Friday, June 30, 2006

Drip, drip and more drip

To say that I am fed up with the rain is an understatement. What's up with this weather??? I mean come on! I haven't seen the sun in like months now! There is apparently a shy appearance every now and then, but of course it happens when I'm in the office and ergo do not see it. It teases, a ray here and there, and then vlam! a thunderstorm, a freak rain shower that turns every street crossing into a battle with the rapids. Yesterday I had to fold-up my pants and take off my shoes to cross an avenue so that I wouldn't go into involuntary surfing. Not pretty I'm telling you.
Needless to say that I have not done any gardening and have only gone once to the pool. This morning I went into the garden before going to work to check things out and can almost guarantee that the tomato plants have become possessed: There is a mangle of branches that have no beginning or end sprawling all over the place. No tomatoes of course...
The strawberries? never mind those, it's a horror story. Yet the grapes have decided that they do not like their new habitat and have maintained their comatose state. The weeds on the other hand are happy campers and I'm sure are stinking their tongue out to every plant that we've planted claiming their kingdom back.
This weekend is supposed to be OK and so I find myself in a quandary: Soccer or garden? for many of you it would seem like a no-brainer but I'm hooked on this World Cup. And so the dilemma becomes to either watch the matches or save whatever self-esteem the poor plants still have. Oh if I could have both. Maybe I'll run from one to the other and do the best I can. The World Cup is once every four years, the weeds? If I were ever so lucky...

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Do you remember when you were a kid and as the summer neared its end you felt the knot at the pit of your stomach slightly tightening? You knew that the care-free days were almost over and that soon you would have to sit in a classroom day in and day out, and do homework!
Well, as adults most of us don't have the luxury of a couple months off before starting to get that uncomfortable feeling, now it's limited to a weekend.
That's basically how I feel on Sundays during the summer. It's like I want to squeeze as much "me" time in a few hours. The fact that I feel cheated out of my weekend due to the weather might explain my sudden flash-back into childhood. I watch the clock as the day progresses and do an automatic count-down. "Yeah, I still have 6 hours." How sad.
Could it be that my week is not satisfying? maybe it's just that summer reminds me of the simple pleasure of just waking up. During the winter you have to find things to keep you busy and uplifted, whilst during the summer the mere fact of walking around your neighborhood might be enough.
I feel like I'm being robbed of that luxury. The weather is lousy and forcing me to stay indoors when I should be in the garden or the pool, or just out!
The elements, my biggest enemies...

Friday, June 23, 2006

The power of words

Most of us have stumbled at one point or another upon one of those books that we wish did not end. That is exactly what I felt while reading "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. Although I cannot say that it is a literary marvel, it did make me smile, laugh and even sometimes cry. It is a coming-of-age story set in the early 1960s South Carolina and it is mainly written for a female audience.
The endearing relationships between the young narrator and the older women trying to empower her are written in a simple yet quite realistic way. You find yourself immersed in their world and wishing that the author did not stop, well, where it ends.
As I said, I would not recommend this book as a must in a "classic" kind of way, but it is an easy read that brings you the flavors and smells of the south, making it a very appropriate companion for the summer.
On the other hand I am now reading "Les Hirondelles de Kaboul" or "The Swallows of Kabul" by Yasmina Khadra, an Algerian writer, and I must say that I am in awe of the language. It takes place in Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban and intertwines various characters' lives.
I have not finished it yet, but I am fascinated by the fact that although the plot itself is hard to swallow (no pun intended) the way it is written has me enthralled. I almost read it aloud to feel the power of the words, the way they combine to form beautiful and yet extremely strong sentences.
I would be incapable of highlighting only one, I have read over half of the book and find the whole thing pure pleasure.
So far it is definitely not an uplifting novel, but if you ever come across it, do pick it up. I cannot vouch for the English translation, but if it's anything like the French one, it will leave you with a feeling of reading a masterpiece.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Little bits of nothing

I'm watching for the umpteenth time the Star Wars episode "The Revenge of the Sith". Yes, I'm a Star Wars fan, I belong to the generation that grew up with R2 D2, Luke Skywalker and (oh boy) Han Solo.
The more I watch it, the more I find myself analyzing those characters that were probably meant to be one-dimensional, specially if you just rely on the acting.
Let's take Darth Vader for instance, or Anakin Skywalker as he was known before he joined "the dark side". In the movie they mainly show him as a soon-to-be malevolent character that had the genetic make-up for being evil. Yet, as I watched the movie over and over again, I started thinking that he was forced into becoming the bad guy. I mean, he had all this power but yet was never trusted by the good guys. So it goes back to the nature vs nurture dilemma: if he had been shown trust, would he have turned his back on those that were meant to be good? He was let down by the people that he loved and respected. Granted he seemed to be weak, and I'm not talking about how bad he acted, although he did, but if a weak personality is not influenced and nurtured by the "right" people, what can be expected?
I know that for those that do not know the characters and/or the movie I'm making no sense, but really, as cheesy as this saga seems to be, I find that when analyzing it, it carries a lot more insight into the human psyche. And seriously, it can be eerie.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Friday night: a nice glass of rosé and my husband's teasing. Saturday: Checking e-mails, making phone calls, emptying suitcase and going out for a beer. Sunday: yoga, swimming-pool, watching football, going out for a beer and watching basketball's finals. All this with the lingering smells of bouillabaisse as a backdrop which was a "welcome home" gift from Nadir.
A weekend that not only reminds you that being away for a week is too long, but makes you feel oh so grateful to be back.
I've spent a week away for work reasons and as much as I appreciated the having the bed made and all the cares that come from staying at a hotel for the first 2 days, I was more than ready to come to my own "turf" quite soon.
Home is home, and I love to be in it. Please remind me next time I complain about dishes not being done...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Unfortunate things

I've discovered another use for the dishwasher: dish-rack. The damn thing broke down and I've come to realize how much I rely on it. So now we wash the dishes by hand (yeah) and put them in the dishwasher to dry. Soon, very soon, we either get it repaired or get a new one, because it is one thing to stick your hand down the toilet to clean it since no one else will do it for you, another is to have the possibility of having a machine do the job and the damn thing not working—I'm sure you see the logic here.
And I've said damn twice... I hate doing dishes.
Besides the dish-washing adventures, coming back to reality has been an arduous task. We've been back for a week now and I'm still in Spain with mom and grandma. It was hard enough to go back to commuting, because let's face it, taking the subway is definitely not a joy ride, but this past Friday I had to walk across the bridge, again.
It seems that due to the torrential rain we had on Friday the tracks got inundated and so they shut down all subway service between Manhattan and Queens. Lovely. As I was almost paddling through the puddles insulting myself for wearing summery sandals, I realized that in 5 years I've had to walk from Manhattan to Queens 4 times: 9/11, the blackout, the strike and now the damn rain (there goes "damn" again). I've decided that even if I look like an 80s Wall Street secretary I'm going to start bringing sneakers to work, at least in a bag. No more blisters in case of a walkathon.
It could have been worse though, I could have been wearing plastic flip-flops that make you an instant ice-skater, like I saw a few passer-byes become.
I kept my cool as my pants were sticking to my legs (did I mention that it was raining, a lot?) and surrendered to my fate, knowing that at least this time hubby was going to pick me up at the end of the bridge (there was no way he could have driven into Manhattan.)
The weekend was a wash-out. The only positive outcome of such weather-related catastrophes is that the closets are now organized and the house immaculate.
So much for a weekend where the only task should be deciding at what time to hit the pool...