Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vignette: Crunchy

(A shift away from grumpy dialogue.)


"No, fish."

"I'm cooking it, and it's going to be chicken."

"You're still making the batter. The batter doesn't care if you dip chicken or fish in it."

"Of course it cares. Chicken is...well, it's chicken. The golden meat. The crispy meat. The meat of picnics and Sunday dinner. The thing in every pot in the mythical time of prosperity. The happy surprise in the cardboard bucket when Dad comes home. It's chicken."

"Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

"Fine, but that doesn't mean he'll enjoy it."

"Haven't you ever heard of fish fries?"

"Yes; they're what happens when all the chickens have flown south for the winter."

"Chickens don't fly."

"That's by choice. As long as we don't insult them by bringing in a lot of stinky fish, they stay nearby because they love us. Like shmoos."

"Like whats?"

"Shmoos. They're shaped like a big chicken drumstick with legs. They want to be eaten."

"When did you open the wine?"

"I'm perfectly sober. Shmoos. From the Valley of the Shmoon. Go read Al Capp."

"So it's fiction."

"It's an allegory about something or other. Big political and sociological and economic implications."

"Which you're going to explain."

"Of course."

"Will you promise not to if I agree to chicken?"

"Of course."

Image: By Dougs Tech. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Vignette: Festivity

"I called to thank you for my presents!"

"No need, Mom, it's fine."

"The scarf is just beautiful. And cotton is so much more practical than something like lambswool or cashmere--I can throw it right in the wash with the towels."

"Actually, it's silk--"

"And the book looks fascinating. And so big! I was just telling my neighbor--she came in to say hello, because she knew that I was spending Christmas alone--that I might need a luggage cart just to carry it around and read it!"

"You said that large print--"

"Maybe I can exchange it for the Books on Tape version. Do you still have the receipt? Oh, and thank you for the candy! I can go off low carb just for a few days; it would be a tragedy to let it go to waste."

"You never mentioned that you were doing low--"

"Or maybe I can put it in the coffee room at the office. Though candy is really so unhealthy; that might be inconsiderate of me."

"Uh huh."

"To give people something as unhealthy as candy, I mean."

"Uh huh."

"Because you know what they say about refined sugar."


"Is something wrong? You're so quiet."

"Nope. I'm just peachy."

"I think I hear a tone. I don't know why we can't have a nice conversation on Christmas, of all days."

Image: By Nevit Dilmen. Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Link: Rambling on the other blog

So, I've been rather quiet on this blog, not so much as a word about the holiday, because I've been participating in a holiday-related joint perfume blogging project on the other blog. Normally, I wouldn't come here to point to my perfume posts there, because if you wanted to read about perfume, you'd already be there, right?

But these posts seem to be ending up only about twenty to forty percent perfume, and the rest could just as easily be over here. So I'm going to link to my gold post and my frankincense post.

And that is all. For now. I still have to figure out something to say about myrrh. (And now I have.)

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vignette: RSVP

When the bell went unanswered, Henry unlocked the door and fumbled to push the bakelite lightswitch. "Emily?"

The chandelier struggled to life. Emily blinked at him from the depths of the chaise in the corner. "Hey. Wow, you wore a suit?"

He pulled the chain of the standing lamp by the coat tree. "Were you asleep?"

"How was the party?"

"People asked after you." He peered at the label of the 78 on the phonograph, and gingerly rotated the switch. He watched until the needle landed safely, then added over the scratchy sound of drums, "They were worried. I tried to call your cell."

"Did they miss the spanakopita?"

"Spanakowhat?" The song started to skip. Henry stepped away from the phonograph.

"Those little puffed pastry spinach things. I was going to make some for the party, but I forgot them in the oven."

"I thought I smelled something."

She frowned at him as the same drumbeat repeated over and over. "Are you going to get that? This is one of my favorite songs."

He took another step away. "I know."

She got up, wiping her hands on her shirt, and approached the phonograph. "Who else was there?"

"That cousin of yours, the one with the hair. And Doctor Goldmark, and a lot of old ladies from the church. Did you fall asleep?"

Emily tapped the needle ever so gently. The drumming finished, and a mellow-voiced woman started to sing. "Doesn't sound like much of a party."


She frowned down at the record. "What? Why are you talking? This is the best part."

"Emily, I just came from Clara's funeral."

Image: By Norman Bruderhofer. Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vignette: Treasures

(The dialogue experiments continue, in a crankier vein.)


"Do you know what I just found in the trash?"

"I'm sure you'll tell me, Mom."

"A sewing pattern. A collectible Issey Miyake sewing pattern. You threw it out, didn't you?"

"Yep. It was mine, from high school."

"You were a minor. That makes it mine to take care of. You were always irresponsible with your things."

"It's missing half the pieces."

"I'll find the other half."

"It's covered in mildew."

"I'll iron the tissue. That kills mold spores. You just don't value anything, do you? If you were in charge of the Smithsonian, you'd just call 1-800-Got-Junk and throw everything out."

"Absolutely. And then I'd move on to the Louvre. When was the last time you sewed anything?"

"This is about my life choices, isn't it? You never supported my decision to quit my job and become a homemaker."

"Mom? I was four."

"I found it in the trash!"


"I need it. I'm getting back into sewing."

"Can you even open your sewing room door?"

"Well, that's hardly my fault. Nobody ever helps me clean up this place!"

Image: By KoS. Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Link: Ramble: Tryptophan Girl

A link to a ramble about worrying, over on the other blog.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vignette: Further Conversation

(The same pair.)

"Your tie's crooked."

He turned to the mirror and frowned at said tie. Pulling at it, he said, "You sure about this dress code?"

"Would I be wearing panty hose otherwise?"

Pfft. "Panty hose are nothing. Women enjoy wearing those, I've been told on good authority--you're just a weirdo. But ties, ties are mentioned in most documents on human rights."

She inserted herself between him and the mirror and reached to tighten the knot. "That's just misogyny among diplomats. It's well known."

And he loosened it again. "Nah. You're deluded. Haven't you seen those women in the Victoria's Secret commercials? They're always happy."

She shook her head. "Those aren't women. They're space aliens. And by the way, pouting and pushing out their chests is the way that that space aliens express pain."

"Is it legal to date space aliens?"

She stepped away. "They only go out with men wearing correctly tied ties."

He gingerly tightened the knot, millimeter by millimeter, steadily drawing the tie to a crooked angle again. Studying the result in the mirror, he said, "What about those T shirts with the tuxedo and ties printed on them?"

"They get one look at that, and they'll attack you. It's like gang colors. Don't mock ties. Ties are very important to space aliens."

"So you're a space alien?"

"No, I just work for them."

Image: By Bertow. Wikimedia Commons

Vignette: Conversation

(I'm playing with dialogue, so, a sample.)

"Passive aggressive."

"What do you mean, passive aggressive?"

"Well, I mean--you've never heard the term?"


"OK. Aunt Millie comes over to watch the election returns and hides in the corner somewhere. She has lousy hearing, so you offer her a seat closer to the TV. She says, no, no, she's just fine here, this is lovely, thank you. And then later when everybody's packing up to go home, you ask her a question about the speeches, and she says, oh, dear, she's so sorry, but she wasn't actually able to hear them."

"Oh. I've got one of those."

"You have relatives like that?"

"Every woman over the age of forty is like that."


"You're barely thirty."

"I'm thirty-two."

"So you've got eight years."

"And when I'm forty?"

"I'll go find another friend. Maybe male this time. To avoid the deadline."

"So it's sort of like a friendship with a balloon payment."


Photo: By Bjoertvedt. Painting: By Auguste Renoir. Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Link: Ramble: Fashion Voice

Just a link to a ramble in the other blog, about fashion. Sort of.

Photo: Mine.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vignette: The Kitchen Is The Heart Of The Home

(A rewrite, based on comments. Thanks, Happy Dog!)

"Did you get the milk?"

"I brought in Annie's tricycle. It's going to get crushed on the driveway one of these days."

"I need to make the cream gravy."

"Dr. Vaccaro says my cholesterol is up again."

"I made chicken fried steak. Your favorite."

"My mother sent you a recipe for that pot pie I like. It'll be coming in the mail."

"Is the milk in the car?"

"I'll be in the den after dinner; they bumped up the deadline for the Crittenden project. Can you keep things quiet, please?"

"I guess the kids could have Coke just this once."

"The pot pie uses fresh peas, not frozen. Annie could shell them if you can't find the time."

"Would you like Coke or Dr. Pepper?"

"Is that my mother's recipe? It's supposed to have cream gravy. Weren't you listening?"

Image: By Jessica. Wikimedia Commons.