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Archive for November, 2013

Nomoblopomo

30 November, 2013 at 11:15 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess, her aunt and I went to see Pride and Prejudice in the Gate this evening. It was very long and the lead actors had as much chemistry as a pair of lemons. Disappointing and very tiring.

Naming Policies

29 November, 2013 at 7:39 pm by belgianwaffle

A lot of Irish women are called Majella. St. Gerard Majella is the patron saint of expectant mothers and those parents who didn’t fancy Gerardine for their daughters often went for Majella. Whenever I meet a Majella, I think, difficult birth. I am not sure whether Majella has any traction elsewhere but it continues to be a reasonably common name here for women aged 35 to 65. Goretti (another saint’s surname – St. Maria Goretti) is also a, less popular, choice for women of that age group.

You think that pair are bad? There is worse to come in this trend of using saints’ surnames as girls’ first names. My mother has a friend called Labouré which is, I think, the world’s worst name, just shading Gobnait (second worst girl’s name). I am reminded of all this because there was a quote from St. Catherine Labouré in the leaflet at mass on Sunday: I place myself before the good God and I say to Him: “Lord here I am, give me what You will.” If He gives me something, I am very pleased and I thank Him. If He gives me nothing, I still thank Him because I do not deserve anything.

So, not only the source of awful names but sanctimonious also. Feel free to share weird names you have known in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!

28 November, 2013 at 9:45 pm by belgianwaffle

This morning the Princess sang out from her bedroom “Happy Thanksgiving, happy Hanukkah!” As I dragged myself from my bed, I said to Mr. Waffle, “Americans can stay in bed and eat turkey today: sequentially not simultaneously.” “Well, he said for every American B eating turkey, there is an American A getting up early to put it in the oven.” If you are American A, I salute you.

At breakfast, the Princess announced, “I think we should be more intercultural and celebrate Hanukkah.” She added for the benefit of her brothers, “It’s a Jewish festival and you get presents every day for 12 days.” We will not be celebrating Hanukkah, despite special pleading but a happy Hanukkah to you,if you are and good luck with that present buying regime.

Definitions

27 November, 2013 at 7:22 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: Whose turn is it to get the Angry Birds water bottle?
Michael: Daniel can have it.
Me: That’s very generous of you, Michael.
Michael: I just don’t like the flask.
Daniel: That’s not generous, that’s unfortunate.

Lydia’s Tragedy

26 November, 2013 at 8:56 pm by belgianwaffle

The Princess and I are going with her aunt to see Pride and Prejudice in the theatre. It is the Gate Theatre Christmas production and it’s always something undemanding for all the family. A couple of years ago they did Little Women and the Princess and I went. It was her first grown-up theatre experience and it was absolutely magical.

Co-incidentally a friend of hers from school is going to the same performance. She and her friend have thrown themselves into diligent preparation which extends to creating a list identifying everyone in the class with a character from the novel [Mr. Darcy, alas, remains uncast]. It also involves reading the novel which I would have thought was a stretch but they seem to be enjoying it. We were talking about it at dinner this evening.

Me: How are you getting on with Pride and Prejudice?
Her: Lydia has just eloped with Mr. Wickham.
Me: Oh vile Lydia.
Her: Mrs. Forrester should have taken better care of her.
Me: Oh, I don’t know, surely, it’s Lydia’s parents fault that she’s so badly brought up.
Her: Well, she is only 15.
Daniel: I think Lydia is very lucky.
Me: Why is that, sweetheart?
Daniel: Only three more years and she’ll be old enough to play Halo.
Herself: Oh Daniel, Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813.
Daniel: So?
Mr. Waffle: Lydia will never be able to play Halo.

Poor Me

25 November, 2013 at 8:44 pm by belgianwaffle

I stayed at home today languishing in bed. As every parent knows, you must be a death’s door to stay home when you have children rather than go into work. I was going to go in but I was up half the night coughing and Mr. Waffle forbade it which I found rather pleasing though you would think at 44, I would be capable of deciding myself rather than wanting my husband to write a metaphorical note but so it is. I am better but not better this evening, as my mother would say. Nablopomo is killing me this year.

Overdoing It

24 November, 2013 at 9:36 pm by belgianwaffle

Some time ago, I agreed with my sister that I would drive down to Cork with her. I did that yesterday. Mr. Waffle had previously arranged to go and see Ireland play the All-Blacks today (particularly distressing defeat for Ireland, since you ask).

I needed to be back in Dublin by 12 today to facilitate Mr. Waffle’s departure to the match. “No problem,” I said. I didn’t realise when I blithely agreed to this that I was going to be ill this weekend. And then, it was only subsequently I realised that everyone in Munster was also going to the match. I managed to just about secure a ticket on the 8.00 train (change at Mallow) for €32.99 one way. When I got on the train was heaving with polite rugby supporters and the reserved seat signs weren’t working so there was much jostling for position. Polite jostling. I sat beside a polite New Zealander (a happy man tonight, I assume). There was no tea on the tea trolley and I had the dubious pleasure of forking out €2.50 for a cup of boiling water (for my lemsip).

I was collected from the station by Mr. Waffle and the children and we proceeded to mass. The Princess did her second reading with considerable aplomb once she realised that her moment had come (this was proceeded by a frantic scuttling up the aisle on my part and a hissing to her to go up – apparently her friend A had already said “Go on, it’s now, you idiot” so my intervention was as embarrassing as it was unnecessary). She had a great reading, it was a long one and it contains this line which is a good one: “for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth: everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers – all things were created through him and for him.” Daniel has joined the choir, so he was up at the front of the church with his sister and Michael was left sitting with his father and me.

As I have covered previously, Michael does not like going to mass. It lasts forever and it is precious time from the weekend. He walked to the church with dragging footsteps complaining of a sore leg. He counted the seconds at mass until he had got to 15 minutes and asked was it over yet. It was not. I do understand. Some of the longest hours of my life have been spent in mass as a small child (and it was only 40 minutes then). But he is not pleased. It was this Sunday that the parish priest chose to say in his sermon – “We don’t come to mass because we must. We don’t come to mass because we are forced to do so to be good Catholics.” Michael began to protest, all too audibly that that was exactly why he came to mass. He folded his arms and glowered at his father and me in turn.

It did end eventually and Michael was keen to return to his home. On the way home, the neighbours asked Dan in to play with their middle child who is a great friend of his due to their continual excursions to GAA matches and training together. “Sure,” I said. “We’re going out at 2.30,” said the friend’s mother, “Is that ok?” “Fine,” I said. We were dropping Mr. Waffle to the rugby match; news which Michael greeted with prolonged howls of outrage “I want to go home to my own house.” We were slightly late, traffic was heavy, Mr. Waffle likes to be punctual, no one had had lunch, Michael continued to recount his woes loudly and sniffly, I was conscious of our deadline at the other end when the neighbours needed to drop Dan back and my lemsip was wearing off. It was a tense car journey though in the end, Mr. Waffle was on time, we were on time and Michael got home.

When we got home, Daniel discovered that his Christmas list had gone missing and needed to be found immediately. Michael couldn’t open the milk bottle which needed to be opened immediately. Herself looking at me trailing around the house miserably still in my coat with my overnight bag in the hall said, “Mum, would you like me to make lunch?” Which she did, very competently. I’m beginning to feel that those teenage years may not be as bad as everyone says they will be.

I’m still sick as a dog but a quiet afternoon at home has done much to restore me. We had a particularly thrilling game of ludo.

Do I Despise Me?

23 November, 2013 at 11:20 pm by belgianwaffle

My sister took me to Kildare Village today. It’s essentially a shopping centre in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a car park.

It was a bizarrely antiseptic experience walking around the streets of this spotless, tiny, artificial town. No civic architecture, no life or purpose other than neat little shops in this lifeless, manicured space.

We went for a cup of tea and through the window we saw an old abbey; surprising, but very pleasing.

“We can go and look at it, if you like,” said my sister.

“But we haven’t seen all the shops yet,” I said.

This is Cheating

22 November, 2013 at 6:55 pm by belgianwaffle

I did not update on 22 November because I came home from work and crawled into bed with a hot water bottle. But I will date this post yesterday and all will be well. I’m feeling a bit better today, thank you, but mainlining lemsip.

Products in the Spar as Described by Dublin Estate Agents

21 November, 2013 at 9:33 pm by belgianwaffle

I saw this on kottke: ads for bodega items if they were written by NYC real estate brokers.

Now, the style of Dublin estate agents is quite different from that of their NY counterparts so I started trying to think how this would look here (I am driven to this by Nablopomo).

fresh-milk_2

A timeless classic which buyers will have to drink to fully appreciate. Lovingly encased in a cardboard wrapping combining the best of tradition with all modern conveniences. This milk is in turnkey condition although the new owner may want to put his own stamp on it by pouring it into a glass.

File:Eierdoosmet10eierengevuld2010.jpg

An opportunity to acquire a unique product. Each individual egg is one of a kind. The discerning buyer will instantly see the potential of this classic to make a tasty dinner or a sponge. The well-proportioned egg has retained its value over the years and is an ideal investment opportunity. It could also be the first step on the cooking ladder for the first time buyer; its versatility and affordability make the egg the perfect buy.

Bread hunters, your search is over! This loaf of bread is new to the market and early viewing is recommended. Adjacent to all conveniences (butter, cereal etc.) but away from the hustle and bustle of the sweet aisle. This is a much sought after loaf and could not be better located. Behind a simple yellow exterior lies a beautifully appointed and newly made loaf of bread with manicured crusts. Eating is a must!

I’m exhausted. Your own witty descriptions in the comments, please.

My Teenage Years

20 November, 2013 at 5:28 pm by belgianwaffle

Kara suggested that I might fill in some NaBloPoMo posts with stories from my teenage years. I am not sure that I can give a story a day because that would just be too traumatic but I will give one story.

When I was about 17, I went down town with my mother and there was a tall handsome Pres boy collecting money for SHARE. “Hello William,” said she. “Anne,” said my mother, “you remember William, you used to play together all the time, you were great friends when you were children.” And I did remember William, last seen when I was eight. But I had not been aware that he was handsome then. Remember, gentle reader, I attended a single sex school and my exposure to young men consisted almost (although not entirely) of exposure to my younger brother’s friends. I blushed to the roots of my hair (and I was a brilliant blusher) and was unable to say a word. I muttered something. I died.

About ten years later who did I run into in Dublin, only William. By then I had been through college and my relationship with men was entirely different. I was filled with confidence. What a co-incidence: what was he doing? Was he working in Dublin? How was his mother (great friend of my mother’s and source of our limited acquaintance)? “Gosh, I haven’t seen you in years,” I said. “Yes,” he said, with deplorable, though accurate, recall, “not since that time when I was collecting for SHARE on Patrick St and I met you with your mother and you went bright red and couldn’t say anything.” I died.

The motto of this story is that, contrary to what your mother says, not all of these things are forgotten and actually, people do notice.

To Hell or to Connaught

19 November, 2013 at 9:18 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel: Is that a prison?
Me: No, actually, it’s a former mental hospital.
Daniel: It looks like a prison.
Me: It does a bit. When it was built, people with mental illnesses were treated a bit like prisoners and locked up in really unpleasant places. In fact, in Ireland, we have a very bad history of locking people up in mental asylums just because they were a bit strange or difficult. I read somewhere that in the 1950s there were more mental patients per head of population than anywhere else in the world.
Daniel: That Oliver Cromwell was really terrible, wasn’t he?

There are More Things on Heaven and Earth, Horatio

18 November, 2013 at 9:09 pm by belgianwaffle

Daniel got to read a prayer of the faithful for the first time on Sunday which he did with aplomb, accuracy and great bravery [and speed]. Meanwhile Michael was off at the children’s session where he was busy looking for proof of the existence of Jesus. Apparently, the woman in charge told him that the Romans were terrific record keepers which may not be a theologically accurate response but did the job as far as I was concerned until his sister said, “Well, of course, we know he existed from Roman records but whether he was the Messiah or some kind of mad man remains unclear.” “If only we could travel back into the past and check like the Termoonator,” said Michael. “I think you mean the Terminator,” I said. “Is he a cow?” asked Michael.

Bookish

17 November, 2013 at 7:08 pm by belgianwaffle

Yesterday we cycled up to the library en famille. Some of us went on the pavement but that’s ok because the stretch between the top of our road and our local library must be one of the busiest roads in the country. When we came home, this was the happy scene:

image

Have I mentioned how much I wish that our budget would stretch to either changing the previous owner’s sofa or her curtains [Mr. Waffle describes the combined effect as “do not adjust your set”].

Then today we went to the launch of “The Hatching” at the Dublin Book Festival and it was terrific. The author [a ghost-writer for 12 year old Annie Graves] gave a couple of great readings and the children were spellbound. We then went to the book clinic where the book doctor diagnosed your reading needs and gave you a prescription for books you might like. The Princess particularly enjoyed this as, having read everything, she put them to the pins of their collars. She was interviewed by the man doing a documentary on the festival and she enjoyed that too.

image

I was particularly impressed by the man who worked with Michael and seemed very familiar with the work of Dav Pilkey and other authors Michael particularly enjoys. Have you not heard of “Captain Underpants”? You haven’t lived. Daniel did not go to the book doctor as he was curled up on a beanbag reading and preferred to stay where he was.

image

And then we went for pizza.

image

All Change

16 November, 2013 at 8:38 pm by belgianwaffle

On Friday morning we got up half an hour earlier and walked to school [we almost always drive, alas]. It was a lovely morning. Michael had floated the idea in the first place having been to a talk with the school for sustainable energy week. However, on hitting the pavement he was less keen drooping visibly and complaining of a sore leg. As good luck would have it, at the first traffic light we met a group of other parents and children and Michael was miraculously restored to health and they all went running off together sharing the scooters out amongst themselves.

One of the fathers who often organises vouchers for the teachers for Christmas, said to me, “We’re going to get a voucher for Máistir A [the boys’ teacher], fiver a head.” “Great,” said I mentally applauding his advance planning but not, you know, handing over the tenner on the spot. When we got to school it transpired that the Máistir had got a new job in Kerry [where he is from] and was starting on Monday. Although the school had been told a month previously, the children weren’t told until the day before to avoid distraction.

Apparently on Thursday a note came home in the school bags. But there was no homework on Thursday as the Sam Maguire and some of Dublin’s winning all-Ireland team had come to the school, so we hadn’t opened the bags. The children had been told but when asked whether there was any news from school they answered as follows:

Herself: No
Daniel: No
Michael: Yes, I was put on the balla dána by Múinteoir S [a cruel and unusual punishment that you may have to google].

Not a word about the máistir’s departure which I take it means that they are untraumatised. I’m a bit shocked myself but that’s life I suppose. The boys are getting a teacher who is very popular – he was out for the start of the year having surgery on his leg and he is just coming back now. 3rd class are the envy of the school. It’s an ill wind, I suppose.

A Lot of Lemon Meringue

15 November, 2013 at 11:16 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself made lemon meringue. No one need go hungry. I would post a photo but the technology is being uncooperative. Not a classic post but it’s 11.15 on a Friday night after a long week.

Updated to add – the lemon meringue:
image

Cellar Infill Works

14 November, 2013 at 11:10 pm by belgianwaffle

They’re building a new tram line in Dublin. As part of the works, they’re backfilling old Georgian cellars.

It’s a little odd to think of these old vaulted cellars under the road for centuries. They are all that remain of once grand houses long since pulled down and replaced by unlovely corporation flats. Many of the flats themselves are now boarded up and abandoned.

The Irish Georgian Society is displeased.

I can’t help but remember when Mr Waffle and I were dumbfounded many years ago in Canada by a chance to inspect grain silo number no.2 which was preserved as part of Montreal’s industrial heritage. Mr. Waffle feels that this is better than a cellar but I am unconvinced.

So is this
a) wanton destruction of Dublin’s Georgian heritage or
b) necessary for progress after all they are only cellars for God’s sake.

Your views in the comments, please. Ah go on.

Seasonal

13 November, 2013 at 7:29 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Do you know when Christmas begins for me?
Me: When?
Michael: November 1.
Mr Waffle: You are at one with the retail trade then.

People Who Have Minded My Children

12 November, 2013 at 8:45 pm by belgianwaffle

When herself was born, we were living abroad. This meant that there were usually no family members about to mind our children, so we entrusted them to a range of strangers, broadly successfully. However, I have been trying to make a list of all the people who have minded my children but I just can’t remember, which is something of a failure, I concede.

Herself was only minded by family (mostly her parents) until she went to the creche at about six months at which point the lovely Rachida minded her but then she progressed to Maëlle and then went upstairs to the big children and didn’t have anyone in particular that I can remember.

We also entrusted her for a weekend to Genia our Polish cleaner just before the boys were born. We escaped to Paris. When we came back herself could sing Frère Jacques in Polish.

When the boys were born we hired Charity to mind them. We entered into an immensely and, in retrospect, unnecessary rigmarole where they went to the crèche a couple of days a week and were minded by Charity on other days. I have, sadly, no real memory of who minded the boys in the crèche. Herself, as a big 2 and a half year old, had already started school at this point (Madame Marie, Madame Tatiane, Madame Valerie and Madame Christine in that order). Charity, from the Philippines, was organised and sensible and kept our flat immaculate – although there was an awkward conversation about long distance phone calls at one point – but the children weren’t particularly fond of her, I feel. We had two other Filipina babysitters for odd evenings or emergencies and they were both much more popular. Maybe it’s easier to be popular, if you’re not doing the day in/day out work.

It was around this time that we got an evening babysitter who came every Saturday. This was Katja who was a lovely, gentle French girl from Collioure, studying art but comic book art. Welcome to Belgium. When she left, we nearly cried and she gave us a couple of bottles of wine from her brother’s vineyard.

When we came back to Ireland, I decided that we would try to get French babysitters to mind the children to keep up their French. This has been somewhat mocked but I think it has worked quite well, though I would concede that turnover has been an issue.

The boys started in a crèche chosen by their grandparents and they really liked it. In fact they still speak nostalgically about it occasionally especially the morning that the electricity went down and they had croissants for breakfast. They were minded there by a terrifying Romanian woman called Monica whom they adored.

For picking up from school/creche duty, we started with three students who shared the job between them. Not maybe a great model and not terrifically successful. I can’t quite remember their names off-hand which is never good. Then we had Florence for about a year. I quite liked her though she always seemed a bit tired – she had another job in the mornings. I think it was on her watch that Michael was snatched from under an approaching tram. An event so exciting that all three children recounted it to me in technicolour detail. She handed over to Melanie. Melanie was terrific. She was a brilliant cook and always doing things with the children. And she was in Ireland for the foreseeable future. But then her boyfriend lost his job and they decided to go back to France. Alas. Then there was Odile who was practical but they did not love her. And then she left for France early for reasons I cannot now recall and we had Magali for 6 weeks whom they all cordially loathed. Around this time we had Julia doing our evening babysitting and she was very beloved and she loved them. But yes, she went back to France – actually to Berlin to be with her boyfriend but it was all the one to us.

From September 2011 to June 2012 we had Lauriane and she was terrific. When reminded of her existence recently, Daniel cried [not welcome, as such, obviously, but just shows how much they liked her]. Flexible, obliging, reliable, punctual, quite strict, very dutiful and much loved by the children. And, as a bonus, she made them speak French. Friday 29 June 2012 was her last day. Sad sigh. On the plus side, barring disaster, our evening babysitter, C, will not be returning to France as she has made her home here.

For the first time, from September 2012 to June 2013, we had a man, Thomas. He was amazingly good at folding clothes. Also, they all really liked him and he was obliging and conscientious. Another one that we are sad to see go. The children are becoming annoyed about turnover. I did hope that Thomas might come back to us in September but alas, it turned out that he had to eat and he found another job.

So we started with Ana in September. So far so good. She has another job in the morning and she sometimes looks exhausted when we get home. She is half Spanish and rather warmer or different I suppose to our usual cohort. The Princess is exhausted by Ana’s interest in her doings (“She’s always asking me, how was my day in school, what am I reading?”) having grown used to a different cultural regime.

I’ve just realised, that I’ve done all this before. I’m pleased to see that I am reasonably consistent. Although I did completely forget Aliette who was rather good.

Bleurgh

11 November, 2013 at 4:18 pm by belgianwaffle

I had to leave at 6 in the morning for a work trip recently and searched blearily in the drawer for a travel sized toothpaste. It was only when I was going to bed in my hotel that night that I realised that I had inadvertently packed bubblegum flavoured kiddie toothpaste. Alas.

Continuing to Look for an Exit Strategy

10 November, 2013 at 4:15 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Are all of our relatives catholic?
Me: Um, yes, nearly all. Aunty N and Uncle A in London aren’t.
Michael: Ooooh.

Swimming against the Tide

9 November, 2013 at 4:50 pm by belgianwaffle

In today’s paper there was an obituary of a Fianna Fáil politician. He was one of the Ansbacher account holders. He was described as “a devout Catholic, non-smoker and non-drinker”. I am not quite sure how he squared his banking arrangements with a devout catholic conscience; anyhow, these words do make him sound joyless and judgemental and I feel that they were intended to do so. It certainly painted a mental picture for me and it was not a particularly positive one.

It then occurred to me that the words might also be applied to me. Given that the criteria for devout catholic have relaxed quite a bit since I was younger and weekly mass-goer seems to be sufficient to make the grade, I am in there. I have never been a smoker. And I don’t like the taste of alcohol, so I tend not to drink. I will often take a glass of wine, if people are insistent (and, in Ireland, they often are) but I’ll just have a sip and in my experience, people don’t notice you’re not drinking, if you have a full glass of something in front of you. My only hope of salvation is, clearly, to continue to pretend to drink.

Did you know that you were reading the blog of a devout Catholic, non-smoker and non-drinker? Also, a pedant which is why I wonder, catholic, c or C? Advice in the comments please.

First out of the Suggestion Box

8 November, 2013 at 9:13 pm by belgianwaffle

I think for the remainder of the month, I will be working my way through the suggestions my kind readers have made.

So first up: what do I make of Roy Keane’s appointment? Well, I know next to nothing about football but even I know that this is going to be a complete disaster. Obviously, the only saving grace is that he is from Cork.

More tomorrow. But not on Roy Keane.

Is there a Theologian in the House?

7 November, 2013 at 10:21 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Witches might exist.
Me: Mmm, but they don’t.
Michael: Well, if God exists, then how do you know witches don’t?

Planning for the Festive Season

6 November, 2013 at 10:19 pm by belgianwaffle

Michael: Do we have to go to mass on Christmas day?
Me: Yes.
Michael: Even if it’s not a Sunday.
Me: Yes.
Michael: This is so unfair.

It’s Not Cheating

5 November, 2013 at 10:17 pm by belgianwaffle

You may have thought that there was no post yesterday but you were wrong. I lovingly crafted something when I came in from bookclub last night and posted it. For reasons that are mysterious, it was posted date stamped March. I have updated. It still counts.

But, today, today, I have nothing. And it’s only November 5. This is unlikely to end well.

Please suggest themes to cover in the comments. Please.

10 Books That Make You Look Cool

4 November, 2013 at 11:23 pm by belgianwaffle

Litlove has a great post on books that make you look cool. She has given a list of 10. She qualifies it as follows:

And I tried to think which books would engender most respect in me, if I saw someone reading them in a café. This is only a bit of fun, though, not intended to be in anyway definitive, and indeed I could have come up with about ten lists, there are so many cool books. Frankly, I think it’s cool to see anyone reading in a public place, particularly if it’s a real book with a cover that will satisfy my curiosity!

Here is my list of 10 based on books I have read myself. Feel free to do the same – in the comments or elsewhere (if you are doing Nablopomo, you may need inspiration also). I haven’t included any of Litlove’s because variety is all to the good though they are undoubtedly good ones.

1. “What I loved” by Siri Hustvedt

A truly brilliant book and a very literary one as well. You’re on a complete winner here. Just that little bit more obscure than her husband, Paul Auster, who many would consider cool but I consider utterly unreadable.

2. “Mad, Bad and Sad” by Lisa Appignanesi

A book about mental illness and women. Grand big thick book and extremely readable and genuinely interesting.

3. “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell

A Victorian classic but not an obvious one. Very restful.

4. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote

An American classic.

5. “Portnoy’s Complaint” by Philip Roth

A completely different American classic. The funniest of all Philip Roth’s books.

6. “Stupeur et tremblements” by Amélie Nothomb

Ideally in French, obviously. Unless you live in France. A great writer with a very odd and idiosyncratic view of the world. Also, Japan is pretty weird.

7. “Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard

This is very good, letters between four sisters in the 18th and early 19th century. But will it make you look cool? For historical biography you might be better off with “Castlereagh” by John Bew

8. “Maus” by Art Spiegelman

The obligatory graphic novel. There are a number of these that would do the trick [“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi also leaps to mind]. This one is clever with Nazis as cats and Jews as mice. Prepare to be depressed though.

9. “What If” Blake Morrison

This is about the case in England where two young boys murdered a toddler. It’s a great work about motivation and society. Lovely writing.

10. “Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis” by Wendy Cope

While poetry is obligatory the accessibility of the poetry I read does not make for coolness. You’ll have to put in your own cool poetry book.

Biotechnology 101

3 November, 2013 at 9:18 pm by belgianwaffle

Her: You know the double helix?
Me: Eh?
Her [with a sigh]: As discovered by Crick and Watson [pause] and Franklin?
Me [fighting back]: Ahem, was that a pause before Franklin?
Her [winning]: Yes, for dramatic effect.

Muppet

2 November, 2013 at 10:50 pm by belgianwaffle

Me: I think Kermit just pronounced ‘vivacious’ incorrectly.
Michael: Whatevs, he’s a frog with no teeth.

November

1 November, 2013 at 9:11 pm by belgianwaffle

Herself: Not the bus, I hate the bus.
Me: Yes, the bus.
Her: I shouldn’t have to get the bus.
Me: I beg your pardon? There is nothing wrong with the bus. You get the bus home from school most days. Why would you say that?
Her: Those November Nablopomo posts aren’t going to write themselves, you know.

Yes indeed, we’ll be here all month.


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