Haiku: Suicide Journey

Posting a haiku daily during February for National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) has me digging up some of these little poems that I’ve written and stowed away. Many were created in moments of reflection or times of sadness in which the haiku exercise was a way to process grief or tragedy. Today’s is one of those.

turbulent journey,
abrupt and violent ending ~
now on the peace train

The suicide was my brother’s. His pain is over, but the grief ebbs and flows like the tide for all of his loved ones.

Here’s a plea for anyone who is hurting to reach out before making a final choice: My Brother’s Suicide: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light. If you want to learn about suicide prevention, please check out the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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Photo credits to my son; he took this in Galveston on his 19th birthday. Our family has a special connection to the seashore, as you’ll note in my days by the water .

Peace be with you.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

Haiku: Little Ones

A friend with young children sent me a couple of pictures today that reminded me how precious and fleeting that time of life is when your children are small.

fullsizeoutput_21d8The pictures of my friend’s little one were all smiles, joy, simplicity and innocence, evoking memories of when my son was a toddler.

I remember the way my heart grew beyond its capacity when I became a parent – and that the way my son looked at the world changed my own perspective on life and what’s important. It still does.

That was just a few minutes ago. But somehow my son is 20 now.

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The author Elizabeth Stone said:

Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

She’s right.

So this haiku is dedicated to all parents of little ones (and once-little ones who’re all grown up now) as today’s effort for National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo).

baby-chubby hugs
calla lily caresses
simple innocence

 

© 2018 Glover Gardens

A Wedgeless Wedge Salad, the Glover Gardens Way

The Grill-Meister and I love wedge salads. You know, the traditional steakhouse-style that unapologetically showcases iceberg lettuce and blue (bleu) cheese, with ample garnishes of bright red tomato and crunchy bacon?

One version that we really liked (from a steakhouse, of course) added balsamic vinegar syrup. Yeah, baby! That addition took the wedge up to a whole ‘nother level.  It is really simple to make a balsamic syrup – or rather, a balsamic reduction sauce, to use proper cooking terminology.  All you have to do is use twice as much as you want to end up with and cook it in a saucepan, low and slow, ’til it reduces by half. But not longer, or else you’ll end up with balsamic caramel candy. (I know this from personal experience.) Some recipes will tell you to add brown sugar or some nonsense like that – don’t believe ’em! There is plenty of sugar in vinegar already.

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Photo from Kraft Recipes; looks good, but not enough goodies!

We’re kind of picky, and don’t really like the iceberg lettuce to be a big ol’ single wedge.  It looks great, but once you slice into it, there is a lot more lettuce than goodies and you end up wishing you could have more of everything but the lettuce. There just isn’t enough surface space for yummies add-ons with the traditional big wedge. So we split the wedge and arrange them side by side in the salad bowl, waiting to accept all of the lovely goodness this traditional salad has to offer. Photos are at the bottom of the post.

 

We had ribeyes recently, and what goes better with a ribeye than a wedge salad? Am I right? Here is our take on it, the wedgeless wedge.

Glover Gardens Wedgeless Wedge Salad for 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, trimmed and cut into quarters
  • 2 thick slices of red onion, cut in half and separated
  • 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (preferably several colors)
  • 4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • blue cheese dressing (purchased or homemade; I used this recipe from Epicurious.com – ingredients below)
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (“lite” is ok, homemade is better if you have it on hand)
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives (or green onion tops)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (or more; this dressing is pretty thick)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and cook on medium low for 20 minutes or more until thickened and reduced by half.  Set aside. If you are making the dressing yourself, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Arrange the lettuce in two salad bowls so that it covers the whole surface. Distribute the tomato halves, and then arrange slivers of the red onion in a pinwheel (see below). Put a big dollop of the dressing in the middle of each salad, then drizzle the balsamic reduction around the edge of the salad bowl (don’t be stingy with it).

Sprinkle the bacon, green onions and blue cheese crumbles atop the salad, then add a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Glover Gardens "Wedge" Salad
The foundation layer, before all the goodies.
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The finished product, after the goodies and balsamic glaze.

We served the wedgeless wedge alongside grilled ribeyes, but they could truly be main course salads. You could add grilled chicken, shrimp or even tofu to amp up the protein.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Backyard Haiku (for NaHaiWriMo)

Spring is breaking out early at Glover Gardens, and the backyard is like a bird sanctuary. I have a new DSLR camera that I am learning how to use, and have taken to carrying it with me as much as I can when I’m outside (weekends only; I have a corporate job with a long commute).  I am not good at schlepping the camera around yet and marvel at how pro photographers lug around all their equipment, ready to seize that great photo op when it appears. There are so many peripheral skills that they have to support the primary one of knowing what would make a great photo, and how to use their sophisticated equipment.

If you’ve been following Glover Gardens, you’ll know that I’m observing National Haiku Writing Month (#NaHaiWriMo) and posting one haiku per day in February. I started late, and it is a little more difficult than I thought, but I’m going to see it through.  Fortunately, the backyard at Glover Gardens is a source of inspiration for me.

joy in my backyard:
Mama Cardinal ponders life
while I sit and watch

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Mama Cardinal looks all around
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Checking me out to see if I’m a threat
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Perched above the feeder to survey the surroundings (is it safe? is it safe?)
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Finally, crunching on a seed
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Looking at me again before going for that next yummy seed

Life is good, for Mama Cardinal and me.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Haiku: The Dangers of Hubris (NaHaiWriMo)

This point of view of this blog is (usually) positive, but sometimes contemplation requires lamentation.

Hubris, invited,
accepts, and stays for good (bad).
What price ignorance?

Hubris arises in many ways.  I leave it to you, Dear Reader, to apply your own meaning.

Hubris Haiku

The haiku was created as part of the NaHaiWriMo initiative, a commitment to produce one haiku per day in February.  Read more here.

And you can find lots more Glover Gardens haiku here, most of it unfailingly positive, (except for the one about beets) honoring such favorites as cats, flowers, food and Dads.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

I Hate Beets (Haiku and Rant for NaHaiWriMo)

I hate beets! They make a promise with their glorious color that they cannot keep with their taste. To say it in haiku:

dear beets, please explain
the dichotomy between
your color and taste

Most foods are A-OK with me, but beetroot is tops on the Bad List, along with alligator and mayonnaise (the jarred kind).

I’ve tried to like beets, really I have, but they taste like the dirt they come from. I’m not even sure they are actually food! Maybe the first human who ate them were just really hungry.

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Photo from The Goods, which has a nice article about beets, including their health value and history (I still hate the pernicious red root, but it’s a good article)

My son’s godfather (known as the Raconteur here – see this post about his margaritas) used to come to my house so we could cook crazy things together oh-so-many years ago. I was alone at home with a small child and the Raconteur, who was yet to be married, had spare time, adored my child and is an adventurous cook and eater.  We once we tried a dish that used ground fenugreek on chicken served in a beet-yogurt sauce. It was so bad that it was funny – my musician husband actually laughed out loud when he arrived home at around midnight and we served him Fenugreek Chicken with Beet Sauce.  It was close to inedible. I’m not hating on the fenugreek; the beets just spoiled the whole dish.

What were we thinking?!!!  It was actually the Raconteur’s fault; I was a doubter the whole time but he thought beets had gotten a bad rap because of the way our moms served them – pickled, from a can. His theory was that fresh beets with fresh yogurt (I think we made that, too) would be a whole different animal.  Nope.  Tasted like dirt.

The Raconteur married the lovely Kat-Woman, and we still find time to cook together when we can, now as a foursome with the Grill-Meister (another beet-hater).  Kat-Woman also hates beets. But the subject keeps coming up. It seems like they want to like beets. (What’s up with that???) Last month, Kat-Woman sent us a text with a photo:

Continuing our discussion about beets…… Maybe this version will be edible?😆😳🤔

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I doubted it. And since I never heard back from her about this travesty (beet hummus???), they must not have been edible.

Then today, this message and photo:

 We’ve found a way we will eat beets. They do it right in London.
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Beetroot and Goat Cheese Risotto from a restaurant in London; photo courtesy of Kat-Woman

They keep going back to the beet thing. I’m still very, very doubtful, but the thing is – Kat-Woman and the Raconteur have excellent palates and we love many of the same foods. I might just have to try this the next time I’m in London. Maybe.

While I’m confessing my feelings about beets, I’ll have to admit that I’ve never tried borscht.  I should, it’s a traditional food that a foodie should have knowledge of…but again, it’s got beets in it! Convince me, someone!

Or maybe not.  Beets are beets, and I’m a beet-hater.

© 2018 Glover Gardens (cover image from johnnyseeds.com)

Mountains and Birds Make Me Happy

Little House in the Rockies conjures many of my favorite words.

Little House Word Cloud

It’s a tiny little cabin in central Colorado, at 10,000 feet (or 9,997, if we’re being nit-picky) near the top of a minor mountain.

It’s a happy place. It inspires me, restores peace and tranquility and fuels creativity.

That’s what today’s haiku for NaHaiWriMo is about.

peace settles in like

snow on mountains, birds in trees

chilly serenity

 

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens