Friday Haiku

Since taking blogging 101 through WordPress, I have decided to follow one of their recommendations and post at least one regular post regardless of what other types of content I may post other days of the week.  Therefore, every Friday, I will post at least one haiku.  Spring has sprung here.  Birds are singing and playing in the rain–it has rained off and on the last several days, a rather unusual event for the Panhandle of Texas–semi arid country for sure.

Here is my first Friday Haiku post in celebration of spring:

Cardinal bobbing in a cobalt bath

cedars trembling

portrait in red, green, and blue.

Gelada Baboons

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wall.”Last summer I spent a couple of days in Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia, one of the few places left on earth where these baboons still exist.  In the mist and rain one day, I accidentally walked in the middle of a large group. image

They remained unafraid and basically ignored me.  They are the only remaining grass eating primates.  The rest are all extinct.

Favorite Authors and Books

The blogging 101 assignment today told me to use a prompt of some sort.  I scrolled through the various suggestions and came up with this one.

My all time favorite author is Leslie Marmon Silko from Laguna Pueblo.  Although her novel, Ceremony, is the most famous of her books, I prefer Storyteller.  The title comes from the long American Indian tradition of story telling plus it is also the title of one of the short stories in the book.  Storyteller contains a compilation of family photos, poems, anecdotes, and short stories, including my all time favorite short story, Yellow Woman.  By now I have probably read that story at least fifty times.  I jokingly refer to my occasional need to read it as getting my Yellow Woman Fix.  Every time I read it, I ask myself why I love this story so much?  Honestly, I have no clue, none at all.  The story speaks to me in a way like no other and I cannot figure out exactly why.  Perhaps some friend out there in blogging land or even a stranger may tell me.  Who knows?

Another of my favorite books is Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith by Gina Nahai, an Iranian Jewish woman who now lives in California.  This book reminds me of all the Latin American magical realism books I also enjoy.  The heroine of this book is not an ordinary woman.  For one thing, she flies. Often, I have asked myself why some Iranian novels remind me of Latin American novels and short stories.  If I were to go back to graduate school to study literature, I think I would explore this further.  For now, however, I simply wonder about this similarity and possible causes.  For those interested in Iranian history, and more particulary about the history of the Jewish people in Iran, I always recommend Cry of the Peacock by Nahai.  It traces the history of a Jewish family there for seven generations.

Other favorite authors include Julia Alvarez, Isabelle Allende, Louise Erdrich, M. Scott Momaday, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Although he is most famous for One Hundred Years of Solitude, my favorite book of Marquez’s is The General in His Labyrinth about the life and death of Simon Bolivar, the liberator of much of South America from Spanish rule.

As for poetry, Storyteller is the only book listed above that contains poetry.  When I ask myself about favorite poets, I think of William Butler Yeats, Joy Harjo, Sherman Alexie–who inspired one of the poems in my book, and, of course, Silko.  A unique poetry book, Carver, my Marilyn Nelson gives a biography of George Washington Carver in poems.  I learned a lot reading that book, especially since I am always looking for new ideas on writing poems for my own writing practice.

Finally, I hope some of those who read this respond with their favorites.


My Ideal Audience

The fourth assignment in my newest experiment, Word Press’ Blogging 101 class, is to write a post for my ideal audience. My immediate reaction was, “There is no such person; I do not have an ideal audience.”  I might be able to come up with three or four persons, some of whom might like the recipes, others might enjoy the travel posts, and another group might react to comments on the environment, international politics, and sundry controversial topics.  Finally, a few, perhaps more, might relish the occasional poetry pieces.  After all, my haiku posts attained more readers than I ever expected.  The challenge then might be to write a post combining several of these but how?  Here we go on another adventure.

My idea reader would enjoy literature, especially the serious and more especially literature from other countries and cultures, like to eat hot foot from diverse cultures, travel to other places besides here and Europe, care about the environment, follow international politics, and, even though not previously mentioned, like horses, prefer the country to the city, and enjoy a wide variety of music.  Do such individuals exist?  Where are they and how do I find them?

Here is my first attempt at covering at least two of these topics:

Last summer, as former followers know, I traveled with friends to Ethiopia for three weeks via Dubai.  Because I love the stuff, I brought back an entire kilo of berbere.  Mine follows the special recipe of my Ethiopian friend’s mother.  She had it made special just so we could bring it home.  Actually there were three kilos in my bag but only one for me.  My new favorite salmon recipe involves the use of berbere.  Unlike some, hers is more rich and spicy rather than really hot.  This will serve one to two, just increase the amount of all the ingredients to suit the number of people you plan to feed.

1-2 portions wild sockeye salmon–you could use any type of course

4 medium to large brussel sprouts, coarsely chopped

1/2 purple onion chopped coarsely

Several broccoli florets

1/2 ripe bell pepper, seeded and chopped

Olive oil


Cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the brussel sprouts and sauté until nearly tender.  Add the peppers and broccoli.  Sprinkle a light layer of berbere over all the vegetables as you cook them.  Stir occasionally.  Add the salmon, skin side down.  Sprinkle berbere over the salmon so the salmon is covered but only lightly.  You can add more to taste.  Continue cooking until the salmon flakes.

I serve this with rice.  The rice in the photo is basmati.  See previous posts for the special way I cook rice.  Sometimes I vary the vegetables using poblano peppers, carrots, Swiss chard–whatever I happen to have or feel like eating at the moment.  Pick what you like.


This, honestly, is nothing like real Ethiopian food in part because I do not have teff and do not know how to make injera.  The photo below shows me and friends in a restaurant in Gonder, Ethiopia, in my idea of food heaven.


Haiku Adventure-Part Seven

This rather short adventure was an experiment soon to end.  Since my haiku posts generated so many positive responses, I may consider its continuance.  My most recent adventure, however, is to take Word Press’ Blogging 101 in spite of the fact that I have been blogging for more than three years.  I feel certain I can learn something new.  For now here is another haiku.

Three large purple onions


mother’s old stoneware bowl.