Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Solstice Poetry

"LATE lies the wintry sun a-bed,  
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;  
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,  
A blood-red orange, sets again.  
Before the stars have left the skies,        
At morning in the dark I rise;  
And shivering in my nakedness,  
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.  
Close by the jolly fire I sit  
To warm my frozen bones a bit;  
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore  
The colder countries round the door.  
When to go out, my nurse doth wrap  
Me in my comforter and cap;  
The cold wind burns my face, and blows  
Its frosty pepper up my nose.  
Black are my steps on silver sod;  
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;  
And tree and house, and hill and lake,  
Are frosted like a wedding-cake."  
Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My December 2011 Star Chart

A crazy day after a crazy day after a crazy day after crazy day after crazy day.
Grumpy and cranky,
Shook off the Mercury-retrograde crazies.
Headed to the party of the year in a cape.
Rocking a side pony-tail and my owl totem.
Brought my heart home.
Sharp wasabi, tang of tonic water
A cat purring madly ontop of art and poetry
Books from a haunted house
A mystery man in ray-bans and top-coat
A Rock, a crystal, and my phone in my bra
Soft Sweetness between lady fingers, ladies' fingers
Celebrating Generations of Love and the Light the Solstice will soon bring
Cats co-conspiring to tear open the cat-food-bag,
  even though there is food in the dish.
Macaroni & Cheese midnight-snack
Grumpy and cranky on the inside, sweet and smiling on the outside.
Agridulce like the dark chocolate covered pretzels.
What day is it anyway?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: Gratitude 101

Grateful for the inbreath.  Grateful for the pause at the end of the outbreath.   Grateful I have a home, not just brick and mortar.  Grateful for family, near and far, grateful for friends, wherever they are.  Greatful for this heart, full of sparkly light.  Greatful for God's handiwork, full blown autumn's colors. Grateful for the generations before me that planted those trees. Grateful for tradition, food and drink.    Greateful for every sorrow I've ever endured.  Grateful for today.  This moment. Here.  Now.  Stillness of 11:47 pm. Not even cats purring. Grateful for crisp clean sheets.  Grateful for Sleep.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Casilada Way Estate Sale

Hunky hubby and I just got home from an estate sale from the neighbor down the block. The husband and wife couldn’t keep up the big house and yard anymore and moved to smaller quarters.  It was sad to see a lifetime's accumulation, reduced to left-over pieces of clutter. We brought home pieces of their lives to clutter our own.  Some were practical items, a 1/3 stainless steel measuring cup and sugar and creamer set.  I don’t know why but I can’t stop myself from buying sugar and creamer sets, especially if I see the creamer on her own, or the sugar without the lid.  Like a widow lost without her mate.  I was happy to see them together, some sugar, like life, still clinging to the inside.  An ancient rock collection, carefully cataloged in egg cartons, an owl statue and matchbook from a wedding back in 1985.  I wonder if Lorrie and Russ are still together, like the sugar and creamer set?  I found a La Boulangerie trivet, a well loved set of jacks and an anthology of poetry.  How easily I can get lost in poetry.  As we were leaving, I went digging through fabric scraps for inspiration and fabric for my collage installations; I came across some original batik prints in florals, dragons, crane and abstracts.  The homeowner, a local Sacramento artist, practiced her prints on old sheets before printing.  So I added those to my pile, and brought them home to include in the clutter as well.    

It is getting chilly and the air growing dark.  I ignored my housework for awhile, to jot down a couple words here.  I wanted to share the sadness of lives changing, as the autumn season grows to winter.  Honor those that came before us, lite a candle in their honor.   And make their clutter mine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rub them raw, rub them raw.”
  her mama said
Sand the floor with your feet.”

Knee deep in tea and a fistful of holy cards in one hand and a hanky in the other, like spider nets, catch her dreams that try to escape.

Challenge yourself to cry until you're contorted into something new,”  mama says, “perhaps a lovely lady rocking a side pony tail that says things like, "I really don't feel like to go to the wedding.  I am simply just too sad.""

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Heavenly Mother Hear my Prayer

There's a bonfire in my heart
A tsunami, earthquake break
creepy sounds in the night
music box notes
from a haunted closet
red and blue night lights
and the very last straw
before the dam breaks
not belonging where I come from
going home to where I belong.
I'm running for my life again, but this time it's for my spirit too.

Heavenly Mother hear my prayer, may I find my way home safely
Land softly in the arms of my beloved, and my dear ones.
Land on a dance floor and embrace my tribe
to dance and sweat my tears
and thank you for the reminder.

Of a lesson not yet revealed.
For this tender broken heart.
And I will listen for your message.
Be clear, so there is no doubt it came from you, Dear Mother.
That I may find my way.  In this darkness.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mother/Son Texting Conversations

Mother:  Hey earthquake?  You okay? Crazy sad here
 Son:  Yes just a shake.  2.9 magnitude.  New experience for sure.

Son:  Hey I love you.  Get some rest!  Good Night.

Son: Pozole here.  Pretty good 
Mother: As good as Mom's?  Dad said you had a nice visit.  Alone tonight here.  Kind of nice.
Son:  Dad said he had a good trip?  And it's pretty good.  Not bad.   Oily though.
Mother: Working on setting up my computer.  Just finished initial set up.
Son: Nice nice.
Mother: I'm trying to finish Shaomay's scarf.
Son:  Cool thanks.
Son: Hey i got oil on my shoe  I tried rubbing alcohol but it's still kind of there...  what should i do?  Baby powder
Mother: Baby powder let it soak then brush it off.  Do that a few times.  Then let me know.
Son:  Don't got none
Mother:   :'( miss me?  :p buy some tomorrow
Son:  Kkty

Mother:  Night Night
Son:  Night

Mother:  G'nite baby boy.  I miss you and I miss home.  And my mom.
Son:  Mhmm we are here though.  Good Night.
Mother:  In heart together.  Family.  Free of need for words.
Son:  Yes
Mother:  Nightmoon
me & my boy
Yolo County Fair 2011
Son:  Night

Mother:  G'nite
Son:  Nite.  Back to dorm safe.
Mother:  i was only a little worried.  how is class?
Son: Alright
Mother: Pshhh  G'nite

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dodie, Kitty & Blanche

"We were called the three musketeers."   "We were for eachother thru thick and thin."  Kitty told me.  "Whenever we had some troubles we'd call Blanche.  "I'm  not just saying that because she just passed, I've said that before." Dodie is in Florida now and couldn't travel for the service but sent a fabulous flower arrangement from her & Kitty.  Kitty was in the back of the church -- accessorized with the two things necessary for a friend of 50+ years funeral: dark glasses and a hanky. 

In the card Dodie & Kitty sent was this little poem.  Pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

You are not forgotten, loved one (mother)
  Nor will you ever be,
As long as life and memory last
  We will remember thee.
We miss you now, our hearts are sore
As time goes by, we'll miss you more.
Your loving smile, your gentle face,
No one can fill your vacant place.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Mama's Gone to Heaven

One of my favorite memories of my mom is waking to the bright sinshine as she raised the shades and sang "Good Morning Mary Sunshine".    Her signature greeting, a smile on her lips, twinkle in her eye, and song in her heart.    To those that knew her, she was the perfect blend of spices and herbs that made that sauce forever simmering on the stove simply out of this world. In the last few years she managed to slip away from us, slowly passing through the veil between this world and the next.  She was ready, she told me to move on to whatever was next.  When I asked her if she would come back and tell me what it was like on the other side, she replied, "Oh, I don't know if that is allowed."  It was almost as if she didn't want to make a promise she wasn't sure she could keep. 
Now that she is actually gone, I'm anxious for her visit.  Exhausted with grief I'd love to tell my favorite story about her.
When I was just a little thing, I'd tell my mom, "I love you."  She just smiled and gave me a big hug and say, oh baby, you're just you wait.  You're just beginning to understand what love is.  As I dated into my 20's and I'd tell her I was in love, she'd say, "Just you wait.  Just wait until you find the right man, it will be then, you'll really know what love is. 
When Arthur and I became engaged, I called her especally to tell her, "Mom, you were right, I found the right person, I finally understand what love is."  I couldn't imagine loving anything more than my hunky hubby. She just smiled and said, "Just you wait.  Just wait until you have a child of your own."  
Three years later, I gave birth to a baby boy and suddenly overcome with heart wrenching joy.  I couldn't imagine loving anything more than this beautiful baby boy.  She came and stayed with us and helped out the first few months.  I was so happy to report back to her that she was right, I had found pure unconditional love.  She just smiled with that twinkle in her eye and said, "Just you wait.  Just you wait until you have grandchildren."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I changed my purse today

I changed my purse today.  I used to think it was important for my purse and my shoes to match my outfit.  Nowadays I’m just glad to be up, dressed and out of the house in one piece.  I bought a purse two years ago and told myself I wasn’t going to get another purse until it fell apart.  I’ve carried that purse pretty much exclusively for the last two years.  It is definitely showing signs of wear and tear.   I find myself longing for a new purse, but it is nowhere near falling apart.  It has some stains of unknown origins, but other than that, it is 100% functional and sensible.  It is actually quite a bag.  Frankly, I’m just tired of it.  So today I switched back to my previous ‘go to’ purse.  It is just as worn, but at least I’m not tired of it. 
A fun and impractical bag.

It got me thinking, how much of our personalities are connected to our purses?  Is it a reflection of us and where we are in our lives?  Economics, state of mind, emotional place?  In some ways, I feel I carry my life around in my purse.  My wallet, phone, lipstick, keys, glasses and work ID are essentials.  It also needs to fit my ‘pink book’, a makeup case (a purse within a purse) and even a light lunch.  On any given day you may find anything my son or husband doesn’t have room for in their pockets, recycle or garbage items to be disposed of properly, scraps of paper with ideas and information, phone numbers and the like, business cards of people I meet, flyers, coupons, and a package of gum. Maybe some lotion, at certain times “feminine products”, band aids or a couple tabs of Tylenol.

What would someone know about me from looking at my bag?  What does it smell like?  Me?   What are my likes/dislikes?  Could you have a reality show, “What’s in your bag?”  or “Guess who’s purse is this?”  Contestants could compete to match the correct purse with the correct star. What does Julia Roberts, Michelle Obama, and Liz Taylor have in their purses?  Is it more interesting than mine? 

Picture this for a moment….your mother’s purse.   There it is.  Her wallet, her smell, her lipstick color, her.  A woman can reach right into her purse and know where everything is, keys, lipstick, money.  I wonder, can we reach into our hearts so easily?

Wednesday Lemonade

Rounding the corner home from work last night, was a lemonade stand.  It’s been there for the last few Wednesdays, really since school let out.  With a rather loose business plan, two 8 year old entrepreneurs sell lemonade for 50¢ a glass.  Just pull over to the curb and get out your quarters. I will say it is about the best lemonade I’ve ever had.  Slightly effervescent, lemony without being over-sweet with a light mint flavor.  The girls are dressed appropriately, yellow or lemon themed matching shirts and yellow ribbons in their hair.  While they wait for customers they sit at a little picnic table and draw or read.  Sometimes they climb the big tree in the front yard and swing from its branches from a rope-swing.  I like to visit with them, ask how the summer is going, visit with the neighbors as they stop off and buy lemonade.  The summer air, the laughter, is quite magical.  It is almost as if the lemonade is an elixir, somehow each sip brings me back, closer to my youth.  Yesterday I even got a fairly accurate portrait.  Imagine, in this day and age, with all the troubles and strife in the world, there is this simple joy.  Imagine a hot summer’s day and you’re really, really thirsty? Imagine a glass of lemonade from a paper cup, neighborly chit-chat, friendship, sun setting, slight breeze, lemony heart filled joy. Imagine all the worry and care from the world washed away, even for just a few minutes.  If you’re in my neighborhood Wednesday, stop by and get some lemonade.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Waxing Crescent Moon

wash the mercury off my skin
swish, swish, swish
spin, spin, spin
Oxi-clean clean
lights, darks, colors and whites
all separate in their own piles
me and the moon and the deep pool of my heart
wrapped in a rainbow sarong
not much else

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's a long way to go for one spoon of soup

So mama's not eating so good.
On the edge of this world and the next.
Nothing is quite right with her or any of us for that matter

When we were little, if we were sick and couldn't eat
She'd make us soup with baby pastina in the shape of little stars
floating around in egg drop clouds
and for some reason or the other, we always felt better.

And all I can think of is I want to make that soup for her,
to see if she can eat just one spoonful.
But the consequences of choices made so long ago
to live in Sunny Cali so far away from my mama
my heart-home, my roots stretch miles away but there isn't a spoon long enough
to span the physical distance

It's a long way for me to go to give her just one spoon of soup
Just one spoon of soup

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stuff Falls Apart

I can’t really explain the phenomenon but it’s like this:  things fall apart. 

Stuff like:

These things can be fixed or mended or sometimes repurposed or replaced rather easily, know what I mean?

There are also other things that fall apart, well that maybe not so easily fixed

Stuff like:

Our own human bodies
The interior of the human spirit, the soul, the heart

How do you spot one of those falling apart?  Is there a warning sign?  And what happens when they can’t be fixed?


Monday, June 13, 2011

How lucky am I, to be this magical creature’s mother?

Night Time

House Quiet




Starting an assignment

At 11:48 pm

Pouring his heart out

On the floor at my feet

Teenage Drama

Mama?  Mama?  

Mom?  Harumph.

I’m tired

I’m hungry, is there anything to eat?

I need help

Soft kiss on the forehead

Thanks Mom, I'm going to bed now
What was I going to say?
One more thing, um.  I forgot.
Allright, goodnight...

Bones ache

Heart aches

Tears form pools in my soul

Heavy eyelids

Too much caffeine, not enough sleep

How lucky am I, to be this magical creature’s mother?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

can I please have just one more afternoon

Can I please just have one more afternoon?

To give my mom a perm?

and while we wait for the solution, pluck the stray chin hairs

and file her nails in the round-ish way she likes

Afterwards, can we please have just one more cup of tea with Aunt Mary, my would-be-mother

who would compliment the perm

and the coffee cake we baked earlier that morning

No shoo fly ---- out the door before daddy comes home

the late afternoon thunderstorm

that always washed away the woman-ness


just one more afternoon

capture a moment in time

before, like the lingering cigarette smoke

and the smell of Oil of Olay

my mama's gentle touch,



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't Forget the Love

Born in Chicago, IL in 1960 and although I could call myself a Gen-Xer, I consider myself a baby boomer since my parents were of the Great Depression/WWII era.   I left Chicago in 1979 amidst the snowstorm of the century to California with $7 in my pocket to move to California where it was 70 degrees and far more liberal.  I never regretted leaving.  My only heartache was to leave my momma. 

But there was always the telephone. Almost daily I would call for advise, a recipe, or just a loving chat.  Decades of phone visits and trips bridged the gap.   That all changed when she had to be permanently placed in a nursing home.  She thrived there for a while, and was even a ringleader in the"wheelchair brigade".  A favorite of staff because of her sweet personality and easygoing nature, she enjoyed life for a time.  But Father Time kept ticking away and she began to slip away from us.  A combination of old age and the pain medication for arthritis, she began to tell wild stories that would make you blush if they weren’t so comical.
I believe it was at that point I lost my mother.  At my most recent visit, in the fall of 2010, she was there but in some imaginary place somewhere between this place and the next.  Luckily, the family was able to obtain hospice care for her.  No telling what day will be her last, what moment she will be set-free of the frozen joints and mind confusion and her spirit will be set free.

My mom was a great cook and baker.  Ask any of my high school friends about Mama DeVita’s pizza!  One of the family's favorite recipes is for almond coffee cake.  I share it her to honor her and to connect back to her.    Although she shared this recipe to many over the years, but no one came close to making as well as she.  I believe the secret ingredient was her love. 

Blanche DeVita’s Recipe for:
Almond Coffee Cake
From the kitchen of Michelle DeVita Fong
2 cups sifted flour
½ tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
½ cup butter (room temperature)
1 pks dry yeast
½ cup warm water
¼ cup cold milk
1 egg (cold)
1 can Solo almond filling
xxx sugar and a little milk for glaze
slivered toasted almonds



1. Sift flour, cut in butter
2. Dissolve yeast in warm water w/sugar until it bubbles a little
3. In a separate dish slightly beat egg and milk
4. Add to yeast and egg mixture
5. Mix just enough to make a nice ball. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.


1. Take out of refrigerator, use a generous amount of flour and roll into an oblong shape.
2. Spoon Solo Almond filling in the middle. Roll or braid the sides to make coffee cake shape.
3. Place carefully on cookie sheet
4. Let rise about 1 hour in a warm space


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Bake until golden brown approximately 20 minutes
3. Remove from oven and put on wire rack


1. Mix xxx sugar and milk
2. Drip shoestring glaze with fork
3. Top with sliced toasted almonds

(Don't forget the love). Enjoy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Random stuff inside my head.

  1. Teachers, this is senior year. There are 21 days to graduation. Please give me a break.  Stop giving these kids mindless, useless projects that are busy work.  I'm serious.
  2. We are having a graduation party and so are a majority of the other kids in the world who are graduating.   Ours will be the best.
  3. The most irritating thing I hear now is "MOM?!" 
  4. The thing I will miss most in August is "MOM?!"
  5. I've been secretly buying lotto tickets hoping I'll win just enough to pay for college, take a trip to Hawaii and remodel my bathroom.
  6. Glee trumps blogging.
  7. I will never be caught up on my laundry or paperwork.
  8. I cried at work today for the first time in many years.
  9. I call myself a vegetarian except for I still love ham and hot dogs.
  10. Sometimes when I'm at work I really want to go home and check on my cats.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What makes a person a mother?

Does the physicality of giving birth make you a mother or is it something more?

I've had many woman in my life that have left and indelible mark on my spririt. I have so much gratitude for how much all these women helped shape who I am and influenced my own mothering. 

So what makes you a mother? Giving Birth? Raising your brother-in-law's child? Accepting legal responsibility for a family of five orphaned girls? Having your young teen daughter get pregnant and in love give the girl-child to another family to raise? What about the women who discovers she is unable to give life herself, and chooses to foster children, and never be able to call a child her own? Would medical intervention for those who are fertility challenged be any less of a mother? What about after the heartbreak of unsuccessful treatments, miscarriages, you suddenly becoming pregnant, and come to a full term birth of a bright and shiny baby girl? What about the devastating tragedy of those mothers whose child has passed away through tragedy? Are they any less mothers? And those, newly faced with infertility come to the grim realization they will never physically know the pain and joy of giving birth? What about these 'would be' mothers who show up in life and take care of us out of pure and genuine love?

For me, what it boils down to is this. Ask yourself this question.  Have you ever loved a child that broke your heart?  If the answer is yes, then you are a mother.  My friend Sherry says, "When they're little, they step on your feet.  When they grow up, they step on y our heart."

Blessings to all my women friends, mothers or not.  Chances are, you've loved a child who has broken your heart and you ARE a mother.  For all of us have been broken hearted, have surely broken our own mother's hearts.  

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jill of all Trades, Mistress of all

When am I good enough?
I've been on a downer lately.  At least in my mind I can't seem to do anything right.  My ideas are off-base, my timing is off and I just don't feel like I have any 'pizzazz'. My energy is low.  I've been blaming allergies but in truth it may just be a case of the blues.  Growing up in a hyper-critical household, I know I'm overly sensitive and have spent tons of money in therapy to 'get over it'.  I wonder if I ever will?  On the best days I have coping mechanisms for when those creepy boogie man thoughts enter my mind, but on the worst days it is like dragging a chorus of ne'er do wells around inside my head weighing me down.  So my question for the day is -- when am I good enough?  When isn't it a shame I'm not the most beautiful, intelligent, witty, graceful woman in the world?   

 When am I good enough? 

I love baseball, and an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants.  All teams have their stars.  This year, we have Lincecum and Wilson (pitchers) and Posey (catcher).  But without the other players on the field, it is only a couple guys playing catch.  What about the utility player?  Guys like Aubrey Huff who played a long time before stepping into the limelight in the 2010 season?  There are hundreds of guys like him all throughout Major League Baseball who show up day after day, season after season.  Aren't they good enough?

When am I good enough?

I've been in civil service for over three decades.  I didn't go to college after high school.  I ran from the hyper-critical family home in Chicago to California and had to support myself.  I was quite the social butterfly in those early days, flittering around from one thing to another.   Regardless of what I was doing, working with computer systems has always been part of my work life.  In my 30's after my son was born, I settled down and got a bit more serious.  I enrolled and finished one of those IT programs and began my 'official' career as an IT worker.  So for the past 18 years or so I've at least tried my hand at practically every discipline known to IT woman-kind.  It was traditionally a boys club, but that didn't stop me.  I adjusted.  I adapted.  I accepted change.  I wore heels and hose. I wore polo shirts and kakis.  I developed my own IT fashion sense that I wrapped my experience, my 'soft skills', my keen intuition and my social butterfly glittery-ness.  I am a valuable utility player. I’m a solid all around gal. When that ball comes at me and I try or go down swinging. I can even hit one out of the park once in awhile. I intuitively know when things are and aren't right. Understand how to do the research and to get proof.  After all these years I have a label.  "Jack of all trades, master of none."  Aren’t I good enough?

When am I good enough?

Am I a good enough wife, mother, friend, dancer, artist poet, gardener, intuit? When am a thin enough, fit enough, tall enough? (A stretch for me).  When am I sweet enough, smart enough, work hard enough? When am I fair enough, understanding enough, gentle enough, ambitious enough? When am I enough?  The list is exhaustive. I could go on-and-on.  We probably have these stories. I say I'm good enough, when I say “I'm good enough!”

I am Lady Mistress Michelle Lucia DeVita Fong "michey, Mickey, Mickie, Michi, mich and chell" of Casilada Castle, Dancer-Artist-Poet, Creator of Computer Systems, Mother-Surrogate-Mother-Sister-Friend, WOMAN, Wife-Lover-LandPartner-Coparent. I am Mistress of all. And isn't it a pity I'm not the most beautiful, intelligent, witty, graceful and glittery woman in the world?  Sometimes I feel when I kick up my heels in the sun, I'm the lovliest one.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Salad Club RULES

I started Salad Club in April 2010. My inspirations and motivation for founding such a club? A friend and really groovy heath-nutty gal started eating salad every day for lunch and within a few months noticeably lost a bunch of weight. (I couldn't hardly belive it). A group of gals at work get together and share food and ate lunch regularly. Their laughter and deep connection was envious. Lastly, fresh salads at my work cafeteria cost like $8.00. So I figured for $8.00 I can make a heck of a salad. So salad club was born.

My groovy-chica friend and another health-minded seriously demented friend and co-worker (you know who your are *deb*) get together on Tuesdays for lunch every week. We have some rules but that was just being silly and copied off the "Fight Club movie. The main thing is we get together, share a meal and talk about healthy eating. The topics range from our husbands, children, pets.... Healthy beauty products, supplements, recipes and healthy eating strategies. Sometimes we even talk about.... work. (no really)

In February 2011 I started working with an integrated health professional and am transitioning to eating a plant-based diet... This raw, vegan-ish diet has sent me on a heck of a journey. Mindful eating has been a huge challenge for me. I realized I wasn't listening to my own body's wisedom and am slowly learning what many most folks probably do naturally. When am I full? What foods provide nutrition and health to my body? What foods give pleasure, but are unhealthy for mind, body and spirit? All these questions -- all these answers.

What I want to say is yesterday I wore the brand new pair of jeans that I couldn't hoist over my fabulous derriere a year ago. One thing for sure I've learned -- change for this 51-year-old woman comes slowly. Looking at one year ago how much I've changed it seems tremendous.

What is my new challenge? I look out the window and see all the possibilities a year from now will bring. All from just eating salad.

Salad Club RULES

1st RULE: You do not talk about SALAD CLUB.

2nd RULE: SALAD CLUB starts at 12 noon on Tuesday, LPW, 2685A. (moved to EAI War Room and time changed to 11:30)

3rd RULE: Show up with a salad and a beverage.

4th RULE: Sharing of toppings is encouraged, but not required. Please place toppings to be shared in a designated sharing area.

5th RULE: There must be at least two vegetables must be in every salad. All vegetable salads are encouraged.

6th RULE: Please dress appropriately as set-down by "The Benevolent Oracle" when attending SALAD CLUB. Shirts and shoes are encouraged.

7th RULE: Salad eating will go on as long as we still have teeth.

8th RULE: If this is your first lunch at SALAD CLUB, you MUST eat salad.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunday's Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market season is about to launch into spring. As a regular market goer I tend to get peeved at those fair weather shoppers who don't realize that this is basically my grocery store. I've been working on some helpful hints, that seem obvious but I think need to be posted at the entrance of the market every spring.

1) Although there are no check out stands, there are informal lines. Wait your turn to pick your produce or pay for your food items. It is just merely polite. Last Sunday an older lady practically snatched a bunch of carrots out of my hands. I was flabbergasted.

2) The market isn't going to be cheaper than Costco. It isn't nice to tell the farmer that has toiled with love and devotion to bring these wonderful foods to us.

3) Please leave your cute doggies at home unless they're an assistant.

4) It is great to bring kids to the market. We brought our son for years (untill the teen years prevented him from leaving the bed until high noon). Make it an adventure! Get them involved with the cooking of whatever foods they pick out. It'll be fun and they'll love it and love you. That being said, please feed your kids something healthy before you come to the market. I feel sorry for the hungry-screaming kids who don't get to enjoy shopping for their own food because they're hungry and they want a sweet roll and their mommy or daddy say NO. It is painful to see.

5) If you smoke, please don't smoke anywhere around the food market. Smoke travels and it is gross.

6) If you run into someone you know (we invariably do), step out of the lanes of traffic or out of line and have a nice chat. Think of it as a community building exercise.

7) It is wonderful to ride your bike to the market. Please park and lock your bike.

8) If you have a stroller/wheelie cart thingy. Please, please, please don't block the line (see 1). Be aware of your surroundings. Don't bump people or run over their feet. If you do, you may consider apologizing rather than giving 'the look'.

9) Be careful of accepting counterfit. I've seen fake 10s going around last year. The grower/farmers aren't responsible and there is no use of being mad at them if you get one. Check your money.

10) Observe the traffic rules. Why do you have to go "in" the "out only?

Hear the future?

My son recently accepted admittance to UC Berkeley (Cal) as a Regents and Chancellors Scholar. This weekend, we all went to "Cal Day" an open house event at the university. What a day of mixed emotions. Whew! We got up early and drove the 90 minutes to Berkeley to be there by 9:00 am. Forty-thousand plus show for the event to tour the campus, check out programs and prospective students from all over the globe. We got there early to find a coveted free (one of only two days of the year) parking spot. The Cal campus is fairly large so we dropped him off at the Stanley Hall (bioengineering building) to go to the first meeting of the day. To see the man I once knew as a child walk away into the future was frankly frightening. However, as the day went on and I walked around the university, exploring for myself, I realized how much there was there to offer him and I got so happy for him. The caliber of the program, professors and students is perfectly suited to him. I was worried that he wasn't used to city life, but I think he'll enjoy learning what a dense urban area can offer him in the way of diversity, culture and challenge him to be a better human being overall. He will be able to explore cirriculur opportunities and experience the traditional college life. It was like a dream come true.
By the end of the day I realized it has been a long time coming. All the science projects, early morning drives to soccer and basebal fields, standing in the rain or the heat to watch some event or the other in a closed in space with lots of smelly kids. Late night pep talks when he'd put off whatever assignment until the very last moment. Bake sale flops (on my part), field trips with a car-load of tired kids, dragging our tired-selves around behind him at museums where he looked at every single thing and read every single sign (including, "Restrooms, this Way"). From beanie babies to trains to legos (we were in legos quite a while) to robots. Soccer, baseball and mathlete practice, music (a very poorly played saxaphone), school events in costume (pioneers, colonial settlers and most notably pirates (complete with penciled on moustaches). Oh let's not forget about dinosaurs (if triceraTOPS, where are the BOTTOMS?), ancient egypt and the steps for mummifying a body and what the spirit has to do in the afterlife, sailing around the cape horn, and whether or not he 'likes-likes' a girl or she's just a friend (not that he'd ever talk about that with me now). Rock collecting and star gazing. Loving his friends like they were our own tribe-children. Parents of those friends, we hope to remain friends with for life. A single black balloon, a yellow ruler, moments of pure bliss watching him put a very loving and understanding cat in a leg lock or playing in the back yard in childhood's innocence. And laundry, loads and loads of laundry. This chapter of my life as a mother over. High school graduation is around the corner and all this life we've been living -- some of it easy, some painful -- has paid off.
By the end of the day, I realized if I was quiet. If I was very, very quiet and still. And I listened very carefully, I can hear the future of our dreams calling. It is palpable.