Yesterday, after dropping Toni off at Danielle's baby shower, I went to my dad's house to check on him. He was doing pretty well, but was quite sore. I made him dinner since he had been eating pre-made food.
I decided to make rib-eye steaks and sauteed mushrooms for him. The steaks came out very juicy and tasty with a generous helping of quartered mushrooms over the top. The mushrooms came out nicely browned and the steak had a nice crunchy sear. Yum! It was so good that my dad and I cleaned our plates.
Toni's sister Trisha brought Toni back from the baby shower. When they arrived, they could smell the aroma of the food before they came in the house. They secretly were hoping I would have some leftovers to offer, but alas, there was none to be had. I told Toni I'd make steak for her sometime soon to make up for her missing out this time.
Toni is off with her sisters and mother to a baby shower today for Danielle. She is expecting a bouncing baby boy. Danielle is the granddaughter of my mother-in-law's close friend Linda. We affectionately refer to her as Linda Linda because Linda means pretty or lovely in Spanish.
Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 | Pets
Taffy sitting contently on our love seat.
Saturday, 29 Jan 2005 | Family
My dad fell today. I received a call from Toni around 5:00 pm saying that my dad had fallen and was at the emergency room. He was leaving his doctor's office when he fell on the way to his car. He was walking down an incline and lost his balance, hitting his knee, hand, ribs and face on the sidewalk.
He was checked at the emergency room and they had x-rays and a catscan performed to check for broken bones. Fortunately they didn't find any broken bones. I drove him home at 9:00 pm. He is pretty sore and will need some rest, but should be fine. They put a chest wrap on him before he left to help his ribs heal nicely. I'm relieved and thankful that his injuries were minimal.
Dad got one of three remaining flu shots at his doctor before the fall. Flu shots have been in very short supply this year, so he was pleased to finally get innoculated.
My dad and I went to select his Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim season seats at Angel Stadium of Anaheim today. He had put down a deposit near the end of last season. They give each season ticket prospect an appointment based on the deposit date to come to the stadium to select from available seats. He wanted to get four seats in the Lower View MVP section, but there were only a limited number of single seats left. He decided to get eight seats in the Upper View section above the infield on the third base side. The eight tickets he got ended up being less expensive then the four in the lower section because there's a buy two, get two tickets special in the section he selected. The seats he chose were in Upper View Section 515, Row J, Seats 5-12.
The above photo shows the view from my dad's seats. The field is totally devoid of grass right now because they are preparing for a monster truck show on Saturday.
Before we left, we visited the Angels Team Store to look for a cap for my dad. He had bought a new cap last year, but it got munched in his car's trunk during his recent accident. Unfortunately, they didn't have his size, a 7-3/8".
Thursday, 27 Jan 2005 | Family, Food, Restaurants
I met my dad for lunch at Peking Restaurant today. It's a Korean Chinese restaurant that serves several dishes I love. I took the day off to accompany my dad to Angel Stadium of Anaheim to select his season seats.
At Korean restaurants they serve Kim Chi, a spicy pickled cabbage with the meal. Erin doesn't usually like Kim Chi that well, but she love's theirs. She has been known to eat a dish or two by herself.
Today we both had one of my favorite dishes, Ja Jang Myun. It's a noodle dish made with a bean sauce made with pork, onion, potato, zucchini, ginger and sesame oil. It's a favorite of mine as well as Toni, Erin and my dad. It has a mild, savory flavor and is quite filling and hearty. It doesn't taste like any American food I can think of.
I made the waiter laugh today because I told him that he looks like Jackie Chan, to which he replied in Korean, "That will cost you 200 dollars for the picture!" You can see him above serving two bowls of Ja Jang Myun in expert Jackie Chan Style.
11170 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92505
I can't believe it, but I haven't had a single comment spam for the past 24 hours. I've been receiving over a hundred spams a day lately. I'm sure the respite is short lived, so I'll enjoy it while I can. It would be nice if Movable Type incorporated an SCode-like plugin into a future release. SCode requires the user to enter a numeric code that is displayed graphically to post the comment. It seems to me that would foil the majority of comment spammers.
Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
: brought back -- used postpositively
Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
: placed after another word : characterized by postposition
Wednesday, 26 Jan 2005 | Family
This morning on my drive to work, my nephew Antonio called to tell me that he was very sorry that Muffin died. He said he knew what it was like because he had experienced losing three pets. He had lost a dog named Lucky and two fishes named Freddy and Blue Ginger. It was cute that he was concerned about how I was doing.
Toni told me that my sister-in-law Diana had called yesterday to check on me too. It's nice to have family around to console you when life gets difficult.
Lately I have been seeing Blockbuster's television commercial announcing the end of late fees on all movie rentals with a crowd of people cheering their newly acquired freedom. I told Toni as I was walking in how I want to ask them if the Playstation 2 games don't have late fees as well. I was expecting that the no late fee policy applied only to movies and not video games. Toni muttered something about Blockbuster being liars, but I didn't think too seriously about it.
Well, on the way out, Toni asked about the late fees. The told her that neither games nor movies were exempt from late fees because they were a Blockbuster franchise. Apparently the no late fee policy applies to non-franchised stores only. I couldn't believe my ears. They advertise incessantly about no more late fees. Unbelievable. Oh, they do have a monthly rental program like Netflix with no late fees, but that's not what they advertised on TV.
The last time we rented DVDs from Blockbuster I ended up paying late fees because the return deadline had changed to something like noon instead of the customary 6:00 pm. I was not a happy customer. :/
I guess Toni was right about Blockbuster being liars and I think I'll be sticking with Netflix for my movie rental needs. :)
Tuesday, 25 Jan 2005 | Pets
Yesterday, when I woke up to take my shower before heading off to work, Sheba came up to greet me as I left the bathroom. This was nice because Muffin used to do this everyday. I would pick Muffin up and cradle her legs up in my arm and pet her head and tummy. I was suprised Sheba allowed me to do the same thing since she is such a skittish cat. I have to be very gentle and coax her because she's quick to get startled and scamper off.
Saturday, 22 Jan 2005 | Pets
With a heavy heart, we had Muffin put down today at our vet's office.
Muffin was my best friend. Toni would often say, "She lives for you, Michael." And that was true. She adored me. She loved all of us, but she had a special soft spot for me. She would always come up to greet me first thing in the morning before my shower. I would pick her and pet her once on my way into the shower and then once again on the way out. It was our daily ritual and we both loved it.
The vet was so sweet and considerate of our feelings. I can't thank him enough for his caring manner. Erin, Toni and I were there when she was put down. He shaved her little paw and gave her the injection. After she had passed, she looked very peaceful with her eyes crystal clear and gazing. It was very quick, not more than about 30 seconds. I'm glad she didn't have to suffer any further. She was very dehydrated and hungry because her failing kidneys and liver caused her to be nauseous and not able to hold down food and water.
On the trip to the vet, Erin held Muffin on her lap. Muffin was calm and seemed to enjoy the trip. She looked outside, very curious of the scenery, scanning everything through the window. She was such a loving cat, always sweet and personable. Last night we spent a lot of time with her. Although she was weak and tired, she made it a point to rotate between the three of us, making sure not to ignore anyone. I was so emotionally drained that I went to bed at 10:00 PM, unheard of for me.
The house feels a little bit empty without my buddy, Muffin. She will be missed sorely. My nephew, Michael, talked to Toni over the phone today. He is five years old. He was crying as he talked to her. It was touching to see how broken up he was about Muffin. He loved her very much too.
We decided to have Muffin cremated. We'll decide later what will be done with the ashes. I thought it might be nice to spread them at some location Toni and I love; a place we love as much as we loved her. I thought that would be fitting.
Saturday, 22 Jan 2005 | Pets
Taffy on Toni's lap showing off her Snoopy pose.
Friday, 21 Jan 2005 | Pets
We just talked to the vet and they said the blood work indicates Muffin has kidney and liver failure. They give her 24 to 36 hours before she succumbs to it. This morning she didn't come up to greet me. Toni had given her some anti-nausea medication while I showered. I checked on Muffin before I left for work this morning. She seemed quite tired and listless as I held her in my arms.
Thursday, 20 Jan 2005 | Pets
Toni took Muffin to the vet this evening just before they closed. They said Muffin's urine looked dull indicating a kidney problem. They drew some blood and should get the results from the lab in the morning. If her kidneys are failing, it could also lead to liver problems. The vet seemed to think that it was fairly serious. Based on how she looks and is acting, we feel that she may not make it. Toni and I are very sad concerning the news, but we should know more tomorrow.
Thursday, 20 Jan 2005 | Disneyland, Trivia
Q: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, a luxurious 751-room hotel located within Disney's California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort was modeled after the architectural style made famous by which architect(s)?
A: Disney's Grand Californian was inspired by the architectural style of Greene & Greene during the country's Arts and Crafts architectural period.
Thursday, 20 Jan 2005 | Pets
Muffin, my tabby cat, has not been herself the past couple of weeks. She is usually a bit rotund, but is now gaunt and her fur isn't shiny nor well groomed. We noticed that she is not eating much food at all. I can feel the bones of her spine through her fur. She seems to have trouble chewing. I got her some soft canned food last night and she mostly licked up the gravy, but at least she got some nourishment.
She's spending the day at my dad's house so Toni can take her to the vet after work for a checkup and a blood test. We're hoping it's just some bad teeth bothering her, but are worried that it's something more serious. She's exclusively an indoor cat, so we hadn't contemplated any problems because of her age. She is ten years old, the same as Sheba.
Muffin always used to come up to greet me in the morning when I take my morning shower. She hasn't done that recently, but I didn't think much of it until two days ago. Well, this morning she came up and greeted me like usual which made me feel very good.
Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 | Transportation
Airbus revealed their new mammoth A380 jet in Toulouse, France today. It will be the largest commercial jet aircraft for passengers and freight, eclipsing the Boeing 747 which holds the current title.
The A380 is the first full double-decker passenger aircraft in the world, able to seat from 555 in a typical three-class interior layout to a maximum of around 800 passengers.
The A380F, the freight version, has been ordered by both Federal Express and UPS for delivery in 2008. The passenger version should begin shipping in 2006.
Virgin Airlines half-owner, Richard Branson wants a casino offering blackjack and roulette, a gym and 35 private double beds on each A380. Virgin has ordered six A380s (delivery expected in May 2008) with an option for six more.
Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 | Daily
I'm back to work today after 5 days of bed rest to get over my illness. Toni's back to work today too.
I actually feel like a human being again thanks to my 10-day supply of 500mg Amoxicillin capsules prescribed to annihilate my dastardly respiratory bacterial infection. Today is day two. Now if I can just steer clear of any allergies to my medication, I'm home free. LOL
Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
an·ni·hi·late tr. v.
1 a : to cause to be of no effect
b : to destroy the substance or force of : totally weaken
Saturday, 15 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
: dry-cured spiced Italian ham usually sliced thin
Friday, 14 Jan 2005 | Pets
Taffy lounging, cuddled up in her blanket.
Friday, 14 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
: unsmoked bacon used in Italian cuisine
For the past week or two, I've been getting a lot of comment spam on my blog. It's really annoying, but I've been good about deleting it promptly when posted.
The IP address appears to be randomly generated, so I can't simply use IP blocking to stop it.
The names associated with the spams are:
The name section is the only portion that seems to have any consistency. It appears that it would help if Movable Type could flag comments with these keywords into an approve by administrator state.
Have other bloggers been encountering increased comment spam lately too?
Friday, 14 Jan 2005 | Family
As I mentioned before, Toni has been sick with a bacterial infection in her upper respiratory system and has been out sick all week. I contracted her sickness early this week. I went to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, but have been out sick yesterday and today. Hopefully we will both recuperate fully by Tuesday. Fortunately, we both have Monday off for Martin Luther King's birthday. We hope nobody else contracts this illness because it feels like you've been hit by a truck.
Wednesday, 12 Jan 2005 | Macintosh
Apple Computer added two new products to their line. An inexpensive Mac and and iPod. I've been a long time Mac user and enthusiast, so I'm pleased with these new offerings.
The Mac mini is a $499 Mac that comes in a very small form factor, designed to be hooked up to an Apple keyboard, mouse and monitor or your existing Windows USB keyboard and mouse and VGA display. Apple hopes to convert some PC users to the Mac in light of the overwhelming success of the iPod with Mac and PC users alike.
The iPod shuffle is an entry level iPod with no display priced at $99. It comes in 512MB and 1GB models.
Wednesday, 12 Jan 2005 | Travel
Toni and I are back from the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We had a good time, but Toni got sick during the trip. She went to the doctor on Tuesday and found that she has a very bad bacterial infection and fever. She was told to stay home all week from work to recuperate. Tonight, I'm feeling a little under the weather as well.
The disneymike highlight of the show was the 102" Plasma Flat Panel television at the Samsung booth. It was truly breathtaking in size and high definition clarity.
The 102" television is a prototype not yet shipping. Samsung also had an 80" Plasma on display that will ship this year for a MSRP of $50,000. That's a little beyond my price range! ;)
Wednesday, 12 Jan 2005 | Disneyland
Seventy-five Mickey Statues arrived at Disney's California Adventure on January 10th as a part of the 75 InspEARations Statue Tour. The statues are to commemorate Mickey Mouse's 75th birthday. The seventy-five 700 pound, six-foot-tall statues were designed by a number of notables including Raven, Elton John, John Travolta, Ellen DeGeneres, Tony Hawk, Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, Jamie Lee Curtis and Annette Funicello and famous artists Gary Baseman and Wyland.
The statues will be on display through February 22nd at the Disneyland Resort. Then they will journey to Washington D.C. and New York where they will be auctioned by Sotheby's with the proceeds going to each artist's designated charity.
Thursday, 6 Jan 2005 | Pets
A rare shot of Sheba, my regal, skittish and evasive feline.
Thursday, 6 Jan 2005 | Pets
Taffy sporting her favorite winter wear.
Thursday, 6 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
lurk int. v.
: to remain out of sight : lie hidden
Wednesday, 5 Jan 2005 | Travel
My work is sending me to the 2005 International CES in Las Vegas this weekend. I'm quite excited to check out the new electronics that will be on display. This will be my first CES, however, I have attended COMDEX numerous times in the past. We decided to attend CES because COMDEX was postponed this year to be revamped for 2005.
I decided to rent a car for the trip since my car has so many miles on it. Joy at my local AAA office reserved a car for me through Hertz. I asked for a full size car, which for Hertz means a Ford Taurus or similar vehicle. Well, I go to pick up my car and it turns out to be a Volvo S80! What a pleasant surprise. I was shocked because the S80 rents for over 3 times the price of a Taurus. It's always nice to get more than what you expect. I'm sure I'll find the 4 hour drive to Las Vegas much more palatable riding in luxury. :)
Wednesday, 5 Jan 2005 | Daily
I noticed on a few blogs they mention something about a De-Lurking day. Lurking refers to checking out a blog but not commenting; just coming in and leaving indiscretely. We're all guilty of this once in a while.
My challenge to you is to take the bold step to leave a comment on all the blogs you frequent and enjoy. It'll make you feel better about yourself and brighten up the day of the blogger too! :)
Wednesday, 5 Jan 2005 | Word of the Day
: of or relating to the kitchen or cookery
Monday, 3 Jan 2005 | Observations
Whenever we have our family over to our house for a party, it's always challenging to accomodate them all. We typically end up hosting over twenty guests.
At Toni's party this last weekend, I was charged with setting up the three folding tables. In the past, it always seemed that people would be squeezed in and at the same time not able to socialize with each other, each table cut off from the other two.
Well, this time I had a brainstorm! I decided to set up the tables in an "I" formation with one table lengthwise in the middle and the other two perpendicular to it. This saved on space and also allowed everyone to face each other, similar to a large round table. This worked so well, it has become the official table formation for Fletcher family parties in the future. :)
Monday, 3 Jan 2005 | Recipes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup diced white or yellow onion cut into 1/8 inch dice
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dehydrated chicken stock base or crumbled bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
12 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, wrung out by hand and coarsely chopped
6 ounces canned artichoke bottoms, drained and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
blue and white corn tortilla chips
In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil and butter together over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently and stopping before the onion and garlic brown.
Sprinkle the flour and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns a golden blonde color, 10 to 15 minutes. Then, wisking continuously, slowly pour in the stock until it is smoothly incorporated. When the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cream. Let it return to the simmer. Remove from the heat, add the Parmesan, chicken base or bouillon cubes, lemon juice and sugar and stir until thoroughly blended.
Add the sour cream, spinach, artichoke bottoms, Monterey Jack cheese and Tabasco sauce and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the cheese has melted. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately, accompanied blue and white corn tortilla chips.
Monday, 3 Jan 2005 | Recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water
1 pint heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Return to stockpot, and stir in heavy cream. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.
Monday, 3 Jan 2005 | Family
Yesterday, I spent the entire day with Toni. It was nice that her birthday fell on a Sunday. My dad joined us for an early dinner at Hungry Hunter to celebrate. Then it was back home to chat and watch some television. I made some peppermint hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream for an after dinner treat.
Sunday, 2 Jan 2005 | Movies
Toni and I saw The Phantom of the Opera tonight at our local theater. We are both fans of the Broadway musical. I have personally seen it performed live three times. The first time was with Michael Crawford playing the Phantom. The second time I saw it with Robert Guillaume as the Phantom. The third time I saw it in San Francisco, but I don't recall who played the phantom.
Overall, we were both pleased with the theatrical rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. The movie follows the play fairly closely. I liked the performances of Christine, Raoul, Carlotta and the Phantom of the Opera. I noted that Minnie Driver did not sing her parts as Carlotta, but that didn't take away my enjoyment of her performance.
Saturday, 1 Jan 2005 | Pets
Taffy parties on her first New Years Eve.
Saturday, 1 Jan 2005 | Family
Last night we celebrated Toni's birthday (actually on January 2nd) along with the New Year. Happy New Year to all of my faithful readers. I am so thankful for your support and comments. I look forward to a wonderful new year of blogging.
The whole family enjoyed all our yummy food and drinks. I made a large baking dish of Spinach Artichoke Dip which I really liked. What surprised me was that it was history in a matter of minutes! I thought everyone would be too full when I made it around 9:00 pm, but boy was I wrong! Everyone enjoyed my smoothies and frozen margaritas I blended up.
I bought prepared Korean Kalbi Short Ribs and Hawaiian BBQ Chicken which were also a hit. The first batch of rice I made came out too dry, but Toni saved the day by cooking a second batch that came out just perfect. The birthday cake was devoured. At midnight, I handed out party favors and 10 poppers for each guest. Taffy didn't know what to think when she heard all the noise and flying streamers as we set off the poppers to ring in the new year.
Guests stayed until around 2:00 am. Toni made four pots of coffee with her new KitchenAid coffee maker and coffee grinder I got her for Christmas with Lion 100% Kona Coffee
My dad decided to spend the night since it was so late, not looking forward to the drive. He was gracious enough to take Erin back to her mom at 8:45 am on his way home so Toni and I could sleep.
It was a lot of fun. Toni had a great birthday. But, I'm glad it's over because I try to be the best host and find myself busy the whole time we have a party. My goal is always to give the best to company visiting our home.
<< December 2004 | Main | February 2005 >>