Monday, December 25, 2017

Celebrating With Friends and Neighbors

I've been baking and cooking for weeks. Last Saturday we had 14 guys for a guys get together and today we had prepared for nine (too bad one wasn't feeling well enough to come).

 After the salad, lasagna, braciola, wine, pie and cookies we broke out the Irish Cream and Limoncello.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Santa's Elves - Dogs and Cats with Human Hands Making Toys - Freshpet

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

This made me chuckle...and heaven knows, we need a little humor these days.

Blessings From Our House To Yours

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Zen of Picking Rocks

With the daily news of natural and human perpetrated disasters, including almost hourly reports of assaults on democracy by our so-called president and his minions, I have been feeling quite overwhelmed. So I have turned to a more or less inward activity to ease my angst.

The cooler weather has allowed me the opportunity to work on my front yard landscaping some more. (I thought I had written a post about my front yard landscape back some months ago, but I can't find it, so perhaps it was on Facebook, now deleted.)

Well, long story short: when I started landscaping I discovered that underneath the river rocks and pecan shell mulch was landscape fabric. And underneath the fabric was a layer of river rock. And as river rock is not cheap, I decided to salvage all the river rock that was buried. And that involved removing (and saving) the mulch and picking out each stone by hand...tried using a screen, but I still had to separate the river rocks from the debris and other stones, so it was not a work saver.

Anyhow, removing mulch, fabric and picking rocks one square foot at a time has become my Zen meditation of sorts. Mindless activity or mindfulness, quiet and solitude, peaceful and relaxing, a useless activity in the scheme of the universe, a purposeless purpose with visible results.

I've been replacing old, torn landscape fabric with new, rearranging large rocks and making "islands" populated with plants. Notice Mom's Virgin Mary keeping watch from under the juniper. Very Zen-Catholic-Agnostic-Spiritual.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

In Search of Sand, Salt Water, Rainbow Flags and Linguini With Clam Sauce - Part Five: Linguini With Clam Sauce

Part Five: Linguini With Clam Sauce.

At least once every summer, usually if we are camping in Provincetown, I make it a point to make linguini with clam sauce.

Apparently, Pismo Beach is noted for it's clams, but there are strict regulations on digging them, license requirements, size, quantities, etc. So I figured I'd go to a sea food store and buy some.

Finding a seafood store should be easy along the coast, right. But outside of grocery stores and restaurants, seafood is not so easy to find. We located one nearby, on the Port San Luis Pier near Avila.

They had a very nice variety of fresh fish but I spotted the clams sitting on a bed of ice.

What they had were Littlenecks, a smaller version of Cherrystones or Quahogs, the quintessential chowder clam of New England. I wouldn't be surprised if what I purchased had been flown in direct from Boston or Providence. Go figure.
Driving Out On The Pier

So I ended up making my linguini with (New England) clam sauce. 

 And because Leon doesn't like clams unless they're in a chowder, some Costco shrimp for him.

In case you're interested:

Scrub the clams, removing any sand. Put on the large pot of salted water to boil. Add the linguini and cook as per directions. In a small pot, steam the clams until they open (never cook or eat a clam that is not shut tight), reserve the liquid. Meanwhile, sauté a few large cloves of fresh garlic in olive oil (adding a little butter is optional). Add the steamed clams and shrimp. Cook till the shrimp turn opaque and pinkish - a few minutes. Add dry white wine and coarsely chopped parsley. Add some clam juice (water from the pot you steamed the clams in) as per your individual taste or to make enough sauce for your linguini. Drain the linguini. Add the sauce, along with the shrimp and clams and clam shells. It is considered poor taste to use grated cheese on this dish - but I love my grated parmigiano or romano, so I always cheese it up.

Until Next Summer,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Words Fail

More death, more wounded, more grieving, more funerals. Is there anything left of our hearts to go out to the victims and their loved ones, to the people of Las Vegas, to America? It is not enough, it has never been enough to offer condolences, or prayers or heartfelt concerns.

It is time to be clear: Blood is on the hands of the NRA and on the hands of too many Congresspersons who have repeatedly refused to address the issues of gun violence and assault weapons in the hands of citizens. Shame. And blood is on the hands of this president who supports the NRA and its absurd interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Shame.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

In Search of Sand, Salt Water, Rainbow Flags and Linguini With Clam Sauce - Part Four: Rainbow Flags

Part Four: Rainbow Flags and Equal Rights

Sand, salt water and beaches almost filled the bill, but it seemed there was always something missing.

The nude beach at Pirates Cove was very "straight" and there definitely seemed like something missing.

The Pismo Beach ATV beach definitely didn't do it for me.

The campground was functional but one conversed beyond a "good morning" and most appeared to stay inside their $200,000 RVs where they could be spared rubbing shoulders with the rest of humanity. Provincetown, I wasn't feeling it.

We went to San Luis Obispo and walked around the Mission and down by the river walk. Something missing.

We stumbled upon a “grinder shop” where the owner, a guy from Connecticut who moved to California in the 70s and felt something was missing too: Italian sandwiches called grinders.

He served up East coast style “grinders” of capicollo, prosciutto, mortadella and provolone. (He also had the more American ham and cheese and roast beef and pastrami.) But even after lunch, it seemed there was something missing.

On another day we walked the shopping and restaurant district of Pismo Beach, ate lunch, bought a sweatshirt and got together with Leon’s mother’s cousin (Leon’s second cousin) who just happened to be spending the week at a time share there. We had a very nice afternoon, but despite pretty flowers here and there, there was still something missing.

We went to Morro Bay and walked down by the touristy shops, people strolling up and down, but something was missing. It was so boring.

Back in Los Osos, a cozy community just south of Morro Bay we walked the neighborhood around the cliffs. Nice, but boring.

Leon was looking at the ads in the window of a real estate office and laughing (if you don't understand why, go to Realtor dot com).

I was being gently pulled forward by Benni, our Weimador, when two women spotted the dog and one asked if he was friendly and could she pet him.

“Oh, yes, of course, feel free.”

Benni loved the attention. We exchanged introductions.

Leon was walking toward us and I introduced him as my husband.

The two women lit up when I said “husband” and the four of us instantly hit it off. 

We had a very nice conversation and probably chatted for a half hour standing there on the sidewalk. In the entire week we spent in California, and the more than two weeks of our entire vacation, they were the only strangers we conversed with other than those with whom we only exchanged pleasantries.

The women were from Long Beach, CA near L A.

We talked about dogs, California, the East Coast, New Mexico, politics, beaches, the state of the union and LGBT rights.

“You know, I haven’t seen a single Rainbow Flag or Equal Rights Campaign sticker in all of our travels through Arizona or California,” I said. “That’s what’s missing. There is no gaiety here.”

If there were, in fact, LGBT folks living in Central Coast California, they must be very closeted. Even an internet search turned up only an LGBT organization whose last update was in 2006. 

The gayest thing we saw on our trip, was the Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo. But even that wasn't really gay.

Men's Room - Urinal
Men's Room - Sink 

Leon liked this shirt. Yeah, right!

At least in Santa Fe there are lots of artistic and intellectual types and one sees all kinds of liberal and progressive sentiments expressed on car bumpers and rear windows. As a gay man I do not feel uncomfortable in Santa Fe or Albuquerque or the rest of New Mexico, which is, for the most part, a very “live and let live” kind of place. But I felt uncomfortable to some degree in Arizona and California. Just a feeling. Guarded. Like we accidentally wandered in unaware that we would be amongst the wrong tribe and there was no one else from our tribe anywhere around.

Not a rainbow flag anywhere. Definitely an indication that something was missing.
Even The Farms Seemed Straight
Looking around, I got the impression that the beaches with their All-Terrain-Vehicles, the gift shops, the restaurants, the t-shirts, the parks and playgrounds, the neighborhoods and many RV resorts, the wineries and farms - all seemed like Monuments to Heterosexism (and ultra-conservatism).

I am not exaggerating. 

 LGBTs are still either absent or invisible in 90% of this country.

We are out of sight and out of mind.

We do not exist, and if we do, we are somewhere else, and we are insignificant. Not just in numbers, but in terms of significance itself. We are nothing but an occasionally annoying fly, or an ant on the sidewalk.

How sad for the 90%. How boring. Provincetown... I was just not feeling it in California.

Now, as a refresher, compare all that lack of gaiety with the fun and frivolity that is Provincetown, Massachusetts. I’ll assist with a few photos:

Even the Schooner Flies Rainbow Colors

The Big Equal Sign


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