Sunday, September 20, 2009

Veg Fest 2009

Yesterday Justin and I went to Veg Fest at the Oregon Convention Center. I'd been anticipating this event since August and found the cool, drizzly fall morning to be a perfect backdrop for a Saturday of free vegan food, cooking demos, classes and info booths from some of the coolest companies on the market right now. We got the entrance of exhibit hall A and waited in a line for about 5 minutes. It was exciting to see so many people eager to be exposed to veggie culture. In fact on our way out 2 hours later there was still a steady line at the door! Once we got inside and it became clear that everyone's main priority was downing the free food. Having attended Expo West, the massive annual natural products trade show in Anaheim, for the last two years I was prepared for crowds of sample hungry people but this scene was truly comical in its unapologetic crush for free yummy treats. So we dove right in.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ransom Poem

September Garden

The corridor on the south side of the house (where my magnificent tomato plot resides) is lined with dahlias and roses. The flowers reach beyond their beds and wrap me in a fragrant embrace as I make my way through to water, harvest or simply admire. 

I wasn't sure if this pumpkin plant was going to yield any fruit. This only child emerged in the middle of August much to our delight.

Almost ripe! Their intense color and fang-like shape makes me think HOT, but these Banana Peppers are sweet and will temper a spicy chili.

Looking for some folklore on Amaranth this story from Aesop's Fables continued to surface:

Rose and Amaranth are often found blossoming side by side. Amaranth says to her iconic neighbor, "How I envy your beauty and your sweet scent! No wonder you are the universal favorite." Ever gracious, Rose then replies, "Ah my dear friend Amaranth, my bloom is but for the summer season. Come fall I wither and die. But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut; for they are everlasting." 

My feminism notes how these anthropomorphized (female) flowers are portrayed as competitors for the affections of the masses. Amaranth the country mouse, practical housewife or bespectacled best friend and Rose the city mouse, model or homecoming queen. I've got to get my hands on a feminist retelling of the great fairy tales. Or write them myself... in any case I see a bouquet in my future.

A brilliant bouquet...

At this rate we will have fresh tomatoes through October. Another tomato tart for dinner tonight. I'll never tire of them!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From my notebook

I go through periods of time when poetry or its seeds rise brilliantly from the mud and I begin to write spontaneously. But when I sit down with an intent write poetry - inspired by some inner tickle to say something- and the images and ideas don't coalesce into words I stop trying and take a more playful approach. Lately I've been coming up with little assignments and prompts for myself. One of my favorites involves flipping through a dictionary and writing down the last word on the page it opens to and doing a quick stream-of-consciousness writing using these words. This afternoon I flipped up a couple of really interesting lists. The first one:


And here's my free write: 
                   I turn to any page and my word is
                    bludgeon, something heavy and unforgiving
                    too much to eat.
                    My heresy is a heart that locks,
                    a caution my friend
                    against nostalgia, though I invite you
                    to peek as my satin hips rumba,
                    cross yourself in superstition
                    against the sin you cannot erase.

The next series of words was:


Love this list! And the free write:

            bourbon spills down to the floor
            covering ground like this dreadful drama.
            garish darkness hyenas fornicate
            and a joker howls to the moon whose light will
            magnify the odious shade of evil
            glowing in spasmodic delight,
            a temporal virus eating us alive.

Monday, September 7, 2009


For millennia people have taken to water to both clean and infuse themselves with the healing properties of this ubiquitous element. Appropriately named Matsya after the fish incarnation of the Hindu Lord Vishnu, I have always sought the solace of a hot, fragrant bath at the end of a long day. Swimming has also always been an especial joy to me. As a child I plunged right into icy creeks, Oregon coast waves and plastic-rimmed swimming pools whenever the opportunity arose. Needless to say it has always felt like a decadent treat to go swimming, which for me only enhances the activity's magical, restorative properties.

This weekend when I woke to a wet, grey day the urge to go for a bike ride or a hike was buried beneath sheets of cold, dark rain. I considered the weekend in bed with a book but my commitment to exercising is pretty strong. Honestly my sanity depends upon it. So I've been going to the gym and swimming laps in the turquoise blue pool. 24 Hour Fitness is a far cry from a marble bath replete with hookahs, exotic fruits, and incense but in the bright tiled windowless room I somehow descend into a peacefulness perhaps transmitted by the welcoming embrace of a body of water. As I swim I notice myself in a very present, meditative state. I'm not the strongest of swimmers so I do have to focus to get successfully down my lane. I'm also reminded of yoga as I naturally focus on my alignment and experiment with micro-adjustments (primarily in my core) to achieve greater (or keep) balance, kick stronger and move forward faster.

With September and October (perhaps my favorite month) stretching before me I do see many more bike rides and hikes among brilliant foliage, but for now I'm a little thrilled with the idea of swimming through the winter. Here's a somewhat related post I wrote for Touchstones of the Sacred, ME2 Challenge: Exercise and Seasonal Change.