Measured Extravagance

2001-01-23 - 12:12 a.m.

On the one hand, being a one-car couple has had its pluses, as I prefer being driven to driving, especially at night and in icky weather. Also, sharing the car means that the Beautiful Young Man has been conscious when I kiss him goodbye in the mornings, and memorizing vocabulary is memorizing vocabulary - it doesn't matter whether I'm at work or at home. (Today's cool word: quetsche, a kind of dark red plum native to Alsace.)

On the other hand, I am indeed looking forward to our new (secondhand) Volvo, which the BYM is picking up in two weeks. Among other things, listening to Morning Edition is sending my blood pressure through the roof, so I'm looking forward to retrieving command of the stereo. For the next four years it's going to be just Dar and Dylan and Dardanus.

Okay, not really. I know I wrote earlier about wanting to ignore His Fraudulency for the next four years, but I can't. To pay attention is frightening, but to do nothing is intolerable. I'm livid about Bush's plan to reinstate the global gag rule, which he is doing under the claim that U.S. taxpayer money shouldn't be funding abortions. Guess what? It isn't. As far as I'm concerned, reinstating the GGR means that the government is telling private organizations they can't spend their own money (the funds they raise on their own) as they see fit. If I weren't so pissed off, I would actually find the irony rather funny, the notion of hands-off government being so very Republican in theory. The problem is we don't have theorists in power, we have moralists, and what a repellent anti-woman lot they are.

Anyway, I shan't rant further - for well-chosen words on choice, go read Saundra and Jessie. And then, if you're not already involved, please head over to Act for Change and sign the letters protesting the nominations of Ashcroft, Norton and Thompson.

* * *

If you're a Dorothy L. Sayers fan, you may have wondered how to get your mitts on the elusive Edward Petherbridge/Harriet Walter adaptations of Strong Poison,Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night. They are not commercially available, but apparently the Dorothy L. Sayers Society is in negotiations with the BBC to distribute a limited edition. The details are still being hashed out at present, but if you email Jasmine Simeone (the DLSS secretary) she will be able to contact you if/when the tapes are actually made available for purchase.

* * *

Saturday night, the BYM and I were treated to the Flying Brothers Karamazov show with the Nashville Symphony, and were dazzled accordingly: I knew they were jugglers and punsters, but I hadn't realized how much of a role music played in their be-yoo-ti-fully precise clowning. (I've been humming "In the Hall of the Mountain King" for the past two days. Arrggh!) Bach's Invention #4 on the marimba (while juggling) and "Ode to Joy" on rigged-up hockey helmets -- yeah! (That, and watching Ivan play a bassoon concerto on the euphonium, but that one is pure personal bias at work: I used to have a crush on a euphonium player, and if I had more than one life, playing bassoon would be on the Escapades list...)

Anyway, even in Jackson Hall one couldn't escape politics: in describing "Taiko," Ivan claimed that the piece was based on Japanese festival drummers banging on great big wooden drums dressed only in loincloths, but that (QFM) "we could only afford cardboard boxes, and if we wore loincloths we would lose what's left of our already insignificant NEA grant. [audience chuckles] Yeah, I can see we're all thrilled about the inauguration here..."

Sunday morning, I went to church. Politics there, too: one of the lay ministers made a point of lighting a candle in support of the Social Concerns and Action Committee, and Rev. Morn devoted both the children's story and her sermon to the memory of heretic martyrs - people who were persecuted for their stands against Christian orthodoxy. The one that stands out in my mind is Katharine Vogel, a 16th century Pole who was locked in a chapel for ten years (from age 70 to 80) because her views were seen as dangerously anti-Trinitarian (and perhaps dangerously pro-Jewish - I'll have to research that some more). When it became clear that she would not recant her dissenting views, she was burned at the stake.

Sunday afternoon, I put politics completely aside and gave myself over to the joy of getting ready for company. The BYM valiantly did his share of washing and straightening and vacuuming, leaving me free to take pleasure in attention to details: incense and fresh hand towels in the bathroom, candles in the living room. The table set with placemats, napkins, silverware, chopsticks, soup bowls, and soy sauce saucers. Assembling the appetizer tray: radishes, gherkins, Maasdam cheese cubes, and peppery water crackers. Rameau wafting through the kitchen while I peeled broccoli and shredded cabbage and minced garlic and felt pretty damn good about being a grownup.

The guests arrived a little after 7, bringing with them a salad of grapefruit and apples and pineapple and oranges. I turned on the steamer and tossed the green beans into the pan - and then promptly sent everyone fleeing out of the kitchen when I accidentally dumped half a bottle of red pepper flakes into the already-smoking oil. Oops. (Next time I'll remember that I'd thrown out the little plastic doothingy with holes.) Not a disaster, really (that would be the time the lemon mousse refused to set, or when an oven full of bread and beef conked out, or when...), and everyone was very merry about it once it was safe to breathe again. (Jen was still razzing me about it on her way out of the door.)

Plus, even though the green beans were overly feisty, there was still plenty of food - turkey wontons, broccoli with oyster sauce, and seaweed soup. We ate it all up, and then sipped green tea, and then port and Drambuie, all of this with talk about cars and househunting and classes and jobs and sweaters and shoes and cats and treadmills and drum kits and fleabag hotels and so much more.

It was fun. It was good. I went to bed happy.

Tonight I goofed off - total mouse potatohood. Tomorrow I'll tackle at least something on the list - I've a get-well card to make and two skirts to mend. Tomorrow? yes.

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