Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

This story about a small Texas college converting their football field to an organic farm is probably one of the best things I’ve read in quite a while. I especially enjoyed reading about students’ experiences eating carrots right out of the ground for the very first time, without even any ranch dressing to cover up the taste. There is hope.



Read Full Post »

I drove the twenty miles down Hwy 52 to La Jolla Shores this morning to take a long walk on the beach and snap some pictures for friends in Oklahoma and Ohio. Thought they might like to warm up a little. It was a beautiful, sunny day though not extremely warm. However, there were lots of walkers, surfers, joggers, and cyclists taking advantage of the sunny weather.

While walking down to the Scripps pier, my mind leaped from one topic to the next. So, this will most likely be somewhat disjointed, with no apparent organization. Not exactly stream of consciousness, but close.

On the way to the beach, I stopped for an oil change in the pickup since it had been over 5,000 miles since the last one. They tried to fix the “check engine” light, which has been on now for about two years. No place I’ve taken the vehicle has been able to figure out what is wrong. They reset it but the light comes back on as soon as I start the engine. So, I’ll take it into a mechanic next week to see if they can figure it out. I need to have the light stay off in order to pass the smog test here, needed to register the vehicle in California.

While listening to KPBS while driving, I heard an interview with the author of The Gangster We Are All Looking For. When asked her thoughts about living in San Diego, she said she thinks it’s necessary to leave for a while, then return, to really appreciate living here. Although I was born and lived here for 28 years, I loved my 35 years in Oregon and would go back in a minute. I also enjoyed my short time in Kansas and Oklahoma, except for the weather extremes. In the middle of a hot, muggy summer in Oklahoma, I attempted growing my hair longer and  found out it still had some natural curl. Not a pleasant sight.

No, I don’t like the high prices of everything here, the number of people, standing in long lines for just about everything, or freeway traffic. But, the weather trumps all of it. That, and the beach. My body must be composed of 99% saltwater or something.

After walking in the tide line down to the pier and back, I sat on top of a picnic table in the grassy area and just people-watched for a while. I pulled out a new package of Fig Newtons, marveling at the easy-open pull tab on the top. That made it just too easy to pig out a bit. At least those cookies are fairly healthy. There’s no way I’d dare to buy peanut butter filled Oreos with the same top: they’d be gone in less than ten minutes. And, my teeth would be black.

BTW, how do you eat Oreos? I’ve always carefully separated them, eating the filling first, then the cookies. My friend Lou eats the whole thing at once.

Back to the picnic table. I loved seeing the wonderfully-colored and decorated surfboards. One of them was blue and green plaid. Another was bright yellow with flowers. One guy had bought a bright, shiny red board, and someone else carried one that was light blue with a dark blue, diagonal stripe. All of them now come with an ankle strap to keep the board from getting away too far.

I watched a group of college guys play touch football in the sand. And, I read for a while, A Year by the Sea, by Joan Anderson. This quote made me think for a little bit: “Sometimes I think women are like the fog. We have a knowledge of what is underneath, but our real selves are obscured by what others think of us.”

Food for thought.

Read Full Post »

The Cookie Lady

While volunteering at A Third Place Community Center in Turley, Oklahoma last year, I became known as “The Cookie Lady.” Simple enough–every time I drove the 35 miles down there from Bartlesville, OK, I took along a supply of homemade cookies. They disappeared quickly and people started expecting them. And, who was I to disappoint such wonderful people! Of course, that’s when I was living in a small house and had the use of a regular oven and even a bit of counter space.

Remembering how much people appreciated those cookies, I started making them for the night front desk people at Parry Lodge here in Kanab, Utah. This time it’s a little more difficult because the RV I’m living in doesn’t have an oven nor counter space. I use the toaster oven and shuffle things around a bit in order to get enough room to make the cookies, and it works. Just takes a little patience. I’ve also started taking them on the nights I need to show the Western movies in the hotel coffee shop instead of in the barn, figuring since we can’t have popcorn, soft drinks, or ice cream, at least people can have cookies, coffee, and ice water. After all, who ever watches a movie without something to nibble on?

The most popular ones are the Oatmeal/Raisin/Chocolate Chip cookies, followed by regular Toll House cookies. I even found a great recipe for gluten-free oatmeal/chocolate chip cookies for a friend.

Ingredients are the key. I use real butter, fresh and unsalted, that I’ve found at The Dairy Store in Colorado City, AZ, a short drive through the desert on the way to Hurricane or St. George, Utah. That makes a mediocre cookie into an excellent one. We’re lucky here because we can order really fresh eggs from a friend. Those also make a huge difference. And I always wonder, why bother using fake chocolate chips when real ones taste so wonderful?

Of course, it’s so hard not to chow down on the cookie dough or the finished cookies. I haven’t figured out a good way to handle that problem except willpower. Unfortunately, that’s sometimes in short supply!

Read Full Post »

I’m looking at an expanse of red mud in what used to be a pretty good looking garden here in the high desert of Utah. A big thunderstorm with heavy rain last night did a better job of dirt removal and moving than even the best heavy machinery. It did a pretty good job here, making it necessary for two of us to spend quite a while cleaning things up, using, of all things in the desert, a snow shovel to clear the mud off cement patios. However, the results three miles away in Kanab itself were even worse. Streets, parking lots, and yards were covered with thick red mud. Motel swimming pools resembled the red sea. Workers were out in force trying to clean up all the mess, in some places bringing in large tanker trucks full of water for the cleanup job. Water and mud oozed its way under doors in apartments, houses, motel rooms, and stores. Not pleasant.

Here are some pictures Fran Meadows took early this morning on her way to work.

 Yesterday I bought a book by Craig Childs called The Secret Knowledge of Water. Looking through it this morning, I discovered a chapter entitled “Flood at Kanab.” I’ve always been quite a believer in synchronicity but that was just a little too much.

While looking out at the red mountains behind us tonight, I also thought of friends and former colleagues who have spent two to three days in Phoenix, Arizona demonstrating and participating in actions against Senate Bill 1070. Many of them were Unitarian Universalist ministers and lay people, and a large number were arrested for standing up for their beliefs and for the people who will be most affected by this insane Arizona law. I’m so glad that Federal Judge Bolton rescinded the worst parts of it. However, it still took affect yesterday. One friend emailed me tonight with her experiences overnight in jail. Although I’m still not entirely convinced I’d be brave enough to get arrested, I’m leaning more and more in that direction, realizing it’s more important to stand up for something I believe in than just pretend it will go away or that someone else will do something about it. I feel so proud of everyone who participated and know that if at all possible I will count myself among them next time. 
Lee Marie Sanchez, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim, California, wrote this letter to her congregation about her experience in Phoenix.

Dear UUCA’ers ~

Dawn Usher and I were released from jail today
after spending about 30 hours in Joe Arapaio’s
dungeon… otherwise named the Maricopa County
Jail. We were arrested after taking part in a
Civil Disobedience action at a huge intersection
outside of Arapaio’s office at Cesar Chavez Park.

This experience is beyond words to describe it.
We began the morning by getting up at 2 am to
be at a prayer vigil with people who had been
praying and fasting for 104 days. We marched
to Trinity Episcopal Church for an huge interfaith
and very inspirational bilingual worship service.

Then we walked a couple more miles where we joined
with about 30 other protesters from Puente and
other local organizations but of which about half
who were Unitarian Universalists. Dawn and I had
taken hours of training the night before but nothing
could compare with what happened. We marched
in a solid square of human beings into the intersection
where we were met with police in riot gear. The
scene was like something out of a movie, with literally
thousands of supporters massed down the boulevard 
and hundreds of Phoenix police surrounding us, asking
us to move. We did not comply. The sound was really
deafening as after about a half hour of our peaceful,
but loud, chanting, singing and speaking, the police
moved in to tell us that we would be arrested.

I have to give the Phoenix police credit as they made
every effort to be polite and helpful as they unlinked
our arms and handcuffed us, taking all our valuables
and putting us into police vans.

We were taken to the the Maricopa Sheriff Jail and,
while I was given what I felt was some special attention
as I was wearing my clergy shirt and collar, I am an
older woman and I am white, not everyone was treated
this way. Some experienced rough and rude handling.

When we arrived we were taken out of the vans but
then placed back in as our UU Presient Peter Morales
and Susan Frederick-Gray, minister of the UU Church
of Phoenix, along with Puente people and other UU
ministers moved in to blocked the jail entrance. We
watched in horror as the sheriffs inside the belly of
the beast prepared in riot gear, shields at the ready,
and tear gas canisters in hand, scrambled to counter.
Everything broke loose, it was angry, crazy, chaos,
controlled by the overwhelming police force. Drums
were beating, people yelling…like a movie scene.

I will tell you more about the actual jail experience
later. For now, let me tell you it was horrendous.
We occupied several cells, mostly UU’s by this time,
with men in some and women in about three. We had
the lights on for 24 hours, were watched by men and
women guards constantly, no clocks, not enough of
the cinder block seating for all of us. When we tried
to sleep it was without blankets or pillows right down
on the very hard, cold floor! Yes, on the floor, but
not everyone could even lay down, some stood. 

We were joined by several women from the general
jail population, as well as Puente women. We sang,
chanted, tried to share the cramped space, used an
open-to-view toilet and were constantly moved about
from cell to cell to disorient us. Our only food was
peanut butter, oranges, packaged cookies and a little
bottle of sugary drink.. NO cups for the water in
the sink. The 2 phones usually did not work and we
had no idea what time it was or what was happening.
We were “awoken” (those few who slept) at approx
2 am for our cells to be cleaned & we moved again.

That night the UU’s and Puente and others held a
prayer vigil outside the jail and we could hear the
drum beats outside the thick walls. The next day
after hours more of “processing” we were released.

I hope never to experience such an inhumane and
humiliating experience again. Dawn and I now have
a police record, we have pleaded not guilty and have
an August court date to return to AZ. More later…

I thank you all for supporting this action and the
two of us and I hope our church action was a success.
Apparently, we had lots of press, CNN, local AZ and
even the OC Register. More pictures and YouTubes will
be available soon and I’ll send some of them along.

Tomorrow we need to keep collecting our gear which
was all over as we were not allowed to have ANYTHING
in the jail. There are more actions planned. Right now
as I type this Dawn & I are completely exhausted after
2 days with no sleep and a terrible jail experience, 
but our feelings of deep commitment along with the
friends we made with women of many colors & faiths
has left us with a feeling that nothing will ever again…

~ Standing on the Side of Love, feeling an overwhelming
sense of gratitude, & with more stories to tell about our
shared experiences, with love & !Si se puede! Lee Marie

Go here for all the late-breaking stuff happening now!

and here for what was in the OC Register!

Read Full Post »

I was going to write Phase 3 of our garden saga. However, after spending the morning sewing in the clubhouse, making items for the Farmer’s Market/Craft Market, I felt the need to mellow out a little. It’s been a busy few days and was time to take a little time out. After some delicious French toast for brunch with Marcie and Jim, using the very fresh eggs from Koni’s chickens, I braved the ever-constant (or so it seems lately) strong wind and headed to my rig to read and listen to music before work in the barn tonight.

Right now I’ve got some George Winston piano music playing in the background while reading People with Dirty Hands: The Passion for Gardening, a book Marcie picked up at one of the yard sales last weekend. From the frontpiece: “Why do some people have their hands in dirt? What caused someone to become obsessed with the process of growing something, whether it is a tangle of flowers, chiles hot enough to make your eyes water, or a rambling rose plucked from a tumble-down house? Author Robin Chotzinoff took a road trip (several, actually) across America to find the answers.”

It’s the perfect book for a windy, mellow day, especially since I can look out over our own burgeoning garden plot while reading and listening. I can watch the cottonwood trees sway and bend in the wind, the hummingbirds and orioles argue for space at the feeders, and the flowers and herbs grow inch by inch as the ground gets warmer. And I can view all the tomato, cucumber, and pepper plants we’ve stuck into good soil in pots and hope they’ll produce some delicious feasts. I can watch the tiny radish seedlings emerge between the chard plants, three weeks later than they should have emerged. However, the weather has just been too cold.

Yes, it’s a beautiful, mellow day, one to take advantage of before hosting the movie, “Cattle Drive” in the barn tonight. Last night everyone applauded at the end of “Fort Dobbs.” That’s always a good sign they enjoyed themselves and the movie.



Read Full Post »