Archive | February 2014

Always be a lady

peter_paul_rubens_-_portrait_of_maria_serra_pallavicino_-_wga20353

Let’s be honest, a woman with real power wears more clothes, not less.

At a recent lunch, some friends were discussing Game of Thrones. Tiberius had loved all the books and enjoyed the HBO series. Platonia had only watched the series but liked it. Marie Claire had liked the series, but had stopped trying to read (actually listen) to book one because the names were too confusing.

As for myself?

I’ve not read the books, although I image they would be interesting because books tend to have actual plots — unlike TV programs. I did skim through Season 1 of the series. By skim I mean, I watched all 10 hours in 2. It was easy really, every time I saw a naked person or a person having sex, I fast forwarded. Realistically, I missed none of what there was to the “plot” and I cut out all the boring bits.

But back to the table talk.

Platonia and Marie Claire were having  a very heated discussion about the now almost grown-up dragons and whether the Khaleesi would be able to control them. Platonia thought the dragons had minds of their own. Marie Claire plumped for Khaleesi loyalty from the beasts.

Finally Platonia said, “Well you’re wrong. Because that’s just not how adult dragons behave!”

I could bear it no longer.

“And you know this because we have so much scientific data about the life-cycle of dragons,” I interjected calmly, while waving over the waiter for the desert cart.

They all laughed. And thankfully we moved on to less fiery, more scientific topics.

(The thing crawling up the chair behind her is a parrot, not a dragon!)

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Bad Medicine, Good Curling

pants

The other day I woke up with all the symptoms of strep throat. So, I called my doctor — who informed me the next available appointment was in late April.

I was told I could go to the Urgent Care. That’s right. My doctor is sending me to an Urgent Care because she’s too busy to see me.

At the UC, after telling the nurse why I was there, she said, “Do you want to do the strep test, or just have us treat you for strep? The test is $20.”

That’s right. The UC was offering me antibiotics, without a doctor even seeing me or anyone performing a test that says I have strep.

So I went home and treated myself. It’s amazing how chicken soup and watching hours and hours of Olympic curling can make one feel so much better than drugs.

And let’s be honest. Those Norwegian men and their pants . . . .  Mm, mm, good.

a little night music

bengal

I have always had remarkable hearing, as in, I find normal levels of conversation way too loud and I can hear a conversation through a door from 30 feet away. I’ve never really known why.

But then Der and I went out for a Valentine’s supper, I was wearing my sunglasses as we were by the sunny sea, and he noticed they were slightly askew.

He reached out to adjust them, and found he couldn’t.

He leaned back, somewhat taken amused, and said “Ah, I see it now.”

“See what?” said I.

“The askew ears. Nocturnal owls have one ear higher then the other on their heads so they can pinpoint their prey in the dark.”

“Tis true, I’m night owl,” I smiled, because only Der could see such a imperfection as an asset. “Thankfully, you’re a pussy cat.”

Then we dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which we ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
We danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
We danced by the light of the moon.

Needless to say, Valentine’s was quite nice!

The Need to Read

ex libris

These are the book on my 2014 hope-to-read list. They are mostly biography and non-fiction. Novels have to be exceptionally intriguing to get me past the first 2o pages, but the ones on my list I think will pass the test.

I read a lot of poetry and children’s books too, but I usually just trip over those works rather than actively look for them. People often ask why I read these, for the beauty of course. Children’s books always have interesting illustrations and poetry is the peacock of the literary world, at least to me.

Non-Fiction

  1. Breakfast at Sotheby’s by Philip Hook (Particular). About the art world.
  2.  Falling Upwards (Harper Collins), Richard Holmes’ history of ballooning
  3.  Mark Cocker’s  Birds and People (Jonathan Cape). What the title says!
  4. A Sting in the Tale Dave Goulson, (Jonathan Cape), about bees.
  5. Patrick Leigh Fermor   The Broken Road (John Murray) Part 3 of a triliogy. You probably want to read, Between the Woods and the Water, and A Time of Gifts too. It’s about walking through Europe in the 1930s. The author died two years ago.

Biography

  1.  Breakfast with Lucian by Geordie Greig (Jonathan Cape)  About artist Lucian Freud.
  2. Sex and Rockets by John Carter. About JPL founder Jack Parsons.
  3.  Laird M Easton (tr.),  Journey to the Abyss The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler (Vintage)
  4. The Poets’ Daughters by Katie Waldegrave (Hutchinson) biography of Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge
  5. Nina Stibbe’s Love, Nina, letters to her sister from the 1980s, about being a nanny.
  6. Hermione Lee’s Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life. About the author.
  7. An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (Hutchinson). About the Dreyfuss affair.
  8. Woody Guthrie’s Wardy Forty: Greystone Park State Hospital Revisited by Phillip Buehler (Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc) about the 5 years Guthrie spent in a mental hospital.

Essays

  1. Adam Phillips’ One Way and Another: New and Selected Essays (Hamish Hamilton) & Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life
  2. Italo Calvino’s Collection of Sand: Essays (Penguin Modern Classics)

Novels

  1. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure (Sourcebooks Landmark) WWII thriller about an architect who designs hiding places for Jews.
  2.  Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Jonathan Cape)  Mystery pre-the internet
  3. Nikolai Leskov’s The Enchanted Wanderer the new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
  4. Louise Doughty’s Apple Tree Yard (Faber) psychological mystery/courtroom drama
  5. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s The Mirror of BeautyHamish Hamilton) 19th century India,
  6.  The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker (Blue Door),
  7. Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (Granta)
  8.  JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst’s S. (Canongate) weird little tech novel that’s more about pushing publishing boundaries than the actual story, but still, something writers ought to check out.
  9. Jane Gardam’s trilogy: Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, and  Last Friends (Little, Brown).