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Archive for February, 2012

First, sort of unrelated to the rest of the post, but something that I love to watch on occasion and you may like to also. It is from Burning Man 2011, an amazing artwork about, what else, fleeting time (at least that’s what I think):

I am most grateful for the return of my energy. It’s been 6 days since I began feeling more energetic and robust. I am not so ashy and drawn, the deep wrinkles are smoothing out, I am less labile (now there’s a word one rarely sees*). I wasn’t really labile anyway, I just wanted to use the word. I was too exhausted to be labile. I’ve begun to take short walks, to do more driving of children around, to grocery shop, even to go out in the evening if need be. Wow.

*I first learned the word labile when I took a pregnancy massage seminar (32 hours in 1990 with Kate Jordan from California and it changed my life). I think no one uses the word because it sounds too much like labia, but it’s nothing like labia, except, like the word hysterical, it is often used to describe a particular emotional state generally pertaining to women. My uterus has been quite unstable of late, I suppose, but this is the price one pays to birth the world. Rather than seeing this from the side of its power, society’s response has generally been to try to clamp down and enforce more control. Control the gate to life and death and you control death, I think is the thinking…but I ramble and digress.

Yesterday, I was driving Annie to school in the outfitted Fit (as in my older mini-van does not have the right port to insert an iPod cord) and she played her iPod for us. Here’s what I heard:

The Ramones; The Beatles; Wilco; Jonathon Richman and the Modern Lovers; Tom Waits; Lucinda Williams

Not bad, I thought, though the Beatles (“Happiness is a Warm Gun”) were especially out of place in that order and the songs didn’t really flow. She’s been strongly influenced by her sister, who, in turn, has been strongly influenced by us. It made me happy. Not the influence part, but the groovy music choices part.

And now proceeds a more tedious portion of one of my more tedious posts. Suck it up, people. I’ve been unwell and I deserve your pity in the form of you have to read it anyway. It’s like your twinklysparkles’ homework assignment from here on out, but I’m a great teacher–witty, blond, sexy, wise, wholesome, brilliant; I have a good vocabulary, using big words when necessary; I draw interesting diagrams on the board with bold, colorful chalks; I have a great singing voice which I will use to emphasize dramatic points in a lesson; I will teach for Indian, Italian, Thai, or hippie food, including any meals containing beef, bacon, kale, sweet potatoes, beets, and most soups. In other words, I’m easy. But again, I digress…

I have been taking Improv classes down in Hartford, Connecticut. I started last fall and then enrolled again with a new set of classes beginning 5 weeks ago. This was the one thing I committed to doing while I was really sick. I missed my first class, but have been able to go to the rest. I was not in the best shape–gasping for air when doing a scene or jumping around in warm-up games and not being able to catch my breath sometimes.

I take my classes through Sea Tea Improv (there’s a link on the sidebar to the right under THE FUNNY, too).

So grateful for Improv. When something goes right, I love it. When something doesn’t go so well, I cringe, move on (sort of), and learn.

I have tended to love “acting” (whatever that means) in a small capacity my whole life. I find Improv less intimidating than scripted work. I am not sure why, but I don’t seem to get quite as nervous quite as frequently. I am less doubtful of my choices generally.

What else in today’s too-long post?

I was thinking about some little rituals and routines of mine and how I have the belief that they matter. For instance, I always try to open the car directly with the key in the lock rather than by using the remote un-locker (unlocker is funny, don’t you agree?). I think this has a big impact on all sorts of things.

It all reminds me of this. I remember first hearing this story long ago. I wasn’t raised in Judaism at all, in spite of my Jewish father. He would occasionally tell stories from his boyhood in Hungary and even more rarely some Jewish lore would come up. But he was older and had no interest in his religion, having left it all behind at a very young age.

The story, the one I heard, had 10 people in it, not 36, and the “chosen” are definitely unaware of who they are. It was told to me by my great poet friend, Major Ragain, back in Kent (maybe I got that wrong, but I have a clear memory and it has to do with baking my banana nut bread, too).

The thing to me is not that the story might be true, as a Talmudic scholar or an Orthodox Jew believes or debates. It is interesting because of its deeper significance. What would it mean if you or I (no girls allowed in traditional Judaism though, those fundamentalist bastards) were one of the 36 and we didn’t know it? I love that.

There are many cheesy depictions of flaming hearts on google images. They make me think of Christ and bikers and tattoos and vampires and teenagers dressed in bad goth clothing, of bad poetry and of the Devil. I chose one anyway. Hearts and vaginas, have I made that connection here before? I think so. And the heart and blood and the lungs and the breath and iron and holding on and Led Zeppelin (got a flaming heart, can’t get my fill). This one was really colorful if nothing else.

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You could listen to the studio version of this song, the one that comes on the radio occasionally, but here I share the video I love. The cool shades, the Afros, the slow build, Bill Withers’ sweaty face.

It’s Black History Month and while I’ve always thought it great bullshit that African-Americans and Women get only one month (I mean, down with the patriarchy and all), maybe it’s a start, right?

Here in the Pioneer Valley, on our local PC, mostly rock-based radio station, 93.9, WRSI, The River, they’ve got a really cool music historian from one of the 5 Colleges who comments all month on the history of Black music (he does this during Women’s History Month, too). I was inspired my him somewhat for this post, but hey, I’ve had “Use Me” in the queue for a long time. It’s such a hot song, slow, consistent, unchanging beat..and those lyrics. Smokin’.

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When I was a kid back in Farmington, Michigan, I copied this recipe from a cookbook in the school library. The book was called “Cook-In” as far as my records indicate. I have looked for that cookbook high and low my whole life and even now, with the internet, to no avail.

We moved from Michigan to Ohio when I was in the middle of 4th Grade, so that is a lot of years that I’ve made this bread because, now, as you know, I’m in the 107th Grade. God am I smart!

Here’s the recipe:

2C flour (I use half white, half whole wheat, to make it a bit more wholesome)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 C sugar (I use less–3/4 C)
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 C ripe, mashed bananas (2-3)
1/2 C crunchy peanut butter (I use more–3/4 C+)

Remove butter and eggs from fridge 1 hour before using
Grease a 9″x 5″x 4″ loaf pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, adding sugar gradually. Add egg and blend well. Add bananas and peanut butter.
Add dry ingredients to wet in 2 or 3 mixes.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake appx 45 minutes (it is such a moist bread that it will take more like an hour, my pets). Test for doneness until toothpick comes out dry from the center of loaf.

EAT WITH BUTTER, WARM, IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU! DEELICIOUS! But it is very crumbly so exhibit caution when toasting in a traditional toaster…

Note: I never make a single batch of this, but rather double or triple the recipe so I can freeze it for future munchin’ (remember I don’t care much for baking, so I like to maximize my labor if I bake at all). Makes a great breakfast bread.

Other info:

I am not a fan of a traditional banana nut bread. I don’t like an overwhelming banana flavor. I also don’t like walnuts (though they are very good for you) and walnuts are the nuts one finds in most banana breads.

The other recipe I make is from Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. The ORIGINAL edition is the one I love. Her banana nut bread recipe is CRAZY! It has everything in it but heroin–strong brewed coffee, grated orange rind, sesame seeds to line the baking pans. I also make it with half whole wheat/half white flour and you’d think an old hippie like Katzen would have that in her book, but she doesn’t. I use almonds as the nuts for that bread and I don’t add in evil overpowering nutmeg, but you could, ’cause it’s as expensive as heroin.

Molly Katzen’s recipe makes an amazing banana nut bread and does not taste overwhelmingly like bananas.

Now? GO BAKE!

I like how the banana up there is sort of reclining and showing itself off. Not really phallic, but sexy nonetheless.

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Poetry Jam–I, 2012

Holy holy.

I’ve taken a break from writing to the Poetry Jam prompts. Maybe it’s been 2 months or so. This has been conscious but also feels somewhat out of my control. I’ve been sick and noticed that all of my poetry-writing vim and vigor had dried up during the period in which I’ve needed to focus my energies on simply getting well. I also wasn’t sure how to participate without becoming overwhelmed. Everyone is so encouraging and I couldn’t keep up with commenting on other poems. I found I was pressuring myself to be more like other poets who comment so consistently and beautifully. I would read everyone’s work, but when it came to saying something on each blog, I found myself faltering.

I am struggling with my own writing, but I think the Poetry Jam can be a way to force myself to put out a poem-in-progress or even a bad poem. I need that. I get too precious and fussy instead of letting the process be process. I was really pleased with some of what came from the prompts, so it has been fruitful in that way, too.

Without much further ado, I’ll give it another go. For my own organization, I’m also starting to count the Poetry Jam posts over for 2012….

This week’s prompt, which is so great, is hot and cold. It should have been a rich one for me, but I’m just going to bite the bullet and print what I came up with. It’s a snippet, not finished, and maybe doesn’t need to go anywhere else. I’m trying so hard to let these things be and to stop fussing. Holy holy.

How Do I Move Away From the Body of Middle Age?

Hot, cold,
or warm, Luke?

At night, my feet stay cold
my toes, frozen

so I bundle myself in layers of mohair and wool,
down and cotton

I wake in another hour
to an unbearable heat from the feet
up
I can’t move away from it quickly enough

I slough the covers
peel socks, pj bottoms and nightshirt off

and pant for cooler waters
in the dry winter air

Where is my temperate zone?

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What celebrity transforms into a blond bombshell for her upcoming cover shoot and totes her new locks all over town?

What celebrity showed off her new blond hair by posing in sassy, thigh-high black leather boots and denim daisy dukes?

What celebrity debuted a new bold hair color on her Twitter account?

Have you figured it out yet?

The fashion chameleon, twinklysparkles, changes her look yet again and steps out as a blond bombshell*

*do not try this at home

In fact, I normally try this at home. I color my hair about once or twice a year and I am so conservative that no one ever even knows. I have to drop hints around the house until I finally cave and come out with it, “Look, I highlighted my hair, what do you think?” Until they say, sheepishly, “Oh, yeah, Mom, that looks great. What did you do? Is it blonder? Why don’t you really color it next time…”

So, being the brave and ever darker-haired soul that I am, I scheduled a REAL hair-coloring appointment with my hair person. An appointment for highlights, you know, subtle, somewhat blond strands that blend magically and nearly imperceptibly with my own natural color. The kind of change that might prompt a comment like, “Hey, is there something different about you twinkly? Are you over your anemia? You have such rosy cheeks today” OR “Is that a new scarf you’re wearing?”

Nothing one would call DRAMATIC or even, gasp, PLATINUM.

Now, you all know that I have not much gray hair. The anemia ordeal has certainly aged me a couple of years. I have new jowls and deep down-turning creases beside my mouth, all obtained in just a few short weeks. But I didn’t earn any new gray hairs.

The new, overly-blond “highlights” actually give me a glimpse of what I will look like once my entire head turns gray white silver.

Move over Rhianna. I don’t know who the hell you are nor would I recognize your voice if I heard one of your songs on the radio, but this over-the-hill former toe-head is ready. Ready to take down peri-menopause. Ready to face the world with my face uncovered. Ready to go out without a hat.

Hey, whoever searched for “45 ddd breast” and got to my blog? I’m not fucking getting implants just because I have blond hair. Fuck you. And you know what? There is no size 45: bra sizes are in EVEN numbers fer chrissake. And it’s usually TWO BREASTS, not one.

You know what else? I’ve been the same bra size since high school. All right, until that unfortunate incident with my second pregnancy when my little bun-in-the-oven decided to kick my ribcage wider by a couple of inches. Yeah, you try carrying an 8+ pound weight in your uterus some time Mr. “45 ddd breast.”

I’ve got nothing to lose, people. I’m not fucking around. I let my inbox reach over 500 emails. 500 EMAILS. I’m never going back folks. Don’t fuck with the twinkster.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Yeah, I got famous friends. Yeah, some of them are published authors.

Here is a link to Erin O’Brien‘s book page on amazon.com. You can pre-order it.

Okay, crap. My links aren’t working. And no, that’s not what you think, like “my lovely lady lumps links.”

YOU can do this yourself. Go to amazon.com and look up Erin O’Brien’s book, The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts, and pre-order it. I’m not sure why the link to her blog isn’t working, but if you like, go to the column over there on the right of my blog, yes, this blog, and look under BLOGROLL and click on The Erin O’Brien’s Owner’s Manual for Human Beings. Whew. (Why, Santy wordpress, why?)

You can already get it and read it in an e-version if you have a Kindle and are a fancy type of person.

Anyway, her book is called The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts and I don’t have a Kindle so I am waiting. If I lived in Ohio, I would go to the book launch. And to the reading. And if you live there, you can and should go. And get your copy signed.

Congratulations, Erin! Can’t wait! Or is that can’t hardly wait?

P.S. You know how classy Erin is? She didn’t even ask me to correct the spelling on my link to her blog over there to the right on my blogroll when I had forgotten the apostrophe after the O of O’Brien. Classy triple exclamation point

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