Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spiny Ducklings

I nearly collapsed in the grocery store yesterday:

Baby artichokes.

The grocery store knows how to hit me where it hurts.  I am already haplessly weakened by anything I perceive to be cute; I can give any inanimate object an adorable personality.  So combining cuteness with VEGETABLES brought me to my knees.

I love vegetables.

And I have found that I really, really, love vegetables that look like ducklings.  Observe:

Are you weeping?

I hope you can make way in your heart for these chokelings.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Something Fun

there are fun little things hidden away in the various nooks and crannies of my house ...

if you look, there's so much to see.

even my little compost bin is pretty, with tea leaves and flowers 

Is it weird that I took a picture of my (totally natural) trash?

What fun things are in your house?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


1.8 million children die each year from diseases caused by lack of access to clean water.

At any given time, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.

Slum-dwellers pay 5 to 10 times more for a liter of water than upper-class residents of the same city.

Millions of women and children spend hours each day collecting water from polluted sources - hours children could be spending in school.

This week is World Water Week. Please learn more about the global water crisis at the UN, at or, at Catholic Relief Services, or at Living Water International.

You can help by spreading the word to your family and friends.
You can also cut back on your water use in solidarity with those who are without.
And you can donate to one of the organizations above, who are working to bring safe access to clean water to all.

How many times do you turn on the tap each day?
Have you ever been without clean water?

Fact 1: Catholic Relief Services
Facts 2-4:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tupa tupa!

In Shrimp Town, the fun never stops!

Halfway through Lent, as if our souls cannot fathom
a stretch of grey or a sober mood for three weeks or more, 
we celebrate again just for a day, 
in a little sunburst.  St. Joseph, who rescued Mary and
the baby Jesus from Herod's grasp, has taken us away
for a little more revelry.

The grocery store has set up an altar by the deli
and if, on St. Patrick's Day two days before, we were all Irish,
in green so as not to be pinched,

this day we are all Italian amidst the breads 
and fish
and bread shaped like fish
the flowers
and bowls of fava beans
and the candles.

The Irish priest from the church down the block came to bless the altar.
The American girls read the story of the peasants of Sicily.
The little ones, dressed like angels, went knocking on doors asking for food.

St. Joseph answered, and we feasted.
The angels had fig cookies and oranges.

And then it was Lent again — but it is not too long until Easter.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Morning Light and Evening Light

What time of day is your favorite?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shrimp Town II: In Living Colour

I wanted to share some more of the pictures I took 
during my stroll through Shrimp Town this weekend.
At some points along the main drag, it looks like time is ticking very slowly.
I thought I'd take only black and white photos to capture that feeling.
But I was surprised at the colors I found, and couldn't resist them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shrimp Town

Shrimp Town, my adopted, for-now home,
has been growing lately, stretching from the center
in veins of ranch houses with hip roofs, which look
like volcanos from above.  And like veins too are the little
strip malls with their hardened-lava parking lots. 

So sometimes the old, old-fashioned center looks a little deserted,
especially on a Sunday afternoon.

But there are also things to explore,
especially on this particular Sunday afternoon,
when the sky is yawning sunshine after a long winter's nap.

In fact, when I looked, I found life all around.

There was the seed store, and the music shop
 where I bought strings for my guitar last spring.

Two old friends walked past — how many afternoons have they shared? 
"I want that jukebox!" one said to the other, as they looked in the music store's window.

The old town, 
only for a little while neglected in the excitement 
over volcano-brick ranch houses, 
is perhaps feeling young again, or vindicated:
"Downtown Revitalization and Waterfront Park"
in full swing.

It feels happy, if a town can, 
that today its sidewalks were trod
by families having a sushi lunch or 
playgoers lining up outside its little theatre.

What is the biography of your hometown?

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'll Try It

This weekend I decided to try my hand at making tortillas. I envisioned myself dexterously patting the balls of dough between my hands into shapes lovely, thin, at least sort of round. That didn't end up being the case: they stuck to my hands as I pressed them and I ended up with a pile of small, raggedy tortillas. They did taste good, though, and I'll probably make them again.

I also picked up some sushi from the grocery store.  I'm excited that there are actual sushi chefs who work in my store, next to the deli, and prepare it as we watch.  This wasn't my first time trying sushi, but I sampled a new roll with spicy tuna, crab, and asparagus.  Then I remember the first time I had sushi: my older, looked-up-to cousin was visiting and got some California rolls when we went to the store together. Obviously, I wanted to try them too, though I was a little nervous.  They were delicious, and I had no regrets.

What's the most daring thing you've ever eaten, or tried to cook? What was the result?
Is there a food or a recipe you're scared yet determined to try?