Page Index
April - June 2009
The Kitchen Counter Archives
April 6, 2009
Yes, it's a new kitchen counter. I am the proud owner of a
quasi country estate which is just close enough to town to get
hooked up for natural gas and cable TV, but far enough away
to have soybeans as my backyard. At some point during the
year between completed construction and my purchase of this
themselves. Based on the amount of their droppings left
behind, several families must have been shacking up here and
multiplying. Whether they still call this place home remains to
be seen, but I'll take no chances and no prisoners. I'm old
school - no fancy poison, no sticky tape, just a good old
fashioned quick snap with peanut butter as my bait. So watch
out varmints, there's a new sheriff in town....
May 26, 2009
Sooner or later, they were bound to find me. Mature people
with an abundance of free time tend to be extraordinarily
resourceful, and apparently I am still considered old in some
circles. It took exactly 60 days for the
American Association
of Retired Persons to track down my new address and
continue their quest to sell me a $16/year membership. AARP
Chief Executive Officer Addison Barry Rand, whose name

should not be confused with that of a class action law firm,
says my benefits of membership will more than pay the cost of
admission in no time flat. Old people rule!
June 1, 2009
We have an epidemic brewing in this country that has nothing
to do with pigs and airborne illness. It is called Steadily
Shrinking Serving Size Disorder. In this example, we have two
versions of Quaker's chewy granola snack. My love for chewy
granola goes almost as far as my passion for roosting across
virgin singletrack, and my cupboard is generally stocked with
multiple varieties (even a few crunchy flavors now and then).
One of the newer offerings from Quaker is on the right,
peanuts with a coating of chocolate on one side. Looked
delicious in the store, tasted fabulous at home. Only problem?
One 0.77-ounce serving just doesn't cut it. In fact, two bars is
barely enough. We are talking fun-size granola, folks, and as it
turns out, there is twice the fat and calories in two bars as
there are in one. Go figure. The granola bar on the left is a
mere 0.84 ounces, itself barely enough to satisfy. It wasn't
always this way. When I began my courtship with Quaker
Chewy Granola, the bars were a full 1.0 ounces. I miss those
June 7, 2009
I had every intention of racing at White City, Illinois today, all
the way down to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich
prepared in advance yesterday and placed in a Ziplock baggie
inside my refrigerator. It would have been an early morning
and I wanted to roll out of bed, throw everything into the
Blazer and start driving. Those plans failed to materialize when
two attractive ladies showed up unannounced at my door last
night, invited me out, and the next thing you know, it's 9:45
a.m. on Sunday and I realize I have 4 different varieties of
Pop-Tarts in the house.  Why? Because I enjoy Pop-Tarts very


So instead of rushing to pack my gear and load the KX250 for
a 4-hour drive downstate, I toasted blueberry 'Tarts, caught
up on some magazines that have been gathering dust as I
months, and had a truly relaxing morning for quite possibly
the first time since I moved to Dakota.

Rewind to last night, and a certain oft-repeated statement is
still fresh in my mind: Nothing good happens in Nora. For
those not familiar with the small towns of Northwestern
Illinois, Nora is a dot on the map, a destination that must be
found in order to be experienced. It is, quite simply, a place to
continue your evening when the annual Orangeville Firemen's
Festival shuts down for the night. In other words, it has a bar
that stays open until 4:00 a.m.

The drive from Orangeville with a group of natives was an
adventure in itself, as it seemed every living whitetail deer in Jo
Daviess County was begging to be road kill. Nora's claim to
fame (every small town has one) was something along the
lines of a lady who ran a grocery store many years ago, who
supposedly rode Ulysses S. Grant's horse as a girl. It's not
exactly a
Buzz Bomb, but it's something.

The "Nothing good happens..." part of our Nora visit came on
the drive home, when my neighbor Deanna made road kill out
of a "raccoon" which bore a striking resemblance to a striped
feline. A few hours later, with blueberry Pop-Tarts in hand I
reflected on my first night of local culture since I moved into
my new home: life ain't bad here.
June 17, 2009
There was a time in my adult life when I could have explained,
in at least in some level of basic detail, what an 8 year old boy
might consider cool. Gameboys, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers,
maybe even a Tickle Me Elmo for the socially challenged.
Today, I am clueless. What you see above is what I was told
by my sister to buy my nephew for his birthday. Not these
items, specifically, but anything having something to do with
Bakugan or Pokemon. So I went to Target and grabbed $35
worth of stuff which I know as much about as potpourri or
Australian Rules football.

My freshman roommate, David Chang, used to draw cartoons
in the same Japanese style as the images on the BakutTin
(again, no idea what this is or what's inside), so I assume it is

some derivative of Pokemon. I know that young boys collect
and trade Pokemon and Bakugan cards, but beyond that, I'm
just hoping I bought something that an 8-year-old might find
halfway cool. If not, then that's what gift receipts are for.
June 19, 2009
You're looking at a monumental event, folks. For the first time
ever, I bought a sweet-smelling candle. Why? Because my
house smells like wood. For some reason, while the deck guys
were working away, each day they were here, the place smelled
more and more like a lumber yard. Not that I object to the
aroma of treated pine, but at some point I have to draw the
line and admit that I do need a few girlie things in the house
that smell pleasant. Here we have a cranberry/mandarin orange
combo. I do love me some cranberry juice, and mandarin
orange slices in a can are pretty tasty, so why not enjoy their
fragrance 24/7? I would get a few more of these for the rest of
the house, but at $16 a pop, one will have to suffice. It will go
directly in front of the air vent.