Saturday, April 29, 2006

Maybe I'd better stick to lemonade

My first experiment in home brewing just geysered pinkly all over the kitchen and myself. What's left in the bottle smells lovely and raspberry-ish, but I'm going to be good and throw it out so I don't poison everyone at my birthday with raspberry cordial that was unexpectedly lively. I didn't know it was going to fizz...

More wonderful Batten House dialogue shouted at the TV

While watching The Children's Hour, in which Audrey Hepburn loses her job because everyone thinks she's sleeping with her lesbian business partner:

(as the lesbian character tells Audrey she loves her and Audrey tells her she's just tired and confused) "Of course, people always get confused about their sexual orientation when they need sleep!"

(as characters plan getting on a train - "There must be someplace we can go . . .")
"Go to New York!"
"Greenwich Village! San Fransisco!"
"That's it! We're all confused because we're tired!"
"Of course! That's why everyone's gay - we don't get enough sleep!"

Friday, April 21, 2006

Two lovely berries moulded on one stem

Sometimes I'm ashamed at my lack of gaydar. This morning it took me a full hour and a half to realize that a third of the people at this discussion on religion and sexuality were lesbians. Is that a good thing, that I wasn't really thinking about their sexuality, or bad that I was probably assuming them to be straight?

On a related note, I love love love the way Bryn Mawr's Shakespeare troupe (all female, naturally) does sexual/romantic scenes. I'm sure not all of Shakespeare's actors were straight, to say nothing of Will himself, so the romantic scenes being played by an all-male cast must have sometimes had a more genuine element to them than might be expected. It's so great how sometimes the love scenes in Bryn Mawr productions don't look like a woman pretending to be a man in love with a woman. It just looks like two women, and sometimes that's so much better than pretending to be a heterosexual couple you're not.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quick from the dead

You know how pure color can be really powerful sometimes? I remember once spending a good half hour enraptured with a yard of red satin I found in the sewing room because it was so smooth and so deeply red. I used to eat smarties from darkest to lightest and always examine the last white one, marveling at its perfect powdery whiteness, so bad for you but so pure in color. Yesterday I rediscovered green.

I spent half an hour before a contra dance wandering the edge of the 200 acres of woods at Swarthmore, which I had forgotten all about since my last proper visit there as a highschooler. As I zigzagged down slopes to the wide still creek a song we used to sing at Easter - Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain - was winding through my head. The tune's minor and almost creepy, medeival, and all the references to the dead and lying under the earth sort of seemed to fit the damp earth and the gray tangle of leafless branches all around.

Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain

When I got to the waterside, the smell of the mud and things starting to rot in the spring warmth was strong. Compost is rotting dead things, and it's the best soil there is for growing in.

Love lives again, that with the dead has been

Looking up the slope from the dank water I saw the grey forest lacy with green at its crown - not the deep green of summer but that fleeting almost artificial-looking new green. Here and there a cherry tree sent spires of pale pink into the air.

As a child I believed that sentence in "The Ugly Duckling" about the mother duck allowing her children to look at the green leaves as much as they liked because green is good for the eyes. I would actually stare at leaves to improve my vision. At some point I realized that Andersen was no optometrist, but it still feels really good for something inside you. I stood there and marvelled at the pale green penetrating the gray in the dimming light. There was something in that newness and powerful sappy growth I could just get lost in.

Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

Easter used to be like a chemical in my bloodstream, something I could feel and would obey even after I stopped believing in the religion behind it. The more time passes the less effect it has on me, but something's still there. Before Easter, Europeans dedicated the month of April to Eostre, the spring goddess whose name means dawn. No matter how you celebrate rebirth it's good to mark the changing of the seasons, good to notice the newness of the earth. I had my sacrament in the gray-green woods yesterday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Lighter than birdsong
I leave the house,
mummified limbs
loosed by the sun.
April and coatless!

Friday, April 07, 2006


I have an ethical question that I would like to hear people's answers to.

Last night I went to a very convincing lecture on why America's transportation needs to switch over to hydrogen power or at least natural gas. She ended the lecture with a plea to all of us to make our next car a hybrid. It really made me think about it - I'll probably get a car when I'm in grad school, which is about three years from now, and by then hybrids should be a bit cheaper than they are now. They will undoubtedly still be more expensive than a used heap of junk I could get, though.

So here's my question: what's the balance between making your own consumption habits sustainable and providing for others? Do I spend the extra few thousands on making my own lifestyle ethical, or do I give it to Oxfam to save people's lives with? I run into the same question with organic food - is it better that my spinach be organic and local and all that good stuff, or should the extra $2 go towards vaccinations for a child somewhere? Either way I allow something bad to happen - I'm supporting pollution and big agribusiness and probably exploitative labor one way, but the other way I'm allowing someone somewhere to die of TB.

Which way would you go? Which way do you go? And would you go the same way if it were your child needing the vaccination?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Good for what ails you

Pronunciation drills and the erg are not my favorite things, but I'll say this for them: I emerged from two hours of one-on-one Russian class and forty-five minutes in the gym both times realizing that during those blocks of time I was so wholly occupied that I had no time for the more dismal thoughts that had been rattling around in my head all day. I think four blisters is a good tradeoff for a stiller mind.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I'm irritated that grammar check wants to change "thee and thou" to "you and you". As if anyone would actually use the old form by mistake, and be reminded by grammar check "Oh, that's right - it's 2006! 'You' would be more current!"

Cruel youth

To the women of Haverford College:

When a college hosts a swing dance, three types of people will come - a very few hotshot college kids who know what they're doing, the rest of you who don't, and some old men. And so, my dears, you have options. You can sit on a chair next to your boyfriend, and you can shuffle back and forth with some kid who learned how in the workshop 35 minutes ago. Now let's look at the strange men on the sidelines - why are they there? Well, that one with the combover in the blue shirt chewing gum of exactly the same color blue taught the workshop, so you know he knows what he's doing. The others showed up because they've been swing dancing for decades and they love it. Grab one.

Granted, when you dance with them you're leaving the poor clueless boys alone, but since no competent older women have come they're kind of lost either way. If you only dance with other beginners neither of you is going to improve, so you might as well learn with the old guys and then impart your knowledge to that boy from your econ class.

You'll find that, unlike in other pursuits, a dance partner doesn't have to be remotely compatible with you. That fellow whose chest and belly slope out so the dandruff from his beard collects on the front of his shirt may be the least attractive specimin you've ever seen, but the fact that he weighs 270 means he can dip you almost effortlessly because he's just got so much counterweight. You just might have the sexiest slowdance of your life with that man in the bad 80s glasses, because unlike your prom date he actually knows what he's doing. You can make eyes at that greybeard while he spins you and, unlike the guy from your econ class, he will only laugh and won't ever see or pester you again. And you will both have a great time. Go for it.