Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003

learning to speak
Day by day, my 19-month-old daughter Sage is expanding her vocabulary. Today, the word was 'yucky'.

She was sitting next to me at the dining table sipping some juice. She's very proud of her ability to drink from a cup like a grownup, but this time she dribbled a bit down her chin. I wiped her off with a napkin, saying, "We have to wipe that off, so you're not all sticky and yucky."

She looked at me delightedly and repeated, "Yucky!" She thereafter went wandering around the house pointing out objects that she considered yucky: the trash cans, crumpled-up tissue paper (which she crumpled herself), that sort of thing. "Yucky! Yucky! Yucky!" she crowed.

Later, when her nanny collected her for her daily excursion to the playroom, she amiably allowed herself to be picked up, looked her nanny straight in the face, and pronounced, "Yucky!"

Good thing it wasn't her grandma...

bibliophilia: The Scar
My theory is, writer China Mieville is one of those people teetering this way and that over the famously fine line that divides genius and insanity. There were times when I hated this book; and there were times when I couldn't put it down, it was so good. I guess that's appropriate since The Scar is one of those new-fangled 'interstitial' books, in this case blurring the lines between fantasy and science fiction. It's about the press-ganged citizens of a floating pirate city, and what happens when the rulers of the city set out to take control of a huge (and hugely dangerous) source of power, a literal wound in reality.

There are some startlingly arresting ideas here (although my writer husband will tell you, disdainfully, that ideas are a dime a dozen). There's also some really good prose, although now and then, I found myself wishing the writer would just shut up with the description and get on with the damned plot. I can't say much for its characterization, but then the lead character is supposed to be one cold dame, so maybe that explains her lack of immediacy. But that sounds suspiciously like a cop-out to me... I probably won't be shelling out 400+ pesos for another Mieville book, but I don't regret buying this one. A good read, if not, alas, destined for the 'favorites' section of the bookshelf.

Post-Partum Digression: part 3 of an 11-part essay

The Second Month

One week and untold amounts of stress later, we were sitting together in a doctor's waiting room, trying to look as if we were at least marginally less ignorant than we were. "They're going to have to kill a rabbit," Dean whispered to me.

"They are not," I hissed back. In any case, at the time, the fate of some unknown rabbit, however cute and fluffy, was far less important to me than the potential imminent hijacking of my body for the ostensible purpose of species survival. I looked from my purse to the office door and contemplated one last cigarette before I knew for sure whether or not my half-pack-a-day habit was suffocating more than just me and my immediate circle of intimates.

"Mrs. Alfar, Mr. Alfar," the receptionist beamed. "The results of your test are ready." Dean stood up right away, so I had no real choice but to drop my cigs and lighter back into my purse and go in with him to see the doctor.

"I want to reassure you," the doctor said, "that while a positive response means you are definitely pregnant, a negative one might only mean it's too early to tell. You can always come back in two weeks, and we'll check again."

I looked closely at her to make sure that she was still speaking English. Was she actually saying that a negative response still didn't mean I was in the clear? That I might have to come back and cause another Bunny Murder, only to find out I really am knocked up anyway?!

"Fortunately, it looks like we don't have to worry about that," she continued, looking at the papers in her hand. Then she smiled widely at us. "Congratulations!"

All I could think was that I should have had that last damned cigarette after all.
Nikki bit in at 10:44 PM :: ::
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