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That is, sharing a lane in at the Green Hills pool with two guys. So, while it is true that I was barely clothed and breathing heavily and there were laps involved...

(I'll stop right there. Any more time on it and I'll find myself writing fic instead of filling out paperwork that has to be turned in tomorrow.)

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/407899.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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In Jen Hoffmann's post on responding to difficulty, she uses a V-formation analogy to distinguish between different states: "Back of the flock tired," "Middle of the flock flapping," and "Lead goose energy."

This brought to mind Havi Brooks's 2010 post on safe rooms, which speaks of different versions of ourselves taking turns at the front of the V.

Which in my mind ties to marymary's "I'm doing the best I can not to lose myself over my limits," which accompanied her photo of two tall, cool drinks at http://okrablossom.dreamwidth.org/93575.html. And to conversations I had during yesterday morning's horseback ride (a belated birthday present to a friend) and yesterday evening's shindig (a neighbor's birthday celebration).

My ride was on a rescued paint horse named Punk. (Birthday girl was assigned to one named Duchess.) There were a few feisty moments -- I got "Good cowgirlin'" from the lead guide after one contentious turn -- but it was a sedate ninety minutes, for the most part. There were brilliant green patches of moss along a creek bed and swaths of daffodils in the middle of the woods. The guide riding at the rear of the line regaled the stylish women behind me with tales about life in New York, as his day job for most of his life has been styling hair for A-list celebrities.

The party guests included a bloke who looks fine (both health- and attractiveness-wise) but cheerfully reminisced about how a tree practically trepanned him a few years ago -- skull exposed, neck broken, vision permanently compromised. By that point of the evening, I very much wanted to go to bed, but I also wanted to keep learning more about everyone in the kitchen.

Some notes to myself, typed back on November 24, 1989:


next week: just meet all of the bloody deadlines, including the poetry. no matter what [writing workshop professor] thinks.
if you love it enough, it will get done. better imperfect done than perfect unfinished.

...my reflection in the mirror, interviewing myself. black sweater and stretchies, dark green skirt, hair almost schoolgirl back--straight, scarved in black, lips firm together. ... Peggy Bevington and her long gray hair in a braid. ... when you talk to her and D. both you sense a joyfulness--in her more quiet, but an enjoyment. In D. a theatricality, a pleasure in reading the lines in front of other people--assured, no apologies for not being du Maurier.

In bed until two p.m., then cake and corn grits, if only because their middles kept sticking to the middle of the pan. Sigh. Asked J: "Well, which would you prefer, a good body or a good cook." Smiling: "You can always learn the cooking."


This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140164.html.
pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
In Jen Hoffmann's post on responding to difficulty, she uses a V-formation analogy to distinguish between different states: "Back of the flock tired," "Middle of the flock flapping," and "Lead goose energy."

This brought to mind Havi Brooks's 2010 post on safe rooms, which speaks of different versions of ourselves taking turns at the front of the V.

Which in my mind ties to marymary's "I'm doing the best I can not to lose myself over my limits," which accompanied her photo of two tall, cool drinks at http://okrablossom.dreamwidth.org/93575.html. And to conversations I had during yesterday morning's horseback ride (a belated birthday present to a friend) and yesterday evening's shindig (a neighbor's birthday celebration).

My ride was on a rescued paint horse named Punk. (Birthday girl was assigned to one named Duchess.) There were a few feisty moments -- I got "Good cowgirlin'" from the lead guide after one contentious turn -- but it was a sedate ninety minutes, for the most part. There were brilliant green patches of moss along a creek bed and swaths of daffodils in the middle of the woods. The guide riding at the rear of the line regaled the stylish women behind me with tales about life in New York, as his day job for most of his life has been styling hair for A-list celebrities.

The party guests included a bloke who looks fine (both health- and attractiveness-wise) but cheerfully reminisced about how a tree practically trepanned him a few years ago -- skull exposed, neck broken, vision permanently compromised. By that point of the evening, I very much wanted to go to bed, but I also wanted to keep learning more about everyone in the kitchen.

Some notes to myself, typed back on November 24, 1989:


next week: just meet all of the bloody deadlines, including the poetry. no matter what [writing workshop professor] thinks.
if you love it enough, it will get done. better imperfect done than perfect unfinished.

...my reflection in the mirror, interviewing myself. black sweater and stretchies, dark green skirt, hair almost schoolgirl back--straight, scarved in black, lips firm together. ... Peggy Bevington and her long gray hair in a braid. ... when you talk to her and D. both you sense a joyfulness--in her more quiet, but an enjoyment. In D. a theatricality, a pleasure in reading the lines in front of other people--assured, no apologies for not being du Maurier.

In bed until two p.m., then cake and corn grits, if only becuase their middles kept sticking to the middle of the pan. Sigh. Asked J: "Well, which would you prefer, a good body or a good cook." Smiling: "You can always learn the cooking."


This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140164.html.
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I lugged a contractor bag to the bin earlier today, having detected two kinds of infection among a half-dozen pepper plants. A plant we hauled home from New Orleans in December is doing fine, though. I call it "my geranium from Desire," since it was dug from a flourishing patch on Rampart that had been started with a cranesbill clump from a few streets over, on Desire.

a geranium from Desire

Some days I rock the "It was _______, but it had to be done, and she did it" roll, and once in a while I stay up binge-reading Grace Burrowes novels, which last time induced several rounds of ugly-crying-on-the-way-to-enjoying-a-happy-ending, which happened to be what I needed to get past the out-of-sortedness I can get mired in when too many things are out of order.

Broadsided Press just published a series of downloadable poem-posters about Standing Rock, with my "Snake Dance" among them. The link: http://www.broadsidedpress.org/responses/2016dapl/

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/139792.html.
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I was in Philadelphia last week, partly for business and largely to learn some baroque dance-steps. During a break between installations and combinations, I went to Chinatown. I happened to reach Ocean Harbor right as two staff members were placing a table at the top of the stairs leading to the dining room, and watched throughout dim sum as food and drink and scent were brought out and offered to the ancestors/deities, with a manager periodically tending to the altar. And then, as my tea turned cool and bitter and as I eventually boxed up the remains of my meal, the dishes were gradually carried away and the incense sticks sputtered out, and finally the table stripped and put back with the others in the dining room.

Photos... )

Ocean Harbor

And more photos... )

Throughout the meal, my thoughts kept going back to "Ah úm," the wife of my father's oldest brother (shown in this entry). I remember her chuckling with my other relatives as they watched me copy her movements and gestures during a similar afternoon ritual.

That aunt has been gone for nearly forty years. My honorary mama moves away this weekend, to a facility up north. As we lingered over one last round of Scotch tonight, she spoke of how much she'd learned from her mother-in-law, who'd survived typhoid fever and endured significant tragedy (including a sibling's death from the fever, and early widowhood) whilst retaining grace and gratitude for small, everyday pleasures. And about how the final autumn of her own husband's life had been one of Nashville's most beautiful, such that they'd sat outside many evenings, simply enjoying the weather and each other's company.

Our conversations have turned frequently to the process of paring down. Two nights ago, she said, I kept many of your cards from over the years, but now I cannot take them... I replied, I never expected you to. She gave me the sweater I am wearing; it has holes now, and will almost certainly be beyond repair by the time I am done with it. I left her apartment Thursday night with two pots and a head stuffed with instructions on orchid care and hellebore cultivation. The ice cubes and rhizomes share the same mental acreage as a host of inarticulate thoughts about devotion and despair (that aunt? she hanged herself), and resilience and respite and resistance, and of the many cards and letters to write, and of how most of those will disappear, and yet the writing demands to be done. I think of Ralegh's "Lie," and Chaucer's "Ballade of Good Counsel," and the finale scene of Frings's dramatization of Look Homeward, Angel, and the final paragraph of "No Place for You, My Love," and of honorary mama shouting "Eudora Welty, get off the dining room table!" at her old fluffy cat, and of the old Phi Beta Kappa key that she put on a new chain this week, and a different PBK enticing me away from sewing costumes to go hear Welty speak in Mandel Hall, and of Welty herself rearranging sentences on her bedroom wall with scissors and pins. Of her house and Sandburg's and other things preserved, like musical instruments, circling back in turn to a conversation just last week, in a van trundling over the Delaware River, with a woman reminiscing about the violin she played in grade school. Of Joe's violin, which became Brianna's violin for a while, and is now another girl's violin. Of instruments an appraiser condemned as firewood, and the piano I didn't keep when it was time to sell my mother's house, and the piano I do have, which was a gift from a teacher's father to her daughter. The circles are not unbroken, but this world is somehow my home, even though I'm more aware than ever that I too am just so fleetingly passing through.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/139701.html.
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That is, the essie nail polish mistakenly shipped to me as part of a gift from my gal Roo, who, knowing me, had actually picked Indulge My Whim.

Most of my collection is from R, come to think of it. Which I'm now going to inventory, because hey, among other things, maybe it'll goose a muse into starting something rich and strange. Or at least strange. ;)

Color Club - Alter Ego
Color Club - Masquerade
Color Club - More Amour
Color Club - Secret Agent
Color Club - Ulterior Motive
Duri - Fairytale Prague
Duri - Keep Your Options Open
Rescue Beauty Lounge - Combien?
Rescue Beauty Lounge - Gondoliere
Rescue Beauty Lounge - The Mosses Mar
Rescue Beauty Lounge - Purple Haze
Sally Hansen - Blue Streak
Wet and Wild - Red Red

Maybe I'll even paint mes ongles tonight. First, though, marmalade prep...

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/139406.html.
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The subject line is from Carrie Fisher's Twitter bio. I learned of her death when I saw "Remembering Carrie Fisher" on a TV at Liuzza's, and one of the sadder things I saw later in the week was a sheaf of WizardWorld Comic Con flyers curled behind a machine or rack in a French Quarter coffee shop. The con is going on even as I type (January 6 to 8), but without Fisher, who had been listed on the top line of guests:

WizardWorld Comic Con flyer

I also saw two murals -- one on a wall with "RIP" prominent on wall, and the other on the door of the Krewe of Chewbacchus HQ. Friday morning, we spotted kegs being delivered for the second line parade to be led by the Leijorettes ("most ... are roller derby players").

Leijorettes HQ

A post I bookmarked while mentally drafting this one: TJ's goals for this year.

Speaking of fighting fascists, here's what Penzeys Spices has to say:


The stories of cooks, at least the way we see them, super-humanize. If it looks like you, or someone you know, are going to be standing in the way of the new administration, we need your story, and a recipe or two, and this time we can't wait until July. No doubt public school teachers will once again be on the front lines of the right's anger echo chamber, but we're thinking this time it won't be just teachers, and this is why we are asking for your help. This year, the list will be long, and we would like to get a leg up on any direction it could head. Clearly this time around the targets are the environment, immigration, gender equality, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, income inequality, and pretty much anyone who is in any way a minority in any shape or form.

If you, or someone you know, is on the front lines of one of these issues and have a good recipe or two to share, please contact us at editor@penzeys.com, and tell us a little about your background and your concerns. And please, don't think your experience needs to be dramatic, or that you need to have some sort of job title to participate. It's the every day decency of cooks that carries the day, not fame or celebrity.

And because you may well be first up on the block, if you are one of those pre-existing condition-havers that have had a brief period of almost normal life because of the Affordable Care Act, please get in touch with us right away. The people need to understand your experience. Once again, please contact us at editor@penzeys.com with a brief description of your story, and one of our gifted and friendly writers will get in touch. Please. We all need your experience.


Speaking of cooking, last night I scooped the Meyer lemon sorbet into smaller containers, and tonight I may proceed with this recipe for grapefruit-lemon marmalade. First, though, there is cleaning to do, but before that, lunch (a bowlful of leftovers, plus coffee dregs perked up with cardamom [from Penzeys], ginger, cinnamon, and coriander, with hot water and almond milk refilling the mug).

What are you cooking or dreaming about this weekend, loves?

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/407776.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Toward the end of last month, a close friend ordered me to sleep more in 2017. Which I agreed would be a good idea, so I am hitting the hay in a few minutes instead of seeding kumquats for marmalade. But I have sterilized some lids and put the pint jars in the dishwasher, so "guessing game jam" may be on the horizon.Read more... )

The kumquats, Meyer lemons, and grapefruits (plus an orange) are from the New Orleans backyard grove my big sis shares with her ex. I made sorbet last night with some of the lemons (using a Mark Bittman recipe as a base, with the advice of several blogs on making ice cream sans machine), and spiked a pitcher of water with slices of lemon and ginger.

making sorbet without a machine

Today's attempt at dinner was passable, even though the BYM later commented that the salad "smelled like feet." Really, the preparation of everything is experimental. I'm going to sleep on that. :)

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/139173.html.
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Hullo-ullo-ullo! We are starting out slow, 2017 and I, with cleaning and cooking and tugging at weeds between light spatter-downs of rain. It is a good way to get going -- the pedal will have to hit the metal soon enough. Today's subject line alludes to an article in the Holiday 2016 issue of Edible Asheville, about Carolina Ground, where grain is milled.


[Tara Jensen's] baking practice is influenced by her desire to keep a relaxed attitude, even when the fire is hot and her soul is weary. "What makes a baker exceptional is the ability to recover from mistakes without going off the rails," Jensen says.


The BYM peered into the oven as I was cleaning or prepping something else.

He: Whacha makin'?
Me: Cornbread.
He: Oooh... but, tell me this isn't some superstition thing.
Me: No. Although it does contain black-eyed peas.
He: DAMMIT.
Me: ... because I don't have to use as much milk.

I was actually thinking of a spoonbread recipe I'd looked at earlier when I said that; the bean variation of Bittman's cornbread recipe involves 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, and no white flour -- not a significant savings in the milk department, variation-wise. But my main goal was to try something new that would go with the beef burgundy from the freezer. I also made lemon-garlic kale salad, albeit with pecans and gorgonzola instead of almonds and parmesan.

It is true that I picked up the can of black-eyed peas yesterday at the store, because hey, there it was on the endcap, and then I put kale and kielbasa into the basket as well, thinking the three would make a good combination for lunch. But what I actually craved this morning was I grew up calling "mee whun" -- a simpler version of this rice noodle recipe. The version I prepared today contained just bean threads, cabbage, carrots, garlic, and pork.

bean thread package

first lunch of 2017

Other stirrings: one rejection reached me yesterday; I sent two submissions to editors today.

Closing the day with the good kind of hot water: a mug of Li Shan Pear Mountain tea and a hot bath. I'm pondering what to replace tired tulips with, in the shade beds in my front yard, but the truth is also that I might be best off tending to just the soil itself for a long while. I had the old gonna-fail-two-classes-because-I-didn't-go-to-them nightmare this morning -- my subconscious hasn't developed any subtlety over the years. Basics first, you imbecile. Right. Got it. On with the hoe.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/138778.html.
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The Christmas Day service at First UU ("It's the Most Jewiful Time of the Year") included a dramatic reading of Lemony Snicket's The Latke that Couldn't Stop Screaming, led by the sabbatical minister with audience participation (congregants waving their arms and going "aaaaah!" on cue); a Dr Who reference (Rabbi Rami: I was hoping to watch the special tonight but my wife is insisting that we go out for Chinese); an extended Star Trek benediction in both Hebrew and English; and substantive theological points to consider, with the rabbi comparing closed systems (salvation-based) and open ones (hope-based). The quote I repeated to several other people later in the day : Johanan ben Zakkai's "If you are planting a tree and you hear that Messiah has come, first finish planting the tree."

Also: The thrill of hearing a professional soprano several pews behind me warbling through "Silver Bells" and other standards. The pleasure of petting my friend Victoria's therapy dog through the first half of the service. The hugging of friends and acquaintances and the talking about plans for dancing, performing, volunteering...

For champagne tea with my honorary mama, I baked potato wafers. The BYM and I heard someone very, very good playing the piano in the assisted living lobby when we arrived, and it was indeed her son, who'd brought along sheet music for several super-silly, wildly virtuosic seasonal pieces.

I was not feeling well enough to join the late-night crowd at Lipstick Lounge, but I did stay up to sort out a few things and to say a few more blessings...

second night

And, speaking of blessings, my thanks to all who responded to my Feast of Stephen appeal. I am full of gratitude. See you in 2017.

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/407370.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Thank you all!

Flint water fund receipt


Heading off-blog for the rest of the year. See you in 2017, loves.

daybreak

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/138524.html.
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Today's mailman asked about the dog, having not seen her for a while. He said she was one of the few who didn't bark at him. I might be snuffling as I type. Read more... )
Finally: I started this entry some hours ago. Night has fallen, so let there be light.

first night

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/138474.html.
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by US embassy and consulate staff in Japan

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/407073.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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My big sister will be matching my St. Stephen's Day donation. That means your purchase of a $5 book (or posting/tweeting about this poem will send $4 to the Flint Water Fund. More details in the previous entry, and heartfelt thanks to everyone who's participated so far!

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/138141.html.
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Flint still does not have clean water, and Congress isn't inclined to do more about it.

So -- a proposal: buy Measured Extravagance or tweet about "Look at that, you son of a bitch" by the start of 26 December (CST) and I'll donate $2 per purchase/boost to the Flint Water Fund. Details here.

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/406991.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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My offer: buy my book for yourself or someone else you're fond enough of to spend 5 USD on (at Amazon</> or elsewhere elsewhere), send me some indication of the purchase (order #, screencap, whatever...) by 12:01 a.m. CST on December 26, and I will donate $2 per copy to The Flint Water Fund.

Alternatively: mention my poem "Look at that, you son of a bitch" on one of your social media platforms by 12:01 a.m. CST on December 26, and I will likewise donate $2 per mention.

What's the cap? $200.

Why the offer? A sudden urge to goose up my royalty/readership figures.

Why $2? Because "useful, oddly very crisp," and categorically queer (for certain iterations of "categorically" and "queer") could well be used to describe me.

Why December 26? It's the Feast of Stephen. The first Christmas carol I ever learned to play on the piano was "Good King Wenceslas," which is but one of the reasons it's deeply embedded in my blood and bones -- if there's a carol I can sing in my sleep, it's that one. And as my friend M'ris might could tell you, there are a multitude of ways to sing and hear about the snow so deep and crisp and even. (And about what we know to tell, for that matter. Hence the subject line.)

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/137939.html.
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People gathered from near and far,
In small groups and large,
To share their fears and grief
And the darkness in their hearts.

A year like no other, this was,
Testing us beyond what we'd ever imagined.
Day after day, week after week,
We found ourselves growing
And becoming sturdy
Because there was no other choice.


[I sang this years ago. Something I learned today: the ritual it comes from was co-written by a Unitarian Universalist and "a self-described Quaker witch" (source: http://indysolstice.com).]

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/406596.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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As I was leaving for work yesterday morning, a man and his dog were loping their way toward the park near the end of my street.

A woman driving by rolled down her window and held out a stuffed reindeer toy to the man. "Could you use this?"

The man shook his head regretfully. "It wouldn't last the day."

The woman smiled sadly. "Oh well. My doggie died, that's why."

I wish I'd been near enough to offer her a hug before she drove on.

Last night, at a holiday gathering at L27, I overheard the BYM replying to someone who'd apparently asked him to sum up his 2016 in a sentence. He said, "We bought my shop a building and our dog died."

That does cover the range.

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/406470.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Just wrote a thank-you card to Kellogg's. http://maudnewton.tumblr.com/post/153905564012/todays-action-stopping-breitbarts-ad-dollars

Used some galangal from Penzeys in the cauliflower-potato soup I made tonight. "Online sales are up 59.9%, gift box sales up 135%" since their CEO gave Orange voters a piece of his mind a couple of weeks ago. He posted an open letter to other business owners/execs today: https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/photos/pb.216397232833.-2207520000.1480654780./10154815494657834/?type=3&theater

Bronson Koenig: What I Found at Standing Rock

Rasheed Wallace: The Truth about Flint. This is from October, but in the words of the man himself:


I've been visiting Flint for the past year, so let me tell you the truth.

Some of the folks in Flint can't take showers because their water is still poisoned with lead.

They have to boil water, pour it into the sink and then wash in it.

Yeah, a grown-ass man has to take a bird bath. That shit ain't right. It's still going on today.

And it's not going away anytime soon.


This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/406119.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.
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Seen at Target today:

'tis almost the season

Discussed at brunch today: the owner of Penzeys Spices speaking his mind about what happened on November 8. The comments section at Daily Kos is, for a change, one that does not require donning a hazmat suit to peruse.

For those of you who plan to place an order with Penzeys, there are coupon codes you may find useful.

Another way to speak with your dollars: contact your bank if it's one of the 17 funding the DAPL. Or, send supplies (including banners/sheets and spray paint): http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/.

This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/405832.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

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