Monday, August 31, 2009

Tiramisu (Best I've Ever Had or Made!)




This recipe came from the class we took at Montestigliano. I've made it a few times since and it was every bit as good as there. The main difference is the color since the fresh Italian eggs are about the color of my car: much brighter yellow than here. It's easy. Just make sure the eggs are really fresh or pasteurized as they are raw in the recipe

-500 grams Marscapone cheese
-5 eggs, separated
-5 heaping teaspoons of sugar (the recipe says 5 "dessert spoons")
-a couple of shots of very strong coffee (espresso)
-Packet of sponge biscuits, lady fingers They are hard to find. I actually use Le Petite Beure cookies by Lu (usually by the Pepridge farm cookies)
-Grated bittersweet chocolate for dusting

Place the marsapone cheese in a large mixing bowl.
Fold in the sugar and beat until light and creamy
Mix the egg yolks into the mixture and mix until very smooth
In another bowl beat the egg whites until fluffy with soft peaks
Take a steep sided serving dish and spread a thin layer of the mixture on the bottom
Brush both sides of the cookie with espresso and place over the layer of mixture.
Smooth some more mixture over the cookie layer.
Cover with another layer of espresso brushed cookies
Continue layering, finishing with the marscapone mix.
Dust top with the chocolate dust. Leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving

Let me know how it turns out!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Garden Update
















Art and Soul


Yesterday I hung the prints I brought back from Italy. There aren't too many flat walls without windows in my place. The best place for a galary is in my bathroom. Ever since I moved in (it will be three years in November) I've been looking for just the right art. This last trip to Italy I found it. I first fell in love with the print of the lady in red being held up high. I think the title, which is in Italian, has something to do with Equilibrium. I cannot read the artists signature. It just struck something in it. I admired it but didn't do anything about it. Melinda and her sisters gifted it to me that night.


Then, a few days later, in Greve, in a little gallery and gift shop, tucked in the back I found several prints I fell in love with by Sabina Feroci. The playfulness of her work, the strong bold lines and touches of color, the everyday subject matter. The combination off these things created delightful little vignettes. I loved them all. I ended up purchasing the couple making love titled "Il Tiempo Libre" (Free Time), mounted on a wood plaque, and "Playboy" (hanging left of Equilibrium). Above Free Time I hung "Putting it Together" which I bought and Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair. A great pencil and charcoal of a toddler who is assembling himself from puzzle pieces. The bathroom is becoming one of my favorite rooms in the house!


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Update

Going through some old pictures of the house, when it was on the market. Removing the wallpaper and painting it bright red was one of the first things I did.


Then I made the pull down shade from some Toile fabric I fell in love with. Followed by reframing the medicine chest mirror, adding the white drawer units (someday I hope to have custom ones built in) and adding things that I found that were just made for my bathroom and waiting for me to discover them. Like the bird hanger that I hang necklaces from and the black and white ceramic canisters. And the toile covered bucket.







Finding Dead Bodies and Such...


We might have found a dead body! (How’s that for a grabbing open line?) So I was taking Satchmo out for a little walk this morning. We were passing in front of a small dirt driveway that leads into a drainage area where water is diverted under my roadway. About ten feet up from the road there was a sleeping bag. The sleeping bag looked to be wrapped around a curled up body. I decided I needed to get my imagination in check.

But then as we walked along the road I got a little freaked out so decided to turn around and see if it really looked like what I thought it did. It did. So then I figured well maybe it’s just a tossed out sleeping bag that seemed to land in a position that looked like it was wrapped around a body. But then what if it wasn’t? What if it was a dumped dead corpse with fingertips cut off and teeth pulled out? Or what if it was a runaway bank robber? Or runaway teen whose parents were looking for him/her? I had a long conversation with myself before I decided to call police. There was no way I was going up there to poke it myself. I called the dispatcher. Described what I saw. Noted that it could very well be an empty sleeping bag but it just didn’t look right. They said they’d send someone out to check and thanked me for calling.

While I waited I started to feel foolish. So I walked down there to see if it was still there. It was. And it still kind of looked like it could have been a person underneath. But it hadn’t moved. I hung nearby waiting for the police for a while but eventually realized I had other things to get thin done so headed back home. Fifteen minutes later I get a call from the Police who were confused about the location. So I agreed to meet them at the bottom of the hill. I nice officer pulled up. I point him to the location. He tells me to wait in the car, puts his hand on his unsnapped gun and goes around the corner. And keeps walking. Shit. Whatever/whoever it was has moved on. Good news: it wasn’t a dead body. Second good news: it wasn’t just an empty sleeping bag that I had got freaked out about. But…it was a body in a sleeping bag. Now it’s gone. We’ve got someone camping out in our woods. I sent an email to the neighborhood to caution them and to ask to keep their eyes open for signs of vagrants in the neighborhood. Never (hardly ever) a dull moment! Too much TV?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Wake Up In A Panic


I am trying to get in the practice of jotting down my dreams. I’ve lost the basis for some great best selling novels by failing to do so. But I have some dreams, over and over again that are not any great source of inspiration. I don't have to write them down because I am very familiar with them. I have them, these same ones, on a regular basis.


Teeth Falling Out. Often, when I am dreaming about a wonderful, ordinary interaction with new people, in the dream I put my hand to my mouth and realize that a front tooth has fallen out. I feel the tooth next to that one and am shocked to notice that that one is barely hanging on. I touch it and it falls out too. I spit into my hand and five or six more teeth come along. I run my tongue along my gums and knock out the few remaining teeth. I wake up in a panic.

Toilet Problems. I dream I am at a classy party. I look hot in a black dress, high heels and a lot less waistline than I actually have. I excuse myself to the powder room. I don’t dream about going to the bathroom but the next thing I know there is a HUMONGOUS turd in the bowl. Huge. Way too big to be flushed. Just floating there, mocking me. Someone knocks on the bathroom door. I wake up in a panic.

Missed Connections. I dream that I am travelling by myself. Confident, excited. Starting some adventure. It has the flavor of going someplace in Europe. I get off the plane but arrive in a train station. Not sure how that transition happens in the dream. But I am on the train platform. Reading the updating message board. Every time I think I’ve figured out which train to board I get there just as the train is pulling away. I look at the board for another option. Figure out the train. Get there just as the train is pulling away. By the way, I am hauling a rolling suitcase that is just about the same size as me. People watch me but are not offering to help. I keep on missing trains until I panic. I wake up in a panic.

Dinner drills. I dream that I am sitting at the dining room table of my childhood. The usual stuff that used to go on at my childhood table is going on. My brother is tipping back in his chair and my dad sneaks his toe under the chair leg and sends him flying into the wall. Dad has asked first my brother, then my sister about what they learned in school today. He takes their simple but impressive (to me) answers and turns them into college lectures. I am sweating. Waiting for my turn. Trying to recall anything at all that I learned in school today. I got nothing. I am racking my brain for any morsel to even show that I was in school today. Still nothing. So when he finally gets to me I….wet my pants. I wake up in a panic. And I usually have to get out of bed because I really do need to pee.

Shopping with Mother. I dream that I am out shopping with my mother. It’s a contemporary dream though mom has been gone since 1992. We are in downtown Seattle. People look at us together and smile. (In my waking life when I see women of my age out walking with their mothers I fight feelings of extreme jealousy). We are then in a department store having a great time. Trying on hats. Laughing hard. I see a really incredible hat just to the side. The hat is always different in the dreams, but always something that looks like it came from a Dr. Seuss book. I go over to put it on. When I turn around my mom is gone. I can’t find her. I am rushing around the perfume counters and lingerie department in a ridiculous hat, saying “mother, mother” over and over again. I wake up in a panic.

**********************

What reoccurring dreams do you have?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Kind of Evening







Tonight was exceptional. Went to the Columbia City Farmer's Market followed by dinner at La Medusa with Judy and Steve. This was a belated Birthday Celebration for me...finally able to do after having to reschedule a few times. Well worth the wait.









I think this is my favorite Farmer's Market so far. It also happens to be the time of summer with the best produce in so that probably helps. This neighborhood is diverse and hopping. Clean and safe but very busy. I stocked up on several great veggies that are waiting in my kitchen now to be used in a market inspired dinner for friends on Saturday.



Then the dinner...oh the dinner. La Medusa is a small restaurant that has both Sicilian and local market roots. Since Steve and Judy and I were in Sicily together a few years ago it's a fun thing to experience with them. Had a wonderful roasted cauliflower appetizer and took notes from the preparation description from the waitress so I can attempt at some later date. I had the pan seared chicken on polenta with green olives and almonds as garnish. I have to say it was the best restaurant chicken I've ever had and the polenta was to die for. For dessert I shared the zabaglioni with fresh huckleberries on top. All this accompanied by a beautiful Sicilian wine.


We were seated at the front window and I was as surprised to see a couple from work stroll by as they were to see me. I'm not sure if this is a first date, a couple thing going on, or just ...well I don't know. But it will be my secret for now. Then saw a woman I volunteer with at the Community Center program out on a date. Just so surprising to see people I know so far from the usual stomping grounds.
Then I came home I was watering my little patio out front. Enjoying the scent of the jasmine (still blooming!) and freshly harvested mint that I pulled for Judy. I had this weird thought: I am kinda jealous of myself. I'm not sure what that means. Something along the lines of I don't know how I've been so fortunate to get to experience evenings like this. Yes, there's stress about work and an uncertain economic forecast. I've got aging crap going on and things falling apart. Male/female relationship angst. And yet, I've never been more at peace and amazed at how blessed I feel. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Generous Neighbors: Zucchini Season!!







When I got back from my trip over the mountains this weekend a lovely gift was waiting on my deck: garden produce from a neighbor across the street. She had mentioned to me in passing, the other day, that she was dumping zucchinis on another neighbor’s doorstep as her garden overproduced. I mentioned that I would love to have a zucchini or two. And voila. I got a bounty! Along with two zucchini and a large pattypan squash, I received a bag full of sweet stubby cucumbers and a few tomatoes.

I gathered some parsley and basil from my garden and found all the other ingredients to make one of my favorite Middle Eastern treats: Zucchini Pancakes (which I always order at my favorite Turkish restaurant). I adopted this recipe from the Epicurious site. It makes six pancakes, enough for two people or two meals for one.

I also took some of the cucumbers and tomatoes, cubed them and tossed them with salt, pepper, fresh basil and seasoned vinegar. Yummers!

Turkish Zucchini Pancakes (Mucver)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated (one medium size zucchini will do)
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion
  • 4 eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 1t dried dill weed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • dash ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (about 3 ounces)
  • Light (non-virgin) olive oil
  • Fresh lemon wedges (optional)

Preparation:

Place zucchini in colander. Sprinkle zucchini lightly with salt and let stand 30 minutes to drain. Squeeze zucchini between hands to remove liquid, then squeeze dry in several layers of paper towels.

Mix flour and eggs until smooth. Add zucchini, chopped onions, chopped dill, parsley, , 1 salt and pepper in medium bowl. Mix well. Fold in crumbled feta cheese. (Zucchini mixture can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Stir to blend before continuing.) Fold chopped walnuts into zucchini mixture.

Heat olive oil in fry pan. Working in batches, drop zucchini mixture into skillet by heaping tablespoonfuls. Fry until pancakes are golden brown and cooked through. Turning as needed. Remove from pan and blot with paper towels. Serve pancakes hot with lemon wedges if desired for additional flavor.

These are also great with tzatziki (yogurt and garlic) sauce.

Words on Words


(My Muse is Calling)


Sometimes, when I least expect it, that creativity muse sneeks up on me and kicks me in the backside. I can't go looking for her. She just comes in her own time. I think she was unleashed while I sat in the theatre viewing Julie and Julia. So I've been trying to be open to her. To let her take over. She hasn't quite yet, but she's sitting beside me in the chair. She raised her hand and waved frantically at me when I read the invite from Horticulture Magazine to submit garden related prose for a writing contest. I am wanting to tie up a work commitment so I can let her run through my fingers and paint words on the blank paper that is my screen.


In thinking about a possible submission to Horticulture I did take a quick look through some of my older writings and found a few things that I'll ask you to indulge me in. Things that I wrote at times when writing was a more significant connection to myself. A few things about the power of words and ideas that spilled out, as if some message to myself that reading now, years later, I understand better.


First this Essay on Words. It doesn't feel complete but I think it's a start. Of something....

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The Power of Words

I lean towards the jewelry, the d├ęcor that contains letters….words. A necklace that has three rings, each with a word: Faith, Hope, Love. Large black letters cut out of wood to hang on my wall: DREAM; IMAGINE. These are among my favorite things. I process and venture into the land of discouragement, melancholy, even hope and find my way out at the other end by spitting out words. Words to capture what I see, feel, experience. Words are the key to begin to know myself and to take that risk to let others see a bit of what I am. Private words can contain an honesty that I can’t say out loud. Even to myself.

My favorite writing on words:


Words by Elizabeth Tarbox


Let’s keep talking, my love. Words we have to spare: love words and angry words, and beneath them hurting, bleeding, dying words, and beneath them words melted by fire and hardened by ice, words of sadness and truth birthed from the cavern of tears.
And when the words are spent, heaped over the pages and spilled to the floor, let us read each others eyes and see the chapters and places where old bookmarks press the pages apart, so the book opens up to the old story before we can move on.



For you are all the love words I have ever heard and all the hurt words where the love is deepest, stripped back and bleeding.


But lets keep caring, ever so slowly building down the words, one beneath the other, getting closer to the truth and still deeper until you touch your words to my wounds, honor them, and feel the pain. Our wounds may not be healed by the touch of the other’s words but are dignified by our recognition of their existence.


Then and only then will the words mean anything; when we have used them up until the old meanings have been scrubbed off; when the wrong words have been tried and discarded and the right words have been spoken in a whisper, then let us climb down into each other’s souls and rest there in silence and love.


Have you ever read anything so beautiful?

What some refer to as “The Word” (the Bible) is by far the best selling book of all times. Translated in more languages than any other written document. Through The Word millions of people are united in a Truth and a Hope that binds those who have never met or even crossed paths. We are united through a legacy of words left as a precious gift to bring understanding and Grace in a life otherwise futile.

Words are more powerful than any physical force: bruises from verbal abuse last exponentially, even infinitely, longer than bruises from a fist. Taunting words from tough youth planted before we knew from where they came lay deep inside us. Unspelled but spilled to soil our thoughts of self and where we fit in this world.

Silent punishment, the withholding of words, is perhaps the meanest punishment of all. Those who have, have much to lose. But the greatest loss is that of contact. That cannot be bought. Only replaced, if one is lucky. When a partner withholds words, you must create your own to fill in that space. The words borne of neglect and fear are not good words. They are words to wound and write doubt onto the page that is yourself. Words are seeds planted on another’s heart. Good words can save a person. Bad ones can destroy. They are a most powerful gift. And an awesome responsibility. They require care. But they are also an incredible tool to let free and go and launch onto a paper or out in contact. For there is nothing more validating than to have someone say “I see your words and they are mine. You have put to words what my soul longs to say but does not have the words.”
***************
And this...
Concept

Mental symbols
Like metal cymbals
Crash, producing sound
Birthing new ideas
Conceptualize and conceive
Entities and ideas
Born from gray matter
Journey to tongue or fingers
Finding a way out
To illumination

From abstract to the concrete
Ideas and deeds
Things in their extension
Basic element of a proposition
Universal
Bearers of meaning

“Words in various languages
Have Identical meaning,
Because they express
One and the same
Concept.” (Wickipedia)
A challenge and a gift
Communication is the challenge
Understanding, the gift

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lentil Festival Parade 2009





























































































Small town, my town. Farming country. Celebrates the mighty lentil! I took Julie out for the festivities. Rob was in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Sarajane marched in the parade with her friend, Jasmine. They were clowns. Main Street closed down for the parade. Small town parades let anyone be in the parade. Julie and I may march next year. Because she can. This year I should have decorated her wheelchair with streamers and balloons.

There was the official parade turtle (a little girl proudly carrying her pet turtle). Kids on bikes. Horses and horse followers (who had the important job of keeping Main Street clear of horse leavings). Politicians and princesses. Police cars. Firemen. Gymnasts flying high. Bands and bagpipes. And a big, big pot of lentil chili. Hooray for Tastey Lentil, the official mascot! Hooray.

Parade followed by lunch in the beer garden in the park while listening to the live entertainment.

I found a lost child, about 2 years old. And eventually (like 10 minutes later) I found a very relieved mom.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Living the Opposite


Last night I had a treat. I was invited out on Kathy and Russ's sailboat (41'?)to take Phalice sailing. Phalice is home on leave from her assignment as head of the Secondary School in Yabus Sudan, where I went earlier this year, with Kathy, among others. At one point Kathy looked at Phalice who was bundled up on the port side, which the boat was tipped towards on a tack. Kathy asked Phalice about her opposite living experience: she was on a boat on a large body of water with temperatures below 90-degrees, a beautiful meal of beef (not lentils) and fresh vegetables (not lentils) and cheese (not beans and rice)drinking a glass of red wine (not filtered water). Almost everything was opposite of what has become normal for her. Phalice answered with a contented sigh. I have to say that it looked like it suited her fine. The Seattle skyline glowed like hot coals along the waterline. Russ mastered the wind and I loved watching him and Kathy work together on managing the lines and buoys and such. They really are a good team. Refreshing to experience. I have really enjoyed getting back on sailboats this summer. There's a sweet rush I get being at the wind's mercy, trusting the captain and all the equipment but not really knowing what the course will be.
(I'm still learning how to work the iPhone camera. My apologies for the picture quality)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sheepish Grin


I made it through the surgery well. As usual the anxiety was most of the battle. I must publicly thank Judy who was my designated driver and caretaker. She held my hand from the car to the waiting room as my knees were week. She waited while they worked and got all the instructions on how to take care of me afterwards. She brought me home and got me all set up. And she checked in on me to make sure I was OK. She's done this before for me with oral surgery. She is a Saint, I tell you.

The oral surgeon (Dr. Sasi Narra, Issaquah) had listened well to my tales of dental numbing woe. They knocked me out well. True to their word, they gave me laughing gas, then general anesthesia, followed by what must have been a horse load of Novocain as it took me until this morning to thaw out. They put in a dose of anti nausea drugs to the IV at the end. I was nervously tensed up sucking in the laughing gas as hard as I could and the next thing I knew it was over. Hardly any bleeding at all. And the best news was that they were able to take care of the extraction, the bone graft and the titanium screw for the implant all at the one sitting. Which means I don't have to go back for those things separately. I was so doped up I didn't even cry when I had to sign the Visa slip. That's the thing that hurts most today. Everything else is not too bad.


I do have to decide whether I want to go through the expense and hassle of having a temporary to fill my new gap which shows from the side. I will have a gap until the implant screw has grown to the bone which is a 3-6 month process, after which I can be fitted with a crown. The only options are a retainer with a tooth attached or some other kind of similar contraption that goes over all teeth. Both would have to be removed when I eat anyway. And the cost of $400-$600 would be just for a temporary fix. I may just get used to looking like a hillbilly for a while. I do have more empathy for the homeless and marginalized who have to walk around with big gaps in their mouths. Without dental insurance that covers half of my costs and still puts a major cramp in my account I would probably be in the same boat. I wonder if the National Health Plan includes dental services?


Now I can almost laugh at myself for having so much angst over this. Almost but not quite. I can't help but remember how I was so angry at my Wasband for putting off getting his vasectomy for years and years. In fact, he put off seeing a doctor in general. We had been married nearly 20 years and the last time he had had a physical was for his High School football screening. I think he said he did the last one over the phone with his friend's father who was a physician. So that hardly even counted. Finally, and only after a scare, he went in to see the vasectomy doc. I had to get the referral from my doctor and the vasectomy doc didn't even require a physical or precheck up. They just scheduled the thing over the phone. By this time I was so seething that I prayed that he would experience the amount of pain that he had put me through. Nice, hunh? He was white as a sheet when I drove him there. Imagine my dismay when he walked out whistling, saying it was a piece of cake and that it didn't hurt a bit. I was crushed. Nice, hunh? But, even this good experience didn't change his call on seeing a doctor. He still wouldn't go for a check up. In fact, he wouldn't take in the little sample after the V to test to make sure there were no more swimmers.


Ah, but I digress (easy to do when he is concerned I guess). I think my point was that anxiety over medical/dental work can be paralyzing. And even though I know the anxiety is usually worse than the experience, it still doesn't connect in the head. Childhood pain runs deep. I am pretty hardwired by now.


SNAPFISH FUN


I did use some of my down time yesterday to finally upload pictures from my recent adventures to Italy and Scotland. Lola first shared her pictures using Snapfish service and I must say it is one of my favorite new discoveries. I haven't ordered pictures yet but she says the quality is good and the price is as well. I do have to say that using the site was very intuitive: so much so that I could do so under the influence of pain killers. The uploading went very fast compared to some of the sites I've used before, such as Photobucket. I haven't used those in a while though so maybe they are faster now as well. Some day (not promising when) I will go through and clean up those files and share the Sudan pics as well. Just thought I better get them posted before I get in any more trouble from friends.


Ciao!

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Party


There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire,which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.


-Washington Irving


Truth is I am desperately fanning at the embers, panting out a breath, something between a gasp and a howl, wishing, hoping, praying to catch that pile of coals on fire. I hurt. Inside, outside, mentally, physically. I'm terrified (consumed) with the prospect of dental surgery on the doorstep. And I feel a weenie about all that. Logically I know that it's not that big a deal. I know so many others who are dealing with much more long-term, more debilitating or stressful things than that. And so I feel guilty about being consumed about such a comparatively little thing.


I spent yesterday wallowing in the fear. I was out of bed maybe a total of an hour. Which isn't good for the ear problem (reflux) that has kicked back in lately along with the mouth pain. Wallowing in the pain and fear let in a whole boatload of lovely self pity party guests who are rude bores and don't seem to know when to politely leave the premises. They joined me in bed. Made such a mess. Interrupted every nice thought I tried to force on myself. Left their smouldering ashes and wrinkled wrappers all over the bed. Got to the point where I couldn't stand to be in that company but couldn't bring myself to rise up and walk away. So I joined them. Took straight shots of sadness. Chased by chugs of loneliness and some disappointment on the rocks. I smoked some stupidity and didn't care which guests saw me.


My sweet little dog crawled under the comforter and became my designated driver. Took me away from the party a few times to walk him to the bottom of the hill. Then, when I insisted he return me to the pity party, came right back in with me and lay patiently by as I self destructed again. And again.


Today I am hungover. Paying the price for my over (self) indulgence. Wanting only to return to that party but somehow resisting the bed. For now. Standing beside those embers. Looking for any red glow that might indicate there is still fire to be made. To spark my soul.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Aching Tooth


Every family has stories. Some more colorful than others. The family I come from is pretty small and at first blush doesn’t have much to put in the shocking category. My divorce seemed to be the “biggest scandal” in recent history, and even that, my family took in a supportive stride. Today I am thinking about the stories of gory death in our family background and making a connection to one of my biggest fears that I am in the throes of right now.

This is not related to the legend of a Quaker ancestor who had to leave his family on their Sunday trek by foot to church because he had forgotten the family Bible at home. When he returned to catch up to the family he found his wife and all his children had been scalped by the Indians native to the area.

Nor is this related to the men who went to war and never came back, leaving mothers to raise their children in poverty, eeking out livings as seamstresses and church organ players.

This is related to a great, great, great, great grandmother, who, legend has it, died as a result of complications from having all of her teeth removed. I am a dental weenie. I do know that the way my nerves are wired, traditional shots of Novocain do little to calm the nerves in my teeth. As a child who had to have lots of orthodontia and had lots of permanent teeth pulled to make room in my small jaw I have historically had lots of time in a dentist chair. It wasn’t until I was an adult that a very kind, careful and patient dentist realized that the nerves in my teeth do not run in a traditional direction. Therefore when I was getting a shot to numb the part of my mouth needing attention, it was actually another part of my mouth that was getting numb.

This probably explains why one time, after administering 12 shots of Novocain to me, a dentist threw up his arms and stomped out to my mother in the waiting room and declared me too unreasonable to work with. It probably also explains the actual imprint of a shoe, my shoe, in the ceiling tile of one dentists office, as a result of my literal knee jerk reaction to having a nerve hit with a drill. This also explains why I am not very good at going consistently to a dentist, and why now, the dentist that has finally taken me on treats me like a priceless Stradivarius violin. I have my own nitro mask always in my glove compartment and a prescription of nerve pills to take before I come in for anything. They allow double time to work with me and shoot me all over with Novocain before they even look at me. I know it is both a mental and physical battle that I take on in that chair.

Yesterday I majorly injured a tooth. I chomped into an olive in my Greek salad only to find out, too late, the olives were not pitted. I really came down on it, and like Julie and her experience on the side of the hill, I knew I had broken myself before I hit ground. It was not just one of those cracks you can limp along with for a while. Immediately I knew there were nerves and roots involved. Fortunately the gals at the desk at my dentist’s office understood the gravity of the situation and squeezed me in at the end of the day. By the time I was in the chair I had been at a pain level of 8 on a 10 scale for several hours. A gentle tap from the dentist sent that to a level 20 on a 10 scale and she knew I was in trouble. So they began the numbing game and after giving me a horse’s dose of Novocain were able to explore the crack, pull out a major section of tooth that broke off well below the jaw line and determine that I should be scheduled for oral surgery to remove the rest ASAP. They packed something over the opening which is supposed to protect it until the surgery can be done and gave me a scrip for strong pain meds and sent me home.

The earliest I can schedule an appointment for extraction and planting the titanium peg for an implant is next Wednesday. My timing sucked. All the dentists and surgeons are booked with taking care of things for kids before they head back to school. I’m on the standby list for several surgeons in case anything opens up. In the meantime I get to try to function with pain or under the influence of pain pills, and more significantly the angst of knowing I have major dental work on the horizon.

Knowing I am going to have an adult tooth extracted got me to thinking about the legend of my grandmother who DIED from teeth extractions. I wonder if, subconsciously, knowing of that family legend has built on my fears of the dentist. That and the fact that I can’t be numbed. Do you think? At least I don’t fear being scalped on my way to church! I am also learning that my cost for the implant, even with insurance coverage, may force me, like my single mother ancestors, to take up sewing or playing organ at the church to help pay for the implant. You wouldn’t believe how much those suckers cost. My tears as I checked out of the dentist yesterday I think were equally caused by my pain, my fear of the upcoming work, and having to come up with a bucket load of money for one measly tooth. That was an expensive Greek salad for sure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recipe for Italian Style Bruschetta


Somebody has already asked me for the crostini and Bruschetta recipe. The timing is right with all the fresh tomatoes and basil coming in. I ate six slices (SIX SLICES!) for dinner last night. I loved every bite. That much fresh tomato in one sitting is hard on the tummy but oh so worth it.


This is how I learned to make it in Italy. The reason I had to have it last night was because yesterday I went with Melinda to see "Julie and Julia" which was a fantastic flick. Maybe I'll add a review later. Anyway, in one scene Julie converses with her husband while she is putting together a batch of these. Then we get to watch them dine together, talking through a mouth full of fresh tomatoes. From that scene on I was planning my own crostini dinner since I knew I was going to get fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil from Andrea.


Crostinies/ Bruschetta Italian Style

Sliced rustic country bread (anything with a chewy crust and dense interior)
Clove of garlic
Butter
Olive Oil

Fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt, pepper, lemon pepper to taste

Take bread slices out of the bag.
Take a peeled, smashed clove of garlic and rub it on both sides of the bread.
Place bread on a wire rack to air dry slightly

Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix chopped tomatoes, basil. Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper or lemon pepper.

Change the sprinkler location in the yard and return a phone call. This will give the bread about the right time to air dry. Even better if it’s a long catching up phone call that gives the bread at least a half hour, but no more than an hour, to dry out a bit.

In a frying pan, put equal parts of butter and olive oil. Enough to give the pan a generous coating on the bottom when the butter melts. Bring oil mixture to a medium high heat, just before the smoking stage. Place bread slices in the pan. Flip before all the oil is absorbed, so that both sides have a nice oil coating. Then leave on the first side until it turns a light toasty brown. Flip over and finish browning the second side.

Place the bread slices on a platter. Top generously with the chopped tomato mixture. Gobble up immediately. Allow yourself to sigh and roll your eyes back into your head with the first bight. The browned surface of the bread keeps the tomato juices from soggying up the bread too fast.

My Head Runneth Over


I have been a little at a loss for blogging inspiration. Or so I thought. But I think what is really going on is a lot in my head and having trouble sorting through it enough to put it out there. I truly have lots going on in there. Inside my head that is. Just to let you know some of those random thoughts that I might/should expand on, what those little voices are saying to me:


"You are a selfish soul. Why would you think anybody would be interested in the thoughts that go through your head? Blogging is just an outlet for self centered women who live under the fantasy that their thoughts mean anything to anybody but themselves. Get over yourself."


"I want it to be me in that bed. Not my sister. I have far less to be doing and nobody is dependent on me."


"I'm glad it's not me in that bed. Now what can I do to make me feel useful."


"So your son is back in school. Now what's your motivation?"


"Wasband will be announcing his engagement any day. Hold on sistah."


"What is wrong with you? You are running out of excuses on why you aren't jumping on e-harmony or otherwise entering the dating game. What is your problem?"


"Make something of your life. Good grief."


"What are you going to do when there's no more work to support you?"


"What happened to your waistline? You have certainly let yourself go."


"This iPhone is awesome. You can waste lots of time playing around on it and ignoring what's going on around you. Way to go."


"You are so fortunate. Your life is perfect for you."


"You do not deserve the blessings you have received."


"I am abundantly blessed. Thank you Jesus."


"What am I going to wear?"


"Garden produce is such a blessing. Bruschetta on crostini every night until the harvest runs out."


"How many pairs of shoes are you going to hold onto? You only wear 1/4 of what's in your closet. In fact you are in danger of turning into a hoarder with 15 cats and a home that you can only find pathways through the piles of stuff. The place will begin to smell. Nobody will want to come over. Something in front of a heater will catch on fire. Gorgeous firemen will come to your home and be so disgusted. The insurance won't cover because it was your fault. You will have nothing. Nothing. You will have to move in with your father who is a worse hoarder than you."


"I love my friends. I am only as alone as I want to be."


"What if it were me in that bed instead of my sister? There's no way I could be as resilient as she. If I broke my leg I would have to live in a nursing home. You have no bathroom on the main level. I would soon become a babbling old person who couldn't do anything for myself. Friends would have to come in and get things for me from my home and would see what a chaotic hoarder I am in danger of becoming. I would have to sell my home in this down market, losing money, losing my good credit, losing this house which was given to me. Lose my job. Lose the ability to drive that car I love."


"I have ice-cream drumsticks in the freezer. Do not think about those ice-cream drumsticks in the freezer. Sheesh. Just go ahead and eat them. As soon as you are done you won't have to think about them and then you won't be in danger of eating them. Note to self: do NOT buy any more ice-cream drumsticks for your freezer."


"I need to blog. My readers will give up on me. Though why they would care about the voices in my head I have no idea. Nothing of importance in there. Get over yourself."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Confessions of a Nerdish Child


When I was a young(er) girl I recall being fascinated by maps. Particularly how you could start with a big map and then gradually get more detailed maps until you were down to even a street level. I had in my mind a picture of a future map that had maps inside of maps that eventually you could get to a building floor plan level. I didn’t have the internet in mind but I had a strong sense that the future would offer a way to have these kind of maps inside of maps. As I recall those thoughts were coming about the time we were seeing pictures of the earth from the vantage point of rockets. As I was looking up something on Google Earth the other day I was reminded of that thought I had as a child and realized that it was more than just a day dream. It’s just about true. And I suspect it won’t be long until the building floor plans will be retrievable through these maps inside of maps. What I hadn’t anticipated was the ability to do street views: where you can zoom in on the satellite pictures and then shift to video on the street level; rotating your view 360-degrees as well as “travel” down a street via camera, viewing the roadway as you progress, as well as everything around it. It’s truly amazing. Wonder what next technical advances will be. I just got an iphone and what that alone does is pretty amazing. Who’d of ever thought it? Some other former ten-year-olds I guess.

Wasband Rant


“Can I do anything to help?” were your empty words, oh Wasband of mine, on that last phone call when I almost said “I love you” which was a true testament to how exhausted I was. The ONE thing I requested…”Could you please help Andy with his car problem” to which you said “Sure” … you didn’t do. Yesterday I had to leave work early to help him take care of it myself. He was stranded with a car that didn’t work because you didn’t follow through.

Wasband, this caused me to slip and express my frustration with you to our son. I have tried so hard not to bad mouth you in front of him. When we first separated I told our son that I didn’t want to be one of those single mothers who put her child in an awkward position by saying bad things about the other donor to his gene pool. At that time I told him that I would try really, really hard not to do that, but that since I was human I may from time to time slip up. I gave him permission to call me on it if I did so and I promised if so called, I would cease and desist. And so, when I was lamenting the fact that you didn’t follow through on your offer to help OUR son with his problem Andy called me on it. And I ceased. But I am still seething. I see that your patterns of no follow through are still part of who you are. And I thank my lucky stars that I don’t have to live with the day to day frustration of that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Road Kill


Sunday night a 20 year old kid drove himself into the power pole at the bottom of our hill. Witnesses said he was flooring it down the lake road, possibly fleeing from an accident further down the road, came upon the activity at the crosswalk/intersection there and ended up into the power pole. I was just coming home from work and came upon the accident just as the first aid cars were arriving. The pick up was one with the pole. The crash was heard ‘round the neighborhood and people were coming out of their houses to figure out what was happening. The child (for he was someone’s child) died on impact. That pole is what saved the people in the crosswalk and others nearby. There are a lot of unsettled feelings about the accident. This and the events of the last week keep slapping me in the face with a reminder of how fragile we are….how fragile we are.

This morning (Tuesday) there were flowers at the base of the power pole. Just as I passed, this from Sting was coming over my iPod. I was stunned with the synchronicity of the timing of that song.

"Fragile"

If blood will flow when flesh and steel are one

Drying in the colour of the evening sun

Tomorrow's rain will wash the stains away

But something in our minds will always stay


Perhaps this final act was meant

To clinch a lifetime's argument

That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could

For all those born beneath an angry star

Lest we forget how fragile we are


On and on the rain will fall

Like tears from a star like tears from a star

On and on the rain will say

How fragile we are how fragile we are

On and on the rain will fall

Like tears from a star like tears from a star

On and on the rain will say

How fragile we are how fragile we are

How fragile we are how fragile we are

(Sting, and The Police)