Tales of the City

Tales of the City28 Barbary Lane: “Tales of the City” Books 1-3
Armistead Maupin
Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (December 6, 2016)
869 pages
Kindle edition $11.99, Amazon paperback $16.99

How it is that I never got around to reading Tales of the City until now, I have no idea. The up side is that I have had the delight of reading it and enjoying it for the first time here in late in 2018.

You now doubt know that the stories contained herein were originally published as a serial in The San Francisco Chronicle and later compiled into books. The present volume consists of the first three books in the series: Tales of the City (1978), More Tales of the City (1980), and Further Tales of the City (1982) .

The time is the mid-1970’s. Mary Ann Singleton has just arrived in San Francisco from the Midwest and rents a room at 28 Barbary Lane in a house owned by a mysterious Mrs. Madrigal. There she meets a variety of San Franciscans, both gay and straight. Being a 1970’s kind of guy and being a Bay Area kind of guy I was in my element.

This time around I only read the first book. It’s like ice cream: you can only take so much at a time. But I’m delighted to know that two more books await me.


cod in spicy Thai sauce

The source recipe for this meal was pan-roasted cod in spicy Thai broth. It appeared in the October 2014 Coastal Living, and was excerpted from the then just-released The Pollan Family Table.

cod in spicy Thai sauceThe broth contains coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, red curry paste, dry white wine, fish sauce, sugar, coriander, ginger, and tamarind paste. I failed to put coconut milk on the shopping list, and so used leftover condensed milk I had in the refrigerator. I bought the lime and failed to use it. That’s me. I couldn’t find tamarind paste so I used a quarter of a package of tamarind soup mix.

It was supposed to be a broth. It came out a sauce. It was marvelous.

I cooked the cod on the stove top rather than in the oven.

The overall result was superb. I rarely give a recipe five stars in my database, but this was one.


two more LEDs?

surge protectorThere are electrical outlets on either side of the bed. On the left, Terry’s side, the upper outlet is controlled by a wall switch. We have a lamp plugged in there. The bottom had the bed warmer plugged in, and Terry unplugged it in whenever she used the heating pad. So she didn’t have to do that I plugged in a three-plug extender. That worked fine for a long time. But after her knee replacement surgery she needed cold not heat. She did, however, use the lower plug for charging her iPhone. Problem was, the three-plug came out with the charger, aggravating Terry, who had enough to deal with.

So I moved the bed warmer plug over to my side. To do this I tried to install a six-plug extender that we had on hand. Turned out it was dead, dead, dead. Instead I plugged in a five-outlet surge protector that I had in my trusty wire box. It has two LEDs. With all of our electronics, we have LEDs all over the house.

So now we have two more. I guess that’s OK. What’s two more LEDs?


Sacred Music Friday: For All the Saints

I’m late with this one this year, but the 2018 First Plymouth rendition is too good not to share.


paying tribute to the yard waste gods

Some Disney movies should not be seen by young children. I mean, poor Bambi, losing his mother in the forest fire. One Disney movie that younger children should not see is Darby O’Gill and the Little People. The only part of the movie that I recall is near the end, when Darby has called the Death Coach because his wife is very ill and he doesn’t want to see her suffer. But by the time the Death Coach shows up she has gotten better. Problem is, when the Death Coach is called someone has to get in. So Darby does, allowing his wife to live. And they let six-year-olds see this stuff? Really?

This has everything to do with yard waste.

yard waste toterWe put three toters on trash day: trash, recycling, and yard waste. A couple of years ago our disposal company, CR&R, expanded the yard waste to include food waste as well. They have built a state-of-the-art facility that turns yard waste and food waste into natural gas (which helps to power CR&R’s trucks) and fertilizer.

I make sure that there is yard waste to put out each week. First of all, our yard needs that much maintenance in any case. And second, I fear the consequences of not putting out the yard waste toter. As in Darby O’Gill, the yard waste gods have their demands and must be appeased.

And besides, I am doing a Good Thing. Our yard waste and food waste are made good use of and turned into fertilizer and natural gas. I like contributing to the cause in that way.


Greek Tragedy

Greek TragedyGreek Tragedy
Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download purchased on sale for $19.95
If the course is not on sale, check back – a sale price will come around again

When I was in college one of the two or three best courses I took in my entire college career was Greek Tragedy. It was taught by Dr. Robert Palmer, an old-school classicist. It is not a course I will forget.

That was some forty-five years ago, however, so I figured I was due for a review. This course filled the bill. This version of Greek Tragedy is one of the “older” Great Courses, published in 2000, and as such is not so graphics-intensive as some of the more recent offerings. That made it great for listening to on my walks.

Professor Vandiver is a first-class lecturer. Her lectures are clear and easy to listen to. She not only covers the literary aspect, but also discusses the staging of the various surviving plays. She clearly distinguishes between where the author drew from the original myth and where he (always “he,” sorry) embellished, added, or modified the myth we know from other sources.

Older does not mean inferior. The course was thoroughly enjoyable.


farewell to a local institution

I believe that I am correct in stating that DJ’s Restaurant here in Hemet was the longest continuously operating locally-owned restaurant in the San Jacinto Valley. That ended at 3:00 p.m. on October 31. We almost lost DJ’s once before a couple of years ago, but they were able to work things out with the landlord. This time the landlord wanted a ten-year lease, and that was just too much for owner Grace at her age.

DJs signIt’s a shame. The family, that is, Terry and I, my brother Brian and sister-in-law Bobbie, my dad, and sometimes Bobbie and Brian’s son Eric and his daughter, get together regularly for breakfast on Saturday. If my brother calls and asks me where I’d like to go and we haven’t been to DJ’s in the past couple of weeks that is always my suggestion.

Grace, her daughter, and other crew members, many of them family members, are great hosts. The food is tasty, down home local restaurant fare and the service first-class.

DJ’s is not replaceable. We will miss it.