Monthly Archives: February 2015

Thank You Leonard Nimoy and Spock

After days of rumors, they confirmed this morning that Leonard Nimoy passed away at his home. I’ve adored him for years, and wrote this tribute to him last summer. R.I.P. Leonard.

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February 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of “The English Invasion”, when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones arrived in the USA for televised concerts.  The images of hundreds of screaming Beatles fans from their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show are part of music history burned into people’s minds.  As I watched them, something has always puzzled me: Why were the girls all screaming?  The answer to that question came to me as a result of watching Star Trek.

The show was scheduled against the hit show “Bewitched”, and it was not an immediate hit; at least not with me.  However, after watching a few episodes, I found myself (pardon the expression) fascinated with the alien character, Mr. Spock, as played by Leonard Nimoy.  Tall and thin, with shining dark hair, deeply set dark eyes, pointed ears and steeply slanted eyebrows, and yellow complexion, he was not as universally handsome…

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The Power of Pink and Purple

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These are some of my favorite photos in these colors–most taken at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and a great poem to go with them, by Pamela Brown’s book “Nature’s Gifts”.  Photo above is me in summer regalia taken at the (temporary) installation “Monet’s Garden”at the Bronx Botanic Garden.  People thought I was part of the exhibit…

May you, just once or twice in your lifetime, see something infinitely rare and strange and beautiful.

I wish you delight of plants – the small miracles of graft and cutting, seed and bulb and corm. of new life from the earth.

I wish you the gloom of the garden in winter – and after months of anticipation, the small, green signs of spring.

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I MISS LENT!

woman with ashes

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I miss the old catholic traditions for celebrating lent…and I just realized why.  This morning I dashed into the nearby church and did the quick in and out circuit to get my ashes.  It’s a NYC tradition.  Ash Wednesday is when all the lapsed catholics “come out of the closet” so to speak, and indulge their religious leanings,  just in case….We are too busy to stay for mass, much less stand in line a long time to get the yearly ashes on our foreheads, so downtown churches make it as easy as possible. One has the priests standing ON THE SIDEWALK in front of the church, and people need only pause for a second to get their ashes on their foreheads…at another, bigger location, they have Mass celebrated in the upper church, while a line of priests stand ready in the lower chapel to distribute ashes…if you time it just right, you can make a straight circuit from the sidewalk, downstairs to the chapel, get your ashes, and be back out on the sidewalk again without even breaking stride.

My favorite was a church on Wall Street that had special accommodations for the stock brokers and traders.  Just after communion, the priest walked to a small table  on the side of the altar, piled with little white boxes, and announced ” Would all the people designated to bring ashes back to their offices please come forward?”  Yep.  I worked down there as a temp for several months, and people on the trading floors seldom leave their desks for anything: food, massages, dry cleaning, and all other needs (they don’t have chamber pots, but I’m sure catheters were considered at one point).  Some secretaries were going to take the ashes to work and give them out.

Catholics aren’t required to do a lot of the things we used to when I was a kid, but I’d like to bring back a few. Skip giving something up for Lent.  It’s just planning to fail, like your New Years Resolutions.Not for the sake of religious fervor, but as a break in routine, celebrating the change in seasons and to give myself something to look forward to.  For the 6 weeks of Lent, I don’t eat meat on Fridays, follow the custom of fasting (1 full meal)and abstaining(no meat) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and before going to the Easter Parade, I go to Mass on Easter.  Churches used to cover all religious figures and pictures with purple cloth during lent, skip all the big music during mass, and only use a few candles on the altar.  Then on Easter Sunday, you would walk into the church and everything was uncovered, the church was full of flowers and many candles, and the choirs were allowed to sing in their full glory.  The changes from the last six weeks made your heart fill.  Just as mulching your flowers during winter makes them bloom with more vigor in the Spring, I think some of the traditions of lent can do that for the soul, psyche, spirit, or whatever you choose to call it.

Just a thought…..

A VALENTINE FROM RUMI….

 

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“I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“more”
― Rumi

THE 2015 GRAMMY AWARDS-PLAY IT!!!!!

Tonight is the 2015 Grammy Awards program.    As I go over the list of this year’s nominees, I’m stunned to finally see singers I not only know–but like!  It’s been many years since I bothered to watch the show.

The Grammys used to be very, very dry and stodgy, but my favorite broadcast was one where the group Wild Cherry performed their hit song .  The audience had sat there all night, watching the nominees take their awards and politely clapping for the winners.  Then Wild Cherry started playing “PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC WHITE BOY”, and everything changed.  First the crowd nodded, then snapped, squirmed in their seats, and suddenly people started getting out of their seats, dancing in place and even jumping into the aisles, singing the chorus at the top of their lungs,..

“Play that funky music white boy, play that funky music play! Play that funky music white boy! Lay down some boogie and do that funky music till you die!”

It was an electrifying moment in live TV, and I’d never seen anything like it. Even more than that, I until I saw the broadcast I had no idea it wasn’t a black band like Earth, Wind and Fire!  Now every time I hear a band launch into this song, I jump to my feet and boogie like there’s no tomorroW…

I hope tonight has a thrilling moment as well…We’ll just have to see.  In the meantime, crank up the volume on your machine, and use the link to hear and oldie but a SERIOUS GOODIE.

Banana Chocolate Chip Walnut Gluten-free Muffins

After years of coveting the muffins displays at various restaurants, I finally came up with a method of making them gluten-free that works, thanks in part to the Betty Crocker Gluten-free Rice Flour baking mix.  Here  is my recipe, which makes six muffins–enough for you to have 2 per day for 3 days.

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  • 2 VERY RIPE bananas-this is important, because old even blackened bananas are sweeter!
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweet butter, melted (or use vegetable oil). If you use margarine instead, SKIP the salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons crushed walnuts, (or pecans if you prefer)
    • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips(add to batter last, or skip entirely)
  • 1  cup Betty Crocker Gluten Free Rice Flour

Preheat oven to 350 (for toaster oven use 325!). Grease and flour a six serving muffin pan, or use muffin cups.

In large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, vanilla, milk and thoroughly mashed bananas.  In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. NOTE if you used margarine instead of sweet  butter or oil, do not add salt here–margarine has salt in it.

Gently add dry mix to wet, only until moistened.  Now add in walnuts.  Spoon mixture into your muffin tin. If you are adding chocolate chips gently push them into each muffin.  Put muffin tin into refrigerator for 15 minutes to rest, then into oven for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean.

close up banana chocolate chip walnut muffins

close up banana chocolate chip walnut muffins

These will freeze well….enjoy.