A Small Way to Help Homeless Women

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I love handbags almost as much as I love shoes, and I have a plethora of them.   When a couple of years have gone by without my using one of them, I stuff it full of toiletries, snacks, sanitary products, medicines such as aspirin and antibacterial spray, toothpaste, deodorant, pen and small notepad, a change purse full of loose coins and a few bucks, wetnaps and a few other things.  I also include a list of emergency numbers of shelters, free clinics and other numbers and addresses that could be helpful.  I keep a few of these in the trunk of my car.

Whenever I see a homeless woman, I will stop and offer her one.

Just a small way to help homeless women   I figure every little bit helps.

Feeling Great ….Really

You know, I stay so busy that I can sometimes lose touch of how I feel on a given day, simply because I’m on auto-pilot so often, rushing from one job to another, working on opening my business, still writing and writing and making art, providing childcare for Ingrid, taking care of our home, making music, making life happen…..so when I stop, as I did today while the beautiful scent of lavender (my favorite) wafted up from the floors that I’d just mopped, and I thought about how I really feel, all I could think was how great I have it right now….how happy I am….how all the pieces have simply fallen into place.

There is illness in my family….my cousin….my parents….but even still, my heart is peaceful, albeit very concerned.

There is no dysfunction in my immediate life.  There is stress, but it is the normal kind that comes with an overwhelming, crushing amount of work….yet, each time I complete one task and go on to the next, I feel a little happier, like I am one step closer to opening this business and realizing my goals.  Things are so good!  I am one lucky woman.

I would like to thank those family members who have been so incredibly supportive of me….my husband, my daughter and on and on.  What would I have done without them?   My dear friends who make sure I know I am valuable to them.  I have some incredible friends, and I have not lost a single one of them in years.  They stand by me in the face of controversy and make sure that I know I am loved, every day of the week.   I am one lucky woman.

I still love living in this beautiful city in this beautiful state and I count my blessings every day for everything that I have.  Money can’t buy this folks.  Money can’t buy this kind of happiness.

Life just doesn’t get much better than this.

I have love.  I have life.  I have someone who is very, very special and sweet who makes me feel good to be alive, and for this, I am most thankful of all.

Life is great.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

One of my favorite types of meatless “meats” is that manufactured by Gardien.    Last night, I tried this Moroccan Carrot Salad and it was absolutely divine.  Served it with Gardien chicken.    The recipe is from Tal Ronen from Crossroads Restaurant in LA.

Crossroads offers diners Mediterranean-themed small dishes, salads, farm-to-glass cocktails, and desserts in a fine-dining dinner style that encourages exploration. With its stylish atmosphere and refreshing sensibility, Crossroads isn’t just a leap forward in refined plant-based cuisine — it’s one of the most innovative culinary destinations in Los Angeles. It’s a decadent and indulgent dining experience approached in a conscious and cohesive manner.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbssmall rainbow carrots (about 24), tops trimmed
  • 1/4 cupmicro greens
  • 1/4 cuprosemary-fried almonds (recipe follows) or toasted Marcona almonds, smashed
  • flaked sea salt

marinade

  • 8dried red chilies, such as guajillo, stems removed
  • 1/2 cupred wine vinegar
  • 3garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tspground cumin
  • 1/2 tspkosher salt
  • 1/2 tspblack pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tspred pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cupextra-virgin olive oil

rosemary-fried almonds

  • 1 cupexpeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1 large sprigfresh rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cupswhole Marcona almonds
  • 1 tspkosher salt

preparation

1. To prepare the carrots: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with water and adding a tray of ice cubes.

2. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water until tender when pierced with a knife, about 3 minutes. Drain the carrots and plunge into the ice bath to shock them—i.e., stop the cooking and cool them quickly; this procedure also locks in the carrots’ bright color.

3. Drain the carrots again. You want them to be relatively uniform in size, so if any of them are large, cut them lengthwise in half.

4. To prepare the marinade: Put a small dry skillet over low heat, add the chilies, and toast for 1 or 2 minutes; shake the pan so they don’t scorch. Break up the chilies and put them in a food processor. Pulse the chilies to a coarse powder; you should have about ½ cup.

5. Put the chili powder in a mixing bowl, add the vinegar, garlic, cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, and whisk until blended. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil in a stream until emulsified.

6. Put the carrots in a mixing bowl and pour in the chili mixture, tossing to coat. Marinate for 1 to 2 hours, tossing periodically. 7. To serve: Crisscross the carrots on a platter. Scatter the micro greens and almonds on top and season with flaked sea salt.

To Make the Almonds:
1. Put a cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the oil, add the rosemary, and stir to infuse the flavor into the oil. Heat the oil to around 300°F. (You don’t need a thermometer for this: Drop an almond into the oil. When it sinks a bit, then floats right back to the top and starts sizzling, the oil is hot enough.) Once the oil is ready to go, add half of the almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until they are fragrant and toasted, 10 to 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the almonds from the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle them with the salt while they are hot. Repeat with the remaining almonds. Use to top the marinated olives or serve as a snack.

Why I am a Democrat and not a Republican

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 9.26.56 AM Each election, I take my time and decide on my candidates very carefully. 

I watch the Republican debates and I take notes.  I watch the Democratic debates and, again, I take notes.   THEN I decide for whom  I want to vote, regardless of the party he or she belongs to.  I don’t blindly vote for either party’s prime candidate without first doing my homework….and after I do my homework, it somehow always ends up to be the Democratic candidate for whom I vote.  I do not plan to vote for the Democratic ticket automatically.

That said, while  I have fundamental differences in my political views from those of Carly Firoina, I felt she handled herself well during the Republican debates.  She stuck to her view of the facts and did not rise to the battering offered by her opponent, Donald Trump.  There were just things that came out of her mouth that made me stop in my tracks, scratch my head and say, “Whaaaa????”

For the many who are unfamiliar with her record, it is not a strong one. The primary mark on her resume is negative, having run Hewlett-Packard into the ground as CEO. “Call her the anti-Steve Jobs,” wrote Infoworld, who put her on a list of tech’s all-time top 25 fiascoes. During her tenure, the company’s stock lost nearly 50% of its value, thousands of employees lost their jobs to layoffs, and Ms. Fiorina was forced to resign (read: “fired”) by HP’s board. In USA Today, CBS Moneywatch, and Portfolio.com, she was ranked among the “worst CEOs in America.” On the day her departure was announced, HP’s stock went up—and she received a $21 million severance package.

What I saw during the Republican debates was exactly what I see in certain aspects of my personal  life.   I had to sort through the name calling and misplaced “facts” as I watched the republican debates.  I listed to negative comments directed by front runner,  Donald Trump,  toward women’s  appearance, just as I listed to certain members of my family cut one another down based on appearance.  Last night, as Trump watched Carly Fiorina on TV, he said,  “Look at that face! “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” ….as  if that should matter.  And really…..Someone who looks like THIS criticized his female opponent?

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 10.28.35 AMGive me a break!

 Trump has called Lindsey Graham an “idiot,” labeled Jeb Bush an “unhappy person” who is “out of touch,” and has even  mocked Rick Perry’s glasses.   Recently, after a fundraiser for Scott Walker criticized Trump, the candidate labeled  the event “very dumb” and “not smart.” Just another example of how money simply can’t buy class.   This person thinks he can lead an entire nation?  I beg to differ.  his emotional maturity is at such a low level that he is nothing short of an embarrassment.

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In certain aspects of my personal life, I  must continually contend with statements such as the ones made in the above, angry-looking meme with the quote from R. Lee Ermey….whoever that is…….These are strong claims, ones that, if directed toward someone who is partisan-loyal and does not know how to conduct unbiased research, might be convincing….but how do these claims hold up?

For illustrations sake, let’s start with the claims about the economy. Under our current President,  the economy has actually grown a considerable amount.  It started off rocky for President Obama in 2009. In fact,  that year the economy actually contracted 2.8%, just as he originally predicted that it would.  Since then, however, the US economy has grown substantially under our current President: 2.5% in 2010, 1.6% in 2011, 2.3% in 2012, 2.2% in 2013, and 2.4% in 2014. These figures are very good compared to growth in other developed countries around the world in the last five years.  For 2015 and 2016, the CBO projects that the economy will grow at roughly 3%. If this prediction comes into fruition, then seven out of the eight years of Obama’s presidency will have been accompanied with solid economic growth.   But does anyone on the right give him credit for this.  No.

So the bottom line is this….What I witnessed last night was a group of Democratic candidates who treated one another respectfully.  I saw one major candidate step in an boldly defend his leading opponent, offering support and encouragement about a non-issue that keeps being dragged into the equation to muddy the views of those of us who are trying to stick to the issues.  I read the fact checking after each debate.

Both sides made errors, but as I examined the facts, I realized that many of the Republican candidates (in the midst of taking jabs at one another) told blatant lies.  Trump espoused his views on vaccinations, for instance, with ZERO scientific substantiation and with absolutely no authority as a physician to back up what he said.  As I examined the gaffs from the Democrats, however, I found that most of them were based on the candidates making earlier statements somewhere down the road, the getting new information that could inform their opinions, intelligently adjusting those opinions, and finally arriving at new ones….Hence the right wing cries of “flip flopping”.  I think the intelligent person DOES change opinions as new evidence is gleaned.    I saw some exaggerations by both sides, because, well, this is politics, folks, and that’s what politicians do.

At the end of the day, I am a liberal, and that is a label that I proudly hold.  I have seen it misrepresented and maligned by the right, but I will carry it to my grave with pride and respect.  It is inclusive of everyone….even of the Republicans.

The label “liberal” is against oppression, racism, unnecessary gun violence, the right for a woman to determine medical decisions about her own body, wage equality, race equality, gender equality and equal opportunities for ALL.  My political views are views that embrace, not views that divide and shun.

And yeah…lie about me and I’ll speak out against you,….because that is just….and it is right.  However, at the end of the day, I’m just tired of it…..the greed, the attitudes of entitlement, the name calling, the mean-spirited shunning and shaming, the attitude that one’s religion is the ONLY religious choice in this great country of ours that was founded on keeping religion separate from politics and government…. and that embraces ALL religions.    I’m fed up with that, and for the rest of my life, I will fight for what I believe is right for me…for my life…and for the lives of my children and grandchildren.

Weed The People – Is Portland the Next Amsterdam?

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Simply put, no, Portland is not the next Amsterdam.   There is no “Red Light District” and I doubt prostitution will ever be legal here.  Still, with the legalization of pot in Oregon and adjoining Washington, I’m sure a lot of people wonder what the deal is and how things will change.  I am seeing changes everywhere.  A more cosmopolitan edge is starting to appear around what used to be a simple, home-grown city of artists and independent merchants.  We are getting more five star restaurants and nicer shopping areas.  There are more tourists than there used to be, and foot traffic has increased substantially.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 5.29.28 AMThere has been no surge in crime.  There has not been an increase in traffic mishaps or people doing crazy things while stoned.   There have been medical marijuana outlets in the state for quite some time now, such as the one shown in the first picture above.  However, since the first of the month, anyone over the age of 21 can now walk into a medical marijuana facility and purchase cannabis at will.  Soon, the recreational stores will open.

An ounce can be carried in public, and one may legally keep eight ounces at home.  If that person lives at least 1000 feet away from a school, he or she can grow up to four plants, just as long as they are out of the public view.  The public is also now allowed to have up to a pound of edibles, such as pot cookies…72 ounces of cannabis extracts or concentrates.

None of these products may be consumed in public….not in parking lots, nor on park benches.  One cannot smoke at the beach, on buses, in alleyways, on sidewalks….All cannabis products must be consumed at home.  People cannot smoke anywhere that liquor is served.  They can only do it behind closed doors at home.

We are seeing pot dispensaries pop up all over the city.  Just as baristas are a huge deal among the coffee lovers here, the new “budtenders” have already risen to the top of the respect-worthy ranks….and I hear it is unacceptable to purchase pot without offering the budtender a hefty tip.

Since the new laws have gone into effect, I have heard of one incident in which a stoned driver hit a pedestrian with his car.  The pedestrian suffered minor injuries. However, I have heard of no other similar occurrences.  I have seen many cleverly-named dispensaries crop up all over the city.  We have Bridge City Collective, Calyxes, Cannabliss and Company, Cherry City Compassion, Farma and many others in virtually every part of the city.  However, I have not seen one stoner stumbling down the street.  I have not heard of one child gaining access to his or her parents’ legal pot and going to school high.

Portland is a very civilized city, and the people here seems to be embracing this whole pot thing.  I’ve noticed that people that don’t smoke pot simply don’t buy it, but I’ve not heard a lot of complaining, and I’ve not seen any protesting.  That’s one of the many things that I enjoy about living here, and that is one aspect of Portland that is, very much, like Amsterdam….the openness to change and the embracing of “alternative” anything.  Generally speaking, people do not become all that invested in the recreational activities of others, unless said activities cause someone else direct harm.  It is a “live and let live” existence….so in that respect, I guess Portland is similar to  Amsterdam…..but we have our own distinct style here….our own way of doing things.  The people in Portland, even with the new legalization of pot, seem more awake and alive…..ready to live.

Oh, and we do.  We really live here.  There is nothing “drag” about living in Portland.  It is fun.  It is exciting.   This is a place to embrace and enjoy life….and we do.  Pot.  No Pot.  It’s just one more option.

Who cares?