Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama Restaurant Watch

The Obamas are going to be eating at Fifteen when they're in London. No word on the menu for that evening, but they could try the pot roast shoulder of Pete Gott’s rare breed pork (cooked in quince and sage) with braised fennel, purple sprouting broccoli and pan juices. I'm not a big dessert fan, but even I could probably enjoy Amedei dark chocolate semifreddo with Italian blood oranges and marbled shortbread, Or Glazed Amalfi lemon tart with limoncello syrup and crème fraîche, Or Prosecco rhubarb jelly panna cotta with golden raisin and pistachio biscotti

But I'd likely be predictable and go for the cheese tray: Your choice of two cheeses, served with home made date and walnut bread:St Maure (Loire, France), Morlacco (Vento, Italy), Lincolnshire Poacher (Lincolnshire, England) or Stichelton (Nottinghamshire, England). In England, I'd pick the English cheeses.

Picture found here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obama Restaurant Watch

Looks as if the Obamas will soon have yet another reason to eat at home. Michelle Obama, who's been doing great work promoting local, sustainable produce, has decided to have a garden at the WH. Landscape Guy has been working on this project and I can't wait to congratulate him tomorrow.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatillos and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.

. . .

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

Cristeta Comerford, the White House’s executive chef, is eager to plan menus around the garden, and Bill Yosses, the pastry chef, is looking forward to berry season

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food, will oversee the garden. The White House grounds crew and kitchen staff will do most of the work, but other White House staff members have volunteered.

“First of all,” Mrs. Obama said, “there’s nothing really cooler than coming to the White House and harvesting some of the vegetables and being in the kitchen with Cris and Sam and Bill, and cutting and cooking and actually experiencing the joys of your work.”

Mrs. Obama, who said that she never had a vegetable garden before, said the idea for it came from her experiences as a working mother trying to feed her daughters, Malia and Sasha, a good diet. Eating out three times a week, ordering a pizza, having a sandwich for dinner took it’s toll. The children’s pediatrician told her she needed to be thinking about nutrition.

And huzzah to the pediatrician who helped to inspire this!

Picture found here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My New Name For A Blog

What echidne said.

Art found here.

I Was A Bride Married To Amazement

Gus has been posting some very thoughtful stuff about the perceived "need" for Pagan clergy. In general, I agree with him. My brilliant friend S once said to me that religions begin w mystics. Then, a clergy comes along and sucks all the juice out. I think that's about right.

As an old woman, I want to particularly endorse what Gus says about dying and funerals:

What about dying and burial? As we grow in legitimacy, as we are, it will be increasingly possible for a person's coven mates to visit to be present in the final moments of physical life, should he or she so desire. As to burial, the government has a legitimate interest in making sure dead bodies are disposed of safely, and maybe protecting other public values as well. So long as those standards are met, government should have no say whatsoever as to whether we preach, dance, drink ourselves silly, cry, laugh, or what have you at the final services.

I posted a while back about how I'd like to go when I set off in my burning Viking boat, headed for the Isle of Apples in the West:

"The sisters who are with her today have dressed Shekhinah in her ritual robes and surrounded her with rose petals from her garden. It was exactly the way she'd always said she wanted her final moments to be.

Those same sisters are now singing over her body, and soon they will conduct the ritual washing of the body as they prepare her to go back into the arms of the Mother."

Oh, when I die, dress me in the black gown with the hecate trim. Surround me with herbs from my garden. Tell some jokes. You don't need to wash me; my Mother will take me dirty. Drink all my good wine. Scritch my good, grey cat. Turn on all the lights.

I figure the UUs will rent out their space, and my coven can give the law borg the shock of its life (Please. Make them dance the spiral dance!), and I'll go, as Mary Oliver says, saying:

[A]ll my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms

And the lilacs will say, "Hmm, interesting fertilizer. Do I detect a note of Stoli? A hint of rosemary and orange? Quand meme."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The DFHs Were Right

Fuck St. Patrick

I say this every year, but fuck St. Patrick. If any religion ever did any people more harm without essentially exterminating them than Catholicism did to Ireland, I don't know what it would be. The snake was an ancient symbol of the Goddess and Ireland has been the poorer for her absence lo these many centuries.

But a happy Celtic Heritage Day to one and all. I love me some Celts.

Map found here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Brilliant Friend Amy

Check her at Amy Clarke on iTunes.

That's It Dude. You've Totally Convinced Me. It Was The Bad Fifties Movies And The Non-Existent Sixes In the Celtic Knots. Get Me A Priiiieeessst!

Obama Restaurant Watch

Dude, I understand that you've got to talk like that; you're a politician. But you're the leader of the free world; you don't have to eat that stuff, at least for another three years. I'm just going to say it: the "steak" in a Philly Cheese Steak is nasty. And cheese whiz is even nastier.

Flame away.

Photo found here.

Obama Restaurant Watch

I'm not sure why this site is reporting on what Obama likes to eat in Hawaii, but it's interesting. I admit that I've neither heard of nor had a "plate lunch," nor does the description leave me longing for one:

I’m going to get a plate lunch,” Obama proclaimed, moments after arriving in Honolulu on his August vacation.

The name “plate lunch” doesn’t quite do it justice. It should be called: Heaping pile of rice and meat crammed into a plastic foam container that could feed a small family, costs about $6, will require a couple of Rolaids and induce a two-hour nap.

And if there’s nothing on the plate that’s deep fried, soaked in mayonnaise, smothered in gravy or doubles your bad cholesterol level, it’s not a true plate lunch.

. . .

Plate lunches have been a part of Hawaii for decades. They are believed to have originated in the 19th century plantation era, when sugarcane workers brought rice, pickled vegetables and other leftovers from dinner and took a lunch break together in the shade. Decades later, “lunch wagons” started delivering plate lunches to laborers, much like they do today.

Plate lunches reflect the state’s multicultural population, with Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian and American influences.

There are literally hundreds of combinations of plate lunches to choose from, and some places now offer gourmet selections and more healthy choices with brown rice and tossed salads, instead of the traditional white rice and macaroni salad.

Plate lunches are widely available from white lunch wagons parked around downtown and at many restaurants. The best spots don’t show up in tour books, but the locals prefer it that way, because the lines are already too long

And, for dessert: At one point during his last visit, Obama offered journalists a shave ice. Hawaii’s shave ice is a monster version of the snow cone, featuring fine-shaved powder with no icy chunks and a long list of tropical flavors.

“Guys, here’s your chance,” Obama said. “No? I’m telling you, this is really good.”

Photo found here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Even If We're Just Dancing In The Dark

Today at brunch, I was wearing a necklace (actually one of Lunea's lovely rosaries) with a picture of Hecate on it. She doesn't look too kind in the picture and G/Son is at a stage where you're either a Superhero or a Bad Guy. He was interested in the necklace and he looked at Hecate and said, "We don't like her." I said, "Oh, yes, I like her very much. She stands at the crossroads when you're not sure which way to go and she points the way." She doesn't really; she simply opens up crossroads when you need them, but I wasn't quick enough to explain it that way to G/Son. Later, when we were watching DVDs, he wanted to wear the necklace and he flipped it over to the picture of a sacred fire and said, "This is my necklace; the necklace with fire."

Later still, G/Son and I were playing in the basement and he opened up the closet where I keep, among other things, the Samhein decorations. Not surprisingly, among those decorations are several large witches. He pulled out the old stuffed witch on a broomstick with her orange-polka-dots-on-black-satin clothing and a metal silhouette witch who holds a basket into which you put a candle. He said of the first witch, "Nonna, is she Oz?" And I said, "She's not the witch from the Wizard of Oz. She's a nice witch. See her nice smile?" G/Son lifted up the brim of her hat and said, "Yes. She's nice. She has a nice smile." Then he turned to the other witch. "But she's mean. She has a mean smile." I said, "Well, maybe she's mean because people were mean to her," and that seemed to work for G/Son.

Even later still, we opened up my computer. My wallpaper is a picture of me and my wonderful circle of women, skyclad, from the shoulders up. G/Son said, "Nonna, that's you and your friends," and I said, "Yes, that's Nonna and that's Miss X, Miss Y, Miss Z," etc. G/Son said, "I like them. Why do you have blue moons on your foreheads?" I said, "Nonna and her friends paint those moons to remind them how special the moon is." G/Son said, "I like you. I like Miss X. I like Miss Y," etc. "But I don't like the moons."

I really don't know what I'm doing; I'm feeling my way in the dark. More than anything, I never want him to be hurt. There's this huge disconnect between what society tells him about witches and my experience of witchcraft and he's not old enough yet to understand. I worry a lot about how much I've burdened his 'rents and how much I'm burdening him by being a witch in a society that's not welcoming to witches. But I just can't lie to him.

Picture found here and on my neck.

Update: To be fair, we spent only about 1% of our time on witches. In between, we played about ten games of Hi Ho Cherry Oh, which I totally would have won were it not for that annoying bird who makes you miss turns. We traced stencils of Batman and hung them on the fridge w/ dino magnets for Miss Thing. We gave Miss Thing a treat and, when she made the ever-fascinating cat puke, Nonna cleaned up the cat puke w/ a wet paper towel. We went outside and walked backwards up the street, blew bubbles on the front step, went and hid in the batcave aka Nonna's shed, made a v long train out of all the Thomas the Tank Engine pieces, and played that we were going fishing w the cat toy. We pretended that the shells that Daddy got a long time ago for Nonna were marshmallows and we roasted them over a pretend fire. We played inside soccer in Nonna's basement and we took all the nutcrackers out of Nonna's decoration closet and pretended that we were cracking nuts with them beside a fire in the woods. We did some art with stickers and we had some grapes and cheerios and graham crackers and ice water. It was a busy afternoon.

The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams and George Meredith

"The Lark Ascending"
George Meredith (1828-1909)
He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake,
All intervolved and spreading wide,
Like water-dimples down a tide
Where ripple ripple overcurls
And eddy into eddy whirls;
A press of hurried notes that run
So fleet they scarce are more than one,
Yet changeingly the trills repeat
And linger ringing while they fleet,
Sweet to the quick o' the ear, and dear
To her beyond the handmaid ear,
Who sits beside our inner springs,
Too often dry for this he brings,
Which seems the very jet of earth
At sight of sun, her music's mirth,
As up he wings the spiral stair,
A song of light, and pierces air
With fountain ardour, fountain play,
To reach the shining tops of day,
And drink in everything discerned
An ecstasy to music turned,
Impelled by what his happy bill
Disperses; drinking, showering still,
Unthinking save that he may give
His voice the outlet, there to live
Renewed in endless notes of glee,
So thirsty of his voice is he,
For all to hear and all to know
That he is joy, awake, aglow,
The tumult of the heart to hear
Through pureness filtered crystal-clear,
And know the pleasure sprinkled bright
By simple singing of delight,
Shrill, irreflective, unrestrained,
Rapt, ringing, on the jet sustained
Without a break, without a fall,
Sweet-silvery, sheer lyrical,
Perennial, quavering up the chord
Like myriad dews of sunny sward
That trembling into fulness shine,
And sparkle dropping argentine;
Such wooing as the ear receives
From zephyr caught in choric leaves
Of aspens when their chattering net
Is flushed to white with shivers wet;
And such the water-spirit's chime
On mountain heights in morning's prime,
Too freshly sweet to seem excess,
Too animate to need a stress;
But wider over many heads
The starry voice ascending spreads,
Awakening, as it waxes thin,
The best in us to him akin;
And every face to watch him raised,
Puts on the light of children praised,
So rich our human pleasure ripes
When sweetness on sincereness pipes,
Though nought be promised from the seas,
But only a soft-ruffling breeze
Sweep glittering on a still content,
Serenity in ravishment.
For singing till his heaven fills,
'Tis love of earth that he instils,
And ever winging up and up,
Our valley is his golden cup,
And he the wine which overflows
To lift us with him as he goes:
The woods and brooks, the sheep and kine,
He is, the hills, the human line,
The meadows green, the fallows brown,
The dreams of labour in the town;
He sings the sap, the quickened veins;
The wedding song of sun and rains
He is, the dance of children, thanks
Of sowers, shout of primrose-banks,
And eye of violets while they breathe;
All these the circling song will wreathe,
And you shall hear the herb and tree,
The better heart of men shall see,
Shall feel celestially, as long
As you crave nothing save the song.
Was never voice of ours could say
Our inmost in the sweetest way,
Like yonder voice aloft, and link
All hearers in the song they drink.
Our wisdom speaks from failing blood,
Our passion is too full in flood,
We want the key of his wild note
Of truthful in a tuneful throat,
The song seraphically free
Of taint of personality,
So pure that it salutes the suns,
The voice of one for millions,
In whom the millions rejoice
For giving their one spirit voice.
Yet men have we, whom we revere,
Now names, and men still housing here,
Whose lives, by many a battle-dint
Defaced, and grinding wheels on flint,
Yield substance, though they sing not, sweet
For song our highest heaven to greet:
Whom heavenly singing gives us new,
Enspheres them brilliant in our blue,
From firmest base to farthest leap,
Because their love of Earth is deep,
And they are warriors in accord
With life to serve, and, pass reward,
So touching purest and so heard
In the brain's reflex of yon bird:
Wherefore their soul in me, or mine,
Through self-forgetfulness divine,
In them, that song aloft maintains,
To fill the sky and thrill the plains
With showerings drawn from human stores,
As he to silence nearer soars,
Extends the world at wings and dome,
More spacious making more our home,
Till lost on his aerial rings
In light, and then the fancy sings.