Sunday, December 31, 2006

Good Morning

The Nubble, York Beach, ME (click to enlarge image)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Snow snow. Beautiful Snow

Oh. Yessssss.

Happiness is....

A winter beach.......

A ping pong tournament where everybody gets to play.....

A bubble bath....

And a Warm puppy.....

But mostly, happiness is having your entire family come for a visit and loving every second of it.

Church Sign Wisdom (or not so much)

Not that I really believe that, but don't Church Ladies with Typewriters and church signs often make you wonder if finding Jesus makes you lose your brain (or at least every basic principle of grammer and spelling lerned in school)?

You're not alone. Joel Bezaire has a blog devoted to the analysis of church signs. There's a new book devoted to church signs (the funny, the mind boggling, and the inspirational), and there's the church sign generator where you can make your own Church Sign, or view funny church signs. The Jokeyard has more church sign humor.

Good Morning

Friday, December 29, 2006

Gone Skiing

See you in a few days.....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Good Morning (again)

Cape Neddick, ME

Mainely Celebrity Sighting

Survivor host Jeff Probst and his girlfriend (and Gorham native) Julie Berry served Christmas dinner at the Wayside Soup Kitchen in Portland.

They were later seen shopping at the Target Store in South Portland where they posed for pictures and mingled with the Mainahs.

Sadly, we've seen no reports of Patrick Duffy visiting his Native Pine Tree State this holiday season.

Good Morning

Imagine a lovely Maine scene here....

There would be a lovely Maine scene here, excepting that Blogger isn't accepting my upload for the past two mornings. We'll try again later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Church Ladies with Typewriters

As a kid, the ONLY thing that made church bearable was proofreading the church bulletin....there was at least one gem a week, and even if all I found was a typo it was enough for my snotty teenage self to drive my mother bonkers (these days not even a church lady with a typewriter is enough to get me thru those church doors, but that will be a story for another day).

For now, here are some of the best from this year's church bulletins:
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water."
The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."

Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the
recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those
things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at
who is hard to love. Say "Hell" to someone who doesn't care much about

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious
pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir.
They need all the help they can get.

The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will
"Break Forth Into Joy."

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.
ends a friendship that began in their school days.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?"
early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several
members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled.
Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person
want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and
gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be
seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from
Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are
invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would
him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church
basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please
use large double door at the side entrance.

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan
Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours"

Old Farmhouse Chutney Cheeseball

Jim Stott, co-founder of Stonewall Kitchens, appeared on 207, last week with easy to make recipes for holiday gatherings. They all looked delicious and most of them were 10 minutes of no-fuss preparation.

I just happened to have a jar of the wonderful Farmhouse Chutney leftover from last week's dinner party and the cheeseball looked so wonderful (and more importantly, so easy) that I just had to make it. If you can't find Stonewall Kitchen's Old Farmhouse Chutney, any chutney will work as a substitute.

We served it with the spicy nuts and Roquefort Pinwheels for our Christmas Eve appetizer.

Old Farmhouse Chutney Cheese Ball

16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup STONEWALL KITCHEN Old Farmhouse Chutney
1/4 cup scallion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Colby cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1. Mix together cream cheese, Old Farmhouse Chutney, onion, garlic, salt and pepper (I used my hands--well washed, of course).
2. Fold in Colby and Monterey jack cheeses.
3. Form the mixture into a ball and roll in chopped pecans.

Good Morning

York Village, ME December 26, 2006. Sigh.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Good Christmas

The Nubble, Cape Neddick, ME

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just Don't Call Him Sir

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth has awarded Paul Hewitt an honorary knighthood. You can still just call him Bono.
(He will not be awarded with the title of "Sir" because he is not a British national--he's Irish).

Bono was recognized for his service to the music industry and his humanitarian work. Tony Blair congratulated and thanked him:

"I want personally to thank you for the invaluable role you played in the run-up to the Gleneagles G8 summit. Without your personal contribution, we could not have achieved the results we did.

"So thank you and I look forward to continuing to work together to maintain momentum on Africa, and ensure leaders around the world meet the promises they have made."
Bono's the guy who really knows What Jesus Would Do--he's not wasting time trying to discriminate. He's not getting caught up legislating morality. He's bringing aid and comfort to the poorest and most destitute on our earth and he refuses to allow the Christianists to paint him into a box.

I have this hunger in me--everywhere I look, I see evidence of a Creator. But I don't see it in religion, which has cut my people in two. I don't see Jesus Christ as being part of a religion. Religion to me is almost like when God leaves and people devise a set of rules to fill the space.

He's not only a knight, he's my idea of a Saint

More Wishful Thinking on a December Morn

Friday, December 22, 2006

Good Morning

Monhegan, ME

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Phrases That Set My Teeth on Edge

"meet up"--why is the up necessary? It's the grammatical equivalent of "where are you at?" yet people I know who would never end a sentence with an "at" have no problem saying "Let's meet up later"

"snack on" as in "I keep a loaf of Cinnamon bread in my car to snack on"--keeping food in your car for an extended period of time is nasty to begin with, but when you add a "snack on" to that sentence, I hear fingernails on the chalkboard

"!!!!!"-A single exclamation point should be used infrequently and with much consideration. Multiple exclamation points should never be use, unless alerting the reader to a chance of imminent death by poison dart or nuclear bomb!!!!!

Funnily enough, the use of wicked as in "that's a wicked bad curve" doesn't bother me in the least.

Do you have any phrases that bug you?

Wishful Thinking This Morning

York, ME (Please, please let there be snow for Christmas)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Macaroni and Cheese with Lobster

Still testing recipes for New Year's Eve....we'll have a houseful of Ohioans, young and old, so I'm looking for foods that kids will eat and adults will find sophisticated enough for a gala celebration (a celebration that will include UNO and Scrabble--how's that for a gala?). This recipe combines an Ohio favorite (that's anything with cheese) with a Maine delicacy.

8 oz elbow macaroni
16 oz heavy cream or whole milk
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz cream cheese
6 oz fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
4 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded

1 lb lobster meat, chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring salted water to a boil and add macaroni. Cook 8 to 10 minutes (do not overcook). In a double boiler, combine cheddar cheese, 4 oz Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and Gruyere cheeses and heat until blended.

Gradually add cream or milk, stirring until smooth.

In large pan, heat olive oil and add shallots and garlic. Sauté. Add lobster meat and cook until opaque. Remove from heat.

Good Morning

Cape Neddick, ME

Monday, December 18, 2006

Then Again....

...maybe a Wii is a bad idea.

Wii, Wii, Wii All the Way to My Home

Am I the only middle-aged woman in America who covets a Wii--not for her children but for herself? Most likely.

I don't covet it enough to stand in line for 16 hours, or to pay $789.00 for it on eBay or Amazon....but I do covet it enough to make a daily internets drive by on Amazon and eBay to see if there's a deal.

And now might have a chance to pay the suggested retail price of $249.00 for one on Amazon. Actually, I have a 28 to 1 chance to buy a Wii through the Customer's Vote: Special Edition Page
How do these odds stack up?

  • I have a better chance of getting my letter to the New York Times published (20 to 1)--provided that I ever write one. Right now, my chances are zero.
  • I have a better chance of getting hemorrhoids (25 to 1).
  • But my odds are better on the Wii than having my novel be a NYTimes bestseller (220 to 1).
  • I also have a better chance of getting the Wii than getting botulism (2,300 to 1). Comforting.

Entertainment for A Winter's Eve

With the sunset at 4:05 pm, we always are looking for ways to pass the time. This should be good for two nights of watching and then week of trying to recreate it. With recuperation time from injuries, this could stretch into a month of fun.

Good Morning

Cape Neddick, ME

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Doozy of A Dinner Party

Thanks to (or is it because of?) my good friend, K. we threw a doozy of a holiday dinner party last night......K. brought her entire recipe file up from Manhattan and we cooked whatever sounded good to us. Luckily (and it really was blind luck) it all worked together well and it was all pretty easy to make.

Spicy Mixed Nuts
Roquefort Pinwheels
Little Sesame Dabs

Strawberry Romaine w/Poppy Seed Dressing

Maine Course
Roast Pork with Mustard Herb Coating
Green Beans with Crimini Mushroom Sauce
Cheesey Potato Bake

Assorted Christmas Cookies

Spicy Mixed Nuts
2 Cups Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts
1.5 Cups Planters Pecan Halves
1/4 Cup Planters Dry Roasted Sunflower Kernels
3 Tbsp Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix nuts in medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients and toss to coat nuts.
Spread into a single layer on foil coated baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir at 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roquefort Pinwheels
1 Sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
4 oz. Roquefort blue cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9 inch baking dish.
Open the sheet of puff pastry and flatten with a rolling pin. Crumble the blue cheese on the sheet, leaving a good inch-wide border all around. Roll up the pastry the long way. Cut into 12 -14 1/2 inch thick slices with a sharp knife. Place the rounds in the prepared dish and brush with the egg wash. Bake until puffed up and golden brown.

Little Sesame Dabs
Sesame Crackers
Cream Cheese
Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Chutney

Arrange sesame crackers on plate. Spread cream cheese on the crackers and add a dollop of the chutney on top.

Strawberry Romaine Salad

1 head romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and chopped
2 bunches fresh spinach - chopped, washed and dried
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1 Bermuda onion, sliced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

In a large salad bowl, combine the romaine, spinach, strawberries and sliced onion.
In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, milk and poppy seeds. Shake well and pour the dressing over salad. Toss until evenly coated.

Roast Pork

6 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 small bay leaves, finely crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork rib roast

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine Dijon mustard, minced garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and rosemary in small bowl; whisk to blend. Dry pork with paper towels. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Spread mustard mixture all over pork. Place pork on rack in baking dish. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 150°F, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes. Transfer pork to platter. Slice pork thinly and serve.

Green Beans

* 1 pound shallots, thinly sliced
* 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* Vegetable oil, for frying
* Salt
* 2 1/2 pounds green beans
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* Pinch of cayenne pepper
* Freshly ground pepper
* 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
* 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
* 1/2 cup crème fraîche
* 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the shallots with 1/3 cup of the flour; shake off any excess flour. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the shallots in 2 batches and fry over moderate heat until very crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels, then sprinkle with salt.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water; drain and pat dry.
3. Melt the butter in a large, enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne and a large pinch of pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour and gradually stir in the stock until smooth.
4. Simmer the mushroom sauce over low heat, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche, lemon juice and beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large glass or ceramic baking dish.
5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Cover the casserole with foil and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Uncover, scatter the shallots on top and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The assembled casserole can be refrigerated overnight. Let return to room temperature before baking. The fried shallots can be kept overnight in an airtight container. Recrisp in a 350° oven and let cool.

Potato Bake

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated


Combine thawed hash browns with 1/2 cup margarine, onion, soup, sour cream and grated cheese. Place in buttered oblong glass dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Good Morning

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Good Morning

Ogunquit, ME

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Gift of the Wreaths

Across America today, business travelers are waking up in hotels far from home, thinking about the ride to the airport, the business deal that they've got to get done. They are stepping out of their hotel room to pick up opening their complimentary copy of USAToday and seeing this image, thanks to Morrill Worcester of Harrington, Maine.

USAToday gave Wreaths Across America top of the fold coverage and a three page article, and the on-line edition has a wonderful gallery of 14 photos.
I just want to say Thanks, Morrill. I'm one of those business traveler folks, far from home in Maine, whose just got a little better and a little brighter because of your gift. It's unfathomable what this must mean to the families of those buried in Arlington and military families everywhere this holiday season.

Note: blogger (or user error) ate the last sentences of this post. I've inserted it above.

Potato Cakes For Brunch or Lunch or Dinner

I've been experimenting/foolproofing/testing recipes for Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and and I found this recipe is extremely tasty and versatile enough to be served as a breakfast or dinner side dish. My 10 year old niece was my sous chef last night and she decided that the results deserved a "quadruple gold star."

Potato & Onion Cakes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more
to grease the tin
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon packed dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 6
sprigs for tin
1 small red onion, sliced into six 1/4-inch-thick
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, coarsely grated
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Generously butter a
large (six 1-cup) muffin tin. Sprinkle each cup with
salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar; drizzle each
cup with 1/2 teaspoon of each vinegar. Put a
rosemary sprig in each cup, and cover with an onion
round; set aside.

2. Toss potatoes with chopped rosemary and egg
yolk in a medium bowl; season with pepper and 2
teaspoons salt. Divide among cups; dot with butter.

3. Bake until potatoes are tender and well
browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let
Cool 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of each
cup to loosen; invert, and serve.

Good Morning

York River. York, ME

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Idle Gossip and Random Speculation--Internets Style

There's been a bit of a kerfluffle going on in Maine this week. It seems that an unidentified woman in a light colored Cadillac made an illegal u-turn on I-295 and caused a 7 car pile-up.

The kerfluffle is because the authorities have not named the woman who caused the accident (she wasn't part of the pile up and drove away apparently unaware that she'd set off a chain reaction), they've only said that she's a Falmouth woman in her late 50's who was driving a light colored Cadillac. This reluctance to release the name and let's face it, the fact that she was driving a Caddie in Maine, has caused a lot of speculation that she's getting special treatment because she's special......who could it be? Who?

Wonkette had it solved:

Some lady in made an illegal U-turn last week, leading to a hilarious slapstick chain of misfortune and destruction. Her name has not been released to the public, the press, or the victims — possibly due to her “wealth” and/or “status.” All we know is that she’s in her late 50s, drove a “light-colored Cadillac,” and is from Falmouth, Maine.

Senator Olympia Snowe is 59, drives a silver Caddy, and lives in Falmouth, Maine.

We’re not sayin’, we’re just sayin’.

For about an hour that is--then they (sort of) retracted their statemen:
It only took one hour and nine minutes for Snowe’s flack to claim that the Senator was in Washington

The state police were quick to say that Senator Snowe was not involved in the accident:

"We have received about 20 phone calls because of the Wonkette posting today," Ferrier said.

"And we certainly wanted to nip that in the bud and let no one think that she had anything to do with that tragic situation." Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, was also fielding phone calls Wednesday about Maine's senior senator.

McCausland said Snowe was not involved, but he still wouldn't release the suspect's name. (emphasis mine)

The denials by the Senator's office, her husband and the rather strong statement by the state police aren't enough to stop the speculation on a couple of Maine's political boards...some posters to the boards smell a rat, and they're continuing discovery in this case. Updates to follow?

Guten Morgen

City Hall, Vienna Austria

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Barefoot Contessa Visits York

York had a rare celebrity event today when the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, stopped in at Stonewall Kitchen for a book signing.

Even though Ina's departed the store, sometime when you're heading up the Maine Pike, exit at the Yorks/Ogunquit exit and head straight (literally it's a straight shot off of the spur road into their parking lot) into the Kitchen. They're almost always cooking up some delicious samples and the cafe has wonderful lunch and dinner selections, as well as take away. If you're not hungry, the home store has those lovely sachets and liquid soaps.
And for the holidays they're featuring a beautiful rasberry/ pomegranate holiday collection.

Yummy Christmas Cookies

I'm in a recipe exchange club, and one of my witty friends shared this delicious sounding recipe.

I noticed that she only sent it to two of us, and methinks me knows why.....I'm off to buy some Patron, so enjoy the cookies:

Tequila Christmas Cookies (recipe)

1 cup of water
1 tsp. baking soda 1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Tequila
Sample the tequila to check quality. Take a large bowl, and check the
tequila again, to be sure it is of the highest quality. Pour one level
cup and drink. In a large fluffy bowl, add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat
again. At this point, it's best to make sure the tequila is still OK,
so, try another cup ... just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and
chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit and the damn
cup off the floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in
the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of
salt, or something. Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and
strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink.
Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through
the window, finish off the booze and make sure to put the stove in the


Brian Tardif of York, Maine, treads through a snow bank in order to reach the salt water at Long Sands Beach in order to take advantage of surfing in powerful waves Thursday morning.
File photo by Deb Cram

The Portsmouth Herald ran the above photo with the above caption today. We've only had about a dusting of snow this year, and that fell on Friday morning.
And now that I think about it, that photo looks suspiciously like the one that we had hanging on our fridge in 2003 (sent to us by a friend from who cut it out of his local paper in Buffalo).....


Have you read any interesting news today? A couple of items that I read were noteworthy. They might not be noteworthy as standalone items, but bundled together......I'll let you decide:

First, over at I saw this:

Business leaders and community activists Tuesday launched a three-year fundraising campaign to help needy Mainers pay their fuel bills and stay warm during the winter.

The "Keep ME Warm" campaign, co-chaired by TD Banknorth President David Ott and United Way President Meg Baxter, seeks to raise enough money to provide more than 500,000 gallons of fuel to families with limited incomes.

Then I went on to read this:
Citizens Energy Corp. will provide discounts on 8 million gallons of heating oil to low-income Mainers under an expansion of its heating-assistance program made possible by a huge increase in cut-rate oil from Venezuela.
But the ties to Venezuela are creating a political controversy in the wake of a recent speech to the United Nations in which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush "the devil."

Then I read this:
Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs is set to throw gigantic bags of money at its bankers, traders and stockbrokers this year - lavishing them with more than $16.5 billion in bonus loot, the most ever doled out by a Wall Street firm. Santa will bring Goldman's most senior executives - who are called "partners" and who bring in much of the firm's revenue - between $10 million and $20 million each, according to one executive recruiter.
And then then article goes on to say:
Between regular salary and bonuses, the average pay of Goldman employees will be a mind-numbing $622,000 this year - and that includes all the low-end workers.
Sigh. See Ya. I'm going to go make a donation to Keep ME Warm.

Elf Yourself

It's an excellent procrastination assistant and your niece will make an adorable Santa's Helper.
(Evidently, while enjoying life in Maine, I almost missed this little fad, as it's everywhere.....)

Good Morning

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Does It Make you Want to Scream?

Google's best customization of their logo yet, I think, although not the best cause that they've supported.
(In honor of Edvard's there a copyright infringement here?)

Welcome Mountaineer Fans

The post on UMass that you're looking for is found here. Or scroll down a bit. It's now a few posts down.

Good luck on Saturday!

Good Morning

York Beach, ME 7:03 am

Monday, December 11, 2006

Reporting Live From Maine (For Once. At Last.)

Portland's WHOM is featured in a report on 24/7 Christmas programming. WHOM is usually adult contemporary music but switches to all holiday music (someone from away wrote this article, as this being Maine, it's just fine to say Christmas) the day after Thanksgiving.

WHOM gets a 38% bump in listeners when it switches formats (count me as one of the switchers, but as soon as Christmas is over, I'm right back to FNX).

The top 10 Christmas songs played on radio the week after Thanksgiving:

1. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree, Brenda Lee
2. A Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives
3. Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms
4. Feliz Navidad, Jose Feliciano
5. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
6. White Christmas, Bing Crosby
7. Please Come Home For Christmas, The Eagles
8. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, Andy Williams
9. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) John Lennon
10. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, Johnny Mathis

The Minutemen Roundup

I'd do just about anything for my blog buddy Marie, and she's asked, so never mind that this is right up my alley and I might have done it's a Yankee's eye view on the Minutemen,with a big thank you to my husband the talking sports encyclopedia.
Disclaimer: I have no rooting interest here, and if pressed to pick one, I'd be leaning Mountaineers all the way. I have had the misfortune of watching UMass beat UNH (my husband's team) twice and Montana once. So I know a bit more about them than I know about the Mountaineers:

  • UMass has lost only one game. To Navy. By one point in a game that they easily could have won. That officially served notice that they were GOOD.
  • The UMass Minutemen are FAST. Quicker than a fart in a skillet, now that I think about it. They have the best defense in the strongest league in the 1-AA division (that's not an opinion according to the TSE, that's a fact. The league is brutal and getting out of it undefeated is a huge accomplishment--which they did).
  • They have speed at every position and have overwhelmed their first three play-off opponents with that speed both offensively and defensively.
  • They blitz 75-80% of the time on defense, often bringing the house, so the receiver needs to get open quickly and the quarterback needs to check off to the open man faster than that goalpost ended up in up in the duck pond.
  • The defense was successful in limiting UNH's David Ball (you know, the guy who broke Jerry Rice's all time 1-AA receiving record earlier in the season) to 54 yards in their quarterfinal game. They held UNH's offense to only 17 points.
  • They wreaked havoc on Ricky Santos--not insignificant considering that he entered that playoff game ranked in the top 10 nationally in completions (22.7 pg, fourth), total offense (278.7 ypg., sixth) and passing yards (2,681, seventh). His 23 TDs through the air topped the Atlantic 10 and his 12 rushing TDs was No. 1 in the conference. Santos also had four 300-yard passing performances.
  • Quarterback Liam Coen is smart and accurate. He's the 1-AA leader in pass efficiency.
  • Tailback Steve Baylark dropped weight this year and gained speed and has rushed for 1,000 yards in all four years at UMass. He's bruising when he needs to be, quick when he needs to be, and always tough (he gained 169 yards against Montana after suffering bruised ribs. He gained 198 yards against UNH).
  • UMass is hungry and wants this win badly. They are focused and driven. They've been counted out of most games this year and that motivates them tremendously.
  • They won, on the road in Montana, in a stadium that has traditionally been a graveyard for traveling teams.
On the positive side for Appalachian State:
  • UMass only scored 24 points against a horrific UNH defense. Seriously, my grandmother could score 38 points against UNH's defense this year.
  • Coen isn't Armanti Edwards. Edwards is a game changer and he seems to be the kind of game changer that defies an answer.
  • The Mountaineers appear to be every bit as fast as UMass and maybe a step quicker.
  • The Mountaineers have way better uniforms, and way, way better fans.
Good luck. Marie and Gnumoon--please beware fans in togas and wayward goalposts on Saturday. We'll be watchin' and cheerin and lookin' for you'uns on the TeeVee. Ayeuh.

Just One More Reason....

....that Ohio is a good place to be from.

The New York Times reports on the rising popularity of surfing in Cleveland (which they've oh so cleverly titled "Yes, You Can Surf in Cleveland, Before the Brown Water Freezes").

First off, you silly New Yorkers: it's been a very long time since the Cuyahoga River burned and Lake Erie is remarkably clean again, so that little brown water dig isn't appreciated by the Buckeye State. Most likely any brown water the reporter saw was the churning of the bottom silt by the big waves. Sheesh.

Anyway, we surf year-round in York and we often have snow on the beach. You might think "Maine. Ohio. Maine is way worse. You've got to be crazy to surf in Maine in the winter."

Nah. Despite the fact that our surfers sometimes have to wade through waste deep snow to get to the waves, our winter water is pretty temperate usually staying in the high 30's lower 40's. You have to be way crazier to surf in Ohio water that is about to freeze.

Our current water temperature is 47 degrees F (air is 42 degrees). Lake Erie's current temperature? Seven degrees colder.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and therefore has the greatest swing in water temperatures. The picture at left was taken at Long Sands Beach a couple of winters ago on a day where the temperature was 7 degrees and the wind chill was -21. Water temperature that day was a balmy 41 degrees. No one got blown backwards off their board, though.

Troy Smith's Bracelet

I had a spike in traffic to the site yesterday, and discovered it was a Troy Smith spike.

It seems a lot of you want to know about that yellow bracelet that he wears.....

It's a LiveStrong bracelet from the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

He wears two--one for offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and one for quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels--both of whom were diagnosed with cancer this year.

If you or a family member are battling cancer, I can't endorse the LiveStrong Organization highly enough. They provide information on patients' rights, treatments, uplifting stories of miraculous survival and the organization lobbies Congress very effectively.

The Trials of Turkey

My sister and I have shared a feeling of dread for about five years now--it's not pervasive mind you, and it's not always with us (we tend to repress it entirely from sometime in June until early November), but beginning in early November it's there, front and center, unable to be shaken or lost.

Here's the thing: Neither one of us has had to cook a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, evah, and our family holiday dinners come with a very high expectation for culinary perfection.

Because my mother, God love her 70-year-old self, can whip up a holiday meal like nobody's business. And my sister and I know that this cannot last forever. One fall in the future, my mother will announce that she's just too old and tired to do this anymore and one of us can just take over. Oh. Crap. This thought is so scary that my sister and I can only usually summon the courage to discuss it after a glass of wine and then only about once a year.

The menu isn't fancy , but it never changes and it is always delicious. The turkey is never dry. The gravy is homemade and lump-free. Same with the mashed potatoes--not one lump in about 20 pounds of spuds. The stuffing is moist but not wet. It's perfectly seasoned.

And the corn. Well, that's to die for. For as long as I can remember, my mom and her closest friend have been freezing corn. It's an all weekend affair, starting on a Friday morning in late August. All available kids (now grandkids) from both families are rounded up and hauled out to the corn fields to pick as much sweet corn as possible. The kids also have to shuck it. All of it.

Then comes the boiling on the cob, waiting for the corn to be cool enough to handle, then the cutting off the cob, the stuffing into freezer baggies and finally, the hauling the baggies down to the jumbo sized freezer, to be stored next to the side of beef (given to us by one of the nice dairy farmers in my dad's congregation). This process was repeated until late in the night on Friday, started again very early Saturday morning, took a break for church on Sunday morning, then ended sometime mid-afternoon on the Lord's Day.

At first first my mom froze corn because it was cheaper than buying the frozen corn in the grocery store and then later it was because we kids refused to eat the stuff from the store. It just didn't taste nearly as good as that creamy, smashed kernel, wonderfully fresh sweet corn from our freezer.

But back to this turkey thing. I've perfected the lump free mashed potatoes and the gravy and I'm pretty close to getting the stuffing right. I can bake a mean pumpkin pie and there's not a thing I can do about the corn, so I'm not going to sweat that. I'm planning to substitute and nice whipped butternut squash instead.

However, my turkey is always horrible, horrible, horrible--try, tasteless, disappointing. Something has to be done. I've tried kosher turkeys, fresh turkeys, Butterball self-basters, it doesn't matter. It's not the turkey, it's me.

Lately, I've been experimenting with different turkey cooking methods and yesterday, I finally made a turkey that was juicy, delicious and edible.

I found it over at my favorite site for recipes (Simply Recipes) and you can find the turkey recipe here. There are two things that seem to make the difference: 1) instead of cooking the stuffing in the turkey, this recipe calls for stuffing the body cavity with an onion, parsley, carrots and celery; and 2) cooking the turkey breast side down.

Good Morning

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thought For the Day

This popped up on my Google start page and I couldn't help but think how true:

Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing.
- Randy K. Milholland

Good Morning

Fryeburg, ME