Monday, October 31, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/30/16: Flub Becomes a Free Pass, Walking to Washington Square, McSorley's and Jimmy's No. 43

1. I flopped into the Sube and tooled from Nayack, across the Tappan Z Bridge, to Tarrytown and parked at the train station so I could board a train for Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. When I bought my train ticket at the vending macine, I made a mistake and bought two round trip tickets. I relieved my sense of self-loathing for making such a dumb error by walking up to a guy at another machine and giving him the ticket I didn't need.  He thanked me with a handshake and we both went on with our day and our travel.

2. Upon arrival at Grand Central, I strolled to Zucker's for a cinnamon raisin bagel and cream cheese and a coffee and then walked through Madison Square Park on my way to Washington Square Park where I rested, watched scores of people out and about on such a lovely day, and pretended like I was a citizen, for an hour or so, of Greenwich Village.  It was about a two mile walk, an awesome one.

3.  Scott Shirk and I agreed to meet at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park and after he finished his lunch, we strolled to the lower regions of Manhattan and enjoyed a few beers at McSorley's Old Ale House. It was the only time in my life I've quaffed beer in a joint where Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon did, too -- and Woody Guthrie! Maybe you've read e. e. cummings' poem about this "snug and evil" place, here.

We ended our afternoon of conversation and beer with a cheddar plate and a superb Double IPA at Jimmy's No. 43, a basement bar in the East Village owned by Jimmy Carbone who does a favorite podcast of mine, Beer Sessions.

We finished our beer and our snack and walked several blocks to the Bleecker Street station and I rode the 6 train back to Grand Central and Scott headed home to Brooklyn.

At Grand Central, I found the train back to Tarrytown and arrived back at Adrienne's safe, sound, and happy/grateful for a superb day.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/29/16: Grandpa Step Behind, Relaxing Beer and *The Big Listen*, Manhattan Plans

1.  The Deke drove Adrienne to work and I spent over an hour with Jack and Olivia.  I had a little trouble keeping up with them.  Oh my.

2.  I had a relaxing time at Growler and Gill in Nanuet enjoying short glasses of three different beers that were new to me.  I also put in the ear buds and listened to the latest episode of The Big Listen and thought about how two weeks ago I was listening to Lauren Ober in Savannah and sometimes I listen to her show while tooling around in the Sube in the D.C. area and in two weeks I'll be listening to her show in Kellogg. If you'd like to listen to the latest episode, it's right here.

3.  Back at Adrienne's, I made some plans for my excursion into Manhattan tomorrow to wander around a bit and then meet Scott Shirk for some more wandering around and, among other things, to hear about his and Cate's travel in New England after their wedding.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/28/16: Drive to Nyack, Maximum Bored, Life Saver

1.  The Deke and Olivia and I piled into the Sube late in the afternoon to lumber up the choked, sometimes clogged, arteries of I-95, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Garden State Parkway and made our way to Adrienne and Jack's place in Nyack.  We arrived around 10:30. From driving I was worn out and would up at the same time and, after unpacking the Sube, I relaxed with cold, refreshing bottle of Brooklyn Lager and eventually got to sleep.

2. Earlier in the day,  I zoomed down to the Shell station on Greenbelt Road and using a tool that could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch, I vacuumed about 33 tons of corgi hair off the back seat so Olivia could have a nice environment during her five hour, in her words, "maximum bored" ride to Nyack.

3.  Soon after we pulled on to the New Jersey Turnpike, we stopped at the John Fenwick Travel Plaza and a simple cup of Starbucks coffee and a toasted plain bagel with cream cheese saved my life.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/27/16: Decisions, Early Voting, Party at Molly's

1.  I sat down with my voters' pamphlet and spent about an hour or so reading about candidates for the Seventh Circuit Court and the handful of measures on the ballot.  After some deliberation, I arrived at my decisions.

2. I drove about seven miles north to the Beltsville-Laurel Senior Activity Center. Today was the first day of the early voting period in Maryland.  As I turned into the large parking lot of the Senior Center, I felt a sudden surge of happiness. There were no parking spots. This polling place was packed. It wasn't too long before I slipped into a spot a voter vacated.  I got in line and could see this polling place was well-staffed and the line moved along at a good pace.  I loved being in the company of so many other voters, an experience I've always enjoyed. I loved vote by mail in Oregon, but I always missed making the Election Day trip to a polling place and sharing the act of voting with others.

3.  For Father's Day, Molly and Hiram gave me a flight kit -- four small glasses and a wooden tray shaped like a beer bottle.  After dinner, the Deke, Molly, and I had a little beer tasting party, drinking samples out of the flight glasses. As a tribute to the good old days in Eugene, I had purchased a bottle of Ninkasi's N10, their 10th Anniversary Ale, a blend of two Imperial Stouts, two Imperial IPAs, and Barleywine.  We also split a 12 oz bottle of very high ABV bourbon barrel-aged Pumpkin Ale called Pump(KY)n Ale from Avery Brewing of Boulder. The three of us had a fun little party.  (By the way, with about an ounce of the Pumpkin Ale left in my glass, I mixed it with some N10 and the three of us agreed that this hybrid was even better than either of the two beers standing alone.)

Jun 16, 2

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/26/16: Walking While Waiting, Bourbon Aged 10 Years, *Unlocking Sherlock*

1.  Whenever I need the Sube serviced at the Sunoco station, I never know what time the car will go up on the rack.  I leave it off in the morning, walk the mile and half or so back to our apartment home, and call in later in the day to see if the car is ready.  Today, I called in around noon or so and the person I talked to thought the car was going in pretty soon. So, about 2:00 or so, I didn't call in, but strolled down to the garage and learned the car hadn't gone in, but would be ready about 5:00. No problem, I thought.  I'll go hang out in the library where I turned in three books and paid a 50 cent fine I owed. But, at 2:50, a voice came over the p.a. system announcing the library would close at 3:00 because of construction being done.

So I had two hours on my hands and I decided to walk down to and around Greenbelt Lake, do some gazing, hoping my feet would hold up all right.

They did.

I walked over 15,000 steps, over 7 miles over the course of the day, without pain.

In addition, I learned that the Sube didn't need the tune-up I thought I'd be paying for. It only needed an oil change.  I had a great talk with the mechanic who explained when I'd actually need a tune-up again.

2.  Having saved some money on car work, I decided to have a cup of crab bisque and a house salad at the Old Line Bistro and I tried a pour of the bourbon aged 10 years that had been distilled for Old Line by Smooth Ambler Spirits -- I need to go back to the Old Line liquor store and study the label and learn more about it.  But, here's what I can say -- it was a sweet pour, a kind of brown sugary and vanilla-ish sweetness, followed by a boozy sting that gave me a jolt I really enjoyed.  I pondered the taste of this bourbon for a while -- thinking mostly about how different it is from a pour of peaty or smoky single malt Scotch whiskey. I finished my visit with a small pour of RAR and Hoof Hearted's tasty collaborative Double IPA.

3.  Back at our apartment home, I further relaxed by watching a splendid short documentary, Unlocking Sherlock, that goes behind the scenes with the creators and actors of the BBC/WGBH television production, Sherlock and looks at a bunch of past production of Sherlock Holmes stories, going all the way back to silent movies.  This was a delicious before bed snack, one I'll return to again to enjoy the interviews and the clips of Sherlock Holmes then and now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/25/16: Mom Update, Butterflying a Chicken, *Goliath* vs Farm to Table

1.  Christy texted me this morning that Mom had had a rough night, mainly because the hospital staff couldn't open a port in her arm for her antibiotic IV. They worked on it until late into the night and early morning before giving up. It meant Mom didn't sleep well and her arm was sore from all the attempts. It all makes sense to me.  I've been in the same situation myself, but, in my case the staff finally succeeded.

Later in the morning, Mom and Christy called me from the Shoshone Medical Center and Mom and I had a good talk. I know she was tired, but her voice sounded pretty strong and she had a complete grasp of what was going on.  She's taking her antibiotics orally. She is able, with help, to get out of bed and do things like visit the bathroom.  Her infection is getting a little better every day.  Late in the day, Carol sent out a picture of the infected area, and, yes, it is grisly looking, but even in a little picture on a smartphone, I can see it's getting better.

The Deke and I sent Mom flowers and Christy sent me a picture of them and it's a gorgeous bouquet. I couldn't be happier with JB's Country Garden Floral and Gift in Kellogg.

2.  Until this afternoon, I had never butterflied a whole chicken and roasted it flat. I looked at a video of how to take out the backbone, succeeded, boiled the backbone and squeezed half a lemon in the broth it created, and after generously seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and thyme, roasted it in our twelve inch cast iron skillet at 450 degrees F with cut red potatoes around the bird. I poured the chicken lemon broth over the chicken about three times while it roasted and was very happy with the flavor this gave the meat and the spuds.  No one was here to eat the chicken. I ate the wings and single slice of breast and I'll take the rest over to the Diazes tomorrow and Molly can build a dinner around it.  This little cooking venture was really fun for me.

3.  I finished watching Season 1 of Goliath.  Then I went back and watched certain scenes again and I will do that some more over the next few days.  I wasn't quite ready to let go of watching this cast at work, especially Billy Bob Thornton. I enjoy very much watching movies and serial television shows (and read fiction and watch/read plays) as a believer. I let the world unfolding in the story be reality and don't weigh the reality created in the story against any notions I might have of what's real in the world I live in.  The words "that could never happen" never cross my mind.  Why?  Because it just did happen, right there in the story! It was fun for me to enter the world and reality of this story, to spend about 7 and a half hours with people the likes of which I have never known, moving through a world way outside my own, facing dangers and dealing with higher stakes in life than I will ever face, I hope.

And it all came to a conclusion and I guess Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton) will take on another big challenge if this project is going to have a second season.  I'm curious.

True to form, I did not let Goliath be the last thing I watched before falling asleep. I watched another episode of Chef's Table and learned the story of farm to table pioneer and advocate Dan Barber and his Greenwich Village restaurant, Blue Hill. The episode excited my imagination about possibilities for improving the flavor of what I cook.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/24/16: Mom Update, Back in the Pool, *Goliath* vs Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

1.  Christy called me today with an update on Mom. Mom's got a ways to go before the infection in her leg heals. She'll be in the hospital for a while longer because the wound needs continual attention. Mom's spirits seem pretty good, according to Christy. With help, she can be out of bed and walk a bit. She's getting a little feisty about this and that, always a sign that she's feeling better.  She, and we, her kids, sure appreciate all the support from friends and family near and far.  People are good.

2. It felt really good to be back in the swimming pool today, jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, stretching, getting in a lot of movement. I tingled and felt refreshed for the rest of the day after today's class ended.

3.  This evening I descended deeper into the darkness of Goliath as more and more layers of corruption in the law firm Billy McBride (Billy Bob Thornton) is up against were peeled away and the rot at the heart of the munitions manufacturer the law firm represents was exposed.  The series is a melodramatic portrayal of ruthlessness. This kind of melodrama is both unnerving and fun at the same time: for me, it's unnerving to enter into a world rife with so much lust, greed, vengefulness, deception, perversion, and cruelty, but, it's fun to watch actors like Billy Bob Thornton, Maria Bello, William Hurt, Molly Parker, and the other cast members tear gleefully into their roles, making the David/Goliath conflict bigger and bigger as Goliath grows and the odds stack more heavily against David.

Before I called it a night, I took a break from the illicit world of Goliath and watched the first episode of Chef's Table.  Ahhhh.  The world of chef Massimo Bottura, in his restaurant, Osteria Francescana, located in Modena, is one of light, laughter, artistry, and love. By diving into the world of Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, his wife and business partner, I went to sleep with images of corruption replaced by images of joy and vitality and intriguing food far beyond the reach of any dimension of my culinary experience, either in the kitchen or at the dinner table.

By the way, David Gelb directs Chef's Table and he regards the series as a follow up to his splendid documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a movie I thoroughly loved.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/23/16: Road Trip to Eastern MD, Mom Continues to Heal, *Goliath*

1.  With the sky blue as a robin's egg, the Deke and I vaulted into the Sube and admired the beauty of Maryland on a drive east, across the Chesapeake Bay, to the towns of Cambridge and Salisbury.  In Cambridge, we went to a riverside park hosting a kite festival and admired the variety of kites; in Salisbury we went to the Evolution Brewing's Public House. I enjoyed a glass of Exile Red Ale and, after I split a bowl of crab soup with the Deke, I ate as perfect an order of fish (cod) and chips as I've every had, and, for dessert, I enjoyed a 4 oz. sampler of their black, toasty, sweet, and dry Russian Imperial Stout simply called, Cathy.  On our way back, we stopped back in Cambridge at RAR Brewing for a half a beer. I tried their Bucktown Brown.  We loved our day of touring Maryland and wrapped it up at the chez Diaz where Molly had fixed a superb meatloaf dinner.

2. While on the road, the Deke read me updates Christy sent me about Mom and everything is moving in the right direction as her infection continues to heal and as she hosted visitors during the day. Christy assured me that even though the picture of the infection looks grisly, it's improving and healing. It was great to know that Mom continues to get better.

3.  The other day at, thanks to a tweet of theirs that intrigued me, I read a review of a new Amazon series, Goliath, featuring Billy Bob Thornton as Billy McBride, a former high-powered lawyer whose life has bottomed out. He lives in a motel room, spends most of his time in a bar, and practices little law. But, a case comes his way that pits him against the powerful law firm he helped form years ago. I watched three episodes tonight and I'm hooked, mainly because I enjoy Thornton's work so much and he's playing a character perfectly suited to his gifts as an actor. If you've read my responses to movies and TV shows in the past, you know that I'm not tough on shows and I had little trouble surrendering myself to the reality of this show, the world it creates, and letting myself get involved in its melodramas and inner workings.

One fun fact:  the title Goliath? Ha! For Billy McBride, the story of David and Goliath doesn't come I Samuel, but from the pregame prayer in the championship game in the movie,  Hoosiers.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/22/16: Pumpkin Ale Fest, Into the Bistro, Mom is Improving in the Hospital

1.  The Deke and I attended Old Line's Pumpkin Ale Fest and bought a ticket for a single pour, but before we decided what to have our cup filled with, we enjoyed complimentary samples at about five different breweries' stations.  Not all the beers at the festival were pumpkin, but all were seasonal, I'd say.  I had my small plastic cup filled with Expect No Mercy,  a bourbon barrel-aged Scottish Ale from Oliver Brewing in Baltimore.  I enjoyed its sweet character and I love the boozy warmth beer develops when it's aged in barrels -- whether rum, bourbon, wine, or another kind of barrel.

2. The Deke and I took our plastic cups into the bistro and sat down in a booth and over the next ninety minutes or so, I enjoyed two small glasses of, once again, barrel-aged ale.  The first was from up the road, Laurel's Jailbreak recently brewed their double IPA, Big Punisher, in barrels once containing Old Line Smooth Amber Bourbon. Soon this beer will be gone and I wanted to enjoy at least one more snifter before it disappears. I also enjoy Abita's Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.  I think it's called Bourbon Street and I savored a small glass of it.  It was a festive afternoon at Old Line. It inspired the Deke and me to plan a drive to Chesapeake Bay on Sunday.

3.  Back home, I got a phone call from Christy, updating me about Mom.  Mom has been in the hospital since early Tuesday morning. Her lower right leg got infected at home and caused a series of problems.  She is getting better and is ready to have us kids write a bit about her illness and ask for support. She is also ready for visitors at the hospital. She will be in the hospital a while longer as the infection continues to clear up and as she undergoes rehab.  It was a great relief to hear from Christy that she's doing better.  Earlier in the week, Mom had some very rough days and nights.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/21/16: Brookland Stroll, Lunch at Brookland Pint, Beer with Maceo

1.  I leapt into the Sube and rumbled down to the Brookland neighborhood to walk around, just to continue get a feel for the place.  I sort of did that.  I enjoyed strolling along Monroe Street, on into Edgewood, past the fancy Monroe Street Market development, and over to the American Catholic University area and I took some time to gaze at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and thought about ways to take pictures of this building and other places nearby. I kept my camera in my bag because a rain storm was moving in and I wanted to duck into a joint for lunch and a beer before the rain started.  When Nate visited a few weeks ago, this was the neighborhood I was going to show him (with a bite to eat at Brookland's Finest Bar & Kitchen),  but it turned out to be a much better idea to stroll the National Mall.  I have decided I want to go to Brookland's Finest with someone else -- maybe the Deke and I will go there.

2. I ducked into a place I've heard a lot about, Brookland Pint, for some Buffalo wings and a glass of D.C. beer: Three Stars Brewing's Double IPA, Pounding Trees. As a dessert, I enjoyed one of my favorites, a 4 oz. pour of Goose Island's Belgian Wild Ale, Juliet.  I was very happy to see that Brookland Pint had a Logsdon beer on tap, Straffe Drieling.  Logsdon is brewed in Hood River, OR and was one of my favorite of all brewers back in the old days in Eugene and I hadn't seen it listed on a tap list anywhere since moving out here.  Today, I wasn't in the mood for a spicy triple, but I will be keeping an eye on Brookland Pint's beer menu to see if they pour Logsdon again -- or often.

3.  Well, it's not that far from Brookland to DC Brau so I popped over, got myself a pour of On the Wings of Armageddon, plopped myself down at a small empty table and as the place filled up, Maceo asked me if he could share the table I was seated at. He plopped down and we fell into easy and fascinating conversation about all sorts of things ranging from his service in the Peace Corps in Senegal to the world of beer in the District of Columbia to his four visits to the newly opened Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, including visits to the museum with his parents.  We had a great talk and I wouldn't doubt if we sit down over beers again some time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/20/16: Lilies In Bloom, Unexpected Conversation, Photographs and Fiction

1. I hopped in the Sube and rambled down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens to meander around and see what the ponds and the dying lotus leaves look like in mid-October and to see if any waterfowl or turtles might be basking in the sun. I didn't see any animals, although I heard several turtle splashes and I was actually astonished by one pond, the only pond, with lilies still blooming. Scroll down if you'd like to see pictures.

2. As I was leaving, Hoang, who works at the visitor center, was sitting on the porch and asked if she could see my pictures and I showed her my shots and then we talked for at least an hour about writing -- I read an excerpt of a book Hoang is working on and told her a bit about this blog. We also talked about a variety of other things ranging from international travel to Bob Dylan to Shakespeare and many points around and in between.

3.  Separate from each other, Dan and Nini wrote emails to me about the bike picture I took in color in Savannah and I wrote back to them about how I didn't know what the factual truth of that picture is, but I enjoyed that the one in color, and another one of the same subject in black and white, told so many possible stories, primarily centered around the bike and the sketch of the woman attached to the bike.  The power of the pictures really has little to do with the facts -- that's the power of fiction -- and my guess is that we experience photographs much more as fiction, in the best possible sense of the word, than we do as fact, as we create stories in our minds about what's happening in a picture.

Here are the bicycle pictures. When I took them, I thought they were portraits of the woman in the pictures and it's been fun to have these email conversations about the bicycle and the sketch.

After the bike pictures, I'll post some pictures from the aquatic gardens.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sibling Photo Assignment #9: Comfort at the Aquatic Gardens

Christy gave us the latest Sibling Photo Assignment:

"Create a series of photos that depict a sense of comfort."

You'll find Christy's pictures here and Carol's here.

I go to water and wetlands in order to feel a sense of comfort. Today I went to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and these pictures, if they don't depict a sense of comfort, are, indeed, pictures of what I saw that comforted me.

Three Beautiful Things 10/19/16: A Malcolm Gladwell Day, Friendliest Cashier Ever, Commemorating David

1.  As I made some breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, put my laundry away, and reorganized drawers in my dresser, Malcolm Gladwell, yes, Mr. Outlier, Mr. Blink, Mr. Tipping Point. He was in my head by way of my ear buds, his voice coming out of my smartphone, as I listened to episodes of his podcast, Revisionist History, here.

In "Food Fight", Gladwell looks at the impact that serving students gourmet food has on whether Bowdoin College can admit intelligent students who are not of the upper middle class or upper class, in contrast to Vassar College, which serves students in its dining hall lousy food, but is committed to helping less affluent students attend its school.

In "My Little Hundred Million", Gladwell wonders why ultra-wealthy donors give their money to schools like Princeton or Stanford who are already very rich (and don't need the money) rather than to poorer schools for whom such gifts would be transformative -- and would be of great help to students of lesser financial means.  I loved listening to Gladwell contrast soccer, a weak link sport, to basketball, a strong link sport, as a way of illustrating the good that might be done if wealthy donors invested in schools who really need their money.

In the last episode I listened to, "Blame Game", Gladwell calls into question whether the unintended acceleration problem that plagued Toyota several years ago was a mechanical problem in the automobile. Gladwell argues it might very well have been a driver problem.

I find Gladwell fascinating -- I have a grain of salt by my side as I listen to him -- but, then again, no matter what I read or listen to, I keep that grain of salt nearby.

2.  I don't know her name, but she is about the same age as the Deke and I and she works the register at the liquor store half of Old Line and she always greets the Deke and me in the friendliest possible way. Today, the Deke and I came to the Old Line separately and the friendly cashier greeted me and wondered where the Deke was.  I told her. Later, she saw the Deke headed back to the Old Line Bistro, but was busy and couldn't say "hi!" from her work station, so, a little while later, she made a special trip to the bistro, came to our booth, and greeted the Deke.  No wonder we love this place.

3. Had he not died in November, 2009, today would have been the Deke's brother David's 58th birthday. To commemorate the occasion, the Deke and I raised shots of Maker's Mark in his honor at the Old Line Bistro.  Our server, Liz, took this picture:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/18/16: Staying Home, Podcast Binge, Looking Up in Savannah

1.  Today was a stay home and rest day after four days in Savannah, arriving home after 1 a.m., and not going to bed until well after 2 a.m. Now, I'm unpacked. I did my laundry. Mostly, I tended to my mind and spirit, working with pictures I took and listening to podcasts.

2.  The Southern Foodways Alliance posts a podcast every two weeks called Gravy.  Each episode explores ways the food, culture, politics, traditions, and life in the South intersect. Since arriving at the Savannah Airport Monday evening, flying to Atlanta and Baltimore, and arriving home in Greenbelt, I've listened to four fascinating Gravy episodes.

First,  "What is White Trash Cooking?" looks admiringly back at the life and some of the recipes of the late Ernest Matthew Mickler, author of the loving tribute to the recipes of poor, working class, rural people in the South called White Trash Cooking.  You can listen to it, here.

Then I listened to "Repast" the story of Booker Wright, a proprietor of his own bar in the black district by day and a waiter by night in Greenwood, Mississippi, who gave an interview on a 1965-66 NBC documentary called "Mississippi: A Self-Portrait." His account of his experience as a black man working in an upscale whites-only restaurant made him an unlikely hero of the Civil Rights movement and inspired the composition of a recently composed opera which premiered in Oxford, MS in 2014 and was later performed in Carnegie Hall.  The episode is structured around Wright's story and the music of the opera. The podcast is here and you can see video of the 1966 interview, here.  There's more to Booker Wright's story than I've written here or than the podcast tells and as a search of the World Wide Web will reveal.

I learned more about Chinese immigration and the introduction of dried shrimp and dried shrimp powder into Louisiana cuisine by listening to the episode, "Dancing the Shrimp Dry: How Chinese Immigrants Drove Louisiana Seafood".  You can listen to this episode, here.

It turned out that I saved my favorite Gravy episode for last.  Caleb Johnson tells the story of coal mining in Alabama through interviewing his father, Ronnie Johnson, and by focusing on the contents and the packing up of his dad's lunchbox. This episode hit home. Ronnie Johnson's story closely paralleled the stories of miners in Kellogg and the Silver Valley as well as those of us who worked on the surface in, say, the Zinc Plant or the Lead Smelter.  The episode is titled, "The Leftovers in a Coal Miner's Lunchbox" and it is here.
(By the way, this would have been a perfect episode for Margaret's and my students in the American Working Class course. )

Just for the record, I also listened to part 3 of the "Who is This Restaurant For?" series on Sporkful titled, "One Sign in Arabic, Another in English" which examined a Korean restaurant in Gowanus, Brooklyn, a Middle Eastern eatery in Astoria, Queens, and a vegetarian cafe in the East Village in Manhattan.  It's fascinating to listen to how these chefs constructed their restaurants to be inviting to as many potential customers as possible -- and the challenges they face doing so.  Want to listen?  Just click here.

3.  For part of the time I listened to podcasts, I also worked with pictures I took in Savannah and I completed Sibling Photo Assignment #8. Christy assigned the three of us to find beauty by looking up. So wherever I went in Savannah, I looked up, sometimes way up, and, in the case of the portrait artist sitting behind the bicycle, only a few feet up.  Here are the pictures I posted to complete the assignment:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sibling Photo Assignment #8: Looking Up in Savannah

Christy assigned the three of us to find beauty by looking up and snap away.

Christy looked up through the trees, here. Carol looked up at rain, here.

On Monday, October 17th, I meandered around Savannah, GA and looked up, sometimes high above me and other times just a few feet up.

Three Beautiful Things 10/17/16: Savannah Photo Meander, Lunch and the Newlyweds, Uber Debut

1.  I woke up this morning feeling complete, happy to have been part of so much joy and fun since arriving in Savannah on Friday, very happy to have been a part of Scott and Cate's marriage.  With a day in Savannah to myself, I tried to express my happiness by taking pictures, walking to Forsyth Park, returning to River Street, and doing my best to compete a Sibling Photo Assignment where Christy told us to look up and take pictures of beauty above us.

2.  I dropped into The Savannah Taphouse on E. Broughton Street and after enjoying a cup of she crab soup and an order of Tex Mex eggrolls and a pint of Hop'Lin IPA from Savannah's own Southbound Brewing, a text message flew in from Scott, telling me that he and Cate were outside the Hampton Inn, so I hustled the few blocks over there and, much to my surprise and delight, got to spend another half hour or so visiting with Scott and Cate and revel in how perfectly everything went on Sunday and I got to hear more about their plans to wind their way up to Maine from New York over the next several days.

3.  I think it was while I was at Forsyth Park, but it might have been at another of the several handsome squares in Savannah, but I got to thinking about the fact that I needed a late afternoon ride to the airport and that this just might be the day to sign up with Uber. So I did. Eventually, I returned to the hotel, claimed my suitcase at the front desk, and soon Melissa drove up in her handsome Nissan Rogue and, before long, after a little conversation about Hurricane Matthew, we learned that both us are enthusiastic about beer and some good old beer talk made the trip to the airport go by in no time.

And, just for the record, everything from check in to security check to juicing up my phone and relaxing at a charging station to changing planes in Atlanta to returning to the Sube in long term parking at BWI went beautifully.
Here are a few pictures I took in Savannah.  I'd sure like to go back and take pictures in Savannah again.  I really think I'd do better now that I've been to Savannah once.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/16/16: Private Eccentric Pleasure, Joyous Wedding Ceremony, Mirthful Reception

1.  After breakfast, I strolled down to Savannah's River Street and succeeded in not spraining an ankle walking on the cobblestone.  After a little bit of gawking, I sat down on a bench, put in my ear buds, and listened to this week's episode of The Big Listen. It's here. So, during each episode of The Big Listen, the program features recorded phone calls on the Pod Line -- it's listeners talking about a favorite podcast or two of theirs.  This segment of the show is accompanied by a minimalist music sound track and for some reason the music gives me a nostalgic feeling (nostalgic? already?) and I always picture myself driving down Kenilworth through Riverdale and Edmonston and other D.C. suburbs in Maryland, crossing over on Decatur to Baltimore Avenue to head south to Bladensburg Road and a visit to DC Brau.  Many years ago I used to keep track of what I called my private eccentric pleasures -- and this morning that phrase from nearly twenty-five years ago popped back into my mind and I smiled, thinking about how that little bit of music and my feelings of nostalgia about driving to DC Brau combine to give me a perfectly private eccentric pleasure.

2.  The wedding ceremony went beautifully. For my part, I got choked up as I opened the ceremony, took a pause, gathered myself, and then proceeded forward just fine.  Both Scott and Cate were very appreciative of what I said to the guests about the role friends and family play in the marriage covenant and expressed a lot of gratitude for my charge to them in their marriage. It was a joyous ceremony, intimate, held outside of Savannah in a small historic chapel amidst oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from ancient branches, a perfect setting for Cate and Scott to join their lives as husband and wife.

3.  The reception dinner was held at Garibaldi's Cafe in Savannah's Historic District and it was a mirthful celebration of the wedding. Merriment reached its peak after we finished eating dinner and the dance music began. I wished I was a little younger, longed for the days back in the early nineties when I used to dance for hours without stopping at the WOW Hall, but, when the B-52s' "Love Shack" came over the speakers, for about four minutes I felt some of that youthful energy again and gave dancing my ass off my best shot.  It was really fun to see Barbie and Parsa and to meet Holly and talk more with Tom and enjoy great conversations about Eugene and good times around the theater and our affection for mutual friends.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/15/16: New Black Blazer, Free Fried Green Tomatoes, Boohag and Invigoration

1.  I guess, I don't know, I guess I was going back and forth Thursday evening between packing and fixing dinner and I packed my suit jacket, but not the pants.  I discovered this slight oversight when I unpacked Friday afternoon. But, I did pack my black dress slacks, so, this morning after breakfast I trotted down to Savannah's On Time Fashions and purchased a black blazer and now my ensemble is set for the wedding.

2.  I returned to Moon River Brewing for lunch. As I was savoring my Swamp Fox IPA, the kitchen staff brought me an order of fried green tomatoes layered with blue crab salad, but I had ordered Oysters Savannah.  My animated server, Danielle, a great conversationalist, spotted the error before I did, and she comped me the awesome fried green tomatoes and, a little later, served me the oysters I ordered. I don't remember the last time an error turned out to be so delicious (and free!) and, as a bonus, Danielle and I had a great talk about her yearnings to visit or maybe live one day in the Pacific Northwest.

3.  Well, it turns out Sommer also hopes to live in the Pacific Northwest one day.  After the rehearsal dinner, and a really fun conversation with Eugene native Amanda, a bunch of us, including Eugene theater veterans Tom and Parsa, all got together back at Moon River Brewing where I enjoyed their Boohag, a tasty and toasty Black IPA.  Conversation with these guys was really fun, especially some reminiscing about productions we'd been in at LCC.  I also really enjoyed talking with our server, Sommer, who is a photographer, about her pictures and her dreams of moving to the Pacific Northwest, and she gave me her card so I could go to her website and I did and I enjoyed her style of photography, her subjects, and marveled at how very different her way of taking pictures is from anything I've ever done or thought of.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/14/16: TSA Pre-Check, Excellent Lunch at Applebee's, Beer in Savannah

1.  I arrived at Baltimore Washington International airport early enough that it was no problem when the Express Parking Lot was closed and I had to drive a ways to the Long Term Parking Lot.  Once I checked in my suitcase and headed to the security line, I realized, through no effort of my own, that I had a TSA pre-check boarding pass and so I didn't have to take off my shoes or get out my laptop and I waltzed through security with ease.

2.  My flight to Atlanta as well as to Savannah were easy and Scott picked me up at the airport and we ducked into an Applebee's for lunch and started getting caught up on things and talked about the wedding ceremony and how everything was shaping up -- in a word, it all looks good.

3.  I checked into my room at the downtown Savannah Hampton Inn and got situated.   After a couple hours of rest from traveling, I joined Scott and Cate for a walk down Bay Street to the Moon River Brewing Co., a restaurant that brews their own beer, and enjoyed a couple of glasses of Bandicoot Rye IPA -- I love Rye IPAs and this one was most satisfying.  Scott and Cate returned to wedding preparations and I strolled down to Churchill's Pub and, to my delight, they were serving Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard.  Back in the early part of the 21st century, I used to drink Arrogant Bastard from time to time, but it had been a while and I had never had the barrel-aged stuff.

Oh. My.

Let's just say that I will very likely pop back into Churchill's for another snifter of this aggressive, vanilla-y, oaky, somewhat boozy, subtly fruity, almost cocoa-y flavor bomb.  For me, it's not a beer to drink for refreshment, but to enjoy as a meditation upon epicurean beauty.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/13/16: New Clutch, Good Eyes, The Shirt Fits

1. Took the good ole Sube into the doctor and the clutch transplant was a success.

2. Took my good ole eyes into Costco to the Eye Center and Dr. Madsen sees no changes of note in my vision and she and I had some fun talking about taking pictures.

3. Took myself to Kohl's and found a white shirt that fits around my neck and is the correct sleeve size and I purchased a new tie while I was at it, hoping I'll look okay at the wedding on Sunday.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/12/16: Colette Cafe, Ana Climbs, *The Imitation Game*

1. The Deke was home.  Yom Kippur is a school holiday in Prince George's County.  Around noon, I volunteered to go over to Colette Cafe, order us each a sandwich, bring them home, and see what we thought.  We were both pleased with our wraps and it looks like we have a place nearby to go to on those rare days when we'd like a take out sandwich during the day.

2.  That Ana. We went over to see Molly and the kids late this afternoon and Ana, given the slightest opportunity, wants to climb on dining chairs and climb on top of the dining table -- and needs to be monitored at all times!

3.  I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense and the intrigue and was angered and saddened by the ultimate conclusion of the movie The Imitation Game.  It reminded me of watching Apollo 13, as a very intelligent team works a problem that seems, on the face of it, impossible to solve. This part of the plot was inspiring. My sadness and rage resulted from what the movie unfolded about Alan Turing's private life and his death. Because you might not have seen the movie, I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/11/16: The Sube Needs a Doctor, Decisions at Old Line, Who is This Restaurant For?

1.  Today I took charge of things.  No moping around. I got some things done around the apartment home and slid into the Sube and started to head down to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and as I left the Beltway to get on to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the Sube started acting up and I could smell something burning. I had thought the Sube acted funny on my trip north of Baltimore on Saturday, but I couldn't put my finger on it, but today I put my finger, my palm, my forearm, and my elbow on it.  I reversed field, drove the short distance back to Greenbelt, and went straight to the mechanics at the Sunoco station.  Immediately, they diagnosed the problem:  the Sube needs a new clutch -- and Jens told me they don't do clutch work in their garage, so talk Mike or Joe next door at Greenbelt Truck and Auto Repair. I did. Mike sprang to his feet, took me into the garage, took an old clutch he had just replaced out of a bucket, explained what, no doubt, was going on with mine, and then told me to go hang out for a half an hour while he gave the Sube a road test to make sure. I piled up some steps on my pedometer,  returned to the garage, he had the estimate ready to go, and I told him I'd call him in the morning with a decision.

I was very pleased that both Jens and Mike knew immediately what was going on with the Sube, that Mike took so much time to explain things to me, and that these two garages, competitors, have some level of cooperation between them.

2.  The Deke is using the Diazes' Element while Hiram is on tour, so not only do we have a car as a back up to the Sube being on the disabled list, the Deke has Yom Kippur off on Wednesday, and had decided before the car trouble to stay at our apartment home.  So, after school, she buzzed by our apartment complex, picked me up, and we went to Old Line for a couple of beers and some happy hour food and talked about cars and money and the present and the future and whether to have the Sube repaired. We are going forward with the repair.

3.  The podcast The Sporkful is underway with a series of episodes entitled, "Who Is This Restaurant For?". Host Dan Pashman along with Kat Chow of Code Switch interview a variety of people and explore the coding in restaurants, details that signal who is welcome, with particular emphasis on what races and cultures are welcome or might feel welcome. The first episode, "Us vs Them" was of particular interest to me because Pashman and Chow visited three Washington, D. C. spots, Sankofa Video Books and Cafe near Howard University, the newly opened Slim's Diner in Petworth, and the original Busboys and Poets at 14th and V. Pashman and Chow talked with the proprietors and with customers and I arrived at a better understanding not only of the racial and cultural complexities of restaurants, but of the racial and cultural complexities and changes in Washington, D. C., especially as gentrification continues.

I thought a lot about how I never faced any of these racial or cultural tensions growing up in Kellogg -- but  I thought about subtle and not so subtle social class hierarchies in Kellogg (and, later in my life, Coeur d'Alene, Eugene, and Spokane), and realized that, indeed, the bars, cafes, and restaurants were inviting to some, didn't welcome others, and that there were places where I felt out of place either because I felt inferior or because the people there felt dangerous to me.  I thought about a handful of bars in Kellogg where I never went -- I used to think of them as knife joints, whether they were or not -- and how I avoided similar places Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, and Eugene.  I didn't go to other places that felt too rich to me, or, if I did, I never felt at ease.  I wondered if I belonged there, and in answer to the question, "Who is this restaurant for?", I often thought, in these fancier places, not me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/10/16: Now I Understand, Photo Stroll on Greenbelt Lake, Pandora and New York Fermentation

1.  I rallied as the day progressed, but when our Verizon internet bill came in my email box and it had increased, legitimately, by the way, the news unnerved me. I had trouble getting a hold of Verizon -- it was my fault, mostly -- I didn't take time zone difference into account -- but, by the time I had an online chat with a very helpful customer service guy, got my answer, and realized I might have remembered this was coming, it was past time to go to my swimming class.  I was still feeling the hangover from the transplant conference and I simply had to force myself to get moving or I risked falling into a serious funk.

2. I did it. I kicked myself in the ass and took my camera down to Greenbelt Lake and took a walk on this gorgeous day and the melancholy didn't stand a chance.  I admit, I envy my sisters in Kellogg because the leaves have turned up there and not many have turned here, but I knew I'd find a few small red or yellow leaves in spots and I decided to take some pictures in color.  Inwardly, my landscape was monochrome enough that I thought it would do me some good to invite some color in.  And I was right.  The walk, taking some pictures, experimenting a bit with a wider aperture, having a talk with the Deke while seated on a bench looking out at the lake all snapped me back to being more buoyant and lightened my step.  If you'd like to scroll to the end of this post, you'll find a few pictures I took.

3.  Back home, I successfully resisted falling back into any kind of funk by putting the ear buds in and dialing up my faithful "All Right Now" station on Pandora and heating up chicken and vegetable and basmati rice leftovers while listening to Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bad Company, T. Rex, The Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, Free, Van Halen, and whatever Pandora's magic gave me next.  Later, I settled down a bit and returned to an episode of the podcast, On the Road with Beer Session Radio, here, entitled "Edge of the Wild", here, and listened to interviews in the Catskills with Andy Brennan, proprietor and visionary at Aaron Burr Cidery and to Monte Sachs, founder of the unique Catskill Distilling Company before falling asleep -- so I when I finish the episode, I'll get to learn more about Catskill Brewery. This episode, and the first Beer Session episode on Hudson Valley brewers called "The New Primitives", here, really have my imagination in high gear wishing for a road trip to rural New York.  I'm enjoying host Jimmy Carbone's podcast work a lot and would love to visit his joint in the East Village one day, Jimmy's No. 43.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/09/16: Surprise Visit to IHM, U of I Yearbook, Ninkasi at Quench

1.  I was drained today and didn't rally myself to get out and take a walk or to go flop around in the swimming pool. It was the impact of the transplantation conference I went to yesterday. I took in so much information and felt enough anxiety about organs and money that I needed a day of rest today. My day brightened up when I happened upon a link that took me to online copies of the IHM High School in Coeur d'Alene.  It was a Catholic high school that closed in 1971.  A lot of fond memories came back when I found Mary Elizabeth's junior picture.  More memories came back as I  looked at pictures from members of Cd'A's Boy Scout Troop 2, saw old acquaintances at NIC like Tom Soumas and Kevin Roche, and remembered that NIC cheerleaders Gayle and Sue and Debbie all were IHM alums; and then I remembered all the athletes I played baseball and basketball against, or else watched play:  Scott Hurrell, Dave Stockwell, Doug Brown (who I am sure had a brief Little League stint in Kellogg), Jim Valente, Roch Koep, Dan Jacobson and I'm sure there were others.

2.  Somehow, looking at these IHM archives got me to wondering about Bob Emehiser, KHS basketball coach my senior year, who was from Coeur d'Alene (but not IHM), and somehow I landed in an online copy of the 1966 Gem, the yearbook of the University of Idaho.  I found pictures of Bob Emehiser and, as a bonus, pictures of two other members of the U of Idaho Class of '66:  our ninth grade basketball coach, Jim Currie and Bob Dutton, who was the KHS vice-principal our senior year. It was fun looking at pictures and scores from the U of I's football and basketball teams and hearing the voice of play-by-play legend Bob Curtis in my imagination.  It's good to know I can look up these old annuals and remember and relax a bit when I'm feeling run down and anxious.

3. The Deke texted me and wondered if I'd like to meet at Quench.  I sure did.  Once there, I surveyed the tap list and thought I was back in the Whiteaker neighborhood in Eugene again. Three Ninkasi beers were on tap: Beer Run IPA, Helles Belles Lager, and Maiden the Shade IPA.  I'd never tried Beer Run before and so I ordered some, enjoyed it a lot, and the Deke and I talked a lot about growing old and some of the challenges that lie ahead and about how proud we are of Adrienne, Patrick, and Molly.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/08/16: Transplant Journey 2016, Overeating, *The Big Listen*

1. I staggered into the Sube shortly after 7 a.m. and blasted my way north of Baltimore to the Hunt Valley Inn in Cockeysville, MD for a conference called "The Transplant Journey 2016".  It's not comfortable or comforting to thrust myself into the reality of a possible kidney transplant one day, but today I confronted the medical and financial realities of transplantation by attending a session on preparing for a kidney transplant (I'm doing the right things), a panel on living donors --both liver and kidney donors and recipients spoke --, and a session going over Medicare.  I left the conference overwhelmed -- I was reminded of and understand better why dialysis is a lousy long term solution to kidney failure, how much better it is to have a living donor come forward, what the transplant surgery involves, and what the prescription load is for kidney recipients as long as they live.  I know many transplant recipients attended the conference and were doing great.  I know I am listed at one of the world's best transplant centers, at the University of Maryland. All the same, I try to put on a brave front about all of this, but, well, it unsettles me.

2.  Upon returning to the greater Greenbelt/Silver Spring area, I buzzed straight to the Diazes and checked in with the Deke, talked about a few things, and accepted without a problem that she was very tired, about to take a nap, already full from eating earlier, and would not join me for lunch. I went to the Old Line and ordered a blue cheese and avocado burger with a fried egg inside. It came with a side of fries. I enjoyed a Double IPA from Star Hill in Charlottesville and a beer from D.C., Three Star's White IPA.  I ate too much, but enjoyed having a long sit and emptying out my mind as much as I could after attending the conference.

3.  Today, a new season of The Big Listen, the podcast about podcasts, got underway on WAMU-FM. The podcast of the show was released Thursday or Friday, so I had it ready to go on Podbean, my podcast app, and while I relaxed at Old Line, I listened to Episode 1 of the new 2016-17 season, right here.  I love this podcast and this first episode is full of great interviews and the listener call-in recommendations for podcasts are really good.  In fact, when I went to bed Saturday night, I went to sleep listening to an episode from the recommended podcast, You Must Remember This, here, a storytelling show about Hollywood's first century.  I listened to an episode called "Six Degrees of Joan Crawford: Bette Davis and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?", found here.  It was the fifth of a six part series on Joan Crawford.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/07/16: Ceremony Finalized, Crock Pot Chicken, Vacuum Cleaner Troubleshooting

1.  I will be traveling to Savannah, GA on Friday the 14th to officiate Scott and Cate's wedding on Sunday the 16th and, after a few emails back and forth, I think Scott, Cate, and I have the ceremony finalized and I continued to edit what I'll say to start the ceremony and my charge to the couple. I have also been trying to keep updated on the impact of Hurricane Matthew on Savannah and I don't really have a very good sense of things at all.

2.  I lined the bottom of the crock pot with four chicken thighs and covered them with chopped onion, chopped mushrooms, and baby carrots and added chicken broth, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and the juice of lime and let it cook and cooked up a pot of basmati rice.  The Deke and I had dinner together.  She decided to return to the Diazes for the night and not make herself get up early Saturday morning to join me at the transplantation conference north of Baltimore.  I supported her decision completely. She's had a demanding week and it will help her a lot to get some extra sleep.

3.  So, I'm not great with machines -- you know, understanding them, figuring out problems, fixing them. I have been concerned about the vacuum cleaner for a while -- it just wasn't pulling stuff off the floor and carpeting -- and today the machine just seemed completely crapped out. I went to the handy World Wide Web and did some troubleshooting and learned that I should check two different airways for blockage.  I checked the first and it was fine.  I checked the second and discovered a round paper label of some sort the machine had sucked up and upon removing it, discovered about 100 pounds of dog hair and other debris that was indeed blocking the airway right behind the brush roll.  I had also cleaned a couple of filters and they weren't dry yet, so I couldn't test my repair job, but I'm fairly confident that with that area cleared, the vacuum cleaner should be working again.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/06/16: Discovering the Colette Cafe, Swahili Village Dinner, Printed Pictures

1.  It turns out that just over a half a mile from our apartment home, in a brutal multi-story concrete corporate office building sort of next door to the Marriott on Ivy Lane a small cafe is hidden away on the first floor.  It's the Colette Cafe. It's a breakfast and lunch spot and it popped up on my tablet when I installed the Yelp app. The walk to the Colette Cafe is a good one, giving me some uphill walking and most of it is fairly quiet. For the first time, I strolled over there today and ordered a sesame bagel with cream cheese, toasted, drank a cup of coffee, and read from a splendid vegan cookbook Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking.  I will go back to the Colette Cafe regularly, not only because it's a good walk, but at mid-morning, it's a quiet, comfortable, relaxing spot.

One other thing that made me very happy:  I didn't take cash to the Colette Cafe and my bagel/coffee order was under five dollars and I didn't know that the establishment does not take credit cards for orders under five bucks.  But, recognizing I was a first time customer, the guy who runs the place let me buy my order with my card and I promised not to let this happen again. I was very happy that he didn't get all legalistic about their policy and it's the kind of flexibility that makes a very good impression on me.

2.  A group of employees from the school district the Deke works for got together at a Kenyan restaurant in Beltsville called Swahili Village. The conversation about the very troubled and troubling and frightened and frightening working conditions in the district was unsettling.  While I listened intently to this conversation, silently being grateful I am retired, I enjoyed drinking Tusker, a splendid lager from Kenya, and then joined the rest of the table as we dug into a group platter of some of the tastiest food I've ever eaten:  pieces of grilled goat, beef, and chicken, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, squares of ugali, triangles of chapati, and a kachumbari garnish.  I loved this meal and am pretty sure the Deke and I will return to Swahili Village -- it's just a few miles up the road.

3. After dinner, I picked up a small order of pictures I had printed at Costco.  I really enjoy the black and white pictures I take of leaves and other vegetation, especially the darker ones,  and I wondered if I would be pleased with them as printed pictures.  I am happy with them and now I need to decide which size to frame and where to put them in our apartment home.  If my description of the pictures I like doesn't make sense, here are some examples:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/05/16: Tire Repair a Walk in the Park, Photo Assignment Done, Bell's Night at Old Line

1.  While Hiram is on tour, the Deke has been staying with Molly and the kids and using the Diazes' Honda to get to work and back. The car picked up a nail and so AAA put the 50/50* spare on and the Deke took the Sube and I took the Honda because one of the hidden benefits of retirement is having the time to get family tires replaced without a hassle.


So I shoehorned myself into the Honda and crept down to the Sunoco station, knowing that they wouldn't get to it for a few hours.

The question for me:  do I dare walk the two miles back to our apartment home, given the way my toe got so angry and swollen on Monday?


My toe felt fine this morning and I had learned what I thought was true: sometimes if the big toe gets crowded in a shoe that fits too tightly or is tied too tightly, it will rebel with swelling.

So, I made sure my shoes were not tied too tightly and I took off and walked home and then, a few hours later, having learned the Honda was ready, I walked back to the station.

As a precaution, I iced my right big toe about three times during the day.  (This is another hidden benefit of retirement that never makes it in the tv ads or the retirement brochures:  I have time to ice my toe.)

I walked about four miles today free of pain. The toe had settled down and stayed that way.  I am most grateful for the therapeutic powers of ice.

*This is what I call the temporary spare tire that comes with cars: when one of these tires is on, it's advised not to drive over 50 mph or for more than 50 miles.

2.  It was about 8:30 a.m. when I stared my walk back to our apartment home and I had brought my Nikon with me, thinking that the light was pretty good for taking some pictures that would meet the latest Sibling Photo Assignment.  I was right and, if you scroll down, you can see pictures I took on the Greenbelt Lake trail today and on Sunday.  (You can read about the assignment and click on links to my sisters' pictures, here.)

3.  Because things are tense and confusing throughout the Prince George's County Public School District and tense and confusing in the building where she works, the Deke decided to attend this evening's PTA meeting. Before the meeting, I picked the Deke up at school and we had a very relaxing dinner at the Old Line Bistro. There was a takeover of part of the tap list by Bell's Brewery of Kalamazoo and I didn't have to deliberate for even a second to order a Bell's Two Hearted Ale, one of the best beers made anywhere, and it tickled me that the Deke and I each got a complimentary beer glass from Bell's.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sibling Photo Assignment #7: Art Where We Walk

Christy gave this assignment:  This week we will be looking down. Create a series of photos by finding art on the sidewalk, a road, or trail.

I walked the trail that goes around Greenbelt Lake on Sunday and again today. I took these pictures from the trail.  I looked down, even if it wasn't down to the ground!

Christy's pictures are here and here are Carol's.

Three Beautiful Things 10/04/16: Swelling Goes Down, The Complicated Abe, *Presidential* Podcast

Note:  I just realized that I have reached an anniversary.  I began posting on kellogg bloggin' on Oct. 1, 2006 and the post I'm about to write is my 3600th.

1.  I iced my big toe frequently today and it paid off.  By this evening, the swelling had diminished quite a bit and I was walking without impairment.

2. I've been reading A. Lincoln with the Kindle app., but I decided that there are times I'd like to have a hard copy on hand, so I ordered one from the library and picked it up today.  Reading on the Kindle, I hadn't thought much about what a thick book this is -- it's over 800 pages long.  No wonder it's taken me a while to read it.  I enjoy the case White is making for the foundations of Lincoln's personal and political ethos.  I'm understanding better just how complicated and complex Abraham Lincoln was.

3. I was looking at some of my blog posts from last March -- I was researching the history of my big toes! -- and I came across an early reference I made to listening to The Big Listen and that I had noted a podcast project from The Washington Post called Presidential.  Go here for links to all the podcasts -- the most recent is a discussion of Ronald Reagan.  Today I listened to the episodes on Lincoln and James Buchanan and plan to listen to many more.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/03/16: Exercise, Inflamed Big Toe, Ana Hugs Me

1.  I arrived a little early to water aerobics today, did some pre-class jogging, appreciated that our instructor, Marsha, had set aside an aquatic noodle with more diameter for me to try out, and had an excellent workout this morning.

2.  Well, I'm disappointed, to say the least, that my right foot's big toe suddenly got angry today and started to swell -- something that last happened back in March of this year.  The good news is that I have three Thera Pearl ice packs in the freezer always at the ready, so I began icing the toe immediately, hoping to settle it down in the next few days.  I've been enjoying being able to walk without discomfort over the last few weeks, so this is a setback -- but, I'll keep icing it and I'm still going to do the best I can to do some walking and take some pictures.

3.  While Hiram is on tour, the Deke is staying at the Diazes.  I went over this evening to take the Deke some mail and to say hello and Molly took this picture of Ana after she ran to jump in my arms to hug me.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/02/16: The Wedding is Set, Listening to The Gliders, Meeting Janet and Bill

1.  A few short emails back and forth and I think Scott and Cate and I have everything figured out for the wedding ceremony.  It is a little bit like preparing to put on a play and I'm starting to feel the old theater eagerness to get down to Savannah and have our rehearsal on Saturday the 15th to make sure the parts of the ceremony fit together and that I know where to stand and when. I've never officiated a wedding before so I have some butterflies in my stomach.

2.  Janet and Bill Gilmore lived in Eugene, but moved to Washington, D. C. several years ago. They play in an acoustic band, The Gliders, and The Gliders played at the Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt yesterday afternoon. Molly, the Deke, and the children drove in from Silver Spring and I got a good walk in along Greenbelt Lake and we met up to listen to The Gliders play songs by Tom T. Hall, Lucinda Williams, the Band, Delbert McClinton, and many others.  I enjoyed their playing a lot and relaxed in Greenbelt's public square, letting the music move my thoughts and memories.

3.  I brought back a tin of almonds and a bottle of mineral water from the Co-op and Janet came to me, introduced herself, and invited me to join her and Bill at a table outside the New Deal Cafe.  Until it was time for them to play their second set, we got acquainted -- we had never met -- and talked about Eugene and Washington, D.C. and Kellogg and Montana and beer and being retired. Our conversation, the music, seeing the Deke, Molly, and the grandchildren, walking nearly four miles round trip to the Roosevelt Center and back home again made for a most enjoyable afternoon.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/01/16: Pop-up Unblocked, Lebanese Cooking, Guess Who Bliss

1.  I enjoy Ronald White's biography, A. Lincoln, a lot, and I'm reading it over an extended period of time. I needed to check it out from the library as an e-book again, and I figured out, after many failed attempts, that the pop-up to Amazon was being blocked -- so I unblocked the pop-up, and, to my great joy, downloaded the book successfully and read about Lincoln's early days in the Illinois House of Representatives.

2.  I fixed family dinner this afternoon and tried out a new recipe:  Maghmour, a Lebanese take on Moussaka.  The recipe is here.  Cooking Lebanese food brought back great memories starting over twenty years ago when I used to cook out of a Lebanese cookbook I either gave away or lost when we moved to Maryland. With the help of a friend, back in 1995, I fixed a Lebanese dinner for about ten friends when we had a gift exchange during the Christmas season. In 2011, I think it was, along with Rev. Betsy Tesi, I cooked a huge amount of food from this cookbook for dinner one night at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in support of a talk Loren Crow gave.  These, and many other happy cooking memories returned as I was up to my knuckles in chickpeas, roasted eggplant, tomatoes, and a lot of garlic.

3. At the Quench taproom I greatly enhanced my enjoyment of a couple of glasses of Ninkasi's Maiden the Shade IPA by using my phone to listen to the All Right Now station on Pandora -- wow! I was not expecting to hear The Guess Who's "No Sugar Tonight/New Human Nature" and I immediately texted my bliss to Scott Stuart and we agreed that only one thing could have made my bliss better:  a lead in from our favorite Vancouver, BC radio station in the early 70s, CFUN...All Hit Music. Or from Spokane's KJRB.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 09/30/16: Misty Walk at the Refuge, Exile Red Ale, Working Class Lit Podcast Dream

1.  After going to the dentist and having a temporary crown replaced with a permanent one and after a trip to the Co-op, I decided to slip into the Sube and tear a short distance north and east to the Patuxent Research Refuge. I took a two mile misty stroll around Cash Lake. I brought my camera, but didn't take any pictures. I simply enjoyed the cool, damp air and the dark parts of the trail that threaded through the woods.

2.  When I was in Kellogg back in July and August, I loved Wallace's City Limits Brew Pub's Sunset Red Ale and, upon returning home, I have been sampling a few very tasty red ales out here in Washington, D. C. and Maryland.  I continued my dive into red ales at the Co-op by purchasing a sixer of Evolution's Exile Red Ale and, before dinner, enjoyed a couple bottles and was struck not only by its sweetness, but by how it transported me back to my ever dimming memories of the pints of bitter I drank in England back in 1979. Evolution Brewing is east of Chesapeake Bay in Salisbury, MD.

3.  Every once in a while, I think it would be fun to be teaching again and that happened tonight.  I was listening to Episode 14, "Road Trippin' Across America", here, of The Big Listen, WAMU-FM's podcast about podcasts.  I loved the interview in this episode with Jessica Lilly, host of the podcast Inside Appalachia, and as I listened to snippets of pieces on coal mine safety, Appalachia hip hop, and a story on strangers taking pictures in Appalachia, and the resentment it causes, I thought about how fun it was to team teach the American Working Class/ENG 122/3 course with Margaret and how I suddenly wanted to go back seven, eight, nine, and more years in time and listen with Margaret to some of Jessica Lilly's radio work and then play pieces for our students.  It would have helped bring Harlan County, USA up to date.