Monday, April 30, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/29/18: Studying the Pittsburgh Pirates, Dinner with Christy, Krakauer Memories

1.  On Saturday, up at the Inland Lounge, before we went over to the Elks to the Bunker Hill dinner, things were slow for a while at the bar and Cas and I had a chance to talk some baseball history. Back before spring training got underway in 1965, Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher and 1960 Cy Young Award winner, Vernon Law, came to Kellogg. He gave an after school clinic at the junior high and was the featured speaker at a banquet in the evening. Cas and I were Sunnyside Elementary students and both of our fathers took us to the banquet. I don't remember what Vernon Law said in his talk, but I do remember meeting him and that he autographed a baseball I had around for years, but have lost. 

Reminiscing with Cas about Vernon Law and the 1960 World Series winning Pirates inspired me to dive into the World Wide Web this morning and read more articles about the Pirates, study more historical statistics and, especially, dig more deeply into the box score of Pittsburgh's 10-9 seventh game win over the Yankees. I learned more today about first baseman Rocky Nelson. I marveled at the surprising heroics of Pirate back up catcher, Hal Smith. I beamed when I read -- and was reminded -- that the winning pitcher of that seventh game was Harvey Haddix and I wondered if this victory eased some of the sting of his having pitched twelve perfect innings the year before in a game against the Milwaukee Braves, only to lose his perfect game in the 13th inning thanks to an error by third sacker, Don Hoak.

2. Carol and Paul took a trip to Pullman and Moscow this afternoon so we didn't have a full-scale family dinner.  We invited Christy and Everett over, but Everett has a painful knee and he stayed put and ate his meal at home. But, the Deke fixed a great dinner of pork tenderloin steaks, baked zucchini topped with grated Parmesan cheese, and cabbage salad. Christy had had a superb night on Saturday. She and Carol ate dinner at Anthony's in Spokane and then went to the Bing Theater for a talk given by Anne Lamott. The talk inspired both Christy and Carol and Christy told the Deke and me about what she learned and what Anne Lamott reminded her of about writing. Christy's recollections of Anne Lamott's talk were full of gratitude and excitement, not only for what Anne Lamott had to say, but for her good fortune in meeting Spokane writer, Cindy Hval.

3. The Deke and Christy had a great talk about writing and about books. I chimed in a couple of times, but mostly I listened. Christy stumped me with a question that I thought about all evening after she asked me. She wondered which of Jon Krakauer's books was my favorite. Although I couldn't answer this question, within myself I fondly remembered how much I loved introducing students at LCC to Into Thin Air and Into the Wild. I read these books during my sabbatical in the spring of 2000. I was continuing to recover from my November, 1999 bout with bacterial meningitis and came home that spring to be with Mom as she prepared for and started treatment for cancer.

Although I wasn't doing anything in the spring of 2000 as extreme as climbing Mt. Everest or heading into the wilds of Alaska to live alone, I felt like I'd returned to a precipice, tottering between life and death, a thin place I'd been to before in July of 1973 when I nearly died during an accident at the Zinc Plant and where my bout with meningitis took me again. Krakauer's vivid accounts of life on the edge in these books helped me navigate my experience and I very much enjoyed working through these books with my students and exploring the philosophical questions both books raise about humans in relation to the world of nature and the nature of reality itself when one's life is in peril.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/28/18: Washing Machine Laughter, Old Timers at the Elks, Good Cheer at the Lounge

1.  The dogs' bedding in their crate needed laundering and when the Deke put the dogs' blankets and towels in the washing machine and turned on the water, nothing happened. Shawn had done whatever plumbers do so that our bathroom has no water (our main floor bathroom right now has no sink, tub, or toilet) and I thought maybe Shawn had accidently turned off the washing machine water, too. It wasn't an emergency, but I texted him this morning to let him know. It was Saturday. It was his day off. He came right over. Shawn went in the basement, surveyed his work, studied the water pipes, and then I heard him laughing. "Hey, Bill! I found your problem. The washing machine's unplugged."  He started the machine. I fixed Shawn a cup of coffee and we shot the breeze for a while and concluded that Shawn had accidently unplugged the washing machine while fogging the basement on Friday.

2. I drove up to the Inland Lounge around four o'clock or so to see if Cas wanted to go across the street to the Elks where an annual dinner was being held for former longtime employees at the Bunker Hill Company. Cas and I stripped zinc in the cell room together back in the early 70s and thought we might run into some people we hadn't seen for a while. Well, we walked in the Elks and immediately I visited a table full of Listoes! Marilyn, Patty, and Dick Listoe were all seated together -- John Sevy was there, too -- and I had a great time visiting with them. Then Cas grabbed me a drink and John Hopper called me over to his table and we had fun getting caught up. I meandered around a bit and talked with Billy "The Greek" Manthos and George White (he took me out for my first ever round of golf when I was about 13 years old). Cas had made his rounds and I was done and he and I returned to the Lounge.

3. I texted the Deke and told her Jake and Carol Lee were at the Lounge and wondered if I should come down and pick her up so we could all be together. The Deke was all in. We had a great night. Ed joined us. I bought a chicken fried steak dinner leftover from the Elks' event and Julie delivered it. The Deke helped me eat my dinner.  The Deke then went up to the bar and got acquainted with The Greek and then had a long talk with Julie and just as we thought we might get going home, Harley and Candy strolled in, having buttoned up the Elks for the night, and we sat for a while longer, yakkin'. I heard a bunch of great stories. Harley and I reminisced about the old days at Silver King elementary school. It was an awesome evening, seeing old friends and sharing good cheer.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/27/18: Caesar, Up to Burke, Early to Bed

1.  Until breakfast this morning at Sam's, I had never known that a Bloody Mary mixed with Clamato juice instead of tomato juice is known as a Caesar. I thought about how much Mom enjoyed an occasional glass of beer with Clamato juice and wondered if we'd ever mixed her a Caesar. 

2. The temperature rocketed into the mid-80s under cloudless skies. The Deke and Maggie and Charly and I needed to be out of the house for about four hours or so while it was being fumigated for possible mold after Shawn's crew had removed carpeting that had been in the basement for over twenty years. We were grateful that Carol had told us that Charly and Maggie could hang out with her while she worked in her backyard.

We drove east, through Wallace, and up Burke Canyon to Burke, known officially as a ghost town. Yes, Burke features many boarded up and crumbling old buildings: dilapidated cafe, hotel, houses, mine mill and other mining structures, but people still live in and near Burke. Seeing Burke in shambles triggered, as it has before, my curiosity about the town's history, especially about the days over a century ago when Burke was a densely populated, thriving mining town. I resolved to get J. Anthony Lukas's astonishing book, Big Trouble, out again and reread passages about Burke. I think I'll also see about perusing Carol's collection of local history publications.

Oh! One other thing. Maybe Christy and Carol can help me out with this -- when Grandma Woolum visited Kellogg, from time to time she asked Dad to take her on a drive up to Burke. My earliest memories of Burke involve these occasional drives. I don't remember why Grandma wanted to go up there -- Christy, you remember why?

3. When we arrived home, Ed called me, telling me he was shocked that I wasn't at the Inland Lounge where he was occupying a stool after a long day of work. I told him I'd be right up and I had fun yakkin' with him and Bird Legs and I had a good talk with Cas about a thing or two. I didn't stay long at the Lounge and thought the Deke and I might be returning a little later, but that turned out not to be the case. Instead, we stayed home and enjoyed the quiet. I was in bed for the night before the sun had completely set.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/26/18: Hello Closet/Goodbye Tub, The Versatile Ellery Thompson, Walls Down Next Door

1.  Today was Jericho Day. Walls came tumbling down. Not many walls, just a small section in the bedroom where we are having two small closets turned into one. We also saw our bathtub exit the house, the same tub, I am sure, that has been in this house since it was built about seventy years ago. Its new life will be as a planter over at Carol and Paul's house. I'll bet the tub never saw that coming.

2. He paints the details of his life at sea on stretched canvases much like many of us snap photographs. He helps oceanographers with fish counts and helps collect tales told by those living on Block Island, just off of Rhode Island. He captains a dragger and no one, it's reputed, better knows the bottom of the sea in the general area of the Stonington, Mystic, and New London. Seventy years and more ago, If you wanted to know the migrating habits of flounders and when to put your nets down for a bountiful catch or if you wanted someone to efficiently fish the waters populated by sunken vessels who knows how to catch fish but not snag his nets, the guy to get a hold of was Ellery Thompson, according to Joseph Mitchell's fascinating profile of the good captain entitled, "Dragger Captain".

3.  It was Jericho Day at Christy and Everett's house, too. The wall between their living room and front bedroom came tumbling down. So did half the wall between their kitchen and living room. As at our house, the wall studs are still standing; nonetheless, it is wonderful to see already how much airier and lighter and roomier their house will be as these new openings get completed. It's a thrilling transformation. By the way, their bathtub also came out today. Carol and Paul will have two new planters!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/25/18: Remodel #2, Joseph Mitchell on Staten Island, Glorious Evening

1. It's been since November and December  that we had demolition going on in our house and today we lived with the sweet sounds of tile being torn out, carpeting removed, pipes being cut and capped, and bathroom fixtures being ripped out as the next phase of remodeling got underway.

2. The Deke and I took a walk together. First we took care of some business at the Furniture Exchange and then we ambled over to Best Shots where the Deke met Liz to knit. I then scaled Depot Hill and dropped in at the bank to deposit Mom's federal income tax refund in the estate account and then lumbered on home.

Once home, I decided to leave again to get groceries for dinner, but, before going to Yoke's, I dropped in at the Hill St. Depot Pub. As I anticipated, the lunch crowd had emptied out. It was quiet. I brought my Joseph Mitchell book with me. I ordered a Dark and Stormy and curled into a corner spot by a window and proceeded to learn more about Staten Island than I'd ever known. Mitchell loves wildflowers and he used to go to cemeteries on Staten Island to enjoy the variety of foliage. On one trip, he met a priest who recommended he look up a local African-American in his early nineties if he'd like to learn more about a graveyard nearby and the black community this man has lived in most of his life. Mitchell immediately contacts Mr. Hunter and what ensued is some of the most absorbing storytelling I've ever read -- and I'm not done with this particular piece yet. I'll leave it at that for now.

3.  I returned home and Christy and Debbie were having a party in Christy and Everett's backyard. I'd just purchased, for old times' sake, a bottle of George Dickel Rye Whisky, so I grabbed a four oz glass out of the cupboard and some ice out of the freezer and joined them for lively conversation, largely centered on the two big events of the day: the remodeling that got started at both of our houses and Tucker's first day of dog obedience school in Hayden. Christy was very happy about the work done in their house so far and with her experience with the dog trainer. It was a clear evening, warm, but not hot; a refreshing breeze kicked up from time to time. This evening we experienced our reward for having endured, without much complaint, the gray, snowy, rainy, damp, icy, short, claustrophobic days of November, December, January, February, and March in the Silver Valley.

I braised four whole chicken thighs atop onion slices and lemon slices in coconut milk flavored with green curry paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar and, about twenty or so minutes before the thighs were done, I added red pepper slices, sliced mushrooms, and broccoli crowns to the Dutch oven. Once the vegetables were tender, the Deke and I enjoyed a really smashing dinner together.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/24/18: Good Dental Visit, Yakkin' at the Depot, Steak and Onions and Mushrooms

1. The only thing I don't like about my regular cleaning appointment at the dentist is finding out I might need more dental work done on down the road. I age. Root canals age. Crowns age. Infections worm their way into different places. I don't have any work coming up in the near future, but some slightly ominous signs exist of possible problems later. We'll see. Otherwise, I enjoyed having my teeth polished and admired Kathy's care and precision in removing what had built up on my teeth over the last six months. My mouth felt clean and refreshed as I left. I think the contrast between dental practices today and what I experienced forty to fifty-five years ago is so stark that today it's a pleasure to have my teeth cared for. I feel none of the dread I experienced when I was younger.

2. The Deke and I hopped over to the Hill Street Depot in the middle of the afternoon and made a wish list of furniture and other things we might want to add to our life when the remodeling that resumes on Wednesday is finished. We dreamed out loud about some trips we might like to take some day -- we dream about the Great Lakes and we want to spend time exploring some areas in the southeast USA. I enjoyed a couple of Hill Street's very tasty Dark and Stormy cocktails, made with spiced rum. Brett sauntered in and joined us for part of our visit to Hill Street. It turns out he's been thinking about writing the Kellogg version of The Spoon River Anthology for many years, but just hasn't put words on the page yet.  At my request, Brett updated me on what's happening with his five brothers and it was fun to learn what has transpired in their lives over the years.

3. The Deke asked me if I'd cook up some onions and mushrooms to go with the little sirloin steaks I had thawed out. I was happy to comply and decided I'd like to cook up the onions in bacon grease, so I fried four strips of bacon and then cooked the onions until they were almost done. I transferred the bacon and the onions over to the stovetop grill and cooked up sliced mushrooms in butter and moved them over, too. I got more grease out of the four strips of bacon and fried the steaks and served up the steak pieces topped with bacon strips with a mess of onions and mushrooms on the side. We enjoyed our meal a lot.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/23/18: Testing my Toe, RIP Roger Fulton, Oyster Dreams

1. It's been well over a month since my left big toe recently blew up with inflammation and pain. While it has settled down considerably, over the last week I've still felt some teaspoons of pain and have continued to rest it. Today, I needed to go to the Shoshone Medical Center for my monthly blood draw. It's not a long walk. I decided to give my toe a test run, see how it held up. For at least two years, I've been wearing two insoles in my everyday shoes, but, for this walk, I removed one insole. Sometimes tight shoes inflame my toe. I'm happy to report that my stroll to and from the hospital was painless.

I'm going to see how it goes to walk uptown to the bank on Tuesday. (Mom's federal income tax refund arrived today. I'll bank it.)

2. Ed called just before I left for the medical center with the sad, but not at all unexpected, news that Carol Lee's father, Roger Fulton, had died. Carol Lee and Jake got the call from the nursing home at about 3 a.m.  After I returned from having my blood drawn, the Deke and I piled into the Sube, picked up Ed in Kingston, and drove out to Jake and Carol Lee's home on Rose Lake to pay a visit and express our sorrow that Roger died. It was a good visit. The Fultons were friends of Mom and Dad's back as far as I can remember and it was good to talk with Carol Lee and piece together different parts of her dad's life. 

Most of my memories of Roger Fulton center on what a fine athlete he was. From time to time, while in his forties, he joined some of us younger guys, in our late teens, in pickup basketball games at the YMCA and I remember how strong he was, especially as a defender and rebounder. I might still have bruises! I also used to see him on the golf course at Pinehurst and it impressed me that he carried his clubs in a very lightweight canvas golf bag, unlike many golfers who carried (or carted) huge bags that held numerous golf balls, tees, greens markers, a rain jacket, an umbrella, rain pants, a water bottle, and, for many, pints or fifths of booze. I always liked how, on the golf course, Roger traveled light.

3.  Certain of Joseph Mitchell's writings focus on seafood. Thanks to Joseph Mitchell, I've been longing for some oysters on the half shell or some fresh, sweet unpeeled shrimp or any fresh sushi. The Deke and I dropped in at Radio Breweing for a couple 10 oz beers and the best I could do to satisfy my longing for seafood was order a couple appetizer plates of fried oysters. I prefer oysters raw, on the shell, but I still savored these fried ones and daydreamed of stealing away to an Oregon coast oyster house or bellying up to an oyster bar in New Orleans and slurping oysters while sipping on shots of Tennessee or Kentucky bourbon or rye.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/22/18: Pork Chops Now and at Whitworth, Blurring Fact and Fiction, Beef Stroganoff

1. When Paul couldn't make it over for dinner last night, it meant that the Deke fried up an pork chop that became a leftover. We also had one chop left in the package I'd purchased. Maybe for the first time in our twenty years together, the Deke and I ate pork chops for breakfast. I fixed mine with a couple of eggs fried over medium and the Deke ate hers with a half an avocado and we felt like the luckiest people alive that we ate such a luxurious breakfast for the first time.

While eating my morning pork chop, my mind flashed back to the spring semester of 1983 at Whitworth College. I was teaching a surprisingly fun and invigorating seminar in non-Shakespearean Renaissance literature -- we read a variety of Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, including the awesome Knight of the Burning Pestle, Milton's Paradise Lost, Shakespeare's sonnets and I'm not entirely sure what else. I was very fortunate that semester that about a dozen or so open-minded students signed up for the class and happily committed themselves to reading some off the beaten path plays along with some challenging and very famous other works.

Why did eating pork chops for breakfast remind me of this seminar? At some point during the semester, I invited Bill Davie and Dave Veldhuizen to come over to my apartment on a Saturday morning. Somehow, in earlier conversation, the brilliant Australian movie, Breaker Morant came up and I told them I owned a copy of it and if they came over we'd watch it.

We all enjoyed the movie a lot, but I also remember that I fixed them breakfast. I knew they both enjoyed eating at local Spokane diners like Ferguson's on Garland Ave. and Knight's Diner, then on North Division at the bottom of the Division Street hill. So I fixed a sort of diner breakfast for us: pork chops, fried eggs, toast, potatoes, and coffee. We might have also had a beer or two with breakfast, but I'm not sure.

The movie blew us away. The breakfast was delicious. It was a great morning enjoying each other as friends, not so much as teacher and student. I hadn't thought about the Breaker Morant breakfast for a while, but eating pork chops with the Deke this morning brought that scintillating morning back again.

2. I sat much of the day in our sunny living room reading more deeply into the collection of Joseph Mitchell's work, Up in the Old Hotel. The anthology includes three stories collected under the title, Old Mr. Flood. In an author's note introducing these stories, Mitchell tells his readers that Mr. Hugh G. Flood was not an actual man. He is several actual persons Mitchell observed and conversed with in the area around the Fulton Fish Market combined into one person. Through this composite creation, Mitchell gets at the truths about this area in Lower Manhattan: the whiskey drinking, fish selling, fish eating, gossip, history, stories of life, death, and rebirth, and the spirit of Peck Slip, Hartford House, Sloppy Louie's, and other features of life on the shores of the East River.

Mr. Flood is not a factual creation but his character is grounded in facts. Through Mr. Flood's stories we dive into truths, truths revealed in a more focused, efficient, and lively way through the experience of Mr. Flood than if these many experiences had been narrated through multiple persons. I once presented a public lecture over fifteen years ago about how I read non-fiction as fiction, using my reading of John Krakauer's Into Thin Air as an example. Non-fiction tends to focus on what happened; fiction is an exploration of what happens and Joseph Mitchell explores in the Mr. Flood story what happens when people of widely varying backgrounds and walks of life congregate and sell fish, buy fish, prepare fish to eat, eat fish, drink whiskey, sing songs, tell jokes, tell their stories, and express their points of view. What happens? We see the big picture, the enduring truths of human life, the truths we live with all the time regarding loyalty, friendship, love, forgiveness, fortitude, pride, renewal, and a host of other experiences humans share in. The details of Mitchell's stories are exhilaratingly particular to the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and other sensations of whatever part of New York City Mitchell is writing about. The truths about being human that emerge are salient. The differences in time, history, or place between me sitting in Kellogg, Idaho and Mitchell's stories in early to mid-20th century New York City make Mitchell's insights into the human qualities we share all the more scintillating.

3. I broke away from reading Joseph Mitchell long enough to fix a ground beef stroganoff gravy and the Deke steamed a head of cauliflower and we poured the gravy over the florets in a bowl. The ground beef, meaty mushrooms, beef stock I had made, and generous dollops of sour cream poured over the cauliflower made for an unexpectedly tasty dinner.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/21/18: Enthralled, Stashed Beer and Edgar Lee Masters, Dinner with Everett

1. I am now reading Joseph Mitchell ravenously. I had no idea that when skyscrapers were sprouting and new bridges were being built all over Manhattan in the early 20th century, especially the 1930s, and that members of the Mohawk tribe from the Caughnawaga Reservation made significant contributions to this construction. Furthermore, I had no idea that these workers fanned out across the country to work on other steel projects nor did I know that many families from this reservation settled in North Gowanus in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood known today as Boerum Hill. This particular Joseph Mitchell piece, "The Mohawks in High Steel" had me darting all over the World Wide Web, looking at maps, viewing historical photographs, reading articles published about the vanishing of the Mohawk people in Brooklyn. Moreover, in my mind, I tried to retrace my steps of the miles I walked back in late June and early July of 2012 in Gowanus and Carroll Gardens and Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill and Atlantic Avenue and the food I ate and the beer I enjoyed at the ChipHouse in this general area in Brooklyn. I felt caught between the deep gratitude I felt for having spent all those days in Brooklyn and a deep longing to return.

I learned a lot more from Joseph Mitchell today: about terrapin farming in Georgia on a farm near Isle of Hope, GA; about clam harvesting off of Long Island; about beefsteak banquets and the differences between East and West beefsteaks in Manhattan; about Manhattan loneliness and quiet despair as portrayed in a handful of Mitchell's short fiction stories. I have just started his fictional account of a young boy observing the local KKK in North Carolina, the state where Joseph Mitchell was born and raised.

2. The Deke and I made a quick visit to the Inland Lounge around 3:00 to say hi to Cas and Tracy and to have a little outing before we bought some groceries at Stein's. Brett came in and sat down a stool away from me at the bar and after a quick moment of making sure we recognized each other, he asked me something he asked the last time we saw each other: "You remember that time when you were in high school and I was just a little kid in the neighborhood and I found all those beers stored in Jacobs Creek in the culvert up by the high school and I was too young to drink it and I found you and told you they were up there and then a day or later or so I went back to the culvert and the beer was gone and I bet you went up there and drank it? Right? Remember?"

I didn't remember that. I know I didn't drink that beer. I only drank beer about four times during my high school years -- by the way, the first time was near that culvert in Jacobs Creek near the high school in August of 1969, but Jimmy, Windy, Hink, and I got our beer that night from Dick, the Kellogg swim team coach, but we paid for it -- we didn't drink someone else's stash.

Brett and talked more about Kellogg and his mom and dad and suddenly Brett said, "You taught the English Arts all those years, right?" "Yes I did." "Then you know Edgar Lee Masters and The Spoon River Anthology?" "I sure do." "I consider myself a Kellogg historian and that's what I want to do -- write the Kellogg version of The Spoon River Anthology. God! I love this place." Before long, the take and bake pizza Brett ordered over the phone from Yoke's was ready for him to pick up and take home to his mom and dad and it was time for the Deke and me to go buy groceries. I shook hands with Cas, said farewell, and the Deke and I left the Lounge.

3. Christy and Carol went to Moscow today. It was Moms' Weekend at the U of Idaho and my sisters joined up with Cosette and Molly and had a fun day together. The Deke and I invited Paul and Everett over for dinner. Paul texted and said he wouldn't be able to make it, but Everett joined us for a dinner expertly prepared by the Deke: stovetop grilled pork chops, a broccoli and cabbage slaw salad,  beautifully sauteed zucchini, and a small glass of red wine. We had a good visit with Everett for nearly two hours before he decided it was time for him to get back with the dogs and cats next door.  Not long after, Christy and Carol arrived back in Kellogg.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/20/18: Fast Cars at Sam's, Remodel Decisions, Return of the Deke

1.  Breakfast at Sam's this morning was a lot of fun. Our server loves telling us about her vacations (soon she's going to Palm Springs), her casino trips (whether to Worley, Spokane, or Las Vegas), and her love of vehicles -- her love encompasses vehicles ranging from golf carts to fast cars. I don't know much about cars, but this morning she was fired up because (I think she said) she's going to purchase a car of her dreams, an orange (or is it rust?) Dodge Barracuda. She had a picture of a Dodge Barracuda on her pocket computer and was downright giddy as she showed it to each of us around the table. Later, when some other customers arrived, she showed the car to them, too, and, to be honest, our server is such a wonderful woman, so good at her work, so unpretentious, and so fun to talk with and joke around with, that everyone is really happy for her that she's had a good turn of fortune in her life and can take these vacations, golf trips, casino outings, and buy fast cars. And, she loves working at Sam's.

2. After Shawn left the other day, I went out back and looked again at the back of the house and I doubted that there was room to mount an awning in the way we had planned. I texted him and asked him to drop by, at his convenience, to see if agreed with me. Shawn called this morning to see if we were up and about so he could check on this. He was also troubled by the fact that he'd estimated a cost for bathroom tile that was was under what he found out the actual cost was. He wanted to talk face to face about this discrepancy with us and with Christy (we are both having bathroom remodels done at the same time).

What it all came down to was that we want to do as much business locally as possible and tile at the Furniture Exchange costs more than it would at Lowe's or Home Depot. The Deke, Christy, and I hardly had to think about it when we told Shawn we'd pay the higher price and buy the tile here in Kellogg from the Furniture Exchange. Shawn hung around for a while and shot the breeze over a cup of coffee after we made this decision and after we decided that mounting an awning on the back of the house wouldn't work. Shawn has been consistently conscientious with us in every aspect of the work he's done on our house and I was, one again, very appreciative of his conscientiousness today.

3.  Having been gone for a month meant that the Deke hadn't been to the Inland Lounge for quite a while, so we went up right as it opened at three o'clock so we could shoot the breeze with Cas and Tracy. Not long after we arrived, Ed came in and enjoyed a beer or two and ordered Nancy some food from Wah Hing and all three of us saw other people we knew -- Ed and Jim (Sr.) Miller, Mike Grebil, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Higbee, Clarence, Betty, and Brian Moore, and the Inland Lounge scene grew into a very enjoyable crowd of mostly people our age and older enjoying one another before either going across the street for a burger at the Elks or up the street to dance at the Kellogg Senior Center.

When the Deke and I arrived home, I fried three strips of bacon and then put frozen green beans in the skillet and let them cook together. I roasted a sheet of sliced onions and baby carrots. I then prepared the two of us each a small flatiron steak. Steak. Green beans with bacon. Roasted carrots and onions. Our dinner crowned a nearly perfect day.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/19/18: Taking it Easy, More Joseph Mitchell, Salmon with Spinach and Mushrooms

1.  This morning, at some point, I asked the Deke if she wanted to do something today. She didn't, really. She wanted to take the day to continue to get acclimated to PST some more, rest from all her travels over the last month, and take it easy. That sounded good to me, so I joined her in taking it easy, napping, and having a quiet day around the house.

2. This book, Up in the Old Hotel, I'm reading is a long book. Joseph Mitchell writes copiously in long paragraphs about his subjects and I love feasting on all this detail, whether he's describing the Manhattan cityscape or bringing one of the persons he's profiling alive. The pieces are a bit long. I'm reading this book very slowly and I enjoyed indulging in the world of NYC gypsies again. His first gypsy profile centered on Johnny Nikanov, presented as the king of the gypsies. The second longer profile focused on women gypsies and their elaborate schemes to con unsuspecting and troubled women out of all kinds of money. It was painful to read how they were able to trick entire life savings out of some of their marks, but, again, the detail and the depth of Mitchell's reporting fascinated me.

In another piece I read today, Mitchell eulogizes a favorite old gin mill, Dick's Bar and Grill, located on a narrow street near the Brooklyn Bridge, but now closed because Dick opened a shiny new bar with nearby. Mitchell laments the loss of the grittiness and chaos of the old place and can hardly bear that the new establishment is so nice. And clean. And polite. And orderly. 

3.  When the Deke is out of town, I cook for myself, I experiment with food a bit, and I enjoy it, but I don't have to cook very often because a roast or a chicken or a pot of turkey soup will last me three, even four days. Now I am getting back into the swing of daily cooking for both of us. Today I sauteed a half a pound of sliced mushrooms in one skillet and wilted a container of fresh spinach, dampened with balsamic vinegar, in the other, combined them, and put them on a plate and covered them with aluminum foil. Meanwhile, I roasted a head and a half of cauliflower florets at 400 degrees for nearly a half an hour.

When the Deke returned home from doing some window shopping at Furniture Exchange and having a glass of wine at Hill St. Depot, I seared a small chunk of salmon on the gas range grill. In one of our wide and shallow bowls, I created a bed of the spinach and mushrooms, halved the salmon chunk and placed each chunk on the bed, topped the chunks each with a slice of lemon, and created a circle of cauliflower around the salmon.  The Deke and I were astonished that such a simple meal could have so much flavor and texture and be so pleasing.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/18/18: Money Morning, Dad's Blue Datsun Pickup, Radio Brewing

1. The Deke and I wanted to get some financial things in our life clarified, so we had a money morning today. I enjoyed everything we did: we discussed outstanding obligations, assessed how our situation looks today, and started a wish list. I paid bills. We also realized that we needed to Shawn about the next remodeling project that is starting next week. I texted Shawn, invited him over this afternoon, telling him we needed to make sure we had everything he was doing and what it would cost straight in our minds.

2. While Christy and the Deke were attending their book group this afternoon, I hustled over to Yoke's to buy some beer for Shawn's visit and pick up a few other things. While strolling by the onions, garlic, and avocados, I walked near a man wearing a Yankees cap with a toothpick in his mouth, a man older than I am. "You're Woolum, aren't you?" I didn't recognize him. I said yes and I think he could tell I didn't know who he was. "Hello, I'm Rich Edwards. You remember that little blue Datsun pickup your dad had years ago?" "Yes!" "Well, I sold your dad that pickup. He said he wanted it to go golfing." I shook my head in marveled disbelief and we stood there for several minutes and Rich told me was shopping because his wife had slipped on the ice back in February and broken bones in her leg. He thought she'd be healed up some time this summer. We shook hands and I headed off to the dairy cooler and he headed toward the lettuce and carrots.  (By the way, if you were to look back several days on this blog, you'll read that I met Rich's cousin, Kelly, at the Inland Lounge on Saturday.)

3.  Shawn dropped by. I popped open each of us a bottle of Ninkasi's Believer, a fine double red ale, and we got everything straightened out and, if I'm not mistaken, we made additions to the project. After Shawn left, the Deke and I decided to go uptown to Radio Brewing. We grabbed a stool at the front bar, each ordered a short strong ale, and some food. For the first time, I tried the delicious chicken pot pie at Radio and the Deke enjoyed a salad. It was fun just to relax together after being apart for a month and continuing to get caught up about what we did while apart and starting to look at what the near future looks like for us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/17/18: Spiffing Up the House, Off to GEG, Driving the Deke Back to the Valley

1. I got up this morning and figured what with the Deke coming home this evening, it would be the perfect day to clean the house. I cleaned the stove, counters, dishwasher, sink, refrigerator (inside and out); I dust mopped the floors, vacuumed the living room rug, and cleaned the bathroom; I laundered our bedding and made the bed. I wrapped things up by going to the store and purchasing the groceries the Deke had asked me to have on hand. I put the groceries away and surveyed the house, satisfied with a good day's work. The place looked pretty good.

2. I took off for the Spokane airport (GEG) a little bit early so that I could fuel up in Coeur d'Alene and grab a sandwich, having sort of forgotten to eat a meal during the day.

3.  I parked in the cell phone parking lot and wasn't there very long before a text message chimed in and I read the magic words, "Got my bag".  I revved up the Sube and blasted my way to the terminal. The Deke swung her bag into the Sube and leapt in the front seat. We briefly embraced and soon we were headed to the Silver Valley, gabbing about the Deke's trip, family news in both the east and the west, how things are in Kellogg, and what we've each listened to lately regarding the news.  We arrived home tired, happy to be back together, and looking forward to a good night's sleep and being able to talk some more over our coffee in the morning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/16/18: Christy's Slideshow Tribute to Mom, Organizing Paper, Braised Curried Chicken

1. My day was underway in the usual way -- dogs fed, coffee brewed, hot cereal nearly cooked, my daily writing begun -- when I see Christy has made a post on Facebook she had told us at family dinner was forthcoming. I stopped everything to watch it. It's a stirring series of photographs, a slideshow, accompanied by music, of Mom's Celebration of Life, the reception at Paul and Carol's that followed, the committal of her ashes, and moments from the span of her life from when she was a child to when she was in the nursing home. If you haven't seen this video, I hope you will watch it. It beautifully portrays the love Mom gave to those in her life and the bounty of love so many others gave her.

The video is right here.

2. I spent the day sorting out personal papers, reviewing bills, going back through papers of Mom's and deciding what to keep and what to dispose of, and doing some preparation for filing our 2018 taxes next year. I decided I didn't want to chase down tax documents in a year that I already have on hand now, so I organized them. 

3. I had a couple of chicken thighs on hand. I heated up oil in the Dutch oven and seared both sides of the salted, peppered, and garlic powdered thighs. Meanwhile, I made a mixture of coconut milk, green curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. I removed the thighs from the Dutch oven, drained off the excess hot oil, and put lemon slices, cauliflower florets, and broccoli crowns at the bottom of the pan and put the chicken on top. I poured the coconut milk mixture over it all, put the lid on the Dutch oven, and let it all cook at 275 degrees. I checked the vegetables a couple of times, not wanting to overcook them and ended up removing them about ten or fifteen minutes before the chicken was cooked through.

This was a delicious meal, one I made up just by calling upon past experience with curry sauces and braising. I enjoyed the slight heat and the subtle sweetness and the spices of the curry sauce and especially enjoyed how the vegetables and chicken absorbed these flavors.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/15/18: Day Trip, Superb Family Dinner, To the Grocery Store (Finally)

1. Not long after I finished my morning routines, I leapt into the Sube, drove to Kingston, and picked up Ed. We pulled into the Cash and Carry store in CdA so Ed could pick up some supplies for the Subway restaurant Nancy manages and then we headed to the CdA Casino in Worley. We had a good ride down and talked about a lot of different things. Once at the casino, I played for a little while and it became obvious I was having a lousy day, so I quit playing before too long. I hate trying to spend myself out of bad luck! I won't do it.  I went to the deli and had a bagel and a cup of coffee, wishing I had brought a book, and wandered around a bit. Ed seemed to be having better luck than I did and I caught up with him before too long and enjoyed watching him play until he was ready to go. We had another great session of solving the world's problems on the trip back home and returned to the Silver Valley very early in the afternoon.

2. Christy hosted tonight's family dinner. We ate dinner in the shed she has worked so hard to have remodeled and that she has elegantly decorated. I especially enjoyed that we were in the shed while there was still daylight and and enjoyed the way light comes into Christy's space. Dinner was superb. We began with a glass of wine and a toast to Christy and Carol's success in changing their eating habits and their success at steadily losing weight. Our dinner was a masterpiece, all prepared within the limits of Christy and Carol's dietary plan. Christy slow cooked a meatloaf in the crock pot and served it with sides of steamed cabbage and a crisp, fresh green salad. Different things going on the next two Sundays will, I think, keep us from having family dinner. I'll miss getting together, and look forward to resuming in May. It's going to be really fun when (if?) the weather warms up and we can begin to eat outside.

3. I've been a cross between lazy and negligent about getting to the grocery store lately, so I braved this evening's monsoon conditions of wind and rain and stocked up on a few things at Yoke's. I'm especially happy to know that I have just what I need to fix myself dinner on Monday evening.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/14/18: I'm Pert Woolum's Kid, The Greek and the One-Eyed Elk, Chicken-Fried Steak

1. Last night, over at Corby's in Post Falls, Dave Corbeil mused that it was about time for his wife and him to hit the Silver Valley. The late Floyd Williams' wife, Mikey, was having an 80th birthday celebration at the Broken Wheel at 1:00 and he wanted to wish her well and see some old friends. Dave told me several times that I ought to come over to the Broken Wheel and I was vague in my response, but I knew I wouldn't go to this party because I didn't really know Mikey nor do I really know her sons. If I really knew Floyd's brother, Rollie, former North Idaho College basketball coach, it would have been fun to see him, but we don't really know each other at all. 

I did respond to Dave, however, that since he was going to hit the Valley, he oughta come up to The Lounge and see Cas and that I'd be sure to be there around three o'clock. Turns out that Byrdman also thought he might hit the Valley himself, and, true to his word, he did.

As the late afternoon unfolded at the Inland Lounge, it became a great scene. Dave Corbeil arrived. After he told Byrdman and me about his afternoon tour of the Kellogg bars up to that point he left us and started yakkin' with Kelly Edwards, an old friend of my dad and of Dad's old golfing buddy from Las Vegas, Joe Estes, and I heard Kelly exclaim from the end of the bar, "That's Pert Woolum's kid?" so I shuffled down to him, introduced myself, and he laughed and couldn't tell me enough how much he misses my dad and Joe Estes and kept saying, "So you're Pert Woolum's kid? I'll be damned."

2. As the scene continued to swell at the Inland Lounge, Cas was telling me a great story about
when he and Billy "The Greek" Manthos, whiskey flasks in their tuxedo jacket pockets, served as ushers outside some Catholic church at Ab's wedding in Missoula. Both of us were startled when about fifteen minutes later, who strolled in The Lounge? That's right. The Greek himself. The Greek waded through the crowd by the door -- Corby, Kelly, Ed Miller, John Sevy, Tom Sawyer, and others and made his way to where Byrdman and I were seated and told me all about how he'd heard I'd moved back to Kellogg, how he lived in CdA now, and how much he missed my dad.

Later, John Sevy added to the emerging theme of the afternoon and told me how much he missed my dad. Many of you reading this know that my dad was blind in one eye -- Joe Estes loved calling him a one-eyed fat man (and other colorful words to follow "one-eyed") -- and so John told me a story I'd never heard before. Dick Listoe and John Sevy hunted together. On one trip, John bagged an elk whose horns on one side of the rack were a bit deformed and a knot on the horns had grown over one of the elk's eyes. Dad caught wind somehow that "John Sevy had killed a one-eyed elk". Sevy got toward the end of his story and started laughing and said, "I sure miss your Dad. I guarantee you, if he were alive today and he walked in this joint, he'd see me and right away this whole bar would know that I was John Sevy, killer of a one-eyed elk." I laughed and told him that was a great story and agreed with him: vintage Pert Woolum.

3.  The crowd thinned out a bit and Byrdman left to return to CdA. Corby left. The Greek and others went across the street to the Elks Club where they were having a ceremonial dinner to honor longtime members, name the Elk of the Year, and other things. Ed was over there to receive his twenty year pin. I had told him Friday at breakfast to come over to The Lounge after the dinner, that I'd like to see him and Nancy and his pin.

So, I'd been nursing about one short V. O. and water every forty-five minutes over the last three hours or so and was starting to think I'd go somewhere for a quick bite to eat and come back to see Ed. My plan was to ask Cas to have Ed text me when he got there and I'd rush right back up.

But, no sooner did I devise this plan in my head, then Cas told me they had extra chicken-fried steak dinners over at the Elks and asked if I wanted to order one to be delivered for 12 bucks. Perfect! Cas kept my ice water glass filled. Julie delivered the dinners from the Elks. I didn't have to leave to have dinner! Then, lo and behold, just as I was about half way through my chicken-fried steak, Ed and Nancy strolled in. We didn't have a drink. Ed showed me his pin. We made plans to go to CdA and Worley on Sunday. Ed and Nancy left to go home. I finished my dinner, drank more water, and returned home. It was a truly epic late afternoon at The Lounge.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/13/18: Capone's in Post Falls, Downdraft, Corby's

1. I gassed up the Sube and rocketed west to the CdA, the Lake City, swung by Byrdman's house, and we headed out to spend a few hours in Post Falls, ID. Our first stop was Capone's for sandwiches and a beer. Neither of us had been to Capone's West before and it was fun to see that it's built, like the mothership CdA Capones, with dedication to neighborly atmosphere, tons of sports memorabilia, more beer taps than tables, and basic food: sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and appetizers.

2. When Byrdman and I arrived at Downdraft Brewing, it had just opened for the day and none of the Friday crowd had begun to stream in. We were served by the owner and brewer herself, Ginger, and it turned out that she is married to Josh Cantamessa, son of the late Jeff Cantamessa who was at the center of much that is alive and vital in Wallace. Byrdman's wife, Steph, is from Wallace and has been friends with the Cantamessas for many, many years and it was a blast talking with Ginger about Wallace and the Cantamessa family, as well as absorbing her beer expertise. She took us back to the brewing area and gave us a brief tour and, while in the tasting room, we talked about the different beer styles she brews and how business is going at Downdraft. Downdraft had closed back in November and Ginger and Josh reopened it as the new owners in January. It's my favorite kind of brewery: small operation, excellent beer, innovative beer ambitions, cozy, and very friendly. I look forward to returning. 

3. Every 4-6 weeks, a bunch of us guys who graduated from Kellogg High School meet up at Corby's in Post Falls for a couple of beers and to see the owner, Dave Corbeil (KHS, Class of 67). Today, Lars, Stu, Byrdman, and I met and Dave (Pappy) Corbeil came in later. He'd been to the funeral of former CdA Viking basketball coach, Dean Lundblad. He told us about some of the CdA basketball players who attended the funeral and the reception at the CaddyShack. This led to some great yakkin' about high school basketball in North Idaho fifty years ago and, at one point, the conversation circled around to how much better Kellogg's teams could have been if guys like Bob and John Pegg or Jack Morris or quite a few others hadn't moved from Kellogg to CdA or Spokane. It's sure fun to think back and relive times when we were kids, played a ton of basketball at the Y, and played other sports around the neighborhood, monitoring ourselves, organizing the games ourselves, and not relying solely on Little League or other organized leagues in order to get some games together. I guess the closest we come to doing that now is to organize get togethers like this evening's and talk about the playing we used to do!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/12/18: Quiet Day, NYCity Stories, Visit Next Door

1. I stayed home today. The corgis were at peace all day, doing little more than rising up from the prone position only to find a different place -- the living room rug, the queen bed, the love seat, or their crate -- to resume lying down. I listened to a variety of news podcasts, continuing to learn more about the multiple things going on this week with Facebook, Syria, and other complex stories.

2. I also retreated back in time to the 1930s and 1940s in New York City by returning to more profiles by Joseph Mitchell. I learned about gypsy life in NYC at that time, a man on a mission to eradicate the world of profanity, another man who tramped across the United States and wrote checks for as much as 25,000 dollars to people who poured him a cup of coffee or fixed him some food, and the Union League of the Deaf.

3. Finally, at about 7:30 p.m., I left the house and paid Christy and Everett a visit. We yakked for a while about Christy's trip to CdA today, my road trip yesterday, our upcoming house remodeling projects, and other things. It was a relaxing way to bring a very quiet and relaxing day to a close.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/11/18: Road Trip to Harrison, Meeting Lunk in St. Maries, Two of Us Are Tired!

1.  For the third week in a row, Byrdman and I struck out into the verdant landscapes of North Idaho on a local road trip. Rather than heading north, like we did the last two weeks, we headed east and south. We drove on ID Highway 97 around Lake Coeur d'Alene, admiring the numerous vistas of the lake and local mountains, still snow capped, and eased on into Harrison, ID and made a stop at One Shot Charlie's. It's a bar that's been around for nearly seventy years. Today, One Shot Charlie's was very quiet. Byrdman and I took a stool at the bar for a single slow and relaxing beer and exchanged our expertise on topics ranging from the NBA in the 1970s to the current news.

2. We continued on ID Highway 97 to its junction with ID Highway 3 and swooped into St. Maries. While in Harrison, I texted American Legion baseball teammate, Jack Lunger, to see if he wanted to meet up with Byrdman and me. He responded in the affirmative and directed us to meet him at Joe's Bar in the heart of downtown St. Maries. I hadn't see Jack (Lunk) Lunger for over forty years and, upon our arrival, we discovered, to our surprise and delight, that Wallace High School grad, Dave Oakes, was at Joe's with Lunk. We settled in around a large, circular, padded card table just off the bar and spent an hour and a half or so swapping stories, getting caught up, and enjoying each other's company. I had never met Dave Oakes. I soon learned a lot about his athletic career and his many years of officiating basketball and I learned that he works for the same outfit as Ed, Buff, Jerry, and Scott, my Friday breakfast pals. 

If I've learned anything since returning to live in Kellogg, it's that if I am going to get reacquainted with friends from back in the day, I need to go to where these old friends are and that I will meet people from those days that I didn't really know back then. I've enjoyed joining up with the Wallace Social Club on the Fridays I've met with them; I will go to Corby's in Post Falls and meet up with Stu, Lars, and Byrdman this Friday where rumor has it a bunch of guys from the KHS Class of '71 will be getting together, too; I continue to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances at the Inland Lounge.

In other words, I'm really happy that Byrdman got Lunk's contact information from Doc and that I texted Lunk from Harrison and our meeting of the minds at Joe's Bar was the result. Honestly, if I look back just one year to when the Deke and I traveled to Virginia in March, I visited Mom in early April, and the Deke and I visited Adrienne and Jack and saw two shows on Broadway later on in April, I thought our near future would involve living in Maryland and more exploration of places back east. Instead, circumstances that grew out of Mom's death in August led us to decide to move back to Kellogg and now I'm getting to know people again from whom I was separated for decades. I never saw this coming.

3.  I was back home for a while when I received a text message from the Deke that she arrived safely back in Maryland, tired, and was back at Molly and Hiram's home. I was happy to get this news and am looking forward to the Deke's return to Kellogg early next week. The Deke wasn't alone in being tired. My day of road tripping left me fatigued and I turned in very early, happy that I'd had such a fun day.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/10/18: Shooting the Breeze, Photo Scouting, Pork Roast Dinner

1.  The Deke called me this morning. She is relaxing for a few days with her cousin, Sally, at Hilton, Head, SC. The Deke and I have easy conversations together and, when she's gone, more than anything else, I miss shooting the breeze together. It was fun doing just that this morning.

2. My favorite places to take pictures over the last eight years or so have been watery locales. I loved going to Delta Ponds in Eugene, especially to take pictures of waterfowl; when we lived for a short time in Groveton, VA, I loved the time I spent taking pictures in the wetlands of Huntley Meadows Park; when we decided to move to Kellogg, the one place in Washington, D. C. I knew I would miss the most is the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, especially when the lotus and water lilies are in bloom or those days when the many turtles in the park sun themselves.

With this in mind, I went on a picture taking scouting drive today. I drove west of Kellogg on Riverview Dr., on Canyon Rd., and across the Cataldo Slough on Dredge Road. I then headed into the hills a bit and along parts of the Coeur d'Alene on River Road and Tamarack Ridge Rd.  Mostly I looked for where I might have access to different sightlines in the Cataldo Slough, to see what the possibilities might be for taking waterscape pictures or pictures of waterfowl, and imagined other possibilities of taking pictures of barns, silos, horses, and other subjects in the general Cataldo and Canyon areas.

3.  I returned home from my drive and took the pork roast out of the refrigerator. It had been sitting there for about twenty-four hours, coated with the paste I made of garlic, salt, pepper, dried sage, dried rosemary, and olive oil. Once the roast was at room temperature, I put it in a hot oven (475 degrees) for about a half an hour. I let the roast rest for another half an hour and then returned it to the oven at 325 degrees until it reached an interior temperature of about 145 degrees. I removed the roast and it rested for another twenty to thirty minutes and I carved it. It was moist! It was peppery and flavorful, especially, to me, because of the dried rosemary and the pepper.

I had sliced an onion and put the meat on top of these slices. When I removed the roast from the Dutch oven, the onions were beautifully caramelized and lay in a shallow pool of fatty liquid flavored by the paste I'd made. I had sauteed onion and yellow zucchini in bacon grease and I added these caramelized onions and the tasty liquid to the this saute to create a rich and tasty side dish to the slices of roast I ate for dinner.

Much of what I did in cooking this dinner was experimental. I'm not sure I would have tried out these different experiments if I were cooking for others. During times like the last three weeks when I am home alone, this is one of the things I enjoy about being on my own -- I am much braver in the kitchen.
After all, if I louse up a meal, I'm the only one who has to eat it.

I posted the recipe for preparing this pork roast before.  I'll post it again: it's here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/09/18: Mortar and Pestle is Back, Morning Routine, "King of the Gypsies"

1. The recipe called for a mortar and pestle! I couldn't believe my eyes! I was looking for a different way to roast the small bone in sirloin end roast I had thawed. The second I found out that this recipe called for me to use the mortar and pestle, I was all in. So, I peeled six garlic cloves and dropped them into the mortar with salt and wielded my trusty pestle and crushed them into a paste. Then I added olive oil, dried rosemary, dried sage, and pepper and mashed it all together into a lush paste. I slathered the paste onto the roast, put a loose fitting tent of aluminum foil over the meat, and put it in the refrigerator where it will sit for about twenty-four hours until I roast the pork tomorrow.

If you want to read the recipe, it's here.

2. Recently, I have developed a morning routine I enjoy. Not only do I drink a couple of cups of SilverCup Midnight coffee (or so) and write my daily blog post, but I also listen to short podcasts. On Monday through Friday, the New York Times produces a morning twenty minute podcast, The Daily, here. Each podcast focuses primarily on one current story. Host Michael Barbaro interviews either a journalist or another person involved with the story who work to sort out where things stand with the story as day breaks. I also listen to a similar podcast from NPR, called Up First here, a ten minute first look at prominent stories of the upcoming day. As the day proceeds, depending on what I'm doing, I enjoy listening to programs I used to tune into when I lived in Maryland, especially 1A, here, Here and Now, here, and On Point, here

3. I haven't finished the profile yet, but I'm learning about another New York City world I know nothing about in Joseph Mitchell's piece, "King of the Gypsies" and am pretty sure that on Tuesday I'll put a lot of things I could do on hold and finish reading Mitchell's look at King Cockeye Johnny, the nickname for Johnny Nikanov, self-appointed gypsy king.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/08/18: The Fourth Round, Preparing Family Dinner, Neil Young and Jethro Tull

1.  I watched coverage of the Masters Tournament all day long today.  The Masters is the only one of golf's four major tournaments contested at the same golf course every year -- and what a gorgeous golf course it is, especially in early April, when Augusta National is alive with dogwood and azaleas, complimented majestically by the pine trees, ponds, and the meandering course of Rae's Creek. The golf course's hills and water and undulated greens combined with a variety of weather conditions, ranging from windy to warm and still to rainy give the players at Augusta a unique challenge every round. If, when I played the best golf of my life (which wasn't that good), I were to play this golf course, I doubt I could get around Augusta in under 120 strokes -- which would be nearly fifty strokes over par.

I didn't have strong feelings about who I hoped would win the 82nd Masters. My hope was that I'd get to enjoy a day of skilled shotmaking, excitement, gutsy play, and good competition. All of that happened, not only in the way eventual winner Patrick Reed made one fine shot and one clutch putt after another to hold on to his lead, but in the way Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth brilliantly charged hard from behind to keep pressure on Patrick Reed. Until Patrick Reed two-putted from over twenty feet above the hole, needing a testy two to four footer to win the Masters, the outcome of this tournament was never certain and made for a day of scintillating and dramatic golf.

2. I was on tap for hosting tonight's family dinner so I took my Chromebook out to the kitchen and prepped food while watching the Masters. One of my favorite undertakings in the kitchen is to make a soup bar. Ideally, I like to make three or four different pots of soup with the hope that people will sample each of them. Today, however, I limited the soup bar to two pots of soup, both conforming with the requirements of the Keto eating plan.

I wanted to put the last of my current supply of crab stock to good use and made a salmon chowder. I poached two fillet of salmon resting atop sauteed sweet red pepper and celery in crab stock while, at the same time, I cooked a head of cauliflower florets in crab stock. When the florets were tender, I folded 8 oz. of cream cheese into the pot, let it melt, and then pulverized the mixture in the blender. I flaked the poached salmon and combined the cauliflower mixture with the sauteed vegetables and salmon and the chowder was ready.

The other soup was a sirloin steak stroganoff soup which only required that I brown small bits of sirloin steak, saute a pound or so of chopped mushrooms, add about five cups of some of my beef stock along with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and paprika and, later, fold in about 12 oz. of sour cream.

I left the onions out of both soups because one family member is allergic to onions and I didn't use the parsley called for just because I didn't want it. So there!

For our first course, I seared three halved heads of Romaine lettuce on the gas range grill and made Parmesan cheese and an olive oil salad dressing available to put on the lettuce. I'd never seared lettuce before, although I knew about doing this from when the Deke and Patrick both ordered a grilled Caesar salad back in October at Iron Goat Brewery in Spokane.

Christy, Everett, Carol, and Paul all enjoyed this dinner, a great relief to me, because everything I fixed was new to me and was sort of an experiment.

The recipe for the chowder is here, for the stroganoff soup is here, and for the seared lettuce and dressing is here

3. After conversation around the dinner table and in the living room, I cleaned up the kitchen and relaxed for a little while with a couple of videos on YouTube. I was enthralled by a jangly and dark live performance of Neil Young and Crazy Horse playing "My, My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)" and a couple of crazy live performances of Jethro Tull playing "Locomotive Breath" and "Thick as a Brick".

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/07/18: Watching the Masters, Imagining Family Dinner, A Visit to The Lounge

1. I'm sure of it. Golf is my favorite game to watch on television, especially when a major tournament is being contested. I think the last time I watched golf on tv was in July of 2014 when Rory McIlroy won the Open championship at Royal Liverpool. We had just moved to Virginia. It was Olivia's birthday weekend. Adrienne and Jack buzzed down from Nyack. Hiram and Molly's townhouse was full. I spent two nights in a Best Western in Ft. Belvoir/Mt. Vernon. Before going to Olivia's party, I watched golf. I loved it.

Today, I discovered that CBS coverage of the Masters was available at So, I tuned in and thoroughly enjoyed Patrick Reed's thrilling performance, scoring mind boggling eagles at both the 13th and 15th holes and the way Rory McIlroy battled to stay close enough to possibly catch up to Reed tomorrow. I came out of my seat and bellowed, "OH MY GOD!" when McIlroy chipped in for an eagle on the 8th hole. It was fun to swap text messages with Byrdman as the third round developed and drew to a close. We both agreed: this tournament hardly needed Tiger and Phil in order to be dramatic and entertaining. What it needed was fearless young players emboldened by the slightly damp and forgiving conditions at Augusta National, making it a day when players up and down the leaderboard shot rarely seen low scores, heightening the drama. I can hardly wait to watch Sunday's final round.

2. I am the host for Sunday family dinner this weekend and I took occasional breaks from the golf action to look up recipes that are congruent with the plans Christy and Carol are following to lose weight. I decided what I'll make and have a trip to the store planned for the morning to pick up some food to make it happen. I'll reveal the plan and the menu when I post tomorrow's 3BTs. Suffice it to say I was happy to find recipes that give me the chance to do some of my favorite kind of cooking and that will produce meals within Christy and Carol's eating discipline.

3. Not long after dark and after fixing myself a green salad with tuna fish and cottage cheese, I realized I was out of coffee, so I went to Yoke's and ground myself over a pound of SilverCup Midnight. I returned to the car and saw the neon straw flashing back and forth in the neon martini glass resting above the entry into the Inland Lounge and decided to stop in. I enjoyed two VO ditches, shot the breeze with Cas, listened to the drunken and dulled wit of a guy who boasted, "I cracked open my first beer at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Dirty Ernie's" (expletives deleted). That was about six hours ago and nothing in his six hours of drinking Miller Lites had done anything to make him enjoyable. After a while, the woman he was with seized upon an opportunity. When her pal lurched to the restroom, she drank the rest of his, as it turned out, last beer and cashed them out. He staggered toward the door, giving an old guy near him a bent elbow, sustained heart level and heart felt peace and love drug brotherhood handshake -- he might have told the old guy he loved him -- just before he left. Once he was out the door, a welcome duvet of quiet and relief blanketed the Inland Lounge.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/06/18: Up Early for a Pancake Lesson, House Cleaning, Friday Uptown

1.  With the Deke on a visit back east and Maggie having restless nights -- and Charly doing whatever Maggie does! --, I have some unusual mornings. This morning, Maggie woke me up shortly after 3 a.m. to eat (again) and once I was up, I decided to stay up. I didn't want to sleep through our 6 a.m. breakfast get together at Sam's, so I didn't go back to bed but fired up my laptop and got some writing done and drank some coffee. Breakfast was a lot of fun, especially the moment when Jerry ordered a pancake with bacon and eggs and, once it arrived, pulled a jar of Jif creamy peanut butter out of his jacket pocket. Jerry then instructed Ed, Scott, Buff, and me in the fine art of perfectly preparing a pancake: thick layer of Jiff, generous amount of syrup, and top it off with the two eggs.

2. Back home after breakfast, I went back to bed and slept off my early rising and, feeling much better by noon or so, cleaned up the kitchen, with special attention to the stove surfaces. I also laundered sheets and towels and some clothes, motivated by knowing I'd be sleeping in a bed with fresh sheets tonight.

3.  I met Ed uptown at the Elks for a Friday night burger and fries. Before long, Bev, Maxine, Jake, Carol Lee, Bucky, Debbie, and Shirley joined us and we had a lot of fun yakkin'. Before settling in at our table, I went back to the kitchen to say hello to a Dick and Floyd's slow pitch softball teammate and fellow Zinc Plant alum, Keith Green. Keith is a seasoned grill cook, having gained invaluable experience over 45 years ago when he slung burgers (the Lane Burger!) and other fine meals out of the kitchen at the Kopper Keg. I think I remember that the practice at the Kopper Keg was to deep fry the burger patty, but, not at the Elks. These burgers are fried the right way, on the grill.

After a burger and fries, I darted across the street to the Inland Lounge for a great conversation with Mike Grebil. Mike expressed his gratitude for the work Mom did with his son -- was it more than one?
-- in the school district's gifted student program and we talked about those good old days of History Day projects and state competition in Boise. Mike's son was too young to qualify for a trip to the national competition in Washington, D. C. I very much enjoyed listening to the glowing things Mike had to say about Mom's work.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/05/18: Road Trip to Saltese, Visiting Goose, Enigmas and Ambiguity in Joseph Mitchell's Writing

1. The rain and chill made it unpleasant to do outdoor chores around their home on Rose Lake, so Jake and Carol Lee decided Thursday would be a good day for ride to Montana to have lunch, do some light gambling, and go see Goose at Stangs Food Center and Liquor Store in St. Regis.

So Jake and Carol Lee picked up Ed in Kingston and picked me up just before noon and we humped it over Lookout Pass and glided into the quiet of Saltese, MT and made ourselves at home at the Old Montana Bar and Grill.  I enjoyed a thick burger on a brioche bun with a side of beer battered fries and washed it down with the King of Beers. Since I usually drink craft beers, I was startled by my first sip of Budweiser at how sweet it tasted. I did a double take, wondering if I'd been served a can of pop instead of beer, but I almost immediately settled down within myself and realized that the Bud is a maltier beer, properly known as barley pop.

We did some good yakkin' at our table. After we ate, we all took a seat at a different gaming machine and played for a little while and each one of us left the Old Montana Bar and Grill with a little more money than we came in with. That doesn't happen very often.

2. We piled back into the Jacobs-mobile and made our way to St. Regis to pay Goose a visit at Stangs, where he and Mother Goose, Janice, own and operate their fine grocery and liquor store. Mother Goose had to get Goose on the horn and have him return to the store from home. He arrived and we had a lot of fun standing around, eating snickerdoodle cookies, and finding out how things are going in St. Regis and about the trip Goose and a bunch of other guys took a month ago to Lewiston to play golf and hang out with Don Knott. Goose, Jake, and I swapped gout/arthritis stories and I filed away some of what they had to say, thinking it might be helpful if I have another flare up. Before leaving St. Regis, we stopped for a short visit in another little gaming room. This visit ate into my winnings a bit and I resigned from playing pretty quickly, sensing that that the machines in this room and I were not on good terms.

3. Back home, I napped and then dove back into some more of Joseph Mitchell's writing. I read a Christmas story he wrote five years into the Great Depression about a couple who were destitute and lived in a cave in Central Park. Mitchell interviewed them and his story attracted a lot of attention around New York City, but I won't give away what happened after the piece was published. I will say, though, as with much of Mitchell's writing, the accumulation of details about this couple increases their story's ambiguity, making the story for me, an enigmatic one. By the way, this reminds me of something I used to try to explain to my Shakespeare students. Rich ambiguity results, not from the withholding of details, but from copious details. The more we learn, for example, about Macbeth, the more ambiguous, even mysterious, his character is to us. I have to chuckle. This point reminds me of minor arguments I had, from time to time, with writing students when I suggested they develop more detail in their compositions. Often, their response would be, "I was trying to create ambiguity." I would almost imperceptibly sigh within myself and then try, with mixed success, to explain that ambiguity doesn't result from underwriting something, but from fully developing the contradictory nature of most ideas worth writing and thinking about.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/04/18: Watching the Masters Par 3 in Bayview, Back to Slate Creek, New York Beer

1. I dropped by Byrdman's house in CdA around 11:30 and we buzzed up to Bayview, ID to visit Kim and Tim's handsome, multi-level house perched above Lake Pend Oreille. Stephanie (Mrs. Byrdman) is house sitting while Kim and Tim are on a trip. Byrdman and I arrived, toured Kim and Tim's house, admired their spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding mountains -- the Green Monarchs, I think.

Stephanie fixed us a very tasty lunch featuring grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, making delicious use of leftover Easter Day ham.

Byrdman and I settled down in front of ESPN's broadcast of the Par 3 contest at Augusta National Golf Club. The contest is a relaxed competition, giving the participants an informal contest in which they can goof off with each other, include family members in the contest, and compete for a trophy.

Little did Byrdman and I know that we would be watching a nearly miraculous golfing event. The first miracle was that Tom Watson, age 68, won the competition and ESPN gave a ton of air time to Watson and the other two golfing legends he played with, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.  We loved seeing these players we've been following for over fifty years make brilliant shots and some long putts while savoring one another's company. My mind swirled with memories of watching Watson, Nicklaus, and Player play scintillating golf back when I was a teenager and on into my twenties and thirties.

So watching these legends was awesome enough. Then, on the ninth hole, Jack Nicklaus invited his fifteen year old grandson, GT, to take a break from caddying for him, and strike a shot from the ninth tee.

In blue tennis shoes, wearing his white caddy's jumpsuit, GT struck a gorgeous shot that soared high over Ike's pond, landed on a downslope and spun back slowly, surely toward the pin and, WOW!, dropped in the hole. GT aced the ninth hole! A miracle hole in one! He did it in the company of three of the greatest golfers ever and his feat moved his grandfather, The Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, to tears.

I have to write a few words of gratitude to the chilly, damp weather we experienced in North Idaho today.

Had it been sunny and a little warmer out, Byrdman and I might very likely have been tromping around on some trail in nearby Farragut State Park and would have missed the thrilling 2018 Par 3 contest, surely the most memorable in the history of the Masters Week at Augusta National.

2. Byrdman and I headed back to CdA and agreed to make a one beer stop at Slate Creek Brewing. Slate Creek closed back in October, but one of its former employees, Danica Gilbert, along with another buyer, Andy Neels, who lives in Alaska, bought the brewery and have reopened it.

I loved being back in the cozy, concrete, and very friendly confines of Slate Creek again. Right now, Danica Gilbert is doing everything at the brewery: she brews beer, runs the taproom, pours the beer in the taproom, and keeps the building and the glassware clean. Her brewing capacity is limited right now, as is her time to brew, so she serves Slate Creek beer only as it is available, but the guest taps were awesome, including offerings from 12 String, Mad Bomber, Radio Brewing, Post Falls Brewing, Icicle Brewing, and others. She also has four ciders on tap, a tap open for Rainier Beer, and she sells wine.
I was happy that she is continuing the Slate Creek tradition of making peanuts available to all customers, on the house, and that the shells still go on the floor.

So, I ordered a pint of 12 String's malty and warming Tremelo Scotch Ale, continued yakkin' with Byrdman, and enjoyed that Danica Gilbert took a few minutes to update Byrdman and me on what's happening in these early days of her co-ownership and running of Slate Creek Brewing.

3.  While out with the Byrdman, I was happy to receive some text messages and photos from the Deke. She and Adrienne and Josh visited District 96 Beer Factory in New City, NY, not far from Nyack. The Deke's pictures of the beers this brewery serves were gorgeous. I would have enjoyed ordering a Hazy IPA back here in North Idaho and joined the Deke from across the USA sipping on a similar style of beer, but, alas, no Hazy IPAs were available at Slate Creek and I'm not even sure, at this point, what brewers in the Inland Northwest have begun brewing this emerging style, so prominent back east.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/03/18: Taxes Filed, Chicken Roasted, More Joseph Mitchell

1. It took a while for the Deke's W-2 to arrive from Prince George's County. I took time to do some preliminary scouring of our bank statements. I'd already done a good job of keeping tax documents organized. Then, this morning, the spirit moved me to sit down and pull it all together and fill out Federal, Maryland, and Idaho tax forms and I finished. I filed them. I heard back that all three entities accepted our returns.  What with Mom's taxes filed, the Deke's and my joint return filed, and estate papers signed and turned back into the attorney's office, I spent some part of this afternoon feeling a little bit lost. These home business matters have been on my mind quite a bit and having them taken care of left me wondering what to do with myself. So, I took a nap!

2. On Sunday, I roasted a whole chicken using the high heat method. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and oregano and cut a lemon in half and put the chunks in the chicken's cavity. I cranked up the oven to 450 degrees and roasted for a little over an hour until the meat temperature read 160 degrees. The chicken rested for about fifteen minutes or so and then I carved it. To my delight and astonishment, the meat was not only cooked through, it was moist and tasted great. I had roasted the chicken in the Dutch over and the bottom of the Dutch oven was covered with delicious looking chicken grease and bits and I decided to put the carcass on top of this fatty source of flavor, nearly cover the carcass with water, add some celery tops and leaves I always have on hand, a coarsely chopped onion, a couple of bay leaves, and some seasonings and make some chicken broth.

I've been making tons of stock in the crock pot, letting it bubble away for 5-7 days. These stocks are dark, intense, and very rich. The broth I made on Sunday came out very flavorful and is lighter, both in color and texture.

I bring this up now because with this broth I've made chicken soup on Monday and Tuesday nights that I loved. I probably should say it's chicken vegetable soup featuring broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and carrots. I still have another soup dinner waiting in the refrigerator to be warmed up.

In short, I got a lot of mileage out of this chicken. I've eaten the drumsticks and wings at lunch time, made a delicious green chicken salad, occasionally snacked on chicken pieces during the day, and I made three dinners worth of soup.

3.  I relaxed this evening with another profile from the collection of Joseph Mitchell anthology, Up in the Old Hotel. The stories I'm reading now were originally published in the late 1930s and on into the 1940s. It's fun to have the world of the Bowery and the Village and the Lower East Side opened up to me and to meet characters with names like Dutch, Chinatown Nellie, Big Tim, The Rummager, Sarsaparilla Reilly, Boo Boo, Big Yaffie, Little Yaffie, Eddie the Plague, Swiss Cheese, Gin Buck and others and learn more about the saloons, gin mills, ballrooms, diners, and other haunts they populate and where they hustle, grift, run their yaps, form syndicates, gamble, sponsor balls, and otherwise lead lives completely unknown to me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/02/18: Engagement!, Estate Business, Remembering 2017

1. Today my pocket computer chimed with a notification. When I checked my messages, I saw a picture of Adrienne and Josh, a lovely picture, and Adrienne was wearing a ring I hadn't seen before. It's an engagement ring! Today, Josh proposed marriage to Adrienne and she accepted. I am very happy for Josh and Adrienne -- and, for Jack -- and it makes me very happy that they announced their engagement while the Deke was visiting and that they could toast their engagement  together.

2. This morning I picked up papers at the attorney's office that will bring the settlement of Mom's estate to a close. Christy, Carol, and I all signed statements saying we were satisfied with how we divided the estate among ourselves. We will have these papers dated and notarized once Mom's tax refunds arrive and I have deposited the checks in the estate account and made one last division of funds. Then I can officially retire my responsibilities as executor.

3. The Deke and I paid more money out of pocket than usual in 2017 for medical expenses. I scoured our bank statements and totaled up how much we spent, just in case it makes a difference when I file our tax returns.  It might not, but the fun part of going line by line through those statements is having many memories of fun times in 2017 return: touring Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City with Ed and Mike; the little trip the Deke and I took down to Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown; the drive the Deke and I made across the country in order to move back to Kellogg; those Sunday visits the Deke and I often made to DC Brau; the Deke and I seeing Sunday in the Park with George and The Glass Menagerie in New York City and going to hear Chanticleer at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. 

This scouring of our bank records also brought back thoughts, feelings, and memories of my trip in April to see Mom, the last time I saw her in her own house, and my return to Kellogg in June to be with Mom and Christy and Carol until Mom died in August. So, I got the tax business I wanted to finish taken care of and I also relived one of the most eventful years of my life, a year of joy, excitement, and profound loss. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 04/01/18: Where Are They Now?, Contemplating Death to Life, Family Dinner

1.  I spent the day writing, with a couple of periods of sleep mixed in. I was up at 4:00 (or was it 4:30?) this morning to feed Maggie and Charly and decided not to go back to bed. When writing my 3BTs, I went down a most enjoyable rabbit hole on the World Wide Web, looking at what kinds of music Peter Bach and Dave Coey and Michael Walker of Nine Days Wonder are playing these days. It is sweet to continue remembering those days I loved when I was between 35 and 45 years old at the WOW Hall and to recapture them in some small ways. 

I spent much of the rest of the day composing pieces in response to three different Sibling Assignment questions and when Christy and Carol finish theirs, I will post mine in conjunction with theirs.

2. It being Easter, it was a good day to reflect upon the ways life coming out of death happens around us all the time. I contemplate this a lot, not just on Easter, but on Easter Sunday I think about this reality more intently, experiencing the truths of resurrection as ongoing, in the present tense. That specific moment of "He is risen" is eternal, continuous, always with us in countless ways in our relationships, in acts of forgiveness, in accepting forgiveness, in the vitality of grace, in the world of nature, in communities of people, and in mundane details of our day to day lives. It's a theological and a secular reality. The story of Jesus magnifies this reality, helps us see a widespread truth enacted in a single, stirring story.

3. Christy, Everett, Carol, Paul and I congregated at Carol and Paul's house for family dinner.  Carol prepared a delicious salad for starters and for the main course she roasted a chicken moistened by a ton of butter and flavored with a variety of herbs along with garlic and lemon. She served tender stalks of asparagus and, having handmade a batch of mayonnaise, she fixed deviled eggs. We talked about all that's coming up this month: remodeling projects, garden and yard plans, Mom's Day at the Univ. of Idaho, getting close to finalizing the closing of Mom's estate, and Christy's Easter Day tribulations dealing with her Dish television hook up. I'd say Christy had an Easter Day experience of resurrection with electronics in her house as different devices seemed (nearly) dead and have now come back to life again!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 03/31/18: Best Shots Trolls Duke Fans, Nine Days Wonder, The Deke at Defiant

1. I finished writing this morning.  I drank a couple of cups of the smoky, dark chocolate-y SilverCup Midnight Blend, my favorite coffee, roasted at Silvercup Coffee, right here in Kellogg. I was enjoying the still morning, my solitude, thinking about the Deke traveling to New York today, happy that she gets to see Adrienne and Jack and hang out in Nyack, a place we love to visit. I thought it might be fun to continue reading profiles by Joseph Mitchell over breakfast somewhere, and, after some deliberation, decided to go to Best Shots. Their breakfast portions are a little smaller than Sam's and that sounded good to me and it's often quiet at Best Shots first thing in the morning and I thought I might be able to continue feeling the sense of ease I was enjoying this morning and have been feeling for a while now.

I walked up the ramp to the entry of Best Shots and a guy I didn't know was coming out, a can of snoose in hand, loading himself up a pinch between his cheek and gum, and we nodded at each other and I asked him how it was going and he said he was doing great and he walked a few steps and just as I was ready to pull open the door and he exclaimed to me, "Hey, buddy! You'll love it in there! You can watch Kansas beat Duke all over again!" and he laughed and strode to his pickup. He was right. A couple of the televisions were running the last minutes of regulation and the overtime period of last Sunday's 85-81 thriller, Kansas over Duke, over and over again. If there are Duke fans in the Silver Valley, I haven't met them, but I sure talk to plenty of "anyone but Duke" fans. My guess is that Best Shots was running this part of the game over and over again so that fans could exult repeatedly in Duke being eliminated from the NCAA tournament. If any Dukies came into the Best Shots, they should get ready to be trolled, ready for a pretty sick burn.

2. Friday, I had been in the basement looking for The Story of the Weeping Camel, a DVD I thought for sure I hadn't given away when we moved from Greenbelt (but it looks like I was wrong), when I discovered I had kept a favorite old CD, Left of Center, by the Eugene jam band, Nine Days Wonder.  Nine Days Wonder played regular gigs at the WOW Hall late in the 1980s on into the early 1990s. I can't tell you the exact lifespan of the band, but I do know that starting some time in 1989, I started going to their shows whenever I could. Listening to the CD in the car today reminded me of all the dislocation, uncertainty, inner chaos, and longing for security I felt during those years. Those Nine Days Wonder shows, along with shows they shared with Little Women or other shows I went to by Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Zero, Widespread Panic, and other jam bands delivered me back then, temporarily, out of my inward torment into states of ecstasy, especially when dancing. The gratitude I felt back then for these bands and that music engulfed me today in the Sube as I listened to this Nine Days Wonder CD and remembered all that solitary dancing on the WOW Hall dance floor and the release and the sense of togetherness I felt with so many others  who were otherwise strangers to me, and my wish, at the time, that I didn't have to return home or face my academic failings or my job uncertainty, but that my life could be one long sweaty formless dance.

3. Ed needed to pick up a roll of snoose today down at the Fightin' Creek Market on the CdA Reservation, so he invited me to join him and to go to the casino for a while. I both accepted and said I'd drive, so we headed out around noon or so and Ed told me about his recent vacation to San Diego and about spending some time in Mexico and we talked about a bunch of other stuff. I heard from the Deke during my casino visit. I hadn't thought about the fact that she'd be taking the train to Pearl River, NY. Not only that, I hadn't thought about the fact that when she got off the train in Pearl River, the station is right across from one of our favorite breweries, Defiant. The Deke sent me an excited text telling me that she got off the train, bopped right over to Defiant, and was enjoying a Fake News IPA and some wings. Yeah, sure, I wished we were doing that together, but this idle wish hardly dampened my happiness that the Deke was at one of our favorite spots and I walked around the casino for a while beaming, relishing her good fortune, not only for being at Defiant, but for the time she would soon be spending with Adrienne and Jack.