Archive for June, 2013

Quote For The Day

June 30, 2013

“If you ever want to know how much you are loved, take a recipe  from a friend who has cooked something wonderful for you. Go make it and see how much love was put into the labor intensiveness of that dish you enjoyed.”

Florence Ondré

upon making melanie’s fabulous apple cake.  this megalith of cinnamon fruit and fragrant cake took a whole day & just the peeling & coring of apples was staggering. “oh dear friend, how you do love us so! thank you thank you! you are loved back to infinity & beyond for all the fabulous goodies you have made with such love.”

“Sinus Fiction”

June 30, 2013

Ever since Hurricane Sandy ripped through, flooded and gutted the Tri state area of the Eastern seaboard of the United States, the South Shore of Long Island has been in varying stages of mold clean out, house dismantling and rebuild.

Every day the air rings with the cacaphony of clanging hammers, buzzing saws, startling claps of possessions and pieces of people hitting the metal of dumpsters.

Water logged, sea water and sewage deluged homes became uninhabitable and mold grew with a rapidity that was astonishing, frightening and tenacious.  Walls, floors, ceilings and insulation had to be crow barred, cut and ripped out.  Staggering amounts of mildew mold filled the air in and around our homes and throughout our  neighborhoods  and communities.

This is not your ‘oh I live near water bits of mildew’ we are speaking of here.  It is invasive, health harming and overwhelming in concentration and catastrophic amounts.

Invisible toxins hit our life’s breath and invaded so much more than what our eyes can see or gloved hands touch.

The repercussions of this unprecedented national disaster are so much more than city and community physical impacts.

While some homes have been rebuilt,  others sit gutted to the studs or still soggy with mold growing steady and stronger each day.

This at almost 9 months later, while insurance companies and government agencies and politicians play potsie with our lives.

For that is what it is…our lives.

What goes unsaid and unattended while major damage, like sewers still broken, utilities still spotty, and people driven crazy with no money to rebuild, minute to minute changes of policies, astronomical whim ridden rate hikes on everything from insurance rates to utilities and towns with no information that one can depend on for that which is needed to move forward, is taking an insidious toll on health.

PTSD is rampant and, because people are, of necessity, filling every waking moment with trying to chase broken promises of rebuild money, new and flittering codes, rules and made up legalities, on top of getting back to work to support their families; trying to provide their children with some semblance of normalcy in the middle of nothing normal, escalating physical health problems are largely swept under the rug threads  of no time to notice or do anything about.

Though I’ve talked to a few doctors at mobile mash units-which are no longer around, under the false heading of ‘everything’s back and better/they don’t need anything now,’ PR claptrap-and local pharmacists who are filling antibiotic prescriptions in increased need, there seems to be no one in healthcare who acknowledges that there is a very real and residual problem still with us in invisible airborne  reality.

In the immediate after effects, people spoke of what they call “the sandy cough.”

Jokes were made of it, which scared the hell out of me.  Memories of 9/11 dark humor which turned into dying people and cancers abounding, which are still claiming lives all these years later, whooshed through my mind like visions of Harry Potter ‘death eater’ wraiths.

A continuous cycle of sinus and upper respiratory infections sent me to the mash unit  3 times within less months.

I have been fortunate to have been out of the “zone” a couple of times and wherever I go, within 1 week, sinuses clear, energy is back and aching disappeared.

Each time returning, sinus infection finger-snappingly, returns; sneezing and wheezing commence and, even with antibiotic treatment, continue.

Eating at restaurants which purport to be “back” and better than ever, I can still taste and smell the mold.

Every time it rains, sewers back up into the streets and flooding occurs. The powers that be want to put out a veneer of wholeness but the fact is we are not anywhere near that and planting trees and prettying up is not finding what is broken and fixing vital necessities for basic health like sewers inundated, breached and broken by the unprecedented weight of ocean sand and water.

With all the good of cleaning out structures, old insulation and outdated building elements, rot and chemicals accompany the mold and mildew rising into our breathing supply.

And we are compromised.

Our health is at risk for long term effects, of which we have no way of knowing how much or how awful.

This subject matter which, I believe is paramount over all the other necessities, is real and important and is being treated like science fiction; ignored like myth.

I know that it is all overwhelming yet, without our health what does anything else mean.  If we are not around to see our children and grandchildren grow, what good does it do to have rebuilt the house?  The shop?  The restaurant?

If we allow ourselves to be poisoned, what good have we done in the name of appearances or money?

If we breathe polluted and poisoned air, who will be left to read the books in the new library, sit in the new classrooms or dance in the churches, temples and halls at weddings?

Much like 9/11, I suspect that the physical toll will become apparent long after the disaster itself, only to become the next disaster which may see us hitting the hospitals and dropping like flies.

Meanwhile one cannot live on course after course of antibiotics or keep whittling down our circle of friends with offensive sinus  infection breath.

Finding a respirator face mask in my car, I actually started contemplation of wearing the masks I wore for the immediate weeks of clean out, after the storm,  as my day to day accessory to any outfit.  Thoughts of Michael Jackson in his hospital masks out in public and populations of people in China and Japan run through my mind as I contemplate the ‘wear or not to wear’ question.

And who would be able to get kids to wear them for protection?

Health might just be best served by this addition to daily garb until we are all back home again and have certificates of air quality from the Health Department or National Institute Of Health framed and ready to grace our new, clean, mold free walls.

That or a few trips out of “the zone” to some far away place where the air is not contaminated.

So, if you see any of us survivors on the street looking like we are ‘scrubbed for surgery,’ please remember recovery is a longer, more multi-layered process than one might imagine.  We’re not all back yet or fine. We are not laggards or whiners as I’ve seen some people on facebook, etc., cold-heartedly quip.  Please, consider us courageous, persistent, smart and health conscious as opposed to weird and sinus fictioned.

Quote For The Day

June 22, 2013

“Never has indecision been so definite.”

Thomas Freeman

A Little Nightmare Music

June 20, 2013

Ever have one of those days where you struggled out of chaotic, toss and turn scenarios in the night instead of peacefully sleeping?

Then you awake thinking, ‘whew! I’m outta that one!  It was thankfully just a dream.  It couldn’t get worse than that.”

And then your day begins and it does…in ways your krazy kat mind didn’t even dream of.

Well, my mind pulls up soundtracks to go with.

Just enough of the Oscar Meyer Wiener jingle  plays tickety-tack to annoy me a twitch to roll over and open my brain to cranky energy because the song never stops going, like a roundelay loop.

And just when I think I’ve shaken the annoyance by yelling in my head, ‘Stop! No more!’ what takes it’s place is multi-layered angst of either relationships running aground in all the myriad shoals of life, entanglements with those I’ve met in this human experience, and those I can’t remember having ever met in any life, but their energy is pleasantly and unpleasantly familiar.

From these I wake up exhausted from always winding up with gigantic frustration at having no positive effect on any of them while they continue to entwine all kishkas (innards) in a ball resembling those giant rubber band collections.

Somebody is always singing something too.  Occasionally it’s me as I fight to no avail in the land of Lethe.

Sly Stallone scenes, complete with massive crashes, vehicle and people pile-ups and sound effects of the world as we know it coming to an unearthly end, visit like unannounced guests.  These leave me, in daylight hours, sticking to the inside lane as I drive over bridges and give me a bit of panicked pause when confronted with traveling through tunnels.  Antsy and anxious are apt emotional descriptions which remain like hangovers or harbingers of horrors yet to be.

Of course like any star; intrepid heroine, I plow through.

Since hurricane Sandy and the great flood of aught 12, restful and peaceful sleep has been an especially challenging blessing with which to come by.  On nights of torrential rains, it can be particularly unsettling.  With visions of streets becoming rivers and waves crashing closer on shore than is comfortable again, the October 29th, night of terror and heartbreak flood (you should pardon the expression) back unbidden.

Sleep is erratic and anxious with every passing truck or bus outside the apartment building, as it shakes even the tiniest reminiscence of that high wind darkness with raging fires and green explosions in pitch black water covered neighborhoods all around us.

No, it’s not the end times, but it sure feels like it again with flashbacks or transference in a PTSD post Sandy world.

Last night, after being awakened to stare at a black spot in one corner of the ceiling in the little room in Mt. 6 Manjaro, the apartment where I have my sleeping pad, since Hurricane Sandy displaced me from my home, I lay stock still, thinking, ‘Oh, God, not spiders to the list of plagues, please!’

Turns out, with lights on, it was a megamillipede which skeezed me out even more than the first pleading thought.  Yikes!

Couldn’t find the step stool to stand on or anything to whack him into the eighth dimension, so got the long dust buster and tried to suck him up, to put outside on the terrace.  Sounds good doesn’t it…humane even.

But noooooooo….he slithered away on his uncountable digits at warp speed; down the wall, behind the dresser, near the window and no matter the search with klieg light torches, became the unfindable one.

Great.

Now how do I sleep?

“Screw it!” I say.  “I’m going in the other room and blowing up the air mattress!”

I’ve been wanting to try this instead of the pad on the floor on which I slept during the evacuation and sheltering days post flood, and ever since, up in the shelter of Mt 6 Manjaro ( my pet name for the little apartment which is my temporary rental shelter on the 6th floor of the building right around the corner from my devastated home.)

It got its name  from the weeks of no power, no elevator, no potable water, no sewer, bare to zip communications, freezing cold and 7 double flights of stairs to climb several times daily to summit; pack laden with whatever could be saved on bent backs from the flood.

One joke which got me through those first days of shock was that I’d say, I am  now a card carrying member of the sherpa society and just don’t remember joining that rarified elite.  It was my Kilimanjaro in so many ways.   Hence “Mt 6,” this little storage box close to Heaven, will forever be; Peruvian pipes playing in the mp3’s of my mind.

Only now, this night where I am finally test driving the twin sized aerobed, thanks to the giant bug visit, my exit stage left is to any room other than the one in which it did its Houdini act.  After months of procrastinating; holding fast to the pads on which I crashed on the floor every night of the torturous days of surviving, I airily now look forward to perhaps a comfy night’s sleep.

Comfy?  Who has comfy in all the muck and mess in the Zone  where thousands are still digging out from under, with every day facing a fresh Hell?

‘Let’s just see how my spine does after an adjustment, icing, arnica-ing, and a night resting on air,’ my inward conversation carries on while I try to get Cole Porter lyrics out of my head.

It takes me forever to fall asleep.

Cole is fairly unforgettable and his tunes are as catchy as his rhymes, rolling into one another so beautifully, like waves of double entendres too heady and memorable to forget.  Once started, it usually takes weeks of elevator humming to wind the twenties victrola down.

Through the night I’m aware that I’m ‘trying’ to sleep.

Can’t get the covers right.  Foot hangs off.  Pillow bunches wrong. Finally zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

And when I awake, it’s to what I call the ‘un-named dreads’, which are a heaviness, anxiousness and pressure I feel when there’s a Mother Earth energy upheaval a coming.

Usually when this happens, I know to simply send light out into the world and the universe and rest assured that it gets exactly where needed and is joined by others who also hold the light for this world.

Today it seems to be tied to the aerobed.  I can’t seem to remember much of the dreams and “Jaws” music ebbs as I send light out from my heart.

Awakening, danced-to-the-tempo-ticking of time where dreams fade, I settle more into in my earth suit.

All I know is that this discombobulated feeling seems to stem ultimately from displacement.

Even this, in the scope of the world, I know, is trivial…a move from one sleeping pallet to an almost bed in another room, not a life or death situation.  Yet, in this time; this place in time, I acknowledge to myself that I am still part of the diaspora; those of us who are not yet back home; sleeping with the uncertainty concerto playing in our cells; awaiting the lullaby of familiar surroundings.

Hall Marked

June 16, 2013

Today is what is marked on calendars, “Father’s Day.”

A Sunday where guys are getting Hallmark and Home Depot cards and dinner out or meals prepared by loving spouses in aprons with children making paste hand prints or paintings to give.

Supposedly.

How many of us have tried to live up to what young, magazine toting women of today try to do; like photoshopped images purporting to be reality  which hold out myths, we are pushed to aspire toward being an impossible dream.

Someone’s made up vision of what we should all look, feel and be like.

So much in life pops out of the pressure cooker of have to’s and should’s and yet there are people who would if they could but they can’t.

For some who either didn’t have a present parent or those who had Fathers (or Mothers) they wished they hadn’t, this can be a sad day where one can feel left out of society, less than,  empty or misfit.

What do we do for the family shredding apart or experiencing death?

What feelings arise from those  who feel like the round pegs in a world of square holes?

This day can be assaulting, saddening and depressing; a challenge to just get though to Monday.

A day made up on a calendar specially inked as Father or Mother’s Day, sounds like a good idea.

Who wouldn’t want to be honored, feted and appreciated with a day dedicated to you?

I’m thinking of renaming these festivals of the greeting card brigade.

A You Day!

A who day?

Yep, you heard right…a new day.

A You Day.

Where no one gets left out and everyone is special and available for appreciation.

An all inclusive holiday.

Everyone, as they are who they are.

Why?

Because we are all special; doing our best to make each day as good as it can be; being as present as possible in each moment; breathing; green and growing at our own natural paces and places; helping others; doing the best job we can in career, family, community and our world.

I’m not saying celebrating Mom’s and Dad’s is anything but worthy.

I’m simply saying we are all worthwhile as we are, where we are and that, in some wonderful way, we all nurture and nourish each other every day.

In varieties of instances, we are all mother or father to someone or something.

No losers; all winners. All inclusive; none left out.

All loving, creative beings with heart, good intentions and integrity on individual paths, learning and teaching lessons of compassion and love.

Deserving of recognition and respite.

All of us who come into being to bless and be blessed by one another.

Happy You Day!

Good job!

The To Do List

June 15, 2013

The list of what I think must get done each day is generally long and well prepared days in advance, or at least the night before days.

Then morning dawns and the Universe rearranges every item like the squirrels do in autumn after the bulbs have been planned, patterned and planted.  Spring shows us how the bushy tails have rearranged everything in their fall endeavors prior to oncoming Winter snows.

Right in the middle of the green grassed backyard, a lone and vibrant violet tulip will pop up like a jack in the box.  In the front flower bed of persimmon and plum, a bright yellow solo tulip stands out like a soloist in a chorus of  crimson and purple.  Where pretty pinks have been planted in perfect rows, ready for the rally of April and May, two tiny thistles, from who knows where, turn their furry heads among the tulip terpsichore; wowing us with the winds of change.

So it goes with my to do list; all orderly in my mind and on the lines before me…until the morrow when my brow furrows question marks and  what will be will be.

With nary a feather or a fig from me.

I’m only a spear carrier in this opera; doing what I can to play my part with good orderly direction; which actually, in anachronism speak, is

G.O.D.

And by whatever name we all call a power greater than ourselves; Spirit, Mother Earth, Father Sky, Allah, Yeshuah, Jesus, Angels, Buddha, The One, Good, All That Is, the Universe, to name but a few, our days and doings get rearranged for our best interest, balance and Highest Good.

I always say that I do not wear glasses for no reason.  Being diagnosed in early childhood as near sighted  should have been a tip off.

My vision goes only so far and my list is not the only to do list.

I have a very creative mind and energy with an affinity for organization and consistency.  The challenge for me is also to remember that I also like new things, positive surprises and adventures in life.  I enjoy the path and off the path journeys and feel guided benevolently along the way.

Accomplishing is part of who I am.

And, here is this to do list each day which never gets done; keeping me in the now and nudging me to see where I can practice letting go; feel satisfied with what I can accomplish; be open to change; patient with process and is very much like I am; like we all are, works of art in progress.

In between the lines of the list, unscheduled activities crop up such as pausing, pondering and just plain breathing; those sacred spaces between the lines where simply ceasing may bring about better than the best we can imagine.

Maybe a better appellation would be a more Shakespearean one…  a

to do and not to do list.

The Solo Artist

June 13, 2013

Hearing the far off voice of my dear, writer friend, Betty, admonishing in my inner ear, ‘you haven’t written much lately,kiddo,’ my decision was made.

Glue your butt to the seat in front of the computer and start typing.

Screw the inspiration or lack thereof.

Chuck the procrastination or ‘right time,’ topic or weather.

Sit down and let the ink flow through your fingers and keys.

Period.

Just do it.

Write.

How many of us, writers, creative spirits all,  have made a million-gazillion good excuses for not doing the very thing for which we have aptitude and love; that which makes us feel more alive and flowing with the energy of our beings?

Why do we not do when we know we can?

What doubt or excuse is ever good enough for not writing; not setting aside sacred space and time for writing?

And yet I know I am not alone in this curious, ever-sneaking-up-on-us skill.

Were I to write a list of all the “really valid” excuses I’ve made or heard, there’d be no time to do anything other than write!

I’m sure I’d have to be carted off to some nearby hospital emergency room to have the computer chair surgically removed from above said buttock.

And then have to post notice of affliction, name of hospital and visiting hours.

Well, that might have a positive side affect.

See.

More writing.

Everything is grist for the ink mill.

That being written, there is no waiting for a topic to click in, assignment accepted or inspiration heavenly or earthly upon which to wait to write.

No time like the present.

Size doesn’t matter.

Do a Haiku.

Look at this, Betty.

I wrote!

Quote For The Day

June 13, 2013

“The unexpected potty mouth. Always a pleasure.”

Thomas B. Freeman, said with smile on face  when surprised  from his rather proper fianceé.

Tis The Season

June 6, 2013
Ready to cook.

Wild Alaskan Copper River Salmon, ready to cook.

Purist. Baked with a dash of fresh ground pepper & sea salt & Tillamook butter to make a light brown sauce. (sometimes I bake it with fresh dill or just garnish with fresh dill.
Purist.
Baked with a dash of fresh ground pepper & sea salt & Tillamook butter to make a light brown sauce. (sometimes I bake it with fresh dill or just garnish with fresh dill.

Nom nom, All gone!
Nom nom, All gone!

I never liked salmon -ever. period. ugh.  And for years my guy got every last bite of this fillet mignon of fish while I stayed stalwart in my stubborn, stupidity. Until 2 years ago.

Instead of turning up my nose and turning down his offer of a taste, I said, “Oh, all right. But you know I’m not gonna like it!”

Really, I’ve never liked fish because it tastes…er…um…fishy.

Well, that night, the poor man was lucky he got even one bite of the entire large fillet!  Lucky he kept his fingers off the pan or he could have lost a couple of digits!

I caught the fever; was a woman possessed!

Seriously, what could I have been thinking?  All those years wasted! I mused aloud to the accompanying music of see-I-told-you smiles on the man’s kisser.

Such a simple preparation as above pictured and it was delectable!

Firm flesh, succulent taste…  And it was all gone before he could blink!

Oops.

We were both so happily surprised that we trotted off to Costco the next day and got another packed-that-day fresh fillet.

Snob that I am now, I know it’s best as near fresh off the boat as possible. Look for and ask about the pack date.

Oh, go ahead; talk to your fishmonger and enjoy the fish tales and info sharing.  You’re part of the community once you try it and like it.

And p.s. they do have it in New York at Costco too. Close to $13.99 /Seattle $9.99 per pound  once into the season.  Way down from anywhere from in between those numbers and $40 per pound at the very beginning of the first runs to hit market in May.

When thinking about how to cook this fabulous fish, I’m still such a newbie aficionado that I can barely bring myself to do anything which might cover up the flavor of this chateaubriand of the purest river around.

I have added, both in baking and broiling and after-plating,  Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Salmon Seasoning which has dill, granulated garlic, onion, mustard seeds and paprika and that was deliciouso!  And fresh dill of course with the brown butter is yum with quick pan sautéed fresh green beans in a bit of butter, olive oil & a sash of fresh ground pepper and sea salt…sometimes garlic. I might be tempted into a soupçon of truffle oil on fresh veggies or  yukon gold fingerling potatoes.  Really the sides are kept to a minimum because it is the main event I crave. Yes, you heard me…. cra-crave!

I’m practically booking flights to Alaska to go do what another blogger was thinking of doing…standing at the shore when the boats come in and kissing those fishers of fabulousness with gratitude overflowing for the bounty of creme de la creme gourmet fare.

Though I still don’t much like the grey, near the skin, part of the salmon, I absolutely kvell (gush) and profusely express gratitude for every exquisite fishy that crossed from the pristine Copper river to my plate.

It is a sacred moment as I thank that fish which gave its life for our most immense dining pleasure and sustenance…and for its grace and beauty and out of this ever living world 10 star sweetness!

I bless the river, the salmon and the people who bring them to our stores and tables.

It truly is a labor of love all around…the keeping the river healthy for the fish; the keeping the fish safe and bringing them to market; to our creativity in the kitchens and to our tables to ooh and ahhh over; as we bless, love and express our gratitude for such superior bounty.

I like to say, “Thank you for coming to grace our table and nourish us to optimal health.”

Off season, I have tried Coho and Miso’d that baby up under the broiler.  It was ok but nowhere near Copper River Salmon. And I do not like fish bones….too gaggy for me.

And though there may be some who will think I’m being blasphemous,  I do not care for King Salmon, even from the great and good Copper River.

Now, my dear Tom, who spent a summer in his youth, working in Alaska and the fishing industry; he who has told many a midnight of the sun story,  has got a partner to share his love of his favorite fresh fish.  We do enjoy sharing what we love best with the ones we love best!

So, I, the overwhelmingly converted, may just branch out with the new recipes I’m seeing…perhaps a bit of wine with the butter….mayhaps a dash of lemon if I get brave enough to stray from purist pleasures…add rosemary or tarragon or shallots…swim upstream myself with varying the seasonings…

In briney bliss, I salmon sail and venture forward culinarily!

But only in Copper River Salmon Season.


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