The soup

December 31, 2018

We said if we liked the soup we made the other day we would
share the recipe. I changed a few things in the recipe so we’ll
list the ingredients, the steps to put it together, and changes
we made now.

The ingredients

2 cups peeled and diced potatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup sliced carrot

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups 2% milk

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1-1/2 cups cooked cubed ham

1 cup corn


1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, chicken broth,
carrot and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover for
10-15 minutes or potatoes are tender.

2. Meanwhile in another saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour
until smooth. Gradually add the milk, salt and pepper. Bring to
a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir
the mixture into the potatoes and chicken broth. Add the ham and
corn. Heat through.

I put a half cup of diced carrots and celery instead of sliced
carrots, used 2 cups of ham, added an extra half-cup of chicken
stock to the above, and an extra 1/4 cup of chopped onions. I
added the corn when I started the second step and the ham just
before I added the cheese.

I did it this way because we like a chunky soup and I don’t
follow directions well. It would be good if you followed the
directions also.

So there’s the recipe and how we did it. If it sounds tasty,
mix up a batch. Enjoy our Monday. Since we have rain and
freezing rain in the forecast we’ll be having some leftover
soup while watching the rain from inside our window.
Comments are always welcome.

Sunday snicker

December 30, 2018

After Quasimodo’s death, Bishop Thomas of the cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process.

After observing while several applicants demonstrated their skills, he decided to call it a day.

Just then a lone, armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer’s job.

Bishop Thomas was incredulous. ‘You have no arms.’

”No matter,’ said the man, ‘observe!’ He then began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment, convinced that he had finally found a suitable replacement for Quasimodo. Suddenly, while rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below.

The stunned bishop immediately rushed down the stairways. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, ‘Bishop, who was this man?’

‘I don’t know his name,’ the bishop sadly replied, ‘but his face rings a bell.’

Comfort food

December 29, 2018

Once again God has proven he has a sense of humor. At least
here on the east coast of Iowa. Just a few short days ago our
high was in the 50s and the low was almost 40. Yesterday we had
freezing drizzle which turned to snow and todays high won’t
make it out of the 20s.

We didn’t get enough white fluffy love from above to blanket
all the blemishes but just enough to blow against curbs and
settle in places of most resistance to the wind. Makes we wish
we had gotten a few more inches.

Now we’re back to weather when comfort food works the best. A
meal that warms the body, fills the stomach, puts a smile on
ones face when finished and the kitchen smells great. We’ll
have such a meal as soon as this post is finished and the soup
is made.

Today we’re thinking potato and cheese soup with hot corn bread
on the side. The thought of a bowl full of potatoes, carrots,
onions, a little corn, some ham, and a lot of cheddar has me
feeling warmer already. If the soup turns out as good as I think
it will we will share the recipe.

I’d rather have some gorp but can’t find one ingredient that is
really need to make it and the wife wants to try the cheese soup.
So we’re having the soup. Now that I’ve said that, au gratin
potatoes sound good too. Lord knows we have enough cheese in the
house to survive an apocalypse.

Enjoy our Saturday even though it means the weekend will be
over in what feels like a few hours. And we have soup to make
and coffee to drink.
Comments are always welcome.

Of steam engines and cell phones

December 28, 2018

Yesterday was one of those days I about had to beat myself up
to get moving. Everything hurt, my brain was disconnected, and
my body said ‘oh hell no!’ to anything that involved movement.
Not sure what the problem was but hopefully it’s just part of
getting older.

This morning I was thinking of Sprint Corporation for no
apparent reason and discovered something I did not know. You may
know that Sprint is a telecommunications company that provides
internet and cell phone services. But did you know its roots
can be traced back to a railroad?

The Brown Telephone Company and the Southern Pacific Railroad
are both said to be origins of Sprint. Brown Telephone began in
1899 to give phone service to rural areas in Abilene, Kansas
and was started by Cleyson Brown.

The Southern Pacific Railroad was founded in the 1860s as a
subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Company. The company operated
thousands of miles of track and the telegraph wire which ran
alongside the track. In the 1970s the company was looking for
ways to use these lines for long distance calling.

This spawned several lawsuits between the company, AT&T, and
the FCC. Prior attempts to offer long distance calling wasn’t
approved by the FCC so the railroad used a loophole that would
allow a fax service called SpeedFAX.

Southern Pacific Communications came up with a new name to
tell the difference between the switched voice service from
SpeedFAX and came up with SPRINT. This stood for Southern
Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications.

In 1982 GTE Corporation bought the telephone operation from
Southern Pacific. In 1992 Uninet (United Telecom Data) bought
enough of the Company to acquire the original company and in
1992 United Telecom officially changed its name to Sprint
Corporation. And that’s my story.

Enjoy our Friday as the weekend has begun. As soon as I have
another cup of coffee before getting busy doing what should have
been done yesterday.
Comments are always welcome.

Post Christmas thoughts

December 26, 2018

After the wife left for work I went out to see if the Christmas
moon was out. Since it was the camera was aimed and the photo
above is the result. As happens at times like that I had a
chat with Monty, the man in the moon.

A feral cat that we feed and have called ‘Mama Cat’ came by and
kept me company the whole time. I mentioned some of my many
flaws and how one almost ruined a dinner at a well known, but
busy and noisy steak house.

Our youngest and his family, my brother and his wife, and the
wife and myself decided to get together at a certain time and
enter the steak house as a group. The wife and I are always
punctual and arrive early.

My impatience almost got the best of me about 6 minutes after
the agreed time passed and my brother and his wife had yet to
make an appearance. I did say something when they finally
showed up and then wondered why it bothered me so much. We ended
up having a good time though and that’s what counts.

Then we talked of those no longer with us as Christmas seemed
as good a time as any. It’s a shock to remember how long the
list has become. But if one cherishes the good times had with
those those who have died a smile can sneak through the tears.

I’ll keep working on my flaws until the good Lord comes a
calling. Enjoy our Wednesday as that means we’re getting that
much closer to a new year and a world of possibilities.
Comments are always welcome.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2018

Watched a little of the sunset last night and even with the
trees in the way found it amazing yet a bit chilly to behold.
The sun is at its southernmost point now, hence the trees.

Last night we went to a steak house for supper and learned a
few things. Their cheeseburgers have a half-pound of meat on
them and even with lettuce, tomato, and an onion slice come in
at 1,010 calories! Good thing I’m skinny.

The staff did a line dance in the middle of the aisle and when
that happened the noise level was off the charts. Our youngest
and family will be heading back to Oklahoma about now as they
couldn’t stay longer.

At least we had some time together around Christmas for the
first time in 6 years and everyone had a good time. We even had
a visit with my oldest and his lovely wife, my Dad, the wifes’
Mom and my sole surviving brother and his wife.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas on this Christmas Eve.
May you feel as blessed as we do.
Comments are always welcome.

Sunday snicker

December 23, 2018

A friend shared this one online-

Two 90-year old guys, Leo and Frank, had been friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Leo was dying, Frank visited him every day.

One day Frank said, “Leo, we both loved playing baseball all our lives, and we played all through high school. Please do me one favor: when you get to heaven, somehow you must let me know if there’s baseball there.”

Leo looked up at Frank from his deathbed and said, “Frank you’ve been my best friend for many years. If it’s at all possible, I’ll do this favor for you.”

Shortly after that, Leo passed away. A few nights later, Frank was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him, “Frank.. Frank ‘……

“Who is it?” asked Frank sitting up suddenly. “Who is it?”

“Leo– it’s me, Leo.”

“You’re not Leo, Leo just died.”

“I’m telling you, it’s me, Leo,” insisted the voice.

“Leo!..Where are you?”

“In Heaven,” replied Leo. “I have some really good news and a little bad news.”

“Tell me the good news first,” said Frank.

“The good news,” Leo said, “is that there’s baseball in heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here too. Better than that, we’re all young again. Better still, it’s always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play baseball all we want, and we never get tired.”

“That’s fantastic,” said Frank. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams!

So what’s the bad news?”

“You’re pitching Tuesday.”

A few Saturday thoughts

December 22, 2018

We couldn’t get any pictures of the full moon last night as the
clouds kept getting in the way. It was time to call an end to
the endeavor at 2 am when I popped out to see the same cloud
covered sky that was there at 6 pm.

Yet since the moon is supposed to still be 95% full on
Christmas a shot of the almost full moon looks to be a good bet.
A little later today I’ll try my hand at taking pictures of
people and see how that works out.

If lucky we may have some pictures to share later and if not
we’ll have some critter and/or sky pictures. We did get a picture
of the nearby lighted nativity scene. Who knows, I may even get a
shot I’m happy with before the season is over.

Shortly we’ll be going over to Dads’ and if things work out as
we hope it will be great. Our youngest and his family got in
town last night to help put things in perspective. Nicole said
it was cold up here as it was 69 degrees in Muskogee when they

I imagine a 30+ degree drop in temperatures would take a little
getting used to. We hope all of you are having a great day on
this Christmas Eve Eve, or whatever you call it. Enjoy the rest
of our Saturday as we will. Now we need more coffee and have to
get ready.
Comments are always welcome.

The Soltice and the moon

December 21, 2018

Today is the 355th day of the year and the Winter Soltice. The
sun will be at its most southern point in our orbit around it
and we’ll have the fewest sunlight hours of the entire year.

We also have the Full Cold Moon making an appearence tonight
and if you get a chance you check it out. Why? Because the next
full moon to arrive on the Winter Soltice will be in 2094! And
this moon will still be close to full on Christmas Eve at 95%

This full moon is known as the Full Cold Moon because December
is known here for cold temperatures and long cold nights. Some
Native American tribe call it the Long Nights Moon as it usually
happens near the soltice.

A few things to remember in December is the best days for
certain activities. If you’re thinking of getting a hair cut
the best days left in this month are the 29th and 30th. Want to
quit smoking? The 28th is the best day to begin. And the best
days for traveling for pleasure are the 25th and 26th.

If you don’t believe in moon signs and phases of the moon to
predict such things proceed as you normally would. And now we
know. We’ll finish with a poem by Robert Herrick-

Come, bring with a noise
My merry, merry boys.
The Christmas log to the firing.
While my good Dame she
Bids ye all be free,
And drink to your heart’s desiring.

With the last year’s brand
Light the new block, and
For good success in his spending,
On your psalteries play,
That sweet luck may
Come while the log is a teending.1

Drink now the strong beer,
Cut the white loaf here,
The while the meat is a shredding
For the rare mince-pie
And the plums standing by,
To fill the paste that’s a kneeding.