Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Tree for the Holiday Season

    December is one of my favorite months. Humankind devised ways to make this dark and usually cold month light-filled and festive. Our agrarian roots found joy in the Winter Solstice and celebrated the day the sun returns. The ancient classical world crafted tales of the mystical birth of a Midwinter King that took place on or near the Winter Solstice. Tammuz, Attis, Apollo and Dionysus, Mithras and Baal were all divine mid-winter births.

    These celebrations included evergreens that represented life during winter's death sleep. As Christianity spread, the ancient tradition of evergreens followed.

    So 2007 years later (give or take a few years either way) there is an alleged war against Christmas because some inclusive persons decided that instead of calling a decorated mid-winter evergreen a Christmas Tree, they called it a Holiday Tree.

    My Christian education taught that one of the foremost elements of Christianity is inclusiveness. We are all God's children. Call the tree anything you like, but don't condemn those who don't celebrate Christmas and don't declare war on those who believe this is a time to celebrate all of us. I can't believe that the Good God of this universe would choose a naughty Christian over a loving and kind Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or whatever.

    I don't understand why fanatic Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc., believe that it is ONLY their God, their beliefs or the highway to hell. I want to ask, "What part of God do you not understand?"

    We have a Christmas tree in our home. I host holiday parties that include a wide range of people and their belief systems. We will celebrate Christmas Eve and share a Merry Christmas Day with our family, and we wish happy holidays to all of those who celebrate other December events. Is this not the Christian way? There is no attack against Christmas. It is the exact opposite: honoring all that the Christmas miracle teaches.

    Now, only one Christmas miracle remains. How do I eat all that grand food and not gain an inth of a pound?

    Merry Christmas, a belated Hanukkah, Season's Greetings, and Happy New Year to everyone from the snowed-in Santa Fe Mother Blogger.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Holidays With Chef Dakota's Sweet Onion Bisque

Several blogs ago I promised that I’d send out Chef Dakota’s tasty Sweet Onion Bisque recipe. It should have been in my loose-recipes file. Wasn’t. Four or more months later, with my house up for sale and my clearing of my wonderful clutter, I FOUND THE RECIPE. And just in time for the holidays. This is a big batch of bisque that Dakota created for a cooking class. Enjoy.

Sweet Onion Bisque

2# Sweet Onion (diced large)
1 Ea. Celery Root (diced large)
1# Button Mushrooms (washed well)
2 Stocks Leek (whites only)
4 Cloves Garlic
½ Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup White Wine
1 Liter Whole Milk
1 Liter Vegetable Stock
1# Butter (Browed)
TT Salt
TT White Pepper

1. Sweat onions, garlic, mushrooms, celery and leeks
2. Deglaze with white wine
3. Add milk and stock
4. Simmer for 30 minutes
5. Puree with brown butter and strain in a china cap
6. Season to taste.

For extra pizzazz add the following at serving:

Tobacco Onions & Flash Fried Rock Shrimp

1# Red Onions, (peeled and shaved thin)
1# All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Red Chile Powder
¼ Cup Cumin Powder
¼ Cup Garlic Powder
¼ Cup Onion Powder

1. Add all dry ingredients together and mix well
2. Toss shaved onion in the mixture.
3. Fry until crispy
4. Season with salt.

Garnish with Flash Fried Rock Shrimp

1. Sauté rock shrimp in very hot olive oil and garlic until cooked.
2. Season to taste.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Wierd World Of Hugs

When I hold and hug our new grandchild, Quinlan, all the joy in the world surges through me. This is a new kind of hug for me.

Isn't hugging wonderful? But in today's weird world of hugs, kids can be sent to detention for a casual, friendly hug, like the 13-year-old Illinois girl.

Thank goodness that my daughters have passed the middle-school hug years. I recall Clif and I laughing at the hug-fest following Ocean's 8th grade graduation. Everyone hugged, hugged, hugged, and then hugged some more. But this was in 1988 when hugging was okay.

Sure, there are and always have been, those folks who can't hug without some inappropriateness, and kids can fall victim to these creeps. However, have we become so fearful (and FEARFUL is the key word here) of pervs, lawsuits, terror, disease, the devil and everything else outside of our happy place, that loving kids are punished for being kind?

When Quinlan begins school and I get to drop him off, give him a great big hug before he enters the halls of academe, will the hug-police site me for hugging my grandson?

Will they water board me to force some fake confession of secret thoughts of child abuse? Will I be on the list of dangerous people because I hug?

This place we call earth is so far out of whack that I wonder if sanity and common sense will ever return?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quinlan is here. Moire turns a page.

Quinlan, our little Leo, arrived Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007. This mom was on site, along with Quinlan’s dad, Randy, g-pops Clif, Ocean’s doula, the doctor and assorted nurses and technicians, all celebrating Quinlan’s first breath.

Besides birth’s beauty, it was my daughter who bannered the word beauty throughout her entire labor. Not an easy labor, she found her grace and her dignity and bore her baby boy without any drugs to numb her laboring body. Not a scream left her lips, just the natural and primordial sounds of birthing.

Meanwhile in West Hollywood, Dakota was beside herself in worry about her sister and her future nephew. She rang our assorted cell phones about every 20 minutes. Sometimes we could pick up and sometimes we were in the throws of labor.

Around noon, LA Times food critic, S. Irene Virbila, appeared for lunch on The Terrace at Sunset Tower Hotel. LA Times photographers also arrived to shoot some of Dakota’s dishes for an August 15th review. Clif called Dakota to give her an update. She was in her own kind of labor pains!

Sidebar: A long time ago I carpeted my entire home in pale peach carpeting. Ocean and Dakota were still youngsters. Clif and I were getting to know each other. I made a blackberry pie. Toting the hot pie across the newly carpeted family room I tripped. In slow motion I could see that pie start to fly out of my hands. I screamed, “The pie! The carpet! The pie! The carpet!” End of sidebar.

Now Dakota is mentally screaming, “The review! The baby! The review! The baby!”

Concurrently, Ocean’s labor was powerful now and her doula and I breathed in with our mom-to-be, exhaled, breathed in, exhaled, panted, panted, and panted. Rest. Visualize. Focus. Breathe in. Exhale. I hope I’ve painted the picture.

At 4 p.m. Quinlan took his first view of the world outside of his mother’s womb. In California, lunch was over at The Terrace.

Life changed at that moment. I became a moiré (Celtic for grandmother), Clif was now a real g-pops, Dakota an auntie, and of course the new parents, Ocean and Randy.

With this alteration, I turn the page to a new focus on life. Please visit

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Quinlan, Where Are You?

Now that our grandson has decided to roll around inside his mama a tad bit longer than predicted, I have discovered several things.

1) No one in my family is patient. But then, we’ve been trying to get this offspring into our family for a lot more than a simple nine-months.

2) Maybe the stork, or egret, or heron are really going to be the baby’s delivery method. Maybe the stork is lost while crossing the Atlantic, the egret is still chillin’ in California, and if it is a New Mexican heron, it is definitely on manana time, as are all true New Mexicans.

3) I just recalled how I got eyes in the back of my head when I became a mother. It was those last few weeks of pregnancy. With nothin’ but belly showing, but no real stomach (think envelope) and a bladder under constant attack by rollicking baby, no sleep, the wonder, the worry, I believe those extra set of eyes just naturally popped out of the back of my head. You know, the pressure and all.

4) My family is running out of good betting material. Everyone has lost--thus far. Well, except the easy one: the child’s sex. Chef daughter, Dakota, was sure we would decorate the nursery in pink. Soon-to-be g-pops, AKA Clif, was willing to bet the world’s best wine on Ocean giving birth to a boy. Dakota is saving her dollars to buy that wine someday.

5) Pops-to-be, Randy, keeps wiggling the womb. It just makes Ocean mad.

6) I thought we’d surely be rushing into the hospital when Ocean opened a beer for g-pops and the beer exploded all over her clothes—making her smell like a total lush. Ixnay on that twist of fate.

7) Forgetta’bout the full moon business. That was last Sunday. This morning, Aug. 1, Ocean threw on a maternity t-shirt that no longer fits. Where once an inny-belly button stood, this morning all I could see was one naked, swollen, and itchy blimp busting out of her clothes.

8) Pre-natal acupuncture is a bomb. Did that yesterday. The acupuncturist said, “It could happen today, tomorrow or next week.” Duh!

We’re going to spend some mother and daughters time tomorrow. I’m okay if it gets interrupted by some certain little guy ready to make his entrance to the world.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Great Blue Heron Delivery? Storks Part 2.

Debating Dr. Frank, this just came in from Bob:

In our zeal to unearth the most suitable delivery bird for Ocean and Randy's little one, I chose to disregard Dr. Frank's slings and arrows directed at our Southern California renewing wetlands and the noble egret. I fully agree that Frank's saddle-billed stork is a splendid bird. My only caution is that glaring "saddle" on the proboscis of the South African species. Jimmy Durante would, no doubt, be very proud of that bird's wondrous beak.

After diligent research (and the neglect of my legal duties of the day) I have a suggested alternative: The Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias. (This is an archival photo and not my own work, as the migratory season for the Great Blue is later this year.) I might also note that the GB Heron's natural habitat is the shoreline or fresh and saltwater wetlands. This seems particularly apt for "Ocean's child". The red, white and blue plumage of the GB Heron is an obvious plus.


The Great Stork Controversy. Stork vs Egret

Little did I know that posting Frank Bonaccorso’s stork photo would raise the ire of the California-based contingency of storkish bird lovers and photographers.

As a California Girl I read both of the following arguments with an opened mind. Somewhat edited, they go like this:

From California based Bob Johnson, a fine photographer and attorney, my first email reads:

Don't let that ugly, goitered creature from Africa delay the arrival of your new little grandchild. I have dispatched a more comely animal from the restoring wetlands of Playa del Rey for "stork" duty. See attached snowy egret now winging its way to New Mexico.

Grampa Bob

A cyber-speed reply from Dr. Frank flashed on screen

FYI: Check out Frank’s book at:

Here are a few reasons not to let that egret deliver the baby:
1) Ocean and the new baby deserve a proper stork
2) That egret is roosting on a rusty old rail fence and probably has gotten tetanus not to mention cholera and dysentery from that scummy pond in the back-ground
3) True delivery storks only drink bottled-water.
4) Storks are good for the long haul, egrets stop off at every center of delinquency known to the modern world and the baby probably would be late.
5) Ocean and new baby deserve only the best -- so I am upping the ante with the psychedelic super stork, also known as the Saddle-bill Stork. As a child of the 60's...I know you can relate to the colorful red/black/yellow of the Saddlebill.

Dr. Frank

Oh dear! Such the dilemma. I forwarded the emails to the pregnant one. She replied with something like, “Didn’t know there were so many delivery options. However, I’m having a chat with the child inside and told him that he cannot arrive before the new Harry Potter book is released because I won’t have time to read it once baby is in my arms, he also needs several more pounds, and his aunt chef-Dakota has made her flight reservations for the designated due date. But the way I’m feeling right now: Stork? Egret? Just make sure the bird is not too early and right on target.”