August 27, 2011

Thimbleberry & Fungi Anniversary

Our dear babysitter concussed herself playing soccer and was not able to spend time with Buckaroo so that Honey Man and I could celebrate our anniversary with the usual comestibles and libations. We're wishing her a speedy recovery-- and not only for our own benefit.

Since the woods were wild with mushrooms after the sudden summer rains, instead of alone time with noodles and wine, we took ourselves (and Buckaroo) on a photographic expedition in the sunshine.
We were told by a friend in the know that, despite all indications to the contrary, these trails are now open to hikers.
Frost's Bolete

Viscid Violet Cort

Mystery Mushroom No. 1

I have to admit that while Honey Man and Buckaroo were scavenging the forest floor for fungi, I was otherly engaged with the black raspberries that dotted sunny spots along the trail.
At least I think they were black raspberries-- after a smidge of research I have determined that blackberry druplets are larger than raspberry druplets (the bramble fruit is in fact a clump of berries also known as druplets).

The other interesting tidbit I learned is that some people call black raspberries thimbleberries and say not to pick them after Michaelmas because the devil has claimed them as his own-- or they're just moldy. You can bet that'll turn up in a poem one day.

Mystery Mushroom No. 2

Crazy Red Fungus

Honey Man wasn't certain about the chanterelles until he researched them at home, so we didn't forage. Next year, though, they might be a lovely appetizer for our seventh anniversary feast.

August 10, 2011

Poem in Honor of Philip Levine's Poet Laureatedness

You Would Not Exist

If I had eaten dinner
If he had not ordered tequila
If Philip Levine had not been invited to read
If your father had not caught up with me in the hallway,
If he had not asked, If I had not said yes,
said no, my boyfriend is waiting in his truck outside
If the boyfriend had not had a meeting
If Levine had not mentioned the apple of his eye
If I had not been the apple of my grandfather’s eye
If your father had not opened a Nalgene bottle full of black licorice,
and peeled an orange, there in the auditorium dark where we floated,
reeking of Cuervo and the fruit on our hands
If he had not ordered Russian apples in the bar, later,
toasted my grandfather, and argued some inane point to silence
If he had not brought me an apple, large and deep red,
waiting by the bike racks while students ran to class
and bells clanged
If we had not ditched English, rode our bikes
through Bidwell, rested under an oak
If I had not, nervous-talking, brought out my fervor
for the Spanish words fuego, incendio— blaze, arson—
If he had not asked, Which fire are you?

Congratulations, Philip Levine! "You Would Not Exist" was first runner-up for the 2006 Many Mountains Moving poetry prize.

August 8, 2011

Fluffernutter, Oh Right!

Buckaroo is quite a conversationalist these days, but his four-year-old topics of interest vary greatly from mine; he prefers to chat about cars, heavy machinery, and Busytown, while I . . . don't. Lately, while conversing, he'd stop me in the middle of my response and demand that I respond differently, sometimes shouting and kicking the floor in frustration.

I couldn't understand his irritation and kept insisting that my response was perfectly valid. Honestly, I was thinking, who'll talk to him if he tries to control both sides of the discussion?

Then one day we were driving, and he was telling me his many and varied thoughts about the rock pile that adorns our dam. When he made a slightly convoluted statement I didn't understand, I said what I usually say, which is, "Oh, right," while distractedly shuffling songs on the iPod.

And then he became quite belligerent and kicked the back of my seat.

"Don't say, 'Oh, right!" he shouted.

"Ok," I said this time, instead of arguing. "What would you like me to say?"

His suggestion involved bathroom humor (his lovely new interest), so I'll save you from that bit of conversation, but we finally agreed that I could say, "Fluffernutter! Oh, right."

But while we brainstormed silly words I remembered something that happened a long time ago.

When I was thirteenish, my friend and I were walking home from school, and she was dissecting new gossip about Duran Duran, and I was only half listening because I was really more of a Michael Jackson fan, which we both knew but never discussed. Also, I really wanted to chat about my latest crush and any possible clues that he might like me, but that conversation had worn thin with her.

So there we were, plodding past the strip mall, when she interrupted her monologue and huffed, "I can tell when you're not listening because you always say, 'Oh, uh-huh, right.'"

And she wasn't wrong.

Well, apparently my conversational bag of tricks hasn't changed much. I realized that with all of his shouting demands and flailing limbs, Buckaroo was trying to say the same thing my friend was trying to say 25 years ago, "Please listen to me." Duh.

Despite his ineloquence, not only did Buckaroo finally make his point, he gave me a tool-- a silly word-- to snap me out of my reverie, whether or not I want to be snapped, so I can pay attention to him.

Now that I'm really pushed to listen, though, I'm wondering if I can say, "Let's talk monster trucks for two more minutes, and then I'd like to discuss the impact of social media on the publishing industry. Whaddya say?"

Probably not.