Saturday, July 31, 2021

July 2021 • Here There Everywhere

July 2021 blog header with tiles and berries

• Header collage of fresh berries and North Hollywood retro tiles.

Lectionary Project for July; I still need to update and republish July 10th (with a different name).

July 4th Rose  in Gardena

• Fourth of July Sunday Roses from St John's Gardena

North Hollywood Train Depot Front

• The revitalized North Hollywood Lankershim Train Depot now houses a Groundwork Coffee

Here's the Groundwork Coffee NoHo Page

North Hollywood Lankershim Depot Side

• Sideview of the Lankershim Southern Pacific Train Depot

Lankershim tile in NoHo Subway Station

• Most Los Angeles Metro Subway stations have a unique style; North Hollywood is very mid-[twentieth]century. Here's only one of my many pics (recently and over the years) of NoHo tiles; this is one of the Lankershim farm. Isaac Lankershim was Isaac Van Nuys' Father-in-Law.

COVID compliant sign

• COVID protocols compliance sign at the Camp Central site—I was the main kitchen person. They gave me the menu and told me I'd make it happen. A really great week!

Camp Central Tote Bag

• "Life is Better at Camp Central" tote bag

Garden Cow

• Van Nuys Garden Cow

Garden Hen

• Van Nuys Garden Hen

Garden Peacock

• Van Nuys Garden Peacock

Camp Central Art Activity

• Campers had artistic craft and musical activities that included making their own masks. Being in the kitchen most of the time, I didn't get many pictures.

Subway Restaurant interior

• Except for the few weeks last spring the nearby Subway totally closed, I've been getting Subway takeaway—even after they opened up for indoor dining. Camp Central week included a COVID milestone: lunch inside the restaurant.

Burger- Hotdog fire pit

• Supper-Dinner-Evening Meal on the last day of camp was burgers and hotdogs. How do you like the firepit?

Camp Central Shirt

• Staff and campers all got "Life is Better at Camp Central" shirts on the last day.

Pioneer Day 2021

• My almost-annual design for Utah's National Holiday, Pioneer Day, also known as Pie and Beer Day: Days of '47 because This Is The Place

Leafy Restaurant Skylight

• A second COVID milestone! Here's the leafy skylight at the restaurant where J treated me to Al Fresco lunch at (but not inside) the restaurant. We'd enjoyed this mostly vegan establishment before COVID.

Restaurant Greenery tall plant

• Garden greenery tall plant from the restaurant

Lunch Table

• Our lunch table – they had 6 or 8 on the Al Fresco patio, though some braved their meal inside.

Vegan Lunch Bowl

• Such a delicious lunch bowl


• Succulent One from Van Nuys


• Succulent Two from Van Nuys

Living Local 2021
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Monday, July 26, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Order

Five Minute Friday 23 July Order
Five Minute Friday • Order linkup

Order the noun and "order" the verb both have many connotations. Purchase order, shop order, food order. Books arranged in order of… author, color, size, publication, read or not. You need to order me to finish the current phase of the project. This six-month long stretch when we order or number Sundays after Pentecost are common to the ecumenical church, so we call them ordinary, and they're ordinary because of the order or structure they help give these Sundays. Amidst one of those well-known controversies in the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul finally told them, "OK, then, do whatever, but be sure you do everything decently and in order," creating a buzz phrase that in English has trademarked the polity of a well-known mainline church body.

God marked a line and told the sea
its surging tides and waves were free
to travel up the sloping strand
but not to overtake the land…

…begins one of Thomas Troeger's hymns to describe the order of creation. The ten words or commandments of the Sinai covenant order our lives together.

What's my favorite kind of order? A food order, of course.

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PS Thanks to Kate for another lovely photographic illustration.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Strong

Five Minute Friday • Strong – linkup
2 Corinthians 12:9 power made perfect in weakness
"My grace is sufficient for you
for my power
is made perfect
in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Two Sundays ago on July 4th, the second reading in the Revised Common Lectionary was 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Pastor Maria said this has gotta be the Apostle Paul "asking for a friend."
but the Lord said to me, "my grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." …Therefore I am content with weaknesses…for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10

Writing for five

Both #SaugusStrong and #SurfsideStrong have trended recently; it seems as if "place or event" + "strong" always relates to a disaster or a tragedy. The Apostle Paul tells the church at Corinth he is happy or content to be weak because in his vulnerability grace prevails—because of the strength of Jesus Christ. Can we think of situations where strong isn't necessarily a response to its opposite of weakness, vulnerability, or loss?

The world out there admires strong people. The world also criticizes women – and sometimes men – they perceive as too strong, especially if their overall style and presentation feels overwhelming.

• In the end I wrote for less than three minutes but I'm publishing anyway to showcase my interpretation of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, and I especially like the effect of Kate's blog graphic.

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July 16 strong FMF illustration
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Friday, July 16, 2021

blogoversary • 19 years

desert spirit's fire 19 nineteen years

Blogoversary time again—nineteen! Years!

A year ago in June 2020 :: Retrospect Prospect I quoted Steve Winwood's "While You See a Chance":
• Don't you know by now
No one gives you anything?
And don't you wonder how you keep on moving?
One more day your way?
• I do wonder

During Lent 2013 I wrote, "I fear more months, years, decades of aimless drifting." Along with wondering how I've kept on moving one more day my way and in the end, accomplished more than I'd imagined.

My life is in tatters, splinters, and shards. Why do I have so much difficulty talking or even writing about myself? It can't only be all those people whose only subject of discourse is I, me, my, mine? I've spent a lifetime – since second grade – preparing to serve the inner city, an adult lifetime preparing to serve the urban church. They say the best way to predict the future is to create it.

Recollecting and musing out loud—or more accurately, out blog:

Long ago when I still was driving the pre-loved green Chevy I'd bought as an undergrad, my grandmother mentioned my cousins were buying new cars and added, "Your values are different." I replied, "I would LOVE a brand new vehicle, but right now I'm spending my $$$ on school because I have my eyes on the prize of a lifetime of service." Some things can be quantified, and that lifetime of service hasn't happened. I told NPC interim STM, "these things don't happen in first and second world countries." As obsessively as I occasionally still try to tease out cause and effect, there's actually very very little, yet I realize they do happen when you've lost your social and professional networks that for various reasons are incredibly difficult to reweave. He reminded me, "not a single door has been permanently closed."

From fourteen years ago, Velvet Elvis blog 2:
I'd been so goal oriented, so disciplined, so sure I couldn't lose. For me, it wasn't facing my brokenness nearly as much as it was encountering my fallibility. Like everyone, I'd failed zillions of times, but finally, no matter how many new beginnings I made none of them bore fruit. I've sensed such an overwhelming loss of self; when someone loses a family member or close friend due to physical death or absence, people gather around them and support them. Is there no one for me? In the conventional mainline churches, maybe not.

Like almost everyone, I consider myself a "regular person" (terminology from a bank commercial a few years ago). Fact is, everyone is a "regular person" – even Saint Teresa of Kolkata – but some people have irregular perspectives, so when they see a magnet with a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke [edited to say this Rilke mention's not about me] at the airport they need to buy it. Or they expect Albinoni and Corelli at the nearby fast food outlet. Did I suggest live music just now? No, but a string ensemble playing Italian baroque would be close to a routine happening at some Harvard Square national food chain franchises.

• Once you've been to Rilke and Corelli you can't go back.

As with all futures I'd anticipated, returning to the San Fernando Valley excites me. But if it falls through, as usual I won't feel a thing.

With many unknowns in every setting and circumstance, we must put the best construction on behaviors. There's best construction and there's lying about the obvious, about what can be quantified, about what's gone truly amiss. I want to put past disappointments to rest—but isn't that what I've been doing? Burying and denying all the dreams and reasonable expectations I'd had and thoroughly prepared for? I know, that's different from reclaiming a future. William Faulkner again: The past never is over. The past keeps overtaking us minute by minute.

This isn't a hunter-gatherer society. This isn't a wide spot in the road tiny town. COVID-19 aside, my current situation is incredibly far afield of the minimum anyone with my gifts, preparation, and hard work would have anticipated by now. Most likely I've mentioned my Salt Lake City friend Peggy who died the same summer as my mother. I assured her I already was home free with nothing to worry about, "Before I blink, my life will be full again." I wanted five or six months, but realistically knew regrowth and revitalization would take closer to two or three years. It's now a quarter century. And it's the second largest city in the country, as well as the biggest county by population.

I haven't done any art in forever because depleted ground can't produce healthy fruit. Or veggies. In 2007 I blogged, "…finally, no matter how many new beginnings I made none of them bore fruit." Ever hear insanity is expecting different results from the same behaviors?

From my lectionary blog for Pentecost 3: Related to God's constant reminder for us to remember – I led you through the desert, I quenched your thirst with water from the rock, I fed you with manna, I zapped your enemies, I made you my chosen… on twitter I recently heard, "Remember! God runs in my direction when the whole world walks away."

telling the story life stuff

Monday, July 12, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Summer

short beach nahant watercolor

Five Minute Friday • Summer Linkup

If this is summer on the coast, it must mean the beach?! Often it did. Maybe it still does.

If this is summer, no matter what's been going down, love is at least tolerable. I just noticed I wrote love when I meant life. Ideally aren't they the same? Summer is walking out the door onto hot pavement and the sidewalk rises up and hits you hard.

If this is summer, is must be June July or August because my only summers have been Northern Hemisphere.

This is summer, so I remember vacation bible schools and day camps. I especially remember six weeks long BCDC—Brighter City Day Camp. This year it's Camp Central that missed out on 2020 because – you know – COVID. Super excited to be the main kitchen person this year!

Summer means special songs. Summer music? Al fresco concerts almost everywhere start again this year for the first time since COVID-19 shut down the world. Where will I go in 2021? Less formal singalongs with guitar, and I hope, I hope, at least one outing to Hollywood Bowl.

Summer means The Beach. The header watercolor is my interpretation of Short Beach in the tied island of Nahant on the North Shore of Boston. If there's a short version there must be a long one? Long Beach on the West Coast belongs to the Los Angeles – Long Beach – Santa Ana megalopolis or something like that—I made it up without finding out what's official.

Summer means smells of sea air, cookouts, city streets, and sweet citrus.

Summer sounds, sights, and smells… A few years ago I discovered this evocative collage in several sizes. I can't credit the source as well as I'd like because the original's from a now defunct blog, that's what mariel said. Mariel's replacement blog's not active, either. The very original is in the song Summer by Modest Mouse.

just the smell of summer
Just the smell of the summer can make me fall in love
And the sounds, sights, tastes of summer make me know life is love.
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Thursday, July 01, 2021

Five Minute Friday :: Deserve

Thai restaurant desserts collage

• Homemade Dessert of the Day created by Chef: please ask staff for more details •

FMF :: deserve linkup

• First Five Minute Friday of July and the calendar year is half spent; here's a note of thanks to FMF host Kate, who always provides a lovely big button size image to use if we desire.

Taking five…

Ya know what? I decided I deserve dessert. The blogger-verse deserves the collage I assembled for the back of a client menu using actual pictures of real desserts the restaurant serves. How enticing does this look? People often assume I don't care for sweets because I don't do random sugary processed ones like commercial candy bars and supermarket bakery rack. I don't enjoy common ordinary (anything, really). I truly love decadent, gloriously rich, flavor-filled, hand-crafted, gourmet-tinged desserts worthy of a wedding reception or PhD commencement. What are your passions?

I'll continue by telling my readers the UK restaurant I made the collage for closed fairly early in the ages-long COVID-19 pandemic so therefore hasn't ordered any menu designs from me in a very long time. Its specialty is-was Thai cuisine; reviews were stellar except last time I looked they only accepted cash! If-when they open post-COVID, that will need to change. During COVID-tide you may have noticed signs in shops and eating emporiums advising customers to pay by card rather than with cash?

What are your post-meal preferences? A glass of sweet Angelica? A snifter of brandy? When it's good it's great tiramisu? Vanilla bean ice cream cranked on the front porch or a humble slice of jumbleberry pie? Whatever it is, bring it on and let's talk into the future!

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