…on the move…

The party had partied itself to yesterday, and she was
ready for her next motion moments…
Her friend went back to her life, and she to her future.

Still, the still life memories of the space she’d enjoyed
lingered in her imagery, full of color and calm.

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Next a visit with another friend nearby, where they made
enchiladas and dined on leftover chocolate fondue….

Soon she would settle in to her new space, the house sitting
abode with dog and cat, the cosmic hippie haven on the
Hilo side, where green lushness filled the air, welcome
moisture once again soothing her skin and curling her hair.



…three fondues and a hot oil pot…

Tom Jobim and Elis Regina  …….  Aguas de Marcu
…Just to get you in the Mood!…

So…. here we go to the Fondue Recipes… there are lots of
variations on the internet…these are just the more traditional
ones, and the ones I chose to use for several parties through
the years.

I have included a little bossa nova tune to help you get in the
mood, as you dream about your fondue parties…

*Swiss Cheese Fondue

*Sharp Cheddar Fondue

*Chocolate with Gran Marnier Fondue

*Sizzling Meats with Three Dips

The first three can be made directly in your Fondue Pot… the
ones with a little candle underneath.   Or it can be heated over
the stove in a double boiler, and then transferred.  The second
option is the one I prefer.

The last one…hot oil for sizzling meats… should be an Electric
Fondue Pot, to keep the oil good and hot, and at a measured temp.

***Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

1 C dry white wine
1/2# shredded swiss cheese
1/2# shredded gruyere cheese
2 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg

Simmer the wine, add cheeses 1/4 # at a time, stirring each
time until melted before adding more.  Stir in flour, and add
the salt and nutmeg at the last.

Serve with a nice selection of cut up breads, veggies like
mushrooms, cauliflower flowerettes, and crisp apples
wedges are great.  Also pear pieces, broccoli tops, and
anything else that goes well with Cheese…

***Sharp Cheddar Cheese Fondue

6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz shredded swiss cheese
4 oz beer
2 T finely chopped garlic
2 T worcestershire sauce
2 T flour
2 t mustard, or more to taste

Put the beer, the chopped garlic, worcestershire sauce
and the mustard in your pot on medium heat, or in a
double boiler.  Add shredded cheeses, 1/3 of the quantity
at a time, and melt, mix and whisk well til smooth with each
small batch.

Serve with platters of chunks of a variety of breads, crisp
apple wedges, pear pieces, or any vegetable that appeals to you, cut into
manageable pieces… not too small, but a good bite size.

***Chocolate Fondue

12 oz dark chocolate chips, or semi sweet chocolate
squares, chopped up.  I really prefer the bitter sweet
60% Cacao myself, but choose your favorite.
8 oz heavy cream
pinch of salt

Warm the cream to a slow boil, and add chocolate and let
it sit for a minute to soften, then whisk until incorporated
into the cream.
Optional:  add 2 T Frangelico, Amaretto or Gran Marnier
for an added flavor boost.

Serve with platter of fruits like Strawberries, chunks of
pineapple and bananas, pears, apples, or how bout pound
cake pieces!  Nice little salty Pretzel shapes are also great.
OH… and here’s a great one… Candied Ginger!

Save a little cream to add, if your chocolate starts getting
too thick as it sits and heats.

***Sizzling Hot Oil Meats

This requires an electric pot, to keep the oil at a good hot
temperature.  Be sure your meats are dried off, to prevent
splattering as they are lowered into the oil.

Meat is your choice… tender beef chunks, solid pieces of
chicken, even good sized shrimp or prawns.
Each guest should only use One fork at a time, to prevent
the oil from cooling down too much.

Good oils to use are: Peanut Oil, Canola Oil, or my favorite,
Grape Seed Oil… it’s light, healthy, and can be heated to a
higher temperature without smoking, allowing your meats
to cook nicely and have the juices sealed in.
* Just a little handy hint… don’t buy your Grape Seed Oil at
the local grocery…it will be a Fortune!
Go to Trader Joe’s, or other Natural Foods outlets, because
this wonderful Oil is Very Cheap there!
And remember….Don’t overcook!

***Serve Meats with Sauces for Dipping:

*Honey Mustard- 1C honey, 1/2 C dijon,
mix and let sit a while.

*Tomatoe Ginger- 1 C crushed tomatoes with juice, 1 T chopped
onion, 1 T finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 T olive oil, 1 t celery salt.
Heat oil on the stove, add onions and ginger, cook til tender.
Add tomatoes, cook til soft, then cool.
Puree in a blender, add S & P to taste.

*Garlic Lemon- 1 +1/2 C mayonnaise, 1+1/2 T lemon, 1 T garlic,
1/2 t tabasco.    Just mix it up, and let it stand a while.

And the list goes on and on…. it’s your call.
How bout
*Wasabi Mayonnaise ?
Or a
*Teriyaki Tamari…?

Of course, someone will start it, and Why Not?
Dip the meat pieces into those Cheese Fondues!  Mmmmm

OK…now I’m really getting hungry….
Please… promise me you’ll check out Martin Denny….
…and will you also consider some old Jobim, the early stuff,
the newly born Bossa Nova…  mmmhmmmm
“Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars…”

Actually….. it’s playing right now.

..from the sixties… in your used records place….oh ya

……………………….Gots ta go!……………………
>>>>>>  ENJOY!   and    Have Fun!  <<<<<<



…the party!…

Well, the party was a great success!  Many people, Lots of foods,
and a Six Layer Chocolate Cake with a fudgey hazelnut filling…

I set up four Fondue Pots, and many foods for dipping…

1…traditional swiss cheese fondue
2…sharp cheddar cheese fondue
3…chocolate fondue with gran marnier
4…a hot oil pot for cooking meats on skewers

I was so busy cooking, baking the cake and frosting all those layers,
I wasn’t able to take photos of our gorgeous tables, but I will be
sharing the Fondue Recipes with my next post.

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Meanwhile, get out your Vintage Fondue Pots, or visit your
nearby Goodwill, where you’ll usually find one or two, and
at a minimum expense.

There’s just something about those Retro shapes and colors,
and those Teak Wood handles, that just Make the scene.
Add a little Henry Mancini or Retro Tropical Music…
(…Martin Denny is my All Time Fav for Retro Parties, with those
jungle sounds, bird calls and strange moods… also hilarious ….)
….and Voila! you have an unforgettable Happening.



A Fondue Party is just the thing for creating a great social
atmosphere for spontaneous talk and unexpected laughter.

…the party house…

Today her friend was making plans.  Her husband was
having a monumental birthday party, with many friends
and associates, and massive foods and drinks were in order.
They had traveled to the huge home that the husband and
his group had built for one of the friends, and it was quite
spectacular, atop the golden hills of the Big Island, West
side, with a sweeping view of blueness, and acreage.

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This place was Gigantic, with 8 or 10 bedrooms, hallways
where one could get lost (and did), decks and views of the
sloping, rolling hillside, dramatic and shrubby, palms
added here and there.
There were little guest houses too, and it would seem
perfect for conferences, or entire tribal getogethers.
Yet there was a cozyness about it al, that Island Casual
thing that she lovedl.

The Kitchen was a dream, completely stocked with stations
and work areas appropriate for feeding large crowds.
She was in heaven.

She had known it was part of the plan before she arrived,
and had included her several Fondue Pots in her luggage,
as this was to be her contribution to the festivities.
She loved to cook, loved feeding parties, and had wonderful
plans for several flavors and lots of things to fork and dip.

Meanwhile her friend was list making, while she did her best
to extract numbers and timings, so she could plan too.

“Gosh, we’ll need two black slaves to carry our things from
the stores,” she laughed…
“Well, that’s you babe,” came the quick response, and she
immediately checked her friend, to be sure this was a joke…
apparently it was not.
When she did her best to make light of the comment, her friend
suggested she put on her black face…
“Hmmm…I think my friend’s a little tense,” she mumbled to herself.

The shopping turns to her and two of the wives, and they all swing
and stagger through the isles of several island stores, with weighty
lists and last minute thoughts.
Lots of people, more each day are added, and there must be
enough of the appetizers, the main dishes, the desserts,
the drinks and wines, and of course… the cake!
So much to think of…

She hopes she can pull it together, as everyone seems a little
scattered, and who is doing what begins to be confusing…

Still, the excitement builds, she has her own little room to
herself, and just looking across this landscape of brush and
small trees and rocky hillsides excites her imagination.

She’d lived in the islands, and never seen this particular vast
western side, where the moisture has been stolen before it
could pass the mountains, and those rain laced laden Tradewinds
arrive dry and arrid, freed of their burden, and creating an
entirely different world.

Tomorrow they start cleaning and chopping and arranging for
the big afternoon, very soon to come.

She gets out her three little Vintage Fondue Pots, each with its
own stand and warming candle.
There are eight or ten little Forks to each pot, and the whole group
together, with its Retro avocado, orange and mustard colors,
and ‘modern’ lines, takes her back to the early sixties,
when Fondue Parties were quite the thing.

Parties were so civilized and jolly then, she thought.
A nice glass of wine, some jazz in the air, everyone dressed for
the evening, a small fire in the fireplace…  Yes….

…boat dreams…

She watched the sea, a still, steel blue calm of a background
to dry golden hills.  Hills that brought back days of sonoma
and chatsworth, the SoCal days.

What a strange time in her life, a time of throwing herself
to the wind literally.  A kite without a string.
Exhilarating and terrifying.
She longed for her man, the male counterpart she’d
waited for, for so long… in general, yes, but
also quite specifically.
She’d called him this morning, and he’d been napping…

“Oh, I hate it when someone takes me out of my dream.
When I go to sleep, I always think I may dream of my boat.
And when I do, and a call takes me away…”

“Well….Sorry!” she mocked…
She knew it wasn’t just that way with her call…

“Oh Nooo…but to trade a dream for a dream, that’s ok…”
he soothed, coming more into the present.

“So…you were dreaming of your boat?”

“Yes…. it was so goooood…”

The longing tide that crouched in her belly sang songs
of sun and warm skin.
Soft brown warm skin there for the touching.
She loved reaching out for him in the the night, and just
resting her fingertips against his borders.
The borders of him, inside him, him really there…

Now she could not succumb to it…… No..
The tide must rest, like some pacing tiger
in the closet of her heart…
Can’t come out yet, she thought….
……..or it will surely Eat me.



…island time…

So it’s Wednesday morning, and after a good sleep and
some island coffee with cream and honey, she ventures
to once again dial his number.  And he answers…

“The phones were out all day yesterday” he offers, “but now
there you are!  You sound so goooood!”
“oh I am” she smiles, wishing he were here right now, letting
the palmy breezes blow through his brain cells for a while.

He is in a happy mood, and sounds solid…. she is relieved.
“So… Buquinha will be looking for our house now, because
George is too busy.  Oh babe…. it’s gonna be goooood.”

Now it’s down to the beach, a wide sandy shore, long and
straight, and her friend is paddling with a crew of girls, as
she does several times a week.

She walks the long stretch, concentrating on the sand feels
between her toes.  A light breeze is blowing.
Her eyes take in the expanses of blues and greens.
That alone changes everything.

And the sound.  Glorious white sound of
water and waves and rocks and pulls of the sky to
join the clouds in swirling celebration of just being alive
here and now on this
majestic and magical planet.

Her feet are now begging for sea, and she succumbs to salt water
lapping over her legs, feet sinking in sand, eyes filled with blue.

Later, they go to a Luncheon at the Queen’s Summer Palace for
a tour, gorgeous buffet, and just touching in to the beauty
of all of it…. Hawaii and her past.
Her friend volunteers in this group that maintains the Palace and
raises moneys, and they sit outside in shaded dining areas and
elegant ladies trade the microphones with greetings and news.

Tres Elegant, she thinks.  What an interesting life my friend leads.
No children, a successful husband, the life of a lady.
We must catch up, for in the old days, we each lived in the woods
in rustic environs, me home birthing babies and growing gardens
and milking goats, she growing herbs and creating wholesome
skin products in her kitchen sink, back in the days when
that was cutting edge.

Her oils and unguents are still in production, but now instead of
making them at home with a blender, they are produced somehow
without her, and her biggest concerns seem to be about the labels,
on which she has spent bundles and keeps redesigning.

The market has changed drastically for her, and large companies
with ‘natural ingredients’ on the label are now taking over the market.
She seems concerned, but on the other hand, there is no survival
pressures like there used to be in the old days, so she has several
clients for massage work in luxury spas, and can use and share
her products there.
Tonite it’s the movie theater, with queen Latifa.

Next day is more of the wholesome life here, coffee at seven, friend
comes by, off to the farmers’ market and bring home fresh local
produce, go splash in the sea, walk for an hour on the warm sands,
then back home to relax.
Visiting, cooking, relaxing, all the while the island air dominates
the senses, and she once again falls deeply into
blissful sleeps til dawn.




…making a move…

The weeks turned into months, with no solution.
She’d been living with a daughter, helping her settle into
a new house, but now the daughter was helping her, to
the point of exhaustion.  It was time to leave.

A direction was beckoning, with friends, work, and places
to stay…. Hawaii.  The tropics agreed with her.

She loved the way her skin felt after a day with sand and sea…
loved the shade she turned as the days turned to weeks.
The brilliant colors fed her eyes and inspired her to new
directions in her art.   It all made sense.
To just breathe…

Need Nothing…Desire Everything…Choose What Shows Up.

She liked that outlook.  OK…. the islands it would be.
As well, this would take the pressure off of him, leave him to
himself, without the pull of her needs, her emotional stress,
her questions.  Maybe that would allow him to relax and
figure out things, for he was still stuck.

He had vacillated continually, was often drunk when they
talked, frequently contradicting himself .
Getting away from all of this was just what she needed.
Taking action out of limbo land was the proper tack.

Her friend Eileen had an idea, and a good one.  A friend of hers
needed a house sitter for a month or two, there was a dog and
cat to watch, and perhaps even a car… a necessity on the big
island with its expanses.
The woman friend was nice enough at the onset, but seemed
intent on not only having her house and animals taken care of,
but also making money in the deal…
She wanted all her rent paid, and reneged on the car unless it
was rented at a separate rate.
Funny thing was, it became known that the woman received
most of her rent from government subsidies, only paying a small
amount herself.
This all began to feel uncomfortable, a certain used car salesman
aspect to an otherwise lovely adventure…
The Real funny thing was she went by one of those super cosmic
spiritual names, and did her very best to appear a super spiritual
gypsy, always dressing as if going to some reunion with
Swami Sensational and the Maha Rootietootie, and she was to be
their dancing girl, and crystal ball advisor.

Way too much jewelry, blackened Kole eyes, and … of course,
as it turned out… Pachouli.

… Goddess Beyondananda, she smiled to herself…..Perfect….

It became problematic at the onset, but eventually the woman
put away her sales talk about how special it was to be on the island,
and how lucky the girl would be, and realized she had the best deal
going to get a little bit of her rent paid, the amount she Actually
paid, and throw the car in the deal.
It would just be sitting there anyway!

She also knew very well that a great recommendation, a referral
with trust, and an animal person, was a priceless commodity.
There was just no other way for either of them.

She began to get excited.  Friends, places to go, nature everywhere,
a mellow dog for company, and her little monthly income covering
the basics.
She’d worked with Eileen before, so that might fit in as well… cool!

Now there were three things:  her stuff, her animals, and money.

The stuff got packed into storage.  The animals were to stay with the
daughter, and with her son in the woods.  The money came in…

As the time neared, Alcir seemed to be more receptive, even
leaning in as she pulled back… and isn’t that a typical response in
relationships?  the old dance of energies.

Journal…May 5, 2006

Alcir proposed on the phone tonite.  He said he wants to adopt
a black boy, to give one the advantages, to make up for the things
he’d done in war.  She thought that was sweet, and also knew that
tomorrow the thought would be replaced with another…
both curse and blessing with ADD…

“Do you know what I want?” he began.  “I want Peace.
I want to wake up every morning, and kiss you on the mouth,
and tell  you I love you.”
That made her smile…

He’s looking for a place in Ibicui… July is the goal.
“Sell your ticket…!  When are you coming?”…
But she says ‘no…you don’t have a place for me yet.’

Journal entry… May 7

She was scared…scared shitless.. scared beyond scared…
It was big…biggest…A change of life beyond what she’d ever
known, or imagined.
She drank Vodka tonics… she’d never drank like this.
And he?  He was a drunk.  The last two talks were impossible.

He couldn’t talk about reality at all… only bullshit.
His ups and downs were exhausting.

There were two things he said stuck in her mind, made her
laugh, and she noted them in her journal…

“I’m a mixture of Homer Simpson and Melvin Udall…
most men are…”  he said one night …
…”and I’m the only one who’ll admit it.”
She pictured Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets…

…and the best of all …

“I can never be someone else, because I will fail”

So it’s off to the healing balm of the islands, to clear the
mind and find center.

Maybe in a month or two, there will be a clearer path to him
and Brasil.  He had to find himself and his way, before he could
ever be fully with her, but she admitted to being eager to begin
this new chapter in their mutual life.



…the return on the spiral…

The years passed as all years do…. Each a little quicker than the last,
and you begin to feel like life is that horse that turns homeward, with quickening strides, warm rewards and comfort awaiting the return.

The eighties were fun for me.  There was a certain joyous abandon,
more partying, less worry.  Money, although not quite like the sixties,
still was more readily available, and options appeared more frequently.
How much was the decade, and how much was me?  I’ll never know,
although certainly when you’re in your prime, things seem easier in
all regards.

I worked hard, six days a week, covered my bills, fed my kids, and
had a good time.

Still this certain person persistently appeared in my thoughts, and
often I was sure he was on his way, or even nearby, looking
for my face.

There were times I meditated on his spirit, like a Santera named
Juana had told me to do.  She was sure she had felt him, seen him,
and known his energies and whereabouts.

I would doubt her on many occasions, as I am want to do with any
psychic, but there were those times…. Like one day, as I arrived at
the San Fran store where I was working with my friend D, the one
on Haight that was known as the Weird Store…   And as I got out of
the car, there was Juana, and she told me that someone close to me
had died, and had visited her.  She said he was confused, but that she
did what she could to help him, and that he would be ok.

Interestingly enough, yes indeed, someone I knew Had just died
that week, a friend named Jimmy, who was the original drummer
for Steely Dan, and it was terribly sad in our little town, and for a
lot of people.
He had left suddenly, unexpectedly, and in an inebriated state, by
drowning.  I had heard that when a spirit leaves this way, inebriated
by alcohol, as in this case, or drugs of any kind, it is confused for a
while, trying to understand what has happened.
So yes, she did have abilities, or as my friend Sterling used to say…
”she had her toe in God’s puddle”……

When Alcir showed up in my home with no warning, it was 1986.
I actually had seen him once before, although I really didn’t realize
it til much later.
I had done one day’s work as a Tender on an Urchin Boat… it paid
well, and I thought I’d try it out.
Turned out it was a terrible day, only three boats went out, out of
a fleet of like 30 or more boats that frequented the little harbor at
the time of the great Urchin Rush, and the boat I was on was a
battered little dinosaur.
It was harrowing, scarey at times, and it convinced me that a Mother
and Artist shouldn’t risk life and limb on an Urchin Boat with some
of the craziest men on earth…. Urchin Divers.

But there was a moment before we left the harbor, when I saw this
fellow sitting crosslegged on the bow of a small boat, long dark hair,
and the biggest grin I’d ever seen.  He was completely blissed out,
in his element, and that foggy image stayed with me.
Later I recognized that grin, that bliss with the sea, that had kept well
in my mind’s eye.

Early in our time together, he laughed when he heard I had tried tending.

“Oh….!  Eeeet waz Yoo!” he exclaimed.  “Yes… Yoo were thaat
woooman who went out that day!  Oh, I Heerd about yooo!”

Little had I known I was semi famous, but I guess I was the only
woman who ever went out on an Urchin boat at that time.

He left in mid 87, and I never heard from him again….until 2 years
later, with that phone call from Rio, and the promise that he would
return to me, to the States, and to the life he had loved so well.
He absolutely adored the States, and the life he had dreamed of
since he was a boy, watching reruns of old TV programs.
He had told me he wanted to be a diver ever since he used to
watch Sea Hunt, with Lloyd Bridges.

And I had wanted a brave and wild boyfriend with brown skin,
dark hair and snapping eyes, ever since I fell in love with Sabu
the Elephant Boy, at the age of five.  He used to dive into the dark
rivers, knife in teeth, and wrestle with alligators.   He rode elephants,
and could call the jungle animals when he needed help.
Gotta be careful what you wish for.

By 91, I had had enough of the struggle to meet the demands of
living alone and supporting children, when rents were doubling
and options shrinking by halves.

I decided to venture out, and left the mainland for Kauai, where my
son lived in a large condo.

One of the reasons among many, was to get away from his memory,
and the expectations that had been set up by that call.  I looked for
him around every corner, and it was making me mad, as in crazy.

Problem was…. Once I was there, all I saw was guys who looked like
him.   He did look like an island boy…brown skin, swimmers’ body,
big grin, white teeth, snapping dark eyes and long brown Indian hair….
…and so that part of the equation didn’t work, but the rest did.

I loved kauai, and the life style, the warmth and the aloha spirit,
which is a real and tangible thing.  After Iniki hit… a force 5
Hurricane in 92… it was barely a year later that I returned to the
coast, for Hawaii would not bounce back quickly enough to make
a life happen there.

Where there had been work for me, a gallery for my art and so much abundance, was now in ruins.  Not a flower grew for six months!
The hills were brown.  Every building damaged, every vehicle
injured, and a year later, unemployment was running out, domestic
violence was up, and the local boys were pissed cause all the
reconstruction jobs went to mainland companies.  It was a tough
time, and when they kicked us all out of the condos to make repairs
and jack up the rents, it was time to leave.

The nineties were lovely.  Great small town, lots of performance
and art shows, tons of friends, and a happy home.  Dinner parties,
ufo discussion group, movie-thons… dandy stuff.  I even sang
the Star Spangled Banner at the fourth of  July parade.

When in 2002, I decided to move to Oregon to be near my two
older kids and their children, everything changed.
Oregon is not California in so many ways.
But that’s another chapter…or ten.

So one day, and it’s late 2004, I’m on the computer, as I often was.
I had been selling on ebay for a few years, improving my skills,
and thoroughly enjoying this ever expanding universe that had
appeared in my life.  So…you know how you Google someone’s
name, and start finding things pop up.  Back then it didn’t cost
you to find someone like it does now.

So….. google…. Alcir de Souza, with all the middle names in between.
Yep, remembered it all, every little name that had been laid on that boy.
When he had written it down for me, I had laughed….

“Wow….everybody got in on that one” I snickered.

I tried every version, leave out the T, leave out the other…add
back the y… and then something magic happened… I started
finding things… writing…. poetry….. in Portuguese, but when I
finally got one or two translated…. Oh shit….. There he was!!

He was writing on a site with lots of other writers, and it seemed
a mix of angry political ramblings, and pure heartful love poems.
And I gleaned more…. Women, of course, but also a daughter….!
Lots of pain and drama… confusion…. And so much anger.

I spent the next three days learning what I could from what
writings I could understand.  I had purchased a simple Learn
Portuguese thing, and I had listened to a million songs and
translations of songs, so that helped a little.  But for me, the main
thing was He Was Alive, and Writing on the internet, and maybe,
just maybe, I could somehow reach him.  I honestly just wanted
to touch in, catch up, and Know….

I wrote a brief note to the editor, and waited.  And waited.

Maybe a week later, I wrote another one, but this time I said
something to the effect that this was Urgent, Important, and
that ‘he will be Very Happy to receive a message from me’…
and included a personal message to Alcir that went
something like this:

“Hello there!  So…you are writing.  That is wonderful!
I think you need to email me ASAP,   Shithead….

The editor dropped me a note, to tell me he had forwarded the message.

And then I waited.

Eighteen Years later, and there I was, waiting once again.