Sunday, August 31, 2008

Heavenly Blue!

Just bloomed! I checked it about a half-hour ago
and it was still closed. If I had watched it continually
would I have been able to observe that infinitesimal
movement of blue-petal-upon-blue-petal swirling open?

I am in love with this flower....

My favorite childhood cookbook --

-- and my favorite recipe.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I love this painting, by Kathryn Ace, which hangs in our home:

Friday, August 29, 2008

The blog-brain has been non-functioning of late.
But I will say that I've discovered Trader Joe's
very chocolate Mini Meringues
and they've become something of an addiction.
P. won't touch their lovely chalky crunchiness,
which is fine by me. Please! Take them away!
(They remind me of the strawberry freeze-dried
ice cream I took with me on a week-long hike
when I was 15, which I did not reconstitute.
It was sooooo good dry. Like the charms in Lucky Charms.)


How about that Sarah Palin, huh?! Heard that
she's a member of the P.T.A. Now that's an impressive
CV. Go Sarah. (Go back to Alaska. And please,
take Johnny Wattles with you.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ooohhhhh.....we're shifting into autumn and my
Heavenly Blue Morning Glory hasn't even bloomed yet.
Still sleeping with the windows open and still wearing sandals
and getting my feet wet and walking outside in the rain
in sleeveless tops and loving every minute of it.
Refusing to give in. Heck, if this is what we're going to get
in the way of Seattle weather, I may as well be in Ireland.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Revisiting What have you saved from childhood theme....
so much sadness there, from my readers: fire, abandonment,
disposal. Today I threw away LOTS of "memorabilia",
most of it NOT AT ALL WORTH SAVING. But for some reason
or other I saved it. And now it's gone and my heart is untetherered.

Five big boxes for the recycling.
Three big boxes of garbage.
Many Goodwill donations.
And still there remains countless more.
But finally, it feels like progress.
I told N. that I felt as if I had gone back
at least five lifetimes. (N. -- bless his heart --
carried out the recycling. In heavy rain.)

Perhaps the most amusing item I ran across
is a newspaper accounting of my first wedding
by my children's great-grandmother, Edna P. Couch,
who wrote for the Kentwood News Journal. (That's
Kentwood, Louisiana, home of, yes, Brittany! Spears!)
(Or is is Britney!? These things are difficult.)
Anyway, the cleansed accounting of the festivities
included, apparently, a "nice ham supper after the wedding
at the home of the groom's parents." Hmm. Not exactly
as I remember it: no ham, lots of alcohol. And, during the
ceremony we were serenaded by the "Seattle Symphony Band."
Huh? Never heard of them. Well. Louisiana is pretty much
another country, and who's to question the 1983 doings
of a Seattle wedding? And I have to admit that there is
some kind of Southern charm at work when the journalistic
account of a farway event is edited to fit the mores
of the community in which the article appears. Bad journalism,
yes, but is it really journalism in the first place?

Oh. Quaint, I suppose, all these years later.
And it's not exactly CNN.

Guess what's for breakfast....

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not really a problem, and yet....

Do other bloggers have this problem? --
Since I started blogging 570 posts ago,
when I run into friends I haven't seen in a while
and we begin to talk about what we've been up to,
their response to my news (about whatever) is usually,
"Oh, I know. I read it in your blog.
(I know that already.)"

But! Wait! I don't write about everything (thankfully!)
that happens in my life! Don't you want more details?
More embellishment?! Does writing a personal blog
mean that I can speak aloud no longer?!

Thank-you for reading this blog.
But there is more, much more.
I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


It's August and it rains like the world has given up.
Seattle. I worry about my sons, both no-longer-teens.
Who, what, when will they be? How?
We go on and on.
I try to remember to be compassionate.
To approach the universe from a loving perspective,
but sometimes that's just damn hard.
But the rewards, the rewards.
At night with the window open and in this wind
I can hear P.'s wind chimes, intoning the moment.
There is comfort in that. Presence.
Again, I give thanks.

You or I could end at any moment: a fiery crash,
or something far less dramatic. And who would sift through
all we leave behind? Who would care? Most everything is doomed
for the dump, the transfer station, the paper recycler.
Doomed for Goodwill. What objects that I have saved, coveted,
will go in a heartbeat for 99cents? Which will linger in the bottom
of a forgotton bin: postcard, earring, plate?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vat Grown Meat Product

Aka, In Vitro Meat. Check it out.
You could win a million bucks.
My friend M. wants to grow some in his basement.
He has prenamed his product bork.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Donald and grandsons.....

...and granddaughters.
I am one of few very fortunate people who has not one
but TWO wonderful, very dear fathers-in-law. Donald,
who is #1, turns eighty today. Paul Sr., #2, celebrated
his eightieth birthday last May. I can't tell you how delighted
I am to have these two witty, articulate and bright men
in my life. Blessings counted!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

We saw Vicky Christina Barcelona last night, the new 
Woody Allen Lite movie.  He has most definitely 
lost his wit, his comedic edge. Paul found it dull, 
but I was, at least, entertained in a not-too-deep 
kind of way. Javier Bardem was dreamy to watch, 
even if his character was a tiresome stereotype of an artist.
And I'm really tired of those puffy lips on all the
female actors these days! 


My potted (not pot) plants are really loving this heat,
although I fear these fully furred felines feel fussy.
As do I.


One of Paul's Ireland pics made skull-a-day.
(Scroll down to the puddles.)
Story: we were cruising the bumpy back roads
of County Mayo one rainy July day when suddenly
Paul screeched to a halt. What the? 
"A skull! A skull!" He shouted. With Gaelic glee.
I was looking everywhere but the road,
but there it was, glaring up at us from the slick tarmac.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Evening in Paris....

...from what I've saved from childhood.
All the ensembles (which you'll notice I've gathered
together by theme, color, etc.) were painstakingly
sewn (and knitted! Dig the yellow bathing suit!) 
by my mother during the month  of December, 1961. 
I was five. She sold dozens of these ridiculously tiny 
articles of clothing for, I'm guessing, ridiculously low 
prices. She netted about $60. Everything was made 
with leftover scraps. (By the way, the doll is "Midge." 
Don't know what happened to "Tammy." Don't care, either.)
One of the red sweaters belongs to Ken.
Ken left.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A question:

How many things are in your possession from your childhood?
Three? Three boxes? A houseful? None?
I'm talking ages 0-18 here.
Fluffy bunny kind of stuff.
Run, Spot, run kind of stuff.
Headless Barbies, etc.

How much?

I want to know.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birthday Boy (er, Man)

Alas, I can no longer proudly announce that I'm the mother
of teenaged sons. Oooohhhh, the grass is always greener
on the other side! To be truthful, though, I am delighted
to be the mother to two wonderful young men and
step-mother to two other wonderful young men.
Boys! Men! Yikes! Aswim in testosterone.

My favorite part of N.'s birthday dinner was hanging out
with his friends. I rarely see them anymore, and they are
hilarious and bright and full of life. And there was chocolate
cake with ganache, and vanilla & coffee ice cream. Oh! Oh!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's Nelson's 20th birthday and he has asked for an easel.
This delights me to no end! So he's getting an easel
and a box of Interference Acrylic Paints. It seems
that these days nothing makes him happier than the
act of painting. All throughout his K-12 school years
he drew, painted, sculpted, acted, played the flute.
And then it stopped, when his father died.
Nothing for nearly five years, and now it's back.
Nelson is back.

I bow my head in gratitude.

Amazed at how joy alights, a plain brown bird
blessed with the gift of wings.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another day spent in the depths of the Brandon Street
house, sifting through box after box. Advice: throw
stuff away. Do it now. Do not leave it for your heirs.
I know I should've done this a few years ago, but just
couldn't. I'd go down there and look at the piles and piles
of boxes and feel defeated, before even opening a single
box. So. My recycling bin is full and N.'s car is full of
stuff for Goodwill. Yay! (Unfortunately it still looks
like nothing has changed. Damn. But I know it has.)

And yet, in the chaos: treasures. A stamp album
from the fifties or sixties (Around! The! World!)
In this album I learned about San Marino,
a completely landlocked country in the Appenine
Mountains of Italy: San Marino claims to be the oldest
constitutional republic in the was founded
on 3 September 301 by Marinus of Rab, a Christian stonemason
fleeing the religious persecution of Roman Emperor Diocletian.
San Marino's constitution, dating back to 1600, is the world's
oldest written constitution still in effect. (Wikipedia.)
I don't know who this stamp album belonged to,
but I think it's something M. picked up somewhere
and stashed away.

I also found a packet of correspondence between
Mr. Elmer Miller of Seattle and Miss C.V. Garmon
of Aberdeen, Washington, dating from the early 1920's.
Page after page of stylized penmanship, detailing their
pre-marriage longings for each other, including his
distaste for her meddling mother. Who are/were these people?
And why were they in my basement?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

In 1979 I spent the summer in Paris, and many hours were passed
perusing the bookshelves in Shakespeare & Company. While digging
through some boxes of books stacked up in a corner, I came across
an old address book where the original addresses had been crossed
through, and new ones entered. Inscribed in the front is:

Carnet d'adress de mon grand pere M Andry - 80 r de Longchamp
continue par Mamam, which translates to:

"Address book of my grandfather Mr. Andry, 80 Longchamp Street,
continued by Mother."

When I asked George Whitman, the proprietor of Shakespeare & Company,
how much for the book, he turned it over and over in his hands, asked
himself, "do I need an address book? No. You can have it. No charge."

It's a lovely little book, well-used, with a burgundy-colored embossed
cover and marbled end-papers. I've kept it now for nearly 30 years,
and used it for the first time last night in the collage pictured above.
Like the cancelled stamps, it too carries with it the secrets of many
lives. I intend to give this address book an additional life in images
cobbled together on paper: torn, copied, cut, glued, trimmed, matted.

Friday, August 8, 2008

At this time twenty years ago I was nearly two-weeks overdue
with baby # 2, and my doctor asked if I wanted to be induced
on 8-8-88. I declined, not wanting to mess with numerology,
and Nelson was born on 8-11-88, which I much prefer, seeing
that it's an equation: 8x11=88. I admit to being somewhat
intimidated by numbers; in fact, when stretching, instead
of counting to sixty, I say the alphabet twice.
Never been one to study advanced mathmatics,
although the notion of imaginary numbers intrigues me.
Is there an imaginary alphabet, also?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A funeral this morning, in the church where I made
my first communion and where I was present
at many other hocus-pocus Roman Catholic Events.
What's with the consumption of flesh, of blood, anyway?
The confessionals are gone. The organ is on the stage.
(Er, I mean, the altar.) And the Latin, where has all
the Latin gone? (Okay, you're thinking I'm a bit senile
so I will admit to remembering that Latin disappeared
from the Catholic stage sometime around 1962 --)

Today I saw my childhood friend Mitch
who I last saw in 1975. I'm having a difficult time
reconciling my memory of him with the man I saw today,
very tall, deep-voiced, adult. How? When?
We climbed trees together, searched for bird's nests.
I need to find the photo of the two of us
dressed as a priest and a nun. We were about seven
years old. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I fear that I expended all my blogging energy
that month we were in Ireland.....
now all I want to do is Blaaaaaahhhhhg.

The air smells good here in Redmond.
Lots of trees. Smells like I'm camping
except that I get up every morning
from a king-sized bed, as opposed to a queen-sized
rapidly-deflating air mattress. And we have
flush toilets, here in Redmond.
And I don't have to prime the stove.
I just turn the knob and bingo, it begins to glow.
Just like that!


I just made myself a martini
and dare I say it's damn good.
Stoli. A wisp of Vermouth.
Shake 55 times. Three olives,
preferably stuffed with jalapenos.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Last night I rode a rusty tricycle to Snoqualmie Pass.
(Well, in my dreams.) All the way up I-90.
Needless to say, coming back was a helluva lot quicker.
There was the worry of the front wheel loosening,
wobbling. And the cramped aspect of the size ratio,
me being fully-adult-sized & all.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I received my little packet of French stamps
and they make me delirious with happiness.
Why? I'm not sure.

Ridiculously tiny wisps of paper,
liable to take flight in any breeze.

I want to know what message each one
helped push forward, what payment, what
tender mots.

Ton Amie,

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Manya Shapiro

An overnight jaunt to Portland (Oregon) to see
Big Sam's Funky Nation and Powell's Books.
Overwhelmed at Powell's probably because I didn't
have any lunch other than Chex Mix from a mini-mart
and Pepsi with ginseng. What was I thinking.
Anyway: books and books and books.
I was looking for maps to use in my collaging
but most modern maps are now water! proofed!
Not so good. Guess I gotta hit Goodwill etc.
Did pick up two William Trevor's, though.

We chanced into a teeny alternative bookstore
which was more my size and energy-level
and discovered all sorts of delights, including
a lot of handmade books, small-press and
self-published stuff which was thoughtfully selected.
Can't remember the name of the store!
But it's worth another trip to Portland.

We supped at Blue Hour in the Pearl District.
Sat in the bar, and everyone I could see was wearing
black and white and sipping pink drinks. Paul said,
"Maybe there's some kind of theme going on...."
Hmm. AT LEAST we weren't the only customers
over 45. Ha. This was decidedly not one of the
younger hip crowds. Older hip, perhaps, yes.
Or at least as hip as older can get.

Had breakfast with some friend's of Paul's
who live on the top floor of a palatial downtown
Portland condo = views and views.
Charming, witty, gregarious people: Howard and
Manya Shapiro. Manya is an artist who "knits" dresses
from soft, pliable wires; weaves baskets -- more like nests,
really -- from similar materials. I was entranced
and couldn't resist taking out my camera:

This last dress is actually constructed from screening.
Amazing pieces!

How It Is

It is true that we are terrible creatures. Even those of us who are really trying to be good fail at it more often than not. You are more likely to meet with success if your aim is evil and badness. Despite the horrors, though, we keep on going.

You would expect that it would actually kill you, the stuff that goes on.

It comes as a shock sometimes that it doesn't.

You just keep waking up.


We bang along, I guess. Mostly in the middle somewhere between the extremes of beauty and horror. I do not know what it says about me, but I am determined to make room for all of it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I love the macabre.
If you do too, check out the Mr. Potato Skull
at skull-a-day.
(You might have to scroll down a little bit.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Haven't felt much like blogging lately,
but here's a good salad:

lettuce greens
heirloom tomatoes
sliced avocado
hearts of palm
Gorgonzola vinaigrette.


Eagerly awaiting my packet of old French stamps.
(And I love that the shipping on them is only $.50.)


Dinner outside tonight, beneath the cedars
and bigleaf maples, under the shadow of clouds.
A good white Bordeaux: pleasing, always,
but especially after slogging it home in SeaFair traffic.

This is a fun game: grab a book, randomly,
and open it randomly, and read a paragraph aloud.
Tonight we heard from Emily Post, E.B.White,
Kaye Gibbons, Larry McMurtry, Mark Twain,
Patricia Highsmith and Margaret Nordfors.
And others.
What joy in being read to, aloud.