Sunday, September 27, 2015

Home Again Sunday

Had a good trip in -- despite the blaring EXPECT MAJOR DELAYS PAPAL VISIT signs all along my route... there were none. Had been an accident on the George Washington Bridge, but even that wasn't too bad.

Marilyn (and her daughter) met me and she took my luggage in as I returned the car (conveniently 45 steps from my front door... yes, I counted!). We unpacked, started laundry, went through all the mail, recycled, shredded and she went out for milk, orange juice, etc. for me along with a smoked turkey on a poppy bagel from Tal Bagels. I asked for smoked turkey and swiss, and they forgot the swiss, but I survived. Oh yes, and a pickle.

Good trip, but am glad to be home.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Night in PA

Am about two hours out of NYC... hoping to avoid all the Pope traffic tomorrow, but I am north of Philly so I am hoping it will be ok.

The great tragedy of today is that I learned to my sorrow that Taco Bell has stopped offering the Sangria Blast. Turns out it was a limited edition thing and it probably didn't do that well. I was thinking that it really is a more sophisticated taste. So my choices were Baja or Cherry. I asked what Baja is and the woman said Mountain Dew (try to make that connection!) and so I did cherry. Not as good as Sangria, tasted like those 1950s-era cherry popsicles.

And here are some other photos from today. If all goes well, I'll be home around 12-noon Sunday.

this is the drive thru hotel check in from yesterday

I really like the rest stops along route 80 in PA (as opposed to OH). The OH ones are these corporate monstrosities, huge... of course in OH, you're on the OH turnpike so it's a toll road. Route 80 in PA is free so you can get off wherever you want so the rest stops are these small buildings with just a restroom (nice, clean), vending machines...

... and a picnic area

Some of the tables are really isolated... nice place to have a picnic. I saw something sad at this one today. There was a big dog, like a labrador, and he couldn't get back into the van without help because he was so old and it was too high for him to jump... so his owner would position him in front of the open door of the van and then put his arms around and under the dog's middle and lift him... the dog would get all flustered and then would have to "catch his breath" before they attempted it again. I have to say I sympathized with that dog. I knew what he was going through... So on about the fourth attempt, he was able to get into the van. The owner was very kind and patient with him. 

The leaves are just beginning to turn.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cat Nap

Fran's caption: Angelina sleeping on my belly, a daily ritual..

Reversed Course

After three days in Ohio, I'm headed home. Right now, I'm in Northern Ohio. Tomorrow in eastern Pennsylvania and then two hours Sunday morning. This trip continues to be uneventful... my big disappointment today is I had about an hour more drive to the hotel and decided to stop at Taco Bell for a Sangria Blast... Watched the exit signs... found an exit... found Taco Bell... worked my way through a maze of parking lots only to discover their ice machine was broken.

Have you ever backed out of drive thru? I did (no cars behind me)

Speaking of drive thru, this hotel has a drive thru check in... very cool... don't have to get out of the car and it works like the old bank drive thrus...And that's the highlights.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Korean Abalone & Scallops

Today, we visited the Seoul Fish Market. We purchased seafood at the market and had it prepared at a local restaurant. We picked out some beautiful large sea scallops and extra large shrimp, some fresh abalone and a single octopus.

Here's a picture of the abalone which was grilled (I think) and served with a sesame sauce.  Abalone is so expensive in the United States, we never see it on a menu anymore. I think the last time I had it was at a Chinese wedding many years ago. So, I enjoyed every bite since it will be my last for a long time. 

Every time, I pass a Shell Oil station, I will think of the yummy scallops we had. You'll notice a ring around the scallop part we normally eat -- it all tasted the same. I think they just make it pretty for us in America.

Didn't want to make you sick. We did eat a live(yes, still moving) octopus. Apparently, it's quite a delicacy in Korea. Don't think I'll do it again.

Pat says: I could not eat an octopus, live or otherwise. I remember this Puerto Rican woman telling me how they eat octopus as a tradition on New Year's Day and how you buy the octopus live and she stuck the live octopus in the boiling water with a lid on it and how the octopus was able to take off the lid and attempt to climb out of the pot. Such a vivid horrible mental image...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meanwhile, back in DC

Fran writes:

Mary sounded the alert that Clyde's was having its Lobster Special. So what else could we possibly do but sit down to a delicious lobsta dinner. 

Mary had the traditional dinner and I tried what they called lobster pot pie --large chunks of fresh lobster over the most outstanding mashed potatoes ever. We were forced ;-) to have dessert - dolce de leche ice cream (3 scoops) for Mary and a giant fresh peach cobbler (1 scoop of vanilla ice cream) for me. Yum yum yum

I'm with Fran here. I am too lazy to eat a whole lobster; too much like work! This one does have giant claws.

My Brush with Celebrity

I have long been a fan of Penn & Teller and have been watching their show called "Fool Us" where they challenge a magician to perform a trick and stump them with how the magician does it. Rarely can they stump Penn & Teller. Of course, P&T don't blurt out how the trick was done but sort of drop hints in the form of metaphors and code so that the magician realizes that they do, in fact, know how it was done.

I've seen four or five shows, four magicians per show, and one night they had a female magician and I realized I'd seen female pilots, doctors, every job imaginable and don't think twice about it, but I don't think I'd ever seen a female magician. So as I was watching last night, I was hoping they'd have another woman but no such luck.

So I tweeted Penn and asked if they would do an all-woman show some time...

and Penn actually responded... so if you know any female magicians, send them his way
Penn Jillette
Sep 21
@PLuebke We would LOVE more women - all women! Find them for 
us and get them to our producers.

Postcard from Korea

Michelle writes:

Today we followed MacArthur's Incheon Landing Operations. I told someone that I really didn't know much about the Korean War. I think we may have had 1/2 page devoted to it in a history book. We did have someone who fought and didn't have anything (nothing) nice to say about the General. After our quick history lesson, we headed for Chinatown in the city of Incheon.

Chinatown is full of Koreans who were born in China but moved to their families' homeland. They brought their interpretation of Chinese food. Like most of the Korean food we had, the main courses were accompanied with lots of condiments. 

Michelle continues:

They presented us with a plate of shrimp with mushrooms and sweet and sour pork which is in the next email. We were asked to choose between fried rice and black bean noodles. I picked the rice and Tom the noodles.

Here's the picture of the sweet n sour pork and with a better shot of the shrimp dish.

Tuesday in Ohio

Barbara asked if I'd see the turning leaves in my trip, and the answer frankly is no. The place I stay in PA -- a town named Clarion -- is supposedly the "leaf viewing capital of the US" or so they claim and one of these times I'll hit it at the right time.

What I noticed: trees are still green, with every so often one tree that has turned red... I noticed today that corn fields are now brown... and I did notice a whole lot of goldenrod... a really pedestrian weed/flower but when there are thousands of them on the side of the road, they do look pretty. Every so often I'd see the goldenrods with some sort of muted purple flower and it was a great combination.

I finished Price of Tides with about an hour to go... and tried the radio where every other station (I swear) was Sean Hannity... that and sports talk... so I'm glad I have another audio book.

Anyway, I should be pleased the trip has been uneventful, and I'll try to keep it that way.

Pope Arrives in DC

Fran reports:

DC is preparing for the Pope's arrival on Tuesday. Image taken Monsay afternoon shows St. Matthew Cathedral's (Rhode Island Ave near Connecticut Ave) welcome sign.Telemundo TV trucks were outside and filming a number of Spanish speaking visitors posed on the steps of the cathedral. Lots of people barriers were stacked near the corner in prep for the crowds; several barriers were already set up in front of the stores and restaurants. There will be a very busy, congested DC in the next few days. A holy mess;-)
Hold on.....

Monday, September 21, 2015

On the way to Ohio

Am in Western PA on my way to Cincinnati. Was going to leave at 10 am. Got up at 8:30, showered, dressed, finished packing and it was then 9 am. Hmmmmm... Sat around for a while seeing what else I could do.

Totally event-less trip today... which is good... I am listening to Prince of Tides as an audiobook. I've read the book (years ago), saw the movie (years ago) and this audiobook came in a lot I bought on eBay. Weather was kind of cool, went in and out of misty rain. Didn't see anything that interesting. Bunch of dead dear on the side of the road.

So tomorrow, it's more Prince of Tides and on to Cincinnati.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Meanwhile, back here

Barbara sent these photos of her fall garden and supplied captions.

The anemones are always the last flowers in my garden for the year -- they are almost gone but still so pretty and still being enjoyed by bees. 
 Meanwhile, the wild strip of our neighbor's land on the other side of the house has been taken over by these white blooms about as tall as me.  Maybe someone who reads your blog can identify them.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Michelle Skips a Meal

Michelle reports:

Today, I rebelled. It was suppose to be a lot of walking in another part of town to visit another palace, a church, and a couple of buildings including an early European school. Climbing in and out of a bus and onto the streets did not interest me, so I waved goodbye to Tom and the rest of the tour group. What I missed was the Korean Beef Stew. The before picture is the 2nd one - it's cooked at the table after the meat is marinated in a smashed Asian pear and tons of garlic and soy sauce.  The results is the 1st picture. Tom said it was the best meal so far.



Although Korean history dates back as far as the Chinese and Japanese, they don't have much to show for it as much of the country was destroyed in the war.  You may see a building that looks old but it may be a replica sitting where the original sat. The other day when we visited the site for the 2018 Winter Olympics many of us wondered are they going to be ready? Hope so. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

More from South Korea

Michelle writes:

The plate of BBQ pork.  Notice the metal chopsticks.  After a trip to the DMZ, we had lunch at a national unification park restaurant. Actually, it was one of our better meals.

Where's the meat? Sides for the BBQ lunch. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Michelle in South Korea

Michelle and Tom are on vacation/touring South Korea. If CNN reports an American shot at the DMZ tomorrow, it will no doubt be Michelle who wandered off to find a restroom.

So here's her food report:

Part of learning the culture of a country is certainly to eat their food. Here are two meals we had

The first picture are little dishes of veggies locally grown close to a temple we went to yesterday. The guide likes to call it Temple Food or Monk food.  I don't know where the bony little fish enter the picture but that was our protein.  Have to admit, Pat, I ate very little. The greens were really bitter and the few dishes I liked had to be shared. But, no I haven't lost weight.

The other dish is Bibimbap that was served in a very hot stone bowl called a dolsot. It was another veggie dish served with a soft fried egg on it. The guest is to mix the dish until everything well combined. It's pretty yummy.

Today we go up to the DMZ. Hopefully you won't be reading a story  of me or Tom!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday in Schuykill County

You've heard, no doubt, of August in Osage County (the Broadway play) so here it is Monday is Schuykill County. For those not in the know, it's pronounced "sku-kul" with the accent on the first syllable.

Mary is up in Pennsylvania visiting Judy. The part Mary left out (the best part) is they lunched at Cracker Barrel where I put in a specific order for them to have country fried steak on my behalf. My order arrived too late, alas, because they had chicken and dumplings. I'd say that's a suitable substitution.

Mary writes:

Judy and I drove around on this beautiful day. She took me to see this Indian Cultural Center out in the country that draws people from New York and New Jersey. Pretty impressive even though my pictures aren't very good. We drove around Hawk Mountain where Fran and I are going soon.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Speaking Up

A friend posted this on his Facebook page this morning (for people who don't know, Publix is a supermarket chain):

In Publix this morning when a young boy pushing shopping cart for grandmother(?) Turned down wrong aisle. Loudly she barks, "G*d D@$#% it! THIS AISLE!"
Without thinking, I blurt out "HEY! That's a child you're talking to!"
Angrily she replies, "he needs to learn!"
To which I said, "Yeah, he needs to learn respect, and that's not the way."
She walked away without further comment.
People wonder why this new generation has no respect, because they're not being taught it.

It reminds me of an event that I regret... was on an airplane to Cincinnati, and there was a family across the aisle from me. A mother and father in one row, and their two pre-teen children, a boy and a girl, (maybe 11-13 years old) in another row. The father was a total bully and made the kids sit there, not reading, not playing, not talking. He wanted them to just sit there silently for the entire flight. Every so often he'd turn around and bully them. The mother did nothing. It was making my skin crawl.

When the airplane landed and we were getting up to leave, in my mind, I said something to him like, "You are a bully and your kids are going to grow up hating you." To the kids I wanted to tell them how beautiful and wonderful they are, but I didn't say anything. I have relived that moment so many times since and so regretted that I was silent. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Musings

When I got up this morning, I turned on the TV only to hear there was an "explosion" at the Pentagon. I said Oh {bad word}! And then I realized the channel was rerunning 2001 9/11 news. Whew.

I have such mixed feelings about today. As I have said to a bunch of people today, I have very personal, intimate memories of 9/11 that are precious to me, but then there is that whole 9/11 political monolith which I hate.  One of my strong memories is a news bit from that day, later in the day, with film from Lenox Hill Hospital and you hear this baby crying, and the newsman's voice over said, "Amidst all this death, there is new life."  And then coverage of the babies that were born that day. Last week I saw an interview with one of the "babies," now 14 years old watching this particular coverage with her mother.

I also think about firemen coming to my building in August 2001 one Sunday morning because somehow there was fear of carbon monoxide... and as this fireman went through my apartment (as they were all apartments) with a detector, the captain (more my age) asked me if I had a CO detector and I said no. He said I should get one, which I did. This captain was so nice and we chatted for a while and on 9/11 it just struck me as if I knew if for certain (which I did) that he had been killed. I just knew it.

And sure enough, when I went to the firehouse the following week which is 3 blocks from where I live, there it was -- his photo and he had been killed and it didn't surprise me in the least.

I also remember meeting Barbara for lunch that Friday, and when we came out of the restaurant, on Broadway, all these tractors, bulldozers, trucks, etc in a caravan were heading downtown and people (including us) just looked at it. Then I got in a cab and the radio said that they need "vets" at Ground Zero, and I thought they meant veterans, but they meant animal doctors because the paws of the rescue dogs were burned. So sad. So many everyday memories like this. Like on Wednesday, I was outside my building and a man in a suit, totally covered with dust and soot, carrying a briefcase walked by and it was like he was a zombie... just staring straight ahead.

So it wasn't all sad today. I had lunch with my longest-duration friend Judy who was in my kindergarten class... I was thinking we've been friends for 60 years! Yikes. She stopped at the bagel place and bought me (my choice) of smoked turkey and swiss with some mayo on a sesame bagel and she got lox and tomatoes on a bagel and we both so enjoyed our lunch a great deal. I was thinking that the ideal shelf life of a bagel is about two hours, and we got ours in that window. Sort of crusty (but not hard) on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Oh man, it was good.

We talked about a lot of things but the conversation turned to books, and she is also an avid reader... and here are her recommendations which I wrote down because Lord knows I would never remember them. Can't vouch for them personally, but check them out on Amazon if you're looking for something good.

  • Americanah [yes, with an H at the end]
  • A Circle of Wives
  • The Storied Life of AJ Fikry
  • The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Happy Friday everyone. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What I'm Reading

This is the biography of Harriet Tubman, the "Moses of her People" who was instrumental in helping slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. It is quite well written; in fact, one of the cover blurbs on the back is from Doris Kearns Goodwin who says it reads like a novel and it does, even though it's highly footnoted.

I saw Harriet Tubman's house years ago in Auburn, New York. One thing I learned that was interesting is that many slaves who escaped from Virginia and Maryland went to Philadelphia where they were protected by Quakers. The author believes that this is where African-Americans developed calling each other brother and sister. I'd never thought of that.

When I would visit my friend Katrina in Frederick, Maryland, she lived out in the country in a new house, but the old house near them had been a station in the Underground Railroad which fascinated me. Also, where I grew up, in this road that goes along Long Island Sound, there was supposedly a house on that road as well that was an Underground Railroad house. Never knew that growing up, but it would make sense that that location would be prime to getting slaves further north, and possibly into Canada.

I always thought she was a large woman, but she was only five feet tall. It should go without saying, but I've been so struck by her bravery to returning to Maryland (where she was originally from) time and time again to help people escape. She became so well known and so hated among the plantation owners that huge rewards were offered for her capture.

Anyway, I thought it was a timely read since she is one of the women mentioned to be placed on currency although I don't think she'll be chosen. I bet Eleanor Roosevelt may be the one.

Monday, September 7, 2015

And still another cat!

I totally fell for this prior to opening the attached photo. Barbara writes:

In contrast to Fran's & Mary's sleepy cats, I thought you'd like to see a cat who is always awake and lives on my deck now.   I paid too much for her at a flea market recently.  What can I say?  She was looking at me.  (Also in the picture is one of the deck chairs I built this summer, of which I am quite proud.) 

After seeing how Barbara rolled up her sleeves and assembled my sofa a few months back, it doesn't surprise me she does this. However, no chair I built (if I even attempted one) would look this good. I'd be afraid to sit on any chair I built.

Here's the cat:

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Cat Nap

Fran writes:

This sleepy feline lives in a lovely curbside garden in front of a nearby apartment building. He's the perfect cat. Sleeps all day, Never fusses, doesn't sçratch furniture or shed, and eats everything. He's made of clay.

And then Mary adds about Milo:

I took this just because it was odd looking. Twisted around but with his feet on the little pillow. I guess we probably get in some odd positions at night, there's just no one standing over us with a cell phone.