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Meatbulbs

January 14, 2021

I’m reminded that one of the cute things Matty used to say when he was a little kid — like mazagine instead of magazine — was to call meatballs meatbulbs. I’m sure his two older brothers and his big sister (me) showed no mercy.

I made tonight the most fabulous ever — my opinion — meatballs. Ooh, I love them. Jim only gave them a 3* review, but I made him increase that rating to a 4* so I can justify making them again. (My rule.)

Here’s how it goes:

First you combine olive oil, garlic, shallots (which I didn’t have so substituted green onions), cumin, cinnamon and oregano.. and then warm it in the microwave to get the flavors to meld. Set that aside.

Then you make a sauce that contains lime juice, yogurt, tahini and cayenne.

Then you goo together some pita bread and yogurt, chop some fresh mint, add the oil/herb mixture, and mix it all together with some ground beef.

You roll them into balls, chill them a little bit….

….then fry the heck out of them so they form a crispy exterior.

Serve inside warmed pita pockets with thinly sliced red onion, parsley (and if you have it–which we didn’t–tomato, cucumber)…

So, so good.. crispy, packed with flavor:

Impeached Again

January 13, 2021

As I write this, I’m listening to John Garamendi in an online town hall. Over 1000 people in attendance. He’s answering questions about today’s impeachment. Can’t say I’m learning anything new — having listened most of the day to the hearing and the endless analysis that followed — but I appreciate hearing from our congressman tonight..so fresh off this most historic vote by the House.

(I didn’t write about this last week, but it bears mentioning that on the very evening of the very day the Capitol was stormed by Trump-incited insurgents — exactly one week ago — Congressman G attended our monthly Sister District meeting as our special guest. He had to excuse himself from the Senate floor where the certification of the Electoral College results was taking place in a joint session of Congress (after, of course, being interrupted for hours while congress members and their staffs were spirited to safety in undisclosed locations). He was in the middle of a world-record-historic deliberation & vote and still made time to talk to us! Seventy three of us Davis activists were on that call and he spent about 15 minutes with us. Incredible. I’ll add a photo below of that, too.) (Speaks volumes of his regard and respect for us, which is impressive and flattering.)

This is what the House was considering today .. a vote on a simple 3-page resolution, summed up thusly:

And.. the outcome of today’s historic vote — the first time in history that a US president has been impeached twice during his tenure (a limited tenure at that, as he’s a one-term loser of a president). Also, the most bi-partisan vote to charge a president with a crime ever. Look at all those republicans. Of course, it should have been unanimous as his guilt is unquestioned.

~~

And.. here is a pic from one week ago… the day of the insurrection.. and Cong. Garamendi attending our little ol’ meeting! Garmendi’s the one with the mask on (because he’s sitting outside in a hallway where other folks are likely walking around).

A Senior, Officially

January 12, 2021

I applied for my medicare card a few months ago — like ya do three months before your 65th birthday — but today was the day I finally signed up for Kaiser’s medicare program. I hadn’t yet opened the packet of materials I’d gotten a couple months ago from the medicare folks, but I had to today because I needed to enter my medicare number on the Kaiser form. It was a bit startling to see the actual card.

A card carrying senior person, I am!

A Three Crew Day

January 11, 2021

Big doings on A Street! Patios were poured, flagstone was laid, and other good things happened inside, too, on a most productive January day.

A few pics of the productivity:

Ruben and crew stacked what used to be our front yard path stones around the sycamore tree and it looks great! Wasn’t in the plan, but we had all those stones, and it’s a good use for them. They also worked on that circular pad. They’d poured concrete last a couple weeks ago and today started with putting flagstone on top. The winding flagstone path was finished a couple weeks ago.

Lots of front yard work to do.

And, in the backyard, Stuart and his crew poured cappuccino colored concrete, then highlighted it with some sunbaked clay. That highlighting happens with a powder that they scatter over the wet concrete.

Then they stamp it. It’s done by laying those rubber squares down and stomping on them to leave an impression.. then moving it to another wet spot…

And then it ends up like this!

It’ll get washed off in a couple days and the forms removed.

Then on to the surrounding raised beds, arbors, screens, orchard.. and eventually some furniture. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Good Rabbit Hole

January 10, 2021

I’ve been in a rabbit hole all afternoon.. right up until this moment.. as I just finished the annual Peterson Family calendar for the coming year. Most everyone should have theirs by February. Yay me.

So, yeah, I was way tardy on getting it together this year. I’ll blame it on 2020. I don’t mind saying it’s one of the more tedious tasks of the holiday season — thanks in good part to Costco’s wonky custom photo calendar interface — but I’m always glad to have one of these calendars, and I know everyone else likes theirs, too. So … worth it.

But what’s even better is the trip down memory lane as I search my vast digital photo archive for photos of everyone and his brother (literally). Which inevitably takes me down the always wondrous, hilarious, shocking photo rabbit hole… which is a really fun place to go.

I don’t have much to report on this evening, and largely avoided news again today so don’t have anything to rant about… so how about some of my photo finds?

Me and mom at the beach… a block from our first house in Manhattan Beach.

Peter looking all cute in the park..

Our first trip to Yosemite.. the start of a tradition that is now 22 years and counting…

Me on the phone in Grandma’s kitchen… I’m 3 years old (and two months)…

Drink and a cig.. always…

His climbing career started early and never let up..

Awwww… I love this one so much.. (Matty, John, my guys, Chris)..

Me and Aunt Phyllis… she was a very dear woman (Uncle Bud’s sis)…

I have no recollection at all, but know it’s during my first year at UCSD.. better send this one to Peter…

See? Good rabbit hole.

Mental Health

January 9, 2021

Stayed away from news today (outside of bathroom radio NPR and a wee bit of headline reading as I scrolled through email and FB). I understand the world did not descend further into horrific drama, and this being the weekend, it seems that maybe Congress is doing most of its next-step-planning offline.

Random shots on the day:

Took myself for a walk this afternoon… my self-imposed mental health order.

It was very pretty out there and tons of other folks, too, shaking off the creepies from the last few days and especially enjoying a non-fog, non-overcast day.

I made myself not only sit down to my jigsaw puzzle, but made a new spotify channel that I then cranked up and sang loudly while fitting pieces of fern and granite into my Yosemite scene. I’d picked some Boz Scaggs songs and, wow, forgot how much I love so many of his song. Hadda get up and dance to Lido.. like nobody’s business. It was exhilarating.

I’d given blood yesterday so I was a pint down. I usually don’t notice it, but today felt sort of draggy. For fun… here are my post blood draw snacks. Wish it were donuts… which reminds me… I’d decided last time that from then on, I’d go to Fluffy Donuts following all my blood donations! I totally forgot. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow.

And… not that I can find any humor in anything about our current soul-crushing news, here are some memes to remind me later of the one good thing that has come out of this week (oh, besides WINNING TWO SENATE SEATS IN GEORGIA AND FLIPPING THE SENATE BLUE AND ENDING MITCH MCCONNELL’S REIGN OF TERROR) — Trump’s social media blackout. Took his fave toys away and now he’s all pissy.

Plus.. humor may boost our mental health just a wee..

The other good thing that happened today: de-Christmassed the house. Tree out, decorations and assorted holiday paraphernalia all back in their boxes. Later than usual, but so glad to have it done. Ready for summer now.

And finally, just because I am in love with this picture… this bird! This is perfect blue (seriously, I love this color) .. I could look at this all day… so peaceful and simple.

Photo credit: my kindergarten buddy Chuck.

Distress

January 8, 2021

I am too distressed to write, as it turns out. I can actually feel the anxiety. Planning a news break tomorrow — television news anyway.

Such uncharted territory. President subverting the results of election, fomenting an insurrection. Riots, insurgency. Bombs and weapons found in vans parked near the Capitol. Chants of hanging Pence or shooting Pelosi. Mobs so thick they moved in dangerous, pressed waves through the halls of the Capitol on their way to a joint session of Congress. Break in military chain of command on the deployment of National Guard. 25th Amendment. The need for safeguards on nuclear assets. A second impeachment. McConnell and Graham are now traitors. The conspiracy-driven nut cases are trying to make us think the rioters are Antifa. They also believe Trump’s softer-toned speech yesterday was a deep fake. Twitter suspends his account/s, as do Facebook and Instagram. Bannon’s YouTube channel shut down. Five people have died. And still, well over a hundred congress folks — even after the riots sent them into hiding for hours because people, falsely believing the election had been rigged by democrats, wanted to do them harm — voted not to accept the results from two states, believing somehow that Biden’s win is illegitimate.. again validating the anarchists’ actions. And still, a poll shows 73% of republicans support the “president” … today. After all this.

They say more violence is to come.

We have a president who is inviting the violence, who doesn’t care about the country. He’s not conceding.

I am so distressed.

One With Anchovies

January 7, 2021

Taking just a wee break from the political horrors of yesterday.. (which is still a horror today, but more like horror aftermath and relentless analysis of said horror)…. to bring you a kitchen fail:

In some ways, not a fail at all. I believe it turned out exactly as the recipe intended. It’s just that neither of us liked it. Edible, more or less, but too much work.

Part of the work was the fact I made two dishes.. one with anchovies and red pepper flakes, the other — Jim’s — without.

This is what you do: saute some panko bread crumbs in olive oil. Set aside in a separate bowl and, when cooled a bit, add some chopped parsely, lemon zest and salt. In same pan, saute onion in anchovy oil, til browned, then add garlic and brown some more. Then divide the sauce between two separate pans. Add anchovies and red pepper flakes to one of the pans; then white wine to each pan (and reduce), then some butter to each pan. That’s your sauce. Meanwhile, make some spaghetti and divide between two pots. Add the sauces, one each, to each pot of spaghetti, add some of the crispy bread crumb mixture.

Kinda okay… if you like the strong flavors of lemon zest and anchovy. It’s a classic Venetian dish. Sounded good when I read the recipe.

The Insurrection

January 6, 2021

My god. The day started in bliss. Yesterday’s (it was only yesterday??) election resulted in two democratic Senate seats. Watching the returns last night was ulcer producing, but by about 10-ish, Warnock’s election was called and Ossoff’s was well on its way. By this morning, both were official.

We’d achieved all three of the goals we’d set: Took back the White House, held the House (barely!) and flipped the Senate (by the skin of our teeth and two months after the November election!). And, to be fair, this was every democrat’s goal, not just ours. But we worked hard for it (as did hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the country for years and especially this pandemic year).

So yes, cloud nine this morning. Spontaneous laughs, smiles that were stuck on, a little dancing here and there, little jogs down the hall. Plus, happy texts, emails, and Facebook posts & messages all morning. It was unbelievably sweet and light and happy. So incredibly satisfied and relieved.

Then girded myself for the formal process of Congress’s affirming of the Electoral College voting certificates. People were nervous because Trump had decided this was the day he was going to mount a protest… to call all his supporters to Washington to demonstrate their disagreement with the election outcome. Blah blah blah. Ridiculous and reckless and every other stupid word to describe him, his plan, his rally. He’s just so incredibly irresponsible and pathetic. Futile as his whining is, there was worry. Thousands of misinformed, disgruntled and agitated yahoos descending on Washington = not a good thing.

He juiced them up in a rally full of his ongoing lies and conspiracy theories, then encouraged them to storm the Capitol where Congress was going to be doing its election formalizing thing, per the constitution. He said, “You can’t take back our country with weakness. You have to be strong.”

And then, as directed, they stormed down Capitol Mall toward the Capitol.

The rest of the day’s been a shocking display of thuggery and lawlessness. I won’t go into all the detail, but I spent the entire day watching it unfold, stunned and scared. Some tears, lots of fear.. it felt so out of control and it was unclear how far this would go. The capitol police were entirely overwhelmed and unequipped to handle the mobs (which is itself shocking as Trump had broadcast his intentions for weeks), so the insurrectionists (we call them now) breached the Capitol. They knocked down barricades, bust through perimeter buffer zones, jammed the steps on all four sides of the building, climbed exterior walls, they even broke windows and climbed in.

They crowded their way through the rotunda and through the halls. Video shows guards just giving way to them. They tried tear gas, not sure it did much. Congress members donned gas masks, hid under their chamber desks, they were terrified. There was an armed stand-off at the entrance to the House chambers. Armed. The capitol guards totally lost control. Eventually, they had to focus on the safety of members, so left these insurgents to ransack the place while they scurried freaked out Senators and Representatives to undisclosed locations in the bowels of the building. Meanwhile, Trump’s maga guys vandalized the halls and offices, a woman was shot… it was insane.

We were watching a whole bunch of that in real time, stunned they could have their way with the place. And Trump just kept tweeting encouragement (by the way, Twitter froze him out of his account today… only for four hours, but still). He finally, under pressure, released a video of himself telling his army of domestic terrorists to go home, told them he loved them and explained to the world that this is what happens when people get their election stolen from them.

What a bunch of whiners. The idea that THESE people are aggrieved is absurd. There was an election. They lost. That’s how it works. The people in this country who should feel aggrieved are black and brown people, women, LGBTQ folks.. all kinds of folks whose rights have been denied forever and have real reasons to protest. This whole ruse of an election being stolen is a grift, just a way to get money (a quarter of a million dollars, and counting) from these people on the false promise that he can actually reverse the outcome of the election and stay in power. Shameful.

The whole thing is revolting and he is an utter disgrace. Now everyone’s talking about the 25th Amendment or another impeachment. He’s off his rocker.

But we knew all that.

And don’t fool yourself, this is exactly what Trump wanted. He is loving this. He loves the chaos. His people fighting for him. His name emblazoned on giant flags, waving alongside American flags.. and confederate flags. His peeps. Ivanka called them patriots.

These people have to go.

Some pics on the day…

And look at these crazy shots… this is the armed standoff at a window looking in on the House Chambers:

This guy’s just dropping in on the proceedings (though the members are gone):

This guy’s occupying Nancy Pelosi’s office…

…and left her this nice note:

Can you believe this stuff?

Anyway.. it all felt like Sept 11, 2001. That scary and unsettling. Hoping it shakes people up and changes the course of our country. Maybe with the New Year, a new “uniter” president, a vaccination… maybe we’ll all turn a big giant corner together.

Georgia, Georgia

January 5, 2021

It’s election day, finally, for these guys:

This is an Instagram post by my fave graphic artist.. Gil..who worked up this image of Rafael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

I’m sitting here with an earbud in, listening to commentary on CNN, awaiting results. Not feeling terribly optimistic. As I said already, I’m not inclined to believe the “close” polls, especially after what happened in November.

Not to say I didn’t do my part. I care. I think a democratic controlled Senate would be a marvelous thing and would certainly help the good guys make a lot more progress on things I care about. It’d be so sweet to get rid of McConnell as Senate Majority Leader. So.. yeah, worth going all out–I mean nothing happens if you don’t work at it–just not holding my breath.

So…

Was on the planning team for the Dancing Democrats of Davis, who put on a Zoom-based dance party and fundraiser on December 6th (raised over $30,000!). That was fun. And, in addition to dancing like a crazy person, mostly alone, in our living room, Jim and I gave $500.00 to Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight as part of that fundraising dance party. So: a good chunk of change!

Plus POSTCARDS… 65 of them in the last couple months.

And PHONE CALLS… 177 of them. I won’t show pictures of all my calling records and notes, but here’s a celebratory excerpt from this morning’s calls, 61 of them. Celebratory because it’s absolutely the last phone banking session, I hope, for a long time! Calls are so tedious, not something I particularly enjoy. But got ’em done.

I usually note these calls as one per line, but I was running out of space in my databook! This is the last page in my second data book of the season, a book of call records and meeting notes for all my Sister District work in the last year. Funny, to me, that today’s final calls end up on the last page. How ’bout that for synchronicity! That means nothing to anybody but me, I realize, but it’s nice closure on the season and represents a lot of work! Just tootin’ my horn.

So.. at this point, no results yet. Feeling a bit nervous.