Ate: I decree that cornbread should accompany every meal—that, or salty-ass paprika fries. (Photo: T Byrnes)
Panicked: Although I have a lot of experience filling sandbags, they are not, unfortunately, an item I keep on hand in the household. But maybe this should change? Global-warming freak downpours and all.
Rode: Sweet freedom. (Photo: T Byrnes)
Were you in Portland last night? Thunder rolled in off the hot eastern plains, the sky turned purple, and the air was wild with ions. We were all at Heidi’s loft overlooking broadway when the downpour started, but the sun was out too, so the rain was a kinda shower of light. Then it stopped, and the sunset was spectacular. Ah, summer!
In other news, I love working on the weekend (esp. a behemoth weekend like this one) because when everyone else is panicking out of town/elbowing through crowds, I’m just sitting behind my desk quietly typing ideas onto cyber-paper. My friends pop their heads in to visit, sometimes bearing coffee. And then my own days off (Thursday/Friday, currently) are spent skating empty parks, swimming in empty rivers, and generally hanging out amongst chill weekday scenarios. It’s a good plan.
I dropped a few seeds in a raised garden bed some months ago, and voila! More lettuce and greens than a girl could eat. However, the crown jewel of my tiny urban farm right now is cilantro. It’s going wild, but I know that it won’t last long. A couple hotter-than-average days and it’ll all go to seed, hence losing its flavor. That’s the thing about fresh herbs—they are as fabulous as they are fleeting.
I found this receipe on the Interweb (Sunsetmagazine.com)—and literally five minutes after getting all the ingredients together had a batch of über-fragrant pesto to slather on some rice noodles or a baguette with cream cheese or whathaveyou.
The great thing about this stuff is that it’s vegan and way cheaper than regular pesto (it uses peanuts instead of pricey pine nuts and red pepper flakes add zing instead of parmesan). And taste-wise—you guys, it’s brilliant.
1 1/2 cups cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot chili flakes
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
In a food processor, whirl cilantro, peanuts, chili flakes, and garlic. (Or with a knife, mince cilantro, nuts, chili, and garlic.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
The thing I like to do best in the summer is do nothing. When else can you get away with such bare minimums of activity and still feel okay about yourself? Honestly I’d be happy if all I did was sit quietly, alternately in the sun or in the shade—depending on temperature, and read John Steinbeck or something else good, and after a little while, maybe put the book down so I could watch the way the gnats are going crazy in a shaft of sun over the rosebush, or the bees in the rosemary, or the dog lick-nibbling his paw, or, or, or ….
It’s fun to bookend those hushed hours with other stuff, though—like drinking iced coffee with cream through a pink straw, skating in the heat and then swimming the sweat off, sipping cool things on verandas under white garden lights, and so on. I’ll probably try to fit some of that in, too.
Now that the ugly part of spring is over, I think it’s safe to talk about it. Like, therapeutically. How all that rain made us feeeel. How the goosebumps, the mud that found its way onto the kitchen tile, and the low-slung steely sky just re-affirmed all the gloom and doom inside us. Now …. let it go.
Aanyway, though, before the sun officially came out last week, I took a spin out to the Oregon Coast, just me and Big Left. Passed quietly through the green hallway that is HWY 26. Emerged at Canon Beach and caught Haystack Rock in the rearview mirror. Headed south to Manzanita as the winds kicked up and walked for a very long time on the beach. And it was very, very cold.
On the sand, Lefty booked it in all directions with his tongue flapping wildly behind him. The beach is an exquisite joy to dogs. As far as these little fellas are concerned, nipping at the surf and chasing gulls for miles are reasons for livin’.
Next day, woke to pouring rain. Despite this, I wanted to walk up the Oregon Coast Trail a spell. Which I did, as long as I possibly could. Up through the fog. Past electric green undergrowth beneath tall, wise trunks. Eventually, the deluge becoming so bad that I slipped and fell scrambling over some muddy tree roots. Promptly, with mud from foot to neck, I turned for home.
A feather, for luck.
Derby Day, 2012—a good day (as if any day’s not!) to read some Hunter S. Thompson.
Click HERE to read The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, HST’s 1970 article for Scanlan’s Monthly that depicts the derby as a “jaded, atavistic freakout with nothing to recommend it except a very saleable ‘tradition.’”
Also: “Anybody who wanders around the world saying, ‘Hell yes, I’m from Texas,’ deserves whatever happens to him.”
Love you Hunty.
Spring is, perhaps, the most brutal of all the seasons. Hot sun thaws the earth for a minute, and everything seems possible—and then suddenly. raw wind rips away all hope.
It’s not my favorite season, but I kinda think it smells the best. Spring buds smell all fresh and green like the cold water that fed them. Cut grass makes you dizzy. Pollen wafts in pungent clouds through the breeze, floating straight past your nasal membrane and on into your brain cave …