Saturday, February 28, 2009

I realize that this is meaningless to many, and that
there are those for whom it has meaning but will be
unimpressed (yes, Robin, that's you --ha!), but I just
did the Saturday crossword puzzle with nearly no help
from His Royal Highness the Puzzlemaster Paul.
And I did the Thursday puzzle entirely on my own!
Hee haw! It's a lonnnnngggg process, this retraining
of the brain to be able to think like a puzzle solver.
I began four years ago when I was completely in a fog
and the Language of Crosswords was completely alien,
at least in my shrinking brain. It's now my own little
daily addiction. On newsprint. From the soon-to-be
defunct Seattle Post Intelligencer. (Boooo hooooo.)
I think I should stage a funeral for the PI: speeches,
blessings, interment for the printed corpse, incense,
head-bowing, tears, lots of food, whiskey, vodka, etc.
Care to attend?

Friday, February 27, 2009


If you live in the Seattle area, you must try Molly Moon's
ice cream. They are located in Wallingford, but various
restaurants carry it, and mine was from Flying Squirrel Pizza.
(Also recommended -- fantastic pizza in Seward Park.)
I tasted the vanilla bean and the salted caramel. The vanilla
bean, my favorite flavor of all ice creams, was lovely and rich,
not too sweet. The salted caramel was intense and darkly
caramelly -- I cut it a bit with the vanilla for a better balance.

Homemade ice cream is so easy to make these days.
It used to be such a production, even with the electric
ice-and-salt machine. (I've not had the pleasure
of experiencing a hand-crank device.) My favorite
as a child was peach, which my mother made
at the height of peach season. A few birthdays ago
R. made me some pear-cardamom: OMG it was amazing.
And in my pre-mothering madcap twenties
M. and I made ice cream whenever it snowed:
our chilly little ritual.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yes, I went outside this morning in my nightgown
and bathrobe and sandals and took pictures
of snow and pink buds. See above.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

From dust you came,
to dust you shall return.

Happy Ash Wednesday.


In other news, I wouldn't mind opening
a fast-food dessert joint called
The Cheesecake Pope.

Recycled Loot!

This stunning work, by my friend Genevieve Church,
was featured this evening on Seattle's KOMO4 News,
on a segment about artists who use recycled materials
in their art. An accomplished artist, Genevieve
takes shards of broken glass and retools them
into earrings and pendants. She sells from her website,
and her flame-worked glass can be viewed here.
Buy recycled! Buy Recycled Loot!
A thank-you goes out to Renegade Eye for his posting
of my recipe for Bigfoot Cookies. Thanks, Ren!

And for some great Mardi Gras videos, be sure
to check out Citizen K.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras.
Happy Fat Tuesday.
Happy Fat Mardi.
Happy Mardi Tuesday.
Happy Gras Fat.
Happy Fat (de foie) Gras.
Tuesday Tuesday Happy Happy.
Fat Fat Fat Fat.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's been a quiet blogweek here at Premium T.
The chimes are silent.

If your were to make a bio-pic of your life,
into which Netflix category would it fall?

Action & Adventure
Children & Family
Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sunny today. I'm going to treat myself to a nice new
and sharp pair of pruning shears. I've been using
my dad's -- circa 1960-something, Sears, for decades.
Need to get them sharpened. Dull dull dull. Attacking
the roses, and the tangle of grapes. Shall make the
cats come outside with me, my Seattle cats, all three
of those unemployed ragtag urban mongrels.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ever American....

So. Having just immersed myself in such language
as Biscuit Roulé à L'Orange et aux Amandes
and Riz à L'Impératrice, etc., I treat myself
to dinner with a glass of Vouvray and, wait!
You won't guess's fantastic...ready?
--Trader Joe's Baked Cheese Crunchies.
Yes ma'am. Yes sir. I can't lie,
not nowhere not no how.
Serving size: 33 pieces.
Bet you wish you were eating
at my house tonight.

La Belle Julia

I finished My Life in France, by Julia Child -- recommended
if you're a foodie or have any interest in the gastronomy
of Gaul, or just plain good writing. Intelligent and exhaustive,
it not only documents a post-war cultural sensibility,
it illustrates just how valuable the presence of a loving
and supportive partner is -- yes, thinking of you, Paul!
(I have to point out that Ms. Child's husband's name
was also Paul....)

Bon Appetit!

Monday, February 16, 2009

From our front hallway....

Black Shouldered Kite/Bauza, Ed Musante,
mixed media on board, 2000.
(The board being the back of a cigar box)
I love this piece.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Once V-Day has passed I always feel like it's safe
to anticipate spring. Yesterday I checked my potted
herbs -- the chives were poking frail green feelers up
and the mints have just the tiniest leaves at the base
of each plant. The rosemary seems to have taken
a hit -- most of the plant is grey, with some residual
green. The sage still hunkers low, as does the thyme,
but the lavender is bold, sturdy and vigorous.
My scented geranium, which I neglected to bring in,
is history. Sigh. Indoors, the rest of the geraniums
are spindly and pale, but soon I'll begin their
half-strength vitamin regimen and move them to
a south-facing window. On the other side of the lake,
my Brandon Street garden is overgrown and neglected.
I'll go this week to prune roses and grapes, and will
put one of the offspring to work gathering up
the muck that winter has strewn about. I know the
snowdrops are up -- I saw them last week.
That's always a good sign.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sometimes in early morning I can hear an eagle
somewhere in the trees above our house, its high-pitched
keening always a surprise, considering the esteem
with which we hold this avian critter. I always expect
something more grand, more fierce. I've not yet
seen the eagle, nor the owl which I heard last summer
and fall at twilight: deep dusky hoo-hooing. I live
in a collision of suburbs and nature.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm reading Julie Child's My Life in France,
and enjoying it immensely. I generally avoid memoirs,
and bio/autobiographies rarely succeed at capturing
my imagination. But this book was a gift, and, happily,
it whips along with a spirited and often humorous narrative
that has me heading to bed early every evening
for my pre-sleep reading fix. (My prix-fixe reading sleep?!)
Ms. Child (whom I think of as Our Lady of Save the Liver)
charges into the world of French cuisine and culture with
gusto and an intense joie de vivre. More on this later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Goodnight Crow

I drove home each night from work now at dusk,
and my route passes under two separate crow
flight paths, as the corvids return from their daily
forays into the world and come back to their nightly
roosts. Tonight Paul was driving me home, so I could
gawk to my heart's content -- one long line of crows
stretched above Lake Washington as far as I could see
in a north-to-south haphazard line. I'm guessing they roost
somewhere in Renton, as I've observed their path from the
opposite direction numerous times. The other roostage
I drive directly through, at the intersection of I-90 and I-405,
thousands of crows in treetops, settling for sleep.
Recently I discovered that if I sit on the living room
sofa at dusk and look out the triangular-shaped window
on the south wall of the house, crows pass over my house
one after another after another: I live under a flight path.
This is a delight, because as the days allow a bit more light
to eke in, minute by minute, it won't be long until my evening
commute is once again in full sun (or full cloud, as it may be),
and I'll be hours early for the daily crow commute. Instead,
I can grab that glass of Nero d'Avola, settle into some
immensely cozy cushions, and watch it all from the comfort
of chez moi.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Marshmallows....

....on my mother's Rose Chintz china plate.

Instruction On How To Get People To Bow Down At Your Feet

Bake for them. And use LOTs of butter and sugar.
Bake them this:

Any Fruit Crisp

4 cups berries or other fresh fruit
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter

Put fruit in a buttered 8-inch square baking dish.
Mix together the flour, sugar, bp. Add egg and mix
with your fingers until you have small clumps.
Sprinkle flour mixture over the fruit, drizzle melted
butter over the top, spreading the butter with the
back of a spoon. 

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes.

From The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

I tripled this recipe last night, used a mix of blue,
black and raspberries, served it with cream-in-a-can.
It's one of those get-down-on-your-knees-and-weep
experiences. Really. And unless you eat like this
all the time, don't worry about the massive quantities
of butter and sugar. Life is SHORT. As is pleasure.
Do it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I'm making gnocchi (nee-oh-kee) for a dinner party
chez-moi tonight. (A dinner party that began at four people
and now has grown to nine! The more the merrier.)

So: gnocchi question:
1. Russet potatoes, yukon golds or plain-old-white?
2. Bake, boil or steam?
3. Egg or no egg?
4. Press against tines of fork or just snip into segments?

My cookbook collection plus recipes on-line plus
videos on-line have presented me with too many choices.
I'd prefer to rustle up someone's Italian grandmother
for one-on-one instructions but this seems unlikely.
I suppose if I had planned better, I could've ordered one
(an Italian grandmother) on ebay, but, well, I didn't
so I'm on my own here, folks.
I'm hoping for tenderness and puffy pillows
instead of sodden lumpy potato globs.

My guests are not aware of this yet, but after dinner
we're all going to dance the Gnocchi-Pokey.
Hey. It's a party.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Today's News

I recommend you cruise on over to Eff Stop Local,
a new photo-blog by my friend Sean, who documents
the urban/suburban landscape with a keen imagination
and a droll sense of humor.


In other news, unemployment among cats
is at the usual high: 100%. And is there anything
in the sullen eyes of the felines below that makes
you think they are going to go out anytime soon
and look for work?!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Liquor Cabinet

Stolichnya Russian Vodka
Jose Cuervo Black Medallion Tequila (where
did this come from?)
Creme de Cassis
Shirakiku Mirin (which pre-dates my residency)
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Midori Melon Liqueur (what the?)
white Vermouth
Godiva chocolate liqueur

This is what I want: to go every day at about 5pm
to my club, where many of my friends are assembled,
and we have a cocktail. Is this too much to ask?
I'm not much of a drinker, but one cocktail at 5pm
is delicious. (I don't have a club. But if I did I would
name it Tease.)
I'm the only blogger in blogdom who lists "nuthatches"
as an interest.
Many thanks to John Hayes at robertfrostsbanjo
for bestowing upon me the Superior Scribbler Award!
It can be lonely out in blogland and a little bit
of recognition goes a long way. Again, thank-you, John!
(I'm supposed to pass this award on to five other
bloggers, but I just don't have it in me at the moment.
I'll put it on the back burner and sometime in the future
I'll keep my part of the bargain. Promise.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

For a little cupcake guerilla art, click here.

Long drive home last night, a hundred miles
at midnight through the dark. Pilobolus was outstanding.
Check Citizen K.'s blog in a day or two for a review.
Now I'm going to crawl up to the gym
and pretend to lift weights.

Saw a field of snow geese in a Skagit Valley field.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

John Updike died last week, and I ran across
this poem by him that I think speaks volumes:

Perfection Wasted

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market-
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories packed
in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That's it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren't the same.

John Updike, 1990
Collected Poems 1953-1993

I'm going to have to pick up his Rabbit books
and give them a read.


Off to Bellingham today after an early shift at work
to catch a performance of Pilobolus, and Nelson is going
to check out Western Washington University.
I've always loved Bellingham -- a small university town
perched on the edge of the continent -- hilly, green,
vulnerable to dramatic shifts in weather. I think it
might even be sunny today. How did we luck out?

Monday, February 2, 2009

My loving and completely unbiased husband -- Citizen K. --
as well as PWally, has bestowed upon me the Premio Dardos
Award. It is with gratitude and honor that I accept!

The Premier Dardos Award is given for recognition
of cultural,
ethical, literary, and personal values
transmitted in the form
of creative and original writing.
These stamps were created
with the intention
of promoting fraternization between bloggers,
a way of showing affection and gratitude
for work that adds
value to the Web.

The rules:

1. Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the
name of the person that has granted the award and a link
to his/her blog.

2. Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy
of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each
of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.
Without further adieu, here are five blogs that deserve
recognition for creative and original writing:

Radish King, for her unflinching view of the universe;

Poe-Query, for her dedication to the art of poetry;

, because of her passion for great food & wine
and her luminous and loving language;

The Dishwasher's Tears, for his hard-hitting prose:
if I were a church-going gal, he would be the preacher;

and, finally, to Tofu Hunter, whose reviews of the Seattle
restaurant world add spice even to us whose lives do
contain dead animals.

Damn, I love blogging!
It's February -- finally. I've left stygian January
in my wake. Light ekes in, a minute or two each
day, slow slow slow.

A few years back I happened upon The Clare Island Survey
by the poet Sean Lysaght while perusing the shelves at Kennys
in Galway (when they still had shelves of books). I was
delighted to make his acquaintance last summer when
he gave a reading in Westport (where he lives) to celebrate
the publication of Venetian Epigrams, his translations
of Goethe. His blog, Stonechat, is a precise and evocative
observation of the birdlife of his landscape, and a blog
I return to when Ireland calls. I am especially enamored
of thelast line of this entry, as I feel that same impatience
growing by the hour:


The song of the chaffinch is more discursive. My provisional
phonetic translation is as follows: No, really, this is how
we freely spend our time puzzling things.
The phrase can be
repeated as often as the weather allows. I heard it
yesterday morning in a small copse of hazel near my house.
The morning was very mild and you could sense the birds'
impatience to be getting on with the business of spring.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A few things that are wrong.

1. Lemon-scented bleach. Bleach is supposed
to smell bad. It's a poison. One should never
be tempted to say (of bleach), "Oooooooooh!
So fresh and lemony! I think I'm gonna pour
me a cupful right this minute and drink it down!"

2. The digital clock on my cat's litter box. It's one
of those electric, "self-cleaning" litter boxes, which
is a joke, because it either cleans without letup or
it doesn't clean at all, which means that I still scoop.
But the clock! Why on earth would anyone need
a clock on a litter box? The cat's don't care, or at least
I don't think they care. What need do cats have of time?
It's all eat, sleep, eat, sleep sleep sleep, eat eat sleep.
And the next time someone asks me "what time is it?"
I'm NOT going to say, "hey, wait just a minute while
I check the litter box!" No no no.

3. Scented kitchen garbage bags. Again, no.