Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What she said

(revised because I think I overdid the cryptic first time around)

Talking with the kids today about a family friend who is in trouble with the law. A has heard the story, and B's just become aware that something isn't quite right.

Me: Somebody thought they saw him do something wrong

A: And he totally didn't do anything wrong. They're just making it up.

Me: Well, not so much making it up as just not seeing what they thought they saw.

A: They're connecting the wrong dots. It's like the dots are all there, but there are no numbers.

Bright girl. Whether she ever pens a poem or not, she thinks in metaphor.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A poem

This post over at H's reminded me of the following poem. Reading James Lowell's bio on Wikipedia, I discovered that he was no stranger to the particular pain of losing a child - at least 3 of his children died before they reached the age of 2.

The First Snow-Fall
- James Russell Lowell 1819-1891

THE SNOW had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow,
The stiff rails softened to swan’s-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar that renewed our woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
“The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.

Couldn't have said it better myself

Go read this.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Okay she meant it ...

...remember the part about "I get to sew all its clothes!"

There's a bandanna, too, with a handy chin strap. Hard to get a pic of the dog wearing it, for some reason.

In the news

Real news, (not news in the life of a reluctant poet who has to be chained to the keyboard and surgically removed from the internet in order to write one measly word of poetry)

I'm so glad this story turned out the way it did. The part that's killing me is that, as a barren woman, I can so acutely identify with the kidnapper. And I feel oh so proud of the sister-in-law, and oh so sorry for her. I salute the courage it took her to do what she did.

This is a little bit where I was going with this post. Somebody made a decision about who deserved that baby more. It's a road you just can't start down. After countless years of either longing for a baby or trying for a baby or hoping for a baby, I so strongly believe that regardless of what medical or artificial or contrived means you use to put an egg and a sperm in the right place at the right time, God has the final say. He gets to decide, and there's no point in second guessing Him.

Monday, September 18, 2006

not sure why I called I guess I really just wanted to completely overdo the "song lyrics as title" theme

Also titled How A Poet Cooks Supper
subtitled, Well, This Poet At Least
Alternative Title: Not So Much The Poet* in the Kitchen
Alternative Title: Mashed Potatoes and Glop. Or possibly Glop and Mashed Potatoes.

Step One: Search a popular online recipe site for a recipe for tuna casserole that does not use canned mushroom soup, because you are trying to go Low Fat here, but do it naturally, without all sorts of pre-packaged, pre-processed "all the fat has been surgically removed and replaced with cardboard" food, and from your Limited Nutritional Understanding, canned mushroom soup is chock full o' real fat.

Step One addendum: Accidentally kick the dog, whose thought processes at this moment run along the lines of "Food!! she is touching food! Food! Give me food!!"

Step Two: Busily start assembling the casserole. While you have some down time as things cook merrily in their bubbly little pots, take a moment to read the customer reviews of the recipe.

Step Three: Resist the urge to sob. Wonder how you can improve this recipe without resorting to your old standby, which is, sadly, "throw some mushroom soup on it."

Step Four: Start randomly adding things. Now for some people, like ccap and darien and possibly even other people I haven't mentionned, don't get all hurt if you're not mentionned, Randomly Adding Things is a good approach, because they have some rudimentary clue what foods belong in a casserole dish together. I do not possess this skill. However, the family must eat tonight.

Step Four addendum: accidentally step on the dog, whose thoughts are roughly "Food! food food foodfoodfoodfoo - ouch! Food!"

Step Five: decide what this dish needs, in addition to half a cup of lemon pepper***, is some of the eggplant you bought on Saturday.

Step Six: cut the eggplant in small pieces.

Step Seven: taste the eggplant.

Step Eight: Again with the sobbing.

Step Nine: Boil the eggplant until it's all but disappeared, mash it and add it to the lemon pepper/tuna/mashed potato/baby corn/milk/eggs/french fried onion/how many different kinds of cheese do we have? debacle on the counter.

Step Ten: Comfort yourself by writing a long self-depracating, self-serving blog post about it, and pray they eat it.

Step Eleven: don't post your blog post until after TechnoBoy has been a good sport about it.

Step Twelve: The good-sporting has happened, one child loved it, one child ate it without making any faces. I hated it. Not because all those things tasted horrible together but because even all that crap chucked in together was still BLAND.

*you know if I'm mentionning that I'm a POET who writes POETRY that many times in that few words, I'm comforting myself. The real title is Well At Least I'm Good At Poetry. But that would be blowing my own horn, and Baptists don't ever ever ever admit to horns.**
**or being horny, but that's a different post.

*** I jest. Even I am not that bad.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not much, how 'bout you?

Oh the weather outside is frightful ...rainy and cold and SEVEN DEGREES CELSIUS on a warm day, for the last 4 days. We usually have horrible Augusts and great Septembers, but not this year.

I still take the puppy for walks, though. She gambols happily in front of me while I stride purposefully around the lake (okay, stumble around trying to walk without using my bad knee) and I feel all healthy and braced and like I'm Making Positive Changes and then I notice that the puppy isn't so much gamboling as she is trying to climb my leg so she can hide under my jacket. When I pick her up she looks at me and says* "Outside used to be nice, but this SUCKS. I can pee in our nice warm house anytime I want, so TAKE ME HOME." And then because she's very bright and can anticipate my every word, she adds "And I will poop again in the SPRING."

*Well not in so many words, but cockers have very expressive eyes. Very. It's almost spooky, how expressive they are.**

**No, I'm not familiar with the term "anthropomorphisation" - why do you ask?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hello, yeah, it's been a while

So last Thursday I had this great post in my head about My Day Off and I was just going to list everything I did and then say "Tomorrow I'm going to work to RELAX" and I didn't even get time to post that, and then Friday, which was supposed to be a lovely uncomplicated work day, started with the dog puking on my bed and then the whole thing seemed to be pointless.

And since then I haven't had two minutes to rub together.

However, I must tell you about the Pulled Chicken Sandwich recipe! I tried two new recipes in one night and the family liked BOTH of them and the pulled chicken one was so easy I *almost* feel bad about how good it was. Now when I say "easy" I don't mean easy the way my friend darien means easy, or indeed, what anyone who actually cooks means by easy. Here's a hint - if there's more than three steps, it probably exhausts me just to read the recipe, and all that does is make it even HARDER to come up with a good supper that night, because I have to recover from reading the recipe. This recipe has twice as many ingredients as I can normally handle, but since my family wouldn't eat fried onions or chile peppers, and the pickle slices were optional, it was just barely acceptable. And yet! it was so easy in the end I was almost embarrassed to serve it. (Only almost)

So here's the recipe.

1 purchased roasted chicken (YAY! already roasted!)
1 med onion, cut into 1/4" slices
1 T olive oil (look - low fat!)
1/3 c cider vinegar or white wine vinegar (ie don't be scared, gentle Accidental Poet. You can use whatever vinegar you have. Take a deep breath and move on)
1/2 c tomato sauce
3 to 4 T seeded and finely chopped fresh red and/or green chile pepper (almost had to take a rest after reading that line and then I remembered no-one in this house would eat chile pepper - phew!)
2 T snipped fresh thyme (ha ha recipe writers. As if)
2 T molasses (back to familiar territory)
2 T water (oh, I can SO do that!)
1/2 tsp salt
4 Portugese kaiser rolls (I didn't ask their nationality)
pickle slices (optional)

Step One: Pull the meat from the chicken, discarding skin and bones. Using two forks, or your fingers, pull the meat into shreds. (way hay! rip stuff to shreds! My kind of recipe!)
Step Two: In large skillet, cook onion in hot oil over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally to separate into rings. Add vinegar. Cook for 1 minute more. (okay no-one's going to eat onions - get the frying pan, put the vinegar on it, move along)
Step Three: Stir in tomato sauce, chile pepper, thyme, molasses, water, and salt. Bring to boiling. Stir in chicken, heat through. Serve on kaiser rolls with pickle slices.

So I made it and TechnoBoy wasn't home so it sat in the frying pan on low for half an hour and was even tastier when he got here.

Go try it!! You'll love it!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Just tryin' it on

When I was 7 or 8 years old, my brother and I went to stay with the family across the street for a few days, for reasons which escape me now. The only child in that household was a teenaged girl. One day her mother asked her to clear the table, and (let's call her) Karen sighed and rolled her eyes and took another long slooooooow drink of water. Her mother repeated the request. Karen turned and snarled "Give me time, girl, give me time!"

Well didn't I love the sound of that. Short and punchy - wow. I couldn't wait to use it. My parents came home. My mother asked me to do something. I opened my seven year old mouth and said "Give me time, girl!"

My next coherent thought was "Karen didn't get HER face slapped!"


That story came to mind this week for some reason. Perhaps it was when I asked one of the children to do something, and got no response, and repeated the request, only to have the child respond "I'm coming, don't break a sweat."

I'm happy to report there was no slapping in this household, either, but there was definitely "feedback".