Thursday, May 31, 2007

No Tarte Bakery

Cup is empty, spilled
quarter by eighth

into cake of ashes,
bonedust. Spoon

minus table- and tea-.
Unhinged springform,

amorphous bundt. Sugar
dissolved, rippled

down drain. Powder, soda
whisked away. Praise

cookie no more,
praise nothing.

Once pie bubbled
golden with crowns --

not again. Rattle the lock,
lose the key. No taste,

no scent, no
filigree swirl

of icing. Not
a crumb.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Old Wyoming Bed

It has occured to me just how much like the Wyoming topography my bed is. I'm talking mountain ranges and prairies, canyons and perilous ravines. In fact, all last night I slept with my back pushed up against the Continental Divide. It's time for a new mattress. Maybe something more like the Pacific Ocean.

Oh Heavenly Day

Before I left for Wyoming, ten days ago, I planted three pumpkin seedlings and hoped for gentle sun and easy rains. Felt, in fact, as if I was abandoning my children to the elements. (My actual children [my flesh and skin and blood and bone children who are actually now young men and flourish in the absence of their sole parent] barely noticed my departure. In fact, I received a text from Reilly: "stocked up on alcohol". Ah, the joy of being 21....) But I seems that my lettuce thrived the ten days I was gone; we enjoyed the first modest harvest in our salad bowl at dinner last night. But, alas, my dear sweet pumpkins have waned. Slugs have feasted on the tender leaves, and they appear to be stuck in perpetual seedling-hood. Will tomorrow's predicted eighty-five degrees shock them into a new leaf or two?

The cats have been following me around all morning, each in his/her own territorial patch of sun. As the earth turns, and the eastern sun rises higher and the sunny spots on the carpet grow smaller, a battle ensues for the last remaining bits of sunlight. Tip just muscled tiny and elderly Alice from her allotment, where he now luxuriously lounges, fat-belly-up, paws and legs outstretched in some nouveau feline yoga pose. I think cats invented yoga. He's meditating.

Oh heavenly chicadees and robins and Stellar's jays and sparrows and finches and apple trees all leafed out and daisies in bloom and purple rhododendrons and Pat-and-Mary's-pine-tree and pale blue sky and Candy-in-her-pajamas-across-the-street-tending-her-garden and gentle breeze and the red fuzz of new kiwi shoots and the shiny green of new grape leaves and orange poppies that last only a day and forget-me-nots and even the mounds of laundry awaiting me in the basement -- all glorious, all holy.

Monday, May 28, 2007


This just in:

Gin is an effective weed killer that is also pet friendly.
--Lorraine Barrett

Thank-you, Lorraine.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Off the Road in La Grande, Oregon

Welcome, indeed. Every time I check into a hotel/motel, I feel a pressing need to read the Guest Directory. It's always pretty much the same.....yet I maintain the hope that one of these times something unexpected and fabulous will lie before me for my reading pleasure. I've just finished reading "Hotel Laws of Oregon" and I can state in no uncertain terms that there exists absolutely nothing unexpected and fabulous therein.
Paul calmly and uncomplainingly drove about 450 miles today, desert roads laid out like endless zippers on a camel's-hair coat. We did crosswords, where I'd read the clue out loud to Paul, the numbers of letters in the answer, and any existing letters. A great foil for Alzheimer's. We lunched at The Oxbow Cafe, in Bliss, Idaho, a roadside diner straight out of 1965, except that the people next to us at the counter were speaking French and the people in the booth behind us were speaking Japanese. Who says Idaho doesn't support diversity?! (We spoke Seattle , and I think just about everyone understood us except the waitress in Ogden this morning who couldn't get that there was lipstick on Paul's water glass. "LIPSTICK," we both said loudly and clearly, and she finally understood. Must've been the accent.) After lunch we gave-in to pie, REAL PIE, in its own refrigerated pie case. (I want my own pie case.) Apple, cherry, peach, lemon-cream, coconut, cookie-cream, s'mores, baked right there at The Oxbow. We shared a slice of s'mores -- a bargain at $2.69. Ah! The joy of miniature marshmallows! Buttery graham crust! Cream-style whipped topping! It seems we truly had entered Bliss. I must've slipped into a sugar coma immediately after, as I sacked out the minute we resumed our interstate trek, waking only as we ascended into La Grande. (The Big One.) It's time to go home. I miss cooking.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Home on the Range

Not quite the end of the earth, Laramie, because there's a lovely little coffee shop called Coal Creek Coffee (in spite of the fact that everyone working there this morning appeared to be either stoned or hung over, and the line snaked out the door, and while Paul was waiting for his coffee I walked outside, crossed the street, and read all the Houses For Sale ads in the window of the local realtor, including one that listed for $82k. Two bedroom, one bath. Sale pending.) The population of this berg is about 27,000, including the ever-shifting university population. The really wonderful thing about Laramie (apart from the ridiculously wide open spaces and wildlife and mountain ranges in the distance and clean air) is that there is no shopping center. There still exists an old fashioned downtown. Now, perhaps I'm just being nostalgic for the Renton of yore where at Van's the shoe boxes were stacked to the ceiling on every wall and Austin Hendrickson Drugs had a lunch counter, and Woolworth's sold dish towels for 49 cents. If I actually lived in Laramie, I'd possibly tire of such retro quaintness and long for a Target or Penney's or, even, (gasp) a Costco. Fortunately, I do not live there. A week at (and sometimes above) 7200 feet left my head dizzy with altitude sickness, and all relatively "normal" brain functions slurred to a feeble limp. Headache, nausea, sleepiness, shortness of breath. And not a heck of a lot of appetite, although I did enjoy a jalapeno moose burger the last evening I was there.

The antelope do indeed play on the prairie, which begins at the end of Richard and Donna's driveway. We spotted a fox a couple of streets away, and a herd of wild horses on our ride to Saratoga. And a moose, loping across the road in front of us.

Now I'm happily ensconced in the Best Western in Ogden, Utah, where almost everyone is blond. Is there coffee in Utah? Will I survive?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Everything Antler

Antlers galore here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Antler wine racks, antler shot glasses, antlers on t-shirts and pajamas and baby blankets and dish towels and soap and chocolate. Haven't yet seen antlers on toilet paper but that could just mean I haven't searched enough. There is not, however, a surfeit of coffee shops. Not even a Starbucks, although Starbucks coffee seems to be offered as the brew of choice in restaurants. They (Starbucks) even seem to have cornered the market on in-room hotel coffee.....but, alas, I digress. There is even an arch in the park made of antlers, through which one can walk. There are no antlers in our room at the Wort Hotel, which has a Pottery-Barn-Meets-Annie-Oakley kind of theme. Lots of rough-hewn wood and a king-sized-bed mounded with pillows, one of which has a leather flap and fringe. Oh, and a large
stuffed bear. (Not an actual bear. A toy bear. The bear is a bit too cute.) (Although I did encounter an actual stuffed bear in town, and directly above my head at this moment in the hotel lobby is a stuffed buffalo head. Damn, it's massive.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chicken-Pot Brownies

This subject (as in the title) came up yesterday at work during a conversation about vegans, vegetarians, and the fact that often Mark would go into PCC (Puget Consumer's Co-op) and ask loudly "do you have any of those MEAT COOKIES?" (All in jest.) Hmmm. Wonder just what a Chicken-Pot Brownie would contain....

Max (who is eleven) said, "I know what a cataclysm is, but what is catachism?"


Went to City People's and bought some a chocolate mint plant as well as a lime-scented-geranium, a packet of Cinderella pumpkin seeds and a packet of American Giant sunflower seeds. The sunflower packet says that they can grow to 16' high. Huh. Not here, I'd guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I learned today that gin is made from vodka,

flavored with juniper berries. This from my

newly-21-year-old-son. This is one of the

many advantages to having children:

they teach us important facts about the world.

So why is it that vodka tastes good while gin

(in my opinion) tastes like poison? I should clarify:

vodka doesn't actually taste good, it just tastes

less toxic that gin. Now, I know there are people

out there who swear by gin (Melinda), but in 1979

in a Paris disco complete with rotating mirrored ball

and sloping floor (site of a former movie theater)

I consumed more than a reasonable share of gin & tonics

and became intimate with a toilette publique Francaise.

That summer, if it wasn't gin it was pernod, and if it wasn't

pernod it was a nice glass of cotes du Rhone which I could

make last an entire evening at a sidewalk cafe. Ah......

to be twenty-two again, thin as a baguette.......

No more gin. No more pernod; but a nice Rhone wine

will cure any malady. And I don't really have any desire

to be twenty-two encore .

Monday, May 14, 2007

In Memory, Marilyn

Our dear friend and neighbor Marilyn passed away this afternoon, peacefully, in her home. She was always a beacon of good cheer, ready with a smile and a laugh, or a tidbit of motherly advice. Adept at cutting through the BS to get to the heart of the matter, she was nonethless always loving in her interactions with those around her. Marilyn embodied drama, color and flair -- from her sometimes-bright-red hair to her long silk skirts. She added a passionate and often controversial voice to our book group -- nothing was ever dull in Marilyn's presence! An honored member of our Brandon Street family, she will be greatly missed.

My Son the Flambe King

Lunch today at South Seattle Community College
where this week Reilly is the Flambe King.
He singed his hair in the flaming butter/sugar/
peach/amaretto concoction he dreamed up for us,
prepared tableside in the Alhadef Grill....
garnished with a raspberry-balsamic reduction, fresh raspberries,
slivered almonds, a chiffonade of fresh basil and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The six of us at the table (Don, Julie, Kath, Nelson, Spencer et moi)
were silenced by the sweet-punguent blend of flavors;
all that could be heard were mmmm's and the clink of spoons on porcelain.

Officially -- as in diamond ring -- engaged!
Conflict-free, non-blood-rock. Even at this ripe old age of fifty,
the rainbow-glint, the downright sparkle of a diamond reduces me to giggles.
It's serious stuff, this getting-married. Perhaps the primary difference
between tying the knot at 26 (first time) and now is that
this time, we both know that we don't know everything!