. In front of me was a woman somewhere in the neighborhood of 70, petite, stylishly dressed, perfectly coiffed. In one hand was the end of a leash attached to a poodle, a large designer handbag over her arm. She swiped her credit card and entered her pin, only to be asked for her Driver's License. Just a random check the computer spits out now and then, the cashier explained. The woman dutifully began digging through her handbag. At last, she pulled a card from her wallet and handed it to the cashier.

The cashier handed the card back. "No, I'm sorry, ma'am. I need your Driver's License."

The woman took the card, peered at it, and cool as a cucumber said "Oh! I gave you my Concealed Carry."

Monday, December 9, 2013

It Can Board ... ?

This slogan will catch on, I'm sure of it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lucked Out

Mother Nature smiled on Texarkana.

The dire weather warnings were a total bust. We saw a brief spit of snow, but no freezing rain, no ice, no sleet - a relief to retail stores in the area, most residents, and the scores of electricity crews sent here in preparation for potential power outages. These fellas showed up at our hotel late Friday afternoon and managed to park all of their equipment in the kinda small main lot:

We encountered several large groups of them as we ran errands, forming lines at gas stations, driving in convoys through town on I-30, gathering in parking lots, and parked in long lines at the edge of frontage roads. I wondered how many of them had been called in to clean up after Katrina. No doubt most have fascinating stories to tell.

When Saturday morning dawned cold but sunny, the crews packed up for home. Luckily, they won't have stories of a massive ice storm in Texarkana.   

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Twice as Nice

That's Texarkana's hometown slogan:

 Straddles the Arkansas - Texas state line, get it?

Anyway, we're here to register as a business and change the truck paperwork to Texas. The weather may not let that happen tomorrow, though. Have you seen the weather forecast for this area?

Up to 1/2" of ice. 

We went to dinner at Outback this evening and the bar was populated with young, loud studs sent here with a cherry picker from Baton Rouge. The hotel parking lots are home to dozens of equipment trucks tonight.

A power outage will make paperpushers hard to find tomorrow.

The good news is, if the La Quinta where we're staying loses power, we've got a truck outside with everything we need for a comfortable weekend off.

Hmm. I wonder what the Waffle House Index is for this storm?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just a Subtle Warning

 Arguably the busiest patch of asphalt in Laredo, the entrance/exit to the TA takes a lot of punishment. When a pothole the size of a Fiat and nearly knee-deep opened up, someone filled a 5 gallon bucket with gravel and attached a hand lettered sign that read "BIG FUCKING HOLE".

So succinct and utterly beautiful.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Bad Day


Dry roads. Light traffic. Surface road speed limit.
Landing upside down sucks enough without it happening on a perfect weather day.

I have no idea how this single vehicle accident happened or if anyone was hurt - I hope not - but the driver undoubtedly had a really lousy day.

After encountering this, the extra long line at the truck wash didn't seem like such a big deal.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Multi-Lingual Me

 I'm pretty sure this sign says "Welcome Cats".