Saturday, November 22, 2014

Caramelized Butternut Squash and Onion with Garlic, Hot Pepper, and Lemon!


This simple and really delicious and healthy squash recipe is really a variation on "all things aglio e olio." I had this for dinner this evening as as side to moudardara. Often when I cook squash or potatoes like this I add a few cumin and coriander seeds along with the hot pepper to give it a Near East flavor (but had neither in the house this evening). Nonetheless, this is really easy and delicious, and it can be made using many other hard winter vegetables. 


Caramelized Butternut Squash and Onion with Garlic, Hot Pepper, and Lemon

Serves 2-4, depending on the size of the squash

4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon crushed hot pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet that is large enough to hold the sliced squash in a single layer. When the oil is hot add the squash and saute it for a few minutes. Then add the onion and saute a few more minutes. When the squash and onion just begin to brown add the garlic, hot pepper, and salt; saute another minute or two. Stir in the lemon and remove from the heat. 


A not-so-crazy man with a message....

Ok, so I dare you to try and not smile while watching this 4 minute video. While he may appear to be a crazy street person, he's not. His name is Matthew Silver and is a street performer. He's also a man with a message. In this short video he's going from store to store in New York's Union Square beating a drum, dancing, and chanting the mantra, "Love is the answer, stop buying stuff." Just in time for Grey Thursday and Black Friday. Okay, maybe he is crazy, but this is still great. Anyhow, if you want to be cheered up a bit, this'll surly do the trick.



Urban Simplicity.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Things that can be carried on a bike (#612), some studs, and a couple other things...


So first of all before I say anything about the snow I have to say that my heart and prayers go out to those who may be still stranded, and especially to the families that have lost loved ones in this storm.

Though I have moved away a few times I have always found my way back to my hometown of Buffalo and have weathered many storms in my 53 years, including the Blizzard of '77 when I was a teenager. But this storm was different. The path it cut was more like a tornado snow storm, this is why people are referring to it as the "knife." It's path was somewhat narrow and direct. And the thunder and lightening it produced was really eerie. The media keeps saying that Buffalo is buried in snow but truth be told only one area of the city is actually buried (South Buffalo). From what I can tell most of the brunt of the storm hit south and east of the city. The most that we (most of the city) received was 10" or less. In some places it was just a dusting. But a few miles away the snow was and is life threatening (to date ten people have perished). Two of my sisters live east of the city where there is more than five feet of snow...not drifting because of the wind but just simply five feet deep of snow! (and I rarely use exclamation points.) There is no way to push it out of the way--because of it's mass--in the traditional snow plow way, it has to be scooped into trucks and hauled away.

My heart and prayers go out to those still stranded. And what is even more worrisome is that the temperatures are supposed to rise, which will cause flooding. And the weight of wet snow is also a concern for roofs collapsing (some have already collapsed, including that of a nursing home which resulted in two deaths) .

Pictured above is my bike as I went grocery shopping last evening; I had just put on the steel studded snow tires. But it seems too trite to even talk about this with the devastation happening just a few miles from where I type these words. If you believe in prayer I ask you to pray for the people south and east of this city, and if you don't please just send kind and healing thoughts (which of course is a type of prayer in itself).

Peace, and thank you.




Urban Simplicity.

Advice on writing from Charles Bukowski...

Image found here.

So you want to be a writer...

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.

if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.

if you're doing it for money or
fame,
don't do it.

if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.

if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.

if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.

if you're trying to write like somebody
else, forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,

don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.

the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.

don't add to that.
don't do it.

unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.

unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was. 

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was. - See more at: http://allpoetry.com/So-You-Want-To-Be-A-Writer#sthash.d5SekyYn.dpuf
if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was. - See more at: http://allpoetry.com/So-You-Want-To-Be-A-Writer#sthash.d5SekyYn.dpuf

Friday, November 14, 2014

Things that can be carried on a bike (#611), a quick note, and a few other things...


On the bike...a case of red wine and about $25 in groceries. The photo directly below is something I saw while riding...sparrows flying in the first of the season's snow. And the broccoli pictured is growing in what remains of my front-yard garden. Also I just wanted to mention that I will be away from my computer for a few days so I likely will not post again until Tuesday or so. Hopefully you will still be here when I return, thanks for sticking with me and my idiosyncrasies. Until the, peace.



Urban Simplicity.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A few things I saw while riding my bike recently....





Urban Simplicity.

Russel Brand's Response....

This is great. It is Russel Brand's response to the recent arrest of a 90 year old chef for feeding the homeless. Russell hits so many great points and hot topic but will make you laugh a little, too. It's worth the eight minutes of your time.



Urban Simplicity.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Beautiful decay...a few things I saw while riding my bike yesterday


The city of Buffalo is really something. It has such an incredible and important history in our country, but it has also fallen on hard times in previous decades. These days it is n the upswing, but there is still decay. Primarily on the East Side. And that's primarily where I like to go on urban bike rides as of late. If you have any sort of Buffalo family lineage that dates back more than a couple generations chances are you have roots on the East Side of Buffalo. The German/French side of my family arrived here somewhere in the mid 1800's (or earlier) and lived on the East Side for generations, and the Lebanese Side of my family migrated here around 1920 and also lived on the East Side for generations. I have done some minor geology research and it's interesting to locate houses where ancestors once lived (some houses are gone and are vacant lots) and other locations. The image above, for example, is of the now shuttered and fenced off St. Ann's Church and Shrine, a place where my family worshiped for generations before I could even have been imagined. Anyhow, I'll stop waxing on about it. But I have to add, that while so many are "down" about the condition of this area of the city, I have to say that I find it not only really beautiful but also peaceful. Click any photo for a larger view.








Urban Simplicity.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

When I grow up I wanna be a...

Image found here.

"When I grow up I want to be an old woman."
~Michelle Shocked

I've always enjoyed the above stated lyrics, but in my case--in my head when I hear the song--I substitute man for woman. But not just any man, I want to be a really nice and caring man, and one that still does good in this world. There are plenty of people to look up to for this, and I recently heard of another. Pictured above is Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old chef from Fort Lauderdale who was just recently arrested for his refusal to stop feeding the homeless. Yup, believe it or not, that is a real thing down there. If I live to be such a ripe age I can only hope to be as good a person as this man. To read about the story, click here. The video below shows the arrest taking place.

“One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” Arnold Abbott, founder of the homeless charity Love Thy Neighbor, told South Florida television station WPLG.

.

Urban Simplicity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ninety Nine Percent...


I took this photo in my back yard this evening. I just love seeing a full or nearly full moon. It's a waxing gibbous, or 99% full. Anyhow, I thought I'd share the photo.

Urban Simplicity.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ugh....


So firstly I have to say that generally--not always but most of the time--I choose to post about positive things in life on this blog rather than focusing on the negative. But every so often I slip a little when something overtly effects me. I also want to add that I can truly understand why some car drivers dislike bicyclists because of their behavior. Ahh...but I'm jumping ahead again as I often do. I'll start over. There I was riding to work about 8:30am on my usual route and really enjoying being on a bike on such a warm and nice fall day. Then I notice a car coming towards me from the opposite direction...he was swerving from his lane into mine, not coming directly at me but almost...it was enough to make me feel unsafe and pull over to the side of the road. Then as he passed he yells out the window, "Get off the street!" I was surprised for so many reasons. Mainly because I did nothing to provoke this, but also that he was driving his car down a narrow city street with newly painted sharrows. I've posted in the past about abusive drivers yelling things out car windows but not in a while. And as I stood there at the side of the road all I could think was...really? Anyhow, he had to stop as the light turned red so I turned around and snapped this photo of his car and license plate with my cellphone. Being fully aware of my traffic legalities on a bike in NY State this seemed somewhat appropriate. Maybe not, but I am doing it anyhow. Sorry for the rant--I'll get off my little soapbox now--but sometimes things need to be said.

Urban Simplicity.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A few things I saw while riding my bike today, and a few words, too...


"There is a time for everything,
 and a season for every activity under the heavens."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1  

So a couple things. This may be the most photos that I've posted at one time (at least in a while), but I couldn't help myself...I enjoyed them all. Autumn is my favorite season. And also, these are actually in response to a thought I've had recently regarding being car-free. When one is without a car in a northeastern climate such as the one in which I reside, I find that when the weather is foul my world becomes small (cold, wet rain is my nemesis). But, on the other hand, when the weather is nice I find myself relishing in it...rejoicing even. Thus was the case today. It has been chilly and rainy for the past couple days--making it somewhat miserable to travel by bike--but today was an idyllic autumn day. So on my way to the community center for a steam and swim I took the long way...the really long way. I rode around beautiful Delaware Park and snapped a few pictures. It was so nice out...perfect, really. I love the days when they are cool, crisp, and sunny. There really is nothing like a northeastern autumn day. Anyhow, I'll stop waxing about it. Click any photo for a somewhat larger view.













Urban Simplicity.