Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Doctor, Drug, & the Dubious SSA

It's been a slow week at work, so we're gearing up for this weekend - NASCAR is in Dover, DE - and too many find their way to Rehoboth.  Most are a strange lot, but a few are really nice, intelligent folks and enjoy the beach.

This week's Doctor's appt. went well. BP and cholesterol are down (a very good thing) and when I complained about the increased pain in hands and back, he suggested we try a new medication. The Meloxicam was not doing a good job and managing the pain has been rough.

The doctor ordered x-rays of the hands and wrists which I had done that day, (he already has the most recent spinal pics) then called to tell me he was going to prescribe a combo drug, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant in one, Flexeril (sp?) he faxed the scrip to the pharmacy. He verified the increased inflammation in both hands, the presence of the Rheumatoid swelling of the finger joints and thought this was the best way to proceed, considering my history with narcotics and all. I can't take anything that will impede my attention and activity at work, so we'll see if this is an improvement and I get a little more rest sans pain. I picked it up today.  Tonight will be the first dose. We shall see. I have a follow-up appt. in a month to check for improvement and/or side effects.

Received a letter from the SSA (Social Security Administration - if one can call it that) informing me that I will become eligible for "partial" benefits next month.  Having been told in July that I made more than the allowable yearly gross income 'before' my birthday this year, I didn't expect anything and still don't. Of course, WHEN and HOW MUCH I will receive isn't mentioned.

I won't be holding my breath.  After 16 months of mixed messages and threats, I won't believe any of this until a check is actually deposited in my account. And even then, I'm not sure I'd use the money for a few months. Colour me skeptical!

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Record Gulf Catch - With a Catch

 Playing with numbers can always skew the facts to suit the need. I mean, have you ever heard of the "menhaden" fish before?  Well before reading the rest of this piece, check out the Wikipedia story  link HERE.
From the Gulf Restoration Network.
Recently, headlines loudly proclaimed great news in the fish harvest totals released by NOAA for 2011.  "Gulf seafood catch reaches 12-year high", "Louisiana seafood catch rebounds in 2011" & "U.S. seafood landings reach 17-year high in 2011".  
Wow, sounds great.  Unfortunately, digging beneath the headlines reveals a less glowing report from Gulf waters.
The most significant increase in Gulf catch comes from the uncontained, uncapped, Gulf menhaden harvest.  Going from 900 million pounds on average for the past 10 years, they lept to 1.3 billion pounds in 2011.
In other species, catch totals weren't nearly so rosy.  Louisiana oysters were significantly off their ten year average, Louisiana white and brown shrimp were similarly off their 10 year average. Louisiana blue crab were down from their 10 year average.  In Mississippi, things were so bleak that a federal fisheries disaster was declared for their oyster and crab fisheries.
So yes, buoyed by an enormous menhaden catch, which is a high-volume, low-value fishery, the Gulf's totals were increased, but wherever BP's oil impacts were significant, shrimp and crab harvests were off their ten year average.
The AP told this story well ahead of these rosy headlines last year, when they analyzed catch information for specific areas, and warned that problems were afoot.
Read the rest of the report HERE.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There Was This Bungalow...

For the past 2+ years I've lived on the block this charming, roomy, 2 bedroom bungalow with a cozy screened porch, intimate hearth and fireplace, and furniture that was utilitarian, weathered, and most comfortable as you can imagine, always made me smile. One could tell it was well lived in and enjoyed by all inhabitants.

Last week I noticed the interior doors were open and all furnishings removed.  Then on my walk the next day, I noticed the front door was open revealing the empty rooms beyond, and there was a sign on the front lawn announcing "demolition" of the dwelling, but no date was listed.  This all made me very sad, as if a family member was to be put to death and there was nothing to do about it.  And that was true. I wish I had taken photos of the house nestled among the others and surrounded by pines, large and small. I would have been embarrassed if I got caught by the owners taking pictures of their property.

In less than 72 hours that history, generations of memories, laughter of kids growing up, weekend cocktail parties, cookouts with family and guests, is no more.

And this is what I saw:
Thursday: Screened porch & front bedroom are gone.

Friday: House and Chimney are rubble.
Saturday: No signs of the house, or shed.  Only a pile of pine roots and dirt.
Building lots in town are tiny, pricey bits of land and I hope another lovely beachside bungalow will be erected on the lot, but I fear the worst: replacements of late have been small-footprint, 3-story houses which we call "MacMansions" and for good reason. They are out of place here, as most front doors are only a few feet from the curbside. Oh, and they tend to be very, very ugly.

The block is eerily silent, no residents in sight, so I think everyone is kind of grief-stricken at this time.

And so it goes.

Vicious Cycle

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

Les Miserables: Old is New Again

In most movie musicals the songs are recorded in advance of shooting - in the studio with part of or most of the intended orchestra.  Not this time. To me this is a fascinating look into the future of film using the best technologies and vocal talents singing live while acting out the scene. Of course, this will put the likes of Marni Nixon out work.

As the saying goes, "movies were never silent, there was always live music on set to create and maintain the mood of the scene."  This takes that concept one step farther down the road and I think (especially considering the difficult material) the way musicals will (hopefully) be shot in the future.

I REALLY want to see this one.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Twain, Cher, Izzard, & Elysium

Now, how's that for an itinerary? Forget the metaphors, there ain't any.

Woke at normal time (at least for me) yesterday, and chose to stay in bed and read. Seemed to be a gray day, anyway.  Finished another Kindle book of essays by Mark Twain, which was a shame because his tongue-in-cheek humor makes my day. I tend to milk these books just for the daily chuckle, but there was no way this time. It was the last entry. Bother!

After a coffee and breakfast, did my best imitation of a slug most of the day.  Had no desire to venture outdoors.  The weather wasn't cooperative, by mid-day offering only high winds and rain storms lasting through the night.

In the afternoon I streamed two concerts; Cher's "Farewell" Tour (I don't know which one) and Eddie Izzard's "Dressed to Kill" then dealt with visual overload while prepping supper. It's been a while since I've watched anything on the tee-vee.

With a Shrimp Remoulade on the dinner menu, cocktail hour began with a Sazerac as the cooked shrimp chilled. Decided to make it an international event by enjoying fresh, warm, garlic Naan instead of warm baguette. Turned out to be an excellent idea. (One can never have too much garlic.) All washed down with 2 glasses of wine. Feeling warm and cozy; took a shower, hit the sheets, and slept like a rock.

Waking well rested this morning, the 2 errands on the gay agenda were accomplished in record time. 

Took a drive down to the bay hoping to find and photograph a few local wind-surfers, but there were none.  Bother! 

I was cheered up when I got home as there was a package waiting for me.  The pre-ordered CD of the new Pet Shop Boys " Elysium" was sticking up out of the mailbox.  Snoopy Happy Dance! Really!

Listening to it now and it's kind of cerebral with some tunes containing swelling orchestrations and a beaucoup use of strings.  But, that's a first impression.  I'll make a copy CD for the car and download it to the cellphone, too.

Stimulated the senses over the past 48 hours and that's not a total waste of time, is it? Have to be at work tomorrow at 8 am, so this will be an early evening - meaning - IT'S TIME FOR OLIVES, boys and girls!!!  Oh, sorry.

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

No Doubt Whether Weather Is Responsible...

As I wrote earlier in the week, the weather has been absolutely magnificent, making up for July that pounded us with temps over 105'F for 10+ days. A joyful way to catch our collective breath, to say the least. However...

Long weekend hours persist, and if I was questioning the decision to continue opening early on Saturdays & Sundays, I do no longer.  The town was jumping all weekend with the weather bringing folks to the shore and a chance to have one more fling at the beach.

Served 300 diners at lunch yesterday and more than 200 today.  Everyone continues to be in a jolly mood, enjoying the sun and sand without the summer crowds.

Hruumph!  And I thought this was going to be a quiet, easy weekend.  For reasons I won't go into, I was pressed to remain at my post for an additional 1.5 hours.  This meant 10.5 hours on my tired, old feet and so I literally waddled home. 

While typing this I am enjoying a few olives as supper is being cooked.  Tonight is Thai Lamb Curry Sausage (from guy at the Farmers Market) with roasted fingerling potatoes and a cucumber/tomato salad.  Simple, refreshing and about all I have the energy to cook tonight.

Oh, and I just noticed (looking down at my bare feet) that my ankles are swollen to twice normal size.  No wonder they hurt.  This hasn't happened in a very long time.

After supper and a shower, I will slide under the bed covers with ice compresses on the feet and the Kindle at hand for a little reading before sleep. Tomorrow is my Friday - my weekend is Tuesday & Wednesday - and I am looking forward to resting up on one of the two.

The aromas from the kitchen are distracting and I still have to prep the salad. I'll finish the martini and likely enjoy a glass of wine with the meal. I'll report on the lamb sausage in the near future...or not.

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Rufus Caturday

This brought tears to my eyes.  There is nothing like a cat lover - - and cats know it. From the YouTube Description:
A present for my cat 'Rufus'. He began to resent me due to painful ear drops to fix an infection. I would return from work and he would run from me! Now the ears are better I wanted to do something to show my gratitude for his putting up with my torture. Rufus loves boxes as all cats do so this is what I made for him.

I miss having animals in my life and am so happy when I read other blogs sharing their pet stories. Wish I could enjoy the experience, too.

More later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Eleventh Anniversary - New Birth

Time-lapse video commemorating the 11th Anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy and bringing to life the birth of the new towers. Quite beautiful and awe-inspiring, at least to me.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What a Day This Has Been, What a Rare Mood I'm In...

Uh, no.  It's not "almost like being in love."  And Rehoboth isn't Brigadoon, though it's close. Forget that!  Yes, I AM in a rare mood, thanks to this lovely weather and having two wonderful days all to myself.

OK, first things first.  I voted in the state primary election this morning before heading out.  Not a great turnout, but better than I expected.

New prescription eyeglasses arrived and I love them.  Yes, both pair. One frame is a sort of bronze colour and the other is rather golden. Similar shapes but different designs. A new profile photo is on the list for the near future.

Stopped for Gin and snagged a few bottles of wine that was on sale. Now is the time to replenish the wine rack for the Fall and I got off to a good start.  The extra cash dries up in another week or two, so hoarding is the plan at present.

With the road trip done, I walked up to the Farmers Market for sausages, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes,  cucumbers, and a bit of cheese.

Took a walk around town and spent time on the boardwalk listening to the ocean - slightly muffled by the sounds of late-comer sunbathers and their kids - then stopped by the local candy store to support them, and my Dutch licorice addiction habit.  A luxury to indulge in 2 or 3 times a year.

Back home I prepped my 15-hour Pasta Sauce recipe (using the Italian plum tomatoes just purchased) in the small crock and set it cooking.

Giving the plants a deep soaking for the first time in 3 weeks and they seem happy for the experience. Grocery shopping and laundry are on the gay agenda for tomorrow morning, and if the weather continues to be this glorious, a drive south to Fenwick Island and maybe lunch while there.

Pseudo po-boys are on the menu tonight. I say "pseudo" because they will be made with roast pork in it's natural gravy/juices and the usual po-boy toppings. A slight twist, but as juicy and messy as any other po-boy sandwich.  Which, of course, is the point.

Later, being over the hype generated for the anniversary of 9/11, a single candle will be lit in memory of all those lost, and especially 2 who were my friends.  Silence is best, I think.  Enuf' said.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Today I was informed by both bosses that I've been mentioned in reviews of the restaurant on three different sites. I had never heard of 2 of them.

Favorable reviews of my work have appeared at Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Urban Spoon. (the last 2 are a mystery to me.  I mean, seriously, "YELP" sounds like a site devoted to animal abuse issues!)  I was stunned (and so were the doslocosguys!) because from what I've been told, it's usually only servers who get singled out by name.  I suppose I ought to check out these sites for myself, but that thought makes me uncomfortable, for some reason. Three reviews didn't mention my name, but it was clear to the bosses that the person being referenced was this old buddy-boy; lunch & specific days were the giveaways. Oh, and my warped sensahumah was quite obvious, as well.

We never know what mark we leave (or make) on the lives of others. It's nice to know it is positive and made others happy.

That said, it was grand to see regular customers returning now that the season has ended.  The first 6 dined with us today and I was thrilled to see them and catch up on their doings over the past 3 months.  They seemed happy to see me, as well. We swapped summer stories as they enjoyed their meals.  Hugs were shared all round. It was great fun.

I am off work for the next 2 days and so looking forward to the extra 24 hours, I cannot begin to explain, why.  And, I don't need to explain. So there!

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

September, Slowing-Down & Surgery

My world is slowing down a little now - though not for long - I will have 2 days off weekly starting on Tuesday.  Haven't enjoyed that luxury since last spring and while I will miss the extra cash, the down-time is a welcome break.

The GM left for her holiday in Ireland on Wednesday and will be gone for 2 weeks.  Good for her.  She needed a rest more than anyone after the summer season we've had.

The locosguys take theirs upon the GM's return - they spend 10 days in Mexico in October. 

Somewhere in there I will take time off to have the surgery and get that out of the way. I'm just waiting for the surgeon to let me know when he can fit me in and I am so there!

The surgeon is not sure if Medicare will approve (thereby pay their share) of the surgery, but if they do I may be able to take a short holiday myself.  Or not. Either way, the surgery is a must, though I dread being out of  circulation for a few days. It is what it is.

The weather this week is supposed to be sunny and seasonal - meaning low 60's at night and low 80's, with low humidity during the day.  I hope to spend one day off doing everything that I usually do on my single day off, then spend the second day doing whatever I feel like doing.  Of course, things seldom work out as planned, but I am open to anything.

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to School Caturday

I know, some things never change.

More later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Examples of "gross negligence" by BP

Interesting. Very interesting. From Reuters:
(Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is ramping up its rhetoric against BP PLC for the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, describing in new court papers examples of what it calls "gross negligence and willful misconduct."

The court filing is the sharpest position yet taken by the U.S. government as it seeks to hold the British oil giant largely responsible for the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Gross negligence is a central issue to the case, slated to go to trial in New Orleans in January 2013. A gross negligence finding could nearly quadruple the civil damages owed by BP under the Clean Water Act to $21 billion.

The U.S. government and BP are engaged in talks to settle civil and potential criminal liability, though neither side will comment on the status of negotiations.

"The behavior, words, and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall," government lawyers wrote in the filing on August 31 in federal court in New Orleans.

The filing comes more than two years after the disaster that struck on April 20, 2010 when a surge of methane gas known to rig hands as a "kick" sparked an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig as it was drilling the mile-deep Macondo 252 well off Louisiana's coast. The rig sank two days later.

The well spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 straight days, unleashing a torrent of oil that fouled the shorelines of four Gulf Coast states and eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in severity.

Specifically, errors made by BP and Swiss-based Transocean Ltd, owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform, in deciphering a key pressure test of the Macondo well are a clear indication of gross negligence, the Justice Department said.

"That such a simple, yet fundamental and safety-critical test could have been so stunningly, blindingly botched in so many ways, by so many people, demonstrates gross negligence," the government said in its 39-page filing.
The rest is HERE.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grandma's Hands

Used to make this treat and the recipe must be over 60 years old because my older sister remembers this ice cream. I had to send her the recipe, too.

Disclaimer:  Please keep in mind that this recipe was extracted from a 4' 9" small wonder-woman who never wrote recipes. I had her make the ice cream so I could get an idea of ingredient measurements. Her cupped palms were the only useful measuring spoons, if you get my drift.

OK, for those of you who asked for it, here it is. 

Egg yolks  - 3 large or 4 medium.  (Fresh as possible, purchased locally is best.)

1 14 oz. can of Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)

2 Tablespoons of cold tap water.

3 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of crushed cookies of choice (Oreo's or Lorna Doones* were her cookies of choice)

2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream.  Whipped to soft peaks. (Do not use artificial whipped toppings)

To make:
1. In a large glass bowl, beat the egg yolks, water, and vanilla with a wire whisk.
2. Whisk in the condensed milk and blend thoroughly until yolk color is no longer visible. Refrigerate immediately. (In NOLA she put it in the freezer because of the heat)
3. In another bowl beat the heavy cream with a hand mixer at high speed until soft peaks are present.
4. Remove the bowl of egg mixture from the refrigerator and fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture.
5 Fold in the crushed cookies until well incorporated, and turn into a freezer safe container, (She used deep aluminum ice trays covered with foil. Durable plastic freezer-ware wasn't available at the time.) and freeze immediately.
6. Freeze 2 to 4 hours before serving.

* When using Lorna Doones, she added 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the egg mixture in step 1.

Enjoy! Or, not.  Let me know how it turns out for you or is you have questions. Keep in mind this was a very rare treat when I was a kid, so the experience was savored luxury.

Note: Bill Withers' wonderful song titled "Grandma's Hands" always reminded me of my grandmother.  It still brings tears to my eyes.

And so it goes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee, It's Over!

An early lunch crowd dwindled to almost nothing as a few showers blew in and the remaining tourists decided to hit the road for home, earlier than expected. 

Joined a couple of co-workers after my shift, at another venue for the postmortem happy hour and the place was jumping with locals in a celebratory mood.  More glasses 'clinked' toasting something-r-other, than at a royal wedding.

Stories were told, as we shared experiences and analyzed the Summer that was 2012. A few have kept journals of summers past and others started them this year. I just share the most bizarre and outrageous stories here.  That's enough for me, thank you very much.

Tomorrow is a badly needed day off and (thankfully) there is little on my gay agenda for the day. Rain is in the forecast, so all bets are off.  Farmers market, but other than that, no plans.  Heaven!

And so it goes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer's (almost) Gone

This is the last hurrah; crazy within the crazy; blue moon lunacy; and great times, all wrapped up with copious amounts of margaritas.

Everyone at work is beyond exhaustion at this point and we're counting hours, minutes, and seconds until it's finally over. The restaurant served over 1200 customers yesterday and today looks to be an almost exact duplicate.

I worked 10 hours yesterday and a mere 9 hours today before staggering home where I am enjoying a few olives hoping to muster up energy enough to prepare supper.  Something light and simple, oh, and quick.  A hot Epsom salts bath is waiting in the wings like a siren's song - damn the consequences.

The image above was shot on the way to work today (yes, it's overcast and humid) of the "beach flags" - beach towels and other items hung on balconies to dry - at the Breakers Hotel.  Hey, it's a tradition here. (click the image to embiggen.)

And so it goes.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

R.I.P Hal David, Songwriter, Dies At 91

Great talents seem to be dropping like flies. His lyrics (with Bacharach's music) were a big part of my life soundtrack.
LOS ANGELES — Hal David, whose simple, heartfelt lyrics made a perfect fit with Burt Bacharach's quirky melodies and resulted in dozens of hit songs, including "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" and "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," died Saturday. He was 91.
David died of complications from a stroke Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to his wife Eunice David.
He had suffered a major stroke in March and was stricken again on Tuesday, she said.
"Even at the end, Hal always had a song in his head," Eunice David said. "He was always writing notes, or asking me to take a note down, so he wouldn't forget a lyric."
David and Bacharach won an Oscar for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (from the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), Grammys and Tonys for the songs from the hit Broadway musical "Promises, Promises," as well as other top 40 hits including "Close to You" and "That's What Friends Are For."
Many of the duo's lyrics and tunes continue to resonate in pop culture, including "I Say A Little Prayer, " "What The World Needs Now Is Love," and "This Guy's in Love with You," Their music was recorded by legendary singers including The Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and their longtime partner Dionne Warwick.
"As a lyric writer, Hal was simple, concise and poetic – conveying volumes of meaning in fewest possible words and always in service to the music," ASCAP's current president, the songwriter Paul Williams, said in a statement. "It is no wonder that so many of his lyrics have become part of our everyday vocabulary and his songs... the backdrop of our lives."
At least we'll always have the songs.

I love that the image above was drawn by Al Hirschfeld for the NYT and contains "3 Ninas" - click to embiggen to see if you can find them.

And so it goes.

Caturday Facebook Stalker

No truer words were ever spoken.

And so it goes.
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