Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Great Cook Gets Even Better!

Poppina knows her way around the kitchen better than most. She's no slouch when it comes to sophisticated recipes and exquisite tasting chow. Those of us fortunate to eat at her table on a regular basis always marvel at her skill and artistry.

Like an artist in any medium, Pina keeps working on her game. So when she heard about this new cookbook from the New York Times, she figured it was a must-have addition to her culinary library. On to the Christmas list it went, and Santa got the word and came through on 12/25.

Actually, it was Sky, Charlie and Hugo who came though for chef La Nancita. And by means of this photo, and posting on the blog, she (and her hungry family) say: merci!

Friday, December 24, 2010

CA Heritage Museum, Santa Monica.

Museum volunteers Barbara and Ethyl took Jason, Poppina and me on a fab tour of the impressive little history museum on Main Street in Santa Monica.

It may have been pouring rain outside on 12/23 when we leaned about art, architecture, furniture of the post-victorian period in CA, but inside the Heritage Museum smiles were ear-to-ear, as the lore and history came alive at the telling by our former school teachers turned docents.

This is a must-see place in Southern California. Ad it to your destination list. And be sure to ask the ladies about their personal histories -- as fascinating and relevant as most anything you'll learn about the house itself!

Curbside Art Takes Hassle out of Parking.

736 Raymond Street is an average kind of house and lot for this part of Santa Monica. Nice place to live, not too big, not too small. It's a quiet street, in a respectful and responsive neighborhood. And art is everywhere in bloom on Raymond, including the street kerb.

The combo of stenciled house numbers, palm trees in vibrant green, and a sun that shines all day long -- what car wouldn't be at home here?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Somebody's Wearing a SunBody Sombrero!

Ben's Saddlery in Wickenburg features cowboy hats of many descriptions, but one of the most unusual is the SunBody brand, made by busy craftsmen down in El Paso, TX.

The straw is more thickly woven than lots of other sombreros this cowpoke has tried, and the SunBody weighs a lot more than other hats of the same size.

The price is good, to: maybe $26? Not bad. Full disclosure here: I've been trying to persuade Jimmy Pryor from SunBody to run an ad or two in Wild West magazine.

So far? A proposal at his request. Maybe if I buy one of his hats he'll buy one of my ads?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Holy Snow Day!

12" of the white stuff. Driveway clear and the walkway is next. Doesn't look as bad as the last snowfall we had a few weeks back. And, as for this one, the communities to the east of Minneapolis, and into Wisconsin, really got clobbered.

IKEA Comes to Vietnam.

Intrepid Cyclo-travelers Carolyn and James Terman from Boulder just returned from Southeast Asia. James snapped the pic above of a massive new armoire being delivered by bike from the atelier of its craftsman-maker to the living room of its new owner. Asks Terman rhetorically, "How can this guy see where he's going, let alone steer the bike? And what about the brakes? And balancing?"

Monday, December 6, 2010

These Boots were Made for Looking!

Check these babies. Now, here's a pair of boots!

On display, and under glass at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, a pair of limited edition commemorative Luchese's that you can have for, oh, maybe, $5000?

The idea is to order a pair -- "End of the Trail" iconic sculpture has been recreated in hand-stictched leather on the boot front -- and a portion of the proceeds will go back to the museum in a highly original development idea.

Poppina and I paid a visit to the Museum on our "Western Heritage Road Trip" over the weekend. Loved what we saw, and will definitely go back for more. I don't think the boots will make it into our closet, though we plan to ask Santa to see if his elves can come through for us with something a little more modest!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cambodian Bike Repair Shop.

The Termans just got back to Boulder from a bike trip through S.E. Asia. This once-in-a-lifetime pedalthon took James and Carolyn through Viet Nam and Cambodia, big cities and small towns.

James T. said the people could not have been nicer, warmer, and more inviting and accepting. The locals were curious why gringos would come all the way from the USA and ride bikes along Asian highways and byways.

There was a flat tire episode with Carolyn's machine, and some local tech entrepreneur took care of it, on the spot. The price was fair and the work came with a 100% money-back guarantee.

How cool is that?! More pictures from James in the near future, no doubt.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Join Lydon + Friends on December 14th!

Yale '65 classmate Michael Lydon is an indefatigable and original troubadour. He's been singing and strumming his way into the hearts of New Yorkers for years, and he's better than ever!

Just got an e-invite to join "Michael and Friends" on December 14th at Cornelia Street Cafe in NYC. Ellen Mandel, Michael's wife, muse and performing partner, anchors this must-see ensemble for a performance that's sure to please.

I hope it's a great nite for you and friends, dear Michael. Break a leg!

Here's to Your Good Health!!

Do without the Dom.

Forget the Freixnet.

Can the Cold Duck.

We're here to tell you that Thanksgiving dinner goes down mighty easy with sparkling pear juice from Knudson.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marble Collegiate Honors War Dead.

The iconic Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan was the local parish of the legendary Rev. Norman Vincent Peale. From the pulpit of MCC the late Dr. Peale influenced generations of the faithful as he preached peace, love, restraint, respect, turning the other cheek, and so many other qualities so many of us admire.

The church today ventures a little more into anti-war activism. As this picture shows there are innumerable silk steamers hanging from the wrought iron fence surrounding the church. Each green banner, for instance, might honor a dead US soldier from the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. A banner of another color pays tribute to indigenous dead from this horrific conflict.

I've read Dr. Peale's books. I can't remember him being against war and its impact on combatants and victims, but I think he'd be pleased that his parish church was taking a stand and paying tribute to every side in this dreadful affair.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Might I have missed someone's b'day?

Just saw the yummy chocolate mousse cake from Woulette's in Wayzata. Terrell ordered it up for Mom's b'day last month. I'm thinking I may have forgotten to post this soiree on the blog?!

Liz and Lisa flank Sammy and toast her -- with plenty of cake all around -- on this special occasion.

Many happy (belated!) returns.

Turkey Time in Long Lake

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Hope you had a grand holiday.

Check out our celebration. 14-lb. organic bird from the local co-op in Long Lake . Yum. Sam (Poppina) (Nancy) cooked it up just-so.

Neighbors Mary and John Pagnucco joined us for the pilgrim-like feed, which included a Bardstown, KY-recipe for baked oyster souffle, mashed taters from Costco, corn bread stuffing (home made), and a Nancy-special salad of fresh greens and succulent raspberries.

John Pags -- a skilled carver with professional training at the Cornell Hotel School -- offered to slice up the bird, leaving Poppy to snap the shot of the day!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Three Up on A Hog.

For just a moment you might think that Charlie sold the Saab and made this sweet Harley here the family vehicle. Nah. Though the motor's captain, plus two passengers, seem to fit just fine.

It's good that Junior has a helmet on, though the other two could use some noggin protection themselves, just in case ....

Keep the shiny side up!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Driving Miss Sky, Gator Version.

The Wustmans squired me from their lovely home up to "Farmer's Daughter" nursery and landscaping in Kingstown, RI. While we were hanging out a certain young man spied the Gator, and we all took turns getting in behind the wheel, tuning it like mad, saying zoom-soom in a subdued voice and imagining ourselves to be lairds of the land. Poppy gets the royal treatment from his lovely daughter, and obviously enjoys the ride!

Monday, November 8, 2010

On our way to a b'day dinner in Brooklyn.

Chris, Jess, Nancy and I feasted on the best dinner in all New York not too many Thursday nights ago. Our destination was Saul restaurant in Carroll Gardens, and boy, did we have a good time.

Great appetizers, entrees, superb service, and lively chatter. Highly recommend the place and hope WE get the chance to go back soon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Business End of Sven the Shire,

Talk about horse shoes! How would you like to have "Sven" place these babies on your foot! Ouch.

Lisa knows her way around horse shoes, but was on the receiving end of a Sven clomp not too long ago. Coulda' been curtains for Lisa, but a broken toe and mild infection were the only consequences of getting stepped on by this big Shire.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Real Road Kill.

Some poor deer was smacked pretty good by a speeding car on North Tamarack Drive, not more than a mile from home. Check out the carcass -- picked clean by, what? Crow? Hawk? Buzzard? Maybe even a fox or badger or wolverine? Yipes! Makes me feel pretty fortunate that I've still got my skin on, and love handles intact!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Poppy Poses with Pair of Hookers.

An artist who creates a hooked rug is, well, an artist, yes, but also a hooker. A rug hooker, but in the vernacular -- a hooker who gets together with fellow hookers to hook, and sometimes attends hook-ins.

Ol' Poppy poses above at the Fall Hook-in today (10/2) in Stillwater, MN. Hundreds of hookers were there to display their creations, exchange hooking tips, and buy wool. Lots and lots of wool for rugs to be hooked this Minnesota winter.

I grabbed two hookers for a foto op -- Pam Broat on my right, and Nancy "Sam" Hoyt, on my left. Talk about a lucky guy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deedee Hosts Sam at Elawa Farm.

Back four or five generations Mr. + Mrs. A. W. Armour built a fabulous weekend retreat about 30 miles north of Chicago's Loop. The family escaped to their Elawa Farm and its exquisite gardens -- to plant, tend, reap the best of northeastern Illinois indigenous plants and flowers.

Over time the farm was neglected and began to show its age. The family stopped going, and the garden beds became clogged with weeds.

Enter environmental activist and world-class gardener, Deedee Borland of Lake Forest. She's led a revival effort for Elawa, attracted fellow gardeners, educators and citizens concerned, and put this place back into the shape it was 90 years ago.

Nancy and I were guests of Deedee and hubby Bruce two weeks ago. The visit included a personal tour of Elawa. Lucky us. Go check the place out for yourself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Chow, Great Times, Great ....!!

Pina and I hang at Kurtz's restaurant in Bardstown, KY during Bourbon Festival last weekend. Great friends are, from left: Rich Evans, Nancy Samuels, Bill Samuels, Mark and Alora McAlister, Lee Evans, Nancy Samuels Hoyt (seeing any kind of a family thing going on here?), and yours truly. It sure was fun being back in the land of My Old Kentucky Home, and not too far from Loretto, KY, where Bill S. oversees the production of Maker's Mark, the very finest bourbon ever to please the world's palette.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dunn Bros. Cafe Coffee Wall Art.

Let's say you're having an iced skinny latte down at Dunn Bros. on Loring Park. You stop at the sugar station, grab a straw, add some sweetener, and take your drink around the corner to check out the decorative wall art. This is not Toulouse but it's pretty damned good, and it's local and contemporary. I'll leave it to you to figure out who's-who, and who's drinking what.
Skol, and cheers, and salut, and salud, and saude, and .... well, you get the picture.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Russ Atha and the "Russettes."

Meet high mileage road guy Russ Atha of Steamboat Springs, CO. Russ poses with his hand-built, titanium frame, Erickson, ordered up just a couple of blocks away from Russ's store. Russ likes being bookended by his wife Shine, and Sam/Pina/Nancy, my wife. Call them the "Russettes" if you'd like. They'd enjoy that a bunch.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Butler Table Wedding Gift.

Nancy and I pose with the antique Butler's Table that we gave to Luc and Lindsay for their wedding on 8/28 in Alta, WY at the resort in Grand Targhee National Forest.

The soiree we've written about, but the table? A family heirloom from Star Hill Farm in Bardstown, KY.

The newlyweds were thrilled with the table -- but no more so than Poppina, who was excited to give her dear young friend Lindsay a special gift with special meaning on this special day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sure hope the Locusts aren't next!

On one of my walks straight up Elk Lane in Steamboat Pines, I kept seeing grasshoppers. By the hundreds. It is that time of year out in rural northwestern Colorado, and there's abundant grass and hay for these babies to hop on, but I was still awed by the size and quantity of the insects. Plus, I couldn't help thinking of the Plague of the Locusts, and wondered if they might be next here in this gorgeous Yampa River Valley?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Joe got Chesty's Eye Brows.

Old Blogger Poppy keeps getting requests to show off members of his immediate family. "Who's Cub?" they ask. "And Uncle Joe Ho?" Coggie, Mark, Ali, 'Da Boyz, etc., etc? Well, you asked for it. Here's my bro, Joe, wispy hair, fuzzy chin, weird eye brows and the whole deal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pina and Progeny.

Poppina just whipped up some blueberry pancakes and plopped them on the plate of her hungry and appreciative sonWill, who came for a visit with daughter Isabela from San Francisco.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fan-tastic New Friends from California.

Marin County denizen Nicolle Weiss was our dinner partner at Lisa Ringer's Harvest Dinner two weeks ago in Long Lake. Behind the fans (the temp inside Lisa's house was 90-plus, and no A/C) are the Weiss boys Julian and Gabe. The guys sat across from Nancy and me at the harvest table. Thus the name, Harvest Dinner.

Food? Scrumptious, simple, organic, all grown in Lisa's garden, with exception of a bit of duck and lamb, which came from another sustainable farm, just down the road.

Cook and wait staff volunteered their services so proceeds from this remarkable repast could be donated to Lisa's pet non-profit, the Yell! Project.

Eat your heart out, Razor Scooter!

Little Miss Wick cruises the Long Lake kitch this AM on the coolest kiddie scooter you've ever seen! Watch out, Razor!

Pina, 'Bela, Will and I went toy shopping in the Wayzata mini-mall yesterday. The scoot was the major purchase, though we came home with a kazoo (which we've all been tooting) and some emergency vehicle stickers which are on their way to Oliver and Duncan.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hoyt Pool Horse Play.

Will and Isabela horse around in the pool today in Long Lake in spite of warnings from Pina to take 'er easy!

Dr. Chesty Hoyt, way back in the '50's in Chillicothe, used to enjoin his kiddies (me and bros + sis) to cool it in our pool, too. Lot of good that warning did!

Isabela is fearless. So much fun to watch. Her dad thinks she'll be swimming before they head back home!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ice Cream Break for Camp Compo Campers.

My very special grandson Ollie waits his turn for an ice cream bar at Camp Compo last week. Just the kind of cool-off treat a young guy would enjoy on a steamy summer day! Thanks to Mom for the foto from the town website in Westport, CT.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Avacad-Joe. Good for You.

Garden dispatch from our Miami Vegan, Joe Hoyt: "So I came across an interesting variety of Avocado the other day. Years ago when I lived in Coconut Grove a friend had a tree in his yard with this variety of avocado called Russell. When they ripened they turned purple. These, however, ripened green. Think the genus is Russell. They are delicious, very low in fat but still have an amazing nutty flavor. A squeeze of lime and a bit of hot chili powder! Gotta love the shape, no? Like none other...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Uncle Chris cozies Niece Lu.

Had to post this very endearing shot taken by my brother-in-law a few months ago.

It's of my nephew Christian Gaggia and his niece (I'm thinking that make her my great-niece?) Lucia Crary "Sweet Lu" parent, all of the great state of Washington.

Pretty cool family portrait, huh?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Choate School, Wallingford, Ct., '58.

Choate boys, ca. 1958, in front of Hill House. This group of 14-year olds were in their freshman year at School -- Third Form -- and likely away from home for the first time. Scared to death, lonely, awkward, etc., the guys were on a great adventure, academically, socially and culturally, though they had no idea of its life impact at the time. I had the privilege of joining these gents the next year -- 4th. Form, fall of 1959. I remember so many of these faces. Choate Class of 1961 prepares for its 50th high school reunion next May, and we are having SUCH A GREAT TIME doing our reconnection thing. Lucky us, really and truly.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Karen + Dick Hull do Hilton Head.

Dick Hull, C '61, and his wife Karen pose last winter at Hilton Head's Harbor Town Light House. Hulls had traveled from their home in Brunswick, ME for an extended family vaca in the southland, which included a soiree with fellow Choaties Terry Hannock and Ras Smith.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Head 'er up, and haul in the sheet.

Dame Margot Butler is a helluva tennis player, runner, cook, singer, photographer, equestrienne, mother, grandmother, and all-round friend. She knows a thing or two about sailing a boat, too, as you can see in this foto which just arrived from Martha's Vineyard.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pirate Day at the Wad Club.

Pretty scary pirates roamed the seven seas, not to mention Wad Club Harbour! I'm keeping my distance from this little guy -- even though his smile, 'stache and bandana are adorable, and very compelling.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ellie Comes with Carrot Cake!

Our neighbor and dear pal Ellie Crosby showed up at Pina's Pool with Carrot Cake in hand, and "4" and "0" candles in honor of Paige's birthday. Carrot cake was yummy, Mary, Liz, Paige and Roo were surprised, and old Poppy here was glad to have one of his most loyal blog habitues (Ellie) here as our guest. Let the good times roll!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Full Speed Ahead at Wayzata Depot.

Terry is long-time volunteer chief at Wayzata Depot, not far from gorgeous Lake Minnetonka. Terry's model RR steaming along 45mm tracks here runs on weekends and holidays, and today was the second time I saw it in action. What a hoot! Supported by donations from choo-choo fans of all ages, dedicated volunteers, and Lake Minnetonka Garden Club, you must check it out. It's a trip -- puffs of smoke come out the stack on the bigger of the two engines. Wow!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

First Cukes of the Season.

Hot, rainy, great composted soil = quick cuke growing season in Long Lake. We've eaten this, and others, already, plus the tomatoes. Lots more to come and pics from Pina's Planter to follow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Flippo's Madone: watch out, Lance!

The serious, young bike dudes I know sooner or later get a custom-made ride. Brother-in-law Phil Darrell shows off his Madone here, after taking delivery only last week.

"It's a 17-lb rocket ship," Seth, reports Phil after a ride or two. "This thing goes like the wind. You must get one made for you!"

I don't think so. I don't do rocket ships much any more. And, besides, my Surly Long Haul Trucker is a pretty dreamy ride and just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, July 9, 2010

We and Weirs in Wayzata Wed.

Liz and Ken Weir joined La Nancita and me for ice cream at Ben + Jerry's, before we headed to the banks of Lake Minnetonka with the adorable Weir grandchildren, visiting from CA. Time for a walk, and look at some fish, and reconnection with Minnesota and, of course, a foto for the blog. The Weirs love their grandkids, and the kids sure do know how to reciprocate. Pina and I are honored to be along for the ride!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Velo Trash Collection.

The panniers on my L.H.T. are jammed packed with trash and litter. I picked up a ton of stuff along Cty. Road 24 in Medina on July 5th.

What treasures fill the bags? Spent fireworks displays from the night of the 4th. Plenty of empty beer cans, and Mickey D soda cups. Ten -- count 'em, 10 empty packs of Marlboro cigs. And endless empties of Mountain Dew.

I dumped the bags in a trash can outside Starbucks in Plymouth Station, then pedaled back home on the other side of the road and repeated my pick-up. Good deed or obsession? Hummmm.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ahoy, Frida!

Here is the good ship "Frida" (as in Kahlo) on her launch day from Dickey's Beach at Pinecrest Lake, California on July 4, 2010.

She sails beautifully. Manufactured at: "Sherman Boatworks", Mendocino, CA.

William Sherman-Chief Naval Architect, Marine Engineer and Shipwright.

Gross weight 85 pounds. Mast height is 13', hull is 8', beam is 4'.

Frida(keel) was laid in January 2010 and she was launched in July 2010.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What about sep of Church + State?

I was on the Long Haul Trucker today in Plymouth, and stopped to record these happy birthday wishes. I find it a little weird, though, seeing God's name as a sign-off on the holiday sentiments. And in colored chalk on this driveway, no less. I'm sure the patriot who drew the sign meant well, but I think she/he should have signed his own name. What do you think?

Sunday, July 4, 2010


This is gross, but check it out. Joe got into a fight with an Everglades carnivorous toad last night, and ended up with a gash over his right eye that makes us landlubbers shudder.

To hear the patient tell it, "There was a helluva racket out in the garden last night. Probably about 2:30 AM. Nancy shook me awake, handed me the machete, and sent me into the dark."

"I smelled reptile sweat, dove for the creature, machete blade above my head, glistening in the Miami moonlight," describes brother Joe, a tall tale teller if there ever was one, "and swung like a terrified mad man. I missed the toad, of course, but I went face-first into a piece of coral we use in the back ward to tether the snowy egret. My face paid the price."

Off to the ER, almost 825 stitches later, and the medical plan covered everything. The toad is at large, of course, Nancy went back to bed after applying a cold compress to our brave hero, and Uncle Joe, glad to report, lives to fight another day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Minnesota's Next Governor!

Nancy and I met the next governor of Minnesota last night, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. We were at a fund-raiser and a "get-to-know," and, boy, were we impressed with Ms. Kelliher.

I plan to report frequently on the blog about Margaret's background, accomplishments, integrity, values and plans for the Great State of MN. Let's say for now that she's developed a solid, smart and do-able plan to reverse the decline in the quality and accessibility of education in MN, shore up our crumbling infrastructure too long ignored, and create more than 100,000 new jobs in a sensible and sustainable way.

There's volunteer work to be done before the August 10th Primary, and Pina and I plan to do work to "Make History with Margaret!"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cap'n Ed, Scallop Fisherman.

My new mariner friend in the foto to the left is skipper of a scallop dragger named "Furious" out of Stonington, CT. Hugo and I hung out with Cap'n Ed at the Town Dock a few weeks back. Very enlightening experience.

The funky item in Ed's right hand -- looks like the sole of a huarache sandal -- is a rubber "skid" that fits on the chain blanket pulled behind the boat.

As the "Furious" makes her way up and down the Eastern Seaboard, as far south as New Jersey, and almost to the Canadian border, the chain blanket kicks up scallops from the seabed, which get scooped up in nets.

The rubber skid protects the chain from its inevitable damage, and every now and then the Cap'n and his crew repair and replace the rubber bumpers.

Hugo and I happened on the "Furious" at just the right time. What an education for us! Good luck, "Furious," and your sister ship, "Regulus."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jolly Jimmy Butler.

One of my best East Coast pals lives in Greenwich, CT. Jim Butler, pictured to the left, and his dear wife Margot keep the lights on for me when I'm on my road trips from Minnesota.

Butler's pad is central to my girls and their families. And I can hop on a Metro North commuter train and, for the price of a senior citizen, off-peak ticket, be in Grand Central Station in less than an hour.

When I play my cards right, and cajole and coach Jimmy just right, I can get him to break into a BIG smile as I snap a digi foto of these two old pals together.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sky's Art at Cate Charles Gallery.

How proud old Poppy is of Sky and her paintings!

Together Sky and I took some of her recent pieces to the Cate Charles Gallery in Stonington last week. Gallery owner Kim Charles gave Sky both windows to show off some of her recent her work -- how very cool I think that is!

All you art fans had better get down there, fast, before this exquisite work finds its way to the wall of another collector!