Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Sneeze

I caught a cold. I thought I could fight it with vitamins. And coffee. But I succumbed. I have a headache, a sore throat and two eyeaches. Not to mention unwashed hair. 

I looked at a diagram showing what happens when you sneeze. It showed the nose, mouth, eyes, chest and lungs. And the “sneezing center in the brain stem.” That’s a place. 

But really, doesn’t the whole body participate in sneezing, even the hair? Usually there’s some tilting at the waist or great full-body shudder. The shoulders pull up in a shrug. The considerate also use a hand to cover the mouth and nose, hopefully equipped with a tissue. 

Anyway, having a cold is a good way to get out of doing a whole bunch of stuff I don’t want to do, like sitting through a four-hour opera. I am its prisoner. It would be a lie to say there’s no pleasure in it.

“Despair itself, if it goes on long enough, can become a kind of sanctuary in which one settles down and feels at ease.” – Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve

“At times it is strangely sedative to know the extent of your own powerlessness.” – Erica Jong

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week that was

Liked: Free cookies at the video store
Disliked: The German railway (punctual, my ass)

Watched: The Dark Knight, better the second time
Saw: The Montmartre exhibit at Schirn Kunsthalle

Reading: The Siege of Krishnapur (still)
Listened to: Abbey Road

Lent: Two Gabriel Garcia Marquez books to a friend
Received: A new purse from my husband 

Ate: Grilled peppers
Drank: Sparkling water

Learned: How to make Absinthe 
Bought: Bath bombs for Easter baskets

Realized: In 1900s Paris what a woman needed most of all was a good hat 
Dreamed: I was at a camp or vacation spot with a group of people I only vaguely knew & when I woke up in the (dream) morning they were sitting in a semi-circle waiting for me to empty the dishwasher & fold the laundry & I was like I already have a family & began angrily throwing their clean clothes into a pile on the sand.

Laughed at: Cat video (what else)
Cried: Nope

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Diurnal advisory staff
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Madame de Staƫl
Fernando Pessoa

Nocturnal advisory staff:
Jane Eyre
Simon May
Frank McKinney Hubbard
Bozo the Clown

"Nobody ever forgets where he buried the hatchet." - Frank McKinney Hubbard

Thursday, April 17, 2014


After surveying my younger (than me) colleagues, I acknowledge that - as suspected - half of them do not wear wristwatches. No, they rely on their cell phones to tell the time. Nor do they use alarm clocks, instead keeping their phones on the nightstand, set for 7 with their favorite ringtone, which changes capriciously. They don’t know what their favorite ringtone is. They don’t worry about batteries running out, or contracts expiring. Their minds are free.

I, on the other hand, am attached to my wristwatch. Sometimes I sleep with it on because it is so handsome. It’s not even self-winding - I must remember to jig the little knob back and forth to wind it. It doesn’t contain any apps; it doesn’t measure the temperature; it doesn’t store phone numbers, or know where the nearest Chinese restaurant is. It doesn’t do anything but tell time. I lash it to my wrist every morning like a sail to a boat, and no wind, no tidal wave, no change of fashion will remove it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

the week

Watched: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - good actors, underwhelming film
Saw: My 15-year old off on a short trip with a friend to Munich (ah Europa!)

Liked: Blue weather
Disliked: Garden snails

Reading: The Siege at Krishnapur by JG Farrell, in some circles considered the best Booker winner ever 
Listened to: White Winter Hymnal, many times

Started: A membership for my son at Germany’s jillion youth hostels
Stopped: Trying to squeeze the last bit of shampoo out of the bottle

Gave: Three books to my husband (Ethan Fromm, Wolf Hall, Jane Eyre)
Received: Much-needed help from colleague

Ate: Pumpkin ravioli
Drank: Kiwi smoothie

Learned: How to pronounce ‘posthumous
Bought: Bed linens 

Chore: Mowed the lawn
Leisure: Moth hunting 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Unhappy Campers

The sky today was imported from Holland, a nearly neon blue full of ship-sized white clouds that made me think the “Milky Way” moniker had been wasted on a phenomenon less worthy. 

I can’t complain about the German weather this spring. Yesterday was like a valentine - a warm breeze, buckets of sunshine, and everything budding. I had the day off, and headed off downtown in a pair of sandals I unearthed from the bottom of my closet. This was fairly daring for early April in Germany, I admit, and I was paid back by having them both self-destruct, pretty much simultaneously, as soon as I got off the UBahn. 

My daughter was coming to meet me anyway, so I asked her to bring socks and sneakers from home. Hell if I was going to pressure-buy shoes I didn’t want for the sake of not walking in the style of Marty Feldman’s Igor. She got a dress with the money I would have had to spend to continue perambulating in the style of myself, but I stopped at the blouse that looked like a paper towel.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?

So it’s national poetry month but probably you knew that. As for me I am still munching my way through “Seriously Funny: Poems about Love, Death, Religion, etc…” 

I’ve gotten through love, sex, divorce, families, hatred, friendship, the self, neighbors, and today I arrived in America, where I read Allen Ginsberg’s terrific “America.” 

For some reason I looked it up online tonight and found it on a University of Pennsylvania site, complete with embedded links. The links suggested I should click out of the poem to inform myself about things mentioned there, such as the Wobblies or Sacco & Vanzetti. 

I have to say it is for old-fangled me a step too far to embed a poem with informative links. I hate it in a news story already (‘Are you sharing too much about your baby online?’ ’10 Sleep Habits that Cause Weight Gain’ ‘Check Our Recap of The Walking Dead Finale’), except sometimes. 

America why are your libraries full of tears? 
America when will you send your eggs to India? 
I'm sick of your insane demands. 
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks? 
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world. 
Your machinery is too much for me.
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