Sunday, December 23, 2012


As a child I was eager to rush to the mailbox to collect Christmas cards.
My favorites were those with childlike illustrations of the three wise men.
Sometimes I would trace them, then  recolor them to put up in my room.
I especially loved the ones with flowing, colorful capes and intricate crowns.
If there had been a copy machine in our home I daresay
I might have wallpapered my room in wise men illustrations.

As an adult I often select Christmas cards with the three kings.
As evidence I have not progressed all that much
I have been known to enhance them with markers.

In Latin countries they celebrate Epiphany as Three Kings Day
They feast, celebrate and eat breads shaped as crowns.
One day I hope to experience this celebration in some wonderous location.

I also loved the Christmas song, We Three Kings of Orient Are
It was not about jingling bells or Santa's laughter or heralding  angels song.
This was magic. The hand of God at work because ....
They were out at night,
 following a star,
traversing fields, fountains, moors and mountains!
Riding on camels.

Not too surprisingly my attempts to convince our mother
to let me out at night in quest of baby Jesus were unsuccessful.
As were my requests for a camel.
It would indeed take Divine intervention for this to happen.
Somehow the visits to live Nativity dioramas
featuring one of my classmates never quite satisfied.
I found the bed sheet capes extremely annoying.
The cardboard crowns an insult to faith.
And while there might be  a burro
there was never a camel.

still calls me
always leads me to

Peace Be With You

Monday, December 3, 2012

Haiku Monday: Pretend

Mighty prize of war?
No! Agamemnon's deceit
decimated Troy

Hope. First weaponized
by Virgil's equine pretense.
Now?  Standard practice

The belly of the beast?
Presented as  a fool's prize .
Early spin doctors!

Art spawn'd by Troy's myth
illustrates mans deception.
Hope. It's a hard death.

What did Helen think?
Some great prize won by default?
Whoa! to foolish trust

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Haiku Monday: Resist!

This week our Haiku Monday game is being hosted by Moi over in her land of Eden for dogs.
The subject of "resist" was apparently sparked by recent holiday  travel experiences with first hand witnessing of TSA absurdities. She was wondering what incites resistance in you? Are we all succumbing to the herd mentality? Is there nothing which will make us stand up and say,
 " No !"
If there is, write a haiku over on her comments page, the rules of the game are posted there.

TSA abuse
These are not bombs. These are breasts!
Profilers by flesh

this is outrageous

Really? Public groping of Nuns?!?!?!?!

teach our little girls to let adults touch their personals?

Yeah. We all feel safer now.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Haiku Monday: Rock Edifice

Haiku Monday is being hosted this week  by Serendipity at her place:  Our theme is "Rock Edifice"
This made me yearn to return to France to revisit my beloved Rocamadour and the 
better known Mont St. Michel. Alas, I cannot write a haiku equal to those amazing locations.
I tried and tried but could not capture  what I know and would share of these great wonders.

Thus, I have retreated to writing haikus about our own regional rocks. If you have never visited
Ceasars Head State Park, Sliding Rock or Chimney Rock they are all delightful adventures. The
other great thing is they are close enough you could visit all three from a single, central location.

Chimney Rock victor?
Nope; took  the elevator.
Spectacular views!

Summer tradition.
 Sliding Rock family day.
Road rash memories

Mountain Laurel crown
Caesars Head welcomes all fools.
Treachery abounds.

Third finger left hand
Diamond rock, emerald bands
Man love edifice

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Good Morning

Some mornings I get up quite early.
Long before most humans want to be disturbed or enter into conversations.
In warmer seasons I slide into comfy old clothes and  head outdoors to the garden or to a beach or just for a good heart thumping walk.  Not so this morning.  It is currently 33 degrees.  Actually a few degrees warmer than it was when I unfurled myself from a down comforter. 

This morning  I did not even fetch the paper. Not just because I am on vacation from all news sources but because I am not attracted by frozen air or crunchy grass or icy brick walkways. I was however once again hopeful I could make that elusive perfect cup of tea. Brewed to the correct flavor depth with "just so"  amounts of cream and sugar. Served in a pre-warmed, comfortable to the hand and lips, mug. 

When I am on sabbatical from news of every sort, I do not read papers or turn on a radio or television. I have a very entertaining library of books on architecture, design, art . This morning  however, what captured my interest was  Bluegrass Winners,  a cookbook by the Garden Club of Lexington Kentucky. Have you seen this cookbook? It is organized by horse farm. We are talking 'bout some of America's most prestigious Thoroughbred  farms. The cookbook has photos from the farms,  a menu from a social event at the farm and a one page story about the farm itself. I find it entertaining. Also comforting. This was a present from Mermaid and we mothers love it when our children choose well.

There are a couple of things I  find unusual  about this book. One is they have simple, hearty, farm menus. This makes sense as horse farming is hard, hard labor. Second ,there are a lot of recipes with turkey, asparagus or tomatoes because all are plentiful. Not surprising for a community known for its "Hot Brown" signature sandwich. This is a very hearty, open faced, turkey sandwich.

 But, at some of our most prestigious gillion dollar racing homesteads I expected a bit more posh to the menus.   For instance, on page 29 is a menu for Brunch at Claiborne Farm. This is  Secretariats home ...  .the grandest of the grand!

Hominy Ring with Turkey Hash
Smoked Sausage
Grilled Tomatoes
Apple Fritters
Hot Biscuits with Preserves

Have you ever eaten hominy? I have. It is not my favorite substance. It has a bland taste and a peculiar texture which disturbs the tongue. Reading the menu I thought, " they must do something spectacular with hominy if they serve it for brunch at Claiborne!" So I looked up the recipe: 1cup milk, 2 tbs butter, 2 cups cold, boiled hominy drained, 2 eggs beaten, 1tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.  Heat milk and butter, add hominy and mix until smooth. Stir in eggs and seasonings, pour into a buttered 1 quart ring mold, bake at 350 until firm to the touch and brown on top. About 30-40 minutes.  

Reading this recipe I was less eager to experience brunch at Claiborne. The top two items were the only prepared foods, everything else is sort of in the heat and eat category.  The hominy ring  recipe reads as bland, if not blah.  So I thought the hominy ring must be the "go with" for some fabulously savory turkey hash.  It would be fair to say these recipes are not as exciting as their horses. The turkey hash recipe is basic. Even ordinary: saute celery, onions, bell peppers in butter, add chopped cooked turkey, turkey gravy, parsley , salt and pepper.

Not to worry. 
I just turned a few pages and found myself at the  Hardboot Farm Tennis Party where they were serving: 

 After Tennis
Shrimp and Cheddar Pie
Strawberries White House

                                        Actually, if this is the view, I do not care what they serve.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Winners All

Hello Haikuers!
My thanks to you all for playing this very fun visual game this week.
My apologies for the delay in announcements ... but I loved my trip to Savannah with Mermaid!

Here are my top choices:

Moi's cover selection and haiku:

Summer's beauty shed
a pointillist scrim subdues
Even high noon's light

(So well done it made Boxer experience a little swoon.)
I found the concept stellar, the use of "scrim" to define the leaf canopy effect on light ....brilliant.
Mostly I  responded to the beauty of this written testament to her love of nature.

A  Serendipity cover choice  and haiku:

Hurricane season
New York's daily calm bubble
Shattered by Sandy

I really liked the play of the image and the haiku.
Haven't we all played God?  Shaking up a protected world  thereby changing everything within?
In a snow globe the vision magically returns to it's full splendor once the shaken settles. The vision is unchanged.  Not so much for our encapsulated hopes against hope. I am very shaken these days on many fronts.   Are we shattered as a Nation? We just proved that.

Buzz had time to play this week with this combo:

M_aps, GPS...d'oh
A look up will save a life or,
Down river you go

I had to LOL at his manipulation to spell MAD vertically.
Mostly I liked this one because it is so true to the Buzz I meet on the blogs.
The Scout leader who teaches the realities of the " be prepared!" mantra.
The engineer who has a tongue in cheek view of the mishaps  mankind creates,
( Can I take 9th avenue to the Sea of Galilee?)
The dedicated man who on occasion gets to kick back, down a brew and laugh MADly at the world.

Czar's first offering:

Smoldering island's
Ashen past; dreams wintering
Carribean style

I love the illustrators concept for this cover. It tells a story.
I love the haiku because it  tells the same story.
I love the relationship between the haiku and the cover.
I fear the message of this reality too as I feel our  "dreams wintering"  American style.

Congratulations  and thanks to all the players.
But as Chickory pointed out last week the backside of hosting is the judging.
Czar is our winner.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Haiku Monday: Covers

This week our Haiku Monday theme has been inspired by our own Blowfish. 
This native New Yorker has  a professional  history as a former NYC executive art director
 for multiple publications owned by McGraw Hill, Macmillan or Medical World News. 
In the early years he also did stints with Look and Venture Magazines.
 After New York he taught Publications Design, Graphic Design, 
Publications Production and Typography.

Blowfish has a facebook page which receives,
 quite literally,
 hundreds of contacts daily from former students. They send images of their latest art, their productions,
 their children, their lives both personal and professional. They send thank you notes regularly. 
Since 2008 there have been so many  which touch our hearts,
 " Hey Prof, here is a picture of my three boys. I can still provide for them because you 
 me to be proficient in skills  which saved my job.
 I hated you then.
 I now say a prayer for you every night." 

Did you read Newsweek is going out of production? 
Mobile media is replacing  print media. 
Blowfish is in favor of progress, what is new, improved, easier, wiser, greener.
 But he does not believe it  is necessary to torch the past in order to embrace the future.
 He thinks there is value, and room for, both.

When we are out and about in antique stores or  collector shows, 
 always looks through the magazines. 
He looks for "his" magazines first. 
 Those with his name on the masthead, some have him listed in the general art department roster, 
then they climb the charts: 
 art associate, 
then assistant art director,
 then art director,
 then executive art director , 
then division executive. 
We all like to have mementos showing we made a contribution to our culture.
 That we matter
 That we are part of history.
 For Blowfish, his affirmation is magazines.

Blowfish never worked for The New Yorker. 
 But he picks up every one of these he ever sees and,
 starts right in telling stories of the covers, the artists, the photographers, the color separators, the printers who all contributed to the  regular production of an extraordinarily  well done magazine.
 The politics of a publication are never part of  his valuation of the publication. 
It's the design, the type, the art, the production.  
The magic
of pulling off an amazing feat week after week.
 For him these are the creative doers who got the job done.

Debuting  in 1925,
  publishing 47 issues annually
 it still is famous for it's cover illustrations.

Our Haiku Monday Theme: The New Yorker  magazine covers.

  Pick one from this post or go online and pick ones which inspire you.
There are hundreds to choose from.
 The relationship between the visuals and the haikus 
will be key factors in the judging.

Our classic 5-7-5 format please

Because every season is well represented by the covers,
 seasonal references (kigo)  will count, 
as will the use of classic Kireji  (the cutting word) to divide, and unite,
 your haiku message.

This publication is famous for it's homage to artists
On their covers
Through their literary reviews
By their inclusion of fiction in every issue
Via the work of great cartoonists

We should aspire
 to honor these standards!
Excellent  haiku
to accompany
excellent covers

you all have
to share

I do have one more criteria:
No political agendas.
Not this week
Some other time

Have fun!
Happy weekend!
I look forward to your contributions!