Saturday, April 30, 2011

Finally Poetry Installment

I promise not to keep posting poems, but as part of my reading this year I purposed to read a volume of poetry and in April I've read three.

Ted Kooser was the Poet Laureate of the United States. Last year he wrote a wonderful picture book, Bag in the Wind, about recycling (gorgeous artwork as well!). After reading that book I decided to spend some time reading his poetry and checked out the three volumes my library owned (sadly I was the first or second person to them out, even though they've been in the system for years).

This last volume I read, Delights & Shadows, had several beautiful poems in it and I thought I'd share three I particularly liked.


I once held on my knees a simple wooden box
in which a rainbow lay dusty and broken.
It was a set of pastels that had years before
belonged to the painter Mary Cassatt,
and all of the colors she'd used in her work
lay open before me. Those hues she'd most used,
the peaches and pinks, were worn down to stubs,
while the cool colors--violet, ultramarine--
had been set, scarcely touched, to one side.
She'd had little patience with darkness, and her heart
held only a measure of shadow. I touched
the warm dust of those colors, her tools,
and left there with light on the tips of my fingers.


Still dark, and raining hard
on a cold May morning

and yet the early bird
is out there chirping,

chirping its sweet-sour
wooden-pulley notes,

pleased, it would seem,
to be given work,

hauling the heavy
bucket of dawn

up from the darkness,
note over note,

and letting us drink.


In only a few months
there begin to be fissures
in what we remember,
and within a year or two,
the facts break apart
one from another
and slowly begin to shift
and turn, grinding,
pushing up over each other
until their shapes
have been changed
and the past has become
a new world.
And after many years,
even a love affair,
one lush green island
all to itself,
perfectly detailed
with even a candle
softly lighting a smile,
may slide under the waves
like Atlantis,
scarcely rippling the heart.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sometimes it's the little things...

I was pretty excited yesterday to see pristine copies of the past year's back issues of Food Network Magazine donated to the library book sale. I snagged 8 issues for only $1.50.

I hit up a $1 day sale at a local thrift store last weekend and scored 3 shirts for Jeremy, 2 skirts and 2 shirts for me all for $7. Plus 2 pairs of brand-new looking shoes for $5. I call that a good deal!

I am so thankful to have inexpensive and well-taught yoga classes just across the street from me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Poem

Splitting An Order

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half,
maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread,
no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky hands steady
by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table
and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place,
and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner,
observing his progress through glasses that moments before
he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half
onto the extra plate that he had asked the server to bring,
and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife
while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon,
her knife and her fork in their proper places,
then smoothes the starched white napkin over her knees
and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.

from Valentines by Ted Kooser

Monday, April 25, 2011

True Story

The other day I
nearly stepped out my door
for work wearing
my green with purple flowers flip-flop

I reason, the soles are hard

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter weekend in my kitchen.

Gas prices and a recent unplanned trip back to see family kept Jeremy and I home for Easter this year. It's always a little sad to know that family is gathered but you aren't there (though I heard the group was smaller this year).

I spent much of my time in the kitchen this weekend. During the week I don't draw as much enjoyment from cooking, mostly because it feels quite rushed. But on weekends, I enjoy trying new recipes.

Yesterday morning after a trip to the farmer's market and grocery store, I came home and whipped up a breakfast cheesecake and a frittata. In the afternoon I cooked a pot of black beans and made a vanilla custard topped with balsamic strawberries (amazing!).

Although it was just the two of us celebrating Easter today and Jeremy was sick with a respiratory thing and therefore I attended church alone, I still wanted to make something special for our meal. The menu included: sweet potato egg cups, chicken-apple sausage, lemon roasted asparagus, and the leftover breakfast cheesecake topped with strawberries (all pictured above). I also made a batch of granola and chocolate walnut brownies made with coconut flour.

Now I'm sort of pooped! I'll be posting some of the new recipes on The Cooks Next Door throughout the next couple weeks if you're interested.

I hope you all had a blessed Easter Day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Poetic Thought

Some beautiful words of short poetry I read yesterday. I love that these small verses contain such profound thought, both about humanity and about nature.

All those years
I had in my pocket.
I spent them,

You told me you couldn't see
a better day coming,
so I gave you my eyes.

The face you look out of
is never the face
your lover looks into.

I prefer the skyline
of a shelf of books.

The hay in the loft
misses the night sky,
so the old roof
leaks a few stars.

What is it the wind has lost
that she keeps looking for
under each leaf?

The butterfly
jots a note on the wind
to remind itself of something.

The patience of the spider's web
is not disturbed by dew.

All from Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser.

Monday, April 4, 2011

March Reading

March was a busy month of reading for me. The highlight of which was probably reading Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet series for the first time. Though honestly, I read so many great books!

The Guardian's of Ga'Hoole books I'm reading for a program at work. In fact I'm designing a board game for trivia questions about the books. We'll see if 4th/5th grader's can outsmart the game. :)

I checked a couple reading goals off my list this month, namely a fantasy book (read several of those!) and a science-fiction book. I also feel like Mary Beth Chapman's book, Choosing to See could count for a spiritual growth book as it was filled with reminders of God's faithfulness even in the face of enormous pain and confusion about His plan; the Chapman's story of faith following the loss of a little a daughter at five is a remarkable testament to God. Definitely worth reading.

I will draw your attention briefly to Hamlet's Blackberry by William Powers. Such a worthwhile and timely book examining our highly connected lives and what it means to live well when we're attached to everyone and everything through phones, email, social networks, etc. While I am far from the most connected person (hello, I don't even have texting on my phone!), I still found many useful thoughts to ponder and maintain perspective in a world that rarely lets us alone. There is value in being connected, but there is much value in being disconnected as well. Learning to live well while balancing these opposing ways of life is at the heart of the book. I'd highly recommend a read of this book.

Completed reading list for the month:

Guardian's of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky:
The Capture
The Journey

Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle:
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wind in the Door

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Many Waters

An Acceptable Time

I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
One of Our Thursday's is Missing by Jasper Fforde
Hamlet's Blackberry by William Powers
Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin
Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle
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