28 November 2010

cobbler

Today I decided I would bake. We have all these apples. My friend gave me a dozen and Ryk picked a dozen last week and they were just sitting there in the fruit bowl, and kind of glowing in the slant light of autumn. It was time they became something. Cooking, after all, is what distinguishes us from animals.

So I made a cobbler. I'd never made cobbler before. My associations with cobblers involve, mostly, grandmas - other people's grandmothers; I've never been close to a grandmother of my own. Baking one involved finding a glass pie dish and buttering it; it involved peeling, coring, and cutting the apples and tossing them with sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla before baking. On a whim, I added persimmons.

As with the apples, there were just too many persimmons in the fruit bowl. I didn't think I liked persimmons - they make my mouth feel sticky - but this morning I added them to my smoothie and they gave it this great orange flush, deceptively unlike citrus in flavor, without any chalky texture. They work perfectly with cinnamon.

And they worked in my pie. After I covered the filling with batter and left it in the oven for three-quarters of an hour, it was soft and steaming, crisp and brown, and, somehow, at the same time, gooey. It might have been the butter - but it might have been the juice of those persimmons from Eric's tree.

27 November 2010

grateful for

home
my mother
oak trees
having transport - my bike, people willing to drive
a down comforter
a woodburning stove
listeners
milan kundera for the unbearable lightness of being
the big sky
ryk for surfing
wool, fibers in general
leather
wine
yellow
health
being generally okay
respect
humor (i need it)
the internet
photographs
cell phones - even text messaging
buses, bus drivers
the people who bag your groceries for you
changes in the seasons that keep us on our toes
genevieve for inspiration and moral support
emerald for empowerment
gary for poetry
elliot for being open
thea for trying
sleep and dreams
water, salt, saltwater
berries
trains
regan for fun
håkan and gunilla for teaching me family
travel
rain so things grow
foot-tappin' music
books
goat cheese
the trailer park
redwoods, doug firs, and that whole biome
black knit sweaters
memories
a good pen or several
lizards and salamanders, skinks, newts, snakes...
sharing & shared knowledge
questions
space heaters
farmers' market
running into people around town
being taken care of
prospects
the ocean
having a brain
indigo for soul
pawpy and max
ginger tea
purpose
becky for being there, somewhere
esther for writing and drawing
my father for the ideas
tomatoes
variety
solitude
chickens
clean air
luxuries - eating out, shopping, movies, lipstick, parties...
surfing
running
the university of california at santa cruz
maps
squash
annamarie for novelty
david byrne
patch for fixing things
teachers who push me
copulas
storytellers
beauty
love
seaweed
honey

24 November 2010

foraging

feels like i've been doing it all my life
except not, until now, for food
i like to eat things i find

wild strawberry

 madrone berries

 fruit from a strawberry tree

poof! with the rains come fungi

i wouldn't eat the mushroom, though; i just don't know enough about mycelia

17 November 2010

You must change your life.



Wanderlust returns to me now, this autumn in California. There's something about being settled in a place that I love that makes me want to up and leave. Six weeks of smiles and small talk with beautiful strangers was enough. The novelty, after a month and a half, has worn off, and real relationships begin to take form: in the kitchen, on the sidewalks between classrooms, in the coffee shop. You can't maintain pretenses with anyone you see on a regular basis. Not even a teacher. Politeness is an affectation, and its potency diminishes with time. Best just to cut to the chase. It's better to give people respect than to sidestep your way around the truth.

I've been dreaming about mosquitoes, waterparks, and warehouses filled to the ceilings with fruit. It's a transnational dreamscape, something like the future. It's insecure, uncertain, and when I wake, I am relieved. They are not bad dreams. I like them - I like the way people from different parts of my life get together in my dreams; I like the details, the sounds, and the nooks and crannies - but I prefer to be awake.

Santa Cruz is the only town I know where everyone comes out to watch the sunset. At five in the evening at Natural Bridges, the parking lot is full of men and women, young and old, with families, single, on bikes, in cars, with surfboards, with strollers, with dogs on leashes, just waiting for it. And it happens and we are together and some people take pictures and we smile at each other and keep staring at the sky. The ocean reflects the clouds, a liquid rainbow; the wet sand, too. At five-thirty the stars are out. Orion follows me everywhere. It's the only constellation I know.

Settled back in California, I am reading about Christiania from an academic perspective. It is funny and somewhat gratifying to see theoretically explained the phenomena of "hygge," "culture," "autonomy," and "peace" that I know innately. I wonder what's playing at Loppen. Esther's still working there, and it's no more of a myth for her than the redwood forest that is my backyard is for me. Both of us fantasize about Paris.

12 November 2010

spelunking

We have a few caves on my campus here in Santa Cruz. It's said that you can crawl through them to the ocean if you can stomach that kind of thing. I visited the caves with a friend yesterday for the first time in a couple of years. We didn't find any giant salamanders or even a single spider, but we did see a big, sparkling stalactite. It's been raining quite a bit, so the ground between the big boulders was wet and slippery as clay on a wheel.

In the deepest cavern, I could see my breath like dust in the light from my headlamp, and both of us got dizzy. When we surfaced, I was relieved to lie in the dappled sun filtering through the redwoods.

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring a ravine looking for the cave they call the Hell Hole. We walked so far down along the creek that I had completely forgotten that we were looking for a cave by the time we found it. The hole in the ground wasn't anything I wanted to test my luck with - it looked like a steep drop down the rabbit hole.

Satisfied, we chased the last of the sun through golden leaves up the side of the hill and emerged into a big meadow with scattered oak trees and a large group of deer. The meadow was soft and bright green with new grass. I chased Elliot towards the sun and rolled down the bayside hill like a log.