Sunday, October 25, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-24-20: Wild Game 4, Postgame Thoughts, Rahsaan Roland Kirk BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  While watching the World Series, I also keep an eye on my Twitter feed. I subscribe to Sarah Langs' feed, and others, who post arcane stats, like the number of rotations per minute, the spin rate, on Walker Beuhler's four-seamer or I'll learn that Justin Turner is the first hitter in World Series history to hit a first inning home run in back to back games. 

Last night, little over half way through Game 4, Sarah Langs retweeted a post by Sports Illustrated's Sarah Apstein informing us that we hadn't had a lead change in the 2020 World Series so far. I thought this was interesting and I texted this kernel to Cas. 

Well, no sooner did I text that fact out, then the Rays' Brandon Lowe, in the bottom of the sixth inning, hit a three run homer with his team behind by two runs and the 2020 World Series' first lead change took place. It would be the first of four lead changes in a game that ended as crazily as I've ever seen.

I won't write every detail of the bottom of the ninth inning, but, basically, here's what happened. With one out, Kevin Kiermaier hit a shattered bat single that barely got over the infield. After Joey Wendle lined out to left, postseason hitting star Randy Arozarena came to the plate and after seven pitches, including two foul balls, was walked by Dodger pitcher Kenley Jansen.

 A series of managerial moves I won't detail here meant that the next hitter was Brett Phillips.

Brett Phillips had not been to the plate since Oct. 7. In fact, he wasn't on the Rays' roster in their previous series against the Astros. Over the last 29 days, he'd only batted twice. His career batting average is .202. 

Brett Phillips stepped up to the plate and was in trouble right away.  He was down in the count one ball and two strikes and hadn't swung his bat. In his career, Kenley Jansen has allowed only a .117 batting average when he's had two strikes on a hitter.

But, somehow, this hitter, Brett Phillips, on the Rays' roster primarily to serve as a pinch runner and a late innings defensive replacement, struck a solid single to center field. Since he had two strikes, the two runners on base were off and running the second Phillips made contact and Kiermaier scored easily, tying the game.

But, WAIT! 

There's more.

Dodgers' centerfielder Chris Taylor got ahead of himself and seemed to be loading up for a throw before he had secured Phillip's hit and the ball squirted out of his glove.

As Tayor recovered his muff, Randy Arozarena streaked around third base and headed for home. Chris Taylor pegged the ball on a line to cut off man Max Muncy. While Taylor was making his throw, Arozarena stumbled, lost his balance tearing around third base. Muncy turned and fired a bullet to Dodgers' catcher Will Smith who didn't know Arozarena had stumbled.

In his haste to simultaneously catch Muncy's throw and make a swipe tag of the (he thought) oncoming Arozarena, Smith pulled his glove toward the third base line before he was in full possession of Muncy's throw. Like Chris Taylor, he got ahead of himself and the ball ricocheted off his glove and rolled toward the backstop.

Arozarena, by this time, had sprung to his feet and he slid head first into home, scored the winning run, and beat his fists on the plate in celebration.

Brett Philips saw this miracle unfold and he was running around the infield with his arms extended, as if he were an airplane. His team mobbed him. Soon Arozarena got mobbed. 

The Rays, in one of the most improbable endings of a World Series game I've ever witnessed, beat the Dodger 8-7 and the World Series is tied at two games a piece. 

2.  Two things stuck in my mind as I decompressed after the game.

First of all, it's hard for me to gauge exactly what my greatest weakness as an athlete was when I played ball 45-50 years ago, but I'd begin my list with my emotional instability. I was rarely relaxed on either the basketball court or the baseball field or the golf course. 

Consequently, I often got ahead of myself, rushed myself, made wild throws in baseball, ran around like a headless chicken on the basketball court, and muffed shot after shot in golf. 

When Chris Taylor muffed Phillip's single last night and when Will Smith tried to make a tag before he'd secured Max Muncy's throw, I had a series of flashbacks to similar errors I made. They weren't primarily physical errors, but mental ones caused by my inability to control my excitement, my overwrought desire to perform well, and my deep insecurities about whether I was much of a player at all.

Secondly, I want to understand the contemporary game of baseball better. I know that data and analytics drive a lot of managerial decisions, but I don't always understand what data, say, move the Rays to occasionally employ four outfielders nor am I always sure how the data inform pitching changes, that is, the management of a pitching staff. 

Since baseball is played differently than when I was younger, before I decide what I think of the contemporary game, I need to understand it better. 

By the way, in addition to wanting to understand the game better, I have come to realize over the last few years that, as a sports fan, I've never, while watching games, inserted myself into the role of manager or coach. I've never had the ability to say at a certain juncture in a game whether I think a manager's or a coach's move was a good one or not. I've always been focused on how things turn out, on the action unfolding. This makes me different than many fans -- whether friends of mine or the people I read online. 

Just one quick example: I wasn't thinking last night when Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts pulled Julio Urias whether it was a good move. This morning, I've read a lot of criticism of that move, but it's criticism I'm ill-equipped to level myself. What I'm about to say makes me odd, I know it, but I'm less interested in whether it was a good decision and more interested in why he made it, in what informed his thinking. Was it analytics? Was it something he saw in Urias's body language? In the way his pitches looked? Was it intuition? I don't think I'll ever really know, but maybe with some more reading and listening, I'll come to understand these things better, come to understand contemporary baseball better. 

3. I knew I wouldn't make it through the film's ninety minutes, but I enjoyed watching the first half hour of the documentary, The Case of the Three-Sided Dream, and am thinking that I might watch the rest of it after tonight's game. The jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk is the subject of the movie and I learned a lot in just thirty minutes about him as a musician and a philosopher and the impact he had on other musicians. 

A limerick by Stu:

Sometimes you don’t know where to start. 
Suffice that the whole beats the part! 
And when you see it unfold, 
Why that never grows old! 
As skill was done in by great heart! 


Hat tipped to the Rays’ win over the Dodgers last night.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10/24/20: Jazz and Brahms, Baking and Cooking, Pitchers' Duel a Bust BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. I gladly followed Michael McDonald's recommendation and, this morning, I listened to Rahsaan Roland Kirk's album, Prepare Thyself for a Miracle and to Charles Mingus' Live at Carnegie Hall in which Kirk plays tenor saxophone in Mingus' band. I enjoyed having it on while I was doing my morning routine, but I have no idea how to describe it. It's music I don't have a vocabulary for!

I've been working my way randomly, slowly through poems in The Music Lover's Poetry Anthology. Over the years, I haven't read a lot of Lisel Mueller's poem's, but every time I land on one, I enjoy it. Her poem, "Romantics" appears in this anthology. It's inspired by the relationship between Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann and pays particular attention to Brahms' Intermezzi. Mueller's love for these Brahms compositions moved me to search for them on YouTube and I discovered that Glenn Gould had recorded an album performing them. Today was my first time listening to the Intermezzi. Lisel Mueller describes them as "sad/and lavish in their tenderness", a perfect description. (By the way, should you decide to follow my lead,  the YouTube version I listened to was interrupted often by ads and I am going to either figure out another way to listen to these pieces. Hmm. I guess I could subscribe to YouTube Premium.)

2. I headed to the kitchen early in the afternoon, the snow falling fast, oh fast in Kellogg today, and gathered the ingredients for Morning Glory muffins. I grated a zucchini, grated a McIntosh apple, and grated a couple of carrots and combined these with all the other ingredients. I discovered I'm almost out of all-purpose flour, so I decided I'd see what would happen if I used a combination of almond flour and white whole wheat flour. (I think it worked just fine.) 

While combining the ingredients, I listened to one of my favorite cds, Left of Center by my favorite Eugene jam band, Nine Days Wonder. This cd is about twenty-five years old and I just ordered a new copy online as the first one I bought back in the late 1990s had a track that no longer played. 

The music fired me up, moved me, and made my already enjoyable baking project even more fun.

The muffins turned out pretty good. The recipe called for 6 oz of applesauce. I had bought 4 oz cups of applesauce and I shrugged and poured two of these cups into the batter. It's possible that my batch of muffins seems a little bit too moist because I used too much applesauce -- if so, I can live with it -- better a little too moist than too dry.

Upon finishing this project, I turned to making a yellow curry sauce with onion, baked tofu cubes, and shrimp. When the sauce was simmering, I decided that I wanted it to be thinner and added chicken stock to it. That move might have made the curry a little less spicy, but when I served myself a bowl of curry poured over Jasmine rice, I liked having a slightly thinner sauce and next time I might use slightly more curry paste so, if I thin the sauce again, it will still have the medium heat level I prefer. 

3. I finished baking and cooking and settled into the Vizio room for Game 3 of the World Series. I'd hoped for an old-fashioned pitchers' duel between the Dodgers' Walker Buehler and the Rays' Charlie Morton. 

Alas, it didn't happen. 

In the top of the first inning, Justin Turner homered off of Morton and in the third and fourth innings the Dodgers put together a string of timely hits, with a rare (these days) safety squeeze play, executed by Austin Barnes, mixed in, and touched up Charlie Morton for five runs. 

Walker Buehler, on the other hand, dominated the Rays, with ten strikeouts over six innings and surrendered only one run. 

Austin Barnes added a home run to the run he batted in with his squeeze bunt and the Dodgers cruised to a 6-2 win. 

I want the Rays to win this series, but I'm not so partisan that I can't appreciate how the Dodgers performed tonight.

While as a fan rooting for the Rays I was disappointed, as a baseball fan I enjoyed seeing the Dodgers score four runs without the aid of a home run. Their singles and doubles were crisp, they had runners scampering from base to base, they pulled off a squeeze play to score a run, and Mookie Betts once again demonstrated his versatility by stealing two bases, a rare feat in this era of analytics informing baseball strategy.

I'm not much at predicting the outcome of sporting events, but it's hard for me to picture the Rays winning this World Series. Saturday night they face Julio Urias whose been lights out in the playoffs and I think Clayton Kershaw might pitch Game 5. I'm not sure what combination of pitchers the Rays will employ in Game 4 and if their Game 5 hurler is Tyler Glasnow, he's a pitcher the Dodgers roughed up in Game 1.

In baseball, you never know, but I'll just say that I think the Dodgers chances of winning their first World Series since 1988 look solid. 


A limerick by Stu:

Since March it’s been Nuts every day. 
Guess it’s dues we all have to pay. 
But, today if you’re hoping, 
For a way to keep coping? 
Acting “Crazy” is one approved way.

Crazy Day

Friday, October 23, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-22-20: Curry and Muffins Soon, Billy Collins and Book Buying, Who Knows? BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  With the arrival of a couple of packages and a trip for a few things from Yoke's today, my food preparation options increased a bit. I now have a modest supply of coconut milk and can make Thai curry again. Two bags of wide noodles arrived, augmenting my dinner options. I like having plenty of coffee on hand and now I do. After my trip to Yoke's, I have what I need to bake a batch of Morning Glory Muffins. 

During his Tuesday night Tree House concert, Bill talked a bit about the summer he worked alongside Ray Robertson for the Forest Service and they used to stop in at a bakery, Cinnamon Twisp to purchase coffee and Morning Glory muffins. His story triggered a flashback to about thirty-two years ago when, for a relatively short period of time, I loved baking muffins. Then, for reasons I can't fathom or remember,  I stopped (aside, in recent years, from the occasional batch of cornbread muffins). It'll be fun to get back into it. 

2. I had fallen a bit behind in watching Billy Collins' poetry broadcasts and caught up today, watching three of them. Recently, because he's included in the anthology, Billy Collins has been reading poems from Staying Human: New Poems for Staying Alive. It's the fourth in series of anthologies edited by Neil Astley and published by Bloodaxe Books. I pre-ordered a copy of Staying Human today along with the other three anthologies in the series: Being Human, Being Alive, and Staying Alive

I ordered these books from bookshop.org, a book shopping site I feel compelled to keep mentioning as an alternative to you know who.

I also shopped at other bookselling sites. I ordered Charles Simic's New and Selected Poems from Powell's Books in Portland. I also submitted an order to Better World Books for  poetry books by Billy Collins, Sharon Olds, Carol Jane Bangs, and Ruth Stone plus I ordered the anthology, The Battle Rag, edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes. 

I am not anti-YouKnowWho. I have an echo dot, a fire stick for my television, and make any number of orders, especially for kitchen items, from the Behemoth Who Shall Not Be Named.

When it comes to books, though, since I'm not in a big hurry to have them arrive, I like buying from these other outlets -- and, many independent bookstores and sellers of used cds/dvds sell through A*z*n and I buy, on occasion, from them.  

It's all good.

3. I enjoyed talking with Debbie on the phone for about an hour today. We had a little business to take care of and Debbie described what she does day to day to help out with Jack's remote learning at school and with tending to Ellie. Oh! And let me add that Gibbs is adjusting beautifully to being a New Yorker and he and Ellie have become great friends. 

We have no idea when we'll see each other again. We are taking each day and week as it comes. Debbie is making an immeasurably positive contribution to the life of Adrienne, Josh, Jack, and Ellie. My days are full of things I enjoy, even as I spend about 95% of my time in the house. Neither one of us is eager to travel right away. I don't even try to speculate when our current arrangement will change. 

Coincidently, Stu is thinking about what might be upcoming in the future in a similar fashion, as you will see below!


A limerick by Stu: 

Probably good we don’t know what’s ahead. 
As we make plans so’s not to be led. 
But, life throws us curves, 
And to avoid them we swerves. 
Which might result in going elsewhere instead?


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-21-20: Return of Graham Parker (and More), Gutters, Rays Win BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1. For some reason, as I was continuing to learn more about my new MacBook Air, Graham Parker popped into my mind and I realized I couldn't remember the last time I listened to him. I flashed back to about 1989 or so when Paul F. had made me a cassette tape recording of Parker's LP, Squeezing Out Sparks, a tape I played obsessively, listening to "Discovering Japan", "Local Girls", "You Can't Be Too Strong", "Passion is No Ordinary Word", and the rest of this album. 

I've never quite understood what music from the 1970s and on into the 80s is known as New Wave, but I know that Graham Parker is considered one of the first New Wavers along with Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and others and my mind retreated back to 1978-79 when these artists along with Ian Drury, Nick Lowe, The Cars, The Talking Heads, The Kinks (especially "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman") were getting air time on FM radio and were staking a claim in my musical consciousness, to my delight.

Today, I thought about I came often came to the music I've come to love from the 1970s much later than it was recorded. I didn't really listen to Patti Smith's "Gloria", The Modern Lover's "Roadrunner", anything by The Velvet Underground, or anything by The Ramones, among many others, until 1987 when Rolling Stone published a special issue listing the top 100 albums of the magazine's first twenty years of publication and I pursued buying or borrowing (mostly) almost every one of those albums. I threw an epic party in October of 1987 that featured cuts from about 97% of those recordings. To this day, that night stands out as one of the most fun times I've ever had. The tapes I made for that party, though, are long gone.

I'd like to add that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first came to my attention in about 1982, thanks to MTV. But, it wasn't until quite a few years later, around 2004, thanks to my now defunct subscription to Sirius/XM satellite radio, that I started to be really blown away by Tom Petty. Today, I hand washed a load of dishes and fixed a huge canned salmon, Romaine lettuce, feta cheese, Kalamata olive, celery, cucumber, and carrot salad and listened to all Tom Petty songs while doing so, a pleasure that wrecked me. 

2. The last two winters, ice sliding down the back roof destroyed segments of the gutters and today a couple of guys, as planned, arrived and replaced the back gutters, straightened out the gutters in the front, and installed snow breaks on both the front and back with the hope that they will protect the gutters. I have my fingers crossed.

3. Time will tell if Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts made the right decision regarding which pitcher he assigned to start Game 2.

Roberts could have taken an aggressive approach and started Walker Buehler who last pitched on Saturday and would have been pitching with three days of rest. Those, like David Ortiz, who favored starting Buehler today argue that the Dodgers, having won Game 1, should have bet the house in Game 2, started their ace, Buehler, for as long as he could pitch, and not worry about anything beyond Game 2. Those who think like Ortiz saw starting Buehler as giving the Dodgers their best chance of winning Game 2 and putting the Rays in a 0-2 hole.

Roberts (and I don't know who else was involved in this decision) took a more conservative approach. Thursday is a day off in the World Series. Not pitching Buehler tonight would give him two extra days of rest before he pitches on Friday. Buehler has had recurring problems with blisters on his pitching hand, for one thing, and, for another, the more cautious approach assumes that Buehler will pitch better with five days of rest than with three.

It'll be interesting to see how Walker Buehler pitches on Friday, especially because he'll be matched up against the Rays' Charlie Morton who has been pitching superbly in the playoffs. 

So, no one knows how Game 2 might have gone with Buehler on the hill, but we do know that tonight the long slumbering bat of the Rays' best hitter, Brandon Lowe, woke up. He hit two home runs and drove in three runs and Joey Wendle also drove in three runs with a double and a sacrifice fly.

It's not like the Dodgers were asleep at the bat. Chris Taylor slammed a crucial two-run homer and both Will Smith and Corey Seager added solo shots. 

Home runs are fine. They are the centerpiece of contemporary baseball's analytics driven baseball strategy. I get it. It's similar to the way that analytics have made the three point shot the centerpiece of offensive strategy in the NBA. 

That said, I get a special thrill out of runs scored without home runs. Tonight, I loved how the Rays had two innings when they capitalized on walks and hits that stayed in the ballpark, and scored two runs on a Wendle double and later a Wendle sacrifice fly.

I love the action when hits stay in the park, runners have to decide whether to take an extra base, and infielders and outfielders have to make accurate throws -- I love seeing a ball hit in either the right or left center field gap with runners on base, watching the outfielder run down the ball, watching runners fly from base to base, and then feeling the suspense of whether the relay from outfielder to infielder will nab a runner or not, whether at second, third, or at home. 

Maybe it still is, but these runs scored without home runs used to be called manufacturing runs.

I enjoyed how the Rays manufactured runs tonight. 

The Dodgers didn't, but, believe me, they can manufacture runs with stolen bases, moving runners along, and with timely hits that stay in the ballpark --  in addition to being a potent home run hitting squad.  

It's what makes them such a formidable team at the plate.  


A limerick by Stu: 

Can you remember your favorite store? 
Where there was candy and trinkets galore? 
And who could forget, 
What one penny could get? 
It left you just wishing for more!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-20-20: Bandcamp, Mookie's Guys Crush Rays, Bill Rocks the Tree House BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  It looks like chances of success are pretty good -- I told Debbie I'd work on putting together a Bandcamp page for her (at bandcamp.com). Today, I uploaded the three cds she wants to make available for sale on her page. The uploading took quite a while, but, while I got it done, I listened to more of The Pillars of the Earth on Audible, I watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the 1985 Chicago Bears, I watched much of Game 1 of the World Series, and I tuned into Bill Davie's weekly Tree House Concert. Now that the music is up, I need to work with Debbie on getting the page designed, posting a picture of her, and posting a very short biography of Debbie. Once we finish this, I should be able to publish the page, make it public, and get the word out that Debbie's music is available to purchase and download. 

2. I'm no genius. It doesn't take a genius to say that the most valuable player on the Los Angeles Dodgers is Mookie Betts. He affects games in multiple ways: his speed, defensive prowess in right field, power, his throwing arm, discipline at the plate, and the spirit of joy and hard work he spreads among his teammates. 

Going into tonight's Game 1 of the World Series, I thought the Dodgers would win it all. I was unwilling to say how many games it would take them to beat the Rays four times, but, basically, I thought the Dodgers' offense would be too much for the Rays, that the Dodgers' pitching would hold up fine against the Rays, who haven't been a strong hitting team during the playoffs, and that the impact of Mookie Betts would, in the end, prevail.

From my point of view, the Dodgers crushed the Rays tonight in Game 1. The final score was 8-3.  Los Angeles pounced on the Rays in multiple ways: home runs, stolen bases, timely singles and doubles, and excellent pitching, especially in the first six innings from Clayton Kershaw. How'd Mookie Betts do? Not bad. He walked, homered, singled, stole two bases, and scored two runs. The first run he scored was with the Tampa Bay infield pulled in and with his lightning speed he slid into home plate ahead of Yandy Diaz's throw on a chopper to first base. When he scored that run, I thought to myself, yeah, it's that very sort of play that makes Mookie Betts so valuable to the Dodgers. 

3.  I poured myself a warming and refreshing hot buttered rum and tuned into Bill Davie's 27th Tree House Concert on my laptop.  The World Series was also on, but I muted its sound. I had one more song to upload from Debbie's cd, Ninety Miles Out, but my home internet network didn't seem to like the load of me watching internet tv, being tuned into a live performance on Facebook, and uploading Debbie's epic"Auf Wiedersehen/Hamburg" all at the same time, so I returned to the uploading after the concert and after the game. No problem.

Every Tree House Concert has an element of suspense that Bill is good-natured and honest about because he's never quite sure, because he has Multiple Sclerosis, just how his left hand, in particular, is going to behave as he plays. He works out what he hopes will be a set list he can perform, sometimes finds out that his hand won't cooperate for a certain song, says, "Sorry!", and moves on to something else. 

Tonight he had to give up on "Man in the Dead Machine", but he was able to perform a splendid cover of Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull's "Life's a Long Song", a song he had tried to perform in earlier weeks but couldn't. Tonight, Bill moved us with "Safe in the Sound", took us into the surreal world of "The Sky in Tacoma" (it's raining razor blades), sent many of us way back in time with his very popular tune, "The Mud Song", and reminded me of a February afternoon driving from Vancouver, WA to Eugene, listening to Bill's music, after an epic weekend with members of the KHS Class of 72,  and being particularly touched by "Walk on the Day Before". When he played that song tonight, I relived that emotional drive to Eugene over ten years ago. 

Bill read some wonderful poems he wrote about twenty years ago and then introduced us to some stirring poems by Ruth Stone (1915-2011) whose work I look forward to exploring more fully. 


Here's a limerick by Stu:

Some people can surely drone on.
Seems they’ll talk until you are gone.
Blather on, mindless chatter,
Subjects don’t seem to matter.
Could be politics, war or their lawn!
Babbling Day 🤣

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-19-20: Blog Memories, Untaken Photos, Lower East Side 69-89 BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1. Back when I started making posts to this blog in October of 2006, I madly enjoyed finding other bloggers. I discovered some of them through Huckleberries Online, for starters, and, back then, Google's blogging platform, called Blogger, had a function called something like "Search Blogs" and I remember being able to perform random searches and browse people's blogs. I loved many of the blogs I found -- I had some really interesting and satisfying correspondence with some of these bloggers, both through comments on the blogs or through email. It was by browsing blogs with this search feature that I found Clare Law's Three Beautiful Things. As I compose this post, I can hardly remember all the blogs I used to read -- I followed a blind tango dancer writing from Montreal, a cultural blog called 2 Blowhards (a gold mine, back then, for links to other blogs), a very interesting woman who had gone to the University of Idaho and whose husband was from Eugene and wrote terrific posts, a woman on The Atlantic coast (as I remember) who had a lot on her mind, wrote about it, and we sometimes wrote back and forth, and many others. I also enjoyed contributing to what I'll call a community blog, called Sunday Scribblings, in response to prompts, and I also used to submit to a community photo blog -- I can't remember the name of it. 

I also enjoyed writing and reading Sibling Assignments and miss responding to those prompts and reading what Carol and Christy had on their minds.

I couldn't really say when blogging seemed to reach its peak and began to decline, but it seemed to correlate with the growing popularity of Facebook and, possibly, Twitter. Or, who knows? -- maybe people writing blogs ran out of things to write about, or lost interest in making posts. I don't really know. 

I do know that the decline has been disappointing, but, I suppose, inevitable.

Over on the right rail of my blog, under Silver Veins, sits my current list of links to different blogs (and other sites) and soon I'm going to edit that list and delete some of the links.

Today I clicked through it. I can't access some sites because they went private and I would need an invitation to read them. More often than not, the blogs/sites have gone dormant -- no posts for four, eight, or more years. 

The upshot: today I spent time fondly remembering how much fun I had, starting in October, 2006, when I was active in a small slice of the blogging world. I continue to blog, mostly because it helps me clear my mind for the upcoming day, keeps me focused on things I enjoy each day, and lays down a daily record of what I've been up to, a record that I refer to often when trying to piece together memories.

I think I'll poke around on the World Wide Web again and see if I can find active bloggers again whose work I might enjoy reading and get back to reading those blogs on my list that are still active. 

2. Early this afternoon, I drove out to the Pinehurst/Pine Creek Trailhead on the Trail of the CdAs and walked for a half an hour, not only for exercise, but to try to get back into photography groove -- which I've been out of for a year.  It'll be a while before I decide how things went today with my camera.

It's funny. I got off the freeway at Smelterville, drove through town, and came into the trailhead parking lot from the east. While fall colors are abounding, it was dilapidated cars I really wanted to photograph. Nickerson's Towing is in Smelterville and possesses quite an inventory of cars in disrepair. On down the road, on the south side, someone has a property with a bunch of vehicles out of commission, all of which look they'd make, to my taste, excellent subjects for pictures. 

But, I don't feel right about taking such pictures here in the Silver Valley. I'm so unsure about whether it would be a welcome sight for the people who own these cars to see a guy poking around with a camera that I imagine the pictures, but don't take them. 

I like taking pictures of things falling apart, of houses, garages, cars, structures with peeling paint, rust spots, sagging roofs, and so on. Plenty opportunities exist in the Silver Valley to take such pictures, but I'm wary about taking them and, so far, haven't.

3. Today I discovered a website called 98bowery.com. It's a gallery of pictures and writings by Marc H. Miller. The pictures are of artists' and musicians' and poets' lives and work taken between 1969 and 1989. If you go to this page and click on the link in the upper part of the page entitled, "98 Bowery, 1969-89" and scroll down to a picture captioned "Shannon and Collins" and click on it, a set of photos will pop up of Billy Collins and his friend Mike Shannon, pictures taken nearly fifty years ago, and you'll find a picture of the front cover of the first issue of Mid-Atlantic Review, co-edited by Billy Collins, and you'll find a picture of two of his very early poems that appeared in this issue. 

Even if you aren't into Billy Collins, if you are interested in the Lower East Side, the emergence of punk, the old days at CBGB, and the visual art of this period, you might want to hang out at 98bowery.com for a while and click around. 




A limerick by Stu:


You hear it come up from behind. 
You glance in your mirror, for what kind? 
Is it police, you’ve been speeding? 
Or fire trucks, with folks needing? 
Sirens MEAN, that someONE’S in a bind.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-18-20: 12th Century Mayhem, Family Dinner, Dodgers Outplay Braves BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. Using the Bluetooth function on my cell phone, I played Pillars of the Earth on my wireless speaker while doing dishes and cleaning up a bit in the kitchen. Later, I sat and listened. William Hamleigh, the sadistic sociopath, played a central and violent role in what I listened to. Ken Follett's study of how his damaged psyche works is both illuminating and frightening. His deep insecurities and murderous, rapacious ways add a great deal of tension and horror to the story. I'm always relieved when episodes involving him end. 

2. Tonight's family dinner: Christy and Everett needed to stay home this evening. I went over to Carol and Paul's and enjoyed the meal they prepared. We opened with a Brown Sugar Mule, a cocktail make with Brown Sugar Bourbon, ginger beer, and lime -- it's a sweeter version of the Moscow Mule and I enjoyed it a lot. Carol then served a  delicious fresh autumn salad with greens, candied nuts, apples, and an apple-y vinaigrette. For the main course, Carol and Paul made stuffed pepper soup. I love stuffed peppers and never thought of the same ingredients being combined to make a soup and it was very satisfying, very flavorful. We ended our dinner with a slice of tasty Keto pumpkin pecan cake. 

The three of us talked a lot about sports tonight. Carol and Paul had been watching the movie, Moneyball, and I had the way analytics have changed the way baseball is played on my mind, having been watching the league playoffs. Paul has also been watching The Last Dance (which I haven't seen) and the three of us had fun talking about the NBA during the years Michael Jordan played. 

3. I returned home and flipped the television on just in time to see the Dodgers tie their Game 7 tilt with the Braves when Kiki Hernandez homered. The Dodgers seized the lead for good when Cody Bellinger hit a game winning round tripper in the bottom of the seventh inning and L.A. won 4-3.  

I'm not nearly as passionate in my baseball partisanship as I was as a youngster and a young adult, but I had enough emotion invested in the Braves' success that I was deflated, disappointed by the outcome. At the same time, I was deeply impressed by the pitching performance of Julio Urias. He mowed down the Braves in order in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, pitching masterfully. I have since read that while I was at dinner, two players I admire a ton, Justin Turner and Mookie Betts, made spectacular plays on defense, costing the Braves at least two, possibly three runs. 

So, on Tuesday, the World Series gets underway in Arlington, TX matching the powerful Dodgers and the scrapping, unorthodox Tampa Bay Rays. I won't be rooting as hard for the Rays as I rooted for the Nationals last year. Having lived near D. C. for three years, I pretended like the Nationals were my home team. But, I'll be pulling for the Rays and, as I sit here this morning writing this, I expect to be disappointed. The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988. I think their drought will end this season. 

Here's a limerick by Stu:

We’ve heard lots ‘bout winds as of late. 
Like the sand in a “Haboob” folks hate. 
Talked tornados and typhoons, 
Hurricanes and monsoons, 
And learned a “Derecho” wipes crops from a state.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-17-20: Independent Bookstores, Dodgers Force a Game 7, Rays Advance BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1. When I daydream of life being just the way I would like it (and it's an idle daydream, I know), I imagine, among other things, living near a thriving independent bookstore right here in town. Since I don't, and since I'm staying close to home these days, I order books online, often through Better World Books (betterworldbooks.com). A while back, I discovered another website, called Bookshop (bookshop.org). It provides a platform for independent bookstores nationwide to sell books. 

On his poetry broadcast a while back, Billy Collins read two poems from The Music Lover's Poetry Anthology. I decided to order it and I went to bookshop.org to do so.

Today the book arrived from Columbia Books in Columbia, MO. I've never had a used book arrive in the mail in such pristine condition. 

When I feel more free to get out and about more, I'll shop for books at shops in Wallace, Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, and other nearby places that have brick and mortar independent bookstores. 

I'll also continue to patronize Better World Books and Bookshop online. Sometimes the books are a bit slow in arriving, but I don't care. I often forget I even made the order so, like today, the book's or books' arrival comes as a surprise. That's fun.

2. Poetry and baseball. Baseball and historical fiction. Lately, I've been spending many hours of my days with poetry and baseball and historical fiction and baseball.

My reading and my spectating has filled my days with different levels of pleasure and suspense.

Today I put aside the poems about music by Rumi, B. H. Fairchild, Li-Young Lee, Lisel Mueller, and others and tuned into the rhythms and suspense of baseball.

In today's first game, the Dodgers electrified viewers in the first inning when Corey Seager launched a two-run homer and Justin Turner followed with a solo blast off of Braves' ace Max Frier. The Dodgers also had their ace, Walker Buehler on the hill, and, for the six innings he pitched, the Braves couldn't touch him. Frier settled down in the ensuing innings and gave way in the seventh to two Braves' relievers, Darren O'Day and Chris Martin. The Dodgers never scored again. The Braves eked out a run in the top of the seventh off of reliever Blake Treinen, but Pedro Baez in the eighth and Kenley Jensen in the ninth blanked the Braves.  The Dodgers won 3-1 and the two teams will play Game 7 Sunday evening.

3. I wrote yesterday that I thought if the Rays were going to defeat the Astros, they'd need a strong pitching performance from Charlie Morton and would need better hitting up and down their lineup.

Charlie Morton came through and more. He dominated the Astros until he left the game with two outs in the sixth inning. He kept the Astros' hitters off balance with his variety of spinners, sliders, and fastballs and pitched with startling efficiency, throwing only 66 pitches. 

The Rays rely heavily on analytics, on making strategic decisions based on mathematical probabilities. I grew up watching a different brand of baseball. Not that long ago, if a starting pitcher was dominating a team the way Charlie Morton did tonight, there was no way he would have come out of the game.

But, when Jose Altuve hit an infield single, moving George Springer to third base, the Rays' arithmetic and their game plan for how to manage their pitching staff dictated that Charlie Morton come out of the game. Reliever Nick Anderson replaced him and had to face the Astros' most disciplined, and, I think, most reliable hitter, Michael Brantley. 

At this juncture in the game, the Rays held a 3-0 lead. The blistering Randy Arozarena had slammed a two-run homer in the first inning and Mike Zunino added a solo shot in the second. 

Brantley represented the tying run at the plate. The Rays had lifted their best pitcher during one of the premier outings of his career. 

My stomach muscles tightened.

Soon I relaxed a bit. Brantley grounded out to second. The inning was over. 

The Rays added a fourth run in the bottom of the sixth and then survived a two-run Astros rally in the top of the eighth and closed out the Astros in the ninth to win Game 7 and advance to the World Series.

The Rays will face a powerful opponent in the World Series, either the Braves or the Dodgers.

Unlike the Rays, whose team is composed of lesser known players, many having been cast off by other teams in Major League Baseball, both the Braves and Dodgers have some of the best known players in baseball, stars like Ron Acuna, Jr., Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Corey Seager, and others. 

The Rays' approach to baseball is cerebral -- often unorthodox. They will utilize a large percentage of their roster in the World Series, continue to rely heavily on several pitchers pitching a few innings per game and on the tightness of the defense. Lastly, the Rays will hope to get, if not more hitting, at least timely hitting on offense. 

My guess is that they will come into the World Series as underdogs.

They seem to relish that role. 


Here's a limerick by Stu:


My Mother was born on this date. 
She chose my Dad, Ned, as her mate. 
I miss them so much, 
Their support in the clutch. 
I can only describe them as great.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-16-20: Fast Folk 1993, Walking with Follett, Astros & Dodgers Win BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. For the project I'm working on for Debbie, Patrick emailed me scanned images of Debbie's two solo cds Going the Distance and Ninety Miles Out, and her children's music cd, Come and Go With Me!. He also sent both Debbie and me a pdf file of the June, 1993 issue of Fast Folk Musical Magazine (RIP, 1997), out of New York City, an issue that featured the folk music scene in Eugene. Each issue was accompanied by a recording and this issue included songs and printed lyrics by Debbie, T. R. Kelley, Laura Kemp, Peter Wild, Walker Ryan, Brook Adams, and others. Debbie also wrote an article about Eugene in this issue, accompanied by a beautiful portrait of her. I enjoyed reading Debbie's writing again. Before we got to know each other, I used to read her articles in the Northwest Independent Music New while enjoying a toasted raisin cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and a cup of coffee at the Bagel Bakery. I loved her writing. Wait!  I shouldn't put that in the past tense: I did, do, and will always love Debbie's writing,  her prose, her songs, and everything else.

2. The Avista bill arrived today. I'm walking again on a daily basis, building on the previous day to build up stamina. For the length of walk I wanted today, it was a perfect idea to walk my Avista payment to the drop box. It's about a mile and half walk, round trip, and I did it, listening to another installment of Pillars of the Earth. It's turning out to be a very good book to listen to while on these walks. Ken Follett is a superb storyteller, a master at keeping several plot lines going at once with absorbing conflicts. He also paints vivid and detailed scenes of life in his version of 12th century England.  I suppose it's a good sign of Follett's skill that I dread it whenever the character William Hamleigh, a sociopathic rapist enters the story, but whenever this character pops up, I can hardly wait for him to exit. He's violent, demented, and perverse. 

3. Neither Atlanta nor Tampa Bay advanced to the World Series today. Tampa Bay has now lost three games in row to Houston after winning the first three. Their series will be decided on Saturday. Houston won tonight's game, 7-4, and outplayed the Rays in every facet of the game. 

I hate to write it, but I think the Rays are in trouble coming into Game 7. The Astros' offense has come to life and their confidence is high again. If Tampa Bay is to win Game 7, they will need their starter, Charlie Morton to pitch very well (and he's very capable of it), and they'll have to, somehow, get better hitting up and down their lineup. Houston will counter with Lance McCullers, a solid pitcher. I hope the Rays can get some offense going against him, but I'm doubtful.

The Dodgers looked powerful tonight (much like they did in Game 3) defeating the Braves 7-3. When the Dodgers' bats are alive, they are very tough to beat. Likewise, the Braves. I don't know what to expect on Saturday, but I'm eager to see how it all plays out. It would be fun, for me, at least, if both teams were swinging hot bats and the game turned into a back and forth slugfest!


A limerick by Stu:


In most things you’re given a voice. 
Like in cars Chevy, Ford or Rolls Royce. 
But no decision you’re given, 
As next door they be livin’, 
It’s true neighbors are never a choice.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-15-20: Phone Call, Hey! Rays! Be Like Atlanta!, Vera Saves a Child BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  Debbie and I talked on the phone today. I enjoyed hearing again that Gibbs and Ellie have become fast friends, that Gibbs is a calm playmate for Ellie. We had a few business items to discuss. We don't really talk about when Debbie might return to Kellogg from New York with both of us knowing there isn't really any way to know. I'd say Debbie is definitely taking things day to day, possibly week to week, maybe even month to month. I know I am, calmly. Debbie is, among other things, keeping Jack on track with school, helping out with Ellie's daily routines, and making very helpful (and I'm sure, delicious) contributions in the kitchen. She's being a mighty help. 

2. I would like to see the Tampa Bay Rays advance to the World Series and I'm starting to feel a little nervous about whether they will after today, after Carlos Correa's walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth gave Houston a 4-3 win and cut the Rays' lead in the ALCS to 3-2. Over the past few seasons, the Astros have been an explosive team offensively -- granted, that explosiveness was, at times, aided by their team stealing signals, that is, by cheating. I live with a low grade sense of dread that their offense might really wake up and steamroll the Rays in these last two games. The Rays always keep games close, and that's good, but I fervently wish the Rays would really come to life on offense and have a high scoring game.

In other words, I wish they'd erupt the way the Atlanta Braves did this evening against the Dodgers on their way to crushing L.A., 10-2, taking a 3-1 lead in the NLCS, led by Marcell Ozuna's four hits, including a double, two home runs, and four runs batted in. 

I guess in the world of talking about sports, the Braves' win could be called a bounce back win. On Wednesday night, the Braves got hammered by the Dodgers, giving up 11 runs in the first inning and suffering a humiliating 15-3 loss.  Atlanta bounced back today. Their inexperienced rookie starter, Bryce Wilson, pitched six innings, gave up one hit, in an aggressive and courageous outing. The Braves answered L.A.'s blow out on Wednesday with fireworks of their own tonight, demonstrating that if they were deflated by being so badly the night before, they had certainly shaken it off tonight.

3. I was kind of pumped up when the baseball games ended around 9:00 and decided I had enough alertness to watch an episode of Vera and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. I went back to the show's second season and watched a fascinating tale that began with Vera rescuing a young boy who had fallen into a waterway, a boy whose mother had just been bludgeoned to death, and proceeded through all kinds of highways and byways to figuring out who killed the victim and unearthing an alarming story about the young boy and his sister. 

As always, Brenda Blythen poured herself unguardedly into the role of Vera in this episode, playing Vera's urgency, impatience, bullyragging, tenderness, sarcasm, disgust, and intellectual prowess perfectly.


A limerick by Stu: 

It’s curious to know how you’ve stoody? 
Which way you’d have gone, if you couldy? 
That when given the choice, 
You made your critical choice. 
Was it regular sweatshirt, or hoodie?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10/14/20: Loving Lesser Albums, Diane's Exuberant Writing, Comebacks BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1. So often, my affection for a musician's album has little to do with how it compares with the rest of that artist's albums.  It rises out of the simple fact that I owned that album, played it a lot, and didn't own, or think about, the artist's other work. For example, I didn't buy a Bob Dylan album until I bought Infidels in 1983. I really didn't know Bob Dylan's other albums at all and this record became on of my favorites of all the lps I owned. Years passed. I became more interested in Bob Dylan's recordings. When those who love Dylan would write about what his best albums were, Infidels never showed up. In other words, I'd developed a love for what those who know Dylan through and through consider one of his lesser recordings.

My affection for Infidels popped in my mind because this morning as I was listening to Charles Mingus' recording, Mingus Moves. It's definitely the only Mingus recording I ever owned and (I think you've heard this story before) back about fifteen years ago I played it repeatedly and developed a deep affection for it. The other day, on Twitter or Facebook or somewhere, some people discussed their love for Charles Mingus and started naming their favorite Mingus albums or declaring which was his best recording.  Not one person mentioned Mingus Moves. Their discussion made me want to branch out and listen to more albums by Charles Mingus. But, for all kinds of reasons having to do as much with when and where I was when I used to listen to Mingus Moves, it will always be one of my favorite jazz recordings, no matter how it stacks up in relation to the others. 

Now that I think about it, that pretty much sums up my enjoyment of music. It almost always has to do with being related to times in my life I enjoy remembering.

2. A while back, while in the ZOOM room, Diane reflected on her experience as a writer. She's been involved as an editor and writer for Victory Music [Review] for over thirty years. Lately, she's been working on interviewing Seattle musicians about their first albums. Jim Page's name came up as well as the Irish band, the Suffering Gaels. 

Jim Page has a long history in Seattle, not only as a folk singer, but as an advocate for (among other things) busking. Today I read the three articles Diane sent me about Jim's advocacy that detailed not only what he did to persuade the Seattle City Council to support busking, but also delved into Jim Page's philosophy of public performance and how a stage can be anywhere -- a street corner, near a merchant at Pike Place Market, a sidewalk in a commercial district, a porch, a church basement, a living room (including mine in Eugene where Jim Page and Bill Davie performed -- I'll say it was 1992), essentially anywhere. The idea of a stage, a place from which music can be performed, is not limited to commercial venues. 

The Suffering Gaels article, published in 1987, was a riot of expletives deleted, tall tales, pseudonyms, and evasions which, I think, revealed more about the fun-loving spirit of the band than about their music.

I thoroughly enjoyed Diane's writing, especially the way it conveyed not only the facts and details about her articles' subject matter, but also her enthusiasm and buoyant spirit, her deep affection for acoustic music and the artists who perform it and advocate for it. 

3.  This afternoon and tonight, the Dodgers picked up where they left off in the ninth inning on Tuesday and exploded for eleven runs in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 16-3 victory over the Braves. It made for a horrible game -- if you like a game to be competitive -- but it was a startling display of the Dodgers' offensive prowess which has been on full display two days in a row. 

After losing the series' first two games, the Dodgers might be coming back, being only down 2-1 now.

Over in San Diego, the Jose Altuve and George Springer homered, leading the Astros to a 4-3 win over the Rays. The Astros have looked dismayed to me, in contrast to their exuberance and swagger over the previous three or four seasons. Tonight, the Astros' didn't return to their exuberant ways, but this win gives them hope and they looked determined to keep battling and fight back, despite the deep hole they are in, needing to win three more games in a row to win this series. 


Be glad that you’re not a Mummy. 
Walk around like you’ve had too much Rummy! 
If you have lips that are sewn, 
You will never have known. 
How dessert eating’s great in your Tummy! 

Sorry you missed National Dessert Day (Oct. 14th)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-13-20: Kitchen Bliss, Family Dinner, Tree House Ghosts BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. After picking up the Sube, after it had been repaired, from Silver Valley Tire Center, I popped into Yoke's to pick up a few things I needed to prepare family dinner (potatoes, salmon, wine, etc.) and a bag of coffee for survival and also replenished my gin supply at the liquor store. 

I'd had a more complicated dinner in mind for today, but since I couldn't drive to the store until early in the afternoon and because we gathered at 4:00, an hour or two earlier than usual, I decided to simplify things. 

The Thai Beef Noodles will have to wait! I was going to make these noodles along with the dinner I did prepare today.  It would have been a combination spicy/not spicy dinner, but it felt like just a little too much on this particular day. 

I'd already taken a quart of crab stock (made from Elks Crab Feed crab shells) out to thaw and was committed to making a fish chowder with salmon and shrimp. I chopped and cooked onion, celery, and two carrots, added two cloves of chopped garlic, covered the vegetables with flour, cooked that up a bit, and then added the crab stock and seasoning.  I then dumped chopped potatoes in the soup, let it all cook slowly until the potatoes and other vegetables were tender. I cooked the raw shrimp and salmon fillet, cut up the salmon, put the fish in a bowl, and poured the juice of half a lemon over them. Later, I added the fish along with about a half a cup or so of half and half to the soup I'd been simmering and the chowder was ready to eat. 

To accompany it, I bought a Caesar salad bag, augmented it with some Romaine lettuce I had on hand, and cooked a fillet of salmon, let it cool, and chopped it into pieces and put them in the salad. I also squeezed a half a lemon and poured it over the salad,  having dressed it with the kit's dressing and added the croutons and Parmesan cheese.

Last of all, I baked corn bread in the cast iron skillet. I'm very happy to report that it was moist, flavorful in a kind of buttery sweet kind of way, and paired very well with the chowder and salad. 

2. I postponed family dinner on Sunday because I knew I'd be spending much of the afternoon in the ZOOM room. On Monday, Carol and Paul attended a funeral and Paul had a theater rehearsal, so we decided to get together on Tuesday and have a relaxing dinner finished in time for Paul to go to a meeting at church.

We had plenty to talk about. For one thing, there's activity in Kellogg.  Eddie Joe's is being remodeled. I've heard the same rumor twice that that building is going to become a steak house. Some remodeling is going on uptown, but I don't know what's coming. Dr. Bowman is moving his business to the northeast corner of Hill and Cameron. What used to be Cattails will, at some point, be a local church's food bank and something else (thrift store?). Here and there in Kellogg, people have bought houses to remodel. We hear they will move into some of them. Others will become vacation rentals. 

If it weren't for Christy and Carol, who get out and about much more than I do, I wouldn't know any of this news. I continue to lie low. My only outings have been trips to the grocery store, liquor store, post office (occasionally), some outdoor activity and rides with friends, and a couple or three stops at Silver Valley Tire Center. 

I'm not complaining. I don't feel trapped or in a state of miserable self-denial. 

I'm enjoying getting back to walking again and, while in the house, I'm enjoying reading, writing, the Billy Collins Poetry Broadcast, listening to music, time in the ZOOM room with my longtime friends from Whitworth, baseball games, movies, Bill Davie's Tree House concerts, cooking, and having a lot of time to be quiet and still. 

3. Tonight, Bill Davie's Tree House Concert, once again, had me beaming. Bill's ongoing struggles with MS dictate what he can play. His left hand is giving him pain and is not always cooperating with the messages Bill's brain is sending it. It reminds me of that Jimmie Dale Gilmore song, "My Mind's Got a Mind of Its Own" -- only for Bill the title would be "My Left Hand is a Hand on Its Own".  But, Bill persisted, figured what songs he could play, played them masterfully, and those of us in the virtual house enjoyed a magnificent concert. 

Bill played a handful of compositions from his earlier days, songs that trigger some of my favorite of all memories of when I lived in Eugene and Bill traveled to Oregon to perform. Tonight, as Bill played "The Meat of a Dream", I had the wondrous experience of being visited by the ghosts of my friends from those days (friends who are alive, by the way!) coming into the living room with me here in Kellogg. It was as if Bill were giving another house concert at 940 Madison or was playing the Allann Bros coffee house in Corvallis or was playing a gig in Yachats (can't remember the name of that coffee house) or was playing at Smith Family Bookstore during the Eugene Celebration.  I loved the feeling of being in the present and past at the same time, relishing Bill's music as he played it and, simultaneously, reliving days with friends I sorely miss seeing and times that remain joyfully alive in my memory.


A limerick by Stu: 


a day many folks can embrace. 
helps you quickly type up a page space. 
the “shift” button need not be used, 
proper noun spelling’s abused. 
typing’s easier using only lower case. 


national lower case day


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10/12/20:Walks, Rays Win, Braves Win BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. I went on two Sunnyside walks today, both of them fairly short and racked up about 3000 steps.  I've decided, for now, that more short walks is the best way for me to get moving regularly. After not reading or listening to it for a while, I listened to The Pillars of the Earth while I walked. I enjoyed being back into this book.

2. The Rays did it again. They took advantage of a first inning throwing error by the Astros' Jose Altuve and scored three runs in the first inning when Manuel Margot followed Altuve's error by slamming a three run home run. Time and time again, the Astros put runners on base, but the Rays' defense made run saving plays, including an acrobatic catch by Manuel Margot. He chased down a foul fly ball struck by George Springer, fought the sun, made the catch, and flipped head over heels over a railing and fell about six feet into a stairwell. He kept possession of his catch, was shaken up for a few minutes, but never left the game. The Astros scored a couple of runs, one on a Carlos Correa homer and another when Springer hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the ninth, but, in the end, the Rays won 4-2.

3. Atlanta broke open a 1-1 game with home runs by Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies in the top of the ninth inning. If the Dodgers have a weakness as a very strong team, it's their bullpen. Tonight, their bullpen cost them this game, while, on the other hand, the Braves' relievers pitched masterfully and preserved a strong outing by Max Friers. The Dodgers also got a strong performance from their starter, Walker Buehler, but not as long of an outing as they would have liked, so this game put a strain on their pitching staff and, to add to their problems, the Dodgers lost the game, 5-1. 

For Game 2, the Dodgers will pitch Clayton Kershaw and the Braves will turn to their whirling dervish of a flute player, who, even at his age and taking into account all his great years fronting Jethro Tull, can still bring the heat -- yes, the Braves will be starting Ian Anderson.


A limerick by Stu: 


As into the Fall we are easin’. 
Gotta like it for many a reason. 
You’ve got Fall Sports and the Series, 
Changing colors beats the drearies. 
Many choose Autumn for their favorite Season!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-10-20: Clare is Back, The ZOOM Room, Rays Win BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  I bopped in to see what was happening over at The Cool People, The Night People, a Facebook group I belong to made up of people who regularly tune in to Billy Collins' poetry broadcast. One of the members posted a picture from Rye, England and it made me think of Clare, the woman who originated the blog Three Beautiful Things. I had this moment when I wondered if the guy who posted the picture might be Clare's husband.

Clare kept her site online, but she stopped making Three Beautiful Things posts back in 2014. Today, I paid her site a visit and quickly discovered the Rye photo was not taken by her husband (!).

I did discover, however, that with the onset of the pandemic, Clare began writing daily Three Beautiful Things posts again. 

A surge of joy coursed through my body.

Clare's 3BTs, in contrast to what I've decided to do with the format, are usually short, one or two sentence observations about her garden, children, writing group, and other heart warming details from her daily life. I've decided to write longer posts. I use this format as a way of chronicling a more detailed account of my day to day life and to occasionally develop thoughts that run through my head.

I did a little bit of sleuthing and found Clare's business email address and wrote her a note expressing my delight that she'd returned to posting and telling her that I have continued to write daily Three Beautiful Things, with some interruptions several years ago.

Just now, I visited her blog. She posted receiving my email as a beautiful thing! She refers to me by my blogging pseudonym.  I am beaming. Here's what she wrote:  

3. To get a message from a blogger I haven't heard from in a long time. Raymond Pert over at Kellogg Bloggin' has kept the faith while I was away: he has been using the 3BT format since 2006. I was ridiculously pleased to hear this: it felt good to know that someone had kept the little flame alight when I could not.

If you'd like to check out Clare's blog, here's the address: http://threebeautifulthings.blogspot.com 

2.  Bill, Diane, Val, and I had a boisterous session on ZOOM today. It's hard to pinpoint a central idea, but I'll just say that much of our conversation centered around growing older, about passing from one stage of life to another. Related to this discussion, at least in my mind, was an adjacent discussion we entered into about the immeasurable value of the arts and letters -- in particular we discussed the life enhancing qualities of poetry and music and discussed the ongoing power of Beethoven, Copeland, and Bebop jazz. We also discussed our ideas of what it means to be a strong person, as opposed to a weak one, and agreed that the arts are a sustaining source of strength and agreed that living life primarily as a transactional undertaking, primarily concerned with money and assigning worth to things (like education or the arts) primarily in terms of their monetary value or money generating worth, is not, when it comes to the inward life or to our relationships with others, sustaining or strengthening. 

3.  Around 4:30 this afternoon, two playoff games started at the same time. In the NBA finals, the Lakers and Heat got underway with Game 6 of their series and the American League Championship Series opened with Tampa Bay playing Houston.

Once Bill, Diane, Val, and I bade one another farewell, I decided to tune into the basketball game, but when the Lakers went ahead by twenty-eight points as the first half ended, I lost interest and flipped over to the baseball game. The Lakers won today's game 106-93 and are the 2020 NBA champions. 

Things were much more interesting in the baseball game. As I picked up the action, I started to remember that a year ago I had been intrigued by the Tampa Bay Rays. 

They are the most flexible team I've ever watched play baseball.  (At least I think they are. I'll think about this some more.)

They use a variety of starting lineups, making their bench deep, and many of their players are reclamation projects, players that have been cast off by other teams, but have found new life with the Rays. 

The Rays are not an offensive powerhouse, but rely on strong pitching and nearly flawless defense. Watching the Rays, I honestly never know how long a particular pitcher is going to work because the Rays' manager, Kevin Cash, likes to use multiple pitchers in a game, denying their opposition the advantage that comes with batting against any one pitcher very often. 


The Rays' pitching staff is deep, features several flamethrowers, and the defense works in concert with the pitchers, shifting where they position themselves, guided by the pitcher/batter matchup, to the point that once in a while the Rays will pull an infielder and put him in the outfield. I don't think I'd seen four outfielders in a game since the old days of slow pitch softball!

Houston entered this series with Tampa Bay after their series with Oakland in which they hit twelve home runs in four games (a playoff record -- matched by Oakland in this very series). 

In tonight's game, Jose Altuve blasted a solo home in the first inning and I had to wonder if the Astros were going to continue their home run barrage. But, thanks to a combination of Rays' starter Blake Snell settling down, some sparkling defensive plays by the Rays, and the Rays getting mostly great relief pitching from their bullpen (the one wobbly performance was saved by a great defensive play), the Astros didn't score another run and Tampa Bay did what they seem to do best: they won a game decided by a single run. Tonight the score was 2-1. 




A limerick by Stu:

If you state who’s the best of them all.  
It’s subjective in sports with a ball. 
Michael, Tiger and Brown, 
Can all lay claim to the crown. 
Add the “Dipper”, you’re in for a brawl. 

Wilt Chamberlain died on this day in 1999

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-10-20: Music Lover's Poetry, Cooler, CDs Ripped BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1.  I waited until today to watch Friday's edition Billy Collin's poetry broadcast.  We learned that his MRI earlier in the week revealed that he did not suffer a stroke nor does he have a tumor. After thinking Billy Collins seemed tired, maybe even a bit weary, the last few days, he appeared rested and was sharper today. 

I appreciate these broadcasts the most when Billy Collins introduces poets, and, sometimes, anthologies of poetry, that are new to me. Today he read from The Music Lover's Poetry Anthology, a book that sounds so promising that I ordered myself a copy (through bookshop.org, a site that serves as a clearing house for independent bookstores). 

Billy Collins read some of his poems and he gave us a homework assignment. Next week, he'll become our literature professor for a short while and we'll stroll through Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" together.

2. I spent quite a bit of time today making changes in what's running on my Mac and now it's running cooler.

3. I also stuck my toe into the shallow end of the Mac Music app and imported Debbie's three cds as .wav files and parked them on my desktop, setting myself up to move forward on the project I've undertaken, working with Debbie's recorded music. 


A limerick by Stu:



If you think of this "Summer of Twenty".
There's been unrest and disasters a plenty!
Hurricanes, fires and floods,
Riots and on it's the druds.
It seems a message's being senty. 



Saturday, October 10, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-09-20: Project, Rays in a Thriller, Heat in a Thriller BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1. I have a project to work on for Debbie involving her cds. I'm going to be a little bit secretive about it in case it turns out that I can't actually do it (but I think I can). In order to work on this, I need an external cd/DVD drive and today my new Apple USB SuperDrive arrived in the mail. When I bought the MacBook Air, I also bought a USB converter cord, so I was able to test drive the USB SuperDrive with the replacement Nine Days Wonder cd, Left of Center, that just arrived a day or two ago. The drive works. I'm ready to get to work on this project. More on it on down the road.

2. Now that I've switched to YouTube TV, I can watch sports on TBS and ABC. I had a fun time watching the Tampa Bay Rays defeat the New York Yankees, 2-1, and advance to the American League Championship Series against Houston, in a game that featured some really wicked pitching. The Rays have a handful of pitchers who can throw over 95 mph and tonight they used four of them so that the Yankee hitters never saw the same pitcher twice. That approach runs hard against the traditional practice of expecting a starting pitcher to throw anywhere from five to seven innings -- and in the old days, pitch all nine. The Rays do other unorthodox things, most notably, put four players in the outfield from time to time on defense. 

The Rays are a raucous team, fun loving, hard playing, emotional. A tense rivalry has built over the past two or three years between the Rays and the Yankees. The way the Rays won tonight's game was especially sweet for them. Back on Sept. 1, fireballing Yankee reliever Aroldis Chapman fired a 101 mph fastball close to Mike Brosseau's head. Tonight, when they confronted each other in the bottom of the eighth inning, Brosseau kept fouling off pitches and taking balls, battling Chapman for ten pitches, a long at bat, and he dramatically powered that tenth pitch over the left field fence. It turned out to be the game winner. 

3. With the baseball game over, I switched over to Game 5 of the NBA Finals. I haven't watched a single moment of NBA basketball this season, but I'd read quite a bit about the great season the Heat's Jimmy Butler is having and how he has spearheaded the Heat's efforts against the Lakers in this championship series.

Jimmy Butler had a monster game tonight, scoring 35 points, dishing out 11 assists, and plucking 12 rebounds. Down the stretch, he was indomitable, making key shot after shot, driving hard to the iron and drawing fouls, and calmly burying all his free throws. 

Jimmy Butler had some help, of course, especially from the baby-faced assassin Duncan Robinson who let thirteen howitzers fly from beyond the 3 point arc and converted seven of them, scoring 26 points, many of them ruthless daggers. 

Butler and Robinson led the Heat to a 111-108 victory. 


Here's a limerick by Stu:


It connected both East and the West.  
Its construction, the ultimate test. 
Battling slides, bugs and heat, 
Those builders wouldn’t be beat. 
Its impact can’t be over stressed. 

 
Panama Canal 1913, water began filling the Culebra Cut connecting the two oceans.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-08-20: Car Talk, YouTube TV, Billy Collins and Whitman Alabama BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. I've still got cars on my mind. Today I committed myself to sticking with the Sube as, at the very least, a second car. So, it's possible, at some point, I'll purchase a newer vehicle, but as long as I'm living by myself for an indeterminate amount of time, I'm not in too big of a rush, but I'll keep reading up on vehicles and seeing what's out there.  You see, I went to Silver Valley Tires today and got an estimate on a repair job the Sube needs. The estimate came in pretty significantly under what my reading around about it had led me to expect and I decided to go for it. It was an act of commitment. I'll deepen my commitment to the Sube in about 6-8 thousand miles when I have some routine maintenance work done that will be due. 

Who knows when I'll put those 6-8 thousand miles on the Sube! When I had the oil changed on Tuesday this week, it was my first oil change since January and, from March to October, I'd only put 1000 miles on the Sube. 

I just haven't been driving much. I haven't been worshiping in CdA. No trivia in Spokane. No live music concerts in Spokane. No trips elsewhere, really. I guess I'll see how long I'll continue to stay close to home and how long I'll be holding down the Kellogg fort on my own, how long it'll be until Debbie isn't so sorely needed to help out in New York. But, as long as my life continues the way it has for the last seven months or so, I simply won't be driving much.  

No problem. 

2.  I think it was in August when the internet television service I subscribe(d) to, Fubo, dropped TNT and TBS, but added ESPN and some other different stations. 

Well, right now some of the Major League Baseball playoffs are being broadcast on TBS. Fubo didn't offer KXLY/ABC. I thought I might like to have that available -- same with the local PBS stations.  

So, I switched from Fubo to YouTube TV and today, for about the first time all season, I watched some baseball on television and I enjoyed watching players make acrobatic plays on defense, enjoyed the thrill of batters launching home runs into the stands, and enjoyed entering into the leisurely pace of the game itself. I didn't want the Astros to eliminate the As, but they did, and I didn't want the Yankees to defeat the Rays, but they did, but, I thought, big deal. It's just great to have the sounds (even the artificial crowd noise) of baseball back in the Vizio room again.

3. I had a superb poetry day today thanks to Facebook Live and to a deeply moving website.

First, on Facebook Live:

Around six o'clock or so, I took a break from the poetry of baseball and watched today Billy Collins Poetry Broadcast. He congratulated Louise Gluck for the astonishing news that today she was named the recipient of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, the first woman from the USA so named. He read a couple of her poems from back in the 1980s and did his best to sum up, briefly, the often startling and always deeply intelligent nature of her poems. Billy Collins then returned to Whale Day and Other Poems and read a few more selections.

If for no other reason than I'd like a record of this observation, I thought today that Billy Collins again seemed tired. For the months that I've been tuning in to watch and listen to him, I've always thought that he is in splendid physical and mental condition and carries his seventy-nine years very well. The last two days, however, he's seemed less steady, a bit error prone, and more vulnerable to me. His life's been a whirlwind over the last couple of weeks -- new book out, a neurological incident, two days in the hospital, a leaky roof, and, among other things, his publisher and Barnes and Noble collaborating to mess up many people's orders of Whale Day. I hope things slow down. I hope he rests.  I hope, if he's not feeling quite himself, that this improves soon.

Second, the website. It's whitmanalabama.com

Filmmaker Jennifer Crandall has been traveling all over Alabama filming different people reading different verses from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself.

I watched four or five of these short, under five minute documentary films today.

First, these films awakened my longstanding and deep love for Walt Whitman's Song of Myself, a love I'd forgotten I feel so deeply.

But, more to the point, the genius of Jennifer Crandall filming people from all walks of life reading Whitman's verse moved me to tears.

In particular, the video of 97 year old Virginia Mae Schmitt, reading the opening verse of Song of Myself is without question the most beautiful and stirring reading of Whitman I've ever experienced and it might be the best reading of verse I've ever heard, period. 

Here's the link to it: https://whitmanalabama.com/verse-1/

At the top of the page is a picture of Virginia Mae Schmitt. Scroll down a little ways and you'll see the video and you can read about Virginia Mae Schmitt.


A limerick by Stu:


The folks in the news like to bicker. 
And their comments just keep getting sicker. 
I don’t care ‘bout their views, 
Please just bring us the news. 
Or our Nation will end “up the cricker”!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10/07/20: Billy Collins Out of Action, Billy Collins Returns, Car Thoughts BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  Billy Collins has been off the air for a couple of days, but his poetry broadcast returned today. I didn't tune in live, but I waited until around six o'clock or so to watch today's broadcast. Billy explained his absence. He had some kind of what he called a neurological episode a few days ago and when he called it in, he was instructed to check in at the ER. He spent about forty-eight hours in the hospital. He underwent tests, had blood drawn, the works, and now is home. 

Billy Collins told some pretty funny stories about his hospital stay. As they did some preliminary testing of his mental acuity, a medical professional asked him some simple questions. When this questioner asked Billy Collins to name our current president, he didn't want to speak our president's name. So, instead, he started reciting the names of the previous presidents -- Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Kennedy, stopping there I think. Still, the questioner wanted her original question answered and Bill Collins surrendered and told her our president's name.

His strategy for getting through his MRI tickled me. He was fairly relaxed because he'd managed to drink a wee dram or two of whiskey someone smuggled into his room and he had taken some other relaxing drug. Once in the cylinder, Billy Collins further kept himself sane and distracted by reciting forward and backward William Butler Yeats' poem, "Lake Isle at Innisfree" and by counting out the poem's meter and focusing on its rhyming words. It worked. He survived the MRI without having an episode of claustrophobic panic.

2. During his broadcast, I thought Billy Collins was tired, not quite as sharp as usual; in fact, he was bit more error prone than usual. But, he read a splendid poem by Elizabeth Bishop entitled, "The Sandpipers". Then he returned to reading from his just released publication, Whale Day and Other Poems. First he read a splendid poem about geese and death, "Lakeside Cottage: Ontario". He closed by reading the five poems that might be called bonus cuts that appear in the exclusive Barnes and Noble edition of the book. He read them for the sake of listeners who might have bought the book from a different vendor and didn't have these poems in their possession. I had heard him read these five poems before, and enjoyed this encore reading of them, and enjoyed reading along with him, having purchased this book on Sunday. 

3. Every so often, it crosses my mind that the Sube is sixteen years old and might not last forever and so I go online and look at cars. I texted Debbie and she told me she might like a compact SUV some day and I looked at some of those. It's too early to tell what I'm going to do; last time I had one of these days of poking around, looking at cars, was back in the Greenbelt days, but, we stuck with the Sube. I've been driving since I was 14 -- over fifty years. I've bought exactly five cars in that span of time. I never really got into the habit of buying vehicles and I've never cared much for car ownership -- I've had a couple of stretches of time, one of them for seven years in the 1980s, when I didn't own a car at all. I could pull that off when I was single, living in Eugene and Spokane, lived close to grocery stores, had a bicycle, and could rely on buses to get around. Those days are long gone. <Shrug>


A limerick by Stu:

What do we know about dreams? 
Depends on who’s sleeping it seems. 
Can be boring or fun, 
Or scary world that’s undone. 
A world in your mind of extremes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 09/06/20: Breakfast Preparations, Livin' in the Past, Moved by Tree House Concert #24 BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1. I leapt out of bed a little earlier this morning, got out the food I would prepare for breakfast, and did some light house cleaning in preparation for Ed and Mike coming over for breakfast. 

Before long, I got down to the serious business of preparing food. I mixed ground beef with bread crumbs, Montreal seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, an egg, and some salt and pepper and made each of us a patty and started frying hamburger steaks. 

I made things a little easier for myself by buying frozen Ore-Ida hash browns and I got those going.

Once the hamburger steaks were browned, I put them in the oven to cook through and made a batch of hamburger gravy -- a gravy I later wished had a bit more ground beef in it.

I finished my preparations by frying each of us a couple of eggs over medium and toasting each of us some Dave's Killer White Bread Done Right. 

2. Ed and Mike arrived about a half an hour earlier then planned, but no problem. I fixed them each a cup of Peet's Major Dickason's coffee and did my best to yak it up with them while I cooked.

The three of us had an awesome morning.

We continue to talk about a possible trip to Iceland, with the pandemic our foremost concern as to whether (or when) such a trip is possible. 

Our annual trip to the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in November is coming up and I'm continue to be very much on the fence about whether I'll go. Fortunately, I'm not under pressure to go.  I am aware that the Wildhorse people are doing everything to make their complex a safe place to play, drink, eat, and stay. I'll just keep turning it over in my mind, knowing that whatever I decide, I don't have to make a decision until the time comes to go down there.

Much of our conversation centered on the world of logging in the 1960s, 70s, and on into the 80s. Ed and Mike both worked in the woods as young guys -- Ed continued for decades -- and they had a string of great stories to tell about how the work was done, the guys they worked with, and the demands of the work. Mike's stepdad and Ed's dad worked in the logging business for many, many years and introduced Mike and Ed into their world and both of them expressed much gratitude for all they learned about work and life in the logging world and took turns telling great stories about things they experienced -- some of it kind of scary, but a lot of the stories were really funny.

Hard, dangerous work, like what Mike and Ed did in the woods and like I did at the Zinc Plant left a deep impression on all of us and it never fails to amaze me how I, along with the other guys I still see who worked at the Zinc Plant or in other areas of mining, and the guys I see around town who worked in logging, talk about our days doing that perilous, dirty, unrelenting work with great affection. 

3. Bill Davie performed his twenty-fourth Tree House Concert this evening. I loved it. I poured myself a dirty martini. I poured gin over ice in my cocktail shaker, shook it up a bit to make the gin cold and then combined the gin (up) with the brine of our Kalamata olives.  The combination of salty brine and juniper works beautifully for me and I made this one drink last for most of Bill's performance.

Two songs stood out for me. They are songs that Bill started performing many many years ago and have been moving me inside for over twenty-five years.

His song "Concrete Tree" always calls up the 1984 documentary Streetwise in my memory. Both Bill's song and the movie present scenes of and stories about people living on Seattle's streets. Streetwise's  music soundtrack features Tom Waits and also Baby Gramps (singing "Teddy Bear Picnic"). Waits' and Baby Gramps' work was perfect for this movie.

But, and yet and yet and yet, I live in a fantasy world where Bill Davie recorded "Concrete Tree" about ten years earlier than he did and the people who made Streetwise loved his song so much that it became the primary soundtrack song for the movie. As it is, when I hear Bill perform this song, the movie starts to run in my imagination, and I bump out Tom Waits and Baby Gramps and Bill Davie takes over, deepening and enriching Streetwise with his stories about Ezra and Jason and Myrtle and Andy and Missy and his prescient early 1990s reference to Donald Trump.  

The other song that melted me tonight was "Valley of Wine". I used to know the man who is the subject of this song and I know part of what moves me is thinking about him and the valley of alcohol and other substances wherein he lived (and lives?) his life. But my response is not limited to the story it tells about someone I used to know. It explores the darkness and destruction alcohol and drug dependence with descriptions, scenes, and metaphors that create unsettling insights into the pain of this abuse, whoever experiences it, not only to the person who is addicted, but to those who love the alcohol dependent person. 


Here's a limerick by Stu:

To get clean you can wash in a shower.
Smell like Spring or maybe a flower. 
Now some folks had rather, 
Decline as they lather. 
And this place with claw feet gives them power. 

Bathtub Day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10/05/20: MacBook Air Arrived, Breakfast Plans, Pear Salad and Camboloza Dessert BONUS A Limerick by Stu

1.  The laptop I've been using for nearly ten years is physically falling apart and I have been (stupidly) slow getting out of the Windows 7 environment. Today, however, I began a new challenge in my little world of personal computing. My MacBook Air arrived. I did enough reading about getting started and enough about how this different operating system works to get going -- enough so that I am using the MacBook Air to write this blog post. 

I'm not much of a comparison/contrast person. All I can say is that I am enjoying using a space bar that's not detached from my computer (that's how busted my HP had become!) and I'm familiarizing myself with the terminology and somewhat different ways to do tasks in the Mac environment. I had one puzzling thing happen during start up when I couldn't establish an Apple ID with my new Mac, but I used my cell phone, went to apple.com, poked around a bit, and established my account.  I also recovered my Download folder and it's back on the Dock after I accidentally moved it into Trash. 

The best news is that I didn't panic when I had these problems and with some calm thinking and a little help from Siri, I cured these minor hiccups. 

2.  As I've no doubt made said 1000 times by now, I'm spending as little time as possible in places where people aren't protecting each other with face coverings. It's why I've eaten all but one of my meals, since March, at home or with family. I ate one breakfast out, at Le Peep, happy they had outdoor seating.

So, I haven't eaten at Sam's since March, but I've thought about Sam's. When I ate there weekly, I used to wish they offered hamburger steak as a breakfast option. 

Well, Mike and Ed are coming over for breakfast on Tuesday morning and I'm going to fix us hamburger steak with hash browns, hamburger gravy on the side, fried eggs, and toast. 

Therefore, I made a quick trip to Yoke's this evening and picked up what I needed to make this new, for me, breakfast and began to contemplate and plan how I can make it work with the cookery I have -- I think I have a plan!

3.  Lately, I've been finding that it's been taking less and less food to fill me up when I prepare a meal. I alluded to this yesterday when I wrote about how in my head I imagined myself eating the leftover ham and bean soup at Christy's right out of the crock pot after I finished my bowl of it. My fantasies were strong, but my flesh was weak. I just do better eating less. So, lately, my dinners have been salads. Tonight, I followed Christy's lead and made a green salad that included a pear (Carol gave me some of her haul, too). All I did was toss Romaine lettuce, feta cheese, some Kalamata olives, chopped celery, and pear slices together and dress this salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar. 

I finished this little meal with button mushroom dabs of creamy Camboloza Black Label cheese on Effie's Oatcake biscuits, a most pleasing little dessert.


Here's a limerick by Stu: 


Are you able to sleep on the ground? 
With no mattress, just how does that sound? 
Bet you did as a kid, 
Just like most of us did. 
But now cushioned feels better I’ve found.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10/04/20: Heavenly Family Dinner, Haircut, Books and Fred Meyer BONUS A Limerick by Stu

 1.  Tonight at family dinner, I wished I were young again, but for only one reason, really. When my system used to metabolize food more efficiently, if, like tonight, I was served a completely superb meal, I could dive into a second (or third!) helping and feel just fine. If I'd been that younger guy tonight, I would have eaten more than one helping of tonight's dinner. That's for sure! 

Carol and Paul picked pears not long ago and gave some to Christy and me. Christy made good use of some of her bounty by making a delicious lime and pear sangria. When it was time to eat, Christy served us a delicious, fresh, and very tasty Autumn Pear Salad. 

It was the main course, though, that made me fantasize about sitting in Christy's back yard and eating helpings all night long! 

Several weeks ago, Christy served a ham dinner and, if I'm not mistaken, tonight's main course was a continuation of that meal. Christy made one of my very favorite dishes: ham and bean soup. I'm not quite sure what all went into this soup. I got so involved in enjoying it that I missed all that Christy said about it, but I think it included some pork and beans and it seemed to me to include a variety of other beans. I know she included pearl onions. 

But, I have to admit, I wasn't thinking much about the fine points of how this most delicious soup was prepared. I tried to work my way through it slowly, savoring every spoonful, wanting to make it last as long as possible. I just think ham and beans combine to make perfect soup and Christy's was superb.  It was all I could do not to put Christy's crock pot in front of me and eat whatever was left over right out of it! But, I controlled myself, knowing even a small second helping would make me uncomfortable, and enjoyed the one bowl I ate as it settled inside of me.

Then Christy brought out a cake she'd baked: Apple Cider Doughnut Cake.

I asked for a small slice, knowing I couldn't eat much more, but this cake was so moist and delicious -- it was, indeed, like eating a favorite cake doughnut -- that I very slowly ate my small slice and it was heavenly. I controlled myself, but, again, just because it was so delicious, I dreamed of eating a lot more. 

So, in conclusion, I enjoyed tonight's family dinner.

2. All right.

Confession time.

My unruly hair has been irritating me. I don't care much about how it looks, but I don't like it falling over my eyes or even tickling my forehead.

In early September, I got a haircut, my first since February. At that appointment, I failed to convey just how short I wanted it to be and left thinking I'd try next time to communicate better. Sure enough, in a couple of weeks, my hair was in my eyes at times, tickling my forehead, waking me up at night. 

Before I left home today, I scrolled through some pictures and found one of Carol, Christy, and me at Manito Park a couple or three years ago. I had just had a haircut in that picture.  Aha! I'll show this picture to the woman cutting my hair and the picture will speak louder than a thousand words just what I want.

It worked. 

Now I can go back to living day to day hardly aware that I have hair. 

3. I figured since I was getting a haircut in Coeur d'Alene, I'd drive a bit farther and go shopping at Barnes and Noble in Spokane Valley. 

Billy Collins latest book, Whale Day and Other Poems, arrived in bookstores on Tuesday. 

Barnes and Noble offered its own edition of the book that included five poems not found in the non-Barnes and Noble edition. 

I could have ordered my copy online, but, I can't remember the last time I was in a bookstore and so I drove to the shop, hoping it would have Billy Collins' new book either on a special table or on the shelf. 

Poetry books are not prominently featured at Barnes and Noble --- just as I expected. After about ten minutes of wandering, I found the poetry section, and, to my delight, Whale Day was on the shelf (no special table!) and, upon inspection, I confirmed that the five added poems were in the volume in my hands.

I also purchased a DeLorme Idaho Atlas and Gazetteer and two books for dummies, one to guide me when my Macbook Air arrives on Monday and one on Lightroom Classic in case I decide to plunge into the Adobe world of photo editing. 

While I was at Barnes and Noble, Carol sent out a text wondering if either Christy or I had whole nutmegs on hand. 

We didn't, but I texted back that I'd be happy to shop for some in CdA on my way home.

I didn't find any whole nutmeg at Fred Meyer (I bought some later at Pilgrims), but I made the most of my stop at Freddy's by visiting the divine Murray's Cheese counter and picking up a quarter pound of creamy, Brie-style, blue cheese veined, moldy, mildly pungent Camboloza Black Label cheese and a box of Effie's Oatcake Biscuits. 

Lately, for no good reason (except I like its taste), I've been yearning for Peet's coffee and I purchased a bag of Major Dickason's Blend and one of Ethiopian, both ground, both dark roast.

When I returned home, I still had some time before family dinner.  

Ah! I poured myself about half a small glass of Petite Sirah, spooned small globs of Camboloza Black Label cheese on four or five oatcake biscuits and grooved on the creamy moldy cheese's interplay with the crunchy, slightly sweet biscuit which paired nicely with the light, dry red wine. 

Holy. 


A limerick by Stu:


Their impact is felt world wide.  
Near your home or online they reside! 
Stimulating your brain, 
With knowledge you hope to gain. 
And make it much better on life’s ride! 

World Teacher’s Day