Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday Vignettes

A few scenes and reflections from the last week:

  • At the grocery store in town there are now small editions of the "For Dummies" guide for sale in the check out aisles. The guides are displayed next to the other periodicals and puzzle books and astrology listings. These "dummies" guides are about the size of TV Guide and are printed on what appears to be fairly low quality paper. In my aisle there was a large stack of dummies guides, but not much selection. The only titles they had are "The Bible for Dummies" and "Dogs for Dummies."

  • Last week was unusually warm. Thursday night driving home around 9pm it was above 60 degrees. Friday it was warm enough for me to wear shorts. Two friends of mine have heard spring peepers at night. The peepers probably aren't too happy now, however, as it's 28 outside. I hope that only a few of the peepers hatched last week. If they all did, they'll probably all freeze and then there won't be any in the spring, which would be sad.

  • Friday evening I found a live slug in my kitchen sink. This is very odd, as I hadn't been washing any produce. So it's a mystery as to how it got in the kitchen. I'm convinced that Doreen has something to do with it, but she denies everything.

  • Yesterday I dropped Doreen off at the airport. I stayed in the gate area with her until she had to go through security. While waiting, I noticed a large man who was wearing a bandana/hat sort of thing. Printed on his headgear was the phrase "It's the American Way," and accompanying this phrase was the silhouette of a woman on her hands and knees. The bandana was black, the lettering was white, and the woman's silhouette was colored in with red and blue stars and stripes.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


It's been an unusually busy and stressful week, so I haven't had time to post much of anything. So, just a few random observations and thoughts.

I was horrified to find Christmas music playing last night on the radio when I was driving home. Do we really need to hear "Frosty the Snowman" on November 11?

At the checkout line in the supermarket there are now "For Dummies" books in addition to People Magazine, horoscopes, word jumble books, and the like. These dummies books are smaller than the regular ones; they're about the size of Reader's Digest or TV Guide. The line I was in had multiple copies of only two titles: "The Bible for Dummies" and "Dogs for Dummies."

It's been unusually warm the last week or so. It's also been a rather rainy week. This morning I was awoken by rather loud thunderclaps. I like thunder except when it's really close, in which case it's scary. A friend and ultimate teammate of mine was killed by lightning in 1994.

Tomorrow begins the last week of the term. I am looking forward to the break.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Yesterday was a little unsettling. Mid afternoon I needed a snack, so I decided to make myself a salad. There were some greens in the refrigerator that Doreen had prepared the day before. So I grabbed a bunch of them and made a quick salad dressing and started eating. First, I noticed a hair in the salad. Not a big deal. And then there was some little black thing that could have been a long-dead fruit fly. It was very small. Perhaps it was a tiny, blackened, wilted piece of lettuce. I removed it and flicked it into our compost bucket.

I kept eating, and soon noticed a plump green worm/caterpillar. Ug. This was harder to shrug off. I asked Doreen if she had actually washed the salad greens. She insisted that she had. I removed the worm and added it to the compost bucket. I continued eating the salad, but inspected every leaf very carefully. I finished what was in my bowl, but it took a while, as I was being very cautious. Somehow the salad wasn't that satisfying. I was still hungry, but decided to not to have any more.

Later that day I cooked dinner. It was super yummy. I made a wilted spinach salad and pasta with a creamy mushroom and walnut sauce. The "cream" is actually walnuts that are pureed in a blender. I hadn't made this recipe before and was very pleased with how it turned out. It was a little bit of work, but it was definitely worth it. Yesterday was chilly in a late-autumn-in-Maine sort of way, and the rich pasta and the spinach salad were perfect for the weather.

Alas, you can probably guess where this story is headed. I was half way through my second serving of the yummy pasta when I noticed a small, white worm thing on the edge of the bowl. I showed it to Doreen. She denied any knowledge of it and claimed that it was wiggling slightly. I didn't really want to inspect it too closely; I quickly flicked it into the compost bucket, a move that I was becoming quite familiar with.

What's really baffling is that it's hard to figure out where the worm came from and how it could still be slightly alive. Perhaps it had been hanging out in the bag of pasta. But the pasta had been boiled vigorously for 12 minutes. And the walnuts were thoroughly pureed. So any walnut-worms would have been similarly pureed. (Ug.) The other ingredients were onions garlic, and mushrooms, all of which were slowly sauteed for at least 10 minutes. So perhaps this is one tough worm, capable of surviving sauteeing, boiling, or pureeing. Or perhaps the worm crawled in some somewhere after the meal was done. I've considered this incident several times over, and each time I reach this point and then I think that I should stop thinking about it.

I'm pleased to report, however, that today my food has been bug-free. I think.