Search This Blog

Sunday, September 3, 2023

 This summer, I've been gifted a bounty of vegetables, fruits and herbs as I live the audacious idea of eating all the fresh food in front of me.

My friend Cat, whose actual name I do not know, alone has given me marjoram and tarragon, zucchini, green beans and fresh lettuce. Our gathering point is at a bar and I inevitably start eating immediately. Turns out fresh green beans and lettuce goes well with a gin and tonic.

I used the marjoram, along with olive oil and lemon, on a spatch-cocked chicken over the grill. I like tarragon with orange so I slathered a couple of chicken breasts with the spice along with both juice and grated orange rind and grilled that, too.

Others have given me cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, sweet corn and cucumbers. My new favorite cucumber dish is vinegar cucumbers, perfect on a hot day. The tomatoes? I make sandwiches of them like my mom used to make. Toast some bread, butter the toast, take sliced tomatoes and smash them into the bread, finish with salt, pepper and some mayo and you'll have the taste of summer in  your mouth.

My neighbors, the Kozachs, leave a surprise veggie bag at my door now and then. One of the tomatoes they left was so freshly picked it was still warm. The green beans wet from the sprinkler.

All fresh. All healthy. All real food.

But the better bounty is this group of friends I've developed, who feed me not with just fresh veg but with love.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and fresh veg unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

 Kid is out in Hollywood, suffering the vicissitudes of the strikes of writers and actors.

But she's still doing comedy and skits: Hollywood Reporter Roundtable: Nepo-Babies - YouTube. (Trigger warning: Kid says the F word -- not sure where she learned that.)

She tends to create surreal characters -- again, don't know where that comes from.

I love her characters as they're well-drawn and she picks out mannerisms to make them work, in this case changing her timbre and over enunciating to make the character work. I would be honest with her as I've taught without honesty, we can't be sure of the world. I've told her if she stunk it up, I'd let her know.

She shares the same with me. When I wrote a movie script while out of work, she read it and proclaimed, "It needs work, dad." I can appreciate that. She said every 10th to 12th line needs to pop and that I wrote the script too narratively. I dig that. Critiquing I can work with.

However, she did enjoy my stage play about Rasputin's daughter being mauled by a bear in Peru, Indiana. True story there.

I'm incredibly proud of her as a person and as a performer.

Please check out her video, along with her use of the F word.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and the occasional F bomb unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

 Thank you, Bertha, for sending my friend $12.

The back story: I recently wrote a column about a friend who waited on a table during the Fourth of July weekend in Hayward -- likely the busiest season of the year for our town. which triples in size during the summer. The restaurant was jammed and dinner took a while. The customers, wanting to make a point, tipped something like $2 on a $200 tab.

Only, they didn't make a point -- other than they were cheap and petty. Non-tippers don't know the circumstances. Someone could have called off. There might be equipment issues. A manager might have understaffed.

But what they non-tippers should know is the restaurant is jammed. It's a holiday weekend. Dinner is going to be slower than usual. Relax and enjoy an additional beverage.

Well, here comes my friend Bertha, who reads the blog and my newspaper. She sent a $10 bill to help cover part of the tip and her usual $2 bill for good luck.

"OMG tell Bertha I love her. That's so sweet," my friend texted me.

Here's where the story gets sweeter: My friend's grandmother, who passed just last year, also gave out $2 bills so my friend has a collection of them.

Now she can add to her collection a special bill from a friend neither of us have met, making it extra special.

For all the difficulties we have personally and in this world, it's stories like these that make better days.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and $2 bills unto all of you my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

 The singularly nicest person in my life died two weeks ago but I couldn't bring myself to her funeral.

I'm still brittle from mom's death.

I imagined crying through the two-hour drive, then crying through the services, then crying for another two-hour drive back.

And probably crying for days after, which I did anyway.

Micki Dierks was the nicest, sweetest, kindest person in my life. 

I met her in college when I was a 22-year-old freshman and she was a sophomore. Without any talent or intelligence, I applied to be the opinion editor for the college newspaper, The Spectator, and -- good or bad -- was accepted, I assume because no one else wanted to do it. We first met when I attended the semester starting meeting -- everyone in the room knew each other except for me. I was an unknown. Micki was late and knocked on the window so I went and opened the door for her.

She smiled and giggled and thanked me -- that was Micki from the start.

Despite my own failings, she always was kind to me. 

I have a distraught sense of humor -- which is a nice way to say inappropriate. She always laughed but never took part in the unpleasant repartee. 

She was a straight good person, raised obviously by wonderful parents, who believed in being good at all times.

And she was.

Except this one time when we had to develop photos for a project in photojournalism class, which would require a good three to four hours in the dark room. We snuck in some drinks to have a good time while we waited, waited for film to soup and photos to develop. Suddenly, the journalism department chairmen showed up -- he was tightly wound and we spoke as exactly as we could. The chairman was also naive -- he could never imagine two star students liquored up in the photo lab. Well maybe one star student. It wasn't me.

We recounted that story for decades.

One of our jokes was from "History of the World Part I." In a parody of the "Tale of Two Cities," the king looks like the "piss boy," who brought a bucket around to the aristocracy to relieve themselves. Harvey Korman tells the king, Mel Brooks, that he "looks like the piss boy." Mel Brooks as King said, "Oh yeah -- you look like a bucket of shit."

Micki couldn't bring herself to say the entire phrase so for years she referred to me as "Bucket." 

One year in college, she took out an ad in The Spectator that read "Happy Birthday Bucket."

After college, there was some drifting apart and some rejoining. Every conversation, email, Facebook interaction bespoke our relationship. I would tell a shocking joke and she would giggle.

We connected via Facebook and talked by phone and exchanged emails.

She visited Hayward last fall with friend and essentially told me she was dying from cancer, her third battle with the disease. We laughed, I cried and hugged it out.

Micki called me Bucket.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace unto Micki's family and unto you my dear brothers sisters.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

 Last night, I failed to clean my cutting board after slicing up an orange I had for dessert. Later, a little peckish, I chopped up an ingredient that just appeared at this week Farmers Market -- a lovely diakon.

Wait, orange juice on the peppery Asian Radish? It tasted brilliant, a little sweet, a little hot. The taste was similar to the time I coated a pork tenderloin with a mixture of orange marmalade and horseradish. (P.S.: Awesome.)

So now I'm saving the diakon for the weekend and plan to make a "carpaccio" with orange vinaigrette. 

You want to know about food? Ask a fat man.

The haul at Monday's Market was nice -- daikon, green onions, green and yellow zucchini. No greens this week but that's fine.

I've already written about the daikon. I'm going to use the onions and zucchini in a zucchini, goat's milk frittata.

Some years ago, I felt too busy and always promised to avail myself of fresh produce. No more. I go every Monday, find the best weekly veg and cook away. And eat.

This is all part of me climbing out of the whole, treating myself better and doing it in style.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace and veg unto you my brothers and sisters.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

 I am 57 years old, soon to be 58.

I'm not old, depending on your age, but I am to the point where I ought not wait much longer to do something important.

The late actor Leslie Jordan used to say, "Well shit -- what are you waiting for?" Here was a gay man, about 5 feet tall, who forged a wonderful career as an actor. His point was, well: What are you waiting for?

I have found an idea for my next novel  -- I've written about seven, six of which no one has read -- and sent the idea and the ending to my Kid. Mind you, I trust her judgment as she a genius and trained in script writing. I need her help on story arc, where the novel begins and how it gets to the end.

I sent her the ending.

Which she called, "gorgeous." 

That's really all I need. For my funny, smart, educated daughter to tell me the proposed ending of the next novel is gorgeous. 

Well, all I need to do is sit down and write about 75,000 words.

I can do that. With her support. And I'm doing something about my life in writing.

Peace unto Ukraine and peace as well as piece of mine unto all of you, my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

No posts in one month?

Dude, I suck.

And obviously the struggles continue.

In defense of my own attack, though, I should note that between Memorial Day and Fourth of July is among the busiest times in my community. So while not posting, I have been out and about in the community taking photos and talking with people. I worked on Memorial Day weekend and on the Fourth because Tuesdays are production day at the newspaper.

I've also worked on enjoy the small stuff. One day it was just the way the sun shone on face while I closed my eyes. (That is until I realized it was in the 95-degree range and the sweat immediately began pouring from my rotund body. I small child nearby started crying, yelling out "Mommy, Frosty's melting!")

During Musky Fest -- our city's celebration of "The Fighting Fish" -- I enjoyed sitting down for a bratwurst with braised sauerkraut and an ice cold can of Old Milwaukee.

On occasion I've gone to Park Island Resort on Sunday mornings to see my friend Lori who bartends there during breakfast. A breakfast pizza washed down with a mimosa was brilliant.

The Farmer's Market in Hayward started up about a month ago and so far I've enjoyed baby bok choy, green onions, new potatoes and about, oh, a hundred radishes. (I can't get enough of them -- no daikon yet though.)

Yes, many of my tiny moments are going to be about food and as I improve on blogging I'll share those stories.

I've managed to attend to cleaning better and keeping the inside of my ancient car clear of clutter. ("Clear of Clutter" would be a great show on the DIY Network.)

I'll share some recipes from the Farmer's Market and some discussions between Kid and me.

I'm coming back -- I promise.

Peace to the people in Ukraine and peace and radishes unto you my brothers and sisters.