Sunday, March 30, 2008

Observations from the Highway

Headquarters of Aubuchon Hardware sits on Rte. 2 as I head to work [and of course it continues to sit there after I have raced by]. Rte. 2 is called the Mohawk Trail, but there's nothing special or Mohawkey about it that I can see. It's a four-lane limited access highway like any other. One sight worth seeing used to be the enormous American flag that flew outside Aubuchon. It must have been the largest size made and had to have weighed a ton when wet. Not that anyone probably knew, because they never took it down. It was there in the rain, in the dark, at all times. I wonder if rules used to be different. I remember in the Girl Scouts we weren't supposed to fly the flag in the rain.

American Flag
Anyway, dear reader, it's gone now. I noticed the other day as I practiced my disciplinarian speech for class ("please be quiet"), that it had been replaced by a much smaller, no longer outsized flag. Bummer.

Also on Rte. 2 and it's still there, is the yellow traffic sign that says only:
I have asked my students about this and no one knows. Does Donald live there, I asked? Daffy?

I do enjoy seeing the sign and one day I await the crossing of a Really Famous Duck.

Moving to Rte. 290 in Worcester, the well-loved polar bear seems to be missing from the Polar Soda billboard.

What's up with that? Generations of children grew up enjoying that bear. It wasn't a picture. It was a three-dimensional white figure that swayed somewhat in the wind. In recent years I have thought that the bear was downsized and now it's gone. Maybe it's in for maintenance.

One fun thing to see from Rte. 290 can only be witnessed one day a year. It's the sight of several hundred blue-robed grads standing on the steps of Auburn High for their class picture. It's an inspiring sight full of hope, though you are going at least 60 mph when it comes into view and can only catch the quickest of glances. One or two of those happy alumni usually end up in my class across 290.

Art bloopers: "The artist used several layers of vanish to achieve this effect."
"This is never seen again in the works of Leonardo DaVinci or anywhere in his cannon."

A bientot

Thursday, March 27, 2008

If I Could Be in a Painting

I wouldn't mind spending an evening with this woman.

She's purposeful. She's on a mission. Something is going on and I'd like to be in on her plan. I'm sure I could help. My natural nosiness would be an asset to her and she could send me around to the other side of the event to scrutinize from there. There's no way she's watching the opera below and besides that, the man across the way is watching HER. Oh, this is intrigue I can't pass up. Put me in. Woman In Black at the Opera by Mary Cassatt (one of my true faves anyway)

Or if I were feeling rather more informal, I wouldn't mind being inserted into this scene by John Singer Sargent.John Singer Sargent
This group looks as though they've been dipping into the port or the absinthe or the laudanum.

On second thought, maybe I'd rather work on my dance skills.Ballerina by Edgar Degas
I love this Edgar Degas ballerina. She is at the outside leaning apex of a triumphant bow, I feel, a nanosecond away from collapsing forward and receiving Bravas from the audience. She has given her all. It's thrilling.
But I might also like to be just on my way home from a night of doing something secret.

Sargent again and I will stop here. The girl and I have things to chat about this chilly morning. I am falling in step with her now--you can't see me but I am there. Those men across the way should mind their own business.

A bientot

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Something On Your Mind?

Anyone who has ever had a person on the brain, as it were, can relate to this Marc Chagall painting. It's called BIRTHDAY, but I love it for the magical attention paid, the "bending over backwards" quality of the man.
And who wouldn't like to be carried off?
Back to school this week, dear reader. And guess what, art analysis papers coming in. No one selected Chagall this time, drat the luck.
My friend Chris and I sometimes say to each other, "I don't know anything good."
Consider that statement reiterated.

1)Mysterious leak in water line coming into house. Banging noise coming up from basement whenever water is requested from pipes. Showers abbreviated.

2) Mysterious short circuit in telephone line coming into house. Intermittent problem not showing itself currently, so don't care as much.

3) Mysterious migrating toilet. Brand new appliance moves around on its own. It might be planning to leave for South America.
Remember, dear reader: "It's much nosier at a restaurant than eating at home."
Sometimes the waitstaff asks too many questions, know what I'm saying?
Like who's that man flying behind you?
Be here now.
Be in a painting if you can.
A bientot

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Things I won't be Eating on Easter

I definitely won't be eating anything like this. Tender little creamy morsels oozing with liqueur and other succulent flavors. Okay, okay, I won't describe anything. We'll just pretend.

And I most assuredly won't be eating this.

I could have those berries, though. I could politely rip off the green stems and enjoy the tartness of berries. No black coffee, either. One cup of that and you can call me Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, bug-eyed and jangled in the middle of the night.

That is some bad-looking lipstick, I might add. I'd have plenty of time to apply it while I couldn't sleep. Okay, back to our originally scheduled program.

Oh dear god, I'm making the sign of the cross now to protect myself from this one.

Best not to speak of it.

Here are some things I CAN have.


And DOUBLE YUM. This is a turnip and not a primitive potter's bowl as one might think.


And speaking of Brussells sprouts, here are some workers in the UK sorting the little buggers. Don't they look fulfilled and happy? The workers, I mean, not the sprouts.

I want a job where I can wear Playtex Living Gloves to work.

In truth, when you think about it, there's no reason why I can't do that now.

Weekend blooper: "Our ship was crude by the porters specifically assigned to that cruise."
I'll just bet it was.

I hope you have an enjoyable day, dear reader. My wishes for you do not exclude any pleasures.

A bientot

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Red Sox Champions Carry Their Own Bags

Manny Ramirez drags his suitcase through the airport.

No!!! It can't be!!! And yet there is Manny Ramirez doing it. Pulling it ALL BY HIMSELF.

Hideki Okajima arrives in his native Japan.

This is Hideki Okajima -- Okie as he is known on the Red Sox-- CARRYING HIS OWN BAG.
Okay, well, Okie is not a HUGE star so maybe we're not totally surprised. Look how small that bag is. Hope he has enough underwear in there.
Although he won't be seeing any action in Japan, Curt Schilling arrives with the rest of his Red Sox teammates in Tokyo.
Looking very Donald Sutherlandesque, Curt Schilling carries HIS own bag and wears BEIGE of all things. What was he thinking? Plenty of underwear and a pillow for beauty sleep.

Tim Wakefield was all smiles after the 20 hour journey from Fort Myers to Tokyo was complete.

Tim Wakefield is happy because the knuckleball is known to swerve around an extra revolution in Japan. A little bit of sushi between the cheek and gum, my friends.
Sox captain and catcher Jason Varitek arrives at Tokyo's Hanada International airport one day after speaking out on behalf of the Red Sox coaches, who settled their pay dispute with MLB for the Japan trip.
Jason Varitek is manly in any country, and I know he would change my tire on the highway. Do they drive on the wrong side?
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (left) arrives at Tokyo's Haneda airport March 21, 2008. The Boston Red Sox flew into Tokyo on Friday, arriving just after midnight.

This is a very satisfying photograph (all are from the Boston Globe--YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST). Always in Boston, Dice K hangs back, looks shy, seems out of place. BUT NOT IN TOKYO, BABY! Can't you just picture him coming alive? HEY, COME ON, YOU GUYS, I GOT THREE MORE DIVE BARS TO TAKE YOU TO BEFORE THE NIGHT IS OVER. I'M KING OF THE DART TEAM AT TWO OF THEM!

Game 1 starter and Japan native Daisuke Matsuzaka has a smile across his face after arriving in Tokyo. The Sox arrived after midnight Tokyo time (around 11 a.m. Eastern).

Just look at that smile!!! I'm thinking no-hitter for the opening.
Josh ain't here anyway.

A bientot and thanks again to the Boston Globe.
love from Red Sox Nation,

Monday, March 17, 2008


G: Honey?

T: Yes?

G: I'm so happy you are wearing a regular hat.

T: Yeah, me too.

G: The bag was foolish.

T: Yeah, well....

G: You call much more attention to yourself with a bag over your head than merely looking normal.

T: Hey baby?

G: Besides, no one has ever heard of Hannaford's grocery store, whatever it is.

T: Hey, baby?

G: Yes, love?

T: Have you ever heard of the Buffalo Bills?

G: I suppose that is more American sports. You know I am not into that.

T: Yes, but have you ever heard of them?

G: I think so. They are eaten with blue cheese dressing, isn't that right?

T: Very funny. Tim Russert is a big fan of the Bills.

G: Are you taking me for dinner?

T: Yes. The Buffalo Bills went to four Super Bowls.

G: I am really in the mood for Thai.

T: You're not listening, Giselle. The Bills lost four Super Bowls in a row. Did you hear me? In a row.

G: That is terrible. Did they wear bags over their heads?

T: Don't you think that's a lot worse than losing one Super Bowl?

G: Certainly, darling. I am going to splurge and eat half of an egg roll. I promise. Is that your cell?

T: Oh man? When is Eli going to stop prank calling me?

G: Doesn't he know that's really childish?

T: Yeah, Peyton does it too sometimes. But wait. It's not Eli.

G: Oh darling, take a deep breath. Things can't be any worse.

G: It's Bridget.

Things can always be worse, dear reader.
I'm enjoying spring break. In the words of one of my students I am grinning "from ear to ear to ear."
A bientot


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tremendous Zest

6th Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival

The only zest higher than this will be on the final day of the semester.

That will be heavenly.

Today's Earth Science Picture of the Day.

But right now is pretty good. I came through some annoying and challenging obstacles this week and made it. And now? Could it be.....


Alas, I will not be in a scene like this. Spring break means different things to different people. To my students it is one thing.

To me it might mean something else.

But to one and all it means....


Be here now.
A bientot

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This is Why

....we get depressed and down in the dumps and more or less irritable as all fk here in beautiful New England. Oh, don't get me wrong. We've got the beautiful stone walls and the thrilling plaques and statues and history of all sorts. BUT IT FREAKING LOOKS LIKE THIS DAY IN AND DAY OUT. I MEAN YOU GET SICK OF IT AFTER A WHILE, GET ME?

Okay, I'm calm.

But in March, when it's been this way for so long, we lose all hope. We really think in our so-called reptile brains that it's going to stay this way. That we deserve it. That nothing better is coming, no matter what the calendar says. I'll be wearing my boots and ski parka (well, not really a parka, ew) forever and ever, world without end amen.

I have 62,000 words in on the nun book, by the way.

March is supposed to come in like a lion and it was leonine today, I guess. AT A VERY LOW TEMPERATURE LEONINE. AND LET'S NOT FORGET IT'S ALREADY THE TWELFTH.

This will be the year. The year that it never ends.

I will always look out my kitchen door at midnight and see the Blight of the Earth. Okay, so I didn't get a shot of this at midnight. That's a little hard to do. And this is an old shot--there's actually no snow out there. Only mud and ruts in the driveway. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

Be here now.
Or be in Miami now.
Or Myrtle Beach.
Anywhere but here.
A bientot
(still Blanche)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mr. Bell! NO! I Didn't Mean it!

Put that receiver down, Mr. Bell! Okay, I'll call you Alexander if you want me to. Or Alex? No no no, I didn't mean that. Is AG better? Okay okay. I agree. It's much more modern. And certainly you look like you've lost weight. Being dead that long probably helped.


You think well, I have a cell phone so what real difference will the absence of a land line make?


I can't get online. You can't see me, but I am hiding in the closet at Hannaford's, using the produce manager's laptop. It's degrading. You know?

Why should I have to hide?

I had a far different post planned. It was going to be on the best SNL skit of all time, Lord and Lady Douchebag. I had a picture of it too, but Google will not let me drag pictures today. I call that piling on, but never mind.

It's rare that any joke gets more than one laugh and the DB skit may be the only time I ever saw one keep getting a huge response variation after variation. Really, every time it was uttered, the place fell apart.

"Where the devil are those Douchebags?"

"Tell me, Douchebag, how are things with you?"

"Yes, Parliament has always had plenty of Douchebags and always will."

I can't remember them all, but I know I never laughed so hard.

I'm trying to remember times that I laughed and enjoyed myself.


Meanwhile, this is Hansel, trying to pick a reading selection from Maeve's collection. Soon I will have a pic of Maeve showing affection to Hansel. I'll just tell you this. She uses her whole body weight doing it.

A bientot

Sunday, March 09, 2008


The Dixie cups have failed!

I am without phone and/or internet and you may call me Blanche Dubois, relying on the kindness of strangers to connect me to the world. Well, strangers isn't true, it's my friends who are bailing me out.

Working my way back to you guys!
A bientot
(for blanche)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I am a Techno-Jackass

Or at least that's how I feel today. The phone company says that there is a short circuit in the line coming into my house. YAAAAAAAAAY! If it (the short circuit) is flexing its muscles at the moment, crackling away and closing everything down, the phone guy can see where it is. But if it is NOT live, if the phone line happens at this second to be working, then he can't see it.

It's very much like telling the mechanic, "well, it was doing it this morning, I promise. Listen again--can't you hear it?"

Then the mechanic scolds you, but never mind that now.

I still have dial-up. Isn't that hilarious?, that's what I thought.

So anyway. Intermittently I have no phone and no internet. Until and unless the repair guy is here. Then it all snaps on and works.


Today's blooper: "I don't like to wear shirts with sequence because they are too gaudy."

A bientot



Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Good Manners

We should have good manners wherever we go.

We should have them in the grocery store. If someone else reached for the Green Giant beans before I did, I should back away and say godspeed. Even if someone reached in front of me, I should back away and show politeness. It may help them some other time. Maybe that person is old and doesn't hear.

We should have good manners in class. If one person is speaking, I should be quiet. If someone ASKS me to be quiet, I should be quiet and then later apologize.

We should have good manners in traffic. Let someone in. It could be me next time.

If someone invites us to an event, we should respond, especially if we are asked to with an RSVP. We should bring a cheese ball. We should bring wine. We should teach our children to bring a gift.

We should especially teach our children to be polite.

We should let someone else talk.

We should say "I'm sorry."

We should give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

We should always be nice, especially to those of lower rank. Thank you for bagging my groceries. Thank you for doing this hateful task, whatever it is. I am not too good to talk to you. I know that you have a life and concerns of your own that are no different than mine. Thank you for being the secretary here and doing all those hateful jobs. Thank you for holding the door. Let me hold the door for you.
A bientot

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Styles change of course and that's a good thing (two words: shoulder pads). But come on, people, what are we doing? When did we go from thinking Marilyn Monroe was the paragon of female desirability........
to this?
Not to sound too much like my homegirl Martha S, but is this a good thing?
Poor Ginger Rogers would be laughed right out of the modeling agency today.
To say nothing of Joan Blondell. Or as she is known by my students, Joan who?
Even sexy Joan Collins would have to drop an immediate 10 to please current casting directors, I'm afraid.
Poor Liz Taylor, who I'm sure was unable to breathe while she wore this dress, would have been put on immediate starvation fare.
All so they could look like this.
My question is this. Where is it all going? And where did I hide the Doritos?
Not too many bloopers this weekend, except for: "I attended privet school my entire life." [I'm going to try and hire this kid to prune my hedges and I bet he'll be good at it]
A bientot