Feb 29 2012

Carrots are hearty root vegetables that are easily stored for winter.

When times are tough, or even when they’re not, where can you buy ten pounds of organic food for $6.00? COSTCO, that’s where, and probably other places as well, but COSTCO is amazing as they have a number of organic foods I wasn’t expecting at such a large “big box” store. And ten pounds of organic food is ten pounds of organic goodness that can fill lots of tummies for quite a while.

I am talking about COSTCO’s organic carrots, which are the deal of the century. You just have to like carrots and yet be aware that if you eat too many at once, you can turn orange from the carrot coloring, carotene. But, other than that, these handy root vegetables will store for quite a while as long as you take them out of their plastic bags and put them in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.

Slicing carrots into “Copper Pennies” begins a
side dish that will become a family treat.

COSTCO carrots, I found are even cheaper, in other areas of the country. While ten pounds of COSTCO Organic Carrots are between six and seven dollars outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, the COSTCO web site shows that ordering on-line allows you to buy ten pounds of organic carrots for, if you can believe it, $ 4.99, plus some shipping and handling, I’m sure.

Overall, carrots are a great addition to any frugal household hoping to sustain life on grated carrot raisin salad, vegetable soup, carrot cake or carrot juice. Why, one could make a whole seven course meal using carrots every step of the way. This is not beginning to mention, however, the best use of all for carrots, making Copper Pennies.

Fill a saucepan with the sliced carrots and cover
with filtered water and some pinches of Real Salt.

When the carrots have cooked, but are still firm
enough to hold their shape and not become mush,
pour off the water.

Food fantasies were big at our house when I was a kid. My dad, more than my mother, tried to make things “kid friendly” and would come up with names for things he thought we might not want to eat. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the real reason he was watching out for us. He, himself, didn’t like the serving choices and that’s why he thought he had to make them fun for us. That’s why we had “Liver Candy” for calves liver and “Baby Cabbages” for Brussels sprouts, in addition to “Copper Pennies” for cooked carrots.

Melt some grass fed organic better in a pan with
organic brown sugar. Add carrots and stir to heat through
and coat with yummy candy-like goodness.

And I suppose I continued the fun food naming trend when my kids were small. There was nothing they liked more than a little bowl of frozen peas. We called them “Pea-sicles,” named after Popsicle brand frozen ice confections.

We Serve our Copper Pennies with sour cream,
walnuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar, all organic.

This making “much over nothing” to bring smiles to the face of a child is lots of fun for adults as well. Coincidentally, the art of entertaining children reminds me of a post I read this week on BlogHer: It will be like an Amusement Park…only Better. A fanciful, creative post by BlogHer “dvorakoelling,” relatively new to our BlogHer world, but already participating handily.

Much like my Dad and I making up little fantasies to tickle a kid, Dvora explains how she took kiddie playacting to new heights when she turned her local supermarket and shopping mall into a Disney World of sorts. I read enchantingly as Dvora described bringing the fun of a trip to FantasyLand to her seventeen month old daughter by using their cooperative imaginations to turn shopping carts into bumper cars and mall escalators into rides. It sounds like they had fun, and I know I did as well, as I read along with Dvora, thinking of my Dad’s tricks to make everyday special. What a childhood rich in love I had with my Dad and Dvora’s daughter, Em, is enjoying everyday with her Mom, today.

I got to thinking, simple games are like COSTCO carrots: both are nourishing; both cost little.

In a world of expensive clothes, plastic and trinkets, these thoughts really made me smile!

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 23 2012

Fred and Vincent have had it on restaurant choices.
What to do?

I was traveling about the BlogHerdom, when I noticed a post that said the oddest thing. Something about going to a website and clicking to register an opinion. It was BlogHer’s own MoodSwings posting on An Ongoing Debate…Very Emotional Issue about discussions for and against abortion. We could argue point and counterpoint about that for hours, but the thing that fascinated me, was BlogHer author BethNewYork’s inclusion of a link to web site, UFeud.

UFeud, I thought. What’s that?

Well, the answer was a quick click away. The Ufeud website proclaims with smiley faces, “I Have Issues,” then it presents “All Things Debatable from Across the Web and Beyond.” I was amazed at the possibilities. I had to go and read and read and go to another issue, then another and another. I was full of issues and all sides of the debates about them. I couldn’t stop! I was entranced at how many issues there are and how many people to take up all sides and all corners of sides.

It was remarkable, but soon, wading through pages and pages of “Thumbs Up Smileys” and “Thumbs Down Smileys,” my mind began to wander. Why, there are issues everywhere.  We don’t have to stick to the big ones like women’s rights on abortion and same sex marriage, lets spread this out to mediate all sorts of things that come up in everyday life.

Cat fights are no problem for UFeud.

Lets say, arguments between kids. Mary has the pink bunny and Josh the brown horse. That would be fine and each child could go on the rug and play all afternoon, except that Mary wants the brown horse and Josh wants the pink bunny, and neither one will give up the one they have. What to do? Oh! What to do? Easy, the operative parent quickly runs to UFeud, uploads the vitals and lets the Internet decide who should get what.

How about on date night? Fred wants Chinese; Vincent says he’s had enough, needs his probiotics and wants to go out for sauerkraut and beer. What to do? Oh What to do? No problemo! Run hand in hand to UFeud, upload the menus and, let’s hear it, BlogHer, “Let The Internet Decide!”

But, that’s only the beginning of this argument forum. When going to UFeud, one must choose their level of participation. Are you into Mass Debates? Group Feuds? Or MyFeud? Just follow the tabs across the top. One must decide their fight status. Are you there to support a fight or start a fight? Be a fair weather friend and click on the winning side? Only to come back later when that side is losing to support their opposition? Oh! UFeud is a glorious cacophony of brains gnashing together, pounding as one. If oppositions can’t be decided in this forum by winning and losing sides, then they are just not meant to be settled.

The neatest thing of all is that you can start a debate, tone the opposing questions to your topic of discussion and add a mediation window to your BlogHer Post like MoodSwings did at the end of her post. TOO COOL!

Why, there’s nothing more fun than UFeud!

Except maybe making up….

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 22 2012

Selling cookies and buying calendars while working
on the Child Labor Badge.

What a celebration was Valentine’s Day, 2012. Cupid’s friend arrows were flying, dinner plans were being made and cozy evenings at home were chosen to replace high priced restaurant fare. But, the biggest thing all day for me, this Girl Scout from the 1960s, was earning another badge for my virtual badge sash.

As a Girl Scout, we worked and worked on earning a series of decorative embroidered patches, fulfilling sequential requirements as we went along. Don’t tell anybody, but all my Girl Scouting was many years ago. Habit and training die hard, however, and I still have a Pavlov’s dog response to the mention of a badge to be earned.

So, imagine my delight when a badge award was announced on BlogHer by Laine “Crazy Eyeris” Griffin. I was all over reading that post, like a chicken on a June bug. I couldn’t have been happier when I saw my blog and web site named. The green square of a Versatile Blogger Award, the one I have often gazed upon on Laine’s web site, Laine’s List, was now mine. I patted myself on the back and yelled, “Yippy Ya HOO!” while doing a happy dance.

It turns out, by going to the Versatile Blogger web site, that when one receives the award, one then has to give it away. Laine had received it from MJ Monaghan and was honor bound to re-award the award, carrying it’s influence into ever widening circles.

With award night being Valentine’s Day and so much happening all at once, my attentions were spread thin.  I am just now thanking Laine for the sweet honor of the beautiful spring green, Versatile Blogger Award. I can’t wait to see it on the right hand side of Sunbonnet Smart and I can’t wait until all of BlogHer starts kissing up to me, hoping, praying, that I will choose each of them for my round of Versatile Blogger Award bestowal.

So, get the comments started ladies and Souschef. Wine me. Dine me. Dazzle me and frazzle me with all of your ingratiating appeals. Ring my royal ear and fairy dust my Sparkles. I can’t wait to see you grovel.

BTW, ElaineR.N., don’t worry! You’re in!

And! If you want to make your own badges to inspire, motivate and control your friends, go to this really cool web site that seems to have all the information one needs to set up your own badges!

Alright! Now we don’t HAVE to be nice to people to win one of their badges. We can make our own!

Oh wait…I shouldn’t have included that link….

Too late now….

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 19 2012

As BlogHer’s own Isabel Anders has been teaching us in the last weeks, age often brings wisdom.

And I welcome the gray hair, like I do the wisdom. It is a badge, a outward sign of an inner triumph, a testament that I’m not making the same goofy mistakes many younger people seem to be making.

But, don’t worry, in my new intermittently posted series, “Reliving the 70s, Whether You Want To or Not,” Grammy Sunbonnet will be setting everyone straight, providing oceans of practical living enlightenment.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 1973

One of the amazing realizations I’ve had since I’ve joined BlogHer, has been the discovery of women’s current social awareness. I see opinions and emotions being bandied about, many times without a factual understanding of what has gone before. Why aren’t we standing on the shoulders of those women who paved the way for us to be as far along as we are today? Why aren’t we researching the history of the issues about which we care so passionately, before we opine on a topic of choice?

Specifically, how in the world can any members of a diverse, brilliant, educated and communicative body of women be without a foundation of feminine health and anatomical information?

In that light, I ask you, how can any young women in this day and age need to be told where her hymen is, or was, located? Not that I am belittling those who had no idea. Several commented on the post to that effect. The problem I’m having is, it seems, the landmark book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, the definitive work on feminine health knowledge that was commonly espoused, and openly so, for all of my young womanhood, has been lost or inadequately passed on.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 1992

I’m talking about information that was openly provided to any and all during the 1970s, and now seems to belong to the long distance past, waiting for the Rosetta stone of rediscovery. How in the world has this happened? Why isn’t this basic knowledge common knowledge?

Didn’t the college girls of the 1970s that sat around in group circles of self-exploration with mirrors and copies of the book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, grow up to be pro-active mothers and grandmothers? When their daughters were old enough for THE talk, didn’t they reach to the top of the bookshelf, pull down their old copy, blow off the dust and pass it on?

Our Bodies, Ourselves 1998

And how about all of the reprints and updates of the book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, in repeated publication by the non-profit Boston Women’s Health Book Collective since 1970? Haven’t all of these copies been read? And what about BlogHer, an Internet woman’s forum of Internet woman’s blogs, why is there hardly a mention of the book if one does a search, which I did the other day and again this morning?

The only mention I could find was a August 14, 2008 post from “veronicaeye” who, being a professional feminist, espoused the Our Bodies Ourselves Pregnancy and Birth book. But, rather than basking in grateful attention from BlogHer’s millions of readers, “veronicaeye’s” post has, as I write, absolutely ZERO comments. I guess the lack of response was overwhelming as that was her last post, although she has a fantastically informative, currently thriving blog, Viva la Feminista.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 2005

The book Our Bodies, Ourselves is a feminist success story. Selling more than four million copies since its debut in 1970, it challenged medical dogmas about women’s bodies and sexuality, shaped health care policies, energized the reproductive rights movement, and stimulated medical research on women’s health. The book has influenced how generations of U.S. women feel about their bodies and health. In addition, Our Bodies, Ourselves, has also had a whole life outside the United States. It has been taken up, translated, and adapted by women across the globe, inspiring more than thirty foreign language editions.

Our Bodies, Ourselves 2011

So, in closing, let Grammy Sunbonnet brew a fresh pot of tea and give you the keys to your feminine kingdom.

From this day forward, if you have questions about your body or yourself, lean on:

  • the extensive Our Bodies, Ourselves web site,
  • the book that started it all, available as a 2011 edition on the publications page, which BTW, has books for every stage of a women’s life,
  • the Health Information Center on the top bar of the Home Page to research any health concern, technical approach or organize for change,
  • and, finally, for a calendar of speakers from the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective who will be in your area.

Once you go and peruse the options of this web site, you will wonder like I do why anyone in this day and age would need a GPS to locate her hymen.


The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (now known as Our Bodies Ourselves) is a non-profit organization founded in 1969 whose board members include Teresa Heinz Kerry, Susan Love, and Gloria Steinem. Their mission is to empower women by providing information about health, sexuality, and reproduction. Our Bodies, Ourselves is the organization’s core vehicle for driving their mission. While OBOS is famous for its voice in policy, advocacy, and educational efforts related to women’s health, they see their role as a global content provider as paramount. Judy Norsigian is the Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves.

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 16 2012

Health food stores have been around for a long time, at least for fifty years that I can remember. Consumer demand has steady empowered the health food and supplement industry to spiral upward. When I was a teenager in the 1960s, health food stores consisted of mainly vitamin shops. Now health food stores are full service department food stores with rows of organic products, meats and seafood in addition to their vitamin selections.

We love Applegate Hot Dogs. They are real
hot dogs made with good cuts of organic beef
without preservatives

The old ideas of health foods tasting bland and of cardboard have dropped out of existence. Thank goodness the misnomer that if things are “good for you,” they must taste bad has been replaced. Now there are many fully organic products allowing tasty GMO-free, pesticide free foods to be included in healthy diets.

Remember that most corn and wheat are genetically modified, the components of which do not metabolize properly and then accumulate in the kidneys and liver. Be sure, therefore, that your breads, cookies, cakes and hot dog rolls are organic, which also means they cannot contain GMO ingredients.

It is possible to have organic hot dogs that
actually taste MUCH BETTER than the ones most
of us had as children.

As your body gets healthier and rids itself of toxic poisons, you will eventually want to be more and more careful that your organic foods are really organic and by reputable companies. When first starting to get well, however, don’t try to make massive changes all at once. Odds are, the foods labeled organic are still better than what you have been eating everyday in the processed and restaurant food world.

Organic condiments insure a
satisfying hot dog lunch.

Once you really, REALLY get on the path to wellness, you will be making your own condiments from recipes in Nourishing Traditions, the back to basic health recipe book by Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The best condiments are fermented like they used to be and provide natural probiotics for a healthy gut and digestion. But, until then, use organic products that will get you on your way.

Boy, I hope these look good to you.  I thought they
looked good when I took the photo, but tonight, maybe
I’m just tired…I think I could have made them a
little more appealing. They tasted GREAT, though!
…lights, camera, ACTION!


NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 14 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is filled with love, but that love isn’t all between lovers. At this time of year, love overflows for all types of people. Maybe the cold of winter makes the warmth of friendship more enticing: we pull each other close like old sweaters, tried and true. For my Sunbonnet Smart followers, many of you know I also blog at BlogHer. Having interacted with bloggers who have become good friends, I have issued forth the following…

Valentine Ode to my BlogHer Followers

Vir-gin-i-a, you were the first,
You taught me what a “friend” was.
Then Julie came and said, “Hello.”
And Darcie’s turn, it next was.

Lainey skated into my heart,
I met “IsThisTheMiddle,”
While Allison’s blue shirt I saw,
and Hypo’s advice I fiddled.

Isabel gave me lofty thoughts,
Next, “LetThemEatGreat,” said, “Hi!”
CookingwithKary came out to play
then Elaine the Nurse, “high five!”

Jane added media class
While Suzie patrolled our BlogHer
And Nancy Wurtzel ruined me for life
with Michelle Bachmann’s corn dogher.

Gina, GILRED, always so sweet,
but watch out for Mood Swings aplenty.
Sabrina’s purple made me smile,
next I met Talking Thirty.

Chivalry Rocks won’t show his face,
With us, can’t say I blame him.
And Thousand Points of Sauce,
is the latest to get her Flame on.

So, there you have the followers of
a baby blue Sunbonnet
and here’s a Valentine for you,
with a little Sunbonnet on it.

Much Love,

Fondly, Robin

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 10 2012

Third in a series of three.

Settling back down into my chair in the corner, I began to read Becoming Flame, a book authored by BlogHer’s own Isabel Anders, an associate of Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time.

Ah! I thought. Some light reading. Something to take my mind off of the heavy, HEAVY spirituality of the Co-op. Surely this thin little book wouldn’t take long to read. I figured I could finish it in the two hours I had to wait for my ride to arrive.

Just taking in the back cover gave me pause, however. Reading, “What could be more natural and timely than…A poetic exploration of the large and the small issues of women’s life – nested, braided, interwoven, never fully unraveled – in precise language that retains the mystery but awakens the soul? “

I was taken aback and could only utter, “Huh?”

Becoming Flame is a book that is so rich with poignant
twists of common sense, it is hard to take in much at once.

Just as the Co-op had toyed with my sense of time, whipping me back and forth between 1975 and the present, the book began to play with my sense of spatial constraints. This thin little book began to grow, until I was, like Alice down the rabbit hole, shrinking and becoming insignificant next to it. The prominence of the pint size behemoth began to consume me. Like a scholar who studies to discover how much they don’t know, I began to flip through the book, trying to take it all in at once, hoping to contain it as it continued to enlarge up and out of my hands and mind.

I tried to devour the pages, reading as fast as I could to get a sense of the largeness of this little book. I thought that if I could measure it, I could control it, keeping it within the bounds of what I could understand. I was undone, myself however, as the book held firm, whirling and expanding while I was carried on high in a vortex of feeling, insight and expression. My chair began to raise off the floor and swirl around carrying me up into Isabel Ander’s feminine domain, the vast group experience of women, the shared ancient knowledge passed down from Mother to Daughter.

With my head in danger of touching the ceiling, Becoming Flame became much like a fine wine. I couldn’t just drink in the knowledge, but had to sip each phrase, acknowledging the bouquet, and swirling the shared images in my mind’s eye. Here, I realized was a book of deep thoughts to be savored. Collected vignettes of dialogue exchanged between a mother and daughter, putting into words things that, for the most part, usually go unsaid.

As I read Becoming Flame, the spiraling vortex of the
UofMD art student, Jenna Parry, painting on the wall
merged in my thoughts with the verbal images
presented by the book.

In her Introduction to Becoming Flame, Isabel offers that she has studied “the profound evocative legacy of Hasidic dialogue, or of a rabbi or holy man debating truth with his disciples.” She shares she intended to “…employ the same conversational form, drawing from my experience as a women and a mother, and in a similar manner to convey some essentials of feminine collective wisdom, focusing on the process itself, as wisdom is ‘kneaded’ and ‘made’ like bread.”

The title hints that the wisdom offered by Becoming Flame is enigmatic as is all knowledge and spiritual enlightenment. All great words of wisdom are not easily understood, digested and internalized without great study and sacrifice

“What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?,” a disciple asks his master. The Holy One answered, “When you have knowledge, you use a torch to show the way. When you are wise, you become the torch.”

So, we learn that words are not wisdom, but the transmutation of words, shining by the light of each person’s soul and collective experience, are wisdom. The words are reflected by the soul and become flame and the soul itself, in transmuting the words into wisdom, becomes flame.

Women, each one standing on the shoulders of the mother
who has come before, create an endless column of female
humanity rising from promordal history without beginning
and up to the present as described in Dr. Clarissa Pinkola
Pinkola Estes’ book, Women Who Run with the Wolves.

Reading Becoming Flame jarred my psyche and my soul. I began to wonder what IS IT about collective feminine knowledge that is so deep and hard to understand at first read? The last time I had such a profound experience in reading, needing to separate each phrase, sometimes each word, for study and research was when I read Women Who Run with the Wolves, a book on the best seller list for 145 weeks in the early 1990s.

I began to think that while world history, written by the sword, rather than by the chalice, is raw in its power, feminine collective history has been intuitive, felt deep in the soul rather than spoken with the overt command of those conquering in the physical. While common knowledge has been spoken and written in the marketplace, in government and in the destructive councils of war, feminine knowledge has been more commonly shared during life moments and at the hearth, while creating soul, mind and body.

And so, Isabel Anders has written of the intuitive wisdom of women as they patiently intone knowledge to their daughters, an intimate sharing of the true light, love and continuance of their being. This collective feminine knowledge prepares women to live on the physical plane where the spiritual is merged with the physical and where intuition cannot always complete with the heavy burden of opposing physical strength.

Rising from primordial history, generations of
connected women, come forward to mentor
contemporary mothers and daughters today.

And why is unseen intuition considered less effective as a modality of strength? Waiting to speak can take great strength of character and willpower. So can the strength of focusing on the mundane everyday creation of body and spirit.

I am always perplexed by people who say they don’t have time to cook and eat together as if anything in their day is more important than feeding the body that cradles the soul.  It is the mundane that creates and sustains life. Each physical body recreates itself every six months. To do so requires incoming foodstuffs of specific metabolic vitamins, fiber and minerals, therefore a meal is the elixir of life, holding the spirit in physical form.

And so, as an example of one of Isabel’s many diologues between a Mother and Daughter, here we read them speaking to the everyday of food preparation:

The Daughter wondered that the Mother could spend so much time
lovingly tending the fire, stirring the soup, and baking the bread.

“Do you not tire of such mundane tasks?”

“This substance.” the Mother explained, breaking bread, “makes
possible the ‘alchemy’ of life. Through it the roughness of grain
is transformed into the fine constituents of Being…
How can this be called mundane?”

The Daughter said, “all of our work is so material, kneading
dough, plowing the garden, tending the fires without and within
…It is difficult to believe in the Unseen that surrounds us,
even on nights crowned by burning lights in the heavens.”

The Mother replies, “But, your own breath teaches you that there are
interim states between spirit and matter.  The elements that are
not seen: the wind, your breath, the Spirit that moves among us,
show themselves only in their effects. Therefore, which is more real?
The Sources or their effects?”

…from Becoming Flame.

If you have an interest in Isabel’s book,
hover your mouse over this link:
Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom


Jenna Parry’s original work, Nebula Painting #1, has been used in situ and as a component of the accompanying two dimensional assemblages.

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 05 2012

Second in a series of three.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one there to hear it, does it make a noise?

If I can’t see, touch, taste, hear or smell something, does it exist?

If I am sitting in the same space as I was in 1975, but I am phyically in 2012, where am I if I am thinking about being there in 1975?

If the University of Maryland Terrapin is painted like Kermit the Frog, is he a Terrapin or Kermit?

Can he be both? Do they both exist in the same space?

Can I be in both 1975 and 2012 at the same time?

Large Terrapins were creatively painted and placed all over the
University of Maryland Campus. It was only natural that love for
Jim Henson result in this “logically extreme” Kermit Terrapin.

It seems only natural that while I was sitting down drinking my coffee and reading my new book, my mind would wonder to the powers of the mind as they relate to time and space. How in the world could it be almost forty years since the Co-op opened: almost forty years since I ate my first alfalfa sprout, hummus and whole wheat sandwich?

Maybe because there is a large Department of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, and maybe, because of the book and movie The Secret, there is a wide current interest in studying quantum mechanics. Yes, a casual study of light, energy, time, matter and reality is popular, judging by the selections on YouTube, and I feel a part of it. Or, maybe because Kermit the Frog was beckoning to the space time continuum located in my corner of the Co-op, I couldn’t keep my mind on reading my book.

Quantum Mechanics has lots to say about space,
time and creating your own reality.

First, I saw Craig coming through the door of the Co-op, I couldn’t believe the coincidence that he would be coming into the Co-op right here, right now. But, wait was he there? No, no not there. That was years ago. Craig dated my girlfriend Carol. I wonder how she is? No wait, they got married in 1976. I was there for the wedding. So strange. It seems so real. Geeze! That guy over there! I know him! Phil! I always liked Phil. No, wait…it couldn’t be him. This person is young, Phil would be forty years older…I don’t know that I would want to call to him anyway. It would seem if he hasn’t called me by now, he’s not going to.

Everywhere in the Co-op, I saw auras and beacons of
other dimensions, no wait, those were just art student’s
canvases hung up on the walls…or were they?

Going back and forth between two time periods reminded me of my favorite book of childhood, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. The most amazing concept it presented was time and space travel illustrated by an ant on a string. If you take an ant and let it walk across a length of string you hold between your hands, it takes a certain length of time for him to walk from one hand to the other.

But, if you hold the same string in your hands and bring your hands together, the ant can travel from one end of the string to the other, covering the same length of space represented by the string, but in a much shorter period of time. And in an amazingly ironic twist, this is the fiftieth publication anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time.

Fifty years! How could that be!?!? Published in 1962? Oh my goodness, it seems like only yesterday. Through what worm hole have I traveled? One minute, I’m taking A Wrinkle in Time out of the library with my very own library card—varoom!—the next minute I’m sitting at the University Food Co-op celebrating a half century of publication. Very strange…

Worm holes and stargates of the mind are powerful moderators
of reality. Have you ever had a dream that seemed so real you
continued reacting to it even after awakening? Was it a dream?

Or were you actually there?

Trying to get firmly back into the present, I intentionally ignored images from the 1970s and thoughts of my childhood. I had a good book to read and some great food to eat, and I knew nothing would keep me anchored like a hot cup of coffee. I limited my thoughts in order to concentrate on my new book, Becoming Flame, the venture into Mother Daughter wisdom written by one of BlogHer’s own muses, Isabel Anders.

After spinning through worm holes and peeking into stargates at the Co-op, it was a relief to finally settle down and settle into a good book. This, I had been told, was a good book. And never mind that Isabel Anders was mentored by A Wrinkle in Time’s author, Madeleine L’Engle, who wrote the introduction to Ms. Anders’ book, Awaiting the Child.

Surely reading a few chapters of Becoming Flame would be calming and not result in deep reflection and undue mental exercise. I would be able to relax with this unassuming publication and move on to the rest of my day with a clear head…

…or would I?

Next: Share Becoming Flame by Isabel Anders

This post features an original acrylic painting,
Nebula Painting #1,
by Jenna Parry, a Univeristy of Maryland studio art student.

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 04 2012

First in a series of three.

The Maryland Food Co-op: waiting for me to drop in since 1975.

On Friday, I again found myself at College Park, Maryland, home of the University of Maryland Terrapins. At the same time, in finding the Terrapins’ home, I also returned to the home of my once and previous self. Having gone to undergraduate school in College Park in the early 1970s, it would be twenty years before I returned this  time as a wife of a USMC Marine who was attending on the GI bill. Little did I know then, that in another twenty years the kids who were running around in diapers with the “My Dad’s a Terp” t-shirts would be attending classes and I would be waiting for them in class, just like I had been twenty years before with my husband.

It seems many current students have no sense
of the stargate in the corner.

So where would I be expected to wait comfortably? Why in the Maryland Food Co-op in the Student union building with Fair Trade coffee and organic food, of course. And how would I entertain myself for two hours while I’m there? By reading a book I just received in the mail from a friend. I was looking forward to a pleasant repast, totally unaware that the Maryland Food Co-op is actually a Star-gate worm holing into an alternate dimension. I was totally unaware when I sat down with my coffee, tabouli and vegan burrito that the entrance was near where I would be sitting in the chair. It wasn’t until I heard a whisper from Kermit the Frog that I realized this visit to the Co-op would be unlike any other.

Kermit beckons from over the Free Trade coffee,
showing the way to the stargate behind me

Kermie and I go way back, but not as far back as Kermit and the University of Maryland. Jim Henson, the genius puppeteer behind Kermit and the rest of the Muppets, was a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Henson was a Studio Arts Major when he took a puppetry course in Maryland’s Department of Home Economics, changing his life and the rest of the world as well. The same world sadly lost Henson at age 53 in 1990, and ever since, the University has remembered him with tributes large and small.

Jim Henson and his Kermit the Frog sit chatting in front
of the University of Maryland Student Union.

Tomorrow: Join me for Kermit’s stargate A Wrinkle in College Park

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Feb 01 2012

Testudo, the University of Maryland Diamondback Terrapin
mascot, says Portlandia is alive and well in College Park.

Today I went over to the University of Maryland and found an annex to Portland, Oregon, reminiscent of the new comedy show, Portlandia. Like Sue in the video from the Sunbonnet Smart post on Surprise Birthday Parties, I was SO EXCITED! Looking around at class change when students are rushing to get from their last class to their next class, I saw pretty girls in big black glasses, flannel shirts that still look fly, clowns and the Dream of the 90s being alive and well in College Park. Chalk one up for the East Coast!

Probably because of the 50° weather, right on the mall in front of the Administration Building I was able to see many free spirits. I saw men wearing athletic shorts made of the Maryland State flag and throwing frisbees. Up near McKeldin Library, I witnessed students setting up waist high tightropes between trees, getting on them while kneeling to balance, then raising up to a standing position to walk back and forth between the tress. H-m-m-m, don’t see THAT everyday. It was my own little slice of innovative youth and zest for living.

On a spring day in February, University of Maryland, College
Park, tightrope walkers appear to hover above the ground.

Things were going pretty well as we went to the Student Union Co-op to get healthy organic food and deepen our Portlandia visuals. Tattoos, piercings, wild leggings, torn clothing and dreadlocks greeted us as we got close to the Co-op. It was a wonderful feast of individuality, except that in being individual in the same way, most of the students looked pretty much the same. I am still working on analyzing this paradoxical quandary.

So, there we were in the Co-op waiting for handmade Indian Samosas, carrying them to the cashier and checking out, when I saw it: a box of free handouts on the counter

Free handouts! I LOVE free information and in flipping through these handouts I was seeing fliers for musical groups, massage therapy and…WAIT A MINUTE!…What is THIS!?!?!? A green and red postcard with the words ROLLER DERBY on it!?!?!?

A postcard from check out tells the RollerGirls Tale.

So unusual! And then I notice the “Fra-gi-le” Lamp from the movie A Christmas Story with a roller skate on it. And look, the words “Flat Track.” Oh no! For Heaven’s sake! This looks like that Roller Derby stuff that BlogHer blogger Laine is always writing about.

My eyes widened as I took in the card, right there on the front was a snappy logo saying “RollerGirls” with the Washington family coat of arms flippantly placed on her cheek.  In fact, cheeky is how she looks and how she gives us the “come-on” to meet her at the flat track referred to in the scehdule of derby events. One thing for sure, Roller Derby must be taking over the country.

BlogHer Blogger ElaineR.N. has a daughter on a team and when we looked at her video clip, there was her daughter skating and one of the teams was from Baltimore.  So, if Washington, DC has teams and Baltimore has teams…this thing is up and coming, and probably has been, as Laine says since the early 2000s. I’m just crawling out from under my rock to find out about it.

Ralphie is the boy who says, “All I want is an Official Red
Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!”

Well, everybody these days is organized and roller derby has it’s own association, the WFTDA, Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. And, flat track, that’s the amazing difference for me. I can’t imagine roller derby on anything but a track with banked curved sides. I watched roller derby every Saturday with the best of ’em when I was a kid, but it was always on a banked track.

But, BlogHer’s Laine Griffin explains that bank tracks are expense and with a flat track, groups can set up in warehouses, place some marking tape on the floor and have a session without the expense of and travel to a banked track.  So, make a mental note: banked tracks out and flat tracks in!

Truthfully, I know my derby days are over, but that is not going to prevent me from traveling to New York at some point to see Crazy Eyeris, our own Laine Griffin skate. Or, from going to see the RollerGirls in this area to get a feel for the game the way it is now. I really want to see how the sport has progressed.

And, besides, I need to see how to behave when I go north to see Laine. Don’t want to embarrass her, that’s fer sure. I do know to get a tattoo, wear my fishnet stockings and pink tutu, though. Whad’ya think I am? STUPID?

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NaBloPoMo November 2012