Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to talk about some things other than gardening and all the serious stuff. I thought that might come as a relief. I might not be able to resist some slightly serious stuff, though. You may remember me from such posts as “Stuff You Didn’t Know”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose. I like sleeping this way.
I do this a lot, if you didn’t know. Life here can be quite strenuous, what with all the squirrel chasing, barking at people walking down my street, and, oh, you know, just being me.
The other day, while I was at Day Care, playing, the guy I live with and his friend went out for lunch. They do that quite a bit, too, but I’m so busy having fun that I don’t mind, and, anyway, I like her a lot, and am glad that he has someone in his life who makes him happy.
They saw this thing on a tree near where they went to have lunch. It is pretty darn odd, if you ask me.
If you look at it for a minute you’ll see what it is. The guy I live with thought it was kind of amusing. He is easily amused.
So they went to lunch, and then to a place I’ve never been, called “H Mart”. The guy I live with has a hard time controlling himself there. They have things called “Korean pancakes” and all kind of things he likes. Now the refrigerator doesn’t look so empty.
The most important thing there is my food, of course; I get a little canned on top of the dry. The guy I live with, though, is very happy to have a bunch of kimchi, and I hear that the kimchi from H Mart is really, really good. Hot, too. And then on the left you can see the Korean pickled vegetables.
Sort of funny story here. The guy I live with likes really hot food, but the first batch of pickled vegetables didn’t have pickled jalapenos in them. He didn’t realize that the second batch did, and he offered his friend some, not knowing that the pickled jalapenos were like a zillion times hotter than the regular raw ones. She still likes him anyway.
He got some black tobiko, too. When they were at H Mart there was some uncertainty as to what tobiko is, but owing to the miracle of modern technology, the guy I live with looked it up on his smart phone, and it turns out it’s flying fish roe. He said he knew that.
The guy I live with likes a lot of different food, and when he and his friend first started seeing each other, he knew they would have a good time together from the look on her face when she had the fatty toro at Sushi Den here in Denver. He was thinking about becoming a vegetarian until he met her. They go there for special anniversaries and the waiter comes up and tells them all about fish just flown in from Japan (not flying fish though) and if it’s his turn to pay he says they’ll take all of them.
But anyway, he also got the special Korean chili threads which they were out of last time, to sprinkle on Korean pancakes when he makes them here.
The guy I live with spends a lot of time cooking, which I guess is a good sign. He used to cook for his wife, all the time, but after she died, he stopped, and later took it up again.
The kitchen cabinets are full of stuff.
Some of the boxed seasonings are really old; the guy I live with’s wife bought them many years ago, and they’re just here for old times’ sake.
But like when people say they’re into cooking Indian food, for instance on Facebook, and they talk about all the new spices they’re been using, the guy I live with says “Lol”, because this is one highly evolved spice cabinet (you can see the ajwain seed in the picture looking into the cabinet), and then he shows a picture of this, to show just how highly evolved.
After they went to H Mart, on the way back to his friend’s house, he suggested she might like to visit Read and Black, which is a used book and CD store. So they did.
They had a good time there, though it was a bit rough for the guy I live with. He had not been there since his wife died; they used to spend hours in this place, looking, and of course acquiring things.
In fact he could have just stood in the store and cried, if his friend hadn’t been there to make everything better. If you’ve seen the movie High Fidelity, this is a place like that, and the guy I live with would be in pretty much total bliss to be able to work in such a store. Even more so than, say, working in a garden in Ireland. Some people want to be powerful executives, or movie stars, or great artists. The guy I live has always wanted to do something like work in a used book or CD store, and not be any other sort of person.
But things change.
When the first book came out, the one on penstemons, everyone said it would “open a lot of doors” for him, like he would have this magnificent career in horticulture, but other people got to the door before him, and it dawned on him that this was a very competitive field in which he had no desire to compete at all. He was at least reasonably content working for the phone company; his wife didn’t have to work at all.
Two more books got written; shortly after the third one came out, his wife died, and after that, thirteen of her watercolors were accepted by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and that was sufficient for the guy I live with.
Those were some of the thoughts he had after visiting Read and Black. I know he cried a little after we came home from Day Care, but I think part of that was because he was very tired after a sleepless night the night before that.
Maybe I got carried away here. I often do.
Nothing is going on in the garden, but my walks are still good. They almost always are.
The owl was asleep when I went out this afternoon. It’s there; you just have to look. I couldn’t see the other one but it was there too.
I’ve been detecting the scent of voles out in the “way back”; the guy I live with does encourage me to chase them out of the garden. You can see that they’re out in the field. Lots of the tunnels head toward our garden.
I looked for some but didn’t find any.
Okay, that really is it for the day. I know I tend to wander off topic sometimes, but we purebred border collies are so incredibly alert (as you can see in the first picture) that we get easily distracted.
Until next time, then.
A very nice post.
Friends (both people and dog) are good to have. They help you to keep going, especially in the rough times. As for Korean food, as in many other things, it’s good to take small bites until you know what you’re getting into. Stay warm.
Thanks, I agree. I don’t get to have Korean food either, especially kimchi. Probably just as well. I sleep on the bed with the guy I live with.
A day with lots of texture, ups and downs. And dogs and owls.
Working in a used book store is one of my fantasies; I would be accompanied by my big friendly dog (also a fantasy as what I have is a small grumpy dog….) and dust all the shelves, and make interesting and imaginative window displays. All this is based on some used book stores I have visited over the years, but somehow the career opportunity never presented itself. Or not yet.
Yes, the guy I live with said there was a book store here, new books, the owner had exquisite and eclectic taste in books. She was make the coolest window displays. I guess her husband got sick and so she retired. The guy I live with and his wife were deeply distressed by that and the fact they couldn’t spend hours in there looking at cool stuff.
Telephone pole climbing cleats! Oh, man – thank the guy you live with for posting that.
They called them “hooks” in this part of the country. There were regional differences in the Bell System, like, the test set, in some places called a “buttinsky”, probably from the 1950s and 60s, because you could butt in on someone’s phone conversation, accidentally or on purpose (like to tell them the line was being tested). Called a “butt set” elsewhere (because “buttinsky” was negative p.r.), and, in this region, a “goat”.
Such an enjoyable dose of melancholy and mirth … but just plain food fare for this British bibliophile please.
The guy I live with told me what Marmite was. And bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, scrag end, and spotted dick for afters. He watches a lot of British mysteries. Then he said “Lol”. He also said to say that Alan Davies tried kimchi on Q.I. and said it was “bloody lovely”. They say a lot of things on Q.I.
I still have a full jar of cilantro seeds picked from the garden here by my mother in 1991, with a little tie-on label in her distinctive handwriting. It’s some combination of their having been grown right here, and that label, and that she had to have cleaned them and filled the jar only a few weeks before she died.
The H-Mart haul is fun to see, along with the highly evolved spice cabinet. (But just between you and me, Mani, camphor isn’t edible no matter what some label says…)
Read and Black looks like paradise. It’s quite a testament to the power of memory and grief that TGYLW stayed away so long. And quite a testament to some combination of loyal customers, dedicated staff (anarchist collective?), and/or fortunate real estate situation that it’s still there to come back to. Here’s a piece of related good news: indie bookstores are making a comeback across the U.S.; sales at physical, non-chain bookstores rose for the second year in a row in 2018.
It’s good that the owls are sleeping through your walks now; they’ll be that much more alert and accurate when they go after those voles.
The guy I live with says things like the jar that can be important. Those little things. There are hundreds of them here. Some are left because the guy I live with likes to see them, others are just there. I never get to eat Indian food. Maybe the main reason why the guy I live with was so moved going into Read and Black is that after ten years’ absence he was there with another woman, and they had an outstanding time together. That was a very, very big deal for him. He was never able to go to many places that he and his wife used to frequent until he met his friend.
Is the metal and leather gizmo a tool issued by the phone company? It looks a hundred years old somehow.
The guy I live with said “Hey…”. Those are a pair of hooks used for climbing telephone poles. Issued by the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company, or Mountain Bell, though the hooks pictured were actually purchased at a second-hand store the phone company had for a while.
Also: what *is* that on the tree? Maybe TGYLW wants to entertain reader guesses before saying, but I don’t even have one.
Well, we tried to upload an image, but it didn’t work. It’s an open mouth, with hands cupped on either side, like it’s shouting.
What is that thing in the tree? It looks like a bottle opener. I do not recognize it.
You are fortunate that they guy you live with pursued a career that did not involve horticulture. Otherwise you would not have such a comfortable lifestyle now.
It’s an open mouth with a cupped hand on either side. Very peculiar, huh. But the guy I live with thought it was funny and clever, too. Yes, he would probably still be working, had he had a career in horticulture. On the other hand, just working in a garden, say like the Berkeley Botanic Garden, would have been a dream job.
Well, I do enjoy what I do . . . it is just very difficult to make a living at it, and this is the most ‘unlivable’ place in America. (I do not like that word, but it means that the cost of living exceeds the average income more so than anywhere else.)
That’s probably why there was so much competitive behavior when the books came out. The guy I live with already had a job, and didn’t need another one, or feel like competing.
Meow mewo Mani what a thott full an poignant bloggie post. LadYmew told mee thee poignant werd…shee all so said shee ree-latess to yore guy ’bout goin inn-to a place shee an her husband Kevin used to go to. Shee wuud cry too. Their faverite place was low-cal Library….must bee sumthing ’bout books an musick purrhapss?
What WAS that ‘thing’ on tree trunk? Mee thott it was a butterfly’ LadyMew said mould. Pleese tell us?? Mee bet dubbell treetss, mew mew mew….
An mee wantss to tell you yore furry hansum inn yore nappin spot Mani. You all-wayss look so ree-laxed.
An wee cuud see both Owlss inn yore photoe. It must be kewl to have feathered frendss rite outside close bye (lickss lipsss) ….umm sorry….
Thanks; I try to be relaxed every so often. You would not like being anywhere these feathered friends. I could tell stories. But won’t. Could be, books and music. I might post another picture of that thing.
LadyMew told mee what Raptur birdss can do…mee know Mani…
Wee just admire them from afar rite?
Yes, right, we certainly do. Owls especially can be scary.
Yes, getting carried away has been the happening lately with you, Mani, and I find it an attractive voice. I also like the mole map in the snow. The cupboard of spices? So much like ours. Lots of spicy places on the interwebs are willing to sell. Try Pimeton de Espelette. Lemons in the REFRIGERATOR?!? The guy you live with needs an intervention. As ever, you are so adorable, dear dog.
Thanks. I do tend to get carried away. Not nearly so much as someone else I know. They are Voles, though, making the tunnels. They live in holes in the ground out in the field, where I hunt for them, and make tunnels under the snow toward yards where bird feeders hang, to get seed spilled on the ground. Also to eat the roots of plants. Cut lemons, for the tuna steaks, in the refrigerator, so they don’t dry out. That way you can use what’s left of the lemon and some Kosher salt to clean the cutting board. Wash it afterward.
a little behind on my post reading, so i just got to OUR MODERN LIFE this morning. i thoroughly enjoyed the “photo tour” of the cool things in the bedroom, & was SO happy (& shocked) to see the wall vase (or wall pocket) hanging on your wall. my husband (whose ashes are also in my bedroom) used to bring me lovely gifts when he took ski trips with his FDNY friends. i have two of those wall vases by the same artist!! i’m wondering if they were from a ski trip to colorado or not. would send you photos, but guessing that would need to be another connection. in any event, thanks so much for sharing these special things.
Thanks. And you’re welcome.
We’re not sure where the wall pocket came from, but probably the guy I live with’s wife’s mom bought it.
The guy I live with will send you an email.
I like when you get carried away.
Your lunch and post lunch would be the perfect date. Your friend is lucky to know you.
I love Korean food, especially Kimchi.
My spouse, during the thirty or so years when we were not together (post high school break up) kept a jar of potpourri I had made from my garden, in the back of a cupboard. He was secretly upset one day about twenty years later when his spouse of those years threw it out, not even knowing what it was.
We purebred border collies often get carried away. The guy I live with sometimes tells the story of the time his wife broke a little jar that said ‘21’ on it. It was from the 21 Club in New York City back in the 1940s or 1950s. It happens, I guess.
Previous post has such a beautiful photo of you and Cindy. And the flowers in front of it..and the teddy bear….
I forgot to say that your book High and Dry is one of my favorites and is so helpful, informative, and funny.
Hi Mani from TFOTGYLW!!
Hi. It was pretty chilly today but I got to go on both of my walks, though my paws did ice up a bit. Maybe I should get some snow boots.