Something To Write Home About (II)

Letter writers are reporters for the newspaper of life. Columnists of the daily. Chroniclers of the ordinary. Copy editors of dreams.

That last point is perhaps best illustrated in a poem I read recently by j.i. kleinberg, author of the blog chocolate is a verb.

Please take a moment to immerse yourself in it.

jik-found-poem-927s

“found poem” by j.i. kleinberg (used with permission)

As a life-long letter writer I was captivated by Judy’s succinct description… an explanation, if you will, of why I write letters. (Not that I need to explain myself, lol!) She nailed it and my gut reaction was YES. (I love it when someone unexpectedly defines a part of me that has heretofore been indescribable!) Thank you.

To me, this is what letter writing is about — revealing yourself line by line and sorting out life by the paragraph. (Personally… and preferably with a pen.) No backspace. No delete. Put it out there!

Letter-writing is a soul-baring business and the best letters are those filled with unabashed opinions and juicy thoughts — our true, unedited selves. Somehow, I think poets feel the same way about writing poems, xo.

Dangly Thingy

Fluid lines appeal to me (as does transparency) in letter-writing, poetry, and “dangly things.” (This one happens to grace my current writing space — aka ‘Garden Room’ — courtesy of my late sister.) I gave it to her after she crashed her Harley ten years ago (not her fault!) while she was convalescing in a nursing home for five months with casts up to her hips and shoulders — with a terrific attitude, I might add. It brightened her room, and now it brightens my life. (And I miss writing to her!)

For every letter, there’s a designated “receiver”– someone as willing to read your thoughts as you are eager to write them — whether they write back or not! FYI, I preface or ‘postlude’ many of my letters with an abject apology of sorts: “Don’t feel like you have to respond or keep up with me word-wise.” (Can’t help myself… it’s who I am.)

Letters are our indelible history in the making (if we don’t “tell,” who will?)… a mutual exchange of souls, and as so eloquently stated, “intimate art.”

Long live poets and letter-writers!

Enjoying a lil’ soul-baring,

~ Kim

Out of the Shadows

Storm

I’ve been living in the shadows lately… partially defined, somewhat indistinct… and mostly due to Oklahoma’s meteorological mayhem since we moved into our house — never mind an unprecedented case of “Seasonal Affective Disorder” and wonky Do Over circumstances. (I thought Minnesota’s weather wreaked havoc on my psyche!) Sheesh.

Frequently unannounced absences from this space (due to life and whatnot) have also contributed to my lack of continuity and well-being. I started “this” for the express purpose of “expressing myself” (four-odd years ago) and when I don’t write regularly, I feel it down to my toes… or act like the cloud pictured above.

I’ve also been missing “playing” in my comment section. I’m a responder! When I don’t respond, I feel awful. (I imagine you do, too.) Thank you for your comment just doesn’t do it for me, and not replying to your comments does me in completely! I promise to be a lil’ more interactive from now on, xo.

Speaking of Minnesota… I just returned from a 17 day sojourn there, mostly spent with my Mom who recently turned 80 — can you say surprise party? ;) Mom has no internet. (Can you say cranky?) Thank goodness The Man Of Few Words has weathered More.Than.One of my artistic temperamental storms and knows that hugs cure my ills. I’m positive for the most part, but I have my moments.

And, speaking of The Man of Few Words… today is the first day he hasn’t been somewhere in the house (new or temporary) in over eight months. (!) I love that man to pieces, but sometimes a girl’s gotta have a lil’ breathing room — even though he provides plenty of “room” with his quiet countenance. (No offense to retirees, folks with disabilities and/or illness, or who stay home together by choice — good for you!) TMOFW started a new job today and I feel like Queen For A Day. ‘Nuff said.

Anyhoo, I’m amazed (or taken aback) at how seldom I’ve asserted myself here during these past months considering how much I love to write. (And how cathartic it is.) It’s not that I don’t want to; it’s just that I don’t know how to say what’s on my mind sometimes. (Either that, or I’m plain ol’ wimpy… or sparing you from a bunch of indistinct whining.) Call it post traumatic stress syndrome, coping, or whatever (!), I’ve been peeking at life (including yours) more than participating and I don’t like it. Definitely not moi!

(At least I’m definite about something…)

Thankfully shadows are created by light, and that’s what I’ve chosen to focus on during these tentative, tumultuous months — silver linings and all that. With light, ordinary every day objects transform into art… plus they make me smile.

On a personal basis, I’ve been redefining what I want out of life and honing my edges, which isn’t easy for a “soft” person like me. I’d much rather float along with the status quo and avoid decision-making, confrontation, opinion-stating, (and/or social media) unless I absolutely have to — yet I know full well that honest communication is a two-way street and it involves speaking my mind (and listening to yours) so we can both say “what we think.”

(Sometimes I think too much.)

Otherwise, how can anyone know what I — or you — feel? Bring it on!

Wall Flower

“There you are… don’t be shy.”

I’m finally out of the shadows.

In the light at long last.

Living my life and looking forward to celebrating yours!

Enjoying better-late-than-never illuminations,

~ Kim

Musical Chairs

Lyrical Chairs

You don’t get to be my age and cultivate a sense of contentment by hanging onto things, but every once in awhile I miss my chairs.

They were a part of my life. Part of me.

I even dressed them up on occasion. ;)

Deck the halls... and chairs

Then along came my friend Marla for an impromptu “Girls Day” gathering at my house — with a surprise in tow.

Marla is a piano player. A dear friend. Someone who “gets” me.

Lookie what she brought!

The Chair

A friend of hers was clearing out some things when Marla spied “The Chair” and asked what she was going to do with it. In a moment of generosity, this cast off went from “throw-away” to “give-away.” I’ve been doubly blessed by generous hearts.

Despite the fact that it has no seat (that’s on The Man Of Few Words’ honey-do list) this gem is rife with possibilities. What color fabric? What kind of cushion? As I search for the “right” ones in the coming months, not only will I be merging past with present, I’ll be forging ahead. What an extraordinary gift… the sense of “connection” and promise.

Truly, I’m not defined by “stuff,” but I do recognize the value in treasures… and this chair is definitely one of them. So is my friend. xo

Enjoying an unexpected piece of my past,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ June 2015

In My Kitchen… are a bounty of blessings, but rather than describe each one at length, I’m deferring to a brief summary:

Colorful, appetite-appeasing, and soul-satisfying — especially the spices!

I’m so thankful to have a variety again.

In My Kitchen… is the cutest lil’ mortar and pestle.

I hope to have a large one someday, but for now it does the trick.

I’m prone to mix and mingle. :)

In My Kitchen… (or adjacent to it) is the ideal spot for growing herbs indoors.

Technically it’s a breakfast nook, but I’m not much of a breakfast eater so I renamed it “The Garden Room.”

I will be eating my way through these…

Things are coming along nicely!

I was thinking of painting the board on the bench a gorgeous tangerine or sunny yellow… what do you think?

For more delightful descriptions and a plethora of fascinating gadgets, please visit Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial where you can peruse kitchen goodies from around the world — and add your own, if you wish.

Enjoying a more flavorful life in my kitchen,

~ Kim

How High Is The Water, Mama? (Rhapsody in Blue VII)

Old Boy contemplates a cloud

Old Boy (my Great Blue Heron friend) usually sits in the “driftwood tree” farther out in the lake. Remember? 

These days he’s roosting elsewhere and I can’t blame him.

The tips of the branches you see in the photo below are the top of that tree after two weeks’ worth of rain… with another weeks’ worth of thunderstorms in the forecast.

High water

That’s a lot of water!

(Or, as they say around here: a “Lotawatah.”)

There’s a road by that name not far from here — for good reason.

High water 1

This photo is more “brown” than “blue” but you get the idea…

A neighbor called to check on the flooding by his cabin. (This is the photo I sent in reply.) Somehow it reminded me of Johnny Cash’s song, “Five Feet High and Rising.”

How high is the water, Mama? Two feet high and risin’… three feet high and risin’… four feet high and risin’ — and on it goes. Whether or not you’re a Johnny Cash fan, The Man In Black wrote real-life lyrics (even though his song pertained to flooding in next-door Arkansas at the time.) Yup… that’s our “real life” at present.

According to the Army Corp of Engineers — the efficient folks letting out the deluge day by day at the dam 15 miles east of here (yes, our lake is THAT big!) — Lake Eufaula is hovering around 598 feet… 13 feet above “normal.”

Disappearing driftwood tree

Generally there’s a 15 foot “drop” between the lake and our “lakeshore”

It’s comforting to know that the ol’ Lightning Tree has witnessed this before — and oh, how I love looking at things from a tree’s perspective! There’s less chaos and more calm about the rising water level when witnessed by a stalwart soul — merely a phenomenon to note (despite the waves crashing ashore on windy days) — ho hum, been there, done that. Que Sera Sera.

Thankfully we live farther up “the hill” and are safe and well, other than the occasional water moccasin (aka poisonous “cotton mouth” snake) in search of a place to sun themselves. Can’t blame them either! Their habitat is in more danger than ours.

Please pray for our friends and neighbors (vertebrates and invertebrates alike) living in the low-lying areas. We may be treading carefully these days, but at least we aren’t treading water!

Enjoying “life on the lake” in spite of things,

~ Kim

Behind The Scenes: Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates cookbook

Blog Tour - May-1-28-2015

I’ve been holding a secret treasure in my hands for over a year — filled with wonder, adventure, and tales from around the globe shared by a precious gem of a friend — right there in my writing nook.

When Ally Phillips asked if I’d edit her cookbook-in-the-making in April 2014, of course I jumped at the opportunity — and onto her “magic carpet!” What a ride it’s been since.

Besides working on editorial stuff (spelling, grammar, formatting recipes, arranging page flow, and making sure Ally’s “voice” came through, etc.), I played in my kitchen — and around the house. Ally encourages that. :)

Did I mention fabulous food? (I didn’t spend all my time on the computer!)

Being privy to some of the most imaginative recipes I’ve ever read prompted me to “taste test” frequently, too.

So far I’ve savored Makai Paka, Pan Seared Flounder with Fresh Herb Tomatoes, French-Inspired Beef Roast, Croatian Potato Salad, Bourbon Drizzle, Shakshouka, and more.

Now that Ally’s “treasure” is shared with the world (available in bookstores May 12th) you can discover other folks’ reactions to it (and recipes they’ve tried) on the Blog Tour.

No surprise that the reviews are as diverse as the author ~ ‘expressing your unique self’ is a theme throughout her cookbook.

“It’s my sincere hope that ‘Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates’ will be the spark, the catalyst that allows you to discover your own special sense of style ~ not just in the kitchen, but in life and living.” ~~ ally

singaporean grilled glazed salmon

Singaporean Grilled Glazed Salmon

(from Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates)

Salmon~

1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (I used 1 tsp. ground ginger)

1 tsp. lemon pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. each fresh lemon zest & coarsely ground pepper)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 (1 lb.) salmon filet, approximately 1-inch thick, cut into two pieces

Cooking spray

marinade in the making

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lemon pepper, salt, and sesame oil and blend well. Score the top of the salmon about 1/4-inch deep, then drizzle with the marinade and rub it into the salmon. Cover and refrigerate about an hour before cooking.

Glaze~

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1 Tbsp. concentrated tomato paste

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used Tamari)

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger (I used about 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. mustard

1 tsp. red curry powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice

sauce

Combine the brown sugar, cranberry juice, tomato paste, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, garlic, mustard, red curry powder, turmeric, and Chinese 5-Spice in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring and cooking about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook another 8-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Coat outdoor grill grates with cooking spray and heat to 300-350 degrees. Place the salmon on the grill and cook 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side (or to your desired doneness), closing the lid in between turning. Turn off the grill and use a pastry brush to coat the top of the salmon with the glaze. Close the lid again for about 3 minutes, then remove the salmon to a plate for serving.

(I “boho’d” mine by plating it over gluten-free black bean “spaghetti.”)

064

For more about Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates please visit:

Ally’s Kitchen

Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble

Book signings/events

Cookbook trailer (3 minute video featuring Ally)

Blog Tour (May 1-28, 2015)

Enjoying sharing “treasure” with you,

~ Kim

Disclaimer:  Cedar Fort Media & Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this cookbook and I’m employed by Ally’s Kitchen LLC, but the opinions expressed in this review are uncompensated and entirely mine.

The Big Reveal

Bourbon Drizzle
Bourbon Drizzle from “Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates”

For months I’ve been hinting about a project I’ve been working on, and here ’tis at last.

Every once in awhile you run across somebody who inspires you to look at life differently. Someone who makes you giddy considering the possibilities in front of you. An instigator… an energizing spirit… an innovative foodie… a kindred soul!

Ladies and gents, if you haven’t already had the pleasure of meeting Ally Phillips, I’m tickled to introduce her to ya…

Ally

Ally entered blog world a few years ago, and since then she’s been off and runnin’ — cooking, creating, capturing mouthwatering photos, competing in contests (and winning!) — not to mention writing a one-of-a-kind cookbook.

When this cohort in cooking-dom asked if I’d be willing to edit it last year, I didn’t have to think twice before saying YES. The prospect of combining my love of the King’s English with her unparalleled savvy in the kitchen, sensational stories spanning the globe, and innate sense of adventure was meant to be! Plus I’ve always wanted to work at home in my jammies. ;)

Bonus points for getting a first-peek at Ally’s scrumptious recipes, too! Here’s the Croatian Potato Salad I made for dinner the other night. OH MY!!!

To see what other folks are saying about Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport for Adventurous Palates, check out the “Blog Tour” (May 1-28) here. 

And, for a brief (3 minute) FUN video about the cookbook click here.

Life’s been good ~ blessed ~ and “boholicious” every day! (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

Enjoying multi-talented friends ~ and words,

~ Kim