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big congrats to my gorgeous sister and the red-headed guy from Texas

December 12th, 2009

the wedding was today and it was just perfect. lovely, flawless, no snow, no ice (except in the drinks), lots of cupcakes, yummy food, great company, love and hugs and kisses.

steve married them, how funny is that? he’s Universe Life Church certified, who knew? (he did.) (i am, too. i sent away the form in the back of Rolling Stone magazine when i was 16. but i was the matron of honor and couldn’t very well officiate, too, y’know? hahaha.)

i’m feeling kinda weepy and wistful and excited, all at once. really special day.

best wishes to both of you, today and always.

– nancy

did i mention that hockey season started?

November 21st, 2009

Oh, how we love our Winter Hawks. The lack of shooting. The lack of scoring. The lack of winning. The fact that they’re housed on “Winning Way” makes it just that much more painful. Oh, wait just a minute here — we’re ranked 2nd in our division at this point???? Gooooooo, team!

Bart: “Hey Mom, did you save the love letters Dad sent you?”

Marge: “Of course I saved them. Although actually there’s only one. And it’s more a love post card from some brewery he visited.”

Homer Simpson: “Maybe it’s the beer talking Marge, but you’ve got a butt that won’t quit. They’ve got these big chewy pretzels here that are [unintelligible] Five dollars? Get outta here.”

yeah. that kind of day, again.

November 16th, 2009

what is it with Mondays around here?

1) i’m home sick from work today and tomorrow, trying not to slip over into bronchitis, cuz The Thing I’ve had for a month has moved into my lungs

2) i’m wheezing

3) i heard from the doc’s office — they found “abnormal endometrial cells” on my cervix. Isn’t the first time for this, but hopefully if I get all better by next month and can have surgery, it will be the last time for this kind of call.

4) if i’m sick, no surgery; if i have no surgery, i’m sick (exhaustion, anemia, cancer worries)

5) doesn’t this all just suck?

6) there has been a big windstorm all day and it’s kinda freaking me out, what with all the crashing and blowing

7) i didn’t get one of the grants i applied for for my library. jury is still out on other two grants.

8) on a bright note — steve and the kids are my favorite thing in life. they are sweet, funny, and know when to worry and when to breathe. (unlike me.) their love and enthusiasm keeps me going every day.

9) i’m really happy that my sis and the Red-Headed Guy are getting married next month. And guess what? My job is to provide the cupcakes for the wedding. With that in mind, they bought me my very own Cupcake Carrier. Do we need the Tree Stand, do you think? Or just arrange on platters? Oh, frosting. Oh, love. Oh, a Christmas wedding, so cool. Magic, magic, magic.

10) i’m also losing weight, cuz i’m worried all the time and don’t want to eat. that’s something. argggggggggggggghhhh. OK. Make it positive, girl. I love the Wii-Fit and the Wii-Fit Plus they are the best, funnest work-out ever. The end.

11) c’mon get happy.

love,

wm

And, because sometimes it’s not:

And, because this one is always true:

I always thought Danny was highly underrated as a bass player, didn’t you?

edited at 7:30 p.m. to say:

* one doctor wants me to come in so they can listen to me wheeze; other doc is on vacation for a week. the cells are probably… nothing. and if they are something? will deal.

* fixed vegetarian meatloaf, polenta and broc, an old favorite, for dinner. kids were not amused.

* climbing back in bed. have a good night, y’all.

a date w/ my better half

November 14th, 2009

Steve never takes me out. It’s why I’m so cranky. That, and the fact that my children refuse to eat anything besides spaghetti, mac n cheese n pizza and never want to watch anything except ICarly & that idiot SpongeBob Squarepants. Last night… we went out with our friends. Add it up:

sitter: 42 bucks
drinks/dinner at Pause: 50 bucks
attending our friend Tony’s art exhibit: 0 bucks because we are cheap and by we i mean Steven and didn’t buy anything
20 miniature candy bars we scarfed at exhibit: 0 bucks, they were free
drinks/appetizers at the Spaceroom which is remodeled but don’t worry, the light fixtures and murals are the same, they only messed with the back room: 30
watching Tony moonwalk across the Spaceroom’s floor because Steve heard a Pat Benatar song blasting and thought it was Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”: priceless

(Moonwalking? Spaceroom? Get it?)

We had so much fun.

ps steve it’s almost your birthday. i have no idea how old you will be this year, but i want to tell you, Happy birthday, big lover man.

thursday thirteen!!! only 2 days late… and a loving tribute to Cocoon Silk, the most beautiful wedding dresses on the West Coast

October 31st, 2009

i thought it was gone, but it’s not — thursday 13, alive & kickin’… so i’d better write one, eh? In honor of Halloween and my baby sister’s impending nuptials, I present:

The Wacky Mommy Thursday Thirteen, Halloween Edition, with an emphasis on WEDDING DRESSES

1) my sister, when we were in the middle of wedding dress shopping today, “You know who hates shopping more than us? Mom. Mom hates shopping more than we do.”

2) she does. our mom hates shopping. my sister isn’t keen on shopping and i’m not, either. especially since i have more boob, hip and BUTT now. Awwwwwww, it’s the New Old Wacky Mommy Body.

3) Did I tell you Happy Halloween yet? No? Happy Halloween! We’re celebrating by eating miniature candy bars, chocolate chip cooky bars, and later, we will have some kind of non-chocolate related feast for dinner. Steve is drinking a Red Stripe and I’m enjoying my 2nd nice glass of white wine. Abymes Vin de Savoie, 2008, from France. me: “mmm, this is nice!” steve: “honey. it’s cheap white French table wine. you need to branch out from the pinot grigio.” he’s right, i do.

4) My other new favorite: Trevisiol Prosecco Venteto, Extra Dry, from Small Vineyards, Seattle, Wash. We drink it with a splash of grapefruit juice, with a sugar cube dropped in, in a sugared-rim martini glass. (that idea was from Brian Boitano. i love his show, “What Would Brian Boitano Make?” on the Food Network. This Amaretto Prosecco Sour also sounds good.)

5) i believe my mom and sister are coming over to have Halloween dinner with us and take the kids out tricker treating. fun!

6) Do you celebrate Halloween? Day of the Dead? Some kind of harvest festival? Please advise.

7) OK, back to wedding dresses. My sister, just six weeks shy of her wedding date, has been a little nervous about the whole “wedding dress” portion of the occasion. I was, too, after we visited a stuck-up shop (i will not include their name here). (oh, what the hell of course I will. Tower Bridal, not to be confused with Tower Records, at the Water Tower at John’s Landing. Really should have read the reviews first, which included this gem, under the heading, “Don’t Shop Here” — “I will never ever recommend this place to anyone. When I went here looking for a dress they were nothing but rude to me. I didnt have a crap load of money to spend which can become a problem when looking at dresses. Some bridal shops dont like dealing with people on a budget and this is definately one.” I do not care if she can’t spell, that is one zinger of a review.)

8) So. They were rude there. I especially loved when the sales associate sized me up with her eyes, glanced over at the maid of honor dresses, glanced back at me and gave me a look like, “It’ll never work.” Here’s the thing: I’m not a size 2. I’m not even a size 10. The point is, I still like to look good. Who doesn’t? And it’s my sister’s wedding! Outfit us, alright? We went to a vintage place in Northwest Portland. I found two great purses, one for me, one for my sis. Then we went to another vintage place. Neither place carried wedding dresses. “It is kind of a niche,” we were told. A niche. Would it kill you to have a rack with a couple of dozen wedding dresses? Apparently it would. It would kill them, and then they would be dead and they couldn’t sell their moldy fake-fur coats and ’70s retro Marimekko knock-offs.

9) Discouraged and with no prospects, we went to Sushiville and had a delicious lunch. (For those of you keeping score: Tower Bridal: two thumbs down; vintage shops, thumbs akimbo (cuz of the purses); Sushiville: BIG thumbs up.)

10) wandered down 23rd Avenue. saw a wedding dress hanging in a window of a boutique, Cocoon Silk. “Wanna check it out?” “OK.” Full selection of dresses, scarves, shoes, prom dresses, party dresses, dresses for little girls, big girls, mothers of the bride… jewelry… Oh. my God. “Do you have this in my size?” my sister asks, about gorgeous dress after gorgeous dress, each one more spectacular than the last. “Well…” the salesclerk tells us, “Those are samples. We custom-make the dresses for you. It will take about three weeks? That’s how we do it in Cambodia, you make the dress to fit.”

11) That is how we all three, my sister, my daughter and I, all are completely won over by Sovanna Yun, whose family is now sewing our dresses. Black cocktail dress for me, with a blue shawl, decorated with peacocks, sequins and fringe; for my daughter, a blue dress with a matching silk ruffle bolero jacket; and my sister will be the one in white (it is a secret, thus I cannot describe it). The Red-Headed Guy is wearing a vintage suit; my husband and son will be in black.

12) That’s Cocoon Silk, and they have two locations in Portland. You can also just send them your measurements and some cash and they, in turn, will send you a stunning dress. You know how he made me feel about my body? He made me feel beautiful about my body. It’s a good body. It’s not perfect, it’s scarred, it’s too curvy — but it’s what I’ve got.

13) So… no attitude from this place. Just beauty. Go figure.

Happy Thirteen and Happy Halloween, y’all! Best wishes to my sis and her guy.

On Raymond Carver, Tess Gallagher, love and tomatoes

September 20th, 2009

E: “You notice how every conversation we have starts sounding like ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’?”
me: “Yeah. Kinda funny. I love Carver.”
E: “We’re okay writers, but we’ll never be as good as Carver.”
me: “We could still try.”
(we both laugh, knowing there’s no hope.)

– conversation between E, my college lover, and me, circa 1989

“If this sounds like the story of a life, okay.” — Raymond Carver

“It’s a dangerous mission. You/could die out there. You /could go on forever.” — Tess Gallagher from “Instructions to the Double”

“You don’t know how strong you are until strong is your only choice.” — quote of the day, from my cousin’s friend

There is a good interview with Tess Gallagher (Raymond Carver’s widow) in today’s Oregonian. Jeff Baker wrote it — he always does a nice job with his stories. (His profile last month of author Katherine Dunn was great, too.)

Kinda funny, how much Carver has impacted my life. How? I cannot tell you, it’s private. I think of him when I write, when I cry, when I eat a good piece of bread. I think of him when I think of certain birthday cakes and certain bakers. I think of him when I see bad teeth, when I get scared out of my head, when I rage. I think of him when I read bad writing and I wish they were hitting it and quitting it instead of wasting my time. I read him for the first time, I loved his writing, I re-read him, my admiration for him got stronger, I edited the literary magazine at my college, I sent Tess Gallagher a note. Would she consider sending me a poem for my little magazine? She would. She did. It was a great poem. (“Why We Don’t Remember the Future,” Portland Review, Vol. 36, No. 3, July, 1990.) I thought to myself, Self, that is one classy dame. (Do you know her work? Do you know his? Go read them, they’re great.) (If their writing upsets you, please don’t blame me. They don’t write mushy-mushy, so get ready.)

Now I read that she is doing okay, has found new love, has her dogs, her writing, her work to keep Ray’s work in print, and up to their standards. She would like to see more of his original stuff in print. Original the way it was written, not the way it was slashed and edited. I admire her for doing this, for still being his partner, even 21 years after his death. (How can he have been gone for more than two decades already?)

It’s good that I didn’t marry E. I think of him sometimes, with good thoughts in my heart, not evil. He was so skittish; I was so worried, even then. For good reason.

On E’s desire to have a large family with me: “We could have 10 babies, and they’d wear shoes sizes 2 to 12.”

Yeah. I would have never married Steve, and had these two particular children. I like all three of ‘em. What if I’d married E? I might have had double that, and possibly more losses than the two I’ve already had. Would I be able to write at all, if I’d had more children? Maybe. Would I have gone into library work? I love library work. Impossible to believe, even for me, but I love it more than writing. I’m so competitive with other writers in some areas, but as far as library work goes, I want to share all the love, all the time.

I will still write. Will I ever get a book published? Maybe.

For this afternoon, I’ll finish vacuuming the office. I just picked a huge bowl of ripe, juicy tomatoes. I bought bell peppers, garlic and onions at the store. I’ll take all that, plus salt, pepper, oregano, sugar and hot sauce, and make a big pot of marinara and add fresh basil when it’s done. I may run my son’s friend home; maybe his mom will get tired of waiting for us and come get him. I’ll think about pulling an old manuscript out of the box where it lives upstairs. Maybe I’ll redline it and do another re-write. I’ve sent it out so many times I don’t care anymore, but I’d like to leave something for my kids, anyway. Something more impressive than what I’ve got.

Me, just now, to my rowdy son and his rowdy friend: “Get out of here please, I’m trying to write.”

Yeah, I’m fine with Hockey God, the two kids, plus their assorted friends. My library work, my students, my writing, my garden. My tears. I am so lucky to have so much. For the first time in a long time, they’re tears of joy, not grief. That’s something. That’s plenty. The inscription on Carver’s grave reads:

LATE FRAGMENT
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

happy anniversary steve-o, love love love

September 5th, 2009

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in”
from “complete poems: 1904-1962″
ee cummings

mmmm…. butter… birthdays… anniversaries… wiener dogs?

September 4th, 2009

She butters the top of the omelet. That’s right. To make it shiny. I love Julia Child.

Went for sushi, then saw the film “Julie & Julia” today (I know, I know, sushi is not French, yet it is tasty). Fun movie, I liked it. Streep and Stanley Tucci were wonderful, of course. I don’t think Nora Ephron has ever made a movie or a book I didn’t like. (My favorites, in no particular order: “Crazy Salad,” “Silkwood,” “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” and “When Harry Met Sally…”)

The reviews all say something along the lines of, Oh, Meryl’s wonderful but eh, they could have done without Julie’s character. A blogger who is peevish, looking for inspiration with her cooking, and doesn’t always agree with her husband? Yeah, I can’t relate to that at all. hahahaha. I liked both plot lines — thought they were woven together well. I read the Julie/Julia Project sometimes when Julie Powell was writing it. Was glad she got a book deal. Was not so glad to hear that her second book details the affair she had after the first book was published. Eh, it’s not my life. But if you want to sleep with someone other than your husband? Don’t be married.

It’s our anniversary this weekend — can’t say what I’m giving Steve for a present, cuz it’s a surprise. But I think he’ll like it. My sister, the bride-to-be, informs me that eleventh anniversary is steel and jewelry. I’ll get myself some drill bits and get him some jewelry. Good? I won’t be getting myself a boyfriend for a gift, that’s for sure. What kind of lousy present is that? Also, nothing from here. Aroooooo… That’s what I’d really like to give him for an anniversary present — two wiener dogs. The bad thing about wiener dogs: Sometimes they get too nippy. Also they go “pee-pee” a lot. The good thing about wiener dogs: You get to say the word “wiener” all the time and make a lot of “wiener” jokes. That’s kinda fun.

Perhaps Steve wouldn’t like a doggy. Perhaps he would like a goose? Not that kind, the feathered kind. Sure he would! Happy anniversary, Steve. Eleven big years and I love you more every day.

“Never thought about divorce. Thought about murder plenty, but not divorce.” — my late, dear Granny, on the secret to her and my Grandpa’s marital success.

Why didn’t she remarry? “I had the best, honey. Why mess with the rest?”

True, that. Steve, I love you. Thanks for always loving me back.

Hmm. I like pets. I just don’t like their owners, sometimes. That’s all.

(Happy birthday to Wacky Cousin 3.0, we love you, kid. Hope you get to eat as many cupcakes as you want. And a big ol’ happy birthday to my little girl. If I had it my way, sweets, I’d get you three border collies. Happy birthday!!!!!!!!!! Hugs and love and kisses.)

Wednesday Recipe Club: Bishop’s Bread (and Portland Punch!)

August 12th, 2009

Steve ran some great recipes on his blog the other day, for the incredible gourmet dinner he made us. The man is a gourmet! I’m just sayin’. Also he blogs. And fixes my blog whenever it breaks. Gets the leaves out of the gutters every fall when the basement floods. Nice! Agrees to play kickball with me and the kids in the summer rain, so I’m just extremely happy, daily, to be married to the man.

Happy early anniversary, Hockey God. I’ll always be impressed by you and head over heels.

Here’s the coffeecake I made for dessert. It’s good by itself, or topped with whipped cream, vanilla yogurt or ice cream. You can double the recipe for a 9 x 13 pan, or use a Bundt pan. Don’t go all crazy though.

Bon appetit!

wm

Bishop’s Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, milk, or soymilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 or 2 teaspoons lemon juice and/or zest

Measure flour, sugars and oil together. Blend and reserve one cup for topping. Add the rest of the ingredients; stir well. Pour batter into greased 8 x 8 pan. Sprinkle evenly with topping. Bake 35-45 minutes.

(ps — I just found this recipe for the best punch ever — Portland Punch. How I love thee, Portland Punch. You have shown up at many an office potluck and farewell luncheon. Better tuck this one away for future reference…)

This will make two large punch bowls worth of punch – so halve the recipe if you need only one bowl:

PORTLAND PUNCH

- Two bottles of 2-liter sized Squirt
- Two bottles of 2-liter sized Sprite
- Two bottles of 1-quart sized “Portland Punch – Loganberry Raspberry flavor” (Found at Fred Meyer’s)
- One bottle of 12-ounce sized “Rose’s Grenadine Syrup”
- One bottle of 15-ounce sized Lime Juice

Ad lots of ice (7 lb. bag per bowl) and lime slices. Serve.

halfway to dead with guest star Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland

June 19th, 2009

Yes, it’s my 45th birthday next week, which makes me officially halfway to dead. “If you’re lucky,” Steve sez. (My response: ???. I think, before it’s too late, he needs to take some “hints” from our Facebook friends on how to talk to ladies. Sheesh.) In honor of the big day, we went out for a little birthday dinner tonight at Pizza Fino, over in beautiful historic downtown Kenton, North Portland, U.S.A.

Of course our poor, beleaguered, misunderstood and sometimes, allegedly, drinkin’, drivin’ and cryin’ Mayor of Portland, Ore., Sam Adams, was there with three of his associates, constituents, friends, what have you.

That sentence was too long, I’ll start over.

I’m assuming the associates were picking up the tab, since between lawyer bills and all he can’t afford to make his mortgage payments. (“Portland: We’re So Broke Our Mayor Can’t Afford A Grown-up Boyfriend OR His Mortgage.”)

The staff was playing, as always, a lot of really sucky music that I believe the kids refer to as “techno.” That, combined with the fact that we had to wait an hour for our food, combined with the fact that the mayor was there, combined with the fact that our waitress was so absolutely beautiful and sweet that I couldn’t even hold the whole “food never arriving thing” against her, gave me what I refer to as “fucking headache behind my left eye.” Then, out of nowhere, they played ZZ Top, I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide, I’m assuming in honor of my birthday and the mayor.

Only he isn’t and I am.

“We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and Im jokin and we feelin alright”

You know how old Wacky Mommy was when that song came out? That’s right. I was a freshman in high school and already getting into bars and never getting carded when I bought booze at the store. You poor kids nowadays, I feel for you. Don’t drink and drink, though! That’s bad.

Then they played a bunch more techno crap, I drank a lot of water, tried to figure out if that was our friend Babe across the way, I think it was, why couldn’t they have seated Babe next to us instead of the damn mayor, I love Babe… Finally the food showed up and my son ate an entire large cheese pizza all by himself, Wacky Girl split her pasta with pesto with me and we just chilled.

More techno.

Then again out of nowhere, they played “Low Rider.” Which I’m assuming Steve took as a hint to buy me the ’64 Impala with hi-jackers that I’ve only been wanting my entire goddamn life how many hints do I have to drop?

“I’m dropping hints/
candy for candy-coated tongue”
– Violent Femmes

That Impala, it was born the same year as me. I’m telling you — as soon as we get a garage I’m getting an Impala to put in it. You heard it here first.

Then I heard the lady at the table next to me tell her husband, sotto voce, “She’s 44.” Husband grunts. Wife continues, “She looks old for her age.” I’m sure she wasn’t talking about moi, as I am not just incredibly yummy and hot, but also Bad and not just limited to Nationwide — I’m international, mama. And the mortgage, she is getting paid.

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