Archive for June, 2009

Fried Italian eggplant from my garden with no pesticides, no refrigeration, no shelf time went right on my plate last night.  It was the first fruit of my minimal labor. All I did was plant a few veggies among the flowers and water. I have never had such lucious eggplant in my life. There was no bitter taste, just fresh, fresh, fresh and perfect. Next year I will definitely buy more of these.

P1050922A second eggplant is ripening  and that one is special. It is for myeight-year-old  granddaughter Hannah, a PKU kid. Kids with PKU can eat few of the things the rest of us do, and get most of their nutrition from a formula. One particular amino acid, phenylalanine,  is responsible for the restrictions.  So all proteins are avoided. Hannah can eat eggplant and it is her favorite veggie, so this next one is for her. She likes to make her own recipe of eggplant parmesan.  I know it will be her best one yet.

I never imagined myself giving grandchildren gifts from my garden as my father did, but here I am, and it’s pretty darn wonderful. Especially for a reward like Hannah’s smile (below).P1050851



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“There’s four armadillos in your backyard, Ahmaw,” my grandson yelled.

Yeah, right. But I grabbed the camera just in case. P1050885

There they were, facinating and kinda cute–until they waddled around front and invaded my flower/vegetable garden and rooted up a salvia and okra. P1050906

These guys pay no attention to you. None whatsoever, not even if you prod them with a stick away from plants. They stay planted, scooping with that shovel-like nose, chomping and hanging in with ferocious claws that contrast with their innocent, rollypolly look. Focused. They are focused, pausing only once to take look at me.P1050915

Okay, that was entertaining guys. Come back again when you’re not so hungry.

NOTE: To enlarge pics (and text) press control and +.

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Stages of life have been chronicled in objects ad infinitum, from the wheels on your carriage to the hearse, from diapers to Depends. But what do those say about your growth, or lack thereof? If you would like to chronicle the changes in your interests during the stages of life, it’s as easy as observing the magazines you gravitated to. This is an abbreviated list of mine. Does any of it look familiar to you? I’d like to know what your “mag tags” are if you’d like to play along.

Weekly Reader




Mad Magazine


True Romance




Readers Digest




Family Circle

Better Homes & Gardens

Southern Living


Oxford American (sadly out of print)


AARP Magazine

First Line

Writers Digest


First Line

Garden & Gun


I am in the last section now. As I look back, the only magazine that still interests me above that line is Mad Magazine. Go figure. And here I insert a plug alert. No I’m not paid to say this, I jut want to increase the circulation of magazines I’d like to see stay in print in this tough environment.

The first is Garden & Gun. If you are Southern, or love any part of the South, this publication will blow you away. I found one of the first issues in the dentist’s office, ripped out the card and ordered it the minute I got home. Several visitors to my home have gone home and ordered it for themselves and friends. Garden & Gun is published in Charlston, S.C., not New York City, like a certain other “Southern” magazine. If nothing  else it is fun to see guests run screaming from your bathroom with the publication in hand, yelling, “Garden & Gun????”

The second one that has more relevance in my life that most on the newsstand is Wired. Never one to enjoy science class, I am shocked at the scientific articles that pull me right in. And then there are the technology articles, and what is more relevant to our lives today? All these years later, after scraping through science class, I discovered, thanks to Wired, that I am more than a little nerdy—and that’s just fine with me.

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Do voters in the U.S. have the cajones for voto nulo? Mexicans fed up with the their eight parties are taking to the polls and plan to scrawl a big X across the ballot. They refuse to vote for officials who have allowed crime, drugs, poverty and corruption to bring down a great country. This is another uprising using the tools of technology to bring change.

Would such a movement work in the U.S.? I will be watching these brave Mexicans trying to take back their country. Perhaps they hold a play book we should look at.

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Iranian protesters need one million people on Twitter to change their time zone setting to Iran (find Tehran on settings tab). It’s an easy thing you can do.

Meanwhile they tweet advice to wash Basiji marks off doors with oil so protesters will not be attacked, to spread oil or sand piles to slow them, to rip down streets signs to disorient them, to remove SMS cards, carry Holy Korans for protection, go to embassy hospitals because Basiji are arresting injured at hospitals, to wash burning liquid sprayed from helicopters with lemon juice, and on and on.

I think I can change a time zone. How about you?

P.S. Google Earth has already updated maps of Iran and is working on getting more pixels and updates. Way to go.

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My eleven-year-old granddaughter calls to tell me to check my e-mail. She has written a poem and sent it to me. The poem came to her in the night when the computer was off and she had no paper. She grabbed her cell phone and texted the poem to save it. Oh my, the evidence is unmistakable; my granddaughter is a writer.

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I have never been so humbled or in awe—and this has been accomplished with 140 characters. I have twiddled with Twitter for a month or so. Wired Magazine said everyone should twitter, it is the thing of the future. Well, Wired is my Bible, so I followed along. And then I languished on there. It was like walking into a room where everyone was milling around and you had no idea what they were doing. Finally I tweeted, then tweeted again, then joined a twibe. All the while, through BNO information was coming at me before it hit CNN, or in many cases, even the professional news web sites.

Okay, now I was beginning to understand what that little crowd in the corner was doing. I joined with a few others hunched over keyboards writing fiction in 140 characters. Good writing practice. But is this what Wired was referring to?

A few days ago CNN reported elections in Iran with suspect outcome then returned to telling viewers how to cope with analog TV’s.  Up pops #Iranelections on Twitter groups.  Suddenly Twitter reschedules its maintenance to coincide with nighttime in Iran so citizens could continue to twitter. Curious about the situation, knowing reporters had basically been shut down and were staying in safe places, as advised, I thought I’d see what this was about. What it is about is revolutionary. Over 221,744 tweets in one hour at its peek. Pictures of protests and violence not seen even on TV, human voices and warnings in real time. I am in awe — truly.

Perhaps there will not be an Iranian revolution, but there has already been an information revolution. The possibilities of the cutsie-named Twitter, started in the bedroom of a couple is giving me shivers. Now I understand.

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I know there are shallow, silly women, but I often  meet  another kind, such as two ladies from the aptly-named waiting room of the eye clinic.


Lady No. 1: Who knows who spoke first or what was said. We are women. We talk. After the usual medical exchanges she mentioned she worked at the police department.


“What do you do?” I asked.


“Work cold cases.”


“Are you a detective?” Somehow it didn’t seem a strange question to be asking a woman in her sixties or seventies.


“No, I volunteer.”


“It must be very interesting,” I said, truly intrigued.


“Gory,” she corrected.


I’m sure her work could be gory, but I felt her one-word answer masked considerable satisfaction, especially when she contributes to solving a case, bringing answers to a family waiting for years. So if you are a senior volunteer, obviously there is more to do out there than stuffing envelopes. Who knew? Assignments such as hers are probably rare, so “gory” might be as good as porcupine quills in protecting your turf.


Lady No. 2:  She balanced a laptop on her knees, and  turned to ask me which kind of diabetes she must have. After a few questions, I told her Type 2. Then she remembered. She had brought her own laptop, but was apparently filling out forms for the clinic. Five minutes later I knew she was having lasik surgery and throwing away her glasses, that she had lost forty pounds with a trainer and sheer will power to bring her diabetes and cholesterol in line. And by the way, that she was diagnosed with MS as a teen. She knew little about the disease, even at what I would guess was age forty. Her doctor said she was so high strung she was better off not thinking about that, but taking things as they come. She was bubbly and cheerful and had obviously taken his advice.


She checked her emails, then smiles at the man walking to sit beside her.


“You just texted me!” He was communicating from another place in the building.


A few minutes later she squealed, showed something on her laptop screen to an office worker.


“Not bad,” she said as she sat back down. “I went on the clinic website and found a $200 discount!”


That is a woman who knows how to live!

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You may now virtually sign Sotomayor’s ankle cast–if you are so inclined. I think I’d rather sign the back of a stimulus check made out to me.

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Obama & Osama

I am cautiously optimistic about Obama’s trip to Egypt and the tenor of his talks with and about Muslims. Respect goes a long way. If any need further proof that his actions might have an impact on Muslims’ feelings toward the U.S., just listen to the defensive tone of bin Laden’s recorded messages last week. Anything that causes him to feel he is losing his grip cannot be all bad.

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