Saturday, September 30, 2006

Attention: Calling Bloggy Buddies in The Dallas Area

If you have nothing else going on this weekend, high tail it over to my friend Payson's. He's having a garage sale that is only a garage sale because he is selling things out of his garage. But seriously, when have you ever gone to a "garage sale" that looked like this?


When I was down in Dallas last year, Payson and I had lots of conversations about stuff. He has a lot of stuff and he is a whiz at finding great stuff for terrific prices and has always had something of an, "I know I could do something with this" attitude. Which, of course, he could because he has great sensibilities and a decided flair for form and style and all that hooha.

But he started to realize that he had too much stuff. We talked about the William Morris "have nothing in your home which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" concept. And he started "editing". He has sent me boxes of things, most of which I have kept because they filled a need. And some things I've passed on to bless others. Because that's the deal.

And now, after a good year of digging and sorting and purging and flinging, he has a garage full of really beautiful things that he doesn't need and he is selling them. So you should go see if there isn't a Ralph Lauren pillow slip or a set of china there that has your name on it. And if you go, make sure you tell him I sent you. (And you other bloggy folk, if you know people in Dallas give them a heads up, won't you? Because this is a heck of an opportunity).

Here's his Craig's List ad.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Dream Analysis

Kevin Spacey is a fine actor. I liked him very much in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty”. I do not fear him. Thought I should mention that.

I’m also not particularly Jungian in any respect so while interpreting dreams can be a fun exercise in either the obvious or the oblique (as yesterday’s comments would attest), it is not something on which I spend much time.But until I wrote about it yesterday I had not given much thought to the recurring weeping motif in recent dreams. Once it was out there, however, it bore scrutiny.

I’ve decided that it is despair, with a soupcon of sadness.

Despair after 5 years of war and terror under an administration that lies with impunity, mocks and tramples on the Constitution and labels as “traitor” anyone who exercises his or her patriotic right to disagree with the government.

Despair that there are still Americans who think that all the spying and flawed Constitution-gutting legislation are in the service of huntin’ down them damn terrorists. Because, geez, people, no habeas corpus for them means no habeas corpus for you.

Despair that this Administration will not talk to nations it should be talking to.

Sadness that “The West Wing” is off the air. (I like “Studio 60” but it is no substitute for having a good president).

Despair that morality, the watchword of the GOP lo these many years, does not mean what they think it means.

Despair over the fundagelicals who believe the Rapture is an exit strategy.

Plus, to be honest with you, I’m a little frustrated with Democrats who complain that the the Democrats lack leadership and vision. Because, considering their minority party status, there have been plenty of both in the last years. When the Democrats call for reducing, for real, our dependence on foreign oil (and suggest the means by which it can be done), when they stand up to speak out and vote against bad judges, bad policies and bad laws, when they work to protect the environment and Social Security and my right to speak freely, when they try to defend the Constitution and protect the balance of powers, dude, that is vision and that is leadership. And if there were more of them in the House and Senate we wouldn’t be in the fracking mess we are and that’s just the plain truth.

While we’re at it, let’s throw in people who can’t be bothered to vote, especially the ones who say that it doesn’t matter because they are all crooks anyway. Because if the last 5 years have taught us anything it is that there are crooks and then there are crooks.

The Democratic Party isn't perfect. How could it be? But the Democrats are, historically, the party of the little guy, farmers and teachers and middle-age, middle-class Americans like myself who just want to have a little security, a little comfort and for my kid not to die in a misbegotten war. The Democrats are the party that protects the environment and the Bill of Rights and who believe in education and are willing to fund it. And I like that about the Democrats. And it is imperative that we stop the Bush administration from doing any more harm and start rectifying the mess he and his cronies have made. And there isn't a single Republican who can be counted on to do that.

Yep, I’m pretty sure all of that is why sometimes I find myself, deep in my dreams, crying and crying and crying. Because by day I’m Miss Perky Perkison, Possessor of the Half-full Glass, Defender of the Democratic Way, Believer in the power of Prayer and Faith and Hard Work. I go forth, preaching the gospel of hope and the importance of using one’s gifts, giving of time and treasure to make the world a better place, seeking goodwill and reconciliation among all those I meet. Really, pretty much, I do. But then I go to sleep and something inside me starts to worry that it might not be enough.

Which is all to say that it has nothing to do with Kevin Spacey.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Last night I dreamt that Kevin Spacey was trying to take my baby.

It was another in a series of recurring dreams wherein something is happening that makes me cry and cry and cry. It's very weird because it's not like these dreams are necessarily nightmares. Kevin Spacey was, for example, being very nice about that fact that he was trying to take my baby. But this me-being-powerless-to-the-point-of-tears thing is curious. Because I'm not feeling that way conciously. (As long as you don't take into account my feelings about the current administration).

Just thought I'd share that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Postgame Alert

Jefferson Spikers 2 - Northgate Icebaby 0

(I kid you not. The other team called themselves "Icebaby". And their tshirts were pink. We killed them. There's a reason for that. The Child scored the winning serve, btw).

I'm Going to Make Another Pot of Coffee

The "Family Communication Envelope" comes home on Wednesday. This is either a blessing or a curse. It is a blessing because it is always important to know what is going on at school. It is a curse because there is inevitably a form to fill out. I've complained before about paperwork and yep, I'm about to do it again.

Sometimes I have the paper thing under control. When it is, I'm operating on the "do it now" principle wherein debit slips are entered right away into Quicken (rather than riding around in my wallet for a week), permission slips or what-have-you are signed and returned the day they arrive, RSVPs are respondez s'il vous plait'd to immediately and there is never, ever a pile of papers in my desk drawer. This would not be one of those times.

I spent about 3 hours yesterday mucking about with papers and probably have another 2 hours worth today. I like to think that the bliss of having everything is duly registered, signed, entered and/or written on the calendar will inspire me to stay on top of it. I know better. But a girl can dream.

In other news:


The first volleyball game of the season is tonight. The genius who schedules these things has us at a north-end community center at 5pm. 5 fracking p.m. Query: how the frack do people who work 9-5 ever get their children to anything? The map says it's a 17 minute drive. That assumes that I-5 is unoccupied on a weekday. I-5 is never unoccupied. Therefore, we will be leaving at 4pm and pray to the car gods we make it in time.

Also, no one gives a flying fig about the Mariners. I'm not even reading the "postgame alerts" when they arrive in my email box. What a disappointing season. As for football (which I really don't care about that much but I'm going to have to because the Ms suck) Shaun Alexander has a bad foot and is out for a few weeks. Not to worry. He's a fine player but the Seahawks are perfectly capable of winning without him. It's not great news but the 12th man is not worried. Know who the 'Hawks are playing on Sunday? Da Bears. (Lorraine waves to Lefty Tude & Iwanski. Hi Chicago!)


"Gilmore girls" was good. Not great, not awesome, but perfectly acceptable. JP did a live blog of the premiere and I can add nothing to his assessment. It is still one of the best shows on television and seriously, even with new writers, to maintain that sort of continuity in this medium is pretty remarkable. So snaps to them.

Also, we have a new episode of "Project Runway" tonight. I'm excited. I'm shallow. But I look fabulous in Edy's shoes.

Enough of this frivolity. I have 412 pounds of paper to dispatch so as to be ready for the 12 pounds that will billow back in when The Child gets home from school.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm So Excited

58 minutes to go!

A Post Wherein I Overuse My Latest html Trick, Because I Can

It is safe to say that not everyone is a member of the Koihead Nation™. It's all very random and arbitrary (and dependent in large part on whether I have the right photo in my possession when the mood strikes). Koihead™, my friends, are made, not born.

Strictly speaking, I have the same feelings about annointing koi as I do about blog links. It isn't something you ask for, it is bestowed. On the other hand, it's not like there is a Constitution of Koi or even a charter. (At this point we have trouble convening enough Koihead for a decent game of poker). Those qualities and qualifications which make a Koihead™ are nebulus at best. Caprice plays a large role. (Caprice and I were college room-mates).

All that said, a big part of getting what you want in this world is to do with who you know and your willingness to put yourself out there. So here, honey. You wanted to be a Koihead™, a Koihead™ you shall be. Welcome to that high and exalted order.

You wear it well. So say we all.


Tuesday Things

The Child went off to school today, perfectly perky and feeling very spunky about her new hair style and the fact that she starts Debate Club this afternoon. Debate Club: likely the most perfect extracurricular activity for my child. Because Lord knows she has some innate skills in this department. I like to think that the rigor of critical thinking and preparing for debates will actually turn her power for good instead of evil. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I had my misgivings yesterday about letting her stay home. One can never be 100% sure that one is not being played. But the fact is, we were all wiped out. I took a 3 hour nap yesterday. (I was intending just to sack out for 30 minutes. Not so much). The Spouse was dragging when he got home from work. Hence, I felt less guilty. In fact, I didn't feel guilty at all. Plus, she spent some time on the computer with "educational" software and we learned how to convert integers into binary. That's going to come in handy.

In the afternoon she had perked up enough to announce, "I want to bake something". This is always good news. I can bake and do so on occasion. I very much enjoy consuming baked goods. But I don't love baking as much as cooking so I'm glad she got that gene.

She has mastered a recipe from a children's cookbook for what is called "Cinderella Cake". I do not like Cinderella Cake. It is nasty. It is essentially a waste of good butter and eggs. But in baking it numerous times The Child has mastered fundamental cake principles. So yesterday I gave her Pat Wells' At Home in Provence (my favorite cookbook on the planet) and had her take a stab at Winemaker's Cake. (We still have a few pounds of grapes left on the vines). And then I took my nap.

I awoke to the heavenly scent of baking cake. The Child, meanwhile, was knee deep in mixing bowls and whisks. A light dusting of flour lay over the kitchen. But she was happily cleaning up her mess. We differ in this regard. I am a clean-as-you-go sort of chef. I don't like being surrounded by pots and messes and empty olive tins. Generally, by the time we sit down to a meal, the kitchen is as tidy as it was when I began. The Child takes after her father in her cooking approach, operating on an apparent philosophy which states that if you haven't used every mixing bowl we own then you are doing something wrong. But so long as I don't have to clean up the mess, I have no complaints.

And the cake is delicious. "Do you think this would be good for breakfast?" she asked. Yes, yes it would.

Patricia Wells' Winemaker's Grape Cake

2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 c. sugar
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. whole milk
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange
10 oz. small, fresh purple grapes*
confectioners sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously butter and flour a nine inch springform pan, tapping out excess flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Add the butter, oil, milk and vanilla and mix until blended

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the lemon and orange zest and toss to coat the zest with flour. Spoon the mixture into the bowl of batter and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix once more. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquids.

Stir about 3/4 of the grapes into the batter. Spoon the batter into prepared cake pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.

Place pan in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining grapes. Bake until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm when pressed with a fingertip, about 30 minutes more, for a total baking time of 55 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. After 10 minutes, run a knife along the sides of the pan. Release and remove the side of the springform pan, leaving the cake on the pan base. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar just before serving.

*Ms. Wells is happy to use grapes with seeds in them which provide what she calls a "rustic crunch". I say, "Eeww". Our grapes are seedless so I don't have to worry about that. Seedless grapes work just fine, is my point.

Labels: , ,

The Countdown Continues

11 hours, 6 minutes.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Worth Noting

1. This article appeared in yesterday's NY Times. No. Really? Democrats, can you say "talking point"?

2. After The Wedding we were chatting with Father R about our wedding day and about him performing the nuptials for The Child (when he is 85) and appropos of nothing he stroked The Spouse's lapel and said, "Nice threads".

3. Ever notice how when you aren't home for 3 days except to sleep and you don't do any cooking your house still gets really messy? The Spouse said it was the result of a "drop and go" lifestyle. I'm glad we don't live like that much. It's under control now. Although I have 412 pounds of laundry to do.

4. The "Gilmore girls" season premier is in 24 hours, 45 minutes. Yes, I'm keeping track. Priorities.

5. We finished watching season 2 of Battlestar Galactica last night. Or as I like to call it, the best show on television. Ever. I can't wait for the premier of season 3. October 6. Whoohoo.

6. I just went to wake The Child. She actually started crying because she is so tired. We all are. I'm letting her sleep a couple more hours. But she's still going to school today.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, September 24, 2006


My little poodle, JP, wondered in an (adorable and sniffle making birthday) email if I had decided against wearing the superfantastic jewelry The Neighbor had given me. Au contraire, mon ami.

What's that? Can't quite make it out?

The earrings.

The bracelet. (Which is also an opportunity to highlight my manicure, a birthday gift from The Neighbor. She's so good to me.)

But wait! Lest I become overweening in my finery and fluffery...


The Reception: An Even Shorter Photo Essay

The reception was a terrific amount of fun. It was reflective of all the style and grace of the Couple and full of happy tears, hugs and well, yes, quite delicious food. We danced like fools (including a birthday song dedicated to moi and the Groom. His birthday is today. It was very sweet of the Bride to make that gesture. All day, whenever we spoke, she said, "Happy birthday" to which I responded "Happy Wedding Day". I think she was very smart to get married on my birthday. I will actually remember her anniversary. Also, I should add that The Spouse, The Neighbor and other friends serenaded me. Which was very sweet of them).

The Child is very fond of the Grand Entrance and of generally playing dressup. The wedding was a dream come true for her. She was very busy and happy all day, but would occasionally come up to me, plant a kiss on my face and run off again.

Apparently, at one point in the evening The Child was cooling off out on the street with some other partygoers. A mother was walking up the sidewalk with her two children. The little boy saw The Child and said, "Mommy, there's a princess!" She was, too. And she had a fabulous time. And her feet were killing her by the time we got home. (And yet she still came in 4th in her class at the school jog-a-thon this afternoon). Here's my not-s0-little princess with the rest of the wedding party, applauding the entrance of the Bride and Groom.

The Bride & Groom's first dance ("Come Away with Me", by Norah Jones if you must know).

This is our beautiful friend ReeRee with her handsome beau, Jerry. ReeRee sang a knockout "Ave Maria" at the wedding and also handmade dozens and dozens of to-die-for chocolate truffles for the reception. Note the lovely dahlia arrangements.

This is The Neighbor with our friend, Kina. By the way, I cannot sit with Kina ever again at a wedding because the two of us were blubbering wet messes.

The Bride with her sister and the girls. The Bride has that look on her face because Lindsay had just given me a hug and thanked me for all the love that we've given The Bride over the years, which started the waterworks again and so I was bawling my face off when I turned to take this picture. Fortunately, the DJ cued up "Lady Marmelade" (the Moulin Rouge version) and that snapped me out of it.

And that, my friends, is that. The New Couple rode off on their honeymoon stallion, my house is full of left-over dahlias and we are all exhausted. It is time to rest. God bless the New Couple, always and forever.


The Wedding: A Photo Essay

The Child felt a particular obligation to watch over the Flower Girl.

The colors for the wedding were chocolate brown and apple red. Very appropriate for the first day of autumn.

The junior members of the party.

The Child and moi.

But enough about us. Gentleman, lords and ladies, please be upstanding for The Bride and Groom.

It is the tradition at the Chapel for newly married couples to ring the chapel bells.

Sometimes they kiss.

Another tradition is for sisters and bridesmaids to vandalize the Wedding Ride while mothers hold bouquets and observe the delinquency. (Aiding and abetting, I believe it's called).

What You've Been Waiting All Week to See

The Hot Suit, the Superfantastic Little Black Dress and Child

Outside the Chapel

Edy's shoes. Which, by the way, got a huge number of compliments. They were dubbed, in one instance, the best shoes of the night. Not to mention that the story of inter-blog sharing amazed and delighted the masses. (Thanks so much, Edy. They were perfect).


The Rehearsal in 2 Acts: Act 2 - We Party

Weddings are interesting events. They bring together at least two families and an odd assortment of different friendship circles. The only people who ever have the luxury of knowing everyone in attendance are the Bride and Groom.

I have a couple of social disadvantages. First, I'm shy. No one ever believes that but it is true. I do not easily go up to strangers and make small talk. If the stranger in question comes to me and starts a conversation I can be witty and charming (at least in my own mind) but it is my tendancy to hang on the edges of any event until that sort of effort is made. Second, I have no gift for small talk. Third, I have become really lousy at remembering names.

Going into Friday's festivities, I knew the Bride and Prince, of course. But this was their wedding rehearsal. Spending quality time with them was not an option. I have met, and fed, the Bride's mom and little sister (who was the matron of honor). But again, kinda busy. I had been introduced to the Prince's mom and aunt...neither of who's names I could remember. I had also met a cousin, mother to the flower girl and a sister-in-law, mother of the other junior bridesmaid. I remembered the girls names, of course, but not the moms. So that was the situation going into the evening.

The Bride, however, had thought of a very clever thing. She had prepared name tags for everyone. Now, I am not a wearer of name tags. They make me feel silly. But in this circumstance, they were the smartest thing ever. Not only did the tags bear our names but also our role in the wedding and/or relationship to the couple. Which meant that when we gathered afterwards at the Lake Union Crew House, everyone had a leg up on conversation. Introductions were a fait accompli and conversations smoothly begun with simple formulas.

And so it was easy to chat up Gay and Roy, who know all about our dinner parties, and the Ingalls family from Dallas. (Ingalls, as in Laura Ingalls Wilder). It was a hoot to get to know all the assorted cousins and siblings and Bride’s best friend since high school. By the end of the evening a beautiful community of people had been formed, in-jokes had been created and we were heading into the next day full of ease and esprit de corps.

There were many heartfelt and wonderful toasts, not the least a very articulate and sweet one from The Child, which she ended with a tearful "I love you so much".

By the way, the food was fantastic – particularly the jambalaya. There were also fruit kababs. Which were enjoyed.

We headed home, tired and happy and very excited for the Big Day.

The Rehearsal in Two Acts: Act 1 - We Rehearse

The tale must begin, as any good tale does, at the beginning. I can't tell you about the wedding without telling you about the rehearsal.

At 5pm sharp we all met outside the Chapel of St. Ignatius, on the Seattle University campus (Bride's alma mater). It is a lovely, intimate space. We began by standing in a circle to introduce ourselves and have a prayer. I wasn't sure I would be able to even speak my name, suddenly overwhelmed as I was with love for the Bride, who has been in our family for 12 years, and excitement that this day was finally here. I managed but also realized that copious amounts of tissue would need to be acquired before Saturday. If I was this varklempt at the rehearsal, what would the real deal be like?

The rehearsal itself went off without a hitch. The chapel wedding coordinator is a very kind and able person. (This was nice because I have been around wedding coordinators who are better suited to military ops than to sacred liturgies).

It was lovely to see that the Bride and her Prince were so calm and happy. Brides, as you may know, sometimes lose their minds but ours was in command, not of the situation but of herself. She didn't need to marshall troops or fuss over details. She mostly just beamed.

The Prince is a sweet, lovely man but he tends to be a smidge shy. I had worried that he might be too nervous to enjoy himself. But he seemed perfectly at ease and did his own share of beaming. (I have the photos to prove it but Blogger is now tired of loading them so I'll just show you the wedding party. You have to trust me on the "beaming" bit).

The Child has been waiting for this day pretty much her entire life. From the time she could toddle The Bride always told her that if she ever got married, The Child would be in her wedding. Having graduated out of Flower Girl range, she happily accepted her promotion to Junior Bridesmaid; a job she took very, very seriously.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Except for this one, The Child took all these photos.

Annie Leibovitz, watch your arse.

Places Everyone

I hope to provide slightly more in-depth coverage of this weekend's festivities but it won't be now.

I have to force The Child, at gunpoint, away from her computer and into the shower. Then I have to force The Spouse, at gunpoint, out of bed. This will be complicated by the fact that I abhor guns and we don't have one.

Once everyone is buffed and fluffed we head downtown. The basic ops look something like this:

Spouse picks up suit
Child and I head to Rudy's Barber Shop
Spouse joins us at Barber Shop
We all get coiffed

Return home to:
Steam wedding frocks
Don wedding frocks
Photograph fabulous selves in wedding frocks
Be at the chapel by 2:45

Hence little time for serious blogging. But I can tell you that the wedding rehearsal went smoothly. Here's The Child taking her role as Junior Bridesmaid very seriously. (She was adorable last night, charming everyone with her loving little self).

The Bride preparing to walk down the aisle with her mum. (Such lovely families both these kids come from. We had the best time at dinner. There was lots of crying. The good kind).

And here are The Bride & Prince practising their vows: "I take you to be my husband, etc. etc. etc". They were both so serene and radiant last night. Among the people truly suited for each other these are 2 people who are truly, truly suited for each other.

And that is all y'all are going to get today because I'm busy.

P.S. On a strictly personal note: Thank you, Dame Judi, for being in labor 49 years ago. I appreciate it.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Lo and Behold

Will you look at this handsome fellow?

Yesterday I was minding my own business, working on an apple pie for The Spouse, when I looked up and noticed this gentleman, calmly perched on the fence between our house and The Neighbor's.

He sat there for quite a while in bird terms, long enough for me to snap these piccies of him through the window. (I didn't dare go outside lest he fly away).

The Dog seemed to be equally intrigued because he just hovered by the sliding door in the dining room, emitting a low little rumbling growl as opposed to the full-scale bark-o-rama that he would normally unleash on a bird in his yard. Perhaps he had the sense to see that lurking beneath the placid, unruffled exterior of the bird lurked the heart of a predator with a fondness for puppy meat.

Actually, I don't know that this bird eats puppies. I do know that he is a Cooper's hawk. We have neighbors who are avid birders and I showed them the pictures. They were very excited that he'd come to call.

He looks so dapper with those tweedy looking chest feathers. I have decided to call him Reginald. I hope he comes by again.

And that's what I saw out my kitchen window yesterday while I was making apple pie for The Spouse.