Where’s The Oleo???

The practice of sharing recipes on Facebook seems to be increasing in popularity.  . If I didn’t hide some of those things I think I could rename the site recipesareus.com or something like that.  I think it should be a rule that you must try the recipe prior to sharing it on Facebook.

I am learning to cook so I read some of the things, I’m not keeping score but I believe desserts top the list, followed by casseroles, then crock-pot somethings.  I don’t make desserts for a couple reasons.  I am trying to lose weight and I don’t know the difference between blending and folding and cutting etc.  The casseroles usually have more than four ingredients and more than four steps in the instructions, four is about my limit of understanding and they aren’t real practical for a family of one.  I run out of appetite way before I run out of casserole.  My crock-pot repertoire is pretty well established and I have the same leftover problem as with the casseroles.

Some of the dessert recipes are tempting especially if one of the ingredients is oleo.  That is a pretty good indicator that the thing has stood the test of time.

When was the last time you tried to find some oleo on your grocer’s shelf?  I checked mine.  It wasn’t on aisle 5, 7 or 9; it wasn’t in the dairy case.  They didn’t have anything called oleo.

I think I should insert a quick disclaimer.

 My facts for the rest of this post come from two sources, the top of my head and the Internet.  The reliability of both is a little shaky.

If I were to ask my granddaughter about oleo, she would probably respond with “oley who” or “oley what?”  My great grandmother might have a similar response.

The product and the name originated in France in the 1800s, oleo is actually short for oleomargarine however it didn’t become a household word here in the USA until WWII.  Butter was kind of scarce and expensive; oleo became the popular alternative.

I think the name, oleo, had about a four-generation run.  My grandma probably preferred butter even if she had to churn it but she knew about oleo and used it.  To my mom it was a kitchen staple and occupied icebox, and later, refrigerator space along side the butter.  Yes she always had both.

My girls knew about oleo because my mom always asked, “do you want butter or oleo”.  They wanted butter because they didn’t know what this oleo stuff was.  They sometimes commented, “Granny Pearl’s butter tasted funny.”  The difference, Granny Pearl called oleo, oleo and she called butter, butter; we didn’t have any butter but we called our oleo, butter.

My earliest memory of oleo is watching my mom stir in the little packet of orange stuff, which came with it, to make it yellow like butter.  I wondered why you couldn’t buy it already yellow. I found my answer on the Internet.  The dairy industry used their influence.  It was illegal to deceive the public, if it wasn’t butter it couldn’t look like butter.

As my generation matured, I think “butter” replaced “oleo” or “margarine” as the generic or common name for Parkay, Country Crock or a multitude of other brand names and butter became known as “real butter”.

I shop for groceries at about four different places; I will continue to look for something called oleo.  If I find it I will attempt to make one of those desserts pictured on Facebook.

Do I have too much time on my hands?  Probably

Should I focus on some of my real problems?  Definitely

Should I do blog posts about insignificant things like oleo???

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

I know it’s too early for Good Night.  I wrote this last night and couldn’t decide whether to “post it” or “pitch it”.  

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Carbs and Smokers

I’m back, with nothing serious on my mind.  Did I hear a sigh of relief?

I am sure you have all heard the saying “Jack of all trades and master of none”.  If we change it just a little to “Jack of several trades and master of none” I think I qualify.  I know the master of none fits.

Over the years I have learned to do a lot of things.  Most of it was out of necessity usually for economic reasons.  Some of it was to satisfy my curiosity and some of it just kind of happened.

Two of those things are fixing broke carburetors (carbs) and smoking meat.  I learned about carbs many years ago out of necessity.  I learned about smoking meat very recently because I was curious.

My dad was a pretty good old “shade tree” mechanic; the only problem he was a man of few words.  By listening carefully and watching I learned what a carb was supposed to do and how it was supposed to do it.  A You Tube video would have been nice.

Over the years I honed my skills and had some success with things like AFBs, Qaudrajets or the 3 Rochester 2Gs on my 57 Olds.  I used to put the pieces from all three of those in one pile clean reassemble, adjust and go give it a test run at about 140 mph.  I even messed with those strange 3-barrel deals the early Hondas used.

As technology has advanced, fuel injection has almost made carbs obsolete.  Unfortunately my boats are old and still have carburetors.

About three or four years ago the kids gave me an electric smoker for Christmas.  It was after Sharyl and I were confined because of her illness.  I had never wanted a smoker, it turned out to be one of the best gifts I ever received.

I had time to do my homework, I had the little book that came with the smoker and I had Google.  I used various combinations of the stuff I read.  I screwed up some pretty good cuts of meat, but through trial, error and imagination I figured out how to put some pretty good brisket, bologna, ribs, pulled pork and chicken legs on the table.  I don’t plan to open a rib joint or take my show on the road it just goes on the bottom of my jack-of-all-trades list and provides an alternative to grilling burgers.

Pictured are my smokers, yes there are two of them.  The kids bought me #1; I thought I needed more capacity so I added #2.  There is a new model available.  It is about the size of #2 but it has more “bells and whistles” I really like some of them.

smoker2a

A couple weeks ago I talked about bringing the old bass boat home for some much-needed TLC.  One of the things needing some help was (you guessed it) the carburetor.It has one Rochester 2G; the old Olds had 3 like this.  I have provided a picture with some scribbling depicting what is supposed to happen, gas in, air in, and they enter the engine as a mixture.  It is kind of simple if it works but sometimes they can be a little finicky.

carb2b

How did smokers and carbs wind up in the same blog?

In a routine conversation with one of the girls I talked about my lack of success with the carb repair.  I also mentioned the “bells and whistles” laden smoker I had seen.  Coincidently the smoker and a new carb cost are almost identical.  She said, “If you could fix the carb you could use your carb money and buy the smoker.”  She didn’t intend it as a challenge; I took it as one.

I guess I am not as good at fixing carbs as I once was.  I have spent way too many hours doing, undoing and redoing the thing.  I runs pretty good but this is a boat, not horseshoes or hand grenades, close don’t count.

I have a tracking number on the new one.  It is on a brown truck probably somewhere between Albuquerque and Amarillo.  It should be at my house Tuesday.

I didn’t need the dang smoker anyway.  I could go ahead and buy the thing but I have my pride.  I really do like some of those new features.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

One and a Half..

I came here tonight and last night and the night before to write about carbs and smokers.  The smokers have nothing to do with tobacco and the carbs aren’t found in what I eat.

I have been writing long enough to know I am not talented enough to write about carbs and smokers when something else occupies my thoughts.

I will share those thoughts.

This week is the halfway point between the 1st and 2nd anniversary of Sharyl’s death; it has been a little more emotional than I expected.

It seems like forever; it seems like yeterday.  I love you Babe, I miss you everyday.

For a long time following January 22, 2012 the 22nd day of each month was difficult.  I think just gradually and without fanfare that got better; thankfully the 22nd became just another day.  Sure some days are better than others but the 22nd is no longer part of the equation.

I have managed to work through some issues and convince myself “life goes on”. I really am beginning to enjoy life again.  Unfortunately the hurt also goes on, the frequency has decreased but at times it is still very severe, this week has been one of those times.  Is it coincidence or is it because it has been a year and a half?  It really doesn’t matter; it still hurts.

I am probably directly responsible for some of that hurt.  I had ignored a big drawer full of x-rays, Pet scans, med schedules and some Dr. reports for too long.  I emptied that drawer this week.  I made a big mistake.  I should not have read any of it.  I should have just shredded it.  I didn’t need to experience that again.

Sharyl and I bought a small RV in ’11 hoping she could enjoy getting out a little bit.  We made one long run and a few local ones in it.  It served its purpose.  I haven’t wanted to use it since I have been alone, but I really haven’t pursued trying to sell it.  Kind of like the drawer full of stuff in the previous paragraph; it was time.  It is still mine, but it is now, sitting on a consignment lot in Moore, for sale.

When I pulled out of the drive I was flooded with the bittersweet memories of that very well planned and difficult trip to Alabama a couple years ago.  We didn’t talk about it but I think we both knew it was the last long run we would make.

If I live another 30 years each January 22nd will always be a very private and emotional day. Maybe next July 22nd will be just another hot and dusty summer day or if we are lucky a cool and rainy summer day.

Thanks for listening, now that I got that off my chest I think I feel like talking about carbs and smokers; probably not tonight.

Please say a prayer for me.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Getting Through the Teens! Backward!

When I named this thing “Random Thoughts”, I really didn’t have anything this random in mind.  Some of you may even suggest I find something more productive to do on these nights when sleep doesn’t happen.

Recently I did a complete post on this little weight loss kick I am on.  I am not going rehash that tonight; at least I don’t think I am.  Last week the scale stopped at TWO ONE TWO.  I hadn’t seen that in years and I hadn’t thought of getting through the teens as a milestone.  It suddenly became one and caused me to reflect and I guess even compare it to my journey through my teenage years.

I became a teen on June 17, ’55.  I think it was just another hot and dusty summer day down on the farm.  I even did a quick Google look at that day hoping to find some important world event.  The fact I celebrated my 13th birthday was about as important as anything I found.  I did a similar look at June 17, ’62.  Same thing, it might as well have said, “Dave is no longer a teenager.”

I entered the teen era as a shy, chubby, pot bellied kid, probably riding my bike as fast as it would go down that dusty road   I have had the pot belly all my life, I don’t know why I think I can lose it now.

Almost without fail, today when a kid has that 13th someone says to his mom, “Oh no a teenager or another teenager in the house”.  I don’t think anyone said that to my mom; I don’t think teenager was a four-letter word then.  Maybe my generation caused that.  We progressed through adolescence watching movies called “Rebel Without a Cause” and listening to guys like Elvis, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry sing this new stuff called Rock and Roll.  The country was between wars; except for that long running cold one we had with the Soviet Union.  Maybe the good life did kind of spoil us and give future teens a bad rap.

My exit from those teen years was kind of like the entrance, just another hot summer day. I’m sure the Kool Aid had a little more kick and instead of the bicycle I was probably going way too fast down some strip of asphalt in an old white convertible.

I was still a little shy (I guess I still am) and still had the potbelly. Neither the entrance into the teen years nor the exit was particularly memorable; the change was subtle and gradual.  The sum of that change was significant; the guy that came out the other end of that tunnel didn’t resemble the one that went in.

Those years were filled with experiences I could share, most of it routine and boring, some of it typical and predictable, some of it you wouldn’t believe any way.  You guessed right I’m not gonna go there; at least not tonight. .

There is a major difference between the teen years and this weight loss deal.  You just do the years one time, no do-overs.

I may need to do it again with a few of those pounds.  I have had a good run socially the past week, but those social functions have placed me in close contact with some ribs, brisket, enchiladas, pulled pork and the list goes on.  I could say I tried to be good but I really didn’t, I just enjoyed eating for a few days.  I spent a couple days at the lake; I don’t have scales at the lake and I don’t want scales at the lake.  I didn’t just eat while I was there; I did some major boat maintenance in the heat.  I came home yesterday, the scale reading this morning brought a smile but I think dehydration from the time in the heat got most of the credit.  If the scale could talk, tomorrow it might say, “One at a time please”.  Oh well, I lost it once; I can do it again if I want to.

I needed to write tonight and I dug awfully deep to compare losing seven little pounds with seven of the most formative years of my life.  If you are still reading, please accept a sincere thank you.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Just Another Saturday Night……..

When I talked about Murphy a few days ago one of the things I bored you with was the old bass boat.  I brought her home Thursday, the poor old thing didn’t even know we had moved to Norman she wanted to make a left turn in Tecumseh.

When we got home I parked her in front of the garage, it is a little cooler outside than in right now and I have to hook a water hose to it to test it and that water makes a heck of a mess in the garage, besides I have way too much “stuff’ in the way to get her in there anyway.  If I’m not through by winter I may take a day off and rearrange the garage.

I parked as close as I could to my workbench, toolbox, air compressor and a wasp nest.  I didn’t know about the wasp nest until the next day.

I have never been allergic to wasp stings, I have considered them more of a nuisance than a problem, Sharyl was very allergic to them and one of my brothers is.  One of them got me twice Friday, on my left wrist and a finger on my right hand.  The finger swelled a little but I had to look close to see where the sting was on the wrist.  I got my wasp spray and reduced the population by a handful, and continued to twist some wrenches.  The nest is in an inaccessible cavity under the eve of the house.

The shade is better later in the day so after loafing most of the day Saturday, about 7:30 I was playing with the baby some more.  This time the stupid wasp stung my left ear lobe; it hurt and really made me mad. I got my can of stuff and made war on the wasps until I felt like we were even. When I settled down it occurred to me my ear was hurting bad.

I came in and took 75mg Benadryl and put some Benadryl gel on the sting.  The thing continued to hurt and actually started to swell pretty bad and pretty fast.  I applied an ice pack.  I have a lot of those in the freezer.  We used them by the numbers when Sharyl was real sick and although I have never been allergic to wasp I am allergic to some meds and foods that can result in significant swelling usually of the face or mouth/tongue. I use Benadryl and ice when that happens. I may have blogged about that previously, if not I will one day because it is kind of an interesting story.

The thing was hurting bad enough and swelling fast enough that I got a little concerned, I thought it would stop but I didn’t know it would, that is one of many disadvantages to living alone.  I would have waited a while before I made the decision to seek medical attention if someone, especially someone named Sharyl would have been here. Lori was home and knew what I was doing, I’m proud one of us knew.

I arrived at the minor emergency clinic about 8:20, about 20 minutes after they closed.  My next stop was the ER at Norman Regional.  I knew where that was, the last time I was there was in September 2011,a couple days before we made the Hospice decision.  I was out of town and wasn’t there for Conner on March 2nd 2012.  It brought back a lot of memories, none of them pleasant.

The place was extremely calm for an ER on Saturday night.  It only took about 15 minutes to process and get to a room.  I think the swelling had started to stabilize, maybe I just felt better because I had some help.  They complimented me for taking the Benadryl; one of them said, “I sure hope you didn’t drive after taking that much Benadryl”.  I didn’t want to upset her so I just didn’t respond.

Hospitals have gone high tech (kinda like the rest of the world) with their record keeping and admission procedure.  I was in bed with an IV in one arm and some other apparatus on the other when the young lady rolled the computer in to get all the necessary information.  I was a patient there a little over 5 years ago with a minor heart issue; they still had me in the computer.  She was verifying the data, not much had changed, I was mostly just giving “yes” answers.  Then out of the clear blue she asked the routine question “Are you still married to Sharyl?”  It was certainly a legitimate question and I’m sure one she was expecting my “yes” answer.  I think it may have been the first time I have been asked that.  I was actually impressed with the way I handled it, at least I thought I did good.

They ran some Prednisone and Pepcid AC in on top of my Benadryl.  Spellchecker doesn’t know about prednisone or pepcid.  The swelling gradually started down; they kept me an extra hour or so to make sure the Pepcid didn’t aggravate my other allergy.

I got out of the place just as they were shooting fireworks at the end of the benefit concert; I beat most of the 65,000 folks out of town.

She gave me a couple scrips for more Pepcid and Prednisone and gave me the green light to take a bunch of Benadryl.  The ear is a little touchy today, other than that I am back to normal.  I know: normal and Dave in the same sentence just doesn’t sound right.

I relived a lot of things during that 2 hours or so I was there.  Most of the time I was in that little room alone.  I probably needed to do that, just another part of the process.

I probably didn’t need to go to the ER, but it broke the monotony of another routine Saturday night at home.

Keep me in your prayers.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave

Maybe it’s the Cup!!!!!!

This little jewel entered my life as a Christmas gift.

1 cuphome

Mine included the cup; I don’t think that is standard equipment. I added the little rack deal. I love the thing; drinking coffee has returned as a fun and important part of my daily routine.

I bought this one for the lake; it didn’t come with a cup.

1 cuplake

The one pictured is an old workplace cup; if you look close you can see the airplane. I used to help keep those things flying so we could be free to say what we wanted in blogs like this or wherever.  This one didn’t drop bombs or shoot things; it just hauled gas to the guys that did the serious stuff.  OK in about an hour it will be Independence Day, I am at the lake and someone was shooting fireworks a little early so I’m feeling a little patriotic; I’ll take off my red, white and blue suspenders and talk about coffee some more.

I didn’t drink coffee when I was a kid, my dad was the only coffee drinker in our home and I don’t think his was safe for children.  Honestly I’m not sure I could handle it today.

I eased into this coffee drinking thing after I started working for a living.  I started slow, drinking the stuff heavily laden with cream and sugar, I soon decided the there was no value added with the cream, and the sugar didn’t hang around much longer, so for the last 50 or so years it has been just “hot and black”.

For many years I worked for the U. S. Air Force. We always had coffee, but it didn’t come out of a nice break room, it usually came out of one of these or something similar

coffee pot.

We found a corner of the office somewhere close to an electrical outlet to set the thing.  We all chipped in to buy the pot and supplies.  Making coffee and cleaning the pot were on the honor system; some were much more honorable than others. Rinsing probably better describes what we did than cleaning the pot.  We didn’t have a kitchen, we had a dirty janitor closet or the bathroom, and neither place was suitable to clean a coffee pot or a coffee cup for that matter.  I think everyone assumed the next guy would actually clean the thing.

Some only drank one or two cups a day, others (my group) cups were never empty and never cold and for some of us nothing goes better with coffee than a cigarette.  As I reflect on those days I sympathize with the non-smokers.  By late afternoon what was left in that 55-cup pot was some kind of rank; I’m not sure my dad could have handled it.

The pot wasn’t the only thing that had a little “personality” you should have seen our cups. I like the term “character” as I think about those things.  I certainly wasn’t the exception and mine never saw soap and most of the time the water in that janitor closet was lukewarm at best. If I left less than a ¼ cup in it and there was no mold I didn’t even rinse the thing; just fill it up and hope it was hot enough to drink.

Those cups had character; you knew at a glance if it was Dave or Richard or Gene’s cup.  If I saw it I wouldn’t take it to the owner; no way would I touch that nasty thing and they felt the same about mine.  I might stop by his desk to tell him where it was; his co-worker might say he is out for a couple weeks.  The cup would still be in the bathroom when he returned.  Some awfully good science projects got flushed down the toilet; it is amazing how much mold can grow in one of those things in two weeks.  You just kind of wiped the big chunks out with a paper towel and hoped the hot coffee sterilized it.  Mine had a permanent ring about a third of the way down from that three week run to the South Pacific in ’84.

Sharyl didn’t drink coffee therefore she didn’t understand that cups have character she thought they should be treated like the rest of the dishes and washed after each use.  We had this ten-cup deal, but like the cup Sharyl thought it should be clean.

10 cup

I thought it was more trouble than it was worth.  I would make a pot occasionally but after I retired most of my coffee came from 7-11 in a Styrofoam cup; talk about character.

I live alone now and neither of the cups pictured above have had anything more aggressive than a cold water rinse; they are beginning to build some character.  Thanks, Rylie, for picking the dark color; your mom and aunt can’t see the character that is beginning to form unless they look real close.  The black one here at the lake was selected for a reason, it is coming along slowly but there is progress.

I now have coffee pots that don’t need to be washed and a couple cups with some character.  Drinking coffee is fun again.

Would I trade the cup with character for the days when Sharyl put it in the dishwasher with the other dishes?  In a heartbeat, but that isn’t an option.

I hope you have a great Independence Day, say a prayer for me.

Good Night and God Bless.

Dave