Thursday, December 5, 2013
March 9, 2006
I am nothing if not a creature of habit
When I eat lunch I have a certain arrangement
of food, drink, napkin, and book
that I consider optimum and use consistently
My morning routine does not vary
and I like that fact very much
I find repetition calming
I like to walk the same routes
anticipate the same pleasures
happening at the same times
But last night I noticed an exception to this rule
Bill asked me if I thought we cooked
more different recipes than most other people
and I said yeah probably
because with a small handful of exceptions
we rarely make the same dish twice
And then he asked if that was because of him
which was a pretty natural question
as I am the above-mentioned creature of habit
and he is the one well-known for his love of the various and the new
But no I realized
it wasn’t just him
it was both of us
I’m not sure why
but I really like the way
we cook so many different things
Keeps my mind fresh green and clicking maybe
Or maybe there are just so many good things I want to try
Or could it be that although most of what we make is good
little of it is so fabulous that it deserves to enter
the pantheon of my precious routine?
image source is here
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
We do this thing at Chronicle Books where, come holiday time, we take a little book-selling roadshow around to the offices of different local companies. Folks from all corners of our company volunteer to man the cash-box (or more often these days the credit card swiper) for an afternoon so the employees at these various corporate headquarters can do some Christmas shopping without ever leaving work. So yesterday I strolled down to the offices of The Gap and slung books for a few hours, all the while enjoying their stunning view out under the Bay Bridge to the piers and the bay beyond.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The long Thanksgiving holiday was quite fabulous chez nous, with loads of family coming round; the traditional journey to our favorite restaurant up north; and the later part of the weekend verging, as it always tends to do, into the first Christmas preparations about which Mabel for the first time this year is super excited. Much, much indeed, to be thankful for.
Monday, December 2, 2013
I harbor the persistent and erroneous belief that the seasons are divided thus: March/April/May = Spring, June/July/August = Summer, September/October/November = Autumn, December/January/February = Winter. And so, in my book at least, Winter is now upon us. In honor of which I post this photo of Mabel and self in matching pinks and wooly sweaters, taken on a rare chilly day back in the Fall.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
From "Ode for Music" by Thomas Gray, 1769
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee's collected treasures sweet,
Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet
The still small voice of gratitude
image source is here and also here
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I'm the first to admit that I'm as much a part as anyone of the great chain of consumerism that unites our strange society. I buy stuff all year long that I don't strictly speaking need (more cardigans, more novels, more ceramic bowls); I always end up spending more on Christmas gifts than I originally intended; heck, I just penned one of those testaments to shopping in our modern age--the Gift Guide (with which I must admit I'm inordinately pleased and about which, never fear, more here anon); but more than all of this: as a book editor I am actively engaged every day in the making of ever more consumer goods which I am constantly and fervently hoping lots and lots of people will buy.
I bring all of this up because, over the last few days, as the retailers' howling frenzy leading up to Black Friday has reached its deafening crescendo, I've been thinking about how utterly absurd, how downright fantastical it is that the well-being of our economy (and, ergo, the well-being of our nation) depends upon how many presents people buy for one another in the four weeks between our harvest festival and our solstice festival. It's not just me--that's insane, right?
But this morning something else occurred to me--of all the great amoral engines that have driven societies down the ages I guess I'd rather be caught up in one that's essentially based on people liking each other. In our reality we show that liking by buying each other stuff. In the era of Courtly Love they wrote for one another, in the Roaring 20s they got drunk together. Did those eras, like our own, have their share of cruelty and horror? Oh yes. Was/is this affection for one's fellow-creature just a thin veneer on top of the baseness of human nature? Almost certainly. But if I had to choose between having that veneer and not having it, between a society based on preposterous gift-giving versus one based on open hatred or disregard of others (Fascism or the heyday of the slave trade come to mind), I guess I know what I would pick.