Saturday, April 30, 2011

does this happen to you?

I have a terrible time remembering things I don’t understand.
A colleague of mine was explaining for the third time or so why we couldn’t have a person from the pathology team take a certain role in the new academic team. It made perfect sense at the time, as it had the time before. Well, it made half sense and the other half I just disagreed with.

But a few days later I had to explain to a different colleague, who hadn’t been to the meeting, why we couldn’t have the path person do what we thought would be great for them to do, and I just couldn’t. The whole argument was just gone from my head. It had disintegrated into a pile of mush, from which it was impossible to extract anything more than, ‘er, well, they said we just can’t.’ All of the pertinent bits were just gone. I’m completely unable to replicate an argument I’m not convinced of.
In this case, I hope I’m bright enough to remember not to put the question to my boss for the n-ieme time.
But it happens over and over again, and I find myself sometimes looking like an idiot for not getting it. And I’ve looked into other domains of my life, and it’s true - it’s incredibly hard to remember all the arguements if I don’t agree with them. They’re blocked from getting into my memory properly.

Guess I'm really not cut out to be a lawyer!

Friday, April 29, 2011


If it were to be admitted that The Poetry Bus had crashed and burned in a ditch, never to return in blog form,
But that an all new and exciting centralized UnBus for all your poetry urges were to arise from the smoking wreck,
A blog belonging only to itself and not also the blog of somebody just trying to blog,
1) would you sign up and follow it, maybe submit a link weekly or once in a blue moon?
2) what would you call it?

A pint of bona-fide home made jam in the offing for the best name! Only blackberry, apricot-mint, and, er, some other take on apricot, left in the cupboard, but it's cherry season right soon. And ginger-peach. I'll be making ginger-peach just as soon as peaches are abundant and cheap.

So far we've got:
Potluck Poetry (domain name taken)
Here be Dragons (domain name taken)
The Twilight Zone (domain name taken)
Last Train to Museville
Poetry Jam (domain name taken but "poetryjambus" available)
Poetry Terminal
Begin again McFinnegan
Poetry Licks
Poetree (domain name taken)
Word Soup (domain name taken)
Lines of Enquiry
ConVersations (domain name taken)
Peanut Butter (sticks to ya!) (and keeps the PBus initials)(stickstoya is available)

d'autres encore?
ah yes, the Enchanted Oak has all sorts of suggestions, but we'll just list the ones she herself prefers:
Poet Jambs
Poetry Pizza
Poem Riders
The Traveling Muse
The Wandering Poet
The Cruising Muse

not to forget:
Shanks Pony
Trigger Happy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

100 words: Dryer

I feel so much greener in the summer. I mow the lawn with an old-fashioned push mower. I eat what I can from my garden (though not yet! Not just yet. Many things underway, few ready. Lent made this thin time a virtue.) I get plenty of exercise keeping it all nice. The heat is off in the house, and it’s been a month since I switched from drying laundry over the radiator in the living room (so class) to letting it dry on the line along the vegetable patch. It’s a bone-dry spring so far: jeans done by lunchtime.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Exploring the Great Beyond

They were explorers, intrepid
they walked beyond the hills, beyond the horizon,
beyond the ken of men where the elders said they would surely be devoured.
They went forth with ships and on horses,
accompanied by armies
or alone and given up for gone.
He planted the flag in new lands, she swam in new waters.
Around the round world in their planes,
they saw everything
and looked to the stars.

How do we get up there? they said
to walk on the moon, swing 'round the sun for a picnic on Mars?
So they looked through their lenses
and filled pages with calculations
and listened through their telescopes.
They built their rockets and went,
off around the solar system, going where none had gone before.

How marvelous!
New orbits, new planets, new ideas
Everything going in cicles
around an axis, around a center, in a swirling galaxy in the endless universe far beyond their reach.
Let's go! they said
and they wondered how they could get there.
So they laid their plans and built new ships beyond any they had built before.
Off they went, zooming into the depths of space
to spread humanity further.

And so it was that at full speed and looking far into the future,
they crashed into the wall
an intricately painted wall but the brushmarks could be seen up close
(and that nebula there, is really a thumbprint smudge Godd meant to clean up but never got back to)
The explorers smacked into the wall
with such force they punched a hole in it
and fell off the edge
of the world.

That's my own ticket for this week's Poetry Bus, on the theme of Excess/Too much/Over the edge.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Still growing

Remember this monster from last week?

Well, a new picture from the same angle (blogger, if you're going to turn one of the shots sideways, at least do the other one too. It's the very same thing, after all.). It's hard to say that it's bigger, though it is. Seriously bigger. It's just going up now. Past my knees. And you can see the individual leaves have gone from dinner-plate size to dinner-plate in a really puffed-up restaurant size. Next week you could put my largest cat on one of them and she wouldn't spill over.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Just too, too, far too Bussy.

The Poetry Bus mission of the week,should you dare to take it on, is one of Excess. Of Far Too Much. Of Going Over the Edge. If it goes off the road and gets dented, so be it: there will be a new Bus the week after, like magic.
And, for those of you sensitive to Blogger's humors and caprice, it is suggested to throw structure out the window and just run it all together anywhichhow. If you like.

Got it?
Off you go! Drop me a comment and I'll try to keep the list on the sidebar current.
See y'all beyond!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jumpstarting the P-Bus

All was quiet but for the cawing of the sober crows,
No gentle background of birdsong was heard.
All was grey and still in the fields and the woods.
The mice slept in their burrows; the sap waited in the roots.
Then one day, the word was whispered along.
the sun brought with it a finger of warmth, and touched the trees
The apricot, the cherry, then the apples in order.
It touched the soil, where the grasses and dandelions stirred.
Snowdrops peeked up and said

Sound the alert!

All hands on deck!

Out of the ground, everyone!

Suddenly the air was full of petals, the garden plot crawling with worms,

A chirping, warbling symphony calls in the bushed-out trees.

Here it is!

ife! ...

To catch the Poetry bus this week just leave me a comment and I'll get your link onto the sidebar Monday afternoon (sorry, no line breaks there).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Deauville notes

As I mentioned last time, the slow parts of a trip I have plenty of time to write about on the spot, but once stuff is happening, only the slightest notes get taken. Usually I depend on the photographs to jog my memory, though they often don't and it's a week before I get around to it, and well, I've been there. It's over. So here we are with some fragments.

The tourist office didn't have any small or handy maps of hiking in the area (what? physical activity beyond lugging shopping bags to the Benz???), so I popped into a bookstore to check out the travel section. There's this series of books that covers hiking trails all across the country, and each town stocks the book(s) covering the area. I love the series, but at 15 euros a shot it's a bit pricey when you're only ever going to do one hike from a given book. There is only one hike from Deauville, and one from Trouville.

I took the following note in the margin of a sudoku page: red/white from ch St Aug. That it was 12km and ended up on the beach about a mile north of town I could simply remember.

Roast local chicken and french fries for lunch, and off for the hills.

First interesting building come to is a great monastery complex and historic site. Open to the public (yea!) Saturdays from 3 to 5 (oh. never mind).

A few k on, the Touqueville Military Cemetery contains mostly WWI graves, and then from WW2: 11 British, 2 Canadian and 33 German soldiers. Just normal, I guess, but it struck me that you couldn't tell anyone apart at a glance. The two sides were just mixed in.Cows in the distance!The apple trees are just coming into bloom, but this place had a gigantic red apple already.

Not far from here I crossed a patch of woods, and having seen no other people on the trail so far, stopped for a pee. Thank goodness the dog and two passersby were paying attention to each other, because there wasn't all that much cover.

And a few steps farther, I finally saw the difference between a rabbit and a hare. I swear, that sucker was three feet tall!

I would have read the trail book a little more carefully if the shopkeeper hadn't been watching me (and expecting me to buy the book, not copy it), and it would have been useful to know that the loop described was only one of several possibilities pieced together from a long-distance trail and its alternates that wander extensively through the area. I ended up overshooting my turning-point and going much farther. I could have gone to the next town, but prudently realized that going too far in one direction would mean foot agony by the time I got back. Once back at sea level I passed a sign saying Deauville, 5km (3.5km farther that I should have hit the beach). But it was a soft walk back on the sand.

Horses are indeed ridden up and down the beach.

Kid absolutely enthralled by his sand pile.

Along the Deauville boardwalk there was this strange serenade of, what, bells? Some kind of tin drum? Nope, the gently clanging of the unused flagpoles.

That was the end of Day 1's hike, about 20km all told. Time for a glorious soak in the tub and a bit of a nap before dinner.

Ah, yes, let's get to the eating part. Strolling around rich tourist-destination Deauville with its brand-name boutiques and day spas, it looked like I had to spend a fortune to dine. Across the river to more modest Trouville, perfectly affordable restaurants line the quay upstream, getting swankier as you approach the sea. Who knows what's good? Cloth napkins are no guarantee, so just pick one.

Fish soup, fresh mussels and fries, a glass of wine, perhaps some sorbet for dessert. That's exactly the menu I'm looking for, and I'm not disappointed. Not quite as good as the fish soup in Marseille last year (the southerners are bolder with the spices and garlic), but very nice.

Evenings like this... it's 8pm, the sun is just setting, the tourists have not yet arrived in force... really make me appreciate the French thing for eating on the sidewalk. They've turned on the heaters on the terrace, cleverly just a degree before I would have noticed needing them. As long as they don't seat smokers at the next table, it'll be a perfect dinner. And they don't.

Local Calvados apple sorbet! well, well, apple isn't my usual choice of sorbet, but this stuff is special. Not your supermarket junk!

I've taken my time at dinner, and still the sky is not quite black. Dusk lingers and lingers, fading ever so slowly. The river rushing the other way now, the 'right' way, makes the moored fishing boats look like they're underway, bow-wave and all.

Tomorrow I see there's a Kite Festival on the beach. That will be a sight. I hope they get going in the morning - a shame if my 1pm train makes me miss it by a whisker. I hate missing things by a whisker: better miss by a week and not regret it.

In the morning: a long walk up the Trouville-side beach, and back by the parallel road/hiking trail. The beach photos from the first post are all from that walk.

This line in the sand was much more noticable in person, but I had to lean way down to see what was making it.

Beachfront property.Fish market on the Trouville side of the river. Glorious offerings - I wish I had some means of getting the catch to my house in good condition! All I could do was eat as much as possible while there.

Tourist alert! Also while sitting at this table, having a beer and waiting for my train back to Paris, I overheard the following snippet of conversation:

kid: ...we can take a knife!

grandma: yes, that would be useful if they attack us

mom: and if they attack us with lots of cannonballs?...

And that's the story. I'll see about posting more photos tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ABC Wednesday: M

Is it M this week?

Yes, already. Interrupting my little tour of Deauville is a short detour to the Monster rhubarb. Last week.
This morning.
The Mother Ship has doubled in volume in just a week. (I don't know why Blogger turns photos sideways, because you can appreciate the difference more with the two shots in the same orientation, but such are the mysteries of blogger.) I hear that the Mother Ship's spinoff is doing quite well, and is up from a torn-off chunk of root in late March to somewhat larger than a dinnerplate yesterday.
To join ABC Wednesday, click here!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Arriving in Deauville

The obligatory getting there. Less happening, but more time to write about it!

Elbowing my way through Paris on a Friday morning, it's such a beautiful spring day it would be a shame to go underground, though the metro would surely be faster. To favor public transport, they've put in bus corridors all over the city. My bus, however, hardly gets to use them: they've become parking strips for taxis, delivery vans, and cars just waiting, blinkers on as if that made a difference.

The stop outside Letitia and Bruno's apartment is a lane going against the flow of a one-way boulevard, and there's a moving van parked in it just before the stop. Three buses wait for a break in the oncoming traffic to go around. When my bus approaches, she stops and blasts the air horn - loud as a fire engine - until the guy lounging around (he's not actually moving anything, just waiting to) gets in and clears the road. Other buslane obstacles the driver just goes around. There's simply no gain in trying to get all of them to move. For the fine-levying traffic cops to do that (and better the fine be in cash on the spot!), not the bus driver with a load of passengers, however outraged.

There's Paris for you.

Starbucks across from Gare St Lazare. I do love their lemon loaf, but alas they have none. What they do have is the slowest Starbuck's staff ever. More employees than people in line, but they're just not getting the American production-line service into their heads. We all want our coffee to go. We want to go with our coffee. Please take our orders. Please let us pay. And where's the half & half? Even whole milk I have to ask for at the counter, in this land of crème.


Once in the station, the quay for my train should be posted already, but isn't. Eventually they announce it's being cleaned and will be available shortly. An American tourist wonders aloud where the train is, and I tell him, sarcastically adding that they just announced it was being cleaned. I think he took me wrong - that my tone meant he was defective for not understanding the announcement, but really I was quite doubtful of the eventual spickety-spanness of our train. Sorry! And I was right. No room for my empty coffee cup and napkin in the overflowing trash can by my seat.

Passing through Lisieux - oh! that looks interesting! - but it'll have to wait for another trip. Only ten minutes to change for the train to the surf and turf of Deauville/Trouville.

And here it is, pleasure port of the well heeled or trying to be. A rapid turn around the boutique town, a hotel room reserved, the marketplace seen, a message to Letitia I'm staying here overnight, a quick lunch, and it's off for 20km in the gentle Calvados hills and along the coast. There's reason people like it here, and it's not just the racecourse and the casino, right?

This is just so wrong. Some company actually sells American flags attached to the pole the wrong way? Or are these people making a statement of some kind?
More tomorrow, or possibly the day after.

The Bus is Exploding

Spring is here*!

Yeah, like you haven't noticed.

This past week or two it's really, really, been SPRING, with the lawn needing mowing twice and the trees all in flower and the market filled with things to plant in the garden right away. You just can't get away from it, not for an instant.


So I'm driving the Poetry Bus this week (and next week too, but this time that's not any particular sort of plan), and this business of spring makes me think of poems about bursting, exploding, restarting, getting it in gear, waking up, however you want to take it. Just leave me word when your poem is up, and I'll put up a sidebar if you start early, or a new post over the weekend gathering everything together (a rather autumnal activity...)
A poem about spring if you like, but bursting, exploding, restarting, getting in gear and waking up can happen in so many other ways.

*in the northern hemisphere. Yes, this is a northernist blog, conveniently ignoring all you downunderers and equatorial people.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Deauville beach pix

I'll tell you about the trip tomorrow or maybe even later in the week, but for now here are some quick & easy beach pictures from my weekend escapade.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The monster

Ten days ago, this is what the rhubarb looked like. Definitely coming back from its winter siesta, but quite a modest plant.
Just 10 days later, this is what it was up to last night (shoe for scale). And that was minus a good-sized chunk I gave to a friend. It's ba a a a ack!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Poetry Ark

Titus gave us an animal theme for the bus today, and I really really meant to cook something up from the GeckoPantherKingfisherRingtailedLemur, DolphinBushbabyArcherfish Harrier list. I tried not to write about cats, AGAIN, truly! But they are everpresent. So here you are. . . House Mouse
It drives her crazy she hears it squeaking, rushes forth from the porch but it is already gone. Resting in the garden, she hears it again and bounds to the spot. but it is gone in a quiver of whiskers and a whisk of tail. It has left behind a small, black pellet To mock her. She waits a day, and a night, glued to the spot staring intently at the crack between the steps She hears it moving about, making its downy bed, counting its hundred seeds. She takes a break for the catfoodbowl, out of the rain. And there it is again! Running from the dustbin, its cheeky ears pert and crisp But she is foiled Foiled! by the closed window. She knocks the orchid over in agitation. She will have it one day, the mouse under the stairs
. . . Join in the Poetry Bus over here! and I'm very sorry about the run-on text, but Blogger is having another of it's no-hard-return days and simply does not care about paragraphs.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I was tagged recently by fellow blogger Nuts4fruits to participate in a meme about books. Well, alright, I'll do a meme once in a while. The rules are:

1. Take pictures of the books you are currently reading and add them to your post. (I'm skipping that part)

2. Describe the books and if you are enjoying them.

3. For every book you are reading, you have to tag one person.

4. Leave the person a comment letting them know you tagged them. . Um, what am I reading now... Just last night I finished “Une année chez les français”, a very enjoyable novel about a small Moroccan village boy sent to the grand French high school in Casablanca, what he does there and what he thinks of all of it. Screamingly funny, wonderfully poignant. I suppose if I finished it, it doesn’t count for the meme. It’s the first work of fiction I’ve read in a while. . Read a few pages of the Grand Marabout de Bridge last night, which I leaf through sporadically, filling in my weak spots like defensive card signaling and slam bidding. As long as there are pages I haven’t gotten to, and I've actually picked it up in the past month, it counts as reading, right? Some day I will remember this stuff at the table. . Picked up Nelson Mandela’s autobiography from my to-read shelf and made a slight start. I would normally work at getting a copy in English, because I avoid reading translations when I can help it. But I was in the shop, and I wanted the book, and I knew if I went home and put it on a list somewhere I’d never get to it. Would likely never get it on a list, and it would be one of the hundreds of books I meant to read but forgot about. I can’t tell you much about it yet. Nelson has only just described his name and what it all means and that “Nelson” was only acquired at entrance to school. All I can say is it’s very readable so far, entertaining and meaningful, and we all know the story is headed for great events. .

And now for the tags:

the golden fish (with no capitals)