By Meghan Tutolo

Even if you stop moving

scoot

Life keeps going.

If nothing else, that’s one thing we can bank on. Even in our stubborn complacency, our unhealthy comforts, our black-hole grief—even if the first thing you think about when you wake up every day is what you are not, or you don’t have, or worse, what you have lost.

This year has been a fierce, really, and in all the ways. Since D died, I have inadvertently split my life into two distinct time periods, before she died and after. Yeah, there are a ton of pivotal moments in my life that could’ve created a similar divide, but they didn’t. Mostly because of who I was before and after, and who I continue to be.

Three years this July.

The anniversary of her death came on so suddenly. It was physical. I was readying myself for a Chicago trip (the same location I headed to the day after her funeral), fussing to finish work assignments, worrying the semester, but then it came on… a wave over me. Not sure that I believe in much, but I do know when I feel her there. She kind of knocks you know. I’m sure you know. I’m sure there is someone you lost or miss and though often it’s the intensity of the missing that conjures them, sometimes they come uninvited. It’s a surprise. And no matter what your beliefs are—god or no god, spiritual or black and white—you invite them in. You invite them because it’s warm and nostalgic, the kind that hurts in the best way.

Do you speak to them? Out loud? A whisper? Inside? I do. I’m not embarrassed to say it—three years later I’m still sneaking in chats. Not like the daily texts and phone calls we engaged in, but car rides and bathroom breaks and walks to the coffeeshop. In that way, I never feel so alone. Not like I used to.

But for some good? Facing fears… and hopefully not foolishly. I got a scooter! It’s a “barely” used guy, a Yamaha Vino 125. It’s honestly been a source of pure joy. I can’t explain it. I’m just glad this summer weather is holding out as long as it is.

Latest poem published by Arsenic Lobster, “ONCE I DIDN’T DROWN IN A LAKE.”

And I finally scored a poem in my white whale of a lit mag, my favorite, Rattle. Scoop up a copy of your own.

But this. This is something that’s been haunting me, this poem and it’s sentiment. It’s so vital. While I wish I’d had discovered it long ago, I don’t think I’d have the Life Equipment to really get it.

Leaving you with it. Here.

mt

 

After Twelve Days of Rain – Dorianne Laux

I couldn’t name it, the sweet
sadness welling up in me for weeks.
So I cleaned, found myself standing
in a room with a rag in my hand,
the birds calling time-to-go, time-to-go.
And like an old woman near the end
of her life I could hear it, the voice
of a man I never loved who pressed
my breasts to his lips and whispered
“My little doves, my white, white lilies.”
I could almost cry when I remember it.

I don’t remember when I began
to call everyone “sweetie,”
as if they were my daughters,
my darlings, my little birds.
I have always loved too much,
or not enough. Last night
I read a poem about God and almost
believed it–God sipping coffee,
smoking cherry tobacco. I’ve arrived
at a time in my life when I could believe
almost anything.

Today, pumping gas into my old car, I stood
hatless in the rain and the whole world
went silent–cars on the wet street
sliding past without sound, the attendant’s
mouth opening and closing on air
as he walked from pump to pump, his footsteps
erased in the rain–nothing
but the tiny numbers in their square windows
rolling by my shoulder, the unstoppable seconds
gliding by as I stood at the Chevron,
balanced evenly on my two feet, a gas nozzle
gripped in my hand, my hair gathering rain.

And I saw it didn’t matter
who had loved me or who I loved. I was alone.
The black oily asphalt, the slick beauty
of the Iranian attendant, the thickening
clouds–nothing was mine. And I understood
finally, after a semester of philosophy,
a thousand books of poetry, after death
and childbirth and the startled cries of men
who called out my name as they entered me,
I finally believed I was alone, felt it
in my actual, visceral heart, heard it echo
like a thin bell. And the sounds
came back, the slish of tires
and footsteps, all the delicate cargo
they carried saying thank you
and yes. So I paid and climbed into my car
as if nothing had happened–
as if everything mattered–What else could I do?

I drove to the grocery store
and bought wheat bread and milk,
a candy bar wrapped in gold foil,
smiled at the teenaged cashier
with the pimpled face and the plastic
name plate pinned above her small breast,
and knew her secret, her sweet fear,
Little bird. Little darling. She handed me
my change, my brown bag, a torn receipt,
pushed the cash drawer in with her hip
and smiled back.

—From What We Carry. (If you don’t have this book, you need it.)

I don’t know how I know, but I know.

Lake Chautauqua Sunset

That was my response after answering a question—with confidence—that I couldn’t possibly know the answer to.

Knowing but not knowing, you know?

These days, I live by logic. Mostly. I still run the gamut of emotions, often frustrated and bubbling over, but now I make decisions. I wait. Younger Meghan? Oh, she donned a reckless impulsivity that could’ve easily ruined me. No, really. I was somewhere like a 7 or 8 on the Richter Scale, a Tazmanian Devil sort of swirling around in a self-made tornado of sadness, loneliness and self-deprecation. I took it to a new level. I wore black girl-sized Dickies and dyed my hair a shade to match. Raise your hand if you feel me.

Knowing without knowing isn’t a science. It’s not sensical. It’s not even like the lesson of maturity I learned (late) in adolescence: Will you ever learn to think before you open that mouth of yours… damnit, Meghan!

(That was my mother’s voice in case you didn’t recognize it. “Damnit Meghan” was more of a household name.) And no, I will learn, but it’s something I’ll wish I could unlearn. At least a little bit.

Knowing without knowing is more like intuition, a phantom kind of thing I’ve always had but couldn’t count on. I’m no mystic, no wizard. But these days I’m counting on it more. Is this a getting old thing? 30 going on 80, yep.

“You need to learn to trust yourself. Right now,” warned the tarot reader who sat across from me, taut-lipped with her hands folded across the table.

But that was in 2012. I’ve made a conscious effort, really, but trusting my guts is worrisome for all kinds of reasons. Just the other day, my guts decided it was ok to spend an hour online trying to locate a rare book of short stories. The day before that, my guts thought it fine to indulge in a plate of General Tso’s Chicken—breaded, fried, glistening with grease, married to a huge helping of oily fried rice. I mean, for someone who relies heavily on logic to keep her in line, intuition is about as grounded as a beach kite. I mean, I stop at Sheetz gas stations at like 11 p.m. for gummy bears so what do I know? I find, however, denying ones guts leads to another set of issues.

So ok, it’s balance I’m looking for in my 30’s. Oddly, where my teens were teary, flailing and faltering, my 20’s were for exercising control and maybe, sometimes, too much (see: picking lint off the floor, having meltdowns cleaning bathtubs…). It only makes sense that I come to this, convergence.

The struggle is the limitations of balance, what the old me might have seen as boring—stagnant and idle—I should now embrace? Kind of like a see-saw, but just because it’s level doesn’t mean there’s no one on it… right? Maybe there are just two forces of equal weight. Precise, shaky, going nowhere? I’ve always hated even numbers…

Man, I could go for a smoke.

Poetry prompts from National Poetry Month

Greensburg Back Roads

 

Hey, all! I told you I’d recap all the prompts and so here we are.

Yeah, I attempted to inspire the Facebook masses with a somewhat lofty goal of writing a poem a day in April. Did I accomplish that goal? Not quite. 23/30. But I’m not giving up. I plan on responding to these prompts. Soon. (Maybe once I’m done with a Doodle A Day May…. someone smack me.)

 

// NATIONAL POETRY MONTH – POEM A DAY PROMPTS //

DAY 1: Write a poem of firsts.

DAY 2: Write a poem en media res, or a poem that begins in the middle of things.

DAY 3: Write a sonnet. It can be modern, not necessarily rhyming or in meter.

DAY 4: Write a poem about a lie you told. Don’t be afraid of looking bad, though. Be vulnerable and honest and get to your guts.

DAY 5: Write a poem about the street you grew up on and title it as such. For example: “East End Avenue, 1992.”

DAY 6: Write a teeth poem.

DAY 7: Write a blackout poem.

DAY 8: Write a cliché poem using some overdone words, but make it fresh. (Here’s a list supplied by posters on Dan Shapiro’s wall: loam, tongue, crepuscular, moon, impossible, cicada, crow, bird, body, blood, map, ghost, specter, pearl, alone, silver, cerulean, azure, scrim, dream, starling, wolf, milk… Choose a few of these or make up some of your own.)

DAY 9: Write an unexpected poem presented in an unexpected way.

DAY 10: Write a confessional poem. Spill them beans!

DAY 11: Write a poem about another (possibly hidden) side of you.

DAY 12: Write an instructional “how to” poem.

DAY 13: Write a poem about feeling awkward, small or uncomfortable.

DAY 14: Write a haiku. 5/7/5 syllables. You know…

DAY 15: Write a tattoo poem or a “I don’t want to…” poem. Life is for options.

DAY 16: Write a silence poem.

DAY 17: Write a changes/transitions poem.

DAY 18: Write a poem titled, “Dear _____.”

DAY 19: Write a triptych poem, or a poem of threes. Bring together three events or images. (This courtesy of Melissa E.)

DAY 20: Write a recipe poem. Get creative without the kitchen time.

DAY 21: Write a poem centered around one word. Make it the title. Definition? Maybe.

DAY 22: Write a poem in couplets. Be a hero.

DAY 23: Write a Craigslist poem, inspired by findings therein. Personally, I like browsing Missed Connections. Typical.

DAY 24: Write a poem of or about colors. Be a painter of words!

DAY 25: Write a stolen text poem. Grab the nearest book or pamphlet. Flip through it and point to a place on a page at random. Write a poem centered around that word, phrase or image. Maybe even use it as the title?

DAY 26: Write a poem titled, “When I Stopped _____.”

DAY 27: Write a tarot poem. Use the image or idea of a tarot figure or minor arcana card to tell a story in verse. Have you ever picked which major arcana card best represents you?

DAY 28: Write an ekphrastic poem using album art as inspiration. Not just ANY album art, but the art of your favorite high school album.

DAY 29: Write an ode poem. It can be to your lover, your favorite sweater or a bottle of Ketchup. Make us feel the love.

DAY 30: Write a sestina… BOOM! (Easily my favorite form!)

 

Any hey… I’d love to see any of these, so feel free to share—here in the comments or my email!

 

 

Scary shit

Dingy Diner Doodles

Sometimes I catch a feeling, a gigantic wind. It might be that I feed it, let it consume me. If I do, it will grow and so I count on it as I would any tangible thing so big, lake or mountain. It will become memory inevitably, taking up (I think) that same space.

Years later, something may poke at it—an image, a person, a song, a smell—and it seems the weight of those years has flattened it, a two-dimensional feeling.

Sometimes I am grateful that it isn’t so strong.
Sometimes I am disappointed by this.
Sometimes it makes the better poem, flat like that.

But no matter the outcome, the passive yet brutal way in which time can take down mountains… that scares the shit out of me.

30, basically

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There’s always something terribly sad to think about. Terribly terrible. And sometimes when you haven’t tricked your brain quite right, it skips to that terribly sad thing without your allowing it.

And the longer you live, the more terribly sad things you acquire. So you have to learn how to trick your brain better. But then you might become “jaded” or “hard” or “avoidant,” and maybe then even the good things have a way of not being the brightest.

It’s a fine line between feeling and hard, carrying and letting go. And I call that line 30.

I posted this at about 3 a.m. on Facebook the other day. There’s something about that social medium, being hit with the lives of so many at once, that prompts me to think more wholly, more big picture stuff. On days where I feel inspired by the people around me, I create anthems. Mostly in my head. Just small truths that I can hold onto, that can connect me to others. I’m always relating and empathizing and hoping people get it.
But maybe it’s just loneliness? And not the OMGIMSINGLEANDNEEDSAVED loneliness, but the kind that’s always just there like another skin. Maybe I’m still that 6th grader still writing in her journal about how she just doesn’t fit, how other girls are pretty and popular and have nice hair and cool clothes and I’m too scared to be anything but a clown.

I don’t know that much has changed. But everything.

Honoring the magic.

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I’m going to go on and say it: There aren’t many things that can rival the magic of Santa.

As a kid, of course. And even as an adult.

Maybe it’s the kind of feeling we spend the rest of our lives trying to find or to imitate. It’s cause for cliff dives and drop offs. You don’t find it in filler stuff, like grocery shopping or bill paying or tv watching. You think it should be in other people, so you dig around inside them like lost and ancient treasure. You cast it in shadows on the wall, form it in your warm palms like wet dough. You have to make it up.

But maybe it’s the kind of thing you never have again. And you have to be ok with that. And you have to live every day knowing that magic is somehow gone and that might be it, as far as magic goes. But you had it and so you’re grateful. That so-very-adult word, “grateful.” Because damnit, that’s what you should be. YOU HAVE ALL THE THINGS.

Ok. And you breathe.

I met that one person, like a mother and a best friend and an everything, and she was magic. And I didn’t know her for that long, but enough to spend one of the best holiday seasons with she and her family, feeling like a real loved and wanted creature. Feeling magical, amplified, the kind you can’t glean from workplace successes, fame or even romantic relationships… which I try to explain to A.

So it’s this time of year, I’m reminded of that and that’s what I celebrate so hard. Because I felt it once. And so every year, for two months in anticipation, I listen to Christmas tunes, ogle wreaths and trees, daydream about holiday events, shop for ugly sweaters and puffy Santa hats…

And that’s what Christmas is to me now. Plus the lights, like hopeful stars in every color.

Livejournal or bust

HermitTarot

Oh, I remember those days.

I used to spew my guts on Livejournal.com like some sort of uncensored, four-eyed mutant with a lead role and more feelings than dollars in my weekly Giant Eagle paycheck. Writing often, I would weave my emo thoughts and rants with bolded song lyrics. I would choose 100×100-pixeled avatar images of faceless girls in sad corners or dead-flower GIFs with flashing text reading shit like “it doesn’t even matter anymore.”

But that’s just it, it did matter. Everything mattered. Probably too much mattering.

Today as I ventured back into that world of “Everybody Hurts” and ambiguous crush speak, I stumbled upon a quote that struck me:

“The more profound you are, the more meaning you need.”

It doesn’t feel too long ago that everything hurt. I was an open wound walking, or so the cliche goes. I walked around like that for years in corduroys and striped sweaters, a heart dangling from my seams like a loose thread.

But the years wore me down, maybe. Here and there, we lose people to lack of humility or pride, to distance, to miscommunication, to disinterest, to one-ups and to one-downs. Each time a gut blow. (It’s tremendous, honestly, how much friends mean to me. Without much of a traditional blood-related crew, my friends have always been my family.) And then came a divorce-like split after so many years.That loss was more than familiar or romantic or plutonic, but all of it. Necessary and healthy, maybe. But not without pain. Still, even then, I went forward with my guts between my teeth, handing them out like hard candy.

And then my favorite person in the whole world died.

So that was it,  I guess. The last time I really remember feeling like that, a live wire under my skin. And I say, if this is growing up, it blows.

I told A the other day (after dealing myself a nearly-all-reversed spread of cards): “I guess I had to shut something off recently… to deal with the stress of small and big things. And maybe I just haven’t turned it back on. That’s where I am.”

I’ve never seen a spread that blocked and I’ve been reading cards since high school.

But it’s been more than just recently (more than this jet stream of bad luck I’m refusing to whine about any more on my blog). I’m stuck now wondering, years later, after her death, will I ever learn how to turn it back on? Don’t get me wrong, I feel a flicker on occasion. I’m absolutely ok, and you know, sometimes my heart gets full and round and I can hear the blood pulsing in my ears. But is that it? I just want to know.

Is strength, is growing up, really just dulling the nerves and dumbing down our hearts… is the only thing that really changes the things that change us?

I don’t buy it. I can’t won’t.

mt

My Toyota Scion XD dead at 76,000 miles (a review)

Toyota Scion XD - 2009

Yes, my first car died. At 76,000 miles.

So I’m bitching. I’m angry. I’m upset. Moreover, I’m disappointed. As a full-time grad student and full-time employee, I was working my butt off. Nobody was there to help me financially. I did it all on my own, everything, ever since I was about 17. My mom was never in the position and my dad (though ironically he was a mechanic) passed away when I was 17. I chose a Scion XD after two months searching for the perfect car—one that was affordable and reliable.

Before turning to Toyota, I had a hand-me-down Ford. I thought buying American was the way to go, but everyone told me foreign cars were made to last. And that’s what I needed. And why new? Because I didn’t want to take any chances. I couldn’t have anymore breakdowns, going into the city three time a week (an hour commute from Greensburg, PA).

“Lifetime Warranty” was what sold me. It felt safe. And because no one is around the corner looking after me or ever has been, I am a sucker for a warranty. I even opted for the extended warranty (a 75,000-mile/6 year add-on). The only thing I was told was to keep record of all maintenance. Right on. I’m kind of neurotic about such things, so it wasn’t too hard. I kept every receipt, as there were times I did not go to the Toyota dealership for an oil change.

And then BOOM. It all goes to hell. A broken transmission at 76,500 miles? Are you kidding me?

Her name is Meredith Baxter, by the way. She has a name. I took care of her. Did all the things I had to do. Or so I thought. Even the mechanic said: “The car looks good under the hood. You can tell you took care of it.”

But then the bad news:

“Well, it seems you don’t have record of tire rotations every 5k miles here,” the Toyota employee informed me.

This comes after a few back-and-forths with missing receipts that I dug up, called about, etc. Finally, all of my information gets sent to Wascor, a third-party company that apparently is responsible for this supposed “Lifetime Warranty.” And they deny me. Because even though tire rotations admittedly have nothing to do with a transmission, it was part of the maintenance plan (which I can’t find anywhere). So basically they weaseled their way out of paying for it.

Wascor is a THIRD-PARTY COMPANY. Meaning: They could give two shits about your car or your happiness with the product. And they will try to find a way out of it. Anyway they can. When I produced information that they were missing, they kept coming back with more things I didn’t have. Finally, the found something I didn’t. TIRE ROTATIONS.

I get it. It’s not Toyota. But do you know what is Toyota? They plaster this “Lifetime Warranty” everywhere. People feel secure knowing they have this. But they probably don’t—not unless they’ve kept completely spotless records of their maintenance. Even the Toyota guy on the phone tells me, “It’s kind of a scam. I yelled at them.”

A scam? You think? And somehow this does fall back on you, Toyota. Maybe do a better job of impressing upon people how important it is that they do this. They rotate their tires, even.

So that’s that, I guess. A dud of a car. The good news? Toyota in all of their shiny gleaming kindness has decided to pay for the part, since it’s pretty whack that 1500 miles after their extended warranty is up, the heart of the car itself fails. So thank you. But now still I’m forced to pay $1400 for labor, which has to be done at the Toyota dealership, of course. Because yes, Toyota realizes something very wrong happened are still going to bank off of it. They won’t cover the whole thing.

Thanks, Toyota. Thanks, Scion. This is my review of your car. I’m so happy that I spent $17,000 (plus taxes and an extra warranty) for a piece of junk car that lasted me 76k miles. If I wanted that, I would’ve bought a Ford or a Chrysler.

The only thing good I have to say is that the guys at Toyota of Greensburg did go to bat for me. They were kind. They hooked me up with a loaner car, which would’ve cost me around $35/day. They made me feel taken care of, heard. And I’m not ungrateful for that. But does good service make up for quality? Because now, if something else goes wrong, I know the warranty is garbage (all because of tire rotations, you know). I no longer have the security of the warranty or the brand. It seems like a new car is in my future when I just wanted to ride out Meredith until the end.

I’m not just someone trying to get something for nothing. I’m being loud about it, because it isn’t fair. It isn’t right. It’s your reputation, Toyota. And if you still feel the need to bank off of a faulty car, that’s on you.

So bummed… I guess the joke’s on me.

mt

 


 

UPDATES:

I tried reaching out to Toyota/Scion to no avail. After reviewing my case, they still ask that I pay the $1400 for labor. I think they believe I should just be grateful that they did anything at all.

After a barrage of posts online, the General Manager of Toyota of Greensburg called me. He said he was “confused” by my online outrage and that I didn’t note that Toyota gave me a loaner, which would’ve equated to $900 for all the days I’ve needed it. So as he is signing off on all this money (over $3,000), he is wondering why I’m still discontent. He feels I’m not telling the whole story. So I have amended it some to reflect what he felt I didn’t represent (which was not purposeful).

Anniversary of bad things

meanddlast

We celebrate the past by dates and times.

But what is an anniversary anyway? What is time? We make this shit up and then decide to grieve or to pine or to celebrate at the same moment every year, as if every day isn’t as poignant or painful. Do we really save up all our tears or grateful gushing for just this one pin-point on an invisible time map… WHAT? Or is it just a permission slip?

Yeah, maybe I’m having some existential lapse, or a “Matt moment,” as I like to say about my former roommate’s vocal ruminations. On occasion (prompted by who knows what), Matt gets tangled up in the weirdness of the world, looking at it through an oddly “non-human” and objective way. For instance, we once melted a penny atop the metal grate of a fire pit in the backyard, for no reason other than we could. Matt couldn’t get over this. Instead he went on and on about how strange it was that the penny just didn’t exist anymore. Here, then not. No trace even, no liquidy metal puddle. No burnt round edge of where the thing was. It was just gonezo.

People can be gonezo too. And it doesn’t make sense either.

No matter how many times my brain circles it, no matter how many books I read or things I feel, I don’t get it. And I can’t decide whether it’s fortunate or unfortunate that my brain does this with everything that I can’t understand… it’s relentless. Like a lost helicopter or the cloudy grey debris stuck inside a tornado. But the only difference between that penny and humanity is that people leave and leave something behind. I know it’s on the inside or it’s supposed to be, but sometimes it creeps out, sometimes it’s just as tangible as a black eye or a broken bone.

But maybe that is the point of an anniversary: one day we don’t have to stuff it all in. Because Guts Out Mode isn’t necessarily a space one can live in. We have to do things like get out of bed, go to work, shower, dress, clean things, eat, shit, you get it. And grief, for one, is immobilizing. Maybe that’s why it feels so “go through the motions.” That’s what we do to survive, save it all up (the big part of it anyway) for 364 days.

Fuck that. I grieve every day. Still, when I wake, it’s one of the first things I have to remind myself. Maybe it’s a habit now. She’s gone. A part of me gone. But unlike that penny, I’m the liquidy puddle left behind, the burnt shape around where her body was. “The power of what isn’t there…” Somedays I feel like that void, walking.

I still can’t believe it’ll be two years since D died (tomorrow). But isn’t that how it is for everyone who has lost someone? It feels like both yesterday and forever ago.

I rarely put whole poems up here, but this one seemed fitting. Written last year around this time.

HOW I LIVE NOW [IN THREES]

You are the only thing
that dies each morning.
Sticky with sleep and

too many cigarettes, I
reach for you, the coffee
you taught me, creamer

first. You are dead and
it’s 10 AM so I shower,
remind myself explicitly:

you were never mine, and
to leave the conditioner
in longer. I hear it’s warmer

than winter outside if
I’ll have it. Every time,
you die when I drive.

I have nothing. It’s
sudden. The radio hiccups
some song I never heard,

but the sky is on fire,
the day leaving in that
blaze, the same dress you wore

after you died, everyone
frozen how you left us there,
alive like that, living.

 

<3

mt

 

Healthy Carrot Cake Bread

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Since some of you were asking for it, I thought I’d share this one. I have a pretty standard bread recipe that I adapt for different flavors: zucchini, gingerbread, pumpkin, etc. So hard to go without sweets when I eat healthy, so I try to make some that I can somewhat pig out on. Shhhh. And I sort of do this recipe/food writing thing for a living, so I thought it’d be easy to type this up for you.

Healthy Carrot Cake Bread
Makes 2 loaves.

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag matchstick cut carrots
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Egg Beaters (or 4 eggs)
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons imitation vanilla
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Prep: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 2 (9” x 5”) loaf pans with nonstick spray. Pulse carrots in food processor until finely chopped.

Bowl #1: Combine sugars, pineapple, applesauce, egg, vanilla and water. Beat until smooth. Stir in chopped carrots, cinnamon and allspice.

Bowl #2: Combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir well to incorporate.

Slowly add dry ingredients in Bowl #2 to wet ingredients in Bowl #1. Blend until well combined. Mix in chopped walnuts.

Bake: Divide batter between loaf pans. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check with a toothpick.

Allow to cool. Flip out onto a cutting board to remove from pan.

I have to warn you, this recipe isn’t super sweet. Feel free to add more sugar if you’d like. I wouldn’t go over 2 cups total, though. The pineapple and carrots are sweet enough. I topped it with light whipped cream cheese.

Hope you like it!

mt