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Monday, June 11, 2007

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Posted by misswhistle at 12:13 PDT
Updated: Monday, June 11, 2007 12:14 PDT
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Saturday, June 9, 2007

He's home and I feel the spontaneous need to break out into a little motown number.  "Oh yeah....he's home....can you hear it?......he's home..." with some really good back-up singers of course.   "How about we all go to see 'Knocked Up' this afternoon?' he says.  Oh, a man after my own heart.

One of the hens, probably Muffin, started clucking in an alarmed voice at about 3:30am.  I went outside to see what was going on with my able companion, the dalmatian, who barked twice half-heartedly and ran back inside to her cozy warm spot on the sofa.  So much for guard dogs.  J's theory is that Muffin was trying to scare a rat, but I don't buy it.  He watches too many movies.

I am trying to get my head around the fact that we have been married for 19 years on Monday, June 11.  I met him in November of my twentieth year.  I was a spring chicken.  So was he.  Or whatever the male equivalent is of that, without sounding lewd.  This morning I woke up to find him staring at me smiling, "you are so beautiful" he says as I lie there awash with morning breath and frizzy hair and I think to myself, this isn't the time to make a joke, be gracious, be serene, but all I can think is why I didn't brush my teeth when I was up at four.  "I nearly died yesterday" I say.  "I'm not making it up." (I wonder who in my life told me that I made things up!).  "I know," he says, "that would have been the worst day of my life."  It's sweet isn't it?  He's off to ride his bike now and I'm grumpy, like post-traumatic stress.  He's been gone so long that I just want him to stay here so that I can stare at him and ponder our hideously long marriage and wonder what on earth we still see in each other.  Actually, it doesn't take long to figure that one out, for me anyway.  This is very nice.  Very nice indeed. 


Posted by misswhistle at 08:07 PDT
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Friday, June 8, 2007
Don't you love that the days are getting longer and longer, and it's eight o'clock and it's still light outside?  It makes me think about England and Norway and those northern extremes, where nights are spent outside under pine trees, by the sea, looking at pink sunsets, swimming amidst phosphorescence.  I wish my father were here for supper, my mamma too.  We're having lamb chops and potatoes with mint and buttery butternut squash and Chablis.  We're sitting outside and listening to the birds, who refuse to go to bed, rather like me.

Posted by misswhistle at 20:06 PDT
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The more I think about it, the more I think that if Paris Hilton were my daughter, I would be terribly, terribly upset.  Not with the jail per se, but with the yo-yoing to and fro-ing  from person to person they're doing as if she were some godawful public relations football.  It's humiliating. Truly.  Allow her some dignity and have her serve her time.  She's a tough girl; she has a good work ethic.  But for goodness' sake don't make her into a political pawn.  Let's face it, LA let OJ go free, so are they trying to make it up to us in their treatment of this poor little girl.  Yes I despise her and all she stands for.  But I don't like to see anyone humiliated this way.  Not good, this whole situation, not good at all.


Posted by misswhistle at 19:59 PDT
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Dicing with Death (and other soup recipes)
I am ashamed at my salacious interest in the Paris Hilton debacle and I must admit to feeling rather sorry for her when I heard that she was dragged out of the courtroom screaming and crying after the judge ordered her back to Lynwood for 45 days.  However, I was awakened this morning by a helicopter circling overhead and there has been the monotonous sound of helicopters all around us ever since.  When you live probably a mile from Miss Hilton, as the crow flies, it is to be expected, but it's also incredibly annoying in our usually quiet canyon.  

I've spent the morning defying death.  While attempting to make a turn from Mullholland onto Beverly Glen at half past eight this morning, on the way to N's teacher conference, a woman in a black BMW shunned the orange light, ran the red, and nearly ploughed into me at about 60mph.  I slammed on my breaks, missed her by an inch, she sped off, and the man behind me rammed right into me.  He was a lovely man too, a communications major from UCLA.  He jumped out of his car, grabbed my hand and said "That was the scariest thing I've ever seen, are you okay?"  I was and am fine.  But I don't think I've ever been that shaken up.  My friend KB rolled by in her cooking oil-powered Mercedes wagon and shouted "B-dub, you ok?"

I can't help but think that on any other day I probably would have died. So often I find myself looking down at my phone or texting in the middle of the intersection, irresponsible wretch that I am.  It was only by some kind of divine intervention that I had the wherewithal to slam on my brakes. I am one very lucky girl.

As Briar gets older her body and features become more human.  The flesh hangs off her bones now and the old lady knobbly knees are on show.  She crosses them elegantly and sleeps deeper than I would like.  Often I have to shake her just to check.  

Little M went to school to take her geography final exam (three mountain ranges in Europe: Alps, Pyrenees Balkans) and her teacher called at about 10:15am to have me come pick her up.   My poor little; this really has been a long one.  My friend e has tried to freak me out by suggesting I contact an infectious disease doctor but I prefer to remain stoic, rely on intuition and hope that her doctor is doing everything the right way.  I'm sure if she had something hideous like TB or flesh-eating bacteria or bery-bery we'd notice a rash or something.   She's rolled up in her big white duvet in her big pink and white bed, reading, something that up to now she has done as little as possible. For this, I am very grateful.  That, and my life of course ;-)

Posted by misswhistle at 15:14 PDT
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Thursday, June 7, 2007
Joan of Arc

Difford & Tilbrook have reunited and Squeeze will play (hopefully WITH the dreamy Jools Holland) at the Beacon Theatre in NY August 3.  Chances I'll go: zero.  How much would I love to go: A lot (A lot, a lot as Lindsay Lohan says in "The Parent Trap" before her world collapsed).

 Paris is out of jail due to the impending doom of a nervous breakdown.  We, all Angelenos, are the laughing stock of the world.  And do I blame them? No.  She will never now be able to experience the exquisite cartharsis of falling back into the loving arms of the once sneering public twenty three days from now.  No more Joan of Arc for you my dear.

Should I worry that I can hear my son's car approaching almost two blocks away due to his new serious sub woofer woofer woof speakers? No?  They are alarming.  I dutifully sat in his car so I could "try out" his new system unaware of course that my eardrums  could  be wrecked for life and his very possibly are already. I am sure that good parents sit there and ooh and aah and think of lovely things to say and i did try, truly i did, but I was just a little lame. I mean, what do you say?  If you're not a boy, I mean?  And hard-wired for things like sound systems.

Posted by misswhistle at 20:37 PDT
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Minks is close to tears. A nice man just arrived at the door delivering a large brown paper bag for her.  Inside is an arrangement of cookie "flowers" on wooden "stalks" in a little vase with the words "Get Well Soon" emblazoned on it.  It's from her friend Maddie.  "Mamma, you must say, that's a good friend," she says.

Posted by misswhistle at 15:59 PDT
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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Note to self: Even when very excited by a book, staying up until 3am to read it, is not a good idea.  Note to others: I am very grumpy today as a result and no, I will not test you on your Latin vocabulary.

Posted by misswhistle at 12:18 PDT
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Tuesday, June 5, 2007
If you want to win the lottery, you must buy a ticket.

Posted by misswhistle at 17:37 PDT
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American Robins
I know that this isn't my imagination, unless I am one of those feeble persons, so open to suggestions that my entire body changes with the mere whiff of one (and I'm not ruling that out entirely) but my whole outlook has changed since I've been reading Elizabeth Gilbert's book.  Even my dogs seem to relate better to me.  Yesterday it was sunny and I could hardly contain my melancholy.  Today, it is gray everywhere and yet everything is vibrant green.  This, I know, will sound, very very strange, but it was for a moment as if I'd forgotten that there was anything beyond the here and now, or to quote from this book "Just as there exists in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, there also exists in a human being a literal anatomy and a poetic anatomy.   One you can see, one you cannot.  One is made of bones and teeth and flesh; the other is made of energy and memory and faith.  But they are both equally true."

There is an account on page 142 of 'eat, pray, love' of Gilbert's first 'succesful' experience with meditation and it quite literally leaves you breathless.

Two American robins (black head, yellow beak, orange breast) are bathing in the pool and drying themselves on the branches of the eucalyptus.  I do not think this a coincidence.  (ha ha, that was a joke).

Posted by misswhistle at 16:35 PDT
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From Elizabeth Gilbert

"Here’s another thing to consider. If you always wanted to write, and now you are A Certain Age, and you never got around to it, and you think it’s too late…do please think again. I watched Julia Glass win the National Book Award for her first novel, “The Three Junes”, which she began writing in her late 30’s. I listened to her give her moving acceptance speech, in which she told how she used to lie awake at night, tormented as she worked on her book, asking herself, “Who do you think you are, trying to write a first novel at your age?” But she wrote it. And as she held up her National Book Award, she said, “This is for all the late-bloomers in the world.” Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where – if you missed it by age 19 – you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world – at any age. At least try."

-- Elizabeth Gilbert, On Writing 

Posted by misswhistle at 14:35 PDT
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Just to make things really complicated

I hate Tripod.  I hate that they make things so difficult.  So, because it's a new day, I'm moving over to blogger.  From now on I will double post. Check out the new site here:


love & kisses, dear ones


-- MissW 

Posted by misswhistle at 10:25 PDT
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apricots & cream

I've just gotten publicists tummy.  It's that nervous I-think-I-might-throw-up sensation in the pit of your stomach.  It's not actually unpleasant, probably because I'm so used to it.  But I haven't had it for years.  Today, this morning, I wrote a press release for a friend, and there it is!  How strange.  How truly strange. 

Two sleeping sick children.  Not too sick to eat apricot pie with cream though, while watching HOUSE I might add.

Mr H, how is tv guide?  And how come you no check in wid me no mo?  Has my domestic tedium gotten the better of you?  Did Jerry Garcia visit you in a dream? 

Posted by misswhistle at 07:33 PDT
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KPCC 89.3 FM
KPCC is doing their fund drive this week.  I urge everyone to contribute.  It's the best radio station in LA (I am a convert from KCRW). 

Posted by misswhistle at 07:25 PDT
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Monday, June 4, 2007
If it wasn't clear that I was boringly, self-indulgently miserable in my last post, I've now cheered up considerably for three reasons:
1)    A very cheery email from CD which immediately put a smile on my face.
2)    I've bought four books I wanted: (sorry Jumby, I know I told you three, but I do have my Borders discount card and I saved $9.89)
•    One Hundred Year of Solitude - it's my fifth or sixth copy; I keep giving copies away to "friends" who never return them as you do with only your favorite books.  I'm sure if I'd scanned my bookshelves for a little longer I may have found a couple, but there you go.  I don't really feel myself without a copy of this book.  Plus, this is the OPRAH version complete with "Insights, Interviews, & MORE" -- woo-hoo!
•    Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky which received the best rating of all time on Metacritic.  And plus it's so boring to not have read a book your friends keep talking about ad nauseum.
•    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert -- Lucy loves this book so I know I will too.
•    Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje.  Nuff said.  LOVE him.  Even the first page read on Laurel Canyon before it closed today at about 6pm was pure brilliance.

3)    I've made a Shepherd's Pie with lashings of worcestershire sauce (Americans, friends,  countrymen: It's Wooster.  That's how you pronounce it) and an Apricot tart.
4)    I know I said three, but this is a PS, I'd really really love and embrace Amy Winehouse  wholeheartedly if whiney old nerds like Nic (no K - doesn't that just say it all) Harcourt didn't love her so much.  Did you see her on the MTV awards?  She's absolutely sublime with her beehive and that Elizabeth Taylor eye make-up.  LOVE her.

Posted by misswhistle at 20:13 PDT
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2007 20:14 PDT
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Kevorkian, pointlessness & red spiders
True believers seem to think that if you're an atheist, your life is pointless. In fact, if you google "my life is pointless" it will bring you to many religious sites.  I wonder whether there is any thought for the agnostic or borderline agnostic.  I'd like to put myself in that category.  I'm one of those people who is just too idle to go looking for God and would rather have a thunderbolt hit me as I sit in my chair, poring over my computer screen, wondering why the Drudge Report has no new headlines, and zapowbangwhizz change my life.  I am always searching for little miracles it seems.  Today I found an orange spider, and it stayed for a while on the table next to me, while I searched the web, determined to discover that it was a new species, thus far undiscovered.  It had six beady little eyes that watched me as I tried to get my computer close enough to photograph it and its terracotta orange body twitched when I got too near.  I suppose if you have six eyes your vision is pretty acute.  The children are in my bed, watching a movie.  I think it's Harold and Maude or the Inside Man.  I am so exhausted by their being sick.  The moment I get my head down to do any serious work, one of them needs me, needs something, some medicine, some water, a book, some food, a hand with homework, to show me a game on Millsberry.   I've discovered that the excitement of the first draft has dissipated and second and third drafts are just f-ing boring and dull.  It's sweet that they want to be together in their sick state, very sweet. If I lean forward from my chair under the awning I can just see them through the window, propped up on white pillows, with laptops and chocolate with hazlenuts which I'm sure is by now smeared all over my sheets.  It's so nice and smug to be a true believer, to be so sure that everyone else's life is pointless but your own.  Certainty is a great comfort to be sure.  I like the magic of not really knowing though.  I like the little magical things that are revealed in everyday life, the coincidences and surprise meetings, and the poetry in the trees, the sounds of the birds and the barking dog and the children at Wonderland School, whose voices echo through the canyon, and behind those sounds, the distant hum of traffic on Laurel, the gentle snoring of my old black dog, whose each breath sounds like yoga breathing.  The thump thumpety thump of the other dog's tail against the chair I'm sitting in.  The flax is growing enormous on the hillside and producing monster purple asparagus.  The sage green licorice has been cut back so it no longer resembles kudzu, and now the roses are popping through, with their healthy apple-red new leaves.  The neighbor at the top of the road has taken down his barbed wire I noticed.  I wonder if that means Nina is gone.  I hope she has gone somewhere safe.  Giles always talked about things being pointless.  I don't know why I associate that expression with him. Perhaps now that he is a ritzy gallery owner his vocabulary stretches further into optimistic salesman territory and he can pick more carefully how his adjectives color his life. ("Mamma, I'm kinda hungry, do you mind if I have a little bit of rice puding?" "No, please do").  If there isn't a point, then what is there?  The actor fretting and strutting?  It's a sad way to look at it.  I heard on the radio that Dr Kevorkian said to his first patient, Janet Atkins, as she ended her life, "Have a good trip."  The interviewer, Don Gonyea, asked him if he felt like Dr Frankenstein.  Kevorkian asked the interviewer in turn whether he had read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein lately.  He nodded that he had, and Kevorkian leaned in towards him and said in a low voice "Then you know that Frankenstein wasn't the monster, society was the monster."  The interview confessed to feeling a bit of a chill up his spine.

Posted by misswhistle at 15:08 PDT
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Tunick does Amerstdam

Nothing like a parking lot full of naked bottoms.  Spencer Tunick calls his work "flesh architecture."

Posted by misswhistle at 14:34 PDT
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Norway in the News

Norway, somewhat irritatingly, seems to be in the zeitgeist.  This week Oslo features in The Week as one of the five European cities worth a visit, and Conde Nast Traveller has an article about the country as if written by a born-again Scandinaviologist.  Here is what he writes about Tjome.  Ours is one of the "cute cottages" in the hills he refers to here:

On June 23—Midsummer's eve—Laura and I decided to make like the locals and see some of the countryside. We rented a car, headed for the highway, joined a long line of Volvo and Opel station wagons with mountain bikes strapped to their roofs, and drove through no fewer than nine tunnels. We were headed south, to a farm called Engø Gård, near Queen Sonja's cottage on the island of Tjøme, where she used to frolic in the hay as a child.

These days it's not a farm anymore. It was converted into a luxurious resort in the mid-1980s. The barn is still standing, only it's a restaurant now. We ate dinner in the hayloft, under notched ash beams set in place in 1905. The chef, Per Hallundbæk, is Danish. Fifteen years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a chef to seek his fortune in Norway. But if you go to any decent Norwegian restaurant today, there's a good chance your waiter will be from Sweden or even France.

After dinner, Per took us for a cruise around the archipelago so we could see the bonfires burning on the pink granite shoreline, and we admired the cute cottages perched in the hills above. They weren't quite huts, but neither were they McMansions. We made our way farther out toward the open water of the fjord and at one point passed a barren stretch fittingly called "the end of the world." But then the boat began to bounce over big, mean waves, and Per turned back for the friendlier waters of the archipelago.

(c) Mark Schatzker, Conde Nast Traveller, June 2007 

Sunset over Tjome, June.

Posted by misswhistle at 10:04 PDT
Updated: Monday, June 4, 2007 10:07 PDT
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New work by Tom Hallifax

Now showing at Thomas Williams Fine Art, London, a series of paintings by the Anglo-Irish figurative artist, featuring a range of subjects from tractors to chickens...

Posted by misswhistle at 09:54 PDT
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Lettuce attack (from the BBC)

An 82-year-old man wielding a bag of shopping has driven an armed robber from a village post office.
George Smith hit the man twice with a bag containing an iceberg lettuce and bottles of bleach and washing liquid.
The masked raider, who had a shotgun, fled from the shop in Speldhurst, near Tunbridge Wells, Kent, leaving the takings untouched.
Police praised Mr Smith for his bravery, but did not recommend other people followed his actions.
Det Insp John Claydon said a man aged in his 20s walked in, armed with a shotgun and with his face covered by a hood and a dust mask.
"Before he had a chance to say anything at all, this elderly gentleman whacked him with a carrier bag which had a lettuce amongst other things in it," Det Insp Claydon said.
"Bearing in mind his age, I can do nothing but congratulate him for what he did.
"But obviously from a police perspective we wouldn't be looking to encourage people to act as George did."
Mr Smith himself said his actions were "entirely automatic".
"The best method of defence is attack - so I did. I whacked him in the face and then I clobbered him again.
"He ran off down to the corner still with the gun pointing my way.
"I took a couple of paces towards him and told him to clear off. And he did."
Police said the armed man fled along Barden Road.

Posted by misswhistle at 09:47 PDT
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