Archive for February, 2012

CWL Treasurer

As I have written before, Pat is the treasurer for the local Catholic Women’s League.  I briefly had hope that she would have access to the great wealth of the Catholic Church, but it has proven not to be.

Pat took over the position from a woman who was supposed to have an accounting background.  Recommended that Pat personally pay for a home accounting package to handle the accounts. 

Fortunately I took accounting in my MBA program (almost 40 years ago) and became somewhat skilled in Excel spreadsheets 10 years ago.  So I combined them to prepare input forms for expenses and revenues that then connected into monthly reports of the local chapter balance sheets.  If there is one thing Pat is great at, it is inputting detail into a spreadsheet.

Problem was even with the many, many thousands of dollars of assets and equity figures, we could not get the balance sheets to line up with the reports handed on to her (and audited)  Finally Pat found some mistakes made in the previous years accounting (after many hours of searching) and we were able to balance the books but only after we contributed $1.01 of cash to the petty cash fund. 

So much for the trips to the Vatican on the church dime for Pat and her escort.  We are out 50 hours of Pat’s time and several hours of my time, and $1.01.  But the accounts are perfect and the reports all feed nicely from input to balance sheet.  An accountant would be proud and so is Pat. 

I guess that is sufficient.  Pat certainly is happy.  I think she will hold this postion for 20 years

Devil Music

It was on this date (February 24) in 1956 when Cleveland Police inacted a bylaw that banned teenagers from dancing at a Rock and Roll Show.  (this act was used as the basis for the movie Footloose many years later) 

The public and police were concerned about the Devil Music and the affect on young people.  This makes you assume that our previous generation was quaint but I have to think, I can now agree. 

If anyone watched the Grammy Award ceremony a couple of weeks ago, and saw some of the songs (particularly that horrible number done by Nikki Minaj) you can see that Devil Music is still around and we should ban our youngsters from listening.  I just shudder at the thought of what might disgust my grandchildren when they are in their sixties and listen to the songs of their grandchildren.

Girls Want Me

When I sign on to my Hotmail site on the internet, there is a rolling list of photos of beautiful girls in the local area that want me.   That is what it says and all I have to do is click on the site to make the connection.

So far I have not clicked on the site for several reasons…

a) If I did start to date these girls, I would have a hard time coming up with the money because Pat controls every credit card purchase in her spreadsheet.

b) Not sure I have the outfits to wear to the local nightclubs, and they may not like my 10:30 pm curfew for bedtime.

c) Oh yes… I love my wife and there is no way I would be interested in meeting these girls

d) It is possible that the site is a scam and these girls are not actually interested in me as a person.

But it is still nice to think that I still have it.

I am Forgiven

If you read my blog last night, you will remember that my meal was not the 4 star that I am supposed to provide each night.  However, tonight the meal was superb and Pat officially forgave me.

I prepared the old stand by,  Penne Pasta with Alfredo Sauce, peas, capers  and just enough smoked salmon to be delicious.  Always a winner

But tonight I preceeded with an appetizer that also included thin sliced smoked salmon.  There is not much salmon needed for the pasta so lots left over.

We were looking for a special appetizer to take to the next appie party and thought we would experiment with a smoked salmon roll (think of a sushi roll with no rice).  A thin layer of salmon, covered with a layer of cream cheese mixed with horse-radish and other herbs and wrapped around thin sliced veggies.  Roll up and slice into bite sized pieces.  A wonderful appetizer but we realized that as we have to bring appetizers for 30 people, we could not afford to make this for the next party. 

In any event I am the hero for the meal and Pat rewards me by doing the clean up and dishes while I write.  (I should mention that Pat made a wonderful salad to go with the meal so it is not like I am the only provider).   Still, life is good.    I think Pat is nearly finished so this blog is also.

Satai Stir Fry

In my blog a common subject is the wonderful meals we have prepared.  Great moments in the preparation and the consumption of a meal. (and you wonder why we are SLIGHTLY overweight)

Tonight did not work out that well.  We had left over rice and I (this entire situation I take credit/blame for) said lets do a stir fry.  We used to do stir frys all the time but recently got out of the habit.  We have a great Wok and we even ordered a gas stove when we were building the house that had a Wok mount on the gratings.

A typical preparation where we chopped veggies (celery, onions and red pepper) with fresh pea pods.  I chopped a couple of boneless chicken thighs and did the typical stir fry. 

Then I made the mistake.  Rather than make the simple sauce as I have done hundreds of times, I looked in the pantry and found a jar of Satai Peanut Sauce made by the brand Asian Family.    According to the label perfect for Thai stir frys.

Ruined the entire meal.  It had a chocolate under taste (coco is not one of the ingredients on the label)  Not a great meal, not even a good meal.

But if Pat and I die tonight by food poisoning, look for the jar in our recycling and sue them.  

Fortunatley tomorrow night I am preparing a favourite smoked salmon pasta meal for Pat with smoked salmon roll up appetizers, so I suspect (if we live through the night) she will forgive me for tonights meal.

And, of course, as I write this Blog, Pat is loading the dishwasher.  It is a good thing that she does not read my blogs.

Valentines Day

Janine gave me advice on what I should do for Pat on Valentine’s Day.  She said buy the flowers a day early so they would be cheaper.  I did and put them in a jar in my workshop.  Then I brought them up this morning in the vase and presented them to her.  There is nothing that says I Love You more than presenting a bouquet of a dozen Roses to a woman just getting out of the morning shower.  A great moment.

For dinner I made  BBQ steak, with BBQd little potatoes mixed with olive Oil and Rosemary, and oven roasted parsnips, carrots, and brussel sprouts (actually Pat did the oven roasting veggies, it is supposed to be a shared event)  Janine did not approve of my selection of a Valentine’s meal because it does sound like a guy thing, but (like Homer Simpson) I think I really know what my wife needs. 

A bit of red wine (well actually more for me than her) and some candles and romantic music from our Sonos. 

And, as you guess, I write this Blog about our wonderful evening meal while Pat does the dishes. 

Pat made Saskatoon pie for dessert, and I must cut off now to go and enjoy

Bleeding as a Medical Treatment

For thousands of years, physicians thought that many illnesses could be cured by drawing blood from the patient.  The thought was that there were evil humours in blood and bleeding would release them.  Through the 1800s physicians carried special Lancets for the purpose of bleeding. 

It is part of history that George Washington fell ill after riding around his estate on a cold rainy winter day.  He had a cold that  probably got worse. His doctor bled him heavily and he died.  At the time you would bleed until the pressure dropped. In hindsight not a good thing for a senior suffering from possible pneumonia. Many historians believe that the bleeding is what killed him as he was robust the week before. 

In any event, I have read about this treatment in history books and thought it was something that was ancient like witchcraft.   Talking to mother this last trip I realized that it was not that distant.  She told the story that when she was living at home on the Tregarva  farm in the early 1930s, her father (my grandfather), had a stroke while sitting at the table.  It was winter and there was no such thing as an ambulance so they phoned their doctor in Lumsden.  He was going to travel to Regina anyway to attend a concert so agreed to drop in and see him on the way. 

The doctor said that a stroke is due to too much blood pressure so he took his lancet and bled him into a jar and then left.  This is in the 1930s and she said that they would not question the Doctor and thought it was normal.   Apparently small town doctors still believed in bleeding into the 20th century.   Now this treatment did not kill my grandfather, but it sure did not help. 

A weird bit of history.

Mac and Cheese

Now what is the easiest and favourite meal of a Single Guy when he is home alone and cooking for himself. 

Just watch the ads on TV… it is Mac and Cheese.

My last night alone (I head off to Regina with my little brother tomorrow) so I prepared a special meal.  Mac and Cheese . 

We subscribe to Fine Cooking Magazine and they do articles on 6 steps to make a 1000 varieties of a dish.  Not in the ordinary.

So I made Mac and Cheese with 4 varieties of cheese (Gruyère, Cheddar, Parmesan and Feta), with smoked bacon, garlic, Rosemary, (and of course macaroni) topped with Japanese Panko (which is basically large bread crumbs) plus other ingredients too numerous to mention (well there had to be peas, the best of vegetables). 

An hour to prepare, lots of dirty dishes but a wonderful meal.  Half of which will be left for Pat to enjoy on Sunday night.  This dish was nothing like a Kraft Dinner.  The picture is not great as the flash made the coating less golden.  But it does give you an idea.