Monday, March 25, 2013


The photo is not mine, ganked from But I wish I had a flat of seedlings I was tending. We have no southern windows because we live in the middle rowhouse. I could set up some plants in the common house if I got my shit together. Mm herbs, little ruffled leaves. I guess I am ready for spring after all.

Bun is wearing out the knees of all her pants. Some of these pants are handmedowns from her sister and some of those were second hand to begin with. I don't know how much is attributable to the little bony knees of my almost 9 year old and how much to the age of her wardrobe. I'm sort of looking forward to weeding out the old and looking for some new clothes for her. Kat's clothing preferences are strong and not to be trifled with. She finally did allow me to buy her some actual pants (not leggings for a change) during early January when it was cold walking to and from school. (I almost always drive them to school in the morning so don't get your hanky out for them yet.) She tells me that she is way ready for shorts weather. No doubt that will come all too soon.

New language blog that's right up in my wheelhouse: Separated By A Common Language. Thank you metafilter thread that touched on the origins of 'kitty corner'. An American linguist living in Britain compares terms and misunderstandings. Happy sigh.

Oh Chess Tournament report. Very good experience for the girls. Kat: two wins, two losses. Bun: one win, one draw, two losses. Tasty free lunch too. I had a good time hanging out until about 3:30pm and then I was ready to be out of that building. The snow started as garpel, bouncing off the roofs. Then bigger and bigger flakes, falling fast and wet. Nod came to fetch us and we slip slid home in the slush.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I love the Regency skating calendar image I have up but keep thinking I need to change to a less wintery one. And yet. Today it's been snowing since mid morning. At lunch I was out in it -- fast falling clumps of wet snow. The temp is just above freezing so it melts on contact but it's gorgeous coming down. I ran around catching snow feathers in my mouth for a bit before getting in the car to come back to work. Pretty stuff, the kind of flakes that can hypnotize a driver with their swirling patterns. Where's my wingback chair and Irish coffee for optimal snow watching?

I've filled out two fairly random brackets for the college men's basketball tournament.

My cubicle neighbor's aloe plant is growing. I see it's splayed limbs stretching above the divider. The green arms are slightly toothy, like an agave. It's looking rather carnivorous.

Signed the kids up for Saturday's girls chess tournament. Hope that'll be a good experience.

Nod bought the air travel tickets for Crete and got his passport renewal paperwork in. We are getting closer to reality for that big trip. We need to do the kids's passport applications next. Yes, I am looking forward to reading the fine print about what documents need to be presented how. Nod has been looking at beach recommendations and plotting them on the map. The girls have been looking at the villa pictures online and swooning.

I haven't quite had to stick my fingers in my ears and chant "LALALALA" but I have been doing a bit of side stepping to avoid most of the Steubenville rape case coverage. I'm glad it was prosecuted and I'm glad it was prosecuted in juvenile court. I don't think it would have made it to court twenty years ago. Maybe we're inching forwards in terms of not blaming the victim.

The level of pope coverage has me bemused. I don't really need to know what he gets up to day to day. After six months or a year there might be enough actions to detect a trend. I'll check back then.

Kat almost cried when I said I didn't want to go to the St. Patrick's day parade. I explained that my position was based on the forecast: 40 degrees and a good chance of rain. Not pleasant parade watching weather. Both girls were still committed on Sunday so I told them I'd take them downtown and leave them with a phone so they could call their Dad when they wanted to go home. I stayed for about 20 minutes of parade and left... before it started raining. They didn't last too much longer. Nod and the girls walked home in the cold wet. And this is my I told you so.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book report

Goodreads is down on Monday morning and I am feeling thwarted. I must record my reactions to books. Right now! I finished Claire De Witt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran. I plucked it off the library shelf when the cover art caught my eye. It's high contrast yellow with black print and picture. Once I got it home I realized that the parrot on the cover appears to have crapped the small diagonal words A MYSTERY below the title. I was bowled over by the first half and delighted by the fact that I could not tell just how delusional our narrator was. Was any of this happening? It reminded me of the books my husband liked so fiercely when he was in his 20s, paranoid protagonists probing for the edges of reality and truth. This book also delivered humor and a lot of meta-echoes of detective/mystery fiction. By the end the author had done a lot more revealing. I was surprised to find that I was a little disappointed, I would have preferred more swirling mist and hallucinations after all. Glad I found this author and will look for her earlier books.

My Laotian detective series novels were in at the library and I snapped them up. Currently chewing on The Merry Misogynist. I am loving the Dr. Siri books by Colin Cotterill. (Also love that Wikipedia warning about the article possibly promoting the subject without imparting real information!) Must tell my neighbor Gen who recommended them to me.

After spending all last week dreading the daylight savings change I am relieved to have it done now. Gad. Nod tells me that one of the groups that lobbied for the extension of DST was the candy lobby. They wanted to be sure that Halloween would be dark for trick or treating so they would sell more candy. Eh?! Slapping, is what they want, slapping.

Crocuses are almost open, I have seen tulip and daffodill greens as well. Marching on.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Ganked entire from 3quarksdaily. It's short enough to be read in a rush and I can't choose just a bite...

Following Frida

That mono-brow wouldn’t work today. 
Girls wax the in-betweens, the ups and 
downs, smooth, smooth. Sometimes, 
the greenery around the hacienda 
itches so much we sneeze and tickle, 
create unnecessary frowns, a slippage. 
There’s always Dr. Death, of course, 
his bright smile, that happy mouth 
inviting us to pout and make kiss shapes. 
Kiss, kiss! Kiss, kiss! he urges. His short needle 
makes cushions of our worries. Little prick here, 
another there, there, there
it’s all right darlings, growing old
needn’t hurt so badly

The hairs remind us, marching to link brow 
to brow, shadowing our lips. 
We want to be Frida, earnest with hair, 
mocking Dr. Death's short needle 
before it punctures our flesh. 
Old, old! we shout the words he hates, 
loose and old, not tight and old! 
Senses, raging, in need of colour 
as we behold ourselves, mirror-wise, 
the women we always were, 
just older, looser, still there.

by Mary O'Donnell
from The Ark Builders
Arc Publications, Todmorden, 2009

Old, old! Loose and old! I like that. I'm thinking about how I look lately. It doesn't feel like vanity because any time I'm tempted to feel vain I get a look at my bulgy middle or my neck that isn't the same as it was. I'm not ground down by these flaws. They would have made me feel very ashamed in my 20s but I've lived through that and these things are earned. What shall I do with what I've got? How can I enjoy my own slight decrepitude?  

Mimi Smartypants linked to The Beheld which is good reading about beauty industry issues and self presentation. Still getting a feel for it. The links look amazing and include: Australian feminist, Jewish married women who cover their hair, size large fashionista. More to read.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Castle Early

Chess stress. Kat went to her first chess tournament last Saturday. I accompanied her. No other chess club folks from our elementary school were there so it was rather intimidating at first. Lots of people. And more people and plenty of people in the cafeteria area of an elementary school on the south side of town. It turns out that the previous two Lawrence area chess tournaments had been canceled because of our snow events. So everyone who needed more points to qualify for the State Chess (thingie, I don't really know the official term) was there with their parent and younger sibs in tow. The best part for me was catching up with another parent who we knew from Kat's first elementary school. Laura is a sweetie and I enjoyed talking with her. They are a very experienced chess family and helped fill us in on the habits and rules of the chess playing folk.

Kat lost all four games she played. It was very educational as she is the top of the itty Chess Club at her school and had no idea that the competition in the wide world would be so strong. She was very brave throughout. (She beat me twice in between just to keep in practice.) There were 6 rounds, six games played from 9a to godknowswhen. We bailed after her fourth game at about 2:30. If we'd stayed for the whole thing that is a looong day. The next event is a girls tournament at the end of this month on campus. It should be much more laid back with more options for moving around, getting outside occasionally and not being lost in a sea of humanity. I'm willing if K wants to go. Heck maybe even Bun, our chess club dropout, will want to try that one.

Soothing GIFs. Found this request for links in metafilter. In case you need a rabbit hole to fall into. Some worked for me and some didn't. This is gorgeous, no doubt. Like a tiny perfect snowglobe.

I saw bulbs poking up in a few snow-free patches last weekend. It's a-coming. More rain, please.

Friday, March 1, 2013


I had to look up that word after reading it in Peter Schjeldahl's article on Piero della Francesca. 'Like  marble' says Google with tiny links to four online dictionaries below the definition. The OED adds 'resembling marble or a marble statue' which gets us all the way there. Piero's saints and angels have gold plate halos on the back of their heads. I find those a little laughable. But I trust PS that the works are moving in person. The St. Augustine picture from the Crucifixion is intriguingly odd looking. Appropriately morose he stands with pictures of Christ's life all over his robe and hat. He is quite bedizened. PS is commenting on the Piero show at the Frick so click away there if you want to see all the American owned art pieces. 

I'm catching up on video from the last year or so. Our freebie computer developed a frequent freezing problem. Nod went to the pc shack and bought a used Dell tower running XP for $99. We're not high def but we're much more connected than previously. Can we add memory and upgrade the operating system? Maybe. 

Hope springs a girdle. Still not as dear to my heart as 'Bob's avuncular'.

Cat Toys is my new band name idea. The album art would show the band members reaching up to bat at a giant feather toy on a string above them.