Her name was Juanita. She grew up in a Salvation Army orphanage in El Paso, Texas. It was not a kind and gentle place. She and the other children were beaten sometimes.

Why am I avoiding genetically modified foods, foods created by Monsanto to be able to tolerate huge amounts of insecticides, like Round-Up which Monsanto also sells? Read that sentence again and think about it .

Let me put it this way. What if God gave you three weeks away from your day gig, each week has like a different theme and at the end, you’ve been completely rejuvenated

Yesterday morning at about 5 a.m. New Hampshire time I had a rather hollow and knotting feeling in my stomach. This wasn’t due to a lack of food, but rather an absence of a crucial document.

At Chez VHP the other day, we heard loud bleating through an open window. We popped outside to ascertain who the unhappy camper was. A few feet from shore, a newborn Harbor Seal pup paddled frantically and yowled for Mom. Mama was away from Baby, and l’enfant did not like that at all.
 

Any trip to the grocery store causes sticker-shock. Prices go up, but my income doesn’t. Frugality is the only way to survive. I means not wasting anything. Here’s where we can profit from my childhood during the Great Depression years.  Our motto was, “Use it up or wear it out; make it do or do without.”

Certain things just mean summer. Movies shown outdoors, fireflies, outdoor pools, ordinary dinners cooked on the grill, concerts under the stars, salads, sunshine, seersucker.

Many people are planting vegetables this year, some of whom have never gardened before. I gardened with great passion and little skill before I had children. We have a near-sunless, sodden little yard, but I planted in faith.

Fame makes a man take things over. Fame lets him lose, hard to swallow.
Fame puts you there where things are hollow Fame ~David Bowie- Fame

In hot countries, hot dishes and spicy foods help people sweat, and thus cool off. Here, we rather like cold soups. Today, I give you a Chinese soup that’s served hot or tepid. My daughter Suzanna Leigh, whose inspirational motif is the dragon, gave me the name for it.

Standing at the counter of the University of Washington Bookstore looking at conducting batons seemed odd and surreal. Standing next to me, instructing the clerk, was the man who had told me a decade before I couldn’t conduct adults or an orchestra or band because,  “(He) couldn’t handle the competition”.

On Sunday the 29th of June I stopped for a bowl of clam chowder at the Ivar’s Seafood Bar in Burien. It was a pleasant sunny afternoon, and the dozens of multi-colored petunias planted around the restaurant lit it up in a cheerful summery way.

The only female in the competition, Alexina Slater was more than a long shot. She was seen as a risk to the whole event. Too young, too reckless, too weak and too female for such a challenge, the organizers sent a special boat along with the swimmers to trail the main group and pick up the girl once she fell behind and before she drowned.

Come Friday, Independence Day, grills will be fired up all over the Island, and beyond. Before you even put the charcoal and/or mesquite wood into the grill, make sure the cooking surface of yours is totally clean.

The etched glass on the side of the Goat Hill Parking Garage    beckoned the third time the car cruised down fifth avenue. The original plan had been to take the bus. It would stop right in front of the courthouse and be easy steps up to the Council chambers.

A few weeks ago Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company posted a video of Big Brother at the Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967, on Facebook.

I was floating around in the Vashon Pool this past Saturday, taking advantage of lap swim on this first day of the pool being open this year. I was trying to remember how it feels like to be in shape for swimming, as I was feeling quite far from that point on my first day back in the water since last October.

Got an email in my junk box in which the subject line announced I had won a UK lottery. It was awfully good news. This living on Social Security is not a piece of cake. I can barely afford cake. The subject line made me smile once, a little, before I deleted the email unread.
 

It was about 9 o’clock Saturday morning when I finally gave up. I was sick of the opposition, sick of being positive in the face of adversity, sick of trying, sick of doing excellent work that was cutting edge and visionary for like no pay

Diabetes and pre-diabetes seem to have become epidemic. Some estimates of their prevalence in the population run as high as 30%. This is not okay, and not necessary.

“I’d be comfortable telling the director to not commit to anything for a couple of weeks.”- Bill Ameling, VPD Commissioners Meeting- 13 May 2014

The SS France was a magnificent ship. Sailing to Southampton booked into an inside cabin cost $262 one way in 1968 according to the receipt. Dad had gone halfsies on it with me.

Homegrown vegetables and fruits yield more nutrients than even the organic vegetables from the grocery store. Each year I promise myself I’ll expand my patio potted vegetable garden, but so far all I’ve been able to grow are the herbs marjoram, oregano, rosemary, peppermint and spearmint, and a lone potato.

Cousin Nancy died on my birthday. You might think that feels bad, but it feels bittersweet. She is at peace now. No more pain, no more drugs, no more cancer. She’s with the angels, no doubt telling them how they can do their jobs better. She could always tell you a better way to do something.