I’ve really noticed a drop off in friendly waves. Walking in my neighborhood, people aren’t saying hello as much. I too hold back, especially if someone doesn’t make an effort to stay 6 feet away, and I don’t like this new withdrawal. I get it. Anxiety is real. Worry is real. I’m still going to try to offer a wave and not fall prey to my mental loop of concern. We’ve got to be in this together.
Are you having a hard time staying focused? I know I am. That’s why I’m on a poetry spree right now. I’m loving Ellen Bass‘s new collection, INDIGO. From her poem, “Enough”
Oh, blame life. That we just want more.
Summer rain. Mud. A cup of tea.
Our teeth, our eyes. A baby in a stroller.
Another spoonful of crème brûlée,
sweet burnt crust crackling.
And hot showers, oh lovely, lovely hot showers.
I’ve got Susan Leslie Moore’s Juniper Prize winning collection, THAT PLACE WHERE YOU OPENED YOUR HANDS up next. And of course, I always, always, always love me some Dorianne Laux. Check her collections, AWAKE, and THE BOOK OF MEN. Both are lovely. From her poem, “Lighter”
Steal something worthless, something small,
every once in a while. A lighter from the counter
at the 7-Eleven. Hold that darkness in your hand.
Look straight into the eyes of the clerk
As you slip it in your pocket, her blue
bruised eyes. Don’t justify it. Just take
your change, your cigarettes, and walk
out the door into the snow or hard rain,
sunlight bearing down, like a truck, on your back.
Call it luck when you don’t get caught.
A poem before lights out may be the perfect antidote to weird dreams, which we are all in the grip of, at least according to this NYTs article.
Speaking of poems, maybe you’d like to write some. I’ve got two books of poetry prompts for you. SLEEPING ON THE WING, by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell. The collection has poems, essays and prompts. I’ve used it for teaching in the schools, so those of you homeschooling may find it a good resource.
Another one, MY SHOUTED, SHATTERED, WHISPERING VOICE, by Patrice Vecchione. Her book is filled with many terrific, short prompts to get you writing. Here’s a good one if you want to write about something from your past (hey, memoir writers, when feeling stuck you may want to give this a go):
To write a poem about a particular time, you needn’t remember any more than you do. Poems may be built from fragments, assorted threads that, through writing, are woven into new cloth. Keep in mind that the poem will not be a replica of what happened, even if you’re writing about an event you recall in detail; it won’t mirror what occurred. …there is the event itself, what you thought about it at the time, and what you think about it now. The emphasis of importance may shift. You may notice what went unnoticed when the event took place. Perhaps what was in the background or a side story will be what interests you now.
If you choose to write about something that’s only a shadowy or partial memory, consider starting…with the words “I don’t remember.” If remembering is the right thing, what you need to know will likely return.
Here’s one more prompt for you. Forgive me, I forget from whom I learned this one. Perhaps it was from the wonderful poet, Kelli Russell Agodon: Recall the nicest thing ever said to you. Compose a poem about a rainy day and something flooding. End the poem with the compliment.
Ugh…this three meals a day is a grind. Remember last year when I was posting cake, cake and more cake? That was a good year. Guess what I’m going to do with my afternoon? Yup. Cake. This gorgeous recipe from NYTs cooking:
Orange Sour Cream Cake with Blueberry Compote
- 1 ½ cups sifted cake flour I’M USING WW PASTRY FLOUR BECAUSE IT’S WHAT I HAVE ON HAND
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 ½ ounces (9 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Butter, softened, for cake pan
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 cups fresh blueberries, I’M USING FROZEN, BECAUSE PANDEMIC!!
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, orange rind and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and add to bowl. Mix at low speed until crumbly.
- Add 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix at medium speed until smooth and paste-like. Scrape bowl, and add remaining 1/4 cup sour cream and egg yolks. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. Scrape bowl, and add orange extract and vanilla extract. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 more minute.
- Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit, butter the paper as well. Scrape batter into pan, and smooth with a spatula. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool.
- Prepare compote: In a medium nonreactive saucepan combine lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar. Mix until smooth. Add blueberries, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir gently to mix. Place over medium-low heat, and simmer just until liquid thickens and blueberries darken in color. Remove from heat, and transfer to a bowl.
- To serve, remove cake from pan. Slice, and serve topped with blueberry compote.
I made a maple miso halibut the other night that was pretty tasty. You could spread the miso on tofu, chicken, salmon, roasted eggplant, cauliflower steaks, whatever your heart desires.
Maple Miso Spread:
2T maple syrup
4T white miso
2T rice vinegar
4t soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, grated
Optional, a squeeze of sriracha or a ¼ t chili paste
Mix ingredients in a bowl or in a mini Cuisinart. Spread on fish, tofu, chicken, vegies and roast as you normally would. Delicious!