Brenda’s Favorite Things

Patriot Coffee Cream Cruffin from Born & Bread Bakehouse

Patriot Coffee Cream Cruffin from Born & Bread Bakehouse

To start this post-election season off right, I’ve decided to share things that make me happy. I’m calling it Brenda’s Favorite Things. Once a week for the next month, I’m giving away one of my favorite things to one lucky person. You don’t have to be local to take advantage of the giveaway. I’m offering an alternate prize (a $5 Amazon gift card) if you’re out of the area.

Last year, I fell in love with a cruffin. So much so that I wrote a poem, Umami, about it on pinacasa, my poetry blog. Jennifer Smurr, maker of my beloved cruffins (Yes, Jenn, I’ve claimed them as my own!) and owner of Born & Bread Bakehouse, is still making magic…and cruffins.

I’m starting off Brenda’s Favorite Things with a cruffin (or another one of Jenn’s pastry creations) giveaway. For a chance to win, all you have to do is 1) share one of my previous Facebook posts or one of my pinacasa posts, 2) join my email list on my website, and 3) leave a comment on this Facebook post letting me know.

Giveaway ends Friday, November 18, 2016 at 5 p.m. EST. I’ll contact the winner shortly after.
Good luck!!


Things Afoot

Rambunctious. Radical. Raring to go. Reckless.

Have you ever felt like that? I feel all of it and more. I’m coming out of my skin.  Out of this old skin, into something…new?

Or is this just me finally coming into bloom?

Whatever it is, it’s electrifying. Or, in the words of poet Nikky Finney, pencilfrying.

Something is definitely afoot.  Watch this spot!


The Blackened Alphabet
by Nikky Finney


While others sleep
My black skillet sizzles
Alphabets dance and I hit the return key
On my tired But ever jumping eyes
I want more I hold out for some    more
While others just now turn over
shut down alarms
I am on I am on
I am pencilfrying
sweet Black alphabets
in an allnight oil


Lynn Carol Nikky Finney, “The Blackened Alphabet” from Rice. Copyright © 1995 published by Sister Vision: Black Women and Women of Color Press.


Write every day.  That’s the advice every writer gets at some point in her/his life.  Which sounds paradoxically daunting and enticing.

Years ago, when I was in love with writing but fear kept me away, I read books by Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron among others.  From Natalie, author of Writing Down the Bones, came the idea of fearlessness and trying new things, like spontaneous writing booths and timed writing, along the writing journey.  From Julia, author of The Artist’s Way, came the idea of morning pages and ignoring the inner critic.  I tried both off and on–more off than on–for years but fear kept it all from sticking.

I keep discovering life has a way of reinventing itself and dragging me along with it.  Morning pages became evening pages for me and the discovery of the website, 750 Words, birthed the poem below.





My head is on fire, a blush of heat

rises from my chest.  I split

my skin, pulling it down and off

the scaffolding of bones.  Air it out,

this center of me.  Unsecret the deepest

parts.  Light cleansing all dark corners

and dim fetid parts.  It is good

in the simplest and best way.   Open

to the elements and self.


La Vie En Rose

Recently I stumbled upon a reference to La Vie En Rose, an old favorite of mine, in a romance and had to hear Edith Piaf. It was so wonderful listening to it, evoking my first trip to Europe: my hubby and me sitting at a small table in a narrow cobblestone alleyway in Sorrento, enveloped in a mixture of accents: Italian, German, Spanish and, of course, French.

La Vie En Rose

Piaf’s voice, a lazy tremolo,
dresses me in gray      a pencil skirt
black piping at the sides
stockings seamed along the length of leg

a creamy silk blouse slips
along both arms           smoothing over
my torso to disappear
into the skirt’s snug embrace

in the charged space at record’s end
a resonant answer       you in dove gray
broadcloth warmed from your body
stalwart thighs in cuffed black slacks