Monday, December 01, 2008

I am not dead yet!

Some of you may have been thinking to yourselves, "Where has that delightful Martina person gone? Was she abducted by aliens? Turned into a zombie while visiting Nice and the Isle of Greece while she sipped champagne on a yacht? Did a vampire bite her while she was moving like Harlowe in Monte Carlo? Or was she perhaps sent Istanbul on top secret mission involving a a blind clown and a box of turkish delight?" Or maybe you those of you who think I have (like the thankfully averted Sarah Palin) gone rogue theorize "she's always seemed a little shady to me. I bet she's in prison. I just knew that 'death before dishonor' tattoo on her left bicep was bad news!" Those of you with kinder thoughts might think "She always seemed plucky to me. That girl has moxie! I bet she's gone off and joined the circus as an acrobat! I do hope she will send me a postcard chronicling her fabulous adventures". To all of these questions and more, I say: "Maybe." I say this because I am mysterious (no, really!), and because all of these options are far more interesting than the truth. As any good postmodernist (or press secretary) knows, truth is but a construct, a matter of spin, so I say "yes" and maybe "no" to all!

The important thing is that I am here now and I have brought back with me gifts. And just in time for the holidays! So, in celebration of December, here are four things you will love, if you are not crazy. If it turns out that you are crazy, do not worry, I will probably still love you! Probably...

1. Pioneer Woman's Whiskey Glazed Carrots. I don't even like cooked carrots. The truth is that I usually hate them! When I was a kid, my grandmother always had to mash them in with the potatoes and then further hide them from me with a healthy slathering of gravy, thereby teaching me early in life that everything tastes better with gravy. The thing is that these carrots were so delicious that I want to eat them every day. I suspect that may be because, in the absence of gravy, everything tastes better with booze.

2. This recipe for Sour Cream Apple Pie. It is the first and only fruit pie I have ever made. It is so good that I see no need to make any other. I'm not saying I won't eat other pie (that would just be rash and stupid!), but I will not make any other. So great my devotion to the Cult of Sour Cream Apple! The best part is that the recipe fills two regular sized pie shells. You could make one deep dish pie, but why do that when you could have TWO pies! You hear me, people? TWO pies! The only thing better would be two pies with bourbon in them!

3. Loreena McKennitt's Christmas cd, A Midwinter Night's Dream. It is such a lovely offering. I am especially taken with the Eastern inspired arrangements. My favorite piece on the cd is the North African inspired “Noël Nouvelet!,” because 1) you have to appreciate a woman who sings a carol in not just French, but Old French, and 2) its rhythms make me feel like I should be sitting in front of a bonfire after a long, hard day of travel across the desert with the rest of my camel caravan. They also remind me of the time my friend, MQ and I took a belly dancing class and that makes me laugh, because I may well be the worst belly dancer ever in the whole history of belly dancing.

4. W.S. Merwin. He read from his new collection The Shadow of Sirus at one of the pre-Wordstock readings here in Portland this year and he is such a charming gentleman in addition to being a brilliant poet and translator. I always knew that I liked him, but now I have heard him in person, I have a complete old guy crush on him. If you are not familiar with his work, it is well worth checking out. My favorite of his pre-Shadow poems can be found in this post.

You can thank me later!


Chris said...

Yay, hey hey, oi vay and other foreign ejaculations! Martina's back and once again there's stuff worth reading. Missed you, M.

Among possible theories for your absence, the Isle of Greece did not figure. Greece - not an Isle. And you know that, and I know you know that, so I Googled "Isle of Greece" to track down the perpetrating ignoramus, sure that it was someone who didn't do geography in high school, ie. an American. (As a Martinaesque parenthetical aside, the OED defines the word bayard as a person who has the exceptional confidence of the ignorant, viz. Sarah Palin.) Isle of Greece turned out to be a reference to popular culture and therefore entirely unknown to me. However, if you are going down that line surely you should also have neither confirmed nor denied that you had been undressed by kings, particularly as we know that you have indeed been stepped on by royalty. They owe you one.

Looking your gift horses in the mouth, since mouths figure in all of them (evidently oral is a Martina characteristic):

1. Whiskey Glazed Carrots. I'm with you on carrots, though my disdain ranks below that for turnips, swedes and parsnips. Roasting and glazing certainly help. I actually eat a lot of carrots; grated and disguised with vinaigrette they don't taste of carrot.

The great thing about carrots is how the mythology of them being good for your eyesight came into being. It sounds like an urban myth but it's actually true. It was misinformation put about by the Royal Air Force during World War Two to conceal their invention of radar. "How come", ponder the Germans, "that every time the Luftwaffe sends over bombers there's a squadron of Spitfires waiting for them?" "Because", reply the RAF, "all our pilots have exceptionally good eyesight, having been fed on little but carrots. Nothing to do with new technology. Just carrots."

Plausibility may arise because carrots contain high levels of beta-carotene (it's what makes them orange) which the body converts to Vitamin A, an important nutrient for, amongst other things, the eyes. I will leave the effects of whiskey on eyesight to those better qualified;

2. Sour Cream Apple Pie. If this is really "the first and only fruit pie I have ever made", perhaps it should be another epiphany. You could dedicate your life to making fruit pies, all from seasonal, local fruit. It's a calling, but with a viable business plan in there too. And so many different kinds of fruity booze to sample...;

3. Loreena McKennitt. Oh irony. Spending five consecutive Christmases in North Africa was what finally erased any vestigial interest I had in all things Christmas. The saddest sight, sadder even than the spray-on snow in shop windows, was a skinny Père Noël (not all Santas are American sized) standing in a deserted Casablanca street. Having spotted from 100 metres away that I was not a tourist, he completely ignored me.

Still, I downloaded the sample MP3 of Noël Nouvelet and I appreciate the mysterious fusion. And any site that offers music downloads in FLAC format has to be worth knowing about;

4. W.S. Merwin. My crush quota is currently full (Tift hugged me), leaving no room for old guys, but I'll look out for Mr. Merwin as I do for all your recommendations.

<< You can thank me later! >>

And right now. Thank you! I'm glad you are back.


Martina said...

Thanks, Chris. I am relieved to know I come off as the sort of person who would know that Greece is not an isle. Regarding your other comments:

1. What did the Swedes ever do to you? Hee.

2. It really was the first fruit pie I've ever made. I've made crisps and a peanutbutter pie once, but that's not the same, even if it was delicious.

3. You do realize that I have no idea what "FLAC" format is, don't you?

4. Merwin really is great. His translations of Pablo Neruda are what made me love Neruda too!

sonya said...

I think that while trying to get your freak flag to fly higher than mine, you slipped on a wing-nut and plummeted ass-over-teakettle (??) back to earth, where teeny tiny (scary) little gnomes nursed you back to health with generous portions of flapjacks and Irish whiskey.

Sonya said...

OR... you were kidnapped by a certain heiress named after a city in northern France and forced into a life of debauchery... partying night after night against your will until you escaped with the help of the Paparazzi, who blinded your captor with a wicked array of flashbulbs. Fortunately, you were able to slip into the back seat of the limo belonging to none other than Carrot Top, and hid amongst the boxes of props and barbells (fortunately, he couldn’t see you over his ginormous forehead).

Martina said...

Oh, Sonya, you always make me laugh! Why can't we still work together? We really need to find a time to meet with Amber and catch up!