Month: April 2015

Coffee of the Month Club: Sumatra

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Sumatra is an island in Indonesia that’s known for its coffee beans. I’m generally more fond of South American beans, but this organic Sumatra coffee from Trager Brothers is very drinkable. The bag says “Big Body, Long Oaky Finish.” I get the big body, but what they describe as “oaky” I’m tasting more as a feint sourness, good sour like citrus. I taste the oak in a chardonnay, but not here. On the other hand, I’m no super taster, so perhaps the oaky notes are beyond my palate. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of Sumatran coffee you should give this a try. As always, the beans arrived freshly roasted and produced a beautiful bloom when first wet in my pour over. Sumatran coffee is my friend Michele’s favorite type of coffee, so I’ve had a lot of different takes on these beans which are generally roasted to a Full City or Viennese roast. Alas, as you all know by now, I prefer beans that take a lighter roast but Trager Brothers Coffee does a nice job with these beans. You should give them a try.

Dear Mr. Sparrow – A Eulogy

Bird Killer
Bird Killer

Dear Mr. Sparrow,

I’m very sorry about your unfortunate demise. I’m still not sure how you kept getting into our porch. We all rescued you as many times as we could, but the inevitable was bound to happen. Storm has had it out for you since you originally got stuck behind the screen. He lives to kill birds and squirrels, and you Mr. Sparrow, were a bird. I hope your family and friends can take solace in the fact that your end came quickly. I don’t think you saw it coming. It was over very fast. Oddly, since your tragic death, no other birds have made their way into our porch. I still wish I knew how you managed it. You were a mystery Mr. Sparrow, and in your own annoying way, you will be missed.

Sadly, (except for Storm)

The Flanigan Family

**Perhaps now Mr. Sparrow is with the first Mr. Chipmunk

Dog Laundry

Hetty's delicates.
Hetty’s delicates.

Because I belong to the special kind of crazy club that involves owning a tiny dog, yesterday I did her laundry. It’s not unusual for me to throw one of her outfits in the wash with our clothes, but yesterday was the first time I’ve ever done a whole load of just dog clothes. To be fair, it was a small load, between small and medium actually, and the clothes are mostly handmade by my sister Joan, who also has a tiny dog. My sister is creative and can make pretty much anything, and I think she makes dog clothes with leftover bits of fabric and remnants she finds on sale as a kind of relaxation exercise at the end of stressful days. This is why Hetty has enough of a wardrobe to make up a load of laundry by herself. Although technically, Cory’s sweater and a couple of Storm’s coats were in there too. After all of the clothes went through the delicate cycle on my washer, I pulled the wool sweaters (yes, I know) and hung those on a rack to dry while the rest went into the dryer. I sent Joan a text with a picture of the clothes on the rack. She responded that she was surprised I hadn’t taken them to the dry cleaner. My sisters know me well, but alas, I have not quite reached the level of crazy that would have me walking into the dry cleaners with a tiny basket of tiny wool sweaters. I will resist reaching that level for as long as I can.

Spring Planting

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I’m taking full advantage of my nephew’s education in plant biology while he’s staying with us. Today, he continued with his efforts in our yard. Many things have been moved. Many things have been planted. Today he put in:

2 Forsythia
2 Blueberry plants
1 Lemon Balm plant
1 Lavender plant
1 Rosemary plant
6 Marigolds
2 Hellebore
2 Bleeding Hearts
He also moved a tiny Cedar we found growing under the maple tree.

A week ago he planted Rhubarb and Dill and Radishes. Previously, he moved several Azaleas and a Redbud Tree he found growing next to the two Japanese Maples he found entangled in an old fence. They’re doing fabulously. I’ve been super excited by all this planting, because I love plants, but I’m not a very knowledgeable gardener. As it stands now, there should be something blooming in my yard virtually year round, which is super cool.

Seoul Bistro


Yesterday afternoon, I had an impromptu lunch at Seoul Bistro, a new restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia. I went to 3900 Pickett Road to go to Saba, a Yemeni restaurant that The Washingtonian recommended. Unfortunately, Saba doesn’t offer takeout, and I didn’t have time to eat in, so Saba will have to wait until next week. As it turns out though, Seoul Bistro, which has been open only a week, was delicious. Seoul Bistro is a storefront restaurant with a few tables, but looks primarily about takeout. The decorations weren’t done when I went in, but they were working on them while I was there. It’s a little sparse right now, but the food was excellent and I appreciated that the take out packaging was earth friendly and easily recycled. Andrew was very nice and asked if I had any questions about the menu. I didn’t, but I appreciated the offer. I ordered the spicy pork, which came with a side of sweet pickled daikon radish to balance the heat and it was very nicely done. The menu isn’t large but if everything is done as well as the spicy pork then they should have no problem garnering a following. They also have a refrigerated takeout section with gallon buckets of kimchee and other items, including mung bean porridge for hospital patients. How great is that? So if you’re in Fairfax City looking for something good to eat, check out Seoul Bistro.

*Photo by rakratchada torsap courtesy of Free Digital Photos.

Whatever Happened to Grey Gardens

Recently, I watched this film with my father.

Later the same day, we watched this one.

The two films have a lot in common. They are both about two women who have been having the same argument for decades and they hold petty resentments against each other that result in tragedy. In Whatever Happened to Baby Jane the petty resentment leads to murder. In Grey Gardens the tragedy is that it really happened. My father and I had an interesting conversation about the dangers of being stuck in the past and not letting go of grudges. Insightful guy, my father, but this was definitely a departure from his typical viewing. I’m glad we got to see them together though and that we had the opportunity to discuss them. We don’t often have conversations like that, but they’re always good when we do.