May 2013


The other night, we decided to treat a friend. The items presenting themselves were zucchini, pork chops and tomato. We treated the pork chops with milk before rolling them in Italian seasoned bread crumbs and then frying them in a small amount of olive oil. The zucchini was used in a slightly altered recipe noted earlier where the halves are filled with the tomato, spice, and cheese. One problem noted with the cheese on top that has been broiled though, it tends to come off in a single piece. The solution to this problem was to dice up everything and place in a baking dish as before, just with the cheese stirred into the pieces, not on the top. The result was very good.
We didn’t get a picture of that one, but did catch one of the following day where we matched the leftovers of the zucchini with a hamburger steak.
photo 1

For a little bit of background, we received a food vacuum sealer for Christmas. The unit has two operating buttons, the seal and the vac/seal. The first is used to seal the start of the bag and the second one is used once the food has been placed to suck out the air and then seal the bag with the minimal amount of air around the food. I have discovered that the first operation works on other plastic bags as well. I had a grocery bag with a hole in the bottom, and put it on the seal to close up the leak.
Spouseinbox has a small cooler sized to hold a syringe for a daily medication. This medication is to be kept cold, and when travelling, this has proved quite a challenge to do in a small sized enclosure. We went to BigBox store this evening and found a cold pack that would work, but was twice the size needed. It was under a dollar, so with the idea of minimal loss for failure, we picked it up with the idea that it could be cut in half and sealed. Amazingly, it worked. I had to run the seal cycle twice on each half to accomplish the feat, but it worked and we now have two cold packs of the proper size for the mini-cooler.

Many years ago, there was a need for people to provide their own food. This was done in the context of a war and as such gained the title “Victory Garden.” I see this country in a similar plight, though of the government’s own making, and as such we are not looking for victory, just survival. We have to take care of ourselves as this government will do everything in their power to make life miserable. Example: sequestration cuts. Spouseinbox and I have spent the afternoon planting 6 trees. Three of them are low water users for appearance and placed in the front. Three are fruit trees and will be used for fruit to lower the future food costs we have. Considering they are water users, the best idea I had was to place them on the side of the house where the air conditioner expels condensation. This also happens to be a low spot between the houses on our block meaning that when there is that rare experience of something wet falling from the sky, they are placed in the location to best receive whatever clear liquid comes. (I had an e-mail exchange with a fellow worker in another branch asking about our rain. I replied that I had heard that name somewhere before, that it had a slight familiarity.) We already have a row of corn planted and a single garlic clove as I noted a green sprig coming from it and decided to use it to grow rather than have to throw away the growing part. I also have some green pepper seeds as well as some zucchini seeds from a couple of dishes we have made. They are outside drying after which I hopefully can plant them. I have a few other packets of seeds, and haven’t made the time to plant them, but hopefully this coming week will allow that activity. All this is to prepare for the future lack of adequate affordable food which I see as a natural byproduct of the philosophies running Washington today.

We live in West Texas. On the practical side that means the people and government of Texas. On the climate side, it means mostly flat land, a few hills here and there, mesquite and cactus and heat – plenty of heat. I heard once that when a sinner died, God would send him to West Texas to warm up on the way down. That being the case, there is also a lack of water leading to a burn ban in most counties in West Texas. A couple of years back we lost near half a million acres to fire. It is a subject not taken lightly here. Longer ago than that, I was heading towards home and noted a patch of grass starting to burn next to the road. Before it was all said and done, three strangers were stomping the budding licks of flame to get that area back to normal. No fire department was there. Just us taking care of business before another patch of dried plants joined the elemental set. We take it that seriously. The first video background of Samson required an altar and fire. It could not be done in this part of Texas.
Road Trip!
I packed up rocks, sticks, a 14 foot 2×4, coat thread, a blow up doll, and camera supplies. Spouseinbox and I went 3 cities away to find a spot which would allow the video to be made. It was in a spot near a river which allowed use of a bucket for water to be spread around the altar before the fire was started. (Yes, we take it seriously) We took some area shots and a couple with spouseinbox providing a figure to test the range and focus. We set up two tripods, one with the video camera, the other with the Canon. The angel costume was then donned, and pictures taken and video done with the background gestures needed for the first song. The outfit was then traded to the blowup man who was fitted with a hanger and coat thread. This thread was run up and through a little tube at the end of the 14′ 2×4. We set up the 2×4 off the truck tire held with a couple of tie downs and positioned over and behind the altar. Fire was started, and John (the blow-up man) took a trip up to the sky. Once the videos were placed back to back, the effect was rather good. Well, good for an extremely low-dollar production.

I received information from siblinginbox under the title:
“The Military’s New Power Grab, Preparing For Civil War?”
Relevant links are here and here.
From the e-mail:

” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.”

One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”
As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”

One interesting thought coming on consideration of the structure presented is that this allows approved commanders to remain in authority even when the president is not. The former structure was that if the president were gone, then the vice would be next in authority, then the speaker of the house, then I’m not sure after that point. The military was never in the position of authority. This means that if the president were removed, those chosen can act on their own – without restraint provided by we the people. It is a misnomer to say that “The Pentagon has gone rogue and unilaterally declared that is has authority over “Civil Disturbances” now without approval from Congress.” This looks like a planned movement by those in present authority in the executive branch to set up the equivalent of the USSR on this side of the pond. Those in Washington are trying to rule, not represent. Waco writ large.

Kidinbox has traveled to Europe with a school class leaving behind an interesting array of wildlife – and 6 pages of instructions to care for them. We are now taking care of a frilled lizard, bearded dragon, turtle, tortoise, dwarf hamster, two chinchillas, fire-belly toads, and a Siamese fighting fish for good measure. Lunch now includes setting out the buffet for the animals and night time requires an hour of time with the chinchillas letting them run out of the cage, laying on the floor so they can use us as climbing challenges (That was not in the instructions. It’s just fun) and watching the demise of multitudes of crickets as they are the main food of a couple of our guests.
One entertaining time we had was introducing our cat to the turtle. This turtle spends most of his time in the water, and occasionally gets on a floating raft to bask under the light. Once in a while we let Mrs turtle walk around the room and one evening decided to let Jake see the new hotel guest. Their introduction was a mix of disdain on turtle’s part and bristled tail for Jake. The cat crept behind the turtle until the turtle turned around and then backed up, circled around and the process began again. By the way, the turtle was about one-half the size of the cat, so Jake had quite an eyeful. It takes two hands to pick up Mrs T.

Mrs. T: Uhmm, interesting landscape. It’s similar to what I have seen previously. The landmarks differ, but no problem. Let’s quarter off the area and examine one section at a time. (starts across the room)
Jake: (sirens blaring) Alert, Alert, intruder alert! Summon all back-up. Unidentified moving rock on the premises. I will track and send updates. (walk with legs bent about 1/2 normal height)
Mrs. T: (arriving at the couch) Looks like all is clear here. No plant matter. No hostile encounters. No food of any sort. That’s kind of a bummer, but the structures are interesting. I wonder what that is to the left. I looks like thin, vertical, limbs and has horizontal oversized flat limbs extending between the trunks. Quite curious. I can even walk under it. Let’s check the bottom side. (she turns)
Jake: (jump and back up) The hostile alien has turned. I may have been spotted. Warning hiss fired. I am backing to get a better position. Keep you posted.

Hence the encounter proceeded. I can say they are a bit more work than we have had to do to date, but admit to entertainment value as well.

I had a patient the other day with a problem. The patient lived in an assisted living facility, used a walker for mobility and had constant pain. I walked in to view an empty bottle with the label of a rather strong pain medicine. The date on the bottle was about 2 weeks prior to me seeing it. This means it cannot be refilled for another two weeks. For a good part of the visit, we discussed possibilities to deal with a new pain medicine bottle once obtained, and how to tolerate the pain until such a time as the medicine could be refilled. Once medicine has been stolen, the doctors and pharmacists are not at liberty to refill as it appears the patient is supplying the street trade. So what do you call someone who steals pain medicine from an old, retired, walker-using individual? I was thinking snail scum. My boss said that was too good. I looked it up to discover snail scum does have some uses, so I have to agree with my boss.

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