And, the rains came down and the rains came…

Rain has come, great lovely splashes of rain. And more is on the way, so much more that there are warnings of floods and gale winds. Apparently, I did my rain dance one too many times.

Yet, I cannot find it within me to complain. I will have to make sure the garden is protected and the umbrellas of summer put away. That will keep me busy tomorrow, for it is on Wednesday the storm is due. Prepare, prepare, prepare to stay safe.

“Safe” is not a magic word, however. Despite our best efforts rising waters on freeways end in accidents and injuries, sliding hillsides bring destruction to pretty houses, rivers roll over their banks and drown lanes and boulevards alike. Trees are uprooted, crashing on sidewalks and walls. And, the California hills turn brilliant green. Lush and verdant.

I am looking forward to sitting in my favorite chair, sipping chamomile tea, taking it all in through the windows and staying dry. (That means, I really need to keep an eye on the storm drain on the back patio – it likes to stop up with debris and make a minor lake next to the back doors.) So, sitting by the fire, but remaining vigilant. Keeping safe, with my slicker and rain boots handy by.

Ah, it is the good life!

I am not MacArthur, but I have returned nonetheless

Years ago, when I did not know any better, I thought I could write. Intervening experience has taught me otherwise. And, now faced with a blank page and a keyboard, I experience the most profound loss for words. It is quite amazing actually.

So, I did what I always do, find a new tool to inspire me. Historically, new tools have not brought me new insight. But I do keep software developers in pin money. I am hoping now that I have moved into my 70th decade, perhaps I can show a little more focus. Maybe.

Last Night I Dreamed of an Old Lover

When I awoke, I shook the dream from my head, like shards of dried leaves. After coffee, the thought of him returned and would not go away.

So, I searched for him on the Web and found that he had died peacefully at home a couple of months ago. His death hung there in front of me – hard, cold and irrevocable.

I stared at the page for long minutes remembering our times together. Fleeting moments in one’s life, not enough to mark on the calendar even. Just a few afternoons of playfulness and tender loving. He was a bear of a man – all tight curls and round belly. Laughter flowing out of him, enveloping me like a cloud, sheltering me from the world.

But in the end, his poetry touched me deeper than his sex. And we quickly moved on from our physical entanglements. And then we just moved on. But his poetry stayed in my head and heart. I thought he would always be there, creating and laughing.

It seems we do not live forever, not even laughing poets.

More on The Art of French Cooking…

Sunday morning found me scanning this fine cook book to acquaint myself with all things Julia and I came across an entry retelling the “book tour” she and Simca took to introduce Americans to the Art. It was definitely an ad hoc tour as they would go where ever they might have friends or family and use those relationships to coax others to join them. Quaint really when one considers the current state of affairs ala book publishing!

The one that really caught me was the stop in Pasadena, Julia’s parents’ home town. She succinctly describes how the venue had no kitchen but that she and Simca were undaunted by the lack of facilities and prepared a fine French meal using portable stoves and tables. They successfully presented a three course meal in the morning session and were breaking before the afternoon session for another group of people.

But the really special tell of this story is that Paul Child was the one who managed the clean up of all the dirty pots, pans and dishes in the ladies room sink between “sets.” And, this was at his quiet insistence. If ever there was a jewel of man, it was he! In that tiny story, I could almost reach out and feel the love he had for her. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

Kitchen Diaries

I made my first Art of French Cooking recipe last night and was impressed at the level of detailed information provided in this wonderful book. Of course, Julia is all the rage these days based upon the wonderful movie Julie and Julia, and all the attention is well-deserved. Having grown up with Julia on TV, I was always intrigued by her show, but never had the nerve to actually attempt her methods. Well, I have gotten over that! However, I doubt I will ever feel compelled to create an aspic at any time. Last night’s menu: Supremes de Volailles a Brun (chicken breasts sauteed in clarified butter) and Choux de Bruxelles (brussels sprouts braised in olive oil (Julia of course used more butter, but I am already working around her…)

I will not be making a habit of relating my cooking tales here – Julie Powell has already handled that subject far beyond any ambitions I might have in that direction. I just wanted to memorialize my first experience at this advanced age – the real joy of creating something simply delicious in the solitude of one’s kitchen – Just me and Julia Child – two large women communing over the stove.