Monday, March 27, 2017

Rainy Day's Daddy and Coffee

It's the last Monday of the month, and that usually means it's time for a Rainy Day story, but I decided to tell a Daddy story instead.

My Daddy used to tell stories. I'm sure they were all true, because he would never lie to his children—or his friends. Would he?

At some time, I became friendly with his secretary, and ended up having a sleepover at her home one weekend. We sat up that night and gossiped and talked girl talk until late, and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I was awakened the next morning by the wafting perfume of fresh coffee. What a heavenly way to waken!

I hauled myself out of the bed, and stumbled to the kitchen where Secretary stood in front of the stove, lifting an obviously heavy pot of something. I stood and quietly watched as she lifted the pot three times. No easy feat, by the way, as she wasn't a whole lot taller than the stove. I stood at 5'5" and she was several inches shorter than I.

I mumbled something like, "Good morning," she set the pot down, turned and said likewise. She was happy, cheerful, but, then, she had been up and had coffee.

"Secretary," I croaked, "what were you doing?"

"Oh," she beamed, "your Daddy taught me how to make perfect coffee. Here, have a cup." She dipped a dipper into the pot, and "poured" us each a cuppa.

"Huh?" Was the most intelligent thing I could think of to say.

Seems Daddy had told her the best way to make really, really good coffee was to put the grounds and cold water into a pot, bring it to a boil, cook it for X amount of time, and then lift the pot three times to settle the grounds to the bottom. I managed to keep a straight face.

Further seems she'd been making her coffee that way ever since Daddy told her. She was quite proud of her feat. Who was I to dissolution her?

With really, really, really great difficulty, I managed to keep a straight face until I got home and told Daddy how Secretary made coffee. I have to admit, my memory of that coffee is that it was pretty good. But for the life of me, I can't remember if she put the eggshells into the pot or not. And to this day, I wonder if Daddy ever told her he used a Mr. Coffee?

Monday, March 20, 2017


As many of you know, I'm not big on breakfast. (Hotels make out like a bandit when I stay at one that offers 'free' breakfast. I stopped eating breakfast while in high school. I had teachers, and parents, and the parents of friends, all tell me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I should eat breakfast. Well, I do, but not until I've been up at least 4 or 5 hours, and then it's called lunch.

I tried, really, I did. I read somewhere that if you do something for 30 days it becomes a habit. Yeah. Right. I forced myself to eat breakfast every morning for 3 months. Then, one day, I plum forgot. So much for new habits, eh?

A typical breakfast for me, eaten around 11:00 in the morning. this is a smidge over 1 cup of mixed beans, corn, and veggies.
There is something about eating early in the morning that makes me hungry all day. If I eat breakfast—whether protein or other—by noon I want, and will devour a 3 course supper, by suppertime, I want a 15 course meal, or that whole cheesecake! Uh, no. I think I'll pass.

I tried the bit years ago where one eats breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper. Nope. Nada. Didn't work. Kids didn't like it, and I didn't like it.

So, where does this bit about it being the most important meal of the day come from?

The ancient Egyptians probably ate one meal a day—breakfast, shortly after rising. Bread, onions, cheese, beer, beans, grains. Or did they eat when they came home, too? Bread and hummus?

The Romans tended to eat once a day, the main meal being around noon. They probably snacked later. Or just got their added calories from wine.

The European of the Middle Ages, did not, at least until sometime after 1500, eat breakfast. They ate a noonday meal and a nighttime meal. Could it be because if they ate their beer pudding* in the morning they were shot for the day? Actually, it had to do with the Church, and their perception of gluttony. And later, the Church decided liquids didn't count—coffee, tea, and chocolate were all favored drinks. Chocolate, especially as it had calories, but didn't count as a fast-breaker.

But breakfast being "the most important meal of the day" really began in 1944 – with a marketing campaign launched by General Foods to sell more Grape Nuts. Kellogg, also of cereal fame, was deeply religious and was of the mind that if more Americans would eat cereal, it would make them healthier and keep them from masturbating and wanting sex. That latter part didn't make it into the ad campaigns ;-)

Well, in actuality, some historians believe breakfast became an 'institution' when people moved off the farm into the cities and took jobs that ran on a time schedule. No longer could they go home to lunch (if they got lunch), they had to work. Perhaps the Industrial Revolution was also a Culinary Revolution?

How important is breakfast, really? I think it depends—are you a marketer, a grocery store owner? Then it's extremely important. If people aren't eating breakfast, they aren't buying breakfast foods. If you're the parent of a small child, especially in school, yeah, it's probably important. Kids need the extra calories and nutrition to grow and be active, not to mention think and take tests. Are you an overweight adult? Frankly, it may not be as important as the Ad Man wants you to believe. You may be better off forfeiting the calories and the fat of breakfast, and eating a healthy, and small lunch and dinner. Whatever, listen to your body. It will tell you if breakfast is really important to its well-being—or your stomach's happiness. Stomachs do not need to be happy all the time. Honest. Trust me.

Below are articles you may find of interest (and the sources for some of this post):

*Today, if you Google 'beer pudding' you get all sorts of marvelous recipes, back in the Middle Ages, it was, as I learned years ago, basically, yesterday's stale bread broken into a bowl with beer poured over it. Those folk knew their water wasn't safe to drink, so got a majority of their liquid intake, not to mention calories, from beer. Cheers!

REMINDER:  This is the last chance to sign up for the Postcard Poetry Exchange this next month, April, aka National Poetry Month. AND (yes, there's more!) postcard poetry contains NO calories unless you eat them. They make a great breakfast substitute to write and to read, but taste, well, a lot like cardboard if you eat them.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Poets Laureate

We in Washington State are very fortunate in our choices of State Poet Laureates. We're on the fourth since the program started, and they have all be good, but our current one, Tod Marshall, is, well, gooder than good.

Tod Marshall

By day he is a professor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and they are treating his time as Top Poet not only with respect, but with time. They allow him to teach one day a week (I think it's Tuesday) and to travel the rest of the time. By night, he is our well-traveled Poet Laureate and has crisscrossed the state so often, he's liable to meet himself coming any day now. I don't think he has time to sleep.

I met Tod at a reading at Barnes & Noble shortly after he became Washington State Poet Laureate. He told me when my book came out (Blood on the Ground: Elegies for Waiilatpu) to let him know, and he'd come down and do a reading with me to launch the book. I let him know, he drove down for the launch. He is an extremely generous poet--with his time and with his talent.

He was in the Tri Cities (again) last week, and gave a workshop on how to write a poem. While he was in town, he also visited high schools and talked to over 600 students in 2 or 3 assemblies, he also met with the kids at Juvie Hall. After the two-hour workshop (so far, I've gotten two really good poems out of it) some of us took him to dinner, and then we went to the Richland Library for a poetry reading and open mic. A man who is so busy helping others not only to write but to find the joy in both reading and writing, he has little time for his own work. He will be here again, 9 April 1-3pm at Barnes & Noble for a reading and a book signing.

Does your state have a Poet Laureate? Do you know who it is? Check here for a map showing which states do/do not have them. Click on your state to find out who  yours is. 

Even if you don't write poetry, I bet you read it, or listen to it whenever you turn on the radio or your MP3. Support your local poets—attend readings, buy their books (or albums), support your state poet laureate—buy his/her books, vote to keep the arts alive. The arts cost less than 1% of our national budget, and give us so much in return.

And, yes, we have a national poet laureate, too. Juan Felipe Herrera. He is on his second term. Watch for him. He's not only a super nice guy, but his poetry is wonderful, and yes, I had the honor of attending a reading he did in Yakima and meeting him. His poetry is accessible, even to those who don't normally read poetry. It's humorous, it's sad, it's marvelous.

Juan Felipe Herrera

both photos shamelessly stolen from the web

And, yes, time is running out if you want to sign up for the Annual April Postcard Poetry Exchange. See last week's post or contact me at lenora (dot) good (at) icloud (dot) come. (remove spaces and use appropriate symbols)

Monday, March 6, 2017

There's Still Time....

Yes, there is still time to sign up for the Postcard Poetry Exchange! (Read my earlier blog here: Deadline to register is 24 March to give me time to get the list off to one and all. To register, please email me at: Lenora (dot) Good (at) icloud (dot) com. You know how to eliminate the spaces and put in the proper markings. I know you do.

There is still time to go forth and gather postcards or make your own. If you prefer to pluck your postcards from the Amazon bush, go here (you will need 30 cards):

If you want to make n paint your own cards, well, hie thee to your favorite art supplier or stash ;-) Or check out Amazons 50 blank mailable 4x6 heavy duty postcards at

And don't forget, you can always use 4x6 (3x5?) index cards. Pretty pictures are not a requisite ;-)

At any rate, prepare yourself for having a good time, meeting new people, and reading and writing original poetry. Rise to the challenge of writing 30 wee poems during the month of April. Join the celebration of National Poetry Month. Or, if 30 wee poems is too daunting, write 3 or 4 and copy them ;-)