Friday, July 17, 2009

"I used to be miserable and fun
now I am happy and boring!"
Esb- guggenheim ASAP

Sunday, March 29, 2009

what brings me closer to God
Seeing something for the first time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ahhh. ... each day some bread must fail.
loaves 2 and 3.
Proof proof proof the yeast before you add the flour.
The little flying saucer. It isn't quite right I am not sure where I went wrong. Though it did have plenty of time to go wrong. 18 hour of rising time, I made the famous NYT no knead bread, but it aint that robust. Fortunately I've seen flatter breads so it wasn't all bad.

My list of things to not fear is growing.
Learn Spanish
Stock market, though I think a lot of folks are fearing that at the moment.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fear No Bread

It’s pretty obvious it’s been a long time since I’ve said anything here. In that time I watched imagination skip away with that youth and vigor and all those things old people reminisce and write about. Yep. Maybe it doesn’t leave with age but just needs to be actively pursued which I have neglected to do. Whatever the deal, in my mature mind, I have decided a new outlet that involves creativity and a lot of patience and maybe I’ll learn something too.
My mid-year's resolution is to do things I’m afraid of doing or think I am incapable of doing. The idea sprang from my mental block on baking bread. I don’t bake. I can cook pretty well, but I can’t even mix Jiffy to make cornbread. It’s hereditary; my mom rarely bakes and when she does its cake breads, which doesn't count. My sisters can’t bake either; they're excellent cooks, which is another story. They’ll deny they can’t bake bread but in my book using a Bread Machine doesn’t count. I’m talking about those crazy three day rise, cook in a wood fire using elvish cedar, bread. I’m not entirely sure of what I am talking about at the moment but I hope to figure this all out.

This evening I began my journey to Fear no bread.

To my astonishment basic bread only consists of five ingredients. Water, flour, sugar, salt and yeast the last being that magical object to me. Yeast is the most mysterious of all cooking chemistries. Not that I don’t understand its biological function, it’s just that it works for everyone but me. Rather than go into my failures of bread making, which I think was only one instance in Home Ech class in Jr. High, it was hard as a rock hard, “this is boring”, *poof* bread ambitions gone, bread. So, it’s pretty obvious now that most of my fear of bread is in my head, no worries, some people have a fear of sharks, I’ve got it easy so far.

This evening I started to make bread. I walked to the store to pick up some yeast. The shopping started off pretty rough. I had to call my husband to ask him where the supermarket kept their yeast. I wasn’t discouraged, though pretty funny, this is the first phase, I thought to myself, “make yeast work” IN flour. So I’m going to listen to my Cat Stevens and bake bread for a while and I’ll write about my triumphs and failures.

…Several hours later.

I read on a website that you can use that plastic blade in my food processor to mix and knead the dough. I tried it. At this very moment I am waiting for my bread to rise! It’s in the oven. I thought it would be a good spot since Mike is making spaghetti sauce, comfy warm. It’s totally rising… I shouldn’t jinx it; I mean it has so much more to do! So I won’t mention it.
...more hours later the bread did rise and I punched it and it felt gooood.
I'm making french bread now, remember before I was making yeast work. Low and behold Pavarotti is on the television during the roll out. I start to think this is a good sign because I started thinking about my grandma, which always helps the cooking, and it always makes me cry when I hear Tosca, and there was the dough all rested on a dusting of flour and Pavarotti belting it out and suddenly things felt okay to be making bread. The wine bottle isn't a as cheesy as it looks, it's our rolling pin. other half our later. the bread is in the oven. 'm feeling pretty good about this now, because I've managed to make the dough rise three times, or two depending on if you count the resting at the beginning. One of my inspirations for this was A Year in Bread I haven't read the whole blog, and who needs to when there's all that free bread porn. (the kitchen is starting to smell good) Mike and I have some really beautiful LeCreuset that I'll use for my next bread. No knead bread And then. My friend has a sourdough starter her and her neighbor have been tending to which she said she'd get me into.

Just to mention the other fears and mental blocks, and stuff I’ll be doing besides bread.
Microcontrollers/electronic programming
Scuba diving
Sky diving
Chin-ups/ aka Pull Ups
And things I am “trying”
Telemark Skiing

Saturday, April 26, 2008

bilbao after work drinks

The Ritchie installation went smoothly and around 4 yesterday we called it complete. Traveling and writing must go together on so many levels, but when there is little time to really define the experience it comes out in really short bursts. so here goes.
Jorge, KePa, Baia where the key players, they dared communicate the first day in english, I chickened out until the second or third. Once I tried they warmed up immensely as did I, we'd draw pictures of the things we needed, learn bits of Basque, they were fantastic and all of them had worked on murals at one point so the piece looked good to. Pedro has been our greatest bridge to the crew and the city. and I can tell he is having a wonderful time now that he can see the end of the Rickrit, tough after this night of drinking he may need to take two steps back. Jose may be my best friend in a past life. His personality and demeanor is so familiar and genuine. As the crews leader apparently he can be a raging tyrant as well. Over the drinks his red bearded smile did it's best to explain the appreciation of the crew we were working with. "KePa knew 50 english words, he's never spoken to the Couriers before" KePa is the joker and I wanted very much to understand his wit. The beer induced evening began as most after work get togethers do. At the "local" bar, the "old man bar" equivalent. In this group they knew the shop owners near by and chatted with them on the corner, though did not sit down, a friendly passing by. I met Katherine, who'd been working with Nathan, she took no time expressing her regret for not being able to work with Mike and I. Nathan can be a bit difficult. Apparently talking trash about someone right in front of them is a wonderful stress reducer. Katherine and, ugh I forgot her name, but she is my new best friend. I got to hang out with the Girls and it was wonderful, we poured ourselves into the tiny restroom and applied makeup and Catherine gave me the greatest piece of advice. "Always assume you look as wonderful as you did when you got ready to go in the morning." and of course, she did.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A unit apart.
meter, mile, millisecond
one unit away from me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not long ago, about the time i moved into my neighborhood. I met a man who was decidedly very annoyed at the way I walked my dog. A newcomer, and used to walking my dog off leash, he was perturbed that I would do such a thing. Anyway he was bigger than me so when he started yelling at me and following me while yelling and stopping in front of my door to continue yelling. I got pretty intimidated, yelled something back and actually never had my dog off the leash after that. We glared at each other for a good many months, maybe years after then one day he caught me with my dog off the leash. I laughed, I couldn't help it. Oddly enough so did he. We became outside acquaintances and mostly talked about my dying truck and dogs. Then this morning he walks up to me, He is large, as I said, and wears a patch over his eye, he's also a landlord with a thick accent. Out of nowhere he asks. So what are we going to tell him?
Excuse me?
he stammered, your phone number, can I have it?
I am pathetic in these types of situations. To anyone else they could brush this off with either aggression, understanding or humor. I am a seven year old girl who's talking to strangers, "see what this gets you!" I let out an uncomfortable laugh and walked away. I am stunted in growth when it comes to older men. When they let me down as humans I feel terrible. it may have been nothing I don't know.

Earlier, before I walked the dog, I was driving over to Williamsburg and there was this other man in a Mercedes who I almost hit because he didn't want to back up for some container truck that was backing up on a one way street in front of us. The guy conducting the movement of traffic was very quiet and not terribly motivated to do his work, but asked me nicely to move. Mercedes got out of his suv and pulled out his cell phone, you would have thought it was a gun he was acting so out of control. You could see his righteous indignation, like this serf was forcing him to obey such an unreasonable command. Mike and I watched in disbelief.

I was thinking about this while cutting the holly branches off our tree in the back yard It was a consolatory wreath for mike because I was mad at him before the Mercedes incident. I felt terrible and wondered why people were being so hard to each other? I felt worse thinking of the puffed out chests and the timid. I am so tired of it and I am so both of those people. I want to be neither. I wanted to go away from all this but knew that was not the solution. I asked for strength but was told to forgive myself. The holly wreath cut my hands, I think I'm coming down with something, I'm tired of my fighting this cold as well. Where did this day come from? all I want is to be peaceful like snowfall, and wish the ice caps would not melt. It's hard to see with all these trappings but that is mine to see.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

John McLane: All you gotta do is go pick up a kid in New Jersey, and drive him down to D.C. How hard can that be, huh?

Plot.Simple. open.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Surgery Day

It was june, i think, when we went to adopt him. we'd seen him the day before and thought it best to sleep on it. Can you imagine? My mother was not a dog person that year, or that decade. She'd been living with three consecutive Brittany Spaniels, my father's hunting choice, and was sick of anything that shed, panted, or got in her way. I remember walking to the truck and her saying, "enjoy your last PDM." "Pre Dog moment". But we were too excited and nervous.
So I can't stand the PDMs today either.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I don't intentionally take this all for granted. I don't. Language has always been the heaviest parcel for me. and I've changed meanings in order to keep control of the matter. That's the problem.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

one thousand stories later and he is still here. The sweet Prince. the little heart within my heart who beats and wags to my life and I love him for it. The devoted follower of mine. just letting go of one part of him feels like a little death. one story. If ever my soul appeared in this life it was unleashed in a flat run on the beach. trusted and just beyond arms reach. Sandy, lean, sprayed by the ocean and panting. we stopped, for it was only possible to keep up on horseback and this soul glanced at me, right through me. canine smile, wet fur and a heart bursting with love for me and of my youth as I was living it. That's what I saw. the salt air and constant off shore wind was there too. Story two. (and this before the first) Chicago Summer 1999.
We called the best trainer in town.
"I'll be damned if this dog doesn't come when he's called."
That was not necessary. The trainer arrived unaware of my strict expectation and took his leash. It’s the same flimsy leather braided lead he still uses. He walked our dog half way down the block. We held our breath watching the flop-flop ears and curled tail leave us, how our hearts melted already at the sight of him. The man, in his late twenties, and according to the florist on Hollywood Boulevard trainer of the likes of Rin-tin-tin, Benji AND the White House Dog, as far as we knew, asked Simon to sit. I know he did this because even at that time in our short relationship Simon needed only conversation to really grasp what I desired and he was looking at this man as he did me often times and the man may have said something like this. "Simon are you a good dog? You seem like a fine gentleman to me. Have you asked the ladies nicely to take care of you in exchange for your unfettered Saint Christopher-like devotion? I thought you had. Gooood boy" Simon, from half a block away sat in his best Greyhound labish posture, which is more cat than Lab. He cocked his head as the trainer gently swung the end of the loose leash and, to our surprise, walked back to us. He'd mentioned walking around the block, so suddenly we questioned if we'd have to pay for this brief encounter. Then he said, "You don't need me" "What?" "You don't need me. Simon is a sensitive guy. I've seen this before, you just need to speak quietly to him and he'll listen." He gave me the leash and said good-bye and our yearling pup lead us up the stairs back into the house. It was as if he'd known all along. That summer after work I walked him every evening down the alley to our gate. We'd play a mini game of fetch in the miniscule backyard. He learned quickly what we wanted and within a month or two we both decided it was time to take Simon to the school yard. We passed it many times over the year before we had Simon, just down the street from our Edgewater flat. During the day it was a regular school but after dark the neighbors, mostly without children, brought their dogs to play on the lawn. There was no fence, so it was a big deal for us on our first night there. Simon bowed and submitted to the other dogs as we nervously looked on. We had to try it, it was just a moment to let go and then. un-leashed. He bound away from us in play for I don’t know how long. I don't remember if it was that night or another inescapably hot evening shortly there after when he bolted across the street away from us. There was something that scared him, but our commands and voices did not comfort or stop him. He ran for the street and my throat went straight to my gut. We ran in his direction, across the dark busy street. I remember there was a giant refuse container, the kind used for building renovation across that street and no sign of Simon, my heart sank. We turned the corner of that bin and saw him. He was there sitting, panting on the lawn, looking away from us, as if in shame but not moving as we ran towards him. At that moment I knew he understood our concern. That his own fear could only be subdued by running towards us not away. He became an off leash dog after that. Chicago San Francisco Denver, Brooklyn just a click or knicker and he was at my side.All I know is that I am living with my most favorite dog in the whole world.
The vet poked and shown instruments then nodded and said,
"It’s gone."
It's just an eye; just site it's not the memory of the beach nor trust it’s not his wagging tail. just his eye.
maybe its my own eye. or mortality or future or love or pain.
He may have a year but his other eye will follow.

It is a hopeless, incurable, degenerative disease- where you hope the eye drops can last long enough to waylay the pain-because as if the darkness wasn't hard enough there is pain in blindness REAL pain and finally, inevitably, mercifully, prosthetic darkness kind.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Begin the begin. I've forgotten everything.
I have misplaced the facts.
here on this desk
is a scribbled treasure hunt reminder.
I think.
The coffee is ready, the dog needs a pat, the phone rings, it's me again. Seven chapters in and I'm still expecting this book will detail its own past. Like, where's my 50 cent tour? Not important? maybe. It's not my eyes that need to find this. This one, many, complicated, easy, "I get too distracted" thing.

And that's what too many beginnings looks like, I'm the fucking American dream skipping like a record.

At two years old I was two years old. On my first Sunday in the land where "if I get lost look for the mountains they are always to the west." I parked myself neath the Columbine Catholic Parish Pews. They were olive green like so many things back then. Up close they smelled like dust but underneath, which was where I was trying not to talk trying not to fidget as one does at age two in a church, the pews smelled like the rest of the place. Frankincense and myrrh. It smelled like Jesus' top drawer. It smelled like, oh hey there's a Parish bulletin thingy under here too, it smells like blue ink and crosses with one crummy cartoon it's held my attention for... Hey who are you?

I spent the rest of the boring mass playing with her, she lived with her parents in the pew behind us. We had good real estate because we were by the door which led us OUT of this place after the kneeling and standing was done. The door my parents were ready to bolt though, after grabbing the children in shame because of the somewhat chatty conversation I was having with the girl under the pew. But my parents didn't bolt. After "a sign of peace" the girl's parents invited us to dinner. This was not the Church Lady's way but she was so pleased that her girls were playing so nicely with these new friends. I was pleased too, thinking every Sunday would be as adventurous as this. We left though the convenient exit and went into their lives. Not two weeks after we arrived her family was moving away. But there was a parting gift. An introduction to another family with two boys, their oldest my age. The freckle faced boys' parents were a hit and they weren't too bad themselves, even my older more modest sister couldn't resist the trips to the ditch out the back door with long sticks and cat tails. The two boys family became four boys and they moved to the Springs where we played at the Air Force Academy, while our parents played tennis. We ran around the Cadet's empty Recreation Center, sometimes managing to sneak into the gymnastics room where there was a sponge pit. At full speed we could do any kind of quadruple flip we could get after jumping off the spring board. The Pit was full of blue and green ham sized foam wedges and so deep we had to pull each other out of it.

As a group of six children averaging in age around 7 years, having mastered the Springs many back woods, which were just past the Kitchen door, having personally slid down a Ponderosa Pine and lived to tell about it, and spent Every Sunday on adventures Mr. Sam masterfully planned including 7 mile hikes up a mountain with two children still in diapers, the peanut butter smashed sandwiches, cross country skiing trips, with their third son in a leg cast hobbling up the steep parts of the trail. The Pit may have been the safest place to play that day, much safer than playing crack the egg on the gym's trampoline, which ended our fun in the gymnastics room with half a front tooth in my little sisters hand. The rest of the time, which felt like an eternity, we just ran around the gigantic concrete rec area/ bomb shelter, that later reminded me of a really good scene from Enemy Mine. Four Boys became Four boys and two girls.