Daze Gone By

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Preach, sister, preach.

We had a lovely and far too short visit with dear, dear Diane von Austinburg last week.  Because my thrilling lifestyle consists mostly of sleeping, I would stumble downstairs and we would go out to dinner, come back and I would stumble upstairs to go back to sleep.  I know some people would have problems with livin’ on that particular edge, but I do not.

Diane shoved off on Thursday (I should mention Saki, the cat, does not like visitors.  Any visitors.  Every visit, Diane spends all her efforts at convincing him that he does not suspect her of low habits and misdeeds.  Diane reports gleefully every time Saki deigns to allow her to pet him without bloodshed.  I’m not impressed, because this almost inevitably  occurs when I’m holding him, most often in a headlock.  So Saki spent all day Thursday stalking around the house to make sure Diane (whom he refers to as “That Guy”) is actually gone.

I spent Friday crushing a giant nap.  I would wake up when Saki yelled in my ear about how he was starving, feed him, take my meds, and go back to dreaming about living in some grim institutional building that I was decorating.  One of those things where I couldn’t decide if it was a nightmare or not.

And then, just now, I got out of bed during the daytime (it happens) and thought how very much I would like coffee from Peet’s and some of their delectable little pastry items. And so I rolled downhill into the Castro.

I found an empty parking space (the only one in all of the Castro Neighborhood,) tried to pay the meter, cause the meter maids apparently have a special bounty system set up for my poor old car, and the meter gaily announced “FREE PARKING.”   Really?  I wasn’t going to look a no cost parking space in the mouth, so I wafted on towards Peet’s when I suddenly wondered “Could today be Sunday?”  Hmmmmm.

One of the things I like about my phone is a special feature it has for the forgetful and easily confused (that would be me) where it announces the day and date every time you kick it into gear.  Sure enough,  it confirmed my suspicion that today is, indeed, the Lord’s Day.

I’m perfectly happy with Sunday, bringing with it free parking, as I mentioned, and a great many young muscular mens wandering around without much in the way of clothing to hinder one’s ogling.  But this brings to mind the question “What happened to Saturday?”  It’s not a Lost Weekend, more like a temporarily mislaid day.

Trying to recreate some idea of how I had spent June 10, I turned to my computer, cause I’m all modern and hip and stuff.  The history there informs us that for some equally mislaid reason I looked up Marguerite Albert.  Mlle. Albert turns out to have been an early 20th century Parisian red hot mama.  Sued the Prince of Wales, lived across the street from the Ritz in Paris, murdered her husband and got away with it.  A role model for us all.

Aside from that and a few visits to the dwindling number of blogger friends I still maintain, there was nothing informative on the computer;  the car is where it’s supposed to be and all its pieces are still where they started out.  There are no inexplicable stains, or no new ones anyway.  Turning to Saki as a source of information, ugh.  He just leaves the room and either plays with his catnip sausage rope or pees in one of the many places he shouldn’t.  Sadly,  there are no unfamiliar young men snoring away in the guest room.

 

tumblr_orasfpC4Sq1qkopyqo1_500Let us be clear.  If anything even vaguely resembling this turned up, I would immediately start composing some lie about how we had gotten married after a whirlwind romance; some Lucy-and-Ethel kind of shenanigan. He doesn’t look very suspicious minded or like he has the mental high capacity to catch me out.  Tragically, it’s just me and Saki as far as I can tell.

Oh well, as I mentioned once in a long ago post: I say if the police aren’t asking uncomfortable questions, it’s probably best not to worry too much about those lost weeks.  Or day, for that matter.

 

An Undeserved Miracle

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I had dinner tonight from Munchery.  They’re a company that cooks and delivers meals to people who are too lazy to get off their indolent butts and actually make food for themselves, people for whom going out to a restaurant is too much trouble.   People like me.

Their food ranges from pretty OK to not awful.  It is always better than plenty of things I’ve had in actual restaurants.  Tonight I had a steak and potato gratin, both of which were very good, and two desserts.

I have taken to ordering two desserts in restaurants.  If they have two listed that I can’t decide between, I figure, what the hell.  The servers frequently seem shocked, as if I’m indulging in some excessive madness, a bacchanal of sweets.

So tonight I had a chocolate cheesecake and a grapefruit chiffon pie.  Grapefruit motherfucking Chiffon Pie.  Doesn’t that sound thrillingly exotic?  Turns out it was bland and the crust was tough as something NASA would come up with to protect astronauts’ phones.  I pushed the cheesecake aside, cleaned up and eventually went to bed.

In my world, going to bed almost always leads to waking up a couple of hours later, in the dark with nothing to do.  “I wish,” I thought to myself,  “that I had something sweet.”  I got up and set out for the kitchen to forage for cookies or, if nothing else, toast and jelly.

Imagine my thrill at discovering a piece of chocolate cheesecake.  It may not rate with the appearance of Our Lady at Lourdes, but at the moment, I preferred it.  Unless Mary was holding a whole carrot cake, which, obviously, is the only thing that would have been an improvement.

Between bites, I made an impromptu novena, thanking whichever saint is in charge of pastries, because they certainly had come through, delivering the answer to my prayers before I even composed them.

This just in: the patron saint of pastries is St. Honore, duh, for whom those fabulous creampuff cakes are named.  Gateau St. Honore, a cake made out of cream puffs.  Could anything be more fabulous?  Well, short of discovering an unexpected cheesecake in the middle of the night.

We give thanks to St. Honore.

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Cream Puff

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Or Gateau St. Honoré.  Which would you rather find in your kitchen about 2:00 AM?

Grocering

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I took time out of my hectic schedule of sleeping and watching ridiculously attractive boys do nasty things on Chaturbate to go to the store and buy soap for the dishwasher.  I wound up staggering back to the car with two bags full of the most random things that might be called groceries ever seen.  $76 worth of chemically processed crap.

When I got home and unloaded my haul I realized it looked like I had gone shopping wearing a blindfold and with a very sketchy idea of how to cook.  A six pack of those cheese crackers filled with peanut butter.  A box of plain water crackers for cheese, only to discover I had the exact same unopened product already at home.  But no cheese.

Let’s see, what else, Doritos.  Somehow I always wins up coming hoe from the grocery with a bag of Doritos.  I think they must hand it to me as I enter and I just don’t notice.  I seem to enter into some kind of fugue state as the doors close behind me, sealing me in with all the other shambling, clueless Safeway shoppers.  I wander the aisles, aimlessly foraging and after a while, I leave, almost always without at least one item I specifically went to buy.

but I got some nice bananas and some nectarines.  We’ll see about them, it takes a few days on the shelf to either ripen into perfection or turn into moldy knobs.

R Man and I used to go to the store each Saturday, armed with lists and sense of purpose and prepare ourselves for the week ahead.  Now I find myself looking over into other shoppers carts to get ideas about what I might want to consume.

At least I got the dishwasher soap.

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nothing to do with groceries, but who’s complaining?

Plagues Upon my House

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I have a cleaning service, which is  fancy way of saying cleaning lady, except these are a squad of them, so we need a plural reference.  The ringleader, Aline, is from Brazil where the oddity of naming your kid after an architectural fad or a little girls dress doesn’t exist cause they speak Portuguese.  We call her Leeny.

Leeny and I and the vacuum girl (she’s teeny tiny and totes the vacuum around strapped to her back.   I call her the Borg because the vacuum is just about bigger than she is which gives the unsettling effect that she is being absorbed, but, since Leeny is the only who speaks English, she’s also the only one to get the joke.  But we all laugh.  Stupid gringo.

The Borg erupts in a torrent of Portuguese and Leeny asks what are all these bugs.  Moths.  We were in the guest room which has charcoal gray walls and black WOOL carpet and is only disturbed every other week when the Dust Squad busts in.  In other words perfect breeding grounds for the mother fuckers.

Closer examination (or actually, the only examination I have ever given the room) reveals bald spots about the size of my hand where the worthless creatures have eaten the rug down to the base.  AND I only bought this rug a couple of years ago when I was trying to deal with the cat’s insistence on peeing in there.

Tomorrow I hurl my self into the world improvement.  I don’t mind it, I like decorating, but I just hadn’t planned to rid myself of several hundred dollars this month on a room I don’t use.

Also, the front door lock will suddenly no longer lock.   One of those :”You had ONE JOB….” jokes.   Of course, the two errands clash.  I have to be here for the lock guy and I need to go pick out carpet at the rug store

On the sunnier-ish side of things, the car rental crisis seems to have resolved itself.  I kept calling the Hertz guys about this and they would ask for the reservation number and I would explain it was on the paperwork in the car, which apparently was living a carefree life off in some car impound lot.   I would ask if they could not perhaps dig up said number by using my last name.  The would admit that they could, surly that I had breached their last wall of passive resistance.  I would be on hold for quite a little while, listening to what might have been music by Brian Eno, or maybe a computer that looked like Eno.  Eventually the Hertz guy would come back on and say they couldn’t find the reservation number either.

I looked in my account.  There is a long list there of all my trips to Houston and the cars I have known there.   It could be sentimental, but it isn’t.  And then when I get down to the very end where this last ill-fated journey should be, there’s nothing.  The list ends with my trip there last December.

So here’s what I think:  I had Loss Damage Waiver insurance on that little hot rod.   The cops eventually contacted Hertz as the owner of the car and told them where to go get it.  Hertz fetched the battered hulk to it to their car repair guys, along with all the other banged up vehicles that must pour into there every day and patched it up.  From Hertz point of view, the matter is concluded, I got a bill from them that I paid, so I figure it’s over, and I think Super Agent Fred has forgotten the whole sad business.

So.  One crisis down and two to go.   I ‘m going to go take a nap.

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If I had suspected this guy was involved in the Hertz fiasco, I would have paid more attention.

In Which We Crash

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I have mentioned before traveling with Super Agent Fred frequently involves people screaming threats of violent harm to Fred.  “People” frequently being me.

And this time, we were so close to getting out, a mere five hours before departure from Houston, land of my birth, land of the crazy motherfuckers.

I should mention I had given the rental car to Fred to go see his parents, while I went out for barbecue with my brother.  Lord give me strength, what delicious cooked cow that was.  I had returned to our very nice hotel, well, very nice once the white trash wedding reception had been swept from the lobby.  I was packed, bathed, reading what my internet pals had to say and thinking about turning in since the car for the airport was due at 5:00 A.M. when Fred slung himself into the room in an entrance Miss Joan Crawford could never have topped, and began throwing his shoes at the walls and screeching about what a shithole Houston is and how he’s never coming here again and how this was all my fault for dragging him here.

One of the remarkable things about my friendship with Fred is how inured I am to these moments of drama.  I was just riding the storm out, waiting for him to implode.  An evening with his parents is very trying on both Fred and them, so I wasn’t particularly concerned, until, that is, his shrieked ramblings included something about the guys at the store counter wouldn’t even tell him where he was and that the cab driver corrected his geography to explain he was considerably far out of the neighborhood our hotel and his parents inhabit.

That’s when I tried to gain some control over the vitriol and get some details.  It was not easy.  For every nugget of information, there were 5 or 6 sentences, or things that resembled sentences, of passionate denunciation of Houston, the City with No Limits.

The story that finally emerged was something like this: Fred left his parents’ house having shared most of a box of wine.  So he was loaded.  Since the route from their place to our hotel is about 7 minutes long and consists of two left turns, a route Fred has made dozens of times, it seemed safe enough.

Aah, but that underestimates the genius of Fred.  Somehow Fred wound up diagonally about as far from the hotel as his original destination was when he ran over a median or curb, or (ominously) “something” and blew out his tire.  Fred’s solution was to scream at the guys at the counter, borrow some good Samaritan phone, not to call me, but to call a cab and disappear into the night.

We finally got this point of the narrative, I interrupted the flow, which had come to resemble an interpretive dance piece, to ask one of the questions that narrow minded, persnickety audiences like me have.  “Where is the car?”

Fred’s answer would have done credit to Sarah Berhardt.  He shrugged his shoulders and threw his arms in the air, a gesture which clearly implied that he didn’t know and he didn’t care.  Yes, Fred’s answer to disaster is exit, stage right.

After that, it was like a round of some not very amusing game.  I would ask a question and he would scream at me about how despicable Houston is, how this was all my fault for forcing him to come (I had said “I’m going to Houston to see my brother.  Do you want to come with?”) and how I always had to be right.  It certainly occurred to me it would be difficult to be wrong in this situation, but I let that pass.

Fred finally mentioned the cab driver had said something about Chimney Rock, a major thoroughfare in Houston, but one that has nothing to do with parents or the hotel.  I called a cab and we headed out into the warm, gentle evening to drive up and down Chimney Rock to see if we could spot the car.

The cab driver was very sympathetic, once he grasped what we were doing and even got into the spirit of the enterprise, as if we were playing some kind of game for simple minded tourists.  $200 later I said never mind, we went back to the hotel, where, by now, we were two hours away from departure.  We missed our plane.

I have spent the last week with various and sundry car rental offices and police offices and finally, today, found the car.  It had been towed from Richmond, which has nothing to do with Chimney Rock, except they do intercept, but nowhere near where the car was picked up.  The car rental people now want me to download a report and fax it to them.  First I suppose I have to find a time machine to go back to the era of faxes, but by now, that seems like small potatoes.

Several time is his many diatribes against me and Houston, Fred swore he was never returning there.  “Amen sister,” was all I could think.

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Were there any super heroes around to help?  Nooooooo, they’re too busy fucking boys in chicken cages.

 

Texas Time

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Yes, Super Agent Fred  and I are back in the old country, visiting our respective crazy, crazy, crazy ass relatives.   Who are these people?  How could i possibly have sprung from this?

My brother is the exception and I love him, he and his wife, to whom he will have been married 50 years in September.  Amazing

Amazing also, is his saintly restraint in dealing with my father who has gone from befuddled crankiness into actual insanity.  There have been “incidents.”  There have been calls from management (who seem to be actually quite nice, and determined to give the people who have been entrusted to them both dignity  and independence.  Even if they deserve neither.  Which brings us back to my father.)

Anyway, daily calls  where Ed has to stop running his own business and take time to go straighten out today’s mess.  I feel so guilty, tucked away on the far coast, absolutley insulated from the madness.

Anyway.  Texas.  Excellent Mexican food, combat strength air conditioning, and boys who truly look like this:

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Of course, they are in the minority, squeezed in between the giant mounds of humanity that make up the rest of the population and take up far too much room.

We go home at dawn on Monday morning.  I am counting the microseconds.

In Which We Blow Out a Candle or Two

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Today is Mis Bette Davis’ birthday.  Let us all raise a celebratory glass to the old dear, who, one is given to understand a glass, celebratory or not.

And while your glasses are up, you might as well join in a smallish toot for the author, because today is also mrpeenee’s 62nd birthday.

I write this with a mantle clock I got in New Orleans tick-tocking away behind me.  One of the reasons I got it was its businesslike tick tock.  No pussyfooting around for the baby.  Tempis Fugit bitch, and this is one clock that wants you to know it.

I am more aware than usual of the time tonight because for once I have someplace to be far too early in the morning today.  I have spent a lot of time around here complaining about my back and about how, now that the federal government is coming down on their heads about how much opiates they prescribe, my practitioners are suddenly terribly concerned I am getting to much of the old lotus eating.  My cries that I like lotus easting are swept aside and suddenly I am being cleared for an ominous sounding procedure in which they cauterize the troublesome nerve.

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“Wait, is that one a nerve?  I thought they looked more fuzzy.”

I agreed with the whole thing even when they scheduled it for my birthday (at my age, it is the most exciting thing likely to turn up, god knows.)  And then they officicously pointed me off to website where I was to answer all the tedious questions they use to deliver to you while you were shivering in an inadequate robe in a chilly ward.  SO now I get to be both patient and data in putter.  I considered filling all those blanks with the snarky answers you’ve been developing since your first innoculations, but somehow I knew that would come back to haunt me.

Also problematically, they won’t release me except with a responsible adult and the only one I know who resembles that, at least under a very quick glance, is Secret Agent Fred.  Fred has agreed to help out and since the whole party is so very early said he’d spend the night here and we’d head out together.   He also, very casually, mentioned he was going to take in a few drinks with boyfriend, who’s back in town and waiting tables at a schmancy bar.

I’ve actually been through this before, where Fred was temporarily pretending to be the responsible adult with a hangover so thick it hurt to look at him.  Nurses handing me over to him would ask “This is your ride?” not even bothering to mask their conviction I would be better off in the arms of Jesus, and that I would be there soon enough.   But I have always made it back, albeit with a driver who moans, softly.

So anyway, a surgical procedure for my birthday!  It might lack the magic of a pony, but truth be told, ponies smell bad.  This time tomorrow I should have three new little holes in my back and be pain-free.  Ish.

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What I want for my birthday.

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What I’m going to get.

Surprise

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I know the last time I wrote about venturing into the kitchen, it was a catalogue of what can go wrong.  But this time, I have hit the veritable jackpot.  Before I can go any further, I have to admit that I wound up eating all of the 7 Layer Bar Cookies (which I was railing against like it had been dropped off by Satan’s catering service) and have made several batches and eaten them, alone, since then.  Oh, the shame of midnight refrigerator raids.

So, earlier this evening, I was remembering Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise, a little patter song often spoken of over at Cafe Muscato where Muscato uses it to evoke the madness of our suburban foremothers.

What is, exactly, Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise, I idly wondered.  The problem with the Internet is no wonder is so idle you cannot drill down to it.  It turns out there are a number of different variations on what is, essentially, a tarted up molded Jello. I’m sure each deviation is defended as the best by its legions to the bloody death.  The innovations ranged from dumping marshmallows over half set jello and then dumping that, in turn, on cottage cheese up to one that included a step of boiling cream cheese.   I’m not convinced that is even possible, and I do not plan on finding out.

The one that won my attention was the one for which I had all the ingredients and sounded the least ridiculous.  And you know what?  It’s delicious.  I know the food snobs (and I count myself among you)  will sniff derisively, but there’s a reason all those bridge clubs ignored the sarcasm in a song deriding them and their salads.

And what reason could that be?  Because it so fucking yummy.  Sometimes mother really does know best.

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For those not interested in concotions which will win the undying jealous hatred of the other DWA girls, here’s a warm beef surprise.

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Taxed

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Hooray, hurrah.  mrpeenee has done his taxes.  Yay.

Actually mrpeenee has shoved a bunch of papers into an envelope and sent them off to my long suffering tax guy for him to work his wonky magic on.  Every year, just as the last of the Thanksgiving turkey is clogging up my cholesterol, I start receiving mailings inscribed with something like”Important Tax Document Enclosed, Do Not Discard.  Idiot.”  They pile up on a corner of the desk I keep reserved for them, looking more and more ominous until I finally give up and that’s where the “shoving into an envelope and praying that it’s enough and signed in the correct places” part comes into play.

And tonight I have done that.   As I said earlier, yay.

As a reward to myself for doing the absolute, bare minimum in what could be considered money management here;

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Why can’t I get s percentage of that?

Obscure Bookcases of Delight

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The ever charming (and tall) Inexplicable DeVice in December asked his readers to blog about our bookcases.  I promptly promised to do so and then promptly never got around to doing so.   Inertia: it’s a real thing.

In my defense I should mention I don’t have a bookcase to tell a tale about, I have a collection of them.  In fact, I have at least one in every room that doesn’t have plumbing in it.   They are the result of a happy life; every day after work, R Man and I would settle down, him on the couch and me in my big, comfy chair and the cat dividing her time between our laps and we would read all evening.  Once we moved into tis house with a fireplace, we were really cemented in place.  A byproduct of all that reading, of course, is books, that and the conviction that I had the most perfect life imaginable.

We would always have stacks of books sitting around,  this stack was read, that one was being read and the looming one over there were future candidates.  Occasionally, I would buy another bookcase, scrape up all the stacks and the whole sad cycle would start over.  Thus, multiple bookcases.  And Now a tour of them!

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The main, or Wall O’ Books.  We had these built for our apartment on Russian Hills, all those many years ago when we first ran across the stacks and stacks of books that two bookish poofs would create.  Imagine how satisfied we were when we moved here and it fit in the living room.  Secret Agent Fred has moved his work space here from the studio in the garage where it is too chilly for the muse to do much beside sit around eating Doritos and complaining about the dank.

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From the oldest to the newest, here we have a little walnut charmer that I picked up for the newest round of overflow, mostly science fiction I’ve been reading since R Man’s death.  It’s in the office, not out of any decorating plan, but simply because it was the last open space big enough for it.  That’s how I achieve all the little exquisite delights in decor.

That photo on the top is one of my favorites ever.  From some long, long ago party in New Orleans, it presents the author, striking in overstretched pink and black tiger strips, on-going malign sprite Cow Queen and the late, oh so lamented Magda, looking as glamorous and fresh as a daisy.  Just a trio of southern belles.

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Moving on from the ridiculous to the quotidian,

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One of a pair we had built for R Man’s room, it holds mostly his collection of histories of the early christian church.  R Man did not consider himself, particularly, a Christian, but he was fascinated with how the developments, schisms, conferences, and cat fights shaped both the church, Europe and the world.  Fred sleeps in R Man’s when he’s over here and so his books have drifted in as well, thus you have biographies of Van Gogh and Caravaggio snuggling up together.

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These two, which flank the TV and are also in R Man’s room are till quite a lot of R Man’s, but they also have a lot of mine, so Barbara Pym, E. F. Benson, Vladimir Nabakov, and James Thurber.  I suspect the William Carlos Williams and Synthesis of Yoga are Fred’s.  The photo Hot Boy is a sign for the Hotel Boyd shot by Fred and showing what good cropping can achieve.  We also have a tasteful box holding the ashes of Fred’s very sweet cat Assisi / Steve.  Lastly, a photo of R Man that would certainly not be on display were he to still have a vote:

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Across the hall, we find our guest room, which may be an odd spot for storing one’s books, but space is a premium,  And besides, the guy who owned the house before us built in lots of storage all over the house, including a very sold bookcase in this room

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which now holds lots of oddities, mostly paperback, and including the entire collection of the Judge Dee Mysteries.  Have you stumbled across them?  They’re great, set in 17th century China, the setting and insights into how such an utterly alien civilization world is fascinating.  Also, a snow globe of New Orleans.

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The carpenter/owner also built a shelf that runs the width of the room about a foot below the ceiling.  I wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of the collection that wound up there by implying they’re not the most compelling reads we have, but they are certainly not the first ones I reach for on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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In his frenzy of shelving construction, the previous owner built this enormous closet with sliding doors which I, in turn, had covered with wall paper printed to look like book shelves.  and when you open it, you get, drum roll please, BOOKS.

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These are all cook books, or as Ms Pym would have it “cookery books.”  Many of them are old favorites I’ve used over and over, some are the great unloved who have never contributed a single recipe.  And now, all of them are pretty obsolete since when I want to cook something I don;t know by heart, I look it up on the internet.

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And lastly, not a book shelf per se, and not a gang of books gone rogue, these are my favorites, the creme de la creme.  Benson and Dorothy Parker and Saki and my favorite Sci Fi writer, Lois McMaster Bujold.  And keeping track over them, and me, my favorite picture of R Man.

So that’s what the books of mrpeenee look like now.  I left out the newish stack that might be the seed of a new bookcase, but I also have to acknowledge that although I once was a complete snob about Kindle and other e-readers, but once they made the leap to allow you to read the books on your phone, instead of yet another device, and which I always have with me, well, it looks like the stacks have moved from the floor into my phone.

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