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Who the Cap Fit

At the beginning of Chemistry class one day toward the end of my sophomore school year, I tripped over someone’s bag on the floor, and tipped my desk over. Mr. Bobbitt, that exemplification of sound mental health, had one hard and fast rule; tipping over your desk means going to the principal. I expect he turned on his pink elephant playing the drums toy as I left. So I trudged back to the other building, told the secretary what happened, and she didn’t quite believe me, but sent me into the vice-principal. He told me he knew all about that rule, and also that he knew I wasn’t a troublemaker, mumbling something about “retiring soon,” and sent me to the library.

No one was in the library, not even the librarian. So I sat down to look at a book and she came in a minute later all red-faced. She saw me and cried out (honest,) “Did you hear? Bob Marley’s dead!” And she sobbed a little. I said some vague too bad things, I suppose, and the dam was broken open. She told me what she knew about it, brain cancer, and also told me a lot of things about how bad it is to shoot syringes into your temples? As I recall. (Actually, he died of a rare type of melanoma which spread to his brain.) And about how the world couldn’t be the same without him. So I was shocked along with her, and we talked about a lot of things, possibly the assassination attempt on the president a few weeks earlier, which is linked to this in my head, and about Mr. Bobbitt. And then I went to my next class and went home, and heard no one else talking about Bob Marley, except for a brief mention on the news.

Looking back, I quite like knowing there was a school librarian in Lee’s Summit in 1981 who revered and mourned Bob Marley.

And the moral of this tale is that you simply never know, about people. It’s a good idea not to assume you do.


curating myself

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of my blog(s.) There are 1460 posts here, but about 300 are archived, no longer live, and there are a couple hundred or so more at the other page, linked at the top here. I’ve been going through them and creating an Archive of Me, and while you will Not find all of it interesting, you Will find some of it interesting. The rest is just for me to easily access.

Over on the right, unless you’re on a mobile device in which case I think at the bottom? I’ll have a look later and be more precise, are the latest in that series of posts from over the years, minus a 6 month period which got corrupted a few years ago. And a couple of the links go to an entire month of posts, because I did that when I was adding 2005 here.

I’ve changed a lot over the past 14 years. I had a 4 year-old when I started this blog. And other fairly young offspring, of course. Now they’re all grown up. We moved 4 times since then, and there are 4 in the house instead of 8. I will be a grandmother soon. So I look back over all this and laugh or wonder at myself, but on the whole, I do see myself in all of it. Life is an ongoing process of growth and decay. :-)

Anyway. The complete-ish 161 post reminiscence set is here, starting in March, 2003. Only I guess you'd have to read it all in reverse to see it chronologically. Well, whatever.  Some of it is embarrassing, I don’t care; we all keep maturing, hopefully. I just wanted a condensed view I could look back at now and then, and maybe add to in the future. The only problem with having combined them all into this one blog is that the likes and plusses are gone from the old ones, and it was helpful to know which were actually popular, though it wasn’t a staggering number.


analogy wrapped in analogy, the I in me, maybe in you, too

I started writing this for a Google Plus collection and it grew too long and too personal, and I dunno. I excised some of the personal bits and left others and decided to add it here. I'm agitated this season, and also reminiscent. I'd rather get back to the superficial and trivial, and probably will soon. Snake

People thought I was an arrogant kid at times, and maybe I was. It wasn't intentional. People sometimes think that now, but they're just mistaking confidence and self-possession for something outer-directed. I am meek at times, but I can't fake it when I don't feel it. And how I feel about me says nothing about what I think about you.

When I was a little girl, I used to confuse the names of two songs, and found it confusing to hear one when I thought I would be hearing the other. They are “Louie, Louie,” by The Kingsmen, and “Brother Louie” by Stories. It’s possible you know of it primarily as a Hot Chocolate song, but I knew only the US version, which, honestly, has way better vocals. (but the lyrics are slightly changed in this performance, so here they are for the recording.)


My biggest brother had the “Brother Louie” record, with Adam and Eve at the top of the label, and I remember him explaining it to me. This was at the beginning of my interest in what was going on in the world, what with Watergate and all. But I’d already spent my earliest years being conditioned by songs that taught me we’re all the same and should learn to live together and love together, so I was suitably horrified at parents who would reject their children if they loved someone of another color, or as I learned a little later, if they had matching parts. I lived in such a bubble.  Reed
Outside my bubble people were unnecessarily competitive and tediously combative, and they agitated me. But I suppose I also never wanted to believe people were as terrible as they sometimes seemed. Why should they be? It just causes problems.

I used to cry, as they say, at the drop of a hat. This annoyed people. But if they’d looked into things carefully, and they didn’t, bless all their sharp minds, the parents and brothers at my house would have realized that as I was rarely particularly greedy or attention-seeking, I was mainly just upset when things seemed to make no goddam sense, and no one was straightening them out. I have never been able to tolerate, by way of analogy, TV show episodes in which people spoke at cross-purposes and seemed to willfully misunderstand each other, leading to horribly stressful “hijinks” and possibly wrongful accusations. The characters would laugh over the confusion in the end, and I’d feel like punching the wall, and everyone else acted like it was just a piece of silly fiction, which it was, but it also happened in real life, and I knew that. And in real life, the problems didn’t go away after 25-26 minutes. (Currently, TV misunderstandings are resolved in 20-21 minutes.)

I hurt for everyone I knew of, real and occasional fictional, who seemed victimized by the illogical and sometimes ignorant notions of others, to a disproportionate degree if you asked the people around me. I still have those sensibilities, though I don’t cry over it very often anymore. I do what I can for the world, but am better at driving off house sparrows than curing bigotry.

I think it’s okay to be both driven by logic and tender in spirit. Sometimes it’s a little rough on your offspring, but hopefully they look back and understand. Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 10.45.41 AM
Because I tend to seek logic in everything, I appear even now fairly naive and insular to more "worldly" types. I am mostly confused by people who’d rather hate than love, which honestly, sucks up so much energy, doesn’t it? I’m confused by people who think how things are in one place at one time should dictate how things ought to be in another place and another time, with a whole different set of other conditions, as well. I’m confused a whole lot lately in particular by people who assign concrete characteristics to huge groups of people based on a few of the more irritating or senseless types who get attention because they’re loud and obnoxious. Like all the kids who annoyed everyone in their individual 5th grade classes grew up and got louder and suddenly we’re accused of being a party to their incivilities, because we still can’t shut them up. But maybe I’m digressing too far. I've lost sight of my thesis.

The better angel of my nature reminds me that people are all worth more than the sum of their individual parts, and this includes people who don’t think so of others. Ray Stevens says it here, also as part of my inimitably sappy 70s childhood.

 


Five minutes of your time, plus 5:42 more

I want about six minutes of your time to listen to a song, really listen, but first I’m going to witter on about this and that for five minutes because it’s what I do. Pretend I'm telling you all about our vet visit before finally posting the cake recipe you Googled.

I’ve been unwell again this week. The flu we all caught at Christmas passed along, but left me susceptible to every other living thing managing to hang on through the insane temperature shifts, and I haven’t been able to shake them all off very well.

So I’ve spent more than a tasteful amount of time lolling around reading books and watching movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries wondering if Kavan Smith, a chief resident of the Hallmark stud barn, can even tell any of his leading ladies apart anymore, or if they’re all just a vague blur of pert light brown-haired self-sufficiency with a sensitive backstory.  As well, I developed an odd pash for The Joey Bishop Show, which is on Antenna TV every weekday at 1 pm just now. More on that, or not, some other time.

This past weekend I was feeling pretty well, so I took a break from all that, and on Saturday, the man and I planned duel enjoyment of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Symphony, to which I have subscribed for four years.

The museum was packed, because it was the final weekend of their special Van Gogh exhibit, so we inched along the drive toward the parking lot for quite awhile, taking our ease, when off to my right striding swiftly along the sidewalk, I saw a pair of really stellar ochre corduroy trousers. I mean, they were being worn by an entire person doing the striding, but that was secondary at first, until the man, who was driving, said, “Isn’t that Louis Langrée?”

And indeed it was. We thought that was a neat bit of serendipity, since we’d see him later that night conducting the symphony. And I enjoyed his pants very much. But then, you see, I always do. I enjoy tilting my head at his charming aspect as he enthusiastically conducts the music, though I don’t have quite the same level of passion for him as my neighbor across the road, who is about 15 years older than me, definitely the nicest person I know here, and definitely very into Louis. She will gush, if asked. C’est compréhensible. He has true presence, that one, n’est çe pas? Et il porte très bien son pantalon.

He left, we parked and went in to enjoy the museum for a couple hours; Novemberlight
Seating
they have a really neat exhibit right now featuring art works by employees, so if you live around here, go check it out. Employed
And then we went to Anchor-OTR for soup and little things, though to be completely honest I would rather have been at Zula across the street, but reasons and such intervened, and the Anchor is nice anyway, and then to the symphony, which is at Taft Theatre this year, and I regret each time we go having chosen floor seats instead of the balcony. We are seated near the back under the overhang of the balcony, so the sound isn’t as nice as it might be, and we have aisle seats, which are very tightly squeezed together. We always have to rise and move into the aisle for latecomers to take their seats farther in. The tech guy near us crackles wrappers the entire time, and on Saturday, a patron nearby enjoyed a bag of mini pretzels and a bottle of Coke. These noises are not absorbed well, and they irritate even when a pre-concert martini has been thoroughly applied. Though that helps. Next year at the newly remodeled Music Hall should be much nicer. I will have a commanding view, better sound, and will not covet so much one of the private boxes along the side of the theatre.

That night, a small ensemble of the orchestra and members of the May Festival chorus performed the Bach Cantata No. 150, and Langrée, now in his customary black tunic and trousers, called joyfully for an encore of the final segment of it. He spoke with enthusiasm about the Van Gogh exhibit. Then we heard Anton Webern's Passacaglia and after the intermission, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, which is such a lovely piece of math. He conducted it at a clip, and we discussed afterwards the French tendency toward this, but I liked it fine. We ended the evening with a glass of wine at 1215 Wine Bar, and it all made for a lovely reprieve from the Endless Eight of sickness, and uncertainty about the financial outlook of 2017. Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 8.05.36 PM
gloria knee socks bass a lot of bass, tongue tied young holt flicker mix midi keyboards mantra boy


Okay, that line is my notes for the second half, but I’m not in the mood to type all that so here. Imagine it’s raining hard, but the rain feels distant inside your comfortable space with the practically new chair from Salvation Army sitting under a window with an overgrown plant next to it. You don’t have to be in a dark room to enjoy the Cure, but it helps to set a physical mood sometimes. It should be silent, the kind of silence you command with thoughts that reside just beneath the surface of your skin. Be still. Curl up and listen to this song as it tiptoes in and builds and gathers and swells and then fades away. Go on. Play it, and if you’ve heard this song before, but not the Mixed Up version, I think you’ll appreciate what they did with it.


These days we crowd our heads with music and it’s in all our backgrounds so much of the time, and we take it for granted. Sometimes it’s good to stop and let it be special for a few minutes, instead. I hate the idea that we need to occasionally reteach ourselves how to just listen, but what I witness every three-four weeks at the symphony tells me it is so. When I think of the time and effort and sweat and earnest hopes and desires that go into the composition, production, and performance of a piece of music and then I hear it over the phone, scratchily keeping me on hold while I wait around for someone to tell me to “turn it off and then back on again,” I figure the least I can do is pay some respect to all that artistic drive and effort by sharing a good piece of music now and then, channeling my dad briefly; “Shhh, listen, here’s the solo.”

You can do this with the Cure or with Brubeck or Brahms. Or somebody newer than all that, as you like.

Wine


Portable Magic

That's what Stephen King called books.

I enjoyed my Christmas movie spreadsheets so much (which is a thing I meant to share about here, but didn’t, so now you know,) I started making book ones. I made two separate lists, but I think since I have a couple others in mind, they’ll all just end up as individual sheets under a Book List heading.

The first is ongoing mystery series I follow. Two are probably concluded, but I added them anyway, in hopes of more and to be tidy. I’m also probably going to start two more this year: Inspector Rutledge and Commissario Brunetti. I took a screenshot of the authors, Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 10.43.59 AM
and also of how the whole thing looks. Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 10.46.18 AMThis list is alphabetical by author’s first name, since it’s largely online reading, but also from used book stores.

The second is books I am reading/wish to read this year. That’s ordered traditionally since they’re more likely to come from the library. I might make other sheets for my reference books and textbooks, and cooking and gardening books, or etc.
Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 10.49.29 AM copy
I love buying books, but I have more books than shelves, currently, even though I gave away a couple hundred before our last move. It is not ever good to have more thing than places for thing. There are nine plastic bins in the basement full of books I couldn’t give up, and a couple of my bookcases are a little overcrowded.

Also, and this isn’t wholly unfortunate, I have much more reading eagerness than money, currently. So if I do buy some, they are from the used bookstore, where I trade others in for credit at the same time, only keeping books I’ll read again or that one of my daughters will want someday. This way, I spend very little, and don’t materially add to the collection.

As much as I like holding a book in my hands, and arranging them on shelves, collecting each series would take up far too much space. So I buy at full price books by nine or ten of the authors on this list for my Fire tablet, or at a discount through my Audible subscription. They take up no space, but I can enjoy them again if I like. The costs of those books range from 3.99 to 14.99, and books from the other series come from Kindle Unlimited or the library, or at a bargain price below 3.99. It’s not easy to average, but altogether with subscriptions and purchases, I spend about $30 a month currently to read whatever I like. If I need to reduce that further this year, well, we have two terrific library systems here. But reading is my favorite leisure pastime, so other cuts continue to come first.

This year, I set a goal to read at least two non-series books each week from contemporary authors, and those I’m finding strictly at the library. I’m seeking books that are not written in first person, super tired of that, and to ensure minimally good prose, I look to make sure the pages are not populated with the word “had.” I’m going to write a short review for each of them, and post them at Goodreads. They’ll encompass a broader variety of fiction, and likely include a few biographies and/or historical topics.