30 December 2008

Very good, madam

I've been reading a bunch of Dorothy Sayers lately and there usually comes the part where Lord Peter wishes to be uninterrupted.  Bunter is instructed that Lord Peter is not at home and his Lordship is left in peace until such time as he resumes accepting calls and visitors.

Living in an era when we are at the beck of so many different forms of call, it pleased me greatly to realize that I have, effectively, an electronic Bunter.  

If I'm not at work, the way to reach me by phone is to call my mobile because the only reason I have a landline is for the DSL for the computer.  The only people who use the landline number are cold callers and I never answer it.  

My mobile has Caller ID.  And when I moved into the building, the nice folks in the rental office arranged for the front door visitor system to ring my mobile.

So if I ever wish "not to be in" for any period of time, I can simply turn off the mobile.  

And if I run across a suitably dignified and reserved* run of dialogue for Bunter expressing that although he may be sitting in just the other room, Lord Peter is not at the present time at home, I may have to change my outgoing message on the mobile.  

*Two words that usually only describe me when the direction in italics is "sarcastically."

29 December 2008

Out of the waste stream

David has started saving corks from wine bottles (and other spirits) for recycling. Feel free to give me yours to give to him or just send them on to Yemm & Hart who will make other nice cork things out of them.

Wine Cork Recycling
Yemm & Hart Ltd
425 North Chamber Drive
Fredericktown, MO 63645

This activity has a couple of fun side effects:

Cork recycling gives you a nice cheering sense of helping sustain bird (and other animal) habitat as you are sipping your Chardonnay or Shiraz; and

When your friends and family notice the volume of corks you have collected and ask how long it took to accumulate that many, you can glance at the bowl of, oh, 30 of them and say "Uhhh.... couple of weeks, I guess"* and then enjoy some quality time with your near and dear during the intervention.

*Of course, if the number is more like 50, then you'll want your answer to be "Uhhhh... couple of days, I guess." Try to keep your answer an inverse of the number of corks.

Of spices and slippers

Wherein David and Leta experience the joy of giving in an all-new way...

Part the First:

A few years ago David noticed that I had a pretty ratty pair of slippers. (The slippers had achieved this level of rattitude by being the kind that I particularly like and sometimes have trouble finding - they're basically just fleece ballerinas so that my feet don't get all hot and sweaty.) So, figuring that he had found a problem that he could solve for me, he quizzed me about slipper preferences and for Christmas presented me with a lovely red velour pair from, I believe, Eddie Bauer that came in their own little presentation bag. Oh, how nice!

So I took the nice, new ones home and brought the ratty old ones - which were now my spares - to his house. The following Christmas, I received a very nice pink fleecy pair from Victoria's Secret. Oh, how nice! So the pink ones live at David's and my ratty old ones are in my luggage.

It's a good assumption that everyone who will ever read this has already figured out that David's real goal is not to supply me with new slippers every year, but to drive the ratty old slippers out of my life altogether. I didn't realize this until he noticed the ratty ones in my luggage and looked like a home-owner watching the mouse saunter out of the kitchen carrying the piece of cheese that had been baiting the trap.

He asked me hopefully what I would do if he bought me a nice, new pair of slippers to go into my luggage? Oh, that be nice. And the ratty old ones? Oh, I'd probably put them in my theater box to wear backstage.

Listen carefully and you can probably still heard the grinding sound his teeth made.

Part the second:

I am not the only keeper of the beyond stale-dated. David, himself, has a cabinet filled with herbs and spices that pre-date me and we started seeing each other just after GWB was "elected" the first time. I've been suggesting for a long time now that the fenugreek that he and Susan bought for some long ago curry could be tossed, along with orange peel that smelled like citric acid and dust.

My position on the moral high ground was pretty much ensured after I went to use some nutmeg, which David buys whole (because he uses a nutmeg rasp) and it had nutmeg worms. At that point I began to lobby harder for not keeping the those poor, dried nuts, twigs, leaves, etc through the end of the last mortgage payment. My own rule is not to keep them more than four years. I date them when they come into the house and everything bought before January '05 will be pitched by Inauguration Day. New president, newish spices.

Part the third:

So our anniversary present to each other this year is that David gets to pitch my ratty old slippers and I get to dump his antique foodstuffs. He thought we were each going to throw out our own stuff, but what's the fun of that? So when I read on-line that he had tossed the fenugreek, I called him immediately with a Cease and Desist order. Now I get to empty the mere-memories-of-their-formers-selves contents from the bottles and David got the warm glow of tossing my ratty old slippers.

Of course, I dumped his spices out the front door, so I was recycling whereas he tossed my slippers into the trash (which I couldn't watch), so he was just adding to the waste stream.


So if traditionally the first anniversary is for giving paper, the second for giving cotton, etc, in the 21st century, the eighth should be for giving your loved one the thing that they have been itching to dispose of and allowing them the joy of ditching it. The Eighth Anniversary could be for de-accessioning.

22 December 2008

Like Communism

During Anne of Green Gables Maggie, Susanne, and I would would wait for our Act I, scene 5 entrance off stage left. Maggie, who is 13 would be holding the doll playing her little sister and she would smile into its sweet little plastic face and say kindly (and very quietly) "I hate children."

Later on she quoted her boyfriend:

"Children are like communism. Good idea on paper, but the real thing? Not so much."

19 December 2008

Not quite a Turing Test

According to GenderAnalyzer, "We think http://letahall.blogspot.com is written by a man (81%)." Not sure why, since it is pretty largely agreed that I'm a rather girly girl.

They are (it is) more confident about David, having 84% certainty that A Honey of Anklet is written by a man.

To make it more interesting, ofaust.co tells me that I write most like Jules Verne (88%) and control subject David writes a little like Edgar Allen Poe (16%).

The Typeanalyzer's results are just as unlikely, but it has really cool scientific-looking "brain activity" charts. The "brain activity" charts are humorous for at least two reasons: 1) the word "rhythm" is misspelled; and 2) the implication that I have consistent brain activity, which is only true if scanning Facebook for cool new Flair and Stickerz counts as brain activity.

ISTP - The Mechanics
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

David (okay, this one is a little more plausible):
ENTJ - The Executives
The direct and assertive type. They are especially attuned to the big picture and how to get things done. They are talented strategic planners, but might come off as insensitive to others needs and appear arrogant. They like to be where the action is and like making bold and sweeping changes in complex situations.

The Executives are happy when their work let them learn and improve themselves and how things work around them. Not beeing very shy about expressing their ideas and often very outgoing they often make excellent public speakers.

Still, somehow, after all this research I feel more self-aware. Thanks, Internet!

via Hjalti, who is a man, no matter what the internet says.

15 December 2008

My type?

Nearly twenty years ago, long before I had internet access or structured my day around checking my e-mail and reading Facebook status updates (and ... working) I heard about a young lady named Allison Atlas who lived in Bethesda and needed a bone marrow transplant.

I mention the lack of e-mail and internet because that means that I probably learned about Allison by seeing a flier somewhere, like at the grocery store or wherever else they had been blanketed by friends and family. It's much easier today to e-mail your entire address book, write a blog post, and create a Facebook event, so I have always appreciated the dedication shown by the Friends of Allison or anyone putting so much time and effort into saving someone they care about.

So anyway, I heard about the bone marrow registration drive, which was going to be held at the Jewish Community Center because Allison was of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. I'm not*, but I figured that even though that reduced the chances that I would be a match for Allison from tiny to minuscule, I went anyway and stood in line for over two hours with other people who were actively hoping to be inconvenienced and put through a rather uncomfortable medical procedure in hopes of giving someone else another chance at life.

I wasn't a match for Allison and, so far, I haven't been a match for anyone, but I keep hoping. I check that my registration is current every year on my birthday and I encourage people to join the registry.

Today Quinn posted that the nephew of a dear friend of hers is now depending on that same registry. So if you were thinking about joining the registry or wondering what to do what some extra dollars in your charity fund....

*I'm Engish - Irish - German Episcopalian.

14 December 2008


I've heard similar readings at off-book rehearsals. And, sigh, in a couple of performances.

"Nobody knew but me. Concealment's been preyin' like a tiddleyum upon my damask cheek - Shakespeare! And I've been sitting' like Patience on a thing-ummy-jib smiling' at grief - more Shakespeare - same speech - ibid, as they say in the books."*

Archie Millar in Gray Mask by Patricia Wentworth

*Twelth Night, Act 2, scene iv:

Viola: She never told her love,
But let concealment like a worm i' th' bud
Feed on her damask cheek; she pin'd in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like Patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.

12 December 2008

We're agin it

Most of my conversations with my mother these days are practical: things she needs;* things she doesn't like about Very Assisted Living; when am I going to come visit/help her? But yesterday she called me around 9:00-ish in the morning to ask my if I had ever had scrapple. It seems that there was a piece of scrapple on her breakfast tray and she wanted to determine the family policy on foods made out of offal.

We don't eat them, I told her.

She said that she didn't think that we did, because (I paraphrase here) she tried it and said that while it started out tasting a bit like sausage, by the time she was ready to swallow, it's true nature became all too apparent.

Mom put a decent amount of effort and creativity into describing her reaction to finding this on her plate. She wanted to know if she had to finish it. Absolutely not. I agree with the people who define it as stuff "too disgusting to be used or sold elsewhere."

I then told her about a party some years ago where my housemate Jenny took an informal "scrapple: yes or no?" poll.** Maybe it's because I do live in the Mid-Atlantic region, but there were a surprising numbers of yeses - about half the respondents, with no attendees abstaining. It seems that everyone - if they have heard of it - has an opinion on scrapple and it's pretty much a zero-sum: either "yeah, sure, it's good" or "ewww, yuck, no, I don't eat floor sweepings."

All in all, it was a fun conversation, one of the sort that I miss having with my mother these days.

*And if she says "desperately needs" one more time about something that is neither bleeding nor burning, well, things are going to get a little fraught.

**No, I have no idea why this particular entertainment happened at that party. Mostly our parties were pretty normal.***

***Okay, that last bit probably isn't true. Our parties were probably pretty weird, but we enjoyed them.