Sunday, December 27, 2009


I got Mary a new kitchen cutlery knife set. She wanted to replace the set that she had because the old knives just wouldn’t hold an edge. As I was looking at the various knives and knife sets I came across a knife called a Santoku knife.

The name reminds me of the name Ginzu knives which were all the rage at one time many years ago. They were advertised on television and I think that they were something like $ 19.95. But then it seems that al most all of those products advertised on television were $ 19.95. Maybe you got a set of streak knives also. The Ginzu could cut through a nail, frozen food, and tomatoes paper-thin. I was happy with it until years later when I saw the same Ginzu knife on a display at K-mart for less than five dollars and I remembered how much I had paid for mine when I ordered it. Did I mention shipping and handling costs that are added on? So here were two Santoku knives included with the cutlery block that I got for Mary. I notice the grooves along the side of the blade. Does anyone know the purpose of these grooves? Do the grooves really work? I did notice that a special knife sharpener has to be used because of the grooves.

Sometimes new things are so simple that I ask my self “Why didn’t I think of that?” This is true for the wooden block of this new cutlery set. There are magnets on the back of the wooden block for storing extra knives.

The magnets are really strong and hold the knives firmly. We are already using the magnets on the back of the wooden block for holding an extra knife. Whoever came up with this idea is probably wealthy now and lying on the beach in Maui having one of those fancy drinks in a pineapple or coconut. The good life, all due to putting magnets in the back of a cutlery block. I need to come with an idea like that which will bring a fortune of money. Got any ideas? Have a nice day. As for me, I am going to be sittin’ and thinkin’ and thinkin’ and thinkin’............ Lew

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Santa's Helpers

This is Benny the Bunny who is dressed up as one of Santa’s helpers. He didn’t seem to mind having the outfit put onto him. I guess that the Easter bunny is now the Christmas bunny.

Of course the chihuahua had to get in on the act and get dressed up also. He tolerates the Christmas outfit but he would rather be doing something else like sleeping.

And of course we can’t forget Tammy the cat. She has gotten so big. I guess that this blog is sort of “pets on parade”. Tammy got a toy mouse for Christmas. It had an opening on its belly which was held shut with Velcro. The mouse came with a tube of catnip which I put into the belly and then closed everything up with the velcro closure. She just loved that mouse. She played with it for the longest time. I can tell you for certain that this is one happy and spoiled cat. Lucky her.

This morning breakfast was fried eggs, maple flavored sausage (the brown-n-serve kind), toasted english muffins with pineapple jam, and a small bowl of orange sections. Pretty much an all-american breakfast. For lunch I put in a request for peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich. Tonight will be the remainder of the peppercorn pork roast that we had yesterday that was cooked in the showtime set-it-and-forget-it rotisserie. That is pretty much our epicurean menu for the day.

The weather is nice and cool, but not too cool and not too warm, but just right as Goldilocks would say. A good day to do things outside.

Have as nice a day as you can at the various return and exchange counters. Oh yeah, don’t forget the closeout sales on Christmas wrapping paper, Christmas lights, etc. Help the economy and just “shop til’ ya drop” as they say. Lew

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas presents galore

Christmas has arrived and this is some of the items that we found beneath the Christmas tree. There is a large variety of items. Mary has gotten interested in these “seek-and-find” computer games, where you have to find hidden objects in a picture. I try to help her sometimes but I am not very good at it. And besides, I just don’t have the patience for that type of game. I got her some of the games from the store for her to play on the computer.

These games should keep her occupied for a while. The game that I like is those tile games like Tai Pei or Mohjong.
I also got Norton 2010 to protect out computers. Our subscription to Norton had run out. Hopefully this will protect our computers to any viruses that are lurking on the internet.

I hope that everyone did as well in the gifts that they got as well as Mary and I did. Tonight for supper we are going to have a pork roast done on the Showtime rotisserie, the “set it and forget it” rotisserie. It should be good. Plus, Mary has baked a chocolate cake in a mold pan that is shaped like a Christmas tree. She put some of those miniature marshmallows into the cake mix before baking it. She frosted the cake with green colored cream cheese icing and then put red, green, and white candy sprinkles onto the frosting.

Here’s hoping that everyone has had a great Christmas. Lew

Thursday, December 24, 2009

icy cold milk

This is how milk use to come: a quart at a time in a glass bottle with a cardboard disc as a stopper. Milk was home delivered. Most everyone had the milkman deliver their milk. Some people even had butter delivered by the milkman. I think that it was a status symbol to have your milk delivered daily to your home. After all, my dad was a manager of a grocery store

so why would he have home delivery on the milk unless it was a status symbol. I even continued the tradition for a few years after I first got married. I did it out of nostalgia, telling myself that the home delivery milk was fresher. But the best part was the winter time. The bottles of milk were placed early in the morning into a specially made small wooden box covered with thein sheet metal. This box was outside of the house next to the front door. The purpose of the milk box was to keep the milk from freezing for a while. Sometimes the milk would freeze and there would be a solid column of white frozen milk sticking up out of the bottle for a height of a couple of inches with the little cardboard bottle cap disc sitting on top of this column of frozen milk. But most of the time there were just ice crystals in the milk. I liked drinking the milk with some ice crystals floating around in it because it was ice cold which was good. I think that I developed my taste for ice cold milk because in grade school a tray of half-pint containers of cold milk were brought into the classroom. However, the teacher would say that the milk was too cold and needed to warm up some. She would wait for at least a half hour and by then the small containers of milk were room temperature and warm. Yuk! So in the winter, I really enjoyed that ice cold milk from the milk box with the ice crystals in it. To this day I still like ice cold milk with some ice crystals in it, even on my cereal in the morning. I even put ice cubes into my glass of milk. Of course, ice cold milk also goes really good with chocolate chip cookies.

It is Christmas eve and Mary and I are going to brave the crowds and go to WalMart. I excpect the crowds to be horrible. I am sure that everyone will be doing some last minute shopping which is what Mary and I will be doing. It won't be long til' Christmas morning is here and we will be opening our presents from under the tree. Everyone have an absolutely wonderful Christmas and if you happen to leave milk and cookies for Santa, try to have a few ice crystals in the milk. Lew

Sunday, December 20, 2009

war face

This is our cat Tammy standing guard next to her cat house which she never uses. She is standing guard because of the feral cats that come into the yard. She is annoyed by them but doesn’t do anything. She just gives them her “war face”. In boot camp in the military a war face is an angry looking face that is suppose to scare the enemy. And in the picture below, she definitely has an angry look on her face. Her war face.

Do you think that she has a convincing war face? Will it scare the other cats away? Probably not.

In Miami there was a cottage-house restaurant named Tiffany’s. The ambience was great. They had taken an old farm house and made it into a very nice chic restaurant. They had a great brunch buffet on Sundays. I liked going there because it was neat to say that I had “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Only the older folks will remember that movie. But for all those people named Tiffany, anyone who comes to their house for breakfast can say that they had Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Kermit the Frog of the muppets. There was a commercial on television for Denny’s restaurant. Kermit and Miss Piggy are in Denny’s sitting at a table. It is Miss Piggy’s birthday. They are being interviewed and Kermit is extolling the virtues of Denny’s. Miss Piggy’s comment is that when Kermit said that he would take her to dinner for her birthday, she thought that he meant some place over-priced (meaning real nice). I picked up on that phrase and use it myself now. Now when people ask me what would I like for Christmas, I just say “Well, anything overpriced would be just fine.” It is time to go and so I must end this blog. Have fun in life. Lew

faux jasmine

I think that these flowers are some form of aster, although the black thin plastic disposable pot that they came in had a label on the pot that said jasmine. What amazes me is how many flowers there are on this one small plant and plenty of buds for the numerous flowers to come.

But tomorrow is Monday and it will be back to the malls for any small impulse-buying gifts for Mary. Sort of window-shopping to see if anything catches my eye. I absolutely refused to go to the malls this weekend. I have made that mistake in the past of going to the malls on the week-end before Christmas. Just way too many people. I learned my lesson. And no movies this week because there just doesn’t seem to be anything special playing. We liked the disaster movie 2012. But if the movie should not be so good, well, the popcorn always is. Popcorn and movies are synonymous. How about a box of Goobers. Remember those? The peanuts were chocolate covered but they were very hard. That was the good thing about drive-in theaters, my parents always took lots of snacks with us in the car and we feasted through the entire movie. Actually, I should have said movies because the drive-in theaters always had a double-feature and sometimes a triple. That was the good news about drive-in theaters. The bad news is that the sound quality of the window speakers was absolutely deplorable. But then we would always have our windows down and we experienced “surround-sound” from all of the speakers from all of the other cars. No more drive-in movies, today we either go to the expensive indoor theater or we check out a DVD from the local library for free.

Have a nice day and try to stay warm while doing your last minute Christmas shopping in the malls. After all, it could be worse. We could be living in Long Island or Delaware or (if you can believe this) Logan, Utah. I think that the snow in Logan finally melts away some time around late July or early August. Take care. Lew

icy blue

The Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee. A job fair for medical personnel. Lots of give-aways of neat things by the various representatives at the various booths. When you entered the convention room, you were given a big cloth shopping bag to be filled up with the goodies as you walked around the convention room. One thing that was very popular were these plastic glasses that were white at normal temperature but turn blue when filled with a cold liquid. I decided to try and use mine as a thermometer of sorts. I placed one of the cups outside on the railing on the front porch to see how cold it was.

It turned deep blue. So how cold was it? Icy cold. As cold as cup of soda with ice cubes floating in the soda. Now that is cold.

This morning we had a nice hearty wintry-style breakfast of pancakes. But fancy pancakes. She put sliced bananas between two pancakes that were stacked on top of the other. Then pancake syrup (sugar free) followed with a dollop of real whip cream on top. I also had a maple flavored Jimmy Dean sausage patty. Mary was more health conscious and didn’t have a sausage patty. But they were good and I couldn’t resist the temptation. Wasn’t it Flip Wilson the comedian who always use to say “The devil made me do it”? It was a good breakfast. Yesterday, Saturday, we had a couple of oranges from the tree in the back yard. I was surprised that the oranges were sweet and not bitter. The neighbor across the street has a large orange tree and his oranges are very acidic. But ours weren’t acidic at all.

Everyone have a nice day and stay warm. And have a glass of orange juice to stay healthy and hopefully not get a cold. Also, it helps the Florida economy for those northern yankees (especially in Long Island) who have to buy their orange juice because they don’t have a great big orange tree in their back yard. Oh yeah, that goes for those residents of Logan, Utah who just seem to love the cold and the snow and the ice. Ever been to Siberia? No? Just go to Logan if you want see what Siberia is like. I hear that Eskimo’s come to Logan for vacation. Stay warm. Lew

Thursday, December 17, 2009

behind bars

It looks like the little chihuahua, Duke, is behind bars. I guess that technically he is “behind bars”. But not behind the bars of a jail cell but behind the “bars” of the chair that he lays on in the dining room. Notice the steps on the floor to the right of the chair. Mary got these steps

for the dog to make it is easier for him to get up onto the chair. The dog loves it and the stairs make his life a lot easier as his joints stiffen with age. On the right side of the table you can just barely see my laptop. On the left side of the table you can see Mary’s painting supplies. This is a dining table but it seems to get used for everything except eating on. The room receives the sunlight and is bright and cheery. A nice place for activities.
Christmas is getting closer and closer and will soon be upon us. Christmas eve
we will play Santa and take some presents over to the house of Mary’s daughter, Rhonda. She is hosting a party for Mary’s children at which we will be exchanging gifts. Rhonda seems to be hosting most of the family celebratory parties because she is the quintessential hostess. Everything is done to perfection and elegant. Unfortunately, it is a lot of work for her, but she does it so well. Everyone always has a good time and there is tons of conversation going on. No such thing as everyone sitting around silent. I am looking forward to it as is Mary. Then comes Christmas morning and we get to open our presents. I was thinking of a new computer but have backed off on the idea because my old computer is still functional and gets the job done (albeit slowly, very slowly). Plus some words from Villager came back to haunt me. She said once when she got a new computer that she was annoyed that they had changed the operating system on new computers. Her new computer had Vista on it and she had to learn how to use that operating system. I think that she would have preferred to stay with the old operating which she knew. I agree. The new computers now have something called Windows 7 on them and I don’t want to go through the experience of trying to learn a new operating system. On my desktop computer I have Windows XP which I like. When I got my laptop, it had Windows Vista on it and like Villager experienced, it was a pain to learn how to use it. I still prefer Windows XP. Now I have to learn Windows 7 if I get a new computer? I think that I will hold off as long as possible. Plus, the brand new computers on sale now will still be brand new computers a year from now but cost a lot less because there will be newer models out. Is that sound logic or illogical logic? Everyone have a great time and count down the days to Christmas. Lew

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Downtown Disney

Today Mary and I went to Downtown Disney for our wedding anniversary. Downtown Disney was crowded with shoppers. We went to the Rainforest Cafe which is located in Downtown Disney for lunch and the restaurant was packed and we had to wait half an hour. That gave us time to walk around the gift shop. They had a lot of items relating to the rainforest like this tropical jungle frog. I think that Seaside has one similar to this one. I wonder if it came from the Rainforest Cafe?

We had a great lunch with very courteous and attentive waiters. The food was very good and plentiful. I had a chicken wrap that was enormous with a large mound of good coleslaw and shoestring french fries. My chicken wrap came with barbeque sauce on the side. I love barbeque sauce and so I asked for some extra barbeque sauce which the waiter brought to me right away. Such great service. Mary had a chicken sandwich with swiss cheese, bacon, and a red roasted pepper. She also had the coleslaw and french fries. It was a large meal and we were both stuffed.

Here Mary is demonstrating the “Disney point”. When I worked at Disney, the employees had to point with either two fingers or the full hand when giving directions. Evidently some cultures find pointing with one finger offensive. We had a fabulous time at Downtown Disney and I didn’t ever want to leave but eventually we had to go home. I enjoyed working at Disney very much and wish that there was some way for me to return to work there. We walked around Downtown Disney and the old Pleasure Island before leaving.
As we use to say at Disney, “Have a magical day.” Lew

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas lights

Here are the Christmas lights on the house. Mary did most of the work putting them up. She has the patience for it. The icicle lights on the porch have blinking lights.

The lights go completely across the front of the house and down the side. For some reason the camera gave the lights a tannish tint. In reality, the lights are bright white like in the first photo. They actually light up the area around the house pretty good and so would make great security lights. Christmas lights and especially icicle lights on the house seem to be a Christmas tradition. Better to have icicle lights than be up north and have real icicles on the roof. When I was young and living in New York I use to like to break an icicle off of the eave of the roof and lick it like a popsicle. Crazy kid. Standing outside in the snow on a cold below freezing winter day licking an icicle which will just make me colder. Now I stand outside on a warm winter day here in Florida looking at the icicle lights which is much better.
Today we went grocery shopping and Wal-Mart was crowded. It seems that Wal-Mart is always crowded. I like Chinese food and I was walking down the aisle with the Hamburger Helper in it, I saw Asian Helper beef fried rice. I thought that would be good so I picked up a box. When we got home Mary asked if I would like for her to make it for me. She had gotten a package of steak strips which she could put in it. I said “great”. It didn’t turn out real good. The fried rice had too much soy sauce in it and just didn’t taste like fried rice to me. Mary prepared it according to the package directions but it was the seasonings that made the fried not taste so good. So I won’t get that again. On top of that I had a terrible vicious headache which had been coming on for a couple of hours. Some Tylenol and Motrin took care of the headache.
I am really starting to get fatigued. The cat wakes me up every morning around 4:00 am to go out. So I get up and let her out. I climb back into bed and try to fall asleep but around 5:30 am the dog wants to get up. So I get up again and let the dog out. But I can’t go back to bed because the dog will bark when he wants to com back in. And he will keep barking until he is let in. So my day actually starts around 4:00 am each day. I think that I may finally have Seaside beat in the early rising department. The past few days I have been really “dragging” through the day. And coffee doesn’t seem to help.

a secret garden

I was walking in the backyard when I noticed the moss growing on the tree trunk.
The moss seemed to be a darker green than usual.

But what really caught my eye was its rich deep velvety texture. I guess that it is growing quite well because of the combination of rain and cooler weather.

I noticed something growing up from the moss. Can you see it?

There it is! I have no idea what it is. Perhaps a seed pod? Hopefully there are some botanists out there who can figure out what this is and post it as a comment to share with us all.

These little pods were all over the moss. They seemed to be everywhere.

It looked like a little forest in miniature.

The bottom line is that here was this secret little garden on the side of the tree that I have walked by innumerable times and didn’t know what it really looked like. How many other wonders of nature do I pass by on a daily basis without noticing. For me, nature is just so fascinating. That is why I have included so many pictures with this blog. I hope that you enjoyed them or at least found them fascinating or at the minimum amount of “least”, a little interesting. I had to improvise for the close-up pictures and so I used a simple magnifier lens. I thought that the pictures came out pretty good for using a “granny” magnifier. But the depth of field is quite shallow. I just have so much fun with my digital camera. I think that I am going to wear out the contacts on the exposure button from repeated use. Today, don’t walk by the flowers but take a moment and “smell the flowers” and enjoy their perfume. And if you happen to have your digital camera with you, snap a picture or two. Lew

Sunday, December 6, 2009

puff ball

When I was a child I had a friend by the name of Virgil Ronk who lived about six houses down the street. Whenever Virgil and I would go over to his house we would go to a particular small area in his backyard where the puff balls grew on the ground. At least that is what we called them. They were light tan, round and about the size of a tennis ball.
Evidently they were a form of fungus like a mushroom. These balls were hollow and filled with jillions of extremely tiny spores (seeds). We delighted in stomping on them because when we did they would puff out what looked like smoke, but was actually the very fine spores. This is exactly what the plant wanted because the smoke (spores) would be carried away on the wind to land and sprout elsewhere. I was walking in the backyard here in Orlando and I spotted a puff ball that must have broken open on its own exposing the dark smoke-colored spores inside. No, I didn’t stomp on it, I just let it be. I know that it is not very pretty to look at but it did bring memories of my youth. By the way, Virgil’s parents had an old fashioned gramophone with the big horn. There was a crank handle that wound up an internal spring which made the record turn-table turn. This was not a display item or a collectible. This is what they actually used for music. They played the gramophone for me so I could get to listen to it. The song I didn’t recognize and it was a very scratchy sound. I often wonder whatever happened to Virgil Ronk. He had a kind heart and was not a bully. A good person. Be kind to someone each day and perhaps they will pass that kindness on to someone else. Lew

Fallen Angel

Mary keeps a birdbath in the front yard and always has water in it for the birds, squirrels, etc. She has an angel in the birdbath as a decoration. I noticed that the angel was missing from the birdbath. I discovered that the angel had fallen to the ground.

I picked it up and put it back into its spot. Fairly often I find the angel knocked over in the birdbath and on rare occassion it falls to the ground. It is probably squirrels or perhaps cats accidentally knocking the angel over when jumping up to the birdbath to get a drink of water. The angel is made out of plaster but is hollow inside. Maybe I can drill a small hole in the base of it and fill it with plaster to give it more weight. Maybe we can get a Saint Francis of Assissi statue to put in the birdbath. Wasn't he the patron saint of animals? The birdbath is surrounded by a

pretty bougainvillea bush. The color of the flowers is very intense in real life even if it doesn't show it in the picture. I am struggling to get the bush to grow in a vertical direction. This bush just seems to want to grow sideways all of the time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get the bush to grow vertically? It is Sunday and so have a blessed day. Lew

Thursday, December 3, 2009

fresh squeezed orange juice

Breakfast. The meal that starts off the day. Eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast, and a nice hot steaming cup of coffee. And to start it all off, a nice cold glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. If you live in Florida, you just have to start off breakfast with that glass of orange juice. And what could be better than walking out of the house into the yard and picking some nice fresh ripe oranges right off of the orange tree. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “fresh squeezed”. Now I know that “them thar northerners” can’t do that. No orange trees in Minnesota, Cleveland, or Long Island. But here in Florida that is one of the perks of Florida living. For all Floridians who read this blog, enjoy a nice glass of fresh squeezed orange juice this morning. And for those living in Minnesota, Cleveland, or Long Island? Well, there is always those little bitty cans of frozen orange juice at the grocery store. Enjoy, if you can, and daydream of some day walking out into your yard and picking those oranges right off the tree. Have a nice day. Lew