Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.
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» Saturday, June 16, 2012Visitors Ho!
We had a whirlwind visit with friends overnight that began for me yesterday with the usual attack on the ever-increasing stack of purchase orders. They're well over sixty now and increasing every day. At lunch I took a welcome break to start dinner (and you know work is getting to me when I'd actually prefer to cook!). I never did find out what cut of pork my mother used in her "gravy" (well, that's what Italians in Rhode Island call it, anyway). I asked her once, and she said, "I don't know." ???? "Well," she said, "I just would say to Ermano [the butcher] 'I need pork for gravy' and he gave me the right meat."
I've used everything from pork chops to pork steaks, but there was an article in Cooks Illustrated not long ago which said to use boneless pork spare ribs. These we bought on Sunday and at lunch I cut each of them in two, and set them to brown on James' grill pan while I decanted two bottles of no-sugar-added spaghetti sauce, one from Cost Plus and one Classico's Tomato and Basil, then added water amounting to about one third of each bottle (this gets the last of the sauce out of the bottle, too). As each portion of pork finished browning, I put it in the sauce, added two slices of green Bell pepper, and then set it to simmer.
Then I went off to do a bit of spot dusting. I actually ate lunch at my desk while juggling e-mails, 653 forms, and phone messages.
Jen and Mike were due at five. Earlier in the week Jen had packed up her little car with everything from her uniforms to DVDs, books, and her laptop, and left San Diego to hookup with her husband Mike in Oklahoma City, and then both proceeded eastward. Upon going through Louisiana Jen had visited her 49th state and I have no doubt she will hit Alaska someday. Having graduated Naval tech school, she is on the way to her assignment in Norfolk, Virginia, the USS Truxton. We were the next to the last stop before they end up in Norfolk, being on the way to introduce Mike to her grandparents in North Carolina.
Anyway, Jen called at five saying they'd just crossed over the Alabama border. This was actually fortuitous, since I hadn't had a chance to (a) finish up work or (b) make the salad yet. The drive from the border to us is pretty much nothing; they arrived at six, whereupon I dumped the ziti into the water and cooked it, and by six-thirty we were eating a pretty luscious dinner, if I do say so myself. I didn't get to sample the other thing I'd put in the gravy, some salami we got from Cost Plus World Market, but James said it wasn't very good. Won't buy those again. But the pork was exquisite: you could flake it with a fork and it was nice and tender, and the gravy had absorbed the taste of the pork. Yum. To paraphrase Josh in Red Sky at Morning, pork should never be cooked any other way than for gravy. :-) The salad...eh. Cucumbers were good, but the tomatoes had become a little mealy, although they still tasted way better than those red things that pose as tomatoes in the supermarket.
We had never met Mike before, although we've known him since 1997. He is one of the original members of the Remember WENN chat group still around, which included us, Rodney Walker, Emma Redmer, and some folks that still turn up at Christmas like Biz Savage, Rita Widmer, and Katie MacNamara. So it was a great treat to get to meet him in person! And so what do we do for the rest of the evening? Watch Remember WENN, of course! We started with all the little minutiae I'd collected from the series, one Bob Dorian intro, all five of the season four promos, an interview with Tom Beckett (who never spoke on the series), the CBS Sunday Morning cast appearance, a CBS profile of Rupert Holmes, etc. Then we watched "Who's Minding the Asylum?", "Armchair Detective," "Some Good News, Some Bad News," and "Scott Sherwood of the FBI."
Willow discovered immediately that Mike was a dog person. Every time we turned around she was next to him to get her back scratched. Schuyler gazed at them curiously and even hopped forward when Mike or Jen would whistle to her.
Anyway, we probably would have WENN marathoned into the night had James not needed to be up at six (I'd already let folks at work know I'd be in late). So the chimes were silenced, James gave out farewell hugs, and we all trouped to our beds.
James was off to work at 6:30, but I received an additional gift of being able to sleep a little later. Then the three of us had breakfast and Schuyler sang us the sweetest song. She doesn't usually sing in the mornings so this was a real treat. And then it was time for our traveling troupe to be off, and this is when I got the first look at Jen's car, literally packed floor to roof with Stuff. Wow. She had to put the little gifts we gave her (a couple of appropriate Hallmark ornaments, a book about the history of the Navy, a Christmas plaque, a thong bookmark, a Dan Gallery book, and a hostess gift of chocolate covered turtles) under her feet because there was no other room for it.
And then they were off, and I was off to work (only to return in five minutes because I forgot my lunch). I wished I'd chosen another route, because they were repaving Atlanta Road this morning and it took me a few minutes to get through that mess, and then I had to stop at Kaiser to get my cholesterol medicine refilled. But I did finally make it to work, and the necessary modification to pay the vendor got through and a couple of orders got out, but I had to face the fact I'd made a complete hash of the scanner order because I didn't know we had an IT blanket purchase agreement. Bother. I hate doing that to people.
This combined with my lunch made me sick most of the afternoon and I was pretty nauseated and in pain by the time I got home. James took me out for something kind to my tummy—French toast at IHOP—and we had Baskin-Robbins for dessert. I sat later and read Helene Hanff's sequel to 84, Charing Cross Road, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, since after all this time I'd finally hunted down a copy. Just brought a big smile to my face.
Books are such a comfort. And cuddly husbands and calendar dogs and sweetly-singing budgerigars.