Thursday, August 28, 2014

Waning Days of Summer

 School started yesterday and the elementary school behind our house was finally populated with playing children.  It was fun to watch them tossing red rubber balls into the sycamore tree just over the fence.  They darted across the grassy playing field where we run our dogs, and it made me think how good it is that we are (all) diligent about picking up our dogs' messes.
Last evening we went to the Farmer's Market. On Wednesday nights through October the market is even more festive with a live band, food booths and wine and beer.  We were lucky to catch a great local band, Yolo Mambo, who played a variety of styles from Celtic to Brazilian to jazz. 

Monsieur took many photos of the band, and chatted them up, as is his way.  He bought a couple of CDs and I had to laugh --  if you only knew how many moving boxes of CDs he gave away and sold over the last few months.  This man has an iTunes library of over 40,000 songs, I kid you not.

I think he likes music.

I enjoyed the children at Central Park very much and of course wished my grandson were there.  They loved the music, and generally running around with their abundant kid energy.

The girl in the purple skirt was twirling and twirling - this is just one shot.  She was ecstatic.

Davis is quite the family oriented town.  This event had pony rides, jumping tents, all kinds of activities for the kiddies.  There were many young families, all fresh and new with their babies, their swollen bellies, their sturdy toddlers and effervescent pre-schoolers.

People were in the mood for good food, music and meeting up with friends.  We ran into Joe and Linda from the dog park.  Looking all cleaned up.

A satisfying day to be sure.  Children, music, food, fruit so ripe it scents the air under the market tent.  Spicy chicken curry and paneer over rice and avocado/coconut ice cream for dessert.

Sigh.

The Last Days of Summer Before the First Frost           By Tim Bowling

 
Here at the wolf’s throat, at the egress of the howl,
all along the avenue of deer-blink and salmon-kick
where the spider lets its microphone down
into the cave of the blackberry bush—earth echo,
absence of the human voice—wait here
with a bee on your wrist and a fly on your cheek,
the tiny sun and tiny eclipse.
It is time to be grateful for the breath
of what you could crush without thought,
a moth, a child’s love, your own life.
There might never be another chance.
How did you find me, the astonished mother says
to her four-year-old boy who’d disappeared
in the crowds at the music festival.
I followed my heart, he shrugs,
so matter-of-fact you might not see
behind his words
(o hover and feed, but not too long)

the bee trails turning to ice as they’re flown.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

From Each...To Each

In case you've been on a space visit to another planet, you have heard about the Ice Bucket challenge to raise money for ALS research.  I donated enough dough last week to a film maker who promised to do the challenge if she got an Assoc. Producer to help fund her film.  So I became that donor. That wasn't really the reason I donated; I donated because I believe in her project and want to see it completed and seen by audiences.

But back to ice bucket challenge:  I'm now seeing articles that state that only 27% of money raised by the ALS Association actually go into ALS research.  A lot of the other money goes into lobbying efforts, to get the policy makers on board and hopefully get legislation that would lead to more funding for research, presumably.

I think everyone who has participated in the challenge is doing it for a good reason -- they want to help, and they are helping, somewhat.  But the thing as gone so bloody viral and people have no time or inclination to research (ha) the organization the money is funding.  Myself included.  I have mixed feelings about what seems to be a paltry percentage going to actual research.  I don't know how other organizations do it, like March of Dimes, American Diabetes Assoc., etc.  I looked up the MS Society and see that they claim 83% of donations go to "Research/Programs/Education."  Within that 83%, what percentage goes to research?  And what are the programs and education components?  I'd like to see more transparency.

My blogger friend Elizabeth had a post recently talking about the fight for public money for all the various diseases out there.  Her friend Yvonne makes a compelling argument for public funding of research dollars as opposed to relying on individual donations when making research decisions.  But this is America, and that would be socialized medicine, don't you know?  The stuff of commie pinko nations with poor, devastated national health care systems with a high percentage of bad outcomes?  (If you believe this, watch "Sicko.")

The problem of funding health care and research is a complex one.  I feel the same way about funding education in this country.  Why should it be left up to how much funding in property tax a school district can expect?  Why isn't there a national education policy that ensures equal access to education for all citizens K-12 and college as well?  People coming up through the school system are the future of this country, yet we invest paltry dollars into providing them with a world class education.

I don't know where I'm going with all of this, but I do know that I have made an investment in Laine's documentary that I can feel proud of.  Whether it gets made or not, I'm helping her crew with their filming costs and it's a risk I'm happy to take in hopes that the film is produced.  If you'd like to see information about her documentary, and how you can help, go to this link.  There are many levels to donate, and she would be happy with whatever you can do.  So would I.

I call on all my creative friends to seriously consider a donation.  WE know how hard it is to get our work made and out there in the world.  Help a fellow artist in her quest -- I think it will be an inspiring and uplifting documentary film and I can't wait!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Posts from La Maison du Bonhuer

I have settled on a name for our new abode: La Maison du Bonhuer, or, House of  Happiness.  It fits perfectly.  There is a French comedy film by that name, as well as a B&B in France.  But this one, here, is ours and ours alone.

While unpacking cookbooks yesterday, Monsieur and I came across this beat up book, The Bride's Cookbook.  It boasts "Menus for a happy marriage: 300 recipes dedicated to the proposition that a well fed groom is a husband forever."

Published in 1958, the first page says, "1,000 Ways to Please your Husband."

What pressure.  What presumption.  It's comical now, to look back, but when I think about the time in which in was first on sale, this kind of thinking in America was what popular culture was pushing.

This, and prim little plaid shirt dresses and A-line skirts.  It's a Mad Men kind of thing (though I confess to watching only part of an episode of that show).

The book and its ideas are a relic.  And a history lesson, i.e.

"Poultry dishes of all kinds are delicious and, as a rule, economical.  Today's dressed birds (that is, cleaned and drawn) require practically no additional attention before cooking.  You can have a wonderful time trying unusual dishes without having to revert to that old standby, the Sunday roast chicken.  Try some of the newly developed birds such as the Rock Cornish Game Hen or the Cape Hen."

I remember mom cooking up those game hens....but what about "Today's dressed birds..."  How the heck did they come before that?  Feathered?  Unclean?  Guess I'm too young to understand.  I'll have to ask Mother about this.  She'll get a kick out of this and perhaps I'll get some good young-wife-with-three-children-under-5yrs-isolated-in-1950s-nuclear-family stories.

Do you have any old cookbooks about?  I'd love to know what they are and what kind of dishes they write about.  Oh, and by the way, I LOVE roast chicken, Sunday or any other day. Shove some garlic and rosemary under the skin and bake at 400 until done.  Lip smackin' D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TGIF

Life at nuestra casa is just fine. We've got to find a catchy name for the place, however.  Lucy Hollow?  Boo Acres?  Tikwa Gardens?  All three dogs are enjoying the expanse of park behind our house and learning not to bark when the giant mower cuts the grass.  School starts next week, and we'll see how they react to laughing, screaming elementary school children.  We have a neighbor girl who is in love with Lucy and wants to dog-sit her in the worst way.  She'll be starting kindergarten at the school over our back gate.

Driving to the grocery store the other day, we were stopped in traffic as several wild turkeys ran across a busy road.  We've been advised about these roving bands of birds.  A hazard to motorists and cyclists alike.

We've made several car trips north, up highway 113, as it is a less crowded way into Sacramento than the main highway 80.  113 runs right by the house, and once you are on it you are in farm land.  Horse country.  Cattle.  Crops.  A nice ride and a world away from the busy city of Sacramento.

It is so very quiet here.  And to once again have an outdoor space where I can spend time lolling about is pure luxury.  Here I am reading -- I've already secured my card to the local library.

To live with a photographer, well, just be prepared to see yourself a lot.  He does take wonderful photos, especially, but not limited to, people.  He charms them, you see.  Puts them at ease, and snaps away.  It's a special talent, and one that I don't have, the taking of portraits.  He's even taken good portraits of my dad and mom.  Unbelievable.  I've been trying for years with little luck.

A friend posted on FB this morning that our fair city's police department has just acquired mine-resistant military vehicle.  WTF?  You may not be familiar, but a few years ago the campus police pepper sprayed peaceful demonstrators who failed to disperse.  That was here, at UC Davis.

Believe me, I know the utter frustration of trying to control crowds of university students.  It's a no-win situation.  Been there.  Done that.  But to pepper spray them directly in their faces?  When they are sitting on the ground?  Pul-eeze.  Campus police are distinct from Davis city police, but still, this is likely to cause quite the uproar in this left-learning burg.  I'll keep you posted.

Here's to your weekend, may it be peaceful, fun, raucous, whatever you want it to be!  (oh, and p.s., can anyone tell how the hell we got to the last days of August so fast?  Is there a tear in the space-time continuum?)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Higher

You don't need the brainpower of the great Carl Jung to figure this dream out:

Coming home to my apartment in the middle of the city.  My ground floor abode in a high-rise building.  On a lark I decide to get on the elevator and ride to the top.  Up, up, up I go, occasionally greeting fellow riders on the way.  I wonder how it could have taken me so long to make this trip -- I've lived in the building forever.

When I reach the top floor, the elevator opens to a large open space with windows and a deep plush carpet.  There are a couple of folks hanging out there and they greet me.  I marvel at the spaciousness of it all, and they claim that, not only is it spacious, but it costs very little to heat and cool it.  It maintains a steady temperature year round.  But the best part, they say, is outside on the roof. So, out I go.

The view is spectacular!  Not my street level tableau at all, but a view of water, mountains beyond, the city skyline.  The roof is so large, there is a hillock in the center where a group of people sit on a stone patio surrounded by a low wall, enjoying the evening and the vistas.  How in the world could I have not possibly been up here before?  Just look at this!  I'd been living below this, far below, for all these years and never come up here.  Never mind.  I am here now.  And I'll be back.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How the Light Gets In

Today I am moved to share the Cohen lyrics to this beautiful and true song.  With the death of Robin Williams, the airwaves and social media is abuzz with heartfelt calls for understanding and kindness.  I think this song says it beautifully.  For those of us who live with the disease of depression, we understand that suicide is sometimes the outcome of this illness.  We pray it won't happen to us.  We work on good self-care.  We do what we can to cultivate the good in our lives, for there is plenty of it when the disease doesn't have us by the throat.

We are all broken, in one way or another.  Be kind.  To yourself most of all.

"Anthem"


The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

Friday, August 8, 2014

TGIF

Bank of America tentatively agrees to pay up between $16 billion and $17 billion — by far the largest Justice Department settlement arising from the economic meltdown.  Gee, no prison time.  Too bad.  

Meanwhile, in Cambodia, Khmer Rouge leaders Khieu Samphan, the regime's 83-year-old former head of state, and Nuon Chea, its 88-year-old chief ideologue, are sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity.  35 years too late but oh well.  

Hamas still threatening Israel.  What a bloody mess.

Here at home, we are getting to know the hardware store, where they sent us to three different locations to get a closet dowel cut to size.  And...you guessed it, we measured wrong.

We were in urgent need of caffeine and went to Pachamama for a machiato that was bitter and strong.  We signed up for their tin can program, which gets us an airtight coffee can and discounted beans to fill it up as we wish.  This deal is for locals only, mind you.  Of course, they didn't ask for ID....

Fortified, we wandered across the street to eat a burger before returning home for a much needed nap.  The mister carried on while I slept.  And I slept hard.  There has only been one day since our move a week ago that I haven't been flat-out wiped.  Extreme heat and relentless unpacking and searching through boxes has taken its toll on this woman.  The mister performed some major magic yesterday and I arrived home after errands to see a transformed interior landscape.

So, life goes on.  In all of its crazy manifestations.  Hope yours is tripping gaily along.  Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's Marrying Day

We're a modern couple.  We move in first, and then we get married.  Tomorrow we go to the courthouse for a civil ceremony that will be very casual and witnessed by my parents.

We are eschewing a 'wedding,' feeling that is it quite unnecessary and not "us" at all.  I already feel married, actually.  At 57, a traditional wedding feels rather comedic.  We will have our civil ceremony and then go to  lovely lunch at Biba with my parents, who are tickled pink at this wonderful turn of events in my life.  The Mister and I feel this is a serious undertaking, and it has great meaning for us.  We feel it is private, intimate, and simple in its lack of fuss and bother.  It's the way we want it, and at our ages, we get to do what WE WANT!

photo by The Mister
I never saw this coming.  The Mister was the biggest surprise of my adult life.  I thought I was a dyed in the wool lesbian, or, at least as I tended to say, a "bisexual lesbian."  Sexual politics can be weird sometimes, and I've know former gay and bisexual people who ended up with opposite sex partners only to lose the friendships with their queer compadres.  Or trans people who lost all their queer friends--and maybe hetero friends as well.  I, however, am a lucky woman, who has the full support and love of my queer friends, my straight friends and family, my trans family, my hippie family and my republican family.  Truly a rainbow!  But it happens, I believe, because LOVE is LOVE and people can see it a mile away.  They love you, and they are happy for you. 

As we sat in our new home this evening, exhausted from another day of unpacking, we shared a cocktail, cheese and crackers, and marveled at how perfect this all is.  I could almost succumb to L'Embarras des richesses, but I won't.  Because when life is this good, it's time to full-on celebrate.  To be humble, for certain, but to luxuriate in one's good fortune.

I believe in celebrating and honoring love in all its manifestations.  It is as varied as we are.  I feel incredibly lucky, and deserving of this solid love.

We got a chance
Hot dog darlin'
We got a chance
No more no more
Fly-by-night romance
We got this solid love
Love has always made me
Feel so uneasy
I couldn't relax and just be me
More like some strange disease
Than this solid love

Tested and blessed darlin'

I'm gonna give you my very best
You're my hope
You're my happiness
You
Open my heart you do
Open my heart
You do
Yes you do


Joni Mitchell, 1982

Voici pour vous ma douce homme, Je t'aime tellement beaucoup.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Surly Bonds

My dad slipped the surly bonds of earth on January 13.  He'd had a massive stroke on the ninth and doctors were clear he was not going t...