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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace….
Ecclesiasties III

my i have just come thru a bit of a dizzying week. certainly the pivotal phrase is come thru- and there’s a glass full of grateful waiting for me to offer the sun goddess this weekend.

i had lunch with a gaggle of gay guys and i dropped my theory about addiction in gay men and the infestation of shame based trauma in our modern culture. we grow up feeling wrong, and dirty, and unlovable and struggle as adults shaking off those self-loathing ghosts. numbing out positions itself as our “man friday”  in oh so many cases. sadly though, as in my case, we place ourselves in positions (both physical and emotional) to become vulnerable to physical and emotional maladies- including personality disorders and hiv/hcv which often leads to more intense numbing… and on and on. as i soul mined for a deeper truth with these men in their myriad states of rebuild, sharing poached salmon with cucumber and dill and penne salad with veggies and pesto, i hoped that an appetite was being created too.

turns out that my acquaintance i had approached about collaboration has been less than honest about his relationship with bedbugs (my new nickname for meth). there was an arrest, a phone conversation with his mother followed by 2 voice messages same day upon release. neutrality may slowly becoming more second nature, but it has not yet become my super hero costume- although i have had a hankering for wearing a cape lately.  i am still affected by the people in my life. thankfully though, i am far more unflinching and take things less personally. on  the flipside, i hope i am becoming a more solid confidante.

there is an inference in the aa story that life can do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. when i actually do take a moment to “zoom out”, it is clear that this is a complete reflection of my truth. i have moments of contentment based solely on lack of want- which is not a lifetime experience. maybe i felt it before self-medication, but it was certainly overshadowed by the consistent and turbulent flooding of dopamine in my head.

will be headed to idaho springs tomorrow  for a family thing. a cousin and her family are in town from nebraska. am taking slow roasted cherry tomatoes w/cambozola and fresh basil to spread on italian bread. and i am gonna try to make fresh strawberry lemonade slushees w/mint. i am keenly aware that the cooking and serving aspect of this getaway are the real motivator. without them, i would stay home.

went to see the new “star trek” last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it (in 3d). it is uncanny how charming it is to watch alien creatures struggle with their human characteristics. and such a metaphor. and what fun to watch captain kirk with the same adulation (ahem) i had for the 1st screen version of the same character.  and i have come to have a renewed admiration for the color chartreuse-especially contrasted with cornflower blue and berry red.

and it is very near to the turn of yet another season. i have started cardio classes again- after a 9 month hiatus-in the hopes of dropping the kangaroo pouch. plus the adrenaline and endorphins have an affect.

celery root salad… quiet delight

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reprinted from www.maatikaarts.com
this weekend i am headed to the mountains and will be making dinner and breakfast. i have been looking forward to it especially because i will be cooking 2 meals. i plan on making pork tenderloin with pomegranate and apricot accompanied by celery root salad for tomorrow’s dinner. i haven’t had this salad for at least 5 years and it has always been one of my favorites. i decided to put the recipe here for any of you. for my money, this is regional cuisine at its best. happy halloween.


Some things are so classic, so perfectly right as they are that it seems like a total disgrace to “reinvent” them. There is a reason some dishes have been around for a long time, on and off restaurant menu’s, but always there. There is a tricky knife edge here though. You can fall one way in to classic stardom of a recipe – something so good, so simple that it should never be changed. A quick shake on the edge however and things can fall drastically apart. The dish can be flat, boring, dated.
Celery root (or celariac as it is often called) remoulade when done with care falls head first into the first category of classic stardom. But like all things simple, the devil is hiding in the details. If you coarsely chop a celery root, mix it with store bought mayo, season with table salt you are going to think I am a grade A idiot for even suggesting this dish was a classic never to be changed. If, however, care is taken to create perfect little matchsticks of clean tasting celery root, and mixed with just the right amount of characterful homemade Dijon mayonnaise, spruced up with fresh lemon and herbs the you are on to a winner.
I first got thinking about celariac remoulade towards the end of last year when we had a family vacation to southern California. We rode bikes along the strand, all the way to god knows where (well at a guess close to LAX, given the fact I nearly fell off my bike being buzzed by a 747). We stopped and were hungry. There was a dicey looking “Italian” joint, a dive bar (we had our son with us..) or this crusty old French place that looked like you could blow the thing down.
Everyone knows how much the English love the crusty French, so we obviously headed straight there. Locking the bikes up next to the outside toilet one thought was going through my mind – “this place is either going to be fucking good, or I am going to be hoping to god that I can cycle back to out apartment in time before the lunch really hits home..” No fast cycling was required that afternoon I am happy to say, quite the contrary in fact.
The place was genius. I don’t think the decor or menu had changed since the 30s. Nor had the server (most likely the owner too), who must have been well in to her 80s, walked with a huge stoop, and berating the other younger waiter for not doing things right. The whole place just oozed old French. Sitting down I still had the same thought I did when we locked the bikes up. We ordered. Danika had some salmon, I had a roast lamb open sandwich, and a salad.
This was seriously one of the most perfectly prepared meals I have ever eaten. The salmon was ridiculously perfect. The lamb sandwich was fantastically balanced – rich, a little sweet, then a pop of cornichons. Nice. The highlight however was the side salads. A perfectly simple green salad, with just the right amount of fines herbs, dressing and salt. It was so fresh, clean and perfect. Just like the little heap of Céleri Rémoulade that sat unassumingly next to the roast lamb. You know they had been making these for decades, could do them in their sleep and them down right perfect.
A couple of hours over lunch (80 year old hunched over servers aren’t fast), a glass of wine, and a tired 4 year old meant that we rather reluctantly had to leave the place and cycle back past the noisy airplanes, and in to the rush of city (well, OK.. vacation) life again.
So back to the celery root. Whilst you might think it is the root of the celery stalks we all hate to eat raw(seriously, who enjoys chewing on a stringy celery stick?) it is different. It is a kind of celery, but harvested for the root, not stalk. Often I end up either roasting them in a bit of duck fat, or making a puree from them, with a little potato for body. Celeriac soup is lovely too, especially with a tiny dice of fresh tart apple and pancetta.
The French would absolutely argue that the classic of chopped celery root and mayonnaise cannot be improved upon, and I pretty much agree (as per my first statement in this blog post – keep it simple, don’t muck it up). I do however like to add just enough chopped fresh parsley and tarragon to make it even fresher. This time I finished the plateful with a sprinkling of Piment d’Espelette really just because I had bought a new jar and wanted an excuse to try it out.
Turns out it is great on this remoulade.
So there you have it really. A very simple clean French winter raw vegetable salad.
Raw celery root salad recipe
NOTE: this salad uses a lovely pungent homemade mayo based on a recipe from Anne Willian’s lovely “Country Cooking of France” book. It uses raw eggs. People get squiffy about raw eggs, mainly thanks to poor quality eggs from chickens on an incredibly cruel battery farm. Use good quality farm fresh eggs. The taste difference is incredible, and they are safer too.
Be sure to use a good quality Dijon mustard, and clean olive oil. Personally I like the Dijon from Trader Joes very much.
2 medium celery roots
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil (scant)
small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, hard stems removed
a few stalks of fresh taragon, leaves picked
Piment d’Espelette to taste (optionalish)
salt and pepper
Start by making the mustard mayo. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Whisk together the egg yolks, mustard and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Whisk until this thickens a bit. Slowly start adding in the lemon juice, pretty much a drop at a time, whisking constantly. After you have added about a tablespoon of oil this way, it can be added a little faster – in a slow stream – but whisk that arm of yours off. If at any point it looks like you have oil to whisk in, then slow down adding the oil, and whisk like mad. Now whisk in the remaining lemon juice. Season well with salt and pepper.
Trim the skin off the celery root. A wash to remove any excess dirt. Slice the celery root into 3mm slices. This is best done on a mandolin or deli slicer. Stack some of these slices up and now slice them in to thin matchsticks.
Cover the unused pieces of celery root with a damp towel, to stop them from going brown.
Once sliced put in a large bowl. Add the mayo a tablespoon or so at a time, mixing the celery root in well. Add just enough to liberally coat the celery root.  Finely chop the fresh herbs and toss enough in to make things interesting. Season well with good sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Let this stand, covered in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the celery root soften a bit. When it comes time to serve, dish it up, and sprinkle each plate with a little Espelette if you like.
and so a friend on facebook (who actually posts more music than i do) shared this link. i hadn’t heard of her before. but i know i like the retro sound and i like the quality of her vocals. 


housekeeping

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image credit-diego diaz marin

i am pretty sure that i am looking around for options as i have presently in the process of applying for a new position. i stumbled across a career horoscope reading and found it hopeful that it advised looking outside my immediate sphere for options. i have felt i might need to do this anyway for a variety of reasons, however there is that inner-critic that tells me i can’t get anything else and i need to hold on to what i have.
coincidentally, i have put out a couple of feelers and do have an idea or two. i think though that it is important for me to exercise my brain in this way. otherwise i remain stuck.

i wonder which would be tougher- being passed over for a position that might allow me to grow professionally and personally, or simply moving to position that may not offer me much change at all. tomorrow waits to explore what will take place. i know what i would like to do, but i am unclear about my motivation and my drive.

August 2011
Career Horoscopes

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s during mercury retrograde

reprinted from dailyhoroscope.com
Creativity is a key to career success for most of this month, with the Sun outgoing Leo until August 23. Instead of limiting your professional choices to the ones that are already in front of you, taking time to think outside the box may help you discover ways to improve your current working situation or to find a new one. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Leo, which is also a sign of leadership. Of course, there are risks in having your own business but that’s true of just about any line of work these days.
Another important factor now is that Mercury, the communication planet, will be retrograde August 2-26. This backward cycle tends to mess with information and messages, making it especially important to double check facts and to make sure that you and those who matter understand one another. The upside of Mercury’s reversal is the possibility to retrieve old concepts and reconnect with people who can help you professionally. Just be careful about any tendency to oversell or to buy into someone else’s inflated plans.
On August 21, attractive Venus’ shift into efficient Virgo puts a premium on competence. Refining your job-related skills and developing new ones can increase your value and, perhaps, your income as well. The Sun’s entry into Virgo on August 23 underscores the importance of being a competent and cooperative worker. Mastering tasks that require concentration may not be flashy and gain immediate attention, but can upgrade almost anyone’s professional status.

so i came across this german ensemble named “lovebirds” on beatport. they are so house-y and i swim easily in house music. always have. there is a much more popular version featuring stee downes, but i like this version, too. it’s a little more pared down.  when i am inside house music, i find drama, rhythm, melody, percussion, harmony, playfulness, and color- all of which really make my heart smile. here’s to making good decisions.  bon weekend 🙂

flower

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Well I never shall wither
Well of course I forgive her
Oh please Lord deliver me
To love
I’m going to reach on up over that fear
I’m never alone won’t you please be near
I know that darkness before the dawn
Tomorrow’s coming and yesterday’s gone.. 
amos lee

i first became acquainted with amos lee about 2 years ago- i think the song was “colors”. i loved his easy rock style, his voice, and his look. he came out with a new cd recently titled “mission bell” and this has been no disappointment at all. i have come to love “with the windows rolled down” and “el camino”, but this week, i think that flower is my ambrosia. i am listening to the cd quite frequently… once an addict, ya know????
and on a very much more somber note, there is the sentencing of tim dechristopher today for interfering with the bureau of land management. he was given a pretty hefty sentence, especially given some of the horrific deeds some of our own city and state staff members have made in the name of the law. in colorado at least 6 deaths have been attributed to police brutality in the last 6 months, all of them inflicted upon persons of color. yet the severity of the punishment in most of those instances does not match the ire that has met mr. dechristopher. i find myself struggling with the concept of equity. please take a moment to read what tim dechristopher spoke just prior to his sentencing. it is more than just compelling.

Tim DeChristopher, who was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison and a $10,000 fine for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008, had an opportunity to address the court and the judge today immediately before his sentence was announced. This is what he said
read the rest here..

fad

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strangely, i have been entranced by everything roller boogie this last week. i do feel empathy for my facebook friends because they endure all the crazy posts i slam to satisfy my obsession. linda blair, patrick swayze whip it, roller derby, roller disco, even gene kelly tap dancing with roller skates. it has been (like most weeks) a fashion and an escape for me. i have re-introduced myself to a fad and had fun researching and remembering and connecting some dots. i think one of my favorites that i rediscovered was the recent film roll bounce. the skating scenes and the characters are so very like-able.

so this week the fad has been roller boogie. i have enmeshed myself with 70’s funk and disco and revisited almost every roller skating film. and i’ll leave you with a scene from roll bounce. hava damn fine weekend..

tonglen

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image credit … lauris naglins

i got calls from two of my dear friends today and both seemed to be swept up in a storm of harsh self-judgement. they did not sound at all happy and they seemed a bit untethered.

 the first was describing his inability to get out of bed some days and has been feeling lost and disconnected for some time. i honestly think i could sense the hidden anger over the phone. i offered the idea of a medication and a provider which he had been considering. i also insisted he try to incorporate some loving-kindness into his day. the idea of loving-kindness can be the most challenging to give to ourselves. this is an awareness i have much personal experience. and it continues to baffle me some days.


so i asked him to breathe in loving-kindness for himself with each in breath. on the out breath he could offer loving kindness to the rest of the world who suffered as he did today. i don’t know if he engaged in it, but i felt sure it moved his understanding of his situation a little. or at least i hope so.


then another friend called and began to unravel some thoughts she was having about her life on this holiday. she had gone into the field to visit someone before court tomorrow and was about to write up a report. she was lamenting about her untidy home, her inability to keep track of everything, and her imperfections were laid out like hot coals she was forcing herself to walk across.


i reminded her that she is far from faulted. she is a single mother of 2 boys, works full time, has a house, was a caretaker for her ailing uncle, sponsors newbies, and still makes time to criticize herself. i offered her the idea of loving-kindness as well. it seemed so apropos. maybe she could take a walk and breathe in some loving kindness for herself, and then breathe out loving kindness for the rest of the world that was suffering as she was today.


tonglen- the practice of giving and receiving is a practice of balance that has found its way into my life’s toolbelt. somehow it always reminds me that i am not as alone as i think i am. giving is always a gift and receiving becomes more of one each time. today was a shining example of this. it was a good day.

Suggestions for the Practice of Tonglen
reprinted from naljorprisondharmaservice

Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your
personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.

In Tonglen practice, through our compassion, we take on (embrace without resistance) the various sufferings of all beings: their fear, hurt, frustration, pain, anger, guilt, bitterness, loneliness, doubt, rage, and so forth. In return, we give them our loving-kindness, happiness, peace of mind, well-being, healing, and fulfillment.

1) Sit quietly, calm the mind, and center yourself. Reflect on the immense suffering that all beings everywhere experience. Allow their suffering to open your heart and awaken your compassion. You may also choose to invoke the presence of all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and enlightened beings, so that through their inspiration and blessing, compassion may be born in your heart. In this way, you are resting in bodhicitta—the enlightened nature of the mind. Bodhicitta, is an inexhaustible source of purity, generosity, and compassion.

2) Imagine in front of you, as clearly as possible, someone you care for who is suffering. Although this may be more challenging, you may also imagine someone you feel indifferent toward, someone you consider to be an enemy, or those who have hurt you or others. Open yourself to this person’s suffering. Allow yourself to feel connected with him or her, aware of their difficulties, pain, and distress. Then, as you feel your heart opening in compassion toward the person, imagine that all of his or her suffering comes out and gathers itself into a mass of hot, black, grimy smoke.

3) Now, visualize breathing in this mass of black smoke, seeing it dissolve into the very core of your self-grasping (ego) at your heart center. There in your heart, it completely destroys all traces of fear and selfishness (self-cherishing) and purifies all of your negative karma.

4) Imagine, now that your fear, self-centeredness and negative karma has been completely destroyed, your enlightened heart (bodhicitta) is fully revealed. As you breathe out, imagine you are sending out the radiance of loving-kindness, compassion, peace, happiness, and well-being to this person. See this brilliant radiance purifying all of their negative karma. Send out any feelings that encourage healing, relaxation, and openness.

5) Continue this “giving and receiving” with each breath for as long as you wish. At the end of your practice, generate a firm inner conviction that this person has been freed of suffering and negative karma and is filled with peace, happiness and well-being. You may also wish to dedicate the merit and virtue of your practice to the benefit of all sentient beings.

this n that

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image credit… matthew welch

we have had almost a full week of rain and have been foretold of another week of the same. luckily, today  is full of blue skies. my lilacs are in full splendor and the hydrangeas and rose of sharon have begun to spread their wings. i just put out geraniums for the summer- red ones this year.

i am slowly realizing that all this crazy i have felt this last couple of years is not that unusual. i keep hearing others share about their insanity well into their sobriety. this is honestly reassuring. i am already feeling less crazy.

while working with a group on friday, we did an exercise which consisted of listed ten tiny changes that we want to make in our lives. and then we are to make one of those changes our homework. i have chosen mine and am restructuring balance.

i have helped begin a new process with hep-c testing at my workplace and am excited about it. we interface with more than 400 iv drug users daily and about 80 percent of those are infected and we get new folks weekly. so some prevention and linkage to care is in order.

 btw, the pricing of the new hep-c drugs coming down the pipeline seems completely outrageous. when i consider the quarterly profits for the pharma (and chevron for that matter) and compare them to the national deficit, i feel sickened. so many subsidies and so much lobbying from those profits. no doubt the boards of directors are patriotic americans who are supporting the office of the president to the best of their abilities.

colin farrell in a remake of “fright night”? … i am so there…

the reunion of justin timberlake and andy samberg (dick in a box) was worth the wait. i am still laughing about snl’s lovely gift.