Growing Older

Bonnie, November 2013<
On November 17, 2013, a storm hit the Detroit area and has since been billed by Detroit Edison as the biggest in ten years. It started as a thunder-storm with heavy rain. I could hear the wind blowing and I learned later that it reached gusts of over 70 miles per hour. About and hour into the storm, my house lost power. I have electric baseboard heat so I also lost heat. At the time, it was about 40 degrees F. Losing power is not commonplace here, so I got my battery operated lantern and sat down to wait. I reported the outage To Detroit Edison. It was dark and looking out the window, I could see that my neighbors had no power. I had just finished dinner so at least I wasn’t hungry.

I got out a book to read and read by torchlight until I was tired. I went to sleep early and woke up cold. I fed my dog and I had a cold breakfast. I checked the mobile outage map on my iPhone and saw that we were supposed to get power right before midnight that same night. I decided I could tough it out. The house got colder and colder. Bonnie, my dog, and I went to the car to warm up. I started charging my electronic stuff.

By mid afternoon. The car wasn’t cutting it. Bonnie was shivering in the house. Bonnie will be fourteen next month and I have seen signs of her age. I can see that the hair on her muzzle is turning white. When I come home she recognizes me first by voice. At night when she goes out, she sometimes has trouble seeing and navigating the stairs. She doesn’t get up on the bed as easily. Unlike people though she is not plucking her grey hairs or complaining about pain in her joints. the sight of her shivering was a reminder that she is more fragile than she used to be. We went riding in the car. We both got warm. I finally stopped in a coffee shop which turned out to be and ad hoc warming center. While drinking the coffee, I checked the outage map. More were out of service and I was now scheduled for return of power in two days. I began to call kennels and got Bonnie a warm place for the duration. When I went home to pick up her food, it was colder and the temp was supposed to fall below freezing that night.

I delivered Bonnie to a kennel and stopped by a motel and booked myself a room. I was lucky. While I was there, another motel called to see if they had any rooms left. I got a cheaper room. It was clean and warm.
I went home to pack and go to the motel. I had offers from a couple of acquaintances to stay at their home. I did not know them well enough to stay at their homes.

I had to eat out. One was the “American BLT”. I thought it would be a normal BLT. Imagine my horror when I found a slice of the processed cheese product some call American cheese melted on the sandwich. I was able to scrape it off so I could eat it.

I stayed only one night. My power was restored early. Bonnie was two nights in the kennel. With my kind of heat it takes about 6 hours to warm.

The next couple of days, I had to go through my food. I had to throw out a lot. I had put some in the freezer which didn’t work. I had packed some in ice and it didn’t work.

Finally, by Saturday I was through the clean up and by yesterday I was back to normal.

ROOMS at Cliff Bells

Cliff Bells ROOMS

Last night, I had planned to go to Motor City Wine to see the Mike Jellick Trio. in fact, that is where I started. When I got there, it was not the Mike Jellick Trio playing. The place was very crowded with a birthday party. It was one of those scenes where getting from point a to point b only ten feet away takes five minutes and bumping at least five people. the noise level was so high, the music could not be heard. I took about two minutes to decide that I had to find another place.

I set off for Cliff Bells which was only about seven minutes away by car. The group from Chicago was called “R O O M S Trio”. They are Dan Pierson on keyboards, Charlie Kirchen on bass and Matt Carroll on drums.ROOMS

They played mostly their own compositions as far as I could tell. They did mention a CD they have. None of the songs were introduced which means that I have no reference point if I want to listen to some of the music on the website. The music was highly entertaining intellectually and I did enjoy the set. They played as a very cohesive group and the solos were played well. At first , I didn’t feel anything emotionally and thought that it was only going to be a mind rush. But, as I relaxed into the music, the barrier to an emotional connection began to fall. It never relaxed completely but I could see the possibility for the future.

Tumbao Bravo at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe…11/7/13

DDJC Tumbao Bravo

This was a long time coming. I decided to use a “real” camera and getting the pic from there to here the first time was a “learning experience”. And there were also some other major distractions.

The first time I saw Tumbao Bravo was at the Michigan Jazz Fest in about 2005. That is a great place to sample things and they got jumbled with the many other groups I heard that day. I do remember that when I hear the words Latin jazz, they were not what I expected. The Dirty Dog jazz experience is set up so that what you get is one set with something to eat. For me, it is hard to combine the two.

For this evening, the group was Alberto Nacif on congas, Paul Vornhagen on sax, flute and piccolo, Javier Barrios as a multi percussionist, Brian Debasio in piano, John Barron on the upright bass and Paul Finkbeiner on trumpet. Bob Mojica also stepped in on a couple of trumpet numbers.

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Left to right: Javier Barrios, Alberto Nacif, John Barron, Paul Finkbeiner and Paul Vorhagen

Overall the music had a definite Afro- Cuban beat. As I said, it is hard to eat and thoroughly listen to the music. So, a lot of this is impression rather than intent listening. I am missing the intense listening and have some planned for this evening. The impression I had was, for the most part, a happy , energetic music that just made me feel good. I felt good to the point where although an additional venue beckoned, I decided not to go. My favorite numbers of the evening were “El Chico” and”Los Moros”. They made me sit up and really listen. I liked the complex rhythms and melodious songs where the melody twists like a vine through the beats of the rhythm leading my mind to a quieter place.

The Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, 11/7/13….The Meal

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When I first noticed the three course for thirty dollars, I had wanted to try it. When I checked out the prices, it was a good deal. So last Thursday night when we went in to see Tumbao Bravo ( another post), I finally ordered the meal. All the choices were also on the regular menu.

I started with the spinach salad. I had eaten it before and it was not spectacular. It was different from the usual house salad. The spinach was baby spinach. In addition, there was a half a hard-boiled egg, some red onion, some roasted red peppers and mushrooms. The dressing was light and the salad was not heavily dressed. As it comes to the table, the spinach is in the middle and the other ingredients are in each corner. And it is a mixing project at the table.

For the entrée, I ordered the baked salmon. I cook salmon often at home and I have developed a couple of sauces and ways to cook it that I really like. There was a little alarm voice going off in my head saying don’t do it. I asked the server if it was wild caught or farmed. She said farmed. The little alarm got louder. It said baked with seasonal vegetables. And a louder alarm sounded. I was so hungry for salmon, I ordered it anyway. It was over cooked and bland for my taste. I can say the glaze which was a good addition. I think it was ginger, soy sauce and honey or some other sweetener. The seasonal vegetables were Brussels sprouts and chick peas in some sort of other seasoning. As I ate the veggies, I got a definite crunch in my mouth. It was bacon. In fact, there were several noticeable pieces of bacon in the seasonable veggies. The pic below is really much worse than the food. I turned off the flash and the camera compensated by adding a red filter. The restaurant asks that patrons do not use the flash while the musicians are performing.I did as much as I could with my limited editing capabilities.

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The dessert saved the meal. They called it an apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream, in a phyllo pastry cup on a bed of caramel. The apple in the phyllo cup was diced and cooked in apple pie seasonings and warm. It was topped with the cinnamon ice cream. I managed to scrape a little caramel off the plate with each sweet, tangy bite. It was a wonderful ending especially with the great coffee they serve.

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Tumbao bravo was performing that evening and they are different from what I usually see. That is for another post.

Million Mask March..inspiring photos and videos

A bit more about the Million Mask March yesterday….

The Free

Anonymous Global Million Mask March. LIVE Updates

Anonymous #MillionMaskMarch in Turkey. Via @RedHack_BaRikat

Anonymous #MillionMaskMarch in Australia.
Via @RedHack_BaRikat

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Different for me: Homemade Eggplant Parmesan

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I decided to sort of make up a recipe for something that resembles eggplant Parmesan. It just hit the spot and was quite good. There were three slices of breaded eggplant in the bottom covered with spaghetti meat sauce. Then, a few gratings of Parmesan Reggiano. Then a layer of spinach. I added another layer of meat sauce over the spinach. And on the top, more grated cheese. I put it in a medium oven for one half hour. There was much less cheese than usual but I used very good very flavorful cheese. It is much lighter than most Eggplant Parmesan which is just what I wanted,.