Monday, June 30, 2008


(Click on the photo for the full effect.)
The light shifted ever-so-quickly, and I stepped outside
to capture these lovely cloud-bruises.

Queen Maeve's Tomb at Knocknaree

Trekked up to mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve's (Medb, Medhbh,
Meav, Meabh) tomb -- about an hour STRAIGHT UP. Seems
that the Irish don't go for switchbacks. Huffed and puffed on the
slippery scree. I can't believe I didn't take a pic of the actual
tomb, but the wind was fierce and very distracting.
The site dates to at least 2500 B.C. Spectacular 360 views
from the top.

On the drive back we stopped for a sackful of junk food:
coke, salt'n'vinegar potato chips, dark chocolate KitKat,
and for good measure, some cashews. O feast! O salt!
O chemical poisoning! To atone, at dinner I roasted
vegetables, mashed potatoes (or, as they say here, veg. & mash)
and baked some buttermilk biscuits (very light on the butter).
Very satisfying. (A splash of red wine in a crystal glass.)


I'm worried that I've not written a stitch of poetry
these past two weeks. Paul says that I'm storing it
away, that perhaps sometime next winter something
will pop up and make its way to the page. But I want
my poetry now! I want to choose the poem, rather
than the other way around. I want that particular high.
I want I want I want.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I've decided I need to shut down this computer
and get out in the world. Blue sky teases us
this morning, between blasts of sideways rain.
I think we should drive up to Sligo and hike
to Queen Maeve's grave. Yes. That's it.

Westport Park

The ad in the Mayo News said:
Family Day at Westport Park!
Free Admission!
Craft and Food Booths!

On the site of an 18th century manor home
and former home of 16th century pirate queen
Grace O'Malley, Westport Park is home to
swan boats, a "slippery dip", a flume, a kiddie
train....we ventured up to the Wild Animal Park
and saw:
1) a donkey
2) an Irish red deer
3) three alpacas
4) two llamas
5) a rabbit
6) a goat
7) a dozen hens
8) one white goose
9) numerous ducks


(Photo of most unwild swans at Westport Park....)

The Wild Swans at Coole

THE TREES are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.

The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dinner last night at J. J. O'Malleys -- upstairs
in a cavelike attic space, dark wood everywhere.
The waitresses moved so quickly they produced
a breeze every time they passed. The menu was
all over the map -- literally: Irish, Chinese, Thai,
Mexican, Italian. I decided to risk it and ordered
beef fajitas (Paul was sensible and ordered the lamb).
Well. I enjoyed a delicious beef stew with bell peppers,
carrots, onions, mushrooms and pea pods in a rich
brown gravy. On a side plate there were two flour
tortillas, shredded lettuce & mozzarella, and three
thimblesful of guacamole, salsa and whipped butter.
And I mean thimbles.  Aside from the meat
being a bit gristly, it was quite good for what it was.
What it wasn't was fajitas! A pint of Bullmers
cider washed it down nicely. We completed the evening
at The Porter House (pub) with a brandy-port each.
Unfortunately, the music ended right after we landed
primo seats at the banquette. 

Next week in Westport is Fleadh Cheoil Chonnacht '08,
a weeklong festival "packed with music, street dancing,
lectures, boat tours and singing." We're there!
And our experience here in the west of Ireland is that
the inclement weather discourages no one from attending!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cathair na Mart Thursday Market

A lovely bunch of organic lettuce, basil and arugula (rocket)
from the market yesterday -- a curious mix of fresh produce,
home-baked breads and pies, woolen goods, bead jewelry,
slate etchings and garden plants. I stopped by one table
where a woman was selling, among other things hand-knit
gloves. When I picked up a pair, she said,
"Those are from before I lost my yarn."
I said, "Your yarn! How did you lose your yarn?"
I noticed a flapping of sorts below her shoulder,
and she said,
"No! My arm!"
Now she makes baskets out of strips of aseptic juice
boxes and milk cartons. She said that she uses everything:
her (remaining) hand, her teeth, her feet. I must admit I was 
mortified at my mis-hear. Or, er, my creative hearing.
I mean, it did kind of make sense, seeing that I was
holding a pair of knit gloves, and her flappety sleeve
was resting quietly at her side. Granted, it's rare
for a knitter to lose her yarn. But you never know.

Photos from last night's walk with Jack:
1) Pat's boat
2) beach weed
3) Jack
4) mossy stuff on rocks

Today is Beethoven weather: the symphonies.
Crash! Pound! Roll! The occasional delicate bit.
Cranked up high.
From my brother-in-law Dick:

Knock, knock who's there?
Merchants selling holy ware !
Precious items, buy the lot,
We even offer holy snot !

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Knock Knock

Our pilgrimage to Knock (an Cnoc) was marred by spitting rain
(I was foolish, yet hopeful, when putting on capri pants and sandals).
It was not at all marred by a wrong turn, or rather, the lack of a turn,
which sent us careening off towards Claremorris. Getting lost, or turned
around, is one of my favorite things in Ireland. Adventure! There is
always something new to see. But to get back to the subject. (I'll admit
that my prose wanders almost as much as our car....) Knock is the site
of a religious apparation. In 1879, reputedly two women saw the
diaphonous forms of the BVM, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist.
And it was witnessed by 13 other people. (Why the guide books don't
say that 15 people saw this I don't know. But every accounting states
the two women plus the thirteen.) There are claims of miracle cures
from the waters that flow through the town -- once when we were there
in September all the holy water spigots (there's a wall of them)
were turned off. Ha! The big attraction for us Catholics-turned-Pagan
is the gift shops. (Be sure to check out CitizenK's account of this.)
For me, it's a romp through the iconography of my childhood, albeit
enhanced by the miracle of light-up Virgin Mary's and wall-sized
glow-in-the-dark rosary beads. There are perhaps a dozen shops,
all carrying nearly the same items, which number in the thousands.
Besides the holy water fonts and pick-a-size Virgin Mary's, there are
plastic farm animals, Bart Simpson t-shirts with "kiss my ass" in Irish,
linen dish towels (Irish family names, an Irish blessing, flowers
of Ireland), wool cable-knit sweaters, pot holders, mugs, decorative
thermometers, packages of green soldiers -- you name it. I was there
for the holy cards: St. Patrick, St. Dymphna, St. Clare.
At one shop I approached the proprietor with a handful of holy cards
and a miniature book of prayers, and he said, "how about a euro
for the lot?" What a deal. Paul, bless him, faces the Knock
Catho-capitalism with a bit more angst than me. He worries about
the cynicism we feel as we traipse from shop to shop -- it's like one
convenience-store-for-Jesus after another: a whole lot of cheap shit
(made in China) coveted by elderly women in wheelchairs.
It's an economy all its own, and I'm happy to trot away with my Padre Pio
medal in my pocket. Humming. I admit to being a sucker for cheap kitsche,
wherever on the planet it is found. (This goes right along with my fondness
for jell-o and multi-colored marshmallows and Lucky Charms.)

We tried like the devil to come up with at least one good
Knock Knock joke on the drive up. No luck.
I'm open to suggestions! (It must be Catholic in theme.)

Flat Tyre....

...on the way to dinner last night. Flappety flappety flap.
Paul said, "listen to that wind!" And I said, "that's not wind."
And the teenage boy who strode out into the road and knocked
on our window said, "you've got a flat there." Ah.
Flap. Etty. Flap. What is it about a car with the trunk up
and emergency flashers on that invites an audience?
Two chefs and a patron stood at the door of the restaurant
across the street and seemed to enjoy our plight an awful lot.
Or....perhaps they were just out for a smoke. I don't know.
But they took note of our every move and commented among
themselves as if they were watching a production of Hamlet.
Amazing how easy it is to change a tire. Especially when
all you have to do is watch.

We finally made it to dinner at Quay Cottage. I had
a Clare Island Organic Salmon fillet with a wild mushroom
sauce; Paul had Sea Trout, the Irish version of Steelhead.
Interesting in that the salmon was the cheapest thing
on the menu! I was too full after dinner to stop at the pub,
but there's a drink I just must try: a brandy-port.
Just a pour of each into the same snifter. Sounds good.

The winds have finally eased, although our plans for a hike
today (post-tire-repair) once again have been thwarted
by the elements: rain. Summer? What's summer?

I enjoyed a video-chat with Reilly today on Skype.
Up for a chat? Sign up for Skype online. It's free
if both parties are signed up. Takes only a few minutes
to download, and you're good to go.
My Skype ID is: t.clear

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We motored in to Castlebar today and filled up
the tank for $7.85 a gallon. (Yes, Paul did all
the conversions.) Just thought I'd give all you
Americans a little perspective. (Not that I like
paying $$$ for gas. Just sayin'.)

I was in search of an art supply store, running
out of specialty papers, and after a very tame
wild goose chase there was one to be found,
through an archway and down an alley, a closet
of a place and a very helpful salesclerk who
ordered some precut papers for me from her
supplier in London! When I told her what I was
doing -- she became very concerned and suggested
envelopes for my postcards. (Maybe she was just
up-selling.) I said that mailing them unenveloped
is a big part of the appeal for me. Handmade postcards
at the mercy of postal clerks all over the world. Naked.
Some may not survive, but the preciousness-level
isn't high and I like postmarks. So we'll see.
The first batch goes out tomorrow!

A small death, a humble grave.

Murrisk Beach Walk

I am enamored of the colors in this landscape -- we took a short hike
in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, past Murrisk Friary and on down
to the shore, which curves and curls around tidepools and pastures
where horses graze unconcerned with the wind. When I beach-walk,
I'm torn between keeping my eyes raised to take in the greater
surroundings, or keeping them earthward -- there is so much
to observe and such an expanse of colors in the flora,
the tide-lines of seaweed, the crab carapaces tossed
by the hundred into the grass, the periwinkle shells,
the cockles, the mussels. (On this particular stretch of beach
the human-contribution to debris was at a minimum: shreds
of rope, and the occasional plastic jug.) We were blessed with
a good hour without rain, but it appeared to be lashing at the
hardy souls trekking up Croagh Patrick's scree.
Finally back at the car, we feasted on ham sandwiches
made with the last of the homemade bread and some
Polish pickles (as close to dill as I could find).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Warning: the following entry contains meat!

Still life: Dinner With Art Stuff.
But seriously, check out this Irish Stew recipe.
I tell you, I'm done with my tried-and-true Fannie Farmer
beef stew. This one contains a cup of Guinness and a cup
of red wine, along with the usual stew stuff. My god, when
I inhaled after adding all the ingredients, I could've expired
on the spot, it was that fragrant.

The winter that we seem to be experiencing here in Ireland
ceased for a few hours this afternoon and we rushed out
for a walk, accompanied by Jack-the-dog who brought along
a deflated blue ball that Paul threw, Jack fetched, etc.,
on and on down the lane. At one point, Jack picked up
a second half-ripped, deflated ball, and it became evident
that he wanted Paul to carry the blue ball back. Ha!
This is a smart dog, both when he's herding sheep
and when he's herding humans. And apparently we're
easy humans to herd. We obey. Baaaaa.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I just took this photo and it's 9:44pm. It's night-time and
it's daylight AND it's completely socked-in AND it's the
first full day of summer. Whooda thunk? The rain isn't
very visible in the photograph, but it's been pretty unrelenting today.
And I'm sure you've all seen rain before. Duh.
A quiet day today, running errands in town, Irish coffee
at Matt Molloys. I've spent all evening working on postcards.
Patience! It's time-consuming and often vexing but at the same
time incredibly enjoyable. And I really don't wish to part with any
but since I've promised (and you know who you are!) I guess
I have to.

Supped on a homely little soup -- tomatoes, chicken broth,
onions, garlic, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, cannelini beans,
pasta, a shaving of grana, a sprinkle of herbs. I love that
this soup doesn't pretend to be anything other than what
it is. No point in dressing it up. I could do with some crusty
white bread, however. Should've baked. Tomorrow --
to go with the Guinness beef stew.
The official summer solstice occurred last night
at 23:59, a minute before midnight as we plunged
through the bogs & vales of North Mayo in our
little red car, solitary travelers in a landscape
on the cusp of summer. On Monday night, bonfires
will flare into the night as the Irish celebrate St. John's Eve.
We have great heaping piles of gorse in the yard,
which would make fantastic bonfire fodder, but
the ever-present wind on this cove might send
it tumbling down the lane. Wouldn't want to set
Carrowholly afire! Last summer solstice, we drove
back to the house after a late supper, and even
in the rain, we saw people hunkered in their yards under
umbrellas, taking-in the spark and crackle
of their St. John's Eve blaze.

The woman who looks after our house when we're away
stopped by yesterday -- Rose Fields (that's really her name!)
As always, she carried with her a bounty of blossoms from her
garden -- delphinium, larkspur, sweet peas, cornflowers,
valerian, daisies, Canterbury bells. Rose is an Irish posey
unto herself: a kink of wind-tousled red hair and always dressed
in assorted tones of pink/red/purple, she talks a blue-streak
and then suddenly, seemingly without having taken a single
breath, says "bye now!" And is gone. Whoosh!
She's a wealth of information on the local flora, and knows
at least half of the 4,500 population of Westport.

And for all you punctuophiles out there,
don't miss this piece from Slate.
I'll be laughing all day!
(Long Live the Semi-Colon.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Mullet

Yes, just like the haircut. We spent the afternoon
exploring this northwest island, and stayed in Belmullet
for a Dick Gaughan concert in the new
Belmullet Arts Center -- Aras Inis Gluaire.
Situated in the Gaeltacht, this area is bilingual,
so the signs are all in Irish, and Dick Gaughan,
who is a Scot, was introduced in Irish and English.
A song he sang in a Scot dialect moved me to tears --
even though I couldn't understand a word!
The power of music....

We left Belmullet around eleven -- just past
the gloaming hour. The fifty miles back to Westport
were lit by an ebbing glow on the western horizon
behind us, and strings of reflectors on either side
of the narrow road in yellow, and a line of white
reflectors down the middle -- beads of light strung out
for miles before us to guide the way home.
(No overhead streetlights!)
On the last bit of country lane down to Carrowholly Point
a fox scurried beside us, visible for only a single glance,
then disappeared into fuschia hedgerows.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


For a lovely accounting of our day today, check out

As chicken simmered with a Balti sauce on the stove
tonight I broke out the art supplies -- exacto, glue,
deckle-edged postcards, various papers, colored pencils,
a bag of 50-year-old stamps I bought at a yard sale for a quarter.
I'm doing a collage-postcard project. If you'd like to
receive one (and suspect that you're not on my list),
send your USmail address to
I'll do my best to send one out to everyone who requests!

These are from yesterdays walk. Notice the presence of the sun!
I've been informed that local residents have been enjoying a great
deal of sun and absence of rain. Let's hope it stays. Word is that
gloom has once more descended upon my birth city of Seattle.

Last night our internet connection at the house mysteriously
disappeared -- everything showed that we were connected
but alas no service. We were bereft! Forlorn! We are so addicted
to this instant hook-up to the greater universe. And now, mercifully,
it's back, with news of Reilly's New! Job! Yay! Full-time! Now he can
start paying rent, car insurance, etc..... 

We dined at our favorite Westport restaurant yesterday --
Mediterraneo. It's Sicilian, a narrow slip of a space between
buildings, with the entrance off an alley-of-sorts. Ezio,
the owner, is a narrow slip of a man who always wears
very tight jeans and a white shirt, and sashays between
tables with a certain Italian-style savoir faire.
The portions are always generous. My choice was 
thinly-sliced steak -- stuffed with cherry tomatoes,
sultanas and onions, then rolled, sliced and skewered,
served with a side of the most divine deep-fried potatoes
imaginable (not unlike those at Antoine's in New Orleans).
I asked for a take-home bag but it didn't appear, and when
asked about it, the waitress hedged and Ezio good-naturedly
accused me of not finishing my dinner because I didn't like it,
then he whisked himself away as if he would miss his part
in the dance if he lingered a moment longer. Upon payment,
still no leftovers, and Ezio refused a tip, claiming that we were
"V.I.P" customers. Oops! I suspect those lovely steak and 
potato bits had landed in the trash. 

A cat visited -- a calico with bright orange
and black patches on a white ground, with a stub-of-a-tail
broken and gnarled at the tip. Talkative and a purr
like a small engine, she rolled over and over, showing
her belly -- to me! A stranger! Looks like I'll be getting
my cat fix while I'm here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jelly fish from my beach walk last night. I've taken many of these
walks and these are the first jellies I've seen. What a surprise --
and a treat! I was accompanied by Jack, the neighbor's border collie,
who kept trying to herd me. I would not cooperate. He also tried
to get four horses in a pasture to come to the fence-edge (where I
patiently waited), but, smart dog that he is, didn't try too hard.
Horses are not sheep. Horses kick.They pretty much just ignored
him. And honestly, why would a horse come to eat my offered handful
of fresh grass when this countryside is overabundant
with fresh everything?!

Leaving for a walk at 9:45 in the evening, with the sun
still blazing in the west, is a particular pleasure.
So easy to let go here, to let time lag.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Today's Photos

From the top:
1) our Irish house
2 & 3) up the road
4) a view from the patio

Yes, the sky/landscape really does look like this, although it's very changeable.
One minute -- suffused with color; the next -- grey as mouse fur.
Clare Island appears, disappears from moment to moment.
Last night the wind howled, as Paul put it, "like straight
out of Lear!" Is this summer? Nearly. Not quite.

Last night I talked to Nelson (4,500 air miles away)
using Skype -- online. I remember calling home 
to Renton while hosteling around Europe in 1977.
One had to locate a call center, generally in a big city.
The drill was you'd write your desired phone number down
at the front desk, then they'd assign you a retrieval number,
and when that appeared above one of the booths, your 
call had gone through, and you had the booth to yourself
for as long as you wanted, but it was pricey --  thankfully
good ol' mom accepted my collect calls. There weren't many
options back in the old days. Now I can video-chat with my sons
for not a penny. We are spoiled!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gave in to sleep, or rather sleep dragged me down,
where I stayed for 16 hours, Paul, 18. I awoke at 9:45
and didn't know if it was morning or still night because
it was cloudy and night here this time of year doesn't really
seem like night, but just a deeper, softer version of a cloudy day.
We broke fast with pinhead oats, which simmer and simmer,
and coffee I mercifully remembered to carry with me from 
Seattle. Hung towels on the line to air, and the clothesline,
once a single towel was strung, began to spin wildly
in the wind. Hold on! Soon we'll venture into town
(about 4 miles) to stock up on groceries, maybe down
a pint at Matt Malloys.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Carrowholly, Westport, County Mayo

(Click on pictures to enlarge.)
Just took these two pics, from the front patio, looking south 
and west. Just rolled in, (I think it's afternoon)
time has lost shape after many hours and three airports, 
an ill-advised attempt at upright sleep in my sardine-
sized airplane seat. Paul's already out cold -- I need to unwind.
Had a bowl of Cheerio's and Irish strawberries (at 22 cents
apiece -- and that's on sale at buy-one-get-one free!
And I mean, buy one container, get one free. They are not
priced individually! But perhaps they should be....the dollar
is in the toilet. ) Jack the blue/brown-eyed neighbor dog 
has visited already, running all the way across the cove 
when I called him, barked when I didn't pet him enough. 
There are great heaps of gorse which has been trimmed 
around the house, stickery and brown, ready to be carted off. 
Croagh (Mt.) Patrick looms conical in the distance. 
With my binocs I can see the chapel at the summit, a few 
hardy souls who have ascended its rocky heights.
Sunday afternoon and it's pin-drop quiet in the cove.
I should just give-in to this sleep which is pushing me
down, forget this attempt to fool the clock!
The sky is wrought with clouds, yet a spotty sun
breaks through between bursts of rain.
I will always be amazed at Paul's ability to get behind
the wheel of our rental car -- on the wrong side, no less --
and drive on the opposite side of the road, shifting with his
left hand, after little sleep and long travel. And it's a 2-3 hour
drive after we leave the airport. It must be a male-gene thing.
There is no way I could do that. And the roads are very narrow,
and people drive -- careen, actually -- at high speeds. Yowza.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Absolutely certain that I'd left the beets roasting
in a 425 degree oven -- and this realization came
four hours after I put them on to cook -- I dashed
into my car and did my best not to careen across
the Floating Bridge, all the while attempting
to call Paul, who wouldn't answer. I envisioned smoke,
an emergency crew blocking the street, the house
a remnant of ashes. Wait! I've done this before --
don't I have credit? (January 15th, 1987, Reilly
at nine months asleep in his crib, when a tendril
of smoke curled into the bedroom, then a cloud,
then billow upon billow --) Why wasn't Paul answering?
Had he succumbed to smoke inhalation?
What about the cat? Was I doomed to widowhood
As I exited I-90 onto 405, my phone rang, and of course
it was Paul, calm, at home. And when I asked him
if I left the beets in the oven, his said, "Oh! That's
what that smell is!" (And a noticecable lack of smoke.)
Phew! I eased the pressure on the gas pedal.
Yes, the beets were in the oven, carbonized,
ressembling very small charcoal briquets.
And the house exuded the pleasing aroma
of burgers cooking on the grill.
We leave in two days! When Melinda bemoaned
the fact that I'll not be at work for a month, I told her
that I'm not really going on a vacation, I'm going
on a month-long writer's residency.
(For a moment she believed me.) 
"And T, how did you get this residency?" 
My answer:

Truth be told, when I wrote "must know how
to use punctuation" in my profile
four years ago, I wasn't joking. And when I received
a response that contained not only accurate
and appropriate punctuation, including bulleted points!
And correct spelling! I was smitten.
The rest is history.
Residency in County Mayo here I come.

I went into Daniel Smith (Artists Supplies) yesterday
and as usual, felt as if someone was going to run up
to me and declare "imposter! This woman is a poet,
not an artist!" I admit to being very intimidated
by the tubes of paint, etc. I was in search of a small
vat of Yes Paste, a bone folder, an exacto knife, some
paper. A very helpful young man came to my aid,
and in under five minutes I learned a heck of a lot
about a)adhesives and b)paper weights. And the best
part was that he completely took me seriously! Yay!
Bringing it all with me, along with odd scraps of paper
and an envelope of stamps/postdates from 1959-60
which I bought at a garage sale for a quarter.
Not sure exactly what will come of it, but the thought
of a month without the frantic schedule I currently keep
is quite delicious, and hopefully will inspire not only
some new writing but a few other projects as well.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I got up at 7am yesterday and started a cake
for my boss' birthday....Golden Butter Cake
with more vanilla goodness slathered
on and around. Went to the gym at 9:30,
stopped at Rite-Aid and Safeway, rushed 
home to shower and frost cake and fill 
with raspberry cream and then decorated 
with pink swirls and a bunch of PINK DOTS. 
(The boss-lady loves them dots.) 
Arrived at work at 1pm and ON TIME.
Phew! I love a pink cake. But damn, so much 
sugar! Very happy to leave the cake at work, so it wouldn't be calling my name at midnight. 
On the day after a cake-party, a slice is amazingly fabulous heated 
in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

News Flash

Rumors are circulating that later in the week
a strange and luminous orb will appear in our skies,
and could quite possibly persist for several days!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Crosby, Stills & Nash

You know you're getting up there when, prior to
a CSN (minus Y) show, there is classical music
piping from the sound system. Last night the clouds
miraculously parted for a rain-free albeit chilly performance
at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. Although their vocals
aren't quite what they used to be, these sixty-something
icons of rock nonetheless started their set at seven sharp,
took a break mid-set (a nap, perhaps?) and came back
to play until 9:45, with, alas, just one encore. And no
"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"! We were a sedate and polite
audience, finally standing for "For What It's Worth."
David Crosby resembled an aging-rocker Santa Claus
with his snowy beard, hair, eyebrows and moustache.
Stephen Stills, in his relaxed jeans and oversized
sweatshirt, played his usual understated and introspective
guitar. Graham Nash seemed to be the most fit
and upright of the three, svelte in his all-black
with that shock of white white white hair!
Their harmonies still swirl out like honey
upon honey, and when they launched into "Our House"
there was more than one couple (yours truly included)
who scootched closer together under blankets
and winter coats -- now everything is easy 'cuz of you.
When we left, a November fog had settled in above
Sammamish Slough, and a hooked sliver-of-a-moon
guided us through damp and darkened woods
all the way home.

Friday, June 6, 2008

There is a man I occasionally see on Rainier Avenue
who looks exactly like Little Richard. The hair,
the suit. Yesterday he was in the middle of four
lanes of traffic, in the turning lane, as spiffed-up
as usual, with a shopping cart, apparently just pausing.
Sometimes he's at the bus stop. On the east side
of the street, near Lowes. It's true.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's June, nearly summer, and all I want to do
is curl up under heavy blankets and sleep.
I hereby rename the current season to: Wing.
(Winter + spring.) If this tundric weather pattern
doesn't significantly improve soon, I'll be forced
to rename the next season also: Wummer.
Sounds a lot like that other word, warmer,
but no! It's neither warmer nor summer.

Greek yogurt with chocolate sauce and a crumble
of graham crackers will do in a pinch.

Leaving for Ireland on the 14th, had to buy a rain slicker.
(It's as wet there as it is here.) The color is celery.
Not cabbage or kohlrabi. Not lacewing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

From Melinda's Garden

After rubbing the leaf of a scented geranium
into my neck this afternoon, I can taste smoke
in my throat, and smell it. The same thing happens
when I eat garlic. Dommage.

The boys and I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie
last night (while our June monsoons wailed outside)
and there is one thing for certain: Stephen Spielberg
sure does like those aliens and those flying saucers.
Geez. The giants ants were almost worth the price
of admission, especially when they crawled en masse
down one of the villain's throat. There were few old-guy
jokes at the expense of the 65-year-old Harrison Ford,
and he appeared to have the spring and flexibility
of someone 40 years younger, though that might have
been the work of stunt-doubles. I nearly nodded off
several times, but there was usually a special effect
inserted at just the right moment, almost as if Spielberg
was saying, "now, I know it's past your bedtime, but this
oughta keep you awake for a while!" Predictable, corny,
and at $10.25/ticket, you'd be better off to wait for it to
hit Netflix.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Swan Boats

After 42 years, I finally got to ride them. I don't remember why,
but when I first visited Boston at age 9, my mother didn't let us.
The disappointment!

The human-powered catamarans have been in operation
since 1877. For a very modest fee, one can cruise the
"lagoon" at Boston Gardens, about a ten-minute ride.
The experience was utterly charming, as duck families
paddled past and swans glided the surface of the
four-foot-deep pond. We were even lucky enough
to see a swan atop a nest at the water's edge (and someone
had the foresight to fence off the nest from marauding
tots and tourists.)

Some of the boats are 120-years old: well-worn wood
with bright green paint, red trim. And of course,
the swan, which conceals the pedals. This was quite
possibly the best ten minutes I've spent in a long time!