Today’s picture while walking — although I have found the feature that lets me stop the clock while I stop. My time is down to less than a 17 minute mile!


Here’s another shot, complete with finger covering the lens.

So, this weekend we invited our neighbors over to dinner.

Here I have to interrupt to say that although I used to hate having people who weren’t my very best friends over — the cleaning, the deciding, the cooking, by which point I was just done and then people would arrive — I have actually come to enjoy it a lot. But in this case things sort of went wrong from the start — a mixup from the beginning meant that I didn’t invite all the neighbors I should have, and now I feel like the third set of neighbors, who I really like, probably think I don’t like them. Part of the problem, I am realizing, is that I don’t actually know any of these people very well.

And then K is stressed, because he is going out of town next weekend and has a lot to get done, and then we had never quite cleaned up the dining room after tax season, (plus I was away last weekend) so there was a lot more cleaning than there usually would have been.

So it was a bit more of the last minute stressing than is good, plus the fact that I don’t actually know these people so very well, and then – and here is the true culprit — there was a bottle of vodka.

It was a good-will gesture! Our neighbors are Russians and one of them,at least, drinks like a fish.

Anyway, I think the upshot of this whole thing is that my neighbor S and I are buying a boat.

I snuck to work this morning, but other than that I think I may never be able to leave my house again.

This is the trouble with socializing with neighbors. If you make a fool of yourself, they will still be right next door.

Oh my god. Never again.

The thing is, you are never quite sure exactly how much of a fool you really did make of yourself. Did I babble on boringly until they decided to leave? I am thinking yes.

So, that was my weekend. I spent yesterday, probably the most beautiful day in the history of the universe, lying on the couch in the darkened living room, drinking cups of tea and reading the New York Times carefully and slowly. I think I read every page.

Good morning


I downloaded one of those walking apps, and am now competing against myself as I walk to and from work. The fact that I stopped to take this picture this morning really cut down on my speed. I debated pushing the stop button, but thought I really should include the stop in my total time, even though that ruined my chances (which had looked good up to that point) of breaking my record.

I’d never envisioned my commute time as a road race before. I do like to stop and look at things. It is interesting to compare the exact mileages of my various route, though. Strangely, the route that always seemed shorter but has a really steep climb is actually longer.

It’s good that the weekend is here. I’ve been away so much lately, and then working so much when back to make up hours, that I don’t actually feel like I have any life of my own. I’m going to have to try to find it wherever it is, cowering amongst the dust-bunnies behind the yellow chair, maybe. The garden is about to explode, too, so I know there’s stuff to do there. We’re having friends for dinner on Saturday, which will require both house-cleaning and some kind of meal (and will be fun), but Sunday is wide open. Good thing.

Mariposa lily with cactus


The office continues to be annoying. I don’t know what’s up — maybe it’s me?

On second thought, no, it is not me. Maybe it’s the weather.

In any case —

I’m exercising all my powers of non-involvement.

I had an errand to run yesterday at noon, and boy, was that great. I went outside into the air and saw daylight!

Okay — just blathering now. Carry on.

On third thought, it is me. I mean, it’s always this annoying, but for some reason it’s bothering me. Maybe it’s just that it’s getting in my way lately? I have a new thought, though — I’m hungry. Aha!



Busy today.

I am reading Rachel Maddow’s Drift, except it is too painful to read. I’m at the part where Reagan invades Grenada, for no reason at all except to make himself (and the country) look warlike and powerful, and people buy it, and think he did a great thing and they vote for him again.

It makes me sick, actually.



I’m involved in a war with a woman in my office. Don’t worry — she doesn’t know we’re at war. It’s the kind of thing where I was given an unpleasant thing to do, but I did it, and now she wants to do it again.

Not a big thing (really), but one finds that having done this nuisance of a thing, one feels quite possessive about the outcome and the idea of her redoing the whole bother is extremely annoying. One wonders why the stupid thing was not given to her in the first place. One thinks she may not have been so keen on it if she was doing it for the first time rather than redoing someone else’s work.

One feels that one might just go ahead and order the labels (yes, we are talking about label purchasing, not nuclear holocaust or anything) oneself just out of principle. Which would be foolish — one doesn’t really need to make hundred dollar donations, tempting as it may be, to the institution.


N finished her thesis, and sent us a copy! I think it’s great — several thoughtful comments on the difficulty of subtitling and translating in general as well as in the context of her film, and then a DVD of the subtitled film itself. It’s like a real movie! You can watch it, read her subtitles, and understand what’s going on! In fact, I had watched part of it with her over Christmas, with her translating the Russian as we went along, and this was a much more satisfactory experience — the subtitles kind of disappear, you understand the plot, and you find yourself paying attention to what is going on visually — you see Fandorin’s sad smile as he says he can’t afford to go to the University, and you realize that the German governess is actually excited by danger and horrific events, and you understand that Inspector Grushin is a kind man, and much more perceptive than he appears at first. It’s good!

In other news, my grandmother gave me her mother’s silver — I am named after her, in fact — and now I seem to have enough silver to entertain the Mongol horde. It is beautiful. I have fish forks, and ice cream forks wrapped up in little labelled rolls, and a big wooden box with my great-grandmother’s name on it for the rest. I can have luncheon and dinner parties, apparently. Maybe I will.



Happy Earth Day!

In celebration, I am flying home from Arizona. I meant to get up at 4:30 to go climb Camelback Mountain (which is a very small mountain, but a distinctive one) but I did not. I wish I had, but it was an ambitious plan. I had to be packed and out of the house by 7:45 —

Anyway, it was a nice trip after all. It really is a hornet’s nest of relatives, but I drove out one morning to take a walk around an arboretum with my brother and I am glad I did — Phoenix is appalling (although possible getting better — there seem to be more deserty street plants) but the desert east of the city is really beautiful, and it turned out it was spring! Cactuses and ocotillo were flowering, and we even saw mariposa lilies, which are gorgeous and which I have never seen. And because it was just my mother and me visiting, it was easy. My aunt was around for a day, so it was nice to see her. And I saw a lot of my grandmother, who can be funny and talkative when you get her on her own without a lot of fuss. We had long conversations about Dickens vs Jane Austen. She’d just finished Great Expectations, which she loved, but she felt that there was nothing Jane Austen did in Sense and Sensibility that hasn’t been done better by Trollope.

(I wrote this, or most of it, on the airplane on the way home. The flowers above are some kind of aloe which were blooming everywhere.)




It turns out that my friend and colleague Margaret was walking where I was walking last Sunday, and furthermore it turns out that she has a blog. It also appears that her blog is out of date because it is about life without a car, and they now own a car (the very car, I’ll bet, that they used to drive up to the park in.) (Also, she knew I was there because she recognized my car.) (See, cars have their uses!)

Anyway. I am going to Arizona tomorrow, as I believe I have mentioned, and I don’t want to. In fact, there is all kinds of busyness coming up which has had me feeling sort of dire. I just laid it all out, though, and I guess I can handle it. Some of it is even fun. (Most of it, honestly.)

I came in this morning feeling annoyed by the world, but now I’m feeling a bit better.

I still don’t want to go to Arizona at all, but the good thing is that I am coming back on Saturday night, so it’s only two nights away. Maybe I’ll just hang out in the pool, although it’s heated to about 85 degrees for the old people.

Just me and the old people, hanging out in the 85 degree pool.

Ho hum.

World of readers


Raisins. I just don’t like them in my oatmeal.

Also, on the bus yesterday I was reading and almost missed my stop. “Reading,” the driver said. “It’s always dangerous to be reading on the bus.” I smiled at her and she said, “Don’t worry. I’m just waiting to get on BART so I can fall into my book.”