Monday, June 25, 2007
Me: "This is Dr. M's pen."
Amelia: "What do you do with it?"
Me: "It's a pen! You write with it!"
I also heard about a family with seven boys and one girl, and they had not only a toy guillotine but also a little man whose head came off and they'd practice decapitating him so the head would land in the basket. This story was prompted by discussion of Saint-Saen's "Walk to the Scaffold" in which you can hear the head bouncing, and that was prompted by the legend about three springs coming up where St. Paul was beheaded. MORBID!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Happy first day of summer: long days, romantic tendencies, and inspiration for all kinds of silliness. In honor of them, I quote a bit from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
O grim-look'd night! O night with hue so black!
O night, which ever art when day is not!
O night, O night! alack, alack, alack,
I fear my Thisby's promise is forgot!
And thou, O wall, O sweet, O lovely wall,
That stand'st between her father's ground and mine!
Thou wall, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall,
Show me thy chink, to blink through with mine eyne!
[Wall holds up his fingers]
Thanks, courteous wall: Jove shield thee well for this!
But what see I? No Thisby do I see.
O wicked wall, through whom I see no bliss!
Cursed be thy stones for thus deceiving me!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
But every fair from fair sometime declines,
Through chance or Nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou growest.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
A. A. Milne's grasp of human nature came up in the general discussion early yesterday morning, and so I tracked down the 100-Acre-Wood Personality Quiz. It's been amusing us for two days. Thus far, we've got four Kangas, three Poohs, and one who comes up Pooh half the time and Kanga the other half. One has yet to take it. We got a trifle suspicious at that point and started inventing answers to see if any other results were possible! Yes: we've managed to come up with Piglet, Roo, Tigger, Rabbit, and Owl, but try as we can, we can't manage Eeyore. One can only wonder.
I discovered today that you don't put milk in an omelette. That would explain why mine always fall apart. Also, inspired in part by Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons and in part by Sophie, my hiking buddy and splendid cook, I investigated recipes for cherries jubilee. We'll see. It's amazing how motivational food websites are to make you want to cook.
There's a picnic tonight, and Becca and I have been in close conference figuring out who's bringing what. I dearly love these pulled-together-at-the-last-minute events.
I love summer...dearly, dearly love summer... it's gorgeously warm today. It's too warm in the sun, but tolerable in the shade, and wonderful in here with an air conditioner. Sunny...blue skies...I walked down to the library over lunch, and came back with two novels by authors I've never tried and a disinclination to wear shoes.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
I picked him up in Albuquerque in the midst of a high gale, and we went to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant. Travel is hard work, so I took him home after that. The wind was blowing hard (someone said it clocked at 80 mph on top of our ski hill), and the traffic was its usual loopy self, and we amused one another with bad-traffic horror stories.
We had just gotten onto some other topic when my cell phone rang. I had Jonathan get it, since I was driving, and it was Amelia and Becca from work. The computers had gone out. This never happened when I was at work; it must have waited for Amelia. I gave them a couple troubleshooting ideas via Jonathan, none of which worked, and finally they called Brady, our tech magician. The winds had blown out our internet connection.
Anyway, we finally made it home and Jonathan got to meet my parents for the first time. It was a decent success; we had dinner and taught Mom to play Lord of the Rings Risk, and she promptly cleaned up at it. We paused the game about eleven-thirty and decided it could wait till the next day. The Shire and the northlands had a lot of blood spilt and changes of government, and Dad took the far east, while I got pushed further and further out of Gondor and Harad.
Thursday morning, we got up and went to Santa Fe with Becca and Josh, the debater. We had a lovely time: parked at Borders, walked around, visited a couple chapels and had lunch at a pizza place. Downtown Santa Fe is an excellent place if you like artwork. Murals and plaques and statues crop up in odd corners like lichen and mushrooms in wetter climes, and you can have a lot of fun if you're with reasonably interested people and have a camera. The Sanctuario de Guadalupe had a series of sculptures that we spent a good twenty minutes looking at, trying to figure out. They were meaningful, intricate, and even doctrinally sound. I was pleasantly surprised. The Sanctuario also had on display what appeared to be a sponge in a bowl, and we never did quite figure out if it was sacred or very, very mundane.
We also visited the state capitol building. Josh and Becca and I knew our way around it from TeenPact and teased each other about not going up the stairs single file. Rowdy, I know. Our Round House really is round, as in, if you start going you keep going, and the best way to find your direction is by the art on the walls! Becca and I got split up from the guys on the third floor, and when we went looking for them, they were nowhere to be found. We walked through a pack of receptionists, who looked at us curiously and said two guys had gone that way, but we went that way and dead-ended in front of the Governor's Office. There being nowhere else to go but down, and knowing that if we moved we'd probably chase the guys in endless circles, we planted ourselves right in the middle of a boy scouts' tour and listened to the guide explain about a painting. We didn't blend in terribly well because the boy scouts were not only all little boys and their mothers, but also wore matching tangerine-colored tie-dyed shirts, but it was better than nothing! Eventually Jonathan called, and we explained where we were, and they found us. It was pretty funny.
We finished up at Borders for a coffee break and copy of Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), then home for small group, and after that the conclusion of the Risk game (the forces of evil took Middle Earth. Again), and after that Jonathan and I went stargazing.
I've got to admit a weakness for stargazing. I've spent several summers understanding the part of the sky visible from my backyard; which is a fair amount of the north and east. But I can't go to a better site alone at night, and can't often find someone to come with me. But that night, oh that Thursday, Jonathan and I went out to the wild lands between my house and the river canyon. It was a dark, clear night. The moon had not yet risen. There were no clouds at all, and even the dust and the winds had died down. It got cold: the next morning we discovered the low had been 46 degrees, and it was rather uncomfortable being chilled on top of the day's sunburn. But a more perfect night for stargazing I'd never seen. The Milky Way was out, and we identified every major constellation up--even Leo, which I'd never seen before.
Friday morning we got up and took CPR training. It was mandatory for me, but the good doctor had said to bring Jonathan along. So we are now CPR certified and everybody has met one another and more or less likes each other. I got drama queen points: in the groups, we had to act out how to use the AED, and they cast me as the distraught relative. Ohhhh yeah. :-)
We just messed around that afternoon uptown and then made a Wal-Mart run. I think we visited the historical museum, the library used book store (yay quarter carts and 5-for-a-dollar sci fi sales!), and Ruby K's Bagel Cafe. That evening was the church movie night, and the movie was Aladdin. I can work the equipment in the sound room, but it's always sort of uncertain whether it'll actually turn out. Jonathan, on the other hand, positively gloried in it. He understands it. This makes me happy. The movie night was decently attended: Becca came with her mom and sisters, and Amelia came with her brother, and a family from small group showed up also, so it was mostly connections of people Jonathan already knew. On the way home we dropped by the Overlook and then stayed up till midnight talking.
Saturday we had intended to go hiking up at East Fork, but the weather forecast was for large hail, heavy thunderstorms, and wind, especially in the mountains. When Daddy told me that, I thought he was making it up, but it was true. So we decided perhaps it wasn't the best day for a hike and my parents went driving up towards Colorado. Jonathan and I stayed home. We meant to do nothing, but it didn't quite work out. We made a valiant attempt to fix two bikes so they'd be rideable, but it turned into one of those if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie projects, and we eventually gave it up as Not Worth the Effort. We watched the Tempest movie and went through the pictures and quotes. We ate lunch and played Quiddler.
That afternoon I started housesitting for a couple that lives here in town. Someone had to sleep over at the house, and I'd been thinking it'd make more sense for that to be Jonathan. So mid-afternoon we trotted over with all his stuff and to get situated. As I read through the instructions left for me, one of them about halfway down the second page was that she'd prefer I stay and not him. Okay. We packed him back up, went to my house, packed me up (including a bunch of movies), and went back over.
First priority: mood music. I think I wanted Tchaikovsky. So I popped a CD into their DVD player, only to discover that the DVD wasn't sending a signal to the TV, which we could turn on but couldn't turn off, and also the volume wouldn't go down. It was the oddest thing. We eventually put it on a mostly-blank channel and it went off by itself after a while. I haven't dared turn the TV on since.
Dinner was definitely the next priority. It's always a bit of an adventure cooking in a strange kitchen, but I found pasta and spaghetti sauce and even pots to cook them in, and managed comfortably. We did a bit of swing dancing (thank you, lovely computer Chrysophylax!) and settled in to watch Knight's Tale before returning Jonathan to my parents' house for the night.
Sunday morning I stopped by home and rode to church with them. After that, we went on that hike. It was a great day for it. The mountains were green, the rocks were dry, and the sun bright. We tripped along the East Fork trail, stopping to watch climbers and (safely out of their field of view) try a little modest climbing ourselves. Daddy got a picture of us before we started and after we got down. I leave the middle to y'all's imaginations, but someone's glasses suffered horribly in the attempt. It probably would have been better if we'd had ropes and clamps and things.
The end of the trail was spectacular. The stream widens out and goes over a waterfall maybe three feet high and thirty across, and chatters its way through a canyon resembling mossy Swiss cheese, with little indentations and caves along both sides. Soon it comes to a slightly wider canyon, and a second and taller waterfall beyond that. The hardy adventurer, if he likes, may remove his hiking shoes and wade along the stream to the second falls, crossing first to this side and then over to that, and not get wet above his knees.
We were hardy adventurers! Only the rocks underwater were not only sharp but incredibly slippery, and their treachery overthrew us all. Jonathan did pretty well, except he was trying to do it barefoot and went really slowly. We found him a nice walking stick, and that helped. Then I started looking tottery and he inquired if I'd like a hand. No, I was fine, I said, and promptly went whoosh and landed sitting in a foot of water. I stood up and laughed, and Daddy had me sit back down so he could get a picture! After that I accepted Jonathan's help when he offered it, and we didn't even both get a ducking as a result. Daddy, on the other hand, turned around and fell right in, camera and all. Don't worry, the camera still works. But my flip-flops may never quite be the same.
That evening we picked cherries off the tree in the front yard of my house-sitting house and made a cobbler out of them. Cherries are extremely happy.
But Mondays follow Sundays, and Monday was his last day. It was very dismal. I worked in the morning, but we met Josh and Tim for lunch, and after debated what to do until dinner. We discovered we didn't actually want to do anything so much as hang out with each other, so we did exactly that. We watched The Mummy Returns and tried to sort out its metaphysical assumptions. Then back to my parents' for dinner, a MacGyver episode, The North Avenue Irregulars, and talk until we were too tired to make sense any more.
I picked up him and Mom at an ungodly hour and drove to the airport. The light was dramatic: light and shadow on the mountains and the green prairie, and a mellow sunrise. We got him there in plenty of time for his flight. I did not cry. And he did, after sundry difficulties, make it home.
The week was far too short.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Boy: "WHOA! ...I'm worth it."
::his mother and I exchange glances::
Boy: "Wait, did you say $115 or 150?"
Me: "$115. Would that extra $35 tip the balance, so you aren't worth it any more?"
Boy: "No, I'd still be worth it."
Me: "I can see we don't suffer from low self-esteem."
Mother (dryly): "That's something we really worry about in teenagers."
Earlier today, I had a lovely discussion with two entirely unrelated patients about literature. We have heard good things about Brothers K, like Shakespeare, wish Virginia Woolf wrote with more logic and less stream-of-consciousness, find Joyce incomprehensible, and think Faulkner is really depressing.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
She's a good car; demure, gracious, a bit like an old dowager. She came from the Summer Court, so I named her Olwen after the lady in one of the early Welsh Arthurian tales.
I had quite the quest to find her--as you frequent readers of my blog may remember--but she was worth waiting for.
Her license plate has arrived. YIPPEE! There was a quite a quest to find it, too, I can tell you. You see, Olwen's temporary sticker expired May 21, and the dealer assured me I was all in order and her plate would be here. May 21 came, and went, and there were no plates.
So the following Thursday I called him and asked what had become of it. It was on the way, he assured me. Okay. I got home that evening to find a postcard in the mail saying my plate was at the dealer's and please come pick it up between 8 and 5:30 Monday through Friday.
The dealer is in Clovis, a good five hours from here, and while I was going to their vicinity over the weekend, I certainly couldn't get there between 8 and 5:30 Monday through Friday. It was too late that night to call them, and anyway I was headed to small group. Dad and I got up the next morning to find another come-pick-it-up postcard. Well, huh.
So we get to Clovis on Saturday and drop by the dealer. Can I help you? Yes, actually, I was wondering what became of my license place. I'll check for you. He disappeared into the back. Then our very own nice salesman came up, and recognized us. Hello! It's good to see you! How's your car? It's wonderful, thank you! But I wondered what became of my license plate. You know, I think we mailed it, but I'll go find out for you. He disappeared into the back too.
They reappeared and affirmed that yes, my plate really was in the mail. My nice salesman wrote out a new temporary sticker. We went home. I spent the next week collecting postcards from the post office, saying your plate is here and come pick it up.
The post office here, incidentally, is a dreadful nuisance. It's fine if you get there when they're open, but they're never open; at least not when I'm not at work. And if they close at noon and you get there at 12:01, well, that's just too bad. Last fall I had a package that I took so long in picking up (why can't they just leave it on the doorstep??) that they returned it to the sender. So I was a trifle nervous about leaving Olwen's plate in their tender mercies.
But today on the way to Santa Fe, Mom and I dropped by the post office. It was 11:30 precisely, and the place looked deserted. We were sure they were all on their lunch break, but I figured, while I was there, I might as well give it a shot. I went in and rang the bell I've always rung before. No answer. I leaned on the bell pretty hard. No answer. Sigh.
As I turned to leave, I noticed a door that had never been there before, leading to a room I'd not seen before either. Huh. I went through it--and found a customer service counter. I went in and looked around. There was nobody there. But I hung out a moment, and a guy came in, and miracle of miracles! He had my license plate and let me have it!
Olwen and I went for a photo shoot. She's legal, and I'm legal, and we're happy.
Bring me that horizon.