November 26, 2011

Enough Food For All

For Thanksgiving 80 people showed up. Forty were invited. It usually works the other way. Half as many as invited show up.

I washed a total of four plates and spent the afternoon playing croquet on the lawn with our guests.

I don’t get the alone time I’d like to have here in order to write, and this past week was especially challenging with the holiday.

But that’s the world. I’m thankful for a roof over my head and for being able to swing a mallet while the cleanup was done without me.

November 17, 2011


Kids from the neighborhood occasionally crawled up the hill at night and stole jeans off the clothesline. That happened in the 70s and 80s and even 90s, before this neck of East L.A. gentrified. Now many of the kids in the neighborhood wear nicer jeans than the hippies and anarchists who live here, and a pair hasn’t been stolen off the line in years.  

One washing machine spins the load here and no dryer. There is no shortage of clothespins, so long as side-by-side items share a single pin. Dish towels and general cleaning rags from the soup kitchen are washed and hung before personal laundry, which is how it usually works.

Pictured above is Catherine Morris. She has been to jail more than 40 times over the past 40 years in protest of various injustices, from the latest war to the consistent treatment of homeless folks.

So it’s a kick to know these people who have been doing civil disobedience for a long time, especially when we load up the pick up after working a full day in the soup kitchen and head out to feed everybody at Occupy L.A. Today they got ice cream. 

November 7, 2011


Working and living here and working on my draft of my animal shelter non-fiction narrative has consumed a lot of my fire lately. But I chased some light in the stairwell this afternoon after my nap in the closet and wanted to share. Looking forward to reading blogs this week.
I plan to add a couple more photos of the staircase over the next couple of days. Ten minutes of light wasn't enough to do justice.

November 2, 2011


Got up at six. Had tea and toast. At the soup kitchen, we swept the outside seating area by 7. By 7:20, I was eating a pancake the cook whipped up for the early morning help. I made salad dressing for 1,200 people. I forgot to mix four garlic heads into half the batch, but it all worked out because the cook needed to get the pasta going quick and when he found out what I had left in the blender he was thrilled. While we served food, I tossed tomatoes in the salad and buttered bagels and opened donated bags of pasta, the sample size. 

Got home at 1:15 p.m. The week’s community meeting began at 2. It was noted that an unusually large amount of food was served for the first day of the month, which is when people who live on checks usually receive their checks. They don’t visit soup kitchens until their money runs out later in the month.

I made dinner. It consisted largely of leftovers from an acclaimed Monday meal. I’m lucky that way. On my very first “house day” in 2006 a friend of the community’s dropped off an entire rib dinner for forty. There were twenty in the house at the time, but we put it all away. I accepted credit for the rib dinner as I did the leftover buffet, though little was forthcoming. After dinner, five people performed a Gregorian chant after the cat was removed from the room. The cat knocked over a photo of Cesar Chavez on the top-most tier of the Day of the Dead altar in order to sleep. Luckily, there are many pictures of Cesar in the house. Also lucky that someone snapped a photo before Star was evicted. 

Before I locked up the house at 10 p.m., I forgot to fetch the 10-gallon pots from the garage and fill them with water on the stove so the early risers could fire up the burners for whichever anarchist or hippie happened to be making coffee and oatmeal in the morning. I fell asleep in the closet to thoughts of sugar plums and having the entire afternoon free today to write in my blog.