Thursday, December 11, 2014

If you go to Safeway pay cash

We went to Safeway to get some food  after flying to Kauai. The bill was $229 which seemed a bit high for one bag of groceries. The crazy thing was neither Kathy or I had swiped our credit card. The previous customer was being charged even though I had run my loyalty card.

It would have been easy to leave the store and stick the previous customer, but it have also been wrong. It took an hour with customer service to refund all our items and then pay for them. But we got it done. I can't believe I paid with a credit card, but sometimes all of us do dumd things.

Don't be like me. Until they fix this software glitch; pay  cash.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Snow in Seattle

Yesterday the snow was coming down. It started with big flakes that got smaller. It has been below freezing for a couple of days, so if we go out we need to watch for ice patches on the road. However it is beautiful on the lake.

Today I was going to go the church just wearing a merino wool shirt, but Kathy talked me out of it. She is a wise woman. I chose my Calvin Klein CMZ850 wool coat; it has a built in vest. I am not a big brand person, but this was at Costco at a nice price and from time to time it is nice to have a break from nylon and fleece.

There is no sign of rain today, but I found some waterproofing spray cans at Wal-Mart in the sports area; I bought two cans and sprayed the jacket with both of them several months ago. Have no idea how effective they are; have not been in a rain storm with the coat yet. That will be instructive.

The whole concept of "waterproof" is tough, years ago in Vancouver I got soaked in an LL Bean goretex trenchcoat raincoat trying to buy a gold nugget piece of jewerly for Kathy. No complaints against LL Bean, if you stay in the rain long enough, you get wet.

Today, we stopped to get gas after church and I am still shivering after filling the car, but I only had the vest section zipped up.

I am going to take a short nap and then we can go to the YMCA.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Broken Yolk Cafe and Joe's Crab Shack San Diego

Had a business lunch and needed to keep it near the conference hotels. I had been intrigued with the Broken Yolk Cafe and it was close so we gave it a try. Thomas had a Western omelet, Kathy had a Kale salad and I had a Reuben. It was all OK, but not great. I do not think I will be back, the Gaslamp district has so many excellent choices.

For supper we walked to the Crab Shack so we could see the amazing boats moored by the convention center. There was one called the Ramsey which was the biggest single mast I have ever seen. We got to the Crab Shack early and had the place to ourselves. It was fun listening to the day time employees leave and the night time employees arrive; there were a lot of "love yous" and hugs, I love to see a work environment like that. Kathy and I shared the Classic Steampot for two, it has been over three years since I have visited that place. The last time was when I was teaching for Fred Rainbow of AFCEA and my class decided to go to lunch together. That was a fun time.  Kathy and I both really enjoyed it. Then we took a leisurely walk back.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Meze Cafe and Grill - San Diego Gaslamp

STI  President Alan Paller was giving a talk tonight in San Diego at 7:15 PM, so we went out for an early dinner. We decided to visit Meze which bills itself as Greek Fusion. It  is located near our hotel at 551 J Street San Diego, (619) 546-5060.

We shared the Meze platter more food than we could possibly eat. Kathy also got the baked Feta which she loved. Everything was good but this was probably the best Falafel I have ever tasted.

Not sure I will be coming back to San Diego, but the restaurants in the Gaslamp district almost certainly please and Meze is a fond memory.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I doubt Microsoft will stay in business for five more years

My previous Mac died. I am trying to transfer all the files. Microsoft Office did not transfer, but no problem. I bought a license to the "cloud" version  of "Office 365".

I entered the product key, it was not accepted. Checked it once, twice, thrice, it was typed in correctly. I then went to the web site and tried again. Folks, Microsoft is badly broken.

I am a Washington state resident. I will not diss a local company lightly, but REALLY, you guys are seriously not getting it. You have become Adobe and that is not a good thing. Especially since I know they came to you to learn how to roll out patches.

I have to travel on Sunday, there is no time to visit the Mac Genius bar. Microsoft, in the unlikely event you scan the net for issues, you REALLY, ought make sure sure the product activation keys you sell actually work.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Mac is dead, long live my Mac

Four days ago my Mac keyboard failed. It was kind of nuts. I would hit a "d" and an "x" would display. Then it would not accept characters at all. The CPU was still working, when new email would come it would show the notifications on the top right.

We went to the Mac store in the Tacoma mall and they said it would be $1200 to repair so we decided to buy a new one. I had a Time machine backup that was only two days old, but decided to pay the $99 for them to transfer.

Mostly things seemed to transfer, Tor Browser did not and I think I have to re-purchase Little Snitch, but fairly painless so far. It will be an education. TrueCrypt was also destroyed and had to be re-installed, thank you Steve Gibson.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

18 days of housseguests, Shari's, a windows computer

Lovely people all, but 18 days of house guests was insane. However, we all survived it. The day the last group left my Mac keyboard totally failed. I needed something to read email etc until they can repair my Mac. We decided to go to Costco and get a Windows box. The screenshots in my course need updating and I had been planning on doing this for a while. I ended up with a Dell Inspiron 15 5000 series.

After three years on a Mac, the Windows operating system is a bit challenging, but I have Chrome, Firefox, Noscript and Ghostery installed. I am excited to play with the McAffe LiveSafe security suite. I am guessing it is a 30 day trial or some such. Have not loaded MS Office yet, but I will. The mail client is confusing sometimes, it seems to put both sent and received mail in the same inbox, but I will work with that or there is my friend Thunderbird. The Windows computer will not read my Mac timemachine backup and wants to reformat my iPod. I would have thought they were smarter than that, but I will get through it.

On the way to Costco, we decided to stop at Shari's, a restaurant chain, I had been curious about. I ordered the stuffed hashbrown platter with the 16 oz. T bone steak. Incredible presentation, great flavor and enough food for the next five days. Kathy and I took some of her leftovers after church and slow cooked the potatoes in a non stick pan till they were crispy, it was incredible.

/* Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors in this post, my new glasses should arrive in 10 days, though they will arrive in Seattle and we have airline tickets to Kauai after teaching in San Diego so that will be interesting at best. */

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Crystal Mountain, Seattle and the Date Rape Virus

We got sick at the VA Beach conference. 17 years as a performance artist through the grace of God, I did not miss a performance. Then we got the "Date Rape" virus.  It hit both of us, I was tagged the hardest. There were times when Kathy simply could not wake me up. I am pleased to report that she did not take the opportunity to have someone cover my body in Elmer Fudd cartoon tatoos.

This virus varies in intensity. We had a good day Saturday ago and went to Crystal Mountain. I had promised Kathy we could do this and it was one day before they closed until ski season. We ate at the restaurant at the top.  Gosh that is a money machine, they have a backlog so if you do not have an appointment, forget it. If you do, expect a 20 minute wait. We both had salads, and they were, well, salads.

Sunday after church we headed for SANS Seattle. Since we were still under the influence of the virus, we used our car service, Starline. Easy trip.

Monday was the most intense day of the infection.  I don't know if I should say this as a Christian, but as an academic, I must chronicle the events of the world and with RNA virus mutating rapidly, someone needs to leave a log. It was like LSD, or at least how it is depicted in the movies. There were images in my mind, full color, high definition and they were all semi naked girls. I know Paul said to take every thought captive, (2 Corinthians 10:5), but you try it when you are in an altered state of consciousness and the images are coming every two seconds. None of them were anything I recognized, they were being generated on the fly. The human brain continues to astound me.

I got better after Monday and there were no more pretty girls in panties. I was able to teach including my Thursday evening keynote standing up. I had a wheelchair in my room because that is how hard this thing hit. Tuesday after I taught for an hour or so, I could not figure out how to exit the classroom. Mark was kind enough to lend me an arm and when I got to the door Jason, (our amazing conference manager), was magically there to help me get to the elevator.

Friday was not a good day. I went down to the classroom and did some "color" stories to hopefully help Mark. If I did not help Mark, he was at least very kind and supportive. Mark was on it, he had the energy and clearly knew the materials.  I went back to the room and crashed, no more images of any kind; I am guessing this is the kind of sleep that animals have when they hibernate. I could not eat; there was a banana in the room, but it did not seem to be worth the effort to peel it.  I set a dozen alarms; Wiley Shanks, a graduate student was driving down to do one of his required presentations. He was prepared and focused and actually had an audience on day 5 of a small conference. I gave him some verbal feedback after everyone left. Wiley could be a SANS instructor.

Kathy arranged for Starline to pick us up. I do not remember anything about the drive. I have the deepest memory of opening the garage and falling into bed. Images came back but they were really strange. The hotel room and my home were merging. No crisis, I found the bathroom if the reader understands.

Today, Saturday, has been mostly a lost day. I have had a one inch piece of Kathy's gluten free pizza.

Tomorrow is an interesting day. Do I go to church?  I have passed 21 days since contracting the virus, but it is clearly still active. And we have missionaries coming in. One thing is totally certain. They must not touch us, they must not help with dishes after a meal, we will reduce into the downstairs bedroom and have tried to sanitize the upstairs; Kathy is in Nurse Nancy mode.

There is  a Bible story in Act 3, with a famous saying "Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Lord please do not judge me harshly, I do have silver and gold, but what I have, I do not wish to give our guests.

And that is the end of my story.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Home to Seattle

We made it back to Seattle/Bonney Lake this morning. Thank you Lord for easy driving on I5; minimal traffic. Kathy and I were both operating on fumes. We wanted to be in position for the staff call. It got preempted by a new technology call. May have been naughty, but I stayed on the call. I did turn myself in however so do not feel too guilty.

I have five graduate student/gold papers to grade; that is about a fifteen hour time commitment. One is done. Probably will give myself a 30 minute nap before doing the next one. Another lovely day in the Pacific Northwest, but zero chance of going outside. Just going to try to rest before going back to work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The virus

The Lord has blessed me. For 17 years I have not missed a performance. I have covered for peers that got sick from something acquired in Cairo, or bad seafood, or mysteriously passed out and hit their head on the floor, (no alcohol or drugs were involved, that is not how we roll). And I have never felt superior, the phrase: but for the grace of God resonates.

We made it through VA Beach. But my brother in law picked up the infection by Wednesday in my voice and WOW. That was the prize fighter punch, but somehow we managed to make it through the entire show. **And deliver good scores, thank you Richard **

I try to be careful. At my church in WA state, when they stop praise and worship for meet and greet, it was interesting to find another individual. (Jeff), heads to the bathroom to wash his hands. I have been in the hand shaking business for a long time; the rule is simple. Until you sanitize your hands, do not touch your face.

Eventually, even living a disciplined life, your luck runs out. My luck and sadly Kathy's as well, ran out.

No idea how we made it back, we were running on fumes on a three hop flight of all things. We could not go out to a store, we opened a few canned goods, but food was not a priority. We helped each other stay hydrated, filtered water, for some reason a drop or two of lemon juice helped.

There is no concept of a sick day in our world. This virus wanted to make us sleep all the time, Missed a phone call and am very sorry, but think I am up to date with grading/advising all the student papers. You sleep until you have the energy to accomplish one thing, then you do it. Then back to bed.

Ten days went by; the lost ten days. We have to drive today. Think we can do it, coffee will probably help. Miss our church and small group, but surely do not want to share what we have. Where we go, we will isolate ourselves for the first day or two; there has to be an ending to this thing. After ten days, (or more), it has to have run its course. The lovely thing about being high tech is you can do a lot of your work virtually.

Normally, if and when we get a bonus, we tithe to either our church in Washington or Hawaii or Compassion International. For some strange reason, this month I felt strongly led to send the tithe to Samaritan's Purse; the story of Dr. Brantly, the guy that went to treat ebola patients on purpose really motivated me. And that was before we got hit.

Please do not get me wrong Whatever happened to Kathy and I is the tiniest shadow of Ebola. But it was a good wakeup call. We lost ten days. We have to get back in to operations today. Almost certainly there will be some coffee and perhaps raw cacao involved.

Blog posts should have a conclusion. Here it comes. I do not care how strong you are, you need to get your flu shot. A virus is a tiny thing, but it can take down the strongest man or woman. Kathy was a teacher in the public school system. I have been a teacher in adult education. We have been exposed. But this month we got reminded, at the end of the day, the virus gets to win. Get your flu shot already!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Recovery - Back to Seattle

We missed church Sunday, the flight yesterday was just too much. United was on time or close enough. Chicago was the worst, no jet bridge, so I put Kathy's lenses on my shoulder and hiked down the stairs and then hiked back up the stairs.

We plan to try to avoid going through Chicago again, this was not the first time for this nonsense. We did not score first class, but that is OK, United's  hot roast beef sandwich for sale in coach is excellent. We do not eat much red meat, but that was a real treat.

When we got our bags at SEATAC we were at some door they could not pick us up. So we had to move everything to an exit where they could get us.

We both picked up some respiratory bug in VA Beach. I made a meal with a hot pepper and lots of garlic; hopefully that and some rest will help us turn things around. Trying to slog through my email, is this the way we are supposed to celebrate Labor day? Playing my favorite Tuvan throat singing music, Kathy is sleeping. We know we need to go out for food, but we are just so tired.

Would not change a thing though, Richard Porter is fully equipped to teach MGT 512, it is great to see that combination of knowledge and passion.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mission Complete - MGT 512 at Va Beach - Terrapin

What a class this was! There were some VERY smart people in MGT 512 this week. I was very thankful to be co-teaching with Richard Porter, his knowledge complimented mine and together I think we brought enough expertise to the table to satisfy the class.

Tomorrow we head back to Seattle. It is a brutal set of flights, three different hops to get home. Oh well, one hop at a time I guess.

Tonight we went to Terrapin Restaurant. We went there the last time we were in VA Beach, it is pretty well run and on the high end, a good place to celebrate the end of a strenuous conference. Kathy and I shared the small Charcuterie which we enjoyed. Kathy had the Scallops, I had the Softshell crab. Our server, Michael, was wonderful, Kathy enjoyed her food and my food was OK, not great.

So, we headed back to the hotel and packed up. I will send this post and then shut down my laptop and hopefully fall asleep. Glad to put this one behind me.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nick's for brunch, family and Isle of Capri

The calm before the storm!

I started Saturday morning wrapping up my analyst paper and commenting on future, (possible) papers. Then I graded a couple graduate student papers and got a cup of coffee from the Hilton lounge. By 11 AM I realized just how hungry I was. There is a local dive, Nick's, that Randy Marchany introduced us to a couple years ago. I love how "real" the place is.

Kathy had the crab omelet and I had the crab cake eggs Benedict. Good fun. Soon we hope to see our family, they are coming in by train. Yup they made it. It is an odd train, that includes a bus. They got dropped off about a mile from the hotel and they chose to walk.

Saturday night we had a reservation at the Isle of Capri for the whole tribe. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me it was a good time. Love the tableside salad preparation.

We woke up on Sunday morning and began the classic family text-a-thon before meeting for breakfast. The kids were really good. The ocean is a bit kicked up, so the kids hit the pool, Hunter went body surfing, he has experienced shore breaks before, but still got pile driven once.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Red eye flight to Virginia Beach

We started to fly on Thursday from SEATAC. I was issued TSA Pre, but Kathy was not, so I went through the line with her. Screening was not too bad. We got to the gate early, but the plane, UA1167 was late. I got a chili at Pisa Cafe near gate A9. Our table was located so I could see the jet bridge so I would know when our flight got there and the chili was pretty good.

A lot of people were stressed about their connections, but we had a two hour layover so we stopped for breakfast at ORD; we had gate F4B. Truth is, I prefer the MacDonalds, (love the Egg White Delight), but Kathy wanted a sit down restaurant and that is certainly fair, so we opted for Chili's. I had the classic breakfast, it was OK, but Kathy had their South West Omelet. That is tasty! Kathy could not finish her breakfast, so I was honored to help. That flight, UA4456, was also late, but we were not in a hurry. We both slept. Redeye flights are getting harder and harder on me.

We landed at the Norfolk/VA Beach airport. I have never been there before. It seems really peaceful and there look like some interesting places to eat, but some of them are before security. I am always a bit tense until I clear TSA. We had not arranged a car, so we took a taxi to the hotel. I do not prefer taxis, too many times, I have been some rickety vehicle, being driven too fast and aggressively. However, this driver was a lady from Ethiopia who drove carefully and was pleasant to speak with.

When we got to the Hilton, there was a tiny amount of confusion, we are checking in on Friday, but we have some other rooms reserved for family on Saturday. However, Landon was on the case. We were given a lovely ocean view corner room. The guy that helped us from the bell desk, Ibrahim, shared a bit of local lore.

I wanted to get a late lunch. There is a bit of a hole in the wall on 23rd Street that has great fish tacos, so we went there. It is called Baja Cantina. They give you three types of hot sauce and they are all quite respectable and I believe they are housemade. It was a lovely experience and they were able to accommodate Kathy with gluten free taco shells. A lot of their food is fried, but we were able to order grilled fish. It is a blast pouring a bit of the hot sauce onto the taco and eating it, but I also enjoyed them as is. We were about to sit out with the outdoor tables, it is a very hazy, humid day for Virginia Beach with the occasional drop of rain. I have been here when the sun is so bright you cannot comfortable touch the table.

We decided to return to the hotel along the VA Beach path. They are having an African American festival centered around 23rd street. Great music, a bit loud, but awesome. What I liked the best were these posters in frames with stories about important people and events in the history of our African American brothers and sisters. We stopped at every one and read it. I hope their festival goes well, they may be dealing with some rain and possibly even a thunderstorm.

There are three keys to getting back into performance shape after a red-eye flight that I have learned in my two millions miles of flying. First, it is OK to take a nap, but don't take a long one since you have to get into your new time zone and that means falling asleep at the proper time for that time zone. That rule does not apply to Kathy, she can nap, jump up and shoot some photos, come back to bed and crash and get up in the new time zone. Second, open every blind and curtain possible; thank you Hilton, (and SANS), for the corner room; this way the natural light will hit us in the morning. Third set at least one, and perhaps two or three alarms for the time you will need to be up when you are working. For me, that is 6:30 AM the first day, but after that it can be 7:30 AM.

For supper, I wandered up to North End Pizza and got a Greek salad for Kathy and I to share. I love that place, but it is best to call ahead. Their Greek salad dressing is among the best I have ever tasted. Kathy is out shooting the evening talk and then we are off duty.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Alan Yorke Parke and Urban Timber Coffee

We ended up with some flavor of the flu, thankfully very mild, on Monday. Tuesday, I had an evening meeting scheduled with the author of a Cyberwarfare book and his father. I wrote him and said don't do it, you do not not want what I have. However, we both recovered pretty quickly, enough that we decided to get a bit of sun at Alan York Park.

We filled a water bottle and grabbed our folding chairs and found a spot in the sun. If you have never visited the park, it is unique. It is a public boat landing and the park is a grassy area with a beach volleyball area. We set our chairs down. Mostly, it was a younger set and it was funny watching the young men "oggle" Kathy in her bikini. I grew up in Hawaii and spend a lot of time there, I guess they are bikini deprived in Washington state, but it was nice to see they appreciate Kathy.

I wanted something to eat and even though I had an awesome piece of ahi in the fridge, just did not want to cook. We decided to visit Urban Timber, they have a pub type menu, which is not my favorite. When we were first coming in I saw a group of eight men going in and started thinking about a plan B, once a large group starts drinking alcohol they can get pretty loud. However, we both noticed they were carrying bibles; how cool is that, they were meeting for a bible study.

 Kathy found a salad, "The Pike" and she enjoyed that. I tried the "Pulled Pork" appetizer as a main. Both were fine. I asked for a recommendation for wine from the bar tender/barrista who didn't know about their wine list. So, one of the servers came over and recommended the Kestrel Lady in Red, a Washington state red wine blend. Maybe we got a bad batch, but it just was not drinkable.

Not sure if Urban Timber is going to survive. This is my second time there and there were not many people in the place either time. The demographic is interesting though. Besides the group of men at the bible study, there was also a group of eight ladies, can't be certain, but they pattern matched for local politics.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Friends, weather, VA Beach

Church today was amazing. Normally when I hear the pastor is not there, I am tempted to leave, escape, run away, but Pete was super prepared. As someone that presents for a living, I know the type of preparation that had to go into that. Wow.

Another gorgeous day in the Pacific Northwest. We head up to Enumclaw in a couple hours to spend some time with friends who are in our small group.

A couple of the nights have been cool, but we were given a princely gift by Roy and his wife, a Brookstone "Nap" bathrobe. I would have never purchased such a thing, I have a cotton bathrobe from Wal-Mart, but this is incredible. Sure helps me enjoy the cool nights.

Feeling that crushing pressure before travel. I am excited about teaching MGT 512 in VA Beach with David Hoelzer, honestly expect we will rock the house. Even cooler, we should be able to spend some time with family. But not excited about travel, seems like a challenging flight.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Four lovely days at Hidden Lake and a Wolfgang Puck Red Blend 2010

Yes, it rained Wednesday, but at 5:00 the sun popped out. Kathy said let's get outside, so we jumped in the car and headed for the path along the Puyallup river. We walked 3.7 miles yesterday, Kathy's personal best since her hip replacement. She was overcome with joy, the last time we were on this path she was in a wheel chair.

We also saw a plant with pretty flowers and what looked like sweet peas, if you know what this is please give us a shout.

Thursday, we went to Sorci's for an early dinner and did our walking all around Sumner. Our server was Sydney, the owner's daughter and she was very earnest. Kathy had the Gluten free Puttanesca Pizza and I had the two item lunch special, a Spinach Salad and 1/2 Fire Roasted Pork Panini. It was great to see Jeremiah again. Total before gratuity was $25.02. 

Friday, Kathy wanted to visit an Auburn park, so we went to the Game Farm park and did that path. Gorgeous day, fun walking by the river. I didn't work out in the classic sense, but did blow all the pine needles off the front porch and driveway and did the weed whacking in the front.

Saturday, a fourth gorgeous day in a row. Wanted to catch up on my blog, but today, I need to weed whack the back. As Tim Heath said, ivy is gorgeous, but it sure is aggressive. Three batteries later the ivy is in some degree of control.

Tonight we uncorked a DFV wine labeled as a Wolfgang Puck "Master Lot Reserve". The first sip did not move me so I let it breathe for 30 minutes and came back to it. It is fruity and chocolate, must have been aged in an oak barrel. It hasn't reached its peak, tastes young, if I have an opportunity, I think I will pick up another bottle and set a calendar entry for mid-2016.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Last night in the San Francisco Hilton - Seattle

Things are coming to a close. Frank is at the front of the classroom. Kathy is hurting a bit today, she is surprised since it is about five weeks since the hip replacement, but the bone and the metal are in the process of fusing.

I took a walk after lunch, it is a nice day in San Francisco. Even had a short sleeve shirt. But will switch to long sleeve tonight.

We went back to Fresh Crush, they have a new menu. Kathy ate some dish made out of a Squash, I went for the Seafood Cioppino, a holdover from the previous menu with a side of quinoa. It was nice.

We went back to our hotel room and tumbled into bed. Got up early. Kathy wanted to leave the hotel early, normally I would rather eat in the city than the airport, but this is SFO, you know there will be options. OK, fine. The hilton has a car service so that a trip to the airport is 40.00 and it is not some insane cab driver trying to shave three seconds off the drive by doing every crazy maneuver possible. Very nice, they even had complimentary water.

We ate in the airport at the Emporio Rulli Gran Caffe, I sinned against my diet and ate the Lasagne, (decadent fun),  and Kathy had the Beet Salad and a club soda.

United 759 was on time, we both fell fast asleep as soon as we got to our seats. I woke up to the pressure in my ears of the descent. Put in airplanes, ( a type of earplug), and went back down. All in all an easy flight. Made our way through the airport to baggage claim. The bags took forever, something was very, very wrong at United, but I just stood their and swayed back and forth till they finally came. New guy from Starline Limo, said he was a subcontractor, he was asking me for navigation advice; we make it home anyway.

We got home and I made some black rice and vegetables for supper, we put in the movie Magic of Belle Island, (that has to be one of Morgan Freeman's best) and fell asleep upstairs in the fold down bed. Woke up several times this morning, there are skylights and windows in this room an daylight comes early here. Kathy made us coffee and I have some quioa and chicken from the freezer for breakfast. Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest, it is a bit cool this morning, but very nice and peaceful.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Nashville, Blake's recommendations

In my class in San Francisco, we have a true foodie, Blake. He tipped me with the following recommendations from his home turf, Nashville TN.

Short version: If you find yourself in Nashville, consider trying Hattie B’s or Pepperfire to try a local dish of “Nashville Hot Chicken.” 

Long version:  It is basically fried chicken (a breast quarter or chicken tenders) more commonly done with a spicy rub, versus a sauce (though Bolton’s Spicy Chicken & Fish uses a sauce).  Pepperfire has a “Pepper Cheese,” which is a deep-fried grilled cheese made with Pepper Jack cheese.  Their Tender Royale is their hot chicken tenders served on top of a Pepper Cheese.  They also have a variation of chicken and waffles, simply hot chicken and a waffle; and another variation is their Apple Fire, with some apples (like you’d find in a strudel) on the waffle to offset some of the heat of the chicken.

Hattie B’s is by Vanderbilt University.  Pepperfire is in an area called East Nashville.
No matter where you go, the person taking your order will help you calibrate your tolerance of heat/spice (e.g., mild/medium/hot/xhot/xxhot).  While I do not advocate wasting food, if you’re wanting to test your heat tolerance at least a little, consider ordering two orders of chicken, one order each of two successive heat levels, so that if the higher one is a bit much you can fall back one level to still enjoy your meal.

Hot chicken is made to order, so expect a wait once you order (in addition to the line of people that are likely to be dining there at the same time).
Should you find your way to Nashville, I’d be thrilled to introduce you and Kathy to the local cuisine, respecting that I’m guessing that you have plenty of commitments wherever you travel.

Stephen: gosh I am starting to get hungry :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Infusion, San Francisco

Yesterday Kathy and I went to eat after the STI open house. We wandered down towards Crush, but didn't really want to make that choice. Then I remembered Infusion. Very interesting restaurant, they have a security person at the door.

We worked our way down the stairs to the lounge. It was nice and quiet. We both ordered the black fried rice, I got mine with the chicken and Kathy got the shrimp. It was great. Finally and option to white rice, mashed potatoes and white bread. We shared a serving of edamame, I really liked the spice.

We had such a good time, we set a reservation for tonight. I already know what I want to order, the appetizer sampler.

When it was time to leave, we took advantage of their offer to use the elevator. That is a lot of stairs for a lady 40 days after a hip replacement. It came out in the registration section of the Fusion hotel; neat.

We decided to come back the next night. Not as great, it rarely is. I tried the appetizer sampler, chicken legs, ribs, crab rangoons, (a bit too sweet for my taste) and edamame, Kathy went back to the black fried rice with shrimp. They were starting to gear up for a female impersonator show and people were coming in so we asked for the check and left.

Blake, (see the next post), makes the following recommendation for SF:

In other news, (in San Francisco) I do recommend Burma Superstar on Clement.  The two recommended dishes recommended to me were the tea leaf salad and the vegetarian samusa soup.  In addition, I tried the Chili Lamb (I specified “hot”) with their coconut rice and also their platha bread.  I was expecting the platha to be similar to naan, but it’s significantly different.  I would describe platha as a thicker, richer croissant that has been flattened.  Everything was quite good (and way too much food for just me).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

First Crush and a Boeger 2009

So far all the restaurants in San Francisco seem to be focused on white flour and white rice for their carbs. I needed a switch. Kathy was kind enough to go to the concierge and ask about healthy restaurants.

One of the recommendations was First Crush, so we called and made a reservation for 6:00. We walked down, in the excellent weather, (when do you see shorts and t-shirts in San Francisco in July), and they were fairly empty. Interesting menu, though I did not see any brown rice. I opted for the Halibut served with lots of vegetables and a side of wild rice. Kathy had the Beet Salad with a side of potatoes. The flavors were pretty good, the halibut was a bit over cooked, but not cardboard.

We also decided to share a bottle of wine, Boeger Zinfandel 2009, it was extraordinary. We took our time, swirling it a lot, smelling it, what a luxury. Zins tend to come in two major classes, the cherry/berry, slightly sweet, probably best epitomized by young Edmeads Old Vines. And then there is the drier, more complex, chocolate cherry plum like a Benovia 2008. Boeger seems to have a foot in both camps and it was delightful, part of the trick might be that they source their grapes from four different vineyards.

I am up teaching policy tomorrow, so I probably should be preparing.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On the move: Kauai to Seattle to San Francisco

Kathy and I are at the Coffee Bean and Tea at SEATAC waiting for our plane. Two days ago we fly from Kauai to SEA, just enough time for me to weed the herb garden.

This morning the trip to SEATAC went well, Starline was on time and security was a breeze. We zipped through TSA Pre-check and had enough time to write a blog post. Will update this after we reach San Fran.

United 698 was delayed due to the runway construction so we lost an hour there. My only complaint is that I missed brunch at FarmerBrown. Went looking for other options, usually Google is my favorite search engine, but it not do well on a search for restaurants near the Union Square Hilton. So, we picked an old favorite Cafe Mason. I had the Huevos Rancheros with fruit instead of home fries and Kathy had the Camarones Fritatta with the home fries and our server, Stephanie, suggested corn tortillas instead of bread because Kathy is gluten intolerant. Price before gratuity was 37.36 with a sparkling water and an ice tea. Excellent service.

Then, I wanted to get a soft brush to touch up my feet, I did a bit of gardening in slippers and wanted to finish cleaning up, some of that dirt is very persistant. There was a Walgreens just a block further, so we stopped there and then instead of retracing our steps, we turned left down Hyde, not too bad, but clearly the neighborhood is degraded. Worse, as we crossed O'Farrell there were a bunch of shouting people at the bus stop. My thought was to cross back to the North side of O'Farrell, but Kathy turned downhill towards Ellis. It was one long cluster of homeless people, but they seemed to be fairly passive.  It all reminded me of an adventure a long time ago, I think it was 1994, when Cisco used to throw those seminars including a huge theme party. I remember one was the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. There were no government rooms anywhere Moscone, so were were staying in one of the Cathedral Hill hotel and would walk the the conference. One night, we didn't take our usual route and ended up in a really bad part of the city, smell of urine everywhere. People were clearly messed. Rick and I were both black belts, both ring fighters, both had a knife, both very scared. But the Lord smiled and we made it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jim and Tracey - Taco night

Jim and Tracey are coming over for dinner, they are back from Singapore; it will be great to spend some time with them. Kathy brought some organic blue corn crispy taco shells from Cost u Less. I am a little suspicious, all the Garden of Eaten taco shells I have ever tried have been a bit soggy, but we will give it a try with some Wal-Mart shells as backup. This is a bit tricky, I am doing the low carb thing, Kathy is gluten free, Tracey does not eat meat so I plan to offer a number of variations of dishes.

Last night I did the relishes, lots of roast corn, black bean variations. They are all meat free. In an hour or so I will prepare the meat dishes.


Set the table with large plates after I plate the salads on small plates, we will put them on top of the large plates.
30 minutes out, plate the salads, they are pretty simple, organic greens, a cherry tomato, a carrot cut lengthwise, a basil leaf and a mushroom cap. We have a tarragon vinaigrette. Grate some cheese? Why not.
Set out the relishes each with a small spoon.

Fresh tomato relish
Roast corn relish

Table spread before first taco

First Taco ( 2 skillets, 1 microwave)

Cubed and marinated a couple pieces of Halibut these can go in the small skillet
Warm the napalitos in the medium skillet
Warm the Chia seed, artichoke heart, dried apricot ceviche in the microwave
Warm the refried beans

Chia seed, artichoke heart, apricot ceviche

Second Taco (1 skillet, 1 microwave)

Mushroom, quinoa, brown rice in the medium skillet, high heat, large burner
Warm the chicken breast in the microwave

Chicken breast, if you look closely it has been precut so the sauce can soak into the meat

Third Taco (1 skillet)

Place the marinated savory thin sliced beef in the largest skillet, high heat, large burner after both sides have been browned, transfer to cutting board slice and bring to the table.

Pull big plates, reset with small plates for dessert.


Cacao, banana, cherry, figgie pudding

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kenzie and Keely along the East shore

We only have a couple days left on Kauai and I wanted to take the girls for a walk on Ke Ala Hele Makalae. It was fun to see the world through their eyes. Every swing has to be swung on. And Keely will touch anything including what could possibly be sacred to an islander while I was telling it it not a good idea or try to walk along the broken wall to discover what it is like to find a sinkhole. After I explained that if you fall in a hole and it collapses around you it takes a special team to rescue you and breathing is tricky with the sand pressing against your chest she gave the second idea up.

We walk on till Kenzie wanted to turn around and stopped for an ice cold coconut. Then I was able to get a shot of the girls after they were refreshed, it was a pretty sunny day.

As we continued walking we saw a pretty cool sculpture created with found objects.

All in all we traveled about two miles, a bit of a contrast to yesterday when I did 12.5 and went to the end of the paved path and back in the same amount of time :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another perfect day on Kauai, walk to Donkey Beach, Monk Seal

I guess I am starting to sound like DVD that has been exposed to too much salt air and plays the same scene over and over again, but it was great today. The rain we had last night both watered the new plants in the garden and cleaned the air.

Started out at 1 PM dressed in a cowboy hat and sunglasses, it was very bright, but there was a cool ocean breeze. Set the pedometer on the iPod Nano and then shuffle for the full range of music. I was walking very well today, sometimes I have a bit balance problem on hard surfaces, but I did not have a glitch until Kelia and it was minor, pushed to to Pineapple Dump and then Donkey Beach, one of the prettiest on the island. It used to be a nude beach until Maryanne Kusaka, former high school teacher and then mayor of Kauai put a stop to it. She would walk down with a police officer in tow and sternly lecture any one with insufficient attire. Should have brought a water bottle, but I stopped at the water fountain at the Kelia bath house in both directions.

As I came back I was pondering the fact we only have nine full days left Kauai. This has been a perfect trip, a great chance for Kathy to heal from surgery. Already I am thinking about the things that I need to do while I am still here to close out. It is time to start being very careful about buying food, it is tricky to get down to the bottom of a stocked fridge. We don't buy round trip tickets between Seattle and Kauai, when it starts to be time, we just go to the Alaska Airlines web page and book a direct flight.

On the way back, I was a bit sad, I had not seen a monk seal, I have seen a seal on most of the trips. However, as I was reaching the end of the path, there was 40D, a young seal hauled up on the beach just across from the lot where Captain John Nakamura keeps his boat. I had just walked 11.6 miles, but really wanted Kathy to get to see him, so I told her and grabbed a camera.

Kathy was talking with Mary and 40D was starting to get restless, he put his flipper over his chest and I thought that was kinda neat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Co-hosting Harry, Keely and Cecile with Kenzie and Keely

Kenzie and Keely decided the theme for this dinner will be Northern Italian. We have been working together to firm up the menu. BTW we invited our neighbor across the street to join us, her name in Cecile, she is a vegetarian, but we can handle that easily.

Antipasto (served cold)
Brushetta con aglio brindisi (Brushetta with garlic toast)
Insalata (Apples, figs, Anahola granola, imported cheese, cinnamon, top with Aidelle’s chicken slice)
Polenta with chives
Parma ham on toast point
** Load the plates in the kitchen, don’t put the chicken on Cecile’s plate
** Pull the small plates, ask people to keep their utensils, bring another set of small plates

Farfalle con prosciutto e piselli (serve the ham in a separate bowl)

Tacchino con marinata basaltic (Turkey with basalmic marinade)
Contorno - Asparagi, carciofi, con dragoncello vinegrette
Risotto y fungi (Rice and mushrooms in butter and parmesan cheese, flavored with rosemary salt)
** We will need to make the tarragon vinaigrette the day before (Wednesday), it needs to sit
** We will serve as three different dishes
** Pull the small plates

Cioccolato e ciliegie granita

** We will make the granita the night before and place in small glass bowls in the zero degree drawer

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A two monk seal day - braided ono sausage

Yesterday, Kathy remarked, now I remember why we moved to Hawaii. Another perfect day on Kauai, it is the longest string of great weather I can remember. Later on my walk, I got truly blessed. There are only 1100 or so monk seals remaining and I got to see two of them sleeping together. Pretty cool.

While I was walking I had this idea. Captain John Nakamura of Kainalu Fishing, ( gave me a filet of Ono that his charter boat caught yesterday. I decided to make a braided Ono Sausage for Harry and Keely.

To top a perfect day, Kathy and I got outside. We did a walk around the block, visited with some neighbors and shared a bottle of wine, (2010 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon). It only rained on us a little bit, just a misty rain and Kathy was wearing her trademark neoprene and nylon NRS jacket.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Physical Therapy, K13, Clam pasta

After the business calls of the day, we headed to Cottrell's Physical Therapy. I am very pleased with Kathy's progress. Rusty told her it was time to quit using the walker. Wow, today is one day after the surgery.

After work I went for a walk along the ocean and K13 the wonder seal, the Mahalepu Mama, was hauled up across from the lot where Captain John Nakamura of Kainalu Fishing keeps his charter boat. We talked for a while, his charter today pulled in three Ono and a Yellowfin, he has been burning it up  lately. Then, I went to watch K13 for a few minutes before going on my walk, they had the ropes a long way out, so this is the best I could do since I seem to be cell phone camera challenged.

Canned clams were on half price special at Longs Drugs, so we had clam pasta tonight with fresh vegetables and spiced with fresh oregano, basil, chives, one small hot pepper, minced garlic and a but of tumeric root. It came out nice. I am marinating the Ono in tarragon for tomorrow night

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Greenery Cafe

We were in Lihue and wanted to get lunch. We dropped off some legal paperwork at Mr. Hong's office and Kathy noticed their sign, so we gave them a try.

As the Oracle says in the Matrix, I hate to give good people bad news. I like the idea of fresh herbs right from the garden and it was so cool to see the Felcia Cowden for City Council poster right there at the order/pickup window. I loved the basil leaves in the salad. Now, the not so good news.

The size of the cup the tea was served in was offensive. The service was well, no service. Waiting 30 minutes for the spaghetti makes no sense, the pasta was overcooked and the sauce was pretty bad. The trash was full so throwing away out used take out plates was impossible. The organic turkey sausage was good however.

The menu is really hard to read.

They are nice people. The proprietor knew something was wrong and I would have sat down and explained the problems step by step, but we had an appointment and lost all the extra time waiting for the food. I honestly hope they succeed, hope these are just start up problems. I have been in the hospitality business most of my life and the biggest suggestion is actually come out of the kitchen and talk with your customers; ask them how it is going.

If you are associated with Greenery Cafe and you see this blogpost before July 9, 2014 when we fly off the island I would be happy to sit down with you and try to make some helpful suggestions even though it means leaving my beloved Waipoli and going in to the big city of Lihue *smile*.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Oasis, Monk Seal, on the way to Donkey's Beach

It was Father's Day. We were in church, Lon Malapit was leading the closing song. Don't know the song, but it was the fundamentals of faith. We were dismissed after a prayer, I looked up and Rudy and Shanda were there. Wow! We decided to go to lunch, decided Gaylord's was too crazy for Father's Day, settled on Oasis in Waipoli. This is one of my favorite restaurants on the island. The chef is very creative, so you have some wonderful choices and they gave us an awesome table. Rudy had the short ribs, I had the tri-tip with a perfectly cooked poached egg, Shanda had a crepe and I forget what Kathy had, but she devoured the Ono Poke they were willing to make for us as an appetizer. We had a great time of conversation and then we parted ways. (they are leaving for a cruise on Tuesday and have to settle their worldly affairs before being gone for three weeks).

When we got home it was still peak sun, even with 50 SPF sunblock, I do not take on peak sun this close to the summer solstice. I read an STI student's gold paper on quantum computing and made some comments then about 2:45 started getting ready for a walk to Donkey's Beach. It is all easy walking, but when I cross 6 miles, I like to pack a bottle of water, a snack and something to sit on. And assembling the pack is not wasted effort, later this week I want to enjoy one of the island trails. What fun, in the first 1/8th of a mile I ran into a K13, a Monk seal. I saw a tourist lady and her daughter were walking by and did not see the yellow rope, so I encouraged them to come over and see K13. Since there are only about 1100 of these seals left, having a picture of her daughter with the seal in the background might be an awesome piece of memorabilia.

Then I continued on. It was a nice walk, the multi-use path, (Ke Ala Hele Makalae, The Path that Goes by the Coast),  was not very crowded, though there were people enjoying it. There was a tourist lady going about my speed and taking pictures as we hit Kelia, so I encouraged her to push on to the Pineapple dump. She said she was going to turn-around, but actually followed me by about 200 yards. When we got to the Pineapple dump, I stopped until she came up and pointed out the side path to the historical landmark. Then on to Donkey's, I love that spot. It is one of my favorites areas of the island; right up there with Mahalepu. And then, back home, made fantastic time, and cruised in about 6:40 PM.

Hunter called for a Father's Day call, we had a nice conversation, Kathy and I shared some quinoa, veggies and turkey breast for supper. We ended the night watching Houseboat with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. This goes down as a very nice day.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The joy of steel

Goody, a father's day present, a cheap stainless steel ninja "twisted steel" sword. Have no fantasy of becoming a warrior of the night; won't even sharpen it. Stainless steel in the hopes it might last a year or two here on the beach. The weight is just right for one handed work while the tsuka has plenty of space for both.

Iaido kata brings back memories of Master Chun, though getting up from a kneeling position is a must to avoid. Instead, music pours from the iPod and the sword moves to the rhythm; tip, keep as much of the earphone wiring inside the shirt as possible, the twisted steel tsuba loves to grab earphone wires. The trex deck is just springy enough to make footwork a joy and the high ceiling means no damaged ceiling fans. Dancing with swords is a great way to work out on core days, an hour session is a great mix of aerobics, core strength and fun. It is a fairly big sport in Russia and comes to us from the Cossacks, is practiced by men and women with a lot of spinning of the sword and its bearer as well as switching hands. They even do one in each hand. Amira Abdi and her troupe do a sword belly dance. Of, course they do it in India, China, Korea and Japan as well. The Scottish have a sword dance for the lasses, but they lay them on the floor and dance a jig around them.

Steel is a great gift. Joy can be found limbing a fallen oak with a sharp axe, the moment a monster maul splits a sawn log, a digging bar clearing the way to dig holes to plant huckleberries and its friend the maddock taking out that pesky root.

The doctors say we all have to exercise more. Joining a gym, getting in a car and driving to work out, just does not move. But playing with steel, what can be more fun?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kathy is upstairs, walk to Kelia, green bean and chia seed ceviche

This morning, Harry, Keely and I moved Kathy upstairs from the ADA bed and bath room. The suite worked out pretty well, Glenn Morgan consulted with Luis Soltren on the design. I wrote this on Glenn's Facebook page.

Your design for the ADA bedroom and bath at 1070 Kealoha worked out perfectly. The ceiling fan in the bathroom was brilliant. I have looked at it before, scratched my head and wondered why anyone would put a ceiling fan, albeit a marine grade one, in a shower. But it dries the floor in about an hour. Kathy's hip replacement is healing nicely. We moved back upstairs today.

With no sign of a rain this afternoon, I wanted to go for a walk, I did quiet work till after 2 PM, even with sun block, a hat and sun glasses it can be a bit much. It is not that far, 2.6 miles from the house. I had some crazy idea of going all the way to Donkey beach, but then I would have to walk all that way back :)

Not sure why, but we bought a bag of key limes; that is a lot of work for very little lime juice, but I am going to experiment with green bean and chia seed ceviche.

I cut 10 key limes into quarters and squeezed the juice out through a strainer to catch the seeds.
2 cups of green beans cut on the diagonal swirled them around in the lime juice
Added water to just cover
Started cooking over a low burner
I did not add the 1/2 cup chia seeds yet, there is a risk of them burning, wait about 30 minutes and let the beans start to soften, stir them in well
1/2 cup of red bell peppers, wait till about ten minutes before serving
I used a rounded tablespoon of crushed red peppers some folks might like more
To taste: fresh oregano, fresh chives, salt, cumin, garlic

I also grabbed a pad of cactus and made Nopales. Cooked them on low heat in a non-stick skillet so they were a bit crunchy, not gooey. The spices were salt and 6 leaves fresh basil cut up finely. About two minutes before serving I put a little water in the pan and added the basil.

Served with salsa on the side with corn tostados.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Another gorgeous day on Kauai

Was taking a walk along the beach and there was an adorable 1.5 yr old monk seal. Turkey that I am, I did not have my phone or a camera.  I hurried back home to get both, but missed the seal by nine minutes. One of the volunteers of the Monk Seal Foundation, (they put the barriers around them when they are sleeping), let me take a picture of his story sign.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

13 Coins - Great SEATAC Airport Restaurant

13 Coins is a landmark restaurant in the Seattle area. The one at SEATAC is open 24 hours and the breakfast offerings are available around the clock. It is a very innovative menu and beats the Denny's hands down.

6/3/14 Second visit. We have a merciful boarding time of 8:30 AM, but Kathy is in a walker and we do not know how fast she can get through the airport, so Becca picked us up and we relocated to the Hilton airport and stopped for dinner at 13 Coins. This time Becca remembered that I wanted to watch them cook, so we sat at the bar along the cooking line so we could watch the action. We shared a bottle of Kestrel Lady in Red, ninth edition, I could not find the year on the bottle to save my life, but looking at the images think it must be 2011. It is a Washington State blend, tastes like a young wine, bit of pepper and cherry taste. I liked it, but don't really think it will age that well, some wines are best opened early.

Each of us had the spinach salad, Kathy's was with a Balsamic vinaigrette since the standard dressing has gluten. Kathy had the Bucket of Clams which was highly recommended by our server, Kelly. Becca had the Steak Sinatra medium rare and I had the Seafood Saute. Good food and plenty of it. It was fun talking with the line cooks. Becca noticed the copper pans with rounded bottoms and asked me what they are used for; my guess was meringue, you tend to see the rounded bottoms on dishes where you use a French Whisk. One of the line cooks told us that they use it for a dessert, Zabaglioni, ( some spell it Zabaglione), an Italian custard, made of egg yolks, sugar and sherry.

So we ordered Zabaglioni for dessert with three spoons. I have a whisk friendly pan, and think I will play round with this a bit.

Becca didn't finish her steak and asked for a box. It got lost somehow and without saying a word they prepared a half portion and boxed it for her. I had been leaning towards trying a new place, but think with customer service like that; Lord willing, I'll be back.

NOTE: If you go there, I would try to avoid having Kelly as your server. She is hair on fire like she is in a terrible hurry, and her service is awful. I tipped 20% because the cooks made the experience great, I hope she shared some of the money with them.

4/21/14, First visit. We have a 5:05 AM boarding time tomorrow so we relocated to the Hilton airport hotel. We asked Becca from Savvy Solutions for the trip and said we would love to have dinner to catch up if she would recommend a place.

She recommended 13 Coins so we went. I like the place and hope to be back and sit on the part of the bar which is in front of the line cook stations, they really sounded like they were having a great time. Very creative menu. Becca had the Seafood Saute, Kathy had the Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict, I had the Chicken Dijon and we shared a bottle of 2011 Brazin Zinfandel. All diners expressed joy with their choices, bill before taxes was 118.97.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

Wow we were gone from Seattle for three weeks and all of my landscaping has been overtaken by the local vegetation. The two grassy areas were a foot high and a network of weeds was everywhere except the front herb gardens.

Down by the lake was totally out of control. I spent the past four days beating back the jungle. As we are getting ready to leave, things are largely under control. Down by the lake two plants that are the most robust are the cherries and blackberries. These cherries do not produce fruit, so I am going to eradicate most of them over time. Since they are so naturalized I will keep a small stand somewhere on the property. I did not have time to dig out the blackberry roots this trip, but hope to start working on that when I return. I do want to keep a few of them as well. I have to wonder if it is possible to train a few to be more like a bush. Obviously I will have to keep after it.

I am going to leave the hillside below the blueberries and huckleberries out of control this summer and try to get it planted this winter, that will give me time to form a plan. I will need something very vigorous, that is for sure.

On the plus side, the raspberries are doing fine. We have two kinds, thornless and mild thorns. I am guessing that is for pollination. We got some TakeRoot from Wal-Mart's garden center and I tried it on a cutting of two thornless and one thorn raspberry and put them in the ground close to the lake. Have on idea what will happen, but worth a try.

The last time we were here, I put four aronia sprigs in water and left them in front of an LED light. One of them grew roots. I planted it down by the lake as well in front of the naturalized cherry stand. We have one very happy set of aronia's just under the back lanai and they are already making berries. This is one of the so-called superfoods.  I put three more cuttings in the vase with a small amount of TakeRoot and will try again.

I am a little bit nervous about what will happen when we are gone, but there will probably be less rain and perhaps that will slow down the jungle's progress. If not, I guess it makes a great exercise program.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Al Lago Ristorante Italiano - Bonney Lake

This is the closest restaurant to our house and we haven't been there in five years, but as we were headed home Kathy was hungry and I did not have anything "ready to go" so we stopped in.

Interesting to say the least, trying to be upscale while the floor manager is wearing shorts, but hey it IS the lake and that is part of the charm.

The food is good, not great, authentic, with a few nods to the PNW, but lacks the punch of great Italian cuisine.

We ordered a bottle of 2012 Tamarack Firehouse Red, a red blend, with an emphasis on blend:

• 29% Cabernet Sauvignon
• 22% Syrah
• 22% Merlot
• 11% Cabernet Franc
• 5% Malbec
• 3% Sangiovese
• 2% Grenache
• 2% Cinsault 1% Petit Verdot
• 1% Counoise
• 1% Mourvèdre and 1% Carmenere

I am no expert on wine, but many of the varietals I had never heard of before. Next visit to Total Wine I will try to see if I can find a bottle of some of these to see what they add. Anyway, the bottle of wine, good sipping wine, nothing to blow my mind, but an amazing blend. I am strongly considering trying to hunt down a bottle or two and taking it back to Hawaii to share with Rudy.

The food?

The bread service was warm and fresh, as an extra bonus, served by the most beautiful 8 year old lady in the world :), but the butter with sundried tomato was cold and ripped the bread.

We had the Steamed Clams as a starter. They were fresh clams for sure, but the broth lacked punch, so it was just steamed clams.

Kathy had the special, Steel Head Trout. It was cooked to perfection, but in the creases was some sort of candied bacon. Clearly a lot of effort went into it, but to what purpose? The mash potatoes were clearly from scratch, but again, edible, but nothing to take it over the top.

I had the Pollo Al Carciofini, I love chicken with artichoke hearts, olives, in a lemon sauce, but again it missed the mark. The chicken was abysmal, I left most of it. The pasta was cooked well, no small trick with angel hair and the vegetables were perfect. 

Bill before tip including tax was 100.10 which is a very fair price for a starter, two mains, and a bottle. My bill says Monday nights select bottles are half price, maybe when we get back we can try that with a salad. 

My doctor says I should limit myself to two drinks of wine, (there are four standard pours to a bottle, so if Kathy and I share, that is a bottle), no more than three times a week. So, I am trying to be very selective, not talking about $100.00 bottles, but no Little Penguin either. Also realize, I must sound like a food snob, but I would help these folks if I could. 

Biggest tip, don't be chinsy with the parmesan cheese. None was offered with either of our dishes, yet the menu speaks of import parm. = If you are going to be upscale Italian you need to anchor with either imported parmesan or olive oil and preferably both. There was neither at the table. 

Will we come back? I surely do not know, but I am glad they are here and wish them the best. And should it ever be possible that I could consult on an evening special some time, I would be honored, I might even be able to supply the fresh herbs.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

If you don't like the way I drive - stay off the crosswalk - car hit Jim

We were talking with Ryan to see how Joe is doing; not good, he has been non-voluntarily committed for alcohol rehabilitation. Ryan mentioned that Jim had been hit by a car and it was pretty serious. Wow. While I was out weed whacking, Kathy connected with Mandy. She said we could bring some food.

Started with Mung bean Cordon Bleu, one of my favorites, and yes, it slide out of its shaping container, ( this time I tried coconut oil). There are plenty of explanations, even a picture in earlier posts. Look for the Friday night meal, last meal in the post.

Started some tumeric Basmati brown rice cooking with the white part of a leek. We are growing leeks BTW, fresh leeks are so nice and tender, they are a joy to work with. I used the rice as a base for two dishes:

I had some of that oven roasted turkey breast from Costco. I will never cook a turkey breast again, they are so much better at it than I; prepared it using the entre slice direction, (it's on the package). Covered with sesame ginger mushroom sauce. Lots of anti-inflamatory, gluten free, low GL in that one.

The other half of the rice was covered with chicken cashew stir fry.

Also did a red lentil, sun dry tomato corn bread with cheddar cheese powder. Gosh I really would like to know how that came out. Guess I will just have to make one for Kathy and I tomorrow.

The salad was spinach, romaine, mint leaves, with carrots, mushrooms, celery, date bits and those Pike Place candied smoked salmon bits. They are at WinCo from time to time, what fun.

Didn't have time to do a dessert, Kathy got through to Mandy just as they were trying to figure out what they were going to do for dinner. The food was still warm and sealed, so we drove over and delivered.

Jim looks great for a guy that got hit by a speeding car four days ago while in a crosswalk with the walking man sign showing. He flew 40' through the air ended up with two broken legs, a concussion and bleeding on the brain. His eyes are clear, his speech is not slurred, he can walk with a walker and they have arrange for an outdoor shower with hot water. Got to meet his son Dustin, that is one "got it together" guy and an intensive care nurse to book. We didn't stay long, but I want to get back before we fly for the long version of the story. Maybe they will even let me bring another meal.

Kauai to Bonney Lake/Sumner WA

Thursday 22 May, Keely drove us to the airport. They randomly selected Kathy, ( you know TSA PRE Kathy), for screening and went through every single part of her carryon. We were early enough we still had time to stick our heads in the lounge and say hi to Val, but elected not to stay for a drink.

United flight 362 was delayed, no radio, and I was happy to wait till they put in the radio before flying across the ocean. This was one of our last chances to be in first class on United, took the last of my miles. Bummer that the service was terrible. The flight attendants didn't even look at us. One total water service in a 5 hour flight, good thing we always bring our own. The younger, prettier one, had the total hots for the guy in front of us though, (no wonder we were invisible). She was down on her knees in the aisle multiple times and brought him so many drinks I wondered if he was going to fall over. She even brought him one last Heineken after we crossed 10,000 feet on the descent into SFO; never saw that before. The nice part about being invisible is that I left my headrest up and Kathy left her seat back, (and doing that didn't even crash the plane, I had always wondered).

Wierdly, the next leg of our flight was also United 362, but it was 23 gates away in a different leg of the terminal. So, we are already over 30 minutes late because of the radio, have to wait for the wheelchair. I am pushing the wheelchair for all I am worth. Though we have both flown millions of miles and I keep trying to tell myself, "so what if we miss the flight, we will just get a hotel room"; I was still getting stressed. And then the God_incidence. Coming at us is no other than Jim Manico; man he looks good, very calm and focused. He was willing to walk us to our gate. He and Kathy had a chance to catch up. The good Lord smiled, we made our plane, we were the next to last people to get on, (the last was the non-customer service oriented purser from our previous flight). This leg had good customer service, but it was a two hour, snack only flight.

The Starline limo people were there for us and the driver could see we were really hurting and was very helpful with the wheelchair and helping us get in the SUV. That was an error on my part, I wanted to be sure we had room for two checked bags, (mostly fabric from Kathy's stash on Kauai using the United Gold Status moving service), two carry ons and a wheel chair. But the mistake I made is that a SUV is higher off the ground, so Kathy had to climb. Well, we made it.

Got the alarm disarmed, activated the elevator, we pulled down the murphy bed, grabbed the pillows out of the cabinet two feet away and that is the last thing I remember.

Friday, we slept late, I got up twice to check my email to make sure there was no emergency. I did go out to WinCo for provisions, but that was it.

Saturday, we started to ease into this timezone, and decided to visit the Puyallup trail head to the Foothills trail. It was early enough that we could get a parking place.  There was someone in the handicapped parking spot, with no handicap sticker, but we were close enough on the side of the road that we could make into the parking lot and up the ramp. Lovely day, said hello to some nice people and met a really cool Scottish Deerhound, (I want one). As soon as we got back and finished lunch, (a chef salad), I went to town with my weedwhacker; things have really been growing. I use and electric one and the battery runs out pretty fast, so I put it on the charger and did some weeding till it was ready for another round.

Sunday, May 25 we both got up early, had a light breakfast of tart apples, oatmeal and dates with lowfat Greek yogurt on the side. I don't add any liquid, I just throw the elements in a skillet and lightly toast them. Simple variations include adding some egg white or nuts. I didn't have any dried cherries handy in my fridge or for sure I would have added them. Still had time to write this blog post and do my sword workout before church. Good start to the day.

Pastor Josh taught today, I thought he did well. The rain held off long enough for me to get a weed whacking session in, ended up filling the green waste container. Our small group is canceled for tonight and to be honest, I am thankful; we have been gone for three weeks and there is a lot to be done. It started raining, I worked for another hour then started to get cold. Then we heard Jim was hit by a car, (that is the next blog post after this). Mandy said we could help by bringing a meal, so I switched gears and went into cooking mode. After we delivered it we came back home and I made supper, ( Ahi, salad, brown rice/quinoa/sliced almonds).

I was still a little edgy after putting five courses together in 1.5 hours, (and seeing Jim with two casts on), so I put in a mindless movie, Flirting with Forty and opened our Sofia Rose. It is a Francis Coppola and doesn't hit that hard, 12.5% and is light on the palate. A gentle rose nose, a pleasing color, (Kathy says it is darker than most rose, I am not so sure), a light sweetness that serves as a wonderful dessert. Kathy wants to keep the bottle as a vase, boy we have had that conversation many times. This time we made a trade, if she will get rid of the pottery vase set of the same shape, yes, it can stay :) I do not think I will replace it with another Sofia, but I will stock another rose. Think less of me if you want, but it has been years since I had a Mateus, if we get one I will try to remember to blog the story of my first one; God, you shall see, sometimes works in VERY mysterious ways.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Rudy boat - Anini to the Napali Coast - Rescue

Friday night we had Rudy, Harry, Keely up for dinner. Nothing special, just old friends, Keely brought an awesome salad, Rudy brought some lovely seared ahi, we filled in the rest.

Rudy also brought two incredible wines, said he found them at Costco. The highlight was a La Fiole du Pape and also a dessert wine.

Rudy invited us to come out on his latest boat. We met at his house, drove up to Anini beach to use the boat put in there. Rudy wanted to get ice and the Kilauea Menehune Mart was out. They said we could wait an hour. Rudy went to the complex where Calvary Chapel North Shore is and got ice. I wandered into the church. Aunty Zena did not recognize me, but offered me food; angels unawares? I thanked her for her special sauce and she realized who I was; I got a hug from her and Peyton and headed back to the adventure.

 He had invited three other people, truly interesting, very glad I got to meet them. Wes has been a pastor with Calvary Chapel Kauai, his wife Sarah appears to be wonderful, though we did not spend much time with them. However, the really interesting guy was their friend Chad. He was in a youth group Wes led, made a significant lifestyle conversion and oh my.

It was a fairly calm day, which means we didn't even get the stuffins knocked out of us, no blood, no bruises, though the potential is always there in a boat on the ocean around Kauai. It was low tide when we started. I don't care how many times you have boated Anini, at low tide you are going to hit some coral, however, we could not wait, Wes and Sarah have organized some sort of musical production tonight.

We finally cleared and started towards the Napali, we passed the beach at Hanakapiai and I am glad to report nobody was being swept out to sea; this time. We ducked into a couple caves and Wes and Chad were all for standing on the bow and having the waterfalls land on them, or swimming in the cave, climbing up the rocks to jump back in.

We came in close at the Kalalau beach and and a young man, Jake, swam out to meet us. He said his girlfriend had burned her feet walking on the hot sand and could not walk out. The folks on the boat were somewhat disbelieving, but I pointed out that a large population of the USA was diabetic and it is extremely common for them to have peripheral neuropathy where there is numbness in the feet. That population is at risk of things like this. We said we would get them on the way back and gave them plastic bags to put their stuff in and continued on and got to see the arch and open ceiling sea cave; good fun.

We stopped for lunch and swim snorkle at Nualolo, that was truly lovely. At the end, there was a bit of drizzle; as we would later learn we were turning from trades to South wind and VOG.

Back to Kalalau, there they were. Jake valiantly swam the first bag out to the boat. Kid had heart, but wasn't in shape to handle this.  Enter the mighty Chad. He brought the other two bags aboard, one at a time. That is a lot of shore break to handle. Then he went back to help them bring the girl. The sea state was getting bigger, so Captain Rudy directed Wes to toss a line in so we could tow them out of the break zone. He also said to get them life jackets. I think that was brilliant. They made it aboard.

They wanted to be dropped off at Ke'e, but I know that beach very well. There is a channel, but it flushes into the open ocean. So Chad tied all three of their bags together and swam them in OVER the reef, just before the surf breaks. Wes and Jake swam the girl to shore. Life jackets were now getting popular as people got tired. Chad and Wes swam back to the boat. We came back to Anini as quickly as possible, but the sea state was increasing. I think Wes may have been a bit late for their musical adventure, but it was for a good cause.

After it was all over we spent some time with Rudy chatting and petting his dog and cat. Then the VOG got me. Tonight we are sleeping in the bubble and we will go from there.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Scott, Steve and Chad, Pacific Realty - real estate deal going sideways, only thing to do is cook

Steve Oldfield is my realtor; we have been through some nutty situations on deals before and guess what; here we go again. Shared meals and road trips in my opinion are one of the best ways to get to know people better and take the pressure off what could be a tough situation. So let's do this well.

Set the table with large plates.
Lemongrass tea in tea mugs, served cool.
For the wine, I am breaking out the magnum of 2005 Provenance Rutherford I have been saving. Scott handled the decanting and did a masterful job with an aged cork while I put the last touches on the meal.

Mushroom soup, they are plain ol button mushrooms, eight big ones. A bit of chicken stock, from the Costco organic, skinless, low fat chicken thighs, smoked rosemary and a tough of salt and we are off to the races. All I will do is bring them to warm. Cut the tops off the best looking mushroomss, will use those as garnish. Maybe toss in a curly slice of corn tortilla with a light red pepper dusting. I will serve these in the oversized saki cups we normally serve tea in.

For the salad I want to play with spinach and tart granny smith apple. However, at the Bruce, Janet and Harry dinner, the pineapple and apple fell to the bottom of the salad bowl. I am ditching the pineapple and serving long slices of apples. Tossed in some pecans as well.

Afterwards, pull the small plates.

As we shift towards the mains, let's do something fun. Kathy found a bag of organic, no sugar added, unsulphured figs at Costco. Let's blend them up, put them in a small cup, with a small ball of Beecher's Flagship cheese inside. Only spices are two cloves and a pinch of raw cacao.

For the first main, nothing says it better than long rice cordon bleu. I made them tonight. Another lesson from a previous run, if I serve them shaped in a big bowl, the presentation is stupendous . . . UNTIL the first person digs into the dish. When we made the Costco run there was a blister pack of glorious Washington state granny smith apples. I used the blister pack as the mold. So every guest gets their own and they all get to be the first one to attack/destroy. Not going to serve them with a vegetable or starch because the long rice/cellophane noodle, (mung bean), is both already. This is served to the large plates at just a warm temperature.

Fire roasted chicken, another repeat is up next. Costco sells organic, skinless, 95% lean chicken thighs. I cut off the fat I can find and sear them over an open rosemary flame so more fat falls down into the chimera and then slow cook them in my kitchen where I can monitor the internal temp. It is served over a spiced quarter of corn tortilla, with tumeric rice on top and a chunk of Beecher's flag ship cheese to connect the thigh to the rice. I will serve this with baby squash cooked in a lemongrass reduction. We will also break out the potato bowl, so this is the big service.

If any of my guests are up for a third main, I think a turkey slice with an aronia, (chokeberry), BBQ sauce and a slice of spiced yellow zucchini will round out the meal.
NOTE: We did dig into the third main. Without my iPad on island, I forgot the aronia sauce, so I substituted the last of the mushroom with the last of the lemon grass reduction. I tried the aronia BBQ sauce on turkey with Rudy, Harry, Keely Friday night and it seem to work and will be taking the last of the turkey meat, (I have stock from the bones to play with next week), on the boat tomorrow.

Pull the large plates. Check on the drinks.

Dessert tell, started with almond flour, oatmeal and ginger cake as the crust. Put a row of almond on top. First layer was dried fruits. On top of that chia/hemp/buckwheat, next a second layer of dried fruits, light dusting of oatmeal, tart apples and cinnamon, almond slices, topped with strawberries, chocolate chips, a couple chopped mixed nuts.

On the main, I think our guests were happy. Chad suggests: "If I may be so bold, daring, and caring to offer an opportunity to improve anything from last night's dinner, would be for you to consider making your corn tortillas from scratch.  Buy the Maseca brand from any grocery store, follow the directions (but add a shot of fresh lime juice in the masa) and you'll be set.  Its so easy to make the tortillas and there is nothing better than fresh tortillas!"

Ooh la la, that has me thinking. To be honest it has been 30 years since I created a tortilla from masa harina. But maybe Chad and I can team, be both daring and caring and do something for a good cause event that features tortillas. If you have read my blog you know I love to plan to cook something outside of my comfort zone, so maybe there is something truly novel we can do; especially if Chad can help anchor the tortilla side of the equation. A tortilla station in a soup kitchen would not be the worst idea I have ever heard of. Who knows where we could take it from there?