Monday 22 December 2008
Five degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Yesterday they predicted that it was going to get cold last night, but when I woke up and looked at my bedside thermometer and saw a "5", I didn't believe it. I squinted and thought "That's got to be fifteen - my eyes just haven't cleared up yet."
But no, it was five degrees this morning - colder than it was in Boston, colder than it was in Bangor, Maine - and it stayed at five degrees until about ten o'clock in the morning. Even when I lived in Boston, long ago, before global warming, it didn't get down to five until Christmas Eve.
At least I didn't have any trouble getting the dog to come back inside this morning.
Sunday 21 December 2008
I fear that I am contributing to the economic collapse
About a month ago, we got a coupon for Smokey Bones in the newspaper.
CVH showed it to me, and asked me if it was a misprint.
“Has to be,” I replied, “They can’t give a deal like that.”
Today we decided to go to Smokey Bones for lunch, and remembered that coupon. I said “I don’t think they’re gonna honor this, but I’ll take it anyway. Perhaps they’ll give us some deal instead.”
When we arrived at the restaurant, I looked around for a notice letting us know that the coupon was a misprint or something, but didn’t see anything. We ordered a combo platter – a heap of pulled pork, a heap of smoked turkey, four spicy chicken wings, a bowl of cole slaw, and a baked potato. This was enough food for two meals for the two of us.
They honored the coupon. With tax and a 20% tip on the regular price, it cost me less than eight dollars. Plus they gave me another coupon good for four dollars off my next visit.
So if you’ve been thinking about visiting Smokey Bones, you might want to go ahead and do it now while they’re still in business.
Monday 15 December 2008
Red Beans and Rice Tonight
Back in August, when we visited Louisana, I got a hankering for some fresh boudin that I was going to try to sneak past security at the airport. We didn't have time to get to Baton Rouge, much less Jennings or even Lafayette, so I went to Manchac, on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain. But it was to no avail. Boudin is too much of a Cajun thing and not enough of a New Orleans thing.
So I was very pleased and surprised to get an early Xmas present from my wife - a batch of Cajun foods from real Louisiana. Tonight she made red beans and rice with Camellia red beans (cf. my entry of 27 November 2007) and pickled pork from Church Point, which is near Lafayette, Duson, Rayne, and a bunch of other names that make my mouth water just to think about it. Dem is some good eats.
Saturday 13 December 2008
Farming must be a calling
Hard to believe, but there is one farmer's market that is still active here through December. So we ventured down Bardstown Road on a sunny, but twenty-eight degree, morning to get some local cheese and honey, as well as fresh turnips, potatoes, greens, and sausages. Too soon we enter that dark period of canned and frozen food called "First Quarter" here, and we wanted to delay that just a few more days. I thanked the farmers for getting up and coming into town on a very dark and cold (it was eighteen when I got up) morning, and they thanked us for coming out and buying their stuff.
Sure enough, by about noon, the sun had disappeared behind clouds again, and I was left wondering why the ancients celebrated mid-Winter. Yes, the days stop getting shorter, but you're out of anything to eat and it gets really cold and miserable.
Sunday 07 December 2008
Gone to the dogs
This afternoon I had the opportunity to volunteer at a fund raiser for the Humane Society. It’s something that they do every year, but I hadn’t been to it before. A fellow dresses up as Santa, people bring their pets in, and a photographer takes a picture of them with Santa. The pet owner then gets prints or keychains or coffee mugs, etc., with their pet’s picture on them. My wife told me that I had no idea what I was getting into.
I wondered how much money this could raise. “How many people would go through the trouble?” I thought; “Not that many.” I was wrong. They had several Santas all around town, and they were all busy. In the four hour shift that I worked, I saw about eighty dogs. I also thought that they’d just be a bunch of little dogs – Pekinese and the occasional Boston Terrier, perhaps. Wrong again. People brought in big dogs. Some of them were really big.
I was assigned the job of ‘animal handler’. “That sounds fun,” I thought. I was to position the pet on or around Santa, check Santa’s costume, and take any other such direction from the photographer and Santa. For the most part it was fun. Only a few owners didn’t want you touching their pet (what were they thinking?), and most of the dogs were quite docile. One woman, however, came in with a huge dog – well over a hundred pounds – and this dog didn’t really want his picture taken with Santa, I don’t think. He tried to rabbit two times, once pulling me along the floor as I held onto his collar and called out for one of the other volunteers to Stop this dog! The most amazing thing was that the small woman had brought in two dogs! I cannot imagine how she even got them into the building.
And then there were the people who took advantage of the on-site dog baths immediately before bringing them over for their photo. Makes sense, of course, but I ended up smelling more like wet dog than the dogs did.
Occasionally people brought in three or four dogs. Well, because Santa only has two arms, we put a lead on the collar of the extra dog, and threaded it under Santa’s chair so that it wouldn’t show in the photograph. Yours truly got to crouch down behind Santa in the tiny space between the chair and the backdrop and hold the lead so that the dog would stay still.
But for a dog lover like me, it was a rewarding afternoon.