Thursday, November 26, 2009

Olena Kalytiak Davis Poem Quote

"Today, I was blind sided. Neither pain, nor its powdered absence. Like most days. I became the kitchen sill. I'm simply saying what I always say: what is lace-winged cannot be strong."

~From Olena Kalytiak Davis's Poem: 'A Few Words For the Visitor in the Parlor' from her amazing book, "And Her Soul Out of Nothing"

I respectfully ask that you not copy my dragonfly photos that I share here. Any others I don't mind sharing, but these are my heart and soul and I'd rather you not copy them. Thank you for respecting my request.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Thanksgiving Giblet Gravy Story

"When making your roux for your gravy, it must be cooked s-l-o-w-l-y in an iron skillet until dark brown, the color of a pecan shell, before adding your onions, belpepper, etc. And you can't get in a damned hurry or cook it fast...." ~Mama

I'm sharing this true story I wrote several years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

By Marion

Three days before Thanksgiving, I got a phone call from my youngest daughter, Sarah, who was cooking her first holiday meal on her own for her in-laws.

“Mama, this is an emergency. Tell me how to make giblet gravy.”

“Okay, Sarah, get a pen and paper and I’ll try. You know you should have called your Grandma since she’s the one who taught me how to make it.”

“I did call her, Mom, but you know how she tends to leave out important ingredients and never measures anything. She told me to take a big spoonful of shortening and a handful of flour to make the roux for the gravy and flat out refused to even guess a standard of measurement. She said, 'Sarah, you know, the big spoon I use for stirring!'”

I laughed. “This would be SO much easier if I was there to show you. That’s the exact same way she taught me how to make it, but I’ll try to use standard measures.”

“Do you have your giblets?”

“Mom, uhhhhh, what exactly is a giblet?”

Oh, boy, I thought, this is going to be a long telephone conversation…….

“Simply put, it’s that little sack of stuff inside of your turkey.”

“I don’t have a turkey because we’re getting one already fried.”

“Then you have to get you some giblets---which, by the way, are livers, gizzards, and the neck of the bird.”

“Where do you get that?”

“At the grocery store…….Oh, Lord! Listen, do you have some chicken livers, chicken and/or chicken broth? We can do the rush version of this……only you cannot rush the roux. It has to be cooked slowly in an iron skillet for at least 30 minutes to be perfect.”

“I know. I already talked to April (her sister) about that. She told me that gravy was so hard to make like yours that she gave up and let Brian (her husband) make it.”

“I know. I’m the one who taught Brian! April thought you could make it in an aluminum or Teflon skillet in ten minutes. She couldn’t grasp the concept of stirring the roux on low in an iron skillet for a minimum of half an hour until it was pecan colored, but not burnt.”

"Okay, Mom, I have one more important question for you: Why do we put a chopped up boiled egg in the gravy?"

"I have no idea. That's the way Mama taught me how to make it and that's the way your Aunt Mace taught her how to make it and her Mama taught her."

This telephone conversation went on for about an hour and I walked Sarah through her first official skillet of giblet gravy which turned out fabulous. I thought back to my first time. The gravy was lumpy and horrible and my husband said, "It sure doesn't taste like your mother's gravy." It took me many years to get it perfected to where it tasted as good as Mama's....

A few days later, I called my Mama as I was making some cornbread dressing for a dinner at work. Now I know good and well after 35 years of cooking how to make cornbread dressing, but Mama enjoys getting the phone call and bragging to her friends how she still has to help her baby girl make the dressing. And it makes her happy....

"Mama, this is Marion. I'm making the cornbread dressing and I can't remember: Is it more eggs to make it fluffier or less eggs to make it fluffier? And exactly how much chicken broth do I put in it? What do you mean 'keep pouring it in until it's juicy'? And why the hell do we put that boiled egg in the giblet gravy, anyway?"

"Minnie (that's my nickname)," said Mama, "Aunt Mace put the egg in the gravy and my Mama taught her how to make it----and that's just the way we do it!"


I hope you all have a healthy, happy, safe Thanksgiving!



"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." ~H.U. Westermayer

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone"~G.B. Stern

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." ~Meister Eckhart

"When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them." ~Chinese Proverb

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Advice to Writers by Billy Collins

Advice To Writers
by Billy Collins

Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.

Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way.
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.

The more you clean, the more brilliant
your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks or swab in the dark forest
upper branches, nests full of eggs.

When you fiind your way back home
and stow the sponges and brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,
a clean surface in the middle of a clean world.

From a small vase, sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods.

From: "Sailing Alone Around the Room"


The photo is one of my three holey stones with holes made by water.

Blessings, Love & Peace,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

November, Welcome!

Hey, everyone. Welcome to November in Louisiana. The air is cooler today and the mosquito population is dwindling slightly, but sure to surge after all the rain we had last week. Having had a dry summer, we had no fire ant mounds in the yard. After the rain about 20 mounds appeared overnight...fleas, too. Oh, how nature wants to take our money to kill vermin!

O, the moon-lady tonight is a pure, white bride, dropping her veil which flows like mist over all it touches---until it sighs softly down upon the bejeweled dewy grass. ~Marion, moonstruck yet again......

I've been reading the Tao and some Zen writings and Anne Michaels' poetry. I'll share a few quotes today then I'm back to my couch and reading. It's been a wild week here. All of our cats got sick with diarrhea (TMI, I know) and I was seriously thinking of giving them all away. Then we found out two had tapeworms (TMI, I know) so I had to give them ALL a pill---ONE little pill. Any of you ever tried to give a cat a pill? Well, it's just like every joke you ever read about it. After losing one of those $10 pills, I crumbled them up fine and put them in some tuna for each cat. Two of them gobbled it down and two of them looked up at me like, "Do you really think I'm stupid enough to fall for this dirty trick?" So I put away their dry food and told them (I'm sure they understood, right?) in no uncertain terms that they'll eat that friggin' drugged tuna fish or DIE of starvation!!!! It's just like having hard-headed kids again, except they purr while you're fussing at them to guilt you. I seriously considered joining a monastery for a few days there.

Verse 11 of
Tao Te Ching

Thirty spokes are joined together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole that allows the wheel to function.
We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside that makes the vessel useful.
We fashion wood for a house,
but it is the emptiness inside that makes it livable.
We work with the substantial,
but the emptiness is what we use.

Verse 11 from
"The Tao of Inner Peace"

"Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.

I know Mardi Gras is a long time away, but I found this pattern online and used some of my heavy scrapbook paper to make some easy masks and then I found this synchronistic quote:

"You wear a mask and your face grows to fit it." ~George Orwell, 'Shooting An Elephant'

And this funny photo is my husband trying to teach Catfish to walk on a leash. (This cat really acts like a dog. It's uncanny. He does everything but bark!) It was a cool, quiet day and we heard one of our neighbors exclaim to her mother, "Oh my God, I think he's walking a CAT on a leash!!!" Ha! We're still laughing about it. The experiment didn't work too well. The cat ended up walking him around the yard. LOL!

And a stanza from a poem by Anne Michaels from her amazing poem, "What the Light Teaches":

"Language is how ghosts enter the world.
They twist into awkward positions
to squeeze through the black spaces.
The dead read backwards,
as in a mirror. They gather

in the white field and look up,
waiting for someone
to write their names.

Language remembers.
Out of obscurity, a word takes its place
in history. Even a word so simple
it's translatable: number. Oven.

Because all change is permanent,
we need words to raise ourselves
to new meaning: tea and dacha and river."

~From "Poems" by Anne Michaels, pages 121, 122

If you've never read this amazingly talented Canadian poet, then I highly recommend her books. This one, entitled simply "Poems" includes poetry from three of her books: "The Weight of Oranges", "Miner's Pond" and "Skin Divers". Each poem is like a gift.

Blessings, Peace, Love & Happiness,