Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday, and I have no ashes

Today is Clean Up Day here at the office. I have to go through my desk (i.e., all the blasted papers I have on top of it) and get rid of stuff I don't need. The engineers are also supposed to get rid of parts they no longer need. My cubemate is already at work cleaning up his area and making me feel guilty, especially since I'm just wasting time and not actually working.

The walk in this morning was quite treacherous, as all concrete and asphalt was covered in black ice. I could have fallen with every step I took. The first one was on the step leading to the sidewalk, and I just chalked it up to the paint on the step which makes it a little slick when it rains. Well, when I hit the sidewalk I figured out that it wasn't the paint's fault, it was the fact that it was misting and it was 20˚F, so when it hit the ground it formed this very thin layer of ice. NOT FUN - that's all I have to say. And now it's snowing. DAMN! I know I live in Michigan and it's expected, but it doesn't mean I have to like it, right? I really need to move somewhere warm.

Back in 1996 I had moved to San Francisco thinking that it would be paradise. It's not. Sure, it doesn't get snow or 20˚F, as a general rule, but it also doesn't get what I consider to be a normal summer (80-90˚F and sun). I actually wore my gloves year-round (except maybe late September and early October). That damn fog is freaking bone-chilling! And after four years I figured out that I like summer a whole lot more than I hate winter, so I came back. I can see why people live in Arizona.

Today is Ash Wednesday and already I've blown the not-swearing Lenten sacrifice. I shall try harder. And for the record, I'm not giving up all swearing, just the grand-daddies (the "F" word and the G-D words). Bloody hell is not swearing in my book! ;-) I am going to fast today though, and not the wimpy Catholic fasting (small something for breakfast, small something for lunch, and then a small dinner which is not to exceed the total of breakfast and lunch), but really not eating today (well, at least until dinner, because I made dinner plans last week before I realised what day it was, but I'm only going to have a small salad or something like that). I am drinking tea and water though, so I'm not doing a Ramadan type fast.

I finally finished reading Justine the other day, which means that I shall finally give you all the list of words I had to look up (I know you've all been dying for this list). Please remember that the dictionary used was a Random House College Dictionary with a copyright of 1975.

hebetude = the state of being dull or listless; lethargy
tarbush (tarboosh in my dictionary) = A tasseled cloth or felt cap worn by Muslim men
caryatids = a sculptured female figure used as a column
fatidic = prophetic
parturition = childbirth
narguileh = hookah
Swedenborg = Emanuel, 1688-1772, Swedish scientist & philosopher
refecundated = re-fertilize
planchette = small, heart-shaped board supported by two castors and a pencil or stylus which when moved across a surface by the light unguided pressure of the fingertips is supposed to trace meaningful patterns or written messages revealing subconscious thoughts, clairvoyant messages, etc.
scarp = line of cliffs formed by the faulting or fracturing of the earth's crust

Favorite quote from Justine: "Speaking about his marriage, Pursewarden wrote, 'I found that as well as displeasing another I also displeased myself; now, alone, I have only myself to displease. Joy!'"

I definitely feel that at some point I shall have to re-read it in a not so haphazard manner to understand it a bit more fully and I shall not move on to the next book in the Quartet (I hope) until I re-read it. I need to read something a little less esoteric before I go back to it. I'm now reading The Queen of the South by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. I found that he has written yet another book, so I had to get moving on this one. I've read all his others in order (not that they need to be, mind you) and I didn't want to get out of synch. If you have never read him, I highly recommend The Flanders Panel and The Club Dumas, as well as his others, but those were my favorites. The Club Dumas was made into the movie, The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp.

Two websites related to snowflakes were brought to my attention this week: one from Ursamajor and this one from Julie. Both are cool in their own ways, although Ursa's is more fun as you get to make your own snowflakes! Talk about a lovely timewaster!

Okay, time to get serious and clean up this mess of a desk! Happy Ash Wednesday, all!


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