Social Media Prayer – a poem

#social media, Baltimore MD, blog, photography, poetry
Hippodrome, Baltimore, B/W by Becca Andre

Hippodrome, Baltimore, B/W by Becca Andre

But you can Pin me!
It’s my latest favorite thing.
Pin me to a wall, any wall.
I will take a link back to my website
in any way, shape or form,
I am not a picky girl
and I love to Share!

#############

#Social Media Prayer

Just a few requests –
Please do not follow me if you know an unfollow is in the near future.
Please do not friend me if you cannot love on me every so often,
or at least hit Like.

I would rather your total disregard;
complete ignorance to my words and images
as they appear in your feed,
than a ❤️ that is insincere and empty.

I would rather you comment that you hate it!
As opposed to your lukewarm skimming
and eye roll as you move to the next best thing.

And please, please,
if you are at all feeling like a twat today,
please do not Tweet.
Those words never go away –
they live immortal in screenshots.

Sometimes I wish there was an IG filter for words…
You know, to soften the edges,
to brighten or blur
because life is NOT black and white.

But you can Pin me!
It’s my latest favorite thing.
Pin me to a wall, any wall.
I will take a link back to my website
in any way, shape or form,
I am not a picky girl
and I love to Share!

©Rebecca Andre 9.25.17 1st draft

P.S. – I paired this photo with this poem because I was inspired by the thought that life is more of a stage than ever before, thanks to digital media. Do you agree?

Layered, with poetry, weekly photo challenge

Catskill Mountains, outdoors, Photo of the Week, photography, poetry, upstate new york

Layered is the theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge  that I have decided to participate in for the rest of the year.  How appropriate, as today at 4:02 pm is the time of the Autumnal Equinox, when day and night are about the same length.

Result: I will be forced to blog at least once a week. I will be forced to take a new photo (i.e. take a walk) or at least re-edit an existing one. If I decided to follow this week’s template, I will be forced to write new or re-examine previous poetry.

Today, I decided on the waiting woodpile as my subject. Stacked in late July, I have been waiting patiently to enjoy the fruits of my labor via a warm and comforting fire in my cabin’s wood stove. Still waiting…

Waiting wood pile on first day of fall

Waiting wood pile on first day of fall

COVER ME IN ORANGE | rebecca andre

Surround me

with an abundance of citrus-coloured coals

that promise a winter-long fire, an amiable warmth,

that seeps into the logs and into my soul.

Allow me

to lay down and nap on a fragrant fabric of leaves,

leaves like crunchy clouds, that take on cookie-cutter shapes

of hearts and stars and diamonds.

Carve me

a smirking pumpkin, a face eerily lit in the evening,

turning to a crooked grin in the morn,

as a layer of shimmering frost smoothes its sinister edges.

Let me

pass time at my stove, instead of my desk,

whipping up spiced cakes and all sorts of gourd-inspired dishes,

finished with nutmeg and cloves and mace.

Layer me

in scarves of crochet, in flannels and corduroys.

Camouflage my abundant curves in sweatshirts and woolen jackets,

as I dream of knee-high leather boots.

Cover me

in the handsome hue of autumn.

Dust me with its cinnamon scent…

Cover me in orange.

 

 

My Auntie T.’s Poetry

Family, poetry, Uncategorized
IMG_3110

My Aunt at 16. Yes, I am aware of, and happy for, the resemblance.

Heredity is a double-edged sword. Never has this become so apparent as in the last week.
According to doctors, my little girl is going to struggle with the same weight and anxiety issues as her mother, yet she has also inherited my empathy and sense of adventure.

Finding out pancreatic cancer is hereditary was not a treat, I hope my Mom doesn’t pass that on to me. I hope all I get from her are the traits of thriftiness and intense loyalty to family.

Speaking of family, I have been blessed to have some of the most amazing, talented, accomplished Aunts and Uncles a niece could ask for. Growing up I was aware of my Uncle’s black belt in karate, and his brick-laying artistry. I was nine years old when I first watched my other Uncle perform on stage with his own modern dance company; he is still a sought after NYC choreographer. I watched all of my Uncles put their children first, and always make their nieces and nephews feel special, even though we didn’t see each other a lot. My Auntie T.’s husband was my first introduction to camo! I wonder if my sis remembers dressing up in his hunting gear?

All of my Aunts are women of deep faith, tireless care-givers and some of the most hard working women I have ever known. They may not know it, but their examples still inspire me.

Just last week one of my Aunts discovered my poetry online and she shared some of hers with me. We are talking lines written almost 40 years ago, starting in and around the year of 1969.

That’s when it dawned on me! We have a serious streak of creativity in this family!

So, I would like to share a few of Auntie T.’s full length poems and some excerpts. I poured over the snapshots of her hand-written lines and yellowed pages she sent to me. I feel honored to be privy to the love, pain and hard life lessons documented on those pages.

Auntie T. wrote this one when my cousins were babies:

Complex sensations dwell in the length of a day.
Kindness expels from deep within.
Expanding with style and grace,
vibrations are there,
meant to be felt.

Confront each day in the light of reality.
Take caution and care not to indulge.
The thread of the Universe ties everyone together.
Our combinations, all slightly complex.
Life is given to live as an individual.

To see Life for what it is,
and not for what it seems.
With hope our world will long endure the pain.
To continue through eternity,
with the love it gives.

Taste of the fruit Truth can possess.
Giving could be a link to satisfaction!
Fill your environment with happiness,
then truly the fullness of Life
will be felt.

~~~~~

And two more sweet limericks she wrote for her babies. First, on trying to get my cousin to eat her breakfast:

BANANA, BANANA HALF MOON FRUIT

Banana, banana half moon round,
Yellow, yellow fruit I found.
Fill my tummy, stop its growl
Tasteful, plentiful, makes no sound.
Slice and sweeten, cover with milk
Hmm, hmm, good down smooth as silk.
Another please and thank you do,
Have a half moon fruit and chew, chew chew!

~~~~~

And this one from 1984, written for her son’s school book week, and ending up being painted at the entrance to the school library!

Read a book
Dream new dreams
Explore the real
Take a look
Words together
Words apart
Start a book and fill your heart
Complete it and your mind is full
Adventure leads to open doors
The more you read, the less you miss
As the world ensures your mind insists.

~~~~~

SEASONS

Morning dew, evening mist.

The Autumn daze remembrance
of horse drawn carriage rides.

The fields of bright flowers gone
buried beneath the leaves.

Romping about very merrily
happy to be alive.

Forgetful, I find myself while gazing,
that Nature takes its course.

The changes seem to me a miracle:
As birds and aging trees,
as old and new repeat the course
of Nature’s nostalgic seasons
that come to us
each year.

~~~~~

MINUTE CRYSTAL GLOW

Rainbow blossomed colors flow
within the bright beam of light.
Tiny particles make within my mind
the beauty seen.
Could I taste your shiny flake?
If so promised my love, redeemed.
Shine!
Oh, shine my loved delight.
Reflect your beauty with all your might.
Glow of love’s blossomed flight.
Touch my body from head to toe,
the warmth and loving for your foe.
Why waste your minute beauty
to those who fight?
Glow forever on and on…
Gradually you’ll penetrate…
I’ll guard thee always sworn,
for each are soon to meet their fate.

~~~~

Excerpts from “THE MEADOW” poems:

…The meadow of a peaceful life can harvest beauties of untold treasure.
As love for life brings continued endurance
on the rocky path we all seem to follow.
To feel the rewards of a harmonious life,
One must tune oneself into reality…

~~~~~
…Since to live is to die,
each flower opens its petals to their fullest annually….
The beauty the new Life brings with it
Love unquestionable…

~~~~~

This is the final poem I will share for this round of “Auntie T’s poetry. Dated 1969, its application to 2017 is eerie.

FREEDOM CALL

People live dreaming free,
gazing at reality.
“I am you, you are me,
together we will see.”

Long distant battle….
helping company;
pleasing sounds
of a child’s faint cry.

The War has just begun.
President (Nixon) talking rhymes; people die.
A brother and mother sigh,
the War, it must be done….

Help each other, dreaming free.
Fighting for reality.
We are all brothers,
together we will be.

Heavens in the silent night,
God extends his light.
Helping each other to live,
sorry for those that die.

Harmony prevails,
silence bring less tears.
The War –
it has been done.

~~~~~

Thank you Auntie T. for reaching out to me with your poetry and helping me break my writer’s block I have had regarding this blog. Most importantly, thank you for being there beside us this last year and a half, helping us navigate Mom’s cancer journey. Now, it is time to get back to writing and taking pictures!

*All poetry is intellectual property of Auntie T. (pseudonym).  This blog is for sharing, but the words within are protected by copyright laws.

Kindred Spirts – a poem

outdoors, photography, poetry, Travel

Young caribou | Newfoundland

I got so close to her

I could see the glint in her eye.

With every step,

both our hearts pounded.

Exposed, but not in danger.

Alone, but still safe

as a swaddled baby.

Oh, sweet caribou,

don’t run away.

All that is pointed at you

is my lens.

becca andre | twenty sixteen

Through closed windows

I can hear the sound of water rushing.

I know there is a photo screaming to be taken.

But that requires rising up 

from this alter of depression –

my bed.

At 3 pm I decided to meet the schoolbus.

It’s sleeting now.

Staring at my keys with longing,

I leave them on the counter.

Forcing my feet into boots,

I go outside.

Holding the camera to my breast

I take the first timid steps.

It’s such a small reward I am headed for –

A photo of a waterfall

I’ve seen a thousand times before.

But the only escape,

for me,

from this prison of blues

is through pictures and rhymes,

with water as my muse. 

december one twenty sixteen | becca andre 

MY REWARD: PHOTOS BELOW


Like what you see?  Like to drink tea while you read? Visit my online store MountainGirlMade.

Catskill Mountains, outdoors, photography, poetry, Uncategorized, upstate new york

Caregiver’s Cure – Lemon Curd And A Hot Toddy

Catskill Mountains, new york, poetry, Recipes

Today, a recipe and a poem – all in one place.

THIS GIRL 11.6.16

For the few moments each day
when this girl is not thinking about smoking a cigarette,
when she is not overcome with the reality
of cancer running amok in her family,
when she feels slightly stable
and the dizziness temporarily subsides,
ideas pound the brain of this girl.

Unexpectedly becoming a caregiver to a loved one is like landing a job you actually never applied for. I hesitate to even write about my experience over the last eight months, for I am not looking for pity, and I most definately do not want to upset my mother. (Mom – please don’t be mad!)

Yet, I believe what I have to share has the potential of being more helpful than harmful. A rhyme and a recipe…how can one go wrong? It’s a risk/benefit I’m willing to bet on.

They knock on the door, loud at first,
then timid from being ignored.
Ideas of stories to be written,
words to be recorded,
magical herbal remedies to concoct,
money to be made doing the things this girl loves.

Since March, everything has changed with my mother’s diagnoses of stage 3 pancreatic cancer. Obviously, her life has changed the most as she has practically given up her full time job to take on chemo, radiation, major surgery, then more chemo.

Her kids’ lives changed too. But the days of whining are over. My brother, twin sister and I have rotated, making sure my mom is hardly ever alone.  Our aunts and uncles lovingly provide us with respite as well.

Then, my sister’s husband had to go and complicate matters by coming down with AML (Acute Myloid Lukemia) a month ago. Moving from their West Virginia mountain home, they get to live indefinitely at John’s Hopkins, or its vicinity, until his treatments and bone marrow transplant deem him “in remission.”

(Hang in there, the recipe is coming.)

So what do I do when I find myself actually at home, with my daughter and husband? Well since I work from home and live in the vacation capital of New York State, the Catskill Mountains, I take walks in the snow, sit by my fire, write and cook.

Returning home after days or weeks of caregiving is like going on a retreat. And I retreat. Except for social media, I rarely make an appearance.

And this girl, more than life, wants to have fun with her child.

But by the time the evening chores are done,
she will collapse,
her ideas will deflate,
dirty and damp like the dish towel in her hands.
Anything she started will become a sad and lonely project that some other girl,
a girl with more energy,
a girl with less cancer in the family,
a girl who never smoked,
will pick up and run with.
That other girl flies right by her,
forgetting to even wave.

Today, the day before Thangsgiving, I had an idea, and I went with it. An entire day in the kitchen, even if I am not the host of the big dinner this year, will zap me out of my funk.  The holidays will feel almost normal, even if just for a day.

So here is the recipe for Lemon Curd, Ina Garten style (I just love me some Barfoot Contessa). I believe this recipe would impress even the Queen.

lemon_curd_lid

Lemon curd inspiration


OH!  You are probably wondering where the hot toddy comes in. Well I have access to some amazing tea…I love this Earl Grey by Traveler’s Tea. Also, just five minutes down the road form here is Union Grove Distillery, and I use their Vly Creek Vodka as a base for my homemade vanilla extract, so I had some on hand.

Which I needed, for my three year old black lab decided to run away whilst my eight year old daughter was sledding, so that was an entire blood-pressure raising fiasco. A cig was not an option, as I am almost four weeks nicotine free, so a hot toddy was just in the cards.

Back to the LEMON CURD RECIPE:

Makes about 4 1/2 cups

  • 6 lemons, scrubbed (for zesting and juicing)
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 stick + 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • generous dash of salt
  1. Zest all 6 lemons with a carrot peeler, avoiding the white pith.
  2. Place zest in food processor (steel blade) and pulse until very finely minced.
  3. Add sugar and pulse into minced lemon zest.
  4. Separately, in a stand-mixer, cream the butter.
  5. Beat the sugar zest into the creamed butter.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Add lemon juice and salt, mixing until combined (mixture will have curdled appearance).
  8. Pour mixture into large saucepan and cook over low heat (gas stove) or med. heat (electric stove).
  9. Stir CONSTANTLY for about 15/20 minutes.   Mixture will thicken.
  10. Remove from stove when temp. reaches 170F, or just before simmering. (If you pause from stirring and see bubbles appearing, take off heat)
  11. Pour into glass jars, allow to cool, cover and store in refrigerator up to 3 months. (You may strain over small mesh if the zest bothers you)

The citrus oils that will dress your hands and your countertop will seep into your soul and cleanse you from the inside out

Over heat, the curdled mixture will become as smooth as glass

Despite Ina’s claims, this recipe is not in the “Easy” category, nor does it take 20 to 30 minutes.  Plan on a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours, including cleanup.  I attempted timing this recipe,  but my dog ran away as I was zesting the lemons…

That stated, the buttery yellow outcome, gleaming and shiny in filled jars, will fill your heart with simple glee.  The finished product is insanely perfect for a tart, spreading on crackers, icing a pound cake or spicing up your morning English muffin.

Lemon curd is damn sunshine in a jar

Completing this recipe was only the beginning of my pre-Thanksgiving bake-a-thon.  I went on to make homemade cranberry sauce, a classic pumpkin roll and currant and almond chocolate bark.  Oh, and dinner.

By the end, I was well on my way to being healed, rembering that a caregiver is also in need of care.  If that care takes the form of a dessert filled countertop and a sugar-smudged apron, so be it.

I can’t wait to give a jar to my mom.

img_2068-1

Mom’s first walk to the water, four weeks post Whipple surgery

This girl hides in the woods when she isn’t stuck in the city,
She tucks her chin and goes unnoticed.
For now.
But she has plans.
Plans that are brewing, are steeping, are simmering, deep inside.
When everyone gets better –
When she gets better –
this girl will return to her former glory.
So if you are reading this,
be sure not to forget
this girl’s name.

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