Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/29/16: Stable Day, Happy Coincidence, Biscuits and Salad

1. Mom had a stable day.  The home nurse changed her dressing and wrap and observed continued improvement as her wound continues to heal.

2. Happy coincidence:  I happened to be at Yoke's at the same time one of Mom's nurses dropped in to order a change in Mom's pillbox and so I returned the pillbox I had just picked up to the pharmacist and she took pills that Mom now takes on an "as needed" basis out of the box and gave them to me in a pill bottle.

3. Mom and I ate leftovers for dinner. Since we had a cup of buttermilk left over, I whipped up another batch of the buttermilk biscuits I had fixed for the first time ever for Sunday's family dinner. Today, I tried to make them thicker and succeeded. I also made a variation of the cabbage cucumber salad I made on Sunday. I was very happy that adding celery to this salad worked so well.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/28/16: Mom's Determination, Friends Write 3BTs, Goulash

1. Mom's determination rarely flags. Today was no exception. She has misplaced a couple of documents and today she spent hours in her room going through piles of papers, sorting out greeting cards, leafing through folders she's filed. She never found what she was looking for and it's unclear to me whether she will dive back into the project on Tuesday.

2. Back in 1982-84, I taught English at Whitworth College (now University) and am good friends with five students from back then and we have regular contact online. Three of them have recently started posting Three Beautiful Things. Before the originator of 3BTs, Clare Law, shuttered her blog over a year ago, I could go to the Honor Roll of 3BTers she kept and read other people's lists and I enjoyed this a lot. Until recently, the only 3BTer I know of and read regularly is Rachel on tumblr; but, now, I eagerly open up Facebook, and am warmed by reading about the poem Bridgit completed, Val's deeply satisfying Spanish Syrah, and Susan-Louise resting under the soft flannel quilt her mother made -- at 93 years old.

3.  All I needed was a pound of ground beef, a can of stewed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, a cup of elbow macaroni, some shredded cheese, water, and seasonings and in a single pan I cooked up a goulash dinner for Mom and me, accompanied by some corn out of the can.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/27/16: Zag Brunch, Turkey Soup, Family Dinner

1. After the home nurse packed, dressed, and wrapped Mom's wound -- which continues to heal --, I went over to Christy's for Bloody Marys, and brunch snacks: smoked salmon, crackers, and sausages in a crescent roll. The occasion? The Zags played at 10:30 PST and I got to watch the second half. The Iowa State Cyclones chipped away at the Zags' once seemingly insurmountable eighteen point lead, but the Zags hung on to win 73-71. It was a lot of fun sitting in Christy and Everett's living room and biting nails together.

2. I started preparing the turkey soup broth, with the turkey in it, on Friday, enhanced it and heated it some more on Saturday, and liked how it tasted today as I skimmed more fat off of it, simmered it, and added in garlic, onion, carrots, celery, and green beans. On a separate burner, I boiled the Country Pasta home style egg noodles (from Polson, MT) and, at the last minute, added them to the soup.  It was fun taking so long to make this soup and I was very happy that it provided a tasty main meal for our Sunday family dinner.

3. I had never made turkey soup before and I ventured into untraveled country for the rest of our dinner as well. I made a batch of buttermilk biscuits and made a cabbage and cucumber and radish salad dressed with oil and vinegar and celery salt. But, I didn't do all the work for dinner.  Christy brought over a pitcher of homemade sangria and she baked a chocolate pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream for dessert. Since we were not together on Thanksgiving Day, it was fun to all sit at the same table as the Thanksgiving weekend came to an end.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/26/16: Broth Work, Dinner with Classmates, Photo with Mom

1. Yesterday, I made broth from the Thanksgiving turkey remains and today I just couldn't leave the broth alone and got it out and took steps to enhance its flavor with the hope that when I make Sunday's soup for our family dinner, it will be good.

2. Joni, Ed, Jake, Carol, Stu, Lars, and I seized a table at Best Shots to enjoy dinner together and to make some high level decisions about the 2017 All-Class Reunion next August which coincides with the 45th anniversary of our high school graduation. After four minutes of discussion, we decided what to do.

3.  Before heading over to Best Shots and, later, uptown to Bob Cassidy's Inland Lounge, Stu, Lars, and Ed dropped by Mom's house and we all posed with Mom for this picture, taken by Christy:

From the bottom: Ed, Stu, Mom, Lars, and Me

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/25/16: Mom's Good Day, A Day in Mom's Kitchen, Beer Dreams

1.  Mom had a solid day. Her blood pressure's upper number climbed into the 100s for the first time in a while, her weight was where the doctor wants it, she took a refreshing shower, and she had a good visit with Kim when she came to change the dressing and wraps on her legs. Later, Mom sat side by side with Christy at the kitchen table and did a little more online holiday shopping and her appetite for Thanksgiving leftovers was good.

2.  I got a lot done in Mom's kitchen today and longed to be in our kitchen in our apartment home in Greenbelt, to be where I know where everything is and where I'm deeply familiar with my pots and pans and utensils. The kitchen is a sanctuary for me, a place where I relax, ponder things, create, and fix food that satisfies the Deke and other family members and brings all of us some happiness. Today, Mom's kitchen nearly reached sanctuary status as I boiled down the remains of the turkey in preparation for making turkey soup for Sunday's family dinner and as I cleaned, talked with Mom about where she wanted me to put stuff, repacked some leftovers and rearranged the icebox, mopped the floor, and tried to keep Mom's kitchen a pleasant and organized place to cook, and, for me, to have a place to retreat into.

3. Around six o'clock Ed swung by and I piled into the Cambry and we went over to Noah's and then to Best Shots for a couple of libations and shoot the breeze. At Noah's, I was very happy to see a tap handle I never expected to see: Firestone Walker's Luponic Distortion. I hadn't enjoyed one of these fine beers since back in July, in Spokane, at the Blackbird Tavern. Over at Best Shots, I took an imaginary stroll down Blair Blvd. in Eugene to the Ninkasi Tasting Room by ordering myself a Total Domination IPA. I fantasized about driving to Portland and Eugene to see friends and enjoy some of the fine places where I enjoyed sampling beers back in the old days. I also fantasized about dropping in on some of the new places that have popped up over the last two and a half years since we moved away.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/24/16: Mom's Day Improves Again, My First Time, Christy Makes Dinner Complete

1. About an hour after she got up this morning, Mom complained of some dizziness. Her blood pressure is low and so we know this can happen. But, as the day progressed, Mom remarked repeatedly that she was feeling better and it showed in her energy, in her session of online Christmas shopping with Christy, and in her interest in the Thanksgiving dinner preparations going on around her. Mom gave me some turkey prep advice in the kitchen, she did her job of stuffing the celery with Old English cheese mixed with cream cheese, and she ate a full dinner. All in all, after a slow start, Mom had a good day.

2. Today I did a bunch of things in the kitchen for the very first time. I had never made cranberry sauce before and I made a sauce with sugar, water, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. I'd never made dressing before. So, I made two! Mom wanted a dressing like the kind she's used to so Christy bought a box of bread crumbs and I followed the directions and it came out great. I also baked a pan of cornbread, let some Dave's White Bread Done Right Killer Bread go stale, and made an oyster dressing. Everyone liked it! (Whew!)

I also, for the first time in my life, roasted our family's Thanksgiving turkey. Taking the Deke's advice, I roasted it in a bag. I had read that a Kosher salt rub done 48 or 24 hours ahead of the roasting can help the turkey be less dry, so I did that on Wednesday -- next time, I'll do it on Tuesday -- and everything conspired in my favor and the turkey came out of the oven tasty to both Mom and Christy's satisfaction.  (We missed Everett at the table. He's fighting off an illness.)

3. That I didn't ruin the turkey or the dressing or the cranberry sauce helped make our dinner a good one, and so did all of Christy's excellent work in her kitchen next door. She baked rolls, baked an apple-cranberry-currant pie, roasted sweet potatoes, and fixed the tastiest of potatoes and made the gravy. Christy was also in charge of our pre-dinner cocktails and she made me and her each deeply satisfying Old-Fashioneds. She also made each of us a delicious shrimp cocktail.  And, to top it off, Christy made a lovely flower arrangement for the center of our dinner table. (Did I leave anything out? Please tell me if I did and accept my apologies in advance.)

The best part of the dinner, though, might have been Mom's comment that this was the most relaxing Thanksgiving she could remember.  I am very thankful that she felt this way and that our labors of love satisfied her so much.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/23/16: Mom's Day Gets Better, Pandora and Gin in the Kitchen, The Past is With Me

1. Mom woke up today feeling, in her words, "a bit ditzy". It wasn't like she suddenly became Lucy Ricardo, but I think she was light headed and on the verge of dizzy. She'd had a pretty significant drop in weight in the last 24 hours, no doubt caused by her diuretic, and her weight dropped under the threshold the doctor established for when she goes off the water pill. As the day progressed, she felt better -- she ate her breakfast, a good tomato soup and crackers lunch, and ate plenty of the beef stroganoff I fixed for dinner, along with a piece of bread pudding. Late in the morning, she showered without a problem and was in good shape when Kim, the in-home nurse, arrived to change the dressing on her wound and the compression wraps on her legs. The wound continues to heal and Mom's legs, as expected with the loss of weight, were not swollen with edema.

2. I slipped away in the afternoon and shopped for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's Thanksgiving groceries at Yoke's in preparation to do some cooking tonight. Sometimes, I enjoy nursing a gin on the rocks while I cook and so I stopped off at the liquor store and purchased some cheap gin and enjoyed it in the kitchen while plugged into the Leon Russell station on Pandora. I have also created a "Let It Ride" station and got in the mood for some Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Guess Who, and other similar artists and while the cornbread for one of the Thanksgiving dressings baked, I got to play a little air guitar along with "Takin' Care of Business," out of Mom's sight.  I didn't want her to worry that I'd gotten all ditzy.

3. I am deeply grateful that Deb, a treasured friend I fell out of contact with over twenty-five years ago, followed up an exchange we had on Facebook recently with an email, telling me about the two books of poetry she's published and a bit about her life over the last several years. I wrote back and look forward to more correspondence. I have enjoyed reflecting back on our friendship, especially in Eugene, and the many conversations we had about so many things. Many of those conversations continue to affect how I see and understand the world. I don't live in the past, but I have a deep awareness of how the past is always with me.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/22/16: Checkup, Wound Treatment, Million Dollar Spaghetti

1. Mom and I got all situated in the Malibu and buzzed up to the clinic for Mom's appointment with Dr. Jara McDonald, Mom's primary care physician. Dr. McDonald hadn't seen Mom since she'd been in the hospital and so reviewed what had happened and talked with her more about the seriousness of her heart disease and of the insidious ways edema can worsen and why taking a diuretic is so important.

2. A few hours later, Mom and I again piled into the Malibu and whisked up to the Shoshone Medical Center so Mom could have debris removed from her wound and have it dressed and wrapped. The staff were all very happy with the progress of the wound's healing and decided that she doesn't need to come up to the hospital once a week any longer, that it will be sufficient for the Loving Care home nurses to treat the wound and let the hospital staff know if any problems develop.

(By the way, in a brief conversation with Tina, the billing and insurance pro, I learned that the problems I reported earlier have been rectified.)

3.  Million Dollar Spaghetti is similar to baked ziti, similar to lasagne, and is a tasty baked pasta dish. Until tonight, I'd never eaten it before. It was Christy's turn to fix dinner and I loved this dish as well as the cheese bread and green salad we had along side it. Christy also made her first ever bread pudding for dessert and it was awesome.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/21/16: Insurance Puzzle, Errands for Mom, Spare Ribs

1. Back at the end of July, I had blood drawn at the Shoshone Medical Center and gave the people there my insurance information and, as the months have gone by, that bill has resided in a black hole of insurance claim absurdity. I won't go into the tedious details. Very little money is at stake here, but I want to make sure things are working between the medical center and my insurance vendor since I am in Kellogg often, need to have blood drawn on occasion here, and want things to go smoothly if I have a medical problem.

With good cheer and calmly, I talked with Tina today and she seemed astonished that so much had gone wrong with this one little claim and went to work looking into it. I was grateful to be dealing with a good person face-to-face rather than making yet another phone call and talking to an unknown person in an unknown place at an unknown billing center somewhere in the USA.

Mom has an appointment at the medical center on Tuesday, the 22nd, so I'll check in with Tina and see if things are getting straightened out.

2. After talking with Tina at the Shoshone Medical Center, I toured the Silver Valley:  recycled Mom's papers and plastic bottles, paid her Visa bill at the bank uptown, paid her property tax bill at the court house in Wallace, and bought a few groceries at Stein's.

3. The spare ribs Carol brought over to Mom's for dinner were tender and juicy with a tasty sauce on them.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/20/16: Trip to Breakfast Town, Family Dinner, Working Together

1.  Around 7:45 I popped into Mom's Malibu and shot through the weak light of this November morning to Kingston where Ed and I decided to take separate vehicles to Michael D's in Breakfast Town -- also known as Coeur d'Alene. We joined Mike Stafford for a plate of food and some first-rate conversation. I'd like to report that we solved the nation's problems, but we didn't -- not sure we even made a dent.

2.  To help Mom, Christy, Carol, and I have a cooking schedule and take turns making dinner for Mom. One night a week, at Mom's request, we have a family dinner. Tonight was family dinner at Carol and Paul's, and, not only were Carol, Paul, Everett, Christy, and I at the table with Mom, so were Cosette, Molly, and Travis. Christy fixed the best dinner ever: roasted chicken thighs and roasted vegetables including Brussel sprouts, shallots, garlic cloves, carrots, sweet potatoes, and more. Laid out on a platter in the middle of the table, the golden skin of the chicken along with the assorted colors of the vegetables combined to make a meal that was beautiful to look at and even better to eat.

3. I talked to the Deke on the phone today. We are trying to figure out when I'll return to Maryland and when I'll come back to Kellogg again after I get back to Maryland. No doubt, it goes without saying (but here I go) that I live a divided life, split between my enjoyment of life with the Deke and the rest of our family in Maryland and New York and my desire to help out all I can with Mom's care and to support Christy and Carol in all they do for Mom while they also take care of things with their families, at work, and in their homes. I am very grateful that the Deke understands this situation and that we work cooperatively to figure out ways to make this divided life work. This situation is challenging for everyone and I'm thankful that we all make every effort to work together to make things go smoothly so that Mom lives comfortably and is well taken care of.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/19/16: Nurse's Visit, Benefit for Wendi, Commendation on My Record

1. Kim, a home nurse, came to the house and changed Mom's bandages and checked out her wound. It continues to heal and Kim was happy with Mom's progress.

2. The Kellogg Elks was packed with people out for a spaghetti dinner and auction in support of Wendi Lewis to help her pay the medical bills that have piled up because of treatment for cancer. I saw people I've known forever and had several great conversations. The outpouring of support for Wendi was Kellogg at its best.

3. I went across the street from the Elks Club and went to the Inland Lounge, a joint that's been uptown forever and is now under the proprietorship of Bob Casady, a guy I've known since grade school and worked with in the Zinc Plant. Bob and I have had a laugh going on since 1973 when the head of the Zinc Plant came to the cell room lunch room to thank me for volunteering to work on Easter Sunday and told me I would receive a commendation on my record. Bob and I resurrected that laugh tonight and Bob wondered if I might pay him for all the therapy he's needed because he never had the head of Zinc Plant single him out in the lunch room and promise him a commendation on his record.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/18/16: Mom's Cardiologist Visit, Birthday Dinner, The Show -- and Memories

1. Christy, Mom, and I jumped into Mom's Malibu and swooshed to Cd'A for Mom's appointment with the cardiologist. The doctor emphasized how weak Mom's heart has become -- another echocardiogram to come in December -- and outlined some invasive and aggressive measures she could undergo, but recommended against them because of Mom's age. I agreed with him within myself and Mom agreed out loud. At this stage in her life, Mom is ready to let nature take its course, aside from continuing to treat her heart disease with medicine, as she has been doing.

(By the way, one bonus: going against the grain of being my usual self, I figured out how to change the clock in Mom's car, turning the time back an hour, and figured out, for the time being, why the back door on the passenger side of the Malibu wasn't opening. That I succeeded at figuring out these two things might have shocked Mom out of arrhythma and added precious time to her life.)

2. To celebrate Paul's birthday, Mom, Christy, Everett, Carol, Paul, and our friend Tina got together at Best Shots for an early dinner and had a fun time getting some facts straight about this and that, making smart alec remarks to each other, and helping Paul relax before he left to get ready to perform at the Sixth Street Melodrama.

3. After dinner, I drove Mom home, made sure things were in order, and then Christy and I drove to Wallace to see Paul perform in The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged, a rollicking stage show, featuring sight gags, slapstick, and silly wordplay. It's a play originally written and performed by The Reduced Shakespeare Company.  The performance triggered happy memories from the 1990s, not only of having seen this show in Eugene, but of the fun I had when I took improv classes at LCC and also worked on writing for and performing in comedy sketches, directed by Sparky Roberts, for different audiences around Eugene.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/17/16: Gnocchis in the Future, Mom's Healing, The Roberts Grill Steaks

1.  I had been quite a while since I'd seen Rosie Rinaldi.  She stopped by Mom's today and gave Mom a jar of blueback fish in a jar and by the end of her visit we all had a good discussion of gnocchi and knodel. This talk grew out of an earlier discussion Mom and I had about pierogis.  In a moment of rashness and, no doubt, overconfidence, I volunteered to whip up some gnocchi -- which I've never done.

2. Home nurse Teresa came in today and changed the wrap on Mom's wound and it continues to heal and the afflicted area isn't painful. This is great news on both counts.

3. Carol and Paul brought Mom and me dinner tonight. It was unreal. Paul grilled petite sirloin steaks. Carol prepared them with a huckleberry rub and the huckleberry presence was subtle. We also enjoyed baked potatoes, green beans, and a fruit salad.

(Note about last night's dinner: For lunch, I warmed up Wednesday night's scallop, bacon, zucchini, tomato, and rice dish and I didn't think the green onions overpowered the dish at all after it had rested overnight.  I enjoyed it a lot more today than I did last night.)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/16/16: Mom's Slow Day, Lunch and a Tour with Byrdman, Too Much Booker T and the MGs (Green Onions)

1. Mom slept a lot in her chair today. I don't know enough to pinpoint why she was so tired, but when I suggested that she might be tired from the full day we had on Tuesday, she vehemently denied it.

2. Byrdman drove over from CdA and we went to Best Shots for lunch and in this time of national transition of power, we pretty much figured out everything -- it's good to know these things are pretty easy to figure out over a couple of beers and a sandwich, sitting in the old Kopper Keg.  It also helped us to think clearly about current events to tour the city of Wardner and take note of what houses our Wardner friends used to live in and remember the good old days of the Wardner Store, the Wardner Tavern, and Wardner Elementary School. Byrdman was born and raised in Wardner and brought valuable expertise to our tour. Then, as we cruised Main Street in Kellogg, we both wondered when the handsome looking Radio Brewery was going to open and if we might have a chance to sample their beers before I return to Maryland.

3.  I fixed a scallop dinner for Mom and me that consisted of sauteed onion, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and scallops over rice cooked in chicken broth, topped with crisp chopped bacon and chopped green onions. Mom seemed pretty pleased with this dinner, but I thought the green onions were a bit too strong and took over the dish. I made a mental note to leave them out if I cook this recipe again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/15/16: Superb Hospital Visit, Mom Shops at Stein's, Keeping Mom at Home

1.  Without a hitch, Mom eased herself into her Malibu and we blasted up to the Shoshone Medical Center where Mom had some routine cleaning and care performed on her wound. When Mom walked into the nursing station area, the staff cheered her arrival with clapping and huge smiles and greetings, happy to see her on her feet and doing so much better than a month ago.  The procedure to unwrap, clean up, treat, and rewrap her wound took about an hour and I was happy to see the meticulous and cheerful care the staff gave Mom.

2. After her session at the hospital, Mom and I buzzed over to Stein's so Mom could do some walking and we could pick up a few groceries. At the store, Mom uses the shopping cart as her walker and she got in many steps as we perused the produce section and the meat counter and strolled up and down a few aisles. We also bought enough groceries to complete Christy's free turkey punch card, so, when Pepper, our checker, said, "You can go get your turkey",  I sprinted to the back of the store, grabbed our Thanksgiving bird, and Mom and I left the store, piled back into the Malibu, and returned home.

3.  It was Carol's turn to fix dinner tonight and she and Paul brought Swedish meatballs covered in sherry gravy served over noodles to the house and the four of us sat at the kitchen table and enjoyed a delicious and most satisfying meal together.

Christy and Carol are so good to Mom. Not only does Carol come to Mom's house every morning to help Mom get her day started and not only does Christy help Mom with a wide variety of things during the day and in the evening, nightly, one of them fixes her dinner and eats with her so Mom is not only eating really good food, she also has company for dinner.  As a bonus, once a week there's a family dinner when Mom gets to eat with everyone.  I enjoy being on the dinner preparation schedule and am happy that things in my life are such that I can spend somewhat extended amounts of time here in Kellogg two or three times a year and help out with the things Mom needs in order to continue to live at home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/14/16: The Yoke's and Stein's Ads Crisis, Water Pill Clarity, Rockin' Mom's Kitchen

1. Mom puts her read newspapers in a wastebasket by her chair and the basket overflowed, thanks to the Sunday papers, and I bagged up the newspapers and set them out in the bin on the back porch. Shortly thereafter, Mom wanted to build a grocery shopping list with the help of the Yoke's ad and the Stein's ad. I brought the newspapers I had bagged back into the house, dumped them out, and went through them, looking for the ads Mom wanted. No luck. I bagged the newspapers again and returned them to the back porch bin. Suddenly, a light went on in Mom's mind: "Maybe the ads are in that stack of papers on the table at the foot of my bed." I uttered a quick prayer, wanting to the search for the ads to come to a successful end, and PRESTO! -- I found the ads. As a choir of angels filled Mom's living room with a chorus of Hallelujahs, I listened to Mom read the ads aloud, not quite item by item, but close, and jotted down on our shopping list those items she wants from Yoke's and those from Stein's.

2. Kim, a home nurse, changed Mom's wound dressing and thought the area was looking better and was very happy with Mom's blood pressure and heart rate. In the meantime, a nurse from the cardiologist's office in Cd'A called and Mom now has a better plan for when to take her water pill and when not to, based on how much her weight goes up or comes down.  To take or not to take this pill has been a source of consternation, so Mom felt like a great weight came off her shoulders when the nurse gave her such specific instructions.

3. I poured myself a shot of Pendleton whisky over some ice, put on the ear buds and listened to Pandora's Leon Russell station (May Leon Russell Rest in Peace) and did some private old man kitchen dancing to Leon Russell, Joe Cocker, CCR, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, The Band, Dr. John, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and others as I cooked dinner:  fried cabbage and onion topped with boiled, then fried, baby red potatoes, and cube steak. Mom enjoyed her dinner a lot -- she'd been hungry for cooked cabbage and declared the cube steak to be tender -- and later on the Troxstar messaged me from Salem, MA where he and Adam were watching The Last Waltz at Adam's place.  Musically, everything fit together tonight.  So did the food.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/13/16: Leon Russell and Bloggin, Strange and Wonderful, Mom Leaves the House

1. I rose out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and slipped into my clothes and out the hotel room door with my laptop and phone down to the lobby, poured myself a paper cup of the Wildhorse Casino's executive blend of complimentary coffee, found a comfortable chair in the hotel lobby, fired up Pandora with the Leon Russell station, heard tunes by Leon Russell, the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band, The Band, Joe Cocker, and others, and blogged away.  Along with 3 Beautiful Things, I also fulfilled Sibling Assignment #185, an attempt to come to grips with how heat is to cooking what light is to photography. If you'd like, you can read it here.

2.  I had strange and wonderful experience today. On the ride back to North Idaho, I was daydreaming, thinking back to days in Eugene and remembering Deb, a dear friend whom I hadn't seen or contacted or heard from since 1988. A little later, I checked my Facebook account and, to my great delight, a friend request appeared from Deb and, after I accepted her request, Deb dropped me a quick message and I responded. I hope this means we'll be back in touch again and have a chance to catch up on what's happened in our lives over the last nearly thirty years.

3.  Back in Kellogg, I continued in my training to become a part of Mom's support. Christy and I helped Mom leave the house for the first time since she left the hospital.  She did pretty well getting into the car and over to Carol and Paul's for a delicious pork tenderloin dinner and did pretty well getting back into her house when we returned. It's nerve wracking. Mom is able to walk with the help of her walker, but the stairs and the getting in and out of the car is difficult. I hope we can get out again on Monday -- maybe go to the store -- so that Mom can get some exercise to stimulate the blood circulation in her legs.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sibling Assignment #185: Heat and Light

I sent out this Sibling Assignment:

Write about what's been occupying your mind in the world of food preparation. Have you been trying anything new and different? Are there recipes or cook books that have excited your imagination? Utensils?Appliances? I think you get the point -- go about this assignment however you'd like -- but write about your life in the kitchen, going back as far as you'd like. 

You can read Christy's piece, "Reading the Cookbooks", here and Carol hopes you will say, "Tastes good!" when you eat what she's cooked, here.

When I was in graduate school, I always thought of myself as a lesster student because I was always drawn to the obvious in plays, poems, and stories. I never had subtle insights nor did I see those things in literature that no one else saw. I always thought the most profound ideas and insights about life that rose out of what I read were the obvious ones.

This is why, by the way, I cringe inside whenever I hear someone respond to what someone else says by responding -- condescendingly -- "Obviously" or "That's obvious".

So, as I've often written when discussing my enjoyment of taking pictures, I do my best to photograph light. I know this is obvious. But, by trying to learn more about light and by observing the effects light has on things of the world I take pictures of and by putting my camera into relationship with the light, I slowly, surely take better pictures.

I don't have any subtle or nuanced understandings of photography. I stick with the obvious: follow the light, learn from the light, shoot the light. 

In my modest little world of food preparation, I am also keyed in on the obvious: cooking is about heat. 

I don't mean pepper/spice heat.

I mean the heat of the flame, the heat of the electric burner, the heat of the charcoal. 

I also mean the heat as conducted by the cooking utensil: heat and the electric fry pan, heat and the cast iron skillet, heat and the cooking pot.

The funny thing is that I've been cooking for enjoyment since about 1982 and, until recently, I've rarely thought deeply about the effects of heat, aside from not enough will leave food uncooked and too much will overcook or burn it. In fact, I'd have to say that I've paid more attention to the cooking timer than I have the cooking heat, trusting recipes to tell me how long things should cook rather than coming to an understanding of my own about how long something will take at whatever heat I subject the food to.

Now I've started to think more about high heat. I am leery of high heat -- it always feels like I'll be quicker to ruin food at high heat and, because I am a fundamentally cautious person, I have done a lot of cautious cooking at medium and low heats. 

A couple of weeks ago, however, I read a recipe for roasting chicken in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (the recipe is online here) and Deb Perelman said to roast the chicken at 450 degrees. I'd never tried this -- nor had I spatchcocked a chicken before -- but I decided to go for it. 

The chicken's surface was crispy, on the edge of blackened, and it was the most moist chicken I've ever prepared.

Then I thought about those days back in Eugene when I used to prepare roast beef and before putting the roast in the oven I seared it -- I was under the impression that this locked in the meat's juiciness -- and so now I'm thinking about other foods -- vegetables and tofu, in particular, and trying to imagine the effects of high heat on them, eager to get into the kitchen and read the food as it cooks, eager to learn the heat better.

My preoccupation with heat is very much in play in relation to preparing one of my favorite breakfasts: soft-boiled eggs. I don't have an egg cooker and I've been trying for years to get the preparation of soft-boiled eggs just right. 

My preoccupation with heat is very much in play in relation to preparing one of my favorite breakfasts:  soft-boiled eggs.  I don't have an egg cooker and I've been trying for years to get the preparation of soft-boiled eggs just right. 

Here again, I'm experimenting. 

Two questions about heat pop to mind: should I set the eggs out for a while and let them warm up to close to room temperature before I boil them or put them in the water cold? How much is the cooking time affected if I warm up the egg?

And here's my other question: should I boil the eggs or simmer them? Last week, I read yet another fool-proof recipe for preparing soft-boiled eggs and it suggested bringing water to a boil, turning down the heat, and when the big bubbles settled down, dropping the eggs for about six minutes into the simmering water. I had always brought the eggs to a boil and then given them three minutes.

I tried the simmer method. It worked. It's all about how to manage the heat of the water in relation to the egg and I have a ways to go before I'm certain I can reliably boil an egg soft just the way I want it -- cooked, but runny.

There's another question I have about heat and don't have any answers.

I want to learn more about the relationship between the heat I use to prepare food and its flavor.  

I've always thought flavor came from seasoning food and not burning it, but I am thinking more and more about how the heat I apply to food excites the flavors.

I like to cook Thai curry on occasion, and the effect of the flame on the curry has been coming to mind because many recipes tell me to stir fry the curry paste right off the bat.  I've never done a test to see how the finished curry might taste different if I didn't stir fry the paste, but my guess is that the frying of the past excites the flavors. 

So, I'm wondering, if this is the case for Thai curry paste, where else is it the case? Could I, with the right application of heat, coax more flavor out of the food I prepare and are there ways I can be thinking about heat, not only in relation to food's doneness, but also in relation to its flavor, that I haven't given enough consideration to?

As with photography and light, cooking and heat seems to me to be largely a matter of imagination.  When I say I am trying to be more imaginative in the kitchen, I don't mean that I'm being more outlandish; rather, I'm trying to imagine in advance of an addition of seasoning or an adjustment of heat, what the taste will be -- and, I'm always trying to imagine how combinations of flavors that aren't found in a recipe might work. 

I try to imagine ahead of opening the shutter, what a picture might look like given what I've tried to do with the available light and I am doing the same kind of imagining with cooking (and mixing drinks), a development, in both photography and cooking, that is in its very early stages. 

Three Beautiful Things 11/12/16: Bloggin' with Pandora, Relaxing Day, Steak Heaven

1.  I was up early and, so as not to disturb Jake, I silently gathered my laptop and phone, got dressed, and slipped down to the Wildhorse Hotel lobby and grabbed myself the first of many complimentary cups of Wildhorse premium coffee, found a comfortable chair, put on the B-52s Pandora station and blogged away and read articles online about life in 2016.

2. After breakfast, I cleaned up and went to the casino's sports bar for a Bloody Mary and soon Jake joined me and we had a few beers and got the world figured out and after a while I went back to our room and got online to research travel costs in March in preparation for a Wildhorse summit with Mike and Ed to discuss when they might come out to the D.C. area for a visit and some roaming around.

3. Until this evening, I hadn't had a steak dinner out since a year ago when I ate one right here in the fine dining restaurant of the Wildhorse, the Plateau.  So, tonight, Jake and Mike and Ed and I returned to the Plateau and I relishedl, first, a superb Greek salad and, then, my 10 oz. Pendleton Whisky Steak, a pepper-crusted New York strip served with sauteed vegetables and velvety mashed potatoes.  I didn't take one bite for granted. I just beamed and occasionally groaned with pleasure.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/11/16: Road Trip, Back on the Mom Squad, My Hilarious I. D.

1. Starting back in 2001,with a few years off, a bunch of us guys from Kellogg have met up in November for a weekend of having fun. For several years we met in Lake Oswego. One year we met in Lincoln City. The we did Cd'A for a couple years and now we meet in Pendleton at the Wildhorse Casino.  This morning, Ed dropped by Mom's to pick me up and we drove to Jake's place in Liberty Lake and met up with Mike a few hours later in Pendleton. We drove a back way to Pendleton, through bright green farm and pine country and a bunch of small towns such as Tekoa, Palouse, Oaksdale, Colfax, Dayton, Dusty, Dixie, Milton-Freewater, and a not so small town, Walla Walla.  We drove through fog and mist at times and other times the day was clear and blue.  It was a great drive.

2. Before Ed picked me up, I continued my back-to-Kellogg-Team-Mom training, making sure I cut Mom's grapefruit right, gave her a serated spoon, and performed the small tasks she needs done in her bedroom in the morning. I'd only been back to Mom's for about sixteen hours and, already, I was feeling a part of the team again.

3.  So, I ordered a burger in one of the casino's cafes, and I paid with my debit card and the woman who took my order needed to see my i. d.  When I had my picture taken for my Maryland license back in 2014, my white hair was voluminous (not voluptuous) and looked like I had just stuck my finger in an electric socket. When the cashier saw my picture, she laughed uncontrollably and wanted the woman at the register next to her to look and laugh at my picture. I took my i.d. back and she couldn't stop laughing.  Delighted, I asked her if she wanted to see it again and she gasped between convulsions of laughter, "No. No. But, gawwwd, I've never seen anything like that picture before!"

Rumi or Buddha or Lao Tzu or one of those sublime mystical thinkers must have said something about just as a small stream has many tiny currents, there are many tiny ways to make one another happy and laugh. I got to be one of those tiny currents this evening.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/10/16: Jude Has A Lot on His Mind, Flying with Podcasts, Back at My Childhood Home

1. At about 7:15, Jude, an Uber driver, drove up in front of our apartment home complex and I piled my pack and suitcase into the back of his Toyota Highlander, jumped in his rig, and we were off to the Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport -- and, as a bonus, I learned a new route that I really liked. Jude was a first-rate conversationalist with a lot to say about his love of America, having moved to the USA from the Republic of the Cameroon nearly twenty years ago.  It was a most enjoyable ride.

2.  I can't imagine having a better day of flying from Baltimore to Spokane.  Both the flight to Denver and the flight to Spokane arrived early -- way early, in fact. I had superb podcasts downloaded and listened to latest episode of The Big Listen, here, and then listened to a variety of programs exploring the history of maize, meat allergies related to Alpha Gal, Murray's Cheese in New York City and, possibly, in a Kroger's store near you; I listened to an interview with Lakers' head coach, Luke Walton, an episode on opioid addiction in West Virginia and other parts of Appalachia, an interview with Transparent's Amy Landecker, and an interview with Jane Chung, who told the story of her life being turned upside down after her father was murdered in Salinas, CA. Jane Chung posted the statement she made at her father's murderer's sentencing hearing and you can read it, here.

Byrdman rounded out my day of travel by picking me up at the Spokane Airport and the miles flew by as we discussed the events of the past few days.

3. I arrived at my childhood home in Kellogg, Idaho around 3:30, just as a nurse was putting the last touches on changing the dressing of Mom's wound. The wound is healing up. The nurse's report was very encouraging and then Mom and I fell into conversation, mostly about her stay at the hospital.  We ate leftover spaghetti (thanks to Dawn and Kelly McLees), bread, and salad. Paul and Zoe dropped by and then Mom and I rounded out the evening watching "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", "Jeopardy", and "Wheel of Fortune" and it was time for me to hit the hay.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/09/16: Inspection, On the Phone with Mom, The Future . . .

1.  I rumbled down the Beltway and veered into the eastern reaches of Hyattsville and easily found the state emissions testing station, where, with about 900,000 other people, I waited about an hour, eased the Sube into Bay #1, and passed the inspection.  I'm happy I didn't fiddle around and wait to do this at the last minute and that I got it done before I head to Kellogg on Thursday.

2. I had a forty-five minute conversation on the phone with Mom and she sounded really good. Her voice sounded strong and she has a very good understanding of her medical condition and is happy to be on the mend. I left the conversation hoping that as I write Three Beautiful Things in Kellogg that I will be often writing about some kind of walk Mom and I went on at the store or up at the hospital or somewhere.  Stay tuned.

3. I was grateful for the conversations the Deke and I had over dinner at Old Line before I take off in the morning. Talking about the election got us also talking about what our lives might look like over the next few years and, once again, a lot of ideas and possibilities are on the table.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/08/16: Mom is Home, Voting, Lunch and Costco and Packing

1.  Mom is back home.  This picture really says everything, especially the sign that hangs next to Mom's chair in the living room. If you can't read it in this picture, it says, "Be it ever so humble, there's no place like Home."

2.  I drove the Deke over to the polling site where it took her about an hour to cast her votes.  I had voted early, so I ran a couple of errands while she voted.

3.  For the Deke, by the way, Election Day was a day off of work, and after she voted we went out to lunch and then went next door to Costco and bought some produce, dairy products, and a couple of chickens for the Diaz family.  I returned home to pack for my flight to Spokane on Thursday while the Deke went with the Diazes to a friend's concert at the Kennedy Center.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/07/16: MOM UPDATE, Checkup for the Dogs, Chicken Stew and Gridlock

1. MOM UPDATE:  Mom will be back home from the hospital on Tuesday, November 8.  Today, her Occupational Therapist did a home visit with Mom and Christy and declared her house ready for Mom to be back in again. I'll arrive in Kellogg on Thursday and start learning how to help Mom out. The main emphasis will be on keeping her moving.  She's walked the halls of the hospital, with her walker, while staying there, a big help to her recovery, and we'll all work together to create things to do and places to go to help her get out and walk. I readily admit that I can be overly cautious -- Mom's falls have bothered me a lot -- and so I'll have an open mind and listen hard so I can learn what to do to give Mom the encouragement she needs to get proper exercise -- and not risk injury.  I'm hoping she'll have some ideas about things she'd like to do, too.  I'm a lousy boss -- but I'll work on it if I need to be bossy sometimes.

2.  After dropping the Deke off at work, I picked up Maggie and Charly at the Diazes and took them in for a six month check up and to have their nails clipped. When I picked them up on the afternoon, all was well. Maggie was born in 2004 and Charly in 2006 and they are chugging along very well.

3. I assembled the necessary ingredients to make Tuscan Chicken Stew, but my day was so broken up with errands that I didn't finish making the stew until after 6 p.m. Originally, this stew was going to be our dinner at the Diazes this evening, but now we'll have the stew for dinner on Tuesday night.  Traffic jams at the dreaded intersection of Cherry Hill Road and Route 1 (Baltimore Ave.) in College Park didn't help matters! Ha!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/06/16: Daedalus Books, Gabbing with Nickie, Videos at Home BONUS: Road Trip Pictures

1.  The Deke and I started a day of outings by jumping into the Sube and rolling north to Columbia.  I've been getting those Daedalus catalogs in the mail for at least twenty-five years and had never paid attention to the fact that the bookstore itself is within a half an hour of our apartment home.  We had a great visit. The Deke bought some children's books and I found a soft chair and spent most of my time admiring and sort of studying a book of William Carter's pictures, Causes and Spirit: Photographs from Five Decades.

2. Next stop:  Bethesda. There's a yarn store downtown the Deke enjoys. She dropped in there for a while and I sauntered to a franchise-y joint called American Tap Room.  I established an immediate rapport with my server, an American University student named Nickie, and ordered a glass of DC Brau's Corruption.  A little later, the Deke joined me and Nickie, the Deke, and I became fast friends. It was wonderful. Nickie seemed to have a little time on her hands at work, and we had a long talk about her work, her experience coming from L. A. to D. C. to go to the university, and about family and church and tattoos and the Navy and it made for a very pleasant session of sliders, fries, and IPA.

3. We made a very quick stop next at DC Brau where we split a beer -- we both wanted some On the Wings of Armageddon, but not a lot, and returned to our apartment home and I popped us some popcorn and we settled into video entertainment on our laptops.  The Deke is enjoying The Crown and I watched an hour long documentary looking at Led Zeppelin. The documentary struck me as possibly unauthorized: it featured archival interviews with band members, but nothing current with Page, Jones, or Plant, along with interviews with quite a few other people and it featured not one note of Led Zeppelin's music.

BONUS: Today I posted these pictures for our Sibling Photo Assignment #10. Christy assigned us to post road trip pictures and I shot these last Sunday when I strolled from Grand Central Terminal to Washington Square Park.

Flatiron Building

Madison Square Park 

Washington Square Park 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sibiling Photo Assignment #10: Strolling Manhattan

Christy assigned us to get in the car and take pictures wherever the road takes us and to write about why we went where we did.

When my sisters post their pictures, I'll post links.

On October 28th, the Deke and I drove to Nyack, NY to see Adrienne and Jack, and on the 30th I drove the Sube to the train station in Tarrytown and took the train into New York City and strolled from Grand Central Terminal down to Washington Square Park.  The road had some help from the rails.  I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few that resulted from where the road and rails took me.

Madison Square Park

Flatiron Building

Washington Square Park 

Three Beautiful Things 11/05/16: *Down in the Flood*, Night Out for Molly and Hiram, Levon Helm Revisited

1.  Yes. When it comes to the music of The Band getting inside me and moving me and when it comes to understanding their impact on the amorphous world of rock and roll, I am about forty-five or so years late to this party.  I'm sure glad, though, that the invitation to this party never expires.  As a follow up to having watched The Last Waltz, today I learned a ton about Bob Dylan and The Band by watching the documentary, Down in the Flood: Bob Dylan, The Band, and The Basement Tapes.  By turns, the movie informed, inspired, unnerved, saddened, and stimulated me. Most of all, it broadened and deepened my understanding not only of Bob Dylan and The Band, but of the broader cultural and musical history of rock and roll itself.

2.  The Deke and I volunteered to watch Olivia, David, and Ana and offered Molly and Hiram a night out to do what they pleased.  Beforehand, the Deke and I went to Quench for a beer or two and split an order of quesadillas and split a Reuben sandwich.  The food and beer were very satisfying and the kids were easy -- Ana, especially, went to sleep very shortly after the Deke took her to bed. This doesn't always happen. Molly and Hiram returned home after a fun night on New Hampshire Ave. in the Colesville area and we shot the breeze for a while and the Deke and I headed back to our apartment home.

3.  So, after watching the two movies about The Band, I decided to watch the Levon Helm documentary again, Ain't in It for My Health and I enjoyed it even more the second time around.  It's a sad and joyous movie at the same time. Levon Helm is both buoyant and bitter, alive to the blessings of his life and the music he made living out his years in Woodstock, NY, but bitter about the way things turned out for The Band and the loss of his two mates Richard Manuel and Rick Danko.  If you are curious about the tensions between Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm, punch their names into any search engine and you'll find plenty written about it. I won't get into it here.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/04/16: Oxbow Lake Nature Preserve, *Eye in the Sky*, *The Last Waltz*

1.  I hopped in the Sube and buzzed north and east about twelve miles or so to the Oxbow Lake Nature Preserve, a Nature Conservancy site. The trail was coarse, not the kind of smooth walking trail I've found at places like the Patuxent Research Reserve or Delta Ponds in Eugene or the path around Greenbelt Lake. The lake was a glorious sight, peaceful, rimmed with fall colors and teeming with geese calmly gliding, sometimes in formation, and, if not gliding, going head first, rump up, into the water or vigorously shaking themselves. They were also fairly far away. I took pictures, but I haven't looked at them yet. It felt like my lens didn't have enough reach for the kind of picture I might have hoped for and the trees and bushes were so thick along the trail, it was challenging to get a clear shot. No matter. The walk helped pacify me.

2. When I arrived back home, I finished watching the drone strike movie Eye in the Sky, mainly because I love watching Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman at work. As I understand it, this was Rickman's last role on film. That added poignance to my experience.  Throughout the movie, I flashed back to other movies I've watched Alan Rickman in -- oddly, I thought especially of Dogma and Snow Cake (I've never seen Die Hard, any of the Harry Potter movies, or Love Actually) and kept thinking how beautifully Rickman plays the world weary character, pained and fatigued by what he's seen and endured in the world, and from this well of suffering, insight rises. If Lieutenant Frank Benson's last words in this movie were the last words Alan Rickman spoke as an actor on screen, those words, how he delivered them, the pain and weariness and slight contempt that informed them, to me, capped his acting career perfectly.

3.  I know I've mentioned this before, but even though I listened to a lot of album oriented rock music when I was younger, I came to appreciate certain groups much later in life. Pink Floyd springs to mind. So does Fleetwood Mac. Likewise, Steely Dan. And Tom Petty. I realized tonight that only now, about forty-five or so years late, am I coming to fully appreciate and love The Band. I first watched The Last Waltz back in the summer of 1981 at the Bijou in Eugene and saw it again about fifteen years ago in Portland. It's available on Amazon Prime and I watched it again tonight and it was as if I'd discovered a new band.  Maybe having seen the Levon Helm documentary, Ain't in It for My Health and having watched one of those VHI-style hour long documentaries of The Band helped me appreciate them more.  I don't know why I'm such a come lately to to deeply enjoying The Band -- but something has happened as I've aged that has made me receptive to their music in a way I never was when The Band and I were contemporaries.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/03/16: Lazy Dog Corrects Error, Clay Tour, Beer Run

1.  That quick brown fox jumped over this lazy dog again this morning, although I did double check our auto rent pay account, discovered an error I had made, fixed it, and strolled over to the leasing office to double check that if our rent was paid on the 4th, it was no problem.  It's no problem.

2. I toured Michael's, Target, and JoAnn's, from Laurel on Rt. 1 all the way back to Greenbelt Road (Rt. 193) searching for air-dry clay for the Deke to take to school so her students can make clay huskies. In the end, after a swing and miss or two, I succeeded.

3. Quench had an excellent tap list, so it was a good time late this afternoon to sit with the Deke and try three samplers, one English Strong Ale and two Double IPAs, before traveling back to Blair Blvd. in Eugene and having a glass of Ninkasi's Beer Run IPA.  In my imagination, I enjoyed hanging out in the Whiteaker neighborhood again.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/02/16: Lazy Dog, David's Birthday, MOM UPDATE

1. Today the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog and I was that dog.

2.  I managed to rouse myself to drive to the Co-op and pick up some items for David Diaz's birthday party and pick up the Deke at work and we joined in the festivities at the Diazes for a great dinner.  For his birthday, David increased his Lego holdings and was very happy about it:

3.  MOM UPDATE: The hospital staff met today to discuss Mom's progress. The wound continues to slowly heal and the swelling in her legs and ankles from edema is coming down.  She will stay in the hospital for another week, at least, to continue her rehabilitation and to build more endurance. As you can see from this picture, taken Wednesday, Nov. 2,  she's looking good:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 11/01/16: Good Vibes, Curry Repair, Intro to Burton Baton

1.  I stocked up on some foodstuffs at MOM's Organic Market and soaked in the always reliably friendly vibe of this store.

2. I returned home and got a green curry going and it was way too peppery hot. So, I dumped a couple of cans of chicken stock in to settle it down -- and it was still too peppery hot. I went to the Co-op in search of a can or two of coconut milk, but they didn't have any. I'd read that adding meat to a too peppery hot curry can help tame it, so I bought an already cooked whole chicken and came home and put about half the chicken in the curry. This helped a lot. So did a little more brown sugar and more lime juice.  I also bought Greek yogurt if either of us wanted it as a coolant. The Deke and I could enjoy this curry now, served over basmati rice, and I was happy I went to such lengths to make it enjoyable for us.  Sometimes fixing a dish gone awry is as fun as the pleasure of succeeding right away.  I need to figure out and memorize a ratio of red and green curry paste to coconut milk and try not to make this too peppery hot mistake again. The ratio suggested on the curry paste container has too much fire for us.

3.  At the suggestion of a friend, the Deke and I bought a four-pack of Dogfish Head's Burton Baton, a high alcohol hybrid beer blending Imperial IPA and English strong ale. It's then   aged for a month in oak barrels. It's a very tasty and a very interesting beer as the hoppiness of the IPA and the maltiness of the English strong ale create a balance of sweetness and bitterness and the oak barrel adds a hint of vanilla to the beer's taste. It's a little spendy, but I'm sure we'll go for it again one day and will always hope it pops up on tap some time at one of our favorite tap rooms.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 10/31/16: Roaring Back to Maryland, Blood Draw, Chili and a Couple of Drinks -- MOM UPDATE

1.  Without a single stop for fuel or anything else, Olivia, the Deke, and I roared back home from Nyack. I'm not sure if, for Olivia, the drive back rose to the level of "most boring trip ever", but I don't think the drive did much to stimulate her.

2. I was a little bit overdue for a blood draw to be sent to the transplant center and I whisked over to Labcorp and got it done.

3. After a bowl of Molly's hearty and delicious steak chili and corn bread muffins, the Deke and I went to the nearly empty Old Line Bistro and had a couple of drinks and took some time to relax after a busy weekend and the Deke getting her grades finished and submitted.  I think our server, Kristin, was experiencing maximum boredom because things were so slow and told us several times how glad she was we came in and livened up her evening.

**MOM UPDATE:  Mom's hospital stay continues. The wound on her leg continues to heal, albeit slowly. The hospital staff is giving a lot of attention to the edema that afflicts Mom and causes swelling in her legs and inhibits her healing.  The swelling has come down. No date has been set for her to return home.  Christy and Carol report that her spirits are pretty good.