Happy Mother’s Day

Actually, my Mother’s Day was all weekend.  I started on Saturday by sleeping in.  Rich got up with Sascha to put her out, but that was just his excuse to go fishing.  It was a beautiful morning and he had made bait the night before.  He was ready for this.

I woke up to no dog or no Rich. I knew right away that he finally got out there on the banks of the mighty Fox River to try his luck.  That was fine.  It meant a quiet morning for me.  I got my coffee and headed to the couch to read the paper in peace.  I did check on Sascha, but she was totally ignoring in case I wanted her to come in.

Today, I was getting my Mother’s Day flowers for the deck and patio.  This is what I ask for every year.  It’s simple and it’s something I truly want.  I rousted Rick from his bed to go and be my labor for the day.  This meant I had to feed him breakfast.  Oh wait, he is a working stiff as of Monday, so he took me to breakfast.  We went out to Island Café.  As soon as we stepped in the door, Rachel looks around and asks where he is.  Who?  Oh yeah, Rich.  I assured her he was doing something else and it would just be two.  Throughout breakfast, everyone asked where Rich was.  I didn’t realize he was so popular.

Then it was off to Castle Gardens to pick out my flowers for the year.  I had been planning for this and had decided on the flowers I wanted.  On the road just past the Volo Auto Museum, the fire department had the road shut down.  The Gardens were just on the other side.  This meant that we had to snake through the roads in the tiny town of Volo.  The fire appeared to be a field right next to the nursery.

Once we go there and got a wagon, we headed up the hill to the annuals.  I said I wasn’t going to wonder around, but I lied apparently.  I walked up and down the rows looking at the colors.  Finally, I did settle on purple and yellow jump ups, purple and white alyssum, white snapdragons, red and yellow snapdragons, and purple variegated petunias.  I wanted some other things, but decided to wait on those.

It was back to the house.  Rich was just getting back from fishing with his prize.  It was one lonely, rather large carp.  He had a story to go with it.  Apparently, he caught the fish after it took his bite and was trying to make its escape.  It was a good sized fish.  So we left Rich with his carp since my running wasn’t over.

I still had to go to the grocery store for the week’s load of good eats.  Rick went with me.  I like the company and the help.  He had ulterior motives though.  As I said, Rick is starting work on Monday and he wanted to pick up some things for lunches next week.  I saw the dollar signs stretching out in a straight line and the pinch on my wallet.

The grocery store was nuts!  Who knew that Mother’s Day weekend was the biggest holiday of the year.  It was worse than Christmas and Super bowl.  I think it was because the weather was going to be so gorgeous and people were planning to grill out.  You don’t always get that at Mother’s Day in the Midwest.

Finally back home, Rich was done carving up the carp for dinner.  There were fish scales all over the yard.  We unloaded the groceries and put everything away.  Now it was time for me to get busy with those gorgeous flowers.  Dinner was a couple of hours off.  I might just get this done.

I have the flower boxes on the deck to fill along with three pots that I keep up there for more color.  The sun was warm and the wind was nice.  I worked around first to remove the old and dead leftovers from last summer.  Then I arranged my flowers in order along the top of the seats.  After that, it was all fun and dirt.  I finished up in good time.  That left the pots along the patio.  I arranged what I had left to decide the best coverage.  They came out with a very stunning look.  I was very pleased with my work.

That was enough for the evening.  Rich started up the burner and we prepared dinner.  Rich was going to fry up a mess of hushpuppies before doing the fish.  I found a recipe and started creating.  The mix was easy and tasted good before they went into the fryer.  But they were so much better after they came out.  A variation of fried dough is always good.  Even the crispies were delicious.  Dinner was excellent.  Nothing like getting the food yourself.

I’m not obsessed with finding out as much as possible about the next connections that I’ve made in the Zurek family tree.  Through more records, I’m finally able to identify Joseph Zurek, Rich’s great-grandfather, in the records and correlate his claimed hometown in Poland.  Rudy Rysie seems like an interesting name.  I found it on the map of Poland. It is about where I thought it might be, between Krakow and Tarnow.  The village is still there.  I can open a street view through Google.  It’s cute and reminds me of many German villages.

I tried looking through some Polish genealogy sites.  I don’t find much, but not being able to read Polish kind of hurts my efforts also.  I just need to find the church records for this part of Poland.  I see a Joseph Zurek, but he is three years too young.  The mother’s name is right though.

I did manage to find the immigration record where Joseph Zurek from Rudy Rysie, Poland came through Ellis Island.  He came from Bremen, Germany to New York.  It shows that his mother was Marya.  Now I at least have one parents’ name.  I had found a Civil Registration card for what would have been the Selective Service around the time of WWI for Joe.  I have a general description of him.  This also listed his hometown as Rudy Rysie.

See, I can get really obsessed with this stuff.  But it’s 9:00 by this time.  I had asked Rich to make me up a mint julep.  We had plenty of mix left from the party.  I just need the ice to melt into the mix a little before I can drink it.  Rick wants to try a taste.  He doesn’t really like bourbon, but he thinks it’s pretty good.  We settle in to watch an episode of “Father Brown.”  I like English detective shows and this one is quirky and cute.  Apparently, it was an inspiration for Agatha Christie as well.

The night is pretty over by now.  We watch a couple of other things and I start to think about ready.  I’m finishing up an Agatha Christie tonight and moving on to the next book.  Sascha has only been nagging us to go to bed since 8:00, as usual.

That takes us to Sunday morning now.  I get up first and handle the dog duties, which includes grabbing the Sunday paper.  Coffee gets made to help me wake up and to enjoy while reading the paper.  Sascha decides to stay outside since it is so nice.  Pretty soon, Rich gets up and heads for coffee.  Rick finally gets up.  After making it through the comics, he heads to kitchen to make breakfast.  We have Sascha’s favorite, corned beef hash and eggs.  Maybe that’s because she does expect to get a share in her bowl.

Rich and I decide to head out and get some supplies to work in the yard.  The winter was hard on the roses.  Rich lost a couple.  I want to get herbs to grow this year as well as tomatoes to add to the garden.  We head to Ace first, but we just don’t find what we want.  Over at Home Depot, it’s crazy.  We do find everything we want.  After loading up, we head for home.

I start working on the flower bed off the patio.  I’m putting my tomatoes and herbs in this bed for the summer.  I’m just hoping Sascha stays out of it.  She loves to dig when the soil is loose.  I find I have room for more herbs.  I just need to figure out what I can add.

Rich is around front digging up the dead roses and replanting with the new ones.  He sees that not all of the dead ones are totally devastated.  Problem is, will they really survive?  Better safe than sorry and just put in the new roses.  The new roses are grandifloras.  These are really huge blooms.  They should add to the bed with the rest of the roses.  Then it’s time to put down the Moo-Nure.  I love the name.  The picture of the cow on the front is cute.

I get the patio bed finished and move on to the garden on the side of the house.  The garlic mustard plants are taking over.  And they smell to high heaven when you disturb them.  Well, they have to come out.  They are right in the way of planting my other flowers.  Here I’m doing some seeds and bulbs.  I plant zinnias for Rich.  I have Bachelor Buttons and Anemones for the fence.  I have to find a spot for my Dahlias.  Unfortunately, I’m finding so many of my plants didn’t survive.  The daisies are gone.  So I clean out the bed and put the Dahlias there.  My butterfly bush looks like it is dead.  I have to start all over again!

While I’m working, Rich comes around to dig up two of the roses that survived along that side of that house.  He moves to the front where I have some space for them.  More of that Moo-Nure goes in and the smell is a little overpowering.  But I guess it’s not as bad as the grass in the compost pile.  It really smells this year.

I convince Rick to come out and burn all of the wood, sticks, and other burnables.  The pile is huge and it is threatening to keep growing.  He agrees and gets the whole thing going.  It burns really fast.  I guess the amount of rot is pretty good.  Before you know, Rick announces he is done and heading back in to his computer.  Really?  It’s a beautiful day out here.

Did I speak too soon?  After dinner the clouds start to thickening and rain looks like it is moving in.  Sascha must hear thunder from a long way away.   She cowers under Rich’s desk.  The lightning and thunder start up pretty good.  Rick attempts to get the trash out before the rain and doesn’t make it.  The garbage can is out, but the recycling will have to wait.  It pours down.  I go out to the garage to watch the storm with Rick.  We see some hail, but not much.  Then the second wave comes in.  This time the hail is pea-sized and quite a bit of it.  The storm finally passes and the sun comes back out.

For one final Mother’s Day taste, Rich is making rhubarb upside down cake.  I saw this in the morning paper and it sounded good.  Rich wants to do something with his rhubarb.  It sounded like a good thing to try.  We’ll see when it comes out of the oven and cools off a bit.

So tomorrow is back to the grind.  Rick starts up his job in the bay preparing the hardware for the engineers to stage systems.  The weather sound like spring:  a little warm with showers.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and role models for us all.

One of the deck boxes with the flowers planted.
One of the deck boxes with the flowers planted.
I love the smell of the alyssum while sitting on the deck.
I love the smell of the alyssum while sitting on the deck.
Snapdragons, jump ups, and alyssum on deck.
Snapdragons, jump ups, and alyssum on deck.
My bleeding heart by the hot tub survived and was blooming this weekend.
My bleeding heart by the hot tub survived and was blooming this weekend.
The pots on the patio with their color.
The pots on the patio with their color.
There's the carp that Rich caught on Saturday morning.
There’s the carp that Rich caught on Saturday morning.
That's an ugly face.
That’s an ugly face.
Sascha always gets excited when there is fish to fillet.
Sascha always gets excited when there is fish to fillet.

 

Getting the oil up to temperature.
Getting the oil up to temperature.
And the hushpuppies go into the grease.
And the hushpuppies go into the grease.
Rich pulling the golden hushpuppies out of the fryer.
Rich pulling the golden hushpuppies out of the fryer.
Rich preparing the carp for the fryer.
Rich preparing the carp for the fryer.
Fish fry is ready.
Fish fry is ready.
Sascha is trying to be patient for dinner.
Sascha is trying to be patient for dinner.
Rick was learning to drive Sally on Saturday.  He didn't kill it once.
Rick was learning to drive Sally on Saturday. He didn’t kill it once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derby Party 2014

This year’s Derby celebration was going to be very scaled back.  There was no fresh Zurekbrau available due to the effects of the polar vortex.  It was just never warm enough out there to brew beer!  With freezing temps, it was hard to be exposed, standing on cold concrete, and trying to use water without risking frostbit.

On Friday night, I made margarita popsicles.  I gathered the ingredients and combined them into a pitcher so I could pour the mix into Dixie cups.  One of the last steps is to cut a lime into slices as garnish and to help hold the stick in place while it freezes.  As soon as I started cutting limes, Sascha’s nose went to work.  She was standing on top of me and nosing my leg.  She really, really wanted a slice of lime.  Or maybe it was nice aroma of tequila that she found attractive.

I finished up the leftovers in the pitcher after I filled as many cups as I could.  I wanted to make sure there were enough.  Why was I going to freeze this wonderful concoction?  I should just serve it like this!  I placed the limes on top with a stick in each cup.  Once adorned, I placed them into the carefully prepared shelf in the freezer to await the presentation during the celebration.

After the bowling banquet, Rich came home to start seasoning ribs, chicken and brisket.  Wow!  The slab of packer’s cut was more than 12 lbs.  It was a beautiful cut of meat.  As Rich was applying the rub, he was shaking it all over the floor.  Don’t worry, Sascha was right there to clean it up.  All I could think was that was going to hurt on the other end tomorrow.

So with ribs, chicken, and brisket seasoned and packaged, we were ready to get started in the morning.

Derby Day dawned pretty well.  There was a little sunshine and very little sign of rain.  Rich had gotten up at 5:00 to start the BBQ pit for the meats.  Sascha, of course, had to get up also.  She trotted around with Dad.  After the brisket had been added to the pit, Rich headed back to bed.  That meant Sascha had to come in also, which she fought.  She loves being outside when it is her kind of weather.

Rich had a bucket of wood chips by the pit.  These are part of his secret.  He has a mix of hickory, cherry, and oak chips to help give the meat a little extra flavor.  Sascha also found them very flavorful.  She was sneaking chips out of the bucket to chew on them.  When Rich tried to take them away, she actual growled at him!

At 7:00, Sascha had to get up and go back outside.  That meant that I had to get up.  Now Sascha didn’t want out because she had business to take care of.  She had to go out because the sun was up and shining.  That’s just how things work in Sascha’s world.

Since I was up, I started coffee and moving around to get things ready.  As always, we wait to do so many things at the last minute.  We cleaned up around the house and started getting out the items to help make a party.

Over the course of the day, Rich would go out and check the temperature of the pit and add more wood or chips.  As soon as he walked out there, Sascha would come running to help do the check.  Personally, I think she was hoping he would move the bucket of wood chips over so she could reach them.  Rich had made a mop, which is the sauce used to keep the meat moist and help give it that burnt skin.  It sounds funny to mop the BBQ, but it literally is a really small mop like you use on the floor to apply the liquid.  The smoker stay up to temp and the meats were getting down right on time.

Around 2:00, I looked out to see Rich sitting in his chair on the patio with a red solo cup of Zurekbrau.  I know I said there wasn’t any fresh beer, but there was a little bit of Husky Paws on tap.  Sascha was hanging on Rich’s lap trying to sneak beer out of his cup.  She can be very cute when she wants something.  I tried to take a picture, but I just wasn’t fast enough.

Tyler, one of Rick’s friends, was the first guest to arrive.  I love Tyler and I don’t see him as much these days.  Kim and Diane arrived not long after that followed by a few other people.  Rich started bringing up ribs for an appetizer, but the other meats were ready also.  Soon, we had a full on dinner set out.  With baked beans, potato salad, slaw, and the sides brought by the guests, we were filling plates.  The brisket melted in your mouth and the ribs fell right off the bone.  Oh my gosh!  It was wonderful.

I wasn’t sure about doing pots to draw for Derby horses, but Kim insisted that it would be more fun.  I had made up three pots, but we only got through two of them.  You really need to have a bunch of people there to make it easier.  There were 19 horses in the field and that takes a lot of dollars to make a pot.  We each had a horse or four in our hands by the start of the race.

We sat down in front of the TV and watched the race.  I explained how things worked and answered questions.  It’s really a lot of show and pageantry to the Derby.  One of the things I miss about being down there.  The three weeks leading up to the race are busy and always something going on.

In the end, Diane and Barb Doty cleaned up on the first and second places.  Rich and Mike got the third place horses.  It was a slow race this year without the excitement of past years, but it was cool to watch.  I guess in the end, it was no surprise that California Chrome won.  I was hoping for Hoppertunity, but he scratched early.

We continued to eat and talk after the race.  Barb, Mike, and Josh left to prepare for a night at the drive-in.  Before you know it, the clock said 7:00 and people started to leave.  We got down to just Spank for a while before he headed off.  He was leaving for a fishing trip the next morning bright and early.

We put in on picking up what absolutely needed to get down.  I started the dishwasher with one load and stacked the next load to be ready and waiting.  Sascha was sacked out from her exhausting day.  We settled into some TV before bed.

Sunday morning came way too early and Sascha wanted to go out when the sun was just coming up.  I got up, but not very willingly.  Coffee got started and I sat down with the morning paper.  The guys straggled out little by little.  Unfortunately, Rick woke up with a sinus thing going on.  Not too surprising with the weather.  Hopefully, it’s not a cold that the rest of us will catch.

We went out to Brunch to get breakfast.  I love this place, but it is a little crazy.  Everyone wants to eat there.  Luckily, we didn’t have to wait in line too long.  We came back and continued to clean up the house.  Rich worked on cleaning up the pit, with Sascha’s help.  She has to lick the grates and parts of the smoker.  Then there is the grease that drips down on the gravel.  I’m surprised she doesn’t eat any of the rocks.

So this year’s Derby party is in the bag and the cleanup is complete.  Have to think about whether to do this again next year.  Maybe we should not have a party and just go to New Orleans for Jazz and Heritage Festival.  Might be fun to do something different for once.

Rick and Sascha hanging out on Friday.
Rick and Sascha hanging out on Friday.
That's a sweet face.
That’s a sweet face.
Margarita popsicles.
Margarita popsicles.
Sascha was paying close attention as Rich was prepping the ribs.
Sascha was paying close attention as Rich was prepping the ribs.
Sascha enjoys her cuddle time with Rich.
Sascha enjoys her cuddle time with Rich.
Rich and Sascha enjoy their morning ritual on Saturday.
Rich and Sascha enjoy their morning ritual on Saturday.
Rich needed to move things around to get the most of the fire.  Rick helps by holding the brisket.
Rich needed to move things around to get the most of the fire. Rick helps by holding the brisket.
Rick holds the brisket while Rich tries to put it back on the pit.
Rick holds the brisket while Rich tries to put it back on the pit.
Diane always has a crazy hat for the Derby Party.
Diane always has a crazy hat for the Derby Party.