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From the "Oh god tired" department...

Dec. 11th, 2007 | 09:57 am

This morning I was looking over a paper I was working on last night and saw I had written this: "...and occasionally helps out with fiving food."

...what?

I think I fell asleep before I finished the sentence.

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Every year, another piece.

Oct. 31st, 2007 | 11:04 am
mood: pleasedpleased

"Have you heard the story of when you were born too many times?" my dad asked, turning towards me, one arm resting on the kitchen table.
I stared for a moment, thinking of the food on the table in front of us that was late and getting cold. "Can we eat first?" I said, actually quite interested in hearing the story again, but not wanting to make everyone wait any longer.
"Alright."

And so we had dinner, and we had cake, and we had singing, and then my father left, story untold. I was a bit disappointed, actually. Every year at my birthday, at least one of my parents recounts the events of my entrance into the world, and it seems that there's always some other bit of the story that I hadn't heard before. Oh, it was actually three months before your mom knew she was pregnant. Oh, it was in our Bob Godell's Winnebago that your mom was driven to the hospital. Oh, the first pastor refused to come pray for you, that's why we asked Paul. Oh, your sister dressed like a gypsy for Halloween that year. Oh, oh, oh.

My sister gave her own version of the story to a couple of my housemates later, just after mom had left. It was much shorter that either of my parents' renditions, but of course, at the age of two, she didn't remember it was well as them.

And so my birthday passed, pleasant and mellow, but empty of stories, of something new. Then I checked my email that I don't usually check, remembering that my Babci had probably sent something to me to mark the day. Probably a few lines to send birthday wishes, as usual. Instead, there was a whole paragraph, all in caps, so she can read the type with her ever-aging eyes.

"I HAVE MANY SENIOR MOMENTS BUT MEMORIES OF THE PAST ARE FRESH IN MY MIND
THE DAY YOUR DAD CALLED ME ABOUT YOUR BIRTH I CAN STILL HEAR THE PAIN IN HIS VOICE THINGS WERE NOT GOOD AT THAT TIME I WENT TO MASS EVERY DAY AND PRAYED AND CRIED FOR YOU THEN YOUR MOM AND DAD THEN I COULD ONLY VISUALIZE HOW TINY YOU LOOKED THEN YOUR DAD SENT ME A PICTURE OF YOU IN THE INCUBATOR WITH ALL THE WIRES YOU WERE HOOKED UP WITH THE ONE MOST VIVID IN MY MIND IS THE ONE IN YOUR HEAD WHAT A PITIFUL SIGHT IT BROKE MY HEART AT THAT TIME DZIADZI AND I ATTENDED MASS AT SAN QUENTIN PRISON EVERY SUNDAY I HAD THE PICTURE WITH ME AND GAVE IT TO THE CHAPLAIN AND HE PLACED IT ON THE ALTAR AND DURING THE MASS HE RAISED THE PICTURE AND ASKED THE INMATES TO PRAY FOR LILLIAN AND LEE;S GRANDAUGHTER IN A HOSPITAL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. AFTER MASS I USUALLY BROUGHT IN BAKED GOODS TO HAVE WITH COFFEE WITH THEM AND MANY CAME OVER TO EXPRESS THEIR CONCERN YOU HAD PRAYERS GOING FROM COAST TO COAST
I CALLED YOU OUR MIRACLE BABY
NOW WHEN I SEE PICTURES OF YOU OR YOUR DAD TELLS ME HOW WELL YOU ARE DOING.
I REFLECT ON THAT MIRACLE AND THANK GOD FOR YOUR BEAUTY AND KINDNESS AND TALENTS

MAY GOD KEEP BLESSING YOU LOVE YOU MUCH

STO LAT"

I knew that my father's parents had been living on the West Coast at the time and that they hadn't been able to visit. I heard about how our neighbor and landlord Bob and his wife came to the hospital in their stead, posing as relatives. But I hadn't heard about what my grandparents had been doing at the time when they couldn't make it. I had inmates praying for me. That's kind of cool.

I remember that Babci called me "Little Joy" in Polish when I was little, and I always felt like it was connected to my birth, rather than to the fact that Joy is my middle name. She called me a miracle baby. I remember one my my uncles on my mom's side saying the same thing at another uncle's birthday party the other year. And another, and another, and another. I remember hearing it so much when I was a child. I guess it is a miracle to be alive.

But I feel far from being a miracle now. I complain about not getting work done and still don't do it. I snap at people more than they deserve, or get bitingly sarcastic. I get angry when people don't do things I didn't tell them to do, I build up grandiose expectations and get disappointed when they aren't fulfilled. I am, in short, human, but often I feel like I'm not even very good at that.

So what does all this ranting and writing mean? I'm not sure. But I like the image of my grandparents having cake and coffee with inmates and hearing them express concern over the baby of people they never even met. I like that I got another piece of the story. While it seems self absorbed to want to hear about myself so much, I figure that that's what birthday celebrations are for anyway.

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Scented Existence

Oct. 13th, 2006 | 02:01 pm
mood: pleasedpleased
music: Heart in a Cage - Chris Thile (internal)




My world is a very wonderful smelling place right now.

There's butternut squash roasting in the oven and some large, healthy sage, rosemary and thyme plants have just been delivered to the room.

~inhales deeply~

Aaaahhh...

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Stop the presses, I see something shiny.

Aug. 18th, 2006 | 09:00 pm
mood: amusedamused and shiny




Today after work I did something earthshaking. Bizarre. Unfathomable. I bought pants.

Yes, pants. I was purusing about the secondhand shop in Putney, trying things on and drifting about when I saw them. Black, shiny, with pockets placed randomly in the pattern. My eyes flicked over them, then went back and stayed. "Crazy," I thought. "Do I actually want to try those on? Is something wrong with the order of the world?" My hand reached out and I pulled them into the pile of things already on my arm. "Well, maybe this once...No one needs to know. I don't even need to try them on, I'll just carry them around for now." They came into the dressing room with me and were promptly donned. I looked in the mirror. I looked at the tag. I looked at the half price marking.

They are black. They are satiny, shiny, smooth as sin. They fit me just so, hugging my hips, sliding down my legs, flaring and slitting at the ankle. They are, most importantly, mine.

I seriously can't remember the last time I bought pants. I think it may have been in high school. Early to mid high school. And these are not pants I would've bought in high school. I probably would've thought they were too trendy, too fake, or simply not me. But I like 'em now. I don't know when I'll wear them, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. I've got plenty of time.

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Hot Cross Ratatouille

Aug. 3rd, 2006 | 11:52 pm
mood: sleepysleepy




Since I had today off, I was in charge of dinner, and was sent forth with a request: Let there be pesto pasta, and let there be veggies. Since the garden is happily producing many delectables, so clearly the first thing was to take advantage of these. Upon discovering outside many fine yellow squash, some lovely peppers, fresh juicy tomatoes and then spotting a languishing eggplant in the fridge, it seemed there was no choice but to make ratatouille. However, doing it all on the stovetop often yields a very greasy final project of which I'm not as fond, and oven roasting, while often a producer of fine results, was far too hot an option. So I cut up the eggplant and squash, tossed them each with some salt and olive oil, wrapped them in aluminium, and put them on the grill. I diced an onion and minced some garlic and cooked them in a wok until the onion was just starting to brown, then set it aside to wait for the grill to do it's job.

In the meantime, I boiled water for pasta and picked some basil, washed it, and ground it up in the food processor with the usual gang of idiots; garlic, more garlic, parmesan, a little salt, and just enough olive oil to wet it all down. I might've put pine nuts in, but it seemed like too much trouble to find them. I set the I-can't-belive-it's-not-soylent-green mixture aside to await the pasta, and moved on to the protein section of the meal.

I hadn't even checked earlier to see what meat was in the freezer, but now there wasn't time for any of that defrosting business, and the only beans we seemed to have were black ones, which are fabulous, but not what I was in the mood for. Instead, hailing from the temperate lands of the fridge came a block of medium-firm tofu, which was soon rendered into several 1/4" slices. Into the cleaned and dried food processor went a few handfuls of walnuts, a nice dose of grated parmesan, some salt and pepper, and a bit of semolina flour just to help keep things nice and dry. After several good pulses, the mixture was pretty fine, but still needed something. I tore down some of the greek oregano my herbalism teacher gave me to dry and threw a few stalks worth of leaves in and let them chop and spin their way into the mixture. Satisfied enough, I dumped the powderdy mass into a bowl and dredged each of the tofu slices through it, patting the mixture onto some of the drier, more stubborn pieces. I heated up some oil in a pan and lightly fried the squares on each side. While they were cooking, I sliced some baby bella mushrooms, and when the pan held vacancy again, I replaced that with fungus. I cooked the mushrooms until they just started to get soft and then poured a bunch of balsamic vinegar and a little soy sauce in the pan and let it all simmer for a minute or two before pouring it over the plate of tofu. A bit of quick work in the herb section of the garden and some chiffonade action later, and the plate was sauced and garnished.

With that taken care of, I finished taking care of the pesto pasta, cooking some linguine until al dente, draining it, and tossing in the paste.

At this point, the squash and eggplant was about ready, so I chopped up a couple of very ripe, juice tomatoes and a handful of cherry ones and put the wok of onions back on the stove to get warm again. I dumped the mushy purple and yellow mounds into the pan and stirred it around for a minute to combine, then added the tomatoes, turned off the heat, and stirred in a little salt and pepper. At this point I realized I'd forgotten to pick the green pepper, but decided it could wait until another day. I slid the mixture into a bowl, picked some chives, minced them, and sprinkled them over the ratatouille.

The ratatouille, despite the forgotten peppers, was still quite nice. The ripeness of the tomatoes and the special quality of the grilled flavors gave the whole dish an extra special taste that may have converted me to (mostly) grilled ratatouille. I'm not sure that I would've grilled the peppers, though, if I had remembered them. Having them lightly sauteed with the onions and maintaning their crispness and freshness would've added a nice constrast within the dish, although I really do love fire roasted peppers.

At any rate, the three dishes all balanced each other nicely while providing for a complete and delicious meal.

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"It may be thankless work, but just remember that no one knows you're here."

Jul. 31st, 2006 | 10:13 pm
mood: tiredtired




My manager actually said this tonight as we were finishing the mopping around 8:00, about 30-45 minutes later than usual. All the rest of the workers had left a while ago, before I started mopping, and I had taken care of most of the floor myself before our manager showed up and helped with the floor like he'd said he would. He mostly worked on one smaller, but fairly nasty section, dividing it up like the cycles on a washing machine. First he sloshed a bunch of water on the floor, then said, "Now, what comes after the wash cycle?" "Uhh..." I said in that eloquent, I'm-tired-and-want-to-go-home sort of way of mine and stared for a moment.
"The rinse cycle!" he said energetically, and dunked his mop in the bucket. I kept mopping in my own, non-cycled way for a bit more before he went, "So, what comes after the rinse cycle?"
"Er..." I said, demonstrating my grand command of the English language once again.
"After the wash cycle and the rinse cycle, what comes next? Like on a washing machine, what would follow that?" He had that funny little grin on his face that wasn't really directed towards anyone. "Spiiin!" He said, twirling in a circle, mop still in hand, flying out in orbit around him, just above the floor.
"Ah. Right," I said, staring for a moment, then going over a spot I hadn't quite gotten before once again.
"Okay, you're done. Good work. I'll take care of this," he said, indicating the mop bucket.

He's certainly eccentric. But the floor got clean.

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Why I Love Linguists/Linguistics

May. 31st, 2006 | 11:00 am
mood: chipperchipper
music: We Both Go Down Together - Decemberists (internal)




I was reading through my copy of Contemporary Linguistics again and discovered an aside at the end of the chapter in which is presented what the author refers to as "an interactional socioliguist's worst nightmare". It's an excerpt from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the bit where they're playing the game of questions. Not only was this person fabulous enough to include a bit from this play in a chapter on sociolinguistics (I think that's the chapter, at least), but they tried to discuss the play in the introduction to the excerpt and explain it to those who may not have seen or read it, and ended it with, "Maybe you should just rent the video, make some popcorn, and put off your homework for tonight." Then, you turn the page and the next chapter begins with a Groucho Marx quote: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

I love linguists.

I also am remembering that I really do love linguistics, too. I was flipping through the chapters on morphology and syntax, and it just made me happy. I've been working on some languages since spring break, and I felt I needed a refresher on what kind of items I should keep in mind while doing the construction, now that I've gotten past some basic stages. I've been avoiding suppletion, but I think they'll be some of that going on eventually. I'm at a good point for really thinking about affixation; I've got some basic things done, such as declentions and present tense conjugations, and there's some established endings for verbs and nouns in their nomitive forms, but the adjectives are still kinda haphazard. Also, I'd totally forgotten about reduplication, and am excited about the possibilities of its usage. I may come up with some infixation, too. Just because I can. I've hardly worked on grammar, though. I was thinking about making this an SOV language, but currently the working structure is more SVO. It's possible, though, that this will be an inflectionally rich enough language that I can have a fairly loose word structure.

A lot of my attention currently is going towards the writing system, though. I was looking up the chapter on writing when I came across the lovely aforementioned excerpt and quote. I've been spending some good time on Omniglot looking for inspiration. I've got an alphabet, but I'm thinking of scrapping the whole thing and coming up with a new one, or possibly just making some modifications. Currently it's kind of like Ogham meets Mongolian in a bar and they pick up some dots together. It's written top to bottom, right to left, but I've been thinking about making it horizontal and taking a little influence from Arabic, but I'm also kind of in love with Lepcha right now.

That is all. Run along.

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Still hate packing.

May. 14th, 2006 | 04:06 am
location: Cabin 1, my darling little home
music: We Are the Normal - Goo Goo Dolls




Which is why I've made and uploaded some new user pics instead.

-Have run out of newspaper. Am now packing things wrapped in plastic bags instead.

-Don't know where to put all my shit. Abe and Jim are taking up a bunch of space in the living room already.

-At times, it just about breaks my heart to leave this place. This year has been amazing. I love my cabin lots.

-Still don't know what's happening to Wigwam after this. I may have to beg my dad to take him in for a while while we find him another home before Crystal can take him back. I think I hear him meowing to come in now.

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I just wanted you to be the first to know...

May. 14th, 2006 | 02:51 am
location: my last night at the cabin.
mood: crankycranky
music: Daft Punk - Steam Machine




...I really hate packing.

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A quick scene.

May. 4th, 2006 | 10:00 pm
location: The cabbage
mood: sleepysleepy
music: Ave Maria - Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin




As I was leaving the kitchen tonight, I saw a group of people by the firepond, and decided to walk along the path that went by it. I had noticed them earlier, when I'd been taking out the trash, but hadn't paid much attention.

As I neared the group now, I saw the empty beer bottles scattered along the edge of the water, the remaining bench, and the three canoes tied together on the water, holding the group of people on a floating living room. Some people stood around with beer in their hands, people rested on the extra bench, and at least one reclined in an armchair as they slowly drifted around the pond, with Rohan vaguely guiding the makeshift craft with a paddle.

A few of them looked over at me, smiled, as I stood there watching the scene. In a beautiful May evening, with the sky turning pink and the fauna growing in greenness, they drifted on the calm waters of the little pond, unconcerned, laughing, drinking and carrying on with their juxtaposition of two very different images.

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