Sunday, May 24, 2015

Housecleaning, and criticism

At last, at last, FINALLY!  I finally have the urge to clean my house.  Yes, indeed, perhaps y'all are different from me in this, but if I am not feeling this particular drive, I can let the house get into a very un-lovely state.   I just -- well, I don't want to say I can't, since of course I know I could, but when this apathy takes hold, I really, really don't do any cleaning of the homestead.  Dishes pile up.  Laundry sits around in wobbly tilting stacks in the bedroom.  Dust builds up on shelves in the bathroom.  And worst of all, I feel no shame or distress at this dreadful situation.  I just look at it and register it like it was a sunny day, or clouds in the sky.  "Huh," my brain goes. "Yup, that dust is getting thick."

So I came home from work on Friday night and chatted with my neighbors for half an hour or so, and then went in, planning to sit in my chair with some dinner and read.  But while I was in the kitchen, adding some teriyaki sauce to the pork chops browning in my favorite frying pan, I looked over at the sink.  And then turned on the hot water and squirted some soap, and washed those dishes, while keeping an eye on the pan and the progress of the chops.  Oh, the relief!
Since then, I've done two drainer loads of dishes, taken out the garbage, washed the floor, and straightened out the contents of the pantry cupboard, and the feeling of need-to-be-cleaning has not gone away.  I am sitting at the office, planning on where I am going to attack when I get home.  Such an excellent feeling to be having!  Perhaps it will stay with me this time!

Just finished reading a Nelson DeMille called "The Quest" -- not one of his best, cuz he has written a couple of really good, interesting and imaginative books.  Really, he has.  I have read and re-read "The Charm School," and found that the story line and the characterization made up -- mostly -- for the sort of schlocky themes, and paternalistic viewpoint. 

This one was a compilation of all the DeMille standards, tied together around a very old and threadbare plot.  I had started reading it while waiting for a computer to open up, and then I kept reading it because there it was in my hand, even while the Me of my brain kept asking, "Why are you reading this garbage?  This is garbage!  Why are you continuing to run your eyes down the page and then turn to the next one?"

The two-men-and-one-woman idea was there, slightly more pronounced than usual.  There was nothing particularly interesting about the woman, except that she was one -- she had soft skin and long hair -- but that made her worth introducing to the story, just to give the two men, only one of whom we cared about or believed in, something to fight over and show off for.  And the plot was tiny, and unbelievable by anyone, and had been done by many and frequently far better.  The bad guy was very, very bad, and seemed crazed with it, except he wasn't, he was quite sane.  But that degree of badness is so very easy to hate and shy away from. 

Mr. DeMille was doing his DeMille thing of careful description of the action being performed by the people -- so all along this journey to find the Grail (yes that's right) he was describing the way palm leaves shift in the lightest breeze so that it is very difficult to know exactly what shapes they may be concealing -- but then lost interest, or gave up, or something, and the climactic scene was about three-quarters of a page.  Really.  Much more attention was paid to the description of the cell which held the priest who told them the story that started them along this quest.  Much more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watch yourself

I am in the library, at the computer table.

Homeless Man: (suddenly and loudly, lurching forward to stare at me)

"Did you know the family was guilty of treason?"

Me: " I did NOT know that."

Homeless Man: "True story. Better watch yourself, sister."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


So, I've been doing some surprising soul-searching lately.  Well, maybe not soul, exactly, since I've been thinking over my past behavior and having it suddenly appear to me in a completely different light -- but there isn't the term "behavior-thinking-over" or even anything that resembles it, is there?
Okay.  I know I've mentioned one of my colleagues in my new job, who is 23, and feels very top-of-her-game all the time.  Has always viewed herself as the smartest person in the room, with the best singing voice, and the most beautiful hair.  And although I can see this very clearly, I have still felt kindly toward her, and sort of amusedly tolerant of this childishness.

Well, yesterday, she was looking over an e-mail that I had drafted to explain a situation to our boss.  This was at her instruction, by the way.  "Type up an e-mail explaining that to Honor, and let me read it before you send it," said this 23-year-old girl to me.  So I did.  And she came over and read it, and taking the mouse, removed about six of my commas.  And then said, "Okay -- go ahead and send that."

So -- since I know, and have always known, that I know more about grammar and usage and sentence structure than anyone in the average room -- some notable exceptions, of course! ( and I'm being humorous, in case I haven't made that clear) -- this momentarily stunned me.  Not just that she would think that was acceptable behavior, but that she should be so sure that she knew more about how many commas were appropriate in the e-mail, than I did, that she would remove the (to her eye) superfluous ones without a by-your-leave.

And then I began to think.  Do you suppose that the times I have corrected someone 's document for them, (almost always at their request, although sometimes without their knowledge, and once, that I can think of immediately, against their will) without ever apologizing for it, since I know what the paragraph ought to look like, and I feel certain that they want it to look as good as I do; do you suppose that this unapologetic attitude of mine  has been as offensive to them, as this casually superior young woman was to me?

Can't be!

Can it?

This doesn't make me feel any the less offended by her behavior, which I still find stunning -- but it does make me feel less certain of mine.  And not just of my behavior -- but of my view of the world.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

Today is the first day that the "Batch" process -- that's the particular, company-specific accounting process -- made sense to me.  Up until today, I was following the directions step by step, slowly and carefully tabbing over to here and filling in this and then going to the next line and filling in that.  But today, I know what each line means, and how they add up, and where they are supposed to fit into the leasing and transaction paperwork.  It's a very good feeling!
However, I also found out that since I am new, I don't get holidays off, and paid -- so although I didn't have to work yesterday, since it was a holiday, I do have to work tomorrow, which is my day off, in order to get paid for it.  And this will be true until the end of my probationary period, which is 90 days.  Ah, well.
I worked an additional half an hour today, which also makes me smile, since at this job, I'll get paid for that!  Not overtime, since I only work about 37 hours a week, on an average week, but still.  More money!  To buy a kouign-amann at St Honore's with, like I did this morning.  Shared it with Corrina, and she was so delighted with it that she drove me home so as to go into the bakery and get one for herself.  Okay, okay, a kouign-amann (means butter-cake) is a Breton cake made of bread dough, butter and sugar, folded over and over into many layers and then baked very slowly for a long time, so that the dough puffs up into layers and the sugar caramelizes.  It's hard on your teeth, cuz very sticky.  And delicious.  None of the explosive crumby flakiness of puff pastry, either.  Quite tidy to eat.
And, speaking of food and eating, I should walk across the street and go home!  Make some scrambled eggs and toast for my supper, and watch some old television on DVD.  Perhaps wash some dishes.  Perhaps.

Monday, February 16, 2015


My back is aching once again, but I am not nearly as a) exhausted or b) hungry as I have been in the past week or so.  I brought a half pint of blueberries to snack on today, and ate them at my afternoon break.  They seem to have done the trick -- I'm not even thinking about dinner! 

I am, however, thinking about my back, which is coyly leaning toward a spasm, but lingering on the edge, just to remind me that it has all the power in this relationship.  Uncomfy -- think I'll run a bath when I get home.

It was a pretty good day in the office today -- I was sort of worried, since I had my first solo junket this weekend, and it had been fairly freaky on Saturday morning, with emergency power outages and all the staff people being involved.  But everyone indicated to me, in their various ways, that I had done just fine.  Even Corrina, my immediate supervisor, who is very young (23) and very smart in a certain kind of way, and very determined to have everything done her way or know the reason why, only intimated that there was a better way to do almost everything that I did, but she supposed it was my first weekend.  And then about half an hour later informed me, out of the blue, that she got upset thinking about anything that was out of her control.  So we're going to have a great time working together!  No, really,  I just need to remember to be immediately obedient and never sulky or offended about anything, and she can control me to her heart's content.  Shouldn't be a problem.

In the bus stop this morning, a person approached me and said," A very good afternoon to you."  I looked up, ready to smile at this very mild joke, and saw a man (couldn't tell for a moment if it were a man or a woman) with a large, round face, and a large, round belly, and grey hair falling to the shoulders in carefully brushed waves, with curly bangs coming down to the glasses.  He shook his umbrella at me, and asked,

"Do you need an umbrella?"

I indicated the umbrella I was holding.  In my hand.


He said confidentially,
"I seem to have two."

And although I could see by looking that he did not have two, I replied, "So do I!" pointing to the little collapsible in my bag pocket.

He sat down on the bench, and remarked,

" I usually wait at the coffee shop down our way, but there's all that construction going on, so I had to come and wait here."

I said, "Really?  What coffee shop is that?"

He said, "Oh, I don't think it's yours.  No -- at least -- I'm almost certain that it's not."

I stared at him a moment, trying to figure this out, and he added, "Unless -- are you a relative?  A member of the family?"

And it progressed from there.  I talked with him until my bus arrived, very much cross questions and crooked answers, and then he did not even get on the bus!  When I stepped forward to climb on, he said,

"Well, it was lovely to talk with you!" very much like a well-brought -up five-year-old.

So I've still got it!  Whatever it was that beckoned to all the crazy people on earth to come and chat, is still blinking on and off above my head

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Two Things

Two things.   First, I learned a new word today: "armamentarium."  Spell-check does not wish to allow me to use it, but I just read it off the page of the extremely charming book I am reading, called "The Debt to Pleasure" by John Lanchester, so I know it's real.   This book is thoroughly delightful, reminding me constantly of myself, if I were only extremely educated, wealthy, snobbish, British and male.  An armamentarium is the place one might use to store one's armaments.  Presumably.

Second, I had a partly stupid and infuriating, and partly relieving experience (debacle) at the DMV.  Good god.  This system has got to be streamlined a whole hell of a lot.  Okay.  So I had to go to the DMV, because my neighborhood, (NW INDUS) is being zoned for parking, which means we all have to pay $60 per year for parking passes.  This is not a big deal, although it saddens me for all the reasons you are perfectly capable of thinking of for yourself.  However, on the instructions I received in the mail, there was a note.  NOTE: the name on the parking pass much match the name on the automobile's registration.   Well, but this is not the case with me -- two times now I have gotten a new registration, and both times I filled in the little area which said if-your-name-has-changed-fill-in-here, and both times it came back to me, still under my married name.  So whatever, I thought, if they don't care, I don't.  Ah, but they do care, as I found out when scoping this out online.  There it is, clearly stated:  Name changes must be accomplished within 30 days of change.   Ooops.

So anyway, I went to the DMV with all my necessary paperwork, which I spent some hot and disheveling time digging out of the filing cabinets buried in The Closet (there is only One), and I got a number and waited until it came up.  And then they told me, "Oh, no, you see, we don't change names on your registration form, because your registration form is a reflection of your title.  So go get your title and change the name on that, and then your registration form will automatically change and every other piece of car-related paperwork will change, too."   As I was staring in dismay at the woman, she whipped out a form and handed it to me.  "You can do that by mail," she added.

So whoo-hoo! and also curse you, DMV!  Get your act together and your stories straight!  That simple sentence could certainly have been on your website, maybe in caps and boldface!

Anyway, the end.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014