Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wait for it, it will be better.

If you are a recurring reader, you already know Miss Loosewheel.  The title of this blog was one of her favorite sayings.  It was as close as we ever came to "the talk".  Of course, it wasn't until later in life that I realized that by waiting for it, I had no comparative by which to judge.  Oh well.  By heeding her advice, I found the woman that makes my life complete...so once again, she was right.  Heading away from the R rated advice, I've discovered the aphorism holds true in so many areas.  In my parlance, "If it's worth it, it's worth waiting for."  Take gardening, for instance.  We didn't plant morning glories this year.  But they came up any way...in abundance.  For a split second, I was afraid they would escape their confines in the planter next to the garage and take over the yard.  Thankfully, we have pruners come in every night and trim the edges so they don't crawl down the railroad ties.  (I have on occasion, referred to these pruners as filthy vermin, damn rabbits, and the bane of my gardening existence, but in this case...pruners).  The question was, will they even bloom. 

Yup.  And in reference to the title. we did, and they are!  Know you are loved!

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's all a matter of position

Old age is marvelous.  I have found myself in better shape than I have ever been.  Actually, to be more accurate, I have found myself in different shapes than I ever have been.  I have this bursitis in my knee.  It's a strange duck.  When I'm actually involved in walking, etc., I don't notice it.  However, when I am at rest, it is not.  Thus, I have to periodically be sure that it has been shifted to avoid pain and agony.  Then there's this pain in my shoulder.  Makes the bursitis look and feel normal.  When I am at rest, the arm naturally dangles at my side.  Pain.  To relieve the pain, I have to move it so that it is at least horizontal to my vertical torso.  So over my head it goes.  Should you see me in bed, you would say to yourself, my god, that man is limber.  Look at how he lays there.  In truth, it's all about pain reduction.  Now, let's talk about getting up after sleeping.  Or let's not!  Truthfully, I revel in the aches and pains.  A) they mean I'm alive, and B) they remind me how lucky I am!  Oh, and C)  God bless Advil.  And you!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It was a gift

It's wash day.  Actually, it should have been wash day several days ago, but there were intervening necessities.  It happens.  You can imagine the loads.  There's the white load (with the cleaning rags and mops included).  There's the dark load.  There's the colorful load.  It's big.  And as it hits the washer, I thinks to myself, the red, black, and orange flowered shorts I am wearing would fit in this load.  As would the bright red t-shirt.  So off they come, and in they go, leaving me in this wrinkled suit I was issued at birth.  Being in the basement alone, I consider just finishing the wash that way, but an inherent fear of the neighbor stopping over and ridiculing me with derisive laughter causes me to reach for my robe.  It's a good, heavy, old robe of many colors in a herringbone pattern.  It was a gift from my bride.  Some time ago.  A LONG time ago.  It has seen several size changes in its wearer.  Sometimes, the belt is long enough to tie in a bow.  Sometimes the belt is long enough to tie.  It envelopes me in the comfort of an old friend.  I've been known to be seen in public with it, as I take out the garbage or go get the paper.  But there's something decadent about wearing it (and only it) at 1:24 in the afternoon.  Deliciously decadent.  It means that I am free--unencumbered with places to be or things to do.  I'm seeing a nap on the horizon, cuddled in the soft terry-cloth.  I'm hearing that old refrain in my head;  if God had meant for us to wear clothes, he would have issued them at birth.  Who knows, I may finish the day in my robe.  One of the best gifts ever!  Know you are loved!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The recipes as promised

Quick and easy things to do to make people smile.  I'm all for them.  The four recipes below fit that description.  Give them a try, and know you are loved!

1 pkg. refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 pkg. Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage, browned
1 pkg. Pepperoni, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
Cheese of Choice
Chipotle Pepper Sauce (see accompanying recipe!

 Directions:  Remove one biscuit from whacker container.  On a smooth surface, press into a 3 to 4 inch diameter circle.  Place a small amount of the chipotle pepper sauce on the bottom half.  (Do not go to the edge, as you will need someplace to seal the empanada.)  Add the ingredients of choice (sausage, pepperoni, onions, cheese, or whatever!) on top of the chipotle sauce.  Bring the top half of the biscuit over the filling and press to seal all the way around.  (Should resemble a thickened semi-circle.)  Place in 350 degree oil and brown on one side.  Turn and brown the remaining side.  Drain on paper toweling and place on plate.  Add chipotle sauce on top and watch them disappear!

 Chipotle Pepper Sauce
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. chopped garlic
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbs. chicken base
3 chipotle chiles, chopped (in adabo sauce)
3 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream

 Melt butter in a heavy sauce pan.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add flour and stir until slightly browned.  Add cream and base and stir until thickened.  Add chiles and cheese, stirring until the cheese melts.  Remove from heat and cool for 2 minutes.  Fold in sour cream.  Serve warm over entree of choice.  Keeps for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Curried Chicken Salad

Chicken breasts
Curry powder  2 tsp, divided
Mayonnaise  1 cup
Saute breasts in oil flavored with 1 tsp curry powder.  Cook until done. 
Add chopped celery and onion to taste. 
Combine mayo and remaining curry.  Mix together and refrigerate until serving.
Stuffed Mushrooms
2 pkgs. white mushrooms, brushed clean, and 
1 pound fresh sage pork sausage
1/4 cup minced onion
1 large clove garlic, pressed
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup soft bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed jelly roll pan with nonstick foil and spray
lightly with vegetable oil.  Remove stems from the mushroom caps, trimming mushroom
stems and reserving them for the stuffing. Place mushrooms cavity side up on the 
prepared pan. Set aside. Place trimmed mushroom stems in a food processor fitted
with the metal blade. Pulse until roughly chopped into 1/4-inch bits. 
(Alternatively, you may also mince them with a knife.) Set aside. Saute sausage 
and onions in a skillet just until cooked through, breaking it up as you cook it. 
Drain any excess oil, if necessary. Add garlic and chopped mushroom stems. Gently 
saute until mushroom moisture is released and evaporates. Set aside to cool. 
Combine cooled sausage, mushroom stems, cream cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley. 
Mix thoroughly. Mound sausage mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with Parmesan 
cheese and sweet paprika. 
Bake stuffed mushrooms for 25 to 30 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and 
tops are golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie
1 graham cracker crust
2 pkgs. fresh raspberries
1 pkg. frozen unsweetened raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs. corn starch
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip.
Place frozen raspberries in sauce pan.  Add sugar, corn starch and water. 
Mascerate and cook until thickened.  Set aside. Combine cream cheese, sugar, 
and cool whip.  Place in the bottom of the prepared crust.  Place fresh 
raspberries on top.  Cover with raspberry glaze and refrigerate for 4 hours or 
As Floyd would say, "Keep our fork", but share your food, and know you are loved

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Again with the visualization.

We're headed out to the lake for a barbecue.  After a long day of doing almost nothing, I headed for the shower to be clean and refreshed for the evening.  Of course, the end of the shower requires a sartorial choice.  It has been made.  The t-shirt?  Could be worn by a road crew fixing pavement.  I believe the color is subtly fluorescent in the lemon color shade.  The shorts?  Why, the lime green shimmery kind, of course.  What better way to access the lake than dressed as a huge bottle of seven up?  Natty, I believe the term is.  Or, is it LOUD?  The visualization, however, is a significant improvement over what you would have seen if I had chosen not to cover the body beautiful.  Now there's something to sleep on!  Know you are loved!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A double take

I was working on a Facebook post...called it a study in yellow.  Five different flowers all blooming...all capturing the sun's essence.  There was the primrose, the Asiatic lily, the day lily, the field of Sun Drops, and the portulaca.  On my way in to process the wealth, I happened to stop by a planter near the house...an insignificant collection of left-overs--dahlias, miniature zinnias--and there on the end, nestled quietly in the corner, was this beauty!  It was the first time I had seen it.  Quietly and unassumingly existing in the shadow of the taller, more "majestic" flowers.  More majestic?  I think not.  What vibrancy of color.  What ability to elicit wonder and awe.  Sometimes, as the song in Nunsense says, "it's not the biggest drum" that captures the breathtaking awe.  It's the quiet ones.  You are loved!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Erato Srikes Again or--here's a little rhyme for you to spend some time!

As I sit here, lost in thought
I harken back to what was taught
"If writing is your plan today
Just get started right away,

Write about the things you know
Write about what life does show."
Sage advice I must admit
Write it quick and don't you quit.

But overhead, a buzzing heard
A sound to which I'm not inured.
It seems that goodness, my oh my
There is a pesky honking fly.

Not a raven--not like Poe
Bur regardless, quite a foe
On my shoulder, then my head
If I were quicker, be it dead.

But age has dulled the quickness gene
And flailing does seem so obscene
I know!  I'll leave the room I'm in
For surely quitting's not a sin

When plagued by demon ugly fly
I know, I'm just the kind of guy
Who'll start again, who knows the score
Who won't proclaim it's "nevermore!"

Just a little ditty to hopefully put a smile on your face and a total understanding that you are loved!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Guilty pleasures

It's Monday night.  I've seen the movies showing.  I head for the food channel.  Voila.  Guilty Pleasures.  Please.  I'm trying to be good.   But the bourbon ginger pecan pie catches my eye...and my imagination.  What would be my favorite guilty pleasure?  Perhaps the fresh raspberry cream cheese pie?  Perhaps the hot stuffed brownie?  Perhaps the pepperoni cheese stuffed sourdough bread.  Oh, to choose.  I'm sure the option would change on a daily basis.  But tonight?  It's bz's coconut cream pie.  Yum!  And yours would be.......
Know you are loved!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sometimes, it just hits you

I'm sitting in the front porch.  The puzzle is done.  The coffee is consumed.  And I look out the front door.  The maple trees are full and a startling shade of green.  The planters reach toward the morning sun, their tendrils swaying in the light breeze.  The flag, a subtle reminder of why we are able to enjoy this view, moves just enough to add color to this backdrop.  I look around me at the house that sturdily provides us comfort and shelter.  And sitting with me, the woman I love.  The hamburger is thawing, for this is obvious a grilling kind of day.  And I realize, I may be the luckiest man in the world!  May your Sunday provide you with everything you need, and at least one thing you want, and the wisdom to know two things:  the difference between these two things, and the fact that you are loved!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The perfect day

should start with a good cup of coffee, or three.
should include a crossword puzzle, or two.
should include a good walk.
should include time spent in the garden.
should include an exceptional chicken stuffed red pepper.
should include time to write.

But of all the things that make it perfect?  The woman who still chooses to spend it with me!  There is nothing more important, and nothing more ideal!

Friday, June 19, 2015


I've always believed travelers have the right to speak of their adventures for the first week on their return.  I feel safe that this falls into the belief.  The roar of Iguazu falls shall forever remain in my mind.  The full rainbow that lit up the sky and pointed to various spots we had visited is etched in my memory.  I guess you could say I am a sensory kind of person.  Of course, this all leads up to today's topic.  One of the places we stayed was a home that used to be owned by Robert Duvall.  His last wife (and current, according to Wikipedia!) was from Argentina, and they built this house, now a hotel.  Impressive, huh?  Even more impressive is the eponymous name--House of Jasmines.  I'm a sucker for Jasmine.  I think it is the most sensual of natural fragrances.  And there was a Jasmine bush right outside of our room.  (Now understand, the room was absolutely amazing, but had been closed up for a while so smelled musty.)  Every time I stepped outside, a Jasmine flower was in my hand, transporting me to a different level of awareness.  They are a beautiful flower with a power that transcends explanation.  So I thought I would share!

If you place your nose closely enough to the screen, I'm sure you will be able to imagine the fragrance!  I know I shall!  Find the sensory experience that you like most, and know you are loved!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reclamation Day

Gone for 12 days.  Recuperated one day.  In that time, more weeds than one can imagine have sprung up.  Today, we started the effort at control.  The back yard perennial garden is now weeded, preened and mulched.  One of the vegie gardens is weeded, and backs are sore!  But I thought the result was stunning.  Enjoy vicariously and know you are loved!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Worth the wait?





(repeat at least 10 times!)  

This year?  

For me, the answer is yes!

And you are loved!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I have discovered as one nears closure of an established goal, a geometric decrease in patience occurs.  Take for example, a trip home from a fantastic vacation.  Yesterday, with the specter of an 11 hour flight to whisk us back to the U S of A, I was resolute.  It had to be done.  After all, I had no desire to spend my life in Argentina (although I am convinced we saw the Castle Rosado on our trip from the national to international airport in Buenos Aires and was impressed!). Landing in Dallas, I knew we had a 5  hour lay-over, awaiting our trip to Sioux Falls.  It had to be done, and our gate was directly across from Duncan Donuts (by 9:30, the clerk could call me by name!) and down the pike from Chili's, where we had lunch (at 9:45!).  Due to another flight, we were required to change gates three times.  It had to be done.  Then, it was time to board the plane.  With happy heart and heavy eyelids, I psyched myself into a state of calm.  Then the announcement.  We would not be boarding because a flight attendant had not arrived.  Really?  Really!  And yet, even though the nerves were frayed and the psyche on edge, I retained my composure.  She came.  We boarded.  We are 45th in line for tale-off (just a slight exaggeration).  If this plane isn't air-born in 10 minutes...I will wait!  But oh my goodness, not patiently! 
And we're off!  Next goal?  Drive home.  Can you say speed limit 80?!  If patience is a virtue, and lack thereof the opposite, today I probably need to heed the advice of my students the year I retired...move south so I can get used to heat before my demise!
Know you are loved!

Monday, June 15, 2015

They say that all good things...

Packing for the trip home.  Wow!  Thought you might enjoy an inside perspective, so if this works, here's the poetic version of our trip!!  Know you are loved!

Canto uno

We meet in the lobby at just half past nine
Eclectic as we may be
Well traveled for sure with memories fine
Just waiting for new things to see.

There's Ed and Linea from the mighty Northwest 
And Beth from the state O-hi-o
Montana does bring us miss Ann on a quest
To savor the Argentine show

Like new blends of wine, diversity's good
There's Deborah our next double x
She's north and she's south and does wonders with food
That makes her our own Canimex.

Dakota is covered, at least one that's south
It's Sarah and Jeff her best friend
And Cathryn and husband who runs at the mouth
It's I and for guests it's the end.

That brings us to leaders and they're quite a pair
It's Erica and her pal named James
Adventures await us --for us they will care
That covers the gamut of names!

The hike is a warm-up and if it is true
beginnings portend what's to be,
We're in for amazing...delightful...a clue
Of great things that we'll get to see.

Canto dos

Day two and it's sunny, an omen I'm sure
We're off to our picnic at noon.
Our first shrine a woman, a mother most pure
We beseech her--safe travels real soon.

A ways up the road, our second approach
To sainthood, a  male never fear
Our offer to him lest disfavor encroach
Is Salta, you got it, a beer.

Then lunch it is offered, varietal bliss
If hungry we leave?  Fault is ours
Then back whence we came, no bite did I miss
For short option?  Thanks to the powers!

As darkness descends, we meet at the van
To supper, please whisk us away!
For James and sweet Erica do all they can
So Sayeth we all, "What a day!"

Canto tres

Visions of tenderloin colored my dreams
And mem'ries of squash and of corn
The morning came quickly despite all my schemes
A new day of hiking is born!

The van and young Gabby do take us away,
The scenery?  It is divine!
We'll walk and we'll climb cuz we know it's the way
To eating and tasting more wine.

And after the luncheon, unique best imbues
The art work amazing to see
No subject, no object, it's all done with hues
The blue room oh how can it be?

Then matte for some and supper awaits
Each does whatever he pleases
Some wander around through alleys and gates
Some go to a mass with flat Jesus!

Canto Quattro

The cat fight a mem'ry, we're off to day four
All bundled...it's winter, you know
It's up to the mountains--we want to see more
Cross rock and some gravel we go.

It's cactus and brea with stickers that prick
Our leader?  His name it is fido.
Delighted we're blessed by the path he did pick
See burros--says James--nay..burritos!

The river does call us, She dares us to ford,
And each of us heeds to her call
So simple it looks...that current?  My Lord
Miraculous!  No one does fall.

The lunch is delicious then back to the van
To learn of the weaver's great skill
Then out for the evening, we prove that we can
Consume with the best...eat our fill.

Canto sinco

When breakfast is done we head in for snacks
And a sandwich on one loaf of bread
Apparently they had been given the facts
Of what we've been eating ahead!

The van it does climb to trailhead so fine
Where air is as thin as my hair
We head down the path our intrepid nine
To scenery beyond compare.

The plans they do change no long option we
But lodging invites us relax.
And while we pursue that our good she and he
Make plans for our pleasure to max.

At six empanadas we learn how to make
Great pride goes with what we create.
There's dancing and music for everyone's sake
Our pleasure it will not abate.

Canto seas

This morning two separate paths we do find
Some go to the city, some ride.
Reports from each group say we truly did find
Two options...both bona fide.

Then off to the airport, casino next stop
With scenery? We're told "it will do."
With breath that is baited next shoe that will drop
Will be falling at great Iguazu.

As normal, the plane ride was beautif'ly planned
Our only need was to be there
Ensconced in our rooms, all worries are banned
So lucky to have this fine pair!

Tomorrow part two of excursion so fun
Day seven as if on call
Will give us an eye to the watery run
Great Iguazu will take a fall!

Canto sieta 

We've made it...a milestone, enjoy now day seven
The power, the beauty....amaze
We'd been told to expect it...a small touch of heaven
But madre de deos...we were dazed!

From throat of the devil to island so pure
The water is truly a hit
Descriptions do limit, of one thing I'm sure

Repetitive...holy shit!

A bunch!

To put into words the effect of the day
Seems foolish, ill planned and naive
The mem'ries we've made, the things we will say
Mother Nature, I truly believe

Canto ocho

The morning begins, the rain it does fall
But onward do some of us go
The village, antique, the old and the small
Indigenous, don't you know!

Then into the van and border we ford
From Argentine to great Brazil
Goodbye Alejandro, great smiles we do hoard
And at lunch we do eat our fill.

The afternoon ours, to do as we want
Some resting some walking is done
The trip it is ending we've time for a jaunt
The negatives? There have been none.

So how do we put it?  In words that express
The gratitude that we do feel
To group from day one that did us impress
It's been great, it's been fun, it's been real!

Like all things in life, it's not about ends
Or even about how we get there
It's those with whom you travel, my friend
And those with whom you do share

So wherever the roads will take you from here
May the powers that rest up above
Watch over you now and forever, my dear
May you always feel from us our great love!

Vaya con dios!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

On this, the hiatal eve...

I wonder...what have we forgotten? 
Back packs?  Nope.  We are the proud owners of two new ones.  Here was the logic.  We figured the minute we walked in the door with the new ones, the old ones would show up.  As of yet...nope! 
Fudge?  Not yet--it's in the fridge and I have written myself a note to take it in the morning.  South America has experienced the fudge before, but one can never overdo?!
Credit cards?  Nope.  In fact, I did my due diligence and informed them that we would be traveling out of country.  That, of course, brings me to the point of this hiatal discourse.  For the most part, I love credit card companies.  Their service is amazing.  I like the frequent flyer points.  I like the fact that they obviously hire technical support proficient in English grammar.  Unfortunately, with both companies today, they knew the words proficiently...they used the words proficiently...but I was unable for the most part to understand what they were saying.  It was the accent.  I AM OLD.  My hearing ain't what it used to was.  It is difficult for me at times to get the phone centered on my good ear.  But I'm willing to bet in the 12 minutes it took to do 2 minutes of work, I must have said, "sorry?" "what did you say?" "I didn't understand that!" at least 20 times. And part of that time was spent when I did understand and give an answer (who knows whether it was the right one?) with the very solicitous, "Thank you so much for that, Mr. Zubke."  I do appreciate a thank you now and then, but not after every single utterance.  At this point in time, I believe they know we are going on vacation.  I believe they know where we are going.  And I believe that I may have promised my first born child to one of them.  Will they be surprised!  Now, if we can only make it back so I can call them to thank them!
We will be out of touch for the next two weeks.  You faithful readers are familiar with the drill.  I will catch you up poetically on my return.  As I write each day in our foreign lands, I will think of you.  Do the same, and as you think, know you are loved!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Back story.  I bought this pair of red shorts at Wally World.  Got them home.  The hanger tag and the shorts tag didn't match.  Whilst my girth has increased, it has not yet hit the level indicated by the shorts tag (the fact that they would have made a lovely spinnaker for a large sailboat should have also tipped me off!), so I get them to the car to take back.  We're at Wally World today.  The shorts are still in the car.  Cut to the chase.  I went to get them, traded them in for a smaller size, and just put them on.  Problem.  What shall I wear with them?  Nothing that has red in it has the same shade of red, and I wouldn't want to be gouache and not match!  After deliberating a while, holding up several t-shirts and putting them back, I decided blend.  That's what I'm calling it.  The two shades of red blend.  And if they don't, I don't want to know it.  Truth be told, I don't care, and since the shirt covers my body beautiful, everyone else will be happy as well.  Find the best answer today, and know you are loved!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


So...we have this gravel and paving stone walkway along side the planter next to the garage.  Correction.  We HAD this gravel and paving stone walkway.  It was/is time for an upgrade.  The gravel had migrated to various parts of the yard.  The dog had rearranged the gravel so it no longer fit around the pavers.  The pavers had settled into a unique system of high and low existence, making walking on them a challenge.  Remove the pavers.  Remove the gravel.  Let me repeat.  Remove the gravel.  Now understand, we had been bright enough to place landscaping fabric below the gravel.  Of course, it was years old and when hit with a shovel would tear, forcing the contents of the shovel to go to ground.  Insert invective here!  Cath loosened the gravel with a hoe and a planting shovel, placing the first large amount of gravel into a Rubbermade garbage can.  Gravel IS heavy.  It took three shots to empty the gravel into a wheel barrow and relocate it on the rock that exists on the north side of the neighbor's garage.  Of course, that particular landscaping phenomenon was raised two feet off ground level, making it impossible to simply empty the gravel.  I had to go up the walk of the apartment complex to the north, walk down their sidewalk, and dump from above.  Allow me to explain the access to that sidewalk.  There is a 10 foot section between the normal city sidewalk headed north and south, and the apartment sidewalk going east and west.  To get to the apartment sidewalk, the 10 foot access section is large landscaping rock.  Those of you who know me know that I work best unshod.  Up over the rock, onto the sidewalk, push the wheelbarrow to the end of the walk, turn and dump, turn and walk over the rock back down and get another load.  Thank god, that whole process was interrupted by shoveling gravel in the wheelbarrow.  Variety is the spice of life.  After 10 trips, the gravel has migrated north, the pavers are arranged at the end of the walkway, and we quit for the day.  Shoulders know we did it.  Arms know we did it.  Feet know we did it.  But we did it, and relocation project one is done.  Sing and rejoice, and know you are loved!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ask me what's in the closets

We are completely flummoxed!  We have lost two (count them, TWO) backpacks.  Now understand, I could understand if mine were missing, but so is Cath's, and that is simply unheard of.  Not only that, but the travel gremlins have also hidden the camel backs, of which we have two, somewhere.  I have been in every closet.  I have been in every crook and nanny in the house, and they are gone.  After two days of searching and frustration, tonight I called uncle!  Argentina doesn't get to see the two bags, but we have decided to go anyway!  Closets be darned, but you be loved!