Saturday, May 14, 2016


When Tom and Lana were here Tom said "I don't know why you don't weigh 300 pounds with all the good food that comes out of your kitchen."

Well, yeah, I can understand that.  Or not.

Anyway, Judy has been back at it again baking a dessert that I found a recipe for in the New York Times.

(I love their food writing though SWMBO has been skeptical of some of their recipes.)

But she decided to try this one after the recipe had been lying around for a month or so.

It's called Lemon-Almond Butter Cake and Regina Schrambling offered a recipe she had adapted from one by Jody Adams, who runs restaurant Rialto in Boston.

SWMBO adapted the recipe further by using pre-made lemon curd from Trader Joe's.

Once she had everything mixed and ready to go into a spring-form pan, she called me in to ask my advice.

The mixture was quite thick and she wondered if she should add some half-and-half to lighten it up a bit.

I saw where the recipe said "scrape the dough into the pan" and said "No, I think it's all right the way it is."

While it was baking she expressed a bit of doubt because the daubs of curd topping the crust seemed to run into the center but I looked up pictures of it on the web and they all looked sort of like that.

So she took it out.

She said it didn't rise very much but later when we tried it, the unanimous opinion was something like "OMG! That's wonderful!"

So here is a link to the recipe.

And here is our finished product.

Under that crisp crust is an almost fudgy interior, rich with lemon flavor.

Thank you Jody. Thank you Regina. Thank you Judy.

It was exquisite!

Friday, May 13, 2016



Visitors, a landmark birthday, eating out, more activity than in a thousand years.

Frankly, we're wasted.

So (in case you didn't figure it out) Thank God It's The Friday Funnies!

That was just to make sure you were paying attention.

All right, that's enough hilarity for one Friday.

A special thank you to all of my contributors.

Hey, Gentle Readers, here's my wish for the day.

Have a stupendous weekend of resting up, don't forget to tell us about it and always remember to keep laughing.

Here, kitty-kitty.

(oh, no . . .)

Thursday, May 12, 2016


One way to get rid of some of the past.

Peddler's Pass swap meet back when we were still driving the Blue Streak - a 1986-1/2 Volkswagen Quantum station wagon.

That car lasted us a good many years, through Mexico and back, before it gave up the ghost and was towed away.

I'm beginning to wonder when I'll be towed away.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A New Header

I really liked this photo by my friend Tom Cochrun and thought I'd share it for awhile.


I knew a guy once who used to say "the social rumble isn't restful."

Turns out he was slightly misquoting the originator of that aphorism, Mr. Satchel Paige, who actually said "the social ramble ain't restful."

We've just had a social rumble or ramble that only lasted about a day and a half but, for whatever reason, we were worn out when it ended.

It was fantastic to see longtime friends and we took it pretty easy, just sitting and talking the first afternoon and evening (along with prodigious eating and accompanying sipping.)

And the next full day was spent in an easy auto journey and a picnic (and some sipping) and dinner in a restaurant (and some more sipping.)

Now, Gentle Readers, you might think that we were drinking a lot.

Facts are that while we were consistently hydrated, we didn't consume like we might have in the good old rock and roll days.

No, I don't think any of suffered from any "hard rock" or "rolling stone" hangovers during the visit.

And it was kind of tough to say goodbye as we lingered outside their hotel, recalling just one more story from days gone by.

But it has taken both of us about a full day to get over the lethargy and tiredness that prompted some long naps and early bedtimes.

But, after all, these are the days of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As the first part of the wise Mr. Paige's quote advises: "Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society."

Probably good advice at any age.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


By now, you're probably tired of hearing about our visitors from California.

But, one more time, because it fits into today's theme of Tuesday Travels.

We left home yesterday morning and drove over the mountain through Jerome.

Just before reaching that mountainside hamlet Lana and Judy posed for a photo at an overlook.

Then we drove on, through Old and New Cottonwood to the (not so, anymore) tiny town of Cornville.

Our destination, with these wine-lovers from the Paso Robles appellation, lay to the north along Page Springs Road, into the heart of one piece of Arizona Wine Country.

We stopped at the Page Springs Winery for a tasting, a bottle (thanks, Tom) and a classic French picnic, courtesy of SWMBO.

The winery is one of three in close proximity to each other.

Some of the wine is produced there, some comes from southeastern Arizona.

Tom and I took a bit of a walk down to a lower picnic setting just above Oak Creek.  (sound up)

A pleasant day, sitting in the shade, eating, drinking, gazing over the vineyards.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Pesta Indonesia

That title translated to English means Indonesian feast.

That's what we dined on last night courtesy of my personal chef, SWMBO.

This somewhat fuzzy picture shows the Chicken Satay, Peanut sauce, Curried Bananas and mixed fruits. There was also a dish of quinoa and brown rice.

All of those in attendance proclaimed it, in the Indonesian parlance, "mighty tasty."

Our honored guests from the California coast, Lana and Tom Cochrun.

The sommelier pours.

The chef tucks in.

Good friends, great food and wine, wonderful conversation.

It's hard to believe but this friendship goes back 47 years.

And counting.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Gentle Readers, you've become accustomed to my interest in the birds of many feathers that visit the bird bath outside my den window.

Recently I had a hawk perch on the edge.

Once awhile back a big black raven did the same.

The Rufous Towhee and the finches and (SWMBO insists) the warblers are regular visitors.

But what to my wondering eyes did appear on this otherwise peaceful Sunday?

A REAL big  and perhaps strange bird.

I know it's a California breed but there also seems to be some Hoosier traits.

Yes, it's my dear old buddy Tom, the good-natured host of  the Light Breezes blog.

He's visiting from his home in California with his lovely wife, Lana, an artist and proprietor of her own blog.

Further photos of these two intrepid travelers will follow.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Our birdbath/drinking fountain continues to be an attraction to the many avian residents of the neighborhood.

The other day I caught the Rufous Sided Towhee taking a dip.

A while back a big black raven strutted over and hopped up on the rim and took a drink but I was too slow with the camera to get a shot of him.

But late this week I was in the kitchen when Judy called out to look at the birdbath.

I hurried to my den, took a peek and grabbed the camera to get this photo.

That's no sparrow, Gentle Readers.

That is a Cooper's Hawk.

Posing majestically he stayed for only a few seconds once I had my camera in hand but it was a thrilling few seconds.

Lori Down the Street has had a hawk at her fountain but this was a first for me.

Friday, May 6, 2016


I suppose I could lead off this week with "Donald Trump is the Republican Party's nominee for President."

But, funny as that is, nobody's laughing.

So, onward.

O.K. Gentle Readers, it's time to hustle along toward your historic fun weekend.

Just remember this one thing: always keep laughing!

Here, kitty-kitty.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Back in the 1980's when SWMBO and I first moved to Mexico we found a house to rent in a small village on the shore of Ajijic, south of Guadalajara.

We began our Mexico stay with a visit to Posada Ajijic, a small hotel with a very active bar, especially at happy hour (which ran, as I recall, for hours!)

Ajijic and several other towns along the north shore of Lake Chapala had become very popular with the ex-patriates and the Posada was owned and operated by a Canadian whose name was Eager.

I've forgotten his first name but his son later had a new hotel built called the Nueva Posada Ajijic, which survives to this day.

But on that first night in the old Posada's bar I recognized one of the other topers as the legendary Jim Moran.

Moran was a long-time publicist and practical joker who, for instance, once changed horses in the middle of a Nevada river during the 1944 presidential campaign.

He was barred from a stunt wherein he claimed he was going to fly a midget over New York's Central Park in a kite to publicize a candy bar.

Moran's comment: "It's a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over Central Park!"

None of this talk about Jim Moran has a thing to do with the purpose of today's post although it might qualify under the heading of Throwback Thursday.

No, what I was going to tell you about was the annual chili contest, held on the grounds of the Posada.

Mr. Eager organized that, too, with the assistance of Ann Whiting, who was the president of the American Society in Guadalajara.

Several of our new friends won the competition in one of those years long ago.

Here we see Cookie, Walter, Bernard and Betty with someone in the rear peeping through whom I can't identify.

Their chili was named AMSOC Amistad Chili, meaning the American Society Friendship Chili.

From the picture it looks like it won each of the cooks a bottle of tequila.

I've lost track of Cookie and Bernard.

Walter, who was the father of New York actress Cynthia Nixon, died in Guadalajara some years ago.

And my Yellow Dog Democrat* friend Betty is still going strong in Olympia, Washington at the age of 90.

Good times gone by.

*The term Yellow Dog Democrat originated in the South during the late 19th Century. It refers to a person who would vote for a yellow dog before they'd vote for any Republican.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I cook occasionally.

Not much.

But SWMBO has been cooking for a long, long time.

She is a master.

Even with new recipes.

For example . . .

A roasted, spatchcocked chicken with lemon and herbs under the skin.

Sliced eggplant grilled counter-top in a George Foreman grill, then topped with feta cheese.

Accompanied by some sauced orecchiette (I did the pasta, whoop, whoop), garlic bread and a salad.

A meal fit for a king.

But not a cat.

"C'mon, man, where's mine?", sayeth the Blackwell.

(He always comes around and begs when we're in the kitchen but he won't eat any "human food".)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I was not born under the sign of Acquarius.

But it might seem that I was by virtue of my love for water in my travels.

From my very early days with Dr. Jim at Carlyle Lake in Saskatchewan.

(Caution for delicate sensibilities - there will be partial nudity in this post.)

To Lake Michigan on a visit to Chicago to see my boys.

To Kentucky Lake in, naturally, Kentucky.

To Lynx Lake in Arizona.

To a mountain stream in Colorado.

To Huntington Beach and the Pacific in California, with my longtime buddy Timmer.

To the blue Mediterranean at Monaco.

To a sailing day aboard the Sand Dollar II, with its captain Harry, off Guaymas, Mexico.

To working on a tan (and a drink) at a beach cottage somewhere further south on the Pacific Coast in Mexico.

To a snorkeling trip with Baseball Steve just south of Puerto Vallarta.

To a lunch with SWMBO and the BRD near the water in Baja California at Ensenada.

And a visit with Tom and Lana in Central California and a trip to San Simeon Beach.

Always the water has drawn me.

So now I'm an old man and what do I do with my time?

Frequently I'm found staring at the water.