Same Name, Different Dishes…..

Anyone who has traveled to Germany knows that hearty eating is in order and being carnivorous is handy. A popular dish in all the Guesthouses and most restaurants is schnitzel served in a variety of ways. Wiener style is simply breaded and fried served with lemon wedges. Rahm is in a cream sauce similar to a chicken fried steak. Jaeger is “hunter style” with a brown mushroom sauce. Zweible is with onions. Papricka is with sweet peppers. Schnitzel can also be done with veal or pork pounded out thin. In Hungarian cooking though “Papricka” is more about the spice itself rather than adding peppers and in the last minutes of simmering the meat in the reddish/brown sauce, you remove the pan from the heat, and stir/whisk in a couple of heaping spoons of sour cream, being careful to blend it thoroughly so you don’t have white streaks. When the mixture is smooth, you return it to the heat for only long enough to make sure everything is hot. (The chilled sour cream can reduce the temperature of the dish).

In actuality, the German dish is also referred to as Zieguener style to avoid confusion with the Hungarian version. We have some sweet peppers in the fridge we really need to use and I had said we would have Paprika Schnitzel tonight. I wasn’t sure if there would be veal at the store or only pork and was glad to see they did have veal. I also toyed with the idea of getting sour cream to do a hybrid of the dishes and decided not to bother with it. Had I really been on the ball I would have found the aisle where they have Spaetzle, the little dumplings Hubby really likes. I’d already been out for a while, and with the way they rearranged the store a few months back, I still haven’t found all the new locations of items, so I didn’t go on a hunt. Roasted potatoes will do s a side. (Okay, they’re the frozen type)   Hmm, I do have crispy crowns in the freezer, too. We’ll see which way we go with that.

Backyard Finally Done…..

In a follow-up to last year’s post, the landscaper and her team arrived about 8:00 yesterday morning and when I returned from my meeting around 2:00, they were already done. It’s amazing the way they rolled in; only four of them and she is right in there with them. For anyone not familiar with the soil here, digging is very difficult due to lots of coral rock embedded. It was also a day of 95 degrees. The last time we refreshed the yard, we had her work around the existing plants, many of which were in containers for two reasons. First was the difficulty in digging and second is we have some really nice containers. Some of the wooden planters though were in bad shape – it’s a tough outdoor environment and we weren’t doing the digging, so those were all replaced with in-ground plants.

They were among almost forty new plants and all of them were pruned, trimmed, etc,. We are set for when more butterflies and allegedly finches will soon appear, not to mention possibly buntings and hummingbirds. She had of course rattled off the names of all the plants when she came to do the survey and I couldn’t follow them all. Milkweed, I know of course and the lemon tree to replace the poor one battered by Hurricane Irma. There are already eggs on the milkweed and I’ll be patience as biology works its way through the stages. Now, we’ve always had butterflies;  simply not the mass of plants as now. In having also previously explained my lack of gardening skill, I have committed to keeping three of the container plants trimmed so they don’t become root-bound again. Hubby has the tougher job of pruning the numerous palms and the Pygmy date does have thorns. The landscaper claims that by transplanting the banana plant from the container into a new spot, it will eventually bear fruit. Not that I like bananas, but Hubby does so maybe with only one tree we won’t be overwhelmed.

Photos will follow occasionally as things settle in.

Summers in Maine….

Photos aren’t posted yet, but the kids made the 12ish-hour trip up to Maine yesterday. They’ll visit for four or five days, then make a stop to see a longtime friend in Rhode Island on the way back. Granddaughter is old enough now to really understand and remember the visits. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Dustin spent at least a month every summer in Maine, often longer. While we were there each Christmas as well, either for, or right after Christmas, summertime is very different. There are, of course, the masses of tourists to cope with as Grandpa swore each summer he would stay tucked away, “on the farm”, until after Labor Day. Taking Dustin on special excursions did make for the exception to his rule, although since was also still working, it would often be Gram and Dustin going somewhere as they “made memories”. It was important for him to embrace that part of his heritage and since my daughter-in-law is one of the few in her family to move away from Mane, granddaughter has deep roots there. The cottage on the lake makes for a perfect setting, except I’m sure even in August, the water temperature will be cool. Naturally there is the spot where they make a fire underneath star-filled night skies.

Blueberries in all shapes and forms, handmade ice cream, maple candies, and lobster for the adults are givens. I’m not sure if granddaughter has developed a taste for seafood beyond fish sticks, but there will be plenty of fried haddock nuggets. August can bring black flies as a nuisance, so here’s hoping it might be a mild year for them. I’ve probably forgotten some special culinary treat, and will no doubt see photos soon on Facebook as they make the different rounds to see family and friends. Perhaps Mother Nature will be kind and keep the weather sunny for them.



My Scuba Schedule…..

I try to get out to dive once a month, knowing Jan and Feb are unlikely between schedule and weather. In other cases, it’s a matter of whether there’s availability on the boats as I am admittedly spoiled and prefer not to go when it’s really crowded. That usually lets out the weekend. I also don’t go deep if Hubby is in a professional capacity. That’s a rule I made because he has to be able to focus on his student/client and if a problem occurs in diving deep, he doesn’t need to have his attention diverted because of me. While an actual problem isn’t likely, I am not as good on air as he is (that means I consume a greater amount of air – or for deep diving, Nitrox – than he does in the same period of time). While in most cases I will be as good or better on air than whoever he’s with, that isn’t always true. In a buddy situation, you have to stop the dive based on time or whoever is at the “turn around point” of air. For deep dives, you have to add in the time required to ascend to the 15-20 foot mark and do a 3 minute safety stop before completing the ascent. In other words, you have to allow an extra 5-6 minutes for that part of the dive. So, if we are deep and I hit 1,000 on my gauge, that’s the general point to begin ascent for the safety stop. If everyone else is doing better on air, they have to also stop and come with me. If Hubby and I are diving alone deep, it’s okay because he dives so often, cutting one dive a bit short isn’t a big deal. Causing a client to shorten a dive isn’t fair.

Anyway, Jan and Feb were in fact months I couldn’t get out and I knew June wasn’t likely with everything I had going on. July almost worked, but it was in fact Mon, Aug 5th when I finally got out. I am planning one extra dive day in August, so that will sort of make up for July. We didn’t see anything spectacular, although a few people did see an eagle ray. I kept looking for rays and wasn’t in the right spot at the right time. I did see some of my regular favorites and conditions were very nice.

This is a trunk fish and I always enjoy them.

Summer Showers…..

The line of, “April showers bring May flowers”, is true in certain climates. Here is South Florida, however, the summer months are the rainy season which not surprisingly, coincides with the five-month hurricane season. In general, the clouds  build in the afternoon and send drenching rain for a relatively short burst. The sun then comes out and you have the steam room effect. Of course, the pattern can change. The surest way of this occurring is to make plans based on the normal pattern. Or to have a requirement to head out that you can’t possibly reschedule. Last week, I was caught three times. Granted, we all have umbrellas in our cars and periodically buy new umbrellas to replace the ones we’ve left in various restaurants, etc. The thing is, though, when there is a driving rain, you really can’t open the umbrella in the car. You have to open the door a little way, thrust the umbrella out to open it and try to position it to where you can almost stay dry. The rain has now come into the car and soaked the part of your arm holding the umbrella. The odds are water is totally pooled in a certain number of spots, plus the umbrella is probably not large enough to protect your feet anyway. That means wet legs and feet. If you manage to catch rain going back into the car, the same applies as you can’t get inside with an open umbrella. The simple fact is, you’re going to get wet to some degree and it’s another aspect of living in South Florida you might as well adapt to. From what I have been told, living in Seattle is similar except it’s rainy for much of the year. I did also experience that in London when I was initially puzzled as to why there were umbrella sales on the sidewalk when it was sunny. It only took a few hours to understand and appreciate their presence.

Comfort Food…..

I’ve posted a number of times about Hubby and I cooking together as it’s something we really enjoy. I have my specialties and he has his (aside from grilling which is his domain). There are other times we experiment with recipes, although not as often as we probably should. It’s simply easier most times to make things we’re already familiar with. We also don’t generally prepare the classic meals of our upbringing since neither of us grew up with adventuresome cooking available. Granted, Hubby does still prefer his green beans cooked for at least an hour with a ham hock (we don’t have the can of bacon grease that sits on the stove) and don’t think of putting sugar anywhere near the cornbread. There is one local home cooking restaurant – Farmers’ Market – where I always opt for the kind of food I did grow up with. When they have it, my favorite is chopped steak covered in onions and gravy. That wasn’t one of their specials today so I decided to try their fried chicken. It was an excellent choice and while I do enjoy either Popeyes or KFC, this was truly reminiscent of home. Very lightly breaded and fried in hot enough oil to keep it from being greasy. I did have to wait a few minutes though as they had literally pulled the chicken directly from the fryer and I had no intention of eating it with a knife and fork. Since I do have to watch my carbs, I ordered sides of green beans and corn with the intent of bringing the corn home. Their portions are large enough so I had plenty anyway. I’ve never had dessert there, but suspect they probably make good pies. The only thing I find “off” is while they are one of the few places that serve catfish – they don’t have hush puppies. I’ve never quite understood that and the one time my friend asked about it, the young man admitted he didn’t know why they don’t serve them. Another of those mysteries in life.

My Poor Fusion…..

In what has been an even more crowded week than was planned, the annoyance of my right blinker burned out hasn’t helped. The Fusion was in for almost ten days between finally taking it in for the airbag recall repair and a couple of body issues to be dealt with. Somehow in that mix, the fact my right blinker wasn’t working didn’t get put as an item to be repaired. I actually wasn’t certain it was faulty until day before yesterday when I took the time to check it. Sigh! And here I am a faithful user of blinkers, which of course anyone driving behind me since whenever it went out no doubt lumped me in with all those other  careless drivers. There is a saying in NASCAR of “no right turns” and in a somewhat humorous mode, I have tried to use routes that indeed either have no right turns or have dedicated right turn lanes. While I’ve been pretty successful, it definitely hasn’t been 100 percent. Hubby has been working everyday, but it does stay light longer and he has been on morning boat rather than both boats a couple of days this week. I, however, haven’t been here with the car. So, today was to be the day. I said I would get the part and he would put it in this afternoon. There was in fact one bulb at the dealership. This is also the afternoon that rain, then more rain, occurred. It looks as if it may be passing. Anyway, the other aspect is Ford has decided they will no longer make Fusions so I guess when the time comes for a replacement, it will be another model of whatever. Unlike my sister who repeatedly buys a Camry, I’ve never bought the same type of car back-to-back. On the other hand, I really do like this car. Ah well, I wasn’t planning to make a change for a while yet anyway. Who knows what they’ll have out in another year or so.

How Bureaucrats Sneak Up on You…..

This is one of those situations that when intense frustration ends, it comes close to being funny. Here’s how it went. We decided to invest the very large sum of money to have the whole-house, standby generator installed. In this area, that means the propane tank will be underground. Naturally, we intended everything to go behind the fence. So, it turns out our yard is not actually the dimensions we think. Once measured by the people who make the rules, we were a few feet off the clearance required between the generator and something like the electrical panel it had to wire into. That meant placement in front of the fence. Next, the tank has to be buried a certain number of feet from that so now the word is that won’t fit on the same side as the generator. (Our yards aren’t very big). The tank will have to be buried on the opposite side of the yard on the other side of the driveway and walk. So, tear up 3-4 rows of pavers and a section of the walk to dig trench to lay in the fuel line.As if all this isn’t enough frustration, there are quite frankly inexcusable delays that equal into months behind schedule.

Okay, the tank gets installed and the gentleman who handled this part was a subcontractor. He was quite professional, explained everything going on and then as he finished, he mentioned in order to pass inspection, we had to have these yellow “cones” placed in front of the tank. This is in case anyone should happen to drive onto our yard and on top of the tank. When I looked at him in disbelief, he said after the inspection, we could remove them because probably no one would come back to check again. Except, and this is a big except – when I arrived home I found three bright yellow 16 inch high, 3 inch round posts in the ground with concrete to secure them. While there is no question that will provide a warning, there was definitely no moving them. Let us just say that when it comes to colors, the air surrounding me was blue as I vented my anger. Of course that was to several geckos as the guys who installed these had wisely not stayed around.

This also meant we were now in indisputable violation of Homeowner Association rules for what we can and can’t have in a front yard. Receiving notification of that violation did take a couple of months. We’d discussed a couple of options and Hubby decided planting hibiscus in front of each post and painting the posts green would work the best. We went through the approval process with the HOA and despite now being in violation of code because the posts are no longer yellow, I did insist at least one of the hibiscus should be yellow. I can’t imagine an inspector will ever come by again, but if so, I’ll argue the point.

The “Slippery Slope” of Compartmentalization….

Serious musings alert. A conversation the other day triggered the chain of thought about the ability to mentally compartmentalize. In this case, I’m referring to situations where you have multiple things to deal with and there is no way to manage them all at once. Although compartmentalizing is a type of prioritizing, prioritizing is closer to, “Let’s take this one step at a time,” rather than the infamous line of Margaret Mitchell’s character, Scarlett O’Hara’s, “After all, tomorrow is another day”. By that, I mean in keeping with her character, thinking about it another day also in general meant she would find a way to not take responsibility for her own actions.

Therein lies the three aspects of compartmentalization I consider to be “risky”. The first is the inclination to revisionism. The “well I should have said….” can morph into having thought you did so, then building the memory around that. (It’s not an uncommon trait as I have written about in other posts.) If the issue being compartmentalized is something that needs to be dealt with, then depending on when it is dealt with, the revised scenario may be brought out and either corrected or can lead to further complications. If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation that seems to be getting out of control, think back to how it originated and see if perhaps there was a basic misunderstanding in waiting to deal with whatever it is/was.

The second aspect of compartmentalization is the matter may be not overly significant to you, and yet important to another individual. You may forget about it through no malice and also cause complications because the other party/parties may view your forgetting in an unfavorable way.

The third aspect is if compartmentalization slides into repression/suppression. I do want to clarify there is a reason the phrase, “time and place for everything” exists, and that includes letting things go. Choosing to not deal with something immediately may well be the best option and then letting go of whatever it is may also be the correct choice.On the other hand, there can be unpleasant aspects to life which do require response/action and finding the way to do so is important.

Days Zipping Past….

It’s obviously been hectic or I would have posted. It’s a combination of things as it often is. There’s no actual let-up until Friday which will make it approximately two months of pretty much non-stop activity. Not that I will have spare time, but rather tasks will be spread out a bit more. Anyway, in the course of having a friend visit, I took her to Everglades City. We hadn’t been for quite some time and unfortunately our favorite place for lunch was closed since it was a Sunday and the other place was closed apparently for good. It looks as if it sustained some damage and was perhaps not re-opened. The assumption is back during Hurricane Irma, but who knows. We popped into the Island Cafe, an old-fashioned kind of place with an ice cream shop in the back part, which is separate from the main dining room. There was a lot of fried food, to include gator nuggets that we passed on. The food was good though, the service friendly, and the ice cream was excellent. We did stop at the famous Clyde Butcher Gallery on the way back and alligators were bellowing even though there weren’t any in the parking lot this time.

The fence is finally finished and if the freezer repair guy has ordered the correct parts, that will be taken care of Friday. Fortunately, it still functions well enough to not impact the refrigerator and we got everything moved to the one in the garage. It’s a filter issue apparently designed so it takes a repairman to get to it. He pulled all the drawers out and in truth, they did need to be cleaned, so I suppose that’s a good thing. That task simply hasn’t been at the top of my priority list. Ah well, so it goes.