Another Busy Day, Gardening!

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

Every summer we would garden and raise b=vegetables that Sue would turn into magic delights.  One afternoon after shopping, Sue stopped in the pathway nad said. “Paul. look! Melons in the sky!”  I thought she was teasing.  Nope!  She found the best tasting melons we had ever had, like eating sugar!  She was amazing!

I walked by them for weeks and never saw them! Old “Eagle Eye” spotted them right off!

Today was a gardening day!

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Six Of The Worst/Best Weeks In My Life

“Youth offers the promise of happiness, but life offers the realities of grief.” – Nicholas Sparks

Sue and I always went to Disneyland, but after her bout with cancer and being given maybe a year to live, we got season passes and went all the time.  It was, except for being home,  the “Happiest Place On Earth.”  Over twenty years, I’ll bet we went 250 times.  Of course, Christmas was exceptional, and this year it would have been Sue’s 58th consecutive year of going Christmas Eve.  Sometimes we would go just to sit in the park and people-watch.  It was one of our many happy-places.

We went to Disneyland to celebrate our anniversary. After all, it is the happiest place on Earth.  I had the camera and wheelchair because I do not see her little black purse!

Today was six weeks since that morning when she left us. Wednesday mornings are not something I enjoy.  The day began for me at 7:15 AM, and I did something different, I turned on the TV and checked the news.  That lasted about five minutes because the reports were so bad.  Scary times but we all will survive this.

Yesterday I realized that my parents survived the Spanish Flu of 1918.  They were teenagers living in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Reading the history, Arkansas suffered a recorded 1,700 deaths from the Spanish Flu, but they were quick to point out it was many times more than that.  Remember, in 1918, Arkansas was very rural, and many families suffered losses and simply buried their family members in unmarked graves on their property.  Many poor, especially blacks, were buried in public gravesites, and their passings were not reported, and there was no one to t it too. The 1918 flu would go on to kill more people in one year than the Black Death did in a century.

Did You Know? The disease spread to rural areas of Arkansas, where many deaths likely went unreported. It cannot be determined how many rural residents died because of several factors: lack of medical care in isolated areas, no telephones or other means of communication, lack of literacy skills to record the deaths, and no cemetery records, since many were buried in unmarked graves in family burial grounds. Sometimes entire families, too weak to draw water or cook their food, died of the disease, thirst, or starvation. Country people, who were known for helping each other during illnesses, generally could not or would not help their neighbors in 1918 either from being too sick themselves or out of fear.

Race was also a factor in the high death rate. In response to pleas from Arkansas and elsewhere, one national medical publication stated, “No colored physicians available.” It was noted nationwide that there seemed to be a higher mortality rate among African Americans than whites, possibly because of a lack of medical care. The actual numbers probably went unrecorded in Arkansas as well as overseas, where one report stated that “a considerable number of American negroes…have contracted Spanish influenza and died in French hospitals.” It is not known how many a “considerable number” of the nameless dead might be. Nor is it known how many black sharecroppers on Arkansas plantations went untreated or died unrecorded. People with the best chance of survival were those who took to bed soon after the first symptoms, stayed in bed for several weeks, and had the best care. Across the nation, the poor died in more significant numbers than the rich, and Arkansas was probably no exception.

Back to the chores! To Ralph’s because today is chili day.  I need four pounds of pot roast and a load of spices plus some habanero/tomato sauce.  Perhaps I should have also acquired two quarts of ice cream, one to eat and one to sit on??

Our cleaning people are here today to they are taking care of the house while I went to the nursery.  I needed some squash, peppers, tomatillos, and other assorted goodies.  I plan to make the chili before I go to play golf and put it on low eat while Charlotte and I play nine holes.

Chili time!  I had NO idea what I was doing, but I did it anyway! I went to Sprouts Market because Ralph’s didn’t have any chuck for sale! Four pounds I found out is a lot of chuck!

It all began with four pounds of chuck!

Into the pot for browning went the meat after I chopped it into one-inch cubes. Then I simply followed the recipe as best as I could.  Thank goodness for my mess-in-place skills. “Mise en place”  is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.” It refers to the setup required before cooking. It makes things so easy!

A little on the spicy side but heavenly. No dish for the faint of heart! The dollops of sour creme and cheese helped take the zing out of the dish!  Good groceries!

I had plenty remaining, but most of my friends do not do well with spicy foods, so I shall woof it down over the next few days!  It made my eyes water so I know it is good!

It was another beautiful day in the hood as I cleaned up from lunch and got ready to play a round, more exactly nine holes, of golf.

It is supposed to be 75 today, so gold ought to be super at 4:00 PM.

Into by golf costume, I went.  Now that I am 203, down twenty pounds, the shorts fit and the shirt does not make me look three months along! There are NO  no pictures of me as the white legs made me look like two toothpicks stuck in a slim eggplant. Even my dear golf buddy, Charlotte, remarked on my lack of color.  Being Norwegian, she is an expert on being white! That was a challenge, so shorts shall not we the uniform of the day until the golden brown color returns.

Oops, did I forget to mention she is quite beautiful?

Onto the first tee I stepped with great confidence and blasted that ball over the ladies tee and almost made it to the fairway!  Charlotte was a great instructor for me over the years and was responsible for me beginning to enjoy the game.  Sue, Charlotte and I played many times together.

Well, she said, in her most delicate voice, “Hey dummy!  Don’t hold the stick so hard and for Pete’s sake, don’t swing like you are trying to kill the ball!”.  That’s all I needed, a simple reminder!  The rest of the game went very well, I was on the green many times and could have made par.  My putting was a bit rusty; OK, rusty may be an understatement!

Charlotte was quite helpful and frankly amazed that after almost three years I played a reasonable good game (I was also quite flabbergasted)

It was an excellent walk! Now you can tell I was actually on the fairway the whole time, and no great walks into the forested area.

Almost a three-mile hike this afternoon, it felt good!

Coming home, I did not realize it was almost 7:00 PM and time for the evening chat with the family! We “chatted and chatted” for 45 minutes and then went about our ways! Jackie joined us tonight, so we all got an update on how the future mommy is doing.

Thank you, family, for making the day a good one!

The picture behind me (on the conference call) was taken on our trip to Alaska with the grandsons.  We took a helicopter ride on a glacier and explored it for quite a while.

Sue loved those boys and even went into a freezing glacier, so they have a memorable adventure

After our phone call, I watched some TV (Anne With An E) and went to bed at about 10:00 PM.  The golf experience wore me out, but next week, it will be time for 18 holes I hope.

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Keeping Busy Is Not A Problem Around Here!

“When one person is missing, the whole world seems empty.”? Pat Schweibert

Ol’ Dave lived down the street, and after he lost his wife, we kind of adopted him.  He went everywhere with us, like an older brother but indeed a best friend.  Sue would cook for him, asking what Dave liked.  Sue made sure he joined us on all holidays and made unique plans for his birthdays.  One year, she arranged to have Dave (and Mitch) go to the local race track and drive a real race car several laps around the track.  She pushed him many places and convinced him to enjoy life even though he was sometimes grumpy.  Sue never thought of herself; it was always her job (which she relished) to make sure everyone else was doing OK.  The woman indeed had a heart of gold and was kind to all.

Celebrating Easter at Disneyland with Dave

It’s now Tuesday and another day at home! That’s OK; I am getting a lot of little things done around the house. I enjoy the small projects.  The guest bedroom is not complete yet but it is getting there.  The only thing remaining is to empty the closet and move the wine cart to the garage, a task I am going to attempt today!

Wake up time was 6:30 AM, I have no idea what happened except I did walk about three miles yesterday but never left the property.  The pedometer map shows a big blur in one single spot, so I guess those trips to the garage and back added up!

Today I changed-out batteries in several devices.  I have rechargeables everywhere, and it was time to recharge them!  Now the fan, the electronic measuring device, and the portable radio are back in operation!

Time for breakfast, and I did my protein thing!  Tomorrow I am going to try to bake the eggs inside a half-avocado!  The recipe looked interesting.

Sue and I have had these egg-rings for 30+ years as we used to make breakfast sandwiches all the time

Sue and I have had these egg-rings for 30+ years as we used to make breakfast sandwiches all the time

Dear Dad,

I want to thank you for all those hours you spent with me teaching me about tools, and woodworking, plumbing, masonry, and metalworking, and yes, even electrical things. When I do things around the house, I now have time to think to myself, “How did I know how to do that? I never went to school to learn how to do that!”

It was all you and the times we worked together.  We built the patio, and we put in a water line from the street, we put in new doors, we wired the new washroom, we put in new toilets, we fixed faucets, we reshingled the roof of our house, we built long brick walls, we even overhauled a car engine!

You were an excellent teacher, patient, and so knowledgable about so much.  You could fix anything; you could make anything; you were truly amazing.  To this day I have no idea how you dealt with my red-hair temper! I must have been a real pain but you never let on.

I want you to know that your time spent with me was passed on to your grandson, Joe. Joe reminds me of the times he and I spent together repairing brakes, building dune buggies, making the two-story playhouse, and even building a patio.  He is now passing those lessons on to your great-grandsons, Charlie and Alex.

Dad, I want you to know that I still have the little toolbox you gave me when I was about ten, and I have the drill, the brace and bit, and a couple of the screwdrivers.  The hammer broke years ago along with the pliers.  I look at it almost every day as it sits in the garage, and I think of you!

Like Mom, Jan was very supportive of the time Joe and I spent together, and I thank her for that.

So, here is a “shout out” (it’s something people do today?) to you and a loving thanks for the hundreds of hours we spent together preparing me for life.

I  love you, Dad!

 

OMG!  The letter I sent to Boeing about Sue’s passing and getting the retirement things worked out finally was received by them, after nearly twenty days of being “lost in the mail.”  I found this out this morning while going through my email!

Most of the day was spent cleaning the Master Bedroom, hiding wires, putting up pictures, and re-installing the security camera system high on the wall. No more of those evil dust-bunnies under the bed.

My HelloFresh package arrived!  The best thing about this is the training I get from going through the steps! Once I make it with their ingredients, I can remake it (perhaps modified) using my techniques and little changes!

The items below I hand-selected from a much larger menu on-line.  I can order up to three weeks ahead of time.

I am going to cook up a storm!

I was not hungry because breakfast was filling, so I heated my lemon salmon from a few days back and had that for dinner.  Tomorrow I will likely do leftovers as I am planning to play golf with Charlotte.

Charlotte and Sue were great friends, and we played golf together at least fifty times in the last 15 years!  She was my best teacher and I will use her skills again tomorrow!

6:00 PM and time to get Mike and Bridgette checked out on Zoom.  I invited them and also Bob Z, and we chatted for 45 minutes.  Great fun!  We are going to attempt to get all the dancers onto Zoom!  Some will be a challenge.

Good to see Mike and Bridgette again!

Our meeting was over at 6:50 PM, and I had another family meeting at 7:00 PM. I want to thank the kids for being so supportive of me during the period of time in my life.  Their on0line visits mean a lot especially since we are tied to home base due to the virus going around. Tomorrow we will add Michele and then we are 99% complete, and 99% is not too bad!

No one had an agenda, so we just talked for 45 minutes!  We had Colleen, me, Pete & Lisa, Joe & Amy and the boys, and Robin & Bob.

After the meetings, I watched two episodes of “Anne with an E,” which was excellent.  Anne got out of trouble with the town by helping save a neighbor’s home from burning to the ground!

Off to bed at 10:40 PM for a little more TV and then to sleep. Going to bed alone is not easy, but the TV helps, and I have a timer on it, so it turns itself off after an hour. I talked to Sue for a few minutes which helps!

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The Week Done Started And So Did I!

Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. The world is so different without you!

We loved museums and held memberships in most all around the town. The air museums were a favorite as we were aerospace people.  Walking for long distances became difficult for Sue beginning in 2016, but we never stopped going all around Southern California visiting the sights.  We actually wore out one wheelchair.  The wheels wore down, and they got wobbly, so we went for the lightweight model. After being with each other every day, 24/7, for 35 years, suddenly being without her continues to be a shock.

Not only did Sue like airplanes, but she was also an old car admirer. She studied the limo behind us that carried Hitler around during WWII. Right before her back operation, she was planning to take flying lessons.

Back to the guest bedroom and the bed/headboard fix, I assigned myself.  This time it took about one hour start to finish, I learned a lot yesterday!  I declared victory at 11:00 AM and celebrated by sitting down and watching TV for an hour!

I called Lee, my high school girlfriend, just to check up on her.  We talked for about 30 minutes, and everything is OK.  She is going to work tomorrow in Santa Ana as her company does business with the military and are required to perform on their contract.

Colleen and I talked for a while.  She brings a lot of joy into my life, just being her.  Joe also called, and we talked for quite a while.  He was going to work to pick up some things needed to continue working at home.

All of a sudden, I heard a saw going in the backyard?  Goodness, what is happening.  By the time I got to the back door, I notice one of the three trees in the neighbors had either left town or was chopped down—what a big difference.  Now I am wondering if the other two are going to stay, or are they taking one out a week?  Time will tell.

What a difference!  There used to be three trees.  I should go skinny dipping, and perhaps they will bring the tree back?  The berries should like the tree being gone as they will get sunlight sooner in the day!  Look carefully, and you can see the white blossoms already forming.

I returned all the tools to the garage and put them away and got the shop back in somewhat reasonable order.  Then it was decision time; fix lunch or get lunch, that was the question?  “Get” won out as I want to support our local restaurants.  Taco Surf got the nod for two tacos and a beer of their choosing.  The tacos were great, and the beer was pretty good.

My sense of humor is starting to return even with this pandemic going on.  Listen and have a giggle!

My tummy said, “Too full,” so dinner was out.  Those tacos did the job!  At 7:00 PM, I called a meeting, and everyone showed up!

We all talked for an hour. Pete and Lisa joined in at last, but I forgot to get a picture of them!

It was good to visit with Sam and Brenda; tomorrow, we are going to add Mike Andersen and someone else from our dance group; we are reeling them in slowly!

Tonight I began watching “Anne With An E” on Netflix.  Summary: This reimagining of the classic book and film is a coming-of-age story about a young orphan who is seeking love, acceptance, and her place in the world. Amybeth McNulty stars as Anne, a 13-year-old who has endured an abusive childhood in orphanages and the homes of strangers. In the late 1890s, Anne is mistakenly sent to live with aging siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who live on Prince Edward Island. Anne, who proves to be uniquely spirited, imaginative, and smart, transforms the lives of Marilla, Matthew, and everyone else in their small town.

At 10:00 PM, the old TV switch went from on to off, and I headed to bed.  It’s been a “busy” day.

I talked to Sue for a few minutes telling her about the tree that is gone, the tacos, and the Zoom session.

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Today Was OK… Chores And Projects Keep My Busy!

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. From an Irish headstone.”

Sue loved her family.  She was Jeanette’s champion for thirty years. She had a special relationship with all the kids and grandkids.  We often went to the circus and had the family with us.  Jon, Cassie, and Jackie joined us at the 2007 circus.  Grandma Sue had a great time and was like a little kid watching all the activities.  She was such a trooper.

Enjoying the greatest show on earth!

4:45 AM came and announced it was ready for me to get up!  Yes, I should not have gone to bed at 10:00 PM last night!  The time was used to plan the day and I managed to keep busy.

Job #1 was to fasten the headboards in the guest room to the bed and I did it, well, one of them anyway.  I learned how to do it after some trial and error. Tomorrow’s job, the second bed, will be a lot easier!

For the first hour, I struggled to get the bolts out, measuring, etc.  Then I saw the controller, which I have not used for a long time.  On that controller was a head and foot elevation control.  Duh! Pressing the up arrow, the top of the bed went to 45 degrees and no more laying on my side, fumbling around trying to work in the blind on that silly bed, everything was exposed!

The day was fantastic, with a bright blue sky and a slight but chilly breeze.

After working on the bed for three hours, I was hungry, so I got into the pasta from the day before yesterday and gobbled it down! Suddenly I had the energy to spend, so I decided to drive over to Robin’s house and exchange a package with her and Bob.  It was a 45-minute drive to Corona, but there was zero traffic!  I was on the 91 and looked down at the speedometer, and I was going 95 miles an hour, scared myself to death.  I was in the Grey Lady, our Toyota Avalon, and that little puppy knows how to fly.

Robin, Bob, Nick, and I enjoyed a short conversation keeping our distances in her back yard.  I had a glass of tea, and then I headed home again to pick up the chore list where I left off. Being a homeowner means there is always something to do!

Dinner time, so I ventured out to get my care package from HelloFresh.  Burgers but not just any burger, tonight is was burgers but not just burgers but delicious burgers.

I got everything out and checked it twice!

The sauce was quite good, and I learned how to pickle shallots and for, burgers which I had not done for the past thirty-five years!  I did not make the potatoes as starch is my current enemy.  I am approaching the magic 200 pounds, and I want to stay on target!

The burgers were fantastic!  I devoured one like I had not eaten in a week.  The second one should have gone into a plastic bag, but it too bit-the-dust.  I ate the burger with the magic sauce but did not eat the bun.  I even had a beer!  Yes, I drink beer once in a while!

I know the slogan was true! “If it doesn’t get all over the place, it doesn’t belong in your face.”

The burgers were done just right, medium-rare.

After cleaning up, we did a Zoom with Colleen and Robin at 7:00 PM.  We laughed and giggled for an hour.  Tomorrow we will add Joe and Michele to the list, and all the kids can see the ol’ man is getting along. It’s nice to know they care about the old buzzard.

OK, 8:00 PM and it is bewitching hour, time for the TV.  Well, Sue would have been proud of me as I turned on John Waynes “True Grit”.  Summary: Her father’s murder sends teenage tomboy Mattie Ross on a mission of “justice” to avenge his death. She recruits tough old marshal “Rooster” Cogburn because he has “grit” and a reputation for getting the job done. They are joined by Texas Ranger La Boeuf, who is looking for the same man for another murder in Texas. Their odyssey takes them from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to deep into Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) to find their man.

Sue and I would watch several of John Wayne’s movies over and over, especially “The Quiet Man”.

The day is done, it is 10:30 PM, and I am done. No more TV, just the radio!  Good night all!

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It Is Saturday; I Had To Ask Alexa As I Lost Track!

Sue, My Soulmate

I still say I Love You,
But now there’s no reply.
I always feel your presence
As if you never left my side.

I remember your comforting voice.
Now there’s not a sound.
Only echoes from the past
Follow me around.

You’re always by my side,
But I can’t hold your hand.
The reason why God took you
I find hard to understand.

Summer days seem much shorter.
Dark nights just linger on.
Dreams turn into nightmares
When the one you love has gone.

But real love never fades.
It still burns like the sun.
Although they’re far away,
Those memories go on and on.

Her spirit will never die
It shines like the stars.
I know you’re sleeping in heaven,
But you’re living in my heart.

Courtesy of John P. reed

 

We were always busy doing something; sometimes, it was a simple as a walk in the Huntington Beach Wetlands.  Three-four miles around the estuary on a blustery day was invigorating. My beautiful wife loved to walk, and she could go all day.  This picture was snapped in 2006 just after we retired. Hand-in-hand, that’s how we did it!

She was leaning into the wind so she would not blow away!

To the garden and out with the “weeds.”  OK, they are not weeds but sprouted hayseeds, which remained in the straw I bought because I put the mulch on a little earlier than planned. I usually let the straw bales sit outside and water them for a month or so before spreading them as mulch, which is known as aging the tightly bound bundles. I did about 40% of the garden and will attack the remaining 60% tomorrow.

Today was sad, and I do not know precisely why.  I just miss my Sue so much, so I talk to her as I roam around the house. I know she is smiling back.

The Amazon delivery of the patio table cover arrived today, so it went on immediately.  Now I can have my dinner outside on the patio with all “new” furniture, well, at least the covers are new!

This cover would be the second one we had in the past ten years, but it keeps the beautiful furniture underneath perfect!

I watched the rest of the movie “2012” this afternoon, and now I remember watching it previously, but I think I slept through some of it last time.  I still like real science fiction movies like “Creature From The Black Lagoon.”

I even enjoyed seeing the zipper down the back of the lizard’s scary costume!

Go ahead, watch the video below and you will know why it was so scary!  1954 I was eleven the perfect age to have fear permanently engraved in my little brain.  To this day, I do not go near black lagoons!

On my “to do” list is an item called “fix the headboards.”   Nothing is “broken,” but I just never attached the headboards to the bed.  Since I now have house guests, Robin and Mitch, I decided I had better get the situation fixed properly.  To the lumber-yard, I made it just under the wire.  They closed at 3:00 PM today!   I am ready for tomorrow morning and a three-hour adaptation/repair task! Nuts, bolts, and several pieces of 1×6, and I am prepared to go!

I placed some calls and notably, to Diane, Sue’s sister.  She makes me feel “connected” for some reason.  She is a lovely lady who shared with me her “Zoom Adventures.”  What is that you ask?  Zoom is a new popular app that lets you hold teleconferences (meetings) with almost anyone.  It’s easy to use.  I have a 6:00 PM “get together” planned tonight!

The best part of the day was dinner.  I prepared wild apricot salmon with pistachio rice along with roaster carrots.

Amazing, I would have never added apricot pieces and jam on top of salmon!

Their rendition looks fantastic, mine not so much, but by the time I am done cooking, all I want to do it eat and snap a picture.

I loved the dinner and will do it again. The pistachio rice was exotic!

I had my glass of wine, one, and then did the cleanup!  This phase of dinner, I have mastered.  Nine minutes flat, the kitchen went from a disaster to looking great!

But after dinner was the challenge, it was called ZOOM!  I invited Vicky and the Zaitz, but Vicky could not figure it out, so it was Bob and Donna for a while.  Then I decided to invite Colleen and Robin, both of them are wizards and popped right into the conference call.  The four of us talked for almost an hour.  I recorded the whole thing, and the recording was 1.6 GB!

Friends and family make me feel good, especially this time of the evening. (I had a unique background selected just to drive Colleen crazy!)

With this cast of characters, I could never be lonely, and now they know each other quite well!  Colleen and Robin are always happy to join in with us “seasoned citizens,” making it a cross-generation spectacular!  I enjoy it because the young learn from the old, and the old learn from the young! Thank you all!

A little TV before bedtime was called for, so I watched the news.  I tried to listen to CNN, but they are so biased; it was like listening to Radio Moscow in the 1950s.  They didn’t last but about four minutes.

When I take up at 4:00 AM tomorrow I will probably be sorry but at least I get to listen to “The Dark Secret Place” on KFI tonight!

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The Week Is Done; Time To Take Out The Trash!

My dearest Sue,  I’m grateful you were so thoughtful, I’m grateful you were so understanding, I’m grateful you were so much fun to be around, but most of all I’m grateful you were my wife. I love you!

We had our favorite places, and one such place was the LA Farmers Market.  We loved the French restaurant, Monsieur Marcel, and went their quite often.  They had many vegetarian selections and, of course, fine wines! The picture below was when we had Michele and Theo with us, so that was about thirteen years ago now.  We took many people with us over the years.

Sue loved being the grandma to all the kids!

I was up and at ’em by 5:30 AM and took a look at the new paint job in the guest bedroom.  In that room, the yellow seems very subdued perhaps it’s because the rest of the room is white!  I may need to do some additional work in that area!

The trashman cometh today, so I must delve into my collection of science projects located in the refrigerator and make sure they are all doing well.  I collected a lot of food. Not being sure of where the pandemic was headed I bought enough for a few weeks. Now the poor little refrigerator’s tummy it full to overflowing.   Sometimes I can hear it “burp” in the background.  I know it is full because  I have trouble getting the ice cubes out for my evening gin and tonic!

Today’s challenge is the office.  I must figure out a way to keep at my fingertips the things I always need but clean up the messy desktop.  I see another plastic box in my future.

Simply too many wires!

OK, errands need to be done!  First to Lowe’s for a three-minute visit to get door stops and some new paint rollers.  Then to Ralph’s to get groceries.  I am good for another two weeks now!  I am replenishing the spice cabinet as many of ours were out of date.  I will continue to keep them in alphabetical order just like Sue did all these years.

After putting up the groceries, I did some minor chores and then awaited for Irene to arrive.  We had a staff-meeting” scheduled at 2:00 PM.

I took two of our comfortable patio chairs out to the driveway and put a space heater next to her seat as it was a tad nippy. The boxes on the ground next to Irene are puzzles to keep her out of trouble (as if that would work!)

We talked until probably 4:30 PM, at which time I changed into my cooking costume, after all, it is time for dinner!

Jon (our oldest grandson), Sue, and I used to cook almost every day. We got Jon a chef’s hat and he said, “Grandpa, you have to get a chef’s hat also1”  Jon is now 32, so this old hat is about 28 years old, I just found it!

Did You Know? The toque is a chef’s hat that dates back to the 16th century. The taller the cap, the more senior the position the chef held. Alongside this, some historians report that the number of pleats on a hat also signified a chef’s seniority. According to some, the number of pleats was specifically related to the number of ways a chef knew how to prepare or cook eggs.

Sue would have been a “Black Hat”! The “Black Hats” were the instructors that ran the school; they were hard-charging and utterly dedicated to what they did. The black hat symbolizes a strive towards excellence. It represents someone who will take the risk and do whatever needs to be done. Black Hats are the best in what they do.

Tonight it is Creamy Parmesan Chicken Spaghetti.  It took about 30 minutes to make, and it was terrific!  I had plenty leftover, so tomorrow I am going to have it again for lunch!

The roasted tomatoes were magnificent!

I prepared the table, got my glass of wine, and settle in for a delightful meal.

The meal hit the spot!! A while 880 calories!  That’s all I ate the entire day, so it was OK.

After dinner, I talked to Colleen on the Bat Phone and shared my cooking experience.  OK, “What Experience?” you ask.  I got everything ready and began the process. When it came time to add the chicken, I knew it was in the frig.  Alas, it was not there.  PANIC!  I ran to the garage and no chicken.  Damn thing must have flown the coop!  Well, I finally found it, frozen hard as a rock.  PANIC SQUARED!

No time to thaw it!  Then I remembered I had a large chicken breast in the frig for another meal I was planning.  Out it came and quickly under my newly sharpened knife, it became tonight’s dinner.  Into the pan and away we go.  Lesson learned: Get ALL the ingredients out, including the meat, fish, or chicken!

Excellent dinner, fine wine, table for one!

It never looks like the package, but it was pretty close.  I enjoyed the roasted tomatoes; they were terrific.  I shall find a small roasting pan so I can add them to many other meals I have planned.

This dinner was perfect for me for dinner with a glass of chardonnay and candlelight.  I even took my time eating and listened to my Alexa Show playing soft jazz in the background!

The pasta was perfect, slightly al dente and the chicken came out just right.

I called Colleen to tell her about my kitchen adventures; we both got a giggle or two out of that!  Returning to the kitchen, I did clean up, which was my job for the past 35 years.  I am an expert at turning a disaster into the kitchen again.

I then headed to the living room for a little TV and a cup of coffee.  I listened to Fox News for about 30 minutes, and then I was “newsed-out.”  No “Rancher” at first, I needed a movie.  Silly me, I selected 2012, a disaster movie.  I did not know it was two and a half hours long.

Summary: Earth’s billions of inhabitants are unaware that the planet has an expiration date. With the warnings of an American scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor), world leaders begin secret preparations for the survival of select members of society. When the global cataclysm finally occurs, failed writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) tries to lead his family to safety as the world starts falling apart.

It’s god to be a mountain climber!

So it was time for bed, at 1);30 PM.  OMG, I am getting old!  On the way to bed, I peeked in the office, and I am making some headway on the computer desk cleanup!  There are still wires to hide.  What is not shown is the dual-screen PC to the left plus the two desktop scanners.  Today, I will finish the job. Colleen has given me incentive as she organized her kitchen yesterday!

Progress is slow, but it is going in the proper direction!

After brushing my tooth, I hit the sack and watched “The Ranch.”  Rooster left the series  (in a motorcycle accident), so I looked up why on the Internet, sad but undoubtedly appropriate.

Lights out at 11:00 PM.  I need my beauty sleep!

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Just Another Thursday!

When I saw your smile, I realize the reason I was crazy in love with you, my dear wife!  I wish I could see your beautiful smile right now!

We did so much together, from the top of the Emprise State Building to Urulu in the Australian Outback to a ride on a WWII cargo vessel, we did it!  We went on the Lane Victory many times setting sail for Catalina and then getting attacked by Japanese Zero’s and German Messerschmitts, all in a day’s work!

Looking for the dance floor as the music has started!

Robin left this morning, so I am back to being alone, but I have a lot of work to do!  First things first; I got all the washing and drying and folding done, Sue would be proud of me.  I then studied the wine situation as we have about 200 bottles of wine. I need to move the bottles into the garage as I will never drink that much!

The next room to be painted, at least one accent wall, is the guest bedroom.  Pale yellow was selected (because I had a lot of it remaining), and I got everything ready to go.

Hunger hit me, so I stopped and fixed three chicken breasts.  Having NO ideas on how to cook them except for boiling them and then simmering them for a while, I reverted to the trusty internet.  I learned how to boil/simmer chicken when our Chihuahua babies got old.

I found a recipe which I modified slightly and voila, I ate three of the garlic chicken breasts with asparagus and baby spinach salad.  I put the fourth chicken breast in the freezer using the new FoodSaver 4400!

Delicious! Damn, I can cook! )The purple boxes are all my pills, only two are prescription)

Before starting the painting, I checked the email and had to share this.  Too funny, especially if you have an Alexa device (I have nine of them).  Several of the scenes hits home.

The painting was finished at about 6:45 PM just in time to get the evening call from the Duda’s, Robin and Bob and the east-coast families.  Colleen and Mark and I chatted for quite a while.

I also talked to Pete and Lisa and a little later, my on Joe  for a while, and then I turned to the TV and began a new series called “Star Trek, Picard.”  Summary: Set at the end of the 24th century, 18 years after the events of `Star Trek: Nemesis,’ with Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role, `Star Trek: Picard’ revolves around retired admiral Jean-Luc Picard; he is still profoundly affected by the loss of Lieutenant Commander Data, portrayed by Brent Spiner, and the destruction of Romulus, and steps into the next chapter of his life.

He may be retired and old but he still has fight left in him!

I listened to the news for about 15 minutes and then I turned to CNN where rampant sciolism was occurring.  Disgraceful at best!  No wonder our dear neighbors are so paranoid as CNN is all they listen to. They would say anything to hurt the government.

By 10:00 PM, it was bedtime, and I put on my “new pajamas.”  That is true, I have not slept in PJ’s for 50 years, but getting older and sleeping alone means I get cold.  So, I wondered through the magic of Amazon and selected a conservative outfit. Well, perhaps not “conservative” but when in the washer and dryer, I definitely will not miss them.

NO WHISTLING LADIES!!! I did not get the ones with little feet in them!

Good night all.  Good night my beautiful bride, I will be thinking of you!

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The Rains Seemed To Have Gone Away!

Sue, you were a special gift from the heavens. Your smile warmed my heart, and your presence made me whole. I love you, today and forever!

You never liked bringing attention to yourself, but let a birthday present itself to someone else; you were Johnny on the spot to celebrate.  Here we are celebrating Nick and Zachary’s birthday at Old Ranch with a gang of people in 2013.  You would stand back and cheer everybody. Then you would visit everybody to ensure they were having a good time. You were selfless. Every day of y life, I was so proud to be your loving husband!

We are celebrating Zachary and Nick’s birthday!

Robin, my daughter, stayed with me last night and we were both up at 6:00 AM even though she is on medical and I had nothing planned.  Coffee first!

Talking to Colleen on the Bat Phone

We talked for a while, called Colleen via the Bat Phone and then took a walk around the neighborhood.  We managed about 1.7 miles in an hour so that was not too bad.

We did not want to get too far from home as the clouds were threatening.

I spotted some Floxgloves on our walk.  Digitalis is a drug obtained from the dried leaves of the common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and used in medicine to strengthen contractions of the heart muscle.

Amazing what nature provides us form the simplest plants.

We decided to go to the local burger joint and support them but ordering take-out. Where to eat was the questions.  Our cleaning folks were at home and the burger join was pickup only so we headed for the park.

A wonderful place to get outside with no one around!

I ran to the bank on the way home to change some paperwork around.  Then we headed home so we could watch some TV and I worked in the yard for an hour or so.

Time to spread the straw Joe brought me a few weeks ago.  This mulch will keep the weeds out and keep the soil nice and moist event during the long summer months!

I needed to spread the straw mulch in the front vegetable beds.

We took a vote and the Chicken was put off for tonight, the burgers did us in! However, on the second vote, we decided that margaritas would be an excellent substitute.  We each had two and then off to the TV where we binged on “The Ranch” and watched a second movie.

Then we crashed!

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Our First Anniversary Apart; I’m Lonely In A Crowd!

Sue, being your husband, was an honor for me, and I’m so proud to have had a wife just like you!

The clock is reading 4:30 AM and I and up and ready to go, but there is no place to go. I was locked up because of the virus!  I will just mess around the house, and everywhere I turn, I think of Sue and how she made the house into a home.  I think of the many parties we had with family.  She loved  Robin, Michele, Jeanette, Joe, and Collen with all her heart along with Mitch and Pete.  It was their job to take care of Sue when I passed, but the good Lord had a different plan.

We had a great life together, “together” being the operative word!

It is too cold to go outside, so I sat and went through some recipes.  I have a plan of attack, but I am waiting to see what Robin wold like as she is joining me today.  She knew it was our anniversary and did not want me to be alone!

Prior to Robin arriving, the delivery occurred of the new TV stand!  Yeah, the 70″ TV is now off the coffee table and onto its new position. In the catalog, it looked like:

I was hoping it would match the rest of the oak in the house!

So in it comes, already put together in a box wrapped ready for WWIII.  The guys put it by the TV and departed.  I fought the wrapping paper for quite a while and finally got it all removed.  It took an hour, but I moved and labeled all the wiring and was ready to transition the TV.  No go, too big, now what?  I called Zack, and he offered to come by the help me.  I timed the process of moving the TV form the old table to the next one, eight seconds flat!  That included walking in the front sliding screen, lifting, placing, and exiting.  I had to wait.

All of a sudden, I see the pool water moving with great vigor.  I thinks to myself, “The pool guy!”.  As he departed, I asked if I could borrow his body for eight seconds; perhaps there was a better way of making the request.  He said, “No problem, Mr. Liles”.  I felt old already now this wiper-snapper calls me “Mister”.  Eight seconds later, the TV is looking good!

The TV is now open for business!

2:00 PM, it was complete, and Robin is due any second!  She approved, so I know Sue would be happy also.  The first thing I did is send a picture to Colleen, my other sounding-board!

It’s afternoon, and we are hungry, so I decided Taco-Surf needed some business.  We ordered and asked how long it would take. The answer came back, “Five minutes or less”.  We jumped in the Silver Ghost and launched northward.  The pickup was at their front door, and they were happy for the business.

We returned and downed the burrito and tacos quickly.

After lunch, we made the daily “health and welfare” call to Jan and Irene.  Being “old” and single is not natural, so we call them every day and chat, sometimes more than once!

Robin suggested we open the Dom Perignon champagne she gave Sue and me when we retired.  It was a 1998 bottle which we kept in the bottom of the liquor cabinet for the past thirteen years; the bottle of champagne was now twenty-two years old.  Thanks to Wikipedia, I looked up the cost and it was $136 in 2006!

So, I opened it up expecting a “whooooooosh” of bubbles and the cork to dent the ceiling with extreme prejudice.  Nope!  I got a “fissst”.  Worry time!  How do I explain this to Robin?  Well, we poured it anyway.  Once taste revealed the fact it was flat and looked orangy! Damn, down the sink it went.

Robin, always the clever one, had brought a bottle of Ruby Cubee (one of Sue’s favorites), just in case.  We polished that off quickly! We did not want it to go bad!

We have it a good try!

Did You Know? Dom Pérignon is a brand of vintage Champagne produced by the Champagne house of Moët & Chandon, and it serves as that house’s prestige Champagne. It is named after Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who was an important quality pioneer for Champagne wine but who, contrary to popular myths, did not discover the Champagne method for making sparkling wines.

TV time! From 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM we watched The Ranch, raunchy but funny!  Most of the time, one or the other of us slept!  We had a lovely afternoon of laying back and watching the world go by and giggling at the TV!

Colleen was coming out tomorrow, but I had to decide to wave her off.  While I wanted to spend time with her, passing through two airports and living in a cylinder for six hours sharing the air with unknowns just didn’t seem to be a good idea, especially at my advanced age! She was not happy, but she understood, that’s why I love her so much!

We visited for quite a while on the Bat Phone.

OK, we got a movie recommendation from Colleen.  It was “1917”.  Summary: April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.

We watched the movie until 11:00 PM, and it was time to crash.

Thank you, Robin, for a lovely day, and you help me get through it.  Today would have been thirty-two years side-by-side with my sweet Sue.  We spent half of her entire life together—amazing memories not to be forgotten.

In my life, I have never known anyone more beautiful, more kind, and more loving than you darling Sue. Happy Anniversary to my only love.

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