Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Frog

My morning coffee foam, as you can see above, portrays a laughing frog eating a fly.  That is one happy frog.  His mouth is open so wide you can see his tonsils. 

Food is not always on my mind.  I am sure that there are at least one or two moments during the day when it drifts into contemplating world peace or dwells on what a big nuisance it is to stuff the vacuum hose behind the couch to ferret out those weird dust bunnies that are made up of dead insects and cat hair and look like they should be used for voodoo.  However, today my mind has been on eating full time. Maybe it’s all the food blogs I go to or maybe it’s just that winter is almost over and soon it will be possible to eat something that is green, tender and fresh and nothing like a potato.

I collected frogs as a child.  My mom would take me to one of the ponds in the UW Arboretum and we would collect tadpoles with a tiny net on a wire handle.  When the tadpoles grew legs and became frogs they lived in an aquarium with rocks and moss and a little pool for them to frolic in. I leaned real fast that frogs love to eat.  They want their live flies and they want them now!.  I swear, when I would check on them in the mornings, peering over the rim and into their glass home, all of their small eyes would swivel in unison up into mine with intense longing.  A very unsettling mind meld sensation would come over me that broadcast, like a neon sign on the highway, {{EAT NOW}}.{{EAT NOW}}}   

Soon I was a regular around the neighborhood with my net, hunting for frog food. I learned that the old adage “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” was like most of the things grown-ups would tell you in a solemn pompous voice....a big lie.  To catch the most flies you need a big fresh gleaming pile of dog-doo.  I became well acquainted with these piles in order to feed my little --what are groups of frogs called?, Oh well, -- lets say, to feed my little fragle of frogs.  

The fun part was when I put the live flies in the aquarium -- all hell would break loose, snaky frog tongues flailing and snapping until all the black buzzing objects were gone.  I miss those guys, they were such happy eaters.  

Today I was a happy eater too.  Blueberries and walnuts with sage honey on greek yogurt, Roasted squash curry soup with floating garlic toasts, and for dinner Ling Cod cooked by my clever spouse in a way that I am sure will surprise and delight me.

In fact it’s almost dinner time and hours since my lunch and I’m getting a hollow feeling. I can’t stop myself from swiveling in the direction of the back door with a gleam in my eyes, that I am quite sure will hit him like the collective yearning of 20 frogs all  wanting to {{{{{{EAT NOW}}}}}}}

*Note  I googled it -- it’s an army of frogs and a knot of toads -- go figure.

© Robin Wendell 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Woof Woof

It is one of those gluey mornings.  My eyes, the espresso handle, my slippers on a few tomato sauce spots on the kitchen floor.  Some days objects and thoughts slip through my fingers like cash at the Manolo shoe store; other days everything sticks like life is a huge cow pie in a tiny little cow pasture .

My AM coffee foam, (after I wrestled the recalcitrant sticky machine handle into submission) was an eye opener.

A dog is reaching into his food dish and, searching for treats, throws kibble to the four winds in an attempt to “find the good stuff,”  His ears and jowls blur with his frenzied head shaking, kibble rattling efforts.

To stick or not to stick, that is the question.  Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the gluey feet and handles of oppression or take jaws against a bowl of kibbles and by up-nosing end them? 

So, I’m off to:

#1- Clean off those sticky spots in the kitchen.

#2- Find some kibble dishes to upend.  I’m thinking that with all the kibble in the world there must be a few chunks of real meat out there somewhere........

© Robin Wendell 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Aluminum Percolator

I woke this morning dreaming of coffee.  Not mounds of glossy beans or the perfect cappuccinos that sit steaming on the Italian counters of my past.  Nope, I dreamt of the coffee pot my mother used when I was small.   It lived on the stove when it was not being washed. It never migrated to hidden cupboards like the waffle iron and the other less serviceable , 'special days' kitchen objects. It was humble and friendly and it talked.  Small, grey and pitted with tiny dents, it did not brew or drip or foam.  Hissing was not in its repertoire -- it percolated.
Sometimes, lying in bed in the morning at the age of six, wondering which pair of mary-janes to wear to school, I imagined it's just audible put-put-put noises were a tiny coffee pot train moving over the geography of my room.  It moved across my covers and up on my toy box where it did loop d' loops around my fathers hand painted orange and blue stripes and surreal horse heads and then  chugged it's way up to a home station in the lap of my giant raggedy-ann doll. 

When I arrived at the breakfast table my father was invariably already installed with his first cup of coffee and some toast.  He would sip and then sigh with satisfaction.  I was provided with milk and toast and, until I rebelled later against eating undercooked runny things, a three minute egg in a flamboyant chicken eggcup with my name on it.  

My mother would sit down with her coffee and toast, look at my father, and together they would sip and sigh.  Where was my darn coffee?  Looking at my milk and toast and egg blob, I knew from the look on their faces that I was missing out on the best part of breakfast.  The grown-up part.  I asked for coffee. You would have thought I asked for scotch on the rocks, or a drag off one on my fathers Camel cigarettes.  They were horrified.  They explained coffee was for grown-ups.  It would stunt my growth, whatever that meant.  I had a vague picture of my father wacking at some bushes in the yard that he said were, "out of control".  Surely if I was allowed an occasional sip of the evil brew the "out of control thing" would never happen to me. That had to be a good thing- right?
I started a campaign involving plaintive pouting, mysterious stomach upsets and when that didn't work started drinking my milk out of a coffee cup and sipping and sighing in an authentic world-worn grown-up way.

That did it.  I got my own cup of coffee.  Sure, it was only one inch and they insisted that instead of drinking it I could only dunk my toast soldiers in it.  I didn't care.  I could add cream and sugar, smell the steam and then gaze into the little brown bubbles and dunk away.  Heaven. 

This morning I heard my coffee train again.  It's putt-putt-putt followed me all the way to my first cup.  As I looked at the foam I saw a heart within a heart.  My love of my parents and my love of coffee, together in a cup.

© Robin Wendell 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What does it all mean?

Have you every wondered what it all means?  You rise in the morning and tweak the espresso machine to get that first perfect cup.  You are about to take that first sip and.....wait.  There is a picture in the foam.  

This is the saga of my AM coffee foam.  

Today a small mermaid takes a swim with a large rubber ducky.  

Finally my unconscious has a chance to surface and frolic with playful ideas floating on the surface.  I have been under the water for a while and it feels great to breeeeeathe. 

Coming out of winter is like surfacing out of a cold frozen lake to glimpse crocuses poking their tiny heads up in the warming earth on the shore.  Soon it will be the time of spaghetti strap dresses, new sunglasses, sand in the new-painted toes and the sun sparkling on everything bright and beautiful.   

If we all say "I belive in SPRING" and clap maybe the fun will start sooner?  I'm clapping right now!

© Robin Wendell 2009