Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples and Walnuts

Here's a great recipe for Thanksgiving, or any time of the season!


3 medium acorn squash
3 good baking apples, or any apples you prefer
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons margarine or olive oil
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch or allspice or nutmeg
salt and pepper (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Since acorn squash is hard to cut, partially bake or microwave the squash until the skin is soft enough to be broken easily by the pressure of your thumbnail. Allow to cool before handling.

2) Lightly oil a shallow baking dish large enough to accommodate 6 squash halves (multiple dishes or pans can be used).

3) Peel and core apples and cut into small chunks. In a mixing bowl, combine the apples, nuts, margarine or oil, brown sugar, and spices (except salt and pepper) and mix until the sugar is mostly dissolved into the margarine, and the apples are evenly coated.

4) When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut each one in half lengthwise (top to tip). Scoop out the seeds and fibers (save the seeds because they can be roasted and eaten like pumpkin seeds). Wrap each squash half in aluminum foil and arrange them on the baking dish. Spoon the apple mixture into each center, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If there is any liquid left over in the bowl, pour it over the squash and apples. Seal the aluminum foil over the squash.

5) Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Yield: 6 servings

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tramps like us... baby we were born to run!

On Thursday, November 15, I went to Albany with my neighbor Skip and his friend Joan to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Skip is a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, and he invited me to go to the show with him. He and I are both great lovers of music. That commonality is the reason we became good friends. We had an interesting road trip, and had a great time at the show. It's one of the best concerts I have ever seen. The energy was great. Bruce performed some songs from his new album, as well as some surprises. We danced, sang, had a few beers, and enjoyed ourselves. We didn't get back until after 2 AM... and I had to work the next day! But it was great. I'm glad I went. Here is the set list:

Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Reason To Believe
Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Candy's Room
She's The One
Livin' In The Future
The Promised Land
I'll Work For Your Love
4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
The E Street Shuffle
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last To Die
Long Walk Home

Girls In Their Summer Clothes
Thunder Road
Born To Run
Dancing In The Dark
American Land

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Good Deed of the Day

On my way to work yesterday I decided to stop at the Sound Garden to pick up a DVD I wanted. I was walking around Armory Square and I saw a woman in a wheelchair coming around the corner. As I walked by, I watched her as she opened the door to enter a building. I noticed that she was having trouble with something and I stopped to see if she needed any help. She told me her shoe had fallen off, so I helped her put it back on. She thanked me, and proceeded to open the door to enter the building. I stayed for a moment longer to make sure she got into the building safely. She seemed to struggle a little with the door, so I asked her if she needed help with it. She politely responded that she was okay, so I continued on my way to the record store.

As I walked away, I was overcome with a sense of fulfillment and contentment. I was in a pleasant mood for the rest of the day. I'm glad I encountered that lady. That experience made my day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wonderful Weekend

My best friend Stacy came to visit me this weekend. After a crazy week at work, I was looking forward to an enjoyable weekend. Friday night after work, I went down to the Regional Transportation Center to meet her there. She rode the Greyhound Bus. When I got there, I got a call. Stacy told me that her bus was running late. It wasn't going to be in Cortland for another hour. So I waited in the station for an hour and a half for her to arrive. I sat there and drank coffee from Dunkin Donuts and ate junk food from the vending machine. She didn't get into Syracuse until 11:30 pm. Then we had to wait until 12:15 for the next bus to pick us up at the Regional and take us downtown. Unfortunately, by the time we got downtown, there were no more Centro buses running. The last James St. bus was at 12:30, and we didn't get downtown until 12:35. So we took a cab home. We didn't get back to my place until 1 am.

Despite the unexpected delay, the rest of the weekend was great. We had a great time together. We hung out, ate, watched movies (Spirited Away and Fern Gully), and listened to music (Stevie Nicks, Heart, Siouxsie, Tom Petty, Bob Marley, and a band that Stacy likes called Broken Yoke). We also went next door to visit my neighbor Skip and hung out over there for a while.

After that, Stacy had me put highlights in her hair. She brought the kit with her. I'd never done anything like that before, so it was a new experience. I told her that I'm not a beautician and that I really didn't know what I was doing, but she was happy with the results. I told her she looked like a punk rocker, not only with the additional blond highlights, but also with the pink and blue she had put in her hair beforehand. Plus she got a new haircut (the word "bob" comes to mind) and also a lip piercing, so Stacy looked like a whole new woman!

It was nice to spend time with my best friend. I hadn't seen her in months, since she moved to Cortland. I'm glad she came to visit me. She plans on visiting one more time this year, hopefully before the S-N-O-W (a bad four-letter word) hits us real bad! Although we had a wonderful time, we didn't get much sleep. We stayed up half the night anyway, and since I had to set my clock back an hour, we lost another hour of sleep. So now I'm tired, and now it's time to retire for the night, because tomorrow I go back to W-O-R-K (another bad four-letter word)! Good night!

What a Weird Week!

It's been quite a week for me. Last Sunday my allergies kicked in big time. They've been kicking my ass all week! I just can't seem to shake them. I hope I'm not coming down with a cold. It doesn't feel like a cold, as I can tell the difference between allergies and a cold, but I'm going to be cautious. The weather has been strange, as well, and the constant change between warm and cold, humid and dry isn't helping me any.

Wednesday was the last day I had to come in early to cover for someone at work. It was also Halloween. The majority of the day was pretty much the same as always... up until 5:30 when I go downstairs to clean childcare at the end of the day.

Let me tell you about childcare. Anyone who has worked in the cleaning/housekeeping industry will attest to the fact that anywhere where there is children, there is a disaster. I've cleaned in a lot of different places in the past few years, and let me tell you, childcares and daycares are the WORST. But during my time with this company, I have NEVER seen anything like this!

As it was Halloween, the teachers had a party for the kids. They had candy, cupcakes, and the usual. They also had a sensory activity where they put various items in containers and had the kids feel inside. It was supposed to be gross stuff, like wet spaghetti for brains, grapes for eyeballs, etc. When I went in there Wednesday afternoon, there was spaghetti in every corner of the room. There was spaghetti in places where spaghetti has never gone before! There was a glow-in-the-dark bouncy ball lodged in the sink. There was candy besprent from one end of the room to the other, even in the bathroom! There was orange and black paint everywhere. That childcare was so filthy, it was scary. It was almost horrific!

I was so tired. The week was already dragging on as it was, and that was just the tip of the iceberg! By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I didn't do anything to celebrate Halloween, which is one of my favorite holidays.

After Wednesday, things calmed down, but the energies were still weird around me. Something was just "off." I can't explain it, but nothing seemed to go my way. I was pretty irritable for the next two days. I must have been accident prone, too, because I kept tearing trash bags, dropping things, and just fumbling with everything. I even knocked my entire cleaning cart over... all my stuff fell on the floor, and the cart even fell apart! At least I didn't spill my mop bucket...