Sunday, January 28, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
so be it.
and it's true, davies uses words like 'widdershins' and 'fettle,' but never in crucial contexts, and always so you kind of know what they mean. and it's true, you won't get the full effect if you don't have an imprecise knowledge of what hellenization means, or the vague idea that jodhpurs implies something horsey. and it's true, the storyline is kind of trite, and a teensy bit melodramatic, with maybe some deaths and maybe some near-deaths and heroic rescues and maybe a tawdry mixture of scandal and betrayal and maybe some closet skeletons that come out looking oddly noble.
but oh, the delivery. oh, the delight with words. when a man describes his girlfriends car as containing '...games she meant to donate to the shelter, scattered plastic playing pieces from same…the detritus of crushed fortune cookies and tortilla chips and Lunchables…a number of petrified ancient Weetabix sarcophagi both jumbo and mini…a fugitive raisin here and there...' among other things, how can you help but smile? and then go and look up 'detritus' because that book you read on crossword puzzles said the key to becoming a better crossword-puzzle-solver was to look up words you didn't know, even if you got all the letters from the crossing words, AND (similarly) to look up words you didn't know in books, even if you could get the jist from the context?
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
in which i allow my inner nerd to jeopardize my career, as well as the amount of time that i don't spend on the bus
i'm a mega-nerd, and it may come back to bite me in the ass.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
the curious incident of the dog in the night-time - mark haddon
recommended to me by my health-safety-and-nutrition teacher/nazi in my second year of college, this book has actually been out and about for some time. christopher, an autistic teenager, tells the tale of how he found his neighbor's dog murdered in the middle of the night. this discovery leads to a series of drastic revelations. christopher is writing a murder mystery for you, the reader, and he puts in things he thinks might be interesting, such as his entire daily schedule, or a diagram of a double-decker bus. thoughtfully, he relegates the solution to a rather complicated math problem to the appendix, because his support worker suggests that perhaps you, the reader, will not find it as riveting as he does. this sort of precise, immaculate attention to detail from a boy who 'can't tell lies' (because only one thing can actually have happened , and thinking about the plentitude of things that didn't happen makes him ill) offers an interesting insight into the mind of a person with autism (and also reminds me of that episode of csi: las vegas, where the guy with autism is accused of murdering his illustration-forging co-worker, only to have his rote repetition of the night's events unmask the true killer!). the story takes several emotionally-laden loops, but its teller disinterestedly lays it out. from his formulaic 'and then she said...and then i said' dialogue, to his descriptions of emotional symptoms and treatments rather than the emotions themselves, christopher lets us see how his priorities differ from mine or...well, mine (can't speak for you). perhaps working with Clarence makes it a befitting read just now, but i think this book would be an absorbing read even if you don't have a dimpled, brown-eyed toddler who's only distinguishable words are 'ball,' 'toast,' and 'yyyyyyyyyyellow!!!'
a book that i have read recently that is worth putting down (both literally and literarilly speaking)
the sea - john banville
my opinion is that someone gave john banville a 'word of the day' calender, and he has tried to write a novel using each of these impossibly obscure words (kind of like that time ernest vincent wright wrote an entire novel without using the letter 'e', only less awesome). either that, or he's looked up every seventh adjective in the thesaurus, and used the synonym with the most consonents. these aren't words like 'discombobulate' (as in, 'he gave her a series of directions in rapid bulgarian, until she was completely discombobulated and had to sit down for a minute and think') that you can discern from the context, nor are they words like 'machiavellian' or 'visceral' that show up in books all the time, and so i really should look them up and figure out what they actually mean. banville uses words like 'proscenium' and 'adipose,' WHICH YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN SEE IN PRINT, and uses them in impossibly long sentences like 'i have always suffered from what i think must be an overly acute awareness of the mingled aromas that eminate from the human concourse.' now, in this particularly instance, i know what he's trying to say, but couldn't he just say 'i can smell groups of people really well'? i mean, i'm all for the crafting of the written word and such, but as joel's english professor scrawled on the back of one of his papers: 'taylor your something illegible. verbiage something else untidy your syntax.' i.e. don't use so many words.
same goes for you, banville.
ps. plotline got somethinged in verbiage. an old man? revisits his childhood seaside home? to deal with the death of his wife? and issues from aforementioned childhood? something like that.
a book that i have read many times that is worth reading again:
the princess bride - william goldman
the alleged abridgement of s. morgenstern's 'classic tale of true love and high adventure' ('alleged' because i suspect the 'abridgement' of being part of the frolicking fun, and 'morgenstern' to be a clever literary tool) is a must-read. if you liked the movie (and who didn't?), you'll want to bake the book in a pie and serve it to your friends. 'morgenstern's' prose is divinely witty, and goldman's explanatory remarks even more so. and the characters? oh, my dear westley. and inigo montoya, with his quest for vengeance, and lovable, rhyming fezzik, and the sicilian...the one who kept saying 'inconceivable'...what was his name? oh, hell. this book deserves a better synopsis than i have time to give it just now. go beg, borrow, or steal it, you won't be disappointed.
Monday, January 22, 2007
speak of the devil...
today, i was informed that five (count 'em, FIVE) of our kids had been infected with lice. two of the vermin-farms include the Girl Clarence and the Prematurely-Old Clarence. these are clarences that i snuggle with on a regular basis.
this is lice.
this is a louse.
are you creeped out yet? are you shivvery and goosepimply? are you scratching your head?
WELCOME TO MY ENTIRE WEEK!!!
point of fact: lice prefer clean hair.
point of fact: i will not be showering until friday.
ps. we (the staff) were all nit-picked (several times) and we all came out clean.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
let me elaborate.
the first time we went to bryan's, we were helped by a woman named jordana (name remains unchanged to enunciate how COOL she was, and if you ever go to the bryan's in brentwood mall to buy a something, ask for jordana, because she was rad) who ran around fetching me dresses she thought i would like, and generally being helpful and servicable and enthusiastic, as though she were my best girlfriend or something, even though i had technically come in too late to be trying anything on. yesterday, we were helped by...honestly, i never got her name, and i probably wouldn't use it here anyways, since i have nothing nice to say about her. but she had acres of trouble finding the dresses i had marked down last time, and asked if i could help her because i might recognize them if i saw them, to which i replied that no, i wouldn't know them from a hole in the ground, which was (in my opinion) why we had written the style numbers down in the first place! she eventually found them, and led us to a room, but she was also taking care of another bride. this left me standing in a dress we weren't too interested in for probably ten minutes, while i tried to express with my body language (unzipping half the back, taking off the straps, lounging by the changing room door) that i was ready for a new dress. it's bad weddingdressshoppingettiquette, you see, to take the dresses out of the bags yourself. that's why you have a 'person.' ANYway, once the other bride left, and we had her to ourselves, she was vague and un-helpful, and any assistance or information had to be pried out of her, and she didn't seem like she knew her stuff. and then we went up to the counter to pay, and the girl at the counter was abrupt (code for rude) and also un-helpful. we were asking questions about alteration prices, and she said that she had no idea, and that we'd have to talk to the seamstress about that. she gave us the total, final, complete price, and my mom asked if that included the finishing (cleaning, pressing, fixing any teeny flaws) fee, being as how this was the total, final, complete price she was giving us, and she said no, that was an extra such and such. again, like pulling teeth to get any info here.
but let's talk about my dress. joel reads this thing, and while he couldn't care less if he knows what my dress looks like, I care, and it's MY blog, and so i won't describe it. i'll just say that i tried it on the last time i was in bryan's, and it was the fan favorite. in lieu of a vague sort of description, i WILL say that if new york were a mermaid in the 40's, it would be this dress.
Friday, January 19, 2007
alas for the opinion that scores of people i don't know carry of me.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
so this, friends, is what i'm reading right now.
i am reading the ever-delightful bill bryson's 'mother tongue: english and how it got that way,' which i purchased with my chapters gift card (thanks, loretta). i always think of picking up his travel books just for pleasure's sake, because he's so charming and readable and altogether winsome. AND educational. his other treasure of a text is 'a short history of nearly everything,' which is exactly as advertised. pick it up. peruse it. call me, and read your favorite bits to me over the phone. we'll have a good chortle together.
i am reading 'the power of positive thinking,' norman vincent peale's 1952 masterpiece which will 'help you release your inner powers.' i am mostly reading it for shits and giggles. it was given to me by this guy who...well, that's a long story, but he said it'd helped him a lot, so i tried to take it seriously at first. i'm really struggling to figure out what exactly is wrong with it (or with me), and if you've read it, i'd appreciate your opinion. if you havent, i present for you a segment of advice which he gave to a rather prompt and purpose-driven young lady who could not catch herself a man: 'then i said, 'you have a very firm way of pressing your lips together which indicates a domineering attitude. the average male, i might as well tell you, does not like to be dominated, at least so that he knows it.' then i added, 'i think you would be a very attractive person if you got those too-firm lines out of your face. you must have a little softness, a little tenderness, and those lines are too firm to be soft.' then i observed her dress, which was obviously quite expensive, but she didn't wear it very well, and so i said, 'this may be a bit out of my line, and i hope you won't mind, but perhaps you could get that dress to hang a little better...' then i suggested, 'perhaps it might help to get your hair fixed up a little. it's a little -- floaty. then you might also add a little sweet-smelling perfume -- just a whiff of it.' the pith of which is that you should be spineless and sneaky, free of wrinkles and flawless of dress, coiffed and fragrant, and then a man will come to you. point taken.
i am reading 'einstein: the life and times' (yes, jane, STILL) by ronald w. clark. joel whizzed through it, and i am plodding. i've read at least a score of books in the interim, and even that time i went out to chilliwack and ONLY brought the einstein book so that i wouldn't have anything else to read, i ended up buying a book for my mother and finishing that instead. it's just...sciencey. and political. and long, with small type. and chapter breaks at every forty pages or so. and no these:
so that you can pause somewhere and put your bookmark in because your stop is coming up. but for all that, it's interesting, and i'm trying to read things outside of my preference zone (which is comprised largely of fantasy and chick-lit), AND joel read it, and i can't let a book stand that he has read and i have not.
and i'm reading a trillion bridal magazines.
and sometimes i read the Bible. it's quite good.
stay tuned for the following posts: books i have read in the past and which you should now also read; books i have read in the past and which you should probably avoid unless you enjoy entire chapters on why white is the scariest of all the colors (name that novel and you get a nickel!)
i taught them to play 'dead bug tag,' wherein if you are about to be tagged, you can drop to the ground and be 'on T' for as long as you are rolling on your back, flailing your limbs and calling 'dead bug! dead bug!' few things are funnier to watch.
i take no credit, however, for the 'the zack,' a game of tag in which one of them is 'the zack' and hides amongst the chairs, while the rest of them tromp purposefully around the sanctuary. they always kind of know where 'the zack' is, and they get very stiff and giggly when they get close to his hideout. finally, he jumps out, they all scream 'ahhh! the zack!!' and run away. he never tags any of them, the selecting of 'the zack' is completely arbitrary, and there seems to be no point outside of tromping and sneaking, running and screaming.
which is more than enough.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
but the need is there, and the boss clarence is a dear, and i'm quitting mid-april anyways so it's only for a limited time, and the boss clarence said she'd move mountains to try and find someone to fill it full-time before the other two quit, but i may end up starting what is essentially a whole new job. to which i can only reply...
shazbot! now watch this video.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
fun = arduous
you know how hard it is to make decisions about big ticket items? and how you want to comparison-shop and then go home and think about it and then ask your dad his opinion and then go back and get a different one? registering is making all those decisions at once, and kind of in a rush. what color do we want our plates to be? do we need a toaster if we're already registering for a toaster oven? and what of pans? are bagless vacuum cleaners really all they're cracked up to be? why are knives so expensive?
i'm still not convinced that we'll need kitchen shears, but i bartered them for a digital timer. and then there's the measuring cups both liquid and dry, the vegetable peeler, the toothbrush holder, the hundreds of dollars worth of things that you need but dont have because you've always had roommates who brought ice cube trays into the equation and all you've got is a coffee bean grinder and an air-pop popcorn popper and a wine-bottle holder shaped like a hand.
and then also it was joel's birthday, and i wanted to do something fun, but instead i had to give him a coupon for the fun thing i had thought of to do, and we'll have to do it later, and i had a spicy chicken burrito from taco bell that sat wrong all afternoon until i dumped some yogen fruz on top of it, and the low-fat yogurt + fruit helped detoxify the testosterchicken and miscellaneous spices and then i felt ok. and joel has this horrible cough which is really just a continuation of the cough he had over christmas, because he never actually got over that one, and we were trying to watch a movie but he kept having to blow his nose, and you can't get mad at someone for being sick, and when they're that sick mostly what you feel is pity and a shameful relief that it's not you, but i think snot is pretty much the grossest thing, and i'd rather die than have someone else's snot on me, even joel's. and we're starting pre-marital counselling soon, so we had to do this 165-question preparation exam, and we weren't allowed to cheat and be like, i got (c) for number 79, what did you get, so that we could look like the perfect couple and sail through counselling, because that's the point, right?
and so it was a long day, but not like last week was long. it was more productive than frustrating and mundane, and it was more fun than hellish, because i was with joel, and that makes everything more tolerable. even registering. and snot (almost).
Monday, January 15, 2007
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
today i left work while the sun still shone. last week was all pain and mosquitoes, and it is good to have a reprieve. my shift working with my autistic clarence (or Clarence, if i may, because he likes to line toys up on the heat register and then walk up and down the row, leanining slightly forward, as though he were in italics) has been moved from an 830 start to an 800 start, which isn't a huge deal, except that with bus schedules being what they are, i have to leave the house at the unholy hour of 645, instead of the more reasonable 730. with the onset of the snow and whatall, buses not running up the hill and such, i was leaving at 630 most mornings last week in order to arrive in surrey at 800. such-and-such a staff member is still on vacation, so i've been filling in in the out-of-school program in the later-afternoon-early-evening. taking the bus means that i alone do not arrive at work in tears because of the road conditions, and that i arrive at all, and so twice last week i stayed on to close so that those driving to langley, or to coquitlam with their infant child in the backseat, could leave while it was still light. i know. i'm a saint. both those days, parents did not leave themselves enough time to get through the snowtraffic, and both those days, parents arrived after six to pick up their children. this means that for two days i worked from eight til after six, but more importantly, i left the house at six thirty IN THE MORNING and got home just before eight THAT EVENING. add to this two weeks of working with three distinct age groups a day, to the point where i can't even think age-appropriately anymore, and i'm putting eleven-year-olds on time outs and asking five-year-olds what they think the best thing to do in this situation is, and to the fact that Clarence is currently figuring out how hard he can hit me in the face before i have to put my own safety before his, and you have what they call 'a rum go of things,' which has distinctly less to do with a bottle of rum than i'd like.
today the sun shone. i left the house at a suddenly-tolerable 645, and left work while it was still light. Clarence was glad to see me, and did more pushing and poking of my face than open-handed slapping. only two of the clarences hurt-themselves-or-were-hurt-by-others badly enough to draw blood, and i didn't once mention that we could set them on fire. it's supposed to snow tonight, and if the surrey schools are closed tomorrow, then so are we.
and there are no mosquitoes in winter.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
except that this is the post where i tell you all that i'm not pregnant.
so, joel and i got engaged just before christmas (you may recall), and we're getting married in the middle of april. this has prompted rumors of a shotgun wedding, and the time has come to inform you that, no, there will be no little rachel-lings running around within the next year. the true story is as follows:
there's a very narrow window between joel finishing school and joel going back to school. roughly two weeks worth. i'm in a wedding near the end of that window, and so, in order to eliminate (decrease? mildly alleviate?) stress, we have set the date for the beginning of the window.
i know. much less juicy.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
i wish you could have been there.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Saturday, January 06, 2007
we had gone to bryan's bridal on thursday night, and they squeezed in a few try-ons for me even though we blew in at 8:05 and they don't normally allow try-ons after 8:00. i'm going to call bryan's 'middle of the road,' and i mean that with all kinds of flattering intentions. the girl assigned my case took a look at my pictures (note to future brides: look through a thousand wedding magazines, and rip out anything you like. if you like the straps, rip out the page and circle the straps. write: 'straps.' otherwise, two months later you'll be like, 'what? i hate that necklace. two-months-ago-me has no taste.') and grabbed some lovely things off the rack. they've got a comfortable and spacious try-on area, and they give you a bottle of water with a bride on it, in case you get parched, or forget why you're there.
this morning, we drove down to action liquidators, in vancouver. the interior was suspciously reminiscent of the mcc store in abbotsford. the dresses here were all about half the price of the dresses at bryan's (and bryan's was quite reasonably priced), and rightly so. they certainly weren't spending any money on decor or professional staffing. there was a man-staff lingering about, which made nakedly handing a dress out to my mom a leetle sketchy, and i really think the awkward girl helping us out thought every one of those dresses was the paragon of beauty. the ones that made me look frumpy. and short-torsoed. each to her own, i suppose.
if action liquidators was those waxy chocolates that you get in advent calenders, then sposa was lindor. SPOSA!! oh, i wish you could have been there, robyn. ALL of you, friends, i wish you could have been there. we chose it at random off of new west's bridal row, but i don't think we could have chosen better even if we knew what the hell we were doing. they only fit one person at a time so that they can give you their full attention, and so that you have command of the 360 mirrors. and not to toot my own horn, but i looked good in every. single. dress. better than good; i looked AMAZING! well-made wedding dresses are built to flatter, to tuck in all your tummy bits and to hoist your girls without giving you that fat-fold in your pittoob (pittoob: that squishy bit between your armpit and your boob. on men, it's a pittec). they're snug, but self-supporting, so they can sit flush up against your skin without cutting into your back fat. mind you, they all cost more than double what the dresses at bryan's were costing, but THEY ELIMINATE FIGURE FLAWS!!!
so it comes down to this. do i love the ones (there were two 'keepers') at sposa more than i loved the one at bryan's? and if i do, do i love it more than twice as much?
the $ is for $tymied.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
joel and i watched the entire first season of prison break in three days. we also (on a separate occasion, although to have done both simultaneously would have been record-breaking awesome) purchased an entire pound of beef jerky for twelve dollars, and consumed the lot in less than twenty-four hours.
i watched bits of 'planet of the apes,' 'ben hur,' 'king of kings,' and star treks IV and V with the family on christmas day, as is the plett tradition.
i worked my last day at red robin. due to excessive lack of employee attendence which will be punished in no way, shape or form (see: reasons i quit) and the openingbecomeslunchrushbecomesdinnerrushbecomesclosing of boxing day, i worked ten and a half gruelling hours. and then quit. and today i found a set of manager keys in my apron pocket, which i don't remember borrowing, but which is probably causing no end of distress up at the old dirty bird. hee hee hee.
i went to one of my family gatherings and two of joel's. there was wine (mine), there was yahtzee (his), there was foodstuffs. you know the drill.
we did a bunch of wedding planning that i don't even want to think about blogging just yet.
i used my cousin's boyfriend's pug to convince joel that WE should get a pug. not a purebred, because they need extensive surgery just to live, but a puggle. which is what you call a baby platypus. but it's also one of these.
joel and i had another one of our many adventures south of the border (see: that time we drove to the gorge to see dave matthews and drove back that same night; that time we went to the woodland zoo because the aldergrove zoo only has one hippopopopotamus, and she wouldn't come out of her damned swamp; that fourth of july that i wanted to see real fireworks). we were heading into washington to spend new years with some old and dear friends. as per usual, the trip down was nearly flawless. the sun was shining and the day was warm...
so we didn't even really mind when steve and kelly missed the turn-off because they were playing 'taboo' in the car...
we stopped off at the ole dusty burger...
where ten dollars will get you most of a cow, and it's udder products, too...
it was the drive home where things sour (also as per usual, see: that time we got pulled over TWICE on the way home from the gorge). joel and i had to head back early because we both had obligations on the 2nd. a smattering of snowflakes had us packing up before noon. the old salt down at the gas station told us that a storm was a-brewin, and that we'd better hightail it to wherever we were going. sure enough, the storm caught up to us on stevens pass...
and it rained and it snowed and it sleeted, and the windshield froze...
and the other thing froze...
we got about two hours up stevens pass before we were halted by a row of cars allegedly forty miles long (source: guy also in line who heard it on his radio). half an hour later, with daylight fading, we headed back down the mountain to try the other pass. joel's old enough not to try and badass his way through a mountain storm, but going the wrong direction at thirty mph when you're not even sure you'll be able to go the right direction later, because it might be full of snow, is rather defeating. it deters you from reading passing signs at the top of your lungs and gleefully pointing out carrion. twelve dull, staring hours and one deliciously traditional stop at jack-in-the-box later, we made it safely home.
and then i went back to work.
i'm hoping all of your christmases and new yearses were as pleasantly boring as mine, with a perilous adventure or two to liven them up, and that you met with your loved ones in a stress-free environment that may or may not have included wine, and that you got fewer things done than you'd hoped you would have, but that you really don't mind, and that you gained five pounds and don't mind that either, because bathing suits are at least four months away, but most of all i'm hoping that somehow, you felt the hand of God.