Word and Image

Food

Pick one

Cincinnati is big. There must be a dim sum restaurant? The internet gave me the “10 best.” The web page showed me “3.” Ha ha! But we found one. It serves from the menu during the week and from rolling push carts (traditional) on the weekend. You need a certain volume of customers to do the carts. Familiar with the style? It consists of small plates that are shared and eaten. You choose the plates from the passing carts and eat contentedly of your choices. At the end of the meal you pay a set price per plate. Easy. Fun. And there are a lot of options to try!

Mexican? Lots of options. Hot pepper! Otherwise I do not find much subtlety in the flavors. Try as I might, the cuisine is not for me. Sorry.

Yeah, yeah, I was born Chinese. Soy sauce must be in my veins.


Friendship cake

Colleen recalled an old recipe that she had had a lot of fun with many years ago. It is called 30 day cake on the internet. It takes 50 if you have to make the starter. And so we embarked on a 50 day cake after our trip to Maine. We bought a crock. It was the container that triggered Colleen’s memory recipe. The mashed fruit was stirred once a day for…and finally we had a starter and two cakes worth of fruit. Fruit cake? Nope! Different! Good?! Hmmm, emphasis on good!!

And, of course, ya gotta have a friend. Friendship? After 50 days you have the fruit ingredients plus starter for future cakes. You share the starter and hence the term friendship. Lovely. It’s good to have friends.


Cookin’

You’re never gonna see my kitchen this neat again. The first frost. Dawn. The thanksgiving countdown. Covid is over. At least we are unrestrained and there has been a cooking explosion in my house in response to three years of deferred holiday celebrations. We got food coming from all directions. Cooking. Baking. Oh my! Colleen made mincemeat pie… and tarts. Ummm, no can I not have another, please, And, yes, of course, the cats help!

She baked bread. She laughed. I was so bowled over by the professional quality of her bread…. It tickled her so…. 

Meringue cookies. I had leftover egg whites. Internet! The NYT now makes you pay for recipes. No need! Wow! They came out phenomenal. I kid you not. Jane got a cold and stayed away. Lee arrived a day late. Eric??? Let the family games begin!! I should know better by now. We just got over the worst colds… No one, I promise, will go away hungry.  

When I say “neat,” it simply means you see empty counter surface. Ha ha. (Shhh… three big storage bins of food are in the elevator. Yeah, we got an elevator… )


What’s in yours?

Ha ha. My Lightroom catalog reflects what is in my life. Of course! Family! Love. Life. Food. Sunrise. Sunset. Cats. Antique stores. Flowers. Sheep. Fiber. I state the obvious. There is so much. No going back. I wish…. I miss Lulu (Saudi). I love Feather and Spice. …and Colleen. Transformational. Colleen has made all of life worth living these days. I hope the day never ends.


About time

It’s about time for the annual family shot – Colleen, me, and the seven cats. They march up onto the table and I shoot with the remote control and tripod. Simple. Easy.

This year the pandemic is over. Is it? To all intents and purposes it is hard to find many masks and precautions. We are not taking risks. But pretty much wherever we go there are few admonitions or masks. People are still hospitalized and dying. Our social exposure is slowly ramping up. For the first time in several years we will have a family gathering at Thanksgiving. Good luck to all.


I just gotta say…

…to the New York Times cooking department:

Do you have an exclusive recipe? A recipe that no one else has? That no one else can cook without your website and its recipes?

Nowadays I get the screen admonition to subscribe in order to see the recipe. Ooops! Less than a second later another window opens in my browser. Voila! The recipe and a dozen options are there. Pick one.

I liken it to tuning out the sound of sirens blasting up and down the avenue in Manhattan. Someone is having a bad day but the noise is superfluous to my business and I ignore it. For now anything food that the NYT publishes is glanced at and skipped over. No need to read. I just take your food ideas and explore and expand elsewhere. I bet your food writers are just peachy with that.


Eat out

We worked hard for this one. We could not get here until near the end of our recent travels. Colleen casually mentioned Cullen skink. It is a Scottish dish from smoked haddock. I found a place! It was not to far out of the way of our travels in Maine. Dover, NH. A soccer/football fan had a Scottish pub that served the specialty – cup or bowl! And mushy peas! Ahem, I am no fan of either offering but I made do with other things that are bad for you…. So, a good time was had by all. Once again I was able to bring joy and tranquility to our happy marriage.


Tea

High tea. It’s referred to:

“English High Tea usually involved a mug of tea, bread, vegetables, cheese and occasionally meat.

What is difference between afternoon tea and high tea?

Delectable scones, tea sandwiches, and cakes are the hallmark of an afternoon tea, which is served in midafternoon. A high tea, however, includes much more substantive fare…

“Tasha Tudor: was an American illustrator and writer of children’s books.” Beloved!

Colleen has loved her books and illustrations long before I met her. We have bought several of her books which are collectibles from antique stores.

And, I have become introduced to the Tasha Tudor society. Yes, a fan club! On her 107 birthday we attended a Tea in her honor far from our home in Lancaster PA. I won the door prize! Imagine that! We had a splendid time. There were speeches. There was a tour.

Yes, there are cults that promote good. We met people who had met Tasha during her life. Some folks have pursued celebrations like this for many years. It is indeed humbling to see living history pass as the participants grow ever older and the tenuous connection to Tasha fades.

The day started in fog and ended with a spectacular sunset replete with rainbow. Nutley, as ever, did not want us to leave him for the day. Colleen ate in a favorite restaurant as a coda. Perfect! Priceless!


Canceled

Our boat tour of three Scottish islands was canceled for wind and inclement weather. The tour took off from Oban which as you can see was bright sunny and without much wind to see. Lemons? Make lemonade.

Oban is a lovely town to walk and explore and eat a meal. Cullen skink. Don’t ask. We found it in the guidebook and Edinburgh and then we chased it all over Scotland. I just photograph it. We did have an excellent time on a very pleasant sunny afternoon.

The tower is “McCaig’s Tower, also known as McCaig’s Folly, is a prominent tower on Battery Hill overlooking the town of Oban in Argyll,” And yes, we walked to it.


Reflection

Tip Top coffee house, Thomas, West Virginia. Colleen adores it. It is a place like so many others and unique unto itself. There’s nothing particularly notable – location, friendliness, quality, … etc. But Colleen adores it nonetheless. We have changed our route in order to stop.

Me? Sit? Still? Never.

I pulled my camera for photo ops. …dog in a doorway. Reflection in the door. We sat. I remained busy experimenting with reflections in the glass. Relax? Yes. This was relaxing to just let everything go, to forget about world events and politics, to enjoy the sun, and the company. I paused in my photo catalog this morning reflecting on how this moment of serenity makes me smile in the innocent memory of our interlude.


Yard sale

Kitchen renovation: everything goes into boxes and needs to come out again. A lot of “stuff” has to go. It cannot go back into the cabinets. And, for goodness sake, if you haven’t used it in years, you haven’t looked for it, and you did not know you had it…. Odds and ends, where did this stuff come from? Colleen brought it from WV and I brought my share from NY. And, then we got more “stuff” we did not know we needed; and we did not need it. Got it?!

Ha ha. We got boxes and boxes of stuff going to the thrift store or to other deserving family members. It’s a work in progress. In this case good photography is only good to document how much “stuff” snuck into our house. Unfortunately, our counters are not destined to be clear.


So long

We’ve been here nearly eight years. We tried once a few years back. But we failed. It was closed because of the cold during a winter’s day. So, finally, we gave it another try. We were out of options or bored. It’s the only British place around. I mean fish and chips and mushy peas and sticky toffee pudding. Yes! Colleen adores mushy peas. Really! We hit all the favs. I got coconut shrimp. What’s not to love? A mini cooper in the foyer!? We had a good time. We will return. It just took so long to pull the trigger to try the place.


Dessert or…

… new dress? Huh? Well, we found a new dress. I help. Colleen lets me suggest and she decides. It has nothing to do with the classic enquiry, “Do I look fat in this dress?” (enquire simply meant “ask,” while inquire was used for formal investigations)

Dinner out. Alas, this restaurant, this one is closing permanently in a few days. Oh boy! We almost didn’t come here. Lucky! Too many insurance claims for the owner. We had dinner: appetizer, main, and dessert. Maybe not (usually not) dessert, but it was the last supper…. I guess dessert was the better title. Peanut butter pie. Mmmmm.


Lately

What’s up?

Today is a series of non sequiturs. Bugs? Caterpillars? They walk into my pictures and jump onto my camera sensor on the way to my memory card. See the fine hair detail on the bug? There’s not much detail in the caterpillar. Was it me or the worm? Colleen made a cobbler from fresh picked white peaches. Yum! Cats preoccupy our attention. I am charged with getting their pictures. It’s a specialty. Cats do not pose on demand. Ever! Clouds? Lately the clouds have been distinct against a bright blue sky. Great! Flowers? Macro lens and super detail. The featured flower gives me the impression it is waiting to devour an unsuspecting bug that wanders into its maw. So many pictures so little time…


One day

It depends on how you say it and where you put emphasis on the words. There are multiple meanings. Jane responded she liked the triplets. ?? dunno? Meanwhile, how much fun can you pack into one day?

We took the slow road up US 9 to get. Sometimes, it is about the journey and the scenery. One mansion and gardens, one farmer’s market, one museum, and dinner! Wonderful! Behind every great man is a woman – a great one! That’s what the tour guide said. Antics? Triplets?? Whatever! It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be fun! And, so it was! Priceless!

Scheduled? No. Unplanned? We had a loose framework – tickets to Nemours and a dinner reservation at either end. In between we made up our own adventures. I love it when a plan works! I changed into khakis for dinner. You cannot see I am without shorts at dinner. Neat trick! Still, no socks.

Antics? Triplets? Photoshop for better or not gets us to an old trick which is amusing or not. Sometimes good and others not so. I just go with it. It fools some and not others. There was never any pretension of skill, only fun.


Antique

Some days it is about the story rather than the image. An antique is something older than 100 years. Short of that it is vintage. Ha ha. We are vintage. Less than 100 for sure! But what constitutes old in the eyes of the court? That would be older than 70. That is the age cut off for jury duty – older than 70. Hey hey! Finally! I can thumb my nose at the jury duty notice. Ahem? Too old? Demented? Feeble? Infirm? Dunno, just check the box and decline service. Done.

Meanwhile a variation on an old joke: What’s the worst thing about being a grandpa? Eating (sleeping) with a grandma. Chuckle laugh groan – nope, not this one. She loves to eat out. And, I love her! No more jury duty anxiety. We earned it! Cheers!

For illustrative purpose – that is Spice eating a butterfly. Eewww! And why is it that angels play harps? Just wondering? Moreover, when they picked me for jury duty, I gratefully declined. And, no, I did not say Colleen was old. Hardly! They did not call upon her….


A year ago

It seems so long ago… but it was but a year ago. I was on a quest for a good pizza. It was not easy and did not come for a good long while. We discovered Milton. So? It’s been there for a long time already… Flowers on my deck, they are the same and they are different. The black-eyed Susan were abundant. Perennial plants, they did not come back robustly again this year. Peas was a brand new kitten that came home with us. Donna had a different wig. Mozzarella and tomatoes, a summer classic is usually served in one dish together. The lighting is stark. I guess that is why the image caught my eye. The selfie: I just got a throwback Canon G3, my first digital camera. The original went lost and missing. Not too bad, except I got old. It’s a year later and I am still seeking a good pizza.


A day

Pulling out of the garage, there was Willow on the balcony. Left there, he might be cooked/baked in the sun. That would be awkward. Do ya think? He’s a good cat. We love him. … inside.

A new restaurant. Italian, in a strip mall? Ok?! The waitress sings while you eat. Oops! Not a waitress, the owner!? Major oops! Jen made the reservation. It was her faux pas. Fun?! You bet. What to wear? Shorts? Do you remember eating formally with a tie and jacket?

Stop! We had to stop for a spectacular sunset on the way home. A couple would not clear my shot. Ok! No complaint except I wish it was someone photographing us. But, you get the idea. And, I love my wife… you see a sunset you hold her hand.

Protocol? It said in big bold letters: Absolutely no recording or photography. There was a metal detector and bag check as we entered. You cannot keep cellphones out of the venue. People either don’t read or don’t care – they took video throughout the performance. Me? Break the rule/law? … at the end. Colleen had been waiting to see this artist for a long time….


Dessert

We all have relatives. Interesting ones – I will leave out any disparaging adjectives – dingy, etc. Jane loves to eat out. She is on a tight budget so any opportunity to eat out… And she loves dessert. She doesn’t eat the main meal. She simply boxes it and eats it for days at home. But there’s always room for dessert. She orders and then offers it around. I have shamed her into finishing her dessert because she cannot take it home. (Shhhh, she has a small appetite.) Meanwhile, she is predictable. I have never seen her finish a meal in a restaurant. One day we ate out three times – three meals – she never finished what she started. …loves to eat out.


Road trip

Covid is still around us. Emma got it. Jason got it. Our trip was torn to sunder. We have a Plan B.

How do you watch the Jan 6 Hearings without an internet connection or TV? Unlimited ATT data stream. It did not work on my DirectTV connection, or, on the NYT site. We went to the NPR site for a while till the tech caught up. Riveting?!

Travel day is always traumatic. Nutley was pretty much clinging to Colleen’s leg. Don’t go! I will miss my (flowers) cats! Things change. Clouds! Colleen’s favorite coffee shop is moving! Did I mention, Jane loves to eat out. Travel days are always eventful. I changed light bulbs. The string on Jane’s weed eater takes .065 string. It says: right on the label! Calm down. Maintain humor.

Epilogue: ? This requires one? Walmart: .065 string, 1,2,3… It doesn’t fit. The fitting is all proprietary!!! The different companies all carry their own specific string container. Scott is a POS – piece of shit. They are not on the internet with any replacement string. I had to buy a whole new one (weed whacker!) from Amazon!! Yup, the great mega store in the sky!


Nothing stays the same

Change is inevitable. Platitude. You can’t go back. More platitude. I’m just spinning the image catalog going back in time. Wistfully, I gaze at memories that have been dredged back to the forebrain. Colleen laments change. We embrace it. It is subtle – change. Our kittens grew up. Our house changed. Oh! The clutter! Or….did it become more cozy? I have not used this iPhone selfie stick again. The beach is in constant flux – sand comes and Mother Nature takes it. Like the Farmer’s Market, every week has different offerings. Summer is here. Where’s my hat?


Hype

While I dove in Saudi, the Sony RX100 was touted as the best point and shoot underwater camera ever! Ok, a bit of hyperbole, but, it was well regarded. I did not pull the trigger and get one. I was committed to my investment in the Canon G7. I succumbed to the hype in 2018. The first pictures: new car; selfie; construction in progress; flower; cat; food. It is a great camera. I wish I had been able to use it diving. It is certainly more versatile than my iPhone. Punchline? I’d do it again.


Muddled

Pictures help clear the muddled mind. It is 2017, January. Spice and Feather latched onto me at the pet food store and are now part of our family. They were so little. Were they ever so tiny? Two fit in the sink. Can you imagine? I have trouble remembering the year they arrived. Photos help.

Two egg yolks over … what? Snow geese, a first (the very first) glimpse for me. The National Enquirer, ah, shit! We are in a tunnel – driving – don’t try this at home… There is a radar detector, a GPS device, phone holder, a dried rose bud…. So, it is the new Subaru. Technology would change. Nowadays the phone is plugged into the dash and GPS comes via the car screen. I don’t speed any more – ha. No GPS, phone holder, radar detector, rose. There is a lot to be learned from a picture. And there are pictures that make you wonder, “I took that? For what?”


Intrigued

Puzzled? Me. The picture in my catalog stopped here. A kid skateboarding. Nice. It’s Christmas time. Shorts. Warm weather. Ummmm… got it! We were visiting California and my favorite daughter. Ahem, technically I have several daughters now…

Walking the dog? I guess we did. I would never have remembered without the proof of a picture.

California? We have visited more than once. I have no other context in which to remember which trip? Clues? Breakfast!? It’s always sunny. There are always flowers in bloom. We have never been during summer, so, the beach is relatively uncrowded. I like California… to visit.