goingplaceslivinglife

Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


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I Feel Lucky

It’s a pretty busy time, but when is it not busy in my life?  Anyway, it’s busy and I like it that way.

Today I had an appointment with my allergist to go another scratch test for some of the standard issues here. I had to be off my antihistamine for 5 days and boy oh boy I didn’t know how effective it was until now. The pokes were easy compared to my memory of the scratch tests as a kid. One of my arms got red and swollen quickly. (Thanks, Cat, who is now 15 and will probably live to 25 just to spite me.) But as soon as that was over I swallowed my antihistamine and rubbed some anti-itch cream on my arm and felt better in a half hour. I sure feel lucky.

I then headed over to the kitchen I rent at the McMinnville Cooperative Ministries. We had the first of two tests as  part of a special project for Can-Do Real Food. One of our farm partners, Keeler Estate Vineyards, has some wine that is not permitted to be sold because of some form that was not filed years ago. So, we offered to see if we could turn it into wine jelly. They gave us bottles of Pinot Noir (a red) and Pinot Gris (a white) and that jelly tasted awesome. We cookeda little more of each down and mixed with sea salt to make a culinary salt as well. I get to play with yummy food. Boy oh boy, I feel really lucky.pinot noir and pinot gris april 4

This weekend I am hosting a handcrafted artisan fair inside a pavilion at the local county fairgrounds here in town. The story of how this all got started points more to my Pollyanna attitude than my realistic view of life, but it is coming together despite a couple of setbacks. Good thing, since it is only 4 days away. We have an awesome and eclectic group of talented craftspeople.  I am going to have a great weekend spending it with artists who show their love with their abilities.  I am so darn lucky.Crafts Fair poster WEB

I got 27 emails from candidates today, most, of course, begging for money. You know, this political hoohah can be very annoying. But you know what else?  We have a system that permits us to be involved. Especially if we don’t like it.  I met a candidate a couple of years ago and after talking with him decided I would help a bit. He’s campaigning again and there I am. It is rewarding and comforting to see an honest person who is very much interested in the issues of the people in this area try to make a difference.  I feel lucky to know how to get involved and help try to make this government work for the people.

My husband Graham probably did not fully know what he was getting when he asked me to marry him. We just celebrated our ninth anniversary and were able to take a few days away “at the coast” (Oregon speak for “down the shore” which is New Jersey speak for “go to the beach” everywhere else). So despite his cold we enjoyed the beautiful sunny blue skies and warm days. He humored me to head to a good viewpoint for a sunset photo too and we headed to Tillamook cheese factory on the way home so we could get some cheese and, of course, ice cream. I know I am lucky.IMG_0679

So this evening we ran a quick errand to Lowe’s to pick up something we needed for a wood craft Graham is making for this weekend. Afterwards we stopped and he put up two signs about the artisan fair. I was off the road with the flashers on and when Graham came back to the car I planned on pulling a u-turn to head home. But there was a car, and then another and then another….three police cars, so no u-ey. I drove a tiny bit and pulled into the grange parking lot to turn around. One of the police cars also pulled in…and turned his lights on. You can imagine the expletive deleted that I was thinking. I figured we might get a ticket for putting the signs up. Nope, he wanted to check we were okay and did we know we had a taillight out? We denied it and promised to get it replaced and headed home. Oh yeah. I feel lucky.

In reviewing my day I realized I left off the very best part. I heard from each of my three kids today. I feel very very very lucky indeed.

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Synergy is Amazing

It is conference season now….a very good thing for the winter as I spend the growing season in the kitchen and shuttling raw produce from and finished products back to the farms involved with my business, Can-Do Real Food.

Two weeks ago I attended the Northwest Food Processors’ convention in Portland with my husband Graham and my friend Jana. They have both been an integral part of providing their own expertise to this process and there are business cards being printed as I write this that names them as Vice Presidents of the business. That and $3.50 will get you a latte. LOL

Early this week I joined my daughter Lisa in San Francisco for the Fancy Food Show. Lisa is a promotional marketer and has been hired the past three years to work for a vendor. She suggested I attend last year but it was scheduled the same as the Portland event. So this year I got to go and saying OMG! is a dramatic understatement.  Not only is it a visual and gastronomic orgy of delectable foods of all types, but the amount of expertise in those humongous rooms was vast. For the most part, if they were not chatting with someone who might mean business to them, just about everyone was very willing to spend 5, 10 or even 30 minutes talking with me, answering questions.

These are the goodies I brought home

These are the goodies I brought home

For example, we have been working to produce a culinary syrup made from raspberries and lemongrass. The raspberries had been frozen…..no issue there. The lemongrass had been dried and while we got an amazing flavor, the clarity was not pretty. I chatted with about 5 vendors who produce lemongrass products and got a variety of suggestions…..and one worked superbly. Three cases of syrup processed this morning!IMG_0363

I met one vendor that I revisited twice more to make sure I let him know how much our interaction meant to me and to say goodbye.  He did not have any food….basically he helps develop packaging and he said he will send me info but that was not our discussion, really. It started like this:

Me: Good morning.

Him: How are you?

Me: Fantastic…this is an amazing show!

Him: I am so happy!!!

We both cracked up. We sounded high and I guess we were. On the positivity that was around us. In the synergy that was flowing. The fact that we were in the middle of amazing food products and I, more than him, was slowly by surely, teaspoonful by teaspoonful, tasting my way figuratively around the world.

But what made this guy stand out is that is all the conversation was about. Choosing to live by finding and feeling the joy in life. When I asked what he does, he waved his hand a bit derisively saying, “pretty packages” .

I look forward to the info he sends.

 

 

 

 


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Are Adults Incapable of Responsibility?

We have known for over 30 years that tobacco caused cancer and yet adults are still smoking and chewing.

We hear there is a national epidemic of diabetes, and yet more and more adults are overweight.addiction

Each day people head to the bars or the liquor stores or the pot shops or their local dealer to get what they use to try to escape their reality.

Each morning people report to work hung over and perform less than their best.

Every day there is another news item where some innocent person was shot accidentally by a gun going off unexpectedly or handled by a child.

 

tv-dinner-feltEach night people turn on the television and then zone out, zombie like, listening to laugh tracks in mindless shows. Or talking heads who provide analysis over what someone in the public eye really meant when they said whatever.

Few people read more than headlines. Fewer people know the difference between a news article and an op-ed (opinion or editorial).

Few people meet with others to work on community efforts of any kind.

Few people meet with others who are not like them.

Few people strive for excellence and accept mediocrity. Einstein-Mediocrity-Quote

Few people understand the issues that are facing their own communities, let alone try to get a handle on the national situation or anything else going on in the world.

Few people are working to try to better the system.

angry-familyPeople know who they hate but not why. Most of the time they are people who are different and unknown. Other are family members.

Few people set goals. Fewer know how to work towards them.

Some people have an image that the boogeyman is going to get them. He may be a zombie in the apocalypse in some scary alternative future. It might be the drug crazed homeboys from the bad side of the tracks. It might be the mother-in-law with her fruitcake. So they need a weapon and they are not afraid to use it. They will kill a person they say.

Few people know how to cook from scratch.

Few people know how to change a tire.

Few people know how to sew a seam or a button.How-to-Sew-On-a-Button-38

Few people know how to set a budget and live within it.

Few people would know what to do if the electricity failed for more than a day.

Few people would know how to survive if the store shelves were empty. If they could not gas up their car. If the cell phone network failed.

Many people complain about about how the kids today don’t know how to hold a job or be respectful and they refuse to admit they are parents with problem kids.

The list goes on……and on…..and on…..when will each adult stand up and assume responsibility?


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As I started visiting small farms in West Virginia to market local food to consumers, I learned a lot I didn’t know.  And it got me very alarmed.

My blogs started taking on a urgent tone…you MUST change your ways….until a woman I barely knew and subsequently became a best friend, cautioned me that no one listens to yelling.

So, I think I will let photos tell the story and just give you something to think about each one.

Did you know that the US government permits chickens to be sent to China where labor costs are so much lower? The chickens will be processed and then shipped back, the better for you to continue enjoying chicken at a low price.567372-usda-allows-chicken-processing-in-china

Did you know that a number of food items prepared in China, from dog treats to baby food, have been recalled because of toxic and unhealthy items?  Unless you know your farmer, you will not know where the meat was processed.

Starting in 1994 some crops were genetically modified. Within ten years it has been estimated that over 75% of the average American diet was obtained from genetically enhanced foods….plants and animals that would not occur naturally and are only designed to help with weeds and pests or other environmental annoyances to the producer.  While the jury is still out about the genetic changes in our food affecting the eater, it is already clear that the manufacturers have not obtained one of their goals: to reduce the use of chemical sprays. So, anyone eating GMO food is getting a huge dose of chemicals that are being determined, because of consumer pressure, to be carcinogenic. gmo-awareness-blog-masthead-4

In the past five years there have been efforts made in a number of states to require foods that use genetically modified ingredients to be labeled. The companies that make the chemicals, control the seeds for planting, and the organizations that manufacture and sell the food involved have poured in billions of dollars and persuaded people who are not taking time to read independently that there is no ill effect. However, in each fight the margin is getting closer and closer so now these organizations are fighting in Congress to prohibit labeling. They think the typical American is too stupid to understand and if they see an issue they will not buy the products.

Most meat that is sold in supermarkets are from animals that have spent at least a few months in what is called a animal confinement facility.  Efforts by activists have raised awareness that the automatic use of antibiotics to increase the growth rate and keep the animals from getting sick in the dirty and congested facilities have resulted in antibiotic resistance strains of bacteria that mean people who get sick may not be able to be helped. Some places have eliminated its use and are advertising “antibiotic free.” pig factory farmKS cattle feedlot

 

 

 

 

It has become illegal to obtain and show these photos, as the organizations behind it realize you might get concerned and stop buying their products. Stopping the photos does not mean the practice has stopped.

So, now what?  Well, take a few minutes and think about your own body or your kids.  Does anyone have pretty constant tummy problems?  How about immune system problems, like allergies, eczema,  arthritis, and there even has been some discussion about chemicals in conventional food related to higher rates of ADHD.  If anyone eating out of your kitchen or eating out regularly has any of these symptoms, you may want to switch a pattern of spending.farmacy

You might want to try what we did……we did a 6-month trial. We did not buy organic as our first choice, but from local farmers we got to know and understood they used no sprays and other organic practices to raise their food. We supplemented with organic products only if we could not obtain what we needed. My husband was skeptical but after 6 months my arthritis was more easily managed and my daughter’s gut issues which had bothered her since her teen years improved dramatically.

Local Harvest  is a national organization that provides information near your zip code for farms. No excuse you don’t “know your farmer.”localharvest_logo

We also discovered one more benefit….our food tasted better than what we could buy in the supermarket.  If only for THAT reason, if you ENJOY eating, you might want to run a test.

 


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Passion WITH Thinking

What’s your passion? What gets you fired up enough to get involved?

Me? I have several now. Have had many over my life, but right now there are two that capture my attention.

Awareness of our food and how full of chemicals much of it is and unhealthy results of conventional farming practices can affect health. I learned this only 5 years ago and I am a strong advocate to Know Your Farmer. By eating locally you not only can chose food sourced at places where you support the growing practice, but by supporting a local farmer, you are contributing to a healthier local economy.


But right now, it appears the Presidential campaign season has started and is full swing. Like Christmas advertising that starts the day after Halloween, we Americans are in for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots (ad nauseum) of campaign propaganda. Get ready for the roller coaster for the next 15 months.Donkey_Elephant_Boxing_article

My political leaning is liberal but I read a lot of information from and about all the candidates. I want to know as much as I can about each of them in the hope that any discussion will be intelligent.

I ran into a problem already though. One friend of mine took me to task because he felt I had made a negative comment about Donald Trump and was concerned I was going to get nasty in loading Facebook with negatives. whyattackadswork

The issue I made was that when the two (expletive deleted) guys beat up the homeless Latino man and attributed their actions to Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants being bad, I reported what Trump’s comment was. And I offered one question.

As you probably know, all Trump had to say at the time was “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”

My comment was “No words about this action being wrong. No concern about the victim. Is this the kind of leadership our country needs?” My friend felt this was negative commenting on my part. I do not think so. I hope to make people think, not just have a emotional reaction.   I do not think what I pointed out is bashing Trump. Bashing him would be saying he is an idiot. He’s clearly not an idiot. He just is not a man who considers all he needs to before opening his mouth.

Now I see several days after his comments, Trump has added “Boston incident is terrible. We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect,” and “I would never condone violence.”

So NOW, after he gets backlash, he has changed his statement to one of more concern.  This is the kind of action I have seen from Trump over the last month. He says a lot of things that have to be later amended. I think this is the way he is and I for one do not want him to be our nation’s leader. thinking clearly

But my point is NOT to point out concern about one candidate. Each gets equal treatment. If I see something that is inconsistent with helping the people of this nation, it needs to be considered.

Some people chose their Presidential candidate based on one issue and one issue alone. Women who claim they are Pro-Life thereby support candidates that are anti abortion without any consideration of other issues of health care, education programs, and job opportunities for the people who are not earning a living wage. Very narrowly defining what is right hides a lot of what is wrong.think abotu results

Passion is great but it has to be able to expand to include all the influences to that issue. Just like I believe the problems in the food system relate to environmental concerns and thereby lend my support to movements to educate how fracking ruins our water supply, how coal mining and the toxic residue of its waste affects the land so things can no longer grow so areas like the coal counties in West Virginia need economic redevelopment, how not teaching our children methods of problem solving and how to handle responsibilities leads to increased escape into drugs….all these side issues are fueled because of my passion for healthy food.

So, my passion at this season is for education and clear thinking. Feel your passion but by all means, use your brain.choice-free-learn-paradox-text-Favim.com-405981


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Bombardment: No Wonder We Are Stressed Out

Dying polar bears. Hundred of earthquakes in Oklahoma. Damage from oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. Hundred of thousands of acres on fire in Alaska. Bee colony deaths. Monster hurricanes.oil-spill-beaches

Shootings in churches, schools, movie theaters and shopping malls. Road rage. Burning flags. Burning churches. Love the sinner hate the sin translating into willingness to quit a job instead of follow the law. Lynchings over race and sexual orientation. Surplus military vehicles coming to your town as local police equipment.armored police vehicles

Items sold in grocery stores as food that have no natural nutritional value.  Adults who have never eaten a nectarine. Children who only eat canned fruit and can not identify the real thing. Chicken shipped to China for processing and then shipped back to American supermarkets.cildhood obesity

Trade deals with other countries that are secret. Jobs outsourced from the US. Shoppers who stand in line for hours at big box stores for a sale instead of supporting locally owned stores on main street. People who claim they are patriotic but buy cheap foreign made goods.sale line

Mandated national academic policy. Children who watch television 6 hours a day. Adults who watch television 6 hours a day but don’t have time to cook from scratch. Active children given drugs instead of fun outside.  Organized recreational sports with angry parents.kids-watching-tv-blog-size

People who never spend time in nature. National parks crowded with people in air conditioned RVs. Trash thrown out of cars. Lack of recycling programs and attitudes. Yards junked up with old tires, old appliances, overgrown weeds.  Water bottled for sale from a drought-stricken area where farmers can no longer irrigate the crops that feed us all.food gorws

Children joining the military because patriotism/economy is so bad can’t find a job/can’t afford to pay for college and finding themselves unprepared  in situations where they learn war is not a video game. Traumatized vets coming home and unable to maneuver through the rigmarole of policies and practices of supposedly helpful agencies, maybe also spiraling downward with drugs used to quiet the noise in their head, abandoned by families because of emotionally unstable behavior, ending up on the streets.homeless veterans_infographic

Growing number of homeless. Feeding the hungry illegal in many towns. Not in my backyard attitude of many communities instead of recognition that poverty exists everywhere. Rinse and repeat through several generations.  Assumption all are druggies and abusing the system.hunger in the US

On and on. Anger. Hate. Fear. Me. Me. Me. My rights. My privilege is more important than your need.

Those of us over 50 recognize how much the US has changed since our childhood. While some long for the good old days of the 1950s, they don’t recognize it is not because of what was or was not happening all those decades ago but because we were children. We had no real knowledge of what was really going on and we basically had no responsibilities.  Of course life was simpler then-we were children and naive.

This ad is an example of how it was in the 1950s and it's an ad for coffee, not an R rated film.

This ad is an example of how it was in the 1950s and it’s an ad for coffee, not an R rated film.

There has been no idyllic time. Ever. For each era  where countless people had prosperity, countless others were diminished through economic or legal policies.

Some people recognized that something needed to be done to fix those policies, so all people could have the opportunity to strive to that level of prosperity held by others.  What happened over time was that some people just could not be helped and other people began to realize their own position of power was diluted and started working for equal protection under the law.not being bullied

The turmoil we now experience is truly nothing new. Even the hate, which seems to be pervasive, is really nothing new. There is a lot of fear and we are being manipulated by those in power to keep us off balance and fearful. Fear of anyone different from us, whether in color, nationality, citizenship, education, economic standing, residence style, education. Having fear of anyone who is different, people huddle in groups of like-minded friends. They rarely bother to know anyone outside their narrow group, and so the fear…and the hate….continue.

We enjoy diversity in parrots...why not in people?

We enjoy diversity in parrots…why not in people?

Why? You certainly don’t like it this way, do you? The ONLY person whose attitude you can control is your own. Start. Set an example of good. Of calm. Of rational thinking. Of sharing ideas calmly. Of living the Golden Rule-TREAT PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED.Golden Rule