The quest for the perfect gift is serendipitous at best. You would never guess and can never quite guess what will be a hit. Certainly, capturing the moment of surprise and joy is just as fraught. Sometimes a moment passes too quickly to capture. And, sometimes, you catch the moment perfectly. Certainly, the joy is apparent. It makes me smile as I edit. Have you seen the new plant based food? There is something disingenuous in making fake meat. Either you eat meat or you give it up for … broccoli. You simply can’t have it both ways. ??? So, fake bacon? It was enough to make me an instant vegetarian! The moment? Everyone had their phones out. I reached for my camera/flash. One shot. That was it. One chance. Perfect.
The original post scheduled was too negative. (It comes later today.) Instead for a while, focus on the humor of family. Colleen has two ditzy sisters.
dit·zy: adjective – (informal)- silly or scatterbrained (typically used of a woman). — herein, used in the most loving of ways. (they don’t tune in to my posts…)
Ha ha. I got the best one (sister) though there are times… Let’s be positive and say Colleen is nearest my age. (no, not ditzy, either) Enough! No names please. One, who is unnamed here has eyes bigger than her stomach. Or, rather, I goaded her into ordering a Shepard’s pie off the menu. It arrived, bigger than her head (and her stomach). Close your eyes and pretend she ate and enjoyed it all, (instead of taking it home to discretely trash it later). Eyes? Yes, she, still, ordered dessert, too!
It’s summer! It’s the family gathering of Colleen’s extended clan (at our house!). A good time is had by all. I get to watch and be endlessly entertained. The smiles are simply priceless. Happiness. Family. Joy. … and Shepard”s pie.
Things sit in our childhood memory. They are recalled fondly. The leftovers after Thanksgiving bring different recollections to Colleen and me. I recall hot turkey sandwiches. My mother made them open faced and covered in hot gravy – on white bread. No? Not the thing you remember with fondness? Got it. Colleen recalls a completely different sandwich scenario. Leftovers! We had enough to satisfy dinner and the memory of the day after. Day after pumpkin pie? Well, we were too stuffed to tackle pie on the day of. (Don’t forget the whipped cream!!) Potato cakes? Colleen’s specialty. It holds no significance to me. But, delicious! Food photography? It’s not the pictures. It’s not the food. It is all about tasting the fond memory of meals gone by and the love mom put into our lives.
After my recent fiascos with Mexican food, you would think I would lay off for a while. I don’t much like Mexican food. Sorry! What it lacks in taste it makes up for in hot sauce. But… Colleen remembered burritos. Her fond memory was akin to Proust’s Le Madeleine. Ok! Off we went. The restaurant at the first address from the internet – was closed, permanently. Aha! Someone else has the same idea as me. So, we drove a long long way… far away. And, it was a typical “joint.” The margharita was half the price of that overpriced unnamed place we ate in last. The food was otherwise typical. I love the taco bowl for my salad. What can I say? We had a Mexican meal like all the others I have had in my life. Considering all things, that’s not so bad, sometimes. Ah, the memory of – salsa and chips.
… nor the food; nor the music. It’s the one you share it with. Boy, I’m lucky to be married to Colleen (finally). I probably say this too often in this blog. Hey! It’s my posting. We all have doubt. She asks me if I like her. Ha ha. She liked me first. Men! I was so dumb (unconscious) it took me nearly fifty years to figure out she liked me. Thank goodness there is still time to appreciate all of this, and, to share more than a beer. I hope the music never stops.
My visitors/followers come and go randomly. There is no requirement or subscription other than my ability to capture your attention and entertain you for a few moments. Family, friends, visitors, and followers all alike will drift in and out. Some of you follow all of my posts… hey! I preaching to the converted. Thanks for being here. I’m musing, randomly, too. Colleen hates Indian food; she told me. We eat Indian food. Standard fare: papadam and condiments. Note: anything that tastes good is bad for you. The essential fact: Colleen loves to eat out. She likes Thompson Island (restaurant). We go to the beach: I get a selfie; I get a wave shot. Here’s a shot you don’t try while driving; I was stopped at the light. What was this happy couple thinking?? After all the above nonsense: my point? My dear wife faithfully reads my posts. There are dear friends who read too. … and acquaintances. Others: one time visitors; alas. To all of you: thank you. I’m still here and hope to be if should you return another day. Daily thoughts and photographs. Free! That’s the (my) price!
Right about when Covid hit, we got messy. We always were (before). But, it is way out of control now. Laugh. Or, don’t. The other thing that comes to mind is – a messy desk is the sign of genius. We have that in common with Einstein? Good company. He liked ice cream. The good thing is that we don’t have melted ice cream everywhere. The cooktop (you cannot see it) is covered. Fruit is healthy!? Mis en place – I visualize (in my dreams) a neat kitchen where all the ingredients are arranged neatly in place ready to be prepared. Us? Me? It’s a freeforall. (Yes, a run on word.) How? Don’t ask! The pantry simply got uncontrollable. Or, I am old and senile. Having ingredients out on the counter makes it easier for me to spot ingredients that inspire the next dish I cook. Whatever! It’s a grand mess! No one goes away hungry. And, no ice cream melted in the production of this post. Yes, we give generously to the food bank. The pile just never seems to diminish. Alas!
This holiday season things are returning to normal in an abnormal state. Covid rages and 1000 people a day die in this country – still. No worries. Everyone is virus fatigued. Masks are off. Well, not quite. We went to a Xmas concert. Certainly, many venues recommend and suggest mask. Many ignore masks if it is optional. Stupid? Ignorant? Or Republican? Eating out? Obviously, you don’t wear a mask. Safe? Who knows? There are a lot of moving parts in a restaurant. It’s a risk. At this time of year, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. And, we need a table that is bigger than just for two.
Things cycle. Many years ago, I became aware of mozzarella sticks for the first time in Hawaii. Ok, odd place, but it was my first memory of encountering this appetizer. We have gone thru tiramisu and so many other things. This year juicy dumplings have been on the radar. You take a bite and hot soup pours out of the dumpling. Be careful not to burn yourself. Ha! It’s a neat trick. Someone in the kitchen is tasked with injecting soup into the dumpling as it goes out to the customer. (Ha ha, it’s not so, but, then again, I ain’t sayin’ how they do it). Scallion pancakes? Yup, they were Dave’s favorite for a long time. Colleen always has trouble splitting her chop sticks open. Go figure. I wonder what dish will dominate our consciousness in the next year.
Coast to coast, running, gunning – big joke. Noa has discovered char siu bow (roast pork buns). Jules became a fan – finally – when I had them with her in LA’s Chinatown. So, the joke is that Noa can eat them often, and, I cannot. There are no Chinese restaurants of this nature in DE. Alas! So, they call. Noa holds a bun in her hand and proceeds to eat it: and refuses to share! When she calls she always demands to see a cat. Non sequtur: apples are healthy; and those little custard tarts are equally addictive. Ha ha, just ask Colleen. Even at our age there are new food sins to introduce. Mmmm, good, apples? Huh?
The Third Category: I have three: good photograph/image; good (illustrative) story; fun. The lines blur. Sometimes we have all three. Art is not limited to the museums, (right after being Van Gogh immersed). Fun is the one you’re with, or, the food we eat. We found a dim sum place in Philly! Duh! They would have a “Chinatown” there – complete with grocery, bakery, and restaurants. Oh boy! Double duh! Well, we had fun – eating. Then, we went to a bakery for roast pork buns – closed, permanently, as in, out of business. The internet is not always up to date. So, we got our char siu bow elsewhere, a Vietnamese bakery?! Ha ha. The story, the art, and fun – it’s better than “sliced bread” today!
Surprises abounded. This is a very popular restaurant. It opened a branch and was immediately swamped with customers out the door and waiting for about an hour for a table. No reservation – taken; just show up and stand around. The food was expensive and not worth the price of admission. How about fajitas for two – $64. Huh? Mike ordered it for himself – steak, chicken, shrimp – 2 of three choices. He asked for all steak. He got an up charge of $26. What?! Yes, they up charged him. A surprise I caught as we split the check and paid the bill. Mexican dinner for four – $200 before tip!! Damn! The frozen margarita? $13. Ok!? Complaining. Nope. Going back? Nope. On so many levels,we drive past the place now and laugh at each other. Agave! They are better than we are and do not hesitate to remind us. Nope, not gonna be there again. But we got some relatives (I don’t like) – to send there.
It’s belated thanksgiving dinner (pictures). We spent two days cooking for two people. I’d have never done it for one. Turkey is the centerpiece. The stuffing never varies. Sides are up for grabs. They are never the same. Colleen cooks. And, she bakes. And, she could’ve made the turkey too. But…. No! It was a dinner that could not be beat. We took out Blue Willow plates and old silver and… had a ball. It is not too late to appreciate how precious time is together with someone dear in your life. Where have you been all my life?
The very good news is that despite a very messy kitchen, we are very good cooks. And, we eat very well. Looking at the gallery: savory fruit salad (we had watermelon sitting around); stuffin’ en slow cooker; dry turkey (done too soon); roasty toasty peanuts (a non sequitur); butternut squash soup (a la Silver Palate cookbook); brown sugar and butter (what doesn’t go good with that?); and, an empty table waiting to be laden. When I opened the oven to baste the turkey, I discovered the done sensor had already popped. Darn? I guess it was the roasting pan that cooked the turkey faster. The breast was still moist despite the wings and drumsticks overly done and dry. (We don’t eat them, anyway.) The brown sugar and butter turned into candied sweet potatoes. There is always extra stuffing. The crock pot was brilliant. (Colleen’s idea!) We can not only clear space, but, we can cook! (Well!) The downside? No one else was there to enjoy the meal with us. Dinner alone with your wife, priceless! As I wrote elsewhere, she hummed the whole meal through. Mmmmmm!
… uninspired. I have not added to the posts for a few days. After the Maine trip I have been lax. I think this is Maine too, but, I am too lazy to search the database. Another outing in a restaurant. We were searching for a suitable place and ended up in a hotel. No! We never do hotels unless absolutely pushed. But this was a restaurant hidden in a hotel posing as a stand alone joint. It was ok. But then it was a hotel. There is something about institutional food like a cafeteria is always different than a free-standing restaurant. The food was forgettable. Take no chances, get something familiar. You can’t go too wrong. On this occasion we ate and fortified ourselves for the trip back to the place we were staying.
Some folks eat to live. We don’t. Colleen has great fun in eating out. I got silly. Soup dumplings? The secret: they put a little frozen broth into the dumpling before they seal the wrapper. Ha ha! I was fooled this time. The dumplings came in soup broth. The joke was on me! We ate in a local “classic” diner. … just this once (never again, ever!). I’m looking for this Tibet style store. I remember the statues?! Go figure. They are Mexicali Blues who sell products from Peru. Oh! That’s why I could not find them online no matter how I searched. Ok, it’s not a real lighthouse, but, every day we see one. Hmmm… soup dumplings, I guess I’m lucky I did not get chickin’ N dumplings. No pictures were harmed in this series of non sequiturs. Do I really have chopsticks in my ears?
Where do you wanna go? I dunno. Typical. We had no plan. Do you need a plan? The local – throw away – paper proclaimed, farmer’s market. Ok! We met a basket maker who carries everything on her bicycle, including finished baskets, reed, and basket making tools. Driving along we found the ultimate junk store. Rusty nails! … by the pound. If you dye (fiber) then this is a mordant to set and contribute color. (I bet you wanted to know.) Alpaca farm? They spit?! … if you get in their face. Rude! We got fleece! Of course! Not fleeced. No! If you spin and weave, this was a good day!
Consider that I do not eat lobster. I like the taste of lobster bisque? Who doesn’t like cream? I can and did watch Lisa (a long time ago) eat lobster. I even cooked them. But, to take one apart. That is an entirely different matter. It is – squeamishly – like first year anatomy in med school. Nope. Not for me. I did it – in med school. I do it now for Colleen. This old (we are?!), and she never did her own lobster. Uh!?? How?! Ok, me. I was tapped to break it down. And then she ate it. First, you tear off its head. Ah! I can do that! The whole process is almost enough to make me a vegetarian. As for tearing off its head, well, I am a former neurosurgeon now….
Colleen is a good sport. We went back to the powwow for more… shots, and, a better vantage point (… and to roast once more). Our position on the day before was less than ideal. I got shots but… let us say that the second time around I was satisfied with our vantage (close enough to touch); it was blazingly hot. The crowd got to participate. Politicians made a cameo. Eastern war dancers (one) from Shinnecock got called out. The chief dancer has appeared in the same regalia in other pics in other years. Hoop dancers? … new to me. As I tried to absorb it, I captured some of the energy and motion. We even got a bird show. I am glad we went back.
The price? Dinner out. I got off easy. It was pizza. We were entertained (enlarge the image) with a wedding party – extra large – in the park across the way. Colleen, eagle eye, noticed the party. And, to finish? A “Bud” mug in the antique store. Priceless!
On 9/11 this year, we found ourselves at an Indian powwow. Symbolically? Symbolically, a flag had been raised over the venue – hanging six stories up from a hook and ladder fire truck. We remember…. Pageantry was mixed in with somber remembrance. I shot 3000 images that day. (Hmmm, another symbolic number.) Whoa! What an edit! Why? Photo ops were everywhere. I was not always in a good position to shoot what I wanted. I made do. The venue was loose and the crowd did not stay glued to their seats. I moved about with some freedom to get the shots I wanted. I listened to a photographer, a retiree now, describe how he shot in RAW and post processed in Lightroom, to a woman who did not know what RAW was and who had proudly proclaimed she just found her camera yesterday to shoot images of her grandchild. Disconnected?
In this case I did a rough edit randomly gathering a few representative images to illustrate the day. There was joy and movement. The regalia was colorful and symbolic. Kids and adults participated. No sunglasses please, I was trying for authenticity. Surprisingly, there was a lot of plastic in the costumes I saw. I had not attended a powwow since 2014. It was nice to see another once more with Colleen. The price? … dinner out.
Right after I lamented yesterday, it seems that I have a hole in my posts. Today was open. Nada. Nothing. …. good thing I checked. Travel! We made it to Maine. They canceled the Common Ground Fair and Pumpknfest amid concern for Covid. Boo! So, make lemonade. We are: Outdoor dining. Bakery for breakfast. Touring. Getting lost. Lost earring. Old Revolutionary war era home. There’s a lot you can do. Masks and not. I worked the duck scene. I did not quite get it right. But, there it is. Too much potential, not enough patience, wrong lens? How lovely! … on the road again. Lost earring? We bought a pair and (Colleen) lost one constantly donning a mask. Returning to the store, we found out they could track the artist and get a replacement or another crafted. That is a happy ending!
Why do we travel? To get away from our own everyday routine. See something new and different. And while we are gone we seek out familiar things from home. Dinner in a Chinese restaurant… in Scotland: the food looks familiar; the dinners eat with fork and spoon, or knife; the grocery carries mustard, mayo, and Spam!; a picture to match the post card. Yes, you can go to dinner wearing a genuine Harris tweed vest. Travel is about same and, not. We have not been able to travel in a couple years – Covid. The world will be upside down a bit longer. A couple years back right at this time we were here!? It seems so long ago. So much has changed. Don’t worry, my dear, we will be back.
This is hilarious: Colleen posing over my head in a selfie. We bike ride a trail that gives us spectacular views. Remember? The trail, yes; the selfie, no! Nope. I do not remember taking this picture. Sure. It’s in the photo archive. Wow! The picture is right beside a house Colleen want to buy somewhere up in Milford. I passed – too much work to restore an old house. But, boy was it a beauty with lots of potential. Pie? Yes, those pics were right nearby in my catalog too. I can say for sure I made the sour cream apple walnut pie. Colleen and I had been chasing that recipe forever, in order to faithfully recreate it. Ok! I/she/we made a pumpkin pie too. But! The kiwi pie? Nope. No recollection. It’s right there next to the other pies. There is no sign this pie was store bought. So, Colleen made it! That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it.
The modern expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”, was first published in Henry G. Bohn’s A Hand-book of Proverbs in 1855. It appeared in a newspaper in 1831. (How do they know this stuff?)
I do not recall why we were in the “city.” We met Dave for lunch. Afterward we wandered the Highline. The stairway to nowhere was under construction then. Yes, I take food pictures. And even so, I cannot tell what it was we ate. Have I told you Colleen loves to eat out? More seriously, this stairway has been a place for people to commit suicide. ??? I don’t know either. We always referred to the 6th floor as LD50:
LD stands for “Lethal Dose“. LD50 is the amount of a material, given all at once, which causes the death of 50% (one half) of a group of test animals.
Most people will not survive a fall more than 6 stories. With all the bones you break, I’m not sure you would want to – survive. Of course, on this nice pleasant day – lunch with Dave, and, a pleasant stroll – who would have thunk this would be a death trap, closed at the moment (now), while engineers try to build in some more safety measures?