Last Night, Blue Moon. Tonight, Kahlua on the Rocks

Self loves Kahlua.  Ever since the mom of one of son’s friends gave self a big bottle for Christmas.  She tried it with coffee, she tried it with milk, she tried it on the rocks — every which way tasted good.

It is the Friday before Labor Day, which must be why, at last night’s San Carlos Farmers Market, it took her 20 minutes to find a parking space.  And today, at Marina Mart, same story.  Grrrr!

Now, self is at home.  Now, she can relax.  For some reason, she has something called the “Kahlua Recipe Book.”  It’s just a little pamphlet, very old (Self has no idea how this thing came into her possession).  Leafing through the various recipes, she sees:

  • Kahlua Black Russian (involves vodka, of course:  Speaking of which, The Man has a humongous bottle of Ketel One just sitting there on the kitchen counter, next to the microwave.  Must be lonely.  Self must remember to keep it company)
  • Kahlua Aggravation (Kahlua and Scotch:  Speaking of which, self mailed, from Edinburgh, two bottles of whiskey.  Each bottle was about a hundred dollars.  Don’t ask about the mailing!  Suffice it to say that the shipper in Edinburgh was so efficient, he even e-mailed self just to let her know that the whiskey had made it through customs, without being taxed!  She got this e-mail while she was in Bonnyrigg Library.  She nearly did a jig right there)
  • Kahlua & Schnapps (Self has no Schnapps)
  • Kahlua Brave Bull (Kahlua and Tequila:  The Man does have about 1/4 glass of Hornitos Tequila left, he’d probably notice if that went missing)
  • Kahlua Peanut Butter Fizz (Mix together in blender:  3 oz. milk with 1 1/2 oz. Kahlua, 1 scoop vanilla ice cream, 1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter, and club soda.  Hmmm, this sounds very like a Coke Float, only with peanut butter.  Me like!)

There are also recipes for:

  • Kahlua Stir-Fry Chicken
  • Kahlua Paradise Chicken
  • Kahlua Cornish Game Hens
  • Kahlua Picadillo Filling
  • Kahlua Baked Sole
  • Kahlua Chicken & Ribs
  • Kahlua Caramel Popcorn
  • Kahlua Fantasy Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Kahlua Fudge Brownies
  • Kahlua Flan

Help!  Help!  Self is getting miiiighty hungry!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Blue Moon, Last Thursday of August (2012)

Tonight, there is what scientists (or someone on the web, anyway) refers to as a “Blue Moon.”

Since The Man is an Engineer, and not just any Engineer, an Engineer from Stan-fuhd, she asked him to explain.

“It’s a full moon,” quoth he.

“But it was a full moon last night.  What makes tonight’s moon BLUE?”

“Because last night’s wasn’t a real full moon.”


“Because there’s another full moon coming.”

What?  This conversation made no sense.

Anyhoo, here’s a picture of what self saw from her backyard, just before 11 p.m.:

This is supposedly a “Blue Moon.” Why isn’t it Blue?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

New in Crime, NYTBR 19 August 2012

You see how self has caught up with her “pile of stuff,” dear blog readers?  She’s now only two weeks behind in her reading of the NYTBR.

Most of the 19 August 2012 issue is boring stuff (like Martin Amis’ new novel, which is about a lout, what else is new).  But self takes heart from the fact that Marilyn Stasio reviews a new thriller by Norwegian crime writer Karin Fossum.

Last year, or was it two years ago, self’s life seems on such a hectic trajectory lately that she loses track, she read Fossum’s The Indian Bride and was transfixed (to know just how transfixed, read self’s review of same).

Fossum’s new book is about a creepy teen-age sadist who thinks of ever more inventive and dangerous ways to torture other children.  Oyy, self knows that sounds exceedingly dark.  But you should see what Stasio has to say about Fossum’s other thrillers:  The Water’s Edge is about “a sympathetic pedophile” (!!) and When the Devil Holds the Candle is about monstrous “old people.”

Another mystery Stasio reviews is Michael Koryta’s The Prophet, and although self is irritated by the fact that the book has the same title as the other book by Khalil Gibran, she wants to read Koryta’s because it is “about two estranged brothers,” one of whom is “a practiced bail bondsman but an inept private investigator” who “unintentionally delivered” a teenage girl “into the hands of her homicidal stalker.”  Yikes!  Dark to the nth power!  Just self’s cup of tea.

(Of further interest in this NYTBR is a review of a book that sounds like “Hurt Locker” circa London 1940:  The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, by Brian Castner.  And a slashing attack by a male reviewer of a young, female writer, an attack that lays her out, a killing blow.  Self will leave reviewer and reviewed un-named.  Suffice it to say, the publisher will not be long in responding, self is sure)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

What Does Self Know? A Post About Erdrich, Ephron, Facebook, Kasischke, and Tagatac

The book she returned to the library a few days ago, Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, which self couldn’t finish, stays in her memory.  While the book she is currently reading, Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck is getting just a wee bit tiresome.

In the Fall 2012 issue of Willow Springs is a poem by Laura Kasischke called “The Drinker.”

Self has always envied this writer’s last name, she doesn’t know why.  She likes to repeat it, pronouncing it wrong, of course.  Boy, what if her last name were Kasischke and people wouldn’t know she was from the Philippines blah blah blah.  The worst of it is that now she decided to get at least 30 Facebook likes for her second collection, Mayor of the Roses, and there are some who say, “Hope your sales increase!” as if that were the point.

But, self, what is your point?  Facebook is a marketing tool.  Isn’t it?  Isn’t it?  Guess that’s the way it comes off and who knows why self set herself this goal for the week, she just thought:  How awful it would be to die and only have five people who “like” Mayor of the Roses!

She knows it came out quite some time ago, but still it hurts that the woman who reviewed it for the Chronicle gave it only two stars on Goodreads (The woman is not Filipina, thank goodness, or it might hurt more)

So, back to the Kasischke poem.  Here are the first two verses (and for the rest, you’ll have to go to Willow Springs)

“The Drinker”

Who paid his taxes
Who raised his children
Who buried his dead
Who put his fist through the drywall once
And, once (just

once) sipped
from another man’s cup

But who never arrived late for the christening
Who kept, as suggested, his receipts,
Who, when the crippled girl needed
his seat, leapt
to his feet


    was smarter than we were, truly, so that
    in order to under-
    stand us he needed to drink

And, finally, a fragment from Geronimo Tagatac’s short story “What Comes After Nineteen” (Chautauqua Literary Journal, Issue 2, 2005).  Self has been reading Tagatac’s stories here and there, and is much impressed and wonders if he has a collection?  She’d love to buy it, if he does.  He deserves to be widely read:

“What Comes After Nineteen”

When she looked up, the guy was standing there, on her side of San Pablo, holding a cardboard sign that proclaimed “East.”  He had the easy look that her father had when he appeared to her, three days after his funeral on a Berkeley street.  And the hitchhiker stood, as her father had, with most of his weight on his right leg.  Around him the same indentation in the air, as though he were leaning against the background of the street and might push through it and vanish.  He was smiling like a man who’d solved a complicated problem.  Much later, Sandina would wonder why she stopped for him.

Self found, after googling, that Geronimo lives and writes in Salem, Oregon.  Which makes him practically shouting distance from the fabulous folks at Calyx Press.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Today, Last Wednesday of August (2012)

It was another hot one.

Self felt quite beyond the effort to water and plant (one new lantana and one new Euphorbia “Tasmanian Tiger”)

She was doing chores in Menlo Park and decided to splurge on


A hose.  In fact, the mother of all hoses.

The Man has patched up the old one in numerous places, so that it doesn’t even look like a hose anymore —  it looks like the victim of a car accident, all done up in grey plaster.  Or maybe like a piece of conceptual art, green and grey, coiled fetchingly on the dry brown grass.

She decided to be bold!  She wondered how much a really good hose would cost —  one that didn’t spring a leak after one summer’s worth of watering.

She tried the Ace Hardware on Santa Cruz Avenue and found, tucked away on the lowest shelf way way waaay in the very back of the store, this beautiful green garden hose, touted as “the last hose you will ever buy, treated and sealed to protect against mold and abrasion, all weather construction for year round flexibility, made up of patented foam layers for added flexibility and resistance to kinks, over 500 psi burst strength, heavy-duty collar, machined full-flo brass couplings, 8 ply . . .  ”

Mmmm, it did look like a very thick hose.


She lugged it to the front.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

And Now, Wolves

Note:  The following excerpt contains graphic material.

“Wolves to Slaughter” in July/August 2012 issue of Utne Reader (The article originally appeared in The American Prospect)

In April 2001, a U.S. government wildlife trapper named Carter Niemeyer choppered into the mountains of central Idaho to slaughter a pack of wolves whose alpha female was famed for her whiteness.  He hung from the open door of the craft with a semiautomatic shotgun, the helicopter racing over the treetops.  Then, in a clearing, Niemeyer caught a glimpse of her platinum fur.  Among wolf lovers in Idaho, she was called Alabaster, and she was considered a marvel — most wolves are black or brown or gray.  People all over the world had praised Alabaster, had written about her, had longed to see her in the flesh.  Livestock ranchers in central Idaho, whose sheep and cows graze in wolf country, felt otherwise.  They claimed Alabaster and her pack —  known as the Whitehawks — threatened the survival of their herds, which in turn threatened the rural economy of the high country.  She had to be exterminated.

When Alabaster appeared in Niemeyer’s sights, a hundred feet below the helicopter, her ears recoiled from the noise and the rotor wash, but she was not afraid.  She labored slowly along a ridge, looking, Niemeyer says, “like something out of a fairy tale.”

Then he shot her.  At the time, wolves were considered a rare species in Idaho and across the Northern Rockies, and they were protected under the Endangered Species Act.  But they could be targeted for “lethal control” if they made trouble —  if they threatened a human being, which almost never happened, or, more commonly, if they were implicated in attacking cattle and sheep.

(P.S.  Self couldn’t stand the graphic material.  She ended the quote just before, so she wouldn’t have to read it again)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

A Collaboration: Photograph, Memory

How self loved this project, with Stella K.

She doesn’t think enough people know about it yet, so here’s a link.

The process went something like this:

Stella came to self’s house.

She looked around.

She selected the images that struck her.

She showed self the images, some time later.

Self expressed her response to Stella’s responses in prose.

Neither self nor Stella had done anything like this before, but it was certainly a lot of fun!

Now, looking back on the project, self immediately recognizes her clothing, rendered ghostly by backlighting, and also the dogs (Gracie), gazing solemnly at the photographer with large, watchful eyes.

Isn’t it fun to look at, dear blog readers?  Stay tuned.


Great Fortune Cookie Wisdom

Ordered take-out from Crouching Tiger, as it was exceedingly hot, and self was quite out of breath after hauling around 20 buckets of water for the plants.  The Man called twice, both times sounding extremely upset because he had been asked to stay late.

“I might have to stay until 9!” he exclaimed.

Self decided that meant he would probably be home at 7 p.m.

And, you know something, dear blog readers?  Self was absolutely correct!  Shortly after (or before) 7 p.m., The Man walked in the door.  Self doesn’t know about you, but coming home at 7 p.m. does not qualify as “late.” 8 or 9 or 10 p.m. can be considered late.  Not 7 p.m.  In the two hours’ grace provided by this “late” arrival, self managed to:


Txt son that she would be seeing him shortly (No answering txt from son)

Feed The Ancient One.

Order take-out.

Of course, since Crouching Tiger is a Chinese restaurant, included with the cartons of mu-shu pork and lamb with scallions were two fortune cookies.  Self put one on The Man’s desk, and opened the other one.  It said:

You will step on the soil of many countries in your lifetime.


Stay tuned.

Oh, Moon

The whitest, roundest moon she’s seen thus far this year . . .

This is what self saw while standing in her backyard this evening, after a hot day

The last time she felt moved to try and photograph the moon was last year, July 14.  It was her birthday.  She spent two hours in the Daku Balay.  She had nothing to fear.

The driver was a man named Archie.  He said, “Take it easy, ma’am.  Just play it cool.”

Archie was a good man.  He grew up in La Carlota.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

An (Extremely Hot) August Afternoon

Self has returned to reading her Lydia Davis collection.

She drove to the library earlier, to return The Plague of Doves (though she felt guilty, as if she hadn’t given the novel her best shot.  But, honestly, who has the time — ?  Self kept turning to the Amazon reader reviews, and reading the vociferous praise, as a way to convince herself to slow down, but after a certain point, who has the time?  Especially now that summer is ending?  And the yard needs watering, more than ever before?).

The peanut butter patties she’d bought from See’s minutes before, as a source of moral support while she did her errands in the intense heat, melted and fused together into one big lumpy mess at the bottom of the See’s paper bag, but that’s OK because as soon as self got home, she dug out a spoon and began spooning the melted chocolate/peanut butter confections straight into her avid mouth.

She opens the book at random, as she always does (It really is too boring to read the stories in chronological order) and lands on this uproarious sentence, the opening of a story called “Socks”:

“My husband is married to a different woman now, shorter than I am, about five feet tall, solidly built, and of course he looks taller than he used to and narrower, and his head looks smaller.”

Wait a minute.  Self thinks she quoted from this same story, not too long ago.  In fact, while she was in Hawthornden.

Here’s another story that she is sure she’s never quoted from before:  “Thyroid Diary.”  It begins:

“Tonight we are going to a party to celebrate my dentist’s wife’s graduation from college.”

Muuuch better.  Here are a few more sentences:

“All these years, while the dentist has been working on my teeth, his wife has been earning credits at the college, just a few at a time.  Every semester, along with her other courses, she has been studying painting with my husband, who teaches painting and drawing at the college.  She has been studying with him in a tutorial situation.  She is an enthusiastic flower gardener and paints mostly flowers.  She has written texts about her flower gardens, to go with her paintings.

Self doesn’t know exactly why, but she finds the above sentences BWAH HA HA funny.  But even if they were not BWAH HA HA funny, there would still be something wry and ironic in the tone, which is the main reason why self finds reading a Lydia Davis story such a pleasure.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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