Friday, December 29, 2006

feeling poignant

sweetly and speechlessly.
to the tune of Brett Dennen's "Nothing Lasts Forever."

photo: lights and the reflection of lights

Sunday, December 17, 2006


(title sung in 60's back-up choir falcetto)

it's Christmastime here at "the" 510.
Mackindaddy hung lights on the front porch (photo to come), and last night the two of them, he and Gyrlene, arrived home with a tree. the center room is filled with boxes in different stages of wrapped-ness (Gyrlene has little nieces, so we even have toys!), and now this tree. i haven't lived in a house with a real christmas tree since.. high school, i think. and it makes me feel grown-up, somehow. that now it's Our job to seek out the tree.
as of yet, it has a single ornament (that's when we decided it was time to get a tree ~ Gyrlene got an ornament as a gift from a co-worker), and fills the house with the smell of Tree.
Gyrlene and i (as i previously posted) love to listen to christmas music. we blast it every evening as we prepare dinner. my most recent iTunes music purchase: Motown Christmas. my favorite song from that is The Temptations' version of Rudolph. it cracks me up.

photos: Mackindaddy brings home The Tree,
the boys (Sealion in his handsome work-clothes) fix The Tree,
everybody very excited about The Tree,
the Mack and Gyrl posing with the minimalistically-decorated Tree,
how Gyrlene really feels about The Tree ~ she was moving so much i had to use flash in all the photos.. (she's so cute..)

"hey, Rudolph!"

Winter Abundance

although i do have a blog solely devoted to food, i can't help but spread the love around.

we are members of a CSA ~ Community Supported Agriculture, which means that every week we get a box of fresh-from-the-field (or orchard, etc.) produce just for us. it's like opening a gift every week, to see what delicious pretty goodies are in that wax-covered produce box. the boxes are deposited at a drop-off location for a group of us; in our case, it's in back of someone's house on 49th Street (with a little hot-dog dog who is very proud of his guard dog abilities and his powerful vocal chords. ;). the farm we receive these blessings from is called Full Belly Farm, in agriculture-rich Capay Valley.

the produce brings sunshine and bright color to our Wintertime kitchen. it's a fun challenge to use what Nature gives us every week, as opposed to just choosing whatever we feel like from the grocery. it forces us to eat with the seasons, and to use veggies that we might not otherwise choose to eat (lots of times for weeks in a row.. ;)

i have been particularly taken this week with the luscious colors and variety that is Winter.

this week i made a broth predominantly from leeks that i then used as the base of the soup that i called Winter Bounty soup; it was, indeed, bountiful, using all fresh ingredients except the tomato paste (although we still have tomatoes in our backyard! amazing!) it had: onions and garlic (of course), broccoli, carrots, fennel, kale, plus the stock that included sweet pototo, leek, turnip, green garlic, and onions and garlic.
another night i prepared this rich-colored roasted roots (and squash). so pretty. the target-looking disc with the rings is a beet called chioggia. it is bright pink-red(beet colored) and white striped when raw.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

welcome, Henry!

our extended family has grown by one gorgeous happy baby boy!!
a coupla of my favorite people, Cara and Chris, have introduced Henry Matthew to the Earth this time around.
blessings blessings blessings and kisses and love.
so happy!

and a song dedicated to Henry: "Day by Day" by Brett Dennen. sweet for sweet. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

gratitude in Wintertime

throughout the day, the gray has rained, drizzled, poured and given way to still, puddling cold.
the kitties rush in through their kittie door, exhilarated. soaked with the thrill of weather!

Wintertime has arrived in Sacramento.

the other night, we walked up the steps to the house as blustery wind threatened to carry the umbrella away, with the first downpour since.. april.
mackindaddy said, "here's winter!" with a hint of sarcasm.
and i said, "no! this is just a rainy night!" and he said, "hate to break it to ya, but ~ it's winter."

as you might recall, i am endeavoring to make peace with Winter Gray, and cold, this season. and it has arrived.
so in the spirit of gratitude, today i write you:

Things I Love About Wintertime.
now ~ this IS Sacramento. i don't really speak from experience of "real cold", as those Chicagoans pride themselves in knowing (or Massachusettonians get snowed-in from), i'm just talking about the not-sunny, wet and space-heater variety.

~~ hot tea. i loooooove hot tea. lots of different kinds. i love to curl up with my big Alice in Wonderland Cup (which could be called a bowl with a handle) and let the fragrant steam warm my face. i like to wrap my hands around the mug. and i like to take my Nalgene jug filled with hot tea anywhere i go, so that i can have hot tea, but also so that i can have that warm jug close by. :) warmie.
~~ Christmas lights. back in the day, i was proud of my anti-consumerist, anti-materialist angst about Christmastime and the accompanying mad purchasing frenzy. but i have been removed from that part of our culture for long enough now, watch a t.v., and visit a mall so rarely that i have been able to revisit and appreciate the "simpler" joys of the season. at this gray time of year when there are not that many flowers to smile at, and it gets dark so early, Christmas lights make me happy.
~~ spices. spices warm you from the inside out.
~~hot spiced cider. is my new favorite treat. Gyrlene, my new favorite housemate, and i have been simmering apple cider with mulling spices on chilly afternoons. the other day i had to go for a long run in the cold drizzle (i didn't have to, but i chose to. ;) and pretty much all through that jog, i was thinking about sipping that hot spiced cider when i got back.
~~ cozy. yup. i love having even more of an excuse to snuggle!! this is the cheesiest of all (i can see a coupla you rolling your eyes at this one) but it's the truth! pile on the warm, snuggly bodies, the blankets, the purring fur-puddles!
~~ this goes along with cozy (just like cozy goes with hot tea ~ go figure. !), but ~ soft textured clothes ~ velvet, soft (not scratchy!) sweaters, scarves, and seeing just how many different brightly-colored luxurious textures i can layer on my body in one outfit! soft warm cushy socks! nothing beats summertime around-the-house-wear for efficiency: a bikini top and skirt is all i need. but i love all the textures that just feeel sooo gooood in winter.
~~ down. this deserves a squiggly line all its own. down coats, vests, sleepingbags and comforters rock. i love how fluffy they are. and you just know that as soon as you're inside, cold is immediately non-existent. my life-time wishlist includes a down comforter.
~~ Christmas carols. it's true. and what's even more delightful than being able to have a roadtrip sing-along with mr. Sealion to Bing Crosby and the Rat Pack (complete with creative new lyrics and harmonizing!), is hearing Gyrlene belt it out to Mariah Carey's christmas album. i sware. it would make you smile, too. she sings in the shower, too. and i can't help but stop whatever i'm doing (i am usually in the kitchen when i can hear her in her shower) and just listen b/c it is so obvious that she enjoys it so damn much. makes my heart well up just thinking about it. :)
~~ i guess it must mean that i'm getting older, b/c this season as the leaves began to change, and the weather began to cool, intermittent with my feelings of panic about the sunshine going away, i felt a hint of.. relief. i am realizing that, as is true with Nature (which we are, of course, a part of), Wintertime is really a time of rest. summer carries this anxious *drive* with its long hours, vivid colors and ripening heat: do do do!!! go go go!! the sun is still up! there is more that can be done with this day!! Wintertime is a chance to rebuild, nurture, heal and restore all that was exhausted and over-used in the heat of Summertime.
[i have heard a theory that, with artificial lighting, people don't get that natural impetus to sleep long nights in the winter. it's like our bodies are in a year-round summer that has us craving even more of those high-sugar foods we have an excess of these days (b/c naturally, high-sugar foods (fruits) mainly happen in the summer ~ when we're needing their energy to do more work with more daylight). with our internal clocks chronically messed up, and craving and eating more than we need, we are depressed and overweight. there are so many theories, but this one, on its surface, makes sense to me.. ]
~~ soup.
borcht. soothing squash puree. .. carrot. . . black bean. i love soup. (i even emailed Alfalfa restaurant to ask for their Gold Coast Stew recipe. . they sent it to me! :-D)
~~ i love to snuggle under the puffy, fluffy, piled-on covers with a touch of a chill in the bedroom air surrounding me. i call the kitties in, and sooner or later they're purring warmly (~ or not. . thanks to the late night magic that the kittie-door has presented. . Kitty's favorite spot lately is hogging the pillow, or right on my chest, and Rodolfo sometimes goes for behind the knees). i like to stick an arm out and feel ~ just for an instant ~ how cold i would be if it weren't for how warm and snuggly the covers are!!
~~ Christmas ales. seems like every brewery has their own version of an intensely-flavored, high-alcohol brew that comes up through the back of my eyes, gives a pink to my cheeks and a kick to my step. i haven't had one that didn't make me happy yet. ;) Anchor's is my favorite so far this season.
~~ bread and cheese!!! thinking i was benefitting my health and happiness, i denied myself of these staple deliciousnesses (beer, too ~ believe it or not.. ) for a year. and, as you might expect, once i returned, i am passionate. Summertime is all about salads and fresh, crisp produce as raw as you can get it, but, to me ~ Wintertime foods like to be warm and soothy, and also hearty, substantial, and filling.
my favorite place to be right now is in the Ferry Building market on San Francisco's Embarcadero, at Cowgirl Creamery ~ sampling cheeses to go with warm crusty brown bread (from Acme next door!).

wow! what a list! what yummy food and drink! what warm, soothy feelings!
i can always take back these words, but this season i am realizing that: as much as i love summer ~ its warmth and sunshine and color, aspects of Wintertime living are ones i care not to do without.


Rodolfo snuggles up to the warm keyboard..
Gyrlene prepares some warmy yumness involving roasted squash.
outside the Ferry Building this saturday: mr. Sealion (playing with fire) and i, warm and spicy from the inside-out, with the sparkley bridge in the background.
Chris cozies with the fire.
mi Mami and me at cookie-bake time!! (a storied Wintertime favorite. :)
a post-jog brew (Anchor).

when they sing Jingle Bells in the car in A Christmas Story. i love the mom. she cracks me up.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


please visit my "other" blog, food-a-file, to see what's new in the kitchen.

photo: me at my mama's, with my pretty new apron she made and embroidered. :)


today i'd like to send a special shout-out across the world to that astounding outrageous incredible:

she and her hubby, Bryan, are in the army band, stationed in Iraq.
she sings in a rock-n-roll band for the troops, and rides around in helicopters, real humvees, and such.
she carries a gun and wears army fatigues and pees in a portapotty. everyday.
and the most amazing thing is that she sends frequent witty, interesting letters to friends and family which are filled with sunshine and gratitude.


i don't think she'd mind if i shared her photoblog address:
there you can see her totally rockin' out with the band.

Hannah by candlelight in our backyard.
Bryan and Hannah at Our Favorite Breakfast Place: The Fox and Goose
(taken in july when the visited, very soon to be deployed.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

letting go..

of "control"

of expectation

of . . . . . . . (fill in your blank here)

feels like diving into water that you didn't even dip your toe into beforehand.

and knowing that your body will make it up to the air in time for a breath.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


i bought a pair of rollerskates!!!
on a whim, they found me at goodwill a coupla weeks ago, $9.99.
the perfect fit, "Britney" 4 Wheelers.
it's a gorgeous day here in sunny (in the summer) sacramento, and i finally got the nerve to take em for a ride.
my friend, Tiff (who does not have an Official Blog Code Name yet ~whattaya think, Tiff?), suggested that i should wear striped socks, so of course i had to (over top the kneepads).
then once i got out there i realized i was drawing attention to my maiden voyage probably since i was.... 13. i loved rollerskating when i was a kid. i cruised around in my basement, with my girlfriends, for hours at a time (with our shirts off! what freedom!), and even had a rollerskating BIRTHDAY PARTY!! my mom made me a little purple velvet ice-scating-type skirt with a little rollerskate embroidery iron-on. so cool. so cool!
well, i didn't bite it. sacramento is.. .FLAT, and there are bike lanes on everyother street. perfect. though the yellow crunchy leaves and debris did create a more mentally-focused ride than i had envisioned; i had to keep my eyes on the street the entire time.
it sure did bring back memories ~ more than memories, just the *feeling* of Tiffie. i could remember the way i felt in my little skirt, and the way i felt at my rollerskating party, the way my booty just can't help but stick out. have you seen that .. . candy bar commercial with the business folks dressed in their suits who open up their candy bar at the business meeting and you can see under the table that they're little kids whose feet don't reach the floor (yeah yeah yeah. i am admitting to seeing some TV.. and to enjoying the advertisement of a transnational corporation.. ~it's a funny commercial, i think)? that's the way i felt. up top i was . . myself now (with a shirt on).. and down below i was wearing that purple velvety skirt with the little rollerskate embroidery.
(maybe it's a magazine ad.. not sure.. )


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the sun is always shining,
no matter how dark the clouds overhead.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

honesty: about Dad

i have such overwhelming love for my Dad, and such barriers to showing him. our communication is a stubborn negative feedback loop with overtones of polite disinterest. reminiscing on my bold open brightness in the desert seems as if it might as well be the other planet it feels like when i'm there, b/c i feel as if i have as little access to her ~ the person i am there, the person i want to be always ~ as i would access to another planet when i am around my Dad. i want courage, but most of all, i simply want to relax. i let my Dad see so little of me, with the excuse that he wouldn't understand. and the only thing that's gotten me is a Dad i haven't seen in almost a year who has barely any inkling of who his daughter is.
i could go on and on about this, and it would get me a late night and a messy keyboard. i just felt i needed to have at least enough courage to name some things out loud. be responsible for at least a little of the two way street i navigate so poorly with my papa.
how is it we can be so Huge and Full Force with our beliefs and convictions ~ until it comes to those who matter most? i admire some of you who do not have this situation in your lives. my main goal: to live love and be. the values i try to follow: that other people's shit is their shit; that how they act, and how they see me are manifestations of their own perceptions, and doesn't have to effect me unless i choose to allow it. to be as present as possible at all times. to live my highest self at every moment ~ and be compassionate to myself when that's less than i'd wish. that everyone is a divine being: either seeking to receive love, or seeking to give love. every moment is The Moment, everything else: stories.
ok. so at this moment i choose to stop chastizing myself. that's my first step.
understand that i am motivated by love. i love my Dad. the little kitten in me loves the Daddy in him. the adult (yes ~ i am an adult) Tiffanie seeks to connect with the adult Dad in unity and love. this is what we're here for. not just to talk about the weather patterns off the opposite coasts, or .. what? WHAT??



it's not lipservice. it's not me trying not to seem "weird" (how did i think i was gonna succeed at that anyway?), or simply "get through" the visit. it's not me covering up for anything b/c
i love myself.
i love my life.
i am proud of myself.
i am proud of my life.
i have nothing, truly, to hide. (as if he actually thought i was a republican! ;)
i am confident in the choices i have made.
and dammit i'm a good person!
let go.
let go.
let go.
let it go.
let it go.

let it go.

and another quote b/c we know i love those quotes:

"By letting go;
it all gets done.
The world is won
by those who let go.
But when you
try and try,
the world is
beyond winning."
~Lao Tzu

envoking the brightest light-bridge i can envision, i send it warmly to my Dad, who is probably sleeping.

from my heart to your heart.
this is all i want to say:
Dad, I love you.
Dad, I love you.

I love you, Dad.

requesting Michael.requesting Tiffanie

Once you decide to be noble, Mother Nature and Heavenly Father will treat you so. Otherwise your life will be a yo-yo: up, down, left, right, but you will be marching in place, you won’t go anywhere until you choose to be noble and act, in every moment, with love.
~Yogi Bhajan

(with deep deep gratitude, once again, to Dream Rockwell)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

requesting Michael

i went to Raphael Garden on friday to do some work, and happened upon the school's (Rudolph Steiner College, with which the Garden is associated) Michaelmas holiday celebration.
Michaelmas is a traditional Christian festival that has fallen out of popularity with the church. it is the yang to Easter's yin, and recognizes/celebrates the dark forces of death that are an integral part of the cycle of life on earth, and of the year. in the monotheistic religions, Michael (pronounced My-Ky-ell, similar to Raphael) is the angel of courage against strife. so Michaelmas was the communal celebration of bolstering up one's courage and strength against the bitter cold, darkness, and probable hunger that came with winter.
at the celebration on friday, the choir sang an a capella song of Beginnings and Renewal. then students presented a story with poetry and movement.

the story was about a village of Long Ago where the villagers were collecting the harvest of their garden and putting it by for the long winter. they were content and peaceful. one day a fierce fire-spitting dragon came from the wilderness and belched chaos throughout the village. the men banded together with their swords to protect the village by attempting to slay the dragon. despite their skill and effort, the dragon suffered not even a scrape. this struck fear and helplessness in the hearts of the villagers. then a radiant maiden walked into the center of town. she called upon Michael's angels to accompany her, and told the villagers that fear was not the way to win. she approached the dragon very mindfully, laid her hand on his head, led him out of the village and sent him on his way. the village found peace once more. in the springtime as they set to planting, they found that the dragon's scorching made their fields even more fertile than they were the previous year, and provided plenty. the villagers danced in humble thanks.

when i moved from K-Y, i promised myself that i would never ever ever again spend another february in Kentucky, with it's just-above-freezing drizzle and heavy milky thick Gray that descended on the place (and my heart), unrelenting.
for years, Gemini Cricket (the gorilla formerly known as Brer White du Rabbit) and i would celebrate the first day of march, "we made it through another february without killing ourselves!" it always felt as if i made it by the hair of my chinny chin chin.. i came to choose Sacramento as my place of residence in september. the sky was crisp and clear and blue, the sun intense, as it had been for the few summer months i had experienced here ~ nary a drop of rain. perfect!
mackindaddy warned sealion and me that a winter did happen, that it was coming, and that it was rainy. i dismissed his advice as that of pessimistic dis-rememberment. and perma-smiled my way into the winter months determined to be with my sweetie.
winter came with the vengeance of The Most Rain We've Had in a Hundred Years. the levees were in question. not only did winter engulf february, it took march, as well. it rained every (frickin) day that month. i was barely crawling when i got to spend a few days in northern baja with Woo and Milesy at the end of that month.

and now i am seeing pumpkins in the grocery, leaves skiffing crispy on the sidewalk, and Thanksgiving calendars being filled. i sat in the grass at the College and ate my lunch after the Michaelmas celebration. as i idly watched Bella browsing the pasture in front of me, my heart was stricken and my food would not go down: "what [in the WORLD] am i doing here in rainy sacramento for another winter??!!!" how is it that i CANNOT get myself away from the rain and the gray?? how is it that i promised myself YEARS ago that i would relieve myself from this bleak madness of the soul and i haven't yet?? i felt angry at myself and wondered what was wrong with me. i wanted to run and to escape.

today it dawned on me that i keep arriving here (at Gray Wintertime) because it has something to teach me that i have yet to learn. last year i acknowledged my dragon, and gave her a place of honor. i acknowledged her, but did not embrace her. i was not ready to get to know her, and she wrought her wrath like a fairytale champ. this winter, i know my place is here, in sacramento, working toward the goal that my sweet sealion and i have set to attain. may i open myself to the lesson that the Gray wants me to know?

today it is overcast, and the weatherreport has called for rain. the little icon of the cloud with its drops is definitive. everything i look at seems ponderful and i am nostalgic. i want a blanket. and i am homesick: for times, relationships, and people long passed. and for my Mommie. as we enter this season of darkness, i humbly open my hands. may i be ready for my dragon and her mischievous chaos, meet her in the center, look her in the eye, and receive with grace the blessing she wishes to bestow.

*copyrighted Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer artwork thanks to Bob Giusti.
**you can actually read what Rudolph Steiner had to say about Michaelmas here: and here:

Thursday, September 28, 2006



today i reclaim my name: it's Tiffanie.

it's spelled with a capital "T", and it's long, and was chosen and spelled by my Dad, who, i imagine, believed it to be a beautiful name, to characterize his new 10-fingers-and-10-toes Baby Daughter.
when i was a kid, i loved my name and was proud of it, and proud of its unusualness (in that time and place), and un-usual spelling.
as i grew older, i felt like that name didn't fit me. it made me think of a delicate prissy poodle. maybe it did characterize me, but this image did not resonate with me.
i always wanted a nickname, but one never stuck.
the best-sticking nickname i ever received (which i love very much), was given to me by my beloved dancing sisters at Mecca in Lexington, KY. it is tiftif. spelled that way, and pronounced alltogether, with hardly a pause inbetween the two tifs.

when i moved out to big-ol C-A, i wanted to Start Over, Everything New and Fresh. i searched for a nickname, a New Name to characterize my New Self, and i simply stuck with "tif", with a lower-case "t". i have an artful (in my opinion) way of writing it. and most people whom i have met since moving out here know me as "tif" (perhaps they don't know that it's with a lower-case "t", but it's implied, in my mind.).
then my glory-full friend MaKayLaH and i happened on a gathering of great folks at a home that is also a healing center (in San Francisco). the energy there was good and light. as MaKayLaH introduced me to the group, one man (who was very bright and smiley himself) misunderstood when she introduced me as "tif", so i explained by saying, "it's short for Tiffanie." and he said (with that big smile), "what a lovely name! it reminds me of 'Epiphany'! i think i'll go directly to the source and call you 'Epiphany'!"
and that's when i re-remembered that that's what my name means. it means that already. in the Christian tradition, Tiffanie means, "Manifestation of God." when i was a child, i liked that especially. as i grew older, and away from the Church, i didn't like that my name was a product of that religion (even though nobody knew but me.. ).
as i get to know my self more and better and deeper and gentler, as i come to be more Me everyday, i have come to understand that we are All God, and Goddess, we are, each one us, "Tiffanie" ~ manifestations of the One, that magnificent incomprehensible Light Love Energy. and as i strive to re-member my divinity, to live the mirror that i am to my fellow Divine Light Beings, i am ready to retake my name.

my name is Tiffanie.

and i am a unique, powerful, delicate and strong, sensitive beautiful and fascinating goofy silly opinionated and particular stubborn, sometimes bitchy and weepy, multi-faceted spectral shining brilliant being ~ similar to that diamond that is known by the same name (at least phonetically ;).

i'm ready:

my name is Tiffanie.

Tiffanie at sunset with Woo and Sealion at Anza Barego in the desert near San Diego.
the Goddess: while she is majestic and elegant, she also laughs and oftentimes scrunches her nose when she smiles with dear loved-ones.
soundtrack: "East to the West" by that Michael Franti, once again.

"Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality."
Wayne Dyer

Monday, September 18, 2006

the future of food: manifestation three

empowering, hopeful news!
the proposition that i told you about (in, "the future of food: take two), the one for which i, and hundreds of others, attended the hearing in the Capitol (right here in lovely, tree-lined downtown Sacramento) months ago ~ it failed!
the committee who heard it the first go-round thought it a no-brainer to proceed with this bill ~ one thinly-veiled to give CA counties no legal way to ban together against GMO infestation of their local genetic pond. however, once it got to the floor, the legislators heard so much flack from their local consituents that they were pressed to vote it down!! how about mindful rallying and democracy in action there!!

an editorial.. an invitation.. a prayer:
other recent news items relating to food are an urgent invitation:
let's reconnect with our food supply.
let's once again join faces and places with what we put in our mouths.
even as we seek to live healthier more mindful lives ~ let's wake up even more.
let's remember we are borne of this earth.
let's remember we're all connected.

book at the top of my must-read list:
_The_Omnivore's_Dilemma_, by Michael Pollan

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"There is no way to peace. Peace is the way." ~ A.J. Muste

"There is no way to peace; Peace is the Way. There is no way to happiness; Happiness is the Way. There is no way to love; Love is the Way." ~ Dan Millman

Friday, September 15, 2006


(i always thought the English pronunciation was so exotic.)

might i direct your attention to "my other blog" ("my other blog is a broomstick!" actually, it's more like a cookbook, right now. )

food-a-file =

where you can hear (read) me "talk food," post-Bauman College Natural Chef training.
i have shared a coupla recent recipes that are purdy darn tasty.

and if you follow any of the recipes, drop me a line and lemme know how you liked it, or what fun additions/changes you made! :-D

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

happy birthday, Misha!!

in whatever realm you reside,

i hope you are shakin' your booty

to music that moves ya!

thank you for your blessings.

~your sister, Tiffanie

Thursday, September 07, 2006

re entry

soundtrack: Michael Franti's "Bomb the World"

the skin from my playa-eaten fingertips, rehydrated, is peeling, painfully. i have a couple full, deep nights of sleep under my eyes, and only a few resilient specks of gold glitter. but most solidly i knew i had returned from Home when a (most likely meth-flamed) fight erupted from a car that happened to screech to a halt right in front of our house yesterday afternoon. i had been blissed-out on the front porch with Michael Franti. he still sang from my computer as i gawked in awe at the scene unfolding through the front window and called 911 for the first time in my life. "Power to the Peaceful!! Love to the Peaceful!!" i felt silly and helpless.
the night before, we had our first Family Dinner, post-burn. Mackindaddy and Gyrlene were sharing their first-timers' experiences, and Sealion and i expounded on our return trip. Mackindaddy turned to me and asked, "so what was the most amazing thing you saw out there?" the first thing i noticed about his question is that it struck me as from an outsider looking in, when i feel most-at-home there than anywhere else in my existence. it also helped me frame in my mind that: although there is much to see there, the best collection of mind-blowing, stimulating artwork in the most elegant gallery (both day and night), what effects me most in Black Rock City is not the art; it's the society. and as i have been popped out of that utopian bubble into the stratosphere, i do notice that there is a void of art (everything *could* be produced artfully, it just isn't .. would be better for the soul, for the creator and for the user-viewer, if it were). what i hurt for very deep deep down is the social interaction. i am looking around me out here and trying very hard to see the beauty in the dysphoria. where there is openness, respect, common-ground, and friendliness there, there contrasts closed-off, distrusting, sharp, and at-best-distractedness here. i look around me here and everyone seems hurting. and unable to reach out. i feel unsafe. and sad.
and so. i did not come here to complain at you, or to dwell in the muck. i came to ask what the wise and insightful Brer (newly self-named, Gemini Cricket [!!] )asked at the end of his christening week in Black Rock City: "what do i do with this?" now that we're back from the desert, de-playafying our belongings as best we can (or would), returning to our "waking lives", in the day-to-day, how do we bring the desert home? i don't want the playa to be a one-week-out-of-my-year "vacation"; there are 350 (something.. ) days left that are thirsty for that love and beauty even more.
~ all the love that happens in Black Rock City comes from the outer world. the desert does provide rugged natural beauty and love, but the society is imported. how to find it? to keep it going and growing and encouraged to bloom? and more importantly: how to SPREAD it?? the world is (literally) dying for the kind of understanding, visibility, and nurturance (is that a word?) that exists in a single drum-circle in Black Rock City. how to radiate that?
for now, i will continuing funneling concentrated doses of love through the food i prepare. *and* this weekend, my food-girlie chicas and i are meeting at Golden Gate Park to attend the Power to the Peaceful Festival (with Michael Franti himself!). ( )

that is a good start, but i am still sending out the question, and i know it comes with a hefty reply, for sure:

Dear Universe, please show me: how do i spread the love?

more and more and more glory-ful photos to come!!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

i suppose ya might wonder where i been.
well this is what i've been doing: taste-buds-deep in projects and presentations and homework for class!! dreaming food combinations and menus and measurements and those anxious dreams where i'm on stage and i wore the wrong costume!
even though i have much left to do (thanks to my natural-born citizenship in the Procrasti-Nation), the big anxious weight has been lifted as we have finished our Final Presentations. this was a cooking demo (like you see on the Food Network) for which we had to prepare a therapeutic menu for a particular nutritional need (topics were as follows: Immune-Building, Working Nights, More-Nutritious Soul-Food, Leaky-Gut Syndrome, Recovering from Anemia on a Vegetarian Diet, and mine: Building Belly Health with Fermented Foods). it was super-educational to hear everyone else's research, and so exciting to see them do their thing, and SO YUMMY to devour their creations!! each of us had to demo two dishes, and present them, as well as give a talk on our chosen topic, with the specific benefits of the foods we chose to prepare. it's funny how performance experience doesn't manage to translate into confidence when presenting to a small group of people!! oh well. about 80% of the way through, a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders as it began to sink that: I'M DONE!!! each person in turn joined the group of folks giddy-with-relief!
i feel so overwhelmingly blessed by the experience of attending this course. i knew it would be good, but i had no idea how holistically it would effect my life. and ~ i had no expectation of being with such an AWESOME group of women!! we have bonded in such a powerful way. more than a tear has been shed in anticipation of finishing up these happy 3-nights-per-week meetings.

photo: "that one lunch lady" pushes another weirdo-healthnut meal.
!!more photos!! at:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

lightning in a bottle



check out the festival my fabulous family of friends have orchestrated for this weekend!!!!

the website is worth visiting even if you can't attend!

i'll report back with stories and photos, i promise!! ;-D


(and here's an article in the Santa Barbara Independent about it: )

Friday, July 07, 2006

meet me in san fran

Ryan and Leslie, from good ol' lex-town, K-Y, spent a few days in san fran before making their way up to redwood country to pay homage to the Mighty Old Ones.
sealion and i met them at The Red Victorian on Haight, where they were staying. we strolled down to Magnolia Pub and Brewery and had beers and dinner ( ~ featuring housemade beers, and fresh, local, sustainable food).
it was grounding and comforting to see familiar faces and embrace old friends in the sea of all that is yet-new and unaccustomed in my westcoast life.
not having seen them in over a year, and their having never met sealion, it was all catch-up and get-to-know-you, but easy, like old friends are.
sealion and i had to rush off to catch BART back to the rest of our lives too soon. the lump in my throat fought hard to spring out my eyes as i turned away. Ryan is family to me.
as we were standing in front of The Red Victorian i couldn't help but play the "who'd a thought?!" game when it came to this scenario ~ who'd a thought, two years ago: that Ryan and Leslie would be meeting me and sealion in san francisco as they tour norcal. who'd a thought.

"who'd a thought?" in front of the red vic,
Ryan and Leslie, "you're going to do WHAT in mexico??"
muppets sealion and tif with Ryan and Leslie at Magnolia

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

an inconvient truth

go see it!!!!

even if you think you know what he has to say ~
go to remind yourself how important it is!!
go to vote with your dollar!!

find a theater here:
then return to that site after seeing the film to remind yourself of all the ways you can make positive change.

(and then watch The Future of Food)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

the future of food: take two

so exciting! so diverse!
you just never know where Your Favorite Tif's day will lead.
this morning i was on the farm at Raphael Garden, mucking Bella's stall with Max.
this afternoon, i was sitting in a senate hearing committee room in the state capitol.
the bill on the surface: to let the state have a uniform regulation for seed policy, "regarding the registration, labeling, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, notification of use, and actual use of seeds."
the bill underneath (and not very far underneath): to make sure that no county passes laws to say that GMO's are illegal. several counties, such as santa cruz and mendocino, had already done this. there were several polished and car-salesman-ish agri-business representatives and farmers who gave smiley speeches about "what i should be allowed to do with my private property," and even claims of how GM crops are beneficial to surrounding wildlife. a crowd of folks~~many of whom looked sun-worn and fresh-from-the-field (as were my crew ~ we did shower before we went!), scientists, mothers, students, restaurant-owners, organic gardeners and farmers, all came out in opposition of the proposal. as many as were allowed gave impassioned speeches, including Jeff (a bio-engineering PHD-turned-biodynamic farmer, and Harald ~ whose heartfelt, gentle and non-judmental address received an ovation (which was quickly hushed by crowd-control). they even sited the fact that organically grown products are the fastest growing market in the state at this time.
the committee seemed to have their minds made up before we got there with our sunburned speeches. they voted unanimously to pass the proposal, the chairwoman giving an almost-apologetic excuse-laden uneducated and faltering reproval to those of us who didn't care to step into the 21st century with its enlightened, technologically-advanced agricultural "industry." "we're all eating it already, right? it's what's on the grocery shelves. none of us has died from it yet!" hmmm. .
as we were leaving i realized that was the most fired-up hot-under-the-collar i'd been in a while. california oftentimes fits its stereotype of being liberal free-thinking and progressive. in that capitol building it just seemed like another cog in the huge conventional beaurocratic Big Money machine that supports that guy in the oval office. i remembered why i had been so discouraged after helping with the Kucinich campaign. :(
and yet, there was Harald ~ smiling and soothing ~ positive as ever, encouraged that there was even a glimmer of hope, and that someone for a moment might have listened, been educated, or interested to learn more. i think our future holds more Haralds than sour-puss tifs. . . miles from the farm, i learned much from him that afternoon.


on an as-yet undiscovered day.

i am honored to say, I Knew You When.
and so so grateful to say i know you now.


the art is in the living.
you now may lift your brush.

Friday, June 23, 2006


add another to my menagerie.
~~tif's foster home for wayward microbeasties~~
i've just adopted a kombucha mommy!!!
joanne, our chef assistant in class, brought in her pitcher of kombucha, a veritable extended family of kombucha babies and mothers just begging for a new home and some food.
the "mothers" (some people call them "mushrooms"~~but they're not; so why not just have fun and anthropomorphize? that's what i'm sayin'. ) are whitish gelatinous discs~~colonies of yeasts and bacteria~~that create what we call kombucha. you can pick one up and it holds its form. it reminds me of an alien or alien brain (of all the ones i've seen in my experience. . !).
so. i had already made a tea ~ of black tea and organic white sugar ~ and dumped a starter-bottle of live kombucha tea (with floaties) in there already.
so when i got home, i just tipped over the mason transport-jar and let the big thick mommy slide on out into the waiting tea. by morning, it was effervescing, forming mounds of tiny white bubbles on top. and it smells great. vinegary, but still sweet with unkombucha'd sugar.

it is my intention to keep you updated on the (ever-so-fascinating! i know. ;) progress of our kombucha baby via my food blog, food-a-file (i already started it! ~ ). and you know i'll take photos!

for an extensive and amusingly anecdotal article about kombucha, its origins, and health benefits go here:

the kombucha with mommy floating, bubbles bubbling.
close up.
with her breathable linen hat on, which she wears in the cool cupboard downstairs.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Raphael Garden

procrastinating homework is a great time to fill you in on my ever-distracting extra-curriculars:

i have two volunteer jobs: one at Three Stone Kitchen in Berkeley ~ a brand-new Community Supported Kitchen cooperatively run by Jessica Prentice (author of my newest most-influential book, _Full_Moon_Feast_) and a few of her Berkeley culinary cohorts (more on them when i can tell you more). it's just now up and running this week, doing a catering job everyday. it's been fun working in a restaurant-kitchen environment again, especially now that i know a little more about cooking, and get to help, instead of just bussing and waiting tables (like i did at alfalfa restaurant [in lovely lexington, ky] years ago~~wow! it HAS been years!! )

the second one is east of sac-town, at Raphael Garden~~a Biodynamic farm that is a part of Rudolph Steiner College, which borders a Waldorf School.
( ) the teacher there, Harald Hoven, is so wise, gentle, and generous with his knowledge (light-hearted, too!). it is really laid-back to work around him. i feel blessed getting to share space with him. the garden is so beautiful and feels very whole and nurturing. the apprentices who tend the garden with Harald on a full-time basis seem sincere and happy for the experience (envious, here!). compared to the rest of my commuting-busy life, the farm feels like a retreat and respite where things move much more slowly and naturally. aaahhh!

please visit the full gallery at:

Sunday, June 18, 2006

fammin' in san fran part two: fam takes NorCal

in the second and final installation of this volume of Fammin' in San Fran, we leave the City and head for the countryside of NorCal (that's Northern California, for all'a y'all Outta-Staters). we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge (continually being painted: International Orange~~ ), drove thru the dairycow-dotted hills of Petaluma, into Wine Country. we toured and we tasted we sight-saw and we got lost, and found. . . our way to Field Stone Winerey, where we picnicked on fine local cheeses and breads, dips and sauces (the BEST dipping oil i've ever tasted: Stonehouse Extra Virgin Dipping Oil), local organic strawberries and grapes, and enjoyed Field Stone's 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. the scenic route back to Sac, and dinner Chez Tif. girls-against-boys for late-night Cranium. next morning was Our Favorite Breakfast at:
the Fox and Goose~~a local English-style pub with housemade scones, and menu-items such as crumpets, Welsh Rarebit, Bangers, and free-range eggs. we did a quick tour of the State Capitol Building, and extensive tours of the succulent and rose gardens outside on the grounds. the roses~~soaking up the intense summer rays~~were SOOO incredibly brilliant and fragrant!!! each variety had its own nuanced nose-rainbow of perfume. i wanted to smell every-single rose. unfortunately, we had to hustle back to san fran to deposit them back at the hotel for their flight home. :(
this was the longest and best visit i've had with my mom in years. the last time we had a full-on vacation together was probably when i was in high school. i felt really comfortable with her and was pleased to be able to show her my happy life out here in Sunny California. this was also the first time she had ever gotten to spend any time around Sealion, and it went totally smooooth (we all know what a lady-charmer that boy is.. !). another first: Mom and i drinking together! HA! that manages to take any Edges off a possibly awkward visit with New Family. her new husband Chris is a sweety. he is very sensitive and considerate and easy-going, and treats Mom like a queen. frustratingly (and amusingly) i experienced some of my teenage Bitchy Critical-ness in Dealing with Mom's Men bucking hard to rear its head. i hope i didn't make it too rough on the poor guy!! his daughter~~my new step-sister~~Becca, is a trip!! she is full of spice and spunk and independence. she loves to try new things and do things on her own, and at the same time is always tending to everyone to make sure they're taken care of. i really enjoyed getting to know her.
i was sad to see them go.

photos here:
the griswolds do NorCal,
Roses at the Capitol ~ so bright! so fragrant!
Mom strikes a pose,
fammin' at home,
Sonoma picnic

please peruse the gallery, "fun for the whole family!" at: