Friday, June 27, 2008


I started this one today so that I'd have something small to keep my hands (and mind) busy with while waiting for a friend at the hospital this afternoon.

Argosy, in New Bamboo. (No, I did *not* pay $13/skein for it. Are you kidding me?

I'm really enjoying watching how the pattern unfolds; modular knitting is fascinating. Am not so sure how I feel about the yarn, though. It's very slippery and the plies like to separate. However, the color's put-in-the-mouth gorgeous and I've always wanted to try bamboo yarn.

Don't know who this one is for yet. I've got it narrowed down to two candidates, though. Will know for sure after a few more pattern repeats come out.
Live from Raphaella's Driveway:

Somerville Fireworks, 2008.

*Thanks, Mayor Curtatone, for bringing them back!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Earlier, stuck my hand out the window and caught a handful of pea-sized hail. Now, it's just thunder, lightning and rain.

Still, there's enough rain (and wind, too), to make walking difficult. Guess I'm trapped at work for the time being.
This Morning's Walk In.

Ailanthus blooms after the rain. Loved the patterns the flowers made on the ground; kind of Escher-like, I guess. Also appreciated that it smelled more like linden than tree-of-heaven out this morning.

Privet. Tiny white flowers that smell a little like lilacs. Everyone had a privet hedge where I grew up, but they would trim them before the flowers came out. Never saw flowering ones till I moved here.

Queen Anne's Lace.

Episcopal Church gone condo; corner of Summer and Walnut Streets in Union Square. Most evenings there'll be a peregrine perched atop the steeple.
"We Americans worship the Almighty Dollar? Well, it is a worthier god than Hereditary Privilege. The Dollar has no contempt for you, but the other has."

-Mark Twain
Pablo and I have been a bit obsessed about rhubarb lately. Last time we were at Drumlin Farm, he got me this:

Green Mountain Spinnery Rhubarbidoo

So that I could knit up one of these babies:

D@mn Icelandic cuteness.
A bit over a year ago, my landlord bought me a gorgeous new stove - best in its class in everything, according to Consumer Reports. About the only thing I can say against it is that, though it's gas, it's got an electric starter. This is no fun in an area where there are more than one's fair share of power outages.

This, however, is minor compared to the problems with the old stove. Though I can cook on anything, the oven was having problems with regulating temperature and was a bit of a pain in the rear. Then there was the time when it tried to gas me (seriously! I had nightmares of drowning, of being strangled, etc. When I woke up, found a leak and closed the pipe.)

Anyway, Sunday evening, once the power went back on and stayed on, I decided to make a bit of jam from what I picked up at the market the previous day.

Summery Somerville Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

Fresh, native strawberries
Lemon Juice

I can't really give exact numbers, as I work in proportions. Trust me on this, though: if you puzzle out with a pencil and paper beforehand, you'll be fine. Really.

1.) Clean, peel (if necessary) and cut rhubarb into small slices. Clean, hull and slice strawberries. Mix the two together and squeeze in a bit of lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon's worth).

Native strawberries from Drumlin Farm. Baby rhubarb from the stand next to the Drumlin Farm one.

2.) Measure how much fruit you have. Here's where the math comes in: for each cup of fruit, you will need between 3/4 and 1 1/4 cup sugar. I tend to err on the side of less as I like things tart(er), myself.

This time around, I had 3 cups of prepared fruit (half rhubarb, half strawberries), so I used 2 1/4 cups of sugar.

3.) Put sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to slightly warmer than room temperature.

4.) Add fruit (and up to 1/4 cup water) to sugar, then stir until sugar is dissolved. Heat mixture to boiling, then keep to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes. At about minute 10, it's usually a good idea to start testing how the mixture jells.

Bubble, bubble...actually, this jam is toil and trouble-free. No corn syrup or commercial pectin, either.

5.) When finished cooking, ladle into clean, sterilized jars. Seal and cool.

Jars and lids steaming after being filled with boiling water.

See? Easy as pie. Actually easier, as no crust is involved.

Pretty, tart, happy stuff. Too bad there wasn't any left over for me.
Back again after a stormy Sunday and a relatively tumultuous beginning of the work week.

Lost power for a couple hours, as, from what it sounded like, a transformer got hit by lightning. Even on the sunniest of days, my apartment's kind of gloomy, so this rendered things a bit depressing. Decided to take a walk to get some fresh air and (hopefully) a bit of sunlight.

When I got home, the power was back on and the basement wasn't too damp. Proceeded, as planned, to the Sunday Night Blues part of the program.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

After I got some bill paying done, decided to check out the farmers market in Union Square.

Saw that my favorite stand, the one run by a Hmong family that specializes in Asian greens, wasn't there. Hopefully it's only because it's early yet. I like them.
I did get some nice things, though. At the Drumlin Farm stall, picked up a decent-looking bok choy, a pint of local strawberries (say what you want about that locatarian thing - personally, I think it's impractical here in New England for most of the year and, in general, a bit silly - MA strawberries blow the California ones out of the water.) and some radishes. At another stand next to theirs, I got the last handful of rhubarb (hopefully enough to make a sauce with the strawberries), some pretty cherry tomatoes and a bunch of asparagus. Also hit another stand facing those two, one I remember from last year because the fellow running it is so incredibly handsome. From him, I got some snap peas and baby carrots.

Thought I might buy a baked treat for breakfast, but nothing really tempted me. My nose led me over to a herb stand, though, where I ended up buying some lavender and herbal tea. The tea's particularly pretty, as it has all sorts of flower petals in it and smells like a bouquet.

For dinner tonight, I'm trying to decide between the snap peas and the asparagus with chive potatoes and some ham. (Far more interesting than mulling over why my reporting software's denying me access to the area I need most right now.)
The catalapas are in bloom!

Saw a massive one while crossing the Lowell Street Bridge this morning.

They'd actually been in bloom all week, but I'd not been well enough to snap any pictures. Was lucky to find one tree that hadn't lost most of its flowers today. Love those clusters of little white, orchid-like flowers. They're kind of like chestnuts, only not with all the whiskers.

I've noticed that catalpas seem to like to line railways and that anywhere they are, one will find lots of ailanthuses. Though I'll never disparage a tree, I do have to say that I don't much care for ailanthus smell. It's earned them the nickname "trash can tree," after all. I don't know that they smell that bad; they kind of remind me of a plant-version of skunk scent. Not exactly pleasant, but not exactly unpleasant, either. There's a little bit of bitterness, of slight putrescence, that falls just short of making me want to hold my nose.

It's an interesting foil to the almost cloyingly sweet scent of linden and the honeysuckle's perfume.
Today's the best I've felt all week. Was pleased to be able to get out of bed fairly quickly and not have to limp hunched-over like I'd been doing since hurting myself. Though the stomach's not feeling to well due to some of the pain medication I'd been taking, it's pretty minor compared to other things.

Am not accomplishing as much work-related stuff as I'd like. Have made some headway in a few other things, which was more than what I could do earlier.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"When angry, count four; when very angry, swear."

-Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson
Well, I saw my aunt and uncle off this morning. All in all, it was a nice visit, though really at a very bad time. Hopefully, over the next couple weeks, thinks will calm down (though I'm not betting on it).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Idle Hands Are the Devil's Tools.

Thanks for the inspiration, Simon. Really. (snort)
Care Package.

Was very happy to receive some treats from Home:

This, with vanilla ice cream, makes the best float ever.

I've never made a float out of this, but I guess it could work. (Would rather not try, though.)

Told Karen and said I'd even share some of the Genny with her (she has her own stash of Vernors). She was pretty excited.
"You've got a nice place, why do you want to move? You should settle down."

"You want to get a Masters Degree? Why don't you get that Harvard one* like the lady who runs your department."

"He's such a nice guy. Why don't you marry him?"

"You should get a job with the State: they have lots of time off and you'll get a nice pension when you retire."

"Why don't you just be a translator. Then you could go to France."

"You know, your cousin works for Sony and he travels all over the world and makes tons of money. You could do something like that."


Aah, the relatives are back. They mean well; really they do. And I do love them. That love is kept alive by keeping several hundred miles between us.

* A story for another time.
Guess I'm not the only one to have been dreaming of this matchup (or even a debate between the two).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Project in a Jar.

Years ago, I bought a box of buttons at a yard sale. It's got all sorts of neat things from stars for military uniforms to little Masonic emblems to all sorts of cool sparkly things from my Grandmas' era. Anytime I get an extra button with a new shirt or pair of pants or I salvage stuff from an old bit of clothing, I add to the collection (though arguably, my additions aren't nearly as cool as what the box started out with).

My favorites in the collection would have to be these pearly ones,

hands down. I'm wondering if maybe they didn't come from an old wedding dress.

Am thinking of either knitting or crocheting up a chain of them with some gold thread as I really do want a set of cream-colored pearls and shouldn't be spending my money on such fripperies right now. I don't think that my idea would be too funky-looking...
The Frenchie told me yesterday that Monsieur Mon President was in the neighborhood - went to visit the American cemetery around the block from chez lui.

A view of Monmartre from Suresnes just in front of the American Cemetery.

He also thought that Bush was at Versailles, as on Saturday, he saw one of the special security trucks that the Army puts out when very important people come to visit.

According to this, Bush was at l'Elysee, then visited Suresnes (Mont Valerien and the American Cemetery) and the Bois de Boulogne. He also went bike riding in St. Cloud.

Lamp post in front of La Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne.

That tickled me to think that he got to see the same views of Paris as I normally do when I visit. I'm also pretty thrilled that he went to St. Cloud. I mean, Versailles is spectacular, but St. Cloud has a certain desolate, decaying charm about it that really moves me whenever I'm there.

Orpheus in St. Cloud. I love how the moss has covered most of these statues. It kind of brings to mind Shelley's Ozymandias.
On my walk home from the florist last night, I noticed an older man on Trull Street having a smoke and contemplating a daylily bud. Wished him a good evening. Such a smile he gave me!

"We really need the rain for the gardens, don't we?" he answered in a thick accent I had a hard time placing. (Turns out it was Irish. I'm so used to older folks here having either an Italian or a Portuguese accent, that I'd forgotten a bit what Irish sounded like.)

"Goodness, don't we. I'm hoping for a lot more, because yesterday when I was digging, I noticed at least six inches of powder. It was awful!"

He then pointed to his marigolds. "See those? Who do you think's pulling them up. Who do you think?"

I answered truthfully that I had no idea.

"Goddamn starlings are picking at 'em. I just put them down last week, and they're eating them right up."

I told him about my strawberries and about how a squirrel in my yard's been eating them as soon as they turn ripe. -Several times over the past couple days, I've gone to pick one only to find a half-berry on the stem.

"Bastards, aren't they? I watch them every fall pulling up my tulip bulbs and eating them. They always leave half." His grin got wider. "I'll bet you'd love to get a gun and SHOOT them all, wouldn't you?"

How I laughed! (For the first time all weekend, in fact. Boy, did it feel good.) "Actually, I wouldn't mind; might be fun. I don't think my neighbors (not to mention the landlord) would be too happy, though..."

He nodded in agreement, wished me a good night and went back to considering the daylilies.

My nemesis?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You know: I really don't enjoy being a 'tortured' soul. Honestly, I hate it.
Periodically I go through cycles where I cannot tolerate other people being around me. I can't make small talk, can't finish correspondence or return phone calls, just can't do it. Was invited to few different outings this weekend (two of which are today), but just couldn't see myself going. I'm tired and irritated and I'm desperately afraid that I'm going to say/do something really really inappropriate.
Today, managed to get the house cleaned and all the laundry done. I plan to spend the rest of the day reading/working on school stuff, as I've let that fall by the wayside a bit.

Am a fair bit stressed-out, as my Aunt and Uncle are going to be visiting. Though I love them, the family is the largest reason why I came here. It's not always so healthy being around them.

Aside from that, I think I'm still harboring a lot of resentment towards my Aunt for having sold my grandmother's house to a slumlord without even giving me the chance to put in an offer on it. Loved that house. Loved that neighborhood.
Since I got paid on Friday, I decided to splurge a bit and buy some annuals for the garden. Came home from Ricky's with some snapdragons, marigolds and portulacas. The portulacas made me particularly happy, as they remind me of the house in Eastie - probably the nicest place I ever lived in Boston.

Anyway, spent yesterday spiffing up the place - deadheading, pruning, planting - in time for some shebang the landlord's having tonight. Collapsed afterward from a bit too much sun and too much pressure on the lower back.

It DOES look nice, though.
Cue Tiny Violin.

Gosh, I wish I had a Rolex to pawn for my 'elite' schooling.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I know that this is going to upset a lot of folks back home if they haven't already heard about it. We're all a bit teary-eyed here (being both news junkies and Buffalo natives ourselves).

What a shock. How incredibly sad. What's Sunday morning going to be without him?
The problem with going back to a three week cycle is that the PMS comes back every three weeks. Gosh, do I hurt. Gosh, am I wiped out. Just want to be home and in bed.
For years, I've been walking past the Somerville Library main branch and have been wondering what the skull devices around the building just below the roof were.

Now I know.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The view from my front stoop this morning at about one o'clock.

Had such high hopes for a wild rain storm and gale-force winds. Only got a fresh breeze, though, and some heat lightning. Would that I could have stayed out on the steps all night, however, that sort of thing isn't very practicable in the city.
Last night's heat made for very little sleep: about four hours total. As a result, I've been doing things like bumping into walls and speaking in stream-of-consciousness. Have no idea how I'm going to make it home in one piece.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cambridge just informed us that, due to excessive power consumption, we'll be having rolling blackouts throughout the course of the day.

Feels a little bit like a bureaucratic Day of the Jackal or something.

Was poking around my yarn collection over the weekend to get an idea about what to do with a lot of it. Found that I have an awful lot of bits and pieces that really can't be given away or donated.

Divvied said ends up into piles of different colorways and puzzled a bit over what to do. Found a bit of inspiration and started knitting away.

I'm not really following any set pattern - just knitting whatever stitches I think the different yarns would like. Just the thing to be doing while Pablo reads to me.

After Blue's done, I'm pretty sure that I've got enough to make something of earth tones and reds/pinks. As always, we'll see what happens.
Two Dreams.

Though I've been sleeping alright in this heat, I have been dreaming quite a lot lately. Last night left me with two weird but memorable impressions.

In the first dream, I grew a beard and a mustache. Now, admittedly, I have had to shave the mustache I grew while on the testosterone and this did bother me a lot. However, since I got off that stuff, the facial hair's calmed down. Why I dreamt of becoming all mediterranean-like (right down to the hair color), I don't know.

My friends were all trying to be supportive, but in the end, I shaved everything off. It felt good for the moment, but then I began to worry about when I'd have to start shaving again.

The second one was clearly my mind/emotions working something out: There was a man, a very handsome one with close-cut white hair and a lovely smile. His house, habits and things were all American equivalents of the Frenchie's life.

We were on a date, and though I found him affable and attractive, I also found him to be totally inscrutable. What did he want from life? From me? Did he even like me? Though I liked his voice (which didn't say much) and his caresses on my shoulders and neck, I was frustrated. Horribly frustrated. Upon waking up, my first thought was of how, no matter how nice or attractive a man might be who takes an interest in me, I do not want for him to be the "strong, silent" type. Strong, silent usually means walled-in. I neither have the time nor the patience to deal with that sort of thing anymore. Honesty and good faith are more interesting to me at this point.

Monday, June 09, 2008

From Parallel Universes, by Roz Chast.

Even my shrink agrees that this fits me to a T.

It still makes me giggle to think of the time a couple years back when my dad came back from Church and I asked him how the homily was.

"It was pretty good..."

"Really? What was it about?"

"Oh, the usual stuff."

I noticed that he had his little half-smile that usually means that something's up.

"Did you have your hearing aids in?"

"Mmm, nope."
When I was in Suresnes at Christmastime, I asked the Frenchie if we could hit the market to get some clams as I was so in the mood for a chowder. Since the clams were a bit on the pricey side, we ended up with something called amandes de mer:

Glycymeris glycymeris. Dog cockle in English. Native to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean.

While the Frenchie shucked, I improvised away (the only area where I feel confident enough to do so). As a result, it took a while to put stuff down on paper. Here goes:

Chaudière de Clams Surenoise

1/2 litre lait
2-3 cuillières à soupe de beure ou margarine
sel et poivre (selon ton goût)
un peu de noix de muscade (si tu veux; moi, je l'adore)
le chair de 12-20 clams/huîtres/amandes de mer
Une grande pomme de terre coupée en petites cubes
1/4 oignon émincé
Une branche de céleri coupe en petites tranches si tu veux

Fais bouillir la pomme de terre dans 1/4 - 1/2 litre d'eau jusqu'à ce que cela soit à moitié cuite. Réserve la liquide.

Dans une casserole, fais revenir l'oignon avec une cueillière à soupe de beurre. Quand l'oignon est transparente, ajoute les pommes de terre, leur liquide de cuisson, le céleri et les épices. Fais cuire à feu doux pendant +- 10 minutes. Ajoute les clams et fais cuire pendant cinq minutes. A la fin, ajoute le lait et la reste du beurre. Laisse tout rechauffer à feu doux en faisant attention que cela ne commence pas à bouillir.

Cette recette fait +-4 portions.

(Je m'excuse d'être si tardive avec ceci.)
Damn Flowers.

That's Raphaella's catchall term for things she doesn't know the name of.

These started showing up in her flower beds. Since I'd never seen them before, I asked her what they were and where they came from. She had no idea what they were called; they came from some seeds she stole from a neighbor.

Any idea as to what these are?
Though hotter than Friday, Saturday still wasn't as bad as Sunday. I chose that day to move around and get things done.

Started by cleaning out the spare room - ended up with four large boxes of stuff to cart off to the Salvation Army. Heavens did that feel good. (One room down, three to go.) Decided to hit the garden a bit, as after two weeks of wonderful conditions, there were lots of weeds. Found some purslane (though not enough to eat) and a very nice bit of escarole in one of my garden pots.

Raphaella came out to ask me if I'd keep an eye on her garden while she was away over the summer; how could I say no? She offered me some space in her garden, as she's scaled back considerably this year. I don't feel much like planting anything, but I'll find something good to make her happy.

Saw that the broccoli rabe was coming up like crazy, so helped her thin it out. She ended up with a shopping bagful; I culled out a third of a bag. When it got too hot to stay outside, went in to wash up and take care of indoor business.

Since I'd not eaten yet, decided to saute a bit of the rabe with a few leaves of escarole, some fresh oregano and a clove of garlic. Served it over a bit of leftover rice. Nice.
Of course, there was no way in heck I was going to turn on the stove in my place. Dinner ended up being a salad, some cheeese, bread and a bit of improvised gazpacho (half-jokingly suggested by Pablo who doesn't normally like raw tomatoes).


3 ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/2 green pepper
1/2 small onion
1 large clove garlic
splash of olive oil
splash of vinegar (I used red wine. Feel free to substitute anything else, save for balsamic, which I think is too strong for this)
3-4 slices of bread (doesn't much matter what kind of bread, though I don't think rye, raisin, corn or pumpernickel would be very good.)
2 c water
A bit of salt to taste

Chop tomatoes and green pepper. Peel, seed and chop cucumber. Mince garlic and onion. Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces. Combine in a bowl with oil, vinegar and salt. Add water.

Blend in small quantities, being sure to not completely liquefy the mixture; you want some texture after all.

Chill for a while; (I put it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour.) you want this stuff really cold.

Serves 4.
Survival Mode.

I wonder if anyone aside from the roses enjoyed the heat this weekend?

Tried to take a walk on Sunday afternoon, but started getting a headache after about a half hour. Went back inside where at least there was some shade and a fan going. Spent most of the rest of the day either napping or reading.

At the sun's strongest, the thermometer in my bedroom read 91 degrees. By bedtime, things cooled down to about 85. After taking a bit of valerian, I managed to fall asleep and stay asleep most of the night.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Last night, had a bit of a crisis that almost led to a scene outdoors. Today, am not feeling so well emotionally. Why do I always have to backtrack one step for every two steps forward?
Do you have a favorite word? I have a few, and most have to do with how they feel coming out of my mouth. For example: it's a tossup between Wohngemeinschaft and ausgeseichnet in German, as both sound as though they should be onomatopoeic. The meanings are irrelevant.

In French, well, the whole language is just one big mouth-feel love-fest for me. All the words feel good. I'd have to take it up a notch and give two favorite phrases: 'faire tomber' and 'se demander.' How wonderful to visualize these things. The first is translated literally to 'to make fall,' what we call 'to drop' in English. The other gives a wonderful insight into the Chinese nesting box nature of the relationship between language and cognition: it means literally, 'to ask one's self' but is translated idiomatically as 'to wonder.' I also love how my world changes shades (like putting on a pair of tinted to be exact) when I switch from indicative to subjunctive mode.

Interestingly enough, I really don't have a favorite word in English. I get off more on listening to people impose their native syntax/accent on it and puzzling over that.

Yes, I know I'm rambling. What am I getting at? Well, amoena est is my favorite term in Latin as it describes a feeling, a state of being I can't really explain concisely in any other language. If you look amoena up in the dictionary, you're going to find that it means delightful. Pleasant. Nice. However, whenever I say it aloud (ah-moh-EH-nah est), the syllables roll off my tongue and join me in a warm bath or a sauna. They add to the general atmosphere of 'luxe, calme et volupte' that I'm feeling about me.


What contributed to that feeling the other day? Well, after a warm, kind of sticky day, we were caressed by one of those soft breezes like someone breathing on your neck that you only get this time of year. A slightly cloudy sky went ablaze at sunset. My favorite Springtime scent wafted about - that of locust trees in bloom. Dinner was a quick and dirty little thing that turned out to be a new Keeper:

Pasta with Smoked Oysters

1/2 box whole wheat corkscrew pasta
1 12 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/4 large onion
1 clove garlic
oregano and tarragon to taste (I used maybe eight leaves of fresh oregano and 6-8 fresh tarragon leaves from the garden)
2 T olive oil
2 cans smoked oysters

Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and set aside.

Chop onion and garlic, saute both in olive oil until transparent. Add herbs, then chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. Add pasta, then *drained* oysters. Keep on low heat for another 2-3 minutes, until oysters are heated through. Serve in bowls with a bit of fresh ground pepper and some grated cheese if you'd like. Serves two with leftovers for the next day's lunch.

The Frenchie came up with this idea. Luscious doesn't even begin to describe it.
Summer Reading II

Last week I got the word from the Vet that Mamasan was back. Really wished that they'd have just mailed the package to me like Angell did with Bashi, but, well, what can you do.

Headed out to Davis, picked up the ashes, then started off for work. I was amazed at the boutique bag they gave me - looked more like a Starbucks purchase than ashes from a crematory. Decided to take a peek and see what kind of parting gifts I got:

-one little wooden box with a brass lock and key (complete with a 'made in China' tag...have no idea what to do with this box, as someone already gave me an urn to coordinate with what I keep Bashi's ashes in. Everybody I offer the box to says "thanks, but no." Guess it kind of creeps them out.)

-one sympathy card from the owner of the company

-one certificate stating that Mamasan was in the oven all by himself

-a little notecard with a story about something called the rainbow bridge.

Now, I'm not one of those people who gets all into cat crap because I have cats. For the most part, I'm not terribly crazy about cats save for a select few (feel the same way about children). Sympathy cards for people bother me because of their general tackiness. Sympathy cards for animals even more so. Use of the term "fur baby" in reference to pets on sympathy cards really sets my teeth on edge. This all was just too absurd for me. However, two lines into that damn poem, I'm all but bawling my eyes out in the square. Wiped my nose on my sleeve, dried my eyes as best as I could, then headed off to work.

At work, I called Pablo and tried to read the poem. He started sniffling, too. Declared that it was absolute corn syrup. The Frenchie called me, so I translated and we both were crying. He declared that it was "cra-cra mais efficace."* Went on to say that I needed something slightly morbid but funny "pour changer les idees un peu"** and so suggested Graham Greene's Travels With My Aunt. Lorem Ipsum around the corner had a copy (they have everything. Love them.) so I went to pick it up.

Well, suffice it to say that it's a delightful book and it's helping me a lot to cope with all sorts of things. Have never read any Greene before, but it's making me think that I could devour all sorts of his stuff up this Summer.

What do I find so appealing? Probably a combination of things. There is a cinematographic quality about it - would have made a wonderful Ealing Studio production. It's also rather bittersweet - Greene of anyone would know how to articulate saudade, and one feels quite strongly that sense of longing, happy/sad, slight rootlessness.

Anyway, I've got maybe 40 pages to go, but I'm pretty certain on how it's going to end. It'll be lovely getting there, though.


* tacky but effective
** to give me a new perspective, ultimately to cheer me up a bit

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lost my cellphone. It was only a cheap little pay by the minute thing, but I like it. Wish I knew where it decided to fly off to.


The Frenchie tells me that I should get it a facebook profile and have my friends in England "sniff" it out. It's a's a thought.
A friend of mine gave me a packet of something called roasted chana. I'm not exactly sure what it is, though it looks like small chickpeas with skins. Google searches turn up recipes for a roasted chana dal, but it's unlike the dal I normally make from lentils. Image searches on this stuff show something fairly different from what I have (will take pictures when there's enough light).

Am not sure what to do with the stuff.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's been somewhat of a hectic day today as we've been preparing a project for some auditors.

Nothing really exciting, but pleasant enough (and that's a rarity at my job). It's made the day go by fairly quickly and I'm always when that happens.
Ask Uncle Jay.

I'd say that this fellow covers the topic at hand about as well as anyone. Particularly enjoyed the reader's question at the end, as I'm kind of in the same boat (as are many others, I'm sure).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Amoena est.

Such a beautiful evening. Had everything: good food, something nice to drink, excellent company. It's not often that things are this good.
Summer Reading

Herodotus has been a long haul*, but we've finally gotten to book nine. Read about the battle of Plataea last night. We're now debating whether to read Thucydides or Ferdowsi. Pablo's pushing for Ferdowsi, and since he's the one doing the reading, I guess that's going to win out.


* Started Herodotus a year ago March as we'd just seen 300 and Pablo'd never read it before. We made a few detours along the way starting with Heliodorus's Ethiopian Story and making our way through the entire Professor Challenger series.

Called my boss mom again. She took it pretty well.

Monday, June 02, 2008

I've seen all sorts of birds - from woodpeckers to peregrines - during my walks into work. The oddest thing, though, was hearing the cockadoodledoo! for the first time at around the corner of Central and Vernon in Somerville. Where'd it come from? Was I hallucinating? Didn't think one could keep poultry in the city like that.

Anyway, heard it many more times over the course of several years. Now it's stopped.

I do hope whoever took him returns him. From what I gather, his family misses him terribly. Heck, I miss his bright 'good morning!'s to us morning commuters.
Winged Victory.

Walking home from work on Saturday night, I came across an enigmatic thing that looked like an old submarine or maybe an oil tank:

If anyone has any ideas as to what the components might be, I'd love that you curiosity's piqued.

A cute something from my dad:

This poem was written by John Saxon (an author of math textbooks).

((12 + 144 + 20 + (3 * 4^(1/2))) / 7) + (5 * 11) = 9^2 + 0

Or for those who have trouble with the poem:

A Dozen, a Gross and a Score,
plus three times the square root of four,
divided by seven,
plus five times eleven,
equals nine squared and not a bit more.
You know it's going to be a rough one when you find yourself following a Hazmat team into your office.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I do believe that I was grinding my teeth last night, as my jaw's been very tired and I've been feeling the start of a whopper of a tension headache all morning.
Rough night.

It's never a happy thing to have to spend an entire weekend day at work. As a result, I wasn't in the best of moods when I got home at around 7:30 last night. Wanted to just take it easy with a glass of wine, some reading on Reconstruction, and whatever programming was on WHRB at the time. However, that was not to be, as across the street there was yet another effing quinceañera. Though the noise was pretty loud, so loud in fact that I had to shut all my windows and sit in the center room of my house, at least the music part stopped at about 11:00 pm. The après-party (or should I say despues-de-fiesta?) continued a little while longer, but I could just hide my head under the pillow until folks left.

Reality intruded again when I heard some sort of screaming going on outside my window at God knows what time. Stumbled out of bed to find Girl Kitty in the front window (which I was forced to reopen - it's way too warm now and air circulation in my place is nonexistent) defending the territory from some interloper. Got her out of the window without hurting myself too badly, then chased off the stranger - a cat who's a dead ringer for Mamasan save for a snub nose instead of Boy Kitty's characteristic aquiline. That made for a strange effect to see him skulking around in the middle of the night.

Soon after, the birds started up. Hid my head again under the pillow. I think I managed to fall asleep again until the elephant parade upstairs started at around 7:00 ish.