Sunday, June 25, 2017

Random Notes for a Summer Sunday

- For whatever reason, even though this year's roses are ragged and untidy, it's turning out to be quite a season for hydrangeas. They're a flower that always amuses me, for one immediately thinks of Miss Ciccone's vocal dislike of them. For me, as well, that then makes me think of Mother Muscato, as it turns out to be one of the vanishingly few things I think those two women would have had in common. She thought hydrangeas, for reasons unknown, to be terribly common; I'm quite sure that the annual success of our neighbor Miss Lowrie's compared to her own had nothing at all to do with it.

Actually, Mother had something of an unexpected sort of soft spot for the onetime Material Girl. "She's got a good head on her shoulders, that one," she observed at one point, having seen her on some talk-show interview or perhaps read an interview (did Madonna ever do Parade? It was Mother's favorite magazine). "She won't end up in some lounge act." Nor has she, all these years later, although at times one wonders if it mightn't have been better for all of us had she done so...

- This is something of a banner Sunday for me as well, for it marks the beginning of the Eid el Fitr, which itself marks - blessedly - the end of Ramadan.  The Holy Month seemed to drag, somehow, this year, and if nothing else it will be nice to be able to have a little glass of something with (or before, or after) dinner without feeling vaguely sinful. The Mister is very tolerant about that sort of thing, but even so...

We don't have any special celebrations planned for this holiday, but we do have some good fun coming up, more of which anon, I'm quite sure.

- Time in its Flight Department: So I went, for the first time in many, many years, to the eye doctor on Friday.  I have always been an outlier, and a distant one, in my family.  The siblings all had glasses by ten at the very latest, and looking back at the family albums, one quickly notes that what dear Dame Edna refers to as Face Furniture has played a major part in our shared existence since sometime in the Lincoln administration at the latest.  Not me - 20/20 all the way.  My Dear Sister, staring through her trifocals, has been known to make aspersions as to my parentage (which might be more plausible if I didn't look more or less exactly like a combined portrait, more the's the pity on the whole, of my late parents).  Well, the party's over, vision-wise, and the only consolation offered by Dr. Haile (a solemn and rather courtly physician of Ethiopian extraction) was, "You should be glad of all those bonus years you've gotten - you're not 40, you know!"

I do know, and now I also know what it's like to wearing reading glasses (we've put off the prospect of serious full-time specs for a while, as my distance vision isn't nearly as bad as I feared). I should have known that would be the outcome; whilst dining with Mr. Peenee in San Francisco last month, I for a moment borrowed his and was astonished at the fine-grained detail of the menus we were perusing, not to mention actually being able to read the (as is customary in that fair city) obsessive detail in which each dish was described (do we really need to know the exact farm from which everything from the radishes to the veal chops are brought?).

The result, I doubt you'll be at all surprised to hear, is that I now look even more like my mother. Bother.

- And finally, here's a harbinger of the Way We Live Now, or at least the parlous days in which we live them. Berta, the very nice woman who, in a phrase from My Hometown in days of yore, does for us (every Saturday, regular as clockwork, and much the better we are for it), didn't appear yesterday. In the afternoon, she sent a very short text to Mr. Muscato, apologizing for "an emergency." Today her phone is unreachable - texts bounced back, calls unplaceable. We're worried, a little, as she has small children - but rather than assuming, as one might, that perhaps her battery died or she's busy, now we're wondering if it isn't possible that she's been deported.  There really seems to be no aspect of life that this grim regime can't poison with anything from uncertainty to disgust. And we're only six months in...

Well, here's to a better summer for all us, and hydrangeas for everybody!


  1. The hydranga head class in our flower show is always the biggest class

  2. We always refer to Hydrangeas - particularly those enormous "mop-heads" - as "Granny's knickers flowers". Judging by the fact that Queen Madge probably doesn't wear such things, this is probably why she hates them so much too. Jx

  3. I'm quite fond of them. I have, let me see, 6 of them currently, down from my previous 10. They love the San Francisco weather and my generous watering habit.

  4. and they are rather common. Like geraniums. And me,