Wednesday, January 30, 2008


We have been neglecting our blog as of late. I guess I haven't found anything worth writing about. We've been moving along into the new year and getting used to new roles and responsibilities.

We did get a load of snow last week and had the opportunity to go sledding. Our neighbor Tony joined us for some fun on the hills near our house. The ground was so frozen that the runner sleds just sailed. The first hill we hit had a street and some parked cars at the bottom which meant we had to bail and stop the sleds before we hit any of it. The second hill was near the Fire station and we figured if we needed help it was a shout away. However, this was the tamest of all the hills we hit that night. It was a gentle slope that leveled out to a flat area where we could let the sleds come to a natural rest. The last hill was dark and steep. I went down first and hit some unexpected dips and jumps. Luckily I am close to the ground and the snow was soft. I wiped out before I even reached the bottom, climbed back up and decided it was too dark to try again. I run by the hill all the time and as I ran by this morning and looked at the hill much closer. Before, I always thought that it was an even slope going down coming to rest near the entrance of the bike path. A few trees to watch out for, but not very dangerous. In the morning light I could see the many dips and drops that I felt on the sled. Now I know it's not something you should try in the dark, but maybe during the day...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Somewhere, sometime, in my family history, a woman made mozzarella cheese from scratch. Last night, I, too, made homemade mozzarella cheese. I bought some whole milk from a local dairy farm and I got the rennet and other enzymes from a store in northern Ohio. It takes about 30 minutes altogether and is quite easy. I made some ricotta from the leftover whey as well.

I feel like the consistency and texture are near to what I've had in Italy but the flavor just wasn't quite right. It was good, about what you can get in the states, but it didn't have the creaminess that is present in the mozza from Italy. I'll have to keep trying. Buying the milk is the only ingrediant I don't have on hand, and that I can get pretty fresh. Looks like I'll be eating a lot of cheese this winter.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Circleville, Ohio

I was talking to Carol tonight and she mentioned that her and Tom are going to Circleville tomorrow for an auction. That brought back the many good memories of the time I spent there with my family.

Most of my friends went to Florida or Myrtle Beach for their summer vacations, but my family went to Circleville, Ohio, every year from the time I was three until I was 13 (or 14). And I am not complaining. My brothers and I would have a free reign of 200 acres. There was a raging creek, stocked pond, horses, chickens, and the occasional goat. Needless to say, it was a dream for us. The pond was a source of endless pleasure. Fishing, boating, swimming, frog-gigging. Yes, I have had fresh cooked frog-legs. Pretty good I might add.

Every morning we would go horseback riding with the Kerns, who owned the ranch. After we unsaddled and brushed the horses down, we would sit around and shoot the breeze. I should say my parents gabbed along. The kids would chase the semi-feral cats that roamed the tack house and barn. The best part of this was the bottle of coke that we each received out of the ancient coke machine. It was vacation after all, so the 'rents were okay with the occasional splurge of sugar on us kids. Plus, we would burn it off by mid-afternoon, with the berry picking, creek exploring, and egg collecting or whatever would be our activity of the day.

I did a little googling of the kerns and I found that Cliff (the dad) is still active with his brass playing. He led the Pickaway Brass for some Christmas show this past December. He was a Band Instructor at the high school and is still very active in the local scene. I don't think he has ever missed a Pumpkin Show performance.

Those were the days.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Book Review

Prisoner of Trebekistan: a decade in Jeopardy By Bob Harris. It is a fantastic read for anyone who is a fan of Jeopardy or is from Cleveland. Bob, himself, is from "the Snow Belt" as he continuously calls it. Specifically, he grew up in Mentor, but now lives in L.A. He likens his winning and losing on Jeopardy to the heartaches felt by Browns fans everywhere, by eluding to "The Pass", "The Drive", and "The Fumble".

Of course, as with any good book, there should be a moral or two. I won't give away too much, but let's just say that Bob becomes enlightened. We witness his growth and wisdom over a span of ten years accompanied by engaging wit and trivia.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The Gromen/Butler household was attacked at the end of last year by these furry little critters. They reproduce fast if you expose them to water. Fortunately, we were able to find homes for them all. Although, I just realized that this picture was taken pre-operation. We had to get them fixed before we gave them away.

As you can see from this photo, most of the kreatchers have button noses. Well, we were informed by a seasoned parent that that is a nono for youngins. So, we operated. Long process, but it was worth it and everyone made it through okay. Except for this guy/gal in front. We decided s/he would suffer serious consequences if the nose was removed. Therefore, the nose stayed. The recipient of this particular beast was notified of the nose issue and it was determined that it could be dealt with. (Through careful monitoring and maturity)

Real story: I have a ton of gray fleece. I wanted to make something for my one year old nephew. One became 3, became 5. They were a joy to make as I was able to use my sewing skills and creativity. I would think about the recipient as I made them, to instill love to be passed on to the new owner.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Office Holder

Kent attended his first Athens City Council meeting last night as an official city councilman. So if you are in the Athens viewing area, you can watch him every Monday night at 7 or 7:30 PM on the Government channel. Which is channel 15. If you don't live in Athens, I can probably have a friend tape it for you. Maybe someday it will be online. Won't that be inventive. Then maybe we could email in questions and comments for the council.

I watched the meeting from Carol's house but there were some technical difficulties and they only had one camera working. Therefore, Kent was rarely on camera. And when he was it was so far away, you couldn't see his snazzy suit and tie. All that coordination for nothing. Oh well, maybe next week.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year, New Look

I decided that the blog needed a new look and what better time than the new year. Plus the green is happier, which is needed during these dark days of winter. And green is the new black. I could get all creative and make a look of my own, but that is for another year.

Kent and I talked about making resolutions this year, but we couldn't come up with any. Are we really that perfect already, or are we too lazy to change? I'll go with the lazy. Feel free to comment to make a resolution idea for us. I don't think I have ever tried this odd tradition, so maybe it could be fun. So really, give us a resolution, and if it is reasonable, I will consider following through with it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Christmas number 2

We went to Cleveland to visit with the Butlers. Kara was in town with her fiance' , Ethan and his two kids, Reed and Forrest. We had a great time hanging out with family and the weekend went by to fast.

On Saturday we went for a hike in Northeast Ohio. I don't know where we were exactly but it was called Hell Hollow. That should be enough to scare the pants off of you, however, we didn't see any demons or ghosts. Just other people and a few dogs. We turned a short walk into a long hike. Once we went down into the ravine we followed the creek (or river?) down to a waterfall. On the way we stopped for lunch (sandwiches and Fritos!!!). On the way back, we took another detour to see the top of the ridge and the views it offered. Finally we were back at the car. We were all pretty wore out, but Bill had one more sight for us to see. Fortunately, we didn't have to walk all that far. We drove right up to the waterfall but there was also a very short trail that took you a little closer than the parking lot. We ventured out. I wish we would have taken pictures, but we didn't bring the camera because the weather wasn't the best.

Sunday, we watched the Browns play the 49's. But none of it mattered since the Titans won their game. Boo titans.

This is Reed (sp?). Forrest.

This was our second time hanging out with the boys and we both had a blast. We look forward to seeing more of the whole Ellsworth family in the future.