Smiles Are Game Changers

In line at Pavilions today, a customer is taking a very long time, the checker is processing forms, getting price checks, takes so long, we get a side-eye from customer. The very old woman in front of me says something to the effect of, “I always get in the wrong line,” then, up to bat, takes a million years to complete her transaction. Through it all, I see a stoic checker, her face in perpetual freeze. Eyebrows haven’t moved.

“My mom always said patience is a virtue,” I tell her when I get there. She doesn’t look up. “You seem very patient.” She looks up, and smiles. “I am,” she says. “I work with the elderly when I’m not here.”

“I have to be patient because I have a 15-year-old daughter,” I say, to which she replies, “I have a 15-year-old son.”

“Solidarity,” I say, she laughs, and we are engaged in a real connection. As I’m leaving, she’s laughing, telling me to have a great day, and I’m thrilled about making someone who clearly did not want to smile, do so widely.

Make someone smile. Every day. Even if it’s just you. Good for us all.

 

Posted in 'Tweens, Society | Leave a comment

The Womens March 2018

Year 2 and I have got this ON LOCK. I tell my friend and fellow-protester Lyvonne to be at my house around 9am (she’s traveling from Ventura with her daughter, India, who attended with mine last year, a friend Laura, and her daughter Georgia. My daughter, sadly, cannot attend, because she has too much homework, grrr).

We catch a Lyft downtown, I tell driver Sam where to drop us, and he does (I later receive an $85 charge because Sam forgot to turn off the meter before traveling to Santa Ana, bless him. Lyft was great, as usual, about reversing the charge).

We enter at around the same place I did last year, and traffic guard asks us, “Can I see the signs?” Why, of course.

We proceed into the crowd, move as far forward as possible, until we’re scrunched with everyone else. I’m slightly concerned that we might not be in position, as I can hear speeches, and Laura keeps asking about them, but we appear to be simply in the midst of something really big.

Then, as we’re waiting, the crowd moves, protesters ahead of us say, “Turn around,” and we do, and now we’re near the front of the crowd, heading to the stage. At one point, I start a round of,

“SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!”

as we traverse the streets of Los Angeles. A woman in roller skates is ahead of me. A metaphor. Keep moving. Roll with it.

We walk through a colorful tunnel, chanting and marching, and I am behind a little boy perched in his father’s arms, wearing a “Womens March 2018” knit hat, his phone number Sharpie’d on his arm, and a protester’s sign, “FEMINIST” forming a halo around his head. He is helping us chant, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go.” All the feelz…

Our protest progresses. The numbers are bigger than last year, you can feel it, and there is not only a sense of camaraderie, there is also an energy of, We’ve Got This, We’ve Done This, We’re Not Going Away, This is What We Do Now.” And not just the women, men, too. The new normal is protesting this absurd regime of powerful deplorable horribles and we are ALL IN.

Amen, sister.

We get to the end of the protest, and, true to form from last year, we are near the front. We edge closer.

So many great people speak: actresses, activists; there is an urgency to the message as it’s now part of the earthquake that is the #METOO movement. It’s amazing how much can happen in one year.

Georgia’s Gas Station Sushi sign gets a lot of attention, it’s a hit. People take pics all day.

Ultimately, there is a signal that India and Georgia are faltering, they are faint and tired, clearly not as seasoned as the moms, and that’s cool, they’ll get there. Judging from the daily shit show that is the news from this Cabal Administration, there will be plenty more protests to come. We head back to get a ride to grab lunch. More great signs as we exit the park:

And, just as we’re celebrating the huge numbers of Womens March 2018 (650,000 in L.A., 50,000 more from last year), the Florida Parkland massacre happens. Seventh school shooting in the new year, and it’s only February.

So, on to MARCH FOR OUR LIVES on the 24th.

#ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and I am so proud of these teenagers. There is a movement for gun reform, and it has momentum. Finally.

WE WILL BE THERE.

Posted in #RESIST | Leave a comment

The Women’s March 2017

 

So much I can say about this day. It started, as protests often do, with an attempt to get to the protest. Dear friend and protest pal Suzanne arrived very early, we drove to my secret Santa of a parking space, walked across the street to board a train and one… after… another… went by, packed beyond.

I feel so fortunate to have snapped this particular photo, I’m thinking it was about the third train that we met and had to miss, because there JUST WASN’T ROOM.

But look at the joy, look at the pink, look at the flashing spirit that is headed downtown to #RESIST and make voices heard.

After the fifth, we ascended and tried to get a bus. Same thing: one. after. another. went by, PACKED.

Called a cab, who met us on the corner of Western and Hollywood. We finally made it downtown and entered an area off Figueroa, blended into an intensely huge crowd, got into the rhythm, joined in the chants:

SHOW ME WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!

Among others. My favorite: women yell, MY BODY, MY CHOICE, the men respond, HER BODY, HER CHOICE!). Thrilling. We are in this TOGETHER.

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=e8PPysD6shw

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Czar Putin Put You Where You Are!

We were in the throes, we were protesting, we were #RESISTING with what turned out to be 60,000 fellow Angelenos. Even typing that FEELS GOOD.

It was a glorious day and I am happy to say our late arrival landed us in the best possible place to witness this glorious FIRST of our efforts to #RESIST.

I captured video of Jane Fonda, she tells you all you need to know.

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=oEi66nDTTFg

End of the day, proud to say my daughter was there, with her friend, India, and those new feminists are for LIFE. #RESIST.

Posted in #RESIST | Leave a comment

Embrace Diversity

Labor Day DecorationWe’re in a very difficult time now, psychically and politically. Donald Trump would pit us against each other and so many are feeding into that. That is not what America is about, but many states’ inhabitants have lost the thread, due to the starvation of education funding, closeted bigotry, economic envy, general health and well-being coming at a cost in a for-profit system. Don’t even know where to start.

But I’m about to start talking about it here. Something’s got to give. Trump has taken bigotry mainstream and now we have white supremacists, Nazi organizers, and fascism– mainstream. This cannot be. We’ve worked too hard and too long to get rid of this b.s.

To counter: I start with this beautiful photo, taken of my daughter’s best friend’s hand, against the red white and blue of the tablecloths for our Labor Day gathering, with friends that we’ve known for decades.

We are all on the same page. Freedom, Acceptance, and Tolerance.

May the rest of our fractured America join us.

Peace.

Posted in Easy, Friends, Health, Inspiration, The Universe | Leave a comment

Tuscan Greens and Beans

So, I often troll frozen food aisles to see what corporate people are providing, so that I can make my own fresh. I came across an entire section of Morningstar Farms who are now making ready-to-eat, and Tuscan Greens and Beans caught my eye.

Morningstar Tuscan GreensThese, however, are the ingredients:

Chickpeas, Kale, Water, Spinach, Roasted Red Bell Peppers, Asiago Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Cream, Contains Two Percent Or Less Of Butter (Cream, Salt), Chablis Wine (Wine, Salt), Parmesan Cheese (Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Cornstarch, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Onion, Red Bell Pepper, Carrots, Celery, Salt, Garlic Puree, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Canola Oil, Dehydrated Tomato, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper, Leek Juice Concentrate.

I decided to create my own. Here’s what I came up with:

DSC_1941

Mise en place for homemade Tuscan Greens with Beans

1 tbsp. olive oil
crushed red peppers
Dice 1 yellow onion, 1-2 carrot, 2 stalks celery
Sautè.

DSC_1948

Onion, carrot, celery, the basis of everything delicious!

Add diced red or yellow pepper
Salt, pepper
Stir until soft cooked, set aside.

DSC_1953

I love yellow pepper!

1 tbsp canola or olive oil
Sauté chopped spinach, add splashes of lemon juice, set aside.

DSC_1951

Sautéed spinach.

Make white wine sauce.

DSC_1954

Wine sauce. Divine.

White Wine Sauce
2 tbsp. shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced (I used dried, no big deal)
1 tbsp. plain flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
dash of cayenne pepper
dash of paprika (smoked is the only way to go)

Heat a few tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and sauté the shallots, garlic and parsley until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over all lightly.

Whisk in wine, stirring constantly. Simmer until wine has reduced and is nearly all absorbed (5-10 minutes).

Pour in cream and simmer over low heat until sauce is thick and creamy, about 6-8 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in parsley and paprika. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

Combine vegetables, drained chickpeas.

DSC_1955

Parmesan and sauce.

DSC_1957

Delicious. And no cornstarch, concentrates, or dehydrates.

DSC_1959

Makes about 4 servings.

Posted in Easy, Easy Dinners, Food, Recipes, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Easy delicious Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada-Sauce

Forget canned, make this. Takes minutes, and so flavorful. Also, as dinnerthendessert suggests, it can be used in so many dishes. Even Picky Eater loved, made with cheese enchiladas.

Recipe:

¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth (water can work too)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat the canola oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
Add the flour and chili powder and stir.
Cook until the bright red color turns a bit brown while stirring.
In a small bowl, mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the ingredients until it is fully blended.
Add to your saucepan and whisk until fully mixed. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until thickened.

Posted in Easy, Easy Dinners, Entertainment, Food, Picky eaters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Game changer.

Slow-Cooker-Macaroni-and-Cheese-on-SixSistersStuffThank you, Six Sister’s Stuff!

Mac ‘n’ cheese was a go-to during the pickiest times of my daughter’s evolution from a child who ate everything to one who ate nothing into a relatively picky person who eats some things. I snuck sweet potato carrot purees, butternut squash and zucchini squash purees, into Annie’s boxed M&C. I’ll never stop thanking Sneaky Chef for turning me onto this trick, and later, Deceptively Delicious. However, at age 12, I had to give it up. Not only were my Sundays dominated by steaming, blending and ramekin-storing vegetables, I thought, this is crazy. Kid should be eating these on her own. I announced she would be on her own for making her dinners, as I would no longer be that mom who made two.

Lasted about a week, when she just didn’t eat dinner, simple. Didn’t care. So what. Girlfriend’s will is unbreakable.

In an effort to make it easier for her (I know), dinners became a series of alternately, Trader Joe’s burritos, tofu and jasmine rice, falafels and pita, or Stouffer‘s mac ‘n’ cheese. Whatever. Just eat, for Christ’s sake.

Finally, I said, forget it, no more microwave. Seriously:

Up the wallHowever, my kid is now a teenager, and it’s hard enough having a conversation about anything without fireworks, thought we could start having dinners together with at least some harmony. I found this recipe, made it, slow cooker, yay, kid had seconds, there’s plenty for leftovers, and I felt like Mary Tyler Moore throwing up her hat.

Until next meal, with this mac ‘n’ cheese, we’re gonna make it after all.

Posted in Creativity, Easy Dinners, Recipes, Teens | Tagged | Leave a comment

Obama Out.

How I will miss this man, this fantastic President. Such class, such grace, poise, patience, measure. Beautiful family, and above all, GREAT sense of humor. For starters, this is how he ended his last Washington Correspondent’s Dinner speech. Entire presentation, here.

Obama mic drop

Obama Out.

Posted in Comedy, OBAMA | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mulberry Jam

Jam

YUMMY!

My friend Karin posted on facebook, “Come get mulberries,” I responded, yes, please, and immediately started looking for recipes. I decided on mulberry jam and mulberry viniagrette (for another day, see freezing, below).

Turns out, mulberries are full of anti-oxidants and other healthful properties. I remember having mulberry jam, mulberry muffins, mulberry syrup, while living on the east coast.  But I had never even considered doing anything with them until now.

Mulberry trees are the gift that just keeps giving, whether you like it or not. The trees tend to overproduce, and when the berries are ripe, they’re easy to pluck from the branches– “tickled off” as it was described to me–but often don’t wait for you and simply bail out of the tree in a kind of backyard carpet bomb.

I started picking them up from the ground, but Karin said she had a better method, and it was indeed genius. She put a large tarp under the tree, we yanked on branches, and it was raining mulberries! I went home with about 8 cups’ worth.

This recipe for jam was the easiest I could find, doesn’t require pectin and takes less than an hour, if you don’t count cooling. Hat tip to For the Love of Food‘s Lauren Rothman.

Recipe:
2 1/2 cups mulberries
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
Seriously, that’s it!

Rinsed

Rinse, drain, pick out dirt and leaves, stems can stay.

Sterilize 2 half-pint Ball jars with lids.

Sterilize

Bring water in a large pot to boil, carefully drop jars and lids in. After 10 minutes, remove with tongs and cool on a clean towel.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, combine mulberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then drop to a simmer. Cook fruit, stirring occasionally, until foam subsides and mixture thickens slightly, about 7-9 minutes.

Cooking.jpg

Simmer, stir occasionally, until foam subsides, and jam thickens.

Using a ladle, carefully transfer hot jam to sterilized jars. Wipe mouths of jars clean and screw on lids very tightly. Let cool at room temperature for at least 8 hours before using.

Mulberries are only in season for a couple of weeks in spring and summer, so if  you have a ton left over, like I did, and can’t get to them yet, freeze them! They will be good to go when you need them, or delicious in smoothies or desserts.

Posted in Breakfast, Easy, Food, Recipes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Healthy Morning Porridge

Hat tip, Food Babe, these are so easy to make, and you can line up a couple for a week. I will never stop appreciating Food Babe’s idea, but I make mine way less complicated.

food babe porridge

STACK, bottom up:

Ezekiel cereal (Cinnamon-raisin is my fave)
1 tsp currants
Granola
sprinkle of cinnamon or ginger, chia seeds
frozen blueberries, or strawberries
Unsweetened almond milk to top

  1. In a Ball jar, layer cereal, currants, granola, cinnamon, chia seeds
  2. Top mixture with fresh or frozen fruit
  3. Fill with almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk
  4. Let mixture sit in fridge overnight or up to three days in fridge

Your go-to in the morning, and you’ll get all sort of health benefits. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Easy, Recipes | Leave a comment