Simple LivingMy world has become meaner, of late, and I’m guessing yours has, too.

Mean, in the sense of “harsh, spiteful, and cruel,” but also in the sense of “crude, lowly, or ignoble.”

Work, politics, society, and even some relationships have taken on a more callous, retributive aspect. People don’t want to listen — They don’t even want to care. — and it feels like the whole social contract has begun to unravel.

My world has indeed become more mean.

In response, I find that I have becoming meaner, as well. Patience has vanished. Reactions have intensified. Empathy has hit rock bottom.

And I hate it.

So I’m doing something about it.

I’m changing the only thing I can.

Me. Continue Reading »

Too Late

Mouse RoadCats have their signs.
The twitching tail.
The flattened ears.
So do I.
Know me?
You’ll see them.
Esteem me?
You’ll heed them.
No fireworks.
No tirades.
No hiss and lashing claws.
Just silence
And the snick of the closing door.
Too late.
Too late.
Call it what you want.
I no longer care.
Cats have their signs.



PlumsWant to bring a little pizzazz to that sandwich? Want to add some zip to that cold-cut platter? Here’s a suggestion. A complex mix of flavors — earthy, sweet, tangy, spicy — designed to enhance rather than smother.

Cook up a batch of this, set it in the fridge for a couple of weeks to mellow, and enjoy.

Plum Chipotle Chutney

Makes about 4 pounds


  • Glass jars and rings/lids for preserving (optional, for long-term storage)


  • 2 pounds plums, halved, stoned, and chopped
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • Scant 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped (use an oiled knife to keep them from sticking to the blade)
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon black/brown mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet (not hot) paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 1  2/3 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar (or 2 cups light brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons molasses)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • Put all the ingredients (except sugar and salt) into a large pot over a medium heat and stir well.
  • Bring slowly to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes until plums are tender.
  • Stir in sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved.
  • Keep at a light boil for 20–30 minutes, uncovered, stirring to keep it from sticking, until it thickens.
  • Store in the fridge for two weeks to mellow. It’s great right away, but it’s better if it rests for a while.
  • Optional: For long-term storage, spoon into sterilized jars, seal, process, and store for up to 6 months in cool, dry place.


  • If you’re not going to share or can the result, make a half recipe. Four pounds is a lot of chutney.
  • I prefer to roughly chop my plums/onions, as this gives more texture to the chutney. If you prefer a more homogeneous texture, chop finely.
  • For a smokier flavor, use smoked paprika.
  • You can substitute raisins or sultanas for the cranberries.




Sprite and Maltese
Fewer pictures. More memories.
Fewer films. More books.
Fewer chores. More hobbies.
Fewer gulps. More sips.
Fewer texts. More talks.
Fewer LOLs. More laughs.
Fewer shoulds. More wants.
Fewer Seeyas. More I Love Yous.
Fewer worries. More dreams.

Maple RainOn September 1, Seattle breathed a collective sigh of relief.

After weeks of dry, sun-sopped, over-warm weather, we awoke to grey skies, moist air, cool winds, and the hiss of rain.

It’s back! The rain is back!

Visitors and recent transplants grumble and curse, but for most natives and for almost all who, like me, came here a long time ago and chose to stay, it is a needed balm for our sunburnt souls.

Seattle’s rep as Rain City is well-known. In inches, we don’t get the most — not by a long shot — but we get a little bit quite often. Showers. Drizzle. Fog. Mist. We’ll have them for days at a time, days where the sun’s strength is shrouded by an armada of battleship grey clouds, days when the puddles never fully dry up.

And we don’t mind a bit.

Do not hide from rain.
Stand tall. Receive weather’s kiss.
Drink it in. Enjoy.


La Push Fog


Several articles have crossed my desk recently about the removal of penmanship — specifically writing in cursive — from the curricula of public schools and the Death of Modern Civilization that will naturally follow.


Cursive is as relevant and useful today as is Secretary Hand (pictured right), and those who decry its elimination are merely holding on to their nostalgic memories, clinging to a past that is gone, never to be seen again.

In grammar school, the only failing grade I ever received was in penmanship (well, there was that D in “Comportment” … but let’s not open up that old wound). Despite years of toil, facility in cursive has remained beyond my capacity, and no amount of practice (or repetitive exercises handed out in punishment for my … creative alternatives) ever improved my skill. My cursive was (and is) a crabbed, uneven, slowly produced, literally painful, and for the most part illegible scrawl. Yet, I have lived my life comfortably without its advantages and, now that my parents are both dead, I almost never have to read anything written in cursive script. Continue Reading »

GLenwood 6

I don’t know what got me thinking of this, but my fellow old farts will remember these things…

Ring me.

Get off the line!

Dial the number.

Hang up.

I wonder how puzzling these phrases are to younger folks? The phones of the mid-20th century were so different from what we have now, when having a “land line” is starting to be considered quaint. Continue Reading »

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