Vintage two women reading

Field Guide to the End of the World (A Book Review)

This seems to be my month for reading new-old books. “S” by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams looks precisely like a 1949 well-worn library book and is filled with… well we don’t have time for that now. I’m setting it aside for the time being in favor of a new old favorite.

The end of the world is coming—ack, it’s here, and Jeannine Hall Gailey wants to help us find our way, via what looks to be a well-worn atomic age textbooky field guide.

Field Guide To The End Of The World Cover Art
Poet Jeannine Hall GaileyField Guide to the End of the World is Ms. Gailey’s fifth poetry book. I have read The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and thought I knew what I was getting into with her newest (oldest?) book. Ah, but while there are similarities, the author has let her playful side out to romp through the debris of our final days.

The book sorts poems into groupings, which is nice for slipping into a frame of mind and lingering there a while. My favorite section, and I am pretty sure many readers will agree with this, is “Cultural Anthropology”.  It’s a bit like reading the literary version of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, while watching the Food Channel on the side and sneaking peeks over to Netflix. The name that pops out of the poetry listings immediately, is, of course, Wile E. Coyote (super genius), who’s been living in a post-apocalypse world since most of us wore footed jammies. Who better to enlist than this ill-fed quasi-predator to be one of the guides on our journey? As it turns out, that guide is as lost as the rest of us, but we can take comfort in wandering in circles together.

My personal favorite is “Letter to John Cusack, Piloting a Plane in an Apocalypse Movie”. Take some time to linger on each phrase, and remember. As the saying goes, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it will become a part of you. Actually, it already was, you just needed open eyes to see it.

But I didn’t simply hunker down (though hunkering down during the end days certainly has its merit) in the ‘funny’ chapter.  Emotionally, I am still returning often to the “End Times Eschatology” chapter to re-read and re-experience how the end of the world will feel for others. The practical ones, the romantics, the selfless and the selfish, the god-fearers, mistake makers, job hunters. As humanity shares a singular ultimate fate, we approach it from so many diverse roads. There are as many ways to face the end as there are quirks and differences between one person and the next.

I highly recommend you take a field guide with you on your own personal journey.  Buy your beat-up old-new copy at Amazon.com or theUniversity of Arkansas Press.

Learn more about Jeannine Hall Gailey and her poetry at her website

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Foodie:  BBQ Girl

Decompressing Weekend Cooking

First rise underway. In my sense of priorities, I decided on chewy, crusty baguettes BEFORE figuring out the rest of the dinner menu. I still have no clue what's for dinner, but we shall have lovely baguettes with it, by cog.

https://food52.com/recipes/27433-dan-leader-s-4-hour-baguette

The workweek was ten hour days spent working at 300 miles an hour. We're doing good things, but we are all so tired now. September at a very large university is like that.  And so I cook, and read good books this weekend.
Vintage gorgeous

Mandatory Memories Of The Day

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, I was going about the routine business of balancing fund ledgers at my desk at Michigan State University. After a while, I started hearing confusing conversations in our reception area, not far from my desk. "Some private plane crashed in New York City." "One of the World Trade towers caught on fire." It was a muddle, and I was confused. We had a television in our executive conference room, and someone thought to go turn it on. When I wandered over and peered in, I got my first notion of what hell looked like. Back at my desk, my phone was ringing off the hook. Ken Holuta was calling. I turned into a whirlwind of confusion, listening to him talking about what was happening, wanting to run back to the conference room and see it, but scared to go see it, and simply talked with Ken until the towers fell. Can't recall how it went after that, but when we hung up, I crept towards the conference room, already crying. Totally scared to see what it looked like. And they were running the fall of the towers, over and over and over and it was AWFUL.

Then I heard that all air traffic was grounded. I needed to get out of that conference room, so left the building to go walk in the garden. Everything felt surreal. I looked up at clear blue skies, and marveled at the weird fact that I wouldn't see any planes heading for the Lansing airport. A few students wandered out too, trying to get some fresh air and find answers. We didn't have any. But we stayed close together, not talking, because who had the words?

I still sit at that same desk at MSU, and every September 11th I go out to the garden and look at the sky. And feel awful. I can't even imagine how those who served us to save and protect victims feel on this day. Or those who lost family and friends. I can't. What I CAN do is assure them that I will never, ever forget. And I don't think I'll lose that strange prickly-creepy feeling I get when I look to the skies on every September 11th.
Vintage Girl In Tree

15 Authors That Influenced My Life

A new article, and a new front page web design! Check it out. I'm starting to add sneaky easter eggs to the front page, so stay sharp and overlook nothing.

My Influential Authors

This article was in response to a meme. If you are inclined to spin it off to your most influental authors, I'd be delighted to learn who they are.
Vintage Girl Pirate

Petticoats, Coffee Beans and Superheroes

In the midst of the dust storm that is my life, I've managed a puttery evening after work. I flopped on the bed with the Kindle and the cat for a full hour! My huge muslin petticoats was also heaped on the bed awaiting the washer, and Chives LOVES that hunka foof, so he crawled right in and made a nest. Happy cat. Spent a couple hours in the kitchen after that, polishing antique canning jars, grinding coffee beans, making a vanilla and chocolate pudding layered dessert, and listening to a chocolate documentary on the iPad. Soon it'll be BLTs for dinner while finishing up editing "A Life Invented", an 8,000ish romp for kids about the childhood of Gerard Liddle, who was featured as an adult in "The Flight To Brassbright" novel. And I THINK that will be the last of my short stories for a while. I was having fun rounding up extra snippets from past NaNoWriMos and converting them to little books. Back to the novelthings starting tomorrow.

Also just finally read this article, from my saved links of "stuff I'll read later". Now you can read it too. If you have not met the Red Panda, he'd love to make your acquaintance, even if you are not Canadian.

Dynamic Duo-Radio and Superheroes
Foodie:  BBQ Girl

Red Hair and Red Meat

Last night after work I got my hair cut VERY short all over (and shaved up around my ear curves) I blame the sweltering heat for this decision. Afterward, I lamented the newly revealed mousey blonde-grey hair. Time to henna! I'm wearing a large amount of Lush Mama Caca henna on my noggin right now. I love the cut, and once it is paprika red again I will be very happy.  PS: I add paprika to my henna.  ;)

And now it's time for another thrilling episode of What's In My Crockpot! This down-the-barrel view shows my pot filled with, from the bottom layer up, chopped white sweet onions, a handful of dehydrated green and red peppers (I dehydrated them last season), 4 huge garlic cloves, 4 quartered tomatoes from the garden, and a pile of venison chops. I'll add cracked pepper, sea salt and cowhorn pepper flakes, plus a cup of water so it doesn't burn. Late tonight this will be a lovely mess which I can hand-shred for tacos! Mmm. Think I will make a corn salsa to go with them.

Hot today innit?

Rain Rain Come To Stay

It's hot. And dry. And HOT. Did I mention it's hot?  Yard work has been difficult this year, with the lack of rain, the excessive heat, and the wasp nest in the crabapple tree. It's the size of a 1948 Studebaker, I SWEAR I am not exaggerating. Much.

On the happy side, after three years of lobbying for one, our department is finally getting a Intranet. We're probably the last department on campus to get one, but FINALLY. And guess who gets to play with it and make it shiny and fill it with all good stuff?  Yeah, I basically spent the entire day yesterday ignoring all my other work so I could play with that. I can get so lost in Wordpress setups, they are so fun.

Oh and I finally finished my recap of Motor City Steam Con out at my bookish site. Most fun con EVER!
Vintage Amazing Hat

When In Doubt, Cook

I spent yesterday unwinding from Motor City Steam Con. This is how I unwind, your mileage may vary. My mileage insists on a few hours of kitchen therapy. It grounds me and makes me happy. So this happened:

Crunched up a huge bowl of my homegrown Greek oregano, which was dry and ready for storage in a vintage blue glass canning jar.

Ground 2 pounds of fresh coffee beans. One pound is for the office, one is for here at home.

Reorganized all my herbs and spices, pitched the unviable ones, moved many into better glass containers. (Have I mentioned I am addicted to lovely glass containers and antique canning jars?)

Made a huge pot of chili. Huuuuuge. Will be dinner tonight!

Blended up some greek yogurt with honey, flax seeds and roasted fresh blueberries.

Sorted and stored garlic pearls (those little round seeds in the flower atop a garlic scape) for planting later in the year.

Made a weed salad. There was a lot of purslane growing wild where it shouldn't be. The stuff is healthy and full of omega 3 fatty acids. Washed and chopped it, added halved cherrry tomatoes and thin sliced radishes, with poppy seed dressing. Yum.

Got my sourdough starter out, fed it and let it bubble on the countertop. Later, got two large loaves of sourdough bread rising.

I'm working on a comprehensive post about the con, which will be first-posted at brassbrightcity.com, but I'll share it here too! Should be done, eh,either tonight or sometime tomorrow. I'm still relaxing. :) Today's my last day of this little vacation.