Monthly Archives: December 2011

cleanse -1 day

basic vegetable stock:

put any root vegetables in a crock pot. today: unpeeled carrot, quartered yellow onion, peeled garlic, fennel stalks, celery stalks, turnips.

add herbs and other savories: peppercorns, thyme, knob of ginger and coriander and tie them up in cheesecloth.

cover with water + heat for an hour or a longer while or all day.

herbs in cheesecloth

resolved: endeavor to be close enough to ok most of the time

I’ve identified four resolutions, none of which brush greatness or excellence or even, if ranked on one of those 1-out-of-5 scales, “somewhat better than expected”-ness.

And here they are:

  • leave well enough alone: this has to do with parenting, about which I will not say more except that it could probably be shortened to leave them alone.
  • endeavor to be close enough to OK most of the time: this is the title track and the track that leads me away from striving toward perfection in all I do and say. The track that makes me despair when small things go awry, the track with the swamp into which I wallow. This one could be shortened to: stop trying to be so perfect.
  • embrace criticism: This came to me yesterday. I know I am touchy about criticism. I either receive it and apologize (I’m sorry I let you down) or receive it with anger (how dare you judge me when you’re so…) Neither reaction has a good outcome. Both make the criticizer think less of me: she’s so insecure, you can’t tell her anything or she’s so arrogant (the coat insecurity wears, fooling few), she never makes herself accountable for her errors.
  • embrace failure: I know in theory that when we fail, we learn and get better at whatever it is we’ve failed at. Clear-eyed, we say “we failed because..” and “we won’t do it that way again, next time.” I say “in theory” and switched to the first-person plural because my way is more along the lines of: I failed therefore I am never going to try that again. Staying at failure, stopping at failure, remaining forever and always a failure at that thing, whatever it is.

It occurs to me if I can get these four less-ambitious (or maybe more ambitious, we shall see) things right then “greatness” will be more possible.

Or maybe I won’t need greatness after all.

those are marshmallow clouds being friendly

weirdest christmas carol lyrics ever?

…in the arms of the evergreen tree

wait, what?

…and the sun is red, like a pumpkin head

pumpkins are orange, generally speaking

it’s shining so your nose won’t freeze

i see, the object here is to rhyme, not make sense. I can do that: bat. hat. knat.

it’s a yum, yum world in the winter

a word can even rhyme with itself, apparently

take a walk with your favorite girl

no awkward segues needed, just plow right along

it’s a sugar date, it’s a whipped cream day, in winter it’s a marshmallow world

girl, world, even near rhymes count: roy blount, emily blunt, allen funt

what a world

agreed

in winter it’s a marshmallllllllllllow 

why am i killing myself trying to write/sell a novel when even really stupid lyrics are loved by everyone, if the tight rotation for this song on retail stores’ playlists is any indication of popularity

worrrrrrld

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fast away the old year passes

 

oh a mother’s worry, that dark place that’s always there, the reason we seem so calm at work and in traffic slowed by some calamity affecting someone we don’t know. who cares, really? but then there’s no news from our boy who is on the road with no cell service and — last reported — lost in northern vermont, running out of gas. five hours later, i am lit with worry and anxiety, it’s a house afire, burning bright with the possibilities, all of them catastrophic: car crashed into tree, or car out of gas and he’s walking down the road (no coat), accosted by some derelict, or sleeping in the car, temperature dropping outside, his vehicle black by the side of the road, an obstacle the other car can’t see until … everything irritates me as i try to be productive, pushing a grocery cart, gratingly slow fellow shoppers in that supermarket stupor of torpid movement, grating christmas carols, grating grocery baggers in santa hats.

then he calls and he’s angry too — at our worry, at any suggestion that we must know where he is at any given moment.

we sag with relief.

rail away, son. we don’t care that you’re mad because you’re safe, at least for the moment.

also, when do you think you’ll be home?

No thank you

Another nice rejection letter, from a very famous publisher whose identity I will conceal (why? not sure) but whose logo is the animal that is most likely to be depicted wearing a tux. An excerpt is here. Sigh.  “It’s engagingly written, if offbeat (decidedly offbeat), and very smart – but it doesn’t feel quite mainstream enough for [our] list.

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auden, by way of didion

Loved Blue Nights, loved even more Joan Didion’s recitation of the Auden poem:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, 
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, 
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum 
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead 
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’. 
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, 
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West, 
My working week and my Sunday rest, 
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; 
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. 

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, 
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, 
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; 
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Which puts me in mind of another mournful poem, Ithaka. Cavafy, by way of Merrie:

As you set out for Ithaka

hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

 

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

 

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

 

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

 

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dear google

Why do you take the search term “dianedico” and go directly to “dianedisco” without first asking me “did you mean dianedisco?”

Who is Diane Disco anyway? She sounds petulant in this recent tweet: Oct 26, 2011  dianedisco lmao I know, and she always asks me to borrow makeup when she goes outhypocrite much?

Diane Disco sounds like she’s having more fun than just plain dianedico but that doesn’t mean she should rank higher on your search page … hypocrite much, google?

338-9918

This was my telephone number growing up, from age 5 until my parents divorced, when I turned 21. It was the only way to get in touch with Dave, Annette, Janet, Diane, Susie (then, Susan) or Patty. If you called, someone would answer on one of 3 phones, located in the kitchen, Daddy’s office or downstairs on a pushbutton style desktop with a curly cord that was left, for whatever reason, on the orange-carpeted hallway floor that led to the “girls’ rooms.” All of those conversations (clandestine, reproving, heartspilling, babysitter-requesting) poured into the same three instruments.

If no one answered, you could not leave a message.

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Getting on midnight, waiting for Oliver to return home from his first semester at Sierra Nevada. Super odd cats congregated here and one extremely stylish one.

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And here he is.

JFK