Elena Kagan refused to roll over yesterday in response to Jeff Sessions' (R-Alabama) badgering about her handling of military recruiting while the dean the Harvard School of Law. After her succinct explanation that ended with her clearly stating that they did exactly what the Department of Defense asked them to do, Sessions said "I'm just a little taken aback by the tone of your remarks."

I couldn't hate our nation's congressmen more. Mr. Sessions, who the hell do you think you are?


So it was like this, only with more weeds:
Now it's like this.
SO much better. Should be great when it fills out.

In the dirt

We couldn't stand it anymore. We've had Brett's associate from the firm mowing the grass (he likes yard work, and he's cheap!), meanwhile the yews and bushes of uncertain lineage that ring the house have grown to epic proportions. They started out old and huge anyway, now its starting to look like the Munster's house, so we've had him begin pulling them out.

I felt like some shrubs beat no shrubs, but I was wrong. Even the dirt and stumps look neater than the six foot high yews out front and the big hairy whatevers blocking the dining room windows.

Brett went to El Dorado for his reunion over the weekend, and left to my own devices I stopped by the nursery and picked up a few ornamental grasses. I did wait until he got home Sunday to make sure he agreed with their placement, and they're now softening the the corners by the garage door and the side porch.

Between the side porch and the garage door is a little 3X5 bed wedged between the house and the sidewalk. On a whim tonight I ran to Lowe's, thinking I'd get some landscape fabric and weed the empty bed and put down some cloth and think about planting. Then I walked out among the plants in the garden center.

It took me a few hours, but the bed has been weeded, tilled, covered with cloth, and now contains an azelea, a coreopsis, a pencil holly, two artemesia and a curly reed grass. It's all looking a bit small now but I planted planning for everything to fill out. The one thing I completely forgot to buy was mulch. I'll get a bag of that tomorrow and post a photo when it's down.

Jedi masters

Sunday night Rachel had us over for dinner to celebrate her son's 4th birthday. His name is Jack and he's into Star Wars (among a number of other things) at the moment, so the light sabers Brett bought him (with light and sound effects!) were a huge hit.
Me blowing bubbles with the birthday boy's little sister

Popular with us was the sangria and the huge platter of grilled veggies, steak, chicken and fish we all enjoyed together before presents were opened.

Jack and Uncle Brett doing battle in between dinner and cake.

The meal was so good in fact, that I recreated it here at home tonight for Brett and I. We're still working on our pitcher of sangria. I was pleased with my mixed grill, but then I grilled some peaches to have over ice cream, and it kind of fell flat. The little doughnut peaches aren't optimal for grilling, lesson learned. Last night Rachel served the Chantilly Berry Cake from Whole Foods. Or as we like to call it, The Crack Cake. I'm generally opposed to store-bought birthday cakes (my mama had mad kitchen skills back in the day) but their berry cake with its whipped cream frosting is amazing.

A time for turquoise

A weird blog thing just happened.

I've not been to an auction in ages, but tonight was the spring art & antique auction at KC Auction Company. I wasn't going to buy, but there were a few things I wanted to see. One was this turquoise crackle glazed Pisgah Forest Pottery pot.

There were also a number of good old painted pieces, all in the blue family, strangely enough. Nothing I could use here, but definitely ones I wanted to see and touch. This hutch was the best of the bunch. It could use a cleaning but was in pretty good shape overall, with great paint as you can see. I left before it hit the block but checked the online catalog later and it sold for $675. That's the most I've ever seen a painted piece sell for here.

Oh, so what was the weird blog thing? I got on to upload these pictures and post, and noticed Mrs. Blandings had a new post up, so I took a look. George Terbovich, David Jiminez, and Emily Evans Eerdmans, three gorgeous shots, all related by color. And that color is turquoise.

I feel even better now that the pot came home with me.

Another shopping opportunity

I'm probably late to the party on this, but I just discovered Much like Gilt, only for home furnishings. On Saturdays they have "Tastemaker Tag Sales," and today's was Bunny Williams.

Prices were obscenely high even at half off, but I thought the above pictured hand-forged saw horses were supremely cool. Retailing for $2900 and sold for $1429, its a game I'll never be able to play. Still, it's entertaining to look. It also sent me scrambling to eBay where there was nothing even remotely similar to be found.

I signed up and got right on, but I do see that there's an invitation mechanism too, so if you can't get in and you'd like to shoot me an email ( and I'll send you an invite.

In praise of summer TV

I love (some) summer TV. My favorite summer show of all time starts next week!

We also enjoy
I've picked my pony and will be rooting like hell for adorable 18 year old Kent Boyd.

If the dancing thing doesn't work out I have some ideas on how he can still achieve fame and fortune. Looking at the photo above I wonder if the show stylists aren't thinking the same thing. Either way, he was first out of the chute on tonight's contestant introduction show and performed beautifully. Fingers crossed.

Metal of Order

I mentioned buying a metal box at the monthly Bottoms Up! antique sale Saturday after the big sale at Nell Hills, and tonight I realized I hadn't posted a picture. So when I went into the kitchen to grab it to shoot, what was sitting there with it but the metal basket I bought at the Sparks show just before Memorial Day.

The dealer at Sparks told me it was a crab basket. Being a midwestern boy I have no idea if that's true or not, but it's round and metal and in good shape which was enough for me.

I love metal and steel, and have a bit of a thing for baskets, especially metal ones. I also love a bit of industrial salvage, which I'm certain that heavy handled box is. And finally I've started putting some things to use to do some organizing around here.

A pair of metal locker baskets I've had for ages were perfect for holding hand towels and wash cloths in our old steel medical cabinet right outside the bathroom in our new bedroom. The new box and basket will be ready for our next organizing effort.

Also, how nice it is to take a shot of things in a clean, new room rather than the sickly yellow paint covering most every other room in this house.

Retail Therapy -or- What I'll do for 85% off

First, thank you all for the kind words both here and on the Facebook this past week. It really has been a comfort to know that you were thinking of us. We're doing alright, just trying to keep Alex busy and hoping for a smooth transition to a one dog household. At least for a while.

The photo above shows my place in line this morning at the Nell Hill's tent sale. This replaced the old yearly warehouse sale in Atchison, and was the first one at the KC store at Briarcliff Village. The sale began at 10am, and I got there about 830. The line actually went around the corner of the tent about 20 feet. The group first in line got there at 530 this morning, and I thought I was probably sunk, but by the start of the sale the line circled the tent, snaked across the entire front of the store, and completely past Trezzo Mare restaurant next door. Trezo, incidentally, in a burst of genius set up an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet between the restaurant and the store. Seven bucks and they had no problems making you a plate and bringing it to you in line if you didn't want to risk losing your spot.

Mary Carol's crew also made the rounds with a coffee cart and she herself came through the line letting everyone know about some of the particularly good deals and how things were organized. As they removed the side panels of the tent for light and air the line compacted as everyone folded up their lawn chairs and prepared for battle.

There were a couple of spectacular buys. A handsome couch that retailed for $2800 marked down to $600, and a pair of armless chairs and ottoman covered in a gray and white Imperial Trellis like fabric for 500. Of course they had SOLD signs on them within seconds of the opening. Huge bolts of fabric (the reason I was there) for 25 bucks, and holiday and seasonal greenery (actually pretty good stuff) for a buck a piece.

With no fabric I could use I did dig around (it gets packed, and all those big boxes and laundry baskets the ladies bring didn't help) and came out with a mercury glass butler's ball ($10) and a little concrete faux-bois mirror ($2). There were two big blue and white porcelain jar table lamps that I liked, but the better of the two was broken. The intact one was only $35 but the painting just wasn't that interesting.

After paying up and taking my bag to the car I ran inside to see Rich. With the exception of the summer clothes being worn you would have thought it was the last weekend before Christmas. People EVERYWHERE. I walked around a bit, said hi to Rich, and headed out. His text message to me at 12pm summed it up: "Mother of God it's only noon! The tent is decimated!"

Since I was out I stopped down in the West Bottoms for the Bottoms Up antique sale. There's actually a few first weekend sales now, so you can make day of it if you like. I bought an industrial steel handled box. Not sure exactly what I'll do with it, but it's very cool. I also ran into a few dealers from the mall and Jason from the auction house, so it was nice to see and talk to them for a bit.

Home now for laundry and other weekend chores. And a wine class tonight. Everyone enjoy your weekend!

Brookside's Blackjack: 1998 - 2010


It wasn't all that long before you were born that I was a single guy on the verge of turning 30. Responsible for nothing but myself, obligated to no one, almost grown up but not quite.

I met a nice guy with a friendly dog named Kirby. Pretty soon that nice guy and I were a couple, and I decided that Kirby needed a best friend too. I'd chosen your name before you were even born, and Daddy and I couldn't wait for you to get here.

You were so tiny when we finally went to meet you and bring you home. I held my breath as we set the carrier on the kitchen floor and finally opened the door. Kirby looked at us like "You got me a puppy!" and you came bounding out of the crate ready to play. I think that moment was when I knew you weren't just a dog. You were the last piece, the part that took us from just a couple of guys and a dog, to a family.

I've learned so much from you over the years. You were stubborn, self-involved, demanding, and practically uncorrectable. Fearless, and handsome, always, with those Best in Show eyebrows and that glorious beard. You were also sweet and smart and loving, loyal to your dads, and perhaps most comforting of all, quite likely the happiest dog I've ever known. When I think of you I'll always remember that your reaction to almost anything was to wag your nub.

Your end came unexpectedly, and Daddy and I are both a bit shell-shocked, with schnauzer-shaped holes in our hearts. I truly thought that your last days would come much later, that we had time to spare. And I always hoped that as with Kirby, there would be time for spreading a blanket in the park and having ice cream. Being unable to mark your passing as a family is my only regret.

We loved you dearly Jack, and we'll miss you terribly. I hope you know how grateful we are for your being in our lives, and that we'll carry your memory with us for the rest of our days.

Your Dads