Archive for February 2016


February 23, 2016

Time for an update. Overall, Mary is doing pretty good. But her memory is failing badly. I have started writing on a post-it  note the day of the week and the day’s activities. Then I put it on the dining room table where she can see it. She seems to like my system. Don’t worry about tomorrow, just think about today.

On Saturday, Paula and I went over to our storage locker to work on cleaning it out. It seems that Harold and Mary never threw anything out. We filtered through about half a dozen boxes, trying to decide to keep or toss. I found bank statements and receipts from 1980’s and 1990’s. Don’t need to keep that. We found a box with real estate transactions covering about thirty years. Decided to keep that. Lots of old billing statements and papers were tossed. So we ended up with four boxes and two bags full of trash.

We need to take the trash back to our condo because there is no trash facility at storage facility.


Harold & Mary’s Wedding picture c. 1947

Here’s one of the treasures that we found. Paula thinks that it is Mary’s wedding picture. One thing about it is that it was colorized or tinted in some fashion, which was unusual for the time. We showed it to Mary and asked her if she recognized the two people in the picture. She said that she didn’t.

Eventually she came to realize that it was her in the picture, but had trouble remembering what Harold looked like as a young man. (He would have been in his late twenties in the picture.) I don’t remember ever seeing a picture of Harold when he didn’t have gray hair. The picture was still in its frame. It now sits in a place of honor on top of our piano.

So slowly but surely we work through the stuff. There are a boxes of dishes, paintings, throw rugs and other stuff that we haven’t quite figured out what to do with yet. Too good to throw out and no place to put it in our condo. We have boxes of books. We have two sets of golf clubs (probably men’s and woman’s). Anyone looking for a set of golf clubs?





February 15, 2016

So on Saturday night, Paula and I went to see the movie “Brooklyn”. See my blog post on the movie. So it got me to thinking about immigration. In the movie, a young lady makes a heartfelt decision to emigrate to America. Now this is 1950’s America. So Ellis makes the difficult decision to leave her sister and widowed mother behind and move to New York.

She knew full well that she might never see her mother or sister ever again. Remember, in 1950, the only way to get to or from America was by way of an ocean liner. Cheap air travel was decades away. Ellis received a lot of help from a Catholic priest in Brooklyn. That help allowed her to thrive in her new home.

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

So when one arrives by ship to New York, here is what one sees. In the early part of the 20th century, life was tough for Irish Catholics in America. It’s important to note that the name of the main character was Ellis which is the name of Ellis Island where every emigrant arrived in New York.

So here’s what it says on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

We need to remember this when we hear people like Donald Trump talking about building a wall to keep out the Mexicans or keeping out Syrian refugees. Go back and read it again and again until it burns into your soul. This is what America is about, not building a wall.

Once upon a time it was the Irish Catholics. Now it is the Muslims and refugees. Who is next?




Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

February 14, 2016

After the movie last night, we decided to have dinner. There are many good choices in the area around the AMC theater in Torrance. So we decided to try something different.

We decided to try the “Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot“.  So here’s how this works. At each table, there is a hot plate located in the center of the table. On the hot plate is placed a bowl of soup broth.

First thing that one orders (after you order your beer or wine) is the broth. There are three varieties. Normal, Spicy or a bowl with both the normal and spicy separated by a divider (see picture).


We decided to do the libra choice. I wanted the spicy and Paula wanted the bland. Then one chooses the meat, vegetable and/or fish. We decided for a lamb/beef combo and vegetable combo (kale and other green stuff).

So you either order stuff ala carte or pay one “All you can eat” price. We did the ala carte because we weren’t quite sure how filling every thing was going to be.

So here’s how this works. You take a portion of meat or veg and pick it up an drop into the soup. Let it simmer for a bit, then fish it out with either the soup ladle or your chop sticks. Then eat it.

They give you a soup bowl so you can eat or drink some of the soup. The food was tasty and service was good. Somehow, I think this would work better with four or more people. But we were satisfied.

Oh,  by the way, either bring a bib or don’t wear anything that isn’t washable. You will get soup on your shirt.


February 14, 2016

BrooklynTonight was date night. We’ve got to stop going out on Saturday night. Too many people. Too few parking spaces. But this was the day that we were weren’t very busy. So Saturday night it was.

We went to see the movie “Brooklyn” starring Saoirse Ronan (Ellis) and Emory Cohen (Tony). It was directed by John Crowley and written by Nick Hornby.

It was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screen Play. Paula and I both loved this film. I’ll give it 4.5 stars. Go see it while it’s still in the theaters. It’s a great movie to see for Valentine’s Day.

Saorise plays a young Irish immigrant that lands in Brooklyn in 1951.  She leaves behind her sister and her widowed mother to come to America.

Okay, I promise no spoilers in this post. That would spoil the fun. Saorise has the most beautiful blue eyes that I ever looked at.

So she is living in a boarding house of all young single women. She finds a job in a fancy department store. So she meets a nice young man of Italian heritage. They fall in love. Eventually they secretly get married at City Hall. So far, so good.

So Ellis receives a letter from her mother telling her that her sister (Rose) has died. So Ellis goes back to Ireland to grieve with her mother. So she hasn’t told anyone about the marriage. While in Ireland, she meets another nice young man.

So now you’re thinking does she stay in Ireland or go back to Brooklyn? I’m not telling. You’ll have to go see the movie to find out.

After the movie, we went out for dinner. I’ll do a post on the dinner later.





Joe’s Kick-Ass Sausage Lasagna

February 2, 2016

img_4131Today is Tuesday and that means family for dinner. I addition to the usual attendees, we will have our number 2 son Neil honoring us with his presence.

So we decided to have lasagna. The benefit of lasagna is that one can make it up ahead of time and then pop it into the oven 45 minutes before dinner.

So here’s what you need:

  • 2 24 oz. jars of spaghetti sauce. (I like some of the spicy variants but use what you like.)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 15oz. Container of Ricotta cheese (I usually get the low-fat version)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 lb of sausage meat
  • 8 oz lasagna noodles (1/2 a package)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the box. (Usually about 8 minutes).  Remove from heat and drain into a sieve. Allow to cool for a while.
  2. Chop the onion and garlic. Saute in large frying pan.
  3. When onions are translucent add the sausage meat. Stir and break up the clumps. Cook until the sausage is fully cooked.
  4. In a small mixing bowl add the egg and beat. Then add the ricotta. The egg helps make the ricotta easier to spread.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine the sauce. Add about half the sauce to the sausage mixture.
  6. Now we put it all together. In a 9″x 13″ baking dish. Spray with non-stick spray. Put a layer of sauce (the sauce without the meat) on the bottom of the dish.
  7. Add your first layer of noodles. Then a layer of the 1/2 the meat sauce mixture.
  8. Add about half of the ricotta. Spread it around. Then add a little more sauce.
  9. Add second layer of noodles. Add the rest of the meat mixture. Add the rest of the ricotta. Cover with sauce.
  10. Third layer of noodles. Add half the remaining sauce (the meatless sauce). Cover with Mozarella.
  11. Fourth layer of noodles. Rest of sauce and rest of Mozarella.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap. Put in refrigerator. Pour yourself a glass of Chianti. You’re done until it’s time to put it in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake for about 45 minutes. Don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap. Serve with warm garlic bread and a nice Chianti.