Monday, February 23, 2015

Sweltering Pants

  For those few folks who follow this blog, as you know, I've not been very busy posting here lately. Sorry about that. I can't really explain it, I just haven't felt like writing. I don't know if it's depression setting in or what, but I just haven't had the energy or the desire. Hopefully that will be a passing phase. I was kind of keeping up on one blog periodically,but last time I checked it, it simply said, So Long. I guess the fellow who was writing it just didn't want to do it any more. It does take some effort. In any event, if I should ever decide to give up this blog, I'll try to give the readers a little notice so it won't be like going cold turkey, like when you're giving up smoking or something.
  Today I wanted to write about a piece of clothing that has been around for a number of years; what is commonly known in America as sweatpants. In England, New Zealand, and South Africa they're known as track bottoms. In Australia they're called tracky daks, not to be confused with our 37th president,Richard Nixon who was also known as Tricky Dick for some of the shenanigans he pulled while in office. Of course now, by comparison to our present man in office, he looks like a saint. Anyway, all that aside, I don't like the name "sweatpants". It conjures up images of some kind of medieval torture device. "So... you still won't talk eh? Well, we'll see about that! Igor! Throw this man into a pair of sweat pants until he spills his guts!" Actually, because of their loose design, they shed heat better than say, a pair of Levi's.If that's the case though, why are they called sweatpants?Don't you sweat in them?I have to say, even though they have become quite a popular item of clothing, I hate to see them worn out in public as an item of everyday dress. For one thing, they are very baggy in the legs giving the appearance of wearing a pair of potato sacks. Plus they offer no support whatsoever. There are several men in town who wear them on a regular basis, but I question whether they wear anything underneath. They are much more revealing than I want to see. If you're going to wear sweatpants outside of the home, at least put on a jock strap. It's kind of hard to have a serious conversation when one of the speakers is wearing a pair of sweatpants. Perhaps that's why most corporate offices require a little more formal attire for work. It would be kind of hard to pay attention to the speaker at a conference if he was dressed in a pair of tracky daks, with the goods swinging back and forth like a pendulum in a grandfather clock. Just for the record, I also am against the all too common and increasingly acceptable habit of wearing pajamas in public places. YUCK!  I was just sitting here thinking about what would happen if the good folks at Russel Athletics or some of the other makers of sweatpants teamed up with say, the people of Owens -Corning, the fiberglass
insulation manufacturers to come up with a special pair of sweatpants for folks who think that sweat pants are acceptable attire in public. They could market them as Itchies. At the very least it would be mildly entertaining to watch folks scratching themselves madly.  For years, from the time I was a teen-ager until just a few years ago, I slept in my underwear. I hated to be confined by pajamas. But lately I've been getting cold at night- part of the problem with getting older, probably poor circulation in my legs. Anyway, I've taken to wearing sweatpants at night. They are comfortable, and they do keep me warmer, but I still hate the name. They sound so crude. As a result, I call mine Sweltering Pants. It still conjures up images of hot, perspiration soaked clothing, but I like the name better. In the future though, I may refer to them as Tracky Daks, or Nixons for short.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Little Talk With God

   In my bedroom I have a picture that I've had for a number of years, ever since my days when I was was managing L. Kane Store. I first ran across it on the cover of a Guidepost magazine. I can't remember the title. The  caption says, in case you can't read it- Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. I love this picture and the scripture that goes with it. My problem is that I've become used to seeing it there hanging on the wall every day. I don't pay much attention to it or the scripture anymore, which is of course, not a good thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to see the negative in almost any situation. I complain a lot. I'm very much a pessimist. I wish I wasn't. It's not a fun way to be. I can take a perfectly good day that someone else may be having and turn it into an unpleasant experience. By the time they get done talking to me they're going to wish they'd stayed in bed. I've been on a roll lately. I'm exceptionally distressed by the direction that the country seems to be heading. I feel like we are without leadership in a complex and increasingly dangerous world. Add to that the more immediate problems facing the state with low oil prices, interference from the federal government involving state resources, and policies from the supreme court involving native sovereignty as well as the local politics that impact those of us in Hoonah, and I've got a full blown mad-on. My son happened to call yesterday. I  hadn't spoken to him for several weeks and unfortunately I spent the majority of the conversation complaining about how crappy things were in this country. I'm certain he was happy to get off the phone just to get away from all the negative garbage I was spewing. Hell, I wanted to get away from me. As has been my habit this winter, after I go to bed I spend some time with a book before I turn off the lights. When I finally finished reading, I turned to shut off the light and glanced at the picture on the wall. I figured I had blown it so bad that any prayer I might offer would seem insincere and perhaps not even be received. I can't recall the exact thing I said to God, but something to the effect that perhaps I wasn't worthy of the sacrifice that Christ had made for me. Immediately, I heard Jesus tell me, "you were worth it to me." That is sobering. It tells me that no one is beyond redemption. God knew long before I was ever even born how I would be, and because he knew, and because of his great love, he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. We have great worth to God. He may have been speaking to me last night, but the message is for everyone. You are worth the price he paid for you.  You are precious and you are loved. There is little else that I can say. I hope that in the coming days when we feel overwhelmed by events, or our actions are less than stellar, when our attitudes leave much to be desired that we will remember that even with all of our faults, God felt like we were worth the sacrifice he had to make.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Out at the Cannery

  For most of the month of January we had rain. In my almost thirty eight years here, I've never experienced such a winter as this. Frankly, I was delighted that it was rain instead of snow, but honestly, waking up every day to the sound of pounding rain and the gloomy skies overhead was getting pretty consarned depressing. Yesterday the day dawned bright and sunny, and although much cooler than it had been, it was a welcome reprieve. After church I had almost no choice but to go on a walk out to the cannery. I took Jen and the dog with me. Usually Rigby likes to walk into the woods and sniff all the different smells. Jennifer on the other hand, never stops to smell the tracks on the ground. I'm kind of glad.Yesterday though, he was reluctant to get too far into the walk. He took a dump early on and, feeling that he had done his duty, started turning around trying to get back to the truck. We kept pulling him against his will to keep going forward. He would run ten or twelve steps and then make a 180 degree turn and start pulling with all his might in order to force his will upon us. It was a real battle of wills. He somehow reached deep into his reserves and took another crap, and at that point there was no way he was going to go anywhere but back to the truck.When he plants his legs apart and lowers his head, you almost need a come-a-long to get him to move. I suppose I could have taken off his leash and let him run for home, but his little black body, in stark contrast to the sparse snow we have,would have been like a dinner bell for any eagles perched  in the overhanging trees. While it was certainly a temptation at that moment, I was sure that later I would regret my decision. Plus, what would we do with the remaining dog food and rawhide treats that were at the house if he weren't there to imbibe?  I suppose I could adjust my diet a little, but the idea wasn't overly appealing. I ended up  taking him home and coming back out by myself. Much less stressful.
 While it was very beautiful out, as I've mentioned in past blogs, on sunny days here, frequently the wind kicks up. Yesterday was no exception. There was a pretty good northwesterly blowing. Inside the woods it was almost unnoticeable, but out in the clearing it was brutal. Even so, there were two very brave or very stupid souls who launched their kayaks and were paddling against the wind in the bay. I'm not sure what possesses people to carry out such acts, but perhaps its a case of cabin fever. Being stuck inside for weeks at a time, only leaving for work or groceries can really play havoc with your mind. You look out the window and see sun, and you immediately think, it must be warm out. It looks so inviting. It's only after you've exposed your body to elements that would make Nanook of the North shiver that you realize that looks are deceiving.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed my little jaunt yesterday, and even made it back home in time to watch the super bowl. I'm not much of a sports fan, but I don't really care for the way Tom Brady acts- too pompous for me, so naturally I'm rooting for the Seahawks. Of course you know the outcome. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Captain Carrots

    There have been a number of rather famous or infamous captains down through the years. There have been songs, stories and books written about them. A few come readily to mind. Good ol' Captain Bligh from the book Mutiny on the Bounty. He was a real captain and there really was a Bounty, it wasn't just a story someone made up. He served under the famous English captain, James Cook, who was credited with discovering the Hawaiian Islands. Of course the islands had been previously discovered by the natives who lived there.They just didn't blab about it- probably didn't want all the trouble that outsiders would bring; understandably so. Captain Bligh was quite a knowledgeable man. After the mutiny he and a  handful of his followers traveled some 3618 nautical miles across the open Pacific Ocean in a twenty foot boat. That in itself is quite a feat, but when you consider that a nautical mile is 2000 yards,6,000 feet versus a land mile at 5280, it's even more remarkable. Though he was a very capable man, his temperament made him very unpopular with his crew, hence the mutiny.  Bligh is a name associated with another unpopular captain, Captain Joseph Hazelwood, who ran the tanker, Exxon Valdez aground in Prince William Sound on Bligh Reef on March 24, 1989. Up here in Alaska, we heard about that in the news for the better part of a year. It was pretty tragic. In researching some information for this post, for some reason I thought of the book Captains Courageous, by Rudyard Kipling. I discovered that the name for the book was taken from a line in a ballad written about an English Captain, Mary Ambree, who participated in liberating the Belgium city of Ghent. I never knew that there were any female captains in the English navy. The first line of the ballad reads in part: When captains courageous whom death could not daunt... I guess I'm going to have to get the book and read it. I'll certainly have to read up on Captain Mary Ambree. However, there is little brave or courageous about our beloved dog, Rigby, AKA Captain Carrots. As I've mentioned in previous posts, he insists on having sliced bananas in the morning if we partake, and most definitely will not eat his cereal unless we put milk on it. Whenever we are preparing a salad he goes ballistic at the sight of peppers- green, red, yellow, orange, he loves them all, plus the lettuce, tomato, cucumber- whatever. For the longest time we were in the habit of giving him cheese. We finally decided that it probably wasn't that good for him, so we switched to carrots instead. Much healthier, and quite a bit less expensive, and frankly, he loves them. I got on a site called Care 2, and discovered that carrots have quite a few benefits. According to them, carrots slow down the aging process, they promote healthier skin, help prevent infection and heart disease, they cleanse the body, protect teeth and gums, reduce the risk of cancer and of course something that your mother may have told you, they are good for your eyes. They are full of vitamin A, which is transformed in the retina
to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision. Holy cats, who knew? It sounds like a person could pretty much live on a diet of carrots. I know one gal here in town who ate massive quantities of carrots back when I was managing the L. Kane store. Almost every day she was in buying a bag. One day she came in and we didn't have any fresh ones, she'd bought them all, so she purchased a can of carrots. It was at that time that I noticed that her skin had  a fairly yellowish tint.  I thought perhaps she was a little jaundiced. We found out later that her massive intake of carotene was actually coloring her skin. As it stands right now, we're going through about two bags of those baby carrots every week. I'm not sure what to expect, but if in the future I find that we have the worlds only orange Dachshund, I'll be sure to post some pictures.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Coffee Snobs


   Thank goodness the holidays are behind us. Now I can finally enjoy some of the gifts that I received at Christmas. I've worn my new Carhartts, and the insulated Xtra- Tuff boots. I'm listening to some music that I downloaded from I tunes, I've got my cards for medical and dental insurance, commercial fishing licenses, Fred Meyers Awards card, Costco card, NRA card and a few others I can't recall right now, all safely stored in my new billfold, and I've already watched several movies that I received for Christmas. I was the happy recipient of more than a few packs of hoochies, which I can't use right now, but will in the near future.  I do however have a lot of use for one of my favorite beverages, coffee.  When I was a young lad back in Ohio my best friend, Don, and I used to go up to the Big Boy  restaurant, plop our skinny behinds in a booth and order coffee. I think we were about twelve at the time and in our juvenile minds, drinking coffee was quite a grown up thing to do. The waitresses were always gracious, returning time and again to refill our cups. Of course we were far too wimpy to drink it without copious amounts of cream and sugar. At the time a cup of coffee was ten cents. The grand total for our multiple cups was a whopping twenty cents- a bargain even in that day. Being the generous fellows we were, I believe we whipped out a quarter and told the waitress to keep the change. We probably used two dollars worth of sugar in the hour or so we spent tying up the booth. Of course the poor waitresses had to contend with the mountain of sugar packets that were littering the table, plus the spilled coffee, to say nothing of the lustful glares of adolescent boys. Frankly, I 'm surprised we weren't banned from the place. However, we weren't, and for a season we enjoyed our Saturday morning coffee at the Big Boy. At the time I believe the restaurant was serving Continental Coffee, or perhaps it was Chock Full of Nuts, either way, it was delightful. My dad used to drink Maxwell House- good to the last drop. Back in "the old days" there weren't any gourmet coffees available to the common man. You drank whatever the supermarket carried and you were happy with it. While I was on the farm I believe the coffee of choice was Hills Brothers. Now, much to my children's dismay, we drink (gasp) Folgers. I can usually buy it fairly cheap at Costco, so I stock up on three or four cans at a time. I've yet to have received a can of Folgers, or any other national brand of coffee that I know of for Christmas. This year my granddaughter gave me some cowboy coffee- Morning Light. It says it's  Charlie Russell Blend. I guess he was the original cowboy. I'll have to take their word on it. I'm not sure what cowboys know about brewing coffee, but it tastes pretty good. My daughter gave us some Kauai Coffee. The bag says it's single origin estate grown.Whatever that means. It's grown in Hawiaai though,so I guess that's good. I have another bag of coffee from the Big Island of Hawaii. It says it's 100% Kona coffee. It's sold by the Mulvadi Corporation. Sounds like they ought to sell fancy liquors or clothes. It just goes to show how far we've come in our appreciation of coffee. Last but not least, I've got a bag of Starbucks. Probably the name most associated with gourmet coffee in America.  This particular bag is Colombian medium roast. I don't see a picture of Juan Valdez,the Colombian coffee dude on the bag, but maybe they didn't have room for him, with all the other advertising. Just a bit of trivia, the original Juan Valdez's real name was Jose Duval. I' don't know what happened to him. Maybe he didn't like donkeys.  The guy playing Juan now is Carlos Sanchez.  Seems like a nice guy, but I haven't seen him for awhile. Anyway, I appreciate the fancy coffees. The bottom line is though, unlike my kids, I'm not a coffee snob. I'm perfectly content with my Folgers, so next year, if you want to stick some in a fancy sack and give it to me, I'll be just as happy. Meanwhile, drink up! Or as they say in coffee drinking circles, Grab life by the beans! Ooooh, sounds painful.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Vegetable Soup

  Thunderation! Can you believe it's January 5th already? Time flies when you're having fun huh? I decided to start off my new year right by making a big pot of vegetable soup with venison roast. Actually, I made two pots. I had been bragging about my culinary abilities to several friends and there was quite a bit of interest in my soup. Rather than suffering the humiliation of promising something and then not delivering, I thought I'd better follow through, so I thawed out my last two venison roasts and proceeded to cook. Frankly, that soup came out great! I'd like my name to be mentioned in the same breath as Martha Stewart, Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck. I think I could give the Campbell's Soup company a run for their money. Tom's Soups and Stews- even if you're not hungry, you'll enjoy a bowl of Tom's. Actually I don't use anything special, four or five potatoes, a white onion, cabbage, a one pound bag of Western Family frozen mixed vegetables, a small venison roast and diced tomatoes. Therein lies the secret. I use one can of regular old diced tomatoes and one can of S&W diced tomatoes with jalapeno. That little bit of jalapeno adds adds just the right amount of heat to make the soup stand up and sing. After you've  tried a bowl you might want to stand up and sing too. It's that good. Or at least I think so. Anyway, soup is a nice thing to have on a cold winter's night. Jen just called and she is going to bring some homemade bread over to have with the soup tonight. Holy crow! Jan made pumpkin pie last night and there's still some of that left, plus she had cooked up some fresh cranberries yesterday, so we'll be eating pretty high on the hog tonight. When my son Brian was here for Thanksgiving he shot a deer that he split with Jen and us, which is what we're using for the soup. As I mentioned, unfortunately it's the last of the roasts, so I probably won't be making any more veggie soup for awhile. The last time I was in Ohio though I ate the most wonderful cheddar potato soup at a Bob Evans restaurant, so I guess that might be my next project, although Jan's been pushing for corn chowder. We'll see. In any event, I hope that this new year brings you all a great deal of prosperity and happiness. While the winter winds are blowing and the snow piles up, I hope you stay warm, hunker down and enjoy a bowl of homemade soup. Bon Appetit!

Saturday, December 27, 2014


 2014 is drawing to a close, and so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on some of my many blessings. This is by no means a comprehensive look at them all, but rather a small fraction of God's goodness to me. I recently heard a Christmas song that I haven't heard in years. The lyrics in part go like this- when I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep,and I'll fall asleep, counting my blessings. I hope that as this year ends and a new one begins, you'll join me in looking back and reflecting on the multitudes of blessings we enjoy. Thank you for your interest in this blog. God bless and keep you, and God bless America. May we return to our roots and once again be a beacon of light for the world.