Sunday, 1 January 2012
and a happy new year
The orchid bloomed, we have two baby guppies, and our friends Paul and Lizzie and Jack sent us a chess set for xmas. What more can a family ask for? The Beast woke up yesterday and said "let's play chest!" She already knows the difference between the rank and file. Since we're all recovering from colds we decided to watch Mary Poppins too. Thomas and I have been making lists of "50 Things"— he saw it as an affirmation list; I see it as an affirmations/goal list. His list has great things like "small art" and "Saxon churches". Here's my list (which overlaps with his in a couple places— especially owls, and defiant lightness). Peace out people, and Happy New Year.
1. domesticity (a house in the Bronx)
2. hiking and farming (land in the catskills)
3. relaxation (a sauna)
4. family (adopt a kid)
5. more family (a kitten)
6. more family (a dog)
7. friendships (‘staying in touch’)
8. friendships (an unschooling community)
9. community (conversational Spanish)
10. community (conversational French)
11. activism (fight the death penalty)
12. activism (feed the homeless)
13. activism (anti-war/knitting one hundred hats)
14. self-sufficient farming and localvorianism (keeping bees)
15. self-sufficient farming (summer vegetable gardening)
16. fermented food
17. baking bread
18. knitting sweaters and scarves
19. a sewing machine
22. grasses, sedges, and rushes
24. owls and other birds
25. butterflies and moths
28. old english
29. british history
30. shakespeare’s plays
31. english pastoral metaphysicals (andrew marvell)
32. ancient greek
33. translate the iliad
34. freud’s collected works
35. freud’s house, london
42. eucalyptus scented san francisco
43. train trip through the deep south
45. black belt in seido karate
46. another marathon at fifty
47. finnegans wake
48. movies with bea
49. night sky
50. defiant lightness
Monday, 26 December 2011
The New Year
We decided to observe the beginning of the New Year with the Solstice. It made more sense. The days begin to get longer and we begin to think about spring planting. We're ordering seeds today from Johnny's. And we're trying Feverfew and Borage for the first time. (And also the colorful stuff that clients like-- pink petunias, yellow zinnias, mix and match violets, some red sages.)
Christmas is over, hurray. The music and crowds and christo-capitalist undertones and overtones are just too much. We asked the beast what she wanted for Christmas and she didn't express any great interest in any particular thing. We've talked a lot about gifts for the new king, the sun king, the king named Jesus or Mithra or Mithras, and she's definitely more interested in gifts for babies than in gifts for herself. We did shop for a pink dress (pink dress number 6) and we had a chocolate brownie yesterday in Central Park after visiting Gus the polar bear at the zoo. The Burmese Prince and I didn't get any presents (except for pieces of the Beast's brownie) and it felt pretty sane to be free of all that.
We also baked some cookies and made some popcorn and bought some oranges to give to homeless people. Then I realized that heck, we should do that all the time. A box of tangerines was $4 at our corner fruit stand, and a carton of eggs would run us another $3. So why not take food for other people every time we go outside? At $7 a week there's no excuse not to.
Also, we're saving money through our contract with the Amish farmers of Pennsylvania. Raw milk is cheap, and this week we made another batch of yogurt and a first round of cheese-- an Indian paneer. Suddenly it's true we're 90% localvore, and that's a good feeling.
In the realm of unschooling, I'm finding that I learn more every day about how I learn, what I "need" to learn, and about the fluidity of learning as part of life rather than as part of an EDUCATION SYSTEM. Bea picks up Spanish because our local baker and grocery guys talk to her in Spanish. Her friends in Forest Nursery speak Spanish with her. And we have a little local Queens group for kids to get together and speak/sing Spanish. So, there it is. Spanish surrounds us. French is still lurking. The umbrella is a parapluie, and the birds are petite oiseaux.
I've been eager to take a class on conifers at the NY Botanical Garden, but it costs money and we don't have it. So I'm not going to take a class. I'm just going to learn conifers. We're in Central Park three days a week. Plenty of time to do fieldwork.
So if we save some money on horticulture and botany classes I will put it aside for the dojo. I do still want to get a blackbelt in karate, and that's something that I'd like to learn with other folks in a more structured setting. And perhaps a class on bee keeping. When we make the move from apartment living to house-owning there will definitely be bees in our backyard.
But now, there's a chicken that needs to come out of the oven. Peace out people. We'll be back next week.
Sunday, 18 December 2011
There's a food revolution happening in our kitchen these days, mostly thanks to the very hip moms we've been hanging out with in the forest nursery. We use recipes from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook for a lot of stuff, and also we just make up recipes, which is fun. Here's a view of the week's experiments:
Homemade granola. butter, oats, raisins, cashews, honey, cinnamon. I warm it on the stove top to mix the honey and butter, then put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees. Presto, cheap good granola. (maybe $2 a pound rather than $8-10.)
Yogurt. 4 cups raw milk, 1/2 cup starter (we used thick greek yogurt for the first batch, and left over yogurt from the second batch as a bacterial starter. Heat the milk in a double boiler to 180 degrees. Cool it to 110 degrees. Mix in the yogurt starter. Put it in a clean sturdy container (we use a clay pot) and keep it in a warm place for 7 hours. (An oven with a pilot light is a good one, or a pre-warmed oven. You want to keep the temperature at about 110 degrees so the bacteria can eat the milk.)
Pickles. two large cucumbers cut into sticks. two cloves garlic, some sliced up leeks, a pinch of cayenne pepper, two seaspoons of salt. Mix it, stuff it all into a jar, add some water to cover the cucumbers, (leave an inch at the top of the jar so it doesn't explode.) Keep at room temperature for 3 days and it's done. Refrigerate after that.
We have to admit we were wary of raw milk but now that we're using it, we're ecstatic. It tastes better than ultrapasturized organic milk and it's cheaper. We get ours in glass jars-- no more plastic milk jugs, and no more plastic yogurt containers-- all the yogurt is now in a clay pot. And, we pay the farmer directly. It's nice to pay a farmer for milking his cow. We've read through the endless safety warnings from the FDA and CDC re: raw milk and have found that 1) pastuerized milk and all kinds of other corporate farmed foods (spinach, for example) are the major culprits in food poisoning, and 2) the small number of raw milk food poisonings have mostly come from raw cheeses served off the back of taco trucks. Also, the beast prefers warm maple milk, so her raw milk tends to be home-pastuerized at 165 degrees anyway.
Meanwhile, the estimate is that 100,000 civilians died in the Iraq War and 4000 plus Americans got blown to bits. We're done with all that now. Except for the pesky blood stains that won't come out of our clothes. This is what we've been reflecting upon as the solstice nears.
We'll be back next week with news of this and that. The beast and papa are reading Tintin and it's time for the mama to take over reading duty. These days we're finding that even twenty minutes away from the Beast feels like too much. She's just so damned fun to hang out with.
Peace people. And eat the rich; pickle them first.
Monday, 12 December 2011
A Poetry Workshop in Sunnyside, Queens
Hey All. I changed my mind. I was going to teach a class on Epic Dicks in January 2012 but have decided to go for Cool Chicks instead. Here's the description:
It Is Almost That: a writing workshop based around the recently published Siglio Press anthology collecting image+text works by women artists and writers. We'll read, view, write around works by Eleanor Antin, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Jane Hammond, Bhanu Kapil & Rohini Kapil, Alison Knowles, Bernadette Mayer, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Weiner, and more.
10 weeks, $300.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.<P>
Saturday, 10 December 2011
This and That
We're thinking of moving to the Bronx because it might be where we can afford to live. We'd like to live in a house rather than a rental or a co-op. It feels ambitious, economically, but perhaps it is possible. Anyone have tales of life in the Bronx? Any unschoolers up there?
Meanwhile, the Christmas music surrounds us, as do the bright red and green lights, "decorations" the Beast shouts, but perhaps she knows not what they are for. Christmas and Solstice and Halloween seem to blur together for her, which is nice, in that the spooky pagan candle-burning feeling of Halloween and Solstice seem to out-shadow the weirdness of Jesus and Santa.
We're hoping to go up to the Old Manse for the solstice to get the wood burning stove up and running for the longest night of the year.
What we do have is a yule wreath that came from Brother Toby at the Starcross Community out in Annapolis, California. It's the third year now that we have a Starcross wreath, and it brings some cheer to the December darkness, though really, December doesn't seem so dark. There are sunny days and walks in the park, crisp and cold, but not so dark. Finally all of the leaves have fallen off Matilda the cherry tree at the top of 39th Place near Queens Boulevard where there's also another new 99 cent store as if the world needed more plastic.
We'll be going to London in January, and we're dreaming of Paris. Not on this trip, but soon, we'll get the Beast over there to have some real hot chocolate.
Meanwhile we were at the Museum of Natural History today where the dinosaurs are already like old friends. I paid particular attention to the duck billed dinosaur mummy today (a terrific sample of dinosaur skin), though we always make the rounds of the Beast's pals: t rex, apatosaurus, allosaurus (chomping on apatosaurus's tail), triceratops, the ankylosaur family, and corithisaurus. We picked up a brachiosaurus in the gift shop, my new favorite toy.
There were thoughts of getting a solstice kitten for all of us, and especially for Bela who seems lonely these days, and then there was the thought that the Beast would terrorize a kitten. We've been using the line "the cats have to feel safe in their own home," but the Beast has Mars in Aries, and Venus in Aries, and no interest in cat-human love-ins. She gleefully screams "Baaaa!" at the cats and they scatter toward the closet. So, the kitten may have to wait.
The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria has an ongoing display of Muppet trinkets, including some original puppets of kermit and miss piggy and such. And they are showing films throughout the upcoming weekends, so we'll head over there on xmas eve to see some Muppety stuff.
And we'll be back next week with more news of this and that. Until then, peace out peops.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
These days mostly we're cooking. The other families in the Forest Nursery have inspired us in new directions. We just joined a raw dairy delivery service, and we're going to start getting even more back to the land. Milk fresh from the cow/goat/sheep. Chickens. Yes, chickens are cooking in the soup pot. Pickles. We started our first jar of pickled radishes yesterday and they are bubbling away on the kitchen table.
Meanwhile we had an early solstice celebration with the Forest Nursery crew yesterday, hiking down around the lower pond in Central Park and picnicking and hearing the story of the Old Sun King and the New Sun King. It was a good day all around and the Beast napped on the way home.
And what else? The days are short, the weather is fine, the leaves are falling off the callery pear trees in streams of deep red and gold. And the guppy is pregnant.
Peace out peops.
Monday, 28 November 2011
This and That
The Beast slumbers and the Royal We has a headache.
I've been working on the 100 Hat Project. http://www.angelfire.com/poetry/lisajarnot/iraqhat.html
I just sent hat number 65 to Brother Toby in California.
It's 60 plus degrees in nyc today, which perhaps accounts for the headache. Cooler is better for me.
Sad news, our old friend Ted Enslin died last week. He was the first writer to support my work, and his correspondence with me in the early years of my "career" (late 1980s) kept me going. We last met up in Milwaukee some years ago for the Lorine Niedecker Conference there. Ted in all his woodsy Mainey pipe smoking style hung out with us youngsters at a taco joint and also a bowling alley. Ted's influence on the musicality of my poetry is huge, and it occurs to me now that this is a fact I've overlooked sadly in interviews.
Heading toward the darkest days of the winter we prepare for the solstice. The Central Park hiking crew meets this week as usual with an extra Saturday outing to get the dads involved.
And as the weather changes we find a lot of the social on-the-street world tedious in the expectations that others have that we will dress our kid like a fricking eskimo pardon my french. The Beast still likes to be a layer cooler than most kids. When it's 60 degrees she wears a tee shirt. When it's 50 degrees she wears a long sleeve shirt. When it's 40 degrees she wears a jacket (but still sometimes shuns the leg warmers). Every day (literally) people on the street say "put a jacket on her" or "isn't she cold?". I have finally come up with the best come-back "No jacket. Our religion forbids it."
We'll be back next week with more news of this and that. Peace out peops.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
It's becoming winter in Sunnyside. To quote Led Zeppelin, the leaves are falling all around. I'm going to get a new winter coat for my birthday and the beast has a pancho with dinosaurs for the cooler days in Central Park.
Yesterday we were at the Museum of Natural History and visited the replica skeleton of Lucy at the British Museum. (Thomas pointed out the link between paleontology, the Beatles, and Peter Cook's daughter Lucy.) The beast was intrigued by neanderthal penises, which she described as "poops". Bravo, Doctor Freud.
We'll be heading upstate for Thanksgiving weekend to spend some time at the Old Manse before the snow comes. Are there any hunters, skiers, winter hikers who are looking for a getaway in the Catskills this winter? We'll be renting the Old Manse (Mount Tremper) for weekend getaways from December through March. There is heat, but no running water. It's cozy and has electricity, stove, two bedrooms. Email us at email@example.com for more information.
More soon peops. And eat the 1%.
Monday, 14 November 2011
January 2012: A Poetry Workshop in Sunnyside Queens:
Epic Dudes: Pound's Cantos, Zukofsky's "A" and Olson's Maximus. 10 weeks, $300. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Sunday, 13 November 2011
This and That
It's a headachy Sunday afternoon here in Sunnyside and the Beast is chomping on uncooked spaghetti. Roast chicken and yams in the oven, greens and carrots in the steamer. Spaghetti being spit out all over the bedroom floor.
We had a great week in the woods, in Central Park I mean. The Forest Nursery program is becoming a haven from all the chaos of big city life. After two and a half years of parenting, we've finally also for the first time found a community of like-minded peops-- toddler breast-feeders, unschoolers, moms and dads who let their kids run with sticks and leap into mud puddles. I'm actually learning things about parenting from other parents, and that's a first (learning to be less anxious about Bea's rock climbing adventures, getting good advice about food, sugar, t.v., and flu shots.) Who needs t.v., sugar, or flu shots? Simplify!
Last night we made it out to Washington Square Park for the St. Martin's Day lantern parade, a German holiday we got hip to thanks to our friends Ruth and Aisha. It's kind of like Halloween, with a parade of lantern-carrying kids led by a big white horse. Here's a German lantern song:
Sonne, Mond und Sterne
Brenne auf, mein Licht,
Brenne auf, mein Licht
Aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht.
Dinosaurs continue to be where-it's-at around here. The Beast has been teaching us about the carnivores and herbivores of the cretaceous forest. My gratefulness to the kid increases every day. She's turned me on to the wonders of The Museum of Natural History and I'm reading a terrific history of the place called Dinosaurs in the Attic by Douglas Preston. Suddenly I love the Museum of Natural History as much as I love the British Museum, and that's saying a lot. Why did I not know that New York City had a museum that hosted the largest number of scientific specimens in the world including all the stuff that Franz Boas collected? And as for dinosaurs, holy pteranadon! The ankylosaurs are my favorites these days. And did you know that Tyrannosaurus had a cousin from Canada named Albertosaurus?
What else? We're worried about the world, as usual, with Republicans creeping around campaigning and the Death Machine of Death Row going full speed, and the Occupy Wall Street encampment becoming tubercular as winter sets in. We wonder how the Beast will come to view humans and their criseses. At this point it seems helpful to simply show respect to her and to other humans with the hope that we can all cultivate gentle relationships. She's very keen to share small change with subway musicians and homeless people. It's novel, and it's a way to connect, so why not? I thought that for Christmas we could give things to people rather than waiting for Santa Claus, though I'm not sure she's heard of Santa Claus yet.
For now, we inhabit the world of dinosaurs, and that gives us plenty to think about.
We'll be back next week with tales of this and that. Peace out peops.
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