Sunday, December 30, 2012

An opportunity to celebrate kindness from USA Today

While relaxing this afternoon, my husband found this link which looks like an opportunity to celebrate, and honor, kindness in our community.  The first entry on the USA Kindness Community blog also seems to highlight local businesses like our LocalFirstArizona/Tucson.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Four More Tucson Bright Spots

Local Food:

Not all good local Tucson food comes in food trucks; in the pre-Food Truck Round Up days, restaurants offered us many good times with local chefs and local owners.  One that has been around for ninety years is El Charro.  We enjoy the Eastside location on Wilmot and Broadway and Christmas wouldn't be Christmas for me without their wonderful, red tamale.  Here is my a la carte version (minus enchilada sauce and colored with shredded lettuce and sour cream).  Please note how the tamale is tied at the end, and I was delighted to have not one but two green olives in it.  Also, I recommend the rice, served with colorful carrots and peas.  Their salsa is one of my favorites and I shipped several jars to my East Coast cousin this year as a thank-you for his Jersey City/on the harbor hospitality in March.

Reid Park Serenity and Color on Christmas Eve
After our huge late lunch at El Charro, we needed to walk off a few calories, so we went to Reid Park and strolled around the lake and past the Cancer Memorial and horseshoe court.  At the lake, Mark was mesmerized by the one egret.  I like to think of the bird as a Christmas Angel.
And, as the sun began to set in the west, the golden leaves of the sycamore (?) symbolizes our own Tucson Christmas tree, perfectly shaped, contrasting gold with our blue sky.
After our walk, and before attending Christmas Eve Family Service at Catalina United Methodist Church, we headed to Starbucks at El Con and lo, and behold, we didn't find the Bethlehem star but we did find the vintage El Con sign which is a Tucson "star" of sorts.

December Food Truck Round Up at Himmel Park

I can't believe it's been since August that we last joined a Tucson Food Truck Round-Up, but I guess that's the way the months flew by this fall.  So, we made a determined visit to Himmel Park on Sunday to enjoy some new tastings of good, affordably-priced local food.  Tho the Round Up was smaller (6 trucks) than other ones we have attended or followed, we didn't lack for choices and the location was really nice with the parking available and park tables accessible in addition to those provided by the truck vendors.  Here is our sampling below.  We both enjoyed Chef's Kitchen's fare:  grilled Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese on Dill-Rye bread and served buttery and pressed like a panini ($5.00).  We also liked the healthy edamame ($4.00 in a large bowl, here is just the sampling) with freshly made ranch dressing with other seasonings available.

Mark has more a more adventurous palate than I do, so he savored the MexicanAsian Food Company offering of Korean Tacos (3 for $7.00).  I asked the chef for more info on the ingredients in the tangy sauce and she shared a long list that included: onions, cilantro, Kimchi, Asian beef, sesame and Romaine Lettuce.  What a pretty picture good food makes!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Anonymous Christmas Limerick

Just so funny!  We need to laugh.

Old Man of Blue Hill
There was an old man of Blue Hill
Who when church was quiet and still
At Christmas Eve mass
Liked to pass gas
Toward a candle, just for the thrill

Monday, December 17, 2012


(my 12/5 response to the prompt to write about a song, a musical, etc.)

Once Halloween was over, Glenda's calendar opened up until the Winter Solstice came around. Most people don't think much about witches until Halloween. At that time, folks like to hang black-cloaked wizened plastic-faced old women on broomsticks on their front doors and the occasional 7 year old girl would pick "being a witch" over "being a princess" for her trick-or-treat costume.

But at least twice a month all year long, Glenda and the other twelve of the Tucson Coven would gather at the Shelter Bar on Grant Road and share details of their latest success or failures. They would mull over the details of what spells had worked and didn't, conjecture why, and how to improve their products and brands. Contract work had been pretty steady since the recession hit four years ago but there was always a need for improved marketing.

Election year 2012 had been surprisingly productive for the Coven. There was enough money flying out there this time around for a few candidates to call in magic to help tilt the elections toward a win. There had been that flurry of bad press about a 2010 candidate who was a witch but Glenda and the other pros knew she was a fake. Had she really been a professional she wouldn't have lost the election. For the most part, the election spells were quick money, easy to work and, if you knew what you were doing and added your personal witch-support to the potion, the odds were pretty good they would bring about the desired outcome. Sometimes, just for fun, Glenda monkey-wrenched the spell because she knew the candidate well enough to ensure his or her loss. But that kind of talk was strictly shared within the Coven; outsiders were kept in the dark.

Currently, Glenda knew that the Phoenix Coven had received several requests for a 2014 Jan Brewer victory and next year's annual meeting would be interesting to attend. She, and others, wanted to find out how much steam was boiling behind that Gubanatorial effort.

But, for now, Glenda was going to refocus on December 22nd. She had no doubt that the earth would still be spinning after the 21st. The Mayan Calendar was an old school prediction tool and the newer magic was better informed about how the world would end. While non-Magicians, or Muggles as they were now commonly called thanks to the Harry Potter books and movies, thought a big bang would end earthly life, Glenda and her ilk believed it would come as it was evolving now: in significant shifts of weather changes and seemingly random acts of violence in homes, schools and communities. These occurrences reflect the non-alignment of earth to the cosmos.

December 21st the longest night of 2012 would be a celebration of witches and druids and other practitioners of the world beyond the silver cloak of reality. Cauldrons would bubble, candles would flame and Glenda would dance to tambourine music and drums. On the 22nd, the Covens nation-wide would need all of their collective energy to serve the magical needs of the world that would wake up to another day

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stew and Biscuits

Here's a pretty fresh flash fiction story:

Stew and Biscuits—a 10 minute writing response to the prompt:  write about a romantic moment long ago 11/14, edited 11/23/12

Melanie brought the coal to the stove, her back aching from pulling in the stiffly frozen laundry from the cotton clothesline spread between the leafless maple trees.  These days the sun didn’t do much for drying the wash.  So she’d have to pull out the linen later and dry them by the fire.  But for now, she had to stock the wood in the stove and get dinner ready for Frank before he came in from the fields.  The corn had been stored away for the winter but Frank was still working on bundling the hay for storage.  After a dry summer, the hay wasn’t as thick as it should be for getting the animals through what seemed to be an early and cold winter.  Melanie stirred the stew and set the corn biscuits on the platter to bake.

A burst of cold air blasted the light from the oil lamps as Frank entered the house.  Stamping his feet on the pine floorboards, he shouted across the hall, “Mmmm, somethin’ smells mighty good for dinner, honey.”

“Oh, just biscuits and stew, nothin’ special.”  Melanie wiped her hands across her faded blue apron and quickly turned to Frank for a welcoming hug.

“Doesn’t need to be special as long as my special gal gives me somethin’ to warm me up!”

They spread arms open around each other’s wide backs, Melanie nuzzling her nose into Frank’s still chilled neck.  His grey-brown beard brushed across her auburn hair, knotted into a thick single braid.  Gently, he pulled the braid so that she turned her head upward for a kiss.  Stepping back as the stew bubbled, Melanie giggled.  “I swear, old man, you’d think you were still a young buck workin’ for my Pa.”

“No, Ma’am.  I’m a happier man now after all these years.  No pa of yours to tell me to step away from our lovin’ we used to do in the barn.  I can kiss you now anytime, anywhere, and I do.”

The stew bubbled a bit longer that night and the biscuits burned.




Saturday, December 1, 2012

about Amanda's story

While I have posted several items that I had hoped people would read, the number of reads for Amanda's Story surprised, and then concerned me.  I have deleted it from this blog because, at 4 a.m., I couldn't sleep, concerned about the possible negative effect this story, emphasis story, might have in the cyber world.

I did not know Amanda.  I was touched by her obituary because, as a parent I wondered about what would cause the death of this seemingly vibrant young woman.  As a mother, I have had experiences that I inserted into her story, and as a human being, I had connections to her story that I appropriated and used via my imagination.

In no way did I want to do anything but take the suggested prompt and imagine a wonderful, happy scene for this young woman.

So, if this story touched others--in a good way--I am glad but it served its purpose and has been removed.  And, if any way I offended or disturbed, that was definitely not my intent, and the story has been removed.

Words have power and, sometimes, words go beyond their intended purpose.