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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

a surefire cure for the blues

the author's

the author’s

Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly… But a trip to the Farmer’s Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. ūüėČ

Dinner tonight is blues food — not the kind where you’re listening to the blues, but the kind you fix when you want comforting. At least for those of us with Southern foodways. You get out your grandma’s (or great-grandma’s, if you’re lucky) skillet, and you toss in some fresh-picked carrots (the small ones are sweeter). Slather them with olive oil (no measly drizzle here), sprinkle w/ salt & cracked pepper, and roast ’em until the little bites are crispy. The larger ones will be tender. And they ALL will be amazing.

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Cooked carrots are one of those things folks love to hate. Kind of like…broccoli. Or kale. And normally? They’re not my fave, although I don’t dislike them. But these — like roasting broccoli, or turnips, or darn near any veggie — are incredible.

There’s more to our comfort meal tonight (green beans & new blue potatoes — also just picked; fresh-pickled cucumbers; skillet cornbread…blackberries!), but only the carrots are beyond the scope of most human imaginations. :) (Who doesn’t love blackberries??) Which is a lesson (of course — you thought I was just rambling??).

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the author's

the author’s

Sometimes, it’s not the content; it’s the process. I read once there are very few truly ‘wrong’ decisions. There are only decisions inadequately supported. Carrots are like that. You can steam them, forgo seasonings, and you have mushy yucky carrots. Like bad baby food. But if you make a decision, and then enter into it w/ the heat & imagination to properly roast carrots? Follow through with the decision generously (remember the slathering of olive oil?). Consult your history (that cast iron skillet). And perhaps it won’t be so difficult to get down, as it were.

As for me? The blues are sooo much easier when it’s Farmer’s Market time. Comfort cooking to distract you, and all the goodies after!

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home again, home again…or, the quilt vs bad fondue

via google

via google

So after two afternoons of rental cars, two days of airplanes, and a packed day of looking at a house, we’re home. And boy — home seldom looked so ambivalent…

Glad to be here? Absolutely — the sheets are clean, animals are ecstatic we’re back, and I can cook! I immediately went out for the ‘necessities’ we need to replenish. You know: bread (oops!), milk (got that), coffee beans, and strawberries for strawberry shortcake tomorrow. When in turmoil? Cook. Because afterwards you get¬†to eat it!

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I have a love-hate relationship w/ my home state. It is — as the meme shows — redder than red. And I’m about as blue dog as you get. Equity and social justice are as important to me as anything I can come up with. Whereas in this state? Oklahoma is¬†far more about ‘free’ enterprise than equity.

via http://offshegoes2013.blogspot.com/2014/06/equity-vs-equality.html 6/22/2014

via http://offshegoes2013.blogspot.com/2014/06/equity-vs-equality.html 6/22/2014

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Have you seen this cartoon explaining equity vs. equality? Sure — you can give each girl one stool of the same size; that’s equality. But the girls are of different¬†heights: for them all¬†to¬†be able to see over the fence, they need their individual heights (needs) addressed. THAT is equity — levelling the playing field.

That isn’t a priority in Oklahoma, I’m sorry to say. I’m even sorrier to note that it’s ¬†not much of a priority anywhere else, either. It’s¬†grown out of fashion, I guess. We want kids to test the same, despite poverty, violence, learning disabilities, malnutrition & illness. We want different cultures to be ‘melted’ into one pot (a metaphor I can’t stand). Me? I want a quilt top, w/colourful pieces of different sizes, fabrics, textures, weaves. I want it backed w/ something beautiful — here the metaphor can be stretched to make this American history, told¬†truthfully. It shouldn’t (I can’t stress this enough) be religion. Or even language, initially.

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the author's

the author’s

This is an unpopular metaphorical platform almost everywhere these days. But I still believe in its appropriateness for America, and every one of our United States. And maybe in a new place, I can remember how many people do¬†believe this.¬†My hope is that a move will, as reflection is wont to do, remind me how much I love about my home state, as well. How beautiful it is¬†the spiral dance of scissortails,¬†the clouds of April dogwood. How kind & generous the people here can be. And that somehow, we’ll realise the possibilities that great¬†Oklahomans like Will Rogers & Woody Guthrie saw in us.

In the meantime? I’m just home from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I have to tell you: they’re¬†awesome!¬†And full of such unknown promise! ūüėČ

 

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transplanting

via pixabay

via pixabay

Today, as I listened to the housing inspector recite the (very small) flaws our new house has, I thought about change. About moving, about uprooting, about transplanting.

My garden is full of transplants — the azaleas from my mother’s, the dwarf crape myrtle moved from one side of the house to another. The 2 peonies moved from a shady back bed to the front, where they happily bloomed this spring.

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I say that I am used to moving. More accurately, I am familiar with it. I haven’t moved in 20 years. Really — two decades of stability, for this child of peripatetic parents. My beloved & I promised that our children would go to school in the same district, make friends they could keep. Learn a place well. We have done that — rooted ourselves deeply.

And now we’re leaving it all behind. Pulling up those established roots to settle ourselves in a totally new place.

via wikimedia

via wikimedia

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I’m a good gardener; I know what makes transplants survive. You move them gently. Quickly. Water them in well, so there are no spaces of emptiness around their roots. And then you leave them alone, to settle. It’s a good metaphor. Except that we are moving more quickly than my beloved would prefer, and we found the house more quickly, and we have to fix our current house up quickly…and it’s all so fast! But there will be time — eventually — to settle in.

Already we’re planning visits from family to the new house, for holiday breaks. Two months to settle in, and then time to celebrate. There almost certainly won’t be as many of us at once. But there will be some of us each time, and we will form new traditions and write new stories.

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Because I know what else transplants need: gentle feeding. And for this beginner’s heart? Food is as much metaphorical as literal: stories built on getting together. Laughing, catching up, and sharing real food — youngest sister’s broccoli cheese casserole, niece’s newest creation, my tabbouleh & hummus. And whatever the new people in our lives — the latest additions to our growing family — bring with them.

I can do this, despite the 20 years I’ve rooted myself deeply in my current house & life. I can make a new garden, transform a house into a home. In other words? I can transplant & survive. Heck — I can THRIVE. ¬†ūüėČ But I’m going to need gentle handling for a bit. Just like any new transplant…

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be here. now.

via flickr

via flickr

It’s taken 30 years, but I finally get Ram Dass’s message: Be here now. For me? It’s be here. now. And that period makes for the emphasis I need to remember.

Today I woke up wishing I could just already be in Virginia, ensconced in our new house, w/ the small remods we plan already done, and our things unpacked, and settled. The garden planted, the bookshelves built, the entire shebang done. I found myself wishing away the entire next 3 months!

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So I took a deep breath, and looked around. We’ve had a FOOT of rain, and the landscape responded by exploding in a thousand shades of green. Even the streets have a greenish glow when the light hits the rain sheen. Mimosas ~ one of my favourite trees ~ are rosy w/ their feathered blooms, and the hummingbirds are everywhere. Who would wish this away?

Yes, there’s a lot to do. And that doesn’t even include my beloved’s computer blue-screen-of-death, or my new computer OS upgrade. Or everyday life (groceries, cooking, laundry, et al). But there’s also breakfast at the Square, and new napkins. There’s a long chat w/ my sister ranging over our kids, family memories, gardening & more. There are pictures of cats doing silly things, and new recipes to try. There is the fragrance of early summer, and the long slant light of late afternoon. The upcoming solstice, w/ its perfect balance of summer evening and summer day.

In other words? There’s life. Wish¬†none¬†of it away. It’s far too precious, our human life. Enjoy.

 

Previous Posts

a surefire cure for the blues
Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly... But a trip to the Farmer's Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. ...

posted 5:29:43pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

home again, home again...or, the quilt vs bad fondue
So after two afternoons of rental cars, two days of airplanes, and a packed day of looking at a house, we're home. And boy -- home seldom looked so ...

posted 9:58:02pm Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

transplanting
Today, as I listened to the housing inspector recite the (very small) flaws our new house has, I thought about change. About moving, about uprooting, about ...

posted 4:43:04pm Jun. 22, 2015 | read full post »

be here. now.
It's taken 30 years, but I finally get Ram Dass's message: Be here now. For me? It's be here. now. And that period makes for the emphasis I need to ...

posted 5:31:49pm Jun. 19, 2015 | read full post »

when will we ever learn?
During the¬†ViŠĽátnam War, there was a popular folk song covered by several artists ~ ¬†Where Have All the Flowers Gone?¬†Written by ...

posted 2:45:15pm Jun. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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