Tuesday, May 31, 2011

to cook, perchance to learn

to macerate or marinate? that is the question. i came upon the former word quite by accident. *it sounded dangerous, like lacerate. almost festive, like **macarena. but it was, in fact, a cooking term. the process of maceration: leaving foods to soak in their own juices (i.e. rhubarb with sugar) as opposed to marination which involves an outside, seasoned, often acidic liquid.
now i know. but for now, please excuse me, i have some vegetables to julienne while listening to music. i only hope not to *cut myself while **dancing in the kitchen.


it's fun to live somewhere long enough that the local potato farmers recognize you from last year's market. stumbling happily upon the organic city blocks today, i bantered with these authentic guys--overall clad and everything--thanking them for the tip on seed potatoes. "it's working" i chimed. "sure enough" they said, looking at each other and smiling with tender pity upon my glib farming soul. picking up my first strawberries and rhubarb of the season i went on to buy soap. the soapmaker seemed discouraged, sagging beneath the white of his own awning. i queried him as i smelled the various aromas. did he still like making soap? what had become routine? what was the most fun about it? did he like making new fragrances? (sort of. all of it. sometimes. and yes, except "cut grass" wasn't a big hit. hmmm) somehow we got on the topic of the beachhouse he and his wife had to sell because of hard economic times. "no one will hire me, i'm too old," he sighed, "the beachhouse was just a dream." "hey," i said, "nothing is impossible. i didn't give up on my potatoes and you shouldn't give up on your dreams. i'll take this bar...keep the change for your beach fund." i guess i just love to encourage growth in all its many forms, it's rather thrilling. in people mostly. but anywhere i see it. so to come home and plant potatoes, an entire row of sunflowers and find that my cucumber, carrot and lettuce starts were poking above the surface? well, this is one happy cultivator.

robby benson need not apply

i just finished digging in the jory of my appellation, a place from which i can see the nearest center for viticulture. oh happy day: three new words from my friend and the wine section of the oregonian. i did recognize the word appellation from the root "appelle" which has to do with name(s) in french. but i learned it is a protected name under which a wine may be sold using grapes from within that district. viticulture, the science and production of said grapes, comes from the latin for "vine" and jory? well, it means dirt. (it's also a western movie starring robby benson, but i think i prefer actual soil).

Saturday, May 28, 2011


reading by the firepit, not moving from the couch. yes, alert readers, it's true: i finally finished my second time through jane eyre. in addition to the latest movie out, i watched the version with william hurt for the fun of comparison. there are, i learned, some fun facts in the book that i had forgotten all about reading when i was in college...for example, the fact that jane discovers she has family after all in the form of three long-lost cousins.
this sentence actually made me laugh out loud, "The housekeeper and her husband were both of that decent phlegmatic order of people, to whom one may at any time safely communicate a remarkable piece of news without incurring the danger of having one's ears pierced by some shrill ejaculation, and subsequently stunned by a torrent of wordy wonderment." (they don't completely freak out when she tells them she's married edward. not that i can relate, being one to impulsively jump for joy at the good news of others while emitting a high-pitched "yay!" and hugging them. jane, via charlotte bronte, would doubtless tell me to 'calm down already'.)
so, while enjoyable, it was a willful bout with faithfulness that kept me reading to the end. i daresay, it's time for some fun summer reads. my friend called today to say that she got 10 books from the library. knowing her, she'll have them done by monday! at which time i shall linger in bookstores waiting to swoop up the perfect tomes and then head to the coast--my happy place--in full and literary bliss.
9 days of school. count them, 9! so soon, off i will go on my merry way because, i'm sorry, "edline and gradequick" just do not qualify as summer reading.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

do art

favorite new addition to my wardrobe? a t-shirt with two words: do art. sometimes i forget i have it on when i'm in the store and wonder why people are smiling. hopefully i'm reminding them of creativity.

at any rate, we just finished our annual K-8 school art show and it was absolutely beautiful, kid-friendly, and as a friend put it, "an explosion of color"! instead of being a stressful time, it was my favorite day of "work" (define work...heck, i was playing) because of everyone's help, it was a blast. it does take several weeks to get ready for, but the teamwork approach makes me want to say let's turn around and do it again!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the house that martin built

"language is the house of being." --martin heidegger


quote received the following quote oday from my lovely friend in hawaii. her timing is excellent because i truly feel i'm entering a new season, closing the chapter on one part of life and opening to a new and glorious future of adventures.

"if you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new chapter." --mark houlahan

Sunday, May 8, 2011

the cant of can't

i learned a new word yesterday and also a little about some local, um, shall we say color? quite literally. but let me begin by saying that a friend and i were eager to attend a calligraphy display. she brought her guidebook from college to breakfast and everything. (it having been authored by the same man whose work was being shown). while waiting for our table, we looked at the serifs and beautiful arches of each letter. the new word was "cant" as in the angle of holding the pen and paper when doing the lettering. (my pal, incidentally, has the most beautiful hand for calligraphy that i have ever seen). we were excited!
how could we have known that when we got to the campus and looked for the library that we would be greeted with an entirely different "can't" instead? at first, we didn't notice anything unusual; some outdoor theater props and students hanging out, your typical liberal arts college scene. the further we walked, however, we noticed blue people running down the hill. as they got closer, it became evident that they were people wearing nothing but blue paint. lines and lines of students dressed in everything from crowns to clowns...they told us the campus was closed. (ever felt like you stood out in a crowd for looking too normal?) what a new angle this was.
and it was true, the librarian literally would not let us in to look at the art because of a student festival celebrating the end of their semester. "you can't go in", he said. really!?
we might try again, we might not. while i'm practicing with paper and ink in the meantime, the word cant has taken on a whole new meaning...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

tell me a story

"tell me a story about when you were little, daddy!" even with my eyes in a half-closed state, the result of daily traipsing and being four, i would beg for a tale. night after night, i would never tire of peter rabbit (so many times i had it memorized) or tomes of dad growing up on the farm in canada. as an adult thinking back on it, dad was probably tired from working all day, but he never said so, instead taking the time and energy to permanently animate his adventures into my imagination.

i will never forget my third grade teacher, mrs. gibson, reading to us from madeleine l'engle's "wrinkle in time". when we earned enough points, we even got to spend time in the class time machine. sure, it was cardboard, but to us, it was an intergalactic capsule that served to fuel our love of books.

years later in college, a friend called me long-distance, "lanette, i was wondering if you might read me a poem?" she was lonely, far from friends and family. since i still had a phone with an actual cord on it, i pulled it as far as i could, while running my other hand along the spines of books to find just the right one for her. we settled on seamus heaney, if i remember my irish lyricism correctly and, after i read it, she simply said, "thank you, i really needed that" and we said goodbye.

reading aloud is one of my highest pleasures, as is being read to. who says we have to quit asking just because we get older? tell me a story...

Monday, May 2, 2011

universal language

ok, my spanish skills don't exactly even qualify as "remote". i can muster up things like basic greetings, the color yellow and "mi esposo es pisotear par torres" from watching spanish television (translation is something along the lines of a husband being trampled by bulls).

never mind that i grew up surrounded by cousins fluent in the lanugage or that we adopted my sister from nowhere other than bogota, colombia. yes, i remain a french anomoly in my family of origin.

so when my friend and i took our instruments to the park, we met a lovely young lady from south america whose english was, thankfully, flawless. she saw us playing music and happened to be carrying her violin with her. having only owned her instrument for a week, she was delighted to learn tuning, string names and basic postures. music being the universal language that it is, it didn't matter that we were from different countries having a chance meeting in the sun. and it saved me from having to say the only spanish sentence that i know--to which i can only had a hearty merci.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

may day

dear may,

i thought you'd never come. thanks for the lilacs, i noticed.

your girl