Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How we touch each other.

This morning, I found this picture in my computer, dated 2010, in an album titled Native Garden Ideas.
In July 2011, Brian's friends constructed a memorial garden containing similar elements and features pictured here. What they possessed was a sketch Janet designed after she and Brian visited our house in Oregon.  The two of them spend a few days with us, on and off the lake, on and off similar boardwalks, similar aesthetics. Nobody had seen this picture before!

Janet drove Jasmine, my grandchild, and me to various nurseries in Southern California shopping for native grasses and bushes to line up a boardwalk along  these lines. She had designed a creek crossing just like this one!

I'm sure we influence each other in so many ways, years before we copy each other.
The designer of this garden has no idea how far his influence has traveled.

If any of you recognize this picture and can identify the source, please let me know.
I need to express my debt of gratitude to this person.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What will they say about me?

Summer 2010.
I like this picture of me, at the beach, my husband up and about,  he and I taking turns taking pictures of my grandchild and her friend frolicking in the water, on the trip back to the airport in Eureka.
I'm the doting wife in this shot, the loving grandmother, forever the educator.  Right after this visit, I started the cooking blog, a continuation of classes for my grandchild, a reminder that cooking and family go together. (I doubt she frequents the blog, but it is there for her!)

My son Brian used to call me on week nights, when he was preparing a meal and needed substitutes, or a way to enhance a dish.  We'd talk for a second or so. When my husband asked about the call, I'd say:
Brian is cooking.
What's new with him?
He's making spaghetti sauce and has no tomatoes.
What else?
Nothing else.
What did you tell him?
Saute' any vegetables he has with lots of garlic and peperoncino, drop a tablespoon of vinegar and serve over any pasta he has.

I don't remember ever calling my mother, or my aunt, to ask about any dish I was preparing. I cook by improvising, and that's something that is not easy to teach.
All through my life, I never thought of myself as a good cook until I began entertaining here in my new home, after retiring, and having people ask about my techniques.

I'd hate it if my obituary said anything about my cooking!
I love to write. But, I'm not a writer for hire. So, that too, will not end up in my obituary.

People who write obituaries are in a hurry, constrained by time and cost, (yes, each word costs money), and most of all by grief. Grief entombs us.

What do I want to be remembered for?
I better ask my friends and line up the answers I like.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunset after rain.

Posing in my colorful robes
solemn and imperial
illuminating yesterday's rain- smeared windows
I sit in judgement.
I am already  
greeting tomorrow.

Friday, January 20, 2012


On stormy nights
back in my cave,
I swear I should  sue the contractor
who installed the wrong windows for this weather.

 At dawn
I pick up my non-fat-latte-double espresso
at the only drive-through
not affected by the power outage
of last night's storm,
brightly resurrected and
happy to be behind the wheel again. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When cats rule the house.

Newkie, the cat that belonged to my son Brian, and has been living with me for the last six months, is  currently cuddled on my lap and I'm forced to type with one hand. She can jump over the laptop and over my entire body whenever she wants to, but she crouches under my left elbow and begins to purr, and I can't possibly ask her to go somewhere else to lie down.

She waits for me at the door, and guides me to what needs to be done.

In the morning, she stands by my bed and whines until I get up, then, she waits for me until I finish in the  bathroom before guiding me to her food bowl and other needs.
She knows where her hair brush is kept. During a nap, she may wake up with a strong desire, jump down from her perch, and stretches until I start brushing her. If I ignore her, she pulls the brush out and gums it, then stretches and rolls and whines, all the while running into the brush and looking at me to get up and do my part.

Now, if only I could teach her to grab the brush and bring it to me in bed.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The grit of time.

Reality is what you can 
green space, stick figures
of  time and  space
that puts you
in your own movie.

This scene,
Napoleon's Tomb among gardens of
tobacco plants with whores' purses,
stands alone.
Hundreds of people come and go in the Rotunda, speaking Universal Nonsense
crunching gravel to and fro.
This ordinary grit
their only  presence
on today's 
marbled floors.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

A baker's dozen...

I wish that my eyes and my whole being would be focused on this view from the time I wake, till I fall asleep. Lately, though, I'm irritated at so many tiny things. Let me count the ways:

1. When I sign-up to follow someone new on Blogger, an old picture of me and an old email pop up and I can't change either.

2. Google sign-in protocol keeps changing, and I have to search high and low to find my OLD settings.

3. Facebook is threatening to change things up and wants my help.

4. A POUND of coffee is now sold in a 12 oz package and costs more.

5. My laptop is new and should behave accordingly; but it gets tired and shuts down when I least expect it.

6. My children only call me when it pleases them. I can never reach them directly anymore.

7. My husband remembers to tell me about messages whenever he remembers, not as soon as a message is delivered.
9. How is that there are more and more cleaning mops and none of them do it all?
10. My old pictures in my picture documents cannot be accessed any more, for some reason.
11. The new Windows 7 word processing program is driving me to drink.
12. How can it be that more and more space in supermarkets is dedicated to crappy food?
13. If you ask for lox at Safeway in Coos Bay (the best in these parts) nobody knows what you are talking about, yet fresh salmon is on the menu everywhere.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lined up for all to see.

I remember my mother and friends washing all their clothes by hand, in big vats of soapy waters, rinsing everything twice, and hanging their wash out on lines strung between trees, or between houses, or on makeshift bubbles that sat on top of braziers full of hot coals in winter.

Their laundry was the only thing out in public, nakedly swaying in the wind, revealing the richness or poverty of the household by the tears, wears and general condition of the household.  Mother was a careful housekeeper.  She checked the wash for needed repairs both before and after it had been submitted to public scrutiny.  She never left the house without putting her best face on, and she shared very little with nosy neighbors. And she knew them and their ancestors!

Well, those days are all gone, forgotten, as all of us set out our garbage by the curb without a thought of what its says about us, our consumption or lack of same. We now broadcast our inner-most secrets on the biggest line of all, the internet and its myriad of social networks. We leave breadcrumbs all over the place.

We trust people.
We trust their intentions.
We buy and sell, and reveal our medical and financial history to anyone willing to listen.

It feels great to shout out, as we did as children, Look at me, Mom! Watch Me, Dad!
Now, if you get pestered with ads, don't blame the salesman. You asked him/her to pay attention to your needs.