Thursday, April 30, 2009


When I was growing up, there was a neighborhood bakery in our neighborhood, Colonial Bakery. We bought all of our bread from there. It was nothing fancy, just their regular sandwich loaf (we asked for the loaves with the darker crust). They'd pick out a loaf for us, and put it on the slicer. That's how fresh this bread was! It did not stay on their shelves long and it was never cut until it was purchased. This stuff was just the bomb.

We've all been spoiled. Unfortunately, eventually Colonial Bakery closed. It was a sad day for all of Erie as far as I was concerned. And, since then, I can not find a decent bread. That was the only white bread I liked. Since there was no other white bread that I thought was palatable, I gave up on it and switched to wheat. Ron and I used to buy this 12 grain wheat bread that was bearable for awhile, but they seem to have switched their recipe recently, so it's not what it used to be.

Just the other day I went for groceries and spent almost 20 minutes walking up and down the bread aisle looking for a loaf of bread! Nothing looked good as none of it is Colonial Bakery bread and there are NO substitutes for it other than home made bread.

In a past life, I got a bread maker. I don't think I've used it since I've moved to Ohio, but I have it. It wasn't too hard to find, there in the baaaaaaack of the cupboard behind just about everything kitchen related I own.

I used to make bread quite often. There was a bread mix that I used to get at Target. It came in like a coffee can and was the easiest thing to use. You put water in the bread maker, then measured out how much mix for one loaf and turned the machine on. Ok, I also added raisins just because they make any bread oh so much better. I don't remember just how many loaves the can of mix made, but it was quite a few. And, it was vegan friendly for my frequent visitor who also loved fresh bread with raisins! (Hi, Jo!) It wasn't Colonial Bakery bread but it was really good.

Then, the bread mix changed. It was no longer vegan friendly and it was no longer sold in the coffee can. That was the end of me making bread.

The bug has hit me again after spending all that time in the grocery store the other day and just "settling" on a loaf.

Anyway, I got up this morning at Oh-My-God-O'clock (don't ask) and wanted to do something productive but quiet. So I dug out the bread maker and got to work. And, yes, I also added raisins!

Too bad this blog doesn't come with smell-o-vision because right now my house smells fantastic!

As a side note, I have been having a hankering for Chipotle's, one of my absolute favorite restaurants! Who can resist their chicken burrito with onions and peppers? Squeeze a little lime in there and I'm telling you it's close to heaven. Especially since they've finally put a Chipotle's near us over by the Midway Mall. There is no longer any excuse NOT to go to Chipotle's! Unfortunately, it's not one of Ron's favorite places, but he did give in to me and we had plans today, after his service call, to go there for lunch. I think my homemade bread just trumped Chipotle's and that's hard to do!

So, I'm going to go downstairs and slice up my bread, and grab the good Krakus Polish ham that's in my fridge (another taste of growing up) and enjoy a feast in my own dining room. If anybody wants some, you better hurry!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Making Mom Proud

One thing the girls in my family are known for: not being safe around sharp knives.

Tonight I was making orange spaghetti for supper. I was in the middle of chopping up one large onion. Before I knew it, there were two bandaids and one latex glove covering the bloody mess. At least I was able to not only finish chopping the onion, but I was able to finish making dinner as well!

Mom would be proud.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Things are not great at our house.

Ron started last week with the creeping cruds. I caught up with him this week.

We are now on a liquid diet. Here is a picture of the liquids that we are taking. Hey, you choose your medicine, we'll choose ours!

The Hennessy is courtesy of Phil. Thanks, man. I knew you loved us!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't Look At Me!

Don't look at me! Yeah, this is what most people do when a camera comes out! Ron's son, Vince, was no exception!

Today was his last day with us, and I pulled out the camera. Here's what I got.

Today was a hard day. You don't want to start too much or go anywhere. You're just waiting for the time to go to the airport.

While waiting, the guys decided to watch a movie this morning. Since I now knew I had to be more clandestine in my picture taking, I had the camera hidden in my hand and took it as I walked by! Clever, huh? Sometimes being a little sly helps!

Finally, we headed out. We left a little early to hit the same restaurant we hit when Vince came to town. Cap'n Taco! I didn't want to send him home on an empty stomach and what better to eat before you fly? Tacos! Ok, maybe I didn't think that one through as well as I thought I did.

Before we went for tacos, I did get the the two of them to stand up together and pose for a picture. A little whining on my part went a long way.

After tacos we were heading to the airport. For a little fun for all of us we decided to park at the Park 'n Ride and take the train to the airport! (Ok some ideas I still take from brother Michael!) This was my favorite part of the day. Plus, you're spared the hurried hugs and goodbyes at the terminal and have time right at the airport to say the farewells. Since the guys didn't know I had the camera on me, I actually got a picture with both of them smiling!

It was a fast right from the Park 'n Ride to the airport, but we made the best of it. This way we were able to wait with Vince while he checked in and then watched him go through security.

I gotta tell you, it was a fast week. Unfortunately, Ron ended up sick through most of his vacation so the guys didn't get done as much as they'd hoped. Now Ron is feeling better and what sickness had left him has taken root in me.

But we did get to visit some family, and do a some site seeing, played a LOT of Wii and definitely ate our fill.

We just got the call a few minutes ago, and Vince has made it home safe and sound. It was a great visit, and now since Vince has his own key to the house, hopefully he'll feel free to use it again soon!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Terrific Tuesday

I gotta tell you, this is exactly why I love birthdays. All kinds of good things SHOULD and DO happen around your birthday!

As I've already posted, last Saturday was Ron's birthday. The three of us met up with our friends, Larry and Linda, and went to Jackalope's, our favorite restaurant, for dinner. We have never been disappointed with any food that has come out of their kitchen or service we've received. Plus the view can't be beat.

While we were there, we saw signs that Jackalope's was having an Easter brunch. While reservations were supposed to be needed, Sunday morning we showed up, hoping they could fit us in. Sure enough, they found a table for us. It was a great brunch, complete with a couple of mimosas! C'mon now, how can any day that starts with champagne and orange juice be a bad day?

Ron's best birthday present came on Monday. Ron's youngest son, Vince, flew in to town for his Dad's birthday! While it wasn't a surprise trip, it was sure the highlight of Ron's week. So, with Vince here for a week, there has been a whirlwind of activity around here. The boys are definitely ramping up the competition on the Wii system. I keep hearing "oh crap" or some variation of those words from each of them. It seems that they are pretty evenly matched and while one will win one game, the other seems to come back on the next. They have been a hoot.

The highlight for me was on Tuesday. My brother Jim was nice enough to drive all the way to Ohio again and join us for dinner. I made a mad dash to Sam's Club for some dinner supplies plus a trip to Fligner's for some great steaks. In my opinion, they are the best place to buy meat. We definitely weren't disappointed in the steaks they chose for me.

Ron and Vince were out in the rain on the grill with the steaks and portabella mushroom caps. Inside, I was on the steamed asparagus and fresh garlic bread. (I don't think I put too much garlic on there, but not everyone might agree with this. I thought it came out fantastic, but I might be biased here!)

For desert, we had some fresh strawberries and some leftover strawberry cake. It truly was a great dinner. After the dining room was cleared up and dishes were done, we got down to serious business.

Ron and Vince proceeded to the living room to pick up the Wii marathon. In true fashion for our family, Jim, Phil and I staked out the dining room table and broke out the pinochle cards! Ok, both of the boys had to be reminded of a few rules on how to play the game, but after that, the game proceeded.

It was strange. The three of us all recalled playing pinochle with Grandma, and when we'd argue about a hand or rehash it, we heard Dad's voice telling us he couldn't understand how we got enjoyment out of arguing over cards! Hey, it's how we grew up! The three of us enjoyed the warm fuzzies of the happy memories.

Best of all, is I won the pinochle game. Ok, maybe it was because they made keep score, but I think it was my superior pinochle playing. And maybe a little luck!

Yes, it was a terrific Tuesday.

As for the visit from Vince, all is going extremely well. He is a very laid back kid. I can call him a kid since we've decided he is exactly half my age. Yeah, somehow this should end up in the "that's just wrong" category but I digress. He's very agreeable to any idea as to what do to or where or what to eat. He's on vacation, and that's pretty much all he cares about.

And all I care about is his visit absolutely made Ron's birthday. And that's what it's all about.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Perfect One!

Yes, we were bowling! And, the birthday boy has bowled a perfect game!!!

You can't tell here, but actually, the game before, he ended up with nine strikes in a row. On top of that, this game was 12 more, making a whopping total of 21 strikes in a ROW!

Of course, we were smart about it and stopped playing immediately!

Way to go, honey! What a great game!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ron!!

Well, it's 22 minutes into his birthday and we've sung (loudly and badly!), opened presents, hugged, kissed, and already have a strawberry cake baked! That's a darn nice start to a birthday, if you ask me!

Saturday, we are going to Jackalope's for a birthday dinner; sitting outside, watching out over the marina. If anyone is around, stop by and join us in wishing the birthday boy another year of health, happiness and success.

Happy Birthday, honey! May the best be yet to come!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

And Yet Another Update!

Perhaps I should wait to blog until I have all of the facts!

Our furnace guy got here this afternoon. He said he usually just takes the recommendations of the gas company employee and changes whatever parts they have listed on the red flag. However, after looking at our furnace, he said it was just a pipe that was so loose, it was almost disconnected totally. After tightening the pipe, the bill came to $104. A LOT better than the $400 more he would have charged had he changed the part we called him to change.

Here's to someone actually looking and fixing what's wrong and not what will get him more money.

That made today a little more bearable! Go me!

Can You Smell It?

Well, I could smell it.

Ron and I had just carried the laundry down to the basement so I could start the washing. I smelled gas. Not very strong, but I could definitely smell it. So could Ron. He immediately started looking for leaks at all of the connection sites. Nothing.

I called Columbia Gas. The woman on the phone had me scared to death by the time I hung up with all of the warnings and "advice" she gave to me. The hell with all of the rest of her warnings; Ron and I just evacuated knowing that Columbia Gas was on the way. We waited on the front porch for the cavalry to arrive. (Before anyone thinks we left Phil to go down with the house, he wasn't home!)

Our technician showed up quickly and the lines downstairs were tested with a sniffer, and he couldn't detect any gas leak. Then the fun began. A test of the pressure did find that there was a leak somewhere in the house as the pressure dropped after a three minute test. Not good. After much up and down the basement stairs for Ron and our technician, we ended up with three red flags. THREE.

The first was because we have a flex hose going from the gas line in the basement up through the floor to the gas stove in the kitchen. I guess it has to be a hard line, not a flex hose. Ok, that wasn't our original problem, but since he was here, he had to write it up.

Second was a problem with the furnace. If there is a problem, there is a gadget on all appliances that should automatically shut them down so the flow of gas stops and doesn't fill up the house. That gadget is broken on the furnace, so it is allowing gas to leak out. Not good. This needs to be fixed immediately. We have a call in to a furnace guy. The technician wouldn't even hook the furnace back up until this is repaired, so let's hope that it doesn't get too cold until I can get this fixed. The good news/bad news is that it's a part that can be replaced for a couple of hundred bucks. Big yuck on that part. But at least it doesn't warrant a whole new furnace.

Last red tag issue was our water heater. I blogged recently that while doing laundry one other day, we heard a scratching from something that had gotten into the exhaust vent. Well, whatever was in there ended up blocking the vent, thus allowing carbon monoxide into the basement. I guess when it rains it pours. The gas company wouldn't hook up the water heater either. At least Ron was able to fix this problem and remove the poor dead bird. Luckily, I didn't have to look at this part. Poor Ron did go above and beyond the call of duty on this one. Ugh. At least now we have hot water.

I should have just held my breath and ignored the smell. Or else not thought about being productive and doing laundry. Oh the joys of being a home owner.

Monday, April 06, 2009


CUBS WIN!!!! 4-2!!!!!

Ok, there is the update!

Today was opening day. It might have snowed all day here in Ohio, but in Houston it was bright and sunny. The bright spot here in Ohio was that the Cubs won over the Astros. But, as always, it's also a melancholy day.

Who can watch opening day without thinking of Mom? How many times did I pick up the phone to call Mom and say "did you see that?" The realization that she's not there to answer is sometimes a hard reality that still comes up and smacks me in the face.

Thanks to my sister, Cathie, for filling in via instant messenger tonight. She took over Mom's roll with her appropriately placed "Holy Cow"s and "Way to GO"s. Thanks for watching the game with me, Sissy. It was a huge help!

Now in the words of Harry Caray, "Holy Cow! Now let's get some runs!!"

It's Finally HERE!

Yes, opening day of baseball is HERE! Today! In seven minutes actually!

In case you're new here, I am a huge Chicago Cubs fan. The Cubs are starting their season this year down in Houston, Texas, my old home.

I have a friend in Houston, Robert. We talk smack about baseball as often as we can. He's started already. He woke me up this morning, talking crap about my beloved boys in blue.

Sorry, Robert. The 'Stros are going down! Oswalt can't help you today!