Archive: November 2017

tweets for 2017-11-29

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
  • RT @dodo: Do your dog’s paws smell like Fritos? Same. And now we know why 🐾🌮 https://t.co/cxzSBLPeah ->
  • RT @CassRMorris: Here's another tidbit hidden in fine print — authors will *have* to link their Amazon & @Goodreads accounts to hold givea… ->
  • RT @BAMwpb: First 50 to like and follow could win our copy of Turtles All the Way Down signed by John Green! Happy Holidays!🐢🐢🐢
    https://t.c… ->
  • RT @poniewozik: The scramble on the Today show this morning, by the way, is a reminder–as NBC looks to replace Lauer–that you can just ha… ->
  • RT @chrissyteigen: An SNL sketch where the reporters report on their own sexual misconduct and firings but they don't know it until live pr… ->
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tweets for 2017-11-28

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
  • RT @Satirony: When your cousin dies in prison while serving a sentence given to him for selling weed, seeing white people being praised for… ->
  • RT @dodo: At first this dog didn’t realize that this guy is her long-last dad — but once she does, she goes WILD 💕 https://t.co/ibVeacAoFK ->
  • RT @JamilSmith: Kansas is the best argument against the tax cut. What Republicans did there should be a political cautionary tale for anyon… ->
  • RT @dodo: This shelter dog couldn't stop crying — but she had NO IDEA she was about to meet her brand-new family 💞 https://t.co/79k86quczE ->
  • RT @Duskangelreads: 📚 I am giving away one (1) of my favourite 2017 reads in Hardcover! RT + Follow to enter!! 🌏 International as long as B… ->
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Book Review: I Wore My Blackest Hair by Carlina Duan (2017)

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Poems of Loneliness, Loss, and Defiance

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley.)

I was her American
daughter, my tongue
my hardest muscle
forced to swallow
a muddy alphabet.
(“FRACTIONS, 1974”)

in Japan,
I meet a white-haired woman who
tells me her name means moon.
But I am crescent now, she says.
Soon I will disappear.
(“YEARS”)

when
a boy plumps his lip on your throat
and asks you to say something dirty
in CHINESE, you flip the sheets
and bite down, tasting trouble
and rage. in the kitchen, alone,
you devour a pickle. your white
classmate sees you. does not.
white men claim you. do not.
you are small, fierce, and evil: with
two palms and a chest. there are
boxes made for you to check.
Chinese /
American. Chinese / American.
your mom calls. she tells you to stop
writing about race. You could get
shot, she says. so you yank your hair
into a knot at the back of your neck.
so you cinch your belt tight
at the waist.
(“YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE”)

beware of the
Chink: how it bites.
(“WHAT YOU LOOKIN’ AT, CHINK?”)

#####

— 3.5 stars —

Loneliness, grief, identity, alienation, illness, love, sex, rage, immigration, culture: the poems in I Wore My Blackest Hair glide and dance and sprint (and sometimes chomp their way) all over the map, but what they all (or mostly) share in common is an almost stubborn sense of defiance. These are stories about confronting mortality, navigating interpersonal strife, and pushing back against racist microaggressions while holding tight to one’s will to keep on keeping on.

I’ve only recently started to read more poetry; my reticence stems from the fact that I don’t always “get” the stuff. I think I got the gist of each piece, even if some (okay, a fair amount) of the imagery Duan employs went over my head. Even so, it was lovely just the same. And where it wasn’t, it’s because it wasn’t meant to be. Some of my favorites include “MORNING COMES, I AM SHINY WITH IT,” “CALUMET,” “FRACTIONS, 1974,” “MOON PULL,” “I WANT MY BOOKS BACK,” and (so much yes!) “YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE.”

Incidentally, I did notice a certain pattern of repetition over time that I found a little…distracting, I guess? Certain images pop up time and again – corn and boiled eggs; pink mouths and straining muscles; hair, both head and body – almost to the point of obsession.

If I enjoyed a poet’s work, I usually look them up on YouTube afterwards; hearing them perform the same pieces is often even more powerful and moving. I couldn’t find too many videos of Carlina Duan, but this reading of “Twelve Years Old” is both stirring – and representative of the poems in I Wore My Blackest Hair.

CONTENTS

I WORE MY BLACKEST HAIR
PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE
WHAT YOU LOOKIN’ AT, CHINK?
WHEN I BOILED THE CORN
AMENORRHEA
WHEN ALL YOU WANT
CALUMET
WHAT I’VE LOST
MORNING COMES, I AM SHINY WITH IT
EAST ANN
LITTLE SISTER, AMERICAN GIRL
GAME BOY ADVANCE
LATCHKEY
BELIEF IT IS NOT ENOUGH
FRACTIONS, 1974
YOUR MOM TELLS YOU TO STOP WRITING ABOUT RACE
I WASN’T JOKING
AUBADE FOR ANGEL ISLAND, CHINA COVE
EVERYTHING’S A FLY
AT THE SUSHI RESTAURANT HE CALLS HIMSELF A GRINGO
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN • GENERATION 1
USIS • ANGEL ISLAND, CALIFORNIA • GENERATION 0
MOON PULL
I RUN AND I RUN AND I
THEN I WOKE UP IN YOUR BED
SEVERED
HERE I GO, TORCHING
HEY, MAN
SHUT DOWN
AT THE PARTY
PACKING LUNCH ON ANN STREET
AND WHEN
I WANT MY BOOKS BACK
ZODIAC
YEARS
PICKING RASPBERRIES WITH ADAM
PLEDGE 2.0, TRIBE, ZOO

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-11-27

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-26

Monday, November 27th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-25

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-24

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Ginormous Blueberry Lavender Oven-Baked Pancakes

Friday, November 24th, 2017

2017-11-22 - Blueberry Oven Pancake - 0008 [flickr]

It’s funny how, in a marriage or partnership, both people just organically assume certain roles and responsibilities. Sometimes very specific roles and responsibilities. With Shane and I, our cooking was almost always divided down certain lines: I was the designated baker of sweets and pasta goddess. He baked the pizza and flipped the pancakes. I made the ice cream batter, and he churned the ice cream. And so on and so forth.

Which is all to say, I haven’t had pancakes in over a year now. (There’s a larger story here, but I’m coming off a carb high and thus not quite feeling up to the task. So, another day.)

I’ve been craving pancakes off and on for a few months, and the dried blueberries from Gourmet Nuts & Dried Fruit gave me the perfect reason to dive back in. Rather than make regular old pancakes on the griddle, I decided to start off easy by revisiting my ginormous oven-baked pancake recipe. With lavender, because it’s aces with blueberries, and a topping made of cooked strawberries, strawberry syrup, and powdered sugar, because why not.

The result is hecka delicious and very filling – so much so that I could only devour half a pancake in one go!

2017-11-22 - Blueberry Oven Pancake - 0004 [flickr]

I especially love how these baked pancakes get to crispy around the edges and on the bottom. Such a pleasant deviation from the norm.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2017-11-23

Friday, November 24th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-22

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-21

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Book Review: 30 Days to Peace: A One-Month Creative Journal by Waterbrook (2017)

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Best suited to practicing Christians.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

30 Days to Peace is a bit of a short-term project, as far as journals go; as is evident from the subtitle, users are intended to work through its thirty prompts in a month (although nothing’s stopping you from taking a more leisurely pace with the exercises). Each prompt is focused on one aspect of peace: for example, how you define peace, how you find peace, what signals your body gives to indicate that it is or is not at peace. Though I usually take a much more scattershot approach to jounaling – writing whatever comes to mind – I can appreciate the benefits of a more focused path. Meditation on a single narrow topic is likely to promote enhanced understanding.

What I didn’t particularly care for is the journal’s explicitly Christian focus. Between the Galatians 5:22–23 quote featured on the book’s listing at Blogging for Books and the publisher (Waterbrook is the Christian imprint of Crown Publishing), I really should have known better. Actually, that first did give me pause, but I decided to give the journal a try anyway, since it was free for review and all.

The result is kind of a mixed bag. It wouldn’t even be accurate to shelve this journal under the more general label “spiritual,” since the Bible pops up in many of the quotes and illustrations that pepper the book. That said, only five of the thirty prompts explicitly mentions God or the Bible; and only one is necessarily specific to the Christian faith (i.e., the Bible prompt). So I’d say that 30 Days to Peace is best suited to practicing Christians, and perhaps spiritual New Age types too. Which is a shame, because I think we all could use a little more peace in our lives, whatever our religious identity may be.

As far as the book’s design goes, it’s a little on the small side, at 5 3/4″ by 7 1/4″. Usually this drives me bonkers, but the book is rather thin and thus not terribly difficult to write in. (When you’ve got a small but fat book, your hand ends up falling off the bottom off the page about a third of the way down. Not fun.) The pages aren’t lined, ostensibly for doodling and more free-form/artistic writing. The book itself is lovely, with a soothing and richly textured cover design. The pages are mostly white with green illustrations, adding to the spa-like feel.

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-11-20

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-19

Monday, November 20th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-18

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-17

Saturday, November 18th, 2017

Blueberry Almond Pecan Breakfast Cereal Granola

Friday, November 17th, 2017

2017-11-12 - Blueberry Granola - 0003 [flickr]

In one of her most recent care packages, my mom included a few boxes of hippy-dippy cereal that I totally got hooked on. It’s not exactly a cereal in the traditional sense of the word – or at least not how I think of it – but rather a mix of cereal-type flakes, nuts, dried fruit, and granola. It’s almost like a granola mix watered down with cereal. Anyway, it’s sweet and delicious and even though I extended its life by mixing it in sparingly with my bran flakes – just enough to spice them up – it was gone way too soon.

I decided to approximate the experience by making my own granola-cereal mashup. This recipe has all the regular granola ingredients – rolled oats, dried fruit, nuts – along with a few types of store-bought cereal, just for fun. Normally I go with dried cranberries or homemade apple slices for the fruit portion of the mix, but I just couldn’t resist trying out the dried blueberries gifted to me by Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit! (If you worry that your dried fruit will get a little too dry during baking, you can always mix it in at the end.)

Though this stuff takes the better part of an afternoon to make, the end result is so worth it: sweet* and savory granola, made to your own specifications, and for a fraction of the price of store-bought stuff. The cornucopia of fruit, nuts, and other goodies in this granola really make it stand out from some of the other versions I’ve made. And yes, it works wonders for ye ole boring bran flakes!

* But not too sweet: if you really want a cavity-maker, double the maple syrup, or add in a few tablespoons of brown sugar!
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tweets for 2017-11-16

Friday, November 17th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-15

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

tweets for 2017-11-14

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017