Friday, June 29, 2012

Making the most of getting older…

I had a wonderful birthday this year.  It was on Monday after the family reunion festivities were officially over so we slept in a bit and then decided to go out for Cincinnati Chili.  I may have left the Cincinnati area to live in another part of the country but I have never left behind my love for Cincinnati Chili.

Here’s what makes chili Cincinnati Chili:  You start with a spicy (not hot, just spicy) chili spooned over spaghetti noodles and topped with shredded cheddar cheese.  That’s a 3-way.  Then the fun begins.  You can add red kidney beans or onions.  That makes a 4-way.  If you add both, you get a 5-way.  It is served with oyster crackers and lots of hot sauce.  I’ll put the recipe I use when I make it at home at the end of this post in case you want to try it.

The definitive Cincinnati Chili is had at one of the many Skyline Chili restaurants around there.  But there are other Cincinnati Chili restaurants around that are good.  We discovered Blue Ash Chili while watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  It is worth a trip to Blue Ash to check this place out.  What I like is that I can get a 4-way without onions but with jalapeno caps.  I’m in heaven.  Love those jalapenos.  And if you have the chili with beans, onions and jalapeno caps, you get a 6-way.

After our lunch, Greg took us to the Blue Ash Rec Center where there is a replica of the Crosley Field scoreboard.  Crosley Field is where the Cincinnati Reds played baseball when I was a kid.  We went to quite a few games there over the years but I was lucky to attend the last game they played in Crosley with my parents and a couple of siblings on June 24, 1970.   The Reds won 5-4.  Johnny Bench and Lee May hit back to back home runs in that game.  After the game, a helicopter came down and home plate was transferred by air  from Crosley over to Riverfront Stadium where the Reds played from 1970 until 2002.  

Then instead of birthday cake, I got a scoop of Graeter’s black raspberry chip ice cream.  Oh, boy, it can’t be beat!  Best ice cream on earth.  Ask Oprah. 

But to top it off, we went to dinner that night to the Olive Garden to celebrate my mother’s birthday, which is the day after mine and I got to have dinner with 18 of my family.  It ended with Greg, my cousin Ken and my nephew Neil all singing happy birthday to my mother and me.  It made getting older not so bad…at least for the day.


2 pounds ground beef
1 quart water
2 medium sized onions, grated
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
5 whole allspice
½ teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
4 tablespoons chili powder
½ ounce bitter chocolate
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large bay leaf
5 whole cloves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Add ground beef to water in 4 quart pot, stir until beef separates to a fine texture.  Boil slowly for half an hour. 
  2. Add all other ingredients.  Stir to blend, bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 3 hours.  Last hour, pot may be covered after desired consistency is reached.
  3. Remove bay leaf.
  4. Chili should be refrigerated overnight so that fat can be lifted from top before reheating.  Not necessary if using extra lean beef.

Serve it in one of the following traditional styles:

Chili Plain

Chili and Spaghetti
3 way – chili, spaghetti, and shredded cheddar cheese
4 way -  chili, spaghetti, cheddar and onion or beans
5 way – chili, spaghetti, cheddar, onion and beans
Coney Island – a frankfurter in a bun topped with chili, cheese and onions or any of the above ingredients.

There is nothing in any of these combinations that an antacid can’t remedy!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why can’t time stand still?

Well, we got back last evening from our family reunion.  I had a great time.  It was wonderful seeing all those Lamberts!  But I sure wish that time could stand still here in Massachusetts while we’re gone because now that I am back, I have a lot of catching up to do.
Couldn’t sleep last night so I decided to make the most of it and start to edit some of my photos.  I will post a few from the reunion here today.  These are mostly for the benefit of my family who check out my blog from time to time.  But I will take comments from anyone who wants to give them.  I’m not proud.  I’m also not much of a people-taking photographer.  But I think some of these turned out all right.

The whole damn lot of us Lamberts (who could make it) and various hangers-on.

Aunt Theresa and cousin Gary.

My nephew Alex.

Neil, Winona and Aunt Theresa.

Susan and Maggie shooting each other.


Maddie and Judy...peace out...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Returning to Prague…

It occurs to me that I didn’t do Prague justice.  So I am going to rectify that a bit today.  Prague is a beautiful city and I saw enough of it to want to go back.

St. Vitus' Cathedral.

Inside St. Vitus' Cathedral.

Statue along the Charles Bridge.

Frank Gehry's Dancing House.

I also want to mention that we are heading out tomorrow for Ohio to attend a family reunion.  It will be great to see everyone.  Some of the people we will be seeing I haven’t seen in years…some of them 30 years.  I haven’t changed…I wonder if they have.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rust Never Sleeps…

“Better to burn out than to rust out,” according to Neil Young.  There was a time when I might have agreed but these days I’m not sure I have much of a choice.  Here I am dusty and rusty.  In any case, after Carrie and I visited to Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen, Massachusetts, I have to say that I believe that rust has its virtues.
This is a great place for photographers.  One of the things I liked the best was the vast array of neatly arranged rusty objects.   Here are a few.

They just don't make things the way they used to.

Is anyone else thinking "Dune" here?

In reality, maybe Shakespeare had it right when he wrote, “I were better to be eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.” 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Scavenger Hunt at the Three Sisters Sanctuary…

I often get good ideas from my daughter Carrie.  This week I took advantage of one and we went together to the ThreeSisters Sanctuary in Goshen, Massachusetts.  I decided once I got there that I was going to find something for each of the prompts for the Scavenger Hunt at this special place.  So here they are…

So, what did the white tile say to the gold tile?  Meet me at the Corner!

The Three Sisters Sanctuary backs up to a nature preserve.  While you are there, you hear birds and frogs and see a beautiful green space.  Getting there in my Prius, I noticed that I was getting around 63 MPH.  Mother Nature Meets Technology!

We walked around the Sanctuary for quite a long time.  But because of my bad knee we took it One Step at a Time!

What’s Wrong with this Picture?!  If you just look at it here you might think plenty is wrong, but it actually fits into the surroundings pretty well.

There were a few things there that I could have used for the prompt  Standing Tall!  But I liked this one the best.  I would like to be the kind of person who can see a tree limb lying on the ground and have a vision of something like this.

I'll have more pics of this wonderful place later this week, meanwhile...

Linking to Scavenger Hunt Sunday @ Ramblings and Photos...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ploty v Praze…

According to the internet, the title of my blog today means “Fences in Prague.”  I thought “Prague” in Czech was “Praha.”  But this is a language that I know nothing about so I am taking the internet’s word for it.

  Before we left on our trip, I did go on line to learn a few phrases.  The only one that stuck with me was “Káva, prosím,” which means “Coffee, please.”  I wanted to make sure that the important things were covered. 

Anyhow, that’s neither here nor there.  The thing today is to show some fences for Friday Fences and here are some we came across when we were in Prague.

Near the train station.

At the Jubilee Synagogue


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A first look at Prague...

A few pics from our first glimpse of Prague.

This building was close to the hotel where we were staying.  I just like that ad for some reason.

This is the Jubilee Synagogue or the Jerusalem Synagogue.   It was built in 1906, designed by Wilhelm Stiassny and named in honor of the silver Jubilee of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria.  This is a truly beautiful building built in the Moorish Revival form with Art Nouveau decorations.  I was disappointed that the light was in the wrong place when we were there so the top of the building is very washed out, but I am posting this anyhow because the building is so beautiful.  I should have tried to figure out how to compensate for that.  Oh, well...

This is the Powder Gate, which was used to store gunpowder in the 17th century.  The Tower was damaged during attacks by Prussian forces in 1757 so that the Neo-Gothic facade that is seen today dates from 1876.  The same sun that was bothering me in the above picture, was my friend here.

Here are some gates that are located near Prague Castle in the early light of the morning.

And here's a pic of the Schwarzenberg Palace.  I love the details on this building.  It was built between 1545 and 1576.  

That's enough for today.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hungarian barn...

Here's one of the barns we saw in Hungary.  Not too much like our American barns.  I love the thatched roof.

This good looking dude was hanging out in one of the barns.

Linking to Barn Charm!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Scavenger Hunt…

Here are my entries for this week’s Scavenger Hunt.

TRAVEL:  If you’ve followed my blog even a little bit, you know that I love to travel.  I feel very fortunate at this time of my life to be able to go to places that were out of reach when I was younger.  One of the things I really like about travel is the research that goes into the trip beforehand.  My “go to” travel books are the ones in the Eyewitness series.  I love these books because they are full of photos and you know I love photos.  By the time I ever get to the place we’re going, I have thumbed through the book a million times.  Currently, I am wearing out the Norway and Sweden books because that’s where I want to go next year.

SILLY:  Any of you out there who are living with a pug know that pug is the perfect definition of “silly.”  Our pug Olive is silly and she doesn’t really need to do anything to make herself that way.  She came out of the womb silly.   I mean, just look at her…  I consider having a pug is a true blessing because the pug’s innate silliness makes me laugh every day and it sure is good to laugh every day.


SPOTS:  We finally got a bit of rain this week.

PAPER:  I am old school.  I read the newspaper every day.  And on Sundays, I read two newspapers.  My favorite sections of The Boston Sunday Globe are the Ideas section and the book reviews.  I save those for last…well, I save the crossword puzzles for last really.  Anyhow, I love reading the newspaper.

The news is always easier to take with a good cup of black coffee.

Linking to Ashley Sisk's Scavenger Hunt Sunday.