Brazilian food, a million poems

I was enjoying reading Indira Ganesan’s novel, AS SWEET AS HONEY when all the poems for the two WOMR Joe Gouveia poetry contests arrived.  I’ve enjoying getting to know Indira.  She was over Tuesday and I made shashuska for lunch.  She’s vegetarian.  Now I have to put off geting back into the second half of the novel after I finish judging the contests.  I have now gone through all the regionals –about ¼ sized pile as the nationals– and ranked them. Monday I’ll send the results for the regionals to John Braden at the station. 

Next come the nationals, hundreds of mss.  I will start them today – the first run-through when I discard any that show no talent. Then comes the hard part.  That will take much of the coming week.  I can’t do any Monday as I have to deal with everything else then – my own poems, submissions, the workshop in June, trying to help poets find lodging that is convenient and affordable, paying bills, getting together the next shipment of papers to the U of Michigan [they bought my papers years ago] trying to find missing information Woody needs to get our taxes together – and of course, the laundry.

I’ll make a slow roast today for two days’ worth of supper so tomorrow I can just heat it up gently and get it on the table in time to eat before the Super Bowl.  I’m rooting for the 49ers. It’s a tension-free game since the Pats are out of it.  I’m sure Brady knows what he is going to do.  I feel he should make his decision to the Pats soon as they will have to draft and find free agents entirely differently if he is still on the team or has gone elsewhere.

Karen Pasquale took me to Hyannis this week.  We have lunch in a neighborhood Brazilian restaurant, not the fancy one I’ve been to a number of times.  Many Brazilians have settled here, where there’s a long tradition of Portuguese speakers from Europe and the Cape Verde islands.  It was a real neighborhood place – not fancy, a wonderful buffet, nobody speaking English – lots of working people on their lunch hour. It was inexpensive and the food was delicious.  Then we crossed the parking lot to a Brazilian grocery store.  I found oxtails there.  I used to buy them all the time when I lived on the Upper West Side, but never see them here.  I’m excited about making oxtail soup again.  I hope I still have my old recipe.  I bought some other foods that were totally new to me and have been trying them one at a time. Karen’s daughter in law is Brazilian so when she next visits, Karen can take her there.

My poetry group met this week and Lucile, who was badly injured in an accident on route six, hadn’t been able to come since last March.  She is an excellent poet and is a useful critic so it was great to have her back. I got good feedback on my two poems – we each bring two poems.  Four of the regulars took my June workshop in the past.  Then I invited them into the group. The others’ poetry I became familiar with in other contexts.

We’ve had little or no snow so far this winter.  Mostly the temperature has remained in the forties or thirties during the day.   I don’t mind this, although I worry about perennials beginning to sprout way too soon.  I know it will get much colder as the winter goes on.

I don’t generally tend to write poems when I’ve judging contests, but I did manage to write two this week.  I used to get catnips in metal containers, but recently I got it in plastic containers.  Apparently they can not only see it, but smell  it, so wherever I stash it, they find it and try to open it – fortunately without success so far.  Schwartzie is a real doper.  All four cats enjoy catnips, but he is the craziest about catnip. I had a friend who wouldn’t give his cats catnip because he was anti-drug.  Catnip is good for cats and nonaddictive although I suspect Schwartzie would dispute that.

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