Friday, November 30, 2007

That Has To Be A Record

I seem to have a thing about records. Maybe it stems from my childhood when I couldn't get a star sticker at tap dancing class when I was four.

Today's record: sixty cookies baked before 8:30 AM. It's a record for me at least.

Back to tap dancing. I went to the Art Linkletter Dance Studio franchise at the Westbard Shopping Center in Bethesda, Maryland back in about 1970. I was four. I was (and still am) uncoordinated.

Everyone in the class was listed on a chart. Every class we'd learn certain steps. Learn a step, get a shiny foil star sticker for your spot on the chart. You see where this is going. I was too uncoordinated at four to earn the stars. One time I actually screwed up the courage to ask if I could have a star. That rotten teacher said to me "No. You didn't do the step right." B!tch. Okay, yeah, I didn't get the step. So just give me a star to take home - don't put it on the chart. It was a stinking piece of paper! It's bad enough to be a failure at tap dancing but then to be denied the star when everybody else got one! She was a bad teacher at the very least. Maybe she didn't want to be teaching four-year-olds. Why am I making excuses for her? Why am I writing about this?

You know, I wonder if that incident right there is why I HATE to ask anyone for anything?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Neighbor, Michael Dukakis

Oh my Lord, one more post and NaBloPoMo is done! Whoo! And I can get back to thinking like I normally do and not "Do I have time to post now? Do I have anything to post now? I have an idea but I don't have time to post now!" Duh.

Today's post: My Neighbor, Michael Dukakis.

Michael and Kitty Dukakis live around the corner from us. I saw him this morning at about 6:30 charging down the street with his wheelie bag. I guess he was taking the T (that's what we call the subway around here) to the airport, or possibly to the train station (he did run Amtrak for a while there after all) We waved to each other (I was out with Fay. I am not a morning person and I don't have kids so there's no other way I'd be out at that hour)*

I used to have this game that I'd play with him that he didn't know about. I would try to see who would wave first. He won most of the time and he wasn't even playing. The man is friendly.

I haven't seen him in a while and I have to say he looks great. More pepper in his hair than salt and moving along at his usual urban clip. The rocking chair won't be getting him any time soon.

And now, it's time to make the cookie dough. I will be making World Peace cookies from Dorrie Greenspan's Baking, From my home to yours. They are chocolate cookies with a bit of fleur de sel in them. Should be interesting to eat. I like to do something unusual for the cookie exchange. One year I did Spicy Mexican Chocolate cookies with cayenne pepper and cinnamon in them. At least I liked them.

*Is that a record for parentheses? Two sets in one sentence and three in a single paragraph?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm still in the chair

I just read about the online game, Eve, on the New York Times site. It sounds cool. I don't know how to play games like that.

Wait a minute - I don't have time to play games like that!

Somewhat Stream of Consciousness

When I was working out I had all these great ideas for blog entries. Now that I've had lunch and fixed a billing snafu I can't remember any of them.

If you're my Mom you might not want to read the next paragraph (now she won't be able to help herself!)

It's okay I guess. Maybe they weren't that great after all. Like those erotic dreams you have where, for example, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is whapping you on the head with his hat and it's the hottest thing you've ever experienced and you really hope he doesn't stop, don't stop, don't stop and he stops and you wake up all disappointed and think "What was that all about?"

Sorry Mom.

I had a good studio day today. That blog entry from before where it occurred to me to go in with a destructive attitude really helped. "Let's see what I can wreck today" turns out to be a good motto.

I have another good motto I'm working on but I think I'll save that one for later when my brain's working better.

I have to go back to Brookline tonight. My Sister-in-law, Kristen's holiday cookie exchange is on Friday. I need to be prepared. As usual, though, I don't want to go back!

Oh suck it up! Post this entry! Get out of that chair! Pack up and go!!!!

But I just packed up and came here two days ago (whine!)

T.S!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fay Update

Here's Fay keeping up with Marc, Pete and I during a game of off road croquet in Amagansett:


The terrain's a little bit rough but she finishes with a satisfied sneeze.

The prednisone bombs weren't working so they've been discontinued. Instead she's taking a new, outrageously expensive drug that's used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in humans. It's the last drug we can try. So far though, no improvement. No horrible side-effects yet either.

I've got a call in to the vet as scheduled. I imagine she'll tell me to lay off the new meds.

I guess that means we'll gradually wean Fay from the prednisone - if we don't it would cause side-effects worse than her disease - and she'll just gradually get worse. She's been getting worse anyway so maybe it won't make much difference.

I don't think there's any way of predicting how fast she'll decline. We may still have her around come springtime. We're all flying to San Diego for Christmas to visit my parents. I bet she'll still be okay for that. I'm hoping they let us carry on her wheelchair.

Monday, November 26, 2007

T-Day Wrap Up

The pie came out fine. Not ideal of course but tasty, not ideal pie is still better than no pie.

Please remind me never to pack like a man again. Six days in the same pair of pants and sweater is not for me. Normally I'm a heavy packer but we had to fit three grown ups, their gear, a dog, her gear, her wheelchair and a cooler in a Subaru Outback Sport. I stuck to one large tote bag. Next time I'm shoving in one more sweater and one more pair of pants.

I am comfortable with my maintenance level. I don't need a decrease.

That sounds suspiciously like an affirmation.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Good Smack...

One great thing about this blog for me is that there's a record of all the fun I'm having.

Sometimes I get all bummed out and lonely and whiny and complainy. Should I be tempted to head in that direction I can now look at all the fun stuff I've been able to do and give myself a good smack upside the head.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Massive Yet Invisible Planet Effecting Spacetime Around Him?

Wow, NaBloPoMo is almost over. That month went really fast. Gee, time really flies. And yet George W. Bush is still president. How does that work?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Another Pie Adventure

Look what happened to my crust! It fell! There aren't any pie weights here and the crust needed to be pre-baked. I just went for it. I should have left a lot more overhang I guess. Instead the sides collapsed down into the crust.

So, in the spirit of going for it I'm putting the filling in and baking it anyway. The filling might seep around the sides and make pumpkin crust goo. It'll probably taste pretty good whatever happens. Hey, it's an adventure! For people like me who don't get much excitement.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!


Dom Perignon for you?


YOU RUINED Thanksgiving for EVERYONE!!!!!


This was supposed to be cooler than regular Thanksgiving.


GRNGKHUNKGRNGNGNNGG

Thanksgiving So Far

Pete, Marc, Fay and I are having Thanksgiving in Long Island. Pete and Marc's parents have a full house with Pete's other brother, Chris, his wife and their three kids down in Florida. My family's in Las Vegas with my brother's girlfriend's family. We couldn't go because there's no way Fay can stay in a hotel without making a mess of the floor. I can't have that! I wonder if they're frying the turkey again this year? So it's just the four of us having a slacker Thanksgiving.

It's a beautiful day in Amagansett, NY. Sunny and in the sixties. Marc sets out for some surf-casting in some antique waders he found in a closet:


Fay relaxes in the living room beside her stunning and comfortable Jonathan Adler dog bed that her Grandma (my mom) gave her. I guess it's too high for her to get on to with her back legs the way they are. Bummer. She's content though.


I made another tarte tatin:

Pretty, if I do say so myself.

Marc returns:

Pete and Marc then got in the car and drove the fish back to the water. They set it loose and it swam off in a wobbly fashion. We are hopeful for it.

Quote from Marc, "I never thought I'd catch two stripers and snowboard in the same week." Looks like he's having a good time.

We're going out for dinner. Tomorrow we're making stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and filling them out with whatever left-overs we bring back tonight.

We might stage an alcoholic rage-fest later at dinner just to keep up appearances. I'll bring my camera and see what we can come up with.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Outdoorsy Day

It snowed Monday night in Vermont so Tuesday was an outdoorsy day.
To begin with, Pete decided to cut the waterspouts off the pear tree. Behold, the last pear of the season. It was pretty much frozen but still tasty. I split it with Fay.
We decided to light the burn pile:

We nursed it all day long and into the night. For lunch we cooked hot dogs over it:

There's nothing like a Nathan's hot dog cooked over a gigantic fire:


Who is that hot chick in the nerdy Harry Potter hat? I want a date with her!
Sorry folks, I'm spoken for.

Later in the evening Pete's brother Marc came by and we continued to hang out by the fire. We made nice, grown-up vegetable packets and baked potatoes. The men had more hot dogs too (I love hot dogs but two in a day is good enough for me)

A moonlit night, some tasty food, a little wine, a tiny splash of whiskey...and now we're looking around the property for other stuff to burn. It's a really pleasant way to spend a day/evening if your schedule and the weather allow. All we missed was a few more friends to share the evening with.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bugs are SO COOL!!!!!! Have I used enough exclamation points in my titles yet?

I just took Fay out to take care of some business and there was an owl hooting its head off in the woods across the street. It's broad daylight. I love the country!

Today Pete and I chopped down some bug-infested trees (small ones) and hauled them up to the burn pile. Well, Pete did the chopping and most of the hauling. I told him what to chop down. We won't be burning them until the weather gets a lot more disgusting.

The trees were infested with woolly aphids. I went to look them up on my favorite bug identification site: whatsthatbug.com. If you page down on just that one page you'll see some really remarkable bugs. Like the Peanutheaded Lanternfly from Mexico or the "Cerogenes auricoma. No common name, but the Latin translates to 'wax producer with golden hair.'" That one flies so slowly it "looks like it's floating." Bugs come in the most amazing shapes and colors.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cluster Flies. Beware, This Post Is Unsavory


This is the view from the top floor of our barn/studios to our house. The black specks you see in the upper-right-hand corner of this photo are Cluster Flies. What you can't see is that there are about thirteen of them.

Did you ever notice a giant, slow-moving fly buzzing around the room in the middle of January and wonder where the hell it came from? Chances are it was a Cluster Fly. We've got bajillions of them here in VT. If you live in a rural area I'm sure you're familiar with them.

In the fall when the days are warm and the nights are cool they bask in the sun on the south or west facing walls of buildings. As the evening grows cooler they worm their way into cracks in the buildings so they can stay warm. On cold sunny days they come out of hiding into your warm house and hang out by the warmer sunny windows, buzzing around annoying and disgusting everyone.

In fact, this window faces north. These guys got turned around somewhere and are doing the best they can with what they've got. My south-facing studio window had even more flies in it but I couldn't get as good a photo of them. Not that this one's so awesome.

On a sunny winter day I spend the first and last ten or so minutes in my studio opening the windows and evicting flies. They really don't understand windows so it can take some time till they figure out where the opening is. Unfortunately you can let out or swat all the flies you want but there will always be dozens more making their way in.

As gross as they are, the very worst thing about them is that mice eat them. They die overnight and fall on the floor or the windowsill and the mice come along and have a juicy snack. They leave the legs and the wings behind along with their mouse droppings. Such an attractive pile. I try to keep my studio free of anything edible but the mice always manage something.

It's only a matter of time till one of my paintings contains fly parts. I'd put in some mouse droppings too but I don't think they're as archival.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tarte Tatin


Now I have to go wash the caramel crust out of the cast-iron pan. Wish me luck...

Oh No! I Sat Down!

Michaela and I finally had time to garden today. Pete and I had a a big pile of mulch in our driveway (in VT) that needed to be moved before it snows enough for the plow to come. Our job today (Michaela and mine) was to move the pile.

The wheelbarrow and the mower both had flat tires and the string trimmer was out of string but we prevailed anyway. She hauled the whole mulch pile load by load around the garden on a tarp. I yanked out piles and piles of enormous weeds. The voles helped me quite a bit by tunneling very thoroughly under everything I was trying to rip out. Thanks voles!

We covered ground. Who needs smelly power tools? Michaela said that she'd earned her dessert tonight. I think she earned three. If I'd taken a before photo you could see what kind of bulk she moved. Didn't.

It was cold and sunny today - it snowed a little yesterday - and a great day to be working outside.

Fay kept us company for quite a while in her wheelchair. She didn't move around all that much but she seemed to enjoy herself. Now she's napping. I haven't noticed any difference in her since yesterday's pred bomb (except she seems to be a little weaker still in the hindquarters) I guess I'm glad we upped the dosage so far (as long as we can avoid bloody diarrhea and kidney failure) and I hope it works soon.

So if I get out of this chair in time I might muster the energy to make a tarte tatin. I'll need to pick a few more apples off the trees in the upper meadow. I'm lucky there are still some up there.

Alright - I'm off.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Prednisone Bomb

I'm nervous. Fay was getting a little worse - weaker back legs. So on the vet's orders I'm now giving her a prednisone bomb every other morning. Today was the first day - 30 milligrams. She had been getting 20 every other day. I just hope it doesn't make her sick or feel bad. I hope it helps. But I feel like we're just holding back the tide. It'll be great if she can walk better but for how long?

On the other hand we've bought her many months of enjoyable life and we can continue to do that. She's happy. She gets patting and treats and everybody wants to know about her. Everybody wants to talk to a dog in a wheelchair.

On a different note, I LOVE RADIOHEAD!
They can do anything they want and they still want to have fun. Luckies!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A New England Aesthetic

One thing I love about Boston is that everybody looks like crap. Okay, not absolutely everybody but polish is not highly valued around here. Most people have dingy, coarse skin and wear a lot of black. Not sophisticated, elegant black but beat-up black. Worn, slightly faded, out of shape, saggy at the knees and elbows black. People have crispy or messed-up hair. We look rumpled in an urban way. We have a patina. It's kind of a declaration of our human frailty.

Here one does not strive obviously to be the most beautiful or the most brilliant. Sure, you want to be the best but you don't want to look like you want to and you certainly don't want to look like you're trying. It's an affectation but one that I can relate to and one that I'm comfortable with.

There's still an aesthetic of austerity here in New England. Overindulgence is a relative thing but there isn't much here that people do to the extreme, except maybe hold back. Sure, people stay up all night partying or spend tons of money on stupid things but it seems to me that such things are done with more joie de vivre in other places. Our autumn colors are probably the most exuberant thing we have.

Austerity can be very beautiful. I find it comforting because it doesn't ask more of me than I want to give. Exuberance requires commitment and commitment implies the possibility of failure. Austerity is achievable. It's something we New Englanders can do, no problem.

Oh, so now I'm a New Englander?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Indian Food!!!

I'm stuck in Brookline again waiting to hear from the vet. Nothing major, just whether Fay gets another dose of Lomustine or not and when I can pick up her prescription. But I'm still not in the country or near my studio.

So to cheer myself up I got take-out Indian food. Tons of it. Breakfast looks like vegetable pakoras tomorrow.

And I'm working on another ad for The Plough. Big night.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

K.A!

Pretty good studio day today. I took on something I've been working on/avoiding for over a year. I did get some paint applied to canvas. Mostly I mixed a lot of paint and rearranged my work space. But that means I'll be able to go in and really k!ck @ss tomorrow.

Oh wait. I have to take Fay to the vet in Boston tomorrow. I'll have to k!ck @ss on Thursday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

JOLT, shock, startle, impel, stir, spur, prod, urge...

Today I made this ad for the Plough & Stars, a restaurant/bar in Cambridge MA. I used the Mac application Pages plus some Photoshop for sizing.

I wish I could go to the event. I love whiskey. Plus the food there is excellent and the people are great. If you're in the Cambridge area give it a shot. If you read the Phoenix, hopefully you will see this ad in the issue that comes out this Thursday. Hopefully it will look wicked pissah (as we say in Boston - it means "good")

In other news we're back in VT. I had been gone a little over a week. When we got back we found that the mice had had several orgies in our absence. My evening was spent bleaching the kitchen. Woo-hoo! I even found mouse poop on my sports bra which I had left drying on the top level of the laundry drying rack. Nice! No food there that I'm aware of. That's a puzzle.

Tomorrow I hope to get back into my studio for some no-holds-barred experimentation. Perhaps I should galvanize myself with an "I'm going to wreck every G.D. thing I've been working on for months and then wrest it all from the jaws of failure at the last minute" attitude.

Galvanize. What a great word. Here's what my thesaurus widget says:
That's a screen shot unfortunately. Hard to read.

I want a t-shirt that says all that. Well, not the part about "the reverend's words..." or the shot in the arm.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cheers, Juichi!

Today is Juichi Kamikawa's birthday. He was a friend of my parents' and a real character. Even when I was a tiny little girl he always treated me like a person. He was never, ever dull - he had a wild mind. He was kind of like a male Auntie Mame. He passed on a couple of years ago (he was in his eighties but you'd never know it) and the world's a little less fun for it.

Juichi means "eleven" in Japanese. He was the eleventh child in his family, born on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. My Dad wanted to name me after him, only I'd be called "One." I'm my parents' first child and a New Year's baby (But then my Dad also wanted to name me "Onion" because he liked the sound of the word)

Juichi loved martinis so November eleventh is International Martini Day for me. I always toast Juichi whenever I have a martini but today is the day I make a special effort to have one. So if you happen to have a martini today, think about sending up a toast to Juichi.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I've Kind of Been Stressing About This

My dog urinates
All over the kitchen floor
Invest in Bounty

I hope that wasn't too disappointing.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Resolution

I don't like the way these forced posts are going. I'm not always interested in what I'm writing about. I'm just writing to write something and trying to interest myself in it. Nobody has time for all these words!

So my next post will be a haiku.*

I haven't written a haiku since tenth grade. We'll see how it goes.
*Unless something really interesting happens.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

FlyLady

Every once in a while I like to learn a new skill. Web design, gardening, crochet, computer animation, dog training - these are all examples of things I've taken up in the past and still like to do. I think that this time-frame's skill is cleaning my house. I say time-frame because I don't know how long it will take me to pick up and if I do pick it up, how long it will last.

I believe I have mentioned before that I am not a tidy or mentally organized person (try Saturday, August 4, 2007) My friends know this about me very well. A couple of weeks ago my good friend Alex sent me to the FlyLady website. The overall tone is a little sweet and kind of sexist (the assumption is that only women are responsible for keeping the house clean) for my taste but the system looks very sound so I'm giving it a try. I love a system!

So far the sinks in my house have been spotless and shiny for over two weeks. I didn't know that the way you keep your sink clean and shiny is to dry it out at the end of the day. It's so easy! I wish someone had told me this when I was a little girl. I bet my Mom doesn't even know. I could have had shiny sinks for my whole life. Better late than never though. Once you've done one sink and you see how easy it is you just do all the sinks you use. Then you start keeping the counters and surrounding areas clear too because it looks so much better that way.

The philosophy of the system is that you take "baby steps" that eventually become habits that help you get rid of your clutter and keep whatever you have left clean and tidy. You start with shining your sink and proceed very slowly from there. I'm expecting there to be further cleaning-related epiphanies down the line, like how to get a vacuum cleaner to actually work or how to keep your shower grout from turning black.

The downside is they send their members probably twelve e-mails a day. They say up front that you don't have to read them all. You just read the one about the day's task and one evening reminder. If you have some extra minutes to kill you can read any of the seven or so inspirational ones that come rolling in all day long or the promotional e-mails about system-related books or organizers or products (like a timer so you know when to stop cleaning or a feather duster with purple feathers) I usually end up deleting most of them unread. But some of the inspirational e-mails have been just that and I've archived them.

The point is that these are skills I don't have that I need to acquire and this seems like a system that will work. So I will ignore the schmaltzy sexism and try the damned system. And it's working so far!

Here's an added amusement factor: the Hey Tom website. They answer questions for women like "why does my husband leave the toilet seat up?" and "why does my husband have a garage full of junk?" Info for men is about seasonal home care (I imagine things like gutter cleaning and air filter changing) that are usually Man Jobs. I haven't looked at the site much (I just found it while writing this entry) but it looks intriguing.

This is the world we still live in: people still expect that women do all the women's work, men do the he-man stuff and never vacuum or dust. I don't know, some information is not gender specific, like how to scrub a pan. It's just useful information.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Artistic Impulse and Getting Stuck

Making things is a compulsion. It's bigger than me. The impulse takes over my body and must be satisfied one way or another. The muscles in my hands and arms actually feel itchy and uncomfortable when I don't make something on a regular basis. The act of making probably provides my brain with some chemical reward that I don't know how to get any other way.

For me the itch can be satisfied by making pretty much anything. Sculpture, painting, knitting, brownies, jewelry, pies. The more intense the better. So salad doesn't cut it. Maybe also because I'm not that happy to have a salad when I'm done making it.

Making art is riskier than making brownies because if it doesn't go well the reward is complicated. On the one hand I am using my make muscles and hopefully my mind to explore and experiment. I get some reward for that.

On the other, I'm spending precious time doing something and I want the result to be "good." This is where the problems start.

Sometimes it's nerve wracking to explore and experiment. It ought to just be fun and gleeful but sometimes I get to thinking more about how I hope I didn't "waste my time" or "ruin it" and that I'm not going to end up with a mess I can't use for anything. This kind of thinking leads to playing it safe, sticking to what I already know and not going all out. This kind of thinking is hobbling and guarantees that I will waste my time. It also robs me of a full reward. I'm making but I'm second-guessing myself, failing and feeling bad about it.

It's possible to work for months in this terrible mindset with only the occasional day of good, all out experimentation. That gets demoralizing and makes you dread going to your studio.

But still you want to go because the high of going all out is so exhilarating when you can get it.

I think I'm going to have to draw myself a cartoon of the demon of the studio. It's going to be looming in the door saying "This had better be good!" and "If you ruin it you'll be sorry" and "Be careful!" A big, ugly cartoon.

A good art-making day is really satisfying. Sometimes, though, you just want brownies.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Virtuality V. Flesh

Lucky all of you. You know, you three people who read my blog! I joined NaBloPoMo which requires me to post every day for the month of November.

I will try not to run off at the fingertips just writing whatever damn thing comes into my head. I can't make promises though.

I shot myself in the foot today, posting at 3 AM. I thought, "get it over with early. That'll be one down." Now I want to post again and I feel like I should save it for tomorrow. But I won't.

For today I discovered Facebook. Thank you Kirsten and Ben. Neither of whom, I believe, are two of the three.

Wow, talk about a time sink! I thought MySpace was bad. Facebook is way more fun in my opinion. Ben and I were shooting sushi at each other all day, sadly, all of it virtual. Then he and Debbie (also not one of you three) and I gave each other fish for our aquariums. They gave me more fish than I gave them so I'll have to go back and be more generous. I'm just learning how things work here.

The ways to waste time and be juvenile appear to be endless. You can buy people virtual drinks, throw sheep at them, take sexy back from them, trip them, use the force with them. There are innumerable useless and fun toys here. I read about some kind of interactive Scrabble game you can play with other people. There have got to be more games like that.

Of course this is a social network and the whole point is to make friends or perhaps to be "friends" with people you already know. There are all sorts of unpleasant ways to stumble across people from your past on Facebook. They make a lot of awkward suggestions like "You might want to be friends with these people from your high school: Sally 'Class Bully' Smith, Irving 'Wouldn't Deign to Talk to You' Wilmore, Noreen 'You Were Mean to Her and Now You Regret It' Simpson' "etc.

I have a lot to learn about this and much exploring to do. When I'm not cleaning up after Fay. Or doing something that actually has meaning.

Now NaBloPoMo turns out to be a social network too. I joined two in one day. Will this be as life-enhancing as making flesh and blood friends in person? I don't know. I know it's very nice to be in regular contact with old friends you don't see very often because they live on different continents from you. But as you can see from my last few posts I'm kind of on a flesh kick right now. And as my Facebook Picture Personality quiz accurately distinguished, I'm a bit of a loner. I'm feeling a lack of solid people in my life these days and I'm not sure what to do about it. I am pretty sure that sitting in my kitchen and staring at my computer for hours is not a good solution though.

What Time Is It?

Bloggin'. Why, it's 3:18 AM. How strange. Why am I blogging right now? Probably because I just got back from an emergency trip to the Vet.

Fay came crashing down with drooling, gas, nausea and diarrhea at around midnight. I waited a little to see how she'd do but she was clearly feeling so lousy I just took her in. It could be so many things (a reaction to one of her medications, compromised immunity etc.) that I thought it would be good to just take care of it.

She's feeling ton's better now. She even wants food again. They gave her a camel hump (subcutaneous fluids) to treat dehydration and an anti nausea drug. Now she's snoring.

Soon I will be too - in a sleeping bag on the kitchen floor. And I was really good and got myself into bed around 11PM. I had good intentions.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Old Spice and Other Things

I was thinking of posting about more old flesh in the news. They've taken the mask off of Tutankhamen's mummy so those who visit his tomb can see his face. If you go to this site you can page down and see some photos. He has a pretty good amount of face left for a body that old. I imagine that the 400 year old clam's complexion was fresher looking however, since it was still alive.

I wonder what they did with that clam? Chowder? Pasta? Certainly dissection. Wow, people really stink sometimes.

What I'm really excited about today is that the hour has come to start taking out the trash. Finally I can get rid of the recyclables and the fifteen-year old dried parsley leaves (okay, that's really an herb. But I also threw out a bottle of Accent. Can you consider MSG a spice? If not I'm sure there are some spices in the bag too) and the tea that I bought in 1990 that I just cleaned out of the pantry. The dozen bottles of hot sauce (spicy!) that our former house-mates left behind when they moved into their respective bachelor pads earlier this year. The six bottles of barbecue sauce and the instant rice and/or potato side dishes that appeared in the kitchen somehow that I will never use, make or eat.

Fay will have more room to maneuver her wheelchair now. This is very exciting.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Eating and Stuff

Some days I really don't want to bother to eat. But then I get REALLY hungry and there's nothing for it.

Then I have to decide (like everybody else on the planet who's lucky enough to have a choice) do I go cheapo and have a bowl of cereal or a piece of pie or (heavens to Betsey!) stop at McDonald's (only on the drive to or from VT) or do I be a "good" grown-up and make a salad? Stupid salad. Why does it always have to be a salad?

Usually I love eating but today I wish it were optional.

I continue to be in MA, mainly because I can't stand to miss another trash night here. We have something like seven bags of recyclables waiting to go out and the curbside trash can is full.

I'm not enjoying it that much. I had dinner with my friend Tammy one night, Fay has seen some of her dog friends, I handed out candy on Halloween and I'm purging the house of detritus (since I live here there's plenty of it) but I'd rather be in VT with the birds and the bugs and my studio.

T.S. I guess.

Is there anywhere where nature and culture co-exist?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Methuselah Clam

I am listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" the public radio news quiz show. It's my second favorite public radio show after "Marketplace."

They just said that a scientific group in Wales recently dredged up a living four-hundred year old clam. You can read more about it here.

Naturally they had to kill it to find out how old it was though I don't see why.

One lump of flesh lived peacefully for between 405 and 410 years. I wonder how many babies it had? Oh Lord - can I eat an animal that has the potential to live so very much longer than I can? What does a clam know? Flesh that lived that long!

It looks like a regular quahog like you find all over the place on the U.S. East coast. In fact, I have a quahog shell not ten feet from where I'm sitting typing this that I picked up in Amagansett. Now I have to count it's rings.

I'm going to be thinking about this for quite some time.

Photo credit: Bangor University

Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm Wussy

I grilled the oysters for lunch today. I got the recipe from License to Grill. The smell was amazing. I did use some of the sauce they suggested in the recipe but really I prefer oysters either plain or with a little squirt of lemon juice. Mignonette sauce is good too. Unless you're in New Orleans in which case a mix of Crystal sauce, ketchup and horseradish is the way to go.

Really though, I think oysters are best raw.

When Cecily gave me the oysters yesterday I went out and got myself an oyster knife. I was going to try to open those suckers up. I got instructions off the web and was all set to go.

You hold the oyster, cup side down (flat side up) in a dishtowel with the hinge on the outside of the towel. Place the point of the knife right near the hinge, push the knife in, then twist to open the shell. There's more but I got stuck after the part about the towel.

Where the hell is the hinge? The way back? What do you mean "near" the hinge? What do you mean "push" the knife in? I couldn't get the knife in. I couldn't even make out where the seam was on some of them. And I was honestly nervous about intruding into this oyster's home. I'm trying to eat the poor thing but I don't want to break and enter.

I love to devour oysters but I'm too wussy to detach them from their shells myself. When we go to Legal Seafood for our oyster orgies I tell myself that shucking them kills them and I'm not really eating them alive. Right. I don't want to kill them but I'm happy to eat them if someone else kills them. Right.

I should be a vegetarian. Or at least find some way to honestly come to terms with my cowardice. I'll never like killing things. I don't even like killing bugs or plants. That's not a good trait in a gardener.

Anyway, I resorted to the passive aggression of the Weber grill. I killed the oysters but not with my bare hands. And I ate them with respect and appreciation. That's the best I can do today. I couldn't leave them to die in vain in the back of my fridge.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More About the "Burger" King

The Burger King left his scepter on our front porch.

A Lovely Gift and a Halloween Follow-Up

I was just out in the back yard with Fay when Cecily, our next door neighbor, drove up and gave me a dozen fresh Wellfleet oysters. Someone had given her two dozen and she couldn't imagine using them all. In fact she said she couldn't imagine eating more than three.

This made me feel strange. Pete and I could easily eat two dozen oysters each. More. Are we oyster devouring monster freaks? Are we unhinged and out of control?

I've got the radio on as I type and I just heard that two people were stabbed and one was shot in Salem last night. Considering the numbers of people there for Halloween it doesn't sound that bad. It sounds like it could be the toll of a fairly ordinary night.

I shall leave you with a final frightening Halloween image:

No wonder the gummy fangs were so popular!