Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bags packed, house cleaned, cat cuddled. I'm off. (Tired and jet lagged already.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tomorrow, leave again for France. Am not feeling particularly excited or happy about it, though. Just feels like I'm trying to run away from life/obligations/the future here. Am not really sure that I'd find a much better life over there, either, with the cost of living, the perpetually depressed society, the problems of government there that make things look like positively rosy here...

We'll see what sort of luck we have looking at schools, sorting out visa and money stuff, etc. Feels kind of daunting.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Monetize Me.

So, I was attempting to put some ads up on my site again (why not, can use the income, small as it is), but found that the simple push-button system wreaks absolute *havoc* on the blog layout and would probably stand to turn the few folks who visit off. So much for that until I get the urge to go spelunking again in the HTML.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The day wasn't a total loss, though: went north to the wilds of Woburn to pick up some more cat medicine and got to visit the Starbucks Drive Thru again. (Love that thing). Took a state route back instead of 93 just to take a look around. Held a spectacular sunset to the right shoulder all the way home.

Ran into the neighbors who were heading out to dinner, so joined them at the Highland Kitchen a little ways away. Dinner was darn good (comfort food), but the real attraction was the company.

Took some valerian and, while waiting for that to kick in, will continue to read about Audubon's adventures in England after he finally convinced his wife to join him.

(Good night.)
Broke the required fruit fast with something completely new and kind of exotic this morning: an Asian pear. Was both tart and rich; reminded me a little bit of apple, somewhat of a pear, and a smidge of the mayhaw jelly that Karen sent from Texas. The texture was slightly grainy, but also smooth. It was very juicy. I think I might have to go get a couple more of them while they're on sale at Star (at $1 apiece). Such a treat; such a way to ring in 'phase II' of the diet.
Had a rough night sleeping last night, followed by a couple panic attacks in the morning. As the chest is killing me and I'm feeling pretty tired and unhappy, I'm thinking that this has to be hormonal. Got all of it written down on the calendar and am going to chart it from here on in, as it seems to be happening fairly regularly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

To my Little Brother (and Everyone Else Wondering About Me):

This. Love not only the original song, but the added cinematographic layer (among other things).

New Dispatch:

I haven't been putting dispatches down recently, as sometimes stuff gets a bit painful and personal regarding the whole deal. Don't want to hurt anybody else in the family who reads the blog, either. Anyway, had some news on the little brother, and took the time out to write back at fair length. Am going to share it, as it's a pretty good summary of life here to date:

"It's been a while since I'd written you. Sorry about that; no special reason. Guess not much has really happened lately (and I was being lazy.) Hope you're doing okay. Dad mentioned that you were out for a while and that you had a new address as well. How are the teeth?

In September, I got a letter from my university stating that I'd FINALLY graduated. Received my diploma earlier this week. It looks nice, but it's not in Latin. (I was hoping that it'd be in Latin.) Since I'm broke and unemployed (as every new graduate should be...) I didn't celebrate really. Just treated myself to a lot of stuff at library sales. Did you ever go to one of those before? I like them because you can afford to pick up stuff for folks as gifts because everything's so darned inexpensive. Have quite a pile for your library if I can still send stuff. (Figured that, as soon as I hit 20 or so books, I'd send off a big ol' box.) I've got some James Michener (Dad loves him), some classical mythology, some short stories by various writers, a couple of art books so far. I think that there's a bit of something for everybody.

How's the weather by you been? Here, it's been kind of weird. Got very cold mid October - so much so that I had to cover the tomato plants in the garden to protect them from frost...AND...I HAD TO TURN THE HEAT ON. Sunday, we even had a snowstorm! Today, it went up nearly to 70 deg. Great weather for getting sick.

Remember all that beautiful yarn you gave me? Something like 10 skeins of a pretty eggplant or merlot colored stuff? Well, I still have some left and am making myself a little 1/2 sweater out of it. Also am making a neckwarmer for a friend who always has the air conditioner blowing on her all year round. (Cooking - you understand.) Thought you might find that funny.

Jelly-wise, I made a batch of Burgundy (great on ice cream), Chardonnay-herb (really good on pork chops) and am getting ready to make Concord grape jam with some feral grapes I found in the neighborhood. Am particularly psyched about that, as Concords are expensive. I think I harvested something like $10-$12 worth. There are also crabapples and ornamental pears to be picked as well. I also want to try hawthorns, as I'm pretty sure that theye're similar to the Southern mayhaws that the Texans and Louisianniens love so. We'll see.

I wish I could send you some jelly! I wish I could knit you a scarf! Ampersand wishes she could send you a coughed-up furball. (Pavel's cat Trouble wishes he could pee on some of your belongings.)

Can I ask you a question? How is the food by you? better than the Navy, I hope?

How's your friend doing? I've been really bad about writing him, too. (Sorry for being such a flake.) Dad tells me that he likes animals a lot as well as NASCAR? If you get the chance, say "hi" to him from me.

Well, I think that this'll be it for now; don't want to overwhelm you or anything. Write when you get a chance. Hearing from you really brightens up my day!! :-D (Even Pavel's noticed that.) Have some FF miles to use up, so am going to go grad school hunting in France a bit next week. Since I can't send you any stinky cheese (terribly sorry), you'll just have to be content with a postcard or two.

Take care of yourself!
Had my nose to the ground during yesterday's walk. It's the best way to find spare change, not to mention other valuable things. This time around, though, didn't find any gold or diamonds:

Leaves, Pebbles, Fence

Just little tongues of flame.


Had no idea what kind of tree these toothed red blades came from, so did as I always do and asked Pavel. He told me that they were a Japanese variety of elm called Zelkova (or keyaki) that a lot of cities started planting after the native elms were destroyed by blight. Looking up, I noted that, yes, it did look awfully Asian.

Zelkova on Summer Street

Fits in really nicely with the Silver Maples, sugar maples, ornamental pears, crabs, locusts, ginkos, etc. Also reminded me that it's been a while since I've walked around the neighborhood with my Peterson Guide (not that this species would figure within).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

(Not a mineral, which really narrows things down a bit, doesn't it.)
Had a nice, comforting soup for dinner tonight: hacked hunks of a frozen steak into pieces, added an onion, a carrot, a small bunch of celery, a can of black beans and 1/2 a large bag of frozen green beans. Herbs? - a pinch of this, a bit of that, couple bay leaves and some Old Bay seasoning. Let it simmer a few hours.

Now, am settled down with a knitting project for me (for a change), a cup of a new favorite tea and those crazy Dutch playing Messaien's Hymne au Saint Sacrement.

Another orchestra's version; you take what you can get. Don't find him as elegant as Poulenc (my favorite French composer from the last century), but was surprised and happy to hear him. Generally, if someone wants 20th century French music in a program, it's going to be by either Debussy or Ravel. Maybe Satie's Gymnopedies. This was really a treat.

Sometimes life actually "doesn't suck too bad," as an old friend used to say.


Oh: Also decided to cut the hair. Lopped about three inches off. Had to shave the neck, it's so short. Forced Pavel to check that it wasn't *too* uneven. (Curly hair's forgiving, but not that forgiving.) Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.
What's going on with Flickr? Anyone know? Haven't been able to access the site all morning.

Oop - it's back again. Boo.

Cat in the Bag

Pavel's in bed resting. A couple days ago, he started feeling a tickle, then a pain in the throat. Now, he's got this cough that rumbles up from deep in his lungs. We're hoping it's not an early flu. He's hungry, though, and eating a fair bit. Just really tired and sleeping a lot. If he doesn't get better in a couple days, I'm going to force him to go to the clinic across the street.

I've been pretty verschlucht myself, lately, but figured that it had to do more with the weird weather outdoors and the mix of hot-dry forced air from dirty ducts in a house that is perpetually drafty with a cold edge to it*. Also, suffer from allergies and an asthmatic wheeze.

Ampersand's heave has come back, too, though not as badly as when she had to go to the hospital. That'll arrive; just a matter of time. The doctor gave her six months and we're on month four already. Told Pavel that the next visit, if they can't do anything quick and dirty, that she really needs to be put to sleep. It's not fair if she's going to be terrorized and uncomfortable when she's old and not ever going to get better.


* Killer combination, that. Just about every house I've ever lived in here has been like that - old, uninsulated due to the availability of cheap oil for heating. Had a ton of insulation blown in over the past year or so, but still have some missed spots on account of future major projects. Also, the windows are terrible.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Have been following South Beach for a little over two weeks now and have lost 10 lbs so far. That makes the grand total since Spring, when I made a commitment to feeling better, to 20 lbs lost. Interestingly enough, am sleeping better, have more energy and am thinking more clearly. Fitting in clothes that were too tight before also really improves the mood.

Would like to lose another 15 or so pounds; that'd bring me back down to my fighting weight (160 lbs - I'm a big girl with dense bones and the build of a linebacker. Any less than that and the doctor asks if I'm still getting my period). Still a little ways to go; feels doable, though.
Moving On.

The diploma came in the mail today; Pavel found it wedged between the front doors. Brought it in, handed it to me with a grin and said, "Well, I guess that's done with. Maybe you need to get a frame for it."

Eventually maybe. It's awfully nice looking, but I don't know if I could stand having it on a wall staring down at me all the time. On one hand, it's a memento of a hard-won achievement. On the other, I don't much like thinking about that part of the past; it's painful. It doesn't make me physically sick like looking at the transcripts do, but it's not particularly happy, either.

Then there's the future. Goal achieved, a new question looms: what next? I don't see the use of another literature degree. Want to keep up with language but from a more technical point of repair. Translation? Technical documentation? I also want to incorporate new loves that grew from work-work: accounting, statistics. Took a few accounting and finance courses at the local community college to help with work. Am wondering, though, if this is a good thing to continue with given the current witch hunts targeting financial people. Took a statistics course in undergraduate years ago and really enjoyed that. Maybe there's something there for me?

For the moment, am fairly satisfied with the self-study in statistics. Will need to come up with another, more structured action plan, though. Need to think more on graduate/technical certification. Need to think on where and how that's going to take place. Also need to think on supporting myself again. I'm tired of being inactive and would like not to be broke anymore.

Kind of ironic that this is my second time being the unemployed, un-monied new graduate. (Wonder how many more times this is going to happen?)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

I might actually need to go out and shovel and salt tonight. Imagine that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Auspicious Day.

Looked on my calendar and saw that today is both Diwali and Sweetest Day.

To all my friends who celebrate Diwali: a happy, holy and luminous one to you!

Front Hall Light

This year's diva.

and to all my friends who don't: a virtual box of chocolates for you!

I've been coveting the grapes on the fence by the park nearby for a few seasons now. Each time I'd go to collect some, though, the vines would be clean. Last night, went out and got a shopping bagful of some of those lovely, feral-tasting Concords. Figured I didn't want to be too greedy. Also, it was dark and couldn't see a lot.

Am happy at the windfall, but am wondering if my gain is due to another person's hardship. I hope that whoever used to harvest these grapes either just moved or just found another pastime.

Am pretty sure that a lot of this is going to go into jam. I prefer jam to jelly, as the cooked-down skins add color and texture to the mix (easier to prepare than jelly, too). If I go back for more fruit, though, might make some grape butter - a recipe I found in an old WWII-era cookbook. We'll see.


The apples need to be harvested soon. We had our first frost this week, so I can get started on that anytime. Pavel wants me to try to make hawthorn jelly as well this year. We got hooked on mayhaw jelly when Karen sent some up from Texas last Spring; Hawthorns are the Northern relative of mayhaws (heck, they might even be the same thing for all I know), so thought it might be fun to try something out with them. Then there are the tiny ornamental pears found all over the neighborhood...wonder if they might be good for something?
Read about this last night in the Yahoo headlines* and thought, oh how ironic. Here's a guy caught lying about his copyright violation who has a history of suing other people for the same thing himself.** Guess the chickens are coming home to roost.

As I'd mentioned earlier, I find some of his work amusing and interesting, but think that he's a somewhat unsavory character. As for the AP, well, they have their own problems, too, with creative depiction of current events. Don't find either of them to be particularly sympathetic, so guess will just sit back and enjoy the spectacle of one purveyor of sketchy media eating its young.


*To be read to be believed - funny how they were tying themselves in knots rhetorically to make both Fairey sound like a sort of Robin Hood, but also to make the AP a "legitimate" victim (to those who scan Yahoo news articles) by referring at least three times to the AP as 'the not-for-profit' news agency. Wish I'd have saved it in fact, but it was like 3:00 am and I was not thinking clearly

**Yes, it's Wikipedia, but it's sourced (Take a look at notes 37-40).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Was a good thing we did get to Home Depot when we did. They were having a sale on hardy winter plants, so picked up two kale and several chrysanthemums to replace the early-frost ravaged summer stock.

I opted for two large chrysanthemums to put into the two now vacant hanging baskets because, for some reason, the hanging baskets were $10 more than the ground plants. They're sticking kind of bolt upright, but I think they'll relax a bit with time.

Figure that, when we get sick of looking at the kale, I can always make caldo verde from it.

Brought in the geranium and put it in a bag in the basement to kill off pests. Will check on it in a week or two to see how it's doing. The plan is to hang it somewhere in the house with southern exposure and let it bloom away during the winter. Had a geranium once in college that cheered me up greatly with its bright red winter blossoms.

As for the poor dollar-short-day-late tomato plant: there's one green tomato and about 1/2 a dozen flowers. Am trying to decide whether to keep it outside and continue covering it at night, bring it indoors, or to just let it go. (Poor thing.)
Cash is out, stocks are out. Commodities are in.

Black Gold.


Mentioned to Pavel that this looked like some sort of remake of a scene from Stroheim's Greed. He was all like, "been thinking that all day, myself." Cosmic.

At least, that's what Pavel's telling me (and he ought to know).

Actually, Job Lots had a sale on sunflower seed a couple weeks ago: $19 for a 50 lb bag. Loaded up as much of it as poor Speed Racer could handle (five bags) and ground home. Found that, since Trouble has a territory marking problem, we'd need something more sturdy than paper bags to hold the stuff. Cheap trash bins from Home Depot seem to have done the trick.

At the rate we use this stuff, 250 lbs should last until the end of February.
Musique Trouvee.

* There's been a lot of construction work going on in my neighborhood; I think they're replacing a lot of the guts under Somerville Avenue, mainly. This has been going on since (at least) the Summer. Recently, as in the last two weeks or so, they changed the wonderfully reliable pedestrian walk light at Lowell Street to one that, instead of changing the light right off, tells you to "wait...wait." And wait we do now. The nice thing about it, though, is that when we finally get to walk, we're accompanied by the cowbell from Masekela's Grazing in the Grass:

Yes, we do actually sway a bit when we cross the street now. Can't help it.

* Last night, don't know how I positioned the glassware, pots and pans in the dishwasher, but while it was running, started sounding an awful lot like something by Steve Reich:

There was a copy of Clapping Music at the music store that, when it was slow, we'd occasionally pick up to noodle around with. That was my first experience with Reich, who gradually turned into an obsession for me. When I was younger, my brain would always, infernally, be working. Following individual lines in whatever pieces I could find scores for was a source of meditation, a calmant for me. Now, I don't go at it with a seam ripper; rather, it sort of washes over me, the different parts appearing coming into my field of vision like little fish swimming about in a coral reef.

Just found the manual to Pavel's grandfather clock and found that I could change the chime melodies. Since I'd been sick of the Westminster Abbey chime for sometime now, decided to give something else a try. In honor of August's trip to Normandy, set the lever to "St Michel."

Sorry no melody. The views are pretty impressive, though. Wish I'd have gotten to see the abbey up close like this; was too crowded to bother, though, when I was there.

The new melody is so jarring. Very French, too (hard to describe). Funny to think that that aesthetic has been around for nearly 1,000 years.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sad News.

Pavel's uncle passed away today. (Wasn't unexpected.)

Please think good thoughts for him and his family; they really could use them.
It was so cold last night that I couldn't sleep. So cold this morning that I couldn't concentrate on the resume, the school list, the potential employer list, any of that. The fingers were so stiff and the aluminum needles so cold that knitting was impossible.

Checked the thermometer and found that in the warmest room in the house (kitchen), it was 56 degrees. In my room, it was 52 degrees.

Broke down and turned on the furnace. Not pleased to have to do so before November First, but couldn't function otherwise.
Texas Lynx.

Been to so many library sales recently that the memory of them is somewhat of a blur. Anyhow, at one of them, Pavel picked up a copy of Audubon's Quadrupeds of America, something neither of us knew existed.

What he liked to do, and what set him apart at the time, was to show animals in their natural settings, doing their own thing. In most cases, it ennobles the subject. In others, not so much.

Period Instrument

Kind of leads one to wonder how many examples he caught in the act before shooting. (At least they died doing what they loved, anyway.)


Snort: Pavel's got the cat on his desktop with this running in the background. Great.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pattern Recognition III

House Sparrow mating dance.

Pavel's impression of the House Sparrow mating dance. The hand striking out from the left is my impression of what an uninterested girl sparrow will do to get rid of the unwanted suitor.

Two reasons why Pavel's line would die out if he were a male house sparrow:

1.) He's doing the dance during the wrong season.
2.) He's not persevering enough. I didn't even touch him. Have seen girl sparrows peck the bejeezus out of the males they weren't interested in.

Better luck next year. Or with a different species, perhaps.
Pattern Recognition II

On the last trip to France, got to visit both the ocean and castle country. To keep my hands busy evenings when I didn't feel like reading and in the car, I brought along some yarn for doodling. Since the Frenchie had asked for a new pair of socks, I started messing with a tube in a machine washable medium:


Was going to give up and frog this until I realized that I'd actually incorporated two major elements of our road trip into the pattern: the undulating blue of both the Channel and the Loire and a particularly impressive architectural detail found in the majority of the chateaux we'd visited:

Spiral Staircase


Pattern Recognition I

Raphaella used to call the hydrangea bush in my old front yard "puff ball flower." It was a short, kind of squat bush that, after a couple seasons of serious pruning, produced tons of large, blue flowers. I see a lot of those around this neighborhood, along with what looks like another type of hydrangea:

Mauve Hortensias

Taller bushes with smaller, more loosely-packed flowers, these started out greenish-white or maybe cream-colored with a hint of blush. For Fall, they seem to have turned to anything from mauve to burgundy-colored. They have the same leaf positioning as the other hydrangeas. The Frenchie calls them hortensias.

As part of my "get over yourself, Be" campaign, decided to break out a knitting bible* and crack the code of something that, though very simple, has always given me a tough time: a vintage lace pattern called "feather and fan" or "old shale."

First attempts were met with failure and frustration due to miscounted yarnovers**. In desperation, grabbed a small ball of mauve (a color I normally dislike) and, gosh darnit, it worked:

Old Shale

I'm calling this Old Shale in Old Rose. The swatch is only about 16"-18" long, as I ran out of yarn. Absolutely don't want to frog*** it, though, because I think it's gorgeous and, well, I'm kind of proud of it. Maybe will just sew on a couple buttons and make it into a neckwarmer. Heck, I'd wear it.


* Mary Thomas and Elizabeth Zimmerman are my knitting go-tos, my gurus. Some day I'd like to try out and work a project in all the patterns in the above-mentioned book. Next year, I'm thinking of knitting every project from Zimmerman's Knitting Almanac. I stand to learn a lot from both ventures.

** First a mohair, as I thought that that would be neat. Big mistake. The next was a bit of wool that was smoother than the mohair but didn't show the pattern very well. The third time with the Wool Ease was the charm.

*** unravel

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The meteo today said that temperatures were supposed to dip below freezing tonight. Closed the storm windows and put extra quilts on the beds, though we haven't turned the furnace on yet.

Also brought in some of the more tender plants and covered the lone tomato that still has fruit on it. Herbs are usually pretty hardy, so didn't do anything with them. If the sage and mint manage to make it through the night (and they probably will) am going to make sure to bring a lot in to dry. Can always use both for jelly; found the sage particularly aromatic this time around.
Salt Peanuts.

A little mood music.

The Frenchie's gotten me into the habit of having a little something before dinner, an aperitif. Generally it's something simple like some cucumbers and smoked fish, some pickles and olives. Maybe a nice tomato if they can be found. If oysters weren't so expensive and the housemate wasn't so grossed out by them, I'd happily start each evening with two or three.

Wandered over to the dollar store the other day to take a look around and was pleased to find a newly-stocked favorite - salted, in-the-shell peanuts at a dollar a bag. The same thing costs $3 or $4 a bag at the neighborhood grocery stores. Of course I got a few bags for the larder.

Tonight, enjoyed a handful before dinner with a bit of fizzy water and some Khatchaturian on the radio. Felt for all the world like the old cocktail hour back in Eastie.
The leaves this year are absolutely spectacular. This week, too, the sky's really been pulling out all the stops in its competition with the leaves for our attention.

Tonight it was layers upon layers of different types of clouds shifting and swirling above. The pastels - pink, orange, lavender, gray and periwinkle - made their first appearances of the season.

Frontal Action

Between two houses on the crown of Spring Hill.

Even after the sun slipped from view, we were treated to some startling colors from its last, fading, reflected rays.

Night Sky

Porter Square at about 7:00 pm tonight

Love this time of year. Heck, I love all the seasons for the surprises they bring. Gosh darnit, it's stuff like this that, no matter how tough or weird things get, makes life worth living.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Bit of Perspective.

A rough equivalent would be Wall Street being gerrymandered into a separate political entity and our president pushing the candidature of one of his daughters to head it.

(They've not finished college either. Furthermore, and please correct me if I'm wrong: under the French educational system, I don't believe a baccalaureate or high school diploma is even necessary to matriculate into law, which is an undergraduate university degree.)
So Much for Hope.

So much for Peace. So much for Human Rights (whatever that means nowadays).

Sunday, October 11, 2009


There are at least a couple of this guy's works around my neighborhood - this one around the corner from me and another nearer to Union Square. Am not much into this sort of stuff; it's a bit too hip (sanitized skate punk and situation-ism) and the artist seems like somewhat of an unsympathetic character.

First time I saw the masked 'freedom fighter,' was a fair bit put off. Took a good long look today and decided that this is actually pretty interesting. I like the aesthetic relating of the Muslim with a Marxist; she'd look really good on a tee shirt. Then there's the label "peace." Now, who am I going to believe here - whoever labeled this as such or my lying eyes? The not so subliminal message in the background feeds me the answer.

Pavel says that I'm overthinking this. Maybe I am, who knows? I do have to hand it to Fairey, though, for his making Marxism as palatable as Coca Cola for a great deal more than the usual campus true-believers here. For that, he's a marketing genius and probably deserves to be laughing all the way to the bank.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Berbere goes well in just about everything, it seems. Threw a pinch in last night's hot cocoa and was totally bowled over. Pavel thinks that this requires some more work to get things a point for the holidays as there were a lot of other things involved.

I think I might be up to the challenge.

Sallied forth from the home port for a little serendipitous adventure this afternoon. Picked a route at random and ended up at the geographic center of the state. After dinner, while stargazing, found Sagittarius and from there, Milky Way's center.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Tired of work around the house, a little frustrated from business earlier in the week, Pavel proposed a ride somewhere Out West. Since it was such a weird, windy, rainy day, we weren't really able to go trudging around outside much. Still, was nice to get out of the city.

Started off visiting a picked-over library sale in Waltham, then got the bug to see the Quabbin. It'd been quite a long time since I'd been in that neck of the woods, so was nice to see familiar sights. Also kind of weird.

At a couple points, just opened the window and started shooting pictures without looking at the view finder. Am kind of pleased with the results.


Route 202 at about where Shutesbury and New Salem play the Town Line Hokey Pokey.

Sugar Maples

A surprisingly non-impressionistic view of Nature's Firmament.

Got my camera at about the same time as the breakup, so maybe four years ago. Cost me next to nothing and came with all sorts of nifty accessories like the SD card, a battery charger, etc. Am pretty sure that it's more than paid for itself with all the fun I've been having. (Heck, got so attached, even knitted a sweater for it. It's a Scandinavian-looking cozy done up in mauve, purple and red. The button's a brass one with what looks like a Freemason motif.)

Recently was considering replacing it for a newer model of the same thing. Since I really shouldn't be spending my money on stuff like that right now, decided instead to start rereading the owner's manual. Gosh darnit, it's like I'd been given a whole new camera! Daily am finding new things to play with and more reasons to love my little point-and-shoot.

There's a scratch on the view finder and I'm noting some mechanical difficulties with the lens. Will eventually have to replace the camera, as is probably less expensive to do that than to get it repaired. Will keep on enjoying it for the time remaining, which I hope will be a while. This is actually the first camera I've ever enjoyed using; never was a picture taker before.
Must've been that speech about 'visualizing whirled peas' at the UN the other week that tipped the scales. That's classic Scandinavian fare. They must've been voting on an empty stomach.

Related: Althouse has a riddle. Also wonders if the Dalai Lama's thinking kind thoughts right now.


*(Guess it was. Snort.)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Small World.

Received a message from someone over at Ravelry asking about my experiences at St. Jean-le-Thomas. Apparently her family hails from that neck of the woods. Further conversation revealed that we'd both grown up in roughly the same area in the States, though we're no where near one another right now.

She mentioned that the next time I visit St. Jean, I should mention to some friends who own a restaurant there that she sends her best wishes. Asked her if she meant the one in town attached to the hotel or the guinguette on the beach. Couldn't have been the guinguette, as that would be too weird.

Le Petit Nice II

Le Petit Nice

Le Petit Nice; St. Jean-le-Thomas. August, 2009.

One evening under the big tent, the waitress asked me where I was from. I did my usual shrugging of the shoulders and answered that I came from les Etat-Unis. Instead of smiling and changing the subject as a lot of folks are wont to do, she asked me where exactly I was from. Answered that I was from the Boston Area. She grinned and told me that that was quite a coincidence as, she'd been there a number of times before. Had a friend in Cambridge who was originally from Granville (a couple towns over) and who, in fact, was due to arrive the next day. Wow, quel coincidence, was all I could think to reply. She went on to mention that he owned a restaurant, perhaps I'd heard of it?

My jaw dropped, as did the Frenchie's. Regained ourselves enough to start laughing like crazy. Calmed down, then explained to her that two of our best friends had worked for her friend: he as bookkeeper, she as chef.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Some good things accomplished lately which are leading to other questions that need to be answered, other problems to be solved. Have sort of been hiding out while deciding what to tackle next.

Over the course of a few recent walks, I noticed the giant orb-weaving spiders out and active again. How is it that I never see these creatures during the Summer, when one would think they'd be up and about, getting fat?

Neighborhood Spider

Saw this one on the way back from the grocery store. Its web spanned the entire front lawn, about 5'x8'. (Small by people standards, but massive for a creature this tiny.)

Disturbed a web on the back upper balcony while filling the bird feeders; felt badly for shredding what must have been a full night's work (if not more). Shooed the spider down the stairs to hopefully more secure surroundings and perhaps less ambitious dreams*.

Downstairs, found in the rhododendron three webs right on top of each other. This being Somerville, can only assume that the spiders were going condo. After a particularly hard rainstorm, found that two of the three webs were knocked out. Of the two evacuated spiders, one was gone without a trace, the other was in hiding between a couple leaves. The third in what I'd considered to be the least secure (was the most exposed) position was still sitting pretty as of a few minutes ago:

House Spider

Just wondering: does anybody know what kind of spiders these are? They frighten me (with reason), but I also find them beautiful. I marvel at their handiwork.


* Lots of pigeons roost up there. Was an awfully big web, so wondered if Charlotte was trying to bag one. Wouldn't be surprised.