Garden 2009

on Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inspired by Cari's blog I thought I'd show what's growing in my yard.

The 30 year-old Bleeding Heart is about ready to bloom.

The Raspberries will be back again this year, no doubt with the same vengeance as last year.

Gas Plant anyone?

This is sedum which I stole from someone's overgrown garden.

The Daffodils I planted last year are ready to bloom!

My most successful plant, commonly known as Cheddar Pinks. Soon they will have pretty five-petal flowers that smell faintly of cloves.

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Driving: Do As I Say, Not As I Do

on Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Percentage of adults who said they had done these things in the previous 30 days:

Sped up to beat a yellow light: 58%

Exceeded the speed limit by 15 mph on major highways: 45%

Exceeded the speed limit by 15 mph on neighborhood streets: 15%

Deliberately ran red lights: 6%

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Oct. 25-Jan. 10 survey of 2,509 adults.

Amanda Cooke, 21, a computer teacher in Running Springs, Calif., says she used to drive so aggressively that her boyfriend was afraid to ride with her. "I'd cut people off to get into the lane I wanted to get in," she says. "I'd tailgate them if they were going too slow or blink my lights if it was night." Cooke says she stopped driving that way after crashing into another driver. "I didn't think it was as risky as it was," she says.


I spend a lot of time on the road and I see shitty drivers everywhere.  I will never understand why people feel that speed limits do not apply to them, in fact yesterday I got passed by some idiot going at least 60 in a 40 mph zone. They speed, they don't seem to notice that traffic is going slower than they are, they slam on their brakes when they get to a slower moving car, get mad and exchange hand gestures with the person who was not breaking the law.  Don't even get me started on people who speed through residential areas -- killing or injuring a child would not be a good addition your day.

I see people weave in and out of traffic without signaling their turns, people who think that stop signs don't apply to them (one jerk went around me on a two-lane residential street and crossed oncoming traffic while I waited at a stop sign to to turn right -- the oncoming cars had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting the stupid bastard).

I see people paying more attention to their cell phones than the fact that they are controlling a ton of glass and steel (like the woman who almost rear-ended me this morning as I turned onto the street my business is on). I see people who think that creeping up on a stop light will make it change green faster, and then when it does they sit there in some sort of daze.

And I'd bet that most of them are like the Ms. Cooke mentioned above who honestly don't think that their driving habits are dangerous.

I was taught to never take the other driver's skill as a given, I treat every car like it's a potential threat to my vehicle and try to never make a move without making eye contact when possible, when I know I am seen I am more secure. I've had too many close calls with people who think they're the only driver on the road to give anyone the benefit of a doubt.

Traffic laws are not there to inconvenience anyone.  Speed limits, turn lanes, yield signs, stop signs and traffic lights are there to make the roads safer for everyone. When someone ignores the speed limit because they were too distracted (or just plain stupid) to leave enough time to get where they are going, they are endangering not only themselves, but everyone on the road.  Being late is better than being injured or getting killed.

People get behind the wheel and turn into selfish monsters who think that everything and everyone is in their way and that needs to stop.  Start driving safer today. Slow down if you speed. Pay attention to your own vehicle and those around you. Above all remember that you're not alone on the road.  If we all do it, the roads will be safer.

Meatloaf avec Left-overs

on Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I had the feeling that my oven runs a little hot and subsequently cooks everything a bit too fast, dishes that should take an hour were done in about 45 minutes, etc. I mentioned this to Kate, so for my birthday she bought me an "outside the oven" meat thermometer. It's funny how a little thing like that could make me so excited! "What to cook? What to cook?" I kept asking myself, and I finally decided to start simple and make that prince of comfort food, meatloaf (tater tot hotdish is the king of comfort food).

I don't have a standard recipe for meatloaf, in fact I don't really have a standard recipe for anything, so I threw one together using a few leftovers, set the oven at 350° F, inserted the thermometer's probe, set the alarm to go off when the inside had reached 160° F, opened a beer and waited.

I didn't time it, but it sure felt like it took less time than times when I'd used a timer (nice sentence!), and it came out perfect! I'd never tasted a better one of my creations, it was so juicy and tender! What a treat!

My thrown together meatloaf:

1 lb. extra lean hamburger
1/4 lb. left-over uncooked stew meat cut into smaller pieces (it helps if its slightly frozen)
Several left-over slices of turkey pepperoni (not enough to make a pizza) cut into smaller pieces
One slightly beaten egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs (left-over from a recipe I was going to try, but never did)
1/4 cup left-over shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Asiago-parmesean blend cheese
2-3 tbsp ketchup
1-2 tbsp spicy mustard
approx 1 tsp garlic salt
approx 1 tsp ground pepper

The stew meat adds a texture you don't find in meatloaf, all of the sudden you're eating a small piece of steak. The turkey pepperoni adds a little taste surprise, and it was good to get it out of the fridge.

Now, what's next? A chicken? A pork loin? The possibilities are endless!