IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR

WordPress stats are in for the year 2012 and they’re not all about us.  They’re really about All of You.  You keep us energized, inspired and motivated to write.  We thank you, Readers.  Fiercely.  Vastly. Utterly.

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We also take our nourishment from a passel of poets ~ Ted Kooser, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Naomi Shihab Nye, William Carlos Williams, Maxine Kumin, Stanley Kunitz, Nikki Giovani, Donald Hall, Lucille Clifton, e e cummings, Maya Angelou, Billy Collins, Gwendolyn Brooks…. just to name a few.

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Natasha Trethewey, named 19th Poet Laureate in 2012, is one of them.  Yes, she’s wise. But she’s not stuffy. Or aloof. She’s on my Fave List because she is such a cheerleader for the written word.  She tells her writing students to read other poets, then Imitate, imitate. Your self will shine through. If you allow yourself to feel deeply and honestly, what you say won’t be like anyone else.

Trethewey, a product of the South and an interracial marriage, does just that.

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Trethewey says there’s a poem out there for everyone, to help us grieve our losses as well as celebrate our joys. In her poetry, she explores issues of mixed race, history and memory, telling the stories of washerwomen, factory workers, and African-American Louisiana guards.

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In her poem Help, 1968 she recalls her mother being mistaken for her maid.

when my mother took me for walks,

she was mistaken again and again

for my maid. Years later she told me

she’d say I was her daughter, and each time

strangers would stare in disbelief, then

empty the change from their pockets.

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When the phone rang in early May and Trethewey saw the Library of Congress number on caller ID, she thought it might be a prank.  It wasn’t.

Toni 12/30/12

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 For the curious, here's a list of the 24 poets and 1 astronaut (?) portrayed in the linocut:
First row  Alfred, Lord Tennyson - Robert Browning - Walt Whitman - William Butler Yeats
 - Gertrude Stein
Second row  Robert Frost - Carl Sandburg - Wallace Stevens
 - J.D. - T. S. Eliot
 Third row Edna St. Vincent Millay - Neil Armstrong - e e cummings -
Langston Hughes - W. H. Auden
 Fourth row Randall Jarrell - John Berryman - Dylan Thomas -
 Gwendolyn Brooks - Philip Larkin
 Fifth row Gregory Corso - Allen Ginsberg - Anne Sexton
- Sylvia Plath - Frank O'Hara

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: MY 2012 IN PICTURES

Mouse over photos or click on any picture to get it fullscreen (and next arrow for other pics) with details. Want to join in the fun? See Sara Rosso’s post to find out how.   http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-my-2012-in-pictures/

It’s the close of another year ~ the journey of 2012 was full of milestones, opportunities, and challenges. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.  Seriously good advice from Ferris Bueller.

Shakespeare’s no slouch either, getting right to the nub of the matter in The Tempest.  Antonio utters the phrase ~ the past is prologue. I  take it to mean that the past is a preface to the future, there to help us appreciate the Now and embrace the Next.

New Year’s Eve is a time for looking back to the past, even if it’s not always a perfect storm of pleasures.  What are some of your eureka! moments from 2012?

But more importantly, New Year’s Eve is a time to look forward to the clear-the-decks-batten-down-the-hatches coming year~ and make a New Year’s resolution. What’s yours for 2013?

Toni 12/28/12

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE LIMONCELLO KIND

So, have you watched It’s a Wonderful Life yet?

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Frank Capra’s direction is brilliant. The movie is adapted from a short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern. Inspired by a dream, Stern wrote the original 4,000-words and called it The Greatest Gift.

Unable to find a publisher, he printed 200 copies and sent them to friends at Christmas. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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Clarence the Angel ordered mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. A winter drink, to be sure. But I think Clarence missed an opportunity to raise his Happiness Factor. He should have asked for Limoncello, chilled.

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It’s a glass of liquid sunshine. And that first sip?  Fire and Ice.

The best Limoncello is made with Sorrento lemons, grown in groves that terrace the craggy hillsides sweeping down to the sea.

And they are the most amazing lemons you will evah taste.

Italians serve Limoncello chilled as an after-dinner digestivo.

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I heard the story of Limoncello during a visit to Positano. Over a century ago, Vincenza Canale operated a hotel on the island of Capri and offered her guests a small glass of lemon liqueur as a digestivo. The fame of the lemony nectar grew.  Of course, back then, there were no tweets or blogs to spread the word.  But writers used the power of the pen to share their passion for Limoncello and introduced it to the world.

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Vincenza Canale’s original recipe hasn’t changed over the past century and her descendants continue to produce Limoncello di Capri. So can you ~ it’s a modest splurge and very easy to make. You need only four ingredients ~ lemons, vodka, sugar, and water ~ to make your own.

This recipe is from Frances Mayes’ bestseller, In Tuscany.

8 organic lemons
1 quart vodka
14 ounces sugar
1 quart bottled water, brought to a simmer

Peel the lemons, leaving a little white attached to the peel. Reserve the lemons for other uses. Put the peels in a large container together with the vodka, close it well, and leave it in a cool place for at least 4 days, preferably a week. Gently shake a couple times a day. The peels will lose their brilliant yellow color.

On the fifth day or later, prepare a syrup of the sugar and hot water, making sure the syrup never quite boils. Stir and simmer 5 minutes, then after the sugar has dissolved, allow the syrup to cool. Strain the lemon-scented alcohol through cheesecloth or a strainer, discard the lemon peels, and mix the alcohol into the syrup. Shake well before bottling. Let the limoncello sit for 2 to 3 days.  Makes 2 quarts.

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 I can’t think of a better way to end 2012

than with peace ♥

♥ and love

      and limoncello.  ♥

12/26/12  Toni