Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Wow it is hard to believe that I have not posted for such a long period of time. I've been wondering where the time has gone. I have been super busy with the business and work that I figure there will be plenty of time when winter rolls around. I've learned alot this summer about life in general. It boils down to not sweating the small stuff, enjoy the simple things in life while you can, take time out for family, and the fact that you come into this world without anything and you leave it without anything so enjoy what you have and what you can.

I love this time of year when the weather starts to cool down and you get that drift of crispness in the night air. Football season is about to start which creates a new buzz and something to look forward to. That of course could be due to my bad habit of betting on the games. Of course we started a little early gambling on the preseason games just for fun. It is kind of cool at the restaurant because we are Ravens fans, the restaurant across the street is Pittsburgh fans, and the one behind us are Eagle fans. This makes things pretty interesting.

The restaurant has been on a steady increase since opening and we are hoping that winter won't be too rough on us. I must say that I am tired of cooking seafood. How this has come about is strange but here we are an Irish pub and restaurant that sells more seafood and tenderloin than anything Irish. Someone please give me a pork chop!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Well I have started a new job as head chef at a small Irish Pub located on the water in an up and coming resort town. This has been a challenge trying to run a business and start up a new kitchen. The good thing is that the owners have agreed to a set schedule. This is not as glamorous as people think, nor as cool as it is depicted on TV in shows like top chef and hells kitchen. Well maybe Hell's kitchen. The great thing is that the restaurant/pub is small. The kitchen of course is hot as hell!

In the matter of three days we created new menus, changed up kitchen equipment, hired staff, created recipes, ordered the food which arrived at 3:00pm and opened the doors at 5:00pm. That was fun! I didn't sleep for three nights with constant thoughts of menu items and food preparation on my mind. It is not a glamorous job at all, but one in which a person can use their artistic and creative talents.

The best part of the job is the view. The restaurant sits right on the river and we get a good view of the sun setting on the water which is priceless to me. I have noticed that throughout my life I always seem to look for nature and calm surroundings. Lisa has had to help me more with business and lawn care which she despises. She actually has callous hands for the first time in 25 years. It has been a good thing for her to help out, that way she has more of an appreciation for blue collar workers and the jobs they perform. I think more people should experience this and get a better understanding of what it takes to keep the world turning.

So today has been my first day off to do nothing at all. I feel lazy but unproductive which is making it hard to rel axe. We did watch a new movie with Clint Eastwood called Grand Torino. I thought it was good. So life has been crazy recently like a whirlwind.

Friday, June 12, 2009

a good picnic

We are having our community picnic tomorrow. We have never been in the ten years that we have lived here. We normally get a quarterly newsletter regarding information about what is going on in the community, some local news, and other tidbits. Then they get to the part about how they spend our money from the annual dues that are collected. This is the part that drew my attention. Last year they spent $700.00 on the community picnic-What! Okay, it is bring a dish but then they had a soft ice cream truck come in for the day, plus a pit barbecue cooker. Now we have decided to go and check this out this year. Lisa is wondering if she could manage to eat 10 years of paying for barbecue in one year. I really don't think that will happen.
Business took a hard hit this week losing three customers due to lack of funds and layoffs. We were told that the statistic for our area of foreclosure rate is getting higher. On the good side of things is that we will be getting a casino in the county and open by the end of 2010 which will bring 4500 jobs. That is great and badly needed.
I have found it really hard to write lately and even harder to find the positive in things. I have dealt with so many people that are struggling, irritable, unhappy, and curt. Still trying to maintain a pleasant attitude is hard. The other day I went to get supplies at home depot and the traffic was heavy and I thought I would be nice and let someone else go first at the stop sign. This guy is beeping his horn behind me shouting "come on, move it". I just wanted to stop right in the middle of all that traffic and punch him in the mouth! What is the hurry? What is 45 seconds to get in a store? There for a moment I visualized Kathy Bates in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes ramming her car into another. Finally I got a grip and went about my business.
So to get some peace I am going fishing this Sunday. I always found it really relaxing to sit and listen to mother nature and just let the time pass by. So tonight my thoughts will be that of a big fish and a good picnic.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Maryland tradition

I thought this weekend that I would just take the time to chill and not think about much of anything. We decided that we would get some crabs on Saturday since the weather was so nice. Nothing better than that old Maryland tradition of eating steamed crabs and cold beer on a nice day. So we spread the newspaper out, poured a couple of cold ones and dug into the pile of crabs in the center, chatting away idly.
Well you know me and the mind started to wonder. Who actually discovered the crab and first ate one. Of course they would have gotten really sick if they ate it raw first. I wouldn't want to think about that. If you really look at crabs they are ugly as sin. Who would have thought they were even edible. Crabs being scavengers will eat anything and I am surprised that this does not deter people from eating them, I try not to think about it myself.
This brought back memories of when I was a teenager working at a local crab house. Myself and two other boys were the crab steamers on the weekends. The delivery of about 50 bushel crab would come and we would stock them in the refrigerated truck by the steamer room. We had three huge steamers that were about four feet tall and 3 ft in diameter that were fueled by a propane line. Each came with 4 steamer baskets that you could layer on top of each other. Then we had the chiller. A mammoth steel vat with a flat screen on the bottom that was attached to a center rod and pulley system. First we turned the drain cocks off, then started filling the chiller with water, we had to add about 300 pounds of ice to the water then we were ready to start adding the crabs. For those of you that have never steamed crabs before they can become very lively and fast to get away while guarding themselves with their claws open and ready to chomp down on anyone that touches them. Once you experience a really bad pinch you don't want to again. The cold air in the refrigerated truck subdues them enough to get the lid off and dump them onto the steel table. This is done to check for dead crabs before they get into the chiller. However you can not take to long to sort because they become very agitated quickly. We had to be fast and accurate picking them up and whizzing them into the chiller. We have chased many escapees all the way out to the parking lot. We had a rule that if they made it to the outside steamer door they were spared the fate of the steamer pot.
Once this is done they go into the chiller which will put them into a long hypnotic state. The crabs stayed in the chiller for about 20 minutes, then we would use the pulley system to lift the crabs slowly out of the ice water. This allowed us the time to fold the legs and claws in, arrange them in the baskets, season them , and get them into the steaming pots without getting pinched. The crabs will come out in that position also which is more presentable on the tray and it keeps the claws and legs from coming off.
This was a really popular crab house and we would spend hours steaming crabs. It was a really fun job and we had a good boss to work for. The surprising thing is that I have never steamed my own crabs since then. When we were packed the boss would come down and ask us to put on some extra salt or add some hot pepper flakes to the seasoning so the patrons would drink more beer.
Eating crabs has to be the most popular Maryland tradition.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Just Sick of IT!

I have been busy working my tail off only to come home and hear on the news that things are getting better. Come on look around who are they trying to kid! The job market is not changing much, the car companies are still struggling, unemployment is high and people are out of work, homes are still being foreclosed on, gas prices are rising, and the banks are still trying to rip off the public.

I am really pissed about this. In one week I received two notices from credit card companies stating that they were going to raise their rates in June. Did we not give bail out money to the banks so they could in turn loan money to the public. I was furious over this. It is simply the principle of the matter that it is wrong. They want you to spend money to help the economy and once you do they want to make you pay extra for doing so. I say screw'em! I am paying off the one card and cancelling, then I will transfer the balance of the other to another bank. I do not intend to use anymore credit cards to purchase even a gallon of gas. This came after I looked at a bank statement and found a few small charges on my business checking account that is supposed to be free. Once I investigated it they were charges applied to my account by the bank just to include a copy of checks that were cashed. I never asked for this but was told that when one bank merged with another it was their policy, they had sent a letter. Not having that either. You want my account put that money back in it and keep that extra piece of paper that you are trying to charge me six dollars for. Then they were charging people a fee if they were on unemployment and were using a state debit card. Now that is just not right.

Cable bill came in and they raised that by two more dollars. This is the third time in one year. This stuff is what I call nickle and diming the public to make up for lost revenue. So now I cut back on our premium cable stations to just basic. I really believe we have entered a world of pure insanity. I remember when TV was free, when you only had one telephone and one car, life insurance was cheap, doctors made house calls, and you spent quality time instead of quantity time with your family.

Now newspapers are going out of business. Many read the paper online and pay a subscription fee. How many times has one newspaper been left at a diner or doctors office for not one but many people to read. I think the news went further. You can't compare sitting in front of a computer reading the days events to sitting in one of your favorite spots with something concrete in your hand that you can pass on to someone else and share. We are putting ourselves in the position of being ruled by those that create and possess the technology. Little by little it robs one of social skills and basic interaction with other human beings. Now we don't go to clubs, dances, church socials, or sporting events to meet someone, we just go online to look for love. By the way you have to pay for that too!

I am not a cheap person and enjoy the luxuries that life has to offer, but one that just does not like being pushed or taken advantage of. The world has become to money oriented and I for one and Just Sick of It!

Monday, May 25, 2009

America's Favorite Angel

I have had so many things on my mind lately that I have found it hard to concentrate on one thing. Something that I found very moving was the documentary the Farrah Fawcett Story following her battle with cancer. An icon from the 70's and one of the most famous angels proved to the world that she was more than just hair and a big smile with her best acting to come in the eighties. The Burning Bed and Extremites proved she actually had the talent to act. I think these roles rose her popularity even more with the female population that could identify with her characters that were suffering spousal abuse in private. I don't think there was a young girl that didn't want to look like Farrah Fawcett or want one of the cool cars that she drove. The white cobra mustang with stripes. Of course there was the famous red swimsuit poster that every young boy in America probably had pinned on there wall. So it seems she has had a loyal following of fans through the years and once again she has given the world something to behold. A journey into the life of a struggling woman's battle with cancer.

Her story however has many exposures of just what types of things needed to change and should be changed. It was not just about her, but others, and for those to come. Due to her high profile and many others she was a victim of a breach of confidentiality of hospital records and information regarding her health care. Farrah exposed the hospital and the Star magazine of this breach and had taken her case to court to gain a huge victory for all of us in getting the laws changed to protect our privacy. Go Farrah! I have always believed that the stars pay a big price for fame and fortune and this was just more proof of that. Can you imagine someone snapping a picture of your mother right after she has had chemo treatments coming out of the hospital bearing the news of months to live. Just tasteless!

So following her story Farrah travels to Germany for laser knife treatment to remove lesions that have not yet been approved in the states. That particular part of the treatment did work by the way. Her take on this was the fact that there are types of treatments out there that work, why not make them available in the states. What is taking so long when this could potentially save lives? I think we lose sight that these people are just that "people". Yes they provide entertainment, but that is only their job. They struggle with life just as everyone else does, maybe just on a different level. It was rather sad to see her struggle and brought back flooding memories of my mothers struggle with cancer. That once vibrant young woman with the big hair and white flashing smile now frail and riddled with cancer bedridden in the end still full of hope for one more ounce of life. Farrah might just have been one of America's favorite angles as she has brought joy, protection, and maybe even hope for a cancer cure. What more can an Angel Do?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

winning ticket

Finally have some time to myself.
These are just some pictures of one of the jobs we did. I am too tired to mess with this computer to put things in order. What a weeding job this was. Actually we shoveled 2 yards of mulch out and 5 yards of mulch in, taking 1 yard of mulch to another location. What a back buster that can be.

So hopefully things will get back on course but I have learned a couple of things this year. No one is exempt from a recession and how to live with less. You get caught up in things and desires for stuff that you really don't need but just want. I am learning to shop better, save more, and enjoy what I have. I really don't miss much except for taking our big trip once a year. I have had a great deal of my friends wonder why I have chosen to do this type of work (really labor intensive). I must say that I enjoy hard work and sleep better with less on my mind. I like instant gratification in what I can do. Most of all there is no office Politics! Plus it helps keep me in shape and I get to meet more people in our community. I wish I had more equipment sometimes but wonder how other companies do it with the high cost of some of it. Most people pay anywhere from $5,500-$11,000 for a commercial mower and they will get two. Now that is alot of grass to cut to get that back plus labor, taxes, gas, license, and repairs. I bought mine used and they are still doing good knock on wood.

I did put flowers on my mothers grave for Mother's day than we went to Lisa mom's for a cookout and crabs. It turned out to be a nice day for everyone with really good weather. I miss going out and shopping for my mom. It used to be a challenge to come up with some cool ideals for the holidays and I always loved seeing the surprise on her face.

I put the dogs on a new food regimen about 3 months ago to help with the yeast in their ears. Golden retrievers are prone to this and it can be on going and unpleasant and itchy for them. After ear treatment and cleaning the vet recommended a new food which was an outrageous cost. More of a fish, potato, rice, fruit and vegetable blend of food. So being a chef I researched the ingredients and have been cooking their meals to add to a cut back portion of their dog food. Well let me tell you this has done wonders. Yeast has been gone, dogs have lost some weight, not as much waste in the yard, cheaper on the wallet, larger portions for the dog, and everyone is happy.

Well I missed the Kentucky Derby and didn't get to place a bet due to work. It is a good thing because I would have lost. Lisa however always plays the long shots. Next is the Preakness which I am looking forward to. I will be glued to the tv as they come out of the gate gripping onto what may be the winning ticket.