30 June 2007

We are in for it when she is a Teenager

The other day, when we picked Miss M. up at daycare, her teacher told us - with great amusement - that she'd been walking around outside with a pensive expression on her face. When asked what she was thinking about, she said "I'm looking for the man of my dreams".

29 June 2007

Anne Hathaway's Bed

The other day, I posted a bit about Mrs. Astor's will and her bequest of the "good mink coat". S. responded that Shakespeare had left his second-best bed to his wife. I sent that comment on to my husband; he responded with the following:

This is precisely true. William Shakespeare was a wealthy man when he died with a fairly complicated last will and testament for a person of his social class. There's been much scholarship and speculation on the meaning of his sole bequest to his wife. The short story is that he knocked-up a considerably-older Anne Hathaway when he was a kid, had a shotgun marriage, didn't really love her, left Stratford for London after only a few years of connubial bliss, and never again lived with her for an extended period of time. There is no extant correspondence between them, most likely because Hathaway could not read or write. Think of it, she never saw his work performed because she never ventured from Stratford, and was unable even to read it in manuscript! The likely love of Shakespeare's life, after his son and excluding various less-significant women sexual partners, was Henry Wriothesley, the Earl of Southampton, who is possibly the "Fair Youth" of the Sonnets. This hugely-compelling love was sexually unconsummated and not homosexual in any modern interpretation. Its nature I believe is forever lost to us today and impossible to reconstruct at this distance in time, although there were economic benefits to Shakespeare and his band of players from this aristocrat-patron. It would have been a punishable crime against a rigid social status quo, and an unheard-of social and economic disaster for his family, had Shakespeare in some way acknowledged Wriothesley's place in his life, even cryptically, in his will. As such, I believe there is a bitterness at his having to remain mute in this final writ, even though he created the enduring but unacknowledged testament to Wriothesley (and a few others) in the Sonnets. So the Hathaway "second-best bed" bequest may be interpreted as a final sour slap in the face from the grave to the embodiment of a failed marriage of souls. But it is also important to understand that Shakespeare may have been advised to make at least one direct bequest to her, otherwise, had she been absent from the will entirely as was probably his wont, Elizabethan common-law practice may have applied and Hathaway could have been entitled until her death to the income from one-third of Shakespeare's considerable estate. As it was, he named his favorite daughter, Susanna, and her husband, physician John Hall, as executors of his estate for the benefit of their children. They also took care of Hathaway, I believe, until her death. Shakespeare's other daughter, Judith, was mostly excluded because he abhorred her feckless husband, Thomas Quiney, who was prosecuted for and convicted of "carnal copulation" with a woman not his wife. Shakespeare's last child and only son, Judith's twin sibling, Hamnet (ergo Hamlet), was the other truly significant love of his life. At the time of Hamnet's early death at age eleven, the insurgent Protestant social-political-economic-religious Taliban continued, in all ways imaginable, an active program to expunge the ancient, culturally-ingrained Roman Catholic power and ritual. As such, since there is little doubt that Shakespeare was a closet Catholic like many in England at the time, scholars speculate that his suffering was massively amplified by a puritanical, legally-enforced prohibition of the Catholic process of mourning and grieving to which he and his family were deeply inured. The winter voice of a father's heart broken by a son's death, unhealed by accustomed ritual denied, is made eternally present in many apotheoses of English poetry in Shakespeare's ensuing plays.

28 June 2007

Rhymes with M.

My daughter's cross to bear?:

A panda
Sat on a veranda
Writing memoranda
About propaganda.

27 June 2007

CSA Week 4

By last night, all we had left of last week's vegetable allotment was: 2 turnips (without greens), some lettuce, about a quarter of a small cabbage, one zucchini, and one scallion. Dinner was grilled steak, a salad using the turnips, lettuce and cabbage, and sautéed zucchini with the scallion and some garlic. Mmm. And I don't even like zucchini. So without further ado, here's one way to get rid of zucchini this summer!

W.'s Sautéed Zucchini

1 zucchini, cut into 2" sticks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1-2 T. butter
1-2 T. olive oil
2-4 T. white wine
salt and pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, just until the butter foams and subsides. Add zucchini and cook until it begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and scallion and cook 1-2 minutes. Add wine and continue to cook until zucchini is done - but not mushy! The key to zucchini is to make sure it is not overcooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

This week, our share was:

  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Broccoli
  • Salad Mix
  • Scallions
  • Cucumbers
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Strawberries

Since we got strawberries in last week's share, and bought and picked strawberries over the weekend, and got more in today's share, we have had fresh, juicy, wonderful, local strawberries for dessert 7 of the past 8 nights. And they still taste as fabulous as at the beginning of strawberry season; my palate is unjaded. Oh, hail the glorious strawberry!

26 June 2007

More Reviewing of the Reviewer

Yesterday, Alastair Macaulay reviewed a performance of Hell's Kitchen Dance in which Mikhail Baryshnikov danced. Macaulay's reviews are all so personal; he always references other performances he's seen, other performers, other art forms. It's all about him.

But the review yesterday included a parenthetical that was just over the top:

(Trivial footnote: At no point in his career have I known him not to have the most beautifully cut hair.)

Really. Misha may indeed have great hair, and may have always had great hair. But, this is a DANCE review. Not a hair review, and especially not a personal recollection that "every time I've seen him, Misha's had great hair". Doesn't Macaulay have an editor?

25 June 2007

Mrs. Astor's Mink

Yesterday's Times had a story about Mrs. Astor's will, complete with excerpts and selected bequests. My favorite part was that her daughter-in-law would get a diamond necklace and "my good mink coat and my chinchilla short coat".

It begs two questions: 1. who gets the lousy mink coat(s), and 2. aren't there any beaver coats? After all, the Astor money started with John Jacob Astor and the beaver-pelt trade.

What Hawks Eat

Over the weekend, we were driving around in the country, under vast blue cloudless skies. We drove up to the CSA farm, because the strawberry patch was open for pick-your-own, and there were sheep and pigs to see, and just because it was a nice excuse for an expedition. And can I wax rhapsodic about the CSA for a moment? The strawberry field was open on the honor system - any CSA member could just show up and pick four quarts of strawberries. There was no check-in, no check-out, no extra cost. Heaven.

We saw a hawk circling, soaring, looking for lunch. We talked with Miss M. about what hawks eat: chipmunks, mice, squirrels, bunnies, snakes. Later, back in the car, we had the same conversation again, but it went on...

"Why do hawks eat snakes?"

"Because it's a bird eat snake world out there."

Miss M. sat up and looked around.


I forget sometimes that she takes everything you say so literally.

Should we worry that she's a narcissist?

I put her to bed. W. and I are in the living room, and hear the tell-tale squeaks as the little feet make their way down the stairs.

"Mommy, I have to tell you something."

She comes all the way down, and whispers "I love you" in my ear.

"Daddy, I have to tell you something."

She slides around the coffee table, climbs on top of W. and whispers "I love you" in his ear.

She sits down on the floor and announces "I have to tell me something. I love me!"

24 June 2007

Twelfth Anniversary

We catered our own wedding. People kept saying "you're nuts, you want to relax and enjoy things, don't do it." But it's what we wanted to do, and it was a lot of fun. We did hire people to serve and clean up, and it was just a buffet, but it was lovely, if I may say so myself.

In the weeks before the wedding, we made a bunch of little appetizers and froze them, to be baked off on the day of the party. The wedding was on a Saturday, and we took off starting Wednesday to prep for the party. We made lots of side dishes (including potato salad with a vinaigrette and lots of fresh herbs, steamed sugar snap peas, white bean salad with bacon, coleslaw with red and green cabbage and blue cheese). We bought many dozens of assorted rolls from Orwasher's. We grilled beef tenderloins and butterflied legs of lamb. We made a mess of crunchy chicken (dipped in a yogurt/mustard mix, rolled in herbed bread crumbs, and baked). My sister made trays of goat-cheese-filled nasturtiums.

I made the wedding cake the night before the party: a yellow cake with a lemon mousseline buttercream, and fresh raspberries between the layers, using recipes straight out of The Cake Bible. I intended to pretty it up with piping, but I had some icing issues on the morning of the wedding, so I just used candied pansies - it was not the most beautiful cake ever, but it tasted damned good. We had a huge bowl of local strawberries to go with the cake.

We kept the drinks simple: gins and tonic, white wine, and a keg of beer.

And we did rent tables and chairs and linens and plates and silverware. But we bought the glasses, because I found some great glasses at Crate & Barrel for 95 cents a piece; it was cheaper to buy them than to rent. And, lo these many years later, we still have a lot of those glasses and break them out for parties.

Besides stuffing those nasturtiums, my sister grew those flowers and all the other flowers for the wedding. At the time, she was working as a garden tender on an estate in Connecticut. The owners had gone away for the whole summer, but wanted a cutting garden, just because. So Pinky cut all the flowers and made posies for the tables, a wreath of thyme and a bouquet of lavender for me, and all those flower hors d’œuvres.

The wedding was in my mother's backyard. We picked the date based on when she thought the garden would look best - I originally suggested the 10th, she thought she (and it) needed another two weeks. So the 24th it was. And it was beautiful.

And everyone helped - my mother, my grandmother, my sister and her then boyfriend (now husband), my brother and his ex-girlfriend. On a videotape that the ex-girlfriend made, there's a shot of my grandmother saying "how we have worked". Just that, "how we have worked".

Yes, the party was lots of work. But the good kind of work, the kind that makes you feel happy and proud and competent. The kind that you look back on with pleasure.

I think it was a good celebration of our partnership. Happy anniversary, W.

22 June 2007


I like words. Nothing pleases me more than winning arguments about words. Our wedding invitation had a dictionary definition for marriage on it (the combination of the king and queen of the same suit, as in pinochle). Alas, our dictionary is still in a box – where it’s been since we moved nearly three years ago! Someday we’ll have bookcases and the dictionary will be returned to its place of honor.

Anyway. Mother Reader has a link to an entertaining vocabulary quiz. My score was 78%. What’s yours?

21 June 2007


I work in an eccentric building. We still have elevator operators, because the elevators are still manual (and not likely to be converted anytime soon because of the ferocious cost). And all of the tenants are somehow connected to the theater/dance world, like the costume shop downstairs.

This afternoon, I had to go downstairs to see someone, and parked in the middle of the hallway outside the costume shop was a scissors sharpener. He had a big pile of scissors, all different, and was just going at it one by one.

And it gets weirder. I ran into someone from the shop on the elevator, one thing led to another, and I learned that the ladies own their own scissors. It's a union thing. Technically, they're also supposed to supply their own hand sewing needles and their own thimbles. But the shop provides the sewing machines. In reality, this shop does provide needles and thimbles, but the ladies still own their own scissors. So that scissors sharpener? The ladies have to pay to get their scissors sharpened.

For all of my lefty-commie-pinko leanings, I just don't understand unions sometimes. I see why the ladies own their own scissors - it's a kind of personal tool. But you'd think the union would have gotten something into the contract like: "All personally owned scissors shall be sharpened by the Employer no less than once every two months."

Mishandling in Iraq

Sy Hersh has another fine piece in this week's New Yorker - a profile of the Army general who conducted the initial Abu Ghraib investigation. For his pains, Major General Antonio M. Taguba has been put out to pasture; he was forced to retire in January of this year after 34 years in the Army.

The final paragraph is a quote from Taguba, an appalling indictment of the state of affairs, all the more resonant for its source:

“From the moment a soldier enlists, we inculcate loyalty, duty, honor, integrity, and selfless service,” Taguba said. “And yet when we get to the senior-officer level we forget those values. I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe, even today, that those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.”

I don't know how long that New Yorker link will last, but the whole piece is worth reading.

20 June 2007

CSA Week 3

We're into the third week of the CSA and I am finding that the cooking is enhanced by the sheer whimsy of whatever they decide to give you. It is strangely liberating to have no shopping, and no choice. And so far, we have not ended up with a surfeit of vegetables, or anything in the freezer - we've been able to eat everything within the week.

The other night for dinner, I made a bean salad with the divine Goat's Eye beans from Rancho Gordo, and into it I tossed in some diced turnip for crunch and flavor. Alongside, we had turnip greens, sautéed with olive oil and garlic, sprinkled with kosher salt, and served at room temperature. I'm not sure that I've ever bought turnips, much less prepared them for dinner two ways. And they were good.

This week's haul:

  • Komatsuna
  • Turnips
  • Arrowhead Cabbage
  • Salad Mix
  • Scallions
  • Strawberries
  • Zucchini (1)
  • Summer Squash (2)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

W. is in the "cilantro tastes like soap" camp, so I'm not sure what's going to happen with that cilantro. The arrowhead cabbage is a thing of great beauty (see photo); I have to find something wonderful to do with it. Scallions and parsley are going into some potato cakes tonight (made with leftover mashed potatoes). I've never been a squash fan (winter or summer), but W. has been known to produce lovely zucchini before, that I've eaten with pleasure, so I'm hoping he finds a way to make magic with the squash.

And gilding the lily? I bought local blueberries and local cherries at the greenmarket today.

It's a locavore's feast time.

19 June 2007

FB in Nose, redux

Yup. She did it again. This time, she stuck a baby crabapple up her nose at the end of the day at daycare. I'm not sure that another kid didn't too. With much coaxing, she successfully blew it out her nose. I was ready to shoot myself. They say that bad things happen in threes. What could it be next time? Oy.

18 June 2007

The Cooking of Potatoes

Recently someone gave me a tattered paperback copy of Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking (first published in 1951). I read it in bed (yes, I read cookbooks in bed), on the subway, on the back deck. She was a glorious writer with a strong character and this passage on potatoes rather stopped me in my tracks - it's both imperious and practical, marks of a sure hand in the kitchen.


For sauté potatoes cook the potatoes in their skins; peel, slice and sauté them gently in dripping or butter, adding a little chopped onion and parsley at the end.
Potatoes for salad should also be cooked in their skins, peeled and mixed with the dressing or mayonnaise while still warm.
For Pommes Pailles, Allumettes and all variations of chips, the raw potatoes should be plunged into plenty of water to wash away the outer starch which otherwise makes them stick together in the cooking.
Put new potatoes into boiling water.
Go to the extra trouble of mashing potatoes through a sieve and adding warmed milk.
To keep boiled potatoes hot cover them with a clean tea-cloth instead of the lid of the serving dish. This absorbs the moisture and results in dry and floury, instead of sodden, potatoes.
Mashed fried potatoes should be done in bacon fat, very little of it, and watched constantly.
Rub the outside of potatoes for baking with a coating of salt.
Baked potatoes are delicious eaten with aïoli instead of butter.

My husband, who makes fine mashed potatoes, always does that trick with the dish towel over the pot, instead of a lid. I'm not quite sure where he picked it up, but he's in good company.

17 June 2007

FB in Nose

Or, Miss M.'s first trip to the emergency room, to remove a Foreign Body from said Nose.

Friday night, she and I were wandering around the garden before dinner. I broke off a mint leaf for her to smell, and wandered down the hill. Next thing I know, "Mommy I have a leaf in my nose!" Okay then. I guess she really wanted to smell it.

It turned out that she'd put some up one side and some up the other. I managed to get the piece out of one nostril, but the other piece was way too far up for non-professional removal. I called the pediatrician's office - it was too late to go there, so they sent us to the ER. The ER was great - it's a kind of sleepy little hospital, and while there was a steady stream of people in there, and all the ER bays were full, we were in and out in an hour, sans mint leaf and with squeezy ice pop. And no one laughed at us - unless of course they laughed when we left.

The best part of the whole trip to the hosta-bull? I think she's finally gotten the concept of blowing her nose!

15 June 2007

Final Exit

Sometime after 9/11, NYC made a new law that buildings over a certain height had to have photoluminescent signage in all the stairwells and pointing to exits. So, my office building recently installed all of this fancy stuff so the City wouldn't come and fine us (and because it was the right thing to do). But what gets me is the required signage down at ground level. The doors from the fire stairs to the street exits all say "Final Exit". I'm sorry, but that seems unnecessarily dark and dire to me. Do you think the people who wrote the code know that Final Exit is a how-to guide for suicide and assisted euthanasia?

14 June 2007

No Green Paint

And it came to pass that they made a green as green as grass.*

We should have had Brush and Hush around the other day. W. spent the better part of two weekends painting our closet sized downstairs bathroom. When we moved into the house, the kitchen was freshly painted in a really pleasant just-right green. But the previous owners had put nails in the wall in a few places, and we wanted nails in different places, and so for nearly three years there have been a couple of spackled but unpainted patches in the kitchen. Since he had the paint stuff out, and the sellers had had the good sense to leave their leftover paint, well marked, W. thought he'd touch up those few spots. Perfection!

Then he decided to touch up a couple of dings in the adjoining green breakfast nook.

Oops. The breakfast nook is a different, darker shade of green. Observant folks that we are, WE HAD NEVER NOTICED THAT THERE WERE TWO SHADES OF GREEN HAPPENING. The two colors meet at an outside corner, and the difference is hard to see - you really have to think about it because you assume that the difference is due to the variation in light conditions. Those spots in that picture? It's the lighter green paint on the darker green paint.

Luckily, the clever sellers had also left the Benjamin Moore paint strip in a pile of house information, so we know that the kitchen is "van alen green" and the breakfast nook is "sherwood green" and we were able to get a quart of the "sherwood green". But still.

*Someday, when I'm feeling up to it, I will write a paean to Margaret Wise Brown. I do so love her books, The Color Kittens being one of them.

13 June 2007

CSA Week 2

Today's produce haul was:

  • Red Russian Kale
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Komatsuna
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Salad Mix
  • Arugula
  • Parsley
  • Strawberries

The salad mix included purslane! I wonder if they grew it specially, or just harvested the weed (which is what I did out at my mother's house a couple of weekends ago). For dinner tonight, we had salad with radishes and diced turnip (along side a grilled steak). The strawberries may be my breakfast tomorrow. For dinner tomorrow, we'll do a stir fry of chicken with the komatsuna tossed in at the end. And Friday will probably be pasta with broccoli rabe. I have to figure out what else we can do with the turnips.

But, so far so good.

Search, but you may not find

The specificity of these recent Google searches that landed people at my blog stuns me:

  • How to Train A Baby Magpie
  • What would happen if I lost 3 liters of blood
  • How are Don and Deirdre Imus these days

And what's more? I have no answers for any of them. I'm terribly sorry, guys.

12 June 2007

Beastly Mispronunciations

The ex-pen-koff skunscreen is sitting on the refrigedador.

(The sunscreen isn't really expensive, but it is sitting on the refrigerator because otherwise the small child tries to smear it all over herself by herself.)

11 June 2007

Reunion Rambling

This past weekend was my 25th college reunion. It was nice. I timed the car rides to after lunch on Friday and Sunday, and so Miss M. slept most of the way there and back - which let me listen to some new CDs without a small one asking for the kid music.

The campus looked wonderful and particularly well-kept. The weather was spectacular on Friday and Sunday, but it rained most of the day on Saturday. Even that was okay, though, because it reminded me that it had been raining when I'd visited the campus as a high school student, and that even in the rain the campus was so lovely that it was the only college I wanted to attend and so I applied early decision (and got in, luckily, because I wasn't prepared to mail off any more applications). I think it is the most beautiful campus in the United States, and if anything, it's only gotten more so in the past years. Or is that just the vaseline covered lens of history? Really I don't think so.

Some good friends weren't there, but plenty of others were - catching up was great. Miss M. rather pined for companionship of her own age, but because I'd had her so late in the game, there weren't many child peers in our class. She latched onto anyone smaller than an adult, and to some adults who were delighted to take off their shoes and "skate" with her through through the bubble machine bubbles at the Saturday night dinner. She was also pleased to climb into the top bunk of the bunk-bed in our dorm room, though I refused to let her sleep up there. And she loved hailing a golf cart for a joy ride - though I thought the young woman driving the cart was going to have a heart attack when Miss M. ran full speed ahead at the cart, yelling. Luckily she tripped and fell in the grass, impeding her forward progress.

The Sunday parade is always a festive and heartwarming display of community. This year, the oldest of the alumnae were from the class of 1932 - celebrating their 75th reunion - which means that they were 96-97 years old. None of them marched in the parade (they got the cool old cars), but some of the class of 1937 marched. Awesome, feisty old ladies. I look forward to being one of them.

08 June 2007

The Synchronicity of Ducks

I am not going to get into the whole thing of whether stealing a duck is wrong - although my child did once pilfer a lipstick tester from Sephora when she was about a year old, and I discovered it when we were loading her back into the carseat, and let me tell you, I wasn't about to return that tester that didn't even have a cover on it - but MotherGooseMouse has now written the Ten Commanducks and I need to address #2, namely thou shalt not make for thyself a DUCK.

Because once upon a time, I did make a duck. While in college, with my roommate, and likely fueled by Bruce Springsteen and vodka. And I had completely forgotten about said duck, until I recently examined a box marked "treasures" in the closet of my room at my mother's house and discovered the duck (and a lot of strange detritus).

Here she is, in all her papier-mâché glory.

Coincidentally, I am about to get on the road and drive up to my 25th college reunion. Alas, my roommate is not going to be there. And I'm leaving the duck home to hold down the fort.

07 June 2007

CSA Week 1

We joined a CSA this year. It's something I've wanted to do before, but it seemed daunting when it was just two of us and we were still living in the city. But last year, while talking to one of the parents at Miss M.'s daycare, I found out about a CSA that delivers to the next town over. Organic. Biodynamic. Almost local (the farm is about 100 miles away from us). We may not be able to eat everything ourselves, since Miss M.'s idea of a vegetable is frozen peas straight from the freezer, but we can share what we can't use.

Today was the first pick-up. We got:

  • Red Russian Kale
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Salad Mix
  • Arugula

Funnily enough, after we'd gotten home, I called a neighbor about something, and her husband said she was off picking up their vegetables. Turns out, they also joined the same CSA. Small world.

For dinner last night, we had a big salad with lettuce and arugula, diced turnips, sliced radishes, grape tomatoes (organic but far from local), leftover grilled chicken and some grated provolone. Dessert was local strawberries that I'd gotten at the Greenmarket in the morning. It was a perfect meal. Tonight, we'll do something like mixed sauteed greens with the kale, broccoli rabe and turnip greens.

I am looking forward to what the summer will bring.

06 June 2007


Okay - you'll have to click on this here image and check out the upper right paragraph headed "Seasoning". What I want to know is, since when is "sobeit" a word? It's "so be it", people. It's THREE words.

The New York Times is going to hell in a handbasket.

05 June 2007

Will wonders never cease?

The New York Post, of all things, now has an infertility blog - documenting the IVF journey of a male writer and his wife. My head exploded a little bit.

Of course, the reason I was reading the Post on line this morning was because I was looking for the review of ABT's new Sleeping Ugly, evil bitch that I am. Ah, the joy of other people's bad reviews.

Garden Mystery Solved

We moved into our house on August 1 a few years ago. Every day, every week I wandered around to see what we had in the garden, what had come with the house. I freed two big azaleas that had been overrun with a wild rose. I cut down vines that were choking the trees. The next spring brought daffodils, peonies, flowering quince, crocuses. Bit by bit, I'm working at making it mine. I ripped out a pachysandra bed where I wanted a kitchen garden. We’ve moved shrubs here and there. I love working with the existing "furniture" but moving it to better please me. I can't imagine having ripped out the mature rhodys, the huge and shapely burning bush, the whimsical persian lilac standard.

The house is on a hill, and the bed below the house and above the flagstone patio had been completely overrun with wild tawny daylilies, a nice small leafed hosta, and the insufferable bishop's week. Last year, I ripped out about 25% along the bottom - discarding the weeds, and repurposing the hosta (everywhere) and the daylilies (across the street on town property in my personal neighborhood beautification project). This year, I've tackled the next 25% - I'm working my way up the hill. And it's finally starting to look like something!

The pictures are of those new perennial beds on the hill. The first shows the alliums I planted last fall - and didn't even remember that I'd done so until they were up sort of enough to identify them. The second is a fancy peach colored iris that my brother-in-law gave me last spring. It's surrounded by a crane's bill geranium, some alchemilla, and some nepeta that isn't blooming yet.

Bit by bit, we push back at the entropy.

04 June 2007

Ms. Morph

This YouTube video has cropped up for me a couple of times in the past couple of days - specifically at We Are Not Prisoners and ArtsJournal. So you've probably seen it too, but it's too good not to share again. It's eerie and lovely, haunting and odd. Enjoy!

02 June 2007

If you wash on Saturday...

Miss M and I are visiting my mother this weekend. When here, for bedtime reading we usually choose a couple of books that reside here (I shlep enough; it's nice that books don't have to travel). One of these is an old Mother Goose - "The Tall Book of Mother Goose", with illustrations by one Feodor Rojankovsky, published in 1942, when my mother was seven. That's a roundabout way of saying that it had been her book. It's a funny edition - it includes extra verses that aren't in any of the several other Mother Goose editions that we have. For instance, "one two buckle my shoe" goes all the way to twenty, instead of stopping at ten. "Goosey goosey gander" ends with an old man who would not say his prayers and so gets thrown down the stairs. And there are lots of the more obscure poems, my favorite of which is a day of the week washing ditty - which seems particularly apropos this week given Niobe's Wednesday's Child post earlier this week:

They that wash on Monday
Have all the week to dry;
They that wash on Tuesday
Are not so much awry;
They that wash on Wednesday
Are not so much to blame;
They that wash on Thursday
Wash for shame;
They that wash on Friday
Wash in need;
And they that wash on Saturday,
Oh! they are sluts indeed.

Sluts? Really? I'm a slut because I'm a working mother and Saturday is when I have time enough to do the laundry? And what about (looks about furtively) the fact that I do laundry on Sunday too? I guess I'm a slut and a heathen.

01 June 2007

Snow Leopard

My dæmon is a snow leopard, and I share that with Lord Asriel.

The first book of Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials is being made into a movie, due for release in December. I loved the trilogy - Pullman makes a complete world, bridging reality and fantasy with strong interesting characters, one of whom is a feisty 12 year old girl. I loved the books so much that I replaced two of my three mass-market paperbacks with hardcover dust-jacketed editions. I am leery about the movie. The books are so dense with intrigue and detail that of necessity will be left out of the movie, and that will be a disappointment.

I can think of only one movie that seamlessly recreated a book, so that you could see the book, read the movie, read the book, see the movie, and not be disappointed - and that was the Merchant Ivory film of Forster's A Room With A View. Heavenly movie, exquisitely done.

Nobody's Fool, with Paul Newman, was a wonderful movie. Years later, I read Richard Russo's book - and was retrospectively disappointed in the movie - so much detail in the book had been left out of the movie. I know it has to be that way, but I still expect perfection.

What other movies are out there that really maintain the density and detail of the book from which they came?

P.S. "Modest, Assertive, Spontaneous, Solitary and Shy" is a pretty spot-on description of me, if I may say so myself.