Saturday, February 18, 2006

Shel Silverstein's poem "The Zebra Question"

Just read it...and then think about it. It's not as silly as it may seem.

I asked the zebra,
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or quite with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I'll never ask a zebra
About stripes



Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sunrise with Dominic

Lately, my son, who is just six months old, has been waking up before I'm ready to get up and tend to him. Let's just say that some mornings, I've been less than happy to hear his squeals coming from the next room. I'm TIRED! But, after the pattern set in, I realized that I could find joy in these sunrises with my son. I could find joy in the midst of my sleepiness. And so I composed a poem for my little Dominic. Here it is:

Sunrise with Dominic

The time to sleep is over.
My day starts with a sleepy yawn, a hope for more sleep...
And then surrender.

The coos and squeals are getting louder and I know it's time.
A quick peek at the clock, a splash of cold water on my face,
Sunrise with Dominic.

A sweet smile greets me followed by kicking and squealing.
Good morning my Sunshine, my Dominic Child,
Good morning to you.

Six months old and you've got me wrapped around
That sweet chubby little finger.
And I'm so glad you're mine.

The memorized steps bring me to the kitchen; I start the coffee and then...
Kisses and hugs from you wake me up as
The coffee pot gurgles.

I open the blinds to see the sunshine beginning to show herself.
The day looks good from here
With Dom on my hip.

A quick sip of joe and then we retreat to the sofa
Where you get your breakfast
And I watch you and smile.

Dominic George, if only you knew how marvelous you are.
Perfectly formed and perfectly beautiful.
God's little present to me.

Thank you for waking me up in more ways than one.
Thank you for all your unconditional love.
You are my angel.

May we enjoy many more sunrises together in this life
As I teach you who causes the sun to rise every morning.
He is Jehovah.

He provides when we feel we are empty and helpless
He causes us to see our faults and rejoice in His perfection.
He is my all in all.

Sunrise with Dominic; the Son's shining bright.
My angel beside me as we wake up together.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you this morning and always.


Thursday, February 09, 2006


If you've never read anything by Wendell Berry, I would dare say that everyone could profit from it. He is a sage. Berry has written essays, fiction, and poetry and all are equally challenging and thought-provoking. This is a sample of his poetry, taken from a collection entitled Sabbaths.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Berry's poems "shine with the gentle wisdom of a craftsman who has thought deeply about the paradoxical strangeness and wonder of his life." The poetry in Sabbaths shows itself to be worthy of such praise.

If you're interested, take a trip to your local bookstore and see if they have any of his work. It will be well worth your time. His insight into how we relate to our fellow man, the environment
and the Maker of all these things is thought-provoking and I dare say life-changing...if you're open to being changed. He has caused me to look afresh on this world and has illumined things once dark to my eyes.

1980, III

Great deathly powers have passed:
The black and bitter cold, the wind
That broke and felled strong trees, the rind
Of ice that held at last

Even the fleshly heart
In cold that made it seem a stone.
And now there comes again the one
First Sabbath light, the Art

That unruled, uninvoked,
Unknown, makes new again and heals,
Restores heart's flesh so that it feels
Anew the old deadlocked

Goodness of its true home
That it will lose again and mourn,
Remembering the year reborn
In almost perfect bloom

In almost shadeless wood,
Sweet air that neither burned nor chilled
In which the tenderest flowers prevailed,
The light made flesh and blood.

For a compendium of online resources of this poety, essayist, and conservationist, you can visit this site, which has links that will take you all over cyberspace.

Please be aware, however, that Berry is very much against computer technology, so in no way supports our little world of blogging.



Tuesday, February 07, 2006

One-hour bread (from start to finish)

This is a standby recipe that I use frequently. I love to bake bread, but as all of you know who have done it before, it just takes a long stinking time. I found this recipe a few years back and thought I'd share it. It does require a KitchenAid mixer (or a hand mixer may work though I've never personally tried it). It may require a bit more time and more hand-kneading.

Sorry about my directions. I lost the recipe, but have it memorized. I'm not the greatest at giving directions though.

1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter or margarine (beware of hydrogenated oils and trans fats though)

To read up on hydrogenated oils and tran fats

4 1/2-6 cups flour (whole wheat or white)
4 1/2 t. yeast (2 pkgs)
3 T. Sugar
1 t. salt

Place 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt into mixing bowl. Mix well.

Pour water and milk into a small pan. Add butter. Heat over low heat until it is warm (110-130 degrees). It should be warm to touch, but not burn your finger when you touch it. The butter doesn't have to be completely melted.

Slowly pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix with paddle attachment until blended. Add more flour (1/2 cup at at time) until it becomes hard to mix. Put on bread hook attachment and keep adding flour until the dough is soft and elastic. YOu can mix in more flour with your hands until it makes a nice firm ball that's not sticky.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Let rise in a greased bowl for 20 minutes. Punch down (my favorite part) and separate the dough into two equal balls. Put into greased loaf pans. Or I separate the dough into two balls, flatten them a bit, and then put them on a greased cookie sheet. This makes a nice round loaf.
They may rise and run into eachother. But, hey, it still tastes good! Let the dough rise about 20 minutes.

Bake 10-13 minutes depending on your oven. Bread should be golden and sound hollow when tapped.

Enjoy with butter, jam, honey or pesto.

Or for dipping oil. Pour some olive oil on a plate. Add some splashes of balsamic vinegar and some freshly ground pepper. Dip and enjoy.

Monday, February 06, 2006

"There is no cure for birth and death, save to enjoy the interval." -- George Santayana

A wise saying indeed.

As we make our way through life here on earth, I think we too often forget to enjoy the time we're given here. It is truly a gift. I know you've all heard it before and it may sound trite, but I think we should all take this a little more seriously. We all know how easily the worries and trials of daily life can take our focus off what's truly important. But why? How can we fight this?

As Santayana points out--the fact remains that we can't argue with -- we were all born into this world and we're all going to die. I would only add that we can still look forward to the next life (for I trust by faith that life on earth is not ALL there is). And yet, we should savor the time we have while we're here on earth. Why not enjoy what life can bring us? We can't gain immortality. Our days are numbered. Little illuminations here and there wake us up to the brevity of life; there are times where we realize this afresh; times where we stop and see the world through the eyes of a child. But far too often, we rush, rush, hurry, hurry, stress, live, frown, and sweat our way through life, not taking enough time to stop and enjoy a sunrise, to savor a glass of good wine, to listen to a symphony or reach down to touch the dirt with our hands. So, my friends, this is a place devoted to finding ways to enjoy the interval. Whether it be through good food, good music, good wine, comedy, nature, taking care of children or through the words of our fellow man, there are always ways we can encourage one another to savor the here and now.

If you feel so inclined, please respond to a post that hits home with you. Or you can just read the mutterings of my thoughts on life. While I don't claim to have the answers to all the questions of life, I hope to provide a place where you're challenged to slow down, relax, and savor the moments you have here on this planet we call earth.

Can we enjoy every moment? Well, no. When my son stepped in a pile of dog crap, I certainly didn't rejoice in the fact that the dog's excretory system was functioning peoperly. But, can we enjoy more of life? I think so.

Carpe Diem

Neen the Bean (aka Janine)