our peppers

bellpepperThis has been a good year for our container garden. Terry as always has done a marvelous job of maintaining it, and the weather has cooperated. It was for the most part a mild summer, but hot enough that we actually have had tomatoes this year for the first time in a few years. True, Anaheimthey didn’t show up until August, but we’ve had a nice, steady supply since then.

Bell peppers always do well, and this year was no exception. Terry always buys what are labeled as green bell peppers, but they never seem to stay green for long. This year they’ve turned orange. That’s perfectly fine.

In the middle of the summer it hit me that I was buying chili peppers in the store and asked Terry why we weren’t growing them. She agreed that it was an omission and bought an Anaheim chili plant. It started producing in September and I’ve been using them regularly in my cooking.

I really appreciate the attention Terry pays to our container garden.

our bishop

A week ago Sunday we had a visitation from our bishop at St. John the Divine.

GrayReevesMary_OfficialBishop Mary Gray-Reeves is a powerful woman. She is tall, slender, and regal. When I see her in her vestments there is no question that she belongs in that office. Having done my renewal of vows when I joined St. John’s two years ago about this time I know that she has the power of the Spirit in her. She is always gracious when greeting me and she is great with the children. You might think that children would be put off by someone so powerful, but in fact they love being around her. Her sermons always have something of substance to deliver, and she is magnificent with the liturgy. Her crystal clear voice is almost other-worldly when she sings the Eucharistic prayer.

I always seem to learn something new when I hear her preach. The Sunday of her visit the Gospel reading was Luke 17:11-19, which is the Healing of the Ten Lepers. You likely know the story. Jesus heals the ten lepers and tells them to go show themselves to the priests, which they hasten to do. One however, “turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.” The next sentence often seems to get overlooked. “And he was a Samaritan.” Bishop Mary pointed out that as a Samaritan he would not have been allowed into the temple to show himself to the priests. Oh, yeah. Right. So he did the only thing he could do, which was to return and thank Jesus.

Thank you Bishop Mary for that.

Secular Music Friday: We Can Be Kind

I was not familiar with this song until I heard it on the Broadway channel on SiriusXM.

on giving directions

Do you ever wonder about what happened to those folks to whom you have given directions?

Some years ago I was filling up the car at the 76 station in Gilroy. A couple drove up and asked me how to get to Interstate 5. Interstate 5? We’re nowhere near I-5. Which is what I said. Then they mentioned Highway 152, which I know well will get you to I-5 after a drive of a little over an hour. So I told them to go down to Tenth Street and make a left. That takes one out of town and turns in to 152. Then straight on to I-5.

A couple of months ago I was out doing my walking and a couple pulled over and asked me how to get to Morgan Hill, the next town up the road. I’m not sure how they managed to get so far off the main thoroughfare, but there they were. I directed them to Monterey Highway, told them to make a left and simply keep going until they got to Morgan Hill. I thought about directing them on to the freeway, Highway 101, but I didn’t want to complicate matters unnecessarily. Monterey Highway would take them straight into downtown Morgan Hill where they could get directions to their destination easily enough.

You hope that your directions were clear and those folks aren’t still out there wandering around looking for the place they’re trying to get to.

follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

new in the kitchen

A couple of kitchen updates.

When Terry and I have a night at the Fairmont in San Jose, we normally have a room service breakfast. We’re both tea drinkers, so we get a pot of hot water, a selection of tea bags, and a lemon. The lemon is always wrapped in a lovely yellow cloth which keeps the seeds from getting into one’s tea.

lemon-garlicFor the most part I had accepted the seeds as being the price for enjoying lemon in my tea. But it occurred to me that those things must be available for sale. I checked Amazon and came up empty. A few days later, though, I tried different search terms and came up with a number of choices. I selected the Regency Lemon Wraps, which come in a pack of 100. They arrived just as I expected, and I was surprised at how eminently reusable they are. Simply rinse one out, let it dry and it is ready to be used again. We currently have four in service, and that’s the total number we have taken out of the package so far.

About the same time the Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Crusher caught our attention when we saw it mentioned in Coastal Living magazine. Our magazines can be dangerous. We had each seen it independently and it had seemedgarlicpress like a good idea to each of us. It wasn’t that expensive, so we decided to order it. I’m glad we did. It’s very easy to use and clean. I’ve tended to be lazy about using garlic, using garlic powder rather than fresh garlic, because my old garlic press, something I’ve had since my days is Oklahoma City, is such a pain to use and clean. I’ll be using a lot more fresh garlic now, I believe.

Terry and I have so much fun in the kitchen.


We left on vacation on 1 October, the first day of the government shutdown. My intent was to mostly stay off of Facebook while away, because I knew there would be plenty of posts on the topic, and I had no intention of letting the idiocy in Washington interfere with my enjoying my vacation.

I therefore went to the Apple App Store looking for something related to arts and culture. I discovered the app for Goodreads, which I immediately downloaded to my iPad. I signed up and joined a few discussion groups. It’s nice. I like it. Some things are more easily done from the Web site on a PC than from the iPad app, but the app is really very nicely done. It’s great for reading updates from “friends” and discussion threads, and it is very easy to add books to your “bookshelves.”

I commented on one of the discussion lists that I really didn’t need more book recommendations, since I have so many samples on my Kindle iPad app. One member responded:

I chuckled at not needing any book recommendations – many of us say that when we start, but somehow the longer we hang out here, the longer our “to read” lists get.

Another said:

Our thread on books we’ve read each month is SURE to add to your list of Books To Read! Yikes!

Yikes indeed!

Since I signed up on my iPad using the iOS app, it automatically picked up my location. Well sort of. While I was in Cambria, my location showed Grover Beach, some 48 miles south according to Google Maps. Still, Grover Beach wouldn’t be so bad. But alas, in the interest of honesty I changed the location to Gilroy when I got on to the Web site on my PC.

Gilroy and not Cambria or Grover Beach, still I’m enjoying being part of Goodreads.

follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

things not to be put up with

This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.
—attributed to Winston Churchill, probably apocryphal

We’ve had a gardener, Jerry, take care of the front yard for some years now. He comes on Monday when we have trash, recycling, and yard waste pickup. That way he doesn’t have to haul away the yard waste. The neighbors who used to live in the house to the south of us, Randy and Frances, introduced him to the neighborhood. They knew him from Frances’ days of managing apartments. Our neighbor to the north, Steve, moved away but kept the house and rented it out. He used Jerry until he got new tenants with two healthy, athletic boys.

We started using Jerry about the same time that Steve did. At the time I was commuting into Silicon Valley three or four days a week and wanted to free up time on my weekends. I’ve since become a full-time remote worker, but we’ve continued to use Jerry.

For some years now we’ve been permitted, in fact encouraged, to put food waste in the yard waste toter rather in the trash toter or down the garbage disposal. In fact there was a rate increase to cover this service. We’ve been doing that since Day One.

Some time last fall, I believe it was, I caught Jerry pulling food waste out of the yard waste toter and putting it in the recycle toter. WTF! The recycle bin? Not even the trash toter? Dammit, Jerry, we f***ing know what we’re doing! I had a fit, went storming outside and flung the food waste back into the yard waste bin, explaining, not all too patiently, that the green toter was yard waste and food waste.

This happened again some weeks later. I printed up a sign, saying both in English and in Spanish (thanks to Google translate):

Yard Waste and Food Waste
Do not remove anything from this container
Leave all items in this container

That should have been clear enough, even if the Google Translate Spanish was not optimal, which it likely wasn’t. This coincided with the winter months which meant I could bury the food waste under leaves and such. Eventually I gave up on the sign, as I had to replace it every couple of weeks since it was out in the elements. I trusted that Jerry and his crew got the idea.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw Jerry doing the exact same thing again. I again had a fit, again went storming outside and and again flung the food waste back into the yard waste bin, yelling, yes, yelling, “I told you before not to do that!” To which Jerry gave a simple, “OK.”

Then, when he was done, he had the temerity to ring the doorbell and ask for his check. Well, English not being his first language he rang the doorbell and said, “Money.” Certainly he is entitled to be paid. Of course. But I have been very diligent about paying Jerry, and I will take his check out and track him down if he’s working in another yard. It’s just that this was the last day of the month, and I was going to be paying bills that evening.

So I notified him that I was discontinuing the service. The money was an exacerbating issue, but it was not the main point. The point is that there are some things up with which I will not put.

One thing up with which I will not put is polluting the recycling stream.

Especially after repeated clarifications.

I considered whether I was cutting off my nose to spite my face, something my dad insisted that I examine before doing something potentially rash. But really, I’m not.

First, we’re saving $60 a month. And speaking of sixty, it won’t hurt to get this 60 year-old body out in the front yard mowing the lawn and raking leaves. My previous primary care physician commended me on my daily walks, but insisted that I needed to add strength training and stretching to the aerobic routine of walking. I consider yard work to fall into the strength training category, and really there’s stretching involved too.

A decision made and living with the consequences of that decision.

And so it goes.