Archive for January, 2012

Home Alone Again

It is Sunday night and I am home alone.  Pat flew to Edmonton Yesterday for the week.  Last night I was taken out for dinner by our friends so tonight was the first meal alone.  As you may know from earlier blogs, when I am home alone I try to fix up busy meals to fill the time. 

Earlier this week Pat and I made Fish Tacos.  We had them for the first time in Tofino and now are a favourite.  I had made some pan fried fish a couple of days before and had leftovers so we decided on Fish Tacos.  Very Healthy.  At the time I was not sure how much fish there was so I also made a beef taco mixture to augment.  As it turns out there was lots of fish so most of the beef taco dish was left over.

So tonight I was using the leftover beef taco mix.  Made my own Guacamole and a mixed green onion/olive dish and decided to make my own Tortillas just like my momma made back at home in Senora.  I have made Tortillas before and thought it would be neat.

If you notice the picture, the tortillas do not turn out round.  I do not have one of those neat machines they have at the restaurant.  While they have a nice texture and appearance, there is not enough taste difference from store bought to make the effort worth while.  Still the beef  was delicious.  Not even sure how I would repeat the dish because when I originally made it I did a little of this a little of that and kept adding until it tasted good.  Not a clue what the recipe was.

It did fill the time in the evening preparing the dish and the belly in eating, so a successful meal.


The End of Winter?

I couple of days ago I posted a couple of pictures of our back yard with the fresh snow.  Then a couple of days of warming, rain and wind and we are back to our typical views.  Even golfers going by.


Link Wray

Now 2 points for anyone in my reading audience that recognizes the oldies rock star Link Wray. 

I was reading a book given to me at one time called Hard Revolution by George Pelecanos.   It is the start of a series about a young black cop and an older white Detective.  Takes place in Washington DC starting in the late 50s and going on into the 60s and 70s.  Lots of black vs white issues  yaddah yaddah

The author is one of those guys that is a music lover so throughout the book there is constant reference to the song that is on the radio in the car or the bar or the club where the characters move.  In many cases the characters (mostly bad and even the good guys are shaded) refer to the music being played.  For instance there is a meet in a club where a young girl named Aretha Franklin is singing and apparently she was pretty good ” for a black girl”   (the word in the book was different but I was taught not to repeat the word)

Anyway they kept referring to a guy starting in the 50s and through the book playing in the rough clubs.  A rocker that could bring the house down called Link Wray and his band the Raymen.  Looked them up and they actually existed and were a big influence on more popular groups.  Early career in Washington area but later toured extensively in Europe up until ten years ago.  One of their numbers was on the Pulp Fiction album but their numbers have shown up in several movie soundtracks where they needed an early rock instrumental group. 

So I went on Itunes and downloaded their best 15 (only cost $6)  so next time you visit I will include them in our music repertoire 


In the news today was Eastman Kodak Corporation filing for bankruptcy.  Probably the biggest industry in Rochester New York.  Pat and I visited Rochester once and the factories were huge and the museum of the 130 year old company was very interesting.  By the way did you know that George Eastman, the founder of the company, and a life time bachelor, committed suicide after hosting a party?  If you visit the museum they have a small displayin the basement with the gun he used to shoot himself.

Still this is an interesting story in the life of a corporation.  Having invented consumer cameras, they made billions on controlling film and camera designs.  Kodak actually produced the first digital cameras, a technology that eventually destroyed this huge company.  They controlled distribution and processing of film and sales of cameras but forgot what was the core of their industry.  They subcontracted the lenses and eventually the camera bodies and, in the worst step, the electronics that went into digital cameras.  So subcontractors like Canon and Nikon eventually blew them away. 

Kodak thought that digital would be good for trivial pictures but the full chemical exposure would always dominate.  Big mistake.

Reminds me of the story of where IBM went from absolute control of computers to an also ran.  They chose to outsource the core chip to a little company called Intel and let another little company called Microsoft develop the basic software.  Today these subcontractors blow away IBM because, like Kodak, they forgot what is the essence of their business.  IBM thought that as they had the distribution and the brand they could control sales.  The very concept of Dell selling computers through the internet or by phone without stores, never occured to them.

Still, sad for Rochester, a nice town, but then the US is filled with cities that depended on corporations only to be passed by. 

Yes you are correct, I write this as Pat cleans up after dinner.  A nice meal of leftovers from the dinner party last night.


Winter in Paradise

Well winter arrived in Paradise.  We did not get hit as hard as Victoria and Vancouver areas, but I did get to use the snow blower.  Redid the driveway this morning  just in time for the temp is rising and it is starting to rain so the snow will be gone soon.  Pretty scenes provided you do not have to drive in it.




My Birthday

Well it is my birthday today.   Janine phoned last night and asked me how it felt.  I told her that turning 64 was a non event sort of like turning 34.  “are you kidding” she said that was traumatic as it meant the last year before you were in your mid thirties and on the downhill.

Never thought of it like that.  To me it is a non event just one more year before I get to kick in on the big senior discounts.  For now I am just a near senior with all the aches and pains but none of the benefits.

Woke up this morning to light snowfall.  Nothing like the dump that Vancouver and Victoria had but promising.  I went to the fitness club and as I came home the snow started to really fall.  By Noon then snow had stopped and the sun was shining and there was almost 2 inches of snow on the ground. 

So I fueld up the big snowblower and got to work.  I had to yell at the neighbours before they swished away their driveways so I could do my job.  For once it was light fluffy instead of white concrete.  Finished our driveway and then the neighbours and then went down the street to do the sidewalks on all the homes where the “richer” people are residing in Arizona or Hawaii.  Lovely day.

Pat took me to ‘Locals’ restaurant for dinner.  Great food and even better because we had a coupon (which I won at the Newcomers Christmas Dance on the dance floor spot contest by picking out what would be the spot, granted to give some credit to Pat as she did buy the tickets to the dinner/dance and was dancing with me on the spot)

Thank everyone for the e cards and the old fashioned tree destroying paper cards I received.  And for the phone calls.

Great birthday but next year will be even better because then I will get the big present (Canada Pension Plan and free rides on BC Ferries)

Blog Monday Jan 16

So apparently, my wife either does not read my blogs, or, as I suspect, she finds me too handsome to try to change me.

Tonight we had a wonderful Canneloni.  I was busy in the basement so Pat did all the prep and cooking.  Almost a 3 hour process.  Great meal and as usual I said, as we were reflecting on the meal, I have a great idea for a blog and left the table. 

I suspect it is because she finds me Handsome, but it may be she does not approve of my dishwasher loading skills.

There has been a winter snowfall on the West Coast but so far the snow has fallen south of us.  Victoria, Vancouver  and the Fraser Valley has been hit hard.  Not a major dump but if you get 20 cm (7 ” for my American readers) with the high moisture content and the temp running up and down around freezing, it is a miserable drive.    (granted the families in Calgary and Edmonton where it is -26 C will not have a lot of sympathy)

In any event the forecast is that we may well have snow in Comox Valley tomorrow.  Now here is my mixed feeling.  I have a big snow blower primed and ready to leap on the snow drifts so I can be a hero to my neighbourhood.

We are having our neighbours in for a dinner party on Thursday night and my clearing the driveways and sidewalks could lead to a standing ovation at the end of the meal (maybe due to the food) And that would be nice, but the snow here is crap.  Heavy,wet and a heart attack to move even with the machine.  Granted I have to get rid of it quickly or the warm weather will come next week and melt it all and my neighbours would not give me the Ovation. 

So as I said a mixed attitude.  But as I see Pat is nearly done the dishes so time for me to entertain us for the evening.

Sunday Night Blog

Last year when Meagan set me up with a Blog site, Pat thought this would be a great opportunity for me to exercise my wonderful story telling abilities.  And over the year I have published many pearls of wisdom,  but it is time to tell the truth about my blog  literary objectives.

Tonight we had a wonderful Beef Bourgignon meal done in the pressure cooker.  Basically a small roast of beef cooked in a wine and mushroom sauce but done in a Pressure cooker so you can take a cheaper cut of roast and it ends up tender. 

Yaddah Yadday, nothing to do with the meal itself, although it was wonderful.  In our evenings sitting at the table after a great meal I tell Pat, “I have a wonderful Blog to write”  so she sends me off to the Den to publish my great thoughts….. while she clears the plates and does the dishes as I pontificate. 

I almost feel guilty.  Well.. almost anyway.  I assume when Pat reads this I will say I was only joking.  Married 43 years and she still believes me. 

So tonight we had a wonderful roast beef with mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, green beans and sautéed mushrooms with a gravy to die for.  Typical meal for us.  I will keep typing until Pat is finished the dishes which is getting close. 

Did you see the NFL game yesterday where the magical Tebow finally lost?   

Sunday January 15  time to join my wife for the evening.

Beef Stew

Pat does a marvelous beef Stew.  Now the entire concept of Stew brings to mind a long cooked pot with meat and vegetables where you can eat it with a spoon.  The kind of stew I knew as I grew up and the kind that you get in a can. 

I reflect to a scene in the movie The Good The Bad and the Ugly, where Lee Van Cleef calls on a peasant and intimidates him into telling him where to find the person he is looking for.  But the scene is set where he is sitting across from the victum with bowls of stew and Lee uses his wooden spoon to dip into the victum’s bowl and chews it.   That is a traditional stew

Many years ago Pat introduced me to a different variation.  The meat is cooked in a pot in a flavoured gravy and the autumn vegetables are roasted in a pan in the oven and they are only combined on the plate.

Over the years this dish has been so refined we could serve it to royalty. 

Tonight the veggies were parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes and brussel sprouts.  

The meat dish was made up of all the leftover beef and pork ends we have saved up in the deepfreeze in the last few months.  BUT HERE IS THE SECRET INGREDIEN T.

We regularly buy a slab of Parmesan Cheese and grate it on our pasta dishes.  In the end we are left with the rind which, in the past we discarded.  This time we saved it and Pat put into the meat stew mix.  As we never add salt, the rind added the right amount of salt for the dish and a great additional flavour.

So do not throw out the rind.  Save and add to a stew.

Becoming a Vegan

I am not saying I am becoming a Vegan. 

Not going to grow my hair long or take yoga lessons (the very thought of getting into the backward dog position makes my joints hurt)  but we did have a Tofu meal last night.  Pat saw the recipe in the newspaper for a grilled vegetable dish with sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber and featuring lots of tofu with a spicy peanut sauce.  We decided to try it and it was delicious (to be truthful I did prepare a couple of pieces of Basa fish on the side) but the meal was great. 

I used to have lots of Tofu in my meals in Japan but kind of grew away from it.  As long as it has a spicy, fatty sauce on it, Tofu can be quite nice. 

Maybe I have now lived too long on Vancouver Island….. maybe I am being converted, the horror.