bronze_ribbons: Image of hand and quote from Keats's "This Living Hand" (living hand)
Listening to Minneapolis musician Dessa's "Matches to Paper Dolls" after re-reading her fabulous essay on New Orleans, which includes this:

Ninety minutes later, the Maple Leaf was full and moving. I stood near the wall with my beer. There were people who couldn’t keep time, people who could really dance and jazz dudes who could keep time so well, and in such complicated subdivisions, that it just looked as if they couldn’t dance. My little corner of the floor was populated by tourists in Velcro sandals, club girls in banging four-inch heels, a slim woman in suede loafers, a middle-aged guy dancing in hiking shoes. That seemed like an unusually wide array of footwear at a concert; I pretended to drop my pen to get a better look. This club is like Noah’s ark from the ankle down, I thought. Shoes are flags of cultural membership; shows I’d played were usually dominated by black boots and Vans — hipster standard issue. But maybe a city run by psychics, hustlers and jazz gods wouldn’t breed too many hipsters; there was no mainstream to rail against.

Current earworm is a tune from around 1695 titled "Wa' is me, what mun I do?", which can be heard in this 2014 video of a dance in Atlanta. My "someday" list now includes learning to teach it so that I get to hear it more often.

The videographer at last Saturday's Playford Ball has been putting clips online through the week -- I think the first half of the ball is now all up. I'm wincing at some -- I have so very much to get the hang of, let alone improve on -- but I look decent in others, and I did really enjoy the evening as a whole. At the start of "Smithy Hill," Priscilla -- a straightforward, down-to-earth woman with a firm grip (i.e., my kind of gal) -- said to me, "You look happy." "I am!" "Good!" ... and I acquitted myself well enough that she claimed me for "Good Man of Cambridge" the next afternoon. (There won't be official video of that one, but it was ridiculous fun, especially with Bare Necessities getting ever more faster and wilder -- to Mozart's Turkish March, y'all. I was cackling aloud at their riffs, and at one point said to Priscilla, "Now they're just showing off!")

The ball itself opened with "Mendocino Redwood," which I danced with Wendy from Charlotte (whom I'd met in Durham last month):

bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
Having absent-mindedly dumped the half-clove of garlic I minced right into the trash instead of the avocado/bokchoy/cilantro/hummus/rice bowl I was assembling, I am scrapping my more ambitious plans for the evening in favor of getting sheets onto the bed and getting me into said bed sans mishap.

The Sun Assembly DanceFest was wonderful, as were the evenings preceding it (SA's regular English country dance night on Thursday, and Triangle Country Dancers' contra on Friday). And on my way back, I made a point of getting to Asheville's Orange Peel in time for Waltz Night.

I am now in withdrawal, which I have been dealing with partly by going to other dances in town (blues on Thursday, contra yesterday) and partly by researching dances, workshops, and colonial/Regency/Jane Austen balls I could maybe add to my calendar/budgeting. I went to Goodwill's wedding gala in hopes of scoring something more period than my usual Saturday evening frock. There was nothing empire-waisted on the fancy racks that fit me -- my legs are shorter than average, and my torso wider and longer than average, which means zippers tend to stall out halfway up my back. This is annoying when I am trying on something deliciously intricate and fouffy for which I am unlikely to develop the requisite sewing skills to make for myself, but then again, intricate and fouffy weren't part of the original mission. On the regular rack, I found a plain brown maxi-dress for $6 that will do for the afternoon dance at Vanderbilt's central library later this month, and the trinkets table had a tiara and some earrings that might go with some other costume.

I also stopped at Designer Renaissance and Performance Studios. At DR (a consignment shop), there was a Sleevey Wonder that I was thinking might work spencer-style (I'm sure there's a precise term for what I have in mind) over a sleeveless light green dress I bought for $.99 last year (likewise as a Playford Ball possibility, though it is the right level of dressy-but-not-over-the-top that would also make it acceptable to wear at my day job). The sales associate and another customer perked up at the mention of Jane Austen -- I e-mailed the Vanderbilt flyer to the associate when I got home. (And, the sandals and bag I'd eyed a few days ago were still there. The sandals fit, and I felt a distinct pang of disappointment when at first I thought the bag had been sold, which tells me that I was right to go back for it.) At Performance Studios, I peeked at some of the rental gowns, which are magnificent but out of scope for my likeliest options. (Though I will be exceedingly tempted if I end up trying to get to the Salem 18th Century Ball...) The hose selection is nice, and I did pick up a pair with a low-key tattoo for workshop/afternoon wear ($8). (A lesson from the first DanceFest session: I cannot go sockless for long in my current most-fun pair of shoes.)

After hitting one more store (Dillard's moving sale -- I'd chosen not to buy anything during my first visit, but again, DanceFest convinced me to go back for the tights I'd put back), and the pool) and the pool (I will master flip turns someday...) and the gas pump and the supermarket, I stopped at Woodland Wine Merchant. This week's tasting was hosted by a Stolen Rum representative. The smoked rum is quite good, and I may pair with the red sticker as a future host gift:

bronze_ribbons: Dee and Ryo from FAKE in deep kiss (Dee/Ryo liplock)

"When I can see problems and solutions others can't, it makes other people angry. I realize that it's not enough to identify the difficulties and know what must be done. One must convey the proper course to those who have the problem, so they might see the way as if they had discovered it themselves. [My sister] Jenny explained it to me, but I lack the ability to accomplish her ends, try though I might."

He gentled his hold, because she'd guessed correctly: he was angry, but not at her. "And if you cannot defer to those of lesser insight, Wife? Are you to keep silent and do nothing?"

Another sigh followed by a silence. Silence at least suggested Louisa was considering Joseph's question, and it meant he could hold her a while longer.

"I used to wish I would wake up one day and be less intelligent," she said, sounding very weary. "That is, of course, blasphemy, but I don't like making people feel angry and stupid, and I like even less when they must try to impose those emotions on me in retaliation."

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That is, sharing a lane in at the Green Hills pool with two guys. So, while it is true that I was barely clothed and breathing heavily and there were laps involved...

(I'll stop right there. Any more time on it and I'll find myself writing fic instead of filling out paperwork that has to be turned in tomorrow.)
bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
The subject line is from Carrie Fisher's Twitter bio. I learned of her death when I saw "Remembering Carrie Fisher" on a TV at Liuzza's, and one of the sadder things I saw later in the week was a sheaf of WizardWorld Comic Con flyers curled behind a machine or rack in a French Quarter coffee shop. The con is going on even as I type (January 6 to 8), but without Fisher, who had been listed on the top line of guests:

WizardWorld Comic Con flyer

I also saw two murals -- one on a wall with "RIP" prominent on wall, and the other on the door of the Krewe of Chewbacchus HQ. Friday morning, we spotted kegs being delivered for the second line parade to be led by the Leijorettes ("most ... are roller derby players").

Leijorettes HQ

A post I bookmarked while mentally drafting this one: TJ's goals for this year.

Speaking of fighting fascists, here's what Penzeys Spices has to say:

The stories of cooks, at least the way we see them, super-humanize. If it looks like you, or someone you know, are going to be standing in the way of the new administration, we need your story, and a recipe or two, and this time we can't wait until July. No doubt public school teachers will once again be on the front lines of the right's anger echo chamber, but we're thinking this time it won't be just teachers, and this is why we are asking for your help. This year, the list will be long, and we would like to get a leg up on any direction it could head. Clearly this time around the targets are the environment, immigration, gender equality, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, income inequality, and pretty much anyone who is in any way a minority in any shape or form.

If you, or someone you know, is on the front lines of one of these issues and have a good recipe or two to share, please contact us at, and tell us a little about your background and your concerns. And please, don't think your experience needs to be dramatic, or that you need to have some sort of job title to participate. It's the every day decency of cooks that carries the day, not fame or celebrity.

And because you may well be first up on the block, if you are one of those pre-existing condition-havers that have had a brief period of almost normal life because of the Affordable Care Act, please get in touch with us right away. The people need to understand your experience. Once again, please contact us at with a brief description of your story, and one of our gifted and friendly writers will get in touch. Please. We all need your experience.

Speaking of cooking, last night I scooped the Meyer lemon sorbet into smaller containers, and tonight I may proceed with this recipe for grapefruit-lemon marmalade. First, though, there is cleaning to do, but before that, lunch (a bowlful of leftovers, plus coffee dregs perked up with cardamom [from Penzeys], ginger, cinnamon, and coriander, with hot water and almond milk refilling the mug).

What are you cooking or dreaming about this weekend, loves?
bronze_ribbons: knife with bronze ribbons (bribbons)
The Christmas Day service at First UU ("It's the Most Jewiful Time of the Year") included a dramatic reading of Lemony Snicket's The Latke that Couldn't Stop Screaming, led by the sabbatical minister with audience participation (congregants waving their arms and going "aaaaah!" on cue); a Dr Who reference (Rabbi Rami: I was hoping to watch the special tonight but my wife is insisting that we go out for Chinese); an extended Star Trek benediction in both Hebrew and English; and substantive theological points to consider, with the rabbi comparing closed systems (salvation-based) and open ones (hope-based). The quote I repeated to several other people later in the day : Johanan ben Zakkai's "If you are planting a tree and you hear that Messiah has come, first finish planting the tree."

Also: The thrill of hearing a professional soprano several pews behind me warbling through "Silver Bells" and other standards. The pleasure of petting my friend Victoria's therapy dog through the first half of the service. The hugging of friends and acquaintances and the talking about plans for dancing, performing, volunteering...

For champagne tea with my honorary mama, I baked potato wafers. The BYM and I heard someone very, very good playing the piano in the assisted living lobby when we arrived, and it was indeed her son, who'd brought along sheet music for several super-silly, wildly virtuosic seasonal pieces.

I was not feeling well enough to join the late-night crowd at Lipstick Lounge, but I did stay up to sort out a few things and to say a few more blessings...

second night

And, speaking of blessings, my thanks to all who responded to my Feast of Stephen appeal. I am full of gratitude. See you in 2017.
bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
Flint still does not have clean water, and Congress isn't inclined to do more about it.

So -- a proposal: buy Measured Extravagance or tweet about "Look at that, you son of a bitch" by the start of 26 December (CST) and I'll donate $2 per purchase/boost to the Flint Water Fund. Details here.
bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)

People gathered from near and far,
In small groups and large,
To share their fears and grief
And the darkness in their hearts.

A year like no other, this was,
Testing us beyond what we'd ever imagined.
Day after day, week after week,
We found ourselves growing
And becoming sturdy
Because there was no other choice.

[I sang this years ago. Something I learned today: the ritual it comes from was co-written by a Unitarian Universalist and "a self-described Quaker witch" (source:]
bronze_ribbons: Andy Murray snoozing with his dog (muzz with maggie)
As I was leaving for work yesterday morning, a man and his dog were loping their way toward the park near the end of my street.

A woman driving by rolled down her window and held out a stuffed reindeer toy to the man. "Could you use this?"

The man shook his head regretfully. "It wouldn't last the day."

The woman smiled sadly. "Oh well. My doggie died, that's why."

I wish I'd been near enough to offer her a hug before she drove on.

Last night, at a holiday gathering at L27, I overheard the BYM replying to someone who'd apparently asked him to sum up his 2016 in a sentence. He said, "We bought my shop a building and our dog died."

That does cover the range.
bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
Just wrote a thank-you card to Kellogg's.

Used some galangal from Penzeys in the cauliflower-potato soup I made tonight. "Online sales are up 59.9%, gift box sales up 135%" since their CEO gave Orange voters a piece of his mind a couple of weeks ago. He posted an open letter to other business owners/execs today:

Bronson Koenig: What I Found at Standing Rock

Rasheed Wallace: The Truth about Flint. This is from October, but in the words of the man himself:

I've been visiting Flint for the past year, so let me tell you the truth.

Some of the folks in Flint can't take showers because their water is still poisoned with lead.

They have to boil water, pour it into the sink and then wash in it.

Yeah, a grown-ass man has to take a bird bath. That shit ain't right. It's still going on today.

And it's not going away anytime soon.
bronze_ribbons: (tentacle sex)
Seen at Target today:

'tis almost the season

Discussed at brunch today: the owner of Penzeys Spices speaking his mind about what happened on November 8. The comments section at Daily Kos is, for a change, one that does not require donning a hazmat suit to peruse.

For those of you who plan to place an order with Penzeys, there are coupon codes you may find useful.

Another way to speak with your dollars: contact your bank if it's one of the 17 funding the DAPL. Or, send supplies (including banners/sheets and spray paint):
bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
  • Those of you reading this post on Dreamwidth can see a pair of boots in the icon. It is from an illustration [identity profile] drew in response to my fic "Those I Can Save." The character wearing those boots participates in resistance activities. So.

  • If you would like for the House Oversight Committee to insist on obtaining the PEOTUS's financial information, here's an action to take TODAY (Friday):

  • For those of you in the habit of exchanging gifts with me around the start of winter: if your plans aren't already set, it would please me immensely if this year you were to donate to the Committee to Protect Journalists' Gene Roberts Fund for Emergency Assistance.
  • bronze_ribbons: Image of hand and quote from Keats's "This Living Hand" (living hand)
    The subject line is from a Yiddish poem by Bella Schaechter-Gottesman titled "Harbstelied" (Autumn Song): "When autumn offers baskets full of gold."

    Extraordinary selichot service at Congregation Micah earlier tonight. Before the service, I talked briefly with one man who said repeatedly that his partner had "dragged" him there, and a woman who had been a member for 14 years. The rows became full and more chairs were added. Some of the elements:

    Havdalah, with the spice jar passed around.

    Rabbi Laurie speaking about mature faith, the ability to endure uncertainty, traveling from fear to faith, the bar mitzvah earlier Saturday morning of a young man who had gone through two stretches of leukemia treatment.

    The musical "dream team" of Lisa Silver (guitar), Michael Ochs (guitar and accordion), and Batsheva (guitar).

    Andrew, a member, speaking about his parents dying within weeks of each other earlier this year -- one from a terminal illness, one suddenly -- and of his midnight-snack rituals with his daughter, who has left for college, as well as the networks developed and cherished by all three generations through their commitment to Judaism. He choked up within a few sentences into his remarks and gestured to his wife, who joined him at the bimah and held him throughout the rest of narrative.

    Rabbi Laurie telling part 1 of a tale about a king distraught over a crack appearing in a previously perfect diamond. A craftsman takes it away for a week, promising to make it perfect again...

    Batsheva animatedly speaking and then singing "Harbstlied," and later her setting of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" (apparently composed during a stay in Israel where a collection of Frost's poems was the only book in the house).

    Angie, another member, speaking about her work at Alive Hospice, about beloved people taken away by cancer (including the wife of the founding rabbi, whose earrings she wears and whose seat she often sits in at the synagogue), about surviving other transitions (including menopause), and about five things one should be able to say not only at the end of life but every day: Forgive me. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. Good-bye. (I may be misremembering "thank you.")

    Rabbi Laurie: what happened to the diamond.

    The service ended with what is apparently a Micah tradition -- the congregation holding hands and singing "Hallelujah" in Hebrew:

    Cohen's Hallelujah in Hebrew

    Cohen's Hallelujah in Hebrew
    bronze_ribbons: cute critter with knife and ribbons (bribboned critter)
    Paying market - NonBinary Review - due by 1 November:

    Prose, poetry, visual art...

    (h/t @chidorme on Twitter, who was retweeting @celestechan2020)
    bronze_ribbons: Stack of Russian tins of fish (Russian tins)
    Cathy Erway's The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island has been giving me the feels, as the hipsters might say. Among the dishes I've never heard of, there are dishes I've seen only my parents serve, and names recognizable to me in transliteration. Yet another book to revisit after Big Raft of Deliverables are delivered.

    In the meantime, I have cooked up a pan of pitimi, aka millet, and mixed it with some chopped red onion, and ladled the lazy woman's tagine from yesterday over it, along with some leftover yellow bell pepper and butternut squash and roasted orange slices. I will tackle the bowls of hot red peppers after my stomach registers that it has indeed been filled and I can don plastic gloves without said stomach's noises drowning out the kitchen fan.
    bronze_ribbons: Kimiko Date Krumm fistpump @ Seoul 2009 (Kimiko fistpump)
    The subject line is not a direct reference to a gig that draws in Mirren and Field and Janney, but this passage I came across while looking up the Mirren clip, which follows a description of a frenetic day chez Colbert at work, which included micro-involvement in "every aspect of preparations" and the writer (Joel Lovell) marveling at Colbert's combination of focus and elation:

    It's a little after seven, and the sun's starting to set over the Hudson River. There are several bottles of expensive bourbon in his office, and he pours a glass for each of us and then sits down and exhales.

    "That was fun," he says. “What you just saw me do--the number of things you saw me talk to people about, the number of different things--you saw like four different tags on a single idea.. . . That's it. That's what liking process gets you to, the ability to process a great deal of information. And everybody in this building can do it. Everybody was jumping in. Everybody had ideas. Everybody was saying, 'What is an unasked added value that I can give the show?' And that is true joy. That's the joy machine."

    He used to have a note taped to his computer that read, "Joy is the most infallible sign of the existence of God."
    bronze_ribbons: Stack of Russian tins of fish (Russian tins)
    This morning's bathtub reading was supplied by the first 56 pages of the August issue of GQ, which includes Michael Paterniti's ode to Yotam Ottolenghi. This passage in particular caught my eye:

    The immediate impression of the trio [Ottolenghi, NOPI head chef Ramael Scully, and recipe developer Esme Howarth] made was of friendliness -- how well suited to one another they were, and how soft-spoken and solicitous Ottolenghi was.

    "Would you like some tea and cookies?" he asked, and without waiting for an answer he went rummaging to retrieve some. I'd been served so much Ottolenghi food by others, and now Ottolenghi himself was serving me cookies. This seemed to be the opposite of Gordon Ramsay. This was the opposite of the matador chefs and their brash opining. In fact, if you could say anything about Yotam Ottolenghi, you might say he contained multitudes: a sweet temperament and fierce intensity, iron discipline and wild creativity.

    In checking on whether the piece was online, I found a speech by Paterniti on storytelling, which includes this anecdote:

    I have an unofficial contest going with some writer friends, to see who can ask the stupidest question EVER without meaning to, and I think I recently won. I was interviewing the chef Yotam Ottolenghi in London, and at the risk of never being asked to go on assignment again, I'm going to quote my question, verbatim:

    So I'm just--butternut! Butternut squash, broccoli polenta, pearled lemon, that idea of, and sometimes this happens at the ridiculous high-end restaurant, the prawn did this, eat the whole flower, or whatever, just get that marrow, or whatever it is, up here, on the plate, all foamy, and this is what you’re doing without having to turn it into some sort of ridiculous cooky thing in these restaurants, like, maybe you could tell me: Why are we doing this!?

    Seriously, how can you answer a question like this? And you know you're in trouble when the response is, as it was in Ottolenghi's case, a very long silence, a polite but quizzical expression usually reserved for the platypus tank at the zoo, and then, with pity: I think I know what you're trying to say...

    As someone who dines on her foot on a regular basis and actively contemplates vows of silence every third day, I found this awfully reassuring.
    bronze_ribbons: Andy Murray snoozing with his dog (muzz with maggie)
    It is, according to the NashSevereWx chart, beyond "I need gills to breathe" hot in my here town right now (77 F dewpoint even with the sun down). I have been resisting the urge to go nap for hours in the bathtub or planetarium with great difficulty. But I have also discovered that an empty plastic Coke bottle (emblazoned with "What I like about you") can intone the A below middle C (give or take a half-step or two -- my piano is not A=440) when I whoosh it back and forth on my way back from some of the zinnias.

    Read more... )


    10/7/16 22:14
    bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
    Via the NYT Cooking newsletter, as it happens: Slate's oral history of Angels in America --

    And from today's profile by Michael Paulson of Javier Muñoz:

    Why are you an actor?

    I decided in high school -- at Edward R. Murrow in Brooklyn. I just fell in love with the idea that theater can be a mirror, theater can be a commentary, theater can be powerful and can start a conversation that needs to happen. I started working for a childrens literacy organization that used theater to teach literacy in after-school programs, and that was another powerful thing -- suddenly the kid who really had trouble reading in class, or was embarrassed to speak out loud because of their accent, was inhabiting a character, using their imagination, reading and writing. That blew my mind.


    bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)

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