Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Welcome to the coffee party. I am glad you have the time to drop in for a cup of coffee, tea, or good cheer. If we were having coffee today I would invite you to stay for a while to tell me what is up in your life. We have a very festive table set for your visit today. I just whipped up some cranberry rhubarb sauce, and am sipping on my new favorite tea, roiboos lemon cloud. In the back yard I am grilling up eggplants and a very large batch of green chiles I picked up at the produce bonanza this morning. The selection this week ( We get 60 pounds of produce for $10) was small, but the quality very high. Nothing says Christmas in Tucson like perfect green chile, so I filled the box to the brim. We brought home watermelons, green peppers and eggplant too. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to use/ and or give away all the fresh vegetables before they rot. There will be sour cream enchiladas, chiles rellenos, and some chilaquiles later today. Stick around if you like Mexican food. I made great tomatillo/jalapeño salsa last week that is outstanding. We like it spicy around here.
If you are not fond of Mexican food we have great leftovers from an impromptu party we threw this week. I made an English Christmas Pudding, which created discussion, which in turn lead to a weeknight party with great old friends. One of our guests lives close enough to walk over, and has vast experience with pudding like this. His family has a traditional holiday pudding called a puzzle pudding, which they inherited from their ancestors in Wales. I made one with apples and rum raisins, and served it with great quantities of whipped cream. We partied on homemade spinach artichoke dip, crudités, olives, and cheese fondue while sipping hot spiced cider. It was perfect for our low key style. We had a great time catching up with our friends, and the effort was minimal.
As we head into the darkest days of the year I am going extra dark next week. I have an appointment to receive a light treatment at my dermatologist’s office that is kind of tedious. It requires that I stay at the office for about 2 hours, which is not so severe. After the treatment I must avoid light of all kinds for about 3 days to ensure proper healing. It is even contraindicated to sit by a window inside the house. I have rolling shutters downstairs, so I can effectively create a black out inside. While the rest of the world rolls by I will spend three days 18-21 December in total darkness binging on television and hopefully doing some writing and art. I may do some cooking, but am feeling kind of finished with holiday meal preparation. I am accentuating the winter solstice for full effect. I have candles, essential oils, and fancy red robe to dress up like Mrs. Santa Claus. I will be going into deep cover. I hope to emerge refreshed and ready for a brand new year. I wish you all a happy Saturnalia.
I appreciate the chance to share coffee and more with this group of talented writers. Stop by Diana’s blog to read, comment, or post your own coffee stories. The group is welcoming and intelligent. We welcome your point of view.
I was lucky to find a perfect celebration for my birthday this year. I just discovered my local beer garden, Tucson Hop Shop. I am not a big beer drinker but am enthusiastic about supporting local business and local craft products, including beer. This classy yet casual spot is perfect for our neighborhood, located in the Metal Arts Village, a space for metal artists’ studios. The Hop Shop has developed a following and has instigated new events that bring the community together for fun. My big birthday gift this year (besides Medicare) is a visit from two Swiss ladies on vacation. I have been enjoying showing them around town because they are really open to culture and ready to party. The SyncHOPation event not only happened on my birthday but was walking distance from home.
Spiritual Gangster is a team that teaches yoga classes around the city in pop up locations. I have never seen yoga with a DJ before, and now I am a complete fan of the idea. I have taught and taken plenty of yoga classes, with and without music. To have a creative DJ work the class is another level of wonderment. The other aspect of the pop up that can be very popular is beer. The participants in the class at the Hop Shop were presented with a pint of beer when they turned in their class tickets. The $5 fee for both yoga and beer is a screaming deal.
My visitors and I had a fine time meeting people, drinking beer and dancing. The art studios were open, the parking lot was blocked off for the event, and the crowd was in a very good mood. Pizza and popcorn food trucks were serving delicious snacks. We enjoyed both with our beverages. My friend Steffi took the yoga class while Pia and I watched from a table on the patio. We toured the studios, did some dancing to the DJ, then walked home. There could not have been a better way to celebrate. If you like beer I highly recommend a visit to the Tucson Hop Shop. It is the perfect place for a party.
The Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace held a fine dinner party in the garden yesterday. Our historic Mission Garden has been rebuilt in the original site close to the Santa Cruz River. The agricultural heritage of the location is ancient. The garden is being developed as a living museum preserving original species grown by the Spanish colonial conquistadors who built the San Augustin Mission. The orchard of stone fruits, citrus, quince and figs is growing strong and bearing fruit. Gardens of okra, corn, chiles and other native crops thrive within the walls of the preserved site.
Local chefs were invited to create specialties for the Farm to Table event. We were excited to taste the food and also to get to tour the gardens. Musicians were hired to play throughout the space, which added an artistic note to the already splendid surroundings. The city councilwoman from that ward spoke briefly about the importance of agricultural history and her own family’s collection of historic recipes. All the food was over the top creative and fresh. My partner Bob enjoyed the grass fed beef and the buffalo chile, but most of the dishes served were vegetarian. Drinks were served with dinner, but for an extra fee we enjoyed a specialty beer brewed from organic wheat grown from preserved species. The beer tasted fantastic, and sold out quickly.
The event was a success for all involved. The chefs, no doubt, won some new fans with their creative concoctions. The garden certainly is a place we will plan to visit again in the future. In fact we may go to the quince festival next weekend at which we would have chance to win a special antique Spanish heirloom variety quince tree. The quince crop is ripe and abundant in the orchard, looking very pretty. The beauty and history preserved in this spot is a great asset to the city, and will only improve with time.
There are not many stores that cater to sewing today because there are very few people who know how to sew. I always enjoyed the selection process as well as the craft and fitting. Now I feel like a kind of special agent of fashion because I know how to sew. You do reap what you sew. You also wear what you sew. It can be the best way to truly express unique fashion choices. I like to wear something that nobody else has, or even has seen. I also have a funny commemorative way of dressing that harkens back to days when I did long trips all over the place. I would assemble my trip wardrobe with great care and anticipation, thinking about weather and activities. Time permitting I would sew something for the trip that would make a debut on the road. I liked to associate certain clothing with certain places where I thought they looked their best. I no longer globe trot at such a pace, nor do I plan so many back to back obligations when I travel now. My wardrobe is casual like it is at home, with few exceptions.
Last year when I attended a reunion party at my old junior high I sewed a special skirt in honor of the home economics teacher who gave me a D on my apron in seventh grade. She was not in attendance, but I had something to prove when I went on a tour of my old school with my old classmates. The skirt turned out okay and I had my triumphant secret moment in the hallway where Mrs. G had been the hall monitor daily. I swished right by her imaginary self and let her know that I could sew. This year when I attended a reunion party in Austin with a group who lived in Venezuela in the 1960’s I made a signature pair of pants. I found some fabric with little skeleton cards portraying Day of the Dead figures. Tucson has a very big celebration of this holiday each year, so I decided to make a pair of pants as a conversation piece about my home town. The pants are fine, and on the first day in Texas I found a tee shirt that matched perfectly and had a purple longhorn, too. I was stylin’ and not too hot since the pants were loose fitting cotton. I received many compliments on them during my visit, and then wore them to the Venezuela reunion party. It was National Dance Day and I was ready. Here I am singing and dancing in my fancy pants, which I will forever associate with this party. While I don’t think it would be good to try to have your clothes match everything you do, sometimes it is fun. That is why I sew.
My friend Steffi Burger is one of my German teachers. She was actually born in Germany but will soon join the Swiss club, the most exclusive and hard to join club in the world. She has lived there for about 20 years I think, and fully knows Switzadootch. She will never be able to speak like a real Swiss because she uses German as it was learned in Stuttgart, and will not be able to hide that ever.I am in a category of Swiss speaking much worse than Steffi. I do not speak or read hochdeutch, based on my theory that it has nothing to do with the language and culture of Switzerland. I have tried to learn this very funny and dialectic local code by absorbing it. Results vary. Sometimes I can read stuff and discover the meaning, and others I am totally off course when I read. They capitalize all nouns, which I joke about and have never found to be all that helpful. This is why….the noun is likely to be an entire paragraph. They just love to combine words in their language. I often really like them just for the way they sound. My new favorite word in German is weltuntergang. It is giving me flashbacks to the very first things I learned to say. My friend Beth and I learned a phrase from Ursula of Berlin, the most fashionable woman we had ever met. She taught us to say, ” Let’s be friends. The world is a village.”( Luts uns freude sein. die welt ist ein dorf ) It was my only full concept so I used it in response to everything and everyone. I knew some nouns and the verbs to ice skate and to ride a bicycle. But if the nouns I knew neither ice skated nor had a bicycle I had no way to make any coherent sense with my vocabulary. Welt, or world was in my initial lesson. Now the welt is going under in a single word. Wow, so much as happened, but one thing that has not happened is my magical acquisition of German or Swiss languages by osmosis.
I asked Steffi about parties in Langweiss or Zurich to celebrate the end of the world. She said this had not caught on as a festivity. It is sometimes hard to explain humor when the cultural background is missing. It is complicated to tell someone that the end of the world pot luck party you are excited to attend is to mock the people who are actually afraid of the end of the world. Gives new meaning to you had to be there. I spent the summer of the World Cup partying with the Swiss when the event was in held Germany. I could never convey to an American how the Euros feel about soccer. You truly have to be there to see what they do. Same with Fastnacht, it is inexplicable to people outside the culture. There are intense reasons to celebrate that are generational and not yours if you are born elsewhere. So the Swiss really do Advent, and appear to be skipping the idea of weltuntergang celebrations. I hope the world will not end before I get the chance to go back to Switzerland to party Swiss style. Stay neutral, my friends.
New Mexico celebrates 12 Dec
The village of Tortugas near Las Cruces, NM takes the 12 December very seriously. The fiesta and pilgrimage to the Virgin of Guadalupe is the main event of the year in the town close to the border. The Piro and Tigua traditions are honored in this village.