Tuesday, July 18, 2017

An Elegy for Today.

Dear Dears,

I want you to know Einaudi, because I am very fond of him, and you will love him too.  It's important, too, because his is one of the voices of our mourning.  If you have been knocking around these pages you will be familiar with the Dodo's twin obsessions with Our Robot Overlords and What Are We to Do With Our Sadness About The World. 

I am still working on what can be done with our sadness, but something like this seems to address the issue.  As for the Robot Overlords, well, you know what you can do with them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Super(?)market.

Dear Shoppers,

I can't abide the supermarket anymore-  especially alone.  It fills me with self-loathing to walk the long, towering aisles.  I try to keep my equilibrium:  I walk fast, consult my list often, and try to feel 'purposeful.'  Alternatively, I experiment with a casual attitude- picking up things and 'hmming' over the label before setting it back on the shelf.  I pretend it is fun to choose from all these wonders, to browse slowly the packages and cans;  I adopt a devil-may-care personality:  maybe I won't even buy this flour, these raspberries; who knows?  I can take it or leave it- these products, these objects don't define me.

Alas, I cannot hold this presentment together for the length of time it takes to get through the check out.  I despise the supermarket because of what being a middle-aged woman in it represents:  You are the provider, you are the nurturer, you are the cook, the cleaning lady, the laundress, the pot-scrubber, the char woman.  Even if you don't do these tasks in your home, when you are at the supermarket, you are one or all of these persons. 

These tasks and roles are not disgusting to me in and of themselves; it has more to do with what you are not while in the supermarket:  You are not a fashion model, a pop star, an executive, a mistress, a spy, a drunk, a superhero, or a photojournalist; neither are you rich, busy, well-dressed, or desired elsewhere for your skills.

I dislike them mamming me all over the place, and I hate the little squints in the deli department with their low level, jejeune flirting, and the feigned cheeriness of the produce people.  As further insult, they kick you out the door with "did you find what you were looking for?"  I should say not!  But, what kind of fool would I be for seeking in the supermarket?  I wouldn't even look here if I wasn't out of food, and yes, you seem to still have hundreds and hundreds of pounds, packages, and pallet-loads of the stuff, so yeah, I 'found' what I was looking for.

And what can be found in the supermarket:?  Beat down people, mostly women, with extra large cases of cheap beer, soda pop, frozen pizza, laundry suds, boxed what's-its, enough sport drink to fill a swimming pool, awful magazines, and bushels of chewing gum-  chewing gum!  Who needs that?  Who wants it?  The supermarket is such a testimony to our excess that I flee it with my head down in shame.  It's hideous; like a carnival fun house in a horror movie.

A very few times, I have found things in the supermarket: cod in a wooden box, pretzel rolls, and a half-off bottle of French champagne once, when the supermarket was going out of business.  If you should happen to see me there, pretend you don't notice me, officiously reading my list, swaggering my cart, reading the names of cat food flavors, and humming this song.


The recording above particularly suits this dissolute diatribe, but the song is so wonderful that you might want to hear it again, with a little less atmosphere.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

How's your plumbago?

Photograph courtesy of Kim Snyder.

Dear Dodoistes,

Have you seen one of these lately?  In your drawer or pencil cup?  In your glove box, or under the sofa cushions?  I set one on a curb at the beach for you, and a bench at the train station.  I hope you saw it and picked it up; it's yours.

If you'd like to sharpen up your knowledge of the history of the pencil, you might try this page, or this page.

If you haven't any time to unpack the history of the pencil, then keep on writing and drawing, and don't dilly dally here!  Until next time....

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The black freighter.

Dear Readers,

Oh, I know, I have been thinking only of myself, and now I have gone and burned your toast!  It's not that I've forgotten you, it's just that I have been scrubbing all these floors, and stacking all these books, and running over questions in my mind.  But, I know what we need; it came to me in a flash as I stepped through a door this afternoon:


Friday, June 30, 2017

Another Blog.

Dear Everyone,

Once in a while I send you places that I think you might want to visit in the www.  This is one of them- this Knowledgeable & Nice Person has a very lovely blog on California's flora and fauna.  I found it in the usual way, by wandering around with a vague notion of learning something about Parry's Larkspur.  Try it, you'll like it.  In fact, when you see what a wonderful job can be done on such things as a blog, you will want to make one too!  Think of it as a kind of scrap book perhaps, or a sketchbook; not to hold every little bit and piece, not to give the whole picture, but to shine a little light here and there, on the things you love best.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cherry: jam & tart.

Dear Orchardists,

Here it is, the Montmorency cherry crop for the year!  I know you and the birds and deer have been waiting anxiously since this time last year.  It's a veritable avalanche compared to last year, and so we made jam.  Then we made a tart with the jam.



Both recipes are from David Lebovitz's excellent blog.  Here is the jam, and here is the tart.  Both were easy as pie, but I know you don't choose things based on the difficulty level or the labor-hours required to complete them.  I know that when you have cherries you let the winsome color of the fruit direct you to the appropriate use.