Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long, 2014....really, really long!

I am THRILLED to see this year end. THRILLED.

Tonight I toast 2015 with my icy cold glass of Cava, and thank the powers that be that I'm here to see a new year come in.

My resolutions are:

  • Lose 20 lbs. and get healthy
  • finish the memoir (again) (it's being rewritten in past tense.)
  • bring my bowling average (118) up to 150
  • keep my writer's group intact and productive
  • get some new paintings done, now that I have a studio again!

  • That's it. That'll keep me busy.

    (well, almost all.) :) #

    Friday, December 26, 2014

    What I Did on My Christmas Vacation

    As most of you know, this time of the year is a horror for me. Without children or family or available friends, Christmas can really suck, so I try to busy myself with things that need or want doing. It's been lovely to have time off, and so I got busy.

    I live in a 1977 singlewide mobile home. It has seen better days. Even in its better days, it likely wasn't all that. However it serves my needs, and I just put pennies away to do the small things that make it more palatable. The bathroom is teeny with an avocado colored tub, and a vanity covered in what-once-was-white formica. A horror of rust rings and stains that refused bleach of any kind, nor rust removal gunk as well. After jumping around the web for several sessions, I decided the least expensive way to go was contact paper! Painting would streak, replacing would cost a fortune, and adhesive papers seemed to work for others in both kitchen and bath, so I'm giving it a go.

    In addition, I don't like drapes much. And in the bathroom? Yech. So I bought some window film to just cover the sucker, keep it private and add a little color to a pretty glum little room. Now I'm much happier. I forgot to take "Before" pictures, but trust me, it was odious. Here's the "After": It's not Better Homes and Gardens, but better!

    It was tricky cutting paper to fit around that sink, so I made a pattern out of heavy watercolor paper first. I had plenty of contact paper left over, so I covered the front of a three-drawer plastic chest sitting under the vanity. That sure made a difference too in the goddawful factor.

    Wednesday, December 24, 2014


    If you'd like a really interesting holiday, give this one some thought!

    Merry, Merry Christmas, all thee with tongues firmly lodged in your cheeks, as well as our dear believers. Ho Ho Ho~!

    Monday, December 22, 2014

    The Cake Makers (poem)

    In the gloom of a large country kitchen--
    think back to Southern plantations,
    with sideboards and planked floors,
    live oaks silhouetted at the windows,
    sunrays dappling a long crooked table
    that dominates the center of the room:

    Around it, a dozen Aunt Jemimas, black
    as cast iron pots, kerchiefs ‘round their hair,
    sit on wooden chairs- animated, laughing,
    softly gossip, rolling eyes. Palmetto hand
    fans push back against the ovens’ heat.

    This reoccurring reverie is more obsession
    than daydream, might once have been REM
    slumber, but now it’s daily haunting
    that opens me to the wall where reality
    and illusion intersect; a tomb of secrets,
    hiding places for all those images
    that are not understood. The Cake Makers
    escaped one night and won’t return,
    their voices like syrup on a summer wind.

    My mind wants to know why I dream
    of slaves. Downton Abbey of the Civil War.
    Look for yourself in dreams, a therapist said.
    The cliché is always just a shortcut to yourself.

    But wait! It is what the cooks do that matters.
    Newly-baked cakes sit before them, aromas
    of lemon and coconut, vanilla and chocolate
    doesy-doe in the air. Mounds of pastel frostings
    gleam in bowls: soft peach, butter-yellow, and pink.

    The colors leap in contrast to the black hands,
    the white aprons, the sepia stain of the old walls.
    The Cake Makers beckon me. Come ice the cakes,
    they call. I don’t want to move. I don’t know how.
    Come, they titter, come. It’s time.

    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    And Everything Nice....Happy Holidays!

    New portraits of Sugar and Spice, as rendered by artiste (heavy Degas influence)
    Dwight Richardson:

    Sugar in a pose for posterity
    Spice in the prime of life

    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    (No) Fleas Navidog

    Okay, I borrowed this picture and title from a very funny poodle person at :

    The Poodle & Dog Blog (clicky)

    Please visit her and enjoy her blog so she doesn't sue me!?

    Hey, this is HOW I get through the holidays. This stuff saves me. This and my friends who send me movies, dog treats, poetry, and love.

    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Four Strikes in a Row!~

    I bowled four strikes in a row and made a score of 199 today, my highest ever!

    Yee Haw!~!!!

    CAPA Art Sculpture Benefit

    December 12, 2014

    My good friends, The Richardsons, invited me as their guest to the wonderful art sculpture show for CAPA, again this year. Dwight, a member of the CAPA board, has worked tirelessly for years on this project.

    CAPA’s Mission is to provide a state-of-the-art cultural and performing arts center that showcases local visual and performing artists, thereby offering affordable and accessible educational, cultural and performance opportunities for the community.

    Bev Jackson, Dwight Richardson and wife, Angela Strathatos

    Besides the wonderful sculpture, there was classical music wafting from the corner where the Kapella Quartet held forth. The caterers served up some of the best baby lamb chops I've ever tasted, and I discovered that Naples has an Art Walk! A lovely evening had by all, as evidenced in the photos of the newsletter below.

    Here's a PDF of the event's newsletter (scroll, or use arrors to page through). CAPA Action Report c16.pdf

    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    Pre-New Year's 5:2 Resolution

    Okay, you know that this is NOT my favorite time of year. However various social engagements have kept me treading water this month, and I still have a Christmas party at my boss's house, and a Writer's Group (with luncheon) ahead of me before the end of the year. Not bad for a loose fish!

    I've even got a bit of the old jolly spirit because I found some wee little Xmas trees on sale and they cheer up the wee little house:

    So ho, ho, ho!

    But wait, this post is about resolutions! I gave them up years ago, but here I go again. I've gained at least 10 lbs. in 2014 and I'm determined to lose it come the first of the year. I just heard from a friend in England that her sister-in-law lost 14 lbs. in one month doing the 5:2 Diet. Huh? Well, apparently I'm a year behind the fad diet of 2013, which is to eat normally for 5ive days and semi-fast for 2 days. That sounded horrible to me until I went and did some reading on it.

    This is a diet that has seemingly come out of the UK, (all the websites I found) and the best one gives you a calculator for your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which determines how many calories you need to maintain yourself, and your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). By plugging in your specifics, you can see approximately how many calories you should eat on five days, and the TDEE tells you what you'll expend. On Fast days, you simply eat 25% of your BMR calorie count.

    Here's the BMR Calculator if you'd like to see your own.

    Mine came up with 1150 calories which is very close to the 1200 calorie count I have computed in earlier days on other diets. So that gets me down to 300 calories on Fast days. I don't think I'll do that however. Since generally speaking 500 calories is mentioned for women, I think I'll do that instead.

    So between now and January 1st, I shall be diligently planning menus and recipes that support the 5:2 Resolution!

    And yes, this is the logo for Skinny Girl!

    Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    Euro Pianos Naples Wine Tasting and Piano Duo

    Tuesday, December 9, 2014

    Euro Pianos Naples, which is tucked away in a little mall on Imperial Golf Course Blvd., has turned North Naples into a sophisticated hub of collaborative magic!

    This store (all things piano for sale, rent and repair ) has been around for years, but is now transforming the neighborhood with concerts, salons, and a rigorous vision of artistic celebration. (As only one example, they have welcomed my writing group and host our meetings on their premises.)

    The pianos in this store range from the famous grand pianos (they are the only Florida store to carry the magnificent Fazioli) down to pert little uprights with prices low enough to tempt anyone. I was terrified of even touching these beautiful instruments and instructed my writers to keep hands off! Imagine my surprise when owner Sunny Reuter insisted au contraire, that these pianos are to be played and shared! You are welcome to touch! She gave me a tour of showroom (and it is HUGE). They even have player pianos that you can control with an Ipad! If you get a chance, visit and get the tour. You won't regret it.

    Last night Milana Strezeva and Alexandra Carlson, two incredible pianists performed after a wine tasting, on two of the many glorious pianos sitting on the EPN's showroom floor. A Fazioli F278 and a Beckstein D280.

    The Program was as follows:

    Sanuel Barber - "Souvenirs" Ballet Suite
    Maurice Ravel - "Rhapsodie Espagnole"
    John Psathas - "Fragments"
    George Gershwin - "Rhapsody in Blue"

    The music was sublime!

    The wine tasting was hosted by The Wine Merchant 13240 Tamiami Tr. N., with French and American wines. (My favorite was the Pinot Noir).

    Thanks to manager, Raniero Tazzi, for the use of the good photos at the start of this post. (all the out of focus ones belong to me!)

    Saturday, December 6, 2014

    Sometimes you have to go the Vet....

    I'm not so crazy about doctors myself!
    I think this says it all

    (this photo absolutely slays me!)

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    To Be Water, (poem)

    not in water—
    not whale or porpoise
    seeking sonar depths,
    tiles of sun trapped
    in surface glint—

    but the wet ooze,
    the slackjawed, spooky renegade
    of slosh and wave, tidal flood,
    blind mammoth rolled in slumber,
    sexed up with trailed sperm, seaweed,
    over sands awhorl in fierce unrest,
    tails of skates whipping the floors.

    or water in a tossed pail beside a barn
    —a two-galloner poured over splayed fingers,
    a rush of splash, uncaught and running free
    across scuffed shoes, soaked into earth,
    a muddy disappearing act, a moist shadow
    finale without rot, or slow decay of bone.

    or a rivulet of sweat on the flank of a mare
    or the spit under the tongue of a liar,
    or a final drop gliding on sclera
    as yet unshed.

    reprinted from "Every Burning Thing", Pudding House Press 2008

    Sunday, November 30, 2014


    Mark Strand

    In a field
    I am the absence
    of field.
    This is
    always the case.
    Wherever I am
    I am what is missing.

    When I walk
    I part the air
    and always
    the air moves in
    to fill the spaces
    where my body's been.

    We all have reasons
    for moving.
    I move
    to keep things whole.

    * * *

    Friday, November 28, 2014

    Shhhh......! (poem)

    Torrents of words
    waterfalls of words
    spew from moist mouths
    downpourings of words
    sounds clash in mid-air
    in whitecap crash
    in noise drips from lips
    radio spout
    television gush
    syllables hula
    undulate, gyrate
    in frantic deluge
    mingling morphology
    words slick with significance
    fraught with enunciation
    tsunami of complexities
    oceans of meaning
    of trivia
    of need
    surf spilling hot vowels
    crunchy nouns
    onto the sand
    licking swirling slapping,
    tumbling against
    the island
    of my

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    Happy Thanksgiving, All You Turkeys!

    Actually a little wine should handle it!
    Hope your Holiday is Stress Free too!

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

    Amazon Author Page

    Thanks to my old friend Alan Baird (a writer and computer genius) I now have an Author's Page at AMAZON.COM.

    NO small feat, given my books are dinosaurs like me! But it is certainly fun to see them up there, light of day again

    Author's Page - Clicky

    Monday, November 24, 2014

    Casanova (poem)

    I wake up thinking of Casanova
    He’s a hormone-hound, he is.
    Doc says he goes for ladies
    with big breasts, but in my case,
    I fought to keep the girls and won.
    He tried to get a grip last year
    on my uterus, which used to teem
    with estrogen, but he was shocked
    to find no goodies there. I thought
    our affair had ended benignly, but no.
    Hello, he’s back, all smarmy
    and grinning, with kisses along
    my throat this time. Casanova
    can’t seem to leave me alone. Be
    careful when you pray for love
    as you can be wooed right out
    of the world by my guy, the big C.
    I hear he’s fickle but never leaves
    my side or alas, my nightly dreams.


    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Writer's Group - At Last!

    There were five attendees today at the new Writer's Group, and I am thrilled that we are finally getting it off the ground! All good writers too! I love the space, and our hosts, Euro Pianos Naples, couldn't be more welcoming and accommodating. Thank you!

    North Naples/Bonita Springs Writer's Group- Clicky

    Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    Horseflies by Robert Wrigley

    2005 Pushcart Prize XXIX Best of the Small Presses

    Deviantart by ehioe

    After the horse went down
    .....the heat came up
    and later that week
    .....the smell of its fester yawed,
    an open mouth of had-been air
    .....our local world was licked inside of, and I,

    the boy who'd volunteered at twilight--
    .....shunts of chawed cardboard
    wadded up my nostrils
    .....and a dampened bandana
    over my nose and mouth--
    .....I strode then

    into the ever-purpler sink
    .....of rankness and smut,
    a sloshful five-gallon bucket of kerosene my right hand,
    a smoking railroad fusee my left,
    and it came over me like water then,

    into my head-gaps and gum
    .....rinds, into the tear ducts
    and taste buds and even
    .....into the last dark tendrils
    of my howling, agonized hair
    .....that through the windless half-light
    hoped to fly from my very head,

    an would have, I have no doubt, had not
    .....the first splash of kerosene
    launched a seething skin
    .....of flies into the air
    and onto me, the cloud of them dense and dark my mother in the distance
    saw smoke and believed as she had feared

    I would, that I had set my own
    .....fool and staggering self aflame,
    and therefore she fainted and did not see the fire kicked
    the other billion flies airborne
    .....exactly in the shape
    of the horse itself,

    which rose for a brief quivering
    .....instant under me, and which for a pulse thump
    at least, I rode--in a livery of iridescence, a mail of exoskeletal facets,
    wielding a lance of swimming lace--
    .....just as night rode the light, and the bones,
    and a sweet, cleansing smoke to ground.

    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    River Rush (poem)

    We drifted down the Colorado River;
    the water moved in frothy brown
    currents of monotonous music
    that would linger forever in my head,
    the heartbeat of a living
    entity, that song, singing in my bloodstream.

    The summer sun poured down a stream
    of golden spangles, toe-danced on the river
    waves, painted canyon walls with living
    art -- red-rock abstracts aflame above brown
    sandy banks on the shore. Far ahead
    of our gliding J-Rig, we heard white-water music.

    The rapids in the distance made loud music
    against the quiet rhythms of the steady stream.
    I conducted Prokofiev in my dozing head
    as I listened to the swelling symphony of the river.
    We floated until dusk, then camped above Brown
    Betty, first rapid of the morrow, waiting to greet the living.

    An owl hooted at sunset; a family of ravens living
    in Cataract Canyon provided our dinner music
    as we sat around a fire grilling brown
    Idahos and cowboy steaks. Stories tumbled in streams
    from the old-timers who had long known the river.
    I crawled into my tent with ancient tales in my head.

    As I fell asleep, stars in a black sky over my head
    gleamed diamond blue. I dreamed I was living
    with the Anasazi Indians beside a younger, bluer river.
    Wild horses thundered across high mesas making music
    with their hooves. Down the cliffs, in single files, streams
    of Big Horn Sheep descended, fleece of desert brown.

    We awoke to the wafting smell of hot, brown
    coffee. Hearts high, we loaded the rig, nosed ahead
    into the high water. It swelled over rocks in streams
    of foam in icy riot. We skittered like dice, living
    proof of Nature’s indifference. Towering waves made music
    of wildness in our throbbing hearts, rushed us down the river.

    Today I feel forever wedded to the river -- my skin no longer brown
    from the hot Utah sun, but the sacred music of motion in my head
    keeps Promise living in the tumult of Life’s everyday stream.

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    The Fix (poem)

    Painting "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" by Lucien Freud sold at Christie's NYC for $33.2 million in 2008.

    Laughter booms in the heavens
    where God lolls on Her settee,
    head thrown back, mouth open,
    needle plunged into the sacred
    vein of Her perfect arm,
    a Junkie hooked on Endings.

    Like an assembly of crystals
    in the casket of a teaspoon,
    my end will come,
    melt in the heat of a fickle moon,
    without a glint of gold on the curled
    finger of my clenched fist,
    without a freckle scattered
    across the nose of a child.

    Let the storm clouds rumble
    in caravans across the vista,
    like Arab caftans billow black
    on a Saharan horizon.
    No gentle partings,
    let the aspens twist on the mountain,
    and shudder like dervishes.

    When I die, let hail slap
    against rock, icy hands beating
    on stony hearts in applause.
    My tears can't rust rock. I’ll dissolve
    like snow in an eternal rush;
    I’ll disappear in an avalanche
    of searing relief.

    Sunday, November 9, 2014

    Holy (poem)

    Under a midnight double moon
    along a xyst overgrown with wisteria,
    the ancients stroll in linen robes
    mocking me with their song.
    I have drunk deep of pain
    thinking the seraphs would slide
    out of the heavens on mercury rain
    to save me. But the poison sits,
    on my tongue like a wafer.

    O those who professed love!
    I cherish you, they said . Hallaluijia!
    I will never leave you, they said. Hosanna!
    I will stand by you, they said while
    holding the chalice, tipping out
    betrayals, anger and scorn. Amen!
    All my years of seeking love
    with fire ants at my ankles, while God
    kills me with Sacraments.

    Friday, November 7, 2014

    I Remember

    Photo from

    I remember swans in the municipal pond across the street from the Mamora Hotel in Port Lyautey, Morocco. I fell in love with them. One night they were strangled by drunk sailors and left on the lawn.

    I remember deep red Maryland dirt with a log . It was at the height of a hot summer ; I sat against the log , swatted mosquitoes, and wrote bad poems. The red dirt soiled everything, even the paper. I thought that was an omen.

    I remember looking in the bath house mirror at a public swimming pool, before changing out of my suit. A red faced girl stared back at me, all shiny-cheeked with dancing eyes. I wondered who she was.

    I remember hiding under an oleander bush, dressed only in pajamas, at ten o’clock at night while the headlights of the car circled around and around, making my heart jounce with every sweep of its beams.

    I remember thinking: this will be forever. (I wonder who created the word forever? )

    I remember meeting the brazen black eyes of a young man on a subway. He was a workman in a dirty shirt, with grease on his fingers that held onto the same pole I clutched as we lurched under bright lights in silence. It didn’t stop me from marrying him and bearing his children before we got to the Christopher Street/Sheridan Square stop.

    I remember that an oil painting of a beach with sunset that I did at aged 12 sat on a top shelf of our garage for a number of years, along with water bottles, foot lockers, and gas cans. When it disappeared I don’t remember, but I missed it.

    I remember throwing a huge bouquet of flowers against an enameled Mandarin orange wall, after an abortion. Even in my agony I remember thinking how pretty all the colors were against that backdrop.

    I remember seeing Swan Lake, my first ballet, and feeling like I just stepped onto Planet Earth.

    *with loving homage to Joe Brainard

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014

    Ode to the Mid Term Elections, Nov. 2014

    Photo by

    I love America! It's the only way to go!
    Barbie trades in
    Cultured Ken
    for combat's G.I. Joe.

    I love America! Praise be for the N.R.A!
    My militia
    Wants to kiss ya'
    Lift those Arms to pray!

    I love America! High school's such a hoot
    If they tease ya'
    and don't please ya'
    load your gun and shoot!

    I love America! Unibombing bliss!
    Mailmen tarry
    when they carry
    packages that hiss.

    I love America! Bring the masses on!
    If they huddle
    in a muddle
    Ship them back at dawn.

    I love America! Politicians tower!
    England's reign
    was just the same
    As rich men's total power.

    I love America. America loves me.
    My vote's ignored,
    my last reward--
    anti-social security.

    I do love America. Someday we'll marry her.
    But she'll be old
    and very cold
    to hearts that once were pure.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2014

    Chilling Out With Buddha

    for Diana rooming with me in the 90's

    Photo from

    A woman, once my childhood friend,
    is living in my home—
    a red plastic bucket
    on the beach of my solitude—
    at a time in life
    when women over 50
    flounder in salty, hot seas,
    widowed, nests-emptied
    of disinterested children
    careers tapped out, beauty
    fading under the yellow froth
    of middle age

    Some women have men
    in their homes.
    I question
    the tradeoff of serenity for
    the carnal, mortal man—
    I catch myself fingering
    old beads better buried—
    infidelities sewn into sachets
    at the bottom of the bureau
    under folded silk nightgowns
    while I, in flannel pajamas, get
    my own milk at bedtime.
    In the darkness of my kitchen,
    Buddha stares back at me in the glow
    of the refrigerator light.

    I try to find the cadence
    of co-habitation, the exact measure
    of compassion, and patience -
    a mini-rehearsal for soloist
    to sing duet, but I am flat.
    There is no music here.
    In silence, bent over
    the dark path to my kitchen,
    I cling to a notion that if I
    can share this house,
    then, I will find my voice and sing.

    Then, maybe she will leave.

    Saturday, November 1, 2014

    The Loose Fish cooks Indian food!

    Decided to make an Indian dinner for guests, and prowled the internet for recipes. I kept coming up with the identical recipe on several different websites, so I went with it; they didn't give credit to any other website, so neither will I. Decided on the following menu:

    Had a heck of a time finding ingredients, so I ordered the masalas and cardamon pods online and finally found canned lychees in Whole Foods.

    Butter Chicken (slow cooker recipe)
    Cucumber Raiti
    Coconut Rice
    Lychees with Ice Cream

    Butter Chicken over rice: (with naan flat bread to wipe the plate with that sauce)

    Photo from

    -4-6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
    -1 onion diced
    -3 cloves garlic minced I used a press
    -2 tbsp butter
    -2 tbsp oil
    -15 green cardamom pods (I put these in a tiny plastic ziplock bag and poked holes in it. I had no muslin to tie them in)
    -2 tsp curry powder
    -1 tbsp curry paste
    -1 tsp cayenne powder (this was not in my original recipe. Definitely needed for heat!)
    -2 tsp tandoori masala
    -1 tsp garam masala
    -1 can coconut milk
    -1 cup plain yogurt
    -1 5.5 fl oz can of tomato paste
    -Salt to taste

    Saute onion, garlic and chicken pieces in large skillet until onion is just soft. Stir in tomato paste until blended. Transfer all of it into a crockpot.

    Stir in spices, coconut milk, yogurt, and healthy dose of salt to taste, and cook on slow for 8 hrs. Discard cardamon pods before serving. Easy peasy (except finding the spices!) Next time I'll have some muslin or netting on hand for the pods, and will add the cayenne as it wasn't hot enough for my taste, but still wonderful! I served the butter chicken over coconut rice, but next time, I would just use plain rice. The spices killed the coconut flavor of the rice.

    Cucumber Raiti

    Photo from Kahakai Kitchen

    I was really nervous about this dish. Didn't LOOK that particularly good, and I'd never eaten it before. But something said, go for it. IF I had used the cayenne in the butter chicken, this would be the PERFECT accompaniment to cool down the heat. It's absolutely delicious.

    -2 cups plain yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
    -2 cups grated English cucumber (the skinny English cuke is much easier to grate.)
    -1 clove garlic, minced (I don't mince. I press.)
    -4 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves only, finely minced. (Okay, once in awhile I mince.)
    -1 tsp. kosher salt
    -2 tablespoons golden raisins
    -ground black pepper

    Whisk yogurt until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, chill until served. (can be made day before)

    Okay, when I make this again, and I will, I will add even more mint and more golden raisins. This is a wonderful combo of flavors and so suits the butter chicken or any other spicy dish as a cool down. Just a great find for me! And not at all difficult to throw to together. Don't be put off by the "saucy" look of it. Think of it like chutney or potato just has a 'loose' consistency.

    Lychees with Cointreau sauce over vanilla ice cream

    Photo from

    -1 11 oz. can litchees in heavy syrup
    -2 slices of fresh orange
    -2 tablespoons of Cointreau or other orange liqueur
    -1 generous tablespoon of crystallized ginger
    -Vanilla ice cream

    Pour syrup from lychees into heavy saucepan and set lychees aside in a bowl. Add orange slices to the syrup and boil (watch it!) for about 10 minutes until syrup thickens. Pour over lychees and add ginger and liqueur. Can be made 2 days ahead. Let sit in fridge and flavors meld. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

    When I make it again, more ginger and more Cointreau, I think. But it's so good. We didn't have vanilla ice cream and it was still good over another flavor. This might not be an Indian dessert, by the way, but exotic enough to entice me to use it.

    The guests were enthusiastic, and I was thrilled! I have leftovers!