Friday, May 30, 2008


When Katie lived in Grand Rapids, we would go out for breakfast at a really cool little diner. It was within walking distance of her house if it wasn't raining. Wonderful, wonderful food. One of my favorites was pancakes with granola and bananas. Sounds weird, but the crunch was so good. I have gotten close to the original recipe.

I make pancakes, used blueberries in them today. The original has banana slices in it, I put them on top, and shake some crunchy cereal on them. Cover with syrup and whipped cream if you are feeling naughty. I don't have any Reddi Whip so settled for sugar free syrup. Didn't have granola so I used Cinnamon Pecan Special K. The possibilities are endless.
A picture of Sean and the kids in Milwaukee for Melissa's wedding last weekend.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oprah's Top Sandwich

On Saturday, Cyndi and I went into Ann Arbor for lunch at Zingerman's Delicatessen. I have been hearing rave rewiews about this place for years. It is always crowded, and since it is across from the farmer's market, there is never any parking. We arrive in the area just as a angle parking slot across from the deli opens up. Cyndi declares it the "koenig spot" and she slips her pick up in quickly. Since U of M was out for the holiday weekend, the crowds were minimal. The line went around the corner and half way down the block. Only took 15 minutes to get in the door.

Recently, their sandwich, Lisa C's boisterous brisket sandwich, was named on Oprah's show as one of the top ten sandwichs in the US. And Zingerman's served everyone in her audience a sandwich. Since Cyndi had made us brisket on Thursday, we opted to split a Zingerman's Reuben ($12.50), it was huge and served on hand sliced Jewish rye bread. Also split a side of potato salad, that was almost as good as Cyndi's home made. This corned beef sandwich is their number one seller, and they have 7 different corned beef sandwiches, not counting the rachels and other variations. Cyndi's favorite has corned beef with chopped liver with leaf lettuce and Russian dressing.

This whole operation is expertly run, there is a gate keeper that offers free side dish samples and lets you into the store when there is room. Exellent marketing scheme. Two people take orders and explain the process. Then you go pay and find a place to sit. The main building is an historical building, built in 1902. It houses the sandwich making area and store. There is a large patio dining area, another old two story building with a pop/coffee/tea serving bar, and seating on both levels. There is a tiny old house that seems to be a gift shop, it wasn't open. In back there was a large tent for seating also. There were at least 100 people sitting out side. When your order is up a college student brings it out on a tray and hollers "lunch for Cyndi O" or whatever. Takes good lungs to work there. It was a beautiful, sunny day so this was great people watching.

We had new pickles with our sandwich, as opposed to old pickles that are more salty. And we got a jumping ginger cookie, most excellent, tasted like homemade molassas, except better with more ginger. I bought some bagels and raisin pecan bread for breakfast. And now I am hungry for it.

There was a lovely Jewish family in front of us in line, from western PA. In town for a wedding, I am guessing. Cyndi told them a funny joke, but I am sure they thought we were rubes. I regretted not wearing all my gold jewerly and diamonds. Grandma thought I was sadly lacking. The deli will overnight you the makings for 4 of the Rubens for only $100.00. Such a deal!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Southern Shopping Swing

Had mixed results shopping yesterday. The Hancock fabric is being remodeled and didn't have a lot of fabric. However, Toledo has a very nice Steinmart Store. Talented buyers. They had five different styles of chairs that I loved for the game table in the living room. All in a soft red with bluer undertones. So it goes very well with the navy fabrics. I chose the parsons style, I love them. The fabric is a brushed microfiber. Also found matching pillows. They were quite cheap so a good way to decide if I like the whole concept.

Today we are going up to Ann Arbor to Home Goods, looking for a table, and JoAnn ECT. for curtain fabric. I have two plans to make it work. Surely one will be doable.

We are going to nap lunch at the deli that was featured on Oprah's top ten sandwiches show recently. I think the name is Zingermans. Or Blimpy's, featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

Sadly, our favorite coney dog place was demolished for a new Costco. We went to a new place that was rumored to be the same, totally not. The hot dogs were good Michigan dogs, the sauce was ok. Cyndi, Sher and I shared an order of coney cheese fries, and left half the order. The fries were limp and greasy. Cyndi had a serious digestive melt down. bummer

Friday, May 23, 2008

Brisket Heaven

So here we are in Milan, Michigan, apparently the northern center of smoked brisket, right here at the Osterhout Ranch. Wyman and Cyndi made the most delicious brisket for us yesterday. It was smoked for two hours in a wonderful rub, then slow baked for 3 hours. She also made red skin sour cream potato salad, drunken carrot/raisin salad, and a delightful key lime cake for dessert. She invented the drunken salad, soaking raisins in rum (heated in the microwave), mixed with shredded carrots. The dressing is mayo, vinegar and poppy seeds. Most excellent.

It is spring here in the south (of Michigan) the trees are all leafed out, iris are blooming, corn is up. It is sunny and warm. Life is good. Wy and Paul are going fishing on Lake Erie, Cyndi and Sherri and I are going shopping in Toledo. A delightful city full of the worlds best coney dogs.

We will be looking for the elusive, yet perfect, window treatment for my living room. I only work with experts.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Off to Milan, Michigan, of course!

We are going down to Milan, Michigan, to visit with Cyndi and Wyman until Sunday. They qualify as some of our oldest friends still living. A great honor all around. Milan is just south of Ann Arbor, and north of Toledo. Cyndi is a power shopper and we have plans. Paul and Wy are going fishing on Lake Erie and golfing too. Doesn't look like there will be time for Cyndi and I to whip their butts in pinochle. We haven't found time to do that in years. Those two have gotten way too wily. Pet and horse photos later.

Our lake neighbor, Jean Villa, has been up all week. We have had some happy meals together and shopped and watched American Idol last night. I just tried to download the song David Cook sang with ZZ Top. It's not on Itunes and none of the Idol songs are available for downloading right now. Lucky for me I still have the TiVo version. It rocked. This was the first time I followed Idol or watched the last show. Very good entertainment. Jean says it was different/better this time.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Not A Nurse

Steff came home to have three wisdom teeth pulled on Friday. As many of you know, a painful, drug filled occasion. She couldn't swallow, eat, drink, sleep, etc. I was sympathetic for hours . Which used up all my sympathy supply for the next 15 months. I didn't think to keep track of her pain pills. I kept forgetting to make more ice. Not a nurse bone in my body. Sorry, Steff. I did make turkey veg. rice soup. And homemade bread. Easier to remember cooking.

We went to Bob's Bar in Clare on Saturday night. I was tired of all that cooking and nursing. I had Alaskan whitefish, it was very good, mild and tasty. And Jean Villa was at the lake this weekend. She came over for dinner on Thursday and Friday night. We had a great time, she has the best stories! Which she needs to record or write down. Her and John both have had very interesting lives.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Misty Lake Morning

Absolutely beautiful this morning on the lake. We love the reflection of the trees. It got down to 38 degrees today, May 15, Andrea's 30th birthday. Happy Birthday Baby Girl! We even had a frost warning. The fish are jumping like crazy out there. A very large bass just jumped out of the water. I saw a fat gray possum waddle through the yard about 6:30 am. Orioles, cardinals, indigo buntings, gold finches and grosbeaks are feeding. Some Canadian geese are floating across the lake. Pileated woodpeckers have been working on Pete and Brenda's bass wood tree and really hacking away at a tree stump in the yard too. Good work guys.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Dreary Month of May

Just saw the 10 day weather forcast for the middle of Michigan, partly sunny today, then rain and thunderstorms and no sun until the middle of next week. For most of the three weeks we have been home it has been highs in the 50s or low 60s and cloudy and rainy. Our tans are all faded, we look like Yankees again! Miss the sun.

Paul has the motor home all clean and sparkly. Firewood stacked against the garage (because we need a fire almost every night to ward off the chill and dampness), flower gardens are cleaned out, grass is mowed. I have the house tidy and organized, except for the office which is full of books and video tapes. We had a major overhaul in the living room and no longer have any book cases or places to hide video tapes. Finding a book case for the office is on my to do list for a town trip.

I am boring myself into a stupor as I type. We do have a social life again. The weekend of May 2, we attended a doctoral graduation party for one of Paul's former students. Lots of old teachers there, that was interesting. On May 3, we had dinner with Mike and Jen Linsday. It was fun to catch up with them and what is going on in Mt. Pleasant. Jen is so nice, a talented artist and photographer. Very good cook also. Mike and I are from the same home town and it is nice to have that connection. And Ken Plagens spent the weekend with us as he worked with Kevin White to purchase the rest of the supplies for his GTO rebuild.

Now this last weekend, Al and Joann Roy came up to the lake and we visited and watched Cory install our new TV. Very exciting for them, not so much. But so nice to catch up with their news. And Joann is always interested in my grand baby photos. A very nice trait in a friend. Then we went to Ruckle's Pier for dinner. It was funny, the first time we went in the bar this spring we were blown away at how clean it was. To be fair, they recently had a fire and it was very clean, but mostly it was the everyday day clean that is such a contrast to Port Aransas bars. They don't even replace broken panes of glass in the windows at the Gaff. We love Port A, but the contrast is major. Part of the charm without a doubt, the more relaxed atmosphere, the joie" de vivre'.

On Sunday we went to dinner at our traditional Mother's Day site, The Bud Lake Bar in Harrison. I had very good perch and Paul had an Italian sub. It was raining and the Tiger's game was cancelled. Could have shot a cannon through the place with no casualties. We also enjoyed a visit with lake neighbors (lake neighbors is a nice way to say they are Fudgies) Tony and Virginia. It was great to see their grand kids and share some time with them. And no one got hit on the head with a golf club very hard. No blood at all.

For you trolls, a Fudgie is a tourist who comes to Mackinaw Island, buys fudge, and goes home.
A troll is someone who lives under the bridge, or out of state. The bridge, of course, is the Mackinaw Bridge.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Hero

This weekend I got to see a real hero in action. A Grandma Hero, Virginia, our lake neighbor, caring for her disabled grandson. A huge job, physically, mentally and emotionally, and done with so much love. I admire her so much.

Another big mom hero of mine is my sister-in-law, Pam, for the way she cared for her grandson, Glen, when he was so sick with SMA. And her daugher, Amanda, for her grace and strength and faith during Glen's illness.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I made Julie's beer bread recipe last night. It was wonderful and very easy. I can make this in the motor home all winter. I never had self rising flour before, thought it was just some southern thing. Now I see many possibilities.

Beer Bread
3 C. self-rising flour (must be self-rising, not regular)
1/2 C. sugar
1 (12 oz) bottle beer (any kind)
1/4 C. butter of margarine, melted
Stir first 3 ingredients together; pour into a lightly greased 9x5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 mins. Pour melted butter over top. Bake 10 more mins.

For Cheddar-Chive bread: Add 3/4 C. shredded cheddar cheese & 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives to dry ingredients.

(I have the "recipe" for self rising flour if you are in a pinch and don't want to run to the store for it: for 1 cup of self rising flour you substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon salt)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Spicy Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry

Fresh asparagus is in the stores, time to make our favorite recipe. Tonight I used some venison fillet from the freezer instead of beef. I didn't have a red pepper, shopped in Clare. It was wonderful. Julie emailed me this recipe in 1999. It is pretty easy and has no exotic ingredients. I have it posted at , it is number 301600. You can just put the number in the search box.
We always have this on rice, but noodles would be good too.

Tony Boyle's Life List

Tony is our lake neighbor, his cottage is just down the road. Virginia is still working as a travel agent, so they live in the Detroit area. He send us this email last week. It is a list of the things he has done since his retirement. Recently he was in our little town, Clare, MI, talking to a Claretuckyian, the man scolded him for retiring so young, he should have a job and be working, after all, "isn't retirement over rated"? This is his reply. If I might add a comment, Tony never sits down, he has spent more time helping people during retirement than I have in my entire life. He is amazing. Also, to fine focus the picture, Tony is from Ireland, and with careful research we have discovered that the Irish and Texans party harder than any other group. Dare I say the Irish are number one.

So I am calling this a life list, started in the last 18 months. It makes me feel like a sluggo, but that is ok, you get to do what you want in retirement. We want to walk on the beach! We love to hear his stories and see the pictures. Which he is very stingy with. He needs to have a blog about his travels. With pics!

I hope you don't mind a little Philosophy this morn. Someone asked me "isnt retirement overrated" --I have had other people ask "don't you get bored". Please don't feel this is boasting but simply an answer . I thought about these on the way home from the cottageand wanted to share with you. I have been retired for 18 months . Since just before retirement and since I (we) have:
-Climbed on the great Pyramids of Egypt -
body surfed off the coast of the Dominicn Republic-
-Touched and walked around Stonehenge in England -
-Touched the great Spinx -
-Spent 1/2 day at the Hill of Tara where the ancient Irish Kings ruled Ireland a thousand years ago. -
-I spent 3 days in a 500 yr. old English cottage -
-Hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings -
-Fly fished in Ireland for 3 days -
-Saw the Mummies of King Tut and Ramses -
-Entered Tombs in the valley of the kings -
-Visited Armagh-to see the first church St. Patrick built in 441 -
-Spend a lot of time watching and somewhat participating in spine surgeries. -
-Observed a defense of a Noels paper to become a Ph. D. -
-Traveled for 3 days up the Nile -
-Traveled for 4 days down the Danube and Rhine River -
-Visited the residences of Mozart and Beethoven -
-Visited and toured the ancient Newgrange in Ireland. -
-Visited the Nazi marching grounds in Nuremburg and the courthouse of the Nazi trials. -
-Visited where Columbus first visited the New World in Dominican Republic. -
-Visited schools in Dominican, Egypt and Ireland and talked to the kids -
-Drank all manner of beer , whisky,cider, moonshine vodka,hybiscus with people from Ireland, --England, Russia , Austria, Canada, Germany and Nepal (I dont know what the hell he gave me)
- have helped Shane put on a roof, add a basement room , and put down tile in a bathroom.
-have traveled in the last few months by Camel, Horse and carriage, rode a donkey,cable car , bus, ferry, Ships, Boats, trucks and taxis,commuter plane and Jets..
-helped Al with Irish festivals -
-Spent time with a german doctor getting rid of Gout--too much german beer! -
-Have eaten all manner of food-some of which i prefer not to know what it was.
-toured Dominican Republic on a (so-called) Safari in the back of a truck -drinking Rum -
-Visited the great Opera House in Vienna -
-Attended many irish festival in Milwaukee, Dayton , Muskegon -Played Golf in Canada , Ireland -Sailed on a Flattuia around Karnack and Aswan. -Stood on the Aswan Dam Anyway -you get the point!
-The Highlights-I spent the best 4 to 5 days with my brother Tom as he continued his journey
-I spend quality time lot of time with the grandkids
Paul, Marge and Sarah will probably tell you the same thing- Is retirment overrated??? Tony -

Friday, May 2, 2008

Kid pics

Julie sent some new photos of the kids, can't resist. Megan and Patrick don't have red hair. Just looks that way.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Computer Help Needed

Some of my computer settings need adjustment and I can't find where to do it. When it was new and I was setting it up, it asked if I want faster downloads, of course, I said. Which means that a lot of detail is lost on pages. Which is ok up to a point. I don't see the background for any blog. I also don't see important things like "submit" buttons, or "continue" buttons. Causes no end of troubles when submitting a recipe or ordering a book.

I have looked endlessly through the Tools/Internet Options area. Also the My Computer area. Can't find it or can't recognize it. If you have any ideas, let me know.

An Adventure in Gladwin

On Wednesday, Shirley took me on an adventure to Gladwin, Michigan. Gladwin is a very small town in the middle of Michigan. I wasn't expecting much. We went to the Riverwalk Place building. It is on a small river, and it landscaped very nicely. They have built a wide sidewalk all along the river bank into town, might go a mile or so. The building is very nicely constructed with lots of stacked limestone and construction detail, like keystones over door ways. I think Post and Beam construction, is what Shirley said.

The first floor is full of nice shops. Very nice woman's clothing. One is designers like Liz and New York and Brooks, the other is more casual and features Fresh Produce designs and tee shirts. Also a large men's department. We shopped at the Blackberry Lodge, a great gift shop in the "up north" style. Just the place to go to furnish your cabin. Even had themed curtains with pine cone curtain hooks. I found some very unique greeting cards, lots of weddings coming up soon!

The entire river front of the first floor was The Riverwalk Grill, a bar and restaurant. Of course we ate there. It ws surprisingly crowded. I had a Philly Cheese Steak, the ingredients were good, but it was dry. Shirley had a seafood pizza with Alfredo sauce. She gave me a taste, very good. The menu had many interesting items on it and they were reasonably priced. Most entrees were $14 to $17, even the NY Strip steak. We sat on the upper tier of booths, I was too short to see the river. The wait staff was excellent. Will be back there for sure.

The second floor is offices and The Oasis Salon and Spa. Shirley bought some moisturizers. She had been there before. The spa was hopping with customers. There must be a demography of citizens in the area that is well hidden. They have little girl spa parties and over nights for adults, using a condo on the third floor. The condos have garages on the first floor too.
Photos are the Aspen out behind the garage and flowers by the lake.