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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Same Weather as Last Year . . . Other Differences

In looking at last year's notes, I see that the days were almost identical in the month of January. Unbelievable warm days -- today near 70 again and it only misted a couple of times this week. The nights and early mornings though are plenty cold,  for here anyway,  in the 30s. But so many other things have changed in our daily living. Gail still is dealing with the January mode of the office gearing up to the "peak" which should start next week. Me, I met with our contractor to "talk" about our first project at our new house . . . we thought we'd start "on the deck":

When we first walked through this house last May, of course the pool stood out as a new feature for us, but for one of us another feature was this gray structure pictured above -- I envisioned relaxing evenings spent enjoying the "spa" or "hot tub" as it is really. I was interested in making that all happen -- but, cooler heads have prevailed and the tub has to go . . . anyone like a hot tub?  act now or in the next couple of weeks it may not be in one piece anymore nor usable.  It will be interesting to see how it will ultimately be removed -- we're thinking chain saw is the only option as it is built in . . . so the projects are to begin with this along with some work on the arbors and railings. We keep thinking of possibilities.

From the Tree (Dino's Tree that is . . .)

Since this is a blog partly about family history it is appropriate to share some things about Dino's family. He was born on 24 September, 2011 to his parents Marino and Mango. Dino has 7 siblings in his family all of them female. Dino's parents are both black yet he and two other siblings are yellow. So it is interesting to see him close to his birth day and with his Mother and siblings (all have names that start with "D"):

Pictured above is Dino and siblings at feeding time, Dino is the yellow to the far left.  Then a single picture of Dino as he walks around his environment (plastic swimming pool) and finally with one of his sisters . . .
Of all the dogs that I have owned, never before have I been lucky enough to see the "family". Usually it was just something that was supposed, though as a high school kid, we had Minx and Jinx and their Mother, Susie -- only Minx survived to live with us for several years.

Our Thoughts turn to Football

While last week's championship games did not work out for the two teams that we were pulling for -- those two teams coached by a Harbaugh brother -- we still look forward to the excitement surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl game. Not enough excitement to try to attend the game -- we are very content to watch it on TV. Costco this week had several Super Bowl packages available though if we were to change our minds. The packages started at $2,999 and up to $15,999  . . . our package here at the house will run probably $10 for maybe a specialty item or two to consume during the game . . .

But, one of the interesting things I remember about growing up in Illinois was how much my Father liked Football too. We never attended a game or anything like that, but never-the-less Football played a role in his life. I remember him telling me that at one point he quit a job to attend a Football game in which one of his favorites was playing -- Red Grange. Now I do not know what job he quit nor what game he actually saw -- but it must have been a game between the years 1925 and 1934. Red Grange played for the Chicago Bears in those years, so that makes sense:

Red Grange, "The Galloping Ghost" as he was known as. He was about the same age as my Dad and was really the first big professional football player to make it "big", both in earnings and accomplishments. He grew up in Wheaton, Illinois a town not far from where I grew up. He then went on the University of Illinois where he starred (his number and that of Dick Butkus were the only two retired) and then went to play for da Bears. Later he was a broadcaster for the Bears as well. He died right around the time that my Dad did.

The Walter Camp shown above is credited with professionalizing football with the formation of the eventual National Football League. The candy bar -- Red Grange -- I have never seen . . . Baby Ruths I remember.

A New Crate

As Dino nears 40 pounds he is getting cramped in his "puppy crate". So two days ago a very large box was delivered to our doorstep and inside was Dino's new "Condo Crate" . . . it almost does not fit through the doorways as we move it from bedroom to office or family room. He fell in love with it right away -- he could actually invite all his siblings to visit -- at least for now. Eventually he will fill most of it:

The above shows Dino and his first reactions to being in his new housing. He will spend about 8 to 10 hours a day in the crate and he never really objects to that. When in the auto he also has a crate that he rides in as well -- all I have to do is teach him to jump up into the car though. Once in the crate he resists coming out unless someone walks by that he is anxious to "see".

Dinner Items from the Tree

One of the things that I do during Gail's working season (January through April) is to cook all the meals. The hard part is to come up with dinner selections that are interesting, good and fun to make. It does seem easy sometimes to repeat menu items a lot. I think back to growing up and how my Mother was the one who cooked every meal and managed to come up with "great" stuff to eat. Partly it was because I was almost always hungry and I can't think of very many items that she cooked that I didn't like . . . two of those items though can not ever be what I fix now for us -- Liver & Onions -- which my Mother called steak, and SPAM which I still love -- but never get the opportunity to eat.

Spam I have pictures of -- not true with Liver & Onions. Actually, thanks to a certain member of our tree I have a nice collection of Spam memorabilia -- but that is all I have with regards to Spam. I think Spam has gotten a bum rap, if eaten responsibly it should be just fine . . . now Liver & Onions, while they smelled so good while being prepared when I was a kid, ever since working in the "meat" industry I have backed off of eating liver or other "organ" meats -- at least knowingly because I still like eating hot dogs . . .

Dino's Growth Progress

We know that Dino is growing rapidly and is no longer the tiny cute pup that he was when we got him. Others tell us how much he has grown when they see him. We know that he weighs close to 40 pounds and he was just 20 pounds when we got him 56 days ago:

The above are photos of Dino this week at 4 months and a week old. The grass pictures were taken just a few hours ago today. He pretty much looks grown-up, but to us he is still the cute puppy that we can just barely pick up once in awhile. He is a very good boy . . .

Menu Change

Speaking of menu selection items, today will mark a major change for us -- instead of "Slider Saturday Night" it is going to be "Stir-Fry Saturday Night" . . . every once in awhile a shake up is a good thing in a routine -- at least for us. I did grow up though with hamburgers every Saturday Night and always looked forward to them along with the once-a-week "pop" that went with . . . as far as I know, no one ever even heard of "stir-fry" in Illinois in those days . . .

So the above is the bowl of vegetables for the stir-fry. There is a nice cut-up steak marinating in the fridge to be added and all will be served over a bowl of rice -- we love "bowls of things" . . .  the above took about two hours to chop up but will last about two meals worth . . . I have spent a lot of time in the last two days "chopping up things" as I made my two week supply of Chili in our largest pot yesterday . . .

So goes our week -- we hope you all have a great week, see you in a few!

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