what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: The Phonosnout
Because of the eye infection I still took it easy until this weekend--this is mostly because I had to put antibiotic in my eye four times a day that clouded my vision for several hours at a time--it was hard to do anything and very disorienting. I mostly did everything with the gunky eye closed. I would have about an hour of it feeling normal again, and it would be time to put more ointment in.
So yesterday I went down to Folklife, a festival that is held every Memorial Day Weekend at Seattle Center. I basically just went to hear Willow, and it was worth it--she's wonderful live. This is the first time I've heard her, though I've had her tape for a few months. I also had a fun time roaming around the craft booths, and I eyed the food booths, wishing I were hungry, but Jim had fed me too well with oatmeal and a huge mocha for breakfast. I didn't stay long, but it was fun to wander about by myself. I like doing that.
Then I came home and slowly tidied stuff around and did some dusting as whirlwind Jim vacuumed and dusted and swept and washed floors, and then went outside and mowed the lawn. I couldn't believe he was doing all that when all I could think was how tired I was, and he was the one who had been suffering from the cold later in the week when I had recovered. My morning exercise session and going to the fair and then going grocery shopping seemed to take all my energy.
Luckily in late afternoon I recovered--after all the house was respectably clean and tidy, and it was my turn to cook, and somehow not really thinking about it I had invited a dear old friend and her new boyfriend to dinner. Actually, Jim had invited to over to help prune our camellia tree (well, it was once a bush but it now clearly is a tree) and I couldn't think of her just coming over for that, so I invited her to dinner.
Now, I used to invite people over to dinner fairly frequently, but I'm an anxious hostess, especially about serving stuff--maybe because my mother was the supreme hostess, but used to start planning and organizing days in advance, and my life doesn't allow for that. And she had a fun time with the silver and Limoge china and linen tablecloths while that's all so very too much for our friends, though I've inherited some of those things.
And Jim and I live a one-pot-dinner life--very rarely do we have more than one course and most of our meals are things like a stew or stir-fry with rice or a pasta salad or a veg soup. So menu-planning isn't something we do often.
Anyway, mostly when we get together with friends these days we seem to eat out.
But there it was. Susan and Joseph arriving pruners in hand and I was at a crucial moment with the soup (Curried Carrot). I huddled in the kitchen until the crisis was over and then was finally able to meet Joseph for the first time properly. We went outside and pruned, and partway through I had to go in and finish the soup and start the pasta dish (Salsa Pasta) and then the ginger cookies. Susan's not much on dessert, but I thought she'd like the cookies with red grapes for dessert. We also had a nice potato bread from a local bakery that delivers to our grocery store, and one of those salad-in-bag things. I haven't had the heart to make serious salads myself since I finally built up an intolerence for my favourite Romaine lettuce and no longer make Caesar Salads from scratch. They were a staple of our diet for many years before I realized it was the lettuce making me sick. Sigh.
So anyway, I managed to do the hostess thing. A fine dinner and an interesting menu, served very informally on the deck since Joseph is allergic to cats and we wanted to minimize his exposure to them and it was such a lovely evening. And we came back inside to nibble on the grapes and cookies and talk and listen to music. I love sitting around talking with friends at our home. I'd forgotten how much I like it.
And I found myself thinking, as I looked around the clean room enjoying having cooked for friends, you know, we need to do this more often.
And then today I realized that I utterly forgot to offer them tea or coffee after the meal. Just to show that I'm never going to quite get this entertaining thing down quite right.
We also got a bunch of new cds: two compilations from a small label in Portland, these are called More and Mass (a Christmas one), both because they have Kaitlyn ni Donovan contributions. All she's put out so far is a tape ep and it's wonderful, so I've been scouting around to find more from her. There has been a cd promised for a long time, but now the person who runs this label has heard it and says it's really something to look forward to. I can believe that.
Also got some wonderful music from a label that seems to specialize in experimental and rare recordings, Forced Exposure: Eno Moebius Roedelius After the Heat's cd reissue, a new-ish Anna Homler project with Geert Waegeman and Pavel Pajt, Corne de Vache, which reaffirms my faith that experimental can also mean melodic and intriguing, and a cd reissue of an astonishing album I'd never heard of before, Linda Perhacs' Parallelograms. This is very much of its time, 1970, with strong resemblances in parts to early Joni Mitchell, but it's also more psychedelic and experimental. And catchy and haunting. Wow.
Also got three discs in trade for sending discs overseas, but I need to listen more before I can really comment on them.
Oh, and someone on ecto asked about Eleni Mandell's Wishbone, and I'd never heard of her so I went to her web page and listened to the samples there. I was kinda interested but not yet motivated to seek it out, but I walked into Tower to pick up yet another copy of Susan Court's High Relief to send overseas (this time to France, having already sent it to Canada, Taiwan, Sweden, Finland, England, and various places in the U.S.) and saw a display with the disc at a great price, so I picked it up. Good on Tower to display and indie cd like that--I partly bought it just to encourage that behaviour on their part. Anyway, the cd is interesting. I do understand the Tom Waits comparison but find the Liz Phair and PJ Harvey ones a bit of a stretch. And there was one song that stuck in my head after only one listen.
Oh, and I rediscovered an old favourite this past week: The Cranberries' everybody is doing it so why can't we? None of their other albums have clicked with me (though a couple of the singles have) but I find still love this album now that the radio overexposure has worn off.
What sucky heroes not to go and take these folk on!
I don't think I'll pick up anything else by this author, even though after reading the first one I was interested enough to pick up the final three at the used book store.
Far better and more magical was Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's the Mistress of Spices, about a woman who can help people by selling them spices that have mystical powers. The book was about she was torn between living her own life and the strict life her commitment to her powers required. I wasn't so delighted with the resolution of the book, but I loved the set up and the way she used spices and the way the spices used her.
If you want a signed copy, you can order it from me for $7 + postage. What a deal! Great poems in a beauteous cover.
The book came out two weeks ago. I suck.
2. That's me again
3. She was going there to attend the University of Alberta
4. Also by Janine
5. The Mustard Seed, the Christian drop-in centre for teens
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