May 2010

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It all started with a new pair of shoes on an impossibly beautiful day…

“Addicted” – Amy Winehouse

“My Adidas” – Run D.M.C.

“Adios” – Glenn Miller

“Adriatic” – Lanterna

“Advent” – Dead Can Dance

“Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love” – Van Halen (always make me think of Steve White –  hi friend!)

“Airbag” – Radiohead

“Alabama Song” – The Doors (must have whiskey – oh you know why!)

“Alberta” – Eric Clapton

“Alive & Kicking” – Simple Minds

“All Along the Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix

“All Apologies” – Nirvana

“All Blues” – Miles Davis

“Allegria” – Gipsy Kings

“All My Life” – Echo and the Bunnymen

“All the Thing’s You Are” – Ella Fitzgerald

“America” – Simon & Garfunkel

“Amor Em Paz” – Antonio Carlos Jobim (I’ll bet Don Draper liked this…)

“Amoreena” – Elton John

“Antarctica Echoes” – Vangelis (Yes, I do know how cheesy I am)

“Any Colour You Like” – Pink Floyd

“April in Paris” – Thelonius Monk

“As Heaven is Wide” – Garbage

“Atomium” – Autour de Lucie

“Autosuggestion” – Joy Division (lose some sleep and say you tried)

“Azalea” – Louis Armstrong



Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.

Maya Angelou

This past Sunday, I got up early and roamed the garden while the hubster slept.  I love doing this.  I love looking at all that is growing, and sometimes dying, and admiring the work of nearly twelve years.  I love that there is birdsong and the buzz of insects and hummingbirds, and evidence of things unseen, like snail trails, and paw prints, and empty spider webs.  While there remains much to do, as I have such grand plans, I am always energized by my work in the garden.  I love the meditative quality of pulling weeds, mowing grass, watering, planting, the ceaseless cycles.  They remind me of my own body, mind, and spirit, and how there is always more to do, see, and grow, and that the effort is always worthwhile and beautiful, no matter how challenging.

Atlantic Poppy

Symbiosis: No Ants, No Peonies.

Armeria – like miniature garden pompoms cheering grow,grow, grow!


Caramel Coral Bells

Sunlight through the birch.  I am looking forward to when it is TALL.

A mason bee has set up house!

Yellow Iris smells so very good.

Deer fern

This, my friends is a slice of terrific banana cake.  I’ve adapted it from what I think is a pretty terrific book, Classic Home Desserts, by the late Richard Sax.  My number one favorite in this department, and one that I’ve had since 1994, longer than any other, of any kind, I might add.  As someone who is a great purger, this is saying a lot.  This book, no doubt, will be with me until it is coming apart at the seams, all 688 glorious pages.  It is full of great stories and historic recipes, not only a treasure to bake from but one to read, as well.  I’ve made countless recipes from it, all went off without a hitch and tasted even better (two other examples are here and here).  How is that for a product endorsement?  Fortunately, the book is not out of print, but the latest edition, from 2000, is, in my opinion, prohibitively expensive, at least on Amazon ($45 used – $99 new, zoiks!), so, if you’d like to give it a try, head to Powell’s (I’ve seen used copies for $25), your local library, or cross your fingers that they print another edition.

Anyway, to the recipe.  I’ve adapted it from his original, of course, for it is my way, but I honestly don’t think he (or you) will mind.  An additional bit, part of my love for this cake stems from the fact that it is made in a Bundt style pan.  Have I ever spoken of my love for the Bundt pan?  Dessert is somehow elevated when it comes out of a pan shaped like that, truly.

Banana Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened or, if you are short on time, grate it fine with a cheese grater

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup ripe mashed banana (about 2)

1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.  Generously butter a 10″ tube or Bundt pan.  Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.  Set aside.

Beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until very light.  Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one by one; beat in the vanilla.  Put mixer on the lowest speed and add half of the flour mixture, alternating with the banana.  Add the remaining flour, alternating with the sour cream or yogurt, in batches.  Do not overmix.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.  Carefully unmold the cake and cool to room temperature.  Eat plain, dust with powdered sugar, or frost.  This is great with a caramel, vanilla, or chocolate frosting.  I’ll bet it would be great with a cream cheese frosting, too.  You can’t go wrong!  Like the picture, it also tastes great with coffee.


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I went to Nia class this morning, followed by my first foray in to Zumba.  It was fun and silly and sweaty and made me think of this great poem.  Sorry there’s no photo.  I have an old one of me dancing on my Nana’s grave (in a good way), but I can’t find it, so you’ll have to create your own picture in your mind.

I know the voice of depression

Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life

Still send their invitations.

But you are with the friend now

And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way

And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the sun

From your prayers and work and music

And from your companions beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the sun

From the sacred hands and glance of your beloved,

And, my dear,

From the most insignificant movements

Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins

That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,

But then drag you for days

Like a broken man

Behind a farting camel.

You are with the old friend now.

Learn what actions of yours delight him.

What actions of yours bring freedom

And love.

Whenever you say God’s name, dear pilgrim,

My ears wish my head was missing,

So they could finally kiss each other

And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

Oh keep squeezing drops of the sun

From your prayers and work and music

And from your companions beautiful laughter.

And from the most insignificant movements

Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,

Be wise.

Cast your votes for dancing!



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