These random neural firings brought to you by a woman who feels she should write a blog post, but can’t really seem to come up with anything.

Although I am still ravie about my new kitchen (free bit of French vocab for you. You’re welcome), I must admit that I am getting tired of not having measuring cups or spoons.

I own 2 sets of measuring cups plus 2 or possibly 3 sets of measuring spoons, and they are all about 1000 miles south of me, in a cardboard box with my cookie sheets and cooling racks and roasting pans and rolling pin and all the other things I’m missing. I’m making do, guessing how much a cup of flour or a teaspoon of soda is, and everything is turning out okay but just not quite. It’s a good thing I’m not an exact person, I think, as I make tortillas and chocolate chip cookies and Welsh cakes and anything else I can think of making that doesn’t require a pan.

Welsh cakes are a sort of griddle scone and everyone always likes them. I don‘t know why, other than the fact that they are just really good. You‘d think there would be people who didn‘t like them, just like some people don‘t like chocolate or ice-cream, but there aren‘t. I made some today, fed them to the 5 boys who had invaded my house and were being really really loud about various things. It provided us a few moments of quiet, but soon they were clamoring again.

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Ismail hung up two clothes lines for us, between the bars on the window and the bars on top of the garden wall. Today he is drilling holes in the wall for a new satellite he’s gotten; he sent Donn to ask me what laundry soap we use, since our clothes smell so nice.

“I notice you have a pot on the ledge of your kitchen window,” he tells me. I agree. I am going to plant parsley in it; the only herb seeds I could find. I hope to grow my own cilantro and mint and chives and basil eventually. “We are worried,” he tells me. “If it falls, it could hurt us.” I assure him it is plastic, and he smiles.
It is spring here. The sides of the roads bloom in yellow and purple, the trees are covered in bright green leaves and the orange blossoms smell so heavenly that every time I walk past an orange tree I stop to inhale. There are many orange trees, so I’m running late a lot these days. As my taxi whizzes towards Centre Ville along the Rue de Zairs, ancient walls on one side, orange trees on the other, I notice the trees still heavy with ripe fruit producing blossoms at the same time. I have wondered while no one just picks these oranges. I had all sorts of interesting hypotheses, but then someone told me the oranges are too bitter to eat. Marmalade? I suggested, but they said too bitter even for that.

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We have been offered a puppy. Half-pug, half-corgi, both parents owned by the same Irish/Moroccan family. Hmmm. I’m not overly fond of pug’s little smashed faces, but I like corgis, and I like the thought of knowing a little mutt’s heritage. But are we ready for a puppy? Not sure. One thing I do know–we are not even letting the kids know of the possibility until we’ve decided. Three times during our years in Mauritania we had puppy gifts show up on our doorstop; each time the sweet squirmy widdle thing was presented to Ilsa, and it was all over from that moment on. Inevitably, these puppies were a mix of God-only-knows heritage, at least one parent savage and street-wise, and were taken from their mothers at about 10 days, far too young. We didn’t have a great deal of success with these puppies; we loved them wisely but not too well. We’d like to eventually get another dog, and do it right this time; at least 6 weeks old, preferably have some idea as to genetics, etc. But a pug-corgi? Hmmm.

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Tomorrow is supposed to be another big strike; the kids are all praying that their teachers won’t be there. However, in keeping with their usual charm, the teachers who will be on strike (they know who they are) have not yet posted their absences. You have to take your kids to school in the morning and consign them to the school’s keeping (over the gates it says “All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here.” Or at least it should), then they look on the board and find out who is there and who isn’t. If, like me, you didn’t sign the thing at the beginning of the school year giving your small-for-her-age 11 year old permission to leave school whenever she didn’t have a class, getting your child out again is a complicated business even if she has 3 or 4 hours free. I’ll describe it by teaching you a little more French: at an institute for adult education, for example, students are “libre” or free; at a school, students are “captif.” I think you can figure it out. So to extricate my child from the jaws of bureaucracy requires usually at least half an hour of finding the right woman and filling out the right form. Showing my face as her parent is not enough.

Am I willing to do this? It depends. I suspect she will spend at least all morning at school tomorrow, if not more.

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