Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Autumn blends life and death beautifully, showering us all with its sensory gifts.
Working with a broad palette and canvas: a chilly gust of wind and the warm embrace from the sun; the scent of damp soil and dry leaves; rustling of leaves racing along the sidewalk, scampering of squirrels, and crunch of acorns; vibrant green grass and bright orange, red, and gold leaves; even a bounty of flavors and textures from mushrooms, squash, pears, mackerel, and lamb.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
We had our first tickle of frost this morning. Not more than 0.5 seconds after I took this picture, Akemi stomped all over the sole patch of grass with frost, as it was quite late -- after 10:00. Gotta love that kid.
Ah well, we'll be seeing this and more for the next 7 months.
Only the rear window of the car was frosted over. The remainder of the car had already warmed up.
In the areas where the condensation was more discrete, it appeared as if someone painstakingly embossed each bead. One can almost draw a meaning from the code left behind.
Autumn is fleeting. Perhaps that is why it is my favorite season.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Little squirrel isn't as common a sight as it was just a month ago. Hope this little critter survives the winter.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Another autumn day with Akemi in her fall coat. Her head reminds me of Juggernaut (Marvel comics) this time of year. In some places, however, she is starting to look a little mange-y breaking in her winter coat.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
My best friend sent me a box of Tulip luncheon meat a few months ago, since it is unavailable here. Tulip is similar to Spam, but it has a meatier, slightly more intense bacon flavor but isn't as sweet as bacon Spam. I have found that Tulip is superior to Spam fried in yakisoba, fried rice, and as a topping in ramen.
I haven't tried to replicate Tulip musubi. I can't imagine it being horrible; however, the sauce may need to be adjusted for the difference in flavor.
Earlier in the week, I screamed in the grocery store when a red, gold, and indigo block print design with a drummer, typical of Okinawan designs, caught my eye from afar. I gave up wishing for Okinawan food in Cleveland a long time ago, so this discovery almost made me faint.
While it isn't as good as Okinawa soba served in Okinawa; really, when is an instant packaged version ever as good? Well, excluding yakisoba - Sapporo Ichiban's yakisoba is fantastic. Okay, Ajinomoto pork gyoza is quite good, also.
If the noodles appear dissimilar to soba's round dark buckwheat appearance, Okinawa soba utilizes a wide and flat noodle made of wheat. When the noodles are sold fresh, they are lightly coated in oil, have a yellower hue, and is denser.
As anyone can imagine, I nursed this bowl of noodle soup with spinach, egg, and shichimi togarashi. The powdered broth that came with the noodles is katsuo-based.
Despite my suspicion that the noodles availability is a fluke, finding Okinawa soba all the way out here has given me hope that, one day, Tulip may be available here.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
As if desperately holding on to the last strands of summer, these blooms and berries are on its last week before the frost forecast later this week.
Gas stations aren't exactly where I would expect pretty flowers. If there is any kind of landscaping, I've noticed most gas stations throw down some hardy shrubbery that can be run over and a layer of soot would go unnoticed.
Autumn is my favorite time of year partly because of the vibrant oranges, reds, and golds. It's funny that these lively colors are a result of the lack of chlorophyll, what we associate with life.
One of these days, I'll try one of these berries in the hope they don't make me violently ill...or afflict me with something similar to pine mouth, where everything I eat would be shoved into one category - bitter.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
It wasn't until today that I discovered the statue is attributed to FDR's State of the Union speech in 1941, also known as the Four Freedoms speech.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Today, I made a card on a manual portable self-inking printing press like the ones from the 19th century.
As part of the month-long Octavofest celebration, representatives from the Morgan Conservatory (Bruce, exhibition coordinator) and Zygote Press (Liz, co-founder) held a program at the Brooklyn library discussing paper and printmaking at their respective studios.
We learned about various printmaking techniques -- relief (woodcuts), intaglio (acid etching), lithography, screenprinting, monotype, and monoprint -- able to see and feel examples of each, as well as handle some of the specialized tools used.
For many years, I have been interested in papermaking, bookbinding, and printmaking. Aside from binding a notebook over 15 years ago to take notes for a class, I have never seriously pursued those interests. I still have my bookbinding supplies and a reference book, Nonadhesive Binding by Keith Smith. Perhaps I should pick them up and give it a go?
Friday, October 21, 2011
I couldn't resist...
It's been a fairly wet summer so I've been fortunate to see so many different types of mushrooms. I wish there as a way of identifying these fungi.
These delicate looking mushrooms were growing along the trunk and main branch of a tree. It was contorted in a way that made it a bit difficult to dive in and take a picture I could be satisfied with. Not being a good photographer doesn't help either!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This time, I ordered my cheesesteak "wit Whiz." Yeah, I'm still hung up on onions, so it's not because Original Steaks and Hoagies doesn't do it right.
We ordered this to-go, so it isn't exactly an optimal example of their product. They held up well considering the situation. While I'm not a bread fan, I do love me some Amoroso rolls, and could easily see myself munching on their rolls throughout the day.
Original Steaks and Hoagies
10735 Ravenna Rd
Twinsburg, OH 44087-3107
Tel: (330) 998-6574
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
As a seasonal treat, A Cookie and a Cupcake have Halloweenified a few of their cupcakes with candy corn and black and orange sprinkles. I went for the pumpkin spice cupcake with candied pecans ($2.50).
The cake was pretty good. I was surprised how much the buttercream tasted like straight butter. My half was wolfed down in 2 bites.
A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I've never given porch spindles much thought, figuring they were all pretty similar until these caught my eye.
First, they were painted a rather vibrant color. Second, they were very skinny. Together, they were difficult to miss.
When I walked by, the style and color combined gave off a funky lenticular appearance. This compelled me to pace back and forth in front of this house. I probably creeped out the owner.
As a result of this...discovery...I would like to photograph more porches spindles.
Monday, October 17, 2011
A month or two ago, Bistro closed for a week for light remodeling.
I'm sure their pocketbook wouldn't consider it "light," but it isn't a drastic change like installing a 40' mechanized Godzilla that roars and spits fire any time someone yells, "Opa!"
This was a pleasant change with the addition of some leather seats in the bar area and, I believe, a few panels painted and the addition of a couple of curtains. However, I could be remembering the interior incorrectly. Regardless, I like the way the restaurant looks.
I've never eaten here, but have been meaning to. An update including the meal will be posted...one day.
I ate at this location when it was called Potatocakes. The dish I ordered was a black Caribbean sauce with shrimp that was so hot, I ate 2 shrimp and went through 1 cup of rice. I thought my nose was going to bleed. The majority of the dish had to be packed up to be enjoyed at home with 2 cups of rice.
Perhaps we'll try them out some time in soon.
Bistro on Lincoln Park
2391 W 11th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 862-2969
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
This fur coat has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks. I've never owned a fur coat -- I've never worn one. Getting one second hand for $65 seems like the best way.
The color variation is pleasing; however, the strap is questionable
I went in to try the coat on this evening. Well, it doesn't fit. I'm sure Bug let out an enormous sigh of relief when I turned my back.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Bug was in a creative mood last night and surprised me with an experimental dish using a couple of sweet potatoes that we procured for under $1.
1 lb sweet potato, grated
1/2 - 2/3 c flour
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
Combine ingredients. coat pan with cooking spray, then fry up the pancakes.
After Bug grated the sweet potatoes, he did not set the potatoes aside in salt to later drain the liquid, as may be customary in some circles. Instead, he adjusted by adding flour incrementally until he was satisfied with the consistency.
The sweet potato pancakes were savory, sweet, with not too much spice to overwhelm the cabbage and red pepper and spinach chicken sausage that were also a part of the meal. There was enough spice the potatoes tasted like an indulgence.
I look forward to eating this again!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
To meet his friends, Roasted red pepper and Spinach!
We recently purchased Casual Gourmet's chicken sausage. It is full of flavor and not greasy. I am not a big chicken fan - I don't hate it, but I don't love it - but I really like this. As a result, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the weekend to purchase more.
Bug made dinner. I ate.
He created a tasty sausage and cabbage dish -- some olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper -- with yellow wax beans on the side. I look forward to eating this dish again!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I can't explain why I love this display. I don't even wear hats because I look ridiculous in them. My closet holds only 3 blue articles of clothing, mainly because it's difficult for me to match indigo with black or charcoal grey.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The books in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Library System are housed in this elegant home. We have passed this place along Mayfield Road thousands of times and did not realize the mansion partially concealed by shrubbery along its perimeter was a library, despite the black wrought-iron sign that identified it.
We were headed home when I pointed out the library sign to Bug. He quickly turned into the driveway. The place seemed like an adequate sized library driving past the street-facing side of the home. We drove past a covered driveway and discovered a small lane leading down a hill, behind the structure.
From behind (shown above), the handsome home turned into a magnificent mansion. We parked and peered through a thicket. The stroll to the library entrance was serene.
We entered at the ground level, which houses audio-visual media. The area was packed with people flipping through DVDs and CDs.
Through a landing and up a narrow flight of stairs, the main floor opened up to several rooms with different uses and themes, like a children's meeting room.
Upon entering the reading area, I gasped at the ornate grill and ceiling, the warm wood beams, chairs, the spacious layout, and the abundance of plants, and could not help but whisper to one of the librarians busily tapping away at a computer how fortunate she must feel to work in such a beautiful environment. She agreed, perhaps to get rid of the crazy lady that must have been raised by wolves.
Tell me this is not a beautiful library.
At the far end of the room is a water fountain full of coins. Magazines are along one wall, and there is a walk-in nook dedicated to graphics novels.
I walked out borrowing two books, and Bug found a few as well.
South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library
4645 Mayfield Rd
South Euclid, Ohio 44121-4087
Monday, October 10, 2011
This little squirrel was either brave or very curious. With Akemi just a few feet below waiting to play, it didn't appear the slightest bit intimidated, nor did it look like a possessed furball waiting for its chance to pounce on my face and claw my eyes out.
All the neighborhood folks were out walking their dogs since the weather was nice. We ran into 20+ dogs in a span of 30 minutes. Poor dogs - not because they were out, but when the weather is damp or cool, the streets are practically desolate and we may see 2-3 dogs in that same span of time.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The Apple Butter and the Ox Roast Festivals were held in Burton, OH this weekend. The weather was unseasonably warm and can be simply described as "not a cloud in the sky, not a care in the world." Great for a hay ride, funnel cakes, kettle corn, apple butter, and some ox roast.
The Apple Butter Festival was held at Century Village. Entrance fee was $7.00 per adult. Bug wasn't very pleased about that, but the man at the ticket booth was so jovial, it almost made up the price of admission.
Spices, fried batter, hay, and burning wood filled the air as we meandered around the historic village. It smelled like a festival.
Prior to moving to these parts, I had never heard of, let alone had apple butter. If you like spiced applesauce, you will love apple butter. We indulged in a slice of bread with a generous smear of apple butter for $1.00.
At the tent on the left, we heard glass clanking. A woman was placing canning jars side by side along several tables to prepare for the apple butter, which was sold under the pavilion to the right. Making apple butter appears to be quite labor intensive, with the contents being stirred constantly.
Other stalls included funnel cake, a sandwich that looked a lot like a Philly cheesesteak, apple fritters, and kettle corn.
The lady looked like she was doing the most strenuous part of making kettle corn, bending over and swooshing the popped corn around. My lower back hurt just watching her. I kind of felt bad just standing there, so I asked Bug to take this picture. I wonder if people thought he was cutting in line. No one said anything.
Simultaneously being celebrated outside the Village were the Ox Roast Festival and Oxtoberfest. Polka was blaring at a tent cordoned off by a fluorescent orange plastic fence to keep the drunks in?
The aroma of meat was intoxicating.
We followed our noses and stood in a line that formed along the side of a wood shed. We shared an ox roast dinner -- undressed ox roast sandwich, baked beans, cole slaw, and horseradish ($9.00). The food was okay.
While standing in line for our dinner, I learned that Burton had the first phone in the state of Ohio. Oh, and the pumpkin pie ice cream for dessert really hit the spot. $2.50 is a fantastic price!
The festivals were a nice way to drag ourselves out of our cave and visit a town during the most beautiful time of year, as well as learn and experience a few things. I'm glad we did this!
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Last night, I set my alarm to wake up at 05:50 and woke Bug up at 06:50 so we...I...could take pictures of Downtown Cleveland, Interstate 90 (I-90), and construction progress of the new I-90 at sunrise.
I-90 is a major highway that runs 3,100 miles, starting from Boston, passing through Downtown Cleveland, and ending in Seattle. I-90 is shown below, mid-screen, traveling over the construction of the new I-90 bridge and the Cuyahoga River ("crooked river" in Iroquois).
When Bug dropped me off at the apex of the Hope Memorial Bridge, I was surprised to hear the beeping and revving of heavy trucks echoing from below me working on I-90. A steady convoy of trucks drive in empty and exit with a load of what appears to be dirt.
Soon after I took my first picture (above), a bird flew overhead. It made me envious, to be able to see the world from its eyes.
This morning was relatively warm 59°F. This would be a wonderful place to meditate with its persistent breeze and vista, were it not for the cars racing noisily down the bridge and the sounds of construction below.
The Hope Memorial Bridge is not a solid concrete bridge. Along its length, one could take discrete snapshots from its lower half of the wide concrete railing.
On the other side of the Hope Memorial Bridge is the Downtown Cleveland skyline. From the left, Tower City complex, Key Bank, and Huntington Bank stand tall.
While it isn't void of light, it still surprises me that a small city of people are working below. I am surprised people aren't bumping into each other. I keep envisioning myself working down there and needing 360° of rubber bumpers around my vehicle and stationary objects.
The estimated time of completion is only 4-5 years. A transportation jugular and the gossiped state of the current bridge are incredible incentives to have this completed as soon as practicable.
The Hope Memorial Bridge is used by many people on weekdays, and to a lesser degree on the weekends. Cars were speeding by me as I walked along the bridge. Coincidentally, when I took this picture of Progressive Field, where the Cleveland Indians play, no cars passed by, making it look appear like a desolate strip.
I ran down a portion of the bridge so I wasn't too late to take pictures of the numerous beams that sprouted from the ground recently. As I reached a third of the way to the end of the bridge, Bug passed by and picked me up. At first, I thought I was remembering incorrectly where the beams were located. He commented that he no longer saw the beams, that they must have gotten pounded into the ground yesterday. Of course!
We turned around at the base of the bridge. The forklift was there to greet us. It was a bit unsettling since it remained motionless longer than we expected. I should be grateful, since it was long enough to take a photograph.
Friday, October 7, 2011
I saw a pretty prickly pear in the grocery store and had to get it. I've never consumed one, nor seen a cross-section, so we bought one...three weeks ago.
Today, I found the lone prickly pear wrapped in a plastic bag, shoved in the back of the refrigerator behind the baking soda and that rusted jar of something.
Bug cut the fruit open. The purple meat was firm, but with the beat-up way it looked on the outside, we decided against eating it. I still don't know how a prickly pear tastes.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Around the time of the autumnal equinox (already passed), the Cleveland skyline at sunrise turns a voluptuous fiery orange.
The past two weeks, the weather has been overcast or rainy. As a result, I missed my opportunity to capture the burning cityscape this year as it lasts for less than a couple of minutes over a span of a few weeks.
The weather finally cleared up late yesterday, so this was all I could scrounge up this morning. While I am still grateful to see this...
Perhaps next year.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Akemi hurries across the bridge. She doesn't like the way it sways from side to side, plus each segment tilts a few degrees front to back, but she does it because Bug asks her to.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
As much as I love rain, it was nice to wander about Downtown Cleveland on a relatively clear, calm, and comfortably cool afternoon after over a week of rain.
This photograph was taken along the back side of the Society Bank building on Ontario Street.
Monday, October 3, 2011
We don't buy clothes for Akemi, since her coat is fashionable for all seasons. Because she has a double coat, she does not need a coat to keep her warm. It also insulates her from the summer heat.
Just as the temperatures have dipped into the 40s(°F), Bug coincidentally wanted to transform his sweatpants into sweatshorts. He snipped off his pant legs and cut another hole in each leg. In seconds, cloth scraps were restyled into Akemi's first 2 new shirts! Hooray?
Initially, Bug wanted nothing to do with capturing images of Akemi in this...joke. She's a great guard dog and doesn't scare easily. The first time I saw her in this outfit running away from Bug just after he put this on her, my rather spirited cackle frightened her.
Our cat has been around me for over a decade to know that nothing good can come from shrieking laughter like that. The normally curious cat was nowhere to be found.
Within seconds of taking my last photograph, Bug peeled Akemi out of her snug shirt. I suppose this is somewhat reminiscent of those hideous muscle tshirts from the '80s.
Bug wanted to throw away Akemi's outfits, but I begged to keep one, and muttered to myself, for comic relief. Muahahahaha!