Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rice and Beans

A Dish of Many Cultures


Arroz y frijoles: photo by Cliff Hutson
Arroz y Frijoles: photo by Cliff Hutson


Rice and beans are a popular combination in many different cultures around the world, and for good reasons. The dish is economical, low in fat, and packed with complex carbohydrates. In addition, a meal of rice and black beans (which you can see I do not use all the time) is high in protein and has at least 10 seven vitamins and minerals.

One source says that this combination, which is practically a national dish in Brazil, is nutritious and filling, and may be a key to weight loss as well. If one is to believe WebMD, it may aid in disease prevention, too.

I use brown rice instead of white rice, which is said to double the amount of magnesium, potassium and zinc, and add six times more fiber. Adding peppers adds adds a dose vitamin C.

Meatless Monday


Meatless Monday: photo by Cliff Hutson
Meatless Monday: photo by Cliff Hutson


While I will gladly eat rice and beans any day of the week, it has become my go to meal on Meatless Monday. I pretty much limit eating red meat to no more than twice a month, for reasons of health. But, I frequently eat other meats and seafood; after all, I am an omnivore. However, on Mondays I make an attempt to avoid all meat. I see this as an example of environmental vegetarianism, which could be seen as choosing what is best for the earth and my body.  Frances Moore LappĂ© says that this “a daily action that reminds us of our power to create a saner world.” 


Fancy Beans over Rice: photo by Cliff Hutson
Fancy Beans over Rice: photo by Cliff Hutson

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

12 Degree Bookstand

Functional, Elegant, Odd? 


Green Bookstand: photo by Cliff Hutson
Green Bookstand: photo by Cliff Hutson

A while back, I purchased an unusual item from the MoMA online shop. It worked well as a bookstand; as it should given its name. And, I ended up with four.

I think that they are an improvement over regular bookends because, on the rare occasions, when I dust my desk or table I can move an intact section with little fuss or bother. Also, they can be interlocked into an extended display, as well as used separately.

The twelve degree slant is truly intriguing. I can see that it might be disconcerting to someone who expects to see books vertically shelved. But, I live in earthquake country, so I am not unaccustomed to seeing things at a slant.

I took this photo using the green partial color filter mode on a Fujifilm XQ1. It is a fun little camera, and I have gotten a lot of good use out of it. But, it seems both it and the bookstand have been deprecated. So, I am glad I got them when I could.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jacaranda Season

Blue Jacaranda Blossoms: photo by Cliff Hutson
Blue Jacaranda Blossoms: photo by Cliff Hutson


“Beautiful hands are as rare as jacaranda trees in bloom, 
in a city where pretty faces are as common as runs in dollar stockings.”
 - Raymond Chandler


Jacaranda Trees


It can be very difficult to discern seasons in Southern California. Temperatures can near triple digits in December as easily as they can in July. June days can be as cool as the ones in January. But, one “season” that is hard to miss is “Jacaranda season”. One of my favorite times of the year, due to its beauty of blue-violet flowered trees which line our streets and fill many public spaces.

Jacaranda mimosifolia, also known as the “blue jacaranda,” usually blooms in late May or early June, and the blossoms last for a few weeks. The trumpet-shaped flowers are an inch or two long, and usually five-petaled. They look good on the trees. I also think that they look great as a carpet on the ground. But, many complain of the litter gumming up the soles of their shoes. I will admit that the sticky flowers can also be tough on a car’s finish. Gardening guides recommend that these trees be planted well away from swimming pools or other high-maintenance areas.

Jacarandas, ubiquitous as they are, are not native to our area. The trees are indigenous to Northwestern Argentina and adjacent Bolivia into Brazil. Mature trees can reach 25 to 45 feet, in an oval canopy spread almost as wide as its height, with light green, fernlike, 10-12" long compound leaves with small oval leaflets.

Trivia lovers might be interested to know that a Jacaranda mimosifolia in Santa Ana is registered as a California Big Tree. It measures 58 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 98 inches and a crown spread of 73 feet. But, as I said, I think they look great in any size.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I've Got Nothing

Blank Mind, Blank Pages


Blank Pages: photo by Cliff Hutson
Blank Pages: photo by Cliff Hutson

Sometimes, I like to think of myself as a photographer who writes, and at the beginning of the year made a commitment to dial back on the photography and concentrate more on the writing. This commitment was to be made concrete by writing 52 posts for this blog, one every Wednesday in 2016.

This was supposed to be intellectually challenging, good for my mental health, and perhaps, make me a better writer. I knew I had the time, as with few exceptions, can set my own schedule. What I did not anticipate was that there would come a week where I really could not hit upon a topic that I found compelling enough to foist on my readers. 

Writer’s Block


Could this be writer’s block? My brief research in this topic pointed out that one coping strategy is to write something even if it makes no sense. It does not say that output should be published as I am doing. But, I need to keep my streak going.







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Wednesday, June 1, 2016