Her Green Figs

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

26 April 2006


I had a wonderful time last night. I met New Best Friend and a colleague at my favorite bar. We ate bad food and heard a great band and told stories and laughed and had fun. New Best Friend told me he loves me. Of course it's not a romantic relationship, and it happened during a conversation about shoe propriety, but it was not flippant and it means a lot to me. I responded with goofy smile. I could do a lot worse. I may start a collection of "I love you"s from men.

I made chili. It's late in the season, but there were thunderstorms predicted and it sounded good. I made it with sirloin chunks and kidney beans and Guiness and Dutch process cocoa. Cinnamon, cumin, paprika, ginger. Fire roasted tomatoes. It's really tasty. Also made some Yankee cornbread. It's more than I've cooked in weeks and my entire house and being are steeped and infused with the rick and tangy scent. I should shower.

Made an offer on a sweet little bungalow in downtown this morning. All signs point to my bid being rejected outright (30% under the asking price, which is more than fair, considering the necessary repairs), but I'm dumbly hopeful. Maybe my contract will find the owner in just the right mood of giving up.

I bought a lot of booze at the liquor store today: giant sizes of my favorite upscale bourbon, and vodka. Since it's after Easter, I also got a huge bottle of top shelf gin. However, I'm currently enjoying my second Scarlett O'Hara of the evening--a cocktail I've just discovered and made of Southern Comfort with cran juice and lime. It's definitely what a talented tenor I know would call a "bitch drink." It's very girly.

Lordy, but my kidneys hurt.

25 April 2006

Rainy Days and Birthdays

In eighteen days I will have survived this terrible year of being thirty. Well, it started out terrible, but is ending reasonably pleasantly. Thirty-one just sounds like an easier age to be. Thirty-one doesn't require apology or explanation the way thirty does.

My sister-in-law is the first person who has asked me about plans for my birthday. I thought that I was going to be away in India for a meditation course, but I was off by a few days. Actually, the school placed me into a course to be held in Florida, not quite as exotic a destination as India, but somewhat cheaper for me to get to. So, if I had been accepted into one of the courses in India, I probably would be there for my birthday, but, since I only have to drive to Jacksonville, I can wait a few more days before I go. That's all well and good, but it leaves me no easy way to avoid my birthday.

I have a rather nice batch of friends with whom I could spend my birthday this year. I have been to several meet-up-at-a-bar type parties in the last few months, and I think I could enjoy something like that, if someone would organize it on my behalf. Not sure I'll let that happen though. I do not enjoy being the center of attention or the target of pity.

I think I will ask my parents to have my favorite chair reupholstered as a birthday gift. I would also like to have slightly longer legs put on it. Too much furniture is designed for people shorter than 6'. I'm thinking purple leather--how's that for impractical? If someone would give me HeartThrob for my birthday, that would be a very welcome gift. Are you reading this, New Best Friend? Threesome Twosome? Tractor Girl?

I am trying to determine whether to bid on a little house here in town. It's sweet and needs work and is on a street that makes me smile and people would definitely come visit and I could have casual dinner parties and always have people dropping by to have a beer or drop off a book or whatever. I like that. Also, it has quite a spectacular (if messy) back garden. I think the asking price is about $40,000 too high, but I don't think my agent is going to let me bid that low. We'll see. Still, it would be awfully nice to go ahead and settle this and start hiring contractors and ordering cabinets and shopping for window coverings. I'm dying to unpack my books.

I bought a new inner tube for my bike tire and intend to fix the wheel. I have hardly touched by bike since the unfortunate incident of the tire mangling. That was the last day that Bill kissed me. I haven't had the stomach to imagine biking without him until just recently. There's a short but lovely paved trail alongside out canal that I intend to ride. I also want to dig out my in-line skates and take those down there, although I'm afraid of making an idiot of myself. I would love to move fast on all those wheels, and to streamline my body whilst doing so. My life would be so very nice if only I weren't so huge.

Started M's baby's quilt last night. I cut out the squares for a Kite's Tail pattern. I have five pairs of colors. The squares are polka-dots and the backgrounds for those squares will be tone-on-tone solids of the dotted cloth. I'll do stripes. 8 squares wide by ten stripes long. Two stripes of each color. I think it will be nice. All the cloth is flannel cotton and it washed beautifully! I think I'll piece the back too, but I figure I should complete one pieced top before I could determine the size of the back. Anyway, that will give the new parents a choice of which pattern they prefer. And it's not like I have anything in mind to use up all this leftover circus-colored flannel. Might as well put it in the quilt.

23 April 2006

The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained

Went to sing, despite my irrepressible cough and congestion. There was magic happening during our offeratory. That doesn't usually happen and it was lovely. I wish I hadn't been running late for rehearsal.

Lunch with Goth Girl, New Best Friend, and the Badass Baritone. I had a lovely, wonderful time and SO enjoy having people who call me and play with me and buy me drinks and such. It's been awhile for that. I have plans with New Best Friend (Tuesday) and with Badass Baritone (Wednesday) for later this week. Can't wait. Yay life!

I'm worrying about Goth Girl.

21 April 2006

A Four Hour Dinner in Which I Can't Hold My Wine

Lovely meal. Plain old salad, nothing special with far too thick and tough "special" kitchen made crackers. Bleugh. We had the only Australian white on the list which was from a very pedestrian Eastern winery that I don't much care for. Had there been a decent Italian or even German, I would have gone for that, but everything else was Napa. I don't do Napa.

Lovely evening nevertheless. I learned a lot more about my new best friend, which is wonderful, but he also fed my appetite for scandalous gossip on people we know. I now have confirmation from four different sources that HeartThrob is a coke head. He's also a "functional alcoholic." I am old enough and wise enough to know that getting involved with a person with such problems is a BAD IDEA. New Best Friend decrees that HeartThrob would make an excellent fling/transition from my multi-year period of DEEP MOURNING, but that he is absolutely not an appropriate choice for any sort of lasting, meaningful, rewarding relationship. I am old enough and wise enough to know that I should not hitch my wagon to someone who needs "fixing" and who I don't trust unconditionally. However, I still find HeartThrob POWERFULLY attractive and would attach myself to him in an instant on invitation.

Tonight I am going to attempt to change out my nostril piercing. I'm really supposed to wait another three weeks, but it's been four and a half months and I really hate this original piece and am DYING to get my little platinum and diamond piece in there. Besides, it's not cystic or infected or scabby for a change. Plus, I'm pretty drunk and less nervous about the undertaking than I would be normally.

Golly but I'm hungry.

I told New Best Friend that my ex looks exactly like John Hannah, which he does, and New Best Friend was VERY IMPRESSED. I could have been a very lucky girl indeed, but, instead, I ran away from home, left my job and friends, sold my house, and moved 500 miles away to start over. I have done so, slowly, and with some success. Yet, I spent my Friday with my NEW BEST FRIEND instead of a new boyfriend or HeartThrob. I had a good time though.

I think I may be racially incapable of playing slide guitar. I don't know how Clapton does it. I'm sure it can't be that I'm a musical idiot. No, definitely not that.

20 April 2006

Quilts! for Babies!

MDG and DG are expecting their first child and are permitting me to make them a baby quilt. I have chosen to do it in flannels and happened across these delightful polka dots, which I will be combining with matching tone-on-tones somehow. The patchwork pattern, I'm not really sure about yet. There is a chance that I will just riff on the theme of rectangles and hodgepodge a bunch of different sizes somehow. I'm also considering a log cabin or attic windows or stripes. What with all the dots, I don't really want a whole lot of straight line seams everywhere. I wish I had a clear idea for it, but maybe it will come to me when the fabric arrives.

I have been savagely attacked by the allergy monster again. I'm not sure if it's something new pollenating outside or if it's the stale, moldy air in this horrible building where my office is. It onset very quickly Tuesday afternoon.

Going to play golf with RET on Saturday if it doesn't rain. Hurrah! Maybe just the driving range, though... it's certainly my weakest skill. Social literacy standards require that I have a respectable golf swing. Plus, two of my new friends golf.

I think I fixed my dishwasher yesterday. Well, fixed it enough that, if I carefully rinse all dishes before loading them in that infernal contraption, then they'll come out mostly clean. Ungreasy, at least.

Going to get four new tires for my car today. SW will be so pleased.

18 April 2006

How do I love thee?

I love my nephew/godson. On Saturday, I took him to the zoo. I took him on the endangered species carousel (we rode an endangered ape of some sort), I fed him syrupy purple frozen treats, he fed me soggy Cheerios, we fed nectar to some chirpy brightly-colored exotic birds. We petted a llama and a cow. He insisted on staying for the entire birds of prey demonstration. Finally, sun-toasted, soggy, sticky, and sleepy, we hiked out to the car at the end of the dusty parking lot, only to find one of my back tires completely flat. I accidentally taught my sweet twenty-month old nephew a very bad word.

At least I knew where the spare tire was. I pulled it out all by myself, opened the included baggy of helpful tools, handed those tools to my nephew, one by one, asking repeatedly if Nephew knew what each one was for. I sure didn't. Nephew chewed on the big brass eyehook screw thingy while I started to read the instructions. Two men reluctantly approached me, saying that their wives saw me reading directions for the jack, and would I like for them to help me. I'm very bad at admitting to anyone that I need help with anything, ever, but I'd already gotten some mysterious, icky, greasy smudge on my lovely hands, yuck, so I eagerly accepted their assistance. One of the men had put himself through college by working for AAA, and not only changed the tire and loaded the busted one in the car, but he diagnosed the cause of the flat and checked the other three tires, and told me how serious the problem was and how much it might cost to repair (EEK!). Then, after they refused any money and returned to their car, they pulled up behind me and the AAA guy reminded me not to drive more than 50 mph until I got a replacement tire. Instead of letting me buy them lunch of a case of beer, they requested that I take the favor and "pass it on."

I love helpful parking lot strangers with practical skills that I don't possess who encourage me to be a better person. In the last two weeks, I have helped two of my friends by introducing them to each other. I have a very dear friend whom I've adopted as my (older, very small, Italian) sister, whose family I lived with for far longer than I needed to mostly because I just love them so much, whose husband I admire and adore, and whose children I brag about to all who will listen. This friend is perpetually short on money and staff in her book and paper conservation business. I have a new friend who I barely know but with whom I share several interests and who is at the beginning of a career that I have had for some years and who I have tried to advise. This new friend sought my advice on summer housing in my old city where she has a fellowship. I have arranged for her to live with my other friend and to have a second fellowship in her conservation studio, a resume attribute that will be invaluable when she enters the job market next year. This week, I arranged for another new friend, one who is earnestly attempting to stave off debt-collectors but who has failed to avoid eviction, to housesit for my other new friend this summer, when she goes off to live with my old friend. This way my very poor friend will have three months to save money and get back on her feet, my other new friend will know her home here is safe and will have a great place to live in DC for a few months, and my old friend will get some extra income and staffing. Works great for everybody and I feel good about making it happen, even though all I had to do was pay attention and make a couple of calls.

I love my friends. I have these new friends now, since I moved 500 miles away and renounced my previous home, career, lover, lifestyle, and mental health. When I came here, I spent a few months lying around wondering just what in the heck I was supposed to do with the rest of my vacant, empty life. I eventually emerged (very slowly) and began experimenting with activities I'd let fall to the side in my misguided and unconscious pursuit of the life I'd just renounced. I started to sing again, just to see whether I could still do it and if I still liked it. I could and did, and that month-long experiment earned me an audition and position in a prestigious local choir which, for the last eight months, has taught me an awful lot about music and myself, and has given me a gaggle of new friends--some close and dear, some casual, and some somewhere in between. This last Sunday was Easter, just about the biggest day of the year for this choir, and I spent the whole day with these new friends. There were hugs and backrubs and well-wishes and kisses and smiles and compliments and a communion of effort and talent and intention that is too rare in this world. To be a cog in an successful ensemble is to receive a piece of living poetry and is a joy so precious. I am very accomplished in personal achievement, and that's wonderful, of course, but it's not the same as sharing that success with someone. And that, right there, is my signature issue and the real reason I consider myself incomplete while I lack that permanent partner. This is why I am perpetually lonely. However, my music friends have been great company this holy week. I spent Monday in one of their courtyards, drinking beer and playing games with three or four others. I spent Tuesday in my favorite pub, listening to a band and telling stories with four or five of them. I spent Wednesday in rehearsal with all of them and Wednesday night in a restaurant talking deeply with two of them. I spent Friday performing with them and Friday night at dinner with three of them. On Sunday I performed with all of them for three services (for five hours) and ate breakfast with all of them then ate lunch with two of them then cuddled with one of them. That one called this morning to check whether I had replaced my bad tire and to remind me that it was dangerous to drive with the temporary one and to say that he wanted me to be safe. Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is my kind of love. Love is making sure her tires are safe and his socks are clean.

Joss requested love poems on Johnny Depp. I wrote this:
My Depp, he is quick keen, sweet earnest as
The thirst of sun-burnt youths afloat on docks.
The fiery stars and frozen sea like jazz
In turn arise, his eyes, like bourbon'n rocks.
His mouth, his face, are soulful, ardent, and
Alert. His sentience (loving, kind) is bare,
As pure as tempting, young seductors' glands
New loosed on hags, who, sad, sought such in prayer.
Though youthful, fresh, he's yet neglected, dog-
Eared, coarse. His hair, his clothes, fall free, relaxed.
A plebeian soubrette, though also fogged
With airs of wise and weary wit too taxed.
It's not his hair or stance we beauty call,
But soul and gut combined, result of all.

(With thanks to the master, Alexander Pope)

However, Johnny Depp doesn't care whether my tires are safe.