Saturday through Monday – coffee, a few breakfasts, gay pride and the Dead. And corn salad for Monday dinner, with grilled oysters and clam chowder (not shown).
Saturday through Monday – coffee, a few breakfasts, gay pride and the Dead. And corn salad for Monday dinner, with grilled oysters and clam chowder (not shown).
I’m in San Francisco for the librarians’ conference.
Because we were flying out of Midway, on separate flights, because UW-Madison’s and the ALA’s Concur systems wouldn’t let Mark & I book together, I went as far as Chicago on Wednesday. We went out for burgers with John, and as I was getting on the L to go home, we got a text from Emma that Al had left his iPhone in a cab. Sent him the info for our joint account, for getting a new phone; exhorted him to do Find my iPhone and turn it off. Worried about how exposed my data might be, from his phone …. And there was a happy ending: Al’s good fortune was that his phone was found by an Australian tourist, who started calling his favorites and got Emma. Al had the phone back by after work on Thursday.
Mark had a direct flight to San Francisco on Southwest. I had a stop on Minneapolis on Delta. Delta kindly turned my 3-hour layover (lay away, as Al used to call it) into a 4-hour one, and then it stretched to almost 5-hours – first we were leaving at 5:45, then 6:36, then 6:54. I decided I might as well buy a $50 day pass for the Delta Sky Club – by the time I bought wifi and food in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, it probably would’ve been $30, anyhow. I got a bunch of grading done in my online course, and rewarded myself with a glass of wine and a cookie.
Finally made it to San Fran, and had a pleasant – but expensive – cab ride in from the airport. I had a Greek taxi driver, and after I had told him I was here for the librarian’s conference, he asked how hard it would be to start a book club – for Greek books. What he really wants is a book exchange, so I told him about the Little Free Libraries. We talked about what a big weekend it was for San Francisco, Gay Pride, baseball, 30,000 librarians, Grateful Dead. He had come to the US in 1963, and said he guessed it was the hippie days here back then, but he kind of liked it better than today. “People talked to each other, and not their phones”. I didn’t mention that I was supposed to go to one of the Dead shows, but as we were driving I was thinking I’ll be able to do this – navigate my way in a zipcar to Levi Stadium.
It was still dark on Friday morning and I was lying in our hotel bed when I realized that I’d left the dead tickets and my parking pass on the shelf at home.
I cursed for awhile, looked up FedEx rates and services on my phone, and then texted the neighbor who is feeding the cats to see if she could FedEx the tickets to my hotel.
She texted right back, went to our house, called, and I talked her through where the tickets were. By the time Mark had left for conference – he’s going earlier than I have to, to set stuff up – she had texted back that the tickets should be at my hotel by noon tomorrow, $59. Cheaper than the cab ride from the airport.
Let’s hope this one is a happy ending, too. I keep comparing this to our last TIFF trip when I forgot my passport, and had to get it sent. That was a real shitshow to get to me – but it was international, and we were staying at an AirBNB without a hotel front desk to receive the package, like I have now. We’ll see.
Whoo hoo – I’m going – maybe by myself, but I’m going!
Thanks God for helpful neighbors, and FedEx. Maybe it all makes sense, since one of my last remaining Dead shirts is a black sweatshirt that on one side has an old FedEx logo, but it says DeadEx, and on the back it says, “when you absolutely positively have to be there every night”. I wear it for cookie baking during cookie season. Not finding any images of it on the Internetz; I’ll have to take one myself later.
Mark wanted waffles for father’s day; his mom’s sour cream ones, that I made with strained yogurt. Rach bought some of this Wallaby nonfat Greek yogurt last time she was here, and even though I usually don’t like 0% fat, this was really nice and creamy. I looked for it at the co-op and they only had whole milk in plain, so I got that – and it was really runny. So I strained it. An impressive amount of whey drained out in just a few hours. We ate the waffles with bacon and strawberries.We saw Steve at BDDS on Saturday night, and when I said Mark was getting waffles for Dad’s day, Steve said he probably wouldn’t have time for breakfast, because he was running sound for the Make Music Madison musicians who were playing on the Chocolate Shop corner. I had two bunches of rhubarb from the Saturday market, so I made a batch of my Better than Stella’s muffins. (And more rhubarb purée) Took them along when we biked over to see Clocks in Motion, and one of Daithi’s bands – The Currach. I left one especially nice looking muffin at home, for Mark to take to Chicago – good thing, because all the rest were eaten.
We biked back home, and Mark went for a walk. I cleaned up the kitchen, fortifying myself with a waffle wrapped around the last two strips of bacon. The salt in the bacon tasted just right after the sweaty bike ride. Then I spent a couple of hours working, reading journals from students in my online class.
I took Mark to the bus to Chicago, then made Veganomicon oatmeal cookies for the family who will taking care of the cats for half the time while we’re gone. They had a new baby in December, and when they came for dinner in February, the mom was off dairy, egg, soy, and tomato – hence the vegan cookies with made with coconut milk (recipe says rice or soy) – she should be able to eat these, and anyways, they’re good.I made zucchini butter, thinking I’d have some on toast for dinner – but I ate some salad instead, with the roasted potatoes & sugarsnap peas. Guess I’ll have zucchini butter sammich for lunch tomorrow. OK, I think it’s time to clean up the kitchen yet one more time, shower, and watch some Sunday TV. I think I might like Tim Robbins new show.
For dinner last night, I roasted potatoes and threw in sugar snap peas at the last minute. Ate them on top of salad greens with egg and croutons.
Tonight I made this broccoli casserole that I’ve made many times. I used the thin slice Pepperidge Farm white bread, a.k.a. the soft white bread the recipe actually calls for, rather than something more whole grain that I am more likely to use. I think that made the casserole especially tasty (as I’ve evidently said before) in its white trash, sugar-butter-cheesey-bready-ness (yes, the recipe includes sugar, to make you eat your broccoli).
Both of these meals are pre-concert suppers – yesterday I drove out to Stoughton, and met Mark, who had been dropped off by his son on their way back from Chicago. I didn’t see him sitting on the bench across the street from the Stoughton Opera House, which annoyed him – he had to bring his back pack into the hall, and would’ve preferred to stash it in the car. But soon the backpack had its own chair for the concert, and his irritation wore off.
I still have lots of sugar snaps, a bunch of asparagus, zucchini, and way too much lettuce, considering that Mark goes back to Chicago tomorrow, so it’ll just be me eating from my CSA box till we leave for the librarians’ conference on Thursday. I already blanched and froze spinach; I may be doing that with sugar snaps & asparagus, too. I’ll make the zucchini into zucchini butter.
It’s been an odd week, schedule-wise, and I haven’t posted anything since Monday a week ago, and now it’s Wednesday.
Rach is here for an unusual Wednesday to omigod in the morning Thursday stay. Last week, Mark stayed in Chicago until Thursday, and this week he’s staying until Friday, and when he comes back he’ll have Ethan with him, also unusual.
I’ve been trying to use up my last CSA box, and when Rach got here last Wednesday it was hot so we had a big salad supper: lettuce, beets, cheese, nuts. On Thursday, it was cold, and we had pasta with escarole & spinach, and feta & goat cheese.
On Friday Mark and I had tickets for Bach Dancing & Dynamite. I had had a biggish lunch from the carts, tofu with peanut sauce on greens. I think I had some graham crackers with Nutella and we went to the show.
On Saturday we went to the farmers market and came back with strawberries and sugar snap peas and eggs and a turkey steak for dinner. And pastries from L’Etoile, a chocolate croissant and a cinnamon twist, kind of like an elephant ear. And lots of herbs. We had soft boiled eggs and toast, with the pastries and strawberries for breakfast.
We had the turkey steak and cilantro rice and a big salad for dinner – then off to BDDS, again.
Saturday it was rainy and misty, but Sunday was gorgeous and Rach and I got out for a walk. I made rhubarb ripple coffee cake, and didn’t burn it this time.
We had poached eggs & toast & cheese & tomatoes & bacon – kind of like fancy egg sandwiches. And fruit and coffee cake.
I biked over to the waterfront fest in the afternoon and saw a fun band, Birds of Chicago.
Rach and I had ice cream and Game of Thrones for dinner. Season 5 finale – TV has caught up with the books but there’re some serious plot differences. You can have a super detailed list or an overview.
On Monday after work I made a batch of the gluten free peanut butter cookies that I’ve made the last two years for Christmas – they’re sandwich cookies with chocolate filling. But I flattened them with a glass and instead of sandwiching I topped them with chocolate some milk and some dark and some left plain.
Here’re some pictures I took back in May and never posted, from that Occupy WID thing.
The last time Rach was here, she was calling me “Deb Shapiro, MALS (masters in library science), CW (cat wrangler).
This morning was cat wrangler to the max. And of course it’s Monday.
Things started with Mark’s furry cat.
She decided it was time to get back in bed & cuddle just as I decided it was time get up.
Then I went downstairs to feed and scoop litter for the four downstairs cats.
My black & white and John & Megan’s big Siamese, Kahn, have been having a bit of a battle over food bowls and litter boxes. She’s constantly trying to get at his food, and he’s been using her litter box. To his credit, I don’t think it’s malicious – he’s just a big guy and his own covered litter box is a squeeze. So he sees my cats’ two open boxes and it looks good to him.
So anyways, I’d been in the basement, there’d been a bit of an altercation, and as I came up the stairs, the black one was peeing on one of my shoes, new ones, oh by the way, in the shoe pile that I keep in the corner of the landing. On top of a rag rug, that I had just washed on Sunday, and also, oh by the way, mopped the floor – because I thought it was smelling a bit pissy back there. Some of the reviews on Zappo’s dissed these shoes because they’re all synthetic materials, rather than real leather – but I’m here to say that cat pee rinses right off of whatever the heck the synthetic stuff is.
First, I yelled “NO!” at the black one, then I carried her downstairs, barricaded Kahn, showed her her own litter box, and gave her a little extra food, petting and consoling. Then I moved all the shoes, put the rug in the wash, and scrubbed and febreezed the floor. Then I went and petted Kahn and encouraged him to use his own litter box.
Then I went to work, and when I got home, Hammie barfed up a giant hair ball.
Like Megan said,
Wednesday AM coda: Aaarrrggh, the white cat, who had mostly stayed out of all this, climbed the basement stairs and squatted right over the shoes, after she ate her breakfast. Fortunately, I caught her before she peed –
I’m trying to remember what I ate for dinner my single girl nights this week. I know I was trying to just use what there was in my almost-empty fridge. Tuesday was the “Make-Hers“; Wednesday I think I had a big lunch – egg salad, a bagel, and then just some salad for dinner, with smoked Gouda, because there was some already grated, and walnuts, and I made some bright red french dressing, because I’d been craving it – chili sauce, cider vinegar, a shallot, honey, paprika, and vegetable oil. Yum. Wednesday I went to another food writing talk, and there was going to be cake. One of those nights I came home and made rice pudding. I bet that was Tuesday.
Thursday I cooked asparagus:
Saturday it was rhubarb.
A big batch of purée. I froze some, and used some to make parfaits, with the rice pudding and whipped cream. I also made a crumb cake with chopped rhubarb. Unfortunately, when I went upstairs to eat the parfaits with Mark, the first distraction was a fizzy water disaster – mine exploded all over the place. Then I got sleepy after eating the parfait. It was pretty rich – although I calculated the calories at about 500, so not so bad when were basically just having dessert for dinner – and I forgot to take the cake out. It over-baked by almost an hour. I guess it’s caramelized rhubarb cake.
And I made scallion pancakes to take to a block party the next street over – they messed up the stove, as did the rhubarb puree. No pictures, but they were really tasty – my best attempt ever at these. Fried up crispy in very little oil. The trick was brushing with a tiny bit of sesame oil as you rolled the dough. I had the sesame oil in a ramekin, for brushing, and then mixed the dipping sauce in that, for a little sesame oil taste. I skipped the grated ginger , because I didn’t have any, so the sauce was soy, black Chinese vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, and the hint of sesame oil. Perfect. I sprinkled the pancake with flaky salt, cut them in wedges, and arranged wedges on a platter around a little container of dipping sauce. I took the last of the asparagus pizza, too, two platefuls of wedges, and it all was eaten.
I was supposed to do a lunch time poster session, really a resource table, at the Teaching Academy Summer Institute, on Tuesday. It should have been a nice morning – if I had gotten home when I was supposed to, on Monday evening, I could’ve been at the Institute for the morning’s programs, one of which was a performance by students who are part of First Wave, “a cutting-edge multicultural artistic program for incoming students.” But, since Delta didn’t manage to get me back to Madison until like 10:30 Tuesday morning, I just cabbed home, dropped my bags and drove out there. Fortunately the 2:00 meeting I was supposed to go to at the library school canceled, so after the resource table, I went home.
The cats were so mad at me for being gone, somebody puked on my bed. While the bedspread was in the drier, I sacked out and my two and Hammie got into bed with me, and even Kahn came into my bedroom and lay down on the floor.
It was good that I got a chance to rest, because I had a ticket to see Ruth Reichl at a benefit for Madison Public Library. I believe she was following me from New York, and also had travel delays. It was called “meet the make-hers” – kind of a barf-y name – they got about a dozen female entrepreneurs who have food businesses in the Madison area to set up booths with samples, and called it a cocktail party – except there were no cocktails, and it was almost all sweets. The cocktail party, or reception, or whatever, was in the big main public area on the 3rd floor of the library. There’s also a large meeting room there, that was set with chairs for the book talk part. When us ticket holders arrived for our VIP seating, we got little yellow cards, so we could go in and place them on our chosen seats to reserve them.
After a lot of milling and tasting, there were some opening remarks, and Reichl said some really nice things about libraries. Then the food booths were taken down, and we were told to go grab our signed copies of Delicious!, and take our seats, so they could see how much room was going to be leftover for the hoi polloi. Which meant we had about 20 minutes with nothing to do but sit – or get up and stroll around, with our seats protected by the little cards, but harder for the event organizers to count – and wait for the talk to start. Reichl didn’t read from Delicious! which I wasn’t sorry about at all – as the NYT review I linked to the title above says, I agree that the best thing about Reichl’s first novel is the recipe for ginger cake – that’s why I wanted my signed copy, even though I’m pretty sure I photocopied the recipe when I borrowed the book from the library in the first place. Instead she talked about food writing and her life; I think everyone there was happy to hear that for her next book, she is going back to memoir-writing, and write about Gourmet. She took lots of questions – and somebody asked about what she foresaw as the next hot trend in restaurants – that’s when she talked about places like Jacob’s Pickles in New York, Au Cheval in Chicago, Graze here in Madison, casual restaurants with really good food, locally sourced, quoting and mashing up interesting roots & traditions, hipster joints. These are the places our kids are going, and us boomers, too. They are uniformly loud, and they mostly don’t take reservations, so often the dining experience is not very comfortable. Reichl predicts that in the next few years we’ll see these places “grow up”.
I enjoyed the talk, but maybe because I was too cranky and tired and jet lagged, I felt like it just underscored what I didn’t like about Delicious! – the main character, Billie, has one great talent – she has a great palate, and can taste anything and know the ingredients. Pretty much, the world falls at her feet, and her life is set because of her one great talent. Irksome to someone like me, since I’m still trying for my big break.
So that was Tuesday. The rest of the week is going to get its own post.
Hot, then Rain.
On Saturday morning, I got up and packed. Jenny took Petunia the pug dog for a walk, and came back with a pretzel croissant (I think it must’ve been from the Upper West Side Birdbath/City Bakery) for me to take on the train – thought about taking the other half of my giant Panuozzo sandwich from the day before, but opted for more breakfast-y things instead; the croissant and a banana. We discussed bakeries where I could grab a bite at Penn Station, but in the end I didn’t have time. I cabbed to the station and had to ask how to get to track 5 West, where my train was already boarding. I ended up on the away-from-the-Hudson-River side, but with a seat to myself.
We were about half an hour late into Rhinecliff, that Wikipedia calls a “hamlet” in upstate New York, but Amtrak kept us informed and I was able to text Rach. She went and had a coffee at the Rhinecliff Hotel.
We went and wandered in Woodstock, and I bought a dress at the Flax store. 40% off. It was really hot – in the 90s, and the car, Rachael’s new Subaru Forrester, said the temp was 103° when we got back in, but that must’ve been from being parked in the sun – it dropped to 86° when we got moving.
We went to New World Home Cooking for dinner. We split the spicy green beans for a starter – they were good but a little too grilled for me – too much char, or not exactly char, more like grill gunk. I had a big hunk of BBQ salmon, that came with a yummy peanut slaw, and rice that looked really boring but actually was well-seasoned with lime and cilantro. Rach had the Thai salad, so I gave her a hunk of salmon to top it, and Iain had the Indian fish fry, that came with more of the slaw. We were way too full for dessert.
In the morning, Rach and I went for a walk with her neighbor, Helene. It was still hot and sticky, in the high 70s.
We drove into Rhinebeck for breakfast at one of the Bread Alone’s (we got coffee at the Woodstock one the other day – iced). Then we went to the farmers’ market. It started raining when we came out after eating, and by the time we got to the parking lot of the grocery store where we went to finish our shopping, it had dropped to 60°. We bought two pounds of rhubarb, and made a big batch of rhubarb sauce.
Rachael’s sister and brother-in-law and niece drove up from Albany in the late afternoon. It had settled into to steadily rain. We took umbrellas, and went into Saugerties to see an art show at Cross Contemporary Art, Portia Munson’s scanner pictures, and to buy fancy chocolates. Home, and BLT’s on Bread Alone bread, roasted potato and asparagus salad, and a big green salad, from Avi’s garden, lost of nice young greens and herbs. I used handfuls of the dressed greens as the lettuce in the BLTs. We had three kinds of bacon – some really thick, all natural honey bacon; thinner sliced and maple or brown sugar bacon; and tempeh bacon. This time we had room for dessert – Avi brought a rhubarb galette that we ate with vanilla ice cream, and some of us indulged in extra rhubarb sauce on top.
It went down to the 40s on Sunday night, but we just closed all the windows and Rach got me an extra blanket, so on Monday morning I woke up all cozy in the guest room.
I got the train in Rhinecliff – a river-side seat this time. Even though I was on the correct side of the train, I still didn’t get a picture of the brick ruins, Bannerman’s Castle – but plenty of other people have.
It rained the whole train ride, and was still raining when I got to the City, but I got a cab fairly easily, and told the driver I was going to LaGuardia. We had only made it about two blocks when I gt a text from Delta saying my direct flight to Madison, that was supposed to get me home by about 5:00, had cancelled. I quick called Jenny, to ask if I could sleep on her couch another night. She said sure, and they were going to lunch, so I should join them. I told the cab driver we were going to the Upper West Side instead of LaGuardia, and even he thought it was a good thing that delta had let me know the flight cancelled soon enough that i didn’t have to shlep out to the airport, and come back. Would’ve cost upwards of $100.
Jenny and Jared and I went to a place called Jacob’s Pickles – a little slice of Brooklyn on the Upper West Side. One of those places with really good food in a casual environment – the napkins were white kitchen towels with a blue stripe, and the drinks came in Mason jars. Ruth Reichl talked about the experience in those kinds of restaurants when I went to hear her Tuesday night; more on that in a minute. Then we went to see The Clouds of Sils Maria – I think I liked it better than Jenny and Jared did. We had avocado sandwiches and salad and tucked me into bed on the couch – Jenny hadn’t even had a chance to wash the sheets yet – early so I could get up at 4:00 to make my 6:00 AM flight. And it was the easiest taxi ride ever, as Jenny had predicted; I was there in about 25 minutes even though the driver missed the exit for the D gates. He turned off the meter (made a show of it of course) and brought me back around.
On day two in the big city, I started off doing non-touristy things and then ventured into the heart of tourist-y New York.
Meaning that I started off with a walk around the reservoir in Central Park, one loop on the reservoir path, and another on the Bridle Path, which despite its name, was free of both horses and manure. Jenny and her friend Pam ran two loops on the Bridle Path.
Jenny didn’t have to go to work until noon, so we both showered and dressed and hung out and chatted. She got me on the guest lists at the MoMA, but I decided to try to hike up to the Bronx for Frida Kahlo at the Botanical Gardens first, because MoMA was open till 8:00, and the Gardens only till 6:00. It got to be 11:45, and I decided to start with lunch, at a place on the Upper East Side, sort of on the way to Gardens, anyhow.
Google maps said San Matteo Pizza was a half hour walk from Jenny’s, through Central Park, but I went too far north and came out of the Park at 5th Ave. and 105th St., instead of 5th Ave. and 90th St., where I was supposed to be. I got pretty hot and tired on my way, but for the last few blocks of my walk, I was following a guy who was carrying an air conditioner, so at least I felt better off than him.
The restaurant was not air conditioned, or else the wood fired oven was cancelling out the AC, and of course I ordered enough food for two, because I wanted an appetizer and a sandwich. I bagged my plans to go to the Frida, because I didn’t get cooled off very much, and could get my leftovers boxed to take home.
I braved the cross town bus, another non-touristy experience – surrounded by exasperated New Yorkers, and I was equally exasperated, because the driver kept stopping for more passengers even though the bus was stuffed and there was another empty one behind us. I got off at Columbus instead of Amsterdam, feeling smug because I knew where I was, and could tell the guy standing next to me, “no, not Amsterdam this is Columbus”, when he asked. I walked the block back to the apartment to regroup.
Where I got to sit and chat a bit with Jenny’s boyfriend Jared, since he had only worked until 3:00 that afternoon. We both had our laptops on the dining table. He went off to run errands, and I took the subway downtown. I got my comeuppance for my bus smugness – didn’t realize that at the 86th St. stop for the 1 train, you have to go down on the correct side of the street depending on which direction you are going, and had to go out and pay again to go downtown. MoMA was ridiculously crowded, but I looked at some permanent collection, and some Yoko – I liked the Maysles film of her Cut Piece the best. One of her sky ladders to watch the moon was there, what attracted John Lennon to her in the first place, according to legend, but in 2015, unlike the 1960s, we were not allowed to climb it. After I got tired of fighting the crowds, I went to the sculpture garden and bought a bottle of San Pellgrino.
And made it back uptown to meet Jenny and head to Brooklyn for the Arthur Russell concert, based on this tribute album to Russell, which was also a lot of fun, even though the theater was freezing. I knew Russell was eclectic, but didn’t know about the gay dance party aspect to his music. There was so much great stuff – everything from classical avant garde to folk rock to rock to disco – with 4 mirror balls! Russell’s boyfriend, and self appointed curator of his legacy was there, and sat behind us, not talking the whole time, as Jenny said, but definitely whenever I really wanted to hear something on stage. The song stuck in my head the next day was Sam Amidon doing Lucky Cloud, with Richard Reed Parry on stand up bass, even though later I figured out I had been mixing Parry up with Win Butler; Parry’s the other really tall guy in Arcade Fire – Butler is the lead.
We took the subway home, and I ate a few handfuls of Cheesits from the box Jenny had brought to the show in her bag for dinner – still full from my big lunch.