23 January 2010

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

When you were young, you were the king of carrot flowers ... No idea why this album is the one to listen to right now. But there it is.

I am flying to Saint Louis on Tuesday to be with my family. The impetus is my grandmother's illness, dying, hospital stay, stage four cancer in July, remission in December, five units of blood in the hospital in December, three units of blood and two of platelets now, in a reverse isolation room, with an order for "discharge with placement" which means assisted living or custodial or something. Not that she's at all ready for discharge yet.

She's 72? 73? Her mother lived to 98.

This woman ... I told my dad this summer that she is the most evil person I know, and I am sticking by it. Loads of abuse, alcoholism, irresponsibility, denial, crazymaking, paranoia, and, to top it off, she really hates people. She was close to one of her cousins for decades and broke off their friendship because her cousin talked about her grandson a lot, and it annoyed my grandmother. Also the most bizarre person I know.

So, sadness, well. Let's not address that. I've written poems and essays about this woman because she is that kind of negative muse, you know?

But I want to be with my family, with my mom, and right now I can be. So I will be.

Of course, I'm just settling into Seattle, into my apartment with the working heater and bathroom light, into baking bread at home, cooking the best pizza I've ever made (whole-wheat crust with an overnight rise, parsley pesto for sauce, whole-milk mozzarella shredded on top), being with Noah. Waltz lessons. Ice cream at Molly Moon's afterward.

I'll come back, though. Sometime. Maybe in a week or two. I didn't buy a return ticket.

18 January 2010

Sunny, and a Petition for Comments

Where are you, people? Here I am talking into the ether, and you refuse to comment. A right I also enjoy, I occasionally refuse to comment on your blogs, your links, reddit.com's links, Facebook status updates, et al. But you could at least say hello.

So shall I say, hello.

Our bathroom's ceiling light fixture stopped working (at midnight, of course--headlamp to the rescue); now it works again. Thank you, Dave the handyman. Thank you for working hard and sighing and asking to borrow my laptop so you could look up what the hell was going on. Apparently, the wiring comes from the main box to the light switch with an outlet which is seated outside the bathroom, then to the light fixture and exhaust fan in the ceiling, then back down to an outlet with no switch by the sink inside the bathroom. No power leaves the outlet in the hall. And when something is plugged into the outlet by the sink, A SERIES CIRCUIT IS COMPLETED, and, without turning the hall switch for the light/fan on, the light and fan come on dimly. Because the bathroom is wired like old Christmas lights. And it is obviously a code violation.

And the other handyman is coming by tomorrow morning to take down the leaky bathroom ceiling, which maybe will help the wiring situation.

And he's going to look at the heater which should be working--not the boat heater, the house heater.

After all this apartment drama, this code-violation-tragicomedy, Noah and I look at each other and say, You know, there are lots of things I don't like about this apartment ... but I hate moving. And it is cheap. And it is in a great neighborhood, and there are chickens, and gardens, and basement storage, and it is painted in colors we like, and it's big enough ... So we might be here a while.

Yarn, right? And writing? And this editing? And on and on. Whatever. It is sunny out. You have no idea how rare that is.

11 January 2010

On Marriage

Oh, and I've been married for five years now. To Noah. He was 16 when we started dating; I was 17.

And it is awesome. Don't want to go on and on, but it is. Could not do life without you, Noah. Could not do it. Would not want to try.

To celebrate, we walked down the street to Sutra, a vegan supper club kind of place, which starts each seating by ringing a gong and thanking the farmers who grew the meal's ingredients. (Neither of us are vegan; I'm still vegetarian (a year now! longest ever so far!) but Noah loves steak and bacon.) We sat at the bar, facing our dreadlocked sous chef, talking about the kombucha we were having with the first course (they offer a n/a pairing along with a wine pairing, and we both were feeling the n/a--an option I'm really pleased they had). Kombucha, or, as we proceeded to call it, the Booch.

I wanted to share the menu with you. There are few menus these days that I read and say, I don't know how to cook that. This menu, I read and thought, I don't want to try. I just want them to feed me. How often does someone else feed me top-notch vegan food? Dream away:

First Course

Celery Root, Leek, Tarragon Soup served with a Sorrel-Cara Cara Orange-Black Radish Salad and finished with a Sesame Seed Crisp

Second Course

Sunchoke, Smoked Beluga Lentil Cake, with a Honey Crisp Apple-D’anjou Pear–Yellow Beet–Chile Compote Finished with a Balsamic Reduction and Truffle Oil

Third Course

Hedgehog-Trumpet Mushroom, Roasted Cauliflower, Tonnemaker Pumpkin and Basil Mung Been Crepes served with a Roasted White Carrots, Steamed Lacinato Kale, and a Porcini-Almond-Marjoram Sauce

Fourth Course

Chocolate Ganache Torte with a Crystallized Ginger, Raw Cacao, Pistachio Crust with a Wild Foraged Blackberry Glaze

The torte was INCREDIBLE. I will be trying to recreate it for sure. Giant vegan ganache on top of all that, with a blackberry glaze? Amazing.

And then we listened to the mix CD we made for our wedding guests, as a favor, and danced in our living room.

Or, The Lack of a Christmas Miracle (in Regards to Heat)

No heat yet. So that is that. Of course, it is 49 degrees out, right now, so the need for heat is not the same as it was. Still, it is cold inside. I'm wearing two hoodies right now. No joke: a microfleece hoodie of mine and a giant cotton sweatshirt hoodie of Noah's.

Also I have worn through the sole of one of my down booties, and broken up the elastic tie that closes them at the ankles, and so I am contemplating getting new booties. I'm on pair 3; that would make new ones pair 4. Of the last nine years. I wore through pair 1 quickly, but they were more decorative than hard-working; pair 2 was lost, at the same time that I lost a knee-length wool coat; and here we are with pair 3.

I recently asked some folks via Facebook for book recommendations; you all delivered. I thank and thank you.

I am editing; I am editing in a blitz of editing. I took on two clients each with a 200-page manuscript due at approximately the same time, though the times have staggered a bit now. Then I had no usable computer for editing with Dragon. Then I had another solution with no internet access. Then I had a final solution, a new PC, but no Windows 7 (for a few days). Then I had them all but was quite ill with the Winter Cold of Aught Nine, as it will go down; the cold I had then the cold Noah brought back then the cold we shared between us for two weeks.

Now I am better and editing, editing. I feel smarter, having not done any editing for a while (since May for freelance and August for the job)--like my brain is turned back on. And though I am good at it, I keep thinking, man, I don't love doing this. I do not love it. I don't hate it, really, but ... fixing citations, converting citation styles, weighing in on others' arguments, looking up whether "at risk youth" or "at-risk youth" is more commonly used (go with the hyphen, btw) ... fixing someone else's writing tics ... part of the frustration definitely comes with needing to do a lot of editing quickly, but well. Doing a lot slowly is better, since my brain just falls out of my head at some point and I end up having trouble using keyboard shortcuts for italics (this happened last night: I ended up highlighting text and aiming for ctrl+I, but hitting shift+I instead, and wondering, where did my text go and why is a capital I here instead?).

However, I am a great editor. A GREAT editor. But I was a good teacher too. And I'm a good artist. And, for the record, I was all right as a violist. A good baker and cook too. But what do I love to do? What would I choose to do? Here in the free world of near-limitless choices, here in Seattle, the land of rain?

I'll think it over as I finish a chapter today.