Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/29/14: Learning Greenbelt, Eyes OK, Floor Nap

1.  I spent time getting a bit familiar with Greenbelt and the surrounding suburbs without GPS.  I consulted maps online, took notes, and tried things out and I'm getting it.

2.  I was due for an eye exam and had a great time, especially since I found out that there was no significant change in my eyesight and that the best thing I can do to help my eyes is give them a rest when I'm on the computer.

3.  With the Deke so busy teaching, I am taking care of certain aspects of getting our apartment set up.  First the kitchen and in the afternoon I did something I used to do in my trailer in Cd'A, my little basement apartment in Eugene, and in my office at LCC:  I took a nap on the floor.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/28/14: Mom and Hiram, I Like the Euros More, It's Never Simple

1.  The picture Kai took of Mom and Hiram at the President's Own United States Marine Band concert Saturday night at Ferris High School in Spokane started making the rounds (went viral!) on Facebook and it was beautiful to see that Hiram got to meet Mom.  It was really good of Molly and Kai to take Mom and for all of them to have dinner afterward at Twig.  I talked to Mom this morning and she had a wonderful time and loved the concert.

2.  I feel some obligation, because I live in the USA, to pull for the USA in the Ryder Cup.  But I don't enjoy the American players that much and do enjoy most of the European players.  So, when the Europeans defeated the US once again, I didn't feel the sadness I've been conditioned to think I should feel.  I was happy for Rory and the lads on the European side.

3.  It won't be installed for another week, but after a few false starts, a call to the service center, and an act of surrender, we are on the calendar to have Internet service at our new apartment.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/27/14: Before Kohl's, At Kohl's, After Kohl's

1.  I found Kohl's.  I drove to Kingstowne center and drove for about forty-five minutes all over the parking lot, looking for Kohl's and it was nowhere so I found a parking spot and called the Deke, hoping she could help me find Kohl's.  Turns out Kohl's wasn't in the mall, but across the boulevard from the mall next to WalMart.  I was so relieved to have found Kohl's that I went straight to the East Asian Bistro and ate a bowl of Won Ton Soup and a plate of combo Lo Mein Noodles.  I, then, drove to Kohl's.

2.  At Kohl's I bought furnishings for the kitchen:  cast iron skillets, four sets of peacock Fiesta ware, silverware, a new ELECTRIC FRYING PAN, and some other things.  I was checked out by the nicest, most helpful checker in the world who helped me sign up for a Kohl's credit card so I got a 30 per cent discount on my purchase.  Therefore, when the 30 per cent off was combined with all the in store sales I took advantage of, I saved close to a million dollars today at Kohl's.  Later, I added to our kitchen supplies at Target.  I didn't save a million dollars at Target.

3.  After I found Kohl's, and after I saved a million dollars at Kohl's, I went to Giant and bought some Pumpking beer and a sampler six pack of Flying Dog Imperial Pumpkin, Devil's Backbone Pumpkin, Flying Dog Oyster Stout, Founder's Raspberry Ale, Southern Tier Porter, and a Festina Peche by Dogshead.  Allison, Molly, the Deke, and I all tried different beers.  The women knit.  I followed all the latest news on twitter and ESPN.  We capped off the evening when Allison surprised all of us by ordering about six or seven dishes of carry out Chinese food from Chin's kitchen.  What a climax!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/26/14: Lease Signed, The Pleasures of Dickens, Old Line Has Sour Ales!

1.  The Deke and I now have an apartment in Greenbelt, Maryland.  We have no furnishings, but we have an apartment.  We'll get to work on the stocking and the furnishing this weekend and we'll have a bit more to put in it when the moving truck arrives.  I'll hope that maybe we'll be somewhat settled in over the next week.

2.  I took the train to Greenbelt and figured out which bus goes from Greenbelt station to our apartment complex and spent a lot of time reading Great Expectations and I'm hooked.  The opening chapters are set in a marsh near a churchyard and involve two escaped convicts and no one I've ever read evokes the damp, dark, chill of a December marsh and the futile efforts of the human body to ward off the cold like Dickens.  In addition, no one can create a quick character, whether an escaped convict or a dopey uncle or a child beating sister or a pompous church clerk like Dickens.  

3.  With the signing of the lease under our belts, the Deke and I, upon Pete the lease guy's recommendation, went to Beltsville to Old Line Fine Wine, a former Circuit City building converted into a warehouse style store for bottles and cans of wine, beer, and spirits and a bistro with a seventeen tap taplist and pretty good food.  I enjoyed a 18th Anniversary Imperial IPA from Stone and a hoppy wheat -- maybe from Boulevard.  Great stuff.  We enjoyed the feta cheese caramelized onion flatbread, hot wings, and brussel sprouts fried in apple sesame sauce.

My highlight, though, was buying a bomber of Weyerbacher's Riserva, an American Wild Ale, or as I like to think of them, a sour ale, and this one was brewed with pureed raspberries and aged in oak barrels.  I've had a strong hankering for sour beer ever since I left Eugene.  The one sour I had a few weeks ago in Old Town Alexandria helped, and bringing this beer home and drinking part of the bottle was hugely satisfying.  Final note:  I am alone in our household in my love of sours -- so I did not have the pleasure of sharing the bottle or of enjoying the deep pleasures of sour ale with anyone else.....

Friday, September 26, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/25/14: Pendleton's On, (Some of) Our Stuff, Allison Arrived

1.  It's good to know that Jake, Ed, Mike S., and I will be doin' our annual thing at the Wild Horse Casino in Pendleton:  gaming, eating, watching football, telling tall tales, insulting each other, and, most of all, relaxing.

2.  Yes, that's true.  I would have preferred to hear that the belongings we left in Eugene are on the truck and on their way to Greenbelt, MD.  But, not yet.  Nonetheless, I'm grateful to know what's what and can get going on moving into our apartment this weekend knowing what we've got and don't have and will definitely start buying what we need to start to furnish the joint and begin to stock the kitchen.

3.  Allison arrived from Chicago today and the kitchen buzzed with stories, laughter, knitting, beer, and wine, and I made my contribution by fixing a colorful stir fry with great variety and a pretty decent sauce.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/24/14: Eye Exam Soon, Peaches, Over Our Heads

1.  Two or three calls to eye exam places in Greenbelt, MD followed by a call to Moda in Portland and I got some good help and learned what I need to do to make my health insurance work for me and so I got an eye exam appointment in Beltsville, MD.  My new life has lots of belts.

2.  Rita wrote me a simple email after she read about my phone calls to get things straight with PERS and medical insurance and making appointments.  She brought back to life the closing of a Li-Young Lee poem we used to work with a lot back in our team teaching days, whether with students or with faculty at conferences and workshops we used to attend.  She brought back sweet memories to me and reminded me of the wisdom of the poem when she wrote:

These are the things that make life possible!

From joy to joy,
From wing to wing,
From blossom to blossom,
To sweet impossible blossom.

Maybe the meaning of this is private between Rita and me.  In might be inarticulable. Doesn't matter. The lines sweetened the rest of my day.

3.  The Deke's work at Robert Goddard French immersion school in Greenbelt is challenging in ways she has never experienced before in all her years working with children.  She's working hard to work with the great differences between the situation at Robert Goddard and in her work in Eugene.  The Deke, Molly, and I entered into deep conversation about it last night and figured nothing out.   It's over our heads.

If you'd like to read the whole Li-Young Lee poem, here it is:

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
- Li-Young Lee

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/23/14: Betty is the Woman, Rhea Comes Through, Sofie Soothes Me

1.  I hope I don't have to call PERS too many more times, but when I do, I pray that every time I call, Betty will answer the phone and help me.  With my move to a "permanent" address in Maryland, I needed to take care of some business regarding my pension and Betty hung in there with my nervous voice and my anxiety muddled mind and helped me understand just what was going on and what I need to do.  Ultimately, her kindest and most magical words were, "I'll mail you the forms."  I nearly fell to my knees.  I didn't have to navigate the sometimes confusing PERS website to find the forms or bother Molly to print them for me:  they are coming in the mail and I understand what they are!

2.   But my head didn't ache and my guts weren't knotted up just because of PERS.  I need to get back to seeing doctors again.  After my first call to Johns Hopkins, I copied my insurance card at Staples and had it faxed to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.  I waited about two hours for a phone call:  would Johns Hopkins accept my insurance? Or was I screwed?  Wait.  Headache. Anxiety in my gut. More waiting.  The phone rang.  It was Rhea at Johns Hopkins.  The answer was yes and Rhea directed me to a clinic in Laurel and a nephrology center in Bethesda and I was on my way.  I have an internist appointment.  I have a kidney doctor appointment.  The anxiety lifted.  Both appointments are well in advance of my trip to Spokane/Kellogg/Pendleton.  I know these are the anxieties of being a privileged retiree, but, all the same, it's what I experienced.

3.  All that remains is eye exam and finding a dentist.  I'll do that tomorrow.  With the medical stuff taken care of and my anxiety relieved, I went straight to the icebox and cracked open a Goose Island Sofie and let its peppery, funky, orange peel Belgiumy goodness take the place of my anxiety.  A perfect antidote.  Things felt pretty good again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/22/14: Lego Puffin, Starting Over, Unseasoned Stir Fry

1.  David woke up before Molly returned from taking Olivia to school and so once he got settled in with a bowl of cereal, he asked if we could look at puffins again and so I called up puffin images on the laptop and David was most intrigued by the legos puffin.

2.  Soon, we'll be moving into our apartment and starting all over again with stocking the kitchen and furnishing the living room and other rooms.  I wrote lists, figuring out what we'll buy to get the stocking and furnishing underway.  It's fun to think about what my most basic needs are in the kitchen when I look at the kind of cooking I do most.  It's fairly simple.  (Near the top of the list? Electric frying pan!)

3.  I didn't season the zucchini, mushrooms, yellow summer squash, onion, celery, or cabbage when I stir fried them and the only thing I did with the Chinese noodles was fry them in sesame oil after boiling them.  I wanted to see if the flavor of the vegetables would carry the meal, maybe with some help, if the Deke or Molly so chose, with soy sauce.  The vegetables did carry the day.  Turns out this was an excellent combination of flavors and we all enjoyed tonight's dinner.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/21/14: WaPo and Charismatic Worship, Christina Makes Sushi, Panda Express Copycat, BONUS

1.  I closed myself off for a while upstairs and got started reading Sunday's Washington Post and followed other bits of news I'm following via twitter.  On the other side of the woods, behind Molly and Hiram's, the Faith United Methodist Church started an outdoor worship service at 11:00 so that I read about the events of the world, nation, and local area to the accompaniment of amplified Gospel/praise music and a vociferous sermon.  I couldn't hear the words, but I could hear the tone and passion and force of the pastor's delivery.

2.  On Sept. 19, NPR ran a story busting the myth that women can't make sushi, here. (I'd never heard that one.) (Tip o' the hat to Julie Fether for posting this article on twitter.)  As if to prove NPR's my busting correct, our next door neighbor, Christina, made sushi and generously shared a board of it with our household.  Here's a picture Christina took of her artistic, most tasty creation:

And here's Molly's picture:

3.  Well.  We had tofu in the fridge.  We had eggplant.  We had red pepper.  These ingredients along with minced garlic, Frank's hot sauce, a little sugar, fish sauce, and onion combined with Molly's making some perfect Hiram Rice were just what we needed to have a Copycat Panda Express Tofu and Eggplant dinner.  I figured, and this is not much of a boast, that since I wasn't making this dish for 180 people coming through a line in an airport and since it wasn't going to sit in a steamer for Lord knows how long, that my Tofu Eggplant dinner might be better than Panda Express.  And it was!  Ha!  Molly, the Deke, and I really enjoyed this dish.  A lot.

BONUS: I booked a flight to Spokane for November 5th, so my plan to go to the Wild Horse Casino in Pendleton on the weekend before Veterans Day and to stay in Kellogg with my mom during some part (if not all) of the winter is going to happen.

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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/10/14: Writing About Paintings, Cheers!, Pizza Collaboration

1.  Rather than going out into the world, I wrote a blog post exploring my personal history of looking at paintings.  In part, I want to express how I experience paintings without using the language of art history courses.  Well, I guess I'm not using the language of art history courses.  How would I know?  I've never taken one!  Whether I'm succeeding or not is kind of irrelevant, but I'm trying to write about everything I care about, whether it's Shakespeare, poetry, movies, pictures I take or others take, and other art forms, in my words.  Of course, from time to time, I'll use language I learned in my many years of academic life, and language I've picked up in books, say, about photography.  But I'm trying to shed it antd seeing if I can get to the truth of my own responses, developing my own ways of seeing and experiencing things.  It's fun.  If you'd like to read my post entitled "Seeing Paintings", it's here.

2.  David is sick.  Molly is sleep deprived.  Molly doesn't have Hiram here to help her with the kids.  So, I did what any self-respecting (step)father would do.  I helped Molly with her frustration and fatigue by joining her late this afternoon by breaking out the vodka, pouring some over ice, squeezing some lime into it, and raising a toast to one another.  Cheers!

3.  I also fried up the ground Italian sausage, minced the garlic, chopped up the red pepper, and took out the sliced mushrooms so that all Molly had to do was spread a pizza crust with pesto and put the ingredients, plus some store bought grated cheese, on the pie and bake it.  Doesn't sound like I did much -- and it was, after all, easy -- but it freed Molly to focus on feeding David and Molly dinner and getting them to bed a little earlier.  Molly, the Deke, and I totally enjoyed the pizza.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Seeing Paintings

It's kind of like when I look at photographs, mine or anyone else's.

I am not learned.  I don't have the vocabulary for describing what I like in a photograph and sometimes when I read what others say about pictures, it frustrates me because the critical vocabulary sounds so received, so "this is what you're supposed to say" that I don't have the sense of the person having an authentic response.

In keeping this blog, I've been trying to write, on occasion, about movies and poetry and other things with a language as original to me as I possibly can and so I've resisted reading professional criticism, resisted having my experience with movies or books or other works shaped by the specialized language of criticism, whether it's film criticism, literary criticism (or theory) or art criticism.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't.

But, on Sunday, I went to hear a lecture on the National Gallery of Art's Van Gogh holdings.  I didn't know ahead of time the lecture's topic, but I knew that the National Gallery's curator and head of the department of French paintings, Mary Morton, was giving the lecture.  It turns out she had a good feel for all of us in the audience who were not art history grad students or fellow experts and she gave a fine, accessible lecture, free of specialized smart about art jargon.

 During her talk, I remembered back to when I was in grade school and I guess the school or the district had invested in an art history program.  The teacher got a packet of reproductions of a painting (did we do Gainsborough's The Blue Boy?) and handed them out and we wrote about the colors we saw and the different degrees of light and what was in the foreground and the background.

What stands out to me, as I remember back, is that the paintings were life like, whether portraits or landscapes.  I look at The Blue Boy now and it's clear to me that because the boy is not painted in any distorted or fragmented way and because his face looks like a face that could have been a fourth or fifth grade classmate of mine, or one of the older kids, it gave me an early impression that paintings were kind of like school pictures.  The background was kind of weird (as school portraits can be), but this looks like a boy I could have seen in "real life" if I knew any late 18th century sons of a wealthy hardware merchant who wore all blue and had a hat with a feather.

The Blue Boy

 My high school French teacher, Mrs. Wellman, was the first to introduce paintings to me that were not replications of the world we think we see.  I remember being impressed with the technique called pointillism and Georges Seraut's famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  Serault composed this painting with little dots of colors.  The figures in the painting puzzled me because they did not look "realistic" like, say, The Blue Boy, or like Rembrandt's The Syndics of the  Drapers' Guild that I had seen on boxes of Dutch Masters cigar boxes.

The Syndics of the Drapers' Guild

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

After completing my junior year at Whitworth College, I took a course in the month of May by traveling to England with Dr. Fenton Duvall, a Whitworth history professor, and, for the first time, I saw paintings in a gallery, beginning with the National Gallery in London.

I don't remember in which gallery, the National or the Tate,  I first saw seascapes and landscapes of J. M. W. Turner.  I do remember having the sensation, however, that a new world of experience, not only of art, but of experience suddenly burst open.  Turner's paintings stunned me.  The canvases were gigantic, as I remember, and very little about them looked realistic.

Seascape with Storm Coming On

Suddenly, it came to me.  These paintings were about light, the idea of light, the nature of light, the emotional impact of light and, in turn, color.  But that wasn't all.  I experienced his paintings as outward manifestations of inward realities.  I'd never seen Turner before, never heard of him, but suddenly it was as if dreams I'd had were on canvas and feelings, feelings of awe, fear, turmoil, and wonder.  Later, I would think to myself that Turner's paintings gave me such immediate access to dreams and feelings of wonder, fear, and awe because I wasn't distracted by the realistic representation of trains or ships or waves or railroad tracks.  Later I would think that his paintings were like mental impressions and suddenly the word "impressionist" made sense.

Mrs. Wellman had told us that Monet painted paintings of the same subjects at different times of the day to capture the impression it made at that moment.  I later thought that, in this way, Monet's pictures are philosophical, studying the nature of an ever changing reality -- that Rouen Cathedral is not one thing, but many things, making a different impression on the consciousness at one time of the day than it did at another.

The more these paintings moved away from "realistic" depictions of their subject matter, the more I enjoyed them.  I started to seek out abstract paintings and they have become spiritual to me.  Again, when my mind is free from the task of identifying what in the everyday world a painting represents, then I can experience the emotional or spiritual power of the color, or the colors, of the painting.  If the painting is a study of abstract forms, like squares or circles, I experience their power -- along with their color(s).  Abstract paintings, to me, are bold, not necessarily because it took courage to paint them, but because the fundamental elements of a painting, color and shapes, are boldly focused upon, sometimes so intensely that it's difficult to stay with the painting for very long.

All of this came rushing to my mind as I listened to Mary Morton lecture on Van Gogh and his exploration of color, bold color, and color combinations, bold combinations, and patterns and light.  I almost, not quite, experience Van Gogh as an abstract artist, much the same way I experience Gaugan and his bold use of color that takes precedence over "realistic" portraits of the humans in his paintings.

I think I'll leave it at that.  I'll come back to this subject, possibly after my next visit to the National Gallery in Washington, D. C., I'll write more about how I experience the 19th century French painters.  I'd also like to write about how I would like my photography to be more subjective, much like Turner and Monet and Van Gogh are so inspiringly subjective in their paintings.

Three Beautiful Things 09/09/14: The Corporate Lens, Maps, Dirty Laundry

1.  It's not beautiful, in the sense of lovely, especially as a sports fan, to read more deeply into ugliness, but I'm learning more and more about how important "protecting the brand" is -- or, in the case of the NFL, "protecting the Shield" is.  Penn State.  Woman battering football players.  How NBA owners and executives regard their "product" in relation to the racial composition of their fans.  How black athletes are regarded by NBA executives in relation to the branding of their franchises.  I read more today about seeing abuse through a corporate lens.  It's a distorting and corrupting way to see things, more concerned with corporate reputation than with individuals being harmed.  Just watch The Wire.  Or follow the work of the Innocent Project.  I already knew that, and I know it affects my life every day, whether it's how the news is filtered through the NYTimes, ESPN, and other news corporations, whether it's the corporate lens through which the school system the Deke works for sees education (same at LCC), whether it's the way the way the Episcopal church functions as a corporation and on and on.  There's little escape. But today I looked into it more intensely than usual. 

2. I took a few breaks from all this dispiriting reading and did some fun reading about Washington D.C. and Arlington and looked at maps more.  I'm always finding new theaters and markets and monuments and other places I'd like to visit and enjoy.

3.  All the reading I was doing about corporations protecting their reputations made me think of dirty laundry and I realized I had a hamper full and so I washed, dried, and folded my clothes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/08/14: Giant Plastic Bags, Old and New School Navigation, The Deke Earns Trust

1.  The checker at Giant supermarket had all the stats for me about the harm plastic bags do to the world around us and gave a pretty impressive lecture as she scanned my groceries.   I agreed with her, but also said I was grateful to have these bags when following my dogs so I have something to use to pick up their mess.  She agreed that the bags were good for that.  When she told me to have a good evening, I think she meant it.

2.  I don't carry a Global Positioning System in my pocket.  Yet. Nor do I have one plugged into the cigarette lighter in the car.  I rely on google maps or mapquest for help with routes and I spend an inordinate amount of time studying maps wherever I am:  Portland, London, Washington D. C., or, as I did today, Alexandria.  Molly and I wanted Chinese food from South China, a dive on Mt. Vernon Street about six miles away, in a section of Alexandria unfamiliar to me.  I consulted google.  I read the map.  I took notes.  I tried to envision the route before I left the house.  It all worked.  With a few errors easy to recover from, I made it China South, made it back, and Molly and I enjoyed our carry out dinner -- and the Deke enjoyed our leftovers when she returned home later in the evening.

3.  It was Parents' Night at Robert Goddard French Immersion Elementary School.   The Deke arrived home really happy that she the parents got along really well and that she presented herself successfully to them -- by successfully, I mean she earned their trust more fully and enjoyed talking with the parents.  This is huge.  Huge.  I mean HUGE in the ongoing challenge of being a successful elementary school teacher -- and especially huge as the Deke learns to work in a school so very different than Charlemagne in Eugene. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 0/9/07/14: Van Gogh Lecture, Contemplative Eucharist, Capitol Hill Saunter

1.  I returned to the National Gallery of Art today to hear Mary Morton curator and head, department of French paintings at the National Gallery give a lecture on the paintings of Van Gogh the gallery holds.  Going to this lecture, making visits to the D. C. galleries, well, this is what I looked forward to when the Deke and I left Eugene to live in the D. C. metro area.  I was most interested in what Mary Morton had to say about Van Gogh's devotion to color, how the colors in his paintings complement each other (this was new to me) and Van Gogh, and his contemporaries, surrendered the idea of making paintings that looked "real" to painting pictures that explore the power of color itself.  I had thought about this when I visited the French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries on Friday, how Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and others were inching closer and closer to abstraction, to paintings more about the nature of color than representing the subject.  I love this and when paintings totally leave behind the representation and focus on shapes or on color itself, when they are totally abstract, I am excited by it.  So, it was the opening weekend of the National Football League, which I enjoy, but I enjoy art more.  Yes.  That's true.  I'm not snooty about it.  It's just the way it is.  I now live in a place where I can easily travel by train to one of our nation's cultural centers, stroll into a lecture hall, and hear an expert, using everyday language, help me see, with the aid of images projected on the wall, the beauty and power of Van Gogh's paintings.  I had to pinch myself.  I'm really living this life.

2.  Since leaving Eugene, I had not celebrated a single Eucharist until today.  I'm not into a Sunday morning habit yet and I haven't (yet) rallied myself on Sunday mornings to drive somewhere (say, Dunn Loring) to make it to morning worship.  Well, for years, thanks to Kenton Bird and Betsy Tesi and others, I have heard about the worship in the round at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill.  St. Mark's holds a contemplative Eucharist at five in the afternoon, so I walked from the National Gallery around the United States Capitol and across from the Library of Congress to join the St. Mark's regulars in a liturgy of contemporary language, contemplative recorded music, and  communion in a circle around the altar.

3.  As the sun was sinking and shadows began to lengthen, I enjoyed sauntering on the leafy streets of Capitol Hill to the Capitol South Metro Station to take the train back to Huntington again.  This Capitol Hill neighborhood is all new to me and it was fun seeing a bar, the Capitol Lounge, packed with young people watching the NFL and getting hammered, as well as seeing people pour out of  St. Peter's Catholic Church after an early evening Mass. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/06/14: Viewing *Rich Hill*, Strolling the Campus, Oktoberfest Pleasure

Note:  My first post in this list gives away things that happen in two movies, Rich Hill and Boyhood.  Suffice it say that I saw Rich Hill and it was a movie portraying teen age life and family life in a way that is about 100%  the opposite of Boyhood.  If you want to know more, read on.  Otherwise, skip to #2.

1.  I took the train to Foggy Bottom and watched the movie Rich Hill at the West End Cinema.  It's a documentary, looking at chunks of the daily lives of three teen/almost teen aged boys and their families in the rural town of Rich Hill, Missouri.  If you are ever feeling optimistic about life in rural America and are thinking that anyone can do whatever s/he wants to and that we live in a country where everyone stands on equal footing in the pursuit of a meaningful life or of material success, watch this movie and it will help remind you that that's not true.  For me, it was a painful, dispiriting movie that Sartre could have written the title for:  No Exit.  (By the way, along with me, I know several of you enjoyed the movie Boyhood.  This movie is about three boyhoods and if the movie Boyhood left you feeling pretty good about as it ends with Mason, nicely numbed, under a gathering sunset at Big Bend Ranch State Park, by a pot brownie, philosophizing with woman, a college mate he's just met when she says, “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment?” and he answers,“I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us” -- well, nothing that sweet, nothing that hopeful, nothing that precious occurs in Rich Hill.) I left the movie relieved that none of the families were addicted to meth. 

2.  As you might already know, Foggy Bottom is home to the urban campus of George Washington University.  It's a private university and, after I saw the movie, Rich Hill, I walked up and down the streets of Foggy Bottom -- which meant I walked all through campus -- letting the movie settle in, sharing the sidewalk with scores of slender, athletic, perfectly dressed and coiffed students, students from multiple countries, of different races, all walking with the assurance that comes with knowing one's life can be meaningful and one's material success will continue.  I could have never afforded George Washington University and I would have felt like a wart at this school, but there are urban campuses where I would have felt at home -- Portland State University springs to mind -- and I often think that if I had it to do over again, I would have gone to a non-private urban university for graduate school.  But, I didn't and it's fine, but I enjoy thinking such thoughts as I walk through a campus marked by city traffic, public buses, shops, places to eat and drink, noise, and the other details of city life.  North Idaho College, Whitworth College, and the University of Oregon were all pastoral by contrast, were set apart from the town or the city.  I enjoyed retreating into the pine trees of Whitworth, the old Douglas Firs of the U. of O, and the grounds of Ft. Sherman, but it's studying in the midst of a city that feeds my fantasies.

3.  After walking the streets of George Washington University, I ducked into the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods store, knowing I would find a good beer on tap and I was right.  I had a serviceable Italian meat hoagie.  That was okay.  But the Great Lakes Brewing Companies Oktoberfest beer was nearly perfect, especially with its toasted nut taste, a taste I love when I can find it in a beer. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/05/14: I Helped Someone!, Diving into the National Gallery, Corned Beef at Ted's Bulletin

1.  It's not like I'm a longtime resident of Alexandria, but I've been in and out of the Huntington parking garage and Metro station enough that when a woman was lost -- in a way very much like I was about two months ago at the station -- I could help her.  And I did.

2.  Van Gogh's Portrait of Monsieur Roulin is on loan to the National Gallery of Art from the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, The Netherlands until September 18th and I took the train to the National Mall today to view it and the other Van Gogh paintings and, as it turned out, several other late 19th century painters, among them Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, Matisse, Cezanne, Degas, and others.  Mentally, this wore me out, in a good way.  I love everything about these paintings, but mostly I try to see them as a person who takes some pictures -- especially the light.  In a good way, I envied these painters because they could create their own realities with perspective, color and rhythm and boldness and light in a way I can't (or don't know how to do) with a camera.  Painters are not recorders and, at a fundamental level, a camera is a recording device.  Yes, filters help a picture taker create reality.  So does post processing.  I've got work to do in these areas.  All the same, I look at a Van Gogh sky or a Monet cathedral and the gorgeous liberties they take with how I "see" and I love taking it in, loving the light, color, and the experiments (distortions)   with shape -- and I feel a small bit of envy.  In a good way.

3.  There is also a terrific Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the National Gallery entitled "Looking Out, Looking In".  These are painting I can learn a ton from, but I didn't have the energy to spend much time with them, so walked in the steamy heat of D. C. across the National Mall to the Metro and rode to the Capitol Hill neighborhood to eat at Ted's Bulletin, an art deco West Virginia-themed family restaurant, famous for, among other things, their homemade pop tarts.  I will try the pop tarts another day.  Today, I ordered corned beef hash, eggs sunny side up, sourdough toast, and a side of cheddar grits.  Here's what my afternoon breakfast looked like:

Really, I overdid it.  I loved the cheddar grits, but they filled me up too much.  I was done eating for the day.  I really enjoyed this joint and never would have known about it, but when Hiram weighed in before tour and made weight, he immediately dashed over to Ted's Bulletin for a huge breakfast and his pictures of his food made resisting this place impossible.  In case you're wondering why I said this is a West Virginia-themed restaurant, here's what the menu says:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/04/14: I'm Meatball Head, The Deke Gains Confidence, I Loved Joan Rivers

1.  Olivia invents another name for me every few days.  Today it was Meatball Head.  She's getting to know me so well.

2.  The Deke is teaching in a school where everything is very different from the situation she was in back in Eugene at Charlemagne.  Today when she arrived home, she was the most hopeful she's been yet, confident that she can be herself, do what she believes in, follow her lights and it will work with her students.  Her new situation has many challenges and the Deke is rising to them.  (It'll really help if the apartment in Greenbelt works out and she won't have to commute.)

3.  After about 1986 or so, I didn't pay much attention to Joan Rivers and so she is fixed in my memory on the Ed Sullivan show or on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show or on the Carol Burnett Show or in concerts up until about 1986.  She was my favorite.  I loved her.  I used to wish that when I tried to be funny with my friends that I could snap off funny remarks like Joan Rivers with her insight, timing, physicality, and her truth telling. (I never could.) Today I found out she died.  I immediately went to YouTube and found as many videos from twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty years ago as I could and just reveled in them.  I loved her jokes, her hoarse voice, loved how she laughed at her own jokes, her remarkable physical energy, and her repeated phrases "Oh, grow up!" and, of course, "Let's talk".  How about this?  Johnny Carson interviewing Joan Rivers said, about men's regard for women, "Don't you think men enjoy intelligence more, when it really comes down to it?"  Joan Rivers: "Ah!  Please! Are we gonna go back to that?  Ah! Are you kidding?  No man has ever put his hand up a woman's dress looking for a library card..."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/03/14: Babysitter Cred, Kojo Nnamdi, Ginataang Manok

1. For the second day in a row, Molly drove Olivia to kindergarten and asked me to watch David while she was briefly away.  For the second day in a row, David slept through his mother's absence, helping me secure Molly's trust in my babysitting skills.

2. The car radio is set to WAMU, American University Public Radio, and I often seem to tune in for the remarkable host, Kojo Nnamdi, who seems to know about everything and interviews his guests in a most genial manner, with superb questions.  Today, he moved deftly from a discussion about adultery with Paulo Coelho to an interview with two food writers about canning and preserving food.  

3.  I sized up the food on hand situation, and realized we had all the ingredients for Ginataang Manok, so I sauteed ginger and garlic slices until light brown, removed them from the pan, browned a bunch of sliced chicken, returned the ginger and garlic to the pan, poured coconut milk over the chicken and ginger and garlic, let it simmer until the chicken was cooked through, and then added spinach leaves and and they cooked until done.  We poured the Ginataang Manok over jasmine rice and had ourselves a fine dinner.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/02/14: Apartment Search, Wookey Jack, Olivia Starts Kindergarten

1.  The best news of the day for me is that the Deke found an apartment complex for us to apply to that is close to her work.  Here's hoping this works out.

2.  The Deke really likes Firestone Walker's Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA and when Molly and I dropped into Whole Foods to do a little recreational grocery shopping, only two bottles were available and I purchased them and the Deke was grateful to have it waiting for her after a long day.

3.  Today was Olivia's first day of kindergarten and I got to help out by taking a few pictures and by sticking around to look after David while Molly took her to school.

Apparently, Olivia thought kindergarten offered a wood shop or welding class today.

Olivia poses for Molly

Olivia spontaneously broke into a first day of kindergarten happy dance.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/02/14: Hiram on Tour, I Marvel, David and Olivia Photos

1.  Happily, Molly, Hiram, Olivia, and David arrived at Hiram's point of departure in plenty of time and Hiram is starting his trek across the USA, on chartered bus, with the other members of the President's Own, whose turn it is to go on annual tour.  Some of my friends might be interested to know that the band gives a concert at the Ferris High School auditorium in Spokane on Sept. 27th at 7:30.

2.  Molly went to Pizzeria Paradiso for lunch to celebrate Leah's birthday and while she was gone, David and Olivia got into a crying match, I think over a Lego piece.  Had I been in charge, I probably would have wilted in incompetence,  but not the Deke.  Before long, the two kids were upstairs, done crying, and playing peacefully, as if the meltdown never happened.  I marvel.

3.  I took some pictures of David and Olivia today and I also dove into the archives to make sure pictures I've taken in the past were in my David and Olivia album in my flickr account.  Here are a couple of pictures from today and if you'd like to see some pictures from the past, the flickr album is here.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 08/31/14: Talking to Mom, A Place for My Stuff, Taco Soup

1.  Hiram leaves for a month long national tour as a member of the President's Own U. S. Marine Corps band and for a short while the house was still when Molly and Hiram and the children went out to run errands, so I called Mom and we got caught up on what's happening with me and the Deke and around here and with happening in Kellogg and in Mom's yard and garden

2.  Molly came home and turned into a cyclone, building a new shelf set, taking the children's toys out of the living room to their upstairs room, and, among other things, moving a dresser into the room the Deke sleeps in and I get to put stuff in it.  Man.  It feels so good to have my clothes in a dresser and all my camera stuff in one drawer instead of having it all spread out between different bags.  It looks we'll be staying here for another month, a big help while Hiram's on tour, and a huge help to us as we continue to figure out a place to live in Maryland. 

3.  Molly "The Cyclone" Diaz took her quick and efficient energy to the kitchen and made an awesome taco soup and I got to enjoy what I enjoy the most:  eating some good, simple food and sitting at the table with the entire family.