Saturday, January 9, 2010


In the past, I've always hated my cooking, with only a few exceptions, and mostly baked chicken. I was always good at fixing the obvious simple meals, a sandwich, oatmeal, eggs, etc. I learned it from the time I was about six. My parents taught us the basics of getting through life and as kids it meant knowing and doing the basics. We kept our rooms clean and orderly, made the bed, made our breakfast and lunch for school, and so on.

But I never really learned to cook, and the military didn't help living in barracks with a mess hall and local fast food places. And when I was married Linda was the cook. And she was a great one. Horrible at cleaning, but that was my job. The kitchen always looked like a hurricane came through after she was finished. She never left anything untouched, usually with grease, butter, flour, etc. and never left a pot or pan unused. But she could cook.

When we separated and later divorced, she gave me the basic cookware set and gave me one rule, which is simple to remember. She said, "You can cook anything at 350 (degrees) for one hour." Well, it's true 90+% of the time and the rest you simply adjust the time shorter or longer. And I've lived with that rule ever since. The only difference was about 10 years ago.

One day the handle on the last frypan broke. I had nothing to cook eggs. So I noticed a large department chain had Calphahon cookware on sale. I went there and liked it, so I bought the large basic cookset and a few specific types of pots, pans,bakeware, utensils, etc. And over the next few years added a few more when the need arose. It's cool stuff.

I mean really cool stuff. You don't know how bad cookware can be until you've used cookware of this quality and calibar. It's a lifetime investment you'll never regret. Ever. It pays for itself with the way it controls and dispense the heat for the cooking. You have to be really bad, totally forgetful, or stupid to ruin or burn food with this stuff.

Then I proceeded to learn to cook more meals. At least until my digestive system really went south and it collected dust until this year when the system began sorta' working again and I could try new foods and try cooking again. It happened in June, when 3 monthes earlier they found an infection in my jawbone which had destroyed all of the inside the jaw around and below a tooth and spreading to the neighboring teeth.

I still have another 1-2 years before the jaw is fully healed and completely normal again (no drugs), but, while the system is going through some dynamic changes and reactions, it's slowly getting better. Ok, different. Better is relative because it's still not normal, but at least my list of approved foods is longer and including more foods I've long had problems with.

Since then I dragged out the cookware, replaced all the foods in the cupboards (long expired) and set a plan to try one new food or meal a week, from all the meats to all the grains and fresh and cooked vegetables. And all with the Calphalon cookware. It restored my faith in them as the best cookware for ordinary cooks like me. You don't have to worry about the cooking, only the food.

And I've slowly began to like my cooking, even some baking. In the past I've been what I call, "the 5-minute cook", meaning if I can't fix it in 5 minutes or prepare it and stuff it in the oven in 5 minutes, I don't cook it. I've extended it to 10-15 minutes for dishes you have to watch, stir and add components during the cooking process.

What does it mean? Well, last year I routinely told people the list of foods I can eat you can write on a postit note with room for notes. On one side too. Well, it's now longer for routine foods and even longer for occasional foods. To test foods or meals I use the baseball rule. I give the food or meal two tries.

If it creates mild adverse reactions with those times, I mark it on the list to avoid, but maybe try again later. If it still creates a bad reaction, it's out for a longtime, only to revisit well into the future. If it doesn't change, It's on the list of something to try again for a third time in the near future. In short, I give food three strikes before it's off the list of even possible foods or meals.

The problem is that some foods are creating mixed reactions as the body fights and recovers from the infection. But I don't know if it's the food or the body, because even former ok foods are creating mild adverse reactions. I just have to keep waiting for the body to recover and the digestive system to find itself where I can know better about foods and meals.

But until then I love my Calphahon cookware. It makes me a better cook and makes the food better to enjoy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Finding Linda

Folks, I need to find Linda Brown. She used to be Linda Knowles. We married in 1971 and divorced in 1984. After that we remained in contact until these recent years. I didn't send out Christmas cards in 2008 and the last contact I've had with her was in 2007 when she was living in Brownsville, Oregon and working at a hospital in Eugene, Oregon. She has sold her property and is probably in retirement somewhere.

She was, and still is, a wonderful person and woman. I owe a lot to her over the years we were married. We had fun, and as usual went through all the trials and tribulations of marriage until we separated in 1983. I was an amicable separation and marriage because we realized we had changed so much, and while we loved each other, we would marry each other. So we let each other go and have a life, and hopefully find a new and maybe better love.

She remarried, hence the new last name, and then divorced a few years later. She had plans to move to Italy or Spain when she retired, but some injuries and illnesses a few years ago changed the plans, or so I thought. So she may have moved to accommodate any medical treatments or move closer to work if she hasn't retired, and in the process forgot to let other folks know.

Anyway, she's in my will and estate plan, and so I need find her if only to update her contact and address, but really to see how she's doing. So, if you know her, please let her know to contact me. She's knows my e-mail, also found here. I'd appreciate it. And if you do, I'll give you a box of ten photo cards of your choice of eight different sets.

Thanks for any help people you can provide. Unfortunately, this was the last photo of her, dated in the early 1970's. She's the same except older, like we all are since then, with shorter hair.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

We all make them and we all break them. But it's not really about the latter, but more about the former and that we're aware of what we should do rather than what we would like to do or even will do. That's what New Year's resolutions are for, looking ahead and promising we'll do and be better. And like the old adage, "Yeah, right."

Well, I'm no different, so here's what I plan to do this coming year, or at least work toward those goals or make some progress for finishing some projects and work. To me, it's all about increments and the old saying with these, which is sometimes something is better than nothing. So here goes something and in no particular order of priority or importance.

First, finish my life project I started in 2006. This one actually isn't really late or I'm behind, since the average time from start to finish is 3-5 years. So I'm doing ok, and progress now is more about the money and finding it in the budget to finish or be almost finished.

Second clean the storage area. This one is the annual add to the list and hope something is done, but I know nothing has been done in 3 years now. It's overdue and needing a week of work, it's not something I look forward to. It's a lot of driving back and forth and finding places to recycle or trash the junk. And it's a lot more time finding buyers for some of the treasures.

Third, finish the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide, which by all accounts can be done. The followup is to produce the draft book version of the guide, as on-line PDF's and publication copy to find a publisher, either a company or self-publishing.

Fourth, get back in shape. With the health issues the last two years and the life project, my fitness has gone south. It's not bad, but it's not what it was, and being 60 now exercising only makes it harder and tougher. The point is simply try and try consistently.

Fifth, get the damn business license. It takes a day trip to the capitol (city) office of licensing. Then learn the accounting or tax work or find a CPA.

Sixth, ride the mountain bike and walk more. See the fourth item. Town is only 2.5-3+ miles away. What's not to understand to save wear and tear on the van and save gas too.

Seventh, save more money and get rid of the last debt. The latter is more important for the immediate future.

Eighth, replace the computer with a new Mac G5 Pro so I can continue with the work, business and projects. It's a G5 PPC which isn't supported very much by Apple and won't be by Adobe and other software companies as the proportion of them drops.

Nineth, get the van fixed, waxed and kept cleaned. It has a few minor bugs which I've lived with or ignored. Time to get them out of the way. The van runs great and is reliable and durable. Only the small things are for appearances.

Tenth and lastly, simplify my life. I have too much stuff and too many things to do.

And so, that's it. I'll look back at the list occasionally during the year and see how it's going. They're all doable and some even accomplishable. That said, I'll keep you posted.