Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sylvia Plath

When I was nine, a lime-green anesthetist
Fed me banana-gas through a frog mask. The nauseous vault
Boomed with bad dreams and the Jovian voices of surgeons.
Then mother swam up, holding a tin basin.
O I was sick.

- Sylvia Plath, from the poem Face Lift

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Alice Carrier


Robert Frost


by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Difficult People

Helpful hints on dealing with difficult

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Mantras:

It's a big world
What is the lesson?
Breathe deeply
Blow your brains out - on the sax
Poetry and libraries are free!
Keep walking, keep writing
Keep doodling and daydreaming
incubating, simmering, and fermenting
and dancing


Look what I found on Web MD. . .

Caffeine from tea or coffee can act like antihistamine in the body, according to Leopold, but the tea and coffee need to be of high quality and freshly brewed. Hot liquid in general will have soothing effects on the throat and sinus congestion.

Horseradish not only offers the mucus-thinning benefits of other “hot” spices, but studies have indicated that some horseradish constituents may have antibiotic activity. The hot sauce will also help clear the sinuses.


Teddi Scobi

Making Life Easier for Those You Love

by Teddi Scobi

I want to be a bodhisattva
and devote my life
to others.

So Jake can be
reborn as a human
and use a fork
and knife to eat.

Then he won’t have to lick
from the side
of the bowl.

- Teddi Scobi

Cooks Valley Farm

We mail order winter vegetables from local Cooks Valley Farm. Last week I asked Marilyn to put together an assortment of their potatoes so I could learn about them. This morning I washed them and put them in my 1920's dutch oven, covered. I put the oven up to 350 degrees F and forgot about them. The amazing aroma climbed up the stairs to my office and reminded me to check on them. They were amazingly delicious. I had a finger potato and then a purple potato both with a drizzle organic olive oil we received as a Christmas gift--with some kosher salt and twists of fresh pepper. It doesn't take much to make me happy.

Here's a sample of last weeks potato list.

Yukon Gold 1.50/lb size med. or large
Red Norland 1.50/lb. small or med.
Adirondack Red 1.50/lb. small, med., large; red skin, red flesh
Adirondack Blue 1.50/lb. small, med., large; blue skin, blue flesh
Peter Wilcox 1.50/lb. small or med.; blue skin, yellow flesh
Nicola 1.50/lb. yellow skin, yellow flesh; similar to Yukon Gold
French Finger. 2.50/lb. red skin, yellow flesh
Russian Banana Finger 2.50/lb. yellow skin, yellow flesh

Dutch Baby

I made a gigantic seven cup sourdough whole wheat bread in my Dutch oven yesterday. It is a shiny mahogany with air bubbles bursting up. It is the most glorious bread I have ever seen. My cat Sammy thought so too and he jumped up on the kitchen stool to reach the bread. He nibbled the top crust while we were around the corner sitting at the table.

After 37 years of bread baking I still try to cultivate a beginners mind.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mike Avery's Sourdough Passion

Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread. remade all the time, made new.
- Ursula K. LeGuin

Make do with bread and butter till God brings the jam.
- Berber saying

It isn't bread that feeds you; it is life and the spirit that feed you through bread.
- Angelus Silesius, in Der Cherubinische Wandersmann

And we feel there is no better bread than bread made with sourdough. As Dr. Ed Wood summed it up: "10,000 years later, and there's no better way to raise bread!"

We have learned to see in bread an instrument of community between men - the flavor of bread shared has no equal.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Sunday, March 24, 2013


I never know what I am doing or where I'm headed when I paint, write, or cook. Today I was reheating some whole wheat elbow macaroni and ended up slicing some black radishes and green cabbage and onion and I was off and running expanding into larger and larger pots on the stove. I ended up with a huge and delicious pot au feu. I used everything in the fridge! I used the leftover whey from yogurt cheese, cubed rutabaga, thin sliced cabbage, home made yogurt, garlic, shallots, onion, red chili flakes, salt, black pepper, splashes of soy sauce, gloops of peanut butter, sesame oil, Adobo and salt. It tastes like Hungarian meets Asian. It's fabulous!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cafe Mocha

I just made this in a small mug and it was delicious.

A teaspoon of dried unsweetened cocoa and a teaspoon cane sugar dissolved in heated evaporated milk and blended with hot coffee.


Histamine High

A few years ago our doctor told me I had a histamine high. Today I found an article about it. read here.

The Circus of Lost Dreams

by Nin Andrews & Emily Lisker. View the announcement on my painting blog here.

Spring Seasoning

Every Spring I take out my vast collection of cast iron frying pans and Dutch ovens and rub them down with Price Rite brand generic Crisco. I bake them (stacked up) for an hour at 300 degrees F. When they cool I wipe out the excess oil. They are gorgeous and sexy, and they behave like Teflon! The house smells weird from the baking grease, so I bake bread afterward.

Martín Espada

The Republic of Poetry: Hampshire College Commencement Address
read here.

Topping off the Toast

Yesterday I made home-grown yogurt. Then I strained it through a white cone coffee filter to make yogurt cheese and separate the whey to use later in soup or bread. I sliced green pimento olives and added them and a few twists of fresh black pepper. It was a great topping on sourdough toast.

When I stepped outside there was a camera crew filming the latest drug raid. I say blame the plethora of slumlords! They are the ones who turn a blind eye to the drugs, pit-bull breeding and automotive title scrubbing going on daily in our beloved city neighborhood.

Lat: 42.0° N Lon: 71.5° W

Home sweet home.

Monster Corporations!

CVS is telling its employees they need to reveal their height, weight, body fat percent and other personal information for health insurance purposes.

In CVS's case, workers not comfortable getting the review done will have to pay a $600 annual penalty.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Leo Tolstoy

Running into the marsh among the familiar scents of roots, marsh plants, and slime, and the extraneous smell of horse dung, Laska detected at once a smell that pervaded the whole marsh, the scent of that strong-smelling bird that always excited her more than any other.
-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just Out!

The Circus of Lost Dreams by Nin Andrews & Emily Lisker
link here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Woody Allen

I'm not a drinker, my body won't, really. I had two martinis New Years Eve and I tried to hi-jack an elevator and fly it to Cuba.
-Woody Allen

Asthma and Running

Take Your Meds

Asthma medications work by relaxing the muscles around your airways. It's when these muscles constrict (an occurrence known as bronchospasm) that asthmatics experience wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

Quick-relief asthma medications such as Albuterol, which are often prescribed as rescue inhalers—so called because they are designed to ease symptoms within minutes—can also be used as prophylactic or preventive medication, says Roberts. So, runners with asthma can take a dose as directed a few minutes before a run to help manage symptoms.

If you have chronic asthma (that is, your symptoms aren't triggered solely by physical exertion), you'll probably need to be on a daily control medication, like an inhaled steroid, in addition to having a rescue inhaler.

Protect Against Pollen

Pollen allergies can trigger asthma symptoms for some sufferers of exercise-induced asthma, so it's smart to run when pollen counts are at their lowest, which is usually in the early morning. Roberts also recommends checking your local pollen count online (try or and running on the days when the count is lowest. Afterward, shower as soon as possible to get the pollen off your hair and skin, and toss your workout clothes directly into the hamper.

If the pollen count is high even in the morning, do what Roberts does: Consider substituting an indoor activity for running, or doing something outdoors that doesn't make you breathe as hard, such as kayaking, biking, or walking.

Cover Your Face

Even people without asthma find themselves coughing during runs in cold temperatures. Why? Breathing cold, dry air results in cold, dry airways—a trigger for bronchospasm.

Roberts suggests covering your nose and mouth while running so the moist air you exhale will help humidify the air you inhale. Stay away from cotton bandanas, which can freeze against your face in cold temperatures. "Fleece balaclavas or neck gaiters are probably the best," Roberts says. "They maintain a fair amount of warmth even when they're wet, and they'll stay thawed pretty easily."

Be Smart

* Always carry your rescue inhaler. And not just while running. "There's no reason not to have it," Roberts says. "You can slip it in a lot of places, like the pockets in running shorts." You may never need to use your rescue, but if you do, you'll be very glad you have it.

* Have a game plan. Confirm with your doctor the steps you should take if you have an asthma attack. Should you call the doctor's office so they can determine the severity of the attack? Or should you see if you can get relief from your rescue inhaler? Create an action plan that both you and your doctor are comfortable with.

Roberts' advice for when you get into trouble: "You want to clear this with your physician, but what I tell my patients to do is to take as many puffs of your inhaler as it requires to stop the attack, or until you start to shake so much [a side effect of the medication] that you can't hold your inhaler. For some people, that's four to six puffs every five minutes for several minutes. I start shaking after two puffs."

* Consider wearing a medical alert tag. A bracelet or tag that indicates you have asthma can save first responders valuable time. "Giving the right medication quickly could be lifesaving," says Roberts.

* Take extra precautions if you have severe asthma. If you've ever had what Roberts calls a "flash attack," in which you quickly go from feeling good to being in severe distress, you should either run with a friend or carry your cell phone—or both.


Slow-Baked Whole Chicken in a Dutch Oven

2 teaspoons paprika (we like Hungarian)
Kosher salt sprinkled everywhere!!
1 teaspoon dried thyme, fresh if you have it
garlic powder or a whole bulb of garlic unpeeled--just thrown into the chicken cavity
sprinkles of cayenne (red) pepper
twists of freshly ground (black) pepper
1 chopped onion
1 large chicken rinsed and patted dry.
Combine the dried spices in a small bowl - or not. I prefer to wing it-- free-form style
Chop the onion in rough chunks. Add a chopped carrot if there's room!
Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over--even under the skin. If you have one, put prepared chicken on ovenproof trivet inside the Dutch oven. The chicken fat will melt and fall below. Add the onions to the pot and cover and bake in a 225 degree oven for hours. There is no need to add any liquid.
Check and baste occasionally. Throw in half a lemon or lime--into chicken cavity-- if you have them on hand. Cook until chicken is falling off the bone.

Dancing Cows

Cows belong in fields. We have known it for a long time. And the cows agree!

In March 2012, we visited a farm in the UK to film cows being released from their indoor winter housing to their fresh pasture for spring and summer grazing.

Some dairy cows never get to leave the confines of their sheds, but instead are kept indoors all year round in intensive zero-grazing systems.

Zero-grazing is already common in the USA and we do not want to see this practice become commonplace in Europe or anywhere else.

We believe that all cows should be given access to pasture and want to see an end to the practice of zero-grazing.


Vanilla Coconut

I am a soap freak and a plush washcloth nut. Joblot sells vanilla coconut soap in bath sized bars. Taking a bath feels like swimming in a luscious dessert.

Lily's Birthday

It was Lily's birthday yesterday! She turned 6. Rather than having our walk, I was home shoveling snow that was as heavy as a wet rug.

We are now in the last hour of winter.

Goodbye winter.

I will miss you!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lazy Man's Pretzel

Part of spring joy means less sleep, more baking and more vacuuming.

I set up dough in the afternoon and it has a slow cold rise in our 45 degree shop. I bake it the following morning.

My whole wheat sourdough boules baked in greased King Arthur hamburger bun bread pans. When eaten fresh out of the oven they are hot and moist - and best with cheap yellow mustard and honey! Just like a pretzel!

Just the Chillies

Nin's poem: Just the Chillies,
read with my painting, Embrace.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hungarian Soup

The allergy season has me making soothing soups to fend off the agony. Today I simmered chick peas after soaking them overnight. Then I added all of the white onions we had and chopped them in quarters. I added a bulb of garlic peeled. I chopped half a head of cabbage into shreds and chopped half a dozen stalks of celery. I poured in a quart of buttermilk and added turmeric, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and red chili flakes. I also added water and whey from my homemade yogurt. It reminds me of Hungarian Mushroom soup a friend made me in college--but without the mushrooms! It is delicious. I ate it for breakfast!

Obituary for Harry Stamps

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies’ man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Harry was locally sourcing his food years before chefs in California starting using cilantro and arugula (both of which he hated). For his signature bacon and tomato sandwich, he procured 100% all white Bunny Bread from Georgia, Blue Plate mayonnaise from New Orleans, Sauer’s black pepper from Virginia, home grown tomatoes from outside Oxford, and Tennessee’s Benton bacon from his bacon-of-the-month subscription. As a point of pride, he purported to remember every meal he had eaten in his 80 years of life.
The women in his life were numerous. He particularly fancied smart women. He loved his mom Wilma Hartzog (deceased), who with the help of her sisters and cousins in New Hebron reared Harry after his father Walter’s death when Harry was 12. He worshipped his older sister Lynn Stamps Garner (deceased), a character in her own right, and her daughter Lynda Lightsey of Hattiesburg. He married his main squeeze Ann Moore, a home economics teacher, almost 50 years ago, with whom they had two girls Amanda Lewis of Dallas, and Alison of Starkville. He taught them to fish, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their tool boxes. One of his regrets was not seeing his girl, Hillary Clinton, elected President.
He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna [Vi-e-na] sausages on saltines, his homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens, and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread.
He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking, eradicating mole crickets from his front yard, composting pine needles, living within his means, outsmarting squirrels, never losing a game of competitive sickness, and reading any history book he could get his hands on. He loved to use his oversized “old man” remote control, which thankfully survived Hurricane Katrina, to flip between watching The Barefoot Contessa and anything on The History Channel. He took extreme pride in his two grandchildren Harper Lewis (8) and William Stamps Lewis (6) of Dallas for whom he would crow like a rooster on their phone calls. As a former government and sociology professor for Gulf Coast Community College, Harry was thoroughly interested in politics and religion and enjoyed watching politicians act like preachers and preachers act like politicians. He was fond of saying a phrase he coined “I am not running for political office or trying to get married” when he was “speaking the truth.” He also took pride in his service during the Korean conflict, serving the rank of corporal--just like Napolean, as he would say.
Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam’s on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass-stained MSU baseball cap.
Harry traveled extensively. He only stayed in the finest quality AAA-rated campgrounds, his favorite being Indian Creek outside Cherokee, North Carolina. He always spent the extra money to upgrade to a creek view for his tent. Many years later he purchased a used pop-up camper for his family to travel in style, which spoiled his daughters for life.
He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words “veranda” and “porte cochere” to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil’s Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.
Because of his irrational fear that his family would throw him a golf-themed funeral despite his hatred for the sport, his family will hold a private, family only service free of any type of “theme.” Visitation will be held at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport on Monday, March 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Jeff Davis Campus) for their library. Harry retired as Dean there and was very proud of his friends and the faculty. He taught thousands and thousands of Mississippians during his life. The family would also like to thank the Gulfport Railroad Center dialysis staff who took great care of him and his caretaker Jameka Stribling.
Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord’s Time.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pollen Alert

Today's allergy levels for WOONSOCKET, RI:
Saturday - 5.1/Medium

Today's predominant pollen:
Cedar/Juniper, Elm and Poplar/Aspen/Cottonwood.

Friday, March 15, 2013


A sop is a piece of bread or toast that is soaked in liquid food and then eaten. In medieval cuisine, sops were very common. Sops were served with wine, soup or broth, and then picked apart into smaller pieces to soak in the liquid. At elaborate feasts, bread was often pre-cut into finger-sized pieces rather than broken off by the diners themselves. French onion soup, originating in its current form in the 18th century, can be considered a modern-day sop.

The word "soup" is a cognate of "sop", both stemming ultimately from the same Germanic source. The word is mentioned prominently in the Bible, King James Version:

When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. ( John 13:21-26 )

Walking and Waking

After my three hour nap yesterday I walked Lily to the pond. She might be thirsty I thought and we went to the shoreline. I dunked a stick into the edge of the pond and Lily daintily stepped in and retrieved it. The water was ice cold. We kept walking with Lily carrying the stick. As I walked down the street I started to cry thinking about Armand's garden. I ran into a man with a tall German wire-haired Pointer puppy - a liver-colored terrier that looked like a wolf-hound. He was a sweet dog only 9 months old but already he's as big as Lily. We chatted about Armand and how we'll miss him. Then we said goodbye. As I approached Armand's garden--I stood at the gate. The raspberry bushes were trimmed and the beds were all perfect mounds of clean dirt, ready for planting. I sobbed. Lily was still carrying her wet stick. We resumed walking and turned the corner. B was sweeping the porch of the mashed potato house with a push broom. I told him about Armand's passing. He was shocked and he opened the front door and told his wife who was standing right there. Lily continued to shred the stick while we chatted. B's daughter came out with her pup, Spud the min pin. She sang me a song. Then her sister M poked her head out and said she's having her birthday party tonight! It cheered me up.

At 12:20AM I woke up to the sounds of Lily barfing on the floor on my side of the bed. Bill mumbled - I turned on the light. There's not much actually, I reported snapping the light back off-- Now she's licking it back up! I said. I was too tired to move. She's a self cleaning dog, I said, rolling over. I couldn't fall back to sleep. Finally I got up at 2:00 AM. I saw bits of stick on the floor. I'll sweep it up later I thought, grabbing my clothes and heading downstairs with Lily.

Soup and Sourdough

This has been a crazy week. We've been to two memorials - my Texas nephew and my neighbor. The juniper and cedar pollen count is through the roof. It wakes me up! I feel like a walking allergy indicator. My skin crawls my stomach is unhappy, and I have to take my inhaler but it's okay-- I am alive and glad to have a good mood after a long sad winter. I am making lentil soup. I've added chopped sweet potatoes, cabbage leaves, a whole bulb of garlic, red chilies, and black radish. I've got ten sourdough whole wheat boules rising. My office door is open so I can smell everything wafting up the stairs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making Yogurt

I'm making yogurt today--it was warm yesterday and I went out and raked and shoveled dirt-- it smelled good. I am always excited this time of year but I am unable to sustain my garden when the hot long days arrive. I hibernate in winter and summer and sometimes in spring and fall! I stay inside and bake on hot July and August days.

The manure from last spring has finally become predigested dried hay.

I made a smoothie this morning.
It's cold out again but the sun is exciting. We're back to the regular 53 degree house. I have an electric radiator for finger warming.

Tao of Willie

Let the jerks of the world serve as the perfect example of what you don't want to be. You'll be a heck of a lot happier, and in the long run, there's a chance that other person at work will end up asking what your secret is. Why are you the happy one? In other words, don't let your thoughts think you. Besides, if you're really gonna get pissed, don't waste it on your family, friends, or coworkers, save it for something that really matters.
Willie Nelson, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

God has blessed you richly, so get down on your knees and thank him. Don’t forget the less fortunate or God will personally kick your ass. I’d love to do it for him, but I can’t be everywhere.
-Willie Nelson

You will never find happiness until you stop looking for it.
-Willie Nelson, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

A lot of people make money off of fear and negativity and any way they can feed it to you is to their benefit in a lot of ways. You can't avoid it completely; you have to be open enough that shit doesn't stick on you, it goes through, because you are gonna be hit and bombarded all the time with negativity... You just let things go on through without trying to stop them or block them.
-Willie Nelson

As adults we try to relax from the never-ending quest for reason and order by drinking a little whiskey or smoking whatever works for us, but the wisdom isn't in the whiskey or the smoke. The wisdom is in the moments when the madness slips away and we remember the basics.
-Willie Nelson, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.
-Willie Nelson

Life and water are inseparable. Three quarters of the earth's surface is covered by water, just as three quarters of your body is made up of water. Even in the driest desert where rain may come just once every few years, the cycles of life are based on waiting for the arrival of water. Our bodies are not so patient.

Every cell in your body needs water to survive, and that means that drinking plenty of clean, fresh water can make you stronger healthier and smarter. Water carries oxygen and fuel to your cells, lubricates your joints, regulates your body temperature, and plays a key roll in just about every function of your body.

My number one roadie, POODIE, says, "You can't make a turd without grease."
-Willie Nelson, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart

Fortunately, we are not in control.
-Willie Nelson

I believe in looseness.
-Willie Nelson

If you’re not crazy there’s something wrong with you.
-Willie Nelson

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Orleans Coffee

I am sipping New Orleans coffee - coffee with tiny bloop of molasses. Try it!

RIP Armand

Spring has hit this week along with Juniper and Cedar and Elm pollen! My gardener friend Armand just passed away Saturday. I found out yesterday from the neighbors, when I walked by. I am in shock. Feb 14th Armand raced out of his house when I walked by with Lily to give me rosemary and fresh basil from his kitchen flowerpots. He was only 64 and married 42 years. He lived a mile and a half a way--on the pond-- but I would see him almost daily when Lily and I would walk along the reservoir passing his house. He grew grapes raspberries potatoes tomatoes lemon balm oregano garlic you name it--all the herbs and vegetables. We became friends about ten years ago when I admired his plants one day when I was walking by with Honey. He was a wealth of knowledge wrapped in a crabby but very affectionate package. We would talk about making vats of soup--and canning with pressure cookers and our favorite wholesale places "on the hill" (Little Italy of Providence) He was surrounded by family - nieces nephews sons daughters all living next door on both sides etc--but they were not into baking and cooking like him. So this was what Armand and I shared - a love of making food and sharing it. He gave me white raspberry plants and sage and flowers--that are still in my garden! I will miss him terribly - I might have to walk a different road for a while. Who will tend the magnificent garden!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Antonio Gaudí

Martinell also relates a story of how Gaudí often carried a raw egg around in his pocket, as an instant snack, boasting its shell was the strongest form nature had to offer. He gave up the practice when Mayor Alberto Bastardas slapped him jovially after celebrating Mass, leaving the egg’s contents to dribble down his leg.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Morning Kitchen

Spring is coming! I woke at 3 AM and set up the sourdough to rise. The soaking beans plumped up overnight. The baking bread is mingling with the smell of fresh coffee and simmering kidney beans.

Helen Mirren

Whenever I see the queen, I always think, Oh, there I am!

I'm a get-a-dress-at-the-thrift-shop-but-open-a-bottle-of-champagne kind of person.

The first time you taste something spectacular, it's never quite the same again.

Being the daughter of a cabbie, I really do appreciate a good back route.

Patience can be a good thing — but not necessarily. Sometimes it's not so bad to be impatient. I'm a little bit too polite.

The best compliment? Right after winning the Oscar, when everyone was going home, they let these little gold Oscary shapes flutter down from the ceiling. Leonardo DiCaprio came over, bowed down, and kissed my hand. It was the most fabulous moment — such a lovely gesture. He didn't say anything.

Being directed by your husband is difficult. But it's fabulous to go home and sleep with the director.

I drink just as much tea when I'm in Los Angeles as I do when I'm in London. I take my tea bags with me wherever I go. PG Tips.

We're all idiots when we're young. We don't think we are, but we are. So we should be.

Shakespeare was writing at a time of great censorship. You couldn't say certain things or you'd literally have your head chopped off. But within those parameters he found great freedom.

The whole thing of clothes is insane. You can spend a dollar on a jacket in a thrift store. And you can spend a thousand dollars on a jacket in a shop. And if you saw those two jackets walking down the street, you probably wouldn't know which was which.

I don't throw a lot of parties. I find throwing parties a bit intimidating. What makes a good one? Loads and loads of drink, I suppose. But that can be a disaster as well.

While you're doing it, it's utterly, utterly, obsessively absorbing. Nothing is more important to you at that time and you can't believe anyone could be interested in anything else. I used to come out of the theater and wonder: How can the world be going on? The only thing that matters is this play.

Chemistry is an absolute mystery. People who really don't like each other can have fantastic chemistry onscreen. And people who adore each other can have absolutely no chemistry onscreen. It's totally weird — lightning in a bottle.

There's no good way to waste your time. Wasting time is just wasting time.

Time accelerates, doesn't it?

The hardest period in life is one's twenties. It's a shame because you're your most gorgeous and you're physically in peak condition. But it's actually when you're most insecure and full of self-doubt. When you don't know what's going to happen, it's frightening.

It would be wrong to think that you're always right and correct and perfect and brilliant. Self-doubt is the thing that drives you to try to improve yourself.

The world of politics never spoke to me because it always seemed to be a world of compromise and pragmatism. That didn't fit in with my rather soppy idealism.

Very often I've done the unexpected just to shake things up a bit. That's been a good way to work.

I am quite spiritual. I believed in the fairies when I was a child. I still do sort of believe in the fairies. And the leprechauns. But I don't believe in God.

It's such a crapshoot, and very often the talented people get lost by the wayside and the people with less talent are successful, and you don't know why. It's all such a mysterious random thing, so it's very hard to give people advice.

You don't want to mislead people. They'll say, "Oh, it's my dream. I just have to believe in myself and it'll happen." It's just not true. Some people throw away their lives following a dream and a dream is all it was. On the other hand, you do have to believe in yourself for anything to happen.

I'm in London watching the wind blow through a tree, and it's a wonderful thing to see.

Some people are brilliant at dying. It's hard to stop breathing, and inevitably you get an itchy nose or something. The trick of dying onstage is to make sure you do it behind the sofa or in a dark corner.

-Helen Mirren

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pavlovian Time

Woke up at 3:45- Pavlovian time
reading in the flea market style--of world wide web - biographical blurbs on Balthus, Botero, Roald Dahl, Italo Calvino, Edith Piaf
special day! snow day!!
oven preheating
sourdough boules the size of Mae West's breasts--are rising

Alimentary Canal

my mother called in national guard
with helicopters
and suppository snipers
air lifting crates of mineral oil
and milk of magnesia and prune juice,
to my summer camp
soapy enema bags sent from the enemy
in college
angry english teachers
demanding paragraphs about Willy Lowman
screamed at me,
what are you, constipated?
demanding results
from my ailimentary canal

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Black and White

My tongue has gone flat and dull. This happens occasionally. This morning I put espresso in my coffee, so it has taste.

I love the snow. A black and white day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Applesauce + Yogurt

Last night Bill made applesauce from all of the wonky apples at the bottom of the fridge drawer. It came out so good. We didn't need to add any sugar, just a dash of cinnamon. I like to add a dollop of yogurt and a few raisins too. This is a favorite comfort food.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Joyce Carol Oates

If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space.
-Joyce Carol Oates

Cooks Valley Farm

Cooks Valley Farm has winter produce! View here.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sweet Scents

My neighbors down the street, the ones with chickens, are tapping their trees for maple sugar. The metal buckets are hanging and I saw the sap dripping out when I walked by with Lily.

My bread is baking with my sweet potatoes. My studio door is open so I can catch the aroma. I love good smells. I am willing to wash dishes by hand for hours when the washing soap is a scent I like.