Monday, August 20, 2012

Brown paper packages, tied up with string....

Dear reader:

Because I owe you a full post, but it may take until this next weekend to get it to you, I offer the following brief reflections, links, and photos to tide you over.
Flowers from my yard next to a painting
I own on my desk at work... FN1.

On watering the lawn...

I watered the law for the first time last week. I don't mean this lawn, or a lawn of my own. I mean I haven't lived in a house for more than a few weeks since I was a little girl, and even back then yard work was done by people other than me (i.e. my brother) because I had a lot of the indoor chores and nursing responsibilities. So this is the first time in my life that I can remember deliberately turning on a hose and watering a lawn. It was late afternoon/early evening. I stood in the shadow of the house with my thumb pressed over the end of the nozzle.

 As the water hit the parched grass and tree roots and bark, I smelt their thirst. Is that a weird thing to say? Maybe. True, though. I smelt the relief of the earth and the way the dirt turned from dust back into something more, the water and the wetness and the life. It was a visceral scent experience that left me feeling more aware of the space around me, and I thought, "I have to tell someone." I wanted to say it was sweet, or earthy, or green, but it was and wasn't those things, the sum of the parts being more than their individual pieces summed up in some neat cosmic column. It made me love and marvel at the Earth can manage without and often in spite of us. We should take better care of it.

On random acts of kindess....

So tired....
A few days ago I stood sobbing in one of the worst neighborhoods in Portland next to my broken car, trying to figure out who I could call to help me. In my despair, I hardly noticed as a car pulled up next to me. This is a reflection of my general unhingedness, as I am usually hyper-aware of stranger danger and the like.

A nice little old man got out and helped me, even offering to follow me to his cousin's auto repair place if I needed. I declined since I was very far from my house and couldn't figure out how to get home without having to take a very expensive taxi during rush hour. He told me to be careful and drove away.

Thank goodness for the goodness in the world. Sometimes it is the only thing you can keep faith in.

On aquatics...

I normally hate what passes for an aquatic scent, but it has been so hot here (breaking 100 degrees!) and I have been dessssperate. Luckily for me, I have been the recipient of some of the based water inspired scents I've ever been lucky enough to try, so get ready for a little something-something about that soon.

On books...

This last week and weekend I was mostly housebound outside of work, and while I spent the bulk of my time working, working, working on putting the house together, I also read three books. All three were terrific, so I thought I'd tell you all about them really briefly.

I read the second installation of Veronica Roth's series, Insurgent. For fans of The Hunger Games (Happy DVD release!), I think you'd enjoy the adventures and inner struggles of the heroine, Tris. I think the books are tightly written and fast paced. High on my list of recommended YA dystopian reading.

Speaking of dystopia (so hot right now!), I also read Lauren Oliver's Delirium. Oliver's writing has a lyrical quality to it that is beautiful, lush, and majestic. It made me want to visit Portland, Maine (or "the other Portland," as we call it) to see how much the fiction and the reality overlapped. It is a beautiful book, and I'm excited to see where the second in the series, Pandemonium takes the story.

So many books...and we
took over ten boxed to Powells.
We're book hoarders!
Last, I finally sat down and read John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. And by sat down and read it, I mean I literally sat down on the couch and read the entire thing in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. It was the most entertaining, hilarious serious book about cancer I think you could ever read. I still can't get over the all the ways it shouldn't work but magically does. It deserves all the intensely high praise it gets; I bet I read it again within the year. It's a very dense book; lots of big ideas compressed into throw away lines of funny dialogue. I cannot imagine how much work it took.  Truly an accomplishment of the writer that so much is done with such a conservation of language.

Thanks to Hillary K. for demanding I read it, and then coming home from Europe, so I would finally get around to it.

Okay readers. That's all the news that is fit to print for now, I'm afraid. I'll be back soon though.

FN1. To clarify, sometimes when I say "my," I mean, "I possess the bundle of rights pertaining to said object," not as in "I created that."  "My" sometimes (most often, in fact, in colloquial speech) implies ,"I have the rights to said object or property, including the right to transfer, lease, sell, destroy, or keep said objection."

And that's your law & linguistics lesson of the day.

David just told me to stop feeding the trolls, so I'm done now.


-E- said...

That's from the New York Times.

Diana said...

Not clear what you think is from NYT. I took those photos myself. I didn't paint the image. It was a gift. I just keep it on my desk at work

Anonymous said...

You've reminded me to go and check on the solitary plant we've got in the communal back garden here - a small hazel tree.

I used to check on it more regularly when it was in a big pot positioned where we could see it, but someone planted it in a border where it is not in view from our place. It is probably better off in the border, in all fairness, but I miss seeing it every day.

Thanks for the reminder, and good luck with your yard - the scent of hot plants and ground enjoying a soaking takes some beating!

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading "The Fault in Our Stars". (I enjoy your blog, too!) Thanks for the tip!

~Amy Bella

Diana said...


I am totally killing the plants I put in the yard a few weeks ago. Because the black thumb strikes again! Hope your single plant is doing better than ALL of mine.


Diana said...


Thank you so much for reading, and I'm glad you liked the book. I thought it was terrific.