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on writing, cooking and family life

April 9th, 2011

* Steve is off grocery shopping and stopping by the gardening place. We have these fuss-fussy Granny Smith apple trees. They had such bad apple scab last year that all they sent forth was wizened little blackened apples. Well, screw that. If I’m going to have fruit trees, Eve, gimme some fruit. So he will fix them. I hope. We do a nice vegetable garden, and have grown all sorts of vegetables, berries and herbs over the years, but we aren’t big experts on fruit trees. I’ve heard they’re all kind of a pain in the ass, from plums to apples to cherries. True or false, Internets? Please advise.

* My California friends seem to have no problems with their lemon trees, though, go figure. Will keep you posted…

* Yes, our raised garden beds are now torn completely apart and sitting there.

* No, I’m not gardening today, maybe tomorrow.

* Also the deck guys are coming by again (they started yesterday) cuz the deck is a mess. Clean/sand/pound rusty nails down/stain/finish/entertain this summer! I wanted to do it ourselves but god do I hate sanding. I don’t mind the rest of it.

* still revising The Book. I’m at 73,000 words. No, i’m not being fuss-fussy, like the precious-wecious little apple trees but damn, the last time I worked on this manuscript, i left it a mess. I’m having to make it up to my book now. Argh. I may have made this analogy before, so forgive me if you’ve already heard this, but I tore it apart like a busting-at-the-seams rag doll, then stitched it back together with the arms, legs, torso and head all sewed in the wrong spots. Then I couldn’t figure out how to rip it apart again and stitch it up right. Then I wept.

* But when I re-opened the file, a month ago or so, there it all was! and it was as if it came with its own pattern. Oh, you didn’t see the pattern before? Here it is. What a relief for the rest of my life.

* Re-reading Stephen King’s “On Writing.” That one always inspires me. Especially the part about his wife, Tabby, salvaging “Carrie” from his wastebasket and telling him not to give up on it. And then he sold it. And then he sold the paperback rights and they didn’t have to live in their crappy little apartment anymore, and he quit his crappy day job and she quit Dunkin’ Donuts and they could finally afford medicine and food for their kids, and godDAMN that is such good writing. I could read that book five hundred times and I would find something new in it every time, and I would still weep at the part where they Hit It Rich ev’ry fucking time. Stephen and Tabby, if you are reading this, I love you. Hittin’ It Rich couldn’t have happened to two nicer people than you two. Love, Wacky Mommy

* Listening to “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” my dad’s favorite album. And yes, I do have a dark sense of humor, since we all know he committed suicide. By jumping from the Fremont Bridge. But it’s a dark part that I’m re-writing, in my book, and this CD comforts me. (gives big sigh and turns the page.)

* made homemade granola for breakfast this morning. I could have sworn that I used brown sugar and maple syrup when I made the original recipe (which I improvised courtesy of Martha Stewart and one of the parents at my old school). I mean, I do have a sweet tooth and all, but that’s a little much, even for me. However. This morning I did not use brown sugar, and you will notice the recipe doesn’t call for brown sugar, so who the hell knows. It turned out great and that’s all I care about. Ate it up with dark cherry yogurt.

* Now I need another cup of coffee. I could drink the hell out of another cup of coffee and I will.

* i want to write this down before i forget, cuz it was such a good dinner: Tuscan white beans, with sauteed garlic and onions, cherry tomatoes and fresh thyme (thank you Debi and Gabriele, you give me food inspiration); homemade mac and cheese (why have i never written this one up here? I can’t find a link to it, if there is one) — secret ingredients: little shell pasta, Swiss cheese, sharp cheddar and parmesan, with bread crumbs sprinkled on top. I baked it in a roasting pan and not a glass pan; it was so crispy, creamy, melty and good; homemade whole wheat bread (i don’t use barley malt, though, i use either honey or white sugar); leftover homemade Best Chocolate Cake (thank you, Steven) (it was Wacky Boy’s 9th birthday this week); and (to balance out the cake, perhaps?) kale chips.

* OK back to the cake for a minute. Just search for “cake” on my blog and Steve’s, and you will come up with so many g.d. cake recipes. When he finished the cake, the four of us did this whole “memory lane” thing. Theme: Cakes and Cookies We Have Requested for Birthdays, A Retrospective. (Which was best? Which is your favorite? Was it the oversized chocolate chip cooky, baked on a pizza pan with a beach scene, complete with palm tree, frosted on top? Was it… the Volcano Cake? With whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, which is better? Was it the chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese filling, with miniature chocolate chips melted inside? And chocolate frosting? Was it… the Family Poundcake? How about just plain old Mexican Wedding Cakes? The list goes on and on and on.

* I don’t think we’ve run this one before, though: Betty Crocker’s Best Chocolate Cake and that’s the one he made. It’s our latest favorite. (“You sweet talker/Betty Crocker…”) But being Steve, he did some crazy variation on it — said he let the chocolate cool too much, I think it was? — and it made the cake taste like it had melted chocolate chips in it or something. Shot through with little crispy bites of chocolate, and this super-rich, tender cake. Man, he can bake. I’m a good baker, too, it’s a problem over here. Wacky Girl decorated it with chocolate-covered marshmallow bunnies, blue Peeps bunnies (kid you not), jelly beans and malt ball robin eggs.

* OK, now to get your taste buds confused. Kale chips are easy and good. I rinsed the leaves, cut off the ends of the stalks, and roasted them with olive oil, sea salt and pepper at 425 degrees. When they looked halfway done, i turned them, then sprinkled them with more salt and pepper, and drizzled more oil on them. They were like… heaven. So good. Like crunchy, salty potato chips. Nice contrast with the mac and cheese.

* Now I’m listening to “Tunnel of Love” and as far as I’m concerned it is just as twisted as “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” (“I got a picture in a locket/that says baby I love you” — Bruce Springsteen) For real. At least I’m not listening to “Nebraska,” i mean, that would be a bad sign.

* This post has taken waaaaaaaaaay too long to write, i’m halfway through my coffee now, gotta go, Spocky and get back to The Book. (I’ve already started the next one, too. To save confusion, I called the file, NEW GODDAMN BOOK. hahaha.)

* best line of the day from my re-write: “I will fucking firebomb the goddamn police station, do you understand me? I have two little children over here.”

QOTD: June Jordan

April 9th, 2011

“As a poet and writer, I deeply love and I deeply hate words. I love the infinite evidence and change and requirements and possibilities of language; every human use of words that is joyful, or honest, or new because experience is new. . . . But, as a black poet and writer, I hate words that cancel my name and my history and the freedom of my future: I hate the words that condemn and refuse the language of my people in America.” — June Jordan

bumperstickers of the day:

April 7th, 2011

“I’ll try to be nicer if you’ll try to be smarter.”


“Get a taste of religion, lick a witch.”

words, all month…

April 7th, 2011

“The power of words is immense. A well-chosen word has often sufficed to stop a flying army, to change defeat into victory and to save an empire.” — Emile de Girardin

happy wednesday, y’all

April 6th, 2011

what’s going on in your part of the world? here in rainy Washington County, USA, we’re enjoying the croci and daffodili and the daphne odora. ahhhhhhhhhhhh…

– wm

re-reading “The Stand” on my Kindle

April 2nd, 2011

“I feel like I’m prayin’ into a dead phone, and this is a bad time for that to happen. How have I offended Thee? I’m listenin, Lord. Listenin for the still, small voice in my heart.” — Mother Abagail, “The Stand,” Stephen King

This book rocks, always, but especially now.



Grandma’s House Restaurant cookbook: my new BFF

April 2nd, 2011

You know, when you’re on a road trip with your rowdyass family, there is nothing better than stopping at a family restaurant/diner-type place for some pie. Especially when that pie is accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy and roast beef on an open-faced sandwich. Or perhaps a grilled cheese ‘n’ fries, with a chocolate milkshake. Or a gardenburger with extra pickles and some homemade potato salad.

(Here is my tribute to pie, my grandma, and my cousin Travis.)

I like to eat! Food tastes good, that is why. Especially when you’re in Salina, Utah. The only way Steve talks me into traveling is by telling me, “I’ll take you out for pie, c’mon…” and we’re good to go.

For my kids, a “good” restaurant means “gift shop.” We found that at Grandma’s House in Yreka, California, and that’s where I bought one of the craziest cookbooks ever. It now has a home in my collection and I will treasure it always. It has all the usual recipes you’d expect — Sweet ‘n’ Sour Meatballs, crockpot recipes galore, caramel corn, Oompa-Lompa Bread, Stroganoff for Nursing Mama’s Or Picky Kids (OK, those are different ;) The latter calls for oyster sauce, IMO and cream of chicken soup…) plus lots of standards that call for Rotel, jello and/or mayo. Lots of recipes from Sis, Cheri, Flo, Taffi and Laverna. (Why did I not name Wacky Girl “Taffi”? Man.)

my Dear, Late Granny: “You don’t eat enough bacon, that’s your problem.”

But this little gem has something out of the ordinary, and that something is… Jade. Here is one of her recipes:

Baked Beans
14 bean seeds
1 big bottle ketchup
Only 1/2 bottle mustard (because of how it tastes)

Put them all in the oven part of your stove at 5 degrees for 16 hours.

– Jade

I’m assuming Jade is the owner’s granddaughter, or perhaps just a kitchen sprite, but whoever she is? Funny, funny, funny. It also contains poetry!

I called her an angel when we were wed,
But it did not long endure,
For a year had not passed
When I really did wish
That she was an angel for sure!

Man! I can’t believe I only paid 14 bucks for this.

One more from Jade? OK.

Chocklit Cake
1 box of cake stuff
20 eggs
A drop of milk

Put every single thing you have in a mother-size pan. Put it in the oven department of the stove. Make it as hot as the coffeepot. Cook it until the big hand is on the 6. Eat it when the news comes on.

– Jade


April 1st, 2011

Sunshine, my favorite tearjerker from 1973. Watch it and weep…

I don’t think it was ever released to video, thus its YouTube following.

april is national poetry month

April 1st, 2011

“Most people ignore most poetry/ because/ most poetry ignores most people.” — Adrian Mitchell

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