Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oy vey

1. So someone told me something someone else said, and I shunta listened. It was a little remark about something I had done. It wasn't flattering. Not a big deal, mind, but I gnawed it for hours.

2. A guy is working on replacing a flat roof area outside my office. I ordered a construction dumpster and posted no parking signs on boulevard so it and the roofer would have a place to park themselves. Spaces are scarce here. Why does the city allow parking 24-7? I should be privileged.

3. Denis hears an echoy ka-thang early in the morning – the sound of something being dumped in our dumpster when no workmen are on the job yet. It’s a little kid about yay high swinging his backpack by the tail, randomly uprooting our signs, and tossing them in dumpster. Denis leans out window and yells, HEY! And the kid says, WHAT! I ain’t doin nuthin.

4. I pull on shirt, jeans, fetch signs, replace, but not speedily enough. Someone parks, locks, and leaves car. I thought of book title: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. Ha. I have a flat head axe in my hand. (For re-pounding in the signs! What?!) Okay, I did brandish it at person’s disappearing back.

5. Inside with cup of coffee, I settle down to read daily portion of scripture which includes: “Do not take to heart all the things that people say… your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” (Eccl.7:21)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Key Lime Avocado Oil

If I keep licking the cap on this bottle of Key Lime Avocado Oil every time I pass the kitchen, it’s going to be gone in about a week. Marsena brought it back from Key West. I think it’s expensive so I probably won’t get another for a long time. This oil is the color of green sea glass and bursts like fresh lime and yes, avocado, across your tongue. Beautiful. Sexy. I want to put it in everything. I also have a new mortar and pestle – a lovely wood-fired pottery thing. Which means now I can get rid of the wooden one I’ve had for a hundred years, i.e, for so long it yields vicious splinters not ground spice. So I’ve been getting the urge to crush and pound things into potent little masses. Or messes. So I did a thing, which I share below. Somehow over a period of 24 hours, I don’t know how or why, I’d thawed brats, chicken thighs AND pork chops. Denis sweetly said he’d barbeque all of it. So I spread the paste on the pork chops. They were fabulous.

If anyone wants to pass on a recipe that requires repeated blows and hammering of anything, I should probably pay you as it is also good therapy.

Coriander Pepper Paste
5 cloves fresh garlic
1 small Jalepeno pepper or 1 t. red pepper flakes,
or whatever amount of heat you can take, you whuss
1 ½ T of whole coriander seed
3 T soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
2 T olive oil plus 2 t. avocado oil
Crush everything together, but add the soy sauce and oil bit by bit after you get it going. I think the avocado oil isn’t necessary, but it certainly adds interest.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It was Mother's Day

The Great Aunt never had children, though we assure her, she’s been like a mother to us and we love her for it. I don’t think this is enough to heal ancient feelings of bereavement – anyway, she rather despises the notion of being “in touch with one’s self.” She just knows it’s Mother’s Day, we’re getting ready for church, and she’s in a bad mood. She looks beautiful in her pink turtle-neck and gray wool jacket. She adds the finishing touch – dangly earrings. She manages to hang the left one. Then she hands me the other and commands, put it in. It’s a crap shoot. Sometimes I can get it through, today I can’t, no matter how I try. She’s giving me orders as she leans her head this way and that and we move toward the light so I get a better view. I push aside her hair and grasp her lobe between my thumb and forefinger for the umpteenth time. She says, just push it through the front hole. Have you? Have you? Now push down, angle it down. DOWN! PUSH! I get it in the front hole, but it refuses to come out the back. I’m wiggling the post, watching it pooch out against the transparent pink flesh, groping for the back hole. The tissue is so tight I’m afraid I’m going to pop another hole in her ear. I think I’m hurting her. You’re NOT! she says. She sighs deeply when I give up.

At church I notice the one earring still swinging from the side of her head – we forgot to remove it, but I won’t embarrass her by taking it out during prayers. She’s still in a temper about Mother’s Day, and has already anticipated that the pastor will make a big to-do over it. He tells us the church is blessed by women, that all of them are our mothers in Christ whether they have children or not and we honor them. But she’s not buying it, even though she is to us. Even when the kids pass out carnations to every human remotely resembling adult female.

We rush out after the service into driving wind and rain, knowing she’ll quickly forget this was a “special” Sunday. We take her to Elly’s Pancake house because, she informs us, she hasn’t had pancakes in years and years. Comforted by coffee and bacon fried crisp, her face softens and she smiles broadly as she watches the bobbing two-year-old at the next table - whose father is forking bits of pancake into her mouth, syrup dribbling down her front, and she, clapping sticky hands. I reach across and briefly hold The Aunt’s hand, thank you. Not for anything in particular, just thank you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


We’ve been in Chicago area the last six days taking care of the Great Aunt, 87, while Marsena & Jeff get away for a vacation. Way away – to the Florida Keys. Jeff was looking forward to driving the Seven Mile Bridge. Marsena – lying on the beach and reading 50 pounds of books which when Jeff questioned amount of while packing she threw in two more.

I’ve been trying to write Notes from Toad Hall between reruns of Law & Order and trips to The Kelsey Road House for fish & chips where when we walk in, the Aunt jauntily swings her cane, which she refused to bring until Denis threatened her, and she is greeted by all the barmaids who recognize her and yell, The Usual? which causes her to blush because of her very fundamentalist background and while it still seems sinful to enjoy a white zinfandel, until the first bracing sip when she reminds us, oh, that’s right I’m a Presbyterian now, ha. After I ate half my meal, which causes her to frown, I order a cappuccino ice cream truffle and ask if she wants to share. NO. I HATE CAPPUCCINO. What is it anyway? Well, I don’t like it and I won’t have one bite. It comes and she tries a bite. You’ve had this before, I say. No, I haven’t. Yes, you have and last time you ate almost all mine and tried to get me to order another so you could snarf that one down, too. I DID NOT, she says. She does the same thing again. Which is just O.K. with me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

There Will Be Blood etc.

“My current project is writing a talk I am to give to the Macon Parish Catholic Women’s Council on the dizzying subject – 'What Is a Wholesome Novel?' I intend to tell them that the reason they find nothing but obscenity in modern fiction is because that is all they know how to recognize.” - Flannery O’Connor.