Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thinking alot lately about the changing of residences,
exploring what that means, to me and those to whom
I am the closest. Am I particularly enamored of where
I hang my coat, or is it just habit? I am not, and have
never been, overly fond of this current residence.
It's old, semi-remodeled, in need of constant work.
The yard is too small, the basement filled with too
many spiders and exposed pipes, wires, beams, drains.
The living room is, essentially, one long hallway.
The bedrooms are tiny. The kitchen is big and is fairly
functional, but the alley garage is crumbling, leaking, slumping.
(Although my upper-level, my own personal bedroom en suite ,
completed three years ago, is lovely, with a balconey
and a view of the rising October moon and an occasional sunset.)
I love my neighbors, aka my Brandon Street Family.
Can I leave? Absolutely. Do I ever long for long-lost houses
of my past? Never. Don't get me wrong -- it is with infinite gratitude
that I return to my own home each evening. It is a privilege.
As is the proximity of so many treasured friends. I can't imagine
having raised my sons in a better place. But in the end,
it's a structure with a roof and four sides. It houses me and my sons.
And I'm ready to dust out the rafters, vacuum the heat vents,
cart away the used-up memories, box up and save the good ones.
The planet, in spite of our global mindset, is still a big place,
with a lot of room. It is with open arms and a clear mind that I approach
my upcoming new life. Open arms, and joy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

We saw (and heard) George Carlin tonight
at lovely Benaroya Hall where there is so much
leg room that you don't have to stand up when
someone walks down your aisle. We sat high up
in tier three, up flight after flight of stairs, and looked
down, down, dizzyingly down to the stage, where the
seventy-year-old Mr. Carlin, or "the old fuck", as he
refers to himself, pulled out all the stops. Nothing
passes him by -- no cliche, no platitude, no corporate
slogan, no political double-speak, no Bushian mumbo-jumbo.
It's all there to be examined, parsed, dissected and layed
out in cross-section, with all parts labeled. He is brilliant
and raunchy and gut-splittingly funny. Carlin began
the evening by poking fun at his advancing age, then
moved on to three particularly off-color jokes, followed
by rants on subjects ranging from Perfect Children to
What We Say To Widows At A Funeral. There is something
incredibly energizing to be in such a sizeable crowd
of laughing people.
--in memory, Mark Benchley Anderson
September 28, 1956-November 22, 2003

I have to tell you:
the starlings returned
to nest in the eaves
where you neglected repair.
You never loved them,
yet last year waited to roust
the messy twig and mud jumble
until each fledgling soared
clear of gutter and roof.
Grumbling, glad to be done,
this was your unmentioned gift
and I never thanked you.

Soon summer will spread its benevolent wing
over this unfinished house
where porches and railings
await the carpenter’s hammer and nail.
Our children — nearly men —
will desire to roam the city all night,
and I’ll let them go
one feather at a time,
always holding back
and then releasing, alone now
instructing in the mechanics of flight.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Some cars don't look like hats at all,
but some cars look like fishing caps.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In spite of the fact that I'm quite fond of the rain
and grey, I am always quite unprepared for it
when it actually occurs. I left the house this morning
minus a coat, with clogs and no socks. Cold! Damp!
Drip drip drip drip drip drip drip drip drip.

P. is going to crack the whip at me tonight as I
get my book-length manuscript in the mail.
This paper-shuffling-secretarial crap just does not
suit me. I would rather mop the floor. Really.
And I despise mopping.

Monday, September 24, 2007

At the bakery a customer once asked me if
there was any meat in the cupcakes. Meat!
My guess was that she was newly-vegan, and
didn't quite have the lingo down yet. I had to
surpress a chortle (actually, more of a guffaw),
and I told her, "no meat in these cakes!"
If I had chosen to include a meat filling in a cupcake,
I could've labeled them "Beef Cakes!"
But now, after my Safeway Tropicana Tilapia/Sardine/Anchovy
experience/inspiration, I could make Tilapia Cupcakes!
Sardine Oil Scones! Anchovy-Chip Cookies!
Endless possibilites.....could be the next food fad....
or perhaps not.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The October issue of Gourmet magazine has a feature
article on Holly Smith, owner of Cafe Juanita in Kirkland
where Paul and I are getting married. (Unfortunately,
Gourmet doesn't post their current articles online.) Last year
Gourmet listed Cafe Juanita in their top fifty restaurants
nationwide. I brought Paul there for his birthday in April,
and not long after we booked it for the Big Event. (It was
running neck and neck with Canlis, which beats Juanita
hands down when it comes to the setting, but the food
got the final vote....) Cafe Juanita is superb.

Yummy Blended Fish Juice Product!

At Safeway today I was looking at the list of ingredients
in some Tropicana orange juice in the carton to see if it
was from concentrate, and this is what it said:
Ingredients: orange juice. Contains tilapia, sardines, anchovies.
Yikes! Fish in my OJ! No way! I am not kidding.
I'm thinking, what, is it pureed? Chunky? Is this
what they mean when the label says contains pulp?
Upon further investigation, I discovered that it contained fish oil.
Couldn't the Tropicana people get a bit more
specific on their label??!! Perhaps, tilapia oil, sardine oil, etc.
But, now that I think of it, that isn't much more appealing.
No thanks, no Tropicana for me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I did some dark driving tonight, from Port Ludlow
to Seattle, unlit roads and unfamiliar curves,
one cup of strong black tea not quite enough
to keep me longing for sleep and the comfort
of blankets. The interminable wait for the ferry.
I could not do this with any regularity.
Paul picked me up for work yesterday
in his new Prius! Man, that is one outer-space
vehicle. It is completely silent on start-up
and when idling. Need I mention the terrific
gas mileage?! I meant to have him pose in front
of it last night when we were dressed to go to
Jazz Alley....he looked sooooooo sharp in his
black slacks, black Hugo Boss shirt and camel
blazer, beside the charcoal Jetson's transport device.
It's a very smooth ride.

Is today the first day of not-summer?
This morning it was not sunny and not windy
and the last of my tomatoes are not thriving.
My pumpkins are not glorious and my grapes
are not ripe. (Although that last statement could
be a lie as I haven't actually tasted them yet this year.)
I did not finish reading Motherless Brooklyn because
it did not have much of a plot. I am not staying home tonight
but hopping a ferry for Port Ludlow where I most likely
will not talk about Motherless Brooklyn at my book group.
Sometimes I am notty, and sometimes I'm not.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Mitten! A Mitten!

Is this mitten for me?
Is that mitten for me, too?

That mitten is for you, Janet.
This mitten is for you, too.

Is this mitten for me?
That mitten is for you, Jack.

I have a mitten.
I have this mitten, Jack.
You have that mitten.

This mitten is for Janet, too.

from Tip and Mitten: Mckee, Paul and Harrison, Lucile M.,
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007


Paul made a wonderful soup yesterday, perfectly
appropriate for a rainy Sunday: white beans,
spicy Italian sausage, vegetable broth, tomatoes,
carrots, onion, garlic. (What? No celery?! He doesn't
like celery. I LOVE celery. Must be the French girl
in me.) We ate it with cornbread.

Later, at dinner with my boys, I made a version
of Waldorf Salad, minus the mayo: chopped red-leaf
lettuce, chopped gala apple (they're really good this
year), celery (yay!), green onion, toasted walnuts.
Reilly made a white wine vinaigrette with the addition
of some huckleberry honey. Oh yeah!
And so the rains return. They feel like a blessing,
like holy water upon my head. All the garden plants
bow down, in reverence.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Troll King

from the American Heritage Dictionary -
troll (trōl) n. A supernatural creature of Scandinavian folklore, variously portrayed as a friendly or mischievous dwarf or as a giant, that lives in caves, in the hills, or under bridges.

The sign outside Mutual Fish on Rainier Avenue today said,
"Troll King Salmon." Wha? Huh?
Who is the Troll King? Where can I meet him?
Where is his kingdom? Is there a Troll Queen?
And why does the Troll King get to have salmon
named after him?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I ordered a dress today online, fancy
with tiny beads sewn all over, very 1920's.
And no, I will not post a photo of it on this blog.
And yes, it's a wedding dress. Or, at least, it's what
this fifty-something chooses to wear to tie the knot.
I had to buy it in a size a bit smaller than my actual
girth, as it was sold out in my specs.'s all
simple math, no? A bit of subtraction, here and there?
I love that the color is nude. Both Paul and Nelson
were very alarmed when I disclosed this detail.

7am. Standing on my balconey, cloud cover.
All the cars on Wilson Avenue rush north,
into the city. I can hear them, but they
are concealed by houses, trees, fences.
Bush-tits in the apple trees, with their
tiny high-pitched ee ee ee. About fifteen
of them, and when they take off they
look like grey butterflies, or a bouquet
fallen suddenly apart, petals lofted.
A squirrel in the maple tree, scuttering
through the canopy. I can see a neighbor
in the house behind me --his back door
is open -- spray a pan with cooking oil
and place it on a burner. I guess eggs.
He's a widower. I've never seen
a visitor to his house. A silent man with a long
horse-face and enormous glasses. Someone else
in another house is putting away dishes. Their
clink-and-clank punctuate this morning stillness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A List of Things on my Trunk (coffee table)

a box of reduced-fat Nilla Wafers
Pontoon Number Eight
Wheel of Days
, by Linda Greenmun
In the Next Galaxy, by Ruth Stone
Old Filth , by Jane Gardam
Straw for the Fire, by Theodore Roethke
Haiku U,by David M. Bader
HomArt, Fall and Winter 2007
Caribbean & Mediterranean Yachting Cruises DVD
Best of the Best, Your 2007 Guide to the
World's Best Hotel Experiences

a russet-brown sharpie
Brocato curl-energizing cream
a digital camera
a tomato pin-cushion
a spool of royal-blue thread
(are you still with me?)
my folder of acceptance/rejection records, dating to 1978
One Day on Achill Island
One Day in Donegal
William Christenberry, by William Christenberry
a plastic glitter pear
a package of 100% bamboo fiber towelettes
The New Yorker, July 23 and August 27 issues
Gourmet magazine, May 2007
a blank CD-R
The Whole World Over, by Julia Glass
an i-pod nano
headphones to above
three pencils
three pens
a 6x4" spiral notebook
The Oxford Book of Aphorisms
a stack of photographs (on paper) from Nelson's birthday
the O'Shea Chaplin Academy of Irish Dance Family Cookbook
Bayou magazine
Crab Creek Review
Slant magazine
a bar of goat milk soap, lilac-scented, handmade
in Ballyvaughn, County Clare, Ireland
my hair-stylist's business card

(And this is fairly cleaned-up!)

Paul and I saw Richard Thompson at the Moore
last night. Great show. Drummer Michael Jerome
mesmerized me. I'm usually not into drums, but
he made those drums sound meaty. Visceral.
(And he was altogether too gorgeous! Those forearms!)
The music was an amazing blend of rock'n'roll
and British folk, including a sea shanty where
Pete Zorn played a bass flute -- wow! Deeply
resonant, moody, the sound rolled like ocean waves
under a midnight sky. After the show we walked
down to the Virginia Inn, where a woman
was quite peeved that I objected to her
cigarette smoke wafting into my face.
I think she thought it was acceptable
because we were sitting outside.
Nope! Twenty-five feet, girlie!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I've been meaning to write about this. About
getting married. I honestly don't know how
people can do this casually, or over and over
again. It's big. Giant. Moving from one life
to another. There exists excitement and joy
and fear and change and companionship
and patience and faith and, just possibly, contentment.
(Dare I imagine this? Its likelihood?)
For a time, for a short time, or longer,
even many many years, all stretched
in front of me, a steady path.
I anticipate kindness,
I welcome tenderness.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Summer wanes, teases us with heat.
Dinner tonight under the kiwi vines,
grilled salmon, apple-pumpkinseed-red-onion'n'greens-salad,
marinated Yukon golds. Vouvray. Another white wine
with the word "ghost" embossed on the label.
Lavender chocolate, cassis chocolate.
When the light began to ease I lit two candles,
and finally the yellow-jackets ceased
their pestering.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sea Hedgehog

From Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany:

Aphrodisiacs -- Notable of mention are: orchids
(orchis is the Greek word for testicle);
whirtleberries; snowdrops; partridge brains
(mashed into powder and swallowed with red wine);
and truffles (which were so prized by George IV
that he instructed his ambassadors in Europe to
dispatch any prize specimens to the royal kitchen
by state messenger).....lobsters, crabs, sea hedgehogs,
cuttlefish....frog's bones, sucking-fish, dried marrow,
nail cuttings.....

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Friday night we attended The Great Art Party,
a fundraiser for Floating Bridge Press. Paul
acquired four Bamboo Cordials (glass) by
Susan Balshor. I volunteered as an Art Handler...
three hours on my feet in high heels --
it was a blast, but, alas, my poor feet....
The color theme was orange (puke) and all volunteers
were pressed to wear orange construction vests.
My-oh-my what a beguiling effect the color orange
has on the average complexion! (OMG -- an exclamation point!)
Massive orange balloons floated above us
like bloated oranges, and all the food was orange.
(But no Cheetos. Hmm. Damn I love Cheetos.)
For entertainment there were tango dancers,
an interpretive Japanese dance,
a pair of burlesque dancers, a drag-queen dj.
And lots of silly people. Martini's, champagne, helium:
what more could anyone possibly ask for?
I absolutely cannot wait for next year's
Great Art Party. How about you? Will I see you there?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Daily Spider Sweep

Does anyone else have this problem?
Every morning I go through the house
with a broom aimed at the intersection
of wall and ceiling (in every room),
sweeping clear the accumulated arachnids.
Sometimes I'll release them outside,
sometimes I just do them in. The very
dark, insidious, chunky Giant House Spiders
meet death at my hands at every opportunity.
I have tried, again and again, to make peace
with these creatures, and they are welcome
in my garden. (Although I am not fond
of the nets they string each night
outside my front door and down
the front steps.) But I have not invited them
into my house, nor do I ever intend to.
They are especially fond of the basement
of this built-in-1908 house, inhabiting
sorted piles of laundry beside the washer.
I avoid my basement after sunset.
Absolutely check out Peter's blog today
about Vaux's Swifts in's really quite amazing.
(No exclamation point.)
Vacuuming Spiders

I admire their geometrical patience,
the tidy way they wrap up leftovers,
their willingness to be the earth's
most diligent consumers of small bitternesses.

Sometimes at night I hear them
casting silk threads, clicking their spinnerets,
plucking their webs like blind Irish harpists.
I can almost taste the fruit of the fly
like sucking the pulp from a grape.

But when their webs on the ceiling
begin to converge, and the floor
glitters with shards of insect wings
I drag out the vacuum
and poke its terrible snout under the sofa,
behind the radio—everywhere,

for this is the home of a human being
and I must act like one
or the whole picture goes haywire.

Poem: "Vacuuming Spiders" by Charles Goodrich, from Insects of South Corvallis. © Cloudbank Books, 2003. Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A neighbor is quietly cutting down
his apple tree with a coping saw.
He's been at it for about a week.
Every evening he goes out and cuts
for about a half-hour. I'm not sure
why he doesn't get a bigger saw.
But he seems to be coping with the small
size quite well.
I haven't used an exclamation point
since Sunday. I've declared a moratorium
on exclamation points. Exclamation points
should be limited by law.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Listening -- again -- to the Once soundtrack.
Paul gave it to me today. I made meatloaf to it
after work (Oregon Country Beef, breadcrumbs, eggs,
onion, garlic, thyme-from-the-garden, oregano,
basil, Italian parsely, parmesan, ketchup.)
Baked four potatoes, split an acorn squash
and filled each half with butter and brown sugar.
Fresh green beans. Dinner a la Renton 1970,
made each year when summer shifts into September
and the air begins to smell like ripe apples.
And no, I did not make Jello. (But I keep threatening
to get out my Jello cookbook. Gotta love those
cow-hoof products.)
I DID NOT eat the alligator-on-a-stick
at Bumbershoot. Although Paul threatened to.
"It's white meat," he said.

Kultur Shock's gypsy-rock was amazing.
(We did the Paul Goode Bumbershoot Tour.)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Just saw Once, a low-budget ($150,000) Irish film
starring Glen Hansard, singer-songwriter from the
band The Frames (never heard of the band, but that doesn't
mean much!). Understated, passionate, free of cliches
and romantic idealism. This movie opened late spring,
so I'm surprised it's still around, but it's definitely
worth seeing. A perfect little gem of a movie.
Each waking: which day? Which week? Month?
Which house? Which city? Which continent?
Am I seventeen or fifty? Which body, which self?
Am I dreaming, still? Which hour, which minute?
What, and why?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Books and books and boxes of books.
And more. I've never known their titles
and I've never read their words. Some
spine-damaged from the Louisa Street fire
of 1987. Everything M. collected and stashed
and saved and hid. I sort and toss,
take boxes to Goodwill and still the basement
is full, bursting. The first editions I'll
keep, if I perceive value, if they are clean,
or very fine or even mint (although these
are rare). I doubt that more treasures await.
I desire clean-sweeping and blank spaces.
Memory purged.
Words fail me.
Even the crows are silent.