Saturday, December 25, 2010


Holidays are here
a bittersweet time this year
our last together.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Recipe for the B.E.S.T. Salad

This is from memory and amounts are approximate. I rarely measure when cooking. Baking is a different story. Anyway, go with your gut (literally) and use more or less depending on your preferences. Add something else, switch something out, make it your own. Cooking, like life, is an ongoing experiment...

B. E. S. T. Salad (Bacon or Beer or Both Essential Spicy Taters)

This makes a huge serving bowl full, enough for 16-20 people. Modify to suit the size of your crowd.

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-4 Tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Dried Minced Onion (or use a few onions coarsely chopped and cook with either green beans or potatoes)
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 Cup Salt
5 lbs Potatoes, washed, peeled, cut into 1" cubes
2 lbs Green Beans, washed and trimmed
1 lb Bacon
1/2 Cup Oil and Vinegar Salad dressing (whatever you prefer)
Additional Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil and spices
3. Spoon half of the oil and spice mix into a second large mixing bowl
4. Add the green beans to one bowl and the potatoes to the other
5. Using large baking sheets with sides (jelly roll pan) spread the potatoes and green beans in even layers and bake each for 40 min to an hour, scraping off the bottom of the baking pan and turning every 20 minutes until tender.
6. Allow to cool in pans
7. While veggies are cooling, cook bacon until crisp 
8. Crumble bacon and toss the bacon, potatoes, green beans and salad dressing together in a large serving bowl.
9. Salt to taste.

You might want to have a beer or other cold beverage handy when you start nibbling on packs a KICK!


Taking Flight

I used to be shy
You offered me safe haven
Underneath your wing
I settled in there
Under your wing protected
Watching you take flight
You encouraged me
To stretch my own wings and try
Under watchful gaze
Cautiously I tried
I flew out into the world
Brave for an instant

Each time I ventured
Pushing a little higher
You were there for me
I am conquering
My fear of the great big world
One flight at a time
I am strong enough
To not need your protection
All of the time now
I am smart enough
To know you will be there if
I need you again

I am growing strong
But still occasionally
Need encouragement
I seek your council
My mentor, my friend, my love
From under your wing
Each little setback
A moment for reflection
Then I soar again
You taught me to fly
I am forever grateful
You are in my life

Friday, December 10, 2010

Knitting Pattern for Cat or Baby Toy

Here's a pattern for a ball shape. Great for cats (with the catnip in the middle) and babies (probably better without the catnip in those circumstances)

To make a larger ball just do an extra round or two of increases, an extra couple of rows in the middle, and the corresponding extra rows of decreases.

Materials needed:

Lamb's Pride worsted weight yarn
85% wool, 15% mohair

Size 13 circular needle

Tapestry needle

Polyfill stuffing


Holding 2 strands together throughout, Co 3 stitches

Push to other end of needles

*Kfb* (6) knit in the round from here on

*Kfb* (12)

*Kfb, K1* (18)

Knit 1 row

*Kfb, k2* (24)

Knit 1 row

*Kfb, k3* (30)

Knit 3 rows

*K2tog, k3* (24)

Knit 1 row

*K2tog, K2* (18)

*K2tog, k1* (12)

Stuff with polyfill half way, make a little depression in the middle of the polyfill and put a tablespoon of dried catnip in the space. Cover with more polyfill.

K2tog (6)

Top off the stuffing.

K2tog (3)

Pull tail through the remaining 3 stitches. .

Tighten the ends and close any gaps with the tails then pull the tails to the center.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Boss

I used to work in a large warehouse until Corporate America in it's infinite wisdom closed the doors on the facility. The last five years of my existence there were spent in the receiving department.
Receiving was done at night from midnight to nine. The available appointment slots were from one to six and for the size of the warehouse, our docks were pretty small. This meant that any truck driver worth his salt would be waiting on my doorstep when I arrive at work at 23:30, hat in hand.

As the receiving clerk I ran the show. I assigned the doors to the drivers when they arrived. Some were much easier to hit then others. Some offered more room to work on the dock. Some just sucked anyway you looked at them.

When I arrived at my office the drivers would start lining up in the hopes that I would assign doors early so that they could get themselves and their rig situated and have time to either off-load early and make good time to their next stop or grab a quick nap. During the check-in process occasionally drivers would try to get the door they were assigned changed. We would discuss it. I would explain why they were assigned the door they were assigned, they would explain how inept they were as a professional driver in the hope that I would pity them. Sometimes I couldn't change my mind without screwing up everything for everyone and they were shit-outta-luck. But other times I had plenty of room to be nice.

They must have been able to see it on my face either way. When I was stuck between the proverbial rock and retaining wall they hung their heads and went about the business of dealing with it. But somehow they always seemed to know when I was able to let them have their way, if I so chose. They whined, begged, flattered, exaggerated, and outright lied--anything to get their way. We could waste half an hour in this silly dance when what it came down to was they were professional drivers who for the most part could get their trucks into any of our doors with minimal difficulty. They were just bored and needing attention.

Enter the Magic 8-Ball. One of my best friends (a long-haul driver whom I met at that job) thought this up and was shocked and delighted when I was silly enough to not just laugh at the possibility but put it into practice.

If you have ever worked in Corporate America you know the truth of these next words. As an employee at the bottom end of the decision chain any time you need a supervisor or manager to make a decision for you (not because you aren't smart enough to figure it out for yourself but because you're not ALLOWED to think for yourself) you might as well use a Magic 8-Ball. The end result is the same. And the logic is often better with the plastic toy anyway.

So, my buddy and I hatched this plan and waited for the first opportunity to use it. The next night when a driver started whining about getting a new door (and I had flexibility to grant or deny his whiny-ass pleading) I simply said, "well, I don't know. Let's ask the Boss." and picked up the black plastic orb that was perched on the end of the shelf above my monitor. A hush fell over the drivers qued up through my office. A couple started giggling. I looked the driver in the eyes as I shook the ball while saying out loud, "Magic 8-Ball, can this driver have a different door?"

I looked down at the toy, turned it over, and read aloud the response floating in the little window, "Not now". The driver hung his head, his whole body seemed to sag a bit, and he dejectedly left the office. A few drivers later another man, who was a regular and could easily park in any door, grinned at me as he started whining about his assignment too. I grinned back as I reached for the "Boss" again. This time it replied, "Ask again".

So I shook it again asking loudly, "Magic 8-Ball can this sorry-assed excuse of a driver PLEASE have a different door?" I turned it over and read aloud, "YES". They cheered. The smile on his face lit up the room and he bounced out of the office.

I didn't use it often but it sat above my monitor and every once in a while I would take it down. Just the act of taking it off the shelf lightened the mood in the office. But the best part was that regardless of the answer it gave, no one ever argued with the "Boss".

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Tendrils of Time

The tendrils of time
Wrap themselves
Around us
Through the ages

Of places
And faces
Flood our consciousness

But they are blurred
Impossible to know
Who they are

Until I hear your voice
And my soul leaps
Recognising you
Knowing us

I have known you before
Loved you completely
Our lives are twined together
For eternity

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Write a Poem For Me

Write a poem for me
About my wicked ways and
How I tease you so.

A Truthful Thanksgiving

Soon we will sit down
'round a table, with family and or friends,
Laden with favorite foods
Bow our heads in thought or prayer
And say what we are thankful for

We will mention health
Or caring physicians
When we
Or someone we love
Is lacking in this regard

We will mention family
But what we'll
Really mean
Is the ones we can stand
Or that don't drive us nuts

We will mention jobs
Because we're thankful
For the money they put in our pocket
Not for the idiots and assholes
Who also work there

If, when we sit down
We are truly honest with ourselves
Some people might be shocked
To know what we are
Really thankful for

Face it
We're thankful we made it
Through another year
Without killing some asshole
Who truly is deserving

We are thankful
for mindless distractions
Like video games, books, and movies
That let us escape from hell
For just a short while

We are thankful for the alcohol
Or the drugs
Or the sex
That deadens the pain
Or makes life tolerable

I, personally, am thankful
That my husband and I
Are finding a way to work through divorce
As gently as possible
For us and our children

I am thankful for the friends
Who love and support me
Who challenge me to be
Everything that I can
Even when I don't know what or who that is

I am thankful for my children
Who amaze me every day
With their unique brilliance
The wonderful people they are now
And the people they are becoming

I am thankful for the words
That flow from somewhere inside
Helping me make sense of my world
And from friends near and far
Sharing themselves with us

I am thankful for art
Colors, objects, and images
Made, found, observed
Keeping the darkness at bay
Lighting my world, my soul

Mostly I am thankful
For those I love
Who for some reason
Unfathomable to me
Chose to love me in return

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Don't Need Words

I don't need words
To know the truth
Of how you feel
In your heart
I can see it in your eyes.

I am Learning

I am learning
to trust
and believe
in myself
the way you do.

When Souls Bubble Up

When souls bubble up

and dance about in the world

it's called a giggle.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Loneliness Eviscerates

The pain cuts
but I don't bleed
it burns so
but I show no scars
loneliness eviscerates.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Dreams

How can you
expect your dreams
to come true
if you won't let yourself
have any

To Know Another

How can you know me
without ever hearing me
over your own words?

To know another
you have to listen to them
with a quiet mind.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Moon has Risen

The moon has risen
pregnant in the cold, cold sky
delivering us.

The warmth of the earth
blanketed by the snow fall
waits to bloom again.


Jealousy is fear
that someone will take away
what you thought you had

A Tree Full of Butterflies

The brisk Autumn winds
rustle the leaves taking death
leaving the dying.

Sunlight filtered gold
a tree full of butterflies
fluttering nowhere.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gettysburg Battlefield in Autumn: Part 7-Misc

Part 1 "Fog" is here.
Part 2 "Nature" is here.
Part 3 "Roads & Paths and Self Portraits" is here.
Part 4 "Monuments and Graphic Design" is here.
Part 5 "The Power of the Monuments" is here.
Part 6 "Fences" is here.

Well, I think I've dragged this out as much as humanly possible. These are some miscellaneous images that really didn't fit into any of the previous themes as well as the best images from my trusty little Blackberry. I realize from doing these posts that I need to further work on my editing skills...

I Don't Write Poems

I don't write poems
I gently hold a thought
and wait for the words to come
and the poem
to write me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gettysburg Battlefield in Autumn: Part 6-Fences

Part 1 "Fog" is here.
Part 2 "Nature" is here.
Part 3 "Roads & Paths and Self Portraits" is here.
Part 4 "Monuments and Graphic Design" is here.
Part 5 "The Power of the Monuments" is here.

This is the last of the themed posts. After this, all that is left is the best of the photos taken with my trusty blackberry and some miscellaneous images. I don't usually have many themes in mind when I set out to create images. This shoot was a little different in that I intended to try to capture the fog. Beyond that, I simply look for things that catch my eye. I enjoy looking back through the images and seeing what I didn't necessarily see at the time, themes that I might have been working on unawares. 

Most of the Gettysburg Battlefield is a patchwork of fences. The notable exception would be Little Roundtop. Otherwise, this land was family farms. Many of the fences were simply to mark boundaries between one farm and the next. Some, to keep livestock from wandering. Those, would primarily be the straight picket fences. Some of the stone walls were created when farmers cleared the land, piling the stones turned over by the plows along the edges of the fields. Some of the stone walls and the zig-zagging sharp picket fences were hastily built by the armies to use as cover.  All of them, wood and stone alike, give the landscape a geometry. Individually, they have the ability to create a frame for the somber beauty and draw your eye in to the scene. I wonder as I look at them, touch them, steady myself on them, and photograph them, Did a soldier steady his weapon on the same plank that I now use to steady my camera? How many men died where I stand today? 

I find them to be simple, yet elegant; functional and beautiful at the same time.  Like the trees and the rocks that have been here since before the battle began, they were witnesses. If only they could talk...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gettysburg Battlefield in Autumn: Part 5-The Power of the Monuments

Part 1 "Fog" is here.
Part 2 "Nature" is here.
Part 3 "Roads & Paths" and "Self Portraits" is here.
Part 4 "Monuments & Graphic Design" is here.

I've waited to do this post till now because it was by far the hardest to edit. I've looked at these images every day since I took them, letting them sink into my subconscious in the hopes that choosing the ones that have the highest impact would be easier.  It helped a little.  Without further stalling...

Gettysburg Battlefield in Autumn: Part 4-Design Elements of the Monuments

Part 1 "Fog" is here
Part 2 "Nature" is here
Part 3 "Self Portraits & Roads and Paths" is here

Today starts the two-part post on the monuments themselves. Today will be more about the graphic design qualities of some of the monuments at Gettysburg and or my resulting photographs. Tomorrow will be more about what the monuments represent.