On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp

Praise Song for the Day

Each day
we go about our business,
walking past each other,
catching each other's eyes,
or not.
About to speak, or speaking.
All about us is noise.
All about us is noise and bramble,
thorn and din, each one of our ancestors
on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem,
darning a hole in a uniform.
patching a tire.
Repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom-box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky
A teacher says, "Take out your pencils.

We encounter each other in words,
words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed.
Words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways
that mark the will of someone
and then others who said,
"I need to see what's on the other side.
I know there's something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe."

We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain: That many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks,
raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce,
built, brick by brick, the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle.
Praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thyself."
Others by "First, do no harm,"
or "Take no more than you need."
What if the mightiest word
is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national.
Love that casts a widening pool of light.
Love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this
winter air, any thing can be made,
any sentence begun.
On the brink,
on the brim,
on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.

— Elizabeth Alexander

[Read by the poet at the innauguration of President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009.]


A Recipe from the Caribbean

Sorry, but this is about all I picked up on my vacation in terms of recipes. Most of the drinks we had involved rum - what else? The Pain Killer is kind of the official drink of the Virgin Islands. I tasted many of these and they are decidedly delicious. Although, I wanted to name them something different, like the Stingray or the Blackbeard.

But first, a little history on Rum. Rum is made from sugarcane products such as molasses and much of it is produced in the Caribbean. It was invented in the Caribbean by slaves on sugarcane plantations in the 17th century. It gained popularity among the pirates frequenting that area. (Side note: It turns out Blackbeard was a real guy, and a notorious pirate in the Caribbean. He's said to have lit his beard on fire to intimidate enemies.) Rum's appeal spread to North America during the American Revolution, with George Washington requesting a barrel at his 1789 inauguration.


Painkiller (aka Stingray or Blackbeard)

You can make a big pitcher of this, or mix one serving at a time. Either way, just pour over ice, and add a slice of pineapple and a cute umbrella - if you want to make it more festive.

2 oz. or parts dark rum
4 oz. or parts pineapple juice
1 oz. or part orange juice
1 oz. or part cream of coconut

Shake or stire ingredients, pour over ice. Sprinkle with nutmeg on top.
(Source for the picture is here.)

Southern Florida

See, it's pretty nice. Who knew? I always thought of Florida as tacky, humid and crowded. But I really enjoyed my time there before and after the cruise.

Fort Lauderdale

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida







Caribbean Cruising

Dominican Republic, originally uploaded by Katie in Seattle.

I'm back! The cruise was lovely, the snorkeling was amazing, the food was delicious and the local beer was cold. I now have a burning desire to spend more time exploring the Caribbean. And, I have a newfound appreciation for Southern Florida.