Springier in Winter

Today it was 63 or more degrees, and we hiked for a couple of hours at the Narrows, over the river and through the woods.  There was green everywhere, along with the icy remains of melting streams and mud.  It was peaceful, except for the constant loud blasting of guns (target practice?).  I remembered my camera this time, but oddly did not take any photos.  So here’s a photo from the last time we were there, pre-winter.  It was pretty much the same, only it may have been warmer today!





Spring in Winter

It was—WTF—60 degrees out in the dead of winter, so we walked through Glen Helen (home of the famous yellow springs) where all the waterfall stalactites were melting.  Lots of friendly nature-lovers were out walking.

I must have been having a case of unspring fever, because somehow I had forgotten my phone camera!?  Sacrilege!!    So no photos 🙁 to prove we not only hiked, but strolled through Yellow Springs (after eating), stopping at our favorite shops, including House of Ravenwood, where we bought some mystical stones and stuff, and stocked up on good hippie vibes.  We drank decent fair trade coffee at the Emporium, while I looked at all the used books.  The usual crowd of aging Antioch profs were sitting around discussing current events (one old guy even had a Bernie t-shirt on).  Some kids were folk-jamming in the corner.

People were all out enjoying the oddly warm weather, and vendors had set up their handmade jewelry stands.  Convertibles had their tops down.  I was shedding layers like a molting polar bear.  Folks were basking in the rays.

If this is the new winter, I wonder what summer will be like.  My birthday used to feature the blizzard of the century, like clockwork, but not in recent years.  Maybe it will be the new spring!  That would be great (but not a good sign).

Here’s a random picture.

march 1

Erev at the Hiber Nation

I made this lemony lemon thyme tea bread with lemony cardamom glaze. (To go with my lemony-limey Rangpur lime g&t!)  Also for dinner: tandoori-spiced chicken, Moroccan spiced sweet potatoes, and garlicky rosemary roasted brussels sprouts.  Through the rosemary and thai basil plants in the window, you can just make out Frankenstein’s Tower if you look closely.  Skully says erev Shabbat Shalom.

Picture0129161450_1 Picture0129161450_4 Picture0129161450_3 Picture0129161450_2



Owning my Circumstances

When you find yourself in unfortunate circumstances, ask yourself the following:

  1. Did I choose, either by action or inaction, to get myself into this predicament?
  2. Is it possible, or appropriate, to attempt to extricate myself from this situation, or to upgrade it?
  3. If not, am I going to keep on whining and feeling sorry for myself, or…
  4. Can I take responsibility for being here, recognize that I don’t have control over these circumstances, and turn them into an opportunity to update or rethink my values/priorities?

In other words, I do in a sense have control, maybe not over the circumstances, but in how I respond and work with them to reinvent my reality.  I could feel the way society wants me to feel, a total loser and failure, or I can learn to accept and feel content within outward misfortune, adapt and be resourceful with what I’ve got.  That is, own it.

This may seem obvious and simplistic, but for me it’s a major lesson to absorb and implement.  The culture I was born into, and that I unconsciously compare myself to, tells me that I have failed to achieve, fall short, lack purpose, am not ‘special’, whatever, which causes anxiety and stress.  But once I release myself from all those artificial capitalistic expectations and accept and own my current situation, life is just simpler, more focused on what’s important and realistic.  The possibilities…

(I’ve been reading smarter people’s articles and thoughts, and trying to apply them.  And here you thought I was that original!)



Life in Dead of Winter

It was a balmy 45 degrees, so we braved a walk at the fen, and were not sorry.  We actually saw a muskrat jump into the water, and a fat young beaver sitting doing something on the edge of the stream.  There were a few of us standing there watching and commenting, but Mr./Mrs. Beaver just went about its business.  There was a large beautiful woodpecker right next to us.  Here and there were some confused skunk cabbage buds poking up out of the snow and ice, and the water plants and algae choking off the waterway (no doubt due to agricultural runoff) were still green.  People were out walking dogs.  You could almost imagine a distant spring returning the graveyard to life.  I’ve included ‘Frankenstein’s Tower’, just for atmosphere.  And to think, it’s Tu BiShvat in Israel, celebrating trees, which are in bloom.  And balmy in L.A., of which my brother is helpfully reminding us.  😛

Picture0125161701_1 Picture0125161650_1 Picture0125161650_6 Picture0125161650_5 Picture0125161650_4 Picture0125161650_2 Picture0125161648_3 Picture0125161648_1 Picture0125161648_5 Picture0125161648_7 Picture0125161648_8




Little Saigon

We finally did it–checked out one of the few Vietnamese restaurants in this whole area.  There is a small community hidden away here, but their food is still a novelty to average Ohioans.  We had had to postpone our Chinese xmas ‘tradition’, so this was our plan B.  Maybe a new ‘tradition’?  And well worth the wait.

Little Saigon is literally a little hole in the wall mom-and-pop (actually I think mother and daughter) place that you wouldn’t even glance at twice, unless you read the reviews and/or are Vietnamese.  It looks like a shack from the road, but it’s a pleasant, though plain, sit-down room inside.

I had done some homework, so I could order a good representative selection.  Naturally, pho was up at the top of my list.  The nice older lady was like a mom, showing us (with our permission) how to eat each dish hands-on STS in the authentic manner, and helping me pronounce the food names.  It helped to have watched all the shows about eating street food all over the world, which is almost how we felt, sitting there, having a friendly conversation with her.  It helped that my brother had been on a bicycle tour of Vietnam, and raved about the food!

The portions were ginormous, more like three meals, so we had to take most of it home. The few dishes I paused from devouring long enough to take photos of only scratch the surface.  Most of them didn’t last long enough to become photos.  We tried three different kinds of spring rolls dipped in sauces, a bún rice vermicelli dish full of yummy things, a banh xeo savory vegetarian crepe that you wrap up with cilantro in lettuce and dip in sauce, and two kinds of pho with lots of fresh sprouts and cilantro.  (Sorry I don’t know how to print all the Viet accents, of which there are many!)

The verdict: we love Vietnamese food.

Picture0123161306_1 Picture0123161306_3 Picture0123161306_2 Picture0123161306_5 Picture0123161306_4




Greetings from Hiber Nation

Here we are doing what we do best at Hiber Nation Central.  We are the Experts at hunkering down for so-called blizzards, so please direct your questions here.  Skully will be glad to address all your outage needs, or at least attempt to humor you as you suffer.  😀  Happy erev.  PS.  This is a cake made with oats, whole wheat flour, pecans, walnuts, cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, and sweet spices.  And for dessert, drinking!

Picture0122161233_2 Picture0122161233_1Picture0122161409_1



Walking in a WFM Wonderland

I know I sometimes go on about Whole Foods, but for someone transplanted from the land of plenty to a food/culture wasteland, and for someone who grew up here totally unaware of the wonders of real food, it’s like a paradise of new discoveries around every bend.

E appreciatively using some her gift card (thanks to my kids) for fresh pizza-oven slices and good coffee.  This WFM actually has a full beer/liquor bar along with the coffees, not that we partook!  Also an amazing food court with sushi, deli, etc.  We bought our monthly luxury item, some fresh salmon on sale, and fresh-baked challah(!).  We then camped out in the loose bulk section, stocking up on a few fresh coffee beans (another luxury), and lots of rice, lentils, and spices, which are very reasonably priced.

This Whole Foods has a huge selection of binned loose herbs, spices, masalas, salts, teas, etc. from which to choose as little as you need, bag it, and print out the label.  I put E in charge of the rices and lentils, while I had fun in spice world.  A nice lady from India was trying to figure out the system, so we had fun talking about spices and herbs while I helped her.  Finally we tore ourselves away…

…to the ice cream (yes, another luxury), and then home to put some in our freshly ground (for press) coffee!  I guess we were celebrating, because E’s new SS card with her legal name change arrived already, which is a big event.  (Earlier today, we changed her bank account and debit card, so that was another accomplishment.)  Pretty soon all her documents will be updated and consistent.

Here are random pics of: some yummy herbed flatbread E made last night, with some cheese (it having been  national cheese day, of course); and the obligatory whole fresh fish mugshots.  I used to do the same in NJ, and I guess I missed my finny friends.

Picture0121161507_2 Picture0121161507_1 Picture0120161829_1 Picture0120161826_1






Due to neglected ancient infrastructure here in Ohio, our water was turned off, and a whole committee of men are out in the frigid cold trying once again to patch it together for now.  They were going to just leave us waterless overnight, but then must have had second thoughts and felt sorry for us.

I think of the unfortunate folks in Flint, Michigan and lots of other poor areas in the middle of this country who get overlooked and have it much worse.  This is what happens when conservatives and their rich corporate overlords run things for their own profit, unregulated or overseen.  We have a ‘choice’ of tainted, contaminated water, or no water at all, yet still have to pay for it.  It’s scary when some Repub presidential candidates didn’t even have Flint on their radar, even after it was declared a state of emergency, and Dems were condemning such delinquent behavior.  This is the ‘morality’ we can expect if these religious deadbeats are elected.

I think our water is restored for now, until the next ancient pipe bursts, and they start all over again.  We are the fortunate ones.  It’s always good to be reminded not to take anything basic for granted in our ‘developed’ nation.




Roti Rani

In keeping with the spirit of new names, I’ve nicknamed E ‘Roti Rani’, bread queen.  She took an Indian tandoori roti recipe (http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/tandoori-roti/), adapted for a hot pizza stone, and came up with these totally excellent specimens.  Adding this accomplishment to all her native American fry breads, which keep getting better, and some good whole wheat yeast bread, I have promoted her to bread chef.  Works for me!  😉

Picture0116161427_2 Picture0116161427_1