Thursday, January 15, 2015

Now that I'm single

Sometimes during the last two months it’s been very difficult to get my life moving again now that I'm single. For me, in some ways, it would be easy to close myself off from the world and just hide away. I did set up a couple of profiles for a bit on a couple of online dating sites. I really didn’t like the whole process I soon removed them. It was proven to me rather quickly that it might not be worth the bother for some.
Even so I did meet one lady, Oksana, who has become my close friend and confident. Presently she’s planning on coming to be with me. I like her a lot. She’s really sweet J
One thing I've been doing is catching up on the movies I've missed of which there are many. I'm now very well acquainted with Netflix I have playing on my new smart TV. It's been fun even if a bit boring at times. Usually I have the laptop running too with at least one browser window open.

I’ve also managed to get out a little here and there with friends which have been a pleasant change for me. As soon as it gets a bit warmer I suppose I'll go on some hikes. The mountains are calling to me. I’m really wanting to get to the top of Pikes Peak for my birthday.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How my grandparents met

My grandparents are the ones who raised me. They were Raymond and Allene Bigelow. This is an interesting story of how they met at the end of WWII.
   Allene was working at PX at what's now McDill Air Force base. She was a short order cook at the time. Raymond was beginning out process from what was to become the Air Force. His unit had served in North Africa and Italy and their mission was completed.
   One day he was in the PX and was getting something to eat. While he standing in line he noticed the girl at the grill. Her pants had fallen down and she'd kicked them out of the way and was continuing to work. Just like most men it drew his interest.
   For a few days he went to the PX and waited until she got off of work. He'd follow her on the bus to see where she went. Finally he got up the gumption to actually talk to her. Soon after the she was living with him in what we would think of as a shanty. The cupboards and furniture were fruit crates.
   One day he took her for a walk. He didn't tell her where they were going but it was to a church. They went inside and he asked the preacher to marry them. Note that he hadn't asked her yet. She decided to go ahead with it and two church deacons witnessed.

   The marriage lasted from 1945 to 1999. I think it was July 4th when he passed away. It was almost 55 years. Love can last a lifetime.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Change

"The only constant is change." Heraclitis

We all go through various changes through time. Some are big, some are little. Regardless, changes will occur. This morning I was just thinking about the past.
   I'm now living alone for two months. It's been quite an experience. Twenty years ago if I'd had the same thing happen I probably would have packed a backpack and left everything else that wouldn't fit. I would have gone to the nearest interstate and stuck out my thumb. I'm not sure whether I was just running away or I was seeking something. There was never a final destination in mind as I was mainly a vagabond.

   Over the years I'd seen the Grand Canyon, both coasts, Mexico, all the lower 48 states. I have some good memories, I also have a lot of bad ones. It's one of the reasons I don't travel now as I've seen many different places. I've also slept under many bridges, stayed in many missions, and eaten at many soup kitchens. There are many different states I've worked in and have called home for short periods.
   In 1998 is when the biggest change occurred and I first settled down somewhat. It's quite a divergent life I've lived looking back. I don't know anyone who's lived the same way I have. It's also why I've spent most of my life alone. I've never had kids though I never really wanted any. It's not like they would have fit well in the lifestyle I chose. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

New smart TV

Today the new 24" Vizio TV was delivered. It was a really easy setup that only took a few minutes. It fits in the entertainment unit really easily. Right now I have "Defiance" on the TV via Netflix.


Here's a closer look at the TV. I think it has a good picture.


I believe I can get a maximum 32" in the unit if I wanted to but this TV was reasonably priced.

On to other things. 

Yesterday I made a batch of Shepherd's Pie, and later today I'll make spaghetti. I set up lunches for the coming week on my days off. Then all I have to do is grab a container to bring with me each day. It makes life easy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Today's yumminess

 I love good food and now days I'm able to indulge some of that passion in the kitchen. Usually I would be cooking up a large pot of pasta and another one with the sauce. Today I did something different and it sure is yummy. I've started getting these side dish mixes more often. They're pretty good without anything being done to them. Commonly I'll serve one of the Knorr rice side dishes with my breaded chicken.


To change it up I decided to add a pound of hamburger. To it I added some cumin, onion powder, and some finely diced fresh garlic. While frying up the hamburger the Roma tomatoes in the fridge began calling. I soon diced one up and added it to the hamburger after draining it.


Here it is after everything was combined. I had to try a taste and it's to die for. Now I want dessert. Cheesecake in fact which I have a mix for at the moment but I forgot to pick up milk. Tomorrow I'll make cheesecake though. 


I recently planted a philodendron that had been growing in a large vase. Of course it went into a bit of shock with the replanting. It had lost a few leaves but it now seems to have turned the corner and is now producing many new leaves. I also started growing an amaryllis two weeks ago. I should bloom late in January I think. 


I'm wanting to get a few more plants growing in the house. It's so wonderful and it adds a nice bit of life. The house was dead for the last four years. The curtains were always closed, it was really absurd. There's also bad things that goes along with being single for the first time in years. Letting the light in isn't one of them.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A bit of cookery

   One of the things I do on my days off is cooking for the coming week. I'll prepare some large dishes. In general these days I'll make Stuffed Bell Peppers, Shepherd's Pie, and Spaghetti. Tomorrow I'll make the large batch of Spaghetti.  
   Of course there is a need to go to the store to get the things to cook. Here's the bike trailer with my groceries today. As you can see I do use the reusable bags. One of the reasons is I don't want the plastic bags to end up in the dump. The second reason is these bags work so much better in a bicycle trailer.


   After going to the store I was hungry so this was lunch. I just happen to love burritos smothered in green chili and cheese. It's probably a good thing for me that I never gain weight because I can sure eat. I've been having to live on really tight food budgets though that no longer applies as much. 


   Here is the Shepherd's Pie. I used 1 lb ground beef, 3 cans mixed vegetables, 1 can cream of celery soup. parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, ground thyme. The ground beef I fried and drained before mixing it in with the other ingredients. The baking temp I use is 350 F.
   For the mashed potatoes I used about 4 lb of russet potatoes diced and boiled.  I also mashed in some margarine. I'd rather have butter but my food budget still isn't quite where I want it to be. The baking time was about half an hour and I just stuck it in with the bell peppers. The pan size is 9 x 13 and yes I have glass bakeware. I love the stuff as it works really great. I think I've had these glass pans for about seven years now. They last essentially forever.



   This is my version of stuffed bell peppers this time. On one of the food sites I'd seen where they had sliced them the long way instead of the way you normally see them so I decided to try it. I will say they were much easier to fill. The basic ingredients this time are three bell peppers, one lb ground beef, a small can tomato paste, a small can tomato sauce, the same spices I used with the Shepherd's Pie. For the rice I measured out half a cup of dry rice which I then cooked. I'm not quite sure how much it yielded.
   One thing that works really well is take any extra meat/rice mix and layer the bottom of the pan. It will help keep the peppers upright while cooking. Not only that everyone seems to love the stuffing so you might as well cook it along with the peppers. 
   For 45 minutes it's baked with a piece of foil over it, then I remove the foil and stick it back in for 15 minutes more. It's also baked at 350 F. 
   I have used tomato soup in the past. This time I tried something different and used the paste and sauce. The bell pepper is juicier and there is a lot more flavor as I'm eating the first one. It's to die for.


 After removing the foil one other thing I like to do is sprinkle some cheese on top for that last ten or fifteen minutes. If you decide to follow suit don't add the cheese any earlier because it will burn. Here I'm using a combination of grated parmesan and cheddar.


   A little later I'll take a little of both of these dishes and set up a couple of my lunches for the coming week. What's even better doing this is I won't have to cook when I get home from work. All I have to do is set up a plate and stick it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. It sure makes my life easy.
   Until next time happy cooking.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Home built bench

 Three years ago someone had thrown out a headboard and footboard. It caught my eye and I took it home. After a short while I decided to turn it into a bench which I finished with polyurethane. Below is the result of that recycling and repurposing project. It had been sitting in that place on the porch ever since until the other day when I finally brought it into the living room. 


This is the place I originally had intended for it. It looks really nice there. The only detraction is that it still needs a cushion for the seat which I initially designed it to have. Therefore temporarily I was using a pillow. While I kept looking at the bench I decided I liked the weathered distressed look. It seems to add a little something.


The other day I finally figured out what I wanted for a cushion. I soon ordered the foam and some suede material. While I was able to do part of the project with sewing machine there was still a lot that had to be hand sewn which is what I was doing in this image.


Here I am in the middle of the sewing part of the project. I happen to be nearsighted so when it comes to sewing I have to take off my glasses. 


 Here is the completed project. It really looks good now and is very comfortable to sit on. It's also quite the conversation piece if anyone came over to the house. A real one of a kind.


I come up with some really different ideas at times. This was one of them and I'm very glad I did it as I'm writing this while sitting on the cushion. Until next time have a great day.