Saturday, October 29, 2005

Friday night

After mojitos and grilled fish in Saugus, we headed home. Speed Racer flew along Route 16 (the Road With 1000 Names), windows open in spite of the the cold. Shostakovich's Ninth was cranking on the radio when we hit Everett. "Just like old times," Pablo commented. This led to a bout near hysterical laughter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cape Cod Jalapeño and Aged Cheddar Potato Chips

Submitted by Christopher Burns

"If you live in the Northeastern part of the country, as I do, you know that for us spicy food is not really considered a source of regional pride. In the rare event when a brave New Englander voluntarily ingests any substance hotter than white bread, he usually does so in a restaurant containing "Mexican" or "Indian" in the title, or some other such classification that tells him: "Don't worry. This food is not from around here. You are sampling the native cuisine of a mysterious region far, far away." This comforts him, and, as he wipes the sweat from his brow, he smiles and takes comfort in the knowledge that, when he is done with his meal, he will return to his world of bland food and liberal ideology, safe for now from all outside influences.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered these chips. I was in Ohio, of all places, when the "Cape Cod" printed in large blue letters caught my eye, and made me yearn once more for the simple pleasures of clam chowder and state-sanctioned gay marriage. Brand loyalty left over from my childhood drew me to the Cape Cod chips, but a Midwest-induced thirst for adventure forced me to pass on the original variety. That was when I picked up the green bag, the familiar lighthouse on the front complemented by a wheel of cheese and what appears to be an absurdly large jalapeño pepper (the length of the pepper and the diameter of the cheese are inexplicably equal). Taking this as proof of the New Englander's complete ignorance in the ways of the spicy pepper, I decided to try the chips, unsure of what to expect.

My first reaction was one of complete shock. Not only were the chips very spicy, they were also extremely tasty! They actually tasted like jalapeños! It was clear right away that this was no attempt by the good people of Hyannis, Massachusetts, to create just another overly spicy but completely tasteless snack food. In order to get this perfect an end product, they must have gone to great lengths to accurately reproduce the taste and spice level of a jalapeño in chip form, and I applaud their efforts. The cheese is an afterthought, adding a hint of sweetness that is welcome but largely unnoticed. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I finished the bag as quickly as my Irish Catholic taste buds would allow. But how could such a snack come from the land of lobster and tax inflation? For now, I choose to ignore such questions and instead revel in the delicious incongruity."

-from McSweeney's Reviews of New Food
The Broadsheet (ha! Get it?) purports to keep women abreast (snort!) on The Issues affecting them.

Call me silly, call me hypersensitive (just don't call me premenstrual!), but just because I may have a pair of ovaries, more estrogen than testosterone in my chemical mix and a set of bumpers on my chest, doesn't mean I share the same perspective as Salon's (hopeful) target readership for this 'cheeky, new' blog for women.

-thanks, Nappy, for linking me to all that pink.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Unjust bosses shorten employees' lives?

Not surprising; I went home early today with a raging headache and a dull thumping in my chest because of what I had to deal with. I wonder how much my lifespan is shortened by the fact that I take orders from no less than six people - many of whose requirements are in direct conflict with those of their colleagues.


Nick, who will now be known as Mr. Apropos as Hell, comes up with les mots justes (from Office Space, of course):

Peter Gibbons: It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's another thing, I have eight different bosses right now.

Bob Porter: Eight?

Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

Yup, that about sums it up.
A while back, Norm asked for three favorite poets in his latest poll. After a fair bit of dithering, I decided to go with my first impulse and stay (relatively) local:

Robert Frost

Walt Whitman

Edna St. Vincent Millay

This Monday's flower is a will-o'-the-wisp inspired by a very strange but also very beautiful film.

More on the weekend and Sergei Paradzhanov's Color of Pomegranates later on. It's a busier than usual Monday here in reporting land.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Why I'm rooting for the White Sox.


HOG Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:         
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.         
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,         
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse. and under his ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.
-Carl Sandburg, 1916


The Astros have Clemens, but this is what the Sox represent to me. Sorry, Nappy.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A little perspective.

Hotel Buckminster has its dark history. So hasn't the Radisson on Stuart Street (formerly Hotel 57), not to mention the Omni Parker House (and not because of the rolls, mind you, unless you're still following Atkins).

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Passing by the local middle eastern market this afternoon, I noted a dark car with tinted windows pull up in front of me. The driver got out, went to the rear passenger door and opened it. Out came a woman who looked about my age clad in black from head to toe. The driver shut the car door and then accompanied the lady into the market.

Say what you want about cultural diversity, I'm always going to find the sight of a chauffered car pulling up to a neighborhood bodega a weird sight.
Last night I dreamt that one of my coworkers, a pani like me, was giving me the requirements for some reports she needed in Polish. I answered back in German. It was strange because, in the waking world, she talks to me in Polish and I usually respond in English.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This one goes out to all my overeducated girlfriends overlooking the undereducated Mr.s Right right under their noses.


I know you been to college
I can tell by how you walk
I know you been to college
I can tell by how you talk.
Take off those glasses girl,
Let me feel your pain.
Take off those glasses girl,
I wanna feel your pain.

Elouise, Elouise, Elouise,
Where on Earth you goin'?

Been down to the gym, tryin' to be all I can be.
A little discipline's all you really need.
Got a condo in Modesto with a heated swimming pool
Talkin' condo in Modesto with a heated swimming pool...

Elouise, Elouise, Elouise,
I wanna take you higher...

Tell me true,
Are you where you wanna be?
Are you ready to be challenged
Are you ready to be free?
Free to make the kind of life I know that you deserve
Free to make the kind of life
I think you know what I'm talking about

Elouise, Elouise, Elouise
Where on earth you going...

-Chuck Prophet


A lot of talk about the education gap between men and women seemed to focus on the issue of women not being able to find men who were their educational or intellectual equals. I guess that this could be a problem if you're treating finding a partner like interviewing job candidates. Otherwise, I don't see an issue (aside from the obvious problem of men getting shortchanged by the educational system).

All these odd, Keeping-Up-With-the-Joneses criteria that women (and a lot of men here in the northeast) keep coming up with make me wonder sometimes. Why keep putting up barriers between yourself and possible happiness? Who cares if he drives a garbage truck, works for UPS, owns a convenience store? Do you feel safe, protected, secure when you're with him? Does he make you feel special? Do you feel like you could talk and talk with him and never run out of things to say? Can you be comfortably silent with him? Does he love your children if you have any?

Some of my happiest girlfriends got over the marrying below them thing. So their guys might not have the same educational background as they do, that's only one (relatively small) aspect that can be overlooked pretty easily in the scheme of things. For them, it's not about being equal in everything so much as being complementary.


I forgot about the sense of humor thing. He's got to have a sense of humor that jibes with yours. Then it doesn't matter if he's way smarter than you are, even.
What if...

John Adams and Adrian Belew were to marry and honeymoon in Bali?

This, maybe.

Next Galak tika performance. (Community Music at its best.)

Next performance of a work by Evan Ziporyn.

Darn straight I'm going to try to see both.
If what they say about protest babes is true, I'm quite certain that the Democracy for Belarus movement will be successful.

-(great job, Publius!)
Another sign that we're becoming a theocracy.

Faith expressions on coffee cups. Oh my Gawd! Jesus Coffee! Quick, start the boycotts!
Civilization doesn't end at the coasts.

As we former Buffalonians stranded in Boston like to say, "if you're making fun of Buffalo, you've never been there."

I've been mulling over moving back for a number of years, as I miss home. Have been campaigning pretty hard for friends to come along and see what life can be like in an area that has just about all the amenities of Boston (cultural and otherwise), friendlier residents and is actually affordable. Looks like a diaspora of sorts has already begun.

-via Universal Hub
"Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, Mr. President,
Happy birthday to you."

(Image via Katrin.)
One benefit afforded to us where I work is access to an EAP. Lately, due to a combination of issues that I can only describe as the "swings and arrows of outrageous fortune," I have been availing myself of this program. I'm pretty certain that I don't need anything long term, as my emotional makeup combined with some good work done years ago seem to have made for a strong base. Every now and again I do get broadsided, which is what led me to seek help.

How funny to be back in a therapeutic relationship. Though I'd never ruled out ending up on the couch again, it does take a bit of getting used to. Yes, I am a gregarious sort - have been told that I am the antithesis of a wallflower (ha!). I'm not used to having someone sitting across from me asking me about me, about how I am doing, about what's on my mind, though. The act of focusing on myself, on emptying everything in my heart and brain to this professional, of actually trying to make sense of the confusion going on around me feels alien but cathartic. Naming the issues and the players has pushed something forward and has been motivating me to start cleaning house, so to speak.

I think it would be less exhausting (and perhaps less painful) if I didn't have so much untangling to do, if there were one part of my life that didn't feel as though it were spinning out of control. For example: the awful dysfunction at work would be easier for me to deal with if I didn't have to go home to the latest family drama. I'd feel better about (finally!) having my sanctum sanctorum if it weren't so damn pricey (thus making quitting the job right now a very irresponsible thing to do). I'd love to be able to go to the guy for a hug, some calm, nice words, but he's often unavailable. On top of that, has his own issues to deal with. (At least my side are honest about their insanity.) I don't feel good unburdening to friends, as they all have their trials ranging from annoying to grave.

Thinking about this all hurts. Expressing it provides a little release. Seeing the therapist rolling her eyes or bouche bée at something I've just recounted makes me laugh, and the laughter helps the hurt. Last session, she asked me if I'd ever considered writing a book. I asked her if she thought my stories that fabulous. No - things were strange and stressful, but she was getting a good feel for what was going on and actually enjoyed the narrative. Mentioned that I really do need to take up yoga or something to 'take care of me,' as I'm so busy taking care of everyone else. I did tell her that I had a blog and (strange!) she laughed outright. No plans for a book, though.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

As Yet Unrecognized by Microsoft Windows.

- - - -

My MP3 player
My digital camera
My oven
My right to be happy
Dr. Dre
Me (when I'm not in disguise)
When my girlfriend is in one of her moods
Better Than Ezra (featuring DJ Swamp)
Taiwan (as a sovereign entity)

(Ouch on that last one.)

-via McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It strikes me as odd to purchase items from a museum gift store that don't represent what one saw in the museum at that time. Still, on occasion, I do it.

This time around, probably influenced by the Katz portraits and scultpure I was surrounded by in the exhibit hall, I picked up a couple Will Barnett cards:

Silent Seasons - Summer

Silent Seasons - Winter

(Would have loved prints of the whole series, but they didn't carry any. Sometimes a girl has to make due with what she can get.)

There is something so engaging about Barnett's work, much like Andrew Stevovich's, and to a lesser degree, Katz's. It could be a reference to the heavy formality of ancient Egyptian figure painting. Could also be an aspiration on my part towards a sort of cool, expressionless, almost iconic self-control that his subjects seem to exude.
Bruce over at MassBackwards has a roundup of commentary regarding his post on restriction of choice in Boston and how it may have led to the death of an older woman in Southie last week.

-via Universal Hub

I don't have a gun, don't have mace (which has to be registered, as well). Too much of a liability here in Boston, where I might be criminally charged or sued if I were to hurt or kill in self defense. Even if there weren't that liability issue, there'd be the problem of stigma: I could totally see being discriminated against for housing or work here if a potential landlord or employer were to catch wind of the possibility of me having a weapon. Wish people here didn't have to be so narrow-minded about these things.

(No nipping!)

We finished off our weekend with a quick peek at the New England Coastal Classic Alpaca Show, up in New Gloucester, Maine.

Hal sort of has it in his head that he would like an alpaca farm; I can't see dropping anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 (and even more in some cases) for one animal. Having been shipped off to my aunt's farm a number of times as a kid also has innoculated me against the romantic dream of many a young urban professional to 'get back to the earth.' Though I much prefer having fewer people around me, I don't need to buy the farm, so to speak.

While Hal was taking pictures, I got into a conversation with the manager of one of the farms showing. He mentioned that it was possible to get pet-grade alpacas for considerably less (do I really need a new laptop?). Since they don't take up that much space (one can easily keep four to six on an acre of land) and are relatively low maintenance, pet ownership might be doable. Having a couple animals around who would supply me with a bit of wool every now and again seems a bit more my speed than any major breeding or showing.

Speaking of wool: I succumbed to temptation and picked up enough wool to make a couple small scarves. It's a beautiful caramel color, is softer than cashmere or even merino, and came from a female named Raisin. I also bought an ounce and a half of roving in a deep, deep espresso brown - a fair bit cheaper than the yarn, and a great incentive to pull out the spindle again.

This Monday's flower is a souvenir of sun, warmer times, welcome breezes. The last couple trips downeast treated us to cutting northeaster-like winds, sheet rain on very northern looking seas and rose hips the color of blood.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Aah, the irony.

First sun sighting in nearly two weeks: Heading what seemed to be Due West on I-95 while trying to manoeuvre ourselves into the proper lane (but not too soon) for the I-93 exit. We cursed it, yes we did.
You really have to watch more TV, Be.

Saw an ad in the paper for the Handel and Haydn production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. According to whoever wrote the ad copy, it's like 'Lost.' Guess we'll have to look up Lost, which I gather is a TV program, and see if it's anything like Dido and Aeneas.


Hmm. People do get stranded on an Island in 'Lost,' anyway. Close enough.
You really have to get cable II

The hotel we were put up at in Rockland had, among other things, free cable. Barely after changing out of our more formal attire, we received a phone call: karaoke in the "penthouse" suite of one in the wedding party. Hal's a friend of the groom, so he had to make an appearance. I chose to stay in the room and rest.

After taking a shower and putting on my pajamas, I decided to see if there was a movie on someplace. Surfing a bit netted me next to nothing interesting: the chance to buy a garnet bracelet. A South Park rerun that, in spite of my only rarely having seen the show, I'd seen twice before. A really poorly conceived but graphically slick animal program modelled after the X-files (This week: Are Animals Smarter Than We Are? Then send them to college! Surely they could do just as well as the Bungee-jumping animal behaviorist and the Cinematographer/Conservationist hosting the show. For that matter - is there some rule out there that states that anyone hosting one of these shows has to be Australian? They all seem to be.). A couple of sharply-gesticulating metrosexual fur-trappers discussing carpentry as a hobby in very harsh French.

Thank heavens for Maine PBS, which broadcasts Red Green. (We don't get that in Boston and I love it.) After that, caught a bit of a French French news program I remembered liking a lot. (Surprised it was still being made. Surprised to see it being diffused midcoast.) Drifted off listening to pleasant voices in a softer French accent talking about the creators of Astérix and Obélix.
You really have to get cable I

Coworkers have said this to me on numerous occasions after having been met with the blank stare as a response to their TV-from-the-night-before references.

$40/month for 100+ channels of stuff I wouldn't watch for free, interspersed with even more ads than network? A small price to pay to "get" my peers? Could I just keep the $40 and not be social instead?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Vanity, thy name is Be.

My hair decided to change color last night like the sugar maples do this time of year. Due to the dampness, I'd been having serious problems with frizz. Since I'm hell bent on letting it grow out, figured I'd see if a good conditioning might help. Clear henna's my usual treatment, but this time I decided to live dangerously and tried some of the colored stuff.

To say that I'm pleased with the results would be an understatement. Folks: I woke up with Elizabeth Siddal hair.

How pleasant to glance into the mirror and see la boca bacciata. Same hair length, same pale skin, same almost cherubic face. Ordinarily I'm not too bullish on my looks, but this transformation was a happy surprise. It really suits me.
One Norfolk Pine, One Japanese Carp Windsock, A Paper Fan from the Phillipines, 10 Framed Prints and Photos, One Peacock Feather...

The last company I worked for was very strict about what personal stuff we could display in our cubicles and offices. (No plants, no artwork, not even family pictures). One thing that can be said for my current organization is that they are pretty liberal in that regard, at least. Nick, who works in a different sort of environment from mine, talks a bit about some of the things he has in his cubicle and asks for some advice on one potential addition.
Of more immediate concern to me are two things:

1.) What was the little molasses-ey smelling biscuit thing I found on my desk when I came in this morning? Did someone leave it for me to have with my coffee or is it something the cleaners found on the floor, but forgot to throw out?

2.) I'm hungry; what to have for lunch?


Mysteries solved! (3:25 pm edt)

1.) Someone did leave me a cookie. It's supposed to be an organic hermit or something. I'm thinking of letting it dry out and then polyurethaning it. I like to polyurethane leftovers. My boss has a deskful of pizza slices, odd doughnuts, etc. This thing's a good candidate.

2.) Chicken gumbo, an apple, some seltzer water. The gumbo was a bit salty, but otherwise pretty good.
Actually, it's not that I don't care about the bird flu - flu's never anything to sneeze at. I just don't see the point of going out and stockpiling drugs that I most likely will never have any use for. I don't see the point in getting all nerved up about it, either. To be honest, I worry more about, say, TB or Hep B/C than the flu. But that's largely because of work.

I do highly recommend the last edition of Foreign Affairs, as they devoted a number of articles on Bird Flu, the nature of pandemics and the need for a coherent, global plan to cope with such a public health threat. Especially interesting to me were the essays on the human/animal link in diseases and using the spread of AIDS as a model for other pandemics.

I also found this list of FAQs on bird flu from WebMD helpful - essential advice presented concisely and in a (reassuringly?) commonsense tone.
Life Imitates Art.

Coincidence? I wonder. Sheehan doesn't seem like the sort who'd read Sisu, though she might find the pictures awfully pretty.
Confession time

Try as I might, I really, honestly, truly can't give a flying fig or a rat's a$$ about:

-Harriet Miers
-Judith Miller
-Avian Flu
-Anything on TV, cable or otherwise
-Anything the Nobel commitee has to say about peace or litterature the past few years.

Does this make me a bad person? Am I too shallow? Deficient somehow?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Walk for a Free Belarus

If you're free on Saturday the 15th of October, why not consider making your way up to Harvard Square at noon to support the Democracy in Belarus movement? Publius Pundit has the details.

-via Instapundit.
What's missing from our lives as worker bees? Swashbuckling adventure, of course.

Most days I tend to feel this way.
Bully for Pinter. The 2005 pick for the IgNobel in literatures' work is more my style, though.
Today's the first day of the season that I broke out the stockings. Like with turning on the heat, I prefer to delay this event as much as possible by either freezing my bare legs or wearing pants. It was a short skirt day, though, so I had no choice.

No runs yet (usually I have a good one up the back of one or both legs by about 9:00 am), nothing bunching at the ankles. Am feeling kind of resentful, though.
It's been chilly, damp and gray here. Stubborn and cheap girl I am, I absolutely refuse to turn the heat on until November. It's actually quite nice to be padding around the house in my faithful old lopi trailsocks (for another now ex boyfriend - finished with him before I finished with them), yoga pants and threadbare sweater. The flannel sheets which seemed unthinkable a little more than a week ago are now a welcome cocoon. The cats have even declared a truce so as to contribute to the bed warmth.

I wish it weren't so difficult to get up in the morning, though. It's like I'm coming out of the womb every day, only I'm not kicking or screaming. Just getting into work later than before it got cold.
All you need to know about the new video iPod.

Seems to me that about the only things the new video iPod would be good for are pirating videos and watching p0rn on the subway.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I wonder how long it will take someone to figure out that if she responds to my venting my spleen on certain issues by telling me to "suck it up or get out" that I'm not going to be such a sensitive ear to her gripes? Most of her (and my) aggravations do tend to be a direct result of the direction she steered the department in, after all. I'm not in management, so really can't be scapegoated for that, too.
Never really much cared for the Smurfs, so this if I saw this new ad, I'd probably have laughed my behind off.

Is it me, or is the UNICEF Belgium spokesperson's admission to the need to shock their target audience with cartoon violence because "...the public is not easily motivated to do things for humanitarian causes and certainly not when it involved Africa or children in war" just a bit ironic? Guess it isn't just the Americans who are stingy when it comes to aid to faraway (and not so faraway) foreign lands.
Well, I've been outed.

Be, you are a mean-spirited KKK sympathizer because you don't like the word "proactive"!

If the People's Progressive Truth Generator says so, it must be so.

-Thanks, Nick. (double snort)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'd say that this prettymuch hits the nail on the head.

I love baseball. I loved going to Sox games back when I could get into Fenway (Heck, I remember when you could get bleacher seats at $6 apiece). I find great comfort in listening to WEEI, especially in the dark. Try as I might, though, I can't for the life of me get through a single blog post on baseball.

I don't watch television. Just can't get into it. Even if I could, I'd still not be able to get into this program as I'd be too busy asking myself, "Didn't she star in Earth Girls are Easy?"

(Note the advertisements on the right sidebar of the publicity page. Too funny.)
This does not surprise me at all. Actually have been seeing a fair bit of it, along with other vandalism (like smashed store windows, wind shields etc). I wonder if there will be a call to find the root causes?

This is a pretty good summation of the tensions that have been bubbling up in my neighborhood the past couple of years. Would like to hear more of substance from the current group alderman candidates. Not just some vague, poetic-sounding musings.
I ran off with a poet when I was younger and sillier than I am now. Having learned my lesson, I tend stick to more down-to-earth, substantive types like engineers nowadays.

That said, I do admit to a great appreciation for poetry and poetic word-arrangement. Norm's latest poll asks for three favorite English-Language poets. How to narrow down to three poets, though? I can think of at least five from my neighborhood alone whose word music resonates deeply. Will figure something out by the October 31 deadline, I'm sure.

Why not consider taking part in Norm's poll yourself? Do it in honor of National Poetry Day. Do it for Norm. Do it while Waiting for April.
Probable-Possible, my black hen,
She lays eggs in the Relative When.
She doesn't lay eggs in the Positive Now
Because she's unable to Postulate How.


Plus-que-Possible, ma poule noire,
Elle pond ses oeufs dans le Quand-Provisoire.
Elle ne pond point dans une periode sure
Car l'experience serait bien trop dure.

-My favorite from A Space Child's Mother Goose, a wonderful collection of nursery rhymes that is (thank heavens!) back in print.

(Thanks to Hal's Aunt for reciting a few of these gems during our car trip into the Deluge.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Another crop of babies coming up. It's funny how these things come in cycles: first the marriages, then the first little ones (draft picks to be named I often call them), then the seconds. Of course it's the natural progression of things.

I've never felt part of this cycle - never wanted to wear the white dress, never wanted to be contractually obligated "to have and to hold." Never saw myself going through a pregnancy or giving birth. In fact, mere thoughts of having my sleep interrupted by a damn baby get me feeling heart-racingly resentful. That's not to say that I hate children. In fact, I do love them and really enjoy spending time with them - especially with my girlfriends' little ones. I just can't see me breeding is all.

My landlord's wife is pregnant. The due date is sometime in November, I believe. She's always been gorgeous, but now has an almost Botticelli-like radiance about her. I get the impression, too, that things are going along pretty smoothly. (Goodness, I hope so.) Recently, while doing laundry, I came across her stuff in the dryer. Rather than just pile it somewhere, I did what the scullery maid in me said and folded it up. While doing so, I noted how pretty and affordable a lot of the maternity wear has become. Really nice, really fashionable. I thought about how nice some of the things would look on me, even (she and I have similar coloring - pale, freckly, reddish hair). All of a sudden, I felt the tears start. Next thing I knew, I lost control and found myself crying like I hadn't in years. God, I hope it's not that infamous "biological timeclock" in action.
Oh yeah: I know the Red Sox lost. I'm now rooting for the White ones. We got ours last year; they've been waiting even longer for theirs. It's their turn, as far as I'm concerned.
Next weekend, Hal and I will be heading downeast again. Though the forecast isn't looking at all good this week, I do hope that it'll clear up a little bit for the wedding we're attending, at least.

As those of you who know me may already know, I'm not a fan of weddings. I understand that now, more than ever perhaps, a show of commitment is an important thing. I am just not into the ostentation that surrounds most of these events. Especially with a divorce rate currently standing at over 50%. Sometimes I think I might prefer funerals, as I'm dead certain that I'm not going to have to attend a second one of those for anybody.
"The color of the sky as far as I can see is coal grey..."

(Funny how a song that came out twenty years ago can resonate for so long.)

Spent the past long weekend downeast, closing up camp during a torrential downpour. I think that between Deer Isle and Brunswick, they got something like 91/2" of rain. The ocean was wild, the wind biting, the rain constant, whether in sheets or drizzles. In a number of places, the roads were washed out.

Have been very low energy lately, so it was a very, very tough time. Am only sort of glad to be home, though.
A friend of mine who's been suffering from depression for most of her life told me that it's during fall more than any other time that one ends up on antidepressants.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This is either going to amuse or annoy the heck out of the 'endowed socialist' branch of the family.

You are a

Social Liberal
(61% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(66% permissive)

You are best described as a:


You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness.

Though it did while a minute or two away, this little test really didn't offer any great discoveries or new insights. I've considered myself a "Reformed Libertarian" for quite a while now.

-via Neo-Neocon.
The latest dream to wake me up was of my being so aggravated at work that I began boxing up my stuff. My boss came by and I simply told her that I quit. I was tired at being jerked around and at listening to long-winded rationalizations about why conditions haven't changed in the last several years.

This really worked me up to the point where I was hyperventilating. Woke up choking. Calmed down enough to lie still and could breathe with only a little wheeze. Couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep, though, as I was still upset and would get a twinge in the back everytime I'd move.
How could I forget?

The Big E Butter Sculpture for 2005:

I don't know whether it was because the thing was made of butter or because it was a cow on a motorcycle, but Hal was enthralled by it. Perhaps even moreso than by the llamas. (Personally, I preferred the representation of Miss Muffet being scared off by a giant spider from a couple years back.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

I hate the pain.

I hate how it makes me alternately angry or weepy. I hate how it tires me out on good days but almost blinds me on bad days. I hate the effects the painkillers have on me when I hurt badly enough to have to take them - from hurting my stomach to rendering me almost incoherent. I hate feeling thirty years older than I am because I'm worn out from schlepping my corpse around all day. I hate being woken up by small lightning bolts during the night because I've turned the wrong way in bed. I hate feeling so petty, snippy, bitchy, miserable because I can't dissociate anymore. At least when I separated my spirit from my body, I could be more functional. I could muster a less fake-looking smile. I could keep up the appearance of living.
Only in Cambridge.

I don't make this stuff up. Really, there's no need to.

-via Universal Hub.
The Big E!

Topsfield's closer to home, but we'd not been to the Eastern States Exposition in some time. It's a longer ride, but reminds me more of the fairs I used to go to as a kid.

The crowded midway was a vertiginous mix of sight, sound, smell:

Funny thing: I am afraid of heights to the point of panic, but I always want to ride the ferris wheel. We didn't this time around; saved it to the end, but ended up too tired to bother.

The Grange Building is situated on the Avenue of the States, right across from the states' pavilions. Housed in it were all sorts of hand crafts and a little shop where you could by homemade jams, jellies, relishes. This is the 4H pavilion, I believe.

Each New England state has its own pavilion dedicated to items of cultural, industrial, commercial, agricultural/natural interest. Of course, about all the states are known for similar things: maple products, upscale universities, proximity to the shore (save for Vermont), so there is a bit of overlap. If one looks out, they'll find some neat, quirky little things in each pavilion. Items of interest this time around were the amazing cider doughnuts in the Massachusetts pavilion, the wonderful pine-essence products in the Rhode Island pavilion, the Vermont dairy farmers' cooperative (Cabot Farms if you're looking for it in the supermarket) cheese market.

Hal was fascinated by the beekeeping exhibitions, of course. He ended up buying some honeycomb in the MA pavilion, fond memory that chewing that stuff is to him. I picked up a few months' worth of pine soap from the Rhode Island building and a funky kids' wristwatch from the Connecticut building (CT being the home of Timex).

Out on the midway again, we saw a few sideshows. For some reason, these little attractions make me sad. I hate to think of the animals being cooped up in these trailers, though I'm sure that they're comfortable enough.

That day, the featured act was Taylor Dayne. I don't think Hal knew who she was, but her one hit "I'll Always Love You" will forever be etched in my brain. I must have sold thousands of copies of the sheet music for that song during college when I was a music shop girl, as for whatever reasons, it's a big wedding hit. Though I'd not actually heard the song before, I know it by osmosis, so could sing along with Dayne when she performed it. That and some other song (Tell it to my heart?) Were her two big hits, so she managed to keep each going for like 15-20 minutes.

Though she's not terrible by any stretch, I was glad to get away from her. Too loud, not my style. I actually prefer calliope music when I go to a fair:

These circus organs, like music boxes and player pianos, never cease to amaze me. All those moving parts; all the man hours that went into the creation of such instruments leave me in awe. Interesting bit of trivia: the first circus organ manufacturer in the United States was in a suburb of Buffalo, NY (North Tonawanda). The manufacturer of the Big E's organ, Stinson Company of Ohio, is the only left in the US that produces circus organs.


It was the perfect day for a day at the fair: sunny and not too hot. We had a wonderful time wearing ourselves out and refraining from eating too much bad food. (Had our annual corn dog.) We made it home at a decent hour tired as anything, but happy as little kids. Sacked out early and enjoyed something like 12 hours of dreamless sleep.
Interestingly enough, there doesn't seem to be a poultry barn like at Topsfield. We're both big bird fans, so this was a slight disappointment. There were plenty of quadrupeds, however, to engage us.

Three years ago, the only South American domesticated beast around was an agitated llama who did not like Hal at all. (Hal was taller, so there was a weird dominance thing going on.) As a result, the only pictures from that adventure were of this angry beast being held in a half nelson.

This year, the alpacas seemed to take the Big E by storm. Smaller than llamas, with sweet dispositions and a wonderful soft hair, they apparently make a great low-maintenance (though costly) animal to breed and keep if you're a 'gentleman farmer.' Hal really went to town on these guys:

To me, they looked a bit like a cross between a camel and a standard poodle. Heck, they were even shorn like poodles:

Alpaca fleece is some of the softest I've ever felt; softer even than some cashmeres. It's pretty pricey, though, otherwise I'd probably work with it exclusively. Luckily (for my bank account), there was no fleece or yarn for sale from any of the individual breeders. I did, however, get a bunch of business cards from local farms. Would be nice to treat myself to a bit of roving or even a couple skeins at some point.
Monday's flower is the late-blooming king of a neighbor's garden.

(I love when Hal sneaks up from behind and catches them unawares.)