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There are always those times when you attach a huge significance to a certain date. It resonates in your head for months in anticipation. You don’t have to stop and think in order to answer a question like “when do you leave?” And then the same thing happens with the day you come back.

And then you find yourself four years later thinking, has it really been four years? And when did I leave again? And the date is gone. You pull out your notebook from January 2002. You flip through days that sound vaguely familiar, like something you once read in a book.

And if you open the photograph album and see the house you once lived in for three months, it looks only familiar.

Until you remember that you only took it on your last day, on your way to the High Street Kensington tube station with your backpack on an April morning. That the park was at your back and to one side of the building was the line of visa applicants outside the Dutch embassy. Until you remember what you kept in your kitchen cabinets, and the feel of the wallpaper, and the step up to the bathroom, and talking on the phone at the bottom of the stairs, and pulling the couch out on to the balcony on a warm day. Posted by Picasa


You are the first result if you google “hot hors orderves recipes.” Try saying that out loud.

I would like to have you all think that I was sunk into such a great, deep depression after awakening at the crack of dawn yesterday (actually before the crack of dawn, since it was 6 am Pacific) to find out what won, particularly the Newbery but also the other lovely awards, that I could not bring myself to share my reactions. Because who wants that kind of anger and disgust?

What actually happened was that I got up about 8:30 yesterday, well after the crack of dawn, and went for a run with Kate, and then we ate an apple pancake and drank some coffee, and then she went to class and I opened up all the windows and started cleaning the house. Never once did I think, “I wonder what won the Newbery?” as I have been doing compulsivly for the past several weeks. I didn’t even turn on my computer.

It wasn’t until this bright sunny morning (sun! I’d forgotten about the sun! It still exists!) that I glanced at my bookshelves, lined as they are with Newbery winners & honor books, and wondered, “what will win the Newbery?” Suddenly the realization dawned on me that I could find out so I rushed to my computer, to Kate’s confusion, and swore. Loudly.

Criss Cross?


Princess Academy?

I am glad that Hitler Youth got two honors – Newbery and Sibert – but otherwise the whole experience was pretty damn disappointing.


Show & tell this week has the theme of “good hats.” I hope these pass muster (is that the right phrase or did I somehow mess it up? Does one indeed ‘pass muster’?) These were taken in August in Seaside. I particularly like the faux trapper hat. I have an rather large skull and don’t find myself owning very many hats. I once owned a cunning little vintage lovely, but it managed to disappear in one of my many moving shuffles. Perhaps it resides in one of my father’s sheds.*

*Given my mood this morning, I would like to paraphrase and say, in my father’s yard there are many sheds…There’s a running joke in my family about sheds. My cousin acquired the nickname “Two-shed Jonny” after installing his second. Now my dad is “Two-shed Jimmy.” Even though his name is not Jim or Jimmy or James, that is his nickname. Posted by Picasa

I like how it looks from the back – same as always after a cut.

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But this is how I feel about the front. Please note that I took the picture this morning, after washing it and now blow-drying it. I lack the energy for a hairdryer today, preferring to put what little I have into making French toast and crying over Behind the Scenes at the Museum which I finished and it excellent. To use a word I’ve heard much talk of lately, distinguished.

[Edited to re-upload the picture of the back that mysteriously disappeared.]


This is what I needed last night to carry all my things home from the library. One of our courier bags. You see the fill line? To stop overzealous (and strong) library workers from overfilling a bag and pissing off the county courier? I filled it to the fill line.

The thing is, we have this little parking problem at the library. After years of neighboring an empty grocery store parking lot (when we moved here when I was five, that was the first grocery store I ever went to with my dad) (then the store closed and the building was used as: a haunted house, a kids’ club, space for the library book sale) (the parking lot was used for: park & ride, parking for the Sunday farmers’ market, overflow library parking), the lot is being developed and we are down to our own tiny lot. Staff must now park a couple blocks away by city hall. And must listen to patron after patron complain about the parking. An indignent “What’s going in next door?” (Response: hand them a flier.) A peevish “When will you get your parking back?” (Never.)

So when it’s your turn to host a coworker’s birthday, and you need to carry two empty Pyrex dishes (formerly home to chocolate pecan cupcakes), 2 books, 2 books on tape, 2 DVDs, and your bag (which is pretty capacious on its own), you follow your instinct and grab a courier bag. I kind of want to keep it – it’s the perfect size for library days. Or maybe I just need to reconsider how much I cart to & from work. Posted by Picasa


personal history – on a light note. pigtails & pigtails. some things never change…until tomorrow when i get a haircut. Posted by Picasa

Someday I should try plotting on a graph (oh, who am I kidding) my waxing and waning desires to read. I always want to read, naturally, but there are those days and weeks when it’s just consuming, and I find myself at work pulling books off the shelves and stashing them away on the bottom shelf of my book cart as I trundle around the library, allegedly shelving. Or there are days like yesterday when the young teen section will not give me enough room to shelve just two more titles, so I quickly scan for anything I’ve been meaning to read. So that I can pull those off and replace them with the ones that needed to be shelved. It’s rough, I tell you.

Recently I’ve read:

Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath. Personally, the idea of eating everything on a waffle is repellent, but I managed to get over this and love the book. The ending is a bit sappy, but Primrose is delightful. How can I not love a book with a character named Miss Perfidy? There are recipes. I’m going to have to try the waffle one, because if there’s anything I love on a waffle, it’s butter and syrup (just like the heavenly buttermilk pancakes that Kate and I consumed for breakfast (at about 11:30 am – not because we were lazy and slept that late, but because we’d just been on a virtuous hour-long walk/run (with the running occupying about 1/12 of the time))).

Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles. Perhaps better than Each Little Bird That Sings, but without the fantastic names (Comfort, Declaration, Tidings? Can you beat that?) I liked the portrayal of friendships. I’m feeling uneloquent about this.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. Actually, I’m still reading this one but I’ll recommend it anyway. There are footnotes (which are whole chapters) that fill in family history backstory. There’s delightful forshadowing, especially about deaths, but it still manages to feel minorly suspenseful. There are wonderfully irritating characters. Dark humor. Great sense of time.

And my bookshelf, it overfloweth with titles.

I think I enjoy the process of baking more than the end result. Especially the way the buttermilk drips down the side of the measuring cup. And the beauty of a good buttercream frosting at ten in the am. Posted by Picasa

I promised blackbird pictures and then I ran off and baked a cake and made lunch and went to work and stayed up till midnight reading Behind the Scenes At the Museum (thanks for the recommendation, you know who). So here they are:

I picked our living room as my favorite room (doesn’t that sound like the beginning of a grade school essay?) It’s the biggest room in the apartment. It contains the couch, source of all comfort. And one of our two mango walls, which I never tire of.

Here is the basket where we keep blankets, hats, mittens, and anything else that gets dropped when we walk in the door. A more accurate picture would have shown that white blanket abandoned on the couch and my bag, water bottle, and book taking its place in the basket.

Here is our knitting corner.

Yes, that’s a gorilla on the couch. I’ve had that plant in the corner forever – it’s desperately in need of a new pot.

No photo-survey would be complete without the huge ass TV that inhabits our living room, courtesy of Keith. I included the chair next to it for perspective. Because, you know, we need to see Jack Bauer’s head larger than life.

January 2006
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