Mary Bogue

Mary Bogue is always wondering about how we walk through life, and sees it as a dance; sometimes we're wearing high heels and doing the tango backwards in a man's arms, other times we're line dancing in flats while picking up after kids, and when we're lucky, we're barefootin' it freestyle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Fine Art of Blending Life, Love and Veggies

I can just hear a couple of folks wondering out loud, "Oh my, she's writing about blending now! That's it, she's flipped her lid!"  No, not really - just a little wishful day dreaming about being able to appreciate our differences, but meld our humanity.

Anyone who really knows me, I mean really knows me, knows that I have a great admiration for the finer things in life. While I don't mean some high-fa-luting designer label on the backside of my jeans, I do mean quality over quantity. 

Back up. If you really know me, you know I don't wear jeans. Sorry about that. Let's go with the shoe analogy. Take for example the Christian Louboutin red-soled high heels of Oprah fame. We're talking four inch plus stilettos - super sexy - but unless they come with two gorgeous gay guys to hold me up, an oil man's 401K and a Senator's health plan, forget about it. Give me my Birkenstocks - which, by the way is the gold standard for sandals and if made 2010 years ago, we all know who would have been sporting a pair.

Last week, while wasting my time on Facebook, I got caught up in reading the posting from my online source of vitamins and health foods. This company posted what sounded like a great recipe for pork in a cilantro-lime sauce. Well, sure enough, in great big ol' CAPS, the first post was something to the order of "DON'T EAT PIGS!!!!!!!!!" followed by another cry denouncing meat-eaters, and yet another.  You know me, I had to respond. I wrote that I didn't think that this was the appropriate forum to vent their anti-carnivorous outlook, and that the recipe had merit. In the words of my late husband, Rob, this fired up a sh*t storm of controversy. The retort was screamed at me in capital letters again, followed by lines of exclamation points and challenged anyone reading it that they believed in America and the freedom of speech, and if I were a vegetarian...yada, yada, yada.  

Damn. Can't we all get along?  The onus was on me to respond. I did so, and asked them to consider the fact that this was the very site where I buy all my plant protein for my one-a-day shakes, and really, couldn't we all just relax and edit or glean what we wanted from a posting without the ramifications of anger and drama? If only Blendtec (I'll get to that reference in a moment) could blend all of our wants and desires together and pour us out a big ol' plate of love.

I already know this blog sounds like a runaway train, but here's my point - let's take the best of who we are, our lives and life's experiences, our lessons learned and those we have yet to master, and just get along. Pollyanna-ish of me? Maybe.  But if anything could do it, it would be my new Blendtec blender - the all powerful, super efficient, veggie-grinding, freshly frozen ice-cream making, instant homemade soup in just 90 seconds, bucket of love machine. The Blendtec. (Sigh.) If there was a peacemaker in a machine - it would be the Blendtec. Of course there are other blenders, and most of them do a really good job. But anything I do, I commit to for the long haul. Give me one great pair of sandals, a killer pair of heels and my Blendtec. Oh yeah,  it's three horsepower of energy muscles this gargantuan task master while it easily creates a silken blend from the toughest greens and hardest fruits. Add a couple cups of ice. No problem. Throw in a carrot chopped in halves. Still, no problem. A whole pig - ah, not so much. However, it can handle whatever you throw at it within reason. If only life were so simple.

Even though the Blendtec nicked my AMEX card for a cool chunk of change - close to $400, mind you - at Costco, I have never appreciated such a workhorse of a machine - it does everything except ... hold on, I'm thinking...walk the dog. 

Imagine this world if we took all of our prejudices, all of our fears and loathing, and put them in the Blendtec on high - I'm guessing the soup button would work. What would pour out from it's giant mouth? L-O-V-E. Yup. It would grind up the anti-gay marriage concerns, pulverize "the world is coming to an end so get a gun and stockpile canned goods" terrors, cream the daylights out of the I'm too fat, too tall and too old - fears and worries, and in the end all you would have is big ol' cup of love.  Get to work Blendtec, the world really needs you. 

Let me just kick off my sandals and barefoot my way over to the kitchen. I think I'll go make a protein drink loaded with kale, spinach and strawberries, some protein powder, ice and my liquid vitamins, and ponder the next generation and how love always prevails. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I'm performing tonight, over at the Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard, with world class musicians Karen Hernandez, Tony Dumas and Ralph Penland, and with my singing partner, Al Timss. In putting together a show, I always like to find the defining thread that carries one song to the next, one which will take the audience for a ride with me. I chose "DREAMS & SCHEMES" for this event. 

Take love for example. I'm not proud of it, but I have done some major scheming in my years. If you asked most women, I think most women would flat out deny that they scheme. But in fact, it is major scheming when you deliberately put on a push-up bra, your best Spanx control slip, red patent leather high heels, have your hair colored,  try an age-defying new foundation guaranteed for 16 hours, and a crimson colored lip-plumping, lipstick combination gloss that screams, "Choose me."  Oh yeah. That's some serious scheming.

Men on the other hand are the dreamers. Okay, mostly they're only dreaming of one thing, granted, but day dreams, night dreams or the other kind all add up to dreaming. As they age, the dreams change from imagining a "Yes, I'm gonna get some!" to more sophisticated imaginations such as a bigger house, better jobs and indeed, someone to grow old with. Because they need us. The helpless and hopeless dreamers need the breath, imagination and the beliefs of the schemers that they are worthy of our best efforts. We schemers know the truth - we scheme so that they will only dream of us in the midnight hours. 

Here's to the illusions, the give and take and the seeing love from both sides now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh, sure! I had to be wearing frickin Birkenstocks when all I wanted to do was ram a 4" high heel into the forehead of the frickin' Fascist Pig outside the Post Office.

I actually drove to the Post Office to get a card out in time to send to the man who was my junior high school boyfriend...a mere 47 years ago, and now resides in the south of France.

But before I could go in, the sidewalk was blocked by The World's Largest Living Asshole sporting huge signs of our President wearing a Hitler mustache. Mother of God. I felt my chest start to heave, the rash of red fill my face and I went in to automatic orbit. How dare anyone, and sue me, I mean ANYONE, compare our President with anyone who has murdered, tortured, and mutilated 6,000,000 people! Veins were popping in my neck, my heart rate increased, and I was SO beyond myself, all I could mutter was something lame like, "Unbelievable! What audacity you have to compare our President with a mass murderer!"  I then marched inside and handed over the Netflix rental of Inglorious Basterds, my birthday card to my guy friend in France,  and made ugly with everyone in line.

Upon leaving, I remember calling the idiot boy-wonder with the propaganda, despicable. How dare you, how f*cking dare you undervalue the evilness of Hitler, how dare you compare him to a Harvard graduate who stepped up and inheriting a nation full of woes from the previous administration, is making the most of what's been handed him!"  For crying out loud, it was I who was GOING POSTAL!

I wanted to knock him into tomorrow and confetti the air with his hate pamphlets. But really, that was just the mindless little fantasy. Instead I called the police. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don't go there with me. Of COURSE I know he has the right to expound his dribble. But he doesn't have the right to block the sidewalk doing so.

I called the new man in my life, "Talk me down. Talk me down, please." He had not heard me lose it, had not heard the astonishment in my voice, the heat, the passion and the venom. He was sweet and calm, assuring me that I said my peace and should go home now, that the police would NOT be coming. "Yes, they will! This is Arcadia. They come if you flush a turd down sideways!" He chuckled, called me endearing names which DID help calm me, I admit. I stayed parked in the lot, watching the man in the orange ski jacket hand out his crap and do his harm. "Honey, I have to go..."I offered without an excuse, seeing what was approaching.

And then, in the next breath, the police arrived. I put down the window of my bug, "It's me! I'm the one who called you, " I waved. They did the cop guy goes to the offender, the other to the "offendee."  That's me. I assured the 13 year old officer that I knew the moron had the right to be a moron, but he couldn't block the sidewalk being one.

Soon, both officers were at my window, talking to me. Moronic Asshole was putting his stuff in his Toyota and taking off. They took my name and number which I joyfully volunteered, thanking them for their time.Turns out Moronic Asshole has been here for quite a while and I am not the first to have called. They continued to talk me down. "Have a nice evening, Ms. Bogue."

I came home and called man from my driveway. "Are you okay? You didn't run him over, did you? DID you?" I laughed. No, but I sure thought about returning with a pair of high heels and if harassed one more time, taking my shoe off and marking the Neanderthal right in the middle of his forehead. We all have to have a dream, and that was mine. man told me, "Well, I was afraid I would have to bail you out of jail..."  Aw, I could feel my heart slowing, and my heat turning a hot pink instead of blood red. That's about the most romantic thing a man ever said to me. Really. I think I have a chunk of love in my heart...

Now, please pass the Johnnie Walker Red, please.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

EXCEL FOR WOMEN - pantyhose not included

I am in the midst of transitioning what has been my art studio into a rental income unit - anything to keep me from getting caught up in that wretched corporate world where high heels click down cold hallways decorated with gold-framed oils of long-forgotten old white men or truly modernistic splat paintings; you know, a real job in executive management, not that I could even qualify anymore. And even if I did, generally speaking, the 25 and 30 year olds in hiring, are going to clearly see that I am one new roof away from not needing a need a new roof. Think about it. 

True. I have no desire to sit in a cubicle wearing pantyhose that are restiricting my va-jay-jay and making my inner thighs sweat like Tiger Woods at a real press conference, and do Excel spread sheets which seems to be a requirement these days. And let's face it, I would be working for the health care benefits which I would HAVE to have to cover the brain bleed brought on by the vice grips applied to my head in order to keep me focused on the computer screen, as I entered lists of numbers representing the latest sales figures of percentages of profits versus how many miles a monkey in a sales suit traveled to and from the most recent meeting. You get my drift. I'm already exhausted - and that's just from that run-on sentence!

See, that analogy is hell, and clearly I am a heaven on earth kind of woman. When it occurs to you that you have more sand at the top of the hourglass than below, it forces you to rethink your priorities. And if that doesn't do it, then just have someone dump half your sand out and see where that takes you.  Profit versus losses.  Let me break it on down:



Age 59 -all my own body parts.

Age 59 - I've seen my own body parts in the daylight.
Raised a strong-willed, free-thinking daughter.            
She disowned her family for a new one. Sorry, Grandma Mae.
Overcame breaking my back.             
Had to break it to overcome it.
Own my own home.
Can’t complain to the land lady about the peeling paint and popcorn ceiling.
Married Rob.
Lost my best friend and man of the family.
The expenses of new push-up bras, high heels, and sometimes faith in men who it turns out might not actually know the difference between an ax and a salad fork. Present man not included. 

Recently, I had a group of ten extraordinary women here for Valentine's Day. I don't like to toss the word extraordinary around, so you know these women are exceptional!  I "advertised" it as a Chick Party, and when asked by a guy friend, he wanted to know how the "Hen Party" went. I suppose the truth is somewhere in between. These were women that spanned a good 30 years difference in age, definitely different backgrounds, culture and geographics. Yet here we were, brought together by both having love in our lives, and  not having a valentine in our life right now, but being love and being the life in each other's heart which prods us, inspires us and challenges us to beat on. 

We found out that we shared histories of child-rearing, rapists-fearing, miscarriages, and Cinderella carriages, child abuse and no more the recluse. We ate foods that nourish, laughed with a flourish and recounted stories of  loved ones who left us smiling long enough to enjoy wine and chocolate.

Men don't understand women. If they did, they would never rape us, demean us, dehumanize us, pimp us or terrorize us with the threat of death for showing ankles beneath burkas. They would cherish each stretch mark that brought a human life forward, defend each tear and heartache caused us, give us a leg to stand on and a foot up - no matter if it was in a running shoe or a three inch heeled, silver and rhinestone, pointed-toe pump.  

My new guy, who I have strong feelings for but shall remain nameless (to protect his privacy) asked me on our first date why so many women seemed to dislike men or not trust them. And then he asked me why I seemed to love men. 

I could only answer, that at one time or another in our lives, men have had control- whether in the board room or beneath their roofs. Being "good girls" we were told to behave and be nice, be quiet and be polite. It's pretty hard to be anything but that when as a little girl, a big, heavy man is on top of you, one hand pressed over your mouth and threatening your family while raping you, or to find the words to react when your father has up and left you to start a new family, or when your new husband steals the promises, hopes and dreams of what could be from you and you are empty hearted. Some of us process those feelings as internal rage and no doubt create cancers in our bodies. Others of us swallow it down, gain weight, and move numbly through the hurt. Yet others of us, process it and try to find a way to make our lives more meaningful to others. That's what we did on Valentine's Day. 

A full life having been lived to its fullest with ups and downs.
Wisdom to trust again.
A rich life filled with beauty regardless of riches
A beautiful life, regardless of hurts and disappointments, respectful of peace and beauty, love and joy, and trusting in our tomorrows, our family members, and mostly ourselves.

Oh, and to answer my date's question, why do I seem to love men: I love men, as do most other women, for their potential to be compassionate, loving, loyal, integrity-rich, strong, stand-up, manned-up, honest, caring, and even peaceful males. I need to believe that, for the sake of being a woman and for the sake of the world. 

And that, my friends is why women excel. It is, after all, an art and a grace which allows us to love deeply, forgive but never forget, and trust in the here and now. In the end, at the end of God's page, we know it all adds up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Off The Chain Valentine's Day

Ever since I've either been listening to or singing love songs, it always comes down to the lyrics and finding your own truth in them. If you're just listening, perhaps on the way to work while you're thinking of the day's agenda, or picking up your daughter from softball, chances are your mind is elsewhere. If you're a singer, you strive to find the emotion that best tells your own story in those finely crafted words.

Recently, I have turned my attention to the song, "Unchain My Heart," written by Bobby Sharp and you'll no doubt remember Ray Charles singing the hell out of this in 1961. Some have heard that it was written by Teddy Powell. Well, let's just say that Sharp, was using drugs at the time, and for a mere fifty bucks sold it to him. Powell bought it on the condition that he get half the songwriting credit. I mention this because I'm sure that before researching the song, I never heard the lyrics as those from the heart of an addict. Never.

This year, I had wanted to produce an un-Valentine's Day show called Unchained Hearts, aimed at celebrating we women who aren't married or otherwise "engaged" in a relationship with a man, or a woman for that matter. I had talked to the folks at a specialty tea room in Pasadena, and they were on board. Well, with conditions. It couldn't actually be on Valentine's Day because that was reserved for "the real Valentine's Day dinner crowd;" so it would be two days early, and they wanted to "upgrade" the menu. This had been done once before at one of my dinner show's there and I was mortified to find what they could actually charge for a veggie burger. How could I ask my friends or fans to pay a cover charge and then buy a veggie burger the equivalent in cost to a half a tank of gas in my VW?  With a sigh, I declined.

I know I could have looked at other places to do this show, but this was the perfect venue that would have wrapped my women friends in shades of red and gold, showed them their reflections in beveled glass mirrors and warmed them with hot teas, red roses, sweet desserts and their house champagne. There, they would have heard every woman's stories in song and the spoken word, culminating in a ceremony of self-love.

Though the tea room would have proven to be a smash hit with every chair filled, I'm sure of it, I passed. I just couldn't bring myself to encourage an over-priced meal two nights before Valentines Day. In other words, while they feel sorry you won't be with the love of your life on Valentine's Day, they just couldn't wrap their minds around a matinee/lunch/tea of your own on this day and keep the fully loaded dinner in place for the "couples." It saddened me, so I relinquished the thought. Maybe next year.

I've decided instead to focus on five women specifically. First, I have a girl friend who just confided that her still fresh marriage is on the rocks, and upon further exploration that there was a pattern - a history, if you will, of regretful choices. We dug deep in the conversation and she revealed that when she was a little girl, her mother committed suicide on Valentine's Day.  My second friend-girl also lost her mother at the age of three to the murdering hands of her father in plain sight. Woman friend number three lost her husband of almost 50 years not so long ago. And the fourth gal lives faraway, and lost her daughter in a tragic accident soon after I lost my husband, her uncle. Number five is me. I have had my own share of grief and loss of love, both in losing Rob and the grief I feel in my daughter's self-imposed exile.

My daughter's dad. Now, he was something! Every year on Valentine's Day, Rob would "kidnap" me for what he coined an "Urban Adventure." It was the one time of the year he pulled out all the stops. He never told me where we were going, only to pack for three days and the anticiapted weather. There was a surprise trip to New York City, one to Manhattan Beach to a Victorian hotel where all the help knew I was coming and pampered me all the way. God only knowS how much he had pre-tipped everyone to be so gracious. One year, Valentine's found us at a posh Arizona resort, and "I Love You" spelled out in chocolates on the bedspread, a bubbling hot tub, warm fireplace and icy champagne.

Sometimes the ties that bind are ephemeral. My first marriage only lasted until he raised his hand to me; and then while I was at work, he emptied the house and my jewelry box - including my grandmothers plain gold band. Other times, we are bound for what seems like until the end of time, only to find that the expectations and the realities are two different things.

We women roll with the punches and instead of red silk lingerie with our guys, we channel the love to our kids and add red food coloring to make milk pink, cook strawberry pancakes in the shapes of hearts and make an all-pink or red meal for their lunchboxes. And if you asked my daughter, she most assuredly remembers begging me to show up at her school in an over-sized red satin heart costume - a relic from my singing telegram days. Fast forward: Gone is the little girl who marveled at pink milk and swore it tasted sweeter, and in her place stands a woman of 19 years, married and expecting. She unchained a chunk of her family's heart by discarding the gold heart-shaped locket sent to her to wear at her wedding reception; a tiny necklace with a picture of her father. Truly, an unchained heart. Maybe there will be a red satin heart costume in her future. I wonder would she wear it for her child in years to come.

And now that I think of it, I remember Rob begging me to bring that red heart costume on board the cruise ship to Mexico. I protested, "It's so bulky. It's too much. Honey, it would take another suitcase."  He insisted, "Then I'll carry it. Please."  I did, of course, and he in his dark pinstripe suit and red silk tie, accompanied me down to the dining room where he had tipped the maitre'd to set up a tiny table for two. This was right after HE set it up for us to re-take our wedding vows onboard with a beautiful Mexican sunset as our backdrop. 

I haven't asked my gal pals yet if they will join me. I'm just thinking out the details now. But I'm pretty sure it will be passionate in a whole other way. I want to celebrate love where it finds me, not necessarily where it has always been before. But maybe that red heart costume has one last apperance in it...maybe. And maybe the unchained love will find a new way to define itself as off the chain.

Just in case you're still wondering, for the record, Buddy Sharp cleaned himself up and  fought successfully to retain the rights to his song. His song had been chained to someone for fifty dollars and in 1987, Sharp was miraculously able to through his own publishing company renew the copyright. The company's name was B. Sharp Music. 

I wish anyone and everyone who comes across this post to find a way to celebrate the day of romance with a day of love in service to someone else. Pay it forward, model love, do a kind deed. Buy a rose bush and plant it for someone or in someone's memory. And maybe, just maybe a 19 year old young woman will read this one day and ask if that ol' red heart costume is still around because one day her five year old daughter would love seeing her mommy in it. And if that day comes, I'll unhook it from the closet pole and send it away.  Love is never wasted. Never.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Albondigas Soup - A Recipe for Love

When my daughter was little, and came to us at the age of four, she was obsessed with food, and yet couldn't identify more than two fruits or one vegetable. And though we didn't go out often to eat, all the way home this kid would open and close the white to-go container, making sure the food was still there as we listened with disbelief to that unique crunchy sound that only styrofoam containers can make. Having lived with cocaine addicted parents, food wasn't a priority they shared and as told to me, it was mostly purchased from the driver-through of the golden arches.

Children teach you many things, and foster children in particular teach you lessons you might never have learned from your natural born. I'll never forget one of our little girls who was astonished to learn that the food hydrator section of the refrigerator was not a toolbox, or the other who found it almost impossible to beleive that she didn't have to steal food and hide it, because there would be more, really.

I quickly learned that what we smell is critical to how we feel. Can you imagine being sent to a new home to live - one in which you were not a part of the decision making? Each house has its own smells, and as its owners and tenants, we can no longer smell it, but a stranger can tell if you cooked cabbage last week, have two too many cats, or cook with garlic on a regular basis.

Yet these children came bravely to the front door. My kitchen, and more importantly, my oven  is located directly next to my front door;  and these children taught me the power of chocolate chip cookies slipped into the oven when the social worker was ten minutes out from arriving. It's a little more difficult to think about all the scary unknowns when a warm kitchen promises plates of security, comfort and love. And that is exactly what a warm chocolate chip cookie is. It mattered not if the cookies were cut from a store-bought log, or mixed in the bowl and scooped onto the cookie sheets. A warm chocolate chip cookie melting in your mouth is love.

In fact, food is love. When my teenaged daughter ran away for about the fifth time (I lost track after she ran away from the runway shelter), she landed with a family who apparently didn't share our particular love for all things culinary. Finally, she couldn't take it and asked if one day I would share my recipe for homemade albondigas soup so that she could make it for the " who treats me better than you ever did." Is it just me gagging on this memory, or are you finding it a little distatsteful too?

Nonetheless, I sat down to the computer and typed out the recipe, remembering all the times I made it and how that simple bowl of meatball soup could encourage conversations about her day at school, my husband's stressful day at work or my own interpretation of the events as mother and wife, caretaker, ... and, well, you get it. So, here's that recipe:

Mom's Easy Homemade Albondigas Soup

Turkey Meatballs: Mix in a bowl:
1 pound package of ground turkey (the pre-seasoned kind works great too,
 1/4 cup long grain uncooked rice
 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
 1 tsp. Mrs. Dash (spicy)
 1 beaten egg
 1/2 tsp. dried oregano- crushed
 1/8 tsp. pepper

The Other Good Stuff
1 fresh, medium onion chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. cooking oil
4 cups water
2 10-1/2 ounce cans chicken broth
1 6 ounce can of tomate paste
2 medium potatoes cubed OR 2 zucchinis chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
1 can refried beans (great thickener)

In a big saucepan, heat the oil and toss in the onion, garlic and carrots. Cook until the onion turns golden and add the zukes.
Cook for another five minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender.

Stir in the water, broth and tomato paste and bring to boil. (IF you're using the potatoes, add them now and simmer for five minutes.)

While this is happening, mix the meat ingredients all together. I use a small ice cream scoop to divide the meat and make the meatballs uniform in size. Roll them in your hand if necessary and drop them into the simmering soup. Return to boiling: reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes or until meatballs float to the top and potatoes are cooked through.

I like to add fresh lime for garnish, or squeezed individually into the bowls of soup. On the table I add red pepper flakes, dried oregano and a stack of hot corn tortillas with pats of butter available. 

Makes 8-10 servings.

Well, there you have it. It's my recipe for a big ol' bowl of love. After you've made it once, you'll realize just how easy this is, and what a crowd pleaser it always turns out to be. And just so ya know, it's heart-healthy in all ways, shapes and forms.

Follow this later with a hot chocolate chip cookie and see if your family doesn't look like all the cares in the world have fallen away. That's what love does - heats you from the inside, brings a rosy glow to your face and makes you always remember it fondly.  Ya gotta love LOVE.