Exhausting the Wind

The wind ruffles curtains
And sweeps dust bunnies under beds.
The wind gusts.
The wind puffs sails
And cartwheels through wheat fields.
The wind booms.
The wind knocks chairs down
And wrestles tables to the ground.
The wind keens.
The wind whistle past windows
And moans through roof rafters.
The wind sighs.
The wind rushes through leaves
And gallops between houses.
The wind wallops.
The wind lifts up my skirt
And whips my hair into my mouth.
The wind drives.
The wind slips through cracks
And coats the floors with grit.
The wind swirls.
The wind swings weathervanes
And chatters through blind slats.
The wind races.
The wind fans flames
And slams doors shut.
The wind roars.
The wind funnels through streets
And hurtles across public squares.
The wind growls.
The wind tears through backyards
And strips sheets off clotheslines.
The wind hisses.
The wind lashes across lakes
And slashes old flags in half.
The wind dries.
The wind desiccates the ground
And mops sweat off my brow.
The wind whispers.
The wind whooshes past my ears
And blows cool on my cheeks.
The wind wafts.
The wind carries the scent of curry
And makes us all hungry.
The wind caresses.
The wind brushes eyelashes
And tickles wind chimes.
The wind retreats.
The wind recedes as the sun sets.
The wind dies.

Cold-brewed tea

In March I promised to write a little more about tea here and I was thinking of the cold-brewed tea I make year-round – too delicious to have only in the summertime.

This is one way, using loose green tea.

To make 1 liter (1 quart), measure one heaping tablespoon of tea leaves and place inside an empty teabag or tea ball, then cover with filtered water. Shake/stir. To maximize the taste, let sit at room temperature for 30-40 min but not longer, otherwise the tea’s bitterness will come out.

Above I used a Chinese “silver tip” tea but I’ve also used others, including this “bilochun”.

Then, overnight in the fridge and, voilà! Fresh, grassy and not a hint of bitterness.

P1060020 cropped lower res copyLovely with yoghurt (plain Greek blended with wild blueberries, a little bit of honey, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds), a banana and, naturally, mint. Santé!

Oral Story-Telling – John Pizzarelli

For a great example of oral story-telling, check out Radio Deluxe’s broadcast of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey’s concert at the Valley Performing Arts Center on the campus of Cal Stamidnightmccartney300te Northridge in Los Angeles, recorded live April 9th, 2016. Download Show. After the first two songs, John tells the story of how he came to record Midnight McCartney.

I’d previously heard him tell the same story on the Radio Deluxe program taped at John and Jessica’s home in New York, but this live version is even more hilarious. John lays it on thick and hits all the right notes.

A shout out to Jazz FM 91 in Toronto for airing this program every Sunday morning at 9 am.


Quirky Characters

Quirky CharactersDSCN1779
Confession #1: I started writing a novel because I thought blogging was (a bit of) a waste of time. One blogger, looking back on a series she had just finished writing in her spare time, said that her word count added up to a staggering 70,000, novel length! That was 2007.
Well, if I was going to devote that kind of time, I vowed, it would have to have more permanence than a few dozen blog posts. Yet here I am blogging (occasionally). Authors must have a web presence, which means that instead of thinking about my fictitious characters mired in their ficThai Basiltitious situations, I have to carve out a little time to think of something to say to you, my esteemed blog readers.
Confession #2: I have quite a few quirky habits. Take food combinations: Asian pear and cabernet sauvignon? Honeydew melon and Thai basil flower buds? Fresh mint and banana? Ahhhh … I could write whole blog posts about each but I won’t. This ain’t a food blog.
In a writer’s life quirks exist for one purpose and one purpose only: to flesh out characters. Imagine a fussy man who “babysits” his bacon, or a woman who suffers from “banana anxiety.” Don’t know what I’m talking about? That’s OK. Just make of it what you will. Go ahead and soak your cereals in milk overnight or squirt sriracha sauce on your cottage cheese. But don’t blog about it.
Use it.


Tea Philosophy

Tea time 2016

Here is a slightly edited excerpt from Journey in Search of Korea’s Beauty, by BAE Yong Joon, containing an uplifting view on drinking tea. I have rendered the last sentence as a poem, although it appears as prose in the book:

The Venerable Choui, the Korean “sage of tea,” wrote in Ode to the Tea of the East that drinking tea alone was godly, as it was in the realm of the divine and the profound. Two people drinking tea was victorious, as it was refined and tranquil. Three or four people were “pursuing,” as it was in the realm of mirth and enjoyment. Five or six people were “wide,” and more than that were “giving,” as it signified the sharing of food.

I prefer to drink tea with at least one other person, a like-minded companion if possible. When I do drink alone, I do not go to great effort but if I have at least one person with me, I am motivated to put more care into conveying the flavor and aroma of the tea. I think that:

One person drinking tea can achieve meditation;

Two people, communication;

Three, shared sympathy;

And four, harmony.

        — BAE Yong Joon

More on tea, this time from me, in the months to come.

Mad Dash


I have to get it done.

Someone’s waiting for it.

I promised.

I always do it.

Nobody else can do it.

Nobody else will do it.

It’s my job.

I’m good at it,

Heck, I’m brilliant at it.

But it’s teachable, OK?

It keeps piling on.

The more I do the more they want.

Just when I think it’s finished, there’s more.

I want to do lots of things.

Must squeeze those in:

Gotta rest,

Gotta exercise,

Gotta eat,

Gotta read,

Gotta be there for the boys.

Must do it well.


Must get their thanks.

What if I didn’t do it?

What if I didn’t do the laundry this weekend?

What if I let everyone fend for themselves?

No schlepping baskets down the stairs,

No shifting loads: washer to dryer,

Dryer to basket.

Actually it’s the other way around:

Gotta have method.

No folding in front of the TV,


Using my time well.

So what if we have dirty laundry?

Maybe I could do my own

But then they’d be small loads.

Waste of water.

But wouldn’t it be nice just one weekend without laundry?

Time to write,

Go out,

Take it slow.

Watch life unfold.

Do nothing.

Let the world flow by.

Now wouldn’t that be nice?


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Handkerchief in the breeze

The station left behind

Lines of clothes in the sun

Backs of houses say goodbye

Water towers name the towns

Wild flowers everywhere

Clouds above, tracks below

Wind and dust and letting go


Rows of corn in a field

Herds of cows on a hill,

An owl perched up a tree

A deer still in the shade

Stream rushing under bridge

Children racing for a bus

Wheels chugging over steel

Down my face run the tears