Archive - Oct 2013


October 7th

Fun with Food

This has been a great fall for the garden. In addition, it has been fun learning about wild foods. I wrote a column on perslane, but there are others.

Saturday was sister Tracie's birthday. She loves wild food, so I picked and cleaned five baggies of lamb's quarters, a plant identified, along with perslane, as one of the two top green vegetables in the world for nutrition.

We have also been picking and enthusiastically eating the shaggy cap mushrooms around the yard. I have been figuring out how to freeze them. Sister tried the frozen ones and they work well. Shaggy caps have a light, very subtle mushroom flavor. When you get used to them, the traditional mushrooms from the store are second best, both in texture and taste. 

Now, I find out you can freeze tomatoes for use in cooking throughout the year. I am not a canner, but I love freezing things and throwing them into a stir fry throughout the winter. 

Brother Joe and wife Kae have been making their usual massive batches of salsa. Sister Tracie went to a class and learned how to make kimchi, a fermented Korean vegetable dish that lasts in the fridge for a year. She has given Lance and I two jars which we toss into various things. 

Meanwhile, for Tracie's birthday party, Lance made a traditional Phillipino desert called bibingka. The results are below. Lance said his late mother, who contributed his Phillipino half, would be very proud. Note the banana leaves. 


October 3rd


Here a Republican castigates a Park Ranger, who probably is working without pay, for closing a memorial. This is Tea Party ugliness at its peak. We defund you. We vote to close your monument, then get mad at you for doing your job to close it. It is always about rage, expressing rage at government, rage at almost anything. It doesn't seem to matter! These people are crazy. 

October 2nd

Elvis freaks out Aunt Olla


Aunt Olla looks with trepidation on Elvis, the nursing home's resident dog. Usually prone to wandering around the entire Hilton about fifteen minutes behind the snack cart, today Elvis came in to Olla's room, laid down and would not leave. 

"This is just plain weird," Aunt Olla said, fully aware of the many tales of nursing home animals snuggling up to residents just before they die. "I don't like it at all." 

Olla floated several theories. Was Elvis abused at home? Unlikely, since Olla knows Elvis's owner and she's a good person. Is Elvis about to die himself? Could be. He has a weird look in his eye. 

Or, more to the point: 

"Does this mean I am going to die?" Aunt Olive said, not entirely in jest. 

Aunt Olla is still revelling in the cards and flowers she received for her 102nd birthday. Several of the cards were unopened, so we opened them today. She read every word. Carefully. The flowers from her sister-in-law and family in Reno were particularly appreciated. 

One card contained a $5 bill, which I thought was nice. 

"Isn't it amazing how tight people can be?" Olla sneered in disgust. Most of the cards, of course, contained no money at all, and Olive was fine with those. But somebody throws in a fiver? Man, they're tight! 

Aunt Olla's leg still hurts. It is likely a pinched nerve. She is on hydrochodone, a narcotic, which eases the pain. It also tends to mess with reality a bit. 

I only invited a handful of people to the party and almost all of them came. That didn't prevent Olla from wondering today why certain others weren't there. Were they mad at her for something she said? I could not impress upon her that they didn't even know about the party because I figured too many people there would just confuse her. "Well, there's a feud," she confided in me, uninterested in my more benign explanations.

Michelle, who cares for Bunny, Olla's boyfriend, stopped in to visit. Olla was right on it. She knew Michelle and she knew she took care of Bunny and she said, "You have to bring Bunny in sometime soon. We never see each other!" Bunny had sent Olla a nice card for her birthday. 

Aunt Olla has her birthday cards setting on a shelf. I grabbed them to read through them. In the midst was one which seemed out of place. "To my wife on our anniversary." It was signed "Bill," and dated 1954. I showed it to Olla and asked for an explanation. "Oh, that was my first husband. So nice of him to send a card!" 

As far as I know, she only had one husband and his name was Doc. But it might have been Bill, for Doc was a nickname. Where the card came from, I can only guess. But there it sat, right amongst all of the birthday cards from last week. 

Doc passed away in the late 1960s. 

That's just plain weird.



The effects on the innocent

Here is a letter from a man serving in Afghanistan in a non-military role. He will not be paid during the shut-down, but he will be expected to work. Worse is the message we send when we accept the notion that all government workers are leeches and all government work is unnecessary.  

The absurd shut-down is unnecessary, but it is also unpatriotic. And crazy. Let's hope it is the last gasp of the hideous monster which arose out of hate, the Tea Party. 

Here is a good summary

Obamacare, which was originally a Republican plan, is the law of the land. Congress legally must fund it. That game is over. 

Attempts to ruin the faith and credit of the United States in a pout over losing an election--or two--are treasonous acts of vandalism.