Archive for December, 2009


The Blessing of the Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog

To be blessed
said the old woman
is to live and work
so hard
God’s love
washes right through you
like milk through a cow

To be blessed
said the dark red tulip
is to knock their eyes out
with the slug of lust
implied by
your up-ended

To be blessed
said the dog
is to have a pinch
of God
inside you
and all the other dogs
can smell it

– Alicia Suskin Ostriker, from The Book of Seventy. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009.


Read Full Post »

christmas fixin’s

This was crazy good tonight, so I’m passing it on…

Roast Beef with Dijon-Caper Sauce

Roast Beef:
1 3-pound eye of round beef roast, trimmed of excess fat and sinew
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups low-salt beef broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons drained capers

For roast beef:
Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix thyme, basil, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Heat oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook until browned on all sides, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with herb mixture. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 130°F, about 40 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; let rest.

For sauce:
Place skillet with juices over medium-high heat. Add butter; stir until melted. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in broth; bring to boil. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, whisking often, about 6 minutes. Whisk in mustard and capers. Season sauce with pepper.

Cut beef crosswise into very thin slices. Transfer beef to platter. Serve with sauce.

Test-kitchen tip:
Eye of round is not the most tender cut of beef. For the best flavor and texture, be sure to slice it very thinly.

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Bon Appétit | January 2009

p.s. Not to be outdone:

Read Full Post »


The Loneliest Job in the World

As soon as you begin to ask the question, Who loves me?,
you are completely screwed, because
the next question is How Much?,

and then it is hundreds of hours later,
and you are still hunched over
your flowcharts and abacus,

trying to decide if you have gotten enough.
This is the loneliest job in the world:
to be an accountant of the heart.

It is late at night. You are by yourself,
and all around you, you can hear
the sounds of people moving

in and out of love,
pushing the turnstiles, putting
their coins in the slots,

paying the price which is asked,
which constantly changes.
No one knows why.

– Tony Hoagland, from Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty. © Graywolf Press, 2010.

Read Full Post »


Going to Bed

I check the locks on the front door
and the side door,
make sure the windows are closed
and the heat dialed down.
I switch off the computer,
turn off the living room lights.

I let in the cats.

Reverently, I unplug the Christmas tree,
leaving Christ and the little animals
in the dark.

The last thing I do
is step out to the back yard
for a quick look at the Milky Way.

The stars are halogen-blue.
The constellations, whose names
I have long since forgotten,
look down anonymously,
and the whole galaxy
is cartwheeling in silence through the night.

Everything seems to be ok.

– George Bilgere, from Haywire. © Utah State University Press, 2006.

Read Full Post »

In the next month or so, we will begin running radio spots that “brand” Amsterdam (Small City. Big Heart.) and couple with our printed campaign to tout our beauty, location, close community, success stories, and amenities. This message is as important to get across to our residents as it is to the surrounding region and targeted audiences in other venues.

Our marketing approach is multi-faceted. We will be running online ads with the Business Journal that hit in Albany, Texas and California. We have an eight-page editorial insert in the Legislative Gazette that will launch February 9th. Presentation folders will be distributed to regional realtors, chambers of commerce and economic development entities. They will contain our colorful sales brochure, customized inserts and beautiful annual reports from St Mary’s Hospital and FMCC. Next spring, we will have six collateral video spots produced that will be accessible from our website. Lastly, we may be running ads in trade magazines related to chip fabrication, green energy and data center technologies. These initiatives were budgeted for. They were funded by AIDA and through grants from National Grid, as well as the Mayors contractual line.

It’s time for all of us to be singing our praises and drumming up business for our community, instead of allowing a small group of moaners to constantly sing the blues. We deserve better than that.

Read Full Post »

I had an interesting discussion with a friend about integrity and public service today. I have been on the receiving end of some startlingly bad behavior and am still surprised by it.

It’d be so much easier to react, instead of bidding time and acting.

Anyway, I am inspired by the strength, focus and determination of leaders that have steadfastly stayed the course when the going had gotten rough… Lincoln, Gandhi, King, Anthony, Cady-Stanton and… my mom. When I wander down this line of reasoning, I am so blessed to have foot prints in the sand to follow. 😉

It’s all good.

Read Full Post »

I love William Shatner… shamelessly.

Read Full Post »


Starlings in Winter

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

– Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays. © Beacon Press, 2003.

Read Full Post »

“How much time he saves who does not look
to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks.”

– Marcus Aurelius


Read Full Post »

“There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.”

– Franz Kafka

Read Full Post »