Monday, October 29, 2007

My New Boots, Continued

Nelson: "Those look like Wizard-of-Oz boots."
Reilly: "Ooohhh....Witch-of-the-West."
(Spoken independently of each other.)
(And the best part is, [other than the pointy toes
and three rivets at each ankle] is that they come
with a pink satin bag. Just in case.)

My New Boots

rsvp Cate

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"And the day came when the risk it took
to remain tight inside the bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom"
- Anais Nin
(borrowed from Esther Helfgott's blog)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pilchuck Auction: Party at the Westin

Expectations of glass toppling, so many people
with so many drinks (my favorite was the Pole Turner,
signature drink for the event: Belvedere vodka with
a blueberry infusion, twist of lime, edge-of-glass dipped
in crushed-grahams/sugar....deadly); glass fused, cast,
blown, blasted, painted, twisted, collaged. Some pieces
in the live going for $35-40k. Chocolate in my cleavage.
Genevieve with her fuschia-pomegranate hair, Michael
with a scarlet rose in his lapel. The woman who went
from table to table collecting a platter-full of magnetic rocks.
Individual ice-sculptures of Pilchuck architecture with a hollow
for a single scoop of cucumber-lime sorbet. (Completely
recyclable serving pieces!) Middle-aged women with
backless dresses (too many) (cover it up). Thin crisp
candied orange slices: edible garnishes. Some of the glass
was almost edible.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All Bran

If you haven't seen this video yet.....

His Apron Strings

Tangled, wrenched under the agitator,
they won’t budge. (Neither will my son,
asleep after his night shift at the restaurant
plating salad after salad.) I won’t pay
a hundred dollars for a stranger
to do what I can figure out,
and I won’t resort to scissors.

I pry up a plastic disk to reveal
a single screw, not quite rusted.
It unwinds with my turning
and the washer mechanism lifts to reveal
the offending string coiled to the core.
Oh easy I sigh, greased to the elbows.
More difficult to extricate the son.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Last night The News Hour with Jim Lehrer ran a segment
about the poetry "biz" in Seattle, featuring our very own
Floating Bridge Press, and *starring* Jeff Crandall. Check it
out here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

From an article at

"Since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, more and more families across the country are birthing their boys into Red Sox Nation with the name Boston. In 2004, for the first time in a century, Boston appeared on the government's list of the 1,000 most popular names. Rallying from virtual obscurity to 626th place, the name has made a comeback, spawning a modest bumper crop of baby "Bostons." According to the Social Security Administration, 856 boys named Boston were born in 2004, 2005, and 2006...."

My children are lucky that this trend to name kids after cities wasn't popular back in the late 1980's -- how could I have resisted naming one of them Renton?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Monster Egg

Break a dozen or two of eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. Tie the yolks in a pig's bladder, boil them hard, and remove them. In a larger pig's bladder, place the whites. Into the midst of the whites, place the set yolks, and tie the bladder tight. Boil the whole until the whites harden and then remove from the water. Serve the Monster Egg on a bed of spinach.
Schott's Food & Drink Miscellany
I met a baby last night -- Darragh William Payton --
nearly six months old, a bruiser, with what looks like
apricot dust on his head: soft orange down. (A night out
at Brad's Swingside Cafe on Phinney Avenue.) Darragh
was passed contentedly from person to person, entranced
by red helium balloons and twinkle lights, shells suspended
in a net strung in the window. He dined on mother's milk
and rice cereal. The rest of us dined on mussels, calamari,
bow-tie-pasta, chicken, lamb, steak. Limoncello mousse.
And a hell of a lot of wine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming out of the Columbia City Cinema tonight
(saw Michael Clayton, very understated role
for G. Clooney, intelligent and complicated story --
I recommend this movie) the rain pelted us
and I tried to wrap my white Pashmina scarf
about my head and it kept blowing into my face
and I couldn't see and then it would fly off
and I could see perfectly but was getting wet.
Oh, such troubles. Pleasurable, simple troubles.


Trader Joe's sells prepared grits-in-a-tube.
Squeezable grits. I want pizza-in-a-tube.
Won't somebody please invent this?
Every fallen leaf has been documented.
Every twig, every apple tossed in the wind.
The toppled dahlias, cosmos, monkshood.
All is noted.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday night parties are a good idea.
Today my neighbor Ben turned 50
and we toasted him with wine and champagne
and a potluck-dinner and tres-leches cake
from the Salvadoran bakery in White Center.
Sailed right past those Monday night blues.
Looking for a house is a lot like
looking for a Christmas tree --
you don't want to choose the first one
you see. Gotta look at it from all sides,
shake it to see if any dead needles
fall out (scary to think about a dead needle
falling from a house). Is the color good?
How will it look decorated? Is it tall enough?
Will it fit? Will our star shine brightly from it?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rules One and Two

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the argument that life is serious, though it is often hard and even terrible. Since everything ends badly for us, in the inescapable catastrophe of death, it seems obvious that the first rule of life is to have a good time, and that the second rule of life is to hurt as few people as possible in the course of doing so. There is no third rule."
--Brendan Gill

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Try the pumpkin pancakes at Cafe Flora
on East Madison in Seattle. They are plate-sized,
puffy, fragrant with nutmeg, served with walnut butter
(chopped walnuts folded into softened butter)
and warm maple syrup (the real stuff). I went
at them after Paul had stuffed himself silly,
and still there remained half-a-dozen generous
hunks. This was the kind of pancake experience
where I tuned out everything around me, wanting
only to be present to what was passing through
my lips. Share an order with someone soon!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yesterday at dusk I lifted heavy vines

to check the sweetness of grapes left out

too long. Ready, I decided, tomorrow.

And while a grey sun rose though October rain

I slept on and on as starlings swept through

and plucked clean each laden stem.
GO AL! (Gore, that is.)
("Go Al" spells goal.)
I'd say he's scored quite a point.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I disassembled my washing machine
in order to unwind the cord of Reilly's
chef's apron. Black grease on my arms
and all. And....I put it all back together.
The symbolism here has not missed me.....


The grapes of my childhood were an unidentified
purple variety, most likely for wine. The vines stretched
all the length of the south side of our half-acre, arching
without welcome into the neighbor's yard. (Some of my vines
grow to 24 feet!) Sour, tough-skinned, but I figured out
that, after popping one into my mouth, I could remove the skin
with my front teeth and tongue, spit out its bitterness,
and there remained, between the skin and flesh, a thin
layer of near-sweetness. Not quite a reward for my discovery,
but nonetheless, come ripening season, I'd lie on my back
in the tunnel formed between the fence and the gentle arch
of the vines (this was during my feral phase) and secretly
suck out the juice.
No blast of early October sun to sweeten the grapes.
Even the starlings ignore them as mold begins
its slow invasion. Alas.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"One may still find in remote parts of the west of Scotland,
or in Ireland,the vanishing traces of an ancient culture
once universal, where the face of the land and sea and sky
hold a meaning… Every bird has its own magical quality
and significance; certain wells and springs are holy,
and there are green mounds which no crofter
would disturb because of the spirits which
continue to inhabit them."
--Kathleen Raine, Defending Ancient Springs

Sunday, October 7, 2007

(After attending a book launch for Congressman Jay Inslee's
new book Apollo's Fire at Seattle University):

Coming out of The Chapel of St. Ignatius
after a day of rain-drama, the October sky
is bunched with clouds: rag-clouds, torn-curtain clouds,
a steel-wool fringe against indigo. I desire a dress
sewn from these clouds: black and blue,
gauzy, backlit with a threading of gold.
Ripped and mended.
Mostly mended.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Forgot my recycled grocery bags when I went to Safeway
today, and now once again my kitchen is afloat
with brown and red puffy plastic bags. It usually
makes the clerk nervous when I produce my collection
of well-worn canvas bags, with the occasional refolded
brown paper bag included. There is usually a passive-aggressive
sigh, as they fumble with the handles and try to get
them to stand upright. I generally assist, which also
produces a measure of anxiety from the clerk. And no!
I dont' need help out with my gallon of milk! (Which requires
no plastic sack!) In Ireland, and I'm guessing many other
countries, one is required to brings ones own method
of store-to-vehicle-grocery-conveyance, or cough up some
extra Euros for a plastic sack. There are often empty boxes
stacked in the front of the store for customers to use.
This is a great idea. And the funny thing is that I almost
always remember, when I'm there. (Unlike when I'm here.)

Friday, October 5, 2007

"There are a great many sins in the world,
none of them original."
--Bridge of Sighs, Richard Russo
Psychotropic dreams last night, inspired by nothing
other than my own wacky brain chemistry. Kept
trying to wake up and couldn't. When I finally did
awaken, all I wanted was to slide back into hypnotic
sleep. Here's one image: in the main floor room
of a building I used to inhabit in Wallingford
back in the 80's (an old mom/pop grocery-store
building) set designers were building thirty-foot-high
wooden chairs for a Verdi opera. They were encrusted
with rhinestones and were painted bright greens, blues,
oranges, reds. In another dream, an animal-welfare group
captured all the wild parrots in Seattle to save them
from a predicted sub-zero storm, and then released them
to a particularly warm & tropical area of Eastern Washington.
Upon their release, at the edge of a cliff which looked out
over a verdant valley suffused with golden light, an eight-year-old
boy belted out a gospel-ballade about birds and freedom.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

"The best way to make your dreams come true
is to wake up." --Paul Valery
Some years ago, I was in the Safeway parking lot.
Just behind me was a young mother with a baby
on her hip, holding a three-year-old girl by the hand.
The girl twisted away from the mother and started
to run, past me, just as a car reversed out of a parking
stall. I leapt forward and swept the girl into my arms.
I vividly remember the feel of her bones, the
insubstantial depth of her rib cage, her thin white
cotton dress. The reversing car continued reversing,
and then proceeded away, completely unaware.
I stood with the very surprised child in my arms
and the mother stumbling up behind me, saying
thank-you thank-you thank-you. It was very bright
and sunny, the kind of day where you dare to believe
that the world is a benign place.


This morning, I was exiting off I-90 to Rainier Avenue
and I saw a car that appeared to be parked (no emergency
flashers) against the concrete pylon, right against the curve.
I thought it was odd, and as I continued on (very slick road,
a dangerous curve if you're going too fast), I noticed that
the car had head-on collided with the concrete and was wedged
against it. This all happened incredibly fast -- by the time I
realized it was an accident (I do not think quickly in situations
like this), I had rounded the curve and was on Rainier --
probably about four seconds. Panic! I called 911 and reported
it, thanks to the existence of cell phones. So much flashed
through my mind, so many possible scenarios, life/death/
Autopsies. A knock at the door. I believe I did the right thing.
I want to believe this. Need to. I could not stop.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I walked outside this morning and saw all that rain
and wind and said, "Stop it. It's too soon."
And guess what: the elements ignored me.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Broken Count

1) one 9 X 13 Pyrex baking dish, in the oven, very hot,
containing a whole chicken;
2) one circa 1970 highball glass, adorned with a red
and gold paisley design, on my bathroom floor;
3) one fifties-reproduction juice glass, green-striped,
upon unloading the dishwasher;
4) a pair of two-year-old Nikes (sole detaching
from the body of the shoe);
5) one-half of a pair of Clark's sandals: severed strap.