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For an entire 2 calendar years, I did not leave the USA. I came home from Marseilles, France on Nov 5, 2016 (very depressed, and you can figure out why if you remember what was happening then) and here I stayed. I was stuck! This is hard for a nomad used to roaming parts of the planet. Oh sure, I didn’t stay in Oregon–we went to California and even Florida. My kids traveled to places like China and Iceland and Rhode Island. But I locked my passport away and didn’t use it at all.

But 2019 is different. This is the year that, even though we are Gen-X or, as my husband likes to call us, pre-millennials (that’s a joke for all you current or former baptists out there!), we are traveling as if we were millennials. We started off January by going to Thailand, and in June, we are planning to go to Iceland. We may look more like aging hipsters, with our grey beards (Donn) and oddly wrinkled necks (me), but you’re only as young as you feel…no that won’t work, as we don’t feel young. In fact, we are already beginning to discover the joys of stiff necks and pinched nerves. We are just traveling to trendy spots!

Why there? You might ask. Why not return to France, with all their lovely cheeses and pastries and cobbled streets? What about Mauritania, with your good friends there, or Morocco, where you can bore us with yet more pictures of the markets? Simple. We went to a conference in Thailand and managed to squeeze in several days of vacation round each end. And our oldest kid moved to Iceland to go to grad school, and we want to see him, not to mention his new country. Iceland is so pretty!

We got home from Chiang Mai 2 weeks ago and I’m still sick, but I miss writing and who cares that blogs are dead unless you were smart enough to never quit? I like writing about my trips. So, I will leave you with a picture of a Buddha from the Doi Suthrep Temple, and I’ll be back soon to tell you all about it!


Sigh. See post title for where I’m at with this.

Last time we saw our intrepid heroine, she was celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary a mere 2 1/2 months after the fact in Thailand (!!!). In fact, she was in a lovely boutique hotel, with the Queen of Concierges bringing her dry toast and jasmine tea, lying in a very comfortable bed having a very uncomfortable time. Was it food poisoning? A virus? No one knows. There was a fever involved, and if someone is going to get gastrointestinal distress it’s usually Donn, but still. The fact remains that out of 8 precious days, she lost an entire 2…and then spent the 3rd wanting things like crackers and yogurt instead of super-cheap-and-delicious Thai food. Sigh. Obviously she needs to go back.

We had scheduled me to take a Thai Cookery class on the Monday, but when I got sick on Sunday (the day we rode elephants; I was running a slight fever and actually slept in the van both ways), Donn spent ages moving my appointment to Tuesday. Then on Tuesday he had to move it to Wednesday. By Wednesday I was determined to go. They picked me up from the hotel in a little pick-up with benches down the back, and I climbed in and met my fellow students–one from Brazil and a couple from New Zealand.

IMG_6317The school slogan was “Our food is guaranteed to make you look pregnant,” which I found of dubious desirability.

The cooking school was great. I learned to make 6 items, many of which I have actually made here in Oregon. First they took us to the school where they served us tea and pastries, then they took us to the market where they showed us what to shop for. I took a million photos, roughly, but I’ll only make you look at a few close ups of dragon fruit, bananas, and mushrooms.

IMG_6034 IMG_6292 IMG_6305IMG_3410

Then back to the school. I made (you know you care!) chicken coconut soup, green curry paste (which I will never make here. Let’s be serious. It has about 20 obscure ingredients and you pound it in an enormous mortar and pestle), green curry itself, Pad Thai because Abel loves it so, green papaya salad, and mango with sticky rice.

IMG_6328I made this Pad Thai and green curry. You could choose from a variety of dishes, but I picked these because my family loves them. I have made Pad Thai in America now but it wasn’t as good. I was missing an ingredient or two though; I need to try again.

I ate everything I made! Actually, I took a lot of it back to the hotel with me, because my stomach wasn’t up to 5 meals in the space of a few hours, but really I did great. It was so much fun. I loved the people who ran the school, and my fellow learners. We all promised to keep in touch and send each other photos and everyone else did but me because I have good intentions but lousy follow-through.

IMG_6397I didn’t make this particular sticky rice with mango, but I ate it! I did learn to make it and mine tasted great but wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing as this dish from a restaurant. I felt you needed more beauty in your lives so went with this photo. And yes, I have successfully made this in Oregon. The mango was the least successful part. 

Chiang Mai really was fantastic. The old city has an ancient, 700-year-old wall and moat around it, which is now filled with fountains and lined with flowers and crossed by charming bridges. There are masses of temples and many many markets filled with fun, cheap things to cram into your luggage. Our time was far, far too short and we hope to go back some day.

ancient wall chiang mai






Once upon a time there was a woman who slept and slept and slept and still she was tired.

There never was a woman who slept as much as Ms. Nomad.

Ok not really. I have just had what I assume is some kind of flu. But I can’t remember how long it’s been since I was this sick. I get the normal amount of streaming colds that usually result in a couple of afternoon naps. A particularly bad one will usually get me one full day in bed. Even when I had giardia in Mauritania, I don’t think I spent more than 2 days in bed.

4 days. I am up to 4 days.

This was sparked, I believe, by a conference we just attended in Philadelphia. It started on Wednesday evening, which meant we had to get up at 3 in order to leave our Oregon home by 6. It was snowing in Denver, on May 1, which meant we missed that first meeting. Then next morning, in order to be at the next session, we had to get up at 3 a.m. again, which in Philly they call “six.”

We came home Monday night at “eleven”, which had by then become 2 a.m. for us. And then I went to bed, and stayed there. I had things planned–gym visits to counteract all that conference food (they fed us every two hours! it was ridiculous!), ESL classes that I teach, laundry, reconnecting with my kids, and so much more. Instead I have managed to get up for about an hour or so each day. And I have slept unbelievable amounts of time. I sort of feel like I have mono again, like I’m a college student. (And, I don’t want to brag, but an actual college student, a frat boy who is probably only a couple of years older than my actual son, yelled out “Hi Blondie” at me the other day. Yeah. It wasn’t appealing. But my point is, maybe I am going back in time?)

My Iraqi friends have been wonderful, dropping by every day with food for all. The fridge is stuffed and I’ve spent my waking hours croaking into the phone that yes, we’re all fine thank you and no, we don’t need any more food.

Today I am definitely better. I don’t think my fever has come back, although I have taken just enough Advil to not be totally sure. And I’m up! It’s been two hours now! I’m ready to go back to bed, but it is “midnight” in the land of Philadelphia so I’m justified, right?

And yes, I do realize it’s been, oh like 2 months or so since I posted. I’d like to keep posting on this blog, and I promise to do it more often. Please check back and leave a comment or two. I have hilarious stories from Philadelphia that I will be sharing, plus pictures AND a video of a man we have affectionately dubbed “The Sandwich Nazi.”

Last week, I accidentally bumped Ilsa’s foot and she shrieked. At first I thought she was simply being melodramatic, not that that would be normal or anything for a 13 year old girl. But when she said her toe hurt, my heart sank within me like the proverbial stone.

It was just red at first, but by the next day there was a bubble of yellow green pus already forming. I will spare you further details. Suffice it to say I quickly got online and then couldn’t manage to access my super-secret private insurance page and had to wait to call and then had to wait for the customer service to get approval from my husband before they could talk to me. Am I in Morocco still? I asked myself. Just kidding, but it did strike me as awfully silly since the account clearly showed me as being on it. Sigh.

Then I spent hours trying to make sure I didn’t need a referral to go straight to a podiatrist. I also found a podiatrist nearby and made an appointment. I wasn’t waiting around this time. Never again will I have a doctor purse her lips at me and say snootily, “You have waited too long, madame.”

Today we went to the Foot Clinic or whatever it was called. I told our saga over and over…the removal 13 months ago, the reinfection that wouldn’t go away, the Good Doctor and the Bad Doctor, the perky blonde who took care of it in August at the amusingly-named Zoom Care. I explained all this over the phone when I made the appointment, then again to the nurse, then again to the doctor. Ilsa added in moans and groans and appalling little stories about how the Moroccan surgeon did not let her toe numb completely before he pulled out the nail. It was a great time and we were just warming up our act when the doctor got out his needle.

Now I will say that Ilsa is actually a very tough girl, but this toe thing has worn her out and she is done. She no longer handles needles. Her entire body tensed and, as is her wont, she expressed her emotions freely, using all of her vocal cords. The doctor and I kept trying to get her to lie down and relax. I attempted to cheer her right up by explaining how I had given birth to her and her twin brother without pain medicine, simply by relaxing, but the story did not have the desired effect.

Eventually the novacaine took effect, and she was able to stoically view her injured toe with both sides of the nail removed and huge wooden Q-tips sticking out of it. The doctor decided to definitively take care of the problem by putting poison, a type of acid, on the sides of the nail, so it will never grow out again. The acid turned her skin a deep blackish purple and the nail in between looked sort of green. “You love purple,” I said encouragingly to Ilsa, but she wasn’t convinced. “You could paint a picture of it and people would say you had the colours wrong,” I continued, but she still wasn’t cheering up. Some people are a hard sell.

It was very exhausting watching my daughter suffer. I asked the doctor if he’d consider something a bit stronger than Tylenol 3, for me, for my recovery, but he declined.

We headed over to the pharmacy for the ointment, the antibiotic, and the Tylenol 3 for Ilsa. I left Ilsa in the car, per her request, as her toe was beginning to hurt a little bit, and went into the store. It’s a large store, and there was a large line to match. I turned in the 3 papers. “Give us at least 40 minutes,” said the pharmacist. I groaned, and she took pity on me. “Try in 35,” she urged.

I figured I might as well do my grocery shopping, so I raced around the store. I had just joined the still-long line for pharmacy pick-up when Ilsa appeared, moaning in pain. The novacaine had worn off, she’d been sitting in a freezing car for nearly an hour, and she had completely lost any perspective she might once have had, which, seeing as she’s a 13 year old girl, wasn’t much. We drove home through freezing rain, which crackled and tinkled against the windows like we were driving through icicles. I must admit that I do love freezing rain, although it’s a bit disappointing after we were promised snow. Ilsa continued to emote on the drive home. Once home, I gave her Tylenol 3 with a big glass of milk, and then we got to enjoy hours of her giggling to herself. The pain relief was supposed to last 6 hours but only lasted 3. (although I have to say that I myself have never found Tylenol 3 all that effective. I gave her some advil too, and sent her to bed. I am expecting to be gotten up about 2 a.m.)

The doctor said that even with only half of a nail left, she could still get an ingrown toenail. “But she’s starting with a clean slate,” he assured me, as he got a glimpse of my expression. “She shouldn’t get one.” I hope not. Like Ilsa, I am pretty much done with this.

The house is quiet and smells of cleaning agents. In the background, machines hum busily—washing machine, dryer, dishwasher. All doing for me what I no longer need to do for myself, although just between you and me I find rinsing dishes and loading and unloading a dishwasher to be just as much work as simply plunging my hands in some warm sudsy water and washing them myself.

Outside are leaves, still green and shapely but tinged with yellow at their edges, outlined against a grey sky. Already it is fall and the air is cold. We’ve had days of rain, and I’ve cursed my glittery sandals, so lovely and summery in their season, so inadequate against a suddenly-formed puddle. My boots are in the container, a giant tin box still riding the waves somewhere in the Atlantic. ON the Atlantic, I mean. I have caught a truly impressive cold, and have managed to lose most of my voice, and catch sharp daggers in my throat with every swallow.

The kids are in school. It took some time. First we realized we couldn’t get that house I mentioned, and I had to give up my dream of certain specific schools and settle for other specific schools, although still in the same generally-excellent school district. But there are strict neighbourhood zones and we couldn’t find a house to match nor prove that we were living where we needed to be.

Their new schools are fine. Elliot had to start a day late because he had to see an academic counselor before he could get his schedule. He has college level history, which does not make sense to me since he is a sophomore. He is peer-tutoring a beginning French class, and tells me with amusement how his classmates pronounce “et toi” as it is spelled in English.

He tells me how the principal told them, in a class assembly, that as sophomores, they’re like middle children, overlooked, neither the “new baby” freshmen or the attention-garnering seniors. “But he’s going to change this—so everyone can feel successful!” Elliot reports. I roll my eyes. So American!

The twins come home their first day excited, chattering. Ilsa has 2 new friends. Abel loves his homeroom teacher. She is so different from a French teacher, he tells me. If you forget a pen or pencil, you can either buy one off her special supply, or you can borrow one—you leave a shoe at the front of the classroom so you remember to return it. We all laugh about this, as French teachers scold you pretty hard if you show up without any writing utensils. In fact, all 3 expressed varying degrees of shock at how nice and friendly the American teachers were. (This is not to put down French teachers. I think their goal in a classroom is to educate children, and they feel being nice and friendly distracts from this) Ilsa was unimpressed with one of her teachers, and said she needed to yell at her classroom to restore order. Elliot said, “I was hoping the French teacher would yell. That would have relaxed me, made me feel at home.” He added, “She’s English, you know, not French after all.”

Their list of school supplies is much smaller and less specific. No fountain pens are needed, although Ilsa takes an old one in her trousse (pencil case). Everyone is excited to have a locker.

We’ve found a different house. I believe most people would feel this house to be better than the other—it’s bigger, newer, and cheaper. We’re excited about it, but both Donn and I love older houses, with hardwood floors and funky bits of personality that are theirs alone. This one doesn’t really have much personality. It’s a blank slate, and we’ll add our own to it soon enough I’m sure. Which do you prefer?

The good news is that we have a lead on a house. And not just any house–it’s huge, old and creaky and damp, with lots of quirks like a loft room and balcony accessible by ladder only, or a half-finished space over the garage where the moss grows. There’s a little garden on 3 sides, with a fig tree that is not only climbable but also, hopefully, fruitful. It is painted a murky sort of pink. It even has a basement, including a vast low-ceilinged room where we could put in a bowling alley or archery range! (These examples are intended to show size, not actual plans) We have a verbal agreement with the property manager, and are awaiting his phone call.

The not-quite-as-exciting-as-you-thought-at-first news is that it’s not available until March 1st, which is always a momentous day round here, and not just because it’s the twins’ birthday. So that means two more moves until the big, and hopefully last, move. We have to be out of this place on the 20th, and then we’ll return on Feb 2nd. Yippee. More suitcases, more frantic searches for the Bescherelle (French conjugation book) and Abel’s history homework and that certain shirt that Ilsa really wants to wear but that got left behind or put in an obscure case. I’m hoping we’ll find the library book we lost a couple of moves ago–possibly in Spain but most likely in the basement.

Right now I am feeling like I never ever want to move again as long as I live. I do wonder how long this will last though. The longest I have lived in one house is 5 years. The numbers aren’t exactly on my side that I will settle permanently; I wonder if I am even capable of it.

Ilsa wants to have the loft room as her room. She loves it! (Underline “loves” twice in your mind, once in teal and once in purple, to understand the depth of her emotion a little better) But I have become what I always dreaded becoming; the Grown-Up, The Mom, The One who says things like, “You can’t climb trees in white jeans” instead of just focusing on how much fun it is to climb trees. Who worries about clothes? The Mom, that’s who. The worst is that, having become this, I am quite content to be in this place. Because climbing trees in white jeans ruins them, and you then spend far too much time trying to get the stains out and then having to go shopping again. And so while I, too, love the loft room and the ladder access, all I could picture was Ilsa having the flu and having to dash down that ladder in the middle of the night. I couldn’t come up with a winning solution to that; either she would lose it all over the ladder and the floor and I would have to clean it up, or she would fall, which would be far worse. So I have refused to let her have the loft room as her own. Instead, I have announced grandly, it will be the library! (How will we get bookcases up a ladder? Umm….) Also a play space. She can use it for an art studio! Abel can store his legos there! This could be good.

Today I am sick. I am hoping it does not turn into a sinus infection; that kind of sick. We have had a whirl of a time the last several days. Our friends who were supposed to stay here last week got snowed in, in Marseilles of all places, where no one ever gets snowed in. They’d left a bag here, so on Sunday afternoon we took the train to Casablanca to meet them in the station. They had a seven-hour layover, so we headed out to McDonalds and caught up on our news over cheeseburgers, fries, and Coca Light that was actually cold. The day was clear and crisp, and we sat outside.

The train coming home was crowded. I was able to get a seat, even facing forward, because of my gender and blond hair, but Donn had to stand the entire way. I sat with Ilsa on my lap, making occasional eye contact with the woman next to me. Ilsa read. One woman turned her phone to play Arab pop music for us all. Another woman, in her 30s at least, leaned against her mother and slept. The train swayed and jerked through the night; I brushed Ilsa’s long hair out of my mouth; out the windows we caught sight of the moon rising, full and yellow and luminous.

We came home, collected the boys from their friends‘ house, turned on our space heaters, ate some of the French cheese our friends had brought us, and were happy. Home. What does that mean? It is the place you will sleep that night.

…and one of your new friends happens to stumble across your blog, she will notice that you mention making your own evaporated milk for your pumpkin pie. “Silly girl,” she will think. “You can get it here.” She will give you a can of your very own.


Sunday afternoon. I’m coughing my lungs out here and have already exhausted several boxes of Kleenex. Ilsa’s cold has come upon me. The boys have friends over and are duelling it out for dominance of Europe during WWII. Right now, the Russians appear to be winning. (It’s Axis and Allies, a game which I remember my brothers playing when I was a little girl)

Thanksgiving dinner was fine, and the Brits were very thankful. Many things were just a little burnt and crispy round the edges, which is not ideal but was to be expected given the limitations of my tiny, borrowed oven. In fact, we had only half the dressing I intended; it burnt so we scraped out the inside, put it in a bowl, and our guests would have been none the wiser had we not told them. We even had cranberry sauce, bought in a British store in Gibraltar and boasting “real American cranberries” plus some redcurrants. I bought huge slabs of boneless, skinless turkey breast and, unsure, decided to cook them as if they were an entire turkey, and it actually worked.

The pie was very tasty, although the spice was a bit off. I used “quatre epices,” a French spice blend that includes black pepper as well as ginger and cinnamon, so the pie had a nice little after-bite that I rather liked.

Of course everyone had school/work all day, so we ate about 7:30 or so. It’s not good to eat an enormous Thanksgiving meal, complete with cheese course because, well, just because we could,  and the French totally supported the American Revolution so it makes sense to me, plus I love cheese. This sentence is too long so I’ll start over. It’s not good to eat so much so late in the evening. You need time to digest and go for a walk. And of course, the alarm went off next morning and everyone was back to school/work, with no time to recover. I think next year we will celebrate on the weekend.

I usually avoid stores at all costs on the day after Thanksgiving, but this year I ventured out. I figured I’d be safe from getting trampled by crazed perspectiveless shoppers, and I was. I ended up at the Moroccan version of Costco. I didn‘t know it existed either and no one was more surprised than I to enter a store called Metro, where they sell gas heaters for less, and discover a place that felt like medium-sized Costco, selling normal-sized items for slightly less. A Muslim feast is coming up soon, the one where everyone must sacrifice a sheep if they can at all afford it, and I read with some bemusement my opportunity to enter a raffle and win a sheep! I was tempted, but really, what would I do with it?

We bought a space heater that takes a big gas bottle and we’ve been running it a lot. The place is positively toasty. That’s because it’s Tuesday now and my voice is beginning to come back, although Donn is still down for the count and Elliot is sickening rapidly.

I hope I’m better soon. I spent today in bed reading Ilsa’s books, as I have worn out my own supply. My friend who gave me the evap milk has a nicely-stocked bookshelf but I’m too sick to walk over there and borrow something. I’d better get well soon, or I may be reduced to finishing a mystery novel left on the bookshelf here. This book was purportedly written by a cat (could it get any cuter?) in which the animals talk to each in italics (how twee!) and call their human owners “mom.” (I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth!) I started it last night but wisely switched to children’s books just in time.

Ha! Bet you never thought I would actually post two days in a row! Fooled you! (Sorry, Kelly.)

So far, I would have to say the score is Doctor-1, Google-1. Yes folks, it’s a tie.
I went in to Urgent Care. This is the way my new doctor’s office deals with people who actually need to see a doctor, as opposed to those who think it might be nice to make an appointment with a doctor for the end of summer, just in case. I assume this is for the hypochondriacs among us, who presume that Labour Day Weekend will find them feeling just a little under the weather and needing to spend 30 minutes in stiff, matching plaid chairs, paging through two-month-old magazines, to lull them into a sense of importance and well-being. I mean, who else wants to schedule out that far? It’s not like a dentist, where you schedule your 6-month check up (well you might…I usually go 2 years between visits myself), or when the kids were babies and had to be checked every few months so that the doctor could tell me they still weren’t on the charts and was I sure I was making enough milk for two? (Which I was. I was a milk-producing machine! They’re just little.)
Where was I? Oh yes, trying to see a doctor. I could either go in July 21, which you might realize is over 3 weeks from now, or go into the Urgent Care side of the office. The good news is that if you go in before 5, you only have to pay your normal $20 co-pay, and for no extra money I could forget my book in the car and read either Parenting (How to Deal with the Stress of Christmas) or Men‘s Vogue (“Auto-Erotic: Men Love Their Cars). How I love American health care. How I regretted leaving my book in the car.
This morning, when I woke up, I thought I might be feeling better. My body, in this respect, is like your car. You know how your car always makes that horrible noise except when there is a mechanic near enough to hear? You take your car to the garage, and it won’t make that noise, will only purr nicely, until you’ve given up and are a block or two away, when the engine falls out with a big clunk! Or, conversely, it starts making that noise again, so you turn around and drive back to the mechanic, upon which it stops making that noise. This is usually my body, which will be horribly sick until I finally break down and decide that yes, today I will go to the stinking doctor already so shut up with the horrible stomach cramps. Then it will cheer up, like a spoiled teenager given her own way at last.
I was conflicted, however. I had basically told you all that I would go to the doctor today, and you had all encouraged me to go. Should I go? Or not? I waited till after lunch but didn’t take ibuprofen. By that time, my headache was assuming mythic proportions and my temperature was over 100. I went.
My doctor was very nice. He agreed that running a fever for 2 weeks was a good reason to come into the office. He asked me lots of questions, took lots of scribbly little notes. He and I spent over 2 hours together. The result? The doctor is stumped. He did a very thorough exam–one of the most thorough I’ve had in years. Nothing. So he did tests–urine, pelvic, chest x-ray, blood work. Nothing. I’m totally healthy, except for this fever and headache. “It’s good news and bad news,” was how he put it.
So tonight, I still have a headache. I’m still running a low-grade fever. Other than that though, I’m totally healthy–fantastic, even. In other words, it’s neither an exotic cancer or the flu. So maybe the doctor should have a point higher than Google. He was really nice, and called me with the results of my tests late on a Friday night.
My vote? Here’s a fun thought–wouldn’t it be ironic if I lived in Africa for 6 years and never got malaria, and then I got it in California? (Note: the dr. doesn’t think it’s malaria, since the symptoms aren’t quite right, but it is a possibility. He brought it up. And it’s got my vote.)
So, what do you think it is?

I can’t seem to get better, and now I’m running a fever.

Not to worry though. Ilsa made me a card. It is very cute, decorated with stickers and fancy calligraphy. It says:

“Get well soon! Please make nachos for supper. Thank you!”

If that doesn’t make me feel better, I guess nothing will. At least she’s polite, so I know I’m succeeding on one level.

Last week, Donn was sick, and I told him I refused to get it. Which meant, of course, that by Sunday my temperature was 102 and I had only a terrible croak where my voice used to be.
I spent the afternoon in bed, dozing in and out while catching up on my Hardy Boys books. I’m pleased to be able to announce that I am now not only familiar with the classic series, from my own childhood, but with the new and improved “modern and exciting” paperback series, and the ultra-new graphic novel versions. Which are kind of fun, really. I like the name graphic novel, as it sounds much more serious than “comic book,” which can be important for your self image even when you are high on antihistamines.
So Monday, I didn’t do much what with one thing and another. In fact, I don’t even remember the day, except after about 10 p.m. when I realized that I was hosting a baby shower the very next morning. Oops!
Ok, hosting isn’t exactly the word. It wasn’t at my house, and someone else got the cute confetti and pretty candles and flowers, and others brought muffins and scones and coffee cake and other munchies. But I was in charge of the event. Voice or no voice, the show must go on.
So I googled baby shower games, looking for something I could do at the last minute that didn’t involve diaper jokes. I know many of you find the game hilarious where you have paper nappies filled with mustard or relish or glutinous chocolate icing, but I just don’t get into those. For one, it reminds me too much of the reality of small children, and for two, it turns me off my food. And I like liking food, which might explain why these gym sessions aren’t having the desired results as far as me suddenly losing 20 pounds goes.
One site mentioned a nursery rhyme game. Perfect, I thought. I may not remember how to conjugate French verbs in the plus-que-parfait or where I put down the cordless phone, but I know my nursery rhymes! These little scraps of rhythm continue to take up plenty of space on my own personal hard drive, and no I don’t know why. Any ideas? Preferably not insulting?
So I sat down and shot out lots of ideas, like the hard-edged questions: How many bags of wool did the black sheep have? Why shouldn’t you put your baby to sleep in a tree? Yeah. This was gripping stuff. However, round about question 14 or so, I started to run out of steam. I googled nursery rhymes and found this fascinating site, guaranteed to take up even more valuable brain space. Yes, now you can waste even more time online learning the historical origins of popular rhymes.
My current favorite, and yes I have told this to everyone I know so far, is the origin of “Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary.” For those of you with brains devoted to the knowledge of how electricity works or simple calculus equations who may have forgotten this childhood favorite, the rhyme continues, “…how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row.” Pretty, right? Sweet, even. Nope. It refers to the reign of Mary I, aka Bloody Mary. The “garden” is the Protestant graveyard, which she did all she could to fill. “Silver bells and cockleshells” were instruments of torture, and the “pretty maids” were guillotines! Isn’t that fascinating? I love mixing medieval torture implements with soothing bedtime lullabies. No, actually, I do. This way, everyone involved gets something out of it.
The shower went fine, I think, although I have a feeling I talked too much in my croaky, croaky voice–something I tend to do when I’m not as prepared as I should be.
I’m mostly better now, stuck in that awkward in-between stage when you’re not really sick enough to be sick, yet lack energy to do anything useful. I absolutely hate this as I feel I am being really lazy, although I continue to race through mindless books. But on this typical Oregon spring day, when sun and shower mix it up constantly and my planters are full of daffodils and tulips, Elliot made the Perfect chocolate chip cookie. It is truly serendipitous! They look perfect; they smell perfect; they taste perfect. It was like little cherubs dressed in Nestle yellow (actually in the Trader Joe’s minimalist red logo) sprang full-formed from the oven door when he opened it to take them out. (Ok, maybe I should back off on the Benedryl, which is the only thing that dries up my nose) (And no, it’s not allergies. It had a definite beginning and will soon have a definite end, if I have anything to say about it.) So here I am, not at the gym, with little chunks of Paradise cooling on my counter. I wonder how long my self-discipline will hold out?
I’ll let you know. Later.

May 2023

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