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!