Handwritten Homage

April 20, 2015

"Drawing Hands" by M. C. Escher

“Drawing Hands” by M. C. Escher

“Inconceivable to type poems out directly — to write poems on the typewriter.  For some reason, poems demand handwritten homage.”
— Joyce Carol Oates, from The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973 – 1982

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"Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh

“Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh

Detail, The Creation of Adam by Michaelangelo

Detail, The Creation of Adam by Michaelangelo

Detail, "Girls on Boats with Books" by Jeff Weekly, at the Bainbridge Art Museum

Detail, “Girls on Boats with Books” by Jeff Weekly, at the Bainbridge Art Museum

 

Poetry Matters

April 19, 2015

“. . . when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle class, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy.  A tough life needs a tough language — and that is what poetry is.  That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place.  It’s a finding place.” —  Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Crossed tulips

Crossed tulips

I graduated in 1976 with a liberal arts degree in English literature, and pretty much all of my adult life the value of this degree has eroded.  It seemed to me that the 1980s began the rejection of all values other than money, and now our culture defines success by one’s monetary and material wealth.  Someone like me, who is not naturally inclined to math, economics, sciences, engineering or technology, but who prefers the arts, philosophy, the humanities feels like a misfit. But when I look back on my life, I know I have been saved by reading.  Books are my “finding place.”  In the words of Lynda Barry, books have given me a world to “dwell and travel in.”

From Lynda Barry's "What It Is"

From Lynda Barry’s “What It Is”

From Lynda Barry's "What it Is"

From Lynda Barry’s “What it Is”

Poetry matters.  Literature matters.  Art matters.  Beauty matters.  They are priceless.

Crows, Black as Coal

April 18, 2015

“They must have been swimming in midnights of coal mines somewhere.”
— Carl Sandburg

Two crows, Vancouver, B.C.

Two crows, Vancouver, B.C.

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Detail, crow feathers

Detail, crow feathers

Ink sketches of crows decorate envelopes

Ink sketches of crows decorate envelopes

Crow sculptures, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Crow sculptures, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Crow sculpture, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Crow sculpture, Benson Sculpture Park, Loveland, CO

Ink and watercolor sketch of crow

Ink and watercolor sketch of crow

 

Iris bud

Iris bud

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
— Anais Nin

Iris bud

Iris bud

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Black-Eyed Pea Salad

April 16, 2015

Soaking black-eyed peas overnight

Soaking black-eyed peas overnight

My sister-in-law gave me this recipe for Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad.  I had never before cooked with tomatillos, and I rarely buy jalapenos, so my trip to the grocery store was more adventurous than normal as I hunted down the necessary ingredients.  It was worth it, though.  The salad is very good, and I will make it again.

Draining the black-eyed peas, getting ready to cook them

Draining the black-eyed peas, getting ready to cook them

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Tomatillo with outer skin off

Tomatillo with outer skin off

 

Here is the recipe:

Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad

4 c rehydrated back-eyed peas, cooked until tender, drained and rinsed (or use two 15-oz. cans of black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed)
6 tomatillos, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 – 4 jalapenos, chopped (I used just one because my family is not fond of highly spiced food)
1/2 onion, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
large handful of cherry tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 c cilantro leaves, chopped
black pepper to taste
powdered cumin to taste
dash tamari sauce (I skipped this)
juice of one fresh lime

Combine all ingredients, preferably a day ahead of time to allow the marinade to work.

I roasted some of the ingredients before tossing.

I roasted some of the ingredients before tossing.

Before tossing, I roasted, with a drizzle of olive oil, 2/3 of the green pepper, 4 of the tomatillos, the onion, the garlic, and half of the tomatoes. I was worried I would not like the taste of so much raw tomatillo, and the roasting worked very well.

Enjoy!

Black-eyed pea salad

Black-eyed pea salad

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Trappings of Life Lived

April 10, 2015

Still life with binoculars

Still life with binoculars

“These remnants, the flowers and pinecones and photographs and binoculars and dog-eared field guides, were the trappings of life lived as though nature were both wings and nest.  Touchstones to places where wounds got tended.”
— Gary Ferguson, The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness

 

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