Friday, February 4, 2011


I woke up yesterday absolutely convinced that I needed/wanted/was desperate to have the companionship of a dog. Not just any dog. A large, hairy, probably golden retriever-type dog. I could picture us, walking Last Child to the dog park, throwing balls, snuggling on the couch...

Okay, so the dream deteriorated at the couch part, since I don’t think golden retrievers are exactly lap dogs.

But the feeling of missing a dog is still hovering in the air. I walked into my bedroom and looked at the foot of the bed, knowing that if I saw a dog there, I should call the looney bin. Still, I felt let down when I didn’t see a dog there.

How many blogs ago did I rant about the infestation of living things in my house and how I am not responsible enough to allow one more breathing/food-consuming/vet-demanding being to cross my threshold?

Once, I woke up positive, absolutely sure, that the solution to all the political unrest in the world was the color purple. If everyone loved purple, we’d all get along.

So I take these waking-thoughts as signs of a deranged mind in need of chocolate and more sleep.

But, still, today, I’d like a romping, ball-catching dog. I’ve never had a ball-catching dog. I had a dog that chewed on balls, but she never caught them. In fact, if you threw a ball, she wouldn’t be able to find it. Ever. It would have magically left her world and the ball would sit where it landed until Armageddon before she’d be able to find it again, even if it landed directly in front of her face.

Can’t you picture me? I’d be so cute, so outdoorsy, with my fleece and my hairy ball-catching dog. My children would love me and sing anthems to me. We could take the not-afraid-to-swim dog to the mountains on family excursions and she could run loose. Random children would pet her and the owners would coo about what a beautiful, good, gentle, ball-catching dog we owned.

Except that in real life, it would require teaching that I’m not capable of. Heck, I can’t even teach my children to fetch a ball. I’ve known Hal for 20 years, about, and he’s never once chased a ball for me. So, clearly, no matter how bad I think I want the vision of a dog, in my life that vision would fail miserably and I’d be left with a flatulent puss-ridden four-legged furry child who would never sing anthems to me, no matter how many balls I threw at it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I am not Chinese. I know this comes as a shock to some of you, but it may also explain why I don’t have a vast mushroom repertoire . Something in me screams, “DON’T EAT IT!” It must be years of anti-fungal conditioning. My ancestors didn’t eat Shitake mushrooms, and so any mushroom that is not perfectly round, with only a bit of brown on top, seems poisonous to me. In fact, when mushrooms grow on our grass (not really a problem now that we’ve moved to the high desert plateau), I won’t even let my children touch them. Poison could seep through their baby skin or get put from baby fingers into baby mouths.

This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a portabella grilled, or crimini or buttons thrown on just about everything I eat. But those come nicely sterilized in my local grocery store.

So, how adventurous does it feel to have, in my fridge at this moment, a Maitake mushroom? Also called Hen of the Woods, this looks like something fairies would live in (really rich fairies who can afford a Versailles-type mushroom). Or like the bottom of a ballroom dancer’s gown. It does not look like food.

And I’m going to eat it.

Probably not all of it. Probably I’ll share some with Hal. I’m thinking of making a mushroom-pesto and putting it on crusty french bread, in keeping with the Versailles image. I could put it in some Thai soup because how can you go wrong with coconut milk? If my mother had raised me on coconut milk, I’d be a better person today.

The options are limitless. Well, sort of. I don’t think I’ll sprinkle it with sugar and call it “cereal”, nor will I top it with a scoop if ice cream and call it “cobbler”.

Oooh, cobbler. I might have to think about dessert first, then figure out how to cook the mushroom.