Thursday, March 31, 2005

The weather's definitely warming up, but still has an edge to it. It calls for soup, but not anything too heavy. Portuguese Kale Soup fits the bill nicely:

Caldo Verde

2 Tbs olive oil
3-4 large potatoes
2 cans cannelloni beans
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
11/2 lb kale
3/4 lb Portuguese sausage (can be chorizo, linguica - I prefer the hot varieties when I can find them. If you can't find Portuguese sausage, Polish smoked sausage works pretty well.)
8-10 c chicken broth

Chop the onion and garlic; slice potatoes thin. Sauté in olive oil. Slice sausage thinly and add to potatoes. Wash kale, remove leafy part from stems and discard stems. Shred leaves and add to potato/sausage mixture, sautéeing until kale turns bright green. Take sautéed ingredients and add to chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Serve with a green salad and some good, crusty bread (or traditional Portuguese corn bread) and butter.

This is a pretty good approximation of my friend Jo's soup. Hers is the first I tried and about the best I've ever had. Though a lot of the restaurants in the neighborhood make it, they aren't nearly as good as the homemade stuff.
Mating Season.

Since it really started feeling like Spring at the beginning of the week, I broke out some of the more seasonally appropriate wardrobe. On Tuesday, I wore a non-Mennonite-looking skirt and stopped traffic in Union Square (not difficult, actually) for the first time this year. Some guy in a silver Jetta was paying more attention to my bipedal nature than where he was supposed to be going and ended up not signalling a very wide left turn onto Somerville. (Oops!)

On the way home from work last night, I got a real corker:
Heading out of Union Square, I heard someone rapidly approaching me from behind. Sensed a white, brush-cut head in my periphery, then heard a voice in my ear ask, "so, did you do a lot of athletics in college?" Gave him my best 'what on earth are you talking about, you lunatic' look. Grinning at me, he passed by, shrugged, then slapped his behind hard. Took off after that.

Gosh, I love being a girl!
I love a renaissance man.

(Tomorrow's the start of National Poetry Month!)
Spring is busting out all over!

Work was worthless on Monday, since they were setting up some new cubicles next to mine and I felt for all the world like I was in the front row at an Eintstuerzende Neubaten show. Since no one in charge figured it mattered enough to tell my boss, she was rather unpleasantly taken by surprise. Let us go home early as a result.

What's a girl to do on a spring day with the gift of a couple extra hours? Treat herself to a day of beauty, of course. (Actually, I really needed a haircut, as was looking pretty shaggy.) Chez Orize in Union Square looked like it wasn't too busy, so I just stopped in and let them take care of me. I love Orize, as she doesn't force me to chat with her and she understands my hair (Fine but curly, nappy if I'm not careful). Since it was so quiet, the shampoo woman massaged my scalp and neck such that I ended up falling asleep while getting my hair washed. Got my usual sensible cut followed by Orize's liberal complimenting of my haircolor for a sum that was so small as to be ridiculous. With the money I saved from this lovely bit of luxury, I headed over to Target to look at what nice spring stuff might have ended up on the clearance rack. Found two very nice blouses, one in the color of magnolia petals, the other like the tulips I posted below for less than it would cost to buy myself lunch (sadly, they were too large on me, so I gave them to a coworker). Happy with my new haircut and retail therapy (also got a cat toy), I made my way home to my pleasantly surprised animals and a rainstorm that I'd just missed by seconds. All before 5:00 pm, too. Wonderful.
Finally. Whatever her pain was is over now, thank heavens for her. Something tells me, though, that this story's not going to die for a long time, unfortunately.
You can hear them now

Fan of the Wisconsin bloggers that I am, I'm currently glued to my computer listening to At Ten, where the lead story is on blogging and bloggers. Dan Budiak, Bill Attwell, Nina Camic, Nick Schweitzer and Lorraine O'Connor are all featured.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Films about muffins - now here's something a girl could really sink her teeth into.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry at this.

Here's some background on the Minutemen Project and MS-13Posted by Hello
Just looked at my calendar and saw that it's practically April. Starting April First, I (with hopefully help from my friends) will be posting regularly on my other site devoted to National Poetry Month. Do stop by and take a look. Even better, if you have a poem you'd like to share - why not do so? It's all in good fun and a chance to do a bit of dreamy thinking for a change.
"It is not possible to listen to the melody of the song sparrow... without realizing that we are released from the cold clutch of winter and set down in the comfortable lap of spring." -F. Schuyler Mathews

 Posted by Hello

I had forgotten to mention that part of what made my gardening foray so pleasant last Saturday was who was keeping me company: a starling sitting on the roof of the house, singing and cheering me on. Given the repertoire my little friend had, I originally thought that he was a nightingale with a headcold (I have before misidentified bald eagles as old ospreys gone gray) - guess I've not had enough experience in associating the birds with the songs that belong to them.

Saturday afternoon, making our way south to Ginny's, we stopped off in Old Lyme, the birthplace and home of the American Impressionist Movement (a nifty story of serendipity, as these things often are). At the Florence Griswold museum, I found a charming little book that, in spite of its not being particularly pertinent to the museum, had to come home with me. It's not meant to be a substitution for that Sibley Guide I really would like to pick up (or heck, even a Petersen Guide). I am, however, enjoying looking up my birds and seeing what musical themes the author associates with their songs.
Right Wing News has a FAQ list on the Terri Schiavo case that makes for interesting reading. Keep scrolling down, too, and read some of the previous posts on this - they're pretty enlightening.

-via Instapundit.

Posting's been a chore the past week or so due to whatever technical issues Blogger's been having lately. Hopefully this stuff'll get sorted out once and for all and soon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Journalistic Buzzwords

Is "culture of life" one of the new "moral values?"

I'm really interested in how the press is portraying the protesters for a non-pet cause.
Strange Bedfellows?

Found this article on the uncomfortable association between disabled rights groups and the classic "right to life" groups. Uncomfortable, but possibly necessary (?), as this IS a right-to-life issue: after all, why should we bother with programs to help the disabled when we could just save a lot of time, resources, grief on providing them with the "dignity" of death?


I'm sorry, but I find this to be just ghoulish. For crying out loud, she's not even dead yet.


Of course, with regards to "strange bedfellows," - the worst possible thing anyone could do to kill their cause is to cozy up with the fringe elements. I think of the Democratic Party and the Antiwar movement as sterling examples of how to shoot yourself in the foot PR wise.

Will be interesting to see what comes of the right to life movement, which *really* has to toe the line, as the media are pretty strongly bent against them and anything that smells of religion.

Monday, March 28, 2005

 Posted by Hello
Today's flower is one of my favorite early risers. These guys were in such proliferation as to be literally underfoot, and Hal had to take care not to crush some patches while he photographed others. Interestingly enough, both the snowbells and the crocuses decided to bloom on Good Friday down at Ginny's. I only had a couple crocuses show a bit of purple today in my garden.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Okay, everyone: have a Happy Easter, a wonderful weekend...get some sun if you have it and some fresh air. It does a world of good.

(-Gosh, I wish these were mine.)
Hope springs eternal

Hal came by with a couple more egg cartons for my seedlings. I'll start my tomatoes, thai basil and rosemary when I get home from Easter festivities tomorrow. (Going to see Ginny, Ruth and Sue in Connecticut).

I dragged him around to see what's starting to peep up - in the shady area (will need to campaign again for the happiness of the garbage cans - they're much more at ease in back of the house where they won't be crushing plants), the coral bells are starting to get baby leaves, and the bleeding hearts and the hostas are starting to poke their way through the ground. The hostas remind me of asparagus shoots with purple tips.

In the side, where I did the seed-sowing, the herb garden's showing the most life. Chives are up and looking like a little chia pet. The mint's trying its darndest to jump the bounds of its pot and invade the rest of the area. The oregano is holding its own against the mint pretty nicely. The thyme was showing new growth, and it appears as though the tarragon will be making a comeback. Can't tell about the rosemary plant, though. Wonder of wonders - the wormwood is showing some new leaves! Maybe I will actually get to make that absinthe this year (wouldn't that be fun, now).

In the front, I've all sorts of irises, crocuses, tulips seeing the light of day. The stonecrop's leafing out in a beautiful, deep red. It's going to be lush this year.

Next to the house - more tulips I planted in the "lawn," along with crocuses, snow drops, grape hyacinths. This year's going to be the year of lilacs, too. I pruned them too late two years ago, so they didn't bloom last year. Same with the hydrangea. Maybe I'll get something from that, as well. Hopefully.

I think that my big puzzle will be what to do about what I think is a sizeable ant colony in the front bed. This could be a problem. It will get solved; just am not sure yet how to come to a resolution.
Raphaella mentioned having another back spasm - she always gets them before holidays. I told her that she was stressed-out, and that she should try to take it easy. Apparently, that's what the doctor told her, too. She said that she didnt feel stressed, though.

I told her that I myself don't show stress as much as others, but it takes its toll on me physically - my manifestations are brittle hair and a faceful of acne.

This needs to stop. I hate when I get like this. I hate to see my friends when they get like this.
Today, the earliest of the earlies went out. After cleaning up a bit (someone spit an awful lot of chewing gum into the front flowerbed: not only is it gross, but you can't compost it.) out front and on both sides of the house, I planted:

-one envelope of snow peas (the one from Chinatown that I couldn't read)
-one envelope of some blue kale from last year
-one envelope of sorrel
-1/2 an envelope of something called "French breakfast radishes." (I don't know that I'd eat them for breakfast, but they have some killer short maturing period - 25 days, maybe?)
-forget me nots ("great border plant!" -says the envelope.)

After I got these guys into the dirt, I swept up and went back in. Couldn't stand it inside, however, so went back outside to have coffee. Raphaella, who was hanging laundry, stopped what she was doing to come over and tell me that I was crazy because I wasn't cold. (Well, yes, I am out of my tree, but I don't think it's because I'm warm blooded.) We traded Happy Easters and she went back into her house for a bit. Came back with a plate of Easter cookies (lemon drops and pizzelle -anise!). I'm so looking forward to the warmer weather when I can spend even more time outside with the dirt, the flowers, my neighbors. Right now I feel like I need this more than ever.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What goes up must come down.

Interesting article in the NY Times about rising house costs in urban areas and the real estate market's //s to the dot com boom in the 90s.

Watching the rising home prices in my neighborhood (floors of houses are now being sold as condominiums for the same price as what the entire house would have gone for two or three years ago) has been giving me the feeling that we could be heading towards something similar to the real estate bust in the mid eighties here. People's attitudes towards what I think is a bubble is surprisingly like that of the tech/stock bubble that burst in the nineties: Prices won't go down, this has been going on for some time, it'll keep continuing. I don't believe it. Eventually, enough people are going to either not be able to or refuse to pay $600,000-$700,000 for something worth perhaps $150,000.
I love a sensitive guy.

(T Minus seven days and counting until National Poetry Month.)
Recipe Carnival is up!

As Booklore put it: ", of course, today's a fast day! Dang it!"
Patterico has challenged us all to take a blogger free speech pledge:

If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

This is a no-brainer for me. Of course I'm not going to shut up about political issues. Heck, I'm not the most insightful of bloggers out there and politics isn't really my chief interest, but if I feel the need to talk about something in that realm, gosh darnit, I'm going to.

-via Pajama Pundits
Random Thoughts on Terry Schiavo:

It's probably a really good idea to get a living will together, as I don't want my body to ever end up in probate.

I don't know that I'd ever be able to trust any other individual (much less the government) with that kind of control over my body if ever I were incapacitated like she is.

How sentient is she really? How much of the expert testimony just smoke-and-mirrors? Is she feeling pain right now? All I can say on this matter is, if a dependent were to be starved or denied water/medical care in the state where I live - that would be considered Abuse or Neglect and the perpetrator could be prosecuted and have custody taken away. I guess, though, that if it's government-mandated, it's okay.

Though death is a release of sorts, how much of it is letting Schiavo "die with dignity" and how much of it is a "release" for her "husband?" What does he stand to gain from this?

Note: I agree with a number of Mark's points here. I am, however, against the death penalty as a matter of principle.

Abortion and Euthanasia are both messy subjects and I could go on for pages on both (couldn't we all). I guess what I have problems in both cases is the taking of innocent lives because they are considered inconveniences or disposable. That bothers me a lot. I also worry about slippery slopes, seeing as I work in an organization that takes care of mentally retarded people. At what point might we consider letting others "die with dignity" due to the level of care and monitoring they require?

I resent deeply the notion wondering on potential and quality of life that this is a religious issue. For some it may be, but for many other's it's not. It's about empathy, about being able to put one's self into other people's shoes.

Mind you, these are all really just impressions. Nothing fully formed, just random jottings. I'm done saying my piece now.
Dream Job

Work has been a trial lately and has been taking up more of my emotional and physical energy than I'd like. It's really annoying when something as inconsequential as a lousy day job (and that's all it really is - a means for me to survive in this godforsaken overpriced city) starts acting more important than it really is - like a small dog or a short guy.

Gosh, I'd give my eye teeth to be able to bake bread again for a living. More than a job, that was therapy.
Good Friday is, of course, a sober time of reflection and fasting. I have happy memories of it being a bit celebratory in our household, however. Bad Jews that we were, I think we'd get it mixed up with Channukah and end up having a huge latke feast with all sorts of relatives and friends stopping by to say a quick hi and get a few of my mom's cakes. Since I'm told that I'm getting some sort of managerial dispensation to leave early today, I figured that I'd follow in mom's footsteps, get out the grater and invite over whoever's interested.


6 medium potatoes
1 onion
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
Shortening or oil for deep frying

Peel and grate potatoes into a mixing bowl. Squeeze out liquid. Peel and grate onion into potatoes. Add eggs, flour and salt, then mix until you have a smooth, heavy batter. Heat up enough shortening or oil to cover the pancakes. Drop the batter from a spoon into the hot oil (using enough batter to make cakes roughly 3" in diameter). Fry over medium heat until brown on underside, then flip to brown top side. Lift out and drain off excess fat on paper towels. Pancakes should be puffy and crisp.

Serve with applesauce and sour cream.
(serves four to six)

Much as I love these deep fried, I think that I'm going to "oven fry" my cakes this year. That is - bake the mixture on a cookie sheet until browned. I really don't need all that oil.

Yes: Good Friday trumps Purim this year. The Hamentaschen will have to wait until after Easter.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Just desserts for a way too busy for her own good girl

From Figs from Thistles:

First Fig:

MY candle burns at both ends;
  It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
  It gives a lovely light!

Second Fig:

SAFE upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
  Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

-Edna St Vincent Millay


Hi Carnival folks! Not much for sustaining a body, but it is good food for thought. Also a bit of a reminder that April is National Poetry Month...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Time to bring this old chestnut out.

Er ist's

Frühling lässt sein blaues Band
Wieder flattern durch die Lüfte;
Süße wohlbekannte Düfte
Streifen ahnungsvoll das Land.
Veilchen träumen schon
Wollen balde kommen.
- Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton!
Frühling, ja du bist's!
Dich hab ich vernommen!

-Eduard Möricke (1832)

It Is Here

Spring lets loose its blue banner
to flutter on the wind again;
A soft, well-known scent foretellingly caresses the land.

Dreamy violets will soon rouse themselves.
-Hark, from yonder a light harp's tone!
Spring, yes, you are here; I have sensed your arrival.


Overwrought? Maybe? Antiquated? Perhaps. I can't not love this poem, however. The blue standard let loose upon the softly scented wind describes perfectly the subtle but powerful changes taking place in the atmosphere here. We may have snow still on the ground, we may have a couple more storms queued up yet, but my dreamy grape hyacinths and snowdrops are already starting to peek out around snowpiles. The chives and thyme have already made a strong showing over in the kitchen garden section.


This seems like a good time to mention that National Poetry Month is just around the corner. I'd love to hear from you about a favorite poem if you have one (and come on, admit do have one.)
Today's flower is a hardscrabble beauty from very tough territory - a thistle that Hal found between boulders in Isle au Haut, Maine. This, by the way, is what I feel like now. Existence seems rather tough right now, what with the weather and all (another snow due in a couple days).  Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

The Boston Globe has an interesting set of editorials on teenage/child sexuality, permissiveness and the "obsession" over abstinence by the current administration.

On one hand, there is truth in that statement that kids, if they want to be, will be sexually active anyway, so they might as well be educated about this. On the other hand, it might behoove parents/caretakers to teach their kids about cause and effect - that there can be repercussions for certain acts.

I don't think that teaching abstinence to the exclusion of other things is the way to go, as I am a pragmatist. I also believe it to be counterproductive to use scare tactics instead of facts in the abstinence programs cited in the op ed. I do, however, think that abstinence should be presented as an alternative to "safe sex" - or any other sexual practices at all. People mature sexually far sooner than they are allowed to mature emotionally in our society, and it just seems like a bad idea for parents/society in general to be treating sex as though it were "just another thing." It isn't.


On a similar note, this amused me: I was out with a number of girlfriends in the recent past, and a couple women were lamenting the fact that there was no 100% foolproof birth control method out there save for sterilization. I brought up abstinence, and was immediately asked by one woman if I was a Republican.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

H-a-double r-i...

Top o the mornin to you and all that!

Given that this isn't Boston, we didn't get the day off like our counterparts south of the Charles did. No pub crawls during office hours, alas. We are celebrating in our own nonIrish, nonBostonian (subtler) ways, however.

I'm actually surprised at how many folks are wearing green today - I don't have much in that color in my wardrobe, so I hennaed my hair instead. Someone gave me a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" necklace, so I'm wearing that.

Did not feel like making the usual soda bread, so made a few dozen madeleines and dyed them green. We're calling them Siobhans instead. Since Johnny's had such a sale on all the necessary ingredients, I made about a month's worth of boiled dinner, as well.

We're also rocking out to a hit parade of classic Irish Hits:

Carolan's Harp - some lovely baroque era harp music from Turlogh O'Carolan. It's interesting to hear how he took prevailing musical fashion from the continent and spun it into something charming and original as he did. (Interesting little side note - just like the old Massachusetts rule being that only blind people could be trained to tune pianos, in Ireland, apparently, blind children were trained to be harpists. I guess it was some sort of vocational education/affirmative action thing.)

Stanford Symphony I/Second Irish Rhapsody - considered the father of English Pastoralism, his work influenced the likes of Edward Elgar, Gerard Finzi, Ralph Vaughn Williams.

John Field - 15 Nocturnes - Chopin may have made the nocturne famous, but Field invented it. Though relatively short, these pieces are just so atmospheric, I usually like to turn off the lights, close my eyes and sort of float off on them. Don't think I'll try that in the office, however.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Life is like a box of chocolates...

Virginia Postrel, in an article in Forbes Magazine, talks about the effects in an increase in choices, and how that could have implications in more user control of their retirement funds.

For the record, I am very pro choice in this matter. I was a benefits administrator in another human services organization, and one of my jobs was to explain to people from all walks of life (and sometimes in different languages) the basics of a 403(b) plan. It always made my day when I could convince someone that taking control and planning one's retirement, though a major responsibility, doesn't necessarily have to be rocket science. If empowered with knowledge and given the proper tools, any reasonably intelligent person can do a decent job of this, and most likely a better job than the government could do return-wise. Though I am by no stretch of the imagination a Libertarian (more of an -ibertarian, really. Am big into a government providing us with certain necessary services that would be financial losses in the private sector, thus making them possible rarities. I just want to see the organizations performing their functions more fiscally responsibly and efficiently.), personal empowerment tempered by a sense of personal responsibility is a huge turnon for me. Allowing people some control over a good portion of their future wherewithal (with some safety nets, of course) is a step in the right direction.
One Nation Under God With Liberty and Justice for All.

I've been getting one heck of a lot of links to babes in Lebanon images -'s the sexy part of "democracy, whiskey, sexy." Found this sign, though, and thought it interesting in that, though written in French, it enunciates very clearly what I'm sure a lot of the protesters want and what we in the US are all about: A Single Libya with Many Religions...all United. Mind you, not a secularist state (they tried that, or rather, they had that forced on them. Doesn't seem to be working.) but a society that embraces religious pluralism. Note the graphic on the sign, too. I particularly like that. Posted by Hello
I'd rather see the jokes end because we as a people were becoming more fit.

It's not just the adoption of a convenience food diet along with rushed meals, but a decrease in physical activity that is a factor in this. I wonder, too, if an increase in recreational eating to accompany the more passive sorts of entertainment which seem to be popular nowadays, both here and increasingly in other parts of the world.
Unfortunately, I'm not getting the chance to visit this year's spring flower show, which runs until Sunday the 20th. This wonderful collection of hothouse flowers and fantasy gardens provides a much needed glimpse of better times ahead, and is sort of an unofficial Boston start of Spring. If you have a free evening or weekend afternoon, I strongly suggest a visit. It's kind of pricey, but still a nice little change of scenery.
"I see them, Mia! Over there against the stormy sky. The smith and Lisa and the knight and Raval and Jöns and Skat with his lute. And Death inviting them to dance."

-a touching reinterpretation of Bergman's The Seventh Seal in Playmobil figures. (Thanks, Hal!)
Glenn Reynolds provides a fair number of links to the FAS no confidence vote for Lawrence Summers. Hey, if they want to work towards becoming another Hampshire or something, let em go for it. It's not like I give to their alumni fund or anything.


Here's a post from someone with a heck of a lot more insight as to the goings on than I have. Go take a look at what he has to say on the subject.
I'm not a fan of going to the dentist. In fact, it's like pulling teeth to get me to even make an appointment. This doesn't help.

-thanks to Jo for adding to my "why guys are gross" file, and to Nick for pioneering a sort of spunk-blogging movement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I don't know which is weirder: a guy in a chicken suit and garters taking direction from random viewers or the notion that this Burger King marketing.

-Thanks, Pablo...I think.
Thank heavens that good sense has prevailed in Lincoln, RI.

Hurt feelings? Doesn't fit in with the No Child Left Behind act. Granted, I'm not an educator and I've been out of school for some time now, but spelling bees always seemed to be an exciting thing to look forward to after studying all those words in school. I understand that not everyone likes to put themselves out, whether it be on stage or in a classroom, but, well, compromise. I never much cared for basketball or the running the eight times around the track in gym class, but I sucked it up. You can't be good at everything, so you learn to improve or deal with your inadequacies. I didn't spot well and there was always someone stronger/faster/more athletic than me. I can only think of a couple people who could beat me in spelling or declamation, however.

Anyway, These sorts of competitions I think are good, healthy, low-cost ways to foster literacy and self-improvement. I'm glad that there's a resurgence in popularity of the spelling bee, and I'm glad that the school officials in Lincoln, RI have rethought doing away with it.
I the way these folks' minds work.

Returning the prepaid junk mail envelopes filled with actual junk was the act that really caught my eye, since we've had to get a shredder to deal with all the garbage with personal information we receive.

I do kind of enjoy figuring out ways to use up the shredded paper (cat litter, packaging material...heck, I'm even experimenting with papier mache), but lately it seems that we're filling the bin faster than we can use up the shreds. It seems such a waste, too, to toss all that perfectly good paper out. Maybe I could start taking the shredded applications and mailing them back to the vendors.

-via Daniel Drezner
Girl that I am, this post on diversity in the blogosphere made me giggle.

The second update:

: And by the way... Regarding the PC arguments about people who can't afford cable modems.... Let's remember that only a decade ago, the only way to speak to the world was to own a printing press or broadcast tower. One helluva lot fewer people could afford those than can afford to blog!

really resounded given that my current home setup is dialup (56k modem that runs at anywhere between 26 and 43kbs - slow for Somerville maybe, but fast enough for most of the rest of the world) hooked up to ground score.

-via Instapundit.

Monday, March 14, 2005

One of those days.

Nearly 12 hours in the office on something like three hours' worth of sleep: quelle aventure rocambolesque. Got home at around eight and have been dealing with a headache that just.won't.quit. I wanted to mention a few things, however, before turning in:

Norm Geras's music poll results are in. Of course, the top three results are no-brainers, just like the top ten in any album-rock-oriented poll. Back at the music store, it wasn't the top ten that interested us so much as the next 20 or so groups. Likewise here (I went Eastern Bloc, by the way).

Hargo is auctioning images of his Somerville Gates. After this weekend's purchase, I'm afraid that this is a bit too rich for my blood, but the proceeds do go to some good local organizations. If you've the disposable income, you want a bit of "domestic environmental art" history and you want to support a worthy cause - why not consider going for it on these?

Finally - I only just got around to noting that the weekly Carnival of the Recipes is up over at pamibe. Go check out what's cooking; there's lots of really yum stuff.

Okay, it's bedtime for Be. I've had it. Sweet dreams to you. Hopefully the same for me. (sigh)
The prints that came home with us from the Francis Hamabe exhibit

 Posted by Hello

We first saw these silkscreened nautical charts up at Rowantree's in Blue Hill, Maine. Admittedly, they're not everybody's cup of tea (Karen didn't like them at all), but I find them clever. I particularly enjoy this one's (Thomaston, ME) use of the map features as part of the design.
 Posted by Hello

Isleboro, Maine
Happy Effing Monday

Two nights of horrible, troubled, sleep (The cats know when to bail; unfortunately other humans aren't so smart or lucky.). Don't know what was causing so much turmoil that I was waking myself up from flailing. Finally just got tired of this and left bed at around 5:00 this morning to make some lemonade out of lemons (I save the lemons out of lemonade for my coworkers). Did the first run of the season and since I hurt my knee and, you know what? It felt pretty good. My left knee did not get loose, my right foot did not cramp, and in spite of all the problems I've been having breathing of late (part of why I was up - choking. Wondering if it wasn't a panic attack. Hmm.), I didn't wheeze or seize up once.

I'm following the counsels provided here in order to get started again. They've served me well in the past and I can see it working again, provided I remember to take it easy at first.

There are worse things to occupy one's insomniac hours with. Being out and about just as dawn is breaking is a beautiful thing. It's not quiet by any stretch in the city, but there is less traffic. The sunrise was glorious this morning, too.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

What's doin' on a snowy day in Somerville

Not much, really. Scrubbed the floors, shoveled snow and tried to keep the front steps de-iced.

Knitted a rose, tried to felt it but it fell apart. Back to the drawingboard, I guess.

Stretched a bit, danced. Worked a bit on technic, then just let myself go to this.

Listened to lots of music. I don't know what it was, perhaps Hal's old reference to my tea mugs being "hero mugs," but that got me started with Die Meistersinger. After that, turned on the radio to Mahler's Sixth and Strauss's Vier Laetzte Gesaenge. Really needed to hear the Titan, then.

Bought some stuff online - a book on felting technique and a subscription renewal. It was on the Interweave page that I found this interesting < a href="">profile. Sound crazy? Not really. The only way I could afford cachemire yarn was by getting the recycled stuff. I figure that I must have saved something like $400-$500 by purchasing unravelled yarn.

Got my first issue of the Weekly Standard. Found an interview with Victor Davis Hanson. Those of you who know me understand my feelings about him.

Happened upon this little blurb...the IgNobels are now on tour - what fun! If you're able to, do go check them out. They're a hoot.

Am currently engrossed in this CD. I was originally a bit sceptical about Ziporyn's original compositions for gamelan, but have to say that I am now completely won over. I'm particularly enthralled by Tire Fire.

Off to dinner and a movie. I'm told we're having ham and that the movie's Pepe le Moko. Enjoy your evening; I know I will mine.

Friday, March 11, 2005

 Posted by Hello

Harry caught this guy during one of his meanderings.
 Posted by Hello
Departmental Brainstorming Session on a Friday

Karen broke out the Toobers and Zots and we set about to crafting OLAP cubes. Since it's only the middle sized set of parts, I ended up making something that looked more like an OLAP trapezoid than a cube. Wheels were added, though, so it could double as a company car when it wasn't taking care of our information needs.

Sweet Dreams

A friend ordered one up for me and, happily, the subconscious provided. Warm, happy, full of sun on the Mediterranean coast, this featured me with two francophone coworkers on the way to a beach holiday. We started on a train (I love trains), disembarked, then rolled down a grassy hill to the shore. The water was like in a bath, it was so warm. The sun was perfect: bright and hot without burning. I recall some English tourists comparing this shore with Brighton. Was trying to catch more of their conversation, but then the alarm sounded and I was back to the real world of a cold March say with bare feet and the covers kicked off.
Road Trip! permitting, of course.

I first saw some of his work up at Rowantrees Pottery in Blue Hill, Maine, and it just struck a chord with me. It's just so New England Seaside Resort circa 1955-60. Hal calls a lot of his stuff a "conservateur's nightmare," as it's often printed/painted on things like cardboard, old maps, etc.

Wish there were something more representative of him on the web. For some reason, there's not much out there, biographical or otherwise.
Take the Manolo No Poncho Pledge:

"I (insert the name here) swear on the head and/or the grave of my sainted granny to never wear, buy, knit, crochet, or fashion from the old throw rug, the poncho. And if the poncho it is given to me as the gift, I will graciously thank the giver and then, when she has left, put the poncho into the dog's bed and/or the trash as the case she may be. Only by doing these things faithfully can I help end for the good of the humanity the scourge that is the poncho. So help me Manolo."

I love Lion Brand yarns and knit almost exclusively with them. I have also availed myself of their free patterns on numerous occasions. I cannot abide by the surfeit of ponchos, however.

Personally, I prefer the knitted shawls and ruanas. Much more classically elegant than flash-in-the-pan.

Go Chumworth!

Stuff keeps up like this he might have a tuition fund started from the Martha and Michal Jackson jokes alone.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

German Apple Pancake

(from the Vegetarian Epicure)


3 large eggs
3/4 c milk
3/4 c white flour
1/2 tsp salt
11/2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup thin-sliced apples (optional)


1 lb tart, fresh apples
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c sugar
cinnamon and nutmeg


2 Tbs melted butter (optional)
powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Beat together the eggs, milk, flour and salt until very smooth. Add some sliced apples if desired. In a heavy 12 inch pan, melt the 11/2 T butter. Pour in the batter and put pan into oven. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 10 minutes. The pancake should be light brown and crisp.

During the first 10 or 15 minutes of baking, the pancake might puff up in large bubbles. If it does, pierce it throroughly with a fork.

While the pancake is baking, prepare the apple filling. Peel and thinly slice the pound of apples. Sauté them in the melted butter and sugar. season to taste with the cinnamon and nutmeg. The apples should be just slightly tender-not mushy.

When the pancake is ready, slide it onto an oval platter, pour the apples over one side and then fold the other side over. Pour melted butter over this and sprinkle on a bit of powdered sugar if you like.

I've also made this without the apples - just served it drizzled with butter and lemon juice and sprinkled with powdered sugar.


Though this usually ends up as breakfast, I've made it for dinner a couple times and have even managed on rare occasions to share it with others for dessert.
Praise be.

A recent yahoo headline said that Madrid was dreading the March 11 RENFE bombings. I think that this is a fitting memorial as well as a wonderful show of support.

It's also kind of saddening. Why couldn't the American Muslim community something similar after 9/11/01? Heck, why couldn't they now?
Ils sont fous, ces suedois...

Actually, I think that they're really caught between a rock and a hard place. When you've got institutionalized multiculturalism and nit-picking feminism, whom do you cater to? How does one have it both ways? For that matter, what of the Prime Minister picking up on this? You'd think that he'd have better things to do than look for sexism in furniture assembly manuals.

(This is what one gets when you foster a ghetto mentality, by the way. Is it considered intolerant not embrace the subtle richness of another culture when part of its rich subtlety is a proclivity towards subjugating another "minority" group?)

Everyone around here is always scheduling "playdates" for their children, it seems. This can be a rather complicated affair, given how full kids' dance cards tend to be between ballet lessons, soccer practice and GRE study sessions. The other night, I mentioned the term to Hal and got his little half-smile:

"Back when I was a kid, a playdate was when my parents went out to socialize and there happened to be another kid around. If s/he was around my age we'd figure out some way to occupy ourselves. I don't think that we'd have ever had the time for playdates as they are structured today, as we were too busy riding our bikes around or playing with the neighbors."

Same here. I guess we must have had very, very selfish parents as I don't ever remember going to these sorts of no-occasion birthday parties. Heck, I don't think we got ferried around much at all, come to think of it. Generally, my brother and I would get kicked out of the house, returning only for lunch, paper route (yes, we worked for a living, too!) and to get started on dinner. Since mom was pretty busy with work or taking care of household business, I don't know that she had enough time for herself, much less micromanaging our lives. I wonder if I'm damaged because of this. Should I feel resentful?

Harold brought me a copy of the latest Harvard Film Archive calendar last night. This morning, over my coffee, I noted that I'd missed an appearance by Im Kwon- taek along with the chance to see again one of my favorite films ever.

Back when Chunhyang was first released, I could find next to no information on Kwon-taek aside from the little blurb on him in a Cannes press release. He's apparently one of the more prolific directors out there (nearly 100 films to date), and ispractically unknown here.


This little glimpse of Kwon-taek's recent work seems to be wrapped up in a larger series on South Korean film. I'm really going to have to try to make an effort to get out and see at least some of these.

Also, one of my favorite film scorers (aside from perhaps Georges Auric) is the focus of another grouping in conjunction with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
I've talked about the Takemitsu /Shinoda collaboration briefly before.

In addition, lots of other good stuff, from Kurosawa to Busby Berkeley to Todd Solondz. I'm really going to have to try to catch Solondz. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Another friend read my blog. Another friend expressed their disappointment with my apparent approval of a Republican agenda in spite of my seeming to be a caring person; someone who works in a helping field, for crying out loud.
So much for Peace, Love, and Understanding

Walking home from work tonight (would have been utter hell in this cold if it weren't for the fact that I can now leave the office at 5:30 and be home in time to watch the last of a sunset), I saw another great bumper sticker (corner of Prescott and Summer):

"My anarchist kid just beat up your inbred, Republican kid."

Stretching myself.

I know very little about jazz in general and next to nothing about free jazz in particular. A friend of mine loaned me an album that he's particularly fond of, and I'm trying my darndest to make heads or tails of it. All I can really say after a second listening-to is that there's a heck of a lot going on. It's going to take a while to figure out just what's happening and where it's headed, though.
We're liberal, but not that liberal.

I'm sure that I've brought up the local media's obsession with our governor's religion and how that really, truly aggravates me. Perhaps it's because I grew up in an area with a high concentration of Mormons that I tend not to think of them as "Freaks" or "Abusers" or "Heretics" (all terms that I've heard in reference to them here. In fact, I didn't learn about what awful people Mormons apparently were until I moved to Boston.) Perhaps it's the native population's Puritan roots that has something to do with this obsession. I'm not sure.

Soxblog is all over the Globe's latest railing against Romney, and gives us some insight as to what segment of the population here they're trying to appeal to. (Folks who have a problem with religion in general? There seem to be quite a few of them here.)
I found this article in the Weekly Standard a few weeks back to be particularly interesting, given my current life situation here and some conversations I've been having about my next "five year plan."

There's a lot to be said for Boston. After all, I based my life here for as long as I have. However, with the rising cost of living and only negligible salary increases, other places are starting to appeal to me. I don't want to have to share a small apartment for the rest of my life. Much as I like my current landlord, I would at some point like to own my own home. As houses in my neighborhood that only a few years ago went for perhaps $125,000-$150,000 are currently being turned into condominiums that start at around $250,000-$300,000 apiece, I don't even bother looking around here anymore.

I'd given some thought to moving a few years ago, when I went out to visit some friends who were working in Indianapolis. The people seemed nice like the folks where I come from originally, there seemed to be a nice nightlife, and from what I could see, a fair bit of redevelopment was going on there. One could do worse than transplant themselves there.

Another thought, always in the back of the mind, is returning home. Leaving after visits has been getting more and more difficult emotionally. The economy's never been great, but even on a smaller salary than I make here, I could afford a house fairly easily. Heck, I could probably afford to go back to school, even - something that I've been wanting to do for years, but haven't been able to afford here. Food for thought.
Oh my gosh!
You know, I really was wondering what happened to Thomas Dolby. Seems like he's doing just fine.
Still coming off a migraine - the world feels very far away. Deadlines out the wazoo at work. I really don't feel up to any task today. Sigh. I hate this feeling like half a person.

Maybe more later. I have a fair bit to say (for better or for worse). Just don't know if I can chain the words together properly right now.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Happy Pulaski Day!

This calls for a celebration. Maybe a mazurka tonight. Haven't made one in ages.

(Dziękuję, Emily!)
Karen came into the office with a shopping bag full of flower seeds. Said she got them from the president of her garden club. I ended up picking up forget-me-nots (always loved those), morning glories (to go with the sweet peas on the chain-link fence), rose-colored alyssum (have never seen that color before), evening primroses, vinca (love vinca - I have some periwinkles in the back yard already), and candytuft.

Even if most of the seeds don't germinate (some are very old), it'll still be fun to see what comes up. Some of the best treats I got from last year's gardening adventures were the products of two and three year old seeds that my cousin mailed me out of the blue.
Amaryllis before she busted out. Looks a little bit like a bird of paradise. Posted by Hello
Monday Morning Flower Posted by Hello

Two Christmases ago, some friends came to my party with a beautiful red amaryllis. Not liking to throw anything out, kept it on a windowsill until it was time to plastic up the windows. After this, the bulb ended up forgotten in a closet. About a month ago, did some cleaning up and found the neglected little bulb with a stem and a bud. This bud turned into three, the first of which started blooming this weekend. Harold, of course, wanted to spend some quality time with amaryllis, so we now have extensive documentation.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Zoolander was through with it before the NYT knew what to do with it.

I hate to say it, but, no, they did not invent this. Faux boho has been around for years and is fully documented in this little gem.

Funny how the "commuter student" (work clothes) style has never been picked up by any fashion column.

Become PhD candidates in Film Studies, maybe?
Best Segue

"...speaking of Paul Masson, I got a copy of "Lady of Shanghai." Want to stop by and see it again with me?"

-Hal, on looking at my wine carafe tonight at dinner.
Okay, this is going to sound all catty and everything, but

Someone should have explained to this lady how well the Eason Jordan thing worked for him the first time around.

As per usual, Charles Johnson's all over it like a typographer on a Word document.
One man's trash

It gives me such joy to know that I'm connecting to the outside world via something someone considered a piece of junk. You do not know how that tickles me. Je t'adore, beau bleu.
Poisoned Electricity

Yesterday morning, went to fire up my trusty little iMac (last version before they turned them into desklamps. Fast little refurbed thing I picked up off the Apple site) and found that there was nothing to fire humming, no nothing. Called my Mac guy and asked him for a bit of help troubleshooting stuff. He stopped by, tried everything I did (unplug it, replug it in. Try another outlet. Try another power cord, etc), then came to the determination that beau gris really needed to go to the doctor. As it appears as though he got zapped by a power surge through the phone line (yes, I use dialup, and before this happened, I didn't realize that you could get surge protectors for phone jacks.), if I'm lucky, it'll just be the power source. Goodness, I hope that the drive's not fried.

At the moment, I'm using a loaner. This is the thing about a lot of mac users: they have tons of old stuff in their museums of Mac History. The machine I'm currently using is the first generation iMac: the aqua one. Hal found it curbside. Yup, someone just got tired of it and tossed it. He calls it "blue ground score," but I've nicknamed it beau bleu.
I'm running Mac OS 9.2 (I'd forgotten how nice that is. Though OS X feels like Windows, I liked 9.2 better.), use webmail so as not to have to deal with downloading too much crud via a slow connection, and have been having a blast looking at what the previous owner didn't bother erasing off the drive.

I had fun getting reconnected to the web. Since I'd determined that it was the phone jack that caused the problems, I got this thing wired up to a protected jack with an extra bit of phone cord I found lying around. Called my ISP (formerly known here as the Regional Clown Network, as they were pretty bad when they started here. They've since gotten things pretty ship shape and are cheaper than the alternatives), and played "let's increase your knowledge base" with the dialup tech support guy. I love calling with a problem every now and again, firstly because it keeps them on their toes, secondly because, well, I love telling them what my operating system is and hearing the cringe over the phone line. If you've ever had to make your living supporting anything on mac OSs, you know what I'm talking about. After I'd assured him that I wasn't really a mac user, that I'd just dated one, he relaxed. He actually laughed a bit when I told him about some of the stuff I found on the drive, given that it was ground score. Got the proper mail addresses and phone numbers in, et me voici donc.


"Poisoned electricity," by the way, refers to Hal's exclamation after seeing my comatose machine in inaction and then needing to give the loaner a hard reset for no apparent reason. This, unfortunately, is a price you have to be willing to pay if you prefer living in older houses with ancient wiring systems. My roommate's also lost a machine here under similar sketchy circumstances.

Friday, March 04, 2005


My boss is on a team to put in place a time and attendance system. This product is called appropriately enough I guess, Kronos. Her conversation with the other "steering committee" member in the cubicle next to mine was half-shut out, and the words I did absorb sort of took me off on a tangent:

Kronos? Who was Kronos? Oh, that's right. He's the guy who was born of Uranus and Gaia. He murdered his father, who ended up becoming the heavens. His mother, of course, was the Earth. Now, I'm not sure why he did this - prophesy? But the children he had, he swallowed just after they were born. Zeus, however, was spared when his mother fed Kronos a rock in his stead. When Zeus grew to adulthood, he kicked his father hard and out came the Olympians.

Pablo, who I called on this, filled in the details and sent me links to these delightful renderings:

This one's by Goya

This is Rubens.

Both can be found at the Prado. (Incidentally, while being stranded in Madrid for a bit, I got to visit the Prado. Ended up spending something like three straight days there. Didn't speak Spanish at the time, didn't know the city. Moreover, I didn't want to be there. Museums, however, will keep me off the streets nicely. I remember being awestruck by the immensity of the paintings in the Rubens hall. What else made an impression? This most certainly did. I also caught a Velasquez exhibition and a Goya one, as well.)

From Goya and Velasquez I think I got the best impressions on how one could render grotesqueness with delicacy. From Goya, as well, I learned my first wordplay in Spanish:

(Can be read both as "the sleep of reason produces monsters" and "the dreams of reason produce monsters." I love that.)

This site has a great collection of Goya's works, along with a biography. Take a look at his self-portraits in particular. He was a good looking man.

As for the designer who's hosting this Goyapalooza, I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with his work, too. I particularly enjoyed this vacation sketchbook.

This could go on forever, but I think I should stop. My brain's fried from all the bell curves I'd been charting (bell curves are cool, aren't they? Heck, someone's even got a bell curve blog. It's arrived.) and all the tangents I've been following. Onward.
Lent's supposed to be a time of abstinence, I know. With this place down the street, however, Fridays are more to be looked forward to than borne.

Today? Smelts! Gosh, I love smelts.

All this brings to mind is the restrooms at Stendhal (Grenoble III). They were gender specific, but for some reason, a lot of the stalls in the women's rooms didn't have doors. Since after 1968 police were not permitted on college campuses, all sorts of freedoms began to blossom. One thing that I learned was that you never knew who might be in the ladies' rooms at school or for what purpose. Another thing I learned was how to hold it till I got home.
The latest Recipe Carnival is up...hosted again by Rocket Jones. All I can say is that it's an on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Part of my morning ritual is to stand at the kitchen sink and stare out the window while sipping my first coffee of the day. It's quiet, it's still, there's nothing distracting. Often, while fixed on the neighbors' door and wall, I find myself meditating a bit, steeling myself for the onslaught of the work day.

Today, my meditations were interrupted when the door opened and three pugs cascaded down the steps into the yard. I wondered for a minute if I wasn't still in bed dreaming I saw this, it was so odd. I knew that my neighbors had one pug. Don't know where the others came from.

 Posted by Hello

(image by Dog Art Dog)
I found this article after reading about a very lucky cat with one less life to spare.

Definitely a rock and a hard place situation. On one hand, if you've ever had a pet, you know how easy it is to become attached to them. If your friend disappears or dies on you, it's devastating. I could completely see how and why an organization would sprout up to help soldiers bring their newfound companions stateside. On the other hand, I also understand the military's position on this: you don't know what kind of diseases these animals may be carrying, and the safety of the soldiers is of utmost concern.

It makes me wonder how unreasonable the notion of some sort of animal shelter/adoption service for animals in Iraq itself would be. I don't know what the cultural take on domestic animals in a house is, but I don't think that this would be a completely far fetched idea. Especially if things continue to improve over there as they have been doing.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Quick and Dirty

I was invited to a dinner (potluck) this week on very short notice. Work's been hell, so I've not made a shopping run for anything beyond the basics in a couple weeks. Luckily I had a few staples in my larder.

Leniwe Pierogi (lazy pierogi)

2 cans sauerkraut (drained)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can mushrooms (drained)
1 box spiral pasta

Cook pasta according to instructions on box. Drain, add sauerkraut, soup and mushrooms. Serve either warm or cold.

There you have it. We don't call it "lazy" for nothing. If you're feeling fancy, you can always add sautéed fresh mushrooms or sautéed onions (or both). I've done both, with very good results. The basic recipe's quite nice, though.


Oh my gosh! I think that my pierogi recipe has found its soulmate over in this week's Carnival...
I love it.

The New England equivalent would be that you move into the picturesque small town with the white clapboard church. The church has a churchbell which rings every hour on the hour, and has been doing this for, oh say, the last 200 years. You're not into it as(choose any or all of the following): you're an atheist, it disturbs your quiet (which is why you moved out of the city in the first place, right - to get some peace and quiet?), your little angels can't sleep at night because of it. So, what to do? Give yourself time to get adjusted to it? Of course not. You're a property owner; you've got rights. You contact the zoning board and file a petition to ban the Church from sounding its bell, as it's noise pollution.

And so it goes.

"He's Always a Woman to Me"

The funniest moonlighting joke writer in the world has struck again. He's actually been updating a fair bit lately, so keep scrolling.

(Hey Chum: are you going to post those club dates? I'm not a night owl or anything, but I'd pay a cover and buy a drink or two to see you on stage. Heck yeah.)
Oh, the sky was so blue and the sun shone so brightly this morning as to really lift this girl's spirits during her walk into work. Got over to the quick mart where I usually get my morning coffee and found Ali settling down to his cup of tea. Wished him a glorious, sunshiney day. Goodness, how his eyes bugged out at this:

"What do you mean glorious? It's freezing out. It's terrible!"

"But Ali, the sun really helps my mood. Sometimes it's all I have."

"My lady (that's what he calls me), this is not real sun. It is FAKE sun. It creates no heat; it's only there for appearances. You want REAL sun, go back to MY country. Now there's sun for you. Warm, direct, useful."

"Ali, I realize this. I'm fully aware of the quality of the sun where you come from. That is partly why I am here. Look at me. Come on, just look (for those of you who don't know, my skin's so white that on parts of me I look like the Visible Woman). Don't think for a minute that I wouldn't enjoy going there. How long, though, do you think that I'd survive?"

Ali gave me one of his full body laughs (love those - I know only one other person who laughs so forcefully that it radiates to everyone around him) and admitted that I had a point. "Okay, my lady, go and enjoy your day. Enjoy your fake sun."

"You bet I will. Stay warm, okay?"
But what about the noise of crumpling paper?

This morning, the new receptionist made an announcement but did not turn off the intercom afterwards. I like to think of the performance we were treated to for 20 minutes (before someone finally went downstairs and hung the phone up)as the premiere of a new piece for prepared office building.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Heteronormative Microaggressions?

Seems to me that someone's gonna get their choco-rations halved.

-via a guy who's much better looking than Orlando Bloom, I'm sure.
At long last, the Citgo Sign is getting a much-needed facelift. It's been looking a bit long in the tooth lately. Didn't realize that the last rehab operation took place nearly 20 years ago.

-via Universal Hub
Yeah. What he said.

Nick's on a roll lately. I found this post regarding eminent domain and drug patents to be particularly interesting. This makes me wonder if I should start getting an office pool going, or something. (Heck, back when I was at the music store, we had a betting pool as to who would start WWIII. This is a bit more hopeful. Word.)

Leaders of the nation's nonprofits, singed by news reports of self-dealing and extravagant spending, unveiled a sweeping list of reforms yesterday designed to force greater accountability and boost penalties for misuse of funds at 1.3 million private foundations and public charities across the country.
The proposals call on nonprofits to comply with accounting rules much like those imposed on businesses after the Enron scandal: Top officers of nonprofit organizations would be required to sign off on financial filings; conflict-of-interest policies would be established and enforced; and audits of larger nonprofits would be routine.

There is a mindset here that not for profit status is next to godliness. Not so. Though these organizations champion causes that are near and dear to the hearts of any good-doer, the term "not for profit" is but a business classification. A tax status.

My maintenance has generally been that since these outfits are tax/donation funded, they should have one heck of a lot more hoops to jump through than they do now. At least as much as we're seeing in the "Corporate" World, anyway. Hopefully these reforms are a start. Hopefully they'll have some teeth, too.
Harbinger of Spring Posted by Hello

Had a rotten start to the morning (too little sleep, one of those nauseating headaches, etc.), but once I got a grip on myself and got outdoors, things changed.
The air, instead of chilling was bracing. The sun shone brightly. Made my way over to Ali's and saw the above image across the front page of today's Globe.

Got to thinking about being near the Charles when it starts to melt: listening to the ice floes bumping against one another or even groaning and cracking (almost like the Mighty Niagara) if the freeze was deep enough. Smelling the mud and damp plant matter on the banks. Also remembered sitting in a classroom overlooking the river and having a professor open the windows wide so we could be less removed from all this.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Moonlighter took disabled men to job

Four mentally disabled men who were supposed to be in a group home were found in the gas station where their caretaker was working a second job Sunday night, The Patriot-Ledger of Quincy reported yesterday. Antonio Pierre-Louis put two men in a storage room, one outside in a van, and another in the office of the Granite Street Mobil Station. He will be fired by Brockton Area Multi-Services Inc., which runs the group home. The agency, as well as the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, will conduct an investigation. Police will not charge Pierre-Louis with a crime, the newspaper reported.


Let me start by saying that I don't believe that this employee exhibited the best judgement in taking his clients off site. I do think we need to examine what value is placed on this sort of work which is difficult, emotionally draining, often dangerous and which comes with more responsibility than a lot of people are normally accustomed to. The average care worker in my state makes somewhere around $10-$12 and hour. The hours are not always great (taking care of the elderly/children/the mentally retarded is not a 9-5, Monday to Friday job), and you're stuck if your replacements don't make it in. That this person obviously was concerned enough about the people he was taking care of to bring them with him to his other job (in spite of the conditions described - and I wonder how much different they were from the home situation) says something about a lot of folks who work this realm.
"Dreams are toys: Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously, I will be squared by this."

I'm not one of those girls who gets big into divination or the interpretation of dreams, but I have learned to pay attention to my subconscious when it starts sending me messages. Last night, it was very cold in the house. I put on my thermal socks and crawled under the comfortable and the flannel sheets and drowsed off with the very pleasant feeling of being embraced.

"Quelquefois, comme Eve naquit d'une côte d'Adam, une femme naissait
pendant mon sommeil d'une fausse position de ma cuisse. Formée du
plaisir que j'étais sur le point de goûter, je m'imaginais que c'était elle qui
me l'offrait. Mon corps qui sentait dans le sien ma propre chaleur voulait
s'y rejoindre, je m'éveillais. Le reste des humains m'apparaissait comme
bien lointain auprès de cette femme que j'avais quittée, il y avait quelques
moments à peine ; ma joue était chaude encore de son baiser, mon corps
courbaturé par le poids de sa taille. Si, comme il arrivait quelquefois, elle
avait les traits d'une femme que j'avais connue dans la vie, j'allais me
donner tout entier à ce but : la retrouver, comme ceux qui partent en
voyage pour voir de leurs yeux une cité désirée et s'imaginent qu'on peut
goûter dans une réalité le charme du songe. Peu à peu son souvenir
s'évanouissait, j'avais oublié la fille de mon rêve."

Sometimes, just as Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs, a woman would be born during my sleep from a false positioning of my thighs. Formed from the pleasure I was on the verge of tasting, I imagined that it was she who was offering me this. My body, feeling its heat suffusing her, would move towards joining with her, and then I would wake up. The rest of humanity seemed to me quite distant in comparison to this woman I had left barely moments ago; my cheek was still hot from her kisses, my body aching from her weight. If, as it happened every now and again, she had the characteristics of a woman I had known in life, I would devote myself to the goal of finding her, just like those who take a trip in order to see with their own eyes a city they’d always dreamed of seeing, figuring that you can capture in reality the magic of a dream. Bit by bit, her memory would fade away, and I would forget the girl of my dream.

-from Combray, again

I don't know that my experience was this hot, but it did make an impression. The "dream guy" I spent part of the night with was just content to curl up with me, to spoon, to protect. He seemed strong, but gentle at the same time. I remember facial hair and the impression of big hands. Never met him before, but I'm sure I'd know him on sight.

At some point in the middle of the night, he left me, and I was transported to my father's house back in New York State. A familiar old fear (not unfounded) crept over me, as I noted that someone was sneaking around the first level of the house during the before-dawn-time in an effort to get in. Rather than let myself be taken over by the usual desperation and helplessness, I went to the front door, opened it, threw on the porch light and asked whoever it was to come over where I could see him. This person was on the porch already, crouched down. If he was startled by me, he did not act it. He was very tall, blonde, thin, looked like he had done some time, was dressed like the street punks I knew in Grenoble, and had a dog with weird markings. He came forward laughing, and I asked him what he wanted. He didn't say it, just thought it - me. I didn't feel fear exactly, just mental numbness from lack of sleep and a sense that I had to do something so that this person, who really felt unhealthy, wouldn't hurt the other, sleeping members of the household. I thought that though the dog accompanying looked weird, it was still a dog, someone who loved this person. I could work with that. The man picked me up in his arms and held me so tightly that I couldn't breathe. My mind thought, "I really do need a longer spoon," and I woke up.

Now, again, I don't devote a tremendous amount of time towards finding what the Divine Oracle is feeding me during my sleeping hours, but the part of me that was trained to interpret stuff is sort of puzzled at this use of imagery. What devil am I supping with right now? How and why am I swallowing my distaste of and bearing embraces by pathologues? What need I be squared with in order to avoid being pursued by the proverbial bear?
This is funny.

Kind of sounds like the guy's family until they bought the Forrester.

As for this little puzzler:

Would you not get fat if your just drove a Prius everywhere?

No, you wouldn't. In fact, if drive a Prius everywhere, you qualify for grants from Greenpeace and the Audobon Society. If you register it in any of the following zipcodes (02138, 02139, 02140, 02141), you automatically receive the tutorials on how to walk on water and do that water/wine trick.
You know what's amazing, too? No matter how many storms we get over the course of the winter and in spite of the fact that this is an urban area, people never fail to engage in panic buying frenzies. It was no fun last night having to wade through carts full of bread, cookies, muffins (people will grab anything when staples run out), milk, water, etc, just to get my container of ricotta and my seltzer. The last snowfall like this was a little over a week ago, for crying out loud. Do I sound like a crank? I am, and I'm sorry. It's just that the educated segment of the population with apparently no short term memory (or would it be long term potentiation of short term memory...or how about long term potentiation of any scrap of common sense?) really floors me sometimes. They let these people have drivers licenses (another rant which you will hear soon enough after I get to work...if I get to work, ¡ojala!) and voting rights, too. Incredible.
Deprived of exercise!

The roommate got to the shoveling again this morning. Actually, I'm glad, because it sounds heavy and crystal-ey and my neck and shoulder are really hurting me. Thanks, Craig!


Yes, we got hit again, and though not nearly as severe as the first storm, hard enough. It looks like about seven or eight inches out there, with the promise of more to come. -sigh- In like a lion, in like a lion...

This sustained dumping on us reminds me of about 10-12 years ago, when we got either a snow or an ice storm nearly every weekend for something like two months straight. I remember how tired I felt then after the season was finally done. Take that and multiply it by 10. That's how tired I am now.