Suma

About 15 years ago, I attended an art exhibit in the Alberta Arts District here in Portland, where one of my professor’s then-wife, Toni Thomas, (now a close friend) was showing her woman-centric, rustic sculptures, displayed along with her poetry.  I instantly fell in love with them, and vowed to own one some day.  That day has come.

Last night, we were the dinner guests of Toni and her boyfriend, Peter.  Both of them are getting ready to leave for a year in Edinburgh, Scotland to study poetry.  We went to bid them farewell and to enjoy one last night of their companionship before they leave.

When we got there, John had a surprise for me.  Said surprise might entail our having to take a second mortgage out on the house…but who cares.

Meet Suma.

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The name Suma is an East Indian name meaning , “flower” or “feminine”. The name is also found in the Egyptian language, meaning, “ask” and in the English language, meaning, “born in summer”.  However, Toni named her with the East Indian moniker in mind.

She is a very heavy, hand-thrown ceramic piece that stands approximately 24″ tall and about 18″ wide, at her widest, at the base.  She has a copper-like patina that no photograph can do justice. She is magnificent!

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There is a sadness about her facial features, a plaintiff expression, not unlike life’s longing for itself. Her truncated arms form breasts….or else the breasts form truncated arms. The torso is long and thin with an off-center navel and the suggestion of wide, womanly hips.

The piece now sits on the teakwood credenza in front of the window where our little hummingbirds feed.  At first, I feared she might frighten them, but no.  They are contented with her presence.  I, for one, am not only contented.  I am thrilled.

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Butternut Squash Tacos in Sweet Sriracha Sauce

A friend from Reno sent me this photo this morning.  While it made me smile, it also made me concerned that it might be considered a racial slur…stereotyping the whole Juan-sounds-like-one thing and all that.  So let me say up front that I post this picture to HONOR my favorite cuisine.  I love Mexican food.  The owner of this restaurant is Mexican and HE put up this sign….so I suppose it’s ok.

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The thing that prompted me to post this photo is the fact that we had our own taco emergency today, so I had to whip up some of my special tacos.  They consist of sweet and  smooth butternut squash in a savory Siraracha glaze and served on soft corn tortillas.

I begin this dish by peeling and quartering a small onion, which I then wrap in foil and stick into a 425 degree oven.  I also wrap about 4-6 tortillas in foil and set aside.

Next, I cut 1 butternut squash into sticks and cook them in about a tablespoon of olive oil, turning occasionally, until they are soft and brown in some places. I used a nice AllClad skillet because it enabled me to put all the squash into one layer for more even cooking.

Next, I cut up a red bell pepper into strips.  I removed the seeds, but left a little of the white membrane to add a tiny bit of heat.

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I cooked these in a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy cast iron skillet until they just began to soften.

 

Next, I mixed about 4 Tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Siriracha and 3 tablespoons soy sauce.  Yeah, I know.  What on earth am I doing adding soy sauce to Mexican food?  Just do it.  It’s great.

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Stir the mixture on low heat until it forms a syrup….just before the boiling point.  Remove from heat.

Turn off the oven and stick the tacos in as you remove the little onion packets. (They need to cook for about 18 minutes.) Salt them!

It just takes a coupe of minutes to heat the tortillas.  Once warm, remove them and get ready to assemble. Unwrap each onion quarter.

Separate the layers of onion and place on the tortilla.

Next, add the veggies and squeeze lime on top.  Add fresh cilantro. Then, ladle on the sweet/hot srirache sauce.  Yum-o!

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Enjoy!  These tacos are rich and full-flavored. They have the crunch from the peppers countered by the sweet soft squash.  The lime juice adds an acidic punch that is balanced by the cilantro.  These are GOOD tacos!   Just ask my husband.

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This is for the Individuals Who do Not Understand How to Fact Check

 

There are fast and easy, NON-PARTISAN fact checking entities that enable one to run things by them, and become accurately informed about whether or not their claims are founded in truth….or whether they are founded in partial truth…or whether they are lies, or are varying degrees of lies.  These are not right wing fact checking organizations.  They are not leftist fact checking organizations.  They are groups of people who trace claims back to their sources

Before you post your low-life, made up memes on social media, I suggest you check them through one of these entities.  They will not only tell you whether what you are posting is true.  They will also provide ways in which you can look up the facts for yourself…..on a NON-PARTISAN platform.

Mind you, Donald Trump HATES Politifact, because they ruthlessly bust him on his lies. He hates any news venue that busts him on his lies.  IS Politicaft Reliable? You be the judge….and if you don’t care for Politifact, check SNOPES…because in my opinion, SNOPES is so strenuous about their fact checking that they are absolutely reliable. PolitiFact  is winner of the Pulitzer Prize…which is not given out to biased entities!

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University of Minnesota political science professor Eric Ostermeier did an analysis of 511 selected PolitiFact stories issued from January 2010 through January 2011, stating that “PolitiFact has generally devoted an equal amount of time analyzing Republicans (191 statements, 50.4 percent) as they have Democrats (179 stories, 47.2 percent)”.

Republican officeholders were considered by Politifact to have made substantially more “false” or “pants on fire” statements than their Democratic counterparts. Of 98 statements PolitiFact judged “false” or “pants on fire” from partisan political figures, 74 came from Republicans (76 percent) compared to 22 from Democrats (22 percent) during the selected period reviewed. Ostermeier concluded ”

A writer with the left-leaning magazine The Nation argued that findings like this are a reflection of “fact-checkers simply doing their job […] Republicans today just happen to be more egregiously wrong”. And this is true.  Time after time, one can investigate the facts using NON-PARTISAN fact checkers and the Republicans will come up with the most off-the-wall lies ever.  Again….some people THRIVE on lies…which explains why they are Republicans.

SNOPES.COM

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David Mikkelson, former Republican and co-owner of Snopes.com  has said that the site receives more complaints of liberal bias than conservative bias,but insists that the same debunking standards are applied to all political urban legends.  He posts substantiation for this FACT on his website.  There is no bias with SNOPES.  You can tell, because he makes sure anyone who reads his evaluations can go back and check the sources to verify things for themselves.

FactCheck reviewed a sample of Snopes’ responses to political rumors regarding George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama, and found them to be free from bias in all cases. FactCheck noted that Barbara Mikkelson was a Canadian citizen (and thus unable to vote in US elections) and David Mikkelson was an independent who was once registered as a Republican. “You’d be hard-pressed to find two more apolitical people,” David Mikkelson told them.[22][23] In 2012, The Florida Times-Union reported that About.com‘s urban legends researcher found a “consistent effort to provide even-handed analyses” and that Snopes’ cited sources and numerous reputable analyses of its content confirm its accuracy.

And THAT is why I choose to fact check through SNOPES.

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FactCheck.org is another reliable NON-PARTISAN fact checking entity. The site has gained recognition and won numerous awards for its contributions to political journalism. In 2006, Time magazine named FactCheck.org one of the “25 Sites We Can’t Live Without.”[22] In 2008, PC Magazine called it one of the “20 Best Political Websites.”[23] Between 2008 and 2012, the site won four Webby Awards in the Politics category, in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012; as well as four People’s Voice Awards in Politics, in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012.[24] FactCheck.org also won a 2010 Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for reporting on deceptive claims made about the federal health care legislation.

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 11.26.49 AMYour pants are on fire if you don’t fact check your social media meme claims before posting them. Liar. Liar.

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What?!!! You Don’t Have a Flaming Bagpipe-Playing, Kilt-Wearing Darth Vader on a Unicycle in YOUR Neighborhood?

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Today was the Clinton-Division Street fair.  The parade was one block from our home, so I strolled down to the corner with my camera.  This was an event that really captured the spirit of Portland, which is about people….our hearts…and what we DO instead of what we look like.  I loved what I saw today.  People were genuinely enjoying themselves. People were in this parade from all walks of life…wealthy, poor,  politicians (I shook the hand of the Republican candidate for Oregon Governor.), elderly people, children, mentally challenged, those people with strong political causes on both sides of the coin came together today in peace and fellowship and love…because that’s what the heart of Portland is all about.

There were marching bands….a lot of them.  This one had one of the strongest drum corps I had ever heard.  They were GREAT!!!

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The majorettes or color guards or whatever their titles were….(the ones in the fishnets) were awesome!  Check out the My Little Pony tat!

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The drummers were mighty.  They were powerful and loud.  They were strong.

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There was a rather athletic looking Carmen Miranda-ish person.

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Oh, and this was a super silver marching band called, “Love Bomb Go Go”.  This is our Ingrid holding Beatrix with two members.  Ingrid caught sight of two band members after the parade and struck up a conversation. They were enormously talented, fun to watch and uniquely Portland.  This was a very sweet band.  Nice members. Click HERE to hear their music.

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This was a mighty colorful band member….well…wearing white…but characteristically colorful.

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And I adored this guy.  Wow!  What talent!

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The neighborhood Chinese Crested looked like he would rather be at home drinking a beer.

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We had some colorful little floats.  This was a dog rescue organization.

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You can see the following acrobatic troop in the opening scenes of “Portlandia”….at least the first couple of seasons….walking beside the Willamette downtown.

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A truck pulled off the parade path, a few guys jumped out and set up a portable jump for a group of amazingly talented kids who performed a few jumps for us.

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This kid blew us all away!  A lot of the kids who participated in this jump activity were amazing, but this one?  The BEST!

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Oh…and there was this bike guy.  We see him all over town on this thing.

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Our local police were in the parade showing off their new vehicles.  I have never lived in a city where the police officers were friendlier. Portland cops are really great people…so helpful and kind.

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The Polynesian dancers were a lot of fun.  There were about a dozen of them…all ages…all sizes.

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One of the many things that we love about Portland is that age-ism seems non-existent. People are encouraged and supported in their creative endeavors regardless of how old they are.

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So, our weird little neighborhood parade was not a big money, New York City Macy’s type parade, but it was sweet and endearing.  I had such a good time, as always, strolling down the sidewalk, chatting with neighbors, ducking in and out of the shops, listening to some GREAT music and spending time with my family.  I love my beautiful family….and I love Portland….and that’s not all I love.  Don’t get me started.  😉

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Make Your Own Toaster Snacks

I often re-do recipes for unhealthful, but delicious foods, to turn them into palatable, yet more healthful snacks and entrees that entail less guilt.

What follows is a recipe for cherry PopTarts:

3 1/3 cups all purpose flour (Is okay to use gluten free, but I don’t…)
1/2 teaspoon pink sea salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
About 1 cup cold water
1 C. cherry jam (I use an all-natural, organic brand)
1 egg, beaten

Using a food processor, process flour, salt, and butter for 5 to 8 seconds, so some pieces of butter are left, then transfer mixture to a large bowl.Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add egg yolk and a scant half cup of water (less on a hot day, more on a cold day). Stir quickly with a fork to start bringing the dry and wet ingredients together, adding more water if needed.

When the fork can’t do any more, gather up the dry parts of the dough with hands as quickly as possible and press into dough. Make sure you don’t have a sticky mess or a dry mound.

Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

When ready to make tarts, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rolling the Dough for Your Gluten-Free Pop Tarts

Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out dough into 12 evenly sized rectangles.

Spread in the Pop Tart Filling

Place 2 tablespoons of jam in the center of 6 pieces of dough.

Cover and Crimp Your Cherry Pop Tarts

Place another slice of dough on top of each tart, and use fork to crimp edges. Brush tarts with egg wash and prick center of tarts with knife to create air vents.

Bake and Enjoy Gluten-Free Pop Tarts

Bake in oven 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

Eat. Enjoy.  Love ’em.  Yum.  You want another one!