Sunday, July 31, 2016
Some jokes never get old. One time a friend and I were arguing about nature and he passionately demanded, "Do you know the lifecycle of the cicada?" I replied, "No, but if you hum a few bars, I'll fake it," and that makes me laugh still.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
The proper tomato sandwich is made with white bread. Some insist on Pepperidge Farm's; my bread machine makes mine. Slather mayonnaise on both bread slices; pave those with ripe tomato slices piled half an inch high, then salt and pepper them. Lay some fresh basil leaves down if you have them. Close the sandwich and mash it down a bit so the juices flow. And what happens next is just private.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Pictured above is an azulejo chapel ceiling (in the seaside town of Nazare; the chapel was just a hole in the wall and I went in and beheld this), and below, a restaurant front in Nova da Gaia; a bunny-themed tile in another restaurant; a doorway with atypical monochromatic tile; a bathroom in one of our hotels in the tiny town of Pinhao; and a sampler from one of my hosts' tile collections, now tiling his kitchen wall. It was I who was obsessed with tiles, and it'd be great if we could put people to work tiling things here.
Monday, July 18, 2016
The Portuguese are friendly and polite, the youth speak English, and so many of them, all ages, helped me when I couldn't work their subway or the train schedule to Lisbon and felt stupid because all I could say was "Good day" and "Thank you." One day, tired, I pointed at a menu item not knowing what it was, but it was 2 euros (about $2.15 USD) and to my surprise came the most wonderful slice of ham and slice of cheese on one of their marvelous crusty rolls, plus a latte. These people are obsessed with painted ceramic tiles -- on the fronts of buildings and churches, hallways, bathrooms -- and I became obsessed as well, and will soon (after I wash and cook my shrooms) post a few photos of sights that knocked my socks off.
Friday, July 8, 2016
|Come over, I'll make you coffee|
I have terrible memories of Demetrius's 12-cup coffeemaker and how he drank all 12 cups every day and became a roaring monster, unable to sleep. I had been contented with my pour-over.
Each Nespresso pod costs 70 to 75 cents and each of the 17 different varieties is sold in packs of 10, each type with with jewel-colored, brushed-aluminum pods and romantic names. The pitch-dark Turkish coffee called "Khazar" is my favorite, with "Roma" a close second; on Sundays I like the "Ciocolatino" espresso with its chocolate whiff. The "Linizio Lungo" in the blue pod is my daily, with "Indriya" and "Dulsao" for variety; the green pod is a limited-edition Rwanda coffee.The pods are recyclable.
This machine costs about $120 but you can pay fortunes for stainless-steel ones that will froth your milk and connect with your phone. I know an owner who keeps a Nespresso machine in his bedroom and connects with it upon awakening.
I have one caffeinated cup per day, taking great care to time it when I most need caffeine, and taking time out to sit and savor it, thinking happy thoughts. The nearest Starbuck's is 17 miles away.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Before they arrived I had a good look at it and wondered why well-leafed oak branches drop and found an excellent online article by Heather Hacking (a fine name for a reporter interested in botany) who interviewed arborist Scot Wineland:
"Trees draw up a tremendous amount of water during the day and release the moisture through their leaves. The process is known as evapotranspiration.
If you tied a plastic bag around a potted plant, the bag would become cloudy as moisture is released to the air. If the tree hasn't had a chance to shed some of that moisture, the "phenomenal weight" of the water can bust a limb.
Sometimes a tree will have an ever-so-slight defect, or a crack. Perhaps woodpeckers or squirrels damaged the limb in a way that leads to a larger crack over time and later decay.
When the limb gets too heavy with water, that crack can lead to a break. There can literally be buckets of water that flows from where the limb breaks, the arborist said."
See the entire article here. It's from the Chico, California Enterprise-Record. Maples and other trees have limb drop, too.
I didn't see any water in the morning, nor any black ants at the core of the fallen branch, but that doesn't mean they weren't there, because my eye is untrained. I am relieved the 25-foot branch didn't fall on anyone or anything.
Monday, July 4, 2016
Last night on vacation with my father we went swimming, he in the deep water, I in the shallow, but while wading I could watch on the other side of me a couple, man and woman, gliding, bellies down, in a marvelously fast gliding boat; the man was teaching and the woman was catching on.
My father died 34 years ago. I love seeing him in dreams. Last time, 10 years ago, I was trying to withstand my husband’s constant abuse because I didn’t want to get divorced, and Daddy appeared, crying, and I understood he loved me and did not raise me to be abused, even by a sick man.
Short, compact, dark and hairy, Daddy spoke with a heavy Slavic accent but also with the nasality of people who learned English in Chicago. He worked double shifts at the tractor factory when there was work, giving us all he had of love and care, a real family man. I used to think all men were as kind, generous, and steady as my father. If only they were. I am a fool for kindliness.
In the photo, my sister and niece tend his grave. There’s an American flag on it, always. We live in a great country and he understood that. Immigrants are our strength.