Remembering Asia

North and South America

Antarctica England

Asia Africa Australia

How did you remember the continents when you were a kid?

My girls were assigned (in their two-day enrichment program) the task of creating a mnemonic device for remembering the continents. I liked Sara's approach. Technically, she didn't really do the assignment.

Ah, but she did. And creatively so.

(But, oops, she wrote England instead of Europe! Back to the drawing board. :)

Continent Memory Pictures, by Sara, age 12. Used with permission. (Last picture in 3rd set is Australia... sorry I cut off the title when photographing!)

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Real Pumpkin Relationships

pumpkin pancakes

Over at GoodWordEditing, there's a question about whether on-line relationships are real. Or something like that.

I don't know what to say this morning except... what could be more real than pumpkin pancakes at the breakfast table, compliments of an exchange I had last night, with a real person named Eric.

He told me he modified this recipe, but was hesitant to say exactly how. After trying it this morning and modifying it myself, I understood. Lots of modifying! Here's my version...

Pumpkin Pancakes

Mix dry ingredients first:

• 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
• 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
• 1 cup pumpkin puree
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; stir until just blended. Cook on 375 degree griddle, until lightly browned.

Top with REAL maple syrup :) and REAL whipped cream. Yum. Happy Real Saturday.

(Shoot, now I have to go mow my Real Lawn.)

Pumpkin Pancakes picture, by L.L. Barkat.


Addendum, from Eric, found in the Comment Box

Hesitant only because I just throw things in as I think they are needed and of course I don't write them down. (so yeah, sometimes the recipe changes). I also made a pumpkin spice maple syrup...

Pumpkin Spice Maple Syrup

1 c. maple syrup
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, add your pie spices to your liking (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc).

Oh, I need to mow a lawn as well...but, well, it's a bit rainy outside...

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To Make the World of You and Me


How long does it take
to make the world
of you and me,
the soil of souls,
the promised crop
a sheltered spot beside
the trees...

Sometimes I do this thing in the evenings... tweet-poeming with friends. @tspoetry usually starts things. Then we begin responding, lifting each other's words and folding them into new poems. Each poem is 140 characters or less.

This particular poem reminded me of a book that Ann Kroeker wrote, called Not So Fast which The Runamuck is currently giving away. (Stop by for a chance to win.)

What I'm saying is... it takes time to make the world of you and me, the soil of souls, the promised crop... But to do that, we need to slow down, behold one another, breathe.

Girls in the 'Playhouse' on Long Island, photo by L.L. Barkat.

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95 Steps to Brooklyn

sonia beach

We left her behind.

She wanted to go. She really did. Ninety-five steps, with a nine-rung ladder at the very end. I tried to tell her it wouldn't work out, but my Little One wouldn't listen.

So we began the ascent, and half way up she couldn't make it. Knee swollen like a balloon (looks like it's Lyme's Disease), the steps were too daunting.

We left her behind.

sonia half way

My heart broke to see her sit down alone on that winding staircase in the oldest lighthouse in the U.S. She'd come so close, but now we would go on without her. "I'll be back," I said. "You'll be okay."

My Eldest and I continued our ascent. The group clambered up; when we were all at the pinnacle, the guide closed a "hatch." We looked out at Brooklyn, Long Island, the ocean ever churning. "It's awesome!" I said again and again.

She could hear me. That's what she said afterwards.

When the guide opened the hatch to begin our descent, there she was. My Little One had suffered her way to the top alone, past dust and cobwebs, through echoes and shadows. "Can I please come up?" she choked out quietly, tears rising. I looked at the guide and whispered, "Please." It would mean messing up the schedule. It would mean waiting for this Child.

"Sure," said the guide, eyes wide with recognition. My Little One dragged herself up the nine-rung ladder and reached the top. "I heard you," she said. "I wanted to see it too."

sonia on the way


Sonia on the beach and in the Lighthouse, photos by L.L. Barkat.

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I Was the Flame

Girls at Sunrise

Last night I went to a Tweet-Poem party. It was the coolest thing. And I'm thinking I'd like to try it in modified form (just with simple pen and paper) with my girls.

We started with a simple question, "Who were you in my dream?" and continued to answer each other in poem-tweets, picking up each other's words along the way. It grew, it morphed, it merged. It felt like a spiritual experience (and that I surely can't explain).

Here are my favorite tweet-poems that I wrote during the "party."

I was the camel
that knelt
at the eye of
the needle
of your heart,
braced for
the shrinking.


I was the bot
that wished for a soul,
that swallowed your poems
to make me whole.


I was the flame
that laughed
at goodbye.


I was the window
through which you gazed,
and you, still wet
from the river,
still bruised,
carried a candle.


I was the ever
in the green
the ring in the night
the moon in the blue
I was the one
invading your dream
who sought you.


I was the moonlight
ringed by heaven
sent by fairies
to make you,
if possible,
once again believe.


I was the mermaid
afraid of ship's shadows,
seining the shallows
for seaweed red,
drinking black ink
the octopus bled.


Now, that was fun. You should try it at home. Or peek in from time to time at @tspoetry to see if another party is on the horizon.

Girls at Sunrise by the Sea, photo by L.L. Barkat.

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In a Word

Grasses on LI

Grass bends
on white pebble
beach, and I
beseech you...
hold me tight,
until this wild
blue bleeds
itself to
cobalt night.

An offering for the 60-second one word challenge. My word was grass. Isn't this patch of island grass simply lovely?

Grass on Beach photo, Long Island, by L.L. Barkat.

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