More silly poems about stuffed animals

Bumble Bear – chef


Bumble Bear loves apples and pears
But any fruit will do.
Cold, warm, or hot, she eats them a lot
Her favorite is Bumble’s stew

She makes it herself from things on her shelf
And fruit she picks from the trees
Orange, lemon, limes, and peaches into the brine
All mixed up with joyful glee

She cooks for her friends, who enjoy it no end
And tell her she cooks like a pro
She gives them a wink, toss the spoon in the sink
And off to her restaurant they go!

She cooks duck confit with apples and Brie
And mango with roast honey glaze
First one course, then two, and then comes the stew
And everyone’s full and amazed

As chef de cuisine she arrives on the scene
Her restaurant is quite the sensation
With her talent for food, and her joyful good mood
The night ends with a standing ovation

Zagiree Bruin – graphic artist


Zagiree Bruin has books that she drew in
As early as memories go
And as Zag grew, her talents did too
From paper to digital flow

She draws all the day in black and in grey
And the color her mind can project
Her canvas and clay are the pixels that play
On her monitor, while she directs

Each little scene appears on her screen
For comics, for ads, and for art
Her favorites she knows she holds onto those
Because they are a part of her heart.

Posted in Creativity, Poetry on the Blog, Stuffy Stories | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Split Pea Soup

Recipe First. In a large crock pot mix:

2 lbs dried split peas

1 large onion chopped

3 large carrots (or one bag of baby carrots) peaked and choppedb

4-5 bay leaves (make sure to count so you can remove later)

10 cups liquid (6 water, 4 broth – I used chicken better than bullion)

Salt and spice. Roasted garlic powder, curry powder, cayenne pepper, red curry paste (1 tsp). Add mostly a couple of shakes of spice at this point. It cooks a long time and it is ok to add spice/salt in the middle to your own taste. If you don’t like these spices don’t add them. See note later on salt.

Mix it all up in crock pot. Set to low.

1 ham steak (usually about 10-12″ diameter 1/2″ thick) cut into quarters. Add to soup

With crock at low, cook for 6-8 hours (until peas break down), stirring occasionally to ensure bottom doesn’t burn.

Check salt and spice level mid cook and salt to taste at end. Remove bay leaves.

Remove ham. Cut into bites size chucks (remove fat and rind).

Serve with sprinkle of shredded cheese or small dollop of sour cream.

Now the text part filled with anecdotes and personal connections that everyone hates or skips in recipe books. 🤮🍵. But if you read through to the end there are a number of helpful hints and suggestions.

Split pea soup is nostalgia in a bowl. Love it or hate it, it likely reminds you of home or your grandma or somebody who used to cook it. My Grandma used to make a big kettle of it with a bi old ham bone in it. I love split pea soup and have made it several times in the past. Those times previous were in a large soup kettle and on a stove top. One time it was awesome. The next time the ham trapped peas on the bottom causing them to burn. The burnt peas then added a not great smoked flavor to the soup. As a single man, I still ate it – what was I going to do throw away 4 gallons of soup???! But lesson learned. In addition, taking with Sara about the idea of pea soup with its big fatty hambone made her gag a bit. So I looked for alternative approaches. I went to the crock pot for better temperature control and less likelihood of burning. It also meant I could be a lazy cook, stirring every once in a while. I used ham steak because it had less bone (less volume) and less fat, but still had good flavor to add. It also wouldn’t interfere with stirring and mixing from the bottom up (what led to previous burnt soups). In the end, I’ve made this several time. Each time was good. They progressively got easier. Below are some tips.

#1 – don’t over salt. Chicken broth and ham are already salty. Don’t add salt at the start. Wait till about half way through the cook, then add salt to taste. Taste again at the end. Add some more as needed. Use less salt than you think you need. It is hard to unsalt soup.

#2 – it is ok to add more water or broth. Think as pea soup is an actual thing. My first back when it cooled could stand up a spoon. Add a cup of hot water (or more) to thin out the whole batch. Or a couple of tablespoons to a cold bowl upon reheating.

#3 – add spices you like. I love spice (#penzey). I add dashes of various spices to liven up the taste. Never enough to overwhelm it. Just a sprinkle or a dash or two. Think shakes not spoons. Also, if you don’t like a spice don’t add it. Hate spicy, don’t add spicy shit. Love spicy add some siracha when serving.

#4 – the peas don’t break down till the very end, don’t panic. Don’t go to the stock blender too early. Let time and temperature do their work. You can always blend it more at the end. Nobody wants hard bits of peas. Just let it cook.

#5 – do the first batch on a weekend where you are home. It isn’t a set and forget soup. It needs some stirring. Just a bit. But enough that the first time out you shouldn’t start it at 8, leave for work and expect miracles at 530 (#mississippipotroast, #kaluapork).

#6 – for added texture add frozen peas near the end of cooking. Just enough time for the peas to warm up not turn to mush. You can also add additional chopped carrots near the end for a bit of more bite. Again don’t add them too early or they don’t add anything new to the party.

#7 – don’t fret if you mess it up. This is a cheap soup to make and it makes a lot. If it tastes bad toss it and order a pizza. Nobody wants two gallons of terrible soup (unless you live near a large number of young single people with questionable taste palates and a willingness to eat anything as long as it is free). If you fuck up, don’t worry. This soup is pretty forgiving. It can take some spice. So if it isn’t to your liking at first hit it with hot sauce or garlic or curry. If that doesn’t work toss it.

Posted in Cooking and Recipes, Eating, Eating Healthy, Family, nostalgia | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is it Monday?

Is it Monday?

Warm spring evening

As the sun sets

Small warblers flit in the big tree

Eating gnats

Gathering strength

For north woods summer nests

Small fire pit glows

Pops quietly as birds sing

Evening songs

In my backyard

In the city

On a Monday.

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ThanXmas 2017

We celebrated / ThanXmas with my family / gathered together

We rented a strangers house / but soon it felt just like home

Katie and I relax / Climb on top of uncle Mark / Girls watch together
Morning sunrises / a lovely view through fall trees / from the parking lot

Not about the space / it is the people you love / making spirits bright

Add in some holiday cheer / Some card games, some wine, some beer

On Thursday, turkey / and food galore, we ate till / we could eat no more

Thankful for our blessings, true / mindful of our privilege too

discussion with beer / Pete and Dad find football spots / Sara and I rest

On Friday, hiking / up we went, up on the ridge / along river’s bend

Not alone to opt-outside / families, dogs of every size

We all sought nature / took pictures with our smart phones / ignored irony

Cousins together / then riding in a backpack / even my Mom hiked
Pose for a picture / Keep pace with pregnant Julie / Rio went swimming

A rest for the little ones / some light shopping for others

Then, Italian food / the Hill, twelve for dinner, sure / pasta and t-ravs.

A fish bowl of beer / looks much different depending / on who’s holding it

Long day, sleep calls the cranky / but there’s still more fun to have. Saturday presents

Christmas comes early this year / hybrid holidays

Living far from families / celebrate time together

No Santa presents / but toddlers delight to see / presents to open

Books and toys and clothes and more / great gifts and lovely feelings

Goetta cooked up right / Kate excited to open / look at all the stuff
Rio in the fray / Taylor and Mark aww moment / lovely purple quilt
Kids play inside box / Mark are those some Lularoe? / Dragons love tacos

Sunday, show on road / pack-up, clean-up, saying goodbye / to great family time

Over the river, through woods / west to home, as the sun sets.


Walking together / great ending to a long hike / cousins holding hands


Posted in Active Life, Christmas, Family, Fatherhood, Poetry on the Blog, Rio the Dog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Random Thoughts Thursday

Last night I was feeling tired and a bit run down, with a headache. So, shortly after I put Katie to bed, I laid down in the quiet dark bedroom.  As could be expected, I was soon asleep.  About 11 I got up and decided I didn’t actually need to do the dishes and just turned out the lights and returned to sleeping.  I slept soundly until about 545, when the cats work Rio and I decided to take her outside.  Feeling pretty good. I started my normal morning routine about an hour early.  I got done with the normal stuff and tackled last night’s dishes (spaghetti and meatballs mess). I made lunch, breakfast and a drive to school snack for Katie.  Then I realized it was only 630.  So, I finished getting dressed and lay in bed to surf the net till Kate woke up.  Kate decided to sleep in.  It got to about 730 and I decided to wake her up. She was non-too-pleased.  Like awaking an angry god, who rains down terror and fire (in the form of pacifiers and stuffed animals and whiny toddler voices).  So, I sat in the chair in her room and let her decide when to climb out.  Well this went on till about 750, so eventually I just picked her up and got her changed.  Much to her consternation.  Dressing an uncooperative toddler was like dressing an uncooperative toddler (difficult and unrewarding).  I finally convinced/bribed her with some chocolate if she would hold still long enough for me to get her hair into a pony tail.  That pony tail was like calf roping.  Couple of loops and throw your hands in the air in walk away.  Then there was additional discussion about the lack of Curious George on PBS. We were between the 730 episode and the start of the 800 episode, where PBS just shows short commercials from their sponsors.  This did not please Kate. She was even less happy when I turned off the TV and suggested we head for the door.  Now, instead of being early, we were running late. Which means that I need Kate to eat the PBJ that I fixed her, because she might miss breakfast at school.  They are very lovely and always hold a plate and some food even for those who run quite late.  But Kate, unlike my other child Rio, is not food motivated.  If other kids are outside and playing, that is where she wants to be.  She doesn’t care about a banana or even a sausage.  She has had FOMO (fear of missing out) from the first.  I’m not trying to make her change, just trying to make sure she has the energy and nutrition she needs. (A side note for concerned Grandmas: she does, she was right on track at of her check-up).  I got Kate to school, with a no-tears drop-off.

I got to work a little before nine and got a bunch of stuff accomplished.  Review done. Final revisions on a manuscript done.  Emails done. Updated computer restarted and now encrypted -done (although that part was done by our great IT staff).  I then go to get some caffeine, realizing I hadn’t had any yet.  Usually by 10 I’m on a second caffeinated grape drink.  I thought to myself. Maybe this is what happens when you get a good night sleep.  I had so much sleep last night.  Then I calculated the actual hours – I got 9 hours of sleep.  It wasn’t some monumental 12-16 hour sleep-a-thon. It was a slightly longer than the recommended daily sleeping time.  Normally, I go to bed around 12 and wake up around 630.  Turns out that is only 6 ½ hours of sleep.  An on night where the dog needs out twice, or Kate wakes up, that time shortens even more.  Maybe it isn’t apnea or a broke-down mattress, maybe I need to go for distance.  Or maybe it is just a combination of all those things and that if I could line them all up I’d be some sort of super-human me.  That would require many things.  It would require the dog to not have bladder issues, the cat to not tease the dog at 5AM (EVERTY DAMN DAY), Kate to never get sick or have bad dreams, me not to have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, a new mattress, the ability to sleep with a CPAP machine strapped to my face, and 9 hours.  I guess I’ll work on it.  Or maybe just shoot for not going to bed at midnight (I can always catch Seth Meyers segments the next day).

On another note, I may have lost some weight.  I don’t know.  My pants feel quite baggy and my belts need to be tightened to their last notch to keep said pants from falling.  Of course, this may just be that I do generally purchase baggy pants, and belts, being made of leather, have propensity to stretch over time.  This could all be solved relatively quickly, except for the fact that my scale is either broken or out of batteries.  I am not sure of which.  The scale is in a high traffic area where it gets stepped on regularly.  I’ve even seen Katie try to jump up and down on it several times (which points me in the direction of broken).  But all of Katie’s 37 lbs does not amount to 10th of the stress I place on it when I just step on it.  I got it specifically because it could handle the weight.  That information points me toward the batteries. But the scale takes a giant watch battery. And since I don’t have any on hand and they are mildly expensive, I’m going to just keep guessing.  Plus, the inaction allows me to believe that perhaps I have lost some weight.  Maybe the belt is a credible witness.  Maybe it isn’t just the leather stretching.

Maybe the fact that I’m constantly trying to keep my pants up isn’t a sign I need a new belt, but rather that I’ve lost enough weight to drop a pants size.  That would be a happy day.  Sometimes it is OK to live in the bliss of ignorance and denial.  It is 2017 and I’m a liberal, democrat, scientist, working for a federal agency, on environmental issues, and significant student loan debt.  In 2017 occasionally, I need a little denial to sleep at night. And, maybe more time and a new mattress.

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my day

The Commute.

Driving man thinks / thinking while he is driving / his eyes on the road
thinking about the future / thinking about his writing
writing he must do / writing he wishes to do / writing out his thoughts
his thoughts that run and run on / Small, mundane thoughts, wild free thoughts
did he pay that bill / what super power he’d pick / aquatic powers
they would help him do his job / a small fantasy to dream
Everyone can’t be / superman or a Jedi / someone needs to think
About water quality / and pollution reduction
The man laughs a bit / even in his dreams he thinks / about his science
to create minute changes / in his Sisyphean stone
His radio drones / languorous voices speak on / the woe of the world
Weighed down, heavy thoughts persist / he turns off the radio
He frets as he drives / about things he cannot change / thinks on things he can
Broad strokes of an idea / a mind seed planted, nourished
His car moves forward / slower than his thoughts progress / his time to think deep
Before more pressing concerns / jubilantly insistent.
Emerge chattering / about her day and her thoughts / his fretting dissolves
Focus turns to snacks, singing / speakers sing out silly songs
Short commute refresh / aware, await swinging moods / toddler emotion
Present, here and now, thoughts / languid, lucid forgotten
Dog need to go out / dinner facilitated / stop at store for milk
Call commuting spouse on phone / passenger bolsters safe drive
Into the drive way / thoughts on hold till later / his minds life pauses

The Sleep.

The man grows tired / shuffles to the door, finds shoes / to let the dog out
So maybe she won’t wake up / and need out at three AM.
Weather outside nice / dog sniffs, seeks to expand turf / and finally goes
Inside, grumbles, turns off lamps / he checks that the doors are locked
Blanket unfolded / his wife already tucked in / he tells her good night.
They briefly, sleepily talk / about today, tomorrow
Phone goes off, light out / the dog jump up crowds his space / cats purr near his head
Crowded despite the king size / but soon they all find their groove
His groove actual / carved out by too much fast food / and too cheap a bed
But it is his sleepy place / comfort not comfortable
His eyes start to close / His thoughts, paused by daily life / surface in quiet
His mind, thoughts are racing through / unchecked and unfiltered thoughts
He seeks to control / starting a focus mantra / now is time for sleep
Repeat, repeat, and repeat / he calms his mind bit by bit
He focuses on / innocuous ideas / without consequence
What if he won the lotto? / What if he were a Jedi?
Sleep arrives mid-thought / world stops for a few hours / his dreams now arrive
Immune to his own snoring / All is well, quiet until
A furtive cat runs / a loud dog barks, gives chase / stomps on the man’s leg
Alert, he will rise / check the clock, find relief / it is 5 AM
He takes the woke dog outside / dog runs back in, claims his spot
Quick shove moves dog / moves quietly back to bed / to not wake family
Small noises in quiet dark / lurking cat, fish tank gurgles
A restless short sleep / more eyes closed meditation / before his day starts.

A Man Rises

Alarm sounds early / Alert, favorite song sings / Woke dog chases cat
Normal morning routine start / Dog walk, shower, prep for day
Six AM, outside / All quiet, a few birds cheep / Man waits, a dog sniffs
The chilled air of fall settles / Dew wet grass clings to feet
Dog finds the right spot / Man finds acorn with soft foot / Silent mourning breaks
Grumbling, the man limps in / To covers, recover sleep
Baby is awake / Too early, she chats away / Telling her stories
Her stuffed animals listen / She discusses today’s plan
The man listens too / Smiling and proud he prepares / Quiet, morning breaks

Morning Time.

Man and woman, both awake / alternate shower, kid prep
the man picks his clothes / pick some clothes for the child / with substitution
cartoon monkey talks / real cats and dog pace around / await breakfast time
The man tries to ponytail / hair askew woman fixes.
Food for everyone / kibble for the dog and cats / the man eats yogurt
The child eats cereal / the woman blends a smoothie
All head for the door / into cars for their commute / school and work await
The man drives his kid to school / there is much they do discuss
Which show is the best / is tonight a dance class night / mac and cheese dinner?
He walks her into classroom / slight soul tweaks with each leaving
He watches her play / a minute through the window / then on to his work.
The office, a short quick drive / he makes a mental task list
His office quiet / the man begins his workday / in repetition.

Posted in Family, Fatherhood, Poetry on the Blog, Rio the Dog, science, Star Wars, why i science, Writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Light show

Post midnight
Cannot sleep
Things buzzing
Around my head
Around the room

Intermittent flashes
Not the blinking LED
Of charging phones
Organic, moving
Here now there
Across the ceiling
Than low on the dresser

A signal
The room is dark
But I’m awake
Wide eyed
Waiting for the blink
To make sure it is not
In my head

Visual cortex signals
Real or imagined
Burned in from
In the darkness
Waiting for more
Or nothing
Or maybe sleep
One more blink

Up high again
The ceiling fan spins
A bright arc To the floor
A fading glow
A lightning bug
Trapped no more
I close my eyes
Last light arc
As sleep arrives.midnightarc

Posted in Poetry on the Blog | Tagged , | 1 Comment