Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What am I doing now? Rereading The Little Book, working out again and eating cantaloupe. I'm tired of bloat, tired of superfluity. Need to pare things down.
Bumpersticker Two-fer:

The first one was on Sunday, heading back into town from a weekend retreat:

"I'm animal-friendly" (on either the back of a hybrid of some sort or a Volkswagon. Don't remember which.)

I added "and I'm bi-curious," which touched off one a really funny tirade from The Guy.


This morning on the walk to work, I saw one that said "Waldemort votes Republican."

Sigh. Immature is not cute. You're not whimsical, you're mental.
"Whaddya think I am? Dumb or somethin'?

I'll have you know that I've got more money than Calvin Coolidge. Put together."

-Thanks, Mr. Trainspotter.

Friday, January 27, 2006

My trainspotter friend in London likes to keep me up on the latest developments in public transport in his hometown. Mentioned that the Tube had switched over to a refillable pass system that they call the Oyster Card. Interesting. Since I'm a rare bird, a bipedal commuter, I'm not always up on what the MBTA's up to. Did find out that we have a similar pass setup here. To further his efforts towards global public transport understanding, my friend compiled this list:

Boston > Charlie Card (Named after the Kingston Trio tune, of course)
London > Oyster Card
Hong Kong > Octopus
Manchester > Readycard
SmarTrip > Washington DC
Touch 'N Go > Malaysia

Though from an engineering standpoint he finds these passes pretty nifty, from a privacy point of view, they're a little unnerving as movements can be tracked (and attached to a name). This did strike me as a fair bit Big Brother-y.

Asked him if he knew anything about the bit transit strike in NYC last month. He didn't. He did send a little hint* that they've got similar problems (not all can be pinned on privatisation and the Thatcher, either) with the Underground.

*funny as all getout, but definitely not work safe, for the faint of heart, or for those not interested in quaint britishisms.
Song of the day, a happy memory and a bit of food p0rn.

Be and Luigi pulling mussels from a shell.

Have finally been getting around to sorting through gifts, etc that I got for Christmas. Found a CD chock-full o' pictures Deer Isle this summer. How funny to look back on just half a year ago and have it feel like five years have passed.

I'm always a fan of free food, so was overjoyed at the announcement that red tide wasn't a threat anymore on our bit of shore. Collected mussels and was doing the usual mariniere thing with them. Then along came Luigi - Italian exchange scholar and gourmet extraordinaire. One afternoon when the tide was low enough, we collected buckets of mussels, washed them, cooked them, shelled them, then did amazing things with olive oil, garlic, onions, sea salt. Served this delicious mess over linguine. Since the dish was an improvised creation, I named it Cozze al'Luigi.
I don't know the particulars of this case, but I really am not surprised at local blogger reaction.

After all, only people who are obviously ethnic and obviously female or feminine get discriminated against.
Criminy! I'm so sick of coughing. I wish it would stop.
Elgar Orgy on WHRB

Four days worth of his music, along with commentary. I know relatively little about him, to be honest. Certainly played the bejeezus out of Pomp and Circumstance #1 in high school(You want dull? Try keeping awake through the bass line in the opening movement.). In college, just sort of lumped him in with the Pastoralists (Delius, Vaughn-Williams, Finzi, etc) and left him at that.

So? I guess four days of All Elgar All the Time will be a learning experience for me. Always a good thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Okay, I'm a sucker for these kinds of questionnaires - anything for family or friends. This one comes from ma cousine in Ithaca:

1.  What time did you get up this morning? 7:00 am

2.  Diamonds or Pearls?  Pearls, absolutely. Nothing against diamonds, but I love pearls. Especially freshwater ones.

3.  What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Geesh! The Life Aquatic at the cheapies in Davis Square.

4.  What is your favorite TV show?  Probably Nova. Reception's bad on Winter Hill and I'm too cheap to get cable.

5.  What did you have for breakfast?  A muffin, a banana and a small decaf from the convenience store next to my office

6.  What is your middle name?  Ann

7.  What is your favorite cuisine?  I'm pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to cuisine, which explains my constant 'battle of the bulge.' If you want me to narrow it down, well, I'd say that my favorite's between Eastern European and Asian.

8.  What foods do you dislike? I used to say brussels sprouts, but had some really good ones recently (stir fried with bacon). The real issue is over cooking. I hate vegetables that are overcooked. Particularly brussels sprouts and broccoli when it's cooked to the point of smelling like farts.

9.  What is your favorite Potato chip? Utz dill pickle flavor.

10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Kate Bush's new one: Aerial. It's brilliant.

11.  What kind of car (truck) do you drive? I don't have a car now. If I were to have one it'd be a Honda Civic like Speed Racer (Pablo's) or a Sephia like Hal's Kia Pet, though, if that means anything.

12.  What is your favorite sandwich? 12 grain bread with a schmear of Hellman's mayo and Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato, some sort of mild cheese like muenster, hard salami and/or ham. It's pretty healthy and good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

13.  Favorite item of clothing? My red plaid flannel PJ bottoms.

14.  If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would
you go? Either back to the French Alps or back to Rabat.

15.  What color is your bathroom? Beige and white.

16.  Favorite brand of clothing?  Salvation Army Private Label

17.  Where would you want to retire to?  Western New York

18.  Favorite time of day?  Morning

19.  Where were you born?  Buffalo, NY

20.  Favorite sport to watch on TV? Baseball

21.  Who do you least expect to send this back? People I don't know who don't read this blog?

22.  Person you expect to send it back first? No idea.

23.  What type of detergent do you use? Whatever's on sale! (currently CVS brand)

24.  Coke or Pepsi?  DIET Coke

25.  Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning person

26.  What size shoe do you wear? 10.5/11 US 42 EU

27.  Do you have pets? 2 cats: Mamasan and Ampersand (who looks more like a badger than a cat now)

28.  Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with everyone? Well. I have plans to move back to Buffalo in the near future (at the end of the lease cycle, ¡Ojala!). With Hal.

29.  What did you want to be when you were little?  A translator for the UN or an astronomer.

30.  Favorite candy bar? Plain Hershey's. Special Dark, if they make them bigger than the bite-sized version.

31.  What is your best childhood memory? Time spent with Paula and Janice at their home, or with my cousins on the farm in Delevan, NY

32.  Different jobs you've had in your life? Paperboy, office cleaner, library assistant, baker, discount store clerk, data entry clerk, music store salesperson, warehouse manager, cataloger for an antiquarian bookseller, translator, technical writer, tutor, secretary, bookkeeper, IT helpdesk assistant, HR representative, bureaucrat.

33.  What color underwear are you wearing? Leopard-spotted.

34.  Nicknames: Be, Bebere, La Beverlianna, La Buffalina del West, Brunhilde/The Valkyrie

35.  Piercings?  Ears: 2 & 2

36.  Ever been to Africa?  Yes

37. Ever been toilet papered? Can't say that I have.

38.  Love someone so much it made you cry? Good Lord, yes.

39. Ever been in a car accident?  Yep. Wasn't my fault, either.

40. Croutons or bacon bits?  Croutons

41.  Favorite day of the week?  Saturday

42. Favorite restaurant?  Hmm: Tu y Yo by the Powderhouse Rotary, Wang's in Magoun, Pho Pasteur in Chinatown, Addis Red Sea in the South End, Casa Portugal in Inman Square, Kelly's on Reveah Beach, The Paddock (Honey), on Meh-fuh Street.

43.  Favorite flower? Daisies and beach roses.

44.  Favorite ice cream? Sweet Cream, Christina's Khulfi, Burnt Sugar.

45.  Disney or Warner Brothers?   Warner Brothers, absolutely!

46.  Favorite fast food restaurant?  Wendy's

47.  What color is your bedroom carpet? Nyah...I have hardwood floors!

48.  How many times did your fail you drivers test?  None

49.  Before this one, from whom did you get your last email? Sad to say, but Spam.

50.  Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?  Am not really into retail therapy, to be honest. If I had to choose something, I guess it would be Schoenhof's foreign books in Harvard Square and maybe the place in NYC that sells all the Marimekko stuff.

51.  What do you most often do when you are bored? I really don't get bored. Pastimes, though, are blogging, knitting, playing the piano, listening to music, among other things.

52.  Who are you most curious about their responses to this
questionnaire?  Everyone!

53. Last person you went to dinner with?  Pablo and Hacksaw at Wang's.

54.  Ford or Chevy?  I really like that new Mustang.

55.  How many tattoos do you have? One - on my right shoulder.

56.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Good Lord! The egg!

57.  How many people are you sending this survey to? I look at these things in terms of Quality, not Quantity.
Hommage to Kronos


Horloge! dieu sinistre, effrayant, impassible,
Dont le doigt nous menace et nous dit: «Souviens-toi!
Les vibrantes Douleurs dans ton coeur plein d'effroi Se planteront bientôt comme dans une cible;

Le Plaisir vaporeux fuira vers l'horizon
Ainsi qu'une sylphide au fond de la coulisse;
Chaque instant te dévore un morceau du délice
À chaque homme accordé pour toute sa saison.

Trois mille six cents fois par heure, la Seconde
Chuchote: Souviens-toi! — Rapide, avec sa voix
D'insecte, Maintenant dit: Je suis Autrefois,
Et j'ai pompé ta vie avec ma trompe immonde!

Remember! Souviens-toi! prodigue! Esto memor!
(Mon gosier de métal parle toutes les langues.)
Les minutes, mortel folâtre, sont des gangues
Qu'il ne faut pas lâcher sans en extraire l'or!

Souviens-toi que le Temps est un joueur avide
Qui gagne sans tricher, à tout coup! c'est la loi.
Le jour décroît; la nuit augmente; Souviens-toi!
Le gouffre a toujours soif; la clepsydre se vide.

Tantôt sonnera l'heure où le divin Hasard,
Où l'auguste Vertu, ton épouse encor vierge,
Où le Repentir même (oh! la dernière auberge!),
Où tout te dira Meurs, vieux lâche! il est trop tard!»

-Charles Baudelaire

The upside of this whole thing is, at the rate they're going, Kronos may well eat themselves and we won't have to worry about them anymore. That would be very nice.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Wszystkiego Najlepszego, Gram!

If Grandma Zee were still around, she'd be 93 - two months older than Grandpa (got teased a bit for being a "cradle robber" because of that, too). She passed away five years ago, though. I honestly believe that Grandpa headed out when he did because he missed her and felt badly for missing the past few birthday parties for her. Also needed to look into that bum leg of his and get it up to snuff in time for festivities.

I like to think that they polkaed up a storm today, just like I'd heard of them doing back in the day.
Have you ever gotten a look that was worth a number of words so well-chosen as to be completely unambiguous in meaning?

Unnerving, isn't it.
Am totally in agreement. This is why I took up knitting on circular needles, in fact. If I have to do any 'making up,' then gosh darnit, the project's not going to get finished anytime soon.

-Yo(u) go, girl(sorry, couldn't resist). Totally forgot about them 'til I re-checked-out your blogroll.
Another bumper sticker.

This one was on a Scion on Prospect Hill: "Well-behaved women rarely make history."

Yes, and well-behaved males rarely make the news.
The Socks Make the Man

The promotional posters expose a very distinctive pair of socks:

Which makes me wonder if he's not trying to follow in the footsteps of another beloved (real) French character with a very similar sense of physical comedy (we've often wondered if Sellers patterned Inspector Clouseau after Monsieur Hulot, for that matter):

Maybe I'm reading too deeply into things, but then again, maybe not. It might be worth the cost of admission to see, however, and a girl can always hope.
The girl's nothing if not regular.

Stopped by Ali's to get a cup of something warm to drink and was greeted by one of the substitute guys:

"Every day at the same time - you must like your job, right?"

"Well...I don't think I'd show up if they didn't pay me. Aside from that, I guess it's okay."

He laughed.

Got to the register with my small decaf, my cereal bar, my piece of cheese and my banana. While looking at my purchases on the counter, it occurred to me that I'd been getting the same breakfast for nearly five years. I mentioned this to him along with the fact that I must be an awfully boring person. He shrugged, said that routine's not a bad thing, then wished me a happy Tuesday.
Which leads us to:

"All I know is that to me
you look like you're having fun
Open up your loving arms
watch out
here I come.

You spin me right round
right round

Like a record
right round
You spin me right round
right round

Like a record
right round

In my d@mn head since seeing that blasted picture last night.
Did they get their Georges mixed up?

This guy's the President of the United States, not the Film-Critic-in-Chief. His take on current movies (or his opinions on pop culture, gay or otherwise) really doesn't interest me (or most people, I'm willing to bet).

Might be a better idea to field their question to this guy, as he seems to have his finger on that particular pulse (no doubt keeping in touch with the vast majority of his constituents).

Friday, January 20, 2006

Today's earworm:

"Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right,

Here I am: stuck in the middle (with you)."
Chirac is either putting his money where his mouth is or putting his foot in his mouth here, I guess.

Relatively little on it in the news, though. I'd imagine that if Bush were to say something similar, we'd have heard much more on it and maybe have seen a couple UN Security Council resolutions drafted by now.
Poor thing.

If the s/he wasn't sick already, I'm sure they would be by now sheerly from swimming in the Thames.
Oh my word: winter orgy season almost snuck by me! Would have been tragic if it did.

Did so far manage to catch a good bit of the Shostakovich program. This morning, transcended my coffee, kitchen and towel robe while listening to Shirley Horn's take on "Fever."


Snort! Awesome! Just checked out the program: Gang of Four orgy on my birthday! Anthrax is my theme song.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Poe was not only the father of the modern horror story, but a great source of inspiration for the Symbolists. His gothic sensibility certainly made an impression on Charles Baudelaire, who penned the definitive translations of Poe's works.

The Raven - Edgar Allan Poe

Le Corbeau - traduction de Ch. Baudelaire

Bonus! Une autre traduction par Mallarmé! (Never saw this one before - great to learn something new.)
"The torch will be passed."

A family tradition continues in Baltimore. (Happy Birthday Edgar.)
Buñuel Moment #1:

Along with Grandpa's, there was another wake taking place at the funeral home. After things quieted down, the manager made a little joke about the difficulty of having two Polish funerals at the same time, given how everybody's name was so hard to pronounce. We laughed and talked a bit about hooked-on-phonics and Polish names(The key players on our side were ZAHN-droh-VEETS and Tack. The other family? Say it aloud: "Where's your house key?").

Joking done, back to business: plans had to be firmed up for the next morning, names taken down for the breakfast, etc. The manager let us know that Grandpa looked really good, that the other guy being buried looked worse than him and was 20 years younger. Asked us if we wanted to see. Sure. Why not?

We walked over to the other visitation room to take a look. It was just like ours: opulently appointed (Second Empire), flower-filled, dimly-lit. Same soft music playing. Very similar-looking bald head in a casket. In fact, the only way one could differentiate the two would be by the color of the caskets.
Buñuel Moment #2:

Grandpa's final trip began with prayers at the funeral home. Since the priest was was waiting at the church, the funeral director led us in a moment of silence and then the Lord's Prayer. While my head was bowed down, I noted that she'd accessorized the very appropriate and conservative black suit with a pair of boots the likes of which I'd never seen outside of a fetish shop. They had it all: four inch heels, spiked toes, black patent leather, silver buckles everywhere.

Mentioned this to my dad and Hal: they'd both picked up on the shoes as well. Hal pointed out that it didn't seem like too much of a stretch for a funeral director to be moonlighting as a dominatrix.

They're good for comedy if for nothing else.

This sort of reminds me of a story my brother told me from back in his military days:

One evening while on watch, he was approached by a couple of hippie-looking sorts carrying buckets. One of them introduced themselves as members of Greenpeace, told him that they had a couple of buckets of pig's blood and asked him to spread it on the deck of his ship. His answer? Why would he jeopardize his career for a couple of stoned idiots, and, by the way, where'd they get the pig's blood?

Bruvvie's just as crunchy as the next person (got the 'don't ask don't tell' treatment thanks to his galley dance parties and playing of Arlo Guthrie albums while underway...heck, even was even an AI member back when they actually did good work). Doesn't suffer fools well, though. Members of this group have always struck us as being particular fools, too, which is a pity, because we're all about environmental responsibility, and don't mind supporting responsible organisations of like mind.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Autour le Charles

Happy me, I found a little gift in my mailbox this morning. It looks as though my rambling shutterbug's well enough to take up his commutes à pied again.

Not too much ice on the Charles, as it's been surprisingly temperate this month (Currently, the temperature's in the low 60s).

Someone else who doesn't mind the warmer weather.

Fo' shizzle.

Interesting side note on that pilgrim hat: I'd always thought that the new logo for the Massachusetts Turnpike was a leprechaun hat (dead serious! Symbolizing what? The great Hibernian patronage system that the Pike symbolizes?). Hal disabused me of this notion on the last cah trip we took: up until the 90s, when the state religion of PC was instituted, the logo was a pilgrim hat pierced by an arrow.


Look! Hal managed to find an example of the old logo:

There's an even older one, too, that doesn't reference Indians or pilgrims. Wonder why they ever let go of that one.

Full-throttle frontal action

We've got a severe wind warning until later this afternoon, followed by heavy rain and possible thunderstorms. (Wind velocities have been clocked at up to 66 mph over at Blue Hill Observatory, just to the south of the city.)

It's kind of freaky having the wind howl around your office, to have the blinds be moved from behind closed windows. (Is the building swaying or is the window not insulated?) Am very glad that I don't have to be working outside today. (ooh - and now the rain's started.)


EEE! The building just started shaking in earnest with the last gust! It sounds like Niagara Falls out there, too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Stickers seen on the back bumper of an older-model Volvo station wagon outside Union Square today:

"Capitali$m: our predatory economic system."

"War is terrorism, only with a bigger budget."

What can a girl say about this sort of stuff that hasn't already been said before? All I can really do is just smile at the driver (who I see a fair bit - the stickers just showed up recently), nod and keep my distance, I guess.
Mon embarras du choix (updated)

Hit the jackpot yesterday morning on the way to work: found a twenty dollar bill in the street. What a nice way to end such a difficult week.

Am trying to decide what to do with my windfall, as $20 is an awful lot of money, after all. Should I put it in my savings account? Pay my electric bill? Spend it on groceries? Something frivolous? Even here, $20 will pay for quite a bit of frivolity: a skein of really nice (cashmere even!) yarn, a trip to the movies (if there's anything worth seeing) and dessert afterwards, some music. A DVD (heck - almost 1/2 a DVD player to play said DVD on), a new outfit (if you shop like I do), some fun kitchen gadgets.

Wow. What a bit of mad money can do for a girl's psyche. I feel as though the world's my oyster.


I decided to spend my cash on a subscription renewal to my favorite knitting magazine. Have a roomful of yarn, so figured that it might be better to invest in things to help the inspiration.

Have been meaning to make something for me for a while now, but kept getting sidetracked by socks, hats and baby layettes. Decided that it was time to make me a birthday present, went through my stash, found about 1400 yds a pretty color-flecked blue acrylic/wool blend, a pair of size 8s and a cable needle. My intention is to make me a nice little updated aran by a favorite(fairly)local artist.

Kristin Nicholas's Aran Pullover, from the Winter 05 edition of Interweave Knits.

If I can talk someone into taking some pictures, I'll give updates.
Speaking of Nakadai, Okada and Takemitsu:

Rumor has it that Criterion may well have the Teshigahara/Abe series in the works. I certainly hope so. Have only seen Woman in the Dunes - an a propos as hell take on modern life. Am obsessed with the music from Face of Another. Have only seen scenes from Pitfall. (Ruined Map? No idea about that one.)

Yes, we're waiting with bated breath.

Monday, January 16, 2006

After returning from last week's festivities, we had a relapse. Don't know if it was the same virus getting used to us as we were down, or if it was a new one. No matter: left us feeling very wretched indeed.

Hal went through the trouble of making me a soup - pea soup with the ham bone left over from New Year's dinner. Pea soup's one of my favorites, so it broke my heart to not be able to taste what I think must be a wonderful first attempt. Though he doesn't relish the process as I do (often jokes about eating spaghetti-os in a can standing over the sink "to save time"), I do believe that he is a better cook than I am, so I like to be supportive of his efforts.

Tasteless soups, boxes of wasted tissues and menthol drops aside, it wasn't too terrible a weekend. I managed to weave in the ends of a mohair/pearl cotton scarf I knitted up during the car trip. Lots of cat naps were taken, plenty of films were watched. Hal indulged me with some chambara (Had to get my Nakadai itch scratched, this time with the delightfully named Kill!, a surprisingly not-nihilist and funny film about a yakuza working off some karma.)

Nakadai (right) as the former Samurai teams up with Etsushi Takahashi (left), a farmer who aspires to becoming a Samurai in Kill!: an unlikely pair in a surprisingly feel-good film with a Spaghetti-western soundtrack.

A more angelic-looking Nakadai in Kobayashi's Kwaidan, where he plays a young woodcutter whose beauty causes even a spirit to take flesh to be near him.

We also watched the opening credits and final fight scene in Samurai Spy, Shinoda's way-twisty (and slightly farfelu) ninja story set towards the end of the period between Sekigahara and the Toyotomi clan's final stand against the Tokugawa. There's plenty of samurai eye-candy, however, between Tetsuro Tamba(*sigh* as a leper in a silly white outfit he still rings my bell) and Eiji Okada (who became a sex symbol in France for his roll in Hiroshima, Mon Amour), not to mention a delicious, Cuban-inspired soundtrack by Takemitsu.
Happy New Year

Today's the best I've felt in nearly a month. Am still coughing like the experienced smoker I am not, but managed to neither blow my way through a box of tissues nor take any decongestants. Tomorrow, I'll be back to the first full work day in over two weeks.

It was so nice to get a deep, dreamless, full-night's sleep. Haven't had that in a very long time. Woke up late, but energized enough to take on a few tasks, anyway.

Am hoping to start exercising more as the lung capacity increases and the back mends. For the first time since late 2004, I actually feel hopeful and capable enough to tend to business.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Crazy weather here. It feels more like April than January. Nice for being outside, but perhaps not so good for the health.

Yesterday, walked to work wearing the spring jacket instead of the winter one. Had a hat on, but had to take it off halfway through the journey.

Even if I wanted to go outside, I don't think it would be a good idea today: we're getting a blizzard's worth of liquid snowfall.

(Back to sleep?)
Back after an interesting but emotionally and physically gruelling time. Will write more on this later, I'm sure. For now, however, I have to continue perfecting my coughing technique, eating soup, watching movies, napping. Am still pretty sick and need to get over whatever the heck this virus is.

(Funny note: the little brother asked if I wasn't perhaps "patient zero" for the bird flu in this part of the world. Mentioned that I didn't think so *cough*hack*Squawk*)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Out of town for a few days.

Hopefully back by Friday. Take care of yourselves.

Monday, January 09, 2006

On rit par peur d'en finir à pleurer, II

When she was younger, Karen came up with a tag line for her grandmother's business:

"We'll be the last to let you down."
On rit par peur d'en finir à pleurer, I

I sent Karen my request for bereavement time off. She looked it over, paused for a minute and asked, "which is your grand father's parish?"

"Saint John's, but mom changing the arrangements to have the mass at Saint Al's. Why?"

"Which funeral home?"

"At this point, I'm not sure." I told her, though, that I really didn't care where they had the mass so long as they had the wake at Amigone.

"If you'd have said something, I could've gotten you a deal, you know." *

"Oh, that's right. You'd have made the arrangements yourself, right? Personal service?"

"Of course."

"Yeah, I'm sure. Right into the Scajaquada."


*Her family business is mortuary (dead serious). Also - her grandmother's another not-so-famous first: she was the first practicing female undertaker in New York State.
Grandpa passed away this weekend. Though details are sketchy at this point, I'd like to think that he died peacefully in his sleep, happy from spending a couple lucid hours eating something good and talking to my cousin.

Though I'm going to miss him, I can't cry over this. Just not able to. His last weeks were gruelling; not anything that I'd ever want to have to live through.

Also, a part of him died when Grandma died four years ago. They'd been together for nearly 65 years, and all he really wanted was to get back to her as soon as he could.
Talked to my dad the other day: he seems well - was up and could walk but needed to rest after his surgery (stents put in some arteries in his legs to clear out blockages - hopefully they'll work and he won't have to get the bypass). Since I'd just gotten my test results back from my doctor, I mentioned to him that it appeared as though, in addition to the long legs, I'd inherited his beautiful thick blood. Thanked him for this gift.

He laughed and responded that I descended from Vikings and that as a Viking I needed the rich blood and big bones to go about the business of conquering the world.

(Am hoping that I got the Viking sense of humor as well.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Un autre fanatique de coquetiers bruxellois

What're the chances that one would hit upon more than one egg-cup collector in the world, much less in Brussels? Small world, isn't it? (And a very lovely site.)
Friday afternoon Furface

Somewhere around midafternoon, got to thinking about the cats. Missed Mamasan in particular in spite of his having been a bit tetchy lately. Don't know if looking at pictures (or kitty p#rn as Pavel calls it) has helped matters any as you can't hear the purrs, rub the chins or smell the necks of pictures.
Everyone's a critic.

Guess this one's a deconstructionist.
Never thought I'd be so happy to get back to the office as I am now. I love sitting upright, breathing properly, not coughing, playing at being productive. I love seeing other people and talking to them, love typing, love looking at the pretty blooming Christmas cactus on my bookshelf.

Didn't sleep so well last night, as have a fair number of worries: Dad's probably just coming out of surgery now and Grandpa's "going gentle into that good night," enough of his pain hopefully dulled by the morphine. My favorite aunt's in a bad spot: very very sick, and unable to move. Her twin, my mom, I don't think has been sober in days if not weeks.

I've always had a hard time with that part of the prayer that says "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." I'm having a particularly difficult time with it right now. Nothing I can do from here, and even if I were there, what to do? Can't help Grandpa: he's 91, it's his time. My mother has to help herself, and is apparently unwilling/unable. Auntie and Dad? Well, they'll be alright, I guess. Still, I hate being powerless.
I have sort of a fascination with blonde jokes, what with my being blonde and all. Thought I'd heard them all. Then Nappy sends me this one.
My party personae:

"You know that little box on your pay stub that says FICA? I'm living proof that your tax dollars are working. (twitch)"

"Medical test subject"

"Plasma donor"

"Surrogate Mother (or egg donor)"

After enough of these lines, my friends stopped making me go to parties and all but gave up on finding me a young professional Mr. Right-type.

(Actually had a very romantic, perfect-for-me job at the time. Was poorer than dirt, but was happiest in my work ever.)
Just as I get my previous entry posted, my little beau bleu decides to give me the finger, say "eff you, Be" and leave. From what things look like, I get the feeling that she had the same problem that put beau gris in a coma.

I understand that I get what I pay for. Still, it does strike me as rather odd to have two of the same make/model of computer die in the same way in less than a year. Has anyone else ever had this problem with the older model iMacs? (Beau gris had a G3 processor and beau bleu was a Power PC.)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I wrote about eating a boiled egg in the third person the other day. This so fascinated a friend that I thought I'd bring back a narrative of getting dressed for work I'd written in the second person singular.


I'm particularly obsessed with second person singular, as, while but a child in a progressive school in the Berkshires, I got to read a particularly haunting story by no one in particular, apparently. In a subsequent creative writing class, wrote a story in second person. The teacher sent it back with a big, fat F. Said that I'd gotten the assignment all wrong: no one ever wrote in the second person. Was bad form, bad English. She demanded another essay. Told her (in a very polite way, of course) to go "eff" herself and took the F.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Food would be nice if she could taste it. Since she can't, she refrains from eating, drinks tea and thinks about how good something might taste if only she could. She's taken to looking longingly at images of pretty food like a soldier or travelling businessman might look at pictures brought along of wives, sweethearts, family. Though it's not the same as enjoying, truly enjoying the Real Thing, there's a lot to be said for thinking about the intimate details of a favorite meal.

Daydreamed about a soft-cooked egg this morning - cooked for about five minutes, it had a slightly solid white which barely contained the hot, runny yolk. She managed to peel it without losing any of the precious center, then laid it on its side on the saucer. Thought again for the nth time how nice it would be to get a couple egg cups.

(Benno's mom collected egg cups - had walls full of them in her kitchen and diningroom. Would be quite a job cataloging them all. Fun, too, what with all the lovely designs: Willow patterns, flow blue, Portmeiron botanicals, porcelain with gold scrollwork from some fabricant in Limoges...for daily-to-day usage, plain white bone-china ones were kept in a cabinet in the kitchen next to the stove. Such a good idea, egg cups.)

Oh, to heck with egg cups for now - the egg still needed to be eaten before it got cold. Sliced it in half to set the yolk free, ground a bit of pepper over it from the new grinder she got for Christmas, carefully applied a pinch of salt to each half.

Grabbed the toast out of the broiler (Yes, she heats up the oven to make toast. Doesn't own a toaster; dislikes gadgets and clutter. Especially in the kitchen). Smiled for having gotten it right: brown, but not black. No soft spots, no need to scrape. Decided to go all out and have real butter this time - no Smart Balance. The 12 grain bread's sweet enough without the spread. Cut the slice into diagonal quarters, then framed the egg with the points.

Of course, the magic wore off when it came down to the actual eating: the egg felt like an egg with pepper but didn't taste like anything much: just the salt managed to get through the taste buds. The perfect toast crunched nicely, absorbed the butter beautifully, and felt very healthful thanks to the all the encrusted seeds. Again: didn't taste like much. The fussy preparation felt a bit like a waste of time and effort. She sat there with her big cup of honeyed tea and an apple (which got some salt on it - not like she could tell enough to be repulsed) after the egg and sighed. At least she filled herself up, anyway. Now how much longer before she had to repeat the ritual for lunch? Dinner might well be skipped if things kept up as such.
2005's still working its way through my body.

The transformation from Eartha Kitt to Frog Princess occurred sometime around New Year's Eve. Have since looked up the problem and found that the missing voice might not be found for two weeks. No doubt this is a wonderful gift for my coworkers and friends.

Am pretty tired out from lack of activity. There's only so much a girl can do at home alone, whizzed up on cold and pain medication. Can't phone anyone to harass them, can't concentrate too much on any major project such as color knitting or a novel. Keep falling asleep during a movie. How I'd love to be able to go outside, take a walk, see and communicate with other people. (Can't talk and don't want to risk falling again like I did twice this weekend. Ouch.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Though not generally what one would call tradition-bound, I do find that I cling to some real doozies like the post Christmas respiratory infection. Some years, it's more annoying than others: have ended up in hospital emergency rooms on New Years Day with full-blown pneumonia. This year, not as bad as that, but draining just the same. It started last Monday with the aches and pains, the exhaustion and the burning throat. Half-heartedly fighting it (what's the use? That's why I slid back so this past year - old stuff coming up to play with me again and again and again. Got tired, stopped fighting back.) probably caused things to get worse rather than better, so I ended up without a voice and feeling like a wet rag by New Years Eve Day.

We kept the festivities very low key as a result: dinner with friends (a glazed ham, some scallopped potatoes, peas washed down with Joachim's gorgeous spiced wine), Pablo reading to us a bit from a book of Native American myths, Sleeper (how is it that this movie gets funnier and funnier each time we see it?). Flipped channels a bit to see New Year being celebrated in TV-land, was happy to see Dick Clark looking and sounding as well as he could. After the ball dropped, we decided to climb Winter Hill to see if we could catch some of the First Night fireworks: just missed them. Only slightly disappointed, we wandered back to the house, decorating cars by drawing cartoon figures, 2006s, "Happy New Year" in as many languages as we knew in the snow on windshields.
Happy Birthday, Baby New Year!

I, for one, am glad to see the back of 2005. 2006 is going to be a lot of make up work, so I guess I'd better get the sleeves rolled up.

Happy New Year. Happy End of the Old Year.