Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chicken Soup

Feeling under the weather?  Make Chicken Soup!

I always make this after I have purchased a roasted chicken from a local grocery store.  Freshly purchased, I eat the meat on the legs and thighs and then make soup or chicken salad out of the breasts.

When it's soup this is what happens:

I fill a soup pot half full of water.  I add 2 to 3 condensed chicken stock gels, the dark jelly from the base of the roasted chicken, several cranks of freshly ground black pepper and a generous .25 tsp amount of dried dill.  All set to heat on the burner.

I add then in this order: 1) large finely diced onion, two stalks of sliced celery, 3 sliced carrots, one 8 oz. pkg of sliced baby portobello mushrooms.  Let them cook and create the savory broth.

Next the torn chicken meat.  And if it brings the cooking down, I wait until it boils again to add a quarter cup of pasta stars, and the juice of one freshly squeezed lemons.

Finally, I toss in a generous package of baby spinach, stirring and mixing and then turn down the temp to a simmer and leave to steep for at least an hour.

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ September 1st to 7th

Saturday, August 24, 2013

GLBT Lawmakers: State and Federal

There are more of us at more tables every election cycle.  Almost 125 in 35 different states.

Does anyone remember when being an LGBT politician was a big deal? Jerry Studds? Jim Kolbe? Roberta Achtenberg? Now look at us! over 100 LGBT politicians serve in legislatures in 35 of 50 states. Just blows me away.

GLBT State & Federal Politicians in the United States


Patricia Todd - House District 54


Paula Aboud - Senate District 28
Ken Cheuvront - Senate District 15
Matthew Heinz - House District 29
Jack Jackson, Jr. - Senate District 2
Robert Meza - Senate District 14
Kyrsten Sinema - US Representative District 9


Kathy Webb - House District 37


Tom Ammiano - Assembly District 17
Toni Atkins - Assembly District 78 - ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER
Susan Eggman - Assembly District 13
Cathleen Galgiani - Senate District 5
Rich Gordon - Assembly District 24
Ricardo Lara - Senate District 33
Mark Leno - Senate District 11
John Pérez - Assembly District 53 - SPEAKER of the HOUSE
Mark Takano - US Representative District 41


Mark Ferrandino - House District 2 - SPEAKER of the HOUSE
Joann Ginal - House District 52
Lucía Guzmán - Senate District 34
Dominick Moreno - House District 32
Jared Polis - US Rrepresentative District 2
Paul Rosenthal - House District 9
Sue Schafer - House District 24
Pat Steadman - Senate District 31
Jessie Ulibarri - Senate District 21


Beth Bye - Senate District 5
Andrew Maynard - Senate District 18


David Richardson - House District 113
Joe Saunders - House District 49


Simone Bell - House District 58
Karla Drenner - House District 85
Rashad Taylor - House District 55
Keisha Waites - House District 60


Kelly Cassidy - House District 14
Greg Harris - House District 13
Deb Mell - House District 33
Sam Yingling - House District 62


Daniel Lundby - House District 68
Matt McCoy - Senate District 31


Justin Chenette - House District 134
Craig Hickman - House District 126
Dale McCormick - Senate District 18
Andrew McLean - House District 129
Matt Moonen - House District 118
Terry Morrison - House District 122


Bonnie Cullison - Assembly District 19
Anne Kaiser - Assembly District 14
Rich Madaleno - Senate District 18
Heather Mizeur - Assembly District 20
Peter Murphy - Assembly District 28
Maggie McIntosh - Assembly District 43
Mary Washington - Assembly District 43
Luke Clippinger - Assembly District 46


Denise Andrews - House District 2nd Franklin
Cheryl Coakley-Rivera - House District 10th Hampton
Kate Hogan - House District 3rd Middlesex
Liz Malia - House District 11th Suffolk
Sarah Peake - House District 4th Barnstable
Stan Rosenberg - Senate District Hampshire, Franklin & Worcester - MAJORITY 
Carl Sciortino - House District 34th Middlesex


Susan Allen - House District 62B
Karen Clark - House District 62A
Scott Dibble - Senate District 61


Mike Colona - House District 67
Jolie Justus - Senate District 10


Bryce Bennett - House District 92
Christine Kaufmann - Senate District 41
Diane Sands - House District 95


Kevin Atkinson - Senate District 4
James Healy - House District 35
Andrew Martin - House District 9
David Parks - Senate District 7
Pat Spearman - Senate District 1


Raymond Buckley - House District Hillsborough 44
David Pierce - Senate District 5


Tim Eustice - Assembly District 38
Reed Gusciora - Assembly District 15


Jacob Candelaria - Senate District 26


Harry Bronson - Assembly District 131
Deborah Glick - Assembly District 66
Brad Hoylman - Senate District 27
Micah Kellner - Assembly District 76
Sean Patrick Maloney - US Representative District 18
Daniel O'Donnell - Assembly District 69
Matthew Titone - Assembly District 61


Marcus Brandon - House District 60


Joshua Boschee - House District 44


Nickie Antonio - House District 13
Tim Brown - House District 3


Kay Floyd - House District 88
Al McAffrey - Senate District 46


Tina Kotek - House District 44 - SPEAKER of the HOUSE


Mike Fleck - House District 81
Brian Sims - House District 182


David Cicilline - US Representative District 1
Gordon Fox - House District 4 - SPEAKER of the HOUSE
Frank Ferri - House District 22
Donna Nesselbush - Senate District 15
Deb Ruggiero - House District 74


Jim Dabakis - Senate District 2
Brian Doughty - House District 30


Brian Campion - House District Bennington 2-1
Joanna Cole - House District Crittenden 6-1
Bill Lippert - House District Crittenden 1-1
Herb Russell - House District Rutland 5-3
Matt trieber - House District Windham 3
Suzi Wizowaty - House District Crittenden 3-5


Adam Ebbin - Senate District 30


Laurie Jinkins - House District 27
Marko Liias - House District 21
James Moeller - House District 49
Ed Murray - Senate District 43
Jamie Pedersen - House District 43
Dave Upthegrove - House District 33


Stephen Skinner - House District 67


Tammy Baldwin - US Senate
Tim Carpenter - Senate District 3
Mark Pocan - US Representative District 2


Cathy Connolly - House District 13

Inkkas Rock

At 52, I have my first pair of High Tops!--worth the wait.

Begonias and Hanging Gardens

 Begonias are the perfect flowers for Washington, D.C.  Rich, ever blooming, drought resistant.  I love them!

It's also been a rather a-typically wonderful summer around here, too.  My hang baskets are going gangbusters still.  Sweet!

Romeo's Photo Shoot!

ROMEO:  I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

ME: Okay...
 ME: Look Left: you're worried, you're pensive, you can't remember where you buried your bone!

 ME: Look Right: you're curious, you're alert, you're ready for action--squirrels be damned!

ME: Look Up!  You're an angel, you're perfection, you're fans adore you!

ROMEO: Are done yet?

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ August 25th to August 31st

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Boycott Russia #1

Salmon Chowder

This is absolutely one of the best things I've made in a long time.


2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 medium yellow onion, large dice
1 large carrot, peeled and large dice
1 celery stalk, large dice
1/2 cup cauliflower dice
1 large russet potato, peeled and large dice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
2 cups (16 ounces) chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds fresh Copper River salmon, skin removed and large dice
2 dashes Montreal Steak Seasoning

Houtbaai, South Africa Memoir

This is a photo taken this past summer by my friend Sharon of Houtbaai, South Africa. I have a nearly identical version that I took in 1989 when along with her husband the three of us drove this same path that she just revisited with their two sons.

We had spent the day touring the Cape of Good Hope, an equally breath-taking place. We had seen wild kudus, baboons that came right up to our car, and penguins on the beach. We'd hiked out to the observation platform with spectacular views of the tip of the cape. All this while Nelson Mandela languished in his cell on nearby Robbins Island.

It was a wonderful, long day and on the way home, Russ suddenly pulled the car over, and we picked up a hitchhiker. The car in question was an Opal: not a big car. With Sharon and Russ in the front seats, the rather portly Xhosa woman took the only seat available in the back next to me. Upon entering, she was as profuse with her gratitude as we were inspired by our Good Samaritan naïveté.

She was trying to get home to a segregated apartheid community on the outskirts of Houtbaai. As we drove there she took hold of my hand and stroked the back of it. In near tears she continued to thank us for our kindness, praises punctuated with the phrase "good sirs" over and over again. Her breath smelled of some sweet alcohol. She told us among other things that it was her birthday and she'd been celebrating it, and that she was a widow.

When we arrived at her neighborhood, we entered through an open access road while a “privacy” wall surrounded the entire collection of simple, cement houses with corrugated metal roofs. Once inside, it was like navigating a maze--a very convoluted labrynth. I found my attention drawn away from our guest and onto the numbers of adult men walking around and standing on street corners. Our presence among them got their attention in a way that honestly gave me great apprehension. Our hitchhiker-guest eventually indicated a particular corner far inside the community, and we left her there refusing the remuneration she offered, while accepting a shower of "God bless you, good sirs!"

Once she had disembarked, we suddenly found ourselves--three white people--in a place that was not ours and where we did not belong. The task of finding our way out suddenly felt paramount in a way that I personally had never felt about anything else before in my life. Groups of people were forming along the path we'd used to enter. Were they just curious or angry? I could not tell. I remember at that point slumping down a little and thinking, "what have we done?"

Russ clearly understood that we'd just found ourselves in the deep end of the pool. Somehow, he navigated us out of there without any trouble, with a sense of urgency that I completely shared. At the time it felt almost like a little miracle. I have traveled and lived all over the world and this was the only time I honestly thought I could be in some really deep shit. Perhaps that's why I remember it so well.

Natural Born Citizen...

So Obama, who was born in Hawaii was NOT a citizen because butt-crack racists who call themselves patriots said so.....

BUT, Ted Cruz, who was actually both in Calgary, CANADA (and I love Canada!) IS a citizen, because his mother was an ex-patriot living in another country when he was born?

Oh you Tea Party Treasonists!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Romeo's World #4

O Dios Mio! I remembered some Spanish today on my walk! I was preparing to "do my duty," when all of sudden this black snake--¡muy grande!--took off out of the tall grass right where I was balancing on 3 legs!!! It literally scared the poop out me! (My guy said that I could use the word "literally" this way without being scolded by language purists, whatever that means.)

My guy shouted, "Yikes!" or maybe it was "Holy Shit!!" everything happened so fast. This snake was at least a meter long, and moved very fast. My guy told me that it could move so fast because it was sun bathing, and the sun helps snakes be faster. My guy said it was an Eastern Black Rat Snake, Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta. He knows about these things much better than I do. I don't speak Latin!

Like that wasn't enough fun, on our way back along the trail as we were turning a corner, my guy spotted another dog with a human companion, and he stopped us, because he could see that the other dog was not on a leash. That dog's companion saw us and attached the leash again quickly. That's when I saw him. WOW~ He was SO BIG, too!

My guy told me that he looked like a Great Dane and Pit Bull Terrier mix. He was orange with beautiful tiger stripping. He was very nice and didn't pay too much attention to me, but I decided that I would just act totally cool by standing behind my guy's legs and watching from behind them. My guy tried to get me to move, but then he asked the young lady if she wouldn't just go by us instead. That was a very good idea, I thought. My guy warned her about the snake, and she thanked him saying she was glad to know that and would keep her dog on a leash. Then we watched them walk away and disappear around the corner of the trail.

We turned back toward home, and as we were crossing the first bridge over the creek my guy said what we were both thinking, "Romeo, that dog's cajones were literally as big as your head!" And I thought, my guy knows how to use the word "literally," too.

When my guy shared this with his friend Lillie, she asked me,
"Romeo, you have the most fun and adventurous walks.  Why is that?"

Dear Lillie,

Really?  I think that I just get out there and am an observant sort of dog. I bet that if you could smell the world like I do--you would discover that all around you there is a world of intrigue and adventure.  Use your nose, too. Always use your sense of smell. It can show things that even your ears and eyes might miss.

It's not a perfect way to experience stuff, I sometimes miss things, too.  Still, get out there and go for it--life is full of wonderful things!

Pura Vida,


Bisquick Still Amazing!

This is made in a muffin tin, and the results are like "sandwiches"--great for quick meals and lunches the next day.

The basic recipe is 1 cup Bisquick, 1 cup milk, & 4 eggs.  How simple is that?

For this iteration, I added dried Basil, Oregano and Parsley to the batter.  I put the following ingredients into the cups: Sweet Italian Sausage (cooked, of course), Broccoli (also obviously blanched), Shallots, and shredded Jalapeño Jack Cheese.

Bake the whole in a 375˚ oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Dear Romeo/Romeo's World #3

Dear Romeo,

Do dogs wag their tails when they sleep?


Dear Nathaniel,

That's a great question and since I am sleeping at the time that any tail wagging might take place, it is not a question that I can answer on my own.  So I asked my guy what he thought, and he told me that I have, in fact, "wagged my tail a lot" when I am sleeping!  Gosh, I had no idea that I did that. 

So the short answer is, "yes".  But my guy told me that I did all sorts of things when I was asleep like "fake run," "huff and puff"--he called that fake barking, and sometimes I kind of "cry".  When I do that, and he is nearby, he always hugs me and speaks kind words to me.  Dogs are like people in this way, we dream.

Now, you might want to know what we dream about, right?  Well, that's more difficult for me to describe, because I don't remember my dreams very well.   But they are usually connected to things that I have experienced in my waking time.  Like I know I dream about squirrels.  I definitely dream about squirrels!  I remember how I loved to bark at them even when I lived in Costa Rica.  Some people don' t know that squirrels live in Costa Rica, too, but they do!  And I barked at them there.

I also remember sometimes in my dreams, a time when I was chased by a person with a hose who sprayed me hard with water.  It was angry water, and they scared me with their words and actions.  I didn't mean to hurt them, I just wanted to eat something that was nearby, but they tried to hurt me....  It's just a little but of  a "dream," still I do not like hoses with water of any kind! 

Once, when my guy was in the front yard with me on my leash, and I was wearing my very special harness (my guy sewed my name on it!), I got all freaked out.  He was just trying to put more water in the bird bath, but I couldn't understand that, and I pulled away from him so hard that I came out of my harness!  Then I ran all the way across the street to Takako's house and my guy was so freaked out, too, that he dropped the hose and ran after me.  I wasn't afraid of him, so when he called my name, I stopped and then ran to him and we made up really quickly.  I know that whenever I'm scared, I can count on him to make me feel safe--he just didn't understand how bad hoses are.

We dogs can remember things in very real and powerful ways.  But we can also learn new things.  This is just how dogs are made.  And the best people understand this, too.

Pura Vida

My Deck, My Gardens, My Backyard: 10 Views

Stuffed Cabbage

One of my all time favorite comfort foods is stuffed Cabbage, or as my mother called it, Pigs-in-a-Blanket.

I make mine with a filling comprised of ground beef, pork and veal, rice, diced onions, green and jalapeño peppers.

With this iteration I hit upon a great idea.  While looking for a head of cabbage with sufficient outer leaves to make the wrapping work, I noticed an abundance of loose large leaves.  And voila!  I just chose ten free large leaves.  All were richly green and less tender than the inner leaves, so when blanching them in salt water to soften them up, I kept them boiling for closer to 2 minutes than 30 seconds.  But they are more nutritious, fibrous and 10 of them only cost me .30¢!

3 More Stabs @ Fixing Re-Districting

Tennessee, Ohio, and Maryland join my recently posted map of North Carolina.

This isn't Rocket Science.  Congressional districts, like justice ought to be blind.

Romeo's Deer Walk

On our walk this week we've run into this Doe and her twins in the lot next to my neighbor's house twice now.  It's a sign that summer's bounty is drying up a little down around the creek.

Another perspective of the lot.  There are houses all around it, and just beyond the wooded backdrop is a downhill drop to 6 lanes of New Hampshire Avenue--a gateway road into the District of Columbia.  Any thought that this is a rural area is complete misconceived.

Tattoo Dreaming #15

He tattooed the world and then shaded in the colors of the nations he's been to.  Love it!

My Version would include shaded countries: Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vatican City, and Zimbabwe.

A Squirrel Taunts Romeo!

Romeo totally loves to be excited by squirrels.  Even before we met, before he arrived in the United States, my friend Federico sent me a video of him barking at squirrels in San José.

 And here he is this week being taunted by a squirrel!  He was so freaking jazzed by it.

Then, he looked at me as if to ask, "Hey, you gonna help me with this attack?"

And I just said, "Romeo, squirrels are you hobby.  Not mine."

Sweet & Sour Pork a la ME!

Why my Sweet & Sour Pork is better than any of the local Chinese Take Out versions:

1) I use better cuts of Pork.
2) I use less batter--it ought to be about the Pork and not the bread after all.
3) I use more veggies! Lots of Red and Green Peppers, Pineapple and Scallions.


Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ August 18th to August 24th

Monday, August 12, 2013

Imagining The Future

I live in a vibrant place.  People are always imagining the next reality.  Three blocks up from my home, there is now some certainty that a major metro light rail transit line is going to be built.  To support this, a bus transit center has also been preposed and is in the works.  For me?  I love it!  bring it all on.

All of this transition is good and brings others into the mix to up their game or get out of the way.