Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hoops, Large and Plentiful

Financial aid forms....cheesus christ. I do believe
these are designed to discourage anyone from
actually applying for $$. Forms from the feds,
forms from the college, transcripts (didn't
we get copies of the transcripts last year?
They are the same transcripts, from the
same colleges, yet "they" desire fresh official
copies in freshly sealed envelopes....)
IRS returns. Schedules X, Y & Z.
Copies of W-2's! (Apparently we've been
randomly selected to gather up even yet
more paperwork! Yippee!) Maybe
I should include some poems!
Please enclose Schedule P for Poem.
Please state your 2006 income from Poetry.
Was any of this Poetic Income derived from
foreign sources? Please list the names
of all poems (including step-poems)
residing at your current address.
Are any of these poems under the age of 18?
If yes, did any of these poems receive
income from:
a) Social Security
b) child support
c) sale of stock
With which poem will the student live
for the 2007-08 school year?
Is your poem deceased?
Yes_____ No_____
Signature_____________ Date_______
Melinda told a story at work today
of being stymied by a Roman rotary
while riding her bike. (I cannot imagine
riding a bike in Rome.) Her solution
was to sing "Que Sera, Sera" at the top
of her lungs, and to plunge forthright
into traffic -- and it worked!
Perhaps this should be the new theme song
to my life....

Monday, July 30, 2007


From 5,000 New Answers to Questions
by Frederic J. Haskin, Grosset & Dunlap, 1933:

Q. Are savages strict with the misbehavior
of children?

A. In savage life, parents almost never chastise
their children. Travelers everywhere have
commented upon this.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Grand Park, Mt. Rainier

Yesterday was the perfect day for a hike:
not too hot, small tufts of clouds drifing
across the sky. Nelson, Paul and I met my
brother Jim and his wife Mary just outside
of Enumclaw, wedged ourselves into the back
seat of his truck, and continued on up
towards Mt. Rainier, turning off a few
miles up the road. After about 20 minutes
of deep potholes, gravel and gradually
increasing cliffs out the windows, we parked
and started up the back way to Grand Park
via Lake Eleanor. Snows having just melted,
we encountered many swampy pathways,
sludgy mud sucking at our boots. Flies
and mosquitos were omnipresent; luckily
J. and M. brought along various incarnations
of bug juice, and we just about dipped
ourselves in it. Believe me, if there had
been vats of Deet we wouldn't have hesitated
to dunk.... Three miles, mostly up,
through conifer forest and meadow where
Indian paintbrush bloomed. I wish I'd had
an alpine flower guide! The colors were
glorious in the sun -- a kind of purple daisy
was abundant. We trudged and trudged up
and up, each step becoming more grueling
as the mosquitos flew up nostrils, into mouths
and eyes, and flies circled and circled our heads
with their relentless bzzzzz.....finally,
after nearly throwing in the shoe, we reached
the big meadow which is Grand Park, and which
seems to stretch forever into the distance.
Mt. Rainier sits at its south end as if
plunked down there in all its glacial glory.
Remants of a 1966 forest fire are evident
in the silver snags scattered about.
We lunched on a fallen log which turned out
to be a flourishing ant colony -- this discovered
when our meal was nearly finished. Nelson
was sitting smack in the middle of the insect activity!
We were so hungry, thirsty and just plain
worn out that we took no notice.
After sufficient rest, we began the trek
down, saying goodbye to wildflowers
and one helluva view of "the mountain,"
which was definitely out.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Paul had this for lunch today:

Green Gazpacho
--from Andaluca Restaurant

2 cups coarsely chopped seeded peeled cucumbers
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup (2 ounces) cubed crustless white bread
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1/2 cup fresh crabmeat
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Additional olive oil preparation
Puree first 8 ingredients in food processor. Add bread and let stand until soggy, about 2 minutes. Puree until smooth. Mix in 1 1/2 cups water. Transfer gazpacho to large bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
(Gazpacho can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Divide gazpacho among 4 bowls. Place thinly sliced romaine in center of each serving. Sprinkle lettuce with crabmeat and chives, then drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Main Entry: blog
Part of Speech: n
Definition: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log
Example: Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Etymology: shortened form of Weblog
Usage: blog, blogged, blogging v, blogger n

Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7)
Copyright © 2003-2007 Lexico Publishing Group, LLC

Just in case you wondered.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My newest recipe (it's called Rupert):

Cut the pink flesh from a watermelon,
mash well, strain out the seeds and pulp.
You'll want about a quart of juice.
Juice 4-6 limes, add to watermelon liquid
along with about 1/4 cup of sugar.
(More or less; adjust to taste.)
Combine with ice and as much vodka
as you desire. Shake well(I shake
fifty-five times). Strain
into martini glasses, garnish
with a thin wedge of watermelon.
For an even zippier beverage,
use pepper vodka. Zow!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Upon coming home from ten days
on the East Coast, my house smelled
suspiciously like fish sauce. Ripe
fish sauce. Seems that on Reilly's
last day in his cooking program,
he was transformed into a piece
of sushi: rice, seaweed, fish sauce.
Kind of a going-out-hazing.
The guilty sauced shoes
were in the entryway -- what? Curing?
I chucked them out the back door.
Nelson came home from his job
at UPS looking as if he just
emerged from a coal mine -- all
of him was coated in a grey haze.
Alice-the-cat has apparently slept
in one spot on my bed during my absence
and has shed enough fur on that spot
for me to gather and knit up
a little mouse-sized cardigan.
(I will get right on that but first
I need to sleep at
least ten thousand hours.)

Damn it's good:
to get away, to come home.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The air-conditioner is cranked up
and for the first time in a week
I feel cool. (Not hip, mind you.)
Much better than feeling melted,
puddly, rolled-in-sugar & broiled.

Spent the last four days
with some of the nicest people
I've ever met -- Paul's four brothers,
their wives and children, and Paul's dad
and Rosa. My new family!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

from the July/August Poetry:

Barton Springs

Oh life, how I loved your cold spring mornings
of putting my stuff in the green gym-bag
and crossing wet grass to the southeast gate
to push my crumpled dollar through the slot.

When I get my allotted case of cancer
let me swim ten more times at Barton Springs,
in the outdoor pool at 6AM, in the cold water
with the geezers and the jocks.

With my head bald from radiation
and my chemotherapeutic weight loss
I will be sleek as a cheetah
--and I will not complain about life's

pedestrian hypocrisies,
I will not consider death a contractual violation.
Let my cancer be the slow-growing kind
so I will have all the time I need

to backstroke over the rocks and little fishes,
looking upwards through my bronze-tinted goggles
into the vaults and rafters of the oaks,
as the crows exchange their morning gossip

in the pale mutations of early light.
It was worth death to see you through these optic nerves,
to feel breeze through the fur on my arms
to be chilled and stirred in your mortal martini.

In documents elsewhere I have already recorded
my complaints in some painstaking detail.
Now, because allthings are joyful near water,
there just might be time to catch up on praise.

--Tony Hoagland

A drugged sleep last night,
dreams within dreams, dead
husband not dead at all,
returning to hold me accountable
for impending marriage.
All resolved with yards and yards
of silk satin, an offering
to forgiveness, to be stitched
up into a new life,
bead-embellished, sequinned.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I've been thinking about where
in the universe the best 'self' exists....
for me it's between the first
and third drinks (and I'm not talking lemonade....)
That interim of happiness when language flows
like river rapids but before the tongue lolls.
I've gotta watch that lolling thing. I mean, it's okay
if there is a group-loll occurring, but often
that is not the case.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rockport Maine. Glorious drizzle.
The 96% humidity of Boston liquified
my flesh, made me want to lie down
free of all clothes on white sheets,
motionless, barely a breath.
The air felt thick, woolen, furred.
Brain matter turned to sludge,
all thoughts slowed to the speed
of a swamp.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sitting in the lobby at the Park Plaza Hotel,
Boston, a pot of coffee at my side (as well
as my lovely fiance [accent aigu on that last 'e'])
baby-grand piano cranking out the automated tunes.
Coffee in late afternoon makes me ridiculously

We visited the Ware Collection of Blaschka Models
of Glass Plants at Harvard Museum of Natural
History. (See photo above.)
A room filled with display cases
of delicated reproductions of flowers, grasses,
tress branches, commissioned in 1885, created
by father and son Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka
of Germany, exclusively for this museum.
Seventy-five percent of the collection
was completed in five years;
upon the death of the father, the son continued
for another four decades. These are
life-size models, complete with root systems,
and with magnified crosscuts of each plant's
reproduction system. Absolutely stunning.
Everyone was gasping at the intricacy
of each stem, petal, root. The Blaschka's
are quoted as saying that there was not
much artistry involved, just attention
to detail, and use of their jewelry-making
skills. This is a MUST SEE if you are in
the Boston area. I've never seen anything
even remotely resembling this.

Rain today, and without relief
from humidity. Hot rain.
Sandal-splashing through puddles
and it feels good.

Sunlight in an Empty Room, Edward Hopper

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Boston. Newbury Street. All clothing
is in size -2. I met a dress designer
who told me that if I stayed here
in Boston for at least a week,
she could make me a gown.
Price range, oh, about 4-5,000k.
Only about $3800+ over my limit.

Fenway Park last night. We sat
about eight rows behind home plate.
Upon watching the game highlights
afterwards in a bar, every time a player
went up to bat, there we were, on the screen.
I'll have an autograph signing session
upon my return to Seattle.
Four home runs, 75 degrees, El Presidente beer.
The cell phone police were out, reprimanding
anyone using a phone during an inning.
This is not Seattle.

The humidity makes me stupid.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Edward Hopper retrospective today at the Museum of Fine Arts,
Boston, with Paul and his son Bill.
Four full rooms of watercolors and oils. He didn't
sell a painting until he was 41. I was intrigued by his perspective,
the pared-down view of the world he often captured
with extraordinary light and color. An interior viewed through
a window which was viewed through yet another window.
Abandoned storefronts in rich reds and greens.
Unfocused human faces, or sides of faces, or backs of heads.
Solitary women, often seeming to be ready to step
out of the canvas into a more accessible life.
The last painting was "Sunshine in an Empty Room,"
my favorite.
I met my six-year-old (second) cousin yesterday
for the first time. Her name is Erin, and she lives
with her two brothers and sister and parents
in Massachusetts. Upon meeting her, she asked me
(from the pool, where she wasafloat with water-wings)
if she could be my flower girl.
Later, she asked me -- exactly like this --
"How are your wedding plans coming along?"
(Remember, she's six.)
She specifically had some flower recommendations:
"Tulips. White tulips and red roses.
Have you seen white tulips?
They look really nice with red roses."
When I asked her advice about food, she scrunched up
her nose and asked, "Does it have to be healthy?
I thought all you needed was a cake!
I like chocolate mousse cake. That's what you should have.
And you definitely should wear a long dress."
I have taken note of these most important recommendations.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Two nights in a row now the spiderlings
have entered my bedroom after dark, spreading out
across the attic-angled-ceiling above my bed,
above my head. The first night -- hundreds --
some tethered on invisible threads, innocuous
but still I felt compelled to eliminate them,
easy enough with an old sock, gentle smudges
on the wall. No need for the old nightmares,
the body anchored to the bed with spider legs,
spiders concealing the face, consuming flesh.


Hopping a red-eye to Boston tonight.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Try this:

Freshly squeezed key lime juice
on chunks of watermelon and cantaloupe

(Thanks to Melinda.)
Last night at eight-something
I stepped out onto my Juliet-balconey
and thought, "wow, it's really
cool out here!"

Then I looked at the thermometer
and it was eighty-seven degrees.
A reminder that all of life
is about perspective.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The heat hype is in high gear.

(Heat takes up a lot of space.
Move over, heat.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today is my neighbor Candy's birthday
and I shall make a chocolate cake
with seven-minute frosting and garnish
it with crystalized rose petals.
Already it's 8:47am, and I'm late in gathering
the rose petals, as the morning dew
has most likely already evaporated.
What would Martha Stewart say?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thoor Ballylee

I, the poet William Yeats, With old mill boards and sea-green slates, And smithy work from the Gort forge, Restored this tower for my wife George; And may these characters remain When all is ruin once again.

Yeats spent the summers of 1916-1923 in a 16th century
tower in County Galway, accompanied by his wife George
and their two children. Paul and I spent a quiet hour
here, alone in our wanderings up the spiral stone
stairways, in and out of the four levels which look out
onto cow pastures and gentle hills.
I sat on the sill in his dining room
above the high waters of the stream
just outside the flung-open windows.

As we were leaving, Paul said that there was something
down the road that he wanted to show me....it was a tiny
house -- "Thoor Cottage" -- the sign said,
that had been for sale when he was scouting
the Irish countryside for property some years back.
In the end, he decided on the Westport house --
much larger and on the water. But imagine!
A cottage just down the lane from Yeats' Tower!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Mrs. Sisyphus

I escaped to my suburban hideaway last night
because my house was being invaded
by testosterone. Yesterday was Spencer's 7.7.7 birthday
and I made him Golden Butter Cupcakes
with White Mountain Frosting dusted with fairy sugar
and red/green/blue/yellow sprinkles.
And I made cinnamon rolls which ended up being
pecan rolls because the only cinnamon in the house
was in stick-form and who wants to grind cinnamon
on Saturday morning? Not me. Pecan/vanilla rolls
with a sugar glaze. Oh lovely risen sweet bread!
I could've baked all day (to the tune of I Could Have
Danced All Night). Recalling the pure pleasure of early
mornings at Two Tartes, alone, the radio cranked up,
the ovens blasting. Strawberry white chocolate scones.
(These I called Berry Whites.) Peach almond scones.
Cranberry orange walnut scones. The windows misting up
with scone-fog. And then the cookies....chakra chip,
bigfoot (oats, apricots, cherries, walnuts), toffee brownies.
Snickerdoodles on demand. Cupcake-of-the-day.
The loyal customers more family than anything,
every day with their news, jokes, heartbreaks.
Always men brought me gifts: a poem written
on a paper napkin, CD's, a single satsuma,
plum jam, pizelles (this I found hilarious
because I made cookies all day), one maple leaf,
boxes of backyard-orchard apples. Once Jerry Chin
went fishing at Rattlesnake Lake and brought me back
four perfect trout, packed in ice. Chris Vondrasek
brought me a photo of two perfect chairs he designed
and built for the Curator of Decorative Arts at the
Seattle Art Museum. Made from French pear wood.
Bob (can't remember his last name) brought me lunch
on occasion -- roasted onion pizza, a Thai salad. Homemade.
Someone brought me homemade chili once
and I threw it away.

Friday, July 6, 2007

I want to write a poem called Premenstrual Jetlag
but it would just be a cacophony of screaming and a whole
lot of irregular sleeping, so I think I'll pass.
Last days of on-hands classes (in the kitchen)
at South Seattle Community College Culinary Arts
Program. (Next week is Food Server Lead.)
Yay Reilly! Two more quarters of academic classes
and he'll be done.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

This morning Jim Dandy the plumbing wonder
is coming to rescue me from nasty sludge build-up.
The heaps of dirty laundry have geologically evolved
into mountain ranges. Yesterday I went down
on my knees at the clawfoot bathtub
while my three young men delivered
stacks of soiled dishes to me. (The bathtub
does not share the clogged kitchen/basement
drain.) For what seemed an interminable time,
and was indeed perhaps an hour, I soaked
and scrubbed I-don't-know-how-many-days-worth
of plates, glasses, forks, knives, wooden spoons,
bowls, cookie sheets, saute pans -- as I washed
the boys dried and put away. Eighty-five degrees,
brain-hazy with the time-zone shift.

Later on we feasted on dead pig
and charred rolls. I seem to recall
some raspberries and cream, something crumbled.
There were potatoes involved.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Today the sunrise shone directly into my treehouse
bedroom, welcoming me back to Pacific Standard Time.
Good morning North America. I was soon thereafter
visited by Flip the cat, who doesn't belong to me
but belongs to Reilly and Nelson. Flip occasionally
blesses me with his faint affections. I must feel
beneath his chin to detect a purr.

I have noticed that in my absence
many spiders have moved into my house.
Perhaps I should charge them rent?
The boys seem unaffected by their presence.

A bird is pecking on my eaves -- a starling,
a flicker? I just managed to spot him/her
on the roof -- a Stellar's jay, attempting to crack
a pilfered hazelnut....pilfered from my hazelnut tree.
In the Burren (in Ireland) Paul and I drove through
a hazelnut forest, wild, boggy, rocky, blustery. I wanted to
build a hut and live there unto eternity. All the colors
were richly suffused -- rusty golds and golden greens.
It would rain in great sopping gusts, then the sun would
break through, and the landscape would shimmer with light.

My secret backyard garden has grown lush and junglely
in the past two weeks, its own overabundant universe.

And now the crows harass the jays, and the cats gather
beneath the Douglas fir, hoping to harass the crows.
Pecking order. Food chain.

The Food Chain would be a good name for a grocery store.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Seattle. Re-entry phase. Dazed and dipsy.
Reilly has a sourdough starter fermenting
in the kitchen, and there were three ripe
cherry tomatoes on my single tomato plant
(I quickly consumed two).
Basement drain clogged with tree roots,
my personal plumber is out of town.
(One has need of a personal plumber
when one owns a nearly 100-year-old
home. Other people have personal trainers.)
Paul's house has suffered a bee-break-in,
and because of the current problems with
the bee populations, they can't be exterminated.
He's awaiting expert advice.
I'm awaiting Jim-Dandy Plumbers, two days hence.
Oh, and sleep. I've been up for 24 hours.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Record rainfall the month of June in Ireland,
the driest county being Mayo, where we spent
Squally, sideways, windy rain, whipping up
into coats and hoods, drenching every thread.
How to contain, to store-up this overflowing
pleasure accumulated over the past two weeks.....
O ephemera!
From the bar at Oakwood Arms Hotel, Shannon.....

A pint of Bulmer's cider later, I'm feeling human again
after a day on the road. Actually, I've been feeling quite
grand all day. We prowled around the Burren, a 150 square
mile limestone landscape interspersed with farms, lakes,
lanes, churches, dolmens, ring forts, midieval ruins,
alpine and Mediterranean flora and fauna. We tried
in vain to local a Burren Bee Orchid. We were partway
up a "green track" (trail) when the rain came at us
fiercely; we hunkered under the few trees lining
the path while the wind ruffled the branches, sending
great wet gushes upon us. After much laughter
we gave in to failure, and muddied-down the trail
to the car, orchid-less and bereft. Not to be discouraged!
We discovered Penal Stations, an eerie marriage
of Catholicism and Druidism -- irregular stone stacks
in an even stonier field. Dotted with cranesbill and a raft
of flowers I couldn't identify. We hit the wildflower season
head on!

Last night we were the sole guests at Mt. Vernon lodge,
a five-bedroom private residence at Flaggy Shores
in County Clare, near Ballyvaughan. Our hosts were
lovely liberal Brit ex-pats, who used to run a small press
in London back in the day where they published
up-and-coming poets. We loved them! Ally, the hostess,
was a dead-ringer for Julie Christie in Far From the Madding
Crowd. Mark, the host, was a gently quiet-voiced man,
who gave us insider Burren information and was the
chef at dinner. We ate -- just the two of us --
in a formal dining room in a table grand enough
for a dozen guests. Surrounded by antiques
and paintings, we feasted on stuffed roasted pepper,
pan-roasted sole (tossed over the ocean-side of the road
from a fisherman in the morning, explicitly for us), zucchini,
and the ever-present mash. Apple cake adrift in cream
for dessert. Lovely, lovely.