Thursday, June 2, 2011

Beautiful Melrose, Florida

Hmmm....what is THIS track? Shudder.

We saw lots of deer, and I wonder what that other track is?

The long road I have enjoyed walking since childhood.

Coming and going.

Big Bird.

Summer roadside wildflowers.

Mother and child.

Oranges way out in the woods.

Bittersweet memories.

This is a tortoise den; sometimes these are taken over by rattlesnakes.

Green and dreamy.

Old craggy pine.

Reindeer moss.

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Monday, May 9, 2011


Lately I've been having the most wonderful dreams. That's worth mentioning because most of my life I've been plagued with troubling or haunted dreams. Now my husband is showing up in my dreams and we're having fun together, and there's a sense of comfort and freedom from worry. Like my life now.

I'm so grateful for Harold and for all the blessings he has brought into my life with his love, generosity and kindness. Getting married to him was one of the best choices I ever made. I do hope I make him feel the same.
Here we are nearly five years ago,
applying for our marriage license.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

SO many duties and concerns swirling in my head, so of course I put it all aside and had an art attack last night. I made three collages and started a file of cutouts and supples to take along on my solo trip "down home" to FL next week (note to robbers--our home will be fully occupied)!

This collage is one that, I'm flattered to say, Helen picked out for her birthday/anniversary gift and I hope it finds a place in her den of serenity and creativity that we call "the tree house".

Noah is on his way home NOW! Harold graciously--heroically, even--drove out to Rockville, MD to pick him up, with all his "stuff", and bring him home. They're doing the trip with no break--I'm sure they'll be napping tomorrow. It's going to be exciting to see Noah, but I'm panicking about the state of the house--why does entropy set in so immediately and completely when a space is vacated?

I don't want him to have to perch on top of my detritus so I've been weeding out the "man cave" and finding lots of buried treasure in the process.

It's embarrassing to admit but I'm freaking out a bit about leaving Tango. I know the pets will be in excellent hands with the guys but T and I have been spending most of every day together since I've been working at home so much. I knew that birds bonded strongly to their "people" but I did not expect the reciprocal attachment to be so powerful. I've really come to love this little friend--the way he stands guard protectively on my pillow when I nap; the way he rides on my fork hand hoping to sneak a taste, the way he rests his feathered forehead against mine, concentrating so hard when I am teaching him a new whistle. Sigh.

It's also hard leaving the garden during this important time for planting, watering, and nurturing. I'm happy to be going to see my mother and other FL family but I'm also homesick already. Most of all, when I get back I look forward to spending LOTS of time with Harold.

Well, that's about it. Tango wants some of my yams so I gotta go.
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Name This Collage

Scan of today's collage. A little art fun to relieve grading tedium. Will someone name this piece for me?
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Students do the nicest things

I'm just back from my last Public Speaking class of the semester, and my lovely student Nurta Hade brought me a gorgeous Somali butter cake as a gift. I have already cut into it so I borrowed this photo from

This cake is perfect for breakfast or a snack--not too sweet, and fragrant with cardamom, one of my favorite spices. Nurta also brought me a package of green cardamom pods--they smell like heaven--for making authentic Somali tea.

I recommend both of these treats, especially together!

Somali Butter Cake

4 eggs1 1/4 cups sugar1/2 cup butter; melted1 1/2 cups flour; sifted1 tsp. baking powder1 tsp. cardamom powder1/2 cup milk1. Mix the eggs, sugar, and butter in a bowl.2. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and cardamom.3. Add the milk and mix until smooth.4. Pour the mixture into a greased pan.5. Bake in a preheated oven ( 300 F) for an hour.
*Recipe from Tammy's Somali Home

Somali Tea or Shaah (This is better than any chai you've ever tasted)

2 teabags
6 cardamom pods
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
5 thin slices of ginger
2 cups water
1/4 c. sugar
1 cup milk
1. In a kettle, add the teabags and the water.
2. Crush the cardamom, cloves, and the cinnamon using a pedestle and mortar.
3. Add the crushed spices, ginger, and sugar to the kettle.
4. Once it has boiled, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the milk and gently bring to another boil.

*Recipe from Tammy's Somali Home

I'm addicted to Somali food. If you want to try more delicious Somali recipes, "Tammy's" is an excellent place to start, as well as
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011


They don't know you yet but
they will soon be familiar with
your smell
your habits as you twist your hair
pull on your bottom lip
sigh, yawn, rub your eyes.

They will learn the weight of your
palm, your fist, your elbow,
and will bear the round
benediction of your coffee ring.

They will inherit the dust
of the erasures
of things you deem too shameful
to leave upon their faces, they will
gather the notes
of the songs you didn't know you knew
and sing them back at you.

They will stare into your face
so long, and as you return
their gaze
you will learn to see
many new selves within their blank aspect.

They will sometimes mock you.

They will be your most pleasing lovers.

They will always
drink your tears.

© Nancy A. Henry
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Somebunny's been naughty

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Marine Biology

Marine Biology

Nature is an indifferent mother, I say
dutiful at best, she does what is required,
but not with tenderness.

That is a lie, you insist—
many animals practice nurturance,
play, camaraderie of a sort,
and choral singing besides.
Whales write new songs for every season,
every task and journey.
This is what you taught me.

Alright then.

Well what else is there to do
in the deep but practice the chords of heaven
sweep open-mouthed
through great fortresses of herring,
rock to the gentle hula
of the sea, make love like two spaceships
docking, teach strange iceblue songs
to your little calf, tease ocean liners
as they sludge past your easy grace
with motors and trouble?

© Nancy A. Henry (1998)
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Saturday, April 23, 2011


© Nancy A. Henry
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Oh you old broken jar 
you are like me, 
no use, no use
but Jesus
if You won’t mend
my shattered soul
let me spill light
from all these cracks
leak life to these dry acres,
be refilled 
from some unseen source
to pour and pour.
Let every gap be a door
into grace.
Let me remember
what blooms from seeming death
in the secret place,
faith multiplying underground
like jonquils
out of the light
under the feet of the disbelieving
who stand shivering
expecting forever
frozen ground.
© Nancy A. Henry (2000)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day


© Nancy A Henry (2011)


Your first adjustment will be hardest;
the wild spinning.

Brightness is easier, though shocking—
and breathing air—

but this movement,
even in the container
that keeps you from exploding
back into light,

even with this pump
that exerts a constant argument
against gravity—

even then you’ll feel it,
the vertiginous swirl of all of it,
the surging,
rhythmic advance of sea;
the shrugs that heave mountains
out of shale plain.

Every one of us is overwhelmed by this at first.
Cry about it all you need to.

You will make your surefooted way in time,
a sailor on a rolling ship.
You will forget.

Can you trust me, stranger?
one day you will attune to this mad dance.
One day, nothing will seem to move at all
but the rivers,
and the wind,
and your own wild heart
as you run.

© Nancy A. Henry (2001)
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Thursday, April 21, 2011


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This holy picture was painted with starpoints of light
shining from the body of Christ like knifeblades.
I am taken by the reverse image,

the darkness coming at him, shards of obsidian,
malevolent arrows. At Meteora

we tour a shot-up chapel, the eyes of the Blessed Mother
two crumbling bullet holes. Some soldier's
unknowingly eloquent sacrilege, this
Madonna of the twentieth century,

this Madonna of man's brutal blindness.
Yet, later, the bus crests a hill, and
I'm startled by a sunset so beautiful
I genuflect without thinking.

© 2001 Nancy A. Henry
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Family Resemblance

I've been going through photos and realized for the first time that I looked, at 16, a lot like my Nana did back in the early 1900s when she was 16. I like that. I have her chin, mouth, and nose. I never knew. That's my mother on the right; it's pretty clear we share some genes.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Random interesting stuff!

OK, it's been awhile because I've been so busy with fun things! Three new classes--and ONLY three--enabling me to give the students really good attention AND to learn the new online learning format our school has adopted. So far I like it a lot.

I'm going to share some random things that interest me or make me happy!

Here's one--two of my favorite actors, and truly GORGEOUS individuals, with a long-standing marriage (for Hollywood) have a new baby! Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, congrats!

My love affair with Netflix streaming deepens. I downgraded my membership to the streaming-only version, since I was not too good about watching those DVDs promptly and turning them around. The streaming films are abundant and I've already got a queue of, gulp, 500.

One of my favorites of late is "An Awfully Big Adventure".

The Netflix description: "Set in post-World War II England, this bittersweet coming-of-age tale follows 16-year-old Stella (Georgina Cates), a star-struck lass who joins a low-rent theatre troupe led by cruel monocled director Meredith Potter (Hugh Grant). Immediately smitten with Potter, the impressionable Stella instead ends up in the bed of the company's star, erstwhile matinee idol P.L. O'Hara (Alan Rickman) -- a hopeless bounder -- when Potter rejects her."

I LOVE Alan Rickman and he is sexy and complex in this visually rich film.

Netflix--"Cast out of the house by her grief-stricken father after she accidentally causes the death of her mother, Dina (Maria Bonnevie) is left to raise herself, until a tutor and a wealthy man named Jacob (GĂ©rard Depardieu) intervene. In time, Dina marries Jacob and puts her shrewd instincts to work for his business -- which, upon his suspicious death, Dina inherits over the objections of his two sons. Ole Bornedal directs this epic drama set in Norway."

MUSIC! Harold and I are in love with a new band, thanks to his Three Amigos Trio bandmate, David Masher. Thanks for turning us on to Southern Culture on the Skids, David! This is one of their many groovin' music videos, Soul City. Give it a look and listen. Their bassist is one hot and talented chick with a great selection of wigs and licks.

In the "books I adore" category, I urge you to check out the mysteries of Tana French, all set in or around Dublin.
"Faithful Place" is her latest, and most reviewers regard it as her best. I loved all of her books, however, and read them in quick succession, and did not get much done during that total Tana French immersion. I don't regret it, and I don't think you will regret becoming acquainted with this gifted novelist, who combines complex, well-developed characters with gripping plots. On top of all that, she's a stunning red-haired beauty. Just an observation.