Jabberwocky for 2005 October

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A Weekend of Freedom!: I am not going to take my car out of the driveway all weekend! It's General Conference, so no church. No church, so no newsletter. (But next week will be a big one.) We didn't catch anyone in our trap, so no trip to the pound.

Around lunchtime I started thinking about Shrimp or Crab Louis, but I told myself, "No running to the grocery store, no no," and I made a pot of minestrone instead. I took two naps and read a lot of the Mayes travelogue.

I planted the rest of my winter garden and pulled two wastebaskets full of weeds. By the time I was finished it was so hot that my hair was driping. (Of course, the pith helmet doesn't help, dripwise.) Sweat was running down my chest so amply that the dressing over my catheter came loose. That doesn't matter because tonight I will sit in the spa and then shower and change the dressing. But for now it itches.

While pulling weeds I noticed some of the Naked Ladies I planted last fall were sending up hopeful little sprouts. Those are for you and Aunt Jeuney, Cousin Stacey.

And the most relaxing thing of all is I graded all my papers on Thursday, so that is done done done!

[Comments] (1) The Sacred Fruit: The Pomegranites are ripe! O frabjuous day! Calloo, callay! Some people don't like them because they are a bother to eat, but I don't mind. Eating one is kind of like eating edaname. I am seriously considering stripping the tree and putting all the fruit in the refrigerator so that the tree trimmers, gardener, and such people don't get them.

I've been waiting for them to ripen so I can try to make chiles en nogada. Now to figure out who to invite over to come eat it.

[Comments] (2) Corpse Bride: Rachel and I went to the matinee of Corpse Bride yesterday. ($13.50 for two tickets to a matinee---yeow!) I thought the story was cute and the art was absolutely fabuloso. A person could watch that movie a dozen times and still not catch all the little details in the backdrops and the animated characters.

Of course, I'm a fool for Johnny Depp. You don't get to look at him in this film; it's only his voice, but we take what we can get.

[Comments] (1) Crossing Jordan: It looks like many senior citizens are being "called home" in great numbers. First, the bus fire in Dallas, and now today the sinking of the senior citizens' cruise ship in New York. I don't know if I would want to die in a wholesale batch.

[Comments] (5) Autumn Fer Sure: It's actually cold today. I'm not sure I know how to act. First mistake, I think, was not taking a jacket to work. You may be sure that's not gonna happen tomorrow.

Rachel and I went to Target and bought some winter clothes. I got some long-sleeved T shirts and a pair of khaki pants. The pants fit fine around the middle but bag horribly over my wasted legs. I am trying to pretend I don't notice.

The spiders are getting sluggish and slow; the flies are dying. I remember that Charlotte died after the fair was over. I also remember that when I read Charlotte's Web to the kids, I cried and cried. Susie told on me. "Daddy, the spider died and Mommy cried!"

The one I killed this morning, I didn't cry. It was a black widow, right on the front door. I never want to be bitten by a black widow again.

[Comments] (4) Don't Cry For Me: I have started reading the biography of Jorge Luis Borges by Edwin Williamson. My connection with Borges (aside from my being a rabid admirer of his work) is that when I was a student at BYU, majoring in Spanish so I could study Latin American literature, Borges came and spoke--one lecture for everyone, and one for Spanish majors. Which is funny because much of his work is written in English. I just sat there in awe.

The first couple of chapters of the biography are a quick overview of the history of Argentina, in which many of Borges' ancestors were involved, starting with the break from Spain in the 1820s and various other revolutions. I was familiar with all this basically, but it's always good to review.

In the 1880s and 1890s, Argentina was one of the most modern and prosperous countries in the world. Compare that to now--a long decline has made it so that anytime you hear anything about Argentina, it is more bad news. The cause of this decline, I believe, was (is) corruption in the government. (My opinion, not explicitly stated in the book.) I can see the same decline beginning in the United States today.

One thing I hadn't thought of was the fact that around the turn of the nineteenth century, Buenos Aires was redesigned on the model of Paris. When Buenos Aires was built, it was a typical Spanish colonial town, a warren of little narrow streets and haphazard buildings. They went in and yanked it all out, building wide boulevards and great and spacious public buildings. I guess that's where those miserable roundabouts came from. And I guess that if you were the owner of some property along one of those little streets that got remodeled, you were out of luck. It makes for a beautiful city, however. As I look back on my memories of Buenos Aires, I can see in retrospect that it does look like Paris--or rather, like the ghost of Paris. All those years of scandalous corrupt government and an economy where a wheelbarrow load of money won't buy a quart of milk have taken their toll.

One thing that is bothering me about this author is he translates Rio de la Plata as Plate River. Everyone knows that plata means "silver", not "plate." Not only is it incorrect, but it is wretched. If he wanted to Englishize the name of the river, he could have done as we in the Western U.S. have for our river--the Platte. I don't think authors should translate place names into English, and for the most part Williamson doesn't. I think a translation does a disservice to the traveler who wants to explore the original sites mentioned in the book. Would you rather visit the Casa Rosada, or the Pink House?

This is a very thick book, and somewhat heavy reading, so I think it will take me a while if I read carefully.

Woe!: I accidentally deleted all my Scrabble games. *sob* I've been lost all day without them. I surely hope I'll be able to figure out a way to get them back. There used to be a way, but it appears to be gone from the site's control panel.

[Comments] (4) Ahhhhhhh....: Flannel jammies, plenty of purring cats, billows of down bedding--what more could a person want?

[Comments] (4) Genocide: We were, of course, horrified by William Bennett's remarks about reducing crime by aborting all black babies; therefore, we looked forward to the Bakersfield Business Conference yesterday. It was Bennett's first public appearance since he stirred that pot, and we hoped he would apologize.

Rachel worked at the Business Conference at the bookstore's table, and I dropped her off and picked her up. She didn't hear him apologize, and I was looking forward to seeing the newspaper today. The newspaper says he didn't apologize.

Many of the black community leaders organized a protest, and a racially mixed group was downtown with their signs and holding pictures of their children. (Not too racially mixed; I didn't see any Mexicans in the group!) In the morning, they were strung out all along Truxtun, but when I went back for Rachel at the end, the cops had corralled them into a little area surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. The cops were all standing with their sticks out--very large proportion of police to protesters.

Bernita Jenkins, an activist and one of the organizers of the protest, has always been someone I like and admire. I forget how I originially met her because it's been so long, but my kids and hers were in school at Arvin together. (Did I meet her in grad school, maybe?) She coaches debate at AHS. I always vote for her when she runs for something. She's never been elected yet, except to school board, but the time is coming, I'm sure. If she were on the city council or county supervisors, we wouldn't have so many shennanigans. Of that I'm convinced. When Bernita sets out to do something it gets done. For now, she's organized a meeting for next Saturday on how we can combat racism in this town.

I keep coming back to the remark that got Vicente Fox in bad trouble. He said that Mexicans are willing to do the jobs blacks aren't. Well. Even if it's true, you don't say it. I am getting rather tired of some of the big flapping mouths in politics. And also at church.

[Comments] (1) Under Protest: I forgot to mention a couple of vignettes of the protest. One was a man standing all alone, holding an 8x10 portrait of his adorable kiddles. In the other hand he carried a sign that said, "How sad! After 20 years the Bakersfield Business Conference ends on a note of bigotry."

Then I saw a mother who had brought her five girls--ranging in ages from teen to about five. They were having the time of their lives, smiling and laughing.

It took me back. My mother never took me to any protests although she was very anti the war in Vietnam. But she did take me to teacher strikes, which was fun and meaningful. I remembered those old days when I worked for BCDS and went to picket with the other teachers. We picketed at Compton Jr. High, not at our school, because our school was tucked back in a neighborhood off the beaten path and nobody would see us.

Robert tells me that Mom got up out of her deathbed to go picket so the teachers in her district wouldn't lose their health benefits.

I haven't been to do a picket or a protest in a very long time, and I like to think it's because of my health, but still. Look at the example of my mother. I should go. Peace Bakersfield holds a protest every Friday night. Also there are occasionally gay rights and pro-choice marches which I could attend. Or I could counter the people who harass women in front of the abortion clinic. Those folks are hard core.

I would never choose abortion for myself, but I don't think it's anybody's business and certainly not the government's. I am thinking Big Brother has made a lot of recent inroads into the fabric of American life, and it makes me nervous.

[Comments] (2) Plans: I am going to go to Leonardw's and Jeff's for Thanksgiving. They say all are welcome, of course, and anyone who wants to ride up there with me may. I am going to leave on Wednesday, the 23rd by noon. I am not planning to leave my purse in Kettleman City this year.

I am planning to stay the entire weekend. (Drive home Sunday.) It is Dungeness crab season by then and I want to go down to the wharf and eat a crab. Maybe try again on our ill-fated trip to Alioto's. And whatever other entertainment there is.

[Comments] (9) I am a Turtle!:

You Are A: Turtle!

turtleThese reptiles, famous for their hard outer shells, spent their days roaming for food and relaxing in the water. As a turtle you are not very speedy, nor are you soft and cuddly. You aren't much of a sprinter, but you are quite tough. You also happen to be as cute as you are fascinating.

You were almost a: Frog or a Mouse
You are least like a: Monkey or a SquirrelCute Animal Quiz!

[Comments] (2) Louis, Louis: I made shrimp Louis today, the old fashioned way with whipped cream. The sad part of it was I ended up with really a lot of it, and two of the people I had invited to lunch didn't come. I wonder what else I can do with Louis dressing?

It occurred to me that if one substituted jalapeno salsa for the chili sauce, one would have Luis dressing suitable for a taco salad.

Louis, Luis!

[Comments] (1) A Box from The Netherlands: I got a cute little box today. It said on it "We have come all the way from Holland and are looking forward to a breath of North American air." Naturally, I opened it in a hurry to let the air in.

The box didn't contain anywhere near my full order. It was my species tulips, which I hope will survive here, unlike the beautiful Darwins and hybrids and parrots, which don't. Also the hair alliums I ordered. The hair allium is an amusing plant consisting of a tall, skinny, naked stalk with green hair sprouting from the top. I'm going to work on planting them tomorrow. I have received notification that my daffodils have been shippped, but they haven't appeared here yet.

Zombie Primrose: Nobody warned me. I planted a six pack of Mexican Primrose last year. (I have found that things with "Mexican" or "African" in their name do well here.) The primrose has such sweet little candy-pink flowers, and it has agressively taken over.

Oh, I've tried to kill it. I've pulled it out several times, and it has always come back even stronger. Last week I gave up and actually sprayed it with Roundup. The primrose is not even fazed. It keeps marching on, spreading, and strangling everything in its path. Bwaaaahhhhhhh!

[Comments] (5) Grenouille: I'm reading one of Rachel's travel books; this one is about France. In a little town in France, they have an annual Frog Festival at which everyone stuffs themselves with frog legs. A Mademoiselle Grenouille is elected. The criteria on which the girls are judged is the same as for the frogs: the thighs must be firm and succulent. The girl with thighs most like those of a perfect frog wins the crown.

This writer went to a snail festival too. Frog legs and snails are two of the things I will never eat. The snails because I kill snails every day, and they have this unpleasant combination of crunchiness, ooziness, and slime. The frogs because of Louie.

When we lived out in the country, we had for a while a mascot who lived in the swimming pool, Louie Grenouille. He was huge and beautiful and even quite tame. The kids used to float around with Louie riding on their stomachs. It was a sad, sad, day when Louie Grenouille got sucked into the pool filter. Of course, being the mommy, I had to do the dirty work and take the filter apart to scrape Louie hamburger off every working part. I will never get over that.

[Comments] (4) Things I Will Kill:: Female black widows. Snails. Cockroaches. Earwigs. Ants. Fleas. Ticks. Mealybugs. Flies. Skeeters.

Things I Won't Kill Anymore: Random Spiders. Assorted bugs. Snakes (not even rattlesnakes). Scorpions. Tarantulas.

I could never raise an animal for meat and kill it. My list of what I will kill gets shorter year by year. I guess I'm getting softer and softer. I don't think the above kill list will get any shorter anymore now, however.

[Comments] (3) Forget the Cholesterol: I made fried chicken today, the real stuff, from the James Beard Cookbook, fried in plenty of butter. Also mashed potatoes and gravy. It was all so yummy. I haven't made fried chicken in like twenty years. Not the real way. I've done Shake & Bake, and that doesn't count.

Reason? First I had a husband with a heart condition, and then I had a husband with a fat condition, and then I forgot about it until some ladies on the Molly list were talking about it recently. There is plenty left for lunches all weekend.

This is daffodil weekend. I don't know what I was thinking when I ordered. I have 120 regular bulbs and about 50 minis.

More Squishing: I forgot to add to my list of things I will kill, the larvae of the cecopia moth. Even though I dislike moths, I won't go so far as chasing them down to kill them, but the larva is another story. I anticipate that I will dig up plenty of them today when I go out to plant the daffodils. They are a fat squishy curled up caterpiller thing which hides buried in the dirt, and when you squash them they squirt. Except if they are well along in development, in which case one can see the downy wings underneath the thin skin.

Crawling on the Ground: I planted fifty daffodil bulbs today, and some of the perenials I ordered with them. It's a drop in the bucket. Most of the plants are too sad looking to go out in the yard, so I brought them back into the kitchen.

I am way tired, and I think I will go sit in the spa.

[Comments] (1) Sunny Sunday: I didn't go to church today. I wasn't feeling well and went back to bed in the morning and slept right through it! I got up in time to pick up Sumana's mother at the Amtrak station. We had a nice visit: we fed her tea and looked at Leonard's scrapbooks. I hope she didn't thing we were weirdos.

After she left, Gretel and I went to the dog park, where a West Highland terrier peed on my tote bag. (!) We're back now, and it's time to grade papers and go to bed.

[Comments] (3) Sicko: Today was a stay in bed all day, and I'm going back there now. I usually feel better after a long sleep (almost 24 hours!) but not today.

I feel like the Undead.

[Comments] (2) "Cast A Cold Eye on Life, On Death. Horseman, Pass By.": (That's Yeats, in case the attribution police are snuffling around.)

I think that I really am a member of the Undead. I'm not really alive--can't do half the stuff live people do. I don't seem to be able to die. I just go on and on in a no-person's land, and deadly poison is circulating in my blood. If I bite you, you too will fall to this dreadful disease. Vampyre.

[Comments] (7) Books: I finished the biography of Jorge Luis Borges. I'd had no idea the man was such a whining emotional wreck, but I guess that's a key to producing great art. I read The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier, the author of The Girl With the Pearl Earring. I haven't heard any hype about it, but I thought it was good--better, in fact, that her first novel.

I read several of Rachel's World War I books, and then I started in on Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake.

Oryx and Crake is quite scary because it shows the logical extention of "intelligent design". It turns out to not be so intelligent after all. I thought it was scarier, and better written, than The Handmaid's Tale, which was, after all twenty years ago, or was it thirty? Kudos to the author for growing and developing as an artist.

Now, what I have decided to do is just read the Book of Mormon straight through so I can catch up with the challenge to read it by the end of the year and get it out of my life. I don't enjoy reading The Book of Mormon very much. Oh, some parts are OK, like the Isaiah chapters. There are several reasons for this. (a) the people are so stoopid and keep making the same dumb mistakes. (b)all the wars and hostilities, and (c) this is probably the biggie. In the Hebrew culture, and other Eastern cultures, writing is roundabout and repetitive, and it is the obligation of the reader to understand. In our culture, we are direct and to the point and it is the obligation of the writer to be clear. I do appreciate the Eastern culture schtick, but as an American and as an English teacher, the Book of Mormon irritates me. Add it to the list of someone who needs a good editor: J.R.R. Tolkien, Bruce R. McConkie, and the Book of Mormon. Heresy, I know.

I like the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek. The Old Testament has the Hebrew structure watered down. And the Doctrine and Covenants is written in really, honest-to-goodness American English. That of a couple of centuries ago, it is true, but still real English. Mostly. Joseph Smith could have used a little bit of editing too.

Don't send your manuscript for me to read because I will find every faulty parallelism and misplaced comma.

[Comments] (1) Bon Voyage, Grandma: My brother Jonathan informs me that my grandfather's second wife has died. She was way over ninety, nearing a hundred, in fact.

Everyone loved Grandma Mary. She was in our ward in Sunnyvale, and we went to high school with her grandchildren. (I tried everything to get one of her grandsons to notice me, but he never did, not even after we became related.) I always sat by her in choir as a teen, and she was always so loving and wise.

At my little brother Robert's wedding, she met my grandfather. He was a cradle robber--he was 87 and she was only 70. I have never seen a love affair like theirs. It was an inspiration. Mary was instrumental while my mother was sick and dying, and she and Grandpa had ten wonderful years together. They went on cruises and spent winters in California and summers in Utah. I think he was much happier with Mary than he was with Grandma.

Mary was always sweet and very positive, no matter what. Even in recent years when she had kind of lost it mentally, she was still sweet and not cranky.

This earth has lost a wonderful soul, and when they talk about her going to heaven, there is no doubt in my mind that is where she will be.

(I'm not going to her funeral because I feel too sick to drive all the way to Utah.)

Told Ya: I told ya told ya I was a vampire. Dr. Amin sez I need BLOOD! So I am going for a transfusion of two units next week.

I hope it's going to help. "They" speak of battling a disease, but this is more like a long slow futile struggle.

Baby Shower: Susie and I went to a baby shower for Jennifer (James) Griffin today. Jennifer is one of Susie's friends from elementary school, Camp Fire--long time standing. Such a beautiful little baby! I'm afraid Susie and I hogged him for more than our fair share of the time.

The shower was held at an all you can eat salad bar restaurant, in the back room. There were no stoopid games, just visiting, so I thought it was wonderful. Even though I always win those games, I dislike playing them. There is so little time to sit and chat in our worlds. The baby's father had decorated the cake.

Also in attendance was Linda Overturf, mother of Brian and Tim. She caught us up on the news, and I told her about Leonard.

I think all baby showers should be like this, and kudos to Nancy James for pulling it off.

[Comments] (3) Convalescent: Susie and I went to visit Rosalie in the convalescent home where she is staying, we hope temporarily. She fell, and she couldn't get up, so that is the outcome. We found her sitting there with nothing to do but watch the clock--she is not having fun in there.

Susie stayed and visited and I went to Target and bought her a bunch of sugar-free candy, a case of caffeine free Diet Coke, a book, two magazines, and two crossword puzzle books. Susie drew some pictures to decorate her space, so she is more comfy now.

I hope I never have to go into a rest home.

[Comments] (1) Daylight Savings: And the point is.....??? However, I like the time change better in the fall than in the spring. I think anyone would rather have an extra hour than have one taken away.

I made something good for lunch today. Rachel had been to a Basque restaurant and had a saucy chicken breast with Swiss cheese melted on top. I tried to duplicate it. I sauteed shallots and garlic in olive oil with a rosemary branch, and then added a pounded, dredged chicken breast. When it was almost done, I threw the rosemary away, topped with cheese (I used Jarlesberg) and some spaghetti sauce and let it simmer until the cheese melted. Served with buttered noodles sprinkled with poppy seed.

Gretel and I went to the dog park today. She had a really good time. It's going to be tough going the rest of the year as it gets dark earlier, and our church doesn't let out until four. I am slightly looking forward to January when we will have church in the morning.

Jabberwocky for 2005 October

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© 2001-2006 Frances Whitney.