Monday, April 30, 2012

Slower Pleasures

Park, 2012
We forget that there is a thrill that attends the slower pleasures, pleasures that become increasingly powerful the more time we spend pursuing them.

~Mark Strand


Friday, April 27, 2012


spring windows I, 2012

This time last year I was noticing lace curtains, finding it odd that they dressed so many urban windows.  I'd always imagined lace curtains in the country, but eyelet or calico would probably me more likely.  Calico, as we use it in the United States, the small floral print.  The print of cotton pajamas I wore in the summer, when I was a little girl.  There was rhubarb.  And there was the book of Wisteria I wanted to make, a map showing all the publicly visible spaces in San Francisco it grew.  Wisteria always leads me to Enchanted April, so it is fitting that it was and is April.  Conception of an idea is often more beautiful than implementation.  On April 10th Chris gave me daffodils wrapped in brown paper.  I thought about Alice, and wondered if the depths of darkness were better than the depths of anything else.  I wondered why so many thoughts were formed as snippets.  The second priority was fighting for first.  I searched for patterns, but found none I desired.  A section of April 6th proved to be as special as the blue hour and the moments preceding sunrise.  I ate Stilton.  There were butterfly cookies.  And some days were simply forgotten. 

This April has been different, although there were daffodils, and rhubarb.  On April 24th I saw a middle aged man with Tevas and a wide grin heading up a hill.  He was carrying a slim cellophane package of white cheese and one red onion, both in the same hand.  There was something very likable about him, and for now, he overshadows the rest.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rhubarb and Rain for Breakfast

spring windows II, 2012


Today's post is light and easy.  I'm taking a break from deep thought this morning.

Shari has pleasantly distracted me with her spring windows series.  I've joined in.  You should too.

Rhubarb is back in my life and I'm so happy.  Ah, the simple things.

Here's my latest experiment.
Rhubarb with Apple, Raspberry, and Allspice
4 humble servings

3 long thin ribs rhubarb roughly chopped into 1 1/2" pieces
1 peeled, seeded, and cored apple (I used a Gala) roughly chopped into 1" pieces
½ cup frozen raspberries
juice and zest of 1 small lemon
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup vanilla sugar*
½ teaspoon ground allspice
*I made my vanilla sugar by simply placing a ¼ vanilla bean in a tin with a ½ cup sugar. for a few days
Pre-heat oven to 325°
Pour measured sugars and allspice into a small bowl and stir to mix.
Place rhubarb, apple, raspberries, zest and juice of lemon, and sugar allspice mixture in a medium casserole dish or oven-safe pot with lid.

Gently toss ingredients.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Stir. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Stir.

Let sit with, covered, for at least 10-15 minutes.  Fruit will continue to soften during this time.  Or cool uncovered for more firm fruit.

And...that is it. You are done. Bravo!

Serving options:  Warm with vanilla ice cream on top.  You could also top bowls of Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese with chilled rhubarb.  I'm sure it would be delicious atop a simple cake such as pound cake with unsweetened or lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Yesterday I ladled some warm rhubarb into a bowl and ate it plain.  It was great.  This morning I am enjoying my rhubarb cool and spooned over Greek yogurt.  It tastes equally great.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reminder: Life Can Change Quickly

A Gift of Daffodils, 2012

After a Morning Visit to the ER, 2012

I've been looking at the world through new eyes these past few days.  First there was shock, and then pain.  A little blood, followed by the fear of needing help, not being able to wing this one on my own.  After a visit to the emergency room and confirmation that I want to do everything possible to minimize my time in hospitals, I'm okay.  I'm still me, just me with a temporary limp and the beginnings of a new scar.

I have been lucky in this life, and when I compare it to the challenges so many have experienced, it has been a walk in the park.  But, still, within the context of my life, the only one I truly know, the last few days have been hard.  I continue to review the accident and the what if aspects of it.  It could have easily been worse.

People look at me differently as I walk slowly, with this quiet limp.  They look at me with half smiles, but not for too long, they don't want to stare.  I believe they see me as a softer and more fragile person, weaker than the me they might have seen just a few days ago.  Perhaps I am.

Looking at those who are slowed down due to one thing or another and admiring their ability to push through, and get out there, and live their lives--this is not new to me.  I am not one to take my health for granted, but even the smallest of injuries have a way of shifting your view, allowing you to see first hand what other people have felt.  It is a different sort of empathy.

Today I simply want to record how happy I am to have this little home, my husband, the ability to sit here and write, soothed by Norah Jones, and the ability to walk, albeit slowly, for now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Who Wakes with the Sun

First there were the camellias in the early morning light. They brought me to the borage. It emerged from the pavement and rested against an old dark wood fence dressed in pale green moss from another season. A still life of sorts.

As I turned away I came upon a proud postured and seemingly determined woman on what I supposed was her morning walk. She looked directly into my eyes and said good morning, with gusto and sincerity, her entire body involved with what I can best describe as some combination of a nod and a bow. It was as if she was the mayor or ambassador of the neighborhood, or perhaps the morning, and she was confident it would be a good one.

When I continued on and crossed the path of a man wearing the frown of a widemouth bass, walking his tall somber dog, I was still in possession of her nod and bow, a smile of contentment upon my face. It was then I realized her air of confidence was not without reason.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Early Spring, 2012

I started the day with poetry, because when it is good it fuels my prose. But what I read did not speak to me, so I listened to All the Days and Nights, for the fourth time.

Friday, April 13, 2012


row, 2011

Do you ever just feel like running away? Boarding a plane or train and hoping your destination feels right? Jumping into a small boat and rowing until you end up where you belong?

Where you belong. Is there such a place?

Perhaps you are already there.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Big Poetry Giveaway

Hello. I hope this note finds you well.

Molly has just brought the Big Poetry Giveaway to my attention and I quite like the idea. I have decided to join in and give away two books of poetry.

Would you like one?

The giveaway has officially begun and will run through midnight PST, April 30th, 2012.

I will be giving away two books.

1) The Recent History of Middle Sand Lake by Molly Sutton Kiefer
2) Blizzard of One by Mark Strand

Reading poetry is always a good idea, but I seem especially drawn to it in the spring. I purchased Molly's chapbook close to this time last year and just finished reading this book of Mark Strand poems. Two beautifully moving collections by two gifted poets.

Simply leave a comment below and I will select two winners during the week of May 1st. 

+++  update May 1, 2012  +++
The giveaway is now closed and the two selected recipients have been contacted.  Thank you for your participation.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

On this fine spring day,

I wish you hot cross buns.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

the words we write down

August 18, 2010

It's funny, the words we write down and then forget. I'm compiling bits from the many notebooks I've filled during the past several years and I've been enjoying an unexpected part of the project. I'm finding odds and ends, notes, lists, phrases, ideas, out of context sentences, and lines of poetry. All items I wrote down and haven't returned to, until now.

I found the lines below in the back of a notebook from 2010. They were originally written by the poet, Robert Haas. I believe they were simply lines that caught my attention, possibly from The Apple Trees at Olema. Maybe it was Poetry. I wanted to save them for later, no real agenda. I do this type of thing often. Do you?

Robert Haas:
-Because she, not her sister, answered the door,
-She looked beautiful, and looked her age, too.
-In the other world the girls were named Eleanor and Filina,

The Apple Trees at Olema

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


life at home, 2012

Found in old journal. Still true.


deep bathtub
gas burners on my stove
room for a kitchen table and two chairs in front of my kitchen window
high ceilings
large bay window in living area
vintage built-in bath cabinet & mirror
large walk-in closet w/ shelves
view of coit tower, bay, and alcatraz when walking out our front door
proximity to good food: okoze, za, swensen's are favorites
2 bus lines stop outside our front door and the cable car is one block away
tile kitchen countertops
little telephone cubby in front hallway
ample kitchen storage space
instant hot water
great water pressure
attentive building management

For Chris

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pretty Red Soup

soup, 2012

I made this wonderful soup last week and thought you might like to try it. It's more of a sketch of a soup than a true recipe because I simply tossed together a variety of ingredients I happened to have in my kitchen. This is how I usually make soup.

I found this combination especially good, so I wrote it down.

Pretty Red Soup

Find a medium pot for soup and gather your ingredients.

- good olive oil
- 1 big red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small leek, chopped
- grey sea salt
- 4 whole plum tomatoes (canned w/ some juice)
- 14 ½ ounces of low sodium chicken broth
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 cups roasted (w/ olive oil, s&p) beets & carrots, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cream

Warm a tablespoon or so of olive oil in pot set over medium heat.

Add red bell pepper and leek and sprinkle with a little grey sea salt.

Allow pepper and leek to soften, about 7 minutes.

Crush (I do so with my hands) and add tomatoes and garlic to pot and simmer 5 minutes.

Add carrots and beets and simmer 10 more minutes.

Turn off heat.

Puree contents of pot with immersion blender.

Stir in cream.

I ate mine as-is, but it might look nice served with a dollop of Greek yogurt or crème fraîche and a sprinkle of something green, minced (maybe chive).