Quinoa and Coconut Porridge 

This morning I was browsing Instagram (as I am known to do) when I came across this photo of a Vegan Quinoa and Coconut Pudding. I hadn’t had breakfast and it looked damn good so I started looking in vain for the recipe. 

Nowhere to be found. 

Not one to be deterred by the lack of instructions, I headed to the kitchen and got busy with my craft. I came up with the following as a start.

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk (I’m not vegan and I won’t ever be one)
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk (Thai Kitchen, organic)

Of course, I washed the quinoa first and then set the ingredients on the stove and brought them to a low boil. I turned down the heat and covered the pot with a lid. After about 15 minutes I checked on things. 

Despite the fact that most of the liquid was absorbed, the quinoa didn’t look like it was done — the hulls were still completely intact.  I figured that there must have been something about the milk/coconut milk mixture that prevented this — I hypothesized that it was the fat content of the coconut milk but that’s just a guess. 

So I added 1/4 cup of water to the pot and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. When I checked, the quinoa was done. 

I garnished the porridge with chopped walnuts, honey and raspberries. It turned out really good and packed a full 15 grams of protein to boot!

Here’s the final recipe:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk (I’m not vegan and I won’t ever be one)
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk (Thai Kitchen, organic)
  • 1/4 cup water

According to MyFitnessPal the porridge packs 290 calories, 11 grams  fat, 37.2 grams carbohydrates, and 10.6 grams protein. (The walnuts made up the difference here folks)

First Ride of 2016

12806050_10209755952441842_73562242598076417_nI got back on the bike today after being off it since October and it felt pretty good.  I was definitely not strong, but it still felt good to be back on two wheels and spinning the legs. I decided that I would take it relatively easy and rode about 30 minutes at about 13 mph.  I logged a little over 8 miles.

I’m certainly not in the shape that I was  a few years ago but that’s to be expected.  I simply haven’t put in the time on the bike and I made some choices in lifestyle that severely impacted my fitness.  With that behind me, I am looking forward to making slow but steady progress toward rebuilding my fitness.

An eight mile ride is a start.

A Brief Note to Followers

If you recently followed the blog Sober Boots,you will probably want to sign up to follow it again over at that site.

When I originally started blogging about my experiences as a sober person I didn’t give it much thought and just started posting on my existing blog.  Over time I decided that I would rather have a dedicated space for those thoughts and so I split out the content related to sobriety and a dedicated blog for it.

Of course, if you’d like to read about my other interests, please feel free to keep following this blog.

Out in the woods

I finally got out in the woods yesterday.  I’ve been longing to get out in the woods for a few weeks.  I had high hopes that this would be a family event, but that did not come to pass.  I spent some time at Patapsco State Park near Elkridge, MD yesterday afternoon.  The smell of the decaying leaves, the earth, felt good in my nostrils.

I took an easy hike starting in the Avalon Area of the park, over the swinging bridge, and north on the paved path until I came to the “Forest Glen Path.” I took this path which ascends from the Patapsco valley toward Catonsville, MD.  I saw a few other walkers on the path but it was far from crowded.  Just what I needed — a bit of solitude and time alone.

The weather was a bit cold for mid October in MD, but I was happy for it.  Also, there seemed to be a front moving through and the sky alternated between cloudy and sunny.  There was a brief period of light rain.  I was glad to be wearing my new  Gore-Tex shell.  I have Mrs. TKD to thank for the reminder to take it as I left the house.

When I got to the end of the trail, I found myself in an area known as the Hilton Area, and there was a really cool playground made of used tires there.  I plan to bring Mr. Grey back to see it.  I showed him pictures of it on-line last night and he said, “I should have gone to Patapsco with you.”  I thought to myself, “yeah, buddy, you should have,” but I kept that thought to myself.

I wish we lived closer to some wilderness.  The fact that we have to get in the car to find some empty spaces really wears on me.  Growing up I had open spaces right across the street from our house.  I could go out and be in farmer’s fields in as little as 100 yards.

I enjoyed playing outside in the fields for hours upon end.  Sometimes I saw wildlife.  Sometimes I climbed up trees and hung out in them until the sun set.  Sometimes I ate wild raspberries.  Sometimes I got poison ivy.  Sometimes that happened in February (the poison ivy).

There was an old abandoned house that was nearby, tucked back in the woods.  I usually didn’t remember that it was there, and didn’t go to find it very often, but every now and then, I came upon it and was always surprised to find it.

Things were different when I was a kid.  I roamed around those fields and woods alone for hours at a young age, perhaps 9 or 10 years old.  I can’t imaging letting Mr. Grey out in the wilderness on his own.  And then again, I wonder if it would be really good for him.

It probably would.

semicolon ;

IMG_0871I couldn’t tell you the exact year.  Nevertheless, the fucking date.

I’ve always remembered it as November 28th.  But, that’s the mind of a 5 year old.

The Unix program “cal” tells me that the 28th of November was on a Monday in 1977.  It tells me that the 28th was on a Tuesday in 1978. I always remember it as 1978, but the math doesn’t add up.

I remember a Saturday.

I remember Laurel, MD.  I remember a 2 bedroom apartment where I lost a couple of teeth.  I remember that I was so damn excited by the ladder on the back of someone’s van;  I could see it from the window of our apartment.  I wanted desperately to climb it;  I did.   I was caught by some dude with lamb chop sideburns and greasy grey hair.

“What are you doing” he asked.
“I’m climbing,” I said.
“It’s not your van,” he said. I felt fear.
“No, It’s not.”  I ran up the stairs to our apartment.

I was 5.


My brother was 3. He doesn’t remember.

The Super Friends were on channel 13, probably; our TV was black and white, definitely.

I could see the colors.  Don’t tell me I couldn’t;  I could.  Everyone knows that Superman has a red cape and blue tights, with a giant golden S on his chest.  Yes, I could see the colors;  fuck black and white.

Who the fuck are you to tell me that I couldn’t see the colors of my heroes?

Really?  Who are you?

The man who would become my dad came out and said, “Boys, your mother has something to tell you…”

And I cried.  For a long time.  My “real dad” was gone.  He died.

He was 28.

I had questions.

How did he die?

Why did he die?
–there was something wrong with his brain–

Why didn’t the Doctors fix it?
–they couldn’t–

They didn’t try hard enough!
–they couldn’t help your dad–

I hate the Doctors!  They DIDN’T DO ENOUGH!!!

Years later I would learn that my dad had tried to take his own life several times.  He was finally successful when he pointed a .22 rifle at the roof of his mouth, and managed to pull the trigger.

To this day, I find the picture awkward.

Somehow, he managed.

I have very few memories of the funeral.  There was a blue and white cross made out of roses, atop the closed casket.  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t see his face at the time.  We rode in a black limo from the funeral home to the cemetery.  (I still don’t know where my father is buried, but I know it’s the same cemetery as my step dad.)  On the way, I must have pissed off the driver.  I’d never been in a car with power windows.

Up. Down. Up. Down.

The driver put on the window lock. Fucking Prick.

I have a vague recollection of the casket being lowered into the ground, on canvas straps, and someone shoveling the first bit of dirt into the grave.

That was that.  Blank.

We maintained contact with my Grandparents for a few years, but sometime (perhaps when I was about 12) that ended.

I grew up without any connection to may blood relatives on my father’s side.

When I was in 4th grade, my mother told me the truth about my father’s death.  I was home (ostensibly sick with a stomach bug) and watching a western from the 1960’s — The Big Valley.  I had a silver cap gun with plastic ivory handles that I was playing with.  When she told me, I modeled putting the barrel in my mouth.  Because, well, when you’re that young, experience teaches.

I never understood.  I probably never will, fully.

There’s a specific kind of pain, that can’t be described — let alone felt, unless you’ve been there.

There’s a specific feeling of hopelessness that nobody understands unless they’ve truly been depressed.  Not your run of the mill teenage angst, but full on depression.  The kind of depression where every thought hurts.  The kind of depression where sunlight is not welcome.  The kind of depression where you can’t imagine getting out of bed, let alone making it through the day until to dusk, when it is okay to go to bed.

If you’ve been here, you understand.  If not, consider yourself blessed — because you are.

My birth father took his own life.  When I understood exactly what that meant, I vowed that never, under any circumstances, would I do the same.  His escape from a wold of hurt, created a vacuum of pain for those who he left behind.

I have precious few memories of my birth father; the few that I have involve nature, rain coats and smiles.

I’m not angry with him. I don’t blame him.  I’ll never understand, and I wish that I could have known him better.  Maybe, made it better.  Probably not, but maybe.

There was a time, not long ago, when I disavowed my birth-father’s family.  I felt abandoned.  I felt ignored.  I felt angry.  I felt alone.

In the last year, I’ve been re-united with my father’s brother, my uncle as well as my cousins (one face to face, the other virtually).  When we first saw each other again, it had been 33 years.  Thirty-three years is long time, but when you’re family, somehow the time gap fades quickly, love takes over and all the hurt goes away.

My son has adopted his great-uncle as his grandfather (at least in his mind) and that makes me incredibly happy.

I recently read about #semicolonproject and #projectsemicolon (seems there’s a dispute about who “founded” the project which really doesn’t matter to me) — I don’t care who came first, the idea is powerful:

The semicolon joins two independent (but related) clauses in a sentence without the use of a transitional word or phrase.

Semicolons indicate a pause; a reflection — perhaps a change in perspective.

A Semicolon is powerful.  More powerful than a period, exclamation point, or a question mark — all of which end a sentence.  A semicolon indicates a willingness to pause… perhaps recollect… perhaps re-think…

Take time —

pause;reflect — live

48 Hours (in Maine)

A Warm Welcome
A Warm Welcome

At around 6:30 AM Friday morning, Mr. Grey came into my room as I got out of the shower and demanded to know, “WHY IS EVERYONE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?” He could be forgiven for yelling as it was still pitch black outside and I was sure he’d forgotten that we were going to Maine.

“It’s only a little bit before we usually get up, buddy, but we’ve got to get moving so we can catch our flight”

“YEAAAA, we get to go on an AIRPLANE?”

We flew up to Manchester, NH from BWI with plans to drive up to Oakland, ME to visit our friends who moved away from Annapolis in July. The drive from MHT to Oakland is an easy one, even if it is a bit long – 2 hours 45 minutes – but it was worth it to save nearly $700 over flying into Portland, ME.

Within 10 minutes of our arrival, Mr. Grey had managed to hit Andy with a large rock, right smack on his head. Andy took it in stride – shock – but we felt awful about it. Luckily, the bleeding stopped and we didn’t need to go to the emergency room.

Fishing Camp
Fishing Camp

Andy treated us to two soups, a fall harvest soup (using up the CSA) and seafood chowder for dinner on Friday night. Both were awesome and just right as the temperature started to dip down into the 40’s. After dinner (and getting the kids to bed) we enjoyed some beers by the wood stove.

Saturday was jam-packed, with a morning hike led by Shawn, a trip to the Post Office Cafe in Mt. Vernon, a stop at Day’s General Store in Belgrade, and a trip out in the boat for a bit of fishing. As usual, the 5 and 6 year olds were more interested in the boat ride and playing with the lures than actually fishing, but that didn’t stop Andy and me from casting a few lines. (Shawn and Mrs. TKD snuck off to town and did a little shopping while we attempted to fish.)

Again, dinner was fantastic – steamed Maine lobsters – and we had a great time talking about everything from fishing to the merits of the current educational system to whether or not the US economy is off the rails.

Sunday came too quickly and the regret of not staying an extra night sunk. We packed up the rental car and drove down the driveway. By 5:30 we were back in our house in MD. Two things struck me: We live a lot closer to our neighbors, and the trees were all still green.

The Cove
The Cove