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This was one of those Do-Nothing Days that I truly adore — especially after last Saturday’s Do-Four-Special-Sections Day, which involved being at that stinkin’ news office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. (Oh, I already griped about that? Hmmm … so sue me. [You might not be the first.])

This a.m. was pretty much devoted to playing on the computer, watching The Food Network and eating the last of the spaghetti. Eventually, I made my way to the shower. Sometime this morning, I realized I should probably go to the Crafts, Home & Garden Show and take some pictures for Monday’s paper. That put a slight damper on my Do-Nothing Day plans, but I figured I could handle it. While there, I found a wire-and-wood “World’s Greatest Tennis Player” wall-hanger thingie for Diane; she loved it, so it turned out being time well spent.

After that, I remembered that Adam/Fleas had called me Friday afternoon to let me in on a Hot News Tip: A buddy of his had mentioned that people had been driving by to look at the bluebells on Sugar Creek Road and that he knew I liked shooting wildflowers (and domestics!), so if I happened to be out and about, I should stop by. I headed up Sugar Creek, which happens to be one of the more difficult roads around, mostly because it’s curvy and hilly — apparently parts of it are impassable any time we get a significant amount of rain. Soon as I got to the bridge, I found the bluebells — they were, indeed, pretty much everywhere.


Bluebells & Log

A little while later, it was over to The Lovely’s for dinner and NCAA basketball. Or, more like, a half of the Georgetown-Ohio State game, a run to Arby’s, the rest of the game and then all of the UCLA-Florida game — during which I decided Billy Packer is an idiot for saying Joakim Noah was being “lacksadaisical” (when we all know the word is “lackadasical”), plus Noah totally was NOT being lackadaisical, at any point in the game! — and also for pronouncing Billy Donovan’s last name as “Dunavan” for the entire game. (I swear, the mute button is going to be pushed as soon as Monday’s championship game tips off!)

Sometime during the day, there were also pictures taken of tulips (see previous post), dogwoods (to be posted tomorrow, perhaps; we’ll see) and one reflected then very muddy Carmelo the Cat:

Carmelo Reflected

Muddy Carmeo

Red & White


White Unopened

Tulip Collage

Orange Tulip

Mitty Sketti Tongue

I had leftover sketti for lunch. (Why is it that Italian food ALWAYS tastes better leftover? Exceptt maybe pizza … and that’s only ’cause it’s so difficult to get the crust perfectly crispy when you warm it up.) Mitty managed to make her way off her pillow and out of her bedroom in time to clean my plate.

(I’ve just now noticed that my living-room carpet is the same color as spaghetti sauce. Previously, I’ve always described it as “rust-colored”; from here on out, it’s “spaghetti-sauce-colored.”)

Oh, and I forgot to mention in my previous post that you absolutely MUST put some parmesan cheese on top of your sketti! Preferably the “freshly grated” kind — which all the cooking shows tell you to “freshly grate,” yourself, from a hunk-a hunk-a parmesan cheese, which I can NEVER find in the grocery store (read: Wal-Jack), so I’ve taken to buying the “already-grated” kind in a bag. MUCH better than the stuff in a can, which is OK as a last resort and works absolutely fabulously in my famous spinach artichoke dip … but that’s another bloggie post.

Mitty Sketti

Afterwards, Mitty spent several minutes cleaning those monster paws of hers:

Mitty Cleanup

I discovered this a few weeks ago when I made some penne pasta but had it confirmed tonight when I whipped up some sketti. Mitty sat staring at me the whole time I ate, so when I was finished, I set my plate on the floor and she ate some of the spaghetti that was left. Naturally, by the time I thought to try to get a picture of her, nibbling away, she decided she was done, and no amount of coaxing could get her to take another bite. (Animals are smarter than humans sometimes are when it comes to food: They always seem to stop eating when they are no longer hungry. Except for dogs … or at least that dear, departed Chico. Diane says it’s “because of the coyotes” — something about instinct and having to eat ALL the food before the coyotes get it.)

I make pretty good spaghetti. I suppose it would qualify as semi-homemade because, yes, I actually do toss in various ingredients — as opposed to opening a jar of Ragu, which I have been known to do, on occasion — but it’s not as if I have my own specific blend of spices and what-not.

My spaghetti involves:

  • 1 to 2 pounds of ground chuck, browned and drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (it helps if you have an ultra-cool garlic press like the one Patti gave me!)
  • a packet of McCormick spaghetti seasoning (mushroom-flavored variety)
  • 1 regular-sized can of Hunt’s tomato sauce
  • 1 smaller can of Hunt’s roasted garlic tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato paste (I didn’t use any tonight because I was about to run out of room in my skillet)
  • as much water as you need to add to make the sauce the consistency you want
  • a handful of spaghetti noodles (sometimes I like the regular size, sometimes I like angel hair; depends on my mood)

I like my spaghetti kind of salty (as opposed to sweetish). I would list spaghetti as one of my favorite foods, but believe it or not, for a period of at least 3 or 4 years, I wouldn’t eat it because I’d gotten sick one time after having it and couldn’t bear the thought or sight of it. I gradually began eating spaghetti noodles with butter on them and, eventually, I started liking spaghetti again.

When I was a kid, before any of the aforementioned non-spaghetti-eating took place, we would occasionally order spaghetti takeout from a place called Vincent’s. The pasta had the most wonderful garlicky smell when we brought it home in round white cardboard cartons; every time I make sketti, I try to get it to smell — and taste! — just like Vincent’s.

It never does, but … hey, I like it. And so does my cat.

Dogwood 1

Dogwood 3

Dogwood 2

Dogwood 4

“Best Lodge by a Dam Site” — Official Shelbyville Moose Lodge 1294 slogan

The Shelbyville Moose Lodge was where my sister got that scar on her chin.

She and I talked about it last night, and neither of us could remember the actual event: Debra falling off the bar stool, blood flowing everywhere, Mom saving the day (or night) with a couple of butterfly Band-Aids. (“I probably should’ve had stitches,” Debra said, but I disagree: To this day, I’m convinced any wound can be closed with a butterfly Band-Aid or two.)

Debra must have been 3 or younger, and neither of us can figure out why she would have been left unattended, on a bar stool, for even a second. And where was I? How could I have missed out on all the action?

Still, this is our first recollection of the Moose … even though, technically, neither of us can actually remember it.

My most recent memory of the Moose is attending Roommate and Brad’s wedding reception there and catching the bouquet. Didn’t require quite as athletic a move as when I snagged the bouquet at Patti and Bob’s reception — that one included a spin around the pole in the middle of the room and, if I’m not mistaken, a leap over the gaggle of wannabe brides around me. (The irony of someone who never really plans/expects to be married — or, more precisely, to be legally married — being so proficient at bouquet-catching is something I can appreciate. Fully.)

Bobby referred to the Moose as Dad and Helen’s “second home.” I would certainly agree it was Dad’s “home away from home,” even during those rare times when he also visited the American or the Spigot. If I’m not mistaken, Dad was an officer at the Moose, and I’m certain he was editor of the local Moose newsletter.

My stepdad liked the place, too; in fact, the only one who didn’t appreciate it was my mom, and that’s primarily because she neither drinks nor smokes, so she didn’t like being around people who were drinking (including my dad AND my stepdad), nor did she enjoy smelling like an ashtray. Plus, who knows, perhaps she had bad memories of my sister doing a header off the bar stool?!

I liked the Moose. I liked getting free Cokes and playing pool and basically running amok, through the bar and up and down the stairs, chasing or being chased or playing hide-and-go-seek. I liked pulling tabs and playing bingo, back before someone came along and said you had to be 18 to pull tabs or play bingo — or maybe someone had already said that, but the Moose merely took a little longer to observe the rules, who knows? I liked trying to sneak a drink of Lucy Herrick’s “coffee,” which I later learned was laced with a wee bit o’ whiskey.

For many years, the Moose hosted post-Prom actitivies — which, again venturing into the realm of the ironic, were intended to keep kids from drinking alcohol. After the dance my sophomore or junior year, we went bowling for a while and then headed to the Moose to hang out for a bit of alcohol-free entertainment. Yes, it was possible to have a good time without getting drunk.

One time, our handbell choir actually went and performed a mini-concert at the Moose — and the people there LOVED us! (Of course, we were really good, back in those days; plus, who doesn’t love listening to handbells?)

I haven’t been to the Moose for more than 15 years, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss seeing it next time I drive on Main Street and take a glance down Broadway.

Yes, I’ve got some items to post, but now it’s bedtime and I’m too sleepy to do so. Despite the fact that — or perhaps because — I took a nap this evening, sometime between 6:30 and 7:30, mostly to celebrate finishing that DAMN special section and also because, heh, I was sleepy!

I want to write about the overnight fire that destroyed the Shelbyville Moose Lodge  because, of all the places I remember from my childhood, the Moose is one that I remember most. It was my dad and stepmom’s true “home away from home,” so I have plenty to say about it, good and bad. Mostly good, it seems; isn’t that what time does to memories, sometimes?

I also want to mention how much I am enjoying The Riches, my newfound guilty pleasure Monday nights at 9. (I kicked CSI: Miami to the curb … for the time being, anyway.) That, too, however, will have to wait until tomorrow. Or some other time.

Oh, and now I’m suddenly craving a glass of milk. Cold, cold milk. And of course I’m out of milk.


Carmelo Talks


Tiny Whites



May Apples

* — This is not an endorsement of either candidate (they’re not from my town, anyway). I just liked the names/words and the colors!

Yesterday, I spent the entire day (well, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.) at my desk, at work, putting together 4 of the remaining 5 sections for the special edition. (A couple of stories to write, and No. 5 will be ready to roll, too.)

Thankfully, now that Daylight Saving Time has taken effect, I still had some sunlight left when I emerged from my cave.

Amazingly, I found some of these:

White Tulip

White Tulip Center

And the best part: There’s more where those came from, but right now, I gotta get ready to go play outside today!

OK, here’s one more before I go shower:

Salmon Tulip

I had pretty much decided not to take and/or post a photo of my work computer ’cause … well, first of all, when I realized exactly how OLD my “new” computer happens to be, I found myself highly annoyed by the fact that we’re still using such ANCIENT technology, and secondly: Who wants to be reminded of work, outside of the workplace?

Then Sandy got to work today, and she had brought me daffodils to go with my not-so-new but definitely improved monitor! (Sandy ROCKS!)

Computer Frontview

I tried to do an outline thingie in PhotoShop, so I could number different what-nots and knickknacks on my desk, but then I realized there’s nothing all that mysterious. Still, see how many of the following items you can spot: reporter’s notebook (more than one), breakfast Coca-Cola, mouse, Library Badge (created for me by Lea), various sticky notes, photo of Lt. Joshua D. Lyons, USMC; beef/cheese snack stick, plastic soldiers wearing customized faces featuring local historian, coffee cup, daffodils, miniature Luke Skywalker and tiny piece of Adam’s grille from when he hit a deer.

Perhaps some of the items will be more recognizable from the side.

Computer Sideview

Sometimes, it makes me really, really happy that stuff like this amuses me so much!

March 2007
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Shed & Pump