Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Food for Thought

a Turkish garbanzo salad
paired with coffee and cream
satisfies the senses
and calls out to the dream.

Turkish Garbanzo Bean Salad - Vegan

2 cups garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. kalamata olive brine from olive jar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. Dijon Mustard
1/2 t. each:  marjoram, oregano, paprika
1 t. sea salt
black pepper to taste

Mix together all ingredients and serve or refrigerate.  This salad tastes best the next day, after all the flavors have had a chance to seep into the beans. 

Some add feta to make it betta.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Bleeding Heart

It's no secret: I. Love. Dogs.

I almost came home with a miniature Doberman today.  My buddy Steve and I were enjoying ice tea at our usual weekly hangout spot and there was a patron there who had the cutest little Mini Dobie.  Named, appropriately, "Mini."  Her 20 something human was a bit out of his depth both with keeping her under control and with life in general.  His story unfolded as we sat there petting his dog...

He is homeless.  He is looking for work at Mc Donald's.  He was recently in jail which meant that his dog spent some time in a central valley shelter.  The dog was two years old and still in tact.  I gave him advice to spay his dog.  I had to stop myself from offering to take her in myself.  He was waxing poetic about how lovely it would be to have a little of puppies "just like her."  I told him it sounded like the last thing he needed in his life right now.  He asked if we knew any low-cost doggie day care so he could place her while working (when he landed a job).  I  told him, get this, that I would watch his dog for him for free until he could get on his feet.  On one condition.  The dog had to be spayed.  He looked at me warily but took my name and phone number.  I was earnest, I will take the dog while he is working.  Otherwise, the dog will be left unsupervised and in danger of gawd knows what.

This kid seemed gentle and kind, he knew the ins and outs of homelessness and how to stash his stuff so it wouldn't get stolen.  A lady recently gave him $200 to replace his stolen bike.  He's living in a tent.  I don't know how he manages to care for this dog, but the dog is well nourished and has a shiny coat.  She just needs some training so she'll stop barking at other dogs and some people.  Some old guy, nicely dressed, gave our young hero a dressing-down about his dog's behavior, and recommended smacking it on the nose with a newspaper when it barked.  (Eye Roll).  I told the kid that was really 'old school' and instead should firmly say "quit" and then slip him a tiny doggie treat when he quit barking.  Our young hero then said he can't afford doggie treats.  Sigh.

Steve humored my longish conversation with this fella and shared my enthusiasm over this pint-sized Dobie.  He really was a sweetheart. 

I advised the 'rents that I almost came home with a dog today.  And I'm not kidding.  I came close, many times, to asking if the kid wanted me to care for his dog.  But they were obviously bonded.

I think I'll wander back over with some doggie treats and see if I meet up with them again.  Oh, yeah, and a sandwich and drink for the young man.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Weight

Have you been feeling it?  The despair.  The overwhelming weight of a nation that has gone horribly off the tracks?  It's bad, I'll grant you that.  And we've lost some great warriors like Molly Ivins and Joe Bageant. 


I remember losing Martin, and Robert and of course John before the other two.  That was a rough time for our country.  I was only a child at the time and I remember the sadness and tension of all that loss and the uncertainty and worry on the faces of my parents and their friends.  It was like the world was falling apart.

Who do we look to now to lead us through the darkness?  To lift us from the weight of Trayvon's murder, of Texas' regressive laws that support potential life when it comes to stopping women from getting abortions but could care less when it comes to the life of the incarcerated? Who are our leaders now that have any integrity? Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Wendy Davis, Planned Parenthood and its supporters, Chris Hedges, Bill Moyers.  Their messages are a call to action, and yet I feel helpless.  I don't know how to really tangibly make a difference in this era when corporations trump citizenship.  Except to stay knowledgeable, informed. 

I've also come to realize it's important to stay healthy and find joyful things in my days.  It's the only way to counter my world weary soul.  The party may be over, but that doesn't mean I have to stop baking double chocolate cakes.  Or peach/blueberry crumble.  We may go down, but I, for one, intend to go down with as much joy as I can muster.

I made these from Barefoot Contessa recipe.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Just Off the HIghway

There is a place

just off the highway
where dragonflies drop their eggs
into the pond, and hummingbirds
swarm the feeders that have, so far,
delivered 66 pounds of sugar to their frenzied tongues.
A family of quail venture out
to a patch of ground forsaken by squirrels,
and a hawk screams overhead.
Blue jays leap from hanging feeders and send them swinging,
while dove feathers, bone and sinew lie in nearby grass.
Shade of pine, cypress and madrone
promise the day will cool when evening comes
and stars light the night.
I will rest my head upon unfamiliar pillows
and dream of who knows what....

Friday, July 19, 2013


It's 23 days until my cruise to Alaska.  I need a pill to calm me down.  My first ever cruise, not on Carnival thankyouverymuchdoilookstupid.  Before then, I will be attending my grandson's second birthday party.  Seems like 3 months ago I watched him emerge from my daughter's body after a mighty 12 hours of labor at home.

Grateful, yes.  Thankful, yes.  Also thankful for my buddies with whom I am spending a couple of nights in the fragrant forest of Grass Valley.  Check out their monster tomato plants. 

Tonight we eat green beans picked from their garden just moments before they are cooked.  Does it get any better than this?

This week I took a lovely walk through the UC Davis arboretum with my friend J.

I welcomed dad home after a few days away in Portland, happy to report that all was smooth sailing while he was gone.  I didn't get sick; mom didn't fall; I managed to make scrumptious meals that we both enjoyed.  And, best of all, no FOX "news" on the telly for days.  Pure bliss.

A very good week, and now I celebrate Friday with my wonderful friends who are really better than family.  They are a family of my own choosing.  Not by accident of birth.

Happy Friday to you all!  Stay cool, don't overexert in this heat, and HYDRATE dammit.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


My divorce is final today.  It's been a long process, and there is no sorrow, nor elation.  It's now a legal task of changing my name back to my original last name (I hate the term "maiden name").  I have got to contact Social Security, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, my bank, my health care providers, my insurance company, my credit card company, change my passport, get a new library card.  I need to wait for the court papers, finalized, to come my way as proof of legal name change before I start this process.  I wearily wait to have those papers witnessed by complete strangers...yes, I am divorced.  Yep.  Got a divorce.  There is no shame in it, for me, but it's weird to have your life splayed out to paper pushers.  I anticipate the apologies; know that I will explain I'm "all good."  Cough.  Move on.

And truly, I am all good.  The time for hair pulling and teeth gnashing is long past.  Pack up a little more baggage in the ol' suitcase of life.  This is how we do it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Alone

I struggle daily with whether I give a fuck or not.  Or a rat's ass.  Seems lately we are deluged with bat-shit crazy people and policies such as this one.   I know it's Texas, but c'mon!  If they are not allowing feminine hygiene products onto the gallery floor, do they expect women to just drip all over themselves and their seats?  Ew.  I know.  What is in the water down there in Texas and why to mostly Republicans seem to be drinking it?  Were the Democrats and Progressives and Pro-Choice advocates sent a memo that said, "Pssst....don't drink the water for the foreseeable future"?

I recently watched the Frontline show called Two American Families and here, again, I am cast into despair at the ruthless and stupid policy decisions that have robbed America of her greatest dream and source of wealth: the middle class.  It documents the wasteland left behind as corporations closed manufacturing plants and sent those jobs oversees.  It shows the incredible stress and sheer determination of two families to simply stay afloat in this 'new economy.'  It thoroughly debunks the often repeated myth that poor people are just takers and need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

I got a bootstrap for ya, right here.  Come a little closer and I'll demonstrate.

A few years ago I read two phenomenal books that exposed the lies and hypocrisy that are fed to the American people daily:  Nickle and Dimed, and Deer Hunting With Jesus.  Both illustrate the increase in poverty and the decrease in a living wage, and what forces we, the people, are up against.  These books blew my mind and I was sure that they were going to change the dialogue in America.  Silly ol' me.  Why don't people get it?  Pay people good wages, and they buy food, clothing, cars, houses, start businesses, send their kids to expensive schools -- you know, the basic stuff we were led to believe was our birthright as American citizens.

Like climate change, boys and girls, the concentration of wealth by the 1% in this country is REAL.  Do your homework.  We are in the crapper and we think it smells like roses.  We feed struggling families the lie that they are doing something wrong, and the super rich are doing something right.  Truth is, the super rich are destroying our way of life and our democracy through a concerted effort over the past 40 years of policy making.

A Buddhist teacher recently said to me, "No one can imagine a day where you can't even buy water because it is such a rare commodity.  But it is coming."  So, what am I supposed to do with that information?  Breathe deeply?

So yeah, do I give a fuck or not?  I am profoundly overwhelmed by it all.  And I know I'm not alone.

And then there's George Zimmerman's acquittal.  Argh.  Won't even go into it here.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Melted crayons.

Fanciful gardens.

Decorations made from plates and cups and bowls, oh my!

Seqoyah blowing his horn.

Siren and Eden coloring up a storm.

It's been a grand visit.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

He Makes Me Happy

How is it that an almost 2 year old who is fond of breaking down into hysterical fits can make me happy?  He is a drama queen, and when he is upset (which happens often these days) he will throw himself onto the floor and kick his feet until he realizes he's hurting the heels of his tootsies by banging them on the hard tile.  Then he'll stop the heel banging and carry on with the tantrum.

Wouldn't it be bitchin if we, as adults, could do this?  Think of the stress we could release!  The chili a little burnt, the cornbread didn't rise?  Throw yourself on the floor and pound your fists and kick your feet until you are beet red in the face.  Then, spent, get up, grab the car keys and go fetch some Chinese take-out.

Sounds good to me. 

Somebody step all over your presentation at work?  Fuck 'em!  Whaddya think those big conference tables are for, anyway?  They are for throwing our massive adult bodies on!  C'mon!

So, back to the baby.  In between tantrums, he is demonstrating excellent skills such as buckling himself into his stroller.  Or trying to.  He climbs in by himself, spends a good 20 minutes attempting to accomplish something I have a difficult time doing.  (Have you tried those new baby devices?  I mean, really.)

His parents are taking his tantrums in stride, though his mom retreated to the couch when, in a fit, he ripped open a sealed bag of tortilla chips.  She looked as though she could kill him, and asked, "WHY are you being so AWESOME today?!"  Then she stomped into the living room.  She gave herself a little time out.  She's good.

Remember: there is always bed time.  And he goes down easily.  Then we can have silly adult time, which makes me very happy, too.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Life Is Short

Goddammit.  Grab the bull by the horns!  Welcome to my third iteration of my original blog, Out of the Lotus.  I've been writing that blog since December 2005.  Another lifetime ago.  How many seconds would that be?  86,400 x 365 x 8.5.  There you have it.  A lot of time.

Why is this the third go-round, you ask?  I have an unwanted lurker on my first two blogs, and no matter how hard I try to ignore their presence, there they are.  And I feel intruded upon.  And I'm fed UP I tell you!  Life is too god damned short to be jerked around by such ridiculousness, but there you have it.  So, if you're reading this, there's a good chance I sent you a message.  Welcome back.  If you found this randomly, welcome to you, too!  I tend to write about politics, the gay agenda, human rights, poetry, photography, my family and especially my grandson.  I try to stay interesting, though I don't always succeed.  But, I do write what I please, and that's really what 86,400 Seconds is all about.  Carpe Diem.

Let the new blogging commence, and if that lurker returns, well, I just may give up blogging for good.  Sucks, doesn't it?  I don't mind people reading my blog (obviously, or I wouldn't blog)  -- I'm pretty self-revelatory and unabashed about putting my life out there.  It's just this one certain personCurses on you, she-devil!

Pest, be gone! 5 natural ways to make my blog pest free:

  1. change the name
  2. change the url
  3. don't list other blogs I read for awhile
  4. don't post comments on blogs that she knows I read (for awhile)
  5. pull blogs I read off my archived blogs so I can't be followed
I'm giving it a go and hope that you'll join me.  Wish me luck!

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of...