an Italian pizza oven.
Monday, June 30, 2008
an Italian pizza oven.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It is a beautiful present from my lovely uncles Joe and Dave, who are always so kind to me. They mean me to write, come hell or high water, or children clamouring around me.
To make a good start, I christened this journal with a list of my favourite words. Obviously, this list is a mutable thing - constantly in flux and never fixed.
This particular list was swimming around in my head as I woke up one morning last week: fully formed, as if from the mind of Zeus. I'm afraid I lost half of them by the time I got them written down, but here are those that remained. All are there simply because I like the sound of them...not necessarily what they represent.
Leave your favourite-word list in the comments. Could be favourites for any reason - that you like what they stand for, like how they make you feel, or you just plain think they're euphonic. (Oooh, euphonic! Must add that one.)
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Whatever it is that your daughter excels in, encourage her. One day, maybe I'll hear your daughter playing the piano at the Chan Center in Vancouver. Maybe she'll perform my hip replacement surgery, 50 years down the road. Maybe I'll totter over to her veterinary clinic with my sick Teacup Poodle. (Okay, maybe not that one.) Perhaps we will watch her dive, or sprint, or win the long jump during the 2020 Olympic Games. Maybe your daughter will grow up and teach my grandchildren grade 7 Socials. Maybe she'll be the one who offers me her seat on the bus.
My hope for my daughters is that whatever they turn out to be -- a dentist, a hairdresser, a tree planter, an obstetrician, a stay-at-home mother -- whatever it is, that they will love what they do, and do it well.
Of course, there are a few drawbacks, too...you get your giant banana slugs, your prehistorically-sized spiders, and you spend a lot of money on umbrellas and absorbent doormats.
Not to mention the disembodied PARTS that keep WASHING UP ON THE BEACHES.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The centre of the Cap Shawl is almost complete. The rounds are now 738 stitches long so one round takes a fair bit of time, especially now that I've got these six purl rows to do. Purling doesn't feel any slower to me, but when I look at the clock I can tell it is. It takes me almost half an hour to do a round on this, at the moment.
Lace in progress is pretty boring stuff to look at, which is why I've spared you too many progress shots. There you have it, though: round 170 of 172. Feels like these next 2.5 rounds will take for-freaking-ever. (Aside: thank you Megan for formally introducing me, all those years ago, to the concept of the expletive infixation. It has validated all kinds of linguistic outrage for me. By the way if you have the time, do read that entire article - it's hilarious.)
And as promised I am showing you a picture of Charlotte's stocking. It was kind of a knit-centric week (trying oh, so hard, to get that stupid Cap Shawl done) so I didn't do much......if it sounds like an excuse, it is.
Is it enough, O most enlightened reader? Or does the sun appear dark in your eyes because of my slack-freaking-assedness? I know which one I'd choose.
I'll do better next week, I promise.
Here's the peony, in full blowsy bloom. This is one decadent plant: between its scent, its glorious plumage, its syrupy buds, and its almost instant progress from bloom to decay, it is the Roman Dinner Party of the perennial world.
And that's all we have time for today. Catch you on the flip side, my fan-f*cking-tastic darlings.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Reread - Constantly
Friday, June 13, 2008
And the deer have been around, as my beloved Northern Spy apple tree and my dwarf sumac can attest.
Now, you know I am careless about the inside of my house, but I am vigilant about untidiness in the garden. I weed like a crazed woman, hunting the beds for any sign, no matter how teeny, of an aggressive intruder. When I see a little sprout starting, I ruthlessly jerk it from its nurturing soil and toss it, roots-up, onto the concrete driveway in the blistering sun. Once it's dead and dried and wilted past saving, it goes into a garbage bin to be taken to the curb on "Yard Waste" day. I have no mercy. I am grim-faced and methodical.
I am a weeding Nazi.
I've lived here for four years and each year I struggle with this one particular weed, which keeps coming back behind my front bed. It's got kind of a furry, floppy, large leaf and it is pretty hard to get rid of. It must grow from root fragments or something.
Well, this year I did my first weeding day a little earlier than usual. I pulled out all the mystery weeds I could find. A month or so later, I noticed that two more of them had started up after I left, and were at a good distance from the edge of the bed. Hard to reach. I felt a fury and a hatred rise up within me, but I also felt something else - defeated. Demoralised. Woebegone.
I kept meaning to get out the long-handled cultivator and chop out those weeds, but got a little distracted keeping up with the perennial beds (and keeping Piper from uprooting and devouring them) and forgot about them.
Yesterday I went out to spend the afternoon in the front garden. I had to edge the front bed, tie up the peonies, deadhead the bachelor buttons, pull out the recurrent buttercup that is the scourge of my life and threatens to choke out the shrubbery, and weed the corner heather. I cleared out a meter-high collection of buttercup and stinky (but beautiful) pink weeds whose leaves look a little like bleeding heart. I stood back to admire my work, and that's when I saw them. Saw the weeds I have been pulling out for four years in an attempt to keep my front perennial bed beautiful and tidy.
While mourning the fact that I don't have enough money to buy any more lovely perennials to beautify my flower garden.
And here are the weeds.
And now I think I shall take up stamp collecting instead.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I decided to do one of these book meme things instead of actually writing a post. YEAH BABY.
I wasn't tagged, but thanks Tara for the idea.
These are the 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. I've read the bold ones, underlined the ones I've started but not finished, and italicised the ones I plan to read.
Also I should note that I have never before been so tempted to lie in a meme.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and PunishmentCatch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Pride and Prejudice
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian: a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Three Musketeers
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
More on this fuzzy fellow later. Click to embiggen.
We have called the local beekeepers' association, and they gave us the names of five beekeepers who would probably love to come and collect the hive. I don't know how long it will take but the bees are not bothering us - I quite like having them there actually.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Let me tell you about when I was a girl, my grandfather says.
I knew from page one that this book would be getting as many points as I could give it. The first line of Girl Meets Boy slapped me right in the face...and stayed slapping me until I turned the very last page.
This is the second volume I have read from the Canongate Myth Series, which I had feared would consistently disappoint. Remember The Penelopiad? Well, Girl Meets Boy did not, in fact, disappoint. It clobbered me. It busted my cogs. It blew me out of the water and left me perched precariously on a tiny rock, shaking with adrenaline, my linen tunic soaked and seaweed in my hair.
I was small, our grandfather says, I was nineteen, but I could pass for twelve or thirteen. And I looked a bit like a boy.
Yeah, Midge says, cause you were one.
You may have heard Ovid's tale, from the Metamorphoses, of Iphis and Ianthe. Iphis' mother dressed her as a boy to prevent her dynastic father murdering her because of her sex. Raised as a boy, Iphis falls in love with the beautiful Ianthe. On the eve of their wedding, Iphis and her mother beseech Isis' intervention. Isis transforms Iphis into a man, the wedding is a success, and they live happily ever after.
Midge, my sweet fierce cynical heart, our grandfather says. You're going to have to learn the kind of hope that makes things history. Otherwise there'll be no good hope for your own grand truths and no good truths for your own grandchildren.
My name's Imogen, Midge says and gets down off his knee.
This retelling does interesting things with the original myth, but that's not the best part of the book. The best part is this: characters in Girl Meets Boy transcend and challenge their gender repeatedly - sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously. Nearing the end of the book, gender as an identity ceased to have meaning. The girlness of boys, and the boyness of girls, made it irrelevant.
Way back in the Celtic tribes, our grandmother says, women had the franchise. You always have to fight to get the thing you've lost.
There is only one thing in this book that I wish had been handled differently. The heroine's sister, Midge, is appalled by her sister's emerging sexual identity. I wish that the author hadn't endowed Midge with quite so many hangups, issues, and baggage. I think the reader is meant to feel a certain way about her - namely, that she is tiresome, ignorant, selfish and narrow-minded, and that her homophobia is all of a piece with the rest. It's all too easy to see that she is going to be the fly in the ointment: she is exercise-obsessed, bulimic, repressed, success-crazy, and intolerably superior. I would have liked the resident homophobe, who is obviously headed for an enlightenment, to be less typecast.
He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen in my life.
But he looked really like a girl.
She was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen in my life.
I won't pretend everyone will love this book. The fact that I love it only proves that few others of my acquaintance will. But, if you think you can handle the feeling of being upended and shaken until your culture falls out, and feeling your mind expand to consider new ideas, by all means seek out Girl Meets Boy.
One last quote, from the opening page before the book begins:
It is the mark of a narrow world that it mistrusts the undefined.
(HalfSoledBoots Highly Specialised Book Rating System [see what I did there?])
Girl Meets Boy gets:
Reread? Hell, yes.
Given as a Gift to Others? Yes. Carefully.
Bookplate? Yes because if this book walks I'll have to shell out for another one. Or two, just in case.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Not two minutes later, there was another thread jam. I pulled the threads out and started over.
Same thing happened again.
Now, a wiser woman might have said "I'll stop here - obviously my machine is having some problems." I, not being the Wiser Woman, kept at it through my rising frustration, yanking the bobbin around and pulling miles of thread out of the bottom of the machine, figuring the machine just didn't like the terry cloth.
I was pretty annoyed and frustrated when, after the last thread jam cleared, the stupid thing still wouldn't sew. The needle went down, the thing sounded fine, but it wouldn't make a stitch.
And even then, if I had just left ill enough alone, it would have been fine.
But instead, I took out the fabric, jerked the bobbin cover off, and forced the flywheel by hand. It still wouldn't turn and the stupid bobbin kept bouncing up. I showed it who was boss, but, you know, not too hard.
I finally gave up and took it in.
"Sure", friendly dude says, "it needs an overhaul, actually, so I'll have it for a couple of days and it'll cost you $85."
All right, no problem.
I get a call this afternoon, from an extremely upset sewing machine repairman.
"I don't know what the hell happened to your machine here, Sharon. I've never seen anything like it in my life."
"Yeah, there are these four cogs underneath your bobbin case, right? And somehow - and seriously I have no idea how - all four of them are busted beyond repair. I don't know how it happened - the machine motor itself isn't strong enough to do this kind of damage. I mean, it takes some serious force to break these cogs."
"Oh.......really.......hm, how weird." (A fiery blush is creeping up my neck.)
"I mean, somebody would have had to turn that flywheel with a lot of force. I mean a lot of force. Then they'd have had to bang that bobbin case down WHILE turning it, and somehow hard enough to break all four of these cogs."
"Ah. Well....that's sure....strange." (Mystified, I am.)
Silence from repair dude. Then, suspiciously, "Well anyway, this is going to cost you at least $100 for the labour, then I have to get those four replacement cogs. You're looking at $150, probably."
"Uh, okay...well thanks then."
I feel like the doctor just confronted me about all the bruises on my toddler, you know?
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Enormous spoiler warning. I'm giving away some plot bits, here.
*I know it's Wednesday....I choose to make my own reality.