- Awesome breakfast. Omelet with Chad's dad's eggs, onions and mushrooms, with some ricotta cheese folded into the eggs, parmesan on top, and a little bit of a sliced tomato, also courtesy of Chad. Cornmeal muffins. Juice. All eaten while reading the papers.
- Long chat with the Scotlands, extra delightful.
- Long walk with the historian and Bruiser. A side of playing on the school playground (don't tell anyone, it's against school rules).
- Shower. Reading Irish detective novel. Nap.
- Modest dinner.
- Sang oratorio like it was my job.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
- A Doctor Kildare game ("A Medical Game for the Young")
- An entire case of collectible Smurf action figures
- Many, many of the old Fisher-Price people (the true ones, not the big-headed "safe" ones)
- two porcelain bunnies, one white, one pink
- a French movie
Thursday, November 27, 2008
- my Mom and Dad. We got to sit around after almost everyone was gone and talk about the cross-country trips we used to take, driving from Tucson to Georgia--what a treat!
- my sister and her family. I always love a family party when I get to hang out with them--my nieces and my sister and her husband. Peerless folks, all.
- my own kids, who today were with other parts of their families and, in some cases, in other parts of the world. They make my life sweet and they are each of them a great joy to me.
- music. My aunt Sal, niece Diane, and I played three hands at the piano, and then Sally and I played this Mozart four hands at the piano sonata we've been saying we'll learn--it was so much fun.
- a house to live in.
- food to eat.
- a hive of family relationships that buoy me up and make me feel whole.
- my beautiful, cherished husband.
- wonderful friends, old and new.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
8 Shows I watch
- 30 Rock
- The Office
- Mad Men
- The Closer
- Saving Grace
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent
8 Restaurants I love
8 Restaurants I love
- Big City Soup
- Red Rock
- Thai Delight
House Infinite Eight, India
- La Luna David Friedman
- Mi Ranchito
8 Things I did yesterday
- Worked on a poem
- Took Bruiser for a walk
- Picked stuff up and put it back at T.J. Maxx
- Made hash out of roasted vegetables
- Had a great conversation with a baby (Will)
- Talked to several of my children
- Drank a pot of tea
- Blogged (of course!)
8 things I'm looking forward to
- The movies tonight with the historian
- Seeing my missionary son again
- Breakfast, tomorrow and every day
- Jan. 20
- Seeing my
daughter again, whenever that may be! Scotland
8 Things on my wish list
- Live in
for some unspecified period of time, but long enough that it’s “live” and not “visit” France
- All sorts of trips with the historian—the above
Franceone, an Eastern swing ( Montrealwith a side of Ottawamaybe, Maine, etc), a Southern swing, down the Mississippi, an historic and environs trip, . . . L.A.
- Better organizational abilities and less stuff, probably, although I kind of love my stuff
- A Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, yellow, like Lis's
- One of those crazy digital pens that takes a movie of when you’re writing
- All sorts of awesome cameras, like the one Jeff Bridges uses, for instance.
- Another book
- Just a whiff of my youth back
8 things I love, in no particular order
- My wonderful, adorable husband
- My splendid, gorgeous, talented, hilarious children, each and every one of them
- My darling grandchildren
- My house
- My crazy garden
- My awesome dog
- My fabulous parents
- My amazing siblings
- The movies (that’s nine!)
8 things I can’t stand, in no particular order
- L.A. Lakers, doesn’t matter which era or the personnel
- Pompous blowhards of any stripe (takes one to know one, though)
- Being patronized. I am positively allergic to this.
- Bad restaurants. There is just no reason.
- Giving up hope
- Movies where they blow stuff up while the hero walks away with cascading sheets of flame in the background with a hard rock musical background (more movies than any of us would care to admit)
- That one Michael Haneke remake of his own sadistic movie. Funny Games. Yeah. I can’t stand that, and I only saw the trailer.
- People who think they’re the boss of me
8 people I'm tagging:
I would love to hear these things, in whole or in part, from any of my blogging circle family and friends!
Emendation: I tag theorris, my daughters, my son, dr. write, lis, and otterbutt! Accept that, theorris. I command it! (btw, I am thankful for all of you, which is why I am tagging you!)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have a powerful case of Don't-You-Tell-Me-What-to-Do syndrome, with ancillary symptoms of You're-Not-the-Boss-of-Me.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
- pounds of pasta
- quarts of tomato sauce
- heads of lettuce
- handsful of pecans to toast
- heads of broccoli and cauliflower
- pounds of apples
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's been awhile since I whined about
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Rolling Stone recently named its "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" (top 10: Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, and James Brown). Since they included Tom Waits and Lou Reed among this stellar company, I must conclude that pure vocal beauty is not the sole criterion for inclusion, and therefore, I offer the following as some of my favorite voices, many of which are beautiful but all of which are compelling to me--voices I'm never sorry to hear:
- Annie Lennox
- Brian Wilson
- Regina Spektor
- Bryan Ferry
- Stephen Stills
- that guy from Depeche Mode
- Gillian Welch
- Rufus Wainwright
- Jeff Buckley
- Jimmie Dale Gilmore
- Joni Mitchell
- Kate Bush
- Mavis Staples
- Marianne Faithfull
- Nellie McKay
- Patty Scialfa
- Peggy Lee
- Chrissie Hynde
- Michael Stipe
- Richard Thompson
- Rickie Lee Jones
- Shawn Colvin
- Sylvester Stone
- Stevie Wonder
- Taj Mahal
- Al Green
- Jim Kerr
- Youssou N'Dour
Who makes your heart sing?
Monday, November 17, 2008
Utah, I have stories to tell about the curious pleasures of airports: a reason to read Esquire, a moment or 200 to oneself, the chance to read a whole book at a time, time to contemplate one's next move, time to think about and feel everything about the trip--how much fun one had and how much one misses the daughter one visited--and about home. But I am glad not to be in an airport now, even giving the airports their props--the flights were on time, people were helpful, my bag made it with me despite having to change airlines and a stop in Denver, both ways.
Mainly, though, Utah, I am glad to reconnect to my own life and routine. I am very glad to be with my husband. Tomorrow, I will develop rolls and rolls of film. I will be glad to have the photos to remind me of my darling daughter and of the wonderful places we visited together. I will take Bruiser (I believe he was named State Dog in my absence) for a walk. I will go to the bank and write a poem and begin reading a new book. I will see loved ones and eat Utah vegetables. I need to be here, I am glad to be here, though my heart, it turns out, my heart is both here and also everywhere.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Skip ahead to Hwy. 6, halfway between Boston and Provincetown. We were navigating by holding a spit-finger to the wind, and the wind was saying, "I don't know where in THE hell we are, and as for a clean public restroom? Beats the hell outta me." Also, one might consider the fact that many locations on the Cape are vacation-y and therefore--oh, and also, it's Sunday--closed for the season.
So, we're in thriving downtown Barnstable, made up, as far as we could tell, by equal parts Episcopal churches, fire stations, gorgeous picturesque houses, and closed antique stores. Our GPS robot was telling us about restaurants that may or may not have been in the area, in any direction from where we were driving. We chose a restaurant with Dolphin in the title. (Have you forgotten that we needed to pee? Don't forget this fact.) And lo! The Dolphin appeared before us, along with the Barnstable Tavern and the Village Cafe.
The Dolphin looked very swanky and also possibly only barely open, and very swanky seemed in excess of our needs, so we turned around and thought, Village Cafe, just a couple of locations back. We hopped out of the car, our bladders doing all the reasoning for us. We stepped into the cafe and lo! it had the smell of two decades' worth of deep-fried food, which my actual brain processed just as the proprietress said, "Sit anywhere you want," and my mouth said, "Mind if we use the restroom first?" and my soul screamed, "NO NO NO NO NO!"
I am an old-fashioned girl, and once you've decided to avail yourself--gratefully!--of an establishment's facilities, it is my view that you must buy something there. They don't just have a restroom so anyone in the world can just casually stop by to pee without also ordering up some fries or a sandwich or something. Or chowder.
And so, dear reader, I ordered the chowder. At the counter. And the waitress said, "Ohhhhh, chowder, right, it's on the menu but I don't think we have it on Sunday."
Deeply disappointing, right? But the cook, behind a fortress made of stainless steel that was probably coated with the grease of the ages, said: "We can heat some up."
"Are you sure?" I said, when a rational person would have said, "Umm, do you have like a bag of pretzels? and a Coke? or, like, maybe a Coke and a bottle of 409 spray and a roll of paper towels?" But no. No, I said, "Great!" And shortly after that, a plastic tub of chowder, labeled "CHOWDER," appeared from the walk-in and disappeared behind the stainless steel. And then, probably three minutes and thirty seconds later, the chowder appeared, in a shallow bowl, over the stainless steel barrier. With some steam wafting, a positive omen, I thought.
But I was wrong.
No, the chowder was lukewarm, or rather, of uneven heat, sort of how a big bowl of soup is when you microwave but do not stir. Moreover, the soup was extra salty, as if salt were the only possible seasoning ever to grace chowder. There it sat, looking like the paragon of chowder, clam-filled and potato-y and even a little creamy. Why was it so nasty? Why?
Here's what I did and did not do: I did not ask for more nuke to be applied to my soup. I did not not eat the soup. No, I sprinkled both packets of oyster crackers on the surface of the soup, and I ate each little cracker, lightly anointed with the soup, telling myself this: "Having made the deal to be polite and eating in a sorry place where even my low(ered) expectations were disappointed, I am not going to change the deal now. No, I will eat the misbegotten chowder and enough of it that I will not have to explain my not finishing it. I like oyster crackers. I like them!" I said this as the chowder cooled and got, yes, nastier.
My daughter asked me if perhaps I wanted to try to redeem my chowder luncheon by finding better chowder for dinner. No, no, I did not. The experience had embittered me. I may or may not eat chowder again, but it will be a cold day in hell before I order it again at a restaurant where the chowder has not been vetted by experts, aka, by me myself at a previous occasion. Even then. The whole concept seems fraught with peril. Milk, clams, potatoes, onions . . . I'm sure there is a long and storied history of how this came to be a beloved American dish, but I'm thinking that the real genius of the soup world is the inventor of the oyster cracker. Now there's a dish no one can screw up.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
2. It's still quite breathtaking beautiful, the parts I've seen. We were at Cape Neddick today at sunset, when the sky decided, miraculously, to clear just to put on a show, over the crashing waves and an insanely picturesque lighthouse. Ridiculous. I have pictures.
3. The Atlantic? Vast.
4. Plenty of fish, not enough blueberries. Of course, it's November.
5. Dunkin' Donuts: what is it with the donuts here? This observation is mainly about Massachusetts, actually. Many, many donuts and many many donut shops. Never a bad thing in a region, in my opinion.
6. Down East, everything is close together, so you can drive through Massachusetts ("The Spirit of America"), New Hampshire ("Live Free or Die"), and arrive in Ogunquit, ME in just a little over an hour. Picturesque, convenient, and more donuts than any one human might ever need. Is New England great or what.
Friday, November 14, 2008
In other news, today my daughter and I saw pages written by Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, and by written, I mean "actually written, as in, the pages encapsulated in plastic are the actual pieces of paper written on in ink by these writers." We saw these pages at the Concord Free Public Library, which is a splendid place. We also went to Salem and took in all sorts of diverse historical hoohah, and by hoohah, I mean "awesome buildings and more stuff than witches, which in itself is very interesting." As in, The House of the Seven Gables, which has (a) seven gables, and (b) a rich and storied history. Did you know Salem was a thriving seaport? That there are many first settlement buildings in Essex county? that you can follow a red painted line all over the historic part of Salem, but that it's kind of a mystery who actually maintains the red line?
Finally, and in summation, GPS contraptions are crazy and annoying, but if you can get in the rhythm of the GPS robot, it might actually help you find the movie theater. There is, of course, no question of the GPS robot getting in your rhythm. No: welcome my friends, welcome to the machine. What did you dream? It's all right--it tells you what to dream.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
- finishing The Story of Edgar Sawtelle on the plane, with tears to show for it;
- finishing the Times crossword puzzle in stages during the day;
- listening to The Fleet Foxes, the whole thing, on headphones;
- having not one single hitch in all the arrangements, from check-in to renting a car;
- arriving at my daughter's place of residence/place of employment and seeing her again!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
On the one hand, I roasted a lovely piece of squash tonight with the intention of making risotto. On the other hand, by the time the squash was roasted, risotto seemed like kind of a big project, so we ate leftovers.
I find this time of year so beautiful. The early darkness, however, is like automatic melancholy.
On the one hand, I'm glad it's basketball season, but it would be nice if the Jazz weren't making me bite my nails in this last minute of the game (and then losing, dadgummit).
On the one hand, the guy who came to deliver our new-to-us retro-tastic cobalt blue sectional sofa (we can have Jazz game watching parties! board game parties! Mad Men watching marathons!), which we purchased from The Green Ant, said he's never before delivered anything out in our neck of the woods. On the other hand, he said he knew which house it was by the Obama sign.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ahem, and ta-da:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Igby Goes Down
Kung Fu Hustle
Lost in Translation
No Country for Old Men
Opposite of Sex, The
Pride & Prejudice (the Keira Knightley one, sue me)
Thelma and Louise
Unbearable Lightness of Being
Walk on Water
Year of Living Dangerously, The (also Y Tu Mama Tambien. Also Young Frankenstein.)
Edified? I should think so. I hope my daughters, all three, will accept the challenge, and my son, and my niece Diane, and my nephew Sam.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Last night I couldn't sleep, so I got up, hauling the tome with me. As soon as I got settled, Bruiser pushed the door open and climbed up on the chair next to me, where he stayed while I read for more than an hour in the lamplight. This morning, when, predictably, I was exhausted, and therefore lay back down for a little while, he lay back down right along with me. What a paragon of a dog. What a splendid companion. How he accompanies me in all my moods and ventures.
On the other hand, he did eat a quarter of a leftover pumpkin pie this afternoon while I was out. How delicious he must have found it. His taste! so impeccable!
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
1. A tart is not a pie.
2. Ergo, a pie is not a tart.
3. Ergo (part 2), tart dough and pie dough are not the same thing and should not be thought of as interchangeable.
4. Sometimes your tart dough, which you may be foolishly attempting to use for pie dough, will be contrary. It may want to raise issues, question your authority, try to show you who's boss.
5. You must not let this happen, even if it means stamping your feet and scaring the dog, a little bit.
6. Piecing and pressing together can solve many pie or tart dough issues.
7. Keep everything cold. Keep yourself cool.
8. Sometimes your blender will not be all it should be, such as when you are trying to puree the pumpkin you have roasted. Swearing at the blender may or may not create the necessary motivation, otherwise known as "blending power," to do the job.
9. Try not to get rubber spatula chunks in the puree whilst pushing the pumpkin into the blades.
10. In the end, regardless of the vicissitudes of pastry, blenders, time and the wicked souls of men, the pie will almost certainly still taste pretty good.
11. Usually, even dang good.
Friday, November 07, 2008
This film has Gabrielle, played by Ludivine Sagnier, a lovely and very well-coiffed, made up, and dressed weather girl, falling for a writer who, from all evidence, is an insufferable, personality-less, mot-spouting prick. Apparently, though, he's gonna teach her the sexual ropes, because, well, he's experienced. And old. Married, a degenerate, and did I already say jerk? Jerk.
On the other hand, a sociopathic heir to a chemistry fortune (that sounds pretty hilarious, when you put it that way, but it is not played for laughs in this movie) also falls for her. Dandy-ish, in foppish clothing and a tousled, moppy hairdo, he is scary and stalker-ish. Add to that that his family is insufferable (insufferability is a theme in this film), snobbish . . . the mother has the complexion of a vampire.
With whom will she fall in love? is a wedding in the offing? what will the consequence be? to what depths of depravity will poor Gabrielle fall? what will her dress look like when this happens? and who cares? That is my summation of this good-looking yet tedious film. At least it was set in France--I enjoyed watching the France go by, frame by frame.
I also happen to feel that this film is a little bit overrated, since lots of people are saying things like "impeccably made," "beautifully directed," and "the work of a master." Manohla Dargis says that it's an "erotically charged . . . story of a woman preyed upon by different men and her own warring desires." Charged? Preyed upon? Warring? Okay, but then why did I feel so blah about it, in the end?
I have a friend who claims that there are no good French movies anymore, and at this point, I'm prepared to concede that there is some justice to this . . . check this link for an incomplete listing of French films, decade by decade to decide for yourself. As for this film, you can see for yourself if Wesley Morris is correct about La Fille being a "luxuriant sex opera" or if, as the lights come up, you might find yourself remarking to your viewing companion, "Hmmph." Or perhaps, "Those crazy French." Or even, "Maybe we should have seen Role Models."
Thursday, November 06, 2008
For more public health posters, see this slideshow. And for the love of everything that is holy, never give a germ a break. Never!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I know there's a lot of reasons to be judicious, given everything that's ahead, but I feel full of hope, and today it was good to come back to that, as I took a walk, got ready for the day, wrote, rode the train, started a new book. I kept coming back to that hope, over and over and over again.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Who went to vote, saw the long line, and said, Ugh. To hell with it.
Voter, I feel your pain,
But you really should have voted anyway.
If I happen to see you on the street, I will kick your ass.
3 (via obsessive consumption)
Monday, November 03, 2008
2. having good stuff in my house to make a splendid dinner (see how that works both ways?)
3. making and eating dinner with people I love
4. the way the fallen poplar and maple leaves make a glowing mosaic on my lawn (really, why rake? overrated.)
Today, after Bruiser and I walked in weather that exemplified what is best about November, I put on a cozy sweater and decided not to worry any more about the election. And I didn't worry. Much. I'll be up early to vote (that's as opposed to voting early).
Sunday, November 02, 2008
8:00 a.m. Arise from slumbers. Initiate dog greetings.
8:03 a.m. Begin the day's obsessive internet checking.
8:20 a.m. Assemble Breakfast of Power--buttermilk biscuits with currants, warm beverage, small orange juice, butter and jam.
8:35 a.m. Eat Breakfast of Power whilst perusing this week's Target ad.
8:40 a.m. Organize the New York Times thusly: front section, opinion section, style section, arts section, book review, magazine. Sports, business, and travel sections optional. (This is the dutiful order: news and commentary first, play only after work is done.) Begin reading the front section. "Reading" means "scanning the pages as I turn them." Move on to opinion section.
About 9 a.m. Scotland daughter calls. (newspaper flutters closed)
About 10 a.m. Hang up phone. Where was I? Ah, opinion section. Read the opinions assiduously. Like considering the entrails of a bird or the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup.
10:30 a.m. OMG it's writing group day. Must write poem. Must. Write. Poem.
10: 35 a.m. Begin reading style section. No! Must. Write. Poem.
12:10 p.m. Ugh, draft of poem more or less ready. Finish style section.
12:30 p.m. Take shower to rid self of poem-writing sweat and pre-election worry-stench.
1:oo p.m. Go to OfficeMax to print poem. Is it excellent or is it dross? Discuss with self while driving to writing group.
5:15 p.m. Poem: reviewed. Gossip: exchanged. Writing friendships: renewed.
5:45 p.m. Home. Construct dinner. Eat dinner.
6:22 p.m. Repair to bed because the house is cold, because of the rain and because we haven't bothered to turn up the heat. Why? Take Arts section, book review, and magazine to bed.
6:23 p.m. Commence wrestling with the covers and Bruiser and pillows to get comfortable. Note to self: reading the newspaper prone in bed inefficient and uncomfortable. Finish reading requisite sections in requisite order while prone in bed, interspersed with covers and pillow adjustment.
7:30 p.m. Wash hands to get rid of newspaper ink and cover-wrestling annoyance-chafe-swelter. Turn up heat because hands are cold.
7:32 p.m. Bask in the glow of being thoroughly informed, and having executed faithfully the Sunday ritual. Also, because of the poem. Pet Bruiser and thank him for his assistance.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Amount of candy eaten by dog: can't deliver an accurate figure--those wrappers might have just been in the garbage.
Own costume: raven tee shirt, scary earrings.
Amount of candy left over: ooooh, a lot, and a very good class of candy it is.
Good times: had by all.
Hello, it's National Blog Posting Month! A post a day keeps you healthy, wealthy, and wise, and me happy. C'mon! Post! As for my part, I shall publish and I shall comment.