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Scattered – I’ve been truly scattered this last two weeks. Some of it is that Jack’s passing, and the anniversaries of other friends who have passed has me distracted (and, sister, I am distracted), but that’s just part of it. It isn’t that things aren’t happening, or that there’s been too much happening, even; I’ve just been having a tough time of organizing what it all is. Welcome to my January – I’m pretty sure that January and February are like this every year, to be completely honest.

So! Random thoughts, no particular order:

1. Chard-
Where have you been all my life? How could I have not known about you until I’m properly in my forties? Holy carp, chard! I want to eat you and eat you and eat you. I want to eat you with rice and tuna, I want to eat you in soup. I want to eat you gently wilted with garlic and olive oil. I want to chop up your delightful rainbow-colored stems and put them into my salad. Oh, chard, I adore you!

So we had soup  last night. Lentil soup with sausage, chard and garlic, to be precise (Oh, Smitten Kitchen,  I adore you!) and it called for this new vegetable. It’s not often I run into a vegetable that I haven’t tried at some point, so I was a wee bit excited in the produce aisle, I’ll admit. I set up the soup and ribboned up the chard to be ready for the last few minutes of cooking, and then while stirring said soup, decided to sample the chard and see what’s up. I called Dearest Will in to join me and my puzzled expression. He took a taste and promptly brought his own puzzled expression to the party. We couldn’t figure this stuff out – there are flavors of bok choy, beets, and citrus in there, alongside a slight astringency reminiscent of spinach, and a delightful crunch. Love. I went back for seconds on the soup because the soup was delicious, and the chard made that happen. So, um, chard may be my new favorite vegetable.

2. Meditation-
I’m trying.* Clearly, I am a slow learner. At least I’ve set up a nice space to focus.**

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(x-posted from the Poets’ Asylum page)

I have so many really good memories of Jack McCarthy. Being on a slam team with him, working through endless practices, and never being able to bear hearing him read Careful What You Ask For because it broke my heart over and over again. Or at the my kitchen table, where he had cut a poem into pieces, and was rearranging the lines to make it read better. Or holding my then two-year-old son on his knee and telling him, “Trot trot to Boston, trot trot to Lynne…” Or when I took him to work with me and he did a really great workshop with the teenage girls in recovery who had heard about him through his poem Drunks.

But I will always remember Jack best sock-footed, on stage at the Cantab. We will all miss him dearly.

His daughter, Kathleen, wrote this morning in Facebook:

Dear Friends,
My father passed away peacefully early this morning, his beloved Carol by his side. It’s fitting that he’s written the words that today bring me the most comfort. May they bring you comfort as well.
Love, Kathleen

It hurts
when love dies.
When love is deep,
it hurts deeply—
more deeply maybe than you thought
anything would ever hurt

But with time,
the spaces between the moments when it hurts
get longer,
the moments themselves become
less devastating,
till eventually you come to associate them
with a sad sweetness
that has as much in common
with love
as it does with grief.

I wish you long
spaces in between,
and may you carry into them
all of that sweetness,
and only enough sadness to attest
the risk that’s being taken
by everyone who loves you.

from “The Spaces Between” by Jack McCarthy

…but it just does not ever get old. From Animals Talking In All Caps:

(Source: animalstalkinginallcaps)

That is all.

So I always have in the back of my mind the idea that I could get a little more virtuous with my eating – reduce my carbon footprint, eat less animals, grow more of my own (organic, non-gmo) food. On an intellectual level, I really crave that care and consideration of basic living.* On a very animal level, I also crave meat pretty regularly. I know, right? One of these things is not like the other.

I was a vegetarian for years and years – the tail of high school, all through college, and a little after that too. Some friends posited that this was because I was a dreadful cook at the time, and a salad is pretty hard to fuck up. They may or may not have been right, to be honest. Eventually I did learn to cook, tho’, and I like to think I’m a pretty good cook these days. In my forays into learning how to cook, I’ve tried a variety of dishes, some of them even with no leaning on meat.

A few years ago I decided that I was going to take the plunge and go vegan. I did a poor job of researching things, in honesty, and found myself in a carb coma that lasted something like the two-week duration of the experiment, before snarfling a can of tuna in a fashion not wholly divorced from Fantastic Mr. Fox** at the breakfast table

Anyway. As I recently mentioned to a friend who is wholly vegan, I’m not sure that I want to embrace eating vegan right now, but I have the urge to at least breeze by and drop a mash note in its pocket. I aim, in the interest of emotional and physical betterness,*** to bring more veggies to the table, and less meat. So I’m trying out some recipes.

Being a samosa fiend, I’d had this recipe bookmarked on my Pinterest  for a while:  Samosa Pot Pie. Whut. I’ll have you know, it was outrageous – Will Dearest and I kept looking at each other like, I cannot believe how satisfying this is.† The phrase was even uttered out loud a few times, to be honest. Here’s the skinny: I took the original recipe and played with it a bitty bit. So let me share with you.

Samosa Pot Piefeeds 4 with leftovers

2 pie shells (one for top)
2 8-oz boxes of veggie broth
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled, chopped into 1″ cubes
3 carrots, peeled, chopped fine
1 1/2 c cauliflower pieces, broken up
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tsp. madras (yellow) curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 grinds of black pepper

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Can we talk please talk about Bunny Yoga? Omigod, I stumbled across the site last night – one of the communities put this picture up (see below) without artist attribution, and I fell to, hunting for him. The artist, it turns out, is Brian Russo, whom I previously knew pretty much nothing about, but am now crushing on a little bit artistically.

So this is not the first time that I’ve been brought to moist eyes by a cartoon – I’ll admit it has happened in the past (Mouseguard, anyone?) and unashamedly, too. But this was a different kind of moist eye. When I saw the bunnies in different asanas, I immediately and personally related. The focused expressions, the little round tummies, the little belly roll in forward bend – I immediately though, omigod, that’s me!

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January 2013