Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reasons to go again to Scotland.

wet weather is my soul's weather.
In Scotland, the weather is, currently, rainy. When we arrive next week, though, it is supposed to be
cloudy. Cloudy with partial sun.

this odd-shaped thumb of a country
I love love love.
Scotland is riven with lochs and rivers and crags. Like other wild mountainous places, Scotland cannot be navigated as the crow flies. If we want to drive from Aberdeen to the sea lochs on the west coast, and to the Isle of Skye, we may have to go along the north coast by way of Inverness.

The isles in the west: these are magical words. Hebrides, inner and outer. The Fairy Pools. Portree. The lighthouse at Neist.

causeway at low tide. I want to walk across.
When we're in Scotland, we may go south as well, into the north of Holy Island of Lindisfarne. You have to watch the tides--you can only go across from the mainland to the island when the tides are out, but you can walk--there's a pilgrim's way.
England, to visit the

In Scotland, there are people I love, people I can hardly wait to see. In less than a week we'll board a plane for hours and hours and then we'll be there.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Megastore recommends.

that's the blue I'm talking about.
1. Cool evenings. In the summertime, we look at the weather for the possible hint of a dip in the temperature. Today, it was cooler than you'd expect for late July, and that felicitous condition just got dinner downtown. When I got there at 6:30, the patio was humming, and when she arrived a few minutes later, we decided to eat outside. 'I like to be outside when it's nice,' she said, and that's, to me, the quintessence of summer: too hot, and I feel like my brain and also my will to live are melting, but when it's light and lovely and not too hot, it's only heaven. We took a seat outside and proceeded to have a blissful three hour conversation with excellent food and a pretty great soundtrack. At 9:30, we walked around the corner to our cars. The sky was a particularly sublime shade of twilight blue, which I also recommend.
better as the day wore on. I had a date with my friend Jennifer to have

a dramatic reenactment of the excellent fries
we had tonight.
2. French fries. The people, there is perhaps no greater indication of human civilization than cooked food. You might say feats of engineering or art. And you'd be right--those are also indicators of &c &c, but cooked food? Cooked food makes the world a better place for you, the people, and all the people, really. Example: the fried potato. The potato belongs to the humble, maligned carbohydrate tribe, but really, it and its starchy brethren deserve some serious credit for keeping hope, and people, alive. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that french fries are the best. And it's totally acceptable, in my book, to make a little project of eating french fries at this and that fancy restaurant, for the purposes of science, to see which ones are good, and which one are better, and which ones are the best. Let me emphasize: for science. And also because french fried potatoes might remind you of your mom and how she used to make french fries with a deep fat fryer from time to time, and how they were so so so good. EAT FRIES, is what I am trying to tell you are you even listening to me?

like this, but with chocolate creme anglaise. and popcorn.
3. A whimsical dessert. Okay, I've calmed down, even though I am still excited to report that, at my
lovely dinner, we shared a dessert that was both adorable and delicious. It was another fried thing, a doughnut, beignet style, dipped in cinnamon sugar and served with chocolate creme anglaise. Also, caramel popcorn, don't ask my why, except that it was tasty and charming and we ate every last bit of it. What were they thinking when they thought of it? why chocolate creme anglaise and caramel popcorn? I don't know, but after having eaten it, I say why not?

4. Working on a tiny book project. My previous book project has emboldened me to think I can probably do anything. So I would like to announce that today at the Publication Center's Makerpalooza, which I hope will become an annual event, I began my project, which will entail the following:
just google it, and see some examples of the splendor
of this book form. seriously. just do it!

  • a piece of writing that I have recently taken out of my manuscript but which I think still has potential,
  • laid out in InDesign and
  • turned into a photopolymer plate, so that
  • it can be printed on the etching press, to create
  • a letter press effect, and which will be
  • folded by hand using the Turkish Map Fold, which is
  • actually a real thing, and
  • bound in a do-si-do binding (thank you for the idea, Charlotte!), which will be
  • covered with another letter press title page, and titled Variations on a Book.
If I can pull all of this off, grand and splendid possibilities will await us in the Publication Center. Foolhardy optimism, it turns out, is another thing I highly recommend.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


I got up at 4:20 this morning to take my daughter to the airport. We were both feeling a little bleary after the big day yesterday, and her whirlwind trip. I hugged and kissed her goodbye at the curb, turned around, and drove back home to get immediately back in bed, whereupon I slept till almost nine.

Shortly after that, the historian drove Supriya's cousin to the airport, and then the house was empty. My son and his family also left Salt Lake this morning--by now, they should almost be home. So it was just us, with only a few remaining errands (returning a tux, meeting the chair-and-table rental people at the venue for the pick-up) and a lot of red and pink roses to remind us of it all.

I made myself some pancakes.

I chatted with my daughter in Scotland.

I made the list of things I need to do this week. This took awhile, since I had to wait for my head to clear to let everything come into focus.

I made some mint lemonade from my mother's recipe (make a simple syrup, 2 c. sugar to 2 1/2 c. water; when the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat, add a cup of mint leaves and stems, and let it steep while the syrup cools. Meanwhile, juice lemons and oranges till you have about a cup of juice, maybe 6 lemons and 2 oranges--I used clementines, so I used more. When the syrup has cooled, strain the syrup and mix the juice in. Use 1/4 c. mint lemonade concentrate to 6 oz. of water, or to taste. Make it icy!).

I cleaned up the kitchen.

I sent a few emails for work. Meanwhile, I drank a glass of mint lemonade. It's nice to have mint lemonade in one's metaphorical pocket--refreshment upon which one can rely.

I wandered the aisles of the grocery store, getting this and that, a few pistachios, some potato chips, a little basil, a little parsley, four peaches.

I collapsed into a nap.

After dinner, the historian and I found ourselves desultorily watching two movies--The Outlaw Josie Wales, which is, we both agree, a very durable movie, bearing pretty much endless rewatchings, and Role Models, with Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse--not a great film by any means, but with a killer fantasy role playing battle scene at the end that nearly redeems its failings and excesses.

At a commercial break, I made myself some toast. Bruiser lay crosswise on the bed, ensuring that the two humans of the household could not both be on the bed, not with any degree of comfort, anyway. We reached the battle scene. As I remembered, it was totally satisfying.

'Shall we?' the historian said, meaning Bruiser and his walk.

So we went. And that was the day after the big day.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I didn't get nearly enough pictures. But what a wonderful day. Some of my favorite moments: buying armloads of flowers at Costco with my son. Seeing my granddaughter dance with my father. Dancing with my parents. The historian's son and two daughters coming. Dancing with grandchildren. The bride dancing in a fantastic train with almost everyone at the party. Dancing in general. The happiness and joy of my children, all of them, and the beautiful grandchildren.

More than I can say, really. My heart is so full. I am in love with my whole family and pretty much I love everyone.
A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

A photo posted by Sophia Leasure (@sophialeasure) on

Look Aunt Abbey! I'm having' a party! (photo from Abbey's Insta.)

We made this place sparkle like nobody's bidness.

All the flowers in Costco, pretty much.

Friday, July 24, 2015

And now, an independent assessment of my blog practice.

I spent the day with my daughters, shopping for a wedding dress for the younger. We were driving to our next appointment. I was furtively checking page views on my blog. Then this hilarious conversation, in which my progeny interpellates me about the subjects which move me to write on my blog:

Younger daughter: I hope you blog about this tonight, Mom.

Me: I'm sure I will!

Older daughter, casting a sidelong glance: Mom's like a teenager...always looking at her phone.

Me: (laughs, closes phone with a righteous guilty conscience. Busted.)

Younger daughter, not to be deterred: I'm not around all the time, so I'm not in the blog as often.

Older daughter: Listen, she never writes about me, and I'm the one who's here all the time!

Me: (inarticulate protest--what!?) Hey. Hey! I write...

Older daughter: She'll write about her garden. Work. And a hot day, you'll always write about that.

(a couple hours later: we're talking about the wedding, which is in December. My Scotland daughter will be arriving on the 11th:)

Me: I gotta make sure my grading's done.

Older daughter (who totally has my number): Oh, grading. You'll also always blog about that.

One thing about writing a blog for a really really really really long time: I never want to have experiences just so I can blog about them, but that's a risk you take when you write forever--that your experience starts to assume the dimensions of a potential blog post. That can feel a little cheap, and I don't want the people I hold most dear to feel that way to me. It's a little conundrum, though, because I also like going through this blog to remind me of things I once experienced--so if I haven't blogged about something, that failure is just one more chance that my actual experience will be absent. Maybe this is what Socrates was talking about in the Phaedrus, when he expressed his apprehension that writing would cause a deterioration of memory. Also, I recognize that this is not a real problem. But it does feel worth it to reflect upon it.

Well! never let it be said that the just opinion of my splendid daughters does not matter to me. So: we had a beautiful day, the three of us plus the baby, discussing the merits of this and that dress, and ultimately finding an absolutely beautiful one. It felt so special, that we could do this together. We cried, we laughed, we had a fancy lunch. We drank refreshing beverages from a drive through. My daughter, the bride to be, is radiant and lovely and so happy. My daughter, her older sister, is wise and witty and beautiful. Naomi was as patient as an infant could possibly be.

At the end of the day, we went to a park and ate dinner with a big proportion of the family present--talked about the wedding tomorrow, listened to and watched the kids play.

For today, I will not say a word about my garden. If the day was warm, who had time to notice? (and also I am not working nor am I grading this summer.)

Just being with my beloveds, and that is good enough for this blog.

Today in lurid, shocking detail.

1. I ate breakfast, purchased at Starbucks, while pushing a cart at Target, and thereupon buying stuff.
2. I watered the flowers in the front, pulling many many many spent nicotiana blooms from their receptacles, and plotting fall and next-spring plantings.
3. I drove to Zurchers, and met my daughter and grandchildren, so that we could buy a truly epic amount of paper lanterns, tassel garlands, plastic plates and forks, and other assorted decorative items.
4. I got my nails shellacked. Bright red.
5. I went to Target a second time--a different Target--to get a large container for drinks for the wedding. Bright red.
6. I worked out. Upper body, fyi.
7. I washed the sheets on the downstairs beds. Also the towels in the downstairs bathroom.
8. The historian and I went to the rally to #saveourmurals (#artisnotasign). It was fantastic.

Two epic activists, the historian & Archie Archuleta.

the mural, with musician and artist Alex D.

9. We ate enchiladas and burritos. Si se puede!
10. We came home and watched a weird old movie with Jack Benny and Ray Milland and assorted other oldies.
11. I put sheets back on the beds and reflected on the plundering that has taken place in the downstairs--a lamp taken by the historian for his office, rendering a bedside table lampless! I ask you! Youngest son taking pillows. The nerve! I seethed about this for fifteen minutes. Then,
12. I watched Jerry Maguire, a perennial favorite.
13. We went to pick up my youngest daughter at the airport, who is here for a whirlwind visit, including the wedding of her brother, and wedding dress try ons tomorrow.
14. At 1 a.m., we arrived home to see that Supriya has had her henna done, traditional for brides in her culture. It, and she, are so beautiful.

I can't get over it.


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