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Yeats (poem of the day)

September 26th, 2015

It's complicated
(Photo by Steve Rawley)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

(The Second Coming was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the first World War.)

“There But For the Grace” — Wislawa Szymborska

August 12th, 2015

Summer sky
(Photo by Steve Rawley)

poem of the day

“There But For the Grace”
by Wislawa Szymborska

“It could have happened.
It had to happen.
It happened sooner. Later.
Nearer. Farther.
It happened not to you.

You survived because you were the first.
You survived because you were the last.
Because you were alone. Because of people.
Because you turned left. Because you turned right.
Because rain fell. Because a shadow fell.
Because sunny weather prevailed.

Luckily, there was a wood.
Luckily there were no trees.
Luckily there was a rail, a hook, a beam, a brake,
a frame, a bend, a millimeter, a second.
Luckily a straw was floating on the surface.

Thanks to, because, and yet, in spite of.
What would have happened had not a hand, a foot,
by a step, a hairsbreadth
by sheer coincidence.

So you’re here? Straight from a moment still ajar?
The net had one eyehole, and you got through it?
There’s no end to my wonder, my silence.
how fast your heart beats in me.”

Translated from Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh

On My Nightstand

August 3rd, 2015


July 20th, 2015

The sparrow's companion

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Monday Recipe: “Almost Ali’s Oatmeal Cookies” & the Pioneer Woman’s Mexican Macaroni Salad

July 6th, 2015

American mermaid

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

This mermaid says, When in doubt, bake. Or make a salad. Or just slice some vegetables and dip them in some kind of dunk. I wouldn’t mind a good recipe for Spinach Dunk, by the by, if anyone has one to share? The pre-made stuff is too salty.

This is my friend Helen’s recipe, and she borrowed it from the Oregonian, “with a few minor changes.”

Bon appetit, babies!

Almost Ali’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 -1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 -1/2 cups uncooked oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1 cup finely diced dried apricots
1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Combine butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Beat until well blended.

Stir in oats, nuts, apricots and white chocolate chips; mix until just blended.

Shape into 1-1/2 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until just beginning to brown around edges and slightly moist in center.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

As for this delicious salad… we made this one for Mother’s Day? A party? Something, anyway, awhile back. It is so yummy.

Mexican Macaroni Salad
a la the Pioneer Woman

For the salad:
1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked to package instructions, drained and rinsed with cold water
2 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 can (15 oz.) black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped black olives
6 whole Roma tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes), chopped
3 whole green onions, sliced thin
1/2 whole red onion, finely diced
Chopped cilantro

For the dressing:

1 cup jarred salsa (spicy is best)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 limes, juiced (optional)

Preparation Instructions:
Grill the corn on a grill pan, or just place it in a hot skillet to brown some of the kernels. Remove from pan, allow to cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the cob.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.

Place the macaroni, corn, beans, olives, tomatoes, green onions, red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the top and gently toss until all the ingredients are coated. Add the final 1/4 of the dressing if you think it needs it. Cover and allow salad to chill for 2 hours.
Garnish with cilantro, lime wedges, and any other extra ingredients you have.

oh, what a haul!

June 25th, 2015

Minus tide = plus agates

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Thursday Book Review: “The Bump: Book of Lists for Pregnancy and Baby,” “The Bump: Pregnancy Planner and Journal” and “Mission: New Baby… Top-Secret Info for Big Brothers and Sisters”

June 11th, 2015

New to the bookshelf: “Mission: New Baby… Top-Secret Info for Big Brothers and Sisters,” by Susan Hood, illustrated by Mary Lundquist, 2015, $16.99, Random House Children’s Books, unpaged; “The Bump: Pregnancy Planner and Journal,” by Carley Roney and, Potter Style/Crown Publishing, 2015, 95 pages; and “The Bump: Book of Lists for Pregnancy and Baby,” by Carley Roney and, Potter Style/Crown Publishing, 2015, 191 pages.

“Mission: New Baby” is a charming new picture book that helps prepare the big kid (brother Mason) for the little kid who’s arriving soon. The author (Susan Hood) and illustrator (Mary Lundquist) have collaborated nicely on this one. Mason and his robot toy “train” by briefing themselves on the new baby, testing “gears and gadgets” (crib, stroller, etc.), meeting the “new recruit” and everything else that’s involved with transitioning to becoming a sibling. Sweet art, and a fun story.

Now, working backwards, we have “The Bump Book of Lists.” Pregnancy can make a girl hyperventilate. You don’t want that — it’s bad for you and the bebe. For some of us, making lists helps; for others, it can bring on a panic attack. This is a handy book — good size, good format. Chapters are broken down from conception, through months 1-9, delivery, newborn and “Baby’s Next Steps.” The crew from the Bump have included lots of details on knowing what to eat, what you’ll need for vitamins and supplements, and some fun stuff, too (announcing the gender, making baby announcements). I would recommend scribbling away in this one. The accompanying planner and journal is great for scrapbooking — lots of room for photos, notes, ultrasound pix and all that.

Great gifts for yourself, or as gifts for any mamas-to-be you might know.

hey, what’s happening?

June 10th, 2015

A short, sweet list, just for you:

1) No one else blogs, why should I?
2) Ha! That’ll show ‘em ;)
3) Seriously. What day is it?
4) Is the school year over yet?
5) It’s hot here. (Those of you who live in Louisiana: Ha, ha, ha, no it’s not.)
6) We need to upgrade this machine, it’s ancient and slow. Also, I can’t figure out how to insert photos here anymore and that has shut me down.
7) Thus, no art.
8) Thus, boring.
9) I am happy/so are kiddos/so is Stevie
10) Baby the Cat, however, not so happy. Cuz it’s so frickin’ hot in the Portland metro area, that be why. And he is furry boy. It was, like, 90 yesterday? 93 the day before?
11) I’m sunburnt as hell right now, but it’s fading (see: field day at my school; see: overcast day at beach; see: floating in pool for hours and it felt good at the time, but not later, so much)
12) I usually don’t burn but damn, this time I did. Also? Still have my tan lines from last summer, ha. That’s a new one.
13) I love summer, do you?
14) That’s all.
15) ps — have had much success at school this year, teaching kids how to write code, keyboard, write in Google Docs (hello, cloud! say hi to my students!) and READ. Oh, my gosh are they reading.



happy Sunday!

April 26th, 2015

Always tri

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

(Just a shout-out for my girl Judy Blume.)

letter from my friend/note to a friend

April 16th, 2015

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Going through old letters and cards — am unable to part with many of them because that’s just how it is around here. Found the best letter from my then-friend, who I am happy to report is also my now-friend, i just had a nice long talk w/ her the other night, well. We’ve been friends for many, many years. Circa 1987, she xeroxed an interesting essay that ran in the New York Times, about a woman who had to go through her aunt’s papers, after she passed. (Only her aunt wasn’t really her aunt, she was her mom’s friend… and she saved everything.) (Sorta like yours truly.) She xeroxed different sections of the article, so it didn’t cut off the edges.

“Hope you can put this together enough to read it,” she wrote. “The last line is, ‘I put it down in ink, all of it.’”

(love.) (love, love, love. and I wish people still wrote letters, sent clippings, poured their hearts out.) (do they? yes or no, you decide.)

also, RIP, dear Tami, 4/6/1964-3/25/2015

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