Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Yellow Leaf Photo Album

Back on the river walk this morning. 6:30am, about 40 degrees but weather channel said ‘feels like 32’ so I put on four layers of clothes and briskly waddled along. Paid no attention to the sluggish and rather sparse water fowl. Looked for coyotes. Only found yellow leaves.

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The ‘hood.

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Yellow leaves.

The rest of the yellow leaves.

The rest of the yellow leaves.

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Almost a Foodie

Swiss chard, chick pea and potato stew.

Swiss chard, chick pea and potato stew.

Wikipedia says; a foodie is a gourmet or a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger. While gourmet and epicurean can be used as synonyms they have fallen out of favor and bring to mind a stodgy or snobbish attitude.

 It is very stressful to reach my age and realize how many things I still want to BE. A writer, photographer, student, political activist, humanitarian, hiker, avid gym-goer and foodie. None will be easy but the foodie gig may be the most difficult of all.

Obviously being a real foodie is out of my reach. Someone whose lifelong food preferences fall in the macaroni and cheese, cinnamon roll, Ritz crackers and Philadelphia cream cheese category will never reach gourmet/epicurean heights.

Still, there’s no reason not to at least try for foodie light. History indicates I may have strands of the right DNA. As a kid I endlessly baked cakes, only cakes, with no interest in any other category of foodstuff.  Cherry, chocolate, chocolate/maraschino cherry, caramel, Jell-O, strawberry, white layer cake with lemon filling and seven-minute icing, peanut butter, prune, mayonnaise, and more. As a young Air Force wife (especially when living in the Philippines with a maid), I cut recipes out of magazines and copied them from friends and relatives and tried everything—no matter how strange or complicated. Some successes, numerous messes (primarily the French dishes).

I can feel that cooking, baking, experimental, experiential desire coming on again. For oh so many reasons:

  • Now the world has Google and a million (low estimate) foodie blogs,  many of which are works of literary and visual art, and great fun to peruse;
  • As responsible citizens we need to limit our consumption of environmentally unfriendly meat, eat more organic vegetables, lower our intake of gluten, sugar and processed foods generally—to do that one must cook;
  • What could possibly be a more satisfying pastime than surrounding ourselves with a food pyramid of ingredients, pouring a glass of wine and cutting, peeling, smashing, slicing, stirring, whisking, browning, simmering and roasting, with perhaps the reward of a second glass of wine;
  • Finally, how pleasurable to share the results with good friends and family accompanied by good conversation.

Tonight my friend Bob and I shared a meal of his Swiss chard, chick pea and potato stew and my vegetable fried rice (brown rice, peanut oil, garlic, green onion, green pepper, petit peas, sesame oil and peanuts) with sherbet for dessert. The food was tasty, pretty and healthy, gave us pleasure and was friendly on all environmental fronts. We are definitely on the right path.

Vegetable Fried Rice.

Vegetable Fried Rice.

How is it that I live in a state without an IKEA store?

In the big wide open west, I live in an apartment that would fit a Manhattan lifestyle (meaning tiny but in an interesting neighborhood). There are many reasons: It is cheap and cozy; small spaces have always made me comfortable (growing up with a mom, dad, brother, various dogs and odd bird life in “the little house in the big woods!”) and it’s easy to come and go with my friendly landlord next door.

When I moved in 14 years ago (the only other place I have ever lived that long was the childhood home) it was to start a new job back in Albuquerque. Money was tight and my furniture shopping took place in secondhand stores on San Mateo SE—which for the most part is what has still been furnishing my place. Until now.

I discovered IKEA this year—well actually I have been a fan since all my favorite Scandinavian detectives seem to have apartments full of IKEA stuff where they sit and drink and morosely contemplate their dysfunctional lives and how to solve the latest murder.

Earlier this year, I finally went to the IKEA website and even ordered a catalogue which eventually replaced my evening bible reading. As a result the first IKEA furniture arrived at my apartment sometime last winter or spring.

Now however I have been to the real-life store in San Diego and followed the arrows and eaten the meatballs…and seen the light. Okay so everything is not actual wood (but much is…) and the style is Scandinavian minimalism and I doubt much of it lasts forever. But I love meatballs and I’m too old to worry about anything lasting forever so this furniture and household stuff is just right for my life.

Anyway, I came home from California with a car full of boxes of complex pieces of wood, fake wood, metal, glass, bolts, wrenches and nails and extremely inordinately unnecessarily complicated instructions. My kid came over and, in exchange for dinner and a beer or two, put it all together. I tell myself I could do it but the things I’ve tried have wound up with a small vital piece missing—after the point of no return. Taking apart a half-put-together IKEA bookcase or table is an impossible feat for ordinary people. To do that one must have been raised in the snow, reading serious and somber Nordic literature and only eating fish…which makes you very smart but not necessarily good at writing instructions for southerners (that would be all the people in the world living below the Arctic Circle).

So…this is my stay-at-home year, except for a road trip here and there, money usually slated for the travel fund is going to the dentist and IKEA—the latter being quite a bit more fun than the former—except when you’re in the middle of trying to put together that pesky table, chair, desk, which can feel a bit like a root canal.

I must go back to forming sentences and paragraphs and pages again about the more important things in life (Really? More important than food and IKEA? How is that possible?) both in blogs and for my re-born book project. This will be my last photo album for awhile. I hope.

A rare IKEA owl from the wilds of Stockholm.

A rare IKEA owl from the wilds of Stockholm.

Yeah, it's a table in my bedroom which has no purpose, but I do love this table.

Yeah, it’s a table in my bedroom which has no purpose, but I do love this table.

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My book-writing desk!

And finally, the chair In the bedroom that was already too small and yet one more IKEA lamp...this time with flowers from Oslo.

And finally, the chair In the bedroom that was already too small and yet one more IKEA lamp…this time with flowers from Oslo.

The Foodie Life

To celebrate the end of one part of life and re-energize for the onward push, I went to Southern California to eat, sleep, hang out with family and haunt the aisles of IKEA. Having family in San Diego is a very good thing. Next to Manhattan, Paris or a small tropical island somewhere (and a private plane), SoCal is right up there.

Soon I will write posts about books, travel, politics and such again but for now here’s another photo album with restaurant recommendations.

Carnitas' Snack Shack. Outdoors in the CA sun with garnishes, herbs and veggies as the decor. LOVE THIS PLACE!

Carnitas’ Snack Shack. Outdoors in the CA sun with garnishes, herbs and veggies as the decor. LOVE THIS PLACE!

Carnitas' Pork Belly App (braised duroc pork/sweet-spicy glaze-fresee salad, apples, radish, lemon viaigrette. Everything from local farms, etc.

Carnitas’ Pork Belly App (braised duroc pork/sweet-spicy glaze-fresee salad, apples, radish, lemon viaigrette. Everything from local farms, etc.

Beet Terrine (local beets, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic glaze).

Beet Terrine (local beets, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic glaze).

Sandra & me and an afternoon margarita.

Sandra & me and an afternoon margarita.

Sandra's sister, Cynthia's birthday feast. With my fave, LUMPIA.

Sandra’s sister, Cynthia’s birthday feast. With my fave, LUMPIA.

Evening at Bru's somewhere between LA and SD. Local Dever Scallops in a beurre blanc served over truffle potato puree, topped with squid ink cavier.

Evening at Bru’s somewhere between LA and SD. Local Dever Scallops in a beurre blanc served over truffle potato puree, topped with squid ink cavier.

Teresa & Steven's friend, Ashley.

Teresa & Steven’s friend, Ashley.

The Family of Foodies.

The Family of Foodies.

Bluewater Seafood & Market's Calico Amber Beer-Battered Taco (Snapper, homemade pico de gallo & jalepeno cream on a flour tortilla.

Bluewater Seafood & Market’s Calico Amber Beer-Battered Taco (Snapper, homemade pico de gallo & jalepeno cream on a flour tortilla.

Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant "Russian Borscht: Deep reddish-purple beetroot soup with beef simmered for hours to produce culinary magic."

Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant “Russian Borscht: Deep reddish-purple beetroot soup with beef simmered for hours to produce culinary magic.”

Ah, finally. Dessert.

Ah, finally. Dessert.

The New House.

The New House.

I am not old as long as I can climb to the TOP of Black Mountain.

I am not old as long as I can climb to the TOP of Black Mountain.

MADE IT!

MADE IT!

The Absolute Grand FINAL End of Global DanceFest

How often does something end at just the right moment in time—something I’ve said in a few blogs now. Still it’s amazing enough to say a few times. And what a lovely time it was. I will miss my dance friends but new adventures await. Here, to bring you up-to-date, is the month of October in photo albums.

THOSE LAST PERFECT DAYS OF GDF.

MOSES(ES)

MOSES(ES)

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BOYZIE, MARJ, REGGIE, PANAIBRA…POSSIBLY MY FAVORITE ARTISTS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD

Amelia Leopoldina Socovinho/Maputo

Amelia Leopoldina Socovinho

Maria Domingos Tembe, Maputo

Maria Domingos Tembe

Reggie Wilson's birthday party & special gift, a wood carving from Old Town.

Reggie Wilson’s birthday party & special gift, a wood carving from Old Town.

Reggie and company leaving town.

Reggie and company leaving town.

Boyzie and Teresa in the Bosque.

Boyzie and Teresa in the Bosque.

Bryn and Panaibra at Balloon Fiesta.

Bryn and Panaibra at Balloon Fiesta.

Val and Teresa.

Val and Teresa.

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Cathy and Panaibra.

Cathy and Panaibra.

Boyzie and Panaibra. THE END.

Boyzie and Panaibra.
THE END.

 

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