December 22nd, 2006

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Last night my wife went to dinner with friends. I occupied the evening with a trip to a store called Williams Sonoma, where I was reliably informed that one item on the brief Christmas wish list my wife had provided could be found.

I had not been to a Williams Sonoma in years, and its sense of warmth and competence in this particular small store setting proved cheering. I did face an essential challenge in my visit. I was in search of something called a "lemon lime zester". The problem with this is that, having failed to avail myself of google and wikipedia, I had no idea just what item qualified to be called as a "zester". I had in mind something vaguely like a bottle of vinegar, filled with a lemon/lime concoction, which, when squirted, added zest to any holiday dish. I had an alternative vision, half-formed, that it would look something like a gravy cow, or an Aladdin's lantern, as zesters, it seems to me, should have a bit of pizzazz.

I spent a fair bit of time browsing for said lemon lime zester, although this arduous search was subject to interruption, as in the case of the appreciation and on-board-taking of the prepackaged no-fat sugar cookie mix, and the as-yet-unspelled spell with the alphabet cookie cutters.

Yet nothing leaped out at me as a zester. I began to wonder if the zester held fluids of some sort, and the "lemon/lime" was a color descriptor. Finally, though, I asked one of the charming women providing personal assistance for a hand. I did not notice that she was all a-cider when I asked, but she did not hesitate to lead to me zesterville.

She led me to things that ninja warriors would be proud to own, which looked like things with which one would tan hides or hide tans. Her chipper competence hit a mild stumbling block, when it turned out the the lemon/lime zester, a sale item, was exhausted. She summoned for me, however, a kind of Zester Duchess, who was able to hold forth on alternative zesters. This brainy cove let me know that the citrus zester could be supplemented by an array of other zesters to achieve a zesty result. Having shared with me the wisdom of the universe without requiring any tribute of eye or coin, she departed. My guardian angel further helped me figure out that I could dispense with the zester for protozoa and the zester for elephants, and I was soon be-zested.

I checked out, not neglecting the asparagus steamer on my way out, as well as the cookie mix(es). Then I headed to Sushi Inaka for an elegantly raw dinner. When I arrived, one waitperson staffed the entire small restaurant. "How are you doing?", I asked, being a Texan. "Busy!", she said, then with aplomb seated me near the television. Between watching with amazement that this Social Security receipient named Brett Favre can still delight and amaze at the game called football, and reading a pennysaver about nothing in particular on sale, I barely noticed that my rolls and my nigri were spaced like movements in a rather disjointed modernist symphony. This was my meal, with which I was well-pleased.

I headed home, and did not wrap what I should have wrapped.
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Twas 3 days before Christmas

Today I took the day off so that we could go to the movies. Our original plan featured a morning movie and an afternoon movie, but by the afternoon, visions of last-minute holiday errands danced in our heads like sugar plums.

We did go to the 10:40 a.m. showing of "The Nativity Story" movie, which proved to be a very good movie. Then we went to Elke's for lunch, where I had a turkey sandwich, steamed vegetables and the barest sampling of a leg of a gingerbread man. In the afternoon, I packaged one half of my holiday cards, and got them to the little "branch-post-office-nobody-knows-is-there-because-it-is-hidden-in-a-store-so-no-waiting-and-tremendous-service" mailing outlet, where I got them in the "better late than never" post. I am tonight addressing my remaining half of the cards. As always, I have far more cards than recipients, and as always, I am not worried about reciprocation. If you failed to see my original poll on 12/8, but would enjoy receiving a card,
your enjoyment will be provided for if you fill out the poll even at this near-holiday moment. I think there is something charming about holiday cards which arrive in January. The place to get your name added to the list, without perspective to naughtiness or niceness is:

back at the poll in this post.

No pressure, no hassle, no worries, and no need, because everyone should have the right to politely and silently decline.

Tonight we went to Ralph and Kacoo's, a seafood place, where I had salad without dressing, steamed vegetables and grilled corvina sin beurriere,
giving me a sense of inner virtue out of proportion to the merits of my choices. I fired up the spinning disco ball I got for a dollar at Dollar Tree last weekend, and I have hours of fun ahead.

We drive tomorrow to my father's home in Arkansas, where the holidays will be celebrated in grand style. I did everything today but take a long walk, and I will remedy that tomorrow. I have an mp3 player full of Creative Commons tunes, including the new Psonikadia EP, which is quite good.

I soon will be shifting gears into "things I have learned mode"--you know, the life lessons such as "when Kasi, Kassiday, Roisonne and Maya all leave you myspace friends requests at the same time, they don't really want to be your friend"--although even such inanities do help one remember that even the plainest platonic soul with kindness, a brain and imagination surpasses even the silliest display of webcam-luring "Mischa wants to be your friend". The brisk black market in human loneliness continues unabated, but I find myself neither a buyer nor a seller.

We dine tomorrow with my friend Gene in Texarkana, and then we see my father and his wife tomorrow afternoon. We see my sister and her husband tomorrow.
This is the great joyous marketplace of family I prefer to inhabit.