We just had a sizable quake here in the bay area. 5.6 according to the initial USGS reports.

More details as it comes in. Here at home, it felt like a big wave rolling the house up and down. The dogs were totally unconcerned – picked their heads up, looked around and then went back to sleep.

A lot to say about, well, not much.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich. The perfect dinner for a crisp autumn evening when you don’t have the will to go out and pick up dinner nor the energy to actually ‘cook’ something. This was my dinner. Grilled Havarti and Chedder on SF Sourdough. Well, half actually. Half for me, half for the dogs. It works out well that way; I only eat half and the dogs get cheese. They love cheese. So do I. Cheese ees goot.

The bread is KEY in the perfection of the grilled cheese sandwich. If the bread is too dense, the resulting sandwich will be heavy and not unlike a poorly thought out one night stand with someone you met in a bar long after 1am. Seems like a nifty idea at the time, but quickly turns into ‘OMG, what did I just do?’ mere moments after the deed is done. Really, just….ewwww. Yes, I’m comparing sex to a sandwich. Those of you who’ve done it, know I’m right. The rest of you, whatever. You’ll see, someday. You will slide yourself to the furthest reaches of the bed, pull the sheet up to your chin, wince and nod to yourself as you think ‘she was right, this is just like a bad grilled cheese sandwich’. You’ll see.

Anyhow, perhaps the most important aspect of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich is the cheese, of course. The pairing of the cheese and bread is crucial. I liken it to pairing wines with the separate courses of a meal. The cheese must compliment the bread. Harvarti and Chedder on lacy featherweight sourdough. Pepperjack is fabulous on an airy french bread. American is perfect on buttermilk bread. Goat cheese and Fontina are heaven on Rye (although rye can be very heavy; go for thin sliced, 3/8 inch slice is PERFECT, no thicker than that or you’re venturing into one night stand territory)

In my opinion, a Grilled Cheese Sandwich contains NOTHING but cheese, with only two exceptions I’ve found to date: crab. And apples.
No tomatoes, no ham, no tuna, no no no no no. Snow, King or Dungeness crab with chedder and/or gouda. Apples (Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, sliced no more and no less than 1/4 inch thick) with Brie.
Argue if you will, but I sent a sandwich back to the kitchen not even 2 weeks ago (in Vermont, no less) for the insult of tomatoe hidden within it’s cheesy goodness. Nasty. Take it back. Do over. Please and shame on you.
So there you go. A lot to say about seemingly nothing. But not really. I am an excellent chef. I take food very seriously. I’ve been known to convert people over to food items they previously hated merely by doing it up right. On the other hand, I harbor a seriously unhealthy relationship with the local taqueria. Dirty little secret, right there.


Rain cleared out this weekend, replaced with kick ass fall weather, although Sunday was pretty windy – 30-40mph winds most of the day. The good part – for another year, I don’t have to rake any leaves 🙂

The Dept of Fish and Game warden showed up midday Saturday to examine the remains of the sheep and assess the situation. After an hour of inspection and tromping around the park land on the other side of the fence, she issued a depredation permit in case the mountain lion returns to attack more of our animals. I really hope it doesn’t. We’re still bringing Jack in at nite as a precaution tho.

Lisa spent Saturday and part of Sunday at a doggy show over in Pleasanton. Dee-Dee did well – Dretti shows on Monday. After the show on Saturday, Lisa invited a bunch of her doggy friends over to our place for a picnic/BBQ. Fraley and I headed to Oakland to check out the hockey shop there and left Lisa to her doggy party.

The cool thing with the wind is we can hear our newest bell that we picked up at US Bells in Prospect Harbor, Maine. We set it up as a substitute for an electric doorbell. Lisa also picked up another bell chime at the dog show today – bells everywhere. Sounds pretty cool all over outside now.

We finished up our weekend by restraining one of the rams and trimming his horns. In retrospect, we should have de-horned him as a lamb, because his horns curve around and were growing into his head/eyes. Pretty nasty stuff. He was NOT happy about being grabbed and held down. At several points, it must have looked like I was a rodeo clown riding a very short bull, it was bucking and kicking. All is well tho – his horns are out of his eyes and I didn’t get thrown or kicked in the head or crotch.

Overall, a good weekend.


It seems we brought water back from the east coast. Starting with the nite we got back, the new well booster pump sprung a leak and was spewing water all over the well pump room. To their credit, the folks from East Bay Pumps sent a tech out Sunday morning to fix it. He had to come twice, because as soon as he fixed one leak, it sprung a second one. I’m just glad it all happened when we were in town and I think Charisa had enough on her hands with adding this to it.

Shortly after fixing this leak, Mother Nature decided that water is good and its been raining every couple days since then. Much needed to say the least. The fields are starting to turn green again which is great and the creek now have water all the way down to the bottom of the hill. Not like its a torrent or anything, but still, its better than the normal dry creek bed.

Oh, as an aside we have a new road now – while we were gone, they repaved the park road from top to bottom. Its really nice.

Forecast for tomorrow: rain

just a few things, not necessarily in this order:

Lost 3 sheep this morning. Like, wicked early this morning. Came out to go to work and found them dead. Cougar did it. Just came in and killed 3 grown sheep. Godamn Cat. Where is Carissa when I need her?

Went to the Doller Store today (I had to, I didn’t want to, but I had to so I did). I was conflicted. I HATE the Doller Store. But they were playing Boogie Wonderland on the in-store sound system, and I love Boogie Wonderland. So you can see my dilemma.

When you go to Costco, the First Rule is ‘keep both hands and their respective digits INSIDE the cart’ DO NOT allow your fingers to drape languidly to the outer edge of the cart handle. MotherFuckers will scrape their cart up against your cart in their frenzy to be FIRST to one of the many ‘sample counters’, shaving large curls of metal AND stray fingers straight-the-fuck OFF. I harbor a love/hate relationship with Costco.

British movies are usually stupid and hard to follow. Except for anything James Bond (Ian Lancaster Fleming is exempt from the above generalized statement)

I do not like dark chocolate.

Accessories will not make me look any less fat. I resent clothing establishments for suggesting that they might.

Lotion does not need glitter or ‘light reflecive luster’ (aka….glitter) added to it. That too, will not make me look any thinner, and I have yet to fool anyone into believing that my inner glow is represented by the sparkley body lotion I have slathered all over every inch of exposed flesh. I’m 36 years old. What the hell was I thinking?

Silver rice noodles in spring rolls are the shit. Especially if they give you plum vinigar sauce to dip them in. Yum.

Mike Ricci is not a good looking man. He went away for a while, and then he came back, and he is still flippin’ ugly. But he’s one of my favorite hockey players EVER. So I do not care what he looks like.

Rain makes me think about people I’ve never met and places I’ve never been. Today, I wished for rain.

I love noodles with spicey peanut sauce. Rachael at Work hates peanut sauce, but I don’t want to share, so I don’t care.

Okay. That’s all.

Please, just don’t do it.

Pants Off Dance Off.

Too many cable stations, too many choices. This is one of them.

Too stupid. Avoid at all costs. Unless you and some friends and a lot of alcohol have nothing better to do on a Saturday night. Then, it might be amusing. But only to someone sober on the sidelines.

Otherwise, please, for your own good, stay away.

UPDATE: Next in line for stupid: Rad Girls. It’s the chick version of Jackass. Serious. I didn’t know girls could be that stupid. I really thought chicks were above that. Guess not.

When a phone call starts out with

“Everything is fine, I just want you to know that, everything is FINE”……don’t believe that. It’s not that anyone is trying to deceive you, it’s just that if everything WAS fine, they would not feel obligated to remind you that everything IS fine. It would be a given.

That is, however, how a telephone conversation with Carissa started out early on the 5th day of our trip. Early was the first tip off that everything was NOT fine. Nobody calls you at the butt-crack of dawn to say everything is hunkey-dorey. It just doesn’t happen.

This time….my dog is broken. You see, it seems Dretti was an asshole and decided to open a can of whoop-Drett on my friend Rachael’s dog Ostara. Rachael brought Ostara and Q up to the house (she’s watching Q) to visit Dretti and Dee. Dretti got into it with Ostara……Ostara kicked his ass. Big time. Put a hole in his face (just a small one, we were thinking about letting him get a piercing anyways) and scuffed up his shoulder and leg. But the bad luck of it all? She put a nice set of puncture wounds on his left front leg. Right into the wrist joint. Not over the joint, into it. Sweeeeetttttt. It’s now, I was told, swollen three times it’s normal size. Greeeaaaattttt. A few more phone calls and a couple of conversations with Dr. Hamilton confirm that he indeed, has been a complete shit and gotten himself injured. He will need to be on antibiotics, IV, for 2 days. Then oral antibiotics for quite some time afterward. Faaabbbullousss. And if the swelling doesn’t go down with the IV antibiotics, we’ll have to go in surgicaly and clean it out. Dog spit and joint fluid don’t mix so well appearently.

Really though, all is well. Dretti is a huge woosey dog. He made Carissa CARRY HIM UP THE STAIR (not stairs, just one stair) on the front porch because it was just too much for him. Uh huh, right. Then, he limps into the hospital, couldn’t possibly bear any weight on that injured leg yet as soon as they put the IV catheter in the opposite leg…..that’s the leg he can’t use now. The injured one? Oh, yeah, whatever….the leg with the catheter is completely useless. He couldn’t possibly bear weight on that leg now. Cry cry cry. Neat. My dog is a complete player. And a jerko.

I sincerely hope his antibiotics give him a stomach ache. It will complement the stress headache he’s given me.

Oh and about your lambs….

This is how the phone conversation unfolded (sort of, I don’t remember every word, so I may have taken some liberties to fill in the blanks);

Carissa (freaked out): “Um, well, about the lambs, um, there were 3, right?”
Me (with a sinking feeling): “yeeeeesssss”
Carissa (still freaked out):”Okay, well, um, one of the lambs is dead. He’s got a bloody nose. And the other one is missing. There’s one left. He looks nervous”
Me (poor Carissa, poor poor Carissa):”Oh my, well, um, these things happen sometimes”
Carissa (dubiously): “They do?? So, what do you think happened, do sheep beat up on each other? Because the dead one looks kinda beat up”
Me (sadly, because this is getting really sad): “nooooo, but predators aren’t real gentle with them sometimes.”
Carissa (now freaked out and a little scared): “Predators???? Predators?????!? What kind of ‘predators’??? You never said anything about predators….”
Me (considering which would be less scarey, the local wildlife or the not of the world space alien type predator)” Well, like bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions….you know, predators. Sometimes they order take out from our farm. I’m so sorry”
Carissa (resigned): “Okay, well, what do I do with the dead lamb?”
Me (with more than a small twinge of guilt):”Well, unfortunately you just need to put him over the fence into the parkland. The scavengers will take him away.”
Carissa (imagining this cannot be happening):”Like, with the pitchfork?”
Me: “uh, yeah, that will work I suppose.”
Carissa: “great, I’m pitching dead lambs over fences. Fantastic. Okay, I gotta go. Farmwork to be done”

The next day we were informed that the 3rd lamb had gone missing. He had not left a note and his keys were still in the car. We suspect foul play.

Missiles for God

When you think of a quaint New England Church, what crosses your mind? That’s right, missiles.

If praying good and hard doesn’t work, then maybe a good old fashion God-Rocket will. One must wonder, which came first, the missile or the church? (I’m guessing the church, seeing as the missile was installed in 1971, and that leads to the question “um, isn’t God going to be just a little pissed off to have a weapon of death competing for attention with His Steeple of Godly Goodness?”

And why do we need and astronaut to go with the missile? If indeed that is an astronaut, and not just missile influenced clergyware. Last time I checked, missiles didn’t carry astronauts, or clergy.

Please use it in a sentence.

Go on, try to pronounce it. And I dare you to close this blog and try to spell it. The natives played a cruel twist on the settlers way back when, giving up names that could not have possibly been true. I’m betting a bunch of pissed off indians thought real hard before answering the settlers questions
Settlers:”What do you call this place?”
Natives scheduled to lose everything: (to themselves…”Guys, I know we call this place Little Valley, but lets screw with these white assholes….”)
“It is known as Asquamchumauke Valley”
Settlers:”Ass-ma-what?….Oh, okay. Could you spell that?”
Native American humor, it just kills me everytime.