How to Be Your Own Best Valentine
(By A, BB, the Krab, the Ducque, Etti, PB, SH, and TL)
February 11, 2004

Another Hallmark Day is just around the corner and the prospect of a Valentine’s date for many of us is not on the horizon.  We are single.  For my purposes, single means someone who is not currently involved in a loving, monogamous relationship with another someone.
The phases of singledom are many and varied including in no particular order Loneliness, Isolation, Anger, Rejection, and Self pity (LIARS); Tongue In Cheek Self mocking (TICS); Defiance Of Noah and the Eulogy of the number two Syndrome (DONES); Embracing Loverless Freedom’s Sweetness (ELFS);  and, of course, Ready And Waiting to love again Stillness (RAWS). These acronyms were totally accidental. 

A couple of Saturdays ago two other singles and I found ourselves in the TICS and DONES phases as we discussed what kind of column I should write for VD.  We laughed so hard as we jotted down our ideas about how to be your own best valentine that we decided to do a “Global Thinking” number (Jan 5 column) and invite other friends to join the fun.  Feel free to skip the philosophisizing and scroll down to the end of today’s column to read the results.

The first two responses received from the email solicitation were in a totally different vein.  Both of them, from previously single women friends, responded with ELFS suggestions with compassion towards those who are in the LIARS stage.  That got me to thinking about what it means to be single. 

Like everything else in the world, acceptance of one’s single status is an individual process.  Although most of us come into the world single, there is an expectation pretty early on that an adult “should” be part of a pair.  Mostly by the time we are in mid life we have loved and lost at some point(s) in our past.  In fact as I thought more, I realized the stages of being single again are not unlike the death and dying theories of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.  

I’m not narcissistic enough to compare the depth of my thinking to Kubler-Ross, but I have experienced bereavement, divorce, and ending a long term relationship.  I know first hand that the loss of the partnership between lovers is as profound as the loss of a loved one to death.  And I think the singlehood stages, even with my silly acronyms, are as poignant.  As denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance come and go in death and bereavement, I believe LIARS, TICS, DONES, ELFS and RAWS come and go in the state of being single.  You don’t necessarily experience every stage or in a particular order.  But I’ve certainly felt them all, sometimes all in the course of a day.  Once you’ve gone through a particular stage, it doesn’t preclude you from revisiting it. 

LIARS is the primitive emotions you feel as you mourn past relationships and long to be in love again.  It’s full of self blame, “why me’s” and cathartic tears.  You alternate between wanting to do anything to get him (her) back to congratulating yourself on how you’re better off without the bastard (bitch.)  No matter how independent you basically are, the part of you that defines itself in the context of another is screaming, “Foul!”  The only consolation is that Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, so you don’t have to spend an extra evening wondering what’s so wrong with you that you are spending yet another “date night” home alone.  The only ways I know to get past LIARS are to love yourself and to connect with others who care about you.  It is trite to write, but time is the best healer.  Let self nurturing be your watchword.

You know you’re moving into the TICS phase when you can chuckle at the drama you created during LIARS.  You start to ask yourself why you didn’t invest in Kleenex stock the day of your break up.  Maybe you try Internet Dating (see December 14 “Confession” column.)  Whatever it is that makes you giggle, you wake up one day and realize your sense of humor has returned.  Laughter will set you free.

DONES occurred for me after about a year of wading in the dating pool.  There were a few sharks and piranhas out there, but I cut them down with a few quacks.  The slimy, boring fish are the worst.  I would catch myself trying to read Bachelor #3’s watch upside down over dinner.  As I was dancing cheek to cheek with Barboy #10 at 10:00, I wondered what was happening on that night’s Friends rerun.  Even though I knew it already, I had a major “aha” awareness that “two” is not better than “one” if your date is not a good match for you.  Dating never looked so bad.  I realized I had more fun when I was alone or with friends.
ELFS is my favorite stage.  You’re going to be single anyway; why not enjoy it?  There is a certain sense of luxury in sleeping in the middle of your king sized bed.  You can leave your dishes in the sink as long as you can stand it.  You can get up on Sunday morning and do whatever suits your fancy without consulting anyone.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

RAWS is the scariest place of all.  I confess that after I first typed “Ready And Willing to love again” I had to search for an appropriate “S” to complete the acronym.  When “Stillness” popped into my brain I realized I had found the perfect word for the hardest concept.  I lived more than half of my life as half of a couple; and I liked being in a relationship more years than not.  Yet I have no control over when or whether I’ll have that experience again.  There are steps we can take in self examination and corrective personality action to become emotionally and spiritually ready to unite with another.  But when it comes right down to it, you are who you are, as is he or she.  Loving requires letting go of expectation and desperation AND acceptance of all that has made you, you, and them, them.  Then there is no guarantee you will find a compatible partner who is at the same stage of readiness.  The two of you must each be still within yourselves to be truly open to finding the other one. 

Wherever you are in your process, please remember that all of these stages are normal.  Feelings are inherently neutral.  Whatever you feel at any given time is okay.   Life has its lessons and we all have our own learning styles.  Hopefully, some of the following “how to’s” will ring true for you:

1) Go for a walk on the beach --- whatever the weather.  Hold your own hand.
2) Look at your baby photos and know that adorable child still lives within and that your parents will always view you as "that cute little one."
3) for Venusians: Wear something pretty and very baggy; feel super skinny for a day!

4) Go through all of your memorabilia to remind yourself that you have "touched" the lives of others and that you used to have a life.

5) Ask your closest friends what traits make you a wonderful person.  Write these down and save them for reference when you’re feeling down in the dumps.  Schedule daily readings if you’re feeling acutely LIARSy.

6) Plan a “comfort food” potluck.
7) for Venusians: Go through your lingerie drawer and discard anything that you've outgrown or haven't worn in a year.

8) Decide what to do with your empty dresser space.

9) For Martians: Prepare your body.  Get out the toenail clippers and cut away.  Trim your mustache.  Put on the nose hole groomer and breathe easier.  While you have the trimmer out, have at those ears, too.  Better to hear sweet nothings if you get lucky.  Shave your back.

10) Reorganize your "toy box."  Shine ‘em up.  Check for frayed cords.

11)  Check all condoms and batteries for expiration dates.  Throw out ones that are more than six months past expiration.
12) Buy new condoms and batteries.

13) Make truffles and eat them all yourself.
14) Send yourself flowers at work so that all of your co-workers will be jealous.

15) Fill the tub with bubbles and lavender aromatherapy oil...light some candles...put on some nice soothing music and soak.

16) Treat yourself to a day spa and/or full body massage.

17) Ask for what you want.  Tell people what you want.  Get what you want. 

18) Buy a bottle of GasX or Beano and do your potential sweet love a huge favor.  Stay away from beer sausages and chili for a day or two before you go out in public.

19) For Martians: Turn off the football game and put on some music.
20) Plan a retreat/escape weekend to wherever you want to go.
The Ducque is following her own advice and will be out of town Valentine’s weekend with no time to columnize.  The Krab will be your bandon.tv guest columnist next week. 

In addition to dining discussions and previous bandon.tv “A Ducque’s Eye View” columns, other references are from:

How to Be Your Own Best Friend by Bernard Berkowitz, Jean Owen, and Mildred Newman

On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

FENG SHUI DOs & TABOOs for LOVE by Angi Ma Wong

Finding True Love: The Four Essential Keys to Discovering the Love of Your Life by Daphne Rose Kingma

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray

Is Anything Truly Safe To Eat?  The Poem and the Prose
February 5, 2004

The Poem

No longer feeding my id
Food groups into a pyramid
Sour, bitter, crunchy and sweet,
Is anything really safe to eat?

Dairy causes phlegm and fat
Yet calcium is where it’s at.
Veggies, milk, bread and meat
Is anything really safe to eat?

Low fat is the way to go
Red meat is a big no-no
Eat beef; protein feels great
Nightly steaks help you lose weight.

We’ve got low carb, high pro chow
Don’t ask, “what about mad cow?”
Follow diets and then you cheat
Is anything really safe to eat?

Fruit and veggies are good for you
Unless chemicals got them too
Were your apples sprayed with alar?
Preservatives in your pickle jar?

Fertilizer and pesticide
You must know when you decide
Before you buy corn by the ear
Was there a genetic engineer?

Good and bad cholesterol
Poison and palliative alcohol
Veggies, milk, bread and meat
Is anything really safe to eat?

The Prose

As a child, eating was a low priority for me.  When I did eat my criteria was taste and getting away from the dinner table as soon as possible so I could go play.  Sweet ruled the buds.  I was a “skinny” kid, what they call a “picky eater.”  I’ve long outgrown both of those labels.  Since then I’ve been accused of living to eat instead of eating to live.  My eating patterns and nutritional wisdom are continually changing.

My mom died in my early teens.  Since I was the only kid left at home, and a girl at that, I became the cook of the house for a little over a year before my dad remarried.  I learned a little about nutrition and the four food groups, but mostly I utilized my knowledge base by preparing meat, potatoes, canned vegetables, ice cream, cake and pop.  I can still make a killer meatloaf, heavenly mashed potatoes and lightening cake.  Comfort food at its best.

I entered the earth muffin stage of my nutritional development during the early 1970’s.  Vegetarianism was more affordable as well as being more politically correct.  Deaf Smith, Laurel Robertson and Frances Moore Lappe’ taught me about fresh produce, herbs and whole grains.   I began to understand food in an environmental and global context, as well as from a nutritional standpoint.  Meat was out.  White sugar was poison.  I still had a sweet tooth though.  Thank God for Tab and Fresca.

The mid-1970’s was my first venture into dieting.  Now I look back at our photos from then and I think we looked pretty darned good, but my girlfriends and I thought we were too fat.  So we tried Scarsdale, Atkins, Weight Watchers and other diets that I can’t remember.  Anorexia was our goal.  Fortunately, we came from sturdy Okie stock and it didn’t take.  I invented the OCD diet where you could eat anything you wanted, but you had to measure quantities and write down every bite ingested.  Then you had to figure out the calories.  I’m still not sure if this worked because of the embarrassment factor of entries such as “one fingerful of peanut butter from the jar” or because I hated math.  However this sojourn taught us about calories, fats, carbohydrates, and protein.

My first serious study of nutrition was in 1981 when I found myself “with child” and I was determined to eat right for my developing fetus.  I memorized the food pyramid for expectant and lactating mothers.  I hated milk but I religiously had my five servings of dairy a day.  I loved wine and found pregnancy a great excuse to have a glass with dinner.  This was, of course, before fetal alcohol syndrome awareness legislated warning labels on alcoholic beverages.

By 1986 my hubbie and I had preschoolers aged two and four.  We did our best to feed them properly.  Our dietary staples were generic Cheerios and milk, fried eggs in a basket of buttered bread, apple juice, applesauce, grilled cheese sandwiches, carrots with Ranch dressing, celery sticks with peanut butter, spaghetti with hamburger sauce, and macaroni and cheese.   Then out comes the news about cholesterol, Alar, and the propensity of peanuts to cause food allergies.  At least we could still have dry cereal, carrots, celery and diet soda.

My family entered the 1990s on the low fat bandwagon.  I was proud when my son complained that the 2% milk at school was too thick.  I loved it when my daughter marveled at the oddness of the “brown chicken” served at her first steak bar-b-q.  I bought corn oil margarine and read labels.  “Lite” equaled good.  I can prepare boneless, skinless chicken breasts 100 different ways.  I have a world class collection of seafood menus.  I felt with it and informed.  Somewhere around 1995 was the last time I believed I knew anything whatsoever about nutrition.   My daily Diet Coke was no longer guilt free.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?  The contradictions have caught up with me.  I feel completely confused about what IS truly safe to eat.  Chicken is injected with hormones and antibiotics.  One day everyone is eating lots of steak to lose weight on the new Atkins diet.  The next we’re worried about the safety of our beef supply because of the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States.  We learn in nutrition class alcohol is empty calories.  Pregnant women shouldn’t drink because even a little can affect babies’ health. Then a health lecturer tells us drinking wine helps prevent heart disease and cancer.  Sugar is bad for you.  Aspartame causes liver damage; sugar is a safer and more natural sweetener.  Chocolate causes pimples.  Chocolate has endorphins that help alleviate depression.  Water is an important cleansing agent.  Watch out for lead and impurities in your water.  Buy bottled water.  Bottled water has the same chemistry as what you get out of your tap.

The new millennium has ushered in masses of information about the dangers in our food supply including genetic engineering, chicken flu, farmed salmon, unsanitary conditions in the slaughterhouse, mad cow disease, and petroleum product fertilizers.  Any one of these topics has the making of a whole dissertation which is far beyond my scope.  The data is coming in so fast and I don’t have a decade to process it.  I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew by trying to tell anyone what they should or should not eat and drink.  I’m  just grateful I don’t have to make those decisions for small children anymore.  I simply don’t have the answers.

I do think it’s important that as society moves further from the source of our food that individuals pose questions.  We need to learn how to interpret labeling.  If we don’t grow, gather, fish or hunt it ourselves we don’t know where it came from or how it came to be wrapped in pretty packages at Price and Pride.  Maybe we don’t need to cite figures about the economics of agribusiness or the science of ranching, but we do need to know that these are real entities that influence what happens in food manufacturing.  I think it’s worth looking up the definitions of the words that are used to produce our food.
We are what we eat.

Let the Sun Shine In

Don’t Let S.A.D. Bring You Down

Jan 27, 2004 

        Rain IS nice weather for ducques.  Like most Oregonians I pride myself on my ability to embrace gray skies and stand up to the wind.  I actually scorn umbrellas and take walks in the rain.  I adore big waves and wild weather.  When the first coastal storm of the year blows in, I head to the ocean where I feel 100% alive.  Then afterwards there is nothing like a roaring fire and the smell of soup simmering on the stove to make a house feel like home.


But did anyone else notice that when we had a few bright days in the last couple of weeks that other people were a little friendlier?  Was it just me, or was there more activity?  I know I saw a few more smiles and felt a less tension at work.  After months of slumping around I summoned enough energy to play in the garden and clean house a little.  As much as I hate to admit it, in January every year we have a mini epidemic as an estimated 25% - 50% of Oregonians’ holiday blues graduate into winter doldrums.  A few of those have full blown cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real depressive syndrome that affects between 10 and 11 million Americans and has its own paragraph in the DSM-IV (The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic bible.)  Symptoms of SAD include: 1) excessive eating and sleeping with weight gain during the fall or winter months 2) lack of energy that causes work and relationships to suffer 3) craving sugary and/or starchy foods 4) remission from depression during the spring and summer months and 5) these symptoms have occurred for at least the past two winters. 


SAD is a debilitating kind of depression.  It’s not that someone with SAD just feels a bit puny or out of sorts.  Without treatment they can’t function anywhere near normally.  If you think you might have SAD. I strongly encourage you to seek help from a medical professional.  Treatments include light box therapy and antidepressant medication.  70% to 80% of SAD sufferers are women.  The worst months are usually January and February.  Higher latitudes have a higher incidence of SAD.


This is not to say that all of our neighbors have SAD.  It is a matter of degree and for every individual with a clinical case of SAD there are many, many more of us with some level of cyclic winter blues.  "While a person with winter doldrums may have difficulty waking up or getting out of bed at times, someone with seasonal affective disorder can't get to work on time," says Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Winter Depression Program at New York Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University Medical Center. "With the doldrums, it's in the norm to gain up to 5 or 6 pounds over the winter, but with full-blown SAD, weight gain can be far more than that."


We all have to adjust to differing circadian (sleep cycle) rhythms, more melatonin (hormone that tells us to sleep) and less serotonin (brain chemical triggered by sunlight that fights depression) in the winter.  Humans are animals and even coastal dwellers need light.  But, in this millennium society doesn’t slow down, so most of us have to keep going at the same frantic pace.  It takes extra effort to seek the sun this time of year.  We are not bears and if we try to hibernate we end up more depressed.  


Our active response to decreased light will directly affect our mood and minimize the depresion.  Here are some suggestions from the experts and me that might help you survive another dark winter:


1) Get outside.  Artificial indoor lighting really doesn’t help.  Natural light, including gray clouds and liquid sunshine, is even superior to a $500 light box.  Try to be outside for at least an hour, that’s right - 60 minutes, every day.


2) Wake up early.  Force yourself to set the alarm before the sun rises.  Drag yourself out of bed before sunrise, so you will be caffeinated in time to welcome, or at least notice, the sun.  You don’t want to sleep through a single second of the precious light.


3) Work around the light.  Don’t expect that it will still be there when you have scheduled a break.  I can’t count the number of times I was greeted by a dry morning and planned a lunch time walk only to have it begin raining at 11:55.  View a glimpse of the sun as a window of opportunity.  Drop what you’re doing right then and go outside, at least long enough to walk around the block.


4) If you can at all afford it, take a winter vacation or weekend trip, preferably to some place warm and sunny.  Even if you end up at some other dark, coastal location the change in routine does wonders for your mental health.


5) Surround yourself with bright, sunny colors.  If you’re not into native art, keep an orange on your desk for meditative purposes.  Wear red shoes.


6) Eat lighter meals.  This will help combat the weight gain and the heavy feeling that precludes you from getting out of bed.


7) Keep connected with others.   Avoid the tendency always to retreat to your snug cocoon.  If you spend too much time at home alone your house becomes a cage.  Rent South Pacific or Bali Hai and invite friends over for a movie night.  One winter a group of us combined several of these tips and had a tropical island potluck in the living room.  We ate fruit, teriyaki, pupus and drank pina coladas.  A Hawaiian friend played his ukulele.  We couldn’t be in the Caribbean, but we could pretend.


8) Look inside your individual stash of feel-good tricks and do what you known will lift your spirits: bubble bath, music, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, yoga, journaling, exercise, candles, photography, art, whatever.  Nurture yourself.

Finally, remember this too shall pass.  The Spring Equinox is less that eight weeks away.

For more information:

http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/79/96369.htm “Beating Winter’s Woe’s” by Sid Kirchheimer

http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=DS00195 “Seasonal Affective Disorder” by Mayo Clinic Staff

http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/79/96217.htm “Say Goodbye to the Winter Blues: Healthy Ways to Boost Your Spirits” by Carol Sorgen

Dreaming: A Tribute To Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 20, 2004

        It was the hottest part of a sweltering summer day shortly after my eleventh birthday.  I was home alone lying on the couch in our den, drinking a Coca Cola, dreaming about upcoming fifth grade and Elvis Presley, while re-reading a Madeline l’Engle book and listening to television.  Even little girls know how to multi-task. 

A Negro appeared on the screen, maybe the first one I’d ever really noticed on TV.  I wasn’t a big fan of the news, just had been too lazy that particular afternoon to get up.  Something about his voice commanded my attention.  I sat up, put the book down, and was enraptured.  I vaguely understood the context of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, mostly from hearing my dad curse civil rights.  That afternoon in one perceptive flash I got it.  After a few guilty moments of watching, I changed the channel.  

I was moved then as I am today by Dr. King’s repetition of the phrase, “I have a dream….”  “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty we are free at last” is pounded into my brain.  In retrospect I believe that was the year I began, sometimes at least, to think for myself and not always accept at face value the words of my father, my minister and my teachers.  By the time I was fifteen, when Dr. King was assassinated, Daddy and I had had numerous heated discussions regarding the recent integration in our town’s junior high and high schools.

While I want to honor Martin Luther King Jr. on this holiday when we celebrate his birthday, freedom from racism is not all that this column is about. My take home lessons from that 1963 speech are about visualization, passion and actively living our lives.

To envision change, one must be able to dream about that change first.  This truth applies personally to such matters as diet and health as well as politically in such issues as King’s dream of  that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands.”  King was looking at 200,000 black and white women and men joined together as he delivered his speech on the steps of Lincoln Memorial.  Likewise, one must have the image of a slimmer or cancer free body throughout the process of weight loss or chemotherapy. 

To embrace change, one must be able to care passionately about that change.  Whether this is talking to your friends about your individual goals or expressing your thoughts on line about Bandon cheese and the Chief, if you don’t care enough to communicate, you will not be a part of directing change.  The more fervent of us will make a commitment and be action forces.  Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most eloquent orator I have ever heard.

To enact change, one must be able to do something to make change happen.  This is the hard part on both the personal and global levels.  How many exercise programs start with gusto and lapse into oblivion?   How many lively conversations have you heard over dinner that had no follow through the next day?  That’s what makes Martin Luther King, Jr. such a role model for me.  He lived, and died, for his dream.

My wish for you, and me, as we celebrate another obscure Monday holiday, is that we each find a way to live our own dreams just a little every day.  Be it saying no to dessert, writing a letter to a public official or picketing the courthouse may we all find the inner fortitude to follow our dreams.




"I Have A Dream"
by Martin Luther King, Jr,

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Commodities and the Lone Wolf Co-Op:

Cooking Creatively and Cheaply

including the non-recipes

January 14, 2004


When I was going to college in the early 1970’s I lived in a big sprawling house with four other paying tenants and a countless number of visitors.  My roommates and I all came from working class families and, with a little help from student loans and work study, were paying our own way through school.  We were the epitome of “starving students.”  


This was before food stamps, but we all qualified for commodities.  For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, that is big blocks of cheese, sacks of rice and canned chicken that the government gave us.  None of us had a car.  A trip to the grocery store meant talking one of our wealthier friends into driving or caravanning to Safeway on our bicycles.


Our other chief food source was an organization called the Lone Wolf Co-op.  Every week we pooled our pennies and paid $6 for two BIG boxes of produce for the house.  The way the Co-op worked is buyers went to the Farmer’s Market, bought what was fresh and cheap, and divided the bounty amongst the members.  We never knew what kind, or how many, fruits and veggies we would get.


Thus was born Rice, er, Stuff, the ubiquitous staple of my college years.  We made a big pot of rice, steamed the veggies du jour, and experimented with sauces and spices to pull it all together.  We threw in some meat if we could afford it and weren’t expecting any vegetarians to visit.   Enough cheese on top, baked at 350 until melted made the more dubious of our casserole concoctions taste good.  Making Rice S. taught us a lot of basics in food preparation.  (Some of these lessons and non-recipes are in an appendix at the end of the column.)


It was under these conditions that my friends and I taught ourselves, and later our children, how to cook.  We learned how to make large quantities of cheap, fairly healthy and usually tasty food.  We prepared meals with what was on hand and/or on sale.   No one had ever heard of “pasta” back then, but we designed the best dressed spaghetti and macaroni dishes our sleepy university town had ever seen.  Our soups and chili were to die for.  Salad or pizza was a meal in itself with each of the basic food groups represented.  But best of all, was the daily feasting we shared at our large table.  I think it was a door on orange crates.  Food and friends were highlights of college for me.


The main thing we had going for us in our quest for cooking knowledge was none of us had ever heard of anorexia either.  We loved to eat.  None of us had many preconceived notions about how to cook “from scratch.”  We read recipes, but mostly to get a sense of proportion and an idea of what kinds of ingredients went into which kinds of dishes.  We shared what we learned, both the successes and the mistakes.


The following are some of the principles we developed.  Thirty years later, cooking for one, they still work for me.  I freeze the leftovers so I don’t have to cook as often.  Plus I like having food on hand when people drop in.  Food and friends are still the spice of my life.  Food is always best when shared.


1)    Recipes are guidelines, not rules.

2)    Buy what’s on sale now; you can figure out how to fix it later.

3)    When you have the money and the transportation pick up something new and interesting looking that you’ve never tried before. 

4)    Buy lots of different kinds spices in small quantities from the bulk food section of the store.  Or better yet, plant your own herb garden.

5)    Keep a supply of your favorite staples on hand so you can cook whenever the urge hits without a trip to the store.

6)    When you’re making dinner for company always sauté onions and garlic, or bake something with apples and cinnamon. Your guests will love the meal based on smell alone before they even taste it. 

7)    Limit the number of ingredients you use, so you can pick out the individual flavors.

8)    When wine isn’t drinkable, it will still taste good in spaghetti sauce (red) or soup (white.)

9)    Freely use more seasoning than the recipe calls for, but don’t increase the alcohol.  Taste as you go.  (I had to repeat that lesson before I got it, once with rum frosting and then again with brandied pork chops).  You can always add more, but you can’t take away.

10) Don’t worry about mistakes.  Someone is probably hungry or polite enough to eat the evidence.  If not, it was still cheaper than going out.  Toss it.  You will do better next time.


The art of substitution of ingredients deserves its own paragraph.  To imagine what will taste good in a particular dish, you must learn to listen to your tongue and set your imagination free.  Close your eyes and fantasize how different flavors will mingle.  As in love, some of the most unlikely combinations are sensational.  No one believes me the first time I tell them, but the reason my spaghetti sauce tastes so good is that I add a dollop of peanut butter and a couple of apples.  19-year-old Elizabeth Porter has revealed exclusively for bandon.tv: The secret ingredients in the chili with which she’s been tantalizing her friends and family for the past ten years are mint and molasses©.

Buon Appetito
Cooking Creatively and Cheaply
Some Non-Recipes To Get Your Juices Flowing
(The Appendix)

The one exception to my scorning of recipes is in baking.  There is some chemistry involved in making things rise, so it’s a good idea to play it safe and use the same proportions of yeast, baking powder or soda, and egg whites to solids and liquids for which the recipe calls.  With that in mind, you can then get creative.  Milk instead of water makes bread richer.  Fruit juice makes muffins sweeter.  You can substitute different kinds of flours for part of the allotment of dried ingredients.  Where would Krispy Kremes be if they didn’t use potato flour in their donuts?  You can add nuts, flavored chips or fruit to cookies and muffins.  When I bake bread I often add cheese, herbs and different kinds of spice.


Homemade pizza crust can be made from half of a bread dough recipe if you skip the second rising.  Squoosh the crust down in the pan and bake it for a few minutes before you add anything.  Spread tomato, white, or pesto sauce on the partially cooked crust.  Decorate with your favorite toppings.  Sprinkle a little cheese on top.  Bake on a cookie sheet in a hot oven until it smells and looks right; and you will have the personalized pie of your dreams.


Salad is more than iceberg lettuce and sliced tomato.  Experiment with different greens.  Add pears, apples or dried cranberries.  Nuts and sliced jicama give salads crunch.  Avocado, artichokes and/or heart of palm provide salad with a touch of class.  Sprinkle in herbs for character.  Throw in some leftover meat or hard boiled egg for protein.  Rice, bulgur and macaroni give it texture.  There are a bazillion dressings out there to pull it all together.  Try different flavored vinegars and use light oils if you’re making your own.


Another of our college lessons:  Gravies, sauces and soups are all based upon the same idea.  You start with a hot fat (one of a multitude of oils, butter or margarine); sauté some onions with seasoning and some other vegetables for flavor (garlic, ginger, peppers, mushrooms, celery); slowly stir in a thickening agent (flour, arrowroot, cornstarch or canned cream of soup.)  If you’re making soup you add as much or as little liquid as you fancy.  The basis of a good soup is a good stock.  We didn’t know that then, so we made do with bouillon cubes, dried milk and canned tomatoes.  Our repertoire has expanded greatly since then.


When I make “refrigerator soup” today, I have learned to save water from steaming veggies which I then use to boil chicken carcasses and/or vegetable scraps to make a rich stock.  I add a spoonful of “Better Than Bouillon” to the hot stock, use up what veggies & meat I find in the frig, and it’s soup.   Sometimes I add rice, noodles, beans or barley for texture. 


I asked a friend who knows how to cook without recipes how she made carrot soup. She replied with this email: “I steamed carrots, parsnips & one small sweet potato. Sautéed some onion with tarragon & cilantro...then with soy milk gradually blended it all...also thru in some ginger, salt and a few other spices...yummmy. I don't put in a lot of liquid so it's nice and thick.” 


I translated her ideas into my own personal Saturday night dinner.  Tarragon didn’t sound good to me and I don’t use salt so I omitted them.  My blender is broken, so I left it chunky.  I used crushed garlic and dried peppers from the garden, substituted non-fat half and half for soy milk and voila, a gourmet meal.  Elizabeth uses sweetened condensed milk and curry in hers.  Three different carrot soups, all delicious. 


Another easy winter soup courtesy of a Boulder, Colorado friend is turkey vegetable with spicy V8 juice broth.  You brown ground turkey, drain as much of the fat as you can, then add whatever vegetables you have with a can of juice and spices to taste.  This weekend I used turkey Italian sausage in the batch I made.  She also makes soups with a south of the border flair by using canned green chilies, beans, corn, and garnishing with sour cream, avocado and/or salsa. 


I adore ethnic foods but Coos County is lacking in my favorite Thai and Indian restaurants, so I have learned to make my own.  The principles are easy:  Read a few recipes, remember what your favorite entrees taste like, buy condiments accordingly, and create.  Here are some of my staples:

Thai: lite coconut milk, fresh basil, chili paste, peanut butter, fish oil, lemon grass

Indian: garam masala, curry powder, chutney, raisins, fresh limes

Chinese: soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot chili sesame oil, green onions, water chestnuts, chow mein noodles, bok choy

Italian: sun dried tomatoes, garden herbs, wine, quality olives, fresh parmesan cheese and artichoke bottoms

Greek: calamata olives, feta cheese, eggplant, ground lamb


After living on the coast all these years, I have finally learned to cook seafood.  The two rules for fish are 1) the fresher the better…make friends with a fisherman… and 2) less is more.  Don’t cook seafood too long and use a minimum of additional flavoring.  A little lemon pepper is all most fresh fish needs.  However, if you eat a lot of seafood and want to vary the flavor or impress someone special feel free to add a little pizzazz.  Some of my favorite special combinations include halibut baked with orange juice and sesame oil, salmon grilled with raspberry chipotle sauce, and striped bass breaded lightly in egg and Italian flavored bread crumbs.  Every summer I buy a tuna from the docks as soon as the fishermen come in.  Tuna tastes great with teriyaki sauce, or lemon and herbs, or in salad on sandwiches.  Can some and you can have the real deal all year long.


The list goes on and on.  If you can eat it, you can cook it.  Food is sensual.   Food is art.  Food is nurturing. Mindful eating and cooking involve being aware of what we put in our bodies, and appreciating the quality of the source.  Enjoy.  

Global Thinking

January 5, 2004


Ask not what your planet can do for you,

but what you can do for your planet…

…challenge others to do the same

        It’s almost obligatory that the first column of a new year acknowledge the passing of time in a philosophical and/or funny way.  Being fairly new at this columnizing stuff, I believe I should respect that unwritten rule.  Unfortunately I can’t share my typical New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve already broken them.  Plus I used up most of my mental energy the past few days trying to stay warm while my house was without electricity. 


Lucky for me I have wise friends to think up column ideas and contribute material for them.  Thanks PB for the idea that I write a column about the ten resolutions we wish others would make.  Thanks PB, Karen, Tom, KS, ST and Liz for the specific resolutions.  Thank you Sandy Tammietti for letting your pastrami sandwich and fries get cold while you edited this column a half hour before deadline.


But before we get to the resolutions, here is a note on my thoughts about global thinking:  The longer I live, the more I must sadly acknowledge; it is not all about me.  My actions, or non-actions, have an effect on others.  My words have the capacity to influence, injure, encourage, promote, silence or stimulate others.  And so do yours.  Of course our power is more palpable in dealings with those who are emotionally and geographically closer to us than it is towards those on the other side of the planet.  Nevertheless things have a way of snowballing in this universe.  The kindness and/or abuse we demonstrate in the way we raise our children will trickle down through the generations.  The respect and the dignity, or lack thereof, in the way we care for our elders will return to us someday.  The more loving and thoughtful we are, the better our world is.  Our greed and destruction also impacts in another direction.


Global thinking is about service towards others, our community and our world.  I honestly believe that when we reduce, reuse and recycle our actions have a rippling global effect.  Oregonians have long had global vision as evidenced by our bottle return and beach access laws.  So, today as I personally resolve anew to try to think and act a bit more globally in 2004 I wish...

1) That when the Board of the Oregon Department of Public Safety and Training meets this month it will think globally and resolve to overturn the recommendation of the Police Policy Committee and allow Bandon Police Chief Bob McBride to keep his certification.


2) That Kathy Holstad, marketing director of Bandon Cheese Inc in Tillamook(???), would think globally and resolve to give back the name Bandon to the people and businesses of Bandon.


3) That the Port of Coos Bay would think globally, look to the Umpqua and Bandon ports for ideas, and resolve to develop a new vision of growth for the Port.   We can still honor the industries that founded this community but move past the antiquated belief that the economy of Coos County is still based upon fishing and logging.


4) That the Cities of North Bend and Coos Bay would think globally and resolve to consolidate.


5) That Coos County Commissioners would think globally and resolve to act with compassion and appreciation toward their workers by giving AFSCME 2936 a fair contract.


6) That the USDA would think globally and resolve to act aggressively to follow all World Health Organization recommendations to protect our beef supply in order that ranchers could stop encouraging cannibalism among their herds.


7) That fashion designers would think globally and resolve to accept the real (global) shape of women-breasts AND hips and design accordingly.


8) That smokers would think globally and resolve not to smoke at the entrances of public buildings.


9) That people would think globally and resolve not to wear strong scents in confined or crowded places like elevators, restaurants and airplanes.


10) That President Bush would think globally and resolve to realize that American policy should honor differences among the many countries and cultures on this planet and to respect those peoples, governments and ideologies.  Amen.


Whatever your resolutions or political beliefs may be, The Ducque and Friends wish you all Peace and Joy in 2004.


Happy New Year!

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