Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Secret Chili Recipe

Actually, it's not really a secret. Jessi saw it on a cooking show and later made it for Michael. He really liked it. Since he usually complains about my chili, (for no good reason, I might add, ) I thought I should try it. Strangely, Jessi was rather posessive and, yes, anal, about letting me have the recipe. It's not like I'm revealing something scandalous here. It's not like she invented it. It's only a chili recipe, folks. I just want to try it out on the other Calisher men and see what they think. If they like it, I'll hang on to the recipe. If not, I'll delete it from my memory banks.

Update, 6:30PM
Okay, the chili has been made and tasted (by everyone except Michael, who is still at work.) The reviews were not great. It had too many tomato chunks for Jerry. I knew that would happen. And he said it didn't taste like chili. Brice didn't say much, but he didn't eat much either.

One thing: as the stuff was cooking, I realized why (I think) Jessi was reluctant to give up the recipe. I bet she wants it to be something special that only she can make for him. I guess I can understand that. They should have some special things that only they share. But I bet if they ever break up, Michael will never want to eat it again. (When they broke up a couple years ago, he packed up every little memento and we were not allowed to even mention her name. He didn't throw anything away, though, and it all came back out when they got together again.)
So, either way, I guess I won't be making it again. At least I got to try it.

Oh, and the receipe? It's here, but only for a limited time.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

You are what you drive(?)

Update at end of post.
I could have sworn I posted something about this once before, but I can't find it.

You know how they say couples start to look alike after a while? Or that some people actually resemble their dogs? Well, I have another theory. On any given day, in any given parking lot, you can often match people up to their cars. This is a game I have played as long as I can remember. You see a person exiting the store, and try to predict which car they will get into. It's not foolproof. There are too many generic-looking people and generic-looking cars. It works best with people who look unusual in some way. They stand out. Often, their cars do too.

For example: The slim, trim, elegant blonde-haired woman. Impeccably dressed. Obviously just stepped out of a glamourous magazine ad. I watched her, imagining that she might drive a Mercedes. Late model. Black. Shiny. And guess what: Bingo!

On the opposite end of the spectrum: An aging Baby Boomer (male). Not really fat, but, um... sort of big and soft looking. Long gray hair in a shaggy ponytail. Shaggy beard. Okay, maybe an aging Hippie. He looked mellow. I saw him in Trader Joe's today. A short time later, as I was pulling out of my parking spot, I saw him getting into his vehicle: A battered, decades old truck. There was some kind of plant, maybe tree/shrub clippings in the back. It was a perfect fit.

(Oh, by the way, the elegant Mercedes lady was at TJ's too.)

And, in case you are wondering. I don't think I look like my car. I used to, when I had the Jeep: Showing its age. Kinda clunky, kinda square. In need of a tune-up and a deluxe wash and wax. But reasonably sturdy and serviceable. These days, I have primary use of our '04 Honda Accord. A perfectly good, but hopelessly generic car. Maybe that's why, even though I've finally gotten used to driving it, I haven't really bonded with it.

Update: Jan. 31, 2007
This morning I received this email:

Dear blog author:
We recently came across your site,, while searching for bloggers who blog about Honda issues.
A small group of us have started a new site called Honda Bloggers . Our intent is to bring Honda bloggers closer together, and make a positive contribution to the Internet community.
Would you be interested in joining Honda Bloggers ? Please take a few minutes to have a look at what we are trying to do, and if you are interested, there is a sign up page to get the ball rolling. We would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavour.
If you do not feel that your blog would be a good fit for Honda Bloggers , but enjoy this subject area, come visit us and one of our member bloggers. You can also check our FAQ Section to learn more about Honda Bloggers .

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on Honda Bloggers .
Craig CantinHonda Bloggers

I was immediately suspicious. "Dear blog author"? I had only posted about my car yesterday, and my blog had somehow magically been found by this guy. There must have been some kind of automated skullduggery involved. I looked at his website, and thought my humble blog would only get lost in the shuffle. Or worse. So I declined his offer.

Dear Craig,
Did you actually even read my blog? I do not consider myself to be a "Honda Blogger". In fact, I made only a passing mention about my Honda, and not a very complimentary one at that. I did look at your site, and it's a little too "busy" for my taste. So, I am thanking you for your offer, but I am declining at this time.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mocean Worker: Right Now

They played this on the radio last year and I really liked it. Then I didn't hear it for a while, and I eventually forgot the name of the artist. (and the title.) Recently, I was trying to remember it, so I think my brain was in some kind of low-key search mode when the name suddenly popped into my head: Mocean Worker, Right Now

Countdown to Death Valley

We are now officially planning to go to Death Valley over spring break. It has been 10 years since we were there last. At least twice since then, though, we have made reservations at Stovepipe Wells, only to have to cancel due to unfortunate circumstances. The last time was 3 years ago. Eleanor was dying. Before that was when Jerry had to have surgery on his hand.
This time, I am determined that nothing will stand in our way.

We are going to try the Panamint Springs Resort this time, because if we like it there, we'll be going back for Thanksgiving, when they reportedly put on a spectacular feast. (I am tired of preparing a feast for only 4 people, and so I've decided that until I have a table full of grandchildren to cook for, it's either a Thanksgiving getaway or I'll be helping feed the needy.)

Here is a link to a nice little YouTube video of Death Valley.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Fuchsia Flowers

Red for Illustration Friday.

This was a linoleum print.

I have another special red post to share. Please click here.

The Red Jug

I couldn't resist posting this as an Illustration Friday supplemental, even though it isn't my artwork and it's way old (1920's or earlier). It is part of the portfolio from my Grandpa Harry, and is one of the few items for which we found a sketch and a "finished product."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

At The Bedside

This is a photo of the original drawing, dated 1911. Grandpa Harry would have been a teenager when he drew this.

The same drawing brightened in Photoshop. This charming drawing clearly depicts a moment in time from somebody's life. Unfortunately, it asks more questions than it answers, not the least of which are Who were these people?

The lost art of Harry Bernstein

The drawing above was made by my Grandpa Harry, perhaps 90 years ago. I never knew my grandpa. I was just an infant when he died in 1957. This picture hung in Granny's house until her Alzheimer's disease put her into a care facility. In the subsequent breakdown and liquidation of her household, my parents got custody of the drawing. There was also a thick portfolio of other drawings by Grandpa which had surfaced briefly. I swear I remember seeing it once. Then it disappeared again into obscurity for about 20 years, as family members eventually lost track of who had possession of it.

Grandpa Harry's portfolio was finally found again at the end of last year. It was fun to see all his old works. Many of the figure drawings are dated from 1917, and bear a resemblance to the kinds of life-drawing sketches I did in college. My favorites were his botanical drawings and a few very old sketches of what appear to be scenes from his childhood. (The latter are dated 1911. ) The drawings are, almost without exception, exceedingly fragile, having been made on newsprint and other modest papers, and stored for many decades in conditions that probably did not enhance their preservation.

My mom urged me to take home whatever I wanted, but I have no place to put them, so I took pictures of everything that caught my interest. I have been trying to restore them in Photoshop. I will post what I can over time.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

41 years later...

This birthday card that we made for my Granny has just been rediscovered in my uncle's garage, along with a wonderful treasure trove of artwork and sketches from my Grandpa Harry, who died almost 50 years ago.

Coincidentally, Granny's 110th birthday was today. (She died about 20 years ago.)

I tried to brighten it in Photoshop.

I actually remember making this card with my dad, although he doesn't! I was nine at the time. I think I did the flowers and Dad did the rest. I thought it was very clever and funny. One thing I didn't remember was this little disclaimer on the back of the card:

Friday, January 12, 2007

I thought this was funny:

Just wasting a little time online. Found this. I want to send it to my dad.

Writing and having fun: Jerry's four stages of life (UPDATE)

(by the way, the Jerry named in this link is not my Jerry)