Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poop Parade!

The other day on our morning walk, Augie wanted to go one way and I wanted to head off in the opposite direction.  The result was that I missed stepping up onto the curb at our riverfront park and fell.  The good news is that I fell onto grass and not asphalt.  The better news is that I didn't land in dog poop.  Plus, no one saw me.  Whew.

Our riverfront is a jewel.  People have dedicated tons o' time and energy into the area.  Right now a plan is underway to improve this gem even more.

This boardwalk is used by many people.  It can be seen from one of the major roads that cuts through Allegan.

You can see our iron bridge in the distance; a focal point used in a lot of literature to publicize Allegan.

A war memorial accompanied by a bench for contemplation.

Now for the bad part.  If you're put off by pictures of dog poop, now would be a good time to click on over to something else like Youtube or one of the cooking sites.

I warned ya.  We have an ordinance regarding leashes and dog poop.  The city has provided poop bag stations around town and at our sports complex - another place that is being abused.  Who's doing the abusing?  Not the dogs - it's their owners!

Two places in Allegan many of us are very proud of - the riverfront and the sports complex.  Places that people take their families to, eat lunch at and stroll, taking in the beauty.  The "taking in of the beauty" part has to be done with one eye on the ground, though.

Isn't that a shame?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A blog buffet

I feel I need to catch y'all up on the excitement that has been taking place at the Altamore hacienda.  I hope you're not getting ready for bed right now because when you're finished reading about all the happenings in my life, you'll be so revved up you won't be able to sleep.  Sorry.

We've been talking about purging the basement for quite a while and last week, between raindrops, we turned and burned, baby.

My friend, Jo, let us borrow her truck.  Thanks, Jo.  This is the first load.  The reason the truck bed isn't overflowing is because I was the one that loaded this stuff in there while Petey was out running errands for me.  Look closely - it's all small stuff except those items leaning up next to the truck.  The long pieces of wood weren't heavy but it was dicey getting them out of the house without knocking over stuff on my way.
This is the second load.  You can't really tell but these items were heavier and bulkier.  This was done upon Petey's return.
This is our "dump."  Twice a year the city hauls out several dumpsters and people can bring their "bye-bye" items.  It's very cathartic.
Now for more excitement.  I didn't know if I should lead with this news first or second.  I really hope it doesn't get your blood pressure dancing.

I made pancakes from SCRATCH!  I know.  Aren't you impressed?
I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman and had to try it:  sour cream pancakes.

The recipe made 8 small pancakes and one big-ass cake.  I was ready to be done and that's the reason for the big 'un.  We both yum yummed about them and they disappeared in two shakes of a little lamb's tail.

Made even tastier with local maple syrup.
  If you ignored my warning about reading this installment before bedtime, you're on your own.  Remember - I warned ya.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Scissors and forks

If you remember milk being delivered to your house in glass bottles, you'll be able to easily relate to this topic.

We've come a long way in packaging.  If you're young, you might need to do a search on glass milk bottles so you can see how far the packaging people have come over the past 60 years or so.

I don't remember having a difficult time getting the top off that old glass bottle but I'm sure having a helluva time getting that plastic ring off the new one.  My "grip and twist" isn't what it used to be.  Hence - the fork.  I like to think I'm the first person to come up with this brilliant idea but probably not.  Let me live with that thought, though.  Please.

Insert a fork tine between that pesky ring and the cap, apply a small amount of pressure and tilt the fork up and off it comes!  Tada!

Now for the scissors.  The biggest PIA is the cereal bag.  Not the box - the bag inside.  What the heck are they making that thing out of anyway?  You used to be able to tear it or pull it apart but a research group somewhere came up with a material that makes it impossible to open without SCISSORS!

The same tool can be applied to the potato chip bags.

Whenever I encounter a bag, box or carton that requires a tool to open, I think of the elderly.  How the heck are they dealing with this stuff?  I guess I'll ask my mom this afternoon.  Stay tuned for her answer.    

Sunday, April 21, 2013


This blog is a "bitch and showcase" blog.  As I walk around Allegan with Augie I notice a lot.  A lot more than I used to for sure.

I've done blogs about our beautiful churches and the detailing on many of our houses and commercial buildings.

Now I'd like to show you a few of the porches that caught my attention on our morning walk.

Right across the street from me.

Two doors down.

Side porch of the house down the block, on the corner.

Front porch of the same house.

Screened in porch.  I have seen the gentleman that lives in this house barbequing in there so the skeeters don't nip at his delicate skin.

Double your pleasure.  Doesn't the one on top just cry out for water balloons?

Swinging horses on this wrap-around.  How cool is that?

I love the partial enclosure of this one.  You could sit out there in the morning with your coffee and if you slouched down, just a little bit, people couldn't tell that you were still in your jammies.  And check out the sleeping porch on the side.

Plenty o' room on this one for ice tea and pretzels in the afternoon.  I happen to know that other beverages are served on this particular porch as well. hehe

Another wrap-around.  Isn't it grand?

This porch is outstanding although my picture doesn't do it justice.  If you go back into my blog and look for the one on the Delano Inn, it is showcased much better.

I actually lived in this house when I was a kid although I don't remember it.  I like to picture myself running back and forth on it in my diaper and socks waving at the people who were entering the church across the street.  Classy.

Drinking lemonade and eating cucumber sandwiches (yuck, did people really eat those?) on this porch.  That's what I'm thinking; I'd probably have a bologna sammie, though.

I've seen more than one social gathering take place here.  Right around the corner from us.

If you sit on this front porch, you can watch the entire world go through Allegan.  It gets a little noisy at times and the diesel fumes might make you sneeze but you can always relocate . . .

to the side porch.

Hey - who lives here?  Must be classy people.  Check out the swing.  Very high quality.

Another lovely screened in side porch down the street.
 Remember what I said at the beginning of this blog?  Go ahead and scroll back up if you've forgotten.  I'll wait.

Yes, that's right.  I said "bitch and showcase."  The showcasing is done and I hope you enjoyed it but here comes the bitching portion.

You saw only a handful of beautiful porches here in town; there are a lot more.  There are also way too many porches that could be beautiful but their beauty can not be seen for the crap.  

Boxes, lumber, snow shovels (in June), broken down furniture, etc.  I could go on and on but it breaks my heart to see them in such a state.  It's very difficult for me to understand the lack of pride some people have in their residences.  This is where you live!  Such a shame. 

I feel much better now.  How about you?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dog people

No, I'm not talking about an alien thing; bodies with faces like dogs and such.
I'm talking about people who are into dogs.  Dog people.
I don't think I ever noticed them before - way back in the 70s when we had our poodle - but they seem to be everywhere now.  
Dogs take you into a different social circle.  This was very apparent at the dog park down in Destin.  Some people like to hang out at bars; we hardly missed a day at the dog park.
Striking up conversations with perfect strangers never felt odd.  Gender, age and social background never came into play.
It was all about "what's his/her name?  how old? what's the breed?" I also noticed "the dog nod" the other day here in Allegan.  Not from the dog, silly, from the owner.  They might be across the street walking their dog or driving by but it's the same kind of acknowledgement that bikers give one another on the road.  We don't raise our fists in the air (do they still do that?) but we look at each other and nod.
I haven't gone as far into dogdom as many others.  The only garment Augie has is his one and only winter coat.  No boots or sweaters or sunglasses.  Yes, sunglasses.  A Canadian friend down in Destin actually has a pair.  Hi, Wendy!
I also never, ever, purposely let Augie lick my face.  Especially my mouth.  I've seen what that guy eats (cat shit) when he thinks nobody's looking.
He doesn't sleep with us either.  That's only because he's a bed hog.  We tried it - it was not a pleasant time for us.  He didn't seem to mind a bit but I can only take a paw in the back so many times and then I'm done.
So, are you a dog person, a cat person, a mule/pig/goat person?       

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I love cake.

Yes, I'm a cake lover.  I love cake.  Doesn't matter if it's one layer or eight.  Do they make eight layer cakes?  

When cake has some ice cream sitting next to it then I'm really gone.  My sister-in-law, Patty, didn't understand cake ala mode.  I didn't understand how she could not understand cake ala mode.  When those two things enter your mouth on a fork (yes, cake has to be eaten with a fork - never a spoon, what were you thinking? even when there's ice cream involved) the experience is divine.

When we were in Destin I frequented the pastry department at Fresh Market more than once.  Ok, the lady that worked behind the counter knew me by name and there were tears during my last visit.  Mine and hers.  Their cakes were outstanding and I've already started my countdown for next year.  Some people go to Destin for the white sandy beaches.  I go for Fresh Market.

The reason for this particular blog is that I have reached nirvana in "cakeness."  I have, never in my lifetime, had a better cake than the one I had at Four Roses the other night.  It was Petey's birthday so I went for it.  Any excuse, ya know.

The server approached from the rear so Petey saw my slab o' cake coming before I did and his eyes were as big as saucers.  He said, "OMG, Ellen, I think that's your cake coming!"  It was and when she put it on our table I was embarrassed - for a nano-second and then I dove in, head first.  The fork was a blur.  People were pointing and shouting.  That last part wasn't true but it could have been; I was oblivious to my surroundings.  And this is why.

I thought at first that I would need a box but when our server brought one to the table I waved her off - with my fork hand.  Yum!!!   

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WARNING: "pelvic" is mentioned

Ah, yes, it's that time again.  The yearly physical.  Don't we all love it?  Especially us ladies, eh?

"Everything off except your socks."  Words to live by.

First off - let's start with the weigh-in.  I decided this was going to be a "stand on the scale backwards" day for me.  I didn't want to see the number.  There were way too many visits to the bakery department at Fresh Market when we were in Destin.

Blood pressure - check.  Pulse - still beating.  All the new questions the doc has to ask to satisfy the computer gods - check.
Pelvic exam/pap smear - no check.  That's right, ladies.  If you live long enough and don't have any abnormal pap smears in your recent past - you're off the hook.  Let's have a round of applause for the new guidelines.

I also got to pass on the blood work.  My cholesterol is always high but my "good" cholesterol is good.  Yea, me!

Now on to the final stage - the mammogram.  Time to squish the girls.  Make 'em look like pancakes.  Hold your breath and go elsewhere for a few seconds.  Over for another year.

When all was said and done - a good time was had by all.

Hey, I get my kicks wherever I can.     

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thai time

If you've never tried Thai food, you need to fix that.  If you live in my area, go to Kalamazoo - quickly.

As you drive along West Main, turn south (?) onto Drake and it will be on the left.  Keep your eyes peeled because it's soon after you make your turn.

You know you're in for a treat when the menus are cool.
I couldn't take my eyes off this photo.  I figured it was the queen of Thailand or certainly one of the royal family.  Turns out it is the daughter of the owner of the restaurant.  She'd been visiting in Thailand when she had this photo taken.  She looks like royalty, though, don't you think?

I'm not exactly sure what this animal is supposed to be but I really loved having him/her nearby.

And now for the best part.  The food.  I don't care how spiffy the menu looks.  Pictures of pseudo-royalty are nice and so is having a dragon in attendance but if the food is no good then the frills don't matter. 

This food is outstanding.  I think we all got variations of the Pad Thai.  Different levels of hotness, too.  My lips were warm, my nose ran but my eyes didn't bleed.  I call that a fine dining experience.

And - they are very generous so we'll be eating Thai for lunch tomorrow. 
Oops.  I almost forgot.  The sampler appetizer was yowzer good.  The sauces were perfect.  I have no idea what I ate but everything made my taste buds sing.
The reason for the outing - not that we need a reason - was that my sister, Stacey, was visiting from PA.  That's her in the back in the yellow shirt.  She's trying not to look short.  Nice try, Stace.  Lisa's in front next to mom and Petey and I are in the back. 
 Wonderful family time eating wonderful food.  Doesn't get any better than that, eh?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Some things I just don't get

I know I've done the whole smoking thing before and even mentioned cigars in that particular blog but I saw something the other day that nudged me to drag it out again.

Cigars:  I just don't get them.  It's the stink.  What a stink!  How can a person (men) puff away at something so close to their noses and not barf from the odor?  That's enjoyable?  Really?

Even back before MI and other states banned smoking they wouldn't allow those horrid stink bombs inside the premises.

We've been at outdoor concerts and one or two guys will fire up their stogies and kill the atmosphere.  And out on the sidewalk, you can smell those suckers from a block away.

Oh, I almost forgot - the "nudge."  While out walking Augie the other day I saw a car turn the corner and the driver's window was halfway down - it was cold - so you know the guy was a smoker.  Well, he was puffing on a cigar and . . . THERE WAS ANOTHER PERSON IN THE VEHICLE WITH HIM!!!  Oh, barf!  Oh, yuck!

Enough said on that topic.  On to the next.

Why get a dog and then stake it out in the back yard and leave it there all day?  What were they thinking when they got it?

I'm sure I could go on and on but I'll just leave you with one more.
Pig tails on women over 50.  Unless your name is EllieMae and your last name is Clampet, you need to lose those things.  Fast.

No hard feelings, eh?      

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You can't get there from here.

Have you ever been to the Florida panhandle?  Did you drive?  Do you remember thinking to yourself, "OMG, are we ever going to get there?"  

It depends on which part of the 'handle you're going to but if it's Destin, there is simply no easy way.  I kept looking at the map because, frankly, I thought "Jennifer" our GPS gal had lost her friggin' mind!  If you have a lot of time on your hands, get a map and check it out.  Once you're south of Montgomery, AL, all bets are off.  You leave the high speed comfort of 65 to 2 hours and 15 min. of Hooterville.  

It's pretty.  We saw huge mounds of azaleas on the way home but after a while, there's only so much of farmland/tiny towns one can take before one begins to scream things like, "where is the highway?  I want speed!"

We did a little investigating at dinner on our way home with other travelers.  Their consensus was to go a bit out of the way when leaving Montgomery and take 231, which is an "orange" highway, not "blue" like 65 but better than those skinny "red" ones.

Fascinating blog topic, eh?  Well, I want you to be prepared if you ever decide to drive down thataway.  Call me before you go.