Fifty Centuries ago(yes, FIFTY!),a bag of rye grain got wet in a Russian farmer's barn, and the grain started to grow. The farmer tried to save it to make flour. He couldn't use it to make bread, but instead he accidentally invented malt. He added some water, then he let the mixture ferment, and created the beverage known as kvas, which literally means "leaven."
Kvas(kbac in Russian) is made in a manner similar to making beer, but it has a very low alcohol content. The main ingredient, of course is rye bread. Kvas is loaded with vitamin B, and is considered a healthy source of energy. This slightly fizzy beverage is so healthy that it is even given to children, and is recommended for increasing muscle weight. It is even a germicide!
Started drinking kvas as a child!
Kvas has been drunk in most Slavic countries as well as in ex-Soviet states since ancient times. In some countries, it is sold on the street by kvas vendors. There is a famous saying, "Bad kvas is better than good water."
"Get your icy cold kvas here!!!"
Coca Cola has begun bottling and selling kvas in New York, in hopes that it will catch on in America.
That's the end of my lesson for this week's Alphabe-Thursday! I hope you will remember the word KVAS, and use it the next time you play Scrabble. I've been playing a lot of Scrabble online lately because I can play with only one hand. It will never replace golf as my favorite pastime, though.
Oh, and by the way, there is an ART to brewing, and the first photo is a lovely ARTistic still life, so once again, ART+ART=ART!!
less than 6 months in our new home and i've already been in the emergency room twice!! i tripped over a rope on the golf course and fell HARD!!! dislocated my elbow and tore tendons and ligaments BAD. in a cast almost to my arm pit for 6 weeks. just when my game was getting better!
really sink my teeth into this one, and with an absolutely true story.Anyone who has been following my blog since
the beginning knows all there is to tell about my relationship with my parents and
siblings that made ours one of the most dysfunctional families you could ever
meet.Rod loves to tell this story—"a Frances
story", as he calls it.
The prompt that Jenny has given us for this Saturday Centus is “my mother turned 80
today” and we have 100 words, plus the prompt, to write our little
vignette.But first, you need a little
background info on the family dynamic.
The year Mother turned 80, my younger sister (my mother’s
clone) planned the party.The guest list
reads like a family reunion, which it was.As usual, my sisterpresented her
siblings with their portion of the bill for the food.We had known this was coming, and I had asked
my BIL in advance just what he thought the breakdown would be.He told me around $200 per sib.Turns out, that was FAR from correct.Since none of us, least of all me, were
consulted beforehand,it came as a REAL
shock, especially to Rod, who pays the bills.We were furious, and informed her that the amount was way too
extravagant and was totally ridiculous for what was served.We gave her $200, the amount her husband had
quoted, and that was that.
You Don’t Deserve It
My mother turned 80
today.Family gathered at my brother’s for
a catered affair. As was tradition, my
other siblings gave mother gifts they knew they would get back eventually.
“You’ll get it back
when I die,” she always said.So she got
some pretty nice stuff!
I painted and framed a
cabin at a plantation in New Orleans.We had been there for Mother’s 75t.The trip, my sister’s idea.
As the party ended, my
mother’s oldest sister came through the line of well-wishers.“A lovely party,” she said, “but you don’t
deserve it.”Everyone laughed.
Aunt Alice, however,
was not joking.
Thus ends my Centus for this week.
About a year later, Mother left Atlanta
to live with my youngest brother in Knoxville.We were asked to come fetch the stuff that
she left behind.My sister was in charge
of distributing everything.
My mother had never kept any of the paintings I had given
her, except two.One hung over her
fireplace, and the other, the painting of the cabin, hung in the foyer.I had NEVER intended to give her the one over
the fireplace—she just took it, and I was afraid to say “no.”That was before I got strong enough to think
for myself.The rest of the paintings
she had given away.I asked her once
where she had hung the large painting I had given her of my brother’s two girls
dressed as pilgrims.“I was afraid you
were going to ask me that,” she said.So
I started asking about all the other paintings I had given her.Same story—all given away.
When I went to collect my stuff, my sister informed me that
she wanted the painting of the cabin.“You
must be kidding,” I told her wryly.
It is mid summer, and I am eight months pregnant. My belly is overgrown, and tight, and my ankles and feet are swollen. He fills the tub with tepid water and gently eases me down.
“I’ve got you,” he says. “Now lie back so I can wash your hair.”
His hands are gentle as he massages the shampoo into my hair. He washes my back and my arms like one would wash a newborn. He is humming softly under his breath. At least I think it is humming, and then I realize that he is wheezing a little. I frown.
“Are you o.k.?” I ask.
“Right leg, first!” he says, ignoring my question of concern, and he lathers up and shaves my legs, which I can no longer reach. What man does that! Do you know?
He stands me up and grabs the towel.
“Ta daa!!” he proclaims.
“This is not a ‘ta daa’ moment,” I tell him woefully, patting my protruding abdomen. “I’m no longer that slender girl I was when we were fresh and new.”
“Ta daa!” we would say when we stripped off our clothes and fell into bed at night—into each other’s arms. We were young and strong, and tanned from the sun—we were beautiful together, and everyone knew it. Now we are older and quieter, but those people who saw us together still know.
He folds the towel, and slips my white cotton gown over my head, and then he guides me to the bed. He puts pillows under my feet to help with the swelling. Then, sliding in beside me, he takes my hand, and in my palm he writes with his finger the words he writes every night. He puts my palm against his lips, and kisses it, sealing those words in forever.
“Our entire life is a ‘ta daa’ moment,” he says softly, “I will love it till the day I die.”
This post is linked to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. I am experimenting here with "flash fiction," whatever that is. I have decided to TRY to get away from all the political and religious buzz words of 2012. They are so tiring and depressing, don't you think? I don't make New Year's resolutions, so this is not one, but I hope to be more creative this year in a new place. Now if my muses will only support me in this endeavor...
Christmas is over and the decorations are neatly stored away. The house is tidy and back to semi-normal, as are we. I have been thinking lately about the tradition of gift-giving at Christmas. Well, actually, not just at Christmas, but at other appropriate times as well. I think that over the decades, the reason for exchanging gifts has changed, and not for the better.
There was an article in the paper a few weeks back about giving gifts to people in the service industry and just how much money one should give. It's a nice idea, I guess, but those people get paid for what they do. It was recommended that the person who cuts your hair should get the equivalent of one haircut as a gift. Considering that after my last haircut, I looked like a person from a concentration camp who had just been deloused, I can guarandamntee you that not only would I NOT pay twice for that disaster, but that the "stylist" has seen the last of me.
I have given cookies to the mail person and to the garbage men, and a little something extra to the waitresses and bagpeople at our club, but I really don't think that someone had to come up with a list of just what is EXPECTED from patrons at Christmas. That is taking "politically correct" a little too far!!
Giving gifts to family and friends is another story. Many families are so large and extended that many draw names at Christmas to cut down on the expense. Others give gifts only to the children, which I tried to do many years ago, but my sister became absolutely livid when I suggested it. I didn't care. I did it anyway. We had a lot of gifts to buy and not enough money to go around. Besides, with the exception of my SIL, they didn't even like me, and considered me the black sheep of the family.
We did, however, always give gifts to our parents. In my family, my siblings seemed to be in competition with each other when it came to buying a gift for my mother. My mother, you see, had told us that whatever we gave her when she was alive, we would get back when she died. I didn't really care too much for that plan, and so I ignored it for the most part. I did give my mother a notebook of poems I had written one year when I was REALLY strapped for money and could hardly buy gifts for my kids. Did I get it back when she died? No, because it had been long ago tossed away as clutter. That can't be said for the gifts my siblings gave her--I'm sure they got those back, especially the jewelry.
That brings me to another area in the field of gift-giving. Just who is important enough in your life to warrant a gift? I have a friend who has been married several times, and has lots of children and step-children. She always gives them gifts because she loves each and every one of them and wants them to know it. Sometimes they are small gifts when the money is tight, but they are always gifts that have been thought about before their purchase was made, and are special for that person. Interestingly, the only children who reciprocate on a regular basis are her step-children, who never fail to send her a gift that is always special, regardless of how much or how little was spent. Only one of her biological children consistently gives her a Christmas present. That is very disturbing to me. Do her other biological children think she is not important enough? Have we pushed the extravagant to the forefront and forgotten about the little things we might give that say far more about love than any expensive bauble or trinket?
I received a fabulous gift this year from a friend with whom I have never exchanged gifts. It was totally unexpected--so unexpected that I actually thought it WAS a box of microwave popcorn, and didn't even open it at first, but put it on the counter so I could make it later while I watched The Good Wife on t.v. It wasn't until I reached for it that I discovered that there were little gifts inside--a pair of Christmas socks, a little package of Christmas Kleenex, two little stick-um toys that stick to glass when you toss them, AND a red foam clown nose!!!I love that nose! I put it on on Christmas day and made everyone laugh! I love that woman! I also love the woman who put three exotic tea bags in the Christmas card she sent me. I thought of her with every sip!
One of the best things about Christmas, and birthdays as well, is that we always know exactly when they are because they are always on the same date every year. This should give one plenty of time to plan ahead and get the gift to the recipient at the proper time. It really is not that hard if one is thoughtful enough. I say that, but I have one hell of a time remembering my BFA's birthday in May. I know it is May for sure, so now I have dubbed May her birthday MONTH, and as long as I send her a card before the actual day, I am safe!!
Do you see what I am getting at here? It's not what you give, or how much you spend. It is the thought and love that go into each and every gift that leaves your hands, destined for the hands of someone who is special to you--and someone who thinks you are special as well.
What does this post have to do with artists and the art world?? Well, good gift-giving is an art. Art is a gift. ART+ART=ART!!!