okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2017-07-29 03:09 pm

July End

I am happy that we're coming to the end of July. I spent the first two weeks with a summer cold, which are vile vile things. I am still congested. My weekend of Impending Doom happened and it took me a week to recover. I have gotten done less than half of the things on this month's list of objectives. I am ready for a clean slate, a start over, an excuse to pick up and dust off and be optimistic. Tomorrow is still [unseasonably] cool but should be sunnier. I hope there's more light in your tomorrow as well.
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2017-06-11 08:24 pm

Stained Glass Thanks

grapefruit marmalade and biscuits

I'm thankful to [personal profile] uilos for the amazing grapefruit marmalade that capped off this morning's breakfast of scrambled asparagus egg, oats, and biscuits. I will forever be spoiled for all marmalades.

I'm thankful for all the new technocolor blocks in Minecraft. I'm thankful for words written down and for words written down while hanging out with a writer friend. I'm thankful for the energy I had this weekend and for the good sense I exhibited to triage when necessary.

I am looking forward to the heat breaking, for upcoming birthday parties, for the words I will write this week.
okrablossom: jasmine tea blossom open in mug (tea blossom)
2017-05-28 07:38 pm

Flowers to Ward Off—

This weekend is more gloom and chill, so these pictures are from last weekend's sunshine. They still seem worth sharing.

bleeding hearts

chives with purple flowers

the pink columbine

the purple columbine and the magenta phlox

I hope you've got sunshine and warm—if that's what you're wanting—wherever you are now. I raise my mug of tea to you. Now, back to the words.
okrablossom: jasmine tea blossom open in mug (tea blossom)
2017-05-15 09:43 am

The Calm/Creme in the Center

oatmeal sandwich cookies

The past few days have mostly been downs. The experience of making and eating and sharing these sandwich cookies was certainly an up. Also an up: reading my poems to a group of folks in a new venue.

Today I have turned on the fancy lights that help lift my spirits and maybe the retaining wall is getting fixed. I hope there are some good things for you today, too, even if it is a Monday [here].
okrablossom: (Default)
2017-04-23 10:31 am

The Beauty of What's Left

deconstructed nachos on a blue plate

Okay, so I made the beans in the crock on Friday—from dried in the pantry and a chopped onion and dried spices—and [personal profile] yomikoma picked up scallions on the way home, but we had salsa in the fridge, and cheese, and a handful of not-quite-stale corn chips, plus half a chopped cuke and ten leftover cherry tomatoes, along with that overripe avocado I bought Monday, and this is what dinner was. Totally fab. I can't believe I threw all this together and this is what we got to eat.

Along those lines, I gave Bird in the Hand one more chance and we tried the "forrester chicken" which also turned out fab, but I also was able to make the whole thing with stuff we had at home already—or fudge it: skip the parsley over the top, add in extra carrots, use the end of the cream rather than the amount it called for, frozen mushrooms instead of fresh, and dried shiitake which were probably not what the "dried wild mushrooms" really meant. I also tossed in a quarter cup of flour at the end to make it thicken a little, since I hadn't the heart to not include all the dried mushroom broth.

Both experiences were kinda amazing.
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2017-04-09 04:24 pm


Apparently I am everywhere but here. I have gotten on a raft with mastodons, I have been chatting on an isle, I have been cooking and shaping and hosting in the meat-space.

There has been nonfiction researched, learned, shaped into stories, and deadlines met. There was an unfinished attempt at getting a novel's plot down on notecards—but there is still hope. There has been heavy heavy revision and bright polishing of a novelette. There have been approximately 22 syllables daily, a cinquain each day so far for NaPoWriMo this year.

I am thankful to be writing so much. I am thankful you are listening. If you'd like to hear about the wilds of writing more frequently than I seem to alight on the branches here [and you don't already], there is always my newsletter.

Perhaps next time I'll manage to tell you what good books I have been reading.
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2017-04-06 11:48 am

Bouts-Rimes for Hope

Either poetry is dead or it is what people turn to in times of need, at least according to the Internet.

I asked a number of my poet-colleagues to write for hope, to help people during difficult times.

The result is a small chapbook of sonnets you can download for free: EPUB or MOBI (Kindle) files here on Gumroad. (Just enter 0 for the price.)

The chapbook contains poems by Carol Berkower, Sherry Chandler, Peg Duthie, Jenny Factor, Annie Finch, Cindy M. Hutchings, Marc Moskowitz, Charles Rammelkamp, and Mary Alexandra Agner.

If you, in turn, should pick up pen to reweave these end-words, originally borrowed from Edna St. Vincent-Millay, to write your own piece of hope, please share it with at Vary the Line by leaving a comment with a poem or a link back to your own post with a poem.
okrablossom: jasmine tea blossom open in mug (tea blossom)
2017-03-02 09:51 am


I had meant to write here more often, I thought it might be grounding and uplifting. Yes, laugh. But something positive.

So, now that I've missed the Wednesday reading meme, here's what I've been reading.

I just finished Sarah McCarry's About a Girl which I enjoyed the beginning and ending of; I dislike extended dream states where the main character is continually thwarted because Magic, oh, and also Sex, additionally Just Plain Not There Secondary Characters, it feels nightmarish to me, but your mileage may vary. It had a lot of wonderful physics and astronomy, mostly as metaphor, but it was still good.

I am in the middle of Kameron Hurley's The Stars are Legion. Were I a person who could picture things easily, I'm sure I would be grossed out. As it is, the mystery presented by the story is so far more compelling than the amnesiac main character but sufficiently compelling to keep me reading of said amnesiac's adventures.

I am hoping to pick up Brooke Borel's latest, since I'm sure the library will want it back soon for other patrons, and a how-to poetry book that is not in demand—sigh—and the latest issue of Science which is upside-down staring at me.

Last week I enjoyed Mur Lafferty's Six Wakes and Kathryn Eskine's Mockingbird [not speculative, but a solid realism story with a neuroatypical narrator] and Caitlin Levine's "A Love Confession at the End of the Universe". That last one is short, give it a read.
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2017-02-25 09:46 pm

The Warm Spell That Killed the Peach Buds

drinks, stratified

These were a good thing. So was today's rain. So was most of the email recently that's been triggering me. I hate it when good things are triggers. I am muddling through. I had thought external factors were finally going to slow down and let me go at my own pace, but that's not to be. I'm doing the best I can not to lose myself over my limits. You take care of yourselves, too, please.
okrablossom: (apples)
2017-01-29 08:53 pm

Soup Deconstructed

So far this weekend: slow cooker pot roast, a large batch of Greeny Bowl, slow cooker chicken tikki masala [about which I am unimpressed but [profile] yomikomi is happy with], and some Indian-style mushrooms. But I know by the middle of the week I'll want something that tastes different, to mix it all up. I also know I won't have the energy then to actually cook and I'll end up starving, hangry, and eating all the wrong sorts of things, which is most emphatically not good.

Hence we have deconstructed the soup. I think I got this recipe from Diane Morgan's Roots: the Definitive Compendium but I've just got a photocopy, so apologies for misattribution. In this recipe, the author "cheats" by using a rotisserie chicken's bones to make stock, and then throws in celeriac, the rotisserie chicken meat, greens, and mushrooms. So, we divvied all of that up, chopped, torn, etc., and packaged it up to go into the slow cooker later in the week. Tomorrow I'll throw in the stock bits with water and bouillon for a few hours, and the resulting stock can go in the fridge. Wednesday I'll throw the celeriac, chicken, stock, greens, and mushrooms in the slow cooker again and it will be dinner. Woot.

Or so I hope. Have any of you done anything like this before?

deconstructed soup
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2017-01-14 10:49 am

This Week's Market Haul

this week's haul from the farmers market

We still have pasties and meat sauce and just a bit more pork roast and carrot+parsnip soup, so everything here but the eggs and apples was really a bit superfluous. I also know we'll gobble it up. The tat soi is for the dragon tofu. The bacon is for breakfast. The cheese is for me. I am not sharing.
okrablossom: (Yule Feast)
2017-01-10 01:28 pm

Inverted Order Plus Chicken and Pasties

greeny bowl salad

There have been a number of wonderful foods lately, from this greeny bowl salad [adapted from Sprouted Kitchen Bowl & Spoon, I think I got that name right] and the rutabaga pasties [adapted from River Cottage Veg].

The best thing, though, has been cooking dinner after eating it. I recommend this. It means you're never hungry while cooking which is an enormous plus for me. It takes a moment of planning ahead, because it means that Monday night, say, you eat something you've already made, then after you eat, you cook something else so that you have dinner made for Tuesday. It had honestly never occurred to me before to invert this cooking-and-eating ordering but it has made a difference to our happiness levels. I mean, you still spend the same amount of time cooking but I'm usually in a better mood, and less tired, to do it.

I saw a recipe recently for slow-cooker pulled chicken which then suggested three recipes in which to use said chicken and I thought, I like this idea. Make enough chicken for a handful of recipes but not have to eat the same chicken dish all week? Sounds good. But their recipes just really didn't work for me, so I thought, hey, maybe you folks had some recipes for leftover chicken you'd be willing to share?
okrablossom: (apples)
2016-12-23 10:19 am

Only a Middle-Sized Star

None of it tasted belated, even if we had it Thursday morning. The star bread had a crusty exterior and cinnamon sugar inside. There was salt and bite to the eggs. There were creamy Asian pears and supremed citrus [thank you [personal profile] yomikoma] drizzled sweet by maple-lime sauce.

That seems like plenty to call back the light.
okrablossom: (somerville watercolor)
2016-12-18 11:32 am

Also Yes I Am Still Here

I have been writing and reading and revising and doing yoga often 5 times a week and in general being vocal on other parts of the internet. But I like hearing how you all are doing so know I'm still reading. And I am doing okay, sometimes even good, which is still so new and amazing that I can't always believe it.
okrablossom: (apples)
2016-12-18 11:00 am
Entry tags:

New Veg

I found out about a local meal-delivery service that sources from local farmers. Even, ahem, now, during the winter. I was excited about their setup for a couple of reasons:

  1. Local veg.

  2. They told us to put out a cooler with cold packs for them to leave the food in. Reuse instead of recycling or waste!

We tried it last week, with the rutabaga pie. I liked the packaging:

which was reusable/recyclable butcher paper and twine. Inside that package were three bags and a recyclable container:

That's a bag of shredded celeriac and onions; a bag of chopped rutabaga, potatoes, carrots, broccoli; a bag of of dough. The container had the pot pie gravy.

I have no idea if this was intentional but I realized: by cutting up the veg for me, that means they can use ugly vegetables. Which I think is awesome and reduces waste. Plus, that's actually a lot less work for me. So that was a real, unexpected plus.

So we sauteed the veg and mixed in the gravy and rolled out the dough [perhaps a tad too thin but whatever] and baked it up:

And then there was pot pie. It was pretty tasty. There's no way I think this was two servings, like they said, but I was really happy to find they included nutritional information with the serving numbers.

So, while their website is awful and their name rather silly, we're going to try them again this week. Veg bi bim bap. We'll see how that goes.
okrablossom: (apples)
2016-10-31 08:39 pm

One of the Weekend Goods

My favorite spicy-sweet marinated tofu, roasted tomatoes with garlic and thyme, sautéed tat soi, and fancy bread. It was amazing.
okrablossom: (apples)
2016-10-27 04:45 pm

Slide Me Down Straight to the Nov

On the whole, this has been the worst October for many years, perhaps as many as 7. Hmm. Yes, 7.

So I'd like to remember the lovely outing with apples and the hedge maze. I'd like to remember that VP was good. I'd like to remember spending two hours talking GW with Bill. I'd like to remember birthday flowers from France. I'd like remember to managing to get to a Write Write meetup for the first time in months. I'd like to remember Juni's dance classes and chatting with her mom. I'd like to remember that the weather has been autumnal. I'd like to remember talking with one of my oldest friends every 2 weeks for the past month and uh half. On that note, I'd like to remember that there are a number of people who genuinely care about me but just don't happen to live close enough in real space for touching.

More light, more light, say the poets. More hugs, too.
okrablossom: (scientific method)
2016-10-13 09:27 am


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)
2016-10-01 03:13 pm

Birthday Month!

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?
okrablossom: jasmine tea blossom open in mug (tea blossom)
2016-09-11 01:53 pm


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.