Archive for June, 2008

Doppelganger alert #1

June 30, 2008

The name “Penny Richards” is surprisingly common. This, for example, is not me:

Penny Richards, Review of Laurence Lux-Sterritt, Redefining Female Religious Life: French Ursulines and English Ladies in Seventeenth-Century Catholicism (Ashgate 2005), in French History 22(2008): 241-242.

That book review was written by an English historian named Penny Richards; because of her, I use my middle initial in most academic contexts. But it still catches me by surprise when I see new publications by her, listed in journal tables of contents.

Crockpot Happiness

June 30, 2008

A local market has a shelf in back where bagged produce is 99 cents. Sometimes it’s a bit ugly, which is fine. Whenever there’s a bag of apples or pears, I get it, and make this (before bed, so it’s ready by morning, and the whole house smells great all night long):

4-5 apples or pears, chopped–experiment with varieties

A couple handfuls of raisins, any color

a thumb’s worth of ginger root

A generous shaking of cinnamon

Water to cover–don’t be tempted to use oj or even apple juice–it’s too acidic and will create mush.

And ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT BE GOOD–I’ve thrown in craisins, dried cherries, frozen berries, cranberries, dried apricots, nutmeg, cardamom, a little molasses or honey.

Crockpot overnight. Discard the ginger chunk.

In the morning or for a snack, spoon the stewed fruit into bowls and top with granola or chopped walnuts, and vanilla yogurt. It also works for dessert with some pretty pecan bits and vanilla ice cream.

Lisel Mueller, “The Laughter of Women”

June 25, 2008

A favorite. Lisel Mueller (b. 1924) is a German-born American poet, who won the Pulitzer in 1997, among other awards.

The Laughter Of Women

The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture
we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.

Lisel Mueller

Street flotsam collage pages

June 18, 2008

Pages from a mess-around journal, made entirely from “street flotsam” found yesterday afternoon in El Segundo.  The edges are cut off, but you get the idea.  All I added were adhesives, a little white paint, three staples, and the underlying journal (an old calendar which I already had, and which has other pages waiting to be arted up).

If you made pages like this for each town you frequent, would they reflect anything about the place, or the day you visited?

I love you, Sandra Tsing Loh

June 18, 2008

I always have, always will. I keep months of The Loh Life on my iPod. I started supporting KPCC because they picked you up after KCRW dropped you as a commentator for no decent reason. Your older daughter, my younger kid, born the same season. We saw you at 24th St. Theatre last year, and believe me, us leaving the South Bay to see a live performance–that doesn’t happen much.

But now I love you even more.

Work … family—I’m doing it all. But here’s the secret I share with so many other nanny- and housekeeper-less mothers I see working the same balance: my house is trashed. It is strewn with socks and tutus. My minivan is awash in paper wrappers (I can’t lie—several are evidence of our visits to McDonald’s Playland, otherwise known as “my second office”). My girls went to school today in the T-shirts they slept in. But so what?

Street Flotsam, El Segundo CA

June 18, 2008

Street Flotsam, El Segundo CA, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

An online friend is visiting Southern California from the midwest (hi Elizabeth!), and commented that there’s not much litter in LA (which, to an ephemera hound like herself, is actually a disappointment). I had to prove that we do, in fact, have “useful litter” hereabouts. This (pictured above) is only part of the stuff I collected on today’s hour-long walk around El Segundo. My rules were that I would only pick up stuff that was actually litter on the ground, that wasn’t plastic, nor a food container, nor an item of personal hygiene, and that it had to be something I could plausibly use in a collage.

The dry-cleaning tags were found in three different places–none of them near a dry cleaner’s shop, either. The math cards and a few of the other bits are from near the elementary school, and it’s the last week of classes, so there was a lot there. The scrap of a Zig Zag label is from near the library–hmmmm…

The yellow handwritten note is some kind of schoolkid drama involving Antonio and Tessa–somebody shouldn’t go to somebody else’s party because they’re going to see a third somebody, that kind of thing. It could well have been written months ago, and only recently found its way to the pavement with end-of-year desk clearing. I hope they worked it all out somehow.

Mosaic Meme

June 16, 2008

Mosaic Meme, originally uploaded by pennylrichardsca.

Lisa posted this one, and Hannah, and a few others that I’ve seen, so I guess it’s time to figure out the BHL Mosaic Maker once and for all….

1. What is your first name?  (heh, yeah, that’s always an easy one for me)
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?  (all that comes up is football, which tells you everything)
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?*
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name.*

*Um, celebrity crush didn’t come through–which is fine. And my flickr name is just my name–the closest the search engine could get was “pilchards,” and a lot of pics of cats–no way cats belong in my meme mosaic.

Okay, learned something new, now back to unpacking and doing something more productive, like listening to podcasts while cleaning up….

Shadow poem, for Anarcha

June 12, 2008

I am no kind of poet. But I was involved in a few rounds of the Anarcha Project as a “cyber participant,” and some of that involved writing poetry (cyber participants were given “gifts,” or prompts, to respond to each day–which sometimes requested a poem–I believe this one requested an engagement with our own shadows). The Anarcha Anti-Archive is up online now, and I found this one, below, there–I had completely forgotten it. (Hmm, two posts in a row about my forgetfulness–that can’t be good.)

Springtime and Shadows with my Kids (April 2007)

Our best shadows don’t sit in carseats

They prefer smooth sidewalks (with curbcuts) to freeways

So we walk, and roll, and scooter in the sunshine

Where our shadows can come along for the fun.

Our shadows project us into the movement of planets

They sketch complex geometries across driveways and onto walls

So we dance, and experiment, and learn in the sunshine

Where our shadows enact the universe of light.

Penny Richards


June 10, 2008

Somehow, in April 2004, I chose a new pair of glasses from my optometrist’s office, paid for them, put them in the glove compartment of the minivan, and never thought of them again.  Until today, when Peter was cleaning out the glove compartment.  They look like glasses I would choose, the case contains a receipt with my name on it (and an April 2004 date), but I have absolutely no memory of them.  None.   So I have a new pair of frames, kinda.  Good thing my prescription hasn’t changed in the past five years… Sigh.

Video help

June 7, 2008

Somehow I can’t embed youtube videos anymore. I haven’t been doing anything differently, but they don’t show up. Any ideas?

Whoo-hoo, I got it! Now you can enjoy some vintage Miriam Makeba too.