Wednesday, April 29, 2015

UPDATE! Ryan Gosling has Arrived!

So, I'm leaving for work this morning, and as I'm dragging the garbage can outside, I notice that Gracie is not on her nest.  I eek slowly toward it, to see if I can count eggs, but I quickly see both George and Gracie in the water.  One of them noticed me, so I haul-tushie back to the protection of the Rav.  But as I back out, from the higher vantage point, I can see that Gracie has FIVE fluffy little baby geese swimming around with her!!!

Ryan Gosling has arrived!

The pictures aren't that great, because I had to zoom in, but we're so excited!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Five Little Fish(Sandwiches)

Let me preface this by saying that Mom does not like seafood.  And frankly, I'm not a big fan.  I do like McD's Filet-O-Fish, but even I'm not silly enough to consider that "seafood." 

Lent - "a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ's Resurrection on Easter." 

Now, as a good Baptist girl, Lent generally comes and goes without having much impact on my life other than the knowledge that McD's generally puts the aforementioned McFish sandwiches on sale for 2/$4 and that I can no longer eat two McFish in one setting (am doing good to eat one), the realization of which can put me in a melancholy mood.

Another sure sign of Lent is the abundance of commercials for other fast food restaurants' fish sandwiches.  Mom tells me one evening, during an Arby's fish sandwich commercial, that she would like to try their fish sandwich - it looks really good.  My response was that while it does look good, I've had one but I think Long John Silvers' fish sandwich is better.
The next morning, a Saturday, we're wandering around the grocery store and, as we're checking out, she mentions lunch, and I suggest getting a fish sandwich.  By now we're wandering semi-aimlessly toward the car and she asks where.  I said, "Well, you want to try Arby's, we can go there, or Long John Silvers, or even McD's!  I think their McFish is good!"  As I'm starting the car, I ask where we're going, she says, "Let's try the McFish." 
Fish Sandwich #1 - McFish - Totally enjoyed.  The fish square that used to be bigger than the bun has mysteriously shrunk, covering barely 75% of it's area and had to search for the piece of cheese, but otherwise, it was the warm, yummy "fish" patty of my childhood and oddly comforting.  The fries, golden and delicious.  But what did mom think?  She said it was "good."  Now, I'm not sure what font to use to express how I interpreted her "good," so I'll just say that I took it to mean that it was better than eating chum.
Post McFish - Mom informs me one evening, when I get home, that she's decided that in addition to trying the Arby's and Long John Silvers' sandwiches, she wants to try Culver's because their commercials make the sandwiches look really good.  The Friday evening, post-McFish, she calls me before I leave the office and suggests we go out to get a fish sandwich for supper. I take this to mean that she's serious about this fish sandwich experiment and ask her where she wants to go. 
5 little fishes swimming near the shore; One took a dive and then there was 4
Fish Sandwich #2 - Long John Silvers' Ciabatta Monteray Jack Fish Sandwich - I can't recall when or where I first encountered Ciabatta bread, but I have quickly come to the conclusion that I love it and would eat anything if you placed it on some.  However, I do not like lettuce on a "warm" sandwich, and I forgot to tell the guy to hold my lettuce, so my sandwich was not as delicious as I usually find it to be, but my bad and I didn't hold it against the sandwich as a whole. 
Mom enjoyed it.  Said it was better than the McFish - to which I would agree, but I look at it like comparing bananas and tomatoes..  They're both fruits, I love them each in their own way.  The pepper jack cheese was a surprise, as I'd forgot to warn her about the afterglow from it.  We had onion rings with the sandwiches and, while totally unnecessary, as it's a big sandwich and fills me up, I figured we needed something with which to cleanse our palate!
4 little fishes were swimming out to sea; One went for food and then there was 3
Fish Sandwich #3 - Culver's - Now according to their commercials, their fish is "hand cut, hand battered and cooked to order" and their tarter sauce is from a 40+year old family recipe. 
I thought it was very good.  Definitely the best yet... even better than my beloved ciabatta bread at Long John Slivers.  The tarter sauce was good, but I can't say it was special.  The sandwich was huge!  I couldn't finish mine, and the onion rings probably didn't help the matter.  Mom agreed that Culver's was the best yet.  Now all we had left was Arby's!

3 little fishes said now what should we do?  One swam away and then there were 2
Fish Sandwich #4 - Arby's - the reason for all of this nonsense.  The next Friday evening (post Culvers), we decided to bite the bullet and go to Arby's.  I say that jokingly, Arby's is fine, I've never had anything BAD there.  I'm just getting tired of fish sandwiches.  But we've started this and by golly we're going to finish this quest or die trying!  So, we went.

It actually was better than I remembered it.  I remembered to ask for no lettuce, and I'm sure that helped.  I seem to recall warm soggy lettuce on the previous experience with this sandwich. 

2 little fishes we are having great fun One took a plunge and then there was 1       
At this point, for those of you who are keeping track of the verses in my "Five Little Fishes" theme, will be asking "But Rose, there's still a fish!?"  And you'd be right.  As Mom and I were sitting there at Arby's looking back on our collective fish-capades (#RoseIsm) and ranking all the sandwiches we'd enjoyed, the couple at the table next to/behind Mom entered into the conversation to ask if we wanted to know who had the best fish sandwich in town?

I just want to ask what it is about me that makes total strangers think I want to talk to them?  Oh, well, to be polite (damn that upbringing of mine!) I asked "where?"  And in retrospect, it was a good thing, but I jump ahead of myself...  The woman says, "Major Munch!"  And, personally, I think she's pulling my leg, but we ask... "and where is that?"  She says Downtown, where Chik-fil-a used to be.  Now, I work downtown, have for (cough) 24 years, and Chik-fil-a has been gone for a while, and I've never heard of this place, so I'm mentally calculating how to best move my mother out of this madwoman's reach when her husband (captive) interjects "yeah, and their Philly Cheesesteak looks good too!"

Well, now that there's cheese involved, I start thinking these people aren't complete loons.  We get the info on this place, I resolve to Google it, and we decide that the next Friday evening, Mom and I'll go get one more fish sandwich!
1 little fish said I like the warm sun Away she went and then there were none!

First of all, we had to wait a week, because the place is only open for lunch M-Saturday, but is open until 7pm on Fridays.  The anticipation grew!  I asked about it at work, and only one person had been there, she advised that she was addicted to their spicy chicken sandwiches when she was pregnant, but her friends all got the fish sandwiches and they looked good.
I drove by the place on my way to/from work.  No outside advertising that I could see.  There was an unlit "OPEN" sign in the window along with pictures of (presumably) food, but from my vantage point, I couldn't see what it was.  (Damn age and the horror it ravages on one's vision!)
Friday finally (on more than one level) arrives and Mom and I arrive.  It's a dinky hole in the wall and frankly it doesn't look like they've done anything (much) to the place since Chik-fil-a left, but I maintain a positive attitude.  We go up to order and the very friendly guy at the counter helps us.  By now, we've both discovered that I have issues getting an entire sandwich down, so we inquire as to the size,... after a bit of waffling, we order the Friday evening special - 2 pieces of fish (he was going to throw in the buns for us) with two sides, we got cole slaw and beer-battered onion rings.  It was cheaper than ordering separate items, and we got more food!  At this point, look at this picture
I could have cropped Mom's paw out of the pic, but I felt it was necessary for perspective so you can see how flippin' big this piece of fish is!  We finally had a winner in the best fish sandwich contest that we could both agree upon!  It was catfish, fried in cornmeal.  I managed to eat half of my sandwich and had the rest of it for breakfast the next morning.  It was delicious!  And the beer-battered onion rings (which could not fit in the pic... ok I didn't think about it while I was taking the photo) were the best!  I haven't had as good onion rings since Mom and I happened upon the Vidalia Onion Festival in Vidalia, Georgia a few years ago! 
In case you're interested, I've put the deets about the place above.  It would appear that the only reason for the 3.5 star rating has to do with the lack of public restrooms... so I would advise that you go before you go, and bring your own handi-wipes if you're a germaphobe, but otherwise, 2 thumbs up!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Make me Gaggle

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love...

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

So it's springtime at the condo.  We knew that winter was over when George and Gracie returned from their winter in the south.  I don't know that I've introduced George and Gracie, so here goes.  They are geese - possibly of the Canadian variety - I don't know much about geese, but they sure look like the goose on the Wikipedia page, so I'm going to assume.

Anyway, it was early February, shortly after a fatwa was issued against the Punxsutawney Phil, when George and Gracie returned.  We were pleased to see them and I greeted them and took this picture as I was leaving for work that morning.  How nice...

But then, the VERY NEXT MORNING, as I'm leaving for work, I took THIS picture.

Yup, that's snow covering the lake behind them.... and a rather obnoxious electrical line in the pic... I'm not good a Photo Shop or I'd have edited it out.  So yeah, they left their nice condo in Florida and return home to Arbor Valley, and we welcome them with snow.  In fact, that evening when I went out to my car after work, it look like this:

Although it took about a month, spring finally DID come.  The trees are greening out, and flowers are blooming, and what is that lump in the short grass by the lake?  Oh, my.. our George and Gracie are going to be parents!  On April 1st, we first noticed that Gracie had made a nest.  Like all good moms, she sits there night and day, sun or rain, and takes care of her babies.  Occasionally, she does hop in the lake for a swim and a light nosh, but otherwise, she's there.

George, on the other hand, patrols the parking lot.  I have to be careful backing out of the garage.  Not because Gracie and her next are directly behind our garage - I'm not likely to back my car into her or the lake, but because I can't be sure where George is.  And frankly, when I leave for work, I haven't had my coffee yet and I never think to actually LOOK for him until after I have the car halfway out of the garage.  Don't judge me.

George also likes to hang with Fred and Ethel... two Mallard ducks that also reside in our lake ... so don't think he's always on patrol. 

Mom keeps an eye out and, when she saw that Gracie was taking a break, got her binoculars out and has determined that there are four eggs in the nest.  Wikipedia, that bastion of knowledge of the 21st Century, advises that the eggs will take 24-28 days to incubate before they hatch.  So we're looking at close to the end of April.

The next dilemma is what are we going to name them?  I don't think George and Gracie Burns had children.  Any who, I, in my infinite wit and wisdom, decided that collectively, the children will be christened "Ryan Gosling."  I'll be sure to post a pic of George, Gracie and Ryan Gosling once the time comes, but until then, here's a cute pic stolen from Wikipedia.