Happy New Year! It’s June (not October)

No, it’s not October, but unbelievably it is mid-June! A little testing hiccup recently re-sent subscribers a posting from October. Thanks to those of you who noticed! Incentive enough for me to write my Happy New Year message!

What?? But it’s June!

And I say Wabi Sabi.

I have Sheri Salata and Nancy Hala of the This is Fifty podcast to thank for my introduction to wabi sabi through their interview last fall of Arielle Ford, author of Wabi Sabi Love

Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic, a world view, if you will, of the acceptance of imperfection; the Japanese art of appreciating the beauty in the naturally imperfect world. To live a wabi sabi life is to honor the cracks and the broken bits and the beauty in the imperfect.  Nothing is perfect. Celebrate beauty in what’s natural, flaws and all. Even ourselves.

Arielle Ford says “in the cracks is where the magic is.”

I like this lens of a wabi sabi life and have been thinking about my experiences over the past year.

In October 2017, I had the enormous good fortune to visit Kate McDermott, author of Art of the Pie(c) at her home, Pie Cottage. I was nervous. REALLY nervous. I have gained some confidence in my poetry over the past year, but pie?  And I was going to visit the queen of the kingdom of pie. What if she saw through my pie bravado?  NO worries there because I confessed immediately. Kate doesn’t see herself or pie that way.

What I think I learned was wabi sabi pie.

Brene Brown may have taught us all about the gifts of imperfection. Kate McDermott teaches us to embrace the imperfection of pie!

If you follow pie at all these days, you have noticed that pie has made a resurgence and there are bakers that are pushing the artistic boundaries and making pies almost to pretty to eat! Kate guides her students to dive in with inexperienced hands and feel the dough and to put love and good intentions into the process while you are at it.  A crack rolling out the crust? No worries! Fold and roll. In the cracks is where the magic is !

More poignantly, I have a friend who is battling cancer and in that profound way that people facing a health crisis can say, has reminded me that ‘life is precious. Don’t waste a drop.’

Indeed.

And like Anne Lamott would say, Don’t let stupid things like the jiggly bits keep you from jumping in the pool!

In the cracks is where the magic is-embrace it all. I hope you’ll join me in appreciating this wabi sabi view of life.

Happy New Year.

Is it October already?

So many things to catch up on but today’s story couldn’t wait for to find just the right time to write. I have had quite a few Pie-ventures in the past few months and I look forward to updating my Pie Stops with coast to coast pies in Martha’s Vineyard, Washington, D.C., Miami and Seattle!
But today is about poetry.
My husband and I are staying at the delightful Colette’s Bed and Breakfast Inn near Port Angeles, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula.
A view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with Victoria, BC and the San Juan Islands in the distance. And gorgeous grounds and gardens.
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There are only five rooms here- As it happens, one couple was married many years ago at the Church of the Messiah in Westerville, Ohio where I now live. Go figure. His sister is also the current mayor of Westerville. It’s amazing to me when these small world connections happen.
But it is the couple from near San Francisco, California who touched my heart over breakfast. They are here to attend a Harmony Hill retreat nearby for cancer survivors. She is learning so that she can be a cancer survivor. You might know I felt like my cousin Susan Zanner was right there at the table with me! At this retreat to inspire survivors and wellness, they started each day with a poem. Of course we shared poetry right there at the breakfast table and this one by the Irish poet John O’Donohue really started our day together well. I know Susan would have approved! That we all may attend to living the life we love!
With love, poetryandpie,and gratitude ~
Laura
A Morning Offering
I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

– John O’Donohue

Happy Father’s Day- or a little Pieppreciation

I’ve been thinking lately about family legacy, memories and pie. My friend Carole Murko with Heirloom Meals celebrates treasured family recipes and the memories that accompany them. For many people, pie memories relate to a mother or a grandmother’s passed down recipes.  Like Chrissy Kinsman who I met on Martha’s Vineyard recently, who holds vivid memories of her Grandmother Helen baking, especially biscuits. Chrissy still has her Grandma Helen’s rolling pin. I also had a grandmother who was something of a pie maker, but she was a bit of a mystery baker. One never knew exactly what was in Grandma Ludwig’s Thanksgiving mincemeat pie. It was definitely meat, but one year urban legend had it from an animal you didn’t want to eat. I shiver.  She got points for creativity.

For me- pie is a memory connected with my father. And I am doubly blessed to still have my father today to talk over some of these old times. My father was a restauranteur. A Midwest family style restaurant chain, L-K Restaurants, was started by my grandfather and expanded by my dad and his brother.  When I was a little girl, my dad started as the manager of one restaurant in Mansfield, Ohio and I remember he went in very early to start the day. A day that included pie.

Spending time with my dad a few weeks ago led me to the discovery of his worn three ring binder with yellowed pages of all the original restaurant recipes- including a pie bonanza!  Fruit pies, cream pies, his crust recipes. Interesting to me were separate recipes for Hot House Rhubarb Pie and Home Grown Rhubarb Pie. There are cream and meringue and fluff pies. Oddly enough, the one pie L-K became famous for in the 1960’s and 1970’s – fresh strawberry pie- is missing from the notebook!  My family-including my grandfather and cousins- all loved that strawberry pie!  I think my next project will be to bake the pies from these recipes one by one, hopefully with my dad at my side!  The L-K vegetable soup was also a fan favorite. I have the recipe!

In the summers, we spent time in Georgian Bay, Ontario where the wild blueberries are plentiful, unless the bears get them first. It was there that my father made me my first birthday blueberry pie. I have wanted a blueberry pie for my birthday every year since. Cherished memories.

The very first page in my father’s three ring binder of recipes is a recipe for Family Pie.

Family Pie

One handful of forgiveness,

One heaping cupful of love,

A pound of unselfishness,

Mixed together smoothly,

With complete faith in God.

Add two tablespoons of wisdom,

One teaspoon of good nature for flavoring

And sprinkle generously with thoughtfulness.

This makes a wonderful family pie.

One complete pie will serve any size family.

 

Wishing you a heaping helping of family pie and cherished memories of your own this Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! With pieppreciation.

If I could just make pie! – Chrissy Kinsman, Pie Chicks

Last week I had a poetry & pie stop on Martha’s Vineyard which led me to Chrissy Kinsman, the Pie Chick! Wouldn’t you know that Chrissy was also an Ohio native (Avon Lake) and a graduate of The Ohio State University?

Chrissy not only provided wonderful pies for Poetry & Pie, she bakes upwards of 500-700 pies a week in season for the hungry pie eaters on Martha’s Vineyard. After graduating from OSU with a finance degree, she tried the expected route with office –based work. Maybe her Grandma Helen had infused her with pie dreams, because out of dissatisfaction with work as a bookkeeper and business manager and in non-profit development, she hoped for work to feed her soul and one day said to her husband, “If I could only make pie!!”

And so she did! What? Like the often quoted “change requires a leap of faith” or Julia Cameron’s “Leap and the net will appear.” She started making pies and selling at a farm stand and within 4 months was a full time pie chick!

Chrissy didn’t just leap into the kitchen- a family legacy of baking existed and she had dreamed and doodled her logo. And she believed in the joy pie brings, the anticipation that something good is coming. Doesn’t everyone look first at the pie before eating Thanksgiving dinner? And, by the way, pumpkin is her favorite.

She teaches her kitchen team to think of the joy of those who will receive and eat the pie and encourages her bakers to put that joy in the baking, to give –because the generosity of spirit bounces back to you.

“You love to make pie or love the person you are making it for. There is magic in pie”

There is magic in believing in sharing your gifts and talents in the world. You can’t help but be glad Chrissy is sharing hers.  She inspires others to reach.  And the cherry blackberry?  Wow- a mouthful of summer.

Spent my weekend with a pie chick! Delish Martha’s Vineyard pie kitchen.
@piechicks #poetryandpie #whenpoetrymeetspie #piechicks #peachraspberry #apple #gfblueberry #cherryblackberry #keylime #sweetness #piemetothemoon #pieidol

 

First Stop – Pie Sisters

In  March, I traveled to Washington, D.C. for a work-related trip. On my mind was finding pie in the district and I found Pie Sisters of Georgetown.  These three sisters from Virginia- Alli, Bear and Cat Blakely -created the Pie Sisters of Georgetown in the fall of 2010. The charming shop on M Street NW was a feast for pie eyes! Traditional sweet pies, like fruit pies and cream pies, and the savories, represented the day I visited, by the Country Tomato.  Many of the pies were available as a whole pie or a slice, but the best were the “cuppie’s”- little individual pies! No reason to not try more than one!  There was a line. Why not?

Check out the Pie Sisters when you are in D.C.  Or visit them online http://piesisters.com/   (yes, they ship pie!) and Instagram @piesistersdc    The gallery will have your taste buds thinking of pie!

Put on your Sunday Clothes

This is me, second from the right, at age ‘almost 7’ in New York City. My first trip to Broadway to see Hello Dolly! in its inaugural year starring Carol Channing.  This is my first recollection of the thrill of song and lyric, and the beginning of my dream to become a Broadway star, which later morphed into wishing to become Barbra Streisand. I digress.

Lyric as poetry has been the source of discussion over the years and a sometimes hotly contested concept. Some musicians have been inspired by poems. Sheryl Crow is said to have read a poem called Fun (1987 Wyn Cooper) with a beginning line of “All I wanna do is have some fun.” You know the rest.  Cole Porter, inspired by the western poem Open Range (Robert Fletcher 1934) created the song “Don’t Fence Me In,” sun by Roy Rogers in the 1944 Warner Bros. musical Hollywood Canteen.  Adam Bradley in The Poetry of Pop suggested pop music was poetry that must be heard and noted “the dance of word and music makes songs act on our imagination and emotions just as the best poems do.”  Exactly.  Robert Frost (1867-1963):  “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

I don’t have the academic answer but I know that the songs of Broadway became my heart and soul and I studied song and lyric as closely as any poem, each one telling story, an emotion, a thought, in words. And in song.

Starting with Hello Dolly!-  Put On Your Sunday Clothes(there’s lots of world out there!)

Poetry?  I no longer dream of being in the lights on Broadway. All I know is that it makes me smile and hum and occasionally belt out the words. Living line by line, verse by verse. That’s the spirit of poetry and pie.  Time to head to NYC- because Hello Dolly! is back starring Bette Midler!