* * * My Words, My World, My Way * * *

Please Write: ALewisPDX@gmail.com

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rules of the Road

From the From the 1853 New England Economical Housekeeper and Family Receipt Book:

397. A Good Rule.

Whenever you enter an apartment occupied by another individual, if the door is closed before you enter, close it after you. If, on the contrary, it stands invitingly open, let it remain so.


399. Jefferson's Two Rules.

Two rules of Jefferson are very applicable to the times: "Never spend your money before you get it;" and "Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Old Man and the Boy

The boy didn't really know how old he was. Maybe mid 60s or so. He was dirty....really dirty. But the first thing the boy noticed about him was the limp. From a block away he could see that neither foot was working quite right and that the man was limping pretty badly. His trousers were too short. Way too short. And he was headed up the hill with a box. A pretty good sized pink box with a lid on it. One foot would drag and then the other with his arms wrapped as far around the box as he could get them. The boy glanced out his car window as he passed the man trying to get a better glimpse. The boy had learned his lessons several times in his life by not helping people when he thought he should have. This time would be different. He spun his car around a few hundred feet past the man and headed back. He pulled alongside the man in a mud puddle and lowered the window of his expensive car fitted out with all of life's fineries...leather, Bluetooth and all the rest. It didn't really fit into this neighborhood so well. "So, how far ya goin'?", the boy yelled over to the man. "Oh, not far...just up to Albertson's with these cans." "Cause I was thinkin'," the boy continued," that if you were heading a long way down the road that maybe you'd like a ride." "Well, that'd be pretty good, I guess," the old man muttered. The boy had a hard time seeing into the man's eyes. The man's glasses were thick and scratched like an old 45 that had been played way too much. One earpiece was missing.

The old man stepped into the mud puddle and then right onto the expensive floor mats of the car. The boy doubted the man had been in such a comfortable car in quite some time but doubted that the man gave it even a second thought. The big pink box of aluminum cans rested squarely on the old man's lap. Filled with mostly completely empty Hamm's beer cans -- some of the cans leaked out stale leftover beer onto the car seat. "I just got out of the hospital," the old man continued....."Fell on my head and like to have split it open." "Wow, that sounds pretty bad," the boy said. "Yeah, I got out this morning," said the man. They passed through a busy five-way intersection bantering back and forth about not much of anything. "You can just drop me right here at Albertson's," the man said as he pointed his filthy dirty finger at the grocery store. The boy steered the car to the side of the road and the man opened his door and got out. "Thanks for the ride," the man said. "Hey, yeah, no problem...have a good day," the boy said trying to get a look into the man's face.

The door closed on the car and the man shifted the box in his arms to get a better grip. He never did look at the boy in the face -- always keeping his stare out the opposite window and into the late winter afternoon. The boy reached into the back seat and grabbed a rag to wipe off the stream of old beer that was running down the leather seat of the car.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

To Make Coffee

From the 1853 New England Economical Housekeeper and Family Receipt Book:

273. To Make Coffee

* For a two-quart coffee-pot, put in a tea-cup of ground coffee, a small piece of fish-skin; fill the coffee-pot nearly full of boiling water, boil it from three quarters to one hour, then fill it up, and let it settle ten minutes.

* Peas, roasted and ground, are an excellent substitute for coffee, and you would hardly know which was best.


My mother in law has given me a copy from 1853 of this amazing little book. I keep on thinking that this book was written BEFORE Abraham Lincoln was President and before we had a Civil War. And now it's in my hot little hands! You'll be seeing many more entries from this book....they are definitely worth enjoying. Now, be off with you and make a pot of coffee, would you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fannie Farmer Puts the Gay in Gaiety


My mother-in-law has given me a copy of her mother-in-law's "New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book." It's the 1951 edition although the earlier editions date back to 1896. Not long, but a bit, before my birth. I am reminded again of how much of what we enjoy today has come about in recent years. Things like garlic, olive oil, basil, polenta, roasted tomatoes and peppers and the like have been around for many, many years. But only in recent times have they been used in the kitchen with such vigor like they are today. They appear on every menu in the world in all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors and combinations. And that makes me very happy. Much happier, say, than some of the recipes below that I've discovered in Fannie Farmer's cookbook. Some of them only SOUND terrible -- while some of them make me want to wretch as I look through how they are made:



Calf's Brains With Black Butter (calf's brains are preferred but lamb or sheep will do)


Frozen Fruit Salad I, II, III (as if one isn't enough)


Jellied Sweetbreads and Cucumber (couldn't even find a recipe on the WWW for this)




All I know is that I'm very happy to be a nearly all-veggie guy. My stomach turned upside down as I read through some of the recipes. There are all sorts of bits and bobs of information in this book from what each kitchen utensil looks like and is used for, how to crack nuts, and a whole chapter devoted to helping "Housewives who are bored with meal planning are those who have a cooking repertory of limited range and are conservative about trying anything new." But that's not all -- Did you know that "Menu making should put gaiety into housekeeping"??? Neither did I! But it clearly explains a lot of things to me about why I like being in the kitchen and creating new recipes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar In Your Trousers?

Is that an Oscar in your trousers or are you just happy to see me? Head over here to see the after-the-Oscar-Undie-Monday shots.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Waiting For Yoga

Overheard In Class Today -- All Spoken in Hushed Whispers Just So That Everyone Within Hearing Range Could Hear:

One Chick to Another: You should practice with your socks off....it's easier.

Second Chick to First: I'm not sure if my socks are clean...these are my mom's socks.

Second chick proceeds to peel the sweaty dark blue socks from her lanky feet exposing her bright red painted nails. The socks are wadded into a ball and brought up to her nose for a quick sniff before shoving them inside her sneakers.

Um, yeah. There were a few distractions in a very crowded yoga class today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Caesar

No, not the Caesar haircut that was quite popular in the early-mid 1990s.....and, yes, I had one....I just had to! They were popular in Europe but not quite so much in the US. I had just come back from two tours in Europe and just had to be like my European cohorts.

But this time around, I'm talking about the Caesar salad. It seems to be every place, on every single restaurant menu, no matter where you go nowadays. And I'm not a fan. First of all, I don't like Caesar salad dressing at all. But I've noticed that even among Caesar salad dressings there is a huge difference depending on where you order it. At Crush, for example, it is a very light dressing -- not heavy with mayonnaise (yuck) or cream. And I actually think it's okay the way that Crush fixes it with fresh lemon and garlic...light and not creamy. But beyond the dressing, what is there in this salad to attract someone to it? Not a vegetable in the world except for the obligatory romaine lettuce. No tomatoes or cucumber or carrot....nothing. Nutritional value = zero. There are those few necessary croutons which are nice. And a bit of Parmesan. But that's it, folks. Lettuce. Dressing. Crouton. Bit of cheese. Who in the world made that popular???

And so popular that you'll go nearly nowhere that doesn't have it. I don't get it. I'm a veggie guy that needs his salads loaded down heavy with every single vegetable I can find, plus apples or grapes, plus nuts and crunch, plus dried cherries, maybe some avocado. And a fat-free balsamic vinaigrette. That's my gig. And I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

47 Years Ago Today

Forty-seven years ago today, my Momma pushed me outta her......well, you know....her thingy. And life hasn't been the same since. For her nor anyone who knows me. I've failed many, I've succeeded in pleasing others. I've been a good partner and a terrible husband. All at the same time. I just told my husband over dinner that he's been with me right from the time I was coming out and into a new age for myself. He's been there the whole time. I've met so many new people, experienced more things than I could count, and am planning on keeping it up in the future. I love my life. I love you. All of you. So, today, it's my birthday and I celebrate not only my many years on this earth, but you....each of you -- because you've helped make me who I am. Each of you, in your own way.

Now that the sentimental shittola is out of the way, who wants to spank me? Forty-seven whacks, please. Or you can smear birthday cake batter on me and lick it off if you'd prefer.
Or, you can send cash along -- or just bring the cash with you when you come to paddle my arse. Excuse me, would you please, while I go and huff, and puff, and (hopefully) blow out all of my candles.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Repeated Struggle

Why is it that sometimes we want more for others than they want for themselves? I know that you understand exactly the plane from which I'm operating.....you see someone and their struggle and you want it to be different for them than it is. Sometimes it changes, many times it does not. No matter what happens, they seem to keep on dealing with the same issues over and over, year after year. In fact, in some situations, they actually appear to LIKE their circle of dysfunction. Hubby and I have had this conversation many times in our 12 years together. Someone drinks too much and we wish they'd not do so. Someone else struggles with being overweight -- they talk about it, pretend to try and eat well, they even talk about other people who are overweight -- and yet they change nothing. Their unhealthiness continues. And others are left to wish they could get their head and heart around their situation and get a handle on it once and for all. Or possibly a friend who is in the closet tries and tries to get out of it. But their family or friends or "situation" just precludes them from doing so. And people like us who are around them wish and hope and dream that they could be true to themselves -- but we know that they never will....they'll go to their graves with a secret. Or what about those who just never seem to have enough money to pay for their own way to dinner or the things in their lives that they not only need, but want. But on the other hand, they have plenty of money when it comes time for spending it in ways that we may not choose to. Or those that go to counseling year after year after year -- only to never get ahead. The same struggle they faced ten years ago is still with them today. And how about those who seem to exude gloom and doom whenever you're around them....they suck the life right out of you. You may even give them a magazine article or special book meant to help bring new light to their situation....but, "no thanks"....they don't want it. They actually appear to love the negative life they lead. I'm here to say that I hate the repeated gloom and doom. Hate. It.

You know full well that there are folks in their lives, like us, who wish and hope and pray for a different level of happiness in their lives. We want their struggle to stop. We even get sick and tired of hearing about it throughout the years, don't we? I know I do. It's like we'd almost like them to stop talking about the situation if they aren't willing to do anything about it. You can look right into their lives and know that if they did this or that, they'd be so much better off. It's easy to diagnose, simple to spot, and yet they can't seem to.

Possibly they are happy. I'm doubting that it's true in a very high percentage of cases, but it is possible, I will concede. I have a hard time thinking that anyone could be truthfully happy while struggling through their entire lives. But then there is this thing that we focus on in yoga from time to time -- that we develop the ability to see the good and the light in others. Namaste. And that, kids, is one hell of a big job sometimes. I think it's going to be an ongoing journey for me. I'll bet that hubby and I will still be having this conversation many years from now. Wishing and hoping the best for others, even if they can't get to it for themselves.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Clearing Out My Mobile Photos

Straight? Um, yeah...you just keep on believing that.









Who is that behind those Foster Grants?










Yentil??




A Pair of Deuces.




Me, My Easter Bonnet, and My Patient Husband.





And My New Easter Coat.






Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day in Seattle With Friends







It's a good looking group, eh? This is the handsome men that I spent Valentine's Day lunch with in Seattle....at the Cheesecake Factory. Oh my gosh, the food was so delicious....my caramel chicken was to die for. I had met Chris from My 2 Cents before but I was virgin to meeting A Rad Homo and his hubby. We had a great time, as I expected. I have to remark, again, how wild it is when you meet a blogger that you've had an online relationship with for a while....and then you meet and it's like you've known one another for years. You know all sorts of things about them, you know what they look like the moment they walk through the door, about their work, which kind of wrinkle cream they use, and all sorts of other essential items. It was so comfortable and like we were right in one of our living rooms. We chatted about bloggers that we know and love, ones that we don't, our families, our history and pasts, our pets, the jobs we work at from day to day, yoga, and cruising (no, not THAT kind). Boys, I loved our time together. And we'll definitely have to do it again. Thanks so much for making time for me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

Well, it's the very week that, in 1962, I was supposed to have been born. Valentine's Day, to be horribly specific. Now, for those of you who know me in person, you know full well that I needed the extra five days of sweetening up in the oven. And, even then, five days probably wasn't enough. I could use a little more sugar, quite frankly. It's one of my favorite times of the year....not only because I get to turn the page on the calendar of my life for the 47th time, but it's a sort of quiet time of year -- at work and everywhere else. The weather seems to tantalize us a bit with a hint of better weather. And, yes, I've even spotted a few bulbs trying to poke their way out of the frozen earth. My honey is not feeling very well and that always concerns me -- especially when I'm leaving town. And I'm leaving tomorrow for a three-day trip with overnights in Las Vegas and Seattle. In fact, Seattle is where you'll find me on "the holiday." Meeting up with my old perverted blogger buddy from My 2 Cents and finally being able to meet A Rad Homo. (If there is anyone else in Las Vegas or Seattle that would like to meet up with us, email me pronto.) What a great way to spend Valentine's Day. No, seriously...I'm looking forward to it in spite of not being able to be at home with the love of my life. In fact, I'm not sure if My 2 Cents knows it or not, but it was nearly exactly the same day last year that we actually met for the first time.

The roses I ordered for hubby arrived this morning just as I was stepping out of the shower. I had to leave him something to remind him of my love. Yoga and the gym are moving along swimmingly. And today, I received my first birthday card (seems that the cash that was to be included had somehow not been). The pooch got a new toy today and some new food that I hope will reduce his need for scratching wounds into the sides of his cute little head. He is now back to having that cute little plastic cone on his head and having Neosporin and some anti-itch cream smeared onto his sore. Poor little thing.

So, if you're in love, great...I wish you a beautiful Valentine's Day. If you're not, the day will pass quickly and you'll be on to Arbor Day or some other nearly insignificant holiday soon. Besides that, I'm sure -- nearly positive -- that someone in your life loves you even though they may not send you flowers or cards or chocolate. Look for it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Chillin' On a Monday




The dog has crapped, the Smart Heart cereal with blueberries and almonds has been eaten, slugged down some coffee and OJ, and indulged in 1/2 of a grapefruit and now on the way out the door into a cold winter morning on my way to lift a bit, run a little, and chill in an hour of yoga. I'm not sure if everyone takes pictures of themselves before they go to the gym, but something came over me....I couldn't resist. And lunch with my friend Todd will be the topper to the day...except when my honey returns this afternoon from Seattle....that's the real icing on the proverbial virtual cake.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Undie Monday Valentine's Style



It's the season of love and all of that crap. So, hubby and I did a little artsy-fartsy craft project and came up with this very cheesy shot. Check out the rest of today's selections at Idol Eyes and a Dormy's Undie Monday for Valentine's week!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Doubt

Do you ever have doubts? We've just returned from a totally unexpected movie....Doubt. I had no idea. I mean, we are so not mainstream anything.....we rarely see movies, know music, shows, actors, etc. So, here we end up at this movie. If you've ever struggled with doubt in your life, the lack of facts or no facts in a challenging situation, or suspicion it'll hit you right between the eyes. And if you've encountered the more ethereal emotions of compassion and kindness, you'll easily see yourself in this film. Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman can do no wrong.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Ahhh, Isn't That Nice

Lookie what I spotted in our employee parking lot at work today as I was high-tailing it out of there. I actually put the car in reverse, backed up, and got out in the rain to snap this. Poor little thing, she doesn't know any better. Hehehehe.

TGIF Double Tall Skinny Vanilla

Thursday, February 05, 2009

In the Hudson

If this doesn't bring tears to your eyes, I don't know what would.

Thrashings About for Thursday

We've just returned home from an evening of dog sitting at some friend's home. They have an 11-year old Jack Russell Terrier named Toby...he's a doll and behaved like a perfect gentleman (well, except for those few times he was trying to gay dog hump our little Mason). They both slept with us in A&P's giant king-sized bed. Too bad there wasn't a camera for you all to watch us piled in that bed. And we've been reminded of what serious internet addicts we are....going without the internet for, oh say, about 14 hours.

Hubby is off to work in Seattle today and I'm going to continue checking on Toby throughout the day. I just noticed that my hair is in need of a trim. The little cowlick in one spot always grows out and looks funny and is my reminder of haircut time. The weather has been absolutely glorious for a few days now -- in fact, we've not really had the typical day-after-day rain that we usually do in the winter (except for that major snow back around the holidays). February is one of my favorite months of the year -- the baby bulbs are already about a 1/4 inch out of the ground and it seems like winter (at least here in Portland) at least starts to lose the noose it's held on our necks since November. (Well, all of that plus the fact that I get to age an additional year in a few weeks from now.) It's been in the upper 50s and sunny. Last night in yoga, the sun was shining in and it looked so beautiful on the people's bodies ahead of me in class as they were all positioned just so, challenging their bodies and spirits to focus, balance, and center. I did a bit of a better job on a pose or two but, and I swear to this, there are some poses that are nearly impossible if you are thinking about anything else in your life. Centering, focusing, is demanded....along with "staying with your breath." And last night, just for a minute, I thought about all of those in my life who need some help right now. So, on the exhale of my breath, I breathed out for you. For your health and happiness.

We're throwing around the idea of a possible ocean cruise this spring. I'm the one dragging my feet. It's not that I don't really want to go, it's that I'd rather not spend all of my tax return on a cruise that will be over and done with in a week. I'd rather put it on debt. We've looked at several Transatlantic cruises which are horribly tempting. And now we may have settled on a West Coast/Pacific cruise. And, I must say, the Transatlantic is not much more than the shorter West Coast one....except for the getting back and forth to and from the ship costs. This whole WWW and internet thing is really nothing but a source of giant temptation.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Undie Monday Undie Monday Undie Monday Undie Monday


It's Groundhog Day, after all......I just had to say the title over and over and over and over. And I half expected Bill Murray to enter a pic of himself for this week's Undie Monday at Idle Eyes and a Dormy. I wish you all a fantastic first week of February....one of my favorite months of the year.