Friday, April 16, 2021

Foodie Friday - Fussy Foods

 I am talking about over the top, pretentious, meals, that are served in multiple tiny courses, filled with flavor and texture, sometimes with ingredients I have heard of, but would be unlikely to find in my local mega mart (well here in the DC area, if you know where to shop you can buy almost any edible from around the world.)  I love it, and when the opportunity presents itself, I love to indulge in this kind of eating.  Fussy food, meticulous service, food you want to take pictures of, then take you time savoring and enjoying. But I never find myself cooking that way.  It is foreign to my midwestern farm boy upbringing, where servings where large and nourishing, and nearly everything fit on one plate (green salads and desserts were the exception).  Maybe I should try slowing down and cooking this way, it is fun to eat.  

The photos above were taken in Normandy, in a restaurant that was definitely trying for Michelin stars.  This was the short lunch menu.  

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Oh my dog, the new Washer and Dryer Saga

 When I bought the condo, it came with an older Maytag stacked washer and dryer.  The washer and dryer are in the kitchen, in a small space this proves to be handy (it is unusual in homes in the USA for the washing machine to be in the kitchen.)  I know it was older, the color was discontinued at least 20 years ago, and I think longer.  It had served us well with just one service call.  Recently the timer on the dryer went bad, fortunately the dryer still worked, it just didn't turn itself off.  I decided it was time to buy something new.  

A couple of weeks ago we were out running errands, looked at an LG in Lowes, found no one really helpful when I needed to know the size, space is limited.  We stopped across the street at a local appliance store chain.  The dealer handles mostly better brands.  I told the Sandy the appliance guy what I was looking for and what my concerns are.  Most of the top load stacked machines are cheap, made for apartments, and not the most durable.  The full size front loaders can be stacked, but then the dryer controls end up 6 feet off the floor, and that can be a problem. The LG that we had looked at was a front loader, with controls for the washer and dryer in the middle, easy to reach. But a couple of people I know have had quality problems with LG. 

Sandy said, I have the ideal machine, but it is kind of expensive.  Speed Queen makes a front loading integrated stacked machine, washer on the bottom, dryer on the top. It was, well I will be blunt, and we usually don't talk about money, a little over $3,100, plus tax, plus delivery, plus $20 to haul away and recycle the old machine, all in just under $3,500. I have bought cars for less. I took the information, and the dimensions and went home to think about it.  That is a ton of money, and I am stingy.  I know the brand, they are very well made, made in the country, the machine may well outlive us.  After a couple of days, I decided to stimulate the economy, and went back and ordered it. 

Galloping Gertie was delivered, and before it finished running the first load I was calling saying this is not right.  It shook, it vibrated, it moved itself around the room.  They sent out a service guy, who spent about 5 minutes looked at it and said, the problem is the floor.  It will work fine.  He left, I ran another load, and I was afraid of the  machine. It got worse.  They sent out another tech, who leveled it, and adjusted the legs and said, if that doesn't fix it, tell them to replace it.  It was better, but still it moved 8 inches forward and 4 inches sideways running one load.  I emailed, I was too angry to talk. 

They replaced it.  Tech number 2, did the delivery and set up.  About 30 minutes into it, he cursed, called his supervisor, speaking in rapid fire Spanish about the loco machina. When the call was finished I went in the kitchen to check on the carnage.  He said, this is a new model, the guy who delivered the first one removed the delivery instructions, that had the location of the two new hidden shipping bolts, that have to be removed, or the machine tears itself apart.  He pointed to the bolts in a plastic bag and said, this one will work.  He was right.  It works.   It is fast, quiet, I hope it outlives us.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Way We Were Wednesday - Dream House

My mother didn't like taking the kids to an open house. There were four of us, hard to control and keep track of. One with ADHD, one easily led, one curious, one prone to stare off into space (you can guess which one I was.) This somehow was an exception.  This was in 1965 or 1966, on the side of Camelback Mountain overlooking Phoenix.  I don't remember the inside of the house, but I remember the pool clinging to the mountain side with an expansive view of the valley below. I could watch that view for days. A dream house, available at that time for something like $30,000, the property taxes on it would be more than that today.

I remember it, because of the view (I was maybe 7 or 8 years old) and because we were allowed to stop and look.  If I ever win big on the lottery, I will go buy it, or one in that neighborhood with that amazing view to stare off into.    

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Travel Tuesday - San Francisco the complicated second visit

 My second visit to San Francisco almost didn't happen, maybe the world was trying to tell me something.  I was scheduled to present a training in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco as part of a consulting contract I had with a national association of retired people.  The plan was that I would fly out, spend a couple of nights in Santa Rosa, do the training, then stay on for a long weekend in San Francisco at my own expense.  As long as the airline ticket didn't cost extra, I could add personal days onto the trip (a rule that changed near the end of the contract - even if it cost more I had to fly home as soon as possible after the work was done.) I searched online and found a great deal on a hotel, between China Town and the business district, as I recall it was $99 a night, pre-paid, non-refundable, no credits, no changes, no exceptions.  It was a really great price, I paid for three or four nights.  

Then things took an odd turn, the local host of the training had a change of staff, a period when they didn't reply to messages, then just a few days before I was set to fly out, we were told that they hadn't told anyone about the planned training and were only expecting 4 or 5 attendees.  The decision was made to cancel the training.  Not my decision, not what I would have done.  I have always felt that if I reach one person who actually does good with what I have to say, and makes someone's life better, my time was well spent. Besides, I was paid a flat fee, it didn't matter to me if there were 5 people or 500 people in the room.  

So there I am left with a hotel room paid for in San Francisco for the weekend.  I spent a few minutes being upset, and mad, then thought, well why not go anyway?  I checked and Delta had frequently flyer seats available. I checked with my sweet bear, who said GO!  So I did.  I had a wonderful time in San Francisco.  Saw sights I had not seen on my first visit, and really enjoyed the weekend.  The room was nice, with an amazing view of Coit Tower and the Bay.  

On the trip home, things took an unexpected turn.  Someplace over Texas, at about 38,000 feet, the movie stopped playing, the lights went out, then about 10% of the lights came back on. I was watching one of the Lethal Weapon movies, they had just shot up the bottom of a swimming pool, I never did see the rest of the movie. Within a couple of minutes the flight crew came on the public address system, and said there was a problem with the electrical generating system, and rather than going to Atlanta, we would be on the ground in Dallas shortly.  They weren't kidding we went from 38,000 feet to on a runway in Dallas in about 10 minutes, when we taxied up to a gate, there was smoke pouring out from the engine on my side.  Apparently an alternator had failed, and the other one overloaded and failed.  

In Dallas I was redirected onto another flight going to Atlanta.  I missed the last flight out of Atlanta to my home airport. Delta put me in the nicest Hyatt near the airport for the night, flew me home the next morning.  

An interesting trip that almost didn't happen, almost didn't end well.  

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday Five - Rest

We need rest, without it, we die, lack of it impacts our physical and mental health.

1: What time do you usually go to bed? 
2: What time do you usually wake up in the morning? 
3: Do you set an alarm to wake up in the morning? 
4: Do you wear anything to sleep in? 
5: Do you sleep through, or get up in the night? 

My Answers: 
1: What time do you usually go to bed?  Around 9 PM, what was punishment when I was a child, is now being nice to myself. 
2: What time do you usually wake up in the morning?  Around 6 AM 
3: Do you set an alarm to wake up in the morning? Not usually, only for an early flight or meeting. 
4: Do you wear anything to sleep in? I sleep as nature intended. 
5: Do you sleep through, or get up in the night?  Very seldom. 

Please share your answers in the comments. 

I have a file of incomplete draft posts, I started this one back in 2018, and just couldn't find the questions, I opened it this week, and the words just flowed.  

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Saturday Morning Post - Home

Looking over a week's photos, the spring transformation is absolutely amazing.  Getting out and walking, nearly everyday, in the same place, with the camera in hand, I am becoming very intune with the landscape and the season.  

I have joined a Facebook group, Virginia and Virginia Photographers and I am enjoying both posting and seeing what others post.  I am not from here, but I have grown to feel comfortable here. Northern Virginia, the DC metro area is a modern world Capital, an easy place for me to be comfortable.  Rural Virginia is harder for me, generations of racism, sexism and isolation make it culturally and socially backward. 

The simple question, where are you from, often brings an answer from me of "that's complicated." I have lived in 5 states, mid-west, southwest, south east and mid-Atlantic.  I have no desire to return to the place I was born in Michigan, if not for family I would almost never visit.  Phoenix was 55 years ago, though the landscape still makes me homesick.  I will be forever connected to Florida (I have a professional license there,) but I have no desire to return to living in the hurricane zone, and the conservative nutters have taken over state government.  I will be forever connected to Kentucky (I have a professional license there,) but we never wanted to live there, we went there for opportunities (that treated us VERY WELL.) So here I am in the DC burbs, for a dozen plus years now. My job requires me to live here, and I hope the job lasts another 3 years (then I will retire - promise!) But is it home? 

So is home where I am now? Where I am from? If so which place that I am from? Where I want to be? My father use to answer, "home is where I hang my hat, and I don't wear a hat anymore."

For me, for now, feeling a connection to a place, feeling intune with the season and the landscape, makes me feel at home.   

Do you live in a place that feels like home for you?