Joe’s Chili

Posted July 24, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: Cooking, Recipes

Tags: , ,


Today we had our chili cook-off at LA Harbor Lodge in San Pedro. Here is the recipe for my entry. It didn’t win any awards but everyone who tried said that it was very tasty.  We all had fun doing it. And even I liked it.

Ingredients

  • 3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Jalapeño Peppers, seeds and core removed, chopped (I usually use surgical gloves when handling jalapeños. If you skip the gloves you will soon learn why I use the gloves.)
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage meat
  • 1 lb stew beef, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (14.5 oz)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 packet of chili seasonings

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil
  2. Sauté the onion and Jalapeños until they are soft and translucent
  3. Add sausage and stew beef.
  4. Sauté until the meat is completely browned.
  5. Drain off the fat
  6. Add the seasoning packet and mix
  7. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the crock pot
  8. Add the peppers and celery
  9. Add the cans of kidney beans (including water) and cans of tomatoes.
  10. Stir to combine.
  11. Important Step: Plug the crock-pot in and turn it on!
  12. Cook on high for about 4 hours. Stir occasionally

Fidget Spinner

Posted July 22, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: Family

Tags: , , , ,

Last night we had our son and his family over for dinner. At the request of our grandson Jonathan, we had tacos, soft tortillas and NO onions. When Jonathan arrived he noticed my fidget spinner on the dining room table. He of course knew what it was and what to do with it. So both Jonathan and Sarah took turns playing with it during the evening.

Jonathan said he would trade all of his toys for one fidget spinner. Oh, the power of a toy that is the hottest thing in the toy universe. I considered letting him have it to take home with him, but Paula and I decided to leave it here and let him play with the next time he comes to visit.

It seems that the fidget spinner has been around for a while but only recently become popular. If one were to search for “fidget spinner” on Amazon, you get about 20 or more pages of offers. It brings to mind some other toys that were all the rage back in the day. There was the pet rock and Rubik’s Cube. Both of which were the rage long before our kids time.

Rubik’s Cube reached its peak in the early 80’s and can still be bought. The cube was invented by Ernõ Rubik, a sculptor and professor of architecture in Hungary.

The Pet Rock made the inventor a millionaire. Here’s the wiki. The inventor (Gary Dahl) died a couple of years ago. And of course, one can still buy a pet rock on Amazon.

In my recent post on Mary, I promised to get a recent picture of her. This picture was taken shortly after she got home from her appointment at beauty salon. As you can see in the picture, she has her chocolate shake sitting in front of her. Her chocolate shake is one of her favorite things to eat.

Mary

Posted July 20, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: Family, Mary

Tags:

Okay, it’s been a while. Here’s my update. Paula and I were having a conversation with Mary last night after dinner. We were retelling our story of how we came to be out here living with her. She listened attentively and she did something that I have been waiting for now for five years. She finally thanked us for being here for her. I called it the big “Thank You”. Of course, she remembers none of this.

The big “Thank You” was one of my issues with her. She would thank me for getting her a cup of coffee or fixing her oatmeal, but never thanking us for giving up our lives in MA and moving out here to be with her. Last night, she finally did that. It only took her five years to do it.

She continues to get weaker and weaker. She sleeps all night, then eats breakfast and then goes back to bed and sleeps until we get her up for dinner. Once in a while she will join us to watch the evening news. She will read the newspaper in the morning and then reread it again in the evening. She doesn’t quite get that it is the same newspaper.

I saw her reading the sports section. I asked her why she was reading the sports section? Mary is not much of a sports fan. Doesn’t care a whit about baseball or basketball. Of course, Paula reminds me to STFU. Let her read the sports page if she wants. So I do.

We struggle to get her to wash her face and brush her teeth. Some evenings, she just goes straight back to bed. We try to get her to do a bath 2 or 3 times a week. That’s Paula’s department.

Paula and I started having the “Nursing Home” discussion. We’re not quite there yet, but we might be there sooner rather than later, especially if she becomes totally bed-ridden and/or incontinent. I talked with my doctor at my physical this week about the situation. He gave me the number of Kaiser’s social worker department. Or perhaps, we will talk to Mary’s doctor.

We are looking forward to a weekend away in first weekend of August for an OES reception up in the Sacramento area. We will have caregivers for the weekend.

I don’t have any good recent pictures of her to post. Perhaps, tomorrow after she has been to the beauty salon to get her hair done, I will take a picture.

Later,

Joe

 

Wonder Woman

Posted July 7, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: Films, Reviews

Tags:

Wonder WomanLast night was date night. We hired a baby sitter for Mary and went to see “Wonder Woman“. The cost for our baby sitter was three times as much as the price to see the movie. Here’s a link to the official trailer.

The movie stars Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Chris Pine as the dashing pilot/spy Steve Trevor. The film was directed by Patty Jenkins. It is interesting that the film was directed by a woman. And she is the first woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of over $100 million.

Okay, first and foremost this movie was about a half hour longer than it needed to be. Run time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Butt getting sore and beginning to wonder when the big finale scene is going to start.

So here’s the basic story. Trevor’s plane crashes into the sea off the coast of Amazon Island and Diana saves him from certain death by drowning. Steve Trevor tells Diana about the war that is raging in the outside world. The war is WWI of course. Interestingly, the comic book version, the war is WW2. The first battle is between the Amazons and the Germans who are chasing Trevor on Amazon Island. Seeing as this is a PG-13, movie there is little blood spilled. Soldiers get shot but don’t seem to bleed very much.

There’s an amusing scene early in the movie where Steve is recovering from his wounds in a hot tub somewhere on the island. Then Steve gets out of the tub and stands there buck naked in all his glory for Diana to see. The look on her face says that she has probably never seen a naked man before. Oh my… Luckily for the kiddies present, the scene is back lit and you can’t actually see Trevor’s (ahem) equipment.

So Amazon Island is located somewhere off the coast of Italy or maybe Greece. Think warm blue Caribbean waters. So Princess Diana begins to discover her super powers. And then Steve persuades her to go with him back to England. The two of them find a small fishing boat and set sail for England.

So the pair arrive in London after a brief voyage. Steve helps Diana get some new clothes that would meet the approval of the Londoners of the era. Anyways, to make a long story short, the pair manage to make it to the battlefield in France where Wonder Woman proceeds to kick serious ass. The film has some real nasty German baddies that get their comeuppance. And finally, we get to the finale battle between Wonder Woman and the evil lord Ares. And of course, you know who wins that battle.

Overall, it was a fun film though a little bit on the long side. We stopped at KFC’s drive thru to pick up some fried chicken for our dinner. Going out to an actual restaurant would be nice, but tick tock.

 

Mary

Posted July 5, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: Family, Mary

Tags:

Time for an update on Mary. It’s been a while and I have some stories to tell. First overall, she is doing fine. Though it seems that all she does is eat, sleep and go to the toilet. I had told Paula a cruder version of that statement. But this is a PG blog.

We’ve managed to get her to go to church a couple of times so far this summer, but not without serious nagging.

So this morning, I was in charge. Paula was off doing something at Assistance League and she left me in charge. So I get Mary up and offer her breakfast. I give her the usual oatmeal and blueberries with cream on top. So she eats about 75% of it and asks me to put the rest in the refrigerator. I tell her no I wouldn’t. Just finish it, I tell her. It takes up valuable space in the frig. and you won’t eat it anyway, because you are up only for breakfast and dinner. I don’t think anyone ever told her no before. So she finished it toddled off to brush her teeth and went back to bed.

Here’s another morning story. First, she has trouble differentiating between morning and evening. So she was eating her oatmeal and I hand to her meds to take. I fill up her water glass. Can I have some wine please.  No, you can’t have any wine with breakfast. If I drink water, I have to go to the toilet she says. That’s a good thing I tell her. I give her one glass of wine a day with her dinner. This was the second time I got that request from her. Rule #1, no wine with breakfast. I’m not sure anyone ever said “No” to her before me.

She has complained about not getting enough exercise. We would be glad to take her for a walk. I tell her that she needs to get up out of bed and come out of her room and tell us that she would like to go for a walk. That hasn’t happened.

So this elder care stuff is beginning to suck the life out of me. We were watching “CBS Sunday Morning” last night. (Ah, the joys of DVR’s). They were doing a piece on the Grand Canyon. So I was telling Paula, I would sure like to go there one of these days. She agreed with me. That won’t be happening any time soon.

The thing is that any travel means that we need to arrange 24/7 care givers for her. That gets expensive. Care givers get about $22 per hour with OT over 9 hours. Do the math. We already are doing a trip up to Sacramento in August. And we did a trip back to Mass. in May. Oh Lord, I need a vacation.

One more thing and then I will STFU. We just got a notice that our condo HOA is doing termite extermination in August. That means for a weekend in August we must be out of our condo three days and stay in a hotel with Mary. Not looking forward to that.

Travelling with Mary is a giant PITA. At first, we thought of taking her to Las Vegas. But that won’t work, she wouldn’t do well with a four hour drive. Last time we did that (3 years ago) she complained about the ugliness of the Mojave Desert. Not doing that again.

Staying with relatives won’t work. Our son doesn’t have the room. His life is crazy enough with out having three extra guests. I’ll try and find a suite somewhere local that will be comfortable for three days. We have to go to a meeting in July that will explain all the things that we need to do to get ready. UGH!

I Blog

Posted June 30, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: Blogging, Family, Internet

Tags: ,

joe-paula-2016Okay, I’ve had various ideas for this post kicking around in my pea sized brain for a while now. I wanted to explain to my readers why I do this (ie. blog).

I started blogging about five years ago at about the time that Paula and I had decided to retire and move from Massachusetts to California to live with her aging mother.

I felt that I had a story to tell and that if I didn’t do it then the story wouldn’t get told. I didn’t feel that I had the writing chops to write my autobiography and I wouldn’t be getting some famous biographer to step up to the plate and do it. So blogging was it then. One spends a lifetime filling your brain with stories and information. Then when you get old and senile it all leaks out and falls on the floor to be forgotten. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

I’ve seen that first hand in Mary. She remembers almost nothing about her life. Paula’s Dad, Harold took a ton of pictures but most have the pictures have no information on the back. We’re left guessing who was in the picture and where it was taken and why it might be important.

I thought about doing it on Facebook, but Facebook seemed to be too limited on what I could write and many of my friends and family don’t do Facebook, but they will read an email from me. (By the way, you can get Word Press to automatically email my latest post to you). WordPress has Window apps and iPhone and iPad apps. Pretty sure they have apps for Android too.

So one fine day in the spring of 2012, I created an account on WordPress. Next, create a blog. The name that I picked was “Calherewecome“. It’s a sort of a play on the old song “California, Here I Come”. WordPress is pretty much free. Only thing I have to pay for is the internet domain registration for calherewecome.org

As of today, I have written 448  posts that are read by about 125 people. This is post #449. Some of my readers are friends and family, but many are people that I have never met. Some of those people are also bloggers and I often read and follow their blogs.

So what do I write about? I write about that which interests me. I write about family especially my aging mother-in-law Mary. I write about books that I’ve read and movies we’ve seen. Mary’s brother Jack who lives in Louisiana, faithfully reads all of my blog posts.

I write about technology. I spent almost all of my working life doing IT support for DEC, Compaq, HP and IBM. Many older folks call their adult children for PC technical support. In my family, they call me.

I also keep a private journal on Evernote. This where I put all of my private stuff that is inappropriate to publish on the blog. Evernote is a great app. There is a journaling app that I used on iOS called vJournal that works with Evernote. I use Evernote for filing all of the documents and statements that we receive. I have a recipe folder. Paula will ask me to look up a recipe while we are wandering through the grocery store. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed. Here’s the iPad link and here’s the iPhone link to the iTunes app store. You’ll have to figure out the Android link yourself.

That’s about it for now. Thank you to all my faithful readers.

TTFN

Joe

 

My Rules for Answering Calls

Posted June 26, 2017 by joebowker
Categories: iPhone, Technology

Tags:

download (1)Is it just me or are the number of robo-calls greatly increasing. I think that they are. So, my little effort in my corner of the world, I will be implementing the following rules with respect to getting me to answer my phone:

  1. First and foremost, if my caller-id screen says “NO Caller-ID” I will not answer the call, EVER. Furthermore, if you manage to leave a message in my voice mail, I will not respond. Delete before listening. If you don’t have the common decency to let me know who you are, I don’t feel the urge to answer the phone or call you back. I pay AT&T a huge amount of money every month. It is for my convenience, not yours.
  2. If your phone number comes up in my caller-id screen but your name is not in my iPhone’s contact DB, I will not answer. Leave a message and I will get back to you. If you are pitching some vacation or money saving offer, don’t bother with the message, I won’t be calling back. I promise to add you name and number into my contact DB.
  3. Actually, rather than a voice mail, I would rather you send me a text message. Voice mail is so last century. If my dentist can figure out how to use text messaging, so can you.

Oh, by the way, we finally got a land line, but you can’t have the number. We got it just to allow us to reach our caregivers while we are traveling. The number is unlisted. If the phone rings, I don’t answer it.

I keep hearing that robo-callers are going direct to voice mail. I haven’t seen that yet. If that happens I might just let my voice mailbox fill up so noone can leave any voice mails.

One last thing. If you are calling me from an east coast area code (eg. 978 or 781) and you call me 8:00 AM east coast time, I won’t answer. I live in the LA area where there is a three hour time difference. Do the math. CVS was doing that to us for a while before with Rx refill reminders. CVS fixed the problem. They send SMS reminders now.

TTFN

Joe