Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This week's Monday Morning Flower is a chive bloom from my garden.  Posted by Hello
Pablo's sister Anna-Maria's been in the Boston area since last September. Unfortunately, due to the weather, the stress of overwork, and the need to adapt to an often rather hostile personal climate (I've been living here 1/2 my life, now, and I've still not gotten used to it), we've not seen nearly as much of each other as I'd like. The past several months - since January, to be exact, have been particularly brutal. This weekend, we finally got together for a bit of outdoor activity, as both the weather and our physical selves seemed to be holding up.

We took a strenuous walk through another part of the Lynn Woods Reservation - was fun to be in the company of some fun avocational geologists and naturalists. Pablo (whose relationship to Anna-Maria is a typical older brother/younger sister one) even came up with a new 'rhyme' to help her out with the native flora:

"Leaves of three: tasty snack!"

Hal, who rarely laughs when Pablo is around, broke up over that one. Anna, after she (like I) got over this verse not rhyming, had some cutting remark to her brother. I chuckled throughout our outing at Pablo's little improvisation.

Afterwards, we had a little dinner at the Salem Beer Works, which I'm sad to say, has decided to "foofify" their menu. Having acquired a new chef (who apparently thinks he has so prove himself or something), they have gone bistro. I wish I could say we were impressed. Actually, we were all kind of underwhelmed. The beer was still very, very good, however.
Monday Morning Fruit! A newly-formed female pinecone from some sort of conifer that we came across on Lookout Crag in the Lynn Woods. This particular tree had not evolved reproductively to have insects transfer pollen, so had male cones as well. That particular apparatus was interesting in that it would let the pollen loose on the wind in great clouds of yellowish-green smoke - a more random (and haphazard perhaps) approach to fertilization. (I'll reserve comment on the males of certain species of animals and their random approaches to fertilization, as I'm dealing with trees only here.) Posted by Hello
And, yes, on seeing the pine trees emitting their pollen, I got to thinking of the opening verse from Baudelaire's "Harmonie du Soir":

"Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige
Chaque fleur s'évapore ainsi qu'un encensoir;
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige!"

Now is the time when, while swaying on their stems,
The flowers are breathing scent into the air, heady as incense;
The sounds and the perfumes mingle in the night air;
O melancholy waltz and langorous vertigo!
Ladyslippers are the only orchids I know of that are indigenous to New England. They are an endangered species partly due to poaching. Only recently have they (and their yellow cousins) been successfully cultivated due to some sort of symbiotic relationship with oak trees.  Posted by Hello
Personally, I prefer mine to stay in the wild. Posted by Hello
Sunday, since the weather still seemed to be holding up, we decided to go to the Arnold Arboretum and the Franklin Park Zoo.
The zoo on Memorial Day was quite an experience. I don't know what was more interesting - the animals (or lack thereof, Franklin Park's one of the sadder zoos I've been to) or the children running amok. When I saw Althouse's post on parents' notions of cuteness. (Personally, I wish one of the kids actually did get a hold of a peacock's tailfeather just so they'd learn what the peacock would do to defend itself.)

Children "expressing themselves" aside, there were a few highlights: seeing red kangaroos mating, discovering the tree kangaroos, listening to the lions' roars reverberate throughout the park.

After the zoo, we happened upon Forest Hills cemetery, one of two Victorian-era "garden" cemeteries in the Boston Area (the other being Mt Auburn). One could ostensibly make the argument that Forest Hills is the Pere Lachaise of Boston, given the impressive roll call of famous dead people currently residing there. We figured we'd go and pay a visit to ee cummings and Anne Sexton who were buried there. Perhaps also hip Jacob Wirth as to what had become of his famous former German restaurant (now turned bistro). Didn't find them (can't, really, this isn't Paris - it's New England, so there is no grafitti on the surrounding headstones to signal your approaching the remains of note), but did enjoy a wander through a quiet, peaceful site designed as a beautiful final resting place for some, a wonderful area of contemplation for others. I hope that some images come out of this place as it was magnificent.
Several emus were strutting around in the Australian Savannah part of the park - I'd never seen birds with eyelashes before. Posted by Hello
We were particularly fascinated by the ostriches, as they figured prominently in a Bunuel film we'd just seen the night before. They are extremely photogenic animals, aren't they? Wasn't it nice of them, too, to arrange themselves just so? Posted by Hello
This, by the way, was one of the Bunuel films we saw over the weekend. It had just come out on Criterion the week before, so Hal ran out to get it practically on the day of release. We enjoyed it very much; it's sort of in the same style as The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie - a series of loosely-connected vignettes poking fun at the upper middle class. Like La Charme Discret, it doesn't hit you over the head with blatant weirdness, either. Just enough to highlight the absurdity of certain situations or conventions.

The tapir is related to horses and hippopotamuses, and is considered a "living fossil." Franklin Park's, I believe (don't remember), is a native of South America. They submerge themselves when they feel threatened. This guy spent a lot of time underwater, and I really can't blame him what with all the screaming and racket from the little semi-domesticated bipeds crawling around outside. Posted by Hello
Would you believe that this is a tree kangaroo? They were our little "discovery" on the zoo trip - marsupials about the size of your average cocker spaniel who are related to kangaroos, except that they don't jump and their forearms are better developed for all the climbing they do - if I remember correctly, they are native to Borneo/Sumatra. Fascinating - had very, very expressive faces and were very methodical in their movements. Hal took dozens of pictures of them. Posted by Hello
This is a classic Mamasan pose - this fellow (girlie? couldn't really tell) just sort of stood there staring into the void, pondering their next move. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

What light from yonder window breaks...oh. It's the sun. Imagine that.

I'm out for the weekend - have to take that vitamin D when we can get it heah.

If you get the chance - take a look at the latest recipe carnival over at Fresh as a Daisy...plenty of ideas for Memorial Day weekend meals.

Enjoy your (hopefully long) weekends!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Merci mille fois à M. Norm for having thought well enough of me to have me fill out a profile. If you're visiting from his site - welcome!
Yes, I am going to get well enough to see this tonight. Have been so looking forward to going. Bought the tickets ages ago.
"Cosign for me on this one, Be. Just do it. You know I got your back tomorrow..." -that's what my cube neighbor Jeannette said to me yesterday after a particularly stressful morning. I laughed about it then, fully understanding that when she says it she means it.

This morning, I have absolutely no idea how I made it into work. Woke up with that odd combination of tightness in the chest, cold-sweat and queasiness in the stomach that means something really awful was going to happen. It did.

I don't really remember much from that point on, only that I made it to work somehow, that Ali at the Quickie Mart told me to go home and take better care of myself, and that after a week of rain and gloom, the sun finally decided to show a bit from between the clouds.

At work, Jeannette took one look at me, told me to tell folks I was going home and bundled me up into her car. No protests: she was absolutely right. On the way home I remember her talking about work a bit and the radio playing some old R & B. I liked that; the rhythm kept my mind off my tum and the headache over the horizon.

She saw me in the door, then left me. Once inside, I did exactly as she told me: drew a hot bath. (Put some wintergreen in it for the nice smell.) Lay in the tub for a bit, listening to an Enesco piano sonata and another for cello. Sipped a bit of the ginger ale.

Now - I'm warm, dry, comfortable. Sleepy. I'm going to rest now. I'm pretty sure that I'll feel better this afternoon; that this isn't what sidelined Hal for a couple days earlier in the week.

Thank heavens for friends who really do watch your back. I'd not have made it home if it weren't for one.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Sweet Scent Of...

I'm not a perfume fan, but do love flower oils. Found this little recipe in a magazine recently, so decided to try it out - very nice. So far, I have a rose perfume and a lavender one.

Homemade Solid Perfume

1T Jojoba oil (found this at the local co-op.)

20 drops of your favorite scent (I get mine - straight rose - at the local co-op. I'm sure that the local Whole Foods or Wild Oats might have essential oils as well.)

3/4 tsp grated beeswax (found at most crafts stores)

Pour the jojoba oil into a small bowl. Add the 20 drops of scent, then melt the beeswax into a small metal bowl over very low heat (try tht burner of a coffeemaker). Remove from heat, add the scent, return to heat for five seconds and stir to combine. Immediately pour it into a small container (or pillbox). Let set 15 min before using.

-from Real Simple, May 05.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

From Europe to Canada to the US.

Note that the text Representative Conyers's propositions only specifically mentions Islam, but not Christianity or Judaism (save that they are Abrahamic religions like Islam). That the only holy book specifically mentioned is the Koran; not the Bible or the Talmud.

It does strike me as rather strange that those who would be first to say that America is becoming a theocracy are those who may well be inadvertently working as agents for another sort of theocracy.

-via LGF

Interesting to take a look at that in conjunction with Oriana Fallaci's having to stand trial for blasphemy in Italy.

Instapundit makes this excellent point:

Basically, where people warn about theocracy in the United States, we're seeing what amounts to a trial for blasphemy in Italy.

Tom Wolfe once said that Fascism is forever descending on the United States, but that somehow it always lands on Europe. Perhaps the same is true with theocracy?

Myself, I wonder if there isn't a bit of not seeing the forest through the trees going on here - that people might be so focused on what they see as the evils of the Christian Right that they are either missing or willingly (wilfully) overlooking how the religion of whom they choose to call the oppressed operates?
They can't be serious.

"Gulag" of our time? Come on. To equate the humane treatment of prisoners in wartime with those interned in the gulags in Soviet Russia is prettymuch the height not being serious. I wonder if they're trying at the same thing Newsweek attempted last week.

Charles Johnson has more (can't forget the obligatory swipe at Israel, can we now?).

the color of the sky as far as I can see is coal gray
lift my head from the pillow and then fall again
with a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
a quiver in my lips as if I might cry

well by the force of will my lungs are filled and so I breathe
lately it seems this big bed is where I never leave
shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
quiver in my voice as I cry

what a cold and rainy day
where on earth is the sun hid away?

I hear the sound of a noon bell chime, I'm far behind
you've put in 'bout half a day while here I lie
with a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather
a quiver in my lip as if I might cry

what a cold and rainy day
where on earth is the sun hid away?

-Natalie Merchant / Christian Burial Music © 1987

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Some Common On-Line Systems:

I love meetings. I really do.
Wrapped up in my down comfortable with a furry cat at my feet and a purring shorthair pressed against my shoulders, I found it so difficult to get out of bed. Should have followed my first instincts.

Even though I'd worn my big raincoat, boots and carried an umbrella, I still managed to get drenched. First the wind blew rain on my legs, then I got nailed by a hydroplaning Jetta and a speeding (but not quite out of control yet) Explorer. By the time I got to work, I was soaked from the thighs down.

My intent was to take the bus in, but I noted that none seemed to be passing. Since none of the stops are enclosed, I figured that I could either stand still like a fool and get wet or at least make some progress by walking.

By the time I got into the office, I looked like something a cat would've drug in. Since I neglected to bring a spare pair of pants, I had to let myself air dry in the cold office. Experience has taught me to not turn on my space heater here, as the electrical system is about as well-planned-out as anything else here. Last time I turned anything else on aside from my computer, I shorted out my entire cubicle block.
 Posted by Hello

I had meant to put these images up last night, but little blue ground score wasn't much in the mood to cooperate. Both are from the Boston Globe.
 Posted by Hello

Karzai has to be the most handsome of the world leaders, hands down. Sorry to be so shallow, but, well, what can I say.

Monday, May 23, 2005

How wonderful!

Granted, he's not Kofi (who gave a wonderful, anti Bush tirade at Harvard's commencement last year...wonder who they could get to top his performance? Gorgeous George, maybe?) or this winner who spoke at a Columbia Business School recognition, but he'll do.

Here's a transcript of President Karzai's speech to the new graduates. Here's BU's reporting on it. A bit different from the Globe's, to be sure.
No sun since Friday...none predicted until next weekend.
I had a terrible headache all day, so ended up leaving work a bit early. Stopped at Target to see if they had any full spectrum light bulbs. None. Frustrating. Would like to cry.

Called Hal to see if he was feeling any better - found out he also left work early. Apparently he's got some kind of stomach bug. Poor thing.
In spite of the awful weather last weekend, My intrepid photographer and I ended up getting out and enjoying a bit of nature, anyway. Saturday, we had orignially intended to go to Monadnock. Instead, we ended up staying nearer to home. Our first stop after breakfast (IHOP on Rte 1 - hadn't been to an IHOP in years. I miss them.) was the Saugus Iron Works - the first ironworks in North America. Of course, it being a National Parks Service site, we got a great tour, complete with a nail-making demonstration at the end.

The Saugus Iron Works only was active for 22 years: bickering between owners, fraud (aah, Corporate America) and tension between the Foundry workers and the Puritan colony all contributed to its end. Several of the workers moved on and started their own foundries, continuing what Saugus had started, and laying the foundation for the modern American Iron and Steel industries.

After Saugus, we paid a visit to the Lynn Woods reservation. Although the conditions weren't ideal, we did enjoy a nice bit of a hike around one section of the park. After a few miles of wandering, a number of photo opportunities and the chance to see such sights as the Stone Tower and Dungeon Rock, we decided to call it quits and head home. We did make note to come back again at another point, as there's so much more to explore, and the bit we did get to see was impressive.
A noseful of sweet-scented lilacs is what Hal chose for this Monday Morning flower. Posted by Hello
Looking down at one of the foundry buidings at the Saugus Ironworks Posted by Hello
Look closely - do you see who we found in one of the old ironworks buildings? Posted by Hello

Hint: "Cheep chip chip chip chip...chip....chip....chip....chip. Tweet!"
This fern uncurling itself reminded me of my morning wake-up stretch ritual. Posted by Hello
Some shots of Dungeon Rock in the Lynn Woods. Hal was fascinated by this cave, which was dug by a father and son team who were under the impression that they were going to find Captain Kidd's treasure buried there. Posted by Hello
Sunday afternoon was spent up in North Andover, MA, where we enjoyed two events in tandem: the "Hot Type and Cool Books" exhibition at the Museum of Printing and a sheep shearing festival on the town common. The printing exhibit was, of course, fascinating. It took us from letter press on up to current DTP setups, with a lot of stuff in between. I was a little bit disappointed with the exhibition, however - seemed more like a church bazaar than anything else.

When we'd seen enough of the Printing Museum, we sloshed around the common a bit - looked at the stuff they had for sale there and saw a border collie demonstration. I'd never seen them in action before, and was very impressed.

Since neither of us was feeling well, we decided to head home directly and take it easy.
Border Collies in play mode after giving a very impressive shepherding demonstration.  Posted by Hello
Poor, harassed sheep from yesterday's herding demonstration Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Rainy Weekend #5

LXXV - Spleen

Pluviôse, irrité contre la ville entière,
De son urne à grands flots verse un froid ténébreux
Aux pâles habitants du voisin cimetière
Et la mortalité sur les faubourgs brumeux.

Mon chat sur le carreau cherchant une litière
Agite sans repos son corps maigre et galeux;
L'âme d'un vieux poète erre dans la gouttière
Avec la triste voix d'un fantôme frileux.

Le bourdon se lamente, et la bûche enfumée
Accompagne en fausset la pendule enrhumée
Cependant qu'en un jeu plein de sales parfums,

Héritage fatal d'une vieille hydropique,
Le beau valet de coeur et la dame de pique
Causent sinistrement de leurs amours défunts.

-Charles Baudelaire


The Month of Rains, incensed at life, outpours
Out of her urn, a dark chill, like a penance,
Over the graveyards and their wan, grey tenants
And folk in foggy suburbs out of doors.

My cat seeks out a litter on the ground
Twitching her scrawny body flecked with mange.
The soul of some old poet seems to range
The gutter, with a chill phantasmal sound.

The big bell tolls: damp hearth-logs seem to mock,
Whistling, the sniffle-snuffle of the clock,
While in the play of odours stale with must,

Reminders of a dropsical old crone,
The knave of hearts and queen of spades alone
Darkly discuss a passion turned to dust.

— Roy Campbell, Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

Yes, I know that technically we're at the cusp of Floréal and Prairial, but it still feels like Pluviôse to me.

Maybe someday we'll get some sun on a Sunday. (Scheduled to rain all weekend again.)
Since I deal in lists for a living, I guess it would stand to reason that I'd use one to sum up my life over the past couple weeks:

# of times we've been up Monadnock by late May in recent years: 3-4

# of times we've climbed Monadnock this year: 0

# of sunny weekends in recent memory: 0 (in all fairness, last Saturday afternoon was nice; I just slept through it because I couldn't sleep during the night.)

# of films viewed over the past three weeks: 9

# of those films being current ones: 0

# of recordings purchased on tower dot com yesterday: 2

# of books on SQL programming purchased over at Amazon: 2

# of radishes picked, washed, brought to work as a treat: 4 dozen

# of insults garnered because the radishes were grown in Somerville: 1 (Poison! It's all a landfill there!)

# of kettles of boiling water poured over the anthill in my front garden patch: 3

# of ants I've seen lately as a result: 0

# of pretty little clematises (jackmanii - the purple one!) rescued from Home Depot for the crazy cost of $4: 1

How much a clematis plant usually sets a girl back if she buys one in a normal garden store: $12-$15

# of colors in the socks I'm knitting my friend across the sea: 5

# of socks completed: 1/2

# of lbs lost in the past week: 3


Enough for now. I've got to get a move on.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Whoa! Recipe Carnival's up already!

Wonderful job, Jordana.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

This little recipe is going up expressly for a friend so that he might cross it off his list of "not dones"...it's simple but requires a bit of patience, as you're going to be standing around, stirring, watching the pot for a while.

Risotto alla Ticinese

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
2 t olive oil
300g / 11/3 c arborio rice
200 ml / 7/8 c red wine
250 ml / 1 c dry white wine
500 ml / 2 c stock
2 pinches saffron
salt and pepper to taste

Soften the onion and garlic in the oil without letting them brown. Stir in the rice and cook for a few minutes. Moisten with the wine and cook, stirring, until it has completely evaporated.

heat the stock and dissolve the saffron into it. Add it gradually to the rice, still stirring. Season to taste. As each addition is absorbed, add a little more. Continue to cook for 15-20 more minutes or until the rice is just al dente but still soupy.

Serves 4-6.

***stock-wise - use whatever you have around. I tend to like vegetable stock best, myself.

***wine-wise - you can easily replace the red wine for white (making it a milanese.) I've also seen recipes calling for nothing but marsala. Don't know what that is called, but it's good. Sweet, but good.

A thankless job. A low-paying job. A job that is not nearly as sexy as a stockbroker or development programmer or "creative talent" job. Someone has to do it, though. And, yes, burnout's always an option.
My one-word response to any diatribe about European cultural superiority.

-Gracias, Manolo.
I enjoy being a girl.

That's how I answer the question posed by Sissy in this post.

It's not easy being a female, by any stretch. However, I'd not trade it for anything. Especially since I had the happy chance of being alive here and now. Life isn't perfect, but I'm still counting the blessings, and they still outweigh the disadvantages.
Artistic Temperament?

Speaking as a person from an artistic background and who's been dealing with depression for most of her life, I can tell you that I can see nothing particularly romantic or dashing about mental illness (Just as I cannot understand the romanticization of drug use or suicide). I've never viewed myself as a tragic, gothic heroine. Have never once thought that suffering through what I have has been beneficial towards my creativity or musicianship - in fact, I can prettymuch argue that my mental state at the time did more to sabotage my creative career than anything else.

It was a nice validation to read this appreciation of Frank Conroy in yesterday's Opinionjournal. It also was a good reminder for me of why I put up with an often tendentious relationship with my workplace (a mental health agency with a number of well-developed and reknowned art therapy programs).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bad Head-on-the-shoulders Day

Damp air causes frizzy hair, low air pressure causes horrible headaches. Got to work very late today. I don't like days like this when I need to get things done and I'm looking at the world through what feels like a double-layer of gauze.
I'm really sorry, but these people are thugs, pure and simple.

Nowadays, whenever I hear someone describe themselves as an "activist," I cringe. Whenever I hear the term "direct action," I think of a coat of verbal white wash being applied to some sort of criminal act perpetrated "in the name of [insert cause here]"

Don't get me wrong: I love animals. I don't want to see them suffer, and if someone abuses one, I want to see the abuser punished. However, I will never be associated with a "rights" group that sees itself so morally superior that it resorts to tactics such as harassment, threats to those it considers its enemies, murder, robbery, etc. As far as I'm concerned, the ends almost never justify the means. When people start resorting to crimes like the above (or shooting abortion clinic workers...or rioting at WTO summits...or blowing up school buses full of children) for a cause, they do nothing but sully the cause they are trying to further.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Instapundit brought up a very good point regarding the politics of being thin-skinned.

My aunt took me to see Serrano's exhibit back when I was a kid, and I remember thinking - oh, gross. She wanted to see Piss Christ because it was scandalous and iconoclastic. Well, something was happening to an icon, I guess.

Though I'd parted ways with my Parish a couple years earlier (much to the chagrin of the practicing side of the family), I felt sorry for the people for whom this was a slap in the face. My Grandma and Grandpa, for whom the Church was more than just a source of spiritual sustenance and comfort, didn't need to see this all over the news. I also remembered, in spite of my feeling about my Church, siding a bit with the people who protested funding for this and being told that they were too thin-skinned, humorless, closed-minded. Perhaps a little, but I don't remember anyone starting any murderous rampages. In fact, I think I'd seen about as many people saying that they thought this disgusting (like I do), but didn't want to see it banned or anything. Same with the Last Temptation of Christ brouhaha. (Haven't seen the movie, so am reserving judgement on it. I prefer my biblical story movies to have a Cecil DeMille feel to them.)

In a free society, you have stuff like this. In a free society, you have to cultivate a thick skin. In a free society, one has to understand that they're not going to like or feel comfortable about everything they hear or see.

Contrast the Catholic reactions above with a few Muslim reactions in recent history:

Mention that Mohammed might have found some girls in a beauty contest pretty: riots that kills scores and a fatwah issued for your death.

Write a book that can be viewed as critical to Islam: a fatwah issued for your death.

Publish false reports of Koran Desecration and later attempt to retract them: Well, we all know how this is playing out.

Seems as though there are a few common threads here, and I don't know that I like their looks. Perhaps I'm not being charitable enough to the cultural peculiarities of others. Perhaps I don't like being held to a different set of standards.
Wardrobe Malfunction

Say what you want about Janet Jackson's little incident two Januaries ago - if you're a female, chances are you're going to have something similar happen at least once in your life. Today was my turn.

It was a happy skirt day, and I picked one short enough to warrant stockings. Rummaging through my unmentionables drawer, I pulled out a new pair in a brand I don't normally buy (on sale - buy one get one 1/2 off at CVS last week), but was willing to give a try. They went on okay and felt fine, so I headed out the door.

About halfway to work, I noted that something didn't feel quite right. Had taken the jacket off and tied it around my waist - was that getting loose? Was my skirt riding up? (Have walked all the way to work with my skirts tucked into my underwear, so this is always a fair concern for me.) What was it? I didn't think anything of the new stockings - their elastic couldn't be giving way practically out of the package, could it? Walked a couple more blocks feeling really, really strange. Got to Walnut Street and was descending Prospect hill when all of a sudden the jacket slid off my hips and down my legs, taking both the stockings and other undergarments with them. Mercifully this happened on a residential street with everyone off to work as there were no innocent bystanders around to be subjected to a vision of a bit more than "London or France," as the old children's taunt goes. I crouched down, gave everything a good YANK up, picked up the jacket to put in my bag and headed off to work. Every couple blocks, I made certain to give my waist a tug so as not to have an encore performance on a busy street or in front of construction workers. Once at work, borrowed a few safety pins and tacked the waist of the stockings to the waistband of my skirt.

I cannot wait until summer, when I can go bare-legged and not have to worry about this sort of nonsense.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I've seen this little game all over the place, and was fully prepared to ignore it. Nick, however, knowing what a pushover I am when it comes to rainbow-chasing engineer types, tagged me. Here goes:

10 Things I've Never Done:

10. Been to NY City before (Kind of funny, as I'm originally from NY State.)

9. Owned Property

8. Defaced any sort of property, public or private (meaning no graffiti, no toilet papering, no smashing windows, etc)

7. Driven a stick shift (I've not had a car in 17 years. Haven't driven even a rental in three.)

6. Been to third grade

5. Hunted (I have gone fishing before)

4. Been married (or had the desire to be married) or had children (or had the desire to breed)

3. Participated in any extreme sports (skydiving, downhill skiing/snowboarding, etc)

2. Been to jail

1. Slept with anyone for financial or political gain

I'm going to ask this fellow nicely...and maybe this one, too, if they'd like to play.
Nappy Forty has a gorgeous accompaniment to my grilled fish with mango salsa: avocado, shrimp and corn salad.

Would that the weather would change so that I could start the al fresco dining season - vinho verde, grilled stuff, gossip and everything.
No really awful dreams that I can remember last night, though I did wake up choking and feeling desperate a couple times. Saturday night? Peacefully enough after a movie and a glass of wine. The neighbors had their first beer blast of the season, so I needed to take flight and rely on the kindness of friends.

Friday night, however, destroyed me. I think there was all of three hours of good sleep. The rest of the time was spent being pursued by a gang of bullies. Honestly: I did nothing to initiate the assault! Some guy grabbed me by the neck in my favorite Chinese restaurant, so I repulsed him and sent him tumbling down the stairs out the front door. It wasn't that I hit him hard, or even threw him. Just used leverage. Actually, it was kind of surprising to see how easily he gave way and crumpled to the ground. As his girlfriend left with him, I told her that she'd do well to get rid of him.

Didn't think too much about this incident until later, when I saw a group assembling in the woods out behind the restaurant. Told my partner that we'd best be heading out while it was light, as I thought that there might be trouble. My friend likes to dawdle and doesn't often take my advice seriously, so I was a bit nervous. We found a group to tag on to, but to no effect: a couple men with kitchen knives were waiting for us. Somehow, one of the men got to my friend and held him. I remember thinking hard on what to do - not only had we gotten into this pickle, but I knew that my friend was the last person to be able to fight himself out. So, what should I do? Try to overpower the attacker and risk hurting my friend? Go back with them to whereever they wanted to take me, as they wanted me and not him? At this point, I thought: Bev, you don't need to deal with this. It's only a dream. Wake up.

Woke up, but at around five in the morning (after going to bed late). Did not want to go back to sleep and possibly relive this awful scene. Made a valiant effort to be functional all day, but ended up falling asleep after lunchtime and waking up in the early evening.


Only tangentially related, but interesting nonetheless: Over at RLC's site, he's posted on people studying martial arts starting fights. I'd never do that, no one I know who studies or teaches would ever do a thing like that. The only battle won is one that hasn't been fought. That's not to say that you shouldn't defend yourself, however. Picking fights is just a bad idea borne of emotional imbalance, poor training or a combination of those two.
Today's Flower comes from one of Hal's commutes home last week. Posted by Hello
The blossoms are only about 1/4" in diameter, so Hal worked some macro magic on them. They look a bit like cherry or apple blossoms, don't they. Posted by Hello
Another closeup shot Posted by Hello
This may sound like a silly question, but it's been bothering me for a while: how does a tree with red leaves photosynthesize? Posted by Hello
Hal calls this one an "art shot." I call it a nice view of MIT from the Esplanade.  Posted by Hello