Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Banana Soft-Serve

banana soft serve

This right here? This is why I lugged around a Champion Juicer from San Francisco to Virginia, back to San Francisco, and finally to Portland. The good news is you too can make banana soft-serve with a food processor or good-quality blender.

This treat was whipped up for a discerning 5-year-old and her 10-year-old sitter/friend who proclaimed it the best ice cream she'd ever had! And the only ingredient is frozen bananas.

I've topped it with a homemade chocolate sauce (a bit of cocoa powder mixed with agave), and beautiful raspberries from our yard. Serious yum!

For step-by-step instructions on how to make soft-serve in your food processor, I recommend you look at these from Gena at Choosing Raw.

Friday, July 23, 2010

At a loss

I spent the summer between high school in college at my dad's place in Santa Cruz. He lived in a converted carriage house, behind a mansion on top of a hill which rolled down three blocks to the beach. It was pretty idyllic.

That summer I started dating a boy who was a similar combination of alternative, social, and desperate. We both had pretty difficult home lives and once we found each other we clung on for dear life. I spent my first year of college commuting between my dorm room in San Francisco and my dad's place in Santa Cruz, where Earl was a high school senior. The following year Earl joined me in SF, and the years of playing house began.

We spent four-and-a-half years together, with the inevitable, traumatic break-up our senior year in college. Over the years I have wondered what ever happened to Earl, and I hoped for the best. Despite the fact that he had literally no support from his own family, he was truly a smart, sweet, funny person with a ton of potential.

A while back, I decided to look Earl up on Facebook. Unsurprisingly he had started going by his middle name, Brian, but I found him a few months ago. I sent out a friend request and I waited. After a few weeks I sent a brief email, saying I'd love to hear how his life had gone, but that I understood if he'd rather not get back in touch. When I didn't get a reply, I figured he probably wasn't interested.

Today I got a reply. It was from his former sister-in-law telling me that Earl passed away 8 months ago. She was using his computer and found that he was still logged in to Facebook, so she had seen my email. Because no one discovered that Earl had died for four days, an autopsy was inconclusive. The speculation is that it was a heart attack — the same thing that killed my father three years ago.

So why am I writing this? Why am I posting about someone who hasn't played a role in my life for 20 years? I guess you could call it honoring the dead — something I seem to be doing more and more of these days (and I'm getting goddamn sick of it).

Earl Brian Neidhamer
Earl Brian Neidhamer

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekend in Seattle


We recently spent the weekend in Seattle. We went there two years ago, but Anna got sick and the trip was really a bust. This time, despite the overcast skies, we packed our brief visit with time at Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle, Sculpture Garden, and lots of amusements and distractions. We rode the monorail, took the elevator to the top of the Space Needle, chased pigeons, and made mud soup. Here are some highlights.














Thursday, July 8, 2010

Budding Lyricist


“In the deep blue sea
In the world of me
Cannot be found
In the world of sound.”

poem by Anna

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Three Years of Silence

dad and collie at piano

When my father died, on July 4, 2007, my step-brother was in high school. Dad entered Collin's life when Collin was five, and they formed a very close bond. Collin's older siblings had long moved out, and so it was just Collin, Candyce, and Dad in the house for most of Collin's life.

Shortly after Dad's death, Collin wrote this poem for his senior-year literature class. I couldn't read it for almost 6-months after Dad died. Now I take comfort in it. The silence in the poem echos the silence in my heart.

I Remember Your Sounds
I remember your sounds.
Rushing bath water before sunrise.
Heavy footfalls muffled by worn slippers,
A cleared throat,
Rustle of the New York Times,
Clink of the spoon against the glass
As you stir your chocolate milk
Every Sunday morning.
And your music!
Thick fingers at play upon the piano keys,
Hands gliding over the piano keys,
The air swelling with piano music.
The low rise and fall of your voice,
Confident, thorough, reasonable.
The house is so quiet, now.
I remember the creak of your
Computer chair, and every time I see that
It is empty, my blood
Runs chill.
The house is so very quiet.
I jump, heart freezes, at your heavy slippered footfall
On the stairs, but
It is only my cat.
The house is fucking silent.
I want to hear you play the piano again.


I love you, Dad. I miss you.