Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random Thoughts

Back by unpopular demand,

I present more of my random thoughts.

I love this time of year when the chives are blooming

and the lettuce leaves are ready for harvesting.

If you have never tried chive blossoms,

you should.

They are peppery and piquant and add a nice spice

to an otherwise ordinary salad.
Just remember to first rinse them well
to remove any little bug-wuggies.


they only bloom for a short time in the spring.

Guess someone at my local Kroger figured out their mistake.

And finally,

just how many men does it take to dig a hole?

Let's see....


One to dig the hole and

three to stand around and watch,

er, supervise.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Calm After the Storms

Sometimes the best vignettes

arrive after all the furor has died down.

Such it was tonight.

The moon peeks out from behind the clouds.*

This is an eerie landscape without boundaries,

always changing and rearranging.

Nature at its heart is wild and unfathomable.

*Please note that these pictures were obtained using

the night landscape setting on my camera and

by steadying the camera on a tripod.

Sometimes it really does pay to be patient and prepared.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back to Japan

Since I have been spinning my culinary wheels in Asia,

I decided to revisit some of my favorite local restaurants

while I wait for my passport to be approved

so I can move on in the world culinary food tour.

May I present Shrimp Tempura?

As you may recall,

the Foodie girls visited this fine Japanese restaurant

over two years ago.

Please feel free to click on the images to read

the sometimes amusing dish names and descriptions.

Domo Japanese Steak and Sushi House

is highly regarded here in B-town.

The sushi bar was barren this fine day.

Check out the wooden boats on the hanging shelf.

A laminated place mat teaches the uninitiated about

different sushi offerings.


I have found that I have no taste for nori,

so I don't care for many of these tidbits.

The salad with the spicy, piquant and yet oddly endearing

salad dressing arrives along with a bowl of Miso soup.

And then my entree makes its grand entrance.

Three large shrimp were presented,

stretched straight and lightly and perfectly fried

in a tempura batter.

Also included were tempura-battered slices of

sweet potato,

green beans,





and carrot.

As much as I like mushrooms,

I simply did not care for them in this application.

The first piece of broccoli was sublime,

but the second one was heavy and overbearing,

perhaps owing to being cool by the time I got to it.

The sweet potato and carrot were delicious

and the green beans were to die for.

The sticky rice was nice,

but I really could not discern much flavor

or even much use from the thin sauce.


the real stars of this dish were the shrimp.

The chef achieved the nearly impossible

and cooked them to perfection.

This is one time I would have happily

abandoned my veggies and just feasted on the shrimp.

Well done.

Thank you, Domo, for a very nice lunch.

The Calm Before the Storm

April has finally been living up to its reputation

as a rainy month.

That is a good thing too as the ground had begun cracking

and working out in the garden was nearly a useless endeavor.

A more apt description might be the calm between the storms.

The setting sun highlights the clouds during a lull in the rains.

The resulting light was ethereal and eerie.

After the sunset more rain was to come.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Minx Mayhem

Minx is a busy little kitty.

Here he hops in an empty waste basket.

Minx checks out an empty box.

Kitties love boxes.

Minx also likes shoes.

Here, he sits with the Foodie Boyfriend's hot pink shoes.

Minx found another box.

Just make yourself at home, Minx.

Now he's bagging it.

And back in the box.

Don't bother getting kitties expensive gifts.

Just give them empty boxes.

Minx likes to play with my plants.

Uh oh.

Now Minx has found trouble.

Soon after we moved here,

we found that we couldn't have the lower sash open

as Midnight quickly learned how to push out the screen

and escape out the window.


these are double-sash windows,

meaning that both the upper and lower sashes open.

But our little industrious Minx has discovered

something that our very clever Midnight never did:

he can climb up the window.

Yep, this is trouble.

Foiled for the moment,

Minx guards the stairs.

Another nice day and Minx sees another chance to escape!

No, no, Minx.

You don't belong up there!

" Hmph, darn human closed the window on me."

Poor Minx.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Welcome to the B-Line Trail!


so I lifted the title from the placards at either

end of the so far-completed trail.

On a historical note,

the B-Line Trail is based upon

the old Monon Train route.

I have been on a mission lately to document

the newly developed B-Line Trail.

The first phase opened this past year and is 0.6 miles long.

The second phase has been awarded to a contractor

and is set to begin construction soon.

Once completed,

the entire B-Line Trail will be 3 miles long

and will connect to Bloomington Rail-Trail.

The first completed section of the B-Line Trail

has recently opened just to

the west of downtown Bloomington.

The current trail runs from Second Street up to Rogers Street.

Since I started my journey from Second Street,
we will progress Northward.

This year our town is hoping to win the title of
for a city our size.

Recently I was able to speak with the director of

Hilltop Garden Center at Indiana University.

He told me that IU is working with

the town of Bloomington to win the title of

America in Bloom.


as with most sectors in our current economy,

IU has had to severely cut back

on its gardening and grounds staffing and costs.

Here we are about a block south of the old railroad

overpass over 3rd Street.

Limestone blocks attempt to hold back the hillside.

Someone left us a greeting.

At several points along the trail,

evergreens are planted in these containers.

The containers appear to be made with recycled glass.

Benches await weary travelers all along the trail.


shade is a bit lacking this early in the game.

And, if you recall from an earlier post,

the city belatedly realized that they erred

in planting Cleveland Select Pear trees

along the pathway,

as they can, possibly, be invasive

and are non-natives.

Now they want to tear out all these trees

and replant more eco-friendly (i.e., native) trees.

Way to cost the taxpayers more money.

I think a much more practical and economical

solution would be to wait until the trees begin splitting

in high winds before replacing them.

But what do I know?

Okay, um,

stepping off my soap box now.

Hey, isn't this a pretty sight?

Sometimes the resting places are shaded.

The powers that be wish for us to become informed.

And so shall it be.

The former Graham Auto Sales building now houses

the Bloomington Convention Center.


Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Just in case you forgot,

this is the B-Line Trail.

This is the old railroad overpass

that was gussied up for the B-Line Trail.

A planting bed overlooking busy 3rd Street.

I think I would weep if I knew how much money

the city spent on "beautifying" this railroad overpass.

But I can't argue that the results are interesting.

I'm looking over the 3rd Street passover,

that I overlooked before...

Okay, I'll stop now.

For a dollar.

But, but, the railroad passes over.

The road passes under.

I'm confuzzled.

Hold me.

And farther north,

we are adjacent to Wonderlab.

So that's where that thing is.

See what happens when one doesn't have children of a certain age?

A shaded spot on the trail.

My Master Gardener Association has been instrumental

in developing and maintaining this garden for our

community's children.

I'm so proud of our gardeners.

And now join me in a stroll through the garden.

I rather think that a fountain is meant to be in this space.

It looks like Sputnik landed in a metal tub.

Just lovely.

I wish to thank our Master Gardeners for all of their hard work.

And here we learn that Bloomington has always welcomed

the weary traveler.

Funny story here and let's see if I can get it straight:

The owner of this mural does not own the building

to which it is attached.

Or the mural is on a layer of bricks that someone else owns.

Something like that.


So are we all.

It took some legal wrangling and much social wailing

for the matter to be resolved.

To wit, the essence of the mural will be preserved

and will be replaced on the building

once the building has been stabilized.

Of course, the owner of the land facing the mural

can always choose to build (on that eight or ten foot sliver of land),

thus forever hiding the mural.

So, who won and who lost?

Only time will tell.

Now that you have seen some of the good,

it's time to see some of the bad.

Here at the southern end of the

so-far completed part of the trail

concrete, asphault and weeds

assault the trail users' eyes.

Bloomington is a city of businesses.

And let's face it,

not all businesses are pretty.

Bloomington is also home to some gangs.

Maybe I should be glad that I can't decipher this mess?

Bloomington will need to clear up

some of these problems if they wish to

truly make this a beautiful city.

But these are no problems that a few good plants can't cure,

or at least hide.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And now on to some of the good.

Whimsical folk art.

Here we find some meaningful graffiti.

Hm, a book on a stand?

Why does this remind me of a sermon on Sunday morning?

Another history lesson.

I will leave it to you to click on the picture and learn.

Ah, and now we finally get to the crux of the matter.

The B-Line Trail was built on the remains of the old

Monon Rail Line.

Is it just me,

or would some sweet-scented vines look divine here?

Heading back to the 3rd Street overpass.


and now I find out where Le Petit Cafe is.

A couple of weeks ago I had stepped out of a meeting downtown

when a gentleman stopped me to ask if I knew

where this restaurant was.

Unfortunately, I didn't at the time,

and as I learned this day,

the gentleman had been directed to the wrong street.

I do hope he eventually found his destination and his friends.

Ah, would you look?

A petit city scape.

Some artistic "graffiti."

This seems to be based on Disney's A Jungle Book.

See, graffiti can be beautiful.

And now we are getting to the crux of the matter.

This is the old Johnson Creamery Factory.

It seems that some lawyers have now taken refuge here.

Read and enjoy.

Railroads and their peripherals.

Ah, I had heard about this tableau.

This here is a 23 foot tall limestone table and chairs.

This is a massive tablescape.

Sandra Lee,

eat your heart out.

I'm rather pleased with this picture.

Too bad I couldn't see anything for five minutes afterwards.

This is a close second.

The Showers Building.

This building now houses Bloomington City Offices.

What better way to advertise than on the chimney?

The old Illinois Central Freight Station.

Well, by this time I have had my massage

and have been out walking for a while more.

I think it's time for lunch.

I walked over half a block to the Bloomington Bagel Company

and ordered an Everything Bagel with smoked turkey and toppings.

I then grabbed my ice water from my car and found a bench

(in the sun, unfortunately) by the Showers Complex.

Pretty tasty,

but I've never found a bagel that could

outshine the very first bagel sandwich I ever had.

And that special bagel was found in Oxford, Ohio,

the home of Miami University.

But that is a different story and I digress.

This is the seasonal home of the Bloomington Farmer's Market.

The Showers building was once the largest

furniture factory in the world.

The saw-tooth roof is rather unique.

More art along the trail.

Oops, I think we have reached the end of the trail.

Yep, that's the end of the trail.

For now...

And we are welcomed again to the B-Line Trail.

A reminder to pedestrians, bikers and skaters

to heed motorized cross traffic.

But considering that on this day I witnessed a man

walking in front of a firetruck,

forcing the firetruck to slam on the brakes,
I don't hold out much hope for behavior modification.

I'm sure that you recognize this scene

from this past weekend's post.

And here is the preserved amonia compressor

that was used in the refrigeration process

at Johnson's Creamery.

I hoped you enjoyed this little jaunt along the B-Line Trail.