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The subject line is from a Yiddish poem by Bella Schaechter-Gottesman titled "Harbstelied" (Autumn Song): "When autumn offers baskets full of gold."

Extraordinary selichot service at Congregation Micah earlier tonight. Before the service, I talked briefly with one man who said repeatedly that his partner had "dragged" him there, and a woman who had been a member for 14 years. The rows became full and more chairs were added. Some of the elements:

Havdalah, with the spice jar passed around.

Rabbi Laurie speaking about mature faith, the ability to endure uncertainty, traveling from fear to faith, the bar mitzvah earlier Saturday morning of a young man who had gone through two stretches of leukemia treatment.

The musical "dream team" of Lisa Silver (guitar), Michael Ochs (guitar and accordion), and Batsheva (guitar).

Andrew, a member, speaking about his parents dying within weeks of each other earlier this year -- one from a terminal illness, one suddenly -- and of his midnight-snack rituals with his daughter, who has left for college, as well as the networks developed and cherished by all three generations through their commitment to Judaism. He choked up within a few sentences into his remarks and gestured to his wife, who joined him at the bimah and held him throughout the rest of narrative.

Rabbi Laurie telling part 1 of a tale about a king distraught over a crack appearing in a previously perfect diamond. A craftsman takes it away for a week, promising to make it perfect again...

Batsheva animatedly speaking and then singing "Harbstlied," and later her setting of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" (apparently composed during a stay in Israel where a collection of Frost's poems was the only book in the house).

Angie, another member, speaking about her work at Alive Hospice, about beloved people taken away by cancer (including the wife of the founding rabbi, whose earrings she wears and whose seat she often sits in at the synagogue), about surviving other transitions (including menopause), and about five things one should be able to say not only at the end of life but every day: Forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. Good-bye. (I may be misremembering "thank you.")

Rabbi Laurie: what happened to the diamond.

The service ended with what is apparently a Micah tradition -- the congregation holding hands and singing "Hallelujah" in Hebrew:

Cohen's Hallelujah in Hebrew

Cohen's Hallelujah in Hebrew

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/405391.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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["Under the oak leaves" - a line from "Au clair de la fontaine" (By the clear fountain)]

The senior minister at my church is on sabbatical, and Rabbi Rami Shapiro is visiting monthly as a guest preacher. On September 11, he brought with him a shruti, which he played as the congregation learned a new round:

I am a fountain

Longtime readers/friends may recall that I do have a thing about fountains... though this past month my scant spare time has been more on lake and river. My Labor Day getaway plans having fallen through twice, I decided to get on a paddleboard four out of my five days off, and last Friday I watched the full moon from my lantern-lit plank on the Cumberland.

Elsewhere and elsewhen: Paying work. Housework. Homework. Paperwork. Footwork. Speaking of--
Dancing: hip-hop, flamenco, Afro-Cuban (orishas), English country.
Friends: Visiting from France and elsewhere. Running for office.. Organizing campferences. Selling taco + lesbian farmer buttons (coupon code here, btw). Preparing for High Holy Days. Coding. Cajoling. Caretaking. I could go on ... in short, inspiring me.
Harvesting: peppers.
Deadheading: zinnias.

Recently published:

  • At unFold: Spacing for Sky, with typography by J. S. Graustein

  • At Folded Word: "O Margaret, Here We Are Again"

  • At 7x20, a weekful of polished micro-poems: 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5

  • There is more to say and write, much of it off-blog, but a guest arrives tomorrow, so for now it's back to cleaning. Onward!

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/137107.html.
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    Paying market - NonBinary Review - due by 1 November:


    Prose, poetry, visual art...

    (h/t @chidorme on Twitter, who was retweeting @celestechan2020)

    This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/405024.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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    The subject line's from "Brooklyn Blurs," a song by/in The Paper Raincoat. I heard Alex Wong perform it with Megan Slankard in a house concert back in March, and he mentioned at an Angelhouse Family Dinner that he would probably play it during his Basement gig last Saturday.

    I'd hoped to go to that show, but Other Things Happened. I'd hope to see tonight's ASL-interpreted performance of the Scottish play, but Other Things Had To Get Done. I have a suspiciously sore throat that I'm hoping won't get in the way of Things I Gotta Get To and Through within the next week. Mann traoch, Gott lauch.

    There is a metal screwcap perched on my handbag. I am perplexed - none of the bottles in the cabinets or on the counters appear to be missing their stoppers or lids, nor is there an open bottle of wine - but not enough to feel like I have to figure it out before I head to bed. Though it's all too likely that my brain will seize on some aspect of this to turn into a tanka or triolet a couple of hours from now, and that will get me out of bed to type out the words before they evaporate.


    This week's Tarotscope urged me to embrace change. ... I broke in my new pair of swim goggles this week. I tried buti yoga last week. I'm looking at dance classes around town -- it's going to be a full day if I try to attend the Muslim hip hop doubleheader that's scheduled for the same Saturday as the Early Autumn Day of English country dancing, but it looks doable and is therefore tempting.

    I am contemplating iron-on vines, to cover a stain on a gooseneck rocking chair I acquired last week at the Habitat ReStore for $25. My current tomato cutting + pepper cullings look sunburnt in their beakers and jars, so I'm thinking of throwing out the lot. I am thankful that I had limes on hand this morning, as I was again careless about gloving up before dealing with Prairie Fire seeds and ended up giving myself an invisible moustache of a burn. The zinnias are thriving:


    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/136755.html.


    Aug. 14th, 2016 09:24 pm
    pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
    I mentioned Rahsaan Barber in my previous entry. The ads for his concert had caught my eye in large part because he played in First UU Nashville's 2015 performance of Darrell Grant's Ruby Bridges Suite; I sang in the choir.

    A snapshot from the dress rehearsal:
    Rahsaan Barber

    A recording of "Hold My Hand," from the suite: https://soundcloud.com/tn_choirboy/hold-my-hand-sunday-june-14

    That Sunday, the orders of service included postcards of Norman Rockwell's The Problem We All Live With. I'd collected a few left behind in the pews and sent them to friends.

    I had forgotten that I'd received a copy of that postcard myself back in 2009, when my late friend Marilyn purchased it at the Detroit Institute of Arts and sent it to me:

    postcard from Marilyn

    Now I wonder what spoke to her -- why that card, that day, out of the many others in the racks? These conversations we can no longer have -- they don't quite form a regret, not with the many conversations yet to be entered into with the near and the here. The questions that cannot be answered -- this learning to live with them is not new, but the texture and the thicket-ness of them shifts with the living and rereading and rethinking.

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/136468.html.
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    It took time to harvest the Christmas (aka Prairie Fire) peppers, some of which were hidden behind and below many leaves:

    pepper at the heart of a bush

    Read more... )

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/136423.html.
    pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
    Cathy Erway's The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island has been giving me the feels, as the hipsters might say. Among the dishes I've never heard of, there are dishes I've seen only my parents serve, and names recognizable to me in transliteration. Yet another book to revisit after Big Raft of Deliverables are delivered.

    In the meantime, I have cooked up a pan of pitimi, aka millet, and mixed it with some chopped red onion, and ladled the lazy woman's tagine from yesterday over it, along with some leftover yellow bell pepper and butternut squash and roasted orange slices. I will tackle the bowls of hot red peppers after my stomach registers that it has indeed been filled and I can don plastic gloves without said stomach's noises drowning out the kitchen fan.

    This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/404745.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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    [The subject line is from an Emily Dickinson poem.]

    I walked to a neighborhood store earlier tonight for caraway seeds, which I will blend with some recently harvested hot peppers and other spices for harissa. I was drenched with sweat by the time I got home, but also delighted with the aliveness of my street: bands playing, lovers walking, flowers nodding, kids playing ball, friends queueing up for pizza... A new apartment complex has a painting of an octopus in its lobby. Spiky white and purple flowers fill out the front border of one of the houses on the route; a holly hedge separates a comparatively conventional lawn from the deliberate wilderness next door. Next weekend there will be around 60,000 people in this patch of Nashville for the Tomato Art Festival. I shall certainly rejoice in the money they are adding to the local economy and likely hide from them all.

    During tonight's walk, I thought about the Pharmacy and I Dream of Weenie -- places I had visited with a high school friend and his wife, a librarian who passed away last week -- and of Sweet 16th, whose breakfast sandwiches they also enjoyed. Tomorrow another friend will go into surgery for cancer.

    Another friend is a student minister, and preached with passion this morning on the complexity of people, including Paul Gauguin, whose painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? provided the lyrics of a hymn that separated the sections of her sermon. There was a medical episode in the congregation midway through the sermon, and she acknowledged it with poise and grace as well. For the musical affirmation and offertory, Kathleen M. Basi's "Bud Break" and "Far from Home" flute-piano duets were performed.

    I didn't actually get around to making the harissa tonight. There was supper to prepare (steak and salad), and also a sort-of tagine to get started (chicken thighs that had been marinating in a pepper-wine-garlic brine for a while, to which I added some of the spices listed here, a bag of frozen artichoke hearts (because the cauliflower I thought was in the fridge was not), and a yellow tomato. There were also various bits in the fridge to pour into houseplants (iced tea dregs) or thermos (kickass butternut squash soup I made late last week).

    Been chucking some clothes and papers as well. (Goodbye, awesome but worn-out purple dress from Reims ...) I came across a letter I wrote back in 1993, soon after the BYM and I started dating. This sentence leapt out: "He wants a dog someday, and I am near-phobic." Some things do change, it would seem.

    Miss Dawg

    I likewise sacked out when I got home from church. Hurrah for Sunday summer afternoons!

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/136189.html.
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    The BYM: [heading-out wave and hug]

    Me: Don't hurt yourself and come back to me.

    The BYM: [raises eyebrows]

    Me: Don't hurt yourself, comma, and come back to me.

    The BYM: [smirks] Punctuation matters.

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/135804.html.


    Aug. 1st, 2016 09:31 pm
    pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
    It is Ewe Day according to the Jacobin calendar (h/t [personal profile] okrablossom), and Lammastide in other circles. There has indeed been some harvesting and preserving among my relatives and friends. The aunt I visited on Saturday gave me a bag full of figs and blueberries from her yard. It turns out fresh figs are highly perishable, so I spent a good chunk of yesterday evening rinsing and slicing and pureeing the lot, with 1.5 cups going into two loaves of fig-lemon bread (improvising off of the recipe for pear-pecan bread in Joy of Cooking. I saved a few of the least smooshy ones (which were still plenty ripe) for breakfast:

    a fig from my aunt Cherry

    I also combined the too-tired-for-salad cherry tomatoes with the last stub of red onion and a pepper and some water, for a cold soup I carried to the library courtyard for lunch.

    A friend spent part of her weekend pickling summer squash and okra:

    pickled okra and summer squash

    This same friend gave me a quart of homemade fire cider earlier this year. I sipped some tonight over ice while formatting some submissions. Hello, August.

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/135476.html.
    pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
    This week, y'all. (In)substantial pomp and circumstance on larger stages notwithstanding (the BYM: "Dude, you have got to watch Bill Clinton with the balloons. I want balloons!" Hee), there were deadlines and revelations galore.

    Read more... )

    this morning's harvest, which I'll be taking to a cousin and an aunt

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/135293.html.
    pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
    The subject line is from a letter Elizabeth Bishop wrote to Robert Lowell on November 1, 1974. As is this:

    (For a poet, I am sometimes amazingly practical--as John M. Brinnin remarked the other day, when, after a night's consideration, I turned down taking over the late Anne Sexton's job at B.U.--Once a week; 4 or 6 people; but I figured out how little I'd actually earn, what with more taxes, remembered how tired I get with the two classes I have; and then began wondering how I'd ever get along with the students that had been attracted to Anne, and decided I wouldn't . . .) Then I attended a memorial service fro her in the BU chapel--it was well-meant, but rather awful--and after hearing a few of her students reminisce, I knew I'd been absolutely right--especially as to the last reason. It is very sad--and deplorable pieces are appearing everywhere, about her.

    On a more cheerful note, the Frist Center is holding its member and media previews for Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise today, and the exhibition opens to the general public tomorrow. The "people I want to read yet more about when time permits" list includes Harriet Coulter Joor and several other women featured in the show. It'll be in Nashville through the start of November.

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/135031.html.
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    The subject line's from Marianne Moore's Baseball and Writing. The two quotes below are from Elizabeth Bishop to Lowell. July 10, 1967:

    Well -- the Village will rejuvenate me, no doubt. I never appear without earrings down to my bosom, skirts almost up to it, and a guitar over my shoulder. I am afraid I am going to start writing FREE VERSE next . . .

    July 27, 1967:

    Just as I came in now Bob G called inviting me to lunch next week to meet R Straus (whom I've met, but no one, including me, remembers the meeting at all) and the famous Miss Sontag . . . This is almost too much for one day, particularly as I have to be bright and energetic for idnner with Anny that same night. I thought in the SUMMER in N.Y. one could avoid this kind of thing, but apparently not. I do think that was marvellous -- Marianne demanding a "house call" and almost unable to speak at 12 noon, yesterday, and then refusing all help and going to a baseball game. I don't think I can bear to tell on her . . . I always thought she'd die one day on the Brooklyn Express; now I think she'll die in the bleachers.

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/134856.html.
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    The subject line is not a direct reference to a gig that draws in Mirren and Field and Janney, but this passage I came across while looking up the Mirren clip, which follows a description of a frenetic day chez Colbert at work, which included micro-involvement in "every aspect of preparations" and the writer (Joel Lovell) marveling at Colbert's combination of focus and elation:

    It's a little after seven, and the sun's starting to set over the Hudson River. There are several bottles of expensive bourbon in his office, and he pours a glass for each of us and then sits down and exhales.

    "That was fun," he says. “What you just saw me do--the number of things you saw me talk to people about, the number of different things--you saw like four different tags on a single idea.. . . That's it. That's what liking process gets you to, the ability to process a great deal of information. And everybody in this building can do it. Everybody was jumping in. Everybody had ideas. Everybody was saying, 'What is an unasked added value that I can give the show?' And that is true joy. That's the joy machine."

    He used to have a note taped to his computer that read, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the existence of God."

    This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/404626.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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    From Soshitsu Sen's Chado: The Japanese Way of Tea (1979):

    The charcoal is arranged in a set pattern in the container. The long, white sticks are charcoal made from azalea branches and painted with gesso. The black charcoal is made from any of a variety of woods (20).

    The artisan who crafts the scoops will usually give a specific poetic name to each, such as "Outgoing Boat," "Incoming Boat," "Spring Wind," "Firefly," "Demon's Arm," and so on (26).

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/134567.html.
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    This morning's bathtub reading was supplied by the first 56 pages of the August issue of GQ, which includes Michael Paterniti's ode to Yotam Ottolenghi. This passage in particular caught my eye:

    The immediate impression of the trio [Ottolenghi, NOPI head chef Ramael Scully, and recipe developer Esme Howarth] made was of friendliness -- how well suited to one another they were, and how soft-spoken and solicitous Ottolenghi was.

    "Would you like some tea and cookies?" he asked, and without waiting for an answer he went rummaging to retrieve some. I'd been served so much Ottolenghi food by others, and now Ottolenghi himself was serving me cookies. This seemed to be the opposite of Gordon Ramsay. This was the opposite of the matador chefs and their brash opining. In fact, if you could say anything about Yotam Ottolenghi, you might say he contained multitudes: a sweet temperament and fierce intensity, iron discipline and wild creativity.

    In checking on whether the piece was online, I found a speech by Paterniti on storytelling, which includes this anecdote:

    I have an unofficial contest going with some writer friends, to see who can ask the stupidest question EVER without meaning to, and I think I recently won. I was interviewing the chef Yotam Ottolenghi in London, and at the risk of never being asked to go on assignment again, I'm going to quote my question, verbatim:

    So I'm just--butternut! Butternut squash, broccoli polenta, pearled lemon, that idea of, and sometimes this happens at the ridiculous high-end restaurant, the prawn did this, eat the whole flower, or whatever, just get that marrow, or whatever it is, up here, on the plate, all foamy, and this is what you’re doing without having to turn it into some sort of ridiculous cooky thing in these restaurants, like, maybe you could tell me: Why are we doing this!?

    Seriously, how can you answer a question like this? And you know you're in trouble when the response is, as it was in Ottolenghi's case, a very long silence, a polite but quizzical expression usually reserved for the platypus tank at the zoo, and then, with pity: I think I know what you're trying to say...

    As someone who dines on her foot on a regular basis and actively contemplates vows of silence every third day, I found this awfully reassuring.

    This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/404393.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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    It is, according to the NashSevereWx chart, beyond "I need gills to breathe" hot in my here town right now (77 F dewpoint even with the sun down). I have been resisting the urge to go nap for hours in the bathtub or planetarium with great difficulty. But I have also discovered that an empty plastic Coke bottle (emblazoned with "What I like about you") can intone the A below middle C (give or take a half-step or two -- my piano is not A=440) when I whoosh it back and forth on my way back from some of the zinnias.

    Read more... )

    This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/403973.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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    Nitro ice cream demo

    The need to catch up on sleep and housework quashed most of my original plans for today, but I did head to Adventure Science Center for the tail end of Summer Science Day, getting there in time for the Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream demo. It was entertaining watching some of the kids creep closer and closer to the stage, yearning to touch the magical fog (and the educators diligently warning them back lest they get burned):

    Nitro ice cream demo
    Nitro ice cream demo

    The ice cream mixture was pretty crunchy at first (solution: add more milk), and bent the first spoon used, but eventually there were two batches -- plenty to go around, and I heard more than one parent telling their kid to not go up for seconds until everyone had gotten firsts:

    Kids enjoying ice cream

    The 2:30 screening in the planetarium was of Natural Selection: Darwin's Mysteries of Mysteries. A copy of The Origin of Species is on display in the exhibit From Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs:

    From Wolf to Woof

    The film is lush, and I especially liked the classroom-lessons-on-cardboard scenes, which included a PAC-MAN noshing on circles with spines. On the other hand, the narrative seemed jumbled and erratically paced to me; perhaps all the hopping between different graphic styles and storylines was meant to cover multiple learning styles and attention spans, but I'm still shaking my head at the caveman with the guitar (even though I'm sure some of the other audience members thought it was hilarious when said caveman casually socked a blue-footed booby with the guitar handle).

    I started to assemble a blueberry pie Sunday night, but ran out of evening and energy. It's a good thing blueberries keep. Back to it now, and to pickling peppers, too.

    This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/134340.html.


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