Friday, November 16, 2007

What I've Been Up To

So here are some things I’ve been doing lately.

Today, after waiting a week to hear from the doctor after a test, I called his office. Of course, you can never talk to someone right away but have to wait for the little assistant to call you back. So on my answering machine (of course she called during the twenty minutes I was out) is the message: “This is Carla from Dr. Fenton’s office. We have no record of the test results you’re asking about. In fact, our records show that Dr. Fenton never ordered such a test for you.” Hah! Well, that explains why they didn’t call! (Of course he ordered it. How else would I have gotten it?)

A couple of weeks ago, Rog and I used the certificate that came with our new bed (Intelli-Gel) to spend an evening at the Anniversary Inn. You may know that the Anniversary Inn is one of those theme-suite bed-and-breakfasts that cost and arm and a leg to spend a night in. But this certificate was part of the bribe to get us to buy the mattress over Mother’s Day weekend and we were darn-well going to use it and enjoy it (especially since the bed has been a disappointment—sigh).

So. Roger picked out the Egyptian Suite. It had a rock waterfall shower and big jetted tub and great big TV and statues of Egyptian guys all over the place. Sound like paradise?

It didn’t take us too long to realize that these places are better when you are a little tipsy. (Well, we imagine, anyway.) Because the first thing we noticed was how inconvenient the room was. For example, there were no lamps or light switches near the bed, so that you had to turn off all the lights and then make your way to the bed (up two steps, even) in the dark. Also, no nightstand or shelf near the bed, so you there was no place to put your glasses, drink of water, chapstick, or whatever, near you when you were in bed. And the bed itself was built on a short pedestal that stuck out six inches beyond the bed all the way around it—perfect for stubbing your toe on.

All this wouldn’t have been that bad if it hadn’t been for the Drunken Neighbors in the jungle suite behind us. From the moment they arrived (and believe me, we knew when that moment was), they blasted their TV and voices all night and then started up in the morning. Twice I went down to the front office to complain, once even convincing the poor girl at the front desk to follow me up to the room and listen for herself. “Yep, it’s loud,” she said. “I’m sorry about that.” And then she left.

We didn’t sleep at all. I can’t figure out why we didn’t just pack up and leave at 11:00 p.m. or so when it became apparent that the noise was going to continue all night.

Bleh. (Did I mention that the bed is a disappointment, too?)

To be fair, I wrote a complaining note to the Anniversary Inn and they sent me an apology and a certificate for another night there. I’m not really thrilled at the thought of trying it again, but Roger says another room might be just fine.

While we were there, we watched a little T.V. (something we never do at home) and saw this show about psychics. It was some sort of reality show in which psychics competed against each other in little challenges. It was really interesting. Do you believe in psychic ability? I actually do, at least to a point. Not because of that show, though. Although one or two of them made an impressive showing.

Let’s see. Oh, I have two poems in the most recent issue of Dialogue. Here’s one for you:

Patriarchal Blessing

The boy, sixteen, is taller than his mother, taller than
the creaky man with shining eyes and trembling hands.

Mother comes fasting, something she's good at,
years of honing her physical yearnings
into empty bowls to catch spiritual manna.
And now she is empty of all but her hope
of hearing the voice of God through this old man.
Her son, the first-fruit of her labors,
a rough-cut stone but the best she could do—
and would God touch this stone with his finger?

Her son folds into the chair with a quick glance
at her, an echo of the glance he gave her long ago
the day he stood to join his father in the font.
And maybe now the father will join them
in spirit? She, longing, glances to the corners of the room.

The trembling hands are stilled on the boy’s head,
as if the words of power give them weight—
the words that dart like lightening in the air
and dance upon her eyelids. She opens them
to watch the old man, ageless, shine like sun,
his voice a whisper still but piercing bright.

The mother sits and holds the hand of God--
for once she feels she's truly not alone
in her sweet knowledge of her son's good heart.
She weeps to hear God tell her of the man
he will become, this boy she's nursed with blood
and milk, and tears,
this boy, a shining sword, a man of God.

And in the silence when the blessing's done
the son stands up and shyly takes her hand.
The old man, feeble now, stands at the door,
winking in the glitter of the stars.
For days those flashing words will dance like sparks
around her ears, behind her eyes and in the air--

as if she walked with diamonds in her hair.

And here’s a recipe for you. I make this every year, to the consternation of my kids. I really think it’s good, though, and it’s a great holiday tradition.

Soup in a Pumpkin

2 ½ c. breadcrumbs
2 c. minced onion
1 stick butter plus 2 T.
1 6-7 lb. pumpkin
1 ½ c. grated swiss cheese
2 qt. chicken stock at a simmer
½ t. sage
1 c. cream or sour cream diluted with milk
½ c. fresh parsley

Slow cook onions in butter until tender and translucent (15 min.). Toss crumbs into onions and cook 3 min. Prepare pumpkin: cut top, remove seeds and strings, rub inside with soft butter. Set on buttered cookie sheet. Put crumbs into pumpkin, mix in cheese, fill to 2” from top with hot stock. Season. Put on lower level of oven rack. Bake 1 ½ hours at 400. Don’t overcook or pumpkin will collapse!

Serve: heat cream and stir into soup just before serving, followed by parsley. Scrape flesh and serve with each serving. (Note: you can keep the pumpkin warm up to 30 minutes in an oven at 175.)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Johnna said...

I didn't write you before when I got my Dialogue, but that is one rockin' poem.

Kent Larsen said...


I really like "Patriarchal Blessing." Levi is right, you have captured a Mormon institution, and an important one at that.

Do you have enough material for a poetry collection or chapbook?

Kent Larsen
Mormon Arts and Letters

Darlene said...


Yes, I do. I've emailed you about it at Kent@motleyvision. Let me know if you don't get it.