Sinus headache so just some random notes

I feel as though I haven’t posted here in a month but in all actuality, it appears to only have been a few days. There’s lots I want to say but my mind is too muddled. Allergies are kicking my ass this year. So for now, a few photos and random notes.

Beautiful memorial for Roger Blakley and Ceal Allen yesterday at the Esquire. They were so loved. We saw lots of friends and familiar faces and, oh, the slideshow of photos was incredible. Old/new friends Matt and Libby kindly let us share their table (thank you guys!). I was relieved to have a seat but I gotta say after and hour or two sitting on a backless stool my back was killing me. I was almost in tears by time I got into the car. When we got home I gave in and took a pain pill, which I absolutely hate because they knock me out. So sadly, we missed one of our favorite things, our beloved Sasha and Dick’s summer party. Next year.

One stolen picture of Roger and Ceal. It’s so glorious that I couldn’t help myself.

I love this picture. The inimitable Kathy Harden singing one of Roger’s favorite songs, Dylan’s Forever Young, with Matt Stewart accompanying. I just love the way the young boys playing pool stopped and stood at attention. There were a lot of very good people there, because that’s who loved Ceal and Roger. I so wanted to speak to one of Ceal’s daughters or sisters but I just couldn’t manage it. I regret it but I know Ceal would understand.

I know we have an old house but would it have killed them to make the closet the same size as the door?

One of the best meals we’ve made in ages. I know, I know, I’ve posted a million pictures of pasta and asparagus but this one was incredible. I took a Y shaped peeler (known as the Heather peeler in our house) and peeled the asparagus into thin slivers. It made a world of difference. After peeling them we put them in a bowl of cold water so they crisped and curled up. We melted some butter with a good dash of red pepper flakes and let it get just the slightest bit brown. Popped the asparagus in, stirred it a bit and covered the pan so it would steam a bit.

We tossed it with the spaghetti as well as about half a cup of pasta water and added about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan. Ohh, and good dash of pepper as well as a bit of salt. The difference in taste with the ones I’ve made with chopped asparagus was startling. This had that green grassy taste that I love alllll the way through it. Highly recommended. Note: gluten free pasta comes in 12 oz boxes unlike regular pasta. I think next time I would add more asparagus. One bunch of asparagus is probably perfect for 8 oz of pasta.

Just LOOK at my salt and pepper shakers. It was glorious having Tal here. They were good enough to take a picture for me.

When texting Leo about something else I found out they gone to Allerton. I begged for a picture. This is what I got. Geesh, they really are perfect for one another.

Another food picture. Sorry. We haven’t had shrimp in ages but Schnucks had a good sale on some. It was one of those don’t-want-to-cook nights. We dusted the shrimp with cornstarch and hell, I don’t remember, cumin and something else along with salt and pepper, cooked them quickly in a bit of olive oil and put them on some salad greens. A dash of the wonderful olive oil and lemon balsamic (💚 to Carrie and Bill) and that was it. Ridiculously good, particularly for the amount of effort.

That’s all I’ve got on this headachy day. Ernie’s at the store. We’re both kind of tired and out of sorts so maybe we’ll just find a movie to watch when he gets back.

I leave you, on this Memorial Day, with a picture of my beautiful father, Joseph Edward Voelkl. He hated war.

Love to all. Onward.

A Nice Day: buildings and beer and fish

My friend, Jim, told me about a barn west of Lincoln that he thought I might like, and oh, was he right. Ernie wants to turn it into a meme saying, ‘that sinking feeling you get….’ Jim told me it flooded off its foundations back in the 70’s and yet here it still sits…showing us all how to adapt and hang on. Thank you, barn (and Jim).

Across the road are windmills. Ernie is kind of fascinated with them. They creep me out a bit, like giant insects warming up for the attack. Well, I suppose that old barn has seen a lot of changes and adapted, so I guess I should too.

We actually hadn’t planned this little jaunt but when I woke up and it wasn’t rainy it seemed like the thing to do. We had no plans after finding the barn so we ambled up old Route 66 to McLean, then east on 136 until 150 and then home. As much as we’ve been to all these towns before, they are different every time, or maybe our eyes are different.

The iconic sign to the long gone Tropics. We hadn’t visited it to say hello in quite some time.
At first I thought this was the motel we came across a few weeks back but it wasn’t. Here’s a look at it back in its glory days.
classic central Illinois
Beautiful building in Atlanta
no words really necessary…I mean it’s Paul Bunyan holding a very large hot dog 🧡
Atlanta’s gorgeous octagonal 1908 library

I was and am utterly smitten with this wonderful Prairie style library and community hall in McLean. It was designed by A. T. Simmons, a Bloomington architect who designed over 70 Carnegie libraries (!) and the Castle Theater in Bloomington.

With that we were ready to head home. We stopped at Huber’s and had a drink and some popcorn. We haven’t been there in eons, I can’t even think when. It felt good. Ernie even splurged and drank a real beer. Bud Light and he said, “this if for Kid Rock,” before he drained it.

Then we took the back way home, twisting through the streets and alleys of our neighborhood. We were supposed to have fish tacos for dinner but my back was killing me so after I did the fish I just plopped it on some slaw-ish cabbage, added the weird sauce I’d made. It had gotten too thick in the refrigerator—I should have thinned it with some lime juice but hell, I was tired. It was a mix of sour cream, mayo, hatch chilis, smoked paprika, and lime juice (waving to my little oxford comma 👋). For the fish I just dusted it with cornstarch seasoned with salt/pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne and sautéed it in some olive oil. I got the fish (pollock) from Meijer and it was great. Cheap AND MSC certified. Amazing.

It was a good day, a nice day, as Tommy Womack would say.

Back to work today to get some things done. Ernie has a Keytruda treatment on Thursday, Friday we’re having some friends come by, Saturday we go to O’Hare to pick up Leo and Tal.


Random Pictures from the Sandwich Life

I forgot to mention that yesterday at the cancer center in St. Louis, as I was sitting in the waiting room, Ernie texted to tell me that the nurse/tech had asked if he was a musician. That’s my boy. He’s still got it.

Nothing new to say about how much I miss my sister Judi but I came across this picture and thought I would share it. We’re outside Stumphouse Tunnel in South Carolina. It seems like a million years ago. Maybe it was.

Ok, last time I made gnocchi it was a bit of a disaster. And when I say ‘made,’ I mean ‘took it out of a box.’ However, I learned my lesson and browned these little guys much longer in some butter and red pepper flakes until they were beautiful and crispy. Then I dumped in a container of spinach/greens and tossed it all til they wilted. Some parmesan mixed in and a bit on top. Stellar meal and it took about 15 minutes. And I don’t mean 15 minutes like so many recipes say and actually take at least 30 minutes or more…I mean 15 minutes. And it had a ton of greens.

This was from a day I wasn’t feeling great so I couldn’t eat much of the seared pork chop but the lemon/turmeric rice with asparagus was soothing and good for breakfast in the morning to boot.


Top photo: a study of dust and decay right in my own damn house!