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For All the Herring-Loving Schmucks Out There... Happy Passover!

Vorschmack - chopped herring spreadHere’s a Passover recipe you’re never going to make — so, you’re welcome!

Unless you grew up with it, of course, and/or happen to love herring, like I do.

VORSCHMACK (alternative spelling: forshmak; pronounced: fuhSHMUCK — you’re welcome again!) means “appetizer” in Yiddish. When I googled it today to find the correct spelling, I was surprised to learn that it does not universally connote chopped herring spread, the only meaning of the word I ever knew. Live and learn…

My grandma used to make it for all Jewish . . . CONTINUE READING → For All the Herring-Loving Schmucks Out There… Happy Passover!

Millet with kabocha, for breakfast

Finally, it’s kabocha season again!

Japanese kabocha pumpkin

Japanese kabocha pumpkin is my favorite sort of winter squash. I have three of them on our dining table right now (plus another half in the fridge) and am planning to buy more while they’re cheap and abundant. I wasn’t able to grow any this year but, luckily, farmers’ markets have really embraced them in the last couple of years.

And they keep for a long long time. One year, I cut up the last kabocha in April! I guess they’re evolutionarily programmed to . . . CONTINUE READING → Millet with kabocha, for breakfast

Two weeks later

shasta daisies

I’m just gonna try to ease my way back into writing by posting a few garden photos. After an extended wedding-planning sabbatical, it takes a while to get my thoughts in a row. Not sure how many words exactly these pictures are worth but they’ll have to do for today.

When we got back to Canaan for July 4th, the garden was in the state of blossom that I anticipated for the big weekend. Everything is lagging 2-3 weeks behind its usual growing and blooming schedule here this year. My original plan was to use many more flowers and plants . . . CONTINUE READING → Two weeks later

Photo Quiz!

berries on female asparagus plants

I can’t believe it’s only been two weeks since the big weekend. Feels like one long wedding decompression party. Although we also went on a mini-moon to Tulum, celebrated quite a bunch of birthdays (including my 40th and James’ 35th), Dr. Meredith’s successful dissertation defense, Pride Weekend…a very dense summer schedule, indeed! Finally, we went back to Canaan for July 4th and heard Renée Fleming sing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah at Tanglewood, another life-altering experience.

Anyway, the garden is finally in full bloom, and I have a few photos to share, but first a quick quiz.

Question 1: How’s married life? . . . CONTINUE READING → Photo Quiz!

My play translation debut

The Crematorium

A very special day for me – Valeriy Pecheykin’s excellent play “A Little Hero / Crematorium” that I had the honor of translating together with John Turiano premiers at Dixon Place Theater tonight!!!

In my biased opinion, it provides a pretty powerful insight into the psychological reality of living gay in today’s Russia. Its message is beyond gay or straight – it is about those who desperately cling to love and dignity at a time when Russia’s massive propaganda machine mercilessly injects its citizens’ brains with fear and hatred.

It was written just a few months ago as “A Little . . . CONTINUE READING → My play translation debut

some afterthoughts

37th floor the strand

We just learned that the recently wed couple who was tragically trapped inside the stairwell during the fire lived in the apartment right above ours.

It shouldn’t change anything about how one perceives the tragedy but it does. We never met in person but they did write us an extremely nice note when they first moved in to apologize for any possible construction noise. We could sometimes hear their parties, sometimes there was a doggy barking. This is so heartbreaking.

I was thinking yesterday about all the constant fire drills in American schools that teach you literally nothing else than . . . CONTINUE READING → some afterthoughts

my account of the fire

still smoking after the fire was put out

NYT: A 27-year-old man was killed and dozens of residents were displaced Sunday in a three-alarm fire at a luxury high-rise building in Hell’s Kitchen, officials said.

This was a pretty terrifying hour-and-a-half, being trapped inside a 37th floor apartment by myself, even though, as it turned out, my life was fairly safe the whole time… Counting my blessings today though, and would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to the brave New York City firefighters, our equally brave building staff, 911 operators, all emergency responders and all friends and strangers who offered their support. And to send . . . CONTINUE READING → my account of the fire

Answer to the photo quiz, plus a bumblebee

bumblebee on zinnia

A quick splash of magenta for this rainy and foggy but so amazingly cool(er) day.

The image above was the challenge of the latest photo quiz. And the correct answer is…

– the bud of a zinnia flower!

No one guessed it… but a few people thought it was an artichoke – doesn’t it remarkably look like one? Well, they belong to the same Asteraceae family (that also includes sunflowers, asters and daisies), so it’s not surprising that . . . CONTINUE READING → Answer to the photo quiz, plus a bumblebee

And now cicadas?!

cicada Canaan NY Berkshires July 26 2013

Found this newly emerged alien on a sorrel leaf today… I didn’t even know we have cicadas in Canaan, NY. Couldn’t resist snapping a bunch of closeups. Enjoy! (Or not.)

. . . CONTINUE READING → And now cicadas?!

Japanese beetles, Fatniss, weeds - and some pretty photos

yellow daisy?

What is this, you ask? Brooklyn Battery tunnel? But where are the toll booths?

No, it’s not a tunnel – it’s a woodchuck hole under a rhubarb plant. Fatniss Everdeen is back, ladies and gentlemen, and she dug out an even larger hole in place of the one I foolishly thought I’d sealed last time. Both President S’crow and I grossly underestimated her resilience.

Fatniss has stomped out half of my onions and keeps tasting tomatoes for ripeness.

. . . CONTINUE READING → Japanese beetles, Fatniss, weeds – and some pretty photos