Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
- butterscotch crescent rolls,
- almond cardamom bread,
- cookies galore,
- almond, pumpkin seed, and cashew brittle,
- spicy cashews with wasabi peas,
- a chocolate souffle cake,
- coconut cupcakes,
- roasted potatoes,
- maple roasted yams,
- roast rosemary pork,
- cauliflower au gratin, twice,
- salads galore,
- steamed broccoli,
- white bean soup with leftover roast pork,
- roasted pumpkin soup, thai-spiced,
- corn muffins,
- more roasted potatoes.
- four pineapples.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
- yeast does not last forever, even when it is refrigerated. Shall I buy another economy size package of yeast? I believe I shall, but after two years, I will consider it spent.
- farmer eggs are the best eggs.
- currants are cuter than raisins.
- golden raisins are shinier and more glamorous than your usual raisin.
- gel-based food coloring makes very very very vivid icing.
- no matter how many kinds of sprinkles and sanding sugar and nonpareils and other assorted decorating doodads you happen to have in your pantry, you will always be missing some or another kind of doodad that would make a more perfect cookie.
- panettone is delicious, especially when the lemon zest you use in the dough is from a Meyer lemon.
- a pair of cookie cutters, a pear with a teeny partridge to sit atop it, bears only a metonymic, and yet still incoherent, relation to the partridge-in-a-pear-tree narrative.
- at Christmastime, there is an ancient cookie economy that reasserts itself in seasonal fashion.
- some people would have it that one can substitute a candle, an ornament, even a Christmas cd for the traditional plate of cookies in the cookie economy. This is a falsehood. Nonetheless, there is a new and competing ancillary-Christmas-goods economy vying against the cookie economy.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Historian: [seeing a corner house with only the front walk shoveled]: Huh. They only shoveled the front walk. I know, a corner lot, that’s a lot of shoveling, but still--I lived on a corner lot for twenty years and I always shoveled both sides. By hand, no snow blower, which is probably why I’m in such good shape for my age.
Me: That, and your pure heart.
Historian: Yes, well, I think both are necessary.
Friday, December 19, 2008
- The kids, of all ages, are pretty cute when they sing, even the ones that think singing isn't cool.
- A mix of holiday and world and popular music.
- One of the best set of actions to go with "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that I have ever seen.
- The principal wore both a Santa hat and a red Hawaiian shirt.
- Way fun to see Singing Son in action:
Greeting song from lisab on Vimeo.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This, this was my breakfast.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Those who apply themselves too closely to little things, such as purchasing Christmas candles, a Christmas wreath, and butter for all the Christmas baking-to-come, often become incapable of great things, such as buying an actual Christmas tree.
We have not enough strength to follow all our inclinations to buy a Christmas tree.
If we had a Christmas tree we should not complain of the Christmas fervor of others, including their Christmas trees.
If we had no faults, such as the procrastination of buying a Christmas tree, we should not take so much pleasure in noting the faults of others, such as, I don't know, what Christmas-related folly have you committed?
(via La Rochefoucauld)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
- The Roches, We Three Kings.
- Benjamin Britten, Ceremony of Carols.
- The Beach Boys, "Little Saint Nick" (come on, I went to high school in SoCal. In the 70s.).
- Shawn Colvin, Holiday Songs and Lullabyes.
- a few no-name cds I bought that I really enjoy--New England Christmastide and some other ones (clearly I haven't yet busted these out).
- some awesome choir cds--singing son's choir, the Salt Lake Men's Chorus cd my friend Jonathan gave me, a beautiful cd with the historian's daughter's partner's choir of old.
- Stevie Wonder's Christmas cd.
- George Winston, December (for the depressive that lives in all of us, a little, at Christmas, right?).
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
If you want Poetic Pies, drop in a sensitive amount of mincemeat, then get a star-shaped cutter. Think pie in the sky - a little vision, like Dante gazing at Beatrice, (though I do not mean to compare Beatrice to a mince pie). If you want Post-Modern Pies, then dollop in quite a lot of mince-meat, perhaps audaciously slopping it over the edge of the case, and just cut out two provocative strips of pastry and cross them over the top – self-consciously artificial, but revealing all, like Michel Houllebeq. If you want a Bestseller Pie, then fill generously, but make a thick lid and seal the edges with fingertips of brandy. Dust with icing sugar.I am not necessarily a fan of mince pies, but I am a fan of Jeanette Winterson, and her website is a treasure. Roam around.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
(a) one week
(b) two weeks
(c) three weeks
(d) last Christmas?
2. Once you are down there, what do you find?
(a) the furniture has been rearranged.
(b) there's a retrotastic blue sectional sofa, perfect for Utah Jazz watching parties, should you ever get your act together and invite people over.
(c) your satellite dish, your television, and your other video implements are still in a tiff and therefore not speaking to one another.
(d) a small family of werewolves has moved in, and they've chosen bedrooms.
3. When you go into the room formerly known as college daughter's room when she was in 9th grade, what do you find?
(a) your friendly old Macintosh desktop, just waiting faithfully to be used.
(b) a petrified banana peel from the era of when the room (FKACDR) turned into the art room, thus people began making their film projects there (see (a) above).
(c) all sorts of paper and other project-oriented shenanigans piled everywhere.
(c) a Christmas bag from when soccer coach son slept there, filled with Christmas candy (gold foil coins, Kruggerands and pennies; foil covered chocolate balls), a lip balm (Burt's Bees), and a Santa Claus PEZ dispenser, complete with PEZ (raspberry flavored).
If you chose any of the answers to these questions, your house is almost certainly too big. Also, you almost certainly have too much stuff, and it's a fairly sure bet that you're a slob. And you may have raised a family with slobby tendencies. Some slobby tendencies. Finally, it's also possible that you may not follow through on projects and problems very well.
What is to be done? you ask. Why are you asking me? I live in a too-big house with too much stuff, and I am a slob with no follow-through.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
"Reporter Russell Cobb takes us through the remarkable and meteoric rise of Carlton Pearson, Russell Cobb takes us through the remarkable and meteoric rise of Carlton Pearson from a young man to a Pentecostal Bishop: from the moment he first cast the devil out of his 17-year old boyfriend, to the days when he had a close, personal relationship with Oral Roberts, and had appearances on TV and at the White House. Just as Reverend Pearson's career peaked, with more than 5000 members of his congregation coming every week, he started to think about hell, wondering if a loving God would really condemn most of the human race to burn and writhe in the fire of hell for eternity."
I shall find the dark grow luminous, the void fruitful when I understand I have nothing, that the ringers in the tower have appointed for the hymen of the soul a passing bell.The last knowledge has often come most quickly to turbulent men, and for a season brought new turbulence. When life puts away her conjuring tricks one by one, those that deceive us longest may well be the wine-cup and the sensual kiss, for our Chambers of Commerce and of Commons have not the divine architecture of the body, nor has their frenzy been ripened by the sun. The poet, because he may not stand within the sacred house but lives amid the whirlwinds that beset its threshold, may find his pardon.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
- American Heritage's excellent list of Indo-European roots
- Marcus Aurelius
- Economy of the Unlost
- Eros the Bittersweet
- the mythology of the Lotos-eaters, aka the lotosphagi
- a website about spiders
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I was just reading over proof pages--as I do every deadline--making sure that no embarrassing typos slip into print, and I came across this doozy of an error from Kelly Marages' review of The Killers' new album (p. 50). In her reflections on "When You Were Young," easily one of my favorite songs of the last several years, Marages claims that "the heavy guitars and Springsteen style rang false." I immediately fact-checked this statement with Alan Greenspan, the Dalai Lama, Stephen Hawking, and Chuck Norris. They all confirmed my belief that (a) the so-called "heavy guitars" are crunchy and epic and extremely awesome, and (b) the "Springsteen style ringing false" comment is ludicrous because there was a highly respected voodoo witch doctor in the studio helping Brandon Flowers channel Bruce's incendiary verve. I'll go ahead and mark the change here on the proof page, but I wanted you to be aware so you can make a special grouping in the editorial masthead called "Contributing Writers Who Are Mistaken," under which Marages' name will appear all by itself.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Neighborhood lights from lisab on Vimeo.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
The two Elvi.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Because the process of submitting this manuscript [my other manuscript] has been lengthy—which is not unusual in the unfathomable world of poetry publishing—I have also been writing new work, which I now have compiled into a rough manuscript that I have been tentatively calling Surburban Ode or Suburban Elegy or Imploding Elegy. I plan to use the time during the sabbatical to revise and shape this next manuscript. The poet Jane Kenyon once said, “Poetry has an intensity about it, which is one of its loveliest qualities, but that’s also the thing that fatigues you when you’re working on it. There’s a pitch of emotion in poems that you must rise to. Every time you work on the poem you must rise to it again” (in The Language of Life, ed. Bill Moyers, 224). The open space of a sabbatical surely offers a writer a wonderful circumstance in which to prepare to rise to that pitch of intensity.
May I just say that my new work, rough manuscript, big pile o' writing, whatever you want to call it--nightmare? arrgh?--is flummoxing me. I need an extremely large table, and better judgment than I actually have, I think. Yes, a large table, exquisite judgment--or else a match. A match! That's the ticket!
That "surely" in the last sentence of that proposal--that kind of sounds like bullshit to me.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
- Awesome breakfast. Omelet with Chad's dad's eggs, onions and mushrooms, with some ricotta cheese folded into the eggs, parmesan on top, and a little bit of a sliced tomato, also courtesy of Chad. Cornmeal muffins. Juice. All eaten while reading the papers.
- Long chat with the Scotlands, extra delightful.
- Long walk with the historian and Bruiser. A side of playing on the school playground (don't tell anyone, it's against school rules).
- Shower. Reading Irish detective novel. Nap.
- Modest dinner.
- Sang oratorio like it was my job.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
- A Doctor Kildare game ("A Medical Game for the Young")
- An entire case of collectible Smurf action figures
- Many, many of the old Fisher-Price people (the true ones, not the big-headed "safe" ones)
- two porcelain bunnies, one white, one pink
- a French movie
Thursday, November 27, 2008
- my Mom and Dad. We got to sit around after almost everyone was gone and talk about the cross-country trips we used to take, driving from Tucson to Georgia--what a treat!
- my sister and her family. I always love a family party when I get to hang out with them--my nieces and my sister and her husband. Peerless folks, all.
- my own kids, who today were with other parts of their families and, in some cases, in other parts of the world. They make my life sweet and they are each of them a great joy to me.
- music. My aunt Sal, niece Diane, and I played three hands at the piano, and then Sally and I played this Mozart four hands at the piano sonata we've been saying we'll learn--it was so much fun.
- a house to live in.
- food to eat.
- a hive of family relationships that buoy me up and make me feel whole.
- my beautiful, cherished husband.
- wonderful friends, old and new.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
8 Shows I watch
- 30 Rock
- The Office
- Mad Men
- The Closer
- Saving Grace
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
8 Restaurants I love
8 Restaurants I love
- Big City Soup
- Red Rock
- Thai Delight
House Infinite Eight, India
- La Luna David Friedman
- Mi Ranchito
8 Things I did yesterday
- Worked on a poem
- Took Bruiser for a walk
- Picked stuff up and put it back at T.J. Maxx
- Made hash out of roasted vegetables
- Had a great conversation with a baby (Will)
- Talked to several of my children
- Drank a pot of tea
- Blogged (of course!)
8 things I'm looking forward to
- The movies tonight with the historian
- Seeing my missionary son again
- Breakfast, tomorrow and every day
- Jan. 20
- Seeing my
daughter again, whenever that may be! Scotland
8 Things on my wish list
- Live in
for some unspecified period of time, but long enough that it’s “live” and not “visit” France
- All sorts of trips with the historian—the above
Franceone, an Eastern swing ( Montrealwith a side of Ottawamaybe, Maine, etc), a Southern swing, down the Mississippi, an historic and environs trip, . . . L.A.
- Better organizational abilities and less stuff, probably, although I kind of love my stuff
- A Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, yellow, like Lis's
- One of those crazy digital pens that takes a movie of when you’re writing
- All sorts of awesome cameras, like the one Jeff Bridges uses, for instance.
- Another book
- Just a whiff of my youth back
8 things I love, in no particular order
- My wonderful, adorable husband
- My splendid, gorgeous, talented, hilarious children, each and every one of them
- My darling grandchildren
- My house
- My crazy garden
- My awesome dog
- My fabulous parents
- My amazing siblings
- The movies (that’s nine!)
8 things I can’t stand, in no particular order
- L.A. Lakers, doesn’t matter which era or the personnel
- Pompous blowhards of any stripe (takes one to know one, though)
- Being patronized. I am positively allergic to this.
- Bad restaurants. There is just no reason.
- Giving up hope
- Movies where they blow stuff up while the hero walks away with cascading sheets of flame in the background with a hard rock musical background (more movies than any of us would care to admit)
- That one Michael Haneke remake of his own sadistic movie. Funny Games. Yeah. I can’t stand that, and I only saw the trailer.
- People who think they’re the boss of me
8 people I'm tagging:
I would love to hear these things, in whole or in part, from any of my blogging circle family and friends!
Emendation: I tag theorris, my daughters, my son, dr. write, lis, and otterbutt! Accept that, theorris. I command it! (btw, I am thankful for all of you, which is why I am tagging you!)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have a powerful case of Don't-You-Tell-Me-What-to-Do syndrome, with ancillary symptoms of You're-Not-the-Boss-of-Me.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
- pounds of pasta
- quarts of tomato sauce
- heads of lettuce
- handsful of pecans to toast
- heads of broccoli and cauliflower
- pounds of apples
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's been awhile since I whined about
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Rolling Stone recently named its "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" (top 10: Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown). Since they included Tom Waits and Lou Reed among this stellar company, I must conclude that pure vocal beauty is not the sole criterion for inclusion, and therefore, I offer the following as some of my favorite voices, many of which are beautiful but all of which are compelling to me--voices I'm never sorry to hear:
- Annie Lennox
- Brian Wilson
- Regina Spektor
- Bryan Ferry
- Stephen Stills
- that guy from Depeche Mode
- Gillian Welch
- Rufus Wainwright
- Jeff Buckley
- Jimmie Dale Gilmore
- Joni Mitchell
- Kate Bush
- Mavis Staples
- Marianne Faithfull
- Nellie McKay
- Patty Scialfa
- Peggy Lee
- Chrissie Hynde
- Michael Stipe
- Richard Thompson
- Rickie Lee Jones
- Shawn Colvin
- Sylvester Stone
- Stevie Wonder
- Taj Mahal
- Al Green
- Jim Kerr
- Youssou N'Dour
Who makes your heart sing?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Utah, I have stories to tell about the curious pleasures of airports: a reason to read Esquire, a moment or 200 to oneself, the chance to read a whole book at a time, time to contemplate one's next move, time to think about and feel everything about the trip--how much fun one had and how much one misses the daughter one visited--and about home. But I am glad not to be in an airport now, even giving the airports their props--the flights were on time, people were helpful, my bag made it with me despite having to change airlines and a stop in Denver, both ways.
Mainly, though, Utah, I am glad to reconnect to my own life and routine. I am very glad to be with my husband. Tomorrow, I will develop rolls and rolls of film. I will be glad to have the photos to remind me of my darling daughter and of the wonderful places we visited together. I will take Bruiser (I believe he was named State Dog in my absence) for a walk. I will go to the bank and write a poem and begin reading a new book. I will see loved ones and eat Utah vegetables. I need to be here, I am glad to be here, though my heart, it turns out, my heart is both here and also everywhere.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Skip ahead to Hwy. 6, halfway between Boston and Provincetown. We were navigating by holding a spit-finger to the wind, and the wind was saying, "I don't know where in THE hell we are, and as for a clean public restroom? Beats the hell outta me." Also, one might consider the fact that many locations on the Cape are vacation-y and therefore--oh, and also, it's Sunday--closed for the season.
So, we're in thriving downtown Barnstable, made up, as far as we could tell, by equal parts Episcopal churches, fire stations, gorgeous picturesque houses, and closed antique stores. Our GPS robot was telling us about restaurants that may or may not have been in the area, in any direction from where we were driving. We chose a restaurant with Dolphin in the title. (Have you forgotten that we needed to pee? Don't forget this fact.) And lo! The Dolphin appeared before us, along with the Barnstable Tavern and the Village Cafe.
The Dolphin looked very swanky and also possibly only barely open, and very swanky seemed in excess of our needs, so we turned around and thought, Village Cafe, just a couple of locations back. We hopped out of the car, our bladders doing all the reasoning for us. We stepped into the cafe and lo! it had the smell of two decades' worth of deep-fried food, which my actual brain processed just as the proprietress said, "Sit anywhere you want," and my mouth said, "Mind if we use the restroom first?" and my soul screamed, "NO NO NO NO NO!"
I am an old-fashioned girl, and once you've decided to avail yourself--gratefully!--of an establishment's facilities, it is my view that you must buy something there. They don't just have a restroom so anyone in the world can just casually stop by to pee without also ordering up some fries or a sandwich or something. Or chowder.
And so, dear reader, I ordered the chowder. At the counter. And the waitress said, "Ohhhhh, chowder, right, it's on the menu but I don't think we have it on Sunday."
Deeply disappointing, right? But the cook, behind a fortress made of stainless steel that was probably coated with the grease of the ages, said: "We can heat some up."
"Are you sure?" I said, when a rational person would have said, "Umm, do you have like a bag of pretzels? and a Coke? or, like, maybe a Coke and a bottle of 409 spray and a roll of paper towels?" But no. No, I said, "Great!" And shortly after that, a plastic tub of chowder, labeled "CHOWDER," appeared from the walk-in and disappeared behind the stainless steel. And then, probably three minutes and thirty seconds later, the chowder appeared, in a shallow bowl, over the stainless steel barrier. With some steam wafting, a positive omen, I thought.
But I was wrong.
No, the chowder was lukewarm, or rather, of uneven heat, sort of how a big bowl of soup is when you microwave but do not stir. Moreover, the soup was extra salty, as if salt were the only possible seasoning ever to grace chowder. There it sat, looking like the paragon of chowder, clam-filled and potato-y and even a little creamy. Why was it so nasty? Why?
Here's what I did and did not do: I did not ask for more nuke to be applied to my soup. I did not not eat the soup. No, I sprinkled both packets of oyster crackers on the surface of the soup, and I ate each little cracker, lightly anointed with the soup, telling myself this: "Having made the deal to be polite and eating in a sorry place where even my low(ered) expectations were disappointed, I am not going to change the deal now. No, I will eat the misbegotten chowder and enough of it that I will not have to explain my not finishing it. I like oyster crackers. I like them!" I said this as the chowder cooled and got, yes, nastier.
My daughter asked me if perhaps I wanted to try to redeem my chowder luncheon by finding better chowder for dinner. No, no, I did not. The experience had embittered me. I may or may not eat chowder again, but it will be a cold day in hell before I order it again at a restaurant where the chowder has not been vetted by experts, aka, by me myself at a previous occasion. Even then. The whole concept seems fraught with peril. Milk, clams, potatoes, onions . . . I'm sure there is a long and storied history of how this came to be a beloved American dish, but I'm thinking that the real genius of the soup world is the inventor of the oyster cracker. Now there's a dish no one can screw up.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
2. It's still quite breathtaking beautiful, the parts I've seen. We were at Cape Neddick today at sunset, when the sky decided, miraculously, to clear just to put on a show, over the crashing waves and an insanely picturesque lighthouse. Ridiculous. I have pictures.
3. The Atlantic? Vast.
4. Plenty of fish, not enough blueberries. Of course, it's November.
5. Dunkin' Donuts: what is it with the donuts here? This observation is mainly about Massachusetts, actually. Many, many donuts and many many donut shops. Never a bad thing in a region, in my opinion.
6. Down East, everything is close together, so you can drive through Massachusetts ("The Spirit of America"), New Hampshire ("Live Free or Die"), and arrive in Ogunquit, ME in just a little over an hour. Picturesque, convenient, and more donuts than any one human might ever need. Is New England great or what.
Friday, November 14, 2008
In other news, today my daughter and I saw pages written by Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, and by written, I mean "actually written, as in, the pages encapsulated in plastic are the actual pieces of paper written on in ink by these writers." We saw these pages at the Concord Free Public Library, which is a splendid place. We also went to Salem and took in all sorts of diverse historical hoohah, and by hoohah, I mean "awesome buildings and more stuff than witches, which in itself is very interesting." As in, The House of the Seven Gables, which has (a) seven gables, and (b) a rich and storied history. Did you know Salem was a thriving seaport? That there are many first settlement buildings in Essex county? that you can follow a red painted line all over the historic part of Salem, but that it's kind of a mystery who actually maintains the red line?
Finally, and in summation, GPS contraptions are crazy and annoying, but if you can get in the rhythm of the GPS robot, it might actually help you find the movie theater. There is, of course, no question of the GPS robot getting in your rhythm. No: welcome my friends, welcome to the machine. What did you dream? It's all right--it tells you what to dream.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
- finishing The Story of Edgar Sawtelle on the plane, with tears to show for it;
- finishing the Times crossword puzzle in stages during the day;
- listening to The Fleet Foxes, the whole thing, on headphones;
- having not one single hitch in all the arrangements, from check-in to renting a car;
- arriving at my daughter's place of residence/place of employment and seeing her again!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
On the one hand, I roasted a lovely piece of squash tonight with the intention of making risotto. On the other hand, by the time the squash was roasted, risotto seemed like kind of a big project, so we ate leftovers.
I find this time of year so beautiful. The early darkness, however, is like automatic melancholy.
On the one hand, I'm glad it's basketball season, but it would be nice if the Jazz weren't making me bite my nails in this last minute of the game (and then losing, dadgummit).
On the one hand, the guy who came to deliver our new-to-us retro-tastic cobalt blue sectional sofa (we can have Jazz game watching parties! board game parties! Mad Men watching marathons!), which we purchased from The Green Ant, said he's never before delivered anything out in our neck of the woods. On the other hand, he said he knew which house it was by the Obama sign.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ahem, and ta-da:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Igby Goes Down
Kung Fu Hustle
Lost in Translation
No Country for Old Men
Opposite of Sex, The
Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightley one, sue me)
Thelma and Louise
Unbearable Lightness of Being
Walk on Water
Year of Living Dangerously, The (also Y Tu Mama Tambien. Also Young Frankenstein.)
Edified? I should think so. I hope my daughters, all three, will accept the challenge, and my son, and my niece Diane, and my nephew Sam.