Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween from Aggles

from left: Aggles, me

I had asked Aggles what I was supposed to do with all the leftover bourbon when she flew back East. Today this was in my mailbox:

Happy Halloween! Here is the best Bourbon Ball recipe ever:

Chocolate Bourbon Balls
fr. Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book, p. 102

2 Cups finely crushed chocolate wafer crumbs (i.e. chocolate graham crackers)
2 Cups finely chopped almonds (“finely” being the operative word here)
2 Cups powdered sugar

Mix that all up together, then add:

½ Cup Bourbon
¼ Cup light cornsyrup

Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in powered sugar. (The balls – not yourself.) Cover tightly & refrigerate at least 5 days to blend flavors.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Spooky Resemblance

from 'Tude: Have you seen a barong mask, Linda? For some reason Warnke's mask reminded me of it ...

I looked up barong masks. I think you have something there, 'Tude. Maybe not so strong a resemblance to the green frog below, but I had to post him too, just because I love all his leetle tiny teeth.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Free DAVe Art

Dave Warnke

Scared you won't have anything to wear on Tuesday? You can download free masks at SFGate (our San Francisco Chronicle online). When I saw this one I almost died of happiness. It's Dave Warnke, my favorite artist.

Rainbow Falls 5K

This morning I took eleven (11) minutes off my last 5K. Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to tell you my time. OK, if you insist. It was 31 minutes and something. I was still pulling up the rear. But actually, quite a few people came in behind me, including EMMY!!! (That's her, above right, looking slightly chagrined.) In truth, she came in at 31 minutes and something too. I was able to keep up with enough runners that I didn't get lost, and that had a positive effect on my time.

A couple of weeks ago I decided what the hell. I sent in my check and joined the Dolphin Runners Club. I bought the family membership. So in the future, Tom (below) will drive Emmy and me to the races in the family car; and will be able to participate in the events himself. That's a good thing, because that means one more person behind us, if you catch my drift.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Emmy's Best Friend's Husband's Show

That's my next door neighbor Emmy and her best friend, Beth.

Below is Beth's husband, David. David Hughes. He had an Open Studio today. In a big green building right across from the Balboa Bart Station. A beautiful show. With nice refreshments: carrot cake with cream cheese frosting under glass, baby pretzels, and wine.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Little Sea Monkey

From Mark Morford's column today:

Maybe we are like a giant tank of magical little Sea Monkeys, a huge glass-enclosed experiment that God saw in the back of a cosmic comic book one day, and so She sent in four billion proofs of purchase and 16 trillion box tops and She waited and waited and finally one day Cosmic FedEx finally delivered the package.

And She got all excited and set it all up and poured in the magical goop and then watched the tiny pink creatures mutate and mate and create their little cities and landscapes and mocha lattes and cars that park themselves. And lo, it was cute. For a while.

But perhaps She has exhausted this particular experiment. Perhaps disinterest has set in. The tank is, after all, growing stale. The little creatures have lost their novel vibrancy and are intentionally soiling their own tank and breeding like weeds and God is perhaps just sighing, taking another long pull from the cosmic martini and saying no, that's not quite what I had in mind at all.

I found a little sea monkey on the beach this evening who hadn't lost his vibrancy. When I asked his dad if I could take his picture, he said, "Sure!" but we couldn't get him to stay still. I found out it was the first time the kid had ever been to the ocean in his life.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Something In The Air Again.

It's more than a little strange. The day after I bought Amy Sedaris's Hospitality book, ostensibly for my sister, a mysterious package arrived on my doorstep. From Katy! I ripped off the chic black and white paper to find a book about entertaining with elegance.

I know a few things about refined entertaining. For instance, always serve salted peanuts. Keep plenty of lime juice on hand to squirt into your guests' beer. Provide a colorful pyramid of foam coolies on the counter that your guests can use to keep their bottles cold.

But I've also learned some new things from this book. You know about my love/hate relationship with bugs. When I first opened the book, my eye went straight to INSECTS in the table of contents. I quickly flipped to page 197, and learned: Thanks to the invention of DDT and other modern insecticides, it is no longer complicated and unaesthetic to keep one's home free from bugs. You should take particular pains to spray the guest room thoroughly before receiving guests...It is also a good idea always to leave an aerosol can of insecticide in the room.

And you know how I love to smell things. All kinds of things. They aren't my favorite smells, but I even like the smell of tar and the smell of skunk. So after INSECTS, I turned straight to the chapter on ODORS and learned: The atmosphere of your living room should, of course, smell fresh and clean...If necessary, you can spray the room with a deodorant aerosol bomb, particularly among the folds of heavy curtains.

Time to say good night. I leave you with Katy's description of her latest concoction: Vodka martini with a sliver (and I mean sliver) of fresh habanero pepper tonight. Good, really good. The peppery flavor emerges at the bottom of the martini. This is all new to me. I can't even remember why I selected the pepper plant, I've never tasted a habanero until tonight. A little bit, maybe one fourth of an inch square on my tongue for a second, and then I snatched it out---I didn't bite, much less swallow. Very fragrant, and somehow good--almost nutty. Odd. What am I going to do with all those peppers? Any ideas?

Yes, Katy. Have a party and invite me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I Like Amy

I ask Amy if she will sign a book for Aggles. She asks, "Who is Aggles?" I say my sister. She asks, "Younger or older? Tell me something about her." I say unlike me, she actually is a GOOD cook, and that she actually LIKES to entertain. And that she seems to do it effortlessly." She writes, "Aggles, I hear you need this. Good luck."

Amy Sedaris (Strangers With Candy) was at Book Passage at lunch. She answered questions and signed her new book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.

One woman asked: My daughter is 17 and getting ready to go off to college. Do you have any advice for her?

Amy: Tell her to forget college! Get married and have lots of babies instead. And start drinking. Drinking dulls feelings.

I love babies. I'm going to have lots in the future when I get my tubes untied.

Amy's shoes

Monday, October 23, 2006

Been Jogging Lately?

Yes, Nina! In fact, I'm running in my 2nd race this Sunday. The Rainbow Falls 5K. It's another Dolphin Running Club race–a low-key and friendly group. I'm hoping to take 10 minutes off my last time. If that sounds extreme, there was something I neglected to tell you about the last 5K. Now that a month has passed, I can tell you: I was so far behind that I got lost. Who knows how many K's I really ran that day. If I had the right shoes (above), I'm sure I could cut my time in half.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This Is A First.

Nail Polish. On my hands. (Both of them. Not just one.)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Unified Theory of Wonder

© Linda Davick

In the morning when I'm first waking up, I think of the oddest things. This morning I woke up thinking about Steven Hawking. I had read in the paper that all UC Berkeley freshman would receive a free copy of A Briefer History of Time this November to read over winter break. And then, on March 13, that Steven Hawking would be speaking at Zellerbach Hall. (Sorry! Already sold out.)

You know Hawking is a quadriplegic. He has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and speaks using a voice synthesizer.

Some thoughts I had in my dreamy waking state:
•What if the unified theory he will certainly discover proves the validity of both science and God?
•What if Steven Hawking is the Second Coming? And channels God through his voice synthesizer?
•What if Steven Hawking and Mark Morford and Steven Colbert are the holy trinity?

Some of Steven's thoughts:
•Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?
•It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.
•My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
•Not only does God play dice, but... he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.
and one of my faves:
•Personally, I prefer the Simpsons

I lost my sense of wonder when I went to school. It comes back sometimes and I want to cultivate it. That's why I think the idea that all freshmen at Berkeley will read this book and hear this man speak is a great one.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Cooking Class For Me

© Linda Davick

Subject: could you solve a mystery??
Date: October 18, 2006 7:00:44 AM PDT
To: Linda Davick

Dear Ms. Davick,

I am a child care provider for the best people in the world—TEACHERS!! But, we adults are stumped. In the book, 10 Trick or Treaters, there is an illustration in the back. My children have figured out roughly what many of the candies are supposed to be…gummy worms, candy corn, Smarties, etc. But what in the heck are the white things with the yellow dots (#8)???? Ben thinks it is an egg, Kylie—it’s a muffin, Quinn has decided it is a M and M cookie—with only one M and M, and Aidan thinks it is a flat cupcake!!! The grown-ups haven’t a clue….we are wondering if it is a regional treat that we, mid-Westerners, are not aware of.

Can you give us any clues??

Thank you,
Alice Offerman and her “Angels”
Waukesha, WI

Dear Ms. Offerman,
Luckily, you have a culinary genius in your class–Quinn, that is.

I meant for it to be a cookie with a piece of candy on top. But obviously it wasn't baked long enough, so it does look kind of like an egg, as Ben suggested. Wouldn't it be awful to get an egg in your bag on Halloween? And also, the more I look at it, the more it resembles one of my muffins. (My muffins tend not to rise). So maybe Kylie is right, too.

Please tell the class that I promise to sign up for drawing lessons, and cooking lessons, so my next book won't be so confusing!

Thanks for writing,

Subject: Thanks for letting us know!!
Date: October 18, 2006 11:56:48 AM PDT
To: Linda Davick

Quinn must have “known” what you were drawing, because great writers and great illustrators stick together!! Our Quinn-ster is in first grade and a prolific writer. (He is reading at about a mid-third grade level and devours any “chapter book” he can get his hands on!!)

The idea that he was right will make Quinn’s day. He is ever so slightly nervous about his tonsil/adenoid surgery, tomorrow---and this will give him something else to think about.

If you are ever in Waukesha—feel free to come and join our Friday cooking sessions. We have 3 three year olds and a 21 month old cooking successfully—so a grown up should be no problem. You do have to promise to wash your hands and wait your turn, though!

Have a wonderful day and thanks, again.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Don't Be Scared.

© Linda Davick

Take a look
Inside my book.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What I'm Up Against

© Linda Davick

Suffering is not holding you. You are holding suffering. When you
become good at the art of letting sufferings go, then you'll come to realize how unnecessary it was for you to drag those burdens around with you. You'll see that no one else other than you was responsible. The truth is that existence wants your life to become a festival.

I read this quote on Andrea's blog and really liked it. I love the part about existence wanting your life to become a festival. I liked it so much that I actually e-mailed it to somebody. To Tom.

Later when we were walking around the polo field I asked him, "Did you read that quote I e-mailed you?"
"Did you like it?"
"You didn't?"
"Because it made me feel responsible for my own suffering. It's easier to blame it on the world. Much easier. And better for you."

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Best Thing About Bob's Prius

Bob drove over in his new black Prius. When he was getting ready to leave, he offered to show us the car. "You know what the best thing about it is?" he asked. He told about how it averages 55 miles per gallon, and actually gets much more than that in the city, being that it's part electric.

Then he said, "But did I show you the best thing?" And he pointed to an official gov't sticker on the side. "Do you know what that means?" To me it meant no more irritating and confusing trips to the smog test station. ("Sorry, ma'am, we're not a Smog Test-Only station, we're a Smog Inspection station. You'll have to go somewhere else for that.") (To the tune of $90.) To Bob, though, the sticker meant that he can drive in the carpool lane at all times, even if there's only one of him in the car. He mentioned the Bose sound system and the Smart Key.

"Oh, but I didn't show you the best thing. Look under the hood." At this point I started getting that trapped feeling and started edging toward the house. But when he opened the hood, I was mesmerized. It was a tiny, ordered space. No mad scientist's dark oily gymnasium-sized laboratory of coils and hoses and weird black boxes, like under the hood of our family car. It was my first spark of Prius crush.

Then his eyes lit up. "But I haven't shown you the best thing." He opened the the hatchback. He explained that when he and his wife hit the road, this was going to be their dog's quarters. He said his dog loved to look out the window while traveling. Not only was there the big window in the back, but a second long, low window perfectly positioned for his dog to look out while lying down. That settled it. I was in love.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Cheryl's In Town!

Cheryl, Janet, me.

Every time Cheryl comes to town, here's what we do:
1. We meet at her Ex's apartment. We drink wine and eat healthy South Beach Diet mixed nuts.

2. We leave Cheryl's Ex's apartment. We walk to Picaro and have a great dinner. When the evening's over, Cheryl–who by the way lives in New York–patiently goes over directions with me on how I get home. Inevitably I get lost, but it's worth it every time.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Bad Reporter

Can you believe it? Don Asmussen, my favorite cartoonist,
was at Borders Books tonight. His new book is Dog vs. Cat: A Nation Divided: Dirty Tricks and Other Shocking Secrets From a Nasty Pet Election.

e-mail from Aggles: How come you didn’t take a picture of your favorite cartoonist’s shoes?

Aggles, I felt bad about that all the way home on the bus. But I wanted my picture taken with him, along with one of his cartoons. First I asked him to sign a big xerox instead of buying his new book. Then I asked him put a slide back up on the screen for the photo. I just couldn't ask him one more thing.

Also, I had met with the gastroenterologist earlier who is supposed to do the colonoscopy, and we had had a satisfying shoe talk. I was wearing my perforated yellow Nikes, and he was wearing his black calfskin Bruno Magli's with the skinny squared-off toe. Do you know how much a colonoscopy costs these days if your insurance doesn't cover it? $3,500. That's more than we paid for our family car.

p.s. It looked to me like Don was wearing black Clarks, but I'm going to have to verify that.

e-mail confirmation: black "bostonians," Linda. at least that's what it says on the heel. a real cheap shoe, if I remember correctly. plus, i was a bostonian at one point, so it seems approproiate.....don a

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Joy & Silliness

Last night Tom dropped a package on my desk. My superhero replacement necklace had arrived. (My original one turned into a birthday present.) Monday is a holiday–and I knew I wouldn't have been able to wait until Tuesday for the necklace to arrive–so I was very happy. Being half asleep, I took it to bed with me and examined the beads one by one. In my dreamy state, each bead made me think of a nice thing. I don't know why! It's just the power of this necklace.

I had asked Andrea if she would add a tinge of silliness to the necklace, since she makes each one for you when you order it. I wasn't expecting the smushed chewing gum bead and the dubble bubble bead, but I have to admit that this is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry ever.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Sister Won the Lottery

My dear sister,

Although I may not have said it I have always thought that if I ever won the lottery I would split my winnings with you.
Last Friday I had 3 numbers from the Megamillions draw. That garnered me the big win of seven dollars. Enclosed is your half.
Your dear sister,


Friday, October 06, 2006

He Called Her Sweetie

© Linda Davick

Tom has known Eric and Deb for 35 years. They were in a group of friends at College #1 in Virginia. (Tom and I met at College #2.) Both Eric and Deb have visited us over the years, and we have visited them. But separately. Because Eric lived in Charleston and Deb in Boston. Last year Eric got an idea. He sold his house and moved all his stuff to Boston. Into Deb's house.

We had never been with them as a couple. Imagine how it felt to hear Eric call Deb "Sweetie" in the lobby of the Tuscan Inn. And then, examining the back of Eric's nano, to have my eye fall on the engraving: Happy Birthday, Sweetie–Love, Deb

Back home in the kitchen, I told Deb how fun it was to see them together. She said, "Oh yes. It's very nice. I feel like the cat who's swallowed the canary."

In the car on the way to the airport, I heard Eric say, "We should put those bulbs in the ground this weekend." I asked what kind–(mostly tulips). Then what color–(many colors and different types). And some narcissus for the front yard. Then a mile or so later: "We need to get those storm windows in place." Deb said, "I can wash them!" Listening to them plan this work made it sound like they were embarking on greatest weekend adventure one could possibly imagine.

It was obvious that both cats had swallowed canaries.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Our Last Night

Every evening three deer came by to eat outside our window. My camera scared them–this is the last one running away.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Two Chefs

Fresh salmon, roasted potatoes, salad, wine, chocolate.

Chef Tom, Chef Deb

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sea Ranch

That's the moon up there.

Sunday, October 01, 2006