Friday, August 29, 2008


Not Just Any Female Will Do...

Unless I'm cheering on Obama or some other wonderful democrat, I usually stay away from politics, but today just caught me off guard. I was still in my happy place from Obama's speech when I learned about John "Don't Call Me Crazy" McCain's VP pick.

What in the world? We don't need another hater. If there are Hail Mary passes in politics, this is definitely one.

I'm looking forward to the political cartoons tomorrow. Something good like "Palin is the Alaskan word for Quayle..."

Some thoughts--

On McCain's VP pick--

An elephant in a dress is still an elephant.


What the Anagrams Say:

McCain /Palin =

In Calm Panic

I Limp Cancan

Niacin Clamp


And a little bird told me that she doesn't like polar bears--

From Wikipedia:

"In May 2008, Palin objected to the decision of Dirk Kempthorne, the Republican United States Secretary of the Interior, to list polar bears as an endangered species. She threatened a lawsuit to stop the listing amid fears that it would hurt oil and gas development in the bears' habitat off Alaska's northern and northwestern coasts. She also called the global warming theory supported by Kempthrone and most scientists "unreliable", and asserted that human activity has not caused Arctic ice to melt. She said the move to list the bears was premature and was not the appropriate management tool for their welfare at the time.[75]"

^ Associated Press, State will sue over Polar Bear Listing, Palin says. (read the full article here)


And you want to be my Latex salesman...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Postcard From Apple Brown Betty

So, I know summer is still going on, but it's officially fall here in the Northwest. I'm wearing a wool sweater and we've made both Apple Crisp AND Apple Brown Betty this week. We always serve them with French Vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

I checked my blog and last year I wasn't obsessed with ABB until the last week of September, so it's an earlier fall this year.

I'll include my 3 favorite apple BB recipes. And if you're not so great in the kitchen, try the last one, the EZ recipe that uses instant oatmeal. I swear, it's simple, fast, and yet, tastes so good.

Here are the my favorite Apple Brown Betty recipes--

From my Fannie Farmer Cookbook--

Classic Apple Brown Betty

(You won't need the lemon juice if your apples are flavorful.)

2 cups fresh dry bread crumbs
5 tbsp. melted butter
1 1⁄2 lbs. tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into
1⁄4" slices
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
Juice and grated rind of 1⁄2 lemon (optional)
Heavy cream (or ice cream)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 1 1⁄2-quart casserole or a 9" baking dish, preferably with a lid.

2. Lightly toss crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl. Spread about one-third of the crumb mixture in the baking dish.

3. Combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice and rind (if needed) in a medium bowl. Fan out half the apple mixture over crumbs. Add another layer of crumbs, a layer of the remaining apples, and a final layer of crumbs.

4. Pour in 1 cup hot water. Cover with lid or with foil, and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more. Serve with heavy cream.


Basic Apple Brown Betty

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 Tsp of cinnamon
5 tart baking apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar. Add oatmeal to make a stiff batter/dough. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Lightly butter a casserole large enough to hold the apples. Place all of the apples in the buttered casserole. Spread the topping over the apples. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake one hour.

Serve with vanilla ice cream & whipped cream.

This is one I saw on the Food Network & is super easy esp. when apples aren't in season. I'm typing this one off the top of my head... Basically, you just keep adding layers in a baking dish of filling, brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, and butter. Also, I'm guessing you can use fresh apples for this as well.

EZ Apple Brown Betty

2 12 oz. cans of Apple Pie Filling
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
4-6 instant oatmeal packets (like Apple & Cinnamon from Quaker Oats)

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

Pour one can of applie pie filling in the bottom of a baking pan. Open and spread 2-3 oatmeal packets over the apple filling. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of brown sugar over the oatmeal. Sprinkle with cinnamon Cut four pats of butter and place on top of oatmeal/cinnamon. Layer 2nd can of apple filling over the butter, oatmeal, and cinnamon. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar over apple filling. Cover with the remaining 2 or 3 oatmeal packages. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Add 4 pats of butter on top.

Cook for 40 minutes or until brown.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Postcard from September-- Book of Kells: Opening Soon

I'm finishing up my last postcards of summer with a note to let you know, I'll be back to blogging more regularly starting September 3rd.

It's been a great summer here in the wet and dry Northwest where weather had become some sort of random excitement--it's 90 degrees! it's pouring! where's the sun?! where's the shade?!--and all of our vegetables are taking their own sweet time. Even the blackberries arrived late this year, as did the tree frogs.

But my writing life begins again in September where I will be writing to you from The Poetry Barn.

I'll have more talk on poetry and the writing life as well as I'll be back to Confession Tuesday--I confess yesterday I climbed on my neighbor's roof to retrieve a styroform plane and she believes truly deep in her heart that only men should stand on rooftops and because she was 85+ years old, I just smiled and bit my lip. (There was also a long lecture involved which began "You could have fallen off the roof " and then went into various horrific scenerios including heart attacks, broken bones, death, fun stuff like that...)

Let's just say while I've done my best to stay out of trouble this summer, it doesn't always work out for me.

So anyone who still may be reading this postcard filled blog, I plan to return soon...I will see you in September...after the boys of summer have gone.

Postcard from Poetry Daily

I loved today's poem on Poetry Daily, so I thought I would share--


They've been handing out pamphlets in Leicester Square
(for 'Leicester' read 'Worcester')
ever since our latest victory
(for 'victory' read 'disaster')

and all the penguins in Worcester Square
(for 'penguins' read 'pigeons')
have, like dodos, forgotten how to fly
(for 'fly' read 'do long division')

and are flocking around the annoyed Admiral
(read 'Trafalgar' for 'Worcester')
like a mob of highly incensed cassowaries
(for 'cassowaries' read 'roosters').

Meanwhile, in the bay, the pilot boats
(for 'pilot' read 'pirate')
lull, bob and circle in the lazy tide
(for 'circle' read 'gyrate.')

And you, according to recent reports
(for 'Trafalgar' read 'Red')
may or may not have been recently seen
(for 'pamphlets' read 'bread')

in the presence of a certain shadowy figure
(for 'figure' read 'redhead')
who's been well known to hatch a few plots of her own
(and for 'presence' read 'bed')

like a dame straight out of Raymond Chandler.
(But for 'Chandler' read 'Carver').
Meanwhile, those penguins are mobbing Red Square
(but for 'Red' read 'Harvard')

and have rearranged so as to form
(for 'rearranged' read 'reappeared')
a message visible from the sky
(and for 'meanwhile,' read 'as we feared.')

And don't you think, comrade (for 'comrade' read 'friend')
(and for 'Harvard' read 'Tiananmen')
that all plots, all poems, all struggles must end?
(And for 'end'—if you would—read, 'begin again.')

Troy Jollimore

Issue 28:2

Monday, August 18, 2008

Postcard from a Song

Dar Williams singing "When I Was a Boy"


I heard this yesterday on the Mountain's Sunday Brunch. I'd forgotten about this song. With my daughter turning 8 this weekend, maybe I'm just a little more emotional, but I'm on the edge of tears as I hear it.

It's one of those times where I'm feeling much more mom than poet, much more person in the neighborhood than writer. School is approaching, summer raised the heat then turned it down, so autumn can come down its spiral staircase. And while I love fall more than any other season, I'm not sure I'm ready to see summer go, but as you know, there are no choices with seasons, with time, with things leaving.

And so I try not to look at this as what will be lost, but maybe that's what I keep hearing in Dar's song and in this culture little girls grow up way to soon, so I keep this image of my daughter flying her new Venom plane in the meadow by our house and her climbing the rope ladder into her treehouse and hope she can stay a boy just a little longer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rules, No: Guidelines for Poets

I saw this on Mary Biddinger's blog and will take a short break from my vacation to add to it.

Are there certain things that you will never do in a poem, either intentionally or unintentionally? Are there things that you won't write about? Techniques you refuse to use? Sometimes it's fun to look at your work and see what rules you follow, even if you never set them in the first place.

*****Note from me: I realize immediately as I begin these, these are guidelines written in stone rules that should be obeyed on every poem. Each poem is its own unique thing. Just as one pair of glasses doesn't fit every person's face, these rules will sometimes work for one poem and not for another. Sometimes I follow them, sometimes I don't. I see them more as advice from other poems that worked, but not anything I'd tell someone to do in every poem. Except for #8. I believe in that greatly.

1) Like Richard Hugo, I like my end words to pack a punch. I think nouns, esp. nouns with more than one meaning, offer satisfaction. Esp. nouns that continue to move the poem to another level.

2) I work with the line of the poem and try to see each of them as individual gems I can pull out. If a line is clunky, then the line will be fixed or dropped.

3) I like being able to create linebreaks that add new or a surprising meaning to the poem. For example something like:

In the hospital room, he was dying
for ice cream...

appeals to me greatly.

4) I love to use wordplay in a poem if it's allowing me to take the poem to another level and not just being clever.

5) If someone tells me there something one shouldn't write a poem about, I immediately want to write that poem.

6) I don't believe there is anything off limits in poetry or any writing, but I believe in integrity. And I dislike "shock-poetry," anything anyone has written to be edgy. Everything has been done, I just try to do what I am doing well.

7) I don't like habits. If I find I'm always doing something in my poetry (see the above list), I try to stop and do something else.

8) I always have a reason for everything in a poem--where I break the line, why I used a certain word, why it's in X number of stanzas--it's very important to me that I can tell you why I did something in a poem instead of answering, "I don't know."

9) I dislike poetry rules. And of all my rules I wrote, probably 8 is the only one that I stick too 99% of the time, the others are all guidelines, not rules. Rules tend to make artists limit themselves. If you've made a hard-and-fast rule for yourself, try to break it in your next poem. See what happens.

Postcard from Montana

I'm finally getting my Montana photos uploaded. Here's one of me and my wild horse, Sox.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Postcard from a Writing Shed

Finally, some photos!

This is my new writing shed, currently in process. This week electricity shall arrive and next week insulation and walls shall appear inside.

I have written a poem in it already (though I use that word "poem" loosely).

A good friend from Seattle came to visit me and I brought in a book of poems by our mentor Paula Jones Gardiner; the book was Believed to Cause Night. I hadn't realized that this was a "first" for my writing shed, but it was. Since Paula recently passed away in May, I was glad that that this was the book I had chosen to bring in first and read from. It brought a good energy to the space.

And I probably need to start calling it my writing studio or writing space, but for now, it's "the barn" or "the shed" and I kind of like it that way as it puts less pressure for *important* work, but just work.

Though a friend recently nicknamed it "Poetry Barn" (instead of Pottery Barn) and I thought that was pretty funny.

But no matter what the name, I have a place outside my domestic life, near the fish pond, a short commute from the living room.

(BTW, if anyone has any suggestions for what I can call the place, I'd be interested in hearing them.)

Here are the photos of the work-in-progress writing shed--

Doors open and odd stepping stones

My new old handpainted secretary's desk I found at an antique's pavilion in Seattle

From the side 2 windows and a skylight

The Loft

An old stained glass window I found and will install

Monday, August 04, 2008

Postcard from a SPAM Email

My most poetic SPAM as of late:

Save Your Love--

A dinner at kencroft, by way of farewell ere allen's the
little king said to geraint, now will we go are two: i.
postmen, carriers and marketfolk, as contained in schoolcraft's
report. Mr. S. Regards booming, thank you. The soup plates
going well? Done. Dora approved wholeheartedly. In her confused
do not then consider that they were having an he looked
important.' 'did you look at marina but as pepton was always
very nervous when he two carrie louise thinner and frailer
and yet had agreed with alacrity. Can't look after her seemed
to surprise her. Sit down a moment longer, of yellow satin
with a broad gold band upon the has got something on his
iris shivered, and lucilla smoothly. ' now, my girl, was
it you who admitted.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Postcard from a Literary Journal

While the barn was being built, I was putting on a new hat.

I will be the new editor of the 25 year old print journal, Crab Creek Review, with Annette Spaulding-Convy.

If you've never seen Crab Creek Review, it's a gorgeous perfect-bound literary journal (the last issue was 96 pages) that is published twice a year. We accept poetry (starting Sept. 1), fiction, and creative non-fiction (more on that coming soon!)

I won't be blogging too much this summer due to my belief that Northwest treehuggers need to get their Vitamin D when they can, but you can also find a few posts upcoming from me and others at our Crab Creek Review Blog:

We also have a Facebook page, if you're young and hip, which I'm not, but gawd-help-me, I'm on Facebook now (thank you Jeannine Gailey for detailed instruction on info on what a Hatching Egg is.)

And photos of the barn? Those will be coming soon (after the bbqs this week and the friends who will visit). I think I may have found a desk. So friends, we're getting close.

Hope you are all having a good decent happy active lazy awesome intelligent summer. I am barnhappy and journalhappy and gardenhappy. Still need a few more warmer days until I long for fall. Think sun with me.

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