grain – not!


credit – yurielkaim

I love the coincidences of these Dailiy Post one-word prompts. Just this very morning I made, for my friend-with-the-broken-wrist who is staying with me, some comfort food. Buckwheat pancakes. With my usual a-recipe-is-only-a-suggestion wantonness, adding banana and yogurt to approximate the suggested buttermilk; nutmeg because of the banana; and omitting the scant sugar, again because of banana.

While we were exclaiming over the tasty nuttiness and general comfy-feeling-makingness of these modest morning delights, we pondered – just what IS buckwheat, anyway?

Buckwheat, it turns out, is the seed of a plant called “fagopyrum esculentum.” It’s related to rhubarb, or all things (which might explain my apparently-innate fondness for it – my dad and I were the only takers of the abundant perennial patch behind my childhood home, doubtless a carryover from the war garden). Not wheat, not rye, not barley. Furthermore, despite the name, buckwheat is gluten-free. Still better, it is a high quality plant protein extremely rich in antioxidants, minerals, and soluble dietary fiber.

What’s not to love? And all this, NOT being a grain!!!


Today’s Discover WP prompt is a most persuasive invitation to share an experience of learning that has stuck with us.

The year was 1984. Following a casual beach walk in deep February, I found myself the proud owner of a major fixer-upper village colonial house on a hill. The walk was when my friend offered to provide a downpayment if I would live in and improve the house. Sweat equity would be my contribution. After three years we would split the proceeds of its sale. Meanwhile, we would split major repairs. I would do everything but plumb, wire or roof. And believe me, that left QUITE a lot of room within out agreement to keep me busy.

I would return from work, strip to my work clothes and get to work. The demolition was fun – ripping off gold-stippled mirror tiles from the living room wall; ripping up indescribably grody green carpet the dog repeatedly mistook for grass; opening the wall between kitchen and dining room; removing three layers of utterly damaged ceiling; ripping off fake wallboard and trim over lovely, oversized windows to discover their hacked-off plinths (which I later found a mill to replicate). In short, a lot of removing and revealing that finally led to restoring and revitalizing. Continue reading


child-cuddling-teddy-bear-16188541I recently learned a new name for the controversial ‘transitional love object’ young children often bond with and carry around. I call them ‘loveys.’ Depending on the particular object, of course, it is often simply called by name: ‘blankie’ comes to mind as an obvious example.

The new-to-me name for this self-soothing companion is ‘buddy.’ As I ponder this, it seems a wonderfully helpful concept. From a young age, you are encouraging a child to understand that, when faced with fear or discomfort or sadness, s/he can call upon a trusted buddy. A friend to actually help. Can’t you hear the conversations? Seeking advice; telling one’s heart; holding tight to get through the dark…

According to the dictionary, ‘buddy’ means a close friend; a working companion with whom close cooperation is required, a partner. It can be used as a term of endearment for one’s son, or a generic name for guy friends. Some definitions suggest it actually came into usage as a child’s version of ‘brother.’ How wonderful to start early to understand the ties that run deep, the ones that truly nurture and help us in need: family.

Of course there are crude uses of ‘buddy’ and repugnant allusions to ‘big brother’ …  and far too many families that do not support one another. Perhaps, though, if we remember the origins of the word, and carry with us the vision of the child who turns to ‘buddy’ for reassurance and comfort, we can help rebuild a world where the kindness and support of family and trusted friends can become a cornerstone of our lived values and experience.

Thank you, WP Daily Post Challenge, for nudging us into ever-expanding and varying word explorations.



positive-mental-health-quoteshealth-benefits-of-exercise-and-positive-attitude-oisdfmj0Today’s WP Daily Post Challenge has me once again free-associating … “healthy, wealthy and wise.”  And really, these words do belong together; though not necessarily connected to early to bed and early to rise, and most certainly not in the over-used implication of worldly success.

Having spent a lifetime thinking, talking, plotting and occasionally even attempting to ‘be healthy,’ I feel more than qualified on the subject. (!) But I’m not going to go there, because in the end – just like parenting – it’s about what feels right, what serves you best. Prescriptions for exercising X times per week will fall quickly to the X’d out. Proscriptions against eating certain foods will almost surely result in incurable cravings. Overdoing anything, in either direction, will bring the entire endeavor to a screeching halt; the scale will not waver, willpower and progress will cease. As my wise dad always said, moderation makes things come out right.

It’s not the details of hours, weights, calories, miles or charts that get you there. Because ‘there’ is not a goal, but a lived process of daily choice. It’s the internal Attitude of Health that matters – openness, compassion, accepance. The choice to love. Standing vulnerably in the middle of our shared human failty.  Seeing possibility. From this deep and pervasive attitude arises health itself. Therein lie both the wisdom and the wealth of being healthy.



When I read today’s one-word WP Daily Post prompt, all I could think was W’s by-now famous restatement of the word, turning it into ‘misunderestimate.’ And – unimaginable as it may seem, wordsmith to wordsmith – I actually found a place for this misspoken word.

You might underestimate someone’s physical strength, let’s say. Perhaps it’s a slight person so you think they might be weak. Or sickly. Or disinterested. Or too old. All these assumptions (and remember – NEVER assume – it just makes an ass out of u and me) could be mis-attributing reasons for weakness. Or missing the point altogether:  that in spite of all these observations (true or not), the individual in question might be quite strong indeed.

In either of these two scenarios, the judgment would have been a mis-underestimation. A misdirected underestimation, if you will.