Remember

The link for the 9/11 memorial site is here.  You can watch the memorial ceremony today live from New York at the site, and find out more about how they are honoring those fallen on and after September 11th.

http://www.911memorial.org

World Trade Center, 1986 – Photo Courtesy of Eric Reivik
In my own case, that morning was until the time, unremarkable.  I arrived at the university, had my 7:15AM Call with Purchasing to work over things that they had needed, and was settling in at my desk to get started.
The hallway was abuzz with very random activity, more like when you knock over a hornet’s nest than anything else.
I took my headphones off to get a clearer picture of what was going on, and went back to the routine.
I noticed that the internet was becoming quite slow.  In a large university, the internet would run well until something major happened in that time and place.  I was trying to hit the news site of the BBC, and it simply stopped loading.

My boss and my team crowded around asking me what was up when some people began to get details.  The world had changed, and not for the better.

Anger almost never effects positive change.

Anisette Cookies for Pat’s Birthday

It is Saturday when I write this.

I’ve been up all morning and into the afternoon baking.

You see, this is a family tradition that some good friends have had the pleasure to enjoy.  For years instead of buying something that will end up in a landfill or forgotten in a drawer, I have been baking gifts for friends and family.

This one baking stint isn’t over yet, I’ve got more to do tomorrow.

I was going to make Fudge, but this isn’t winter and it would be a mess by the time it made it to New Jersey.

So I baked the Coconut Cookies from this blog.  It makes 24 1 ounce cookies, and I am keeping 6 here for myself.  I’ll have those at work.

There’s more to bake tomorrow, and it won’t be a surprise that it will be my own chocolate chip pecan cookies.  No, this recipe I won’t share, and there are plenty recipes similar out there.   Try the internet cookie recipe it is based off of that but I have tweaked it to make it my own.

But I did get to wanting some Anisette Cookies, like when I was a wee brat.  Mom would bring these home often enough that I got to think of them as something everyone had.  Nope.

This recipe is quite similar in taste.  I will be adding a little extra Anise Extract since I enjoy a strong licorice flavor from time to time.  The taste in this recipe is “Authentic” instead of being a “Kick in the pants”.  If you came from an Italian family, this is familiar.

First the ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 -3 tablespoons milk

Now the Process:

  • Wet ingredients – to a stand mixer, cream your butter.
  • Add the sugar and the eggs.
  • Finally add the Anise Extract.
  • Hold back the milk at this time!
  • All ingredients are to be added one at a time, as things incorporate.
  • Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl sifting them together.  Using a sifter isn’t absolutely necessary, I just tossed it in the stand mixer with all the wet stuff while it was running but you could use a fork in a big bowl if you chose to.
  • Trust me it isn’t fussy.
  • Finally, the milk is to be added to the stand mixer one tablespoon at a time.  The ending dough will be soft and pliable, but not sticky.  Think of that play-doh you had as a kid – Modeling Clay.
  • To Bake:  The resulting cookies will double in size and be rather soft inside like cake.
  • Spoon out 1 level tablespoon amounts into balls on Parchment Paper spaced evenly.
  • I got 15 cookies per “regular sized” cookie sheet, and really they don’t get all that big.
  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  • Bake the Cookies for 10 to 12 or so minutes – they will NOT get golden brown except on the bottom.
  • The resulting cookies will be soft.

Oh, and, Sorry Pat, you’re only getting about 1/2 of these.  They were GOOD!

Happy Birthday Pat

Happy Birthday, Pat.

By today, you will ggt The Box.

You know, that box I was talking about last week.

Three kinds of cookies, and maybe more.  Depends on whether I found anything else to toss in there.  Everything was baked by hand.

We’ve been doing this for years, the back and forth of boxes of goodies.

The day itself?

Well here’s what went down that Saturday.

I got up late, and since I was half asleep from taking Melatonin to sleep, I was groggy.  A double mug of full Real Coffee.  You know, that bag of beans you see?  Guatemalan Estate Grown Antigua Huehuetenango roasted to just before Second Crack.

What that gibberish means is that it’s a Medium Roast, full flavored and complex.  The bitter has been roasted out.  A Central American Coffee is never to be roasted dark, it kills the flavor.

Anyway, it’s all for you, on your day.  Or about a week before your day.

We’ve been in the house working on furniture, playing Bollywood music and having a great time listening to bouncy stuff we couldn’t actually understand.  Good day for it.  Saturday.  Almost dinner time at this point, there has been so much to do.

The last of the coffee will be roasted soon and bagged for the trip.

Oh coffee.  There is a rule of Fifteens:

15 minutes Ground.

15 days Roasted.

15 months Green.

Grind the beans and brew within 15 minutes for peak flavor,

Roast the beans and grind within 15 days for peak flavor,

15 months to roast the Green Beans.

or something like that.  So don’t save it, after all The Holidays are coming, and there is bound to be more.

Happy Birthday Pat!

2203 Posts? Yep it kept ticking for five years!

This blog.  It’s been a part of me for five years.

I started it with a hello world post.  Everyone seems to.  You find your way back to it if you are interested.

I actually found that I enjoy writing.  I do get wordy, some of these posts are over 1200 words.  Almost all of them are off the top of my head.

Things got slower after a while.  You know, that New Blog Smell wore off.  I was writing about things that happened here in Wilton Manors, and the City Government scene.  I had to stop going to the commission meetings after a while, they were going well into the night and frankly I fall asleep at 10pm on a late night.  Doing that in the commission chambers when the meeting ended at 11pm would be sending the wrong message.

And I am actually quite in awe of the job that the commissioners do here, on average.  If you pay attention to your own city government, you’ll find a few rotten apples here and there and a couple decisions you can’t stand.

No comment there about specifics.

But since this is an “Anniversary Post” for the 2200th posting that happened over the weekend, I figured I’d do the old school Top Ten List of all times.  Since everyone seems to hit the same postings over and again, why not?

So from the most popular post to the 10th most popular post, here it is.

Most popular post:  The Gold Medal Flour Biscuit Recipe.  Trust me, this is an excellent recipe, I use it all the time when I want to show off.  If I really want to show off, I make home churned butter by putting the cream in the food processor and running it for 5 minutes or until I have butter and buttermilk in there.  Works like a champ!

#2:  Two Cycle Engine Repair – I replaced a primer bulb on a weedeater and apparently I did a good job of it since I still use the machine, 4 years later.

#3:  Simply Hired and the User Experience -The website simplyhired.com is not one of my favorites, and I wrote why and showed why they need to change.  They did incorporate a few changes of mine, and continue to change.

#4:  Puns and One Liner Weekend – A List of puns.  I really debated long and hard about posting Jokes here.  Then I realized that people actually enjoy the silly things and this blog gets hit heavily for them.

#5: GFS Marketplace Review – GFS Is a Wholesale marketer of foods and restaurant supplies.  They also sell directly to the public.  I’m quite happy with the store, but their coupons truly annoy me.  The software that they use to create the coupons, on your PC, require that software be installed.  Since nobody has told me what that does on my machine, I can’t say I trust the software.  BUT the place is really quite good, and the staff is friendly.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10:

#6:  An Impatiens Flower Picture – This variety is no longer sold and went extinct.  Impatiens are now larger.

#7:  Jewfish Creek Bridge Picture – The view you get when you enter the Florida Keys.  This is what I think of as the “border” although I may not be technically correct.

#8: Canning 1, Pineapple 0 – Although I am a good cook, sometimes my recipies don’t work!

#9:  Hotmail Annoyance: Turning off Hotmail’s former interface behavior of hotkeys.  I hated hotmail, and I hatie Outlook so much more.  Microsoft has turned evil since Ballmer left.  I can’t believe I am saying nice things about Ballmer since he was the punchline to a joke but there you have it.

Finally

#10: Sister Mary Ann’s Gasoline – Yes, another joke.  Apparently loads of folks liked her story!

Happy Labor Day

It’s a quiet morning here.

It is (looking at the watch) just before 6:30AM.  Labor Day, Monday September 7, 2015.

Yep, I am writing this off the top of my head.  No rants, no copy and paste this time, baby.

I’ve been up for an hour and a half now.  Have been thinking about what to write here for Labor Day, and realized “been there, done that”.   It is a day set aside to remember the American Worker and the modern labor movement.

Yes, those folks who literally fought and died for the ability to have Saturday and Sunday off, and work a 40 hour week.

Who works a 40 hour week these days anyway?  You’re either home at night staring into a laptop finishing things off for tomorrow, or you’re one of the unfortunates who is working one or more part time jobs to make ends meet.

I salute you.

In my own case, I’m writing this at this oddball hour, an hour before sunrise because I have somewhere to go.  Got an interview today.  Who knows how it will go, it’s a fascinating position and fits in well with my own career “portfolio”.

But it is Labor Day.  So while you’re having that party in the backyard or the neighbor’s back yard or wherever, think about how it came to pass.

Oh, if you are having burgers, I’ll take mine medium rare.  Just “Meat, Heat, and Eat” – none of that seasoned crap or salt on the meat.  A good slice of extra sharp cheddar, some of those bread and butter pickle chips, maybe a bit of fries on the side …

Since I live in Florida, I can get away with wearing white After Labor Day.  Up there, who knows what you can get away with now!  Too bad I didn’t iron those Off-White chinos I have in the closet.

Enjoy your day no matter what you do!

Happy Blog Day, 2000 Postings Or So

Yeah so I might be a day or two early on this.

There are a couple posts already in the chamber so I’ll do this today.

2000 postings.  The blog has been around for a while.  Who knows how much longer.  Basically as long as I have ideas, I’ll post them.

A view inside my empty head about this though.  I make it a point to not strictly “Reblog” things.  Copy and paste.   If I do something, the recipes are an excellent example, I try my best to add to them and explain how I did it.

Otherwise it’s just navel gazing and narcisistic.

But, people do love those recipes.

I have a small “first read” audience.   I haven’t been posting it in my own facebook feed because frankly that sort of thing gets boring.  I have a group with some people who wanted to be a part of it.  They’ll get my blather and a direct link to today’s article.

The “second read” audience fall into my grasp mainly via Google and other search engines.

That shows in what the top five articles are for the blog since I started.

And I do try very hard not to revisit topics unless I can add something to it.  I got something wrong?  Time for a new post.  Got something right?  Let it rest.  Dunno, maybe that’s just the way I am

The Gold Medal Biscuit recipe.  Apparently people are searching for biscuits and coming here to read the recipe.  Probably the best biscuit I have ever made.  The secret is in the butter.  Now, if you want to make something obscene, toss a biscuit in the skillet and pan fry them like a donut.

Mmmm Donuts!

Two Cycle Engine Repair.  Say what you will about this blog, I’ve got depth.  If I can write about replacing the bulb on a string trimmer one day, a recipe the next, and photography the third… well you get the idea.  I’m That Guy.  Show me an adult man who doesn’t at least glance at the pile of crap your neighbor tosses out and wonders if he can fix that thing, and I’ll show you a man who has lost his soul.

That goes for many women I know too.

Simply Hired User Experience.  Believe it or not, people get paid quite a lot to do this sort of systems analysis and user experience analysis on large websites.  In the case of Simply Hired, they changed their format.  It still stinks.  Maybe I will write another blog article on how clunky it is now that they reskinned it to look all “kewl!”.

Or not.

The Impatiens Picture.  I do a lot of Photography.  Or you could say I do a lot of what passes for Photography if you’re a hack at it.  No matter what you think of how well, or how badly I take pictures, this single picture is the most popular one here in Ramblingmoose and http://www.southernmostmoose.com 

I have been told that all of the small Impatiens have died.  Literally, everywhere.  The same flower exists but they’re a taller variety.  The little ones everyone loved?  Gone.

And finally, rounding out my top five:

The Jewfish Bridge picture in the Florida Keys. This is the first “real” bridge you hit when you’re going to the Keys.  It’s dramatic and a beautiful view.  It’s really difficult to not get a picture that you will like.  Then you roll into Key Largo and start about 100 miles worth of driving in slower highways before you get to Key West.  My suggestion is to time it to hit the Seven Mile Bridge at sunset in a convertible. 

No, you may not borrow my Jeep.

That’s it for today.  Enough navel gazing.  I don’t have any oranges left.

As for how much longer will I keep doing this?  As long as I have time, ideas, and things I think may be interesting to my friends and family.  I don’t guarantee it will go on forever.  I don’t even guarantee it will happen tomorrow, after all I did  miss a day once. 

One Single Day.

If you really do enjoy this, feel free to complement me.  If you’ve got an idea for a topic, let me know.  If it sparks my curiosity, I’ll write about it.

Like the jokes.  The “first read” audience generally does not like my jokes.  Guess what?  They’re popular.  The number 7 article is about Puns and One Liners.

So I’ll keep posting those on the weekends for now.  If I get a better idea, then I can always push the jokes off for a day!

Happy Birthday Pat

Somewhere in the beautiful and fabled land of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, there lives a woman. 

You may know her, but you probably do not.  If you don’t that is your loss, because I do.

She’s my sister.  If you do know her on Facebook, wish her a happy birthday, I know she will appreciate the thought.

I won’t put her picture up here, she never liked it when I took them of her so I don’t have too many to share.

A couple weeks ago, I sent her a “Care Package” for her birthday.  I purposely did it early.  Packed it chock full of goodies that I know she likes.

About a half pound of my best home-roasted coffee.  Ground to Espresso Grind, roasted to Second Crack – A Full City Plus or French Roast if you know the lingo.

There were three jars of homemade jam in there.  Cherry Jelly, Lemon Curd, and Key Lime Curd.  The Curds are a recipe that I posted a while back.  It works great with any citrus fruit that I have tried it with, including Grapefruit. 

There was also a birthday card in the box.  I wrote a note for her, by hand of all things!  Yeah, really, I write on here sometimes as much as a thousand words a day and I actually put Pen to Paper and scrawled out something for her to read.

I also tossed some random things in there because I do that sort of thing.  Just a few things I thought would make her scratch her head and wonder whether I have lost my mind, because I generally have. 

I’m sure it all made her smile.

The reason why I sent it early was so that it would be there roughly at her husband Mike’s birthday as well.  Mike’s a great guy, and I have to say I was truly happy when they got together and built a relationship, then a marriage, then a life together.

Thanks Mike for all of that.

So Pat, nothing else is coming in the mail, but if there is any of the jam or the curds left, I suggest a little on a toasted English Muffin with some cream cheese.  It’s excellent.

Happy Birthday Pat!

It’s that time again!

It’s time for Pat’s Birthday!

This is what she’s getting! 

A Box of Random Goodies!

That is if the box made it.   I sent it parcel post last week.  Went up to Oakland Park P.O. on Dixie Highway, just over the other side of the line from Wilton Manors.

Nice folks up there, they always ask what smells so good in the box.

I tell them but I’m not saying until Pat gets the box.

I’ll probably hear something got crushed.
It usually leaves her scratching her head as to What on Earth was I thinking?

Something Granular,
Something Blue,
Something Baked,
Happy Birthday to You!

Happy First Birthday, Rack!

According to our admittedly sketchy math, this is Rack’s Birthday.

Not an Earth-shattering event, but something for me and mine to keep in mind.

Lettie, my old McNab dog passed in April, and I found Rack at the Dog Liberator‘s about a week later.

Losing Lettie, I was basically “ordered” to “go get another dog” by Kevin.  It helped me get through my own feelings of loss.   She was the Canine Ambassador to Snowbirds in Wilton Manors, even if she really didn’t care for the attention toward the end.

We finally see Rack at The Dog Liberator, April 21, 2013

We picked up Rack a week after we contacted Giselle.  The timing was for the best since she was able to help him come out of his shell enough for us to continue the work on the recuperation of this dog’s shattered psyche. 

Smart dogs don’t take well to shelters.  They cower and hide in the back of the cage and end up being put to sleep in much higher proportion than a less smart dog.  McNabs are the smartest around, and other similar breeds like Border Collies, Poodles, German Shepard Dogs, and the like will suffer the same fate.

Since we got him, he’s grown much more assertive.  He doesn’t hide in the crate when the train passes by a half mile away, but he still hides from the trash trucks all the same.  He still doesn’t like Wilton Drive and all that noisy traffic, but he’s no longer shivering in abject terror when we get there.   It’s fear but it’s more manageable and with time he’ll do well.

Whatever he went through before he ended up in the right hands with Gisele and finally us, did leave him with a fear of strangers.   We can manage that, it isn’t necessary that some snowbird gets to meet my dog.  Most back off when I tell them “He Won’t Let You” and leave the vague comment hang in the air.

He has discovered the joy of other dogs by leaping in mid air when he sees them a block away.   We’ve got to work on calming him down, silly puppy.

Giselle said that he was “About 7 Months Old” when we first spoke in April.   So I’m “doing the math”.  That means that today would be close enough to a year old today.  We’ll never know for sure, and this is a good a day as any.

There were a few stumbles when we got him.   It took a solid three months for us to get him fully dewormed and on food that he could tolerate.   Puppies don’t always digest their food well so we were giving him probiotics and switching the foods around until we found one he could tolerate.   Wellness Puppy food made him have loose stools, and apparently that is common even if it is a high quality food.  We switched to Merrick and Orijen and both are excellent foods that he tolerates exceedingly well.

We won’t be giving him “extra treats” today for his birthday, I don’t want to clean up extra mess outside on our walks.  His regular food is fine in a Kong or a tennis ball with a slit in it.   Those two toys keep him busy for a half hour at a time!


So, if you’re looking for a dog at the shelter, look extra long at that dog hiding at the back of the cage.  They may need a little extra care because of the shock they’ve been put through, but they’re definitely worth it.

Happy Birthday and many more to come, Rack!

Sign of a Good Life

I was sitting on the Big Green Chair, watching some semi-forgettable TV show, dog at my feet, laptop making my legs sweat.   It was after all, September, and it won’t cool down until our two week winter in February.

I hear over the lamp and table separating us:

This is a great quote!
What is it?
Sign of a good life: The place your funeral is held is too small to accommodate the number of people who attend.
Wow, who said that?
Mike D.

Of course, Mike d’Oliviera.  He’s a local journalist here in town.   He’s also got a knack for telling a story concisely.   I could learn from that after all.  I am greeted by people by “Hey! There’s the Rambling Moose” for a reason.

With that, Mike described the Funeral or Celebration of Diane Cline’s Life perfectly.   I remembered standing in one of the back rooms of the place for most of the night.  I briefly claimed a chair in the center of the room and thought about the crush of people, both Diane’s friends and family, how many there were with the sheer volume of bodies in the parlor of the former Richardson’s home that Diane sought to save with the help of the Historical Society.  Seeing my friends on the board of Wilton Manors Development Alliance, the once Wilton Manors Main Street, where Diane was the Chairwoman for Life, yet another group that she had helped to found, I realized how packed the place was.

The rains had started just before the selected hour.  It was as if Diane nudged a cloud over the park in order to get things going.   I heard someone announce it was time to come on in out of the rain.   When the music started to gather us together, the rain suddenly stopped.   Timing was interesting even if that sort of on-off rain is something you become accustomed to here in the almost-tropics of Wilton Manors.

It wasn’t me who suggested that we pick up and move to the room in the back next to the kitchen, but I heartily agreed.  Crowds are difficult at best for someone who sticks out above them.  The Japanese have a saying that the Tallest Nail Will Get The Hammer First.  I have quite a few dents on top of my head as a result, hammers and low hanging door closers aside.  I got to observe the crowd from my perch near the back. 

I’ll just stick to the back of the hall.   Getting hit in the head with a hammer is fine for a nail, but for a too tall person in a too crowded space, it can be difficult.

This was a not to be missed event.  Even those who Diane would have told off in public arrived, much to our bemusement.  Kremlinology didn’t stop with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it moved to public events everywhere where people will ask “what is SHE doing here, doesn’t she have a clue?”.

Standing there listening to the politicians from our City speak about Diane, followed by the WMDA, then Family, the whole time I was looking at the fruits of her labor.   Ironically I spotted a sign against the butter colored walls proclaiming Capacity 92 Persons, and said I doubt very much that the Fire Marshall would dare count heads in this packed building.

With back against the wall and potluck food on a plastic plate, I found my niche.   A part of the celebration but on the periphery trying hard not to block the walkway or the doorway to the speeches with the too-low ceiling height.  Being where I was, balancing the experience, there were a few things that would float in over the thrum of the crowd.  One story about a commission meeting. then later followed by Diane’s favorite admonishment to “Never Trust a Naked Bus Driver”.

They didn’t repeat my comment that if I ever buy a bus, I’ll drive it naked.

We eventually left the hall at the South End of the Drive.  Walking out I commented that most of what you see in this little city was directly due to the work of Diane and some other very committed people.  This is a small city.  Small cities all over the world get things done on the backs of the cadres of volunteers working to make life better.

The shape of the Drive, the character of the sidewalks, the widening to four lanes and our ongoing struggle to narrow it back with the Two Lane Initiative, many other aspects of this City that all look like the normal fabric of life here were at least touched by this woman.  It really is a case of if you didn’t know of her, you probably didn’t know what was going on in this quirky little island.  The same can be said of some others that I know well who are tireless volunteers.

Speeches are all well and good.  In this sort of celebration, knowing what we did, it was interesting to point out, quietly to each other, the intentional revisions of some very specific historical events, all for good effect.

Actions are better.  The works of anyone’s lifetime can rarely be summed up in a single afternoon’s event.  Sometimes you can get a better view of that life by leaving the hall and walking down your own Main Street after a September rain.