Sunday, January 31, 2010

Even More Kitties!

Here's a brand-new baby serval kitten only five weeks old and another kitty of an entirely different sort. We won't identify this larger one, but readers of Distant Cousin: Regeneration will know who she is. Thanks again to Julie's Jungle!

MORE cats in the right column, under the blue-eyed kitty!

Friday, January 29, 2010

More Photos from the West Indies

Here are several more photos from Barbados, a lovely, lovely island of friendly people. Barbados is a venue in both Distant Cousin and Distant Cousin: Reincarnation.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Venue Photos: The West Indies

Here are some more location shots from Distant Cousin (volume 1). (See the table of contents to the right for more.) The first is of the centuries-old inner harbour [sic] of the spice island of Grenada. The fort mentioned in the story is at the end of the peninsula to the left. The other pictures are from Barbados, the easternmost island in the West Indies. That's all we'll say here--no spoilers! Best appreciated after one has read the story....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Answers to the Great Ana Darcy Shoe Quiz

Here's what we can provide by way of answers to the shoe quiz.

First, full disclosure: #2 is the shoe of your humble editor (with his cat Bob, may he rest in peace, who loves a good shoe). People who make tests call that sort of item a "distractor."

Now, for the other shoes. Those who know Ana from her series will know that she is highly conscious of her safety. She's always ready to move quickly, and generally wears shoes which will allow that to happen. (She said in Volume 1 that one should never have more with them than one could carry a half mile at a dead run.) In addition, perhaps from having been raised in a less materialistic society, her fashion taste is not like ours. It runs to the simple and unadorned, to basic colors (which are unobtrusive), and to practical, comfortable, and non-showy items. But there are occasional exceptions.

Shoes 1, 4, and 10 are shoes that she has never worn and would not wear. She has worn all the others (except for 2).

The others are all "sensible" shoes in her eyes with a couple of exceptions. Shoes 7 are the ones she wears on the cover of Distant Cousin: Regeneration. Shoes 9 (and the shoes above) she's worn to summer parties at friends' houses. Shoes 13 she wore to a fancy reception for members of the G-9 Conference in Milan (also in Distant Cousin: Regeneration). Shoes 15 are the dearly beloved scuffs she bought in a used clothing store on the way to New Mexico with Matt (Distant Cousin). She wore them at the family gathering in Distant Cousin: Regeneration, but as far as I know they finally wore out. Shoes 14 are her newest, I think (my information is incomplete), but they are high-tech, comfortable, wearable in many different situations, and of course, she could run like the dickens in them if she had to.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Great Ana Darcy Shoe Quiz!

Would you like to see how well you know Ana Darcy Mendez? See if you
 can tell which of these shoes she would NEVER wear.

(Answers here.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pizza Brainstorm #1 of 3: Smoked Moz & Roasted Tomatoes

A more or less standard pizza, except for the fresh-made dough, the fresh, smoked mozarella, the fire-roasted (canned) tomatoes, and the half-vegetarian/half Italian sausage & pepperoni design. Garlic and green peppers on both sides, of course. Extraordinary!

Brainstorm #2. Brainstorm #3.

Pizza Brainstorm #2 of 3: Black-eyed Pea-zza!

Yes, black eyed peas, but also spinach, red bell peppers, and fresh smoked mozarella. You wouldn't believe how good this pizza was!

Brainstorm #1. Brainstorm #3.

Pizza Brainstorm #3 of 3: Leeks & Potatoes!

Brainstorm #1
. Brainstorm #2.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Old Award, New Seal!

The editor of PODBRAM has just begun issuing seals to go with his annual awards, and the award given to Distant Cousin in 2007 now has a spiffy seal to go with the announcement. Fancy! (And the intent of the award, pleasurability, is still true!)

By way of history, a while after that award was granted, the editor asked me to join the site as a reviewer, which I did, gladly. Today, PODBRAM is comprised of a varied and expert team of reviewers all dedicated to identifying and reviewing some of the best new independently published books. The current year's awards, based on eighty books read by the team over the year, are now posted at the site. For those looking for new and different authors, and for books which don't come out of a couple of giant book factories, PODBRAM is an excellent place to start.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ana Finds a Poem About Air Travel

If you know anything about Ana, you know she flies a good deal--maybe not often, but from time to time. Occasionally, she charters planes, when circumstances require it--money is not a problem for her, fortunately. Most times, she flies commercial. So she immediately took to this poem, as would nearly anyone who's flown very often.

We have flown also, many times, and the thoughts of the poet instantly resonate with us as well.

Passengers, by Billy Collins

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Bibliographical Word from Ana's Editor

....We would like to use this post to announce the publication of a new work by the editor of Ana's Blog--not fiction, not non-fiction, but photography, in collaboration with author and poet Barry Yelton: On Wings of Gentle Power, published by Strider Nolan Publications, Inc.

Here's the publisher's description:
"Poet Barry D. Yelton presents a poetic exploration of the universe, life, and the human soul. Through metaphor, allegory, and black and white photography, the world around us and our place in it are uniquely illuminated. The poems within are reflective of writer Barry Yelton's rural roots. A sense of place and connection to the land, the sky, and the waters permeates the writing. The gorgeous, breathtaking photography of Dr. Al Past combines with Yelton's vivid and literate verse to create a powerful multi-layered metaphor of creation and the cosmos not soon to be forgotten."

Since many readers of this blog have enjoyed sharing some of Ana Darcy Mendez's favorite poems, there's a good chance that some would also enjoy the peaceful, evocative words and thoughts of Mr. Yelton in this lovely little volume. The photographs are not bad either!

And while we're at it, the editor has another book out, his sixth (actually his first), but this one is of music: Baroque Duets, published by Charles Colin Publications. Here's the description:
"Baroque Duets, arranged by Al Past, is a compendium of contrapuntal gems - 45 in all - drawn largely from the enduring works of the great baroque masters: Vivaldi's concertos; Handle's organ concertos, Fireworks Music, and Water Music; and J.S. Bach's partitas, orchestral suites, concerti grossi, harpsichord and violin concertos, and preludes and fugues from The Well Tempered Clavier (Books I and II). A few of the duets are within the capability of beginning students, for example, the familiar Shaker tune "Simple Gifts." Many require intermediate level proficiency, but most will challenge - and reward - the advanced player. Excellent material for those wishing to improve their technique on the high trumpets."

The duets are intended for all treble clef instruments, but we were pleased to encounter a public school band director who said he'd nearly worn out his copy playing them with his students--and he plays trombone, a bass clef instrument. Given a little transposition ability, the duets work with all instruments. The editor has played several with a cellist!

You are welcome to print out and play a sample duet: Bach's "Little Fugue in g minor," BWV 574, a two-part arrangement of that famous three part fugue. We hope you and a duet buddy enjoy it. If so, there are 44 more in the book!

While you're at it, meet Ana Darcy!

A reader comments: "The essence of Spielberg's Close Encounters or E.T. remains pervasive throughout. The characters and dialog tell the story. The whole thing is show, don't tell in a manner that any reader can appreciate. The storyline flows, the characters develop comfortably, and you feel as if you are so glad that you know these people!"

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thai-style crepes for the Holidays

Here's a holiday dish Ana put together from several recipes and a little improvisation. We could ask her for details if anyone's interested.
She started by sauteeing sweet potato chunks, red bell pepper pieces, and scallions, in a little wok oil and garlic. The crepes are standard crepes, with some scallions and cilantro added for interest. The heavenly peanut sauce includes chopped cilantro and perhaps a little wasabi, to rivet the attention. Once served, they are sprinkled with a little fresh key lime juice. Incredible!

Many great recipe ideas are in the right column under the photo of cranberry/apple pie-->

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Poem about an Artichoke?

Ana had never tried an artichoke until she found this poem. Matt's family didn't eat them and Matt had never learned to appreciate the exotic vegetable. It does take a bit of skill, after all.

After Ana asked Matt about the images in the poem, they bought an artichoke and spent a fun evening cooking and eating it and discussing the poem. Ana loved the "bronzy, winter-kissed tips," as the poet put it. Once Matt explained the simile, they discussed Marilyn Monroe and the Buddha and looked up "Cynara" (all mentioned in the poem) as they shared their exotic appetizer.

Now, Ana likes artichokes.

Matt doesn't care for them.

"The First Artichoke," by Diane Lockward*

*Note: This page has closed, alas. To find it another way please see the workaround.
For more of Ana's favorite poems, which lots of people enjoy as well, please scroll a good way down the column on the right until you reach the photo of the LOVE sculpture. There are lots of lovely poems there!