No Anchovies


Northern Anchovies at the Monterey Aquarium

Northern Anchovies at the Monterey Aquarium

I like pizza. If anyone ever suggests ordering pizza, I’m instantly onboard with it. Immediately after someone suggests ordering a pizza, then the next logical question is what do you want on it? I’m pretty easy-going about this question, I’m fine with almost anything, anything but anchovies that is. Tomorrow is Turkey Day. Cooks all around America are slaving in the kitchen, preparing for tomorrow. So, what to you do for dinner tonight? You certainly don’t want to overburden the already stressed chefs. Typically there are only two possible answers. Either everyone goes out to eat or you order in. If kids are around then the only real choice is to order pizza. Just be sure that you don’t order any anchovies on it.

We’re going out tonight. Dave is motoring down from Purdue as I write. When he gets here, we’ll head on over to South Grand and have dinner at Lemon Grass, our traditional pre-turkey meal. Unfortunately, the originator of this tradition, Dapper Dan, won’t be joining us this year. He’s staying in LA. Even so, we’ll all carry on. Anne had the day off and spent it in the kitchen. In addition to all of the other things that she did today, she baked a ginger snap crust that will be filled with pumpkin. She had enough leftover dough to make ginger snap cookies, including two large hand turkeys. A hand turkey is made by tracing around your hand. I didn’t know this until last year, when my boss marshaled all of us to make paper hand turkey cards for his boss. I decorated the ginger snap ones. And I helped. We wrapped them up and presented to the neighbor kids, along with a few of the more plebian cookies for their parents. They seemed to like them, at least while we were speaking with their mom; they were munching on their parents cookies. Gracie remarked within earshot, “They’re warm.” No mean feat considering how cold it is here. We had to break-off this front porch conversation when Anne began to shiver.

In lieu of hand turkey cards, this year my boss had me present some results to his boss. Things went well. My boss’s boss even liked my jokes. I was rewarded with more work, for which I am thankful. It was a skeletal crew at work today. At one, I saw my boss’s boss’s boss, as he was headed out for the holiday. He wished me a happy Thanksgiving and I tongue-in-cheek expressed my admiration of his leadership. He was leading us out the door. I soon followed his lead and began my Thanksgiving holiday.

Look at Me Girls, Look at Me


Male Yellow-Shafted Northern Flicker

Male Yellow-Shafted Northern Flicker

Saturday afternoon, when I was bicycling in the park, I came upon the above pictured flicker. He was perched atop a street light and was easy to find. (You can tell that he is a male, because of the black malar coming off his beak.) First, he would call out, wicka-wicka-wicka, then he would pound his beak against the aluminum street light housing, rat-a-tat-tat. Then he would pause and I could hear another male flicker, not too far off, repeating his message, wicka-wicka-wicka and then rat-a-tat-tat. After the other bird was done, this little guy would begin the call and response again. It wasn’t until after several rounds of this that I realized that the other male flicker was at the adjacent street lamp, just fifty yards down the road. I never saw nor heard any female flickers, but they had to be there, because why else would these two dudes be strutting their stuff?

A spring or two ago, Anne was in the classroom, but the window was open and it was a beautiful spring day. Just outside, a male cardinal was perched on a tree branch, singing his heart out. It sounded like who-it cheer, who-it cheer, cheer-cheer-cheer; cheer, who-it-who-it-who-it-who-it; wheat-wheat-wheat-wheat. Anne whistled back to the bird and then interpreted for the class, look-at-me-girls, look-at-me-girls, look-at-me-girls, look-look-look. One sad individual asked her, “Where did you learn to speak pigeon?” I say sad, because not only was he unable to distinguish between a cardinal and a pigeon, but he failed in his hometown, which is also the home of the Saint Louis Cardinals.

One last spring story, this one is from the plant kingdom. I got up and out of bed this morning early enough to beat today’s rain and go for another bicycle ride in the park. There were no wildlife encounters on this ride, but I did hear a number of interesting, if unidentifiable bird calls. This spring story comes down to what I saw, while climbing the last hill on the way home. There was a green sheen on the raised tread of my bicycle tire. The green was from the pollen that all of the plants and trees have been busily pumping out. Today’s rain ought to give some momentary relief to all of the allergy suffers in town. Oh by the way, they are also forecasting snow for tonight.

Happy Earth Day!


Forest Park Earth Day Festival

Forest Park Earth Day Festival

Our Saturday was a full day and night. By the end of it, I was sore, tired and sunburned, my bad. To make matters worse, I didn’t sleep well, when I finally did make it to bed, too much caffeine during Saturday night’s trivia contest. So, it shouldn’t have been too surprising that on Sunday morning, we both rolled over and went back to sleep and missing our planned Trailnet group bicycle ride. This old saying comes to mind, “If you want to soar with the eagles you can’t hoot with the owls”. After sheltering in place all morning, we finally launched on our bikes at the butt-crack of noon.

Our destination was the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park. We’ve been attending this festival for years now. Trailnet was there, operating not one, but two valet bicycle parking lots. That was our first stop. We quickly bumped into Susan, our across the street neighbor, and fellow Team Kaldis member. Next we met Kitty, one of Dan’s friend. Anne recognized her from the back, because of her rather distinctive hairdo. She is married now and they are soon visiting LA.

Year’s ago Anne (Citizen of the Year) and I were driving Kitty and Dan to the bus station. They were on their way to either Philly or Alabama; I can’t remember which trip this was. Kitty’s cell phone rang. It was her mother with some last minute detail. Afterwards Kitty told her mom that her python had escaped its cage, but not to worry, just leave the bedroom door closed. A minute later her mom called back with the news that Kitty’s bedroom door was open.

Anne and I had some nachos and then went in search of Pat from Saturday night. She had gotten up early and led the Earth Day parade. Joanie arrived then too. Leaving Anne in good company, I headed for home. I managed to stay up until Anne made it home too, but I was already in bed by the time she stepped out of the shower. I guess the weekend had finally caught up with me.