Tag Archives: seafood

Slow weekend and bean soup

After a very busy last couple of weeks and two very busy weekends, I was ready for a a “nothing weekend.” It felt great!

I slept late and then ran a few errands on Saturday. I “read” at 5:30 Mass and then Mrs. Poolman and I enjoyed an early Valentine’s Day dinner at a local seafood restaurant that is part of the Paula Deen empire. Got home early and watched the Gators squeak one out against the UT Volunteers in a basketball game I recorded while we were out.

On Sunday, we just hung out around the house and took care of some of the usual weekend chores. I fixed Mrs. P a bacon ‘n egg scramble for brunch. Then I went to work on a ham & navy bean soup for eating sometime later in the week. (The recipe is under the tab at the top of the page.)

Ham and navy bean soup

We had a house full of company two weeks ago, and we had picked up a spiral-cut ham from Sam’s Club for sandwiches, etc. One of the best parts of any ham comes when most of the meat is gone and you just have scraps of meat left on the bone. I have a navy bean and black bean soup recipes that work pretty well – or at least Mrs. P thinks so, and that counts big.

Actually, I started the process on Saturday. I usually boil the meaty ham bone the day before I really want to prepare the soup, and leave it in the refrigerator over night. That way the fat congeals on the surface and can remove it before adding the remaining ingredients.

I finished it off on Sunday afternoon. Mrs. P was so excited she put aside her plans to make chicken marsala for dinner (Or she just didn’t want to mess with it.) and we had the soup for dinner.

We watched some of the Grammies after dinner, and I was reminded how totally out of touch I am with the current music scene. Aside from the old timers, like Bob Dylan, I had barely even heard of most of the nominated artists, let along actually been able to name one of their songs. If I ever make it onto Jeopardy, “Current Pop Music” will not be my strong category.

Getting reacquainted

We are now into Christmas week, and things are looking good.

Mrs. Poolman and I had a good weekend. On Saturday night, we met up with an old friend of mine and her husband for dinner. They were passing through Savannah on their way to visit family in Florida. Ann and I dated for a few months right after I graduated from high school. We remained friends after we broke-up, but we have only seen one another once in the past 39 years. We reconnected about a year ago on Facebook. We picked Ann and Chuck up at their hotel and went to one of our favorite seafood restaurants. Sometimes “reunions” like that work, and sometimes they don’t. This was a good one. We had a very nice time. We hope they will come through again on one of their annual migrations and stay longer.

We finally put our tree up on Sunday. Mrs. P did most of the actual decorating, while I was busy taking care of other chores, but she did have a very involved helper.

Penny the Kitten thought a Christmas tree was about the best thing she has seen in her short, 14 week life. She climbed up in the middle of the tree and had a great time with the lights and ornaments.

Tree-cat helps with decorating.

After awhile she lost interest. Nothing was broken. All the same, I secured the tree to the wall with some fishing line, so hopefully, it will still be erect when we get home this evening.

A broken pool, nasty smells, a suprise party and Mother’s Day

We’ve had a busy Saturday this Mothers Day Weekend, so Mrs. Poolman decided to go low energy today.

We co-hosted and provided the venue for a surprise birthday party for our son-in-law yesterday.  Our daughter and SIL’s condo is too small for the roughly 20 people they wanted to invite. Besides, it would be tough to prepare a surprise party in the house where the guest of honor lives.

We wanted to make it a pool party, but those plans were thwarted by mechanical difficulties.  When I got home from work on Thursday, I noticed the pool pump motor was running, but it wasn’t pushing any water. I didn’t have time to mess with it that evening. We called the pool repair folks on Friday. They won’t be here until Monday. In the meantime, I tried to figure out the problem and repair it myself.  I think I have it narrowed down to a blockage in the pipe that leads from the pool to the pump. I tried several things to break the plug, including a plumber’s snake, but with no success. I hope the pool repair people have better luck tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Saturday night party went very well. SIL was totally surprised and everyone seemed to have a good time. The last stragglers didn’t get out of here until 2:30 am. Oy!

We did hit one hitch. Just before the party guests arrived, I had been smelling something odd, but couldn’t place it. It was a sour odor, like fermenting hay or the like. I finally narrowed it down to Sammy the Dog. I have no idea what she may have gotten into. We spread some pine straw that afternoon. Maybe there was something in that. I don’t know. In any case, although we were expecting the doorbell to ring at any moment, I dragged her out to the basketball court and gave her a bath. Sammy was not happy, but she got over it.

Mrs. P and I didn’t start functioning until around noon after that late bedtime. We celebrated Mother’s Day with an early afternoon lunch at our favorite seafood place. Nothing says “I love you” like a basket of hot fried shrimp. Yum!

We ran some errands and then came home to do laundry, update the checkbook and pay bills – all the usually weekend stuff that you need to do to keep it going.

On to the work week…

Politics, Hotel Indigo, Superbowl and a great chili

It’s been a few days since I’ve had the chance to sit down and actually write something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot to write about.

I took a trip to Atlanta last week with my boss and our business officer to schmooze with politicians. This is an annual Chamber of Commerce “kiss up to the state legislature” event. We drove up one morning and spent the day tracking down various state legislators, shaking many hands and asking them not to forget about us (or, even worse, cut us out of the budget.) The day ended with a big seafood-barbecue feast with multiple open bars. I stuck to Diet Coke though. I say enough stupid things when I’m sober, I don’t need my tongue loosened when someone may actually be listening.

We stayed at a Hotel Indigo in midtown Atlanta. I had not stayed there before, although it is part of the Holiday Inn family. I usually stay in HI’s because I’m a member of their points program. In any case, the Hotel Indigo was nice, if somewhat different from your standard business hotel. It’s a smaller, “European style” (not that I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Europe) hotel. The rooms were smaller, but quite stylish.

From the hotel Web site, but a pretty accurate depiction of my room.

The bathroom was very small. I could have handled my “business” while shaving and brushing my teeth if I had wanted to do so. Altogether though, I liked it, and I’ll be back.

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I did something we almost never do; we went out for a nice Sunday brunch. We should really do this more often. On a Sunday morning or mid-day, we may go to our favorite Mexican restaurant or to a breakfast place, but almost never to someplace where, for instance, you might actually think about ordering a mimosa or a Bloody Mary. We went to our favorite seafood restaurant. I ordered the shrimp and grits and was disappointed. It was good for what it was, but it was very mild and creamy. I definitely prefer it with a little kick to it. (See the recipe in the Food tab above.) Next time, I’ll stick with my favorite, fried shrimp.

Over the rest of the weekend, we ran errands and continued the clean up and clean out process around the house. We finally got all the boxes and extra furniture out of our family room.

To celebrate, we had a few folks over to watch the Superbowl. It wasn’t a big event, just some of our close friends. However, everyone brought food and we had enough to feed a small African country.

Mrs. P made here white bean chili, which is fantastic.

White Bean Chili

I have trouble getting my imagination and taste buds around a chicken-based “chili.” However, if I think of it as just a spicy, chicken based bean soup, it’s easier to handle.  The recipe comes straight from a Southern Living Cookbook and I’ve added it to the “Food” tab at the top of the page. Give it a shot. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to make sure you include the shredded jalapeno-jack cheese when you serve it. That is an essential step that is not to be omitted.

Quiet weekends and hurricane season

We had a fairly quiet weekend, which was just great. I slept late on Saturday and then spent most of the rest of the day running errands on the far side of town. Saturday evening mass and then off to eat some seafood at a casual beach restaurant with two other couples. Sunday was spent cleaning up the yard and the pool, doing laundry and other equally exciting chores. We have such an interesting life.

As the summer winds down in this part of the country, there is a mix of emotions. You hate the see the summer end, but on the other hand the college football season is right around the corner. Around here, that is about as exciting as Christmas is to a small child.

Here on the coast, there is another issue that raises its head this time of year – hurricane season. Every day, people who for the rest of the year, are only casually interested in the weather make sure they check in on the Weather Channel or Weather Underground every day. Although they are thousands of miles away, cloud formations off the west coast of Africa are the topic of conversations in the aisles of the grocery stores. There is a little edge — a little anxiety — that sticks with you all the time.

When a storm actually does hit somewhere else, you have mixed emotions. “Gee, I’m really sorry you were hit by a hurricane, but I’m even happier it didn’t hit me!

Hurricane Floyd September 1999

Hurricane Floyd September 1999

It’s been ten years since Hurricane Floyd threatened this part of the coast before making one of those famous right hand turns and heading north to North Carolina.  The evacuation is legendary among Savannahians. It is fortunate we weren’t hit by a major storm in the ensuing couple of years. I know many people, Mrs. Poolman included, who said, “I’d rather sit here and suffer through a hurricane than spend another 23 hours stuck on the road to Atlanta.”

There is a local myth that Savannah is protected from hurricanes by the curvature of the coast. There is actually a little truth to the legend, but it certainly isn’t a bullet-proof shield. The rotation of the Earth tends to make hurricanes curve to the right (north.) They also feed off of warm water, and the north-flowing Gulf Stream runs about 100 miles off shore here. Both of those will give a storm a tendency to turn to the north, but they are only two of lots of other factors, most of which  I do not understand.

So as of this evening, we have a tropical storm in the Gulf that appears to be heading for Alabama, and another out in the Atlantic, heading who-knows-where.

I guess I’ll be joining everyone else watching the Weather Channel for the next two and a half months.