Friday, December 3, 2010

Tale of a Chicken...

So, I think it all went well with the chicken. I used this recipe from the Pioneer Woman and her friend, Ryan.

I didn't have any canola oil and I regretted not picking up any at the store, because of the lower smoking point of other oils. I ended up using veggie oil, and it worked with only a few trips to towel-fan the smoke detector. Libby was no fan of the beeping alarm.

So here's a before and after:

It turned out pretty great. I pulled about 5 small baggies of meat from the carcass. So I'll probably freeze two for soup, and use the other three for meals. Tonight, I'll attempt the making of stock from the leftover bits. Hopefully with equally great results.

So far my December plan has been going along very well, and my body has begun to show its happiness and gratitude. I've shed a few pounds and all-around I'm starting to feel better.

...and Libby is much enjoying the longer morning walks.
So it's good for all of us, really. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

on bugeting and healthier living...

So I've kept a record of nearly every dime I've earned and spent this year. (I don't keep track of cash - so that's just listed as occasional ATM withdrawals - but I do most of my debits with my debit card anyway). And what have I learned? I spend too much, and most of that comes down to laziness, and most of that has to do with food purchases. I spent easily twice what was necessary on food because it's just easier to swing by someplace and pick up something, whether that be a grocer, a deli, or fast food. But - I actually like to cook. I've just gotten out of the habit.

I have also gained a few unwanted pounds this year, to no surprise.

So, welcome December. December is my new year. I'm starting early. Going to get a jump on the resolution crowd waiting until January. I'm going to attempt to cook or otherwise prepare all the food I consume this month. This means no eating out, unless it's purely social - and even that, I would like to see cut back to next to nothing. It doesn't make sense, for my health and for my finances to keep spending money on food this way. Also, the portion sizes are too large and the overall health of the food I eat out is questionable at best. So - here goes. For this evening, I have purchased a whole chicken. My first whole chicken I've ever prepared. Now, I have done one turkey, so how much different can it be? But, I figure I can get at least 3-4 meals from the meat on the bird, and also make stock from the leftover bits. So, I'm kindof excited about that... because the chicken was only about $5.

I'll post tomorrow about how it goes, and maybe even do a few pictures.

And I'll try to blog about my experience through the month - about how it goes with trying not to eat out or result to quick drive-thru meals... and hopefully about other healthy choices and their happy consequences.

What I'm reading:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (audiobook)
J.K. Rowling

One Day
David Nicholls

Animal Dreams
Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, November 12, 2010


You were the notes on the page
The notes and the chords
Curly-Que’d reminders red penned in margins

Slender painted fingers mirrored on the fall of a
nine foot black baby grand,
taught me to trust the noise from my body
Could be music
pulled room-spinning resonance from my
Shy sixteen year old frame.

As nervous Doc Martens perched
on an ornate maroon Persian rug,
threads of worn denim mingled
with those from other worlds.
And unknown words in other languages teased
my tongue when you were near.

You were the light in the corner
The amber-soaked pages
and the sounds of their swift turnings.
You were all the music in the room.
All the music in the world.

You were the notes on the page
The notes and the chords
You are the light in the corner
And all the music in me.

For Deborah Dunn Rumble

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Civil Rights Pilgrimage

In the Spring of 2009, I took a class and subsequent trip to discover our Civil Rights heritage and continuing journey. I have finally collected some of my writings from that tour and share them here...


“If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.


I am in a fishbowl
wide bulbous eyes glare
but the glass separates
the glass
ostracizes glass
glass ceiling
glass wall demarking a segregated waiting room

I will never know how it feels
the sensation of
that particular brand of
of fury
passion erupting when he cried out


I looked through the glass
camera lens and
snapped a photo


The Ripple affects

It started with small hands and wide
Eyes looking
Looking for freedom for
A few grains of sand can
Change the tide
A few hands
Clap Clap Clapping out a foreign rhythm
An African beat the
Gospel percussion of a single dreamer
Battle cry of a generation
My sons and daughters cry out
For change change change

crying out like children often do
crying out like children with their
small hands balled in fists
small hands and wide eyes staring
small miracles
a revolution


Bloody Sunday

A man in a dapper black suit and bowler hat marches in front of me. He is seventy or more. I busy myself taking photographs, star-struck by dignitaries and yet here in my sight view, I also snap this frame, the outline of black bowler against so infamous a bridge and I wonder what was his story.

I don’t make a habit of talking to strangers. The very act makes my heart seize, the breath
Short. I’m not certain the source or reason for this fear. The look in his eyes. Haunting.
An opportunity missed for the connection, the immersion, I was so certain I desired.
The segregation is in me.


US-80 W

Driving, or well, riding, as the case may be, down this road from Selma to Montgomery is something of a trail of tears experience for me. I look at the two lane highway with its grassy median and try to imagine the rich soil beneath. This Black Belt – Lowndes County soil and the share-croppers who once picked cotton here, day in and day out. I stare down the road imagining the thousands of marchers making their way on a wide dirt road.
I see tent cities and determination. Conjure visions of the outstretched masses gaining to some twenty-five thousand by the time they reached Montgomery. They are singing freedom songs. In these individuals bound together is the richness of this Black Belt soil.

The kind of foundation of firmament from which good things can grow.


Archives at Ole Miss

A table littered with hatred mass-produced
mimeographed pamphlets demanding the right
God-given at times
to segregate and denigrate a people, a race

And we move closer to see their eyes
This darkness of skin pigment, other
subtle ways we separate

We move in to touch these
advertisements, an invitation to join the Klan
Slave records
N’ words
The audacity of Hate

How can this be overcome?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Calliope Sounds

What a funhouse mirror is love
Our carnival act closed on a
Two bit train to another town
You the tattooed strong man mustachioed and bald
Vulnerable flesh concealed by
Sleeves of translucent dyes
Patterned scales and tribal offerings.

What was I but your Pagliacci
Sad clown to make you smile
Our tragedy a comic affair
Now that years have swept the last of
Cotton candied sweetness
From our sudden summer spectacle.

I look for you among lion tamers
And stilt-toting tall men
You the organ grinder
With your dance monkey dance
Who will play for me
When the train moves on?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More recent poems


This one was put in a jacket
Binding cracked, chapter three now removable
As if its words, quite unnecessary
Could be dispensed of entirely
Dependent on the reader’s mood

These time-yellowed pages, a second skin
I admit much smoother than my own
She carries her own set of scars
A coffee stain on page seventy-three I could
Attribute to the dog but I’d be lying

Lines on margin notes
Small doodled stars and open
Circles perhaps she is
More pocked than I
The years I have studied her

Her form now safely shelved
This simple covering
Betrays not her condition
Both well worn
And well loved


For L., now five years mine

Recumbent Anubis
Ears piqued to grasp the breath of a dying dream
Creases of skin and hair black as the dead of night
Black as the Nile soil from which you came
Jackal Terror Guardian at the Gate

Take this heart to the scales of Ma'at and weigh it
Is there truth enough in me
Love enough in these deeds

Mercy me Anubis
As I follow you through the dark
To the tombs of my Fathers
My Kings and my priests

Scavenge this remnant to the Kingdom of Osiris
Smile on me with feral eye
Something so familiar
My companion in this world
Guide in the next


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Creating Poetry - FNAR 6394

Last night our prompt was "today, I started..."

today I started shifting
like the sky in a storm
blue to gray and green even
darkening and darkening

did you see it when the light flashed?
my face a fury, the dream and its awakening
the bliss and the afterglow
the summit and the space from which once crested the summit can be seen

today I am a changeling
both a part of you and yet my own
I am a weed, a wild thing, dandelion
weave me in bracelets and bangles, tether me as you will
but I will not be beholding


What I'm reading:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

by Seth Grahame-Smith

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry

by Edward Hirsch

Thursday, August 12, 2010

As Requested by Amo... or, how I found out I'm stronger than I ever knew

It's been a long time since I posted, cause you know... sometimes things get ROUGH. And when you're in the middle, you know nobody wants to hear the story yet. It's hard to even tell it because it's unfinished. You're in the bleak and you haven't yet learned the blessed lessons of the dark. But now, now I can see my way into the light. I'm not quite there but man, there's gonna be a brighter day (about this time next week, give or take a couple of days).

I'm moving. I know, I know... the last post was all about how I loved my neighborhood. And I still love this neighborhood. It's just the neighbors I'm not crazy about... specifically, the six-legged neighbors. About two months ago, the roaches started. I've got a mixture of German and Brown Banded cockroaches that have taken up residence in my apartment walls. No matter how many times I have tried to evict them, they still refuse to leave. I have resulted to open murder, hired professionals and in some cases, genocide-like warfare. Still they hang on.

So, I got out of my lease. I'm tucking my tail, packing my things - and only my things - and leaving. I'm heading about 3 miles North, so technically, still East Dallas. But, a better leasing company with a great reputation. I'm super excited, as you can imagine.

But I learned some things about myself in the midst of trial by roaches:
  1. I can totally survive on the one meal a day I microwave at my office. The apartment has become a food-free zone. I'm sure this will change when I have a functional kitchen again, but it's a good exercise to live on less.
  2. I have too many things. Too many things for roaches to crawl upon. So, in the process of packing, I have gotten rid of probably a third of my belongings. Thank you Goodwill and East Dallas Freecycling.
  3. ...and probably most stunningly, I've had to take a hard look at my sense of entitlement... how many times I have cried out that I don't deserve to live like this. But - why not? What makes me better or more deserving of living without calamity?
Certainly, I don't want to, nor do I feel convicted to stay in the apartment with all of its excess tenants. That's not the point. But, maybe I can take with me this bit of humility. Surely, the three or four cockroaches I kill nearly everyday are not the worst thing I could experience. It's bad. And I won't soon forget these past two months... but ultimately, this is something I can and will live through, and something that will not alter the path of my life.

and further... I get to see most wonderful friends this weekend.
I get to hug necks and take zany pictures and love on friends I haven't seen in far too long.
does anything else really matter?

Brighter days are ahead, my friends.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I live in East Dallas.

Everyday I walk down streets that take me back in time.

tree-lined lanes that look like this:

it's like something caught up out of a dream
a movie set from a place that only exists in memory

Libby and I stroll down these streets near dawn each day and it's a blessing. It's nostalgia and hot cocoa and apple pies cooling on the windowsill. It's a dream and a wish held together and these kinds of neighborhoods aren't being built anymore. It's more than the clapboard and columns, the sidewalks set in off the road. It's wholesome and it makes me feel safe. I imagine the tenants feel safe, too. safe, and proud.

I live in a two bedroom apartment in a building out on Gaston and it's nothing like these - but I get to share in all this neighborhood offers because it's mine too.

This past week there was a murder in my neighborhood.
And I guess I share in that, too.
I share in the grief and the shock and the feelings of violation.
Aghast that someone could take the life of a harmless eccentric old man.

I understand maybe a little more why some of the homes are barred, though I'll always wish it didn't have to be that way. The truth is that simply because it's east doesn't make it any less dallas. and while one block looks as whimsical as Victor between Munger and Colette, the next block's homes have suffered unholy surgery; chopped into four and five unit apartments, unkempt and showing their age. and always the homeless are among us.

but it's such a great metaphor for all of us, I think - and that's maybe why I love it here so much. Parts of all of us are like a dream of something wholesome and sweet and homemade. and parts of all of us have been violated, or have aged without care. I'm in this neighborhood. I'm in the streets and the hillsides, in both the rotting clapboard and whitewashed window boxes full of pansies. I can see that even the most abandoned of homes was at once hope for the best life imaginable, a place where home and family and a piece of the american dream was all anybody ever really wanted anyway. It's caught up in the bones of these homes - good strong homes that will continue to line East Dallas long after I am gone. They whisper to me... that the dream is still alive.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 which I am corny and talk about thankfulness and The Neverending Story

I suppose it's mostly during the rough times when I stop long enough to think about how good I've got it. Sure there have been a lot of tears and scary nights recently - but mostly it boils down to a lot of near misses and even though we've taken some hits, it seems most if not all of them will heal - given the right amount of time and treatment.

some things I'm thankful for, in no particular order (and by no means a complete list):
  • I've got GREAT parents. Okay, okay - Dr. Spock or whatever parenting expert you want to poll might have frowned upon a few of their "unorthodox" methods and no they didn't always do everything right - but they're mine and I love them and I wouldn't trade a day I get to spend with them.
  • my siblings are pretty keen, too. We don't hardly ever see each other and there are like a dozen or so years between me and them - but differences in time zones and age don't negate care. We've had more good phonecalls lately then I think we have in the last several years combined. ...and I like that. I think I'll try to be better about making regular calls to my brother and sister - 'cause I think they're pretty amazing individuals and I think maybe we're finally old enough to bridge some kind of substantial relationship.
  • This day. Today, the people I love are still with me. I have wonderful and brilliant friends. I'm relatively healthy, as are those whom I love. and as long as these things remain true, each new day is a gift I want to hold out just for a moment and admire.
It makes me think of that scene near the end of The Neverending Story:

...where the empress holds out the one remaining grain of sand, all that is left of Fantasia. Each day, each moment when all of our hopes and dreams are still alive - when the people we love are near - each moment is locked up in that glistening grain of sand and we hold it out and we build from there. If I have these things - I have all I need. I have all the world and all the vast possibilities in my open hand.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a poem

somewhere there is a poem
to inspire me
to breathe
this simple involuntary act that seems to require
so much effort
since the rains came

poem take my hand and teach me
the rhythms of getting through
the steps to cross over
a dance so holy as to rise above
take flight
take on
all the demons facing us
and fling them back to their
unearthly home

poem build in me a fire
whose embers will last
through this unyielding winter
flames to lick the sky and
laugh at its chill
enough smoke to signal some hope to those
who wait for our safe return

poem I know it's a lot to ask
but you have done it before
and I know
I know
we're gonna make it through


What I'm reading:

The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 - no regrets

I know you've got a little life in you yet
I know you've got a lot of strength left...

These years, these days that pile upon days - they're hard on all of us. hard on me.

but today is a new day and a new year and I'm trying to start something. and maybe start something by ending some things. I know I'm being cryptic, but it's my right... if you know me, I'm sure you can imagine some of the things I could end and be better for the ending.

It's probably difficult to understand how the above link can be an anthem for new beginnings, but I think it talks a lot about regrets. We all have them, regrets about relationships, about personal goals unfulfilled. I don't want them this year. This year - I want to do right by me.

...All the things we should've said that were never said
All the things we should've done that we never did
All the things that
you wanted from me
All the things that that you needed
from me
All the things I should of given but I didn't

I want to say and do what I need to this year.
In some ways, I want to take my own hand and do what I need to do
for me.

...and perhaps allow myself the freedom to let go of some things - so I can grab hold of of what I need. I'm standing on the cusp of a new year, and I've got a lot of strength left.

What I'm reading:

The Bookseller of Kabul
by Asne Seierstad