Monday, January 29, 2024

Orange Shrimp with Fettuccine

Sometime in the 90s, someone gave me a cookbook with different pasta dishes.  This is one of the first grown-up dishes I used to make and it was my go-to for trying to impress a lady.  It took many iterations before I ever made it with all the correct ingredients.  

For one thing, Shrimp was usually expensive, though I was probably being cheap versus budget-conscious.  I’d wait for that big shrimp sale Jewel used to do twice a year.  

Also, a bottle of sesame oil seemed pricy for the little amount.  Again, more about my cheapness than actual reality.  But once I used it, I would never not make this dish without it.  


Finding snow peas was tough too  Jewel didn't have fresh ones so I had to find them in the frozen section.  I learned it was easier to use a can of mandarin oranges than peeling and sectioning 2 actual oranges.   

Anyway, I made it again for Friday dinner and even Natasha likes it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

How snow fall can snowball in a Mid-South city

Because of holidays and snow days, my kids have been out of school more days than they have been in school so far this year.

It's understandable why they didn't have school yesterday as the snow was finally melting.  Not having it today is a questionable decision.  I get that they had to make it based on how conditions looked at 8 pm last night.  They couldn't count on the snow and ice being melted by the time school buses needed to pick up kids (it mostly was).

But honestly, it is damn near impossible to work while my kids are home.  First, they seem to know when I'm on a call and they come into the kitchen area and make lots of noise.

Second, Boris is an eating machine and I have to keep him from raiding the fridge and eating all the food at once.  

It's a balmy 50 degrees right now which is good for melting the last remnants of the snowfall.  But it also means it's wet and muddy so playing outside is not an option.

The snow also affected garbage pickup.  It was already going to be a day late because of MLK Day.  For some reason here, a Monday holiday causes everything to shift one day whereas in Chicago it would be caught up by Thursday.  But the snow made it impossible for the trucks to do pickup so we skipped a week.  Apparently, there were problems yesterday and they are gonna try to catch up today.  

We have two garbage bins which average about 1.5 fullness unless we have family over.  But our recycle bin is almost full and I still have some boxes and our usual daily production to figure out.  I could run some over to my FIL since he only recycles cardboard boxes.

We now have Ice

 When we moved in here in August 2021, after purchasing the home from Nightingale's parents, we knew that the refrigerator ice maker was wonky.  It would occasionally overfreeze and you had to use a hair dryer to melt it.  MIL had actually bought a replacement part but never got around to installing it herself because of limited bandwidth.

We put up with it though it became progressively worse and we were defrosting it once a month.  I think I finally burned something out with the hairdryer because it just stopped working just before Christmas.  

I found a YouTube video that showed me exactly how to replace it and since the ice maker was already defrosted, I didn't have to try to work the clumsy interface.  

Anyway, we have ice now and I don't have to do the hair dryer thing, at least for the time being.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

January is the longest month

 For those keeping track at home, our kids were on break from school since Dec X.  They went back on January 4th for two days.  Then we kept them home that Monday because of COVID.  We sent them back but this week they were off on Monday for MLK Day.  But since Mississippi experienced more snowfall (8 inches) and colder weather (zero degrees) than usual, school was closed on Tuesday and Today.  It will likely be closed all week because the temperatures will get not high enough to melt something like it usually does down here next week.

Now, to be sure, it makes perfect sense that MS doesn't invest heavily in snow removal equipment. If you average 1 inch of snow yearly that typically melts a day later, why spend the money?   Reports vary but we don't have snowplows or salt trucks, or if we do, there is only one per county, if at all.

That doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.  The amount of snow Mississippi received would not raise an eyebrow back in Chicago.  We would have dug ourselves out and the roads would have been plowed in time for Tuesday morning commuters.  

Luckily, my kids have discovered that a schoolmate lives kitty-corner to our lot line.  So they have had someone to play with outside in this cold.  They wore themselves out yesterday and slept through the night without any issues.  Well, Boris went to bed early because of a headache which seems to have disappeared today.  I'm making sure he drinks more water today to rule out simple dehydration.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Refresh Your Living Space with These Effortless and Impactful Tips

 by Colleen Stewart

Feeling like your home could use a little revamping? You're in luck because giving your living space a fresh new look doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul. In this article from Mysteries of Life, we delve into practical and creative ways to rejuvenate your home environment. Discover how simple changes, from reviving old furniture to making strategic decor updates, can significantly enhance the atmosphere of your home, making it a space you'll absolutely adore.

Refreshing Old Furniture

You have the power to breathe new life into your existing furniture. Imagine that old chair or table you love, reborn with a vibrant coat of paint or reupholstered with a fabric that pops. This approach isn't just friendly to your wallet; it's a nod to sustainable living. By choosing to refurbish, you're embracing a form of creativity that adds a personal touch to your space while respecting the environment.

Streamlining Home Maintenance

It's easy to let those little maintenance tasks slip by. But remember, a well-maintained home feels refreshed and cared for. Consider hiring professionals to tackle those overdue repairs. In today's digital age, scheduling these tasks is easier than ever. A home maintenance app can help you find the right help, track the status of your repairs, and learn more about keeping your home in top shape. When everything works as it should, your home naturally feels more welcoming and put-together.

Diversifying Decor with Textures

Say goodbye to bland and hello to a world of tactile and visual intrigue! Introducing a variety of textures and fabrics into your home decor can dramatically alter the feel of a room. Imagine the warmth of a woolen throw against a leather sofa, or the sleek touch of metal accents alongside rustic wood. This mix not only adds depth to your decor but also creates an inviting space that appeals to the senses.

Upgrading Window Treatments

Underestimating the power of window treatments is a common oversight. Simply swapping out old curtains or blinds for new ones can transform the light and mood of any room. It's a straightforward change that yields significant aesthetic benefits. Whether you opt for light or airy fabrics to brighten up a space or choose rich, darker tones for a cozy feel, updating your window treatments is a quick and effective way to revitalize your living space.

Strategic Mirror Placement

Incorporating mirrors into your home decor is a clever way to create a sense of space and openness. By placing mirrors strategically, they reflect light and views, making any room feel larger and more vibrant. This optical illusion not only enhances the aesthetics of your space but also brings in a dynamic element that changes with the light of the day.

Introducing a New Rug

Never underestimate the power of a beautifully chosen rug. A rug can anchor a room, define a space, and add layers of warmth, texture, and color. The right rug transforms the feel underfoot and the overall vibe of the room. It's an effortless way to inject new life into your living area, bedroom, or even a hallway, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Updating Cabinet Hardware

You'll be amazed at how new knobs and pulls can transform your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Simply swapping out outdated hardware for modern, stylish options instantly elevates the space. This minor adjustment brings a sophisticated and contemporary feel to your cabinets. It's a small change, but it significantly alters the aesthetic and vibe of your room.


Reviving and refreshing your home doesn't necessitate a grand renovation. By embracing these simple yet effective tips, you can transform your living environment into a space that's not only more aesthetically pleasing but also more comfortable and inviting. From the joy of refurbishing beloved furniture pieces to the clever use of mirrors and textures, these strategies ensure your home gets the rejuvenating touch it deserves.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Bears 2024 Opponents

 Here are the Bears' regular season opponents for the 2024 season. (There is no meaning to the order.)

Two games each NFC North opponent: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

NFC West: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks / at Arizona Cardinals, at SF 49ers

AFC South: vs. Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars / at Houston Texans, at Indianapolis Colts

NFC South: vs Carolina Panthers

AFC East: vs New England Patriots

NFC East: at Washington Commanders

The last three opponents depended on how the Bears finished on Sunday. Since they finished last in the NFC North, the Bears will play the last-place teams in the NFC South, AFC East and NFC East. That means the Bears will play the Panthers, Patriots and Commanders.


2023 Bears: It's Over, thank God

 The Chicago Bears have now finished their 2013 season with a record of 7 - 10.  So this is a final check-in with my with my 2023 predictions.

Thus my record is 11-6.  Much better than the Bears 7 -10.  I guess it says something that they were technically in the playoff hunt until Week 17 but it was over when they blew the double-digit lead against the Browns in Week 16.

* games I didn't make an exact prediction but did lean a certain way. 

They beat 5 bad teams (Commanders, Raiders, Panthers, Cardinals and Falcons) and 2 teams that had bad days (Vikings and Lions) and should have beat those two twice.  They blew 3 games with double digit leads and lost two more that were close.

While I enjoy football and love my Bears, as I get older I cannot afford to wait for next season.  Each week that goes by is a week I'm closer to eventually checking out of this mortal coil.  Are they gonna move on from Justin Fields and reset the rebuild clock?  Probably.

Remember, Justin Fields -- who has done nothing but display more grace and class than anyone inside Halas Hall -- was a last-ditch effort for Coach Nagy and GM Pace to save their jobs.  I think he is among the better quarterbacks we have seldom seen at Halas Hall.  Is he elite?  I don't know.  I'd say he's better than Kyle Orton and we won a lot of games with neckbeard.

But every coach wants their QB.  Every GM wants their coach.  We are flirting with bringing Jim Harbaugh in as head coach and if that happens, he is gonna want to rebuild with his people.

The Bears have the #1 draft pick again (along with #9) so they can trade Fields to a QB hungry team, trade the First Pick for a haul and still nabe a quality QB and possibly even Marvin Harrison Jr.  That kind of opportunity only comes along once in a blue moon.  

I just don't know how long I'll be around to see it.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Welcome 2024

 Happy New Year all.

Whereas 2023 started off on a bad foot and only improved recently, 2024 is looking cautiously optimistic.  I have a job that seems like it has the potential to open doors that have been shut and I can pivot to a new skillset.

It is only a matter of time before I run into No-Name Software industry colleagues who don't think highly of me or have had bad experiences.

At the start of last year, I strived to do 10 posts per month.  Obviously, that fell out of fashion because when you don't have anything to write about, there's not much to post.  

Two life hacks that I've recently come up with.

I found a place that will wash, dry, and fold our laundry for $1.75 per pound.  And for a little bit more per pound, they will even pick up and deliver.

Earlier in the year, the kids switched from wanting baths to taking showers.  This is a game changer because bathing the kids was not something I liked doing or was good at.  NG had the job but she would do it only at the end of the night before bedtime.