Author: Luisa Perkins
•9:52 AM

The Windhover

-To Christ our Lord

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins
Author: Luisa Perkins
•9:05 AM
My mother was recently doing some sorting and purging of old boxes at her house and came across a box of my mementos. She promptly sent it off to me along with these:And these:Very welcome treats; thanks, Mom! I can get neither Mother's Circus Animal Cookies (the Keebler rip-off version is a cruel travesty) nor See's Candy here in the otherwise perfect Hudson Highlands.

But even better was the box of stuff: old letters, diaries, and photos; programs and awards; every essay I wrote for Senior A/P English; and much, much more. Here are a few choice items:

*Updated* A lurker who prefers to remain anonymous asked for a detailed caption of the above photo. Clockwise (sort of) from noon: Madness concert program; The Police concert program; U2 concert sticker; first and second place ribbons for speech tournaments; visitor pass to NASA's Ames Research Center; essay from Honors History (grade: A); Merrie Miss achievement bracelet; Stanislaus County Essay Contest Scholarship certificate; Sam Gamgee journal; cover from Computer Programming class manual (loved that TRS-80); photos of Charles and Diana's wedding cut out of People magazine; mimeographed and hand colored worksheets on Elizabeth I of England; The Best of Omni, issue #6; a page from the 1980 Tolkien wall calendar, illustrated by the Hildebrandt brothers; and a rugby tournament program. There: I think that's everything.

One of the best (read: most embarrassing) items in the lot is that Sam Gamgee journal. I used that notebook to record what I considered to be my very best excerpts of creative writing between 1980 and 1981. Here are two snippets:

*Updated* Annette couldn't read the journal entries and was good enough to speak up about it, so here are the transcripts:

"Her golden hair sparkled and glistened in the last rays of the sunset, billowed and streamed in the slight breeze which fled through the meadow. It made a halo, transfiguring her into a fire queen, or a goddess of love. Her face took on a joyous expression, as if she were drinking in the last drops of warmth on her face. She spread out her arms in love and gratitude. Then the glorious moment passed, leaving the poor peasant girl to trudge home, sad and alone.

--March 1981"

"The wizard's mind was cold and twisted. Dark columns of evil hung from the caverns of his intellect, ruthlessly sharp and deadly. The expansive knowledge he had eagerly accumulated in his younger, fuller, years, when he was still "white," had gradually darkened and decayed until it was rotten. But in a way, as if it were being fed somehow, the knowledge grew, encompassing all manner of malignant studies and malevolent experiments.

As the years passed, these studies became increasingly cruel, often with people as their victims. Often, when one of those preyed-upon was screaming and writhing in agony unimaginable, he too would scream; but with laughter that chilled bones and curdled blood. He would become hysteric [sic], waves of hate washing over him. His insanity was horrific, and his name became hated passionately; and just as passionately feared. Mothers had only to whisper his name, and children were terrified into obedience. And so the legend was begun.

--April 1981"

Yikes. Talk about agony unimaginable; I was even more addicted to semicolons and adverbs at 14 than I am now. But progress is good, right?

We are talking Good Times, my friends. There is so much blog fodder in this box that I will be set for many a Flashback Friday and Soap Opera Sunday to come. Stay tuned.
Author: Luisa Perkins
•12:02 PM
Saturday night, Patrick and I were at wedding about three hours upstate; we'd left the kids in the hands of uber-capable Christian. At about 7:00 p.m., we got a call from Christian, as panicked as we've ever heard him. It seems that while Christian was putting Daniel to bed, Tess went downstairs to the basement, got a pair of kindergarten scissors out of one of the craft bins, and cut all her hair off. All of it: down to the scalp above her forehead and on the back of her neck. She left a few Carol Brady-type strands in the back, but other than those, she was very thorough. We calmed Christian down and told him everything would be fine--but I'm glad we had a long drive home.

The next morning, Tess came down dressed for church and wearing an extra accessory: she had zipped the hood off of one of the boys' winter coats, put it on her head, and snapped it under her chin. Perhaps she was planning on wearing it for the next few months; I'm not sure. But I quietly asked her to take it off, I cut off the Brady locks, and we went to church.

I didn't want to give the whole event very much negative attention, even though I was heartsick. She has the most lovely golden blonde hair, and she had grown it down to about the middle of her back. I did ask her why she cut it, and she replied that her bangs had been bothering her (we've been growing them out for several months, and she had apparently misplaced her barrette).

I kept her out of school this morning so that we could go to a salon and see what could be salvaged. All our church friends were kind yesterday, but I was worried about the reaction Tess would get on the playground today. I had to go up to Wal-Mart, since my regular salon and the others in our village are all closed on Mondays. As you can see, they couldn't save very much. As I paid her, the stylist cracked her gum and said, "At least she's cute."

I have to say that I'm glad it didn't happen on my watch. I don't blame Christian one whit, but I'm not very good at forgiving myself when things like this happen when I'm around.

I have a theory that one girl in every family has cut her hair at least once, with more or less disastrous results. I am now asking you to tell me your stories to prove me right; until then, I'll be consoling myself with Luke 12:7.

Especially welcome will be stories of girls who succumbed to this impulse in their childhoods, then grew up to be Rhodes Scholars or something very like. Give me your solidarity, friends! I know this is not the end of the world, but I could use a little comfort.
Author: Luisa Perkins
•12:01 AM
Hurray! I'm finally back on the Soap Opera Sunday wagon. Brillig and Kate's brainchild is sweeping Planet Blog; check their sites for other great soapy stories. If you need a refresher, here are the links for Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

“I’m so glad we’re finally here,” said Jill. “I’m starving.”

Laura wrinkled her nose. “Really? I’m still too grossed out by the smell of that bus to be able to think about food.”

“Well, as soon as we check in, let’s go get some dinner. You should probably eat something.”

“This is some hotel,” breathed Laura as they pushed through the revolving door. It looked like a palace; huge, fluted pillars supported a triple-height ceiling that was painted all over with frescoes of nymphs and cherubs. Liveried doormen stood along the hall or helped guests with matched, monogrammed leather luggage sets. Laura tried not to gawk as they walked up the carpeted steps to the long marble front desk. A uniformed attendant looked up politely as Jill approached.

“May I help you?”

“Yes, we’re checking in. You should have a reservation for Jill Westphal.”

The attendant looked through his register. “Ah, yes, Miss Westphal. But before you do so, I should inform you that you have a visitor waiting for you in the bar. He just arrived a few moments ago. I’ll let him know that you are here.” He turned to the bank of telephones behind him.

Jill turned to Laura and squealed. “It must be Simon! But I wonder why he’s in the bar. Why wouldn’t he just wait for us in his room?”

“I hope Colin’s with him. Then we can all go to dinner.” Laura tucked her hair behind her ears nervously. She hadn’t had a minute to freshen up after getting off the bus and walking several windy blocks to the hotel. Maybe she could go find a restroom and put on some lip gloss.

“Jill,” said someone quietly. But it wasn’t Simon’s charming, accented voice. Jill and Laura turned around slowly.

Mr. Westphal stood there, his face grim.

“What exactly are you doing here, Jill?”

“I…I…” Jill shut her mouth and looked down at her shoes. “I’m sorry, Daddy,” she whispered.

Mr. Westphal looked like he was trying to turn his daughter into ice with his stare. “Let’s go,” he said finally. “The car is in the underground garage. We have a long drive home.” Without even a glance at Laura, Mr. Westphal turned and walked away.

“Tell Simon I’m sorry I missed him,” Jill choked out. She gave Laura a look of apology, then hurried after her father.

Dumbfounded, Laura watched them walk away. She couldn’t believe Laura’s bravado had utterly wilted in the presence of her father. Their grand adventure was over before it had even begun.

How had the Westphals found out where they were? Crap! Her mother must have confronted Twee; they hadn’t told anyone else other than Colin and Simon what they were doing. Oh, her mother was going to be mad.

Laura couldn’t believe Mr. Westphal hadn’t said a word to her, that he would just leave her there. Was her mother on her way from the valley as well?

Laura doubted it; there was no way that Marie could have gotten off work on such short notice. And she must know through Twee that Laura wasn’t in any danger.

Now what was she supposed to do? She didn’t have the money to stay at this place. Her bus ticket home was for tomorrow afternoon. She twisted her empty locket on its chain and thought.

“Twee,” she whispered, feeling the cat’s presence at the edge of her consciousness, but knowing that she wouldn’t get an answer.

“What’s that you said, Laura?” Colin stood there, crisply handsome in his immaculate school uniform, looking like he’d just stepped off the set of Brideshead Revisited.

“Oh, Colin! It’s so great to see you!” Laura launched herself into his arms. Twin waves of relief and despair washed over her, and she broke down sobbing. Colin patted her back awkwardly for a few seconds, then pulled out a freshly ironed handkerchief and handed it to her.

“Thank you,” she mumbled. She blew her nose and tried to blot her face dry. Fantastic, she thought. I’ll bet I look like a total hag.

“Laura, what’s happened? Here,” Colin said, taking her hand and leading to an exquisitely upholstered couch to the side of the front desk. “Sit down and tell me everything. Where’s Jill?”

Laura sank down onto the down-stuffed cushions and told him the whole story.

“Wow,” he said when she had finished. “I had no idea you were going to go to such trouble to come and see us. What do you want to do? Shall I take you back to the bus station and see whether we can get you home tonight?”

“No! Why should I go home to an empty house? My mom’s at work. Tomorrow morning, she’ll crash until it’s time for her to get up and go back to work again. I got here; I’m already in trouble. I just want to enjoy my time with you so that it’s all worth all the grief I’m going to get tomorrow night.”

Colin’s blue eyes were grave. “Well, then. Let’s set about doing that, shall we? Come along—Golden Gate’s coach is hosting a dinner party for both teams tonight at his house in Sausalito. The bus is leaving in about a half hour. Come upstairs to our room. We’ll have to break the bad news to Simon.”

“Okay. But where will I stay?”

“We’ll figure something out. If worse comes to worst, Simon and I shall sleep on the floor, and you’ll have our bed.”

The party was overwhelming. Laura felt like she was experiencing something from the pages of a magazine. The coach’s huge Arts & Crafts house had gorgeous views of San Francisco Bay; the lights of the City through the gathering fog sparkled like jewels set in gray velvet. There were tables of beautiful food everywhere, and there were at least a hundred people present. She’d been at Simon’s side for most of the evening, but now the two teams were engaged in some good-natured trash talk over tomorrow’s game, and Laura felt a little superfluous. She wandered out the French doors to one of the balconies and leaned against the railing gazing out at the dark water. A large black Labrador got up from a bed in the corner and nuzzled at her hand. Laura smiled and rubbed his sleek head.

“I’m Graf,” the dog said. “Twee wanted me to let you know that I’m a friend, if you need one.”

“Oh!” Laura knelt down and scratched his ears. “Wow. I had no idea. I don’t know how you guys are all networked to each other, but it’s nice to know you’re here.”

The lab cocked his head and panted for a moment as if listening to something far off. “Twee feels bad that he had to tell on you. He thought Mr. Westphal would offer to bring you home; he’s sorry that he misjudged the man’s character.”

“That’s okay. I know anger makes it harder for Twee to see anything about people; from the way Jill’s dad looked at the hotel, I’m surprised Twee could see him at all.”

“Well, what’s done is done. And I’ll be at the game tomorrow, as well. Let me know if I can be of help.”

“Thank you, Graf.” Laura smiled through sudden tears and gave the dog a hug.

“What a lovely animal,” said Colin, stepping through the doorway. “But I thought you were a cat person.”

“Oh, I like some dogs,” Laura said, standing up and brushing off her mohair sweater. “He’s a sweet one.”

“Really,” Colin murmured, moving closer to Laura and taking her in his arms. “Should I be jealous?”

Laura looked at Colin’s perfect face as it drew near her own, then shut her eyes in anticipation of his kiss. She was not disappointed. Long, slow, and soft: Laura felt as if she were melting in its warmth. Colin’s arms tightened around her, pressing her into his lean body. He kissed her harder, slowly moving his lips from hers and down her jawline until he reached an especially sensitive spot just under her ear. “Laura,” he whispered, “I very much look forward to our night together.”

Laura’s eyes snapped open; she broke away from Colin’s embrace and stepped back against the railing.

“What do you mean, our night together?” she said.

Colin chuckled. “I persuaded Simon to bunk in with Gray and Fletcher tonight. We’ll have the room to ourselves.”

Laura could only shake her head, eyes wide with confusion.

“You American girls,” Colin said, grinning. “Hot for it one minute, all innocence the next. You’re maddening.” He moved in again, but Laura backed up as far as she could go.

“Girls?” Laura knew she sounded like a mindless echo. “American girls? But you’ve never been to the States before.”

“We were on the East Coast for two weeks before we came to California, remember? You can’t have thought I’d been saving myself until I met you. Although you are definitely my favorite,” he said. He reached out and traced one long finger down the side of her neck until he reached the collar of her sweater. Grasping it, he used it to pull her towards him again.

“Colin, I think somehow you’ve gotten the wrong idea about me,” she said, putting her hands against his chest and trying to push him away.

“I very much doubt that,” he said, and kissed her again. Laura tried to twist away from him, but Colin pinned her against the railing. “You’re protesting a bit too much, love,” he whispered.

A deep, menacing growl came from behind them. Startled, Colin let go of Laura and turned to see the huge Labrador standing at his feet. Laura used the moment of distraction to slide around Colin and put Graf between them.

Graf bared his teeth at Colin and growled louder.

“Get away, you bleeding monster,” Colin snarled, and kicked at Graf. Graf snapped his jaws at Colin’s leg, letting the boy know that it was no accident that he’d missed biting him.

“Come away, Laura,” said Colin, sidling around the dog to the French doors. “We’ll tell our host that his mongrel’s out of control.”

Kneeling by Graf’s side, she sank her hands into his fur and shook her head. “I’m not going anywhere with you,” she said.


“You heard me. You’ve got the wrong idea about me, Colin. I think I’m much safer with the dog than I am with you.”

Colin’s perfect features grew cold and haughty. “Suit yourself, you bloody little tease,” he hissed, and stalked into the house.

“Thank you, Graf,” Laura whispered. “But now what am I going to do?”

I will do my very best to finish our story next week!
Author: Luisa Perkins
•1:17 PM

People, when you see me posting recipes a few days in a row, you probably suspect that something else is occupying my WEUs.

Your suspicions are correct. Tristi Pinkston is hosting a writing challenge, and I am on board for the next three weeks. But what follows should more than console you.

If I am going to eat a lemon square, it had better be good and lemony, and not just some vaguely yellow-tasting thing. And there should be a goodly, thick layer of topping as well. I've put a lot of effort into developing the ideal lemon square; I'm sure you'll figure out some way to thank me. Props go to Ann Hodgman for introducing me to the Sourtastic Secret Ingredient.*

Sourtastic Lemon Squares
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup lemon juice (or lime, if you're so inclined)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
3/8 teaspoon Sourtastic Secret Ingredient*
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch pan with two 8x12-inch pieces of waxed paper placed one on top of the other and perpendicular to one another, like a Greek cross. You should have a double layer of waxed paper on the bottom of the pan, with a single layer of paper extending up and over the sides. Butter the paper-lined pan bottom.

Whirl up the crust ingredients in a food processor until they are a fine-textured meal. Pour the meal into the pan and press it down firmly all over to form an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. The crust should be golden, not pale; if it's pale, it will turn gummy once you put the filling on.

While the crust is baking, put all the topping ingredients in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Once the crust is done, turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Whirl the lemon mixture around in the food processor for a final few seconds in case it has settled, then pour it carefully over the crust. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the topping is set. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Don't cheat; you'll be sorry.

Once the squares are cool, run a butter knife around between the waxed paper and the pan sides. Now remove the whole batch at once by carefully pulling up on the waxed paper edges. Set the whole thing on a cutting board, cut into squares, and dust with powdered sugar.

Keep them in the fridge. That way, your three-year-old is less likely to pull a chair up, sneak inside without detection, and snarf them all. Plus, they're scrumptious when chilled.

If you're all really good and don't abandon me while I write hard for the next few weeks, I might be persuaded to post my Dulce de Leche Squares recipe sometime soon.

* Sourtastic Secret Ingredient = Citrus salt, a.k.a. citric acid. You can buy it at Middle Eastern specialty stores, or you can stock up on it during canning season (late summer), like I do. It's used to process tomatoes for long-term storage. One time I was checking out at the supermarket, and the cashier said, "Boy, you must can a lot of tomatoes." Nope. But I would never want to be without the option of lemon squares.
Author: Luisa Perkins
•11:21 AM
We eat a lot of pasta here at the Perkins Homestead. Why? Because it's so very good.

I use the pasta sauce recipe Patrick taught me when we first got married. His sauce is one of the countless reasons why he is the perfect man for me. Patrick went on a two-year mission for our church to Rome, and some angel in the form of a little old Italian woman taught him how to make red sauce. Someday in heaven, I will find her and thank her profusely. Here's what I've done with that second-hand-authentic tutelage.

Patrick's Pasta Sauce
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion OR 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or pressed
2 teaspoons dried parsley OR a handful of fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil OR a handful of fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I prefer Cento or Muir Glen brands, but Contadina works, too. Some other brands DO NOT.)
Optional: 1 lb. ground beef OR sweet Italian sausages, removed from their casings
Optonal: 8-10 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced, and a splash of white wine
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 pound dry pasta

Put the olive oil in a heavy, medium-sized pot over low heat. Add the onion or carrot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. If adding mushrooms, add them next along with the wine and cook them until they release their juices, another few minutes. If adding meat, add it now, raise the heat slightly, and brown while stirring well to prevent big chunks from forming.

Add the garlic and herbs and stir for a moment or two. Marcella Hazan calls this process 'insaporire,' when you are infusing the oil with the heat-released flavors of the herbs. But keep it moving and be brief; you don't want to scorch the garlic, which is easy to do when it's in such tiny pieces. Add the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the butter and cook the sauce until the butter is melted and the sauce is heated through.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain, toss with a couple of tablespoons of butter, and serve with sauce and grated cheese.

This rich, intense sauce goes a long way; you might need less than you think to cover a serving of pasta. Because of this, even if you are feeding seven people, you'll probably have a fair amount of sauce left over.

Here's what I do the next night. Add a cup or two of cream to the leftover sauce and reheat it very gently. Meanwhile, slice and sauté a couple of zucchini in a little olive oil and salt. Once it's cooked but not mushy, add it to the sauce and stir well. Serve over more pasta--maybe a different shape, so the kids don't mutiny.

This is also the sauce I use for lasagne and pizza; I double the recipe when making lasagne and almost always use a béchamel sauce instead of ricotta cheese. Unbelievably good.
Author: Luisa Perkins
•5:14 PM
On my recent trip Out West, I entered a fabulous little independent bookstore in Spanish Fork, Utah armed with recommendations from a trusted friend. I've been making my way through the resulting pile o' books ever since. (It's a hard life I have, I tell you.) What have I learned? 1) The quality of fiction produced by people of my faith has increased dramatically in the past 15 years. 2) I really can trust this friend; she has unerring taste.

One book in the pile I have not yet read is A Door in the Woods, by James Dashner. It looks terrific; I'm just not there yet. Coincidentally, Mr. Dashner has started his own blog; I happened upon it today. At first glance, I was thrilled; it appeared as though his site's wallpaper were a photograph of some loosely spun alpaca yarn in various earthtoned colorways. Could it be that this new fantasy author is also a knitter devoted enough to his craft to adorn his blog with a photo of soft and lovely yarn from the Andes?

At second glance, I calmed down a bit. No, it's actually an (admittedly cool) image of one of his book covers. I just have knitting on the brain, since the fall issue of Knitty came out today. Yarn or no, I'm looking forward to getting to know Mr. Dashner a bit better. You should, too.
Author: Luisa Perkins
•6:57 AM
O, Canada. How I love thee.

I meant to write a post about Canada back on June 24th (St. John-the-Baptist Day, Québec's Fète Nationale), then again on July 1st, which is Canada Day. But other bloggers--actual Canadians--beat me to the punch, so I decided to save my ode for another day. That day has come.
I lived in Laval, a suburb of Montréal, for a short time years ago; it was the best few months of my single life. I left Canada in early October of 1989, so this time of year I always get a bit nostalgic. Enhancing these emotions, the other day I saw a Québecois license plate, the slogan of which is "Je me souviens," or "I remember." This motto, officially Québec's, means different things to different people, usually having something to do with the ongoing French-English conflicts in Canada. But for me, the words are a reminder of a wonderful time in my life.

Other things have me thinking about Canada this week. Last year, a friend of ours went hunting in Newfoundland and brought back a moose. He shared the delicious meat (it tastes like grass-fed beef) with his friends; I made the last of his gift into a wonderful stew last night.

It's my turn to lead our book group discussion this month, and the book I chose is The Blue Castle, L. M. Montgomery's novel for adults. The Blue Castle is Montgomery's only book set outside of Prince Edward Island; it takes place in Bala, Muskoka, Ontario, where Montgomery went on holiday once.

Here are more reasons why I love Canada:

Poutine! It's the ultimate comfort food. Take french fries, add fresh cheese curds, then pour delicious brown gravy over the top, so that the cheese melts somewhat, but retains its texture and shape. My mouth waters as I write. Oh, and Crème Budwig--like muesli, only a lot nuttier. Other delicious Canadian foods: toutons (bread dough fried in salt pork fat), figgy duff (similar to plum pudding), and maple fudge. Or really, maple anything.
Barenaked Ladies! Great Big Sea (I have a huge crush on Alan Doyle, second from the right in the photo above)! The Wailin' Jennys! Leonard Cohen! Rush, Triumph, Steppenwolf, and The Guess Who! Joni Mitchell and Neil Young! Oscar Peterson! La Bottine Souriante! There are so many great Canadian musicians. I even liked Céline Dion back when she was still singing in French and before she started beating on her skinny chest in platinum-selling, anglophone power ballads.

Robertson Davies! Mordecai Richler! Michael Ondaatje! Margaret Atwood! Mavis Gallant! Dave Duncan! Charles de Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Yann Martel! Alice Munro and Lucy Maud Montgomery! A significan percentage of my favorite writers are from Canada.

Dan Aykroyd. Eugene Levy. Mike Myers. Catherine O' Hara. John Candy. Dave Foley. Phil Hartman. Howie Mandel. Andrea Martin. Jim Carrey. Canada is good at making funny people.

French without anxiety. I studied French for 12 years in school, but that doesn't mean I was a fluent speaker when I got to Laval. Imagine my relief when I found that the Québecois were thrilled with my French, a reaction completely unlike the ill-disguised sneers or looks of outright incomprehension I'd gotten when trying to communicate with those of a more Parisian profile. (The difference between Canadian French and European French is as dramatic as the difference between British English and American English.) Canadians were so kind and encouraging of my French, even sometimes asking me whether I was from western Canada (this is much better than sounding like an American, I assure you).

I have many ancestors who settled in or were born in places like Scarborough, Ontario; Grand Bay, New Brunswick; and Cardston, Alberta.

For my senior project in college, I wrote a detailed outline for a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel partially set in a mythical Canadian province called Nunavut. Right after I turned in my project for final approval in March 1999, the real province of Nunavut was officially created. I now (irrationally) feel as though I were the creator of this new province.

National health care. Americans, go see the movie Sicko. Really: I feel it is your patriotic duty to do so.
Author: Luisa Perkins
•9:28 PM

Hurray! My sister Angie, a.k.a. Makaimama, just started her own blog. Yes, she lives in Hawaii, but don't hold that against her. She's smart and hilarious: very much worth a daily visit. Go give her a warm welcome to the Alien Planet of Blog!
Author: Luisa Perkins
•9:27 AM

This post is brought to you by approximately .5% of the Haldane Student Body, shown above.

How is it that:

- summer vacation went by so quickly?
- the leaves are starting to turn so early?
- my oldest son is a freshman in high school?
- the laundry hamper is full again already?

September is not my favorite month. I'm pouting and generally feeling sorry for myself for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, the angelic Jenna has tagged me for a meme, so I'll work on that instead of whinging to you all for several paragraphs. The object of the Middle Name Meme is to describe oneself by creating an acrostic with the letters of one's--you guessed it--middle name. Here goes:

M usical: I like most kinds of good music, but polyphony of any sort--from Palestrina to Louis Armstrong to Boston--tops the chart in my mind. Right now, Thomas Tallis's piece The Lamentations of Jeremiah suits my mood perfectly. But later I'll be checking iTunes to see whether they have Wire's fantastic 154 yet. Come on, Apple! Get with it!

I nvestigative Family Historian: Genealogy rocks my world. It's as fascinating as forensics, but without all the gross smells. Who knew that there was the perfect channel for my obsessive bulldoggishness?

C omfort food-loving: If God answers our prayers through other people, doesn't it make sense that He would answer them through food as well? I'm sure I can find a scripture that supports this theory, right after I make some Chocolate Drop (Mostly) Dead Cookies.

H opeful: At some point, I hope to get up regularly at 5:30 and like it; finish reading Don Quixote; and find an easy-care hairstyle that flatters my face.

E rudite: Fancy word describing that geek in high school whose homework you always wanted to copy. Yep, I'm that kid, 20+ years later.

L ovestruck: I have the most awesome husband on the planet. I'd rave on and on, but half of you females would shut yourselves in a closet and cry in despair that you can't have him; the other half would commence stalking him. They're hard on stalkers here in New York State, so I'm doing you a favor.

L ucky: I also have the best kids ever; they embody every virtue listed in the Boy Scout Law and more. I'm not really lucky, just very blessed. But there's no 'B' in my middle name, so we do what we can.

E nthusiastic: I am passionate about my many interests. There's just not enough time in the world to write all the books, read all the other books, knit all the sweaters, grow all the roses, classify all the rocks, find all the ancestors, sing all the motets, and cook and eat all the recipes I want. This doesn't keep me from trying. Like I wrote before: I'm hopeful.

I tag RaJ and Millie, because they're both hilarious and because I'm dying to know what their middle names are. I also tag James, but he has to finish his homework first. Finally, I tag my baby sister Angie, who should have her blog up and running any day now. Can't wait!
Author: Luisa Perkins
•10:12 AM
Our man Christian, shown here after getting his back-to-school haircut from stylist Dad, is a finalist in LDS author Anne Bradshaw's "Spotlight on Youth" contest! All the contestants are amazing kids, but of course I believe Christian stands out even in this great company.

Lurkers and commenters, unite! Please go to Anne's site and vote for Christian by leaving a comment on the post featuring him. It only takes a minute, and it's easy to do either with your Google account or anonymously. The deadline is September 13th, but go vote today! And please pass the word, if you feel so inclined (grandparents, aunts, and uncles: this means YOU).
Author: Luisa Perkins
•8:30 AM

Daniel, pointing at his own reflection in the mirror:
MOM! He's copying me!