Life and Death

Tuesday was my birthday. All day long I celebrated life.

Tuesday night I got a phone call. My godfather/uncle had died. He was only 55 years old.

Today is Eugene’s birthday. We celebrated life.

Tonight in Arizona is Uncle Dan’s funeral service for the family. I did not make the trip.

Uncle Dan was likely the first person I ever spoke to on ham radio. When I was very young, Dad in Tennessee would get Dan in Arizona on HF phone and chat. I was too nervous or too shy to talk to Uncle Dan, but Dad could get me to talk to the microphone: “Hi, Mike!” (“Hi, Mic!”)

The last time I saw Uncle Dan was almost three years ago when my mom died. He read from Proverbs 31 during her funeral Mass and was a pallbearer as well.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. 

WZ7U (SK) 73 ES 88 DE NR4CB

Mom’s Vegetable and Ground Beef Soup Non-Recipe Recipe

Mom made a vegetable and ground beef soup for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the few things I’d cook for myself when I moved out, even though I’m not much of a cook. I tweaked her recipe a bit, but even she said her recipe wasn’t really a recipe so much as an outline. I made a batch tonight. I tweeted a picture of it and was asked about the recipe. So, here it is.

As you can see, I’m not a fan of brothy type soups, so this is more chunky than soupy. You can adjust everything according to your preferences.

Ingredients & Prep

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 potatoes
  • some carrots
  • canned tomatoes (whole, diced, or petite diced). Mom used a can of whole tomatoes and an equal amount of water. I use two cans of diced tomatoes.
  • other vegetables such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, yellow squash, and/or green beans.
  • extra bits like canned black beans (rinsed and drained), canned corn (rinsed and drained), frozen corn, frozen peas, and/or frozen lima beans
  • salt, pepper, and maybe basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves

Cut the vegetables to appropriate sizes for soup. For the onion, I dice part of it and cut part of it into very large pieces. I enjoy cooked onion, but my husband sometimes prefers to pick them out of things, so leaving them large helps with that.


  • Brown the ground beef. I cook the diced onion with the beef to add some good flavor to the beef. Add salt and pepper. Drain off excess fat.
  • Add the chunks of potatoes, onions, carrots, and anything else you have that will take a long time to cook.
  • Add canned tomatoes (and water if you’re using it). The liquid should cover most of the meat and veggies.
  • Season
  • Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are starting to get tender
  • Add the next round of vegetables that take less time to cook, such as zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans
  • Season
  • Cover and let cook
  • When everything is cooked to your liking (not too crunchy, not too mushy — these are technical terms), add the extra bits. Lima beans will take a few minutes to heat through. Canned black beans, canned corn, and frozen peas or corn will not take as long.
  • Check once more for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Eat.

As I said, this is not really a recipe but more than an outline. Try it a few times and take notes about what you like and what you don’t. After a few tries, you’ll have found a recipe that you like and can make over and over without having to put much thought into it.

Tonight I used 1 lb of ground beef, about one medium onion, 4 red potatoes, however many carrots my husband chopped up (probably about the same amount as the potatoes), one zucchini, one yellow squash, a handful of fresh green beans, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of corn, and salt, pepper, basil, thyme, and 2 bay leaves.


4th Annual US Thanksgiving Weekend Worked All Twitter (#WATwitter) QSO Party

It’s that time of year again. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the United States, many of us are preparing for family gatherings, shared meals, and — of course — Worked All Twitter.

Here’s the rundown for the 4th Annual #WATwitter QSO Party:

  • Dates: Wednesday, 26 November – Sunday, 30 November 2014
  • Who: Any licensed operator, especially those who use Twitter
  • Where: All bands, all modes. To let as many people as possible participate, use the portion of the band open to the most people, ie the technician class portion of 10m, the general class portion of 20m, etc.
  • Exchange: your normal exchange plus your Twitter handle, especially if it’s not your call sign.
  • Spotting: Self-spotting is practically required. Tweet your frequency, interact with people on Twitter, set up skeds, get those states you’re missing for WAS, work old friends for the first time, and make new friends.
  • Hashtags on Twitter: #WATwitter and either #hamradio or #hamr. Use these hashtags in your tweets, and search for others who are using them. Interact!
  • Have fun! Log your contacts, tweet your tallies to others, but there are no scores or awards. This is about enjoying our hobby and connecting with fellow hams over the long holiday weekend.

Last year some folks organized a net for a chance to have QSOs with even more ham radio & social media friends. Want to do that again this year? Organize a net and put the details in the comments.

Not as active on Twitter as you are on other social media platforms? Join us anyway. Hey, Redditors, this especially means you!

Updates will be made as needed at this same URL.

Spread the word, and we’ll see you on the air.

73 de NR4CB, Connie (on Twitter as @NR4CB)