Postcards from Egypt

ISIS HOTEL

Thumbing the ancient elevator button

my driver summons the deity of ascension

who rumbles us up to the 14th floor lobby,

a world of massive brocade chairs and wobbly

wooden tables, populated by joking men

who take my measure in Arabic, take my

payment in Egyptian pounds, and offer me a room

filled with plastic flowers and the scent of ginger.


PHILAE TEMPLE

Scarred by time and new religion

the temple turns to show biz,

beguiling tourists with cash in hand

giving voices to the night’s deep shadows

as boats without running lights

glide by on a cloud  of diesel exhaust


MCDONALD’S IN LUXOR

For the price of a McSlurry, we find

simple pleasure in the familiarity of

clean rest rooms, free internet, and

the taste of something that kindles a

memory of chocolate, but the laughing

red and yellow clown makes me think

I’ve been had.


EGYPTIAN HORSES

Beasts of burden, small and precious,

did they descend from the fierce steeds

of Pharaoh’s chariot? Or simply the models

for the instant antiques, being sculpted

from ancient Egyptian dust

on every sidewalk in Cairo.


MEMPHIS, EGYPT

Careening through Memphis,

I feel like I’m in a movie mash-up:

part Bubba Hotep, part Toad’s Wild Ride.

As my driver hits the gas, and we fly by,

my camera finds a lone white donkey

who seems to give me a sidelong glance.


BUYING A CAMERA IN ASWAN

I never had to work so hard

to buy something

in a land where haggling is the rule

in a shop where the price was set,

the paradox obscured by the sight

of three black-burka’d Nubian women

wresting a washing machine

out the front door.


STALKING TOURISTS

Their photos show them in a jaunty stance

a pyramid in the base of their hand

finger pinching the nose of the Sphinx.

Mine show them posing, just a bit off kilter,

striking a pose made sensible

only by geography

 

TWO PHOTOS I DIDN’T TAKE

Two burkha’a women, one crossing a busy

Cairo street with a Hello Kitty balloon held

a lot; the other walking down the stairs of

Amenhotep’s temple, video camera held up

to her barely visible eyes.


WAYS TO GET SICK ON VACATION

Drinking the water, disguised as Tang;

Drinking the beer, long out of date;

Eating the food;

Breathing the air;

Forgetting your meds;

Riding in a car, a van, a train, a boat.

Standing quietly, doing nothing at all.


MUSLIM LINGERIE SHOP

Drawn in by a window of orange gowns,

we soon make friends with the Lebanese clerk

who shows us her glamour shot, her life unveiled,

then leads us downstairs where the good stuff is:

red lace body stockings, laced with a strategy

of slits and opening, peek-a-boo nighties,

unimaginable ways to unimagined skin.

 

MONUMENTAL GRAFFITI

Early Christians were among to first to discover how

easily ancient temples along the Nile could be converted

with chisel and knife. Images obliterated, names changed.

Napoleon’s legions overlaid their greetings in French

followed by any number of European names and dates.

Victorian Americans joined in as well, carving their home

ports into the feet of colossi. And I, knowing I trod where

ancestors had visited 100 years earlier, I was just relieved

not to see my family name visible among all the rest.

 

CLEOPATRA

“You look like Cleopatra,”

the street-hawkers called out again and again

to our Suzanne, lusting for

her eyes, her skin, and her hair.

Later, in the museum, we hear the myth

that Cleo herself was never a looker,

but we don’t believe it:

We’ve seen Cleopatra in the eyes of the hawkers.

We’ve seen our Suzanne.


DESERT RUN

Expatriates outside of Cairo, we gather in the desert

ready to walk or run the ridges, invoking odd rituals,

baptisms with beer, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats;

everyone sharing a massive multi-lingual joke.

 

TRAVEL BY CAMEL

The camels in Giza were high style,

tricked out. I’d ride one of those

any day of the week, feel like a

queen, the ride never too long or wild enough.

The camels at the Nubian Village

far south up the Nile, now those were beasts

of a different canter, ungainly, fly-ridden,

exhausted, and humble.

Riding with reins clenched, we ascended

the hillside too close to each other,

a managed slow stampede, held in check

by cheeky boys who walked up to the top

and then galloped back down with a yelp.

 

FELUCCA AT NIGHT

No wind, no breeze, just heat

and the slightest sound of water

lapping the edge of the boat’s weathered hull

floating out in the River Nile, our conversation

wrapped in a gentle scarf of city’s night music,

a group of travelers, far from home.

 

NIGHT TRAIN

By the time we boarded and found our tourist compartments

Alexandria was already a fading memory

a vague one for me,

already on my second full day of living in a body

focused entirely on pleasing a belly set on displeasure.

The rocking of the train lulled me to sleep,

a treasure of dreaming. In my medicated haze,

we might well have been on the Orient Express.


CAIRO ROOF TOPS

On a roof top in Cairo, my host

tortures garbage, coercing its essence

through sun-hardened tubing, until it escapes for

no more than a second before the strike of

a match sends it back to the sky as blue flame.

Gazing down at this magic, urban goats chew

without interest, working on a simpler

conversion, their own.


TRAFFIC

On the highways along the Nile, traffic

lights are only a suggestion, rarely followed,

horns signaling nothing more than intent

to take join the flow of endless traffic,

as if there were a choice.

 

MY EGYPTIAN DRIVER

At the Step Pyramid, my driver

again makes his only English joke:

“Good-bye. See you tomorrow.”

and then does not actually leave

but goes back to work on another

suduko, or maybe a nap in which

he dreams of a day riding

in another Town Car, drowsing

happily, stretched out in the back.

 

BAKEESH

Bakeesh! Bakeesh! Bakeesh!

The first word I learn in Arabic

is the last word I hear at the Cairo airport

as I struggle with luggage, struggle with language,

opening a door, finishing a meal,

I see the open hand, seeking a tip.

Bakeesh! Bakeesh! Bakeesh!

 

RED PYRAMID

I descent 65 meters into the empty

silent tomb: No crowds, no jostling, no words

until I hear a cheery Aussie accent,

see a welcoming smile, and find a

seeker who had found her soul

deep in Dashur, under tons of rock.

We chat, I leave. She wraps

solitude around her,

perhaps already knowing

a bus load of tourists

is about to arrive.

 

SAKKARA TOMBS

My ticket to the tombs includes a

one-man show, a guide with an audience

of only me, and the skill to leave his script

for another day. Instead we walk

like old friends, heads together,

examining the past, answering

and asking all the right

questions, one at a time.

 

BBC

Coldest winter in 30 years, I bundle up

on Emma’s couch and watch the BBC

on her telly, feeding my imagination with

well-told tales of Egypts past, parlayed

in a British accent, assured that what I

arrive at last, it will be a very classy place.

 

LUXOR ATM

In Luxor, as I wait at the ATM —

another ritual of a Nile-side tour,

a familiar and simple aspect of home —

an Amazon woman with a  spy-movie accent

wrenches me from my  drifting thoughts,

claiming my spot by prior psychic right.

The trace of madness in her eyes

reminds me that I most assuredly must

already have all the cash that I need.

 

EGYPTIAN MUSEUM

Perhaps it should be in a museum of museums.

Oh! this is what museums used to look like with

hand-written cards and thumb tacks

pushed into the stories of trickery and deceit.

And I never did find Nefertiti’s bust, perhaps

too covered with dust.

 

MY FELUCCA

“I want to drive the boat,” I joke,

having envied the light stand of the helmsman

balancing on the tiller, a ballet of navigation.

The captain hesitates, then smiles,

gives me the thumbs us, and I –

for a moment – become one of the few

who can say, “I sailed on the Nile.”

My heart still soars.


TOURIST

The problem with being a tourist in Egypt

is simple: You are a tourist in Egypt,  a mark

You might as well be wearing a flashing light.

In a souk, though, I meet two English gentlewomen,

who laugh at my sandals and scum-splattered feet,

and — telling the shopkeep that they live in Cairo —

they turn and offer to sell him to me.

 

DONKEYS

So many think of camels in Egypt

but for me the donkeys are the ones who remain

still trotting in my homebound dreams,

too small for their riders,

feet clipping in an impossible blur.

I  know their secret, yes, I think I do:

I  saw one in line at a Giza gas station.


EGYPTIAN RAIN

Four times a year it rains, they said.

Okay, well maybe twelve.

No matter.

When it rains in Cairo,

everything stops,

knee-deep in mystery,

blinded by the skies,

downright biblical. And still,

only a taste of what life was like

when the banks of the Nile

ruled the known world.


PRAYER

Our tour boat settled into its berth for the night

just as the call to prayer began along the Nile

one tower and then another

no two ever the same in word or tone or sound

but always just enough of an echo to make it clear

that the fabric of the prayer would never end.

 

VERY LARGE TAXI

Outside the Cairo Tower, the

tea-sipping driver is not easily put off

by seven lost tourists seeking a van.

“Very large taxi,” he assures us with pride

then sardines us into what can only have been

your mother’s Vista Cruiser, covered in

tapestry and beads, incense, and memories.

Muffins

Sue Ten has been talking about adding muffins to the pie shop menu lately, but I do think she is mistaken. Surely she means adding muffins to the Swing Barn menu for those few fools who think breakfast should be full of fluff and sweetness. Wait a minute, that would be me.  Yes, I want brepakfast to have bacon, toast, eggs, grits, and some sort of garnish, maybe an  nice twist of Florida orange, but not a muffin.

A muffin is more of an afternoon food, or perhaps really an accoutrement to the entre.  Should be a bit grainy, and small.

I don’t know where this breakfast muffin came from.  I think it’s a little crazy and I don’t believe that what people are calling muffins today are muffins at all but are instead some sort of glorified cupcake. I’m with Frank Zappa here, on the muffin question.

Now somepeople they like cupcakes . . . .

And why not? Especially the Hostess variety, chocolately with those white squiggles on top.  Yum. I ate those for years, until the adventt of ding dongs and ring dings. Oh, my teeth hurt just thinking about it.

And then there were the birthday cupcakes that we had one year for the Twins – little cakes piled high with frosting beyond belief. For some reason, blue ws the color of the day and the frosting was spread from child to sugarfied child quick as a wink or a wiggle. Each cupcake had a little blue clown head with pointed cap; each child wore a pointed blue clown cap. All in all, a fairly eerie site. Good thing the whole crew was outside and we were just able to hose them down later on. What do parents of winter-birthday children do? I shudder to think.

Muffins, though, should be nourishing and life giving. I remember one particular camping trip in Maine, when my fellow partiers, i mean drinkers, no I mean campers, chided me for bringing  along a dozen blueberry muffins from the jordan marsh bakery.  Ah, but in the morning, when we opened our blearing eyes and spied that pale pink bakery box, my stock rose as fast as the  sun. Yes, nourishing and life giving.

Corn meal muffins are the perfect accompaniment to fish chowder, and bran muffins are, well, medicinal at best.  Banana nut muffins reek of tea time.  Let’s see, then there are all manner of poppy seed ones, lemon grass, and who knows what else.

Muffins are a step up from biscuits, and a stair case up from the nasty burned things that my mother called “bride’s biscuit” decades after she was a bride.

So how did they become the trashy breakfast dessert things they are today? The monsters with umbrella-mushroom tops handing over the edge? I don’t know.

I’ve also noticed that in some parts of the country people refer to donuts as “rolls” and I think calling near-cupcakes “muffins” is the same faux-healthiness. Oh, how can I eat something big and sweet and pretend that it’s really good forr me?  I know. I’ll call it a muffin.  All 2,000 calories of it.

So, no to Sue Ten. The Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and driving range will not be adding muffins to the menu, but I will  give you my recipe for corn muffins and you can serve them on Saturday nights along with the endless franks-and-beans buffet. Outside of that, steer clear.

We are a pie shop. And a driving range.  Life is good.

Pie Poems for the Poetry Pie

Oh trouble trouble trouble. What shall I bake for the Martha Stewart pie show? I had such grandiose ideas of different ways to create a poetry pie, but let’s face it, we’re flying 1,500 miles to get there, and it’s going to be tough enough to get my pie with its silver doilies through TSA, although I did check the website and they claim there really is no problem at all. I’ll just send it through the X-ray machine and be on my way, flying to NYC with a pie on my lap, my Mohawk friend Hannah next to me all the way.

Believe me, we are some excited.

I’ve decided: The pie, my dears, will be a decadent brownie pie with a ginger snap crust. Gooey and spicy. Pretty I hope. I make the practice pie tonight, I think.

But first the poems, it needs to be crammed with poetry, just like McCabe (in the Altman film McCabe and Mrs. Miller). And the poetry needs to be of the postcard variety, only about pies and baking, not trains this time.

As it is, I’m pretty far behind on my postcard poems, so maybe this will give me a chance to catch up.

Okay, six poems about pie:

 

Pat’s Apple Raisin Pie

Kayaking in Florida’s 10,000 islands,

expeditioning with Outward Bound,

I finally shed one more food phobia

and ate a meal that included raisins–

didn’t even try to pick them out.

But still, you know, even so, I don’t regret

passing up Pat’s Apple Pie with Rum-Soaked Raisins

in the filling. It just did not seem right

there on the table with our stoic New England fare.

 

Yogurt Dream Pie

Yogurt! I loved it! Made it myself in funny

little cups, plugged into a yellow warming tray that

I bought from some catalog. I put it in

everything, even Dream Whip pie with lemon

Jello-O and who knows what else. “I like it,”

said Dad, pointing with his fork. “What’s in it?”

“Yogurt,” I beamed, then watched in astonishment

as he pushed it way, slid back his chair, and

left the kitchen for the comfort and security

of his old, familiar recliner.

 

Steak and Mushroom Pie

We bought the first one in a tin in some tiny

gourmet shop in Portland, Maine, so cool we were

as college students, English majors, worldly

in our willingness to try something new, something

that I could replicate in our galley kitchen where I had

Already failed so stupendously to create coq au vin

and had come up with pink chicken. But, my dear,

let me tell you, that steak and mushroom pie, the

one that I made myself, still sizzles on my tongue, leaving

its savory essence in memory ever better, every year.

 

Mincemeat Pie

“Mincemeat pie,” I said to John, “was invented by Paul Bunyan

after Babe the Blue Ox finished off the last of the

real minces, a single-ox extermination unit, that one. So

Paul had to create a dish every bit as sweet and delicious.

I don’t know whether he poured brandy into the first

one, or if that was someone else’s idea, so in either case,

what you have here is actually mock mince.

Not mince.”

“Can’t say that I care,” he said, and sliced his way

through my crust of cookie cuttered stars, ate his way

into yet another Great American Myth.

 

 

Another Thanksgiving, Another Pie

Somehow, my son and I developed our

own tradition over the years, never quite getting

the pumpkin pie right, always managing to forget

one ingredient, never two, always finagling our

way through the shopping list, then opening the

oven door to find something unexpected in

shape or texture, but always finding something

for sure that we could pass off as pie.

 

Boston Cream in Boston

When Nanny turned 72, we all hauled down to

Boston for a night at The Pops, preceded by a

dinner at Jakie Wirth, me a satellite to Nanny’s family

who gossiped and sipped, drank beer,

drank wine. And for dessert the crisp waiters trouped

out with the most fabulous Boston Cream Pie

I have seen in my life, decadent as only custard

and chocolate can be. She cut us each an

ample slice, and surveyed her congenial tribe with

a nod and a knowing grin, a bit of custard on her lip.

Sue Ten and the City

I may have told you some of the story, but there is always more, and now a few weeks or months after our visit to The City, I find it interesting to see what parts are risen to the top of the milk, and what lies submerged.

Now, seriously, I am not a city person by any stretch of imagination. I get rattled in crowds that are not headed to or from a ballgame. I hear too many heart beats around me, and I don’t know how to shut them out. I’m too busy gawking to watch where I am going, and I feel like I am constantly trying to break through the surface to find a more familiar horizon.

So why go to New York with Sue? Ah, well. Pretty easy answer. She asked me, and she also said, “Do you like to plan your trips?” Oh, my. Magic words. In no time at all I had a website set up, an interactive calendar in place, and a spreadsheet of what when and where all worked out.

“Oh,” she said. But of course, she already knew all that about me. After all, geekiness is something hard to hide for long, although it is more and more commonly accepted today as “normal” especially by people who don’t know the origin of the term.  Geek, my dear, is really a type of carney folk who specialize in odd things link biting heads off lizards,  and other acts of dismemberment and displaced body parts. Geeks will fry frogs alive and pop them in their mouths. Geeks will follow up the frog trick by popping our their own eyeballs, and eating them, too.  There’s really no limit to geekdom, and I do promise you, I try to keep that kind of geek out of the pie shop kitchen, although they do pretty well on the driving range since what they lack in skill they make up with creativity.

And so it goes.

Yes, we made our plan, and i do love a good plan, and we followed it through and through. I think Sue’s favorite part, at least in the re-telling, was  when the neophyte taxi driver tried to kidnap us, or so  it seemed. I, of course, was a total innocent, just going along for the drive, confident that public transportation would be every bit as reliable as it is at home when whoever is the designated driver for the day sets out with his or her precious cargo.

Boy oh boy, was I mistaken. This guy had no apparent idea where he was going but he was determined to take us there.  We knew we were in trouble when, soon after we got in the town car, Sue’s phone rang and it was the dispatcher saying “He’ll be right there.” Right where? We’re in the car. “Are you in a black car?” No, we’re in a gray car.

Okay, that was bad, but optimism reigned. One cab, two cabs, how different could they be? And then he took the wrong exit, and Sue started to quiz him. Or interrogate him. Or get into his face, which was difficult from the back seat since she did not want to take her seatbelt off.

Then she starts yelling at me to call 9-1-1, which made no sense to me at all since I knew my phone would call the local Everglades dispatch and what good would that do me in New York City.  Sue later told me I’d just have to tell them where we were. “But I didn’t know where we were!” Even now, she is incredulous remembering my face as I handed her the phone.

Oh, good lord. What would I have done without her? Would I have been sold into white slavery? Or was that Japanese businessman who took a liking to me in China behind the whole escapade? I don’t know.

Somehow Sue gained command of the episode, and  he convinced the driver to follow her instructions to the letter, and we did – sure enough – end up at LaGuardia airport in plenty of time for our flight to SoFLA.

And now, can you believe it, I’m about to go to New York again, and it hasn’t even been six months, not to mention 30 years. This time I’m on a mission with the American Pie Council to attend the Martha Stewart Pie Special.  I’m totally cracked up about the whole thing, and am still working on my pie design. Some sort of poetry pie, I think. Maybe a brownie pie with a ginger snap crust, the poems tucked into foil doilies between the slices. I am psyched.

And I have no intention of getting into a New York cab with Sue Ten.

String Theory Pie

Cooler weather, so

pie shop thoughts turn to squash

and spices

from all eleven dimensions

coexisting on the same

plane of faceted pyrex.

Will one fork ever be enough?

Will a fork be needed at all?

Spaghetti squash seems the

best choice for a filling that

never ends, especially if

you try to eat it

one yellow strand

at a time.

This entry was posted in Poetry.

It Takes a Train to Cry

My birthday is about to roll around again, and that means it’s been a full year since Little Peach and I made our memorable trip to the island south of Key West. This year, she will be my birthday chaperone once again, for the third year in a row actually, and I’m sure it will be just as memorable, although the memories will be of a different kind.

I can thank my ex-husband Pretty Boy Boyd, for my friendship with Little Peach, at least in part. If my life with Pretty Boy hadn’t been so, well, toxic, I might not have felt the need to flee my home on the edge of the ‘glades and drive five hours straight north to feel safe and nurtured.  Fortunately, thanks to all you all, I now feel safe and nurtured almost all the time. (Let’s face it. There are some poisons that even you cannot prevent.)

I’m looking forward to Peach’s visit. I always feel that she brings out the best of the poetry in me. I’m a little late in sharing this with you, but August was Postcard Poetry month, and I decided to dedicate my efforts to Peach and her family. I may have mentioned this before: They are all train buffs, and size doesn’t matter. From tiny model trains to the biggest engine we can find, they are all over it. So, when I came across a stash of railroad postcards, I knew my poetry for August would have a theme.

Now I want to share them with you, too.

AUGUST POSTCARD POEMS ABOUT TRAINS

Tucson Station

Waiting for Phoenix,
my sister grabbed her guitar,
tossed her hair, and outside
the station, melted into
a herd
of marching band students
their talents encased in
boxes all sizes, not a simple
shape among them.
She hauled her fading
marriage onboard, and
set out, her face reflecting
the same determination as that
of the boy, loading up
an obvious tuba.
Halloween

One Halloween in Miami Beach
we sat on a bench and watched
the costumed world ride by
on city buses and in cabs.
Another year, I rode the train
to Kansas City, my hair slicked
back, my clothes a boy’s,
wing-tipped shoes,
a wonderful joke.
I arrived at the station.
You were not there.
Surprise.

Meditation

Listen to a far away sound
the meditation begins
Listen to the silence behind
the sound
We sit on folding metal chairs
on the second floor of the AA club,
the energy of addiction muffles
the silence.
If we’re lucky, a train will roar by
rattle the building
shake our bones
and take us with it,
leaving only a departing light
in our eyes.

Worst-Case Scenario

You may not know this, but
if your car is stalled on
the track, do not run
away from approaching
disaster. No, get your
feet down on the ground
to the side of the rails
and run forward
forward forward,
as far from the point
of impact as you can possibly be.
Good advice in all sorts of situations,
I believe.

Therapy

My heart poured out, I paused,
tasting metallic emotion,
wanting some tea leaves to
spell out a better story,
wanting the story to
divine a better me.
“I see,” said my therapist,
“love for you is a train wreck.”
My breath flew south,
down the tracks of my life.
“Yes.”

Performance

For some event in junior high, my
high strung teacher had us all perform
a poem for voices, names of trains,
Erie, Lackawana, Susquehannah,
Ohio, and Santa Fe.
Twenty-five sweating pre-teens
and all we had to do was say a word
or phrase in the proper sequence and
oh my god it sounded like a train.
All we had to do was get it right.
If only Steve had not played hookie.
It might have been great.

Crossing

Pick-up truck speeding through
cornfields too late at night
for the driver to care
about anything much as he
tosses out another empty
though the fragrant window
almost to the track
he does not stop but
hits the gas
and we cross over with
seconds to spare.
Even now, I wake up some nights
and see the light of that train
full bright in my face.

Memory Loss

I can’t remember: It goes like
this: “Something something something,
Cry like a train.”
Howl like a river,
Cry like a train?
Laugh like a joker,
Cry like a train?
Scream like a banshee,
Cry like a train?
Tell me you love me,
Cry like a train?

Echo

Florida East Coast F – E – C
a few block to the west
rumbles as freight trains do.
Doppler effect
rocks me to sleep.
Open windows.
Poison jasmine
stabs the night.
Sleepless, I step outside.
Another train calls from the east –
an illusion
bouncing off the
flat canals of my mind

The Box Car Children

Sitting in my third-grade class,
desks still with inkwells then,
I read of runaway industrious
children living in a boxcar,
abandoned, like them,
motionless, steady.
“That’s where I want to be,”
I thought.
“Safe, secure:
I want to live there.”
But now I need motion.
Now I need flow.
I’d live on a boat.

For Robertson Davies

Somewhere in Alberta,
Via Rail paused in its
pursuit of glaciers and hair-pin
curves, gliding to a full stop
by a picture postcard railway station.
In minutes, my feet found
their way to the door
of a tiny bookshop,
full of Canada.

The Visit

First you need to know we
had never been friends, just sisters,
thrown together by biology. Not
much in common except family
history, something from which I’d fled.
But on that weekend, we found
something else, a ghost in a barroom,
a poem on a napkin, the sound of
of giggles in the alley, our heels on the
pavement at two a.m. Drunkenly
silly, she lay down on the tracks,
and I rescued her from absolutely
nothing as no train went by.
That’s all it took.

Copper

High chaparral, high desert,
a land not known to many,
the Phelps Dodge train laden
with ingots would chug down
from the smelter, beside that
patina green river,
echoing endlessly between
the canyon walls, as bits of copper
broke free and left a trail
of treasure
for children to find
along the track.

Chicago

It’s boring, she said, that
trip to Chicago. I had to
disagree, but maybe she
did not take the train on a day
when a deep, dark purple storm
covered the plains and cast
the landscape into a scene
from a 1950s science fiction
novel. We spent the whole trip
looking for spaceships
and little green men.

Tracks

Fingers of weeds between the rails
where once there was speed.
Metal stripes glinting
through summer asphalt
where once there were rails.
Grandfather’s stories of
bitter cold chores
before catching the train
to sit in a classroom
learning Latin and Greek.

Little Sister

A birthday trip from Maine to Boston,
my wish to go by train,
and so we are in Sunday best,
our matching outfits nicely
pointing out our differences in
ages, size, and shape.
I’m lost in daydreams while she
runs the aisles. Exuberant,
offends the crisp conductor with
these simple words,
“We’re coming back on the bus!”

Zhivago

Too much snow inside and out.
Too many people, yet never enough.
Box cars and desolation
keep the passion moving from
Moscow to Siberia
and back again,
Pasternak stoking the fire
with scarred hearts, fatal choices,
love, anger, and desire.

Sammie

We take the three kids to ride
on small trains, perfectly scaled to
work for us giants, perching
gingerly to sit on boxcars
each child embraced in a
seat belt of grown-up arms.
Sammy squirms as I hold
her, blond hair tickling my
chin, we ride together in hot
pursuit of grandparents
and other locomotives of memories.

Hairpin Curve

Somewhere near Banff, we climb
the stairs to the scenic vista
car to watch both fore and aft
as our Via Rail cars wrap
snug to the mountain
twist impossibly to
the edge of the
cliff and noisily vanish
into the blackness of
the tunnel ahead

Rock Island Line

Shut down by greed
more than anything,
the line lives on in
abandonment and cobwebbed
stations, crumbling in small
towns that once knew the
sound of commerce as a
piecing whistle and a
plume of steam.

Fog

Seattle to Mount Vernon,
an easy ride.
I snap photos from
the window and shoot
them out through the
airwaves, nothing
but gray, nothing but
gray. Everyone knows
instantly right
where I am. No
caption required.

Gladys

Arizona dust brightened
the sky and dimmed
our breath,
the silver train from L.A.
running late toward
the Superstition Mountains.
She smiled stepping down
to the platform, gray green
knapsack and khaki slacks.
“The babies cried in Spanish,”
she said. “Aye eee aye eee aye eee.”

Daylight Savings Time

Rushing south in my little tan
truck, you remember the one?
Whenever we went through
a water-filled dip in the road,
the stick-shift became a fountain?
Arrived, we thought, in time for the
Tucson train, with plenty of time
to spare, Arizona time,
but Lordsburg, New Mexico, had
sprung forward, clock hands
waving good-bye down the tracks.

Henry Flagler’s Railway Car

Having spent some time in a cow pasture,
they said, the private car
with its yacht-like interior
at last was recognized,
identified, and restored to its previous
state of robber-baron grandeur. I’ve toured
it twice, but what I still want to know
is how did it get to the pasture
in the first place? And I like to think of
the cows having tea from the silver
service on the mahogany buffet.

Paul Theroux

One of the tricks, he said, in writing
about travel is to be not too well known,
not too easily recognized, and yet
accessible, so people will talk
and share their stories
as they share the compartment
especially on incredibly
long journeys,
across Siberia,
from Boston to Tiera del Fuego,
along the rails of the Orient Express.
I want his job.

Anna Karenina

I love this story.
Do you think it’s true?
Apparently, they say, Tolstoi
once said he was as surprised as anyone
when Anna Karenina threw herself
under the wheels
of that train.

Midnight Special

Working through a stack of
dear Macy’s books,
I’m taken aback
to find the words on
bright cardboard pages
bringing music to my mind:
“Mary Mack, dressed in black,
silver buttons up and down her back.”
I close the book and start to sing.
“No, Grandma” she says.
“There is no midnight special here.”

Well, no, that does not add up to 31 Postcard Poems for August. I only had 27 railroad-themed cards, but I could certainly have written four more train stories. I was surprised by how many different train images, stories, and poems even now fill my mind. A lot of them are about you. Hope you’ll write soon.
P.S. The other four poems are about a boat.
This entry was posted in Poetry.

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

When Sue Ten told me she was going to show Hubble on the side of the Swing Barn this week, I thought she meant Robert Redford in The Way We Were. [Cue music.] I was wrong. It turns out she’s gotten access to some images from the Hubble telescope, and not just any images. Now, she’s showing the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D images, and I am delighted on at least two separate planes of reality.

I love to look up at a starry sky, even with my soft vision, the kind that comes with a few extra streaks and blurs. If the night is dark enough, I know the stars will be there to greet me.  I also know, as Annie Dillard points out, “You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.”

I guess I should really not complain about the lack of darkness here outside the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range. After all, I’ll the one who had the lights installed so I would hit golf balls all night long. Still, there are times when I wish it were darker here, just as it is after a hurricane knocks all the power out in the whole state, hospitals and jails excluded. Then we got some sky!

I remember attending a public art symposium some time ago, and I thought the best possible artwork we could create for SoFLA would be a way to really see the stars. Well, hot damn, I think Sue Ten has done it, and I just can’t wait to get settled in my lawn chair with a bag of popcorn to while the night away.

Then again, this new info from The Hubble does bring Olber’s Paradox to mind, so I’ve posted the Ferlinghetti version below the video link. Take it all in, and let me know what you think.

I’ve missed you so much!

YouTube vid of Hubbell https://youtu.be/oAVjF_7ensg

OLBERS’ PARADOX

And I heard the learned astronomer

whose name was Heinrich Olbers

speaking to us across the centuries

about how he observed with naked eye

how in the sky there were

some few stars close up

and the further away he looked

the more of them there were

with infinite numbers of clusters of stars

in myriad Milky Ways & myriad nebulae

So that from this we can deduce

that in the infinite distances

there must be a place

there must be a place

where all is light

and that the light from that high place

Where all is light

simply hasn’t got here yet

which is why we still have night

But when at last that light arrives

when at last it does get here

the part of day we now call Night

will have a white sky

little black dots in it

little black holes

where once were stars

And then in that symbolic

so poetic place

which will be ours

we’ll be our own true shadows

and our own illumination

on a sunset earth

-Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Moon Landing

As you know, we are big fans of Big Science here at The Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range, and what could be bigger, scientifically speaking, than putting a man or two on the moon?

After all, if Neal Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Cmdr Collins had not made that initial trip 40 years ago, our favorite astronaut Alan Shepard might never have been the first man to play golf on the lunar surface.

For our Moon Landing celebration, we had plenty of Alan Shepard Pie, we listened to NASA’s re-broadcast of the whole event, and we held a contest to solve the content-relevant puzzles in the New York times.

We had a lot of moon songs on the juke box – Blue Moon, Moon Dance, and Moon Shadow, to name a few – and Sue Ten showed Moonstruck on the side of the Swing Barn our usual lawn chair and popcorn crowd.  Our newest regular, Loretta Beauregard, the salsa-dance therapist, was on hand to give us all some lessons and some listening, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I read recently that the computers used by mission control and on Apollo were perhaps as powerful as our cell phones, probably not as powerful as your own GPS golf-tracking systems, certainly not as sophisticated at the system that Sue Ten has set up at the Swing Barn to mash-up Karaoke renditions with key variables such as harmonic success, type of liquor sold during each song, and amount of money in her tip jar.

I’ve just got to wonder, though, if computers have become so much more clever, why isn’t the space program growing at a faster rate. Where’s my hover car? Shouldn’t we all have a space-station vacation home by now? Shouldn’t I be eating pie in zero-G and working on my short game on the lunar surface. I must say, I’m a tad disapointed.

Your second-cousin Darnell blames the robots, although he was a bit more colorful in his description of exactly what he calls a robot. He seems to think that the robots took all the good jobs, and let him with few options beyond becoming a greeter at Wal-Mart or a bag-boy at Publix.

I’m not so sure. I don’t know that I have ever actually met a robot, but I would like to. I do know that a lot of great technology – and I’m not just talking about Tang here – has come from the space program. Think of the medical advances alone. So, as we sat around with our slices of Alan Shepard pie and our glasses of Tang (I had some stored in the fall-out shelter), we talked about how we might personally benefit from more spin offs.

As you know by now, I plan to live to 120 for starters, so I want to believe that technology will help me out. I have no problem at all with cybernetic knees. I’m sure they are a good thing. Elbows, too. Maybe hips. Maybe more. And, in another 60 years, I might need even more parts. What about you? Where’s the line for your own descent into robotology? I’d really like to know.

Then again, there is always a concern that one might go too far, and end up and unfeeling brain in a metal container. No, I don’t think that’s likely, but it could be worse. I keep asking the Pie Shoppers if they remember this video, but apparently it was not as popular with them as it was with me and the twins, and as always, I’m happy to share.

Why I Live at the Sand Trap

With apologies to Eudora Welty

You may call it a bunker.

I call it a beach.

An ironic oasis in a desert of green,

Its mission is clear,

its intent gives me pause:

a time for reflection,

a change of horizon.

My sand wedge in hand,

I fear not the descent.

I hit the sand,

propel the ball,

and I am out too soon

with hardly a chance

to fully imagine

a lifetime of sand

with striped umbrellas

and cool lemonade,

perhaps something stronger for you.

I wouldn’t mind

a whole game played

from bunker to bunker

from dune to dune

from beach to beach,

transistor radio crackling out

those songs of summers past.

I know there’s a river of cool

below the surface, and

I’m tempted to lurk

like the troll ‘neath that bridge

waiting to see who’ll pay for safe passage,

who’ll pay the toll:

beach blankets, umbrellas, toy trucks,

buckets, and scoops.

From sand box to sand trap,

it all feels like home.

Yes, I’ll move on for now,

but I’m sure I’ll be back.

This entry was posted in Poetry.

International Scurvy Awareness Day: May 2

No Scurvy

What with the Star Wars Prom and all that to attend to, we missed International Scurvy Awareness Day on May 2, but maybe next year you can make your cat wear a piece of citrus on its to help build awareness of this important cause.

Check out the beauties on http://www.limestrong.com/pets.htm.

(Why a cat, you say? Because cats are scurvy free. When’s the last time someone called you a scurvy cat? No, it’s always scurvy dog.)

Meanwhile, if you really care about preventing scurvy, and I know you do, you can do your part by coming on down to the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range to fill up on Key Lime Pie.

Nurse Crotchett and I had a wonderful time at the National Pie Festival, and I am a believer now in Key Lime Pie on a stick. Yes, I know, I usually want my K.L. to be pure, but on a hot day, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as Key Lime Pie, covered in chocolate, on a stick.

Once Prentiss my pie apprentice has recovered from The Prom, I’ll put her to work in developing our own recipe. The Morning Guy has already volunteered to do the blind taste test, and oh yes, I do love a man with a sense of adventure. Apparently he’s forgotten about our last taste test, but that’s another story.

Still thinking ahead to next year’s International Scurvy Awareness Day, maybe green golf balls will be in order, too.  Oh, so much to do in the next year. I can’t wait to get started.

This entry was posted in News.

Ethan Coen’s Poem

The other night, driving home from The Village and listening to NPR, I heard a wonderful interview with Ethan Coen, closed out by William Macy reading one of the poems. You can read it, too, by clicking here.

“The drunken driver has the right of way,” is the title of the poem, and toward the end of it, Coen notes, “When facing an oncoming fool / The practiced and sagacious say / Watch out / one side / look sharp / gang way.”

That line stopped me short with its uncanny familiarity. After all, I’ve seen an oncoming fool or two in my time, and I’m sad to say it never dawned on me to step aside. For all of my study of the Worst Case Scenario Handbook, I still can’t say that I have the sense to roll off a speeding sled before it hits a tree, a wall, a door.

Faced with an oncoming fool, I’m still likely to stand there like your typical deer in the headlights. After all, what is more likely to shake up my life than pure foolishness? I know I have welcomed foolishness more often than not with open arms, leaving no one to blame but myself when the smoke finally clears and suddenly it is time to sift through the saw dust on the floor to identify the bullet casings.

In many ways, Coen’s poem reminds me of both of my ex-husbands, Patrick the Liar and Pretty Boy Boyd. They were and are still, I’m sure, masters at getting their way, often by creating a massive presence so wildly unstable that sharper souls than I can easily recognize its foolishness by the undulations alone, and stand clear.

Til now, at least, I’ve lacked the energy to remain vigilant, especially when I was never really sure whether that careening vehicle headed down my lane was evidence of an alert driver dodging raccoons — or a drunk driver navigating entirely by the sound of the gravel road against his tires.

I get tired just thinking about those days, yet think about them I do, preferably from the haven of the front porch of my turquoise conch cottage here on the edge of the ‘glades, just out of sight of the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range.  Sue Ten and my other friends here are great anti-fool detectors, and I know I am safe with them nearby.

Even now, I can hear “Walk Like an Egyptian” playing on the distant jukebox, so I know The Morning Guy has flung open the pie-shop windows, and soon he’ll be punching in the numbers to play some Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.

Prentiss, my pie apprentice, has already served up her latest confection and  gotten rave reviews. Joe Sparkle Junior is fussing around the new putting green, replacing the divots that the Clown and her pals kicked up during the night. It’s an excellent day, just getting started with no drunken drivers in sight.

Untensed, I return to Coen’s poem, and my reverie, thinking how some time ago, I read an English-to-Chinese-to-English translation of a quotation attributed to Mother Theresa.  It was finally rendered as “The opposite of love is not hate. It is carelessness.”

I’ve thought about that for a long time, and have never been able to shake the odd truth of it.  Perhaps “apathy” was the word that the writer — or translator — sought, but “carelessness” makes more sense to me. The drunken driver is careless, from the moment he or she says, “Set ’em up, Joe.” I prefer a life that is careful, or at least full of caring.

Let us not be careless, my dear friends. And now, I must warn you, I feel a country song coming on, a song about being careless. I don’t know the tune, but here are the words:

You threw the white silk nightie of my love
into soapy hot water
with your red-flannel heart
and ruined them both.

You took my long-playing records
and left them to melt
on the radiator of your disregard.

You said you had no secrets
and left a trail of credit-card carbons
all the way to the motel door.

You left me waiting at the butcher shop
while you had bratwust at the bar.

You were careless with my car
and careless with my love
but there’s no no-fault insurance
for what you have done.

Obviously this song still needs a little work, so perhaps I’ll get back to that and polish it up before Sue Ten says it’s time for another meeting of the Tone Deaf Choir next door at the Swing Barn. I think she’ll like it when I am done, and maybe you will, too. Drop by soon. We’ve missed you.

The Nano Song

Oh, my dears, I did so much miss all of you while I was out there on the other side of the ‘Glades. I also missed my computer, my laptop, my netbook, and my iPod — all of which keep me up to date with the wonderful world of science and technology. Today, though, my heart sings like a lark as I listen to The Nano Song and grow ever hopeful that a true space elevator is in our future because that will truly make it so much easier for me to be the first person to take an apple pie to the moon. Yes!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Looking for Golf in All the Wrong Places

I’m headed home from a long trip to the Northwest, and I really just can’t wait to get home to SoFLA and find out what all you all at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range have been up to in my absence. My apprentice Prentiss at least sent me a message today, just a few hours ago, in fact to tell me she misses me. I suspect she just now noticed that I’ve been gone for a week.

Sue Ten also called to say she’ll be heading out of town shortly after I get back, so the changing of the guard will be quick and efficient. Neither Prentiss nor Sue Ten had much to report. I take this to mean that all is well, or they just really don’t want me to worry about anything in advance. I haven’t heard about any zombie attacks on SoFLA, so I will just hope for the best, and expect the worst, as usual.

In my week in Seattle and points north, I saw very little evidence of golf. There was that one woman on the Bainbridge Ferry, though. Then, in the SeaTac airport this morning, I saw the odd little sculpture below.

Metal Golf Guy, as seen in the SeaTac Airport

Metal Golf Guy, as seen in the SeaTac Airport

I sent a copy of the photo to the Morning Guy, and he did not seem to find it as amusing as I did. I can tell he’s already thinking ahead to long-term maintenance and is worried about me cluttering up the dooryard with such junk. If it were a little smaller, though, it might make a great hood ornament for the E-Z cart, or maybe it could ride on the roof. I’ll have to take that up with Joe Sparkle Junior.

I’ve been passing some of my flight time paging through the “Sky Mall” book, which is my son Chandler’s favorite magazine. His twin sister Rose prefers the parody version, “Sky Maul,” and I have trouble telling the two books apart.

I’d hoped to find some nice golf gadgets in Sky Mall, but I am sadly disappointed. The one true golf item that I can find is a collection of 14 “club links” which are little monogrammed discs to be affixed to one’s clubs. They are available in goldtone, silvertone, or black aluminum; no pink, no Palm Beach green. The message seems to be that these are for people in the habit of losing their clubs. I don’t think I’ll be encouraging this trend: If we help people identify their lost clubs, then we are only cutting down on our supply of rental and “try this” clubs.

I will, however, tell Sue Ten about the Sky Mall’s “Giant 8-in Cupcake” which is supposedly easy to make, and fun to serve. You know as well as I do that she is always looking for something fun to serve, and yes she is still ready to serve. I’m hoping she’ll be joining the FOAS (food on a stick) movement, soon, too. FOAS is not only fun to serve, but can be fun to eat, too, especially FFOAS (fried food on a stick) and DFFOAS (deep-fried food on a stick). Yes, Sue Ten is ready to serve, just like Sarah Palin – remember her? — and I am ready to eat.

Too many days in the Northwest seem to have turned my head to thoughts of warmer clothing, even as I am mere hours from my flip-flops and shorts, so I’ve got to say I am fascinated by the Sky Mall’s “Carbon Fiber Heated Vest.” I’m not quite sure how this works, but I’m all for new technology and I’ve got to tell you that the phrase “laminated microfleece fabric” has the same distracting effect on me as seeing something shiny out of the corner of my eye. Yes, I want it, and I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure it will improve my golf game on nights when the temps in SoFLA dip dangerously below 70. I need to be prepared.

Another tempting item in the catalog is the Kodak EasyShare Wireless Digital Frame, which promises, “The Power of the Internet, Now in Your Picture Frame.” If I can have the Power of the Internet in a picture frame, why not in my golf bag, my pinkie ring, or even my rose tattoo? I’m intrigued.

And, yes, Sky Mall does sell the “Swami Golf GPS” but I think they should combine GPS unit’s “Insta-Lok” technology with their “Electronic Feng Shui Compass,” and if they do that, I’ll be happy to become the exclusive SoFLA distributer. Really, what could be better than GPS Feng Shui – for golfers? Find out how far away the dragon is, align your shot accordingly, live well, and prosper.

Supposedly, the Feng Shui compass operates “with the same compass technology used in aerospace guidance systems,” and that’s not all! It also locates and calculates energy fields to help you align your physical surroundings. I can’t wait to get one of those for the driving range. We may have to move a few palm trees around, and reroute our feral green iguana Hercules on his daily stroll, but I’m sure this will all pay off in better golf for all of us, with or without the Swami GPS Golf option.

All right, my dears. We are just about to land, and you know I’ll soon be out on the range under the lights, so come on by. I’ve got hours to go before I sleep, but if I don’t see you tonight, I hope to visit with you soon at the pie shop. Remember, Prentiss and I are a long way from finding the perfect slice of Key lime, so send in your pictures and recipes, or drop in and sample our latest possibilities.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

A Couple More Slices of Key Lime Pie

At least this time I remembered the camera.

All right, my dears, I did find Key lime in the Northwest, despite our initial stumbling block of the possibility that it might truly turn out to be a “seasonal” dish. Seriously: They’ve got a point. January is not a good time for the Washington State citrus crop.

Here’s a shot of the pie served at Flyers in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Flyers Pie

Flyers Pie

Flyers was a fun place to meet and eat. I did enjoy the aeronautical theme, and general exuberance of the place. Or maybe that was just the exuberance of my dining companions? For dinner, I had a “prime rib dip” which I’d known in a former life as a “French dip,” but I guess I should just be happy that they didn’t call it a “Freedom dip.”

I should never order this sandwich because I know it will never be as good as the one I had at the Limelight Cafe in Denver in 1972, but I am – as well you know by now – an optimist. Golf, after all, is a game for optimists, and so is the search for the perfect slice of Key lime pie.

Needless to say, the pie at Flyers met our expectations, which were low. We gave them points for presentation, and for adding nuts to the crumb crust, but the overall impression was that the whole concoction had only recently come out of the deep freeze. “Fresh” was not a word that sprang to mind, or to tongue.

The next day, we ventured by ferry to Port Townsend, and enjoyed some time out in the water. Granted, we were inside the ferry with our toes close to the heater, but we were there. I have a vague memory or two of being in Port Townsend before. Maybe you were there with me? I’m pretty sure Little Peach was my chaperone on at least one trip to that part of the world, and I did miss her this time around. She has such a wonderful knack for asking all the right questions, and that’s a gift that I envy. Traveling without her is always difficult, and when I get home, I know I will hardly be able to answer half of her well-placed questions, just because I didn’t ask. Ah, well.

In Port Townsend, this time, I did have a marvelous piece of salmon for lunch, perfect in every way. I left a gold star on the menu on my way out the door. We did give this particular slice of pie high marks for the chocolate crust, yes indeed. I like a little experimentation, when the results pay off.

Port Townsend Pie

Port Townsend Pie

The filling, though, was exceedingly tart. We weren’t surprised, though, since we had already leafed through the restaurant’s cookbook, in fact we bought a copy, so we knew this particular offering was full of lime juice, no mention of fresh limes. At least they did not spoil the pretty presentation with a garnish of Persian lime, and I liked how the whipped cream was a decorative option.

I copied the recipe, which was pretty basic. Just speak up if you want a copy so you can try it out yourself, and let me know what you think. It might be just the ticket to make you think of sunny SoFLA when you, too, are far from home.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Farewell Transmission from Mars

Please join with me in saying farewell to the Phoenix Mars Lander, and all the brave little robots who have gone on before. Are there pie shops or driving ranges on Mars? Now we may never know.

This post, written by the Phoenix Mars Lander, appeared first on www.gizmodo.com:

This is My Farewell Transmission From Mars

If you are reading this, then my mission is probably over.

This final entry is one that I asked be posted after my mission team announces they’ve lost contact with me. Today is that day and I must say good-bye, but I do it in triumph and not in grief.

As I’ve said before, there’s no other place I’d rather be than here. My mission lasted five months instead of three, and I’m content knowing that I worked hard and accomplished great things during that time. My work here is done, but I leave behind a legacy of images and data.

In that sense, you haven’t heard the end of me. Scientists will be releasing findings based on my data for months, possibly years, to come and today’s children will read of my discoveries in their textbooks. Engineers will use my experience during landing and surface operations to aid in designing future robotic missions.

But for now, it’s time for me to hunker down and brave what will be a long and cold autumn and winter. Temperatures should reach -199F (-128C) and a polar cap of carbon dioxide ice will envelop me in an icy tomb.

Seasons on Mars last about twice as long as seasons on Earth, so if you’re wondering when the next Martian spring in the northern hemisphere begins, it’s one Earth-year away—October 27, 2009. The next Martian summer solstice, when maximum sunlight would hit my solar arrays, falls on May 13, 2010.

That’s a long time away. And it’s one of the reasons there isn’t much hope that I’ll ever contact home again.

For my mission teams on Earth, I bid a special farewell and thank you. For the thousands of you who joined me on this journey with your correspondence, I will miss you dearly. I hope you’ll look to my kindred robotic explorers as they seek to further humankind’s quest to learn and understand our place in the universe. The rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (@MarsRovers), are still operating in their sun belt locations closer to the Martian equator; Cassini (@CassiniSaturn) is sailing around Saturn and its rings; and the Mars Science Laboratory (@MarsScienceLab)—the biggest rover ever built for launch to another planet—is being carefully pieced together for launch next year.

My mission team has promised to update my Twitter feed as more of my science discoveries are announced. If I’m lucky, perhaps one of the orbiters will snap a photo of me when spring comes around.

So long Earth. I’ll be here to greet the next explorers to arrive, be they robot or human.

It’s been a great pleasure to have Mars Phoenix guest blogging for us, reminiscing back on a successful mission via its personality conjurer, the great Veronica McGregor at JPL—maintainer of Phoenix’s famous Twitter feed. Just as Doug McCuistion from NASA said on the news conference today, it’s certainly more of an Irish wake than a funeral today. We’re drinking to you tonight, little buddy. You can see all of Phoenix’s previous entries and the official press release announcing the end of Phoenix’s mission.

Past entries:
Phoenix Mars Lander Looks Back on its Re-Birth
This is What Landing On Mars Feels Like
Martian Ice Is Why I’m Alive and Why I’m Dying

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Mark Your Calendar

National Pie Day is January 23, 2009

  • Created by the American Pie Council®, National Pie Day is dedicated to the celebration of pie. As part of our American heritage, this day is a perfect opportunity to pass on the love and enjoyment of pie eating and pie making to future generations.
  • Each year the American Pie Council® sponsors the National Pie Championships® where some of the best pie makers in the United States and Canada enter their pies to compete for the “American Pie Council’s® Best Pie in America” award. For more information on who has the best pies in America, Click here.
  • To celebrate National Pie Day share the warmth of the ultimate “comfort food” by giving the gift of pie to a friend or neighbor. Your generosity will be long remembered.
  • If pie making is not in your schedule, stop by your favorite pie shop or grocery store and bring home a gift of love and enjoyment for the whole family. The coldest of January days will be warmed by a special pie dessert.
  • Watch for winning recipes on our web site or first hand in our newsletter, Pie Times by joining the American Pie Council®.
  • To get tips on getting media coverage for your company on NPD, Click here. (Downloadable PDF).
This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Obama’s Favorite Pie!

Here’s an excellent news item that I picked up from the Yahoo Shine Channel. I like the attitude of this writer: If you want it, you should have it — at least when it comes to pie. We follow that precept at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range, too. You bet we do.

Obama’s Favorite Pie! – Food on Shine.

YUM!
http://yum.tv

Obamapie

Obamapie

obama pie

USA–

The Wall Street Journal reports that in one of the small, rural towns where Barack Obama was campaigning this year, he asked an aide for a slice of pecan pie to go with his usual dinner of salmon, broccoli and brown rice. But there was none on the menu, and the aide was loath to disappoint him.

Mr. Obama’s even-keeled senior adviser and longtime friend told the aide to forget the pie. Then, she told the senator from Illinois “be careful what you ask for.”

SAYS YUM: “Well, Mr. Obama we have a pecan pie you can eat as often as you like! Sweetened with all natural agave, but not too sweet – and incredibly YUMMY!”

Difficulty: E-Z
Prep/Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: 8

INGREDIENTS

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
1 1/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

1 9-inch pie shell, chilled for an hour if freshly made, defrosted for 10 minutes if frozen.

TIP

Because nuts stale quickly, use only the freshest of pecans.

MAKE

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread pecans along the bottom of the pie shell.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over pecans. The pecans will rise to the surface of the pie.
  3. Bake at 375°F for 45-50 minutes until the filling has set.
  4. About 20 minutes into the cooking you may want to use a pie crust protector, or tent the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent the pie crust edges from burning.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

YUM!
http://yum.tv

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Metal plates send messages to airport x-ray screeners

I think I’ll have some of these made up with the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range logo on them, and then just give them to my few customers who actually do have the good sense to get out of town once in a while. Then again, using these plates may cause them not to return, and we can’t have that, now, can we?

MAKE: Blog: Metal plates send messages to airport x-ray screeners.

Img 1554
Img 1553
Diagram 900Px
“One of my favorite artists, Evan Roth, is working on a project that will be released soon – the pictures say it all, it’s a “carry on” communication system. These metal places contain messages which will appear when they are X-Rayed. The project isn’t quite done yet, Evan needs access to an X-Ray machine to take some photos and document. If you have access to an X-Ray machine he’s willing to give you a set of the plates for helping out (email fi5e [at] ni9e.com].”

Void your warranty, violate a user agreement, fry a circuit, blow a fuse, poke an eye out… Welcome to the Make Blog!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.

Peeled Onion Dream Pie

“Just peel the onion,” they say.
“Peel back the layers
and see what you find.”

I say “Nothing,” but I am wrong.

Nothing is just what I found
at the time,
but now I know it’s full of space,
and space of course is full of stars.

So we talk about observation,
seeing time move, and
wondering when
and how
simple viewing
moved its way
through the amygdala
to turn itself into critical thinking.

To make this pie,
I suggest you start with
just one large,
unfathomably sweet
Vidalia onion.

Peel it back
until you all you can see is
stars, motion,
and mathematics.

Opine to your heart’s desire.

Percolate.
Steep overnight.
Reflect, and finally
inject with just enough emotion
to give it that special zip.

Spread over a thick skin
of bread dough and minced onion.

Bake in a wood-fired adobe oven
in the dark heart of night
just north of Nogales
while you sing with coyotes
and breathe in the same stars
that you formerly
could not see inside the onion.

Serve in a paper bag.

Try to think your way out of it.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized.