Thursday, March 31, 2011

 When life seems all mundane, arise early enough to watch the dawn!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Jo-jo just left with her parents for the 5 hour return trip to the Falls.  Their visit was unplanned and bittersweet.  Just so you know, Jo-jo isn't her name, nor is it Champ, Buddy, or Hey-girl.  I call her by those names and Sofie every-now-and-then.  On rare occasions I actually use her complete name; Sophia.  She doesn't seem to mind what name I call her by and responds to me no matter what I call her.

It's a lot of work to make a whirlwind visit and more so if you're totin' a 17 month old and all her paraphernalia.  They come to the north country frequently in the summer to enjoy the river but not so in the cooler months.  So it was a pleasure to entertain this Pearl of great value, our grand daughter, this weekend while her parents attended the funeral of our son's friend.  I'm not sure but I think this is the first high school friend, of young adult age, that has died from among this cadre of friends.  While it's always sad when a friend dies, I think it's more so when that friend dies unexpectedly and in the prime of his life.  It turned out to be an unscheduled class reunion of sorts.

I don't know the circumstances surrounding Tommy's death, but I know he was a fine young man and a great dad, a good friend and he was young and he's dead.  The rest is minutiae.   Kristy, Sophia's mom, said there was not a dry eye at the funeral; male or female.  His friends came from all over the state to say goodbye to a person who was apart of their formative years. Someone who is a part of their growing up memories and it's startling to say goodbye to one of your memories too soon.  They gathered at "Turner's Inn" and reminisced,  reinforced remaining friendships and made another memory.  That's what we do; that's as it should be.

Grandma and grandpa got to spend a great deal of quality time forging memories of their own with their newest grand-daughter and imprinting some-such on her early development also. 

The joy of watching a 17 month old explore and experience the world without the boxes of culture and society around her was enlightening.  I'm sure I was the same open minded, wondering, exploring experimenting child eons ago too, but I've forgotten how to be so uninhibited in evaluating my world.   She has no reservations about tackling tasks and if we keep quiet and don't interject any you can'ts, you're too little, too young, then she she goes right ahead and does what we didn't think she could do.  We went for a walk and she noticed and brought to my attention: the new buds on the tree branches, the rustling of a dried up old leaf scurrying along the walk noisily attracting our attention.  Then the birds awing caught her eye and the ringing of the church bells and the bright red octagonal STOP sign.  She saw and brought to my attention all the things that normally pass by un-noticed by me as I entertain thoughts of more important things like what the temperature is and how long before I have to go back to work.

 My Champ showed me this weekend what's important in this life: take notice of and relish the small things around you.  Revel in the life you  meet, for too soon it'll be gone.

It was a pleasure knowing you Tommy Johnston.
You left a memorable imprint on many lives; no man can do better than that.

Born: December 9, 1976
Death: March 15, 2011
Occupation: Fiber Optic Lineman

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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

2 birds, one stone:
The image prompt from magpie tales #56 this week is a head of garlic separated into cloves.

The word prompt from Sunday Scribblings this week is: Raw.

What delicious happenstance; Sunday Scribbling's prompt, raw, drew a blank in my mind and therefore I set it aside to marinate and waited to see what would come to mind in the following few days.  ( I rarely am inspired by a prompt immediately in any case.)  On Monday our new Magpie image grabbed the marinated raw prompt and married it in my mind and out came, Kimchi.

I was introduced to Kimchi in 1974 while stationed In Pusan South Korea for the U.S. Army.  It quickly became a favorite for both flavor and, to be honest, self defense.  Large amounts  of raw garlic are integral to the making of kimchi and as most know, ingested garlic, cooked or raw, gives off an odoriferous message to any one in close proximity to the ingestor.  If you yourself eat some kimchi the aroma of your neighbor becomes inconsequential.  Mind you, kimchi is eaten by everyone in Korea. 

Over the years I've attempted to make this vitamin rich relish myself and have also bought the super-market's canned version.  Nothing comes even close to the kimchi I ate in Korea, with 2 exceptions:  there is a Korean restaurant an hour west of us near Fort Drum that has perfect (perfect being comparable to that which I had in Korea) kimchi.  And a year ago this past Oct. My wife and I vacationed in the Big Apple and went to dinner one night in Koreatown and of course had kimchi, ( I think it's served at every meal in Korea) which transported me back 35 years to the culinary delights I experienced in Pusan.

1 fresh Chinese cabbage, dark green outer leaves removed

1 1/2 cup cooking salt
1L water
1 cup Korean chilli powder – aka gochugaru (not flakes, look for it at your local Korean grocery store)
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp white sugar
6 spring onions, washed and sliced on an angle into slices about 1-2″ long
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 knob of ginger, grated
1/4 nashi pear, cored and peeled
1/4 brown onion, peeled
200g white/chinese radish (long and white as opposed to small, round and pink-tinged)


In case you forgot: today is Mardi Gras.
or Fat Tuesday
and the 100th international women's day


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Vagaries of weather

Early this morning when I went down to the laundry room to feed the cat, I glanced out the back door's window to see what I thought was a cat sauntering up our walk-way.  Secondarily I noticed also that we were experiencing a blizzard; more on that in a moment.

The critter approaching the back porch was walking in a serpentine line rather than a direct approach.  My first thought was; gee this cat has a face like an owl, Barn owl to be exact.  As the varmint drew closer I got a clearer vision and realized that it was , in fact, a opossum.  Wow, how cool is that?  We've suspected for a number of years now that a possum or family of such were residing in the woodshed attached to the rear of our garage, but I'd never seen them.  Well, now I can say I've seen a opossum up close and personal.  I thought perhaps he/she: who can tell?, was going to reconnoiter the recyclable bin just outside the back door.  We throw our cans and bottles in there including the empty cat food tins, but they are all washed and rinsed before hand.  Nope, he/she never even stopped for a sniff, but rather, just sidled along by the grill and exited the porch in the direction of the afore mentioned woodshed.  Whether or not that was his final destination, I can't say because I didn't follow him being dressed in PJ's  and slippers as I was and the weather being all wintery and such.
Weather.  Yes, yesterday I returned from the frat house between 0730 and 0830 to the home abode.  It was raining heavily and the temperature fluctuated between 33 F. at the Massena end to 36 F. on the Morristown end.  The roads were not icy though and as the day progressed the temps rose to the high forties.  Just the kind of day that serves as a precursor to spring and gives those sick and tired of winter hope that spring is truly on it's way.  Snow banks receded rapidly and were mere skeletons of their former selves when we returned from dining at the Lodge last night.  So imagine the chagrin the morning was greeted with as  spring seekers looked on winter renewing itself with forceful determination and with the weatherman predicting an accumulation of anywhere from 6" to a foot of the white stuff. I guess I'd better put fuel in the snow blower.

Perhaps we can say: winter was just playing possum with us.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Yesterday I awoke a little before my appointed time of 0330, but hey, when you're awake might as well make use of the time.

It's been a month since I contracted a head cold that subsequently progressed to bronchitis, and while it is still plaguing me, yesterday, for awhile at least, it was in remission enough so that I decided to try doing my exercise routine, which I had not felt up to for the month.  I'm pleased to say that all went well and my spirits were elevated when I was able to complete my workout.

Around 0530 I took a peek through the curtains of the front window and lo and behold the windshield, well actually my entire car, was encased in a 1/4 inch of freezing rain.  Holy smokes, I'm on call!  If I get called it'll take me a half hour to clean off the windshiel!! (Not good)  So out I go in my PJs and start the car and turn on the defroster and cross my fingers.  At 0630, when I left for work (no I never did get called) the car was clean as could be.  It was still raining but not freezing on my car.  Unfortunately I can't say the same for the roads.  The worst was the parking lot at the hospital though: a refresher course was held in the lack of control one has over their car when on glare ice.  Fortunately no mishaps occurred,. I got the car parked safely in the snow bank and carefully exited and crept slowly across the lot to the safety of the building.

A fitting way to end February.  Now on to spring!