Roasted Root Vegetables


This is super easy and perfect for the colder weather. It is also good left over warmed up. You can adjust the amount for the number of people you plan to feed.

1 beet sliced about 1/8 inch thick

2 medium parsnips sliced same thickness

1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled and sliced same thickness

1/4 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped

Garlic powder

Olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour enough olive oil in a heavy oven appropriate pot to cover the bottom. Layer the vegetables with the chopped onion and a small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle garlic power over the top. Place lid on the pot. Bake until the vegetables are tender.

You can use any root vegetables. I used some of my favorites. I never bother to peel beets or parsnips. If you buy large parsnips, you may have to remove the core because it can sometimes be rather hard and bitter.

Puma III


Two more puma paintings grace my house, one in my bedroom and one in my office. The one in my office was painted by Amarillo artist Steven Cost and needs framing.

The following poem is the last of the three puma poems published in “On the Rim of Wonder.”

I want

to walk

with you

in my dreams

scream your screams

feel your blood

rushing

your heartbeat

mine

soft golden fur

wound in my hair

your amber eyes

glowing

through my brown

death defying

together walking

moonlit

wild

free

The Murals at Mendez High School


Every Wednesday I visit Mendez High School in Boyle Heights near downtown LA. I volunteer as a college counselor for College Match LA. The school is named after the couple who, in 1946, sued for equal education for Mexican children and won.

This is the couple and the school mascot is the jaguar.

This explains the ruling that gave Mexican children equal educational rights.

View of downtown from in front of the College Center area where students go to get help with college applications, learn from presentations by admissions officers from different colleges, and work on college and financial aid applications.

Thanks to the two guys sitting here chatting for giving me permission to take this photo.

When I asked who did the murals, I was told that students did them in conjunction with an art class several years ago.

Easy Vegan Dishes for Summer


It is too hot to do a lot of cooking in many parts of the US these days. Salads are a good alternative. However, if you get tired of just salads, here are two easy vegan dishes to enjoy that require little cooking time. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, you can add some cubed meat as you are sautéing the veggies.

Sauté coarsely chopped onion and garlic in olive oil. I have not specified amounts because amounts can be adjusted to your taste. Coarsely chop 1/2 medium sized beet and add to the onion and garlic. Cook this mixture until tender. Add 1/2 seeded and coarsely chopped red bell pepper. Add 2 Tablespoons of Thai red curry paste and mix well. Finally, add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Thai basil and 2 cups arugula. Sauté until wilted stirring constantly. Serve over rice.

Sauté 1/3 coarsely chopped medium sized sweet onion, six small carrots cut into coins, and 5 coarsely chopped garlic cloves in olive oil. When nearly tender add five sliced mushrooms. When these are tender, add 1/3 coarsely chopped red bell pepper and sauté until tender. Finally, add 2 cups arugula and stir until the arugula is wilted. For spices add basil essential oil or World Market Greek Mediterranean Seasoning Blend. Serve over pasta of your choice. If you like cheese, grate fresh parmesan or asiago, my favorite, over the top.

Note: these recipes can be adapted by using your favorite vegetables, e.g. spinach in place of arugula.

Road Trip Up Mt. Baldy


At 10,065 feet Mt. Baldy rises above the San Gabriel Valley, home to nearly 1.5 million of which I am one. The highest mountain in Los Angeles County, every day she looms in the distance quite visible from my front yard. For months last winter, she remained snow capped, sometimes with snow half way down the mountain.

People seemed shocked when they discovered I had not yet driven up the mountain. Yesterday, as I was driving up Monte Vista, I decided it’s time and continued past Baseline where Monte Vista becomes Padua. At the traffic light, I turned right onto Mount Baldy Road. Up I went. You know it’s going to get steep when signs telling slow traffic to turn off ahead show up regularly.

I pulled off about half way up and took these two photos.

A bit farther up, signs appear saying they will tow your car if parked in the way of snow plows. It is about the same time that super sharp switchbacks start. I have driven all over the mountain West and this road has some of the most extreme switchbacks I’ve ever experienced. I kept thinking, “This would not be much fun in the snow.” Keep going and the road ends at a parking lot of the ski resort so they must do a good job keeping the road clear in winter. I stopped off and on to take photos. Up this high there are ponderosa pines and fir trees.

A lot of trees like the one on the left grow everywhere. Not sure what kind of evergreen they are.

I drove as far as cars can go, to the ski resort parking lot, adjacent to the ski lift which goes to a restaurant farther up the mountain. I’ll try that another day.

After all this driving, I decided to stop at a restaurant by the side of the road in Mt. Baldy Village. I wanted to eat on the patio but no eating outside yesterday–yellow jackets.

Near where I parked, I took a few photos of the community church and the village.

Puma–2


Years ago while visiting Albuquerque or Santa Fe, I acquired a Zuni puma fetish. It is the only fetish I own. I bought it because it is a puma, the Directional Guardian and prey god of the North, representing independence, personal power, intensity, and loyalty, carried by travelers to protect their journey. It resides on a dresser in my bedroom, watching over me, protecting my life journey.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my puma obsession extends to researching them and writing poems about them. The following poem was originally published in my book, “On the Rim of Wonder”.

My neighbor walked out her door

found a puma lying on the lawn.

Puma rose, stretched, disappeared.

At night when I open my gate

I wonder if she lurks

behind the cedar trees,

Pounce ready.

A Zuni puma fetish guards my sleep.

I run with puma

Night wild

Free.

I scream and howl

Moonstruck

Bloodborn.

I hike the canyon

stroll around my house

look for puma tracks.

I see none.

I would rather die by puma

than in a car wreck.

Pumas — 1


Some people possess obsessions. For me only one really exists–pumas. I kept hoping I might see one when I lived at the edge of a canyon in the Panhandle of Texas even though I knew where I lived was probably too populated. Now, living in LA Country, I realize pumas can be anywhere. Have not seen one yet, but I keep hoping. I’ve considered driving 1/2 hour up into the Los Angeles National Forest to hike and hope. Since one of my walking partners refused to go any farther when the sign said “Watch for Bears”, I would have to take the hike alone. The bear sign did not deter me, but she could not go home since I drove so I went back to the car with her. People see bears in town all the time, but rarely pumas or if they are around, they hide. My puma obsession includes dreaming about them and writing poetry where they star. Here is one of the puma poems I wrote while I still lived in Texas.

I watch for eyes, blue changing to amber and back.

I put my palm, fingers stretched to measure, into the footprint.

Too small, bobcat

No puma.

My thin body squeezes between the rocks,

climbing quietly down the cliff.

Watching, listening, searching.

No puma,

Pale amber rushes across my vision line.

My hearth quakes.

I watch; I wait.

It is Isabella, a golden whir chasing rabbits.

No puma.

At sunrise, I walk the rim,

watching.

At sunset, I walk the rim,

waiting.

At night, I walk the rim,

dreaming.

No puma; not yet.

I’ve had this photo, taken by a famous wildlife photographer, for at least a decade. She, yes, it is a she, watches over me daily. In my bedroom is a puma Zuni fetish and a painting. I have a couple of others here and there in addition to books about pumas. Someday before I die, hopefully.

Another Day at The Huntington


Decades ago three of us attended the same two room elementary school, Clay Center, located at the corner of the intersection of two gravel, country roads, surrounded by rolling farmland in Northwest Missouri.

On Wednesday morning, we strolled though part of The Huntington Gardens and one of the art galleries there.

Ramona, the youngest one of us, is visiting her brother, Craig, who lives in Palm Springs. She loves succulents so we headed to that part of the gardens first.

Ramona and my daughter strolling along one of the wider pathways.

I have been here at least six times in the last six months. I see something new and fascinating every time.

After the succulent and cactus area, we headed to one of the art galleries. When I was here before Blue Boy was on loan. Yes, this is the genuine Blue Boy. Craig was so excited to see him and loved this gallery, all of it.
Ramona wanted to see the Chinese Gardens so we passed by this portion of the Japanese Gardens on the way.
A little water fall.

A tiny bit of the Chinese Garden.

The lake in the Chinese Garden was full of water lillies in bloom. Most were flat on the water but not these.
The three of us together for the first time in decades.

Kale with Cannelloni Beans


1/2 medium sized sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, deseeded, cut in half lengthwise and cut in 1/2 inch pieces

2-3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1/4 large, red, bell pepper, deseeded and coarsely chopped

3 cups lacinato kale–see directions below

1 cup cannelloni beans

Olive oil

Spices–for this recipe I used World Market Mediterranean Greek

Before measuring the kale, cut out the central stem, discard, and finely chop the remainder of the leaves. Sauté the onion and garlic in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan or skillet until the onion is translucent. Add jalapeño and red bell pepper. Cook until tender but the color is still bright. Sprinkle spices over this mixture and stir–amount of spices to suit your taste. Add kale. Stir and cook until the kale it totally wilted. Add cannoli beans and serve over rice.

Note: Other spices I use include basil, thyme, and fennel essential oils. Be careful when using essential oils to cook. A little goes a long way.