Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More City

I've been thinking about the birds who visit the feeder outside my kitchen window, the juncos and chickadees and finches, the bushtits who hover a dozen at a time at the suet block. Thinking about how watching them settles my brain, eases the accumulated tension. And then there's my ten-month-old kitten, frantic with excitement on the sill, chittering and eck-eck-ecking at them, desperate for a mouthful of feather.

R. called me yesterday to tell me that the old cat had a seizure. Maybe he has a few months left in him; hard to tell. He's such a good old cat, the best, really. Crankier these past few years, but nonetheless with pretty much a good perspective on it all, if you'll allow me to assign perspective to a cat. My son is tender and so very engaged in the feline universe. Sometimes I think he's more cat than human. (He too limits his daily word output.)


Slow at the gift show today, a trickling of buyers and a stuffy, sleep-inducing atmosphere. The only place for a lie-down was in the 18-inch space between curtains, between booths. I decided that it probably wasn't a good idea.


Where is my remedy of finches?

Monday, January 30, 2012


A crappy dinner at a Spanish restaurant in Midtown, its only saving grace the fact that it was within walking distance of the hotel. We were tired of paying $$$ for a single martini and a midget bite of food, so we tried something else and, although the price tag was lower, the quality was equally low. We've been twice to Union Square Cafe, which is superb and in the realm of what one would want to shell out for great food on an artist's budget, but it's a subway ride away which equals added effort.


I like to cook, and I won't be shy in saying I'm a damn fine cook. It does get to be a curse, though, when eating out. I do get tired of deconstructing every bite of food I eat in a restaurant but the obsessive part of me insists on doing it every single time. It can't be helped. On the other hand, I abhor food snobs. Food needn't be complicated, or pretentious. It just should be mindfully prepared, and prepared with respect for not only the ingredients but respect for whomever shall consume it.

I can make a feast from whatever happens to be in my larder at any given time (often slim pickins), and when a restaurant, with its (hopefully) well-planned-out menu can't deliver even a basic decent meal, then all is wrong with the world.

Well, with my world, at least.

Does it show that I'm ready to be back in my own kitchen?!

(I should mention that I had an absolutely perfect bagel with scallion cream cheese and Irish smoked salmon today for lunch. Ate every bite sitting on a bench in the cold winter noontime. Wanted more.)

The City (The Big One)

I've been caught up in the zip-pace of NYC since last Wednesday, at the New York International Gift Fair, as well as spending some time hoofing it in the city. I wandered all over the Lower East Village today, as well as Soho, in a kind of meditation, taking it all in.

Yesterday in Chinatown, I stood two hours to keep my place at the curb to watch the Chinese New Year parade, and by the time it finally started, my fingertips (lost my gloves) were numb. After a few dragons (and one drag queen) --

I elbowed my way back out to the sidewalk and found a warm bakery where for $2, I wrapped my hands around a black tea with milk and ate a cream bun. Took about ten minutes for the feeling to come back in my fingers. A bit scary, but I survived my flirt with hypothermia in a city of 18.9 million people and no lack of heat.

Taking off my coat back at the hotel, I rained down glitter and confetti -- shot from long confetti popper tubes -- which kept the hoards entertained during the cold and lengthy wait.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Boot, to the end....

She pulled down the lid, not bothering with the latch, and repositioned The Civil War Narrative – Fort Sumter to Perryville, Vol.1 and The Autobiography of Cubby Broccoli, and began hatching a plan of confrontation. (She could’ve sworn she heard a whisper of constricted panting coming from the now practically throbbing trunk.)

When the confrontation finally occured, several days later, and she flamed at him her accusations of his secret sex life, he claimed obedience to the holy vows of monogamy. Conveniently, at some point in the past few days he’d also availed himself of the opportunity to dispose of the “equipment”, as it were. If there had been one time she'd regretted not documenting the evidence, this was it. He'd been caught with his pants down, and yet he'd managed to cover himself.

When the season shifted and every legal document of undoing had been filed, signed, stamped final, and every last buckle between them had been forever unfastened, she found herself in possession of only the left black boot. And when he admitted (when they finally spoke, after long silence) to shunning the bed they had once shared, to sleeping on the sofa night after night in his own personal cocoon, twisted and swaddled in the thread-worn quilt his mother had sewn him decades ago -- her first thought was bingo! He's got that bit of leather nestled in beside him, probably rubs himself with it before he nods off to sleep.

And while she yearned to be reunited --
with her boot --
part of her was secretly enjoying the thought of man and boot entwined in a pill-balled blanket of poly/cotton calico with rickrack trim.

So when the missing bit of mid-calf footwear suddenly turned up in her basement, she was just a tiny bit wistful. Did this mean that he didn't, each night, secretly nuzzle a piece of black leather that had once embraced her leg? That his couch-cocoon was not a repository of regrets, of souvenirs from a middle-aged marriage gone awry?

Was there something else ferreted away, perhaps, snugged down between his thighs in the cozy glow of Mommy's blankie? Maybe her notion of his secret stash was her particular kink. Less colorful than the one she imagined he maintained, but in the end, it sufficed to entertain her for months after the reappearance of the boot-mate.

And wasn't there a black sock, decidedly not her size and very limp (very him), that she kept in a corner of her lingerie drawer beside the now rarely-worn cleavage-plumping, lace-spiked brassieres? Well then.

But the boots, again the happy couple, fit like the fawn calfskin gloves (irresistibly tiny suede bows up the backside of each) that he'd once gifted her, with the request that she "use them". And which, suddenly -- and with great delight -- she realized were missing. She emitted a private snort of a laugh.

Would the fun never end?

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Boot....

These were not merely about clandestine expeditions into the world of solitary ecstasy – the many athletic possibilities they represented, the opportunities for enchainment, for cinching and collaring -- all clearly required a partner. She seethed at his deception, at the outright lie he’d attempted to parade before her like a pair of brand-new whitey-tighties. (And furthermore, when had she ceased to be the #1 attraction in his daily get-up-and-go?)

Saturday, January 21, 2012


-- how should she phrase this? -- intimate accessories, or, uh, toys. Good god almighty: had these all been sitting here beside their bed ALL THIS TIME?

Friday, January 20, 2012


These days have been all about light and the lack thereof. Mornings I open the curtains to what should, IMHO, be well before dawn and in fact it's getting on 8am. Where last week I laid in my bed and watched brilliant winter sunrises above Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier, this week has been all drab dim January haze, snow underfoot and no intimation of sun.

It's more dark when living a solitary life, when there's no hubbub of another human to fill in the gaps between the sparks, or another human to provide the sparks. Cats are a meager substitute, try as they might, and try as I might to believe that they are enough. Their limited vocabularies of squeaks and rumbles, though entertainment in themselves, just don't quite expand the edges of human imagination.


I recall a winter, eight years ago, newly widowed, where I didn't want the darkness to end. Each night was a descent into swaddled-down, drugged comfort, and silence. When the light began to re-emerge as spring strode forth, I mourned the solace of my 8pm bedtimes and the many hours devoted to the perfection of dreamless sleep. This year, though, rings decidedly different. I've developed a sensitivity to light of all kinds, have become terrifically opinionated about sources of light and intensities of light. Last night I again walked the circuit around the block, late, in the illumination of street lights on snow, and the contrast seemed perfect, and warming. Odd, I know, when this small corner of the world was frozen into place, when all meteorological predictions of a thaw continually held false promise. Yet the balance of light and dark, the highlights and the shadows teetered not on the edge of a descent into the depths but offered a glimpse of some other light, some other universe where darkness opened a door into something yet undiscovered and overflowing with possibilities.

Tomorrow the snow will be gone, and night will resume its seasonal gloom. I'll light candles, shift the curtains, adjust the lamps and plug in my red-pepper lights. There will be no late-night glasses of wine under the kiwi vines, no squares of bittersweet chocolate shared on the balcony as the sun sits itself down on the western horizon. No midnight constellations, unless I desire to stand outside -- barring a cloudcover -- and shiver while searching out Orion.

Can't it just be summer already?

And yet the speeding-up of time, of the seasons, brings with it the general speeding-up of life. Yin/yang, yes/no, here/there.

It's a persistent quandary, to which no answer if sufficient.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cake (and Boot [embedded])

The world outside has been reduced to dark and light -- snow and not-snow -- punctuated by the rare Seattlite who braves wearing anything other than a neutral color, mostly likely someone either pre-adolescent or post-menopausal. We are a neutral Gore-Tex culture.

I'm readying myself for the mile-trek to work in what has now become an ice-pelted landscape. Perilous footing ahead, and being so drizzle-centric here on this corner of the continental United States, in our very comfortable Temperate Rain Forest, we are never quite prepared for this maybe-once-a-winter Arctic deluge.

Late last night I took a tromp around the block, and an icy crust had formed on everything, which not so much sparkled in the streetlights but glowed in smooth swaths where the snow was untrammeled. Quite satisfying to step down onto that crunch into the five inches of pillowy snow beneath. What came to mind immediately was meringue -- an entire landscape of meringue and the earth one giant cake. A version of heaven for which I'd stay upright on the planet for as long as possible!

Extending this baker's metaphor, I recalled a birthday cake I'd made, at age 18, for two of my sisters whose BD's are on consecutive days in May. The cake recipe itself was from my mother's much-used 3-ring binder Betty Crocker: Black Midnight Cake. (The devil was in the food.) The icing was White Mountain (aka Seven Minute), and by some meteorological anomaly, some odd bit of moisture in the mid-spring air, formed a crisp crust atop the billows of sugar-whipped egg-whites. I have not, in the ensuing decades, been able to reproduce this same effect. Seven Minute Icing is one of my faves, and has turned-out recipe-perfect for 30+ years, but not once has that same delectable edge again made itself known.

But by god, I was walking through it last night in the frozen sugared landscape.

[When she easily picked the lock on a Sunday afternoon while he was out -- after his explanation of a lost key and his lie it doesn't matter there's nothing in it -- she discovered his stash of -- ]

I am in awe at the power of weather, how it not only physically alters our basic movements on the planet, but also in its power to affect a significant shift in the psyche. Where, two days ago I was enswamped in a winter mopiness, slug-footed and lacking inspiration, last night I walked out to a Black Midnight Cake universe, and White Mountain Icing in which to contentedly travel miles, if I so chose.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Alas, but necessary.

The local media has created a monster out of possible blizzard scenarios, with the current monikers running the gamut from "slushmageddon" to "snowmageddon" and everything in between, my favorite being "Snow Event", for which I possess season tickets. In internet minute-by-minute updates today (as we prepped for the big shipment to NYC) the forecast became more and more absurd. When I checked my iPhone weather app at 11:59, there was 100% chance of snow at noon -- in sixty seconds. Outside a scattering of clouds gave no indication of giving up even a single iota of moisture. WTF? Are we once again being forced to gauge precipitation by actually looking up at the sky? How very twentieth century.

Granted, it was sloshy underfoot. I walked to work today in waterproof hiking boots and multiple socks, determined to keep a constant toe temperature. And between 10AM and noon, the residual snow on the steps did indeed slough off in runny rivulets, enabling an ice-free path from production-line to pallet, down on the sidewalk, in advance of the shippers which -- barring actual blizzard conditions -- are scheduled to arrive tomorrow afternoon.

We were not only on-time but early in completing the line for the show. All last week I was in denial of the viral microbes streaming through my sinuses (cough, sneeze, cough cough cough) and spent all of Saturday -- my one day off -- at a funeral and immediately afterwards, dinner with friends. There is no time for wallowing in the throes of wretchedness.

And now, close to 8pm Tuesday, no sign of the apocalyptic storm in the star-strewn sky. My poetry group was cancelled (or should I say my "Poetry Event?). I fear a Rain Event is beckoning. In my kitchen, a Pork Event is nearing completion. And earlier, Melinda and I celebrated the shipping-off-to-the-show with a Martini Event at Lottie's Lounge. (Afterwards, we struggled with a Walking-Uphill-Event.) Before long I'll engage in a Sleep Event, and with any luck, a Dream Event will present itself during my REM-Event.

Eventually, I'll post the remainder of Boot.

(Which will be an event unto itself.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

....possessed enough kinks to last them both several lifetimes. That trunk, for example; and what she -- before knowing the actuality of what it concealed -- considered nothing more than a block of black metal upon which he piled his benign biographies and yawning histories.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Bordering on one, possibly, but not a full-blown, parade-around-the-bedroom-in-boots-and-only-boots fetish.

But he, on the other hand,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sentence 3

Admittedly, she had a thing for boots, preferably black, the more buckles and straps the better, the longer-the cord-to-tie-around-her-ankle-the-better.

The second sentence (of which there are 36)....

(Her entreaties to the ex- to search the closet for its black-buckle evidence resulted in neither heel nor zipper.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Boot: A Short Fiction. Sentence One.

She was, actually, a bit disappointed when the missing boot turned up, after disappearing, it seemed, upon her sudden exit from marriage.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All of you lovely people with all of your useful suggestions on curing this condition of winter: I am most grateful.

In the meantime, I've written something rather risque -- a fiction (it's all fiction, isn't it?) -- and I'm of two minds about publishing it here.


I'll admit that it was deliciously fun to compose.

Will the fun never end?!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Impossible Blossoms

One week into the darkest of months, and while out digging in the garden this morning I came across these most unlikely of unseasonal flowers. It's not unheard-of to snip a few hard rosebuds for a Christmas vase, but I've not ever witnessed such color in the winter landscape. I'm certain that a hard freeze will, anytime soon, snap each of these to death.

And while these anomalies of the natural world -- small and understated -- continue to sing their warm-season song, my own voice has gone into its cave wearing a coat of dense fur, desiring one long nap until spring.


We don't get to indulge ourselves, no chance of going all-bear.

So instead there's a daily grumping, a slumping through each hour.

Remedies include:

1. English breakfast tea with milk.
2. Marathon video sessions (Showtime's Shameless is highly recommended).
3. A stack of novels.
4. A martini, three olives, very cold.
5. Popcorn (which I stuttered out as "cop-porn" yesterday. [Um, no.])
6. Homemade soup.
7. Sleep, when it graces me with its increasingly rare presence.

And seeing that the likelihood of my going geographic in my quest to find a cure for winter is highly unlikely, I welcome any/all suggestions: tisanes, tinctures, infusions.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My new, um, "entertainment".

Now, one could say that he's of Scottish descent with a name like that. Easy to come to that conclusion. And boy-oh-boy -- so easy to turn on, this one! (TMI, I know, I know.)

The one before, every time I brought out my photos he'd freeze up -- bam -- and stay like that for hours. No fun! I got SO tired of that. I mean, that just doesn't work for me AT ALL. (And his memory was crap.)

But this one -- a memory unlike anything I've ever seen!

The best part, though, is how he lights up the moment I touch him.

I am one lucky girl.
“But sometimes illumination comes to our rescue at the very moment when all seems lost; we have knocked at every door and they open on nothing until, at last, we stumble unconsciously against the only one through which we can enter the kingdom we have sought in vain a hundred years - and it opens.” --Marcel Proust

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It's all squares filled with scritchings & scratchings,
piled one upon the other. And not just black
and blue, but new-leaf green beginning to show
in the shadows.

Back to the art factory tomorrow after
two and a half weeks off. Thought I'd be frantic
trying to fill up the space but I've found
that I'm craving more free time.
Alas, free time comes with its price tag.
(And I mean literally.)

We ship our glass line to the New York Gift Show
two weeks from tomorrow -- current lines
as well as the quickly-emerging new line....
Lots of #'s of freight, and then soon after
Melinda and I will catch a plane for NYC
ourselves. Lots to do in the meantime.

It's a new year, a new life, a new perspective.

Glad you're all here -- even you lurkers!!