Saturday, June 23, 2007

Family Communications, Part Deux








shuffle... shuffle.... "what?"

"It is customary, when a parent calls and doesn't say anything in conjunction with your name, for you, the 'call-ee' to come to the parent, the 'call-er,' and then to ask 'What, dear parent, may I do for you?'"


Friday, June 22, 2007

My Mail

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Anyone who spends any time on my blog knows by now that I have cool friends.

I have one that lives in Rochester, MN. I went to visit Julie in February and managed to snarf down most of a box of Cocoa Almonds she had on the counter in her kitchen. She bought them at Trader Joe's in Minneapolis.

We don't have a Trader Joe's. For a year I've been driving by the little mall where the Trader Joe's is supposedly going to be, but it never seems to appear. Just the same sign taunting drivers that it is "Coming Soon!"

Julie has kept me in Cocoa Almonds by mailing me boxes of them. I hoard them, allowing myself only 5 each day. She seems to know when I am just about out. The box that showed up last week was when I was down to around 10 left (I skip days to make them last longer).

Julie is indeed "She Who Makes It So!"

A Day of Play

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic

Yesterday was pretty much a day of play for me. Enjoyable from beginning to end, it was much-needed. But of course today I will need to nail myself to the desk to get caught up.

I began the day with a massage at 10 a.m. I went to a new person that is a neighbor of my friend Tambri. Rose was wonderful and didn't hurt me! She was quite sensitive to the tightness of my muscles and worked out quite a few knots. I can feel it still today...where she broke up some of those. Doing a bit of jazzercise and some yoga last night and this morning has helped. And of course the gallons of water I drank yesterday. I will definitely go back to Rose. The overall muscle tension I've had for the last several weeks is much better.

At 11 my friend Nannette had a massage too, and then we met Tony for lunch at Amazing Wok. I love that restaurant. I've not had a bad meal there yet. And I don't come away thirsty from all the sodium. They must not use too much MSG. But the best part of it is that they do right by the veggies. They are always crisp.

After a very short break at home to check email, Tony and I went to the site of an old, closed Presbyterian church to interview the new pastor that has been sent to Indian Land from the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.). The new church, to be called Faith Presbyterian, will probably start meeting this fall. They will take over the property of Six Mile Presbyterian. Tony and I wandered through the cemetery there while waiting for Pastor Bender and there is this lovely cemetery there. I shot just a few photos. I'd like to go back at sunrise or sunset one day.

After another brief time at home, during which I invited our local cable company in to fix our cable television FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS WEEK, I went to Jazzercise. My entire posse of close friends were at this 30-minute "express" class and we had a great time.

Then our class and the Rock Hill class converged on Los Aztecas in Fort Mill to enjoy the longest day of the year over margaritas and dinner. I'd say there were probably 35 or 40 of us on the restaurant's deck. We had a great time, but of course my brain shut off around 8. I was glad to mindlessly follow Tambri and Rena home...letting them set the pace while I just followed the brake lights.

And so this morning I leave you with this news story that has become fodder for many dark jokes these past couple of days. From the WBT news website: (the "maybe" instead of "may be" is their thing, not mine)

E Coli Outbreak In China Grove Restaurant Maybe Over Goat Slaughtered In Kitchen

AP-Health officials in Rowan County say an E. Coli outbreak can probably be blamed on a slaughtered goat.The goat was in the kitchen of the Captain's Galley restaurant in China Grove after-hours one evening in May.Officials say the utensils used to slaughter the goat were then used to prepare food.More than a dozen people became sick, and an 86-year-old woman died last week after suffering from complications from an E. Coli infection.The restaurant had been allowed to stay open during the investigation, but it is now closed indefinitely.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The First Fennel of Summer

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
In yesterday's box of goodies from my CSA farm, I received some young fennel.

I like fennel. Especially with fish. Especially roasted.

So I whomped up this supper last night.

Tilapia cooks fairly quickly, so I gave the fennel a bit of a head start. I put the sliced fennel in an oven-proof skillet with a bit of olive oil. Started it on top of the stove and when it got a sizzle on, I slid it into a 400 degree oven.

After 2 or 3 minutes, I pulled the skillet out and layered on my tilapia fillets, some thinly sliced lemon, crushed fresh garlic, a diced baby eggplant, and these halved cocktail tomatoes. A bit of salt and pepper, a little more olive oil and I slid it back into the oven for about 10 minutes.

Really you could do this with just about any veggies, but here are the reasons I chose what I did:

1. Cocktail tomatoes-these are the only fresh tomatoes I will eat when it's not local tomato season. They are $3.50 for a little mesh bag of get maybe 2 dozen for that. I had a few left over from last week and the lettuce is done, so I knew I wouldn't be having salad for a while.
2. Garlic-farmer Sammy has been giving us freshly-pulled garlic each week...a fist or two. This garlic is not dried at's fresh and moist and packs a powerful punch. Using it is unlike garlic from the grocery store.
3. Baby eggplant-I used this more as a personal joke that only I knew about. Sometimes I open the box from the farm and find an item where there is so little of it that it's not even a serving. This week, nestled in with the squash, was this tiny little eggplant. About 3 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. By the time I peeled it and diced it, I had about 3 tablespoons of eggplant. Not enough to cause alarm with the kids.
4. The fennel-I explained that. Fennel to me speaks "give me fish." Don't know why. I should probably expand my horizons but I really only use fennel a couple of times per year.

As you can see, my accompanying side was rainbow chard. I love chard. Especially sauteed in a skillet with a little olive oil and garlic. The chard and garlic from the farm, of course.

Anyone who reads me on a regular basis knows I gain a great deal of satisfaction from a meal that is mostly from the farm. This was it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Playing with Slooooow Shutter Speeds

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
As I slowly learn what some of the different settings are on my camera, I get some kind of cool stuff. A lot of junk too, but that's the advantage of a digital camera.

The main problem I have is that I can't REMEMBER the stuff I learn. So I have a little notebook that lives in my camera bag with cheats about different situations and what kinds of settings to try. Even then I get a lot of wasted shots, so I try to shoot several photos for the paper using "Auto" as a back-up.

So last night Nate was going through many gyrations as I tried several shutter speeds. This is the slowest one. It's a question of endurance, too, as the shutter stays open for a very very long a he had to keep up the motions for that entire time.

Here is Taylor getting into the act as he sits at his computer.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In Honor of Father's Day

I thought I'd post a photo of "The Bob Family."

Taken last summer at the Bodie Lighthouse in Cape Hatteras.

Post production courtesy Greg Schneider. Thanks Greg!

Kept Out

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic

Orkin works, I'm telling you. The bad thing is that whenever I open the front door in the summertime, I have to step over dead bugs. They come right up to the door and die. It makes it hazardous to walk out to get the newspaper barefoot.

This is just one of many flying insects that were not necessarily trying to get into the house. They were just attracted to the outdoor lights. I know we prolly shouldn't have them on all night like that, but it's a security thing.

Yesterday while driving home from Erskine I almost flipped the car off the road. WOOD TICK! On my ARM!

I am pretty good about bugs and animals and reptiles and kids. But wood ticks really give me the creeps. Of course, all the way home I kept imagining wood ticks crawling on my sandals.

Here's a photo of me that Nate took on campus yesterday.