Blog

The Flood Will Come

our ditch

I’m feeling good about our ditch.

Between our house and the house next door, running from the street to the back of the lot, this ditch conveys water to a large storm drain. Surface water drains into this ditch. Our sump water is pumped into this ditch. The water from the long ditch across the street, a major tributary, flows under the road through 12-inch pipe and into our ditch.

Six feet across, four feet deep, in a hard rain this ditch moves a lot of water. Unfortunately, along a third of its length, six tall, prolific cottonwood trees loom over it. They drop loads of crap–pods and clots of cotton spring and summer, a continuous blizzard of leaves in the fall, sticks year around–a plague of tree matter that winds up in the ditch and is dragged by the flow of water in a heavy downpour all the way back to the storm drain, which clogs, backs up, and forms a lake that can only be unclogged by hand. Of course, our backed-up ditch affects the one across the street. We’re all in this together.
Continue reading “The Flood Will Come”

An editorial

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National Healthcare Is National Defense.

According to the Wall Street Journal, South Korea is capable of testing 20,000 people a day for coronavirus. Way more than the US. How much more? That’s a difficult question–because the number being tested in the US is uncertain. We can say with confidence, however, that the US is testing fewer than 20,000 people a day.

For the scale of this US failure, consider the numbers. Continue reading “An editorial”

What Comes Next

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Tizi says, Hey why don’t you Google the local stores and find out if they have special hours for senior citizens?  

And I think, But why would I do that? 

And then I remember.

I haven’t developed the habit of thinking of myself as a senior citizen. Then it hits you, like a pie in the face. A week ago, talking to my son in LA, I described our distancing regime during the pandemic.  Good, he said. Just that morning it had occurred to him that we were in greater danger. He’d remembered: we’re old.  Continue reading “What Comes Next”

TP Me

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I was first in line at the Lahser and Maple Kroger yesterday morning, a Sunday. The doors would open at 7:00. I’d been waiting in my car for fifteen minutes, cars pulling into the lot after me, first one, then two or three at a time, killing headlights, engines. I was there more out of curiosity than immediate need. The day before I’d been to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards at 7:00 a.m., checking on what they were out of.  I bought a can of Lysol. There were three left on the shelf. A few days before that, in a late afternoon stop at Kroger, I saw one half gallon of 2 percent milk on the shelf. One.  Continue reading “TP Me”

Read This Book

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What a satisfying and haunting reading experience Katey Schultz provides in her new novel. Still Come Home is set in Afghanistan and takes the reader into the experience of four main characters, each of whom negotiates the terror and loss of that endless conflict. Summing up the harsh landscape and the muddle of that war, one character observes, “The only way to win is to survive.”   Continue reading “Read This Book”

Lentils, not Freckles

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Tizi suggests a new menu item for New Year’s Eve. A local tradition in Romagna, her region of Italy. I’m sure I’ve heard the word “lentils” before in Italian and decide to try it out. Use or lose it, right?  “But why lentiggini?” I ask.

“For good luck,” she says. “And it’s lenticchie.  Lentiggini are freckles.”

Lentils, not freckles. Continue reading “Lentils, not Freckles”

Rabbit Relax

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Two words, a friend of mine’ll get a little crazy.

“Bone broth.”

We have a box of it in the fridge.  (Yes, a box.) It came in handy this morning. I’ve got some rabbit quarters on the stove, cooking long and low and slow.  

Olive oil and garlic (the more of the latter the better), salt and pepper, fresh rosemary. They brown gently, front and back, getting a tan in the pan.  Some white wine extends the cook, quarter cup, turning those rabbit quarters every 20-30 minutes to avoid stickage.  Continue reading “Rabbit Relax”

If I Were a Chicken Thigh

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This is how I would want to be cooked. Lay me down in olive oil and onion.

I woke up today thinking about olives. It was 4:00 a.m., my usual time to wake up thinking about something. This morning it was olives, and lunch. Confession: I often wake up thinking about lunch.

A fond reminiscence in our family is how food-oriented my father-in-law was; well, a better word is obsessed. He too often awoke with food on his mind and began planning the mid-day meal before his head even left the pillow.  He would turn to Rose, my mother-in-law, and  say to her, whispering quietly so as not to disturb her rest, “Ro, do you think we should defrost that chicken for lunch today?” It pissed her off. He too, I should add, was inclined to wake up early. She would harrumph, Sta Zitto, Gigi. Che piaga! Translating roughly to: What a pain in the ass you are.  He would roll out of bed and head for the kitchen. Continue reading “If I Were a Chicken Thigh”

Cheesey

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Certain things, you think: I shouldn’t eat that. We had people over for dinner a couple nights ago. During the cheese phase of the evening, we unwrapped a chunk of Tuma, a very mild #pecorino.  Much later, during the good-night and clean-up phase of the evening, the Tuma was left on the counter, exposed to the air. Continue reading “Cheesey”