« June 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

July 2005

July 2005

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Summer Love

Glavine excels in Houston

At Liberty State Park


Sex & Gotham

Facing Gotham
New York Harbor
slice of lime

I walk differently on New York streets,
everything hums
erotic vibrations through the soles of my feet.


Sometimes it's dead-on


I was really tired coming home on the train last night. I took this picture and sent it over the phone to let the kids know how long to expect. I do believe it looks like I'm standing over some victim of my emotional duress...

And yet it looks so exactly like me that now you know, future Photoshop attempts bedamned, this is all there really is.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tired


It was grocery day.

Here, this is funny. "The face of St Paul in this butt roast assures me that I'm going up to heaven."**

I meant to enter the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest this year, as I find endless enjoyment in the creation of overwrought purpley prose. But I forgot. Here's the winner in the main category; I think it might be the best one yet.

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual." (written by Dan McKay, a Microsoft analyst in Fargo, North Dakota.)

**That's from an actual song by the Swirling Eddies, one of a handful of christian bands who've just always had it going on.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

We just stood there


on the front step, mouths agape, as the realization washed over us. It's not hot. It's not humid--well, yeah, it's humid. But it's not sticky. There's a slight breeze in the air. It's light, but overcast. It's just a nice day.

I think I'll just go out there and sort of be.

This Boy Scout thing?


is just shudderful. I think it's time to choose a new venue? And also? Well, let's not get started on our concerns with the credos of the Boy Scouts, because it just reminds me of the oath two of my sons will have to actually agree to when they join Little League this fall, and--nevermind.

The point is, the whole scenario looks madly cursed, which seems crazy and all, but it's just so wild and awful, you gotta wonder if some, like, gay magic-kal dark wizard dork group got together and spoke Latin against this event.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Well,


They say it will feel like around 105 outside by lunchtime. I'm sort of tired of that. Walking through the city last night, things felt a bit oppressive. Women were either in this year's uniform of mid-length gauze skirt and stretch camisole with flip-flops, or just kind of a random mess--except for tourists, who always look crisp and colorful, no matter the weather. I was wearing my own standard-monochrome-regardless-of-weather uniform of boredom; cropped pants and sleeveless top, with flat sneakers. I had no objective at all, and was not in the mood to shop, so I just walked around, headed toward the village, ended up at a restaurant called the Telephone Bar and Grill. They had quite a good beer menu, and I was tempted to try one, but first I had a Bombay gimlet, which was really well-made and cold. I drank it just a little too quickly, though, and without having had food, it kind of oozed through me in a very pleasant manner. Then I had a sandwich of grilled salmon and roasted vegetables; perhaps not terribly British in structure, but filling and tasty all the same, paired with a pint of Spaten lager.

About one in twenty New Yorkers walks around with an iPod, to my estimation. I always wonder if anyone else is listening to Dean Martin, or whatever else I happen to be playing at the moment. Probably not, but it would be fun to know.

Glavine's pitching was really not sharp this latest outing; I was sad to see the Mets lose on Monday night (now last night as well,) to the worst team in the NL, but offense has been very inconsistent, so it wasn't all his fault.

Monday, July 25, 2005

So, about this humidity


I was out there staking my tomatoes--yes, yes, it's late July, but it's been Too Bloody Humid! Anyway, I have six tomato plants, um, I think two varieties, but maybe three, and also two cherry tomato plants, and four garden salsa pepper plants. The bell pepper plants did not make it this year, for some reason. And there are two eggplant plants, because last year four was too many, but hmm, and then about 30 leeks, and assorted other herbs. The point is, none of them are as large as usual, but all of them are beginning to bear fruit in the usual time frame and quantity. The plants are not all large enough to support the fruit, so I'm concerned, particularly about the eggplants and peppers.

The herbs, on the other hand, grew insanely, just out of control, huge quantities of sage, oregano, italian parsley, and lemon basil, dill and garlic chives in the backyard. In the front yard, the rosemary is about the same as usual. The lemon balm, lemon verbena, peppermint, other mints, thymes and lavender all have done well, though I haven't paid the slightest bit of attention to them, and some of them won't be terribly useful, as the blooming got a bit out of hand. The ornamental herbs are in good shape, too; there's bronze fennel, silver thyme, yellow yarrow, and a couple of other things, plus echinacea and hyssop plants that will be nice next year.

I don't really get it all, the thing with the undersized vegetable plants, but I've decided to spend much more time learning about late season flowers, because everything is so blah right now, except the gorgeous mini-field of orange cosmos we created at the back of the yard. i should get a picture of that!

No title

What does a very unreckless person do in a reckless mood? I'm coming closer to the truth of that--sometimes I feel sort of wild and restless and uninhibited, but only on the inside. I'm not even very good at writing about it, or writing something that would let it out a little bit. I'm not a control freak, and I'm not particularly inhibited in the general sense, but I'm much tamer than I'd like, somehow.

I rearranged some of the decor of my two living rooms yesterday, swapped a chair and a slipcover, and changed things around a bit. Whee.

If I were in a position to act with abandon, just let my impulses take charge for a little while, what on earth would I do? I remember once going to see two movies in a row, all by myself, and eating very expensive chocolate during at least one of them. I think, think but not sure, that the movies were The Saint, and Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.

A good thing


Today I woke up with At Last, by Etta James in my head. It's still there, perfectly timed and tuned. I think it's one of the greatest songs, really, and was much surprised to not see it included on Rolling Stone's list of best songs of the rock and roll era, though RS isn't exactly my idea of anyone's musical authority.

Anyway, I relish it as a soundtrack, when it pops in now and then. As a marker for the day, I intend it to reflect a sweet, deliberate, and fulfilling time, in which I will accomplish a few needed tasks, and sense beauty all around me.

Speaking of which, I've decided to have a wee, temporary crush on Tom Glavine. Summer was always more exciting when there was a baseball player to moon over a bit, so I figure to enjoy that sensation for a few weeks this year.

Glavine is kind of, as Uncle Steve would say the kids say, "old school," in looks, attitude, and skills. That's what I like in a baseball player. I don't much like the new chubby "brute strength is everything" pitchers. I always did like the lefties. :-)

David Wright is more of a guilty pleasure, since i'm technically old enough to have been his mother. I only really noticed him after realizing my 7 year-old has a similar batting stance, so...

Funny


This is the funniest thing I've read in a while. Go ahead; waste a few minutes.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

whatwhat


I mowed some sections of the lawn. If I were a man, I'd be stressed to not always do it all at once, but I'm a woman, so I just do it in big sections, whenever I feel like it. I also pinched blossoms off a neglected oregano plant, and ate some cherry tomatoes right off the vine. They never make it into the house.

I had a blueberry-pineapple yogurt smoothie just now.

I read a book called Stravaganza: City of Masks, by Mary Hoffman. It's the first of a trilogy, and was a fun, pleasurable read, though I thought the ending was a bit on the phoned-in side.

I assessed various living spaces, but have come to no firm conclusions regarding the placement of LP's 55 gallon aquarium, which is being moved home from his office tomorrow. Well, I know where it needs to go, but I don't know what to do with the chair and lamp which are there now.

I questioned, yet again, why I don't own Persuasion on DVD.

I wondered, if she had been asked again, if Jane Austen would have gone ahead and married the man she was engaged to for only a day or two.

Boring Saturday


Top 5 things wrong in your field of vision right now: there is a pink afghan on my floor, a crumpled coloring book page on my bed of a girl standing in a shoe store, saying "Can you ever have too many shoes? I think not!" that my daughter brought in from her morning walk in the woods, an empty Evian bottle on my dresser, a spot that needs to be repainted on the dormer wall, and a yellow lego on my bookshelf.

Name four things you wished you had: a 26 inch waistline, better teeth,
a stronger tolerance for heat, a small car.

Name four smells you love : almond extract, old books, baking bread,
real lavender

Name four things you are thinking about: money, time, sex, the beach

Name four things you did today: played with pictures of myself, talked
to my little boys, dreamed my couch was clean and new, read some news

Top 5 Songs of the moment:

Cry Like a Baby--Dean Martin
The Look of Love--Dusty Springfield
Two Princes--Spin Doctors
Fame--David Bowie
E-Pro--Beck

Who do you want to:

Hear from :: Liz
Look like :: me, five years ago, but with current hair
Be like :: me
Kill :: no one!
Kiss :: i'll never tell!

Last book you read :: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Last TV show you watched :: there is an odd, old, but well-produced version
of The Secret Garden on right now
Last movie you saw :: Victor/Victoria
Last movie you saw on the big screen :: Batman Begins
Last thing you had to drink :: hot coffee milk
Last thing you ate :: a chocolate chip peanut butter cookie, last night
Last time you cried :: don't remember
Last time you smiled :: a minute ago
Last time you laughed :: last night at the beach
Last time you danced :: yesterday in the driveway; Superstition by Stevie Wonder on the van stereo
Last person you hugged :: my tiniest boy
Last thing you said :: "Do not go in anyone's house without coming and telling me first."
Last person you talked to online :: my husband

I'm not alone, sometimes


About the time this article was written, I wrote an erotic poem about baking bread. I reckon about 20 people saw it; one understood the tone, the rest thought it was either sad, or a joke.

I still think they were wrong. I don't have that poem anymore, but tomorrow I think I shall endeavor to write one about the sea, or my garden, or the woods, something, in short, other than merely Bodies and the Things Being Done To Them.

And I'll do it in honor of lonely 19th century spinsters, whose pulses quickened at the sight of a tall man on horseback, with fine breeches and a quick but grave smile.

Friday, July 22, 2005

High tide


Thursday, July 21, 2005

The beach at night


big ol moon in the southeast sky
faceless reflection over glittering sea

Yeah, I got nothing.

It's a spectacular sight to behold, though. We took our usual Wednesday walk along the boardwalk, this time following it for over 2 miles, down to what's called West End, heck if I know why, since it's not actually west of anywhere. Then we walked down to the edge of the water, sparkling and roaring, louder at night, especially where we stood, with the sea wall much closer to the surf. There were some people sitting on a blanket; he was completely naked and she was wearing only a top. Though darkness had fallen two hours before, it was really a fairly unpleasant sight. I'm all for nudity in general, but this appeared to be post-coital nudity, and just, ew, okay? Nothing general about that.

I want to hug the visage of the full moon over the water, and rub it into my skin. But it's already slipping away from me, here at home, eight miles from the shore.


The days are just packed.


I've been a poor correspondent, and a lazy writer, all month. But we read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince aloud for three days, and now I feel a bit more jazzed to work on all my summer projects, by which I generally mean July projects, since August is supposed to be Preparing For School month. I have a feeling, though...that's all going to get mushed together.

The book was enjoyable; tighter than the last one, though less pointedly focused. There were several typos, as there usually are in first editions (though I'll never understand why,) and we saw a few areas where sentence structure could have been more tightly edited, but the main thing is that yeah, a lot of questions were answered, and we were allowed to see Harry mature to the point where he is ready to take on the big job that's waiting for him.

I was surprised by *nothing* that happened. It was all 100% foreshadowed, but I mean that in a good way. I don't like when there are surprises in the last 1/3 of a novel that seem to come out of nowhere, like when Uncle Steve just casually kills off the main character or something. In this type of story, careful preparation for the big events is what makes the story worth the readers' personal involvement. It's not that it was all obvious; it was simply a decently suspenseful build-up to penultimate events, climax, and a sense of resolution partnered with anticipation for what's to come next.

Most of it was well-paced, though there were scenes that seemed to sort of spread out and needed to be reigned back in, and a couple of the subplots were followed through inconsistently.

Of course, you don't read books like this in some pedantic search for literary excellence. You read them because they're fun and exciting and magical. The Half-Blood Prince will stay with me for a long time, and I'm satisfied, at the moment. Anticipation for the final book in the series is already present, but this one felt complete enough on its own, for now. I imagine the younger the reader, the less that is true, though.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Book


We just read the first two chapters. It's very well-constructed exposition. But my girls pooped out on me, so we have to begin again later in the morning.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Attend, children. It's not just Super Lance.


One of my favorite cyclists of the past few years, back in contention, sort of. He's about 5 minutes back in the beginning of the mountain stages, but is a good climber. I've always liked him better than Jan Ullrich, because he has class, and Ullrich really has none.

From Wikipedia: Joseba Beloki, professional road cyclist, was born August 12, 1973 in Lazkao (Guipúzcoa), Basque region, Spain.

Beloki turned professional in 1998 with the Euskaltel team, joined Festina in 2000, and then ONCE in 2001. A strong climber in the high mountains and a top performer in individual time trials, he made it to the podium in each of his first three rides in the Tour de France: in 2000 (3rd place), 2001 (3rd place) and 2002 (2nd place). In 2001, Beloki also finished first overall in the Tour of Catalonia.

On 14 July 2003, during the ninth stage of the 2003 Tour de France, Beloki was in second place overall (just 40 seconds behind Lance Armstrong) and negotiating a hairpin turn while descending the Cote de La Rochette, just 8km from the stage finish at Gap. He lost control of his bicycle after his rear wheel lost traction on some tarmac that was softened by the sun (the road surface temperature was reported to be 125F), sending his rear wheel skidding first in one direction and then the other and shredding the rear tire. Beloki suffered a hard fall that broke his right femur in two places, his elbow and his wrist. Armstrong himself was very nearly taken out in the same crash, and had to take drastic evasive action to avoid coming to the same fate as Beloki.

Here's an interview he did just before breaking his leg. See if you don't say "aww." after reading about halfway through. That accident was a chilling thing to see.

In case you're actually following the Tour, and not just reading the occasional update to see how The Lance is faring (quite well, of course, and as usual,) here's what Team Discovery director Johann Bruyneel says about his competition; there are just 3 riders he thinks of as “real challengers” for this year's Tour title:

Ivan Basso: "He was the only one to stay with Lance in the mountains [in 2004]," Bruyneel said. "Will he be able to maintain his condition for three weeks on the Tour? That's the question mark. But it's possible."

Alexandre Vinokourov: "Vinokourov takes advantage of every opportunity," said Bruyneel. "I think he's become more resistant over the years, and stronger in the mountains."

Jan Ullrich: Well, the article was miscopied, but undoubtedly, "Ullrich has the strength but not the professionalism or follow-through to get on top and stay there in the final stages of the tour," might have said Bruyneel.

Bruyneel downplayed Liberty Seguros' Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki as GC threats.

Beloki is riding in support of Heras this year, sigh. But we should still see him perform well over the next few days.


Cars


I'm thinking about all the cars I grew up riding in. First, there was, I believe, a 1963 Lincoln Continental. It was light green. Someone ran into us when I was three, and trashed it. Then we had a 1965 Lincoln Continental, of palest green, with darkest green top, and green leather interior. I was so proud of that car. It had buttons for electric windows and door locks, and an FM stereo, and the back doors opened from the left. I threw up in at least two cowboy hats in that car, on road trips.

When the electronics went sour, and my parents were having money problems and marriage problems, they shopped for a new car. I hated losing that car, and I think they did, too. I still think they got bad advice about fixing it, but I was eleven, so what did I know about it?

It was replaced with a 1976 Ford Gran Torino. This was, actually, slightly my influence; I mean, I was very into Starsky & Hutch. But they would have chosen a moderately-priced Ford sedan anyway, so I doubt the influence went much farther than pointing out the cool red and white coupe, and saying that's the one we ought to have. Because what we got was a creamy yellow 4-door with a brown top and brown, non-leather interior. No electric windows or locks. And no stereo. What a come down. I wonder how that felt to them?

When my parents divorced 5 years later, that is the car my mom and I took to our townhouse. I thought I would get to learn to drive it, but it died in some way or other, and instead of having it fixed, my mom took the offer of a car from her boss/boyfriend, and sold the Torino. We then rode around in a 1975 Chevy Corvette, white with red leather. It was cool, but had non-disclosed transmission problems, so was exchanged for a 1976 Fiat Spider convertible. This one was Smurf-colored, with black leather interior, and a cool wooden dashboard. Both this car and the Corvette had rockin' stereos.

I never drove either one of those. Looking back, I don't know why I barely got to drive until age 19, when my grandma gave up driving and turned over her 1973 Ford Maverick to me. Maybe it was all Mom's depression, or maybe it really was mechanical trouble. I loved my little green Ford, but was a bit miffed that a few years earlier, Grandma had given her 1965 cherry red Mustang to my older brother, who promptly sold it for some travelling cash. Not nearly the amount it was worth.

She only would have needed to wait three more years, you know?

Since that time I have driven a 1985 Ford EXP, a 1991 Geo Prizm, a 1993 Chevy Astro van, and a 1999 Chevy Astro van.

I used to long for a Karmann Ghia.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Don't you love Judy Holliday?


'm watching her try not to make out with Peter Lawford in It Should Happen To You. She was just wonderful. I hate that she died so young, three days after I was born, and just shy of her 44th birthday. I think that if Ellen DeGeneres were more glamorous-looking, she'd have been compared to Judy Holliday.

And Peter Lawford was perfect at playing the heel. But the real reason I decided to watch this movie was for Jack Lemmon. It was his first film, and he was already awesome, so natural and at ease with the camera. He had a physical presence in all his roles that was so distinct; to me it just seemed like he was made for the movies. But funnily enough, he didn't start out that way. During the filming of this movie I'm watching right now, director George Cukor suggested he tone down his performance, and Lemmon asked, "Are you telling me not to act?" Cukor answered. "Oh God, yes."

Certainly that advice totally paid off.


Lots to say today


Several entries likely.

First I want to say that I am an official Anglophile. It was so sad to think of places I know well through books and movies, places I've dreamed of visiting all my life, being blasted by idiotic religious freaks.

But people are also dying from Hurricane Dennis, so far, 22 in Haiti, and 10 in Cuba, and that's sad, too. It's a different sad, of course. One ought to be able to ride the Tube to work in the morning without risk of mayhem or death from savages. Weather is savage without regard to humanity. But any time someone dies suddenly, it's a gut-wrenching shock for those around them.

Some people are saying it was wrong for President Bush to tell the American people precautions were being taken here at home regarding domestic safety. They believed it meant America wasn't doing anything about England. Well, that's just silly. Of course people want to hear from the leader of their own country, no matter who he is, about how things are going to be for them. And of course U.S. intelligence is working with the British to work this stuff out. However,

There are police officers on the subway trains again. I don't know that I feel safer with them there; last night I was thinking about how bombers seem to prefer wreaking havoc only during rush hours, but the trains were so packed from Grand Central station all the way to the Bronx for the Yankees game, it was hard to move or breathe or have one's being; much like morning and afternoon rush hour every day. One does get to wondering about it all.

On the North Jersey Coast Line trains that go to Penn Station, no such "precautions" were taken. At least, not down my way.

I'm still not comfortable on PATH trains, never was. They are scary little things that spend far too much time under the river. But many people grew up going into New York that way; it used to be the only method once you got as far as Newark.

You can never know, anyway; if people want to blow you up, they'll find a way. Looking inside my phone on the way into Yankee stadium is pointless, since any well-researched terrorist would know that everyone has to open their phones on the way into the stadium. No one has to open their phones to get on any train. It would be impossible.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Bah


It's supposed to rain allll day. 2 or 3 inches expected. We had free Yankees tickets and it is raining in the Bronx as well.

The Mets rule in this house, but who would turn down free Yankees tickets, honestly? They're playing Cleveland, too, so we'd get the added bonus of seeing the Yankees likely lose.

Here is the radar picture. (if you can't see png files, your browser is too old, sorry.)

This rain is said to be coming from Hurricane Cindy. According to Accu-weather, the rain should end at Yankees Stadium by game time, but having to take the train in and all, makes it hard to judge.

I think it's mostly moving off-shore...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Politics, Schmolitics?


I just read a good commentary on the blog of that ever-cute libertarian, Thomas L. Knapp. He says what we all feel, in one form or another, regarding the messiness of appointing Supreme Court Justices. That is, what we all feel who aren't lock-stepped into an ideology that overrides the general understanding that our vast American society can't be run by a narrow social agenda.

Now I'm sitting here, facing my bedroom, frustrated at how in one short year, it's turned from my own ideal of a great space, to a sort of mishmosh of things people set down and walk away from. It's not a disaster by most standards, just sort of unpleasant and dull, and there's too much surface space, which leads the rest of the family to create the fore-mentioned mish-mosh. Also, nothing matches the way I'd like it to.

I have not one cent to spend on rectifying that, but I'll go mad if it has to stay this way for one more day. This is my sanctuary, and it's been violated by a want of taste as well as want of understanding that just because something is put on a shelf and not on the floor, doesn't mean I won't go mad at the sight of it.

Okay, in no way would any part of this house qualify for one of those insane TV shows where a team comes in and wades through a sewage of financial excess that renders entire rooms unusable by their owners. For eight people, we keep things together pretty well, or at least sufficiently hidden from view. Even the laundry room is decent compared to what those people have going on. But I like a quiet, austere sort of space, and what we have in this bedroom is--a used book shop that doubles as some nerdy but sexually confused guy's one room apartment.

There are fabulous built-in low shelves along the wall facing the bed, but also three more mismatched standing ones, and two large mismatched dressers. And a futon, in addition to this enormous bed. It's not mismatched in the Shabby Chic way, but in the "these will do fine" way. That is all right by me. I'm not going to be that picky until most of the kids are grown.

It's just not what I envisioned when I was painting it before we moved in. So I'm going to do what I can, take before and after pictures, and post them, just to share a portion of my fairly uninspiring life with you, my dear little group of faithful readers.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

letter to the Tinton Falls Library


My children miss going to the library. It's such a fine, cheery little place. However, I stand firm. There is a fine library in this home, as well as garage sales, the thrift store, and an occasional extravagant afternoon at Border's.

The rest of the time, I will remain alone in my little pathetic corner of justice.

I do not have The Little Nugget in my possession. I recall that book quite clearly. It was--not good. Wodehouse and his editor must have been self-medicating during the writing and revising of what was clearly a good concept done wrong through a misguided effort to either relate to or make fun of Americans. In short, Richard Bachman would have been too good a name to put on this book.

I skimmed through for resolution, as any hopeless bibliophile/Wodehouse devotee would do, and returned it the following day.

I cannot imagine why efforts to locate this book have been unsuccessful. It's not unusually small, and looks like most other volumes of its kind. But that is not my area of concern or expertise. I can only surmise that if it took nearly three months for the other item I was mistakenly being held responsible for to be rediscovered, it's easy enough to imagine the same sort of situation has or will occur with The Little Nugget. At any rate, at least no one else is being made to suffer the misfortune of checking it out.

My daughter will likely pop in sometime next week, and I'll supply her with a check for overdue fees not related to this book. I'd like for her to come home without reports of being judged inferior because of my lack of forthrightness in dealing with this matter sooner. She is not me, and I am not her. I had hoped it would not become necessary to write this letter, but Time stopped by this afternoon, remarking on the sheer boredom of waiting for resolution. I bowed to an old friend.


Monday, July 04, 2005

I have a Tiger in my tank


I got my OS upgrade the other day, and installed it yesterday morning. It's very cool. Definitely the best and easiest upgrade I've done in a long time, even though my computer was added to the support list seemingly as an afterthought, because it's now over 5 years old, and only has a 400mHz processor.

And now I have widgets! You press F12, and fun RSS things appear on the desktop. There are hundreds to choose from. I have about 30 in my list, and it's easy to switch them around.

Attend. (I know it messes up the frame, but I wanted to share!)

The webcam is of the Grand Canale in Venice. I watched the sunrise there last night. It was quite a lovely thing. The iPod mini widget is there to control iTunes, but I'm not sure it works all that well yet, so I might switch to another one. In the radar picture, my town is just below the center of the N in New York.

On to the Day. Later on we'll be going to the beach to see fireworks; maybe I'll get a couple of photographs taken.