Tag Archives: Community

One Community: June!

 

One Community is a monthly photoblogging project where participants take pictures of their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The goal is to showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide.

I gotta tell you One Community peeps, this month, I’ve got nothing! Road, Float, Sprinkler and Oasis? Things have been busy here and I’ve barely touched my camera.

Except that I got a new phone and am pretty impressed with its camera. Sitting out on the patio yesterday, I casually aimed my new iPhone 5S and snapped these in about two seconds flat. With a little Picmonkey action, they are not half bad.

OK. So I’ve got a little bit of Oasis. That’s all I got.

The herb patch in our small courtyard garden has been hard dirt for years. In the years BM (Before Maceo), we had luscious basil, rosemary and thyme. But as soon as Maceo could toddle, he colonized that patch and made it his own personal dirt pit. And we gave up.

This year, I have to say, we have hope. We’ve planted the patch, explained to him what the herbs need to grow and how he can help, and so far, so good. Crossing fingers.

Tau grew this basil on his bedroom window sill in a teensy plastic greenhouse that I found in the Target dollar bins. This was the only seedling that survived the transplant into this pot. Maceo calls it “baby basil,” and I’m thinking it’s going to make it.

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Below is what he calls “big basil”—one of two four-inch plants we bought from the nursery. Because we love our summer pesto and caprese in this house! These are only about the size of a soccer ball now but they are growing fast.

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I have a thing for marigolds. Dave doesn’t get it, but he still humors me and lets me plant them along the border of the herb garden.

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And finally, below you can see our first baby step into the world of veggies: tomatoes! Actually, not true. I tried to plant some South-African gem squash a few years back, and they worked their way up the trellis beautifully and flowered but never fertilized. Boo!

I think I picked up this tomato rocket at Target also. The kids have been excited to watch it sprout and grow. They will be beside themselves if it actually bears tomatoes. But will they eat them?! Stay tuned for the next exciting installment! Da-da-da-dum!

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’til next month peeps!

Click the link below to read more One Community posts and join us!

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!

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One Community: May!

 

One Community is a monthly photoblogging project where participants take pictures of their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The goal is to showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide.

I got to pick the words for this month’s One Community challenge and then had a challenge finding pictures for them! Five, Mother, Recipe and Remember

Five, or as we say here in California, cinco … de Mayo! Mayo also being the fifth month of the year. See what I did there?

Tau came home with this fabulous Cinco de Mayo chicken painting. Understand that art is not Tau’s thing, so I consider any art from him fabulous. For bonus points, he wrote the title of the picture and his name at the bottom of the painting in cursive, his other least favorite thing to do. Mother’s Day came a little early for me!

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Mother: One Community peeps, many of you are new here, so allow me to introduce my mom Di. She passed away two years ago and this picture makes me smile. It’s just so her! So her, in fact, that we used it on the pew leaflet at her funeral service.

Four years ago, Mom and I took a three-day Mexican cruise out of San Diego. And at the port of Ensenada, we took a Mexican cooking class, with fancy margaritas and a charming, engaging local chef, and ingredients that my African mother had never seen or used, which she absolutely loved. The dish we started with was guacamole, which in my opinion should be considered a main food group.

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I can’t believe she’s gone, I miss her every day, and I love that we made guacamole together!

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Recipe and Remember: I think I’ve spoken before about feeling closer to my mom and gran when I bake and cook. The recipe that reminds me most of the two of them is the scone recipe that they both used.

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It’s pretty foolproof but the lighter your hand and the less you mess with the dough, the fluffier they turn out. The scone recipe is pretty versatile too — I’ve added raisins as shown below to get the kids to eat them, or grated cheddar when I wanted something savory.

Ready for the oven:

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The picture below is of the recipe, hand written by me into my recipe book as a teenager. The blue additions are my mom’s writing, and as you can see, this page has seen a lot of use.

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The ingredient list and method are very Mom and Gran—how much milk do you need? Meh, just enough to klits with the egg and add until the dough is right. Paint tops with left over egg? My Gran would dip three fingers in what was left in the jug and just pat-swirl the top of each scone. Perfect every time.

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‘Til next month peeps!

Click the link below to read more One Community posts and join us!

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!

On Feeding Our Neighbors

 

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If there is one thing that astounds me living in America, it’s that people go hungry, and that very few people seem to care. Did you know that 30 percent of all food ($48.3 billion worth) is thrown away each year in the United States?

All the farms, the supermarkets, the corner stores, the farmers’ markets, the restaurants and cafeterias, the dinner tables. One third of all that food is wasted. We are just not very good at getting it into the hands of people who need it.

A month or so ago, I started researching food pantries in my neighborhood to see if I could volunteer. I found only one in our area, an incorporated city of 50,000 people on the north-east outskirts of San Diego. Statistics say that one in six people in San Diego County do not have a stable food supply. By rough estimate, that means our neighborhood has one food pantry distributing groceries once a month, trying to meet the needs of a potential 9,000 people who might need it.

A few days later, I happened to be in my local Starbucks and saw an event poster for a day of service at Feeding America San Diego (FASD). So I signed up.

Quick Facts About Feeding America San Diego:

  • They distribute 23 million pounds of food annually in San Diego, serving 73,000 children, families and seniors each week.
  • FASD’s Farm2Kids, BackPack and School Pantry programs give kids basic food items plus three to five pounds of fresh produce to take home each week.
  • Their mobile pantries reach under-served communities, and FASD partners with food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters across San Diego county.
  • Every dollar donated to FASD results in six meals. SIX!

Two Saturdays ago, Tau and I joined around 600 volunteers, mostly Starbucks employees, at FASD’s Mira Mesa warehouse. We worked on a team that sorted green apples, boxing them up for distribution. Our group also stripped the slightly moldy outer leaves off about 300 heads of cabbage and crated those too. Other teams stuffed backpacks, labeled cans and measured out family-sized packets of breakfast cereal from the mega packs that FASD purchases with donated funds.

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During the three two-hour shifts organized for that day, volunteers prepared the equivalent of 31,280 meals, which will be delivered to our community. This organization is making a dent in hunger in our city, and I will definitely be volunteering again.

As for my kid, he learned in a very real way that not all children know where their next meal is coming from. He learned that food needs to be tediously hand sorted and distributed for people to eat. And he learned that both green apples (his favorite fruit) and cabbage (which he had successfully avoided up to that point) were key to our neighbors not going hungry.

God’s joke on us? That evening we got home to a meal prepared by Dave — a sumptuous one-pot pork dish with green apples and sauerkraut!

One Community: April!

 

One Community is a monthly photoblogging project where participants take pictures of their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The goal is to showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide.

Our cues this month come from Rebekah at Honeysuckle Life, and they are:  Flowers, Spring, Purple and Rise

Spring! What better way to celebrate than to go for a walk this past Saturday to our local Farmers Market with this guy. Maceo’s job was to sit back, chill and eat strawberries. He’s very good at it.

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Flowers. There is a stall at our market that sells proteas, which just happen to be the national flower of South Africa. Obviously. Would you expect anything less of South Africa? I mean, come on!

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Spring. The market positively hums with new growth — succulents, fresh flowers, organic eggs, every variety of cheese … you name it!

I bought two skeins of handmade pasta, one of which came with a recipe for creamy lemon-garlic fettuccine with asparagus. So I had to buy asparagus, right? 

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Purple. The beets and their shocking purple! Beetroot always reminds me of my mom, would would steam and pickle large batches of it, and savor eating every slice. I’m not the biggest fan of beets, but they make me smile whenever I see them.

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Rise. There is a woman at the market who specializes in French breads and pastries. There is always a swarm of customers around her stall, waiting to buy.

And oy! The BUTTER! And the CUSTARD! And the SUGAR! All of it, light and poufy fresh, fresh, fresh!

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Maceo and I came home, stroller laden with goodies. All good!

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Click the link below to read more One Community posts and join us!

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!

One Community: March!

 

One Community is a monthly photoblogging project where participants take pictures of their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide.

Our cues this month come from Sarah at Beauty School Dropout, and they are:  Shower, Calm, Green and Friendship

Here goes!

Shower. We haven’t had rain in San Diego in — pfft! — 300 days or something crazy?! Then this past week, it rained on and off for four days. It may as well have stormed for a month, punctuated by tornadoes, an avalanche and perhaps an earthquake or two.

San Diegans have a hard time with weather and with rain in particular for some reason. Local TV stations refer to coming showers as thunderstorms, even when there is no thunder, and a friend told me last week that we were due to have the worst weather in recent history for the region.

I got nervous for a moment until I remembered the night of torrential downpour, thunder and lightning that Dave, three-month-old Tau and I survived in Africa — a storm so fierce and unrelenting that rangers at the game lodge we were visiting had to drive us back to our rondawel through the mud in a big-wheel jeep, and even then it was touch and go.  I decided that the killer storm of San Diego 2014 probably wouldn’t be that bad.

This picture was taken through our dining room window Sunday. A steady but light rain, three days of it and, ahem, we survived!

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Calm. Meet my new friend Shimi, that’s short for Sashimi. He sits on my desk at work and is charged with keeping me chilled and focused on the bigger things in life.

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Green. Here is my little one, Maceo, watching the rain make puddles Sunday morning outside our bedroom window. He took every opportunity to slip outside and ride his push bike through the wet on our patio. He also took great pleasure in putting on his swim goggles and dunking his face in the deepest puddles.

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Friendship. This past weekend was my birthday! And throughout the week I got small parcels from friends. Lovely books and fabric from Kelli, and this fun naked mail from my friend Joslin. She knows I love me some Dark Chocolate Raisinets!

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Click the link below to read more One Community posts and join us!

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!

One Community: February!

One Community is a monthly photoblogging project where participants take pictures of their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide.

Our cues this month come from Africankelli: Heirloom, Style, Heart and Warmth

Heirloom. I have my mother and maternal grandmother’s engagement and wedding rings. I also have my great-aunty Boo’s string of pearls, and a very solid silver filigree clip bracelet that belonged, I believe, to my great grandmother.

But do you know what my most valuable heirlooms are? My granny’s biscuit-colored mixing bowl, and the yellowed bone-handled knife and battered spatula that my mother always used when she made scones and cupcakes. When I cook or bake I feel as close as I possibly can to Mom and Granny Sylvia. They’ve both passed away in the last five years, and using their tools is one of the best ways I know to spend time with them.

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Style. Our home is not filled with a whole lotta fancy. It’s small, so we try to keep it simple and uncluttered. And we tend not to decorate with store-bought stuff — pretty much all the decor in our home is personal and holds meaning.

This little glass bird, for example, belonged to my dad’s mom, my Granny Grace. It was given to her by my grandfather after a trip he made to France, likely in the 1940s. It’s beautiful when the sunlight catches it on my bedroom window sill, and its delicacy reminds me so much of her.

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This vintage map of the Natal coastline hangs on our dining room wall, a reminder of where Dave and I were raised in South Africa and where we met before moving to North America. The place names remind us of different trips and vacations, and I love the simple framing.

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Heart. We love San Diego. Lovelove San Diego. But if there is another place on earth where my heart truly belongs, it is my Granny Sylvia’s family home in Johannesburg, at 60 Dunottar Street, where many of my happiest childhood memories are centered.

On the bookshelves in our San Diego living room, I now have the 80-plus year old house number off the gate at Dunottar street — the low gate and fence, which were replaced with tall concrete and barbed wire as break-ins and violent crime became more prevalent in Joburg in the 1980s.

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This number plaque, and those little wooden elephants too, come to think of it, are representative, and part of the few leftovers of all the years my maternal family spent in that heart-home where my grandmother and her sisters, and my mother too, were all raised.

Below is a picture of my Granny Sylvia in her early twenties, standing between her parents outside the Dunottar street house, her sisters Yvonne and Joy to the left.

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Warmth. Any skill I have with needle and thread, I come by honestly. Heh heh. My mother, grandmothers and great aunts all sewed, knitted and crocheted well. I could do all three by the time I was eight.

When my brother and I were little, my Granny Grace crocheted granny-square blankets for the two of us, and one for each of my four cousins. My mom loved what her mother-in-law had done so much that she did the same as soon as her grandchildren came along.

This blanket is Tau’s — insert link to adorable baby-Tau waking up picture here. It is perfectly matched to the colors in his bedroom, perfectly executed, as only my mother could.

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When Maceo came along, Mom asked for swatches of the colors I was using in his room. It was her way of ensuring that our adopted babe would be wrapped in the same granny-love from the other side of the globe.

Turns out, Mom never got to finish Maceo’s blankie. Rapid-onset dementia meant that she suddenly lost not only her cognitive abilities, but also the ability to see and work with her hands. So when I traveled to be with her, shortly before she died, I made sure that I found the unfinished blanket in her closet, squares neatly organized in a box with all the right hooks and yarn, and brought it home with me to finish. It’s been two years since Mom passed, and it’s finally time for me to take the blanket pieces out the box and learn to crochet again. It’s my project for the year, and it might take me even longer. So be it. My boy will need his blanket. And my Mom will want to know that it’s done.

Click the link below to read more One Community posts and join us!

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!