Thursday, May 29, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Just look at all of the tomato plants!! I already have romas on the vine. My cukes are doing well, as is my rhubarb. Oh boy..I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

TB or not TB? That is the question.

[pic taken on vacation..2004. Milkshake in a bag!]

My son, Jeremy, is a prison inmate at CCC Susanville. He was recently transferred there, from High Desert across the way, to begin Fire Camp. He was very excited to begin this training. Well, he was. Now, not so much. Apparently he contracted TB while at High Desert within the past few months. They tested him when he went in and just re-tested, at CCC, to make sure he could go to Fire Camp. So, no Fire Camp.

BTW, my son is in prison for a non-violent alcohol related parole violation. You aren't supposed to drink when you are on parole. He got 3 years for that. Now, he'll be on TB meds for the next year or so...hopefully anyway. He's looking at another transfer...not sure where he'll go. Apparently, there is a wide-spread outbreak in the prison system. That'll happen when you stuff 500 people into a shoe box...when one sneezes or coughs, someone else is sure to breathe it in.
If anyone feels like writing to him, I'll share his address. He lives for mail and is certainly catching up on his reading..which he loves to do. He says it is very loud where he is, so he wears ear-plugs constantly.

Can Technology Fix California Prison Health Care? part article– Kim S. Nash, CIO

April 11, 2008

Four years ago at San Quentin, the 156-year-old prison where the state of California keeps some of its most dangerous criminals, doctors saw an inmate for high blood pressure, diabetes and renal failure. The inmate got two drugs that, according to court documents, made his kidney problems worse. His blood pressure climbed so high his eyes bled. Yet a year passed before prison medical staff referred the inmate to a kidney specialist at a local hospital. He never got to go—the records are unclear about why—and he died three months later.

If only, as on the outside, there had been a database to alert prison doctors of drug interactions. If only there had been software to schedule appointments. If only there had been basic Internet access, e-mail and electronic data about patients, so that prison medical staff could share information. That patient might have lived.

More than 170,000 inmates crowd California's 33 state prisons. That's about as many people as live in Tempe, Ariz., and it's more than double the number the prisons were built to hold. Inside those bars, one inmate dies every six to seven days because of "deplorable" medical care, according to U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson. In 2001, 10 inmates at nine prisons, including San Quentin, accused the state of violating the Eighth Amendment with medicine that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. In 2002, Henderson agreed with the inmates, pronouncing California's prison healthcare system unconstitutional.

The state settled the case, agreeing to fix the problems. But by mid-2005, after six days of hearings, Henderson concluded the state had made no progress. He seized control, appointing a receiver—a federal overseer—to hire new people, change processes and install basic information technology found even in small rural hospitals in the United States. The aim of the receivership (officially the California Prison Health Care Receivership) isn't to offer criminals state-of-the-art health care. It's to do no harm.

An "unconscionable degree of suffering and death is sure to continue if the system is not dramatically overhauled," he wrote, explaining his decision. The decision and other court material relay story after story of how inmates didn't get the right medications on time. Or they didn't see specialists when they should have. Or they were treated by incompetent doctors whose personnel records didn't document their failings. Or no one knew the inmate was sick because his medical record was wrong. Or lost.

Today, after three more years, the system still falls short of constitutional standards. Some improvements have been made—nurses added, some doctors replaced; some software installed to, for example, track pharmaceuticals at some prisons. But there's a lot to overcome.

For years, in some cases, for decades, several prisons lacked working phones for the medical staff. Others relied on antique Brother typewriters to fill in forms and leaky, lightless trailers in which to store them. Prison employees soaked printer ribbons in ink by hand because the dot-matrix printers were so old that manufacturers no longer made replacement parts. While the prison healthcare budget had grown from $556 million in 2000 to $1.6 billion last year, most of the money went to staff and medical supplies, not to infrastructure or technology that could have made operations more efficient. "Data management, which is essential to managing a large healthcare system safely and efficiently, is practically nonexistent," Henderson wrote. "This makes even mediocre medical care impossible."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

So I could BBQ it! Grilldave has taught me well.
I love Newman's Own Mesquite and Lime Marinade.
Tangy, spicey, and no High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

I believe I was Asian in a former life..or something. This is my favorite type of breakfast.
Udon noodles cooked in a broth of mushrooms, leeks, soyu, and dashi. Add 2 fresh eggs while broth is super hot. Add some leftover meat or fish if you have it...or some spinach, basil. A tsp of Sambal Oelek (best chili paste) after you put it in a bowl..and some fresh squeezed lime. Poke the egg yolks and enjoy. It was delicious.

Food & Beverages without High Fructose Corn Syrup

This is a list I found on Chowhound of things that do NOT contain HFCS. They have outlawed the crap in Europe. I don't know why we can't do the same in the USA.

Amana Multi Grain Bread
Aunt Millie’s Old Fashioned Butter-Top Wheat
Brownberry’s Arnold Natural Health Nut Bread
Country Hearth 12-Grain Bread
Earth Grains 100% Natural 7-Grain Bread
Milton’s Bread (most, if not all)
Natures Own 100% Whole Wheat bread (note, other varieties do contain HFCS, but not this one)
Oroweat Mult-Grain Bread (but watch out for HFCS in their other varietes)
Martin’s Breads & Rolls (including hot dog buns/rolls and such)
Pepperidge Farms 100% Natural Breads
Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain Wheat Bread
Rudi’s Organic Bakery Buns
Vermont Bread Company breads

Giant brand Instant Oatmeal - most flavors
Kashi (most, if not all)
Life ceral (regular and cinnamon)
Nature’s Pride Organic (most, if not all, varieties)
Kellogg’s Reduced Sugar Froot Loops
Trader Joe’s Graham Bites Cereal

Annie’s Naturals Organic Ketchup
Annie’s Naturals Organic Honey Mustard
Annie’s Naturals Smokey Maple BBQ Sauce
Cascadian Farms Sweet Pickle Relish
Frenchs Honey Dijon Mustard (I don’t think most regular mustard contains hfcs, but a lot of the “honey” mustard does, which is why I’m listing some honey mustards here that don’t.)
Frontera BBQ (Barbecue) Sauce
Gates BBQ Sauce (a barbecue sauce mainly found in the Kansas City area)
Heinz Organic Ketchup
Hellman’s Mayonaise
Meijer Organic Sweet Relish
Nature’s Best Organic Tomato Ketchup
Vlasic Sweet Gherkins
Woeber Sweet And Spicy Mustard
Consorzio Bbq Sauce Organic Original
Trader Joe’s Hot and Sweet Mustard

Dare Vinta Crackers
Milton’s (most, if not all)
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish

Acadia Naturals Tuscan Grill Marinade
Consorzio Brand Marinades

Jif Peanut Butter
Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter
Trader Joe’s brand Creamy, Unsalted Peanut Butter

Annie’s Naturals Goddess Dressing
Annie’s Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
Blanchard & Blanchard (Country Italian & Caeser Parmesan)
Brianna’s Blush Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Drew’s Salad Dressings
Olde Cape Cod Traditional Caeser Lite

Ben & Jerry’s (most, if not all, varieties, but watch for the kinds that add bits of candy bars and cookies)
Breyer’s All Natural Ice Cream
Dreyers/Edys Strawberry Fruit Ice Cream Bars
Haagen Dazs Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Bars
Breyers Pure Fruit Strawberry Fruit Bars
Stoneyfield Farms

Archway’s Molasses Cookies
Destrooper Almond Thins Cookie
Destrooper Butter Crisp Cookies
Keebler Pecan Sandies Cookies
Keebler Simply Sandies Cookies
Lu Le Petit Beurre Cookies
Lu Scottish Recipe Shortbread
Mi-Del Snaps Ginger
Nature’s Best Chocolate Sandwich Creme Cookies
Newmans Wheat Free Fig Newton Cookies
Newmans Own Ginger Os Ginger N Creme Cookies
NewmanS Own Alphabet Cookies
Pepperidge Farms Butter Chessman Cookies
Pepperidge Farm 100% Natural Varieties

Cadbury - Most Varieties
Hershey’s Symphony
Hershey’s 100 Calorie Wafer Bar
Hershey Skor Candy Bar
Hershey Special Dark Candy Bar
Dove - Most varieties

Bonne Maman Preserves
Hero Jams & Jellies
Smuckers Organic Strawberry Preserves
St Dalfour Preserves
Trader Joe’s Reduced Sugar Organic Strawberry Preserves

Pretty much any actual maple syrup is devoid of hfcs - most “pancake syrup” does not even have any maple syrup in it and is pretty much all sweetener and water and “stuff”
Classico (Most varieties)

Bawls Guarana Soda (most varieties)
Boylan’s Sodas
Cheerwine (the glass bottle varieties)
Jones Pure Cane Soda
Goose Island
Dublin Dr. Pepper (Dr. Pepper from a bottling plant in Dublin, Texas)
Nantucket Nectars
Virgil’s Sodas (the cream, cherry and root beer varieties)

Glaceau Vitamin Waters

Bolthouse Farms C-Boost Smoothie
Bolthouse Farms Vegetable Juice
Capri Sun ALL NATURAL 100% Juice
Horizon Flavored Milks (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry)
Ocean Spray Grapefruit Juice
Ovaltine (dry chocolate drink mix)
Simply Juice (orange, limeade, and lemonade)
Sweet Leaf Tea

Brown Cow
Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurt
Dannon All Natural Coffee Yogurt
Dannon Lite & Fit Vanilla Yogurt
Great Value Light Nonfat Yogurt (most varieties, if not all)
Horizon Organic Fat Free Yogurt
Nancys Reduced Fat Plain
Nancy’s Whole Milk Honey Yogurt
Stoneyfield Farm Yogurt
Stoneyfield Farm Yobaby Yogurt

Nature Valley Oats & Honey flavor granola bars
Cool Whip Sugar Free

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Well, I cut up the leftover Buccaneer Chicken from the potluck (no skin), boiled some pasta, heated some butter, garlic, leftover broccoli, and scallions in a sauce pan...tossed it all together and threw some good Parmesan cheese on top...tossed again and there ya go. Healthy too, except for the butter. Should've used olive oil instead.

We were happy..and Stella sat and looked out the back patio door. It was nice. Now I get to watch Top Chef...Tony Bourdain is on it tonight.

Our Cat Stella is JUST FINE Today!?

She must have seen the cat carrier sitting in the kitchen. She doesn't like to go to the vet.

She is running around, drinking water, eating, using the litter box. It's a damned miracle.

It must've been something she ate. I've cancelled the appt. with the vet. Here I thought I'd be putting her down this morning. She had other plans. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our cat Stella is very sick

She began throwing up 2 days ago..on and off. She went to the hospital and got medicine. Today, she won't eat, and won't use the litter box. She is hiding in the my canning pot. She is 12. I take her back in tomorrow. I think she'll be gone. I feel so sad..and I am reminded of my mom and her last days. This time, I am not in denial. We love Stella so much...our favorite water cat.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our Journey to Shankari's Indian Potluck Party

This brine smells wonderful...I want to bathe in it. So we made the brine and marinated tons of organic chicken in two big batches for about 20 hours. Must have lots of room in your frig! Thankfully, we have a backup fridge in the garage for just such purposes as brining/marinating, etc. This recipe has many of the same spices used in Indian cooking...well, the Rum might not be an Indian recipe staple.
Dave spent most of Saturday BBQing and smoking the chicken. Usually we use sugar cane for the smoke, but none to be found this early in the he used apple chips.
Steven Raichlen, the author of Barbecue Bible and this recipe for Bucanner Chicken, gave me permission to use the recipe and the picture of his book on my site. He emailed me back!
This chicken is sweet, spicy, moist, and tender. My next post will be about the potluck Shankari hosted, where we took the chicken. I have never taken one of her cooking classes..but I plan to.

The Indian Potluck at Raj and Shankari's

Shankari looks proud as she surveys the table loaded with food that she taught everyone to make. It was all delicious but I gotta say, Eileen has that Pani Puri down!! I want a franchise...and I do believe they are as addictive as crack must be. I wouldn't know.
Like I said, I will be taking a class from her..and I cannot wait. Her website lists her class schedule plus she and Eileen both have better descriptions of the food served.

The entire gang..afterward. I took this photo.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dave Loves This... Favorite Breakfast

"Eggs Benedict" with gorganzola/hollandaise sauce..and fried onions and potato..with basil. We love the fresh spinach and tomato under the egg..on top of a crisp English muffin.

We listened to 'Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me' [NPR] as we dined.

A perfect kinda Sunday morning.

we did manage to grab Stan before he munched down. cats love eggs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Shower Curtain Inspires Menu

So Dave and I found this "vacation" shower curtain at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Well, he found it and exclaimed, "isn't this the tackiest shower curtain you've ever seen? I love it." At which point I agreed, we bought it and the accessories that matched. We still want to find a pink flamingo so we can stick it in a bucket of go in the corner. It is our summer look. We also bought beach towels, flip flops, and snorkel gear to put in the front bath. The salesperson who sold us this stuff said, "why not just let him buy a Tiki bar for the patio?" Little does she know that my husband already has 5 large ticki torches attached to the back fence and a wonderful misting system for those hot summer days. Well, anyway...this summer decorating made us think of Whole Roasted Suckling Pig! Taylor's Market will order one for us.

We have decided that we will make a pit and roast an entire suckling pig this summer. Maybe we'll do it on the 4th of July..and have a pig party that evening. Won't that be fun? We'll take ideas for side don't be shy. If you want to be invited...just say so. Aloha baby!

[I took the top pic when I was in Utila a few years's an Island off of Honduras. My beach rental was a few feet from this scene. I was invited to join some locals for their BBQ..and this guy put his cutting board on that tree and hacked up a chicken with that machete. They cut up plantains as well..and fried them over an open fire..along with the chicken. It was really a "beach fry"..and was muy delicioso]

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Tried Not to Laugh

We were invited to the Elks Club (on Riverside) by my dear in-laws. Hannibal's was catering the mother's day brunch. We sat with our neighbors, Tony and Nancy.

Turns out, they had "a service" prior to the brunch. We all had to sit facing the huge King and Queen chairs up front..oh, and the huge antlers on a table. These people were dressed like waiters..but turns out they were the grand poopas and poomas of the Elks Club. There was an old guy up on the stage, all alone,..who would play the organ as if to punctuate the speakers words. I got the giggles about the time master dragon guy read an essay about how mom's are "silver-haired martyrs whose lot in life is to protect their children"..and then the organist began to play..wait for it...... lullaby baby. I tried to hold it know, where you cover your mouth but your shoulders shake really hard. My mother-in law sent a note to me and it said, "shut up..have a little respect for this silver-haired martyr". I looked over at her...she had her hanky over her mouth, her eyes were crinkled up with laughter..and were beginning to spill over with tears. It was a great moment..and I am saving the note!

I must say that I began to snort, chortle, and which point I excused myself and went rapidly to the bathroom. I'd looked over at Dave and his eyes were like slits..the organ sounding like soap opera music of yesteryear...the never-ending essay about mothers (none of which I could relate to). Tears were streaming down my face as I ran for cover...that's where the laughter goes when it can't come out. A few people in the hallway looked at me, saw my tears, and probably thought I was crying...but maybe not. They WERE in the hallway.

I found my soul-mate in the restroom. There she was, sitting there on the couch...tears streaming down her face. I I laughed, "you couldn't take it anymore either?" She said, "my mom died recently and this service is more somber than her funeral was. I wanted to put those antlers on my head and start dancing in circles". An older lady came out of a stall (she was one of those silver-haired moms) and stood there laughing with us.. as we all blotted our mascara, which was smeared at this point. We waited until we thought it was safe, and then made our exit. We entered the banquet room just as everyone was sitting down for brunch. My MIL and I looked at each other and started laughing again. What a great way to spend the morning!

PS. I just talked to my brother, who reminded me of this Elks Story where he single-handedly got the rules changed with regard to the "11th Hour" prayer and non-members.

He works for the same newspaper he did back then..30 years ago. His paper rented the Elks for some event so they were there when that prayer was said. Back then, my bro used to smoke a little weed with his beer. Apparently a grand dragon Elk poopa stood in front of (and slightly under) a huge pair of Elk antlers and rang the chimes. To John, it looked like the antlers were coming out of this guys head. Well, he tried to hold in the gufaws, but his stomach was shaking and hitting the lady in front of him..who was seated. She began to snicker. The snickers spread like wildfire. They were all kicked out and no one, except members, could attend the Elks club for the next three years...and only members (to this day) may attend the 11th hour prayer. Apparently his boss had to write a public letter of apology to the local Elks Club.

John and I are funny that way...
I peed my pants in Miss Boliches class (1st grade) and he had done it in the same class..two years before me. We enjoy making lasting impressions and long-term policy changes. From then on, if a kid raised her/his hand to go to the restroom...they could go, no need to wait for recess.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Handlebar Mustache Lookin Good

I decided to randomly choose a pic from my file and write something. This is the one that popped up. They are only had no clue. Gee, two cat pics in a row.
Simon was 12 or 13 in February. He's our oldest and dumbest cat. He's also our most loving cat. He eats, likes to sleep between Dave and I, and loves dorito chips...white corn type. He doesn't get them often. He also appreciates pinto beans ...and a taste of any kind of ice cream once in a blue moon. He rolls his own joints. That's just the kind of cat he is.
He sends his deepest sympathy to Upsies mom...who lost Ups about 5 weeks ago. He hasn't kept up with his reading like he should so he didn't know right away. He'll miss reading about Upsies adventures. One day they'll meet, I am sure.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Contribution to Cinco de Mayo

I was tired. I had some elbow macaroni that I under-cooked, had left-over ground meat from taco night, made some cheese sauce with onions and cayenne, added some chipotle peppers and some "rotel"....threw some jalapenos on the top...baked it for a bit... and called it a celebration. It was very, very comforting.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Eating Laosy Food

Great lunch meet-up today at Vientiane for Laos/Thai food. I give the place 4 stars! Those stuffed chicken wings are to die for, the spicey green papaya salad is perfect, the lao sausage was sublime, the squid salad was one of the best I've ever had..and I loved the presentation of everything. Dave said the Beerlao was very good too.
We met Rodney of Sacramento Food Blog and then Jenny and Robert were there, plus Dave and I. I invited one lady who was dining alone to join us, and she declined...but she sure enjoyed Roberts story about Moose Turd Pie. Speaking of dessert, we had some lovely cold mango with warm rice and a tapioca drink with green jello (yes) that was so delicious. Souk divided one into 5 little cups for us!
The spicey cucumber dipping sauce..well, that was so delicious that I drank it. Souk, the owner, gave me some to take home with me.
It's the second time Dave and I have eaten there and Jenny says she and Phil get take-out way lots. I shall be a regular there. I like their new digs too!! Very nice. The service was prompt and friendly, the place is spotless...even the bathrooms, and I took a look in the kitchen when I was coming around the corner and it was spotless too! I think this is my very favorite place to dine in Sacramento...unless I am craving a burger or Mexican food...or Italian.
Vientiane-Lao and Thai Cuisine
1001 Jefferson, Suite 500
West Sacramento 95691
Monday-Saturday, 11 am to 9 pm.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Ya Like My New Digs?

A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless (Lori Hahn), was kind enough to tell me that my former template was "blah". So I fiddled around with templates and changed it up a bit one night. She was supportive, "yeah, you did it!" and honest, "still looks like crap though".

I, being the not-good-at-all with the tech side of the blogging world, or even the non-tech side, gave Lori free-range rights at my blog. That's healthy.

So, if you love it..Lori is a goddess chick. If you don't so much...she's a clucker. I, for one, love the new look.