Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/28/15: Granddaughter Ana Maria is Born, Sibs at Michael D's, Sibs Join Stu at Manito Taphouse

1. The day began with most beautiful news.  Molly gave birth to Ana Maria Diaz. I'll have more to report when I am back in Maryland on Wednesday, July 29th.  My impression at this time is that all is going well. Ana is the Deke's and my fourth grandchild.  (Wow!)

2. Christy, Carol, and I spent my last day in the Inland Empire enjoying a sibling outing.  We started the day in Breakfast Town, also known as Coeur d'Alene, and enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Michael D's.  I enjoyed corned beef hash, a couple of eggs, home fried potatoes, and a side of one biscuit with gravy.  It's a good thing Greenbelt, MD is NOT Breakfast Town.  It would be difficult to resist indulging myself often which would not help out my efforts to keep my weight and blood pressure down!

3. After taking care of some business in CdA and enjoying the floral beauty of the Duncan Gardens and picking up some snacks at Trader Joe's for my flight to Baltimore, we met with lifelong friend Scott "Stu" Stuart at the superb South Hill gastropub, The Manito Taphouse.  We had a great time talking with each other, enjoying the enthusiasm and beer knowledge of our server, Emily, and our excellent dinner. I kept thinking throughout our time that I just don't get whey such a place doesn't exist in Greenbelt or College Park...Denizen's in Silver Spring is close and Franklin's in Hyattsville is too big -- and I'd live to see a joint similar to The Manito Taphouse open nearby in our neck of Maryland.  Sigh. If I were a rich man......

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/27/15: Maggie Survives, 7th Grade Kidney Report, Dinner at Carol's, BONUS: Ana Maria is Born

1. I called the Deke and received this report: The Deke is staying at Molly and Hiram's in Silver Spring because Molly is so close to having her baby. In the middle of the night, our older corgi Maggie showed signs of distress and illness and the Deke quickly located an emergency vet and took Maggie to Rockville where she was treated for a urinary tract infection. Eventually, the vet sent Maggie home with pills and she is recovering well.

2. Upstairs, Mom had a small bag of things from my youth to sort out. In the bag, I found report cards. I found out that all of my teachers said I talked too much in class. Ha! Among other things, I discovered a 7th grade science research report.  What was the subject of my paper:  kidneys. For those of you who know that I'm being treated for chronic kidney disease, you can understand that I found this discovery both weird and eerie.

3. Carol and Paul invited Mom, Christy, Everett, and me over for dinner.  Paul grilled a school of tilapia and it tasted exquisite with the accompanying green salad, garden fresh green beans, and brown rice. Toward the end of dinner, a robust discussion of raised garden beds broke out between Christy, Everett, Paul, and Mom and I spent about ten minutes or so waiting for the right moment to bust into the discussion with the news that Molly had gone into labor and was on her way to the hospital.

BONUS UPDATE: Here's a preview of tomorrow's Three Beautiful Things:  Molly gave birth to Ana Maria on 07/28/15.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/26/15: Washer Man, City Limits Grub, Mom Wins at Walmart

1. This morning Mom gathered up her laundry and I did the same and I became, in Mom's words, "Washer Man" and got the clothes and towels and rags washed and dried before we headed off for our next undertakings for the day.

2. Mom had decided earlier in the week that she wanted to treat us all to a meal at the City Limits in Wallace, so we all piled into our vehicles and sat down to a lot of fun and a delicious lunch and beers at the Silver Valley's premier brew pub. I thoroughly enjoyed my Beer Brat and Raspberry Wheat Ale.

3. Mom caught Walmart again! She and I went to the Smelterville Walmart after lunch and after she took about twenty items or so, unimpeded, to the Express "Ten or Less" cashier, she inspected her receipt and saw a $4.98 purchase that didn't have a verbal description, only a number. So, we hot-footed it over to the customer service counter where the friendly and efficient agent did a computer search of the store's inventory and told Mom she had paid $4.98 for a loaf of bread she picked up at the deli/bakery. Mom didn't think the bread had cost -- or was worth -- $4.98, so she gave the bread back to the friendly, efficient agent and had the $4.98 credited to her credit card. Two days in a row! Another win for Mom!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/25/15: Breakfast at Penny Lane, Walmart Ripoff Redeemed, Heading Into Our Sixties

1. Around 9:00, I strolled west on Cameron Avenue to Knott's Landing where Donnie Knott was fixing an awesome breakfast of waffles, fried eggs, sausage, potatoes, and coffee for me and Abby. We picked right up from where we'd been the night before yakkin about all kinds of stuff and brought the weekend get together of the Hall of Fame of Great Guys to an end.

2. Chaos. Corporate thievery. I made a run to the Smelterville Walmart for Mom and got home and a quick inspection of the receipt made it clear: she got ripped off. The cashier guy evidently (and accidently, let's hope) scanned one of Mom's boxes of Quaker's granola twice. This meant Mom got ripped off for $4.50 and she could not abide such an injustice. On our way up the river, Christy and I stopped at Walmart and I went to the customer service counter where the friendly and efficient Walmart agent pushed buttons here, had me sign there, explained this, and asked for that and, before I knew it, I had a refund to give back to Mom.  Order restored.

3. Christy and I were going up the river to take part in the KHS Class of '73's 60th birthday celebration. I had a great time talkin' with many of Christy's classmates and getting caught up on what's happening these days as we longtime friends head into our sixties. The event also turned out to be small reunion for my fellow members of the Class of '72. It was great to see and yak with Sharon and Wanda and before long birthday boy Ed and Joni arrived and we split off for a while and met Jake and Carol Lee at the Snake Pit for drinks and food. The whole afternoon and evening was Silver Valley life at its very finest.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/24/15: Bench Warmer Reporter, Hall of Fame at Knott's Landing, Class of '75

1. This afternoon, I dropped by Knott's Landing to drop off a couple of six packs of Payette Brewing's excellent North Fork Lager for this evening's Hall of Fame of Great Guys get together and Don and I popped open a couple of North Forks a piece and got in some early yakkin' before the official event started at five. Don had some issues of the school paper from high school.  I was such a crappy basketball player my sophomore year, that, sitting on the end of the bench, I watched our games and wrote up recaps in a non-opinion column called "Sports Replay".  It was fun reading some of those columns again -- they were harmless-- but not as fun to remember all those games I spent as a spectator with a uniform on.

2. Byrdman, Donnie, and Ed and I were the first charter members of the Hall of Fame of Great Guys to arrive.  Later, Pat Kenyon visited us for a while and, still later, Abby came by. Byrdman provided the music with great music from the 70s, so we shot the breeze and knocked down some barley pop to the sounds of the Allman Brothers, Queen, Don McLean, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and other superb music from forty years ago.  Donnie not only provided the patio for our get together, he also cooked up some first-rate chili and accompanying hot dogs. It was an awesome night with friends I've known for over fifty years. This is the best part of getting old -- getting together with friends I've known forever. 

3. Ed and I took a break from the goings on at Knott's Landing (aka Penny Lane) and strolled down the street to Eddie Joe's where the KHS Class of '75 was having the first night of their class reunion. After some conversation with Mark Absec, I got to have a much longer conversation with Kevin Edwards (Class of '71, married to Kay Hoskins, Class of '75).  I hadn't seen Eddie for at least forty years and it was fun talking about what's up these days and talking with Kay, as well.  I also talked with Marilyn Listoe, Pat Kenyon (again), and Einor Larsen (Class of '73), and then Ed and I made our way over to see Buff, talk for a little while, and we made our way back to the Hall of Fame. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/23/15: Chicken Fried Plate of Awesome, Dinner Prep, Christy's Dinner Party Success

1. Back to Breakfast Town this morning.  Stu, Lars, Joni and I met for breakfast at Nosworthy's Hall of Fame in Coeur d'Alene.  It had been a long time since I had a chicken fried steak with sausage gravy and hash browns and sourdough toast accompanied by a couple of orange beers and coffee so I indulged in this tasty combination and it was almost as good as spending time with three lifelong friends and shooting the breeze for about an hour and a half.

2. Back home, I pitched in to help get Mom's house and yard presentable for dinner with Dick and Renae, Carol, Paul, and Cosette, and Christy and Everett by pulling weeds over by the garage on the front of Mom's property, hosing down the deck so there weren't cat paw prints, watering different pots of plants, and vacuuming the front and back porch.

3. Christy was the brains and talent that brought our dinner party into being.  She put together a generous antipasto platter, mixed a great bourbon lemon cocktail that is a delicious cousin of an Old Fashioned, and made a most tasty and tomatoey no-cook pasta dish accompanied by foccacia. We gathered on Mom's deck (no cat paw prints) and the stories and laughter flew -- a great party.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/22/15: Garage Looking Good, David's Legos, Christy Needs a Drink Taster

1. With minor rearranging, I made a space in the garage for Mom's all-terrain walker.  This required me to put the ShopVac on "blow", and blow some more dust, grass, and leafy material out of the garage. My success in completing this project gave me such a strong jolt of adrenaline, that I returned to the east side of the garage and rearranged things there so that it looks tidy and orderly.

2. Back in Greenbelt, Molly needed the Deke to spend much of the day with David. She bought him a new Legos kit and the video she posted on Facebook made me wish I could have been there to see him meticulously build away.


3. Christy found a recipe for a bourbon drink that is kind of a citrus version of an Old Fashioned and she needed to try it out before serving it to guests on Thursday, and I accepted her offer to be a volunteer drink taster -- and it was very good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/21/15: Sorting out the Side of the Garage, Water into Wine, Spaghetti on the Deck

1. Mom and I took a gander at the stuff scattered and stacked on the east side of her garage -- planting pots, garden hose, utility cart, lattice for the deck, tomato cages, buckets, random boards, a couple of bags of old, old leaves, and Mom stuck to her central principle when it comes to should it stay or should it go: unless it's broken, it stays.  A bucket was broken. A couple of plant pots were broken. So were some trays that once held plant starters. An old birdhouse was falling apart. I threw that stuff away. Now, I'll try to make the stuff she's keeping look better over there.  The new neighbors (ahem: Christy and Everett!) haven't complained, but I'd like to make the view out their west windows a little bit nicer.

2. Something in the garage was apparently blocking the signal from the in-house remote and the remote in Mom's Impala to the garage door, so it wouldn't open or close via either remote. I hooked up the shop-vac and used it as a dust and dirt and old leaves blower and blew the garage clean. Somehow, that fixed the problem with the remote. I felt like I had performed a miracle nearly equal to turning water into wine.

3. Christy handed me a couple of jars of homemade tomato sauce and I added onion, yellow pepper, and browned ground beef to it, boiled some spaghetti, fixed a green salad, and, abbacadabra!, Mom, Christy, Everett, and I had ourselves a spaghetti dinner on the deck.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Three Beautiful 'Things 07/20/15: Zach Wins; Jordan's a Sportsman, Molly's Back, Patio Dinner

1.  After watering and doing the needed pet care at Carol and Paul's, I came back to Mom's and watched the thrilling last round of the British Open and the four hole playoff.  Zach Johnson's win was exciting, especially his putts on 18 and on the first two playoff holes. During the playoff, the camera showed Jordan Spieth, who fell one stroke short of also being in the playoff, and who needed a victory to keep his Grand Slam aspirations alive, actually watching the playoff. My jaw dropped. I thought it was customary for players who fell short in tournaments to get to the locker room and parking lot as soon as possible and speed off. Not only did Spieth stick around, when the tournament ended, he was among the first to greet and congratulate Zach Johnson when he walked off the 18th green at the playoff's end.

I immediately thought of all the athletes who would see such sportsmanship as a sign of weakness. I thought of all the players who want to crush their opponents and figure sportsmanship gets in the way of achieving a crush the opponent competitive edge. I texted Ted in New Jersey and said that Spieth must have left his Tiger Woods etiquette manual back in the U.S.A. I can't imagine Tiger Woods falling a stroke short in a tournament, sticking around to watch a playoff, and then bro-hugging the winner.

But Spieth did.

I admire that.

2. I went over to Carol and Paul's in the afternoon to let Sadie and Juliet outside and MOLLY WAS HOME! She had returned from her surprise visit to Eugene for Zoe's birthday and from her camping trip to Palouse Falls and she said she'd take care of the lawn/garden watering and the dogs and cats.

3.  Christy and Everett picked up some Tony Roma ribs in CdA and Christy fixed Mom and Everett and me a dinner of ribs, rice, Asian salad, and broccoli.  We sat out on Christy and Everett's patio in the cooling evening air and enjoyed the food and one another's company. It's great having these new next door neighbors.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 07/19/15: British Open Again, RIP Moe, Grocery Store Discussion

1. It was fun keeping an eye on the British Open golf championship and seeing amateur Paul Dunne ascend to the top of the leaderboard along with Jason Day and Louis Oosterhuizen and to see Jordan Spieth breathing down their necks, just a stroke behind. It reminded me of a year ago when Molly and Hiram's townhouse was full of family and so I stayed at a Best Western near Ft. Belvoir, VA and watched last year's open in my room. That was a lot of fun.

2. Upon learning that Alex Rocco, the actor who played Moe "Do you know who I am" Green in The Godfather, died, I watched his great scene with Al Pacino in Las Vegas on YouTube and then watched a seventy minute documentary on the making of the whole Godfather saga.

3. Christy and Everett took care of things at Carol and Paul's this evening and when she brought back the key, we got into a long discussion with Mom of the history of grocery stores, both current stores and past ones, and ended up talking about Waremart, Trader Joe's, Winco, Whole Foods, Price Chopper, and few others. Ha!  I didn't see that conversation coming.