Friday, June 30, 2006

A Wee Thing

Giggling helplessly on my way down from the ridge, because the names are so ridiculous, all stemming from calling our shallows Loch Lomond. Along hopelessly twee Bonnie Banks Way (ranch houses with neat green lawns), down Loch Haven, Loch This, Loch That, I was humming 'The Tangle o' the Isles'. I, wee McCromack.


I appear to be in fibrillation, twitter some meaningless activity here, potter aimlessly there, teeter round grocery shopping in my newly refound heels (I must have bought them and forgotten about them, the shame of it). We are going to Mendocino tomorrow for the long weekend so I am trusting the children to refresh me.

Last night as I was dragging the ficus pot to a sunnier place a little frog popped out of it, quite dark, and no bigger than the top of my thumb. I explained but it shot me a streetwise look and hopped off into the undergrowth. I am charmed, maybe we will have frogspawn, and then tadpoles in among the water lilies!

I made biscuits/cookies yesterday as part of general twitching, and of course I have eaten some, so maybe my Brownian Motion is due to sugar poisoning. and I was doing so well.

In the Battle of the Deer I have constructed three mesh cages and fixed them over what I call pittosporum and the deer call breakfast. I can't say they improve the look of the garden. I also poked the sewage pump with a long stick but gave up and called the plumber back. Fixing it would be a feather in my skill set, but on the other hand...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mary Leunig

I have managed to get my hands on a copy of Mary Leunig's third book (of four), One Big Happy Family. I was beginning to thnk they had been bought up but it might simply be a sad decline into alcohol and depression. Her wretched brother Michael is selling his simpering stuff all over the place, syndicated no less! There is no justice.

A Piece of Work

"---pieces of work make the world a far more interesting place. There's one at every workplace, a larger-than-life figure who gets away with anything, who inspires others to shake their heads in outrage or admiration, who causes bosses and underlings alike to mutter or scream: 'That So-and-So is a real piece of work.'

If you disagree with that sweeping statement -- if you're thinking there's nobody who remotely fits that description -- then I'm afraid the piece of work is probably you."

That from Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post, because I Googled and came up with him and Shakespeare. Guess which I preferred. Because what that excerpt is describing is POWER.

The Inner World

Well, this is a strange, dreamy day. I collected four rolls of fabric from Caroline but can't start until I check the measurements. I have updated my okcupid profile. Kevin has sussed the electrical works but I can't do much more until he can do it, and it is a lovely day so I might just sit and watch the birds.

Current mental preoccupations:
wondering if I can track down old friends (no luck),
wondering if I really want to continue creating a garden on that slope, as then I'll have to look after it,
wondering if the artichokes have spent so long being heraldic and decorative that they are now inedible,
wondering how many people I can impress by casually mentioning we saw Dead Man's Chest already, in preview, nyahhh -
wondering what Kevin meant when he said I was 'a piece of work'. He praised what I had done, so I think I am not understanding. No speak ingles.
wondering what I am doing with my drab, wasted life. Couldn't I save the world?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Carnival ducks

We are going on an outing and I have packed sandwiches. We will take the ferry in to San Francisco, just like tourists.

It has been a hard week, sleepless, poignant. It is such a waste when a talented, capable, funny young person dies, and it hits hard even though I didn't know her! I have read her livejournal and her parents', and I know why Will is so bereft. She was only thirty-four. She particularly loved Yeats: I would have told her how David, invited to tea with Yeats, offered Lady Gregory a scone. He said Yeats talked about investments.

Kristie had a congenital condition and few make it through their forties, does that make it easier? The gypsy told me I would live to eighty-seven, "neither burned nor drownded" so I choose to believe that while hoping I keep my marbles. There is some comfort in universality; early or late, we are in good company.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Got it

And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the water lapping on the crag,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds."

To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!

Tennyson, Morte d'Arthur.


So hard to blog and balance breakfast on my tiny desk at the same time.

Felix has just set off for the first day at his new job, big grin and saying, "I'm awake at eight thirty in the morning!". I cut strawberries and mango for his muesli; what else does a mother do? It is the twenty-first century equivalent of stoking the fire for his tea and porridge.

We watched "The Fog of War" last night, interviewing Robert McNamara, and it was rivetting. Two nights ago we saw "Loose Change", all speculative of course but well supported, so very thought provoking. It seems clear we don't know the truth about 9/11, but why are we being told lies? There are so many lies. See both of these, after "An Inconvenient Truth".

The next film we have scheduled is "Pirates of the Caribbean-2", a preview in the city. Is it light relief or more of the same? I believe this government is run by pirates, privateers might be more accurate.

"Un-noble, unkind, untrue, traitor hearted ": where from? I can't find it. Thought Sir Patrick Spens.

Both Will and Stefan are grieving the loss of friends, so I am grieving for them. It does hit hardest to lose the young.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Andrew Lang, thy Disciple is Faithful

I just tidied my bedtable drawer and found ten pens (there are more on the bookshelves), eight boxes of matches, two boxes of ink cartridges, two pairs of scissors, one pair of clippers, three nail files and two buffers, a little stack of post-it notes, a very useful folder of little sticky page markers, two reels of dental floss, various tubes and tubs of hand cream, a stash of sweeteners, a forgotten block of chocolate, two bottles of ancient prescription painkillers, some loose antihistamine tablets I use for sleeping, but not the little nest of nylon thread I need for invisible mending.

Yesterday while I was walking on the ridge I was approached by a very young, lost faun. I stood still and it came right up to me without fear, practically asking for its mother. What is it that makes babyhood so recognisable and so appealing?

I had been Googling children's poetry, including Goldilocks from Roald Dahl, which gave a rich resource for musing my way past the eucalypts and redwoods. Children's traditional stories and verses are quite savage, often enough, and always twisted. If the witch could climb up Rapunzel's hair, why couldn't the silly girl secure her plait at the window and climb down it herself? (bringing scissors, of course). The Tinder Box is the most shocking I know. So I was glad Dahl exposed Goldilocks.

My favourites: Faithful Jenny, Six Swans, the Little Mermaid before she was Disneyfied. Wierdest is the Little Match Girl - what is THAT about?

I love them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Suscipe on Steroids

One cortisone injection has made a world of difference - she was even poledancing round a chair leg again.

Maybe I should have one.


Just spent a happy half hour in blog-land as Stefan sent me a couple, very colourful and VERY visual. Some people so love photos, and rave about design as if they are very, very young. I prefer more considered, edited visuals (which just means I would have removed most of them).

No, I'm not sour; it is a fresh, bird-rich morning, the daughter of the horse-leach has been charming and amusing and I am contemplating a day full a pleasant, busy things.

Ah, memory lane. I was contemplating Paddy recounting that she paused in conversation at dinner, only to hear the man behind her say "There's a woman behind me banging on about her rates." that because musing on people who consider themselves visual led me to those who can talk. I don't want to leave anything out! Sound, colour, movement, smell, touch - but not too much of them. I overwhelm easily on the sensory things, especially sound, and then I close down. I am sort of hopeless with patterns, too.

This is kitchen time. Norma sent me photos of her beautiful, finished kitchen, with Nanawall doors onto the courtyard and sleek, sleek shiny counters. Judith is halfway through. Zany has the demolishers in which must be fun with a two year old, and I am contemplating the next step, which is to get the electricals in the right places. I painted the bottom cupboards a dark mid-grey and it makes them disappear, which I wanted, and Caroline gave me some useful hints about the use of black. I want attention to focus on the intricacy of the maps on the top cupboards. Meaningful maps.

Monday, June 19, 2006


This weekend I did yet another liver cleanse (Google it if you dare). It involves a lot of Epsom salts, olive oil and grapefruit, and the harvest is a horrifying number of gall stones which I bag up and send to my lucky doctor.

This time I noticed a real difference in the colour of the whites of my eyes, they are clear and Persil white, and the harvest was no harvest at all. I'm cured!

My hands are black with epoxy as Steve and I finished the installation of the kitchen counters, sink and taps this morning in two hours flat. Most gratifying, and I am terribly proud of my plumbing prowess. I wonder if I dare learn electricals?

It just goes to show, there is always something new to tackle.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Mac Mini

Who has a new Mac mini then? Felix came home late last night brandishing it as a late Mother's Day gift, and we sat up until 2am installing things and playing.

It is so much faster than my old one! And there is now room for my feet under the desk, as we were running the flatscreen in tandem with the old iMac.

Outrageously endearing is the remote control, how lazy can you get. What a lovely boy to his old Black Mammy.

We had had a wonderful dinner with Caroline, Jane, Joan and Alexis, Alexis having made those irresistible little chocolate lava cakes. It really is worth having children sometimes. And Stefan had seconds of the boeuf.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Mucking of the Byre

Stinking hot day, and my construction/entertaining efforts caught up with me so I have been fit for nothing but the porch swing and an old issue of Vanity Fair. I was so bored and headachy by 5pm I thought to have a shower, and while there, to dye my hair, which had a full centimetre of iron-grey topped by sunbleached light brown, not the look I am after.

So there I am stranded naked in the bathroom for '25 minutes', bored AGAIN after a day's inactivity when I am inspired to clean Suscipe's indoor litter tray, in the bottom of the linen cupboard (some people scent their linens with lavender). With her preference for free-range peeing and my own preoccupations, it had been some days, but now I know the freshness owes more to Arm and Hammer than cleanliness. When shaken and stirred the litter reeked of ammonia, and combined with what was on top of my head completely cleared the pain inside it. How's that for a folk remedy?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Perfect Housewife

Sawdust is a real help, it distracts from the dust. Flowers as well, from the other end of the spectrum.

I am deeply pleased with the new kitchen counters, dark grey Fireslate, just like the counters in old Chem. labs. This morning I sprayed the violet Plugmolds matt black, heaven knows what I was thinking before, and a little bottle too, put flowers in it and am beside myself with satisfaction. It doesn't take much. I installed the new matt black tap myself, even drilled the hole, that was fun.

I now have five guests to lunch and one to dinner, so it is a good thing the table is set from the aborted dinner on Monday. I was forever chiding Stefan for putting coffee cups, his hat, equipment and everything short of his feet onto the cloth, so it is time to have it used.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dark Thoughts

Too deep for tears this last week, I kept writing blogs in my head and not getting them down to keyboard, and then they seemed trivial.

It has been back to basics, what with various young women at risk in one way or another, which arouses the crone in me, watchful, prayerful, protective. So my mind has been focussed on the big picture of health, purpose, intention, and integrity of behaviour. The blessed bread and butter of daily living stops me disappearing up myself, and I have been walking again, sorely needed and wonderful to see and hear normal, natural things, and smell the strong waves of scent peculiar to California. I have been noting plants which should thrive on my newly exposed southern slope: ixia, bellis, agapanthus even, and tracheospermum jasminoides which seems tough as old boots.

I am waiting for the counters to be delivered, I have cleared the cars and put trestles in the roadway, screwed down and swept the substrate and have Felix on standby, fortified with a Good Breakfast.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Round and About

A wonderfully full and busy week, with Eileen here for a long weekend. She, Mary and I went to Book Passage for a talk by Jane Juska which was good fun, not that I can even imagine emulating her, and we have been up to the Inn, Bolinas again (where we were chased by a deranged man), Steve's place for dinner and wound up stuffing ourselves with crab and lobster by the water before I took her back to the airport.

I so enjoyed walking with Eileen to the top of the ridge that Caroline and I are going to do it more often; I don't get out enough.

The Plugmolds are now a glowing shade of violet, the wrought iron chair stripped back, Steve kindly lent me his sledgehammer for breaking up the unwanted path but I wanted a quiet day yesterday, apart for an hour-long catch-up with June after her birthday. Transamerica last night was WONDERFUL. Felicity Huffman must have been a formidable teacher, she has the perfect gimlet eye. So has Jane Juska come to that.

I am reading My Life So Far, Jane Fonda's autobiography, and it feels relevant and provocative, better than entertaining. She is our vintage more or less and politically concerned in those times (weren't we all!), and it is electrifying to read the inner workings of policies, and the transcripts which only surfaced later; Nixon and Kissinger in the White House could freeze the blood in your veins.

It could freeze quite easily again here in Amerika. I have just been reading about the republican governors in Ohio and Florida who are opposing voter recruitment in their states by technicalities such as requiring registration to be on card stock, not paper. And people still vote for them.