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random phone pix

I mean, really random. In a sharey mood, you see. 

Here is a tiny section of the West Windsor (Princeton) Wegman's British food section. The one in Ocean is much larger, maybe more British people live over there. This one takes up one half of one side of an aisle, mixed in with some Eastern European stuff. 
I just thought the juxtaposition was sort of funny. Those are Curry Beans, next to the puddings. 

Here are some tea bags from a big pot of tea I made earlier, then sweetened slightly with agave syrup. 

And here's a martini made with Bombay Sapphire gin. It is very crisp this way. I like it, but will be glad to get back to a bottle of Hendrick's or Junipero. Or Martin Miller if I could ever find it around here. 

As usual, click through to see full-sized; 1600x1200 but the resolution isn't very good. 

two songs for my dad

Today is his 78th birthday. Well, I always wonder if that's how you say it. It's the anniversary of his birth, but somehow, since he died 7 months ago, calling it his birthday feels a bit hollow. 

Anyway. He used to say he wanted a certain song played at his funeral. In the end, there was a memorial gathering of his friends, not so much a funeral. I wasn't there and have no idea if music was played. So here it is:
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
Okay there's actually a cooler and shorter version here, but it was not embeddable. 

And then this, which I think is apt as well, maybe even more so, in later, mellower years. (Not I Love Paris)
Louis Amstrong - La Vie En Rose
Cheers, Dad, wherever your spirit has flown, settled, or dispersed.
 (And I think to myself, what a wonderful world...)

QotD: Tattoos

If you were going to get a tattoo, what would it be of and where would you get it? What's stopping you?

My skin is too lovely to mark up permanently.

10 or 12 years ago, I liked the novelty of tattoo pens; you could draw a symbol or picture on yourself as a sort of accessory of the moment. I wish that had remained a trend instead of permanent ink blotches on every other woman's ankle. 

Me Online, A Review

I don't use my real name online. The people I've been avoiding since 1990 still track me down occasionally anyway (thanks, Yahoo! for that first privacy invasion, when you published my phone number though I always paid the phone company to keep it unpublished! Special shout-out to Verizon for their role in this!) but the only place anyone will ever see my name is at a class reunion site. Anyway. It's been 14 years of aliases. Now and then I get so tired of the fact that I couldn't just stick with the first one I chose, because, hey, turns out I chose well. But the internet kept changing and we kept moving. If I were to start now, it'd be much easier to stay with whatever I started with. 

Once upon a time, there was merbelle, and that was me. Through a weird and confounding thing to do with Yahoo buying a group I belonged to and then messing up the log-ins, I suddenly could not be that in all my usual online places and had to pick a new name. I chose the amusing but slightly obnoxious pedantic bohemian. Then at some point I needed a forum alias for that, for rest from some people, so I chose bibliosylph. And by then I found I could be merbelle more, so I tried to, but that gave me three names; a lot to keep up with. To make a clean break, because we kept moving and I kept having to change email and server locations, I chose the character Emily Sears, and wanted to just use that for everything, except of course there are all these people who now call me sylph. But then people began calling me Emily, and I felt odd about that, like I was lying about who I was. And Emily, though she is a sort of weak meek lady who toughens up through Circumstances, isn't quite who I am. So when my blog was sort of interfered with, I decided to start over. I wanted to go back to merbelle, but Vox can't help me get logged into the page I made for her anymore, and of course I can't use that name on a new page. 

One of my favorite characters I write about is called Lily; she's not me, and definitely not Mary Sueish, but does have a few of my quirks. (She has a twin named Violet who has a few others of my characteristics, but I better not digress.) So I chose the name liliales, my favorite group of flowers, in order to be Lily Alice, a person closer to the real me; plain but striking, solid but fanciful, living not quite in or out of her own time. She's the pedantic bohemian without the urgency, and bibliosylph, only quieter. She would be merbelle if merbelle hadn't come first. 

Other people on the web now use "pedantic bohemian," but I am tickled to know I was the first (and still am pb at Amazon and eBay.) Well, I guess I'm tickled. There are a few other merbelles, as well; I am not tickled about that. There is at least one other "Liliales," but all your bibliosylph are belong to me

How exhausting, right?

Great Christie Read lazy catchup

I was all set for The A.B.C. Murders, and suddenly had a huge pash to read all the Campions in order. This may have something to do with the huge pash I developed for Peter Davison, but after all, he's just an actor. The books are the books. I've read/reread about 10 of them, and now I'm back to Christie, only now I've misplaced that book! I can't think why or where, it was just here by my bed, and now it isn't. So I will proceed with Murder in Mesopotamia, which I like better anyway, and get back to the other one when it turns up. 

I did not report on the several previous books because I was far too busy reading them to talk about them. Plus, snow. Snow and reading and little else. So I have decided to mention them in sort of "themed" reports, first of which will probably relate to World War II, and the question of Jews. (I know, like, that was a question? But of course it was, and has been, and in some places, forever shall be, I guess.)

Off to read now. :-)

playground on my mind

So the letter said people line up early to sign up for garden plots. And the office opens at 8:30. 

I set my alarm for 6:50 am, and tried to sleep. I woke up sometime before daylight, and thought about what time it might be, but came to no solid conclusion, only that it must be too early, and that it would be silly to worry myself awake. I woke again some unknown time later and could see light filtering through the blinds. The phone clock read 6:49. It turns out that the sun appears around that time, and is fully available for usage around a half hour later. 

My cycle began today! I know you didn't want to know that, but for me, at nearly 45, this thing has become sort of serendipitous, and so my daughter who partnered me in the Attempt to Score a Plot decided it was a good sign of "nature's fecund blessing."

She had made a little playlist, which she said was filled with "I Love Yous." I don't like noise in the morning, but thought perhaps establishing an air of alertness would be useful. 

And it was delightful! She does love me, it seems. There was a full-length version of The Late Late Show theme, Psych, Passions, DuckTales, and a couple other fun things I hope to share. Anyway. We got to the township center at 7, and decided there was no one around to worry about, so popped down to DD for lattes. Then back to the parking lot to keep an eye out for people who wished to garden instead of me. That was 7:25 am. 

A few minutes later, a man arrived for work. We decided this was so because he was carrying a lunch box. I wonder if his wife packed it for him or if he did it himself. Another one arrived, and then the third one was only carrying what seemed like a book. We arched our eyes at him as he went in. 

Yes, the building was open that whole time, but I was too nervous to go in and wander about. I did pull the car closer to the building, and a few spaces over a man in a nice camel hair coat was just sitting in his car as well. At this point we decided to go inside at 8 o'clock, no matter what else we saw. He got out of the car and went around to the front of the building instead of the door near us, and another woman had done the same just before him, so we got excited and figured we'd better go for it!

Naturally, when we got inside, and stood 4th in line, I realized we could have been first if only I'd known what to do. But as it happens, it was somewhat useful to have bookman in front of us. He knew the score, there for his 2nd plot, and laid it out for us. There were at least 15 spaces available on a little map on the counter, and I chose one which he said had been well-worked by a young couple who didn't return this year: it seemed reasonably located between the mulch area and the water pump.  

An office person wandered by and informed us no one would take our forms before 8:30 but of course we all knew that, now being old hands at this waiting thing. There were 6-8 people waiting behind me by the time it was my turn, and I heard someone on the phone saying that there were spaces left but better hurry because there was a line. 

So then I stuck my name on good ol' #48, and I'm excited—only now I'm wondering if I should have taken 47 as well? Except there are baseball cleats to buy, a dog's glucuse to have monitored at the vet's tomorrow, and so on and so forth. One 20 dollar garden plot will be quite enough to be going on with this year.

This is me about 13 years ago, working on my first big garden, in Saginaw Township, Michigan. It quickly became self-sustaining, because Michigan is just like that, and because it's sort of my groove, apparently. Last I knew, the garden was still there, growing old-fashioned perennial flowers and herbs. 

What a community garden plot may look like:

here comes the (literal) rain again (and parsley!)

if it was snow, it would be, like, all the snow we had this season combined. So that's something, I guess. 

I have various reasons for both a) really wanting to use this space a lot, and well, and b) avoiding it anyway. 

As soon as I was feeling I *needed* to write about any certain thing, I felt trapped by it. I can't be single-minded, which is, I guess, why I will never be one of those people who builds a big audience. There's no real theme here; I can't sustain just one. I haven't abandoned previous attempts at them, though, just need to spread them out.

(As an aside, I also don't enjoy people turning their need to figure me outjustify their own understandings or lack of them into some sort of debate wherein I find myself inexplicably defending my personality or views, which are largely based on a need/desire to never do that. Life is exhausting enough: I'm too old to still have any fervor for earnest self-examination, and would rather fingerpaint or dig in the dirt.)

Typing inside this little box is kind of like painting, and now and then it's like writing a poem. Sometimes there's not much structure and sometimes it's all about the structure. 

It's suddenly very quiet out, for the first time in about 30 hours or more. I can hear water trickling down the gutters, and a few birds have appeared, perched on a wire I can see from my window. They are chirping, and in the distance, an owl is calling. If I listen intently, I can hear cars up on Princeton Pike. But before this there was rain, and thunder, and rain, and wind and wind and wind and rain, for hours unceasingly. Funny what you can get used to in a short amount of time. 

Speaking of which, I have parsley growing in my garden. And collard greens, but listen. Parsley. It's a plant that grows for two years (same with the collards) before either dying or needing to be harvested for seeds, etc. But it's never grown a second year for me, until this year. All that snow did us some good; it covered the ground better than my leaf layer could, keeping the ground from completely freezing all winter. I may not have 100% succeeded in this year's effort to keep winter from flattening me physically and mentally, but I mean, I have parsley.
Life can be pretty neat sometimes.