Home

Congress is Now in Session

January 3, 2017

The 115th Congress opened today. Ugly.

The fight to repeal the Affordable Care Act has begun, as predicted. Unpredicted, however, was an appalling move by house republicans–in secret the night before, no less–to gut an independent congressional ethics office. Right, let’s ditch the independent group and place oversight duties under an existing house committee… a fox in charge of the hen house scenario, if ever there was one. Today. Day One. First action.

That did not go well.

Within a couple hours, pandemonium ensued, the house reversed its course and tabled the whole thing (it’ll come back.. they’ll just wait for a moment distracted by other bigger issues). Trump tweeted something about bad timing (ya think??) and other priorities, and with that, the freak show officially began between a “republican” president and his supposed allies in congress.

Meanwhile, Trump’s out there taking credit already for bringing jobs back to the US, quoting dubious right-wing tabloids (NY Post) and blasting overstated, oversimplified self-congratulations via Twitter. Credible news sources are not running any such story because the claim is a fanciful manipulation of facts… but we can expect a LOT  more of this kind of selective twisting of details from Trump via social media. Gird yourself.

I suspect we’ll also see very little in the way of press conferences because the man is incapable of delivering cogent arguments or coherent information on any serious subject–he can barely form a sentence and can’t risk being quoted.

And our confused and overmatched mainstream media, in its quest for viewers (and sponsors) will need to find a way to provide “acceptable” coverage of Trump, lest Trump get upset, call them names and undermine their credibility (so bad for their bottom line). They’ll soften their tone, normalize him, let some of the worst stuff go (it’s all bad), lower the bar.

(That’s been happening all along, and it happened again today when the mainstream press gave him all kinds of kudos for being reasonable and focused as he denounced the first-day, self-serving antics of the clown car congress. Who WOULDN’T think that was hysterically deplorable?)

Oh, just ugh.

Like Chris, I’d like to just turn it off and tune it out. But someone’s gotta challenge this stuff. The swift outpouring of criticism and calls and posts to social media worked well today.. just four more years to go!

Here’s my new favorite poster:

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 11.44.10 AM.png

That’s what we’ll fight for. A part of what we’ll fight for, anyway… apparently there will be many fights we didn’t expect to have. (Like who ditches an independent congressional ethics  watchdog?)

 

 

 

Around New Year

January 2, 2017

New Year’s day fell on a Sunday, so Monday (today) became a holiday as well. Today, in fact, was Rose Parade day, and I presume all the bowl games. So New Year’s was sort of a three day affair.

It was a quiet and often solemn weekend for us because of Jim’s dad’s passing. Not too much celebrating. Like so many, we were happy enough to say GOOD RIDDANCE to 2016, a horrible year with breathtaking losses (I made a list below). And then Jim’s dad.

The worst part of 2016, aside from family losses (Jim Sr, Annita), was the disgusting election campaign, followed by such an appalling and demoralizing defeat. The dread over what’s to come also hangs over us as we transition to a new year–usually such an optimistic time.

Beyond all that, it was a GREAT year for our family, with many milestones: Peter graduating from high school, getting a bunch of good acceptances, choosing UCSD; celebrating my 60th with lots of friends and family; celebrating Jim’s and my 20th anniversary. All highlights, even in an icky year.

Anyway… here are a few shots from the holiday weekend…

Will ya look at those low temperatures! And look at Wednesday… they predict SNOW (that prediction’s since been changed to rain).

img_6201

We decided to forgo the Mumbo Gumbo New Year’s Eve party at the Odd Fellows, in favor of just being together and raising our glasses to grandpa Jim… dinner was pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, kale and some sparkling cider (pear, and accidentally alcohol:

fullsizerender-8

A closer look at the dessert Peter picked out–French macaroons:

fullsizerender-5

Peter and I had champagne..

fullsizerender-3

Nobody would pose with me, so an awkward selfie it is:

fullsizerender-6

Finally, here’s a shot from the Rose Bowl parade. Matthew and Dean marched with the Arcadia High School band!

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-6-44-42-pm

~~

Some of those who died in 2016:

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Glenn Fry, Natalie Cole, Antonin Scalia, Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Patty Duke, George Martin, Keith Emerson, Joe Garagiola, Prince, Merle Haggard, Morley Safer, Mohammed Ali, Eli Wiesel, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Tom Hayden, Janet Reno, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Florence Henderson, Fidel Castro, John Glenn, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds.

Quite a list, huh?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love & Compassion

January 1, 2017

You know what makes me happy?

To wake up in a new year to a house full of two guys I love the most in the world. To go to brunch together, then hang out for most of a rainy day (although the rain stopped).. not necessarily together hanging out, but overlapping here and there.

Like for example, I’m sitting in the chair in the living room–drinking tea, writing, ordering stuff online (ooh boy, a new body pillow, and some flowers for Elisa), catching up on email, reading NYT articles (do you have any idea how much trouble we’re in with this petulant, vindictive, impulsive toddler in the White House?)… and Peter wanders in, sits on the couch, plays a bit on his guitar (actually he was playing Jim’s guitar at that moment), smiles at me, and eventually moves on.

It’s the new year. There is all kinds of promise for good stuff ahead… Peter continuing to learn how to be in the world on his own; Jim and I continuing to grow in a post-child-rearing life; traveling together with Peter in Europe and hiking in Yosemite this summer; getting a new hip and reacquainting myself with the active person who’s been dormant for two years. Cherishing family and taking care of the people we love. Cooking and gardening and hanging out with friends. Appreciating life every day.

The year is starting out with such a heavy loss. I look forward to connecting with Jim as he processes the loss of his dad, and with his family as we come together to celebrate Jim Sr.’s life.

I have a huge and sickening sense of foreboding over the state of our country, our world and the planet. I do welcome, however, the call to fight for the things I care about most, those things that feel most vulnerable and threatened right now. I know that will occupy a huge part of 2017.

It makes me all the more grateful for the things I love and hold dear… like this:

fullsizerender-7

Eager for a year of love and compassion.

 

 

Rest in Peace

December 31, 2016

p4260082-2

Jim senior passed away last night, a week before his 92nd birthday.

The news was shocking, as news of someone’s death is.

Elisa woke up to realize Jim was not moving. Her brother was visiting–there to help them with a home project–and together they called 911.

And that was that.

Jim Sr. had slowed down a lot in the last year and we suspected he was nearing the end of his life. He wasn’t ill or suffering in any real way, but was sleeping a lot, and Jim said he sounded very tired on the phone.

My first thought after Jim shared the news was how grateful I was that his dad died so peacefully, in his sleep, after a long and healthy life. What more can any of us hope for? I am SO glad this was his experience.

I also thought a lot about his general outlook on life. He seemed so very content with his world. His emails–always, but especially in the last few years–showed that he was as engaged as always, as curious as ever, ready to make whatever home improvements would enrich his and Elisa’s day-to-day life, and just plain satisfied with where he was, what he was doing and who he was with.  He always seemed to be utterly at peace. He kept at it right up until the end–prioritized his health, cooked his favorite dishes, kept abreast of the news, frequented his favorite restaurants, .. and, YESTERDAY, was still directing his brother-in-law on just exactly how the re-epoxying of the garage floor should go.

I get the idea that after a long day and a good dinner, he just went to sleep.

He was pretty up front about having had a good life and being ready when the time came.

That is peace.

Jim was a dignified man. He was very smart, very self-sufficient, a man of many trades. He loved to cook, was a voracious reader and was enormously handy. Jim Sr. gave Jim his early training–how to build stuff, fix stuff, wire stuff, rehab stuff–and totally passed down a sense of competency and agency that has served him (and therefore Peter and me) his whole life (as I write this, Jim’s fashioning a temporary fix on our 30-year old dryer as he awaits a part).

Jim Sr. was a master, MASTER story teller. He could whip stories out like he was dealing cards. He ALWAYS had a story that amplified whatever the topic of conversation was. Many stories came from his life growing up in rural Kansas.  He was one of 11 children–all born in (in) the same Kansas farmhouse–and raised with a very strong work and family ethic. He always spoke in the most reverential way of his parents and an upbringing that was modest but upright, solid, moral and loving.

Here’s a photo of the James Horace Frame family, circa 1949, taken in front of the home of Helen and Christian Wright of Independence, Missouri:

frame-family-late-december-1950-or-early-january-1951-2

From left, top to bottom: Tom, Dallas, Dean (Alan); Marilee, Ron, Frances; Helen, Lillian Ruth, the original James Horace Frame, Sandra; Michael, Kent (Roger), Jim.

The order goes, I think: Frances, Marilee, Jim, Helen, Ron, Tom, Dean, twins Sandra & Dallas, Kent, Michael. With Jim’s passing last night, there are only four Frame kids left (Dean, Kent, Sandra and Michael).

Jim was the eldest son, named after his dad. My Jim, son of Jim Jr, got the name to (and became the III). Jim and I broke the name tradition with Peter. Even so, I think Peter looks just like his grandpa Jim.

A few things really defined Jim Sr.’s life. One of course was growing up in a huge family where everyone worked hard and contributed to the household. As I said, that was fodder for a million stories, but also was the essence of who he was. Though scattered, the kids (kids, ha) have stayed close and still gather for reunions every couple years. Our next Frame family reunion is in July.

His service experience was also big; serving in WWII both shaped and shattered him. Jim tells me his dad carried the horrors of war with him his entire life, never really recovering from the traumas and losses. His strongest desire, though, still, was to have a military burial–proud of his service to our country. I think that’s pretty amazing.

His marriage to Sonia, a french Brazilian, was also a big life-defining event. They lived in Brazil for awhile, he learned Portuguese, he adopted Brazilian traditions. That he married a Brazilian gal and his brother Dean married her sister, provided a whole nuther layer of remarkable family lore. That the two families always lived within blocks of one another and were essentially a giant blended family with eight kids and four parents just added to the fun. That the Brazilian sisters’ mom–family matriarch of the Brazilian wing–bounced back and forth between the two homes…. well… that’s just a lot more whacky story material.

When he wasn’t telling stories, Jim Sr. was a no-frills man who lived a simple life in Arizona with Elisa (his wife of 45-ish years whom he married after Sonia’s death when Jim was around 18). His phone conversations were hysterically brief. He was quiet and far away down in Oro Valley, but he thought the world of his three children, enjoying the hell out of them whenever we all got together.

He had his flaws, and the relationship that Jim had with him was sometimes complicated. They avoided the deep and complex sorting out of those issues, but in the last twenty years they shared a true mutual respect and warm admiration for one another. There was much to respect and love about Jim Sr.

He was a good man. We shall all miss him.

Wouldn’t you?

fullsizerender-2

As seen at Crepeville, late on a Friday afternoon, lunch with Jim.

The Dish of 2016

December 29, 2016

In the category of timesavers and simplifiers, Jim and I had a very good holiday food thing going this year.

It started sometime in November when I made a very nice side dish to go with a pork tenderloin. It was seasonal and easy, more or less healthy and had great presentation appeal. And it went perfectly with pork.

It was this apple and butternut squash dish I found on the web or maybe it passed through my Facebook feed as a Tasty recipe. Wherever it came from, it was a winner.

Here’s what it looks like in its pre-baked form:

img_6062

Stating the obvious, those are alternating slices of granny smith apples and butternut squash. They are laid in a buttered dish and topped with a mix of brown sugar, flour, cinnamon (cloves, allspice, whatever you like), and then drizzled with melted butter.

I’ve also combined the butter and sugar mixture and created more of a crumble for sprinkling on top, but it doesn’t really matter–it melts and blends no matter its original form. I’ve ALSO added some maple syrup, which is awesome if you can handle that much sweetness.

It bakes for about an hour at about 350. It can be made ahead and reheated.

You can see it has great utility.

Good as it is, Jim and I are totally sick of it, having made it for a couple of our own fall dinners as well as Christmas Eve, and having brought it to our hikers’ holiday potluck, Christmas Day at the Albany Frames, and last night’s dinner at Nory and Kimball’s.

But if you think you might be making a lot of them and bringing them to a lot of dinners, you can cut up a whole bunch of butternut squash, even the apple if you keep it wet with lemon, and premix a bunch of the topping, so all you have to do is assemble and bake.

It’s kinda like that other salad–the broccoli, cranberry, almond one–I made too many times to count a couple holiday seasons running because it’s also easy and a great healthy side dish for Christmastime because it’s all red and green.  I mean perfect, right?

I know. Slow news day. But anything that’s this much a part of our holiday season deserves a mention.

 

 

 

Synchroni-City

December 28, 2016

Today in my Facebook feed, a couple photos randomly appeared next to one another in a lovely bit of synchronicity. Both photos of California cities, both beautiful.

Not sure of the photographers, but I surely appreciate the art. Thank you, whoever.

LA:

la

SF:

sf

~~

In other news, enjoyed an early morning drive down the road to Vacaville.. where Jim got his first ever MRI at the Kaiser facility there… was pretty along I-80, as it often is…

attachment-1

And here’s one from the halls of Kaiser Permanente, still quite early in the mornin’…

fullsizerender-19

It’s worth posting what Jim said on Facebook:

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-4-39-27-pm

We are going to get to the bottom of that burnt coffee smell, yet!