Monthly Archives: January 2012

Stone 16, twenty-fifth day


A noise. Noisy dream. Why noise? Oh.
Alarm clock. But where is the dream? It must
have gone to hide there in those branches just
now coalescing out of the night sky.
Not night sky, dawn. It’s morning. Must get back to work.

Stone 15, twenty-fourth day


I want to run. I want to run so long
and hard and fast it feels as if
my footsteps pushing backward make the world
keep spinning, run until I’m just
a pair of running legs with torso neck
and head all balanced up on top
as if my legs were jugglers showing off
how well their spinning plates can balance on
a stick. I want to run away.

Stone 14, twenty-third day

Why I Can’t Get Rid of Those Cobwebs

To be a spider, you must not give up.
You spend the night, unsleeping, drawing out
your finest patterns, stretched so taut, upheld
by threads attached securely here and here.
A lovely sight. Your best work yet. And then
A giant with no love of art, no heart,
sweeps it away. Torn threads. A jumble where
there was design and beauty. So, you start again.

186 cookbooks. In one house.

Actually, a few more, I think – I’m pretty sure I own a couple of cookbooks I couldn’t locate when I made that count.

Have I mentioned that we have too many books?

Anyhow, there are plenty of cookbooks, and they cover almost every imaginable cooking style – though I don’t think I have anything with Finnish or Australian recipes. (Gotta check Amazon for an Australian-Finnish cookbook! Must Buy Books!)

Oh, wait; someplace, someplace, I’m pretty sure I have a recipe for some special kind of rye bread from Finland.

Now that I realize how many cookbooks I own, I obviously need to do something about it. What? Weed out some of them and give them away? Well, yes, all right, but I need to do something less sensible first. It’s time for another project.

The battered book with no spine is my old, old Fannie Farmer.

Welcome to the 186 Recipe Experiment. Once or twice a week, I have to test a recipe (recipes?) that I’ve never tried before, using a different cookbook each time. And, of course, blog about it. Preferably with pictures, though not with a full recipe, since after all somebody else has a copyright on each of these books. But I’ll try to include enough detail about the cooking experience and how the dish turned out to make it interesting.

Oh, and pictures.

Stone 13, twenty-second day

At church

It’s Sunday. Kneel to pray and stand to sing,
the rhythms of the service soothe, preset,
always the same (at least if you weren’t in
the hall where final plans are improvised –
who’s here to read? do we have acolytes
enough?) – the Eucharist is coming, scrap
of bread and sip of wine, and does it mean
a thing? Yes. Yes, it does, a promise and
a danger, to be led beyond what you
intended, easy yoke, light burden, but
still yoked; but easy, light. At last, we’re sent
“into the world in peace, to love and serve.”
Who knows what love and service might demand?

Our lives? Our selves? All that we have, or are.

52 books / 52 weeks – The Nowhere Hunt

Review – The Nowhere Hunt, Jo Clayton

A keeper? Ugh, no

And it started so well.

This week’s project for 52 Books in 52 Weeks was The Nowhere Hunt (Book Six of the Diadem), by Jo Clayton – a prolific science fiction author back in the eighties and nineties.

But Back In The Day, I loved her Skeen Trilogy – Skeen’s Leap; Skeen’s Return; and, to a lesser degree, Skeen’s Search – the adventures of an interstellar adventurer who gets herself stranded on a strange world which may not be exactly in our universe. So I bought a lot of other Claytons, including this one, and I’m finally reading it.

As I say, it begins well. A dying intelligent insect makes a pathetic plea for help, and Aleytys – the series’ heroine – agrees to take on a complex rescue mission. We’re solidly enmeshed in the tropes of habitual interstellar travel, multiple intelligent species interacting, and competent, daring women, all of which I enjoy.

Then suddenly we’re in a confusing story about primitive people who don’t seem to be exactly human on a hallucinogenic world, seen through the bloodthirsty eyes of their young oracle Roha. Eventually Aleytys turns up on the same planet and things become more understandable, but by that time I no longer cared. Roha’s tribe harasses mysterious demons from Outside, getting many of their brave warriors killed by “demons” in the process. Aleytys is captured by a bloodthirsty criminal and endures a forced march to the insects’ wrecked starship, getting many of the subordinate criminals killed by Roha’s tribe on the way. The insects endure a forced march back to base . . .and so on.

It was all very boring.

Why? I think the split focus was a major problem; I never understood the Primitive Natives well enough to empathize with their goals, and they kept pulling my attention away from Aleytys and her goals. Maybe Clayton was still learning her way back in 1981.

Simple. Simple?

This time, the Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Simple”. And you can’t get much simpler than a stop signal.

Unless, of course, it’s in an alphabet that’s foreign to you. That complicates things a little. I would add “unless it’s in a foreign language”, except that, as best I can tell, the Russian above transliterates as “STOP”.

At least the story of the picture is simple. There I was in St. Petersburg, six years ago, and I was just as startled then as I am now that the words seem to be the same in Russian and English.

Stone 12a, twenty-first day


The snow remembers. In the night
a rabbit came this way. Its long
back feet left vees to say that it
was here. And over there, a line
of dots commemorates a squirrel,
or else perhaps the local cat.

I leave no tracks. Instead I pick
up shovelfuls of snow and toss
them left or right before my feet
arrive. A tropic creature, wrapped
in shirt and sweatshirt, coat, gloves, hat,
pretending to be warm, erased,
unwritten, from this snowy history.

(And yes, I found myself composing this one while outside shoveling today’s inch of crusted-over wet snow and hoping the freezing rain doesn’t start up again. The animal tracks looped across our yard.)

Stone 12, twenty-first day

Today, I’ll Lie

The world is striped this morning, white
snow balanced on dark branches, cold.
I’m tired of writing about cold.
I think I’ll say it’s sand, white sand,
this street’s a beach with hot bright blazing sun,
I’ll claim the world’s turned upside down to let
our north end of the earth get summer now.

Stone 11, twentieth day

My Mother’s Cat Greets Visitors

He comes to meet us slowly, thinking hard,
with eyes and ears and nose. He holds his tail
cautiously straight and level, looks and sniffs –
“Oh, people, good! But wait. I don’t think – No.
I don’t know them.” And through the cellar door
(kept always open just as wide as him)
and out of sight. Then safe at last he twists
exchanging head for tail and peeks at us again.