Archive for February, 2015

Oscar Night

Pat and I attended the Oscar party held by our friends Paul and Bev.  They host it every second year and it is a much sought after invitation.  The directions told us to either come in formal wear or in a costume of one of the movies.

After some debate I wore camouflage for American Sniper and Pat put on a back pack for Wild.  I chose to stop shaving for two weeks to get the right stubble but Pat did not match by growing her legs hairy.  (You have to have read the book to get the concept of unshaven legs)

We arrive at the red carpet ceremony and figure we have the costume thing done.  Everyone else showed up in formal wear (tuxedos and ball gowns) so lots of Ohhs and Awws on our outfits.  Had the prize in the bag when just before the awards started a couple we know well showed up identically dressed as Lobby Boys from Budapest Hotel.  Pill box hat, pencil mustache, tunics with buttons, the whole nine yards.

I went, damn I have grown this miserable hair on my face for two weeks for nothing.  We ended up with the consolation prize.

The other prize was for the one that guessed the most categories correctly.  I did OK at 13 correct out of 24 but got beaten by Henry who is in the TV production business.

Still a wonderful evening.  Have to keep friendly with them so we get an the invitation list for the next time.  The best part of the evening was shaving off the beard when I got home.




Hockey Left to Right

I was reading about traditions in major league sports and one of them is that NHL players, when they are getting dressed, or prepared to play,  they put on their equipment starting with the left and then the right.  Pull up the leg sock on the left then the right, strap on the left shin guard then the right, pull up the stocking on the left and then the right, tape the left then the right and finally put on the left skate then the right.  It is a well documented tradition.

Way back when I was playing hockey (and this despite what you might think, was not on frozen ponds but in indoor arenas) that is what I did.  Regardless if I had scored in the previous game (which admittedly was a rare event) I always started my preparation on the left because you did not question a habit and I was always optimistic that this game would be my breakout.

Turns out I could have been an NHL player,  well maybe lacking some skill level, but I did have the pro inclination.

To this day I still put on my left shoe before my right.  Who knew I was a natural?

Mardi Gras 2015

I expect that the Mardi Gras 2015 in New Orleans was much more exciting than here at our home.   The Fat Tuesday where you experience the last great meal before lent.  We had hot dogs.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which means I have too cook my pork sausages on the side to join Pat’s fish dinner.

Lent, where I can save money by not having to pour wine and prepare expensive foods for my bride.

But Ash Wednesday does take me back in time.

About 47 years ago I was dating Pat.  We had been going steady (that was the term back then) for several months.  By then I had sort of been used to dating a Catholic.  Every time I stayed for dinner I was sent to the basement while everyone in the family chanted Hail Marys while doing the dishes.

I had learned that as a family they did the Rosary every night and the chanting was not “Killa the Protestant”  as I first thought.

Still by February 1968 I thought I was comfortable with her religious things.  So it is a Wednesday night and I show up to take Pat to University to study in the Library.  Cold Regina night.

I show up at the door and Pat has a black cross on her forehead.  Sort of like the symbol you see on Hindu women.  Maybe a caste symbol so I just did not ask. By then I had learned just go with the flow.  For those that are not Catholics on Ash Wednesday they have a special mass where they take the ashes from the burned reeds from the previous Easter and the priest marks a cross on the forehead.  Kind of a big deal.

So I am going like… OK maybe this is a mark of Cain because she is dating a Protestant and I should not mention it.  Also thinking that maybe we do not go to the Library that night.

Fortunately Mary Ellen came out and said “Pat, you idiot you forgot to wash off the ashes”  We went off to the library.

I actually visited New Orleans many years ago on Mardi Gras….. a great event, but for me I mostly remember Ash Wednesday for the cross on her forehead.  To this day Pat makes sure she does not rub it off until she comes home to show me.



Funeral Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Pat belongs to the local Catholic Women’s League (CWL) .   Big part of her life.

One of the duties of CWL is to cater the reception for any funeral held at the church.  The ladies are grouped in teams so they only have to serve at every eighth or tenth funeral.

The members make up sandwiches and desserts with coffee and tea for the reception after the funeral mass.  For this the CWL gets $200 from the family or the funeral home.  A bargain since receptions at the funeral home can be $500 or more.

The cash is pure profit for the CWL because the ladies in each team donate the ingredients and the labour including the set up and clean up.

Pat has specialized in making a pile of Tuna Salad sandwiches for her donation.  Chopped celery, onions, olives and many secret ingredients.  Apparently her sandwiches are gone in a heart-beat at every funeral reception.

Today as she left she gave me a treat with four squares made from the outside crust with the filling that she if famous for.  Damn… the best tuna salad sandwich I have ever tasted.  I realize why they disappear at every reception long before the meat sandwiches.  Worth dying for.. well worth someone you know dying for.

I may have to start attending the funerals for obscure people that she is catering just for the Tuna Sandwiches…. or maybe ask her to make them at home.


Valentine Day 2015 Pt 2

Early yesterday I was at our local grocery store to pick up the ingredients for my special meals for the Friday and Saturday for Pat.

I am checking out on the express line and notice that most of the guys (mostly my age)  are buying mini flower bouquets (our grocery store has a flower shop).

There was a minor price check-out delay in my purchase and I mentioned to the clerk “must be coming up on Valentines Day given all the flowers”.  She said “well that is what guys do”

So I told her that I chose to celebrate Valentines by preparing two special meals for my wife.  Then went on to describe them (the guy doing the price check had still not returned)

She went… “Oh I wish my Husband would do that”.  The guy behind me just gave me a stink eye with the look  ‘this bouquet is much easier’.

Anyway last night for my love I prepared Salmon en Papillote (read my previous blog)

Tonight I prepared a romantic Spaghetti and Meatballs dinner as our Valentine meal.

I know some of are saying what is romantic about Spaghetti and Meatballs?   Well in a recent poll on the top 10 Romantic movie scenes of all time… the Lady and the Tramp dinner spaghetti and meatballs was right up there with the pottery scene from Ghost.

Flowers….I do not need schtinking Flowers.

Pat tells me she has a special dessert for tonight as my reward.

Will not tell me what it is……  I am hoping it is the cookies she baked for her group executive meeting, but we shall see.


My Papillote Friday Meal

It is the Friday before Valentines day.  As per our routine this is a night for seafood.  This meal is part one of my Valentine gift for Pat.  More details after the meal tomorrow.

I prepared Salmon en Papillote.  Basically a fish baked in a parcel of parchment paper.  Dead easy to do but it impressed the lady which is the objective.

The base was a a mixture of wild rice, basmati and red rice.  The recipe called for wild rice but I find that a bit chewy hence the mixture.

Topped with a filet of fresh caught salmon (which I acknowledge is a luxury that we have here on the island).  Seasoned with a bit of smoked sea salt, chopped green onions and mushrooms.  Wrapped in a heart shaped parchment paper and baked.  Peas on the side

Wonderful meal which gets me free time on the computer while the wife cleans up extolling the virtues of being married to me.



Fish Pizza

It is Friday night and we traditionally have seafood for dinner even if we have mackerel snapped earlier in the week.

Last night I suggested we have a seafood pizza and Pat agreed.

I topped a basic cheese pizza with shrimp and little sliced tomatoes and chopped red onions.  Added dobs of pesto and an unusual addition, a few smoked oysters.

Delicious.  Do not want to go overboard on the smoked oysters 1 – 2 pieces per slice, but it was great.

I was reminded of a wonderful pizza I had years ago in Shanghai with shrimp, calamari and Wasabi at a Pizza Hut.  Great taste out of the norm.

Agatha Trunchbull Alive and Teaching at Queens

When Meagan was young she loved the book Matilda by Roald Dahl.  This is a story about a precocious girl with uncaring parents who is sent to a private school run by an evil Principal Agatha Trunchbull.  Trunchbull was an ex shot put champion who scares the students with physical mayhem and forces them to obey outdated restrictive rules ie No Smiling.

By happen chance Pat and I watched the movie Matilda this week and I was immediately reminded of the case of Melody Torcolacci the Health professor at Queens university who teaches students that Vaccination is evil.  She too is an ex shot put champion and intimidates the students with her anti-vaccine diatribe including a command that they must watch a video that says AIDS is due to the polio vaccine as IT WILL BE ON THE TEST.

No word if Torcolacci grabs students who question her and shot puts them out the window, but looking at a picture of her she looks capable.