Saturday, February 28, 2015


Exercise Suppresses Appetite By Affecting Appetite Hormones

BETHESDA, Md. (Dec. 11, 2008) − A vigorous 60-minute workout on a treadmill affects the release of two key appetite hormones, ghrelin and peptide YY, while 90 minutes of weight lifting affects the level of only ghrelin, according to a new study. Taken together, the research shows that aerobic exercise is better at suppressing appetite than non-aerobic exercise and provides a possible explanation for how that happens.

This line of research may eventually lead to more effective ways to use exercise to help control weight, according to the senior author, David J. Stensel of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

The study, “The influence of resistance and aerobic exercise on hunger, circulating levels of acylated ghrelin and peptide YY in healthy males,” appears in the online edition of The American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, published by The American Physiological Society. The authors are David R. Broom, James A. King and David J. Stensel of Loughborough University, and Rachel L. Batterham of University College, London.

Treadmill versus weight lifting

There are several hormones that help regulate appetite, but the researchers looked at two of the major ones, ghrelin and peptide YY. Ghrelin is the only hormone known to stimulate appetite. Peptide YY suppresses appetite.

Ghrelin was discovered by researchers in Japan only about 10 years ago and was originally identified for its role as a growth hormone. Only later did its role in stimulating appetite become known. Peptide YY was discovered less than 25 years ago.

In this experiment, 11 male university students did three eight-hour sessions. During one session they ran for 60 minutes on a treadmill, and then rested for seven hours. During another session they did 90 minutes of weight lifting, and then rested for six hours and 30 minutes. During another session, the participants did not exercise at all.

During each of the sessions, the participants filled out surveys in which they rated how hungry they felt at various points. They also received two meals during each session. The researchers measured ghrelin and peptide YY levels at multiple points along the way.

They found that the treadmill (aerobic) session caused ghrelin levels to drop and peptide YY levels to increase, indicating the hormones were suppressing appetite. However, a weight-lifting (non-aerobic) session produced a mixed result. Ghrelin levels dropped, indicating appetite suppression, but peptide YY levels did not change significantly.

Based on the hunger ratings the participants filled out, both aerobic and resistance exercise suppressed hunger, but aerobic exercise produced a greater suppression of hunger. The changes the researchers observed were short term for both types of exercise, lasting about two hours, including the time spent exercising, Stensel reported.

“The finding that hunger is suppressed during and immediately after vigorous treadmill running is consistent with previous studies indicating that strenuous aerobic exercise transiently suppresses appetite,” Stensel said. “The findings suggest a similar, although slightly attenuated response, for weight lifting exercise.”

Focus on active ghrelin

Previous studies have been inconclusive about whether exercise decreases ghrelin levels, but this study may help explain those mixed results, according to the researchers.

Ghrelin comes in two forms, acylated and non-acylated. The researchers measured acylated ghrelin, also called active ghrelin, because it can cross the blood-brain barrier and reach the appetite center in the brain. Stensel suggests that future research concentrate on active ghrelin.

While the study showed that exercise suppresses appetite hormones, the next step is to establish whether this change actually causes the suppression of eating.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To interview Dr. Stensel, please contact APS Communications Office at To listen to an interview with Dr. Stensel, go to and click on Episode 16.

Funding: School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University.

Clyde and Christopher Adventure Aprons

Friday, February 27, 2015

How to Shovel Snow like a Man


Jenise Harmon Therapist

5 Tips for Helping a Depressed Friend or Loved One

February 23, 2015 • By Jenise Harmon, LISW-S, Depression Topic Expert Contributor

When someone is depressed, he or she may struggle to communicate with those closest to him or her. It can be confusing and at times frustrating, too, to love someone with depression. It’s not always easy to help and give what is needed.

Sadly, the reaction of many people is to say simplistic and dismissive things like, “Just pray more,” or, “You just need to think yourself into a better place.” Suggestions and statements such as these undermine the experience of people who are struggling with depression.

Another thing people often do but shouldn’t: compare pain. A person I worked with in therapy once told me her nurse (in a psychiatric hospital) said she should feel happy her problems aren’t more severe. The nurse proceeded to talk about her husband dying and leaving her a widow with two young children to support.

No doubt, there’s good intention lurking beneath some of the things people say to those experiencing depression. Good intention, though, does little to ease pain.

If you’re in a position to help or support a person with depression, here are some positive things you can do:

Ask what you can do to help. The person with depression might say that your quiet company would be helpful, or perhaps the person wants a compassionate ear, someone to just listen. Be open and generous. Maybe the person needs a ride to an appointment or someone to pick up a prescription.
If the person is unable to communicate his or her needs, offer some specific ideas. Ask if the person would like to get out of the house, or if you can come and keep him/her company. Offer to take the person’s kids for a couple of hours. See if he or she needs something picked up from the store. When people are depressed, sometimes the most basic activities (such as grocery shopping or meal planning) can seem like huge, insurmountable tasks.
Listen without judgment. Don’t mention that your aunt Gladys has cancer and is worse off than he or she is. Don’t use the phrase, “Well, at least …” Allow your friend to voice any hurt or despair. If you don’t know what to say, simply say, “I love you and I’m sorry you’re in pain.”
Ask if the person has suicidal thoughts or feelings. This can be extremely hard to do, as it might feel like you’re being invasive. But many people’s lives have been saved because someone had the courage to ask. If the person acknowledges being suicidal, offer to take him or her to the hospital and/or let the person’s family/therapist/doctor know. Feeling suicidal and being alone is a dangerous combination. Just sitting and being with the person, even if it’s just reading a book or the newspaper while he or she rests, could mean the world. For more information on helping a person with suicidal ideation, see this recent article.
Love the person. Love the person with words, with touch, with your presence. When people are depressed, it can feel as if no one truly cares about them. Let the person know that he or she matters to you. If appropriate, be specific as to why.

If you have loved ones, family, or friends who seem stumped by how to interact with a depressed person—perhaps even you—consider sharing this article with them. Let them know you understand it’s difficult to know how to handle a person experiencing depression, and that these ideas might be helpful.

Relationships are tricky. Some people are more natural than others at helping people with depression, but everyone is capable of compassion and empathy. If you’re present and available, you’re going a long way toward lending support.

© Copyright 2015 by Jenise Harmon, LISW-S, therapist in Columbus, Ohio. All Rights Reserved.

Ice Dams

Water is dripping inside my house in funny places. Ice dams on the roof.

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan
The heart-healthy Mediterranean is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking. Here's how to adopt the Mediterranean diet. By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating — plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps even a glass of red wine — among other components characterizing the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease.
Benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, an analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the Mediterranean diet as an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease. And the Mediterranean diet is one your whole family can follow for good health.
Key components of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active, and enjoying meals with family and friends.
Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains

The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables and grains. For example, residents of Greece average six or more servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine, which contains saturated or trans fats.

Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat, but most of the fat is healthy. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.
Choose healthier fats

The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn't on limiting total fat consumption, but rather on choosing healthier types of fat. The Mediterranean diet discourages saturated fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats), both of which contribute to heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet features olive oil as the primary source of fat. Olive oil is mainly monounsaturated fat — a type of fat that can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated or trans fats. "Extra-virgin" and "virgin" olive oils (the least processed forms) also contain the highest levels of protective plant compounds that provide antioxidant effects.

Canola oil and some nuts contain the beneficial linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid) in addition to healthy unsaturated fat. Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglycerides, decrease blood clotting, and are associated with decreased incidence of sudden heart attacks, improve the health of your blood vessels, and help moderate blood pressure. Fatty fish — such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon — are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish is eaten on a regular basis in the Mediterranean diet.
What about wine?

The health effects of alcohol have been debated for many years, and some doctors are reluctant to encourage alcohol consumption because of the health consequences of excessive drinking. However, alcohol — in moderation — has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease in some research studies.

The Mediterranean diet typically includes a moderate amount of wine, usually red wine. This means no more than 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of wine daily for women of all ages and men older than age 65 and no more than 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of wine daily for younger men. More than this may increase the risk of health problems, including increased risk of certain types of cancer.

If you're unable to limit your alcohol intake to the amounts defined above, if you have a personal or family history of alcohol abuse, or if you have heart or liver disease, refrain from drinking wine or any other alcohol.
Putting it all together

The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way. Here are some specific steps to get you started:

Eat your veggies and fruits — and switch to whole grains. Avariety of plant foods should make up the majority of your meals. They should be minimally processed — fresh and whole are best. Include veggies and fruits in every meal and eat them for snacks as well. Switch to whole-grain bread and cereal, and begin to eat more whole-grain rice and pasta products. Keep baby carrots, apples and bananas on hand for quick, satisfying snacks. Fruit salads are a wonderful way to eat a variety of healthy fruit.
Go nuts. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Keep almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts on hand for a quick snack. Choose natural peanut butter, rather than the kind with hydrogenated fat added. Try blended sesame seeds (tahini) as a dip or spread for bread.
Pass on the butter. Try olive or canola oil as a healthy replacement for butter or margarine. Lightly drizzle it over vegetables. After cooking pasta, add a touch of olive oil, some garlic and green onions for flavoring. Dip bread in flavored olive oil or lightly spread it on whole-grain bread for a tasty alternative to butter. Try tahini as a dip or spread for bread too.
Spice it up. Herbs and spices make food tasty and can stand in for salt and fat in recipes.
Go fish. Eat fish at least twice a week. Fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring are healthy choices. Grill, bake or broil fish for great taste and easy cleanup. Avoid breaded and fried fish.
Rein in the red meat. Limit red meat to no more than a few times a month. Substitute fish and poultry for red meat. When choosing red meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small (about the size of a deck of cards). Also avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat, processed meats.
Choose low-fat dairy. Limit higher fat dairy products, such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream. Switch to skim milk, fat-free yogurt and low-fat cheese.

Mayo Clinic Meals


Ballerina Diary

Your Best Body: The Food Diaries
Four pros reveal everything they ate for a day.
Published in the June/July 2011 issue.

Complexions' Patricia Hachey

Photo by Steve Vaccariello

Dancers are mad scientists of nutrition: They know what every bite will do to their bodies and are constantly adjusting the formula. We asked four professional dancers to tell us exactly what they had to eat on a given day and why. These aren’t menus that were carefully crafted by a nutritionist. They’re the actual food that fits into each dancer’s hectic schedule, giving her the energy she needs—and the treats she’s earned.

Patricia Hachey
Company dancer, Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Performance day on tour in Lucca, Italy

9:15 am Complimentary breakfast at Hotel Universo:
• Multivitamin and vitamin D
• One glass of orange juice
• One cup of coffee
• Granola and yogurt topped with fresh kiwi
• One hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper

3:00 pm Snack after class at the Teatro Del Giglio:
• One Kashi GoLean Chocolate Caramel Protein & Fiber Bar
• One tangerine

5:00 pm Mid-rehearsal snack:
• One big handful of raw almonds
• One pear

7:00 pm Dinner break at the theater before the show:
• Yogurt with müesli
• One hard-boiled egg
• One banana

10:30 pm During the second intermission:
• A shot of honey

11:45 pm Dinner at a restaurant in Lucca:
• Fresh bread drizzled with olive oil
• Insalata classico: lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, fresh Parmesan with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
• Gnocchi al pesto
• One glass of house red wine

Late night snack at the hotel:
• Two pieces of dark chocolate

Hachey is a vegetarian, so making food choices that will sustain her high activity level, particularly while on tour, is a constant challenge. She chooses hearty plant-based foods like granola and müesli to keep her feeling full for longer. She meets her protein quota with snacks like eggs, almonds and protein bars. “A vitamin supplement was recommended by my doctor because there are important vitamins usually found in fatty fishes or certain meats, which I no longer eat,” she says.

A dancer on tour is often a scavenger; you never know when and where you will find the kinds of foods you need. The fruit, nuts and hard-boiled eggs Hachey snacked on for most of the day were lifted from the complimentary breakfast buffet at the hotel. The Complexions dancers call their food stashes their “bodegas.” Included in Hachey’s bodega stash was a packet of honey (which she’d also swiped at breakfast). She ate it during the second intermission to give herself a shot of natural sugar to push through the rest of the show.

Jennifer Robinson
Corps dancer, Ballet West

Two-performance day of Sleeping Beauty

9:00 am Breakfast at home:
• One cup of organic, no-sugar-added oatmeal with maple syrup
• Two clementines

1:00 pm Lunch before the first show at the theater:
• One chocolate mint Zone bar
• An 8-oz O.N.E. coconut water with a splash of pink guava

3:30 pm Mid-show snack:
• Two homemade sugar cookies (baked by dancer Aaron Orlowski’s mom)

5:30 pm Snack at home before the second show:
• One banana
• One Orgain vanilla protein shake

7:30–10 pm During second show:
• One 12-oz lemon/lime Gatorade

11:00 pm After-performance celebration at the theater:
• One glass of champagne

11:30 pm Reward dinner at home:
• One grilled cheese sandwich and a medium Coke from Crown Burger
• One cup of double-churned (half fat) vanilla ice cream with M&M Minis on top

In order to sustain herself during a day with multiple performances, Robinson eats foods that will keep her full without making her feel sick or bloated. Instead of sitting down for complete meals, she snacks lightly throughout the day. Coconut water contains natural electrolytes and is a favorite of hers to help her push through dancing in Salt Lake City’s high altitude. “I don’t like straight coconut water,” she says, “but there are options with splashes of mango, pineapple or guava that taste great.”

These two performances of Sleeping Beauty were the last of the company’s Valentine’s Day weekend run, so a treat was in order. “I try to make healthy but enjoyable food choices,” says Robinson, who feels that her hard work at both dancing and eating right earns her a trip through the drive-through once in a while as a reward.

Ariana Lallone
Departing principal dancer, Pacific Northwest Ballet

Performance day of Cinderella

8:45 am Breakfast at home:
• One small glass of cherry cider
• One cup of coffee with cream
• One bowl of cereal with a banana

12:30 pm Snack after class:
• One KIND protein bar

3:00 pm Lunch at home:
• One grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and a handful of potato chips
• One glass of seltzer with juice
• One chocolate chip cookie

6:00 pm Pre-performance:
• One decaf green tea with lemon

7:30 pm During performance:
• One banana

10:30 pm Dinner at a restaurant:
• Steak salad with wild greens, basil, tomato and stilton vinaigrette
• Bread with white bean spread
• Seltzer with lemon

Daily vitamins at home:
• Mutivitamin, calcium and omega-3

Lallone admits that knowing what is right to eat for her body has been a long, ever-changing process throughout her career. Bananas and protein bars have become staples because of their portability and nutritional benefits. As a plus, the potassium in bananas keeps her muscles from cramping.

But Lallone’s most critical food choice is that she eats organic whenever possible. “The quality of the food is just as important as what you’re eating,” she says. Since revamping her diet in 2005 to include mostly organic foods, Lallone has felt an increase in stamina and more energy.
Eating organic doesn’t mean she’s only nibbling on rabbit food. Lallone’s routine pre-performance meal for years has been a grilled cheese with tomato, potato chips and a chocolate chip cookie. “I eat a lot more when I’m performing because it’s a longer day,” she says. The grilled cheese provides her with carbs and protein needed to sustain her, but doesn’t have any spice or flavor that could upset her stomach.

Kathleen Breen Combes
Principal, Boston Ballet
Rehearsal day

8:30 am Breakfast at home:
• One toasted wheat bagel with butter
• One glass of water

9:00 am On the way to class:
• One cup of coffee

11:15 am In the studio after class:
• One banana
• Water

1:30 pm Mid-rehearsal snack:
• One organic chocolate chip granola bar

2:45 pm Lunch at the studio:
• Caesar salad
• Diet Snapple lemon iced tea
• Baby carrots
• Popcorn

5:30 pm Mid-rehearsal snack:
• Homemade trail mix

6:30 pm End of the rehearsal day:
• Coconut water

8:30 pm Dinner at home:
• Chicken breast marinated with lemon and rosemary
• One baked potato with mixed peppers, tomatoes and onions
• One Coke

10:30 pm Late-night snack:
• One Ghirardelli milk chocolate and caramel square
• Chamomile tea

“I’m a miserable person, not to mention a terrible ballerina, when I’m hungry,” says Combes, who always keeps a handful of snacks in her dance bag. Among them is a Tupperware container of her homemade trail mix, which she prepares with mixed nuts, dried fruit, pretzels and a few M&M’s. Combes tries to eat to sustain her energy, snacking throughout the day so she doesn’t fill up too much before a difficult rehearsal. But that doesn’t mean she goes without treating herself. “I love chocolate,” she says, “and I do feel like I deserve something sweet at the end of a long day.”

Twist the Bloat Away
When you’re running from class to class or rehearsal to performance, setting aside time to digest after squeezing in a meal isn’t always a high priority. The result? Bloating. Help your body out with a little yoga, specifically, a twisting pose. “In a twist, the internal organs related to digestion actually receive a little squeeze, encouraging them to do their work,” says TaraMarie Perri, founder of Mind Body Dancer, a yoga program for dancers. She recommends trying the revolved triangle pose (if your body is already warm):

1. Stand with the right leg forward and the left leg back. Make sure the front leg’s knee and toes face forward and the back leg is slightly turned out.
2. Inhale, reaching the left arm up and the right hand on the right hip.
3. On the exhale, tip forward with a long spine, keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground. Take the left hand to the floor on the outside of the right foot. Extend your right hand to the ceiling, twisting the spine. Take about three to five breaths.
4. Come out of the pose on an exhale, and switch sides.

Swimmers Eat

10 Foods Swimmers Should be Eating
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by Jill Castle, MS, RDN

The mystery behind what to eat is never-ending, partly because miracle foods are constantly surfacing while other foods fall from grace. When it comes to the growing swimmer, what to eat is important for growth and development, and also for athletic performance. Many children and teens in today’s world are missing out on calcium, vitamin D, fiber and potassium. Teens and athletes in general may be at greater risk of nutrient deficiencies if they skip breakfast, snack on nutrient-poor foods and use diets to control their weight.

Given this, here are 10 foods that will keep your nutrient intake high and your risk for deficiency low:

Mixed nuts.Nuts: All nuts are chock-full of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. Use them to top yogurt or cereal, or just grab a handful on the way to practice.

Seeds: Similar to nuts, seeds are full of fiber, healthy fats, magnesium and vitamin E. Eat them like you would nuts.

Ready-to-eat cereals: Cereal is fortified with nutrients such as folic acid, iron and vitamins A and E, making them a good source for these micronutrients. Have it for breakfast, snack, or dinner in a pinch, but beware of choosing cereal with too much sugar. Cereals with less than 8 or 9 grams of sugar per serving are best.

Orange Juice (Small)100% orange juice: Increasingly, you can find calcium and vitamin D- fortified OJ. Orange juice is naturally a good source of folic acid and vitamin C. Don’t guzzle it though! Orange juice can be a significant source of calories when more than a cup and a half is consumed daily.

Beans: Magical indeed! Full of fiber, protein, iron, zinc and magnesium—find ways to fit beans into your weekly (or daily) diet. Roast them for a crunchy snack, top a salad or burrito, or throw them in with diced tomatoes for a hearty pasta dish.

Low-fat cheese: An easy snack or serve it mixed into casseroles, pasta and in sandwiches. Low-fat cheese is full of calcium, potassium, and protein.

Greek Yogurt (Small)Low-fat yogurt: “Nutrient-rich” is an understatement! Yogurt is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein. Go for Greek varieties if you are looking for extra protein. It’s great as part of a meal, as a snack, or dessert.

Low-fat milk or soymilk: Dairy milk is a natural source of calcium, potassium, protein and vitamin D. If soymilk is your go-to, make sure it is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Many athletes use flavored milk (chocolate milk) for a post-workout recovery drink.

Dark-green leafy vegetables: These veggies like kale, spinach and collard greens offer iron and calcium. Pair these veggies up with foods high in vitamin C, or serve with meat to maximize the absorption of iron from the vegetables.

Orange fruits and vegetables: Loaded with vitamins C, E, A, and potassium, these help your immune system stay healthy.

How many of these foods are you getting on a regular basis?

Jill Castle, MS, RDN is a childhood nutrition expert and co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School ( She is the creator of Just The Right Byte (, and is working on her next book for young athletes, called Eat, Compete & Grow. She lives with her husband and four children in New Canaan, CT. Questions? Contact her at

A Dancer's Dinner


Mother's Letter to her Son




Investigating Patient Abuse

CRANSTON, R.I. — The apparent physical abuse of three patients with profound disabilities last year at the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital triggered investigations by federal and state health officials and has prompted an investigation by state police.

One of the three unidentified patients apparently was abused by the insertion of a foreign object into his rectum, according to documents obtained by The Providence Journal in response to a request made under Rhode Island’s Access to Public Records Act.

All three of the patients are unable to speak, and at least one has severely limited movement, placing them among the ranks of the most fragile people for whom the state is responsible.


Domestic Abuse Punished

Law Wan-tung, 44, was found guilty earlier this month of assaulting Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 24, who cleaned her house and lived in a closet in her apartment for eight months. During the trial, Ms. Erwiana recounted the various ways she said Ms. Law abused her, including shoving a vacuum cleaner tube into her mouth, fracturing two of her teeth with a blow to the face, putting her on a diet of bread and rice and forcing her to urinate into a plastic bag or bucket to avoid dirtying the toilet.


Building American Slave Museum

“Like everyone else,” John Cummings said a few days earlier, “you’re probably wondering what the rich white boy has been up to out here.”

He was driving around the Whitney in his Ford S.U.V., making sure the museum would be ready for the public. Born and raised in New Orleans, Cummings is as rife with contrasts as the land that surrounds his plantation. He is 77 but projects the unrelenting angst of a teenager. His disposition is exceedingly proper — the portly carriage, the trimmed white beard, the florid drawl — but he dresses in a rumpled manner that suggests a morning habit of mistaking the laundry hamper for the dresser. As someone who had to hitchhike to high school and remains bitter about not being able to afford his class ring, he embodies the scrappiness of the Irish Catholics who flooded New Orleans in the 19th century. But as a trial lawyer who has helped win more than $5 billion in class-action settlements and a real estate magnate whose holdings have multiplied his wealth many times over, Cummings personifies the affluence and power held by an elite and mostly white sliver of a city with a majority black population.


Emily Nagoski

Apparently we still haven’t learned our lesson about what happens when we pathologize normal sexual functioning.Article

Steinbeck said it Best

A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Psychotic Pot


Eyes and Ears

When you photograph you get a photographer's eyes. When you are being a detective you get detective's eyes. When you play music you get musician's ears. When you write you get writer's ears. When you paint you get painter's eyes.

Crazy Delicious Soup-Gloop

I retrieved a container from my freezer labeled eggplant tomato sauce but when it defrosted this was not what I found. I took a few bites and it was good. I threw it in my crock pot and added more things from my fridge; leftover brown rice, 16 bean soup, crushed tomatoes, splashes of red wine, 6 corn tortillas; cubed, frozen chicken; cubed, and water. It simmered for a while and it was a great Mexican style spicy thick soup-gloop.

Free at Last

LOS ANGELES — William Taylor III, once a lifer in state prison for two robbery convictions and the intent to sell a small packet of heroin, was savoring a moment he had scarcely dared to imagine: his first day alone, in a place of his own.

“I love the apartment,” he said of the subsidized downtown studio, which could barely contain the double bed he insisted on having. “And I love that I’m free after 18 years of being controlled.”

“My window has blinds, and I can open and close them!” he exclaimed to visitors the other day, reveling in an unaccustomed, and sometimes scary, sense of autonomy.

Mr. Taylor, 58, is one of more than 2,000 former inmates who were serving life terms under California’s three-strikes law, but who were freed early after voters scaled it back in 2012. Under the original law, repeat offenders received life sentences, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years, even if the third felony was as minor as shoplifting.


For his first night in his new home, he said, he would cook oatmeal and have a fruit cup. And then, he said, he was going to soak in a hot bath for the first time in nearly two decades.

Noreen Riols

Noreen Riols – wow

Noreen Riols is a hell of a lady. First of all, she is 87, and she spoke with great elegance, grace and clarity for over ten minutes with no notes.

Secondly, this woman used to train spies during the Second World War.

The stories that she told were absolutely incredible. She was originally going to join the Wrens (the Navy) because they had nice hats, but because she was able to speak in four languages to an interviewer (which she mentioned as if it were nothing), she was recruited to the SOE.

She never told anyone her story until 2000, and her own mother never knew that she had worked there.

I can’t sum her story up like I can the others, because she worked there for four years. And because it involves so many people, and was so emotional and intense, I don’t want to pretend that I have done it justice. I will just bring up three stories that touched me.

1. One of the first things that she did was to work in Baker Street on sabotage operations. One evening she was speaking to a man who was about to go out to work in France, and he was a radio operator: the most dangerous job of all. Those men’s life expectancy was four weeks. This man and her were good friends (“nothing more than that – he was so old: over thirty!”), and near the end of the night he pulled out a velvet box and gave it to her.

Inside was a little necklace. As you can imagine, Riols tried to give it back; she felt bad about taking something so valuable from someone that she didn’t know very well.

But the man who gave it to her was a Jew. And he said to her, “my wife is dead, my children is dead: my whole family is dead. If I don’t give it to you, who shall I give it to? I want someone to be able to look at it. I want to know that someone is thinking about me back home.”

And he never came back.

2. After this, she was moved down to the New Forest, where she spent the majority of the War. Her job there, along with three other women, was to ‘work with’ the men at the final stage of training, who were going to the “spy school” in a place called Buley (I don’t know how to spell it). By ‘work with’, I mean that they would track them down in the local towns (Bournemouth or Southampton) and try to get them to break their cover. Most of them, she said, succeeded. One told her that he was a toothpaste salesman (which she pooh-poohed, because no one used toothpaste in the War – but it was enough).

She recalled one Dane who was extremely good looking and with whom she was having tea in a hotel in Bournemouth. In front of us, she sighed, and then she told us that this man broke his cover and told her who he was. And weeks later, back in London, he and their joint boss (whom she nicknamed Willibanks) were sitting in a room, and WB called her in. And as soon as the Dane saw her, his face clouded over with shock, then fear, then anger, and he stood up, spat at her, and said, “you bitch!”

3. Nearer the end of the war, Riols met a man with whom she fell in love, and who fell in love with her. Their romance was like the clicking of two parts together, and within three months they were thinking about marriage. He was an excellent saboteur, and had been on a number of dangerous missions. He was the top spy of the department, and he was being sent on one final mission.

Riols described their last meeting before he went off. Because they weren’t married and didn’t live together, their parting consisted of lunch together in a restaurant, and then she walked him to the bus stop. They didn’t even say goodbye properly, because of course, there were people around. But as she walked into the office, she turned around, and she saw that he was standing there looking straight at her – as if he was trying to fix the image of her in his mind; something to cling onto while he was away.

But he never came back.

At the end of her talk, one or two people clapped, but she quickly interjected, “Oh no! Please, don’t applaud me! Don’t clap for me – clap for those who… who didn’t come back.”

She received a standing ovation.

Sufi Proverbs

Before we can learn, we need to learn how to learn, and before we can learn how to learn we need to unlearn.

If you pick up a bee due to kindness, you will learn the limitations of kindness.

When a pickpocket sees a saint, all he sees are his pockets.

Freedom is the absence of choice.

We cannot steal the fire. We must enter it.

When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the spirit laughs at what is has gained.

He who tastes, knows.

Gazing at Icicles

Yesterday the sun was out and Lily and walked to the North End and all around the less traveled streets. It felt great to have a real big long walk like we usually do until the deep snow bumped us off our routine. We both got very muddy in the process but it was worth it. I enjoyed gazing at all of the gigantic icicles dangling off roofs like monster teeth. When we got home I washed Lily in the yellow tub after taking out all of the shovels and brooms. She is so tolerant it hurts. She puts up with all of this and a brushing, all for a cookie.

Still on the Trail Mix

In college when I ran out of money I lived on trail mix because it was healthy and I could charge it at the school bookstore. I still live on trail mix but this time I make it myself. We buy wholesale at bakers supply (many pounds of) raw sunflower seeds, dark raisins and raw almonds.



Craig Spencer Devotion and Bravery

No matter how exhausted I felt when I woke up, an hour of profuse sweating in the suit and the satisfaction I got from treating ill patients washed away my fear and made me feel new again.

Why God is a Woman, Poems by Nin Andrews

Set on a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex, Why God Is a Woman is the story of a boy who, exiled from the island because he could not abide by its sexist laws, looks back with both nostalgia and bitterness and wonders: Why does God have to be a woman? Celebrated prose poet Nin Andrews creates a world both fantastic and familiar in which gender roles are turned upside-down, and where all myths, logic, and institutions support the dominance of women.

"Nin Andrews' Why God Is a Woman explores a female utopia in which Friedan's 'feminine mystique' would never have had to be contemplated. But on this island in which multiple orgasms, childbirth, and multitasking are prized and rewarded, what will happen to the men who 'are designed for domesticity,' spending countless hours 'preening in front of the bathroom mirror' dreaming of their wedding day, only to be stalked and harassed with predatory women trying 'to get into (their) trousers?' A revolutionary, Andrews writes a social satire that is magical, compassionate, and full of flight--with men and boys being judged by their 'wingspan.' Will God show true compassion? Andrews' Why God Is a Woman is a tour de force by one of America's leading poets."

—Denise Duhamel

"On the island in Why God Is a Woman not only does every woman look like Angelina Jolie, but they take her name as their own. Men are winged objects of beauty, and those with the widest span are the most sought after. This is a place--and a story--populated by personages like Dolly Delita, world-famous man-trainer, and Julio Vega, the beauty king who was also the first man to run for president. The rules of our world have been inverted within the mirror Nin Andrews holds up for us, and never have we looked more strange and fabulous."

—Christopher Barzak

"On the island where I grew up--Virginia in the 1960s--mothers told their daughters, 'it's a man's world.' Nin Andrews stands that world on its head, throwing its absurdities into sharp and witty relief. But her poems are for men as well as women, inviting us all to re-imagine love, desire, death, and visions of paradise."

—Anne-Marie Slaughter

About the Author

Nin Andrews’ poems and stories have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Best American Poetry (1997, 2001, 2003, 2013), The KGB Bar Book of Poems, No Boundaries, Sudden Stories, A Mammoth Anthology of Miniscule Fiction, The House of Your Dreams: an International Collection of Prose Poems, Great American Prose Poems, and the forthcoming anthology Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence. The recipient of an individual artist grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 1997 and again in 2003, she is the author of six chapbooks and five full-length poetry collections. She is the mother two grown children, and she lives in Poland, Ohio, with her husband, a physics professor and bass player, and her two Boston terriers, Sadie and Froda.

Community Needs and African Museum

I thought I would talk with Samuel Obeng about the smoky spinach stew the chefs serve at his Bronx restaurant, Papaye, but he steered the conversation toward weightier matters. “I want to set up an African cultural center here in the Bronx,” he told me. “In Manhattan, they have a museum about sex! So why can’t I have an African museum? We can teach our kids how people back in Ghana dress, how they talk. We can teach our kids how to drum.”

Obeng, who is 49, came to New York 22 years ago, settling, like most of the city’s 27,000 Ghanaians, within bunting distance of Yankee Stadium. A serial entrepreneur, he filled the conversation with the words “innovation” and “efficiency,” intoning them like blessings. With the authority of someone who has already made it, he noted the need for his community to commit itself to its American present, not its Ghanaian past. And yet he has a preservationist’s instinct. There is his dream of a museum, of course, as well as the restaurant that he bought for the ways it connects him, and his friends, to Africa.
Continue reading the main story

The day I visited Papaye, the call of the homeland was on display. A TV glowed green with a soccer pitch — Ghana versus Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations — and before the place was even open, Ghanaians stood outside peering in, waiting for the greatest-hits collection of dishes that they miss: starchy mashes called fufu; peanut-butter soups with rice balls; the spicy, smoky spinach stew, thickened with ground pumpkin seeds, so obsession-inducing that I eventually ended up with three versions of it in my fridge. By midday, the place had the intimacy of your favorite uncle’s rec room, only for the whole neighborhood. Customers slurped funky soups, nodding along to the talk and the music, its chewy rhythms bouncing around the small dining room.

“Music is very important to Ghanaians!” Obeng said. “I want to have a band at the restaurant, so people really experience the culture.” He imagined it as an attraction to draw customers (“I’ve had white people eating here, from Brooklyn!”), but just as much, it seemed, as a means to help hold onto his Ghanaian past.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bernard Glassman: Instructions to the Cook

Our tendency in life is to avoid things that frighten us. But in order to become whole, we need to go deeper and deeper into ourselves by reaching further and further into the things we fear.
-Bernard Glassman, Instructions To The Cook

Determination doesn't have to be extreme or dramatic. But when you apply the heat of determination, things happen. A chemical reaction starts - the water boils or turns to steam, the rice cooks, the bread rises. You get up early in the morning to practice. . .
-Bernard Glassman, Instructions To The Cook

Just because you have a little [time] doesn't mean you should do nothing. You can always do something. And doing something, starting something, making a gesture in some direction always enlarges the amount of time. The more you, do the more time you have.
-Bernard Glassman, Instructions To The Cook

It's very important to remember that we have to take care of our own life. We have to cook for ourselves before we can really invite guests to join us for dinner. We have to nourish ourselves first.
-Bernard Glassman, Instructions To The Cook

When we learn how to cook for ourselves, though, we find that our vision and understanding of the self grows and expands. The smell of the food cooking and the warmth of the kitchen always invites people in. Even though it may seem as if we're cooking for ourselves, we're always cooking for everybody at the same time. This is because we are all interconnected. We are actually one body.
-Bernard Glassman, Instructions To The Cook

Jaques Pepin is Mesmerizing

My husband and I have long days and we don't get to see each other except at supper time and then it's early to bed, early to rise. A new ritual we have is catching Jaques Pepin on TV for a few mesmerizing minutes before bed. He is amazing.

When I wrote 'Fast Food My Way' in 2004, I hoped that my friends would prepare my recipes. Now, more people cook from that book than any other I've written in the past 30 years.
―Jacques Pepin

When you are at home, even if the chicken is a little burnt, what's the big deal? Relax.
―Jacques Pepin

I tell a student that the most important class you can take is technique. A great chef is first a great technician. 'If you are a jeweler, or a surgeon or a cook, you have to know the trade in your hand. You have to learn the process. You learn it through endless repetition until it belongs to you.
―Jacques Pepin

Monday, February 23, 2015

I Hate that Movie!

Whenever a sordid scandal comes out I say "I Hate that Movie!" Article

Bake Early

There's something soothing about starting the day baking a pot of brown rice. I too impatient to cook and bake when I'm tired and hungry so I bake early an reheat it at supper time.

The Table

I know a woman who was a divorced single mom raising her son alone. When he became a teen she began to resent his presence more adamantly. She always fussed about food concerning herself but her son no longer came to the table. She stopped preparing meals for her son blaming him as the reason. Every two weeks she would grocery shop and she'd buy a case of canned soup and told him to help himself. They became intensely bad room mates. One day he killed himself.

Give Freely from the Right Place

When I was a kid all we ever heard was my mother complaining about money. I started saving my 60 cent allowance in plastic sandwich bags in my closet. I thought that at any minute we'd be out on the street. I wanted to be prepared. I had bags of nickles and pennies stockpiled.

When visiting my grandma Sophie in Brooklyn, she wanted to give me three dollars to spend when we went to Woolworth's. I told her "No Grandma, keep it, you need the money." I was six. I was an emotional sponge soaking up my parents infinite worries. When I was given a gift of money for my birthday from Aunts and Uncles I was not allowed to touch it. I was told to put it in a savings account. Then I was coerced by my mother to spend it on my parents birthday gifts. I was a wreck.

Money and gifts were not freely given. I now know those were not gifts. They were deals. Every meal was a deal. Eventually I stopped eating and collecting frying pans at flea markets, preparing to run away.
A real gift is given without any hooks or daggers or expectations.

I love to give people my freshly baked bread but I cannot do it unless I can completely let go! It has to be coming from an overflowing- abundance-of-love place within me.

I came from an advertising family where my step-father's clients came over on weekends and holidays and every day for them had a NYC midtown business lunch. I am convinced our parents had no idea that we were not their clients.

I ask myself can you give freely or is there a catch? If you have an agenda STOP. It has to be sheer love and joy like letting a red helium balloon float into a blue sky.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Shoveling Slush and Chopping Ice

Today was a day of shoveling slush and chopping ice on the communal parking lot. It felt great to be out in the sunshine seeing the neighbors. The leaks began showing up all over the house. By 4PM we had to get out and drive to Edgewater Drive to walk Lily along the pond and it was lovely. We saw our other neighborhood of friends. Everyone is dealing with snow. The sunset was a glorious magenta and the crescent moon came out.

Vegetable Beef Soup

My beef stew became a vat of vegetable soup. It is fabulous. It ended up being a mix of many things; two pounds washed and chopped kale, six potatoes, three pounds of chopped carrots, one large can of crushed tomato, six medium onions, a head of fresh garlic, a head of celery chopped, then all added to braised beef, star anise, ginger root, salt, soy sauce olive oil, and five spice powder, red wine. The vegetables were added last after the two pounds of stew beef simmered for hours in liquid inside a covered enamel pot in the oven, so they were not mushy. Everything was transferred to my huge vat-sized soup pot.

Chinese Beef Stew from BBC


3-4 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
good thumb-size piece fresh root ginger, peeled and shredded
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
1½ kg braising beef, cut into large pieces (we used ox cheek)
2 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2 star anise (optional)
2 tsp light muscovado sugar (or use whatever you've got)
3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
3 tbsp dark soy sauce, plus more to serve
500ml beef stock (we used Knorr Touch of Taste)
steamed bok choy and steamed basmati rice, to serve

Braising beef

When stewing, look for meat marbled with good streaks of fat and sinew throughout – these will break down during slow cooking and give you the most tender meat. If you can get it, ox cheek is fantastic value and rich in flavour – perfect for this dish.


Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large, shallow casserole. Fry the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli for 3 mins until soft and fragrant. Tip onto a plate. Toss the beef in the flour, add 1 tbsp more oil to the pan, then brown the meat in batches, adding the final tbsp oil if you need to. It should take about 5 mins to brown each batch properly.
Add the five-spice and star anise (if using) to the pan, tip in the gingery mix, then fry for 1 min until the spices are fragrant. Add the sugar, then the beef and stir until combined. Keep the heat high, then splash in the wine or sherry, scraping up any meaty bits. Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2.
Pour in the soy and stock (it won’t cover the meat completely), bring to a simmer, then tightly cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 1½-2 hrs, stirring the meat halfway through. The meat should be very soft, and any sinewy bits should have melted away. Season with more soy. This can now be chilled and frozen for up to 1 month.
Nestle the cooked bok choy into the pan, then bring to the table with the basmati rice straight away and tuck in.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2009

Birthplace of Bouncers

There are few places in India where historical periods slam into each other quite so forcefully as they do on the outer edges of Delhi. The musclemen from the village of Fatehpur Beri are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the city, a genetic line that fortified itself over the course of centuries as they defended their village against waves of invaders on their way to the seat of empire.

The sons and grandsons of cow and goat herders, they were born in an outpost surrounded on all sides by croplands. As Fatehpur Beri was swallowed by the expanding city, its spartan strongmen continued to train in the traditional way, stripping down to loincloths and wrestling in a circle of mud. But they were forced to look for a new line of work.

“There is an element of the warrior in the Tanwars,” said Ankur Tanwar, who opened the village’s first gym about a decade ago. “We fought with the Muslim invaders. We fought with the Britishers.”

“Much has changed in the last 20 years,” he added, with a thoughtful pause. “We never thought we would be working in bars.”
Continue reading the main story

The man who says he led the Tanwars into the security business is Vijay Tanwar — known as Vijay Pehalwan, or Vijay the Wrestler — and he has a handshake like a carpenter’s clamp. As a boy, he was put under the tutelage of the village wrestling coach, a barrel-chested Brahmin who communicates largely in parables from the Hindu epics. His students are put on an ultrahigh protein vegetarian diet consisting of dried fruit, clarified butter (during training, a wrestler can eat a pound at a sitting) and gallons of fresh milk.

Mr. Tanwar grew up expecting to raise goats, but in 1996 a restaurateur approached him asking for “strong boys” to stand at the door of his new establishment. The scene was particularly shocking for men from villages like Fatehpur Beri and neighboring Asola, places so conservative that adult women do not leave the house without permission from their husband or mother-in-law.
Continue reading the main story


Ruth Bader Ginsburg

HER physical fierceness is legend. Scalia, her improbable good friend, once recounted a summer when he and Ginsburg had both snagged a gig teaching on the French Riviera. “She went off parasailing!” he told The Washington Post. “This little skinny thing, you’d think she’d never come down.” She has since given up that sort of recreation, but she still works out twice a week in the Supreme Court gym with her personal trainer. Plus there are the daily stretching exercises at home. At night. After work.

It’s the combination of Ginsburg’s woman-hear-me-roar history, her frail-little-old-lady appearance and her role as the leader of the Supreme Court’s dissident liberals that have rallied her new fan base, particularly young women.



On this date in 1630, Quadequine, brother of Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag tribe, introduced popcorn to the English colonists. He offered the treat as a token of goodwill during peace negotiations. The colonists called it popped corn, parching corn, or rice corn, and it was popped on top of heated stones or by placing the kernels, or cobs, into the hot embers of a fire. The discovery of popcorn was not new; people had been consuming it since 300 B.C. In 1948 and 1950, ears of popcorn believed to be 4,000 years old were discovered in the Bat Caves of west central New Mexico. In 1650, the Spaniard Cobo said of the Peruvian Indians: "They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection." The popularity of popcorn has rarely waned, even during the Depression, when its relative inexpensive cost, at 5 or 10 cents a bag, made it one of the few luxuries even the down-and-out could afford. Americans consume more than 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year.
-Writers Almanac

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Stew Beef Becomes Beef Stew

A whole lot of cooking happens before stew beef becomes beef stew. A long slow simmer on a snowy night.

Bok Choy

I stir fried a whole head of chopped up bok choy and then added leftovers; noodles broccoli sliced chicken and carrots. I made a peanut sauce. It was recycling one dinner to make another. Delicious. Tea, almonds, and dried sweetened cranberries for dessert. I forgot to get honey and tea at the store. It will be an excuse to go out again on Monday.

Shovel the Roof

Today we have to shovel two flat roofs because snow, rain and ice are coming. We are mopping all of the linoleum floors after all of the salt and sand tracked into the house. I'm in a great mood because I like to do physical work. In college I always volunteered to help people move. But I always have laughing fits when I have to carry a mattress. Morning is my best time. I get crabby when I am exhausted.

Baked Soup

While Anne the Plumber was here fixing our boiler pipe I decided to 'bake' a soup. I took my gigantic blue enamel iron soup pot and filled it with a pound of split peas and a pound of Goya 16 beans blend and water, olive oil and Adobo and garlic powder. It simmered in the oven for hours filling the house with good smells and warmth. We enjoyed it for supper.

Italian Babkas

My friend Joyce was feeling panic to hurry up and learn how to make babkas from her 92 year old mother-in-law. She tried and the breads came out perfectly. She showed me photos. I said as long as you use Fleishmann's Yeast you will get results. None of the cookbooks talk about the huge difference in brands of yeast. I use Fleishmann's and it is miraculous every time!

Nina Teicholz Article

Nina Teicholz is the author of “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.”

Raoul Fleishmann

It was on this day in 1925 that the first edition of The New Yorker magazine was published. It was founded by journalist and editor Harold Ross, who had a vision for a witty, cosmopolitan magazine. He wrote: "Its general tenor will be one of gaiety, wit and satire, but it will be more than a jester. [.] The New Yorker will be the magazine which is not edited for the old lady in Dubuque. It will not be concerned in what she is thinking about." Ross eventually convinced Raoul Fleischmann, the heir to Fleischmann yeast, to support the magazine as a financial backer. Fleischmann said of Ross: "I wasn't at all impressed with Ross' knowledge of publishing." For his part, Ross complained, "The major owner of The New Yorker is a fool and [.] the venture therefore is built on quicksand." Despite their difficult relationship, Fleischmann continued to back the magazine until his death.

- Writer's Almanac

Friday, February 20, 2015

Munroe Dairy Rocks!


Seven Degree Houdini

It's seven degrees out and windy! We'll have to shovel the two flat roofs because more snow and then rain is coming. Like Houdini I am preparing mentally.

I Love Rhode Island!

Yesterday we had a dentist appointment with Dr. Carl in Providence so we stopped at JAR bakers supply in Lincoln on the way and bought 100 pounds of flour from Valerie. At the dentist after our teeth cleaning they had a surprise birthday for lovely Lucille. We all ate amazing lemon cake (from East Side Market). I love Rhode Island!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I LOVE this poem by Alberto Rios

Coffee in the Afternoon

by Alberto Rios

It was afternoon tea, with tea foods spread out
Like in the books, except that it was coffee.

She made a tin pot of cowboy coffee, from memory,
That’s what we used to call it, she said, cowboy coffee.

The grounds she pinched up in her hands, not a spoon,
And the fire on the stove she made from a match.

I sat with her and talked, but the talk was like the tea food,
A little of this and something from the other plate as well,

Always with a napkin and a thank-you. We sat and visited
And I watched her smoke cigarettes

Until the afternoon light was funny in the room,
And then we said our good-byes. The visit was liniment,

The way the tea was coffee, a confusion plain and nice,
A balm for the nerves of two people living in the world,

A balm in the tenor of its language, which spoke through
our hands
In the small lifting of our cups and our cakes to our lips.

It was simplicity, and held only what it needed.
It was a gentle visit, and I did not see her again.

"Coffee in the Afternoon" by Alberto Rios from The Theater of Night. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Leftovers Become New Delights

My 12" skillet is a perfect palette for invention. I added olive oil and heated it while I chopped mushrooms and added them, then I added fresh spinach and tossed in the 2 cups of leftover dumpling filling and 1/2 cup of leftover brown rice, a splash of soy sauce, hot sauce and kosher salt. It was fabulous.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls Recipe from Paula at Allrecipes

"These spring rolls are a refreshing change from the usual fried variety, and have become a family favorite. They are great as a cool summertime appetizer, and are delicious dipped in one or both of the sauces."

2 ounces rice vermicelli

8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)

8 large cooked shrimp - peeled, deveined and cut in half

1 1/3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 leaves lettuce, chopped

4 teaspoons fish sauce

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons white sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts


Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.
Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat. In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce.
In another small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce and peanuts.
Serve rolled spring rolls with the fish sauce and hoisin sauce mixtures.

The fish sauce, rice vermicelli, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and rice wrappers can be found at Asian food markets.

Lunch: Potstickers in the Snow

Last batch of dumplings eaten with brown rice as the snow was falling.

Dumpling Bender


Joseph Brodsky

The way to develop good taste in literature is to read poetry. If you think that I am speaking out of professional partisanship, that I am trying to advance my own guild interests, you are badly mistaken. For, being the supreme form of human locution, poetry is not only the most concise, the most condensed way of conveying the human experience; it also offers the highest possible standards for any linguistic operation — especially one on paper.

The more one reads poetry, the less tolerant one becomes of any sort of verbosity, be that in political or philosophical discourse, be that in history, social studies or the art of fiction. Good style in prose is always hostage to the precision, speed and laconic intensity of poetic diction. A child of epitaph and epigram, conceived indeed as a short cut to any conceivable subject matter, poetry to prose is a great disciplinarian. It teaches the latter not only the value of each word but also the mercurial mental patterns of the species, alternatives to linear composition, the knack of omitting the self-evident, emphasis on detail, the technique of anticlimax. Above all, poetry develops in prose that appetite for metaphysics that distinguishes a work of art from mere belles-lettres. It must be admitted, however, that in this particular regard, prose has proven to be a rather lazy pupil.
- Joseph Brodsky

Embalm + Botox

With the rise of Botox, people are already embalmed and will look just as good in death.
past tense: embalmed; past participle: embalmed

preserve (a corpse) from decay, originally with spices and now usually by arterial injection of a preservative.
"the Egyptian method of embalming"
synonyms: preserve, mummify, lay out
"his body had been embalmed"
preserve (someone or something) in an unaltered state.
"the band was all about revitalizing pop greats and embalming their legacy"
synonyms: preserve, conserve, enshrine, immortalize
"the poem ought to embalm his memory"
give a pleasant fragrance to.
"the sweetness of the linden trees embalmed all the air"

Authentic Selves

I've watched more than a few artist friends go through de-clutter frenzy and it is sad. Their de-cluttered homes now resemble House and Garden and lack the personality and character that was so marvelous and quirky. It's like tearing down the village green to put up a Wal-Mart. It's like having botox!

Sarah Lazarovic describes the year she spent painting pictures of things instead of buying them.

It’s hard to resist the de-cluttering fever. I, too, spend my weekends filling bags with cookbooks, toys and vintage dresses, and then hauling them away. For the first time in years, I can lay my hands on any one of my sweaters.

But the more stuff I shed, the more I realize that we de-clutterers feel besieged by more than just our possessions. We’re also overwhelmed by the intangible detritus of 21st-century life: unreturned emails; unprinted family photos; the ceaseless ticker of other people’s lives on Facebook; the heightened demands of parenting; and the suspicion that we’ll be checking our phones every 15 minutes, forever. I can sit in an empty room, and still get nothing done.

It’s consoling to think that, beneath all these distractions, we’ll discover our shining, authentic selves, or even achieve a state of “mindfulness.” But I doubt it. I’m starting to suspect that the joy of ditching all of our stuff is just as illusory as the joy of acquiring it all was. Less may be more, but it’s still not enough.

Pamela Druckerman is the author of “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.”

Pancake Day: Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras

Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Day) is a day in February or March, preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes.

This moveable festival is determined by Easter. The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive, meaning "confess".[1] Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics,[2] who "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with."[3]

Being the last day before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations, before commencing the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.


Like many other European holidays, the pancake day was originally a pagan holiday.[4] Before the Christian era, the Slavs believed that the change of seasons was a struggle between Jarilo, the god of vegetation, fertility and springtime, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. People believed that they had to help Jarilo fight against winter and bring in the spring. The most important part of Shrovetide week (the whole celebration of the arrival of spring lasted one week) was making and eating pancakes. The hot, round pancakes symbolized the sun. The Slavs believed that by eating pancakes, they got the power, light and warmth of the sun. The first pancake was usually put on a window for the spirits of the ancestors.[5] On the last day of Shrovetide week some pancakes and other food were burnt in a bonfire as a sacrifice to the pagan gods.[6]
Russian artist Boris Kustodiev's Maslenitsa (1916)

The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be "shriven" before the start of Lent.[7] Shrove Tuesday is the last day of "shrovetide", somewhat analogous to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.

In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is known as "Pancake Day" or "Pancake Tuesday" due to the tradition of eating pancakes on the day.
Catholic and Protestant countries (outside those mentioned above) traditionally call the day before Ash Wednesday "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras". The name predated the Reformation and referred to the common Christian tradition of eating special rich foods before the fasting season of Lent.
For German American populations, such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fastnacht Day (also spelled Fasnacht, Fausnacht, Fauschnaut, or Fosnacht).
In the Netherlands it is known as "vastenavond", or in Limburgish dialect: "vastelaovond", though the word "vastelaovond" usually refers to the entire period of carnival in the Netherlands.
In Portuguese-, Spanish- and Italian-speaking countries, among others, it is known as Carnival (to use the English spelling). This derives from the Latin carnivale ("farewell to the flesh")[8] and thus to another aspect of the Lenten fast. It is often celebrated with street processions or fancy dress. The most famous of these events is the Brazilian Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, while the Venetians celebrate carnival with a masquerade. The use of the term "carnival" in other contexts derives from here.
On the Portuguese island of Madeira they eat malasadas on Terça-feira Gorda (Fat Tuesday in English) which is also the last day of the Carnival of Madeira. The reason for making malasadas was to use up all the lard and sugar in the house, in preparation for Lent (much in the same way the tradition of Pancake Day in the UK originated on Shrove Tuesday). malasadas are sold alongside the Carnival of Madeira. This tradition was taken to Hawaii, where Shrove Tuesday is known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugar plantations of the 1800s, the resident Catholic Portuguese (mostly from Madeira and the Azores) workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas.
In Denmark and Norway the day is known as Fastelavn and is marked by eating fastelavnsboller. Fastelavn is the name for Carnival in Denmark which is either the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday. Fastelavn developed from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark became a Protestant nation, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games. (see Carnival in Denmark)

Shrove Tuesday, Bear guiding (pl) in Poland (1950).

In Iceland the day is known as Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) and is marked by eating salted meat and peas.
In Lithuania the day is called Užgavėnės. People eat pancakes (blynai) and Lithuanian-style doughnuts called spurdos.
In Sweden the day is called Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) and is generally celebrated by eating a type of pastry called semla.
In Finland the day is called laskiainen and is generally celebrated by eating green pea soup and a pastry called laskiaispulla (sweet bread filled with whipped cream and jam or almond paste). The celebration often includes sledging.
In Estonia the day is called Vastlapäev and is generally celebrated by eating pea soup and whipped-cream or whipped-cream and jam filled sweet-buns called vastlakukkel. Children also typically go sledding on this day.
In Poland, a related celebration falls on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and is called tłusty czwartek (Fat Thursday).
In Slovenia Kurentovanje is also the biggest and best known carnival in Slovenia. There are several more local carnivals: for example in west Slovenia, a very well known carnival takes place in Cerkno. This carnival is usually referred to as Laufarija.
In some parts of Switzerland (e.g. Lucerne) the day is called Güdisdienstag, preceded by Güdismontag. According to the Duden (semi-official dictionary of the German language), the term derives from "Güdel", which means a fat stomach full of food.
In some areas of the United States with large Polish communities, such as Chicago, Buffalo and Michigan, Paczki Day is celebrated with pączki-eating contests, music and other Polish food. It may be held on Shrove Tuesday or in the days immediately preceding it.[9]


Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: in many cultures, this means no meat, dairy products, or eggs.

In Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland the day is also known as "Pancake Day" as it is a common custom to eat pancakes as a meal.[10][11][12]

In Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island small tokens are frequently cooked in the pancakes. Children take delight in discovering the objects, which are intended to be divinatory. For example, the person who receives a coin will be wealthy; a nail indicates that they will become or marry a carpenter.[13][14]
A pancake race in England

In England, as part of community celebration, many towns held traditional Shrove Tuesday "mob football" games, some dating as far back as the 12th century. The practice mostly died out in the 19th century after the passing of the Highway Act 1835 which banned playing football on public highways. A number of towns have maintained the tradition, including Alnwick in Northumberland, Ashbourne in Derbyshire (called the Royal Shrovetide Football), Atherstone in Warwickshire (called simply the Atherstone Ball Game), St Columb Major in Cornwall (called Hurling the Silver Ball), and Sedgefield in County Durham.

Shrove Tuesday was once known as a "half-holiday" in Britain. It started at 11:00am with the ringing of a church bell.[15] On Pancake Day, "pancake races" are held in villages and towns across the United Kingdom. The tradition is said to have originated in 1445 when a housewife from Olney, Buckinghamshire, was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning.[16][17] The pancake race remains a relatively common festive tradition in the UK, especially England, even today. Participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan while running.

The most famous pancake race,[18] at Olney in Buckinghamshire, has been held since 1445. The contestants, traditionally women, carry a frying pan and race over a 415 yard course to the finishing line. The rules are strict: contestants have to toss their pancake at both the start and the finish, as well as wear an apron and a scarf. Traditionally, when men want to participate, they must dress up as a housewife (usually an apron and a bandanna). The race is followed by a church service.[16]

Since 1950 the people of Liberal, Kansas, and Olney have held the "International Pancake Day" race between the two towns. The two towns' competitors race along an agreed-upon measured course. The times of the two towns' competitors are compared to determine a winner overall. After the 2009 race, Liberal was leading with 34 wins to Olney's 25.[19] A similar race is held in North Somercotes in Lincolnshire, England.

Scarborough celebrates by closing the foreshore to all traffic, closing schools early, and inviting all to skip. Traditionally, long ropes were used from the nearby harbour. The town crier rings the pancake bell, situated on the corner of Westborough (main street) and Huntress Row.

The children of the hamlet of Whitechapel, Lancashire keep alive a local tradition by visiting local households and asking "please a pancake", to be rewarded with oranges or sweets. It is thought the tradition arose when farm workers visited the wealthier farm and manor owners to ask for pancakes or pancake fillings.[20]

In Finland and Sweden the day is associated with the almond paste-filled semla pastry.

Pancakes are traditional in Christian festivals in Ukraine and Russia also at this time of year (Maslenitsa).

In London, the Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race takes place every Shrove Tuesday, with teams from the British lower house (the House of Commons), the upper house (the House of Lords), and the Fourth Estate, contending for the title of Parliamentary Pancake Race Champions. The fun relay race is to raise awareness of Rehab, which provides a range of health and social care, training, education, and employment services in the UK for disabled people and others who are marginalised. In 2009 the Upper House won. The race was then won by the Lower House in 2010 with the Upper House reclaiming their winning title in 2011. In 2012, the Lower House were crowned the pancake flipping champions and they reclaimed their title for the second year running in 2013.

Last Night

Last night I made Lisa Chune's Asian dumplings and they were fabulous. We bought dumpling skins at Price Rite. I took a cutting board and minced garlic, chopped celery, grated carrot, chopped scallions, ground lean pork, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and I mixed it with my fingers.
We placed a tiny amount in each dumpling skin and sealed it with water by wetting our fingers. Then we placed the little 'mouse pillows' in our greased metal steamer over a pot of boiling water covered and steamed each batch for six minutes. We dipped them in a blend of soy and rooster sauce. So good. My husband slipped a bottle of white wine in the snow bank to cool.
We listened to Tom Shaker's fabulous Monday night show: SOUL SERENADE on WICN. Excellent show!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Reading a Face

Reading a face is compelling to me not just as a photographer but as an emotional person. The flared nostrils and raised eyebrow communicate something. I see apology in these micro gestures.
When someone gets plastic surgery we can no longer read their face. All of these actresses with botox and bee-sting lips, chin implants, and cheek augmentations look more like baseball gloves than people.

I LOVE Chef Michael Dixon Smith: Chef at Large

I LOVE Chef Michael. I told my husband it's a crush! He is so authentic and sincere. I love to watch his show on TV: Chef at large.

from Chef Michael Dixon Smith's website:
This treat is so rich and deeply delicious that no one will know you took a shortcut! The secret is the custard-like texture of silken tofu.

Yield: Serves 4 people

8 ounces (225 g) of dark chocolate
1 pkg (10 ounces/300 g) of silken tofu
1/2 cup (125 mL) of sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of vanilla

Break the chocolate into small chunks and put them in a bowl set over (but not in) a small pot of barely simmering water. Stir gently until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the steam bath.

Toss the tofu into your food processor. Add the sugar, vanilla, and every last drop of the chocolate. Purée the works until smooth and delicious. Serve and share immediately or, if you like, spoon into individual serving dishes and chill until firmer, and hour or so.

I Have Superpowers

I love to wash dishes and I love dish soap. Recently my thumb split and bled and it was painful. "Time to use dish gloves," my husband said. I dreaded the idea. Part of why I love to wash dishes is the feel of the water, a swimming pool for my hands. How can people use those, I thought. At the market I spotted a package for a buck. When I opened them there were 6 yellow gloves inside. What am I, a fly? I put on a pair and ran the water very hot and I didn't feel a thing. I was superwoman. This is a wet suit for my hands. I have superpowers.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Love this Winter Snow

Even with daily shoveling perhaps because of daily shoveling I love this winter snow. Yesterday my husband and I spent the afternoon shoveling the two car garage roof. Then I cooked spicy garlic ginger green beans and baked a pot of brown rice in the red heart shaped iron pot friends gave us for our 20th anniversary 10 years ago. When I get a hot flash I plunk my face into the snow! It feels great.

In years past I always wished storms would last a few days rather than only a few hours. I wished the snow was light and fluffy and dry like it is. I wanted to sink into the storm rather than immediately start cleaning it up. A two or three day storm is great when it is light and fluffy. If we step out everyone is on foot. We talk to our neighbors and the world is peaceful and quiet for a moment. This is peace on earth.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Linzer Hearts

Linzer Tarts

3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces seedless raspberry preserves
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, approximate

Cream butter, add sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.
Chill for about 1/2 an hour.
Roll out dough between 1/8 and 1/4 inch on a lightly floured surface.
Cut half of the dough with flower cookie cutter, and the other half with the same cutter, but with centers removed.
Bake each batch 6-10 minutes at 400 degrees, or until just golden brown.
Spread preserves on whole cookies (bottoms), and top with cutouts.
Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar until covered.

Winter Care for your Dog

Winter Care For Your Dog
by Dr. Donna Spector

Brrrr…..winter is here! Does your dog love the winter wonderland or would he rather cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket? Either way, you must be prepared to protect him when he ventures out into the elements.

Let's talk temperature! If it is too cold for you to stand at the door without your coat, it is probably too cold for your dog to be out without a coat. Some dog breeds have dense undercoats that help protect them against very cold temperatures…but most dogs should have a coat to help them deal with Jack Frost. If getting your dog a coat makes you think about poodles in pink fur being toted around New York City, don't distress! Coats are not just about fashion; there are many functional, non-couture coats available! Coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail…so don't keep your dog out too long in freezing temperatures.

Provide extra bedding and warmth for your dog. In addition to limiting your dog's time outdoors on cold days, you must also provide warm indoor shelter. Place your dog's bed in a warm spot; away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors.

Protect your dog from burns. Dogs will often seek heat during the cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and lamps and place baseboard radiator covers to avoid unnecessary burns. Fireplaces also pose a major threat and a pet-proof system should be used to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harms way!

Don't overfeed your dog during the winter. Although dogs are in need of an extra layer during the winter season…make sure it comes from a coat, and not a fat layer. Unless your dog lives outdoors during the winter, he or she often needs no additional calories during the winter chill. Cold temperatures often bring on lazy behaviors and actually the need for LESS calories. Be attentive to your dog's activity level and adjust his calories accordingly. Always feed your dog the highest quality natural dog food available to insure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.

Keep your dog hydrated. Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in the winter as summer. Although many dogs eat snow, it is not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog has a water bowl outdoors, check it often and break ice that may form on top.

Groom your dog. Your dog needs a clean, well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog lives outdoors. After bathing, dry your dog adequately, especially before allowing him outdoors.

Protect your dog's feet. Dogs walk through snow, slush, salt and chemicals and are very likely to sustain an injury to their foot pads unless protected. Although doggie booties may sound a little corny, they can prevent painful injuries. The biggest problem with canine footwear is keeping them in place! Many booties are now available with Velcro but a child's mitten keeper also works to keep booties or socks on. If you don't want to invest in booties, place tube socks on each paw and connect the top of each sock with a mitten keeper over the dogs shoulder and hips. If booties absolutely don't work for your dog, clean your dog's feet every time he comes into the house. Use warm water and clean between the toes really well to remove debris and salt. Apply a small amount of a natural Herbal Healing Salve every day to keep the pads from cracking. Avoid using any chemical ice-melting compunds or rock salt on your sidewalks or driveways that your dog may contact.

Shovel and clear the snow! Snow can be a lot of fun but also dangerous for your dog. Snow piled near fences pose escape hazards that even well trained dogs often can't resist. Keep snow cleared away from fences to prevent your dog from climbing over. Snow and ice often accumulate on rooftops and if the sun is out or as temperatures rise, this accumulation can fall and injure your dog. If you are unable to clear the snow from the roof, keep your dog away from the roof overhang to prevent injury.

Take precaution when playing. Although your dog is likely to be having a great time outdoors, take frequent indoor breaks for water and warming up and don't ever stay out too long. If you are walking or playing in unfamiliar areas, keep your dog close. It is easy for them to venture onto unsafe ground… for example, some ponds and lakes are small and can be hidden by snow and ice and pose hazards to unsuspecting frolicking dogs.

Avoid toxin exposure. With winter comes antifreeze from automobiles. Antifreeze is sweet in taste and dogs will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and just a small amount can be fatal for dogs. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where they may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.
Dogs should NEVER be left in cars unattended, no matter what the season. Freezing cold temperatures are the main concern during the winter. If the car is left running during the winter (especially in the garage), carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat.
Special medical needs. Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. It is very important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft resting area to recuperate after activity. Try the addition of a natural Hip & Joint supplement to lubricate the joints and ease the discomfort of arthritis. Just like people, dogs are more susceptible to other illnesses during the winter weather. Contact your veterinarian if you detect any unusual symptoms in your dog. Remember, never use over the counter medication without the advice of your veterinarian.

Paying special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season will insure that you both enjoy the Winter Wonderland to its fullest. Happy Holidays!

I LOVE this POEM: Valentine


by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

“Valentine” by Carol Ann Duffy, from Mean Time. © Anvil Press, 2004. Writer's Almanac

Give them a Poem!

"Give them a poem" I tell my husband who works at a technical highschool. "It's a meal ready to eat."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Leftover Dough: The First Pizza

We love to talk about the imaginary moment pizza was first invented in Italy, and recreate it. I rip off a blob of dough and decorate it with onions mushrooms spinach tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cheese and bake it at five hundred degrees. Excellent!

Josh Max: What I'd say

Then one morning at the breakfast table, a slice of dry wheat toast was placed in front of me accompanied by a tall glass of skim milk, which to this day still tastes like water and white lipstick to me.

Cold House Warm Oven I'm Baking Bread

I'm baking two multigrain wheat oat corn sourdough boules and the aroma is climbing up the stairs, pleasuring my nostrils. My office is a chilly 40 degrees on this sunny bright day.

Kindness of Soup and Bread

There's a certain kindness in soup and bread. Perhaps it is the soothing loving mother that I never had. Nonetheless making soup and baking bread are like having the best most loving nourishing mama in the world. Hot soup on a zero degree day, eaten in the sunshine at my round oak table, with my dog and cat beside me.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waiter by Jon Frankel


Linzer Hearts

Linzer Tarts

This is from The Kosher Palette cookbook. This relatively simple recipe turns out a very pretty cookie. ...

1 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
seedless raspberry preserves
powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350.
Beat margarine at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla, beating until blended. Add flour, beating at low speed until blended.
Roll dough into small balls and place on greased cookie sheets, two inches apart. Flatten dough balls with a flat-bottomed cup wrapped in a damp paper towel.
Dip a thimble or small round cutter in flour and cut out a small circle in the center of exactly half of the cookies.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set. (The cookies will be pale. The cut out halves will bake faster so watch closely.) Transfer carefully to wire racks to cool.
Spread raspberry preserves on top of solid cookies. Top with remaining cookies, bottom sides down, to make sandwiches. Sift powdered sugar over tops of cookies.

Pets in Therapy Practice


Melody Moezzi: My Hero!

THE BLOG from Huffington Post

by Melody Moezzi

Author, Attorney, Activist, UN Global Expert Author of the book Haldol and Hyacynths

5 Tips From Your Sober Holiday Guest
Posted: 12/11/2014 12:48 pm EST Updated: 02/10/2015 5:59 am EST

When people first learn that I don't drink alcohol, they often request an explanation. Mine is rarely consistent. Sometimes I say I don't like the taste. Sometimes I say I'm Muslim. Sometimes I say I have a medical condition.

All are true, but none in isolation contains a full explanation.

For one, I've tasted only a couple varieties of alcohol (once mistaking vodka for water and another time feeling pressured to drink wine during an interview for a waitressing position in high school), so I can't be sure that I dislike them all -- though admittedly, the smell of no alcoholic beverage has ever appealed to me.

Furthermore, I know plenty of Muslims who drink and still manage to be highly spiritually enlightened -- not to mention plenty of self-righteous teetotal Muslims who are downright morally reprehensible.

Lastly, my medical condition -- a quirky pancreas with a history of turning on itself -- doesn't command abstinence as much as moderation. Then again, if you've ever experienced acute pancreatitis, you too might choose not to risk it.

So goes my long, complicated explanation for abstaining from alcohol. Does it make my sobriety any more socially acceptable? Should it really matter whether I'm Muslim or Mormon or Seventh-day Adventist or pregnant or a recovering alcoholic or just hate the taste? Shouldn't I be able to decline a drink, or two, or twelve, without having to explain myself? I would hope so.

Still, if history serves, that's unlikely to happen any time soon, particularly with the holidays upon us, so in the spirit of the season, I've decided to provide some friendly suggestions for curious drinkers and party hosts when faced with sober guests.

If you can contain your curiosity, do it. Unless we've asked you to explain your drinking, there's no reason for you to expect us to explain our abstinence.
If you can't contain your curiosity (and I get it, this is a drinking culture; we're aberrations), then accept our first answer, and don't be shocked when we seem annoyed if you don't.
Don't worry about us judging you. If we are, then we're jerks, and you ought to avoid us anyway. If we're not, then there's no need to ask if we mind if you drink in front of us. (Special exceptions to be made here of course for alcoholics early in recovery, but even then, it's up to them, not you, to set those boundaries.) Basically, unless otherwise notified, just carry on as you normally would. There's absolutely no reason for us all to be drinking Orangina.
Still, it doesn't hurt to keep some delicious non-alcoholic beverages on hand, or if you're so moved, to make your own. Fruit sodas, juices, tea, cider, coffee, and hot chocolate are all delightful options. (Eggnog is gross. Please do your part to make it stop.)
Remember and appreciate all the precious things that we teetotalers have to offer. For starters, we're cheap dates; we'll drive you home safely, and we're unlikely to throw up on anything.

So why not raise your glass to that? Why not let the inquisition go?

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