Monday, March 31, 2008

Modern Marriage:

We sit beside each other at the dining room table
commenting via computer on each other's blogs
and laughing hysterically.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Last night: Bruce Springsteen at Key Arena.
I'll leave the review to Citizen K.
(If it's not up yet it will be soon.)
Great show, although it felt a little bit
like I was at a club meeting for Members Only
as I didn't know any of the lyrics
or when to wave my fist in the air, etc.
P. brought up the notion that I've probably
gone to more concerts since I've known him
(3 1/2 years) than I've been to in my entire life.
Yes, well. This is true. I spent most of my teen years
and early twenties listening to and playing (piano)
Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Schumann. Throw in some
Beatles, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, CSN&Y, James Taylor,
Chicago. A little jazz. Lots of radio. Very little
$$ for vinyl. Apparently not the typical 1970's teenager
but oh well. But getting back to last night:
we had seats behind the stage. This may sound odd,
but I rather loved it, because I could see a lot of the
behind-the-scenes stuff, could watch the keyboard players
(I counted eight keyboards, including organ and baby grand),
and I could watch the young women down in front of the stage
grabbing for Bruce's feet, legs, crotch every time he
ventured close to them. What a hoot! I'll opt for this
seating section any time!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Private Pleasures

I've been shopping a lot these days at Whole Floods
(which P. calls it because the original Austin location
was beside a river which flooded often) which only carries
the twig/boulder/bark/scree variety of cold cereal. Fine
for a short time, but, damn, this body just craves
some refined/marshmallowed/red-dye-#40'd/alphabeted/waffled-
style good ol' American breakfast food. So I cruised
the cold cereal aisle at Safeway yesterday, and
believe-me-you, it was all I could do not to pick up
a box of Lucky Charms or Golden Grahams. This is some
powerful addiction. I lingered, I gazed, I salivated.
Those magically delicious marshmallow bits were calling my name!
But I was strong. I settled for Grape Nuts Flakes
and Multi-Grain Cheerios. No artificial colors!
Vitamin fortified! Whole grain! (Well, sorta.)
And the really pathetic part is that I couldn't wait
to get up this morning so I could have some.
(Saturday is decidedly NOT a steel-cut oat morning.
Puh-leez. All that's missing is cartoons.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chocolate cake just out of the oven:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 T. vanilla
1 cup milk (whole is best)
4 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate

Carefully melt chocolate in microwave.
Cream butter, add sugar, then eggs. Whip up good.
Mix in melted chocolate.
Sift dry ingredients, add to butter mixture alternately
with milk/vanilla. Whip up good once more.

I use two 8" pans, greased and lined with parchment.
Bake at 365 for about 40 minutes.
A kitchen could not smell any better
than mine does right now!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Poetry here last night, in the burbs.
And as always, themes wide and varied:

Peter: a winter orchid
Susan: Where do you pray?
Ted: a typewriter
me: song in the woods
Rosanne: Scandinavian manners
Kathryn: state of the union from a plane
Jeff: lost lover

Three cheeses, two French wines, a magnum of champagne.
Overflowing wit and a surfeit of laughter.
Damn, we're good!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring eases in with an afternoon of sun
then abruptly exits in fits of rain.
I love this bluster, this ongoing mood-shift.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Word of the Day

Paraskavedekatriaphobia: fear of Friday the 13th.

(In case you're wondering.)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Greetings


Today's menu:

Mesclun and Ricotta Salata on Grilled Garlic Toasts
Baked Spiral Cut Ham
Artichoke, Leek and Potato Gratin
Carrots Tossed with Shallots, Lemon, Butter and Italian Parsley
Roasted Asparagus with Mediterranean Sea Salt
Mile-High Strawberry Pie (from Fannie Farmer Baking Book)
Bittersweet Chocolate Tarte (courtesy of Savannah Moonbeam)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Attempting to put the finishing touches
on tomorrow's menu....I'd much rather just
make a dozen desserts than have to slog through
actual dinner items -- that's where my heart
truly resides. At the Dessert Cart.

Friday, March 21, 2008

These were the days of frantic stitching (new dresses)
curtain washing, floor waxing. New white patent-leather
shoes and if lucky, a bright spring hat. White gloves (hand-me-down).
The last remaining days, hours even, of the forty-day
candy fast. Mother gone Holy Saturday to clean the altar.
Eggs set to boil, a teaspoon vinegar for each bowl,
each tablet of dye. Rustling waxed-paper grass.
Older sisters. Always older sisters.
Worn out today from lifting weights, packing glass,
lugging china plates from one house to the other
for Easter dinner, I logged on to Radish King
and was immediately reminded, when I read
the following passage, of all that is right with the world:

It isn't the face itself, the body itself, but how the body responds to another that makes it beautiful. This is the secret it takes so long to learn.

Thank you, Rebecca.

Chocolate Jesus

Happy Good Friday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From today's PI -- Letters to the Editor:

Pastor: But right-wing preachers aren't called on the carpet

So let me get this straight: Barack Obama's pastor makes a remark in the sanctity of his church, and Obama is called out from the public pulpit and is made out to be somehow responsible for it. But right-wing Christian ministers can spew anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Arab, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-science, anti-human bile from their cable networks and talk shows. They can summon the wrath of their God on the Muslim world and call for the assassination of foreign leaders. They can do all this, and the Republican presidents and politicians who consort with them not only get off scot free, they get away with branding the media as liberal.

What a world.

Paul Goode

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Here's my Irish Brown Bread recipe --
I looked at a bunch of recipes and fiddled
and tweaked, and I'm very happy with the results:

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 T. canola oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped very finely
1/2 cup currants

Soak oats in 1 cup of the buttermilk for at least
a half hour; overnight is even better.
Combine dry ingredients. Add remaining buttermilk
and oil to egg, then add to dry ingredients.
Add currants and walnuts. Mix -- this will make a
stiff dough -- you might want to knead it a few times
to smooth it out a bit -- not much kneading, though!

Form a round loaf, flatten it slightly, and cut a cross
in it. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, lower heat
to 350, bake for another 10 minutes, turn oven off
and leave bread in for an additional 10 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting, or the bread
will crumble.

Slice, butter, enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

I bought myself a new digital camera yesterday
and when I look at the instruction manual
I feel incredibly stupid. What is this language?
P. told me just to point and shoot. Huh.

Cooking the traditional American St. Pat's Day
dinner tonight -- corned beef and cabbage, etc.,
which I've never seen on an Irish menu, or in
an Irish grocery store. (Try Bacon and Cabbage.)
But I am making a traditional Irish brown bread...
what we like to refer to as soda bread, except
once again, I've never seen our American version
of soda bread anywhere in Ireland. This loaf will be
part whole-wheat/part white flour, some wheat germ,
oats, maybe some finely chopped walnuts. Buttermilk.
We'll finish up the meal with a purely American concoction:
Irish "Coffee" Cake -- a nice single layer butter cake,
macerated with a strong coffee/whisky sugar syrup,
crowned with whisky-infused whipped cream.
(C. is bringing -- are you ready for this -- a GREEN salad.
Imagine that. On St. Pat's day. Clever clever.)
I also picked up some Kerry Ivernia Kerrygold:
a hard cow's milk cheese. Gotta do a Guinness run....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The sales clerk in Rite-Aid today was named "Thin."
I want to be her. I want to be Thin.
Citizen K. leaves for NYC/Boston tomorrow,
and plans to take in a Brooklyn Academy of Music
production of Macbeth, with Patrick Stewart in the leading role.
The following is from a NYTimes article:

Mr. Stewart described an experience he had recently, as he walked alone before dusk near his rural village in Oxfordshire. “Suddenly I had this urge to speak the role, and there’s nobody about,” he said. “So I started at the top of the play, with ‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen,’ and I said the whole role through aloud, just to refresh my memory. It was a long walk.

“But it hit me before I said the lines ‘Light thickens, and the crow/Makes wing to the rooky wood’ — That’s exactly how it was,” he continued. “And I thought: This is wonderful. Every night in New York when I come to that part, I’ll remember where I was, on this lonely road with bare fields on either side, and there’s a mist hanging over the field, and indeed there are crows.” have been one of those Oxfordshire crows....


After school as a child, I'd toast-up four slices
of white bread, slather them with margarine
and raspberry jam, wrap them in foil, then head out
to my beloved woods behind the house. My favorite
perch was in a maple tree we named "The Horse Tree"
for it's zigzag curve in the trunk. I'd sit on this
swayback equine substitute, leaning into the bark,
and eat my snack, then sing as if the waning afternoon
were my last on earth -- usually hymns or spirituals,
blasting my ten-year-old soprano notes across rooftops
and treetops, oblivious of any other universe
than my own. Were there crows? Probably, and Stellar's jays
and robins and chicadees, an owl or two. All silent
during my backwoods chant, which vanished once adolescence
slid itself in unasked, unexpected.

Not quite Patrick Stewart, I acknowledge,
and Renton is far from Oxfordshire. And the only
Shakespeare I knew of, then, belonged to my oldest sister --
slim blue volumes I coveted like a crow covets
a lost trinket sparkling on the path to home.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Multiple Choice


a) leaf hopper
b) San Francisco based poetry journal
c) a type of pousse-cafe
d) last word in dictionary
e) all of the above
f) none of the above
g) some of the above

(When I don't have much to say
the letter "Z" surges to the forefront.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

This is good for a laugh, especially if you
are one of those people who puts dolls clothes
on cats.....
Once again, I'm listening to The Marsellaise.
For an explanation, click here.
(Yesterday's post -- March 12th.)
Rousing! En francais! Oui! Oui!

Sore and hunched and stiff from my workout
at the gym yesterday. Feeling my half-century.
And then some. And to think that we are paying
for this torture. Aye yi yi.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A little clarification on yesterday's post and photo:
in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday there was
an article (which included a photo much like the one below)
on the Boeing-topic-of-the-day, namely,
the perceived theft of the current mega-contract,
which will dump about 15,000 new jobs into the
Alabama econony. Now, I'm not exactly sure what
the Azalea Trail Maids have to do with all this, other than
the fact that Azalea Trail Maids are an Alabama product,
but I'm sure that a photo-editor at the PI giggled him/herself
silly when stumbling upon this very colorful photo.
As did I.

(Paul is playing The Marsellaise. A few moments ago
he was singing it, and reciting the words to me.
Don't ask why, because I don't know.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Crumpling ankles, too many Lemon Drops, plus
a Vodka Martini. And gowns galore. (I committed
the faux pas of stepping on someone's train!)
After the sojourn to the restroom, completely lost,
and the lovely young woman at reception
asked if I wanted her to take my arm,
and I gave in to her direction, and she
safely escorted me back to my table.
(It's important at these Gala Functions
to fully play the part of The Poet.
Does anyone care, though? Does
anyone notice? I doubt it.) After coffee
and a nipple-topped chocolate mousse-like dessert,
the room regained its focus. Those damned spike heels
will be the death of me or will be the
sprained-ankle of me. How we suffer
in the name of fashion and beauty and silk pleats
with just a hint of toe showing. And sequins
at the neckline. I wore my mother's glass-bead
necklace, black. We bid on nothing
but when the Week At Carrowholly (Paul's gracious donation)
came up in the live auction, there I was on the screen
in full April glory, wrapped in my green Irish shawl,
reading Yeats on the bench outside the house
with Clare Island looming in the blue
and cat's-eye green distance.

The Perfect Couple

My Ferragamo's and my $14.99 Target Evening Bag.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Carrowholly, Westport, County Mayo, Ireland:
down the road from the house.
I want to be here, now.
(Photo thanks to Amy Denio.)

In the Confessional

I discovered early on -- perhaps at age seven or eight --
that I could invent any sins I wanted and assign to them
what seemed like an appropriate number of times committed.
The final sin, at each monthly visit to the terrifying
little closed-door closet with the sliding window,
being the sin of The Fabrication of Sins. It seemed
the logical way of saying a Good Confession,
then fixing it all in the end: make it up,
end with the sin of a lie, say your pennance
and then: Bingo! Forgiven.

What truly confounded me was how one was supposed
to keep a running tally of each sin, and how many times
the evil deed had been committed. No one ever suggested
a Sin Notebook, small enough to carry in one's pocket.
(Not that I would've even for a second ever considered one.)
I had learned, however, the notion of rounding up (and down),
and so with the mathematic skills of a budding poet
I assigned each sin its likely number:
1) talking-back to mother: 11 times
2) fighting with sisters: 7 times
3) disobedience: 4 times
(I never went higher than the number 12,
and I don't know why, except that twelve -- a dozen --
was a very amiable number. Friendly, even. What priest,
upon listening to a child's solemn confession,
could question this perfect tally of misdeeds?)

These are the only sins I can recall. I can say for certain
that I never Coveted My Neighbor's Wife, I never Murdered,
and I never Committed Adultery. I had no choice but to Keep
the Sabbath Holy. And as for False Gods, I worshipped without
any guilt whatsoever:
1) all horses
2) the woods beyond my back yard
3) our apple trees
4) the falling-down barn we abandoned upon the death of my father.
These were my False Gods, I suppose, but they were damn good ones
and I've never regretted my true and absolute love and worship
of each and every one. Oh, Jesus! Yes.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Let's play Mass. M.W. can be the nun,
P. can be the priest, M.C. the altar boy,
D. can be the usher collecting big bucks,
and I'll be the choir. G. can be the rest
of the congregation. Fish food flakes
can sub in for hosts. But the wine, the wine:
only the best -- a Chateau Margaux, I think.
And let's not pretend it's blood.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Today, yesterday, tomorrow: eat, sleep, read, drink,
play, lift, work, drive, avoid, dremel, watch, listen, talk.
Pet, feed, tender. Type. Ponder. Disagree. Solve.
Cough, burp, swallow. Yawn.
Log off.
(These are Quiet Times.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A charming dinner yesterday at a new, family-run
Ethiopian restaurant in Southeast Seattle. I won't
mention the name because I'd like to poke a bit of fun
at some menu translation/grammar errors -- there was
beef steak skirt and foul beans.
I'm not sure what I'd wear with a steak skirt.
Something red, perhaps? And as for foul beans,
it's usually what comes a little while after the beans
that's truly foul. Skirts and foul beans aside
the food was excellent, the service was delightful,
and I felt as if I was dining at my own kitchen table.
The waitress (daughter of the owners) brought the five of us
a complimentary appetizer of a deep-fried cheese and cabbage
filled fritter. Yummy! Walking in, we commented
on a large, simple powdered-sugar dusted cake
perched on a cookie sheet -- it was a special order
for a group of about twenty already there. At the close
of our dinner, she brought us each (again, complimentary!)
a slice. We were so lulled into being taken care of
that we had to awaken ourselves to the fact of the bill.
The very small bill, actually. What pleasure!
My friend Pam told me last night that she
is going to take a trapeze class....and
then she's going to enroll in the
School of Acrobatics and new Circus Arts in Georgetown!
Need I mention that Pam is not a teenager?!
(In fact, she's no closer to youth than me.)
If she decides not to run away from home
with the lion tamer, she promises to set up
a hire-wire in her back yard for impromptu performances.
I'm there!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I should remember not to go to the Pike Place Market
on the weekend: the touristing throngs make it
nearly impenetrable. I have a difficult time
with it's status as a tourist mecca. (Here I go:) back
in the old days I used to go there to shop.
When I lived in Wallingford it was easy to hop
on '99 and zip down for produce, fresh bread,
some meats from the German deli, olive oil
from Delaurenti's. Saturdays were great
for Swedish pancakes at a hole-in-the-wall place
whose name escapes me and is long-gone.
Yet in spite of the crowds I am eternally grateful
for the visionaries in the 1960's who won the battle
to preserve this bit of Seattle history.

Today the line for fresh-fried mini-doughnuts
was at least 20 minutes long. Alas. I passed.

Now on to Jamon Iberico : we splurged
on a 4 ounce package from The Spanish Table
and it is indeed meat butter. At the dinner table
I fluffed our 2 oz. portions into lush little piles,
and served fresh papperdelle with truffle oil and
sauteed mushrooms on the side. Ahhh....
You know how you can catch sight of dust particles
when the sun's angle is just right? Those suspended
specks of fluff and dander, that evanesce with a milimeter
turn of the head, or a shift in light?
Yesterday morning, while the sun was still
with us and warm, I was outside following my elderly cat
on her trek around the house. I knelt down
to coax her out from under the deck,
and as I tilted my head, the angle of the sun
illuminated swirls of what I believed to be pollen --
tinier than any other particle I've ever observed,
golden and swirling in the rising breeze,
reminiscent of Van Gogh's Starry Night.
A second or two, and with an inhale my position shifted
and I could not find it again, this illuminated river.
Was it everywhere, if I could only see it?
Did it flow around me always? Or was it simply
an imagination, a product of fleeting desire?
Later the wind kicked up in earnest, bringing with it
chilly slanted rain and an end to this tease
of spring. No chance today for a glimpse
into the microcosm, unless I find the mossiest rock
in the forest, and unbed its secrets.