Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Customer Service Email Exchange

I had such a great experience with asking what I considered to be an important question of a motor oil manufacturer, that I wanted to share.
If only every exchange could be like this. No "us", no "them", just the sympathetic facts:

To: James Morrissey
Can you please tell me all of the ingredients in your synthetic oil SAE 10w-40 for gasoline engines?

On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 1:27 PM, James Morrissey <> wrote:
Good afternoon K,

Royal Purple oil formulations are proprietary.
However a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is available here:
Thanks for choosing Royal Purple and have a great day!

Best Regards,
James Morrissey
Sr. Automotive Technical Support
Thanks for the reply, James.
I should've asked if the motor oil has any polyglycol.

On Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 1:53 PM, James Morrissey <> wrote:
Good afternoon K,

No, there are no Royal Purple engine oils that have any glycol in them at all.
What is this going in?

Thanks for choosing Royal Purple and have a great day!

Best Regards,
James Morrissey
Sr. Automotive Technical Support

To: James Morrissey
Subject: Re: Can you please tell me all of the ingredients in your synthetic oil SAE 10w-40 for gasoline engines?

It took us two days, but we finally realized what our dog got into that made her beard all oily. I realize that it's been long enough that, if there had been anything toxic, she'd already be in dire straits.
I wanted to know for my own peace of mind.
You can be sure that we'll be more careful in the future.
Thanks again!
Your replies mean a lot.

Good afternoon K,

Oh dear I would be freaking out too. I hope your dog continues to do well.

Not the most nutritious dog snack/treat in the world, but it definitely does not contain glycol or anything considered hazardous. Look through that MSDS and you will see what I mean and perhaps breathe a little easier.

Thanks for choosing Royal Purple and have a great day!

Best Regards, 
James Morrissey
Sr. Automotive Technical Support

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blood Date

The photographer is one in a long line of Red Cross volunteers we've met and bonded with over the years. Kim has a big, fun personality and she gets a kick out of giving N a hard time. Of course, he gives it right back. We'll be thinking good thoughts for her as she goes through her third hip replacement in seven years, due to a recall. I can't even begin to imagine. Thanks for the fun, Kim!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Shellberg Falls

We were lazing about on one of our typical Sunday afternoons, when N and Fran decided we should go on a hike. They researched and printed out a map for a falls a short drive from home.

The trailhead for Shellberg Falls is in the Gates/Silver Falls area, nestled between farm and forest land. The parking area is small and no restrooms are available in the area. Most of the trail is a gravel road with a slight uphill grade and many cattle guards (and cattle). The last half mile, the cattle pasture is replaced by forest--tall conifers with sword ferns covering most of the floor. It's a fairly easy hike with a nice reward at the end (if you start early enough) and access to other trails if you hike beyond the waterfall.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Favorite Path at Minto Brown

Click here for a map that shows where "the green loop" is located.

Click here for Minto Brown Park Flikr group

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cousin Chris: Summer Memories

Not sure if it's because I walked into a cloud of gnats while walking with Sara today, but I was suddenly shot back in time to the late 60's. There we were, my cousin Chris and I, riding bikes around Lake Sacajawea. How old were we, 11? 12?

Sister Karen had wanted company during the summer, while her husband Ken was fishing in Alaska. I'm not positive, but I believe my nephew was just a baby at that time. To keep the antsy, long limbed, pre-teens occupied, Karen had offered us their bikes to ride. Bikes for me equaled FREEDOM. Lovely, glorious freedom! I remember how we tried to ride around the lake at least once a day, until she reminded me that she had wanted us there for company. Oops!

One day, Karen, pulled out her oil paints, a print of Van Gogh's, "Vase with Twelve Sunflowers", and two smallish canvases for Chris and I. She proceeded to give the two of us a lesson and then directed us while we attempted to paint. Chris, always with more artistic talent than I, was given more attention (rightfully so!). When Karen turned to my side of the table, she was stymied as to why I had painted the multi-colored flowers all pink or gold. "Because they are?" Both Chris and I inherited the Weeks' color deficiency gene.

I remember how we slept on Karen's couch, heads at north and south--bristley adolescent legs keeping each other awake. And, I'm not sure why she ever left us alone-- those prank calls. Kids today are so deprived, no thanks to caller ID.

Thanks for the sweet memories, cousin!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Amber's Asian Broccoli Slaw

This is a slaw worth remembering. Thanks, Amber!

2 Green Onion
4 cup Broccoli, grated
1/2 head Cabbage, grated
****add crushed almonds and 1 tsp. raisins****
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Braggs liquid amino or soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
OR Braggs ginger Sesame & Ginger Salad Dressing

1. Thinly slice 1/2 of a red cabbage using a mandoline or sharp knife.
2. Using a grater or food processor, grate broccoli to uniform small chunks.
3. Chop green onions into 1/4-inch pieces.
4. Toss everything together with the sesame ginger dressing.
5. Serve.
And here's the spicy thai noodle recipe from Lisa:

Spicy Thai Noodle Salad

(Laura Chaffey 4th Grade teacher at Hammond Elementary School)

'l Ib angel hair pasta, Cooked
1/2 C. Canola or sesame oil (l usually use 1/2 of each)
1 T dried red pepper flakes (l typically use less)
6 T Honey
4 T Soy sauce

Heat these 4 ingredients to infuse.
Add sauce to pasta (the longer you let the sauce sit before adding to pasta, the hotter
The sauce gets. | don’t let it sit
Before serving - TOSS onto pasta
2T toasted sesame seeds
1/2 C Chopped green onion
1/2 C Chopped Cilantro
1 C dry roasted peanuts

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Zucchini Fritters - a summer winner

Over my lifetime, I've eaten zucchini in many ways and not all of them were delicious. In the last two years that's been changing. Fran makes a delicious Zucchini Ribbons with Almond Pesto from Smitten Kitchen, niece Dani treated us to Gordon Ramsay's Stuffed Courgette Rolls, I'm always ready to eat any variation of this saute with zucchini, tomatoes and basil and I love to eat and make my own variation of Ina Garten's Vegetable Tian. There are several other summer staples we make regularly, but those are the stand outs.
Here's the latest addition to the list. Forget the dipping sauce, the fritters stand just fine all by themselves.

Zucchini Fritters
from Bon Appetit

Squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible.

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 large egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Mix vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then wring zucchini dry in a clean kitchen towel. Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, flour, chives, and cornstarch; season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, drop 1/4-cupfuls zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening slightly; cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to a paper towel–lined plate; season with salt. Serve with soy dipping sauce.
DO AHEAD: Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead. Keep warm in a 200° oven.