ripples

Aug. 14th, 2016 09:24 pm
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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.
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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.

processing

Aug. 1st, 2016 09:31 pm
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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.
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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... )

peppers
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.
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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.

theater

Jul. 10th, 2016 10:14 pm
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Via the NYT Cooking newsletter, as it happens: Slate's oral history of Angels in America -- http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/cover_story/2016/06/oral_history_of_tony_kushner_s_play_angels_in_america.html

And from today's profile by Michael Paulson of Javier Muñoz:



Why are you an actor?

I decided in high school -- at Edward R. Murrow in Brooklyn. I just fell in love with the idea that theater can be a mirror, theater can be a commentary, theater can be powerful and can start a conversation that needs to happen. I started working for a childrens literacy organization that used theater to teach literacy in after-school programs, and that was another powerful thing -- suddenly the kid who really had trouble reading in class, or was embarrassed to speak out loud because of their accent, was inhabiting a character, using their imagination, reading and writing. That blew my mind.


This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/403713.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 a Paris Review interview of Yves Bonnefoy, who recently passed away.

Bonnefoy's translations of Yeats's poems are on my bedside bookshelf. I quoted from the very first one I read at http://www.varytheline.org/blog/2011/12/15/a-few-old-socks-and-love-letters/.

Also from the PR interview:


What shapes the poem, what makes it what it is . . . that depends on causes which are within me already, and have been for a long time, although I am not yet aware of them. I will understand them only once the work is finished.

I must point out that I can postpone the decision to start writing for years. It's when I'm at peace with the thoughts and the images that are generated by the previous book. I will not start writing again except when I notice that the last book is no longer sufficient to express or order my relationship with the world.


This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/403566.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell, 18 July 1950:


Just had a visit from the Dutchman who works here & writes poetry incessantly. I hope he wasn't one of your problems too. One poem this time is about his soul fermenting in a barrel of sauerkraut. He's so grateful to God for sending him such marvelous ideas, but personally I'm afraid God is playing tricks on him.


There is no actual sauerkraut here, as I've despised the stuff all my life. What we do have on hand: kosher dill pickles, salted lemons, and capers. From generous colleagues, fire cider and dried pineapple. From the container garden, belatedly harvested radish greens and arugula, tempered on my stove with cream or bacon and wine vinegar, countered by a orange-skinned cherry tomato I popped into my mouth a day or three too soon. I cut down the rust-plagued hocks a few twilights ago, and in the morning shall steel myself to thin out the zinnias, if rain is not pelting down. The Christmas peppers run the gamut from stunted seedling to shriveling unharvested pod. So too my drafts. So too my sketches and lists.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/134129.html.
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There was a storm last week:

our driveway a week ago

Today was the first day I could safely get to the hollyhocks in front. There's some rust to deal with.

after storm vs. tree

There were also quite a few bloodstains decorating the basement floor earlier this week. That, though, was less about tree vs. storm and more about man vs. board, one that propelled him into a nail during his tussle with it. The subsequent tetanus shot and squirts of silver solution seem to be doing their job.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/133702.html.

LAO

Jun. 9th, 2016 08:59 pm
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There are many formidable women in my life, and one of them is a vet who heads to the Virginia Women's Music Festival every year. She recently wrote to me about repairing a road:


We dug out the soft dirt, built a wood & rock frame & filled in with 50 bags of Quickcrete. [Another woman] and I tried to stamp it with our assprints but couldn't get a good angle.


This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/403409.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

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Peg Duthie

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