Friday, October 31, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/30/14: Solo Photo Stroll, The List, Franklins -- a Brewery in Hyattsville

1.  As the corgis get more and more used to our apartment home, I'm more and more comfortable with leaving them alone while I go out and do things.  Today, I left them behind while I took a solo photo stroll to Greenbelt Lake and investigated parts of the lake I don't see when walking the corgis.  I haven't looked at the pictures yet, but I'm hoping I have some evidence of how gorgeous the lake looked on this clear, chilly, scarlet, and gold day.

2.  When we moved to Greenbelt, I made a list of things I wanted to have done before I left for Idaho.  It included medical appointments, getting the car registered and serviced, and a host of other things and, today, when I made an appointment to see a tax guy on Monday so I can begin to get ready to file my 2014 taxes and get some answers to questions about my tax life in this state,  I did everything on my list except see a dentist -- and I'll do that in Kellogg.

3.  I left the dogs alone again late this afternoon, picked up the Deke at her school, and drove down the road a ways to Hyattsville to try out Franklins Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store.  It was a fun place.  I especially enjoyed their IPA (and look forward to trying other beers of theirs).  My 10 inch pepperoni pizza was solid and the Deke enjoyed her crab cake sandwich.  We checked out the General Store and it was filled with toys, refrigerator magnets, and other stuff, but, most important and impressive, it had a top-notch beer and wine corner.  I didn't look closely at the wine, but I was very happy to know that if I ever decide to have a solo Belgian Blow Out, or, if I ever have the chance to have a Belgian Blow Out with someone else, the Franklin General Store is well-stocked with some great Belgian beers.  I could also have a solid Samuel Smith blow out, too.  The selection is not terribly high on quantity, but most impressive on quality.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/29/14: Long Walks, Sorting Papers, Giants Win and I'm Not Filled with Joy

1.  A couple of good long walks today, first with the dogs when we walked one and a half times around the lake because our walk started at the auto shop (120,000 mile service job and new rear brakes) and then I had to walk back to the shop.  I left the dogs behind in our apartment home and that seemed to work out all right.

2.  Finally, after moving and hauling around a green tub with miscellaneous cords and stuff and with the folders of our household papers, I nearly finished getting that stuff sorted out.  I want to have this done before I head to Kellogg next week.

3.  I have to admit:  somewhere along the line over the last 10-15 years, I lost my emotional involvement with baseball.  Baseball, like other sports, interests me, and I enjoy knowing what's going on, but I don't have the fire in my belly for specific teams I once had, don't feel the joy or disappointment I once felt when teams I root for succeed for fail.  This is too bad tonight because my longtime favorite baseball team, since 1962) the Giants, won the World Series for the third time in five years.  Had this happened when I was in my twenties or my thirties, I would be out of my mind with joy.  But, now, I'm not indifferent, but I don't get the rush I did when I was younger.  I can't explain it -- maybe it would be different if I watched the games on television...I don't know.  But, I appreciate their win from a baseball history point of view and I admire what a scrappy team this was and how incredibly Madison Bumgarner pitched, but that rush of joy I would have felt in my younger days just didn't happen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/28/14: Happy Birthday Dad, A More Peaceful Walk, Chicken Soup

1. Were he alive, Dad would have turned 84 today.  For some reason, my thoughts about him today were all about the language he used.  He had so many great phrases he dropped and many of them were vulgar and that made me laugh and still does.  The one thing people say about my dad over and over again to me when I'm home in Kellogg is that he always made them laugh with his stories and his sayings and his antics.  He loved his Kellogg friends, loved being around other people, especially when he was in his element (at home, in friends' houses, the Bunker Hill, the bar, the bowling alley, and the golf course), and people enjoyed him, too.

2.  Today's walk around Greenbelt Lake was most enjoyable under a clearing sky and we only encountered one dog, so Maggie didn't have to act like a Secret Service warning dog so much and it made our walk much more peaceful.

3.  Yesterday, the Deke requested a very specific dinner:  chicken soup with onion, garlic, and broccoli.  So I made it and I made it right -- it was just what the Deke hoped it would be.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/27/14: Misty Walk, Keeping It Clean, No Shop Rice Salad

1.  It was between 40 and 50 degrees as Charly and Maggie and I set out to walk around Greenbelt Lake this morning.  Mist hovered above the lake.  Red and golden leaves reflected off the water as the mist burned off.  Glorious.  Maggie was agitated on the leash because over the course of our walk we encountered four other dogs.  She was on high alert.  My camera wouldn't have been of much use to record this sublime scene.  Maggie required my focus.

2.  Up a half a flight of stairs and there's our buildings laundry room,  Regularly, people who work keeping up the apartment complex keep the room clean.  I got my laundry done today.  The machines were sparkling clean as was the floor.  Outside, workers mowed the expansive grounds.  Our rent helps cover  an impressive amount of upkeep around here, both in the buildings and on the grounds. It's great for morale.

3.  I didn't feel like going to the store so I decided I'd make dinner with whatever we had on hand.  Rice.  Tofu.  Garlic. Red pepper. Celery. Olive oil, Feta cheese. Almonds.  Lemon.  Oregano.  Fresh basil.  I cooked the rice and chilled it.  Fried up the tofu with garlic and chilled it.  Chopped the pepper and celery.  Mixed all the ingredients, squeezed a lemon over it all and poured some olive oil in the mix.  It's a great salad.  The Deke and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/26/14: St. Andrew's, Better Route to Reagan, Eggplant Pasta Sauce

1.  If I drove to Dunn Loring to worship at Holy Cross, I wouldn't see Rev. Betsy Tesi because she was involved in a retreat.  Therefore, I worshiped closer to home at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in College Park and I loved it.  For starters,the building is, for a USA church, old and built with huge stones and the grounds are colorfully landscaped with a variety of flowers and other foliage.  The church was very welcoming, the liturgy was filled with music, good old hymns and the choir (and the children's choir, and as we waited to go to the communion rail, we were in an aisle with the choir on both sides of us, like standing in headphones.  I'll see Betsy next Sunday.  Then it's off to Kellogg and when I return, Betsy will be done with her interim position, so I'll start worshiping regularly at St. Andrew's.

2.  I drove (trickled down?) to Reagan International Airport to pick up Hiram and drove the more efficient way on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (295) and then on a couple other spurs ending in -95 and I got the airport in no time.  I'd like to drive this route a few more times and get as acquainted with it as I have become with the Capital Beltway.  I had decided when I picked up the Deke at the airport last Sunday night, not to try this more efficient route at night and went with what I knew better.

3.  I made a pasta sauce with tomatoes, eggplant, red pepper, garlic, fresh basil, and oregano and combined with spaghetti, it worked really well -- and there is plenty leftover, a real plus.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/25/14: Cask ESB, The Vintage Vault, Black Raspberry Dessert

1.  The Deke and I drove down to Molly's and I took the car to Huntington Station, parked it, and took the Metro to Washington, D. C. and finally visited a bar that has, in its five years, become a nearly mythic destination for beer lovers:  The ChurchKey.  And, damn, did I ever pick the perfect day to go.  It's the fifth anniversary week at the ChruchKey and the Saturday, Oct. 25 event was to open the Vintage Vault and serve tasters out of vintage bottles of beer the joint has had around for a while.  Oh.  My. God.  Well, I got warmed up with a glass of cask beer.  I haven't had a cask ale or an ESB since leaving Eugene, so I enjoyed a Jake's ESB from Sly Fox Brewing of PA.  

2.  Then I dove into the vault.  I slowly relished a taster of Firestone's XV, then I had to have a taster of the divine Parabola from Firestone.  Drinking these beers with all their maply, sugary, figgy, cherry-y, boozy, chocolaty deliciousness was like having Christmas in October.  I really wished I'd had a beer loving friend seated next to me so we could talk about how awesome Firestone is.  Then it was time for a sour and, to my delight, Bruery's Tart of Darkness had been set free from the vault and its biting raisin-y brown ale goodness hit the spot.  These were all three oz tasters, so I cold swim a little deeper and ordered a Bink Grand Cru and I was in Belgium where I got to taste the molasses and cocoa and slight peppery qualities of a strong ale with the Belgian bonus of spice and yeast.

3.  I closed out my session with one last taster from the tap list and it was my dessert (and I wish Molly could have joined me for this one) and it took me back to Pottstown, PA and the Sly Fox Brewery.  And what a dessert it was:  Black Raspberry Reserve, a sweet, fruity wheat beer featuring a pound of  black and red raspberries per gallon of beer.  It was like ending my session with a homemade cobbler, but not a la mode.  I thought of so many friends I wished were with me, helping the ChurchKey celebrate number five and joining in on the opening of the Vintage Vault...and, by the way, thank goodness for the 3 oz taster...I could do some excellent sampling and walk out of the place and still be pretty steady!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/24/14: Registered Marylander, Home Alone, The Deke's Instincts

1.  Sure, it took close to a couple of hours, but the Subaru is now a registered and titled vehicle in the state of Maryland, is the proud bearer of Chesapeake Bay plates with a heron on them, and I am not only a licensed driver in Maryland, but a registered voter.  The bonus?  Both of the women who helped me get everything taken care of were great to work with, friendly, knowledgeable, and, in the case of the registration woman, patient.  She was about my age with a good sense of humor and enjoyed me telling her that I find Maryland beautiful!

2.  For the first time since moving into our apartment home, I left the corgis home alone for a somewhat extended period of time while I was at the Motor Vehicle Administration.  I returned back to our apartment home and there were no angry residents of Lakeside North Apartment Homes waiting for me at my door to tell me to get my dogs to shut up; nor were there any angry notes on my door.  In fact, as best I can tell, the dogs were just fine in my absence.  I think they might be adjusting to life in our apartment home and are feeling at home themselves.  Let's hope.

3.  The Deke's third graders will always be difficult.  This is a given.  But, this evening the Deke told me of some ways she's doing some things that many of these students love and she had some good moments today.  Mainly (and this is my way of putting it) she's got to come at them from left field with stuff they don't expect.  The standard mode of operation at this school seems to center on worksheets (they are measurable) and the students, even at eight years old, know that math worksheet after math worksheet is an awful way to learn.  Worksheets are not in the Deke's teaching wheelhouse, but she's finding ways to do what is -- and get the worksheets done, too (I think).  Every night, she tells me about the challenges she faces.  Her work really tires her out.  But the Deke has strong teaching instincts and a very reliable moral compass and when she follows her instincts and is guided by her compass, especially with noisy, hyperactive children (yelling at them doesn't help one bit), things go better. Who knows, maybe as this year goes along, more and more of these students will come to see that the Deke doesn't not see them as worksheet machines, but as children whose curiosity she wants to excite.  And, she tells me every day that she's glad we moved to Maryland and that she enjoys our new apartment home. Me, too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/23/14: Lotsa Walking, Sube is Safe, Wendy's Settles the Nerves

1.  It was a great day for the corgis and me and our walking.  I dropped the Subaru off at the shop for a state inspection and the dogs and I walked from the shop to the lake, a new route for us, and around the lake, before heading home and then we walked back to the shop when the car was ready.  I'll just say that from Oct. 1 to Oct 20 my weight dropped seven pounds, according to scales in the docs' offices, and my blood pressure readings at home have been really good.

2.  The Subaru passed, needing only a bulb for a buck and a half and is now Maryland State Certified Safe and I can go to the Maryland Vehicles Administration and get the car registered and secure a state driver's license.  That's Friday's project.

3.  The Deke was pretty worn out after school and needed help unwinding late this afternoon -- I know this because she requested a hamburger.  So, I hustled down to Wendy's and picked up one for each of us, with no cheese, and brought home the magic Wendy's quarter pound relaxant.  It was kind of fun and once we dressed the burgers at home to our liking, they weren't too bad.  Once.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/22/14: Unpacking, Another Step, Molly's the Assembling Genius

1.  Unpacking boxes reminded me just what books, dvds, and cds I had decided to keep.

2.  Next step in getting moved to Maryland:  I called a shop and I will be taking the car there in the morning for a Maryland State Safety Inspection so I can then go get the car titled and registered.

3.  Cyclone Molly put her assembling skills to work for us again and put together the bed frame.  That's another giant step forward around the apartment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/21/14: Movers Arrived, Transplant -- Step One, Greenbelt Lake Trail in October

1.  About three hours earlier than  expected, the movers arrived at our apartment and moved the modest number of boxes, pictures, few pieces of furniture, mattress, bed frames, and the Deke's guitar and ukes into our home.  The bill was quite a bit less than had been estimated and it looks like this process of getting our stuff moved to Greenbelt, which began on June 19th, the day the movers arrived at 940 Madison and continued on Oct. 7 when our things were loaded onto the national truck in Eugene has come to an end.  Now it's up to us to figure out what to do with the books, pictures, and the other things that have arrived.  This is a relief.

2.  I went to the University of Maryland Medical Center website and looked at the video about kidney transplants presented by their transplant center.  Dr. Malik, my new kidney doctor, had recommended that I call UMMC.  So I did.  I have an appointment in March for an all day evaluation as to whether I qualify to be put on the transplant list.  I could have had this done sooner, but thought I'd wait until I return from Idaho.  I don't really know when I'm coming back, but now I know I'll be back a little while ahead of March 2nd when I have this evaluation done.  I don't mind saying:  this is nerve wracking.

3.  On Friday the 17th and Sunday the 19th I took pictures at Huntley Meadows and Greenbelt Lake and today I finally opened those files and looked at the pictures.  I thought one picture I took at Greenbelt Lake shows pretty well how beautiful the trail that goes around the lake is in many spots:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/20/14: Bethesda Nephrologist, Our Belongings, Dinner with Molly and Children

1.  Until today, Bethesda had always been, to me, the home of Congressional Country Club, host to a handful of major golf tournaments over the years.  Now it is the home of my new nephrologist's office.  I met with Dr. Malik today, a friendly knowledgeable man, I'd guess, in his early 30s,  and we talked about my kidney history and about starting the process of getting me on the Maryland transplant list.  I've known this was coming, even if the transplant is a few or several years down the road, but even if it is down the road, things have to be in place well ahead of time so that I can move up the list and have everything ready when the time comes.  He had me do blood work after our discussion and he'll get a hold of me if anything looks concerning to him, given my history of illness, but stability.

2.  A call came in from Eugene today about the belongings we were having shipped out to us.  It looks like they'll be here on the 21st.  How about that?

3.  So that I could have dinner with the Ethertons and meet my kidney doctor appointment with a peaceful mind, Molly and Hiram agreed to let the corgis stay with them until this afternoon.  I had planned to drive to Alexandria and pick them up, but Molly piled her children in her car, loaded up the corgis, and came for a visit.  She brought us all some Krispy Kremes for dessert and I combined the best of a couple of recipes and made a gingery, red peppery, slightly sweet dish of tofu, broccoli, mixed nuts, and Chinese noodles fried in sesame oil.  The dinner was a smash!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/19/14: Holy Cross Worship, Chilly Photo Stroll, The Deke is Back

1.  I drove, with much more ease, to Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Dunn Loring, and, like last week, had that great feeling of being spiritually at home again within the liturgy of the Eucharistic Rite II.  Again, I knew my fellow parishioners at St. Mary's 8:00 service were in worship at the same time and I felt bonded with them.  I saw Rev. Betsy Tesi again, a great comfort and a joy.  A parishioner of Holy Cross gave the sermon.  It was the best stewardship sermon I've ever heard. Desire.  Decision. Discipline. Delight.  I hope I'll always remember it.

2.  I took a windy, chilly photo stroll around Greenbelt Lake without the corgis.  They are at Molly and Hiram's until Monday afternoon and so my stroll was much more leisurely and I had time to stop and try out taking some pictures that would be difficult to do with them tugging on the leash.  I haven't looked at the pictures yet, but I will soon and am eager to see how they came out.

3.  I made it just fine to Reagan Airport and picked up the Deke after her awesome weekend in Chicago and with only one inexplicable hiccup, one period of trouble getting out of the Reagan maze, got home safely.  If I go to Reagan again, especially at night, I know what mistake not to repeat -- and how to compensate within my head for some lousy signage at the airport's exit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/18/14: Sleep, Arundel Mills,Dinner at Dave and Diane Etherton's Farm

1.  I woke up at Hiram and Molly's after nearly ten hours of sleep.  It was the first uninterrupted night of sleep I've had in longer than I can remember.  Not once did I have to visit the bathroom and when I woke up I not only felt refreshed, I lay there and marveled at the rare experience I'd just had overnight.

2.  I decided to take a drive up the Baltimore Washington Parkway and check out Maryland Live!, the casino at Arundel Mills.  It was unlike any casino I've ever visited.  It's integrated into a sprawling mall of all kinds of stores, not a stand alone building along a freeway or highway like the casinos in Oregon and Idaho.  The gaming room is huge, with a great variety of card games, other games, and slot machines.  A large number of the machines were new to me, so I enjoyed playing the ones I got to and had good time not spending a lot of money and getting familiar with this casino which is about a half an hour away from Greenbelt.  I thought about the fun Ed and Jake and Mike I would have playing around at this place.

3.  The best part of the day came at the end.  I drove to Dave and Diane Etherton's farm near Bowie and not only saw the wonderful home they've moved into and the fine piece of land they live on, but got to have a few hours of fun conversation, a superb pork roast dinner, and couple of apple ciders.  I met two of Diane and Dave's daughters (Liese [sp?] and Ingrid) and learned a great deal about Dave and Diane's lives since Dave left Kellogg, graduated from the U of I, went to grad school at the U of Arizona, met and married Diane, and moved to Maryland.  Dave and I both graduated from the Class of 72 at KHS and it was really fun to account for all we have done in our lives since finishing high school in Kellogg.  It was a splendid evening.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/17/14: Relaxing in Huntley Meadows, Got Through Reagan, Cat Urine Shoes Gone

1.  The corgis and I took our daily morning walk around Greenbelt Lake, but then I took a bonus walk with my camera and by myself at Huntley Meadows near Hiram and Molly's.  I took a bunch of pictures, yet to come online, and enjoyed walking deep into the wetlands and forest and letting the beauty take me out of my petty anxieties and into deep relaxation.

2.  Today was the Deke's day to fly to Chicago and so I drove to Reagan National Airport and managed to find the correct lanes and take her to the right place and only got honked at (totally unnecessarily -- I think he saw my Oregon plates) once.  Good news came a couple hours later when the Deke texted me she arrived safely.

3.  I have a personal policy.  Maybe some of you share it.  When a pair of walking shoes begin to smell like cat urine, it's time to purchase a new pair.  I followed my policy today and bought a new pair of walking shoes and magically got ten bucks off when a guy handed me a card and woman took my phone number and suddenly I was under the spell of Sports Authority saving me cold cash.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/16/14: Corgis Draw Attention, A Diaz Visit, Lousy Pumpkin Cider

1.  As I walk around Greenbelt Lake with the corgis, more and more people continue to be unimpressed with the disheveled guy with his unkempt mop of gray hair trying to lower his blood pressure and lose a little weight but are more and more casting approving glances and smiles and making complimentary comments about Maggie and Charly.  It's as it should be.

2.  The often too too quiet of my day in the apartment was broken when Olivia and David arrived at Nana and Grandpa's with Molly and Hiram and all kinds of joy erupted.   The grandkids love visiting us and there seems to be plenty for them to do whether it's dominoes or coloring or sitting at the table and eating mac and cheese and talking about what our favorite color is or our favorite animal.  Molly and Hiram were fun, too, and we all enjoyed (thank goodness) the rice salad I made with jasmine rice, eggplant sauteed in garlic and covered with fresh lemon juice as it cooled, roasted almonds, tomato, fresh basil leaves, kalamata olives, feta cheese, garlic, and a little olive oil.I   Molly made and brought a very tasty salad dressing that we all thought enhanced the already flavorful salad.  We had a great dinner.

3.  I love beer and cider.  But every once in a while I have to make an executive decision and face the facts that sometimes a brewery fails in its efforts to make a fermented beverage.  Such was the case today.  I purchased a sixer of Harpoon Pumpkin Cider and it was awful.  I went ahead and drank one bottle to see if maybe the taste would grow on me, but it didn't.  Then, as a family, we all tasted from another bottle -- sour faces all the way around.  I surrendered.  I poured five bottles of Harpoon Pumpkin Cider down the drain and declared it the lousiest cider -- and maybe the lousiest fermented beverage -- I'd ever tasted. I've never surrendered like this before.  I've enjoyed other Harpoon products, but this one was awful.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/15/14: Humid Walk, Pretty Good Day, Eggplant Sandwiches

1.  I have experienced the humidity in June, July, August, and September in the area we recently moved to.  Today caught me by surprise.  The temperature was what I'd expect on an autumn morning -- in the 60s.  But, it was humid and so when the corgis and I went on our morning walk around Greenbelt Lake, I was not expected to work up quite the sweat I did on a morning with a temperature I thought of as pretty cool.  Ha!  Live and learn.

2.  As you must know by now, the third grade class at Robert Goddard French Immersion Elementary School where the Deke teaches has been a difficult group from kindergarten forward.  One of the mothers is a behavior specialist and, thanks to the Deke, she came to the school and made a presentation to the staff about child development and working with difficult children.  It helped the Deke a lot, as did two other things:  she's developing good relations with a couple of other staff members and the parents of this difficult group are totally in support of the Deke's work and her efforts.  When the Deke slid into the car today, for the first time in a long time, maybe the first time this school year, she said, "I didn't have a horrible day.  In fact, it was pretty good."  Everything about her was lighter in the evening and having this "pretty good day" was a boost to her morale.

3. I was going to make ratatouille for dinner tonight and, somehow, as I reflected upon the ingredients, I flashed back to Labor Day, 1997.  The Deke and I were just starting to see each other every day and we went to Opal Creek for a hike.  The Deke brought these delicious eggplant sandwiches for our lunch and I thought about how we hadn't eggplant sandwiches since.  So, I went to the Co-op and bought an eggplant, tomatoes, fresh basil, and two ciabatta rolls.  Once home, I made eggplant slices, salted them, soaked them in olive oil, fried them, cut the rolls in half, toasted them using a cast iron skillet and built a sandwich of fried eggplant, tomato, feta cheese, and fresh basil leaves.   My cooking often makes the Deke happy, but she liked this eggplant sandwich more than anything I've fixed in recent memory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/14/14: Ongoing Transition, A Refreshing Harp Lager, Tofu and Broccoli

1.  I keep plugging away at trying to establish everything in Maryland:  what do I need to do to register the car?  What do I need to do to get a MD driver's license?  When will our auto insurance cards arrive?  What's happening with retirement accounts? What will electricity cost us here?  Any idea when our belongings might arrive from Eugene? Emails.  Phone calls.  Waiting for the mail. Learning.  I'll be very happy to have the business parts of this transition completed.

2.  When I crack open a well-chilled Harp Lager and chug the first icy draw from the bottle, I always wonder why I would ever drink any other beer.  It is one of the most crisp, refreshing, and satisfying beers I ever drink.  The one I drank tonight really hit the spot.

3.  I cruised down to the Co-op to buy some broccoli so that I could fix a broccoli and tofu over Chinese noodles recipe I had tried at Molly and Hiram's and wanted to cook again.  It's a great dish.  It's garlicy and the rice vinegar in the soy sauce/fish sauce coating gives the dish a bite that goes nicely with the garlic.  It made for a nice dinner for the Deke and me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/13/14: Corgi Fatigue, Aiello Brings It, Sunday in the Park

1.  This morning's walk around Greenbelt Lake was a success:  the corgis were still, tired out, for several hours.  Maggie is to much the guard dog to ever really sleep, it seems, but at least she lies quietly on the love seat, a big help in relieving my anxiety that the dogs are a bother to our neighbors in the apartment building.

2.  Danny Aiello was a great interview subject on the Diane Rehm Show this morning.  He told great stories, answered her questions sincerely and frankly, and even sang.

3.  I took pictures while walking Greenbelt Lake on Sunday, but didn't look at them until today.  Here are a few of them:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/12/14: Liturgy Gives My Emotions Structure, Reunion with Betsy, Feeling More at Home

1.  In her book on Shakespeare's sonnets, Helen Vendler writes about how the poems (and poetry itself) give structure to our emotions.  Episcopalian liturgy works the same.  I hadn't been to a morning liturgy since June.  This morning I worshiped at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring, VA.  I've missed the liturgy, ached for it, and the liturgy itself gave structure to my feelings.  My longings were satisfied, my loneliness assuaged.  I had that deep Episcopalian experience of knowing that while I worshiped at 11:00, Harold and Hal and Lindsey and Bingham and other members of St. Mary's in Eugene were worshiping the same liturgy, hearing the same scriptures, and taking the same communion at the 8:00 service in Eugene and I felt deeply connected to what is still my church home.

2.  As many of you who read this blog know, the interim rector at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross is Betsy Tesi who was one of our priests at St. Mary's until she accepted a call to Holy Cross about a year ago.  It moved me to see Betsy again.  She wasn't the preacher this morning, but I loved that she did everything else:  led us in the Nicene Creed, the confession, the peace and that I once again took the communion that she made sacred.  We embraced at the peace and again after the service.  We had a good conversation after church.  So much that has been difficult for me over the last couple of months was lifted.  I felt at home.

3.  That feeling of having a home again grew when I returned to our apartment and Molly and Olivia and David were settled in, the kids playing, Molly and the Deke shooting the breeze, but even more important, to me, the Deke talked to our across the hall neighbor about the corgis barking and he's not bothered.  He says he hears them, but it's not a big deal.  This relieved me of about 16 tons of anxiety. Later, I bought a gate for the rearmost bedroom and a radio and my hope is that by containing them in one room and turning the radio on to block noises that rile up Maggie, that I'll feel increasingly at liberty to leave the dogs alone in the apartment.  So far, I haven't felt that way.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/11/14: Never a Harrier, Radio On, Ring Ring Leo

1.  It was raining, but lightly, so I drove the corgis to Greenbelt Lake and the rain never picked up -- if anything, it slacked off, and we enjoyed a fine sniff and walk around the lake.  I didn't sniff, by the way -- I just walked and stopped.  University of Maryland cross country runners were working out at the lake and they helped me remember back to my college days when I was never in that kind of shape and never ran cross country.  But these kids were impressive.

2.  The Deke took off for Alexandria to visit Molly and Hiram and do some late night child care and I was going to read Dickens, but, instead, I got hooked, happily, into an afternoon of radio listening.  WAMU is a superb public radio station and, its Saturday afternoon programming includes This American Life, Studio 360, The Splendid Table and Day 6.  So many fine segments:  the fascinating Frances McDormand talking about her new HBO project, Olive Kitteridge;  I got a little choked up listening to the piece on the fifty year anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof and had vivid feelings of how much I enjoyed singing songs from it in choir at North Idaho College; I laughed as food guy Andrew Zimmern rhapsodized about the tastiness of grilled porcupine fat; and I was intrigued by an episode on the resurgence of MSG.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon while trying to keep the corgis quiet.

3.  Quite a few years ago, I pretty much had had my fill of Prairie Home Companion, but this evening I caught the opening of it and Garrison Keillor announced that Leo Kottke would be coming on, so I kept the program on, hoping that Kottke would not only play, which he did, but that he would sing his fine love song, "Ring, Ring" and he did and I was transported back to one of my favorite evenings of my life when, in August of 1992, on my way to my KHS twenty year reunion, I spent a night in Bozeman, MT and discovered that Leo Kottke and David Lindley were giving a concert and it was one of the best shows I had ever been to and few have been as good since.  (What was I doing in Bozeman?  I drove from Eugene to Kellogg via western Montana that summer and visited town after town and spot after spot featured in the poetry of Richard Hugo and Bozeman seemed like a good town to spend the night.)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/10/14: Corgis Sniffing, Starts Making Sense, Co-op Hoop Talk

1.  I leashed up the corgis and it was back to Greenbelt Lake and fine walk all the way around it on a gray and sprinkly morning.    The dogs were especially sniffy this morning and I was aided by a thing I read online called seven things (or maybe it was six) your dog hates about you.  One of them was yanking the dog forward when she sniffs.  So I never stop the dogs from sniffing grass, tree bases, ivy, street signs, or anything else when we walk.  The sniffing stimulates them, engages them, and, I hope, keeps them from hating me!

2.  I drove the Deke's paycheck out to a shared branch of the credit union and gave myself a figurative pat on the back that I knew exactly how to get there, knew why I was turning left or right on the roads and streets I turned on, and started to feel more and more at home with the lay of the land in Greenbelt and Beltsville.  What's next?  Getting a sense of Laurel?

3.  I'm liking the Co-op more and more each time I go.  Maybe it has, in part, to do with the number of customers who are in their sixties or seventies, gray, male, and not moving with the same briskness of their (our) youth.  This evening a bonus:  two guys got into a discussion about the National Basketball Association one aisle over while I was grinding coffee beans.  They were having a friendly argument about LaBron and their conversation moved to players who don't or didn't live up and the one guy rattled off quite an impressive riff on the failures of Eddy Curry -- I fact checked some of what he said -- Eddy's not from Philly as the shopper claimed -- but right, wrong, or otherwise, I didn't want their discussion to end.  It was like Kenny Smith had taken a job at the Co-op and in came Fred Carter to talk some hoops.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/09/14: Pictures of Greenbelt Lake, Fun Conversation, Back to Panuxent

1.  Maggie and Charly and I walked the circumference of Greenbelt Lake twice today.  The second time I put my Canon S95 on my belt and took the best pictures I could while having two corgis on the leash.  I look forward to when I go to the lake without the dogs and can pause and try to set up some shots, but these were taken quickly.  Here are a few of them, especially for you who didn't/can't see my Facebook album.  I hope this helps you see what a splendid park I live within minutes of:

2.  While I was walking Maggie and Charly the second time around Greenbelt Lake, a lively woman also carrying a small camera stopped me to ask me if I'd seen the hawk (I hadn't) and then she told me about pictures of birds she had taken.  I lit up when she told me she'd photographed a cormorant. I wanted to tell her all about my great experience taking pictures of cormorants at Delta Ponds in Eugene, but I kept my mouth shut and listened to what this friendly woman had to say about her son's photography and the huge lenses he uses to photograph birds.  I realized that I'd paid so much attention to the dogs while walking them, that I hadn't paid much attention to the birds of the lake.

3.  I also took Charly and Maggie to the Panuxent Research Refuge to begin looking around and finding trails.  We found a very short trail that featured a series of exhibits of the stories of pioneers in nature conservation in the U.S.A.  It was like an outdoor conservation Hall of Fame.  I didn't take my camera -- I will in the future.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/08/14: Back to the Lake, Out to Patuxent, Our First Visitors

1.  My appreciation of Greenbelt Lake grew this morning.  The morning light was soft, it broke through the tree branches in bars of light, and the surface was smooth, reflecting all the trees around its banks.  A large flock of geese suddenly flapped into formation and flew onward, a majestic sight.  This is a good way to exercise, maybe lose some weight, and lower my blood pressure.  And, maybe more important, exercise and wear out Maggie and Charly.

2.  We didn't get out of the car, but I took Maggie and Charly on a drive to find the Patuxent Research Refuge, a National Wildlife Refuge near Laurel.  I just wanted to get a sense of the where the visitor center is and to make sure I understood how to get there.  All of that is in place and now I'm ready to find out where the trails are and to take Maggie and Charly on some walks.

3.  We had our first guests today in our apartment.  Molly, Hiram, Olivia, and David came up to visit.  The kids got to try out the excellent playground in our apartment complex and then got to open the boxes that came from Amazon with new plates and cups for them that will now always be at Nana and Grampa's place.  We enjoyed a good dinner and enjoyed seeing each other.  It was awfully good of the Diaz family to make the trip to Greenbelt, especially because Hiram had a choir rehearsal to attend in Arlington later in the evening.  We had a really good visit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/07/14: Magnificent Walk, Kindness in the Face of Difficulties, Red Card/Co-op Membership

1.  I agree with the doctor:  I need to exercise/walk to lose weight and lower my blood pressure.  I also know that the Corgis need to exercise so that they can use up some of their boundless energy, sleep during the day, and not be barking, potentially disrupting our apartment neighbors.  Soooo, Maggie and Charly and I walked the nearly half mile to Buddy Attick Park and walked the beautifully groomed and wide trail around the circumference of Greenbelt Lake.  I think I'll write more about this park and lake in a separate post, but suffice it to say that when the FDR administration put people to work on projects to bring beauty to places across the country, those workers built a wondrous lake and magnificent place to lose weight, lower my blood pressure, and to wear our the dogs.

2.  I posted a piece on kelloggbloggin entitled "The Other Side of Three Beautiful Things" as a way of saying that while I post positive things daily on my blog, when it comes to this move and starting a new life with the Deke here in Greenbelt, there are aspects of this change that have been difficult.  If you'd like to read this post, go here.  It did my inward life some good to own up to and make public difficulties in our new life.  But, even better than writing it was receiving notes of encouragement from friends,  I deeply appreciated this kindness and support.  It really did my inward life a lot of good.

3.  I returned a floor lamp I'd bought the day before to Target and I loved listening to the woman at the returns desk talk at length about why I should get a Target Red Card.  She was entirely committed to the value of this product and I smiled with pleasure as she processed my return and detailed the benefits of this card.  Later, I had a similar experience at the Co-op Grocery Store when the man who checked me out enthused about the benefits I would enjoy by being a co-op member.  He also made me laugh with his complaints about kids who were coming into the store and making the singing skeleton near his check stand sing time after time after time after time.  The skeleton only knows three songs and I think Eric is ready to break this Halloween decoration into fine pieces and sprinkle it all over Crescent Road.  (Can't blame him.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Other Side of Three Beautiful Things

Every day, I post three things that happened the day before that were in some way positive.  I enjoy sorting through the different things that happen each day and deciding what to post on my blog and Facebook.

But, in posting these Three Beautiful Things each day, I don't write about the things that are difficult and I thought I'd take some time and write about what's been and is difficult about this move that the Deke and I have made. We moved first to Alexandria, VA where we lived with Molly and Hiram.  We stayed with them longer than I had thought we would and the reason is a good one. 

The Deke initiated this idea of us moving to the D. C. area because she was tired of living so far away from Adrienne and Molly and our grandchildren, Jack, Olivia, and David.  We moved to the D. C. area because the Deke landed a job in Greenbelt, MD.  When we arrived in Virginia on July 14th, we were faced with a decision:  should we rent a place closer to Molly and Hiram and the grandchildren and be able to see them every day, meaning a daily commute for the Deke -- or should we rent a place in Greenbelt, eliminate the commute, and then see Molly and Hiram and kids less frequently?

From the start, I thought we should live in Greenbelt for one reason:  I didn't think the daily commute was a good idea.  The Deke needed more time to think about what she wanted to do, needed to do the commute for a while, and once she realized how taxing the commute was, she went to work to find us a place in Greenbelt. So, it took until the weekend of Sept. 26th for us to start renting a place and for a variety of reasons, we didn't start sleeping here until the night of October 5th.

Even moved in, as much as we are, we still don't have our beds that were in storage in Eugene and the small load of other belongings we are waiting to have shipped to us.  We got the news Friday that our stuff should be arriving some time between the 11th and 17th of October, so, for now, our apartment is empty of books, ukes, guitars, beds, and other things we are waiting for.  I'm sleeping on an air bed.  The Deke is sleeping on the love seat we just bought.

We are doing fine with all of this -- what I mean is, we aren't whining about it and we are making due. 

But, the dark cloud that hangs over everything in our life right now is the fact that the Deke's teaching job at Robert Goddard French Immersion School is the most difficult job she's ever had and she's not sure it's ever going to get much better -- at least this school year.

I've heard of these classes of students before, the group who were difficult in kindergarten, caused a lot of headaches in the first grades, continued to be hellions in the second grade, and had not improved one bit in the third grade.  The Deke's third grade students comprise one of these difficult groups.  They are noisy, physically restless, never quiet, aggressive, whiny, and just don't listen.  It's not true of the children in the other grades and this group has been difficult ever since they started school.

It means that the Deke is not able to do the things she most enjoys doing with children with these students.  She's not being the teacher she knows she is.  These children, for the most part, don't respond to her talents, her love.  In addition, the primary emphasis at the school is on testing, stating objectives/outcomes, quantifying how those objectives are being met, and so the school's administration -- or the district's -- or the Dept. of Education's administration -- doesn't place much value on what the Deke (and I) think is the most important dimension of the classroom:  the relationship between the student and the teacher.

As third graders, this early on in their schooling, these students already know that they are valued at school primarily for how they perform on tests and that the school's primary effort is to keep test scores high.  At one level, it's working (I guess).  Robert Goddard French Immersion School was just named a National Blue Ribbon School by the Department of Education.  You can read about it, here.  It's telling what the Washington Post  article highlights: 

Robert Goddard, which was named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School, is the second oldest full or total immersion in the United States. Nearly 95 percent of the students were proficient in math and 95 percent were proficient in reading. The school has a long history of success, having met its Adequate Yearly Progress targets for 12 straight years.

The Deke will continue to do all she can to do well by her students, but these students have never had a teacher like her, one who doesn't yell at them, who is on their side, who is interested in more than their proficiency scores and their Adequate Yearly Progress Targets, and who wants to kindle their spirits and imaginations, not just meet benchmarks.

It's hard.  It's a steep hill to climb and she is frustrated.
I've enjoyed much that I've done since we arrived in July.

My several outings have all been "beautiful things", but they have another side to them that I don't mention in my 3BT postings.  When I've gone to movies, heard Billy Collins, walked the streets of Foggy Bottom or eaten at Ted's Bulletin or wandered around D. C. looking for NE H Street and its festival or gone to an evening service at St. Mark's or gone on different walks to take pictures, it's always been by myself.  Yes, the Deke and I have met up a few times for beer and some food and that's been really fun, but outside of family and Molly and Hiram's friends,  I haven't made any acquaintances.  (Wait!  When Anne was in D. C. and we had beers and dinner together [what a fantastic time!], I got to meet Jeff and Jeff hosts Tiki Thirstdays in Bethesda -- so I did make an acquaintance and I hope to venture out for some Tiki fun one of these Thursdays.)

I've been unsettled, in limbo, uncertain about where we'd be living, when we'd move, how the dogs would respond to being in an apartment, unsure about all kinds of other things, nervous, stressed, and in this confusion I've not yet started going to a church.  I haven't been involved in anything social, yet, where I might meet some people with similar interests or maybe even find some drinking buddies. 

I've kept a good attitude.  I've been grateful for family, especially being able to spend so much time with Molly while living in her family's home.  I've taken advantage of this time in the D.C. area to see the art and movies I've enjoyed, to explore more and more of D. C. and Alexandria, and Greenbelt and Beltsville, too.  In Fairfax County, I loved going to Huntley Meadows and I'll go back. 

But, I sure know that being self-reliant and doing fun, interesting, stimulating things on my own, doesn't cancel out loneliness.  These last few months have been full of excitement and discovery and fun -- and loneliness for me.  I know it won't always be this way, but the loneliness I've felt definitely resides on the other side of the many beautiful things I've experienced. 

Today I took the dogs on a walk around Greenbelt Lake in Buddy Attick Park, a gorgeous park of trails, woods, and a lake and it's just a short walk from our apartment.  It was my first day of obeying my doctor's orders to walk every day.  It's also what I'm going to do first thing in the morning to exercise the dogs and wear them out, and, I hope, quiet them down.

In Buddy Attick Park, I've discovered a new source of beauty and it's a stone's throw away.  Indeed, today started out on the beautiful side of three beautiful things.  And, now, as I finish this post, the dogs are sacked out.  I've taken a nap.  My legs tingle from walking.  I have food in the fridge that will become dinner tonight.  And, well, I'm a little lonely here in this sparsely furnished basement apartment. 

To whomever reads this, believe me, I enjoy accounting for the beauty in each of my days. I enjoy knowing that people read my 3BTs posts.   It's done my soul good, as well, just now, to write about the difficulties the Deke is having and to live up to my loneliness. 

I suppose there's beauty in looking at the other side of beauty.

Hmm.  Sounds like Rumi.  And a good place to end.

Three Beautiful Things 10/06/14: First French Press Morning, Wired, Bringing Home the Corgis

1.  After going to bed at 7:30 on Sunday night, the Deke and I got to sleep a little later than when we lived in Alexandria and didn't have to brace ourselves for another drive on the Capital Beltway.  We relaxed over our first French press coffee since leaving Eugene and I drove the Deke the approximately eight minutes it takes to get to her school from our apartment. 

2.  Monica from Verizon stopped by, took her tool box into the closet with all the electronics boxes and wires and connections and, while conducting personal business on the phone in her ear ("it was her choice to go to Baltimore and she didn't have to kick that door in"), got us all hooked up on the internet.  She helped me do this and that and get our security key figured out and now we are wired.

3.  I drove to Molly and Hiram's again, this time to bring Maggie and Charly to our apartment.  For me, this is the most nerve wracking part of our moving into an apartment because the dogs can get excited and bark loudly and I don't want to bother our neighbors.  They had some moments, but once the Deke got home and we decided on some ways to do things, not only did the dogs settle down, but I started to relax a bit more about the situation. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/05/14: IKEA Delayed, Assemble Party, Makeshift Beds

1.  Our stuff was scheduled to be delivered by IKEA between 10-2 and I dutifully drove from Alexandria to Greenbelt to be here at 10 a.m. to receive the delivery.  It was delayed to 2-4.  Ha! So I got other stuff done: shopped for dinner groceries, put more of what we have away, even took a nap.

2.  Our IKEA delivery arrived and soon after so did the assemblers, the Deke and Molly.  I assigned myself cleanup duty.  They got our pieces put together and now we have a love seat, chair, coffee table, two end tables, and a dining table with chairs.  It's really kind of perfect for this uncertain time in our life.  The Deke and I don't know what's next, how long we'll be in this apartment, whether we might one day move elsewhere, so having simple, kind of temporary furniture that we can doll up a bit with blankets, tablecloths, place mats, and flowers just makes sense right now. 

3.   Our stuff is still at least a week away from arriving from Eugene.  We have no beds right now.  We were going to sleep on Molly and Hiram's air beds, but Molly and the Deke left them in Alexandria.  We could have driven (again) to Molly and Hiram's but we said resoundingly, NO!, we'll make something work.  I put the two back cushions of the love seat on the floor and covered myself with a couple of blankets.  I slept fine.  The Deke slept on the love seat.  She slept fine.  AND, we knew that when we woke up Monday morning, we wouldn't be on the Beltway.  I will drive the Deke to work, under 10 minutes away. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/04/14: A Day with Molly, Surviving IKEA, Margarita Party

1.  Molly, the Deke, and I had a day together that began with a tour of the new apartment and Molly not only helped me bring a dresser in from out of the car, not only put up our shower curtain and liner, but she helped the Deke come up with ideas about how to furnish our living room and dining space.  We were ready for IKEA, but needed to fortify ourselves first and went to the college football supersonic noise chamber and ate lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.

2.  IKEA did not have nearly the dizzying effect on me today when I was with Molly, an IKEA pro, and with the Deke, especially because they both knew what they were looking for and how to go about it and I enjoyed telling them what I wanted when it came to the kitchen, the only room in the apartment where I have strong ideas about what I want.  Yes, it was a marathon visit.  But, we got a lot done and tomorrow will be assembly day and Molly is a pro at IKEA assemblage.  (I also enjoyed all the responses people wrote me, either via email or on Facebook about my first visit to IKEA and it was heartening to know that I am not alone in having IKEA make me car sick.)

3.  I went down to ABC liquor store upon our return, bought a bottle of tequila and margarita mix, and then went to Safeway to get a couple of oranges, a couple limes, and a bottle of Sprite.  I was ready to make margaritas and went beyond putting tequila and the mix together and included fresh squeezed orange juice, a splash of Sprite, and fresh squeezed lime juice in mine.  We ended the day with a margarita party.  It went really well. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/03/14: Moving Stuff, IKEA Dizzies Me, PERS Forms

1.  We are moving into our apartment very slowly and part of the problem is that our stuff hasn't arrived from Eugene and won't for another week or so.  But, after I drove the Deke to school today, I reversed field and came right back to Alexandria and loaded up most of the stuff we have here at Hiram and Molly's and moved it to Greenbelt.

2.  When we left Eugene, we gave away most of our furnishings and now we need to decide what to buy to furnish our apartment.  I started looking today by going to IKEA for the first time and I felt like the Minotaur in the labyrinth.  I've never had such a dizzying experience in a store, ever.  Fortunately, IKEA had not been constructed by Daedalus.  I wasn't being held by Minos.  Amidst the thousands of bath towels, place mats, sets of plates and cups and bowls, and tablecloths, I found an IKEA employee who walked me to an opening in the labyrinth and gave me directions and I escaped.  I have no idea if I think we should buy furniture or anything else at IKEA.  The place made me too vertiginous.

3.  I mailed the forms I needed to have filled out for PERS and before I put them in the mail,  I had a couple of small questions and Aaron answered them with professionalism and good cheer. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/02/14: Geography, Great Target Service, Lower Blood Pressure/Lose Weight

1.  I drove back to Laurel to take the Deke's insurance card to the clinic.  I could have faxed it, but I wanted to try a different route to get to the clinic and it was successful.  I continue to learn more about the lay of the land in northern Prince George's county.

2.  There were some mixups with health insurance today, too complicated to explain, but the upshot is I drove from Beltsville back to Groveton and tried to get the Deke's medicine at my favorite Target pharmacy in the whole world and the wonderful woman at the counter put in triple, even quadruple, effort to get things straightened out and, even though it was beyond what she and the pharmacist could do, I loved them for their efforts and I think we might have figure out the problem.  We bought the medicine outright today and pharmacist charged us half price because she had given the Deke an incorrect quote over the phone.  I might drive the 40 minutes to this place for my refills just to keep working with these people. 

3.  Not only am I really happy with the pharmacy service at the Target near Molly and Hiram's, I also really like my eye doctor who works out of an office in the Beltsville Costco.  I went back for a retinal photograph today and I enjoyed, once again, how she does her job.  She's not warm and fuzzy at all, but not cold either.  She is direct, works in a little humor, converses about things outside our eye business, and talked about the health of my eyes in a straightforward, understandable way.   My eyesight is good but the pictures of my retina revealed that it would be good if I lost some weight and lowered my blood pressure. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 10/01/14: Safeway, Target, New Doc

1.  I loaded up at Safeway on cooking oils, pasta, rice, and other basic kitchen foods to get a modest pantry started.

2.  It was bathroom day at Target:  shower curtain and liner, bath mat, some towels, and other things and, an item for all rooms:  a footstool.

3. I started the day getting established with a new internist and he had a familiar message:  exercise, lose some weight, and lower your blood pressure some. It wasn't off the charts, but it was a higher than he and I want it to be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/30/14: Commute and Kitchen, Baskets and Fish, Stir Fry and Beer

1.  I'm not currently posting in the morning.  Why?  I'm driving the Deke on the Capital Beltway to Greenbelt and then doing stuff to slowly get our apartment ready to live in. (The apt. doesn't have internet service yet, either...) Right now, if I were called upon to cook a dinner, I'd have to get some food, but I have the equipment to do it.

2.   The Deke wanted three oblong laundry baskets and a small fishbowl for her classroom.  The laundry basket?  No problem. Target.  At Target, I walked into the middle of an employee's meeting in the middle of an aisle and it was the most help I've ever been given at Target and, together, the gaggle of Target employees pointed me to the indoor mall nearby and assured me I'd find a fishbowl there.  They were right.  I walked into a business called The Aquarium, which felt humid like a rain forest and where about a million birds were in cages and a couple million fish were in tanks and bought the little fishbowl for the Deke.

3.  Hiram returned home from touring across the USA with the President's Own United States Marine Band and I helped make his return a comfortable one by cooking up some stir fry and stocking the fridge with Pumpking Pumpkin Ale and Great Lakes Oktoberfest Beer.