Friday, January 31, 2014

I will be rooting for the Broncos

Boris has finished installing our sound system and we can now get music in five rooms. At the moment we can get music from everywhere including – apparently – every radio station in the world.
He demonstrated this by hooking me in to a Bulgarian dance music station and Sydney talk radio. 
We can play music from our iPods, iPads and iPhones – but not iTunes which is what we really want.
He is not a Mac person so left me to my own devices to hook up the system to my iTunes library - but this software task proved to be beyond my limited capabilities. He is sending a Mac man next week to complete the task. 
Sunday is Super Bowl day. I will of course be rooting for the Broncos because Peyton manning is their quarterback. He was in the winning Indianapolis Colts team in 2007 – what a game that was!
I have not decided what snacks we will have for the game. This is a big eating event and there are lots of ideas online. I do have a stash of Tim Tams for emergencies in case the game gets too tense.
I am making a sausage and cannellini bean stew for dinner tonite. I will report on the outcome. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Better off not knowing

My copy of ‘Cat Sense’ arrived from Amazon yesterday. This is going to help me better understand our cats and be a ‘better friend’ to them. I understand quite a lot about our cats – and cats in general – but am lacking some of the finer points.  
It may explain why both cats drag rubber bands around the house – yowling mournfully as they do it. Perhaps it will give us some insight into why Monika defecates in our shower if we leave the bathroom door open.
In the case of the rubber bands I am guessing it is because they are indoor cats and are unable to present us with dead mice and birds - but I hope John Bradshaw’s book will give me some clues.
I do not miss having outdoor cats. There are some downsides to having indoor cats – but the upside far outweighs these. Those who have outdoor cats will know what I am talking about – those who do not have outdoor cats are better off not knowing about the gruesome and ghastly consequences.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Indianapolis is closed today

Indianapolis is closed today.
Because of the cold weather the Mayor closed all the government offices and a lot of the schools. Cate is working from home. It reached minus 14 today and the central heating threw another wobbly – occasioning another visit from Mr. Fixit.
This time we used another technician – to get another opinion – and the answer is the same. It is just so damn cold that the inlets are freezing up and this causes the central heating to cut out overnite.
However – because of our gas fires – there is no danger of us freezing to death.
I have put extra seed out for the birds and squirrels. We had four Northern Cardinals together on Sunday – but we have only seen one squirrel. We have one new bird which I have not yet identified.
We also have a Rabbit who comes to feed after dusk.
We are currently watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix – and we both love it. Naturally we are binge watching it so will be finished all six seasons with the next few weeks.

I made a pork roast with pear chutney last night. Not a great success. I will do pork in the slow cooker on Friday – and probably have pulled pork tacos.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Chili was underwhelming

Newfoundland Cuisine
So I made my Chili yesterday and it was underwhelming. One of the problems was that it was not hot enough – I used a mild chili powder which was just too mild. But even with a hotter chili powder I am not sure it would have been exciting.
Sure it was acceptable – but it tasted very much like my spaghetti bolognaise sauce – but not as good.
But this was a basic chili recipe from allrecipes – and there are many more exotic varieties – so I shall try one of these next.
One of the things I like about allrecipes is that I get an email each day with a new recipe idea. This is good because I often suffer from poverty of imagination when thinking about the next few meals.
I had two challenges yesterday – the heating stopped working mid-morning – and it was below zero outside. Fortunately we have five gas fires in the house so can get it reasonably warm. Dave the heating man came in the afternoon and fiddled about to get it working. It stopped again overnight and when I got up it was 59° in the kitchen. Shriek.
Dave is on his way again. He said he will not leave until it is working properly. I have the guest bedroom ready.
When we were in Austria we bought two basic kindles – which worked fine but we could buy books only from the English book section of Amazon Germany.
Since we arrived in the USA I have been trying to get the kindles to work in the USA. You can theoretically transfer them from the German store to the USA Amazon store – but I could not do this.
What I ended up doing was creating  a loop so that when I went to Amazon USA it said that my kindles were registered in Germany. When I went to the German store it said my kindles were registered in the USA.
I spent hours at a time over the last six months on the telephone to Amazon – who could not fix my problem. I eventually gave up and ordered two more kindles – which arrived yesterday.
When I tried to register them it would take me only to the German store!
Back to square 1.
I decided to give Amazon one more go and spent an hour on the phone with Sally. She was absolutely stumped (never seen anything like this before!) but the last thing she said before we parted company was – ‘create a new a completely new email address and try to register with that’.
Really – I should have thought of this a lot earlier in the process.
Nest week I am going to test my slow cooker.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I have my very own troll.

William Skyvington has been pursuing me relentlessly for years and leaving a trail of insulting messages on my blog. These comments are often subtle – but sometimes very direct. He has even on occasion sent me insulting emails when I do not respond to his comments.
I have indulged him to date because I think he is a little bit stranger than the average bear - and lives alone in the wilds of France - with only goats and donkeys for company. I suspect he drinks quite a bit and this may occasion his most virulent outbursts.
Who am I – as a citizen of the world – to deny him the obvious pleasure he gets from castigating me for my very many sins – blogging and otherwise.  
Until recently I had never deleted any of his comments but - the two posted on the weekend were just an insult too far. These first was;
“You say: “We will be able to put our Bose system back into storage. We can only operate this by using a voltage converter which is the size of a small refrigerator and weighs six tonnes.” By “voltage converter”, I imagine you mean an old-fashioned transformer. The allusion to a refrigerator that weighs six tonnes is pure Bulgarian technology. I trust you paid Boris a fine sum for his precious advice. In Aussie parlance, Badger, you come through at times as what we used to call a sucker”.

(William apparently thinks I paid a Bulgarian to tell me about transformers. Actually I spoke to Mr. Google and Mr. Amazon).


“In kindly old-fashioned Aussie terms, Badger, you've always occupied a special place in my scientific mind (ever since you asked me how to convert the trellis of my rose garden into a cage for cats in Vienna) as an amazingly dumb bugger... “

(William – in common with some others - apparently takes my blog – and my comments on other blogs – seriously. This is rarely wise).

I found both these comments just too offensive even for my hardened ears – so deleted them. This enraged William:
“Badger: I think you’ll find that, once you start censuring comments to your blog (simply because such observations offend your money-based nouveaux-riches pompousness, vulgarity and obsessive spending), readers will discover that you’re hiding something. Maybe they won’t… which is the best thing that I might wish you. Meanwhile, in view of your censure, I consider you as an unfriendly curmudgeon who lacks balls.”

William –The only thing I have been hiding is my view of you as a gold plated, steaming, honking tosser with more than enough vitriol and spite than can be good for a person. I don’t give a rat’s ass about you and your funny little world.
I would very much appreciate it if you would piss off and leave me alone. There are millions of other bloggers you can bother the shit out of.
All future comments and emails of yours will be deleted.
Have a nice life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nuts to you

Nuts to you
ESB has kindly informed me that yesterday was Squirrel Appreciation Day. I am guessing that this is not a day which is celebrated my many Americans – but it works for us. I have given the squirrels an extra helping of bird seed – although they will have to dig in the snow for it.
I decided to go through all my CDs and make sure that they were in iTunes. In the process I discovered that the last bunch of movers had dropped a box of CDs – apparently from a great height – and what remained – in two large plastic cartons – was a jumble of smashed CD cases and many CDs floating about without a home. It took me hours to sort this out – and a day or two to make sure that all the music is in the right place.
Last night I cooked my rack of lamb – my first ever – and Cate gave me a rating of 9.5. This is the highest rating I have ever received. I think she is too generous but I must admit that it was pretty good. I did it with a honey and rosemary rub.
I must say that my oven thermometer – which tells me when the meat is cooked – is one of the best investments I have ever made. You can adjust it for lamb, beef, turkey, chicken and pork – and program it for rare, medium rare, medium or well done. It is brilliant.
Tomorrow I am going to try to cook Chili. This will be another first. This is practically an American national dish – but I am still surprised  at the large number of recipes I have been able to find online – with some quite astonishing ingredients.
Cate has decided that she no longer wants to eat carbohydrates – which cuts out a lot of dishes in my repertoire – so I must become more creative. It will be fun when Molly gets here in a few weeks. She will not eat meat unless it does not look like meat. This requires some skill on my part. 

It is well below freezing today and snow is forecast for the next three days. We just love it.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It is an automatic failure

We had about three inches of snow overnight. I had to go out after lunch and most of the roads have not yet been cleared so are a bit tricky. The Interstate was closed for some hours this morning causing absolute chaos.
At least the snow is covering up the potholes which abound in the roads of Indianapolis.
The situation is so diabolical that they have a pothole map online so that you can see exactly where they are. There is a table showing the progress they are making filling them in.
It pays to drive very carefully – even on main roads – as some of the holes are big enough to take a wheel off.
I am using bird seed which is supposed to attract Northern Cardinals – and it does! On Sunday there were three Cardinals dining at the same time – a first. The sparrows and squirrels also love it so are not going hungry.  
When I was out today some turkey pulled out in front of me from a side street. The road was covered with snow so I skidded and missed him by a whisker. But when I got home I scraped the Honda on the side of the garage.
This was inevitable as it is a very tight fit and I have to turn sharply to get through the door. Today because of the ice and snow the tires slipped. It is only a small scrape but I am sure it will be expensive to fix.

On the bright side Cate almost has her driver’s license. She passed her written exam last Friday and has the driving exam on Saturday. She has been practicing parallel parking on the way home from work as you just have to be able to do this – and if you go up on the curb it is an automatic failure.