Guess what we're having for dinner?

This weekend, Monkey had to work on a project of dubious educational value: the pasta car. This involved going to 5 different grocery stores in search of wheel shaped pasta, the purchase of about 5 metric tonnes of various shapes of pasta, including the aforementioned wheel shape, trying to figure out whether the pasta should be cooked or uncooked, and then various attempts of varying levels of success to make pasta into what roughly resembles a car.

In the end, Monkey and I ended up with 2 prototypes, neither of which promise to be big winners in tomorrow's pasta car race. One of them is kind of cool looking, though.


Will I ever be healthy again?

Last night, I had a rough night of sleeping because I kept coughing. I've been coughing for a while now - it seemed like it was about 6 weeks of coughing. But I went to refill my albuterol inhaler today, and the original prescription was filled on February 6. So I've been coughing for almost 80 days. For most of 2008. I've been so busy at work that I didn't realize that much time had passed.

I'm definitely calling the doctor tomorrow.


The Club

Down the stairs to the dive
the pit
the bar
The Club
Cool and dark like a cave
Smell of beer and smoke
like dad
The men turn in their stools
and cheer with their brogues
"Ah, a round for Billy!"

Me and my sister play pretend
and War
and pool

I sing a rebel song
and collect quarters from men
who pinch my cheeks

We are seven and eight
we can pour a perfect pint

As the sun goes down
The Club fills up

The men are three deep at the bar
and we dodge lit cigarettes
as we push through the men,
playing tag
and hide and seek
until next week
when we come back to the bar,
the dive
the pit
The Club

(c) Maureen Barton (aka: maurinsky)

(Obviously, I know this poet, too.)

A Neolithic Meditation


They'd have handed you a hide sack
and a cow's shoulderblade to shovel with
here, and sentenced you to daily quotas
from the gravel pit or a sod-field
past its prime, or with better luck, to paddling
a dugout down the Boyne where that salmon
and its wisdom was always beyond
the spearhead. Out of the overseer's eye
you'd be able to pace yourself until
you returned with a boatload of white stone
for enhancing this burial mound's face.
Full of noose-around-the-neck wisecracks,
you'd have been an unwilling toiler,
envying the horse its stamina,
the hare its jagged speed over broken
fields, and bog cotton its deference to wind
on peatlands against blue mountains,
where it crowds white-headed
as ancient peasants herded off the best
grazing, enduring as if they'd do better
as plants hoarding minerals through winter,
hairy prodigals spinning existence from clouds,
from mistfall two days out of three, the odd
shoal of sun drifting across. If you've come here
for your roots, lay an ear at grazing level,
down where even the sheep-splats
awry on stones are beginning to raise moss,
the level of folk wisdom, where maybe
you'll hear, "Need teaches a plan,"
or "Better to live unknown to the law."

© by Brendan Galvin

I actually know this poet. He teaches (taught?) poetry at Central Connecticut State University. He is also the stepfather of Loki's best friend from high school.


Another poem

maggie and milly and molly and may
by E. E. Cummings


maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

Copyright © 1956, 1984, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust from The Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, Edited by George J. Firmage. Reprinted by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.


For at the first glance of the glory of god in the east

It's Monday morning, and I'm as chipper as a thing that is really, super-chipper, and why is that, you ask?


We have sunny days in the winter, but the springtime sun is special. It offers not just light, but warmth, and it makes me feel like dancing. (I was going to say it made me feel like bursting out into song, but there is very little that DOESN'T make me feel like bursting into song, so...dancing it is.)

Yeah, it's Monday morning, and my cat woke me up early by leaping on top of my bad hip, and I had trouble motivating those people I live with to get out the door in a timely fashion, *but* I'm sitting here, taking a quick break from work, with a perfect cup of coffee, and the sun streaming in through the office windows, and I feel GLORIOUS!

I'm twitterpated, I tells ya.


National Poetry Month

My thanks to Sir Robin for letting me know that April is National Poetry Month. How appropriate, when my part of the world becomes a visual poem every day! Since I am completely twitterpated owing to spring, I thought this would be a good poem to share.

Spring and All
by William Carlos Williams

By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast-a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines-

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches-

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind-

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf
One by one objects are defined-
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance-Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken

Copyright © 1962 by William Carlos Williams. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this poem may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher.


Olivier Messiaen

Back at the Congregational church where I used to sing, after the service, the choir would all stay until our accompaniest was finished playing the postlude. One Sunday, as conversations swirled around me, I sat, transfixed by this otherworldly music emerging from the organ. The music was glorious and terrifying, as if inspired by the Old Testament God.

That piece was Apparition de l'église éternelle by French composer Olivier Messiaen. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his birth, and a New York Times profile on the composer and tributes to him ran this past Sunday.

I'm still learning about Messiaen, but I found this video of the piece I mentioned above on YouTube. This is Daniel Roth playing Apparition de l'église éternelle.

I'm getting chills listening to it. (The video is kind of boring, although that is one hell of a magnificent looking organ.)

This is why I use recipes

Tonights dinner didn't really need a recipe, I just needed an idea, and the recipe provided it. I made salmon with roasted leeks. I just trimmed the leeks and cut them into quarters, cleaned them, drizzled some olive oil over them and seasoned them with salt & pepper, and then roasted them. When I had about 10 minutes left to cook them the way I like them, I added some salmon (salted & peppered) to the pan. So lovely. I squeezed a lemon over the whole thing, and that was perfect. Simple and perfect, just what I like.


Why do I follow recipes?

It so often turns out badly for me. For example, I am making a pork loin roast with garlic and au gratin potatoes. I checked the website for Pork, and it said a loin roast the thickness I was preparing should be cooked 20 minutes per pound. That seemed a little low to me, so I upped it to 25 minutes per pound. The roast is only 1 and a quarter pounds, and it's been in the oven now for 45 minutes, and it's nowhere near done.

Also, the au gratin recipe I was using called for 2 lbs of potatoes. I used slightly more than that, about half of a 5 lb bag. The recipe also called for 1 cup of cream and 1.5 cups of milk. Now I've got potato and milk soup with cheese on top.

I really should just go with my gut. I almost used less milk and cream, but I didn't. I almost put the roast in even earlier, but I didn't. It's not a disaster, but it's not the beautiful dinner I had invisioned, either.


Making Music

I spent much of last week involved in a women composer's festival, and this afternoon, on my way home from work, I caught Nellie McKay on NPR's Project Song.

I am entranced by the process of crafting a song. It is like magic to me. I was speaking to one of the composers last week, and I told her that, and she was puzzled. "Haven't you ever had a tune running through your head?"

I had to answer yes to that question - but the tune is never one of mine. It's the curse of having a good ear and memory for music that anything that sounds even marginally similar will morph into a tune you already know.

Then there is the fact that I don't play an instrument.

I would love to write a song, and I'm going to make it a goal for myself, but from where I am now - it's going to take some magic. I hope I can get there.