Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Alone and then there's ALONE

With a recent end to a relationship, a somewhat impulsive move to the house in the mountains and a snowfall that has me snowed in, I've taken to brooding on the subject of living alone.

When my husband died almost seven years ago - alone was paralyzing for a while. And then I hurled myself into a flurry of activity - massive renovation on the house and garden, travel, volunteering. Anything to stop me thinking in terms of being alone, confronting my loneliness. It took a couple of years to slow down, calm down and appreciate life alone. I still had friends, health, a comfortable lifestyle and of course dog. Had Samantha the cat too but she passed almost three years ago.

There have been two or three relationships in the past five years - all long distance and I have to say, pretty much on my terms. I have grown accustomed to my independence, actually enjoy time alone - maybe a bit too independent one man ventured to say.

With the ending of this last relationship, one in which we had attempted to live together, I've come to realise that I do like time alone, my own space so to speak. It's also clear to me that I am capable of sharing but  not capable of compromising on those issues important to me.  I guess my acid test with a man is can I visualise a future with him - in this last case - no, the picture wasn't there.

I'm just in from digging a "potty" path for dog (he has very short legs) and a path round the side of the house to where I can get to the logs under the deck. I've filled the log carrier on the deck with enough pinon wood to last me three days, dog is happy with his path, the Sun is shining.  As I was hurling logs over the railing it occurred to me that this was a job for man.  Down with that thinking - as long as I'm mobile I can take care of myself! Moving the snow was easy - it's incredibly light and fluffy. I poked around the garage looking longingly at my XC skiis - ancient by most standards and with bindings that no one makes boots for anymore. The boots themselves are beyond the duct tape repairs I've effected for several years now. I'll head into the nearest burg with a ski shop when the roads are clear and see what I can find. Did find a dead mouse in the garage - oh gross! that is a job for a man.

All my kids, spouses, grand kids and daughter-in-law's parents will be up for the holidays - extra dogs too! My 14 year old grandson, an avid skier watches weather reports daily and informs his parents of snow conditions around the world.  Maybe a meteorologist in the making. There's been a flurry of emails about meals over the holidays - recipes for mole (the sauce not rodents) flying back and forth along with banter about the year I made a 43 ingredient mole - although in the re-telling it becomes a 100 plus ingredient deal. Truth is it's Rick Bayless' recipe for Mole Negro and I think has 23 ingredients.  We have a tradition of a New Mexico themed meal on Christmas eve. Once I gave up the need to control every aspect of what goes on in the kitchen and delegated meals to willing cooks it's been a lot more fun for everyone including me.

So on a snow-packed day, with a turkey soup simmering in the slow-cooker I'm wandering around my place up here, fire-blazing, The Three Tenors entertaining me and life is good.  Would I like the company of a man - no question, yes I would - but am I willing to settle for less than what makes my toes twinkle big time - no way!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons - Make Lemon Curd

Miserable few days - head cold that won't go away, layer of dust throughout the house result of putting in laminate floors, brilliant idea for a native stone patio out front has evolved into a skating rink - need to re-direct the gutters.  There's always something!

Headed into Tucson for a few days to hang out with grandsons while the parents were away. Visit coincided with a hard freeze. October, when I leased my Tucson house for a year and made the trek up to the mountains, I moved a miniature Meyer lemon tree over to my daughter's house. Saturday, in anticipation of the big freeze, I stripped it and brought the haul of wonderful, juicy, fragrant lemons back up here with me.  On a side note my daughter commented that "something has eaten all the lemons, do you think rabbits would do that?". With visions of Mama Rabbit daintily picking lemons floating in my head I came clean and confessed to being an *indian giver and "borrowing" back the lemons. I promised her a share in the bounty by way of preserved lemons and lemon curd ... great hostess gifts or stocking stuffers.

Preserved Lemons couldn't be easier to make. I use them in all sorts of dishes from polenta to sauteed spinach and of course Moroccan type tagines.

Sterilize whatever size jars you want to use. Place a tablespoon or so of sea salt or kosher salt in the bottom of the jar.  Quarter the lemons to within about 1/4" to 1/2" of base and stuff the lemon with salt, place in the jar. Continue stuffing lemons until the jar is full. Press down to begin the juice extraction process and then squeeze in the juice of a couple more lemons. Cap the jar and keep in a warm dry place for a few days, turning frequently to aid in dissolution of the salt.  If the lemons are not covered in liquid, add more lemon juice. Do NOT add water. Lemons will keep indefinitely in a cool dark pantry or refrigerator.

Lemon Curd : a  lick-the-spoon childhood favorite, wonderful on toast, on scones, in tiny tart shells - uses are as good as your imagination. I like to make a lemon trifle around the holiday season that includes sponge cake sliced and sandwiched with lemon curd.
The only tricky part about this recipe is the heating/cooking of the curd itself. You must use a double boiler (or improvise as I do with a curved stainless bowl set into a pan) and you must keep whisking while the curd is heating. The moment it's thickened and will coat a metal or wooden spoon, take it off the heat. If you over cook you'll have a mess of sweet, lemon flavored scrambled eggs to deal with!

Makes 6 Cups so prepare number of jars according to size by sterilizing and drying.

Enough ripe, glossy lemons to yield 2 or more tablespoons of very fine zest and 1 full cup of juice.
2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
pinch of salt
8 large egg yolks plus 2 whole eggs
2 1/2 cups of sugar

Zest the lemons directly onto a piece of parchment paper. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is a microplane zester. If you don't have one use the finest grater you have. Put the zest into the top part of your double boiler.

Juice the lemons measuring out 1 Cup. Strain to get rid of pips. Add to the zest
Cut the butter into chunks. Add to the juice and zest along with pinch of salt.
Put about 2" of water into the bottom part of the double boiler and bring to a brisk simmer.
Beat the egg yolks and whole eggs in a large bowl  until they are foamy. Gradually add the sugar beating continuously until the mixture pale, fluffy and thick.

Place the top part of the boiler into the bottom half over the heat, immediately add the egg mixture and begin whisking vigorously.  Keep whisking (will take about 10 minutes) until the mixture is steaming hot (but NOT boiling) and will coat a metal or wooden spoon. Immediately remove from the heat.
Pour into the sterilized jars, cap and store in the refrigerator.

I had some tiny bitter oranges from the same pre-freeze harvest. Wasn't really sure what to do with them but have experimented - we'll see.  I peeled them and left them whole and made a simple syrup as follows. You could substitute "cuties" or mandarin type oranges. Select a size of jar to hold the number of oranges you want to use. This recipe makes about 10 oz of syrup

Simple Spiced Syrup

1 Cup water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup peeled , sliced ginger root
4" cinnamon stick
6 Star anise pods
10 cardamon pods
1 Tbs Pomegranate syrup
1 Tbs of loose sweet orange tea leaves

Place peeled oranges in a sterilized canning jar. In a stainless saucepan bring all of the above to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Strain, return clear syrup to clean pan, bring to the boil,  pour over the oranges, pop the cinnamon stick in the jar, cap and seal tight once the lid pops and seals. I plan on holding these until the holidays and using them as a condiment  with cold pressed beef. Might work- could be a disaster! The idea was to create a spiced syrup to offset the bitterness of the oranges and provide an interesting contrast in flavor.  I added the pomegranate syrup for color - I think pomegranate seeds would be nice too.

In my little still life of the jars there's also a jar of mango/pear chutney that I made a couple of weeks ago as I channeled my inner pioneer woman putting up for the winter! Happy to share that recipe if anyone is interested.

I still have some lemons left and I'm thinking Limoncello - stay tuned.

*Indian giver - derived from the  days when the white man gave things to the Native Americans and then took even more away from them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

When the going gets tough - the tough bake!

Oh long silence from this blog - survived the Wallow Fire - took off on a sailing odyssey and now, back on dry land (well, snow-covered) am contemplating a winter in the mountains as opposed to my beloved Tucson house.
Long story - no need for details. Suffice to say this resolutely independent, single woman of a certain age got herself involved with a man! Gasp. And today with the tail-lights of a UHAUL blinking through the snow as he and it wended their way down the lane, a chapter closes.
Never been one to kiss and tell so no details forthcoming. The ending was my plan, my need. Not easy and not as swift as I wanted. So picking myself up, dusting myself off what else was there to do today but bake.

The mojo is not with me!

Bustled around my kitchen - did a complete mis en place for a cake that's a no-brainer for me.  Or was. Guinness Cake is my go-to cake whenever I have to hustle a cake together at the last minute. Adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson - oh goddess of the kitchen I thank you - it is a moist, sinfully rich chocolate cake. I'll make one excuse for my series of disasters - never have baked this at 7,500 ft elevation before. First iteration burst through the parchment paper, over the rim of the cake pan, into the oven in a roiling boiling mass reminiscent of some of the rapids I ran this summer. Guinness Toffee - awful and I'm still burning it off the oven floor. Next version I simply spaced and missed out the baking soda. Guinness Pancake - awful. Third and final one of the day just gave up on me and collapsed into a sad volcanic like depression as it came out of the oven.

Not even faithful dog wanted a taste.

Thirty minutes ago, a neighbour knowing that this was D Day for the man to depart, stopped in. "Good lord" he said, "look at you and what's this all about" sweeping his arm in the direction of my normally immaculate kitchen. He stopped, eying the collection of Guinness bottles on the counter top. "This is not good." There was pity in his eyes. "You wanted him to leave - drinking isn't going to help."

I didn't even have a piece of cake to offer him.

Friday, June 10, 2011


For the three or so years that this Blog has been posting - you've heard stories of my time spent at my cabin  in Dry Valley, Nutrioso - a slice of heaven in the eastern corner of Arizona.  It's been my retreat, my source for inspiration, the center of large family gatherings, Thanksgiving dinners, tamale making, wonderful hikes in the Aspen clad Escudilla Wilderness, blissful hours on the front deck overlooking the ponds watching Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, the cheeky Kingfisher, and  elk cavorting in the water by moonlight on a Summer evening. 

I was up there for Memorial Weekend and planned on staying longer - neighbors gathered for pulled pork sandwiches, brownies and fruit salad on the deck - the talk was of plans for improving the health of our ponds ; the giant muskrats that were eroding the recently installed dam, and what were the chances for a great wildflower season. We spoke of the pair of Bald eagles that regularly cruise the valley riding the thermals; of the brutal wind gusting as high as 60 MPH; of the newly greening grass ,and that the elk appeared to be calving earlier than usual.

On that Tuesday neighbors stopped by and as we stood outside chatting   we couldn't help but notice an ominous dark cloud coming in from the south - "The Wallow Fire", someone commented. "Are we safe?" was the question as it literally began to rain ashes on us. Consensus was that it was slow-moving and about 30 miles away.

By Wednesday the smoke was so bad that I decided to go back to Tucson - after a miserable bout of pneumonia in January I just did not want to breath in the junk in the air. I thought nothing of danger as I washed dishes, closed blinds and swept the kitchen floor.  It never crossed my mind to take with me "things" that I might miss were the fire to hit - everyone said it was not coming our way. The drive back to town was in high winds and thick, smokey air - really miserable, I thought to myself.

What a difference a day makes when nature is in charge. Thursday evening everyone in the valley was either phoned or a deputy came to houses - mandatory evacuation was in place.

Friends hustled to get their horses and five cattle out - making two trips to the Rodeo Grounds in Springerville , 17 miles down the road. They caught the barn cat, got the chickens into a dog carrier and finally left at 1 a.m.  Now the adjoining towns of  Springerville/Eager have been evacuated. The fire has destroyed large swathes of the Escudilla Wilderness. Fire has swept through the funky little town of Greer. The news this morning was finally good - relatively! Instead of zero containment we heard "5% containment."

As for my lovely valley - firefighters are heroes. They back-burned the meadows and created a ring of firebreaks. News is sketchy but what does dribble out is that no structures have been lost. And no lives.

In the 50 or so emails I receive daily from many groups, friends - rumor is hard to sift from fact. Emotions have grown raw with some fingers pointing at "tree-huggers"  whose anti-logging stance have "caused the fire to rage" - quite an astounding accusation.  By far the majority of emails are supportive, hopeful, poignant and so many end with "is there anything I can do for you?"

I've no idea when I'll be able to go into the valley and see for myself.  Meanwhile my heart breaks for those who have lost their homes, their dreams shattered; for the enormous loss of wildlife; for the loss of glorious old ponderosa. And my gratitude is to the authorities, local in particular and to the firefighters who are risking their lives.

My valley will never be the same in my lifetime - but the generosity of the community around me will compensate for loss of views.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Pox On Many Heads!

Might be an ancient curse but it fits my mood today. I'm a mild-mannered woman - that despite once red hair and Irish genes. I'm slow to boil, quick to forgive, never pushy in a line, never knowingly mean and disparaging of others. Except today!

My general dislike of phone companies has been noted previously but today I'm riding my high horse about several things that I think worthy of a plague descending on the heads of those responsible. OK - hands up. How many of you have suffered a near death experience by sharp object trying to open a packet of soap, glue, cell phone - you name it - of late. Since when was it written that the common kitchen implements should include blow-torch, chain-saw, flame-thrower, Samurai sword and many, many sharp ( well they were sharp when I began) knives.  I have just tried to extricate a small bottle of window cleaner from the clutches of womb like bondage to the larger "convenient" re-fill bottle only to puncture the 'mother' bottle with scissors! Monday I gave up trying to get my guaranteed anti-wrinkle fade in seven days cream from it's plastic snuggery - I'm three days behind in the wrinkle battle and still can't get the darn thing open. I do have an impressive cut in my butcher block and an equally impressive one on my wrist. Not because I was intentionally trying to slit it but because the chisel I was using ( this was desperation time) to break into the molded plastic "protective" wrapping slipped. Will say that on that one - strong man stepped in with "let me do it, honey" routine only to retreat in defeat.

Next up - hoses that kink! My gardener of close to 10 years fired me a few months ago in a fit of manly pique. Since then I've reclaimed my land - have recovered my love for messing around in dirt and am having great fun doing things my way.  But those hoses! Have just been re-potting, thoroughly indulging myself when I should be finishing up the tax paperwork ( maybe the government will shut down the IRS for the year) . Dragged the hose to the far end of the patio to water a transplant - hose kinked, water supply stopped, I tried the old lasso swinging trick to remove kink, lost footing, fell into pool. 63F is not warm. I came close to walking on water to get out.

Final one for the day - I promise. People who do NOT return shopping carts to a safe place in parking lots.  We've had a couple of days of wind here in Tucson and grocery carts were flying like leaves across the parking lot at the local Safeway (will note that Trader Joe customers are more considerate). Saw several cars gets banged; saw several totally indifferent people abandon carts and get into their cars.

Now for the good stuff - am doing what was heralded as a "Patio Dinner" to celebrate the end of winter tomorrow night. Oops - blissful weather turning into a reprise of winter - going to be 55F wet and windy tomorrow so the party will move inside.  Taking it easy on myself and roasting a chickens with lemon and herbs, ginger and lemon polenta and ratatouille - all done ahead. Only snag is the complete absence of eggplant in any store. Plan B.

Genny and I after close to four years of nurturing Connections For Women are moving on and seeking a dynamic, visionary woman or women to take over the helm. Contact us for details.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Love Me, Love My Dog ....

I've recently finished a week of hard labour in the coffee mines - my youngest who ownes the coffee shop was away for a week and mother got to play Barista, rearrange things and in general have fun. My day started with a 5 a.m. alarm followed by tea, a groggy push the dog out the door to pee ( he promptly came back in and returned to bed!) and then bright and cheery at the shop by 6:30 a.m. to open the doors by 7 a.m.
ROASTED is downtown Tucson - not a bustling metropolis at the best of times but eerily quiet at 6:30 a.m.  There was one daily vignette that delighted me but also made me scratch my head and wonder at the nature of relationships.
At the same time that I unlocked the doors each morning, a pick-up truck pulled up to the curb, a middle-aged woman hopped out of the driver's side and the male slid over behind the wheel. They didn't exchange a word. The woman came around to the passenger window where a large black and white dog stuck his head out. "Bye bye my baby, kissy kissy mommy, you be a good boy, mommy loves you, huggy, huggy, you have a lovely day mommy will miss you, mommy will make you a nice dinner, kissy kissy kissy" - That's the abbreviated version of the exchange between woman and dog! Not a glance, not a gesture, not a word between the man and woman. Makes you wonder.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Monday evening in a casual phone call my son, asked "what are we doing for St. Patrick's Day". He does hold dual Irish and US citizenship as do I but we have never celebrated St. P day - just don't come from the shamrock waving genetic pool.

Fearful of tarnishing my Mother Badge I agreed to make corned beef and cabbage. A small family dinner escalated and presto - I'm cooking for thirteen.

My daughter announced she had a corned beef brisket in her freezer and "no idea" how to cook it so that  is to be  delivered to my house. Since the oven  will be on I'm going for broke and have bought two more briskets. I've cooked at the most corned beef three times in the past but I figured using the same method I use for a regular brisket won't hurt. Couldn't be more simple - pop the briskets into oven proof baking dishes, pour in a can of Guinness or other dark beer, cover tightly with foil and cook at 350F for two hours, lower heat to 300F and let cook an additional four hours. Last time I did this there were no much anticipated leftovers. If lucky enough to have left overs check out - wrapped and pressed corned beef for sandwiches later in the week.

Potatoes - the lifeline (literally) of the Irish peasant for decades will get two treatments. Tiny marble- sized new ones are to be steamed then tossed with olive oil, sea salt and freshly chopped Italian parsley. The red ones I'll  boiled and turned into Colcannon - sinful but a once a decade treat!

Reprise  of the evening will be  the cabbage that elicits  cries of "more" from even card-carrying disparagers of that humble vegetable. I cook it two ways. Both involve shredding the cabbage (use the shredding blade on a food processor or a very sharp knife). First is a method I've used for years - pile the lovely shreds of cabbage into a steamer, sprinkle with a little freshly ground nutmeg, black pepper and a sprinkle of sugar. Steam just a few minutes until crisp but nowhere near soggy. Toss to blend the flavors. Second method which was definitely a pinch-hitting 'gees the steamer is full what do I do with the rest of this cabbage' inspiration was the all time hit first and every subsequent time I've made it.

Sauteed Spring Cabbage with Pancetta
For six

1/2 head of firm, young cabbage shredded - you'll have about 8 cups
2 ozs (four slices) of Pancetta
2 TBS Olive oil
Coarsely ground black pepper
Sea salt
1 Cup dry white wine
Large, deep saute pan with a lid

Warm the olive oil in the saute pan, add pancetta and cook until lightly crisped. Keep it moving so that it doesn't burn or stick to the pan.
Add the cabbage to the pan, toss to coat with the oil and pancetta. Add the wine. Put the lid on and cook about three minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Take the lid off - stir, bring to a rapid boil and reduce the wine by 1/2 or more - will take about 2 minutes, season with the salt and pepper. Do not over cook. Serve and watch them ask for more!
You can substitute bacon but I'd be careful of over-salting. Consensus at my house is "best cabbage ever", and "this will be great with grilled sausage".

Looking for a way to fill your days - Genny and I are in search of dedicated go-getters to take over all the Connections for Women sites - either through lease or out right purchase. for details.


Post a Comment

Let's talk....Give us your comments
Subscribe t

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fantastic Opportunity....

Bittersweet, heart wrenching and finally decided over a glass of Shiraz at our favorite "office" meeting place - El Charro at Ventana restaurant here in Tucson.  Since way before the first edition came out in March 2007, Jenny and I labored over the format, design, logo, look, content, direction - the list goes on - for this new baby - Connections for Women.  It has been a labor of love, we've given birth each month since to a vibrant, fact-filled, sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, issue of Connectionsforwomen.

We've introduced some wonderful contributors in  the ares of relationships, thank you Jim Duzak, Rosie Kuhn and Anne Perry. Home organization - what would we have done without Lorie Marrero and now Helene Segura. And on the home front in Nutrition - Julie Garden-Robinson has been more than a treasure trove of information. We've sweated, leaped, danced and raced up the stairs, pie-pan in hand with the loveliest, most gracious of fitness gurus one could hope to meet - Jenny Anchondo (still rooting for that DVD Jenny!) And we've traveled - even to Libya - we've cooked dinner with friends, we've discussed medical issues common to women, we've dished the dirt on good books. It's been a great journey.

Both Genny and I have moved on - she has , for the past 12 months, been managing a major medical practice putting in 10 plus hours a day on her day job. I've recently become involved in a coffee shop - I've also harbored dreams of really retiring to spend more time at the cabin, traveling, playing with grand kids, garden and dog.  To that end we make the following announcement:

All good things come to an end and years in business have taught the founders of Connections For Women that recognizing that time is crucial to growth.  Successful entrepreneurs know when it is time to let go of the baby and hand over. So with very mixed feelings bordering on sadness and excitement, we know that it is time for new blood at and all of its connecting community sites. To this end we are looking for an individual, individuals, couple, couples, complimentary communities already established or just getting started to take over and infuse the vision of Connections for Women with new energy taking it to the next level.

For Sale or lease.  Stunning, user friendly, interactive, easy to read and navigate,  fully developed and operational website plus tangent Social Networking site, Blog, established contact list, contributors,  and copyright on name. was developed over a period of several years at a cost exceeding $75,000. The site has been continuously operational since March 2007  showing steady growth under the guidance of the founders who are now looking for additional vision and energy to take the website to the next level. For additional information contact -   Serious inquiries only.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

VERIZON - AT&T is looking awfully good right now

OK - last time I ranted about a public corporation on this site it was picked up by customer service and a simple fix that I had been trying for for over a week was dealt with in a matter of hours - plus a senior vice-president for customer service gave me his direct line for future use if necessary. Thank you Comcast - you stepped up.
Now for Verizon - I cannot access my account information on-line. This has been an ongoing problem. This afternoon I spent from 3:57 p.m. to 5:03 p.m. in an attempt to resolve this matter - net result - I received the following : Your Verizon Wireless online account - Account Number ending with XXXX This email is to confirm that you have been de-enrolled from My Account. If you would like online access to your Verizon Wireless account in the future, please visit and re-register at My Account.
Do you think I can re register  - no, no, no, no - that would be too simple! OK, scratch that thought. Let's start over, I said on my second round of calls. Let's take this now 10 plus year account out of the business name and put it in my name - after all - I've been paying the bills etc. for a decade. NO, no, no. Can't do that. "We have to open a new account."
"I don't want a new account"
"You have to have a new account"

Can anyone see the logic in this? - my name has always been on the account. I just want to be able to access the account on-line.
Let's hope the Verizon spyders crawl this way, pick this up, leave me a message and resolve this ridiculous saga without further waste of my time. I'd like to think customer loyalty had some reward.

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 8th. 2011 Tucson, Arizona

Not in my neighborhood! The cry of people who don't want a big box store, a school, a shelter for homeless women, a community kitchen. "Not in my neighborhood" a week ago Saturday was for many Tucsonans, myself included, a cry of despair.  A gunman loose in my solidly middle class neighborhood, outside Safeway, across the road from where I get my hair cut and my favourite restaurant. It can't be! But it was.

I've been really under the weather since Christmas - bronchitis, flu, the general miseries. That Saturday morning, I stirred myself, took the dog for a short walk and then with the intent of raising my spirits, took myself for a bird walk in Tohono Chul Park.  Right around 10 a.m the sirens started, the cacophony grew, I exchanged words with a couple visiting from Canada - "must be a major accident, a fire," I suggested.  I left the tranquility of the park, pulled onto Oracle and stopped at the light at Ina - a police car blocked further progress - traffic was stalled, the noise of response vehicles was deafening, a squad car inched past me on the curb.  Two helicopters flew overhead and landed, one after the other, on Ina Rd. I got out my car and joined a small group - most were texting, calling someone. "What's going on?". "Gunman, shooting, Gabby Giffords."  Not in my neighborhood! But it was in my neighborhood.

It was several hours before I got home. By then NPR was reporting , erroneously as it turned out, that Gabby was dead, six other people had lost their life - that report was true.  By now I doubt many people are unaware of what took place that bright, Saturday morning.

I found myself defending Tucson in responding to the many emails I received from acquaintances and family over the next few days. And I found myself questioning Arizona. I question the sanity of elected officials who bow to pressure from the NRA and write into law the "right" to carry a concealed weapon without a license; the "right" to buy assault weapons with only a cursory background check; the blustering old saw, "guns don't kill, criminals kill". No my friends, wrong. Dead wrong. Guns do kill.

I made my home in Tucson 1981. It was really a small town then and even today it retains the characteristics of a series of linked small towns. I love the multi-cultural diversity by virtue of our proximity to the border with Mexico; I love the  intertwining of Spanish and English, the wonderful scent of chiles roasting, the cheerful red of ristras hanging from blue painted lintels. I love everything quirky, noisy, eccentric, colorful, over-the-top about my town. I love the independence, the non-conformity, the frontier spirit. But I abhor the vitriol and bigotry that accompanied passage of SB1070. I abhor the efforts to marginalize the value and importance of our Hispanic culture; I abhor the politicians who speak of Second Amendment Rights, and America for Americans!

I am an immigrant. I am an American. I did not take out citizenship until 2003.  This past weekend my 13 year old grandson celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. He is an American.  Me, his maternal grandmother was born in Ireland. His  grandfather is second generation American born of the children of immigrants from Finland. On his father's side he is a third generation child born of a line that immigrated from Poland and Russia. This richness, this diversity is what makes us Americans, gives America it's essence.  President Obama was right in calling for civility, in calling for us to live up to the dreams and hopes of children. We owe them and each other that.