Friday, June 28, 2013

Stoned? Food for Thought

The outside world does reach the End of the Rainbow Valley through technology.  This week has been a very historic one to say the least with the DOMA and Voting Rights  decisions, Anti -Abortion actions in Texas, the President addressing Global Warming and something that has really gotten more press than others, the Paula Deen fiasco...

It is the latter that I want to address in today's blog entry as I grew up in the South.  Here's an Open Letter to Paula Deen a friend posted on FB.  The dialogue is a beginning and this letter says a lot and it's about time.  It's about racism... So put on your reading glasses because there's a lot to be absorbed. FOOD for Thought. I know we are hungry for discussion.

An Open Letter to Paula Deen
An Open Letter to Paula Deen:
meinkitchen
Photo Courtesy of: Johnathan M. Lewis

Dear Paula Deen,
So it’s been a tough week for you… believe me you I know something about tough weeks being a beginning food writer and lowly culinary historian.  Of course honey, I’d kill for one of your worst days as I could rest myself on the lanai, the veranda, the portico (okay that was really tongue in cheek), the porch..whatever…as long as its breezy and mosquito-free.  First Food Network now Smithfield.  (Well not so mad about Smithfield—not the most ethical place to shill for, eh, Paula?)
I am currently engaged in a project I began in 2011 called The Cooking Gene Project—my goal to examine family and food history as the descendant of Africans, Europeans and Native Americans—enslaved people and enslavers—from Africa to America and from Slavery to Freedom.  You and I are both human, we are both Americans, we are both quite “healthily” built, and yet none of these labels is more profound for me than the fact we are both Southern.  Sweet tea runs in our blood, in fact is our blood…What I understand to be true, a lot of your critics don’t…which is, as Southerners our ancestors co-created the food and hospitality and manners which you were born to 66 years ago and I, thirty-six.  In the words of scholar Mechal Sobel, this was “a world they made together,” but beyond that, it is a world we make together.  So I speak to you as a fellow Southerner, a cousin if you will, not as a combatant.
To be part of the national surprise towards you saying the word “nigger” in the past (I am a cultural and culinary historian and so therefore I am using the word within context…) is at best na├»ve and at worst, an attempt to hide the pervasiveness of racism, specifically anti-Black racism in certain currents of American culture—not just Southern.  Take for example the completely un-Christian and inhuman rage at Cheerios for their simple and very American ad showing a beautiful biracial girl talking to her white mother and pouring cereal on the chest of her Black father.  That Cheerio’s had to shut down the comments section says that the idea of inter-human relationships outside of one’s color bracket is for many hiding behind a computer screen—a sign of the apocalypse.  So just like those old spaghetti sauce ads, yes, America, racism—“it’s in there” even when we were prefer it not be.
When you said, “of course,” I wasn’t flabbergasted, I was rather, relieved…In fact we Black Southerners have an underground saying, “better the Southern white man than the Northern one, because at least you know where he stands…” but Paula I knew what you meant, and I knew where you were coming from.  I’m not defending that or saying its right—because it’s that word—and the same racist venom that drove my grandparents into the Great Migration almost 70 years ago. I am not in agreement with esteemed journalist Bob Herbert who said “brothers shouldn’t use it either..” I think women have a right to the word “b….” gay men have a right to the word “queer” or “f…” and it’s up to people with oppressive histories to decide when and where the use of certain pejorative terms is appropriate.  Power in language is not a one way street.  Obviously I am not encouraging you to use the word further, but I am not going to hide behind ideals when the realities of our struggles with identity as a nation are clear.  No sound bite can begin to peel back the layers of this issue.
Some have said you are not a racist.  Sorry, I don’t believe that…I am more of the Avenue Q type—everybody’s—you guessed it—a little bit racist.  This is nothing to be proud of no more than we are proud of our other sins and foibles.  It’s something we should work against.  It takes a lifetime to unlearn taught prejudice or socially mandated racism or even get over strings of negative experiences we’ve had with groups outside of our own.  We have a really lousy language—and I don’t just mean because we took a Spanish and Portuguese word (negro) and turned into the most recognizable racial slur on earth…in any language…because we have a million and one ways to hate, disdain, prejudge, discriminate and yet we hide behind a few paltry words like racism, bigotry, prejudice when we damn well know that we have thousands of words for cars—because we LOVE cars….and food—because we LOVE food—and yet in this language you and I share, how we break down patterns of thought that lead to social discord like racism, are sorely lacking.  We are a cleaver people at hiding our obsessions with downgrading the other.
Problem two…I want you to understand that I am probably more angry about the cloud of smoke this fiasco has created for other issues surrounding race and Southern food.  To be real, you using the word “nigger” a few times in the past does nothing to destroy my world.  It may make me sigh for a few minutes in resentment and resignation, but I’m not shocked or wounded.  No victim here.  Systemic racism in the world of Southern food and public discourse not your past epithets are what really piss me off.  There is so much press and so much activity around Southern food and yet the diversity of people of color engaged in this art form and telling and teaching its history and giving it a future are often passed up or disregarded.  Gentrification in our cities, the lack of attention to Southern food deserts often inhabited by the non-elites that aren’t spoken about, the ignorance and ignoring of voices beyond a few token Black cooks/chefs or being called on to speak to our issues as an afterthought is what gets me mad. In the world of Southern food, we are lacking a diversity of voices and that does not just mean Black people—or Black perspectives!  We are surrounded by culinary injustice where some Southerners take credit for things that enslaved Africans and their descendants played key roles in innovating.  Barbecue, in my lifetime, may go the way of the Blues and the banjo….a relic of our culture that whisps away.  That tragedy rooted in the unwillingness to give African American barbecue masters and other cooks an equal chance at the platform is far more galling than you saying “nigger,” in childhood ignorance or emotional rage or social whimsy.
Culinary injustice is what you get where you go to plantation museums and enslaved Blacks are not even talked about, but called servants.  We are invisible.  Visitors come from all over to marvel at the architecture and wallpaper and windowpanes but forget the fact that many of those houses were built by enslaved African Americans or that the food that those plantations were renowned for came from Black men and Black women truly slaving away in the detached kitchens.  Imagine how I, a culinary historian and living history interpreter feel during some of these tours where my ancestors are literally annihilated and whisked away to the corners of those rooms, dying multiple deaths of anonymity and cultural amnesia.  I’m so tired of reading about how “okra” is an “African word.”(For land’s sake ya know “apple” isn’t a “European word…” its an English word that comes from German like okra comes from Igbo and Twi!) I am so tired of seeing people of African descent relegated to the tertiary status when even your pal Alton Brown has said, it was enslaved Black people cooking the food.  Culinary injustice is the annihilation of our food voices—past, present and foreseeable future—and nobody will talk about that like they are talking about you and the “n word.” For shame.
You see Paula, your grits may not be like mine, but one time I saw you make hoecakes on your show and I never heard tell of where them hoecakes really came from.  Now not to compare apples and oranges but when I was a boy it was a great pleasure to hear Nathalie Dupree talk about how beaten biscuits and country captain and gumbo started.    More often than not, she gave a nod to my ancestors.  Don’t forget that the Southern food you have been crowned the queen of was made into an art largely in the hands of enslaved cooks, some like the ones who prepared food on your ancestor’s Georgia plantation.  You, just like me cousin, stand squarely on what late playwright August Wilson called, “the self defining ground of the slave quarter.”  There and in the big house kitchen, Africa, Europe and Native America(s) melded and became a fluid genre of world cuisine known as Southern food.  Your barbecue is my West African babbake, your fried chicken, your red rice, your hoecake, your watermelon, your black eyed peas, your crowder peas, your muskmelon, your tomatoes, your peanuts, your hot peppers, your Brunswick stew and okra soup, benne, jambalaya, hoppin’ john, gumbo, stewed greens and fat meat—have inextricable ties to the plantation South and its often Black Majority coming from strong roots in West and Central Africa.
Don’t be fooled by the claims that Black people don’t watch you.  We’ve been watching you.  We all have opinions about you.  You were at one point sort of like our Bill Clinton. (You know the first Black president?)   When G. Garvin and the Neely’s and the elusive B Smith (who they LOVED to put on late on Saturday nights or early Sunday mornings!) were few and far between, you were our sorta soul mama, the white lady with the gadonkadonk and the sass and the signifying who gave us a taste of the Old Country-which is for us—the former Confederacy and just beyond.  Furthermore, as a male who practices an “alternative lifestyle” (and by the way I am using that phrase in bitter sarcastic irony), it goes without saying that many of my brothers have been you for Halloween, and you are right up there with Dolly Parton, Dixie Carter and Tallullah Bankhead of old as one of the muses of the Southern gay male imagination.  We don’t despise you, we don’t even think you made America fat.  We think you are a businesswoman who has made some mistakes, has character flaws like everybody else and in fact is now a scapegoat.  I find it hard to be significantly angry at you when during the last election the re-disenfranchisement of the Negro—like something from the time of W.E.B. Du Bois was a national cause celebre. Hell, today the voting rights act was gutted and I’m sure many think this is a serious win for “democracy.”  If  I want to be furious about something racial—well America—get real—we’ve had a good twelve years of really really rich material that the National media has set aside to talk about Paula Deen.  Yes Paula,  in light of all these things, you are the ultimate, consummate racist, and the one who made us fat, and the reason why American food sucks and ……you don’t believe that any more than I do. 
A fellow Georgian of yours once said that one day the “sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners would sit down at the table of brotherhood.”  Well no better time than now.  Paula, I don’t have to tell you redemption is yours to choose, to have and to embrace.  As a Jew, I extend the invitation to do teshuvah—which means to repent—but better—to return to a better state, a state of shalem–wholeness and shalom–peace.  You used food to rescue your life, your family and your destiny.  I admire that.  I know that I have not always made good choices and to be honest none of us are perfect.  This is an opportunity to grow and renew.
If there is anything The Cooking Gene has taught me—its about the art of reconciliation.  We aren’t happy with you right now.  Then again some of the things you have said or have been accused of saying aren’t surprising.  In so many ways, that’s the more unfortunate aspect.  We are resigned to believe and understand that our neighbor is to be suspected before respected.  It doesn’t have to be this way, and it doesn’t have to go on forever.  As a species we cannot conduct ourselves in this manner.  As creations of the Living G-d, we are commanded to be better.  You and I are both the descendants of people who lived, fought, died, suffered so that we could be better in our own time.  I’m disappointed but I’m not heartless.  And better yet, praise G-d I ain’t hopeless.
If you aren’t busy on September 7, and I surely doubt that you are not busy—I would like to invite you to a gathering at a historic antebellum North Carolina plantation.  We are doing a fundraiser dinner for Historic Stagville, a North Carolina Historic Site.  One of the largest in fact, much larger than the one owned by your great-grandfather’s in Georgia.  30,000 acres once upon a time with 900 enslaved African Americans working the land over time. They grew tobacco, corn, wheat and cotton.  I want you to walk the grounds with me, go into the cabins, and most of all I want you to help me cook.  Everything is being prepared using locally sourced food, half of which we hope will come from North Carolina’s African American farmers who so desperately need our support.  Everything will be cooked according to 19th century methods.  So September 7, 2013, if you’re brave enough, let’s bake bread and break bread together at Historic Stagville. This isn’t publicity this is opportunity.  Leave the cameras at home.  Don’t worry, it’s cool, nobody will harm you if you’re willing to walk to the Mourner’s Bench.  Better yet, I’ll be there right with you.
G-d Bless,
Culinary Historian, Food Writer and Living History Interpreter
Michael W. Twitty

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Seattle ,No still La Crosse

Summertime provides an excellent time to rub elbows with your community especially if you go to   Riverside Park for a Wednesday night concert.  While sitting enjoying music you can also catch  an occasional Mississippi breeze.

 Last night was one such evening.  It was so pleasant. I can't tell you how many times dark clouds have either rolled in / out during a summerWednesday evening. A backup locale at a local high school is place if needed. Last night dark threatening clouds decided to open up a half hour earlier than the concert. The heavens let loose and then moved on. It really didn't dampen too many as in La Crosse most people time their arrival within the 10 minutes before anything starts.



The Community Band just delayed their beginning a bit to dry things off since our band shell is not really a band shell.  It's more of a cement stage with a back wall.  In fact the Rotary Club has started fundraising to give us a 'real' band shell.
Last night 900 some odd people filled benches and their own lawn chairs/ even some blankets on the green. Each concert there is a count and we were almost 200 less the previous week. Let's attribute this to that precipitation scaring folks off.  The kids march still had almost 100 youngsters waving their flags and receiving their ice cream coupons.

The musical theme was a tribute to our armed forces in honor of the Fourth. Included was this historical soldier troop who presented and retreated the colors. As one young spectator said: "Cool,"  and we all agreed except those guys have to be hot in those wool uniforms.



I bet they appreciated the breezes more than we did.  I love a nice summer evening without bugs too...
We are looking forward to more concerts in the park and look at our view home.

That Mississippi certainly provides an amazing backdrop.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sleepless in Seattle?

Dump an inordinate amount of water on a piece of land and it can become saturated. A fourth grade teacher once taught me that tree roots not only anchor trees but also stabilize the soil. Well fast forward about 45 years and I found out otherwise when 14 inches of rain fell within a 48 time period proving those facts untrue. The trees helped pull the earth with them as they slid off the hillside. We lost about 100 trees along our mile long driveway with 8 mudslides destroying our road during what they call a 500 year flood about 5 years ago. Then 9 months later another heavy rainfall wreaked havoc on our drive. Fortunately the latter did less damage on the newly rebuilt dirt drive.Those storm memories had faded a bit until it started raining and raining every day last week.

Sleepless nights with lots of thunder and downpours started saturating farmland, rolling hills and cliffs. Creeks and rivers swelled with runoff muddy waters overflowing banks which hindered planting, grazing and haying.

Many highways/roads near us suffered from mudslides.  Highway crews have been very, very busy clearing fallen trees and muck. They really have done a wonderful job clearing debris.  

The posted signs along the River Highway 35  that warn about falling rock aren't kidding as last night's rain proved as a loosened boulder tumbled onto the highway. 


Falling rock is an understatement.
Thank goodness no one was hurt.












The boulder that fell  near Genoa was as big as a dumptruck. It took crews  hours to break down the fallen boulder and clear the road.

A friend also spoke of her brother's close call with a flash flood as its wall of water swept his car across the road and was luckily stopped by 5 tiers of barbed wire.  He was lucky to escape out an open back window with only a foot and a half of air space. Fortunately his cell phone had reception as he contacted his neighbor who arrived with a tractor  to pull out his vehicle. Another unexpected wall of water then swept the tractor into his car.  The neighbor returned with a bigger tractor to pull both the tractor and his car back onto the road. Mother Nature aren't you tired?

Now do you understand why I am Sleepless in Seattle? 




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Something Different...

I have been told that I am a worrier.  I can't deny it because it's true. I  probably worried as a baby. People are told to do things that they are good at... So does that mean I could earn a living worrying? You all could just pay me to worry for you.  How's that?

I don't know about you but I do like change... and that could include NOT talking about the weather about which we can't do a darn thing even though I will be worrying about it.

Meanwhile how about I just change the subject. Last week I decided to 'change' our usual pasta dishes.
Although we here in the End of the Rainbow Valley tend to 'can' one really good spaghetti sauce every year (It never does taste the same year to year) , change is still refreshing so why not try different 'tomato' based recipes ...

This recipe on Face Book called Tomato Basil Pasta appeared.  I had all the necessary ingredients and it was all made in one pot. Hence it has been officially renamed One Pot Pasta. I made it for our Friday night dinner and liked it so I thought I'd share.

I was super worried ( see there's that worrying again) it would be mush throwing everything together in the pot with uncooked pasta... but the starch leached out making a really nice sauce.  Who knew?

I loved only having one pot to wash. What's not to like? ENJOY.

Here are the ingredients:

12 oz pasta (I used Linguine)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 lg sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced ( I used chopped)
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2 t dried oregano leaves ( I zapped fresh in the microwave for 2 min)
2 lg sprigs basil, chopped ( I had frozen from last year's batch)
4 1/2 c vegetable broth (regular broth NOT low sodium)
2 T extra virgin olive oil


Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

-In large soup pot add uncooked pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil. 

-Add vegetable broth. 

-Sprinkle  pepper flakes and oregano on top.

-Drizzle with oil.

-Cover pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to low simmer and keep covered.

-Cook about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.

- Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – leaving about an inch of liquid in bottom of pot       but you can reduce as desired .
-Season with salt and pepper , stir pasta several times to distribute  liquid in bottom of pot. 



Monday, June 24, 2013

Again?

Enough already. The heavens have been letting loose and they must have had too many liquids . I couldn't figure out why one of the petunia baskets looked so sad. It couldn't be from lack of water and when I lifted out the basket, lo and behold the plant was drowning.



The petunias weren't the only things getting too much water as besides some nice ruts in our drive,  3 mudslides were obvious along the way to the mailbox.


And I guess you can imagine what Coon Creek looks like with waters overflowing its banks and leaving no pastureland for our neighbor's cows.

It's muddy, real muddy.

Lietke Lane will be underwater after the next down pour.


As Natureman said it'd be great to have a week without rain to dry everything out... We shall see what Mother Nature would like to do about that here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yodelling?

OK this year for our anniversary bike ride I suggested returning to the paths of our first date bike riding which was in Madison.  I thought it was a good idea but I was met with a defiant 'No, that's too far away for a day trip.'  I wasn't devastated and headed off to exercise since we wouldn't be leaving for our bike ride very early since we were going locally.

Upon my return I was met with Natureman informing me we would be biking in an area he had always wanted to go in New Glarus, America's Little Switzerland. I looked at him in disbelief.  Natureman and time and distance don't go hand in hand. After Mapquesting the drive to New Glarus,  End of the Rainbow Valley to New Glarus: 2 hrs 49 minutes. This timing is farther than Madison.

A new adventure always means new adventures. This was not a direct route and Natureman left the state map at home. I had printed off directions but nothing replaces a map with marked Country Roads. ( Natureman's car's lighter doesn't work so I didn't take the GPS) We didn't get lost but definitely saw the countryside and farmers busy at work. Of course our trip took longer as there were numerous types of farm machinery on the same county roads.

Note the cow hiding behind the sign.
At last we arrived at what Natureman promised me as a flat route, the Sugar River Trail, an abandoned Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul railroad line boasting 14 trestle bridges over the Sugar River and its tributaries including a replica of the Clarence Covered Bridge.  It was flat but the covered bridge was at the end of the 23 mile mark and we were only embarking on the 6 mile trek to Monticello. It turns out Monticello is not really at the 6 mile mark but a bit farther but eventually we came upon  its downtown. The cheese factories turn out to be packaging facilities for others so no company stores. We headed to the local grocery store for some cheese curds during which some young 'uns let the air out of Natureman's tires. Fortunately there was a service station nearby and his tires were refilled before heading back to New Glarus and our picnic dinner.




New Glarus is charming with its alpine architecture and European features. Even the street signs have honorary German/ Swiss names.  Great timing even had us serenaded by the same guys who did the Riccola commercials. No it wasn't them but they had the same instruments.

Riccola!

They wanted me to play the cow bell but fortunately I was busy taking photos. (WHEW!)

A tourist bus from Minnesota drove up just as we finished up our town tour. Perfect timing to head home to the End of the Rainbow Valley.  It was a lovely but very long day.
      AUFWIEDERSEHEN from this New Glarus Swiss Miss...



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Country Living/ Dying

In the old days country folk were buried near where they lived.   On one of our Miata early evening outings we came upon this old cemetery atop  Brinkman's Ridge not far from us.



There were only about 20 headstones on the small corner plot overlooking the ridge. The surnames were Germanic in origin : Schulz, Krause and Dahl. It was common that similar ethnic groups would settle near each other.   The oldest dates were impossible to decipher but the most recent was in the 1970's.

The view is to die for/ as my Dad always says ' People are just dying to get in." And with this view who could blame them?




                We are really certainly enjoying the gorgeous weather while it lasts!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Da Dump...

Every Wednesday and Saturday is Dump Day ( in other words 'Garbage Day' in our township. When you live in the country a garbage truck does not come by to pick up your waste, you have to take it to the dump. Seriously Dump Day is a social event where you see your neighbors as everybody has trash.


Yesterday, Tuesday, I made Natureman stop by the dump on our after dinner ride so I could snap some pics. Come on, I didn't want locals seeing me do this on Dump Day and  talk about me with a camera at the dump.  BUT people passing on the main road actually did slow to see who would be at the dump on a Tuesday and heck to see if they knew who it was.  Come on, who else has a red Miata?













A padlocked gate prevents dumping on non Dump Days but you can rest assured on Wednesdays at 4:30 and Saturdays at 8  a constant stream of mostly pickup trucks dropping off their  garbage ensues. As you drive in the one way drive, most people will back up to the dumpsters. Sometimes kids accompany their folks and help unload their trunks / truck beds and separate the recyclables.

The Dump Master awaits and greets folks upon their  arrival.  He is a character who dons a pony tail and fills out his overalls uniform. Although he will help unload if asked/sees a need, he mainly visits but ensures trash is disposed of correctly. Of course there are 'recycable' rules of disposal:glass, cans, bundled newspapers are placed in separate bins. Good reusable STUFF  is placed over to one side. He displays these treasures on/ by his desk. I think the 'giveaway table' of good stuff is a ploy so that he has more conversation partners. (You read about our rattan porch furniture find last summer...)

Personally I can't imagine sitting there on hot  summer Dump Days as there was a definite stench today.


But look at the view...  Tell the truth now, I know you're jealous that you don't have Dump Days.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Art for the Soul...



Art is one of the things that feeds my soul and even better if shared.  A new exhibit called '30 Americans' opened during my quick Milwaukee visit and since I have continued my membership at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, I enjoyed sharing the new exhibit with my art teacher friend.

http://mam.org/30-americans/ (click on this)

In the last room of this exhibit by African American artists we met a young man who started a conversation about the importance of '30 Americans.' His hopes are that families would come to share this art and begin a generational dialogue of what this art means to them. Upon our departure he handed us his card, he, Anwar Floyd Pruitt was instrumental in putting together a parallel exhibition called 'Wisconsin 30' of sculpture, photographs, prints, paintings and drawings with "complementary themes of race and identity with a focused lens on Wisconsin African American artists."

I visited Anwar Floyd Pruitt's website and discovered his interest in the arts was fostered as a Harvard undergrad in theatre and comedy among 2 art courses, Painting With Attitude and Intro to Mixed Media. His art continued when he lived in NYC.  He and his brother both have pieces in this show.  Recycled 'found' pieces are AFP's signature in the Wisconsin 30 with one called Black Pain Triology.
Note the crushed soda cans in Black Pain Triology
 Concerns of social issues and the empowerment of marginalized communities themes embody this art. I think his students are lucky to have him as a mentor. If art can foster the necessary dialogue than maybe we can understand what those before us experienced and perhaps better understand ourselves.. but we have to talk. I am glad to have been witness to these important artistic voices and been fortunate enough to have met this particular artist...





Monday, June 17, 2013

Making Hay...

                                                                                                                 



 With all the daily rain we have had the last 2 weeks the farmers haven't had dry enough fields to use their tractors to either plow/ hay.
SO it's understandable that they having been burning the midnight oil with this dry window of opportunity the last 48 hours.  Their machinery has been very busy working as the sights of the neighboring fields confirm.




We took a Miata jaunt to enjoy the neighborhood and admired the newly turned earth for planting and sections of field with cut hay in 'windrows.'
(My new farm word of the week means: long lines of raked hay  laid out to dry in the wind) while awaiting a good day/two to be baled.

It not only was a breathtaking sight but the air was heavy with the 'green' smell of newly cut hay. While we in the End of the Rainbow Valley were busy at our Father's Day Cookout playing badminton and bocce, our farming neighbors obviously didn't have time for such frivolity...




Friday, June 14, 2013

Suburbia to...

OK I am not the only one have made a life changing move (ie moving from the suburbs)  Tonight I had the pleasure to be at the mezuzah hanging of some friends who have made the move from the burbs to "downtown" high rise living in Milwaukee.



Take a look at their new Lake Michigan view from their living room on the 20th floor.
About 20 friends gathered to be part of the blessing of the couple's new home.  'Empty nesting' never looked so good for city dwellers. Their  Rabbi from 'The Shul' on the Northside was there to help in the blessings as a mezuzah was affixed to the entrance doorpost and the bedrooms.




The Cohenims making their special blessing
The front door's mezuzah is affixed.


Master Bedroom's Mezuzah


It appears the couple is very happy with their decision. They're off to a very terrific start even if it's not living in the back of the Valley like the End of the Rainbow Valley having made a life changing move.  Mazel Tov and may they have many simchas in their new abode! XOXO

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The 60's

OK , I 'll leave this one up to you.   Is it obvious that I am living with a man of the 60's if I find his garden glove like this?



No kidding!

Have a PEACEFUL Thursday!

Last day of school for my Milwaukee teacher friends.  Enjoy your summer...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nu? New?

I'm sure I am not alone in shopping for one thing and ending up leaving with more than that one item.  In fact I bet you wouldn't be surprised if I said this happened to me when I went shopping for new tires for my 1989 Mazda Miata.   Oh I got the 4 new tires and an alignment and...



Go ahead.  You can tell me what nice new treads I have - I need to hear positives.  You see my day became longer when  the manager of Goodyear came in holding the oversized pull I had attached to the slide of the rear plastic window's zipper.  My eyes must have shown my shock. He stated that he couldn't understand where this pull fit and asked if I could show him how it worked.  Help him? How could I help him if he was holding it in his hand?

I followed him back out to the garage as I explained it fit into the slide of the zipper.  You see when I arrived, I had flipped the convertible's lid up and latched it in case the skies started to spit, leaving the rear window open as I often do.  The forecasted rain wasn't due til evening but the heavens looked a bit foreboding.  So anyhow when the car was ready, the manager decided rather than leave it as it was, he would zipper the back window shut. In his zeal of good intentions he had inadvertently pulled off the slide, breaking the zipper. As he kept repeating that he couldn't find the piece, he must have heard panic in my voice as I said, it won't help if I find it because it has broken off.  I did retrieve half of it.  Who knows where the other half must have flown? as I muttered, " Now what am I going to do?"

He didn't say a thing. I went back in the shop to pay my bill.  I told him that I had to replace the zipper once before and there was a place on the north end of town. He told me that he would take care of the bill just to let him know the cost.  So I headed immediately over to the boat/car repair place where I was informed that the entire top would have to be removed to replace the zipper and the top would not fit properly afterwards as it tends to shrink with age. (Just like people I thought) Oh great so now a new top is needed probably running just shy of a $1000.  I called the Goodyear's manager and shared the GOOD news... It will be at least 3 weeks until they can get to it. Do you think he's still footing the bill?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

After Dinner Road Trip

Finally late afternoon sunshine allowed us time for a jaunt in the Miata south along the Mississippi.  The overlook that had been closed was finally reopened  so we journeyed up the curvy hill to view the hazy scenery below and the super still waters of the Mississippi.


We departed before the bugs found us heading to Genoa and then taking the back roads. I always worry about Amish traffic but we didn't encounter any buggies along the way. 
The only creatures we passed were these two young'uns.

   

I guess everybody else was busy picking up after dinner.  The scenery was stunning considering a month ago not much was green.  Now with all this rain the farmers are having a difficult time get ting into the fields to plow. 


There's always a surprise element or two on our treks and this one was overhead as we made the last turn to Valley and it was flying 'very' low. If you look carefully, you can see the props in the rear of the wings.  Very cool... Gee I thought we were going to have company for dessert right here in the 
End of the Rainbow Valley...