Saturday, March 29

Smoke fills the kitchen, and I use it as an excuse to quote Thomas Merton.

I have just burnt to a charred carcass the makings of chicken stock. I had browned the chicken bones, done the whole thing with fresh herbs and vegetables and stepped next door to watch a movie, setting the pot on the lowest heat and hoping it would get hot enough to simmer while I was gone . . . and simmer it most certainly did. To cinders.

Ah, well. I am now airing out the kitchen before I go to sleep: this kind of event is the Aristotelian actualisation for scented candles.

Tomorrow I resolutely plan to make a pot roast and sneak some roasted potatoes in next to it, and maybe have a salad, too. I have some feeble-looking artichokes that are going to be sacrificed on the altar of the Unknown Recipe, which should be fun: it involves cheese. Obviously a winner.

I’ve quoted Thomas Merton before--and I haven’t read very much of him but I’m working up to it--but I believe this quote sums up what I am feeling right now:

"The special clumsy beauty of this particular colt on this April day in this field under these clouds is a holiness consecrated to God by His own creative wisdom and it declares the glory of God."

I can’t help but laugh. I’m doing what comes to me naturally just as clumsily as I was made to be; by throwing my whole heart into everything I do I am completely and utterly my self, to the glory of God. The fragrance of my smoky kitchen must be a strange burnt offering, though. I am glad God laughs.

And here is a picture of my cat, Elanor (fondly called "Nora"), who was unperturbed by the entire operation but who clearly thought it was a waste of a good chicken carcass.

Tuesday, March 25

“You look very pretty tonight.”

Like most men I know, my father is not the most attentive to appearances. I consider this a good thing since I’m not so big on appearances, myself, but his affection then manifests itself in odd ways, such as telling me I look pretty when I am standing in front of a tray of warm molasses cookies whose recipe I have yet to divulge to its adoring fans.

(My costume on this occasion is a ratty sweater that more than one member of my family has hinted that I ought not to wear, raggedy jeans, and socks that say “boys are smelly” on them in neon blue print--I wear no make-up and my hair is only just brushed and stuck up with pins into a tangle on the back of my head. And I’d been cooking all day so I’m smeared with flour, dough, bits of onion, &c.)

“The cookies;” I want to say, “it is the cookies that are very pretty tonight.”

I suppose that by association I, too, might be marvellous in the sight of men and angels (these are some pretty awesome cookies), just as I was popular by association with my sister in high school and heretical by poking holes in the logic of a visiting preacher way back in the white-picket-fence-church days.

This tends to happen when tired people see me holding out food to them. I have no objection. The habit of arguing semantics is hard to let go of, though. Le sigh.

Tuesday, March 18

Periissem nisi periissem.

Recently, a lot of my married friends are confiding in me that they once thought they’d never find another person who could love them for what they are and now look at them and their happy marriages. I believe it is a veiled way of saying that they hope I find somebody one day and may also be a vague way of referring to their concern that I may secretly be a mutant.

While this is very sweet of them, it can be incredibly frustrating; I’d like them to just out and say it so that it can be discussed. Dancing around the subject is no way of dealing with it--generally speaking, I don’t believe dancing is a good idea, anyway. Am very clumsy.

Not too clumsy with baking, though--today, I made a bajillion-layer cake with whipped cream and strawberries and fed to a sleep-over full of young women. If I can find a reasonable picture of it I will post it, because it was glorious.

It is just another one of those times where I have to look beyond my friends’ actions to the kindness that provoked them, and beyond the classes I dislike to the certificate on my resume’ . . . meanwhile, I will allow cooking to distract me. Tomorrow I am making a quiche.

Saturday, March 8

I like to call this one 'The Graduate Student Feeds'.

Notice the fine detail around the ragout with parsley-parmesan roll and wooden bowl & spoon (see the link on the right menu). One would almost think the student in question ended up eating like this quite a bit, though I would guess her favourite food to eat out of this particular bowl would be oatmeal with a dollop of home-made sour cherry jam on top.

The book pictured is The Lindisfarne Gospels: Society, Spirituality & the Scribe by the curator of Western manuscripts at the British Library.

More lively, not longer life. That is what 'eternal' means.

I bought three new songs on iTunes and feel very smug about it: they are labelled under Shira Kammen’s album Almanac but they are sung by John Fleagle, who only put out one album before he died. His name does not appear in connection to Kammen’s album, though from having read a little about them I know they respected each other.

My inhaler is making my heartbeat go all funky, but I haven’t really been trying to calm myself down like I usually do; I have a very weekendsical desire to watch suspenseful films today and do to little work.

And I’ve been having a bit of trouble about philosophical dualism. I don’t see how love fits into that system; it seems to trump logic. I don’t want to research any more about it, though--I know what I believe and I grow frustrated with the many instances of lazy despair. In fact, I grow bored with them. Is that so awful? Don’t worry, I am still thinking.

Anyway, love and death. Life’s a mess.

Sunday, March 2

Oh, and Hugh Jackman.

One of my new favourite films. The story, plot, acting, soundtrack, cinematography and especially the symbolism were fascinating. I'm very impressed. The trailer may look weird but you should check it out.