The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Soup - a connection to the past...

Wow - that's quite a title. Especially for something about soup.

For those who don't know, my grandmother owned a restaurant for 28 years. She was a fabulous cook, a sharp businesswoman, and a kind person. And, one of my favorite things she made was bean soup. In fact, after she retired and she and mom were sharing the house, she'd always make sure a pot of bean soup was on the stove when I came home from college for the weekend.

There was no recipe, and I was dumb enough not to ask her for one. I think she showed me how to make it once, but if she did, I don't remember. And it's not like any bean soup I've had since. All white, since it uses only Great Northern beans, with ham and (I know this sounds weird) handmade noodles. Hard to describe, but really delicious.

So, maybe 5 or so years ago, I began trying to figure out how she did it. I knew most of the ingredients, but didn't know the seasoning or the "magic" that made it turn out like it did. After many experiments, and some total disasters, I've gotten as close to the original as I think I can. I found that the noodles are essential, since the cooking of the dried noodles is what thickens the soup. I even added my own touch - baby carrots for a bit of color and sweetness. My mom liked that addition, and thought grams would approve.

Yesterday, I took this "heirloom" and finally put my own stamp on it. I replaced the ham with chicken breast, adjusted the seasoning a bit (but not much), and came up with a slightly different version, that I also think grams would approve of. And, I think I like the new version better than my previous one. (I also was after a version that Hannah could eat, since pork is a no-no for her. I think she'll like this one.)

So grams was much on my mind yesterday, as I got out her soup pot and made my soup in it. Someday, I hope to pass the recipe along in some form, and continue the connection. :-D

Make some memories this weekend, ok? And if your parents or grandparents make something fabulous that you love, GET THE RECIPE! Trust me - you'll miss it if you don't! :-D

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Amanda's fault...

Yup. Amanda posted a picture of herself as an M&M. So, how could I resist?... Here are the Olsons, resplendent in purple and blue. If you can't figure out which is which, I know the name of a good therapist... :-D

I went and did it...

Blame it on a coupon for a free bottle. Blame it on the events of the past year, which have contributed to the issue. Blame it on spring. Whatever the case, I did it.

I tried Just For Men. And, despite Mr. 'beek's constant reminder over the years that "tenors aren't REAL men," it would appear I am, since Just For Men worked.

Yup - I "washed away the grey." Not to mention the white. Hey - it was free, after all. :-D Vicki found a color that pretty much is an exact match to my hair, sans white of course, and when the deed was done, my hair ended up a lot less white/grey and a lot more ash brown. I doubt if most people would even notice, since the color didn't change - just the grey and white.

Vanity of vanities? No - not really. I've always held to the truth of Proverbs 16:31
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Now, if my hair would all agree, and go white, I'd be happy. But this gradual turning of the leaves is taking a little too long. So, if for now Vicki likes the look of it, I'll keep it this way.

*sigh* So now, I go to the same hair stylist that Vicki does, we both use goop in our hair to style it (actually, I use more than she does...), and we both, um... "enhance" our color. 's ok with me - she's adorable, and I'm just tryin' to keep up. Not to mention my status as my wife's arm candy. We high-maintenance trophy husbands have to keep ourselves up, right? :-D

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's off to the banquet I go...

Yup - time once again for WCSG's Father-Daughter banquet. In just a few , WAY too short hours, I'll be schlepping my dollies and dishies off to Hudsonville.

This is one of my favorite events to play, even though I'm not a part of CU Radio anymore. I always enjoy seeing the dads and daughters together, having a wonderful night. And, I recognize some of them, year after year, as the daughters grow up and the dads grow nervous. :-D

One addition this year - my beloved is coming along to sell CDs for me. At last, the people who ask every year, "do you have a CD?' will get the answer, "YES I DO!" I doubt we'll sell many, but even a few helps.

Alright - time to start loading the van. The final countdown has begun!! (if you have a copy of "The Final Countdown," and want to crank it up now for effect, have at it...)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How many people does it take to change an Autoharp?

Answer: One. But it takes 4 hours.

Cal, have you lost it this time? If that was a joke, it wasn't even funny. Just weird...

OK - as Ricky said to Lucy, "lemmie 'splain."

Last fall, I played at Covenant Village - one of my favorite places to play. Afterward, as I normally do, I invited folks to come up, look at the instruments, ask questions, etc. One lady asked me if I had ever played the autoharp. I said I hadn't, but that I wanted to get one sometime. She said, "wait here..."

She came back with an autoharp that had seen a lot of use. She played it and loved it, but it got caught in some water damage. She took it to a shop, it was going to be a lot just to see if it worked, etc... In the meantime, her husband bought her a new one. And she'd been trying to decide what to do with the old one. So, she gave it to me, along with a new set of strings. "If you can fix it, you've got an autoharp. If not, junk it."

So, "Otto" (as he's now affectionately known) and I spent some time together today, taking him apart, including removing all the rusted strings. He got cleaned, treated with orange oil, and then began the long process of restringing him.


Bear in mind that an autoharp like Otto is a 36 string guitar. Actually, it's more like stringing a piano - big strings all the way down to the little ones that could put the hurt on you if they snap in your face. (yes - I was wearing safety glasses the whole time)

Hours and 8 broken strings later, he's semi-playable. Some of the new strings broke off the bat, others were, um... mishandled... But hey - I now have at least some idea of how to string him. Sort of.

And, when I next play Covenant Village, you better believe Otto will be there. Even if it's only for "Michael Row the Boat Ashore." (also known as "My Dog Knows the Bowling Score") So, she passed along something that she had enjoyed, and with some time and some effort, I'll enjoy it too.

Let's hear it for the Small Graces - the little places where God meets us in the unexpected. :-D

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A prayer request from Cal & Vicki

Many of you who read this will have gotten this info in an email, but for those who didn't, Vicki and I are asking for prayer...

Vicki and I got some news tonight that's pretty serious, and the only thing I can think to do is to let our friends and family know about it so that you can join us in prayer.

My aunt discovered tonight that the heat had been turned off at my mother's house (the one in Oscoda that still hasn't sold...) and that everything is frozen solid. The funrnace and even the thermostats had been shut down (we weren't aware of that), and so the house froze. All we know at this point is that the downstairs toilet tank has split. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the plumber will be bringing a Salamander heater over to begin slowly heating the house - that's when we'll find out what kind of damage was done.

To put the icing on it, the house has hot water heat. So, the damage could be not only in the plumbing, but in the heating as well. :-( And, potentially, could leak and damage the new carpet, walls, etc.

The finances for the house are bad, to say the least. It's been on the market for three years, and hasn't sold. We've put money into improving it, and so this could be the thing that breaks us. So many things that Satan would love to have me dwell on... "If we only..." "If we hadn't..." and so on, and so on. The enemy would love nothing more than to wrap Vicki and I in the darkest of thoughts, until we're up all night with worry and regret.

So, I ask you, brothers and sisters, to come to our aid. Please remember us before the throne, so rather than being wrapped in darkness, we would be wrapped in God's glorious light. Intercede for us, that we might remember Him who goes before us in all things. He has shown us His faithfulness through this last year, and I believe He will again, but it's hard to see it right now. We ask for nothing more than for God's people to intercede for us, so that we will wait on the Lord and not listen to the enemy's lies.

Thank you, brothers and sisters. We love you...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snow Day

It was just one of "those" days... The snow was coming down fast, yet very pretty, giving a kind of cozy wonder to the world. So, after dispatching my obligations to my high non-paying radio-on-the-side career, my co-worker and I here at Wonderllama Studio decided that a snow day was in order. Actually, a snow afternoon.

So, off to the Craftmatic went I, with knitting and DVD player in hand, with a few snackies and some diet Pepsi. My co-worker was pleased with a medium doggie chewie, and we settled down for a few hours of Star Wars and knitting. And looking out at the fluffy white world outside the bedroom window.

Reminds me of days of my childhood, when the snow was dumping down all night, and we hoped to hear that wonderful sound - the phone ringing between 5:30 and 6:30am, telling my mom that school was cancelled. She'd say those blessed words - "go back to sleep, no school today!", and we'd sleep in. Then she'd make French Toast, and we'd settle in to a day of playing Monopoly on a card table in the living room.

Everybody needs a snow day every once in a while. :-D

Points of clarification:

1) Yes, my co-worker here at the studio is, indeed, Ezri the Wonder Dog. And an afternoon of doggie chewie and snoozing suits her right down to the ground.

2) No, this subject did NOT violate the banned subjects list. This was not about the joys of working from home, but rather the joys and memories of snow days.

There - are we all clear now?... :-)