Sunday, November 29, 2009

home, home on the range (or oven)

Just a little more than a year ago, I was diagnosed as "pre-diabetic" -- blood sugar levels above normal, but not yet in the range of full-fledged diabetes. This shocked me to my core, and I stopped eating (and baking) sweets. With the help of a clinical dietitian I rethought my diet entirely, and over the past year lost more than 50 pounds. By last summer my blood work showed my sugar levels back in the normal range, but I have continued to very carefully watch my intake of sweets (as well as carbohydrates and fats).

I finally felt confident enough in my ability to regulate what I eat, that I was willing to try some baking again. I love baking. Not all that much interested in cooking, but oh, baking! My mother got me a learning to cook book Mary Alden's Cook Book for Children, when I was about eight. It was designed to teach good kitchen habits as well as culinary skills. There were certificates to be awarded by parents when one mastered things such as "The Clean Kitchen Cook."

After mastering all the baking in my learning to cook book, I started tackling baking projects from my mother's 1949 Joy of Cooking. Plus there were great recipes for brownies, fudge and other chocolate goodies on the Hershey's Coca containers. [Remember when those were actually metal tins?]

So in the past few days I've been on a pumpkin rampage. I love pumpkin baked goods, and they have the virtue of using a vegetable, and using less sugar than many other sweets. I substituted a Splenda/brown sugar blend to further reduce the sugar used, and got fat free sweetened condensed milk, and low fat Philly cream cheese for my pumpkin cheese cake, pumpkin pie, and my hybrid pumpkin cheese cake pie. Haven't tasted the last one yet -- its still cooling in the fridge.

I enjoyed the process of baking, got to practice sensible eating of sweets (small slices in conjunction with meals), and delighted my husband the runner who has to load up on 3600 calories a day when he is running five to ten miles a day.

The photo's of the Front and Back covers of Mary Alden's Cook Book for Children, including the Clean Kitchen Cook certificate come from a wonderful cooking blog Sue's Kitchen. Which seems very appropriate.

Sunday Citar

"It doesn't seem to me, on some days, I ever want to move from one spot. God knows, a lifetime would be little enough to live in one valley like this."
--Sherwood Anderson
Letter from Troutdale, Virginia 1927

"How do you know Zoyenk, where on the face of the globe you would be happy? Who can say that he knows this about himself?
--Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Cancer Ward

For more Sunday Citar see Fresh Mommy

Photograph at the top by sgreerpitt, taken November 25, 2009 from my back steps. Photograph at the bottom by sgreer with an Kodak Instamatic, taken July 1977 in Troutdale, Virginia.

Friday, November 27, 2009

twilight gold and silver

twilight beams
limn ridges
in rosy gold;
from shadowed slopes
black fingers
grasp for
silver moon.

Friday November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

in love with November

the November forest
in all her bare-limbed
becomes a play-ground
of light
and shadow.

in naked splendor
she embraces
the sky.

November 25, 2009

Photograph by sgreerpitt, ©November 25, 2009, Letcher County, Kentucky.

climate confusion

Through out our region (central Appalachia) I've seen evidence of trees and bushes that are seasonally out of whack -- putting forth new leaves and blooms in November. The forsythia bush at the corner of our front yard, like hundreds of others around here, began putting forth new blooms with the resurgence of mild weather in November. The photo was taken today (November 25). I wonder what will happen to these trees and bushes when the bitter cold typical of December finally arrives.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

looking up in thanks

This was the sky view about 5 PM this evening in Letcher County.

It speaks for itself.

The other end of the rainbow below:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

reflections on fashion

This morning I was standing waiting for the elevator and noticed my reflection in the lobby doors. I was wearing a new dress, a nice snuggly cotton knit "corduroy" in a dark, rich garnet, just the right warmth and weight for November. The hem of the dress, swung just at my ankles revealing just an inch or two of black cotton stocking. For a moment I marveled at the vagaries of fashion that have allowed me to wear, in middle age, the long dresses that I longed for in childhood.

In the 1950's, I pined for the fashions of an earlier century. I fancied myself in the graceful sweep of long skirts and rustle of petticoats--the sprigged cotton florals, delicate cotton lawns and bright calicoes of the previous century. When I was ten, I learned to sew and the first thing I made was a dress in blue flowered cotton with fitted bodice, long puff sleeves, and full gathered skirt that reached the floor. It was my "Pioneer girl" Halloween costume inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. The next year, I modified the same dress' sleeves with lace and gathered the full skirt into poofy panniers over a long pink underskirt, and became "Colonial girl" -- inspired by a series of books about "little maids" of various revolutionary battles. The year after that, I made another dress in rich, dark red plaid and sewed a hula hoop into a full petticoat to be "Civil War girl." You get the picture -- inspired by Louisa May Alcott. You get the picture.

When the maxi-skirt hit the fashion runways in the early 70's I grabbed on tight to that fashion trend, and never looked back.

letting go of autumn

Each year it is the same, I hang on to each moment of autumn, savor each shift in color, cling to the visual experience hoping to make it last just a little longer. In the end, colors fade, leaves fall.

Yet, this very transience and impermanence is what makes autumn so glorious. If we had these colors all year round, I'd soon stop seeing them and feeling them so intensely. It is the impending loss that makes autumn so precious. This is true of life itself. Our mortality is what gives life vitality.

Even the final moments of autumn have their beauty -- as this last leaf testifies.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Single Impression -- Departed

Depart from me
so I may know
the joy
of your return.

Some distance and
a little space
within which
love may grow;
sunlight and
some tender tears
nourish the vine
that twines
our hearts,
strengthing the bonds
of love.

Saturday November 7, 2009

for more poems on this prompt see One Single Impression

Sunday, November 1, 2009

One Single Impression -- Shift in Time

the past is within,
beyond memory,
embedded in every cell,
every muscle fiber,
kinetic response.
playing a waltz,
riding a bike,
painting a portrait--
the vision flows
through fingertips
to brush, to canvas,
without conscious knowledge,
after years of dormancy,
skill returns
hesitant at first,
then bursting forth,
tying past and present
moments of creativity
into one
existing outside
of time.

Saturday October 31, 2009

For the thoughts of other poets on the prompt "shift in time" see One Single Impression.

Photograph/painting of Brandi Bee by ©sgreerpitt 2009.