Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Vows Renewal

Here's a couple photos from our vows renewal ceremony on Waikiki beach this week. In the background is the Diamondhead volcanic crater.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vegan Jerky

Getting ready for vacation - making vegan jerky! Top photo is the dehydrator in action. Second photo is completed seitan jerky (wheat gluten; very high protein). Praise seitan! The last photo is a few pieces of finished tofu jerky, Hawaiian flavored. It looks like Spam, appropriate for a trip to Hawaii where they still serve Spam in restaurants as part of plate lunches! The tofu jerky is so good, it's worth the price of the dehydrator just to make that one item. I think even people who don't like tofu would like this jerky. It's seasoned with apple juice, savory spices, sugar, molasses, ginger, black and cayenne peppers. The recipe is from Sarah Kramer's cookbook (the one with the red cover).

I'm With the Band!

Here are 3 musicians I had dinner with in Athens Saturday night. From L to R: Musician and sound engineer Ronnie, a.k.a. "Gator" (guitar, harmonica); another musician and sound engineer, Mitch, a.k.a., "my husband" (keyboard, piano, guitar) and rocker Donovan, a.k.a., "son of Ronnie" (guitar, bass and quality control sound ear guy). Love those shirts!

Fur Baby

My husband, Mitch, with fur baby Tate'.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ashes in New Orleans

Lafcadio Hearn, New Orleanian and author, writing to a friend in Cincinnati in 1870:

Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes, than to own the whole state of Ohio.

(above, my favorite bar in N.O. - Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop & Bar)

People around the country don't seem to realize what a historic city New Orleans is in the U.S. Instead, all I get is comments from people like, "It's Atlantis, let it sink" and versions on that theme. I think much of the country just doesn't understand joie de vivre.

Now here's a reviewer with an eye towards history and charm:
Perhaps only in New Orleans could a bar exist that's simultaneously romantic and decadent. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, nestled in the less-touristy environs of lower Bourbon Street, is that bar. Whether or not you believe infamous pirate Jean Lafitte used this former blacksmith shop as a front for more nefarious enterprises, the location is still rich with history. For one thing, it's the oldest structure in the country (circa 1772) still doing service as a bar, and it helps keep that mystique alive with its conspicuous lack of electricity. Candles and a fireplace provide the only light. The bar also numbers playwright Tennessee Williams and more recently Lenny Kravitz among its more famous patrons. Besides these bullet-point features, Lafitte's boasts a friendly staff, a good mix of locals and tourists, and relentlessly casual atmosphere. Keep an eye out for piano standards on the weekends and potent Everclear-laced cherries every night. -- Robert Fontenot Jr.

(my sister got her photo taken with Lenny Kravitz when he was in the city not too long ago...maybe she will send me a copy to blog)

(gumbo from Bozo's restaurant in Metairie, LA)

rom the Wall Street Journal

Last month, Rodney Thomas, 18, and his parents decided they had waited long enough to cook the gumbo that was a staple at their New Orleans East house before Katrina. Now living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park next to a shuttered public-housing complex, they spent one Sunday last month chopping vegetables, peeling shrimp and cooking down the okra on the propane stove in the trailer. It was good, Mr. Thomas says, but what was missing was the rich hue imparted by the family's old cast-iron gumbo pot.

"We all wanted it so bad," he says. "Just to look at it reminded you of your past life and what it could be."

New Orleans: Real Life "Survivor"

From the Detroit Free Press:

Published: August 29. 2006 3:00AM


IN OUR OPINION | KATRINA: ONE YEAR LATER: No time to end helping hands

August 29, 2006

A year later, even with all the pictures, so much about the situation on the Gulf Coast eludes the comprehension of the rest of the country -- including why everything is not yet all better. From accents to infrastructure, it's as if Louisiana and Mississippi are a different world.

But they are very much a part of America, and they suffered one of the worst natural disasters in history, followed by one of the least competent government responses. If the toll taken on humanity isn't enough, Americans should remember that a huge percentage of the nation's oil, gas and seafood comes from this region and its people.

A year later, the recovery from Hurricane Katrina has only begun. Vast swaths of the Gulf Coast remain as startling in their destruction today as they did when the storms' winds and floodwaters finally receded. Even the expected construction boom that was supposed to help New Orleans rebound has failed to materialize. People cannot work where there is no place to live.

"This is the first time in U.S. history where a city has sat dormant for almost a year," Moody's economist Ryan Sweet told the Newhouse News Service.

Some of the fault lies with the federal government, in particular the Army Corps of Engineers, which missed its own deadlines to shore up the levees that fatally betrayed so many last year, and which finally admitted that the barriers were inadequate in the first place.

Some of the fault lies with Louisiana's local and state governments, which cannot decide on a plan for redevelopment, resulting in exactly the type of "jack-o-lantern" rebuilding that everyone swore would be unsustainable. In the absence of direction, people will replant their roots in the most familiar ground. (Mississippi is rebuilding in a more organized fashion.)

Some of the fault lies with a federal government that appropriated $110 billion for rebuilding but has distributed less than half of it, most of which was spent was on emergency needs. People who have lost their homes, their belongings, their ancestries, cannot rebuild without money.

President George W. Bush's pep rally Monday under the Mississippi sun can't have brought much reassurance to residents for whom mail delivery and basic service remain elusive.

Yankees who might be tired of hearing Katrina's story, who might wish to turn their backs on the region, must remember that the people entrusted to care for this country compounded the damage of Mother Nature. The bills will continue to come due, and America has an obligation to make sure they are paid.

Afghanistan Now Has Coca-Cola

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Madonna Yogini

Check out what Ashtanga yoga does for Madonna (age 47)! Whew! Maybe one day...these photos and below quote are from the BBC news. See the full article by clicking this post's title, above.

As we age, or if we lead an inactive lifestyle, collagen cross-links form in the tissues that connect our muscles.

Over time, this collagen build-up limits our range of movement and causes stiffness, but stretching helps break apart this build-up to enable us to move more freely.

The best forms of exercise for suppleness and flexibility are yoga and Pilates.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cows Have Regional Accents

Cows in a field

Cows have regional accents like humans, language specialists have suggested.

They decided to examine the issue after dairy farmers noticed their cows had slightly different moos, depending on which herd they came from.

John Wells, Professor of Phonetics at the University of London, said regional twangs had been seen before in birds.

The farmers in Somerset who noticed the phenomenon said it may have been the result of the close bond between them and their animals.

Farmer Lloyd Green, from Glastonbury, said: "I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl.

I spend a lot of time with my ones and they definitely moo with a Somerset drawl
Lloyd Green

"I've spoken to the other farmers in the West Country group and they have noticed a similar development in their own herds.

"It works the same as with dogs - the closer a farmer's bond is with his animals, the easier it is for them to pick up his accent."

Peer pressure

Prof Wells felt the accents could result from their contemporaries.

He said: "This phenomenon is well attested in birds. You find distinct chirping accents in the same species around the country.

"This could also be true of cows.

"In small populations such as herds you would encounter identifiable dialectical variations which are most affected by the immediate peer group."

Dr Jeanine Treffers-Daller, reader in linguistics at the University of the West of England in Bristol, agreed that the accent could be influenced by relatives.

She said: "When we are learning to speak, we adopt a local variety of language spoken by our parents, so the same could be said about the variation in the West Country cow moo."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why do you eat bacon?

Tell me again why you eat bacon? Do you ever consider where your food comes from? Is this really what you want to eat?

Man's Best Friend: GOOSE?

Anyone who has ever encountered a goose knows that they usually are very fierce and try to bite beat & you with their wings. That makes this story even more interesting...

Man credits goose with helping him live longer

Elderly cancer patient says 'Mr. Waddles' offers inspiration to keep going


Updated: 6:49 p.m. ET April 27, 2006

FERNAN LAKE, Idaho - A northern Idaho man diagnosed with terminal cancer says a usually cantankerous goose that befriended him on his walks has helped him live past doctors' predictions.

"I'm 73," Bill Lytle, a two-time state legislator, told the Coeur d'Alene Press. "And I'm not ready to die."

After retiring as project manager for the Bunker Hill Mining company, Lytle and his wife of 52 years, Myrna, moved to Coeur d'Alene, where Bill became one of the founding members of a walking club called the Lake City Striders.

Then last fall his skin turned yellow overnight, and doctors diagnosed pancreatic cancer, giving Lytle only months to live. But Lytle continued his walks, having to cut them down to two miles at a nearby lake, where he met the goose who has inspired him to keep going even when he wasn't feeling well.

"I have to keep walking or I won't make my next December," Lytle said.

The goose, called Mr. Waddles, is a feral domestic goose, a biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game said, offering no explanation for the relationship that has developed between the goose and Lytle. Myrna has thought about that as well.

'I think he knows ...'
"I wonder, why would that one goose attach himself to Bill?" she said. "I think he knows he's sick. I think animals can sense that."

The goose, about 30 pounds with a red beak and red feet, approaches Lytle when he calls and rubs its head against his arms. But it snaps at anyone else who gets too close, including Myrna, their daughter, and Bill's hospice aide.

"Sometimes he walks around me, sometimes he walks beside me," Lytle said of the near-daily meetings the two have. "I rub his neck, and the top of his head and down to his back. Every time I came down, he just kept coming out. I think it's pretty nice, that he'd always come to me."

Kitchen Taking Shape

DH continues with the new kitchen he is building. Here you can see the cabinet he built for the new oven/micro combo. He placed the microwave on my eye level! And the oven is situated so that it will be level with the counters, for easy placement of hot pans. Can you believe it?

That white strip you see on the far side of the oven, is the form for a small concrete countertop he is creating next to the oven. Below the countertop and the oven will be storage cabinets. Another storage cabinet above the microwave.

On the far side of the small counter (towards the door frame) will be a tall cabinet for things like brooms.

Through the doorway you can see the current kitchen...whew that wallpaper has GOT to go! You can also see the new front loading washer we recently purchased, after the old machine gave up the ghost. Even DH could not fix it (that's saying something). The new front loader is AWESOME. You can fit twice the laundry, and it uses less water, AND it gets everything cleaner. Much cleaner.

The photo is just one small part of the new kitchen. There will also be a large L shaped counter next to the windows with sink and countertop stove, with seating and stools.

Hawaii - It's that good.

I always thought people's raves about Hawaii must surely be an exaggeration. When we went to Honolulu last year to visit with friends there, I didn't expect to enjoy being in a metropolis. Was I ever wrong. I had the absolute best vacation of my life there. The trade winds, the sun, the surf, the people watching. One day we rented a car and drove around the can also find deserted beaches and have solitude. Everywhere you look, there is gorgeous scenery. (must also mention, poverty was also in evidence, and the paper was chock full of ads for social work jobs)

We are now gearing up for another visit to Honolulu. Yesterday I went to drop some stuff at our thrift store, and the tote bag below was in the window waving at me. It's my new knitting bag! And the bottom photo is of DH, on last year's visit. It's too bad you can't see, that behind him is a HUGE banyan tree.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

5 Things to Eat Before You Die

"The idea is to create a list of food bloggers' top picks for things you've eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die." It comes from Melissa at The Traveler's Lunch Box (click title of this post to go to her page).

Here's my list:
1. cannoli from Brocato's in New Orleans - THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED!
2. bananas on the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies. They taste better than any banana you've ever had in your life.
3. the "Hawaiian breakfast" of half a fresh papaya filled with granola and yogurt served by the restaurant Eggs & Things in Waikiki. Sit at the surf board bar.
4. as a vegan, the one thing I really miss is a good ol' sloppy New Orleans roast beef po'boy, smothered in mayo, gravy, and "dressed" - lettuce and tomato. On the incomparable New Orleans french bread. Have a Barq's root beer with it. "It's got bite, baby!"
5. rose mint tea at the New Orleans jazz fest.

Anticipating Oahu

Photo by Celeste Dickson

Only a few more weeks until I am back strolling Waikiki. Hard to think of anything else! Here is my favorite photo, which I took last year. I really need to get a hard copy of this. Can't you just feel the trade winds?

Which Tarot Card are You?

Here's a fun quiz. I scored as II - The High Priestess. The High Priestess is a card of intuition, instinct and hidden knowledge. She knows all your secrets, you can hide nothing from her. Yet you will never know the secrets she herself protects. If well aspected in a Tarot spread, this card can indicate the use of intuition to solve problems; trust to your instincts. If badly aspected, it can mean suppression and ignoring of such instincts - following your head at the expense of your heart.

Which Major Arcana Tarot Card Are You?
created with

Friday, September 01, 2006

Marty Dread

On my turntable now: Marty Dread's album, "On the Beach". Listen on by clicking on the album cover, or click this post's headline (Marty Dread) to go to his myspace page and here additional songs. Reggae from Hawaii, with positivity.

Official website: