While the summer rolls on as “the one when I got hit by a freight train” continues, my house is now officially headed toward a short sale. There’s no shame in it, I suppose, as I am one of the masses. However the angst of our departure in this way, is indelible on my soul.

After the process of selling all of my worldly goods on Craig’s List,  I looked around my life that used to be, and saw I was left with a pool table. A really nice one too. Never used, it was a space filler/laundry table in my home, that remained pristinely covered for years. But no one wanted it on the open market in this economy. I couldn’t GIVE it away. I LITERALLY couldn’t give it away because the charities that I called to donate it to were not able to come up with the funds to move it….

My epiphany came when my cable TV was finally turned off for non-payment, leaving me to watch foreign channels that I never dared try before! And I wandered onto a show called Barter Kings that became my Ah-ha moment, and this story.

I would barter my pool table by God!! I launched my ad on Craig’s list with a goal of getting a Nikon D-90 or better in trade, no matter how many steps it took to get there. My offers ranged from an Elvis collection of stuff, four samurai swords, a quad (which I almost went for) until I heard from a guy named Sam who was offering and array of techie items like a WI, a 16 GB Tablet, and several nice things. Part of his offer was an old school Nintendo which I would love to have had for myself!

Wendy & I met Sam in the parking lot of Cabella’s. He had good wares and Wendy had installed that bar code thing on my phone so we could look items up right there in the hot parking lot to get their value. I’ll never again figure out how to use that damn bar code thingie!

I agreed I’d like to talk deal and Sam pushed to come over to my house, follow me home actually to see the table. His insistence made me uncomfortable but I agreed. He loved the table right away, showing all of his cards. Sam then called several family members over and they all loved it. We agreed to deal…

This shit went back and forth for a good two hours. I turned him down twice, closed the door on him and yet he still returned, agreed to my terms and then demanded I find shipping THAT DAY. He began to make me uneasy so I asked him to leave while I worked on a shipper. I would let him know what I’d decided later in the day.

What was either appropriate second thoughts or a gentle nudge by an angel, I cancelled the deal via text. It wasn’t cowardly. It was the only way this guy would communicate. He was furious!! I apologized. He was LIVID!! I became matter of fact and then he threatened me with some gangsta’ speak and I never heard from him again. But that was a long night of sleeping with one eye open.

The next day… the VERY NEXT DAY, Jason texts me and says “I have your Nikon. I want your pool table.” Little music went off in my head as I read that. I texted him back right away, “then we should meet.” And we did, that very afternoon he showed up at my house. He was a very talkative young guy.  He looked over the pool table, told me the unabridged version of his life which took over an hour while he measured and knocked and speculated about things. And then said, “do you want to see your camera?” I nearly cried.

( If you’re an old reader and you have found me again, welcome!! Here I am, more uncensored than before. You also know I lost my camera in a tragic accident a bit ago. That story too, will be in the “freight train” series.)

He then proceeds to produce a camera bag. A really NICE professional and expensive camera bag. Ceremoniously, he lovingly lays it on his pool table and tells me the story of the bag, which I won’t repeat, but he purchased it in Iraq last year under much duress. The camera itself is a one year old Nikon D-90, used seven times. Jason is a wedding photographer. He was having a hard time parting with it, I could tell. But he showed me every exquisite detail, unbelievably producing a telephoto lens and accessories galore that were all an assumed part of the deal, exquisitely packaged together with the original receipts, all of the paperwork down to the last nuance of his ownership.

We shook on it and then Jason told me the pool table was going to a bar he’s been building in Gilbert. It’s called the NOT A DIME bar because every item from the concrete up is being bartered for, and he has not spent a dime. He’s all the way up to finishing details and with this trade, my pool table will become a big part of his project and a tiny bit of my legacy.

Jason finally prepared to leave. He walked over and placed the fully loaded camera bag on my mantle and said “Enjoy it.” I was flabbergasted. “You mean your going to just leave it here tonight? Do you trust me?” He didn’t even flinch when he said “It was obviously meant for you.” And that little thing restored some hard fought faith. Because Jason touched my life.     Oh… and he arranged his own shipping

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The Best Juice for Your Immune System
 
Sip on this to stay well all year! “Broccoli is very high in vitamin C, which increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells,” Wignall says. “Garlic contains sulfur-containing compounds that have powerful immune-boosting antimicrobial properties.”
Ingredients:
1 small beet
 8 stalks celery
 1 stalk broccoli
2 cloves garlic

There will be no recipes. The temps are hovering in the 120’s in the immediate deserts. The urban desert seems twice as hot. This blistering sun beats down on the concrete all around us making a hot climate just that much hotter. Turning on an oven right now would trigger a lynching. At least in my house. I am going thru the summer without air conditioning. The heat is really fucking with my perspective.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

This recipe makes 2 loaves; you can easily divide the recipe in half to make just one loaf.  The recipe calls for 4 cups of grated zucchini, which will yield particularly moist loaves.  I’ve made it with 3 cups, which was also very good, just not as sublime as with 4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups grated zucchini (from about a pound and a half of zucchini)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (use natural unsweetened cocoa, NOT Dutch processed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 Tbsp or 1 1/2 sticks), melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Place the freshly grated zucchini in a sieve over a bowl to catch any excess moisture as it drains, while you work on prepping the other ingredients and preparing the recipe.

2 Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans with baking spray or butter.

3 Vigorously whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk until there are no more clumps and the ingredients are well combined.

4In a separate large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until smooth, about a minute.  You can do this with an electric mixer on medium speed, or by hand with a wooden spoon. (I’m lazy and use a mixer but it’s easy enough to do by hand.) Add the melted butter, instant coffee granules, and almond extract and beat until smooth.

5 Mix the shredded zucchini into the sugar egg mixture.  Add the flour to the zucchini mixture in 3 additions, stirring to combine after each addition.

6  Work quickly, and divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans.  (Work quickly because once the dry ingredients have mixed with the wet ingredients, the leavening has begun.) Place into the oven.  Bake for 50 minutes at 350°F, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and easily. Remove to a rack. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife around the edges to separate the bread from the pan. Remove from the loaf pans and let cool completely on a rack.

Note that if you try to slice the chocolate zucchini bread before it has completely cooled, it will be rather crumbly.  It’s also easiest to slice with a bread knife.

Saw this on Facebook and intended to steal the glory AS IF it were my own. But I morally judged myself and give credit to TWO PEAS IN THEIR POD for the magnificance. Don’t think I won’t plagarize later however.

Anyhow…..If it’s 113 degrees in your world this afternoon like it is in mine, you can’t turn on the oven just for the sheer fact of the resources it requires to cool this house down at high noon. I don’t want to add to the strain on the power supply. Nor do I want to do battle with my air conditioner, now on it’s last legs. I already suspect we are going to see rooling blackouts again this summer if this intensity of heat continues. And no reason it shouldn’t

Fact is, I won’t be turning the oven on again until October. But since I still have to eat, I’ll try things like this:

Quinoa Fruit Salad

Quinoa with blueberries, strawberries, mango, and a refreshing honey lime dressing. This easy and healthy Quinoa Fruit Salad goes well with any summer meal.Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (I used Red Quinoa) 2 cups water Pinch of salt

For the Honey Lime Dressing:

Juice of 1 large lime 3 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

For the fruit:

1 1/2 cups blueberries 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries 1 1/2 cups chopped mango Extra chopped mint, for garnish-optional

Directions:

1. Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.

2. To make the Honey Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, honey, and mint together until combined.

3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, and mango. Pour honey lime dressing over the fruit salad and mix until well combined. Garnish with additional mint, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

CHILL MAN, chill

The fresh page makes me giddy with anticipation and tremble in fear. First impressions were never my strong suit. But give me some time and I’m sure you’ll love me…or at least my content.

A 420 friendly distant relative of Ram Das and known consumer of two buck chuck, I once toured with Foghat where I learned to swing Nan Chucks and knit with pencils and twine. Both hobbies are still a big part of my life today,
My priority list includes the next great audio book, hoarding organic garden seeds while meticulously categorizing them into wooden cigar boxes, and new socks… I’m also very fond of dog parks, street fairs and farmer’s markets that sell honey, still dripping from the hive.

 A recovering Catholic, former hot air balloon pilot & 911 operator, wannabe chef and now entrepreneur because I am unemployed…I will do most any damn thing to make a living.

With a resume like that, what should I do next?

A food blog, of course……………