Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Aunts...Day Two

After a leisurely start to the day, the gang picked me up at work and off to Scomas we went. Lunch was NOM! From there, we walked around...

Here's Ghirardelli's chocolate machine:

From there we hit the National Park Service's Maritime Museum. They have a room there representing just about every national park...except the Presidio. Park Partner, my ass! I'm just say'n.

Here's a picture of some old boat:

I'm sure the story of the wreaked boat was riveting, but I was tired by then and wanted a nap.

Let's see...oh, there was a cruise ship leaving our lovely city:

Then home for an episode of the new Hawaii 5-0 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and then time for the dinna:

Sorry, Poppy I cut you out of the pic. Aunt LeAnne and Uncle Ed brought brisket, corn on the cob and okra. Aunt Kathy fried up that okra in mix of corn meal, polenta and some Cajun seasoning. Dipped in egg and milk and then fried. INFINITY NOM!

Today is a very, very special day...My Poppy is the big 5-0.

Of course, I left for work and completely forgot to wish her a Happy Birthday. Whoopsie! Since she was sleeping when I left, I think I'll tell her I did wish her a happy birthday. She won't know the difference...until she reads this. Anyway, the last 7 years with my girl have been the bestest EVER. I'm looking forward to many, many more years of fun! Happy Birthday Poppy!

See Ya!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Aunts have Arrived...

And the Uncles too! Everyone looks fabulous...

Okay, okay, so the picture is blury. I had a little drinky-pooh...or maybe three. We had a nice little vissy and a bunch of snacks for dinner. Today, they will head to Fisherman's Wharf and I will meet them around lunch time.

Check this out...I took it this morning on my way to work. I LOVE living here!!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kasa Kecky...

The Kecky's have had a very busy weekend (not over yet, either) working on house projects and getting our sweet little house ready for The Aunts. Yesterday, I finished taking apart the playhouse. Somewhere in the middle of that, I pulled some weird muscle I didn't know I had in my upper back. Almost felt like I impaled myself on something. Still hurts but not as bad.

We had some leftover chicken (bones) from the BBQ last weekend so I cooked them with some broccoli, onion and a bitter melon. Made for a nice smokey stock. Using that for the black beans to which I added a chopped onion, green chili's and Sazon de Kecky. Figure we'll be having some kind of Tex-Mex for dinner one night so good to have some beans around.

Off to work in the garden now. Lots to do there. Here are my helpers...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Poppy-Mae's Surprise Birthday Party

The Donner Party unites for a very special evening; Poppy-Mae's Surprise 50th B-Day party! Such a fun and great group of gals! Here are a few highlights...

I'm not really sure who made the dinner, Renee-Mae gave all the credit to BF, Chef Jean-Carlos-Mae, but I saw her in the kitchen too. Either way, it was fabulous. Pork stew w/black-eyed peas, mustard greens and a stock that was delish...right before serving, Jean-Carlos stirred in some mustard.

The Donner-Mae's from left to right:

Chef Jean-Carlos-Mae (not really a Donner-Mae, but it's not like we could kick him to the curb)
Kelly-Mae (photographer)

Poppy-Mae and her cake:

The Donner-Mae's:

Happy Donner-Mae's:

And finally, since the Donner-Mae's can't seem to get their calendars to jive...EVER, we've now all signed the Donner Party Proclamation:

One more thing...Family Friend and Co-Worker, Laurie, just sent me this picture of her son, Matt's artistic handy work. This is one talented young man...and a sweetheart to boot! This is his surfboard that he drew on with special waterproof pens. He can actually use the surfboard. I don't think I'd want too.

Check out this link for more of Matt's work:

Y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dinnerless Wednesday...

Poppy and I worked the public meeting last night. We are the timekeepers for these meetings, aka, Dingbats. This is some of Poppy's graphical art...

Anyway...what a bunch of angry neighbors and preservationists. I was talking to a co-worker that if these folks put this much time into something positive like volunteering at soup kitchen or something else constructive, the world would be a better place. But then again, Poppy and I probably wouldn't have jobs so I guess I should be grateful for the negative, adult bullies.

So here's the goofy thing about these meetings. Each person is given three minutes to speak. I have these placards that I hold up like a bikini'd-beauty at a boxing match; at the two minute mark I hold up:

At two minutes-thirty, I hold up:

And finally...

Then after another agonizing fifteen seconds, Poppy dings the bell. Then if the rude commentor doesn't shut the pie-hole, the Chairwoman of our Board gets feisty.

We had a meeting once where this guy wouldn't shuddup so one of our Event Staff, Tony...who is not small, grabbed the mic from the guy. It was awesome. Such children!

One lady described us as Toontown. A teenager from the high school on the Presidio got up and said she didn't think a hotel should be on the Presidio cause they'd have to look at it. But what they stare at now is our building, which is the ugliest building in the Presidio. She thought that only historic things should be built here...Kind of cute, but not really.

Nobody likes us, everybody hates us, I'm gonna eat some worms!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Project Day...

Our stairs are finished! Chan and his brother finished up yesterday. We love them!

So does Roger:

So I stayed home today and after I slept in a bit from a sleepless night, I decided to attack all the wood from that playhouse. We've got a big junk pick up coming on Thursday. They'll take 4 bundles of wood, no more than 5 feet in length and under 60 pounds. After several attempts at getting the right leverage and a puncture wound later, I found the miracle of the jigsaw and was able to get it all cut up and bundled.


The bundles:

I'm tired; bet I sleep tonight!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Saturday!!!

Well, Poppy has the grill fired up and the ribs and chicken are happily ensconced inside. I made potato salad and some BBQ sauce in anticipation of our guests tonight, Kerry and Chris. Kerry is making red beans...NOM!

You may notice those little green things in the picture. Those are Padron Peppers. Poppy and I first had them when we were in Spain. It's one of the best tasty-treat sensation ever. All you do is fry them in olive oil until they start to shrivel up and then sprinkle Malden (or any flaky) salt on them. So good. Watch out in ten are fire hot. When I get that one, I have to stop eating them. Anyhow, friend and co-worker, Drea, gave these to us because I've talked so much about them before. They had them at the farmer's market close to her house. Really very nice of her!

Let's see, today I took the blue tape off the walls in the dining room. Now for the touch-ups. I'm sure I'll be done soon...really.

Neighbor, Chan and his brother are busy working on our stairs. This is very exciting! They're beautiful!

Nephew Lucas needs a bike so Poppy is giving up her old, old bike. I tuned it up this morning and will bring it to him in the morning. I tell ya, the kid works out like a fiend to keep in shape for Ultimate. Now he'll be riding the bike from the train station to work. Studly!!

Tomorrow, we put the new shower rod up and I need to cut the shower lining and re-hem it so it's not dragging on the bottom of the tub floor. Annoying.

Well, there you go. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Embracing My Beachy-Ness

That's right...Mama got a new pair of shoes!!! I might have mentioned in the past that I get a "Trophy-Wife" dinner once a month for doing all the cleaning around the house. Well, since we moved a few blocks from the beach, I've been taking Jax-The-Cheese-Connesewer for a walk on the beach. I've been wearing those Croc-style shoes and the sand gets all stuck in my feet. I'm afraid to go shoeless on Ocean Beach cause who knows what I could step on. So this brings us to embracing our beachy-ness. Instead of the usual Trophy-Wife dinner, Poppy offered to buy me a pair of UGGS. I believe that UGGS are the ugliest shoe-things on the planet, but are perfect for the beach and required footwear for the Outter Sunset.

As it would happen they are very comfortable. Like wearing a sheep on your feet, only different. All I need now is a hoody sweatshirt and to learn how to surf!

So when we got home last night from work, we found that The Salvation Army only picked up about half the junk we'd put on the curb...this did not include the couch. Seems they don't take furniture that needs repair. The couch had some worn areas where Roger-The-Escapee had clawed at it. Whatever. Now I've got coming on Monday to pick up the rest. We used them up at Dad's and absolutely loved them!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday's Dinner

Well, since we're on budget lock down this month (until the Aunts get here) we've been eating lots of veggies. So last night was more caprese salad, an artichoke w/soy mayo and stir-fried Chinese broccoli. All very NOM!

Since our teeth are growing sharp from lack of meat, we're having some tonight. Also, having some pals over for dinner on Saturday so Poppy will be making ribs and chicken. These folks are from New Orleans so Kerry is making her famous red beans. Can't wait!

Now that the garage sale is over, it was time to call the Salvation Army for the rest of it to go. Can't wait to get home and see what they didn't take. Fun times at Kasa Kecky!

Also, I took off the blue tape from my dining room painting extravaganza. Seems I'll be repainting the moldings since the tape took most of the old paint off. Harrumph! I'll never be done with this room!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Instruments of Torture...

You will recall that I'm in the process of filing a worker's comp claim for the Carpal Tunnel, yes? Well, yesterday was my first appointment with the occupational doctor. Fun times. Even though my symptoms and discomfort have been going on for a couple of years, we're starting with scratch. She's putting me on Relafan, which is some big anti-inflammatory drug. She gave me new wrist braces aka, instruments of torture or Wrist-o-Prene. I've got a blister on the webbing of my hand between my thumb and index finger. Gee, wonder if I'm supposed to be a water creature? Anyway, I start physical therapy (i.e., more instruments of torture) on September 27 and then a follow up with the doc for some Cortisone shots directly in the nerve (my knees just got weak). The shots are to stave off the surgery for as long as possible. I don't really get it cause this isn't going to get any better. Whatever.

How about a segment of A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DAD? I guess Dad gave up on the Fwench lady and is now pursuing Carol. Another nice lady down the street. He thought she was so nice, he swooped in for a little kissy! Mortifying? Yes! Turns out, he doesn't like Carol all that much. She's not as pretty as he thought she was.

Took Dad to the doctor's to day for a follow up. All is well with the exception of his left ear has some dirty wax build-up. Kind of like your kitchen floor only different. So he gets some over the counter drops, then next week, they'll finish the excavation in his ear.

Life is good!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday's Dinner

Capreses salad...not just any caprese salad, but home-grown tomatoes from Allison-Mae's BF, Scot's garden! So very NOM!!!

So the garage sale was a sucess! Not only did we make some $$ but got rid of a lot of junk. Poppy has since put more junk on Craigslist and we've had some hits with that. Thursday, the Salvation Army is coming to pick up our old couch and a bunch more boxes of junk!

Purging is good!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Garage Sale Weekend!!

Did pretty well today! Made a few hundred dollars...but more importantly, got rid of a bunch of junk!

Back when I had my booby reduction, Seester Kathy got me some get well gifts. One was a little stuffed parrot that you squeezed and it said stuff like: SHOW US YOUR TITS, SQUAWK!, POLLY WANTS A CRACKER...POLLY WANTS A FUCKING CRACKER...GIVE POLLY A FUCKING CRACKER, LARDASS! So, this guy come to the garage sale and wants to buy a table. I've got to move stuff off the table and yeah, we all loudly hear: SHOW US YOUR TITS, SQUAWK! That was quite the head-turner!

This other lady, Mala showed up. She wanted to buy a set of chairs for $40. She asked if Kasa Kecky had been for sale, we said it was and we were the ones that bought it. She said "Oh, that's nice." She looked at us and then said "Are you sisters?" I looked at Poppy; she looked at me; we both replied "Yes!" We're so easy...for $40 we'll go back in the closet! We also met a bunch of our neighbors who are all super nice.

Co-worker, Al even showed up. He took a bunch of chopsticks off our hands. He wanted to pay for them, but Poppy said they were only worth a "Hi in the hallway." Showed him the house. He really liked it and gave us some good ideas too!

You will recall, we want to get those stairs built off the deck. Our non-English speaking neighbor, Chen, offered to do it for a few thousand less than another price we were quoted. We want to have him do it, but the communication gap is quite the problem. So last night, I saw his son, Simon and told him what was going on. He offered to come over this morning with Chen and translate for us. We're good to go. Chen has been doing this kind of work for the last 30 years so he knows what he's doing. He's going to start tomorrow and finish next weekend. Sure is nice having someone like that as a neighbor!

So, things are moving right along.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

As some of you know, I've been battling CTS for a couple of years now. I spent a chunk of change last year with a chiropractor but I didn't really feel like I was getting relief. It's gotten to the point where I'm ready to suck it up and have the surgery.

Anyhow, I'm in the process of filing one of those Worker's Comp Claims. This is the last thing I want to do, but since I type for a living, there's no other reason why I would have CTS. I never wanted to be "one of the injured". Oh well. So part of this process is filling out a myriad of forms. I also needed to get the medical record from the chiropractor. I just received it. I was reading it and there is a little box called "Appearance". In that little box he circled "Well-Nourished" and "Robust". WTF??? Took me right back to the 5th grade when the teacher wrote up descriptions of the students and you had to guess who it was. One of the descriptions was "Pleasingly Plump". I was mortified to find out it was me she was describing.

Once a Fatass always a Fatass, I guess...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday's Dinner

Was good, but not very appetizing to look at. I did a braised mushroom and tofu. No pics. I don't think I want the leftovers either. But, I found an Asian market close to the house. I got at least 4 meals worth of food for $19! Gotta love a bargain! I'm starting to try new things given our ethnic hood. I bought Bitter Mellon yesterday. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Look what I found in Kasa Kecky's backyard:


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sunday's Dinner

Well, the original plan was to have steak but because it was a holiday, our little neighborhood meat market was closed. So, I went to Noriega Produce Market and picked up some veggies, fruit and frozen ravioli. We'd had pizza the night before so I was kind of red sauced-out. I sauteed half an onion, mushrooms, a yellow and green bell pepper. Right before they were soft, I added chicken broth. I served that over the ravioli and then chopped up an Heirloom tomato. Pretty NOM. Oh, for appetizer, I made a caprese salad with those same Heirlooms. Darn NOM!

It was a very busy weekend. My painting skills are lacking. I used to be such a good painter, but now, with the ravages of time, spending two afternoons on my knees painting a room has rendered me gimpy; my less than 20/20 vision isn't helping either. I finish a coat and then go take a look after it dries and there are all these drips. Tomorrow night I'll be doing a third coat after I sand down the drip spots. This red color isn't very forgiving either!

On the other hand, Poppy's home projects are coming along swimmingly. She's put in a rack on the door under the sink and an extra pull out shelf in the pantry. Whatever!

Not sure if I mentioned before, but both neighbors on each side of our house are Chinese, Chen and his family live to the left of us. He speaks very little English. Alex and his family live to the right of us. He does speak English. There's your background to this next story. Poppy and I have hired a contractor to build stairs off the deck. They're charging us about $4,000. I wanted to let Chen and Alex know that construction would be starting next week.

So I saw Chen on Saturday morning and tried to explain. I gather that Chen does some kind of construction work for a living. Anyway, I tell him about the stairs and he asks to see. I take him to the backyard and show him. Then he asks if he can get a tape measure. I said okay. I'm starting to get a sinking feeling that maybe he thinks I want him to do the job. He comes back and starts measuring. Thank the Gods, Poppy came downstairs to save me. What we're able to decipher is that Chen will do the job for $1,500. So Poppy is showing him drawings of the stairs and trying to explain what we want, but it's not going well. I had all that wood lying around from taking down the playhouse so Chen built a template for the stairs. I gathered he did this to show us he could do it. But we're still having this horrible communication problem. I would really love for him to do the work but we're not sure what it will look like when he's done. I kept asking if he could get one of his kids to help translate, but he didn't understand. I'm hoping to see his daughter one of these mornings so I can talk to her.

Argh! Life would be so much easier if I could speak Mandarin!

Check out Poppy's new ride:

It's a Schwinn Willy. She's very smooth!!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Special Edition...

Since I don't have much to report in the way of food, I have a special treat for y'all. You might remember Sydney, she's my Boss Karen's daughter. She also has a sister, Annie. These were to two ladies that I've chosen to take care of Poppy and me in our old age.

So my special treat is today's writing is devoted to the Pretzel. Not just any pretzel either, today's recipe is brought to you by fellow foodie, Sydney. Here is her recipe for...

Sydney's Super NOM Pretzels

1-1/2 cups hot tap water, about 110-115 degrees F
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast (or 2-1/4 teaspoons)
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat pastry flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Sea Salt

Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, give a quick stir, and let stand about 5 minutes. The recipe said until foamy, but it never got foamy for me so after 5 minutes I decided to continue on anyway (nothing bad happened).

Add flour and melted butter, then stir until ingredients are combined. Add a bit of flour to the countertop and then knead the dough by hand until smooth, approx 4 mins.

Coat a bowl (you may use the same bowl) with nonstick spray and allow the dough to rise, covered with plastic, until doubled in size, about 50 minutes. Since I live in fog central and there is no such thing as a warm place in my house, I turned on the oven to warm for about 2 minutes then turned off the oven and placed the covered bowl inside for about 50 minutes.

Remove the dough from the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil in a large pot.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, then oil the parchment paper down. Oil the counter as well(I literally oiled the counter--I poured some vegetable oil onto a paper towel then wiped the counter with the oily paper towel) Divide dough into 8 pieces, and, working with one at a time, roll each piece into a 2 foot rope. Make a U with the rope, then cross the pieces in the center and press them firmly on the bottom of the U in a traditional pretzel shape. Place on baking sheet.

Drop one pretzel into the water for 30 seconds, remove with a some kind of utensil (I used a spatula), and place on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels. Brush with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake until dark brown, about 12 to 14 minutes, reversing the trays halfway through bake time to ensure even browning. If the undersides still feel moist (they weren't for me after 14 mins, but just in case), flip and bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the pretzels are dry to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack, and serve warm.

While I've not had the pleasure of eating these and as you know, I can't bake to save my life, so I'm hoping Sydney made some extra and will send them to work with Boss Karen.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday's Dinner

Well, the Kecky's Kupboards are getting really bare. We are on budget lockdown so eating very cheaply this month saving up for when the Aunts/Uncles come at the end of the month...which is Poppy's BIG 5-0!

My plan for last night's dinner was ribeyes with Roqufort butter but I had much to do at Kasa Kecky so I never made it to the store. Last night's dinner was ecoNOMiclly delicious! We had some frozen Sockeye salmon, a bag of Dutch yellow potatoes and a bag of frozen mixed veggies. I marinated the salmon in soy, olive oil, a touch of sesame oil, green onions, minced garlic and some minced ginger. I also sauteed a chopped green onion in some olive oil that would later go on the potatoes.

For the mixed veggies, I cooked them in beef broth and Kecky's Chipotle Salt. The potatoes boiled in chicken broth until tender, then drained and back in the pan with the green onion, salt/pepper. Poppy grilled the salmon. Most tasty!

I spent most of the day prepping then painting the dining room. I'll send a pic when I'm done, but right now, I'm halfway done.

Off to the Alameda Antiques Faire!

Happy Sunday!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday's Dinner

Northern-Style Braised Tofu...NOMMY!! I've had this Chinese cookbook for years; that's where I got the recipe but then I had to alter it to make it mine. I find that as the years have gone by how much my tastes have changed. Twenty years ago, you couldn't pay me to eat tofu. Weird.

So here you go:

Kecky's Northern-Style Braised Tofu

2 lbs firm tofu

Braising Mixture
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons white wine
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup corn starch
1/4 cup peanut, corn or safflower oil

1-1/2 tablespoons mixed ginger
1-1/2 tablespoons minced scallions (white parts only, please)

2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced scallion greens

Like all tofu, wrap it in paper towels and weight it down for about 1/2 hour to get the extra water out. Cut the tofu in to 1/2 inch slabs and then 2 inch squares.

Combine your braising mixture. Put the eggs in a shall bowls, and spread that cornstarch on a plate. Dredge the tofu in the cornstarch making sure you get both sides. Set that aside.

Heat a nonstick frying pan and add the oil. Get it hot. Dip 5-6 pieces of the tofu in the egg mixture and add it to the pan. Fry over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon or whatever and then to a plate with paper towels. Prick each piece with a fork or tooth pick so that NOMMY braising mixture will soak in.

Now, leave about a tablespoon of oil in the pan, heat it up and add the seasonings. Stir-fry for about 10 seconds. Add the braising mixture and bring to a boil. Add the tofu and bring it back to a boil. Give it a good simmer to let most of the liquid start to absorb into the tofu. I also get a spoon and baste the tops of the tofu with the mixture. Do this for about 15 minutes. Add the scallions and drizzle the sesame oil on top. Serve it up!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday's Dinner

From the DASH Diet book turned out really good! I marinated chicken parts in olive oil, Kecky's Steak Shake and minced garlic. Poppy then grilled the chicken. I then made the sauce for the chicken which was chicken broth, lemon juice, Kecky's Herb Salt and some pepper. To the sauce I put the chicken and some grape tomatoes. Heated it all up and service it on a bed of Spinach and a side or red roasted potatoes. NOM! Dad even liked it...except for the tomatoes. Don't even try to give him warmed tomatoes, damn it!

After dinner, it was such a nice night, we had a little fire (used a duraflame log cause of the spare the air day). Fun was had by all. I'd show you the pic of Seester Kathy, but she was in her jammies and she'd get really mad at me if I posted it!

See ya!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Sorry, I've been boring this week. We've been having corn on the cob and tomatoes for the last couple of days. Tonight, we go to Seester Kathy et. al.'s for dinner. Since she can't eat fatty foods, I'm making a chicken recipe from the DASH Diet book. Bet you want to know what DASH stands for, don'tcha? Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Even though the diet is for hypertension, it will also work for Seester Kathy's new and improved Gallbladderless body. She's getting better with each day so that's a relief!

Say, how about a segment of A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DAD! There are still a few items left at the Minden house...which Dad is now calling "the lake house." I'm not sure why since there is no lake around there. Anyhoo, he and Darryll left yesterday to go up to The Lake House. I guess they were going to take care of the yard and there are about 7 ladders left up there and I wanted one of the extension ladders. I had a voicemail from Darryll this morning letting me know he got the ladders and then there were a few expletives and he said he was never going up there again. I feel his pain. So I'm sure he and Eeyore...I mean Dad were having a great time!

That's about it then. Maybe tomorrow I'll have something more exciting to report.