We Should All Be Drag Queens.

Last night was a hilarious friend’s hilarious birthday. We went to a drag show, something I have not done in about ten years. It was vastly entertaining, and featured many gorgeous frocks, but it also made me think a little. Only a little; this isn’t a heavy post, I promise.

We should all be drag queens. Queens have something in their personalities that says, “LOOK HOW FABULOUS I AM!” They command attention and make people watch them. There’s no modesty there. There’s a kind of honesty in their performances, even though they are lip-synching and imitating women. Drag queens love attention and they’re not ashamed to go up on a stage and get it. They’re making people pay attention to them, and I think more people should have that ability.

Not all the time, of course. Then the world would be a shrieking cacophony with everyone clamouring for attention and no one getting it. But just once in a while, everyone should have the ability to turn on their Inner Drag Queen and get some attention.

Friday Confessions.

Whoo, fast week. I guess getting hyper-organized and then knocking things off the list like hooligans knocking over mailboxes as they drive by at 60 Mph makes things just tick along. Also, note to self: No time to get into trouble when you’re crazy-busy. However, it wasn’t an angelic week over here.

1) Not enough vegetables. A couple of TV dinners at work, now that we have a microwave that works sometimes.

2) I am vain about my lasagna. Safeway’s makes mine look like ambrosia from the gods.

3) Spent more money than I wanted, am spending more tonight. Meh, that’s why God invented Mastercard.

4) Haven’t spoken to my dad this week. We’ve played some phone tag. I expect myself to somehow know when he is at home and near a phone. Unreasonable, I know.

Anyone else got something to say?

Graveside.

A steely gray sky reaches over our heads. The forest pushes up against manicured lawns, moss and dead branches at odds with tidy headstones and memorials in various states of weathered quiescence.

Inside the funeral home, my grandmother’s other descendants eat tidy sandwiches and chat together over coffee and tea. The service is over, and there is nothing but the obligatory catch up before the journeys back to Washington State or Vancouver Island. It is busy and incomprehensible to me, but my mother seems happy, so I leave her there.

Outside, my father, my brother and I stand together, watching a grungy yellow front-end loader finish interring my grandmother’s body. The ceremony is over, but the act isn’t. We are here to witness the end.

My father in his herringbone all-purpose jacket, my brother in a jacquard sweater, and me in my kilt. We stand in a row and I reach for their hands as the machine grunts and snarls and rattles, pouring dirt onto the box that contains all that is left on this earth of my grandmother. We three will see the act done. We will see it through.

Butter Tartlets.

Okay, I didn’t end up making the butter tart pockets, but these little butter tartlets are quite nice. They’re a little time-consuming, with the waiting for the pastry and all that, but they’re definitely worth it.

Make Shortcrust Pastry:

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces

1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 – 60 ml) ice water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter until it looks like coarse meal. (I don’t know why they say that, since I don’t know what coarse meal actually looks like. Cut it in a lot, anyway). Add the ice water and squish it together only enough to form a ball, don’t let it warm up very much or work it more than you have to. Form it in a ball and stick it in the fridge under plastic wrap for an hour.

After an hour, take the ball out and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/4 an inch thick. Cut circles with a shot glass.

Mold the circles into cups and place them on baking sheets. Refrigerate them for another half-hour. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Butter Tart Filling

1large egg


1/4 cup (70 grams) unsalted butter, softened


1/2 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar


1/8 cup (60 ml) light cream (half-and-half) (10% butterfat)


1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1/4 cup raisins, chopped.

Over medium heat, combine egg, butter, sugar, and cream. Whisk it constantly, and bring it just to a boil. Then take it off the heat and mix the vanilla and raisins in.

Preheat the oven to 350 and use a teaspoon to put the filling into the tartlets. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Yield: About 35 bite-sized butter tartlets.

Shortbread.

I do love baking. Baking is magic. There’s the fact that you put all these ingredients together, apply heat, and get something delicious. What’s not to love?

But then there’s also the fact that baking takes as long as it takes. You can’t rush creaming butter and sugar. You have to work at them until they get to the sweet spot. You have to know the texture you’re looking for, and you can’t stint. You can’t rush bread rising. Yeast doesn’t wear a watch. And you can’t rush how long something actually takes to bake. It takes as long as it takes, and you can’t speed it up. It’s meditation. At this hectic point in the year, it is a welcome oasis of calm, portioned out in packages of X number of minutes, or Until Golden Browns.

I’ve just finished this year’s shortbread. Not the family recipe, but mine. And in my meditative state, I thought about my mom and her annual production of shortbread, sugar cookies, chocolates, butter tarts, fudge, peanut brittle, almond brittle, Colie cookies, and florentines. Maybe she liked the meditative aspect of baking, as well.

Friday Confessions.

It’s been a pretty slow week. I’ve been sick and so blew off my after-work tutoring students this week. That’s not a confession. I know I would have been a lot sicker if I’d pushed myself. Because with bronchitis or pneumonia, I earn no money. And I hhhhhhhaaate lying in bed convalescing. But I can confess to the following:

1) I am increasingly aware of my biases against those who refuse to use proper grammar and punctuation on these here intertubewebs. I’m not talking about the occasional typo, I’m talking, “i like thse boots what do u think becuz i dont knw” I immediately think that they have the IQ of soup. I can’t help it.

2) I can’t not eat a bowl of pasta after belly dancing. I’ve tried. I end up snarfing a bag of chips instead. Not the best of trades.

3) I’m having more wobbles about Christmas. I want to buy much more lavish gifts than I can afford. I hate it. And do I buy my father’s girlfriend something, if I’ve only met her four times, even though she takes such fantastic care of my dad?

4) Oh, and I have not started my Christmas shopping. Or baking.

G’wan. Make me feel better. Or worse. What did or didn’t you do?

Spammers Think I am Old and Limp.

Seriously.

Unlike so many, I don’t get much penile-enlargement spam. I do get spam advertising Cialis and Tramadol. A lot. And, recently, only those two. No online gaming, no amoxicillin, nothing but pain killers and erectile-dysfunction pills.

I know spambots (is that the right term?) are not intelligent or anything, and they just send spam out to whomever, but part of me is a little grumpy anyhow.

The spambots think I am an old guy with a sore back who still wants to get it up.

I could cry.

Night on Broadway.

The rain is washing the snow away, making islands that squish underfoot, leaving me ankle-deep in icy water if I’m not careful. I wouldn’t have ventured out, but E needs more cough medicine if either of us is to sleep tonight.

In the closed and darkened produce store, there’s a fat, angry white-and-tabby cat sitting on the cash desk. It looks like it got locked in. Probably it was just exploring around and sniffing things at closing time, and nobody noticed it to kick it out, because it is yelling at passers-by like WHY THE HELL AM I IN HERE? Tomorrow morning, someone will come and they’ll be mightily surprised, because, hey, where did that cat come from?

For now, it’s stuck, but at least it’s stuck somewhere warm and dry.

Snow Day.

When I woke up there was a trace of white dusting the back yard. Snow always changes a landscape, makes it alien and strange to the eyes. I’ve never seen this yard with snow in it, so the unexpected contrasts made it seem as though I had never been here before.

In the afternoon, I went downtown to write the musical with Rick, and the snow really started coming down then. It swirled around handsome couples with chiseled features and impeccable taste in cashmere scarves. It caught in the anime-hair of foreign exchange students. It whited out the parking lot at Kits Beach. It was beautiful.

Nothing makes me feel more like nesting than snow. I came home and made a shepherd’s pie, and then some (pretty bad) oatmeal cookies. I even went so far as to de-crystallize the honey my cousin sent from his apiary. I got out the feather duvet for extra cosiness. And then I drank wine and watched Hilary Duff movies on WTN (I know! Never mind my loserhood!) and looked at the strange white world outside in the darkness.

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