Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ode to oatmeal

All the amigos are oatmeal eaters. I can't think of a better food to eat before a race. It's filling, lasts several hours, gives long term energy, and is just plain good for you besides. My amigo brethern prefer the instant kind: blueberry, specifically from Trader Joe's. Now, instant oatmeal has it's place in our gastronomic society. When you have to leave at 5 AM for a 10 AM race in Bumfuq, WI, you can't be eating at 4 AM. We know all the Holiday stations in WI. They are multi purpose stops: bowel, bladder, and replenishment. We will fill up a coffee cup with with hot water and then dump an instant packet or two into the hot water and proceed to get our nourishment. Now, FWK has to make a comment here. "Matt/Flash/Everything about me is small" does one thing in a big way. He puts 4 or 5 packets of instant oatmeal into a cup. What he creates could easily patch a nail hole in a tire or a hole in a tiled wall in your bathroom. How he can digest the oatmeal mortar he makes, I have no idea.

But, I digress. The best oatmeal I'v ever eaten was in Negril, Jamaica, of all places. It is the only time in my life I ordered oatmeal in a restaurant. I still don't know why. Anyway, the oatmeal came and the flakes were about the size of a dime! Absolutely the best in flavor and texture ever. I remember the place was literally a castle. Someone built the place and ran out of money, so they turned the lower level into a restaurant. The Quaker oats we all grew up with pales in comparison to the oatmeal I ate that day. I have no idea where it was made. Jamaica imports a lot of their foodstuffs from Russia and Australia, maybe that's where it came from.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I spotted the oatmeal pictured up above at Byerly's. It's called "Wheat Montana" and was right next to the Quaker oats. It cost a couple bucks more the the Quaker oats. The flakes looked thicker then the regular stuff, so I bought it. Let me tell, it is great stuff! Definitely chewier and with a nice flavor profile. This oatmeal inspired me to make granola, something I haven't done in 25 years. Here is the recipe I used, from Cooks Illustrated:

1 cup walnuts , broken into 1/4-1/2-inch pieces
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup blanched almonds , halved
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup raisins

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients together in large bowl.

2. Heat maple syrup and honey together with oil in small saucepan, whisking occasionally until warm. Pour mixture over dry ingredients; stir with spatula until mixture is thoroughly coated. Turn mixture onto an 11-by-7-inch jelly roll pan, spreading mixture in an even layer.

3. Bake, stirring and respreading mixture into an even layer every 5 minutes, until granola is light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Immediately turn granola onto another jelly roll pan to stop cooking process. Stir in raisins, then spread granola evely in pan; set on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Loosen dried granola with a spatula; store in airtight container.

FWK has never cared for walnuts or shredded coconut, so I bought whole, unroasted almonds and chopped about 1 1/2 cups into the granola in place of the walnuts and slivered almonds. I omitted the coconut and added craisins along with the raisins for a little tart flavor. It also seemed like it needed some salt after I made it the first time. I put in 1/2 teaspoon, and the flavor was noticably better. I also ground 2 Tablespoons of golden flax seed and added that to the mix.

I always have granola for breakfast while we are on vacation in Anguilla. Sitting out on the deck looking out at the sea while eating granola with milk is very, very nice. I always figure that it counter acts the Heineken from the night before.

SF is never too far away...

The amigos have the SF factor down to a science. We even have a formal society; ROOSF. "Royal Order Of Stupid Fucks."

There are two kinds of SF situations. Ones that you intentionally create, such as deciding to ride a bike on a lake at night when the wind chill is -35 degrees. And then there are the happenstance kind; where you make a decision or forget to do something and you create your own "SF moment". An example of the former is wearing your big old boots and not tying the laces, letting them dangle on the ground, tripping on them and breaking a rib as a result of not tying your fucking shoes.

An example of the latter, a forgetful SF moment, I experienced this week. This past Wednesday was balmy by recent standards, 25 degrees. I decided to fire up the gas grill and cook some chicken. My grill has 3 burners, and I turned on 2 of them. The chicken cooked up just fine and a good time was had by all. Two days later, I'm letting Charlie out and I notice the grill's thermometer was reading 125 degrees. WTF, I said to myself. I then looked at the burner controls and sure enough, I left one of them on. For 48 hours. It was on low, but, still. SF!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The 200K is for those that are either naive or insane or really don't know what your in for---- Greg Vogel

The statement above in the title was written by Greg Vogel, a cyclist that has done the Horribly Hilly Hundreds bike ride. This is the latest adventure that the amigos and amigo wannabes are going to undertake this summer. I've ridden with Greg once, and he is a long distance rider whom I have a lot of respect for. Anyone who rides his bike to Duluth, competes in Grandma's Marathon the next day, then pedals home the day after that is a pretty serious distance rider. Or, a serious SF. Regardless, for him to make the comment he did about the HHH, makes me wonder, WTF did we get ourselves into now??

Monday, January 12, 2009

Colonoscopy 101

Well, the big day arrived. I had the colonoscopy scheduled to happen 6 months ago, but then I got the blood clot and due to the medication I took for that I got a reprieve until today. My biggest concern was not the procedure itself, it was the "prepping" I had in store the day before. My instructions were not to eat ANYTHING at all on Sunday. At 12 noon, I was to take 4 "Dulcolax" tablets. At 4 PM, I was to start consuming "Go-lytely." I ate as much as I could on Saturday night. We went with another couple to Buena Sera in Champlin for a great Italian dinner. I even ate a bowl of cereal when I got home to be sure I was stuffed, and I was.

Woke up early Sunday, let the dog out, and came back to bed. Sunday is usually a pretty good workout day, but I didn't want to work out and not be able to eat afterwards. I fell back asleep until 9:00. Got up, read the paper, then went out shopping when I saw the price had dropped on a 32" HD TV I've had my eyes on for the bedroom. I took the four Dulcolax tablets, which are stool softeners. The minimum you can buy is 25. If any of you have a need for some of these tablets, let me know. I have 21 left.

Got the new TV and hooked it up, beautiful! Our other TV was so old, you could not hook up a DVD player to it, it had no jacks in the back! Anyway, it's now 3:00. One hour away from Go-lytely happy time. I decided to "eat." The instructions said I could not eat anything after midnight on Saturday, except clear liquids. I had some home made chicken broth, and I "ate" 8 ounces. Big whoop, but at least I had something with flavor in my belly. Finally, 4:00 came around. Go-lytely is an Rx you receive; it is a 4 liter jug with powder in it. You fill up the jug with water and shake to mix. The nurse told me you can put Crystal Light in it for flavor, which I did. The deal is this: you are to drink an 8 oz glass every 15 minutes until you have consumed all 4 liters. I had my first glass. It tasted like a poorly made alcoholic drink. Tolerable, but if you had paid for it, you would have sent it back.
I had one, then another, and another, until a little after 5, the first "butt blast" came. Ewwww. Well, once you start, you just keep on rocking. When your body says it's time to go, you don't waste time getting to the throne. I was mildly upset with Diane because she had put the toilet seat down at one point. That extra few seconds to raise it back up almost caused a problem! The goal is to get to a "clear liquid" state. That is not a problem. I was clear after about 1 hour! The problem is, it took me 3 1/2 hours to finish the 4 liters, and I was faithfully drinking 8 oz every 15 minutes. Fortunatley, when I was done with the jug, I only had 3 more trips to the throne, the last one at 2 AM. Otherwise, I slept fine and did not have any accidents. I weighed myself before I started the Go-lytely, 191.6 lbs; this morning I was 186.7. 5 lbs of crap! I also went through a roll and a half of TP.

Monday morning we were at the clinic at 6:30. The doc didn't get me into the room until 7:30. I was done in 15 minutes. They gave me a relaxing drug, but I was totally awake and watched the whole procedure on a screen. Pretty interesting, actually. They didn't find any polyps, which is good, and the doc said to come back in 10 years! I'm thinking of food at this point. We went to 3 Squares restaurant and I ordered a full bacon, eggs, and hash brown breakfast; plus a stack of oatmeal flap jacks on the side, which I washed down with 2 mugs of coffee.

To sum it up, the day before is a waste, because you can't do anything, at least after you start drinking the Go-lytely. I thought I would get a headache from not eating, but I didn't. The food commercials on TV get a little annoying because you are hungry! The procedure is a breeze. I was told by several people to get knocked out for it, but, they don't want to put you completely under and I saw no need to do so. They put air into your colon to make it easier to see with the endoscope. That's the most discomfort I had. The nurse told me to "toot it out naturally" afterwards. So I did.

PS-Sorry, no pictures.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Irish jokes, and yes, I am Irish

Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like he'd just been run over by a train.
His arm is in a sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut and bruised and he's walking with a limp
" What happened to you?" asks Sean, the bartender.
" Jamie O'Conner and me had a fight," says Paddy.
" That little runt, O'Conner," says Sean,
"He couldn't do that to you, he must have had something in his hand."
" That he did," says Paddy, "a shovel is what he had, and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it."
" Well," says Sean, "you should have defended yourself, didn't you have something in your hand?"
That I did," said Paddy.
"Mrs. O'Conner's breast, and a thing of beauty it was, but useless in a fight."

***************************************************** ********* *****
An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving home from the city one night and, of course, his car is weaving violently all over the road.
A cop pulls him over.
" So," says the cop to the driver, where have ya been?"
" Why, I've been to the pub of course," slurs the drunk.
" Well," says the cop, "it looks like you've had quite a few to drink this evening."
"I did all right," the drunk says with a smile.
" Did you know," says the cop, standing straight and folding his arms across his chest, "that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"
" Oh, thank heavens," sighs the drunk.
" For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf."
Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door.
"Brenda, may I come in?" he asks.
"I've somethin' to tell ya".
" Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's my husband?"
" That's what I'm here to be telling ya, Brenda." There was an accident down at the Guinness brewery..."
" Oh, God no!" cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me."
I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry.
Finally, she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"
" It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."
" Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me truth, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?"
"Well, Brenda... no. In fact, he got out three times to pee."
Mary Clancy goes up to Father O' Grady after his Sunday morning service, and she's in tears.
He says, "So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?"
She says, "O h, Father, I've got terrible news.
My husband passed away last night."
The priest says, "Oh, Mary, that's terrible.
Tell me, Mary, did he have any last requests?"
She says, "That he did, Father."
The priest says, "What did he ask, Mary? "
She says, He said, 'Please Mary, put down that damn gun...'

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It's gone!

This bike was chained up in front of MG Lifetime Fitness for at least 2 months. I finally took a photo of it, with a clever story line dancing in my head. Something on the order of: "Somebody shoot this fucking bike and put it out of it's misery!"

But, I noticed yesterday that it's gone. So much for that inspiration.

See Bill, it's not easy writing these things. You can only do it when the creative juices are flowing. Or at least the beer.