Sunday, September 29, 2019

mourning the end of tomato season

this might be the last tomato its tender alien beauty those imprecise swollen lobes its dark green eye its strong heart I picked it this morning after a dark and stormy night it is pecked with rain and a wee bit soft but I will eat it with mayonnaise on dark rye bread and I will savor every single drop of its sugary tomato blood


I stood in the garden in my pajamas just a few minutes ago and yelled at the potatoes to stop growing what even the hell everything else is politely dying back but the potatoes those lumpy attention whores wave their leaves that continue to feed the blacktail deer who use my garden as their salad buffet and those damn potatoes grow and grow and grow and grow oblivious unable to read the room the bumptious clowns of the hidden root underworld

it’s 43 degrees I lit the fire and drank three maybe twelve cups of coffee it has been almost a week since I’ve had deep river soul slamming anxiety is it too early to hope that the prozasin is actually working where the less expensive doxazosin did not is it folly to hope maybe but I’m going to run with my functioning self while I am here inhabiting my brain I am going to savor it while it’s here

Hello Darklings and greetings from the stormy Salish Sea

Saturday, September 28, 2019

god's candy

I drove to the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mount Vernon today because there is a dire lack of fresh fruit out here on the island except for hard little apples and soon to be ripe pears I drove after I ate a bowl of black beans with butter it was 43 degrees impossibly cold for late September and it was sunny with looming black bottomed thunderheads to the east above the Cascade Mountains I stopped at the Skagit River and watched for a while then I drove past the cornfields lining the old highway I saw a hawk low in the wheat hunting a culvert the derelict barns the tiny taco stands the strange chicken coop that is an exact replica of The Overlook Hotel the yard with all the dahlias the pumpkins bursting out the corn being sold 8 for $1.00 on the side of the road my beloved Dari-Delite then I went into the store and found (cue the hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah) these gorgeous figs the must luscious fruits on the planet and some baseball sized plums and ripe apples and some fresh baked garlic naan and then and then and then

I had a panic attack

right there at check out my heart started pounding fast faster my face was hot I was talking too fast to the the girl who was bagging my groceries 


I barely made it to my car before my head exploded embarrassed as usual caught found out feeling stupid feeling exposed because I can hear myself I can feel that awful engine revving up the words frothing out of me standing there in my summer dress and winter boots with the furry insides

I took that picture of the figs on my lap before I started the car because I knew I would be eating them on the way home

when  I got home I read for a while then I put a cup of oatmeal in an old sock tied a knot at its hole and threw it in the bathtub and imagined myself being the kind of woman who can soak in a bathtub with lit candles and silky water reading a book and maybe eating figs for a long relaxing time but instead I was the kind of woman who sits in the tub reads two pages before she splashes water on the book then rubs a sock full of soggy oats over her dry legs just as her black cat comes in knocks her soap off the edge of the tub and skitters it across the bathroom floor

my skin does feel better though

for the seven minutes I was languishing in the bathtub I considered how I used to be beautiful not stunning but basic white girl beautiful long of legs and fingers good cheek bones blueblue eyes but like most of us I didn't know it until I was almost old I did think I was charismatic though now I realize I just vibrated faster than everyone else my squirrel soul running running always on the run oftentimes literally I was and still am driven I think my inner storms drew certain people in quite frequently dangerous people I think now I was complicated and obsessive and unsettled with really great hair

and this vibrating this unsettled heart is where art comes from for me this vibrating allows me to bend into Beethoven to force out poems to move forward in intellectual circles to think deep and wide to fool everyone

that's all the introspection I can stand today I'm in my bed alone with Prince Hal curled nearby a belly full of figs a superb slightly damp book and the absolute certainty that now at 66 years old I am once again beautiful

Good evening Darklings here I am my own face with it crags and wrinkles which I love in real time it is nearly October can you even believe it?

Friday, September 27, 2019


ever since I moved here the hallway closet doorknob has not properly latched shut but I never worried about it because none of the brooms or other cleaning devices ever escaped the other night my son showed me how he had cleverly wrapped three rubber bands around the outside doorknob to the inside doorknob thus creating a bit of hold I saw what he had done and told him in my outside voice to remove them because I won’t have this house smarmed up with duct tape which is how I pretty much held everything together in the old house from cracked windows to our beds to the freezer door that nightmare place was a duct tape hovel and once I bought this house I swore there would never be one piece of duct tape or any other quick fix solution anywhere here ever ever my son of course walked away from my frothing this morning I awoke to find the rubber bands missing I immediately panicked and began walking around inspecting the beauty carpet for them because of the cats and trust me once you have pulled a rubber band out of a cat’s butt you never want to do it again ever ever not a one to be found I panicked

I grew cold with fear

later my son showed up and told me he removed the offending rubber bands after I went to bed

which is why I successfully bought a hallway doorknob the other day

holy crap I have been attacking the regulation mold that grows on my window frames here because of  mostly rain all the time with vinegar and toothbrushes and baking soda for almost three years scrub a dub dub lalala and today I accidentally discovered a way to remove it pretty much instantly with no scrubbing


I am 100% stunned and also I feel a little embarrassed because I have bought and lost thousands of these since I moved in (they have to be somewhere right they don’t just disappear right ha) I swear to baby buddha’s underpants that this is in no way an advert just a holy shit moment in housekeeping 

This has been a Radish King public service announcement 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


this is the first time in 14 or 15 years that I have missed posting on the Equinox but there have been goblins in my head on account of cigna my prescription insurance company deciding I could no longer take doxazosin for no apparent reason

which means a return of daily ptsd related panic attacks
which means no sleep
which means panic at the thought of panic
and no sleep

Crazy right?

New Nurse told me she couldn't get cigna my prescription insurance company on the phone that she has prescribed tons of doxazosin for many of her patients on medicare without a problem ever so she switched me to prazosin which is basically the same drug only stronger and instead of a month's supply of doxazosin for $7 I now have to buy a month's supply of prazosin for $70 exactly that and it has taken me quite a while to adjust to prazosin including almost constant nausea so I called my regulation doctor and asked to get my promethazine which I have taken on and off for three years for nausea refilled but cigna my prescription insurance company told him I could no longer take promethazine but I could take zofran which cigna my prescription insurance company told me three years ago I couldn't have because it was a controlled narcotic also promethazine $10 zofran $30

basically I now pay cigna my prescription insurance company $50 a month to be MY DOCTORS it is crazy yes I am crazy and this post is ugly with all those meds named but it is hard not to think that cigna my prescription insurance company really just wants me to pay more money to the pharmaceutical companies that control my well being even my normal state of paranoia sees the fault line there even my crazy can call utter bullshit

other than constant nausea I have been loopy as hell but not tired which has turned out to be rather haphazard for me because I keep falling into furniture and bumping into walls and tripping over my own good sense for instance I carried a bowl of yogurt into my bedroom a few days ago and slammed myself into the highboy and dropped the yogurt on it and on my beautiful rug and believe me that yogurt flew and last night I decided to glue my glasses back together with superglue and after I punctured the tiny hole in the tube it glurgled out all over me and I glued my hand

I seriously should have taken a photo of that good god my hand turned white and instead of taking immediate action I continued gluing my glasses as the glue bonded itself to me for eternity then I spent most of last evening scrubbing my hand in old nail polish remover and surfboard wax remover then picking it off now my hand is red as a lobster claw

clearly I can't and won't drive
or shop
or dance
or go for a walk in my own goddamned forest

I did pick what seems to be the last of my vegetable garden including these hugeass potatoes that I planted last year along with some tomatillos and chilies and prickly cucumbers

I made a shit ton of strawberry jam without pectin which means I stood over my stove for an hour stirring and breathing in the strawberry sugar and I might have eaten an entire jar of it as I did so last night before I glued my hand I made a large jar of salsa verde with the tomatillos and peppers and some onion and some cilantro and some lime simple and delicious and green

yes yep uh huh this post is every bit as boring as I expected it to be and I apologize there is a lot of noise in my head right now mostly worry over getting my brain righted in its rotten housing and politics

I did successfully buy a new doorknob for the hallway closet

baby steps Bob, baby steps

one more photo of my beach this morning then I'll fold this post eleven times and put it in an envelope and leave it in the middle of the forest for the bears to find

hello and love from Summer's End where it really is for true autumn

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Pig and farm report

Yesterday afternoon I took a break from watching the impeachment hearings shit show on CSPAN to go out in a windstorm/rainstorm and look up into the two Western Hemlocks that impossibly hold the great horned owl's nest in their delicate thatch of branches in my front yard I grabbed this screenshot from a video I tried to take that is only two seconds long because I had to stretch my head all the way back to see that far up 50? 60? 70? feet up and when I did a spider flew into my throat or perhaps my lung because I immediately began a horrendous coughing a serious gasping cough like a 98 year old three pack of day cigarette smoker with emphysema who demands to be unhooked from her oxygen tank and wheeled out on the veranda for a drag it actually doubled me over standing there in the front yard in my summer dress and winter boots 

hack hack hack hack hack hack hack hack hack hack hack hack

after that I drove to the quaintly named Gyro Stop where I stopped for a gyro and to make sure that the place still stands because I worry about the two middle eastern men who work there and because they make the best hummus I've ever tasted outside of NYC

I admit that I put my middle finger up at a woman who was aggressively driving a tiny red clown car with a you know who bumper sticker on it on the freeway in the 70 mph zone that lasts from here to Smokey Point and is terrifying as it is without some angry white republican driving 90 and zooming in and out of the lanes

I saw that the meadow here on the island where the unicorn and the tiny horse and Lumpy Cow live now holds a newborn jet black calf I apologize to Lumpy Cow for misnaming you and I want to assure you that you are now much sleeker and your baby is gorgeous and perfect

it has been autumn here with weeks of rain and cool temperatures blissfully autumn yesterday I put all my fans away in the shed and got out my gray faux fur throw for the couch yesterday I lit the fire yesterday I finally put on a sweater

reading and writing and reading and writing and reading and writing which isn't very interesting to read about for you Darklings but I like to map it when I can and when I can I have 27 poems floating around with six different publishers right now such a strange business so different than when I was a young writer with the typing and stuffing and stamping of envelopes and there being a limited number of poetry journals to which to send work now everything is mostly done through Submittable which is not only much less expensive and time consuming but if you desire you can watch the portal as your poems are rejected one by one in real time showing up politely as declined then you can cry or throw dishes or drink or just move on poetry business sucks but writing the art impulse when it is good is very very good is superb

Hal put himself in the hall closet this morning (he might have been spying on me) and when I walked by to get coffee I shut the door on him halfway out or halfway in sorry kitty he doesn't seem injured at all not in the least because I am not a door slammer never have been

I might have had something important to writer here but I'm listening to the Paul McCartney album McCartney that came out after the Beatles and before Wings and dancing around and reveling in simple happiness in true joy

Jupiter has confiscated my new office chair here she is telling me that I have to fill out a requisition form before I can use it bless her heart

I'm heading for the kitchen now to make eleven bean (cleaned out the pantry!) all day chili so I can use the half red bell pepper and celery and onion that lurk in my refrigerator 

that would be something
really would be something
that would be something
to meet you in the fallin' rain mama
to meet you in the fallin' rain 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

This recipe is extremely forgiving and truly the most work is preparing the vegetables and about 20 minutes of stirring time

You can vary the spices to your own like and add whatever is growing in your garden as long as the vegetables aren't watery this is also good with roasted potatoes if paneer isn't readily available

I like to get all the spices measured out on a dinner plate before I start cooking because it is so much easier than running back and forth

Tonight when I was making the cashew paste I got some of it in my right eye don't do that

A friend reading here once told me that wala means prepared with butter and that bit of information has stayed with me for years

I forgot how delicious this was
I went back for seconds tonight

Kashmir Wala


Vegetables and stuff

¾ cup or so of steamed cauliflower chopped into medium florets
1 small package of paneer cut into cubes
2 medium carrots or so chopped or cut into batons
⅓ cup peas or so
1 handful of sultanas
½ cup chunks of pineapple

Ground paste

1.25 cup chopped tomatoes drained of their juice
2 tbsp raw cashews (20 to 22 cashews or so)
½ inch ginger grated more if you love ginger like I do
3 to 4 cloves of garlic chopped


2 tbsp butter
1 small to medium bay leaf
¼ to ½ tsp garam masala powder (I used ½ tsp)
1 green chili slit (I used a jalapeño because it was in my refrigerator)

½ tsp dry fenugreek leaves
½ inch ginger julienned for garnish 
⅛ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp red chili powder
½ tsp curry powder
2 to 3 tbsp cream
1.25 to 1.5 cups water (I used 1.5 but I put in a lot more vegetables because I had them)
2 tbs sugar or more to taste
salt to taste
a few coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

If you want to leave out the sugar and cream you can substitute coconut milk but it is best with the cream and it's a very small amount per serving considering how much this makes

Putting it all together

Chop the steamed veggies into cubes or batons

Heat ⅓ cup water and soak the 20 to 22 cashews in hot water for 30 minutes
after 30 minutes drain the cashews (you can leave them longer won’t hurt a thing)
In a grinder or blender jar add the chopped tomatoes (one small can) add the soaked cashews grated ginger and garlic (½ inch ginger and 2 cloves of garlic chopped add more to taste)

Without adding any water make a smooth paste in the grinder or blender (I used an immersion blender it took forever the first time but the second time I put the tomatoes in first then the cashews on top and it was easypeasy) there should be no small pieces of cashews in the paste it should be perfectly smooth and kind of an orange color

Heat 2 tbsp butter in a pan

Add a bay leaf and sauté for a few seconds

Add the ground tomato cashew paste

Sauté the paste on a low flame stir until you see fat leaving the sides and on the surface this will take about 9 to 10 minutes but if your knee hurts this will take forever

Add the turmeric and chili powder then sauté for one minute

Add 1.25 to 1.5 cups water and stir it very well

Add 1 slit green chili the green chilies give a bit of heat to the gravy if you don't have a chili a few red pepper flakes will do the trick

Bring the gravy to simmer on a low to medium flame for 6 to 8 minutes you should see some fat floating on top the gravy will also thicken honest it will eventually

Add the steamed vegetables and stir gently (I like paneer instead of potatoes)

Add 1+ tbsps. of sugar depending on your taste

Add the garam masala and turmeric 

Add 3+ tbsps cream and stir so the cream mixes completely with the gravy

Move the pan off the burner

Sprinkle in 2 tsp garam masala powder (next time I’ll use 3 tsps it’s delicious) stir again and the wala is ready to be served

Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves 

Pig and farm report

I get anxious when there is food in the refrigerator that I haven’t eaten for instance I steamed some carrots from my garden and a head of cauliflower to make a paneer curry but I haven’t made it yet because I have been busy and it takes a lot of work because I boil a handful of cashews then blend them with tomatoes for the sauce and add 167 kinds of spices but I think about the gd carrots and cauliflower in there just growing old in there constantly and I feel guilty and I am afraid they’re going to rot or go to waste even though logically I know I can always toss them in the bin and buy more it still gets to me and the wind which is high right now might cause a tree to fall over somewhere on the island which may cause me to lose power which means if I start the curry now it will all be doomed

I will never recover from poverty though I have recovered from this awful toothy depression at least for now and I’m reading like a book eating fiend in case that room closes to me again ( it always does then I fear writing has disappeared from me forever then it opens up again) it is exhausting waiting for it trying to be okay in the dark holding onto belief and live outside of the worry that I might be upticking that writing and reading might be part of mania scratching at my door even though

again logically

I know reading and writing do not visit me during mania or depression

or maybe I'm embarrassed to write here because I keep writing the same things over and over or maybe sometimes not always but sometimes I feel like I have the interior life of a fern

The night and early morning bullfrog giants are outside my bedroom window croaking into the storm I think the rain has confused them they are intensely loud a gorgeous guttural song

Hello Darklings

I am swimming back to you


haha I guilted myself into making the gd paneer curry
if you want the recipe let me know in the comments
it really is worth all the trouble
now I'm going to measure out all the spices on a dinner plate so I can toss them in easily

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

ps. In case anyone wants it and because I am always curious about recipes here is my easypeasy recipe for cheese enchiladas

Cheese Enchiladas a la Loudon
or, as we call it, dinner


Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan
Add 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
This will become your roux the base for some of the world’s best sauces
Stir your roux constantly until it is light brown and has a nutty flavor it's a good idea to taste it to make sure the flour taste is cooked out but don't burn your tongue on it
While you are stirring sing this song repeatedly since it only has one verse and no chorus:

I want to make a roux for you
I want to make a roux for you
I want to make a roux for you
Now shut up and kiss me 

© Rebecca Loudon, 2005


Once your roux is cooked and you have sung the song several times
Add 1 large (28 ounce) can of red enchilada sauce any brand you want
This part is kind of cheaty but sometimes cheaty is ok and besides the roux absorbs the acky canned sauce taste
Add 2 cups of veggie broth
Toss in some salt to taste
Toss in some pepper to taste
Add 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro unless you think cilantro tastes like soap

Bring your sauce to a boil
Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until it gets thick


Chop up a giant onion and sauté it in a skillet
Add a couple of those little cans of diced green chilies again this is cheaty but so what
Set the onions aside so they cool a bit
Shred up a ton of cheese
I like mozzarella or jack but sharp cheddar is good too


10 to 14 white corn tortillas
A blob of canola oil
Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat
Fry the tortillas until they soft NOT crisp about 30 seconds per side
Remove to a paper towel lined plate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

The rest of it is pretty obvious but here goes
Pour ½ cup of the sauce in bottom of baking pan
Spread it out so your enchiladas don’t stick this works for lasagna too
Dip each tortilla into the sauce quickly (or they’ll fall apart) then remove to a work surface which for me is usually the pan I’m cooking the enchiladas in but if you have a marble counter by all means use it this part is messy
Spoon some cheese and some of the onion/chili mixture into the center of the tortilla saving some cheese to top the enchiladas at the end
Place it seam down in the baking pan
Repeat until your pan is full
Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas
Top with the rest of the cheese

Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly or for an hour and a half if your oven is on the fritz and unreliable like mine
Sprinkle some more cilantro over the enchiladas before serving unless you think it tastes like soap

You can also add green onions and olives to the inside of the enchiladas if you want but it’s wrong
You CANNOT add meat to this recipe because I said so

Serve with a buttload of sour cream and some chacha salsa

Bon Appétit!

and you love had wildest childhood over my heart


Elizabeth's post this morning reminded me that I am a writer that writing here is part of my process and has been for years I have been deep into summer deep in the garden deep in the dirt deep in the cold Skagit River deep in my yard deep in my flower beds deep in the trees and on the beach sweetly sweetly and with beauty I have been struggling with anxiety and PTSD as usual but no terrible polar swings I still have panic attacks in grocery stores I still adamantly refuse most humans

this is not writing

I had two plans for this summer one was to get my septic tank pumped and the other was for my son to be here long enough to clear my roof and gutters of pine needles both of these chores were causing me stress and both remained undone the only two things I've discovered about being a homeowner that I can not handle myself

this is not writing

I called a random septic company and was quoted $400 and some burly sixty year old man (he told me twice that he was sixty fishing I think for my age) named Rob showed up and started whining immediately about how much he hated his job about how dragging those long heavy hoses around was the hardest part of his terrible job about how hilly my house is about how he couldn't find a place to park his giant sewer truck about how he used to be a trucker this went on and on my son stayed home from work to foil this entertainment to be the human for me once Rob discovered he could park on the road and drag the hose down the hill directly to the tank (hello! straight line! two points!) he asked my son to help him lift the heavy cement lid on both tanks

let me stop here to say that while I knew there were two lids I didn't know they are both part of my septic system in fact I wasn't even sure they were the septic system because there are two other risers on the top of the hill that might or might have not have been my septic tank it turns out they are the pipes to the drain field and if I've done my homework and believe me now I have I know where to plant flowers next spring

when Rob asked for help lifting the gobawful heavy lids I stopped him and said shrieked are you covered for insurance in case something happens here like for instance my son breaks his leg or wrist or arm or neck and Rob assured me he was but he was clearly lying but the kid who is much nicer than I am helped him do his goddamned job anyway and I discovered what lives in there

what lives in there

1. Three salamanders
2. Shit
3. Fat
4. Gray water

luckily Rob let the salamanders go free and as he was finishing up his job a fox ran into the yard and stared at him then he became an entire new person all howdydo and he told me my septic tank was in fine shape and that he would file a report with the county stating that


I didn't know the county cared about my crap but indeed they do!!!

Rob rang me up $569 to pump my tank I told him that I was quoted $400 and he showed me the paper on which he had just written $569 and what was I going to do at that point ask him to pump the crap back in fortunately I had waited until payday to have this done and after I signed the paper he buddied up next to me I mean he literally leaned his shit encrusted body against mine and told me that he was on several singles sites but hadn't found a match yet and at this point my son leaned in and glowered with menace


that night after dark during a heavy rain squall Prince Hal started freaking out in the bathroom I got up to see if he had cornered a mouse and discovered water dripping from the ceiling one steady drip after another but I was so undone buy the septic tank and its secrets that I simply went outside grabbed a bucket and put it in my bathroom until morning everything in my person and soul wanted to blame Rob The Shit Man for the leak in my bathroom ceiling one tiny continuous drop from one knot in my beautiful knotty pine plank ceiling but not even at my craziest could I connect those two things

in the morning at eight on the dot I called a random island roofer and he came by in twenty minutes put his ladder up crawled on my roof threw down handfuls (hands full?) of pine needles and told me that my bathroom vent was clogged with them and that was causing the leak then he crawled down the ladder gave me his business card and didn't charge me one hot cent and then he gave me the name of a good honest septic company

it is too late to make this long story short and I apologize but I will tell you that my roof and gutters are now free of pine needles and my tank free of crap and that I was right to worry about these things and now I have an honest roof guy who knows a guy who knows a guy and that right there is a comfort


that's pretty much it for now I am three years a home owner as of August 30th this is the first day in months I haven't been overcome by anxiety and this break in my test pattern allowed me to actually vacuum a job I despise because it is hardest on my wrists I also drove to the bait & tackle and pumped gas into my car which is not broken and never has been then I made enchiladas and I'm about to make corn fritters

I see New Nurse Saturday I am taking Doxazosin twice a day and I have been able to sleep every night except one I am amazed at how much of my anxiety is caused by PTSD (how did I go so many years as a diagnosed crazy person without understanding this) and how while the anxiety still gnaws at my leg I am no longer swallowed by it

most of the time

now that I am 66 years old I have decided to never again shave my legs or my armpits at first I was worried that I would be judged by my fuzziness but the truth is no one has noticed like other women my age I have disappeared though the elder men on the island continue to hit on me in grocery stores and there is no easy explanation for that

I can't believe a fox appeared when I needed him most

here I am veiny nose and wattly neck and somewhat jowly due to my own gorgeous baking and sumptuous cooking and I don't care I do not have any fucks left to give and it is freeing and it is remarkable