Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Miraculous. I haven't been to a birth in over a week. I sleep all night. Well, I sleep until about 2 0r 3, then wake for a while and stare as the ceiling. At some point, I notice that 3 cats have pinned me to the bed by lying on various parts of my body so movement is difficult. 

Fall is swift. Gather all the grapes/tomatoes/squash before the frost. I have one sugar pumpkin and one acorn squash. The delicatas didn't make it. They are the sweetest squash, even better than buttercup. 

My writing group is gearing up for the reading this Friday. Emails are flying. Bring 2 bottles of wine and some snacks. Bring friends. Bring yourself. Remember to get dressed. Read for 5 minutes (once, twice?) Prevail upon your friends to attend. Implore them to behave, no snickering or belching. 

I'm planning to wear my red shoes. They're dazzling.  

Monday, September 28, 2009

I am lying exhausted on the couch after 5 hours of grape jelly madness. I went through 20 pounds of sugar *ping*, all my jars, even the quart jars and I still have some juice left which I am going to drink. Freshly made grape juice is delicious. I feel health coursing through my circulatory system as I lie here. This grape juice is pinkish yellow and tart. And sparkling with grape properties like smartness and ancient healing chants (ahooya, ahooya) and the like. It's the blue-green algae of fruit. No wonder they make wine out of it. I am now a magical pixie fairy dust-y person with phosphorescent skin flakes. All because of grape juice. 

My counters are covered with 53 jars, all sizes. I had to hose down the floor afterwards. 

My group, "A Murder of Prose", is reading this Friday. I'm going to dress like a grape and pass around the new jelly. Maybe no one with notice that I'm not reading anything. 

I bought Charles Simic's last book of poetry. It sucks. (I blaspheme and I'll probably go straight to hell where someone reads "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" over and over). 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Today J and I picked several gallons of grapes, plucked 'em off their stems, mooshed 'em with a potato masher, boiled 'em for 10 minutes with much boiling over on the stove and then burning permanently on the enamel, strained 'em through cheesecloth (ok, it was tulle) and then pour the juice into a ginormous pot especially used for this purpose. Over and over. Then the light pink juice sits all night on the counter 'crystalizing', something I have never actually witnessed but the USDA canning and preserving book says to do so I do. Then skim. The nonexistant 'crystals'.Then the pectin, sugar, a gawdawful amount of sugar and more boiling of juice and jars and lids with much burning of fingers and mess on counter and floor. Finally the hopeful *ping* of jar lids sealing. Sometimes not. Or the dreaded, 'it didn't jell' phase where you have to uncork the whole thing and start over --sob--.

And my USDA canning and perserving book has everything. I mean everything. If I wanted, I could can a side of beef. Or I could use tin cans for my meat. There is a scary picture of a lady in a apron standing next to a tin can machine. I think I'll stick with jelly. Being vegan and all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday night and fall has set in. The sun a giant red ball last night going home. People standing on the street gaping. Cars stopped. Brief.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yup, two babies in one day, both girls, one big and one little.

In honor of being off call, I went to the dentist. I like my dentist. She's a nice lady who owns a farm where she raises sheep and sheep dogs. She brings eggs to her clinic and sells them. We gossip like crazy and go over time. However. She has instruments of torture that defy description, including the DENTAL DAM. What is the use of this, I ask you? Why do you need a tiny trampoline clamped to your teeth? Or tooth to be exact. Imagine how the tooth feels, being singled out like that. I can hear the other teeth heaving sighs of relief that they aren't under such scrutiny and worse. 

Then there is the grinding drill, not the eeny drill but the honkin' big grinder that makes your head feel like it is on sideways permanently. I also think the hinge in my jaw on the right side is broken. No, really. And she said to her assistant that she would have to stand on her head to get to my tooth on the top. I couldn't imagine this so I closed my eyes and tried to sleep or pass out. Neither worked.

I also know I could never be a dental assistant because there are too many tools with too many names. 

"Give me the pulverized forklift with the green handle. No, the big one"
"Oh, you've bitten your tongue. That's going to hurt"
" I need the cuticle treadmill."
"Now the left sided metronome scraper."
(me) "Argggah  gurgle gggaaaaah."
And so on.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tonight the labor juices are swirling. I'm going to bed now because someone will call during the night.  My car is packed and ready to go. 

I adore this weather. Wet and fall-ish, the squash plant leaves have turned powdery. There are still blossoms but they won't become fruit, it's too late for that. I went out tonight to find dinner but no luck. I have one sugar pumpkin and one acorn squash. 

Then I remembered the chard, rainbow chard that struggled during our blast furnace heat wave. It too loves this weather so I helped myself to a few leaves. Plus a few more cherry tomatoes. 

I brought in the hammock, a true sign that summer is really over. Not that I lay in it even once. Oh, but the sound of rain on the skylight. Bliss. 

Friday, September 18, 2009

Scrolling back into the dark days of winter. I noticed the grape leaves are starting to turn. Oh gawd, time for grape picking and grape jelly making, a major ordeal. I love the taste, especially the juice. But the mountains of sugar, the spillage on floor, stove and counters and the burned fingers when dealing with boiling liquids. 

Maybe I'll get an unsuspecting friend to help me. In exchange for jelly, lots 'o jelly.

It is beautiful to behold all those jars with amber and pink light coming through them. 

In the next few weeks, I am expecting many men to swarm over my house fixing leaky gutters, peeling paint, sagging decks and so forth. There will also be an upheaval in the kitchen with massive sanding of cabinets. I have to remove all items from the kitchen, all items. Into the dining room. The kitchen will be plasticked off and the noise of sanders will begin. Oh yeah. It aughta be fun. 

Then let winter come. I'll be ready. Snug, with grape jelly for company.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Spiritual Life

This morning, I sat down in front of my altar to meditate. About 10 minutes in, my pager went off and a new dad told me his wife was, ah, pooping. Important info with a 12 hour old baby, in his mind anyway. I reassured him that bowel function after delivery was normal, honest.  I went back to my cushion and another 10 minutes later, Lola, the black long hair started the unmistakeable sound of barfing, gakking up a hair ball. All over a women's anthology of poetry I carelessly left on the floor. A direct hit on the cover. I don't like the book much but impeccable timing. I cleaned that up and then the guy across the street fired up his generator to power wash his house, as he has been doing for a WEEK. 

I blew out my candle, rang the bell, and wished all beings health and happiness. 

Another perfect morning of silence and peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another baby in the world, Moses. Only the third one this month so far. The season changes. I know because when I left their house tonight, my car windows were wet, as they are in the fall before the wet turns to frost. A soft cool night. 

Tomato, mayo, lettuce sandwich, with salt and pepper. I'm not sure about the nutritional value, but who cares? With these tomatoes, I could have them for breakfast. I probably will.  

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In a fit of peek (sp), I picked hundreds of tomatoes and now what??? The pear tomatoes are mealy and tasteless but so pretty. The little yellow ones are perfect, sweet and lovely. They are beautiful, a bowl of jewels.

I slept all afternoon in perfect indolence. I thought about painting. I cleaned out my studio. Instead I slept, something I rarely let myself do. Red, I think, and a high glaze. Small canvases. Like tomatoes, red, orange, yellow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm so tired my eyes/eyelids hurt. 

My therapist ran out of kleenex tonight. 

6 Feet Under is currently my drug. Even though Nate died. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birth this morning, came home and slept on the couch where I pretend I'm not really sleeping, just napping. Then I think I can fool myself tonight when I get into bed. Crank the circadian rhythms. Mixed with the old summer leaves are yellow and brown. The trees had a hell of a time with the heat wave this year. 

Feeling unhinged. Tried to get out of therapy but my perky therapist suggested another time tomorrow. If I were to go for a walk in the falling light I bet I would feel better. Visit the geese upending themselves in the lake. 

My neighbor is painting his house in sections. I look out my kitchen window at his efforts. He scrapes a 4' x 8' bit, primes and paints it. Then it sits for days, months, years, etc. until he is inspired to paint another area. Like de Kooning. Here and there. Blue. The other side of his house is all done. My side is peeling paint, blue  areas, some hanging tar paper stuff. Every time I hear the sound of the ladder I  inwardly applaud. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

folding star



swill through murrhine landscapes

activate a relentless mourn

we asked at the counter for the firefight edition

they were secretive about their plateau


levees released their little tongues


it was lambing season

we gathered all remaining wit

shears rock salt nitrazine thimbles

let rise three times before embarking


hemlock freed us


it says here in the directions

part the sky (part the sea)

one for you and the rest for me

we canvassed hollow wards for heretics


walk in the road at night


slide along the boardwalk

fish wither in the sod

nature gutters a split gauntlet

warble against a feverish brine


just under the skin is the loose wire


adjust your capsule before the prayer dinner

a drowned generation will pierce

all bodies flourish in the lake

we rescued the dogs

Monday, September 07, 2009

I virtuously ate many vegetables for dinner, broiled green beans with olive oil, chunky grey salt and balsamic vinegar and perfect protein salad I made myself from garbanzos, cukes, celery, red pepper, green onion, fresh garlic, dill, vegan mayo, lemon juice, and quinoa. All mixed together. Tomorrow it will be better. My mother used to say the ingredients need to 'marry' each other and that takes a while. Especially if you are a vegetables. 

I tried to go to the parcel and post place to mail a manuscript (!) but it was closed. Duh, it's Labor Day. When I had a normal job, I knew when holidays were. And when my kids were in school. Now my job is weird and I usually have no idea if it is a holiday or not. Babies come whenever. 

I'm getting a new fan thing for over the stove. The smoke detecter goes off regularly and scares the BEJEEUS out of me and the cats, mostly Lola. My friend gave me one from her house. I would install it but I might electrocute myself. And if you watch 6 Feet Under, you know how many ways people die. A lotta ways, most of them pretty stupid. 

I made a baby quilt for a friend who is 6'4" and her husband is 6'7". I made it too small. I'm afraid it is the size of a place mat. Maybe they can use it as a wall hanging. What was I thinking?I might still have time to make them something that might actually fit, like a giant hat. 

She told me when they were in Vietnam, people fell down in the road laughing when they saw her and her husband. And they called her 'cow', in their language it means 'tall' but her feelings were hurt anyway. She's quite spectacular, especially pregnant. I call them the Old Growth family.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Up all night and home by 4 this afternoon with a mom in labor. It began to rain and I could hear the city swallowing in big gulps. Sometimes it was a downpour and sometimes it was light and sometimes it stopped. I went out without a raincoat just to feel it, blessed rain. The baby brought the rain and they named her Esme. 

When I got home, I visited my garden. The chard and tomatoes had a bright look, saturated color rain look. As much as I complain when it rains for months, I know without it we all perish. Thank you Esme, for being born today.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I'm still in my bathrobe but I'm going out into the what's left of the day. Patti came over and put together 2 Adirondack chairs I got on sale. The whole living room smells like cedar. The chairs even have footrests that slide underneath and there is an end table. So what if summer is almost over? I don't care. My chairs will be great next year. And they were on sale. 

Friday, September 04, 2009

I got a massage this morning and my therapist took off both of my arms. I have tennis elbow which is weird because I have never played tennis. She thought my arms needed to be replaced so she is scanning the neighborhood for newer, better arms and I am typing with my toes. It's slow going.

It is a bright sunny September Seattle day but I feel suspicious because we had a horrible heat wave back there a bit and now I flinch whenever I see sun. Will it kill me? Will the house/car heat up so much I will feel like I am gasping for air with an uncontrollable need to fling myself into the lake immediately? Cool rainy overcast good, sun bad.

Next on the agenda, my therapist therapist, whom I haven't seen for three weeks. We need to catch up. I usually go thinking I have nothing to talk about and leave her office snuffling and whimpering. I once thought I would be 'all better' but apparently there are just more layers. My friend just bought a house on the edge of a greenbelt which was used as an unofficial dump. Tires, empty bleach bottles by the score, more tires, antique farm implements, an anchor (?), kitchy porcelain cows/pigs/ducks etc., even a wood burning stove sunken into the garden. And an overlay of black berries and morning glory. It's like a midden. Or my interior life.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I'm going to digress for a moment and talk about one of my dharma teachers, Larry Yang. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a study group training together. We meet once a month and we talk with Larry once a month. He sends us study materials and we hash them out with each other and then we report in. I/we get a dharma talk once a month and we are so lucky. I mean so lucky to have a teacher. This past two months we have been studying diversity 'precepts'. I have never encountered dharma diversity teachings before, not like these. Dharma in the West! Dharma in the West! Diversity! Women teachers! Gay teachers!

PS. I got a new haircut today and only two people noticed. Most were blinded by my new shoes, courtesy of Good Will. Not that I'm materialistic. Really. I'm practically holy. *ahem*

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I did it. I sent my beautiful maroon Honda Shadow motorcycle to California. To San Rafael to be exact, to my son-in-law who will ride it and love it and take it on rides on Mount Tam, twisty and curvy and fast. In a helmet. And boots. Oh, and the gear, the leather chaps and jackets with fringe and gloves and boots. Lovely boots. Sigh.