April 2017

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Apr. 22nd, 2017

Down down with wrong quotations / Up up with source citations!

The subject line is a chant from Chicago's March for Science. This photo is from this morning's march in Nashville:

March for Science Nashville

It was taken by a woman whose mother had knitted the hats; she was there with her grandson, who worked toward getting a selfie with the dog as we chatted:

boy at March for Science Nashville

I've posted a cross-section of photos to my Twitter account (@zirconium). I'll add some more later, but I actually do have a grant application deadline to meet.

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/141379.html.

Apr. 15th, 2017

"from deep despair and perished things . . ."

My dear, dear friend M R B (@MBDigital001) sent to me French marshmallow candy drops earlier this week, and also some beautiful photos, which I am re-posting here with permission. (She sometimes moonlights as a photog for hire, btw - mainly NY state and DC area.)



They reminded me immediately of Alicia S. Carpenter's "A Promise Through the Ages Rings," a hymn in Singing the Living Tradition I have posted about before (in 2008, 2013, and elsewhen), and which I have been singing to myself again and again through the past few days:



A promise through the ages rings,
that always, always, something sings.
Not just in May, in finch-filled bower,
but in December’s coldest hour,
a note of hope sustains us all.

A life is made of many things:
bright stars, bleak years, and broken rings.
Can it be true that through all things,
there always, always something sings?
The universal song of life.

Entombed within our deep despair,
our pain seems more than we can bear;
but days shall pass, and nature knows
that deep beneath the winter snow
a rose lies curled and hums a song.

For something always, always sings.
This is the message Easter brings:
from deep despair and perished things
a green shoot always, always springs,
and something always, always sings.




This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/141308.html.
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Apr. 12th, 2017

sun's shining, I have cute yet comfortable shoes...

... and I had an entire lane to myself at the pool last night. Reminding my broody self of happy things, I am.

"Mile of Smiles" and "Wa' Is Me, What Mun I Do?" are still occupying a sizable section of the earworm bed in my brain. Here's "Mile of Smiles" at the April 1 Playford Ball. I'm not visible in most of it, but what a fine tune it is, and I did enjoy that nice set-and-turn with Joan around 4:13:



I reread my Lessons from Country Dancing sermon from 2009 a few days ago. Methinks it has held up pretty well, and reminded me of some things I'd forgotten.

Autumn Sky Poetry published Reading the Sky - a "quasinelle" I wrote for [personal profile] okrablossom last month. One of these years I'll regain some semblance of systematic self-promotion, but in the meantime, the sun is shining, my shoes...

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140968.html.

Apr. 8th, 2017

complicated subdivisions

Listening to Minneapolis musician Dessa's "Matches to Paper Dolls" after re-reading her fabulous essay on New Orleans, which includes this:


Ninety minutes later, the Maple Leaf was full and moving. I stood near the wall with my beer. There were people who couldn’t keep time, people who could really dance and jazz dudes who could keep time so well, and in such complicated subdivisions, that it just looked as if they couldn’t dance. My little corner of the floor was populated by tourists in Velcro sandals, club girls in banging four-inch heels, a slim woman in suede loafers, a middle-aged guy dancing in hiking shoes. That seemed like an unusually wide array of footwear at a concert; I pretended to drop my pen to get a better look. This club is like Noah’s ark from the ankle down, I thought. Shoes are flags of cultural membership; shows I’d played were usually dominated by black boots and Vans — hipster standard issue. But maybe a city run by psychics, hustlers and jazz gods wouldn’t breed too many hipsters; there was no mainstream to rail against.


Current earworm is a tune from around 1695 titled "Wa' is me, what mun I do?", which can be heard in this 2014 video of a dance in Atlanta. My "someday" list now includes learning to teach it so that I get to hear it more often.

The videographer at last Saturday's Playford Ball has been putting clips online through the week -- I think the first half of the ball is now all up. I'm wincing at some -- I have so very much to get the hang of, let alone improve on -- but I look decent in others, and I did really enjoy the evening as a whole. At the start of "Smithy Hill," Priscilla -- a straightforward, down-to-earth woman with a firm grip (i.e., my kind of gal) -- said to me, "You look happy." "I am!" "Good!" ... and I acquitted myself well enough that she claimed me for "Good Man of Cambridge" the next afternoon. (There won't be official video of that one, but it was ridiculous fun, especially with Bare Necessities getting ever more faster and wilder -- to Mozart's Turkish March, y'all. I was cackling aloud at their riffs, and at one point said to Priscilla, "Now they're just showing off!")

The ball itself opened with "Mendocino Redwood," which I danced with Wendy from Charlotte (whom I'd met in Durham last month):



This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/408759.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

Handel-ing and hoping with care

Free e-anthology (with my sonnet "Continuing Ever After"): Bouts-Rimes for Hope

"Handel with Care," from last weekend:



This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140617.html.

Apr. 2nd, 2017

thumbs to the right

Lunch yesterday was at Anatolia, which turned out to be the destination of choice for the caller and the band and several other groups of dancers as well. Because pretty much everyone else at the table had more English country dance experience in their left little toe than me in my entire body, I made like a sponge and soaked up as much advice and anecdotal knowledge as I could, especially about gender-free calling and global terminology, and I asked specifically about how to position my hands, which has been an ongoing trial, and has become more urgent to get a grip on (so to speak) because I want to become fluent enough on both sides of sets to wear the "I dance both roles" button with confidence. (I'm at the advanced beginner level where I still screw up regularly and sometimes mortifyingly spectacularly -- just ask the gent into whom I barrelled full speed yesterday after yet again brain-cramping on whether to pass right shoulder or left -- but am now experienced enough to steer or cue other dancers out of jams, of which there were a-plenty throughout the weekend. Among other things, I have "dolphin heys" down -- go me!). Maggie Cowan, a founder of QuickSilver, advised "thumbs to the right," and while my muscle memory hasn't gotten the hang of that yet, my brain was regularly repeating that throughout the rest of the weekend, so I daresay that will be my enduring takeaway from the 36th Nashville Playford Ball.

It was a grand weekend. Wendy, my first partner on Saturday evening, quipped that she was glad she'd left her tiara in Charlotte since I was wearing one. The draft program got adjusted as programs do -- something with a name like "Fiddler's Feet" replaced "Childgrove," if memory serves, and there were some other swaps -- but we did end with "Old Wife Behind the Fire," after a "Smithy Hill" where Priscilla and I were having so much fun with it (especially after we got the hang of "swat the flea") that at least two other couples commented on our silliness, and a lovely bloke spun me around expertly through the final waltzes of Saturday and Sunday.

IMG_0074

As Honorary Mama observed during my phone call to her, the variety of dance names can be highly entertaining. I told her that I wore her prep school class ring (Class of 1946) through the final session, at some point realizing how appropriate that was, given her stories of social dancing lessons at that all-girls school.

There were cameras at the ball, so I imagine there will be video soon (as there was last year). It seemed like more people made an effort costume-wise this year (perhaps because last year's postings took some by surprise).

This morning's program was chosen from requests made to the caller during the previous two days. It included:

* Knives and Forks
* Candles in the Dark
* Red House
* Hambleton's Round O
* Trip to Provence
* Shrewsbury Lasses
* Sapphire Sea
* An Early Frost
* The Good Man of Cambridge [to Mozart's Turkish March]

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/140460.html.

Mar. 18th, 2017

getting Austen-tacious

Having absent-mindedly dumped the half-clove of garlic I minced right into the trash instead of the avocado/bokchoy/cilantro/hummus/rice bowl I was assembling, I am scrapping my more ambitious plans for the evening in favor of getting sheets onto the bed and getting me into said bed sans mishap.

The Sun Assembly DanceFest was wonderful, as were the evenings preceding it (SA's regular English country dance night on Thursday, and Triangle Country Dancers' contra on Friday). And on my way back, I made a point of getting to Asheville's Orange Peel in time for Waltz Night.

I am now in withdrawal, which I have been dealing with partly by going to other dances in town (blues on Thursday, contra yesterday) and partly by researching dances, workshops, and colonial/Regency/Jane Austen balls I could maybe add to my calendar/budgeting. I went to Goodwill's wedding gala in hopes of scoring something more period than my usual Saturday evening frock. There was nothing empire-waisted on the fancy racks that fit me -- my legs are shorter than average, and my torso wider and longer than average, which means zippers tend to stall out halfway up my back. This is annoying when I am trying on something deliciously intricate and fouffy for which I am unlikely to develop the requisite sewing skills to make for myself, but then again, intricate and fouffy weren't part of the original mission. On the regular rack, I found a plain brown maxi-dress for $6 that will do for the afternoon dance at Vanderbilt's central library later this month, and the trinkets table had a tiara and some earrings that might go with some other costume.

I also stopped at Designer Renaissance and Performance Studios. At DR (a consignment shop), there was a Sleevey Wonder that I was thinking might work spencer-style (I'm sure there's a precise term for what I have in mind) over a sleeveless light green dress I bought for $.99 last year (likewise as a Playford Ball possibility, though it is the right level of dressy-but-not-over-the-top that would also make it acceptable to wear at my day job). The sales associate and another customer perked up at the mention of Jane Austen -- I e-mailed the Vanderbilt flyer to the associate when I got home. (And, the sandals and bag I'd eyed a few days ago were still there. The sandals fit, and I felt a distinct pang of disappointment when at first I thought the bag had been sold, which tells me that I was right to go back for it.) At Performance Studios, I peeked at some of the rental gowns, which are magnificent but out of scope for my likeliest options. (Though I will be exceedingly tempted if I end up trying to get to the Salem 18th Century Ball...) The hose selection is nice, and I did pick up a pair with a low-key tattoo for workshop/afternoon wear ($8). (A lesson from the first DanceFest session: I cannot go sockless for long in my current most-fun pair of shoes.)

After hitting one more store (Dillard's moving sale -- I'd chosen not to buy anything during my first visit, but again, DanceFest convinced me to go back for the tights I'd put back), and the pool) and the pool (I will master flip turns someday...) and the gas pump and the supermarket, I stopped at Woodland Wine Merchant. This week's tasting was hosted by a Stolen Rum representative. The smoked rum is quite good, and I may pair with the red sticker as a future host gift:



This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/408372.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

Mar. 7th, 2017

from Grace Burrowes, LADY LOUISA'S CHRISTMAS KNIGHT



"When I can see problems and solutions others can't, it makes other people angry. I realize that it's not enough to identify the difficulties and know what must be done. One must convey the proper course to those who have the problem, so they might see the way as if they had discovered it themselves. [My sister] Jenny explained it to me, but I lack the ability to accomplish her ends, try though I might."

He gentled his hold, because she'd guessed correctly: he was angry, but not at her. "And if you cannot defer to those of lesser insight, Wife? Are you to keep silent and do nothing?"

Another sigh followed by a silence. Silence at least suggested Louisa was considering Joseph's question, and it meant he could hold her a while longer.

"I used to wish I would wake up one day and be less intelligent," she said, sounding very weary. "That is, of course, blasphemy, but I don't like making people feel angry and stupid, and I like even less when they must try to impose those emotions on me in retaliation."



This entry was originally posted at http://bronze-ribbons.dreamwidth.org/408174.html. I see comments at DW, IJ, and LJ (when notifications are working, anyway), but not on feeds.

Feb. 26th, 2017

different points of the V

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.

different points of the V

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.

Feb. 11th, 2017

a geranium from Desire

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.

Jan. 21st, 2017

not permanent but not yet forgotten

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.

Jan. 7th, 2017

I guess I'm keeping the Starter Wife

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.

no room for demons when you're self-possessed

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.

Jan. 3rd, 2017

guessing games

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.
Tags:

Jan. 1st, 2017

on the rails

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.

on the rails

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.

Dec. 26th, 2016

looking out on the Feast of Stephen

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.

...shall yourselves find blessing

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.

Dec. 24th, 2016

though the frost was cruel

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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