Thursday, April 30, 2015

Throw Back Thursday

Back when I was in Junior High, my 9th grade civics teacher invited myself and 4 of my friends (all his students) to a long weekend camp out with his family (wife and 6-year-old daughter) in northern Michigan.  Think about that?  How like totally strange that would be today, right?  We all went and had a great time.  Life was actually simpler once upon a time.

 Unfortunately, I was behind the camera on all of these...

Random Quote #178

Houston....We Have Steak!

My first steak ever!--no shit.  I've never tried to cook one before.  At 54, it was 'bought time.  And it worked!  On the broiler.  So tender and just perfectly juicy, pink with no blood.  I have to do this again.  Grrrr...
Served with fried yellow squash.  Steak and Squash the new steak and potatoes!

Random Quote #177

A Word About Balitimore

I want to say something about Baltimore. I love Baltimore. Baltimore is one of the greatest cities on this planet. Like every other city in America east of the Mississippi, it remains unhealed from the end of the Civil War forward. There remains a tremendous debt to crimes against humanity that were perpetrated against Africans and eventually African-Americans from their arrival as slaves in 1619 to their emancipation in 1864. All you have to do is say "40 acres and a mule" and the persecuted ancestors of our slave owning nation know exactly what you are talking about.

That debt did not cease with emancipation. This nation continued to live deeply unequal lives where schemes and laws were embedded in the culture that treated black people as less than fully human for decades. Laws that eventually came to be know as Jim Crow laws, but actions that were not limited to such blatant legal demarcations. We've never fully accepted responsibility for our racist past or present.

What happened in Baltimore is mirrored in what just happened in Nepal. Years of pent up pressure were released in a 7.8 earthquake of social upheaval. It could have been any city USA. It HAS been to many cities USA.

But about Baltimore. In spite of the legacy, Baltimore is not a caricature of racial strife. It is a city that has made amazing strides forward. It is resilient city. A city that will continue to improve and deserves everyone's support and commitment. This riot is not the end of a conversation. It is an exclamation point to focus that conversation with urgency in a better, more perfect trajectory. The people of Baltimore just want to be treated with dignity and to expect from their police department justice. May this be the legacy of Freddie Grey. May those officers who are concealing the truth find the courage and integrity to name names and accept responsibility for their actions and crimes.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mid-Spring Blooms

 Wild Geraniums brought to my gardens from Kentucky back in 1994.
 Ragwort is just such a wonderful gift to my gardens.

Spring Green Woods

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts

 Take a thinly sliced Chicken Breast and sprinkle it with crumbled Pepper Jack Cheese, then a layer of fresh shredded Spinach.  Next, spread some Cedars' brand Spinach Dip (It's basically more spinach, yogurt, a little feta and water chestnuts).  Roll the breast up like a pinwheel and wrap in a slice a Bacon.  I baked it on a bed of Onion slices just to keep it off of the bottom of the baking dish.
Bake in oven at 350˚ for 55 minutes and then turn on the broiler at 550˚ for 3 to 5 minutes longer to crisp up the Bacon a little.
I served it with some Stove Top Stuffing.

Flower Portraits

Random Quote #176

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Sitting on my deck, I am appreciative of the power of the sun to transform my view of my gardens.

In both you can see two white dogwoods.  Aren't they amazing?  Both appeared around the same time on their own as seedlings.  The only thing I had to do with their growth was NOT plucking them up.  That was a great move on my part.  I could not have purchased and planted two better ornamentals, and all it cost me was patience and the delight of watching them mature from season to season.

Garden Update

To really fully appreciate this you have to know that when I bought my home back in 1994 the backyard was a barren wasteland.  Grass would barely even grow!  The soil was a rock infested clay nightmare.  At one point the previous owners had kenned a dog in the lower north end of the yard and that was the only place where the soil was not compacted and without loam.  (I owe that to a couple of seasons of wood chips and a lot of dog shit and piss.)

So to look at where I am today, I have a very profound sense of accomplishment.  Plants thrive and seasons fill with a natural succession of native plants that bloom and transform the spaces from season to season with tons of interest and beauty.

Today, I took charge of a small patch near my sunroom and planted three buckets of hardy looking monarda (Bee Balm) in the space.  I have tried to establish a colony of bee balm twice in the past.  In the past it has succumbed to mold and dies out.  I have neighbors with very successful patches of this plant, so I know it is possible.  Perhaps the third time will be the charm.  I am trying this in a new location.
Looks almost heart-shaped.

While doing this I was strafed by a wren and thought, 'What the hell?'  It was very deliberate, and wrens have always gotten along with me.  Then I noticed that they had taken up residence in one of my bird houses suspended from the arbor entrance.  I love wrens.  They are such tenacious little architects of nest building.  Another score in my quest to establish a sanctuary.  

Random Quote #175

Romeo, My Love

Today is the second anniversary of the arrival of my canine cohabitant, Romeo, to the United States.  He was adopted from an organization in Costa Rica that rescues street dogs.

Back in 1984 I taught at a private school (fresh out of College) in Costa Rica.  In 2012 via Facebook I reunited with one of my former students who had since emigrated to the United States and was part of an amazing organization called Animal Rescate that ran a clinic and shelter in San José devoted to the rescue and adoption of street dogs.  In time, I was introduced to Romeo through him, Federico.  Federico's parents had rescued him and when I heard about his story, I said that he sounded like a real Romeo.  This led to a photo of "Romeo" being sent to me and as the story goes--I was nabbed, hook, line and sinker!

So it was that on this date in 2013, Romeo arrived in the United States.  He made landfall in Houston, but didn't actually make it to DC until tomorrow.  There were problems with his flight itinerary.  Never the less, this is the date of his emigration.  And we celebrated it by napping on the deck!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What I'm Reading #83

Do you have books that you've read more than once, just because once is not enough? I do. Lord knows, I've read James Baldwin's "Go Tell It On The Mountain" at least 4 times, and some parts even more. Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" is two-fer, along with Ann Patchett's "Run". I am presently adding "Gentlemen of the Road" by Michael Chabon to this list of multiple read-worthy books. And this one is just pure fun. An adventure in the mode of comics and classic swashbuckler tales. This edition even includes illustrations by Gary Gianni in the uber-classic style of Frank Frazetta. It's language is rich and idiosyncratic in a way that just demands ones delight.

Mid-Week Garden: Tulips and Ragwort, Baby

The Man Of La Mancha

Been too long (last December) since I went to the theater.  Got my ticket for next Saturday's performance of Washington Shakespeare Theatre's production of "The Man Of La Mancha".  Can't wait!

A Trip To The Nursery

Just to see what's there....right!

 These gorgeous purple and gold pansies were irresistible.
 Amazing purple Heliotropes were captivators of my desires, too.
 The spring plantings were pansies and violas (above), and the summer plantings came from today's trip the nursery (below).

Left side summer and right side spring.  All is summer now.

Pura Vida: Takoma Park Style

Random Quote #174

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ April 26th to May 2nd

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Comes To Sligo Creek

Star Trek Memories #3!

As part of my Star Trek legacy--I created this water world with some thought of writing a story around it.
 The Sssiar were a lizard-like race that was introduced in my fanzine Sehlat's Roar.