Frogged Thoughts

School holidays mean lots of mapping DNA segments, a little experimental cooking, and sometimes - especially when one's annual domain fee is due - a dot pointing of thoughts.

I'm trying to remember if "dot pointing" is something I said back in my 100% USA days or if I've picked it up.

(Those 100% days ended just over five months ago when I stood in front of a crowd of riparian breakfasters and uttered my commitment to Australia into a microphone... with what I thought was some articulation and flair, but the video later disabused me of this fantasy. Now I have two passports and may have finally impressed my teenaged self a little... if she doesn't open them to look at the photos.)

It seems that ellipses are on special today. 

My marriage is still fresh. I know because today I used "stint" as a verb and Mike queried it. "Like 'skimp'?" Because I am older and because I am me, I actually had a crisis of confidence and ran to the Google-tron to make sure that I wasn't just being lazy and misusing the word. How have I not used "stint" in Mike's hearing for twentymumble years?

One area where I'm not stinting is in Italian triple-milled soap. Sometimes Facebook ads work, and between a tax refund for each of us plus the money saved from our reluctance to go into the world during a pandemic, I have what I'm sure will be a surprisingly small parcel of "Nesti Dante" soaps on the way, one containing actual gold leaf. ...Dear diary, today I made a celeriac gratin and paid fourteen dollars for a single bar of soap.

When COVID-19 was just starting to affect people beyond China, my fellow genealogists urged people to record their experiences for later. I knew I should. At the very least I should note that 2020 was the year that I finally bought a diary. I also bought tickets for my first opera (by Tim Finn). And I had - am having? - a lot of intense experiences that come with being a high school teacher in a state that never shut the schools. We did have an extremely convenient, timing-wise, two-week break for Easter that ended with government leaders huffing at teachers to "Get back to work!" - which is just the kind of sentiment that wins hearts and rages minds when you never actually left work. Ah, the myth of the lazy teacher with "all that time off" has now evolved into the unpatriotic, unprofessional teacher whose service to society is fully suspect if they dare to suggest just trying the few weeks of online learning that everyone worked all of those extra hours before and during the break to create...

But say no more, say no more... No, really. Quiet. Criticism of the government can be construed as criticism of one's employer, and when you are one of only a handful of people at your site who believe in physically distancing from other adults wherever possible... then it's head down and button up. "It's over," I'm told nearly ever day.

But we're on break again, so shh.

(The next day.)

Here I am with a headful of Roomba dust, four new books from Boffins, and the ever-present beescape outside these front windows. Kitted out in four kinds of lavender and rosemary that has never known the touch of pruning shears, our home is surely harbouring any and all missing members of the honeybee population.

(The next day.)

Just when (interrupted then forgotten).


Today Mike finally levelled up with a new genealogy achievement: Became Own Cousin. It's just double 9th-greats, though. Hardly an explanation for why a person can move things out of their way in this house but not return said things back to their places once the primary mission is accomplished.

Casarecce became my favourite pasta a few years ago, but now, I don't know, I'm just kind of tired of it. Penne remains my pick for best all-rounder. Smooth (lesci) over ribbed (rigate), I think. But I'm coming to appreciate a thick spaghetti, which I never thought my angel hair proclivities would allow, but we use those bulky spaghettoni-type strands in Jamie Oliver's vegetarian leek carbonara and it's all pretty yum. (The leek carbonara is a revelation of savoury flavours... and a blistering fart fest for well into the next day.)

This far down the page and no yarn-harping?

(The next day.)

We're working our way through the Marvel flicks in chronological plot order. "We liked Iron Man. We liked Ant Man. We liked Guardians. Maybe it's time to put aside the time we turned off The Avengers due to boredom, time to try to ignore that it's been superhero-superhero-superhero everywhere for the past decade-plus, and try again?" (But not to the point where we re-watch ones we've already seen.)

Verdicts so far:

  • Captain America: pleasant, fun vintage aspects, thumbs up for some care with exposition
  • Captain Marvel: becomes pleasant once she's on Earth and the humour kicks in
  • The Incredible Hulk: utterly godawful
  • Thor: not amazing but happily watchable
  • The Avengers: It's (sociologically) interesting how much they counted on people having seen the previous films with the introduction of the problem, Loki, etc. Still didn't really care for what seemed like style over substance. Have anoither 20 minutes to watch, so we'll see. (UPDATE: It was actually another hour. Opinions have been revised downward. Between having to fight and beg people to socially distance away from us and this, 2020 really is our year to feel alone in the world.) 

Mike made "the Thug Kitchen dish" last night. That's the chili-mac-beer skillet that has been one of the few dishes from a cookbook to hit a solid rotation in our kitchen. He also made cornbread. "Six tablespoons of sugar? I'm halving that and joining Team Unsweetened!" And then, after a massive amount of cornbread appeared in the oven, there were regrets, but I think it's very edible when sopping up the tomato and beans. Still, as the years go by, I do seem to like my cornbread sweeter than I used to...

 (Some hours later.)

Just watched the movie Shirley, based on a novel that is based on Shirley Jackson's life... if Shirley Jackson was mostly a completely different individual. There's now some debate in the sofa precinct over whether it or Hulk was worse. "At least Hulk isn't trying to base itself on a real person." Mike is loyal in sharing my irritation, but he was mostly just bored. That may be the even greater sin here: the film is a clumpy mess. Even Sylvia had some style and momentum, for all of its flaws. 

(Back after talking to Dad a bit. Normally that's our Friday thing, but school holidays make time wobbly. It's not the first week over already, is it? Why is nothing marked? Where are my "here we go, Term 3, focus, people!" Powerpoints?)

For some reason, the other day YouTube recommended that I watch the mourners arrive to Natasha Richardson's funeral. I hadn't been watching any Richardson or Richardson-adjacent films. I hadn't spoken her name out loud. Maybe I mumbled something that rhymed in my sleep? Or did I just think "washed up and bitter (son!)" thoughts, and Siri is simply that perceptive now? 

Anyway, I equally can't figure out the reason that I actually watched the thing, but it was touching to see Alan Rickman give someone (her sister?) his scarf. Then, tumbling with speed down the rabbit hole, I was trying to remember without Googling (an act that needs its own sniglet) if Lynn Redgrave had already passed away at this point.  (Was she even in the video and I didn't recognise her?)

Then I remembered a story that my mother told me once - this would've been in the BeforeTimes(mm, when people's trivia didn't wash through my brain in gently lapping waves, disregarded except in response to certain keywords - about how Vanessa Redgrave was offered a part in a movie, but she didn't want to gain weight for the role. "Why don't you hire my sister," I remember my mother quoting. "She's already overweight." Lynn got the part and became a sensation, and everyone was happy.

Surely that film was Georgy Girl? It's just that I have this other memory of seeing a young Lynn Redgrave in a role where she was struggling with her weight and me thinking, "Ah, she's getting stuck with this same role again." But nothing at IMDb is twigging. I looked at the trailer for GG and have no memories of it, and the film I "remember" was in colour. Maybe my brain has just re-jigged all of her Weight Watchers ads into an unexpected narrative?

So I then checked out the novel Georgy Girl because the movie looked kind of interesting, better than the "wallflower makes good" plot I'd expected. What's up with Charlotte Rampling appearing in the thumbnail for the film across the internet, by the way? I get it. She's gorgeous. But come on.

When the book didn't grab me instantly, as sometimes you need books to do, I decided to look at last year's best sellers because what remains of this life is too short to keep re-reading favourites or edifying my noodle with non-fiction, however creative it may be. (I did read Where the Crawdad's Sing a month or two ago, which I expected to be the usual Try-Hard Southern Trauma genre, but it was terrific.) That's when I discovered that I'd actually already started The Starless Sea somewhere in the blitz and torpor of this year, so I can now look forward to "getting back to my book" when bedtime starts beckoning, a rare and lovely feeling. 

The net result of all of the above is that YouTube now keeps recommending videos from The Seekers to me, and I'm not complaining. My father once confessed to a wee crush on Judith Durham; I can see it. She sits opposite Charlotte Rampling on our collective shoulders, the angel in her beautiful maxi-dress, with those clear, strong notes. As each video comes on, I ask Mike, "Do you know this one?" And then I get a story about  how when he was in primary school they were led to sing "Morningtown Ride". Me, I only know "Georgy Girl" and, of course, the Coke song, if we're counting The New Seekers, which we really shouldn't. Not without my alternative timeline stepmother Judy there. 


12 July 2020 |