Pie Day

DSC02375 Pie Day! Last night, we made pie. A slight alter­ation to my mother’s pecan pie recipe [maple syrup instead of corn syrup] and a new one, an Apple and Tart Cher­ry pie. Deb­bie made the crust from scratch, impress­ing the hell out of me. It took a few hours, and I was exhaust­ed by the time I pulled the pecan pie out at 11pm. I can’t wait to eat them today, though. Recipe time, oh hell yes. Click on the pic­ture to go to the whole set of pho­tos from the night.

Pecan Pie v. 1.2


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. sug­ar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1/3 C. melt­ed but­ter
  • 1 C. fake maple syrup
  • 1 C. fine­ly chopped pecans for mix
  • whole pecans for top­ping the pie
  • 1 t. vanil­la extract


Mix every­thing togeth­er in a medi­um mix­ing bowl.
Line a 9″ pie pan with the dough and bake for 5 min­utes at 450°; remove and change oven to 375°.
Pour pie mix­ture into crust.
Cov­er entire top with whole pecans.
Bake for around 45 min­utes.

I found the Apple and Tart Cher­ry pie recipe on Epi­cu­ri­ous, post­ed there from Bon Apétit’s Novem­ber 1997 issue. Car­damom was a great and inter­est­ing spice to use, a first time for me. Although it looks like mouse crap when you de-pod it, it smells deli­cious after it has been suf­fi­cient­ly pes­tled and will be often added to my hot choco­late this win­ter.


Quandary These signs have been around Down­town for a month or so now. I still don’t quite know how I feel about them. I don’t know how bad the homeless/panhandling sit­u­a­tion is here in Cleve­land, and whether or not it war­rants a cam­paign with this lev­el of blunt­ness or scope. It is sup­port­ed by The Home­less Grapevine, and var­i­ous oth­er home­less-tar­get­ed social ser­vice agen­cies, but it cer­tain­ly doesn’t give off a very char­i­ta­ble vibe. The Down­town Cleve­land Alliance [DCA] web­site offers some elu­ci­da­tion:

One of the ulti­mate goals of the cam­paign is to show a dis­tinc­tion between pan­han­dlers and the home­less. Many of the pan­han­dlers down­town are in fact not home­less and dam­age the image of the home­less that are in need. Our goal is to make sure people’s gen­eros­i­ty is not mis­guid­ed, but rather goes towards orga­ni­za­tions mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence. Instead of giv­ing mon­ey to a stranger on the street, peo­ple can now donate mon­ey to help rep­utable orga­ni­za­tions that have been pro­vid­ing food, shel­ter, coun­sel­ing and job train­ing to the home­less for years.

Nev­er­the­less, it hurts to see those imper­son­al signs next to the panhandlers/homeless, on the streets. At the same time, it is an inter­est­ing chess game between this ini­tia­tive and those it tar­gets, and the ter­ri­to­ry being fought over is the moral mind of any­one walk­ing the streets down­town. I’ve wres­tled with this issue before, but now that there is anoth­er play­er it is eas­i­er to exam­ine my own reac­tions to home­less­ness and char­i­ty.

The DCA is try­ing to cur­tail pan­han­dling and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly force the home­less to accept the social ser­vices avail­able to them by remov­ing the DCA’s main com­pe­ti­tion, folks who donate on the street. I’m not mak­ing a moral judg­ment here, just show­ing what I see as the mech­a­nism behind this effort. The ads play on the guilt of passers-by, and absolve them for not giv­ing while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly offer­ing them an alter­na­tive to assuage the guilt on their own by donat­ing to the DCA.

The homeless/panhandler response has been instinc­tive and quite clever, I think. By just about every sign there are one or two homeless/panhandlers with their cups out. Their inten­tion­al jux­ta­po­si­tion com­plete­ly sub­verts the intent of the sign and strength­ens the guilt one feels by not giv­ing. The sign, next to an actu­al human in need, seems inhu­man. Too bad the whole sit­u­a­tion is emo­tion­al­ly abus­ing to the bat­tle­field. A bit hyper­bol­ic in this sit­u­a­tion, but:

When two ele­phants are fight­ing, the grass is what suf­fers.


Birth­days get pro­gres­sive­ly more bor­ing as one ages. Oth­er than the ini­tial “Yay It’s my birth­day!” upon wak­ing up today isn’t going to be much dif­fer­ent than usu­al. Although I might stop by Dave’s and pick up a sug­ar-cream pie on my way home. Oh man, I love me some sug­ar-cream pie. One year ago, I put in my notice at my old job. That was a great birth­day present. When­ev­er I get frus­trat­ed here at the Coun­ty, I just remem­ber how life-suck­ing the work at Thom­son-West was and thank my lucky stars.

A lot has changed in a year. I’ve grown into my job, there is a new con­fi­dence in me when I hop around town talk­ing to dif­fer­ent Coun­ty depart­ments about improv­ing their web pres­ence. I actu­al­ly have an exper­tise that can improve the way they inter­act with the pub­lic on the web, and the chance to use it. In the last year, I broke up with an old girl­friend, bought a house, found a new great woman, rode my bike to work for sev­en months, and took pub­lic trans­porta­tion for the oth­er five. I also broke a big toe and an elbow and final­ly got to play Punk Rock Soft­ball. I’m also seri­ous­ly cash-strapped as the house absorbs all of my mon­ey. So if any­one wants to treat me to my new favorite meal [a cheese­burg­er, sweet pota­to fries and a Guin­ness at Pros­per­i­ty] tonight, I’m cer­tain­ly down for that. Tues­day is the day for the cheese­burg­er deal at hap­py hour, if I’m not mis­tak­en.

I didn’t make ribs this year, which was unfor­tu­nate. I am going to have two Thanks­giv­ings though, so that will make up for it.

I must be hun­gry.

Not Grounded

A few weeks ago when I installed a dim­mer in the mas­ter bed­room, I was heart­ened to see that the wall box had a ground wire in it, wait­ing to be hooked up. I hoped that this was a good sign for the rest of the house, which has unground­ed sock­ets. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, tonight when I tried to change a sock­et, there was no ground wire present. That means I’m going to have to have an elec­tri­cian come in and install them through­out the house, in all the sock­ets that don’t have them. Only the kitchen, and the room imme­di­ate­ly off of it have ground­ed plugs, and I’m not even sure if they are tru­ly ground­ed, or just have three holes and no actu­al ground wire inside of them. This is entire­ly pos­si­ble, because even the ancient plugs that are cur­rent­ly scat­tered about were installed incor­rect­ly to my untrained eye. You can screw the out­lets direct­ly into the wall box­es from the out­let itself, but also through some extra screws in the wall box. The old out­let was all bent out of shape because this wasn’t done.

It is inter­est­ing and crazy at times to won­der what peo­ple were think­ing when they did cer­tain half-assed things. I mean, I haven’t done all that I can in the paint­ing of the two rooms I’ve done thus­far, but I haven’t don’t a shit­ty job on any­thing.

Also, near­ly three weeks after get­ting my wis­dom teeth removed, I pulled a shard of bone from one of the upper sock­ets. I’d felt a lit­tle hard nub­bin up there for awhile, but wasn’t able to get it out until today dur­ing the Use Case class I’m tak­ing in Inde­pen­dence, right down the street from my old job.

Physical Therapy II

I had my sec­ond phys­i­cal ther­a­py appoint­ment today. The ther­a­pist put heat on my bicep for ten min­utes and then gave it a mas­sage for a bit more. She thought that it might be tight­ened and pre­vent­ing my arm from full exten­sion. She was right, a bit. I’ve made good progress with the exer­cis­es already, only 10° [the hard­est ones to get back] from nor­mal on exten­sion, and about 20° from bend­ing it in half. Pret­ty good con­sid­er­ing that I have four more ses­sions to get the rest back on track.