Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Nov 27, 2008

Ginger Applesauce

We've been invited for Thanksgiving dinner by Martha-owner of my LYS, RiverWools. I will be bringing Ginger Applesauce:

Here's the recipe I use - wish I could remember where I got it, so I can give proper credit.
Love the scribbles...they are probably Patrick's, but could be Molly's.

I deviate from the recipe in that I use at least 3-4 different kinds of apples, and sometimes I add ground cloves. Raisins or apricots. And I like to have the apples be chunky and not mooshy. And today I have no lemon zest. This is great to use like chutney - a condiment dish. I love it with a savory lentil soup. I haven't cooked or had a pork chop since I lived in Miami (that would be pre-1991....), but I remember ginger apples being really great with pork chops....

Happiness and grateful thoughts to all!


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Nov 25, 2008

2nd Poetry Reading Last Thursday

I think a good time was had by all. And Coffee Grounds was standing room only. Again.
We had Rebecca Eggleston reading for our feature presentation, then 14 people for the open mic.
Once again, Sarah Long and I were giddy with delight at the turnout, at the range of poetry and poets.
So it looks like Poetry at the Grounds / Third Thursday is a go.
Next one: December 18.
Be there - in body or spirit!

I'm going to play catch-up here in the next few days. I have needed some regrouping time since the Loss/Arts workshop. I'm not at all regrouped yet, but suspect having some imposed structure on my life (some regularity, like blogging, taking my vitamins, etc.) might allow some internal centering.

Truthfully, I'm struggling with grief issues in a mighty way. I need to take some of the advice I offer to others and tend to my own grief for awhile - it kind of got neglected and now it's wanting attention. As it should.


Nov 7, 2008

Loss / Arts Workshop

Haven't written about this much here, which is a bit weird, since planning for this began back in July, and somehow I wound up being co-chair of the planning. I'll be leading a writing workshop and making an opening presentation, too.

This is the second such workshop we've done and it's part of the work I do with the Maple Center in honor of my son, Patrick. The first year we focused on dealing with grief after the death of loved ones, but this year we wanted to broaden that to loss in general, to reach others that can benefit from learning ways to use art and creativity to cope with loss. I was especially thinking of all those who lost so much in the floods here back in June, and now there are also people dealing with loss due to the economic situation.

I still have a lot of things to finish up today. I plan to take some time, though, to sit a moment with my own losses and look for some things I need for myself tomorrow. I feel like lately I've been rushing through the days and perhaps not tending my grief as I should.

'Tending my grief'- I've used that phrase in recent months and I think it really conveys some things I've come to know about loss and grief. Mine anyway - I've also learned enough to know that everyone's grief is different. It's not that I want to make a showplace garden of my grief, but it's a like a little secret garden that must be cared for, tended. If not, it can grow wild and tangled and scary....


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Nov 5, 2008

yes, yes, YES, WE COULD!

11.05.2008 - the papers at my door this morning

Here's what I wrote to some friends earlier today:

For the first time in a long time I feel good about an election.
I'm going to enjoy that for awhile.

I'm so tired of hearing the divisive - them/us - crap from the national stage. Obama's messages about unity and community are honey to my heart. I'm going to enjoy that for awhile.

Did you notice the crowd booing mention of Obama and later, Biden, at McCain's (gracious and painful) concession speech. Did you notice the Obama crowd applauding and cheering when Obama gave McCain words of respect?


And Indiana! Whoo hooo - Indiana blue for the first time since 1964!
When Republican Sen. Dick Lugar, who is BELOVED here, and respected, even by Democrats, did not campaign or even say a word -that I know of- in support of McCain/Palin -- I had a good feeling about Indiana.

It thrilled me to no end to turn down my street and see seven Obama yard signs and no McCains.

My son and dozens of others (all ages, colors) worked SO hard here in little Vigo County, ever since the primaries. It was thrilling to me to see that commitment, that shared purpose, that community.

Yesterday, I took food to the Obama workers - they had to move to a bigger location than the campaign headquarters because so many people were working even on election day. When I got there in late morning, there were at least 30 people. And all were busy, busy, busy.

If Obama can continue to inspire that kind of energy and commitment for progressive actions, there truly is hope.

I spent part of Election Evening at ArtReach Lit Night with a group of funny and creative young people. There was some reading of poetry, some storytelling, some improvisational play.

I'm making sure to mark my calendar for the next one!
(And maybe take better pictures...these were the best of about 10 I took. Maybe I need to photograph the young'uns using the "Sport/Subject in motion" mode!)


Nov 2, 2008

Principles of Knitting

I promised the story of my recent acquisition of June Hemmons Hiatt's Principles of Knitting. I am sure some question why I just spent about $140 to get this book when there are all sorts of posts out there that say it will be reprinted in a revised edition in the fall of 2009.

The answer resides with the little girl with the owl in the picture in my last post and all sorts of memories - having nothing to do with knitting - with which the book connects me.

My mom originally bought me the book in 1989 or so. We were at a monthly poetry reading that we often attended together back in Coral Gables, Florida. The reading was held at Books & Books, a wonderful independent bookstore in which I spent a lot of time (and money.)

(Wow- I left Florida in 1991 and it seems that B&B has been fruitful and multiplied. I remember the original Aragon Avenue location, which at first was one tiny corner shop room. At the time of the readings, the store had grown considerably, expanding into neighboring shops, and had several rooms. Now, it seems they have several locations on Miami Beach and even one in the Cayman Islands. I feel like that old aunt who's always saying, "My goodness, you've grown - why, you were just knee-high to a grasshopper when I last saw you...")

Mom and I would go to those readings each month, often with her friend Virginia Ormsby. Virginia wrote poetry and sometimes sent cute handmade cards with little watercolor sketches. I didn't know until the mid-90s that she had written and illustrated numerous children's books in the 60s. Here is a link to one that someone has in a Flickr photo set of vintage children's books. I have occasionally seen her son Eric's poems in The New Yorker.

I loved going to read at those readings with these older women. I had four children at home, two of them under four, one in middle school and another in high school. Getting to go to those readings and be in the world of words and performance....ahhh, it was bliss.

Yet there was something not so blissful - a sort of clique among some of the regulars and, as I look back, an ageism that put my mother and Virginia into that space that older women often find themselves. A space where they are invisible, and not taken seriously. My mother felt it - she remarked once that they were never included in invitations for post-reading socialization. She said they were usually ignored on the nights that I was not with them.

I have to admit that I was not as appreciative of their poetry as I could have been. I never dismissed my mother's work, but it was, in style and subject, not poetry that truly resonated with me. 'Hearts and flowers,' I used to label it.

Between the two of them, George-Anna and Virginia had an enormous amount of writing and publishing experience. I salvaged from that flooded storage unit, scrapbooks which contain poetry published in newspapers from the time my mother was 10 years old. ( She even, for at time at thirteen, published under a pen name, George-Anna Cary, adopting the last name from her paternal grandmother's side through which we are cousins of the 19th century poets Alice and Phoebe Cary.) In other scrapbooks are page after page of columns and articles she wrote for small newspapers. As an adult, she was published 29 times in the Christian Science Monitor. Good Housekeeping printed one of her essays and the Reader's Digest digested it. There's more, those are just some highlights.

I wish I could remember more about Virginia and her work. In my memory, she is simply Mom's friend, a small white-haired woman, with lively interest in things, an aura of kindness and quiet intelligence about her. Maybe that is enough to remember.

So. One of those literary nights, we arrived early enough to browse books before the reading. I had just taken up spinning with a spindle and my interest in knitting had been re-kindled. I remember I was looking at two books that were just out: Vogue Knitting / the ultimate knitting book and Principles of Knitting. Both were pricey in 1989: $34.95 and $29.95 respectively. I couldn't really afford either one.

Mom, frugal in her own spending for herself, was always impulsively generous when it came to others. "Take them both," she said, " I'll buy them both for you."

I demurred only an eensy bit.

To cut to the denoument of this tale, some time in the mid-90s, I felt the need to pare down my library, to have some space on the shelves and let go of books. (That little need turned into my life as a used bookseller, yet another story entirely.) Anyway, I decided that one of the books needed to go -- Vogue, which had color photographs and more stylish layout, took up less than half the shelf space as Principles. And so I sold Principles for a pittance and gained a few dollars and an extra 2 inches of shelf space and a nagging guilt. How could I sell one of the books my mother so generously gifted me with?

Knowing that she would have understood completely did not lessen the guilt. And a few years ago, when I decided I wanted to get back a copy of the book, I was stunned to see what had happened to the price in the out-of-print market. Used copies were priced at $200-400. Even on eBay for a time, most copies sold in the $200-250 range.

So. Mom died last Feb. 14. Her estate was settled while I was recovering from my appendectomy. And a couple of weeks ago, she bought Principles of Knitting for me again.

There's all kinds of reviews out there about the usefulness of Principles and why it became so sought-after when it went out of print. But my re-acquisition of it has little to do with such things. For me, it's a link to those shared poetry readings, the years I shared with Mom just after my father died, to Mom's generosity both of the spiritual and material, to sweet Virginia Ormsby....

I joyfully welcome it back into my library, even if it does come back with a remainder mark and a few lines of highlighting....


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