Thursday, November 16, 2017

October 2017

I have not posted to Tumblr and they are threatening to take away my jlle account.  So here's a photo of Celeste and the inflatable cat and Darian and Uncle John

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 2014 - Jan and Sarah Visit

Jan and Sarah made a short but action-packed visit to Rochester this weekend.
Tommye Weddington was at the market and so was Amanda Rosemore. Jan and Sarah bought Lucinda's green apple painting.
Unfortunately I can't figure out how to rotate photos in Blogger. Sarah said that the black hat makes it look as though he's stealing the painting. We should have thought to add a mask. Chad, Kaija, Chloe and Aidan came to dinner.
Paper Easter hats: they're not just for Easter, as you can see. And they're not just for humans.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The 3rd of July

We celebrated the 3rd of July today. I took my bike to Towner's on University Avenue. I had not been there in many years, and I recalled that the last time, I was told that the bike was not up to their standards. Fine. I will get new inner tubes, install my Hello Kitty bell, and ride it to work in summer.
I weeded the garden for five hours (time flies), including hacking away at the overgrown rhododendron, Rose of Sharon, lilac, forsythia, and wisteria. Even the tarragon and oregano Sara gave me in 2007 had spread dramatically. The tarragon is over three feet tall. I need to learn to make some things with tarragon, other than Poulet a l'Estragon. I was fresh out of poulet.

After a long bath and four Ibuprofen I set about to making a seasonal dinner: butter lettuce with feta and strawberries. Fresh pea soup with tarragon, mint and Greek yogurt. Corn fritters. Fresh figs.

At the market on Thursday, where I met Alayna and complained about the number of people smoking while they shopped, I bought three eggplant, a head of broccoli, a butter lettuce, a flat of figs, strawberries and blueberries. A farmer from Penn Yann was selling fresh peas for $3 a bag. He harvests them and then "The Mennonites" have a machine that removes them from the pods. I have shelled peas and it takes forever, so I am glad the Mennonites have this technology.

The soup: boil the peas. for about 5 minutes with the ribs of a head of Butter lettuce. Chop finely a large Vidalia onion and microwave it in some olive oil until it is very soft, about 3-4 minutes. While it is cooking, add to the peas some chopped fresh mint and tarragon. Salt, pepper.

Puree the peas/lettuce and onions with some skim milk and then put it through a food mill to make it smooth. Serve with yogurt and mint.

Corn fritters were one of my mother's favorite comfort foods. Drain a small can of corn. Make a basic pancake mix with flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, eggs and buttermilk. Salt, pepper. Mix in the corn and fry like pancakes. A trip back to the Fifties.

Happy Fourth.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Recipe for Margaret

Here you go.

Peach cranberry rhubarb crisp. Can be made in any dorm kitchen.

Put a nice layer of fruit on the bottom of a lightly buttered pan. It can be apples. Maybe 4-5 cups of fruit total. I used peaches because I had a lot of frozen peaches in the freezer. Then I added some frozen cranberries, maybe 1 cup. Sometimes I use apples and frozen raspberries or blueberries.

Mix a cup of oatmeal, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons softened butter. If you use apples you might want to add some nutmeg and cinnamon.

Put it on top of fruit. Bake at 350 degrees until the fruit is soft, maybe 30 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Should be accompanied by strong coffee.

That's all.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Other Sixties

When I think of "The Sixties" there's a clear divide in my mind into two diffferent worlds, and I don't know what event or series of events tipped from the old era to the new. I have images in living color - the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, hippies, Hendrix, the summer of peace and love, Woodstock, Monterey, the 1968 Chicago DNC, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King. But before that it was black and white.

Looking back, the Sixties started in the Fifties, although we didn't know it. I was born in 1951. Rosa Parks sat in the bus in 1954, and the Montgomery bus boycott was a full year, from 1954-55.

I can't say I remember it. I should, though. My earliest memory of a newspaper headline is President Eisenhower's heart attack, which, I just learned from a web site, took place in September of 1955. I was sitting on the kitchen floor of our house on 41 Corlies Avenue in Poughkeepsie, and I apparently read it aloud- something like "Ike Comes Home" and this startled my mother. "Who said that?" she demanded, and then looked down at the floor where I sat. "Did you read that?" she asked. I probably replied, smugly, in the affirmative. Why wouldn't I be smug. it was two months before my fourth birthday, and my sister Eileen liked coming home from 2nd grade and passing on the lore of Dick, Jane and Sally.

That Ike headline is the first text I can remember understanding. But I don't remember Rosa Parks or the boycott that followed. I need to check the New York Daily News archives to see if it was even covered. It must have been. After all, the divide in the Sixties was clear - good vs. evil, the non-racist North - that was us- vs the cross-burning bad guys in the South (that was them). (Okay, it was before the race riots in places like Rochester, a city in western NY I never thought I'd ever even visit, let alone live in.)

I do remember Little Rock. It was 1957, and I was 6 years old and starting 2nd grade with Mrs. Wardell, a mean old woman who yelled at us and called us "hooligans." The word itself scared me, and school as a source of conflict was something I could relate to. I noticed Little Rock, and my mother talked about it. I may have even read about it in the Daily News. So the desegregation at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas registered with me. These were kids who wanted to go to school. This was pretty confusing to a neurotic 6-year-old. As I said, I was afraid of school. Our teachers yelled at us and even hit us occasionally. My first grade teacher, Miss Cook, had screamed at me for "reading ahead" in Dick, Jane and Sally. Listening to the kids who didn't have older sisters to teach them read aloud was torture. The road ahead to high school looked long and unpleasant (and it was).

But being tormented for being too good at reading, not good enough in math and not rich or popular enough was small potatoes compared to life for black schoolkids under after Brown vs the Board of Education. They were the unwitting footsoldiers who fought the war of desegregation. In 1957, the governor of Arkansas got the state's National Guard to keep the school segregated. President Eisenhower sent in the military to federalize the National Guard.

This is the picture that scared me the most. I imagined what those white people were yelling, and I thought the Negro girl (that was contemporary terminology) had a great dress. I didn't understand the sunglasses, which were worn only by movie stars at the time.

I don't remember when I first saw this 1964 painting by Norman Rockwell which is titled "The Problem We All Live With."

Not only high schools were forcibly integrated. Other people wanted to go to college. James Meredith had to be escorted to campus ("Ole Miss") by US marshals. (I wonder what the they are thinking here.) My mother read James Meredith's story to us from the Readers' Digest over lunch (my brother and I came home every day for sandwiches and Campbell's Soup). She was obsessed with the segregataionists, and I did not understand the history of her outrage until I was much older.

George Wallace, the governor of Alabama, a symbol in the North of the quintessential evil Southerner, did not want educational institutions integrated, as you can see. In 1963, he personally blocked the door the University of Alabama to keep out black students. This became known as the "Stand at the Schoolhouse Door," where Wallace attempted to put into practice his "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" policy from his 1963 inaugural address. He was displaced by Federal marshals.

Education was not the only thing the civil rights activist fought for. Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 play, A Raisin in the Sun, was the first play by a black woman on Broadway. It was about education, career opportunities and equal access to real estate.

It was one of my mother's favorite movies. How could it miss? The elegant and well-spoken Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier try to get their kids out of the city into a nice Chicago suburban house, only to be unwelcomed by the white neighbors. So it was equal access to education, freedom to live where you wanted to raise your family, and ... the right to VOTE.

I was 10 or 11, and the Freedom Riders' bravery made me feel like a coward. I knew I would never have the courage to facce the evil Southern whites. The Freedom Riders risked their lives to help people register to vote. The people whose names tended to get in the paper were the whites who died. Viola Liuzzo was a mother of five from Detroit who went to Alabama to volunteer in the Civil Rights movement after the March on Selma.

Since I was terrified of all dogs, let alone German shepherds, these images gave me constant nightmares. I'd been raised with my sister's grandmother's horror stories of being chased by Christian boys in Bialystok with their dogs.

Then there were the fire hoses. The water pressure was strong enough to break bones. The hoses and the dogs were used to attack peaceful protesters.

I felt a connection to this domestic civil war because there was strong support in the Jewish community for black voters' rights. Jewish slavery was not something that happened thousands of years ago in faraway Egypt. We could relate, thanks to the 1961 Eichmann trial, which brought Jewish massacre, slavery and martyrdom to our black and white television every night. Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were Jews from NY. James Chaney was from the south.

It would be more than forty years before an arrest was made. Two of the mothers of the three, who were 20, 21 and 24 when they were murdered, were alive to see the trial. Dr. Carolyn Goodman, whose husband (Andrew's father) died in 1969, died in 2007.

Edgar Ray Killen is serving a 60 year sentence. The photo above is James Chaney's mother, Fannie Lee Chaney, and his younger brother at his funeral.

The civil rights battle was fought on all fronts. The South seemed like Nazi Germany, where gays, Socialists, Communists, Jews and other minority groups lost civil rights. The American Negro had been emancipated in 1863, but a hundred years later, could not get a cup of coffee at a Woolworth's lunch counter, or drink from a white water fountain.

No place was spared in the battle, not even the church. It was in the sanctuary of the 16th Street Baptist Church that Addie May Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley died in the 1963 bombing. This was two months before the murder of President Kennedy and my 12th birthday. I was exactly the same age as the youngest, Denise McNair (top photo).

I don't think about this era every day. When Barack Obama talked about the 106-year-old voter and what she had witnessed in her lifetime, he rattled off a list of indignities and injustices. When he said "bridge in Selma, dogs, firehoses" I was shocked at the black and white images that I recalled, and, well, here they are. So the Civil War is over, as Tom Friendman wrote the other day, and it appears now that yes, we can. After january 20, 2009, two little black girls are going to be running around the White House chasing their new puppy.

Friday, June 13, 2008


The boys came back from NM and TX with a new appreciation of Hank Williams. This is a result of John's first surfing in eight days.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Williamson, NY's first winery

Jon Young's parents had the soft opening of their winery today. I'd planned to go to the market and see Margaret this morning, because she is leaving for Europe, but the unsuccessful hunt for Phil's three missing cell phones derailed me. The weather didn't inspire me to leave the house either. It rained, it drizzled, the sun came out, the rain came back.

I did find an ancient Nokia that Phil pretended to use to summon a horse and carriage. Then I found a twenty-year-old 35-mm camera with four shots taken of 27. I gave it to Jordan to use up at the dedication of Pepsy Kettavong's Nathaniel Rochester sculpture. It was dedicated at 2 pm today in a drizzle that was punctuated by more sun and purple clouds.

John and I overcame our weather-induced lassitude to drive with Phil and Jordan out to Williamson. The Young Sommer Winery produces apple and other fruit wines. We particularly liked the Cherrytram and the Senchu apple wine.

It was a great day to be in an apple orchard and vineyard. Some old bikers stopped by. One of them had an astonishing accoutrement that you don't normally associate with motorcycles (see video below).
All in all, we predict great success for the new YS winery venture.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Garbo Blogs

It's been so long since I've written here that the title might be "Rip Van Winkle blogs." It was so long agp that you had to load the photos to PhotoBucket or some other wretched photo site, and then keep them there...oh, never mind. Blogspot now does you a favor and allows you to upload them directly from the files. ("Where have you been?" I can hear some readers mutter. That's a good question.)

The occasion of this posting is the convergence of Sara's birthday and the Shafrir family's return last night from Israel (via Japan, for Shai). I was thinking of some of the things I would have made for Sara for a birthday dinner and I remembered a carrot soup we had at Le Pain Quotidien in Brussels three and a half years ago. We liked that it was not totally pureed, but there were still discernable pieces of carrots and onion in it. I had the same soup with John about a year ago at Le P.Q. on First Avenue in New York. It was, unsurprisingly, quite similar. I made a very large quantity and dropped some off at the Shafrir's as they slept off their jet lag. Ivry, who is two and a half, was pleased to hear it had been made by the Jackie half of what he calls "JeckieJohn."

(Ivry had the monkey call his father in Japan)

2 lbs carrots, cut up in 1" pieces
1 medium potato, " "
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, " "
2 t. olive oil
vegetable bouillon
skim milk
1 tsp cumin

Put the carrots and potato in a pot and cover with water. Add some cubes of vegetable bouillon. Bring to a boil and then cover. Lower the fire so they boil but don't boil over, and check to see if they need more water.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and celery until they are translucent. Then add a cup of boiling water and a bouillon cube. Cook over medium fire, adding water if necessary, covered, until the onion and celery are soft enough to be put in soup.

When the carrots and potato are soft, remove from the fire, and mash them in the water until there are no large pieces. At this point, puree about half of the carrot/potato mixture in a blender with milk until the you can pour it. If you don't have a blender, you will have to mash for a while longer. It's good upper-body exercise. Add the cumin. (At this point, I would normally add some ginger and Tabasco sauce, but since it was going to be consumed by a child, I left it out. ) Add milk, put in the onion and celery and heat. Salt, pepper, more milk if it is too thick.

For the second Moose Murders rehearsal tonight, I made a hummus I would have served for Sara's birthday but not to Israelis since that would be like my making pizza for a Neapolitan.

1 can garbanzo beans (keep a few out for garnish)
1 can cannelini beans
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup tahini
lemon juice
salt, pepper
olive oil

Put everything but the zahtar in the food processor except the salt, pepper and zahtar. Puree until smooth. Add a little water if if is too think but you don't want to keep adding lemon juice. Don't worry about amounts. Just tast it until it is right. Garnish with zahtar, garbanzo beans, a teaspoon of olive oil.

The white beans mix well with the garbanzos since they puree better.

That's all for today.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Green Christmas

The squirrels are confused, the Canada geese are flying in all different directions, the forsythia are budding and even John is starting to think there is something to this global warming thing.

Elaborate plans to get up at 6 AM did not materialize. And we're on the way to the next thing. But here are two photos. First, the pinwheel butter cookies from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. Cut the sugar to 2/3 cup and substitute light cream cheese for most of the butter. Or half of it. If you have not been to the Moosewood, you should go. Sara Robbins who is a great cook and who I have known for 40 years is one of the founders.

Paul did like his Country Western Singing Buck.

We had to leave before dessert since Ewa is leaving for Ukraine on Wednesday and has to finish packing, so Anne thoughtfully gave the two of us who were not driving eggnog to go. Check out John's new Zorro tie from the Adams.

John got six ties this Christmas: a paper tie from Josanne and a Fornasetti, two from the Adams and two from the Storms. He may have more than 200. But who's counting.

The day ended with a viewing of Elf at the Storms. Emily and Napoleon P. Oodle both enjoyed it although they'd seen it already.