Cute little bunny crouched down low, tucked in it's long translucent pink ears and flattened itself to the ground. Hunkered down, it held still, played being a rock, and successfully avoided detection by my two terrible terriers, but not by me. Such observations may be the norm in the boonies, but they are not common for me living downtown for more then a quarter of a century.

In my 'hood a sign on a gate on Gomez street reads Chien Lunatique which ought to scare any malevolent spirits away, although I do wonder how many of our local souls would comprehend the Gallic tongue? No linguistic skills needed I believe for this sign I have not yet put up, but might:
I chatted up a Linguist the other day while watching the light of yet another pretty, yet ordinary sunse while we hung out and about our community garden. The man, an obvious to me for no good reason foreigner, revealed that he was based on the East Coast, Boston to be exact, which might just be another country with it's different mentality. He came to our City Different on account of an invitation, a temporary job, to help establish a museum for native languages. As is so often the case, the project got initiated by a probably filthy rich white guy. While the Dineh (Navajo) people are supposedly supportive, the Tewa Native American Pueblo people are supposedly not. Who can blame them after the abuse they suffered not so long ago by white folks that stole their children and forbid them their mother tongue! They are, I am told, afraid that the sacredness of their way of life, which includes their language, will be taken away from them. Being an Anglo, the strange idea of a museum for languages immediately appealed to me. I will be curious to learn what will come of it.

On the political front, my TV is now permanently disconnected after repeated 6 month-intervals of non-use, my provider had enough and we parted ways amicably. This means that I do not have to follow the repugnant Republican drama and was successful in avoiding all of the speeches given at their convention, including the one given by our own governor, Susana. What caught my attention though was the Palinesque Bachman, who insinuated on the Piers Morgan show that single (but whole, not lacking a husband, thinking women) would vote for Obama, we have to assume on his  admittedly not insignificant sex appeal.  Meanwhile the properly married ones would vote for Romney. What an insult! A study supposedly claims that 60% of single women support Obama, only 31% are for Romney. So let me state publicly my support for President Obama, an antidot to the repugnant R & Rs.
Floppy ears may not be our President's most sexy feature, but I support him despite Guantanamo still holding prisoners for indefinite detention, without due process, despite his authorization to kill, rather then apprehend Osama Bin Landen, despite his choices in Afghanistan, and despite his outrageous  appointment of a former Monsanto vice-president and lobbyist to the FDA, and despite a lot more objections! We have no alternative for this year, none and we all know it. Those pushing to vote for a third party candidate are kidding themselves and are playing with very dangerous fires. A few votes could make a whole lot of difference this year. Are You In? It just so happens that I got an offer to work a voting station on election day. It will be another long day, but I do believe in our privilege and our right and our responsibility of voting.


This year's abundance started off with bright orange berries on bushes at our park I had not ever realized were edible. It took  my observing a blond Swedish mom with little kids picking some so as to make jelly (and complaining how many it took to make only a small batch) that I got the idea to give them too a try. Not a fan of jelly, I would grab a handful and place them on a pancake. The refreshing, subtly sweet and tart explosion of taste when grinding teeth would pop those berries was delightful.

Next came the apricots and they were littering the streets, it is a shame how perfectly good fruit gets wasted while so many still go hungry, especially in our state. So I have no compulsion about picking fruit off trees that overhang public streets and neither have my pups. My little Sumo-boy absolutely loves sweet and ripe fruit, but will reject any other kind. I fed them so many apricots in between gathering the fruit in to my basket, that I got worried about their intestinal plumbing. But all was well, my pups suffered no observable ill effect from eating too many apricots, hallelujah!
I worked those apricots in to a spicy compote concocted from a mix of spices that included ginger, cancer fighting tumeric and a dash of infection fighting cayenne, unbeatable as a topping to vanilla icecream (there did go my dairy abstinence, but not for long. Life is too short to worry about a slip.)
Apricots made in to a simple pie, what we would call 'Aprikose Waehe' is one of my very favorites, and a staple food for meat free Fridays.
In the back of our home we do have one pear tree and I got to gather a few pears, most though got eaten by birds or fell off the tree never having reached maturity. In fact I am rather surprised how much fruit never reaches what must be an inherent goal to any organism - maturity. I realize this may be just the same on a human level, oh no, this touches a personal soft spot! My friend Rui from Madeira Portugal used to make pear pies with an arrow root glaze and distribute them all over Amsterdam. Today I just lightly cooked the few pears so as to save them from the fruit flies. They will make for a welcome change as a topping over a hot breakfast cereal.
Apples are currently aplenty and I pick some up almost everyday, careful to avoid picking the too small ones, but rather give them time to fully mature on the risk of course that others may take them. Those green apples that grow in my 'hood are great for cooking, but a bit sour for eating raw. I discovered that apple sauce just like apricot compote makes for an excellent carrier for tumeric of which I hear more and more accounts of it's benefits, such as relieve from joint pain due to inflammation.
Our community garden this year is devoid of cilantro, so no salsa for me so far, but I might look forward to an ear or two of corn. It astounds me that my downtown 'hood offers so much free food for the taking, something I had discovered only 2 years ago in 2010.

Domestic Goddess By Default

1:55 p.m.; Finally my chicken, inside a Dutch Oven, is now inside my real oven (not the toaster as initially intended.) This is my first use of a Dutch Oven and my first use of my real oven, probably since my separation from my husband two decades ago! Wrong side up though I had placed the darn bird I had to learn from my neighbor, the one that had gifted me with his outdated, but perfectly fine Dutch Oven 
(see earlier post Christmas In May.) 
A chicken ought to be baked breast side down, or else the meat will turn bone dry is what I just learned.

As a mature woman, some may think I ought to know how to bake a chicken by now. Well, I have avoided touching dead meat most all of my adult life. My husband was, and the man still is, a strict vegetarian despite the heavy physical labour he always enjoyed. (While I would bring home the bacon, most of my domestic partners would usually do the cooking. I would reserve my attention to the important task of eating.) Needless to say chicken in any form or manner was not a part of our menu. My X had shared with me that after having enjoyed a chicken as a pet, he no longer could stand the thought of eating one. Bless his tender heart. I feel quiet similar without ever having had a chicken as a pet. This need for killing life, making oneself more important then another form of life is trying to say the least. I abstained from all red meat and after a decade had only a occasional bites of chicken disguised and made unrecognizable as when covered in a heavy spinach sauce such as one usually finds at East Indian buffets.

All of this changed dramatically when I brought home Isabella-girl, decidedly a meat devouring creature and lover of gross raw bloody bones. 
Isabella sucking bone as if it were a lollipop in 2006.

So this is how an advertisement of a whole, organic, free range chicken, on sale, managed to catch my attention and imagination and succeeded in my bringing the bird home on impulse.

Only once, last winter, when I scored for our Occupy camp a whole chicken  from a farmer at the close of our farmers market,  not trusting the flimsy set up of our Occupy kitchen with the  preparation of raw meat, I resigned myself to the the making of a stew that I must say got rave reviews from our Occupy campers.
Back to the afternoon, I made myself a juice from a few of those apples I gathered in public parks, plus carrots, celery and bit of beet (powerful!) in order to use the pulp which I mixed in with garlic , lemon and herbs (some growing in my pots) for stuffing. As I rubbed the chicken with the mix on the outside god-dess behold, I found myself growing fond of this bird. It felt clean and trim to the touch and looked rather well proportioned, I go as far as beautiful, this bird of mine.

The aroma of the veggies was heavenly and attracted all three of my furry ones, including the Pretty Kitty (who tends to refuse my offerings of home made cooked food in favor of canned junk) to sit, stare, wonder and wait in great anticipation.

We all had our fill by now, even the kitty took a few morsels off my hand. The skin did not come out all nice golden and crispy looking, but none of us minded. The half lemon stuffed inside might have been a mistake as it did not blend perfectly with my herbs and veggies, but the meat came out perfect, moist and delicious.

5:55 p.m.: So it was a day that started out with an apple pie, made of course from apples gathered from public parks and streets.
It progressed to my having cooked the pears picked off a tree in the back of our home and in danger of being diminished by fruit flies. The day continued on with my attending to the Garbanzo beans that had soaked for more then two days and needed to be made in to Humus. Ah, I had no idea how much I might love beans when prepared to my liking, without too much salt or oil and no canned anything, please! (Not liking beans and not liking meat makes for a precarious diet.) My day passed with having accomplished nothing but domestic tasks once more, as if I had no pressing matters to attend to, such as anything that revolves around money.


Ray Masterson - Vietnam Vet, Peace Activist

Ray surprised me when he started to entertain kids at the Farmers Market.

Ray trained his service dogs himself.

Dawson is "trained to only bite back" we are told.

Dawson now between 4 and 5 years old
has become the sweetest and most tolerant dog.

After all that sitting and waiting and being patient
 a bit of canine yoga is what the doctor ordered.

 Dawson's job is to navigates their contraption through traffic.

Oh, so true.
Find more images of Ray and his dogs here on flickr.

Moved To Tears

Roxanne Swentzell created this urn
in loving memory of her father-in-law.
Closed eye hugging of an urn
- such intensity of feeling!
I was reminded of the burials of my parents.
I was the one that placed my Dad's urn 
in to my Mom's grave.

This image expresses my feelings poignantly
All options of burial seem utterly unappealing.
Cremation certainly works against the Catholic belief
of the dead arising on judgment day. 
My Mom, bless her soul, 
was convinced she would need her body
come Judgment Day.

Disbursal of the remains in to the air,
like my friend who scattered her mother's ashes
across her land,
only for those ashes to descend
and to settle as dust on her furniture
- very unappealing.

Disbursal of the remains in to the ocean,
so the fish will ingest the loved one
while we get to eat the fish
- very unappealing.

Collecting the remains in an urn
to be cherished by loved ones
-  almost ideal.

For me personally though,
the last to remain of our lineage,
the epitome of our evolutionary line,
of our particular gene pool,
this will not be an option.


The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection
ORIGIN 1950s: coined by C. G. Jung, Zurich, Switzerland.

Wow, wow, wow!
On my way home from the plaza late last night in a deserted parking lot downtown, I happened to come upon one magnificent looking, tan, apparently young and healthy looking coyote the height of about my Isabella-girl, but a lot slimmer. Unhurried and unafraid the coyote kept on sniffing the ground after a quick check on me as I was about to peddle by real close. Thinking of my Pretty Kitty, most likely near by, still out and about during these mild summer nights, I circled back again and again around  the coyote. Trying to scare the beast away, I rung my bell wildly. Nope, this creature of god-dess showed no fear, but languidly retreated only a few steps to continue on while it held only a minimal proper cautionary distance. This coyote almost looked and acted more like a dog familiar in human habitats and utterly unconcerned.

Oddly this magical encounter happened after an odd chance meeting with a stranger where a conversation that started due to the appearance of roaches at the center of our plaza. Soon the conversation shifted to coyotes and this man's account of his personal experiences and his appreciation of their intelligence. He claimed to have seen coyotes climb trees (small Pinions) in pursuit of prey and said that the coyotes always outwitted the wolfs, acting in tandem, one as a decoy the other fetching the goodies. Feeling at first sorry for the cute bunnies demise, he eventually came to appreciate the natural order of things and learned to desist his desires to interfere.

From there the conversation moved on to more personal matters and we recognized a similarity in our experiences and learned that we were born less then a month apart, although on different continents and in different genders. We, and maybe a large section of our generation considering our friend's accounts, seem to share experiences of vacillating between despair one moment and elation the other. In our fifties we had suffered devastating loss of lovers, friends, family and - beliefs not to speak of financial security.

It was powerful to realize our commonality, to be reminded that we are not alone, but part of a collective conscience and a generation, maybe at a loss, but still able to laugh with and hug a stranger.

My mythic encounter with a gorgeous coyote, so close to home,  only stressed the importance of what had transpired that evening. 

Alternate Lives

I wonder every now and then, maybe too often, what other versions of my self might have looked like, don't you? What if I had actually gotten the notification of my acceptance to the school for Ergotherapy in Zuerich, Switzerland? 

One thing would be sure, I would not find myself in the financial pickle I am in now. But in the seventies there were no cell phones, there was no internet and keeping in touch was a whole lot more challenging, especially through international borders. Phone calls used to be very expensive and were not indulged in frequently. It's all water under the bridge now. I have no illusions, working within any Swiss institution would have proven nothing but challenging for me. 

I was a natural though at rehabilitation and had done outstanding work (if I may say so myself) in three different psychiatric settings when still in my teens. No doubt the glowing reports from an ergo therapist and co-worker had opened the opportunity for me, then an untrained, but very enthusiastic nurses aid, to get on a professional therapeutic track that would not involve open wounds and needles such as would have been required in nursing. I really loved working as a nurses aid, loved looking after the needs of others such as their intimate care as in bathing, grooming, and feeding. Of course, I took a particular interest in their psychological care. With  a wide open mind, I inquired about their thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

In a closed area for the chronic schizophrenics at a progressive psychiatric institution outside Zuerich, I took the afternoon coffee group as an opportunity. I directed their conversation away from me and towards each other and the results were amazing. Those men in their thirties and forties started to wonder aloud what schizophrenia just might be! Signs of life started to show were there seemed only dullness, it was awesome to behold.

One mute, rather cute looking younger guy blossomed from total withdrawal (rocking in a corner by himself, initiating contact only with a touch of the back of his hand to one other guy) to excited participation in the application of color, to thinking for himself and correcting an image that hung askew and to helping me with the laundry and the opening and closing of doors, all the while grinning from ear to ear.

I loved to engage patients with chores, rather than have them sit around and stare into space. I got flack for it too. Ah, the small minded, mid-level personnel that wants to follow the rules to the letter and insists to stay task-oriented on cost of the well-being of real people! During rare sunny afternoons they wanted me to put away the laundry, rather than take a small and able group out for walks and talks. When I mentioned the excessive sugar intake by one of our women that did have a tendency to violent outbreaks, the nurse got nightmares from what she considered inappropriate observations coming up from the lower rank, me. Of course, this was long before there were scientific studies that linked consumption of sugar to hyperactivity and the like.

Likely I was the first in all of Switzerland to introduce Tai-chi to some of those in my charge. I initiated all kinds of activity to open the breath and foster grounding. I did this too with my Dad in his last years. These days breath therapists are a common element of a therapeutic team. I remember too giving a thorough hand massage to one very old and very brittle lady, a former sales woman of silk in a very fine traditional Swiss establishment (Grieder) whose fist had closed up on her. Massage therapy had not yet been recognized officially in its many therapeutic applications. 

There was the time too when a fever had broken out and I had to stick those thermometers into various orifices, followed by the application of suppositories anally. I stayed at the bedsides determined not to get sick. It seemed that I had former life times of practice, it seemed so natural to care and to do what was needed. But I never wanted to become a nurse. They had far less opportunity to be with patients, but they needed to occupy themselves with management, meetings and of course the pharmacopeia of magical pills I so abhor. Yes, there was too a time when as a nurses aid in Switzerland I distributed the pills as it then was part of my job and inadvertently gave a dosage of ten times the strength of morphine to one patient, due to an error of proper preparation by the attending nurse. Luckily I recognized the trouble, realized that this patient suffered uncommon hallucinations and reported them along with vital medical information to the doctor.

Eventually, I did enter the therapeutic field as a professional in my practice as a massage therapist and aquatic bodyworker. I always considered relaxation only the beginning of a successful therapeutic treatment. I was fortunate to work outside institutions, one-on-one, on my own schedule. Blessed in many ways one may still wonder, what if?


August 4th is a birthday shared by our US President and our NM Mayor - and my friend Christa, who invited me for the occasion to the opera. The spectacle of a double rainbow blessed us before the staged spectacle at our outstanding venue for the cultured people in Santa Fe.

Dressed in all purple, including kimono, wearing my 18-strand black, fresh water pearl necklace, I sat in the third row up front. Expensive seats that did not offer a view on those playing the wind instruments, the kind that somehow hold a particular fascination for me with their rich, deeply satisfying sounds. I could have thought of a lot of uses for the money my friend spent on me to accompany her, but who am I to look in to the mouth of a gifted horse. Well, true, I am the kind that would likely look in to a mouth, if only out of curiosity, and possibly refuse an offer, but not this one.

We heard a lot of singing in French during which I tried hard to practice my comprehension skills despite operas being operas and their dramas tendencies to silliness, if not the absurd. For the deliveries in Italian, the sounds simply washed over me, but the few German renditions did leave something to be desired in regard to accent. I must say I have heard outstanding German from Americans at our opera, but not last night. 

But opera is no longer what it used to be, the singers now look attractive and they can act. Truly I admired their groundedness and their lack of grandiose gesturing. The performances all seemed very restrained, but powerful and pleasing. One outstanding soprano singer and performer though cracked me up, as she looked like an incarnation of Fiona out of Pixar's Shrek, lovely.
off the net
So, a good time was had by all.