Today is Saturday and Friday was a very bad day…

 Isn’t there some children’s book about a very bad day? I should go look up that title. Perhaps I should have looked it up before writing this or I could edit this after I go look up the title but I won’t. 

(typing into search bar ‘children’s book with very bad day in the title’ – and the answer is…)

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I never read it. It was published in 1972, I was 26 in 1972, so a bit old for a children’s book. 

I don’t remember any specifically children’s books from my early childhood – the only picture book I remember was a version of the Wizard of Oz.  Makes me wonder what I was reading as a three or four or five years old – because I was reading by the time I was 3 and I got my first library card when I was 4. The only criteria for getting a library card was being able to write your name. (And I am always surprised to remember that my mother, a major non-reader, actually took me to a library to get a card and probably took me there on a regular basis to get books.) 

When I was 10 /11-ish my father signed me up for the children’s book-of-the-month club but that didn’t last long. They sent books that were supposed to be reading level age appropriate but my reading skills were quite advanced and my father deemed the books insulting to my intelligence! He sent them a letter cancelling the subscription and the reason why. Thanks, Dad. (Really – thanks. Heaven forfend anyone would insult my father’s daughter’s intelligence!)

I still have two books from that time – The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek by Evelyn Sibley Lampman and Garden Under the Sea by George Selden. I also remember a biography of Mark Twain which I kept a long time but somehow it’s gone missing. I had already read a bit of Mark Twain so I remember being happy to get that book. Tho I do remember it as being a bit simple.

There are times when I am tempted to read those old books yet never do. I expect they will stay on the shelf until I die. But it would be interesting to try and figure out why I’ve kept them – out of all the books I’ve accumulated since childhood. 

I’ve been dumping books like crazy for the past 3 or 4 years – I expect the next time I move (if not before) I will dump some more and while for years I carted around 50-60 boxes of books I could probably winnow it down to maybe 6? (Standard moving book box is 12x12x12).

In other news – today, July 23rd is my husband’s 75th birthday. From today until October 17th we will be the same age – then I jump to being a year older. When he had a dj business, and I was attending one of his public gigs (as opposed to private party gigs), he would always play this song and dedicate it to me –
My husband can, on occasion, be a smartass.
(BTW – said husband is why Friday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.)

Links to Books Mentioned:

Yes it's true

My comment to Ashley in my previous post (regarding her post on irritability) struck a chord with Melissa. She intends to use the phrase “I was born irritated” from now on. (Edit: It seems I was mistaken, it was Rory who made the remark I was referring to. Comments from people who don’t use Blogger only come through as ‘anonymous’. Blogger and WP do not play well together. Apologies to both Melissa and Rory.)

What I said was “Hell, I was born irritated plus I’m a New Yawker – we are always irritated and make no bones about it.”

Now then the dictionary definition of irritated is “aroused to impatience or anger”. And the definition of irritability is “the quality or state of being irritable” And the definition of irritable is “capable of being irritated”.

Does that help you at all? So let’s stick with ‘aroused to impatience or anger’. 

I haven’t lived in New York City since 2000, that’s a long time to be away but I’m pretty damn sure that the NYC sensibility hasn’t changed much – have you ever been to NYC? Impatience is a permanent state of being. 

NYC is a place of too much. Too many people, too many cars, too many things to do, too many places to go.  All that too-muchness means that rather than fast, everything moves slower than molasses going up a hill on a rainy day. At least it feels that way to those of us who have somewhere to go in a particular amount of time (as opposed to those who have nowhere to go and all day to get there). 

New Yawkers are vocal in their irritability, for example – I would walk Lexington Avenue (going North) every night to get to the subway to go home. Just about every night, walking along the curb, going South, would be this disheveled old man waving his hands about and shouting “Walk on the right, walk on the right”.  

Oh please yes, if you ever are a tourist in NYC – Walk On The Right! Funnily enough in the Washington DC metro system there are huge signs above the escalators and stairs that say “Stand on the right, Walk on the left” – tourists MUST be reminded to stay out of the way of the natives. 

(Hey, I just thought of something – all this “stay to the right” business – is this what is affecting our political/social climate? If that’s the case I think I’ll start walking and standing on the left. Just sayin’)

Another Only in New York description that I do believe I coined is “All New Yorkers have a license to kvetch. It’s right there in the fine print on on your birth certificate.” 

So there you have it, my kvetchiness is a birthright and my permanent state of irritation is due to me being a little Italian girl from Da Bronx.

Heard with a sneer

 Whenever I read the phrases “you do you” and “it’s not all about you” I hear them said sneeringly.

There is something so dismissive about those phrases. So belittling. The speaker (or writer) matters, you don’t. 

Their choices/preferences matter, yours don’t.

When either of those phrases are directed at me personally (instead of in a general way as I read in someone’s blog this morning) I get – well, to be honest, nasty. 

After overhearing a conversation I was involved in, a person said  “You verbally chopped them up and flushed them down the toilet!” 

When anyone says (or writes) those phrases to me, they get chopped up and flushed down the toilet. 

But calmly. I don’t shout. Not when I’m truly angry. 

That’s the funny thing. I don’t handle raised voices very well; having grown up with raised voices. Raised voices = people shouting in anger, me feeling threatened.

I do raise my voice but, how should I put this, in a benign way? In annoyance rather than anger; to warn someone of danger most certainly, when taken by surprise. Or when listening to the news…I shout at the television a lot. The television doesn’t care. 

When I am truly angry I get quiet. Very quiet. I speak quietly and deliberately. 

When I get truly angry, to the point of losing control, I don’t see red,  I see white.

On those occasions when I have been pushed to the point of white anger someone usually got hurt, it’s never been me. 

I’ll put up with a lot of shit from people; keep my mouth shut, not overtly react, tell myself they are not worth the breath it would take to put them in their place, chopped up and flushed.

But then – those times, those times when I go all quiet, those times when someone crosses the line from mere stupidity to unconscionable,  when they push my alarm button – Be afraid, be very afraid.

“You do you” and “It’s not all about you” aren’t quiet anger producers but they are “verbally chopped up and flushed down the toilet” provokers. 

There are things up with which I will not put.

Miscellaneous Mishegoss…

I don’t shop in brick and mortar stores because I have no easy means to get to them and quite frankly where I live is not exactly a shoppers paradise. I go to one grocery store and then get deliveries from several others because no one store carries all the items I require. 

Amazon Prime (pay the annual fee and no delivery charges) was all that and a bag of chips (can we please bring that phrase back?) One stop shopping – back then. Not no more. 

Aside from coffee and vitamins/supplements I’m doing my shopping at Target lately. Better prices, fast delivery plus you get these cute emails – 

For some reason this graphic always makes me smile. Amazon doesn’t send cute emails, actually Amazon doesn’t send anything at all. Target sends so many emails and updates and delivery notices it can get annoying if it wasn’t for the cute graphic.

We had a whomping big storm last night – thunder and lightning – I grabbed my big camera to capture some video and wouldn’t you know it – battery was out of juice.  Isn’t that always the way. I used the camera on my phone and got some nice stuff – y’all saw it on my IG or FB – so I won’t post any of it here.

But after the storm, the sky! Oh My! I’m going to share just one photo here (see a bunch more on IG) – 

Wowzie, right? 

After reading Matrix by Lauren Groff I decided to delve into her other books. “Fates and Furies” was the only one my library had available and 72 pages in my attention was flagging. I was going to put it in the DNF category and move on but I dipped back in and fell, once again, under the spell of her gorgeous lush language. I’m really not into the story but the way she uses words and language mesmerizes me. 
(Should you want to see more fire sky photos my Instagram is @justtawkin).

Fiddlehead Ferns…

what a thing to dream about, right? And what do I, the concrete and carbon monoxide gal, know about fiddlehead ferns? Well quite a bit actually, sort of, a little. 

In my dream I was trying to convince someone that the only time to pick fiddlehead ferns to eat was in the Spring; that Summer is not fiddlehead season, and that you need to cook them right away and…on and on I went about the proper use of them.

I just looked up fiddlehead ferns, wanting to get a photo, and found this web page. I didn’t know that I knew that much about fiddlehead ferns – considering I had never heard of them prior to that day in 1990. And haven’t had any contact with, or interest in them since. 

Way back when (then) I lived in Derby Line, VT, I was coerced into foraging for fiddlehead ferns and as thanks for helping I received severals jars of pickled fiddleheads and my were they tasty! Of course I happen to like pickled foods. I can’t recall exactly what they tasted like, only that I liked them. 

But damn, it’s a weird thing to dream about. Not only that I was so agitated trying to explain the foolishness of foraging for fiddleheads in the Summer I actually woke myself up. I went back to sleep and continued with the dream. 

A restless night’s sleep because of fiddlehead ferns. 

(Gosh, isn’t it fun to say ‘fiddlehead ferns’?)

My personal take on Libras (nope this is not about astrology – read on…)

 I don’t know if this is an original thought, probably not because I don’t have original thoughts, but I’ve always said give me (a Libra) a blank piece of paper (or room or just about any blank thing) and leave me alone for an hour and when you come back the paper (space or whatever blank thing is involved) and it will still be blank BUT put one dot on that paper (or one thing in that blank space of whatever) and an hour later the blankness will have been filled with something wild and creative (or useful or, just filled up). 

Today Ashley had a post “How has your blog changed over time?”. I quickly started formulating a response but didn’t post it as a comment. It wasn’t relevant but it made me think. I’ve actually written about that recently. I was even thinking about it this morning – of perhaps changing my blog name to “Miscellaneous Mishegoss” because that’s what I usually write about. My blog hasn’t really changed much (aside from the name and the URL) tho I do believe the content used to be a lot better – deep thoughts on many occasions, just all round better content and writing. Plus, of course, lots of kitty pics and videos. 

Then Peggy just posted on a variety of topics but the one that caught my attention was a paragraph about her feeling homesick for Northern Virginia (which is where I live now but no we never lived in remotely near one another). She recently retired and moved further south and she is not feeling at home just yet. 

It got me to thinking that I have moved approximately 21 times (probably a few more than that especially if you count temporary housing while looking for permanent housing) – and it was sometime ago that I wrote about being unconnected and home-less. I still feel that way. 

She talked about missing her “tribe” and I often talk about finding my tribe – I think she meant her neighbors and friends and I mean people like me but then I don’t think I have ever had a tribe which goes to my being unconnected. 

(All of a sudden I got a picture in my head of me floating in space in one of those space suits – unconnected to anything.) 

Life is so temporary, so ephemeral. So floaty and gauzy. Or that’s how I’m seeing it at this moment. 

Pinball Brain and Book List

 I’m reading a most extraordinary book and in trying to formulate a short “review” my brain went pinballing all over the place. As I composed this post in my head multiple topics popped into my consciousness. I even stopped thinking to Google some facts. Let’s see if I can stick to basics.

The book: Matrix, a novel by Lauren Groff 

The main character is Marie based on a real person, Marie de France. Another historical person who figures prominently is Eleanor of Aquitaine and, quite obviously the story takes place in the 12 century. I suppose one could say this is an historical novel, a genre I don’t often read. 

The story is quite engaging, the writing is magical, topics covered are quite modern and topical even. 

Can I say more? Oh my yes but that would have me (and you if you follow along) bouncing around history, women in history, feminism, religion etc. 

I don’t know that this is a book for everyone and while it is a short book (252 pages in total) I am reading it slowly, maybe ten pages at a sitting, because it is thick with words and images and ideas. It is powerful and magical and absolutely brilliant. 

Excellent book #2: The Sentence by Louise Erdrich. 

Oddly enough this book also features real life people – the author herself and her real life bookstore. The fictional characters in the book are most probably based on real people (my assumption). The time is now, the covid pandemic is a feature. Also – it is woman centric. 

It reads easily and quickly. The language is what I call conversational. I like books written in a conversational style. They are engaging, they draw you in easily because these are people you might know and this is how you talk and interact. And their lives are relatable. 

Books I didn’t finish for various reasons – 

Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta – Seems this is 30 years later sequel to the book “Election” which was made into a movie (also called Election starring Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick). I never read the first book and I never saw the movie and I just didn’t care.

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell – This was also made into a movie (2010) with Jennifer Lawrence which is why I chose the book. The movie always looked interesting tho I never watched it. Perhaps the movie is better than the book because, once again, nothing about this book was engaging or interesting to me. Reviews say it reads like a thriller. It wasn’t.

The Latinist by Mark Prins – No – just no. Perhaps a little pretentious? Perhaps I’m just not smart enough to appreciate it? Or – it’s just boring. Pfft!

Devil House by John Darnielle – Description from the Amazon listing – “Devil House is John Darnielle’s most ambitious work yet, a book that blurs the line between fact and fiction, that combines daring formal experimentation with a spellbinding tale of crime, writing, memory, and artistic obsession.” 

I didn’t get far enough into the book to be able to comment on any of that description. The book was just tedious. 

I also knocked off a few light and fluffy books – murder mysteries that I accessed for free from various free ebook sites. None of them really stick in my mind and I don’t actually keep track of them. But every one I started I finished. They were hardly great literature but more engaging than the critically acclaimed books listed above that I did not finish. 

And there you have it. How I spend my time. I’m going to put a bunch of links to these books below and you can read the professional reviews of these books if you are moved to do so. 


Matrix – NPR review,  Marie de France (Wikipedia entry)Eleanor of Aquitaine (Wikipedia entry)

The Sentence – NPR review,  Louise Erdrich – Wikipedia entry

Tracy Flick Can’t Win – NPR review

Winter’s Bone – NPR review

The Latinist – NPR review (audio and transcript)

Devil House – Kirkus review