Ardent for Life Winter 2021

Page 1

Ardent content food

& flavor 18. PIZZA NIGHT Bogle Vineyard 24. CANADIAN POUTINE Carole Morris 26. DELICIOUS EDIBLES Cindy Della Monica 30. VOODOO SHRIMP & GRITS World Spice Merchants

profile 32. FLY BRAVE


26. love




40. FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF After Losing a Bid on Your Dream Home


46. BOOK REVIEWS Sacramento Public Library

health 50. CHOOSE YOUR HARD Anna Osborn 52. PROPOLIS Elk Grove Vitamins 56. EXPLAINING TEEN DATING VIOLENCE Kaiser Permanente 58. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS Rejuvenation Wellness 60. ENGAGE MY WHAT? Switch Fitness

34. 6. - winter 2021


64. WATER DISTRICT Elizabeth Pinkerton

Community Cornerq a &

Tra Huynh Two Twenty Photos Story on page 34.

What has the past year taught you?

Juggling two young kids is really hard. Moms are resilient superwomen for sure! Favorite quote?

“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” -Aaron Rose Favorite food?

Bánh Xèo (homemade crispy Vietnamese savory crepes filled with marinated pork & shrimp)

Going out for dinner or homemade?

Homemade since there’s always leftovers, so I don’t have to cook the next meal. A food combination that you love... that others find weird:

I really love no tomato sauce on my pizza; extra veggies, and siracha. Isn’t that weird? What book is on your nightstand?

“The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary What show are you bingewatching? “Bridgerton”

Community Cornerq a &

What has the past year taught you?

The past year has taught me to slow down, be still, and enjoy the beauty in ordinary moments. I don't need to pack 50 things into a day. It also taught me how to be a better cook because I spent most of my time in the kitchen with the kids. We tried new recipes and were resilient in our efforts to recreate the meals we once enjoyed out. It became a family event every evening. Favorite quote?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Vanessa Bieker

Founder/President, The Fly Brave Foundation Story on page 32.

A food combination that you love... that others find weird:

I don't really have any weird food combos however I use nutmeg and ginger in my kjottkaker (meatballs) instead of garlic and onion and not all who dine on my cultural dish are a fan.

Going out for dinner or homemade?

I'm in the kitchen A LOT cooking for growing kids so a night off duty to enjoy a meal out is always a preference. Favorite food?

I have two dishes I could eat everyday. I'm Norwegian and I spent my early childhood in Korea. Norwegian dish: kjottkaker, "meat cakes," (meat balls) with brown gravy. Korean dish: bulgogi with kimchi.

What book is on your nightstand?

The book on my nightstand is Battlefield of the Mind. What show are you binge-watching?

The kids and I just finished binge watching Cobra Kai. Can't wait for season four!

Contributor’s Corner Justin Azevedo

Justin has been a Youth Services Librarian for Sacramento Public Library since 2010, and is currently the Youth Materials Selector for the system.

D’Lee Daleo

Switch Fitness Owner with a passion for life, family, friends and fitness. She's never met a stranger, loves the movie Elf and is living proof that fitness can be fun.

Aaron Andrew Grove

Serial Entrepreneur and Owner of Purely CBD of Elk Grove

Tra Huynh

Owner of Two Twenty Photos is a Fun Wedding and Family Photographer.

Dr. Dayle A. Imperato

A Board Certified physician, she has served the Sacramento community for the past 20 years. Owner of Rejuvenation Wellness & Aesthetic Medicine in Old Town, Elk Grove.

Jamie McCalman

Switch Fitness Owner and Mom to Braden, Kyla and Lea. Some Moms can juggle a lot, Jamie can literally juggle her three kids; yeah, she’s that strong.

Cindy Della Monica

Cheesemonger and Owner of Cheese Central in Lodi, Ca.

Carole Morris

Instructional Specialist, Author and Adjunct Professor. She is married to an outstanding, brilliant man and the mother of two grown aweinspiring children, and grammie to three flawless grandchildren.

Josh Myer

Is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones, he has a passion for coaching families and individual investors to achieve their financial goals. He loves being part of the Elk Grove community and spending time with his beautiful wife Molly and their two kids Riley and Jackson.

Anna Osborn

Anna lives in Elk Grove with her husband and school aged twins. She owns Life Unscripted Counseling in Midtown Sacramento.

Amanda Perry

Marketing Manager at McConnell Estates Winery

Elizabeth Pinkerton

Teacher and Administrator for 40 years, she is now a historian and author.

Justin Pinnell

Justin is not just another pretty face in Real Estate. He enjoys long walks on the beach and high mountain sunsets.

Susie Franklin Roeser

Owner & full time employee of Gifts From The Heart Of Elk Grove. Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mom x2, Carpool Minivan driver, 4-H Leader and lover of all things creative.

Dianna Singh

Owner of Elk Grove Vitamins for the past six years.

Brendle Wells

Is a librarian and lifelong reader who has a passion for sharing books with pretty much anyone she meets. She currently works as the Adult Materials Selector for the Sacramento Public Library and asks, “What have you read lately?”

14. - winter 2021

On the


Pizza, pizza, delightful pizza! It's time for a homemade slice and a glass of wine. Find your favorite combo (starting on page 18).

creative director

executive editor

business manager

Sara Pinnell

Carole Morris

art & production

Justin Pinnell


View Ardent for Life online at WWW.ARDENTFORLIFE.NET

Copyright © 2021 Mrs. and Mr. Publishing Published by Mrs. and Mr. Publishing six times a year Want to know about great events, open houses, and more? Like us on Facebook at Ardent For Life is distributed in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Lodi, and every point in between. Have a great story idea, or know someone that we should feature? Email us with your comments & suggestions at Interested in increasing your business and partnering with Ardent For Life? Check out The information in this publication is for informational purposes only. Mrs. and Mr. Publishing Inc. (DBA Ardent for Life) assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The information contained about each individual, event or organization is not necessarily the views of the magazine.

ARDENT f o r

Checking In

l i f e

Don’t you love this time of year? Oh, I know there is a lot of craziness going on right now; however, all the craziness can be forgotten when we walk outside and breathe deeply. The air is so fresh and isn’t it great to be alive?

You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it, warmth comes and a different light. Wendell Berry

We could interchange the word “Covid” with winter, right? Hasn’t it seemed never ending? Instead of focusing on the negative around us, let’s focus on the beauty around us, and look at the world in a different light.

executive editor

Carole Morris

What did we learn after reading this issue? We have a wonderful article about Fly Brave—a program created in January of 2016, in response to a need for the continued support for adults with developmental disabilities following their school years. All of Fly Brave’s programs are offered free of charge through grants, donors, corporate sponsors, and businesses like Elk Grove Vitamins who sell Fly Brave merchandise that is created with their Design program. There is an article about the best gift that we can give our children; the gift of self-monitoring and tolerance. Giving them the ability to be tolerant of others’ thoughts and beliefs and to have a discussion with individuals who may not agree with them. Also, there is an introduction to a nonfiction book written about issues that we face today…in regard to education and life. What Wisdom has Taught Me is based on 45 years of walking the walk (as an educator) and uses science and scripture from the Bible in regard to subjects that range from social drama to multi-tasking.

Even though the weather may be chilly, you’d be surprised how reading our beautiful Ardent magazine is tailor-made for getting rid of the doldrums. Put on your jammies, sip your favorite beverage...and enjoy!


PIZZA NIGHT By Bogle Vineyards

18. - winter 2021

Cast Iron Sausage and Fennel Pizza This pizza pairs particularly well with our Pinot Noir or Merlot.


food} Who doesn’t love pizza night and a glass of Bogle? Whether you are ordering in, gathering at your favorite pizzeria, or showing off your skills in the kitchen—pizza brings family and friends together. We love sharing our favorite homemade pizza recipes and pairing it with a bottle of Bogle wine. Make sure to visit our web site to check out our pro tips, like the perfect pizza dough! Pour that glass of wine, get that dough rolled out, and spread the toppings! It’s time for a pizza night! For more recipes and inspiration visit

Did you know that Bogle Vineyards does an annual pizza contest? The recipe that wows the judges with its uniqueness and flavor will be awarded $5,000 cash! There are also four category prizes of $1,000 ARV up for grabs: Best fusion recipe, best international flavor recipe, best US regional recipe, and best recipe representative of your state. You can find out more about The Flavors of the Nation recipe contest at It’s time to put on that apron…and try our three go-to recipes.

Serves: 8 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes (+4 hours 10 minutes standing time)

Dough: 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (approx.) 3/4 cup warm water (approx. 105ºF to 115ºF) 1 1/4 tsp instant active dry yeast 1 tsp granulated sugar 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp salt Toppings: 1/3 cup olive oil, divided 1 small onion, thinly sliced 1 red pepper, thinly sliced 1/2 bulb fennel, thinly sliced 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cracked pepper 2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed 3/4 cup pizza sauce 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Cooking Instructions 1. Dough: In bowl, stir together 1/4 cup flour,

warm water, yeast and sugar; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture starts to look bubbly and frothy. Using wooden spoon, stir in olive oil, remaining flour and salt to make loose dough. Transfer to lightly floured surface; knead for 10 to 15 minutes, adding flour as needed, to make soft, elastic, and slightly sticky dough.

2. Form dough into ball; transfer to lightly

greased bowl. Brush top of dough lightly with oil; cover with wet kitchen towel. Let stand in

warm spot for about 2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down dough; transfer to airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight; let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

3. Toppings: Place 12-inch cast iron skillet

in oven and preheat to 500ºF. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in large skillet set over medium-high heat; cook onion, red pepper, fennel, salt and pepper, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Transfer to plate; wipe skillet clean.

4. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in skillet set over

medium heat; cook sausage, breaking up into smaller pieces with wooden spoon. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough into 14-inch round. Add remaining oil to preheated cast iron skillet. Carefully transfer dough to heated skillet, pressing evenly up side of skillet.

6. Spread pizza sauce over dough. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella; top with sautéed onion mixture and cooked sausage. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and chili flakes.

7. Return skillet to oven; bake on bottom rack

for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden and crisp and cheese is melted. Let cool slightly.

Tip: For a zesty kick, try using hot Italian

sausage – or for a sweeter note, use a honeygarlic or sweet Italian sausage.   19


Chicken Pesto Pizza with Caramelized Onions This pizza pairs particularly well with our Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

Serves: 8 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 55 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (+12 hours 10 minutes standing time)

Ingredients Dough: 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (approx.) 3/4 cup warm water (approx. 105°F to 115ºF) 1 1/4 tsp instant active dry yeast 1 tsp granulated sugar 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp salt Toppings: 1/3 cup olive oil, divided 1 large white onion, thinly sliced 1 tbsp. butter 1/2 tsp salt, divided 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 1 cup shredded cooked rotisserie chicken 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese 1 cup fresh basil 1 tbsp. toasted pine nuts 1 large clove garlic 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 tsp pepper 20. - winter 2021

Instructions 1. Dough: In bowl, stir together 1/4 cup flour, 4. On lightly floured surface; roll out dough into warm water, yeast and sugar; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture starts to look bubbly and frothy. Using wooden spoon, stir in olive oil, remaining flour and salt to make loose dough. Transfer to lightly floured surface; knead for 10 to 15 minutes, adding flour as needed, to make soft, elastic, and slightly sticky dough.

8-inch round. Using hands, stretch dough into 12-inch round, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to lightly greased 12-inch pizza pan.

5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella over

dough. Top with chicken, caramelized onion and goat cheese. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, for 20 to 2. Form dough into ball; transfer to lightly 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown and greased bowl. Brush top of dough lightly with cheese is melted. oil; cover with wet kitchen towel. Let stand in warm spot for about 2 hours or until doubled 6. Meanwhile, in food processor, pulse together in size. Punch down dough; transfer to airtight basil, pine nuts and garlic until well combined. container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate Slowly add remaining olive oil, pulsing until overnight; let stand at room temperature for 2 smooth. Stir in Parmesan, pepper and remainhours. ing salt.

3. Toppings: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Heat 2 7. Drizzle 3 tbsp. of the pesto over pizza. tbsp. olive oil in large skillet set over medium heat; cook onion, butter and 1/4 tsp salt, stirring frequently, for 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Tip: Leftover pesto can be transferred to airtight

container and refrigerated for up to one week. Spoon over grilled meats and fish, or toss with pasta.

Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza This pizza pairs particularly well with our Old Vine Zinfandel or Rosé.

Serves: 8 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes (+12 hours 10 minutes standing time)


Dough: See page 20 Toppings: 1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets 3/4 cup buffalo hot sauce 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cracked pepper 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions 1. Dough: See page 20

3. Toppings: Preheat grill

to medium-high heat; grease grates well. Toss together cauliflower florets, buffalo hot sauce, salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until cauliflower is well marked and tender-crisp. Remove from heat; set aside.

4. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough into 12inch round; brush with oil. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until dough is

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese 2 tbsp ranch dressing 2 green onions, thinly sliced well marked. Sprinkle 3/4 cup Cheddar over dough. Arrange cauliflower florets evenly on top. Sprinkle with red onion. Top with remaining Cheddar and blue cheese.

5. Return to grill; cook on

low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cheese is melted. Let cool slightly. Drizzle with ranch dressing; sprinkle with green onions.

Tip: For added protein,

substitute shredded cooked chicken for cauliflower.   21


Genuine Canadian By Carole Morris

POUTINE While Canadian Poutine may look like nothing more than a delicious pile of fries, gravy, and half-melted cheese curds, it is a signature dish in Quebec, Canada. Poutine was born the same year that I was (1953), obviously a truly magical year! The recipe for Poutine was invented when a trucker asked Fernand Lachance to add cheese curds to his fries in Warwick, Quebec. Poutine (pronounced Poo-tin) is a French slang work in Quebec that means a mess. Amazingly, it’s more than a half a century since it first appeared in rural Quebec restaurants across Canada. However, neither the Poutine recipe nor I feel that old… In the 1970s New York and New Jersey served Poutine as a late-night side dish at clubs. They called it disco fries. There are many additions such as bacon, chicken, gravy, fries, onions and mushrooms that can be added for variation. While English-speaking Canadians usually pronounce Poutine, Pooteen, authentic Canadian Poutine always features deep-fried fries, poutine gravy and white cheddar cheese curds all tossed together. Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Serves approximately 4

INGREDIENTS for Gravy 7 Tablespoons butter 2 Tablespoons water 3 Tablespoons cornstarch 1/4 cup flour 10 oz chicken broth 20 oz beef broth Pepper (to taste, but needs quite a bit for flavor) 24. - winter 2021

INGREDIENTS for Fries 4 medium potatoes oil

Topping 2 cups white cheddar cheese curds or chunks of mozzarella cheese

Instructions Gravy:

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water and set aside. Next, in a large saucepan, melt the butter. Slowly, stir in the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stir continually until the mixture turns golden brown.

Using a whisk, add beef and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking until smooth. Then, slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture and simmer for a minute or so. Season with pepper to taste. If needed add additional salt, to taste. Keep warm until your fries are ready.

Fried Fries:

Wash your potatoes and cut into 1/2-inchthick sticks (leaving the skins on). Then place onto a sheet of paper towel and remove excess moisture. To cook potatoes, heat your oil in your deep fryer or heavy cooking pot to 300° F.

When temperature of the oil reaches 375°F, drop your fries into the oil and cook for 5-8 minutes until potatoes are golden brown. Remove from oil and place onto a paper towellined plate.


Place your fries in a large bowl or platter. Season lightly with salt while still warm. Add a ladle of hot gravy to the bowl, then carefully toss the fries in the gravy. Add more gravy, to coat the fries.

Add the cheese curds (or chunks of mozzarella cheese) and toss with the hot fries and gravy. Serve immediately with freshly ground pepper.

Remember my friends, as we await warm, balmy weather, potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which make them very healthy. Studies have linked potatoes to impressive health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced heart disease risk and higher immunity… As they say in Montreal… savourer (enjoy).

food}   25



with Delicious

Edibles By Cindy Della Monica, Cheesemonger and Owner, Cheese Central

26. - winter 2021

food} There’s a house near mine that has two small raised beds built squarely in the middle of the small front lawn. In an old

section of town, with mature shade trees lining the streets, the house styles range from Victorian, to Craftsman, to 50’s Ranch and 60’s “build-emquick” developer homes. That house has exposure to very little sunshine on its shady street, but gosh darn it!, the occupants have figured out just where to place those two boxes to successfully grow a few tomato plants, lettuces and a trailing vine of pumpkin. It is a charming, effective way to get a bit of “home-grown” farm flavor into their meals. Now, I am not suggesting that you rip up your lawn and grown rows of corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and cucumbers. Though some energetic gardeners have eliminated thirsty lawns and done just that, AND with an eye to doing it beautifully with raised boxes, decomposed granite or pebble walkways, and eye-catching garden sculptures, most of us aren’t interested in turning our in-town residence into a small farm. I suggest taking a thoughtful look at your traditional yard, complete with lots of thirsty lawn, a few foundation plants, maybe a tree centered on one side of the walkway. Banish from your mind the traditional vegetable garden row design. Embrace the thought that most of our small yards can be home to interesting edible foliage plants, combinations of beneficial-tothe-environment plants, like ones that feed honey bees, or draw butterflies and hummingbirds. Or companion plants that deter pests such as damaging insects, rodents or deer. AND edibles for our home table. Consider removing that central tree… replace it with a fruit tree or two, big and small (i.e. fig, citrus, apple, pomegranate, and pears) and plant to one side of your yard, lending more sunny exposure to the middle and edges. Simple pruning keeps some in check. Bush edibles, such as blueberries, culinary bay laurel (great for meat marinades, stews and soups), guava, kumquat, rosemary (piney, delicious many ways) and lavender (very strong and floral) can form beautiful wide borders to your existing lawn. Artichokes and rhubarb come back year after year, with interesting foliage and seasonal edible parts. Vining plants, such as kiwi, cantaloupe, cucumber and grapes, are easily trained on a trellis, oblisk or arch. Smaller annual plants like eggplant, fennel, carrots, zucchini (double benefit of squash blossom and vegetable harvest), lettuce and chard, are all annual edible plants that can be tucked in next to existing camellias, fill in the bare patches in foundation borders, and the understory of rose bushes. Add a large, beautifully colored ceramic pot as a focal point somewhere in your existing landscape. Filled to overflowing with tall basil, blue-flowered borage (cucumber-y flowers and chopped leaves), wispy chives (both the green blades and the purple flower heads are onion-y), and cascading thyme—a quick “haircut” with scissors allows you to enhance your summer meals with the bountiful flavors that freshly chopped herbs will impart. You will be amazed at the visiual transformation to your yard without major re-landscaping plans, too.

Edible flowers won’t entice the public to harvest from your front yard—but YOU will know how tasty they are. The petals of your existing roses (sweet, light spice), enhanced with other edible flowers such as nasturtiums (peppery like watercress or radish), calendula (spicy and tangy), and any of the pansy family--violets and Johnny-Jump-Ups (sweet, green flavor)--will make Spring and Summer salads much more colorful and tasty with their addition. Sweet flowers and herbs are gorgeous as natural cupcake and cake decoration: think roses, chamomile (apple flavor), and strawberry blossoms. Savory flowers, for example chives and nasturtiums, would be pretty on cake but would bring more peppery flavors to the party—so pick complementary cake flavors, maybe strawberries and basil, or dark chocolate and chilies. Beverage garnish, cheese recipes, or garnishing food platters are terrific ways to bring the garden into the kitchen. Visit these websites for great examples of cheese and flowers together (, Of course, only eat the flowers that you know are pesticide-free and grown organically. Many of the flowers you purchase from the florist or grocery have been grown with pesticides.

Now is the time to start thinking about your landscape additions, either front yard or back. Spring is on its way! The following books are fun Winter reads, have good photos and ideas, and inspire Spring activity. An internet search will get you some good ideas as well. The Edible Flower Garden, by Rosalind Creasy The Beautiful Edible Garden, by Leslie Bennet and Stefani Bittner The Edible Front Yard: the Mow-less, Grow-more Plan for a Beautiful Bountiful Garden, by Ivette Soler The Edible Landscape, by Emily Tepe Foodscaping: Practical and Innovative Ways to Create and Edible Landscape, by Charlie Nardozzi

Browse through the three fun recipes on the next page.   27


Floral Ice Cubes

Clear ice cubes with flowers in them are so pretty for beverages, from sparkling water, lemonade or an alcoholic beverage. Boil water for clear cubes, or use tap water for “cloudy ones,” also a pretty presentation. Violet, pansy, nasturtiums, and more make pretty cubes.

Flower Power Salad

Spring luncheon of this yummy salad, fresh crusty bread and a well-rounded cheese plate will put everyone in a great mood. Our shop’s selection of seasonal cheese starts arriving mid-February, though this salad and year-round cheeses are not to be missed! Nasturtium (peppery) Pansy and Violas (fresh, wintergreen) Calendula (tangy, sharp) Pea Flowers (pea) Zucchini (delicate, mild squash) Chives (mild onion) Mixed fresh lettuce leaves, choosing bright green and red leaf types Chive Vinaigrette*, or other favorite dressing Fresh from the garden flowers don’t need washing before eating them if you grow without pesticides, and washing the petals makes them damp and stick together. If you have some soil or garden friends on the flowers, remove the petals and put them into a small salad spinner. A quick soak and spin will make them ready for your salad. Toss them into the dry, undressed lettuces, and with great flourish, toss at tableside so all can see the kaleidoscope of color before them!

*Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar

Add chive blossoms loosely in a 1 pint Mason jar. Pour white wine vinegar over them and fill up the jar. Add a lid and set in a cool, dark place. After two weeks, strain the vinegar and use it to make vinaigrette.

28. - winter 2021



Shrimp &

Grits Recipe by World Spice Merchants Photography by Charity Burggraaf

Have you ever eaten something so good that it induces a trance? Well, check out our Voodoo Shrimp and Grits. This classic dish features our all-star spice blend Voodoo, a robust seasoning which includes onion, garlic, whole mustard seeds, thyme and allspice on a base of peppercorns and sea salts. We are excited to share Voodoo Shrimp and Grits just in time for Mardis Gras. French for Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. With no shortage of richness, this recipe could be the inspiration for your own Mardi Gras ritual.

30. - winter 2021 30. - winter 2021


Voodoo Shrimp and Grits


For the Grits 6 cups water

1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 1/2 cups stone ground grits or polenta 3 cups half and half 1 stick butter, cut into pieces 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper 1/2 teaspoon Voodoo

For the Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 andouille sausages 1 medium sweet onion, chopped 1 red pepper, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dulce pimenton 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano 1 1/2 cups fish stock or shrimp stock made from reserved shells 1/3 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 pounds fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined Voodoo, to taste

Instructions For the Grits: 1. Put water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add salt and slowly sprinkle in grits while stirring with a wooden spoon, then add the half-and-half and return to a simmer.

2. Cook the grits slowly, over low heat for 30-40 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in butter, Tellicherry black pepper and Voodoo. Continue to cook grits until they are smooth and creamy.

3. Hold covered, in a warm spot, while you finish preparing the shrimp and sauce. For the Sauce: 1. In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and brown the andouille sausage. Once the sausage begins to brown, about 3-4 minutes, remove from pan and set aside.

2. Season both sides of the shrimp with a sprinkle of Voodoo and sear

over medium high heat for about a minute on each side, working in batches to not crowd the pan. Remove from pan and set aside. 3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to pan. Add cooked sausage onion, pepper, garlic and spices. Sauté for 3 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent. 4. Add stock and bring to boil, gently scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any flavorful bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and slowly add the cream. 5. Bring up to a simmer and allow to reduce until sauce begins to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.

6. Once thickened, add seared shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked, about 2-3 minutes.

7. When the sauce is finished, rewarm the grits and serve in a shallow bowl with the sauce spooned over the grits. Finish with Voodoo to taste.   31


I stopped in at Elk Grove Vitamins to see the proprietor, Dianna Singh, and to pick up some health essentials that my family needed. When I entered the store, Dianna was clearing a section of the wall and bubbling with excitement. Being the curious sort, I asked her what all the excitement was about (cleaning NEVER puts me in a good mood). Dianna said that Elk Grove Vitamins was going to carry a new line of clothing, Fly Brave. 32. - winter 2021

From left to right: Saul, Anthony, Drea, John, Cody, Jason. Photo by Ananda Rochita.


Dianna then proceeded to tell me about Fly Brave… and the amazing people that make up Fly Brave’s remarkable organization. After being inspired by Dianna, I asked her to help me get in contact with the organization. Let me introduce you to Vanessa Bieker, John Almeda, and Fly Brave’s inception. Vanessa Bieker is the mother of John (who is a true inspiration) and the founder of Fly Brave. Vanessa talked about Fly Brave beginnings, “When my son John, who is a runner and happens to have non-verbal autism, was aging out of the school system at 22 years old; I began searching for programs to continue his growth and steps to independence into adulthood. Coming up short, I left my career behind to build a foundation for John and others like him in our community, to build upon their strengths and talents to live a purpose-filled life. I could not do this alone. Dedicated Board of Directors, community members, friends, and parent volunteers became a village that consisted of those who share the same vision. In fact, we just celebrated our 5th year in operation on January 21, 2021. Basically, John and I grew up together…I was just 22 years old when he was diagnosed at 18 months

of age. Though I was a single mom who worked full time and attended college at night, my quest to give John a purpose-filled life was a priority. When John was diagnosed, I went through a roller coaster ride of emotions. However, I didn’t sit there long; I got up and became pro-active in making sure he experienced everything life had to offer. There wasn’t much support in the early 90’s. I joined a parent support group where I met a therapist who told me the best thing I could do for him was to immerse him in the world; to give him every life experience possible to help him navigate through the world of autism. I took that information to heart and over the next two decades, we would become explorers. We found his gift of running in 2014, when we were out for a walk and stumbled upon a high school track. John experienced the normal pains of puberty and our evening strolls gave him a sense of calm. However, this time he was different. After running around that track several times, his anxiety lessened and instead of getting up throughout the night, he slept a full eight hours uninterrupted. Consequently, John joined the Sacramento County Chargers Special Olympics Track and Field team and wowed the community with his 5-minute mile. He went on to run in 5/10k


John Michael (T-shirt artists) Photo by Ananda Rochita.

John running the Boston Marathon races and his dream got bigger. John wanted to run in the Boston Marathon. He watched it annually on the news. He began running half marathons, 20 milers, and eventually his first full marathon, CIM, (California International Marathon), on Dec 3, 2017, in hopes he could qualify for the Boston Marathon. During his run, John sustained a broken ankle during the marathon around mile 6. Yet, he was determined to finish and he did. Despite his injury, he qualified for the Boston Marathon, completing the 26.2-mile race in 4 hours and 27 minutes. On December 2, 2018, John ran CIM once again to upgrade his time for Boston and finished in 3:17! John ran the 2019 Boston Marathon on April 15th, in 3:52; sponsored by Total Nutrition and coached by Darren Morgan, Fleet Feet Racing. The Eppie’s Wellness Foundation sponsored Darren’s way to Boston. After achieving his Boston goal John wasn't done. He has turned his passion for running into a professional career. He ran in the Boston Qualifying Revel race series, completing the Big Bear Marathon, his first mountain race that began at 6700 ft in elevation without a guide, on November 9. 2019, and finished in 3:28. He qualified for Boston once again! He will re-run Boston in April 2021 and if that is canceled, he is scheduled to run the Revel race series Park City, UT Marathon on May 1, 2021; a smaller race of 400 athletes. On February 29, 2020, he ran the Salmon Falls 50K, a 31- mile trail race. He finished in under 5 hours and came in the top 15 runners.While he was set to run AR50, a 50 MILE TRAIL RACE. Sadly, on April 4, 2020, COVID-19 canceled the run along


The crew dropping off their custom t-shirts at Elk Grove Vitamins. From left to right: John, Dianna, Alex, Luke, Vanessa

Fly Brave was created in January of 2016, in response to a need for the continued support for adults with developmental disabilities following the school years. with all of his other scheduled races for the year. This didn’t stop his training. He is still out on the trails 3-4 days a week preparing for the day he can once again take his place at the starting line. He has set his sights on running the Western States 100-mile race one day. He receives messages of encouragement and appreciation from all over the world. His story is one of hope and inspiration and his message remains the same, he is first a runner, who happens to have nonverbal autism. He holds a job, has found love with his girlfriend Drea (they just celebrated their 2-year anniversary) and is a professional athlete. Non-verbal autism doesn’t define him. You can do anything you put your mind to, regardless of your disability so NEVER GIVE UP! Fly Brave was created in January of 2016, in response to a need for the continued support for adults with developmental disabilities following the school years. Fly Brave started with five families and today serves over 250. Over the last five years, Fly Brave has established community-based employment training programs (landscaping and a pop-upmarket), a public speaking network of self-advocates, social skills workshops, numerous events (proms, karaoke, Fashion Shows, Talent Show, Art Shows), a successful micro-business (online Etsy shop), fitness programs (running club, yoga, fitness in the park, Sky High Sports meets ups), police involvement fitness program (Fly Fit) which started with the Elk Grove Police Dept., art and theater programs, and community integration through volunteerism.

ALL of the programs are offered FREE OF CHARGE through grants, donors, corporate sponsors, and businesses like Elk Grove Vitamins who sell Fly Brave merchandise that is created in our Art and Design program. John’s story truly inspired me, because I wanted to help I returned to Elk Grove Vitamins when their first shipment of inspirational shirts arrived. I purchased one for my daughter that turned out to be a favorite saying of Dianna's—DO NOT DISTURB my peace, my joy, my grind, my whole entire vibe. Thank you—Dianna, and Vanessa for helping others and making a real difference in this world! You can purchase Fly Brave's custom t-shirts at Elk Grove Vitamins. To learn more about the amazing ways Fly Brave is helping the community visit   33



Lien Hoang


Photographed by Two Twenty Photos

WHO ARE YOU? My name is Lien Nguyen. I am a first grade teacher from Stockton, CA. I love coffee, wine, and anything outdoorsy.

Who are you?

My name is Hoang Nguyen. I am an IT specialist from Stockton, CA. I love to fish, bike, watch sports, and play games on my computer.

How did you meet?

Hoang was a senior and I was a freshman at Stagg High School. We were both on the badminton team; however, we did not start dating until college. SAC STATE!

The Proposal?

Hoang surprised me over dinner at Market Tavern in Stockton. Hoang is simple. He is a guy with very few words. Hoang went down on one knee and asked me the one question I have been waiting forever; "Will you marry me?" Of course, I said YES!

What is love?

Lien: Love is more than a feeling. It is a commitment. Love is communication, connection, trust, honesty, respect, support, and happiness.

What is love?

Hoang: Love is this beautiful feeling that you can't explain.

What do you love most about him?

To this day, Hoang still gives me butterflies. There is so much to love about him. He is smart, caring, kind, and adventurous. When I am having a bad day, Hoang is always there to tell me everything will be okay.

What do you love most about her? I love everything about her.

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is more than a feeling. It is a commitment. Love is communication, connection, trust, honesty, respect, support, and happiness.   35




this day, Hoang still gives me butterflies. There is so much to love about him. He is smart, caring, kind, and adventurous.

When did you know you were in love?

Hoang is tough in the outside, but sweet in the inside. I knew I was in love when I got to know him for the person that he truly is.

When did you know you were in love?

Lien is perfect for me. I knew I was in love when I first dated her.

Fun facts

We are always down to have a good time. Cheers to everything!

Honeymoon plans

We would love to travel through Asia, whenever that is possible again.

Wedding details

We had originally made plans for a big wedding at Happy Garden Restaurant in Sacramento, CA. Due to Covid restrictions, we cancelled our venue/vendors and had a small wedding at our parents' home. Most of our wedding details (bou-

36. - winter 2021

quet, cake, video, etc.) are from friends and/or local businesses that are advertised on social media. On our wedding day, we were surrounded by our closest friends and family. We made the most of what we were able to have that day and it turned out perfect. Special thanks to our friends: Trang, Bin, KT, Vu, Sareth, Violet, Julie, Tracy, Mai, Cbo, Nugget, and Kimmie for making our day possible.

What is the cultural significance of the Tea Ceremony?

Hoang and I are both Vietnamese. It was very important to our parents that we have the traditional tea ceremony on our wedding day. The tea ceremony is a celebration of the union of two families, and a way to pay respect and show appreciation for the love of our parents, relatives, and ancestors. During the tea ceremony, our parents showered us with gifts and gave us advice for a long lasting marriage. They also gave us their blessings and well wishes on our new journey as husband and wife.

Photographer Two Twenty Photos Videographer Cbo Nguyen Desserts/cake Marlene-Marlene's Cakes Hair and makeup Hair: Nugget Le @Shear Hair Studio Makeup: Lisa K @Lux Salon Florist Mai Cao-Buds in a Box Bride's Dress Miosa Bride Rings Kim Hoa Jewelry



Learning your personality traits will truly be a defining moment in your life. The knowledge you gain will help you know who you are, and why you do things the way you do. After you have clarified “who” you are, the next step is to have your significant other take the test. This will be a huge benefit to your relationship—because we all know that opposites attract. I am fighting the urge to let out a long drawn-out sigh. It would be so much simpler if we were drawn to personalities who are “like” us. Instead, introverts are drawn to extroverts, morning people are drawn to night people, and planners are drawn to impulsive individuals. After the initial wow of a relationship, sustaining a commitment to one another… takes balance. This is where knowing your personality traits is essential; so that you both become flexible and enhance each other’s personality. 38. - winter 2021

By CT Morris - BS Elementary Ed., MS Ed. Additionally, it is also imperative for your children to take the test so that you can better understand them. Siblings may share the same genes, but their personalities will be very different. It is mind boggling when you think about it. Research has proven that children are similar to their siblings only 20 percent of the time. This tells us that the discipline strategies that worked with the first child will not work with the second or third child. However, if we know their personalities we can figure out a strategy that will work for each of the children, as individuals. So, let’s look at the Myers-Briggs-Jung Type Indicator (MBTI), which is a questionnaire that measures an individual’s psychological inclinations. According to MBTI typology, people are born with a psychological type similar to being born either right or left handed. The functions are separated in the following way: Extravert or Introvert; Sensing or Intuition; Thinking or Feeling; and Judging or Perception. MBTI is used extensively in various professions to help build community in the work place. In

addition, health care professionals utilize the questionnaire to understand their patients. While educators use it to help guide students in a career choice that fits their personality. I used it in the classes I taught for college freshman, it truly facilitated them in their career path. The questionnaire is free to take, but the key to getting an accurate evaluation is to answer all questions honestly. The link to the questionnaire is; After you take the questionnaire, there are tabs available that will define each function. In addition, there is information available regarding career choices and famous people who have your personality trait. The win-win of the MBTI is the fact that this is not a contest, there isn’t a superior personality trait. All of the personalities have their strengths and weaknesses. As Guy Harrison said, “Perfection is overrated, boring. It’s the imperfections that make us who we are, that make us real, beautiful… necessary.”


FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF After Losing a Bid on Your Dream Home (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM)

When we think of real estate, we tend to think of the positives: a place to call our own, beautiful interior design, and— if ratings are any indication—all the wildly entertaining real estate TV shows. Whether they admit it or not, most people dream of the day when they’ll get to sign the paperwork on their dream home. But what happens when that dream goes awry and becomes a nightmare? Sounds scary, right?

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Picture this: you’ve finally found your dream home, and it’s perfect! It has everything you’re looking for (except a light fixture that needs to be replaced, but that’s not a huge deal).You’ve waited years for this moment. You put in a bid—a great bid—and cross your fingers and toes. But then you get a call with the bad news…the seller went with another offer.


Try as you might, you’re going to go through the five stages of grief after losing a bid on your dream home. They usually look something like this:

1. Denial

“How could they have gone with another offer? Don’t they know how much we loved this house? We

bid over asking! There must have been some sort of mistake. I should call and schedule the movers just in case.”

2. Anger

“Who do they think they are? Nobody rejects me, I reject them! I hope they fail the inspection. If I can’t have this house, then no one should have it.”

3. Bargaining

“Is it too late to make another offer? Just tell me how much the winning bid was and I’ll add another $5,000 on top of it. Okay, make it $10,000! How about this: what if I offer to let them come back and use the pool whenever they want…they’ll go for it, right? They like dogs, maybe they’ll take a puppy to sweeten the deal.”


Try as you might, you’re going to go through the five stages of grief after losing a bid on your dream home. 4. Depression

“This is terrible. It’s the only house I’ve ever truly wanted and I’ll never find one like it again. What’s the point of working so hard if I can’t even get an offer accepted? Why do I always have to settle? I wish I’d never gone to see this house so I wouldn’t have to think about what I’ve lost.”

5. Acceptance

“You know what? Everything happens for a reason. If I was meant to buy that house, then they would have accepted the offer. Let’s keep looking. Something else will come along, and it might even be a better fit. No use crying over spilled milk.”

Avoiding The Grief (and Aggravation)…

Losing a bid on your dream home can be painful, but the good news is there are things you can do to maximize your chances of an accepted offer.

• First, make sure that you’re pre-approved well in advance, so when that dream house comes on the market, you’ll be ready to go. • Then, when it comes to the market, don’t hesitate. Go see it ASAP and put in an offer as soon as you can, and make sure to include your pre-approval. • When submitting your offer, make sure it’s strong. If you want the house, don’t play around and try to offer less than you’d be willing to pay. If they go with another offer, you’ll want to know that you gave it your best shot. • And lastly, try to be accommodating with your terms. If you want the perfect house, you need to be the perfect buyer. Don’t feel bad if you’ve “lost” a house that you love. It happens! And, it’s natural to go through the stages of grief. Sometimes out of your control and just due to the market—supply, and demand. Just do what you can to avoid it happening time and time again. As always, if you’re in the market for a new home and want to minimize the chances of going through grief, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact Justin Pinnell DRE- 02045095, M&M Real Estate at (916) 812.0576 or 42. - winter 2021   43


Carole Morris Pinnell Has penned a new

book, What Wisdom has Taught Me. By Kristen Hamilton

CT Morris’s first novel, Montana Unveiled is a Hit! When I read a good book I get sucked in and most often I can’t put it down until I’ve read the last word. Unfortunately that means staying up way too late more often than not. When reading Montana Unveiled by CT Morris I fell into this predicable trap. From start to finish I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Morris weaves an intriguing tale of false accusations, police corruption, murder, all with a little romance thrown in. I loved the story’s heroine and her strong “Montana” personality. She did a great job of developing all of the characters and you felt as if you knew each and every one of them. She also kept things very interesting by referencing local businesses and landmarks throughout the story. It really helped give the reader ownership of the tale. If you want a great little read for a quiet evening or down at the lake, pick up Montana Unveiled … you won’t be disappointed. Following Montana Unveiled, CT Morris (AKA Carole Morris Pinnell) has written a new book called What Wisdom has Taught Me. The book is nonfiction and written about issues that we face today…in regard to education and life. The writings are based on 45 years of Carole walking the walk (as an educator) and uses science and scripture from the Bible to undergird what she says in regard to subjects that range from social drama to multi-tasking. 44. - winter 2021

In What Wisdom has Taught Me, Carole shares how to walk with God and become the architect of our own lives instead of being victims to circumstance. It is truly a book that will inspire you and give you educational tools that will help others. Find both books on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

About the author

CT Morris (Carole Morris-Pinnell) Carole is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and author. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Great Falls and followed that with her Master of Science in Education/Higher Education Administration from Western Governors University. Currently Carole is the Editor of Ardent Magazine in Elk Grove, California and an Elementary School Teacher in Lodi, California. Plus she provides many of the amazing food spreads you surely enjoy in Ardent for Life magazine! I know I’ve tried many of the recipes she’s shared and they have been hits every time. I guess we should add accomplished cook to the list above!



Prior to moving to California, She and her husband Joe lived in the valley for 36 years. She spent the last seven of those as an Adjunct Professor at Flathead Valley Community College. Carole says, “Montana has a unique culture that no other state has.” In reading the acknowledgments of Montana Unveiled, it is apparent how important family is to Carole. Her kids (and their spouses) along with her grandkids bring her true joy. You can hear the sincerity in her words as she raves about her three perfect grandchildren and what a blessing they are. That is why they opted to relocate to California. Both of their grown children moved there with their “precious grandbabies.” She said, “We traveled back and forth for many years, but we REALLY missed them. Now, they are just across town!” Being a new grandparent myself I can really relate! Although family now surrounds Carole again, she definitely misses Montana. She said, “I miss my dear friends, coworkers at Flathead Valley Community College and my church family at New Life Center. I also miss seeing the beautiful landscape that only Montana has.” Being in education, Carole has written many articles and curriculum over the years but Montana Unveiled is her first fiction novel. She said of this experience “…it was a lot of fun!” She went on to explain about the process, “My mind has always been a little different…and I love writing, so the writing part was easy. I wrote using past experiences and people that have impacted my life—in good and bad ways. Then I started weaving the story, and the characters came alive. I actually had a hard time ending the story and letting the characters go.” As I mentioned earlier I love the way Carole developed her characters in the story. A couple of my favorite characters include her African Grey Parrot who has been part of her family for 18 years now and her Great Dane. She said the parrot is the “smartest pet” she’s ever had and the Great Dane is a sweet and loyal dog.

The newest book What Wisdom has Taught Me is the first non-fiction book that Carole has written. She felt that she has finally reached the age of credibility (now that she has gray hair) to be able to share her life’s experience and give support to others…in areas that she feels are her strength. I asked Carole about the ending of Montana Unveiled and that it seemed like she left the door open for Arianna (the heroine) to partake on another adventure that she of course would write. She said, “Yes, I’ve started a follow up story that highlights the Native American culture Montana has; with Arianna and Josiah entangled in another adventure.” I look forward to that story for sure!

Carole with her husband and grandbabies. From left to right: Nicolas, Adiryn, Joe, Carole, and Nicole.   45

art} BOOKS

Reviews brought to you by the


By: Jess Walter

Book Reviews by BRENDLE WELLS A book about labor unions in Spokane at the turn of the 20th century doesn’t sound like an exciting book premise, but in the capable hands of Jess Walter it makes for an arresting page turner that leaves the reader with much to contemplate. The story takes the efforts of the IWW (“wobblies”) to make work safe and fair for the employee (to say it was very unsafe and very unfair at the time would be an understatement) and personalizes it through the stories of two brothers who get caught up in the oftentimes violent struggle. Older brother Gig is a passionate union man, while younger brother Rye wants to support his brother in his fight, but wonders if it is worth paying the high cost exacted by the authorities. Walter also weaves in chapters to tell the stories of the people around them, some real historical figures, some fictional. It all winds together into a slice of history from the lives of ordinary people who got involved in something much bigger than themselves. Walter’s previous book, The Beautiful Ruins, featured pages full of enchanting sundrenched gorgeousness. The Cold Millions does not have that, but it does have the cold frozen mud of persistent struggle, something which is truly beautiful in its own way. Highly recommended for book groups and readers of historical and popular fiction. Harper Collins, 2020

Winter Counts

By: David Heska Wanbli Weiden If you’re looking for something new in crime fiction, this fall debut is a must. Set on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, it stars Virgil Wounded Horse who gets by as a part time enforcer to do what law enforcement can’t or won’t do. And, unfortunately, on the Reservation that includes quite a bit. When his nephew nearly overdoses on heroin, Virgil goes after the dealers who brought it to the reservation. But this isn’t a vigilante revenge story, instead it is much more complicated than that. Before long, federal law enforcement is involved and they want his help because these are no small-time dealers. Everyone agrees that if the dealers establish a foothold on the reservation it would be disastrous for all concerned, but there are a number of reasons why Virgil finds the law enforcement officers somewhat less than trustworthy. So, there’s great crime drama here to draw readers in. But at the heart, however, this book isn’t about the crime. It’s about the Reservation community and the people who make it up. In its robust portrayals of the residents and life on the Reservation, this book shines, immersing the reader into a vivid setting. Weiden creates a world that readers will want to return to, characters they will want to spend more time with. This is a good selection for book discussion groups, crime fiction readers, and general fiction readers. Ecco Books, 2020 46. - Holiday 2020

art} BOOKS

T h i s i s Yo u r T i m e

Author: Ruby Bridges Children's Book Reviews By JUSTIN AZEVEDO

Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges directly addresses the reader in this small picture book that connects her experience integrating a New Orleans elementary school in the 1960s with today’s struggles for justice. Beginning as an autobiography, Bridges recounts her harrowing experience in short, easy-to-read sentences that are accompanied with real photographs that document her walk to school amidst angry crowds, as well as her loving family and her kind, supportive teacher. The stirring collection of photographs continues through her experiences talking to students during her many school visits, and an end-note that touches on the 2020 George Floyd protests which deftly contrasts modern photos with historical ones, to great effect. Through the entire “letter,” Bridges speaks to the strength that lies in the young reader, and invites them to hold onto their hope and use it for positive change, just as she has tried to do. Though a quick read, this book imparts a potent, timely message that is easy for even the youngest readers to absorb, but resonant for readers of all ages. While it’s a perfect resource for teaching an important element of Black history, it’s also a lovely, lilting story that can be read together as a gentle exhortation to our better natures. A beautiful, important affirmation, recommended for ages 5-8. Delacorte Press, 2020


Author: Darcie Little Badger In a parallel America where monsters and legends walk alongside people, a Lipan Apache teen must unravel a mystery tied to a generational evil. Elatsoe “Ellie” Bride has the ability to summon spirits from beyond the grave. When her cousin dies in a tragic accident, his spirit appears to Ellie and reveals that his death was no accident, begging her to protect his family. When she travels to his small Texas town to learn more, she uncovers a sinister force that has preyed upon Native people for years, and solidifies her place in the lineage of her ancestors in her attempt to take it on and vanquish it. The suspenseful story blends contemporary fantasy adventure with themes of colonialism, and Lipan Apache stories sit alongside brushes with fairies and vampires. All of these ideas come together beautifully with Ellie herself as the linchpin— a witty, sympathetic character with a lot to live up to, who will be instantly familiar to readers who grew up on other contemporary children’s and young adult fantasy series. This book, however, steps beyond familiar genre tropes to offer both much-needed representation and a thrilling, original story. Recommended for ages 13-17. Levine Querido, 2020

WWW.SACLI BRARY.ORG For details, telephone the Sacramento Public Library at (916) 264-2920 or visit   47


What I’ve Learned About

Censoring By CT Morris - BS Elementary Ed., MS Ed.

A long, long time ago, when I was in my early 20’s, I went to college (for the first time). At that interval in my life, I remember the religious sector wanting radio, television and books to be censored…this was before the internet was even imagined. Even though I was a Christian, I knew in my heart that censorship was wrong. If I don’t agree with someone’s thoughts or expression—they shouldn’t be silenced. Why? The First Amendment protects American people from censorship. We cannot limit freedom of thought and expression by restricting spoken words, printed matter, symbolic messages, and freedom of association, books, art, music, movies, television programs, and Internet sites. When the government engages in censorship, First Amendment freedoms are implicated. It’s wrong at every level! If I don’t like a certain book, movie, Facebook site, Twitter account…then I don’t buy it or look at it. It’s really easy, I turn it off or just walk away. The censorship that I’ve been seeing literally sends a chill down my back. In other countries, citizens’ access to content is controlled by government. Some countries destroy graphic content and they censor or delete speech the government defines as hateful or offensive. In North Korea, most people are denied access to the global internet altogether. If you look at the nine characteristics of communism, one of the main characteristics is repression; repression of speech, religion, movement, and right to privacy—one word definition…censorship. What gives a person or company the right to make individual judgments about the content of speech? Government in other 48. - winter 2021

countries (that are censored) go after what they call hate speech or people who have a different view than them. Wow, are we seeing this now? Instead of people turning off what they disagree with, the media is censoring people’s posts that they don’t agree with or doesn’t align with their beliefs. We are becoming less free every time they do this, especially when we say nothing and allow it.

In the United States, the First Amendment seeks to protect political dissent. If I oppose or disagree with the policies of a governing body, they can’t burn my books or delete me from social media. We practice the First Amendment in my classroom, my students are protected… because this is a free country. They agree using the Socratic method of discussion— students are also allowed to disagree and to voice their thoughts (isn’t that the American way)? They clearly state their opinion and give supporting reasons why they have that opinion. They do this in a mindful way, without yelling, slandering or belittling the students who don’t agree with them.

As a teacher, I don’t delete the students who I disagree with, or give them less time to state their opinion. They don’t receive a grade based on their opinion, you know… if I agree they get an A—if I disagree they get a D-.

The best gift that we can give our children is the gift of self-monitoring and tolerance. Giving them the ability to be tolerant of others’ thoughts and beliefs and to have a discussion with individuals who may not agree with them. To be the ideal companion for Socratic questioning, we need to be genuinely curious, willing to take the time and energy to unpack beliefs, and able to logically and dispassionately review contradictions and inconsistencies. Our society could learn a lot from this 2500-year old approach to conversation with individuals we don’t agree with.

When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser. SOCRATES

education}   49 49

Choose Your Hard By Anna Osborn, LMFT, owner of Life Unscripted Counseling

50 50. . - winter winter2021 2021

health} I came across a simple quote at the end of last year and it’s stuck with me despite the weeks (and months) passing along. Although the exact wording of it has escaped me, the sentiment has lingered. Simply put, it said that the paths in our lives are hard regardless and yet we get to choose how we manage that “hard”. It felt like an explosion of truth, right there all over my kitchen floor. Because the truth is, life is really hard right now. It’s hard for me and I’m sure it’s hard for you.

It’s hard for me to have two children home, distance learning for what seems like an unreasonable and indefinite time frame. It’s hard to run a business that I love and adore and also grieve for all that has changed about it over the last year. It’s hard to keep finding reasons to drink the water and not the wine. It’s hard to think of anything to cook for dinner besides another round of peanut butter and J’s. At the end of the day, I can’t do a darn thing about the pandemic or working from behind a screen or even about the lack of creativity in my meal planning. It’s all hard. And yet I get to pick my hard. I get to choose whether I mumble negativity under my breath about a slow return to school OR open my heart and my arms to my kids as they need reassurance that this won’t last forever. I get to choose whether I focus on the losses within my business OR the extreme privilege of being able to still do the work of therapy with my amazing couples and keep my business running when so many others are struggling to find a job. I get to choose whether I take the easy way out and pour that glass of wine OR take a deep breath and celebrate the La Croix bubbling away in my cup. I get to choose whether I cut the peanut butter and j’s we’re all having for dinner down the middle or on the diagonal…I mean I could spice it up and cut each one into fourths…you never know. And you get to choose your hard too. You don’t get to choose your circumstances or often times your situation, but you DO get to choose which hard you’re going to respond to.

I get to choose whether I mumble negativity under my breath about a slow return to school OR open my heart and my arms to my kids as they need reassurance that this won’t last forever. The more that I stop focusing on what I can’t control and instead realize that I ALWAYS get to choose how I respond…the more I’m able to manage all the hard. So pick your hard. Communication is hard, silence is hard… pick your hard. Feeling all the feels is hard, numbing out is hard… pick your hard. Healing is hard, ignoring is hard… pick your hard. Grieving is hard, accepting is hard… pick your hard. Forgiving is hard, holding on to hurt is hard… pick your hard. Walking around the block is hard, hiding under your covers is hard…pick your hard. It’s all hard, but you get to choose your hard. To face it or to ignore. To put in the work of healing or to put in the work of avoiding. You get to pick your hard. You get to choose.

To accept there is work to be done. Healing to happen. Conversations to have. Forgiveness to offer. Amends to accept.

I don’t know if you needed to read these words today, just like I needed to see that simple quote a few months back. I don’t know if your relationship or life is facing more hard than you’ve ever imagined. I don’t even know if you have people loving on you right now as you face your hard. But what I do know is that ALL of the life you’re walking through right now takes effort and you get to choose how you will respond…how you will react. You get to choose what hard you’re wanting to face. And I know you can do it. I’m here, cheering you on. As you face your hard and choose it knowingly. You’re not alone in facing your hard.

Anna Osborn, LMFT, is a relationship coach and therapist. You can reach out to her by calling 916.955.3200 or visiting her website at   51


PROPOLIS The Natural Antibiotic for MRSA, Candida, and Moreref Written By Terry Lemerond Sponsored by Dianna Singh, Owner of Elk Grove Vitamins


There’s little doubt that most people have heard about the health benefits of honey – immune and DNA protection are just two of them – but I think fewer people are probably familiar with propolis.

Propolis is made from the resins gathered from trees and other plants and then modified by the bees’ own enzymes as they process the material, mix it with beeswax, and make it into a protective antibacterial glue and sealant. It’s not surprising that the word “propolis” means “defender of the city” in Greek. Propolis was used as a medicinal ingredient in the ancient world, and continues to be intensively studied and recommended today.

Propolis Provides Powerful Nutrients

The color and natural properties of propolis vary depending on geography. While many bees tend to use resins from trees (poplars and conifers are a favorite) as a source, other flowers and plants are often part of the mix, too. That’s why you’ll hear propolis referred to as “green”, “red”, “yellow”, or any variety of names. Interestingly, even though the plant sources of propolis can differ around the world, they all have positive effects on health. However, many experts prefer the European variety to provide maximum benefits for fighting pathogens. 52. - winter 2021

Bees seek out the best resins they need to protect their hives. They instinctively know what works. Tree resins and plant saps perform the same protective functions across specie lines. The main compounds in propolis typically include polyphenols, vitamins (including vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, and E), minerals (including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and calcium), enzymes and antifungal and antibacterial flavonoids, plus pinene and other essential oils inherent in tree and plant resins. Polyphenols, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, are the prime movers of antioxidant activity in propolis. In many areas of the world, Eastern Europe among them, propolis has been extensively researched for antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties as a natural offshoot of both beekeeping and traditional medicine. As antioxidants, the bioflavonoids in propolis work in two ways: they stop the formation of free radicals to begin with, and reduce the potency of existing free radicals. Other propolis research has found that propolis has liver-protecting effects as well.

Strong Antibacterial Power to Fight “Superbugs”

The over-prescription of antibiotics has led to dangerous bacterial resistance, creating a class of “superbugs” that synthetic antibiotics can’t stop, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is especially troublesome following surgery or anytime the immune system is weakened. Fortunately, propolis can stop it. A study at the University of Heidelberg tested a propolis extract (GH2002) against a variety of disease-causing bacteria, including MRSA, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE), Candida albicans, and Streptococcus pyogenes. Within six hours, propolis stopped the activity of S. pyogenes, the cause of strep throat and hardto-stop skin infections. The study also found that it had a high degree of antibacterial activity against all tested MRSA strains, and inhibited Candida as well. While this test did not show an ability to kill off VRE as it did with other dangerous bacteria, it was able to stop it from fur-


Propolis was used as a medicinal ingredient in the ancient world, and continues to be intensively studied and recommended today. ther growth. Because of these dramatic results, the researchers concluded that propolis extract might be used in the development of alternative products for therapy of microbial infections.” Other studies have found similar results. British research also discovered that propolis shows antibacterial activity, and other work has shown that propolis has strong antifungal abilities, reducing the activity of Candida albicans, and inhibiting dangerous Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacteria. The researchers found that it was propolis from Northern and temperate zones (like Europe), that provided the phenolic acids and flavonoids that fight bacteria and fungus. Laboratory work in Bulgaria found that propolis is a strong inhibitor of many strains of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, known for causing ulcers and gastric cancer. In fact, the National Institutes of Health report that H. pylori is the leading cause of peptic ulcers worldwide, and that about two-thirds of the world population is infected with the bacteria. Even though H. pylori doesn’t always develop into an illness, the fact that propolis can defend against it is just one more point in its favor.


Research at the University of Heidelberg pitted a propolis extract (GH2002) against herpes

simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) and found that it reduced the formation of viral plaques (the areas of cell destruction) by 98%. Interestingly, the researchers stated that while only two of the analyzed compounds in propolis (galagin and chrysin) showed antiviral activity separately, other components of the whole extract (caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, benzoic acid, and pinocembrin) showed stronger effects than single constituents. Other research using this same propolis extract as a topical found that it also suppressed herpes simplex virus 2, reducing the strength of the virus by 99%. The researchers also discovered that pretreatment prior to an infection was significantly effective at stopping the herpes virus. They concluded that the propolis extract could be an effective topical for stopping recurring infections as well.

Anti-inflammatory, Anti-tumor

Propolis is more than an antibacterial and antiviral. It has been shown to stop tumor growth as well. Remember when I mentioned that H. pylori is the cause of gastric cancer? Well, aside from that, a study from Thailand found that propolis shrank cancer cells after 24, 48, and 72 hours of treatment. Scientists reporting in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the polyphenols

in propolis were mainly responsible for cancer cell inhibition, and consider it a possible treatment option for different types of leukemia.

What to Look for in Propolis:

Even though many propolis extracts from around the world have shown similar abilities, some are simply more effective than others, so be selective when you look for your propolis extract. Found raw in the hive, propolis is often mixed with wax (which doesn’t break down in the body or provide any benefits), dirt, bee’s wings, and other debris. It needs to be purified and clear of beeswax before it can be truly useful. It should also be a clinically-validated variety, so you can start off with a propolis extract that has already shown results. Additionally, the best extracts will be from sources with a more “controlled” environment – that is, from hives that are strategically placed near a stand of specific trees that produce beneficial resins that bees use naturally. That way you’re getting a propolis that has been standardized and provides consistent benefits. Terry recommends taking 100 mg of concentrated, purif ied bee propolis extract daily. If additional support is needed, increase to 100 mg twice daily.

The properties of this natural wonder have been well-studied around the world.


Bacterial infections have become extremely difficult to treat because of the over-prescription of antibiotics. This has led to resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, H. pylori, and other dangerous bacteria. Finding an answer to synthetic antibiotics is a must.

One of the best answers is propolis. This bioflavonoid-rich nutrient provides strong defense against bacteria, viruses, and many other health challenges. The properties of this natural wonder have been well-studied around the world for many health concerns and conditions: lStops

harmful, resistant bacteria, including MRSA and Candida lFights viral infection lReduces inflammation lFights tumor formation lStops free radical damage

Terry Lemerond has over 45 years of experience in the health food industry as an owner of several health food stores and dietary supplement manufacturing companies. He has researched and developed over 400 nutritional and botanical formulations that continue to be top selling products on the market today.   53



What Parents Can Do to Help Written By Moira Sharma, PsyD, Kaiser Permanente

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of women and 15% of men report that they experience intimate partner violence for the first time in their life before the age of 18. The statistics may surprise most parents, yet among current teens, nearly 20% of girls and 10% of boys have experienced abuse or violence in a dating relationship. And if your child identifies as part of the LGBTQ community and certain racial ethnic minority groups those rates could be slightly higher. Teen dating violence occurs in many segments of our so56. - winter 2021

ciety regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, family immigration history, faith group, ability status, or other community affiliation. Teens are at this unique juncture of wanting to stay connected with their family while spending more time with their friends and experimenting with increasing levels of independence. As a parent of a teen, you are likely trying to juggle allowing your child to have more relational freedom, nurturing growth, setting appropriate limits, and keeping safety as a priority.

you may not get to know the person your child is dating or see how they interact. Parents can have a crucial role in helping their teens have more knowledge about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Today, teenagers are spending more time on-line – texting and messaging through a variety of social media platforms. Consequently, as a parent

Physical: hitting, kicking, pushing, forceful


It is pattern of behaviors by a current or former dating partner (or someone seeking a romantic relationship) to exert power and control over a targeted victim. The behaviors can include actual or threats of physical, sexual, psychological harm and/or stalking. Examples:

hugging/holding, restraining

Parents can have a crucial role in helping their teens have more knowledge about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Sexual: Pressuring sexual activity that is unwanted or when the person is not ready, sexual assault, violating consent

Psychological: criticism, put downs, spreading negative gossip, blaming, making controlling statements about what the person wears, jealousy, pressuring the person limit time with family/friends or activities, telling the person “I can’t live without you”, hinting that they will hurt themselves if the victim were to end the relationship

Stalking: tracking the victim’s social media

posts, GPS tracking, insisting that the person give an account of where they are always located, demanding immediate response to texts, calls/messages


The effects of teen dating violence can lead to difficulties with depression, anxiety and concentration. You may notice an affected teen getting irritable, or nervous if they can’t be on their phone or other devices to respond to messages. You may see a change in activities. You may notice grades start to slip, or that they are starting to have increasing problems at school or other social activities. You may suspect that they are using substances or alcohol. You may see them get excessively serious about their relationship. Perhaps they seem more withdrawn, depressed, express thoughts of suicide. Abusive actions and the subsequent reactions can occur on a spectrum. Any of these reactions could be signs that a teen may be affected by teen dating violence.


Educating yourself is important. You can learn information and get resources from your health provider, school counselors, and/or online resources. Never underestimate your role of being a proactive concerned parent, even if your child rejects your attempt to have conversations. Have conversations with your teen about what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like. Talk to your child about what healthy dynamics are in a relationship. It’s important for you to discuss this with your child because things may be different than when you were a teen and you want to show you care. If you suspect your child is dealing with teen dating violence here are some things you can do:

• Offer to listen, openly, and hold your judgement. The goal is to have your child openly talk to you, and not send messages that you are sad, disappointed or angry with them. This is an opportunity to help your teen think and evaluate the relationships. • Invite your child to review online resources together, or apart and then discuss it together. • Discuss healthy and unhealthy behaviors and tell them that they can come to you to discuss any of these at any time. You may use examples from your own extended family about these types of behaviors and the consequences. • Refrain from setting ultimatums--it will shift the focus to the dynamic between you and the teen and it limits the opportunity to help your teen think through the relationship dynamics for their own benefit in evaluating current/future relationships -- an important skill they’ll need for their relational well-being. • If you don’t know something, share that with them. Partner with them about figuring something out together. • Tell them if they have questions/concerns, there are others they can talk to other than you – people you vet as safe adults (other relatives, teachers, school counselors, faith leaders, health care providers, etc.) Explain it’s important to you that they get the right support. As a psychologist, I often hear from parents about concerns on their child’s well-being; if they as a parent are/ or once were in a relationship with abusive dynamics and note the challenges to modeling a respectful home for their child. There is increasing evidence in the scientific literature that children who witness parents being hurt physically or emotionally are more likely to have problems as adults in terms of their physical health, mental health and relational health. Children can get through the hard times easier if their parents take steps to eliminate the abuse from home, and work towards having a safe and respectful home environment. You may need to prioritize getting yourself assistance in dealing with the impact of intimate partner abuse, in addition to your teen’s dating relationship. Reach out to resources, talk to your health provider and know your community resources. Whether for your teen, or yourself, know that abuse is not your fault, you are not alone, and help is available. Everyone deserves a safe and respectful relationship.


National Dating Abuse Helpline


National Domestic Violence Hotline:

1-800-799-7233 CDC Sacramento County Resources

A Community for Peace:


My Sister’s House:

(916) 428-3271


(916) 920-2952

Moira Sharma, PsyD, has been a psychologist with Kaiser Permanente since 2003. Her clinical interests include cultural factors in mental health, the impact of family violence, PTSD, and resiliency factors. She also serves on the board of My Sister’s House an agency that serves underserved communities affected by domestic violence, human traff icking and sexual assault.   57


Artificial Sweeteners and the Gut Microorganism Environment By Dr. Dayle A. Imperato, Rejuvenation Wellness & Aesthetic Medicine

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin (Sweet’ N Low) are ubiquitous in processed foods, and beverages, and are regularly consumed by 1/3 of all Americans in a variety of “diet” products. While designed to be low calorie alternatives to sugar, research has repeatly shown that consumption of these artificial sweeteners is still linked to metabolic derangements such as weight gain, impaired glucose tolerance and increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. Now, research has discovered that while most of these synthetic sweeteners are excreted unchanged in either the urine or feces, they affect metabolism through alterations of the gut microbial-ecosystems. 58. - winter 2021

In an animal model, it has been shown that aspartame, sucralose and saccharin induced glucose intolerance over eight to eleven weeks; further study of saccharin demonstrated the effects were mediated through compositional and functional changes to the gut microbial environment, with more than 40 microorganisms altered in the saccharin fed groups. Transplanting fecal microbiota samples into germ-free mice, the group linked the impaired glucose tolerance to an altered microorganism environment.

The group then studied the effects of artificial sweeteners in a small-scale human intervention study. Seven subjects (who did not normally consume artificial sweeteners) consumed a regular diet supplemented with the upper limit of daily saccharin dose for one week. Four of the seven volunteers showed an elevated response to glucose, and the other three individuals showed no response. The researchers transplanted the four responders’ gut microorganisms into germ free mice and replicated the impaired response

to glucose, again linking the metabolic effects to the altered gut microorganisms. The responder/ non-responder effect suggests that not all individuals are affected equally by artificial sweetener consumption, and the response may depend on an individual’s baseline microorganism environment. Although this is one of the few human intervention trials available to show the effect of artificial sweeteners on the gut microorganisms, other animal studies using these ingredients (at relevant dietary doses) suggest that this phenomenon is an important link between artificial sweeteners and metabolic dysregulation. Ironically, many “light” yogurt products include these artificial sweeteners as a key ingredient in the effort to retain palatability while reducing total sugars and calories. Consuming yogurt products, in an effort to favorably modify the gut microorganisms, while consuming the “light” or “reduced calorie” additives may detrimentally undermine any beneficial changes to the gut microorganisms that the consumer anticipates.



Healthy dietary patterns like the Mediterranean diet have been shown to be associated with a more diverse and healthy gut microbiota, compared to standard unhealthy Western dietary patterns. Diet and the Gut

A person’s diet is likely the single greatest influence on their gut microorganisms since it serves as both a source of inoculation of microbes and provides the nutrients upon which the resident organisms feed. Healthy dietary patterns like the Mediterranean diet have been shown to be associated with a more diverse and healthy gut microbiota, compared to standard unhealthy Western dietary patterns.

Basic Dietary Principles to Benefit the Gut Microorganism Environment

It is not surprising that the basic dietary principles that promote overall health and reduce the risk for most chronic diseases are also those which promote a healthy gut microbial community. lDiversity

is key; the diet should contain a wide range of foods, especially those derived from plants with different phytochemicals lDietary

fiber and complex carbohydrates should be emphasized lEat

food as fresh and unprocessed as possible, safely


in seasonal rotation (using local fresh foods) may help diversify gut microbiota lIndividuals

should avoid foods they suspect will trigger GI discomfort, allergic reactions or cause noticeable changes in bowel transit time lLimit

access to foods (meats) that contain antibiotics

So, eat the “rainbow” of colors from different fresh organic vegetables that are in season, avoid excess meat and any meats that contain antibiotics, increase dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates, while decreasing the amount of simple carbohydrates and avoid foods that cause GI upset. Bon Appetit!! Dayle A. Imperato, M.D. Rejuvenation Wellness & Aesthetic Medicine (916) 670-7601 - 9180 Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove.   59



What? Written by D’Lee Daleo & Jamie McCalman, Switch Fitness

Your core. You mean suck in my stomach? Well…. yes and no, it’s really not that simple. Then again if your instructor is asking and sometimes begging you to engage or activate your core and they don’t fully explain how to do it, how would you ever know what it actually means, how to do it properly, what it feels like if you do it properly and why it even matters.

Core Defined

To know how to engage your core, you first must know what your core consists of. Many people equate the term “core” with “six-pack,” but the anatomy of your core is more complex than that. The abs alone include four different abdominal muscles, and then there are all your back muscles, hips and glutes to account for. You can gather from the sheer number of muscles involved that engaging your core isn’t as simple as it seems but once you learn how to do it properly, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised at all the benefits a strong core can bring.

What Does It Mean to Engage Your Core?

Sometimes a great way to learn what to do is to first identify what not to do. It also helps to be able to identify what it looks like or feels like when the wrong behavior is practiced.

Below are some common examples of failing to engage the core. • Poor posture. Your back rounds when sitting down. Think about your posture when driving or sitting at a desk. • Poor balance. As we age balance is something we need to work on, and a weak core will make that difficult to do. • Your back arches while you do planks or push-ups. We never do this but we know people who do, right? 60. - winter 2021

All of the above scenarios exemplify a weak core in different ways. The first example is the easiest to self-identify and most universally practiced. We all know what bad posture looks like and bad posture goes hand in hand with weak core muscles. We have to be conscious of our posture and when we are we can practice engaging our core. The second example is not as straight forward but makes a lot of sense when you stop and think about it. Our core stabilizes the entire body, allowing us to move in all directions and maintain balance. All of our core muscles work together to hold us up and the weaker those muscles are the harder it is to maintain balance. It’s a fact that some people are just born with better balance and it’s a fact that we lose some balance as we age but balance is something we can improve

with practice and a strengthened core. The last example, back arching when performing planks or push-ups is also very easy to detect. We have all seen someone doing a plank or push-up with a swayed back. Not only does this poor posture minimize the effectiveness of the exercise it can lead to pain and injury.

So on to what it means to engage your core. Engaging your core means bracing and tightening all of the muscles in your core, the four different abdominal muscles, your back muscles, hips and glutes. Think of everything from your rib cage down to your glutes and hips as one strong cylinder

Our core stabilizes the entire body, allowing us to move in all directions and maintain balance. All of our core muscles work together to hold us up and the weaker those muscles are the harder it is to maintain balance. To engage your core, think about bracing yourself for a punch to the stomach. You’re not going to suck in your stomach, you’re going to take a deep breath and tighten all of your abdominal muscles. You should be able to continue to breathe when you engage your core: First, fill your belly, and then inhale and exhale, only allowing your rib cage to move. Your belly should remain tight and full after the initial breath. After that point, you should be able to see your ribs move in and out when you breathe. Activating or engaging your core means having the muscles contracted enough so that if someone were to come over and try to push you over, your core would resist them and help you stay upright. Try these four exercises to work on strengthening your core:


• Start face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees. • Push off the floor, raising up off your knees onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows. • Contract your abdominals and your glutes to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up or dropping down.

Bird Dog

• Get on all fours, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Remember to keep abs engaged and keep your back flat. • Reach out with your right hand and extend your left leg out behind you.

• Keep your back flat — don't let it droop or you'll be causing more harm than good. Picture your body as a long straight board, or plank.

• Round your back and head to connect your right elbow with your left leg under your body. This completes one rep.

• Hold for 15 - 30 seconds and repeat.

• Complete two sets of 10 reps.   61


Side Plank Dead Bug

• Get on all fours, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Remember to keep abs engaged and keep your back flat. • Reach out with your right hand and extend your left leg out behind you. • Round your back and head to connect your right elbow with your left leg under your body. This completes one rep. • Complete two sets of 10 reps.

• Get on all fours, with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Remember to keep abs engaged and keep your back flat. • Reach out with your right hand and extend your left leg out behind you. • Round your back and head to connect your right elbow with your left leg under your body. This completes one rep. • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat.

It’s a fact that some people are just born with better balance and it’s a fact that we lose some balance as we age but balance is something we can improve with practice and a strengthened core. Remember, putting your brain into your movement is key to getting everything out of your valuable workout time. The more you think about engaging your core, and really focus on how it feels, the more awareness you’ll develop and the easier it will become. It’s something you’ll always have to keep in the back of your mind, but with practice, it can become second nature. Switch Fitness - (916) 883-BFIT 9632 Emerald Oak Dr. Suite K, Elk Grove   63


The History of the

Elk Grove


District By Elizabeth Pinkerton Photos courtesy of Louis Silveira, Elk Grove Historical Society

It rains, and we think of our water. We turn on the faucet, and there it is… water for a nice cold drink! We take a shower, and our water is there for us; we make the coffee, we use the clothes washer and the dishwasher. Our sprinklers water the lawn, our garden and trees, and we always expect our water to be there when we want it. We should give thanks every day to our Elk Grove Water District, as this organization is responsible for our great water. Here are the people we need to thank for our great water. Mark Madison is the general manager, and the Board of Director members are as follows: Tom Nelson, Bob Gray, Sophia Scherman, Elliott Mulberg, and Lisa Medina. All are dedicated Elk Grove residents, and they have been involved with community service in many ways. Read on to find out about the water district and the history of our water!

Our Elk Grove water system began more than a hundred years ago in 1893. It was created by local citizens after the devastating fire in 1892 that destroyed most of the little town of Elk Grove. The fire started from a spark on the new railroad that came through Elk Grove, and there was not enough water to put the fire out. Here is a trip back to the past to learn about the history of the Elk Grove Water District. The next time you turn on the faucet or take a shower, you can think about this amazing story. After the terrible 1892 fire, there was another fire in the Toronto Hotel on Main Street, and that made the Elk Grove folks realize that they really needed to put some money into a dependable 64. - winter 2021

water source. Twelve men pooled their resources, and they came up with $3,000 to create our first water company. They drilled a well, and they built a large tank made of redwood that held 40,000 gallons and stood 85 feet in the air. It was in today’s Old Elk Grove near the railroad tracks. It did not take long and water lines ran to the east and to the west along Main Street. Later, more lines were installed, and ten customers signed up. More customers signed up, and they had the advantage of having water whenever they needed it, and they didn’t have to pump it. If you have ever pumped your own water, you will know how much that

was appreciated and what a good deal the water service was. The water table in 1893 was about ten feet below the surface. You only had to dig down ten feet into the ground and there was all the water you needed. The average cost of laying pipe at that time was about 10 cents a foot, and that price included the cost of someone digging the ditch by hand. However, there were problems according to information provided for us by the Jones family. It seems that the twelve stockholders could not agree on how to run the company. There were



Elk Grove's first fire department, 1895.

The water table in 1893 was about ten feet below the surface. You only had to dig down ten feet into the ground and there was all the water you needed. The average cost of laying pipe at that time was about 10 cents a foot, and that price included the cost of someone digging the ditch by hand. problems with assessment fees and with the repair of a steam boiler. Just three years later in 1896, one of the founders foreclosed on a loan that he had made to the business, and the enterprise became privately owned. But even with all these problems, the water company survived for a long, long time.

Toronto Hotel, 1890. This is J.B. Jones’ recollection of his grandparents’ business:

The Jones family entered the story of the Elk Grove’s water company in 1906. Ira B. Jones had come to the Elk Grove area from Sweden with Selma, his wife. They first owned and operated a grocery store, but from the time of their 1906 purchase of the water company, the main business of the Jones family was water. When Ira Jones put up his $1,500 to purchase the water company, he didn’t get a whole lot for his money. This is what he bought - the one original well, the big tank, and a steam powered pump. There were 15-20 customers and no employees.

“I remember visiting them and seeing Grandmother Selma hand writing bills in ink at her kitchen table. She was occasionally interrupted by people coming to the door to pay their bills. I remember riding with Grandpa Ira to take care of routine maintenance chores. Grandpa threw a pick and shovel in the back seat of his Studebaker sedan and they were off. When Grandpa had to dig in asphalt, he’d pour a gallon of gasoline on it, light it with a match to soften it, and then pick it. If the work required a crew, he’d head for Bob’s Bar (yes, it’s the same one that’s there today) and grab the first five guys off the bar stools, and there was his crew.”

Elk Grove had no fire truck at this time. When there was a fire, they just hooked the fire hose directly to the fire hydrant, and there was always plenty of water pressure to make it work. Things changed, however, when electric power came to Elk Grove in 1910. The line came through from Florin with the Great Western Power Company. It turned out that Mr. Jones had bought the water company at just the right time.

Mr. Jones’ recollections may seem like he was referring to a hundred years ago, but the time he spoke of was the early 1950s. By then the Water Company had grown to quite a sizable operation. In 1921 a new tank replaced the original one, no longer redwood, but modern stainless steel. Instead of a mere capacity of 40,000 gallons, the new tank held 52,000 gallons. According to Mr. Jones ( J. B.), putting up that huge tank was quite

a thing, and old timers told him it was quite a spectacle. Mule teams and block and tackle were used to lift the tank in place. It was a job well done. Sadly, water company founder Ira Jones was fatally injured in 1955 while crossing Main Street on his way to the Post Office. He was 82 at the time. The leadership of the water company passed on to his son, Marvin B. (Bud) Jones. This second generation Jones combined the running of the water company with working for his employer of 45 years, the Gibson Wine Company. Mr. Jones ( J. B.) remembered those days well for he often accompanied his father on water company duties as he had with his grandfather in earlier years. “Basically, all the maintenance of the company was done on Saturdays. As a teenager, I’d go with my dad and we’d still use the pick and shovel. Our major technological breakthrough came in 1968 when we purchased a jackhammer and air compressor.” All of the company’s original records were kept in the Jones home. The first real office on Elk Grove Boulevard opened when the number of customers reached 365. An office manager was employed to handle the telephone and billing. According to Mr. Jones, “It wasn’t until the late   65



Above photos from left to right: (top) Water Treatment Plant & Storage Facility Office, Water Treatment Plant (bottom) Water Treatment Plant and Tank Cleaning. 1970s that we hired a pipe fitter as our first full time employee other than the office manager. The facility on Elk Grove Boulevard was opened in 1988, and was served by a general manager, two office persons, three field personnel, and two part time employees. The company came of age when it moved into computerized in-house billing that same year.

“I am proud that company accounts show my father expressed concern many years ago about the lowering of the water table. At the turn of the century, we initially found groundwater ten feet below the surface. In 1923, it had dropped to 23 feet.” Isn’t that truly amazing? We have gone from having to dig only 10 feet into the ground to find water to over a thousand feet – in a little more than a hundred years!

This is a Native American saying, quoted by J.B. Jones, and it sums up the importance of water in our lives: “Thank you for this beautiful day regardless of what kind of day it is; Thank you for this life regardless of what the life is; Thank you for the water without which life would be impossible!” Our Elk Grove Water District is a department of the Florin Resource Conservation District, and it serves a good part of our City of Elk Grove. Mark Madison, who has been the general manager for ten years will retire in a few months, and his place will be taken by Bruce Kanilos. This message is from Mark Madison: “Our water system has been serving the Elk Grove community for 128 years. I have been here only 10 years. I feel like I have been a part of this community’s history and I am grateful for that. Hopefully, I will leave a fingerprint that helps our community for years to come. I am proud of what has been accomplished and the Elk Grove community is fortunate to have the Elk Grove Water District. We have People Helping People, and I can think of few things that are nobler. Bruce is well qualified and I know that he will do well. Everybody is thrilled that the Board picked him. Our Board selected wisely.” 66. - winter 2021

Mark Madison, Elk Grove Water District General Manager

BOOKS By ELIZABETH PINKERTON History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools We the People, a Story of Internment in America

All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made possible the 80 scholarships with each one $1,000. Five more will be awarded in 2021 to seniors at Elk Grove high schools. To purchase books, make your check for books payable to Laguna Publishers and send to me at 9227 Lamprey Drive, Elk Grove CA 95624. Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one book; $5 for 2-3 books. Call me at 916-685-0606 or email me at

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