Sunday, January 27, 2013


word on the street:  a portland glossary (courtesy of portland monthly).  faleo:  (noun) "a follower of the 'paleo' diet--the trendy faux-stone age regime of meats, nuts, veggies, and fruits that excludes grains and dairy--who falls off the wagon (or falls out of the flintstonemobile, perhaps).  in a sentence:  "i've been eating nothing but rare steak and almonds for weeks.  then i get one whiff of my grandma's lasagna and i'm a total faleo."  related:  glute-ons:  people who claim to be "gluten-free" until you offer to buy them a cold beer or a warm scone. 

the poems of others

remembering the lives of friends this weekend and thought i'd publish their own words in today's post.  colleen richmond's (july 18, 1952-january 26, 2007 age 54) "in the rose garden" and hubert thornburg's (june 21, 1921-january 20, 2013 age 91) "when" and "conquered".

in the rose garden
the endless dream is rusting
but queen elizabeth is properly pink
dignified and throned in orderly pillbox perfection.
ah, but we're in america--however else did chrysler imperial
come to mingle with the poetic likes of mikado, mirandy, and royal amethyst?
in the summer sunshine, a gold glow--the faces and laughter of the world
in the blossoms of the roses.
ah, there the ineluctable troika startles into circle:  pascali, anastasia and lady x.
"a brandy, mr. lincoln?"
"the king's ransom for the capture of that droplet quivering on the precipice of a petal."
a perfect moment,
a quaker star.
peace has bloomed and gone,
but honor reaches up with white cupped hands.

when i stand before thy throne
dressed in beauty (not my own)
when i see thee with unsinning heart
then, Lord, shall i fully know
not till then--how much i owe!

conquered (my prayer)
conquered by the Christ
who died to set me free;
conquered by the Christ
who rose to live in me;
sovereign and supreme
He reigns eternally;
rule my spirit, Lord,
and Master me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

book fairs and cover art

according to my 7 year old friend (who will be eight next month which makes her 7 and 4/5ths, i might add) the word of the day is "dictionary".  i heartily agree, eyeing my complete wordfinder.  she was likewise elated to show me her pile from the book fair.  remember the school book fairs where everything was new and any adventure was possible?  add that to word girl's trip to powell's and the local library and we have one seriously hip young chick!  i suggested she might like "wildwood" and "under wildwood".  "already read them" she said (while dad called "had them read to her" from the kitchen).
today also marks the end of the first school semester.  our final unit was "book of choice" where students could bring a grade-level book that they were interested in (make it fun, remember you're in charge!).  our final project was to design a book cover with title/illustration, front summary flap, back author flap and back cover reviews.  some of the student work gives current illustrators a challenge to live up to...get thee to a book fair!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

reading and rereading

i will in part exchange reading pages for reading the water come kayak season, but so far am off to a happily ensconced start to the 2013 book tin.  "the architecture of happiness" by alain de botton, "glaciers" by portland author alexis b. smith and "french dirt:  my garden in the south of france" by richard goodman.  i will occasionally reread a book.  mostly after 18+ years because by then i have changed and the book holds new meaning for me.  but i realized people reread for all sorts of reasons:  remembering details, interest factor or sheer joy.  so here's the reader poll:  do you reread books and if so, what is your main reason?

true confession, british style

so after telling you that i had placed my television more or less in permanent storage, i dusted it off.  masterpiece theater needs no more press because "downton abbey" speaks for itself!  (i decided when it comes to media, i will make an exception for the likes of OPB or NPR, both smart!)  i also decided that, once a week for seven weeks, it is ok to stay up past my bedtime for a good old fashioned british soap opera.  i find the interplay of story lines between the aristocracy and the servants to be most intriguing, having always identified more with the hired "help" as it were and feelings of empathy for the hard-working class.  the banter betwixt shirley maclaine (american mrs. levinson) and maggie smith (tried and true brit the dowager) is barbed and priceless and has me laughing out loud from where i sit, statue-like to keep the antennae working...

a word from our sponsor

january is a great time to focus.  take blogging, for instance.  if i didn't have a theme to center the subject material and purpose of my site, i would be all over the place, like my *brain :)  *see also the creative connections of an attentive soul.  for me, this isn't a journal per se.  nor is it for mini sermons...neither do i want to make commentary on world events and news necessarily...wordnest is all about words, new books, stories and culture.  i was thinking this week not only about the amazing focus that comes with age (focus is to the late 30's as success is to the 20's) but also the necessary purpose (or lack thereof) of different means of communication.  (facebook:  long-distance friends?  pinterest:  visual interest?  not to mention texting, tweeting, blogging and old fashioned email...can we spell fragmentation?) just this week i've been handed a huge range of topics from school safety concerns and family of origin issues to the benefits of omega-3 fats and special needs education.  that's quite a range.  just like we have to filter the information that comes to us, gain perspective & rise above the daily residue of film left on us just by being alive, in relationship, and out and about (akin to needing windshield wipers for the soul after a mud puddle splash), we remember who we are by who we're not, what is lifegiving by what is not...i keep coming back to the idea of positive and negative space in art or rests in jazz music, white space on a page...the restraint that comes from everything we don't say or fill or this culture seems to be especially soothing; how you want to lean in and listen to someone who carefully weighs their words and speaks softly.  enthusiasm need not be loud.  our theme at school right now is "keep your promises".  so, dear readers, i promise to stick to my theme in hopes of inspiring you toward a meaningful succession of words and a shared richness of life...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

138 books the better

a couple of years ago, i blogged about the fact that my reading habit had fallen to the level of teacher grade books.  since then, a friend and i have committed to reading and downed  63 titles together in 2011. for 2012, we read 75 books!  here are our top five picks:  1) a year of mornings by maria vettese and stephanie barnes (this is actually a photo book--beautiful!) 2) the reading promise by alice ozma (inspiring story of father-daughter shared reading) 3) walden by henry david thoreau (a good re-read confirming the desire for simplicity) 4) imagine:  how creativity works by jonah lehrer (hip riff on the process and outcomes of creative thinking) and 5) the art of travel by alain de botton (philosophy of where and why we travel).  my tv earned a permanent place in storage and the bookshelves took over.  i'd say it was a very good year...

Friday, January 4, 2013


my first entry of the new year is not spiritual, nor deep, nor woven with eloquent maxims for personal growth.  those are great and i'll live them out, but no, my first entry is...quirky.  a sign of things to come?  let me just say that while on a recent field trip to *bob's red mill, i saw a kitchen tool that made me laugh out loud.  i am not making this up, it's called "a golden spurtle".  further research shows that it is a scots kitchen tool dating back to the 15th century.  originally a flat, wooden spatula-like utensil, the golden spurtle evolved in shape to what it is today; a more rounded rod-like tool.  the design, with constant stirring, is used to keep porridge even while cooking.  which brings me to the AGSPMC.  which i am also not joking about:  the Annual Golden Spurtle Porridge-Making Championship.  people gather in Carrbridge to compete in porridge making in hopes of winning, yes...the coveted spurtle.  happy oats to you in 2013 and beyond.

*the field trip brought on by fond childhood memories of walking with grandma to the orginal bob's red mill which unfortunately burned in a fire.  the new location, to my adult self, is like a whole-grain disneyland!