Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple Blueberry Crumble Cake

With Mom and Dad out of town, I've been tasked with eating the food we had on hand. This is great, as it means I don't need to go grocery shopping much, but hard because we have a ton of fruit and vegetables on hand and it's hard for one person to eat them all before they spoil. So tonight I got creative.

I absolutely love Bisquick. It's about the best invention in food ever. Tonight, I used it to make an impromptu Apple Blueberry Crumble Cake (so-called because it crumbled and made a huge mess when I served myself some after baking). I wanted to get a picture of the inside, but again, it was a mess when I cut into it. Still, you can see how lovely it looks on the top:

How I made it:

 I am not a recipe person. Oh, I'll follow them for certain things, but there's nothing I love more than just throwing stuff together and hoping it works. So I didn't measure anything in this recipe.

Step 1: I tossed the apple slices and blueberries we had in the fridge in a mixing bowl, with a teensy drizzle of olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Step 2: In another bowl, I mixed Bisquick, milk, one egg, and about 1/3 a cup of sugar.

Step 3: I mixed some Bisquick, cinnamon and melted butter in a small bowl to make the crumbly topping.

Step 4: I sprayed a baking dish with Pam, then dumped the fruit in. I layered the batter over the fruit, spreading it around with a rubber spatula, then topped it with the crumbly topping. I baked it for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

The Verdict:

In future, I'll use a little bit more sugar. I liked that the batter wasn't overly sweet, but I should have used a bit of sugar in the fruit, as the berries were quite tart. I like tart, but this was a bit much. The spices were perfect, giving it a lovely flavor that complemented the fruit. Overall, it was very tasty, and I'll probably use it for breakfast tomorrow and Sunday.  Will I make it again? Sure, if I have fruit that needs to be used.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Richard Armitage

I think I've blogged about him before, but I'm going to do it again. I've managed to get Maayan hooked on Richard Armitage recently, after she watched--on my recommendation--the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South.

Anyway, last night on Facebook, Maayan and I got to posting pictures and videos back and forth, drooling over this gorgeous, gorgeous man and his incredible voice. So I thought it might be fun to feature him here at the LPB, because honestly, whether he's playing a good guy or his almost-trademark "baddie," he is glorious to watch...and listen to.

Oh, and yes. He's British. : )

So here you have it--Richard Armitage, age 40, gorgeous, English, and the master of the glare, the brood, and the smirk.

As Lucas North in "Spooks" (shown in the US as "MI-5")

As Sir Guy of Gisborne in the BBC's hugely cheesy series "Robin Hood."

Guy on a horse. Richard was the best thing in the whole series.

As John Porter in "Strike Back."

As John Thornton in "North and South."

From some magazine article at some point in time...judging by his hair,
probably during the "Robin Hood" era.

Don't know what this is from.

Again with the brooding, as Lucas North.

Lucas North, just released from eight years in a Russian prison, smirking.

He also brings a certain talent for looking good without his shirt.

"Strike Back"

"Robin Hood"



"Spooks" --I'll just add that the tattoos are fake--part of his character.

"Strike Back"

"Robin Hood"

And just when you think he is nothing but smirking, brooding, glowering no-fun-at-all angry man, he smiles.

He's quite soft-spoken and charming in interviews.

Getting beardy to play the dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's
"The Hobbit," which will be out next year. Will I be there for opening day?
Oh, yes.

John Thornton finally softens towards Margaret Hale (and
loses the cravat!) and women the world over sigh.

On some red carpet somewhere, signing for a fan.

Not a full smile, but between the soft face and the hole in the knee of his
jeans, I'm smitten.
 He can even look sexy in a Mr. Rogers wardrobe.

Then there are those sexy little things he does, in character and out, that drive a girl wild.

Smoulder, smoulder, smoulder.

Going in for the kiss with Margaret Hale in "North and South." GUH.

This picture is one of my absolute favorites. Those jeans. The jacket.

And I can't talk about how sexy his voice is without sharing a YouTube clip, right? That would just be cruel.

How about RA reading some poetry?

Or reading a bedtime story on a children's program(me)? His voices and accents are spot-on.

And a lovely little press conference for "The Hobbit," where he's charming and lovely and gah. The voice.

There you have it. Richard Armitage, in all his glory.

Shrinking Debt

A couple of weeks ago, I sent off a $400 payment on my hospital bill from last year. Before this, I had only ever been able to send $50-$100 at a time (and only when I had any extra money, which was rare). Now that I'm not paying rent and I have minimal bills to keep up with, I can make larger payments--already, moving in with Mom and Dad is paying off in a big way.

Yesterday, I actually had the money to do a bit of shopping--nothing major, mind you, but I did need some pants and a few tops. A new pair of jeans, a new pair of cute winter moccasins. A pretty necklace (on sale!). A sweater top. I didn't go overboard, but the joy was in being able to go to the mall and browse...and buy. Living on unemployment has taught me that I can have a small wardrobe and be happy with it, but having a few nice things to replace some of my more worn items is also nice.

When I got home, I went to get the mail (Mom and Dad are in the middle of a two-and-a-half week cruise from Italy to Turkey) and found a new statement from the hospital billing department. They had processed my $400 check and now, I'm happy to report, the debt is shrinking. Next month, I will make another large payment and it will be below $1,000. I can't tell you how good that feels.

So good, I might just indulge in a new pair of boots!

Wordless Wednesday--Welcome to Sacramento Edition

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Music: Three Dog Night

I saw this song referenced recently and was reminded of how I've always liked it...and how timely it seems, in light of recent events.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Week That Was

On Friday, I logged into an online dating site to respond to a guy I've been emailing back-and-forth with since last weekend. He seems nice enough, and he's cute and funny. I apologized for a couple days' worth of radio silence, telling him that following the Troy Davis case and my own campaigning had taken up a lot of time, and that I was quite crushed that Troy's execution went through.

He responded that it is "cute" that I'm so passionate about a cause.

You can imagine my reaction. Cute? Seriously?

I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but still responded that there is nothing cute about caring about a cause and that many of my friends and I were devastated at the outcome on Wednesday. He has since responded, apologizing and telling me he thinks I'm cute, and that he admires my dedication. And for the most part, I believe him. Before this happened, I wasn't sure where I wanted things to go--meet him? Get to know him better? He's allergic to animals, which doesn't exactly make us a long-term possibility (Millie, Harley and I are a package deal).

But the "cute" remark was definitely a turn-off.

What a week it was--so emotional, with such a crushing low followed by amazing highs. Lindsay is having a boy, so the duck ladies are excited about little Thomas Liam (who really should be about the size of a baker potato right now...probably soon to be a spaghetti squash!). Maayan walked thirty miles over two days this weekend in Atlanta's annual Breast Cancer Walk. Life. It's such a beautiful thing.

This week, things are going back to normal. I will get to the gym, and run more. Mom and Dad are boarding a ship in Venice today, ready to embark on a two-week cruise that will take them to Croatia, Greece and Turkey. I'm holding the fort down here, making sure the cats are cared for, the bird feeders in the yard filled, and the house taken care of.

So things move forward, but I haven't forgotten that there is so much that can change in this world. I'm working on ways that I can help.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


After three straight days of barely leaving the house, tied to my desk as I blogged, Tweeted and ranted about the Troy Davis case, I went for a walk this morning. Three days of sitting left my poor knees and hips begging me not to run, so I walked.

It's going to be hot today; though September is drawing closer to October and fall is definitely coming, the temps are still warm around here and there weren't a lot of people out around the neighborhood. I was left alone in my thoughts, which are still a jumble of sadness, anger, shame, and determination.

As I walked past the wetland preserve area that my neighborhood borders, I saw a site I've seen before, but not for many months--a wild rabbit leaping through the grass, it's comical ears at attention as it's powerful back legs propelled it a foot or two off the ground with each leap. I stopped and watched it, smiling. There is still so much life to celebrate, even though we snuffed out a life last night.

I got to thinking about my friend Lindsay, and the tiny life she is nurturing right now. We duck ladies laugh about the fruit and vegetable references made in the weekly email she receives about the baby's development. I know it was recently a bell pepper, going on an heirloom tomato. We all guess that soon it will be a baking potato. There is so much joy in following Lindsay's excitement for this new life, and tomorrow, if Baby cooperates, Lindsay will know if it is a boy or a girl.

So we celebrate life and the living, and yet we mourn a senseless death. A preventable death. All of this raced through my mind as I watched the rabbit disappear into some tall grass, and I whispered, with tears in my eyes, "I'm so sorry, Troy."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No Justice For Troy

I am heartily ashamed of the so-called "justice" system in the United States tonight. I am angry, I am sad, and I am in disbelief that this case could be denied, denied, denied.

My promise: I will not give up on the fight to abolish the death penalty.

I am Troy Davis.

We are all Troy Davis.

Where To Begin?

I was sitting here at my desk at 6:58, shaking and crying. I actually said a prayer (and I do not pray). It wasn't particularly reverent, as it included a fervently whispered, "What the fuck is wrong with people in this country?" but nonetheless, I prayed.

At 7:00, my crying turned to heartbroken sobs. I listened to the live stream from Democracy Now, and suddenly, there were cheers and people saying "A stay! A stay!!" My sobbing turned hysterical as I began to believe that maybe, just maybe, there would be true justice in this case.

I called Lindsay, sobbing, "Oh my God, a stay! A stay!" She was sobbing, too, and our conversation was largely incoherent as we both let it out.

I was disappointed when I realized that it wasn't actually a stay, but rather a temporary reprieve so that the Supreme Court of the United States could review the case. But I remain HOPEFUL. I've contacted the Supreme Court and I have stayed glued to Democracy Now, Twitter and Facebook. No one has any idea when a decision will be made, and rumors abound that Troy is actually strapped to the gurney as we wait (which is so horrible and inhumane).

I am reduced to begging the Supreme Court to make a just decision for Troy.

Ninety Minutes

In less than ninety minutes, Troy Davis is scheduled to die.

He has declined to request a special last meal. He wishes, instead, to be with his loved ones and supporters.

So now we just sit here and wait. Some people are at vigils. My vigil is here at home, broadcast across the world via Twitter, Facebook and this blog. I'm expecting a call from Lindsay in a bit, when she is finished working, and we can lean on each other as the time draws nearer.

I can't believe he's going to die.

I am a hopeful, optimistic kind of person. I have a realistic streak, too, but mostly I just try to hope for the best in situations. It baffles me--honestly baffles me--that the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons didn't grant clemency. Reports are surfacing that it was a 3-2 vote to deny clemency. I don't know.

Troy's legal team is trying everything, but as the clock ticks closer to 7:00 (EDT), there is less and less hope. The waiting is excruciating. I can't even begin to know how his family feels.

I understand that there are people out there who believe that Troy Davis' death means justice, and closure for the family of Mark MacPhail. I have serious doubts that any of the MacPhail family will ever find closure, so long as they continue to let hate live and grow in their hearts. Their loss--of a heroic son, husband, father--is not going to be lessened by the death of another man. Especially as there is so much doubt that the man who is to die tonight even pulled the trigger.

At this point, I'm just rambling. Days and days of writing letters and emails, contacting everyone I can think of, is taking an emotional toll. And yet I feel like a jerk even complaining, when I think about the grief of the people closest to this case.

To my friends I have fought this battle with--Lindsay, Sarah, Maayan, Amanda, Newt, the Keane crew, and Richard, the most inspiring drummer ever--it's been my pleasure to stand alongside you, trying to be heard. I'm only sorry our voices fell on deaf ears. After tonight, we'll regroup and continue to work towards the total end of the death penalty in the United States. But tonight, we grieve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Troy Davis: How To Help

Update: Wednesday, September 21. I will continue to update this post with links as I find them. Thanks to everyone who has posted the link to this on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr! All updates from today are in bold font. We have less than 12 hours to continue fighting for Troy Davis! 

Well, good morning, Meg. Woke up to the news that the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons has denied clemency for Troy Davis. I've been all over Facebook and Twitter, sharing my outrage and opening links to articles and petitions and people to email. I have, at this writing, eight tabs open, and keeping track of what I've signed and who I've emailed is getting a little hectic. So I'm consolidating my links here at the Little Pink Blog in the hopes that maybe someone will find them useful.

So, below, I've posted links for people to contact, petitions to sign, and articles you may find interesting or useful if you are still struggling to understand the case, and why I've crawled out of my usual self-absorbed blogger shell to devote most of the last few days to this case. 

Contact These People: 

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal -- Yes, it is true that he really can't do anything, but one would think he at least has some political influence over his state. You can send him an email here. This is the domestic form; if you are from outside the U.S. there is a link to click at the top of the form. I have found a phone number--I understand it's hard to get through, but keep trying! They're being flooded with calls. (404) 656-1776
DA Larry Chishom is another good person to contact. You can do so here, via the NAACP. The DA requested the death warrant against Troy Davis, and he can also petition the judge to withdraw it. I'm hearing reports that some emails are being rejected by the DA's office (in an awful move by them). You can get heard, however, through Amnesty--the links are posted in the petition section below!

Here is the email for the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons. They denied clemency, but they can still reverse their decision...right up until Troy Davis is set to be executed. Update: Here's a phone number--according to Amnesty, the office is being flooded with calls! (912) 652-7308 Apparently, they've started blocking emails, which is ridiculous. Here are some phone and fax numbers provided by Amnesty:
  Fax or call the Parole Board and ask them to reconsider their decision and grant Troy clemency. Fax: 404-651-8502 and 404-651-6670 (try both as they will be busy), Phone: 404-656-0693 and 404-656-5651 

I'm not sure how much the President Obama can do, but I'm including this link to the page where you can contact the White House. At least it's another avenue for getting voices heard.

Thanks to Ana, in the comment section, for this! Contact Dr. Musso, of Correct Health, using this form from Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Update: Just saw this on Twitter--Georgia Senator Vincent Fort is also urging Dr. Musso of Correct Health "to decline to participate and not allow any physician or other medical personnel associated with his companies to participate in the immoral execution of a possibly innocent man" by calling for a strike on the part of the prison medical staff.

Now I'm hearing that only Judge Penny Freesemann can withdraw the death warrant. Call her at (912) 652-7252

Also, you can send a message to Troy himself, here

Sign These Petitions:

Amnesty International has been working tirelessly to get this case out in the news. They have this petition. Last week they collected over 650,000 signatures. They will also keep people apprised as to what is happening with vigils and rallies on behalf of Troy Davis. Here's another one.

The NAACP has this petition to DA Larry Chisolm. 

Thank you, Lindsay, for sending the link to this petition

Here is a list of vigils for Troy Davis provided by Amnesty. Check back throughout the day as they get info for more!

Not sure how effective it is, but here is a "Twitition" you can sign on Twitter.

Read and Share These Articles:

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty: A Travesty of Justice

The Atlantic: Why We Fight For Equal Justice (This is an excellent article--it's long, but worth a read.)

From the Files of Nefarious Newt (a blogging friend of mine): Georgia On My Mind

Feministing: Breaking: Troy Davis denied clemency

The Huffington Post: Why Are We Killing Troy Davis? This op-ed is fantastic.
"We, America, like to pat ourselves on the back and say job well done whenever there is a shred of racial or social progress in our fair nation. But then we habitually figure out ways to take one, two, several steps back, with this Troy Davis execution, with the rise of the Tea Party and its thinly-veiled racial paranoia politics, to push America right back to the good old says of segregation, Jim Crow, brute hatred of those who are different, while social inequalities run rampant like rats in the night."
From Lindsay--The New York Times: Georgia Pardons Board Denies Clemency for Death Row Inmate

From @richardkeane--Interview: Troy Davis' sister and nephew on YouTube. Also from Richard (via Twitter), Democracy Now will be doing a special broadcast for Troy Davis tomorrow night. They would like you to ask your local stations to air it.

Another one from Richard--he keeps Tweeting links and I keep reading and thinking, "Hell, this one's great, too." Time Magazine: Troy Davis's Clemency Denial: The Failure of a Legal "Safety Valve"

Here is an aerial view of the prison where Troy Davis' life hangs in the balance.

CBS News: Polygraph for Troy Davis blocked, attorney says

Listen to Richard Hughes of Keane speak on behalf of AmnestyUK.  

House Judiciary Committee Members Send Emergency Letter to Georgia State Parole Board. 

A 3-2 split at the clemency hearing? According to the New York Times, the NAACP believes it may have been that close.

The Guardian (UK): Troy Davis: 10 reasons why he should not be executed 

Worth Quoting:

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice." -Desmond Tutu

"I have never heard a murderer say they thought about the death penalty as consequence of their actions prior to committing their crimes."
-Gregory Ruff, police lieutenant in Kansas

"As if one crime of such nature, done by a single man, acting individually, can be expiated by a similar crime done by all men, acting collectively."
-Lewis Lawes, warden of Sing Sing prison in NY in the 1920s and 30s

"The most glaring weakness is that no matter how efficient and fair the DP may seem in theory, in actual practice it is primarily inflicted upon the weak, the poor, the ignorant and minorities."
-Pat Brown, former CA governor

"What says the law? You will not kill. How does it say it? By killing!"
-Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables

"I have yet to see a death case among the dozen coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well represented at trial... People who are well represented at trial do not get the death penalty."
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

"I've been haunted by the men I was asked to execute in the name of the state of Florida. This is premeditated, carefully thought out ceremonial killing."
-Ron McAndrew, was a prison warden in Florida


I fully believe there is time for the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons to see reason and reverse their decision. If you believe in this cause, please, act! And if you know of any other people to contact or petitions to sign on behalf of Troy Davis, let me know and I'll add them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Music: Moses Hogan

I had the opportunity to sing this wonderful Hogan arrangement of "Hear My Prayer" with Stockton Chorale earlier this year. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous arrangement and when sung in the intended style, it's incredibly moving.

I post it in honor of Troy Davis, whose clemency hearing is scheduled for today.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Richard Hughes and Troy Davis

It's no secret here at the Little Pink Blog that I'm absolutely nutty about Keane. I love their music, and I've always found the men who make up this English rock band to be decent men who treat their fans with great appreciation. I've met three of them--Tim, Richard and Jesse--and each of them was friendly, happy to talk to the fans, and completely at ease making eye contact with a star-struck California Girl who can only think to make extremely inane comments like, "Oh, my God, you're so tall!" (said to Tim, who writes incredible, moving lyrics) and "Can't go wrong with a Nikon!" (of my cheap-and-cheerful little Nikon Coolpix to a drummer who uses a super-awesome, fancy Nikon something-or-other). To Jesse, I actually bubbled, "I'm new to the magic that is Keane and Mt. Dessy!" (Really, Meg? Really?!)

It would be one thing if they were just a band that had created a lot of music I like, but my admiration for Keane goes so much deeper than that, and makes me a nerdy little super-fan. After that first concert in 2009, I went on a YouTube spree, finding every song, every interview, that I could, to get to know this band better. What I found was three (now four, with the official addition of Jesse earlier this year) guys who hadn't let fame go to their heads. These are guys who post silly "What Do You Think Of?" videos, book recommendations, and photoblogs on their web site, and who come out after most gigs to chat with the fans.

You've all read enough about my experience meeting Tim and Richard last year, already, so I won't start gushing about that.

Anyway, this blog post is supposed to be about Richard and his attempts to secure clemency for Troy Davis. I make no secret about the fact that I know about this case because of Richard--I was against the death penalty before I started following him on Twitter, but this is the case that made me really take notice of the cracks in our judicial system, and that angered me enough to take some action.

In the last week-and-a-half, Richard has tirelessly rallied the Twitter Troops to support Troy Davis, and yesterday, for the Global Day of Solidarity, he spoke in front of the U.S. Embassy in London. A video has surfaced, and I post it here in the hopes that all of my readers and visitors will watch it, and listen to what he has to say.

"We're doing what friends do, which is standing up for somebody...and I think that's a pretty amazing thing to do."

Yes, Richard, it is. And your fans (not just this silly California Girl, but all of us) think you're pretty damned awesome for everything you do to make the world a fairer, more just place. Thanks for inviting us along.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Two Voices

Heh. For starters, I had intended to post various blogs throughout the day and I didn't. I did, however, have an opportunity to take some action on behalf of Troy Davis today in Sacramento. A gal named Lisa, who I'd posted with on a Troy Davis page on Facebook, said she'd be out in front of the capitol from 2 to 5, so I hopped in Rosie Pro and drove the 30 miles to Sacramento.

For being the state capitol, I had rather hoped there would be more activity. But alas, Sacramento usually lets San Francisco be the leader in liberal activities in Northern California.

(P.S. I would have loved to go to the San Francisco or Oakland events today, but the drive--nearly two hours--just wasn't possible today. The SF event was at 11:00, which would have put me on the Bay Bridge at a time of day that just sucks. Well, every time of day sucks on the Bay Bridge. But still.)

Lisa and I met in front of the capitol building at 2:00. It's an impressive building.

The flags were at half-mast, so you can't see them in this shot.

We set up camp for about an hour, with a few tiny signs and a petition.

Finally, we thought maybe we should move to somewhere more populated. The Capitol, it turns out, is not a happenin' place on a Friday afternoon. So we moved a couple blocks over to K Street Mall, where we ended up getting a little more activity.

In the end, we only got three signatures, but I am not ashamed. All three of the people who signed our petition had not heard about Troy Davis before, and the fact that they were willing to sign after hearing us out and perusing our fact sheets means that we did some good in the fight for clemency.

Yours Truly in front of the capitol building.
Fellow signature-gatherer, Lisa.

I'm sad that Sacramento doesn't seem to be as organized, or to care as much, as some of the larger cities. But still, we did some good and I refuse to let the general lack of interest in the state capitol get me down. We have the big picture to look at, and the Troy Davis case is getting a lot of attention in many media outlets. I continue to have hope for a good outcome.