Sunday, September 21, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/20/14: Trudging in D. C., H Street Festival, New Salad

1.  How best to describe my folly?  Let's begin with D.C. streets.  In both the NW and NE parts of the D.C. quadrant, many street names are the same.  They are lettered streets and numbered streets.  So, today, when I got off the Metro train at Union Station, I wanted to go to H Street NE and about 4th.  I l left the station and started walking.  I found H Street and made my way toward 4th.  I got to 4th and there was no H Street Festival, my destination.  I kept trudging forward and suddenly I was in Chinatown.  Hmmm. I thought.  Does D. C. have two Chinatowns?  I kept going and arrived at the general area of the Verizon Center and realized I was on H Street NW, not H Street NE.  It was over eighty degrees and I was getting heated up, but, I decided to reverse myself and so I trudged to H Street NE, arrived at 4th Street, and lo and behold, I found the H Street Festival.

2.  After all this sidewalk walking in the afternoon heat, I was beat.  The H Street Festival was packed with people walking up and down H Street and with food vendors selling bbq, rice and noodles, sandwiches, and a host of other offerings; all kinds of clothes and jewelry vendors were out; I think there were eight music stages; politicians had volunteers out distributing pamphlets.  I was too tired to get my camera out and I took in what I could of the festival by walking around for about an hour and I headed back to Molly and Hiram's.  H Street, in case you're wondering, was a busy commercial area in the middle of the 20th century, had begun to decline, and was devastated by the riots and the fires set in the days following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.  It's been only in the last ten years or so that the area has recovered from the damage in 1968 and the festival is an annual celebration of a broken street and neighborhood recovering.

3.  I experimented with bits and pieces of a couple of recipes and made a ginger garlic sesame tofu-cold Chinese noodle-cabbage-red pepper salad that both the Deke and Molly enjoyed.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/19/14: Puffins for Breakfast, Things Are Movin', Ninety Day Refill

1.  Usually David sleeps until Molly returns from either walking or driving Olivia to school.  This morning he woke up so I had put on my big boy grandpa pants and take care of him.  I poured him a bowl of Puffins breakfast cereal and then I brought up a series of pictures of puffins on the World Wide Web and David looked at, and enjoyed, puffins while eating his Puffins.

2.  I called the movers in Eugene on Wednesday and didn't hear back.  I don't think Sandy got the message to call me back.  So I called again this morning and talked with Sandy and everything got set in motion to have the belongings stored in Eugene moved to Greenbelt, MD.  I even managed to survive sending a fax at the Staples self-service fax machine.  I was so relieved to have succeeded my knees were wobbly in the parking lot.

3.  I got three of my prescriptions filled at Target and I was probably a little too excited when I got home and discovered that my atorvastatin calcium tablets cost a bit more than usual because I got a ninety day refill.  I am all for ninety day refills!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09-18-14: Foggy Bottom Pictures, Dock Ellis Doc, Photography and Beer

1.  I took the train to Foggy Bottom so I could return to West End Cinema and watch No No: A Dockumentary.  It's the story of former Pirate/Yankee/Ranger/A's/Mets pitcher, Dock Ellis.  More on the movie later.  I arrived in Foggy Bottom well ahead of the movie starting, so I did some strolling in the Washington Circle area and took a few pictures.  Here are some of them:

2.  The movie No No: A Dockumentary was a great experience.  I loved baseball in the late sixties and on through the seventies and so seeing the clips the movie showed of games from that time thrilled me, moved me to long for seeing those teams and players again, especially Roberto Clemente.  I thoroughly enjoyed interviews with Dock Ellis' former teammates:  Al Oliver, Mudcat Grant, Dave Cash, Gene Clines, Steve Blass, Bruce Kison and others.  I went to the movie to have a nostalgic experience.  And I did.  But, I didn't know the rest of Dock Ellis' story and the movie turned out to a much more emotionally moving and satisfying experience than I could have expected and made it much than a sports movie, made it a movie that explored a complicated, not always admirable, man.  I had a great time.

3.  I arrived at Huntington Station about twenty minutes ahead of the bus I ride to get back to Molly and Hiram's and, at the stop, I fell into conversation with a professional photographer, Sinic Staton, who does work for On Tap magazine.  We had a lot to talk about regarding photography and beer and it made waiting for the bus and the ride to my stop very enjoyable.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/17/14: Whole Foods Extravaganza!, Whole Foods Beer, Favorite Dinner

1.  Molly and David and I piled into the Diaz Honda Element and went shopping at Whole Foods.  It was (by our standards!) an extravaganza.  Molly and I got excited thinking about future dinners at home as we loaded the cart:  a spaghetti squash, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and other good food and then we turned our attention to this evening's meal.  More on that soon.

2.  I admit it.  My favorite Whole Foods offering is the coffee/beer bar where the taplist is low on quantity but very high on quality.  Molly, David (!), and I had time to sit with some food at the horseshoe counter and I ordered a terrific flight of four 5 oz beers:  Mad Fox's Kellerbier Kolsch (OMG!), Port City's Oktoberfest (ditto), Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale (moderately pumpkin-y, superb) and the brilliant dessert beer for today, Southern Tier's Pumpking Ale, as sweet and delicious as a pumpkin ale can be!  I had a pack of potato chips and then, wow!, David couldn't eat his whole slice of Whole Foods cheese pizza, so I got to finish it.  Very satisfying.  By the way, the great guy running the coffee/beer counter gave David a glass of milk on the house -- and, BONUS, we had a great conversation about some beers and he recommended I look for Southern Tier's pumpkin stout called Warlock.  My eyes will be peeled for it.  (This came up because I told Molly that one of the beers I will miss living in VA/MD is Eugene's own Oakshire Big Black Jack, a most tasty imperial chocolate pumpkin porter, weighing in at 7.5% ABV, as warming as a pile of autumn leaves being burnt in the street.)

3.  Is there anything Molly, the Deke, other members of our family (not here), and I enjoy more than a Ciabatta bread, fancy salami, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, brie, Irish cheddar, colby jack, and other cheese, crackers dinner?  How about getting ready for this meal with a fine bottle of Goose Island's exquisite Sofie farmhouse ale, or, if you're the Deke and Molly, splitting a sweet bottle of Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Ale?  AND, at exactly the right moment, how about popping open a bottle of Pinot Noir?  Could any evening meal be better?  Well, for me, no!  At least not tonight!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/16/14: Chat, Apartment, Stir Fry

1.  I far prefer doing problem solving with computer matters by chatting online than I do trying to work it out on the telephone and I got some good service today.

2.  The application the Deke and I made for an apartment was approved today and we'll be moving to Greenbelt at the end of the month, and making arrangements to have the belongings that are still in Eugene moved to us.

3.  The Deke and Molly requested a tofu stir fry and I was able to use what we already had in the kitchen to make dinner with tofu, broccoli, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, corn starch, a dash of sugar, red pepper flakes, garlic, and rice. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/15/14: Maggie on the Sofa, Small Things at Huntley Meadows, Sweet Corn Salad

1.  I see all kinds of pictures of light and shadow with the help of Venetian blinds and Maggie was lying on the sofa this morning, in slats of light from the living room blinds.  I took some pictures of her and here are a couple of examples:

2.  With changes as big as the Deke and I are undergoing, having moved out east and with the Deke's new job, there's a lot of uncertainty about all kinds of stuff:  money, doctors, where we'll live, and so on.  It makes me nervous, eats at me.  So, today, to calm myself down, I took a walk in Huntley Meadows and took a bunch of pictures, mostly of small things, especially leaves.   Here are a couple of examples of what I focused on to try to allay my fears and to find quiet in the midst of my agitation:

3.  Another thing soothed my nervousness today and I think it could be a temporary cure at any time for anything that might ail my mind and spirit:  Molly's corn salad.  Molly found some sugar sweet corn on the cob and those kernels combined with black beans, salsa, farm fresh tomatoes, cumin, red wine vinegar, red onion, and I don't know what else combined to make both a tasty and a soothing dinner. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/14/14: Scouting Dupont Circle, Piels Beer to Tiki Bars, Passage to India

1.  Before meeting with Anne McGrail at the Bar Dupont, at the Dupont Circle Hotel, I went on a scouting expedition around the Dupont Circle neighborhood so that if we should happen to decide to eat at Hank's Oyster Bar or at Pizzeria Paradiso or at Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe or at any one of the other eateries featuring Turkish, Chinese, Italian, Greek, Thai, Afghan, or just about every other nation in the world, I'd know generally where to go.  It was a great stroll, walking in the shadows of many embassies from around the world, observing people happily eating outside at various restaurants, and having a very pleasant encounter with a tiny dog who sniffed my shoes, rubbed against my ankle, and gladly received me when I petted its head and back.

2.  Anne introduced me to her friend from high school, Jeff, and the three of us launched into a wide variety of conversation topics ranging from Anne's upcoming presentation at the NEH, the world of theater in the D. C. area and at LCC, the many experiences Anne and Jeff had as young people in Fitchburg (think Piels beer!) to Jeff's love of Tiki bars.  I had a superb time.

3.  But!  That's not all!  We ate at India Gate, a cozy Indian restaurant where I loved eating a bowl of comforting, lemony lentil Daal soup, a spicy, invigorating bowl of Chicken Vindaloo over basmati rice, and a perfectly toasted and chewy hunk of garlic Naan.  I hadn't eaten Indian food for a long time and this meal not only satisfied my taste buds, it animated me, brought me joy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/13/14: DuckFacts, I-D-A-H-O, Chicken Ginger Success

1.  Today was one of those days when I had fun passing on fun facts about the Ducks posted on my twitter feed by ESPN stats by posting them on my Facebook page.  It was fun following the Ducks v Wyoming online and reading how they overcame a sluggish start to blow out Wyoming 48-14.  More fun than the game, though, was swapping Facebook comments about the game with friends across our nation and overseas.

2.  More fun, yes, more fun than following the Ducks game, was following the Idaho Vandals playing Western Michigan University in the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.  I've been a Vandal fan since autumn days in grade school in Kellogg when Dad listened to Bob Curtis on the radio, smoke from his Camel no filter cigs dancing in the the October light shafts coming into the living room.  Dad listened on the radio while watching national telecasts on television and sometimes the Vandals were pretty good and got us excited, but often they were just flat awful.  Well, Dad has passed away and now I share the Vandal experience with sister Carol, who holds season tickets with her husband Paul, and I can make wise cracks to her on Facebook and she can respond online on her phone right there in the stadium!  Furthermore, niece Cosette plays in the Vandal marching band, so I can enjoy any video Carol posts and get reports on how awesome the band is -- in contrast to the football team.  It was really fun going back and forth with Carol -- she's learning so much about football -- she knows what a touchdown is now!  Thanks for playing, Carol...I hope we will do it again!

3.  I made ginger chicken stir fried noodles for dinner and I don't mind saying:  the dish was a smash here in Alexandria. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/12/14: Drain Works Again, Our Wedding Day, Tofu and Wine and Beer

Note:  This is my 2800th post at kellogg bloggin'.  When I first started writing this blog, I didn't realize how important it would become to me to write to remember.  Yes, I am grateful for the things that happen each day that I list under Three Beautiful Things.  I'm eternally grateful to Clare Law, who started her Three Beautiful Things blog back in 2004 and invited others to give it a go -- and it's a concept for writing and remembering and appreciating that's worked really well for me.  It's also a great way to keep others, who'd like to know, in touch with what I'm up to, especially since over 95% of my friends live elsewhere since the Deke and I have moved to the D. C. area.  I thought I would write more short essays when I first started this blog, and I still enjoy it when I do that, whether it's to reflect upon a movie, tell a story from the days in North Idaho, or reflect upon other things that come to mind.

1.  I'm glad plumbers know their trade.  I did a very stupid thing last night with a pan of leftover stir fry after Yzerman dragged it off the stove top on to the floor and started eating it. I put it in the garbage disposal, overtaxed it, and the rice became like cement in the pipes, plugging up the sink.  It cost an arm and a leg and a neck and a spine, but the kitchen drain is open, water drains fully down it, I paid for my stupidity, and I'm always disproportionately happy when broken things work again.

2.  If the Deke and I sign up for employee and spouse medical insurance through the Prince George's County School District plan, we need to prove we are married.  We arrived here with know idea where our marriage license/certificate is and ordered a new one.  It arrived today.  It made me unusually happy to read that John D. Green married us.  We got married at the Hitching Post in Coeur d' Alene and I'm sure, at the time, he introduced himself to us, but I had long forgotten his name and I like having a record of who he was.  After all, he was the only person present when the Deke and I said, "I do". 

3.  I sauteed tofu and poured over it a whisked mixture of soy sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper, minced garlic, minced ginger, and roasted sesame seeds.  I boiled Chinese noodles and fried them in sesame seed oil and each of us dished up some noodles and put some of the tofu mixture over them.  Molly and the Deke couldn't get over how good it tasted.  I have to agree.  My dinner was made even better by my discovery that this tofu dinner paired surprisingly well with Cab red wine out of the box.  A single bottle of Goose Island IPA worked really well as an after dinner drink.  There was one surprise after another tonight. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/11/14: Maggie a Turner (Sort Of)?, Paper Lanterns, Picture Studies

1.  I had planned to go to hear a celebration of James Baldwin at the National Art Gallery today, but, alas,  I needed to stay home in case the UPS delivery came, which requires my signature.  Oh, well.  I can't do everything....So, I thought, well, I'll try to take an Impressionist-esque handful of pictures of Maggie.  She was still.  I knew if I set the shutter speed to 10 seconds, without a tripod, I'd get a blurry picture and decided to see if I could get something like the effect I wanted.  I took three such pictures and this one was my favorite.  It came the closest to achieving the effect I'd hoped for.  I thought it came out kind of (I do mean kind of) J. M. W. Turner-y!

2.  Then I went out on Molly and Hiram's patio and experimented with taking pictures of their paper lanterns.  I wasn't so much going for the Impressionist effect so much as I wanted to see what I could do with fast shutter speeds and small aperture.  I also experimented with bokeh, which meant working with a larger aperture.  Here are a few of my afternoon pictures:

3.  Kathy Williams Harper (KHS '73) reminded me that when we looked at those paintings in grade school in Kellogg School District #391, and wrote about them, it was called "picture study".  She and Jim Etherton both remembered the paper we wrote on when we did picture study and Kathy remembered how we each matted our pictures.  Kathy also reminded me that two more of the pictures we studied:  The Gleaners (Millet) and The Age of Innocence (Reynolds).  These are very touching memories.