chocolate is a verb

colors, flavors, whims and other growing things

Tag Archives: gratitude


ready for Thanksgiving


thank you!

Seven years ago today I took it in my mind to create a blog. More than twenty-two hundred posts later, chocolate is a verb seems to have a life, and an audience, of its own. I am extremely grateful to you for your visits, your Likes, and your comments, and hope this is just one of the many expressions of gratitude you will experience in this season of thanks.

(If you’ve just been dropping in and would like a steadier dose of chocolate, click on RSS Feed at the top of the and/or image at left, or gimme chocolate! just below it.)



Somehow, another year has gone by. Although 2016 was full of creativity, love, and meaningful experiences, much of what lingers is a sense of loss and uncertainty.

I hope 2017 will be better than we expect. Certainly, like every year, it will contain surprises, triumphs, and disappointments, profound sadness and immeasurable joy.

For the moments we are here, it is extremely gratifying to have you as companions on this journey. I am deeply grateful for your views, likes, subscriptions, comments, and shares, for your friendships close and far, and for your steadfast and honorable witnessing. Thank you.

J.I. Kleinberg
post #1956, 31 December 2016

found poem: ready

we have come…

found poem © j.i. kleinberg ~ we have come
found poem © j.i. kleinberg

You, my visitors, viewers, readers, are deserving of a special note of gratitude on this Thanksgiving day. I am continually astonished, and honored, that there are those of you who show up every day to look, or Like, or Comment — that somehow you have found your way here and have returned again and again. Whether I know you or not, you are a friend and your presence in my life is meaningful and important. Thank you.

Thanksgiving poem (written/posted in 2012).

getting inspired…

moving the big basketI’ve never been to Anne Arundel County, Maryland, but Melanie, who blogs at Beyond Back Creek, takes us there in her reflections on life, craft, cooking, design, chicken coops and much more. Melanie also visits chocolate is a verb and has found these posts worthy of the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, for which I am hugely appreciative.

Acceptance requires the nominee to reveal seven bits of information and then suggest other bloggers for the award. So, herewith:

I’m an only child, but perhaps you guessed that.

As a former scuba instructor and a maker of baskets, I am among the select few who proudly wear the epithet “underwater basket weaver.”

When my big basket (yes, that big basket) was displayed at the Seattle Art Museum, I was surprised and delighted to discover that visitors dropped notes into it, like pennies into a well.

My musical tastes are far-flung and eclectic, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d take the blues. Hmmm, that doesn’t narrow it down much, does it?

I have had two birthdays graced by a total eclipse of the sun that I was able to see in person: February 26, 1979 and February 26, 1998.

I don’t own a television.

Many years ago, I was commissioned to collaborate with a needlepoint expert in the decoration of a 40th-birthday gift: a jockstrap. She stitched the waistband with the words “40 and still growing” and my part consisted of crocheting many dozens of life-size purple grapes, which decorated the business portion of the, ahem, garment.

In addition to chocolate is a verb, I blog daily about poetry and less frequently for Other Mind Press. (I also blog for clients, but that’s another matter.) Your Comments, Likes and subscriptions are very, very meaningful. Thank you.

I visit many blogs. Here are some that I find consistently Very Inspiring:

Alphabet Roadtrip

Talking to Strangers: An Introvert Hits the Streets

Riva Berkovitz

Ranch Notes: stories from this life in the country

The Dad Poet

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

the morning…

sharing the good cheer…


winter blooming camelias

For all the times we were not alone with grief,
for all the times we were abandoned by despair,
for every morning we have awakened,
for every fresh idea,
for all the times we have fallen and stood up again,
for each moment we have been warm and dry and safe enough,
the times we have not been hungry,
the times we have given or received,
for the rope into the abyss that is family, friendship, love
—for all of this, we are grateful
—by all of this fulfilled.

© j.i. kleinberg 2012


POSTS: 641
THANKS: a million

Since that first musing on a dawn sky on November 20, 2010, chocolate is a verb has provided me with focus, opportunity and audience. It has served as the proverbial blank slate on which I discover and explore what’s on my mind.

For each of you who visits, I am deeply grateful. Every day I am encouraged by the little spikes in the bar graph that show me you’ve been here. I am warmed by your “Likes” and moved by your Comments. Through your presence here, you have helped me find and trust my voice — my many voices.

. . . . .

frame of reference…

the view from my deskTwice a year, for about a week or two near the equinox, the earth wobbles into position and, if clouds don’t intervene, the sun shines straight into my window as it rises. So bright I must half-lower the shade, the light bounces off my cluttered bulletin board and back onto the glass. The rest of the time, in our wide northern swing, the sun rises somewhere else — on another side of the house, through the neighbor’s trees, down the block behind the church — and my eyes measure the angled light, take the temperature of its color.

This is the view from my desk, what I see for the many hours I work and write. Before I sit down here, which is before almost everything except coffee, I raise the blinds on this pair of windows. In deep dark or dawn or the sharp hard brightness of the sun, every morning is different — the seasonal faces of the spruce and juniper and plum trees as familiar as my hands, the angled telephone pole, the peek-a-boo view of the top of Mt. Baker, the clouds and birds, the bees tapping their hard bodies against the glass. As I work, I gaze out there, seeing or not, waiting for the right word.

I trust this. In the chaotic and often untrustworthy world, this view is something contained, its hour-by-hour, month-by-month change something manageable. It is a reality I observe, describe, treasure. A gift I open every day. With gratitude.

the newness of something…

peony buds in the rainArms crossed in front of her, she held herself — soothing, cradling, rocking. Without quite thinking, she recognized the unfamiliarity of this gentle holding: the feel of her upper arms soft beneath her hands, the pressure against her breasts, the simple comfort of being held in this most primitive way: solitary, alone, apart. Not the reassuring grasp of friend or parent, not the heated embrace of lover, but a place she could go — a cottage — cozy, private, out of the heat and rain and centrifugal chaos of the world.

Holding herself, she felt the weight of the invisible — the unfathomable gravity of grief and love and wonder. She pulled it in and gripped herself tighter and smiled.

visiting the garden…

juniper with berriesWithout deep intention, I see that I’ve been moving toward very-low-maintenance gardening. Not watering. Weeding toward a time when there are no weeds. And now I see that I do the same thing with my friendships — let them take care of themselves. Trust that they will thrive and grow without my constant fussing. And truly, they do. Evergreens, they grow slowly and live a long time. Being together is a reward, not a chore, our visits blooming with ease and appreciation, our affection rooted in familiarity and trust.

December 31…

number 31A year feels like nothing to wrap and send on its way. Wisps. Yet it is marked on my face, on my belly and hips, on my skin. It is marked in this slow dune of words. In the crawl of the sun across morning skies. Poems written. And unwritten. People lost. It is marked by the unpunctuated litany of torment and greed and hunger and hope. By the onward roll of eclipses and solstices. By the urgent shouldering of salmon into streams. It is marked in a love maturing. Friendships deepening. In the garden’s young dwarf balsams and hellebore sports, the cycle of weeds, the drift of leaves gathered behind the hydrangea. It is marked by the raucous wheelings of Caspian terns, the eagles come to the river, the swans bent-necked in cropped fields. Colored lights. Kids on new bikes. It is marked by the shuffling of calendars, the best-ofs, predictions, resolutions, prognostications. It is marked, at last, on this final morning of the year, by a warming shawl of gratitude — for tenderness, for sharing and laughter and curiosity and delight, and for the continuing capacity to discover, in the world and in myself, something new.
number 31


he leaves me this way:
plunging into the sports section
driving away from the back door
ascending the mountain
dropping into sleep

he returns to me this way:
dreams recalled
sips from my cup
lingering kisses
powerful hugs

he leaves me this way:
a crinkle of oak and aspen
collected along his way

he returns to me this way:
eyes heart arms
gratitude warmth love

he leaves me
he returns to me
: we are together

marking time…

happy birthday, mom!Writing, recently, of a lost friend, I saw how the loss focused my vision, my memory and my words. But why should such focus be reserved for epitaphs? When someone dies, especially someone too young, we remind ourselves to live every day, to do and say the things we’ve always intended. But, much as we might linger over the loss, we quickly return to routine.

Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends. It’s not one of those round-number birthdays to be marked by much hullaballoo. We won’t celebrate together and we may not even talk on the phone.

But here’s what I know: We met almost 40 years ago, when a few of us saw the need to create a closer alliance between the words women and art. We came at it from different perspectives, each pouring our own vision and talents into the pool. From that experience emerged friendship and trust.

She was and is a person of huge intelligence, integrity and warmth, with a passion for art and community. She has an amazing ability to absorb, retain and synthesize information, to honor the vision of others and to be a leader in even the most leader-resistant groups. She puts her money where her mouth is — and her heart.

She holds a profound desire for calm but wages an ongoing war with a chaos of paper, the books and magazines and correspondence and journals accumulating in perilous drifts around her.

She is generous, astute and insightful. She has a wide smile that extends all the way to her eyes. She has fabulous earrings. She can do anything.

Most of the time we’ve been friends we’ve lived in separate cities. We don’t see each other often and we don’t talk on the phone enough. But the feeling of connection, of continuity, of closeness and trust is always there. I am grateful and honored to be her friend.

Happy birthday, Cathy. I love you.
photo by Joseph Hudson

gratitude, overdue…

library bookshelvesI wish I could thank her, but I never knew her name.

It had all seemed so straightforward: college. The bliss of leaving home, the restraints sprung, the possibility of learning, of having new friends.

I declared a major: sociology. I would do something worthwhile…make a difference. I strolled the campus whistling, the sound echoing.

But after the first year, I slid into a morass. A tearless sophomore-year depression. Long self-pitying walks on the abandoned beach. Fantasies of being rescued. The urge to make art whispered at my edges — the urge I had suppressed so successfully for so long. Anything, I reasoned, to avoid becoming my mother.

Miserable, I went to the library, the other safe place, and asked the librarian for something: a key, a miracle, an answer. I don’t remember the question. But she said, Why don’t you look at some college catalogs? and pointed me to a long shelf of books. Hundreds of them, from universities all over the world.

I went to the shelf and began pulling them down. First one, then dozens. Looking through them for the answer, as if I would somehow recognize it in front of me. It grew dark outside. And then, suddenly, there it was: the Design department at UC Berkeley: weaving. A bell resonated inside me, perfect pitch. I knew: this was the place, the key, the miracle.

I took the catalog and walked out of the library across the flat campus toward the dorm. Along the way, in the middle of a broad lawn, there stood a huge tree I had passed innumerable times. In the soft evening light, I stepped close to the tree, hugged it fiercely and, at long last, wept.
library bookshelves

spring persists…

purple helleboreOn my desk, an extravagant bouquet of hellebores, which defied ice and snow to soften the last days of winter, their purple now fading, their inflated hearts erotic with possibility, mystery. My heart, too, extravagant with wonder at this unfolding season of possibility and gratitude.

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