Thursday, May 25, 2017

LITHIUM IN A CUP





Let me set the record straight.
Life on a silver platter
Should be fun and frolic
On a treasure island deep in the tropics
Ensconced in the sheen
And shine of a pirate’s find-
Ropes of diamonds,
Emeralds and pearls.
But wait!

My silver platter was only “plate”
And a thin coat at best,
Not up to any stress.
Looking at the decoration
My reflection blurs
As the edges of my reality
Begin to come unfurled.

Do not forget-
Mental illness picked me!
No one in their right mind
Would step to the front of the line and say
“I’ll have your special of a lifetime
That Bipolar Disorder Disease –PLEASE.”

You know the one-
Up down
Happy sad
And just a smidge of rage.
Be sure you serve up side effects
From the pills we pop each day-
And why just a few extra pounds
When forty-two will do-
Definitely the perfect pick-me up
When I’m feeling more than blue.
Don’t mention the lack of Li-bi-Doe.
We don’t want others to know.
It’s pretty hard to strut your stuff
When “just breathing” is enough.

So go the years-
Speeding, sleeping, seeking, adding up a life-
This disease is unkind.
At night the tapes rewind
I remember everything undone forever.
The loss of friends, jobs, pride-
The energy to play with my child.
Yes, it’s a wild ride!
Not easy to be me.
Alone, but I am not.
The joy of the Lord is my strength.
The love of uplifting hands,
The respect of those who see my truth.

Here we go……
Headache for days on end.
A hard to find exit sign
In an overcrowded room.
Din and bustle of a busy place
Standing in line,
And the lady in front of me
With a big purse,
Stepping back in her self-possessing mirth,
Into my space
-three times.
A political Rally at twelve noon
And no trees
In the summer swoon.
Anesthesia.
A full moon.
Generic Medication.
Flying
Hitting the curb
And throwing off my chemical alignment.
Who Knows?

Put me in the middle of
An emergency
That stretches into weeks.
Or the unknown-
The not for sure
And even something good.
I am best- stressed.

I am a column of calm,
Beginning, during and for two or three days after.
When the credits roll
I leave the theater
-and breathe,
Give up the role
As steady rock
And Nike tennis shoe.
I make it through.

And here I am today.
Waiting in line
Biding my time-
To appear
On a mental marathon
To raise a cure.
Until then -

Do you have lithium in a cup TO GO?!!



Amy H Taylor@2006

Monday, May 1, 2017

WHATEVER YOU WANT TO EAT DAY

Ten a.m. and I am just finding out about this wonderful day, May 1.  Whatever you want to eat day!  This is not fake news.  I just saw it on my local ABC station.  Of course, May is an exceptional month for several reasons.  But this May Day is right up my alley.  Probably a combined effort of Southern Living, Bon Appetit and Food Network Magazine.  Or Land of Lakes Sweet Cream Butter, Blue Bell Ice Cream and DiGiorno's Rising Crust Pizza.  Along with Equinox, Maggianos Little Italy and McDonald's.  I'm sure Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Martha Stewart/ Snopp Dog are in the mix.  Not to be outdone, Kitchen Aid, Vitamix and Le Creuset are involved in some way.  And I failed to mention Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Creme.

But today is the day!  If I had known earlier, I would have begun my day with six slices of bacon, a cheese omelet, biscuits and gravy with apple butter, fresh sliced tomatoes and hash browns.  Which reminds me of Waffle House's pecan waffles and the best hashbrowns in town.  That is definitely a good start to the day.  Oh, lots of coffee and skin milk.  And o.j.

I don't know about the calories involved today.  Are we suppposed to take them for granted or is it a cosmic occurence which reduces calories to nothing, nada?  Does Whatever You Want To Eat Day only mean all you can possibly take into your body before you collapse into a bacon and Coke induced coma after eating a bowl of semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie dough?

I do not have the answers.  I am just spreading the good word.  Now what shall I have for lunch?  I usually eat a packet of peanut crackers.  Maybe a salad from U.S. Pizza and a Big Mac?

About 3 p.m., I will have homemade popcorn with melted butter and a Frosty.  I wouldn't want to get peckish.  And I'm trying to keep my girlish figure.

Lots of unsweet tea during the day.

I think you are getting the idea.  It feels like I'm adrift at sea or lost and starving in the mountains on Naked and Afraid.  If I were naked I don't know if I would care to eat.  I would definitely request two larger burlap bags and cougar repellent.

Here we are with plenty of time to focus on dinner or the Southern Supper.  Wow.  So much food and so little time.  Appetizers would consist of cheese dip, salsa, pigs in a blanket, and brie with pecans and bourbon sauce.  Even though my stomach wouldn't be trained for this massive undertaking, I would like fried oysters, fried chicken, fried catfish, rib roast and lobster for dinner.  A fine complement of fried okra, fresh asparagus with sour cream, turnip greens with pepper sauce and Party Carrots.  Must have hot yeast rolls and butter.

And as much as I love chocolate, my favorite dessert is anything with Arkansas Strawberries, especially Homemade Shortcake.

It would take me all day to shop for these items.  And hours to carry them from the car into the house.  Take them out of the bags, onto the counter.  Another couple of hours to look for my recipes.  At this point I would no longer be standing up.  I would have to put my feet up for a few hours.  And close my eyes to rest them for this undertaking.  And I would zonk out before a single bite had been prepared.

Thankfully, at some point Burt would arrive on the scene.  He is very, very good at taking charge and whipping everything together.  Eventually, the two of us would get the delicious food on the table.  We would stop to thank God for the abundance in our lives.



While I was writing this, I became very aware this is such a silly exercise.  I am able to eat anywhere I want.  I could prepare every item and not worry about cost.

Arkansas FoodBank.  This is a very worthwhile non-profit.  We have donated to them for several years.  Today, I am going to send them a donation.  There number is 501-565-8121.  They are on Facebook also.  "Creating a community where no one has to go hungry."


Instead of Whatever You Want To Eat Day, I'm changing it to I Just Want To Eat Day.

Thanks.  I hope you can help.














Sunday, April 23, 2017

WHAT TO WEAR TO A SOUTHERN WEDDING



Poetry can be fun.  I wrote this when I was living high as Mother of the Bride.  One of the best times in our lives, full of love and joy.



I would not suggest black lace –
always out of place.
Considering the clime
this is not the time to favor a frock of cut velvet –
you would just melt in it!
If this rain keeps up for twenty-one days
raincoats may be all the rage –
with matching canoes in pastel hues.
Silk never failles but linen does wrinkle.
Why not a jersey knit in a floral print
or back to the 80’s for a lady-like chintz?
Of course,
you must not wear white.
White is reserved for the bride
even if her dress is growing tight.
My Georgia RaeNell has always been a size four-
nothing less and nothing more!
Your options are endless.
The responsibility stupendous!
But since I already have my dress
I am beyond this couture stress.
At this point I’m just along for the ride.
Hugs and kisses,
The Mother of the Bride


Amy Holt Taylor 5-2009


Thursday, April 20, 2017

HOW THE MIGHTY







The saddest sight I have ever seen
because of one word -
no.
The seed of hate
sealed the fate
many decades ago.

I won’t reveal the town’s name.
Actually, many places
have suffered the same,
of their own choosing,
in trying to shut others out
based on race and religion.

A river town
bustling with commerce.
Brick stores and spacious apartments.
Proud city, too proud.
The shiny storefront windows
were used for looking out,
keeping “them” from walking in.

The town looked successful.
A large library
and corners built up with churches.
Did the people go to hear the Word preached
or were their hearts beyond reach?
Was Sunday just a day to pass
their manners around,
among their stalwart like and kind?

They built the town –
monuments to business acumen
and to men.
They bled the town,
one drop at a time
as those who were kept out
 left.

A dying town
 bound together
by the growing measure
of verdant vines
dressed in false buds and trailing tendrils.
Buildings once standing tall,
standing now like ghostly corpses
looking for lost parts,
hope and promise long deceased.

Where does hate start?
I have seen the saddest sight-
a town that hate devoured.
Was there not just one who knew what was right?


Amy Holt Taylor September 2, 2011





Monday, April 10, 2017

POETRY - YEA!

As a trained English Major in fairly good standing with the National English Major Society created by Garrison Keillor, I consider it an honor and a necessity to share Poetry Month with anyone who will listen.  I hear your sighs and see rolling of eyes. I began writing poetry when I was twelve.  I am working on a book in progress, breathing poetry.  I wanted to put all my poems in a notebook so I could see them and have easy access.  I memorized my first poem in grade school, The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson.   

I will catch a phrase in my head.  Walk into a grocery store.  Drive by the Daffodil Lady.  Think on a few lines.  Then find paper and pencil.  I often remember where I was when the idea was birthed. Sometimes I just sit down and start writing. The words and rhymes just happen.  And some of them take my breath away.

I am not perfect or published or the Nation's Poet Laureate.  I have read thousands of lines of poetry. I can walk into Robert Frost's home in Franconia, New Hampshire.  Go up the stairs to his simple room and stand at his desk, looking out the window at his view of the White Mountains and wonder.  What was on his other road?

Whatever my talent, I believe it is a gift.  God has wired my brain a certain way.  He is the creator. My talent is just sitting down to write.   And then He lets me breathe. 



CANTRELL AND KAVANAUGH


Daffodil lady.
A handful, just a few
early season blooms
of yellow and green.

She stands on the corner
trying to catch the eye
of the person driving by.
She steps closer.

Look at me.
Don't you see
what I have to offer?
Flowers for just a dollar or two,
a way to brighten your day.
Dollars to pay my way
back home,
money to buy some food.

Daffodil lady
where do you belong?
With your bucket bouquet
have you paid your way?
Are all the flowers gone?






Amy Holt Taylor



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

LOLLYGAG FESTIVAL 2016

I hate to get too personal (being a blogger, ha) but I have been sick with the galloping crud.  For eight days, I have been participating in the Great Lollygag Festival of 2016.  Lollygag is one of my favorite words.  Sounds so appropriate and definitive.  In my gowntail, coughing and sneezing and wheezing.  Would it never end?

The last fun event I remember is going to the grocery store and coming home and stirring up some cheesy chicken noodle casserole.  To have on hand in case this cold bug took hold.  Well, Burt got better and I went downhill fast.  But we had the supreme comfort food on hand for several days.  Obviously, it's curative powers have been reduced, in my eyes.  But Burt begs to differ.

There are days just wiped from my memory like the magic neuralyzer in Men in Black.  Life was  hanging on by a Kleenex.  I was so confused I thought I was binge watching reruns of Steve Harvey.  I'm not a recliner type person but I spent many hours like a carrier ship flattened in the furthermost position with tissues flung across my flight deck.  And that was when I could make it to the den.  I was so sick I only watched one movie, Doctor Zhivago.  And if that was just the one, it was a good one. (Omar Sharif)

Starve a cold or feed a fever?  Definitely feed the cold.  The highlights of my day were Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream, Welch's Grape Juice and Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole with sub highlights of Blueberry Pop Tarts and Hall's Tropical Fruit Cough Drops.  Bedside service was five star.  A special meal stands out - chicken noodle soup accompanied with Butter cheese and crackers, a family favorite.  Butter makes everything better.

Other highlights of the week were watching Nancy Regan's funeral and my every four days bathing experience.

Of course, the doorbell rang on days when I was sporting my old chenille bathrobe (it's old enough to vote) and my leopard print p.j's.  I forgot that my bed styled hair had a three inch section standing straight up, at an angle.  Thankfully, these were legitimate calls.  You have to go to the door so the bogey man knows you are home.  Sometimes I would answer the phone.  I have received sympathy from the Unknown Caller and Area Codes of Libyan origin.  My peeps would call daily and be amazed at how awful I sounded which brought me much comfort. 

I didn't just sleep my days away.  Many hours were spent in bed imagining I was cleaning the house.  I would jump from the bed with my hand across my forehead and tell Burt I must get busy and he would remind me I was sick.  You know how it goes when the lady of the house is ill.  Or I would be in bed thinking about taking up a new hobby like kayaking.  Or planning a garage sale.  It is all hazy.  I would try to plan my spring/summer 2016 wardrobe but didn't have the strength to lift my Spring Vogue from off the floor much less turn a page.  Thankfully, there were no fever induced mind games.  Just the dull pulse of a clogged head and raw throat.

Nights were the worst.  Propped up against two king pillows and a standard, practically sitting straight up trying to breathe during the night while managing not to gag myself on the sequestered cough drop between my cheek and my teeth.  Coughing fits and nose blowing were sleep killers. 

I finally went to the doctor.  I kept thinking I would get better.  When I proudly confessed that I had finally been able to cook dinner the night before, he said he wouldn't have eaten my cooking.  I had already been on Tamiflu (separate exposure to the flu) and still had this bug hanging on.  He said it was time to get rid of it.  I agreed.

As they say, a good time was had by all.  The Land of Counterpane was my spring break destination.  The Lollygag Festival did not live up to its billing.   Things are back to normal.  Bath, hair, makeup and real clothes, all on one day.  Think of the places I can go...





















Wednesday, March 9, 2016

EVERYTHING VEGGIE STEAK SOUP

March may be blowing in and daffodils popping up but there are still a few late winter days whipping around the knees.  A cool evening is best headed off with a nice bowl of soup.  Whatever the time of year, this veggie steak soup is the best recipe.  The secret to this recipe is over thirty ingredients - from handfuls to smidges.  Family cooks have found this method to be tried and true.

The following is my most recent recipe in order of when I added the ingredient.  I have a recipe diary.  Every time I stir this up, I write down a list of the ingredients and date it.  Old envelopes are especially handy for this.  The only method required is to include at least thirty ingredients.  The ingredients can range  from meat to veggies to spices.  In the past, leftover pot roast was added.  I have switched to fresh steak.

The amount of each ingredient is totally up to the cook.  A splash, a spoonful, a pinch.  Be daring.  This recipe has a new ingredient never seen before - chili garlic hot sauce. Happy stirring!



1.     olive oil
2.     chuck eye steak 1.42 pound -  cut into strips and cubed - sauteed
3.     1 onion, chopped
4.     3 ribs celery, sliced
5.     salt
6.     pepper
7.     28 oz. Hunt's diced tomatoes + 1 can water
8.     3 sliced carrots
9.     2 bay leaves
10.   handful of small peppers - red, orange, yellow - sliced and diced
11.   1/2 turnip - sliced and diced
12.   1 large squash - halved lengthwise and sliced
13.   1 can Del Monte Cut Green Beans, drained
14.   sprig of fresh rosemary
15.   splash of coffee
16.   another large can of water
17.   cayenne
18.   coriander
19.   Hungarian paprika
20.   Cavendar's Greek Seasoning
21.   tarragon
22.   curry
23.   ground mustard
24.   oregano
25.   garlic powder
26.   Old Bay Seasoning
27.   ground allspice
28.   Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
29.   peppered vinegar
30.   liquid smoke
31.   Grandma's Molasses - one coated spoon
32.   1/8 tsp chili garlic hot sauce
33.   Cattleman's BBQ Sauce
34.   sherry
35.   pickle juice
36.   lemon pepper
37.   soy sauce
38.  1 can Bush's Northern Beans, drained
39.  8 new potatoes, cubed

I usually add one can of no salt kernel corn, drained.  I didn't have it in the pantry.  This recipe is good for using what you have and/or running to the store and buying all the veggies you want.  Anything works - fresh, canned and frozen.  Mushrooms are also good.


Eating the rainbow.
















Yummy bowl of Veggie Steak Soup with Toast