zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jan. 1st, 2013 10:32 am)
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
                       --Alfred Lord Tennyson

*Yes, I chopped off the last stanza. I don't like it, and it doesn't say what I want to say. The rest does. 
So last weekend really sucked.

I miss Luna, tiny bundle of fluff, nerves, and affection that she was. I miss the vocal demands for affection. I miss the morning cuddles, when she'd settle into the space beside me on the bed, not touching, but hanging out. I miss her amazing self-petting action: you'd put your hand out, and she'd rub back and forth under it. It's been completely weird going downstairs this week, and seeing Marinetti curled in the papasan chair, without Luna on the padded stool beside.

She lived with me for eight years, and there's now a Luna shaped hole in the world.

More practically, speaking, there's been room for another cat in this house. It's weird having just one cat here. And today, the Toronto Cat Rescue had an adopt-a-thon at a pet supplies store not far from here. So [livejournal.com profile] captain_mushroom, the increasingly-less-wee Mushroom Lad (who, ironically doesn't like mushrooms at all), and I went. Just to see. Maybe one of the cats there—not a black and white cat, not a skittish Ontario Barn Cat—needed to come home with me.

We saw a lovely black and white kitten named Lily, who played with everyone. She could have gone home with anyone, and eventually she did. But not with me. Captainmushroom fell in love with a spotty black and white girl, who snuggled into his arms (and into mine), but eventually went home with someone else. Two tiny black kittens—two months old, and all eyes, fluff, and little tails—entranced the WML, but we knew that tiny kittens would find a home. A dignified grey fellow looked lovely, and his fosterer assured us that he had the temperament to match, but he wouldn't give me the time of day. Ditto the trio of slightly older kittens: one mostly black, one black and white, and one calico. 

And then I opened the cage for this two-year-old beauty, and she wandered into my arms, and looked up at me, and purred quietly.
Fluffy orange cat, turning to look at the camera
So, despite some reservations about how she would get on with Marinetti, I went home to get the carrier and [personal profile] sabotabby  and I brought her home. 

So far, she's spent about an hour sitting on top of my shoes in the back of my closet, wandered out into my office to snurfle around and nibble some kibble, wandered out of the office and explored my room, exchanged some Language with Marinetti, and discovered the nice place to hang out on the chest under the window. Right now, she and Marinetti are staring at each other, but he's staying in the hallway and not making eye contact, and she's settled on the floor of my room. I expect a certain amount of discussion will ensue. 

I think her name is Musetta. 

She doesn't replace Luna, but she's a lovely girl who will, I expect, make her own place in this household. 
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jan. 8th, 2011 10:59 am)
Last year captainmushroom gave a home to an amaryllis plant. We watched it grow until finally, in February, its crimson blooms burst out and brought a bit of breathtakingly lovely colour to the February greyness.

So when amaryllis bulbs went on sale this Season, I decided Dictionopolis could use a bit of colour and brought one home. Today, it repaid my $6 investment and benign near-neglect*:

Pink and white amaryllis flower in full bloom. Flower is placed against a greenish background. Shot shows stalk and leaves as well as bloom.

Extreme close up of the inside of a pink and white amaryllis, showing stamens. The sun is lighting the bottom right of the bloom.

*Seriously, these things are incredibly rewarding plants, even for black-thumbed people. All you need to do is put it somewhere the cats won't eat it, water it when the soil starts to feel dry, and marvel as it grows really blessed quickly. I swear, I could see the flower unfurling when it started to bloom.
[personal profile] sabotabby posted some of the spoils of our not-very-suitable-decoration phototreck. I was confident that we hadn't captured the extent of weird seasonal decorations even in our kind of boring neighbourhood, but took a break to get ready for the various festivities.

Turns out that there's more in our very neighbourhood:

Exhibit 1: The Underinflated Penguin

A 6-foot-tall inflatable Christmas penguin, standing and waving outside a little urban house. The penguin wears a Santa hat decorated with holly, and is waving cheerfully. Because it is a bit under-inflated, its head is tilted at an angle reminiscent of a spinal injury. The penguin is illuminated by Christmas lights and the glow cast by a wicker-and-Christmas-light deer in the garden beside it.

It's not that I'm opposed to decorations. But I do like some sort of consistency. And I really generally don't like inflated things that are not balloons. Underinflating your penguin causes it to look like it needs the services of a chiropractor, or maybe an EMT unit with a spinal board.

Exhibit 2: On Second Thought, Inflated May Be Preferable

Hanging limply  the porch of a little urban house, an empty, too-small-looking Santa suit, complete with beard, but NO FACE.

Okay, hanging empty stockings I understand, though you're supposed to do that indoors, on the mantle of your fireplace, or, if you don't have a fireplace, wherever you can hang a stocking. I'm not sure what an empty Santa suit conveys. Are they waiting for St. Nick to fill his own suit with his jolly self? (Hint to the denizens of this house: that suit is TOO SMALL.) It looks more to me as if they killed Santa and are hanging his pelt outside their home as a trophy, or perhaps as a warning. Eep.

On Christmas day, captainmushroom and I went for a walk and hit Unsuitable Decoration Mecca.

Exhibit 3: The Upholstery Shop

A storefront window. Above the window, the sign for the shop says UPHOLSTERY. On display are an upholstered couch surrounded by an assortment of tchotchkes: a cadaverous dummy wearing a tinsel Christmas-tree headdress, several superhero dolls and action figures, a framed portrait of Henry VIII, a church. On the couch are a Ken doll, a gargoyle with reindeer antlers, a nutcracker, and another framed Renaissance portrait (I'm not sure of whom.)

Oh man, I don't even know where to begin with this place. It's just AWESOME. Here are some details:

A detail of the left-hand side of the Upholstery Shop window. In the window are a cadaverous dummy wearing a suit and checkered tie, topped with a headdress made from a conical tinsel Christmas tree. Seated on the dummy's extended left arm is a Robin superhero doll; on its right arm is Lisa Simpson. In the foreground is a small model of a church, completed with steeple. Straddling atop the church is a female superhero. Beside the church, and much taller (about 2 feet tall) is a toy soldier figure.

The cadaverous zombie guy is a permanent fixture of the window, as are, I think Lisa Simpson and Robin. The tinsel headdress is seasonal.

A close up of some items arranged on the couch: a model of an overstuffed armchair. Seated in the armchair is a Ken doll in a white suit. Seated on the couch in front of that Ken doll is another Ken doll in its underwear. Behind the chair is a model of Chuck Norris in a Santa hat. Norris's face is plastic, but his body is quilted. Flanking the armchair are a blonde Ken doll in a sparkly top and a Barbie doll in what appears to be a Space Adventurer's suit. In the forground the head and shoulders of a rather phallic toy soldier are visible.

Quilted-body Chuck Norris doesn't wait for Santa. Quilted-body Chuck Norris is Santa. You better watch out!

The bottom left corner of the Upholstery Shop window, containing a small red sign saying XXXmas, and a photo of a very buff shirtless dude in a Santa hat. More permanent fixtures in the window include a tribal-style mask, some geraniums and fake flowers, and Canadian flag.

More decorations in the window: a Norman-Rockwell style picture showing two small children, one dressed inexplicably as a cowboy, peering through the banister of the stairs as a pyjama-clad fellow kisses a fellow dressed as Santa, under the mistletoe. Beside this is a small painting of very buff, shirtless guy reclining and wearing red trousers and a Santa hat. On the other side of the Rockwell-style picture is a portrait of Henry VIII. In the foreground is a small model of an upholstered chesterfield.

There's really nothing unsuitable about the Daddy Kissing Santa-Claus picture, except for the Rockwell-esque style, but somehow I think my mom would find it objectionable. No, I have no idea what Henry VIII is doing there.

A close up of the Daddy Kissing Santa Claus faux Rockwell picture.

You need to see the Daddy Kissing Santa picture up close to fully appreciate its delicate, nuanced portrayal of the holiday spirit.

A close up of the church montage. A small model of a quaint country church, completed with steeple. A snowman is placed beside the church. An action figure of a superhero is on the other side. Straddling the church is a female superhero. A Santa Pez dispenser stands outside the door of the church.

I don't even. All I can think is that no Christmas idyll is really complete without random superheroes.

And finally, the saddest Christmas gargoyle I have ever seen:

Obscured by reflections in the windows, a stone (or faux stone) gargoyle crouches on the upholstered couch, its hands wrapped around its knees. On its face is an expression of deep sadness. It has been adorned with red felt reindeer antlers.


zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Dec. 15th, 2009 04:25 pm)
If I were superstitious, I'd be feeling very nervous about tomorrow's concert, right now.

Last night's dress rehearsal went really well. I'm kind of excited about tomorrow's performance. The soloists are excellent, the ensemble sounds good (even if we don't have any tympani), and the choir is pretty darned good, if I do say so myself.

The superstition goes that a good dress means a bad opening night. I don't buy it one little bit. It's such a relief when a good performance follows an awful dress that I think people remember those instances, and have, by process of inversion, created a superstition around the q. In consequence, I'm just plain happy to be singing this great music and sharing it with people.

(If you're in Toronto, you really should consider coming. Really. There are trumpets!)
Re-posted from Facebook:

Notwithstanding my own questioning whether Emma Lee and the singer-songwiter ilk really count as "folk" musicians ...

and other ruminations, shared by many others, about the nature of folk music. )
I love this song, love this woman's voice, and want to spread some of her magic.

zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Sep. 10th, 2009 09:22 am)
The Uruguayan government just approved a bill to allow same sex couples to adopt children:

The bill was approved 17-6, with most of its support coming from legislators of the ruling leftist Frente Amplio coalition, which has a majority in Congress, and from two of the three senators of the opposition Partido Colorado. The measure passed the lower house in August and is expected to be signed into law soon.

"Whether the couple is gay or not should not be a matter of consideration," said ruling party Sen. Margarita Percovich, who sponsored the bill. "What matters is if the family is able to educate and stimulate the child to grow as a fulfilled human being."

The Catholic church, of course, does not approve.

Seems that Uruguay's government has made a lot of laws granting homosexual people more rights, ending bans on gays in the military, and legalizing civil unions (the new bill states that couples in a legal civil union would have equal rights when adopting children, so married couples may still be privileged in adoption, I'm not sure.)

via The Galloping Beaver.

zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Aug. 6th, 2009 03:33 pm)
Some of you have heard this already, but here is where I'm going to be, next week, and what I'm going to be doing.

Cut for them as don't much care )
zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)
( Jun. 16th, 2009 10:30 am)
Cycling through the valley, this morning, I noticed the unmistakable squoodgy feeling of an incipient flat in my rear tire. So I found a long stretch of path through a meadow, where people could see me from both directions, and where there was some space to pull off the path, stopped, and checked.

Sure enough, a tack had buried itself in my rear tire, from which the air was gently, but assuredly, hissing.

Took off the pannier, and found the patch kit. Disengaged the rear brake. Flipped the bike over and took the rear wheel off. Started to pull out the inner tube.

A grizzled cyclist in spandex shorts stopped. "Everything okay?" he asked.

"Yep," said I, "just a flat. No biggie!"

"You sure?"

"Yep, thanks!"

He cycled on. I extracted the inner tube, and found the puncture. Opened the patch kit. A cyclist in a bright jersey and mirror sunglasses slowed.

"Need a hand?"

"No, thanks! I'm good!"

"Okay!" He cycled on.

I roughed up the area around the puncture. Dabbed it with glue. Waited for the glue to dry. A couple of old guys with stuff lashed all over their bikes stopped.

"You need a hand?"

"Thanks! I'm good!"

They cycled on.

Another guy stopped as I was putting the newly patched inner tube back on the wheel, to ask if I needed a pump. I had one, but thanked him. Someone else offered me a hand as I put the wheel back on the bike.

All in all, in the 20 minutes or so that I was stopped by the side of the path, calmly patching my tire, at least seven people stopped to make sure I was okay, and to offer help.

I love my town.


zingerella: Capital letter "Z" decorated with twining blue and purple vegetation (Default)


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