Friday, October 30, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Animation courtesy of Google Assistant and the Whitmore Lake birds


Just got back from the airport after dropping my bride off early for her 7:45 flight to Denver. She is all geared up in her green and white and has the side pockets of her backpack filled with travel snacks. Two and a half hour flight to Denver, then a two hour shuttle bus ride north to the Air base in Cheyenne. God, bless her and those kids and the grand babies, and bless their time together. Thank You for this opportunity for her.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"What 're ya rebelling against, Johnny?"
~"Whaddya got?"

"... with ... geometric logic ... "

Two Contrails

Animation made from about twenty images taken at about 6:50 pm on 16th October 2015

Moon and Contrail

Animation made from about 20 images taken in succession at about 6:30 pm on the 16th of October 2015


If you have driven in the great state of Michigan north or south on US Highway 23 between Ann Arbor and Brighton, you will have seen this sign at some point.

Since moving to Whitmore Lake, we have discovered the eatery at the base of this FOOD sign, and have embraced it for it's quality of service, quality of food, and value for our dollar. This morning early, we were there - at the Whitmore Lake Tavern - ordering our two waters one coffee ham and American cheese omelet with mushrooms added and Texas toast.
We walked across the street after for a couple photos of the lake, and were on our way.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Recipe #129 Chicken Parm You Taste So Good

What a blessing it was to be able to share this meal - the smells we had in the kitchen this past Tuesday was about to die for, and the taste wasn't too shabby either. With minor alterations, I would like to thank and my sister Carolyn for the recipe.


2 tablespoons EVOO
2 cloves minced garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 of the large zucchini used in recipe #3
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups pasta sauce

dash of oregano
1 cup of garlic salad croutons crushed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

In your favorite baking pan, swirl a turn of olive oil to coat the bottom and add the red pepper flakes and garlic to the pan.

Slice the zucchini into half-inch disks and layer in the bottom of the pan. Drizzle a bit more EVOO over these.

Add the chicken to the pan, and pour the sauce over the chicken. Season with oregano.

Cover with the cheese and top everything with the crushed croutons. I've never used these before and I found these really add a whole nother layer of flavor to this dish.

Bake for an hour and check the meat temp - you want to not get sick by eating under-cooked chicken!

We had a little the next day, very tasty - even heated up in the microwave.

I was just thinking, I only used a half jar of Kroger Homestyle Parmesan and Romano Pasta Sauce, but you could add onion, green pepper, mushrooms, ... bacon, ... ??

Be creative - enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Untitled Post

The Daily Assault on my Olfactory Nerves

Oh it smells like fall!

As I sit right next to my westward facing window in the morning in the offices of Livingston Lending in beautiful downtown Brighton, and as the light rain pitters on the street below, the aroma comes in!

Now on most days here amidst several thousand nearby eateries, pubs, diners, restaurants, and fast food joints, I get other types of smells depending on the time of day...

10:00 usually signifies bacon cheeseburger time from Coney Joes directly below us. That bacon smell is a tough one. On more than one occasion it has prompted me to call down and order a hot dog.
Closer to noon and the grill smells from Lu and Carls across the street start coming over - you know that bar food smell that reeks of fatty fried potato wedges and cheese sticks and grilled beef done to perfection?

Early afternoon is when it gets tricky. The Thai restaurant - whose vent stacks are right outside our southern facing window - really gets that grease fryer going. So from outside we get that nasty grease smell but from within we get the cooked seasoned meat and vegetable smells that last the rest of the day til morning when I come up those stairs the next day. :-)

Yestreday the fluke was some sort of cinnamon bun baking smell which had me sopping up the drool with paper towels. Don't know where that one came from.

Another oddity comes from the Thai place below. There is a rope coming from ground level to the roof and over to a large weight hanging from an apparatus right next to some duct-work. Every day at some point, they pull that rope several times, which brings the weight away from the duct, and then let it go, which lets the weight bang into the duct. It is loud, and I know not why they do it.

The white tripod holding the rope that holds the weight that bangs again the metal at random times, on the roof next to our south-facing window
Our most favorite rep just called telling me to order the pizza, salad, pop, cups, plates, utensils and napkins and she will pay for it when she gets here. Yippeeeeee!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Story From Yestreday, With A Sort Of Recipe Included For Free

My rememberings of yestreday - Saturday 17 October 2015

The day started well: the sun shone bright and orange on the autumn color in the trees, the frost was thick on the vehicle windows, the temps in the high thirties. But dark clouds loomed overhead in the east - dark, purple-grey - looking all too much like storm clouds (or SNOW clouds, shut your mouth:-)
I had a couple of errands to run in Brighton, and I got out the door by 8:30 or so. The trip to town was pleasant - quiet and prayerful. I got to Meijer by 9:30 and you would have thought it was well into mid-day by the number of folks there! MSU - U of M gameday! And Brighton sits about twenty minutes north of Ann Arrogant on US-23 and about forty minutes east of East Lansing on I-96.

Everybody at the bank, and about 90% of the folks I saw at the packed Meijer were geared up one way or the other. Young, old, big small - almost everybody was geared up in either Green and White or Maize and Blue. And the funny thing was I saw so many couples made up of one Sparty and one Woverine! How fun :-)

I had also hoped to find an inexpensive stack of wood for the weekend, as we had not yet been in touch with our firewood guy, and I was praying that God would so provide. As I left town, I immediately saw the deer-that-is-to-me-the-sign-of-God's-love and I praised His Name.
Within a mile, on the left, there was a 'FIREWOOD' sign with a phone number and I noticed several stacks near the barn. Three very generous stacks of seasoned mixed split wood with a sign saying $20 per stack welcomed me and I thanked God. I loaded one stack into the back of the Grape, but could not find a box to put the money in, so I drove over to the house and paid a nice young man who had been kicking a soccer ball around the back yard. I left elated and thankful - thankful for the birthday cash I had received from my parents which allowed me to get a few things at Meijer to make soup with, thankful for the huge stack of wood, and eagerly anticipating the big game with my bride, some warm soup, and a fire in the fireplace.

I got home and backed up to the deck to stack the firewood. As soon as I got out of the Grape, the MSU fight song was blaring through our front door, courtesy of my super-fan wife. In an even better mood now, I stacked the wood, and got to work in the kitchen. Chicken soup with vegetables and pearl barley AND pulled chicken with my favorite Rachel Ray barbecue sauce were the agenda of the day.

I harvested what I could from our herbs on the patio (parsely, garden sage, pineapple sage, rosemary, Mother of Thyme and lemon thyme) and threw those in a huge cook pot with water, the chicken thighs, bay leaves, an onion, half an apple, salt and pepper, celery and carrot bits, and a couple of bouillon cubes. Two hours on the boil and the chicken was reading about 175 and I called it good enough. I removed the chicken to cool, and poured the stock through a fine mesh strainer. The taste of the liquid at this point was perfect. I let it cool for a bit and tried to skim off some fat from the top.
Meanwhile, I made the barbecue sauce for the pulled chicken and had that ready to go into the crock pot.

When the chicken had cooled, I removed and discarded the bones and skin, and added half to the soup stock and half to the crock pot on high with the sauce.

To finish the soup, I added a couple more bullion cubes, a cup of shredded cabbage, a chopped up onion, about a cup of chopped carrots and celery, and about half a cup of pearl barley. This last ingredient seems to really add another whole level of flavor to the soup. I let the soup rolling boil for another hour, taking us right up to game time.

I let the chicken and sauce go in the crockpot on high all day, until it was bubbling. I shaved up some apple and cabbage and mixed it with Miracle Whip, EVOO, salt, sugar, pepper, and just a shot of diet Mountain Dew for a slaw to top the chicken sandwiches with.

By game time, we were well fed, warm, and had found the Spartan radio network - with George Blaha getting ready for the play by play.

The recap of the game and its miraculous ending are detailed elsewhere. 

Little Liam in Cheyenne is our youngest grandchild, and considers himself a Wyoming Spartan

Pulled chicken with Rachael Ray sauce, slaw, and pickles, on an Aunt Millie's seeded enriched Kaiser roll

Our Joslin Mia spelling M-S-U, as cute as can be
Gramma still in pain from two tooth extractions, Otis is singer in the band
Drew and Mason show their spirit on game day

Connor Cook celebrating with his fellow Spartans in their corner of the Big House

Coach Jim put your name at the top of his list

Four post game images

The pile up on Watts-Jackson

The statue of Magic defaced by losers

Paul Bunyan com ing back home to East Lansing

Yep, pride always comes before the fall

Saturday, October 17, 2015


'It was such an ugly game', my wife summarized.

But the final play was the sweetest I can remember, perhaps even above the Tigers' game 5 win in the 1984 World Series.

The game was played in Ann Arrogant Stadium, with over 110,000 screaming Michigan fans wearing blue mufflers and waving maize feather dusters. The refs it seemed were Ann Arrogant residents, and the Spartans didn't seem to want this game as bad as we did. Special teams were absolutely outplayed by Michigan and we only had 58 rushing yards!

Connor Cook and the Spartans were down by 2 points with about two minutes left, and the drive stalled on an incomplete 4th and 19. But after a punt, and with the MSU defense holding Michigan to just eight yards on their final drive, U-M lined up to punt with ten seconds left.

The snap was a little wide, and the kicker muffed it. The Spartans, bringing all eleven men on a rush, got the ball, and Jalen Watts-Jackson ran the ball into the end zone, ending up with a broken hip for his trouble.

God answered my trivial prayer tonight, all Glory to Him.

MSU beats U-M in Ann Arrogant 27-23
Go Green!

MSU @ Michigan 2015

To-day's the day we've waited for the whole long week long
I'm so giddy with excitement, i almost wrote a song!

Our Spartans go to the Big House to face the Wolverines
This rivalry is very strong between these winning teams

I know some folks around here do so root for Mich-i-gan
But no one in this house will do so - we are MSU fans!

And so is our grand-daughter Joslin, in Cheyenne, way out west
She's all geared up in green and white, she knows which team's the BEST!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Daily Flip Calendar

From the October 15th entry of my desk calendar at work; insightful and perfect for me this morning.

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell you way to the holy and hidden heart of it because, in the last analysis, all moments are key moments and life itself is grace.
Frederick Buechner, a Presbyterian author of books and minister of the Word, wrote this. 


I am part of a worldwide group of folks reading through both the Gospels in a year and the abbreviated YOUCAT version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. YOUCAT explains Church teaching in a bit more detail than the full Catechism, and has been used in RCIA classes and youth group study. This morning's piece from YOUCAT is about prayer, and I wanted to share it here.

Why should we petition God? (Part II)
What do Christians express by prayer postures? Christians bring their life before God through the language of the body: They cast themselves down before God. They fold their hands in prayer or stretch them out (the Orante position). They genuflect (bend the knee) or kneel before the All-Holy God. They listen to the Gospel while standing. They meditate while seated.
Standing in the presence of God expresses reverence (you stand up when a superior enters) and also vigilance and readiness (you are ready to set out on a journey immediately). If at the same time the hands are outstretched in praise of God (the Orante position), the person praying assumes the original gesture of praise.
While sitting in God's presence, the Christian listens to what is happening interiorly; he ponders the Word in his heart (Lk 2:51) and meditates on it.
By kneeling, a person makes himself small in the presence of God's greatness. He recognizes his dependence on God's grace.
By prostrating himself, a person adores God.
By folding the hands, a person overcomes distraction, "recollects himself" (gathers his thoughts) and unites himself to God. Folded hands are also the original gesture of petition.

Why should we petition God for other people?
As Abraham intervened by his prayer for the inhabitants of Sodom, as Jesus prayed for his disciples, and as the early Christian community looked "not only to [their] own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Phil 2:4), so too Christians always pray for everyonefor people who are dear to their hearts, for people who are not close to them, and even for their enemies. The more a person learns to pray, the more profoundly he realizes that he has ties to a spiritual family through which the power of prayer is made effective. With all my concern for the people whom I love, I stand in the midst of the family of mankind and may receive strength from the prayers of others and may call down divine assistance for others. (YOUCAT questions 486-487)

LORD, You always give me more to think about, especially when I think I've got a particular aspect of my spiritual life all worked out. Thank You for loving me; thank You for leading me to be a better, stronger man of God; thank You for showing me how to love.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Recipe #3 - Stuffed Zucchini with Sausage, Mushrooms

I have been in possession of a large zucchini my parents gave me from their garden since Labor Day (about a month and a half ago). It was about two feet long and has been ripening on our kitchen counter since then.

The partially visible beautiful zucchini is the subject of to-day's recipe

I found this recipe at and I am duly thankful.


1 large zucchini counter-ripened from Labor Day until Columbus Day
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cups boiling water
salt/pepper to taste
1 lb ground sausage
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 tbs fresh garden sage
1 medium onion diced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic minced
1 egg
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Slice the zuc lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, leaving stuffable canoes with about a half inch of meat left.

Coat each half with the EVOO and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set these in your baking dish and add a half inch of boiling water to the dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 10 minutes.
Remove boats from water and set aside. Drain the water from your baking dish.

In your favorite frying pan, cook the sausage until it is all cooked. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage from the grease and place in a mixing bowl.

In the sausage grease, cook the onions, mushrooms, sage, and garlic until the onions are soft and golden brown.

Add the mixture to the bowl with the sausage, add the egg and about half of the grated cheese and mix well.

Oil up the dingys and set back in the baking dish and fill with the stuffing mix.

Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. At some point during these 35 minutes, the /garlic/sage/sausage smell will permeate your home and you will need a bib for the drool.

Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with a tall cool beverage and don't forget to share.

Monday, October 5, 2015


We are just starting the first full week of October, and the memories I have from this time of year are sweet. My birthday, and my two best friends' birthdays, Reformation Day, and my mom and dad's anniversary all fall within this great month.
It is the month of cooler temperatures yet sunny days, falling leaves of every color, and cider mill bees - I rejoice in the LORD our God! Blessed be the Name of the LORD!!

From Friday evening, from our side porch. Red sky at night, cloudy and rainy the next two days?