Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Errands, Rutabaga, and Twisted Tales

We ran some errands today--my favorite kind: the library and a place with food (today the latter was Trader Joe's). I drove. The mail had arrived right before we left the house, and I brought the new-used Katie Melua CD package with us, asking She to please take it out of the package so we could hear it. We were on the road quite a few minutes with no music. "I'll be peeling the plastic off this thing when the world ends," She proclaimed. You know how those CDs are wrapped, like the Tylenol poisoner might get into them? She finally got it. Piece by Piece--great album.

When I was in high school, my friend Linda drove up next to me when I was walking home from "downtown" San Carlos, California. "Where have you been?!?" she yelled. "I've been looking all over for you! I went to the library and Safeway and you weren't there!" So my habits started young. Anyway, the library had a book for She that I had put on hold for her: The Old Dog of the South, by Charles Portis. You may remember Charles Portis as the author of True Grit, which was also a great 1969 movie with John Wayne. She just finished True Grit. Tara, who understands She's reading tastes pretty well, made her buy it when we were at Half-Priced Books in Cincinnati last month. The library was also holding Anne of Avonlea for me. Lately, while waking up from my nap, I've been considering various books that I read in my childhood or teenagerhood, and I decided that I wanted to re-read Anne of Green Gables. Well, no wonder! What a sweet book with just the right measure of sweetness and pretty darn good writing.

The sun was coming in the window warm and bright; the orchard
on the slope below the house was in a bridal flush
of pinky-white bloom, hummed over by a myriad of bees.

I had no idea that there were eight Anne of Green Gables novels, and I am now in the midst of Anne of Avonlea. It may have been magical to read Anne when I was 8 or 9, but it is an absolute healing pleasure to read her at 64.

A completely different book popped into my mind this afternoon, and I must find a copy of it. Years and years ago, I somehow came across the
Twisted Tales books by Richard Armour, and I used to laugh myself sick over Twisted Tales From Shakespeare. These involved couplets with a "real" first line from a Shakespeare play, followed by a Richard Armour invention in the second line. I still remember two quotes from that book:

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?
No wonder there are keel marks on her lips.


Full fathom five thy father lies.
I pushed him; I apologize.

After the library, we went to Trader Joe's. The official reason for the stop was to buy the protein powder that my friend Toni recommended for me. The not-so-deeply-hidden underlying reason was that I wanted a buncha stuff from Trader's that I love, like the lacy cookies (don't read that, Toni!) and the potstickers. There must have been some other unavoidable purchases as well, because the bill was over $60.00. She bought a rutabaga. We were talking about rutabagas yesterday with our friend Sue, and I admitted that I had never eaten one. So tonight, I am. I'll let you know.

When I looked up Richard Armour on the Internet (I had forgotten his name until after my nap, when it popped up cooperatively in my brain), I found a quote attributed to him that seems entirely appropriate during this week of the signing of the economic stimulus package (please, please let it work):

That money talks, I'll not deny, I heard it once: It said, 'Goodbye'.

Billy doesn't give a rat's ass.


  1. As a root vegetable fan I'll vote for the rutabaga (we call them 'swedes'), Sharon. I like to grate them with an equal quantity of carrot, boil in lightly-salted water, and mash gently so as not to lose the texture.

  2. I love your blog. Keep it up.

    And I bought She the True Grit book--I want credit. I also bought you some diabetic cooking books. I'm a great kid.

    You are just a little late for Tu b'Shvat, the New Year for the Trees. On Tu b'Shvat, it's a tradition to eat a new fruit--one you've never tried. I think a rutabaga will have to qualify out of newness as an appropriate "new fruit."