Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blast From the Past Thursday #23

So this is Paul at the Webster Flea Market this past May displaying a "Must Have" bathroom addition - especially for hard core Harley Bikers or morgues.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Full of Hot Air

Last last weekend I had an amazing ride. I got to play balloon crew, help set up a hot air balloon and then jump on in and ride it to 1500 feet. Its the most amazingly calm ride you'll ever take. And the only thing you can really hear from above are dogs barking - no cars, no trucks, no nothing. Its absolutely WILD! The landing is even more interesting because you don't know where you're going to end up. Ruth was Paul and I's pilot and through the whole flight she had to field my constant ballooning questions... So how do you land? (look for an empty space) So this is totally dependent on the wind, right? (yes - where it goes - we go) Where do you land (fields, peoples back yards - avoid cow pastures, trees and the farmers with shotguns) Where do you take classes to learn how to pilot? (airports) How long are they? (about a weekend) How often do you give it the flame? (every minute or so - 4 second burst) How much air is in the balloon? (1400lbs) Where do you buy them? (in GA) etc etc etc...

Ruth's husband, Dan works with Paul, we went to a work party of sorts last Fri evening and got to talking about their hot air balloon and then they suggested a time to see one fly if we helped set it up and maybe take a ride. Of course I was like " Are you kidding? HECK YEAH!" So we went to Hamfest and an India Festival at the VBC in the morning and met Dan, Ruth, and two other friends of ours Jasna and Jason out in a great big wide open field in Harvest, AL. Next thing Paul and I knew the balloon was up and ready to go and Ruth was saying jump on in. So we did! The rest is best told in pictures.

Paul had his GPS with him, so ths is the actual track of the balloon flight.

Right here we are just letting a huge fan inflate the balloon.

Now Dan is giving it the gas and warming up all the air, you can see its slowling lifting off the ground.

Jasna and Jason took this picture of Paul Ruth and I taking off.

Here's a short video clip of the view!

A view from above. See the itty-bitty cows? Hot air balloons are a really great way to check for clean pools too.

Here's out altitude - 1583. We reached 1600+. The temperature sensor isn't hooked up, so it really isn't -435.

Here we are packing it all up in its huge stuff sack.

Thank you Dan and Ruth for the awesome time!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Free the Worms!!

My Mom and Dad paid 6$ to buy 50 earthworms for Paul and I's garden and then $18.80 to have them overnighted to me. We could have gone down to the local bait shop - but after my Dad gave me a long list of names for all of them one evening - it was too late because they were already winging their way to us. A needless to say perplexed post office employee actually called me the next day to tell me that I had a package that said it contained live worms - to please pick it up.

Note the two yellow stickies on the side of the bucket - those are the names that my Dad gave me for the worms.

I fed them plain grits like my Mom told me to until I could release them into the garden. (Apparently these are fancy worms that don't eat dirt like the rest of the earthworms on the planet) These worms had been fed grits on the earthworm farm that my parents had bought them from and eventually would have been used as bait. So really my folks rescued them from being drawn and quartered, drowned or eaten alive by a hungry fish. Paul and I had a big worm release party a few weeks back - with tiny little helium balloons for all the little wigglers and all the dirt the worms could eat. I think they really enjoyed it.

Our friend Jennifer also participated in the "Free the Worms" movement and released some in her garden too. For worms they are really well traveled - Florida, Alabama and Tennessee.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Slacker Salmon Veggie Crepes

So I have been such a blog slacker of late because work has been so crazy hectic and I just haven't wanted to even touch the computer when I get home in the evening. Or I'm not home at all in the evenings. Last Monday my boss sat us down for a staff meeting and then told us we all needed to slow the personal email and internet use. Hence - I've kind of felt bad about sneak blogging at work, so I haven't done it. Believe me - its not a lack of fun things I doing - that's for sure! So I'm going to try to make it up to all of you with lots of updates of what I've been doing in the next few days.

The first step of which will be to dazzle you with my culinary genius! (HA HA!) No really, Paul and I made up this recipe a few weeks ago - and when we realized just how tasty it was we wrote it down really quickly so we could share it. If you like salmon - its simply divine. So if anyone is brave enough to test it out - you'll have to let me know how it turned out and if you'd recommend it.

Salmon Veggie Crepes

Makes about six crepes

Over medium heat in an iron skillet saute the following in extra virgin olive oil:
1 / 2 white onion coarsely chopped
1 / 2 container fresh mushrooms - sliced

While the onion and mushrooms are sauteing, prepare the following by chopping finely:
One-handful baby carrots

Add the carrots to saute and stir.

Wash and scrub one yellow squash and one zucchini squash - do not peel.
Coarsely shred the two squash

Finely chop the following:
Three sprigs fresh thyme
Three fresh basil leaves

When onions are clear, add 1 / 2 cup milk to pan with mushrooms, carrots and onions.

Add zucchini, yellow squash, thyme and basil tosaute saute, stir.

Add to saute:
1 / 8 teaspoon coarse garlic (dried)
1 / 4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 pinch all purpose seasoning
2 Tablespoons capers
1 / 4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Mix in a bowl, 1 can of 15 ounce Pink Salmon and one 8-ounce Philadelphia cream cheese.

Once milk and vegetables begin to bubble, place salmon and cheese in pan.

Stir continuously until mixture is smooth.

Prepare ready to eat crepes (We found some Melissa's brand in the fruit and veggie section of our local target) at room temperature on plates. Arrange a handful of fresh spinach leaves lengthwise in the middle of each crepe.

Spread 3/4 to 1 cup of Salmon vegetable mixture on top of spinach and crepe.
Sprinkle with finely shredded mozzarella cheese.
Wrap crepe and stick together by slightly wetting surface.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hongera! or Heri ya Siku kuu!

Today's Paul's Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Paul!
Happy Birthday to you!!!

Janam din diyan wadhayian!
Ilanga elimndandi kuwe!
Droonkher Tashi Delek!
La Multi Ani!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blast From the Past Thursday #23

Nearly 10 years ago to the day this impressed on me the importance of not wasting any time, of not wasting any life. I think its part of the reason why I don't like sitting still for too long - there's much to much to be explored and enjoyed and experienced to just sit at home watching TV. I hand copied it on August 13th, 1996 so I could commit it to memory. And then I decided to hang it up where I would see it everyday as a reminder to "Carpe Diem!" It hung for all 4 years in my Flagler College dorm room right above my desk, and then on the wall at home for a while and now it hangs on my wall at work. Some days it blends in with the notes, phone number list, checklists, ToDo's and calendar on my office wall. But every few days I'll read it again. This was one of those days.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Hello my Little Scallop

Well our vacation was great fun!

We drove all of Wednesday, had a lovely (but short) visit with my folks on Thursday, rented a pontoon boat for scalloping on Friday, toured Homasassa Springs Wildlife Park and canoed the saltwater marshes on Saturday and then drove back on Sunday.

If you've never been scalloping here's the basic breakdown.
1. Go to an area of the Gulf that has scallops - during scalloping season (July-August)
2. Get a salt water fishing license (Available at your local Homasassa Wal-Mart at the gun counter.)
3. Rent a large boat - we got a nice size pontoon boat for 5 adults, 1 child and a dog.
4. Bring lots of sunscreen, flippers, a snorkel, food, GPS, tasty beverages, bathing suits, towels, bait (preferably live), and some fishing poles.
5. Make sure you know how to swim and dive really well - because you will be doing it from 9am-5pm!
6. Pilot the boat out of the salt marshes (this part of FL doesn't have sandy beaches) and out till where the mile markers stop. (About 2+ miles out) Remember to stay right of the red miles markers and left of the green. This takes about an hour and a half or so.
7. Put on all your gear and dive on in - the water's just fine. You'll be in anywhere from 6-12 feet of water.
8. Start looking for the typical "sea shell" shape just above or in the seaweed.
9. When you dive and pick them up be careful!! They tend to "bite" by snapping shut - not to keen on being someone's dinner is my take on the situation.
10. Collect them in mesh bags and keep them in the water till your ready for land then put them on ice.
11. Pilot back after some recreational fishing.
12. Clean the little boogers and pan fry or saute them for dinner. (After cleaning a portion of the 125 we caught - and helping with the 156 caught the next day I think I can say I am now an expert in shucking and cleaning scallops!) And a word of advice on cleaning them would be - wait a little while after you slice them in half - its really creepy/freaky to feel them twitch long after they have left their shells.

Now on to the good stuff! Pictures!!

Paul coming up for air and some fresh water

Sophie (the "Other Sabrina's" pup) soaking up the rays

The rough and tough scallopers showing off their muscles

"Where the ocean meets the sky I'll be sailing" The water was so nice and calm in between the tides you couldn't tell where the ocean ended and the sky began.

All of us - well except Maya because she was sleeping - after our long day at sea scalloping. Left to right: Noone, Dustin, Sabrina B. Paul and I.

Here's the two-headed turtle that lives at Homasassa Springs Wildlife Park. Did I mention there's a nuclear power plant nearby?

More photos to come when I get home this evening....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blast From the Past #22

So the very first time I went to Disney World I went for something like two weeks! And I was old enough to remember it too - because my Mom waited till I was well into gradeschool to take me - i want to say maybe 3rd or 4th grade. My Mom and I, her sisters and a few cousins (I think) enjoyed Fort Wilderness, the hotels, Disney and Epcot - MGM wasn't around back then - and niether was Universal Studios either. Another reason why I remember the trip so vividly was that around the same time - I got my first camera. And it was "SO COOL." It was flourescent pink, and took 110-D film. I'm pretty sure this photo was taken with it. This is my Aunt and I laying on grass (probably where we werent' supposed to) in front of the Epcot Golf-ball. To me it looks so perfect it should be a picture postcard for Epcot - but then you notice the two goofs on the grass.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Self-timing Egg

Leave it to the Britts to come up with this one! I can't wait to see if we get something similair here in time. The self-timing egg basically uses time and heat sensative ink. Pretty darn cool really! I've added the "British Egg Information Service" to the my links on the right. Here is their press release:

31 Jul 2006
Scientists are close to cracking the age old problem of cooking your boiled egg just right…step aside the clock and the running sand granules – here comes the self-timing egg.

Using the latest heat sensitive technology, Lion Quality egg producers tasked boffins to create a foolproof way to guarantee the yolk comes out the way you want it - soft, medium or hard boiled - every time. Carrying a special label, the egg goes into your pan as normal and when it is perfectly cooked the Lion logo appears as if by magic confirming your chosen preference.

“We are still perfecting the technology, but we are very excited at the prospect of sorting a problem that has wound people up at breakfast time for decades,“ said Gilly Beaumont of B&H Colour Change.