Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grilled cheese

Nope, not the kind of grilled cheese you are thinking of, my friends.

I had seen this a while back in a cook book I picked up cheap at a conference I was at in April.

The book is called "Sizzle: Sensational Barbecue Food." So far I have not tried too much from it, but there are some interesting dishes.

First up, something the author called Pots of Gold. Basically you take a hunk of yummy, creamy cheese and use the grill to make a sort-of fondue. (Pictures with the recipe... follow the link!)

It was quite the lovely mid-afternoon snack on a warm Sunday. Enjoy it with a white wine or a cold beer.

My tax dollars at work

I know it has been a while.
And it's not that I have no had anything to blog about in the past week.
I've just been a bit busy.
And sorry, but this sometimes lives at the bottom of my to-do list.


I had meant to blog about this Sunday right after it happened. But then I got home, started doing chores, getting stuff together for dinner... Then suddenly it was Monday.

I went stamping Sunday at my friend Kathy's house. It was the normal stamp-and-brunch deal.

I left there at about 1:30 and made my way home.

As I was heading back to the house I noticed a large plume of thick gray smoke coming from the east. The closer I got, the more I thought "Hmm... that looks like it is close to my neighborhood." Then "Hmm... that looks like it IS my neighborhood!"

Mind you, I do not live in a remote area so I don't have too many worries about wildfires. There is open space behind the houses across the street from me. I wonder...

I got a little closer to my 'hood and noticed that the smoke had quickly gone from dark gray to lighter gray to white. I knew that was a good sign. And since it was a plume going straight up and not a large cloud covering the area, I figured it was probably a small area, probably a house.

I turned a few times, getting closer, coming up the main road.

There, on a side street two streets down from me was a cop car keeping people from turning there. I drove by. Looking down the street I saw several fire department vehicles and an ambulance.

I went ahead to my house, grabbed my camera (nosy journalist!) and walked the short distance to where the street was blocked.

Seeing that I was not the only pedestrian angling for a better look, I went ahead down that side street. A few houses in there is another street.

This is where the fire was, the first street was just a staging area.

It looked like one house, a two-level, was the source of the smoke.

Cops milled about the staging area, but there was no big sense of urgency.

Firefighters had a ladder on the house going up to a second-floor deck. But it looked like most of the activity was done.

There was a group of firefighters on the sidewalk, pointing to the house and talking.

I think the fire was out.

I decided to see what my tax dollars were good for, you know, on the unthinkable chance that I have to take advantage of it someday.

Ambulance - 1
Cop cars - 6
Fire trucks - 12 of varying sizes including two large ladder trucks

It looked like most of this stuff was not being used on this fire.
Must have been a slow day in the city and they sent the whole brigade.

As I overheard someone say, "I guess they send out everything that is available since they don't know WHAT they will deal with when they get here."

Good point.

Later, after the yellow tape was gone and the trucks had retreated, I took a drive by the house that had been the center of such a hoopla.

If I had not seen all that activity, I may not have even noticed the damage.

It looked like maybe the damage was mostly confined to the top floor and/or attic area. There was some soot evident on the side of the house. Some insulation was pulled out and piled on the upstairs deck.

I am sure for the people who live there it is devastating.

But considering that there are houses on both sides and a tightly packed neighborhood all around the house, it could have been far worse.

I think my tax dollars were well-spent that day.
And it ain't often that someone gets to say that.