Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for October, 2013

Raspberry Razzle Dazzle

Raspberry Razzle Dazzle
by Gabriel Constans

This is a favorite and legendary thirst-quencher from Wisconsin in the 1960s and 1970s. Folks used to drive long distances to obtain this sweet, fresh drink. Raspberries are reported to help cleanse the body of toxins, and also contain vitamins C and A.

images

Yield: 4 cups

1 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen if out of season)
2 cups vanilla pudding
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup filtered water

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and mix on medium speed for 50 to 60 seconds.

Your Broadway hands will come alive for the old razzle dazzle, as you pour this luscious drink into containers of your choice and serve with pizazz.

Nowhere Else in the World

walrus_emailNowhere Else in the World

The Arctic Ocean is like nowhere else in the world. Home to walruses, beluga whales, and polar bears, this frozen landscape is teeming with life. But soon this fragile habitat could be swarming with oil rigs instead.

Oil companies may soon be able to start buying up new leases in the Chukchi Sea, the first step to oil drilling and, eventually, oil spills.

Act now to oppose new oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea »

The Pacific walrus dives deep down to the seafloor to hunt for shellfish. It needs a stable, healthy environment to survive. If an oil spill were to hit the Chukchi Sea, walruses could be forced to swim through oil. Even worse, the effects of a spill could kill food on which walruses, whales, and other animals depend, leaving these incredible animals hungry.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is preparing to sell oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea. Drilling in the Arctic is very risky due to icy waters, bad weather, and the complete lack of proven spill response technologies. Shell’s efforts to drill exploration wells have been met with failure after failure, culminating in the grounding of a drilling rig near Kodiak, Alaska. If oil drilling is allowed in the Chukchi Sea, it will only be a matter of time until a disaster strikes.

Walruses and whales need a safe home. Submit a public comment telling BOEM that oil drills don’t belong in the Chukchi Sea »

If enough of us speak up, we can convince BOEM to keep unsafe oil drills out of the U.S. Chukchi Sea entirely.

This important sea needs to be kept safe for the walruses, whales and polar bears who live, hunt, and migrate within its waters.

For the Arctic,
Rachael Prokop
Oceana

Papa Times Five

Papa Times Five

I’m 59 years old and for 37 of those years I’ve been caring for children.

That is the realization that struck me like a high school football team a few months ago when our youngest son left home and transferred to a four year college in Southern California. “How can this be?” if anyone is reading this or should ask. None of the children stayed beyond the age of 20 (though a few returned every now and then for short or prolonged stays). I didn’t have my first child as a teenager, and I didn’t marry into a family that already had children. Everyone came by choice, when and how we wanted.

images-1

At the age of 23 I married a kind woman who wanted to have children as much as I did. She also worked in the health care field and cared for others. Shortly after we married, our daughter Darcy was born and two years later she birthed our son Brendan. About four years after that we adopted Jason (who was 4 at the time), but it turns out that that is not something she wished to do. We separated and I became a single parent of Jason, with Darcy and Brendon staying with us half of the week.

About a year later, I met Audrey, who tentatively became a step-mother when we married the following year. After getting my vasectomy reversed, we had a child named Shona (who was the last to recently leave home). Shortly after Shona was born, we had our 14-year-old foster daughter Leti move in with us.

If you’ve kept track so far, that makes five children. Darcy and Leti both married and each now have two children, so we don’t have any lack of children around, but it’s quite different. The wonderful grandchildren are Jupiter, Ilee, Lola and Neiva. Audrey and are are respectively known as Oma and Opa.

When I mention that our last adult child has left home, friends say things like, “Oh, you have an empty nest.” Or, “That must be hard.” Or,”It must be nice having the house to yourself.” It’s difficult to give a definitive reply, as it feels like a combination of all the above. At times I miss the kids. At others, it is wonderful to have time alone. And at other moments I’m not sure what I’m feeling. Knowing all the children and grandchildren are fundamentally healthy and happy, alleviates a lot of anxiety and worry. Of course, there are always a mixture of feelings when there are issues of concern or difficult transitions.

So, out of choice (Was it really choice or conditioning or karma?), I’ve been partially creating, raising and nurturing children for well beyond half of my life. I have no regrets.

I wonder if we should perhaps adopt another child who needs a home? Why not 4 or 5 more? Oh yeah, there is the reality that they are with you the rest of your life, whether they leave home or not and unlike radishes or broccoli, you can’t just plant them in the soil and water them once a week for them to grow into adults. It takes a little more attention and love that that, as I’ve discovered five times (so far).

The Warmest Color

9781551525143‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ by Julie Maroh
Reviewed by Paige Cohen
From Lambda Literary 24 October 2013

The long-awaited English translation of Blue is the Warmest (Arsenal Pulp Press), originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, is a deeply compelling story, in large part due to its thorough exploration and attention to character. The graphic novel is told almost entirely in retrospect, as the formerly blue-haired Emma reads through the diaries of her deceased lover, Clementine. The diaries begin in 1994 France when Clementine is a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school and continue over a decade into the future, though they focus largely on the rocky development of her and Emma’s relationship when Clementine first begins to discover her attraction towards women and struggles to accept her sexuality. With close-minded conservative parents and only one gay friend to confide in, the teenage Clementine internalizes her desire for Emma, caught in a wonderful and terrifying limbo that many queer youth are likely to relate to, one between discovering lust and feeling ashamed by who you lust after, between falling in love and self-hate.

“Coming out” and “first love” stories seem like difficult territories for any author to navigate as they have been told time and again and are challenging to portray in new and interesting ways. Though the plot of Blue is the Warmest Color is not necessarily new, it is specific to the experience of its characters, and the writing is without a doubt at its strongest when it is filtered through Clementine’s unique perspective.

This rings true in a beautiful scene that takes place twelve pages into the novel when Clementine agrees to go on a date with a cute boy from school after being pressured by her friends. Maroh’s delicate and comprehensive drawings, detailed only in shades of gray, portray Clementine walking through an outdoor plaza in apprehension of her date. In the hand-written diary entry visible in the corner of the illustration, Clementine writes, “My heart beats fast when I think about what’s going to happen.” This line not only reveals Clementine’s state of mind, but it is also written in a voice that is particular to her character. While a different fifteen-year-old girl might say, “My stomach hurts,” or, “I can’t stop sweating,” the words here belong to Clementine and they resonate because they read as true. In the following illustration, Clementine looks ahead into the crowd of people rushing past her. The gray shading gives way to a speck of blue in the distance – Emma’s hair barely visible over the dark shoulders of the passing people. This is the first time that the two girls see one another, and in this instant, the prose fade completely, allowing the reader to focus only on the visuals which reveal Emma through Clementine’s eyes. That night Clementine dreams of blue hands moving all over her body. No words are necessary. We are simply in the moment, experiencing lust as Clementine does. The majority of the novel succeeds in a similar manner as this scene.

The writing is just as successful in depicting the confusion and turmoil of Clementine’s coming out as it is in its depiction of her falling in love. In several scenes, Clementine is shown curled in the fetal position, or hunched over the pages of her diary, the gray walls of her bedroom closing around her. She writes, “I feel lost, alone, at the bottom of a pit. I don’t know what to do,” or, “…I hate myself and I bury myself in the ball of fire that is screaming to get out of my guts.” While these lines might seem affected in the voice of a different narrator, they read as honest in the voice of Clementine, as if she is expressing her emotions as best as she is able—perfectly capturing her loneliness and her desperate want to be free of angst and to gain peace and acceptance. These moments interweaved with the happier moments when Clementine is able to accept herself or the peaceful moments when she is wrapped in Emma’s arms—moments made rich with descriptions such as, “I felt as if light were running through my veins”—beautifully render the complexity of her character, and of human beings in general. These scenes suggest that while there are no permanent states of happiness or peace, there are moments when happiness and peace are absolute.

Read entire review and other stories at Lambda Literary

Video

Cousins In Rwanda

Cousins In Rwanda

Once, when we were visiting our friends in Rwanda at the Rwandan Orphan’s Project, we decided to also take a trip up to the north, near the border with The Congo, and visit our cousins in the rainforest – better known as gorillas. The families we met were so similar to our own human family, that there were times it was difficult to tell if their was much difference. It turns out gorillas have 97% of the same DNA as humans, or vice-a-verse.

Mother and child gorilla copy

My Sister Zina

My Sister Zina

One year ago today, my sister Zina was murdered by her abusive estranged husband. The restraining order she had against him should have prevented him from getting a gun, but he was able to buy one online without a background check.

634994877344715238_8babe384d9a04fe896163495f08bf862_66932.8023452

I’m going back to Washington, DC to share my sister’s story with leaders in Congress.

I’ll tell them that they can close the loopholes in our laws that allow dangerous people, like my sister’s killer, to get guns — and that simple, common-sense solutions would prevent others from experiencing this kind of tragedy.

Together, we can make sure that more women’s stories don’t end the way that Zina’s did. And one of the most important things you can do to make sure that Congress acts is to share the stories of survivors and women like my sister.

Watch this message today, and add your name to the letter to Congress:

http://act.demandaction.org/sign/Zina

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Help me do this for Zina and for all the women whose lives are at risk when dangerous people get their hands on guns.

Thank you for watching,

Elvin Daniel
Campaign to End Gun Violence
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise
by Gabriel Constans

To thoroughly enjoy this smoothie, take off your shirt (and whatever else you desire), throw on a flower garland necklace, and let your mind drift off to a warm night in Tahiti, Hawaii or the islands of Indonesia.

images

Yield: 5 cups

1/2 cup fresh, shredded coconut
2 cups filtered water
3 large bananas
1/2 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 papaya, peeled and chopped
1/4 passion fruit, peeled and chopped
1/2 guava, peeled and chopped
1 small slice pineapple

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Include shaved ice for sweltering days.

Pour into tall glasses or pineapple husks, put on your feathers and enjoy.

Tag Cloud