Sunday, December 30, 2007

Party of the Century

Yep. And it was mine. And Paul's.
Wish we could have invited all 500
of our friends/family, but, well, at this age,
I think it's a good idea to only have as
many guests as ones age. Or as many as will fit
in Cafe Juanita, whose staff, by the way,
Menu will be posted later!
(But I recall quail, saddle of lamb,
salt cod fritti, pappardelle with goose sugo....
And lots of Prosecco, a lovely Nebbiolo.)
Both Paul and I managed to get through
the "till death do us part" portion of the vows
without voices cracking or tears descending the cheeks.
Ahhh. Layers and layers of emotions there, our four
beautiful young men beside us (Reilly, Nelson, PK, Bill),
alive and shining with the grace of being well-loved.
This afternoon P. and I shall walk to the Market
(we're ensconced at the Fairmont Olympic)
and shop for new cookware at Sur La Table.
Joy by the heaping cupful!
(No pinch, no smidgen. No carefully leveled.)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I would live in your love as the sea-grasses live
in the sea,
Borne up by each wave as it passes,
drawn down by each wave that recedes;
I would empty my soul as the dreams
that have gathered in me,
I would beat with your heart as it beats,
I would follow your soul as it leads.

Sara Teasdale

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wedding practice. There is a reason for this.
Oops! Wrong music! Whoa! Stand here! No! Here!
Turn it up. Turn it down. Scoot over.
Move the chairs back. Now line them up.
Now arc them. Now separate them.
Walk up the stairs. Now walk down the stairs.
Do it again. Turn and face each other.
Move the flowers. Get rid of the table.
More candles. Candles. Don't make me laugh.
Are we done now? Let's run through it again.
What's for dinner?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The threatened snow never arrived,
and we canceled Spa Day even so.
Spent the afternoon routing out
the corners of my bedroom, making way,
making way. Bags stuffed for give-aways,
the useless tossed, the useful carefully
folded, boxed. And then it was on
to razor-cutting each wedding-favor edge,
a John Lennon song, the text neatly reproduced
in claret ink on chardonnay card stock, mounted
then on burgundy card stock. With a single malt

In My Life
There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
--John Lennon

Rain, please.

I love snow. But no snow, not today.
People arriving (perhaps already arrived, actually)
from Ottawa, Florida, Virginia, Texas.
And I want to go to Olympus Spa today in the north
with friends from work. I want to lie on a heated floor
and then get scrubbed with salt. I want to not think.
I want to float, to steam.

The cats have taken over the Christmas tree water.
What is it about these creatures? There is always
fresh water in two dishes in two different locations
in this house, but for some reason the water pooled
at the base of a brightly lit decorated fir
is so much more delicious.

Entered into retail post-Christmas madness briefly
yesterday to find a tie for Paul for the wedding.
Stripes! Satin! Paisley! Dots! Squares! Geometry!
Algebra! Calculus! (Whoops. Got a little carried away.)
All the salesmen at Nordstrom looked the same:
twenty-something, dark hair, well-groomed.
Little happy selling clone boys.

And I'm very efficiently avoiding everything
I must do today while writing this blog.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Tom Porter's Brussel Sprout Story

Shopping at Puget Consumer's Co-op this afternoon,
I was dismayed at not seeing anyone I knew. I
dawdled by the beer cooler, pondering the many
varieties, wondering which hip new label would
appeal to the twenty-somethings at my Christmas table.
I knew that if I stood there long enough, someone
I knew would walk in, and sure enough, my friends
Carol and Tom appeared, as if on cue.
We talked beer, Carol recommended a Pinor Noir,
Tom rustled up the Cheese Man who recommended
a Manchego substitute, of which they were out.
I next caught Tom sifting through brussel sprouts,
picking out the tiniest. Wish someone in my house
liked brussel sprouts! He asked me if I'd ever heard
his brussel sprout story, and I said no. One must
settle-in to listen to a Tom Porter story, so that I did
among the portobella's and watercress and Dungeness Farm carrots
(among the gridlock of grocery carts and elbowing
produce seekers): Tom was hitchhiking in California,
must've been twenty-five-thirty years ago, and sometime
in the middle of the night, was suddenly let out
of the car in which he was traveling, in the dark,
and just possibly a bit hazy from a certain
inhalation. He awoke the next morning in the middle
of a field of brussel sprouts. No explanation:
that's just where he was. And that was his breakfast:
brussel sprouts, raw, fresh off the stalk.
We read A Child's Christmas in Wales
by Dylan Thomas, out loud, Nelson and I.
A Christmas Eve ritual in this house. Reilly
played with the cats, gave them a holiday dose
of catnip, so "Aunt Hannah sang like a big-bosomed thrush"
was accompanied by the romping and galloping
of drugged kitties. Even the old cats played,
lured out of their sedate naps by waggling ribbons.
Tip pulled a wrapped piece of Christmas candy
from behind the piano. God only knows how long
it's been there! Not one of us had seen it before.
All this after homemade pizza (coppacola, feta, kalamata)
and an afternoon session of cookie making (candy-cane
cookies) and floor mopping. I insist on a clean floor
for Christmas. That way it gets cleaned
at least once a year.
I started a coconut cake last night.
Baked two layers, split them, filled them
with sour cream with some sugar swirled-in
and a bunch of coconut. Poked holes so the
filling can macerate, settle. Tomorrow I'll
whip up a seven-minute icing and transform
the towering, oozing layers into a glimmering
snowy confection, set on a vintage pink plate.
O heavenly!

R. also requested a cherry pie, so we searched
for the out-of-season iconic orbs at Safeway
yesterday, found some battered fresh Bing-types
in the produce department. The sign said
"Northwest Bings" but the bag said "Product of Chile."
Hmm. Questionable. There were some generic canned
sour pie cherries -- also questionable. Other canned
versions appeared equally unpromising. We finally opted
for two bags of frozen cherries. I will not use
the fluorescent Red Dye #40 canned cherry pie filling
that lights up the baking aisle! (With Real Cherry Flavor!)
A college friend of Paul's
from Austin sent him this poem today:

Marble Cake

A widowed friend is marrying
A woman who lost her husband
Four years ago
I picture batter in a bowl
Chocolate marbling into white
Flavors blending but retaining
Separate integrity
As the mixture stirs and rises to a cake of marvelous height
Layered in the variegated texture of memory
All-over iced with future sweetness
Melting on the tongue

--Nita Lou Bryant

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A need to be private these next few days,
to burrow into winter, to sleep out this rain.
Contemplation, meditation, silence.
But no! Lo! Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I am going to talk about my son
for just a moment. Bear with me.
R. was magnificent in the kitchen
Thursday evening. I had many reservations
about hosting a sit-down dinner for 22 friends
the week before Christmas, the week before
my wedding. (I'm also in the middle of packing.)
But he persisted. He rarely asks for anything.
So I went forward on faith, and the payoff was
beyond any dollar amount imaginable. A bit of history:
this young man suffered debilitating seizures as a toddler;
he missed entire developmental stages.
We were reduced to experimental drug therapies
after the traditional methods failed, and were
ultimately successful. Then followed years of
therapy. At four, after two years of seizures
and intense medical intervention, he began to learn
to talk again. At eight years of age, he gradually
withdrew from all medication, and has been seizure-free
since. But he emerged from all this as a unique
individual, with challenges the rest of us would
take for granted. The death of his father four years
ago was an unfathomable blow, and he's moved forward
in his life since then at a slow and jagged pace.
The Culinary Arts Program at South Seattle Community
College has been a marvelous home for him these
past two years. He doesn't cook at my house often enough
for my taste, so seeing him in his element cranking
out dinner for 22 in my less-than-adequate kitchen
was like, oh, perhaps seeing one's son step forward
to receive a diploma from, say, Harvard. He was efficient,
professional, poised, organized, wildly creative, humble
(unlike his mother!) And he was smiling. It's been so long
since I've seen that. Planning and preparing the house
for this event and shopping for the ingredients
was something for which I had no time. There were
moments when I considered calling the whole thing off.
I was sick for the four days prior and nearly reduced
to tears more than once. But he kept assuring me
that we could do this, and I trusted him, and what
transpired was perhaps the best evening of my life:
three long tables stretched the length of my living room,
dozens of candles down the center, cedar greens and
holly branches and vases of red tulips. The only light
from the tree and the candles. Twenty-one of the best friends
(mostly neighbors, one fiance, two sons) imaginable.
R. received a standing ovation. I stand up
and applaud my handsome and magnificent son.

Maria Muldaur's touring RV is parked outside my house.
She rolled into town yesterday afternoon to do two shows
at the Highway Ninety-Nine Club. When
in Seattle (and I've always been out of town on previous
visits) she stays with my neighbor Candy, across the street.
The band members are bunking at another neighbor's house.
Now, Candy's house is slightly larger than a doll house,
and this massive bus/RV dwarfs it. I've yet to meet her,
but tonight Paul and I are going to her show.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Running on fumes. Need to refuel.
Very little sleep. Took the elevators
in the King County Administration Building today
and one of the floors doesn't have a number
but it does have a letter. "T". Why?
And in Nordstrom downtown, the women's clothing floors
are numbered 1, 2, and 3; but the men's floor is just "M".
In some department stores in France, the basement level
is marked "-1". Now that makes sense.
(Paul and I got our marriage license application!)
(Then we walked down to Cafe Paloma on Yesler
for a late lunch, the restaurant quiet and subdued.
We were both a bit slow and dumb by that point,
no need for talk, just calm and secure in each others
presence. The Mediterranean flavors served as a balm
to the frantic pace of these past few days -- feta
and tomatoes and hummous and olives. Lemon vinaigrette.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Menu

Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktails
Marcona Almonds
Marinated Olives

Pink Lady Apple & Cabbage Slaw
with Confetti Peppers
& a Dijon Blood-Orange Vinaigrette

Pork Roulade with Pears, Garlic, Fresh Rosemary
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Sauvignon Blanc Braised Mushrooms
Filet Green Beans Tossed with Cashews & Shallots

Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwiches
Candy-Cane Ice Cream Sandwiches
Mayan Cocoa with Peach Schnapps
Bourbon Eggnog
I am grateful
I am grateful
I am grateful
Mushrooms give up no secrets.
The radishes argue.
And O! The humble cabbage!


Reilly's eggnog slips like silk
across the tongue.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Crazy prep for the dinner party today. Costco.
Trader Joe's. Scrub scrub scrub. Tested the pomegranate
martini. Needs something sweet. (And it's not really
a martini and I really loathe this current fashion
to call anything and everything a martini
if it's served in a martini glass.) The boys
are down the street picking up tables. Julie polished
silver for me: thank-you Julie! The ice cream base
is cooling in the fridge. Reilly is starting the forcemeat
stuffing for the pork loin any minute. (Adding pears,
fresh rosemary and shallots.) I need a double refrigerator.
It's been packed and repacked several times today.
Linda brought over an alstromeria bouquet. Plates
are stacked. The wicks on the candles are standing
at attention. Pot roast for today's dinner nearly burned
from inattention. Going to my writing group tonight,
our second annual White Elephant Gift Exchange.
My contribution is a record album:
Anita Bryant, The Miracle of Christmas.
Here's a tidbit from the album notes: "Anita Bryant sings
these familiar songs of the Christmas season, and she
sings them the way you like to hear them."
And I know you are all jealous.
I just bet you all wish you could have
your very own Anita Bryant album.
I had a date last night with five
very handsome and gracious men.
It began at ACT where we saw A Christmas Carol,
(the ghost of Marley lept out of the bed
this year -- explosions of surprised laughter!
[I should say it surprised the Dickens out of us]),
then dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.
(I just typed -- and then corrected --
Ruth's Christ Steakhouse. What would a Christ Steakhouse
be like, I wonder?!) After last night's meal
I really shouldn't eat for several days....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I hunkered down this afternoon at Uwajimaya
at the Vietnamese lunch counter over a bowl
of steaming pho, fragrant with fresh ginger, basil,
jalapeno. There are half a dozen stools wedged-in
down a little corridor. It's cozy, anonymous, private.
The perfect antidote to rain and shopping panic.

Monday, December 17, 2007

So. I was at a family gathering yesterday
expressing my anxieties about leaving the family
home, moving out and leaving my (grown)(in college)
sons at home, an upside-down sense of abandonment,
which I intellectually know is silly. (Actually, I cannot wait
to abandon the mountains of laundry they have a tendency
to leave everywhere.) My youngest son
volunteered that the two of them are delighted
in the upcoming arrangement, and he actually said,
"Phew. Now we won't have to do dishes all the time."
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!!
This all reminds me of when R. was an infant, and I
had to go back to work. I'd heard of the phrase
"separation anxiety," and seeing that this was in the
olden days of the last century, pre-internet, I did my best
to research how one dealt with it. I was very surprised
to find out that all the literature centered on how to prepare
the infant for the separation -- not the mother!
I was not at all concerned about R., as he was going to be
cared for by his father, at home. I was concerned about me!
I felt as if I was the only mom on the planet
who hated leaving her baby every day. Baby and Dad
managed beautifully. I was jealous. Sigh.
Time to grow up. Time for everyone
to grow up.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My first and last names anagram to Secret Healer.
How does your name fare?

I love this image. These were most likely the
u-cut version. Impossible. Difficult.
Predecessor to the punch-out variety.
Loved the little tabs for holding on
the various outfits. You boys out there
have no idea what you have missed!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Spent four hours today trying out fancy hair
and fancy makeup (didn't even recognize myself)
at a salon in Kirkland. Pampering.
Came out to a cold and windy afternoon
on Lake Washington, the hairpins holding fast
each carefully coifed fancy wisp.
I am ready to be Bride.
In fact, I went to a party on Yarrow Point
disguised as a bride. This was not a fancy
party, per se. Fancy house, fancy pomegranate
martini's, not fancy people, though. Down to earth,
pleasant people. As one guest has been quoted
as saying, "Face it -- we're all white trash."
(Well, maybe in a prior life. Or last week.)
Lots of people in jeans and a scruff of a beard
and wool sweaters: tres Northwest/Seattle.
And then there was me: somewhere between
Marge Simpson and the Queen Mum.
With my Big Beautiful Hair. I felt perhaps
just a wee bit conspicuous with my pink Coco Chanel lips.
My bronzed jaw. Rouged and plucked.

Strike Two

The pharmacy clerk at Safeway. Again.
(Wait: his name is Sang. Not Sing,
not Sung. Sang. And I didn't question him
on this! I didn't say, shouldn't your name tag
say Song?) He said that the bottle had an odd flange,
and wondered if it would bother me.
He said, "Some senior citizens
have a hard time with it." I wondered for
perhaps a second about what he was saying,
then it dawned on me: he thought we was being
considerate of me, thought I was a senior citizen!
(No offense, Senior Citizens.) I looked straight
at him and nearly shouted: "I AM NOT A SENIOR CITIZEN!"
He appeared to be confused for a second or two,
then quickly backpedaled, apologetic, obsequious.
He really does seem to be a sweet young man,
though I can't even begin to imagine what he'll say next.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Working well under pressure, although
hours and hours of sleep are required.
Wedding two weeks away: finally ordered
flowers today, over the phone. I highly
recommend Ballard Blossom. Professional,
helpful, efficient. Most of all: reliable.
Dark red roses, pale pink roses. No blushing
white. (No blushing whatsoever. Too late for that.)
Christmas tree is in the stand, albeit crooked.
No decorations yet. No lights. House is still
in complete disarray but (I'm trusting) that
will all change in the next six days prior
to the giant dinner party. I really could
use the services of a housekeeper. A live-in
housekeeper. (Dream on.) Last day of work today
then several weeks off.....ahhhhhh.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

There were no miracles....

Melinda and I went to Nordstrom today
to buy bathing suits. Steeled ourselves.
The best-selling item for the post-teen, post-size-zero,
post-bikini mature women (when did I
get to be mature, anyway?) is called the Miracle Suit.
Huh. The only miracle that I witnessed
was when I actually managed to squeeze my torso
into one of those elastic compression devices.
The problem with frontal steel-belting is that excess body mass
is forced out the back of the garment.
Kind of like sausage bursting from its casing.
Not at all pretty! Whilst undergoing
this self-imposed torture in the dressing room,
Melinda yelled out to me: "Do you think they
have any burka bathing suits?!"
We each did manage to leave with a new swimming costume.
M. opted not to get the red suit. I opted for a matching
black skirt/cover-up. (Although what exactly it's supposed
to be covering up I can't for the life of me figure out.
Fully costumed, there is still altogether way too much
of me without any covering whatsoever.)
Sigh. O youth forever lost.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

After reading Rebecca's accounting of the salmon
returning to spawn in a local creek, this poem
by David Wagoner has been afloat in my brain
all week:


They hold their hands over their mouths
And stare at the stretch of water.
What can be said has been said before:
Strokes of light like herons' legs in the cattails,
Mud underneath, frogs lying even deeper.
Therefore, the poets may keep quiet.
But the corners of their mouths grin past their hands.
They stick their elbows out into the evening,
Stoop, and begin the ancient croaking


I've always loved this poem.
I'd much rather be pre-minstrel
than pre-menstrual.
This is hard to explain, but I'll try:
In my bedroom, which faces east, there
is a bank of windows through which
the sunrise shines every morning.
Just now, while lying in bed, I saw
in another window, a side window, a perfect square
of pink and yellow light -- perhaps two by two feet.
Its lines were not gauzy; all was perfectly delineated.
It appeared to be hovering. Fascinated, and not entirely
sure what it was, I arose, and, of course, this
reflection shifted when I shifted, and disappeared.
When I got back in bed and positioned myself
at the same angle as before, there it was again,
but the light had intensified -- now fuschia,
now gold. Ephemeral window, an entrance (an exit?)
to another life? And of course, as I write this,
it has entirely disappeared along with the rising sun,
behind the ever-present winter clouds.
O golden moment!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nom de Moi

I have absolutely no time for this blog
these next few weeks but I doubt that will
keep me away from this keyboard.....
The girl who bagged my groceries at Safeway today
was named "Bionica." What if her last name is "Mann?"
Not good. The last time I picked up an RX
from the same store, the pharmacy clerk
asked for my last name, which I told him.
Then he asked my first name (ALWAYS difficult),
as it's Therese (and I can't seem to do accents here
but there are two of them, on the first and
second "e's.") Just like the saint from France.
Bona fide French name. Correctly pronounced,
it sounds something like this: tay-rez. Give or
take a gutteral "r." So, after I told him
my name, he found my RX, and said, "OHHHHH,
you mean Teresa! I just groaned. So sick and tired
of mispronunciation. Thus the pruning to the single
letter T. And what nerve from that clerk!
What did he expect me to say? "Oh, yeah, that's it!
I always mispronounce my own name! Thanks
for correcting me!"
Parents-to-be: pay attention!
Give that kid a relatively easy name!

Here are some mispronunciations (and misspellings)
of my name that I've endured these past fifty years:
Terez (actually not so bad)
...and my current favorite, my name as seen
on the Q-West (I will not say "quest!") bill : Threrse.
Please, call me T.


Attempting to carve out a space
in my living room for a tree. Of the evergreen
variety. I miss the $5 Chubby & Tubby trees.
I saw an ad in the paper last week advertising
C & T trees at a lot somewhere out north -- Shoreline,
I believe. But without the old variety store
with its merchandise stacked to the ceiling,
it's just not the same thing. Upon purchase
of a tree, every customer was given a key,
where one could attempt to unlock the Treasure Box
in the store. One year Nelson's key opened it!
He received a $10 gift certificate, which he promptly
spent on a green fleece hat with a long tail
and a pom-pom. Our cat Tip went crazy over
the pom, and we had to make sure we put the hat
high out of his reach or he'd spend hours
chewing on it. Chubby & Tubby trees were the old-fashioned
Doug firs, untrimmed, spare, often flattened from
lying stacked one against the other. They needed fluffing.
Tree-shopping there was a source of great amusement.
And you couldn't beat the price, even when they
went up to a whopping $7.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I want to lie on a beach
and sleep for about 200 hours.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I got up sometime during the night
to use the bathroom, didn't turn on
any lights, and my pajamas
were sparking with static electricity!
Every time I moved I looked like a
human sparkler. This is an advantage
to getting over ones fear of the dark.

Friday, December 7, 2007

My friend Genevieve told me today
that every Christmas season she, her husband
and their son build a gingerbread house.
Actually, she said it's more a gingerbread sculpture,
with turrets and drawbridges and spikes and porches
and and and. They work on it for several weeks, adding
layer upon layer of nasty neon-colored candy (which we
whole-heartedly agreed is NOT food), adding rooms
and roofs and entirely new wings. Until, by January 1st,
they tire of it completely, haul it out to the driveway
and set it on fire with blow torches. She said that a lot
of the flaming candy smells really good, but some of it
smells really bad, and it sparks and flares with the most
amazing colors. Cool. My kind of gingerbread.
Tell me I'm crazy. I'm planning a sit-down dinner
for 22, five days before Christmas, for my neighbors
who are practically family. In my not-so-big house.
This involves moving furniture out of the living/dining room
and setting up tables the length of it.
We'll be touching elbows (and most likely shoulders,
thighs, forearms), the lights will be dimmed
to hide the dust and the carpet which needs
to be replaced. My son the culinary whiz is confident
(or delusional?) that we can pull this off.
Why am I doing this? Because I love to entertain.
I love to cook. When I was twelve, I tried unsuccessfully
to talk my mother into turning our house into a
restaurant. (In the Renton suburbs, no less!)
I made out a floor plan, a menu. I priced all my
ingredients based on the weekly Safeway ad.
(I didn't know about wholesale at age twelve.)
I was shocked that she didn't agree to do it.
Thought it was the perfect plan. My dear mother.
I mean, who wouldn't want strangers roaming
through ones house, sipping coffee in the living room,
forking sausages in the bedroom? (No apologies for that
last image.) So....this fantasy resurfaces.
And it's crazy right now because I'm getting ready
to move, getting ready for a wedding, and it's Christmas.
The more stress the better! No wonder
I wake up at 4am every day.....
Waking at 3:30am, or 4am, night after night,
the brain overloaded with details. Each day
divided into 15-minute segments. I go to work
to relax.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

In the garden the apple trees --
the Akane and Chehalis --
lay down their heavy load,
the earth at their feet
a confetti of red and green,
the party at last over.


From a journal:

(from a dream, 1999)
Cupboards refill as soon as I pack a box,
all the plates, mugs, emptied bowls
in their newspaper nests,
yesterday's events crumpled.
There is to be no end
to this leaving.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rustling through papers, sorting and tossing.
Found an envelope containing ten slides:
five of Mark as a toddler, five of Reilly
at roughly the same age. Who put these in this
envelope? Mark? Me? And when? Why? This was in the
bottom of a drawer long abandoned, old bank statements
and gas company bills. I abandoned many things
four years ago. Just closed up boxes and drawers,
moved the good stuff into my new living space upstairs
and left everything else behind. Bye bye.
But back to the slides: held up to the light,
it was difficult to tell Reilly from his father
in such a tiny square space. The same curls.
The same inverted half-moon eyes. The same cheeriness.
I also found a bunch of photos someone took
the night after Mark died, at a neighborhood wake,
and everyone is smiling. It looks like a birthday party.
(No: a Deathday Party.) Can someone tell me what
everyone was so damned happy about????

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Yoga. Early morning.
At the close of each practice, we lie
on our backs, eyes closed, feet slightly apart
and arms extended out from the body, palms upward.
Savasana. Ten minutes, after a fairly intense workout
of stretches and prolonged poses. Time
for the body to process all that it has just done,
time to free the mind of thoughts. I've been
practicing yoga for nearly two years, and once
during savasana I had the sensation of levitating,
my body raising about twelve inches, then rotating,
floating, all very slow and dream-like. Today
I was given the gift of another other-world experience.
I was lying on my back, a mini lavender-scented
pillow over my eyes. There was a window open, and the clouds
parted for a few minutes. (This after three days of wild weather:
snow followed by monsoon-like rains.) I could sense sunlight
illuminating the room. The wind kicked up, and a chime
tinkled outside, delicately audible. As the wind rustled
the curtains, crinkled the edges of magazines,
filling the room with an almost balmy glow,
I was aware of spirits entering on the breeze, flowing
around the three of us supine on our mats,
bright benevolent swirls of blues, greens, reds, yellows.
They persisted for just a few moments --
until the furnace clicked on, forcing hot, packaged air
into the space, driving our visitors back out the windows.
The chimes became silent, the sun disappeared.
As if there was no place for these -- what? Ghosts?
Angels? -- in our conscious world. Our intentional act
of operating a furnace, taking control of our living space,
sent them back out into the wide wild universe.
We who are fully alive, filled with breath.
The temperature in the room dropped just enough
to warrant closing the window. It is, after all, December.
But my hope is that they come again, uninvited,
when the scent of lavender fills the winter air.
And may there always be an open window.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Nearly eight o'clock, and it's barely
light outside. Over two inches of rain have fallen
since midnight. What good reason could anyone have
for abandoning ones bed on a morning like this?
(Okay. I admit that some of you have jobs
where you are required to clock in prior to 1pm.)
I want to know where Jeeves is, with my coffee.
And croissants. And butter.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I had intended yesterday's blog entry,
December 1st, to be a list of all the flowers
still in bloom in my garden. (A random blossom
here and there, hangers-on.) But no! Bossy snow had to push
her way in, cloaking all, shouting "Look at me!"
Snow is a Prima Donna. A Princess.

So anyway, here's the list, humble and modest:

I've picked roses for a Christmas bouquet
many years. The December rose.
Nothing flamboyant, mind you.
Hard little red buds, drawn
into themselves. Aiming
for invisibility.
Just as Paul and I parked this afternoon
on Stewart Street in the Market, snow began to fall,
hesitantly at first, as if trying itself out
for the first time. We bundled ourselves up the hill
to First Avenue and squeezed into the entryway
of Le Pichet (tiny French bistro)
where every table was occupied. Alas!
There were two booths to be squeezed into
against the wall, and as soon as we sat down,
we noticed that the snow, now apparently boldly confident,
was descending in puffy clumps. A murmur rippled
from table to table, everyone turned his or her head
to the front windows, and a group "Ah!" sounded.
One of the waiters bounded from behind the bar
to the sidewalk, yelping and cheering and flinging
his arms to the heavens, performing a spontaneous
snow-dance. We each ordered Soupe A l'Oignon Gratinee,
which arrived steaming from the broiler,
a gruyere-rich croute afloat
in the rich, deeply-brown beef stock,
onions perfectly soft and sweet,
a hint of Cognac in the finish.
No wine, no coffee, no dessert. No need!
A constantly replenished basket of sliced baguette
and a generous hunk of butter, tall glasses of water,
and soup. And snow.