Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Remembering my father and all who served in defense of our nation.

Dad is on the left.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Garlic Roasted Potatoes With Kale And Bacon Hot Dish

Yes, I made that title up.  And I would love to discover what it would be translated into in German or better yet Finnish!

It was like so much of what I cook, and inspiration born of found ingredients.

How I made it.

Part 1


10 medium/small White Potatoes
12 shelled cloves of fresh garlic
4 Tbsp of olive oil
.5 tsp sea salt

Bake at 325˚ for 70 minutes the Potatoes and Garlic Cloves after bathing them in the Olive Oil so that they are well covered with oil.  Once arranged in a baking dish, sprinkle with the Sea Salt before covering in aluminum foil and baking.  Do this early and set aside so they cool completely.

Part 2


A bunch of fresh Kale chopped up crudely (about 1.5 to 2 cups)
6 strips of Hickory Smoked Bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Tsp sea salt

Blanch the chopped Kale in a shallow bath of water with the Sea Salt and drain off the water.  Cook the bacon and let cool before chopping up.  Smash up the cooled Potatoes (skin included) and Roasted Garlic Cloves in a large mixing bowl.  Add the Kale and mix well.  Add the Bacon and do the same.  Add half of the Cheese and mix that before pressing the entire mixture into an appropriately sized baking dish.  Cover the whole with the remaining Cheese.

Bake for 40 minutes @ 300˚.  

What I'm Listening To #114

Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes are one motherfucking breath of amazing retro-R&B/Motown 1960's fresh air with a chaser contrived from a mix of the classic B 52's, Aretha Franklin, and Pussy Galore.  Now if that doesn't get your attention, you just ain't gonna like what this girl has got to sell!

But I love, Love, LOVE it!  In the world of the Randuwa-Song Exchange, I rate this one a definite "BUY".

What I'm Listening To #113

There is absolutely nothing apologetic about Jay Brannan's CD "Goddamned".  But it doesn't come off as some angry diatribe against established heterosexual, theocratic hegemony.  He sings of his life as a gay man in very unpretensious, conversational ways that not only point out truths, but endear one to the truth-teller.

And it doesn't hurt that he has such a sweet voice.

I love this album.  Buy it, then listen to it, even if some of it is uncomfortable.

Tibetan Prayer Flags

Tibetan Prayer Flags hang across the upper window in my bathroom.

There was a great TED Talk Radio Hour today on my local NPR affiliate WAMU that talked about truth versus memory, and our memories of the past which we assume equal truth, but so rarely capture what actually happened in spite of our fervent, sincere protestations to the contrary.

Here is my bathroom window, bejeweled with patio lights (as it has been for well over a decade now) and swinging in the evening breeze is a string containing a series of Tibetan Prayer flags. I do not believe in prayer, but I love the flags. They help me to remember that I am a blessed man (a lucky man, a fortunate man...whatever). That too many others live in this world without. Just knowing this shapes my truth...I can only believe that as a "21st century Rationalist" (a new term for Atheist I also heard on the radio today!), it's for the better.

Garden Developments

Some images from my gardens this weekend.

This little patch under the kitchen window used to be a useless patch of ground that I could get stuff to grow in sorta but little would outlast a year or two and nothing with any vigor. Then my neighbor gave me some extra Japanese Anemone a couple of years ago and things have changed! All that remains of any of the former co-habitants is a beleaguered looking evening primrose! 

Leaves of the Anemone japonica, and the flower is an Evening Primrose.

The ferns in front are loving the cool weather and rain! In nearly 20 years I've taken the front yard from a slab of hard clay that would barely support grass, to a lush "fern bank" with all manner of supporting players. There are 5 species of ferns in this photo: Woodland, Japanese Painted, Cinnamon, Lady, and Autumn.

A Spiderwort given to me by my neighbor in one of his moments of generosity.  He is really generous when he is generous!

These Spiderworts were discovered in my neighborhood during a walk this afternoon.  Lovely wildflowers.

Romeo Learns to Catch a Frisbee!

First Fetch!  Came close with the prize.

Second Fetch, right up to Daddy!

Hold still you rascally Hemp Disc Demon!

I win!!

Best in Show for Frisbee Catch: Romeo Federico Ash!

I'm done.  Let's go for a walk down to the park, okay?

Treats Takoma Park Style!

Buying Romeo treats at the local Dog Shop: The Big Bad Woof.  Of course the chews are made with Himalayan Yak Milk from an ancient recipe and promise to be gluten free, while the "frisbee" is made from Hemp by adults with disabilities in the USA!

Zen Deck Umbrella

Dog Days of May!

Dad's reading a book.

What to do?  I could go inside....

Aw, Hell -- I already here!

The Marriage Thing

Holiday Food

Having time at home on a Holiday weekend means being able to cook and my favorite meal of the day is Breakfast.  Here are examples of my breakfasts on Saturday and today.

Enjoying them as always on my back deck with the cool but lovely morning sun.

Great Walk With Romeo

On this nearly perfect day (Saturday, May 25), Romeo and I took a long walk, just over 3 miles with lots of piss stops, and olfactory intrigue!

Sligo Creek is such a lovely thing to walk along.

At one point we rested on a bench and did some bird watching.

Romeo sat patiently pressed up against my leg.  He just wants to know where the things that are important are!

Our appreciation to Mary's friends at the EPA for providing the bench!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Life 101: Got A Note From My Ex-

A lovely note actually.  A note on the occasion of the passing of his Grandmother and my dear friend, Marie Weinhold.

New pic of Marie from 1940.  She was a fetching beauty and just 20 years old, standing before her Westminster, Maryland family home.

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ May 26th to June 1st

What I'm Reading #52

Just finished a sweet little novel by Barbara Kingsolver, "The Bean Trees". She is a master weaver and creates such sympathetic characters--you love them, flaws and all.

I like that I've read "Poisonwood Bible" and "Lacuna" which both came after this one.  You get a great sense of her growth as a writer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Romeo Roundup!

Some resent images of Romeo doing what he does best: sleeping!  Hey, everyone needs a hobby, right?

Romeo has discovered the aquarium.... which he mostly very good about, but has also jumped up on and been roundly scolded over this dangerous display of exuberant curiosity.  What to do?  I love watching the fish, too.

By this photo, you'd think all Romeo does is sleep! You're not that far off, actually. When he plays, he plays hard, and I do my best to be rambunctious with him, too. But most of the time, he does like to sleep. We had a good walk this evening. He ate a full dinner--mixed moist and kibbles. Now he awaits my bedtime to awake just long enough to join me. He has taken to sleeping on my bed at my feet through the night and then in the morning snuggling up to spend a snooze cycle or two against my chest with me rubbing his belly and neck. It helps me wake up more refreshed, too!

There was a huge clap of Thunder tonight! I heard the thud of Romeo jumping off the bed, so I went to check on him. He's not in the least frightened by it, more just annoyed. So he was standing in the hall, I went to get the camera, and before I could get back he's ready to resume his sleep...but in the hallway. Meanwhile the rain was pouring in a Biblical deluge with Flash Flood Warnings up all around. 

Gay Head Memories

There was a time when commercially developed photos came with dates on the back (month & year)--it was a genius idea. I'm placing this pair from my own memory to June 1990. 

It was a time in my life when I had been teaching for 6 years, I was very troubled in my inner world about my life, about my sexuality, about my future. All of my friends were moving into marriages and families and I was without a sense of how to move forward.

Living in central Kentucky at that time didn't seem to help, either.

In the midst of this I took a two week trip (my first) through New England and the Maritimes of Canada with my dear friend, Kelly. His love and presence in my life, save it. That's not hyperbole. He showed me back then that I was worth loving; which in hindsight seems nearly absurd to me now, but at that time the angst my lost heart felt engulfed by personhood.

He has always been my faithful friend and constant love even though it's 20 years since we've been in one another's presence. Come what may, he and his wife are my true anchors in this wonderful, amazing life.

Stir-fry Heaven

Stir-Fry is the easiest of all dinners.  This one is made by sautéing the following items in a wok in this order:

Generous dribble of Olive Oil (let to heat up 1 minute)
Tablespoon of Oyster Sauce
Thin Beef cut in strips (4 minutes until browned)
2 Carrots (cut in discs 1 minute)
Florets of one crown of fresh Broccoli and bite-sized cubes of Red and Green Peppers (2 minutes)
small cans of Pineapple cubes, bamboo shoots, and a package of fresh bean sprouts (covered for 2 minutes)
1 container of Orange Ginger sauce (mix well and simmer for 2 minutes more)

Giver or take, 12 to 15 minutes.  You can extend the simmer time before adding the carrots step by lowering the heat and let the meat cook for another 10 minutes before adding the veggies.  If you do this, cover it and watch it so it doesn't dry out.  I add some the bamboo "juice" as needed.

The Rice is a store bought version called Sesame Ginger Rice from "Near East" brands.

And no stir-fry is ever complete without the Lay-Choy "crunchy noodles"!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Christmas Scheming

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas? In the past I have sent out homemade ornaments of fish, seahorses, and starfish....perhaps it's time to explore the world of sea turtles? Here a prototype I made this afternoon. I can see some changes I would make--but that's the role of the prototype.

Thank You, Pepco!

Not something you hear very often around here.  We (DC & MD) love to hate our poor power company for not being perfect and not planning for the effects of Global Warming and the increase in the intensity of the storms that sweep through here.  But now, a reason to praise them!

For some time now, I've been wondering what to do with an chest freezer that I have in the basement.  It works, but I don't need it...don't use it.  And now this flyer in my most resent bill--yeah!

World's Best BLT

The magic starts with the ingredients.  Layered from the bottom of the bun to the top in this order:

Chipotle Mayonnaise
Provolone Cheese
Fresh Lettuce from my gardens
Mix of Heirloom "Cherry" Tomatoes (Red, Orange, Yellow, and Purple)

Then the Bacon: Hickory Smoked, of course!

On a fresh Onion Roll.  Voila!

Rainy Weekend Gardening

Cool and wet, a great time to move gardens from spring to summer annuals.

This is a before and after pair of pics--the back walk garden is the only place in the yard where I plant annuals in the ground.  Everything else is self-actualing with perennials galore.  19 years of gardening pays off!