Category Archives: this little life

Serious.

saskia portrait july 2018

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Shredded.

I have developed a perhaps unhealthy passion for slaw-in-pita sandwiches, especially with a couple of slices of homemade pickle. Mmm.

New me.

I installed the toilet paper roll the other way around yesterday, and now every time I tear off a square I ask myself, “Who AM I?”

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Under.

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There’s a cat in here.

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Told ya.

Fib.

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People lie, have you noticed? Cell phones open a new channel for the untruth observer. Yesterday afternoon, for example, I was riding the Number 61 bus placidly towards home when the phone of the woman behind me rang. She started telling her caller about some bureaucratic errand she’d been on and then said, “I’m waiting on the sixty-one bus.” Did I hear that right? I thought. Maybe she said sixty-three? But no, she repeated, “I’m waiting on the 61 bus,” and while my mind spun trying to derive a scenario where one could legitimately be waiting for a bus while riding it, she doubled down by adding, “But not long, it’s moving out soon.” So no, it was just a lie; perhaps to confuse her caller about when she’d be home, or something. I don’t know.

The toy dragon is just for fun. I found him on the street. Rawr!

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Wouldn’t you?

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I looked up from my seat on the subway to perceive that a woman on the opposite bench had a skirt and t-shirt of precisely matching, rather aggressive solid turquoise green; and then that her big square tote bag matched as well; and then that her sandals with their rosettes of suede fringe, her toenails, yes, and her fingernails, and the big earrings half-hidden by her blonde hair all matched. (Her eyes, as best I could tell, were blue.) So can you blame me for wondering briefly, so to speak, about her underclothes?

Rose redemption.

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Fantin-Latour rose

I think of my friend Nicole every day; this weekend by recalling her seasonal motto: “Memorial Day! When we honor¬†our war dead by going to the beach.”

As I used to say, “I myself represent the decline of western civilization.” Well, if it’s All Gonna End Soon, all the more reason to take advantage of the beautiful days, right? Which I wish I were doing better. Can’t complain of Saturday morning, though. I walked up to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (free entry Saturdays before noon) to see the roses and peonies. Lots of giggling in the Cranford Rose Garden as visitors got sprinkled in succession by the rotating sprinklers, with our gratitude as it was HOT. The earliest old shrub roses were done but plenty of my historical favorites bloomed on, like the lovely Mme. Hardy with her flat white face and little green eye, and other damasks, centifolias (like Fantin-Latour, above), gallicas, albas, and spinossisimas. And many non-rose non-peony beauties as well.

We went out for drinks after Christian Harmony singing a couple of weeks ago, you know, the usual three hours of hymns, an hour in the bar. I told the bartender I wanted to try a new bourbon and he suggested something called Redemption. Of course! (“480, I think,” said Stina, meaning the page number of the song REDEMPTION.) It was tasty.

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The glass cat paradox.

Opening a box, I found a small glass cat, purple, from Venice I think, that a friend once gave me. To whom besides a cat person would you give a glass cat? But that cat person cannot display it, because the cat would knock it over.

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Leavened.

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Latest loaf, all purpose with some whole wheat and a couple of tablespoons of oat bran, olive oil, molasses as sweetener.

All the years I’ve lived alone, I’ve always kept one of those classic strips of three yeast packets in my fridge. Sometimes it’s been years between attempts to bake with yeast, and sometimes I’ve pulled the packets out to discover they were three years past their use-by date (long even by my loose limits), but they were always a cheap just-in-case item. Well, now I have been baking bread almost every week for a year and more except for the months when it was too hot to turn on the oven, so a few weeks ago I went to the supermarket to pick up another Fleischmann’s three-pack. “$2.79?” I thought. “Really?” I looked at the shelf label and it told me that the unit price was $59.39 per pound (or something like that). Hmph! snorted I to myself, I know that the price for a full pound from (say) King Arthur isn’t anything like fifty-nine dollars. Key Food didn’t have any full pounds to check this, but Whole Foods, when I was lured in there by Z a day or two later, did. Price per pound? $5.39. That is, buying yeast in packets raises the price tenfold. Which is perfectly acceptable if you use one packet a year for three years, but not if you’re baking every week.

Canny Brooklyn shopper that I am, however, I waited till my next trip to Sahadi’s, where I found four different kinds of bulk yeast and got a pound of SAF Blue Label for $4.25. And look how dynamically my latest loaf rose! I always trust Sahadi’s for fast turnover, so I don’t doubt this is the freshest and happiest yeast I’ve ever had; and I am not tempted to skimp on it, but can dip my teaspoon luxuriously.
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Let me know if you want to share my pound of yeast. I figure I have six or eight more loaves till summer, by which time my investment will already have paid for itself,¬† and then I’ll move the package from the fridge to the freezer for the hot months.

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Overheard in Brooklyn, Prospect Park edition

elmblossomAll these within a minute or so on a single path in Prospect Park:

“‘Bunnies and Twinkies,’ she said to me, ‘bunnies and Twinkies, that’s all I want you to think about.'”

“I could do the dark road, too, another time.”

“To steal a Monet . . .”

Witch hazel, red maple, elm, and cornelian cherry are in bloom. (Photo borrowed from the City Birder.)

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