To those who claim I am impatient and intolerant let me just point out: I WATCHED THE ENTIRE MOVIE OF CLOUD ATLAS.

You will ask why on earth I should undertake such a thankless task.

Well, the alert movie watcher quickly understands that the actors have been persuaded to take many different parts in this large trundling drama, each one with its own particular makeup–some of which are so shockingly horrid as make one gasp with outrage! For instance, here is the actor who played Elrond in LotR, garishly tweaked into an oddly ghastly Asian.

So, so…wrong. ALL the actors have been similarly maltreated, but the process which turns westerners into pseudo-easterners is the most vicious. The parade of unbelievably bad transformations was mesmerizing, and it was the game of guessing who they were that kept me watching. For instance, Hugh Grant appears as Greedy Oil Tycoon—and then, as Gruesome Hawaiian Cannibal Chief!

The hours these actors spent being painted and glued—well, well, they get well paid for it, I suppose.

The worst trick is the one played on poor old Tom Hanks—oh my! He looks worse in every get up (SIX of them), and in the persona of a Simple Native sometime in the ghastly future, he not only looks terrible, but he speaks in an ineffably embarrassing sort of Peasant Slang, which a kindly watcher might wish to simply mute the sound on: “Oh, lonesome night. And babbits bawling, the wind biting the bone . . . The fangy devil, Old Georgie hisself. Mm. Now your ear up close, and I’ll yarn you about the first time we met, eye to eye.

Sigh. Still, I patiently watched the whole thing.


Thrift in the New Year


In all the excitement of Christmas preparation, it may have happened that I purchased a few more food items than were strictly necessary.

Or even, MUCH MORE than a few.

Adding an impetus to the problem, many of my family found themselves unable to relish their meals due to a superabundance of truly wicked Germs, which caused non-festive behavior and led to much time spent in the smallest room of the house. So that in making a current comprehensive assessment of available viands in the house, I find I could readily entertain as many people this weekend as I did during the festival itself.

However, my children are all fled to the far corners of the earth, and I own to a longing for quiet. Lucky thing there is the FREEZER, that seemly apartment for storing food. Mine is luckily quite capacious. There is also the fact that the current COLD temperatures keep any food items carelessly tossed into the garbage from making themselves known via heinous bad stinks.

So, mostly we are back to pre-holiday status here, aside from the lavishly arrayed freezer. There was however a large container of ricotta which had to either be tossed out or used. HA! There was also a large bag of dried figs (what MADNESS descended on me as I bustled through the bursting aisles at Costco, truly, I am baffled at such wild behavior) and suddenly I thought—FIG AND RICOTTA PIE!

Nice looking, no?

Though what the hell I am going to do with it, one wonders–my powers of eating are limited– but at least I have used up the pint of ricotta!

So there’s that.


I am making slow but deliberate promenade towards Back to Normal, after a fairly ghastly surgery on Tuesday.
So I there I was, carefully making my way to the Kennedy Center last night, to see American in Paris. It was BRUTALLY cold in the metropolis last night, dear friends–many degrees below freezing. My brain was not progressing at warp speed, but I gently and firmly made my way through the familiar streets to–WHAT FRESH HELL WAS THIS?? The street that led to the K Center was….CLOSED.
I would take another route. I inched up to the Circle, noticing many other cars taking a road before the circle, but too slow in the uptake to follow them. Which is why I shortly thereafter found myself BACK on the same track, coming up to the same turn, doomed to repeat my foolishness.
But not so! I had learned! Again inching forward in traffic, I turned on the correct road, proceeded in a slow but determined way and eventually found myself entering the K Center grounds!
AND SWIFTLY leaving them to rocket over into Virginia, having made an ill-considered move which put me onto the bridge and on my way to eternity.
But I foiled eternity, somehow hooking onto Route 50, crossing the Potomac on Key Bridge, and nipping back down Whitehurst Freeway. For the third time. THIS time, I made no mistakes and eventually found myself $23 poorer, car parked within those sacred walls, and myself soberly progressing to the Opera House.
For which, Hosanna!
The show was very nice, lots of color and verve. Probably more vervy with the original performers, but this was fine. I smiled, I applauded, and then I went home.
Success–I congratulate myself!

Next time I shall ask Google before I leave.

Scheduling, so demanding

When the painter said he couldn’t start until the 14th, I SHOULD have said, OK, we’ll have to wait until after Christmas. But instead, with that imbecilic fecklessness which is one of my (very few) flaws, I brightly bade him go ahead. Which is why instead of baking cookies, making casseroles, and wrapping gifts, I have spent the weekend dusting books and objets d’art –and they are VERY DUSTY INDEED, (for which I blame no one, least of all, myself) and putting them back on shelves. The shelves are now gleaming white and looking very well indeed, but possibly their former dilapidated and grubby aspect would not have materially depressed our holiday spirits.
SO–having not had time to do all the cooking and baking I usually task myself with, I steeled my nerves and set off for COSTCO to purchase food stuffs. And wine, of course. Getting there is slightly terrifying, a trip I could never make without Siri and her firm directions–horrifying high speed expressways intersecting in bewildering complexities. But, made it there, and as always was overwhelmed–it is a TEMPLE OF GREED–everything you could want is there, towering up to the ceiling in huge piles of luxurious amplitude. I spent quite an astonishing amount of money, filling up my little car, and am now back home and ready for lunch.

So said Scrooge, but as we know, he was persuaded to change his mind.
I own that the prospect of this mighty holiday–looming like one of those gigantic inflatable Santas over poor shrinking December–is always somewhat daunting. But one bravely perseveres!

SPEAKING of giant inflatable figures, one of my more exuberant neighbors has placed not one–not two–but FIVE of these festive items in his front yard. There is a Jovial Polar Bear, a Genial Snowman, a Cheery Santa, a Frisky Reindeer, a…uh, memory fails me…oh yes, A Festive Tree. With Colorful Presents under it! So there they are, lined up in military precision by the front porch, bestowing their celebratory beneficence on passers by, and enlivening my walk to the bus stop.

Thus inspired, I ​succumbed to the shameful allure of a ridiculous holiday trinket: Star Night Laser Shower Christmas Lights. This device, placed in the front yard and plugged into an electric outlet, will play an array of glittering lights over the house–ludicrous to one’s good sense but ineffably charming to the eye. The eye which, the instructions ominously warn, must NEVER be directly aimed into the beam of the laser –which beam must moreover, NEVER be aimed at the sky in case of blinding the pilot of an incoming airplane! Nothing ruins a festive holiday evening like a huge plane crash with hundreds of people dead, so I am very careful not to point the device at the sky.
And now, a pleasant perusal of holiday baking recipes! With eyes undimmed (as yet) by magical laser lights.

I know many of us–well, some of us–well, a few of us–are eagerly anticipating The Last Jedi (#8 in the Star Wars Saga)! I have recently learned that it is A THING for eminent personalities to don the white helmet and march in step with the storm troopers–and among the throng will be none other than Princes William and Harry!

​Perhaps THAT will change your mind about being such a pointy-headed snooty snob on the topic? NO? Me neither.


Ever striving to be a responsible householder, I decided I MUST have an attic fan, to keep the attic from overheating. WRONG said Google–why, that would be blowing all your expensive cooling and heating out the window. No, what I needed, I discovered, was INSULATION: just like putting a cozy hat on my house, keeping all that warmth and coolth inside.
NOT, as it turned out, an inexpensive undertaking.
Quite the reverse, as it turned out.
However, I bravely engaged to do my bit in saving our precious fossil fuels, and stayed home on Wednesday to welcome the enterprising insulators. But then, a setback–what did I want done with the stuff stored in the attic? ‘Oh, it’s just a few empty boxes’, said I airily–‘please to pile them in my bedroom and I shall throw them out’.
When I ventured upstairs, I was horrified to find a MOUNTAIN of boxes, piled floor to ceiling in my bedroom. Not just boxes either–also in the heap, a trunk (neatly labeled with the previous owner’s name), a rusty bike rack, old chairs, dingy milk crates, framed pictures of surpassing ugliness….

​I could not possibly transport all this debris. Nor would the county’s bold garbageurs agree to take it all. ​
Comrades, I called a hauling company as soon as the insulators had left!
And then sat down to do a little job which my boss had suddenly demanded. BOTH computers failed for various reasons, and a little job that should have taken a few minutes took and hour and a half. But did I complain? Well, yes of course I did.
At which point, the hauling truck and 2 beefy young men arrived. Clumping upstairs to view the Vast Heap of Shame, they were appropriately awed by its immensity, and gave me to understand that having lunched previous to coming, they felt they had the strength to tackle the job. The one youth modestly confided that he had eaten a dozen boiled eggs as his first course, followed by an entree of chicken (in a balsamic sauce). The other admitted to a mere foot-long Subway sandwich–and gravely added that he had counseled his colleague to mention the eggs, as explanation of any subsequent vomiting that might occur.

What innocent lambs they were, I thought–sounding more like boys of 10 than men of 20. However, they managed to cart away everything, I wrote them a HUGE check, and the house and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Then I went off to my dentist appointment, where the dentist was so pleased to have an opportunity to try out his new diabolic teeth cleaning device, the one that shoots out needles of piercing spray at great force.
When I came home, I found I had no energy left to do anything else.
So tiring, this housekeeping business.

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