Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Decision Time

Ed is still putting together all the components for our new truck order, but this week we've been talking about colors.  We can choose anything we want.

That strikes fear in my heart.

When faced with so many color and design choices, I freeze.  

To get some ideas, we went to Hi-Speed Rods and Customs here in Tucson.  We talked to two of the owners, to try and get some direction and suggestions.  They were very generous with their time and gave us some ideas and names of people who work with semi trucks.

We were told that most of the big designs on the semi trucks are wraps and since they're designed on the computer then printed out, the possibilities are endless.

We're not really looking for flames - like the ones on the beautiful cars in their shop, seen in the photo above - but rather something really unique, different from what we've seen on other trucks we've come across in truck shows and online.  

We still have time to decide, and narrowing down options is going to be the biggest hurdle for me.

I'd really rather have someone say, "This one or this one?"

I'm good at pointing at what I want.

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2018: Historically And Architecturally Significant
2017: The Living Desert
2016: Power Washer
2015: Reading Comprehension In Question
2014: Snapshot From The Road: Trucker Dogs
2013: The Luxurious Nomadic Life
2012: He’s Just As Handsome In Black And White
2011: Crab Cakes And The Chesapeake
2010: Young, Poor, Footloose And Fancy-Free
2009: Badass Badlands
2008: Proof That God Exists
2007: Spring In The Desert
2006: Shadows Of The Setting Sun
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Taking A Stab At Takeout

I made this Beef & Broccoli recipe today and served it over a brown and white rice combo.

It wasn't as easy as picking up the phone and ordering takeout, but it was fairly quick and turned out to be quite delicious.  

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Man On A Pier

2017: Smörgåsbord
2016: Elephant Cactus
2015: 5 Foxy Links To Pass A Few Minutes
2014: Flying Through The Links
2013: It All Started With A Tweet
2012: Waiting For Summer
2011: It Should Have Been Titled Boringpants
2010: Ed Blows A 750
2009: Another Reason I Love The Great Indoors
2008: We Think The Only Thing Worth Stealing From The House Would Have Been The Fresh Baked Apple Pie
2007: Not Nearly As Appealing As Gnocchi
2006: Working The Yard
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Damn, She's The One

Yesterday I was scrolling through Twitter, as I normally do nine-million times a day, and I came across a tweet  that led me to this Instagram post by Tracee Ellis Ross (Diana Ross's daughter):

The song is by an artist named Lizzo.  Who is this Lizzo?  I've never heard of her.  Not surprising, since I don't really keep up on music as much as I should - I listen to more podcasts than music when I'm driving - so I started to do some Googling.

And I'm now a fan.

The song in the Tracee Ellis Ross clip is this one, called "Soulmate".....I'mma marry me one day.  Here's the video, with the lyrics. Sing along!:

Now I'm going to save you some time and post all the videos of the songs I listened to so you can binge-listen like I did.  You don't have to YouTube 'em yourself.  You're welcome.

Let's start with "Good As Hell".  I heard this song in the movie I watched the other night and it was very catchy.  "Hair toss...check my nails...baby how you feelin'?..feeling good as hell..."

In this song, "Cuz I Love You", her voice is astounding.  If you don't get chills listening to this QUEEN belt out this song, you better check yo damn pulse.  "AHM CRYIN' (huge inhale) cuz ah looooooooOOOOooooOOOOOOOOVE UuuuuuuuUUUUUuuuuuuUuuuuuuuU"  Mother Jones magazine compared her to Beyonce
Then we come to "Juice".  So snappy.  So joyful.  So fun!  "Ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee, ya-ya-ee"

This next video is called "My Skin".  Lizzo sings, "I woke up in this.  I woke up in this.  My skin."  Wow.  Fantastic lyric.  

This is what Lizzo said about this song:  "
This is a summoning of bodies: all shapes, sizes and shades to unite in their pride, and wear their skin like the gift it is. 

My Skin literally matters. It matters because it’s the largest organ on my body. Because it’s my exterior. It’s been stretched, sunburnt and covered in glitter. It’s the first thing you notice about me. My skin is dark brown, but if you asked someone they would say it’s black. My blackness is my largest assumed ‘accessory.’ Not my gender, religion or wealth. Because of it, I’ve experienced countless misconceptions from people— neck rolls and gratuitous gestures, overt southern dialects superimposed onto my own voice, perceived “ghetto-ness.” I laugh it off because it’s seemingly harmless, but when we think about where this originates it’s actually poisonous. 

Being black in America is a unique experience. All people have a unique American experience, but I can’t speak for all people. I can only speak from my unique experience as a black woman. The “African-American” myths that cloud non-black people's judgment are taken from the worst part of our struggle and paraded as fact. I could write this essay trying to debunk “black-on-black crime” and fill it with pleading persuasive prose, but I’d rather just tell you what I know."
I'll leave you with one last one I like, called "Scuse Me".  You can YouTube the rest. 

She's so talented.

She even plays the flute.

2013: The Big Weekend Event
2008: Budding
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Time Does Not Matter

My great-grandfather's clock.

Knowing what o'clock it is, gives ye the illusion that
ye have some control over your circumstances.  

~ Diana Gabaldon, 
author of the Outlander series of novels.

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2018: You Break, You Buy
2017: Tutti A Tavola A Mangiare!
2016: Do Your Brain A Solid And Read A Book
2015: Massive Collision In Wyoming
2014: Even His Feet Are Handsome

2013: Not Evolved Enough To Clap Just Yet
2012: A Cat’s Life
2011: Not So Lucky
2010: A Capitol Idea
2009: Blooming Where The Sun Don’t Shine
2008: Eddie Wakes Up Smiling Friday
2007: Gnocchi From The Gods
2006: Blurry Super Hero
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

So Many Hours Of The Day To Fill

Today I had a little fun taking pictures with the FaceApp on my iPhone.  I cartooned myself and my surroundings.

Here's the (very messy) end table in my living room.
And here's my husband, sitting on the couch at the other end of the living room, working very diligently on his computer.
Clearly, I have a little extra time on my hands.  

What time-wasting activity is next, I wonder?

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2018: Catfish On The Bluff
2017: If Only Gas Were That Cheap Again
2016: Friends Don't Let Friends Exercise Alone
2015: I Would Never Mute This Commerical
2014: State Line
2013: No Pity
2012: Stop Grackling!
2011: Chicks And Kids
2010: Ultima Lavada 9:00 PM
2009: Eddie Touches Up The Old Girl Friday
2008: The Morning Sun Greets Guadalupe
2007: Starting Soon. No, Really.
2006: This Mary Doesn’t Go To Pre-School
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Three Years Later...

I'm not sure what this purple groundcover is - I think it might be lantana - but I am shocked to see it in my front yard.  We've never had flowers like this is the yard.

Granted, my front yard looks like it belongs to an abandoned home, but at least there's finally some color in it.  I am convinced it's from the seeds we planted a few years ago.

I like the color.  I don't like the randomness of the plants, but at least it's not completely brown out there.  
It's almost worth the three years I had to wait for them to show up.

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2018: A Spring Moment
2017: In The Heart Of Amish Country
2016: A Spark Of Male Bonding
2015: A-MAZ-ING
2014: Ghosts Of Retail
2013: Orange Is The Devil
2012: Sixteen Hundred Miles Makes All The Difference
2011: In Need Of Some Color
2010: 122 Years And Counting
2009: Sixteen Days Old
2008: Racism Comes With A Convenient Handle
2007: Evening Tide
2006: Glittering Pasties And Swinging Tassles
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Motoring With A Saint

St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and motorists in the Catholic faith.  

When I was growing up, my grandfather had this St. Christopher double medallion in his Cadillac.  It's made of heavy metal, stamped "Italy" near the bottom of the cross, and was with him and my grandmother everywhere they drove.

I'm in possession of this medal now.  I just came across it as I was organizing my office cabinets.  I'm not any more religious today than I was 40 years ago, but I am sentimental so this St. Christopher medal will be traveling with us in the new truck.

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2018: The Three Rs In Strawberry
2017: My America

2016: Addictive Retro Fun
2015: Boldface
2014: Ciudad Juárez En La Noche
2013: Live It Up!
2012: The Last Supper
2011: New York Always Stands Out
2010: Visitor Number 933 To Room 525
2009: Makes A Nice Desktop
2008: Leaning Tower Of Texas
2007: It Should Be Called “Thimble Shot”
2006: Southern Hideaway
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hard Labor

Today I set aside my day to make marinara sauce, fry eggplant, and then assemble the fried eggplant with sauce and mozzarella cheese for the eggplant parmigiana that' going to be my contribution to Easter dinner tomorrow at my brother's house. My brother's mother-in-law is making stuffed shells and baked ziti with sausage, my sister-in-law is picking up fresh baguettes and cheesecake (our favorite from Costco!), and my mother is making the famous salad my nephews love so much.

I used Bon Appétit's recipe for both the marinara sauce and the eggplant parmigiana.  I've never used a recipe for this dish but I've been saving this particular recipe for some time now and since the eggplant parmigiana was a special request, I figured I'd give it a go.

I decided to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven.  I needed the room since I was tripling the recipe (this pot is 15.5 quarts) and I was going to be putting it in the oven for 3 hours, and this dutch oven is made for just that.  You can see the darkening around the inside where it bubbled up, then burnt off.  
While the marinara cooked in the oven, I peeled, sliced, and salted my eggplant.  I've made eggplant parmigiana countless times in my life and have never salted the eggplant, but the recipe called for it, so I did.  

I had over eight pounds of eggplant.  The recipe calls for the slices to be 1/2" to 3/4" but I don't like it that thick, so I sliced them about 1/4" thick.  I laid the slices on a cookie sheet, salted them with kosher salt, and covered them with paper towels.  I continued that process until I had ten stacked layers.  I put another cookie sheet on top and had Ed weigh the entire pile down with an extremely heavy toolbox.  The process squeezes the excess water out of the eggplant.  I left them like that for an hour.  

Once they were done, I started my breading process.  Flour, egg, breadcrumbs.  Flour, egg, breadcrumbs.  Flour, egg, breadcrumbs.  You get the idea.  I did that about 100 times.
While I was doing that mind-numbing task, the marinara finishes cooking.  I took it out of the oven and set it aside to cool.  

Look at this gorgeous sauce.  It tasted fantastic.  I think I'm going to use this recipe for the rest of my life.  It's the best marinara I've ever made.  I didn't use the anchovies (I know it adds umami, but I still think they taste fishy) but the red pepper flakes and dry white wine is not something I've ever added to a marinara and I think it made all the difference.  I can't get over the flavor of this sauce!
Once I was done breading a decent amount of eggplant, I started frying.  I didn't want to be there all night and this was already taking too long.  
I had three frying pans going.  I had so much eggplant to bread that rather than waiting for it all to be done before frying, I did both at once.  The pile of eggplant didn't seem to be getting any smaller and I'd already been at it for three hours.
I decided to do a taste test - it was also time for lunch - so I took a few warm, crispy eggplant cutlets, cut a few slices of fresh mozzarella, and then spooned the still hot sauce over it.  It was sort of a deconstructed eggplant parm and it was amazing.
After I finished my quick taste test/lunch, I got back to frying.  I fried and stacked until I was done.  Once everything was fried up, I assembled my eggplant parmigiana pans. Eggplant, sauce, grated cheese, shredded mozzarella, and repeat.  I filled three 13" x 9" pans and one 8" x 8" pan.  
The entire process from beginning to end, which included washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, took more than seven hours.  SEVEN HOURS.  


I only took two short breaks - one to eat, and one to sit because I thought I was going to die from the non-stop standing and cooking.

I love eggplant.  A LOT.  And eggplant parmigiana is one of my favorites.  But like chicken cutlets, the work involved is insane.  I think it's worth it.  Especially when I'm eating it.  But at that moment, and any other moment I'm craving this dish, I don't remember how much work is involved.

Like gnocchi, I think this is going to have to be one of those dishes I have to eat in a restaurant.

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2018: Heading To The Tall Pines
2017: They Nestled The Produce On Beds Of Kale
2016: Take It To Ramon
2015: California Field
2014: Happy Easter!
2013: A Tree Grows In A Truck Stop
2012: The Herb Whisperer
2011: Turning Tables With Adele
2010: A Different Kind Of Dumpster Diving
2009: Federal Glow
2008: My Mother Is An Oxymoron
2007: The Restroom Shell Game
2006: The Pressure
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Mise En Place

I'm all set with ingredients for my Easter eggplant parmigiana.  I plan on making it tomorrow.  

Eight pounds of eggplant.  

Not really looking forward to all the work but I know the end result will be worth it.

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2018: Keeping Time In The County Seat
2017: On Your Mark
2016: Always Be A Moose
2015: Where The Good Girls Run Into Trouble
2014: Feed The Children Of The World
2013: Burst Of Power
2012: If This Worked, I’d Become A Cannibal
2011: How I While Away The Hours
2010: Incredibly Average, Yet Heroic If Necessary
2009: May I Take A Message?
2008: Doing The Speed Limit In Your Sleep
2007: Now I Can Go Back To Watching The Show
2006: Ten Of Life’s Simplest Pleasures
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, April 18, 2019