Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who was that?

Most of you are too young to remember the masked man and his sidekick,  but when trouble happened, they were sure to save the day!

I count on a couple of modern day heros to help me when I run into problems...well, actually, they are pretty large corporations who have taken my side to solve sticky situations.  It's certainly nice to have them working for me!

Who are they?

Amazon, the giant,  and Apple,  the techie.

A number of years ago, after buying a MacBook on Amazon, plus buying a two yr. warranty, the battery would no longer charge.  My warranty hadn't expired yet but the warranty company wouldn't cover batteries, so I called Apple.  They sent me a new one free of charge ($120).  All I had to do was send my defective one back to problem with that!  Hooray....for Apple!!

However,  when I put in the new battery it wouldn't charge either....hmmmm, must be some other I called the warranty company again and told them that I still had a problem with my laptop.  They sent me a box to ship it to them, and then told me to check their website for details and that they thought it would be a week to fix and get back.  I checked on the progress every day,  BUT, there was no progress, or updates!  What the #@$%^!

Two weeks later,  I call them and ask what is going on???

They give me the run-around.  I ask for the manager, and he puts me on hold for 20 minutes!  His final word was he had no idea when the laptop would be fixed because the part was on back order.  .........Sure, go ahead and blame the other guy.....

Now I'm really I hang up on him and call Amazon, where I had gotten the warranty in the first place.  (The warranty company was not with Amazon.)

I tell the Amazon person my story,  and that I want my laptop back NOW!  He's very nice and says he'll look into the matter straight away....good.  Just one hour later, he calls me back to say that my laptop will be fixed that very evening, and I'll receive it, by Fedex, the next morning before 10 a.m.   Yea!!!!  My hero.....Amazon!  I did get it before 10!!!  It worked, too.  End of that story.

Another rescue by Amazon, in a round about way.

I buy lots of stuff from the giant....I trust they'll do right by me.

Two summers ago, I bought a weedeater/trimmer.  It had a rechargeable battery pack.  I liked this trimmer and used it mainly to edge my lawn.  It worked well.

This summer I tried to recharge the battery, but, no can do!!  A red flashing light tells me that the battery is can this fail so soon??  I've only used the recharging device 3 or 4 times.  I go to Amazon to see what a new battery will cost....$70!....Wow......then, I decide to read some of the 143 reviews on the product.  Long story short,  there are many unhappy customers with defective battery packs.  I'm so glad Amazon printed those comments, that'll give me ammo for getting a free replacement, I hope.

Well,  I phoned the maker of the trimmer, this morning.  I explained about my battery pack being defective (not charging), and how I saw, after checking on Amazon, that I was part of a large group of dissatisfied customers.  The customer service person first asked for the serial number of this product, then quickly took my name and address and said I should receive a new (free) battery pack within 6-10 days!  Very nice, indeed....I think it didn't hurt to throw the Amazon name into the conversation, either.

Thanks, again, big giant, just like the Masked Man, there to save my day!

"Who was that masked man?"

"Why,     that was,     the Lone Ranger." 

  (riding into the sunset, you hear)

   "Hi-O, Silver!"

Those were great episodes....and still are!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Comfy Cozy

Things are a-changing.....

Nights are getting cooler.....

Time to seek some comfy cozy.....

My nights have gotten cool, maybe even downright cold.  No frost yet, but pretty darn close the other night.  Brave as I am, I didn't turn on the heat.  "Grin and bear it", I said to myself.  It will get much colder before long,  this is just a little blip on the thermostat.

I did, however, reach for my duvet, it was so warm and comfy.  I even started wearing my fleece-lined slippers again after the long summer's break. 

My food thoughts, too, are now turning to comfy dishes, like the ones that simmer-and-stew for hours in the hot oven.  My mother made pot roasts that were to die for,  and Goulash that cooked for hours with tomatoes, meat and onions.  Her Mac n Cheese was like no others', and we ate it with butter melted on top and a sprinkle of sugar. And, how could I forget Mom's Ham and Escalloped Potatoes!


When I read Chez Richard's blog the other day, I was all set to fix his recipe for Creamed Chicken. (Click on his blog title to see the recipe)  I had most of the ingredients so it would be easy to do for the weekend meals....just needed to purchase chicken thighs.  I used half-n-half and thickened the sauce with some corn starch/cold water mixture.  You could also use heavy cream, or sour cream, or a combination of both.

After making it all in an enameled cast iron pot,  I transferred it to a larger casserole dish for keeping in the fridge.

The potatoes, carrots and onions are in there but hiding under the chicken thighs.

I will add, and stick under the broiler, the grated cheese for the top, if I feel like having some, each time I eat a portion, that way the cheese will be freshly browned, and crispy. 

Also, I had some mushrooms that I was going to add to this dish but decided to serve them on the side instead. 

****I found the original recipe at Gourmet Magazine website,  click here.
As you can see from their photo,  I made a lot more sauce.  I guess I added more broth and half-n-half.  I do like sauce!!  Their photo also shows what the broiled cheese on top will look like.

Guess what?

I got so hungry writing the above....and it was lunch time....that I dished up a serving.  As it turned out, I didn't make too much sauce, it just looked that way when the whole recipe was grouped together in one casserole.  I added the cheese on the top and put it under the broiler element for a few minutes.  Ta-da!  What a superbly gratifying meal.

I love these cast iron serving dishes....the food stays hot until the last bite.

Don't you think this looks like a perfectly marvelous repas?

Hope your tummy feels warm and satisfyingly comfy......bon week-end!

        Now for some Football,


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On Again, Off Again

Ups and Downs

             Warm, then cool

                                                It's September!

I'm always happy to see September roll around...even though I'm confused as to what to eat, or drink, or wear.

One day it's hot,

then it's cold,

then it's hot again.

The Change of Seasons is good, at least for me it is, it's the transitions that create some problems.  I can't put away the shorts yet for good.  I might have to turn the heat on one night, then the AC next.  When should I call to have the sprinkler system shut down? If there's another hot spell, the lawn will dry out.  Even though I'm still getting vegetables from the garden out back,  I'm feeling the need to make a stew or a big pot of hot soup.

                   Too                    much               back              and                forth!

Once the Season truly arrives,  I guess you could say of me,  I look forward to new beginnings.  I get tired of the 'usual' and I am ready for the next thing in line.

Some people just like to stick with one temperature, and can't abide the others.  My cousin, Gail, is like that.  She prefers the hot and humid all the months of the year.  She's surely not alone.

There are drawbacks to living with 4 Seasons;  I have to be prepared for all of them.

You know:    lawn mowers  and   snow blowers

                                                   parkas    and    shorts

                                                                   flip-flops    and    boots

                                    * the list is long -----   I'm certain you get the picture so I won't go on-----

In spite of the long list,  I still live for the changes.  I feel more alive and energized.

Yea!    Something new!

I don't look back with sadness;  I look to see what's coming, with a smile of anticipation.

My garden is changing,  one flower dies but another one blooms.....I'm ready for that.

The tall stalks of the Obedience Plant now have pretty pink flowers....they wait until Fall to get showy.

I'll have to pull these out soon.

The mums are just beginning to bloom.

The grass has recovered from the dry, hot summer,  but the basil is close to its end.

I had some bad spots in the lawn in the front yard, so I spent yesterday afternoon raking, reseeding, and watering.

I'm looking forward to some new bright green grass shoots pushing upwards in a few days.

Happy Autumn to all!  


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Whoosh, whoosh...

Do you know that sound?

Hello everyone,

 Well today is one of those transition days,  beautiful sunshine but cool in the morning.

As I was lying in bed,  I heard this whooshing noise which was very unusual.  I haven't heard it in a long time... finally, it got the best of me, so with my p-jays on, I went outside with my camera to figure out what was out there,  above my house...

Before I saw anything,  but still hearing the noise,   I saw my neighbors all come out of their houses and start looking around too...

I looked up in the sky through the trees and  saw a great big hot air balloon.... ahh, so that was the noise...

Every September,  one of the real estate companies here in town--- I think it's Remax--- has a big weekend of hot air ballooning,

I tried my best to get several pictures but the trees surrounding my yard were just too high.  I did get one that,  through the trees, you can see the pretty colors of the balloon.

As I stood outside in my pajamas,  I saw and heard several more coming by overhead.  I couldn't get a really good picture, mainly because they were heading east and the sun was coming in that direction.  As you can see, the morning is beautiful!

It got by my house.... but I snapped this just before it disappeared behind those trees.

++++Trying something new:

I'm using the app "Dragon" to dictate my message.  Then when done, I email it to myself, copy it, and paste it in my blog.  It works great and I don't have to type--- I really don't like to type.

I've been using this app for quite awhile now for sending first it wasn't so good but it's gotten better over time.

Have a great weekend!


P.S.   Go MSU,  beat  ND!!  (game tonight on ABC)

 I grew up 8 miles from Notre Dame's campus, but went to Michigan State during the 60's.  ND students, after losing to MSU, attacked our band members and destroyed many prized instruments...

......also it was the Ara Parseghian era, when he went for the "tie"....some of the sports fans may remember this or heard about it.  I always cheer for the team that's playing against doesn't matter who they are!

Read here for all the reporting after the game.

Click on this to read a great recap of MSU's football history.   I went to the  Jan. 1966  Rose Bowl Game.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Can't wait...

Today is the DAY

Is anyone waiting for the new iPhone to debut, like I am?

                               I know it's crazy and materialistic but I can't help myself...

I had the iPhone original #1 in 2007,  then skipped the next two,  but upgraded to the

iPhone 4, then passed on the 4s because it wasn't offering much in new features.... BUT...

now I really want to get the iPhone 5.

I hate that the launch is at Pacific Time (10 am),  that just means I have to wait all morning my time, Eastern Standard Time.  The rumors are I just want to know, NOW!

After the announcement,  the WAIT know....put in the order as soon as possible....sometimes, they can't handle the onslaught of callers.....then, more waiting.

           Even MORE waiting, as it takes time to fill the orders, like at least 2 weeks minimum.

                                     ENOUGH!   I can't take much more of this....

                                                             By the way,

                                      have I said how much I like the  iPhone?

+++  I just read that they are expecting 75% of iPhone users to upgrade to the iPhone they handle that amount?             $$$$$$$ for Apple, Inc.

+++  Did you know that the iPhone alone is bigger than all of that blew my mind.

                   Well,  I just had to get this out, it's helping me pass the time while I wait.

                                                      Will you be getting the 5?


Friday, September 7, 2012


Most people don't like prunes, but this Prune I'm sure everyone would love.

Prune, the restaurant, in NYC,  is fabulous.  The owner/chef is Gabrielle Hamilton of recent fame for her best selling book,  Blood, Bones and Butter.  The book is predominately about her life as far as food has influenced her.  She's a good writer and has had an interesting life.

She opened the restaurant in 1999 and it has remained at the same location with continued great food and a loyal following.  I ate lunch there a week and a half was very good.  I chose  a pea dish as my first course which was made with 3 kinds of peas in a little bit of a vegetable stock topped with a sliver of honeycomb. YUM! It was all about the freshness of the peas with the honey highlighting their natural sweetness.  My main dish was a perfectly braised brisket in tomato sauce with crispy fries that were tossed with parsley and Parmesan cheese. That was superb.  The meat was cooked just right, so tender without falling apart or dry, and sliced very thinly. 

the peas were freshness at their finest

this was fabulous...very tender and tasty

ready to begin

Gabrielle is known for the way she prepares sweetbreads. I love sweetbreads but they were not on the menu when I was there.  Click here for a video of the chef.

More videos   This one is with Anthony Bourdain.  This is the 2nd of 3 videos he did with her. I found these on YouTube.

Here's a long interview with Gabrielle about the book.

If you want a delicious meal,  make a trip to Prune.  If you are looking for a good read,  find the book.
 I recommend both!



Monday, September 3, 2012

NYC Trip

I'm finding it very hard to get back to writing....but promised myself to get on with it.

A few years ago, my roommate from college and I got reunited with each other, it had been 40+ years since we had last touched base.  We're both pretty much the same, so all went well.

She was the first person I had gone to NYC with....we went there for a week just before we were to start our sophomore year at many years later, we return for a week of fun each August.

We meet at the hotel I found online, each of us flying in from different cities in the U.S.  I got there an hour before her, and to my delighted surprise, was informed that our room was upgraded to a suite!  Wow...and no extra costs.  We loved our previous room because it was so big,  even had a fully equipped kitchen and located in a quiet area on E. 56th St. at Park. 

The new room/suite was every bit as nice as the other one, but now we had 2 bathrooms and a huge living room.  I'm not sure why we got upgraded, but I liked that we were.

Living Room

Entrance Hall

Living Room

This year we saw just two Broadway plays,  Newsies  and  Peter and the Star Catchers.  Last year we tried to get in 4 plays, and we did, but it was a bit much in a week's visit.  Last year we saw, Memphis,  Jersey Boys, War Horse,  and  Sister Act...all were terrific. 

My friend is a singer and voice-over talent with her own kids' theater school in SF.  She trained the boy who is the voice of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.  (He's now a grown man who lives in NYC.)  We might have lunched with him, but he was out of town.  Each year we lunch with another one of her former students who is acting in plays and still looking for her big break.  I hope it comes sooner than later for her.....she's a super nice young of luck to you, Rebecca!

We do the 'usual' things while there...plays, shopping, art museums, and eating at new (to us) good restaurants.  This year's places didn't disappoint! hint: one of them was the winner of the James Beard Award in 2011 and the owner/chef has a best selling book on the booklists.  I'll go into some of them in later posts.

The 'out of the usual' thing we did this year was to go to an "open mic" place so Judy could sing...she does this often in SF.  I wasn't sure about it at first, but the whole scene was lots of fun.  We met many super people from all over, and the ones who got up to sing were terrific.  No doubt, we'll return next year.

I love NYC.