Sunday, July 12, 2015


As happy as the kohlrabi made me, I think that the Score of the trip would have to be the gooseberries from Stillman's Farm. It's very rare that I see these anymore, and *love them.* (Used to forage them, along with all manner of other berries, on a bit of property my mom had out near Lockport, NY. Oh, the fruits we'd find! Almost worth the gas station sponge baths with Fels-Naptha soap afterwards.)

Anyway, gooseberries are this wonderful combination of tart and sweet, which made me wonder about their name in both English and French.

The Frenchies call these fruits Mackerel Currants (or groseilles à maquereau) and I've usually seen them as a relish / complement to mackerel, which is a pretty oily and *tasty* (gamey?) fish.

Given that goose might be the poultry version of mackerel, could this tart/sweet combo have been used to offset the fatty/gamey tendency of that bird?

Hit the farms today; so pleased to see the literal cornucopia at our favorite truck farm's stand.

Let's see:

Spring Brook Farm is where we get our meat, treats and the occasional trinket. Today's basket contained:

- four 1 lb pkgs of ground beef

- two london broil steaks

- a couple pounds of sweet eye-talian sausage

- a pound of bacon

- a large package of chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

- one kohlrabi, both the bulb and leaves. These were insanely inexpensive, and I regret not taking all three plants. Love this stuff.

- a package of dried vegetable chips.

Stillman Dairy Farm was so cool inside, we were looking for excuses to hang around, chatting and petting Roscoe the beagle. We weren't up for any scones (they have awesome baked goods) and hot coffee, so ended up pushing off after returning the milk bottles from our last visit, and picking up what was on the grocery list:

- five quarts of heavy cream ("Making your own ice cream?" we were asked)

- two dozen eggs

- a pound of unsalted butter

- a pint of raw honey from a farm in Townsend - a couple towns away; still pretty local.

- a summer sausage from a Vermont company that makes delicious, delicious cured meats. They make awesome jerky, too, but that seems to either be selling out quickly or out of stock. (Hopefully we'll find it again soon.)

Stillman's Farm stand is only open on Thursdays and Sundays, so we have to kind of schedule things (not always easy). Though they opened up for business in June, this is only our first time visiting this season. Was so nice to see everyone again, especially Spencer the Border Collie, who was alternating between patrolling the fields, taking a dip in the pond, and accepting belly rubs.
What did we get?

- lots of summer squash (yes, I'm growing it here. Still, they have some beautiful examples in all different colors)

- Sweet peppers in an array of colors

- a bunch of scallions

- a head of curly-leafed lettuce

- a bunch of Tuscan kale (the flat leafed kind that you can happily eat raw)

- a couple small cukes (for dinner tonight)

- a bunch of French Breakfast radishes, because mine never produced this year, and I really had a taste for them.

Housemate got a whiff of the basil; That's our current kitchen bouquet. I'm thinking of making both a caprese salad (we aren't lacking for tomatoes) and a pesto (for the surprisingly noodle-like zucchini ribbons).

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Does Language Affect Personality?

In some subtle ways, yes, I do think so. The English - speaking Beverly, at her foundation, is still the same Beverly as the French - speaking one (or the German - speaking one). Folks in one context might not recognize her in the others, though, due to a few factors:
First: Cultural Underpinnings. There are different codes / rules of engagement in each environment. I don't even bother trying to fit into the different milieus, but have probably subconsciously picked up some of the more important points during my various stays.
Second: Memories in the different environments. The Paris Beverly differs from the Grenoble Beverly, the Geneva Beverly, the Brussels Beverly. She's also a different animal from Herodotus Beverly (the Beverly who gets her fix of the Atlas Mountain Accent in "No Go Zones" that she manages to find during her peregrinations). She's only just briefly touched on Acadia, and would like to learn more about that, perhaps with the help of her Carthaginian Transplant friends.
Third: How the language itself structures reality. Beverly grew up with a hybrid of Polish / Russian / German / etc thinking that it was German. As no German classes were available in her High School, never got to sort things out until much later. (Thank heavens for Latin! Else, she'd not have been the B student she was in that language in college.) Learned a serious appreciation of the organisation of both languages; it's a Spartan Beauty.
As for French, you'd be surprised at how much of a reality shift it is to go from "wondering" to "asking one's self," or from "dropping something," to "making something fall."
Then there's the whole question of Time (the far past, the simple past, notions of the future), both in reality (with or without conditions) and how one's feeling about things. There's always going to be a struggle with the subjunctive and preterit in English; Latin languages make this a positive dance. German's a Whole 'Nother Animal.

During the first run of my Coursera course on the bilingual brain, a student asked whether changing languages leads to people changing personalities....

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I've spent most of my life trying to tailor my understanding of people vis a vis what was called arrogance by the Heimatsstadt's familien.
Understood: I am far more intelligent than the Average, even by Boston, or Paris standards.
Not Understood: the projection on me that I am Arrogant. (What am I doing wrong? I am a Language Person. My life is about figuring out puzzles, fixing things, and finding the combination of words to help folks do the same.)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Waltzing Mathilda.

Best Wishes to my Antipodeal Friends, on the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Just a simple series of knitted concentric circles in a soft, hazy acrylic the color of an early Spring evening.

Started it to break out of a rut.  As with all projects of this nature, it's coming along slower than I'd like.  Am enjoying its progress, though.  When this one gets off the needles, might try another and, who knows?  maybe even take the pattern down.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Barometric Changes.

The beauty of tonight's sunset wasn't viewed in the west, but in the East.  As there's Weather blowing in, the sky was was a mottled gray which contrasted spectacularly with the gold of the last of daylight and the bright green Norway buds.  How everything kept changing!

Dropped everything I needed to get done before darkness set in to just drink in the spectacle before it faded away.

Evening Light in the Norway Maples

To the East.
Watercolored sky and the Rolling Hills of Medford.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Guess I've been in a rut for some time now.  Spinning the wheels and not moving forward is getting frustrating.  Rather than calling someone to tow me out (there's quite a wait for that nowadays), decided to rummage around in the trunk to see what I have in the tool kit that might help.

Found my copy of the Feeling Good Handbook, which is probably one of the best texts on how to re frame one's thoughts in order to "find the courage to get things done."  This was recommended to me years ago by a counselor friend who understood me to be the tough cookie / anti self-help type that I am.  Am glad to have given her suggestion the benefit of the doubt, and am enjoying re reading / re working the exercises.

After years of sort-of following a low-carb diet and then not, finally picked up a copy of Gary Taubes's Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It.  It's a very good synopsis about the science around what causes obesity, how the current medical recommendations are incorrect, and what one should do to lose weight.  Had a hard time warming up to Mr. Taubes's style, but now we're doing fine.  Am currently following the guidelines in the appendix, as well.  I won't say that I'm doing Great (housemate tells me I'm suffering from "induction flu;" it's a mild case, though.).  Am finding it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up in the mornings, though, and that's Really Good.

Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner.  That's from college.  Was a woodwind player back then.  Afterwards, started playing the piano Very Poorly.  That Very Poor Playing made me so happy, though.  Somewhere down the road, I lost the music.  All of it.  Need to get back in touch with that part of me that luxuriated in playing Poulenc at half speed, that cracked puns in French with a Buffalo accent, that loved messing messily with color.  It's still there; I can feel it.  Just got buried under sadness.

Baby Steps.  Weekends used to be spent on mountain trails.  Now, am lucky if I can get the daily three miles in, and maybe a 30 second plank.  Broke two fingers on my right hand late last Fall, so the Hanon exercises need to Go Slow.  Poulenc's out of my range right now, so am playing some shorter pieces from a little album of Romantic Music very slowly.  Then, there's the Putting Myself Out There business.  That's never been easy.  Right now, even contemplating it is scaring the heck out of me, though the reasonable side knows that fear is irrational.  Baby Steps.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You Can't Beat the Classics.

Groaned inwardly on seeing this article, as I knew exactly how things were going to turn out.

Plus sized or not, many of us just do not have the bodies what's as one of the testers called "fashionable as f#ck." I know that I certainly don't, having been born with these terrible deformities known as "boobs," "hips," "a belly," and "a be-hind."
Luckily, with age came, if not wisdom, at least a bit of awareness. In essence:
1.) I'll Never be weight-chart thin, much less model thin. That's fine. Have seen images of my body in all sizes hanging in places like the Prado, the Louvre, Boston's MFA, heck, even back in Buffalo at the Albright-Knox. My shape runs through history: from the Sumerian to Syriac goddesses to Renaissance / Baroque / Romantic era beauties, right on up to the Strong, Can-Do Social Realist Ladies. I even see me in the Contemporary galleries from time to time; mostly among New England artists like Andrew Stevovich (one of my favorites).

2.) Given that I'm such a classic beauty, wouldn't it stand to reason that, instead of trying to squeeze myself into spandex sausage tubes, I might stick with Classic styles? Have some go-to items in my closet that date back to even after college. Heck, tailoring outside my realm of ability really doesn't cost that much.

3.) Buying online is convenient, but I don't trust it for most places; sizing varies widely. Have had to return items from just about every on line outfit. Better stores (like Brooks Brothers) have very helpful, not to mention well trained staff with a Good Eye to help pick what looks best.

4.) Good Undergarments are *key.* These are the last items one should be skimping on. Get fitted properly for a bra; you'd be amazed at how many women aren't wearing their correct size.
Yeah, that's me.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Normally, this is considered a Bad Thing.  I don't see it as such, though, as what is unraveled can be put to better later, when one finds the time / talent to do so.

Have a good start to the New Year.  Am seriously trying to do so, myself.

Maybe you can, maybe you can't see the fault in the design that caused me to tear this difficult yarn  apart and start over again.  (Will show pictures after the completed project's been blocked.)