Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fractions, Easy

Sometimes I fantasize about going to work all day, every day and socking away my leave time. Katy has two days off from school this week for parent/teacher conferences. She's signed up for a nature center day camp from 9 to 3p each day. Lexi was dramatically sick with stomach flu or the equivalent all night long Monday night. So she and I stayed home Tuesday. Wednesday she was at school in the am but then didn't feel well at lunchtime. She's still poorly today, home with Nod until I come through on my way to pick up Katy. I'm wishing I could put in more face time at work this week. We do what we can.

Which reminds me of Jon Stewart's riff on Obama's speech. The O quote is "Americans don't do what is easy, they do what is necessary." JS responds, "Have you met Americans?!" And then shows off a jar of Baconnaise, "for those who want to get heart disease but are too lazy to fry the bacon."

I hope there will be a massive outbreak of responsible behavior in my country but I tend to think JS has a point.

New topic: Katy is learning a little multiplication -- she's excited. Me too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Grab Bag

Here is the LiveJournal “Fans of Emma Thompson” page. If you read it in the next couple of days you will find her latest (supposedly) dashed off missive to Finch’s Quarterly. (I don’t know what Finch’s Quarterly is but she makes reference to men’s upscale fashion. So maybe it’s a tasteful British Gentlemen’s Quarterly equiv.? Fashionable men who like to read Emma’s reflections; where can I get one?) Down further is a piece from the Orlando Sentinel about her movie busy-ness in the next year or so. The next Nanny McPhee starts shooting sometime soon with ET and Maggie Gyllenhall and who knows who else. It’s all very exciting. Did I miss Harvey already? Dang.

Whiskey, love?
The Danish told me that she is cultivating her whiskey connoisseur side. The lovely Jezebel told me about a big annual whiskey tasting on the SS Balclutha in the Bay Area. I wasn’t able to find any info on that one for this year. But here’s a link for Whiskey Fest 2009 in San Fran this coming fall.

Kansas to DC... or not
As the Obama wave swept in, our governor was rumored to be on the short list for everything from V.P. to Secty of Agriculture (I guess she should know her wheat/corn/soy). Now she’s being talked up as a strong possible for Secty of Health and Human Services (by no less than the NYTimes). (The phrase “Health and Human Services” makes me think of Clinton’s appointee: Donna Shalala. I don’t know a thing about her accomplishments in office but I like to say her name.)

I might prefer Sebelius to stay here in Kansas and be our democratic face. I like her performance as governor (barring an excessive fondness for gambling money -- more casinos!)and we hate to lose even one democrat in this state. She and the Republican reps have been squabbling over the state budget and there was some loud wondering whether state employees and state tax refunds would be paid come the end of this week. They resolved that Wednesday so I am excused from being an unpaid serf. I am really hoping that the Obama team can make some substantive strides toward universal health coverage during these four years. I don’t know whether Sebelius is dynamic enough to rely on in this area. Good luck, Gov. S., whatever happens.

Plans for Fun
The kids each have a birthday party to go to this weekend. And I have a friend to go with to see Slumdog Millionaire. That's the one Oscar nominated movie I want to see before the awards. I don't know if I'll watch the awards but they have successfully imparted an urgency to my desire to see it. So the weekend is shaping up. Hopefully Nod and I will get lucky and then it'll be perfect. Have a good weekend yall.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vacay with Oomph

S.F. was flirty and chilly and all I had to do was have fun. Wow, it was great. Glittery sunny misty rainy cold solid pavement lefty eucalyptus urbanitude. I saw five good friends and met some new friendly folks and felt like a social being.

I walked in the Ferry Bldg, Golden Gate Park, North Beach, Chinatown, the Castro, the Financial District, Dolores Park, the Mission. There was a tedious trip to the airport and back when the rain prevented me from flying out. Lucky for me, my host and hostess were up for another night of sheltering me. It's clear that S.F. just didn't want to let me go.

In all senses of the word I was thoroughly entertained. The only thing missing was a courtesan. I’ll have to set that up for next time. I seemed to do well consuming one perfect thing at a time. One perfect cream puff at Beard Papa in the gourmet food court (that phrase does not do it justice) of the Westfield San Francisco Centre. One perfect mocha at CafĂ© du Nord’s new next-door coffee shop. One perfect cocktail, a side car at the MakeOut Room. Josh Kornbluth (in person!) made me laugh so hard I cried enough to make my collar soggy. We saw the beautiful lights of the city from the top corner of Dolores Park on Saturday night (Valentine’s Day). I found that the city’s geography was still accessible in my brain at least in the broad outline.

The Danish treated me to all sorts of wonderful experiences. I am grateful, as they would say at the cafe. The Danish and her husband Ronin keep each other laughing, it seemed there was always a low level burbling whenever they were in the same place. It was inspiring, I’ve already asked Nod to make me laugh for our anniversary.

I got up just shy of 4am to catch a shuttle van to the airport. Not recommended. I will cab it to the BART station next time. Happily the planes were going out even though the rain had started again by the time I was at the airport. I was pretty tired by the time I got back home. Nod welcomed me with enthusiasm and sent me off to nap. What a good guy. It was delicious to see the girls again. I think Katy grew taller and Lexi's bangs grew too long while I was out of town.

I'm wondering how I can get some momentum started here. I am going to tackle my room (tackling the whole house is too intimidating). I am going to change the furnace filter (or nag Nod until he does it). I am going to break out some boxes and pack up or pitch the unused clothes and miscellaneous detritus in our room.

Recommended: Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox. An enthusiastic and somewhat typo ridden review is here. I found it at Borderlands Books, a wonderful sci fi, fantasy, horror bookstore on Valencia St. Ahhh, SF bookstores. The book begins with one quotation from Anne Rice and one from A Confederacy of Dunces. I just had to see what the author made of that mix and amazingly he really lived up to those inspirational works. I should admit now that I've never liked Confederacy. It's too grotesque for me. But it certainly made an impression when I read it and I heartily approve of Fox's take. I also finished Have Mercy On Us All. It was very stylish and Parisian and courtly almost.

Edited To Add: If you should visit the book review link I have for the vampire book, beware of the author link. It looked like it was going to be distinctly NSFW. I don't know whether that's what he does now or whether the url has been gobbled up by someone salacious.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bounce Back

Last week's end of cycle hormone whiplash is documented here. It's done now but I wanted to keep the details in case I have trouble again next month. It was dreary. I plan to seek medical assistance if the pattern recurs.

Friday 2/06
Today’s headache is located in the left back upper quadrant of my skull. In addition I have tenderness on the left side underneath my occipital bump. Each little twinge seems worthy of mention at the moment. The headache retreated last night and I had hoped I was free. Urf.

Noon now and no headache. I am pleased but suspicious, holding off on the celebratory jig for the moment.

Maybe I’ll jig later, we’re going to the family dance at Katy’s school tonight. I have instead celebrated my lack of a headache by eating salt water taffy all afternoon.

Family dance = success. We only stayed a little while because youngest child wilted at 7:30. It’s a long day for a four year old. But it was fun to see how packed the school gym was. The kids were really excited about dancing.

Headache is gone now. I did have one on Saturday. I didn’t have one yesterday until I started weeping during a sermon and couldn’t stop. Ugh. Four days of headaches and a dramatic attack of the weepies at church indicates wonky hormones to me. Cut it out, hormones. (I wonder if I’ll like the hot flashes any better. Maybe I’ll get enraged mood swings too.)

“She’s a good old worker and a good old pal
15 miles on the Erie Canal”
I recognize this song but was never required to sing it. Katy and Lexi both have learned it in their music classes. I find my daughters’ rendition perfectly adorable.

Hey! I’m going to San Francisco tomorrow and I’m going to see my friend who’s known me since 13 and run around and ride buses and stroll streets and all that. It’s exciting!

Fred Vargas is the French author of mystery novels with a rumpled illogical police inspector protagonist. I'm reading a very good one in translation (Have Mercy On Us All). I wonder if I'm tough enough to read it one in French. Me and my dictionary that is. Maybe I'll see if I can get one through the library.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sight and Scent

For all the redheads out there... Lovely!

Boys and cologne, a tricky combo. Yesterday as I was picking my daughter up from after-school care at her elementary school, I saw a shocking sight. A ten year old (my best guess) boy carrying a bottle of cologne down the hallway. Like he was going to refresh his signature scent. I am reminded of this because just at this very moment I am being pained by my office manager’s grandson’s CKOne or similar. And all of this reminds me of the disgusting scent of male dorm rooms overlaid with Polo. I think boy toys should be spritzed with the perfume of their sugar mama's choice. But the rest should just leave it alone.

Maybe I'm overgeneralizing. Do you know any men who wear scent in an aesthetically pleasing manner?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More and more

More to read, may we never run out…

Some time ago I mentioned the blog of an American expat in Sweden. She’s a writer and a mom of four. She met her Swedish hubby online, and emigrated. If I don’t like the weather, sometimes I check in to see how cold or dark it is in her town. Her domain name makes me smile every time I think of it: Mmm!

I have found Language Hat and lost it two or three times, following recommendations from other bloggers. It is an agreeably peculiar and urbane amateur linguistics site. The commenters are a tight knit bunch with plenty of in jokes but they seem to be kind to passers by as well. I find about a third of the discussions interest me. L. Hat posted an Updike poem when the news came in of the author’s death. I think I’d read it before back in the misty past. Bee has been thinking poetically and I feel like following suit.

A Rescue

Today I wrote some words that will see print.
Maybe they will last "forever" in that
someone will read them, their ink making
a light scratch on his mind, or hers.
I think back with greater satisfaction
upon a yellow bird—a goldfinch?—
that had flown into the garden shed
and could not get out,
battering its wings on the deceptive light
of the dusty, warped-shut window.
Without much reflection for once, I stepped
to where its panicked heart
was making commotion, the flared wings drumming,
and with clumsy soft hands
pinned it against a pane, held loosely cupped
this agitated essence of the air,
and through the open door released it,
like a self-flung ball,
to all that lovely, perishing outdoors.

The more times I read this poem the more it seems like something I really would have liked in junior high. I (only a little defensively) still like it, simple doesn't mean bad.

One more linky link to recommend Rambles, a folk music centered site that contains music reviews, book reviews and commentaries on the folk/celtic end of the spectrum. Not everything is laser sharp but I find that their interests overlap my own by a fair bit. I liked this review of The Asturian Mining Company's music and now I'm hoping to find some to sample.

And now for a little parental recrimination: I am failing my children’s hair. They are often mussed and rarely look well groomed at school. This is partly because they no longer bounce out of the bed at 6:30 in the morning. I am so grateful for this new ability to sleep in the early mornings that I have “adapted” (or lapsed) into getting them up after I’m showered and dressed. We have tended to run later and later this winter. I aim to get them dressed and breakfasted before I turn them over to their father’s direction and hightail it to work. Yesterday I only had time to supervise dressing. At any rate hairstyles have been neglected. Nod’s got no talent or interest in girly hair care. Even brushing is not happening as often as I would like. Katy told me last week that one reason Cora is one of her best friends is because Cora never says K’s hair looks funny. Implying that lots of other kids do say so. Katy seems not to be crushed by this but it can’t be her favorite thing. I am going to have to shift my brain around the idea that my kids aren’t up and playing before breakfast. Not a bad thing! just different.

Lexi is finally on the mend and went back to preschool on Tues. She was playing and singing to herself and being so much more normal Monday. No more sitting glassy eyed on the couch. Universe, I'm glad that's over with. That was a nasty virus.

Today’s moment of shock and pointless scorn. I just followed a commenter’s link to her blog and found that she posts photos (very nice, spare photos) and a few sentences every few days. The prose is uniformly in ALL CAPS. She uses a small font size and I didn’t see any smileys or exclamation marks. But really, it makes my head ache just thinking of reading that. I find all-lowercase writing tiresome (an extra effort to read) but given only those two options, I’d choose the non-shouty one.