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.:: Sunday, June 29th ::.

~ 02:02 PM ~

" lonely.."

The Kirkwood-Webster Connection Run was this morning. I came in with a more respectable time (for me) of 26 mins. 54 seconds. Afterwards, Neale picked me up and we tried The Original Pancake House in the Chesterfield Valley. The breakfast chain finally made it to Saint Louis and is now Neale's favorite breakfast spot. She likes her milk cold and her bacon crispy. I had to respectfully disagree that "healthy" and "bacon" can exist in the same sentence. To me that is just cognitive dissonance but since I was eating yogurt, fruit, granola, and an English Muffin that should not be a surprise. Admittedly, eating breakfast at a restaurant is lost of me. It is not my favorite meal to eat outside the home. Neale does not share the same feelings. I have eaten more breakfast outside the home in the last two years though. I see the chef's talents limited for the event and would rather see what a great restaurant can do for dinner fare.

The pictures from our trip to two Missouri Caves are up. Onondaga State Park is outside of Leasburg, MO just minutes past the commercial cave, Meramec Caverns. Onondaga is a better cave experience as is more of a natural cave and less of an "attraction". Lester Dill developed Meramec Caverns, the stuff to buy, and the multiple billboards you see as you travel Highway 44 in Missouri. As Meramec is worth your time, Onondaga is not as well known but full of the natural wonder that is a Missouri cave. Plus, Onondaga is $10 for adults ($8 for kids?) and Meramec is $17.50 for adults ($11 for kids?). Meramec still has some exhibits that Mr. Dill created, such as the artificial walls for reflection pools, cut rock, colored lights, Plexiglas, and Neale's favorite cheesy moment: the final light show featuring Kate Smith singing God Bless America.

The Real McCain

.:: Friday, June 27th ::.

~ 07:40 PM ~

"...The average dog is a nicer person than the average person..."

Taking Debbie to the doctor worked out well. I read the RFT and South County Times at Wired Coffee. The reading was informative. The cup of coffee is still sub par. They did do a good job on the espresso. It is right next door to the doctor's office. I went to Panera (ie Saint Louis Bread Company here) for multi grain bagel (bread) and water.

Webster' track was closed due to the upcoming events so I went Maplewood to run. I did 1.5 miles in under 12 minutes. It was warm today. The Connection Run is coming up. I asked Neale if she was hungry for Thai or Mexican and she said Mexican so we tried Amigo's, which was very good.

All things are ready, if our minds be so

.:: Thursday, June 26th ::.

~ 07:54 PM ~

"...hang them all..."

Today was the last day of my Summer I class at LC. The final grades are due soon and we start it all over on Monday with Summer II....same time, same place. As for the four online classes, they are at midterm.

Tomorrow, I am helping Debbie get to the doctor. She has a small infection and needs to see the doctor but that is a two man assist effort. Since I am free, I am helping.

This weekend we are checking out Missouri caverns. Well, if their not flooded. Also, the Connection Run is this weekend.

The basement bathroom project is scheduled for August.

Behold the bierstick (?!?!?!)
Proud airmen
top films

.:: Tuesday, June 24th ::.

~ 10:31 PM ~


I have been tweaking Firefox 3 since it allows it and the improvements make a difference. Since I was looking into changes, I am giving a clock mod a try. I love XP but it has been a few years looking at the same GUI. This was handy for changing a boot screen.

They are trying to buy our Bud but a local Tex-Mex place is shutting down. It was not in our regular rotation of Tex-Mex/Mexican/Latin food restaurants but they made great food. Margaritas were nicely on the strong side too.

yellow ledbetter
bar set
Mike's HomeBrew
Veg for Life

~ 04:14 PM ~

"... in the pines..."

The tortilla soup turned out well. I was hungry for Chinese dumplings today. I steamed instead of fried half of the batch and used jalapenos & green onions instead of cabbage. I read a tasty recipe for sorrel soup last night. However, I have never seen sorrel in the produce section of the markets I visit regularly. It has to be a Whole Foods though.

It is one of my favorite times of the year in Webster. The carnival is in town, which means it is time for the July 4th events in Webster. The best movie with a carnival is "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and for being a Disney film, it is delightfully dark. Good book as well.

Southern Hemisphere
Eating a Tangerine
Fight the Smears
Its Bizarro!
Kirkwood Peach Festival

.:: Monday, June 23rd ::.

~ 04:14 PM ~

"...I got advice for you joy boy..."

I have finished off the cookie dough. Alton's "puffy" chocolate chips were the preferred cookies.

I tried Purple Haze goat cheese for the first time. Tasty stuff.

Taft-Hartley Act
From the Wagner Act to the Taft-Hartley Act: Some lessons
War Cimes? What war crimes?
XP Tech Support
War on Mormons?

.:: Sunday, June 22nd ::.

~ 06:48 PM ~

"...what interview show?..."

Since we were up early yesterday, we both slept in today. Neale went to visit her mother in the hospital. She is doing well. They gave her three options for the solution to her problem and she choose the metal rod over pins. Option 3 is still the leg cast and four months of healing. Neale took her our laptop so she could watch movies today.

We went for a walk. I finished mowing the yard since the weather was better. The tomatoes and peppers are doing well. The herbs are strong too.

Last night, we had dinner at "Sapphire", which use to be "Zoe". As far as Asian-fusion goes, it is a good meal. Afterwards, we stopped at Cyrano's for dessert.

News Slips
Alone Again
Egg Drop Soup

.:: Saturday, June 21st ::.

~ 05:45 PM ~

"...them blues..."

My Race for the Cure went well. My start was slowed by walkers but the run was strong. I did not fade after 2 miles but my time was closer to 28 than 27 mins. Next weekend, I will have better luck.

Debbie is doing well and is out of surgery.

I was able to get a mow in before the afternoon storms. We had hail. Neale has never touched hail so I grabbed some for her.

Christian gene spotted
OtterPops v. FlaVorIce
No Sex for Ben

.:: Friday, June 20th ::.

~ 05:56 PM ~

"...I am the other guy..."

Today is the 8th anniversary of The web space is slightly older than that and that anniversary (10th!) is coming up later this month. The switch to the current name was to help people find the site and to honor our wedding.

On a sad note, Neale' mom, Debbie, injured herself at home today. She is having surgery on her leg to repair 3 fractures.

I replaced the front door lock set and knocker.

Yesterday, I went to buy groceries and I was approached by a happy guy with apples slices. The accent lead me to believe he was an Aussie or from New Zealand. After saying no to the apple, despite eating them more regularly these days, I was curious about his display. So, I bought 3 Jazz apples instead of my usual Gala. Jazz apples are tasty.

I made veg version of this chicken wing dish. They are too conservative with the heat.

What Internet meme are you not preoccupied with?
hot sauce blog
Indian Cuisine

.:: Thursday, June 19th ::.

~ 06:05 PM ~

"... the girls in their summer clothes..."

I went for a run yesterday and walked Ellis. I am resting my legs tonight. I have one more practice run tomorrow and the Race for the Cure is Saturday morning (8:45AM). Neale is not participating this year.

The baked ziti turned out great. I also made my first batch of bread using the stand mixer. I divided the dough so the loaf is smaller than expected but it tastes great. The ability to work the dough using the stand mixer makes a difference. I used this recipe but added brown sugar and oil.

Today, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies ( the puffy).

wrong cards

.:: Tuesday, June 17th ::.

~ 09:44 PM ~

"...your daddy don't know what your momma gonna do tonight..."

Neale had to work late but she was more than willing to enjoy her Jilly's cupcake (peanut butter). Yesterday, I stopped to buy Cristal's birthday cupcake (carrot cake).

Despite the weather being excellent for a Saint Louis June day, Ellis and I took it easy. I worked out though.

I have been researching recipes for our stand mixer to be involved with in the near future. I have decided on a banana bread. But, I am hungry for baked ziti so I am making that tomorrow. The red sauce will be our arrabiata, which I will start in the morning. Since our basil plant is thriving, I will use it.

I find the firing of Willie Randolph misguided. Despite Davey's success, my favorite Mets manager will always be Bobby V. Dallas Green...the worst.

Currently: watching the Celtics win.

~ 08:36 AM ~

"...false information to the police..."

We had a great time over the weekend. We tried Walter Payton's Roundhouse in Aurora, IL. Good food, good service, and the beer was well done. Nice to see people restore an older structure instead of building a new space.

While we were in the Aurora/Naperville area we stopped at the Chicago Premium Outlets. A store called "Kitchen Collections" had refurbished Kitchen Aid stand mixers for a great deal. I have wanted one for several years and it will be a great tool .

A few of Neale's coworkers came out last night to enjoy the great June weather. It was a good time.

Firefox 3

lonely houses

.:: Friday, June 13th ::.

~ 10:52 AM ~

" won't, you can't, and you shouldn't..."

It is Friday the 13th and since we are not superstitious, it is of little regard to us. We are seeing "The Happening" (or "Green Effect") today. My Lancer is receiving its final tune-up and overall check right now. Given that there are storms in the area, we are waiting for them to pass. I did some packing for the weekend. After going to Paris/Munich last summer, packing is much easier.

I am going to do some grading. We are having another plumber come by for an estimate on the basement bath project. In order to save money, I maybe doing the concrete removal. One estimate included exposing the actual sewer line buried in the basement. Any thoughts of "Stir of Echoes" should be forgotten.

In a response to community safety, Webster police have stepped up their patrols in the area. A nearby community had daylight break-ins. They went after the back door as a point of entry. One morning when I was walking Ellis and Sami, I was passed by three patrol cars (one was the same car twice and an unmarked unit..white shirt Sargent at the wheel though).

Our neighbor has a moped in response to fuel prices, I guess. I cannot explain the white labcoat he wears while riding though.

STL is in the national news: InBev wants Bud. Once the stock tops out, Belgian will be spoken in South City.

Unsolved mysteries
Little Green Bag

.:: Tuesday, June 10th ::.

~ 07:35 PM ~

"...a fool to do your dirty work..."

Neale is out at dinner with coworkers and Debbie at the Village Bar.

After class, I did some grading. I went for a run to train for the upcoming 5Ks and mowed the backyard. The weather is actually mild (83F) for June.

All the Papa points.

Be Careful
Lemon Chicken
James Smith

.:: Monday, June 9th ::.

~ 10:17 AM ~

"...Venezuela beaver cheese..."

Stone Temple Pilots were really good last night. Also, arrived in time to see Chevelle but little interest in other bands on the schedule. Plus, it was a warm June day.

STP @ Verizon (Riverport) 6/8/09:


Big Empty
Wicked Garden
Big Bang Baby
Lady Picture Show
Lounge Fly
Sour Girl
Interstate Love Song
All in the Suit That You Wear
Sex Type Thing
Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart


Dead and Bloated

Scott was slightly like his old self but he is older, thinner, and hopefully wiser. The DeLeo brothers were great and the drummer did a fine job. I took some photos on my camera phone and will try to post them here soon. Neale has seen STP three times (once in the very nice VIP boxes...former boyfriend has a dad connected in STL radio). I cannot remember if I saw STP in Indianapolis after the Bar-Be-Que Bar Mitzavah with Butthole Surfers. The 'Weiland' look swept the 90s so there were many guys with the same look and the venue at Indy was less than distinct (Fairgrounds).


.:: Sunday, June 8th ::.

~ 08:21 AM ~

"...grown on trees..."

The weather is nice so I am going for a run. I will probably go to Home Depot afterwards.


.:: Saturday, June 7th ::.

~ 10:33 PM ~

"...virtually disappear..."

We were headed to Quest Labs this morning as Neale's doctor wanted baseline blood work. Neale, who is afraid of needles, wanted to get it done. However, despite making an appointment, they were actually closed. We had already planned to have breakfast afterwards so we headed to Kopperman's early and got in before the crowd appeared. Next, we walked around the Central West End Art Fair and stopped at the Silver Lady. Neale purchased a great circle necklace from Koboldt Design and her birthday gift from the Silver Lady.

My Adidas Flips Flops, after 10 years of service, were no longer useful. We stopped at DSW for a new pair and a causal pair of thongs.

Neale had her first trip to Friar Tuck's.

In order to avoid the heat at Webster's Art & Air we waited until 8PM. Neale watched the Belmont and I did some yard work. The downed limbs were stuffed in yard waste bags. I managed to cut my left pinky when my tree saw. Great saw and I am getting plenty of iron in my diet. I also mowed the front lawn.

Art & Air was very good but the prices for the items ran high. Food was good but Neale wanted some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery.

Blueberry creme fraiche ice cream
Funeral Blues

.:: Friday, June 6th ::.

~ 08:57 PM ~

" confidence..."

I was able to walk Ellis and Sami before the rain. However, my training run and mowing were stalled. We had a series of heavy rain and limb fell hitting the porch. No damage was done but one set of pepper plants was knocked over. They were recovered in between rain bursts.

Neale had a tornado warning at work. She spent time in their space zone passing the time.

I was in the mood for something sweet so I made berry cobbler.

I updated the FAQs pages and cleaned the format of this page.

~ 08:55 AM ~

"...Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for an evening.
Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life..."

I am starting to train for the 5Ks in June permitting. Also, I should mow the law, again, if the rains can wait.

This weekend we have Webster Groves' Art & Air and STP at Verizon.

Yesterday afternoon, I made an artichoke dip and our hummus recipe.

I played ball with Ellis and Sami this morning.

dollar bill
Wine Access
the Japanese fighting spider
Taste Spotting
Smoke how?

.:: Wednesday, June 4th ::.

~ 09:42 PM ~


We had a storm last night. Sami came and got me. We slept in the basement.

Neale said "Sex and the City" was ok and felt forced. She saw and used the new patio at Fast Eddie's in Alton for the first time. She said it is well done.

After I graded and worked out, we went for a walk. I made our butternut squash bisque for dinner. She went to Nadoz for lunch.

don't stand next to the sun

.:: Tuesday, June 3rd ::.

~ 09:10 PM ~

"...skinny guy with big ears..."

Neale is out watching "Sex and the City". She will be back tomorrow.

I am home with the corgis and they are resting comfortably. I graded for several hours this afternoon and planted the tomatoes afterwards. I am not sold on the Tomato Giant...time will tell.

I started the cast iron chili around 7:30. I browned the Match beef and sautéed the sweet onion. The chiles were soaked in hot water for 15 mins. I used a mix of dried chipotles, pablanoes, and reds (food processed...10 buzzes) as well as dried crushed red pepper and my homemade chile powder. The dutch oven was pre-heated while the oven climbed to 350F. I put a table of veg oil in the dutch oven, added the beef, onion, spices, and tomatoes. I was deciding between veg broth and chile water. The pepper soak water was so rich looking I went with it. Since this was the first attempt I timed it in 30 min. batches and stirred. Around 8:30, I added one 15 oz. can of Eden organic red kidney beans and let in go for another 30 mins. Yes, at 9PM I had some dinner and Obama on MSNBC. Pretty good dinner and a great speech. McCain does not stand a chance.

Thai Bulbs
USS Liberty

~ 06:32 AM ~

"...want you to notice when I'm not around...."

Will the Democratic primary be over tonight? I took a phone interview from the Parker Group last night. It took 20 mins. and the person was slightly surprised when I said 'yes'. I said yes because I want to remember/critique the aspects of phone interviews (soc. survey technique I discuss every semester) and share my opinion.

Sami felt/heard a storm coming through this morning around 5AM. She wanted me to know. I got up at 5AM.

Neale is joining a "Sex in the City" girls night out with Sara and friends. With the two corgi companions, I will be trying cast iron dutch oven chili.

exact center

.:: Sunday, June 1st ::.

~ 08:49 PM ~

"... lime in the coconut...."

Neale is back. She bought a cool silver ring and unique ear rings. She arrived home around 2:30 and found me in the backyard. I was adding more flowers & plants to the yard. I had to fill the bronze pot she bought me for our anniversary. The updated home pictures are on the picture page HERE. After all the rain we have had, I noticed the tomato planters were not draining. I took a look and there was no holes on the bottom. So, I drilled a 1/2 inch hole on each near the base. If they dry out, I will plant the tomatoes tomorrow. I bought one tomato plant (beef steak) as a back up to the Tomato Giant plants. I also picked up a Serrano pepper and an Anaheim pepper plant to compliment the cayenne, habereno, super chili, and jalpaneo plants. If this growing season goes well, I am canning salsa.

I bought a cast iron dutch oven at the military & camping surplus store on Watson. For $25, I am set for a dutch oven for a lifetime of use. It is a Stansport pre-seasoned 4 qt. dutch oven. I tried Alton Brown's sourdough recipe and it turned out well. I also made his recipe for blueberry muffins this morning.

We went to dinner at Llywelyn's Pub and Seredipity for a cup of ice cream (gooey butter cake for her and dolce leche for me).

Cast iron dutch oven veg chili....coming soon.

jack logan
Sweet Maria Coffee roasting

.:: Saturday, May 31st ::.

~ 08:10 PM ~

"...Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark - I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there.
Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad.
I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too...."

Neale is in New Harmony with her mother, Debbie. I went to Lincoln, IL to pick up Sami. My parents are head to Yellowstone and we are dog-sitting for two weeks. Ellis and Sami have gotten to know each other and are fairly relaxed with each other.

Today was the first long ride I have taken with Sirius radio and it made the road much better. After hearing that Lynn Casper was discussing wieners on the "Splendid Table", I was hungry for veg chicago-style dogs. I used Morningstar dogs in a simmer of Schlafly IPA Export Ale (10 oz.), garlic (tsp.), and Valdalia onion bath (1/2 cup). Instead of hot dog buns, I used Schnuck's mini loaves with the instead scooped out (same as my pepper and mozz sandwiches).

I watched "black snake moan" and just finished "Recount". Each was lackluster.

Our neighbors bought a team of coworkers to tackle their front yard. The sinister oak tree was gone months ago. But, the stump remains. The area around the tree was a tangle of vines and leaves.

KMOV is running EliteXC. Great more violence...just what we need. Remember, sex is bad. Violence is good. Fear sells.

beyond the wheel
Hotel Torgo

.:: Friday, May 30th ::.

~ 09:45 AM ~

"...want to join the movement?..."

Neale is at the doctor. After her script for antibiotics was filled, our doctor made her promise to come in.

I mowed the backyard yesterday after I walked Ellis. The grass is shaping up and the process is easier now. I spotted a neighbor with a Neuton. If we get a bigger yard, I may move to owning one.

I am grading today. I have some errands in the afternoon.

mile marker 13
polaroid everyday
in a hurry green curry
lessons in simplicity from my dog
one more tribe

.:: Wednesday, May 28th ::.

~ 09:44 PM ~

" blues..."

Our dentist starting giving us sample of Crest Pro Health. I tried it and liked it. We had been using Mentadent and Tom's of Maine. Neale recently (last 2 months) switched to Crest Pro Health a try. She developed some canker sores in the last few weeks. Since she went to the dentist yesterday, she asked him about it and he said an ingredient in the Crest causes canker sores in some people. My mouth is fine. I picked her up a tube of Tom's of Maine Sensitive this afternoon.

Neale worked later as she has a late afternoon affidavit. Ellis and I went for a walk. I worked in the yard for about 2 hours. A guy walking his dog stopped me to ask about our self-propelled reel mower. He is considering switching due to the price of gas. Hey, what I stay I get better exercise and save on gas money while mowing my lawn. Once again, ahead of the curve on that issue. Okay, self-congratulatory moment over.

Neale was worn out and went to bed early. This is another reason why we cherish our weekend's so much. Time to recharge.

terrorist scarf

.:: Tuesday, May 27th ::.

~ 04:18 PM ~

" indulged a dingbat..."

Despite our celebrations this weekend, we are going to dinner at Robust. Neale is at the dentist down the street from there.

While using the Soloflex this morning, I was watching NBC's "Today" and they had a segment with the male host of PBS's "America's Test Kitchen". I do not watch "ATK" regularly but when I see it on, I enjoy the show. Like "ATK", I like (& hope to own more of) All-Clad cookware. The segment was about kitchen essentials and I have been reading about kitchen knives recently.

I made an asparagus potato herb soup last night. Neale liked it. I got to use some our homegrown basil.

I'm Designer

.:: Monday, May 26th ::.

~ 01:05 PM ~

"I like going to the park and watching the children run around, because they don't know I'm using blanks." — Emo Philips

With the storms waking us last night and the weather forecast looking foreboding, we both slept in. Neale went into her office. I was hungry for eggs this morning so I made eggs in purgatory. I also needed more coffee so I roasted more beans. I went with 13 mins. at 500F.

After checking my online classes, I found Cinemax Thriller running the MST3K movie. I gulped when I remembered it was released in 1995. After that "The Enforcer" started and I cannot remember having seen this. Dirty Harry will not be making anymore films as Clint is closing in on 80 and long since retired from the SFPD.

If the weather holds, I will take pictures of the backyard landscaping.

Penang Curry

.:: Sunday, May 25th ::.

~ 09:01 PM ~

"... dark as a dungeon..."

Harrison and Casey enjoyed their trip to Soccer Master. Casey mentioned a Game Cube game that was no longer in production the last time we saw them. It was the party after Anna's first communion. We had a great time. The game was "Simpson's Hit & Run" and I found it on Ebay.

After lunch, Neale and I went to Expo to look around and found some unbreakable glasses for outdoor use. We planned to update the front door hardware as it is worn and dated. I cleaned, sanded, and stained the front door landing recently. Since the door is the first impression of the house, we wanted to have good curb appeal. We purchased a new lock set.

We went for a walk between the rain and had dinner at the Assumption Greek Fest.

whose authority?

~ 11:27 AM ~

"...I just deliver the papers..."

We are waiting for a phone call as we are meeting our nephews at Soccer Master. It is their birthday and we are treating them to a "shopping spree" at the store. As a good aunt and uncle, this is the cool stuff we can do.

Last night, we had dinner at Niche and it was fantastic. We shared the cheese plate, I had a spring salad that was on special, and we each had the French horn mushrooms. Great food and service.


.:: Saturday, May 24th ::.

~ 10:02 AM ~

"...rusted wheel planted still
rusted wheel can't move on..."

On Thursday, I made my first trip to Friar Tuck's and their beer selection was really nice. There was the standard stuff but also more smaller breweries than at Dierberg's or Provisions. Also, they carried many singles of Belgium and German beers (Ettaler Dunkel from last year's trip). I did not check out their wine selection. The fresh wood from the new bins smelled good though. Their cider selection was slightly larger than Dierberg's choices. The nice addition was Strong Bow, which is Neale's favorite. The review of the Westmalle Abbey Tripel on Beer Advocate inspired me to try Campo de Montalban, which is similar to a Manchengo. I found it with a nice raw blue at Whole Foods, which had Chouffe in stock.

I had a haircut and I needed to buy Neale's anniversary gift. I passed the Frontenac Mall and I stopped in. I also needed a new scent and L'Occitane had what I liked.

When Neale cam home, we went for a walk to a nearby park to throw the ball with Ellis. Having worked up an appetite, we went to Mom's Deli to split a sandwich and have room for our first Ted Drewe's Custard trip. Since it was a great night, we sat on the porch. We used our outdoor fireplace and it worked well. We purchased it used from Kathy V. since she moved to San Francisco. I purchased chiminea wood for it and it smelled really good.

Off to Canine Center....


.:: Wednesday, May 21st ::.

~ 07:50 AM ~

"...his darn hens kept scratching up my yard..."

Yesterday, the second day of class went well. After class, I stopped at Lowe's for a few more plants, the last bags of mulch, and my window boxes (for the hot peppers and herbs). I also made a stop at Panchero's, which was busy for late lunch. On my way out, I saw the news about Ted Kennedy.

I spent an hour in the backyard filling the last two beds. I started the pepper and herbs as well. I may do just a little more this afternoon.

Neale called and said she had a late walk in so Ellis and I walked. When we got home, Neale was home and we went to Sweet Tomatoes.

It is our anniversary this weekend so we are having dinner on Saturday.

Blu-Ray wins the day
LOL Corgi

.:: Monday, May 19th ::.

~ 3:58 PM ~

" wrist..."

The first day went well. I always get alittle nervous because I want to make a good impression. I try not to hold any in my hands until the room gets friendly. Since it is a small class (10 people), we did my "Nerf football exercise" that students like (noted in evals and course journals). I have a small blue and green spiral-shaped Nerf football. I take a name off the roster and throw the ball their way. I ask some question and begin our conversation as a class. It is a good group. I hope they show up tomorrow.

I made my first batch of steel cut oats. I used our rice cooker. It turned out well. If you do not like rolled oats because they are mushy then steel oats maybe your preferred choice. However, it is not instant.

Burks, Ph.D.

.:: Sunday, May 18th ::.

~ 07:39 PM ~


On Friday, I worked in the yard for about 5 hours and I was the happiest I have been all week. The lawn needed some care but I also planted more flowers, started the tomato cage (yes, cage), and spread mulch. The flower bed in front of the house on the right lost its bushes as one was dead and the other lively one was relocated to replace a dead one on the left. We also lost one rose bush but the remaining four at thriving.

I made ice coffee using the Toddy. It does a great job. However, I prefer the French Press on a daily basis.

On Saturday, I was out early to go to Costco, Ace Hardware, Lowe's, and the Kirkwood Farmer's Market. Neale was still under the weather so she could not join me. It was my first time at the Kirkwood Farmer's Market and it is a busy place. The vegetable booth selection was not as best as downtown or Cleveland's Market but the product was good. They were out of good beets (I was considering a spinach & beet salad) but onions were available. When I got home at noon, Neale was ready for breakfast/lunch so we went to Sweet Tomatoes (I still got my beets). After that, I worked in the yard and planted the backyard left corner bed. Also, I put two grass plants in the original bed off the house. I need to germinate the tomato and pepper plants before planting. Also, I need window boxes for the hot pepper plants and herb plants.

Today, Neale left around 7:30 to go back to Terre Haute. The good news is she can come back tomorrow night. I spent the day preping my courses, watched "The Transformers" (not good), listening to radio paradise, and taking Ellis for a walk. Currently, I am tolerating Joe Morgan while watching the Mets v. Yankees.

Tomorrow, my Summer 1 classes start. I am looking forward to it.

The big dog
Using Firefox Rc1
Flourless PB Cookies
House of Cards

.:: Thursday, May 15th ::.

~ 07:31 PM ~


Neale's allergy is still bothering her. Also, her case load has gotten heavy like the load in Cleveland could be at times.

Graduation went well. However, it concluded around 10PM and I was still wide awake. I went to Dierberg's to buy the week's groceries. Shopping for groceries at 11PM is a different experience. I like the Brentwood store as it centrally located to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Plus, since they know Whole Foods is close, they try to lure the organic and veg shopper to their store. It is also well laid out store with room to move. There was one other guy doing his shopping and he eyed me the parking lot, which was alittle creepy. The rest of the shoppers were couples looking for adult beverage. There is a Brentwood officer with deluxe cop mustache and attitude to match on duty. They had great leeks again (became Neale's potato leek soup tonight) and I wanted to try baked chile rellenos. The rellenos came out well but I will char the chiles before baking next time.

I dropped clothes and small items at Goodwill. Despite the rain, I put on my rain gear and headed to Lowe's. Tomorrow, the weather will be better and I want to start planting. We have essentially three new beds this spring and I will relocate the hostas that I planted last year. Neale wants some shrubs that will hide the damaged fence area (it is our neighbor's fence and he is not fixing it). For the damaged corner, I chose Little Henry shrubs. For the bed off the patio (which covered the area where grass refused to grow), I purchased two Wine and Roses weigelas, some golden euonymus, and purple spiked perennials. This round will get me started and I fill in as the bed comes together. The original backyard bed, which has doubled in size, has its original hostas and some spiky green grass plants that come back every year. I will build off of that for the rest of the bed.

I made my first attempt at Green Goddess juice. We do not have a juicer yet so it came out lumpier than most people would like. I really did not mind and can thin the drink with water until I buy a juicer. Spirulina is the greenest powder I have ever seen. I am glad it will become a regular part of my diet.

90210 anyone?

.:: Wednesday, May 14th ::.

~ 02:23 PM ~

"...still here..."

Neale's allergy affected her throat and she did not sleep well. So, she took the day off.

It is another great day here so I have the windows open. Since I have to attend graduation tonight, I will not work in the yard. However, I am looking at tomorrow to start planting. I have had my tomatoes and bell peppers for about two weeks in their original packaging. I am trying the "Tomato Giant", which is advertised on TV. Neale wanted to try the "Green Bags" and we found some at Whole Foods. I will do jalapenos again. This year will see the building of the chicken wire cage to house the plants as the squirrels will not win this year.

Nothing sounded good for lunch until I made chicken fried steak using Match chicken. It turned out well.

Last night, when I picked up dinner from Zen, I realized I have not been in an Aldi's in 20+ years. I almost went in just to see what its like. I have no idea.

I should have mentioned yesterday but about 3PM on Tuesday. I was at the PC (surprise, surprise) and there was a loud noise that startled me. It sounded like a large heavy object fell. I looked around and there was nothing. I even checked the roof. My theory is that the front door hit the front window sill.

Thursday themes
Indian Ratatouille
Top Drawer
Homemade Sprite

.:: Tuesday, May 13th ::.

~ 09:28 PM ~

"...Mr. November..."

I did another batch of home coffee roasting this morning. The smoke handling went much better. The time of this roast was around 9 mins. at 500F.

Neale has a throat issue. She is claiming it is a seasonal allergy.

I cleaned the shower and cleaned the sealant. The installer promised the mildew problem would be gone. He lied.

I mowed the backyard. Once again, it was a struggle because the rains kept me out of the yard but the rain helped it grow. I was almost done with string trimming the back when I ran out of string and the rains returned.

Neale was hungry for Zen so I picked up the food after a trip to Ace. Friar Tuck's is open this week or next.

Neale is going back to Terre Haute. Developing....

Coffee guide
Yeah, I invented Google!
Internet Party
You donkey!

.:: Monday, May 12th ::.

~ 12:00 PM ~

"...just give into it..."

Yesterday, since it rained, there was no soccer games to watch so we had a light lunch at Britt's home. The weather was terrible and we realized we have not been over there when it was sunny. Around 2, we left and were in the mood for a movie so we saw "Iron Man". It was a very good summer hero film. Afterwards, we went to Flaco's Cocina, which was quite good. Neale's coworkers had been there and recommended the place. Liz, our server, told us about Taste of Saint Louis, which was new to us. It is in September and downtown. I doubt it is as large as Taste of Chicago but we will probably go.

I have some okra so I am going to make a curry for lunch. I am also making Neale coq au vin for dinner. Since she has been traveling, I have not had the chance to cook for her. She has also challenged me to a make a good green curry chicken at home. So, I have reading about Thai and Indian cooking even more.

I tried this the other night. Excellent beer. I forgot or they expanded the beer selection at Provisions.

I posted my grades to the college so I am done with the spring semester. I am taking a few days off before I plan the summer. However, I checked my enrollment numbers this morning and there is a current lack of students in my traditional summer one class. I hope that turns around.

It is a beautiful day here. I have the windows open again, which must be a record for our time at this place. There is yard work to do but it will probably not happen today.

I'm sorry Reese
Lover, You Should Come Over

.:: Saturday, May 10th ::.

~ 07:26 PM ~

" sky thinking..."

Neale went into the office briefly this morning. I had the remaining stack of papers to read and by 1PM, I was done with grading for the spring semester. Good semester and it is done.

Neale returned around 3 and I was just finishing my workout. She wanted to ride so we headed to the trail. However, the rain came so we walked and I held the umbrella (being the taller one). Afterwards, we went to Bubble Tea, Provisions, and Whole Foods. We selected a bottle of Gundlach Bundschu cab sav to celebrate. The rains passed and a perfect rainbow was outside Whole Foods. You could see the whole arch. When we arrived home, Ellis was happy to see his people. We broke out the cheese & crackers from Provisions, which got most of their cheese from the Wine & Cheese shop on Manchester. Neale's stuffed cabbage did not appeal to her but the veg sushi & tofu spring rolls at Whole Foods were good.

I had some spinach, tomato, and potato to use so I made a frittata. It turned out to be really good.

Yesterday, I shaved my first beard off. It will not be my last but I was satisfied for now.

Coffee Bean Direct
Read the numbers

.:: Wednesday, May 7th ::.

~ 12:21 PM ~

"... Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive..."

This looks terrible but its actually really good. In "Batman Begins" & "The Thomas Crown Affair" there is a green lumpy drink that I am curious about it. I believe it is called "Green Goddess" and I found a recipe.

My coffee arrived yesterday so I made my first attempt at home roasting. Yes, it was smoky and the beans alittle darker than I wanted. I did not estimate the carry over temp. They need 24 hours to de-gas so I will make a pot tomorrow.

Letter From An Occupant
cool gifts
dog see color?
cable moments

.:: Monday, May 5th ::.

~ 07:22 PM ~

" have a strong ethical sense..."

Feliz Cinco de Mayo or this but always a reason to make some sangria.

old money

.:: Sunday, May 4th ::.

~ 07:18 PM ~

"...N'Oublie Pas Les Ordures..."

I got up before 8 and cleaned up the house. Neale was up after 10 and since the weather was great we went for a ride. After the ride, we went to Mai Lee since Flaco's Cocina is closed on Sundays. Neale has been talking about the place after having had lunch there. Neale was in the mood for dessert so she decided on a cupcake at Jilly's Cupcakes. I tried the Mad Max, which was coffee with two shots of espresso. Then, we stopped at Three Dog Bakey and pick out some items for Ellis, inlcuding a meal. He liked the meal mixed with his regular dry food. Finally, we stopped at Beauty First and Trader Joe's for a few items. After Neale played ball with him (see videos below), he has been nicely tired. I mowed the front yard.


Ellis with new scarf
Ellis is jealous
Ellis missing the ball
Ellis playing ball
Ellis and Charlie

Film Noir Train

.:: Saturday, May 3rd ::.

~ 11:29 PM ~

" flame of valor..."

We had a great day. After the game, we went to King and I. Neale asked me to watch Batman Begins since I was unable to come to terms with the previous series. I really enjoyed it and will probably see the next one. Iron Man anyone?

softball pride

~ 01:32 PM ~


We are going to the Cubs v. Cards game. Neale is back home.


Photo from our 2006 visit to Chihuly. More on our photos page.



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