About eight years ago, Steve Graham handed me, and a few others, copies of the Transition Town Handbook in hopes that we might do something with it while he was off on a trip of many months. 

It is March 24, 2018 as I write, and all over our country and on Vashon Island people have come out for the March for Our Lives, a protest asking that we have sensible gun laws and regulations in our country, and that automatic weapons and assault rifles not be sold, and that politicians and people in general snap out of it and realize that the second amendment does not protect anyone’s right to own those guns.

You’ll read this column on the brink of Easter. If you have kids, you’ll be boiling eggs and dying or decorating eggs for Easter baskets.  You’d think everybody knows how to make a perfectly boiled egg, but no! My son Steve, after many tries, still has not quite grasped the technique of cooking and cooling an egg

“…  Her enthusiastic two-hour presentation, punctuated with dramatic readings, wry humor, and songs, traces the evolution of the love story across the centuries. The emphasis is on the evolving role of women and the emergence of feminist sensibilities.


On November 10, 1989, we were driving south on I-5. “We” were Libbie Anthony, Velvet Neifert, and me. We sang together as Women, Women and Song, and we were on our way to Corvallis, Oregon, to do a concert that night.

I’ve written about oysters as Lenten food already,but not smoked oysters. They’re good on an hors d’oevres tray just as they come from the can, presented with toothpicks for eating them.

Looky here: I grew up on a farm. There was a gun rack on the wall in the hallway outside my bedroom door. It held a .22 rifle, a .30-.30 rifle, and a single-barrel shotgun. The gun rack was always locked.

It would have been a lot easier and way cheaper just to crack open a book. There would have been the same four walls and the random insistence of poking dog noses and the cat that likes to remind you that he is there by finding a small patch of bare skin to test the sharpness of his claws on while you’re not looking. But there is also the tale of the curative catharsis that one can achieve by changing one’s regularly scheduled scenery.

When we talk about the scourge of money in politics, we are generally talking about large contributions that drown out the importance and influence of small donations.  The disproportionate share of campaign donations by the big donors has meant that, barring really significant public unrest, elected officials naturally consider their interest above ours.

The six weeks of Lent feature fasting from animal foods, but not from good eating, and not from good nutrition. A yummy pairing of grains and beans creates complete protein and a helping of magnesium in a dish to satisfy an artist’s eye.  Magnesium is a mineral that the average.


Couple of Sundays ago, midafternoon, I realized the Superbowl was on.
It was the Philadelphia Eagles vs. the New England Patriots, for those of you who live on the moon or don’t give a rat’s patootie. Many people were Eagles fans for the day. The Patriots may be loved by their own fans but are not loved much outside that demographic.

Today, February 15th, my devout readers begin their Lenten six-week fast from red meats and eggs.  Their menus will offer diners bean dishes and seafoods. No beef, lamb, bison, or pork need apply for admission to their kitchens.  Even so, gourmet meals can and will be served. Fish will also be allowed. After all, Jesus and his friends ate fish at the Last Supper.

Like many of you, I’ve tended to be fairly satisfied with our sources of electric power here in the Northwest.  After all, we live in the land of cheap and abundant renewable hydropower.  Our utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), has always encouraged us to be more efficient with our energy use:  to insulate and seal our homes and buy more efficient appliances. They also offer subsidies and rebates to do that.  At our house, we have opted for the Green Energy Purchase.

Here is a partial list of invisible illnesses: allergies, food intolerances, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain, depression, mental illness, diabetes and other blood sugar issues, digestive disorders such as IBS, colitis, and celiac disease.

On these rainy, blustery winter days, there’s no food that warms you as well as a steaming hot soup.  Son Steve and I have have warmed our souls  and bodies with fish chowder, shrimp in coconut sauce, beef stew, minestrone, lentil and vegetable soup, and chicken in various soup and sauce modes.

At the recent town hall, Congresswoman Jayapal said that, among her constituents, Vashonites were probably way ahead in addressing climate change.  It seemed to me at that point that, if that is true, then we are in big trouble.

Part one: Back in the 1970s I lived for a time in a house with some friends, one of whom was an engineer. He introduced me to the concept of natural slope by saying the house had achieved natural slope, i.e., it needed cleaning. Not that he was going to clean it. Cleaning was not men’s work.

Oysters have never been better than they are right now. Their fattening time begins in October as the weather cools off.  They go right on improving and being well worth eating until early spring.

With warmer weather and the sounds of Spring birds, my mind goes to growing food.  I recently read a great article in the Jan 12 addition of  Common Dreams (online news service) by Frances Moore Lappé called “Farming for a Small Planet.”  Lappé writes, “People yearn for alternatives to industrial agriculture, but they are worried.

I have been staring at the floor now for years, even though it has not been a pretty sight. While the collective sprawl of white pine decking came along to replace the pressboard sheets that had made up the first floor in this house just about thirty years ago,

A lot of people who had to sell their homes at a loss in the last ten years might disagree with that sentiment, but it has worked for Charlotte. She stood her ground, er, dirt, through the recession, and now her dirt is worth more than ever.

Each year, according to Brad Lemley, in his book The Secrets of Underground Medicine published in 2017, 2,00,000 people in America get the frightening diagnosis of cancer of some sort.  Despite millions of dollars spent yearly on cancer research,  and on treatments, the percentage of those cured does not rise.

In the article in The Beachcomber about housing prices on Vashon, several things seemed clear to me:  1) demand far exceeds supply, 2) properties always go to the highest bidder, 3) low and moderate incomes lose out, and 4) everybody seems to think this is an inexorable situation like the tides or the seasons.

In my previous column  I mentioned Chicken Soup for flu prevention and to ease symptoms if you already have a cold, stuffed up nose, or the flu. How do you know the difference between a cold and the flu ? With a cold you don’t have a fever; with the flu you have cold symptoms plus both a fever and aches. Both are caused by viruses.