Oct. 13th, 2016 09:27 am
okrablossom: (scientific method)
I recently finished re-reading The Three Musketeers. Love the banter, hate the sexism. I had forgotten a great deal of the second half of the story, so it was a fun ride [with judicious skipping of text].

I read Angela Cervantes' Allie, First at Last and that was an excellent teen adventure that made me cry [in a good way].

I re-read all the Megan Whalen Turner books about Gen + Co. and that just re-convinced that they go downhill [but start really really high].

I enjoyed Sarah Beth Durst's new one, The Queen of Blood, for how determination is what won Our Heroine her goals. [Also, intriguing world-building and a spectacular use of viewpoint in magic.]

I read Sonny Liew's The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye and that was fabulous. Highly recommended.

Through all this, I have been sustained by a focused re-read of Richard Wilbur's collected poems.

I suspect next week I will be reading a lot of other people's manuscripts. It is nearly time to leave for VP.
okrablossom: (apples)

farmers market haul

It is definitely autumn. We walked home carrying all this—plus the apples we've already eaten, the chicken thighs, the pork roast, the eggs—in the rain and chill. Up the hill. Wearing my new bright orange sweater.

I am happy for it, in so many ways. Perhaps there will be some slowing-down. There will also be some speed-racing, some new friends, some tests of self. There will be long leggings, the heaters ticking on and off in yoga, the stars coming down earlier.

I am looking forward to hot chocolate, to baking cookies, to squash soup and mashed potatoes. I am looking forward to putting more words down on the page. I hope to poem more this month, maybe even daily, because I deserve it. I hope, most of all, for calm and energy.

What are you hoping to do with this month?


Sep. 11th, 2016 01:53 pm
okrablossom: jasmine tea blossom open in mug (tea blossom)
Last weekend even the weather admitted it was autumn. Today it is not meteorology but structural engineering that perplexes.

Last weekend I spun around the kitchen dancing to Dar Williams' songs, our annual invocation to fall. Today I am lost in a book, in writing a poem, in something that will push away the past.

A reminder to myself that to move forward is the only testament to those no longer here. Let in more light.
okrablossom: (scientific method)
Alison Hawthorne Deming says,

And writing poetry is an act of dissent in at least three ways: economically, because a poet labors to make a thing which will never be worth money; temporally, because the poem is an argument with the corrosive passage of time; and politically, because in an age of aggregate data, it insists on the passionate importance of the individual.

okrablossom: (Default)
I mean, before they turn to seeds?

The only good thing to come from this drought/heat wave has been a fistful of okra.

6 okra pods

Well, and the realization that that's a good spot for growing veg.

I could use some dancing in the rain.
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
Golden beets, when sliced raw, are the color of sunset and ripe nectarines, their interiors mysterious with concentric rings. I have been having too much fun with cold-steeping tea, although I would rather not think too hard about why I've been having to drink so much cold liquid. We dissassembled five chickens today, spatchcock, half-cock, bone-in breasts, wings, and spines. The green ink has arrived; I hope it fits one of my myriad pens. I am grateful for the dropping temperature.
okrablossom: (electron density)
Yesterday included yardwork and gardening (transplanting and mulching and pulling the grapes and handcutting the grass between the stones) and making two loaves of bread, marinating chicken, sauteing some veg and putting it all together in a salad, throwing some brown bread in the slow cooker so I could have an easy sweet later, and laundering the dirty clothes. [And then sort of collapsing on the futon.] It did not really feel like a weekend at all. Does that mean I can take today off? If only there weren't so much writing I want to do...
okrablossom: (okra)
I think I have forgotten to give you all some pretty plant pictures for a long while. Here we go.

I have found a good spot for the okra and tomatoes, which incidentally fills a blank boring part of the yard. And when these come out, I think I will put in chrysanthemums. Ha!

In the middle of the terrace there are carrots and thyme and sage and a Thai hot pepper that's trying and some rather nice flowers just for looking at.

While something is eating some of the sunflowers and bean leaves, they are still trying! Also, the morning glory on the right has climbed up the pole and attached itself to the lilac bush behind the planter, which I find hilarious.

My volunteers are going to have to go—because they turned out to be grapes. I mean, some of them will have to go.

Mostly because they are overwhelming my eggplants and peppers:

Oh, and a close-up with those beautiful bean flowers. Beans! Yay!

okrablossom: (scientific method)
This is the fourth Monday in two weeks—and Mondays are really tough for me. I'm still recovering from Readercon, which was not the success I was hoping for, for health reasons, and a success in some ways [meeting people] that I hadn't even anticipated. I, uh, have been delinquent in mentioning that I am going to be part of this year's Viable Paradise class, haven't I? Also, that there's a flash fiction story up at The Future Fire that I'm rather proud of. Writing is still wonderful. Now that I have vacuumed upstairs and folded dry laundry and put the wets into the dryer perhaps I can get back to it. Take it 100 words at a time.
okrablossom: ice tea with lemons (pic#8749664)

slice of strawberry pie

Apparently I prefer strawberries fresh or as strawberry-milk. Apparently I prefer cherry pie to strawberry pie. I still ate this slice. [Note: pastry courtesy of [personal profile] yomikoma.]
okrablossom: (orange rose)
Via Terri Windling, Rebecca Solnit says,

To hope is to gamble. It's to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty are better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk. I say all this to you because hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say this because hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from annihilation of the earth's treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.

Here things are still day-to-day, checking in with self, health, family, and staying present to do what I can with the energy I have. To hope for tomorrow by writing today.

Cream &

Jun. 7th, 2016 11:25 am
okrablossom: (electron density)

home-made whipped cream and strawberries

Sadly, all is not home-made whipped cream and farmers market strawberries here, but that was a highlight of the weekend. And today is better than yesterday, healthwise.

I started a new poem, I am applying to a writing workshop into which I have only the slimmest of chances of being accepted, and am wondering how to distance myself from the latest [last?] draft of a story while desperately wanting to just send it out.

I do really love being a writer. I have a million words to put down and play with, revise, begin, re-submit. Here I go.
okrablossom: jasmine tea blossom open in mug (tea blossom)

ur-pickles waiting for brine

How many times can you pull the honey from the pantry in one day? Apparently three: dressing for the carrots, bread dough, pickles.

I have been working on a lot of poems this month, which has made me happy. I am much more positive about arranging section one of the poetry manuscript now.

I am thankful to say the number of attacks this month has been relatively low. I wish that fact correlated with an increase in energy but so far not.

I'm not even sure where the days have gone, although I could certainly riffle the pages filled during those days under your hands, wind and words.

Near the end of Sara Forte's Bowl + Spoon cookbook, she relates an anecdote about a dessert she and her college roommate used to make: microwaved mashed banana covered with a scoop of peanut butter and sprinkled with chocolate chips. I was surprised to find that the actual recipe on the page, which was introduced by this anecdote, involved liquor and didn't involve nuking bananas and peanut butter. I mixed up the anecdote, however, and it was tasty.

Feel free to share a recent tasty anecdote of your own, I'd love to hear.


May. 8th, 2016 01:53 pm
okrablossom: (apples)
Last month I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo. It was my first NaNoWri of any month and I was curious how the Cabin aspect of the process, interacting with others in the same situation, would affect my writing process.

Camping details... )

And, for those of you who read for the food, let me say that we did cook a lot last month, Camp NaNoWriMo notwithstanding. Food is as relentless as Camp.

Campfire food... )

Sara Forte's Hippie Bowl on a plate
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
I was apprehensive about Heidi Heilig's The Girl from Everywhere because it includes representations of Hawai`ians, specifically historical Hawai`ians. But I told myself, Heilig's biography says she grew up in Hawai`i, so she'll know better, she'll do it right.

On page 72, the main character says, while standing in late 19th century Honolulu [it's a time-travel story], "There would still be locals speaking the native tongue, telling native stories; their culture was fading but not gone yet."

It's not gone even now.

Heilig should know that and so should her protagonist [who has recently come from 2016]. And that's why I can't recommend the book: it propagates the view that native Hawai`ians don't exist. Which they certainly do, even when they aren't protesting and making headlines.

I shouldn't condemn A Tyranny of Petticoats for just one story but I got all excited about the mention of a native American protagonist and jumped ahead to it. The author's note following the story—which I haven't read—says she loved Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves as a child, which influenced her [Marie Lu] to pick that locale for her story. But that novel rang a bell and so I checked, via Debbie Reese: Martha Stackhouse, who is Inupiaq, goes into detail about how that novel has many things just plain wrong about Inupiaq culture. I searched the author's note, back in Petticoats, but I don't see anything about a review by Inupiaq people. In fact, Lu says on page 41, "Researching Alaska, I loved the blurred line between history and Inuit folklore." I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds like it describes Inupiaq beliefs as not real and not viable as history. It may be that Lu did more and better research than George, spoke with tribe members, but there's nothing in the author's note that gives me confidence that's the case.

It is too important to me to acknowledge that these nations and cultures still exist that I can't take the chance to read something which misrepresents them.
okrablossom: (high five leaf)
I sum up the difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa thus: in Ashtanga, no one ever tells you to rest when you need to.
okrablossom: linguini, tomatoes, basil, onions (pic#8749663)
I discovered Diana Henry's A Bird in the Hand from a mention by Arielle of the Food52 piglet. I devoured it once the library supplied it. I like chicken and so I am enthralled and amazed by an entire book of chicken recipes.

As cookbooks go, I think this has a lot to recommend it: fancy recipes, easy recipes, recipes for chicken parts, recipes for chicken salads, recipes for leftover chicken. I love that it has the fancy and the I'm-tired-and-must-cook recipes. I raise a drumstick to Ms. Henry. I look forward to cooking from it.

Cumin and Turmeric Roast Chicken with Smashed Avocado and Corn Cakes

We started with "Cumin and Turmeric Roast Chicken with Smashed Avocado and Corn Cakes". Straightforward, if in three pieces—chicken, cakes, guac—and it turned out very tasty. Three different tasties.

I guess what I appreciate most was having all these flavors together while the process itself felt easy. [Although [personal profile] yomikoma did most of the work.] The corn cakes were certainly fun to fry up. And it was satisfying to sit down to.
okrablossom: (apples)

egg drop spring soup

While I can attest to the fact that purple carrots in soup are apparently a bad idea—and next time I'd throw in more salt and cheese when serving, and probably cut the egg—the spring veg egg drop soup from April Bloomfield's A Girl and Her Greens is still really wonderful. [Also, frozen turkey stock for the win!]
okrablossom: (Default)
I know, I know, it isn't, or whatever, but I enjoy celebrating the quadrants of the year, anyway.

We started this morning with another star, courtesy of King Arthur Flour. By which I mean, we made it, but they supplied the recipe.

star bread

This bread is always worth it.

For lunch, we celebrated the greens of spring.

green mac + cheese

The recipe is borrowed from Elise at Simply Recipes but we added in a couple of ounces of basil, used wet mustard instead of dry, and replace the elbows with egg noodles [because that's what we had]. This dish tastes fancy and it is so worth trying.

lots of foods!

For dinner, there was strawberry-infused Summer Cider from Carr's Ciderhouse, roasted asparagus tossed in oil with salt and pepper, the Pioneer Woman's cream cheese mashed potatoes [which are amazing], and the fried chicken recipe [whose marinade involved lapsang souchong, oranges, and honey] from The Picnic: Recipes and Inspiration from Basket to Blanket.
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