Monday, April 29, 2013

Hwy 50 revisited and the wild guys at Suit Supply

Day Eight, DC and such.

Getting into DC we missed the turnoff Mrs. Google wanted us to take so we ended up exiting I-70 on good old Hwy. 50. It was like coming home. We only stayed on it for five miles then once again parted ways, it winding off towards its destination, as Don noted, Ocean City, MD 3073 mi away from its beginning in West Sac. We missed the cherry blossoms...or at least while they were still on the trees though we did pass voluptuous sweeps of fallen blossoms in yards and gutters. Even they are quite lovely, but perhaps that's just my expanded/skewed sense of beauty. Anyway, now that we are "somewhere" we are on military time. M. Lee has a busy day planned so, as usual, I have only minutes to dash off a note.

New Vrindaban didn't have wifi and I didn't want to fiddle with using my phone for one. In any case, that experience will require a little more time to digest so notes on Days Five, Six and Seven will have to wait awhile. Just to say, it was an amazing stop. Much has changed (and not changed) but even M. had a good time and that is saying a lot. So today we are off to Suit Supply. M. needs a suit for my nephew's wedding. He wants them to make him look like this, well except that he's going to still wear socks. 


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day four, "Eat your dinner LIKE THIS."

Columbus Ohio. Went to the Banana Leaf vegetarian Indian restaurant/buffet. Tasty but very strange place. Dinner began with a complete oral tutorial by the owner, six individually served appetizers and a glass of mango juice or mango lassi before we could get our hands on the buffet. We felt like children who had to be good little clean plate-ers with each and every serving before we could have anything else. Anyway, it was a vegetarian joint so, especially after the Limon Denny's, it qualified as a bonafide oasis.

Today, on to New Vrindaban to face down some ghosts and maybe liberate a few. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day three, ghosts and hard choices

We both hated Limon, M. Lee even more than I. And I don’t think it was because the place is so small or beat down or because so many of its residents work at the grim prison nearby. There is something else, something very wrong about Limon Colorado then, this evening, we read about the gruesome event that happened there back in 1900 and that feeling of dread and gloom permeating the place made sad and eerie sense.

We were back on the road by seven this morning. We needed to get an early start as today’s destination was Columbia MO, a 650 mile, 10 hour drive. I-70 goes right though Kansas City.  We also wanted to stop and have coffee with Roy. Even weeks before we left home, M. Lee and I discussed the possibility and decided the only way to do it would be to spend the night in KC. Stopping for an hour just wouldn't be enough and anyway, today’s drive was already too long. It was very disappointing but adding another night on the road just didn’t work with the rest of the schedule. We invited him to join us in DC instead. It would be great fun. We really hope he does. Who knows? Far-fetched perhaps but it could happen. We shall see.

Kansas points of interest:
8000 lb. prairie dog
World’s largest ball of twine
Kansas Barbed Wire Museum
Home of President D.D. Eisenhower

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day Two made better by pancakes and Louie C.K.

We stayed in Salina CO last night, had a veggie burger and fries at Denny's and today, after 537 miles, made it to Limon CO. The drive included a grueling passage over the Continental Divide during the tail end of a spring storm. Vail was closed which infuriated M. Lee. Skiers get crazy when they see fresh snow go to waste. At Grand Junction we left Hwy. 50 for Interstate 70 (sorry Roy) and tonight we're in what's left of Limon watching Louie C.K. after a pancake dinner at (where else?) Denny's. You know you're in a small town when photos of the high school prom court make the front page. Before leaving town we stopped at the thrift store and picked up a secondhand towel. We needed a throwaway.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day One, the Loneliest Highway

Day one. on Twitpic
Headed east, looking back. 

When Life magazine named Nevada's Hwy. 50 the "Loneliest Road in America"  back in 1986 its uninitiated urban editors meant it as an insult. They missed it all, the terrestrial beauty, the staggering silence and untamed sky. We took Hwy. 50 east this morning and, having spent a lot of summers past exploring the Great Basin, it was sweet like coming home. It is a place to disappear in. But today was not a time for that. Today was Day One of our cross-country road trip. Our first main stop will be New Vrindaban, West Virginia, two nights. I lived there many years ago. I am going back to reclaim my ghosts.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring fling

All afternoon there was a huge quail collective honeymoon party in the Bird Park, couples aglow with conjugal bliss strolling around nibbling seeds, lounging under budding lilacs, enjoying dirt baths and sunshine after a week of schizophrenic spring snows laced with taunting bright moments clouded over by bitter winds the next all to the tune of quail love songs trilled from rooftops and fence posts all around the neighborhood.

Spring in the desert.

Then there's Louie. Lonely Louie. He's here a lot since the hawk got his mate. He tries to mind his own business but every now and then some male suddenly takes an unprovoked run at him and he zig-zags through the couples as fast as he can go trying to escape. Poor Louie. I hope he meets a nice new lady quail soon. Quail mate for life but hey! The little guy deserves a break.

If you're a regular here, you might recognize Dwayne's giant green Indian Willow Tree o' Life in the background of the photo. This year the tree is more fabulous than ever. However Dwayne is not doing so well. Recently his son Tom had to whisk both him and Thera off to an assisted living facility. One day they were at home and the same day .... gone. Tom called me over to help. His dad was threatening to shoot him if he tried moving them so Tom wanted me to act as distraction so he could get the guns out of the house. I tried my best but when Dwayne saw Tome heading for the door with his arms full of weapons he looked at me and said, "You're with him. Traitor. Get out of my house". That was it. They were gone that day.

Tom, his two kids, their dog Roxy and Dwayne's cat Snooky live there now and poor Snooky has been demoted to the status of an outdoor cat. One of the kids has an allergy problem. Tom's been doing a lot of clean up and repairs around the place. He was even thinking about cutting down the willow (which we all love) but Dwayne asked him to spare it. He told me he agreed...for now. We all know what that means. In any case, sounds like Thera probably won't make it out of the care center but, if Dwayne's condition continues to improve, they've arranged for him move to a different residence and Snooky can join him there. Not exactly one of those "happily ever after endings" but it will have to do.

And we're leaving on Sunday for our trip back east. We're driving to DC then NYC then Florida for the summer. I'm packing and fretting and fretting about packing and going. The new, fabulous paper floor is done and the really cool studio is ready so off we go. Crazy, eh?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring treats

Spring evening


Spring is a crazy time. Last night's ominous sky brought this morning's snow and a hungry morning in the Bird Park. The leftover vegan "tuna" chunks were a big hit.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sweet Lorraine's magic silver polishing trick

"It really works."
- Lorraine
Mostly I'm posting this (again?) for myself so I will have it. If nothing else, this blog is my file cabinet. But you can use it too. This very excellent, oh so easy, silver polishing trick even cleans the kind of silver jewelry with intricate designs that turn black deep down in the little crevasses and are impossible to reach. Compliments of dear sweet Lorraine. RIP my friend.




Ingredients:

1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 sheet of aluminum foil
1 quart water

Add dry ingredients to 1 quart boiling water.
Submerge foil in water.
Drop silver onto foil.
Tarnish will immediately disappear.
Remove silver from water.
Place on drying cloth.
Allow to dry.
To enhance affect, gently rub silver but it's not necessary.
It will come out of the water shiny as new.*

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If you're thinking about trying this recipe out, I suggest you also check the comment section of this article. There are some interesting pro/con comments on this technique.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Morning report

I got up a bit later than usual this morning and the birds had already come and gone, without breakfast. However Maggie, the 7 O'clock magpie, the Bird Park Prima Bella, showed up soon after I put out this morning's fare, peanuts, kibbles, mashed potatoes and remnants of a crunchy cookie. She went to the cookie first, not because it was a cookie but because it was something different, something she hadn't seen before. Such a wonderful trait, her curiosity. It is a mark of her intelligence. At this point a few others have shown up. Oh oh! Here comes the hawk!

after the hawk attack, lonely little quail dude
Louie the lonely quail dude.
Quail mate for life so this guy is bereft
after the hawk recently ate his companion..
OK. Where was I before Ms. Fancy Pants showed up? Damn. I scared the shit out of the quail chasing her off. Poor guys. They were walking around nibbling seed, totally unaware Ms. Death had arrived. I ran at her but she just stared me me down. I had to grow and wave my arms even to get her to move down the fence, quail blasting out from under the trees in every direction, wings revved up like jet engines. The quail were in utter chaos. Ms. Fancy Pants finally took off but not without a quick pass at the fleeing covey, swooping low over the ground, me in hot pursuit, quail screaming. She didn't get anybody. This time.

Ms. Fancy Pants with that
"You're next, buddy" look in her eye,
quail parts dangling from her beak.
- photo by Kristiana

Yes, yes. I'm choosing sides. Interfering with nature. GASP! I deprived the hawk of her breakfast. Too bad. When Kristy and Thea were here, we watched her eat a quail and ever since then a lonely quail dude wanders the Bird Park outcast and alone. So enough is enough. The thing is, the Bird Park is not a natural environment. It doesn't have amount the kind of ground cover quail need to have a fighting chance so I am stepping in. Not on my watch, buddy. The hawks have a lot of territory. At least while I'm here, it doesn't have to include the Bird Park.We'll only be here another two weeks then we leave for the rest of year. Things will settle down around here on their own after that.

God. I've got to get back to my list making and anxiety attack.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring commeth and the squawky babies

The first of the spring babies has arrived at the bird park today and, like all babies, she's out there knee deep in food squawking away trying to get her mother to feed her. Well,she's not literally knee deep in food but it's a better image. And Charlie the Crow just dropped in for breakfast. The left over spring rolls were a big hit, everything but the carrots. Birds don't like carrots.