Archive for December, 2006

Boyfriend is my Kitchen-Appliance hero!

Before we left for Michigan, we were greeted to that most-wretched of noises … the sound of the Garbage Disposal getting stuck on some random bone/rind/husk/piece of paper.

Remembering the last time I had to deal with a stuck garbage disposal (we basically ignored it until the smell was too unbearable to, well, ignore), I had a small anxiety attack.

“Boyfriend! The G/D is stuck!”

He promptly told me to forget about it until we got back from Michigan.  Of course, I knew I couldn’t forget about it because all I could think about was the refuse at the bottom of the appliance basically rotting into primordial effluvium and probably breeding new sentient species in the five days we would be out of town.

(Okay, that was a little dramatic; I did forget about it after not long at all!)

Anyway, we got back to Philly, I proceeded to wash some dishes, and reached to turn on the disposal and was again met with the high-pitched whine of an electric engine that couldn’t turn over.

Boyfriend! Don’t forget about the Garbage Disposal!”

“I’ll get to it at some point.”

A day later, after 30 quick minutes of under-sink grunting and groaning, and nary a plumber’s-crack to be seen, voila!  Boyfriend was able to harness his latent super-human abilities and become … dum Dah DUM … the In-Sink-erator***!

*** In-Sink-erator is a division of Emerson and based in the good ole USA.  But doesn’t it sound like a great super-hero name?


An Inconvenient Truth

I watched “An Inconvenient Truth tonight with the Boyfriend’s Clan … you know that documentary of Al Gore’s presentation on the effects of global warming?

My brother-in-law asked for it for Christmas, so lo and behold, Santa delivered!  The first thing I noticed was that it was packaged differently.  It wasn’t in the normal 1/2-inch thick black plastic case that we’re all familiar with, but rather a cardboard-backing wrapped in a very thin sheet of plastic.

Odd, except when you realize that it makes sense when the movie is about saving the environment … use fewer materials to begin with!  Ostensibly, it’s more enviro-friendly.

It reminded me of some of Michael Moore’s work, “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911″, except not nearly as biting and controversial.  The former Veep stops just shy of really calling out the current and recent past U.S. government leaders for ignoring and/or compounding the Global Warming crisis.

It is almost understandable … the problem has to be treated both as a Grassroots Action and a national political agenda item.  It seems Mr. Gore is attempting to steer a ship with a tiller the size of the lower-48-states!  As a (former?) professional politician, it seems he might have to temper his message so that it has a broad, far-reaching appeal.

While I might not have been categorically impressed, I was, indeed, motivated to action.  Here’s what I’m going to do:

  1. Talk to Boyfriend about getting a hybrid vehicle (he has more stringent requirements in his vehicles than I do)
  2. Switch to a Green/Renewable energy source for my Electricity at home.
  3. Evangelize about this movie and the real Climate Crisis in my personal and professional lives.
  4. Continue to research how to affect and correct this crisis.

Am I missing anything?  How are you helping to stop and reverse Global Warming?

Uncle Joe’s Chicken Kelaguen Recipe

My Uncle Joe had a reasonably successful, family-run catering operation, doing weddings, funerals, christenings, and all sorts of other events.  For as long as I can remember, my family and I helped prepare, cook, staff, clean-up, at catering functions on the weekends.

The below is Uncle Joe’s chicken kelaguen recipe, adapted for serving around 6 people.

5 pounds of skin-on chicken thighs

2 cup of lemon juice (fresh)

1/3 cup of lemon powder (UPDATE: original recipe had 1-1/3 cups)

4 tbsp. of lime juice

4 tbsp. of salt

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 tbsp. of diced hot red peppers

1/2 cup of diced green onions

1/2 cup of fresh grated coconut

Grill the chicken thighs, unseasoned.  Make sure they aren’t overcooked; juices should still be flowing when you pierce it with a knife or a fork.  Let it cool enough to prepare, but it should still be warm for the next steps.

Dice/cube the chicken, about 1/2-inch pieces.  You can skin the chicken if you like, but for most authentic flavor, include the skin in your diced pieces.

Combine the lemon juice, lime juice, lemon powder and salt, making sure the salt is well dissolved.  Set aside half the liquid mixture.

Pour one half of the liquid citrus mixture with the warm chicken and mix so that there is an even coating on all the chicken pieces.  Add the onions and hot pepper and mix again.  (Traditionally, we hand-mixed at this step).

Refrigerate overnight.

Add the rest of the liquid mixture to the chicken and toss/mix again.  Garnish with the coconut and green onions.

Serve cold with hot white or brown rice, wrapped in warm corn or flour tortillas, or by itself. 

You can add more or less salt to taste, and add more or less hot pepper to achieve the desired spiciness.

Hope these instructions were clear enough!  Drop a comment if you have any questions about it.

Merry Christmas, Ga’chong-hu! ***

I called my family to wish them a Merry Christmas: John in San Fran with his family, my Auntie Tina & Uncle Chuck in Buck’s County, with my cousins and their families (Chuck, Brian, Barb, & Cathy), my brother James in San Fran, and my Mom & Dad & Sister, Teo, on Guam.

It was funny … everyone I talked to immediately went into what they were having for dinner.  Turkey seemed to be a common theme.  Pumpkin pies and apple pies.  But staples like Red Rice, Chicken Kelaguen, Beef Kelaguen (see Chicken Kelaguen, only with nearly raw beef … not for the faint of heart), Barbecued spare ribs, and ham.

We’ll be having ham, deviled eggs, twice baked potatoes, and all the Ethel-drool you can stomach, here in Michigan. 

I love the holidays, and I love that I’m spending it with Boyfriend’s sister and her family.  I think next year, though, we’re going to have to Guam-it-up and get some of the Guamish dishes at the dinner table.  Guamaniac is a good cook after all, yo!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful time with their families, and filling up on tremendous amounts of delicious food!  See you in the New Year, if not sooner!

*** Ga’chong-hu is Chamorro for “my friend(s)”.  Chamorro is the name of the native language and the native people of Guam.

Puppies having a Wonderful Christmas Time!

Boyfriend-Partner-Puppy-Uncle-Daddy (aka Ted) and I made it out to Michigan, just outside of Toledo, where his Sister, Steph, and her family take up residence.  The weather isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be (it was nearly 60 when we pulled up), even though it was raining nearly the entire drive over from Philly.  We’re spending Christmas here, and leaving a few days afterwards.

One of my chief anxieties about this trip was how Ethel (the Puppy part of BPPUD) would interact with Baxter, Steph & Fam’s newly-adopted Beagle-mix.  First order of business upon arrival was to have the two pups meet in the backyard, on “neutral” ground, where the dogs could intermingle and get to know one another.

For those of you who don’t know, Ethel is a Newfoundland, which roughly equates to a huge black lump of fur, drool, and loveys.  And by huge, I mean she’s 140 pounds!

Now you might understand more my anxiety; if Ethel is anxious and unhappy, whole couches and lesser-mammalian-pets are in peril!

Anyway, we met in the backyard.  Dogs, especially well-socialized dogs, have this uncanny knack to just get along.  Quickly, Baxter and Ethel came to an understanding.

Ethel runs across the yard because she sees Baxter, a friendly looking non-human, four-legged, furry face.  She un-daintily galumphs a bit, so it’s understandable that Baxter sorta skitters away.

“Yeah, I know you’re three times my size, but that means I can run away very quickly and you won’t get to say hello,” said Baxter [I’m roughly translating; my canine vocabulary is that of a 3-month-old.]

“All I want is to gather information about you … keep still!”  Ethel garners reams of information from some butt-sniffing and crotch-sniffing.

“Okay, I’ll let you read my online-personality-profile, but if you push too hard, I’ll get up out of this lying-down-position-with-my-paws-in-the-air and cut you off,” Baxter said with his gently-waving tail and otherwise motionless body.

“Okay … you seem cool … are you ready to play?”  Ethel does a play bow.

“Wait … let me take a whiff of your puppy-parts, too.  Okay, yeah … I’m ready.”  Baxter play bows in response.  “Let’s go!”

They both scamper away happily, playing a nice and friendly game of keep-away-chase.

If only people could get along so easily.

Tag! You’re it!

Scooter Mac  tagged me.  It’s strange how my threshold for this sort of stuff changes over the years.  I remember when I got my first e-mail chain like this, and I was all gah-gah, thinking it’s the coolest thing since my first (snail-)mail chain letter.  I wonder how long it will be before I start shredding/deleting/otherwise ignoring these blogger-meme-taggy-things.

God … who knew I was so jaded and bitter!  Here’s to another few years of learning more about my friends.

  1. I am terrified of the open water.  A river, a lake, the open ocean … they all petrify me.  I can deal with swimming pools, and in fact, I am a certified Advanced Swimmer (I went to summer camp a couple of years).  I just have a deep rooted, irrational and pervasive fear of bodies of water where I cannot see the bottom.
  2. I love peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches … with cheese.
  3. I slept with my high-school science teacher (after high-school, yo!)
  4. When I was in middle-school, I asked my mom if I could go to the video arcade, and she said yes and handed me a couple of bucks.  I was so elated I started jumping around … and knocked over an old lady and sent her glasses flying.   Mortified doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Since then, I’ve been super-conscious of how much space I take up (I am not a small person).  A side-effect of this, I think, is that I’m much more agile than others my size.
  5. I took a poll of some friends in college, all of whom, for various reasons, spoke another language.  I was trying to find the word for “love” in any language that to me actually sounded like love.  It was/is Hebrew:  Ahavah (pronounced AH-ha-VAH, if I remember correctly).

Who’s next?  I choose Kurt, Martino, Duffy,  Autumn, and Ben Forta.

Cabbage Go!

My brother John amazes me with his uncanny ability to play with words.  One of my first memories of that was when we were going to hop in a car together and head out shopping (or something), back on Guam.

There was  no K-mart on Guam back then; it’s a recent addition to the shoreline.

“Cabbage go,” he exclaimed, emphatically.

I put on my best quizzical look and responded, “What the H-E-double-hockey sticks does that mean?” (we were young back then, afraid of the H-word).

“You know?  Lettuce go! Let…us…go.”

Pure brilliance. Yesterday, I got a gift in the mail from John with this gift-tag missive.  It was shipped from so I didn’t know right away who it was from.  The language of the gift-tag was cryptic, too.  What clued me in to the sender was the name, “Tomassie”.  That’s my neice’s nickname, John’s daughter, Tomasa.

The Organizational structure of the Frigid Northern Cardinal Extreme deem you worthy of character for an electromagnetic asset.

 — Santa – Tomassie

Loosely translated from John-ese:

Santa and his elves from the North Pole say you’re nice and deserve this gadgety present.

Merry Christmas, John, and thanks for the gift and the fond memories!  I won’t open it until Christmas Day…I promise.  😉

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December 2006
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