Saturday, August 29, 2009

i confess

I went to see Julie & Julia and like dozens of clich├ęs under which I am loathe to fall, I am yet another blogger who loved it.

  • Not just because I happen to love writing and cooking.
  • Not just because I believe fresh bread is divine but may have been created for the sole purpose of conducting sacred butter into our pastry holes.
  • Not just because Meryl Streep is fucking amazing and enchanting as Julia Child.
  • Not just because there were two love stories I could relate to and empathize with.
  • But all these things and a Saturday afternoon matinee with my own St. Barbara.
I'm a little embarrassed to say I'm making hamburgers for dinner. Half ground beef and half ground turkey at that. Oh, I'll saute onions, add beautiful ripe tomato slices and place them on a bed of fresh romaine but we're still talking hamburgers here.

I also have another confession. Some of you are aware of this and seem to have forgiven me but...I'm seeing another blog. Yes. It's true but I love you best and this is only a fling. A three-month infidelity that makes me love you more. I understand if you are irritated. Maybe you won't want to have anything to do with the other blog.

But just in case you do...it's all about DIY. Fixing up the place. No. I mean that's what it's called. I talk about tools and fixing my house. See, you aren't even interested! It's a very narrow scope and is no threat to anyone or anything right here. There are some good diagrams, however, I must admit to that.

PS. About that movie. You know, if you filled a life-sized glass cow to the brim with butter and cream and floated it in a olympic pool of wine that's probably close to what Julia Child consumed in her life. And she lived to 91! Fuck all the hater dieters. Julia sneers at your Lean Cuisine.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

thought for the day

From today's A.Word.A.Day:

There will be no Homeland Security until we realize that the entire planet is our homeland...
-John Perkins, economist and author (b.1945)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

food for thought; pie for poetry

Another delicious morsel from [today's] Writer's Almanac.

Blackberry Pie

by Jennifer Rae Vernon

is kernels of juice
blue, mom makes it do
magic heat to vanilla ice cream
purple dream

there were many nice things,
the corduroy pinafore
the daily notes in lunch sack
of a smiley face and curly cue hair
your mama loves you, and do great
with a thermos of homemade soup

dad too, he rocked me on front porch
after seven yellow jacket stings
i howled through the valley
in baking soda paste
while he sang, in the big rock candy mountain...

but just like grandma vernon always said
don't bother doing anything nice for your children
they'll only remember the bad things, anyway

like when she tethered my dad
to the front yard tree
so he could play when she was at work

was that bad? a ruined childhood?
bless her heart
and pie too, is sometimes
tart

Monday, August 24, 2009

sexy, sexy salad

From yesterday's Writer's Almanac. Poetry that makes your veggies blush.

Vegetable Love

by Barbara Crooker

Feel a tomato, heft its weight in your palm,
think of buttocks, breasts, this plump pulp.
And carrots, mud clinging to the root,
gold mined from the earth's tight purse.
And asparagus, that push their heads up,
rise to meet the returning sun,
and zucchini, green torpedoes
lurking in the Sargasso depths
of their raspy stalks and scratchy leaves.
And peppers, thick walls of cool jade, a green hush.
Secret caves. Sanctuary.
And beets, the dark blood of the earth.
And all the lettuces: bibb, flame, oak leaf, butter-
crunch, black-seeded Simpson, chicory, cos.
Elizabethan ruffs, crisp verbiage.
And spinach, the dark green
of northern forests, savoyed, ruffled,
hidden folds and clefts.
And basil, sweet basil, nuzzled
by fumbling bees drunk on the sun.
And cucumbers, crisp, cool white ice
in the heart of August, month of fire.
And peas in their delicate slippers,
little green boats, a string of beads,
repeating, repeating.
And sunflowers, nodding at night,
then rising to shout hallelujah! at noon.

All over the garden, the whisper of leaves
passing secrets and gossip, making assignations.
All of the vegetables bask in the sun,
languorous as lizards.
Quick, before the frost puts out
its green light, praise these vegetables,
earth's voluptuaries,
praise what comes from the dirt.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

why pink and blue annoy me

Interesting article in today's New York Times on Caster Semenya, a South African runner who won gold at the world track and field championships in Berlin but who is being gender-tested because she was 2-seconds faster than the rest of the runners (though she did not break the world record) and it seems, she just doesn't look female enough.

First of all, let me get the wordplay out of my head: Her name is Semenya and I want her to be from Kenya. Okay. Thank you. Moving on.

Two quotes from the article were particularly fascinating:
It turns out genes, hormones and genitals are pretty complicated,” Alice Dreger, a professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University, said in a telephone interview. “There isn’t really one simple way to sort out males and females. Sports require that we do, but biology doesn’t care. Biology does not fit neatly into simple categories, so they do these tests. ”

Dreger...said the doctors could examine genes, gonads, genitalia, hormone levels and medical history. “But at the end of the day, they are going to have to make a social decision on what counts as male and female, and they will wrap it up as if it is simply a scientific decision,” Dreger said. “And the science actually tells us sex is messy. Or as I like to say, ‘Humans like categories neat, but nature is a slob.’ ”

Nature is a slob. That's my kind of science.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

hats off to dad

Last year I wrote a post about my father. It was, in part, about waterboarding. His retired police friends have a habit of sending mass emails about this or that. Last week they sent him an email that accused the Obama administration of arbitrarily denouncing waterboarding and taking away this effective interrogation tool. This is his response and it makes me proud:

The worst mistake we make as free thinking human beings is that of allowing others to lead us by the ears. Waterboarding is torture and its classification as such predates The Inquisition in the 13th century. It has been denounced for 700 years, give or take a hundred. Neither President Obama nor Nancy Pelosi had anything to do with the promulgation of this as torture, they are just not that old.

Waterboarding is an attractive interrogation technique because it causes great physical and mental suffering without leaving any marks on the body.

In the past when law enforcement authorities in the U.S. (Texas 1983) use[d] waterboarding, a sheriff and his deputies were convicted and sentenced to four (4) years in prison.

In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a U.S. civilian. Asano was sentenced to 15 years in prison at hard labor.

We are the good guys, we do not torture even our enemies.

Friday, August 07, 2009

frontal lobe combustion

Did you ever deal with an issue so confusing, contradictory and demanding that you were sure the problem-solving part of your brain was about to burst into flames? It feels like I've had a couple of those every day this week. All I've got upstairs is soot and ashes. And, mixed-metaphors be damned, a cranial charlie horse.

Not that I'm alone. My family members have had a trying week and mine can't even compare. I just think the wisps of smoke coming out of my head holes deserve some 'splainin', Lucy.

Speaking of 'splainin': Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor–the sound of that makes this Puerto Rican woman stand a little prouder.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

saturday morning solace

"At the worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived."
—Rose Macaulay, from today's Writer's Almanac

Last weekend I was in Michigan visiting my sister. Grand Rapids in July (fleeing Houston) is a delight. Houston in December (fleeing Grand Rapids) is likewise. The berries were abundant and the mornings were cool. I was thrilled to have four whole days with my sister. Just two sisters and the occasional child, grandchild or friend stopping by. [I, not too subtly, also celebrated the absence of her rod-up-his-ass, soon-to-be ex-husband.] We tinkered around her new/old (1925) and completely beguiling Craftsman bungalow. Fixing this, unsticking that. In between we dined and napped and talked and laughed.

This weekend I'm facing a little post-visit slump. And the return of the What Am I Doing with My Life Short and Long Term Goal Review. I probably go through this too much, but time passes and a girl wants something to show for it.

So I review. And remember to count that time spent relaxing with partner or self is not wasted time. Inner Puritan be silenced. But there are items ahead. Projects. Travel. Health care. House Repair. Writing. Reading. Major and Minor Expenses. And I want to do it all and do it really well. Which is a key to my inaction.

When I was a girl, I joined the ranks of band fags everywhere and took up the french horn. I loved the horn. I loved the sound it produced (when I didn't make it sound like an elephant in rut). I loved the design of it. I loved the way it blended in the orchestra and I loved when it rose above the ensemble. But I was a mediocre horn player. That was clear for 8 years. It was one of the only activities I persisted at, knowing that I would never excel.

I remind myself of this when I am unwilling to complete something that isn't exactly what I wanted. When I become mired in perfection. Which is part of the reason I am writing this mediocre, self-serving post. Blogging can be a tiresome examination of all things mundane. It's not my goal. But I'm getting out of practice, so this is my response to just writing something.

I have some lumber that needs cutting. I refuse to go outside and work in this bloody heat. I ought to clean the mess in the rest of the house...but hell, why not haul in the miter saw and cover that back room in sawdust anyway? Unkept or unlived? It's a pretty easy choice.