Reading for the Day: GOING HOME TO A LANDSCAPE (Calyx Press, 2003)

Once We Were Farmers (Elsa E’der)

Once we were farmers
and we measured time
in distant moments
of new life

and our hopes dwelled
welled up through sweat and skin
unspoken and sacred

and on the rocks we let lie in the fields
we stenciled language
and fed the rainfall upon our stories
and moments circled above the earth

    till now

    unspoken is our passion
    our passion is the moon
    lying down
    in these moments
    in the fields O pen ing
    and in the rhythms of stillness
    we were life anew

we were farmers and midwives
and blood spilled towards the future
in rituals of ancient powers

we leaned toward the cries
of children who gave sound
to rocks we let lie in the fields

We sing
we sing with eloquent hunger.

(Elsa, I have looked and looked for you. Where are you now? Does anyone know?)

Quote of the Day: Spaghetti Again. And Again. And Again.

Still quoting from the Haruki Murakami story in The New Yorker of Nov. 21, 2005:

From “The Year of Spaghetti”:

Spaghetti strands are a crafty bunch, and I couldn’t let them out of my sight. If I were to turn my back, they might well slip over the edge of the pot and vanish into the night. The night lay in silent ambush, hoping to waylay the prodigal strands.

THE END (For now)

Strange But True IV: M.I.T. Dean Has Meltdown, Forgets She Has a Degree After All!

The first thing self does when she wakes up this morning (Gracie whimpering to be let out; it’s still full dark — aargh!) is reach for the New York Times which she was reading just before going to bed last night. Suddenly, an article (which set no synapses firing in self’s brain last night) this morning strikes her as unaccountably funny. Decide to plunge on with the furious blogging, as, to paraphrase from Alfred Lord Tennyson in his “The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava”: Ours not to question why, ours but to do and die.

Floating somewhere in the ether of self’s consciousness the last few days were news reports about an M.I.T. Dean who had been forced to resign. Since there were so many other things more exciting happening (such as the first series of Presidential candidates’ debates; or the Warriors/Mavericks playoffs), a Dean resigning did not exactly register as great news.

Now, however, self learns from the article that the Dean, Marilee Jones, was asked to resign because she had falsified her academic credentials, “representing herself as having degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Albany Medical College and Union College.” (New York Times, May 3, 2007, p. A18)

Dean was confronted with the said “irregularities” last week, and at that time, according to the Times article, was asked to exonerate herself by presenting “other credentials but did not do so.” Since resigning, ex- Dean has refused all attempts to interview her, story seemed to be sinking into merciful oblivion.

NOT SO FAST! Someone will just not let this story rest. Two days ago, the Albany Times Union received “an anonymous tip about Ms. Jones’s attendance at” an obscure school called the College of Saint Rose in Albany.

The newspaper followed up on the tip and confirmed that the ex- Dean did in fact have a bachelor’s degree, not from the aforementioned Rensselaer Polytechnic or Union College (which she put down on her initial resumé, 28 years ago; “Albany Medical College” she added later), but from the College of Saint Rose.

Can’t you just see it? When M.I.T. officials confront Dean, she is asked to present “other credentials”, presumably to prove that she did in fact graduate from college. But she is silent. Even though she knows that she does indeed have a bachelor’s degree, just not from the schools listed on her resumé.

This is the same person who, according to the Times, “achieved national prominence for her efforts to make the college-admissions process less stressful.” This same person looks at the M.I.T. officials, concealing the (to her) still-more awful truth (more awful than having said she graduated from RPI or Union when she didn’t??) that she does indeed have a college degree, from the College of Saint Rose.

Self can’t help but wonder, What is up with this college? Is it truly so awful that no one would admit to having attended it? Self would like to pat ex-Dean on the hand, would like to say, “There, there, it’s really not that bad. You could have said you had graduated from — ” (You fill in the blank, dear blog reader. Think of the most awful school you can possibly imagine)

But, never mind.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Confession 1.0

Self has fallen, dear blog reader. Self has really, really fallen.

Not content with blathering on in my blog about all and sundry, inundating reader today with no less than four — count ’em, four — posts, have decided to make the ultimate confession, here, tonight, at 6:16 PM:

Self has bookmarked marthastewart.com

First of all, said personage was on Fox News this morning, being asked what she thought of recent announcement by some organization or other that an adequate monetary compensation for housework would be salary of $138,000. What did Martha think of that, unctuous interviewer (one of those interchangeable Wasp-y types) asked her, with knowing leer.

“Well, it depends on how many children she has,” Martha began. “If she has NO children — ”

Interviewer was practically licking his chops —

“Then, $138,000 is a good figure. If she has one, then it should be $150,000, and so on . . . ”

Martha! Self loves you!

Yesterday, in English 1C class at xxxxx community college, students fell to discussing gender inequality in the workplace. Boy from Indonesia, whose given name is “Stephanus” but who insists self call him “Billy”, declared that there are some jobs only women can do. “Such as — ?” self prompted him. “Such as housework,” Billy said, with a straight face.

Whereupon he was immediately set upon by all the American women in the class. Thank God, or self would have had to do it and it would not have been pretty. Hope he learns his lesson and thinks next time before he opens his mouth.

Actually, conversation did continue, because self told him to come up with a better answer than “Housework”, and he said, “Florist?”

@@##!!!

So, this evening, self was browsing the web for a recipe for steamed chicken. Why? Because self is sick of grading papers, and besides self saw a really yummy picture of steamed chicken in a magazine.

First, tried Better Homes & Gardens website, which boasts “10,000 recipes”. Very disappointed. Recipe for barbecued chicken, for example, is: 20 chicken wings, pour barbecue sauce over, stick in oven.

I mean, if you are going to use a pre-made sauce, would you even need a recipe?

So, here goes. Self is on marthastewart.com, which has such very pretty colors: pink and pale green. If self could have another child, this would definitely be the colors self would use for the nursery.

Ooooh, happen upon recipe for “Lemon Herb Chicken” (and self really does have a lot of herbs growing in backyard: for instance, a “monster” rosemary bush that is almost as tall as the apple tree next to it, which self has never bothered to cut back; and a slightly smaller bush of Greek oregano, which was only a twig when self purchased it from the nice plant guy who always shows up at the Mountain View Farmer’s Market in the summer).

Here’s how it goes:

Place chicken breast halves in a single layer on a heatproof plate. Sprinkle tarragon leaves and garlic over chicken; season with salt. Pour steaming juices into a small bowl; stir in mustard . . .

Self has attained culinary nirvana, dear blog reader. Off to the kitchen now, but promise to update readers later on result.

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