Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Recipe # 15

This is a rub recipe I found for the pork tenderloin I got at Meijer and decided to grill up this past Sunday. I did not trim the fat from the loin, and I also forgot to sear all the sides.

Searing, I found, is important. Without the sear, you lose much flavor, AND, the juices of this very lean cut of meat will run out. As a result, the meat ended up being tougher than I would have preferred.
I also cooked it until it was white all through, something I don't normally do. It read at least 150 degrees F everywhere I checked; usually I pull it off the grill when it starts getting near 145 - and then let it rest under a foil tent.

I didn't realize just how much juice this cut lost until the following day when I was going to cook brats and burgers on my charcoal grill. I lit the briquettes and waited about ten minutes for them to get pretty hot before shutting the lid to get the grilling surface nice and hot. When I came back out a couple minutes later, the temp on the grill hood read over 700 degrees F and the entire charcoal pan was in flames!

Do be careful, one and all.

Here's the list of items for the rub:

2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cayenne powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine in a small bowl. Set the loin on a large platter and apply the rub evenly to cover the entire roast. I let it sit about 40 minutes at room temperate before cooking.

The charcoal I kept heaped on the left. Sear the meat here, then cook it with the vents open on the right (indirect heat).  I went about 40 minutes on each side and then maybe 20 minutes more overall, for this 3 pound hunk of pork.

Do let it rest for a bit under foil before you slice it. I enjoyed the meat with grilled bi-color corn and a bit of potato salad.

Thanking God daily for His provision.

Monday, June 29, 2015


She waters all the flowers and her shirt has got a tear
She never ever goes to mass, she sings like she don't care
And early in the morning she's got benders in her hair
The love she has for country music scares me

She's always late for dinner, but her penitence is real
She's never late for work at all, her flowers are ideal
I do quite often say it, and  I very firmly feel
Mon-ic-a's quite an asset to the green-house

I'd like to say a word in her behalf; (go ahead Sister MillerLite-ia)
Mon-ic-a makes me laugh.

How do solve a problem like Mon-ic-a?
How do catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do find the word that means Mon-ic-a?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?

Oh, how do solve a problem like Mon-ic-a?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

When I'm with her I'm confused, out of focus and bemused
And I never know exactly where I am...

Unpredictable as weather, she's as flighty as a feather
She's a darling! She's a demon! She's a lamb!

She'd out pester any pest, drive a hornet from its nest
She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl

She is gentle! She is wild! She's a riddle! She's a child!
She's a headache! 
She's an angel! 
She's a girl!

How do solve a problem like Mon-ic-a?
How do catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do find the word that means Mon-ic-a?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!

Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?

Oh, how do solve a problem like Mon-ic-a?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

This is not my creation. I took the song Maria (The Nuns), written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein for The Sound of Music motion picture, and butchered it a bit. The show song has always reminded my of my beloved wife Monica, whom I love dearly.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Passing it On

I thank F. Allan Debelak, my fifth grade teacher at Greenfield Peace Lutheran School, 7000 West Outer Drive in Detroit, for playing his guitar and leading us in singing songs about Christ and our love for Him. We (an adventurous few) would sit on the backs of the chairs attached to our desks, in order to (perhaps) be closer to God, while we sang and clapped and reveled in not having to do social studies or some other such non-essential. We sang popular choruses from that era - Blind Man (Stood by the Road and He Cried), Thank You, Pass it On (It Only Takes a Spark), I Am the Bread of Life, I Cannot Come, Give Me Oil In My Lamp, Arky Arky, Lord of the Dance. There were more, I just cannot recall any others right now.

Mr. Debalak played his guitar and wore bell bottoms and had a huge white-person afro. I liked him but he only stayed for one year. He was replaced by Lonnie Nagel, whom I may discuss in another post. I think F. Allan was hired to replace Mr. Prokopy, who left for 'personal reasons'. (We found out later it was to go to another Lutheran school in the area, a school we regularly whipped in basketball contests.) I just found out Mr. Prokopy passed away in 2008.

F. Allan Debelak is now a Lutheran pastor (he likes to be called Pastoral, heh heh) at an ELCA church in Columbus OH (I know).

Mr. Debelak still likes to sing and play

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Merciful Jesus

I am part of an online Bible study group of people from all over the world; we're reading through the four Gospels in a calendar year. Yestreday's reading was from Dr. Luke, where he describes the Transfiguration and Jesus' call for us to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses daily. One of the folks in our group posted this prayer, which so spoke to my heart that I have copied it here, with permission, and I am making it my personal prayer to-day.

Thanks so much to Joyce W for all the spiritual insight and wisdom you share with us daily.

Lord, You give to each of us the cross of self knowledge. 
When we fail to take up that cross and allow You to transform us, 
we add to the weight of the crosses of others around us. 
Merciful Jesus, help me to face up to my own shortcomings 
and to respond with love and mercy to the shortcomings of others.

LORD, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Movies, Movies, Movies

In the absence of a baseball game in which our Tigers could remain at least fairly competitive, on Saturday night I rented American Sniper. I knew very little about the movie, other than Bill Simonson (The Huge Show 3-6 pm WBBL Grand Rapids, @HugeShow) highly recommended it and advised I shouldn't watch it with my kids. I also had heard the ending was stunning, and some folks somewhere were offended by this picture. And my only knowledge of Bradley Cooper was from Valentines Day (puhleeeeeze) and The A-Team, which I loved.
The intensity of the war scenes and the ups and downs of title character Chris Kyle's relationship with his wife Taya were both compelling factors and assets in this picture. But Cooper's consistency and believability, as well as an excellent screenplay and superb directing, make this film - period.
I understand the graphic violence and foul language are real parts of soldiers lives, and I hope that I don't become accustomed to that stuff - so that it remains shocking. (Actually, I'm only referring to the violence. My mouth is pretty foul quite often). But seriously, it's not one to watch with the kids.

I was also blessed to take in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939 - Hollywood's greatest year!!) over the weekend, and for the first time I watched it in its entirety. James Steward is a naive young congressman who finds the best interests of his great state are up against a self-aggrandizing political machine bully, who also happens to have many 'friends' in the same house of congress. Senator Smith stays true to his values, in spite of untrue personal character attacks, and every effort by the corrupt political machine to remove him from the Senate.
Jean Arthur plays a DC reporter who is touched by Smith's innocence and naivete, and ends up falling for the big lug. Precious, endearing story, brought to us by the same Frank Capra responsible for George Bailey and Henry Potter.

Incidentally, many actors in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) were also in Smith: Stewart plays George Bailey and Jeff Smith, Beulah Bondi - George Bailey's mom and Jeff Smith's mom, H.B. Warner - druggist Mr. Gower and the Senate Majority Leader, Thomas Mitchell - Uncle Billy and Diz the reporter.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I am not going to the Hamburg Family Fun Fest this weekend

I have learned all I want to know about starlings, whose beaks are dark in winter and yellow in summer.
They are bullies.
They may or may not live near you. Please check the copied map for the grey coverage areas (thanks to Wikipedia.org)

They make a mess of your eaves and the surrounding fascia.
They enjoy nuts and fruit and all manner of suet.
They squawk with annoying repensity (if this is not a word, it should be).
They do not like safflower seed.
They do not like to feed underneath cover.

I found a local farm and feed store that sells safflower seed at a pretty good price and will keep my feeder filled with that for a while. That is Action Point 3.

Action Point 1 was to hang white plastic shopping bags near the gaps in our siding where the opportunist Sturnus vulgaris used to enter their (rent-free) nesting spots. One of the two bags did deter the starlings and now I have only one nest site to deal with.

Action Point 2 actually moves in the PG-13 to R rating; the details will therefor be withheld from this forum.

Action Point 4 follows from the last item I learned in my search to find out all I wanted to know about starlings. Since they can demolish an entire suet cake in about an hour, and thereby do not allow the other smaller, prettier, songier birds to also enjoy, I have purchased bowls to cover the cages. I will drill a hole in the bottom of the bowls and slip the hanging chain through the hole. Chickadees, finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches apparently don't mind hanging a little cocked to eat their fill. So I will finish this project, take some photos, and share my observations.

Otherwise, the hummingbirds have been making short work of my 4 to 1 nectar hanging right outside our kitchen window. They seem to also loose almost all stagefright in the late evening, when we see four or five at a time come around dancing, darting, and bellying up to drink. Beautiful handiwork of the Creator, these hummers are! The stunning contrast in color from the ruby ring around the male neck to their shimmering green coat and white belly, and then the more constant shiny green-grey the females sport.

We have already been blessed with fresh herbs from the garden to season our meat and potatoes with. My problem is using too much at any one time due to my exploding enthusiasm in using what nature provides rather than what Kroger provides (and due in part also to a general lack of common sense).

gloria sit Deo!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just as a follow up ...

...after her flights have been completed - when Monica does land here in beautiful southeast lower Michigan - she will have been in the skies above 14 of the 50 states on this day: CO, KS, MO, AR, TN, MS, AL, GA, NC, VA, KY, WV, OH, and MI.

And all because she got so see these cuties:

Spirit Air

We've* been flying Spirit Air for almost 20 years now and have never had a late flight or any type of problem whatsoever. But we must have been overly lucky up until my wife's most recent trip out west.

Her Friday morning flight out of Detroit Metro was delayed. Wouldn't have been a big deal, except she had booked a 2 hour shuttle bus ride from the Denver airport up to the Air base in Cheyenne. So she missed her bus, but they run every two hours and she was able to hop on the next one.

Her return flight was scheduled to leave Denver at about 8 pm yestreday (Monday) local time and arrive at Metro at about 12:30 in the morning (Tuesday here). Well, yestreday morning the flight was posted as 'delayed' about two hours. She had enough notice and so was able to spend an extra couple of hours with those babies before hopping on the bus south.
By the time she got to the airport, though, there was already another hour delay posted, and shortly thereafter, the flight was cancelled.


What do ya do now?

We talked on and off for almost two hours as she waited in line with a hundred other happy souls and as I tried to access alternative flight options online by means of our very unreliable internet connection (remember the joy of trying to download songs in 1995 through the phone line?!?). The frustration level was high, and I swore some.

2:30 am our time and she just called with the itinerary: 6:25 am (about six hours from now) Delta 1517 leaves for Atlanta and arrives at 10:54 am. After a two hour and 16 minute layover, she will board Delta 1608 at 1:34 pm and arrive in Romulus at exactly 3:31 pm. Meaning, I get to leave work a little early :-).

She was in good spirits and with good people, and I thank God for that. She also said there's a McDonald's with dollar cheeseburgers in the airport. Life is good.

Thank You, Father, for working this out. Thank You for always making a way, thank You for always providing. 

We love You, too.

I am ready for bed.

'We' is a bit of a misnomer. I flew once with my wife down to Lauderdale for a spring break adventure in 1996. We rented a Sebring convertible at the airport and spent a week in the Keys. It was a wonderful time. It was also the only time I've ever flown. Moni has flown to Vegas a couple times with her sister, and more recently, several times to Denver, en route to see her son and his family in Cheyenne, WY.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tommee sings and plays...

Sunday Evening Prayer

Perfect Holy Immortal, Invisible God only wise,

All praise to You this evening! You alone are worthy of our praise; if we did not sing out, the rocks would!

I confess our sin to you, Lord, and ask for Your forgiveness yet again, by the blood of the Lamb. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Thank You for all good gifts: life, love, laughter, family, friends, food, shelter, song, salvation.

Father, I pray tonight for those who are ill and suffering - bring Your healing to them

for those who are without a home to lay their head - provide for them

for those without a family to love them - send surrogate family from Christ's Body

for those who have no one to pray for them - hear their prayer

for those who feel the need to hurt others - change their hearts

for those with little - be their Sustenance

for those with much - be our Sufficiency

for those who do not yet know You - come, Lord Jesus

for those who do know You and struggle with doing the right thing - forgive us when we fail, and give us the grace to continue to fight the good fight

for those faced with weighty decisions - grant us Your peace

for those who are grieving tonight - comfort their hearts.

Into Your hands we commend ourselves, our bodies and souls and all things. Let Your Holy Spirit be with us, that the wicked foe may have no power over us.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thumpin Thursday

My beautiful bride is flying out west tomorrow early am to see the grand-babies and I will be holding down the proverbial fort. The grass is already cut, so I will be bored.

Joslin Mia and Liam Jason get to visit with Gramma Moni all weekend!

Not really. I will have the vegetables, herbs and annuals to water and tend to, and the hummingbirds to talk to.

The fantasy baseball week goes from Monday through Sunday, so I usually spend a good bit of time on the weekend shoring up my team for the next week. Injuries, player trends, suspensions, hunches (I do alot of that), and MLB Network's Quickpitch help me make informed decisions.

Despite my regular bitch sessions, I do enjoy many aspects of my current job as a mortgage loan processor on the second floor of an office above Coney Joes in beautiful downtown Brighton Michigan. First and foremost, I have been able to get my Spider Solitaire win percentage in two suits up to 90% through persistence and tenacity. Secondly, I enjoy meeting nice people and having brief, mostly meaningless conversations, all under the guise of trying to obtain necessary documents/information/etc. Thirdly, the smells from Coney Joes below us are overwhelmingly endearing.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What a Weekend!

We got alot done in our yard this past weekend - thankful for the wonderful weather we had!
Parsley, tomatoes, peppers, and pineapple sage have been doing fairly well, so I added garden sage (Thanksgiving yummmm!), sweet basil (bruschetta!), rosemary (flavoring our pork loins), oregano (oh that Italian-y aroma!) and German thyme (a plethora of uses - it will replace our mother-of-thyme, which did not survive the record-low-temperature winter). Cut the grass and weed-whipped all over to give the estate a nice, trimmed look. Also had to replace our blower; to get the grass clippings off the patio, our new Homelite150 mph 233 CFM 7 Amp Electric Blower/Sweeper did the job.

Won my fantasy week, thanks to Jason Hamel's 58 points - i think my best pitching score ever! The guy i'm against this week has Max pitching twice so i'll need a little more from Miggy and hoping Rendon is healthy and productive!


And now, I work a little...

Friday, June 5, 2015

When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Photgrapher

Bigass spider at work

Otis the Quat on his perch

From his perch atop his scratch post, Otis the Quat can look at the birds to the north

The forsythia bush only partially blocks Otis the Quat's view of the northern birds

Full moon a couple nights ago, with my .03 megapixel phone camera

Full moon rising a couple nights ago, about 20 minutes after it was low and orange

Full moon rising in the southeast a couple nights ago

Full moon and our scantily illuminated shed

Why does it look so big live, and then in photos it looks so small?

Google does this for me; I have not yet this skill

Our little patio south of the deck

A little American Flag, in our barrel planter, south of the large sagae hosta (named Hosta of the Year in 2000) on our little patio

Out of focus, and taken through both a dirty window pane and the accompanying screen, a hummer sits amid the dappled willows

A slick attempt at capturing the hummer feeding, this time through the open window and nearly opaque screen, failed

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pussycats and Potassium

The losing streak engulfing our Tigers has made evenings just ordinary. Forgive me, Lord, for placing so much of my anticipation in regular sporting events.

Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland A's - June 3, 2015
Anibal Sanchez led the American League in ERA two years ago, but has struggled at times this year
Rachael Ray's Sloppy Joes, a favorite in our household for the past several years, will allow me to work inside instead of out. Last night we had asparagus, corn, and marinated chicken cooked over charcoal on the grill. As I covered the grill back up this morning, the smells from the chicken assaulted my olfactory senses causing mild salivation.

This perfect plate really only shows about a quarter of my meal last night.
Forgive me, Lord, for placing so much of my anticipation on food. Forgive my gluttony and lust of all good things edible. Help me to enjoy the recreational activities and provision You have given us, without making it such a big deal.

You are the Big Deal. You suffice. You satisfy. You fill - to overflowing. You imbibe.
I praise You this morning; You alone are worthy of praise.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Worrying?? Me?!?

I think worry is a sin that those of us who like to have control of the situation commit more often than others do. Stress is a result of this worry, and I will leave that topic for another day.

I remember during my first years of teaching, I would have nightmares that I had lost control of a class. I would be screaming and threatening and no one would listen! Airplanes and rubber bands flying around the room, kids drawing on the marker boards and sitting on the desks talking and laughing loudly (a nightmare indeed!), ... it was terrible.

It's always so easy for me to worry about things like paying bills, rent, insurance,  car payment, etc on time. I can also be quite anxious over a visit to the dentist. (I loathe that chair and the upside down angle I am reclining at while strangers poke and prod in my mouth, and I think that I hope I never really have to be in one ever again as long as I live. Contrarily, sitting upright while having a a white-robed individual peer incessantly into my eyeballs with the painful brightest of bright white lights and even enduring the poof of air test is a walk in the park for me.) I find myself grabbing the arms of the dentist chair until my forearm muscles cramp up, and thusly God reminds me to give it to Him - and stop worrying!

He always knows when I need him the most. He always speaks to me through circumstances, people, and even the animals (the hummers at our feeder and catmint plant last night were a special treat!).

He knows what I'm enduring, what I'm facing; He knows all about the bills and the dentists and the IRS and the necessary losses. And He's not worried. Nor shall I be. :-)

As faithful members of the Body of Christ, we would do well to heed the words of St Peter

And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
“God opposes the proud,
    but gives grace to the humble.”
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for youDiscipline yourselves, keep alert.

~1 Peter 5:5-8a 

God, grant me the serenity 
to accept the tings I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Blessed be God forever!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Beautiful Cool Monday

Cool (cold, actually) air coming in my westerly facing office window as the noise of Monday morning Grand River traffic in my left ear competes with 99.1 Today's Lite Rock in my right.

After the heat and humidity of the past week, all of a sudden yestreday a front moved through and wallah! it got cold. I was coerced into closing ALL our windows at home can you believe it; there was even discussion of a fire in the fireplace!

I lost several writings I had not yet posted here, in an effort to organize my photos on my desktop at home. I am sad.

Thankful for a new day and for the time I got to spend with my sweetie this past weekend.

Blessed be God forever!

Thanking God for His provision - a newer, safer, roomier vehicle: The Journey