Caramelized Pear Pie

This is my blog.
It is the record of my life right now.
Journal-keeping is something I have done, and encouraged others to do, for much of my life. Mostly because our minds play tricks on us as time passes, causing memory and imagination to get all tangled up together. Capturing images and impressions while they are still fresh improves our chances of recalling thoughts and events later in time with more reliable clarity and accuracy than that afforded by merely memory alone. Our amazing brains have enough to do just keeping our amazing bodies functioning every day. Should we require them to store and recall everything, too?

Well, yes.

But journal-keeping, or blogging, isn't a bad way to keep track of things in addition to using your brain.


The kitchen has never been my favorite place in the house. I mean that in the most general sense. I have no particular quarrel with any particular kitchen. I just can't be bothered to follow a recipe precisely, let alone repeatedly. I am famous for short-cutting and substituting with close approximations if I am lacking the exact equipment or ingredient. I appreciate those good cooks who care enough to do it right, I am just not one of them. 

For a brief moment in the 1980s I lost my mind and determined to transform, in a single afternoon, an entire box of apples into frozen pies to last us through the winter. After hours of peeling and slicing, and wads of flour and shortening pie crust caking onto my hands and shoes and sleeves, I was cured of any lingering illusion that I might desire to embody the American Ideal of motherhood and apple pie. It was one or the other. And since I was already a mother, I gave up apple pie.


I did not give up EATING apple pie. Just MAKING apple pie. I cannot recall ever making an apple pie from scratch since 1983.
I am not ashamed.

Today, however, for some inexplicable reason, I was possessed with a desire to tranform the abundance of pears on the kitchen counter into Caramelized Pear Pie. And, friends, I followed the recipe to the letter. I froze my bowl and beaters. I cut an obscene amount of butter into 1/4 inch squares. I sprinkled ice water on the flour and butter just enough for the dough to hang together when squeezed. I refrigerated the dough for 2 hours before baking. I did not improvise or invent a single creative step in the process.

And the heavens opened. The angels sang.
We enjoyed hot, sweet, buttery, caramelized Food of the Gods. Really delicious.

I made it all by myself. From scratch.

So let it be written that I baked pie in 1983. And 2010. And perhaps I will again in ten years or so. Pie-making is a serious commitment, folks. I remembered that again today. And though I learned I can follow a recipe to the letter with beautiful results if I put my mind to it, I am still not willing to invest so much time and energy in food preparation more than once or twice a decade.


Grils Got Away

Friday night I hopped a plane to SLC via SFO:

In SLC I met up with CMW and MAH:

We ate and shopped and pushed a bride out of the way to snap a shot in front of this historical landmark: (just kidding! we waited until the newlyweds were done with their photos):

I tried to get the girls to pose with me like this:

They were real bathing beauties when we soothed our aching bodies in Brother Marriott's hot tub at the end of our day on the town. 

But that came much later. After we filled the day with an organ concert at the Tabernacle, lunch at Lion House Pantry, shopping at DI, browsing at the public library, dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, shopping at [THE] Gateway, and chasing down TRAX to take us the last block back to the hotel. 

We sampled the dry sauna and the hot tub and the swimming pool before we donned our perfectly matchy green-and-grey jammies and we snuggled down into the warmth of memories made.

I'm still basking in the afterglow. Thanks Grils!


October Sky

Sunrise this morning near the Visalia airport. Cotton just about  ready for harvest in the foreground, Valley Oaks behind.
Mother Nature puts on a spectacular show for me twice a day at both ends of my commute. A couple weeks ago I enjoyed this view in the evening on Rosedale Highway:

I love when Mr. Last grabs my hand and pulls me
to an upstairs window or outdoors to catch the view.

"C'mon," he says, "this is worth watching..."


Pausing to look up does not happen often enough for most of us, but it rarely fails to calm a busy mind or soothe a troubled heart.

This morning when the sun rose only a few of the Chilean miners had been rescued, and tonight they are all above ground. I like to imagine that the October sky today was particularly beautiful especially in their honor. They missed a few sunrises and sunsets recently, so I can believe the sky is a sight that will be deeply meaningful to them from here on out.



I am a word nerd, not a math nerd. But sometimes numbers and things mathematical delight me. I enjoy the occasional number puzzle and I'm fascinated by patterns, and symmetry, and tessellations, and the Golden Mean, and the Fibonacci sequence, and fractals, and prime numbers.

Today I am just happy that the numerical date works out to be 10.10.10.  Doesn't matter if you note the day in day/month/year sequence or month/day/year sequence. Today it's all the same!


No! It has nothing to do with my aging mind and keeping things easy to remember.

It's just plain beautiful.

Which brings me to...

In an attempt to overcome resistance to making something I can legitimately call an "art journal", I made a scrappy doodly book. It's here mostly to encourage me, but if it encourages you, too, so much the better:


And More Long Distance Hugs

Because it is impossible to hug too much. Plus my children are grieving the loss of their beloved Grandpa right now and I can't get my arms around any of them. Their father's father died last night.

This is the time to pause from the daily routine, to gather and remember experiences with Grandpa. To feel the full weight of a life that has ended. To let sadness surface, and to find comfort in the company of family and friends. His presence in this world will be missed, but his love will live on when you talk about your memories of Grandpa, or when you laugh or cry when others talk about their memories of Grandpa. Listen to the stories, and tell your own.

And if the words won't come, sometimes a good hug speaks volumes.