COVID-19

Being out in the world as much as we safely can before cold weather prevents it

Sunday might have been the last warm (upper 70s) day of the year. So Margaret and I went out in the evening for dinner and drinks, to places where we could sit outside. Forgive my regrettable selfie skills, but here we are wrapping up our night with a delicious lowland scotch at a Scottish restaurant on the downtown avenue where all the hip kids go.

I’m sure we’ll have a few nights in October where we can do the same, as long as we dress for chilly weather.

We need to make a point of being out in the world, and of seeing people we care about, as much as we safely can before cold weather prevents it. In Indiana, except for wintertime activities like sledding or snowball fights, we stay inside from sometime in November through sometime in March. That’s four to five months of isolation.

With that in mind, I bought a propane fire pit for our deck. It was advertised as putting out 50,000 BTUs. That sure sounded impressive! I hoped it would make our deck hospitable until it gets truly cold here. We’ve used it a couple of evenings now, inviting extended family to talk and laugh with us.

Unfortunately, the fire pit is warm within only a few feet, and only across your face and torso. After the sun set the other night, temperatures fell into the upper 50s — and we all went in for jackets and blankets. If we keep bundling up and we have a mild autumn, the fire pit could let us use the deck through about the end of October. I guess that’s better than nothing.

Margaret and I have made it clear to the kids who still live with us: no spending time inside with friends, and no going into places where people don’t wear masks (e.g., restaurants). We’ve talked about how we might be able to see our friends and family during the cold months, but so far none of us has come up with any bright ideas.

This is going to be a long winter. We’ll need to show each other extra grace and kindness.

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The bar at Bruxelles

The bar at Bruxelles
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

I suppose any pub in Ireland is, by definition, an Irish pub. This one’s in Dublin. I was surprised all over Ireland by how much Irish pubs were not that different from American pubs, except most pubs in Ireland have far fewer TVs.

Margaret walked up to the bar with her camera to get a close shot of the Guinness taps. She was busy trying to be all artistic when the bartender asked, “Would you like to come ’round and pour one?”

You didn’t have to ask Margaret twice! We’d done the Guinness tour the day before so she already had the technique down. I photographed her doing it with her camera (so who knows where those images are), and then that pint went out to whoever ordered it.

This moment was probably the highlight of our time in Dublin, the kind gesture of a quiet Irishman for a couple of Yanks on holiday.

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Travel

single frame: The bar at Bruxelles

The bar at a pub in Dublin.

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COVID-19

Pre-isolation memories, post-isolation worries

The week before my company asked us all to work from home, and two weeks before Indiana’s governor issued the stay-at-home order, I took a week off. I needed a little time to rest after a surprisingly stressful December, January, and February in the office.

I took a few long photo walks, one in Carmel, one in Broad Ripple, and one in Zionsville. All three times I stopped in a pub. The very thought of doing that now seems so strange, yet so compelling.

I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore. I prefer whiskey. But beer just seems righter after a photo walk. I stopped in the Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indiana’s oldest brew pub, for their Porter. I love a good Porter.

Pause in the photowalk

I also stopped at The Friendly Tavern in Zionsville for lunch and an Anchor Steam. In the early 90s during that era’s beer renaissance, my favorite pub in Terre Haute had Anchor Steam on tap. My goodness but was it good that way. Fast forward nearly 30 years and Anchor Steam is a little hard to find in Indiana. But The Friendly has it in bottles, and I like to order one with my meal, which this day was their fish and chips.

Pause in the photowalk

It looks like I failed to photograph the pint of Guinness I ordered with my lunch at Muldoon’s, an Irish pub in Carmel. Too bad, because my lunch was their Irish pizza, a kind of nachos loaded with crumbled sausage, veggies, and top quality cheese. It’s a massive calorie bomb but it is so good.

Indiana’s stay-at-home order ends tomorrow. Governor Holcomb is sending signals that he intends to allow some businesses to re-open, perhaps in a limited way. He’ll have a press conference tomorrow to announce the changes.

I have conflicting thoughts about it. On the one hand, the shutdown has been a kick in the economy’s teeth and Indiana needs to get back to work. On the other, just because businesses like pubs might reopen doesn’t mean that it will be to full capacity — or that guests won’t be carrying the virus. I’m feeling hinky. I’m unlikely to stop for a beer anytime soon.

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Breathnach's

Breathnach’s Bar
Canon PowerShot S95
2016

I am a homebody. I like to be home. It’s my favorite place to be.

If you’ve followed my many road trips on this blog you might be surprised to read that. I do love to follow the old roads, see where they lead, photograph what’s on them. But then I want to go right home.

Lately I’ve wanted to be anywhere but home. I’m sick of my self, of my anxieties and my worries and my frustrations. I want to shed them. It’s why I’ve found myself pricing airline tickets to go back to Ireland. That was a place where I forgot myself for a while. It was wonderful.

Breathnach’s is a little pub in Oughterard, in County Galway. It’s where we took our first supper in Ireland, Sept. 3, 2016. I forget what we ate, except that it involved plenty of Guinness and a lovely conversation with the bar’s owner.

Margaret caught me dreaming. She gave me immediate permission to buy tickets if I found them under a certain price. She loves to travel and would rather be anywhere but home.

Photography, Travel

single frame: Breathnach’s Bar

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Ike & Jonesey's

Ike & Jonesey’s
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 (at EI 200)

It’s funny how when I go Downtown to have fun, I tend to stay north of Washington Street, which is the north-south dividing line in Indianapolis. I don’t do it on purpose — that’s just how it works out. But now that Margaret has a job Downtown but south of Washington, I’ve walked those Downtown streets and have found that there’s fun to be had there too.

Ike & Jonesey’s has kept their party going for 25 years now. When I moved to Indy in 1994 I remember hearing ads for them on the radio. I guess they have (had?) a very popular dance floor. Finally I know where they are located. Not that I dance. Heavens no.

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Film Photography

single frame: Ike & Jonesey’s

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The Wellington

The Wellington
Yashica Electro 35 GSN
Kodak Tri-X 400
2018

I was there the night The Wellington closed for good. It was just a couple weeks ago. And it was packed, just packed.

This was assuredly the smallest bar in Indianapolis’s Broad Ripple neighborhood, and perhaps in all of Indianapolis. I never measured, of course, but I bet it was no larger than my home’s kitchen and family room, combined.

A group of co-workers from three companies ago have met there the first Wednesday of the month for something like ten years. I’ve always been invited, but I usually had my sons on those Wednesdays and couldn’t go. Now that the parenting-time years are over I was starting to make it most Welly Wednesdays. And now it’s closed.

The gang will find some other Broad Ripple bar. But it won’t be the same.

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Film Photography

single frame: The Wellington

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