Saturday, January 23, 2016


      Cold as *#@k outside and I'm not going anywhere.  Actually, I couldn't even if I wanted to.  Our parking lot looks like an ice rink.  I'll exercise indoors.  Yoga, stretching, my stationary bike, weights.     I'm working on a creative nonfiction essay of about 3000 words on Hurricane Katrina.  Found some oral histories that should be an interesting addition.

     Let's see --soup, beans and rice, frozen veggies, a little low on fruit.  Should be fine here for a few days.  Later, I'll put on my hiking boots to get my mail, if the mail is even being delivered!  I wonder...

     It looks like D. C. could have the blizzard of the century.  The storm is heading up the coast and N. C. got smacked pretty well.  D. C. will come to a standstill with two feet of snow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

ASU Biomimicry Center

purpose  "The Biomimicry Center will leverage the potential of biomimicry to support the development of sustainable solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. By bridging labs and disciplines both within ASU and across academia, we hope to increase the rate of innovation and idea generation in academia. Solutions emerging from research labs and educational endeavors will result in new intellectual property for faculty, students and ASU that can be developed collaboratively with industry or government partners."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Love This Poet

A. E. Stallings, a poet of my own heart.  I read her book, Olives when I first moved to Durham in 2014.  I can definitely see where her classical training has infused her writing.

At last, sugar free pumpkin bread

this fluffy, super moist real pumpkin loaf is vegan, gluten free and sweetened using caramel-textured Medjool dates.


  • dry:
  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour (from 3 cups rolled oats when blended in a Vitamix) -- or use traditional wheat flour if needed
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • wet:
  • 15oz. pumpkin puree, unsweetened (organic used)
  • 8 pitted Medjool dates, soaked (see instructions)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar or fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • topping:
  • 1 Medjool date, chopped + rolled oats + sprinkle of date sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8 or 9" loaf baking pan. (Or use parchment paper to line pan)
  2. Add the pitted Medjool dates to a large mixing bowl and add 1-2 cups of hot water. Soak for 30-60 seconds -- just to soften them. Drain water and place soaked dates in your blender container.
  3. Process your 3 cups of rolled oats to make oat flour -- or use store bought oat flour. Add add the dry ingredients to the same (now empty) large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Add the almond milk, coconut oil, pumpkin and apple cider vinegar to the blender, with the dates, and blend from low to high until silky smooth.
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry bowl and stir to combine. Stir until fluffy - 1-2 minutes or folding the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out top a bit. Add the toppings: chopped dates, oats and an optional sprinkle of date sugar (or coconut sugar).
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for ten miutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for another 25-30 minutes. You want the top of the loaf to be browned and slightly firm to touch, while the inside if cooked through and fluffy.
  8. Allow the loaf to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. If you slice too soon, you may squish some of the fluffiness of the loaf. Store leftovers in the fridge - re-heat or serve chilled. Delicious served with tea or coffee!
Yield: 9 slices
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins. 
Cook time: 00 hrs. 35 mins. 
Total time: 45 mins. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Salute to the Duke

     Last night, I attended the second annual Sounds of Justice and Inclusion Concert at Duke, commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.  This was a concert of historic proportions that included a tribute to Duke Ellington. Maestro William Curry gave an eloquent presentation to the audience about the making of the song, "Three Black Kings."  He also told of meeting King while a student at Oberlin.
     That sparked my own memory of meeting Duke Ellington in 1970 At Disneyland.  It was their 25th anniversary and I was there around midnight.  We heard music coming from a small pavilion and noticed people dancing.  Walking closer, we could see Duke Ellington was directing.  I shook his hand.  I remember him being very tall and distinguished looking.  What a night!  Meeting Duke Ellington!
     At last night's concert, Ellington's "Three Black Kings" was performed as the last song.  William Curry introduced the piece, mentioning that this was Ellington's last piece and he wrote it in the hospital.  The Durham Symphony played with John Brown and his "Little Big Band."

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Romance Fiction


(the guy in the photo reminds me of Heath Ledger)

Well, today I attended a program on romance fiction that featured the film "Romance Writers of America."  75 million Americans read romance fiction and I'm not one of them!  No wait, Nora Roberts was one of the writers in the film.  And man is she successful!

“We pay the bills, one said.   “We keep the lights on,” another said.  Mary Bly said she only wanted to read romances as a chid ---  her father  was a poet and her mother was a teacher.  Love, loyaly, loss courage.   We learn core values from fiction.

Spoke with Sabrina Jeffries for a while.  She writes in Cary and this is her pen name.  She has 8 million books in print!  How cow!  She's a former academe from Tulane.

Tragic love, failed love, lost gained.  Women always win in the end.   You can have sex without dying horribly, a real plus.

Beverly Johnson said “there wasn’t anyone writing for us (black) women. There was never anyone who thought black women were beautiful.

 You Had Me From Hello

Black Mountain Breakdown
Sea grove Summer   these would make great titles for my books :-)

Romance fiction is demonized because it’s about women, for women, and by women.  Celeste Donavan is one…her first book fetched $7000 and her husband  told her she would still have have to work..  He didn’t see writing as work,  much less something that  would could bring as much money as his profession as a doctor brings.

There are gay writers like…….who was in medical school and visited Giovanni’s Room. 

 Write like a man….do the best you can at that moment.

Dictating….map out the plot….

The flame is always at your ass…try to get out 2 books a year. 

Think about a couple and the children they are going to have….

A man who treats you like a princess….

Debbie McCromber is a successful author.
“The publishing house has the power.”

My dream:  In the dream, I was in Missouri at an intentional living space.  People were writing and studying in these cozy little spaces.  Outside I climbed a stone wall and a young boy let me through a gate.  I felt like I had come home.         

Boldstroke  Books:  a publishing house run by a former surgeon who's gay. Radclyfe books is  another publisher.

The Well of Loneliness is about a lesbian who kills herself and is such a downer…I never knew that!

Write the first book!!!!

Try reading a Celeste Holmes book.

Sabrina Jefferies from NC “tossed aside a career in academics to write fun novels.”  She was enthralled by Judith McNaught. 

Lisa Shepard  revolutionized cataloging of romance novels.

Jennifer Loeman, writer for Harlequin and a librarian.


Some ideas for MY stories include 
Otis Redding,
Aretha Franklin
John Coltrane

You Had Me From Hello
Black Mountain Breakdown
Seagrove Summer

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Five Good Things

1.  Just back from the orthopedic office where I had knee x rays done to show how things have been progrelessing since my knee replacements.  My knees are perfect!  I can do just about everything except twirl around.  Good to see Jamie and the crew again.  Same staff, same great service.

2.  Grateful for my neighbor and church friend who gave me rides to the doctors this week.

3.  I'm feeling better than ever.  New knees, new lease on life.

4.  Had beautiful dreams last night.  That I found an intentional community in Missouri.  It was beautiful with a lake and artists' studios.  So real!

5.  Applied for 4 jobs to Duke (probably along with hundreds of others).  Who DOESN'T want to work for Duke.

6.  The assoc. ed. job is still available at the Sun.  Great magazine!  I'll apply on Friday.

7.  Feeling so much better after getting the wax removed from my ears yesterday.  Hearing better, too.

8.  John and Sue coming to dinner tomorrow for soup.  Might make risotto rice too.

9.  Lunch next week with Franklin.

10. My buddy from church, Brandon, is a dear.  Took me for an appt. while my car's in the shop.

11.  Interesting that I have some readers in Russia.  I like that.

12.  Oh, and Jenny had her baby.

13.  And i thought of a poem to write, Lady Jonah.

Slavery - Ed Baptist talk

   Ed Baptist (originally from Durham) , author of The Half that's Never Been Told, gave a lecture at St. Phillips last week.  He's a professor of history at Cornell.  Points that were most interesting:

1.  He spoke about an enslaved person named Louis Hughes who wrote "Thirty Years a Slave"  He was from Virginia (Scottsville) and moved to Arkansas.

2.  I need to look at WPA narratives.

3.  In ante- bellum U. S. women were encouraged to have one outfit per day.

4.  Enslaved persons represented a huge commodity, even bigger than cotton.

 5.  When Louis Hughes went back to get his belongings, his former owner said -- "I wish you luck, bad luck"

6.  He said he "was stole, not sold."

7.  look at Paul Jennings

8.  the book Ebony and Ivy.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Highlights from 2015!

I'm recollecting 15 highlights from 2015:

1. On January 1st of that year, I attended my first New Year's Day Hike at the Eno River State Park, less than 2 months after a knee replacement.
2. Also in January, I went to a week long training in the woods on how to be a mentor to children in nature. Thank you Piedmont Wildlife Center!
3. In February, I got serenaded by Tony Bennet at DPAC.
4. Also in February, I became a regular at Flyleaf's open mic event..
5.  Attended my first meeting at the NC Poetry Society's meeting at Southern Pines and met distinguished poet, James Applewhite, who gave me an autographed copy of his essay.
6. Between January and April, took 3 courses through Duke's continuing education program.
7. In April, had my second knee replacement.
8. In June, started observing classes at the American Dance Festival again.
9. Participated in Jesse Zaritt's dance class, less than two months after a knee replacement.
10. Started weekly yoga sessions at the Y.
11. Spent a week at Black Mountain and Montreat and visited the site of Black Mountain College.
12. Visited Thomas Wolfe's home in Asheville, something I'd been wanting to do for about 15 years.
13. In the fall I saw my beautiful granddaughter for only the second time and she looked at me adoringly and captured my heart forever.
14. Went to the Black Mountain College exhibit with my Boston family, at the ICA.
15. I was able to see first hand what awesome parents my son and daughter in law are.