reducing clutter

baking pansWhen we were in Gilroy I did a lot of baking using the convection oven I loved so much. That included hamburger and hot dogs buns, as well as the occasional shortcake. So I had pans for all of those, which we stored in our vertical cabinet along with our sheet pans and cutting boards.

When we moved here to Hemet I put them all in a similar vertical cabinet in our new kitchen. The fit was tight, and I often struggled with the cutting board and the large sheet pan. The thing is, I haven’t baked since we’ve been here. It was only recently that it occurred to me that the hamburger, hot dog, and shortcake pans did not have to stay there. They could go into a cabinet in the garage.

Much simpler and easier. It amazes me how often the obvious eludes me for so long.


our new Indian restaurant

It’s not very often that something new and noteworthy happens on the culinary scene here in Hemet, so when it does it’s worth noting.

On the east side of town, the opposite side from which we live, there is a 7-Eleven store and gas station. That same building also hosts two storefronts. One of them was a burger place that moved to a less congested location in the central part of town. Later in that spot there was a soul food restaurant. The food was quite good, but apparently it didn’t get enough business to survive.

Taste of India buffet plateRecently my brother, who lives on that side of town, told me that there was a sign on the storefront that read, “Coming Soon: Taste of India.” We anxiously awaited the restaurant’s opening. The Chamber of Commerce sent out a notice about the ribbon cutting on a Friday and the next day my brother sent me a text saying that it was open.

We tried it recently and were delighted. Previously we had to drive half an hour to a very congested area for Indian food. No more. They have both a full menu and a buffet. The buffet was excellent and although they didn’t have my favorite, Chicken Tikka Masala, the Tandoori Chicken was great and they had a chicken dish that I didn’t recognize which was quite tasty. The owner took the time to speak with us in spite of how busy it was when we were there. Never mind the fact that they use paper plates and plastic utensils. Terry and I are more than pleased.


the new vs. the old

I wrote a while back about switching from Frontier to Spectrum for TV/phone/internet when Frontier did not keep its commitment for a two-year price guarantee. It was an easy decision since we can see the Dodgers on Spectrum and we’re saving $60 a month, at least for the first year.

There are differences between the two services.

Frontier CommunicationsFrontier was nice because DVR service was available on both TVs for no extra charge, and a program recorded on the living room TV could be watched in the bedroom. On Spectrum the TVs are independent and we have no DVR service in the bedroom.

The TV remote for Frontier had separate power buttons for TV and cable which was nice. With Spectrum you have to select TV or Cable and then hit the power button.

I think that the DVR menu for Spectrum is simpler and more straightforward than Frontier, and recorded programs startSpectrum logo right on time instead of 45 seconds or a minute early. It looks to me as if there is a much greater choice of on-demand shows on Spectrum than on Frontier.

I love that telephone caller ID shows up on the TV on Spectrum, something we didn’t get with Frontier. I also appreciate that I can watch live TV on my computer or iPad with Spectrum. Maybe Frontier had that, but I didn’t take advantage of it.

I can see incoming land line phone calls and get my landline voicemail with the Spectrum app on my iPhone.

And with Spectrum we get the Dodgers. Did I say that?


watching baseball

The Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958. I was four years old when the season started. I have been following baseball from that point on. I know a little bit about the game.

In those early days and for many years after that the Dodgers were on the radio on KFI (50,000 watt clear channel station, Earl C. Anthony Incorporated). Wherever you were in the West or the Southwest you could hear KFI and the Dodger games. And, of course, we had Vin Scully. Who better to teach us the game.

Today we have almost every game on TV. Joe Davis is a competent play-by-play guy and Orel Hershiser is a good color man, though he could stand to talk less. On the radio we have Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday, an enjoyable team. But the day of the single broadcaster calling the game on his own is over. Vin was the last of those.

Which is my point here. Too much chatter and too much information these days. Call the game and describe it, but skip the excess commentary. The Angels games (as well as ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and the games on Fox) outline the strike zone for you on the screen. Stop it. Please! I have been following baseball since I was four. (I said that, didn’t I?) I know the strike zone, even if it has shifted a bit over time. And as for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, they seem at times to forget that there is a game on the field that they are supposed to be describing.

But it is still baseball. And I still love watching it.


my thing with paper towels

Paper TowelsTerry and I first encountered paper towels perforated at half width when we were at a bed and breakfast at Shasta Lake. People in that part of the state care about such things.

It was not long after that when we started seeing them available in South Santa Clara County. Moving here to Southern California they are readily available. The package is normally marked with a label such as “select-a-size.”

Not all select-a-sizes are equal, however. When we buy Bounty I’ve noticed that their select-a-size is generally three-quarter width. Most other brands are in fact half-size.

I don’t know why this annoys me but it does. If all I need is half a width of a paper towel I don’t want to use the three-quarter size. So I try to avoid Bounty and use other brands instead that provide a proper half-size.

Silly me.


planting a mock orange bush

One of the things about yard work is that it is an ongoing process. I generally do yard work on Tuesdays because Wednesday is pickup day when my yard waste (along with our food waste) is whisked off to a stare-of-the-art plant to be turned into natural gas and fertilizer.

mock orange bushMost of my yard work consists of trimming back excess growth and pulling out dead growth. We had a few late freezes this year and lost some plants. In particular we lost a large spread-out mint plant in our front planter. It took me a couple of separate efforts to pull the bulk of it out. When I had done that I was left with a large empty space.

On a recent Saturday I asked Terry if she’d like to find something to fill that spot. I specifically avoided the big box stores and we went to our locally-owned nursery. The staff member there showed us a variety of options, and we settled on a mock orange bush, which should smell really good when it blooms.

It was a lot of work and digging to put it in, but I completed the job and now it’s part of the front yard. I certainly felt that I’d accomplished something.


guess I did say that

Last baseball season we didn’t have the Dodgers on TV as we had Frontier Communications. I wrote that we didn’t need the Dodgers on television as we had the MLB at Bat app and could listen to the radio broadcast with Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday.

That was then. This is now. And I have to admit to at least a bit of sour grapes. Because now we have Spectrum and we get the Dodgers on television. I like having the Dodgers on television. Joe Davis is not as bad as I made out. He’s a pretty decent game caller. He’s not Vin Scully, but nobody is except for Vin.

Charlie and Rick are an excellent broadcast team in the finest baseball tradition, and there’s a great baseball tradition in radio broadcasts, but yeah, really, it’s nice to be able to see the Dodgers on TV.