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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff’

Fortnight Favorites

A few highlights from the past couple of weeks:

Star-gazing by firelight.

My handsome hiking buddy.

Cozy foster kids.

Movie night aftermath.

Antics.

Cold cuddly kitty cat congregations.

Pumpkin bread and hot apple cider.

Surprise new bikes!

Looking good, October!

🙂

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“It’s so much friendlier with two. ”

~Winnie the Pooh

It’s been 572 days since Jeff and I first met. I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that we haven’t regretted a single day since!

 

Love you Mr. Bee. ♥

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Just west of the intersection of 52nd and College Avenue in Indianapolis you will see a new facade. It’s nothing flashy, but the sign had caught my attention recently. It says, Garuda Indonesian Restaurant. Like this:

Hailed as Indiana’s very first Indonesian cuisine, we were excited to try it out. “Oooh, the Spice Islands!” and so on.

So we did.

Let me first say, don’t attempt to park in Garuda’s impossibly tiny parking lot. Even if you do get a spot, it’s not easy getting back out onto 52nd street from it. It’s much, much easier to keep driving about 50 feet or so to Broadway, where parking is plentiful and just a short jaunt to the door.

The inside of Garuda is put together well. The walls are painted in rich, dark colors, and the decor is not bad. I liked the painted brick floor, but I didn’t like how there is no back wall, and you can see straight into the kitchen from every seat in the house. Overall the cozy space gives a generally classy feel.

During our visit we were one of only two parties dining at Garuda. We were seated immediately and the owner, Peter Oomkes, sat down with us to explain the menu since we were completely unfamiliar with Indonesian cuisine. That was a plus.

We ordered two appetizers, Tofu Lumpa and Vegetable Satay. But first, they brought out Krupuk, which is a kind of spongy fried shrimp cracker. I didn’t care for the taste of the cracker, but it did come with a spicy peanut dipping sauce that was quite good.

The Lumpa, a type of spring roll, was tasty, though more reminiscent of a hash brown than a spring roll, in my opinion and experience. The veggie Satay was like a miniature shish-ke-bob, and was also tasty, though not amazing.

For our entrees we ordered the Bami Goreng (noodles and mixed vegetables), Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice with vegetables, and chicken), and Kare Opor (Indonesian chicken curry).

The Bami Goreng (above) was, I think, the most flavorful dish. I’m a little disappointed that they used dumpling egg noodles instead of an Asian noodle. I would be curious to know how the taste would change if traditional noodles had been used. I only tried a bite of this, but Theresa ate the entire thing and reported that it was good.

Now would be a good time to point out that the portions at Garuda are rather small. I prefer this because I don’t like having leftovers or wasting what I can’t eat. However, anyone with a bigger appetite might consider ordering two entrees.

My entree was Nasi Goreng. The presentation of this dish is perfect for me: separate little piles of every component, ready to be mixed and matched however I please in each bite. How did they know that’s how I like to eat? Maybe I have Control Freak written all over my face, I dunno. At any rate, my little pile of rice, little pile of chicken, little pile of veggies and my egg kept me occupied for the short time it took me to scarf the whole thing down. My only complaint? This is the most bland meal I have ever eaten. Apparently Peter Oomkes missed his latest shipment from the Spice Islands. The tiny dusting of soy sauce atop my rice pile was the only added flavor. Of course, Peter did point out to me that I could add flavor with the two pots of sweet sauce and hot sauce that were on the table from the beginning, but I didn’t want either, I wanted spices. Luckily bland food tends to be very palatable to me so I didn’t really care too much so long as I wasn’t going hungry.

I also tried a bite of the Kare Opor. It was very curry-y. Jeff reported it as being a very bland curry, and the chicken very dry. He mixed in the spicy peanut sauce that we both liked in order to add flavor to the dish.

So, the food is bland. That was a disappointment. As for the service, well…it wasn’t horrible. There were some things that were left out here and there, and getting enough plates to share our appetizers was a challenge, but those aren’t things that can make or break a meal. The worst part of the service was that one person would get their entree, then ten minutes later the next person would get theirs, and so on. If Theresa and I had been polite and waited for everyone to get their food before we began, then our food would have been cold by the time the curry rolled out.

I understand that the kitchen was short staffed. I could easily tell this because the chef was cooking about 15 feet from our table with no wall between us. But really, considering that there were about six people in the dining room, they are simply going to have to step up their production efforts in order to run a successful restaurant.

Overall, we decided as a group that, if we were going to spend $10-15 per entree on another dinner anytime soon, we would choose from a number of other places before we chose Garuda. Viet Bistro, India Garden, Thai Cafe: all these places close by offer a LOT more bang for your buck. Larger portions, amazing flavors, variety, hard-earned popularity, and variety—

all these things Garuda has not.

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One fine day last summer, we were roaming around downtown Cincinnati on a trip to visit Jeff’s sister, looking for something to entertain us. Downtown Cincy isn’t always the most happening place, you know. While passing by some store fronts, a display of brightly designed skateboards caught Jeff’s eye, and he beckoned us back for a look. We were pleasantly surprised, and looked for the name of the store: Harper Studios. Hmmm. We tentatively ventured indoors, and were greeted by a small gallery space packed with art that instantly won us over.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that everything was animals. Then, I noticed the incredibly unique minimalist style and the vivid colors. Things just kept getting better and better. These weren’t just paintings of animals, they were works dripping with personality and insight, full of charm. It was impossible not to smile as I recognized the quirky little habits of all the wildlife I love personified in these flat, two-dimensional images. Geometry and nature were fused into one medium which was guaranteed to win me over. We left with a catalogue of Charley Harper’s works, and kept coming back to enjoy the fun images time and time again that weekend.

Last Christmas, I had the great fortune of receiving not one, but three Charley Harper prints! They seem to blend in naturally with my decor and color scheme, and I never get tired of admiring them. Thank you Ang, Trese, and Jeff!

So who is this Charley Harper guy, and what is his studio doing hiding out in downtown Cincinnati?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Charley Harper was born and raised on the family farm in West Virginia, where he no doubt developed his keen perception of the quirks of nature. He left home to attend the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he met his wife and fellow artist Edie, and where he stayed on for years as a teacher. Eventually he worked in the commercial art world before opening his very own studio. He became immensely popular before he died in 2007, and his works can be seen in books, posters, and displays across the country. Since I fell in love with Harper’s gallery last summer, I’ve been more aware of his works popping up in random places. Walking through the education building at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Charley Harper print would catch my eye. Perusing photos of interior design spaces, I get excited when I notice a Charley Harper book artfully placed on a coffee table. And of course, at the Cincinnati Zoo there is a wealth of Charley Harper waiting to be noticed by the zoo-goer in the know.

What is so appealing about Charley’s works? Well, it has something to do with the way he takes an impossibly dense natural situation, and breaks it down with mathematical simplicity into a scene that instantly reflects the complex beauty of nature. Each image tells a story. As Charley used to explain it: “I don’t try to put everything in, I try to leave everything out.”

You’ll just have to see for yourself what we mean…

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Saturdays are exhausting days for me. But not in a bad way, because I get to work with animals all day long.

Starting at 9:30 in the morning, I’m loving my way through my work shift with all the furry faces. Sometimes I feel sad when they get adopted, and I worry about them and whether they are comfortable in their new home and whether they have a quiet place to sleep away from children and dogs. I refrain from heckling the adoption counselors with questions about who they went home with and what their family is like.

I grabbed a few photos today of some of my favorites. Okay, they’re all my favorites. Also, these adorable kids are all up for adoption to a good (very good, comfortable, quiet, and loving) home. 😉

Sorry for the crappy resolution. I still have a Stupid Phone.

After work, I immediately run home and grab Jeff, and we drive down to Bloomington to hang out with the wildlife. This part of my day involves seeing and interacting with fawns, opossums, raccoons, turtles, a crow, owls and hawks, tadpoles, songbirds, squirrels, bats, and sometimes even a skunk or two. It’s awesome. Just so exhausting.

Goodnight, sweet sweet sweet animals!

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I’m far from completing my task to repurpose all the vintage “containers” I’ve found lately, but I have come up with a few good ideas.

I snatched up a few old cage lights, which are all the rage in vintage industrial lighting these days. But I have so many lights around the house already, and I wanted to come up with something different to use them for. In my quest for container gardening ideas, I came across this lovely little blog called augury, and found my solution. I ordered three air plants from the self-described southern lass’s etsy site, and eagerly awaited their arrival. When they came, I gave them a good soaking per the enclosed instructions and set them on the windowsill to dry. They are so pretty!

I salvaged some cords from broken appliances and plan to make a sort of mobile that will hang in a sunny window and display the cage light air plants, something similar to this arrangement:

The front of the cages open on a hinge so I will be able to take the plants out every week or so for a good soaking. I’m pretty excited to see what the finished product will look like!

I found another light fixture to turn to the dark side. I couldn’t resist these cute little musicians sitting at the base of this broken lamp…

So I cut the cord, replaced the ugly light fixture with a pretty little milk glass shade, and came up with a new addition to my vintage container garden!

I chose ivy because I wanted a dark green to complement the tarnishing copper base, and because I think it will look really neat when the ivy drapes down over the sides of the globe.

I didn’t realize I had hit upon such a good thing with the light-fixture-turned-plant-container idea. I also found these flat bottomed glass light covers, flipped them upside down, and viola! Instant vase. These were prettier before the water inside got couldy from the roots of the plants, but I was too lazy to replace the water before taking my photo. 🙂

They will work great for establishing new roots on plant cuttings.

I also have a few enameled washbasin-type containers that I want to use for larger houseplants. This yellow one makes for a happy hosta.

Not all my containers turned into plant containers, however. I brought home some more manly specimens, and Jeff found good uses for them. An old Sawzall toolbox now houses some of his guitar supplies…

And this lidless ammo can is usefully repurposed for those, um, heavy artillery bathroom breaks.

It’s been great fun collecting broken unwanted pieces and trying to find a good home for them. My work here, however, is far from over. I still have a good stockpile of items just waiting for inspiration to strike at any moment…

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The Bee Family Garden is in full swing this week. Everything is blossoming or threatening to do so very soon. Though the garden has been pretty low-maintenance lately, I’ve made a few adjustments and additions that I’m pretty happy with.

For one, I added a few more brightly colored containers to get some extra seedlings into the soil, because I couldn’t bear to just pluck them and throw them to the worms. The container tomato seems to be hanging on to dear life, but the beans did not like the transition. So, I replaced them. With this beautiful sweet basil seedling.

The plan is to be making my very own homemade insalata caprese by the summer’s end. That’s right, I have cheesemaking on the brain. I can’t wait to give it a try.

The best thing about my newfound obsession with growing food and figuring out what to do with it, is the vast amount that is left to be learned and mastered. I’ve only just scratched the surface of what is to be known. And that’s exciting.

My tomato plants seem to have shot up overnight, making it necessary for me to go out and hunt down some tomato cages. They look a little tacky and out of place right now, but I’m sure that within a few weeks they won’t even be visible under the thick cloak of spicy tomato leaves.

Another majorly helpful modification I’ve made to our garden is the addition of a thick layer of leaf mulch. Our beautiful big beech tree leaves behind piles of lovely reddish brown leaves that give the garden a forest floor feel that I really dig. Not only does it look nice, but it keeps the soil moist and temperate, ingratiates the earthworms, and slowly fertilizes the soil while keeping the weeds at a minimum. That ends up being six different ways that my leaf mulch is awesome.

Finally, I spent some time today sprucing up the Cucumber Corner. Flowers for the border, and a makeshift trellis because I’m too cheap the buy a sturdy $6.00 trellis at the hardware store. It remains to be seen if these cukes will end up growing along the ground instead.

And so I sit back and watch our garden grow, mapping every new leaf and celebrating every little colorful promise.

And Jeff and Ollie help.

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