Friday, July 27, 2018

Brian Doyle's, "Their irrepressible Innocence"

"Their Irrepressible Innocence"

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a moist gray November in my soul; whenever I find myself slathered by lies and poseurs, afflicted by devious performance art at every turn, and grimly expecting the worst of every situation and every person I meet; whenever I find myself expecting to be cut off in traffic, to be shortchanged at the store, to hear an ominous clank in the transmission, to catch a cold, to be ludicrously overbilled by the insurance company, to find the library closed early, to endure computer malfunction, to find the wine sour, to lose my keys, to hear of sudden surgery in the tribe, to discover a city of slugs in the cellar, and to find a dead owlet under the cracked front picture window, then I account it high time to get to a kindergarten as fast as I can, and sit myself down in a tiny chair, looking not unlike a large hairy bespectacled bookish giant, and inquire of the lives and dreams and feats of the small populace, and listen with the most assiduous and ferocious attention, for I find that as few as twenty minutes with people no taller than your belt buckle is enormously refreshing, and gloriously educational, and wonderfully startling, and endlessly hilarious and very much like drinking a tremendous glass of crystalline water when you have been desperately thirsty for a long time, and in something of a personal desert.

They will tell you of the animals with whom they speak cheerfully and at length every day, and explain carefully what the animals say in return, speaking sometimes with noses and their feet and their fingers. They will tell you of their dream in which they are swifter than falcons and bigger than bears, They will tell you of their futures when they are absolutely going to be dancers and pilots and firefighters. They will tell you of the strange wild mysterious people in their lives, some of the visible and some not, as yet. They will talk knowledgeably of angels and spirits and voices that come out of the ground if you dig a deep enough hole. they will speak other languages than ones you know or they know. They will sing with or without the slightest provocation or solicitation. They love to explain things by drawing them, and colors for them have flavors and characters and tonal intimations and strict rules and regulations, depending on the artist, you can use green for buffalo, but you cannot use blue for cougars, because cougars are afraid of blue, every knows that.

If you draw them out and give them time and afford them the clear sense that you are not judging or assessing or measuring them in any way, they will stretch out and tell tales of adventure and derring-do that would make filmmakers and novelists drool. They hold hands and kiss each other without the slightest self-consciousness or social awareness. They suddenly break off conversations to do headstands because when a headstand needs to be done it should be done without delay. They are inordinately proud of their socks and show you their socks at every opportunity and you never saw such a wild welter of bright animated colorfully patterned socks in your life as those in kindergartens: It is Sock Paradise. They use the word cubby all the time, which is a pleasant rotund word that we should use more often. When they are released into the schoolyard or the playground they sprint out into the welcoming embrace of the wild green world with all their might with their arms
flung open and their mouths open and their shoes untied, and when I see this from my tiny chair, when I see them fling themselves howling and thrilling into the delicious world that arose miraculously from the emptiness of the vast unknowable universe, I weep at the joy, and at some other thing I do not understand--their irrepressible innocence, my battered innocence, our assaulted endangered innocence, their clean fresh unconscious grace, the fraught teetering of our species, and then I arise, and thank the teacher for allowing me to visit, and drive home restored.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Gaia Tree

N and I, took our first trailer trip of 2018 (year of my retirement), to the south end of Oregon's coast,
where we stayed at Humbug Mt campground for the week. One of the somewhat unplanned highlights of our trip, was listening to the Beaver Baseball team play their way to the NCAA Championship--which could be tricky with spotty cell connection in our area. Not sure we would've stumbled upon The Crazy Norwegian and their fish and chips, if it hadn't been for our parking lot search to listen to the games.

The photo above was taken on one of the trails near the campground. It's more of an old highway than a trail, but who cares when there are oodles of trees, flowers and a brief view to capture my attention! I've begun calling this particular tree, "Gaia Tree". She sports feminine curves and an undeniable stance of exaltation.

Now to find out how to turn this into a tattoo or maybe put it on a canvas via an online vendor. She won't let me forget, nor do I wish to.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Crunchy Cornmeal and Tomato Galette

The following recipe is from
The only reason I've added it to my blog is the hope I never lose it. I've made this recipe over 4 times this summer (sorry, summer is now over, but I'm in denial), because it's so dang delicious.
Thank you, Joanne.

Crunchy Cornmeal and Tomato Galette

1 cup all-purpose flour, frozen for 1 hour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta, frozen for 1 hour
Coarse salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into  1/2" pieces, frozen for 1 hour
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella
3 ounces coarsely grated fontina
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into thin strips
3 ripe but firm medium tomatoes, cored, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the flour, cornmeal and ½ teaspoon salt on a work surface.  Add the butter to the flour and with a pastry scraper, cut the butter until it is the size of peas and oatmeal.

Alternately this step can be done in a food processor by pulsing several times

Whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and 1/3 cup ice water and add a tablespoon at a time using a fork to toss and distribute the water.  Add water until the dough holds together.  If you use all the water, add additional water, a teaspoon at a time, until it holds together.   Let rest 30 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400oF.

Roll the dough on a floured surface to make a 12" circle.  Trim the edges to make a rough circle shape.  Place on a baking sheet.  This can be done several hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to finish.

In a bowl combine the mozzarella, fontina and basil.  Spread the cheese over the dough leaving a 2" border around the edge.  Place the tomatoes over the cheese overlapping slightly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fold the uncovered edge of the pastry over the cheese, pleating it to make it fit.  There will be an open hole in the center.  Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.  After 5 minutes, slide the galette off the pan and onto a serving plate.  Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dear David

Dear David, friend of my youth.
Thank you for trying to save me.
Though no one knew how or what from.
How sweet the life you must have shared
with your family.
You were the glue in my youth.
My first kiss.
A reason to believe there is
living and breathing goodness in the world.
Your generosity of spirit
Will live forever on.
Thank you.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Retirement Musings

It was sometime in my late 30's when people ceased to rib N that he had robbed the cradle when he married me. I had learned to laugh it off and quit calculating how old he would be when I was ??. Then he set the date he planned to retire.

When he first began to count off the work days he had left, I repeatedly and loudly proclaimed that I'd be working until I was 70. N humored me, until one day (shortly after he retired) he asked if I'd thought about how old he'll be when I'm 70. {sound of breaking glass} Oh, well then, that might be a hindrance to the number of years we can be active together.

Part of my reasoning for wanting to work longer was to keep my brain active, because (for me) that's what work does: Troubleshooting problems, educating and negotiating with small people, creating papers/ideas for lessons, organizing, being a sounding board, etc. And then I'm hit with the realization I've been selfish, despite my semi-valid concerns.

On the positive side, this school year, I've learned having a retired spouse does have its upside--I'm able to come home and chill while N makes dinner. Which wouldn't happen without adjusting my attitude. So far I've done well with keeping my critiques to myself, unless asked. I have a good thing going. Why oh why would I want to ruin it by telling him he's not shopping or cooking the way I would? I may still be younger than N, but I'm not stupid.