Friday, January 30, 2009

Subway Song

Sparsely filled subway seats on a Tuesday morning.
An impromtu chorus forms and creates a simple song.
Riders barely notice the swells and solos, rippling sweetly down.

First, on my right, apart, she sings a bouyant note or two.
A descant to an inner song, smiling when I look up.
Ripples of colorful stitches slide from her needles, flowing gently down.

Further down the car, his back to me, he plays the harmonica.
A short, sweet song, reminding me of Granddad.
Soft-sounds float by as the train glides on its track, coasting smoothly down.

Sitting alone, a reread book in my lap, words fill my eyes.
A song of a stone clasped tight, heartache slipping under the surface.
Salty streams of text and tears slowly flood their banks, slipping swiftly down.

The man, the knitter, the dying woman and I, ride along.
A harmony of notes and stitches and once forgotten words.
We are all traveling quietly down, this quartet.
Traveling down, down, down.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Adding pumkin to the pantheon

Ladies and Gentlemen, last week was national Pie Week.

Yes, week.

Pie is practically religion in my family (which is a subject for another post altogether), and yet, I did not know this. How did I not know this?

I did not know this when I set out to make an apple pie for an inauguration celebration.

Nor, when I followed that with a LONG overdue pecan pie for hubby.

And when I had enough time Sunday afternoon to make the pumpkin pie I've been wanting to try since Thanksgiving, odd national food holidays were far from my thoughts. But nevertheless, by the end of National Pie Week, I had made 3 pies. I haven't cooked that many pies since our Thanksgiving open-house last year! Coincidence?

Before I go on, I should share word about pumpkin pie.

I don't like it.

Admittedly, I've been able to get a few polite bites down with a smile at this or that Thanksgiving dinner, but rarely more than that.

Then I made this beauty....

...and I am converted. Converted!

Why would I make a pumpkin pie for myself if I really don't like it, you ask? Well, you see, I was curious. I love pumpkin in other things, e.g. cookies, cakes, breads, soup, etc. So why not pie, the crowning expression of baking? When I saw an article about using fresh pumpkin in pie...I had to see if that would make all the difference.

Oh glory it has! And now to the Pantheon of Pies in my family's little collection, I will add this glorious pumpkin pie. So you can enjoy it too, here's my variation on this recipe:

Pentecostal Pumpkin Pie
(It'll make you a believer)

1 sugar pumpkin, to yield 2 cups puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup cream

1. Seed and cook pumpkin. Remove flesh. Put through a food mill to make it extra smooth, if you'd like.
2. Mix sugars, salt & spices. Add eggs and cream cheese. Mix well.
3. Add cream and pumpkin puree. Mix well, until smooth.
4. Pour into prepared, unbaked pie crust. (This will have to be the subject of yet another post.)
5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
6. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.
7. Remove, cool and serve with cinnamon whipped cream.
8. Swear your devotion.

Hmmmmmmm.....If anyone can suggest a sacred text to accompany pumpkin pie, perhaps I could take it to rehearsal. Ideas?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How ya like them apples...

Getting up early to bake apple pie for our celebration (and All-American bake off!) at the law firm....

Enjoying the beauty of black and white lines created by snow on trees and the fire escape and everything else...

Running into one of the partners making a mad dash to Trinity Church as the internet feed on the big screen at the office was failing. Joining him...

Photo by Occipita, used under CreativeCommons License

Pressing forward with the rest of the crowd in the packed entrance to Trinity Church, as it was full to capacity inside. Straining to see the swearing in, catching only glimpses of Biden but ample views of the elaborate ceiling above us...

Getting the call that it was on back in the office. Racing to SEE THIS HAPPEN!....

Photo by Scorpions and Centaurs, used under CreativeCommons License

Being inspired to remember that generations before us suffered and succeeded and that the responsibility of this nation's success falls on all of us, not just our leaders....

Hearing the rare full peal of the Trinity Church bells....

Contentedly eating pie and loving that my pie was the first to disappear in our bake off, even though I was explicitly told it couldn't compete with the divine cheesecake....

Who can compete with cheesecake?

(Pie points if you can tell what design the steam holes on the top of the pie make!)

Knowing I witnesses a remarkable, historical day in our country....


Monday, January 19, 2009

Sacred Text

I am dancing in a new work by a modern/contemporary choreographer examining foundations in our lives. The piece draws on images from an article about the collapse of Wall Arch in Arches National Park last year, sacred text and the individual spiritual journeys of our religiously diverse cast. This is my first project explicitly connecting my spiritual life and my work as a dancer. What an interesting process!

Delicate Arch, 2004

As part of this, I am creating a short section of movement based on this statement from personal writing in rehearsal:

"I stand on what I've been taught...and I stand away from it."

I've been reflecting on what this means and why is it significant to me at this point in my life. Something about examination, heritage, tradition, finding my own way, honoring the past... What else does this statement suggest?

The surrounding landscape in Arches Nat'l Park

I would love to hear your thoughts. What images or ideas does it evoke? Is there sacred text you could share from your personal reading or religious tradition that ties into those ideas? Perhaps a meditation, a scripture, an essay, a teaching, an article or something else altogether? I would love to read them all as you are such insightful, diverse bloggers! Your comments inspire me, big or small! Hope you have an inspiring day...

Mom's Dill Bread

Mom used to make this after church on Sunday afternoons. I made some yesterday and remembered lazy those afternoons lying in a patch of sun on our shag carpet, reading the funny papers, with the aroma of dill bread drifting through the house. Mmmmmm.....where are my funnies?

Mom's Dill Bread
Total Prep Time: approx. 2-2 1/2 hours (unless you get distracted blogging while it rises. Then it takes a weeeeee bit longer.)
Yield: 1 loaf

1 pkg dry yeast (2 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup cream cottage cheese
1 Tbs butter
1 egg
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs instance minced onion
1 Tbs dried dill weed
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cup flour (I use 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat)

1. Sprinkle yeast over water.
2. Heat cottage cheese to lukewarm.
3. Combine sugar, onion, dill, salt & soda.
4. Add butter to warm cottage cheese. Then add egg and yeast.
5. Combine mixtures and beat.
6. Add flour to form stiff dough.
7. Cover and let raise double.
8. Turn into 1 1/2 quart casserole dish or bread pan.
9. Let raise in warm place 30-40 minutes
10. Bake at 350 fro 40-50 minutes
11. (The best part...) While still hot, brush top crust with butter and sprinkle with salt.

I love the slightly crunchy crust on a slice smeared with butter. And it smells delish! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tagged...about a decade ago!

I felt like I got initiated to the blogging "cool crowd" when I was tagged by two different people within days of each other, oh...about 2 months ago. I know not everyone feels this way about tagging, and maybe after doing it once or twice you're done forever, but it made me happy.

In spite of said happiness, it did take me months to respond. If you want to read my response, carry on. If not, check back tomorrow for a recipe or craft or some other musings. Without further ado.....

Great 8 Tag......

8 Relatively Recent Reads (no T.V., so no fave shows)

1. The Book Thief
2. Esther's Inheritance
3. The Secret Life of Bees
4. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
5. The Road
6. The Richest Man of Babylon (and The Small Investor)
7. The Brothers K
8. First Things First

8 Things I Did Yesterday

1. Performed!!! :)
2. Slept in.
3. Folded laundry and did dishes.
4. Complained about having to do mundane things like laundry and dishes on a Saturday.
5. Visited a friend whose daughter is in the hospital.
6. Ate the soup I made Friday.
7. Prayed....more than once. (See No. 1)
8. Ate a MASSIVE bowl of dulce de leche ice cream before I went to bed.

8 Things to Look Forward To

1. Going home for Women's Conference in May!!! It is a serious female reconnecting time in my family.
2. Next steps toward becoming a mother.
3. Lunch with Jessi, a friend who returned to the city after being away for many years!
4. Finishing my quilt guild project, my Birds in Flight quilt and my nine-patch quilt.
5. Making breakfast with hubby tomorrow morning...eggs, hashbrowns, bacon...the works!
6. Chocolate chip cookies later tonight.
7. Performing again this spring in a project I am very excited about.
8. Tuesday's inauguration!!!

8 Favorite NYC Restaurants or Food Places

1. LaVain Bakery. Oh my goodness! Can you say chocolate chip COOKIE???
2. Boca Chica. Pan-Latino. Yummy black bean dip & plantain chips, pureed sweet potatoes, chicken, beans and rice.
3. Hummus Place. Well, hummus of course! But it's the pita's that sold me.
4. Grimaldi's Pizza. Still has the best pizza in the city in my book.
5. Pure Dark. Dark, and only dark chocolate. And they give samples of anything you'd like to try!
6. Flor de Mayo. Sort-of greasy spoon Peruvian/Chinese place. Go figure. Best rotisserie chicken ever!
7. Cupcake places (Batch -- salted caramel cupcake, Buttercup Bakery (east side) -- Red Velvet, Magnolia -- chocolate and vanilla)
8. Pomodoro's. Italian on the UWS.

8 Things on My Wishlist

1. More casual pants. Jeans are great, but.....
2. Deep colored, solid fabric for a heart quilt.
4. A copy of the cook book "The Bread Bible: 300 Favorite Recipes"
5. A bit more enthusiasm and discipline for my day-to-day work.
6. Beautifully knit sweaters out of luxurious yarn.
7. More time everyday for the things I love.

Don't know who's already been tagged about a billion times, hates tagging, has already done this etc., but I can't help but invite these fun folks to join. Know I was thinking of you, consider you part of the cool crowd and haven't seen a "tag" or "list" etc. on your blog recently. If you don't wanna play this game, I raise a cookie in your honor anyway.

1. J.J.
2. Turkeycookies
3. Southern Fried Homies
4. Knot Sew Crafty
5. Commonplace
6. Bumblebeans
7. mayiwrite
8. chikaustin

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Thought....

"You know, some things don't matter that much, Lily. Like the color of a house. How big is that in the over-all scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart -- now, that matters. The whole problem with people is--"

"They don't know what matters and what doesn't," I said, filling in her sentence and feeling proud of myself for doing so.

"I was gonna say, The problem is they know what matters, but they don't choose it.....the hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters."

Today, what matters is making soup for hubby and me before I leave for a long day of work, class and then tonight's performance. My lovely friends, I will get to reading your blogs , sharing and working on projects, and more writing on the weekend. I'd love to hear what is most important in your day....

Hope your day is wonderful!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


These are a few moments from my day....
  • On the way home, a friend told me about the "seeing-impaired" on American Idol, and I thought she said, "singing-impaired". Isn't that what most of the season premiere is anyway?
  • I've gotten up two days in a row right when my alarm clock went off! Seems like all my mommy friends are getting in on the "sleep training" action, so why can't I?
  • Resisted buying this (and other wonderful, just discovered) Kaffe Fassett fabric, as I have no specific projects in mind for it. But isn't it lovely?
  • I am grateful to be dancing this weekend. I'm under strict orders to be 130% positive about all nervousness is being given a gentle hug and being sent to bed.
And on that note, since I want to make it three days in a row of getting up on time, I better go to bed myself. Hope you had a lovely night!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Soup Swap: Mom's Chunky Style Chili

I made this yummy chili and Dad's cornbread last night. It is one of my sister's favorite mom-made dishes. I decided to contribute the recipe to the Soup Swap over at Turkeycookies.

Mom's Chunky Style Chili

1. In a large pot, combine and soak overnight:
  • 3 cups dry beans
  • 6 cups water
2. The next day, cook beans for 1 1/2 hours, adding more water as needed to cover beans.

3. Drain beans

4. Add:
  • 1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2Tbs. Wocestershire sauce
5. Brown 2 lbs hamburger, drain and add to chili.

6. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

I vary this recipe sometimes (e.g., canned beans - 3 15 oz cans of kidney beans for 1/2 recipe made it pretty bean-y; less meat, ground turkey - cook it up first with onions, peppers and celery; and pureed tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes for a soupier recipe), but I really like it in it's original form too. You can serve it with chips, sour cream, cheese & avocado. Enjoy!

Please join the soup swap if you have a favorite soup recipe to share or click the link above to see what other recipes wonderful bloggers have contributed. I love going there for ideas! I'll be trying out a Potato Corn Chowder recipe from there later this week. Stay warm and satisfied!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Work in Progress....

It started with this sketch.

Then Grandma and I pieced the top. I modified the applique design and I did the applique. Then when I got to the strip borders, I discovered my 2 inch wide bias strips didn't behave as I anticipated. So it got stripped back to it's plain self. Then it sat for some time like this...

(This quilt really IS square...the angle's funny in the photo!)

I am thinking I want to finish it before the guild's quilt show in March, so, I'm trying to decide what to do in those borders. Can I find a way to make these bias strip ribbons work? Maybe if they were thinner? Applique stitched on both sides, rather than machine sewn down and folded over (which did NOT work)? What if they overlapped or intertwined? Does it need a little more applique? (I don't think I want to do a lot more.) Fill them with phenomenal quilting? (Do I know how to do that???) Hmmmmm....

Or maybe one curving border....

with some detail applique in some (all?) of the curves...

or something simpler....

Just exploring and thinking out loud.....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Beauty is a thing Divine

In the desire to recognize and share beauty more abundantly.....

A CRAZY ORDER by Jude Hill, featured in this post of her blog, Spirit Cloth.
(The photo is Jude's, used with her permission and under the Creative Commons License.)

Tonight there are not many words. Simply, Jude inspires me and I love this piece...the moons, the trees, the fabric with history. The reasons and explanations are still percolating. So, tonight, I'll let them percolate.

I invite you to slip into either of her blogs (Spirit Cloth and what if?) for more beauty and inspiration of your own.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Romance isn't dead...

Hubby: Ready to go to bed yet?

Me: (nursing herbal tea for my scratchy throat) Just need to finish my tea.


Me: (flirting, just a bit) Maybe if you whispered sweet nothings in my ear it would encourage me to drink my tea faster?

Hubby: (snuggling up close, whispered softly) Wanna drink your tea faster?