Thursday, December 18, 2014

Go Pack Go

Who needs hand-warmers when deep-fried
cheese curds do the job just as well?
These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of holiday travel. We visited the JB's family in Chicago and mine in Green Bay. My sister's gift this Christmas was Packers tickets. The Monday Night Football match against the Falcons. Although I now live in Atlanta, my allegiance will always be to my first home team.

My mom was the biggest Packers fan ever. I think her pet name for me as a toddler was "Packer" because she dreamed of me one day playing on Lambeau Field. That, or she already sensed I was gay and my childhood nickname was actually a homophobic slur.

The game was so much fun. I had a blast watching JB's first Lambeau experience. Out of the 75,000 people at the game, I'm pretty sure there was only one Mexican wearing a cheesehead.

I called JB "Nacho". Just once.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nocturnal Python

What does it mean when Jesus appears to you in a dream? It happened to me early this morning. In my dream a "nazarene" was also the name for a type of lounge chair. This created endless opportunity for comical confusion.

You know it's going to be a good day when you wake up laughing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On My Toes

It's official. Not even Google can find
anything cuter than a kitten.
Kittens: Natures most adorable terrorists. (Unless you've got a fetish for greasy shawarma beards.)

A couple weeks ago, smug in the superiority of man over feline, I posted about how I prevented little Kamikaze (Kitty #1, aka Cosmo) from fitting between the bars of my balcony railing. Then I saw Kamikaze sitting on top of the balcony railing. I'd obviously merely provided him an easy means of reaching this higher, more precarious perch.

So I used the remaining chicken wire cable ties to make little plastic spikes along the rail. This succeeded in keeping Kamikaze off the railing. Which is why he now sits on the peak of the center railing post.

Yesterday I found Pussy Monster (Kitty #2, aka Rusty) chewing on a Q-tip. "Bad kitty! That's gross!" I told him as I pried it from his strong tiny jaws and threw it away. This morning I found a hundred Q-tips strewn around the house.

I've written before how JB likes to stash cash around the house before instantly forgetting where he hid it, right? The other day I found Pussy Monster chewing up a twenty dollar bill. We still don't know where he found it, and Pussy Monster isn't talking. Then today the kitties were playing "cat and mouse" with a condom. Don't worry, it was still in the wrapper. But still, I probably shouldn't use it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pac'n Sausage

It's a well-established scientific fact that carbohydrate cravings intensify this time of year. There are several theories for this, many having to do with serotonin levels. Luckily, I'm one of those rare individuals immune to this syndrome, having been born without a serotonin gland. (I'm an all-dopamine guy.)

Despite yet another congenital defect, I do find myself presently focusing on food more than usual. Preparing it and, of course, eating it. But most of all I find myself studying food. I think this is due to a combination of several factors: the approaching holidays, the extra time on my hands and my latent maternal instincts triggered by raising two baby kitties.

Mmmm, dirty Levis...
So while my Tivo simultaneously records the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, I'm on my googler looking up recipes. I admit to being partial to The Pioneer Woman. Not just because she's my role model for parlaying a blog into a lucrative multimedia empire, but also to catch every possible glimpse of Cowboy Josh's intriguing package. -->

But most of my focus lately has been on recreating flavors from my youth. This means quintessential Yooper food. Things like pasties, pickled eggs and cudighi. While pasty pies and pickled eggs have always been staples at my house, this was the first time attempting my own cudighi sausage.

Growing up, a "cudighi" was a sandwich. A pork sausage patty slathered in pizza sauce, topped with melted mozzarella cheese and tucked inside a hogie roll. But now I realize this tasty sausage was used in all sorts of yoo-talian dishes, including my favorite pizza.

Cudighi sausage was never something we made at home. Not even my grandmother, who made everything from scratch, attempted this to my knowledge. It was always something we'd get at a restaurant or sub shop. Now I know why. Making sausage from scratch is kind of gross.

Not planning to blog my sausage-making adventure, I didn't take any photos. I'll do that next time. And based on the results, there will be a next time. Even the Jumping Bean was raving about my sausage. This made me feel good, considering the last time he was on a nostalgic cooking kick, he tried recreating his mom's eggs & cactus.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Containment Arrangement

It's been three and a half weeks since we adopted our new kittens, Cosmo and Rusty. While Aggie and Emil can never be "replaced", the quiet emptiness that has descended upon our home since their passing has been completely filled by these two little ones.

At first I had a difficult time telling them apart. They're both black, and while Cosmo has a small blaze of white on his chest, it's mostly obscured by his collar. Of course JB picked out collars with absolutely no consideration as to how they might look to someone with red-green colorblindness.

But it didn't take long for their distinct personalities to emerge. Rusty is definitely more outgoing. His affectionate kisses quickly turn into playful nips which become less cute and more painful with each passing day. We were warned by the shelter about his tendency to bite. Fortunately, he seems to be gradually exiting this phase as he learns how quickly the fun can stop.

Cosmo, on the other hand, never bites or scratches. But he's less affectionate and hates to be held. But if I patiently let him come to my on his own terms, he'll snuggle like the dickens. He was a rebound child, having already been adopted and returned to the shelter. Poor baby.

Rusty is quickly becoming the more physically imposing of the two. At his first-week checkup he'd already gained 2.5 pounds! And it feels like all muscle. While Cosmo is more demure at meal time, play time is a different story. He's usually the chaser, keeping Rusty on his toes.

For his part, Cosmo is the more adventurous of the two. There seems to be no place in the condo which is inaccessible to this little climber. This tendency is keeping his daddies on their toes. Especially the other day when we found Cozzie walking the one-inch ledge on the outside of our balcony railing.

While I'm not so worried about him hurting himself (it's only a ten foot drop) I am worried about him getting lost. But making the balcony off-limits seems like a draconian measure considering this is the only fresh air they get. It just feels wrong to make even a small part of our condo inaccessible to the kitties, considering it's now their place as much as it is ours. More than ours when you consider we're free to come and go as we please while they're consigned to spend every hour of every day here.

So after a trip to Home Depot I kitty-safed the balcony railing. I know at first blush it sounds trashy, but I assure you this is not your father's chicken wire. It's color-coordinated polyurethane poultry containment hex-netting. Still, I wasn't sure this important distinction would be fully appreciated by the HOA. So as a pre-emptive measure, I made an arrangement with an influential board member.

Quid pro quo.

The things we do for our pets.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gravely Entertaining

So I watched "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave" even though the ending was utterly spoiled by the TV Guide.

It was awesome!

True enough, Drac met his demise by falling on something sharp. He fell backward onto a large crucifix... the short, top part of the cross (where Jesus' head goes) so that most of it was sticking out his back. And try as he might, he couldn't reach it. OMG it was hilarious watching him flailing around like an albatross in a BP oil slick. I almost died laughing.

Interestingly, a stake through the heart – let alone a crucifix – wasn't enough to dust this Dracula. To be fully effective, the impaling had to be accompanied by a reciting of the Lord's Prayer. The twist here was that our hero was an avowed atheist. I'm not sure if that makes him incapable of saying the words, or if his prayers don't count. Ha! Stop, I can't breathe!

So the hero and his rescued bride could only watch Drac cuss in Romanian as he struggled vainly to reach behind for the four-foot crucifix poking out his back. At one point Drac tried to push the short part (where Jesus' head goes) back through his chest wound, only to yelp in pain and soothe his sizzle-burned fingers in his mouth. Which probably should have made him glad he couldn't reach the back part. Because crucifix blisters are the worst. Hee hee!

I could have watched this go on for another fifteen minutes if the evil priest hadn't decided to turn good and put poor Drac out of his misery with a hearty latin Pater Noster. LOL!

At the end of the evil priest's prayer, the squealing vamp goes poof and the blonde bimbo falls into the hero's arms. It's at this point our atheist hero does a strange thing: he says "amen" and makes the sign of the cross. While I was a bit disappointed by our hero's apparent foxhole conversion, I admit to having done the exact same thing last Thanksgiving dinner at JB's sister's house.

According to IMDB, this 1969 movie has the distinction of being the
first move to receive a rating from the MPAA. Oddly, rated "G".

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Spoiler Alert?

I love the old scary movies they show on TV leading up to Halloween. I'm tempted to watch this one just to see if it lives up to its brief — yet surprisingly thorough —  synopsis.