Friday, September 05, 2008

Reflections and Shadows

Yesterday Bill spotted a precious little book in the Rochambeau library that he realized I'd like - Reflections and Shadows, by Saul Steinberg.

Here are a few quotes:
More difficult than inventing is giving up accumulated virtues. The things you discovered yesterday are no longer valid. It's impossible to find anything new without first giving something up. There's a moral in this. It's stinginess that holds us back, especially when we're not only enamored of what we've discovered but also convinced it's good.

(The diner) . . . gives prominence to the jukebox, which is built according to the laws of the Catholic or Chinese or Hindu altar, a magical object to be worshiped because all good things come from it: music, dance, love and joy.

Gastronomy in America, the restaurants, the taste of the nation are governed by the tastes of children. This is a disaster.

Odds and Ends

The Castle Luncheonette is now open weekends for breakfast if you want to experience the strange and wonderful. It's Woonsocket's diner-without-walls.

Yesterday morning we bought fifty pounds of whole wheat flour at the JAR Bakers Supply warehouse in Lincoln, along with 30 lbs of raisins, 6 lbs of cornmeal, a gallon of blackstrap molasses, 6 lbs of honey, and ten pounds of raw sunflower seeds. There's nothing like buying groceries from a fork lift!

I am very inspired reading John Thorne's book, Simple Cooking. He is a self-taught writer and cook and his book is delicious and magnificent. He started by publishing a five-dollar newsletter of his writings about food. For a decade he sent them out of his little house in Castine, Maine. I'd like to grow my Urban Mermaid writings this way.

I have the urge to make waffles! Saul Steinberg says in his book Reflections and Shadows that waffles look like the ass of a person who has sat naked on a straw chair. I never knew that Saul Steinberg loved waffles, or that he was Romanian. My neighbor is a Romanian Orthodox priest - Father Onisie Morar. He is hilarious, and fun to talk to. His church has a festival every year in the parking lot under a big tent. We went two weeks ago. They cook up lamb shish kabobs and serve feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and filo dough spinach pies. They play recordings of popular Romanian music through a PA. All this a block away from our house. We go every year, and over time we have come to recognize the faces belonging to Onisi's church.

Honey and I have been walking miles and miles in the sunshine. Her brown fur has become cinnamon red-brown from the sunlight.

The hurricane is coming tomorrow night. I'll be lying down on the roof to block the leaks.

Chocolate Voice

I got my librarian to print out Leonard Cohen's lyrics for me, and while leaving Honey tied to the librarians red picnic table at the secret side door (bark, bark, bark) I raced in and got the stash of lyrics. Dance Me to The End of Love and actually all of his lyrics are outstanding. Listening to his voice is like having chocolate poured into my ear.

Toaster Love II

I am looking for a strong, hard-working, good-looking toaster. Would be willing to trade for something of mine! We seem to burn through a few toasters a year in this house. No joke! Granted, we almost never get them new! Now I have a graveyard of them in my cellar. My husband has rebuilt them all three or four times. What I should do is find a restaurant supply company and get one of those industrial six-seaters! But they're the same price as a small car! Only a diner toaster would rival the workout our toaster gets on a daily basis. We live on my bread . . . toasted!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Yesterday I went on a chopping spree cutting weeds in our back yard with big scissor-like hedge shears. I ate a fresh tomato + basil sandwich. Then this morning I walked with Honey in the long shadows. September, finally, and remembering why I moved to New England; apples, cows, the scent of wood burning. Tonight we walked to the farmer's market next to Saint Ann's Church. On the way over we smelled ripe Concord grapes. Bill spotted them behind the insurance company parking lot. We picked and ate fistfuls, spitting out the seeds. My lips got itchy! At the farmer's market we bought a purple Sicilian eggplant shaped like a pumpkin, broccoli, zucchini, red onions, elephant garlic, corn, apples, and red potatoes that were magenta like I've never seen. I told the Moosup Valley farmer I liked vegetables more than ice cream."That's a first," he said, and accidentally dropped the broccoli. I said, "Don't worry, it comes from the ground!" He threw in another broccoli bunch for free.


The other day I was desperate for working sunglasses and I discovered a pair of Ray Bans that I had found under a lilac bush in a park in Boston over 13 years ago. I had stuffed them in the kitchen junk drawer and forgot all about them. Some part of me must have remembered them. They needed an arm attached, so I used an old Christmas ornament wire to thread the hinge. Then I polished up the lenses. They are heavy and I feel like a 1950's movie star when I wear them. I sewed a protective sleeve for them from a scrap of black denim. I want to be like Rita and Eugene and walk for miles and miles well into my old age.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Quotes of the Day

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their

     - Eleanor Roosevelt

A work of love, no matter how small, spreads its own special light in the world.

     - Rod MacIver

Truth is not loved because it is better for us. We hunger and thirst for it.

     - Saul Bellow

Labor Day

I walked out to Wright's Dairy farm with Honey this morning. I went out back and the farmer told me the calf in the maternity barn was born only an hour ago. The momma cow was still licking her baby clean. I asked the farmer if I could have water for Honey. I told him we walked three miles and we have a three mile walk back home. He filled a five gallon pail and she drank some and then she stuck her paw in the water to cool off!

On the way home I stopped to chat with Rita & Gene. Eugene & Rita have walked the city every day for years, rain or shine, snow, wind, hail. When I first met them, they told me they were brother and sister, Rita 87, and Gene 84. Rita wore a leopard-skin shirt, and they both wore large sunglasses. So you've known each other for a while, I said! We all laughed. I told them that in my high school French class we got to pick new names for ourselves, and I had picked Rita! I asked them if all of this walking was the secret to their longevity. They said YES!

Holding Onto Time

It is a precious gift to feel the day. In summer camp I called it holding onto time. I'd stop and try to reflect on the now and be grateful for it, because time was moving so quickly. I'd sit on the end of my bed and hold onto the iron railing and meditate on the moment.

I've spent most of the summer in the house of low energy, feeling fear and vulnerability. I want to cry over the pains of the lives of my friends, my neighbors, the pains of the world, the poverty and agonies everywhere I look. But there is life, too, and there is humor. Make me laugh! Make me cry! Perhaps I am feeling cozy underneath what has been non-stop promoting and propelling of projects. I do believe in the healing powers of art, but can I really be a saleswoman? It seems everything requires a salesman to make it fly.

I am enjoying listening to the wind rustling the leaves. I am enjoying the quiet solitude. Sincerity is my path. It is how I can distinguish the true voice from the other voices in my head. Listen clearly, listen deeply, don't obstruct the vision. Come back home to your true voice and start plowing, planting, weeding, harvesting.

Toe Wiggler

Back in May I smacked my right pinky toe walking barefoot in the dark, banging into the leg of a table in the middle of the night. I had to take four ibuprofen! I was afraid I had broken it, but I was still able to wiggle the toe in isolation, something I used to practice on a regular basis when I was a kid; wiggling ears one at a time, flaring nostrils, lifting eyebrows one at a time, and wiggling each pinky toe. I was very isolated, so this was how I spent my time after school each day. Maybe this is why I enjoyed being a teacher every day, so the kids could have fun and be nourished and not just stay home wiggling their faces and toes in the mirror.