zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
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.
zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
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.
zirconium: Russian tins of fish (Russian tins of fish)
[The subject line is from Barbara Jordan's "Bruegel's Crows," in Channel.]

Some days, things mushroom like mad:

IMG_9924

They might even get decidedly warped:

IMG_9951

It's okay. There will be other days full of light...

NC Arboretum

and sweetness:

NC Arboretum
zirconium: tulip in my front yard, April 2014 (tulip)
Some months, the spreadsheets and social commitments and sundry other obligations outstrip one's ability to answer the call of laundry and le laver la vaisselle. One resorts to the strapless stick-ons and thanks Providence for the quick-sale Anaheim peppers staying fresh for several weeks, plodding on and picking one's way through mud and cement slicks...

IMG_9553

I am not thrilled about PDF-wrangling and number-crunching cutting into time for sleeping. It'll likely hoover up swimming and dancing and socializing time as well, and I might be kicking myself right now for choosing to spend most of Saturday away from my laptop. But part of that day was spent riding around Lewis State Forest on a quarter horse named Question Mark, with a shepherd mix named Zeba happily galloping along, with the sky bright blue above pines and saplings and sprinklers, and then there were turnip cakes and bubble tea back in Nashville, and then I scraped and snipped and lugged and tugged thises and thatses around the yard, and that was a pleasure too.

IMG_9554
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Dog at the door

It's 96 F (36 C). I am dripping, and not just because I sloshed a bunch of dishwater onto myself while scrubbing and rinsing pots. Praise be for air conditioning, and running water, too.

It is, as ever, the usual scene here: the more I pay attention to the house, the yard, the writing, the lettering, the studying, and so on, the longer the lists grow and the twistier the learning curves, and the more I yearn to address the little details I currently don't make time for. Scraping at x. Clearing out y. Saving for z.

In the meantime, I'm getting some things done here and there. I'm now listed at the Haiku Registry (on the task list since 2010). I updated part of my website. I cut and sanded boards ...

cutting boards

... and prepped for other projects. Onward!

grinding

Jul. 13th, 2014 08:43 am
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
For reals:
grinding out some green

Some other goings-on:

  • The 2015 Texas Poetry Calendar is now available. It includes my poem "Texas Instruments."

  • The Changeover published my essay "Accounting for Tennis Prize Money," and Sports Illustrated noticed.

  • Also now available: the 2014 Dwarf Stars anthology, which includes my poems "Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water," "Newest Amsterdam," and "Making Rice Dance."


  • Also, three rejections, the usual bug bites, half of my horses finishing third (which is useless when you're making win-place picks), and two hours in a waiting room with a TV on (but at least it was tuned to HGTV, which I find more tolerable than what's usually on). And a dress I bought just last month is not working out, but is already stained in multiple spots, so into the ragbag it went.

    But at least I figured the not-working-out on second wearing, which was a quicker scramble out of the denial swamp (aka making-do morass) than my usual wrangle with buyer's regret. Also, I won a gold medal in Green Acres (fantasy tennis tournament) and drafted a new poem on my phone while sipping a free glass of prosecco at a neighborhood bar. And now it's back to the drawing board...
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    The third time is confirmation, methinks: no matter what color is in the jar (Voodoo Blue, Atomic Turquoise) or how much bleach I've used, my hair will turn into a deep, vivid green. I'm not complaining: it happens to match my glasses and eyeliner. There are worse superpowers to have.

    What I need, though, is to cultivate a gracious way of handling St. Patrick's Day jokes while steering the chitchat into other directions. (March 17 coincides with a sad anniversary in my personal history.) I wonder if there's an economist or Nobel laureate I could make the green in honor of...

    Oho, here we go: Joseph Bienaimé Caventou. French. Pharmacist. Co-isolated chlorophyll and caffeine. Caventou, you're my man!

    (When you can't berate them, make their eyes glaze over. Heh.)




    From Flower Confidential's section on Multi Color, a flower-painting factory:

    "We can glitter anything," he said, moving cheerfully past the roses.


    The chapter in general ("...a rose the color of blueberries. Actually, it's hard to compare this blue to any color you'd find in nature. It was more of a Las Vegas blue, a sequin-and-glitter blue. A blue you'd find in nail polish or gumballs, but not in a garden. Peter had hundreds of these blue roses...") reminded me of the the daisies that are doctored with shoe polish to pass for black-eyed Susans during the Preakness Stakes.




    The window for Rhysling nominations will remain open until Saturday, February 22. My eligible poems can be viewed via this Google Doc until then.



    I was thinking of baking a gingerbread Washington pie (from my Complete American Jewish Cookbook) in honor of the holiday, but we ate a a lot of dessert last night, and there are some savories higher on the list (specifically turnip cake and artichoke quiche). Also on this week's agenda: finetune 600 endnotes; relearn how to play poker; reacquaint myself with riding a bike (temperatures are supposed to reach 64 F this week); work on a birthday gift. Onward!
    zirconium: photo of pumpkin on wire chair (pumpkin on chair)
    The subject line's from Kate Barnes's "Epona" (a patron deity of horses). The poem opens with this:


    Waking up this morning, I found myself
    still in a dream of washing a white mare
    in the washing machine.


    If only. I woke up this morning from a dream where I spent most of an afternoon indexing a manuscript -- in a bleak little pen somewhere on the Keeneland grounds, with my dying mother in a corner and surrounded by tennis matches and other families holding field day festivities.

    It doesn't take a psychology degree to figure out where the various elements came from. But hey, subconscious, how about a white mare or washing machine next time? Or maybe colorful cargo-bike panniers? (I was reading a sample chapter of Luna Jaffe's Wild Money just before bedtime.)

    I was going to moan about yesterday being mishap-laden (walking into a tree; having to throw out a panful of roasted veg) but I see that I did that a year ago, almost to the day. Note to future self: mark this week as a danger zone on the calendar.

    Being stubborn as well as klutzy, I got two submissions out. And I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my poems newly published and shortlisted over at unFold. And, I'm in fine company -- the list so far also includes Dorothee Lang (who published Story Book-Ends two Aprils ago) and Nathalie Boisard-Beudin (whose photo+tunes journal is heaps of fun...)

    Also from two years ago: I had some leftover red wine. I had a party to attend. So:

    Two years ago

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