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A Moment

This is sort of a big deal for me.    

 I grew up eating roast beef sandwiches.  My favorites were made by my grandmother.   Thick cuts on buttered bread.   Simple and pleasing.   

I’ve been making my own seitan for more than a decade.    Yesterday I made Miyoko’s unsteak.   Baked, then boiled, it didn’t have a lot of flavor until step three–a 24 hour soak in wine, mirin and tamari.  I won’t return to old recipes anytime soon.  

I’m not vegan because it is healthy, but I appeciate those benefits.  I am vegan because my first dog showed me that animals are not here to serve me.  They’re here for the same reason I am–no reason at all–but it is now clear that all of the rights I want for myself should be theirs to enjoy.  

So Frida crawled up on the bed as I wrote and helped herself to half of my seitan.   The bigger half.   She doesn’t really do that.  She is generally polite.   She doesn’t care for veggies.   This seitan must smell good to her too.    

 I’ll finish the rest of my sandwich before she gets any more bright ideas.  

Take care of yourselves and the lives of your neighbors.   Who are your neighbors?   Anyone who needs your help.    

Best Breakfasts of 2016

It is not too soon to proclaim that I’ve produced the best two breakfasts of 2016, vegan category, in Albany county (“BBVCAC2016”).  Sooner the better, actually, as my competition is as thin as it will be just now.  Although we were up until 1:00, my rock solid internal clock had me up at 6.  Also helped that I was the designated driver.  One side car cocktail, which was delicious (thank you again to our wonderful hosts), during our three hour stay was just the ticket.  On to the winners.

Muffin pan omelets from @IsaChandra were a first for me.  Her recipe called for 14 ounces of silken tofu, but my box was 12 so I lightened up on the water and filled 9 rather than 12 wells.  Also, since I had it, I grated fresh tumeric rather than use the dried called for in the recipe.  Really terrific mini omelets!  I’ll be back.   ing

The sautéd vegetables included spinach, mushrooms, roasted garlic, jalapeño and

These two elements were combined in the first BBVCAC2016–a sandwich on ciabatta toasted with @MiyokoSchinner coconut oil butter and breakfast sausage again by @MiyokoSchinner.  This was the best breakfast sandwich I’ve had, including the Sir Nasty I wrote about here.  Good start, but if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why stop at one?fl

Lacey had made cashew cream with mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes from a recipe by @ChloeCoscarelli.  Lacey reserved a cup of the sauce for emergencies.  Since we are unlikely to encounter an emergency more dire than an impromptu second breakfast, I cracked the seal.  Again with the toasted ciabatta, the mini omelets, the sautéd veg and now Lacey’s delicious sauce.  A Florentine thing, and it bested the BBVCAC2016 established moments earlier.

I’ll stop while I’m (well) ahead (of my typical breakfast calorie count).  That said, if you’d like to submit an entry for BBVCAC2016, give me a ring.  I’ll drop by for a sample.  I may need a second to get there as I should walk or pedal.

Last night was the 24th anniversary of my engagement to Lacey.  Frida is with us for a new year.  It is above freezing and I don’t need to shovel.  These are nice.  LnR

Have a swell year, each and every one of you.

Steady State

Work.  It is the season.  I’ve summited the mountain of time sensitive details coincident with a year-end crush at “the office.”  All that remains is waiting for the world to catch up and respond to my requests.  Oh, and see if I can find where I left what remains of my patience.  Let me know if you’ve seen it.  I really should look into getting insurance to cover that.

Food?  Yesterday gave rain most of the day so I stayed inside.  I invited a friend to lunch to share a bowl of vegetable soup of which I am pretty proud.  White beans and kale from my garden, potatoes, orzo, homemade stock and way too many onions.  Daniel Berman had written recently about a similar soup, so thanks to him for the inspiration.  Such a help to get a nudge in a direction in the kitchen.  At the end I added half a cup of white miso.  Whisk the miso in a separate bowl with a ladle full of hot broth to loosen it up before adding it.  Otherwise you’ll work too hard to get it evenly incorporated.  Miso really made the soup–three cheers for umami.  It’s not much to look at, but I like

Something that looks better?  Parivar’s house made carrot and mango pickle fills the bill.  So delicious.  If you haven’t tried their pickles, please enjoy your incomplete life as best as you are able.  They don’t show up on your tray when you order dosas (or anything else).  You have to ask for them.  Then ask for a pint to take home.  Bring a jar.  You won’t be sorry. cmc

Bicycles?  My friend shared with me a short paper by Mr. Charles Meinert entitled Bicycling in the Hudson-Mohawk Region of New York State:  1870-1900.  Today I pedaled a seven mile loop which passed through Washington Park, so I stopped at 42 Willet Street, which on August 24, 1880 was the home of Robert Shaw Oliver.  It was at that address that Mr. Oliver met with twelve men to form the Albany Bicycle Club (the first bicycle club in the area).  Mr. Oliver was President of the club because he had brought from England to Albany the first bicycle to be ridden on the streets of our town.  Can you imagine?  I’ll wait for a second while you do.

Reading a bit more I learn that Melvil Dewey, the same fellow who invented the Dewey decimal system, was a resident of Albany and an avid pedaler.  While residing at 315 Madison Avenue, Mr. Dewey wrote a paper extolling the virtues of asphalt road surfacing, which he shared with neighbors to create support for his plan to have the street in front of his home paved.  His efforts paid off and the asphalt street in front of his home became the favorite place for cyclists in the city.  Next time you think bicycles don’t belong on the road, instead change lanes to pass and thank Mr. Dewey for getting the roads paved.

There is so much more.  If you want to read this paper or any of the dozen others authored by Mr. Meinert, I can share with you his email address and you can be in touch to get copies.  [Update:  I wrote to the email and it bounced.  :  (  Google isn’t turning him up.  Someone please check Facebook.  Charles W. Meinert.  Possibly in Delmar, NY].  Frida Asleep 12.18.15

Frida?  She is still at it.  More than half of her meals are taken in bed, but she may simply prefer the luxury of eating whilst lying atop a mattress.  She’s also slowing even more on her daily walks (this is fast), but she is still insisting on them, early, and picking at every intersection the direction which results in a longer walk.  Bless her.  I’ll need that patience once the snow shows up.  Closer to two hours per walk than one.  The warm weather has saved me thus far.

Cookies?  I rarely buy them but yesterday I did from the Honest Weight Food Coop.  Their Zen vegan cookie.  Something like grains, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips.  Some sweetener and some oil surely.  Perfect, really.  If you get an attack of the lazies, go buy one or a tray to bring to the office party.  Take off the lid (emblazoned with the dirtiest word vegan) and even middle aged men who’ve failed to overcome food phobias will be coming back for seconds.  Note to people who won’t try new food–you look older than four, so stop eating like a four year old.  Try new things already!     

Music?  On Wednesday Lacey and I enjoyed two of artists formerly known as Squeeze at the Troy City Music Hall.  Lacey is the life long fan and I am a recent inductee.  Quite a show.  Lacey knows her stuff.

You know it–it is time for drops for Frida’s eyes.  Enjoy your weekend.  Pass safely.

Pretending Would Help

I love this.  Bonus points if you watch the whole video.

To the River

aadec15It is fifty-seven, so I pedaled my ANT Alfine down the hill to the Hudson.  The river was beautiful in the sunshine.  I had planned to ride the trail for a distance, but it was so bumpy I opted to ride on the streets.

After exiting the trail I was soon on Broadway about a block from Wolff’s Biergarten.  Matt Baumgartner had tweeted he was hosting an informational meeting for Uber drivers and that the place was packed.  One cab was trolling around.  A SPY?   No.   They probably wanted to sign up.  I didn’t stop in–no lock and beer before evening generally isn’t my way.  I’ll bet all the drivers are really excited, but it is tough to make a living as an Uber driver.  After netting out gas, maintenance, insurance and fees to Uber, drivers aren’t left with much.  Is this enough to keep conscientious customers away?  I haven’t heard of anyone living in an Uber town and boycotting the service in solidarity with the drivers.  Have users thought much about it?  I’ve read a fair amount, none of it good, but will still probably use the service when it comes.  Our cabs are that bad and Uber drivers can quit if it doesn’t work for them.

My friend sent an article covering the application of the decentralized blockchain model used by alt currencies to transportation and room sharing industries.  Removing Uber corporate from the Uber model, or AirBnB, leaves more money for the drivers and hosts.  Interesting times.

I love pedaling up the hill on Clinton Avenue.  I stopped after a block to remove my hat and gloves.   The hill is just steep enough to feel like work and it goes on and on.  I then had to unzip my jacket and unsnap my shirt.  Just a t shirt between me and the breeze on a mid December day.  What a terrific ride.

Lacey surprised me with Roberto Martin’s New Vegan Cooking book.  It looks very promising, focusing on whole foods and few ingredients.  Lots of things I want to try right away, but so far I’ve only made Roberto’s Tofu-Rizo.  Incredibly easy and delicious.  I added a Tbs of smoked paprika to his spice list, though, and I would do so again.  I was surprised the recipe didn’t call for the tofu-rizo to be cooked.  I sautéed mine for about ten minutes because of the use of dried peppers.  Most of my dried peppers come in ziplock bags without labels from our Mexican grocery.  Most appear clean but some have visible dirt.  And we know that appearances can be deceiving.  The New Mexico chilis I bought from Amazon came in a bag that instructed cooking the peppers to 165 degrees, presumably to kill any bacteria remaining on the peppers.  I suppose you could try to clean dried peppers before use but some are so heavily textured that it wouldn’t be easy and probably not effective.  Better to cook your Roberto’s soy-rizo to be safe.

Frida needs drops.  You need to get outside!  Take care.

How to Enjoy Three Mile Bicycle Rides

If you stood in your driveway and swung a three mile lasso, what might your rope ensnare?   Grocery stores?  Restaurants?  Theaters?  Library?  Busses, trains or planes?  Car share vehicles?  Mine grabs enough places to take our entertainment dollars.  I prefer to arrive by bicycle, saving street parking for those that require, prefer or are amused by the novelty of three thousand pound personal mobility devices.  Why have cars become so ridiculously big, heavy, powerful and complicated?  Check out my friend’s newest ride, a 1935 Austin 7 Ruby.Austin

Ten horsepower and each is more polite than the former.  While pedaling, I’d be honored to share most any width lane with one of these fine automobiles.

Old cars are great, but bicycles are greater still!  I’ve loved pedaling since childhood and I still get excited to throw a leg over.   These days my favorite and nearly exclusive ride is short and with a point.  Lunch.  Groceries.  Garden.  Any excuse will do.  Today it was CVS in the morning and the library in the afternoon.  Two very pleasant rides.

Have you tried short trips in your town?  Same as you did when you were a kid.  Not much has changed.  It doesn’t need to be complicated, but you’d do well to consider the following.

All of this.  

Take a class with a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor.  I don’t care if you’ve been biking your whole life.  Take the class and you will learn.  How’d you learn to drive a car?  Never mind that I learned from relatives and friends (oh, Nebraska!), the better way is with lessons from a licensed instructor.  The same holds true for bicycling.  Even though states don’t require lessons or licenses to pedal, the reasons behind licensing motor vehicle operators hold true for people atop bicycles.  We all need to share, behave predictably and lawfully and know what to do if things get weird.  I’ve enjoyed lessons from Claire.  You will too!

All bicycle users are issued a cloak of invisibility, but these cloaks can be confounding.  I haven’t fully sorted out the operation of mine, but it feels as if other road users control it.  Its strange until you get used to it.  Take responsibility for your own safety.  Lights and reflective clothing may help, but never assume they see you.  Assume they don’t!  Assiduity!

It’s getting cold.  I used to stop pedaling when the temperature dropped below 20.  Then it was 30.  Last year?  Maybe 40.  Dropping (some of) the ego is a great part of aging.  Even so, I hope to pedal outside more this winter.  I’ll walk if there is snow on the streets, but if the roads are dry, I hope to pedal.  No special clothing or shoes are required.  Dress for a brisk walk then pedal with the same vigor you’d apply during a brisk walk.  If you get hot, slow down.  Wear less next time.

Pump up your tires using a good pump.  A good steel pump will be your friend for life.  I still have my first (and three others).

Helmet?  The ones made for bicycling are flimsy, but flimsy is better than zero when the going gets tough and you land just so.  In addition to some impact absorption, a helmet is a great place from which to hang a mirror.  Have you pedaled with a mirror?  Best twelve dollars I ever spent, but the six pack of Jack’s Abby Lashes red IPL I just grabbed is a very close second.

It needn’t be more complicated than this, so I’ll stop.  Have fun!

The Sound of No Turkeys Gobbling

Yesterday I pedaled the same loop I’ve been pedaling for days in a row, this time aboard the ANT Balvenie truss bicycle.  A very fine bicycle.  Every single motorist was as safe as can be.  It was fun.  Thank you Albany.  ATB

Before the ride I spoke with a neighbor with whom I am familiar through the dog walking scene.  For him, yesterday (now two days prior) was extraordinary.  A tanker truck carrying 1,700 gallons of home heating oil landed on his front lawn.  His wife was home and upon hearing the noise gathered three dogs and fled to a neighbor’s house half a block away.  The fuel didn’t ignite.

A neighbor who witnessed the event said the tanker was traveling north on Rosemont and didn’t touch the brakes as it continued through the stop sign and into another vehicle.  The collision flipped the tanker and it skidded into the lawn.  Stopped six feet from the house.  None of the heating oil spilled, but some of the tanker’s diesel ended up on the lawn.  Both drivers were sent to the hospital.  The homeowner’s insurance company will send an inspector to check for structural damage to the home.  It was a heavy truck with a heavy payload.  The accident was like a small earthquake.  Less than 24 hours had passed and he was calm and understanding.

Frida and I headed home.  On Western, as Frida sniffed something for a very long time, I watched the speed indicator in front of the school zone.  The limit is 30 but drops to 20 when school is in session.  School was in session until 11:15 am so the limit was 20.  No car travelled through at less than 30.  One car registered 40, earning aN APD cruiser in hot pursuit.  With the cruiser on its tail, lights flashing and sirens blaring, the speeder didn’t slow for about five blocks.  Seemed like a longer chase might happen, but finally the car pulled over.  It wasn’t a good place for a high speed chase.  Where is?  Speed cameras popped into my head.  Officers wouldn’t have to race through school zones chasing speeders and all speeders could be ticketed.  I know traffic control drones are far from universally loved, but it still surprises me.

Some folks believe they can safely run red lights and exceed the speed limit.  Experience supports their view until it doesn’t.  You remember that my sister died in her truck?  About a block from her house in the dessert outside of Lancaster, California.  If you need an incentive to slow, stop fully and look carefully when on the road, come to my place.  I will pour you a scotch or an oolong and tell you about my sister.  I can shorten a new pair of pants for you on her sewing machine while we chat.  She learned reiki so she could help dogs feel better.  She loved all dogs, but long haired dachshunds were her jam.  She had a small heard of them when she died.  She cut dog nails at the shelter because no one else liked doing it.  All in all one of the sweetest people I have known.


I am going to stop abruptly.  This post got away from me, but now that I have it typed it is going up.  My apologies.

Take care.