Friday, January 28, 2011

Some days call for blankets

The things that soothe the tactile soul...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For the Perennially Hungry

I got home toward late tonight, after working until the eleventh hour to try to pick up some slack, with the aim of making soup for dinner.  I came up with this soup du jour, a rather unassuming one-pot meal which seems to have a sort of snowball effect.  (It seems to finally be rounding off now, after about six bowls.) If you find yourself feeling the need for a little mid-winter pick-me-up, this might be just the thing:

Wild rice soup with mushrooms, squash and nettles 

1+ tbsp butter
1 c yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced, about 4 c
1 small butternut or other winter squash, cubed, about 5 c
1 c wild rice, rinsed well
1 1/2 quarts water, or so
1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon mushroom soup base (or sub veg or chicken bouillon or broth)
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground sage
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chevre (blue fuzzy parts removed)
2/3 c or one healthy handful of dried nettles, slightly crushed (if you don't have nettles I wouldn't sub other greens here; dried nettles have a magical way of not exerting a heavy "green" flavor, while still contributing all their leafy mineral-rich goodness.)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, and throw in the onions, followed by the garlic. Saute over med heat for a minute or two and salt generously.  Add the celery, saute for a couple minutes more and then add the mushrooms, a few hearty shakes of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook until the mushrooms have just begun to release their juices, then add the thyme and sage, along with the the water, bay leaf and bouillon.  Add the rice, stir well, cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let simmer for 15 min, or until rice is half-cooked (time will vary depending on where your rice came from...'round here the White Earth variety is fine-grained and tender-hulled, so cooks quickly).  Add the squash and cook for another 5-10 min, until tender.  Stir in the sour cream and chevre, along with the nettles, cover and let stand for 5 min before serving. 


Friday, January 21, 2011


Oh, it's really cold today, no way around it.  First deep freeze of the season.  On the way home tonight a local radio show was talking to a fellow in Fresno, where as the host pointed out the temp was ninety--that's 90--degrees warmer than it was here today.  That's like my entire body almost.  Even indoors, with the thermostats high, the chill has been entirely unshakable and I really have to wonder how all the birds and other drifters are getting along out there, and how our hearts keep us warm.  Hope you're all tucked in and snuggled down tonight, wherever you might be.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cold Morning

It should be Sunday.  There should be funnies, and eggs.  I am new, wrapped in warm morning thoughts.  Then I begin to remember, and after a while again to forget.  I miss the things I used to love, and I don't know where they've gone.  I think about running, how I never remember what it feels like until I go.  I suppose it can be the same with singing, or with anything, but I feel as though some part of my soul has been erased.  I missed the recycling again.  Absence of possibility.  Three words might create a positive space but not today.  Today I must go to work, set myself to something I can't truly respect.  Another dime, a dozen.  I'll buy something today, another tiny fixture for this doll's house of mine.  Last snooze.  I roll over, pull myself up and despite the nervy twinges all over I am happy to be in my body, glad for my arms and legs and my bare feet on the floor.  Grapefruit juice.  There is a peachy light on the snow in the backyard, and I walk to the front door and press my nose to the small window, to see the glow of the sun between the houses across the street.  I'll settle for coffee with milk, and a spoonful of something sweet.  Nothing fell on my head this morning.  Time to get dressed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Course

I left the house at sunset, after taking longer than I might have to get moving.  With the light fading quickly I drove Northeast, following a tip from a colleague that there was some good skiing to be found on a golf course over that way.  I knew the place, having lived close to that neck of the woods in years past, and having passed it many times, en route to my favorite thrift store during those days.  There's a pleasant parkway that meanders through the course, passing under a railroad bridge...rolling hills, thick stands of trees, a couple ponds, few lights... I figured I'd find a trailhead at any of the parking lots, but after I pulled into the first one, I wasn't so sure.  I hopped out to take a look, but of course there were no signs, just random tracks in the white, barely visible.  Where were the other skiiers?  On to the next lot, a few hundred yards, no, just giant golf fence and dog-walkers... Out and back in.  Next lot, half-way round about, past the sledding hill where a man and child were still making runs in the dimming light, a small wooden sign suggested "ski trail center" or something like that but there was only one car, no lights...really?  Was that on the map?  Where is the map?  Out and back in, on to the main and also empty lot next to the big creepy empty old golf course building with one lit window...nnnnnmmmm, no.  Circling back again, all the way round, looking out at the terrain and wondering if it's big enough, or dark enough, that I might get lost out there... nnnnnmmmmm, whatever.  On a golf course?  How lost can you get?

So I made my way back to the lot near the sledding hill and switched boots. After traipsing around this way and that, cutting tracks in the fresh snow and thinking once or twice about the fact that no one on this planet had any idea where I was, I followed an unrolled "trail" up a hill, through some trees and a short way down the railroad tracks, before coming to a not unpredictable stopping point, where whoever had the dim-witted idea of going that way realized, at the top of a steepish drop through the shrubbery, that it was not passable.  In spite of having to backtrack--I'd so much rather not, if it can be avoided--I was already rather enjoying myself, and determined to find the actual trail (the one that most people follow, anyway), which I did a few minutes later.  Not surprisingly, it was somewhere approximately right next to the little wooden sign that said "ski trail" something or whatever.  Haha.

I headed out past the sledders ("look at that, dad!" she said, which I thought was sorta cute) and went on past both of the other two lots, with all of that now making a lot more sense than it did when I was car-bound... As it turned out, skiing through fresh snow on a darkening golf course in the orange and purple light that seeps in after an overcast sunset, with no one else around (except the odd pedestrian or two, in the distance, and the hazy moon above), was quite pleasant and peaceful, or at least it was up until the point that the fumes from the nearby trainyard began to drift in... Ah, comes with the territory, I guess.  Anyway, it was a pleasant discovery, to find such solitude in the city and to know it can be found.

Today I got a bit earlier start and had a somewhat better idea of where I was going, but managed once again to take the long way round to reach my destination, this time a big old park and course on the North side.  Again I set out at dusk, but tonight the skies were clear and blue, the moon a bright crescent, the skyline and the sunset glowing faintly pink on the horizon... I shared the trail with a handful of others, skiiers with lights and without, dark walkers through the trees, gentle voices...stopping for a sip of water and watching a pair of bikers wind their slow and quiet way through the snowy woods, by headlights and lamps in the deepening twilight, was a slightly magical experience.  (It also looked like some kind of fun...)  From the top of a ridge I looked down over a small lake ringed with houses still decked out in lights, and after giving a moment's consideration to just how much more I love my snowboard than I do my skis, and with deep appreciation for those particular curving climbing trails and many others, I realized that I'm pretty darn glad to live here, alongside a bunch of winter-loving Minnesotans who aren't afraid of the dark.  Winter's still young--and snow abounds! Here's hoping it'll last 'til Spring...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolution: Radical Slowness

Take time to eat, taste, drink deeply.  Take time to bend.  Time to lose yourself in a sound, a thought, any moment that grabs you, passes through you.  Time to sleep, time to wake.  Take time to do what moves you, to follow your bliss, to dance a little now and then, to hear the song in your head and to let it out.  Take the time to know your own hands, to teach yourself some new tricks.  Take time for poetry and flowers, to contemplate death.  Time for eskimo kisses, time for snow and other angelic geometry, time to tell each person who loves you something beautiful they've never heard before.  Take time for sorrow, for grieving, to bear witness.  Time to learn, time to trust, time to make peace, time to follow through.  Take time to fold the laundry, time to stir the pot, time to read out loud, time to come bearing gifts.  Take time to watch the sky, to fall in love with a new constellation.  Take the time to see a leaf uncurl, a frog yawn.  Take time to hear the wind whisper and howl, to stand in the rain and in the sun.  Take time for water.  Take time for clouds, and baby teeth, and leaky ceilings, and upside-down cake, and the moon, and fenceposts, and your tongue, and running wildly, and good fats, and holding hands, and puzzles, and the train, and new recipes, and other languages, and long-lost stories, and dreams, and dreaming.  Take time to do your work.  Take time to make it sacred. Take your own damn time, people.  It's all you'll ever have.

Monday, January 3, 2011

following tracks in the snow

Here's a little story which one commenter described as "far out an fart reaching!", but I just thought was kinda nice.

Sunday, January 2, 2011