Showing posts from September, 2010

eating an elephant in small bites

I had the privelege of going to Rita Dove's (U.S. Poet Laureate 1993-1995) poetry reading at a local college last night. I was very excited when I heard that she was coming--having written, for my undergrad thesis, a comparison between Rita Dove's "Thomas and Beulah" poems and a smattering of Elizabeth Bishops' poems. It's funny how you forget those things, I'm not sure how, since I spent an entire half a semester working on that paper. It's funny too that when you are writing those monstrous papers it seems like the material will never be applicable in your life, and I guess in some ways it hasn't been, other than that I still think about those poems and tonight had a better appreciation for the poet herself!
I think my favorite poem that Rita Dove read tonight was "Maple Valley Branch Library, 1967," which Ms. Dove said is her, "love poem to librarians." (Yes, being a librarian might be part of the reason why...) I will shar…

what's cooking: quinoa

According to Purdue's Department of Horticulture,
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) means "mother grain" in the Inca languageIt has been eaten continuously for 5,000 years by people who live on the mountain plateaus and in the valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile where it is a native plant  Quinoa is a highly nutritious food. The protein quality and quantity in quinoa seed is often superior to those of more common cereal grains and it is higher in lysine than wheatQuinoa grain has a lower sodium content and is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn For more info on quinoa, check here.

Wanted to share this recipe, which I made on Tuesday for tea snack. I was a little anxious because both the sponge and dough were like nothing I'd ever worked with before. (Also, a note: I used more flour than the recipe called for--1 cup more white flour). The recipe is below, the original New York Times pos…

surveying the fields

"The sunlight on the garden" The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.
Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.
The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying
And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.
 -- Louis MacNeice As I gathered my pumpkins this past weekend (13 baking pumpkins, 8 carving Halloween pumpkins) and again gathered another bunch of tomatoes yesterday I surveyed the dying gardens. Today the head gardener was plowing some of the gardens under, clearing away the dead plants, leaving smooth rows of dark Earth. It is time for processing and storing …


My last post made me think of Shel Silverstein; how I loved his poems when I was little; how our substitute teacher would read them to us if we were good for her; how I still love his poems.

"Forgotten Language"Once I spoke the language of the flowers, Once I understood each word the caterpillar said, Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings, And shared a conversation with the housefly in my bed. Once I heard and answered all the questions of the crickets, And joined the crying of each falling dying flake of snow, Once I spoke the language of the flowers... How did it go? How did it go?~ Shel Silverstein

walking a walk that is measured and slow

I am working really hard on a journey of self discovery this year. And honestly, I can't remember how it happened. It wasn't an intentional thing. Somehow, one day, I think I just started *gasp* paying attention. Paying attention to the way that I feel; paying attention to how things make me feel, how I react in certain situations; paying attention to this strange internal change coming over me. At first I swore that I was losing my damn mind. And then I attributed this unwanted, unrequested mindfulness on turning 30 this year. And then it dawned on me that I was beginning to not mind it anymore, this transformation. It's not visible, it's probably not even apparent to the people who know me best, but I am changing. I think differently. I see differently. I am slowly becoming different.

Earlier this afternoon I had a weird confrontationy moment with TSO and it didn't feel good to leave for work feeling like things were unresolved. I drove away feeling …

fight for your right...TO READ!!

Every year the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week. This year we celebrate on September 25, 2010-October 2, 2010. The best way to explain what challenged and banned books are comes from the American Library Association's definition,

"A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice."

According to the American Library Association, these are the Top 25 Banned Books of 2009:

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know W…

Damien Rice - Older Chests Acoustic

Something about this song grabbed me today; ripped at the seams; made me feel split open and raw, exposed and vulnerable; like someone understands the unspoken things I covet and hide. I really love Damien Rice. I really love this song.

just because

I love these:

current events haven't changed much since 1993

blunt and funny

If you haven't discovered BluntCard, you don't know what you're missing! Happy Monday!

loving awkward costumes

I love looking at awkward Halloween costumes almost as much as I love Halloween. Shouldn't Wharf--or whatever the hell that Klingon's name is--be on the Enterprise!?

back to the cardigan

Article One, ArtStor. Biography Resource Center, ERIC, Gale Virtual Reference Library, GreenFILE, JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, MEDLINE, NoodleBib, Oxford Reference Online, PschINFO and World Almanac are just a few of the databases which I am now working with. Yep, you guessed it, I am again working in the library world. Since the early part of the year I have been volunteering at a lovely rural library not too far from the Farm, but starting today I am now also working at a nearby college library. The college--which we'll call Alternative U--is small, around 400 students and focuses on the arts and sciences. 

I must confess that I was a little nervous walking in tonight; the same sensation I felt when I showed up for my first shift at Purdy Kresge, Wayne State University's graduate library (back when I was still a lowly graduate student). Working at the Farm I sometimes forget that once-- seemingly in a life that I lived a hundred years ago--I was paid to help people find books, assist …

leaving footprints

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart”
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.
Both quotes are attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt and I had to laugh when reading these because both came up while I was searching Eleanor Roosevelt quotes on the subject of friendship. Why am I thinking about friendship, you ask? Because it was around this time last year that TSO, RugbyGirl and I embarked on a new adventure. The three of us moved into our house, the glorious and lovely Avalon. And on this year anniversary I was thinking about how living together has taught all of us things about each other and maybe even about ourselves. We've had some fun, hit some rough patches and yet we are still making it work. I just hope that unlike the E. Roosevelt…

arrrrrre you able to handle this?

I love National talk like a Pirate Day. It is the one day where I can at least get away (not really) with talking like a pirate.  From years of working with kids I've accrued some really awkfard (awkfard means awkward and awful combined) pirate jokes: What was the Pirate's favorite fast food restaurant? ArrrrbysWhat was the Pirate's favorite letter? RrrrrrWhat do Pirate kids say on long road trips? Arrrrrre we there yet?What are the Pirate's favorite subjects in school? Arrrrrt and Arrrrithmentic
Yes...I can hear you groaning in cyber space.

cooking for family...

is a little different than cooking for the community at the Farm. It's different for two reasons:

1. When cooking in the Kitchen at the Farm I have more food, spices and condiments, as well as loads of counter space and kitchen appliances at my disposal. This is not the case when I am cooking in my sisters' kitchen. The food I bought at the store is all I have to work with, unless I want a return trip to the market. Space is limited. That said, it was nice cooking with my Mom's help and it was sweet to have my niece and nephew Monster S and Monster A around, asking questions and willing to try things alongside me.

2. If I make something in the Kitchen at the Farm and it doesn't turn out exactly as I hoped it would I always have other opportunities for redemption. I can make the same dish again in a slightly different way, learning from the first attempt's mistakes. This is not so when you are making something for a gathering with the extended family you only see on…

fragmented mumbly jumbly

While, I am sure, the ED of the Farm sent this out to inspire even greater greatness in our work here at the Farm, I can't help but wonder how to keep all the balls in the air. Reading this today made me reflect on the past weekend; a five day weekend back in Michigan, which proved to be a little more stressful than I planned for. It seems like my sister and I have mastered the art of scuffing the glass ball of family, making me think that being an adult can be so tiring, can't it?

Anyway, I made the drive in record time, somehow turning the usually 10.5-11 hour drive into a 9.5 hour drive; enjoyed the buddings of fall colors, which are already springing up along I90 in New York State and Massachusetts; listened to books on CD; enjoyed the solitude.

And then I was back in community. A slow introduction back into life here, I fortunately had today off. A quiet day. A day of accomplishments:

canned 7 quarts of homemade salsa (made with my tomatoes!)presently making applesauce to …

called back

As much as I might fight it, it is still home.

I feel the calling of the land,
The trees and summer streams;
The thunderstorms and sun-drenched lakes,
The land of boyhood dreams.

The little town where someone’s dad
Owned every shop and store;
And every face you saw you knew
And welcomed at your door.

A forest full of mystery,
An undiscovered find
That flexed imagination
In an adolescent mind.

The place my seed was rooted
In fields where I once grew;
The home of every memory
Of everything once new.

Beneath the sea of motion,
Beneath the waves and foam,
I rest on its foundation -
Michigan is home.
~ Matthew Ashbrook

heading west

Not to the wild west. The midwest. The place of my birth. The mindset which still steers the way I think. Home, not so home anymore. Every time I go home I can't help but feel a little like Jane Austen's Fanny Price in Mansfield Park, sans the Sir Thomas-sending-me-away part. I leave behind a place of comfort and familiarity for the place from whence I came, but which increasingly holds little connection, save familial.

I was thinking about this today as I walked home from lunch and enjoyed the cool air on my skin; the cloudy, foreboding sky promising rain; the smell of the apples--fallen from the trees and crushed under foot. I was thinking too that today is a perfect day for a roadtrip. I leave this afternoon, making the 10.5 hour drive to Michigan. To family. To dearest friends. I only wish that, like Fanny Price, I could make my trip in a carriage. Let somebody else do the driving.

Monster and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad milking

Thank you, Ms. Viorst, for creating a children's book which speaks to that shitty-day feeling we can all have sometimes. Yesterday's milking was a Series of Unfortunate Events:

The cows weren't waiting for me right at the gate. I had to walk all the way down to the bee hives and staff gardens to get them, which is fine, since it was a lovely day and I was enjoying the weather and the sun. However, when I got to the cows they all decided to play the we-don't-know-what-we-are-supposed-to-be-doing game. It took lots of prodding to get them moving.While crossing the street with the cows (traffic waiting for us--minimal traffic, yes, but traffic still!) three of the cows decided it was really important to stand in place and act as if we'd never done this before. Beasley (cow) picked a fight with Samantha (cow). I literally had to step between them and do some Jerry Springer relationship-saving work.I put Samantha (cow) in one of the pens to nurse some of the calves; Jasm…

I heart Howard Roarke

I finally finished reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead last week (completing another task for my list). When asked what I liked about it I found that my reasons sounded so strange because, I realized as I spoke, the reasons that I wound up liking the book were the reasons I didn't like the book at the beginning. I also found it hard to talk about the things I felt really amazed by without giving away some of the good parts of the book; I wound up saying what I think best friend K said to me a couple years back, "you just have to read it!"
Some great quotes:
"Worry is a waste of emotional reserve.""Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched.""You know how people long to be eternal. But they die with every day that passes. When you meet them, they’re not what you met last. In any given hour, they kill some part of themselves. They change, they deny, they contradict--and they call it gr…

day at the seashore

Mentioned some weeks back that I was going to drive a Farm trip to the ocean; the initial date was cancelled due to rain, but we did make it last weekend. We drove about 2.5 hours to Hammonaset Beach in Madison, CT, to Connecticut's largest beach, for a day in the sand and sun. It was a perfect day: hot, and sunny; cool water shocked the flesh of feet and ankles, mid calves and splashes onto knees; the kind of water which is only truly enjoyed after one allows oneself to broil in the rays of the sun until the heat is too much and reddening skin needs cooling off. Though I do love the ocean: the smells, the sound, being out on the water, I rarely enjoy swimming in it. So, instead of partaking in the an ocean dip, I spent the day reading a magazine and sleeping, occasionally staring out at the sparkling waters of Long Island Sound, only just across stretches of ocean from New York's Montauk and Hamptons. It was gorgeous.

I came across this poem (posted below) today which reminde…


My computer was wounded in action last week, receiving a fatal blow to the hard drive via a runaway cordless house phone--the story really isn't that good.  On Monday my cell phone died on me. I am a klutz...and have terrible luck.

This all happens within two weeks before I am to head to Michigan for some time away from the Farm. Ah, timing is everything, no? Needless to say the last week has been spent having multiple conversations with friend N (also the Farm's IT guy) and the GeekSquad at Best Buy, looking at computers online and in stores, thinking of options. I know that some people might look at this time as a great way to be away from technology, feel out of touch from the rest of the digital world, maybe even meditate and enjoy the silence; I would love to calmly agree with these people, but SHIT! I LIVE ON A FARM IN THE MIDDLE OF A TOWN WHICH BARELY GETS WIFI AND DOES NOT EVEN GET CELL PHONE RECEPTION!! I feel a million miles from things and cling to my daily dose of …