Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Em Sedano shared this detail from El Castillo de Chapultepec, Juan O'Gorman's pantheon mural - in honor of Father's Day. I shared the thought that instead of a machete my dad took care of me with hi optimism and his ready smile.  I should have also shared that his work ethic was as constant as it was strong. 

The picture I keep with me of my folks shows another part of who my dad was.  He was proud of his '63 Dodge Dart and kept it in good shape.  

He was also my mom's companion and friend.  
Missing them both this 
Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Space shifting

The past few months have been spent on moving things from here to there in the house.  It's time for James and me to use rooms that have been used as spaces of accumulation rather than spaces to live in.  So, aside from meetings and such or dates with family and friends, I've been hunkered down at home and focused on cleaning or organizing things.  

A couple of weeks ago I was busy priming and finishing painting in the front office.  Last week was focused on moving furniture from one room to the other.  The sort of thing that is an inelegant thing at best.  

This past week has been spent going through the "I'll get around to filing them" bags.  The sort that hold everything from telephone numbers needed for the Parade & jamaica to canceled checks to nifty frames for already bent photos to glass cases to cards I meant to send.

I think I'm within a days work of calling the front office, my office, open for business.  Then I'll be on to tackle James' office.  

As usual Larry shares his typical support for the work at hand.

Friday, June 6, 2014


I am somewhat shy by nature.  Some of you out there who are used to seeing me in different roles may be wondering, as did my children, how I can write that I am shy.  Here's the answer.  Give me a role to fill; not shy.  Leading a meeting; not shy.  In front of a crowd of a couple hundred - same thing.  

On the other hand, put me in a room full of people that I don't know or with whom I'm supposed to make small talk...shy.  

Which is part of the reason why I was so  happy to see my friend Gilbert Cadena at the Post Election celebration for newly elected Supervisor Hilda Solis.  

I was there because I admire her and her work.  She has served as a community college trustee, congresswoman, and Secretary of Labor as well as being a recipient of a Profiles of Courage Award.  

Gilbert is a professor at Cal Poly Pomona (Ethnic and Women's Studies) so it made sense to see him there.  A Latina being elected to office of supervisor should pique his interest; perhaps a topic for his students to write about.

As I saw him standing by himself I recognized that we were both taking it all in.


When I saw Gilbert I felt freed of the necessity to make small talk or to discuss the next election.  I could just chat with my friend while we waited for election results.  

Election nights can be like opera - there are cadenzas and curtain calls.  Frilly or shorthand speeches that tell the story that brought us to the night.  Exciting speeches that make the pulse race; that pulls together the energy of a hundred individuals to respond as one.   

There was also a bit of San Gabriel Valley/LA history that was in the room.  Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)was the first West coast Latina elected to congress; East Coaster Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) was first.  Gloria Molina, looking up election results, was a groundbreaker in many different ways.  Judy Chu is the first Chinese American woman elected to congress.

California State Controller John Chiang and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were there, too.  I believe they are firsts from a couple of different affinity groups.  And looking snappy in her too cool hat, the indomitable Dolores Huerta - often present when notable events take place. 

In the midst of this political theater Gilbert told me his non-professorial reason for being there.  He was Hilda's friend. They had been friends since college.  Back in the day he had been interested in politics and she in education.  He laughed as he shared how ironic it was that each had ended up in the other's field of study.  I understood how he felt.  Time can make your buddies become more like family than friends.

After the formal speeches Hilda shook hands with her supporters.  I offered to take a couple of pictures of Gilbert and Hilda.  Mostly they weren't too good, but there were a couple that were keepers. 

The first - the look of pride that comes from seeing your friend succeed at their work.  The second - a moment of unspoken happiness shared between long time buddies.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mostly settled

Lali has been a part of our family for a month now.  
She has learned that she may not snap at another creature who is getting attention from us.  Well, she may still snap, but there are squirt bottle consequences for her action.  

Lali has learned how to nap with Panfilo and Larry.  
This is a wake up yawn following a nap with him.  He's some combo of blaze and mildly annoyed.  Big brother sort of stuff going on here. 

Who know what will develop by the time we reach the end of next month.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Onion quandary

What to do when this is the last batch of onions you harvest???
Pair them with leeks and potatoes.
Ta dah - bliss in a bowl.

Very informal leek/onion/potato soup recipe
based on one found at The Splendid Table website...
  • 3 cups of leek and white of onion (ratio of onion to leek can vary; total of combo should equal 3 cups)
  • ~ 3 cups peeled potatoes, chopped into cubes
  • 4 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 cup beef broth 
  • 1 - 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup half and half or sour cream or creme fraiche
  • Oil for braising 

  1. Trim off root ends, keeping the leaves attached. Cut off tops so leeks are about 6 inches long. Slit each leek lengthwise in half and then in quarters. Be sure to wash under cold running water.  Spread leaves apart to rinse off any and all dirt.
  2. Lightly pan sear leeks in well heated oil.  Add onion whites and start to sear.
  3. Add broths.
  4. When broth comes to a boil add potatoes.  
  5. Lower mix to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.
  6. Using an immersion blender - go to town until soup is fairly smooth.  Use a sieve to filter out any stringy leek parts.
  7. Stir in dairy product of your choice.  Warm to a really low simmer.

I think you could add all sort of things to this.  James and I talked about turkey khelbasa, or some cooked carrots  - as long as they're not too sweet - for color, or delicate green beans. 
Goes well with a glass of wine, some Irish cheddar, and a toasted slice of hearty bread.

I know folks typically post the after image.  But our bowls were empty so you need to use your imagination.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Some say we have no seasons in our area.  I beg to differ.  
Here's my evidence.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fresh onions

One of the best things about having more time is using that time to garden.  Which has turned into have more time to cook with the veggies from the garden.

Today's lunch. Equal parts kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans marinated for a bit with artichoke hearts and pickled onions.  Fresh onion added about 30 minutes before being served.  Squooshed avocado topped with lemon pepper and thinly sliced fresh onions on Tuscan styled bread.

I'd share a pic of the final product but it's all gone.

Photos - James Grimes