Spinach, ham, and cheese omelet

a certain baconlike quality

spinach ham and cheese omeletj
The American Egg Board omelet LOOKS much better than mine.

As I’ve noted several times, I don’t think of myself as much of a cook. My wife is much better. But I prepared food for myself many times when I was single. During the COVID lockdown, when I was retired, but my wife (teacher) and daughter (student) were doing education remotely, I often prepared lunch during the week. It was a good way to get me out of my office, frankly.

Recently, I made a spinach, ham, and cheese omelet. My wife RAVED about it. I thought it was fine. There are a couple of secrets, though, that enhanced the flavor.

Take one or two ounces of fresh spinach. That’s quite a bit, BTW. Put it in the frying pan with 1/4 cup of water per ounce of spinach until it reduces as it cooks. Put the spinach in a small bowl, and dump the water.

Spray the pan with non-stick whatever. Put three slices of deli ham in the pan at medium-high heat until it begins to carmelize, then flip them over and heat them. Take them out of the pan; I put them in the same bowl as the spinach.

Make an omelet. I used five eggs – two for me, two for her, and one for the pan, as my father would say – and about 1/4 cup of milk. As the eggs are beginning to cook, add the spinach – I use a fork – and the ham – you could cut it, but I tear the slices.

Clean-up is fast

When it’s almost cooked, turn down the heat to medium-low and tear up (or cut up) one slice of cheese. I used low-fat Swiss cheese but use what you like. Cover the omelet until the cheese melts, which happens very quickly.

This is extremely easy. The keys are using fresh spinach rather than frozen. (Canned spinach, BTW, is an abomination.) And frying the ham. It takes on a bacony flavor, which is good in my book. I suppose you could use butter or olive oil on the pan.

In any case, it’s easy, fast, and went over well with the better cook in my house. There aren’t many things to clean up – a small bowl and the pan, besides the eating utensils and plates.

Small Lid Stuck in Larger Pan

This happened to me recently. I put a too-small lid on the pan to melt the cheese. It vacuumed shut.  

This site suggests placing the pan in the freezer. If that doesn’t work, then try tapping the pan with a wooden spoon.  Repeat as necessary.

Only then did it recommend what I found in this video, which is to heat the pan. It may be counterintuitive, but it worked!

She works hard for the money

Old Songs Festival

Les Green.Carol PowellOne thing I’ll say about my wife: she works hard for the money. As some of you may know, she retired as a teacher of English as a New Language at the end of June 2022. After a fall, getting COVID, and spending four days in the hospital during her six months “off,” she went back to work.

She’s been the program director of Wizard’s Wardrobe, a one-on-one afterschool tutoring program in Albany’s South End. The tutoring takes place only during the school year. So you’d think that the summer would be relatively easy? Not so much.

She has to compile reports about each student and get them to the parents and the teachers. There are three Saturday field trips in July, including one today.

Additionally, she is doing “tabling,” showing up at various community events trying get more students, tutors, and other volunteers. I know this well because most of the material is currently in our house, specifically in her office, because the Wizard’s workspace is being renovated over the summer. Her “off-season” is exceedingly busy.

Sometimes she is so focused on doing the next thing on her agenda that it is difficult to have a present-tense conversation.

Take a break

When she takes a break and says she wants to go to the cinema, I always say yes, because movies. Still, she totally surprised me when she suggested attending the Old Songs Festival. If we were going to go, it had to be on Friday, because Saturday was a high school graduation party and Sunday was likewise busy.

For the uninitiated, Old Songs, taking place at the Altamont Fairgrounds,  is “a family-friendly festival of folk, traditional, Celtic, and world music and dance. ” It “is known for its relaxed atmosphere, interactive sessions and workshops, hands-on experience and participatory nature. In addition to evening concerts each night, there are over 100 daytime workshops, dances or performances. Also featured are craft, food and instrument vendors, and a well-run children’s activity area.”

It’s been going on since the early 1980s. I had attended it several times, having purchased music there. But I had not attended it in two decades, before our daughter was born. My wife had never been there at all.

It had been so long since I had been there that I forgot that we could bring our own lawn chairs. We sat in the Dutch Barn and saw Rum Ragged, a very fine Newfoundland band, followed by the ‘genre-bending” Gaslight Tinkers on the main stage.

We checked out the West African Drum Circle at the grandstand before returning to the barn for Open Mic, with lots of fine musicians. You can download an album by Drew Jacobs, my favorite of which is Dylan’s Just Screwin’ With You.

That evening

After eating some very good Jamaican fare, we listened to the Main Stage Concert. Forty Degrees South from Australia, Matt and Kim Watroba, Andy Cohen, Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen. Then Tret Fure who used to play with Cris Williamson, who I have on vinyl. They were all fine sets. we left around 8:30 pm, not before the rain came.

My wife LOVED it! She wants to go again next year. We saw our churchmate Harriet, and our friends Broome and Jay were also around somewhere. The power of recreation is quite strong.

i’m sorry she’s doing work on her birthday, an aforementioned field trip, but I hope she enjoys the day regardless.

The pic, BTW, is of my father, Les Green, and my fiancee shortly before our wedding. Song.

The value of the full-body hug

24th wedding anniversary

I am a proponent of the full-body hug.

Let me note that back at my previous church, which I left in 2000, I was known by a few as the Trinity Hugger. Which someone always liked to say was better than being the Trinity Mugger.

At my church, and also among my in-laws, there are people I like to hug and who like to be embraced. However, COVID – it’s always COVID – put the kibosh on that for a good while.

My wife was not a natural hugger, in my experience. Sometimes, she’d give me a side hug, which was better than nothing. Often, though, she d go to bed, and I wouldn’t even know until I saw the bedroom door closed – to keep out the cats, I should add.

At some point, she suggested, and I eagerly agreed, that we should hug twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Not one of those obligatory ones either, when you do it while holding something, but a full-body hug, with hands now free of everything.

This has made me very happy.

Taking care

I don’t know precisely when FBH, as we call it, started. I’m fairly sure it was after my wife’s leg trauma last fall.    It wasn’t intentionally a quid pro quo, but I’ve noted that she’s better at taking care of my emotional needs after I unexpectedly had to take care of her physical needs.

As a result, I think we’re in a better place. We’re always punning each other, but historically, hers had often been groan-worthy to my ears. For whatever reason, her banter is sharper. This is situational humor, so I can’t recreate any specific examples, but it’s true.

This is our 24th wedding anniversary. There’s less than a 50/50 chance she’ll read this since she seldom reads my blog. Moreover, I’ve told her that I ALWAYS write about her on her birthday and about us on our anniversary. It used to bug me a little, but now I’m at, “Hey, it’s her choice.”

Happy anniversary, dear. We should get a newer picture.

No place like home


The AmeriNZ guy Arthur wrote about No place like home. A core paragraph: “For 24 years, my home wasn’t really a physical place—after all, Nigel and I lived in five different houses in three completely different areas in New Zealand. Instead, for me, ‘home’ was wherever Nigel and our furbabies were. That began to unravel when Nigel died.”

This got me thinking. I’ve lived in 30+ different places. How many of them were actually home? I’m leaving off a few places where I stayed anywhere from four days to two months except one.

5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY: the home I grew up in. Even though my room was defined by a partition, the ceiling was a painting of the solar system I commissioned my father to create. HOME.

Scudder Hall, New Paltz, NY (1971-72). A dorm is NOT HOME, though it was a pleasant enough experience. 29 Ackley Avenue, Johnson City, NY (1972). My parents moved there during my freshman year. NOT HOME.

New Paltz

The roach-infested place the Okie and I lived for two months in Kingston, NY (1972), assuredly NOT HOME. Colonial Arms, New Paltz (1972-1974). The Okie and I had people over. My neighbor Debi and I went grocery shopping together. On the other hand, the Okie, without my knowledge, let alone consent, invited people to crash with us for extended periods. HOME-ISH.

13 Maple Street, Binghamton, NY (1975). My grandma’s house, where I had no heat: NOT HOME. Three or four places in New Paltz (1975-76): NOT HOME.

The 1977 sojourn: my parents’ home in Charlotte, NC; my sister’s apartment in Queens, NY; Candid Yam’s sofa in New Paltz; my friend’s place in Schenectady. NOT HOME. The place on Eastern Parkway, Schenectady (1978-79), with two roomies. It may have been Sheila’s home, but for me, NOT HOME.

Albany, NY

First apartments in Albany (1978-80). It had a great sunken living room. But then the house was sold, and we had to move upstairs. NOT HOME.

223 Lancaster Street, Albany (1981-1983). I was working at FantaCo, a short distance away. My hangouts were Washington Park and Lark Street. My neighbors were great, including my friend Jessica and a couple of octogenarians, who gave me their 78s. At least a few times, I threw parties. HOME.

Madison Ave. I moved in because the Lancaster landlord threw everyone out to refurbish it. NOT HOME. 264 Western Ave. with the gospel writers Mark and John. HOME-ISH. The now-boarded-up 437 Second Street I wrote about; that, and the next place, HOME. The first time on Hudson Avenue and Hackett Blvd.: we could not have many guests for reasons. NOT HOME.

Home stretch

I especially liked the second time on Hudson Avenue, where I stayed for over four years. I actually carried petitions for my local city council person and worked the polls. My church and the YMCA, where I played racquetball, were within easy walking distance. Work was easy to get to. And my late friend Raoul had lived in the identical building next door until he died in 1983. HOME.

340 Manning Blvd. This is where my wife and I lived when we first got married. It had been her place before that. One of the rare, valuable things our pastor told us was that we ought to get a place that was ours. I always felt that my stuff, and therefore I, was being squeezed into that place. NOT HOME. Fortunately, I was there for only one year.

My current abode, since 2000. we took months to find a place we liked and could afford. It’s convenient. On ZOOM calls, you only see a small portion of the built-in bookcases. And, of course, our daughter was raised here. Fer sure, HOME.

My wife in the hospital

What’s the diagnosis?

in the hospitalMy wife said that her being in the hospital was easier for me than taking care of her when she was home. I don’t think that was necessarily true.

For while I was helping her with many tasks she normally did on her own, as well as doing most of the household chores, coming to the hospital daily had its own challenges.

Friday, October 14: I went to the hospital and gave my wife my charger because hers got lost in her various moves, and it was the only way I knew how to keep in touch with her. I brought her some magazines and stayed about three hours, which was about my norm on Saturday through Monday.

She was getting a four-hour IV drip for antibiotics, plus others for hydration and other meds.

“Bring the lavender top”

Saturday, October 15: She didn’t have to wear the hospital gown, but she did need me to bring her clothes. I had no idea how she organized her apparel, and why would I? But now I know more than I thought I needed to know. Also, I brought her laptop.

When I was home alone, the house seemed unsettled, with every noise the cats made seemingly amplified. Also, I received many calls, emails, and texts checking in on my wife.

Sunday, October 16: We did Facetime for the very first time, as I used it to show her armoire so that she could pick out her apparel. At the hospital, she beat me at Boggle, which is not unusual.

Monday, October 17: She thought she would come home today but nope, not until tomorrow. I watched as the nurse showed me how to treat the wounds on her leg. The infection started on her left ankle, but the area on her lower shin “blistered,” as they called it. It was… well, if you ever saw the climatic scene in the movie Alien…

Another twofer

Tuesday, October 18: I had breakfast with my friend Karen at the Madison Cafe. More correctly, she ate, but I got something to go because I was not allowed to eat in anticipation of another test at St. Peter’s. It was a CT ANGIO CHEST WO AND/OR W CONTRAST; got that?

I went to the hospital and got the test. As the notes indicate, “Images were repeated due to motion artifact,” the motion being my need to cough once. Note that I had not only eaten anything but drank nothing as well. I’m wearing a mask. To avoid wrecking a second test, I strained to send saliva down my throat.

My wife was going to be discharged. I was supposed to get hands-on training in treating her leg wounds, but because my procedure took longer, my opportunity passed. The nurse said, “So you finally got here.” My wife thought the nurse was joking with me; maybe.

My BIL Dan took us home. Getting up the four steps to our porch on crutches was a challenge for my wife. Later on, hopping up and down our stairwell was an exhausting chore. So for the next few days, she’d make only one trip downstairs and then one return trip per day. Per the suggestion of our daughter, crawling up proved to be the optimal method.


Over the next week, she slowly improved. While her leg was elevated while she was sitting on the sofa or the bed, she made efforts to walk at least a little. Gradually, her swollen foot started shrinking so that she could wear one of my shoes on her left foot; this would probably go viral had I recorded it. A few days later, had her own shoes.

I treated her wound nearly daily, except when she went to the doctor. The task got easier once I commandeered one of her empty dresser drawers to keep the gauze and abdominal pads et al. Her leg got less red and far less… unappealing. The actual diagnosis is cellulitis, but it’s not vascular, and it may take a month before she sees a specialist who might give a clearer assessment.

As for my situation: the status quo is the way to go. More tests in six months.

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