if its not yummy, then we better make it funny.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


We are having our final night of the Boulder portion of our trip. Tomorrow we head for a night at Saratoga Inn, which our friends Deb and Don told us about. We are going to soak in the hot pool in the falling snow of Wyoming. It's a little time for our family to be a unit by ourselves, which can be good if you are breezing through households and always engaged in being guests. I look forward to some solo time in the snow, possibly on skis. I'm working on developing my exercise addiction, so far, so good. Ive been walking plenty and have had two swims in the pool this week.

Other things of note here in Boulder were the Philippine Christmas dinner we went to on Saturday night. It was in the VFW hall in Longmont, 20 minutes away. The hall was windowless and filled with a few dozen round tables. The Boulder area Philipino community gathered, which was mostly Philipa women and Western husbands and lots of fruit borne thereof. My sister in law is from the Philipines and I could see that she really reveled in the company of fellow Philipinas. There was a big buffet and all who came brought traditional dishes and the spread was long and varied. I had a couple of Tonics and noticed that the people drinking were the whites. The cousins, Desmond, Lil and Philip forgot their threesome woes and strife and became a team together. They roamed and stared and giggled together. After dinner Santa came and handed out gifts. this put a damper on things for us, since we didnt know we were supposed to be the source of the gifts for the kids. Santa left the hall and there were some faces longer than a starving pony. I liked the elegant noble elder women of the community.

Another event was a child health and harmony fair. It was in a fancy hotel called the St Julien and the kids enjoyed art, performances and lazers and balloons. Bed time now, Good night. I need to roust Jordan's ass to help.

Friday, December 11, 2009

While on vacation...

We have just touched down at Jordan's brother, Rucell's house in Superior near Boulder. Rucell lives with his family, Corazon, his wife, Bob, his father, and last but not least, Philip- his son, a beautiful boy of 7 years. We just left our friends Deborah and Don in Laramie.

Deborah is an old friend from my New morning Bakery days in Corvallis. I was a new mother and eager bakery worker and Deb was a senior baker.
Deb and Don... They sure will be getting some good seats in heaven for putting up with us and our noisy swings of character and family dynamics. Don is a professor of Economics at U of Wyoming. He has always had flash lightning wit and was a admirable host. He also sauntered about the campus with Jordan, introducing him to the various luminaries and drips at the Physics department. Laramie has a nice feel.
I'm impressed with Deborah's role as the Bakery manager for the University. I got to tag along on a catering job where we prepared a nearly obscene array of desserts for a hoity toity tree auction affair. 1600 sweets for 200 people. Luckily they had lotso wine, salmon and crab cakes and beds of sushi to offset the sugar. A snow storm stretched our stay from two nights to six.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009


Here is a photo of the kids. Desmond had a birthday party recently, the do it yourself cake decorating was a real hit. We had Lasagna with sausage and homegrown spinach and one made with a lentil sauce without cheese for the vegans. I never tried that one but it disappeared, so I guess it was good.
I'm spending as much time as I can in Piha. I'll miss this place and it's peace.
You can click on the photos to get a closer look.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Settles into Serenity

Im sitting on the old wooden floor of the bach in Piha. It's 10:30 at night. I am stuffed with Jane's delicious cheese free garden Lasagna and salad of ripe avocado, the first tomatoes this spring that really taste sweet, red lettuce, tender green fingers of sprouting cauliflower from the greenhouse and antiquey looking arugula flowers. After that, I had two servings chocolate ice cream. I went on a good long hike before the meal so guilt cant even show her face anywhere near me now.
I am still emphatic about exercise, even though occasionally I miss a day or two, for the most part I get at least an hour a day. It is such a great reset button. Today I walked about 30 minutes down Lone Kauri Road to Karekare beach and then about half an hour on the beach where I saw some amazing gooseneck barnacles and intriguing stages of lifecycle in blue bottle jellyfish. The sea, as green as ever was lovely. I had to then hike back up said hill, though which was, as we say, a real butt burner. I took some flowers to my friend who had a recent health scare; a large bunch of stargazer lilies for the patient and an edible bouquet to his chef wife. They are a family from the Lone Kauri school community (where Des and Lil enjoy idyllic uniform free scholastic life.)

I bought Agave syrup, lemons and cayenne today to do a cleanse for ten days, again.
Eliminating the acquisition and preparation of food frees up a lot of energy and time, though it feels spiritually naked at times. I still plan to bake bread, even though I won't be eating any. I love making sourdough bread. My bread operation is back to a simpler 'plan a' and tomorrow I must return a very sexy Leventi oven to the place it came from and get on with baking (instead of wiring).

Nina is due to show up in 3 days and we are all excited! I am under self imposed house arrest, here in Piha, writing until she comes. I had some nice time with the family over the weekend, including watching some indulgent DVD's and cozy time with Jordan and some nice neighborly encounters at a street party at the local firehouse up the road on Saturday night and 'special time' with Desmond today running errands. I finally have a New Zealand driver's license (obtained on a Sunday!) I need to sleep now. Good Night!
Photo by J. Best

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

some old writing... Lance

I read that book, Women who love too much and always I wish I hadn't. It so clearly defined me, yet didn't tell me how to solve the problem. I have been approval seeking and pleasing my way through men for decades. There comes a bitter resentment when that pendulum swings. My first marked choice of an emotionally unavailable man was Lance. He was thirteen years older than I, yet retained some personality attributes of a teenager. He was an Alaskan crab fisherman who strutted though life charming and or revolting those he met. He seemed to have colorful nickname where ever he went. The son of a miner in Butte, Montana, he had substance use and infidelity modeled for him in his formative years.

Upon my first visit to Butte I had a claustrophobic sense with a yearning to turn back the clock. The dilapidated town, loaded with once opulent churches and bars and hidden naughty nooks seemed to be in its geriatric stages. Oh, how I would have loved to see the ruckus of that booming mining town, it's style, bravado and decadence. In the 1980s Butte was living on gray canned peas, its teeth just too tired to bite off much more. There were thriving motorcycle cults and junkyards that seemed to be doing o k, but for the most part the town was hurting. Folks with money from other cities were coming to Butte and buying up low priced properties to deconstruct the buildings to relocate the materials to their primary, more desirable area of residence. That architectural salvage brought a new kind of shark into the wild west of Montana. Artful features, the grandeur of yesteryear, in Butte was getting appreciated, only it was getting appreciated in other towns, ones that didn't court suicide so frequently.
Lance's family had lived there for as long as I can remember. His mother Elza was from a Hungarian family, she was the first generation to be born in the United States. With a healthy dose of Hungarian verve she kept the culinary traditions (cabbage and paprika centered as they were) alive. Elza was a short woman with a girth that didn't factor in well with her arthritis. Her toes looked like they wanted off her feet, protruding in different directions. She didn't move much and wasnt very comfortable.
She loved all three of her children, but I suspect she loved Lance, her middle and only boy with a special flourish. The girls, Little Elza and Lorraine tried not to take this to harshly. They did however, occasionally team together to compensate for the inequitable treatment. Lance told stories of the tricks they would play on him while he held a washcloth over his crusty eyes during hay fever mornings. All of the children had gotten their father's facial structure, long angular faces, with rakish bird noses.

Lances father, Alfred Nygard was a first generation Norwegian. He was tall and lanky and had some quiet pluck, that could creep out and surprise you. He was, in contrast to his wife, stoic and observant. There was not room for more reactionary fanfare, Big Elza had that covered. I wonder if she got that way from the insecurity of her husbands conduct earlier in life. One time when I was visiting Butte, with new baby Nina, Lance failed to return from his fraternizing one night. I was seething and inconsolable. Big Elza said, I had better get used to it, that there were times that her husband didn't return for days on end.
Well, I didn't want to get used to it. I wasn't going to get used to it. She seemed baffled by my belligerence and defensive of Lance, when he finally returned home having been away “just” one night. That trip to Butte could not end too soon.

I much preferred the Lance that took me out in his boat, that helped me and my skipper collect gear that the storm had put out of reach. The joking, grabbing, gleaming eyed sailor I had to myself in Alaska. Of course, I never really had Lance to myself. He had such an inclusive yet irreverent manner, people were drawn to him. He was fun. He could get you laughing. Lance seemed to have more male admirers than female ones. He was so robust and cocky that he scared away most women. His attention on you was impossible to ignore whether he played the coy innocent boy or the groping caveman letch.
Much later...after Nina was born!

Wednesday had come and gone. Wednesday was the day that Lance was to call me to arrange our next meeting the following weekend in Corvallis, where Nina and I lived. He had obligations back in Seattle to help clean up and batten down the boat that he had been working on. It was a crab fisher /processor called the Deep Sea. Lance had spent close to three months on board crabbing. Nina was just about to turn one. We had purchased a plethora of toys for her, the weekend before. The end of crab fishing season was usually punctuated by lavish spending. In the past, if I hadn't been in Alaska myself, I would meet up with Lance in Seattle where we would dine and drink and shop to our hearts content. Sometimes Lance would dabble in harder celebratory substances like heroin and cocaine. It was a slow dawning for me realizing that Lance had a weakness for such things. When we were in remote Alaska there weren't temptations like that. There were plenty of warning signs of general substance dependence, though. Lance could usually be seen walking with at least a half case of beer, regardless of the time of day. When I pestered him about his apparent alcoholism, he gave me the “It's only beer” disclaimer. Lance was a robust viking of a man. He was Norwegian and Hungarian. He had a long face, wild golden straw hair, bold white teeth and a strong nose that I can see in Nina today.
Lance was grounded at sea, a huge asset to any crew. He was fit and fast and smart. Having fished the “big king crab years” and then a couple more decades, he had experienced many episodes and managed through plenty of rough seas. Lance was less dependable on the land, however. Like most extreme laborers (like miners, fishermen and oil riggers) he played as hard as he worked. He had lots of tales of his mischief after loosing himself from a fishing vessel. I think I was one of those in my earlier meeting with him. He was one of the few men in Sand Point Alaska who had a girlfriend, but he wanted me, too. Judy was his girlfriend when I first met Lance in 1981. I found her a fascinating character . When I met her she was hauling a huge load of groceries to the dock. She had a bit of a slur in her speech. I imagine she had been trying to drink alongside Lance (a dangerous thing I tried a time or two, myself.) She had cases of Grosch beer that came in levered stopper bottles, she told me she was to make rhubarb wine and refill them. I asked her where she lived and she told me Unga Island. Unga Island is a ghost town. It had been a thriving prolific gold mine community, and then a cod processing plant until all the residents bailed out quickly, partly due to diphtheria blowing over from Europe, but mostly the gold mining technology couldn't remedy the seeping sea water. In later ghost town years there were many homes to choose from, since they had just been abandoned. There was also a variety of tools and crude appliances to adopt. In my own later exploration of Unga Island I found misshapen marbles on the beach that had been rolling for decades and old fashioned stationary and an exquisite peacock blue wool gabardine shirt. That lovely shirt was ripped off my back by an angry Aleut woman- Shirley, the growling woman of steel, my skipper's big sister. It only lasted about a week, but that's another story.

Unga is geologically much older and larger than Shumigan Island, which is where the population lives and fishes today in the little town of Sand Point. It has beds of fossilized oysters and eerie, compelling, lonely shacks. As far as civilization goes, Unga Island had a village called Squaw Harbor, the Apollo Gold mine, (complete with two curmudgeons) and the old Unga Village.

More to come if you like it...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finally a little sun!

I am relaxing after the last day of the two week school holiday has passed. we are tucking into bed and reading library books. We ate fish we caught ourselves for dinner! The day was just spectacular. I have bread in the oven and am getting ready to teach sourdough.this November. School nips at my heels and I fear I will be torn when Nina comes in a week or so.!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lovely Lil

Lillian gets a lot of photo space in this blog. I can't help myself, she is such a unique girl in such a wonderful stage. Five years old is a wake up age. Woken up intellectually- but not thrown, quite yet, into the whole wide complexity of the 'grown up' world. Ive been reading a lot on early child development and I am reminded that these years are a treasure and to engage in them as often and as fully as possible.
Yesterday we played hide the five dollar bill. It was a compromise between hide and seek (Lil's suggestion) and Desmond's recent currency obsession. We got our moneys worth. The acreage where the main home is is spectacular these days with lot's of blooms and exotic bird conversations. Spring is here, it seems (finally).
Ive been on a fitness 'thing'. When my friend Carol Jackson came for a visit and she was so slender and elegant I asked her about her secret. She said she took two substantial walks a day and continued to eat healthful, moderate meals. I decided to try this out. I vowed to exercise 2 hours a day at the beginning of September. I live in a gorgeous walking locale so I usually get at least half of my daily dose by strutting up a coastal trail or just walking the beach. I have been doing yoga and other movement classes, too. I don't know about lost weight, but I feel good and my skin is revitalized. I have also tried to eat more fresh foods with high moisture content like fruits and veg's, since I can easily get in a rut of forgetting to do that. It's pretty simple, I don't buy or bake the stuff that I would eat impulsively that has lots of calories and fat. It's easier to do while I'm in my Virginia Woolf retreat, I must say. Speaking of that, I gotta write, now.
These beautiful photos are the work of photographer Jane Best who lives in Karekare, the other little girl is her daughter Eve.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wide Screen

Why is it that when I have something pressing to do, all the other aspects of life seem so inviting? I have a Poetry portfolio due and I keep wanting to read Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice which, by the way, went ignored all last week, but now is very captivating. I do the dishes right away, I read more books to the kids, I pay my bills-early, open emails I would usually neglect and have been cooking with extra flair. Oh and the birds! Why haven't I noticed them before this?

Alas, I'll snort and whinny and stamp, then push the blinders back to restrict my peripheral vision, again.

...But I do have this fantasy about just buying a lovely little portable Italian wood fired oven and trooping around to peoples dinner parties, film crews and festivals and cooking amazing breads and pizzas and telling stories or teasing them out of the guests, even better. I could go to schools and bake with kids, I could show up at Farmers markets and cook up the wares into lunch. I'd take artful photos and put them here. In the mean time, Ill knock out those assignments, I guess.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

poems revised

Here are some of my poems from my course...
Remember that some poems are not literal or personal narrations. Today is my second day of a contact course (retreat study) of Five classic Novels. We just got done with Tess of the D'Urbervilles and now onto Conrad's Heart of Darkness. My favorate book of the five was Silas Marner, It is a quick read, too. Very refreshing. Jordan and the kids will pick me up at 7 or so tonight. I've really missed them. I will fill the three hours with some writing in the library, now nice.

It was raining

The first time I robbed Tiffany's it was raining.
I, myself, had been robbed earlier.
The elevator man had taken my smile
a returned me a concealed sneer.

The rain, a thick variety,
drops clumsy and uncaring.
This day was in debt to me already.

Rain like this came once before.
I remember,
awakening my humiliation.
I run my finger on the groove where the ring used to be:
The promise expired,
it was gone.

Tiffany, though not her name,
behind the glass, smiled warmly.
Invited me.

Two dozen or more rings I tried.
Each one could be
a new spouse,
proof of desirability.

Then my phone rang and
my Tiffany did wander.
It always ends this way.
But this time, I'm keeping the ring.

Horatian Ode

Haphazard Orchestra

Echo of waves
may become background noise,
but a splendid promise lies over the berm
for anyone who takes the path

Wind rustles winter
pocks on the gray sand agree
but- the sun does show up
lighting vapor, freed by wave

Pale blue, clean sky
barely tasting of salt
Green wave
rolls into a riot of lace.

Curly dog, licorice surfer make
movement in the passage
Tempos individual.
Oblivious and coordinated.

Heart beat and blinking eye,
footprint measure:
can this be my song?
Am I musician or audience?

The slowest rhythm, craggy rock, rests
beneath a stalwart tree,
Yellow moss picks up the beat,
and the dipping grasses stir it up.

Stream glitters.
Undulate diamonds going flat,
I am part of the geometry,
moving in thousands of scales.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Creative movement again!

I had a nice experience, recently.
I took a guided creative movement session that lasted about two hours, last Friday.
The instructor is a woman named Louise Taylor. Chatting at a yoga class we discovered that we share a teacher and study in Halprin technique.
For those of you who don't know what that is, Ill tell you.
Anna Halprin, a celebrated modern dancer of many years set up a school called Tamalpa Institute. When I went there, it was only a couple of years established. One could take a full certification over about nine months or, take the month long intensive summer "dancer's workshop" (like I did). In later years Anna had experience using movement as a healing art form. Her patient- herself

At Tamalpa, Anna had two sides to the work. One movement study was developed towards performance and one of a kind rituals while the other was the daily practice of her signature Movement Ritual.

There were plenty of learning mediums utilized at Tamalpa. Everyone was issued a yard wide pad of newsprint and a box of pastels. We would routinely draw "visualizations" of concepts being worked on in dance wit the body. Every day involved at least a couple of drawings. Some of the drawings I can still remember, although I have no idea what became of them in my fast lane twenties.

After arriving from our host houses each morning, we had the choice of group meditation or running meditation for an entree to the day. I usually chose running. The school is halfway up Mount Tamalpias, It was summer in Marin County. Sweat.

We practiced a routine, fluid yoga-like sequence of movements that is Anna's signature choreography/ therapy. Exploration using breath was an essential part of the daily movement routine (this was a spine fluxing, thorough, kinetic routine that really did make you feel good, especially afterward.)

My classmates were mostly European Doctors, therapists, resort owners, and performers. I was nursing my first broken heart. Twenty years old and whittling away my grandfather's money.

Anna's brush with cancer compelled her to design (or perhaps devine) and execute personal movement rituals. Her intent was to face and clear blocks that had developed over time that she believed were manifesting in her body as ill health. One such ritual she made for herself was at her SeaRanch home and took a couple of days. All the students, "dancers", had a week long retreat at Sea ranch as part of our schooling.

Community rituals were also created, like the one where they staged an elegant, and theatrical, yet dead serious purification ritual of Mt Tam, (which was having a mad serial rapist problem). Elements of Nature were revered in the dancing. Huge silk sails were held and wafted by costumed dances, symbolizing wind. More natural forces were called to power with equal grandeur.

Louise Taylor studied these ideas more than twenty five years later than I, obtaining the teaching credential. She used many techniques I had forgotten. The movement has quenched a thirst I have had. It is to nice circle around,reconnecting with an earlier part of my life. I cant wait until next Friday for another go.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

trickle of progress

Passion Vs Procrastination
Its a persistent game schedule
upward eyebrow of promise
what a boss we must make of ourselves once we learn
of our charge
of our own life.

Sunday afternoon after some wholesome family time and a good meal and shower. I'm back in the bach. Rain drops and sun rays toss around together outside in the west.
School calls. I am now reading Wuthering Heights
I am inspired to open my email and see my friend Beth Helstien's graduation announcement for Master of Library science. 3.97 GPA, way to go, Beth! She is one of several scholarly librarians in Friday Harbor. I know of her as a initiate priestess of ritual, friend and gardener, though.
Speaking of gardening, I had a wonderful community feeling dream about gardening last night.
I took Desmaond to a Naturopath yesterday to address his chest rattle. It was amusing, her interview with him and how he sparkled under her interest. He told of dreams of spidermen, red and black and spiders crawling over him. (She said even creepy spider dreams are a good sign) He got some herbal concoction he has to shake 6 and a half times and 10 drops into water. Apparently there is Pine pollen and plenty of weed spraying now, not to mention the hospitable environment for mildew of wet warm New Zealand climate. She give good herbal prescriptions and is very intuitive in general with her advice.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The Birds are twittering and walking on the roof. I have a sinus bug and have slept in. there are people on the rise outside my front yard admiring the sea. I see them everyday. People are in good spirits when they come to take in the sea. Today the air is so still that the shoreline is mostly blue and green instead of the usual frothy white. I'm trying out a new spend free living. Im going to see if I can go all week without spending ANY money. I have food in the cupboard and plenty to do and eight punches left on my yoga card.What more could a girl want?
I am on a new novel, Tess of the D'urbervilles It is amusing so far, I have it on audio cds from the library. Id better get on with the day.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Deadline lifeline

I'm dashing out for a walk on this windy bright Sunday. I have just finished reading Persuasion for my novel assignment. As things turn out, I have had to read it very quickly. I read two novels already that are part of assignment two, still to come and hadn't read the assignment one books. It pays to read the study guide after all... Ive been on Jane Austin marathon mode. Gratitude for the Gutenburg Project is in order. I was able to download the text and the audio for free so I read and was read to last night as i delved into another century. Cool. Now I walk, Gamily for Pizza later. Lil, her usual pesto with a kalamata or two, no cheese. Desmond, his Hawaiian (how do I do that one without pineapple OR ham???) And Jordan and I the whacha got in the fridge pizza. Im practicing my piza dough so I can send it ti Linda. Maybe Ill post it here, too.
Into the wind, with me.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Something for Paul Loeb's book : Soul of a Citizen, a book on citizen involvement

Paul asked me for an account of my recent years in a couple of paragraphs for a profile in his book. Being quite darn busy with school assignments... I agreed anyway and wrote this up. He can edit the thing.

I am an American woman who lived on San Juan Island, an idyllic little
spot, for about 20 years. After retiring from Restaurant ownership (with
plenty of hosting of political community events) I married a customer,
Jordan, who happens to be one bright physicist. He worked at a tiny high
tech company on the island, eventually collaborating on "Dept of Energy"
research. I had a couple more kids directly (I already had one on my own
then, a ripening teen) and continued my lifelong avocation of peace
activism, sometimes even dragging my babies to frozen Washington DC or a
sweltering Cancun WTO meeting. This was in the early 2000's, after 911 and
leading up to the Iraq invasion. My husband and I clumsily and naively
reinvigorated the local public access TV station. We had to
storm a few city council meetings to keep the right to air Democracy
Now! We were like a pesky fly to the local Adelphia cable office. Jordan
got the submission and airing of material functioning digitally and made
an automated schedule. We were bumping along. I tried my hand at board
membership for Peace Action of Washington. This experience, while
inspiring, (after all that's where I met you, Paul) had some unsavory
feuding unraveling and it made me sad and a little queasy. The
disturbing turn of events as the election seemed to be rigged again got
us even lower in morale. When I added this to my guilty enjoyment of
money from the dubious funding source, Jordan's spooky fusion puzzles; I
started thinking of my lifelong fantasy to move to New Zealand. We just
didn't want to participate anymore, paying the taxes or supporting war

We decided to get more neutral (remember that naivety) We sold
everything but the house and got wills drawn up and we split the
country. We cashed in retirement accounts. Some of our friends implied
we were shirking our responsibilities, but we went anyway. Jordan forged
ahead to get his PhD from an Auckland University so he could eventually
teach science for a living. I delved into a new and quite different
culture. We started our residency by touring New Zealand in a van for
four months (that's five people.) We participated in some Wwoofing, a
farming labor exchange, and got to meet some very resourceful people and
revel in spectacular locales. Later, we struggled to find our place in
Auckland, moving six times in three years. We remembered what is special
about America and Americans by removing ourselves from them. It was a
great day when we got the Obama election results. We celebrated with a
dinner party with some English folks. We all met again for a 5:00 am
breakfast party on inauguration day. Despite the struggles evident these
days, I feel renewal and optimism. I can say without hesitation that I
look forward to coming home.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

It's sunny Sunday in Piha. Last night Jordan, my friend Kat and I went to a dance at the local hall. It had a theme of WILD. I went as an ocelot or a jaguar and Jordan went in his bathrobe with his scruffy Hugh Hefner look. We showed up in the cherubic white Borgward with wide smiles, ready to boogie. There were all interpretations of 'wild' in the crowd. The DJ music was a little techno for me, but it was fun to shake a leg, well ok, both of them. Yesterday during the day was a fun family day. The gang had spent the night at my place and we had some delicious breakfast and walked to the library, via the beach. After we got in the library the dark gray cloud opened up and poured for at least an hour. I left Jordan and kids and jogged home and got the van to transport them all home to Karekare, full of books and movies.
I wondered if I would be depressed by my move, separating myself from the rest of my immediate family. I have moments when I think what the hell am I doing?! But overall it has been easier than I thought it would be. Taking time to rest and assess one's approach to life is a gift I am giving myself and my family. Since stepping over one coastal ridge to Piha two weeks ago I have spent a lot of time with both the kids and Jordan and have been doing the grocery shopping for us all, still. I cant seem to help myself, I fed my family for so long, it has some momentum, I suppose. I also go there and bake and start loads of laundry. Can we just call it interdependence?
Piha... The village aspect is very welcoming. There is a new Cafe (the first one besides the Bowling club and RSA legion halls) opening up soon and I am sending in my resume, for a baker's position. I find it exciting, the possibility of being in on the ground floor, designing the menu.

This week will be a little more independence, though,with assignments due for Journalism and Poetry. Jordan is pleased to have started teaching math at AUT and I take the kids on those days at least. Lillian is a gem of a student at her new school. She came home on her fifth birthday, her first day, reading a little reader, with her stern teacher, Desmond, keeping close attention. Lilly is the most Kiwi of us all, understandably. She comes to me often, addressing me as Mum, asking fresh questions and stating her observations. She has spent three years here and only two in America.

Speaking of America, There is talk of returning going on. First for a visit, but then maybe to return for good after Jordan get's his PhD. I can't think about where, yet. It seems our house on the island may be too small for us now and Jordan's desire to teach at the university level point to some new place. In the mean time we are expecting a visit from Nina in Northern hemisphere Autumn. YEAH YES HOORAY! I really appreciate her and look forward to the kids reconnecting with her. She has discussed it with Larry and he is open to bachin' it for a few weeks and covering the bills in her absence. Nina is considering school in Portland, but I secretly hope she falls in love with Ashland while visiting her friend there this summer. She is a good actress and that town is somehow big and small for studying things theatrical. Nina was in a play at Shackleton and I was amazed at her stage presence. If anyone out there wants to encourage Nina in my absence, Go ahead, she's a lovely flower who could use some watering and rich dark compost.

Piha beach is stunning and from my front windows, which are large and slightly elevated I can see the waves; White horses tossing and frothing and curling into new waves. Just a glance to the south is lion rock, which is a big beast, with a steep trail which one can ascend in about seven minutes. It's a great pick me up if one needs to refresh, quickly. There are lots of trails, both shoreline and up the hills to waterfalls. Now to find the time! Speaking of that, my Journalism book is hissing at me now, I must go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wow where do I begin?...

Hello from Karekare. The kids are designing a fort out of all the pillows and duvets they could find. They were fighting at first, then they switched into playing, aauugh... Now with the update... I would like to thank My Husband Jordan for his open mindedness and love. I also have reconnected with my sisters, hats off to them and a salute. I especially have enjoyed correspondence with Susan. Her letters are a delight and they reveal what a capable, generous, honest and earnest soul she is. Then there's the crazy improv acting Susan, acting like an insurance executive! Very well. I'm steeped in school and have 4 papers at Massey University. Novels, Poetry, Journalism and "Media Skills". Media skills is the only one that actually meets. I have a three hour class in Albany each Thursday, just under an hour away. Im hoping to dovetale in some novel writing through Evergreen. That and everything else! I can work now 192$ per week. , also- so I dropped off a loaf of bread at the Piha store. Im romancing a kitchen there. It would fit in in the early mornings nicely.
I'm on the breeze again. To be explicit here, Ill say that I have made our family into a two location group. We now have our Karekare home (we've been in for a few months)which is up a coastal ridge with lovely grounds. The family that bought this place over thirty years was the first buyer in sales of a thousand acres and they landscaped and even produced crops for sale, lavender. Then we have the Piha Bach. It's kind of Old worldy like from Finland or something. Ill post a photo of these places, perhaps...
I am incredibly lucky to get a chance to tune inward at that little black with white trim. It has a wonderful wooden floor. The invigoration of the sea is wonderful and I'm still getting used to it. I notice that I keep sneaking home, too. Lillian spent the night there once and is due for another. She finished with preschool on Friday and has her first day of school on her birthday- Monday. Is this Minutia? Anyway. The new house has two TV channels and we are going to watch a parenting video this evening. Jordan likes the bush, wide space and private. I am enjoying living in a more central place, for a change. There is Yoga class twice weekly and Writer's group every other week. It still is pretty pristine, for a modern village. I need to wrap this up for now. I have an errand and then back to austere land. It will be full if life tonight, though with all of us over there. We'll have some koala bowling to get things warmed up. Here are some photos.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Resurfacing from winter colds

Finally I am able to breathe! Jordan and I have both had sinus colds. We went into survival mode with the kids watching more videos than usual as we nap and drink tea and patch together meals. Our trip has been put on hold as we need to start out somewhat healthy. I'm launching into registration for school, having decided to pursue study in NZ. So much for the three months off! When we return from our trip I will be moving into a little batch in Piha to have a sabbatical. It is an experiment to see if I can get my writing back on track in a more uncomplicated environment. Hopefully it will bring on a new perspective and renewal.

Piha has a different feel than Karekare. The history of the two places are very different, even though they are just a few kilometers from the other. Karekare has a severity and epic essence. Nature is awesome and seems to be in charge in Karekare. There are no stores or amenities of any kind, except the volunteer operated fire station. Piha, on the other hand, is historically a surfing village and has a peppier social vibe. There is a store, a bowling club, a surf club- which seasonally serves food and drink, and the rugged RSA which is like a American Legion hall in the states. The man who owns the store, Pete, has offered me a job and it is tempting to do a couple of shifts a week. I know the wage will be lower than I get as a chef but Id be willing to take it if given creative latitude. The timing is right because there will soon be a new cafe just next to the store and the competition will be fertilizer for new ideas, I suspect. I need to get going on school business. Here is a recipe for Brownies with some decadent toppings.

Good Dark Cocoa Brownies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process is fine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. (150°C) Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heavy bottom saucepan, turn heat to low. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Let cool for a few minutes.
Stir in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Spread evenly in the lined pan (the batter will be very thick).
Bake until a toothpick emerges with some moist crumbs sticking to it (but not wet with batter), 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

One can make a peppermint topping out of ½ lb powdered (icing )sugar with ¼ cup melted butter, 3 TBS cream and 1/2- 1 tsp peppermint extract or oil. THEN (and this is crucial) spread 4 oz melted UNSWEETENED chocolate over the top. Let the thing go solid and cut with a sharp knife.

If you are not a mint fan you can do the same layering thing with Mascarpone orange filling instead of the sweet mint layer. Make sure the brownies are cool for the orange version and lightly sweeten the mascarpone with sugar and add some fresh orange zest and 2 TBS OJ concentrate (full un diluted strength) top with high cocoa solid dark chocolate that has been melted and cooled. Let me know how this works for you, why don't ya? K

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Here is a recipe that is very simple- Dutch Baby or German baked pancake

This is a recipe that my Grandma Cora saw on the Galloping Gourmet cooking show. It was named Swedish pancake by Graham Kerr (the Galloping gourmet, himself) It is not a flat crepe ish pancake but a grandiose event that you bake in a nice hot oven in a heavy skillet. I have also seen them called Dutch babies and german pancakes. They are incredibly simple to make and takes only the most basic of ingredients. To serve it traditionally squeeze lemon wedges and sprinkle with Icing sugar. One can also serve with syrups, fresh berries and cream, cooked apple slices and even fill with savory filling like sauteed shellfish or herbs and mushrooms or whatever you got kicking around. My kids love them with the lemon and sugar the best, though.

Heat oven to 180 degrees(C) or 400 degrees (F)
Place a 9 inch cast iron or enameled iron skillet in the oven to preheat. A nice hot pan is essential to success.

In a medium bowl place 1/2 cup white or zentrofan (a finely ground whole grain wheat flour) flour add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Whip with whisk until combined, (a few small lumps are fine) Once the skillet is good and hot add a knob of butter (about 2-3 tablespoons) place back in hot oven and wait 5 or so minutes until butter is melted and bubbling. Pour batter into hot buttered pan and put back in oven for about 15 minutes. The batter will crawl up the sides of the pan and form a big golden crown around the sides (something like a Yorkshire pudding) Remove from oven, being careful of hot skillet. squeeze lemon around and over and sprinkle with icing (powdered)sugar- or try your own topping. Kids like to make these as they are very impressive. Bon Appetite.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ritual at Mercer Bay

One Astonishingly sunny winter day last month Jordan and I went on a mission to execute a ritual. For school at The Evergreen State College I was winding up the quarter and wanted to add a final grand finale of a ritual to my collection of them that were part of my study.

Here is a quote from my evaluation.

"I have cultivated a practice of Earth or nature based rituals. I invented rituals which had validity for me and kept them in a journal, studying their effectiveness as therapy. Assessment of today's mental health statistics and my own transitions compelled me to focus specifically on depression. I confirmed my notion that the study/enjoyment of nature and movement (or exercise) are two essential components for health that almost everyone has access to without cost. I gained knowledge of Maori and Wiccan philosophy that employ rituals. I wove flax ropes to use to secure flotation gourds in an ocean swimming ritual as well as making a hanging installation 'room' in which rituals can be performed. Daily walks on coastal tracks gave me inspiration."
Here is an exert from my log book

"Rituals were performed an average of twice a week. Keeping a journal of rituals cultivates intentional living as well as helps the author recognize the progress rituals provide.
Some rituals were simply mundane tasks taken on with special intent and mindfulness. Others were more orchestrated events. The general purpose of these rituals is to progress past obstacles and alleviate stress and byproducts of stress like depression and struggling with unpleasant emotions. It is also to remember and celebrate what is right with life, whats working and feels good. It is my hope to continue this log and to document a wide variety of rituals that others can utilize. I will pursue refinement of the process and look for a realm for publication in the future.
The statistics for depression in Western countries are staggeringly high at around fifteen to twenty five percent. Developing strategies to handle stress and overcome depression brought on by situational triggers ourselves, internally, without the use of chemical or electroshock treatment is essential and possible. Rituals have been tools for people as long as there have been people. It is empowerment.
Within my study of ritual, Nature is viewed as a teacher and often plants, seasons, celestial observations and even dreams and body sensations are 'listened to'. When logging a ritual, I usually state intended lessons or benefits, describe the ritual itself and state the apparent actual benefits."

The whole idea was a revisitation of some dance training I did in my twenties with Anna Halprin, who designs rituals for herself and for communities (she claims to have arrested her own cancer through a 48 hour ritual she orchestrated at her Sea Ranch retreat in Mendocino.) If such tangible results have be achieved then maybe I could address my 'middle aged with young children and self absorbed physicist husband in remote New Zealand blues'.

I took Jordan, a 'Mercer bay virgin', to the gripping (we were- to ropes with knots, over rock faces) trail down to the pristine isolated bay. I showed him the little rock cavern cafe where the sea ogre likes to eat and the eerie cave with the light creeping in from above and we were spooked by the roaring waves occasional deep rumbling. We saw the soft sparkling sand bosom and we took a couple sips of the grandeur before heading over to the actual mission. The reason for our excursion: the rock that looks like a head. I was to swim to and climb out onto to hold a ritual as the tide shifted and I would(??) whatever came into my mind to do. Maybe I would sing loudly and then softly, maybe I would weave the gorgeous kelp that was strewn all over, maybe meditate or do yoga postures or laugh or cry. I knew I wanted to be aware of tides, metaphor for life's cycles and reassuring and predictable changes. If I am in a funk, not to worry- the tide comes and goes and things are guaranteed to change, it's only natural.
I had previewed Mercer Bay as a ritual site on my own a month or so before, finding the vertical path pretty much by accident. I had hounded my friend Mike to tell me where the trail started but he wouldn't tell me. One needed to be shown, he said. He was right; I had a very nervy climb out from a wrong turn with a sheer drop. I lived to tell, though. It was interesting, my body seemed to know I was going in the wrong direction and it gave me some chances to think it through via ankle writhing and kneecap agony sessions that slowed me down enough to think of consequences and dependents who still haven't grown up and need a mother.

Anyway, I didn't go out to the rock in the end because there was a big slumbering seal right on the rock I needed to cross. It was so large, I thought it a sea lion at first. It stirred a couple of times and didn't seem to mind me. I didn't feel like climbing over it, though, really. So I went out into the surf in my birthday suit and Jordan took photos from a cozy rock he found. He made some funny narrated videos with a breathy story of my merging with the sea, but I have spared you that, but here are a couple of photos. By the way, I think it was still a ritual,and A fine one, anyway. Sometimes the plans are changed but there's enough to satisfy you just the same.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

That's our Lillian. Such a character!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Here is something...

Today is a spectacular winter day. The wind is still, the sky pale blue and the greens are celebrating the sunshine. It feels strange today to have Desmond and Jordan home from school and Lil in school. Des had a teacher conference this noon and that is why mid week we have extra daytime residents. Desmond's teacher who is affectionately called Mrs. Parks, says he is stepping upwards on the ladder of learning. She speculates that our six moves in three years and particularly his last school in the slums (excuse me) have caused a below level standing that is finally shrinking. He gets above average in Math, enthusiasm, and focus. He's catching up on reading and writing. This is apparent with his growing interest in his chapter book about a goblin. He can hardly hold back and is creating multiple chapters a day.
Desmond finally tried on the elegant silk long johns I ordered for him. Lillian has been reveling in her glistening white ones for weeks but Desmond only just discovered the weightless warmth of his jet black ones. Now he wears them under his clothes. Ive been on a silk kick. I realize that this is not a vegetarian fibre. Hopefully Desmond wont figure that out. He has fierce vegetarian opinions and has had big noisy conflicts at school after someone wanted to kill a cabbage moth, which Desmond termed a butterfly, and deserving of it's life.
Desmond, a Libra, sure does want things to be fair and even. He takes it upon himself to reprimand any of us who have stepped on another's toes. Des says new bigger boy phrases like his "Mean Lego plane" and "cool as". Lillian has a wider vocabulary, though and entertains me to no end with her tales of meteorites and renditions of her favorite songs with her own, often hilarious, lyric alterations. The kids read about 25-30 library books a week. We don't have television reception and I cant bring myself to spend the money (but really it's the time I don't want spent)on satellite TV.

We have swimming lessons tonight and we are going to head home for some burritos instead of our usual dining out Friday. We head out on a trip next week and we're trying to save some money for that. Our first stop heading south wil be the hot springs that Jordan found where two rivers come together, one hot, one cold. We will then be heading down to Te Haro on the southern west coast of the North island (did you get that?) We will be picking up a Borgward there. If you dont know what a Borgward is then click Ours is a white sedan just like on the Wikipedia page. If you think they are impracticle, I dont want to hear it. This will be my sixth one and I just love them. They are a good daily driver, I promise. They used pretty good materials in the sixties in Germany. Anyone who has had an unusual car knows that it's fun. It causes all kinds of conversations, not to mention the steadfast fellowship with other owners. We pay something like 400 a month in fuel for our cars and the Borgward gets much better mileage than either of our existing cars. After the aquisition of the car, a spare engine (just in case) some bumpers and other stuff that comes with it we'll have an urban episode in Wellington for a few days with trips to the Te Papa national museum and reminisce about the times we enjoyed with Nina in that hip and colorful city. Hopefully they'll put us in the garden cottage at the Beethoven house where we'll stay. It's a quirky hostel we found a few years ago. Then we go to Toro on the East side of the north island and have a few days with our friends the Hunters who I met while on a writing class retreat a while back. While we are down that way we'll stop in and see Ollie, who is bachin it without Addie (she's in the US) and we'll look at the handiwork that Gary Miller contributed to their home- new French doors. Ollie and Addie live on acreage that has Ollie's vineyard growing. We have visited them routinely over the three years we've been here and always inspiring to see the progress they have made turning a barn into a living space. There is usually beer brewing and onions drying and darn good food and wine. They have a lovely carmel colored dog named Argo, part Ridgeback and part Mastiff. He's very good natured.
Then we will head home in two vehicles and probably stop back at the hot springs just to warm our wintery toes up.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


Life here, the winter, is good. It's been colder than Ive felt in Auckland than I remember. Ive been working on school a lot. I have also been toying with some pretty profound ideas regarding reorientation of self. I look forward to finishing the book Im writing on the subject of Rituals and personal health. Ill keep you posted, Ive got a date with a gum tree now, though, gotta get choppin!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Autobiography 101

Last quarter I decided to put a fire underneath myself and make autobiographical writing the focus of my studies at Evergreen. I had naive notions that I could get a chapter written, rough draft per week. One "I dont care what it looks like-just a finished chapter" per week. I started by making a time-line. You should give that a try some day. It's quite a captivating, reflective process. First I brainstormed my better moments, then all kinds of moments. Scenarios wafted up from the murky archives in my mind. After collecting a bunch, I worked them into a chronological sequence. This was trickier than you might think because some spanned a long time and other parts were appliqued over the top. Life isn't that linear.

The dredging up of my experiences was a more time consuming and tumultuous process than I expected (albeit pretty therapeutic). In contrast to my recent fictional works the autobiographical stories had a predetermined outcome and I had more concern whether the stories were moral, worthwhile and compelling, since they were about me. The initial process of putting my life experiences onto a time line and then taking isolated pieces of it didn't work well. I had to force myself to take a more organized approach. For example, if I felt compelled to write about a certain event that happened in my thirties, I would have to speculate what my reader already knew about my life from previous chapters (that have not yet been written). This impacted the writing of the piece and was bound to increase editing work later. I needed a more linear approach.
Eventually, I went back to the beginning, and started again, researching my grandparents lives for the beginning of my story and then my early life and so on. This process filled hours, but not pages. It is clear that I had not been realistic to expect to finish ten chapters in ten weeks.

Nonetheless I managed to write several chapters. I still think about my time-line and ruminate over the project. It has to share my attention with the kids and their needs and curiosities. There are new shoes to buy and then search for and the swimming lessons on Friday afternoons to be on time for. Jordan could use more support also, with his deadlines for observation proposals and his self absorbed scholarly doubts and presentation jitters.

Ill choose a chapter to put on here. I just need to pick out if it will be one prepared for my straight and narrow teacher or a more raw draft that feels more like my voice. Stay tuned I'm still here! I'm teaching sourdough class tonight, though, so it wont be for a couple of days.

Monday, May 04, 2009


My family are dreaming like mad these days. Each morning we venture all over the place relaying our dreams. The sleeping situation is very fluid in our new house. There are three bedrooms but we all end up in the solarium add on room, usually- by breakfast time. The elements are right there! There are big gum trees that dance around when the coastal breezes rise (and they sure do!) The stars are nice these nights with some sparks seen as Haleys whizzes by (or is it us whizzing..?) Ill have to ask my astronomer that one. Off to get Desmond and go to the library and get groceries. I promised we will make a cake. It's design looks to be a round, chocolate, fluffy, but mushy, cake with minted green whipped cream and m and M's. Wow.

Friday, May 01, 2009


The kids and I went for an evening dip in the sea today. It was just the ticket to clear out the cobwebs. The season here, just really plunging into autumn, is spectacular.

Home again home

I'm back from a sojourn to Australia. I saw my favorite thinking person's rock band, The Church. I'm making an effort to have an independent life. When I go away from my role as mother and wife, I resurface. I get perspective about my worth. Being an immigrant, that is to say, leaving all my social network and family was a bushel of stress I never expected. New Zealanders are a hard working lot, god bless them. It takes a lot just to survive here. Being in Australia reminded me of America. Wages are higher, costs are lower. There is a certain bravado, an easier mode of being. It's subtle, but I noticed it. Certainly, one good thing about our New Zealand adventure has been to gain appreciation of the U.S.

On a more positive note... The boys, Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper were a fine pair up there on the stage at the Vanguard in Sydney. The Vanguard is a little supper club with a balcony. It has the feel of an old time show house with red velvet curtains and settees by the powder room. There were about 15 tables down in front of the stage. The menu was Italian, a little dense looking, so I opted for Indian Dosai down the road and just went in for the show. I found one solo seat in the front row that didn't have a reseverd sign on it and I quickly made one and proceded to a red velvet chair to write and pass the 90 minutes before the show began. I'm enjoying The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, (again) Its very inspirational following my recent quarter of writing.

Upon reflection, the last time I was reading that book I was in New York. It was years ago; Nina was 13. We were attending a wedding and I saw The Church in concert at the Bowery Ballroom. It was a wacky night, actually. I must confess that I left Nina in our Hotel room while I went to the show. She knew this was part of the deal and we chose the hotel carefully. Unfortunately, when I returned, she was sleeping like a log and had put the chain lock on the door. Luckily, I could see her foot on the bed through the three inch view I had into the room, so I knew she was in there. I had to sleep in the hallway, waking up every half hour or so to knock on the door. Finally, her sleep cycle lightened up and she heard me and let me in. Nina and I had fun in New York, that time and another time as well.

It's odd, but that is one place that I had so much trepidation about as a teenager, and that is right where I went when I turned 18, straight into the fear. We used to see these movies in school about cities, particularly New York. They were quite terrifying. I need to go now, More later.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Finals week, Moving and Surfing

This week has one of those typical crescendo effects, the full week works like a magnet for opportunity and more intriguing prospects come into view. We have decided to move two doors away to a new rental home. It still has a sea view, just not the stunning beach view we've had. There is more park like yard for the kids, a greenhouse, lots of garden beds, a solarium, a good efficient wood stove and wetback wood fired water heater. We will be saving 200 dollars per week on rent. I will miss the aesthetics of our current home, but taking the financial pressure off ourselves should be more than enough of a reward. This will be our sixth move in three years here, wow.
Ive had two catering jobs in coordination with the neighboring B and B and that has been satisfying. It's good to add a dash of something I do well when I am learning new things. It reminds me that I am are good at something. Lillian is all questions when I cook. She is my only child of the three with a natural interest in food preparation.
My Evergreen studies have been sluggish this term. This is my final week to get all of my writing work done and submitted. I lack motivation for the writing and have focused on the other aspects of my learning contract. This week I have put in about 8 hours in the water with my surfboard, which translates to about a total of one or two minutes standing on it on a wave. I'm getting strong arms, though and less intimidation of the big waves that come and relentlessly rearrange me and my little white board. If nothing else, I'm more water worthy in general. Desmond shows promise as a surfer. He has always had impeccable balance, even as a toddler he would prance right across beach logs.
Surfing is an apt metaphor for many things in life. When your wave comes, you might have to forget about your fear and misgivings and just take it. If you take the wave, you can be transported, if you cower, you'll get rolled over in the crush of a powerful (and impartial) wave. It's best to just face the beach and take the wave. I feel hesitation and eagerness dovetailed together for surfing and after my final lesson today, Ill rest my weary arms and shoulders and consider if I'm really up for the pummeling of it all. I never thought a simple P.E. credit would result in such reflection.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Karekare Beach Races complete

The day was fun, exhausting and goose bump worthy. The sea was rioting with lacy pale green grandeur as the horses came thundering down the beach. The announcer had such infectous enthusiasm in his voice that several times during the day I had to finish my customer and drop my tongs or my shovel and run towards the race track along the shoreline and join the country betters and family members cheering on their riders. I was in charge of plenty of baked goods and hustling up prizes as well as the design and construction of the kids area. The kid zone was a big dug out hole in the sand with a deeper hole in the middle. There were six huge flags around it and flax flower wands were woven with flax reeds to provide wind shelter. Our Kite made its final all day flight (with us) before meeting it's new owner, who it surprised by breaking free of the spool and darting to his heals, finally resting like a needful puppy looking for a new home. Jordan won third place for his hat. We all are now aloe vera users, having forgotten our usual sun hats.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Alligator Galivanting- children's picture book by Kate Stone

Louisa, a lovely little lady, looked in the lavatory.
It was her week when washing the water closet was warranted.
She safely slid on size small sheaths and surrendered to the situation,
Suddenly, she seemed surprised!
Wow! Wandering wet and wide eyed, was a weird and wild thing!
After ample attention, the animal offered its autograph- “Ally Gator”!
Loudly, Louisa let out a laugh! Ludicrous! Lingering in the loo with the Lizard...
After the gator greets girl, gayly gallivants and gambols.
Watching, she wondered, what would a wise one do...
Should she scream and shout? Should she simply scrub (away from the snout)?
What would you do with such a wild wonder? Well...
“First things first”, she said, fussing and fretting:
She must move this monster making a menace of her mission.
She fetched a fragment of fabric and fastened it 'n front of the fierce little face
To tame the temper she tickled the tummy: trying to tease it.
When- what do you know!
Why-the wiggling wet wonder wailed “Wait!-
When will you work on your washing if your wrestling with me?”
Surprised stopping her struggle... "Suppose such silliness!
Saying sentences! Shocking!"

Not knowing the nature of the newt, Nice.. Naughty... she'll never know.

Zing, zap zoosh! zipped the zoological zealot.
Down, down, deeper down, in a deluge of dampness
Then Louisa lamented a little
For flushing her fiendish find,
Looked around the lavatory
And left.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Karekare Beach Races

Im busier than 700 elves this week. The Karekare beach races are a few days away and Im in deep in the bake sale and kid zone department. Check out this Karekare site to see what Im talking about. Ill be back to writing in a few days. Kate

Monday, March 02, 2009

working gramps

My grandparents operated as a team. In fact, when my Grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer it was not completely surprising, as he had been a smoker for many years. What was surprising was that my grandmother died quickly before he passed. Was it that she had always spent her life as his assistant and wasn't keen to change her role at that late stage? Maybe it was that he had the stronger constitution for coping without the other? They, The Ganty's, were from an era when you could sculpt your fortune with hard work and focus. In their home, in which cocktails each evening were a given, there were small silver boxes filled with cigarettes on the coffee table and in the den. You could almost always find a little blue can of macadamia nuts in the bar refrigerator. There were always square loaves of homemade white bread that was good toasted. Grandma Caddie prepared top notch dinners every night. Sometimes it was Lima beans and ham, other times, corned beef. I remember the cheesecakes and the aspic salads with the precious crab legs encased within them, usually she finished them with a dollop of mayo' and a sprinkle of paprika. During the day we ate grapenuts with cream and plenty of sugar (which was freely and openly positioned on the breakfast table, on top of an ironed tablecloth). Grandpa had a boiled egg which was runnier than my sister and I thought palatable, he quietly read his paper and drank his coffee each morning. At lunch time my sister and I writhed over the option of tongue sandwiches. Even though my grandmother did a lot of ironing, of which she would break from, to drink a glass of buttermilk, she sent out Grandpa's shirts to be washed and starched or pressed or whatever they do to shirts that businessmen wear. We got to draw on the stiff white cardboards that they came back on.

They were the only 'complete set' couple I had to observe up close in my early years. Prosper and Clarabelle (although everyone called her Caddie) Ganty were an old fashioned couple. Pros was born into a poor family and I wonder if he was named Prosper to change that fate. Caddie was from Jessup the family. The Jessups operated the local paper in Bremerton, the Searchlight, for years and years. Caddie's family was known for humor and ridicules antics. Pros's family, who were from Alaska, was more stoic, although both sides had some colorful characters. By the time I came along Caddie and Pros were spending their time between their home on Lake Washington and South Eastern Alaska. They shuttled between in the Cessna that floated out in the boathouse on the Bellevue side of the lake.

Recently, the history of the Ganty's has been pieced together with the help of my Aunt Maryjane. Maryjane, my father's sister, who lived in Seattle throughout my youth, has very good taste in hats, she can pull off hats that you'd look silly in. She has a lovely rustle in her voice. She has three children who were close in age to my sister Gretchen and I. Gretchen lucked out with a cousin, Jennifer, who was exactly her age. Jennifer had a brother on either side. I was often matched up with the Johnny, the youngest. I remember we had baths at my Grandma Caddie's, with Mr. Bubble from the pink box. I also remember the day my sister pointed out that “Ooh, you are taking a bath with a boy!” Poor Johnny, I think I refused to bathe with him after that. Gretchen also terrorized me at about age three or four by revealing that she was in fact “really a boy” Despite the obvious evidence, I believed her, and was quite perturbed. How had she fooled me all this time?

Now really, with that kind of thinking, it's a wonder us Ganty girls ever got around to reproducing at all!