Thursday, August 31, 2006

There's someone out there with my name

There's someone out there with my name, and I think she's done something bad.  Like not pay her bills.  I am getting calls, and they are getting progressively meaner.  I try to explain I've never lived at 252 West 83rd street (or whatever the address is) and that I've never had Taylor as a middle name, and no tht's not my social security number, but that doesn't stop them from calling.  It's sort of scary.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Polenta attack

  • curried poenta with lamb, broccoli mushrooms and raisins (did I mention that one already? maybe I did)
  • Sliced polenta with apples and maple syrup
  • polenta with rice milk and raisins
  • and tonight?  Shepherd's pie polenta

Friday, August 25, 2006

Feet Foto Friday: oh-oh

jo(e) has a feet foto friday and so does Sara, so here's mine. I laid some of my art out on the driveway to photograph it and there are my feet, right at the bottom of my legs. This was taken before my show which is now hanging at The Technology Garden in Syracuse. (See another) Posted by Picasa

Return of the Bottomless Polenta!

Polenta at noon today, curried with hot sausage, old bay spices, portabella mushrooms, raisins and broccoli.  Excellent!  :-D

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Where's Waldo Bunnies

The Where's Waldo Bunnies, by me, Mary Stebbins Taitt. I was playing with the simplifier in PS.

Pam says there's an owl here, can you see it? Posted by Picasa

Squashed Caterpillar Reverie

Walking in the woods at Metrobeach today with Keith, I said, "Something smells weird." A moment later, after sniffing and analyzing the scent, I announced, "It smells like squashed caterpillars!"

As often happens, Keith was basically tuning me out (I must talk too much, that he finds it necessary to tune me out like that) so I went on considering the odor and it's implications. An image of my grandmother flashed into my mind. My Italian grandmother, Nicolina Maria. Fat, obese, squinting into the sun, round face, round body, large round arms to hold me on a lap compromised by her obesity. She smelled, I decided, like squashed caterpillars, a very pungent smell.

And why, I wondered, only for a moment, before the answer came, why was the smell of squashed caterpillars something in my childhood repertoire of identifiable smells? Instantly I knew: because it was my job as a child to go into the family garden and search the tomatoes for the huge " tomato worms" and kill them. They hid well among the leaves and stems and when I approached them, they reared up and swelled themselves larger, looking terribly fierce. Their strong scent was from the tomato plants they fed on. On the one hand, I was a little afraid of them. One the other hand, I respected them and hated to kill them. But I did it anyway, even though I didn't like tomatoes. My father did. And in those days, we needed the food. My mom canned the tomatoes for making spaghetti and other treats I did like.

My father offered us children $5 if we would ever pick up a tomato and eat it like an apple. To the best of my knowledge, none of us ever did this. I like tomatoes in small quantities in my salads or in a sandwich, but not a whole big tomato. I had tomatoes in my gardens for years. My favorites were the cherry and sometimes grape tomatoes, delicious warmed by the sun and popped whole into my mouth to burst and squirt their warm sweet juices down my throat. Small tomatoes, not the large beefsteaks my father liked. One of my favorites where the coyote yellow cherry tomatoes I got from my friend Debbie Hutchison who got them from Dave the poet farmer. They were heritage tomatoes.

Besides the huge garden, we had fruit trees, apples, peaches, pears, cherries. We'd planted them all. My mom, of course, with me helping, put them away as canned fruit, as jellies, jams and preserves. One batch of pear jam was so pale we tried added green coloring to it. The results were spectacular and tasted great. We labeled the jars very carefully and placed them on the shelf, label side out" "Tomato-worm Jam."

A Polenta Glut

When I was in NY, I bought some dried (unprepared) polenta with mushrooms and spices (at Wegman's--I couldn't find the tubular kind), and yesterday afternoon I cooked it up.  First I boiled it and then poured it into a brownie pan and suspended that in a larger pan of cold water so it would congeal and then sliced it and fried it with shallots, garlic, and jalapenos.  Meanwhile, I asked Keith to grill some swordfish (first I've bought in ten years due to overfishing), and I made a stirfry with broccoli, yellow and green squash, and corn, along with garlic, shallots and old bay spices.  Keith made guacamole and I made peach salsa.  It was a wonderful meal, very tasty, but there was too dang much of it.  The polenta with the guacamole and peach salsa would have been a meal in itself and was too much to go with the other stuff.

This morning I had cold sliced polenta with rose hip preserves for brunch, and tonight I am frying a little of it up to go with the lamb and stirfry I'm making for dinner.  Only I am not going to make all the extras.  The batch I made made a LOT of polenta, and there is still more left.  Hmmm, what else can I do with polenta that is full of mushrooms and spices (not really a breakfast food as is.)  Maybe tomorrow I will make some fresh salsa and have it for lunch.  Then I will wait a while before I make more, or at least make a smaller batch.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Taking it with me

For a long time, I carried no purse, only a wallet in my back pocket, like a man.  This was because I drove a motorcycle, and it is most convenient to travel light under those circumstances. 

Later, when I had a car, I started carrying a purse and then a BACKPACK full of stuff.  It got entirely out of hand.  I carried several books, a novel, a poetry book, a few field guides, a flashlight, my wallet, my checkbook, a couple water bottles, spare batteries, lip balm, dimes and quarters, a comb, a brush, a note pad, a camera, a journal, a small computer, and a lot of other stuff.  It got even worse when I had babies.  Then I had the backpack and a diaper bag full of diapers, pins, rubber pants, baby oil, baby powder, toys and rattles.  At least I never needed to carry formula, since I was a nursing mother. 

I'm riding a motorcycle again and have discovered I can get along pretty well without much of the stuff I'd gotten in the habit of carrying.  I do wear jeans with big pockets though, so I can carry a phone, a small computer, a camera, a pair of classes, a pen, a marker, a hanky, spare change, my wallet and so on.  I just need a smaller flask-shaped water bottle though.  One I could put in my back pocket.  I used to have one in my old motorcycle days, but it has long-since disappeared.

Must Carry Meme:  things I simply MUST carry with me, in order of importance.  If you're visit me here, post your own!

1)camera.  That's the most important item on my must have list
2)computer, the next most important thing.  I carry a small palmtop (Psion) for writing poems and stories, jotting down notes etc)
3)hanky (not as important as it used to be before I gave up dairy.  Better than tissues as it is washable and never shreds.  Works even if wet.)
4)pen--in case I need to write something (I usually have several of these, a marker or two and a pencil of possible)
5)wallet with cash, ID, credit cards (I usually have this with me, but not always.  If I got out with Keith, I don't always carry it)
6)glasses--I carry some in a small tubular case for emergency reading of small print
7)cell phone
8)change--because I forget to charge the cell phone, also for parking meters which I avoid using whenever possible

Should carry:

1)paper (what good is a pen without it?  (But I can't figure out a good way to carry it in my pocket without shredding it)
2)water--no solution to that either.  Doesn't fit in my pocket and, as Neil Young says, "In my new life, I am traveling light."
3)ID--even when I go out with K, but how, if I have a dress with no pockets and hate purses?

Overnight carry:

1)CPAP--can't breathe without it--try traveling light with THAT!
2)Meds--I never used to take any but now I take 2, synthroid and Lescol
3)sundries (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, barrettes, hair bands, shampoo, canditioner)
4)special food (becase of my allergies)
5)and all of the above/camping gear if camping

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The ebbs and flows of interests

One little change can alter the path of a life but personality remains remarkably consistent throughout.

In my life, there have been swings back and forth between various interests rather than a single stright forward path.  For example, though I've always been interested in photography, my level of commitment to it has ebbed and flowed depending on other life circumstances and available time etc.  I got a master's degree in biology and an MFA in writing, but continue to be interested in both, though the interest rises and falls with the rise and fall of other interests.  Same thing with skiing , motorcycling and so on--they also ebb and flow with the different companions I have.  I skied a lot as a child, then didn't for while, then cross-country skied with Bruce, then added downhill skiiing with Chuck, and now rarely ski with Keith.  I motorcycled with Peter and Michael and then did not for years, and now I am motorcycling again with Keith.

Apparent personality does change somewhat as we grow and mature, and also as we age and grow tired, but many aspects remain consistent throughout.  In my case, having insomnia and sleep apnea has robbed my of some of the abundant energy, enthusiasm and joy I used to have and made me more sluggish and grumpier, changes I am not proud of!  On the other hand, I am more patient, tolerant and forgiving, in some ways, than I was when I was younger.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

horses, from a note to Kate and Val

I studied biology and animal behavior (ethology) in college as an undergrad.  My botany professor, Dr. John Morrison, had gone to college with Edson Fichter, who was studying pronghorn antelope behavior in Idaho.  He wrote to John that he was looking for someone to study wild horses and John told me and I wrote to Edson and he said he was looking for a boy, that it wasn't a job for a girl because the student would have to live alone in the wilderness where there were grizzlies and rattlesnakes and I got in my car and drove out there and presented myself to him, rough, tough and ready and insisted he take me and he did.

I've owned a couple horses, but was never good enough rider to compete, though I did occasionally compete and once won the sit-a-buck contest.  That is where you ride bareback clutching a dollar under your thigh.  The last person still holding a dollar wins all the others.

I love horses, but they are a lot of work.  I also used to work in a huge horse barn where they rented out stalls (boarded horses) mucking out stalls.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Back in Detroit

If you have trouble keeping track of where I am and are interested to know, I am back in Detroit. I had a bit of an arduous trip. After driving over 6 hours, I waited over an hour at the border crossing from Sarnia, Canada into Port Huron, Michigan and when finally, with great relief, I reached the inspection booth, I was told I had been randomly chosen to be inspected. I was in a panic because I had 19 boxes of stuff that I was moving from Baldwinsville and bags of food, camera gear, etc. I was afraid it would take hours and produce a huge mess. I was herded into a waiting line which consisted of almost entirely dark-skinned dark-haired people (obviously no racial profiling going on there). I was wondering how I fit in. I waited another half hour and got a very cheery youngish, blond-haired woman who, after having me fill out some paperwork and inspecting my new passport with my new still unfamiliar name on it, cheerfully dismissed me without inspecting my car. Phew! As it was, I did not arrive until well after 9 and had no supper and no walk. But I'm here and alive and the car made it, too. Tonight is Graham's concert for Summer Select Choir. He has ridden off on his bike to summer select,, Keith is at work, and, oh boy, I get to start unpacking some of those 19 boxes.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Our anniversary

Keith called in the middle of the day on tenth to wish me a happy anniversary.

We've been married two months, but more than half that time, I've been away from him.

I was pleased and surprised to have him call me in the middle of the day.  :-D

Mary wants . . .

Meme:  another google search of "Mary wants " turned up an entirely different set of responses.  I certainly don't like the very first one.  I guess it's a book.

  1. Mary wants to kill (NO!) (except those people who keep hassling me about progress on the house)
  2. Mary wants to be Hilary (not!)
  3. Mary wants to marry a sailor (no!)
  4. Mary wants it situation
  5. Mary wants a lover (I've got one!)(and I want to keep him!)
  6. Mary wants books (YES!)
  7. Mary wants to have her cake and eat it too (yup!)
  8. Mary wants stories (yup!)
  9. Mary wants your questions (?)
  10. Mary wants to dance (sure!)

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Mary Needs

I don't usually do memes, but I was curious about this one.  You google you name followed by the word "needs" and write down the first ten redults:

I got a lot of religious stuff, probably because of my religious name

  1. Mary needs the lamb in school
  2. Mary needs prayers
  3. Mary needs preaching to the choir
  4. Mary needs the flame of love
  5. Mary needs compasnionship
  6. Mary needs to say no
  7. Mary needs attention
  8. Mary needs love life and music
  9. Mary needs redemption
  10. Mary needs health
and no I did ot make any of those up, that's what I got.  (Some of them resonate!!!)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Today--baby steps

My goal today was to get the pictures ready for the State Fair competition. I thought I might want to submit a different one, so I spent some time resizing it and giving it an edge (to go under the mat) and printing it. Then I laid out my favorites from the one I had newly printed and the others I'd already printed and decided I wanted the one on the right middle rather than the one I'd just printed on the left middle. I vacilalated terribly and then went back to the original one on the top left. I framed it but discovered I am out of hanging hardware so I wasn't able to finish the job. Since I also have to cut mats and so on, I'm very disappointed in my progress. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Note to Molecular turtle on the event of a new Aquarium:

I used to raise guppies, very pretty.  Fancy ones!  Nice colors.

Mine met sad demises in a variety of ways. Once the heater malfunctioned and they all were boiled to death. Another time the tank developed a leak while I was on an extended trip and all the water leaked out, ruining the floor and rugs and desiccating the fish--speaking of which--one of their favorite things to do was to leap out of the tank at night and dry up sticking to the floor before morning.  The best part of that was the dreams I had, recurring dreams of them swimming in the air above the tank at night, venturing further and further away.  They had to be back by down or they'd fall to the floor and shrivel, but they were so eager to explore they sometime risked swimming too far through the air.


By me, age 22, September 3, 1968  (Journal Entry)

I am reading Stand Still Like a Hummingbird by Henry Miller again.  In "When to Reach for My Revolver," he says, "[The Great artist's] idea of freedom is a life lived imaginatively."  YES!  OH YES!  That is good.  I have been wondering for years what freedom was, and now, I find an idea that comes close, somehow, to my own concept of freedom. {See page 37 of this record.}  I spent a lifetime looking for freedom, but it was always "freedom from."  I ran away form college, dropped out, went to NYC searching for freedom from restrictions.  I left NY looking for freedom from dirt, smells, filth, disease, smog, etc.  I left Peter because I wanted freedom from his control.  I must now search for "freedom to."  I want freedom to live life imaginatively, freedom to live my life in every sense of the word.  

from p 37:

July 6, 1965, age 19

People here are not communicating well.


this dirt, confusion, day to day living here at 212 E 7th street in NYC is freedom. Freedom from parental restrictions, almost complete freedom from the law, freedom from sex hang-ups and many other hang-ups, freedom to do what one wants, something so many people want.  But this is not freedom.  A new set of restrictions have been lowered to replace the old.  There is no freedom to do anything one wants.  Things cost money and we have none.  One is not free from hunger or free to eat as one pleases.  One is not free from work, for one must cook in order to eat, wash clothes in order to be clean,   One can eliminate all luxuries and live in pure simplicity, spend ones time eating, sleeping and cleaning up, but that assumes something to eat.  We have nothing.  This isn't good for me.  I want out.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Saturday, August 05, 2006

One more box

I got one more box packed.  Erin and Bruce and Debbie and Mark are still working in the yard.  They've got a lot done.  I took some pictures between work sessions.

Me, age 22 (Self-portrait)

Monday, August 19, 1968

Look in the mirror, Mary.  What do you see?

A girl, in her early twenties, slightly overweight but not unattractive, tanned [but not tan enough], dressed in matching orange underwear covered by a ripped blue workshirt with a kief smoker on the back.  Hair in braids, dark eyes, flushed skin from dancing.

What about the face?

The face, sometimes almost lovely, sometimes ugly.  One eye Hindu Indian, one eye Italian.  [I like the Indian eye better].  Mouth slightly crooked, a slightly bitter twist, but soft.  Sometimes proud and defiant.  Sometimes sulky.

Bitter.  I don't want to be bitter.  Proud-looking maybe, but please, not bitter.

I don't want to be fat.  I would like to be slim, large, raw-boned, stark, not fat, flabby, wrinkly and bitter.  Please.  Not fat!   

The Possibility of a Perverse Universe

September 2, 1968, age 22

It seem logical to me that when people die, that is it.  They just cease.  But logic can be faulty.  In the light of new evidence, logicians, like scientists, may change their views.  There is no proof, at any rate, that the universe is logical.  It may be perverse.  It is almost as logical to suppose that there is life after death as to suppose there is not.  I would like to think (I think) that some part of us continues on because I don't like the idea of ceasing.  Yet, what if life after death is hell?  Wouldn't it then be better to just cease?

Mary Ciaranello (me)  (or was I Mary Schuschni then?)

The Purchase Offer

I don't think I've had time to mention that the day before yesterday I signed the purchase offer for the sale of my house to my daughter Erin (and my ex-husband Bruce who'll be helping her).  The big push is on.

bush trimming

Bruce and Erin are coming over to trim bushes.  I am going to go out and take some before pictures.  This may be the last time I see my house as it was when I lived here.  Though I agree the bushes need trimming.  I used to trim them more, but I need to spend my time packing and sorting, not trimming.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Beating the heat, not.

I was already 90 degrees when I went out to mow.  I hadn't had breakfast yet because I'd been busy with something else and wanted to mow as soon as possible.  It was 90 in the house too, but amazingly, the 90 outside felt cooler than the 90 inside because there was a nice breeze.  The mower started on the first pull and it only took me 33 minutes to mow the lawn--a hot 33 minutes, but the breeze helped.  There was less breeze in the back yard though. I was pretty hot by the time I finished but since I hadn't walked or mowed 45, I walked around two blocks.  Then I had some mail issues, and so at 12:30 PM, I haven't yet had breakfast, so I am going to do that next.  I want to work on the recertification papers, but I'm sweating so profusely I'm afraid the papers will dissolve in the sweat.  It's supposed to be record -breakingly hot today.  So, we'll see.  I considered going to work on the recertification at the Library, but I may need materials I don't have with me.

apricot salsa and fretta.

The other night, I made myself some apricot salsa.  I cut up a very ripe tomato in small bts and added some chunky apricot jam and pepper and spices and served it--to myself--with blue corn chips.  It was wonderful.  A sort of "girly" salsa fit for a queen.

Tomorrow morning, I am going to make myself a fretta. I was very sad to discover Serpicos had closed--they made the best frettas.  While I was at weggies I got a potato, an onion, a jalapeno, some hot sausages and some brocolli for my fretta.  I will use the southwestern eggbeaters for the base.