Sunday, June 29, 2014

Random Quote #164

Photos From Recent Walks To Sligo Creek Park

 Jewelweed, a seasonal treat and anti-poison ivy medicinal.
 Mulberry berries--always a treat.
One of our bridges crowned with Mimosa blossoms.
My best buddy, Roméo.  Such a handsome and romantic dude.

How A Dog Usurps His Human Companion's Bed

 It starts on a lazy Saturday morning:
 Continues into a languorous Saturday afternoon,
 And by evening time, he's got the better pillow figured out.
But when he turns to you as asks, "Can you turn the light off when you leave?"  You know that power shift is compete.

Food Photos From The Past Week

Last Thursday was a celebrate Broccoli day! Breakfast was sauteed broccoli and onions wrapped in an egg "omelet" with some sun-dried tomato pesto and vermont sharp cheddar cheese. The side is a black cherry yogurt with fresh halved/quartered cherries--cherry-licious! Cinnamon-hazelnut coffee to complete.
 Last night a classic dinner: sauteed Tilapia, with home made slaw and perfectly steamed broccoli. C'était délicieux!
 I made this one up on the fly with things I had around. Let's call it Turkey, Zucchini, Onion & Rice Casserole.  I needed to use up the rest of the turkey breast, basically.
Half of a roasted turkey breast (cubed)
2 smaller zucchinis (cut into half medallions)
1 onion diced
I cup kasmati rice (cooked)
1 can of condensed cream of onion soup
1 8 oz container of sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of black pepper

mixed with 
fill casserole and then top with some grated cheese of choice (I used munster this time) and french's crunchy onion topping.
Bake at 320˚ for 55 minutes.
 Served it with a salad.
Italian Vegetable soup. You start by brown onions with pancetta and rosemary. Then add 5 cups water, some oregano, caraway seeds, salt, black pepper, and basil along with a vegetable stock bouillon cube (Knorr). Then add carrots, cabbage and green beans and simmer until about an inch of liquid has reduced. Next add I can of diced tomatoes with italian spices, and 1 can of white beans. Simmer about hour on low covered this time, but with a lid that allows the broth to escape. Finally add 1 zucchini chopped and turn the heat off. The zucchini will cook to perfection without falling apart this way.
Not cooking today. So I took a tomato and a purple onion from the farmer's market basket and combined it with a cucumber from my vines, some orange zima tomatoes and black olives and then tossed it with a little olive oil and vinegar and lots of fresh Italian herbs (oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary) and let it marinade for a couple of hours. Then served it on a bed of fresh greens with a little central american queso crumbled on top.

Fun Photos

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ June 29th to July 5th

Cucumber Beauty

From my Cucumber trellis project.  I really like the blossoms for the sake of a vine with great blossoms.

From My First Through-Back Thursday

I don't have that many pictures of myself. Thursday's are stressful on Facebook!
 Here I am teaching in central Kentucky back in the late 80's. I think this was my 3rd year teaching. I was a social studies teacher. The "posters" in thesecond photo were made by moi from recent issues of National Geographic and featured images from cities across the USA. I think I made 12 of them. I used them to get my students to compare their world of rural central Kentucky with other places around the country. I've always thought it was important to develop in students an ability to use data to form opinions and to compare the things they know with the larger "knowing" all around them. The five in the second photo are Tulsa, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They also include maps of the cities and I had a set of map reading activities for the students to do, as well.
The little guy in the picture has a story, too. He was such a good-hearted little imp: ornery to the core. We got along well, though he knew how to push adult buttons without having to work too hard at it! He was often in trouble and on more than one occasion got a "woopin'" from the principal. 

He was of a shorter stature than most of his peers, and when he ran, he had an unusual gate. He lived with his father, the result of a BAD divorce. His mother left with her lover and moved to Florida and he never saw her. Early on, I realized that he had trouble retaining information, and so I did a review of his files. The first thing I noticed was how his grades had gone from A's in middle Elementary to B's and then C's in 5th grade. I asked his father about this, but he didn't seem to think all that much about it. 
So I continued my exploration by obtaining his confidential files that contained information from his parent's divorce--notes and things they'd sent to former teachers and school officials that were kept incase things got "ugly" again regarding his custody. And it was there I found an obscure little reference from a torn doctor's note attached to the back of a note from his mother that said something like, "cafe au lait spotting indicative of this condition." 
I then sought out a consultation from my doctor--who had been an elementary school teacher before she went back to med school. She told me to explore a likely cause. I did some further research and all the signs were pointing toward it. Then I found a way to contact his mom long distance, and she confirmed that he had a condition called "neurofibromatosis". 
The long and short of it was that his father didn't know this--or so he said. And the reason he had difficulty running was that in all likelihood he had cysts on his hip joints. Ergo, I) NO MORE Woopin's, and 2) Dad got more proactive getting him medical help; although I knew that money would be an issue. I wasn't no Mother Teresa--I didn't save him, but I would like to think I got the ball moving in the right direction. The following summer, he and his dad moved away.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Who's Your Daddy?

Pork Paprikash

Light Lunch

Mixed greens with tomatoes and cucumbers from my own Gardens!


Just do it!

Morning Beltway Moment

Got an early start to the day helping a friend. Heading back home and I discovered something quite wonderful. Driving on the Beltway @ 5:15 AM is a helluva lot more fun than doing it between 4:00 and 5:30 PM! 

It's sorta like this: You're tooling along on a road with 4 to 5 lanes of pavement in either direction in the company of perhaps 1.5 lanes worth of fellow travelers. The rising sun, still far from visible, casts a pinkish hue on the edges of the indigo blue sky, but still the morning star and a the thinnest sliver of the waning moon are visible like some flipped version of the Pakistani Flag. And you can drive at 75 without feeling the least bit out of place. Something you're doing without even realizing it until you feel the centrifugal force as your pick-up dips into and rounds out of the big curve at the Mormon Temple. But now that you know, you are not dissuaded. You maintain your pace all the way to the top of the hill at Georgia Avenue, an impossible feat during rush hour. Over top you float into the languorous S-turn around Holy Cross Hospital with its rising new addition. Enough of the sky is still a deep blue to give the top two floors under-construction and festooned all around and within with large amber-glowing incandescent light bulbs the look of a cruise ship crossing a calm sea. Then it's decision time. Do you exit University Boulevard or continue on to New Hampshire Avenue? You choose, University Boulevard. It's bound to be more interesting @ 5:25 in the morning than NH Ave. So you ease off the gas just enough to let the semi to your right clear your pick-up's front end, and then glide across 4 lanes like a speed skater coming out of the final turn and with a whoosh leave the beltway in your rearview mirror.

My New Project

The impetus for this actually goes back to when I taught English in China in 1981.  While touring the countryside I saw large ponds by farm houses.  They were sources for the raising of fish and the care of ducks, and many had these huge bamboo lattices covering a major portion.  Growing on the lattices were cucumbers!  The farmers used a boat to row out under them to reach up of harvest the fruit.  They also provided shade for the ducks.

So back to this week here.  On the relative cheap, I bought these two trellises and put them in the planter boxes just to see if I could get the cucumbers to grow on them.  Once that worked I have created a set of beams to create a frame for the vines to grow up and form a canopy on.

I Love Trees

I always have.  And so I notice trees.  Like this one growing next to the drive in the back of Ricciuti's Restaurant at Olney House in Olney, Maryland.  It's the most magnificent Sycamore I've every seen.  It must rival the age of the restaurant which was first built in 1800.

Avenue Q--Two

What a great "theater date" with my buddy, Perri. Back to Olney Theater to see their production of "Avenue Q" which curiously enough she and I went to back in (2009?) to see the National Broadway Touring Company's production down at the Warner Theater in DC. And you know what? Olney's production was honestly better. Better sets, better choreography, and every role in stellar hands, I can't think of a character that I didn't like more in this production and especially the roles of Gary Coleman and Christmas Eve. I've been to productions by Arena Stage, Washington Shakespeare Theater, and Studios Players--all nationally recognized as outstanding regional theater companies--and again, I gotta say--Olney is, at least for musicals, every single bit as good or better. (WST doesn't do musicals)

 Afterwards we went to Ricciuti's Restaurant. I got the Calamari appetizer--best breaded squid I've ever eaten, and the Chicken Saltimbocca (with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fettuccine, and sun-dried tomatoes in pan sauces.) A wonderful Afternoon!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Today's Sermon


When night calls for sounds
to cease, the barred owl
yet cries "Who cooks for you?"
and somewhere a woman
slippers through the dark
to a kitchen where water drips
a slow beat on the worn basin.
She nooses the tap with string,
a strand that drops to the drain,
and waits for each bead
to catch the thread and
descend into a well of silence
not even night can bring.

~ Karl Plank, 1951 -