The subject of Klout keeps coming back in the #UsGuys Twitter stream. We love to measure it, malign it, debate it… But we can’t resist checking our own scores now and then, if only to say that they are a fraction of a point too high or too low, which disproves the whole premise.
I’ll go easy on Klout. In most respects I find it to be a decent measure of a person’s effectiveness on Twitter—no other social network (as of today), but pretty good at measuring how well someone uses Twitter. A score of over 60 is very good; the single digits signal a newbie or a bot.
Anyway, my Klout score has stagnated lately because I’ve been using Twitter less. It goes back to about three weeks ago, when I got my first ride in an ambulance. I wasn’t the patient: that was my Dad. He’s had type 2 diabetes for years and it’s well controlled by medication, but occasionally his blood sugar goes a bit too low and he suffers from hypoglycemia. He’s passed out two or three times before, always briefly, and he always recovered quickly once he got some sugar in him. But this time he happened to pass out on the checkout line at a local supermarket. It caused a bit of a fuss.
Dad came to when he landed on the floor, a little disoriented but mostly OK. He was clear-headed enough to pull my cell phone number out of his wallet and give it to a young women who works in the store, who called me. And I was, luckily, at a coffee shop barely half a mile away. I arrived in front of the supermarket just behind the ambulance; a fire truck had already responded and Dad was sitting on a chair, sipping orange juice and surrounded by four members of the FDNY right behind register six, as the young woman had told me on the phone.
That’s how I got my first ambulance ride. (It wasn’t Dad’s first; he’s done that a few times before.) Fortunately Dad was doing rather well, all things considered, and I had the luxury of looking around as we rode to the hospital.
In the emergency room, Dad was examined, tested, poked and prodded, and eventually released against the advice of a physician but with my promise that I would go home with him and stay overnight to be sure he was really OK.
Indeed he was, except that he seems to have injured his left leg in the fall, and so we’ve spent the weeks since his little “incident” visiting doctors and having tests done. I’ve become a regular at Dad’s HMO. I’ve also been spending more time at Dad’s house (thus less time online and on Twitter) than usual, and have been picking up groceries and cooking dinner for him whenever we have an appointment.
I enjoy cooking at Dad’s. It’s the house my parents bought six months before I was born. Mom taught me to cook in that kitchen and I still feel more comfortable there than in my own kitchen, although I’ve had my own place for 15 years. Everything is familiar except the microwave oven that was a Christmas gift from my brother after Mom passed away and Dad had to fend for himself in the kitchen. (It’s the only kitchen appliance Dad knows better than I do.)
About a week ago I got a good deal on some chicken thighs at that very same supermarket where Dad passed out. (No, I don’t ever go to register six, but they were very good to us and I’m happy to give them some business.) I cooked up enough chicken that Dad had leftovers for a couple of meals on his own, but for dinner that night I got a little fancier.
Chicken Thighs with Clout
[Please note that I take most recipes as suggestions rather than absolute rules, and I write them the same way.]
About two chicken pieces per person (all other quantities are for two people)
1 cup (total veggies) diced onion, carrot and celery
1/2 teaspoon each dried sage, thyme and rosemary
Enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is excellent) and add the diced vegetables. Saute, stirring occasionally, until just tender, then push to the edge of the skillet. Add the chicken parts, browning on both sides.
Add the herbs and about half a cup of water. Stir the herbs, vegetables and water together in the skillet. Cover and reduce heat slightly. Cook until chicken is done. (When it is done the juices will run clear and there will be no pink remaining in the meat.)
Serve the chicken pieces with potatoes, rice or pasta. Spoon the vegetable and herb mixture over the chicken and the starch.
If you’re at all creative in the kitchen, you’ll see how versatile this is. A similar vegetable and herb mixture would be delicious with fish, pork or beef. You could vary the vegetables and herbs; mushrooms and bell peppers would be very good, or some basil and oregano to give it an Italian accent. I think it really needs some member of the onion family, but you could go bolder with garlic or milder with green onions or shallots.
The thing I enjoy about cooking, when I have the time do it leisurely, is that it is very creative. Having an appreciative audience makes it almost an artistic endeavor, and my Dad is a very appreciative audience.
Which brings me back to the discussion of Klout at the beginning of this post. After we’d had dinner, then sat and chatted in the living room with coffee, I got ready to go back to my own house. Dad gave me a hug, thanked me for cooking dinner, and said, “You’re wonderful.”
I mean, you just can’t measure something like that.