Mr. Bill

I found out yesterday evening, on my walk home from metro, that one of our neighbors had died. Mr. Bill lived in one of the apartment buildings on Fort Totten Drive that we pass every day and most evenings I would see him hanging out on the sidewalk or sitting on the curb watching the world go by. He always said hello, and often had a remark or two to make, usually about the weather, sometimes about his life. He put his sister through secretarial school because “you have to have a trade”. He got in a fight with his father-in-law once, which ended with him being shot in the foot. He lied about who did it in the hospital because he didn’t want his father-in-law to get in trouble. He was a veteran. He loved Charlie. He turned 64 at the beginning of the month and he will be missed.

Mr. Bill

An Abundance of Cucumbers

Into every gardener’s life, a little veggie excess must fall. This year we are positively swimming in cucumbers. (This isn’t a bad problem to have honestly. I love cucumbers.) If you are swimming in cucumbers too, may I suggest a few recipes that will use them up quickly and tastily?

Lemon Cucumber Tofu Salad from the 101 Cookbooks. Heidi Swanson has never steered me wrong. She uses Lemon Cucumbers, but I don’t grow those, so I used 1 1/2 of the big, long cucumbers from my garden. This salad was awesome – definitely a meal in and of itself.

Greek Antipasto Pitas from Cheap Healthy Good. I didn’t have a red pepper, so I just did another 1/2 cucumber instead. Quite yummy and equally good (if not better) the next day. Bonus points for requiring no heat at all, which is critical this summer.

Horseradish Cucumber Sauce from Epicurious. This uses up one not-too-huge cucumber, and is super tasty on salmon cakes, beet rosti, zucchini corn fritters, or pretty much any fried cake-like food.

And of course, I have been using cucumbers in sandwiches – tuna salad, egg salad, and hummus. I still have plenty more in the fridge. Have any cucumber recipe suggestions? What is your garden swimming in?

An Abundance of Cucumbers

Wedding Memory: Something Old

Photo by Eva Russo.

For my “something old” I wore this necklace of my mother’s. She had given it me over the Christmas holidays with the thought that maybe I would wear it at our wedding, which I was thrilled to do. It was an anniversary present from my dad to my mom. She couldn’t remember for which anniversary, she thought maybe 30th. My parents have been married for 43 (!) years, and to wear something that was a token of that relationship seemed like a little good luck for our wedding day. I’m looking forward to having spent that much of my life with Jami.

Wedding Memory: Something Old

June Round-Up

I read 11 books in June: 8 Fiction and 3 Non-fiction.

The Blue Zones: Lessons on Living Longer from the People Who Live the Longest by Dan Buettner. Blue Zones are geographic areas where people have a longer than average live expectancy – commonly living active lives past the age of 100. Being interest in living a long, healthy, active life, I was interested in what Buettner would have found in his studies of these areas. Some common themes were a having a sense of purpose, diets with little meat, and frequent low to moderate level exercise (ie, walking).

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This was our book club book at the Ethical Society this month, and it was a good, if hard, read. The authors definitely weren’t neutral and expressed some strong opinions, some of which I questioned, but it was good to be reminded of the challenges that women around the world face.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave. This was an amazing book, and very interesting to read after Half the Sky – it addresses some of the same issues, but in a beautiful, heart-wrenching fictional form. Highly recommended.

Passage by Connie Willis.

Something to Declare by Julia Alvarez. This was a book of essays about writing, home, and other topics. I was excited to read it, loving as I do In the Time of Butterflies, but I found it to be just okay. Interesting to see how a writer thinks, but nothing to enthralling.

Dead in the Water by Carola Dunn. Book 6 of the Daisy Dalrymple series – this one set at some boat races on the Thames. This series continues to be a fun, light read. Perfect beach read, even when not at the beach!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. We read this for our other book club (which has the best discussions).  I realized about 50 pages in to it that I had read it before, in high school I think.  It was sadder than I remembered, but also hopeful. It’s an easy read.

Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale. Back to the graphic novels, watch my book counts soar! Calamity Jack is the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge, both fractured fairy tales. I don’t like Jack quite as much as I enjoyed Rapunzel, but still a good read that I really looked forward too.

Resistance: Book One by Carla Jablonski. This graphic novel covers the Resistance movement in France during World War II from the perspective of a few village children. It was good – well illustrated and intriguing. I am looking forward to future installments.

Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures by J. Torres. This book, was really three separate comic adventures: Alison Dare & the Arabian Nights, Alison Dare & the Secret of the Blue Scarab, and Alison Dare & the Mummy Child. Miss Dare is the 12-year-old daughter of (separated) archeologists and she doesn’t want for action. I really enjoyed that Alison being a girl was simply a fact of the story with no further comment. It’s nice to see a female protagonist taking full part in traditional comic book adventures.

The Outlander by Gil Adamson. My second “highly recommended” book of the month. The Outlander is Adamson’s first book and it follows a young widow who we learn early on has killed her husband as she escapes West, trying to avoid capture by the dead husband’s brothers. The story of what happened to the widow evolves over the course of the story of her escape and it is a truly engaging read.

June Round-Up