Saturday, May 30, 2009

Would You Be Interested in Any Local Attractions?

I rarely see guests on the graveyard shift. The occasional late-night, TMTD* candidate but most of the wedding guests and members are checked in before I get here and they haven't even shown up for continental breakfast by the time I leave. However, should anyone want directions or a suggestion for a local eatery or a lead on the latest art exhibit, I am exceedingly well prepared having read cover-to-cover all available travel brochures and local attraction booklets displayed upon my counter.

I'd certainly suggest the upcoming Wright & Like 2009: Preservation Done Wright Tour next weekend in Madison. I'd love to go myself, but - the rub - all activities take place when I'm sleeping. I'll have to make do with these Architecture sets from Lego.

* Too Much To Drink and we have a great deal on this late night rate.

Monday, May 11, 2009

One Major Advantage

The major advantage for a night owl wage earner? Being able to attend to family tasks during the day.

Scored major points in picking up Mom at the airport from her weeklong stay in Denver. First time she'd traveled solo - ever. With Dad having passed away some six months ago, she's been going through a bunch of firsts. She hadn't yet taken his greeting off the cellphone which I realized when I called to see if she was at the gate or at the baggage claim.

The flight attendant had spilled tomato juice on Mom's white jacket and after futile Shout wipe swipes, it was decided that Midwest Airlines would provide a replacement jacket. In-flight chocolate chip cookies and wardrobe upgrades: sweet. Arrangements were made at the counter just as her luggage appeared on the carousel.

We managed to be in and out of the airport within the parameter of "free parking" - 30 minutes. Righteously so as I was also the designated chauffeur and bearer of medical records for my brother Terry who has finally (thankfully) agreed to an assessment of a horrifying infection of his lip and mouth.

The flexibility afforded by graveyard shift hours is especially appreciated when approaching the miasma of CSP - the Behavioral Health branch of County Services. Terry has skirted the medical authorities regarding his lip since Dad's funeral. Dad had been my brother's most effective advocate and I have been less than graceful in filling Dad's shoes.

After months of unsuccessfully trying to get Terry to at least see the barber, I resorted to bribes of cigarettes and ham sandwiches for a preliminary clean-up. No dice. When the calls came from his rooming house last week, during what is designated as my sleeptime, I was happy to be alerted that he was ready to deal with his lip.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

They Say The Neon Lights are Bright on Broadway

The neon lights guide the way with the flame atop the Gas Company being the first beacon.

When the flame is red, there's warm weather ahead!
When the flame is gold, watch out for cold!
When the flame is blue, there's no change in view!
When there's a flickering flame, expect snow or rain!

The flame has also been used as a navigation aid by Great Lakes captains. After all, the flame is 21 feet tall, it weighs four tons, and it can be seen from as far away as 30 miles!

Once I've checked in with the flame - flickering or not, I head west for two blocks catching a glimpse of the Pabst sign in the distance, but then turning on to Broadway when I see the Blatz insignia.

To review: Gas, Pabst, Blatz. Gas, Pabst, Blatz and I'm ready to start my shift.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not a Whole Lot of Takeout in the Middle of the Night

Pizza Shuttle will deliver until 3:00 am but that's about your only late night option. Look at the size of that pizza. No, I'm going to have to bring my lunch. My 3:00 a.m. lunch. My PFF lunch. (Poor Folks Food) Vegan to boot which puts me in great blog company as many are describing their vegan adventures on-line.

Tonight's brown bag: Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Beans & Barley Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad
½ pound Wah King Chinese noodles (see note)
1 to 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2/3 cup non-hydrogenated peanut butter
2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce (see note)
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons shoyu
2 tablespoons honey
1½ tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon garlic puree or 1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili paste (see note)
¼ cup warm water
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts

Cook noodles in 2 to 3 quarts salted water until tender. When they are done, drain and rinse in cool water.

Gently toss with the oil so noodles are lightly coated and do not stick together when they cool. Set aside.

In blender or food processor, mix together all remaining ingredients except onions and peanuts. Combine sauce and noodles in large bowl and gently toss to coat. Divide among 6 dishes and garnish each serving with the onions and peanuts. Makes about 6 side-dish servings.

Note: Wah King noodles and mushroom soy sauce are available at Asian and some specialty food stores. Soba noodles or linguine can be substituted for the Wah King noodles.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Topsy Turvey

"Have you ever worked third shift before?"

No. I hadn't.

"It may take some getting used to."

It's been six weeks now. It will take some getting used to. I begin my shift one day and finish it the next and am never quite sure whether it's yesterday, today or tomorrow. All three happen during my eight hour shift.

One thing that took no time getting used to is the commute. Six minutes by car. Sixteen minutes by bike. By bike is best. As described by a weekly dose of architecture one just pedals the beerline to the marsupial bridge and you're downtown.