forever in blue jeans.

The leaves have been turning and are just starting to fall outside. The wonky sun turns in earlier. every single day.  and just last night, I scooped up fistfuls of amber memories and flung them into the air like confetti.

Usually around this time I'm starting to make peace with it. For the past two Octobers, I've had something quite specific to say. But the calendar flipped 4 days back and I found myself with empty hands, and no big plans.

Have I lost a bit of magic?
Have I finally run out of things to say?

These are the thoughts that plague me, o
n nights that are spent looking under my bed, searching the dark hallways, feeling stood up for my own party. It's on those nights I'm sure that my words have been plucked and fairy-danced away. given to someone more deserving. someone who appreciates them more. someone who does proper writerly things like drink strong, black coffee in an itchy cardigan and read the classics.

Other times, my words come tumbling out like a waterfall. on a dusty creek bed.

One these nights I can be found stumbling to the chair by the window with a spiral notebook and a pen, waving my yawns away because there's not enough time for sleep and all the words.

That's the big problem with writing, and also with the meaning of life, really. time. It's the thing that trips me up. every single way.

At times I've let the world tell me what it is, and where to find it, while I'm busy searing certain images into my heart. While I study the faces, the lines of a tree, a muddled box of oil paints. I look to the higher places, track the obvious answers. Does this make me an artist then? And what about everyone else?
I've learned the best solution to my personal artistic stagnation is to run toward the very things that jump and squiggle around me every minute, all the live long days. I infuse myself there, and it truly is a beautiful thing. It brings me back to joy because I choose to notice it straight out of the mundane.

But what becomes of me on the days when I've used up all my words? Do I listen to music and write letters to Neil Diamond? ummm, yeah.

Dear Mr. Diamond,
I am infatuated by you. Impressed, befuddled, and at times I can be found blubbering on the living room floor  trying to explain the significance of a song like Shilo to my puppies...oh you, you are a sly one, Mr. Diamond. I have felt this way for a very long time. We've been together since the early sixties. I just can't quit you. This is all your fault.
See, somewhere in the middle of my teen years, I discovered your Tolstoy-esque eloquence and fell in love with you your music. I've played it almost non-stop ever since. Have you ever listened to  Jungletime  blaring from a Boom Box while dancing in the shower? No? Let me tell you, it Friggin Rocks.

Thing is, Neil, your music got under my skin.  

I adore you.

A while back I watched you  on Jimmy Kimmel Live, chumming it up and talking about your new album of cover songs. Cover songs!!! Really!!? I must admit, I prefer your original work, but who am I pass up a new version of Desperado? This made me take a quick glace once again at your stuff on Itunes…new, old, and otherwise.
Big mistake.
Two a.m. found me on my bedroom floor, listening to your version of Midnight Train to Georgiablowing my nose in my pajama sleeve, sobbing to the puppies about a simpler place and time. 

Now the puppies love you too.
So, instead of sleeping I am cruising, for songs I haven't listened to in years. drudging up all kinds of emotional dust bunnies. Thinking of all the times and places where you were a part of my life.

I know.

When I scan the list of your songs, it is quite obvious, you Mr. Diamond, were everywhere.

You were there in the back corner singing Sweet Caroline and Cracklin' Rosie the year we graduated from High School. And three years later, you were there while the whole world was singing Song Sung Blue. Holy crap I love that song. Then 43 years later you had a front row seat as we all rode in our home town parade on our hippie float. Forty three years later!

 You Don't Bring Me Flowers and Love on the Rocks set the mood to my first serious relationship. When I saw my Ex out with his new girlfriend, NOT EVEN TWO WEEKS after we broke up, you were there. She was a size zero and making a casual reference to Kierkegaard while he looked at her all adoringly. I’m over it now, but, Mr. Diamond, if you would have written a song called Up Yours Kentucky Woman, that would have been really awesome.

You were there in that bar on New Years Eve in 1980 singing, Hello Again. And now, this song is always there like a ghost memory, haunting me. always bringing back that image. reminding me of that bitter-sweet time. Little did I know then that night would play over and over in my mind almost every day for the rest of my life. I did not know, but you did.  Just thinking about If I Never Knew Your Name and Dry Your Eyes makes me sob to this day.

You were there the time I sat in my car crying. It was a random morning when I had to pull over to the side of the road as Remember Me came softly over the car stereo. I had my elbows up on the steering wheel with my head in my hands. When the song ended, I grabbed the cassette tape out of the player and turned it back to FM radio like nothing ever happened. I still have that cassette tape. 
You were there when I had too much to drink at a wedding reception and danced my butt off to Thank the Lord for the Night Time and Red, Red Wine…when one thing lead to another and, well, that might be a story for another day. But as I listened to you singing about your blue, blue heart I wondered how my life had come to this.   
When did life take that turn? Well, it’s hard to pin point that exact moment in time, but I’m guessing you were there too.
I could fill a book with memories of your songs and their attachments to the people and places I've known, that you have never heard of…but I digress. I have other things to do and so do you. I cannot stumble down memory lane with you and your Two-Bit Manchild music any longer this evening, Mr. Diamond.
However, before I go, I would like to thank you. Since it is now abundantly clear you have written the soundtrack to my life, past, present, and future. Also, if I may make one small request, I for one would like to hear more harmonica. You hardly ever incorporate it into your music and it is my favorite instrument. Don’t get me wrong, you know how to write a song just fine without my two cents, but, if I’m going to be hearing you at nearly every pivotal moment in my life, I feel that I am entitled to some input. 

yours forever in blue jeans,
Floating Cloudberries


Marcella Hazan’s Spaghetti Frittata   serves 4
1/2 pound spaghetti, I like to use thin spaghetti
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 large eggs, beaten to blend and placed in a bowl large enough to hold the cooked spaghetti
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Added for color and flavor if desired:
½ cup finely chopped, sautéed red, orange, and yellow sweet bell peppers

Drop the spaghetti into 3 to 4 quarts of boiling, salted water and cook until firm to the bite. It should be a bit more al dente than you usually cook it because it will undergo further cooking. Drain and toss immediately into a large bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter, grated cheese, and chopped parsley, sautéed peppers if using, and toss well. Set the mixture aside to briefly cool to avoid cooking the eggs in the next step. In the meantime, preheat the broiler.

When the spaghetti mixture has cooled for a few minutes, add it to the bowl of beaten eggs and mix thoroughly, distributing the eggs evenly throughout the pasta.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a nonstick skillet with a broiler proof handle. Before the butter starts to color, add the spaghetti/egg frittata mixture to the skillet. Cook the frittata on top of the stove for 3 to 4 minutes without disturbing the pan. Then tilt the pan slightly, bringing its edge closer to the flame of the burner. Keep the pan in this position for about 1 minute, then rotate it at a shade less than a full quarter turn, always keeping it tilted so that its edge is close to the flame. Repeat until you have come around full circle. Take a look at the underside of the frittata, lifting the edge gently with a spatula, to make sure it has formed a lightly golden crust all around. If it has not, cook a little longer where needed.

Run the pan under the broiler until the top has formed a lightly colored crust. Remove and loosen with a spatula. Slide onto a cutting board and cut into serving wedges as you would a pie. Alternately, cut into pieces or squares and serve as an appetizer. Good either warm or at room temperature.


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