My Favorite Green Potion

Standard

I went downtown today with the specific goal of getting a refreshing glass of Angela’s Green Potion.  This wonderfully divine elixir made of fresh lime juice, spinach juice, and mint leaves first came to my attention when I attended several catered affairs  by Homegirl Cafe where this drink was served.  It has been very hot and I had a hankering for some potion.  So I jumped on the Metrorail and headed to the outskirts of Chinatown where this small, but spiffy restaurant is located.

What is so special about this restaurant?   Homegirl Cafe is one of the many enterprises of Homeboy Industries, a ministry founded in the early 1990′s by Jesuit priest Gregory Boyle to “assist at risk and formerly gang-involved women and men to become contributing members of the community.”    Youths become a part of a one-year training program in catering, kitchen, barista, and gardening endeavors with many interning at prominent restaurants in the city.  Youths learn the skills that will lead them into economic empowerment.  The motto of Homeboys Industries is “Jobs, Not Jail.”

These days the church (including all flavors of Christianity) gets recognized more for its failings than for the things that it does right.  This, my friends, is an example of church being done right.

Yes, it took me three trains and over an hour to get to the cafe, but I want to support this ministry whenever I can.  As I sit here writing in my journal, I think no drink has ever tasted so good.

Yes, the potion does look like antifreeze but it tastes wonderful!

ljgloyd (c) 2012

 

Log: Spring planting and sowing 2012

Standard

Two weeks ago I set out some small tomato and zucchini plants.   I discovered that the tomato plants are already starting to blossom!

As an experiment,  yesterday I re-purposed some old five gallon paint buckets by filling them with potting soil and Miracle-grow and setting out some cukes and yellow squash plants.  In the other buckets, we sowed beets, more squash, turnips and something else I can’t remember.  Oh well, we’ll  see what comes up.   I hope these  do well in the buckets because I just cannot dig another shovelful  of that hard adobe clay.  Ugh!

2012

The Big Wind

Standard

This big pile of debris is part of the fence that used to be around the garden I tend.   It blew over in a huge Santa Ana wind storm a few nights ago. I’ve never seen this severity of wind in all my years here — gale force winds in the low lands and hurricane force winds at higher altitudes.

Arrangements were quickly made and a lovely new fence has already been installed.

But now we have to cut up and dispose of the debris:

Oh, and I have a lot of fence that I must paint……

Pelican1  (c) 2011

A New Hobby

Standard

I have been experimenting with casting my own glycerin soaps.  Here is my very first.    This is scented with sweet orange, cinnamon, and clove essential  oils.  I call this “Autumn Blend”.

Pelican1  (c) 2011

Some Thoughts About Autumn

Standard

Yesterday I took the day off from work to pull out dying vines and plants from my garden.  My summer garden supplemented the diets of several people in three households, but now the tomato vines are spent and the squash and cucumber plants are mildewed and turning white.    (To see the progress of my garden over the past year, click HERE).  After pulling out the dead things and mixing the soil with some manure, I cleaned up, went home and continued this “weeding” by decluttering my house and getting rid of accumulated paperwork that had piled up over the last couple of months.

We all know and probably celebrate the various harvest festivals during this period, such as Thanksgiving, but autumn is more than reaping what we have sown and nurtured during the year.  Autumn is also a time of pausing and taking into account the maturity that we have achieve in all our endeavors.  It is a time to clean up and prepare for the rest and replenishment that comes from the dark time of the upcoming winter.   It is not surprising then that some cultures celebrate their New Year around this time.  This past week was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and in a few weeks will come Halloween (Samhain), the traditional New Year observance in the Celtic tradition.   According to traditional Chinese cosmology, Spring and Summer are the “Yang” part of the year — the time of growth and fruition.  Autumn begins the part of the year which is “Yin”, a time of retreating energy and restoration.     It is a time of assessing what we have accomplished.   It is a time to breathe and acknowledge what is complete in our lives.

To commemorate this season, here is a poem I wrote a few years ago:

Spent from their fiery rampage,
Santa Anas
rest and brood,
flat-lining smoke
over the still indigo of the bay,
a remnant of their holocaust
through the hills.  Swollen

pus-yellow moon slowly sinks;
ocherous shafts of dawn light
prophesy yet another hot
October day,
while Santa Anas,
hot off the desert, wait
for the end of the day.

The devil winds herald
the arrival of the dead–
The Eve of All Hallows
The Day of All Saints
El Dia del los Muertos
From the Hebrides to New Spain
celebrations of death call

for a time of reflection,
a preparation for rebirth,
by the winds of change
that burn the chaff,
nourish the earth,
and make way
for sweet winter rain.   (LGloyd (c) 1997)

Pelican1 (c) 1997, 2011

Support Your Local Independent Bookstore

Standard

My local Borders Bookstore, as with all the others in this chain,  is going out of business.   I have to say that I am somewhat conflicted over this.   There is something sad about a bookstore closing down.   Bookstores, especially those open late at night, are places where those of a bookish deportment can hang out.  They are safe places filled with civilized, literate people.   But, on the other hand, these big, glossy, corporate box-stores put a lot of  indy bookstores — used bookstores in particular — out of business.    Local independent bookstores are places where the people who work there actually READ the books they sell and take the time to speak with patrons about why they love books.

I have to admit, though, that I am partially responsible for Borders going out of business.  First, it was the siren lure of Amazon.  Why buy it full price when you could get it for a discount?   I would still go to the brick-and-mortar stores when impatience took hold of me and I did not want to wait the week or ten days it took for Amazon to send a book.  But the death knell to the relationship with the boxy bookstores came when I met my Kindle.  (Yes, yes I have started sleeping with my Kindle). I could have my books cheaply and instantly delivered by the flick of a button.

One day last week, I poked my head in Borders and saw a line of book patrons, at least fifty people long,  curled all the way back to the cafe section, the arms of each patron filled with 40% off books.  Scavenging is an ugly business.   I turned right around and left the store.

I needed a real bookstore  fix, so I headed on over to my favorite used bookstore, Dave’s Olde Book Shope.   I needed the comforting smell of musty books and the embrace of its towering shelves over narrow aisles.    I entered through the back door (when were you ever able to do that at Borders?) and found Dave sprawled on the floor sorting books.   He smiled with recognition.  I cringed with guilt because it has been months since I’d been in there.  He asked if he could help me find something.  (The last time I tried to find something in Borders, I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to help me).   After he directed me to the shelves I was looking for, I too sprawled out on the floor, browsing and flipping pages.  I went back  in time to when I was a kid at one of the many old bookstores in our neighborhood.   Yes, I know, I am a nerd but this is what nerds do.

I selected two books.  When I approached the desk to pay for them, Dave was busy conversing with a young man about Pillars of the Earth  and the Lonesome Dove series.   Never, ever had I seen a chain store worker actually discussing books with a patron.  I stood and listened for a few minutes and made a mental note of someday reading Ken Follett’s book. (This is what happens when you take the time to discuss books).

As I finished the transaction and headed out the door, I was hit with this thought:  could the demise of the chain stores breathe new life into the local independent book venture?   As Dave says in the clip below, there is a place for both real and electronic books.

But this is not going to happen if we don’t support our local brick-and-mortar stores.   I urge you then to find your own local bookstores and patronize them.   Most likely you are still going to find a used book cheaper than the same one in electronic format or shipped from Amazon.

Second, tell someone else in your neighborhood about that bookstore.  Share the store’s website on your Facebook page or Twitter feed.  (If the store is on FB or Twitter, like it or follow it.)   If you have a blog, blog about it.   I happened to find a Youtube clip about Dave’s and I am posting it below.

If we say we love books and bookstores, then it is up to us to save our neighborhood stores.

Lori G. (c) 2011. Postscript: since this I made this post, this article has been published in the Soul Food Cafe’s monthly newsletter. Click HERE. It will be about halfway down on the right.