bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
First UU Nashville hosted quite the ordination this past Sunday. There were multiple quotes and allusions to Wonder Woman, including in the program:



Rev. Robern's love of science fiction and pop culture was acknowledged and celebrated throughout the ceremony, including the charge to the minister (delivered by a colleague from Idaho with "Black Lives Matter" among the emblems on her stole). One of the readings was a passage by Octavia Butler. Her stole was brought to the with a Disney beach bag as its carrier (she and her partner had eloped to Disneyworld when they decided to make things official), and the stole itself featured Scarlet Pimpernel motifs on the front and allusions to various franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy) on the underside. The music included "Spirit in the Sky" (from Guardians of the Galaxy), "Turn the World Around," and "Mystery" (which the subject line of this entry comes from).

For the buffet, I contributed a pair of dragon cakes (using a mold Musigneus had given me several years ago). Still working on my painting game, but it's improving; if I'd had more time (i.e., if it had occurred to me earlier), I would've tried harder to mix a turquoise to match Singing the Journey.

mixing cake paint

Because the colors were for dragons, I used smoked rum as the binder for the Pharaoh Gold powder.

Pharaoh Gold cake paint

And because my sense of humor is twenty kinds of inappropriate, I picked Devil's Food as one of the flavors. Hence Yellow-Bellied Dragon and Devil's Food Dragon:

yellow-bellied dragon cake

devil's food dragon cake
bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
I am near to howling with frustration and anxiety on multiple fronts, but there has been massive progress on others, and splendid things do abound. My hands are scented with the coriander I accidentally harvested tonight. (I'd forgotten planting it in its quadrant of an herb pot, and absent-mindedly assumed the out-of-control fronds belonged to some weird variety of parsley until I took a closer look at them inside. Some experimenting with the berries is now in the cards...) Some aging onions and carrots have been simmered with bay leaves from my big sister for later-this-week soup, and tonight's salad included a slice of preserved lemon, also from big sister's yard.

I spent last weekend with my honorary big brother, which was absolutely what I needed holiday-wise. Hot yoga, smoked bourbon, Blue Stallion Radler with Bavarian pretzels and dinner at Kentucky Native (where the rest of the table was amused at my selection of kale salad as one of my "pick two" orders and cinnamon rolls as the other), a movie (with a "bourbon cocktail" that turned out to be straight bourbon, which provoked further amusement), brunch, plant-shopping at Louie's Flower Power (because big brother is getting ready to sell his house and the realtor wanted him to raise the curb appeal by Tuesday), and plant-fluffing back at the homestead. I naturally couldn't resist picking up a few things for myself, including a rosebush ("The Sky's the Limit") and two Paula Janes--fuschia plants that have since delighted me with their bubble-to-trumpet groove:

Paula Jane

Paula Jane
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bronze_ribbons: yoshizumi flying off cliff (yosh37 yoshizumi off cliff)
[The subject line is from Carly Simon's "Let the River Run"]

My lunch reading today: Rivers of London - Body Work (graphic novel)

What introduced me to that world: Philomytha's enchanting Of a Feather, a fic in which a character from Rivers is key to a scene in Sayers's Murder Must Advertise.
bronze_ribbons: Wawrinka with towel in mixed zone (stan with towel)
Well. My Astrotwins horoscope urges me to sleep in and then declutter, and as it happens, an insufficiently screwed-on cap resulted in nail polish remover dousing most of the toiletries I hurriedly tossed into a grocery bag in my haste to hit the road before sundown. Which clarified right quick what I truly wanted to keep, which was not the too-chemical SPF lip balm or the solid organic sunblock that like too many other sunblocks stays too white and sticky on my skin for most professional or social situations. I forgot to pack insect repellent and itch cream, but the antihistamines are in tow.

Also in said horoscope:


Later in the day, when the moon shifts into Cancer and your social third house for the rest of the weekend, you'll be eager to connect with friends and shift into party mode. Your festive mood stretches into Sunday, when expressive Mercury in your sign connects with compassionate Neptune and gives you entree into a variety of groups. You could widen your social horizons by hanging with a different crowd tonight.


Good thing I'm heading to a waltz workshop and then a contrathon. Though I was up late sipping from my thermos of Whirling Dervish cider (which turns out to me Not My Thing, but finding out that sort of thing is a thing I love about deliberate downtime) and reading Teen Vogue (to which I subscribe -- just $10 for a year -- because they are doing way, way better than most of mainstream media in speaking truth to power, and I want writers like Lauren Duca to keep doing that), so the odds of me hauling myself to tonight's contra and blues sessions are slim to none.

Oh, and I was making Roland Garros picks, of course. My selections for the "wooden spoon" contest:

WTA
1. Quirine Lemoine
2. Ana Bogdan
3. Irina Khromacheva
4. Risa Ozaki

ATP
1. Ricardas Berankis
2. Quentin Halys
3. Alexandre Muller
4. Daniil Medvedev

At the forum I frequent, conventional wisdom seems to be favoring Halep and Svitolina, with some votes for Stosur. Being the proven specialist in "out there" selections, my answer to the poll: "Pavlyuchenkova for the win; exacta box with Bacsinszky and Mladenovic." On va voir. Now to finish touching up my nails (new coat of Indulge My Whim on top of Secret Agent and Alter Ego) and filling out a full bracket...
bronze_ribbons: Dee and Ryo from FAKE in deep kiss (Dee/Ryo liplock)
Via [personal profile] el_staplador: Share the final line of five of your fics ...

[Yes, it's been a while. These are neither most recent or most favorite - merely what comes first to mind tonight.]

[Yes, I do intend to write some more someday. And to record more audio. Which reminds me that I have been horribly remiss in not-yet-mentioning Rhea's podfic Ten Hats and Gallon (FAKE). Podfic! Wheeyay!]

In the meantime - meme!

And since he was alone - the rest of his family already asleep, as he himself should have been - Alexander buried his face in his hands and silently wept.
Everything Necessary to Procure (Political RPF - Hamilton/Laurens)

"Let us begin, then."
D'Accord, D'Accord (Harry Potter - Snape/Lupin)

And as the other man leans into him -- eighty-five kilos' worth of affection, passion, and challenge -- Roger begins to fingercomb the exclamation points out of Rafa's thick, dark hair.
Interrobang (Tennis RPF - Fedal)

She pours herself another bowl of cereal while I punch the button on the hot cocoa machine, and once we're sitting across the table from each other, we're exactly where we're supposed to be.
The Cafeteria's Got Everything (Dar Williams's "Alleluia")

The light fades.
One is One and All Alone (The Dark Is Rising)
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bronze_ribbons: Sveta kissing her French Open trophy (Kuz kiss)
In the course of thanking Bishop for some Brazilian champagne that helped rescue a party with thwarted matchmaking and sullen guests:


I sound like notes for a Mary McCarthy novel. Have you read her last in which Mary (divorced and remarried) is seduced by Wilson (divorced and remarried) after a Wellfleet reading of Racine's Berenice? In the last chapter Mary driving to Boston for an abortion is run into and killed by a red-headed Millay-like Cape poet driving on the wrong side of the road. Who can doubt that Mary really lives in her books? If she ever loses her mind, she'll never know which parts of her life she lived and which she wrote. She is somehow rather immense without her books ever being exactly good form or good imagination.
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bronze_ribbons: drawing of a contented bull (cow)

The technique of barbecue is actually very simple, but it takes years and years to master. There's an intuition that you only gain through the repetition of practice. Aaron [Franklin] told me that he trains all his employees the same way, but when he cuts into a brisket, he can tell you exactly who did the smoking.
bronze_ribbons: Image of hand and quote from Keats's "This Living Hand" (living hand)
Something I really enjoy about adulthood is being as messy as I want while cooking. The frozen blueberries the BYM bought some months ago weren't quite right for what he had in mind, so this morning I folded some into pancake batter, and afterward admired the swirls and gradations of color left behind:

after the pancakes

I've started the rice for tonight's effort, an adaptation of an okra casserole from Southern Living. First, though, there's a bathtub to be scrubbed, and weeds to clear out of the way so that I can transplant the mallow seedlings currently in the sunroom. The plant that survived the winter is doing well. Here's how it looked on my birthday:

French hollyhock (mallow) French hollyhock (mallow) French hollyhock (mallow)
bronze_ribbons: (tentacle sex)
Seeing these cookies at a Starbucks after today's workout reminded me of time spent laughing and drabbling with y'all -- especially [identity profile] valis2.livejournal.com. ;)

octopus cookies at a Starbucks

And the recent "36 hours" feature on Tokyo in a mainstream US newspaper brought to mind fics shared with [personal profile] geri_chan, [personal profile] lysanatt, and the rest of the Harudaki deep-divers.

(I have not cancelled my subscription to said paper, primarily because access to its archives remains essential for my work, but the defensive condescension displayed by various staff members -- see analyses at Fusion, Esquire, American Orthodox if you need context -- has me irritated enough to cease linking to or quoting from said paper for the time being. As I said in my note to its executive editor, "In publishing writers whose claims wouldn't make it beyond a New Yorker fact-checker, and headlines that not only soft-pedal but normalize the Trump administration's crimes, [your paper] has plummeted in reputation to the point that I can no longer link to or tag [any piece from the paper] -- even nonpolitical ones -- without asking myself to what degree my own credibility will take a hit.")
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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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bronze_ribbons: snapshot of me in standing bow (Default)
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 editor@penzeys.com, 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 editor@penzeys.com 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: http://indysolstice.com).]
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.
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bronze_ribbons: (hooch boots)
Just wrote a thank-you card to Kellogg's. http://maudnewton.tumblr.com/post/153905564012/todays-action-stopping-breitbarts-ad-dollars

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: https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/photos/pb.216397232833.-2207520000.1480654780./10154815494657834/?type=3&theater

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.

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