I don’t know that I have ever really been a fan of anything, in the sense that I have come to understand fandom anyway. I do remember becoming a Smokey the Bear ranger and getting a bunch of stuff from that club, but I don’t remember why.

In case you’ve been procrastinating on your New Year’s resolutions, I have a few suggestions.   This was a tough year, and 2017 looks like it could be worse.  The ball is definitely in our court, and we have to decide whether and how we are going to put it in play.

Today, as I write, December 29, 2016, at 2:20 pm PST, my husband Rick will be gone exactly three years.

People these winter days are either fighting off a cold or the flu, shopping for cold remedies, turning up the heat, or looking back at all those not very healthy Christmas goodies and vowing to restrain themselves in the future as they gargle sore throats and blow their noses. It’s time for grandma’s cold remedy: warming, energizing, flavorful chicken soup!

Last column, I wrote about tribalism being a force that encouraged suspicion and hatred between different racial and ethnic groups.  A friend pointed out that our indigenous people, who call themselves tribes

There is something conflicted in thinking about infinity on the shortest day of the year. I suppose one could say there is something hopeful in it. But with the next delivery of hope balanced on the edge of some event horizon and threatening to disappear down a black hole, I guess hope is a requisite commodity once again..

Dear hearts and gentle people, it is coming on Christmas (if you are like me, you will now have a Joni Mitchell song running through your head), and I have been clobbered by a virus. I’m spending lots of time asleep, which seems to be the best thing.

On Christmas morning seven of the of the eleven people who came for dinner and gift giving on Christmas Eve will be here for breakfast. What could I serve them with the least effort, yet achieve the expected gourmet touch?

We have come to a time when those with racial, ethnic, and sexual biases think that their views have achieved some level of legitimacy.   The only way we can counter that opinion is by showing by sheer numbers how small—hopefully—a minority they really are.  Before we can do that, we should all spend some time confronting our own biases. 

I have been in Vietnam recently- the only reason I am not there now is because I am here writing this. Of course, I did not mean to mislead about my whereabouts- I wasn’t really “in” Vietnam. It is just that I have been immersed in hours of video and photos and listening to stories about one person’s experience of that war- hopefully soon I will be able to share this, but not yet.

This morning the cat gingerly, tenderly, on little cat feet, balanced on top of my radio and inserted his head into the dog biscuit bag, and came out with a dog biscuit in his mouth. He carefully backed off the radio and over to the hutch where I feed him, broke the biscuit up with his teeth, and ate it.

Nobody wants to have to cope with pain in December with all there is to do to get ready for Christmas, or at any other time, really. Two herbal remedies will take the edge off it:  ginger and devil’s claw. Just stir ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger into a cup of herb tea or green tea and sip it

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence…”
            Robert Frost
            Mending Wall

When I was young, I used to wonder why the people of Germany didn’t up and leave during the 1930s, when they saw how things were going in their country. Many of them did leave, but I understand now why many stayed. It was their home. They and their families had lived there for generations.

Cooking the traditional centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal is easy; the directions come with the bird. But what do you do with the leftover carcass? There’s a lot of good meat on it, well worth the time to cut off that meat and transform it into a big pot pie, or a casserole.

A year ago, who could have imagined that a perfect storm of discontent, fear, and blind folly would land us in the world we have today?  I’ve always said that this is one of the most exciting times to be alive, and our current scenario fits that description in spades.

Back in 1988, Joy Goldstein strong-armed me into working with her and a handful of others on the Community Council Affordable Housing Committee.  We went on to form Vashon Household (Joy’s name).  I put about twenty years into the effort, and despite some notable successes, such as Charter House, JG Commons, Roseballen, Eernisse Apts., and Mukai Commons, I’ve never felt that our efforts put a dent in the structural foundations of housing unaffordability.

When this is published, the election of 2016 will be history, or at least I hope it will be history. I can’t help but remember the 2000 election when we didn’t have a result for weeks after the election. Then we ended up with George W. Bush.

A chilly, gray drizzly, depressing day cheers right up with a cup of hot chocolate. It gets even better when you stir it with a cinnamon stick. Chocolate chips are great snack food. I keep a ramekin filled with assorted nuts and chocolate chips on the kitchen counter.

It is said that people who eat fish at least once a week lose their memories 10% more slowly than people who avoid fish, and that people who eat seafood twice a week lose their memories 13% more slowly than people who never eat seafood.

The end is near, and never have so many people, believers and atheists alike, said, “Thank God.”
I have a couple of “whys” I want answered, though.

I have been working with a group called Revolution Vashon.  We are Berniecrats that are promoting the political revolution that Bernie Sanders called for.  We agree with Bernie that it is vitally important that Hillary Clinton be elected president.

When I started writing this column years ago, it was intended to be a voice for the Transition Vashon group.  We were espousing the need to plan for decreasing energy use due to the dangers of CO2 concentration and consequent global warming, and the arrival of peak oil.

I was carrying a big sloppy bowl of compost out to the heap in the back yard this morning when I noticed that now that we eat a mostly vegetarian menu, the compost looks a lot like the food. It was one of those sobering moments when I paused to consider that what I throw out as waste here would in some places be considered a meal.