Archive for July, 2005


July 30, 2005 - 7:28 pm 1 Comment

I’m having one of those days full of pent-up energy and can’t seem to find anything which pleases me. I thought maybe I could submerse myself in a good game of Civilization 3, but I think I’ve discovered that I only like discovering the local terrain, and I get pissed off when I find out I have a neighbor in close proximity. I feel like pacing.

Another day, another brown recluse

July 29, 2005 - 1:13 pm 1 Comment

Never thought I’d see the day I was blase about stumbling over a brown recluse. It helps that the mighty feline hunters take care of most of them so I don’t have to deal with the living.

Hub: What’s that you got?
Me: Oh, just another brown recluse. It was on the bathroom floor.
Hub: Call the exterminator again.

Click for bigger version

Home sweet home

July 28, 2005 - 2:16 pm Comments Off on Home sweet home

There were just now 8 blue jays sitting in my fig tree outside, screaming at each other over the fruit. They were also fending off some cardinals and what sounded like some large finches. It is summer now, and the locusts sing in the afternoons, a staccato rise and fall outside like breathing. In the evenings the crickets chirp. Did you know that if you count the number of cricket chirps in 15 seconds and add 39, that will tell you the temperature in Fahrenheit?

At night a little solo tree frog pips from around the front porch. Sometimes an owl hoots in the back yard, although he’s not been around much this year. The deer are thick in the yards, the males still in velvet, the does with babies.

The elm tree in the back has started the slow inexorable process of losing its leaves. It seems early to me this year, and I wonder if we will have an early winter. In the meantime the dogs romp around in the yard and scatter the yellowed leaves on the ground hither and fro, making meaningless canine patterns which I will try to read like tea leaves from a cup.

New York City is the diametrical opposite of this laid-back existence, but in some ways it parallels. Instead of locusts wailing in the evening, the fire engines do. Instead of blue jays screaming, the horns do. The swirling elm leaves become the mass of people swirling around you as you walk. There are so many that you become part of the leaves and are swept up in the same gust of wind that carries all the rest.

It’s a nice place to visit, but I am so glad to be home.

New York pictures

July 22, 2005 - 2:33 pm Comments Off on New York pictures

I’ve got quite a few pictures of NYC up here and am adding more in as I take them.

They know me here

July 21, 2005 - 5:16 pm Comments Off on They know me here

The waiter at the Stage Deli waited until he was clearing my plates to tell me.

“You see here, you ordered the exact same thing the last time you came here!”

“The last time I came here?” I was sure he had me mixed up with someone else. I haven’t been to New York since 2000. “And when was this?” I might have been a little patronizing, but smiled, waiting for him to say “Last week”.

“Oh five, six years ago. You sat at this same exact table in the chair you’re in now.”

This changed things. I was in fact in the city 5 years ago. And we stayed not 3 blocks from the deli. Could it be that we ate there and I forgot about it? I guess it’s entirely possible. I told him, “Well, I guess in five years I will have to come back and order the same thing from you again!”

“Naw miss, I’ll be dead in five years. I’ve been working here for 33 years. It’s my heart, this place. Here lady – I’ll give you the check. You pay it this time – that way you remember you ate here.”

It was a strange little scene, but I was quite touched by it.

The Bell Jar

July 20, 2005 - 12:45 am Comments Off on The Bell Jar

I had avoided reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar because for some reason I thought only pretentious people read Sylvia Plath. I finally decided to get it since I’ve been enjoying female authors so much lately (Shirley Jackson, Joyce Carol Oates, Rebecca Wells). I read it on the plane today. There was a passage in it which moved me to tears.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professtions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

I felt like she was writing about me when I was the same age of the protagonist. Now, 15 years later, I realize that fig trees blossom and fruit every season, and even if you miss one harvest, there will always be another. Sadly, Sylvia Plath took her own life at the age of 30 – her fig tree, as it were, chopped down.


July 18, 2005 - 7:57 pm Comments Off on Visitor

Turns out hubby had disposed of our little visitor before he left the house. And as always, a recluse picture:

You can see the eye pattern pretty well here – three sets of two eyes, in a crescent. The cats snacked on some of his legs though.


July 16, 2005 - 12:38 am 2 Comments

Tonight I went to the mall and when I came home, hub told me to check out the five-legged creature in the jar on the counter. Another brown recluse, looked like, and the cats had had their way with it. That’s not the distressing part, really – we have had several recluses in the house and I’ve blogged about them before. Just search the blog for ‘recluse’.

The distressing part is that we thought it was dead and were trying to get a good picture of it to verify the eye pattern (recluses have three sets of two eyes, and copycats don’t), so hub put it on a paper plate and set up a tripod to take the picture, then we took the kids to put them in bed. While I was upstairs sitting with them, hub offered to go get me the new Harry Potter book (yes, I am a geek) and so he was gone by the time I came down. I went to look. No spider on the plate. No spider in the jar. No spider anywhere I can see. Where is the spider? Did it get flushed? Torched? Play dead and skitter off?

I don’t know.

That’s distressing.