Saturday, January 30

Monday, January 25

It's Complicated

...but delicious!

Inspired by my friend Lynne Campbell mentioning it on Facebook last week, I cooked up some Dahi Machi last night. That is a Bengali style fish in velvety yogurt sauce. Or as it shall forever be known in my houshold "The fish-dish. The Indian fish-dish!" (Don't ask.)

Like many Indian recipes it calls for much measuring of spices, blending of spices, rubbing or browning of spices and the dicing of many vegetables. This dish also necessitated a session with the blender at one point. The actual cookery involved was not complicated...just a lot of little steps. The result was fantastic, and well worth it. Youngest son H did mention that he thought there was "a little too much flavor" but I noticed he had second helpings so it could not have been that big a problem for him. His tender young taste buds soon adapted.

It was one of those times in the kitchen when I was really enjoying the adventure of a new recipe, feeling the flow and the joy of the work. Rare of late.

There are many recipes for Dahi Machi out there. I used this one (click here), and a few tweaks and substitutions with which I will not bore you, as I am sure you'll have your own ideas on what to do. I suggest serving the fish-dish with rice, spinach, naan and chutney. And don't worry about too much flavor. Just say "Yes, please!"

Friday, January 22


the author's voice
reading from her new novel-
incandescent calm

(Went to hear friend Elizabeth Kostova reading from her new novel, The Swan Thieves, last night. Absolutely wonderful!!!)

Wednesday, January 20

Happy Twins Day!

Or even three or more: it was also the birth of new parents, and grandparents, and uncles! My babies turned 16 today. Hard to believe, yet all so real at the same time. Happy birthday my lovely boys!

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

-William Wordsworth (From Ode: Intimations of Immortality)

Friday, January 15

Friend Friday!

It's time for another Friend Friday, because I have several dear friends with big events coming up. I am delighted that all three of these are in Philadelphia and environs so I can attend! Here they are, in order of their occurance:

My friend and neighbor Fay Stanford has a solo show on at Villanova University. The opening reception is tonight, so come on down and bask in the marvelous glow of Fay's unique and amusing woodcuts.
Marvel and Mayhem
January 8-February 19, 2010
Villanova University Art Gallery

Reception to meet the artist
Friday, January 15, 5-7 pm
Connelly Center, second floor
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
For directions just click here!

Image above: Birthday Boy, Woodcut, 2009, Fay Stanford

Friend and fellow autism mom Katharine Beals will be discussing her new book, Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Strategies for Helping Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children to Thrive at Home and at School, this coming Tuesday evening (January 19th) from 7:00 to 8:00 at the Penn book store.

The book discusses unsocial/socially awkward children, analytical children, and children on the autistic spectrum, reveals current trends in today's schools that pose challenges for these children, and helps parents nurture and advocate for their children.

January 19, 2010
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Penn Bookstore
3601 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Last but not least, my old friend Elizabeth Kostova will be in town to do a reading at The Free Library of Philadelphia next Thursday the 21st. Her newest book, The Swan Thieves was just released on Tuesday, so this is a hot off the presses opportunity (I got my copy today and can't wait to crack it open!)

Elizabeth Kostova | The Swan Thieves: A Novel
Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 7:30PM
Central Library
1901 Vine Street, 19103
FREE, no tickets required.
For Info: 215-567-4341

Thursday, January 14

Tunnel Vision

Through a glass, brightly

Charmed by the slightly distorted world (well, kitchen) seen through the bottom of my water glass I decided to record it for posterity!

When I was a child, I spake as a child,
I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see as through a glass, darkly;
but in future, face to face:
now I know in part; but in future shall I know fully...

First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, verse 11)

Wednesday, January 13

Street Scene

cheerful, drunk, beggar
lifts his hat to all, uncaring
who gives or doesn't


I took this shot yesterday in Philadelphia (I was parked across the street from him, waiting for someone.) This fellow was doing a roaring trade: seemed like every fifth person stopped and handed him something. I think his cheerful insouciance added to his appeal. Made me think of that great Sherlock Holmes story about the beggar The Man with the Twisted Lip.

Submitted to Sepia Scenes and also One Single Impression

Tuesday, January 12


That trembling moment
before the snow slides down-
holding my breath


My neighbor Hiroshi's garden is a work of art, even in winter. I wrote this for Haiku Bones, the new weekly haiku meme created by my brother Bruce and myself. This week's prompt is tremble. Feel free to join in the fun, you bloggers!

Monday, January 11

Signage Galore

Multiple Messages

I think whoever runs this business should write a novel or start a blog. They have obviously have a lot of thoughts they are burning to express.

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
~Joan Didion

Saturday, January 9

A Scary New Leaf

After the Seizure

So, it looks like our sweet Henry has begun a new adventure, and is taking us along for the ride! Grand Mal seizures. Actually, the medical profession does not call them that anymore (they are now generalized tonic-clonic seizures) but I like the old name which means "big bad" which is perfectly apt! Henry had his third big bad seizure on New Year's Eve day. This time, despite the ferocious intensity of the whole thing I was fairly calm. 911 was not called, I knew what to do for him: Henry's neurologist had given me the parameters for when I needed to call for help, and when just to deal.

Interestingly, the last two seizures began in the same exact spot in the kitchen (and at around the same time of day!) Making me very very leery of Henry ever even going NEAR this spot again! You should see me shooing him away from it now, as though it was the fault of the location (some supernatural vortex hanging in the air only he can see?) as opposed to what I am sure it really was: random chance. Silly of me, but I confess it still makes me nervous.

The good thing about the last two seizures happening in the kitchen is that I am almost always in there. Both times my "child-in-danger-radar" worked flawlessly. I sensed something amiss and leaped up and grabbed him before he hit the ground. People who have lost control of their musculature are a dead weight and as he now outweighs me and tops me by four inches this is no joke. I have two close autism mom friends who work out rigorously in order to deal with their children, and obviously this is what I now need to start doing, too. Alas for lazy (in body) me! We are all, reluctantly, having to turn over new leaves.

After a big seizure most people are somewhat groggy and disoriented and Henry is no exception. He got up from the floor and staggered right for the stairs to go up to his bed. Actually, this was probably more dangerous than the actual seizure itself as he had very poor balance and wavering muscle control. But he had enough muscle, and enough body mass to resist my trying to get him onto the couch. Bed was what he wanted. I got one of my other sons to help me half-carry him up the steps and get him into the bed. (Here he is in his little safe harbor, resting up.)

If you ever see someone having a seizure here are a few tips:
~gently roll them onto one side if possible (this helps clear the airways)
~put something soft under their head (making sure not to obstruct the airways)
~loosen tight neckwear, if any
~don't try to restrain them, but move any sharp or hard objects away from them if possible.
~call for medical help.

For more information on seizures click the Mayo Clinic seizure page.

Friday, January 8

Guinea Wing

intricately patterned
alone in a flock of chestnut-
one blue-faced guinea hen

For the One Single Impression prompt of Wings.

Thursday, January 7

Heavy Lifting

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

~Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, January 6

Naturally Sepia

Winter river land
drained of color, rimmed with ice-
shivering with light


I took my son Henry back to school today and I stopped in at nearby Beaver Farm for a walk-round and little spirit-vacation. It is beautiful in every season.

Saturday, January 2

The Talking Hand

Where have I seen this before?

gesturing hand,
a young woman's startled face-