One rant: part of what led me back to sewing was the desire for natural fabrics. When I shop, everything is a polyester blend and feels hot and clingy against the skin. The washing instructions are cold-water hand wash, delicate, line dry. I often joke that I expect to see washing instructions that insist that the clothing must be hand washed on the side of river by shoeless, starving woman. That's how much respect clothing manufacturers have for us. We have all the time in the world to wash their precious clothes.
That's not it, of course. Most of them are made overseas. Which brings another fantasy to mind. America has hidden away the secret of making color-fast clothing and reserved it for union-made clothing.
In which case, I wish they would sell union-made fabric at the fabric stores because almost all I could find was polyester blends there also. A few linen-cotton blends which I did purchase. The dress that I just finished is a rayon blend, alas. There was no light weight linen on the shelf at all. It's a cold-water wash also, must at least it's a machine washable.
Exercises in description: Seen today.....
Two blocks away, I see an fearful elderly man cross the street. At first, I think that he is homeless or at least quite poor. He is walking with one aluminum crutch that is designed to work as one of a pair. The crutch looks like one of those given to people who have broken their leg, but he is using it as an old man might use a cane. Sometimes, he inexpertly tucks it beneath one arm as he perches on the median and waits for the widest distance between cars to cross. When he is closer, I can see that his grey pants are clean and pressed to the point where they have a front crease. However, his plaid shirt in no way matches the grey pants. That green plaid shirt is long sleeved--much too warm for a New Orleans summer day--and is tucked into the left side of his neat pants and pulled out on his right side. Maybe he is not coming from the train station as I assumed. Maybe he is coming from the temporary location of the Veterans hospital--wherever that is. Perhaps a glance at his shoes might have decided me about his status. However, the traffic light changed and I was away.
Exercises in description
I was driving to work; I was taking the “back way”, driving through the neighborhood where I would pass between the Lapalco bridge.
I passed an old woman. She was Caucasian and rail thin but not emaciated. She was pale with disheveled hair. Her hair might have been styled the day before but it looked as if she had awakened and rushed out to her morning routine without combing it. She wore a very loud flowery printed lounge coat trimmed in braid. One hand held a lit cigarette as she stumbled down the street. One hand held a leash as she dragged an blond overweight chihuahua along with her. The dog does not appear to be interested in walking with its mistress at all. Not at 8 am and certainly not in the almost 80 degree temperature that we’ve reached at this hour. The dog that normally guards his yard on that corner by barking at every passersby does not make a sound. Perhaps, he is inside enjoying the family’s air conditioning himself.
A certain amount of craziness:
I found a recipe for corn chowder in the weight watchers book and decided to try it. It called for frozen corn, but at the last minute I decided to buy the real thing. That explains the corn silk all over the kitchen counters and the bag of corn hulks on the floor. And three pots of boiling water on the stove.
Meanwhile, True Blood plays in the background despite the fact it’s a show that I detest more and more. Why do the non-white characters have so little control over their lives and the white characters have so much? Yet again, Tara is almost killed while Sookie is rutting in the woods. (Next week, it appears that Tara relents from vengeance—again.)
Sights, Sounds, Smells
I cross Lafayette Square (http://tinyurl.com/6hz7pg3). The square is anchored by a statue of Lafayette ringed by flowers and steps. Each corner holds a slice of New Orleans. A couple cuddling on one set of steps. A student, book in hand, on another. A homeless guy in dull khaki rests for a moment on one step. Tourists are peering up at the statue at another. The flowers are the ubiquitous pink azaleas. The people are wearing spring and summer colors: fluorescent yellow, nautical blue, red, orange. The park is littered with whimsical sculpture. The benches that where giant eyes were on loan; they have vanished, But giant blooms of purple flowers are still in the south wing. There is a bunny bench on the north side of the park and someone is deep in a book while sprawled there.
The lawn guys are trying to cut the grass and they eye me along with every errant tourist. A piece of debris could easily go shooting out of their massive riding mowers. They eye me and step lively away from the sound of rending blades. In the next block, stone mason are polishing the limestone blocks that ennoble one of the glass towers.
What makes me tipsy is making this walk, seeing these sights and imposing on them a helicopter and time collapsed view of the scene. The park with its myriad paths that cross in diagonal lines, the real flowers, the ceramic hub-cab sized flowers, the tourists and the stone mason and his assistant on their hands and knees. The sound of the streetcar as it trundles down the street, a real danger that travels at only five miles an hours. Easy to neglect when you pause to watch a face-painted clown rush to the bus stop and his job in the quarter. The smell of cut grass and yes the smell of urine in the bushes of a smaller park because there are no public restrooms around.
I’ve been on a medication-induced fast on driving. I’ve biked, walked, bussed, and carpooled everywhere. One wonders why I don’t get more writing done during such a time. At least, I usually wonder why during the week of driving.
During each three week fast, I know why.
Such a fast always leaves me feeling so deprived. So poor. Can I write when I feel like the lowest of the low? Sometimes, of course. Sometimes anger fires me up to write. Sometimes the beauty around inspires me. Yes, I can sit at a bus stop and watch life run through its paces around me and be amazed. Sometimes, the silence of being the invisible commuter makes me a fulcrum/pen.
Such a fast is so exhausting. Instead of getting two or three things done, I get one thing done. For instance, I had one book due at the library last week. It was a new book and couldn’t be renewed online. If I got off the bus at 6:30 after work to return the book, there would be only one more homebound bus and that around 8:30. (Bless my co-worker who dropped the book off for me).
However, as I said, today is a liminal day. A day to plan and appreciate that time is a human construct. Nothing magical will happen at midnight. But the doctor’s instructions have made it a special time. It reminds me of the first time that I was in a havdalah ceremony “done right”. It was at Touro, at a service led by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. He asked that the lights be dimmed. It took a while for the synagogue leaders to find the switches to cut the lights in their new chapel. The service then continued and the extinguishing of the havdalah candle in the wine was startling in the darkness of the room. Both the joy of a new week and the sadness that another Shabbat had ended mingled in all of our hearts.
Music listened to as I write this was discovered when I was looking up a band’s name:
Two late nights, cleaning and organizing, have taken their toll. Right now, my mind drifts off in daydreams with a 5 minute wisp of inattention. Strangely enough, I wasn't sleepy last night. I woke up early in fact. Right now, I wait for a response from a co-worker and minutes pass without me being aware.
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The trouble with being home during the day is that I rarely get anything creative done. I rush about getting housework done. There are real things scheduled again. Getting the ceiling fans fixed; getting the floodlight fixed but I didn’t work on the novel much.
Passed on the interstate a trailer carrying a hot pink back-hoe with the stenciled name “Demo Diva”. Love it! Whether the owner is male or female, that is one secure person. I posted this on fb and a friend said that she had met the owner. Not telling!
The topic on NPR today was wikileaks: good or bad? The State Department is running around like mad talking to all of our international confidants telling them that (a) we’re sorry about the leak and (b) we really didn’t mean the nasty things that our ambassadors said about you. Meanwhile I think that they just gave writers like Le Care’ decades of intrigue to write about. And we get to learn that the leaders in the Middle East would love for us--or better yet--Israel to do their dirty work for them. Then they can loudly scream foul, you understand. Or turn their backs in anger. Are we surprised? No, because we perform the same tricks from time to time. But it is so delicious to see it out in the open, don’t you think? I mean, we always imagine that the fiction writers are exaggerating. Better yet, some of the leaks are so well written. I know where all the humanities majors went. They went to the state department. I don’t hear such good prose from Congress, believe me.
I am getting coffee in the break room and the tv mumbles above me--the patient distinct tone of someone explaining....
Without looking up I know that that the box is tuned to the sports channel. I look up and I'm right: ESPN.
What strikes me is the knowledge that I can also recognize the tone associated with the news. FOX or CNN. Not patient, not discursive. Always screaming and full of alarm.
Something is definitely wrong with that picture.
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- Should I take the bike out and risk getting rained on?
- Should I catch the bus and risk getting rained on?
- Should I buy a ticket for a play downtown tomorrow when I know that I have no way of getting there? (No bus service on Sunday)
- Should I resign myself to being stuck inside all weekend? (After all, I do have editing and sewing to do.) Right now the weather is so nice that I don't want to stay in.
Micah 4:4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree;
And none shall make them afraid
Grilling out allowed me to notice that the fig tree has a few ripe figs.
Therefore, a day after buying figs at Rouses, I was harvesting a few of my own to eat immediately. I cut them in half first. I'm a city girl and afraid of what may have preceded me, but I ate them right up. Yum!
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Anything else? Oh yes, it's supposed to rain tomorrow. My first day of rain since I started taking the bus again. And the Civic Association meeting is tomorrow. At least, I got the minutes out.
Most things went well. Better than last Thanksgiving. The glasses, plates and silverware got on the table well in advance. The food was prepared and kept warm. My guests brought wonderful food.
There was some last minute madness. As mentioned yesterday, I decided that I needed a milder charoset. I despaired of driving to Whole Food for more dates. At four, I remembered that there is an Arab market on the westbank. (So, thank the cousins for charoset!) I should remember that charoset is a small part of the meal. So, in desperation, don’t buy 4 pounds if the recipe calls for 2—even if you plan to take charoset to another Seder. Now I have dates coming out of my ears!
This particular lamb stew was more fatty, so another desperate run was to Wal-Mart to buy a turkey baster. Used in reverse to remove the oil floating on top of the pot. Oh, and suddenly realizing that stew requires bowls and not plates. So I had to pull bowls down out of the cabinet and give them a quick wash. Next time, a main course that doesn’t require more dishes—or let my guest provide the main course. Zataia made a wondered herb chicken dish and orange chicken dish.
I didn’t get to bed until midnight but everything but glasses was put away when I went to bed. Tonight, grape juice I hope. 4 glasses of wine just destroyed me last night. I am so glad that I didn’t have to drive home!
* Wikipedia calls this Plan-Do-Check-Act. However, it was taught as “adjust” where I work. On reading the wiki definition, the fourth step is the same . I think the word adjust makes more sense. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDCA
- Where do bowls and containers go? How can I have so many tops and so few bowls? I eschewed buying bowls yesterday at Tuesday Morning, but now I think that I will have to go back. The three for a dollar containers are called back to whatever demon controls them after a few weeks. Lest you Tupperware people laugh, I am here to tell you that Tupperware is merely controlled by a different demon. I have the bowls; the tops are nowhere to be found.
- The den is still cluttered with paper. Maybe I just don’t know how to clean anymore. The dining room, at least, is perfect.
- The Yemenite charoset is perfect. But it contains a chili pepper. Slavery should be seen as tough! Maybe I should make a milder version. I am making another batch for the Krewe seder tomorrow.