Easter Breakfast Ham?

I may have unwittingly started an Easter tradition. My great-grandmother was German. Her family were German colonists in Russia in the 19th century. When the Czar started kicking them out, they decided to come to America and settled in Colorado. My grandfather grew up with German food, and one of these dishes was Blinna, a thin German pancake. Grandma used to make these quite often, but in recent years hasn’t so much – I think it just got to be too difficult to feed the whole family.

Last year for Easter we decided to surprise everyone and make Blinna for Easter dinner. This was a huge success. So huge in fact, we are doing it again this year.

To accompany the Blinna, it’s been decided we will also prepare a ham, at least partially to placate my mother who wants a traditional Easter dinner. My sister has said we should make ‘breakfast ham’. So my question to you is, what is ‘breakfast ham’? How does it differ from a traditional baked Easter ham? Any ideas?

Jeep Cherokee hits Mom and Dad’s House

Sunday morning, December 28, 2008, at 4:00am a Jeep Cherokee drove off the highway, through a field, hit a ditch, went airborne and hit my Mom and Dad’s house.

The impact came in the living room, threw the TV across the room and caused significant damage both to the wall and to the contents of the room.

The police, fire fighters and building inspector came, and fortunately the house is still structurally sound and safe.

Now the process of repair begins. Check out the photos.

I want to change my Gym

Any of you who were Friends fans (and who hasn’t been at some point in the last 15 years) will remember the episode where Chandler wants to ‘quit the gym’. The episode is a bit over the top with extremely attractive membership personnel who keep everyone from successfully canceling their membership. While this doesn’t really have any basis in reality (at least not in my experience), but changing Gyms is a bit of a traumatic experience.

About a year and a half ago I changed gyms. My old gym was a long time local establishment. Great facility, but it had it’s drawbacks, mostly in the service area. The pricing was a bit high, there were lots of days the facility was closed and the staff spent the last two hours of the day vacuuming and cleaning. I typically went from 8-10pm, which were always the hours they were cleaning. I finally got tired of paying a premium price to listen to vacuums and get sprayed with bleach, so I changed facilities.

My new Gym is a 24 hour facility, lower priced than the previous place, but it has it’s drawbacks. First off it’s small, only about 10 cardio machines and a handful of weights and machines. That’s not really so bad, but they also don’t have locker rooms. There are two unisex bathrooms, so if you want to show up without your workout gear on, you have to wait for one of them to be open. The other thing I don’t like, and this may sound funny, it’s not very busy. Back when I was working in an office, I liked it when the gym was quiet. Now that I’m self employed, work from home, and just hang out with the dogs all day long, I kind of crave human company. Not nearly as much fun to go to an empty gym.

So here’s my dilemma. The city I live in offers some very good facilities. They include a pool, great workout facility, basketball courts and locker rooms. Pretty much full service, and actually $5/month cheaper than my current membership. Downsides? I don’t know how busy they are. That might be annoying. Also, it is about 5 minutes further away from my house than my current gym. The other thing is it’s a public facility. There has been a recent debate about how the facilities are losing money and have to have tax dollars to stay open. So is it evil of me to join the cheaper, tax funded location than to support the independent (well franchised) facility? Is it fair to independent facilities when the city provides a better service at a loss so they can be cheaper than their competitors? Is it right that independent businesses have to compete with these publicly funded gyms?

I don’t know, but I think I’m going to change.

Stories – Cops in a Terraplane

My grandfather’s recent passing has motivated me to move this blog back to it’s original intentions. One of my original goals was to relate stories about my life and my family’s life. My grandparents and great grandparents were somewhat colorful characters, and over the years we have quite a few stories. Some you may find interesting, some you may not, but I thought I would start out with the story that was probably my grandfather’s favorite.

My grandfather was always a spirited individual. I don’t think he was ever really bad, or dishonest, but he did have quite the attitude. One place this manifested was in his driving. When he was driving his old pickup he would go up and down the road at 30mph, not matter what the speed limit was, but get him behind the wheel of a car and it was a totally different situation.

Back when he was a kid in the early 40s, my great grandfather had a Buick. If memory serves it was a 1936 model. This car was a very powerful vehicle at the time, much faster than many things on the road. For those of you familiar with Loveland Colorado, one of the main roads through town, Lincoln Ave, was a two way street at the time (it’s been a one way for as long as I remember). There was an armory just south of 1st street on Lincoln, probably about the last thing on the way out of town. After the armory the road goes down a hill, continues for 2-3 miles before heading up what has been traditionally known as Derby Hill.

My grandfather, grandmother, and some other friends were headed out to the Kness farm one evening, and my grandfather was exceeding the speed limit. The local police were sitting in the armory parking lot in a Hudson Terraplane when my grandfather came flying by. Now the Terraplane was supposed to be a powerful vehicle as well, but the cops didn’t even bother to give chase.

The next day, my great grandfather received a letter in the mail from the police. They wanted him to come in for a traffic ticket. He went and and the cops told him his car had been speeding the night before. My great grandfather told them he wasn’t driving the car last night, so it couldn’t have been him. He then asked the police “If the car was speeding, why didn’t you stop it”. The cops responded “He was going so fast, by the time we would have gotten started he would have been over Derby Hill”

Orville Weber 1919-2008

Yesterday morning my grandfather, Orville Weber, passed from this world to the next.

Eighty eight years old, he was still in reasonably good health and lived on his farm with my grandmother. He had started yesterday out like any other day, went to town for parts for his lawn mower, left the house on his golf cart and headed to the barn to work. All indications are that he probably started feeling bad, and headed back to the house. On his way across the yard, somewhere on that final trip his heart failed. A few minutes later my grandmother went out to mail a letter, and saw his golf cart stopped against some rocks. She called the paramedics, and the ambulance came. He was transported to McKee Medical Center, but there was nothing to be done. He was gone.

At 11:19 am I got a call from a friend of mine, another mutual friend of ours who drives truck for a local paving company had seen the ambulances headed to my grandparents house and wanted to know what was going on. Even though I live in another city – I knew about the incident minutes from the time it occurred. It makes me feel good to know that my grandfather was so well known and liked that even the paving crews that drove by his house every day were watching out for him.

My grandfather is a hard man to describe. He was a farmer all his life, and successful, but his life wasn’t defined by his major accomplishments. What was more important were all the little things he did. The way that he never backed down from anyone or anything. His quiet way where most people who didn’t know him thought he was so serious. The way he would tease all the old ladies at church every Sunday. The way he could pour anything from one container to another without ever spilling a drop. The way he would sit out on a tractor all day long just as happy as a clam. The way he would eat tuna fish, miracle whip and ketchup sandwiches. The way his plate always looked cleaner after dinner than it did before. The way he would fall asleep sitting up in the kitchen chair at lunch time for a nap. The way he would drive hs old pickup down the road at 30 mph (in a 55 zone), but have no problem driving his Cadillac down the Interstate at 90. The way he loved my grandmother like she was the only woman in the world after 67 years of marriage.

It’s with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes that I say goodbye to this great man.

Microwaves, Alarm Clocks and Coffee Makers

OK, I have a rant that I’ve just got to spout off about.

What is wrong with product manufacturers these days? A few months ago I purchased a new alarm clock. My old one was really bright, and I wanted something that just dimmed more. First off, I was annoyed that you can’t really buy anything fun or classy for an alarm clock. There seem to be two grades, $15 Walmart specials and $300 fancy European alarm clocks. Nothing in between, but that’s not my point.

I bought this alarm clock, RCA or something. Had most of the features I wanted, even if it is kind of ugly. $15 bucks. I plugged it in, and it automatically set the time for me! How cool is that? Not that this is knew technology, but I think it’s the first alarm clock I’ve had that just picked up the NIST signal and set itself.

While the Alarm Clock is great, I also acquired two other home appliances recently. An over the range Microwave and a Coffeemaker. Both of these items were much more expensive than the Alarm Clock, and both have digital clocks, but guess what. Neither sets themselves. So if the power goes out I have to reset the stupid clocks. What is this? 1983?