Sunday afternoon poetry

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:33 pm by admin

Daniel and I planned to spend this afternoon reviewing the submissions we had received up ’til noon today. The afternoon progressed into evening and then nighttime with a 45 minute break for dinner, during which we continued our discussion. When the clock said 11:00 PM, we called it quits for the day. From the 40+ poem and prose submissions we received, we reviewed 24. It was an arduous task, but it was also a labor of love. I found it humbling to have these writers and poets offer their work to us for review. As we moved from piece to piece, it became apparent how much effort the writers and poets put into their writing, and how different each writing style was. It was a no-brainer when we both rated the same piece with high marks, but when we came to work that we disagreed on, we spent a lot of time discussing why we thought each piece fit or didn’t fit the journal and the merits of the piece.

We will continue to read each piece individually at our own pace, and for the next several weeks, our Sundays are scheduled for the preliminary selection process. The most difficult task is still in front of us, and that will be to select from these pieces which ones will make it into the debut issue. I have gained a new respect for the editors I have submitted my own work to in the past. The selection process is a difficult row to hoe.



First Graphics Submissions

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 10:25 pm by admin

Along with submissions from three new poets today – one from out of the country – we received our first graphics submissions as well. I forgot to mention that I added Hanging Moss Journal run by Steve Meador to the Literature Publications page yesterday.

I’ve spent the last few days researching different poetry and literary publications to learn how the editors put their journals together. One thing I’ve noticed is that quite a few use a dark background with white or light colored text to display the poems. I have personally found this to be very difficult to read in the past and I tend to avoid these kinds of pages. Daniel on the other hand likes them.

My next task will be to learn how to create pdf versions of the journal once we approach our publication date to send to the authors. A pdf document of each issue will become available to visitors at the time the next issue goes to publication.



We’re on Duotrope!

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:11 pm by admin

I spent several hours registering Touch: The Journal of Healing at Duotrope this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the Duotrope staff this evening advising me the journal could now be found on their site. The information on the Duotrope Editor’s page stated it would take up to two months before a new site – “market” in their terms – would be added.

We received five more poem submissions today, and Daniel and I are going to begin to review the submissions on Sunday. Sunday afternoons will be our review and preliminary selection day.

After serious thought, I’ve removed the Amazon widgets and links from the home page. They detracted from the overall image a visitor would view when they first arrived at the site, and after all, this is a poetry and prose journal. The links can now be found on the Literary Resources page further down the Directory. In addition, I’ve added a few more books written by healthcare professionals and patients to the scroll bar.  I personally selected the books (and music) that are displayed after researching them.

The only external link you’ll find on the home page how is for Duotrope



Leftovers make the best meals

Posted in Recipes & Cooking at 10:15 am by admin

Yesterday morning I made a pot of chicken soup with what remained of the carcass from the roasted chicken from Sunday. There were a few chunks of breast and thigh meat, and I had one slice of grilled chicken breast left over from Daniel’s lunches from last week. I brought the carcass to a boil and then simmered it for an hour while I cut up the left over potatoes, carrots, onions, and apple chunks I had roasted with the chicken. After pouring off the stock I boned the carcass, cut up the meat and added all the ingredients along with more fresh parsley, basil, and rosemary and some dried garlic, sage, and savory along with salt and pepper and the last bit of McCormick’s Chicken Base I had. The stock was already brimming with the herbs I roasted the chicken with, but when I tasted it it seemed to need more. While the soup was simmering, I cooked up some Pennsylvania Dutch fine egg noodles along with a handful of medium egg noodles that I crushed into smaller pieces from a bag that was almost empty. At four minutes the noodles were al dente and after straining off the water I added them to the soup and turned off the heat. Yesterday I had the soup lunch with a roll from Sunday’s baking, and the same will make up my lunches for the next week.

We’re going to have left over Sweet & Spicy Crock pot Pork Roast from New Years for dinner tonight with leftover beans and spaetzle from Monday that I served with grilled bratwurst.

I’m off to work.



Slowly rolling in

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:55 pm by admin

Submissions for Touch: The Journal of Healing are slowly rolling in, and I’ve added a few links to poetry journals and blogs I frequent. Of note are Feel Good Lost Blog and Tilt Press Blog, and Tilt Press which publishes chapbooks, all operated by Rachel Mallino. Rachel’s Tilt Press co-editor is Nicole Cartwright.

Good night.



Spring has finally arrived!

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 10:15 pm by admin

It’s official, spring is here! This morning I found the evidence:

Spring crocuses 2009 copyright OPW Fredericks
Our first blooms of the year.



Amazon Links added to Home Page & Italian rolls

Posted in Poetry, Recipes & Cooking, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:06 pm by admin

This morning I began to add Amazon.com links to the home page of Touch: The Journal of Healing, but I didn’t like the way the page was laid out. It was very crowded, and Daniel told me it wasn’t balanced. I added the links for two reasons. The first reason is that most of my literature and poetry books purchased over the past two years have come from Amazon. I found it a lot easier to order them online than it to drive the ten miles to the nearest Barnes & Noble or Borders. I’ve gotten some great deals from Amazon, and I wanted my visitors to receive the same benefit. The second reason is, I learned late last summer when someone clicks on a link to Amazon and then purchases something, the owner of the site where the link was posted will earn a small percentage of the sale in the way of a “commission” so to speak. Since August of last year, the fee I’ve received for the link here has come to less than the cost of one month of my website hosting server charge. Now that I’m nearly retired, my income isn’t close to what it used to be, and every little bit helps. I thought if the fee covered the cost of hosting my websites, it would be one less expense I would have to find the money for.

Daniel told me there should be a option in the software to enlarge the dimensions of the website and sure enough it was there. I didn’t realize the software allowed for changes in the dimensions of a page, and I’d been trying to squeeze everything onto a page that was 700 px wide. The new home page is now 1,000 px wide. I may make it larger, but Daniel told me that 1,000 px is a width that most computer screens can display. After enlarging the page, I experimented with placement of the Amazon links and was able to replace the ones I had with vertical links that fit on the far right side.

Several years ago I asked several poets I know which reference books they had in their library. The scroll bar I added includes many of these titles as well as two poetry books written by poets I’ve corresponded with from Poets.org, The Red Light Was My Mind, by Gary Charles Wilkens and Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree by Steve Meador. I also added in a little Ella Fitzgerald and ABBA music to the scroll, an Amazon search tool, and another poetry/poets book widget.

I haven’t decided whether I want to have these links on the page to begin with. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with this idea after seeing what they look like because the links detract from the overall appearance of the page, and they could detract from the whole experience of reading poetry. Also, I don’t remember visiting any online poetry journal where these kinds of links are present. Now that the links are off to the side and at the bottom, they aren’t as distracting as my first attempts were, so I’ll have to think on this a bit.

Italina Sourdough Rolls copyright OPW Fredericks

After frying my brain with web design, I decided to do something therapeutic so this afternoon I began to mix a batch of bread dough with the sourdough sponge I set to proof last evening. Daniel had mentioned rolls earlier in the week and I haven’t baked rolls in years. Half way through the kneading, I decided to give the rolls a try, just to shake things up a little. In the photo above, the rolls on the right are Italian-Honey-Walnut Whole Wheat Sourdough and on the left are Italian-Honey Whole Wheat Sourdough.

Here’s the recipe:

Italian Honey Whole Wheat Rolls


1/2 c. sourdough starter
1/2 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour

Mix above in glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap leaving a little space for gas to vent and place in warm spot over night.

Combine above with:

1 tsp. granular yeast – let sit 15 minutes.


1/2 cup EV olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c. honey
1 tblsp. barley malt syrup


1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. unbleached all purpose or bread flour

Combine in electric mixer bowl using dough hook or mix with hands in a large ceramic mixing bowl. Divide dough in half and reserve 1/2 wrapped in plastic wrap.

Add 1/3 c. chopped walnuts to first 1/2 of dough.

Continue to mix or knead first 1/2 of dough adding unbleached or bread flour as needed 1/4 cup at a time until dough is the right consistency then knead until dough is formed. Place in ceramic or glass bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm spot until double in bulk – about 1 hour.

Repeat with reserved 1/2 of dough omitting walnuts.

When dough has risen, remove from bowls deflate and allow it to rest about 10 minutes. Cut palm size pieces from dough and form into rolls. Place on a floured bakers couche or linen towel, cover with floured towels and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit with baking stones or tiles covering rack at mid level.

Remove roll dough from couche with a metal turning spatula – like what you would turn hamburgers with – and place in a row of 4, spaced apart along the edge of a long wide thin bread peel – a piece of wood 1/4 inch thick x 14 inches long by 5 inches wide. Transfer to baking tiles starting on the right side of the oven by tilting board and allowing them to slide off. Repeat until the oven is full. Spray interior of oven with water from a spray bottle beneath the rack and repeat this every 3 minutes for the first 9 minutes taking no more than 10 seconds each time.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven to cooling rack.

Repeat until all the rolls are baked.

Store in plastic or paper bags until they’re all gone. This bread remains fresh tasting for one week when stored in plastic or zip lock bags.



I’ll let you know tomorrow how they tasted.



Blog & RSS feed is up

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:00 pm by admin

The blog attached to Touch: The Journal of Healing is now up and running. As if I didn’t need another thing to keep me busy … At least it will allow me to keep a running dialogue of what I did and when to the journal site. The only problem is that I now feel obligated to post a new photo with each blog entry.



Forgotten Treasures

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 11:47 pm by admin

I’ve been going though some cardboard boxes that have been packed away, some of which go back to grade school. In one of these boxes, I came across a small cedar box with brass hinges and inlays that I haven’t touched in over twenty years, and that was only to pack it into the cardboard box I found it in when I repacked it from another cardboard box that was packed when I moved out of my parents house in 1980. So for nearly 30 years, the contents of this small cedar box haven’t seen the light of day. It was locked with a tiny brass key lock, so I started to search through my desk for some old keys I’ve kept not knowing what they were for, but sure they were for something. After trying several very small keys on different rings and fobs that didn’t work, I came across the smallest key in my collection. Sure enough it fit and I opened the box. Inside I found an old metal Sucrets box that had holes punched in it and another small key lock. When I opened the Sucrets box I found two tiny lockets with semiprecious stones mixed in with cedar shavings. I remember the lockets and the shavings, but I don’t remember where they came from. Also in the box was another small lock with two keys, a book of matches, and a piece of paper written with the combination for a lock. The combination was for my old bicycle lock.

All evening I’ve had memories from my childhood return and each memory triggers another memory. I think that’s so cool.



What happened to the 70 degree days?

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 11:55 pm by admin

Last week I checked the seven day weather forecast for this week. It said the days were going to slowly warm up into the 70’s by Thursday. No such luck. We’ve been at or just below freezing over night and we hit only 50 degrees on Tuesday, the warmest day of the week.

This past weekend the fish started to become active, sunning themselves in the shallow end of the pond and looking for food, but since Monday they’ve barely made an appearance. The water temperature is hovering in the upper 30’s to lower 40’s, so I can’t begin to feed them.

I do know that spring is coming though. The daffodils and crocuses have begun to poke their head up, and today I noticed green on the lilac bushes where there used to be only buds.

Spring can’t get here soon enough.



Another blog?

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:33 pm by admin

The software I use to create and edit Touch: The Journal of Healing allows for RSS feed in a limited capacity. One of the page types that does provide RSS is a blog which can be incorporated with the journal or as a separate site. I’m experimenting with the software to see if I can taylor it to duplicate the journal appearance, but so far, my success is limited. One advantage a blog would offer is the ability to post announcements about the journal without affecting the integrity of the journal pages. Another page type that provides the RSS feed is a photo album theme. I don’t think this is the way I want to go because the journal is literature not photography and the graphics used in the journal will be imbedded within the poem and prose pages. At this point I don’t think a separate album page would benefit the journal in any way.

I’ve made a few changes in the appearance of the journal that will be uploaded once I’ve tested each page for functionality and appearance. I’ve found that some browsers are able to enlarge the page if a user needs to see text larger while others aren’t able to do this. As a result, I’ve increased the font size a few points. I’ve also made minor text changes on several of the pages where I found the language didn’t flow as well as I intended it to flow. I’ve received feedback from a few folks so far and it has been positive. I want to get all the bugs worked out well before the first issue is published, and I remain hopeful that folks will advise me of any difficulties they experience.



We’re up and running! Call for submissions.

Posted in Poetry, Touch: The Journal of Healing at 11:45 pm by admin

It’s now official.

Touch: The Journal of Healing seeks poetry, prose, and graphics submissions for its debut issue intended for publication May/June 2009.  Within our pages you will read works from people who have committed their lives to the vocation of caring by touching the lives of their fellow human beings, be they health care professionals, family members, spouses, lovers, partners, or friends, and from patients themselves. Please visit our journal site and send us your poetry, prose and artwork for consideration.



New Project: Online Poetry Journal

Posted in Poetry, Recipes & Cooking at 11:15 pm by admin

I have no excuse for allowing over two months to pass without a single blog entry. Actually, there are many excuses I could use, but none would excuse me from taking a mere ten minutes each day to reflect on something.

I’ve been busy with life. The Poets org Poetry Forum, my private poetry forum and my part-time job in the ER have taken up a good amount of time. I’ve also been cooking large Sunday dinners that consist of pot roasts, roasted chickens, pork roasts, all with with roasted vegetables and pints and pints of gravy; large pots of pasta served with home made sauce; and marinated london broils have kept us pretty well fed through each week. I’ve also been baking different sourdough based breads on Saturdays and/or Thursdays. I use my starter Herman to seed the sponge the morning before I bake which allows it to develop its flavor, and then I begin the process of choosing and assembling the ingredients and mixing the dough around noon the following day. I usually have it in the oven by 4:00 PM which gives it time to bake and cool for our dinner time of 7:00 PM.

I’ve baked batards, braided loaves, loaves in pans, and I’ve risen loaves in round baskets and bowls lined with floured linen towels. When Daniel arrives home from work, the whole house smells like fresh baked bread. I’ve been using a larger percentage of whole wheat flour than I have in the past, and I add any combination of ground nuts, dried fruits, honey, molasses, barley malt syrup, butter or olive oil, herbs and spices, rolled or steel cut oats, corn meal, and different salts and sugars. They’ve all turned out good, but some have been spectacular. The best loaves I’ve made are the Italian herbed, nutted whole wheat, and one loaf of rolled out cinnamon raisin bread which gave it a swirl pattern when sliced with brown sugar baked in. Only one batch didn’t rise well, and I think that was because I forgot I had added the salt and added salt again, but it tasted great. Those loaves I either sliced and toasted with a brushing of olive oil, chopped garlic, Italian herbs and parmesan cheese, sort of like pesto, or I toasted the slices and then we dipped them in small bowls of the oil, herb, garlic, cheese mixture.

All this cooking and baking has allowed me a creative outlet while being cooped up in the house over the winter, and my private poetry forum just finished a 10:10 day poem challenge where collectively we wrote 87 poems between the ten of us who participated which also provided me with a creative outlet. But what’s really got me excited is Daniel and I are in the process of starting an online Poetry Journal.

After experimenting with the software and making many mistakes (my own mistakes that is), but learning along the way, we’ve got it to the point where we’re just about ready to put it online and send out our calls for submissions. The journal reflects a unique combination of our philosophies and we’ve put our Touch on every aspect of its construction. No templates were used so every component you will see we’ve created down to the photographs we’ve taken that are used as background and enhancements.

I’ll post more on the journal once it’s up and running.

That’s it for today.