New Job Love.

As The Weepies sing in their terribly precious song, "All This Beauty," you can ask about it... but nobody knows the way. No breadcrumb trail to follow through your days. Ain't it the truth? The past year I can think of quite a few peers who have waded through much confusion, pain, and disappointment, myself included. But sometimes, every once in a while, something good happens. Sometimes when you don't deserve it, occasionally when the timing baffles you, and almost always when it can't be anticipated. In this case, for me, it has come in the form of a job. A writing job. A happy job. A job that pays. A job with upward mobility. A real job.

And, miracle of miracles, it is a job where I feel appreciated. Have you ever worked a job where you rarely, if ever, got complimented on your work? It's rough, no? If you are in one of those jobs, I have this to say: someday you will no longer be in that job. And when that happens, you will be so glad you had the willpower to make it through. And if you are in a job like that, good for you; you are lucky.

Yesterday, as an introduction, my supervisor made a video of me. I share it because a. it's hilarious and b. it's slightly embarrassing and c. it's already gone out to 250 strangers, so what's a few more going to hurt?

Sidenote: Why am I so awkward always? And why do I say my cat's name that way? Good grief. If I weren't so thankful I would be much too embarrassed to show my ridiculous mannerisms this way.

And as if all that celebration were not enough, today I created my first copy (for you non-advertisers out there, that's a word document) for a new client, and I actually got applauded in a large meeting. Applauded. Yes. Me.

Pinch me. Really? Pinch me. And y'all, really. If you are working in a job that is hard, that you don't like, where you feel lost, confused, stressed... I've been there. It gets better. Just keep on keepin' on. And let me know if you are feeling that way, I will take you out for drinks (or eat Pho, since, you know, it's my favorite food and all) because for the first time in years I am not the one needing to gripe. Bring it on, friends.

 

Writing.

"For me, writing is the only thing that passes the three tests of métier: (1) when I'm doing it, I don't feel that I should be doing something else instead; (2) it produces a sense of accomplishment and, once in a while, pride; and (3) it's frightening."

—Gloria Steinem

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Ohhhh sweet, lovely Bob Dylan.

Man of mystery, spinning lyrics as a tailor of song, twisting threads of words, creating color and pattern where there was none, and at last landing us back where we started, ears seared. May he live long.

I have liked Bob for a few years now, having been introduced to him through an old flame. Though at this juncture, I do have a confession to make. I did not like Dylan at first. I know. I had a tough time with the gravel in his voice, the density of his lyrics; I lacked the patience to let his songs grow on me slowly, unused to the lack of hooks and production. It's true, I was a music neophyte. But, well, gosh. The things we do for love, eh? I couldn't let that boy from yesteryear know that I hadn't at least attempted to memorize his works, so listen I did. And yay for me. The boy and I separated and moved on, but Bob and me? Well, that had a little more staying power.

His birthday was called to my attention by this interesting New York Times article about not only Bob's birthday, but the birthdays of many musical greats this year. Be sure to check it out!

And now I leave you with the music and lyrics to my favorite (or at least one of them) Dylan song. From his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, "Mr. Tambourine Man." To this day I can not get enough of that last verse... ahhh to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea...

Mr. Tambourine Man

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to. Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Though I know that evening’s empire has returned into sand, Vanished from my hand, Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping; My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet, I have no one to meet, And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to. Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship, My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip, My toes too numb to step, Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’ I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade, Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it.

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to. Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun, It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run, And but for the sky there are no fences facin’. And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme, To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind I wouldn’t pay it any mind, It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing.

Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to. Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind, Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves, The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach, Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow. Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands, With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves, Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to. Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me, In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.

Sunday Post.

If you know me well, you most likely know that this year has rocked the ole' boat a little bit. Four jobs, two apartments, one death, one road trip, two boyfriends, one GRE test, one trip to DC, and roughly 624 tears later, I have arrived to the end of May again at last. This time last year I was preparing to go on the Ethel trip, and as I wrote was excited to, "search, grow, and love." Well, in the last year I have done plenty of all these, I am happy to say.

But yes. This has been a year of riotous change. Which may explain the 624 tears (roughly) and the fact that at least one or two of them always get shed when I sing the song below. The director of my choir is an incredibly talented composer and this is his latest piece, recently translated from a German poem. I have found the words comforting as I reel and rock from all the changes. And after all, it is Sunday. Enjoy!

"Be Still, My Soul" arr. Michael Cox

Be still, my soul! The Lord is on your side: Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; Leave to your God to order and provide; In every change he faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul! Your best, your heavenly friend thro' thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul! Your God will undertake To guide the future as he has in the past; Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still my soul! The waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still my soul! The hour is hastening on When we shall be forever with the Lord, When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone; Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.

Be still my soul! When change and tears are past, All safe and blest, all safe and blest, all safe and blest, We shall meet at last.

Text: Katherina A. vin Schegel, 1752

Education.

Well, I am working, slowly but surely, on a longer post on "What Really Matters." It is taking me some time. But one thing that really matters to me is education. And as I wrestle with a decision to go into debt for the chance to further my education, this quote from The Washington Post jumped out at me: “The well-educated adult has an integrity of character, a rootedness in essentials, and a self-understanding that makes it possible to live well and consistently in an unpredictable world.”

Oh academia. You are so nice. And expensive. And nice. And girlfriend could use some roots. Roots sound nice. And a root beer. Ok I'm off.

A Little Tune.

Sometimes, I like my music a little cheesy, a little simple, and a little singable. Kinda like the song version of your mama's grilled cheese sandwich. Well, this is a perfect example of one of my favorite "comfort songs." You know, the kind that when you hear it you immediately feel that all is a little more right with the world. Musically, it's not groundbreaking. But that's not really the point of Stephen Kellogg's music. His many albums are more like lyrical diaries, with songs like "Sweet Sophia," about the birth of his daughter and "Satisfied Man," his thoughts about how he will feel at the end of his life. This particular song I am sharing is called, "In Front of the World," and it is a song he wrote to his little brother when he went off to college. I think about the lessons of this song often, and thought I would share it with you! Since, you know, I am trying out this more-frequent-blogging thing. Below are the lyrics.

Lyrics to In Front Of The World

Well, it’s hard to live in front of the world, There’s only so much that you can pretend. Write down what it is you’re thinking; Take each day as it comes; You never know what’s hanging ‘round the bend. And as far from the world as we get, I can swear that the two of us will always be the same. Figure out what it is you believe in, And if you must choose, try not to trade your fortune in for fame.

And you’ll learn, learn, learn. You’ll wait your turn, turn, turn. And you’ll get sick on the way By the things that people say. It’ll break your heart against the wind, But you will just keep breathing in.

Well, if you’re scared to live in front of the world, I’ve got news for you, you should be then. When your confidence gets low and you’ve got nowhere to go, Just remember how you felt about me and our friends. And we’ll learn, learn, learn. We’ll wait out turn, turn, turn. And we’ll get sick on the way By the things that people say; It’ll break out hearts against the wind. But we will just keep breathing in.

Watch the way you fall in love... ‘Cause if you’re smart, you’ll take it slow. And don’t ask me about it, cause I don’t know, ‘cause I don’t know, know, know. But I’m gonna learn, learn, learn. I’ll take my turn, turn, turn. If I get sick on the way. By the things that people say. It’ll break my heart against the wind. But I will just keep breathing in.

Flying.

I often have dreams where I can fly.  In fact, I am close to obsessed with it. Sometimes to fight off sadness, I imagine myself hovering just above a situation. I levitate right out of my kitchen, through the window... and off. To... wherever. Today I was biking, and I saw a red-winged blackbird in flight. I was pedaling fast, and the bird took off a mere yard or two away from me, and for a few brief moments he flew in sync with me. Beating wings, streaking red across the green field, perfectly in time.

And as we moved together, same speed, same height, same motion... I thought.. Hm. Perhaps I can fly, after all.

Why You Matter.

"One is deluded when one believes that what he or she says or doesn't say, [does or doesn't do], makes no real difference." -- Dr. James Smart, What Really Matters About a week ago, I was sitting and reading a book called, What Really Matters, a collection of lectures from professors of all disciplines. A friend turned to me and said, "So what does really matter?"

"To me?"

"Yes," he replied.

"Virtue."

"Virtue? That's boring!"

Well, ummm. No. Compassion, humility, temperance, and general uprightness, while not scintillating, are nevertheless necessary topics of thought and conversation. Nobody is going to be thrilled by my words this evening. But the end of the conversation with my friend has been weighing heavily on me since:

I meekly pointed out, "It's important to be good!"

"Why?" he breezed. "Nothing really matters anyway."

DOH.

Well, that left me dumbfounded. Conversation over: Nihilism, 1. Bonney, 0. And it really is a shame I wasn't taught using the Socratic method more often. Perhaps if I were more accustomed to having my views challenged I could have formed a clearer response than, "Durrr well you don't really believe thaaaatttt...." Maybe.

But either way, I have now done my research, and have prepared this retort. I believe, so strongly, that we do matter. Our choices matter. Who we become, well darn it. It matters.  Here's why:

My friend was exhibiting a nihilistic tendency with his blithe statement. And nihilism, existentialism, and the like—well, friends, they just aren't good roads to go down, philosophically speaking. The reason being: if you were to fully, truly embrace these philosophies, life would completely lose all meaning.  Alas, that was the main thesis of these philosophers' statements.  Indeed, the true nihilist would have to reasonably conclude that in a world completely lacking rules, norms, knowledge, and morality, the next significant action would be suicide. Life is hard. And if there is no good to live for, why live? And this, my friends, is why this movement never really caught on, except in our pseudo-intellectual-post-modern-blah-blah-blah conversations. Seriously. Nobody really believes this.  And you know why?

Because we have an EGO.  Or, to be a little less Freudian, the rational.  "That conscious thinking thing," as John Locke would say.  The part of us that cares about ourselves and our own development.  So if we are to, quite literally, survive, one must accept that at least one thing matters. And that is you.

Now here is where the fun begins. For when the ego comes into play, the question of how relate to each other and how we should relate to each other becomes relevant. Because after all, if you matter, well that must mean that everybody else matters, too.  Nihilism is just so... boring! Boring because it is just one big ole cop-out in the end. Any philosophy that ignores the matter of how we relate to one another ignores far too much to make a valid system of living.

And as a wise child I know would say, "And what's the whole point of that?"

Ok. So we have this sense of self, and sense of others, and that matters. And we have these six-billion-plus population, all with this same "selfness," all mattering. So. Hm. Isn't it a logical train of thought to say then, "Well, if all these selves matter, then perhaps how I fit in with all these different selves matters, too." After all, it is certainly not a difficult claim to prove that we can do irreparable harm to one another. To take a little existentialist example, try on Camus's The Stranger when Meursault shoots that Arab man for no other reason than it is hot outside.

Although, if we were all do go about doing that in Texas, we would have excellent population control in the summer. Since we have the highest rate of teen mothers with more than one child and all. But I digress.

The point is, outside of absurdist novels, we can't just go around shooting people. So, if we can all agree to do one another no egregious harm is an aspect of wise living, perhaps there is a flip side. A way TO treat each other.

WOAH VIRTUE.

To most of you, this exposition will seem somewhat unnecessary. But I have seen a disturbing trend in those my age to accept this philosophy of the meaningless of life, and I have seen it lead to a general attitude of thoughtlessness, selfishness, unkindness, and, even more dangerously, depression, alcoholism, and generally self-destructive behavior.

All that to say, sometimes I can be thoughtless. Selfish. Unkind. I get depressed, and sometimes I do really stupid things. But I see these as faults, issues to be dealt with and changed, not acceptable attributes. I can't tell you how many peers have commented to me, "Well, this is the time to be selfish." No, friends. There is no time to be selfish—and I would even go a step further and say that the early twenties is the most important time to fight that vice; the habits we form now will be the habits we keep. And therein lies the difference between a virtuous person and non.

And really, you want to be a virtuous person because conflict is inevitable. And in those cases, don't you think it is a good idea to have some moral ground to stand on? A little strength of character?

I know I need to wrap this thing up. My next post will be much more about the virtues that matter to me, and my take on how to live a just, kind, and peaceful life. But I will end with this thought: I am fairly confident that this trend of not caring in my generation has much less to do with laziness (although in some cases that may be true) but rather in fear. We are afraid of how much influence we have over each other. We are afraid of the influence others have over us. We are afraid of our problems, afraid of our power.  We are unwilling to accept that we have the ability to uplift or crush one another with the slight of our hand. So we ignore it. And oh dear. Do we ever sell ourselves short when we do that.

To live virtuously requires courage. Oh so much courage. You matter.

 

 

 

Because I Promised You Rainbows

At the start of this bonny little blog, I dared to promise rainbows. And while it took several months to locate a brilliant symbolic spectrum, dear readers, I love you so. I found you two! Behold (and look closely).


Double rainbows. And doubly good wishes for a happy Friday! I will leave you with the lyrics from my favorite Irish blessing. (I don't know if I just had too many lucky charms as a child, but rainbows make me think of the Irish.)

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift his countenance upon you
And give you peace
And give you peace
The Lord make his face to shine upon you
And be gracious unto you,
The Lord be gracious unto you
Amen, amen
(Photo by Preston Mitcham, iPhone 3G. Special thanks to PM for being so handy with the technology)

The Ubiquitous Sandwich

Dear Readers,

I am here today to write about one of my very favorite things. Yeah, that's right. You got it. Sandwiches. Sandwiches, you may know, have a long and illustrious history. Although it has been rumored among food enthusiasts that the hallowed "Duke of Sandwich" created this delightful meal by ordering his roast beast between two pieces of bread, the truth is more interesting; though less alliterative. The first recorded sandwich was actually consumed by a rabbi! For more on this stunning man, please see The History of Sandwiches.
Today, though, I am not here to discuss roast beast. Far surpassing Rabbi Hillel the Elder's wildest dreams, the sandwich is now synonymous with a wide range of delicious flavors -- from tangy to sweet, savory to salty, and all flavors in between. Yes, indeed. From its humble beginnings of roast beef and bread comes a meal that can include curry, bell peppers, vegetables, tofu, feta, parmesan, basil, salmon, and any other flavor under the sun. Everybody has his or her favorite sandwich, (I, for one, love turkey, lettuce, mustard, and cheddar on toasted wheat. Scrumptious.) and some adventurers have devised highly creative variations on a theme. Today, I come with two humble offerings. The Caitlin and The Susan. Behold.
The Caitlin
The Caitlin is a filling treat. Devised in California, this sandwich utilizes the contrast of its two main ingredients: the avocado and a fuji apple. Caitlin, in her Caitlinish ways, deftly juxtaposed the creamy green with tart and crisp. Combined with herb roasted turkey and Swiss cheese, this sandwich carries satisfaction to the tastebuds like no other.
Instructions:
Lightly butter (or spread olive oil) on two pieces of fresh french bread. Toast bread lightly. Slice avocado, apple, and cheese in thin slivers. When toast is ready, layer avocado, cheese, apple, and turkey evenly. Enjoy this gourmet sandwich with a light crisp wine or beer. I'm telling you, this thing is a meal. And fortunately, since it uses all the ingredients sparingly, you can create another swiftly -- and guilt free!
The Susan
All vegetarians, take heed! I have a delicious breakfast sandwich made of ingredients that have never eaten breakfast themselves. The Susan is a creation that utilizes some surprising ingredients. Susan invented this sandwich in Baltimore when she was earning her undergraduate degree in classics. And though I had a skeptical ear at first, thinking, "Oh Susan. You have read too much Cicero and have lost your mind," this combination is truly delicious.
Instructions:
Start with a bagel. Toast said bagel. Once toasted, smear a little cream cheese on the top. Next, add basil leaves. Yes, you read correctly. Fresh basil leaves. Chopped. It helps with the chewing. Next, add honey. Sweet, herby, scrumptious. So good, and you would never imagine. Unless you are Susan, of course. Thank you, dear friend. Eat with a cup of tea, I say.
In summation, the sandwich is a noble meal. Carbs, proteins, and veggies all mingle to pack a flavor punch. Like Susan and Caitlin, I challenge you to get creative in the kitchen! Come up with something new, and tell me all about it. Hillel the Elder will be so proud!

Something to be Happy About

Dear readers,

Well, what a week for the American celebrity scene. The United States and the world are mourning the loss of some incredible entertainers. Oftentimes, the death of a celebrity can be so jarring; mostly because we as a society tend to think of earth shakers like Michael Jackson as ageless beings. And though few people's day-to-day life will be changed by the passing of Michael and Farrah Fawcett (and I daresay nobody reading this blog), it serves as a reminder of our own mortality. Legends have passed, and so shall we.
Ok, ok. I know. It's not quite a bonny topic. But, it has been a pretty stressful week for us all. We lost an Angel and a King. Now to turn to more pleasant matters. Since we can safely say it has been a tough week news-wise, I thought it would be good to share some of the things I do to stay calm under emotional strain.
1.
14,000 Things to be Happy About, by Barbara Ann Kipfer. I was given this book for my 11th birthday and take it everywhere. The book is literally a list of 14,000 wonderful little things in life. For example:
- Blueberry pancakes
- Little girls in heart-shaped sunglasses
- "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and the Papas
- Hand-knitted mittens
- Green ribbon
- France
- Spring in North Carolina
- Freshly sheared sheep
- Sweet basil
The list goes on that way for hundreds of pages. Calms me down right away.
2. Handel's Messiah
Ohhhh Handel. Mr. Baroque himself. With all that ornamentation and just... so many notes, it is impossible not to feel taken away. Or at least completely distracted by the listening experience. I would share the "Hallelujah Chorus," but I won't. No, no. "And the Glory of the Lord" will do just fine.
3. "The Belt Pose." Unlike the other two, you need a little room for this stress reliever. According to my yoga teacher, if you were to only be able to do one yoga pose for the rest of your life, this one would be it. The relief to the hips, back, and legs is marvelous. Its official name is Supta Padangusthasana, or "Reclining Big Toe Pose."
HP_220_SuptaPadagusthasana_248.jpg
Basically, you lie on the floor, straighten out one leg, and stretch the other in the air using a strap (or belt). For more detail on this and other "restorative yoga poses," go here.
Whether mourning the King of Pop, sweating a relationship, or just fighting the day-to-day drag, give something uplifting a try! I am sure all of you have great little tricks for turning your day around and keeping you centered. What are they? Please comment!

"You make me feel good like a rock & roll band, I'm your biggest fan, California" -Joni Mitchell

Dear Readers,

 

I (of course) must begin this edition with an apology. I always go too long. But, this Bonney post is definitely worth the wait! In the past month, I have loved, lost, moved, and... traveled. Yes, indeed,  I traveled to the beautiful state of California for the first time. And what better place to start than San Francisco? Winding streets, delicious food, fragrant sea air, and a good friend to share it all. What a time. I would write for days about my experiences, but as they say in Italy, "Al contadino non far sapere quanto è buono il cacio con le pere."  Oh wait. That's "Don't tell a peasant how well cheese goes with pears."  

What is it I am trying to say? "El que quiera pescado que se moje el culo?"  Wait... that is Spanish for "Anyone who wants fish should go get his/her butt wet." Darn it.

I know there was something. What was it? "Un petit dessin vaut mieux qu'un long discours."  Ahh yes.  French for "A small drawing is better than a long speech." Well, I don't have any small drawings, but I do have some pictures, taken by the lovely and talented Caitlin Montgomery. Forgive the gratuitous use of my image. I just happened to be standing in the way of the view most of the time.

Muir Woods
is pretty gorgeous.
Don't you agree?

I'm now thinking about the possibilities of making that tree my permanent home. 

 

The next day, we went the other direction and saw the sea. The only sight that rivals the astounding Redwood is the Pacific Ocean. Scraggly coastline and twisting caves look out onto a blue expanse. 

Concrete has never been so lovely.
Taking flight!
Pottery cave.
Opens to yellow splendor: 
Not too shabby, eh?

Remember to play. 

And never be daunted. A good lesson for the month. Or life.

 

Caitlin, your pictures are beautiful, as are you. Thank you for being an inspiring friend and a perfect hostess. I can't think of a better way to see California.


 

Be Not Afraid

Dear readers.  I come to you with a humble offering.  In my former life at Furman (my metaphorical womb) our dining hall was my version of an umbilical cord, feeding me nutritious meals for the delicious price of $0. Thanks, Mom and Dad. However, we all have to be born sometime. Since my delivery from Furman, I have sought to re-create the healthfulness of dinner--and maybe up the delicious factor a notch.  Sometimes I have succeeded, sometimes failed miserably. Tackling the kitchen by myself can be a daunting task.

For all of you who are also faced with the frightening notion of COOKING, fear not. I have a recipe that sounds wildly complicated but is really quite simple. Risotto. Light, delicious, easy. A true triple threat.
And yes, you read me correctly. For although traditional risotto (one of the staples of Milanese cuisine) may strike fear into the hearts of novice cooks and health nuts--what with its creamy texture and use of multiple pots--this recipe is easy and much lighter than typical risotto. Behold.
asparagus-and-ham-risotto.jpg picture by abonney
Springtime Risotto
Dishes Needed
One sauce pan (for heating the stock)
One large non-stick pan for making the rest of the dish
Food Ingredients
One large box of vegetable or chicken stock (contains about four cups).
One cup arborio rice. Don't try to use a different rice, it won't work. The way that type of rice is meant to be prepared is perfect for a risotto dish.
One half cup dry wine. Cooking wine is fine, but I prefer to make my dishes with the same wine that I will serve. Makes the flavors blend better. But don't go with a sweet wine.  A dry pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc works much, much better.
One half cup freshly grated parmesean cheese.
Two tablespoons (or as I say, a glug) of olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.
For seasoning, a few strands of saffron are delicious.
spanishsaffrontreads.jpg image by abonney
However, if saffron is a. too expensive or b. unavailable, a pinch of turmeric works, too.
0013729c050d0931f7f201.jpg image by abonney
Not as light a flavor, but gives the dish a little kick.
Now to the vegetables. That is where you can have some fun.
The original recipe calls for leeks and green garlic. And while I agree that leeks give a light "oniony" flavor without being to strong, and green garlic gives that much-needed garlic punch without being to heavy--I don't believe either are necessary. Go for leeks and green garlic if you want to go for broke, but otherwise I say don't worry about it. Onion and garlic work just fine. Just don't get too much of either. And whatever you do, cut them thin thin thin. These are meant to be compliments, not overpowering agents.
I say half a small-medium onion and one garlic clove is plenty.
And there are the basics. As for vegetables, you can go wild. I think peas, artichokes, sauteed mushrooms, or asparagus would be really delicious in this dish. I tried it with  frozen peas, and it was great. So feel free to try anything. Half the fun of cooking is the experimenting.
Directions
In your saucepan, bring your chicken/vegetable stock to a simmer. It needs to be heated up when you add it to the rice.
In your large non-stick skillet, add your olive oil, onion and garlic, and put to a medium heat. You want to cook these down to release their flavor, but do not brown them. Three minutes is probably good. They still have alotta cookin' to do.
Once those are in good shape, add your rice, and maybe a little more olive oil. It's your call. The coolest thing about arborio rice is that you toast it first. Stir it all around to make sure it is all coated with a little olive oil, about three minutes.
Then turn up the heat a little and add your spices--turmeric or saffron, a pinch of salt, and the wine. Cook until it is absorbed.
Then start adding your stock, about one cup to start.  The broth should bubble. Continue adding a little more as your rice absorbs all the liquid. A half cup every few minutes does it. And keep stirring. You will be adding new liquid for 20-25 minutes.
Once all the liquid is mostly cooked down and your rice is taking on a creamy texture, add in your cheese and other vegetables. I put in my peas in their frozen state and the heat from the rice cooked them right away. Canned artichokes are already cooked so they can go right in. And if you want mushrooms or asparagus, I recommend cooking them seperately in a little olive oil and maybe a little wine before you put them in. But that does use a third pan. I know. I know. Lotta pans for one dish.
Once all that is stirred in, your rice is soft and creamy, and everything is fragrant and delicious, serve it right up with a little pepper on top! I promise you, it sounds complicated, but it is easy. Really. A perfect spring or summer dish to be served with white wine. If you want to make a full meal for it, I suggest a crisp salad with a little olive oil and lemon juice as dressing.
Happy cooking!

Greetings from the Green Planet

I am delighted to be a part of the bright and dizzyingly happy festivities here at A Bonney Blog. I am not only Anna Beth's biggest fan, but if you're also a fan of Anna Beth, then I'm your biggest fan, too. Cheers all around.

[Unless you claim to be Anna Beth's biggest fan. In that case, I challenge you to a thumb war. I've never lost.]

A few notes on the following poem are in order. In keeping with the general tone of this place, I decided to try my hand at a poem about what you might call "universal" love. That is, the love we are capable of holding towards all people at any time—the Greeks would say Agape (since I know so much about Greek and stuff). I am satisfied with how I treated my theme, but now that it's finished it reads a bit darker than what you're probably accustomed to finding around here. But it ends well.

Another thing. This poem is heavily influenced by the rolling style of Bob Dylan's epic Americana poem, "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie." Dylan's poem is very, very long. Mine is only pretty long (I'm twelve words shy of a thousand). His, of course, is much better.

This poem is meant to be heard rather than read. So, here is a recording, followed by the text. That way, if you want, you can feel free to read along with this thing, here.

I Guess

There's a funny feelin' in yer fingerbones
And a tightness in yer head
And you can't remember how yer chest
Got filled up with all them heavy chunks of lead
And yer knees are wobblin' and yer eyes are saggin'
And yer skin is rubberin' like it does when you're dead
And you suspect it's been a long time, but you don't really know
Since the last night you spent sleepin' in yer own room and bed
"It's time to get movin'," you keep sayin' to yerself
Time to start actin' on all them feelin's you've felt
You were gonna meet strangers with stories to tell
And read all them books still settin' up on that shelf
You were gonna write movies, you were gonna save lives
You were gonna take this old world and cut it down to size
At least you were gonna try
You say with a sigh
And you put yer head back down to work until five
Thinkin', "Jesus Christ, I know I used to be alive
I used to wear clothes that made me feel smart
I used to have controversial thoughts about art
I used to drink milkshakes and sing songs and play pranks
Clamoring around in my small, noisy car
What happened to me? Am I failed this soon?
Am I trapped in this white, uncarpeted room
Sweepin' with no straw on my broom?
Spinnin' with no yarn in my loom?
Singin' with no words for my tune?
Lookin' at my hands, wonderin' what they've done
to deserve this early, special kind a' doom?"
It's like yer whole body's been hangin' from a concrete chain
Wanderin' around on the streets that way
Then your head starts noddin'
And your mouth starts yawnin'
'Cause you feel like sleepin' even though you're out walkin'
But, what if, you then think, that's what you're already doin'?
It's a nightmare, alright,
This lonely newspaper world
And you're mad at yerself for givin' it a whirl
And yer mother writes you letters
That you've learned to ignore
And yer father's upset that you don't call anymore
So you eat noddles for dinner and you think it's the end
But you wake up again
Like you always do, my friend
You don't know what you're missin' and you don't know how to get it
And you're sad 'cause you didn't even know it back when you had it
So I want you to hear this
I want you to listen
Because I'd be cruel to keep it
It'd be rotten to hide it
And besides, it'd take root in my head and start growin'
Twistin' and turnin' until it was bigger than me
And I don't want to feel my skull all of a sudden
Flowering out like a mushroom explodin'
So I just gotta say it, and get you to hear it
Get some a' these plants into some other garden
Get some a' these cards into some other deck
Get some a' this whiskey into some other glass
Get some a' these zeros off of my bill
Put one a' these pies on some other folk's windowsill
Where it'll get a fairer chance at bein' served up on a plate
On a proper table, with a fork and cold milk
And that's really what I want, I guess
I want you to smell it, I want you to eat it
I want you chew it up with your teeth
And feel all them grainy bits up in your gums
In the back of your cheeks, and under your tongue
And I want you to savor all them funny strings and lumps
'Cause I know the problem that's got you and me
I've seen the dog holdin' on with its teeth
I've seen that gun drawn out of its sheath
I've felt them sweats at a quarter to three
When I'd wake up at night, and it was always just me
And that's it right there, to sum it up in a line
It ain't that you're scared
And it ain't that you're tired
It ain't that you're poor
And it ain't that you realized someday soon you won't be around anymore
No, what's hurtin' yer heart is that there's nobody with you
To make it hurt more
Which is easy to say and you've probably even thought it before
But you didn't wanna admit you can't make it alone
Through this shattered glass world
Of asphalt and bone
And maybe talk is cheap but I'm tellin' ya you can't
There ain't any water where you're tryin' to swim
There ain't any words where you're tryin' to read
The car that you're drivin' ain't got any gas
And you're hopin' that next hill's momentum'll last
To take you up the one after that
And I'm tellin' you, friend, that's gonna end bad
'Cause there's only one bottle you can pull from
There's only one tunnel you can go through
And it ain't on a highway
And it ain't in film
And it ain't in a coffeehouse
And it sure as hell ain't never found comin' out of no politician's mouth
It's simpler than that, and it's probably nearby
And yes I mean someone
But I don't mean your friends
You need a whole lot more than just them
You need someone who won't thank you for carin'
Someone who, when it's found out you been helpin'
Will raise the eyebrows of both of your parents
Someone who hates you
Someone who'd kill you
Someone who'd treat you like you were a child
And noone would notice when you just replied with a smile

And maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I'm dead
But if that ain't love
If that ain't what it is
Then what else could I, or you, or anybody at all
If that ain't love
What else could I a' said?

Ode to Walker

Since my dear friend Walker has been missing my posts these nine days, (see comments on my April 5th post for reference) I thought I would throw him a proverbial bone. So, without further ado, my Ode to Walker.

Walker, Walker, walky Pfost,
Out of all my guy friends, you are the most
clever with words, I do believe!
Your poetry blog is the bees knees.
You live in Korea, oh so far away,
A place with some snow (who knew?!) where you play
with kids! And teach them English, to boot,
Oh, WPf, you are such a hoot.
I visited your old home last weekend, it's true,
The Vista House is bursting with vibrant hues,
The colors of spring! Pink, periwinkle, and green,
So deeply peaceful. You know what I mean.
I was reminded of the time when you fixed my car,
I had left the top down and it rained so hard
My seats were soaked! You found a fan in a blink,
If not for you they'd still be damp, I do think.
Oh, WPf, what a pal! What a guy!
Watching Kite Runner, I thought I was sly,
As I slept through it all! But you knew, yes you did.
A friend like you really flips my lid.