31 January 2008

Landmarks of NYC

One of the tiny things I bought at Muji a couple of weeks ago was NYC in a bag. Miss M. has recently identified two little known NYC landmarks:

#1 = the Pirate State Building
#2 = Mr. Willow's Hat Shop

Mr. Wright is probably rolling in his grave at #2.

Moky is still in the hospital. It turns out that she's got several tiny brain metastases. It is apparently treatable with radiation, and if the schedule works out she'll have her head tattooed today and will then be released.

And I'm sick - low grade fever, aches, gloppy eyes and a queasy stomach. Miss M. was flabberghasted that I took her to school in my nightgown - with jeans under and a coat over - but "Look what my mama is wearing!"

29 January 2008


My mother is still there. Still sitting around in cold hallways for tests. Still no answers from anyone. Still eating terrible hospital food. Still bored. Tonight will be her third night in the hospital.

While we were waiting in the ER the other day, I remembered a tale once told me by my boss. He was in the hospital for something - long before I met him - and claims to have been abandoned by the nurses. He got out of bed, marched up to the nursing station with his ass hanging out of his hospital gown, and shouted "Who do you have to fuck to get an enema around here?" I relayed this to her, thinking it might be a way to get some action, but it's not quite her style.

Enough about my mother. My boss is a major character, and we had a couple of priceless go-rounds today.

I was in his office this morning, having one of those random conversations that required several trips to the dictionary. First we had to look up "bob", to see if "plumb bob" was one of the definitions (I thought it might only be a plumb bob if the plumb preceded the bob). Then we had to look up "knurled" because he had never heard that word and the afore-mentioned plumb bob had a knurled knob on the end (actually, there were two plumb bobs on his desk - he seems to be collecting them). And then we had to look up "poofta" (or "pufta" or "poufter" or however you want to spell it). I can't remember who I was talking about, but I called someone a poofta and he claimed to have never heard the word. Given that he's been involved in dance in NYC for fifty years, and avoided the draft by claiming to be gay, I was quite surprised. And then, poofta wasn't in the dictionary we were using. I guess we should have hauled out the compact OED, but the type is too damned small.

Later, I googled it. Urban Dictionary came through with a couple of different spellings, so I printed one of the pages out to show to him. The next time I saw him, I handed him the printed page. He went immediately to the Google ad photo on the page - which I hadn't even noticed - and said to me, completely guilelessly, "What's a dick for?" I was hysterical, convulsed with laughter, and he was clueless.

You have to understand, this is a potty-mouthed man once succinctly defined as an "impish motherfucker".

After I recovered my composure, I said to him: "I don't think it's up to me to tell you what a dick is for."

Maybe he's losing his edge.

28 January 2008

Amputee Mermaid

Miss M. came home from school one day recently with a nice picture of a mermaid that she'd drawn. Once home, she asked for scissors: "I want to cut out my mermaid". So I gave her a pair of scissors (the ones that have now been archived due to the finger-snipping incident last weekend - they are frightening sharp for kid's scissors). Apparently she was stumped as to how to cut around the arms, because the mermaid ended up without any. Oops.

My mother is in the hospital. It seems that she had a mini-stroke yesterday - a TIA, the kind that resolves without permanent symptoms. She was sitting at the kitchen table while I was making lunch, when she started speaking gibberish. She recognized that she was having trouble speaking, so she tried to write - same result. So I took her to the emergency room, where they ran some tests and admitted her. The gibberish abated, even before we got to the the ER, which is good. But now she's being pushed hither and yon for an echo of this, a cat scan of that, an MRI of the other. I'm glad I was there at her house when it happened. If she'd been home alone, not talking to anyone, not trying to write anything, she might never have known anything was screwy.

If bad things happen in threes, am I due for a third trip to the emergency room this week? I hope not.

26 January 2008

Why I Like Having a Cellar

Lots of people like having a cellar so that they can go to warehouse stores and buy many many many rolls of toilet paper. I do that.

But this morning?

I just ordered a case of carnaroli rice. That's 24 pounds of rice.

We like risotto.

I'm glad we don't live in an apartment anymore.

25 January 2008

Guiliani. NOT!

In today's paper, the good grey lady issued her endorsements for both of the presidential primaries, blue and red. What was striking and wonderful was the complete indictment of Mr. Guiliani - I do so love some schadenfreude on my morning commute.

It's been a conundrum to me, and to many other New Yorkers, to see how well Guiliani had been playing in the middle of the country. Happily, he's crashing and burning, and the anti-endorsement in the Times can only add fuel to that funeral pyre:

Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.

24 January 2008

One Crow for Sorrow

Yesterday a meme rocketed around the interblogs like I've never seen one move so fast. I saw it first at Niobe's; she'd gotten it from Painted Maypole.

It goes like this:

1. Click on this link.
The title of the page is the name of your band.

2. Click on this link.
The last four words of the final quotation on the page are the title of your album.

3. Click on this link.
The third picture is your album cover.

4. Take the picture, add your band name and album title and ta da!

It is eerie, no? I'll spare you my explication, but the translation of the band name is, more-or-less, "well born", and a single crow augers unhappiness.

PS: Artwork by Sheri Burhoe, from Flickr. The crow is available at her Etsy shop.

23 January 2008

25 Books, part one

One of the other things I managed to get done last weekend was to organize the books, that is, my unread books. They'd gotten scattered hither and yon around the house, and some were (gasp!) commingling with the already read books. There are now 25 books on my bedside table - six in progress, and the rest waiting patiently.

The books I'm in the middle of - the left hand pile - run the gamut from things that have been kicking around for a while (like since LAST Christmas) to stuff that arrived this past Christmas.

The Whore's Child (Richard Russo) is a book of short stories that I acquired mistakenly thinking I hadn't read it. Apparently, I can't remember a damned thing, because I have already read it, but I'm reading it again, because he's great, and slowly, because it's short stories.

Organic Housekeeping (Ellen Sandbeck) was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, who knows that I'm a slovenly housekeeper because she's seen the dustbunnies. It is actually quite amusing - besides what you might expect (use white vinegar to clean almost everything), it has practical wisdom like:

Rather than adding chemicals to the air to mask an unpleasant odor, try to hunt down the source of the odor and eliminate it. (This rule should not be applied to family members or pets. They may simply need to be bathed or have their socks or diapers changed.)

Stones from the River (Ursula Hegi) is a novel I bought a while ago on a friend's recommendation. For some reason, it's taking me a long time to get through it, even though I quite like it and I find it to be well-written.

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford was a Christmas present last year. Oops. But it's letters, and therefore can be picked up and put down, which is my justification for not having finished it yet. She was a major character, the Communist branch of the Mitford clan and a muckraking writer who knew everyone. And her epistolary prose is rough and idiosyncratic and utterly charming, even when you have no idea what she's talking about:

Anyway I loved getting yrs of 18 Aug. Vive la "deep depression!" Serves her bloody well right: might be as salutary, if not more so, than Maya's knee-cap job?

The River Cottage Meat Book (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall): yeah, I read cookbooks in bed - wanna make something of it? This one is fascinating - both a paean to good meat and good farming and good butchering, and a loving primer on how to cook that good meat.

Vegetable Harvest (Patricia Wells) is yes, another cookbook! It was a Christmas present, this year. She has a wonderful sensibility, and her recipes are generally spot on. In case you're wondering, this is not a vegetarian cookbook - rather, it's a vegetable-centric general cookbook.

22 January 2008

The Three Day Weekend

This past weekend, a three day weekend, we managed to pack a whole mess of stuff into the 72 hours. I got a haircut. I made it to the bank to close an account that I've needed to close for months (but had to do in person). I even bought new jeans. The child managed to snip off a tiny piece of her (left) index finger with kiddie scissors, necessitating a trip to the emergency room (where, by the time they saw her, her finger had pretty much stopped bleeding). We took Miss M. to the Museum of Natural History. I had coffee with another blogger who happened to be in NYC (well, she had coffee and I had tea). I went shopping in Soho (and even bought some funny things at Muji). Miss M. had a friend come over, with her mom, who I quite like. And we cooked a bunch of things.

  • Pink cupcakes, because someone I know has been obsessed with Pinkalicious lately.
  • Two loaves of challah, because I ended up with extra egg yolks after the cupcakes.
  • Beet soup, to bring for lunch, with a slice of challah.
  • And a gratin for dinner, loosely using a recipe that had been in Sunday's Times (I used swiss cheese instead of blue, and frozen CSA kale and spinach). It was sort of like a crustless quiche with a cornmeal topping. Ill revise it if I make it again - it needed some flour in the topping.

There was other stuff accomplished, but I'll be damned if I can remember what.

How was your weekend?

21 January 2008

Three Is A Magic Number

When Mayberry Mom and Motherhood Uncensored put out a call for a virtual Baby Shower for MotherGooseMouse and her impending baby boy, they asked for posts on raising boys, and boy-oriented song lists for the playlist to end all playlists.

Well, I can't offer any advice or commentary on raising boy children, since I've only got a girl, but Julie? Teach him to cook. 'Cause everyone needs to eat, and women love a man who can cook.

But I loved coming up with some songs for the the song list. I plugged "boy" into the iTunes search window and came up with many songs by The Five Blind Boys and the Beach Boys, Jane Siberry's album "When I Was a Boy" and 22 versions of "The Little Drummer Boy". I whittled it down to a manageable handful:

  • Pony Boy (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Boy From Tupelo (Emmylou Harris)
  • The boy who never cried (Steve Earle)
  • Pretty Boy Floyd (Bob Dylan)
  • Po' Boy (Bob Dylan)
  • The Jones Boy (The Mills Brothers)
  • Winin' Boy Blues (Leon Redbone)
  • Indian Boy (Paul Pena)
  • The Boy In The Bubble (Paul Simon)
  • Where the Boys Go (The Rolling Stones)
  • Danny Boy (Rufus Wainwright)
  • The Only Living Boy In New York (Simon & Garfunkel)

And then I threw in my favorite song about the number three: Three is a Magic Number (Bob Dorough).

Julie, lots of luck and love to you and your baby boy. And, I think you might need a new handle. Mother Goose Mouse only accounts for two of your three children. Maybe MotherGooseMouseMonkey?

19 January 2008

Factoid Fifteen

Okay, I'm calling the trademark attorney next week - I think "vacation underwear" may be intellectual property to which I need to make a claim.

Slouching Mom thought #10 wasn't about me, that it was not about me. But I disagree, because one summer I actually asked my brother, who was working as a kitchen flunky at a local yacht club, to get me a job as a waitress there and he refused because he thought that I would have been a terrible waitress, about which he's right.

And anyway, it does tell you something about me - in the same way that the statement "I don't have brown eyes" tells you something about me. I remember once having an argument with someone about television and the Nielsen ratings - a hypothetical argument, that is. He thought that if you received a Nielsen questionnaire, but that you never watched television, you shouldn't return the questionnaire because it would skew the ratings - taking the position that the questionnaire was about what you were watching, not whether you were watching. I thought (still do) the opposite: returning the blank form indicating that you'd watched nothing was equally about what you were watching, that is, nothing.

Anyway, here's a fifteenth factoid, for Slouchy, ever so tangentially related to that #10:

  1. At the end of the summer of 1975, in sailing class at a different local yacht club, I received an award for "Best Intermediary". They meant "Best Intermediate", as in the level I was sailing at, but someone got it wrong. I have an engraved silverplate bowl to show for it.

18 January 2008

Set, zeven, tujuh, sju, sete, saba, saith*

Once upon a time, I did that seven random things meme. And then Aliki also tagged me for it, so now I'm up to fourteen. And once again, I'm skipping the rules.

  1. I have a master's degree in ethnomusicology. It is, perhaps, the most useless degree ever, though it's good at cocktail parties.
  2. I've owned only two cars in my 47 years on the planet.
  3. I've never been a waitress.
  4. I have worn contact lenses since I was about 15. My favorite ancillary benefit to them is that I don't cry when I chop onions. It's always a shock to whack into an onion while wearing my glasses.
  5. I'm a blanket hogger. I have a roll left, roll right technique that simultaneously creates a cocoon around me and steals all the covers from those that share the bed.
  6. My two favorite lines are: "I am very good at what I do" and "I am full of good ideas". They strike terror into my husband, particularly the latter.
  7. I practice a little-known clothing management technique called "vacation underwear". I figure, even the most decrepit pair of underpants can be worn once more, so I take them on vacation and discard them along the way. That way, they go out in style and I don't have to bring them home dirty.

And a bonus, but not about me: The online dictionary where I found most of the translations of seven for the title has “Portuguese” spelled wrong.

* Catalan, Dutch, Indonesian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swahili, Welsh

17 January 2008

Where What When

  1. Living in New Haven, not yet 3 years old, when Kennedy was assassinated (1963).
  2. On a family vacation in Montauk, when Richard Nixon resigned (1974).
  3. Away at Exeter for summer school, when the infamous NYC blackout occurred (1977).
  4. In a college dorm, visiting my boyfriend, when the US hockey team improbably beat the USSR in the Olympics (1980).
  5. Just beginning graduate school, when flight KAL007 was shot down (1983).
  6. In my mother’s kitchen, when I learned that my grandfather (her father) had died (1984).
  7. At work, at a downtown white shoe law firm, when the Challenger exploded (1986).
  8. Working at my first non-profit job, when the stock market crashed (1987).
  9. In the stadium, when the Mets last won the World Series (1986).
  10. In San Francisco at the tail end of a California/Oregon driving trip, when Princess Diana died (1997).
  11. At home, getting ready for work, when the planes hit the World Trade Center (2001).
  12. On the crosstown bus, when I got the call that IVF#2 had failed (2002).
  13. Walking up Broadway, when I found out that my CVS was normal and my baby was fine (2003).

I don't really remember #1. But I'm the only one that remembers #12 & #13 - that is, the moment of transmission, not the news in and of itself.

15 January 2008

Empathy in Health Care

My mother's oncologist is a person rather lacking in empathy and social skills. The medical care seems to be fine - my mother's coming up on the third anniversary of her diagnosis with Stage IV lung cancer - but the human aspect of the care has been frustrating and occasionally infuriating.

Last week, in the Science section of the Times, there was an article on the need for oncologists to act compassionately towards their patients. In a mad moment, I ripped the piece out of the paper and dropped it in the mail to my mother's doctor, with an unsigned note along the lines of "Perhaps empathy could be your New Year's resolution".

My mother's reaction to this was part titillation, part horror: "You did what?"

Well, last night my phone rang 'round about 8:00. It was my mother. She'd just gotten a phone call from - (dramatic pause) - her oncologist. The doctor called to see how she was, and to remind her that she needs to schedule a scan to check the status of the cancer. The phone call, unprompted, after dinner, was completely unprecedented.

Do you think that perhaps the doctor took the article to heart?

12 January 2008

Super Hero

"I'm in a disguise. I'm Super Hero Mulan."

(Yes, those are underpants on her head.)

11 January 2008

Clothing Wars

Okay, she dresses herself. Often, this takes mismatched to epic proportions, or veers into inappropriateness (like the tank top on Christmas Eve that prompted my brother to say that she looked like she was off to a poker game in a trailer park). But, it's a battle I'm usually not interested in fighting. Her spunk shows in her wardrobe. And hell, why not wear stripes and plaid when you're FOUR?

Occasionally, though, there are battles.

On Wednesday, she dressed in a pair of white tights with multi-colored hearts, and a black shirt with three ballerinas along the bottom edge. And nothing else. "I don't want to wear a skirt - the ballerinas won't show." "I don't want to wear a skirt - the hearts on my tights will be hidden." Finally, I strong-armed her into an elastic waist skirt, man-handled her into the car seat, and strapped her in so she couldn't remove the skirt. She howled all the way to daycare. She wailed all the way across the parking lot. She cried all the way up the stairs. When we got to the classroom, she stripped off the skirt, threw it across the room and curled up on the floor to sob into her cubby. I left, wishing the school kitchen were stocked with a pitcher of martinis instead of a vat of oatmeal. A teacher talked her into her skirt and all was well.

At day's end, the black shirt was filthy - covered with dabs of paint and big white smears of something. Of course, she announced that she wanted to wear the black shirt again. Of course, I told her it needed to be washed. It went in the laundry basket.

Thursday, the first words out of her mouth were "I want to wear my ballerina shirt". "But it's dirty - you can't wear it." Another clothing battle ensued. However, this time she won, because she totally got my soft spot. "Mommy, I want to wear a black shirt and blue jeans, just like you." Yup. It's my uniform. Black top. Blue jeans. Nearly every day. How could I resist? So off she went to school in her blue jeans and her filthy black ballerina shirt.

And today? Jeans and a pink shirt, no squabbles. Go figure.

09 January 2008


Christmas is truly over: the tree got picked up from the curb this morning. And since all of my handcrafted gifts have been distributed, and the "pay it forward" prizes have been mailed, it's time for the reveal.

A while back, I came across Alterknits, a book of offbeat knitting projects, which included instructions for a tote bag made out of an old sweater. I loved the idea. Some years ago, I had the idea to make throw pillows out of old sweaters. And one of my favorite baby presents was a blanket made of felted squares of old sweaters. So I started haunting eBay and Goodwill for appealing cheap wool sweaters, and got to work.

I ended up making six tote bags - all different. One had a lining and an outside pocket, two had webbing handles, some had button/loop closures.

And it turned out that the cut-off sleeves and collars were useful too: I turned them into little bags, for an iPod or cellphone or whatever. Of the two purple ones here, the smaller one was made from the turtleneck of a sweater and the larger one was the forearm part of a sleeve (turned inside out).

The whole project was a lot of fun - even if I did have to run the washing machine over and over again with HOT water. And the cellar ended up full of lint. But I was enormously pleased with myself, and feedback from the recipients has been good: my sister-in-law is worried that she's going to wear hers out from overuse.

If you're at all interested or inspired, the directions for these totebags are here.

08 January 2008


It’s dusk at five o’clock. The sun is down, but the sky is not yet dark. My train passes a cemetery, a long expanse of graves quiet in the almost night. The graveyard slopes up and away from the train tracks, and the sun has set behind that rise. The trees and bushes among the graves, skeletal in their winter undress, are silhouetted black against the dim grayish blue sky, and as the train moves, they move too. But because of the distance between the tracks and the top of the hill, the near trees appear to be moving faster than the ones in the background – a layered monochromatic beauty unspooling in front of me.

07 January 2008

Pirates and Princesses

I rail a lot about the insidiousness of the Disney Princess empire. Despite having no Princess toys at home (beyond that disembodied head of Ariel, which is at the bottom of the toy box and hasn't been looked at in quite awhile), my child knows all the Princesses, and their consorts, and what color eyes, hair and dress each has. She hasn't asked me for a Princess doll, but many of the girls in her daycare class have them, and bring them in for naptime. ("Home" toys are not allowed, except for nap.)

I was pleasantly surprised when a friend of mine gave her a Groovy Girl doll for Christmas - I'd never seen one before, but it's just a doll. No breasts, no attitude, not plastic. A winsome expression on her face, and a mop of curly yarn hair. She adopted it right away and carries it everywhere. So what happened when she returned to daycare after a 10 day break? The Groovy Girl has been dubbed a Princess.

She also, like Javelin's Z., got a pirate ship for Christmas. Over the weekend, we let it and its many little bits out of the box and Daddy helped her set it up. The ship came with two pirates. She gleefully announced "I'm Jack Sparrow, and you can be Will Turner!"

So, her Groovy Girl has become a princess, but she can pretend to be a male pirate.

It's a conundrum of being.

06 January 2008

Another Idea for Donating Books

I've become very impulsive about making donations and responding to requests. When Oh, The Joys posted last month about sending books to a school library in New Orleans, I was on it in a flash. And an oddly similar request came to me the other day, when I got an email from a friend, forwarding on an email from a friend of his, soliciting books for a Navajo library. I promptly bundled up a handful of kid's books - all new but duplicates of ones we already had - and will mail the package tomorrow. And I asked Mark to ask his friend if I could publish her letter. She agreed, so it's below. Can you help too?

This fall, I found out that the Navajo Nation Library System was able to get space and staff for a new branch in Kayenta, Arizona. Back in 1980, I worked as librarian for the Navajo Nation for three years, and we had a small library in Window Rock, and a smaller branch in Navajo, New Mexico. It was always a dream to add on more branches, but money for libraries is hard to get on the reservation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs didn’t consider public libraries to be within its domain, so it would not fund the libraries, leaving it up to the tribe to find the money. And money was always scarce.

We held fundraisers as much as we could, selling mutton stew and fry bread at events, and holding Christmas craft shows. We had a friends group that helped out, and people were generous with book donations. And that helped us get more books into people’s hands and hearts. We also faced three disastrous floods during my years there, and many more building-related catastrophes after my term. When I left to take another job, Irving Nelson became director, and under his 25 years of management, the library finally got a nice building, space, staff, and is now providing a wealth of services, including summer reading programs, special collections of Navajo history you cannot find anywhere else, and computer access to the Internet.

Irving and I have kept in touch, and I was happy to hear he was finally able to get space donated to open a new branch in Kayenta. He’s been scrambling to get furniture and staffing, and of course, books.

Here’s a photo of Irving getting ready to unload the furniture that was donated by ANEW. And here’s one of Trina, the new staff person for Kayenta, and Irving, taking a break.

When I asked how I could help, he said that getting a good collection of children’s books was the most important thing on his list, since he didn’t get additional funding to buy more books for this new branch.

So here’s your chance to help. It’s easy. Go down to your local book store, and find a kid’s book – a colorful picture book, an easy reader, maybe a kid’s science book or natural history or historical book. Something new and colorful – think “what would be really attractive to kids, what would they like to read, what would keep them coming back to the library?” Buy it, wrap it in a box for mailing, and mail it to:

Mr. Irving Nelson, Program Supervisor
Office of Navajo Nation Library
P.O. Box 9040
Window Rock, Arizona 86515

Or if you need a physical address (like for UPS):

Mr. Irving Nelson, Program Supervisor
Office of Navajo Nation Library
Az Highway 264
Post Office Loop Road
Window Rock, Arizona 86515

Include a note, seal it up, and pat yourself on the back. The kids will appreciate it. I have sugarplum visions of Irving needing a pickup truck to bring back the boxes from the post office.

Thanks for reading this, and thank you even more if you decide to play along with me on this.

You can find out more about the library and its services here, and if you want to get in touch with Irving
Nelson directly, he’s at irvingnelson@navajo.org. If you would like to send a check, please make it out to the Friends of the Navajo Nation Library.

I've started a wish list at Amazon.com of great books to buy. Go here for book ideas!

(One last word -- Please DON'T send Irving and his staff your old books, your great collections of National Geographics, or those computer manuals on your desk. Trust me when I tell you that they had at least three sets of National Geographic when I left, and I can just imagine how many there are now. We are looking to build a fresh exciting collection, one that tempts kids to come in and stay. Thanks!)

05 January 2008


This morning at breakfast, Miss M. asked for Pirate Booty. I said no. She persisted: Mommy, if you give me Pirate Booty, I'll never ask you for a baby sister again.

(And no, I didn't give in.)

03 January 2008

Reading the Paper

They keep saying that the printed newspaper is going to go the way of all things. If that really happens, I will be in a saddened condition, because reading the physical paper is a far different experience than reading the news on a computer screen. I know that I would never have seen this gem of an AP story had I not been holding the good grey lady in my hands on the train this morning:

When the meal a man was cooking at his aunt’s house in Hartlepool caught fire this week, he grabbed the nearest thing from a pile of laundry to put it out: his aunt’s billowing, powder blue, size XL underpants. He ran them under the faucet and tossed them onto the flames, smothering the fire and saving the kitchen, according to a spokesman for the local fire brigade. The fire official said that using a large, wet cloth to cover a grease fire was a sound principle and that with underwear, “clearly it depends on what size you are.”

On the other hand, I probably would have read Marie-Jeanne's obituary with or without newsprint in hand, just because she was a Balanchine dancer and I pay attention to that sort of thing. In case you missed it, she had rather a marvelous entry into this world:

Marie-Jeanne Pelus — she dropped her surname professionally because she thought balletgoers might find it awkward — was born in Manhattan on her family’s kitchen table after her mother, a French milliner, went into labor while her father, an Italian chef, was preparing dinner.

I wonder, though, what happened to the placenta?

02 January 2008

The Fruitcake, Unveiled

I feel I owe this to you. So, if you're feeling not faint of stomach, you can check Flickr to see the photos of the unveiling.

01 January 2008

Desire :: Regret

In November, the subway posters from Poetry in Motion were running a poem by Vera Pavlova, one that had been published in the New Yorker last summer.

If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.

The end of one year and beginning of another often inspires reflection alongside the usual resolutions for the future. What do you regret? What did you desire? What can you recall? And what do you desire?

A happy and healthy new year to one and all.